It’s okay to be still.

It’s okay to be still.
It’s okay to sit in the silence even in the presence of another.
Don’t believe for a second that nothing is happening if you aren’t in constant motion.
You are but a tiny speck in the whole of it, and it doesn’t all stop because you do.
It’s okay to wait because you do not know what to do next — or even if you do.

There is power in the stillness and the silence.
Don’t be afraid of it. The truth is there.
Healing resides there.
There are answers there. There is peace there.
There is growth there.

There is so much living in the stillness and silence.
There is so much to hear.
There is so much to see.
Don’t miss it.

It's okay to be still.

Can You Believe How Much I Know?

Or: Why My 50’s Are So Smart

Or: Now that I Know So Much I Know How Much I Don’t Know

Or: I’m Highly Qualified to Know this Stuff; I’m Over 50!

Now that I am past the halfway point of my fifties (LORDY!), I feel mature enough and qualified enough to speak on these things. Here is what makes our fifties so interesting to me and other stuff I’ve figured out:

  1. Feeling instantaneously compelled to take layers of clothing off due to a sudden rise in internal body temperature.
  2. Feeling instantaneously compelled to put layers of clothing back on due to a sudden return of normal internal body temperature.
  3. Feeling homicidal about anyone who thinks they are going to change the thermostat.
  4. Feeling justified about feeling homicidal towards the thermostat hijacker.
  5. When I say that I don’t care what people think, I mean it literally, not like when I said it when I was in my thirties as a spite.
  6. Watching the evolutionary process of being an older parent with adult children as if I am some kind of an outsider to it.
  7. Realizing on so many occasions that my children are just plain smarter than me, and possibly than I ever was at their ages.
  8. Having friends that I have known for half a century or more.
  9. No longer feeling guilt or compelled to hold on to family members that are chaotic, unkind, and disruptive just because they are family, and having the certainty that it is the healthy thing to do.
  10. Not being sure how to do something, then figuring it out, then forgetting how I did it for the next time, and just not caring that I forgot and I now have to ask one of the kids and we’re going to laugh about it – even though it’s likely they’re laughing at me.
  11. Yeah, I know some of these are run-on and incomplete sentences. And guess what… I don’t care about that either!
  12. The thought I had when my grandkids were born that I should have just skipped the kids and gone to the fun part of being a grandparent, except now I know that I wouldn’t be the kind of Gram I am without raising those fabulous parents first.
  13. The realization that if someone doesn’t value me, then they either aren’t paying attention or they are missing something in themselves.
  14. Though my fifty-something body may not be in the strong shape my twenty-something body was, my mind and heart are stronger than ever in my resolve to be a co-creator of a world that works for everyone.
  15. Wasting time looks different to different people.
  16. Slow the f#€k down.
  17. You have to look at the stars, and the sunrises, and the sunsets whenever possible. You may not get another one.
  18. Barefoot is good — unless you are going to put them on the dashboard or window of the car. That’s just gross. Walking barefoot on the Earth is grounding. Besides being gross, the other one will get your knees shoved through your face if you get into an accident.
  19. Take care of your feet. Wash them, for God’s sake. Don’t let your nails get gross and your feet get crusty. It’s not just gross, it’s unhealthy.
  20. Don’t be the reason the person you live with feels lonely.
  21. It’s easy to take the people that care about us and/or we care about for granted, but it’s not okay.
  22. Be fearless. Say yes to things that scare you or have you stopped.
  23. Get tattoos if you like them, no matter what your dad might say.
  24. It really doesn’t matter if someone’s pants sag. What matters is when you think you are better because yours don’t.
  25. If you can look the other way when someone is cheating or being deceitful, you are an accomplice.
  26. Don’t let past regrets stop you. You have them because you are supposed to do better next time. That is the lesson from regrets.
  27. I don’t for a second believe that everything happens for a reason.
  28. I do 100% believe that there is a lesson to be found in everything.
  29. When someone is talking to you, acknowledge them, and act like what they are saying is of the utmost importance. They are giving themselves to you.
  30. As a parent, tell your kids when you could have done better with them, even if it is decades later.
  31. I think most often most people do the very best they can. But don’t let that be an excuse to keep a terrible person around or excuse their poor behavior and choices. Sometimes someone’s very best may still not be a good fit for you.
  32. Don’t think for one minute that you always know more than your children. At any age, child or grown, we should be learning from them.
  33. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to keep them around. It can; but it’s possible it can also mean “thank you for showing me who you are and where you belong.”
  34. It is the job of our youth to challenge our ideals. Each generation co-creates the world for the next generation. We fall short only because we don’t realize in the moment that it is all going to change, and that is the way of things. If you are ridiculing their ideas, that says a whole lot about you and nothing about them. Remember, we raised them and we brought them up in a world whose systems were created before us and also by us. And what did we do?
  35. We do see the color of people’s skin. Color blindness is only a real thing when you’re talking about the genetic disorders. Claiming color blindness when talking about another person is not actually honoring the person of color as you might think. It is actually dismissing a part of them that is worthy of being seen. It is dismissive and indicates you are not willing to dive past the surface to be not only inclusive of our differences, but it assumes that assimilation is key to equality. It is not. What you are actually blind to is your own privilege that you walk around in without seeing that either. You may think that by ignoring the color of another’s skin that you are making a dent in racism. You are doing the exact opposite.
  36. People of color are not here to do all the educating for you on inclusion and what it’s like to be a person of color.  
  37. When someone tells you their experience and it’s different from yours, they are still right.
  38. Teach your kids to read books, not screens.
  39. I am never bored. EVER.
  40. When someone mistreats you; that is who they are. There’s no reason under the sun to let them continue.
  41. When someone tells you something about yourself that’s hard to hear, HEAR it, and move forward accordingly.
  42. Don’t let someone talk you out of your dreams or convince you that you’re not worthy of them — big or small.
  43. It’s okay to be mad. In fact, sometimes we should be mad.
  44. It’s not okay to hurt someone because you’re mad.
  45. Therapy. Do it.
  46. You don’t have to do things like your parents. 
  47. Do NOT live vicariously through your children. You will be in their way.
  48. Children are not tiny adults, and you are a parent first and always; then sometimes you can be their friend, too. When they are grown then you can be friends, and before you know it they will slowly take over, and they may need to.  It’s that middle part that’s the sweet stuff, and if you cultivate it, they won’t mind having to take over at some point, and you will trust them to.
  49. Don’t let anyone interfere between you and your children. That should remain an indivisible bond.
  50. We all need quiet time.
  51. Your kids do NOT need to be busy all the time.
  52. Alone is not lonely.
  53. Suspicion breeds suspicion.
  54. Trust. Don’t screw it up. 
  55. Cuss if you want to. 
  56. Go out of your way to get to know people that don’t look like you or sound like you. You’ll NEVER be sorry.
  57. Embrace the frizz.
  58. Tinkerbell is real.
All in

👉 Me, Myself, and I 👈

Good, bad, or indifferent, I’m the common denominator in every event and circumstance in my life. If I get to take credit for the celebration and praise-worthy instances, I must also take responsibility and credit for the lackluster and substandard occasions as well.

The way in was me, and so it is for the way out. If I want more, then I stay the course. If I want change, like everything else, that movement begins with me as well.

Simply because I’m human and share the planet, life sends me surprises. I may not be responsible for that, but I am still at the center of the space created from my own response.

Gut • Heart • Head

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. 

The Dark Soul and Little Spitfire

A story that starts over and over again to have a happy ending
  
Allegory
Once upon a time, there was an evil man with an infectious smile and a big sense of humor — but a dark soul, he was.  Nothing good about this man was genuine.  He smiled on the outside, but his insides were murky and sour.  He covered it up by putting on a gregarious and charitable act for all to see, but in the dark is where he crafted his masterpiece of deceit and lies.  His energy was strongest in the dark where no one could see and where he could keep his secrets hidden.  In the dark was where he lured his victims, where he would devour them with enticements of money and favors that they could never repay fully, except with the defeat and surrender of their consciences.  Even then, this Dark Soul would not be done with you.  Once you bowed to him, you were eternally damned with only one way out.  That way was a rarely chosen one which forced the affected to leave all behind.  His force was so strong, and so dense was his canvas of lies, that only a scant few could see out.  Some who saw through his darkness continued to pander to him anyway out of fear.  If you walked through the blinding exit, your true essence would be forgotten by all that you knew and loved, eclipsed by the grimy portrait of lies painted by the Dark Soul that sucked the good out of everything he touched.  He breathed in what goodness he could find and regurgitated stench; and when he breathed in stench, he regurgitated his own demons that were always someone else’s fault.
History
There was a little soul, a Little Spitfire born to the Dark Soul and a Family of Light.  She was innocent to the inner workings of the dark side.  But as she matured she began to come into her own mind, and she began to see the contrast between the Dark Soul and the Family of Light.  She also began to come into her own awareness about the world around her — the world she was immersed in.  This was the corner the Dark Soul missed when he brought the little soul into the world.  He misjudged his own powers of influence and mistakenly thought that he was stronger than all else.  After all, the evidence was there that he was the great influencer, was it not?   But indeed he had not learned that the Light is always greater than darkness; he had born his daughter into the Family of Light as well as his own, and he had immersed his daughter into a world full of life, colorful surroundings, and cultures.  As his darkness grew, so did the little soul’s awareness.  Her immediate surroundings became intolerable, as he not only weighed on her illuminated conscience, but also weighed heavy on her little heart.  The Dark Soul’s abuse was growing in the dark that was beginning to take over.  Then one day the Light Protector decided it had become too dark for anyone to grow, and gave the Little Spitfire the option to stay where she thought she knew her surroundings, or to come with her and live where only Light was allowed.  Having had enough of the stench of the darkness, the 13 year old Little Spitfire chose to go with the Light Protector.  She had no idea that nearly an entire family would turn away from her because of her choice to grow — even her grandparents.
As the years passed, Little Spitfire and Light Protector grew and learned together.  The Dark Soul tormented them whenever and wherever he could for years.  He ruined vehicles, stole jewelry, would call endlessly, spoke horrible language, and stole money from Little Spitfire.  He even enlisted other family members, childhood friends of Little Spitfire, and friends of Light Protector to keep tabs on them for him.  He relied on their gossip and willingly and relentlessly spread untruths about them to his own family and friends.  The Dark Soul even entered Little Spitfire’s school one day shouting epithets at her teachers and administrators to coerce them to have her removed.  Fortunately, it only caused them to frown upon him and feel bad for his embarrassed Little Spitfire, and he was banished from the grounds.  He did anything he could to spread the darkness.  He knew he couldn’t survive in the Light.  Every nasty, big or little thing he did to them, he would turn into a different story to his comrades and family.  His stories were so big and he held so much power, that nearly 40 years later these stories are still believed as the truth, and have been retold and spread by many.  Interestingly enough, not one word has ever been said directly by any of these players to the Little Spitfire or the Light Protector directly about any of these stories.  One can only surmise that it must be easier to believe a lie than to find out the hard truth about everything you thought you knew.
Several years passed, and the Dark Soul was only heard from intermittently with an occasional drive-by, or through packages of old pictures or knick-knacks being left anonymously on the Light Protector’s doorstep.  Spitfire had grown into her own life by now, but was living in the darkness of the trauma left behind from him.  For a while, it seemed that his darkness had followed her and was going to live on through her.  She didn’t realize it until she made a lot of mistakes, some which hurt other people, but most hurt her own life.  Spitfire had an awakening one day when the Light shone on her just right, and she realized that she had little souls of her own that were being affected by the Dark Soul, though his physical presence was absent.  She was at once angrier than she had ever been in her life, but quickly realized that this anger had been the downfall all along — that it had been the remaining shade casting out the Light trying so hard to pull her through for so many years.  In the realization alone, the warmth from the Light began to spread, and little by little, more became illuminated.   The most important thing that showed up for Spitfire was herself, and the realization that she held all the power for herself and her little souls all along.  She had just forgotten in the darkness to open her eyes.
The next chapter in Spitfire’s life was challenging as she learned a new way of thinking and teaching her little souls and for herself.  She had to learn to love the forgotten life she hated in order to have Light everywhere.  Darkness can be like an addiction, and can suck you back in when you aren’t paying attention.  So Spitfire tried very hard to be aware of her surroundings at all times.  Again, she made lots of mistakes, but always brushed herself off and vowed to never make the same mistake twice.  Her biggest wish was for her little souls to grow in the Light and not have to know the darkness that she did.  She worked diligently to cultivate the characteristics in them that the Dark Soul would never have taught — diplomacy, honesty, sincerity, tenacity, decency, impartiality, frankness, honor, unconditional love — whatever she felt were crucial to a life of integrity and courage.
By now, Spitfire’s little souls were on their own, and as some of us do when we feel we have forgiven those in dark places, we think we are strong enough to go back and visit.  We think we have risen above and feel that somehow we “should” out of a forgiving spirit.  And so it goes, that we learn all the while we live.  At least, that’s the point of it anyway.  A few of us choose to ignore the lessons and are doomed to repeat them.  So Spitfire went back for a visit, and she stayed for a while until once again, the Dark Soul began casting his shadows upon her life.  She realized that he was one of those that would die having never learned, and would take with him his darkness to the very end.  And sadly, those that would mourn for him would never know the true Light as long as they remained under his cloak of darkness and refused to even peer into the Light.  Spitfire learned that forgiveness does not mean you need to revisit darkness to show the strength of forgiveness.  The strength of forgiveness is shown in the manner in which we live our lives.  It is in the proof that we do not repeat the mistakes from which we turned.  The lesson is proven when we realize that those scars caused in the darkness are ours forever, but not to pass down and share.  They are only bookmarks, or reminders, like those pushpins on a map.  The Light is shown when we no longer pretend to or show reverence for the darkness that caused the scars, and refuse to lend credence and participation to the Dark Soul’s insidious ego any longer. 
Today
Spitfire has come to realize that even in death, the Dark Soul will live on through those that carry out his legacy of darkness, and it will continue to be repeated until someone says, “Enough!” and chooses the Light instead.  She chose a different world for herself and for her little souls so that eventually his darkness will end.  Light always wins over darkness, but it is a conscious choice.  It was the best choice, but it was not an easy path.  She will remain forever grateful for her Family of Light that showed her a dichotomy in her bubble.  She remains strong in her resolve, but unsure if she would have recognized that it was the Light shining on her without them.  Her early training in the darkness has caused a ripple that is a constant struggle against her own worst self, but the Light shines so bright on her awareness that she can never become unconscious again.  Sometimes it’s up to the beholder to give broken things a purpose.
Lessons continue, and darkness is always waiting.  Spitfire will always keep her head up so she can see, and protect her own to the end.  She knows about the cycle.  It is illuminated now and cannot be unseen.  She thinks to herself how she would have liked to have learned these lessons another way, but she understands that this must have been what it took to change the course for her little souls and her to have a different life.
Goodbye, Dark Soul.  You’ll have to leave without me.”

Sometimes it’s up to the beholder
to give broken things a purpose.
Light always wins.

Sometimes "Goodbye" Takes a Really Long Time

I hope the people that love me want to be around me. And I hope the reason they want to be around me is simply because they choose to for no other reason than they like who I am, or maybe because it is just easy to. I wouldn’t want a life where people cling to me because I have something to hold over their heads, or because they are too afraid of me for some reason, or simply out of nothing more than perceived obligation.
As I write this, my biological father is dying  —  possibly in his last few days. I will not go see him. This is not an act of defiance, revenge, meanness, or some measure of something like any of that. I realize it may seem like it to some, and I am fine with that. Mostly. I suppose they are entitled to their uninformed opinions. I no longer have anything to prove or figure out. I am not going because my father blew it, and he blew it really big, and more than once. I said my final goodbye to him a few years ago, and I was fully aware at the time of all that meant and encompassed. I still feel I am, but I am realistic enough to understand that full awareness won’t come until he is literally gone. So for now, I feel complete.
am steeped in my thoughts, however. I find myself drenched in my memories of my angry, pissed off, self-righteous twenties; swirling around in my bewildered, self-discovering, transitional thirties; reminiscing and touching my transformational, self-loving, strengthened, liberating forties. But I am not really wanting to be here today — 51. At once, I feel I wouldn’t change any of it, but am left wondering how I could have changed some of it so that I could have wanted to be with my father. The word “Dad” when I refer to him no longer comfortably, naturally rolls off my tongue. His other children, my half siblings, made the trek from the East Coast to be with him. (We are in California.) They have somehow remained in his good graces. I shudder to think what parts of their souls they had to give up to remain there. Or perhaps they are cut from the same cloth. Perhaps it is a combination. It is just conjecture on my part, and I cannot honestly say that I know. Whatever the case, what I do know for a fact is that in order to remain in step with people, we have to be in some sort of agreement with them, spoken or not.
What I am left with is that it did not have to be this way, and that is the disappointing part. That burn is cooled by knowing there was nothing more that I could do — well, nothing more that I could do without turning into someone I wouldn’t like. I won’t sell myself short to assuage someone else’s control issues, or perpetuate their appetite for verbal cruelty, or live into someone else’s lies about who they think I am or should be. I will not change myself, injure my soul, in order to live into someone else’s needs for power. I will not ever succumb to lies told about me to help someone else look better and more powerful. I simply will not trek with that perpetuating party. So what I am left with at the end of the day, every day, is just myself. Me. And I have been okay with this for a very long time. The lie we tell ourselves is that we are left with more than that, and we try really hard for it to be more than that. When my father leaves this realm, he is going by himself. For all of the controlling and manipulating he has done for so long, and no matter how many might be by his bedside, he will be alone when he goes. That is the way of it.
I think I will always have this feeling of “it didn’t have to be this way” and “what an incredible waste of time.” It was not always this way between my father and me. I was “Daddy’s Little Girl” for sure —  the apple of his eye. I thought he was so handsome, so strong, so smart, so kind  — and then I got older and developed a mind of my own. I began to see things for myself, to hear things and understand what I was hearing from a more developed awareness. I grew my own voice, not of my mother’s or father’s teachings, but from my own thoughts. This was the beginning of a new relationship with my father, and it was one he would never accept. It was hard at first because I could not understand how someone so outspoken refused to understand why I would be so outspoken. Didn’t he see that he taught me to be this way? Wow, the irony! There is so much more to this of course, but it is pointless. Perhaps it will show up in another writing one day. So here we are.
Had I to go back and do it all over again though, I do not see it ending any differently. I can only move on and find the lesson. I do not subscribe to “everything happens for a reason.” I used to believe that, and then some terrible things happened, and I realized that a God of love would not cause terrible things to happen. The God of love that I believe in deals in “NOW.” So I understand that it is up to me to find the lessons for myself. Some are obvious immediately, and some come years later. But I will always be open, and I will always seek out the lesson even if it means creating one.
What I have learned in my 30-year (so far) inquiry is that I have to let people be who they are, just as they are. If I have something I want to teach or share, teach or share it gently, and only when it comes from a place of love —  never power or control. Some things I have learned from my father are because of him, and others are in spite of him. Others I learned from my mother in contrast. I have learned to use my voice, but I had to teach (and am still teaching) myself how to use it constructively and without force. I have learned to let my children be exactly who they are, even when I do not approve or agree. That leaves me free to just love them. I have learned that love does not have a price or a bounty. I have learned that it is my responsibility to show up for my children, no matter how old they are. I have learned that I cannot actually control others, and that I actually do not want to control anyone else. I have learned that I have no rights or responsibility over anyone’s happiness but my own. And… sometimes “goodbye” takes a really long time. 



Lastly, what I have learned is:

In our kitchen as a reminder. 🙂

and nothing more — ever.

What I want to leave you with is hope. I want the readers to know, because it may come across a certain way in a brief blog post that separation from my father was easy or perhaps a quick process, or like I just said, “F_ it,” and walked away one day. It was none of those, and neither was it ever the desired outcome. It was simply necessary. I suspect you may be thinking, “Where is the hope in that?” It is right where it has always been and has always belonged. It is within ME, just as for you it would be within. When we lose hope, we perpetuate the family secrets, the family lies, tragedies, violence, abuses, etc. When we realize the hope is within, as individuals, as separate entities, we begin to do life on our own terms. This is how hope lives, and this is how we change future family dynamics. Go love your people without terms, without contract, without force. You will get all that back exponentially.
Do you, but with love and kindness, and no other intention. It all works out without all the unnecessary pain and struggling.  The clue to when you are on the wrong path is when you are wearing yourself out (and possibly the people around you)!
Not nearly “The End.”
Debora Lynn