When I Lose Someone

I was thinking about someone dear that passed away recently. I found myself gravitating to his Facebook page, and there were many comments about how we have “lost” him. Later, I was looking at gifts for someone, and a particular item could be given as a gift of remembrance of someone special who had passed away. The reviews were typically, “When we lost our brother…,” and “When I lost my husband…,” or “My neighbor lost her dog last week…,” which really could have been confusing in another context about what really happened.

Saying “I lost ___________,” when referring to someone who died always seemed peculiar to me, though I totally get how it’s more comfortable than saying “died” or “dead.” It just seems less final than the latter. Even when we are afraid someone might perish in the future, we sometimes say, “If I lose you…,” or “The thought of losing you….” “Lost” feels less permanent, a little less real, and lands a bit softer, too.

For me “lost” always sounded in my brain like, “I disappeared my grandmother,” like an action item carried out by me, vs. descriptive about the person who is now gone and where they might have last been seen or been placed. It’s a hard one for me to say because that’s what I hear when I say it, and I know I didn’t actually misplace someone, or have anything to do with where they went. But of course I use the phrase out of respect for others’ ears and hearts.

Personally, I take little solace in someone going to Heaven and still being labeled as “lost.” If there is really a literal place that is Heaven, then they most certainly are not lost, and are definitely, literally in a better place. And if there is no literal Heaven, they’re just gone, not lost. Hopefully they are not wandering around looking for a gas station where they can ask for directions or trying to get better service to view an online map. I picture a man walking in circles, refusing to ask for directions, and ending up back on Earth in another dimension. (Welcome to my brain.)

I have to agree that when someone we love dies, it sure does feel like a loss, a void, having something ripped away without our consent. I think if I were to say it exactly how it feels for me, it would be more like, “I feel lost without ___________.” The loss is definitely more on my end rather than the person or pet who died having gone somewhere where we now can’t find them, or forgot where we last left them.

When someone dies and I say that I lost them, it sounds like there is hope that I will find them again, recover the relationship somehow at some point. Some philosophies say that I might, but even with that I am not guaranteed. What this all means to me, really-really, is that I am in fact the one who feels lost. I am the one who is now wandering through the valley of grief and uncertainty, juggling life between the facts, the must-do’s of day to day life, and calling it whatever it needs to be called in order to tolerate it and accept the void of a missing piece never to be returned to where I think it belongs, to where I want them the most.


But I Love ALL People

I often wonder if we truly came to realize how much our apathy, our overt and covert racism, homophobia, genderism (or pick an ism/phobia) hurts us on a personal level — would we finally do something about it? If we found out it was making us sick, if we felt it in our own lives, on our own bodies, in our own homes, in our own minds, would we finally be compelled to do something? Or would we still just be stuck on “right” to save face and suffer silently, or blame it on “them?” I think we put a lot of energy into saving face, and a lot of running from the truth… or even mangling it, covering it up. We think, “I’m not the one; surely it’s not me,” and even get mad when confronted.

We put a LOT of energy into this, and yet we think we remain unaffected by the covering up, the pretending, the avoidance to look at ourselves squarely and honestly. We put on a mask when we go about our daily business outside of the home, but when we return the mask is put away and we discuss all about “those people,” and we have strong opinions on people we can’t even see honestly. We pretend (or do we really believe this) that if we don’t talk about it, refuse to give it attention, that we somehow are not contributing to the racism, the homophobia, Islamic hatred, etc. We tell ourselves and others that we just won’t participate in the discussions because that would be contributing to the problem. But…

WHEN HAS IGNORING SOMETHING EVER MADE IT BETTER?

If you let it, this might set you free from the invisible box you have created for yourself and probably the children you might be influencing…. Do you know that you don’t even have to understand how or why people are who they are to just let them live, and even to love them? And here’s the REAL personal freedom…. Once you are able to embrace that, it’s no effort to embrace them just as they are. That’s where love lives, and that’s what it looks like.

We like to say that we love all people, don’t we? It sounds right, and feels good to say — even seems logical. For added theatrics or emphasis, we even wave our hand when we say it as if we’re brushing off how ridiculous it is to even have to say it out loud.

  • You have a good relationship with your Black neighbor, and your kids even play together.
    • But do you love Black PEOPLE?
  • That Muslim woman in the next cubicle is hilarious, and you frequently lunch together.
    • But do you love Muslim PEOPLE?
  • The Mexican woman who babysits your children during the past four summers is a wonderful addition to your lives and with whom you entrust your children. She even teaches them Spanish!
    • But do you love Mexican PEOPLE?
  • You’re nice to Emily, the transgender checker at the grocery store that you look forward to seeing every week.
    • But do you love transgender PEOPLE?
  • Your love your cousin who is gay and you get along great with him and his husband.
    • But do you love gay PEOPLE?

I’m sure you’re onto me by now, and may have already begun making excuses before you reached the end of the list or stopped reading the list altogether. Hopefully none of that’s true and you get the point. But if it is true, I hope you ask yourself why that is, and I hope you go even further and begin really thinking about this. One thing that can happen is that you will start showing up as the person you’ve been saying you are. You remember — the one that loves all people!

I get it. (I don’t, actually, but I do know something about this personally.) You’re secretly afraid of what other people in your circles might think. You don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. You’re afraid of what you will lose, and this is a driving force for so many of us that causes us sometimes to double down on the excuses, and why so many of us turn to apathy, ignoring, or defending all the “good people on both sides.” We are more afraid of how we might look, what we might lose, or even who we might have to talk to in a new way.

Freedom. That’s what you get. You get freedom from the excuses, freedom from toxic ideas and people. You get new vision, and you get to do the work of self-repair, self-reflection, and self-love instead of the arduous work of covering up, the laziness of apathy and tolerating, and the sweat-work of defending terrible people, systems and ideations. You get freedom from the pain of giving and being an assist to systems that hurt other people. You will lose some; you will. And then you will be free from people who won’t operate on a higher level of humanity.

Operating from this is also work, but it isn’t the kind that hurts us on a soul level or the level of hurting humanity. In fact, it’s actually restorative on a cellular level. And the best part of all… you will be on your way to telling the truth when you say, “I LOVE ALL PEOPLE.”



Clean House, Messy Heart

Today, I am going to get personal. I often talk about things “out there,” or I am ambiguous on purpose because what I’m writing about can have more than one meaning. I usually want the reader to find the one that resonates with them. So I’m going to do something in this post that I don’t frequently do — get personal.

The hubs and I have one of our best friends coming to visit for a quick overnight stay. We haven’t seen her in two years, where we normally would see her and her family three to four times a year. She and her husband moved out of the state a couple years ago and, thanks to COVID-19, we haven’t had the chance to see them or their kids. She’s “home” for a spell and is making the two hour+ drive to see us. Because of this, there has been an amount of “getting ready” happening in our home.

Something about tidying up and rushing around the house reminds me of my father. He was a tyrant. He was fastidious, to say the kindest and the least, about everything, and definitely about the inside as well as the outside of the home. The majority of my chores were outside for some reason (no clue why). It’s probably no shock that I’m way better at taking care of the outside of the house than I am the inside. But there’s more to it than that. I actually get sort of frozen-in-place when a project inside is a giant one, or when someone decides they want to rush me around. Nothing was ever good enough for him, and he never cared how hard you tried.

So, back to our friend that’s coming over. I got up this morning with a migraine and tallied up the things that I felt needed to be done before her arrival this evening. There weren’t many, and even those were pretty simple things. I had already washed sheets, dusted and cleaned the bedroom, and made the bed. I dusted the living and dining rooms a couple days ago. But there are dog nose-prints on the front window and mulberries squished on the floor from dogs that run around the backyard and then track them inside. The mulberries are a several-times-a-day project until the tree stops dropping them. Well, shoot, my vitamins are out on the counter in the kitchen and the kitchen rugs could use another wash. Some of the placemats on the dining table don’t match. Recyclable trash needs to be emptied, and there’s a stack of mail on the dining room table. My desk – well my desk has always had a life of its own! Laundry is in the dryer, so that means it probably won’t get folded and put away before she gets here. I sort of sat there with my cup of coffee in a trance, frozen-ish, headachy.

By the time I finished my cup of coffee and cottage cheese with blueberries, I was over it — not over our friend’s visit, but over being overly-concerned about what there was to do. First of all, we love her and she loves us, and I know for a fact that she is not going to come into my home and begin examining everything, and I already know she has no expectation of walking into a showroom model home. Secondly, I’m not going to have friends who are that judgy anyway. (If you are, I might just hand you some spray and paper towels and invite you to clean the dog nose-marks yourself.)

I realize that my first reaction this morning was really coming from someone/somewhere else, and not from me. I just happened to let it in. It was coming from people who have been in my life who really need to do as much heart work as they do in other areas of their lives. My heart is full of love for our friend, and I know it’s returned. My home is clean, comfortable, and welcoming. Save my desk and a set of shelves in my bedroom, my home is orderly. You can open my cupboards and look under the rugs and furniture.

I know some people who insist on a spotless home who are actually not great at being good humans, or whose lives are in complete disarray. (That’s not to say that everyone who has a spotless home IS a terrible human, so don’t email me.) But it occurred to me today that we can work so hard at looking good, appearing competent, acting organized, etc., but forget or refuse to give as much attention to becoming the person our exteriors claim we are. We may have a clean home, pressed clothes, a nice physique… but a messy heart. Take for example the person whose home looks clean and tidy when you walk in, but you better not open a drawer or a cupboard because the mess was never really cleaned, it was just stuffed away out of sight. A funny thing about that process is that even we forget sometimes that the stuff is in there or forget where we even put something!

Things become lost – like souls.

I’m not at all saying that someone cannot master both home and heart. What I am saying is this: Be kind and loving to your people, especially if you’re raising children. Our children grow up to be other versions of us, or worse, versions of the mess we stuff away in cupboards or sweep under the rug, and you never know how that’s going to come out. For me, it comes out as anxiety, a kind of frozen, soft-serve mess. For others it might come out like a spotless home, but a frozen heart, and for still others it might look like abuse. We raise these little people sometimes without remembering that other people have to deal with them after they leave our care or we leave this world. If you’re going to leave a mess behind, let it be the dog nose-print on the window kind, or the home overflowing with fun kind — not a person, or not the mean-spirited, heartless, not enough, or anxiety-in-skin kind that hides away or projects onto others. Your spotless home might be something to be proud of, but don’t make it meaningless in the grand scheme of it all, or a miserable place to be for those with whom you share it.

Appearances are just that – something to see; but a kind and giving heart is something to behold and cherish.

Cobwebs, Dirty Floors, and Love

If you’re going to tell me that I need to learn to love myself (or ourselves, in a group setting) in order to love you with the love and respect you deserve, I can’t hear you if you aren’t loving me. I can’t hear you if you are coming from grudge (or anger, yelling, vitriol) vs. love.

It’s tricky, isn’t it? What I hear you saying may very well be the truth, or may certainly have some true parts. But it’s like giving advice to someone else on how to keep their house clean while you have cobwebs all over yours. Your cobwebs don’t actually make any of the truth less true. However, they make you less believable about what you know and want, so you are now suspect for motives, suspect as to what will be returned for changed behavior. Your intention isn’t coming from the same energy that you wish to receive.

Now, you will get a few on board who will hear you and see the truth in spite of your own cobwebs and adjust accordingly; and you will have some form of agreement from the few self-loathing as well. But you will not ultimately get the return you were going for, which is a transformed group.

What a conundrum. Sometimes we really need to be heard, or sometimes we really need to hear. How difficult it can be to express hurt, fear, or anger and be heard fully without losing humanity towards the other person our group!

Love is some tricky shit when you think you can out-maneuver it.

Racial Healing in America Conference – 2020

Women For Equality presents its
Third Annual Racial Healing in America Conference
February 29, 2020
9:00AM to 6:00PM
9249 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95826

This one-day conference is in response to the heightened awareness in our nation of the need for racial healing. The prevalence of hate crimes, social injustices and racial divides have been brought to the surface to demonstrate the need for us to come together.

Participants will:
• Experience unprecedented bonding
• Understand the importance of racial healing
• Explore their own biases
• Experience what it is like as a marginalized person in this country
• Co-create a community-based plan of action

Click here for tickets

Click here for Facebook Event Page

Tickets will also be sold at the door as space allows.

Flyer

What You Say, You Are

As I was fooling around with fun filters after church today, I was reminded of a time when someone accused me of taking my nickname (Queen BB) too seriously. (The nickname didn’t follow me back home from Arizona.)  I was managing a medical office at the time, and an employee went to two of the practice partners and complained that I really thought I was a queen. (I mean, seriously…?) Was I able to go back now, my response would be different. Rather than taking a defensive position, I simply would say, “Well, I am, as are all of you. I am simply comfortable in all of my authority to say that is who I am, and that is who you are. Join me in knowing who we are meant to be.” Darn that 20/20 hindsight! But then, I wasn’t that sure of my own spot in life at the time. There is nothing wrong in honoring yourself in your rightful spot on the throne of your life — and if you want some extra gravy, allow others to be in their rightful spot as well. After all, as I often say, “When I uplift even one to equal standing, I lose nothing and gain it all — not only for myself, but for all of us.”  Why not start where you are – within yourself? Who better to start with? Now, just don’t get stuck there! You have got to spread the space and the love. That’s the secret ingredient!

Today in church, Rev. Kev had on the most beautiful garment, and I told him he looked like the “King of Unity.” (If you’d like to see for yourself, you can see today’s service here: Clean It Up – Get Your Spiritual House In Order) He was so sparkly up there, all in his zone. Gorgeous! Hopefully, he took that as a compliment and not a rub, not knowing this backstory of mine. I’m 99.99% sure he took it correctly.

Right now a favorite quote by Zig Ziglar comes to mind:  You may not be what you say you are, but what you say, you are.  💣🤯💥

“Back in the day,” there was something “wrong” with being (seemingly) too proud of one’s self. Most of us, and especially if you are female, it was just sheer vanity to see our own light and shine it. We were expected to shrink in many instances. Fairly early on in my parenting, but maybe not as soon as I wished, I realized I was instilling that faulty thinking in my kids.  I started then, and continue still as they’re grown, to remind them how perfect, how wonderfully made they are.  At least, that is my goal. I guess you’d have to ask them if they know how important, how brilliant, how fabulous they are in my eyes, and hopefully their own as well.  That last part is key, and that is even more important to me than what they think my opinions are, actually.  And that is what this whole post is about, really.

Marianne Williamson said, “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”  Feel THAT!  Yes, put your crown back on or straighten it out and march on out there like you mean it… and remind others to do the same.  We all need this reminder from time to time.  But if you find yourself in need of this and no one around seems to be playing on this field, then go on ahead and remind yourself. Your opinion means a LOT.

Admittedly, I don’t always find this easy to do. I’m trying to train myself so that there doesn’t have to be some event for me to wake up and remind myself. I want this to be automatic thinking all the time. So, practice, I will; you, too! It is vitally important in a society that is constantly trying to dumb down, press down, and brainwash so many that we are less-than. Don’t fall for it!  

You are a QUEEN.
You are a KING.
Yes, you are!

In love and sparkly crown confetti,

Debora Lynn






When "Just Love" Is Just Words Instead of a Verb

💗

There’s a lot of requests to “just love” in the past couple days.

This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it’s a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word “just” is put in front of the word “love” to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.


I don’t think it’s surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs.  Not at all.  Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.


But why aren’t we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren’t we doing less talking and more listening in the first place — and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to “just love?” 

What does your “just love” look like? What does it mean?  Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our “just love” is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it — not “them,” or over there somewhere. If your “just love” is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea. 

“Just love” doesn’t mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It’s real easy and a cop-out from your statement to “just love” the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy — the very thing that we said we didn’t want to see any more of.

Is your “just love” just words, or is it a jump into action?

Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person’s experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not “just love.” It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.

 

So the next time you broadcast “just love” as a mend, please make sure it’s not “just words.” Love is, after all, a verb, too.

💗

Intersectional Feminism – a Lesson for ALL

When one is uplifted, so are we all.  Equality does not mean that someone loses something in order for someone else to gain equal footing.  Equality shouldn’t be feared, yet it is. Fear of losing something is what drives a lot of people to refuse to respect and hear about another person’s experience/s that is different from their own.  So I’ll say it again: When one is uplifted, so are we all. 

"You get what you pay for."

When you pay in barbs and insults, your love and kindness account becomes overdrawn. What you have purchased is distrust. Regardless of your claims, your investments eventually become clear. Your return is negative, and your currency will fluctuate, then fall. Your credit is rated poor. Communication ends. Doors that were once held open just for you, may be closed and even locked. You may find yourself on the outside looking in at what was once yours. This is what happens when you don’t guard the treasures you already have. You chose your currency, and this is your return on investment.

How many times will you rebuild,
only to watch your investments repeatedly
fail in the same way?



Each failure was an option to learn and grow and do better. Repeating the same proven failed strategies shows a belief that there is more comfort in the struggle than in the light. 






Being A Mama ;

My middle son graduates with his
B.S. in Geology in 2 weeks.

(Photographer: Jessica Verone)