Repost of an essay on lives lost in 2017…
As many of you heard, from all the caring texts I received this morning, there was a shooting in one of the suburbs of Wausau which led to the deaths of at least 4 humans. We were in the middle of it and my hospital was on lockdown; we are all fine and were never in danger thanks to the fine folks of the Marathon counties PDs, task force and WSP. The first thing I must say is, I can’t and won’t talk about the incident further in respect to the families who won’t ever have justice in their grief and the officers who lost one of their own. Having been in public service for so long, no matter what their public persona projects, I know no law officer who wants to take a life and will most often put theirs in front of one to save it. Is he a hero? He was doing his job, his duty, what he was trained to do in something not all of us are capable of doing. So yes. We also need to look at other parts of our collective; a teacher, a mechanic, a farmer, a physician, YOU – all Hero’s. There is something each of us does that other people can’t, often in extraordinary circumstances. We do what we are trained to do, like each of us does every day, and I am glad to be of service.
But the real lesson here is Love and Understanding. Lives were lost because someone didn’t have the tools to deal with their pain and felt violence was the only way out, a sad everyday occurrence these days. I had to stop myself yesterday when I felt anger towards this person, and hoped for his life to end because of the cascade of pain and fear his actions caused. Then I realized he probably wasn’t given the tools to deal with life. I found compassion so I could forgive, we do this for ourselves so we can move forward. Don’t get me wrong, I feel there is true evil in this world. Those that prey on the less fortunate and feel life in any form is not worth more than their own. Conscience is complicated. I call my Generation the sandwich. We experienced the “Me” times of the 80’s and worried about being melted by nukes. So we bore the millennial children who feel deeply within because we learned that “Me” and power isn’t what it’s all about. Eventually the two will meet and we all will be the best “Me” we can be and learn that winning isn’t always winning. We will value and gain the tools to own our shit and understand that our pain and inability to deal is often because of something we have not settled within ourselves. We will care for our fellow human, no matter what race, creed of color and know they are our brothers and sisters in this crazy experiment we call life. That will be a day to remember.
So I ask each of you reading this to reflect and pay respect to the lives lost on our planet on a daily basis, be it thousands of miles away or right next door. If you are struggling, look within before blame, search for understanding, forgive yourself, forgive each other.
Make tomorrow a better place for yourself and others. #beofservice
Our lives are an exercise in facing challenges. We dream the grandest of dreams as youngsters only to discover that we must cultivate copious inner strength and determination in order to meet our goals. Our hard work does not always yield the results we expect. And it is when we find ourselves frustrated by the trials we face or unable to meet our own expectations that is when we are most apt to take notice of those individuals who appear to accomplish great feats effortlessly. Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious while we are facing our own trial.
Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others’ life experiences, so it’s tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people “have it easy.” Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice industriously and correct themselves repeatedly in order to cultivate their talents. Their myriad accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves.
Our intellects, our hearts, and our souls are constantly being tested by the universe. Life will create new challenges for you to face each time you prove yourself capable of overcoming the challenges of the past. What you deem difficult will always differ from that which others deem difficult. The tests you will be given will be as unique as you are. If you focus on doing the best you can and making use of the blessings you have been granted, the outcome of your efforts will be a joyous reflection of your dedication and you can bask in peace and serve as a beacon for others to be inspired.
It seems that we often confuse amazing and easy. We run from chaos and then wonder why mediocrity bores us—yet, in terms of love, meeting our souls desire will ruin us from the outside in so that we can begin fulfilling our soul’s contract.
In this life, we all start off on the path that we think we should be on; but, in truth, sometimes that differs greatly from where we are supposed to be. We make choices based on our upbringing and familial conditioning, never pausing to consider if we are actually following our own hearts or the expectations of those closest to us.
That is until our souls mate enters our lives. This connection arises with the purpose of upsetting the status quo so that we might be redirected on the path of our hearts. This means they will ruin essentially anything and everything that keeps us small forcing us to look out of ourselves and grow and reach for what we are meant for.
This person is supposed to trigger us, and us them, causing havoc. There isn’t any way to become who we are meant to be by remaining who we were. We are not the same person today as we were yesterday nor will we be the same person tomorrow as we are today.
Our soul’s joy shows up when we are ready to awaken, to raise consciousness, and to learn to practice and embody unconditional love, which is the highest vibration of our energy. This connection is not only to trigger us so that we might move through the stages of personal development, but also to test and learn how to build unconditional love.
We can’t change this; we can battle it, run from it, and ignore it, but, in the end, we need to embrace it— in spite of our former self. The person your soul chooses for this journey will inspire and encourage. No doubt they will make you question your own mind, lose your mind and wrench your gut and cause you to lose sleep because they challenge you to be your best self, but they will also be at your side whispering, “You got this.”
Polonius counseled Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.“ How many times have we heard that in our lives? “Oh, just be yourself,” “You do you,” etc… How many times have we betrayed ourselves out of fear, or loss, or rejection? Yet we do it every day, and it is done to us every day. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but an incident happened a few weeks ago that spurned this deeper deliberation.
I had been communicating with a gentleman that I met online. Some would say I use the term gentleman loosely, but my gift of understanding does not allow me to be bitter. His profile stated he was looking for a long term relationship. Great, so am I! We had many things in common and could make each other laugh. Awesome! We’re off to a great start. By the second week we had been Skyping and face timing nearly every day and trying to figure out our schedules so we could meet IRL. Now, I have been through this before over the past couple years and there were somethings that still needed to be discussed before I committed to it. Things like deep connection on values and growth within a relationship and especially how to handle conflict.
We made a date to Skype and then he didn’t answer. However, 5 minutes later wanted to text. I asked if he remembered our date, no answer. I stepped back and didn’t reply. Sure enough a couple hours later, “Jenny, are you there?” and proceeded to flirt. My intuition was on high alert at this point. I asked point blankly. “How do you handle conflict, because I am feeling triggered right now?” One word came back. “Sex.” And then a string of laughing emojis and a message “You know love isn’t real right, it’s all great for a couple of months, then reality sets in.” I called him out. I also told him I felt disrespected by him laughing at my needs and that we shouldn’t continue. His profile was gone within the hour. 3 hours later I got a text. “You’re right, I’m sorry, I hope you find him.”
The Me that drowned in the last 5 years of my marriage would have probably tried to convince him I was different, I may have caved in and met him anyway trying to convince myself he didn’t really mean it because I liked him so much. But that in itself would have been a betrayal of self. I did that in my own marriage. When things started to get difficult and my Ex wouldn’t meet me half way, I changed who I was to try to make him happy, I caved in, I went to counseling, I let behavior slide so I didn’t upset the cart, after all that’s what we are taught to do growing up. But doing so required me to betray a part of self. And the result of that was me not respecting myself, my husband disrespecting me, our union and our bond. I own that.
I’m not that person anymore.
If someone tells you to behave in a way that isn’t you and makes you question yourself, that’s betrayal. It’s betrayal when you step out of your own integrity to accommodate someone. Hamlet, anyone? What are the consequences of allowing another person to persuade you to step out of your integrity? It sets up a dynamic that eats away inside of you and brings out the worst in you. It diminishes your presence. It isolates you.
This is the same reason I don’t like it when parents force kids to kiss or hug people whether they know them or not. It may not be in the child’s comfort zone and forcing them to do something physically uncomfortable breeds not only resentment, but teaches them that making other people happy is more important than how they feel. Already boundaries and trust are broken. Whew…that’s a lot to take in.
Every interaction you have is a tissue sample into your inner world. When you take time to notice your patterns of speech and behavior, you can begin to learn a lot about you really are. What you usually find is that the toughest, most challenging, most frustrating relationships in your personal and professional life trigger negative feelings within, which lead you to react in ways that are not in your self-interest or self-respect. The thing about these people who trigger negative emotion is that they are here to teach you something about yourself. It’s not about fixing them or pleasing them or running away from them whenever they approach you. It’s about understanding how you react when experiencing negative emotions such as rejection, bitterness, jealousy, despair, shame and so on, these reactions don’t serve you.
The problem is that even though you may feel abandoned or engulfed by the frustrating people in your lives at work and at home, it is the way that you react to those negative feelings that becomes your responsibility. When you develop patterns of reacting to negative emotions in ways that do not represent who you really are, you wind up creating an ongoing cycle of deeper negativity. You betray your own best interests by generating momentum of more negative emotion through your reactions. If you look at this deeper, you may discover a thread that leads you back to the way your caretakers related to you. It’s as if there is a mental blueprint of self-betraying behavior and speech that you learned way back when. Like guilting you into hugging or kissing your “Aunt May” when you clearly weren’t comfortable with it.
Becoming aware of how you betray yourself in your relationships will help you discover the truth about yourself. You will discover your authentic voice, your inner power, your real desires, your connection to your spirit. Ironically, it also requires you to become aware of the blindspot you’ve had towards your self-betraying patterns, but that just makes you a human being! Exhausting, huh?
It is so easy to live in self-betrayal to who you can truly be. A large number of the population are doing that, unaware that they have taken on someone else’s life, daily habits, mindset, dress code, values, mission, goals, vision, outlook and entire life. It is a shame that people just resign themselves to the life that they have stumbled into. And they find it a great challenge to break out of it, as it is easier to work on someone else’s dream than it is to your own. But taking no risks in regards to what you want to do with your life will bring certain failure and disappointment within yourself a few years down the line. It seems as though people prefer to remain asleep to their greatness and not take responsibility and control of it. The blind are following the blind into what? A life of regret, disappointment, mediocrity, cowardice, and too afraid to face their fears? I was once that person and I become physically sick when I feel myself slipping back into that comfort zone.
This moment now is what you have, this is the moment where you can stand up and face your fears and go after what you want like a warrior, battle the demons within you that try to confine you to a life of self-betrayal. If you want to be free you must break out of the false misconception that you have of yourself of who you are and see who you can truly be; a champion, a fighter, a believer, someone who is blessed, someone who is able, someone who is driven to succeed and live a life of greatness. You have everything within you to make the changes needed to take your life to new heights and make a difference, to make an impact, to be of service and to do good and to impact humanity in unimaginable ways.
You will stumble, you are human. Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate.
This is all part of the journey.
Today, lying in the bed I ached to share with you, I wish your legs were intertwined with mine; your feet on top of my feet, your knees bent towards me, feeling the warmth of your skin spooned against mine.
I lay on the side of the bed that you would have slept on and with my eyes closed, imagine your arms around me, and your morning body heavily set against mine until our breaths sync. Your face snuggles into my neck as you sigh and settle into me, comes alive in my memory. Barely awake, I feel you squeeze me, feeling protected.
Standing alone in my kitchen I suddenly crave breakfast. I imagined on Sundays we would throw on whatever clothes happened to be closest to us and get in the car to find pancakes. Sometimes we would sit in silence and other times we would talk and talk about nothing in particular, and you would smile… because we were together and happy just being close to each other.
Outside the air is perfect, the sky above is blue with scattered clouds and there is a slight breeze against my face as I walk the dogs on a trail I wanted to share with you. I imagine holding your hand as we dance in the trees. I think of their smoothness, the security they represented. I loved the way you would grab onto me as if you were afraid of losing me.
I begin think of things we didnt do but could do if you were here. Chances are we’d still be in bed. Our bodies would be close. Your heartbeat would vibrate against my face as I’d lay my head on your bare chest. If it were raining we’d nap in a tent in the yard because you like the sound of the rain as much as I do and wed count drops between kisses. Or we would just lay on the couch and watch a movie. Your head would be in my lap as I’d glide my hands softly across your back until you close your eyes with satisfaction. We would drift into each other without a worry or a care, because we’d know this is just the beginning of forever.
But today you have a new life. You have a new Sunday routine with someone else. Maybe it’s better. Maybe it’s not. But it’s not with me. Maybe you miss me at times. Maybe you want to wake up with me somedays too but that’s not what you chose. Maybe I will have a new Sunday routine with a man who smiles at me like I’m magic and sighs in content with my hugs like you once did. I hope to think of you less and less so my wounded heart can heal. So I eat my pancakes in silence and smile thinking of your kisses.
I knew it the first of the season
I knew it the same at the end,
That you and your love were plighted,
That you couldnt just be my friend.
Couldn’t we sit in the twilight,
Couldn’t we walk on the shore
With only a pleasant friendship
To bind us, and nothing more.
There was not a word of folly
Spoken between us two,
Though we lingered oft in the mountains
Till the ferns were wet with dew.
We touched on a thousand subjects
The moon and the worlds above,
And our talk was tinctured with science,
And everything else, save love.
What would you have done, I wonder,
Had I gone on my knees to you
And told you my passionate story,
There in the dusk and the dew.
I fought with my heart and conquered,
I hid my wounds from sight;
I was going away in the morning,
So I said a calm good-night.
But now when I sit in the twilight,
Or when I walk by the sea
That friendship, quite platonic,
Comes surging over me.
Walking at night has always been the pursuit of the lost, the lonely, the deviant, the rebellious, the curious, the feeling, the human. The best nights are usually unplanned, random and spontaneous.
I used to walk and drive at night a lot. Even when I was still in my parents’ home. We had woods on our property. I built a fort that I used to just sit in and listen to the nocturnal creatures keeping me company or sleep on the wide porch during the rain both quieting the chaos of problems I couldn’t fix. When we moved to Denver I continued the evening constitutional. I often had trouble sleeping, a symptom of the anxiety I had experienced from moving to a new town without a support system. If I wasn’t walking, I analyzed and mapped adventures I’d someday take, plotting their routes on national geographic maps I’d been collecting that papered my walls.
Magic tumbled from her pretty lips and when she spoke the language of the universe- the stars sighed in unison. – Faudet
It’s a habit I’ve taken up again; visiting the night. It’s not always a walk, sometimes I get on the scooter or motorcycle and just ride the grid of my tiny downtown or the wide rural roads that quilt across the earth. A friend of mine and I used to do this. It always stuck with me, the way the engine lures me into a trance and melts any heaviness as I breathe the dark wind.
Wausau pretty much shuts down at 9pm. Getting home from work at 3am lends to solitude and reflection as I walk the pent up pups who want to do nothing but play Frisbee. I think they’ve taken up this ritual. Often times I find them enjoying the quiet of the dark lounging on the deck waiting for me, metronome tails thumping in time.
Shelley once wrote the night makes “a weird sound of its own stillness.” It’s a parallel universe of the same buildings and barns; but with the absence of people it lulls you with it’s with sepulchral tones. From time to time I spot silhouettes of other solitary individuals, threatened by my presence as I am by theirs. Who in their right mind is awake at 3am who doesn’t have to be? Sometimes it’s not a choice.
Unless you live in the country you tend to forget your home is built on real earth; under all that pavement there are hills, forgotten streams, forts built by some other 10 year old. Nothing’s quite the same at night. At 3am, the empty streets are no longer fighting against traffic. It’s here the solitary pedestrian or rider begins to feel the real earth. In the abstracted monochromatic condition of night, it becomes more apparent that a sloping road curves over the sleeping form of a hill and down the other side to track a creek that fed this land long ago.
The world is at its most earthly and unearthly at night, especially if it’s raining, washing yesterday away.