Ding! Dong! Your Life is At Your Door…The One Principle you need to Remember to Create the Life You Desire

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Basically, we get from life what we are willing to put into it. (Of course, I realize tragedies and horrors exist in this world that no one should ever have to suffer or witness. But for argument’s sake, let’s say that the energy exchange of life is equal.)

I frequently say to my stepchildren when they are in a situation, “Well, this is your life showing up at your front door.”

My stepdaughter recently went out for the volleyball team at school. It had been 9 months since she last picked up a volleyball. (She would argue that there was ONE day this summer when she had her volleyball out).

To no one’s surprise, but hers, she is not on the “A” volleyball team. She is on the “C” team. She feels this is unjust and that she deserves better.

Not I, though. Not I.

To me, and I told her this- this is her life showing up at the front door. How much time and energy has she truly put into VB? Basically zero. Given the energy exchange of life, how much is VB giving back to her? Well, the same amount. She is on the “C” team and receiving not a whole lot of attention from the coach, nor is she receiving rewards or accolades. She is getting from life exactly what she puts into it.

I remember another time when my stepson had a new Nintendo game that he “found” at school. Hmmmm…..He said he found it and I asked if he had done anything to return it to the rightful owner. He looked at me and said, “Well, no, not really…”

And I said to him, “Life shows up with exactly what we put into it. Don’t be surprised that the next time you lose something that no one makes a sincere effort to get the item back to you. Life treats you as you treat it.”

He returned the Nintendo the next day.

I use these examples of childhood because the connections are somewhat easy to see. However, we ALL work under this principle. I can look at my own life that has shown up at my door. If I am honest, I see that those places where I have put in little effort have given me little results.

Sure, I may talk “big” and I may wish and I may hope “big”, but unless I put in the effort, there is nothing for life to give back to me.

Life works with the energy we put into it. If you do not put any energy into something, there is nothing for life to work with to give back to you.

It’s a tough lesson and I am sure my stepchildren think I am harsh at times. But so be it.

We are entitled to what we put into life, nothing more, nothing less. Put a lot of effort into life and you may be surprised at the life that ends up at your front door.

Changing Every Relationship With One Step…Knowing Who You Are

Centered Chaos

Centered Chaos

I am the still point within it all, because I know who I am.

Knowing and defining yourself is one of the most important things you can do in any relationship or situation.

Defining yourself does not mean that you set your personality in stone and never change. Defining yourself means that you know who you are.

Such an action is powerful on its own, but when you combine it with what happens next, your strength is much greater.

Here is the secret: When you clearly define yourself, you give others the space to relate to you effectively. It becomes a symbiotic relationship. You know how you are, others understand (because of your clarity) how to interact with you, as relationships improve, confusion decreases, better understanding results, you get an even better sense of yourself and so on.

I have seen this at work in my own life.

One of my most significant acts as faculty president has been to define who we are as faculty. We focus on issues related to faculty and we see ourselves as the experts in these areas. It may seem strikingly obvious, but interacting this way has not always been the case.

For some years, we were the faculty version of an amoebic blob. We would randomly follow issues that were not truly our concern, we would engulf other departments and get involved in situations that were definitely not ours. What was the result? Discouragement, confusion, and a sense of ineffectiveness. Now, we know who we are, where our strengths lay, and what is “ours” to handle and what is “not ours”.

This is an example of a successful use of this approach. I see the flip-side in my role as stepparent. I have yet to clearly define myself in this regard, and I and others have continued to suffer. I can never decide if I want to be highly involved with the stepkids, a little involved, or not at all. Am I a parent, pseudo-parent or what?

Of course, I could say the bio parents have done very little to help me define a role and context for myself as stepparent, but I prefer to focus on my own sense of power. I know, similar to work, the clearer I am about myself, the greater synergy I have in all situations.

If you are struggling with a situation or relationship, ask yourself one question:
“Do I know and understand myself in relation to this context?” If the answer is “No”, you know you have some work to do. You can transform anything- you just have to begin with yourself :).

What is Worse- Anger or Indifference?

Empty

Empty

Sometimes the most scary (and liberating) times are when you move from anger and frustration to indifference. Anger keeps you hooked. Indifference can mean you are off the hook and have no intention of re-engaging.

Please Note- My Indifference
For years- you spoke- and said my anger scared you most.

And I believed you- proving what fools we both may be.

For it has never been my anger which has spooked a soul-
only my indifference

And now you will duly note the difference- and I will finally set myself free.

Explanation: This writing and image refers to a very specific scenario in my family dynamic. I realize on a larger scale indifference is much more frightening than anger. Anger pushes one to action. Indifference allows one to not care.

Getting Real about What We Can and Can Not Give Our Children

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A Prayer for Every Child

My child-
If I could give you my love to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my compassion to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my peace to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my grace to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my mercy to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
I would give you all of these and more to use in the world-If I could, if I could

But life requires more of us, my sweet child, than the use of the gifts of another.

Do not fret, my child, for this is my prayer-

I pray with deepest hearts that you may be so touched and overfilled by my love, compassion, peace, grace and mercy

That you, my beautiful child, will have more than enough to give.

The beauty of our growth, my dear child, is that you will get to choose what is done with these gifts.

Choose well, my child, choose well.

I do not have my own children, but I help raise my stepchildren. This is my prayer for them. I try to lead by example and give them all of my greatest gifts, but ultimately, as with all things in life, the child will decide what he or she will become. My only prayer is I do the best I can to help them use the gifts they have been given.

Another way to look at this prayer- if you believe in God- is to imagine God thinking about each of us in this way. God has given each of us- love, peace, grace, compassion, and mercy. God can not control the use of these gifts- that is the choice for each of us.

A Woman Regains Her Balance

Heart Balanced

Heart Balanced

On this day, One Woman regained her balance and a Balanced Heart along the way.
For you see, she had worried and struggled and suffered under the strife of misplaced love. A lesson learned and it would not be lost.

She untangled her heart from the mess labeled “Love”, and made a choice for herself. She would love on her own terms, terms that supported her and the world to which she wanted to give so much.

She slowly opened up her heart and joined another in the union of Love. And this time, there was no taking, protecting, or hiding. Energy flowed in between hearts in balance.

And she thought to herself, this is how I want to create my world.

Those were her thoughts, and then her stepson saw the picture she had crafted of a world in love and he simply said, “To me, it looks like a dog bone of love, with hearts on the end.)

And this she could understand and thought that it was a great way to see a world in love.

A Quiet Prayer to Transform Suffering

My Love Prayer for You

My Love Prayer for You

As I posted recently, I have been worried about my stepson.
The force of expression, the physicality of creating, is a means of handling all that I want to say. The creation of art has such potential to heal. It gives each of us a place to “hang” all that weighs us down and transform it to something resembling love.

A Prayer for those Suffering

If I can not take away
Your pain despite
my complete desire
to end this suffering-

Then please, please
Let me sit with you

And Let me hold your precious,
Beautiful heart in
my warm, gentle hands with all
the grace I can marshall

And Let me whisper to you
How much I believe
In your innate goodness,
your innate strength,
And your innate sense
Of what is right

For you see,
I witness you as
the clock bides its
Time on the wall
Beside our sink

I see you each
Moment, observing
Your struggles
With such compassion
I want to wrap you in
My own heart

And pray the prayer
Of the believing
That God is just
And God is good
And you deserve
So much more than you are getting

I will utter my prayer
And send my thoughts
to God and Heaven above
Carrying whispers
Of my love for you.

Getting off the Altar Of Others and Setting Yourself Free

And there God is...

And there God is…


The Altar of Another

At certain times in our lives, we are likely to end up on the altar of another, as the symbolic sacrifice. This happens when another person is unable or unwilling to handle his or her own life, and looks for a scapegoat, or in this poem’s phrasing, the sacrificial lamb.

In my own world, the altar upon which I am most likely to be sacrificed upon is the altar of stepparenting. Only with time and experience am I realizing to do this to someone is not only wrong, but ineffective. I can not be the sacrificial offer of the failed marriage and the, at times, dysfunction of the children which resulted.

I am not meant to play such a role, nor are you. Whenever you find yourself in the situation of serving as scapegoat for another, climb down off that altar, and set yourself free. Your heart, spirit, and soul are too important to be relegated to such a role as sacrificial offer in the lives of others.

The altar I teeter,
Then totter upon,
Is one held dear
To almost all men.

To take my place
I held my beliefs,
cloaked my hopes, and
entered ceremony,
sacred

Upon these circumstances
Dressed in gold
I stood at the point
Of vision and vows
Coalescing

And allowed my self
To be relegated
To sacrificial offer
On the marriage with
Children altar

What God had made,
Man ended, and
Dues were to be paid.
Confused wanderings
In the desert commenced.

Delusional ravings
Along the parental spectrum
“They are not yours”
And
“Love them like your own”

What insanity,
What labyrinth
Lay in wait
For open hearts
And soaring souls

The parental axiom
“not our fault”
Tolling the bell of
The end, before it
Began

They know not what
They do-
Innocent are they-
Awaiting the lamb
Upon the altar.

Children and Disappointment

meditativeecstasy
For those of you who celebrate the Easter holiday- Happy Easter! Short, little blog today about something that happened yesterday. My husband, stepkids and I went shopping. It’s a big deal for us, as we live out in the middle of nowhere. We went in order to purchase my stepdaughter some new jeans. She is at the age where on-line shopping simply is not going to cut it given how much her body is changing.

During the day, my stepson began to look more and more dejected. He managed to mope and drag his feet, slowly walking 15 yards behind us, through an entire wing of the mall. Although he had been allowed to purchase one small treat, he wanted more. His moping and feet dragging were designed to clearly convey how we had failed him, in case the tears and pleading had been lost on us.

My husband was very concerned stating that “Henry” (not his real name 🙂 ) seemed so disappointed.

Yes, “Henry” was disappointed. But, I pointed something out to my husband. Our job as parent and stepparent was not to raise two children who never experience disappointment. Our job as parent and stepparent was to raise children to grow up understanding how to handle disappointment.

A wonderful gift we can give our children is to help them understand they are not the center of the world. Life provides and life disappointments. A person of awareness and grace (a hope I my stepkidds will be) is able to handle both with a sense of compassion and understanding.

In Praise of the Quiet Ones

seenothingspeaknothingSilence can easily be mistaken. Yet, it is such a wonderful, powerful choice to make. I witness a great deal in my house with my husband and stepkids. I observe and refrain from comment. I like to think – in peace and in quiet before engaging. This has often been taken that I am not participating. Someone who refrains from speaking is not necessarily withholding participation. I would say in the space of quiet, some of us are actually quite active.

On a side note, and I hope I am not the only (step)-parent to have said this, I did threaten to throw our “family” TV out the window the other night in order that I may have some peace and quiet in the home. Of course, this was met with a sense of shock by my stepchildren, as they turned to me with wide, round, “bug” eyes commonly seen on stuffed animals, wondering why I could possibly be so upset over something like the TV.

Sigh…it’s not the TV, it’s the bickering over what to watch, how long to watch, is it appropriate to watch, who watched what last, who should choose what to watch, where should everyone sit during TV watching, is it more important to watch “live” TV or what is recorded, should recordings but watched in order or most recent first in order to “catch up”?

I hope to God I am not the only one living in such a household- as they say, misery loves company. 🙂 Monday is my birthday, as my stepchildren eagerly asked me what I would like, I stated, “I would like a day of peace and quiet. No TV. Perhaps some reading or meditation.” Prompting my stepdaughter to respond, “I think I am going to die.”

The Value of My Silence

Everyone always assumes
silence implies-
but no, silence
simply refuses to state

In silence, I am not
with out
Hope,
Vision,
Rhythm

No.

I am with-
Sight
Feeling
Contemplation

I am present in
Skin,
Bone,
Muscle

Although I may
hold tight to words that
seek escape.

Witnesses are not-
Immune in stasis –
Complicit in silent
Agreement

We oscillate and sway
With the slightest
Perturbations-
But-

And God bless us-

we refrain from
summating the wave.

Telling the Truth, and Lies, When You Write (…and Healing Just the Same)

Fish

Fish

The Temporal Nature

crafted images
seldom tell the story

because I lie

I lie in
time
chronology
order
and people
(in that order)

and still, my story
is true-
to its core

Do you ever wonder why you write what you do? What do you include? What do you leave out? Who are the guilty and the innocent that you spare by revealing or not revealing names and details?

I have come to the realization that it does not matter if what you write is a direct reflection of the truth, because I don’t belive our minds, emotions, and responses work in tightly linked, chronological detail.

On a given day, I may read a passage in the book of another that stimulates a thought of childhood, which deviates into a situation with the stepchildren, and back to the book passage. One, two, or all may show up in my writing. Linked, as they appeared to me on that day, or rearranged on a page in a new way that comforts me or confronts me or hopefully, makes me more aware of my life and how I respond to it.

The beauty of learning about ourselves, and growing as a result, emerges from unique connections, perhaps only relevant to the one who writes them. Who cares? We grow the most in those “Aha!” moments, when the leap between events, emotions, responses, pushes us to a new way of being. And, we can be so ridiculously happy when we experience this.

The other night I was crying to my husband about money, as his ex-wife continues to need support as she lost her job. I was not sure why I was so upset. He looked at me and said, “Kim, this is not your situation to handle. I need to handle this with my ex-wife and children. You don’t have to take care of us financially”

I looked to him through tears and said, “But you don’t understand, I was raised to believe that what was mine was not for me, and that I was supposed to give everything away to take care of others.” Bingo! An ex-spouse (not mine) loses a job, and I tie it to a childhood where I was supposed to take care of everyone. ( I don’t need to tell you how much self-reflection this little scenario instigated!)

Insights, however they may evolve, provide us freedom. We are like a fish let off the hook. All the struggles, the miscommunications, the tears, the anguish, suddenly dissolve as we sense some meaning, something we can take and use, if only for ourselves. This, I think is one reason, that we write. So, we come to know, to understand, the connections and freedom that may be awaiting just around the next word.