Tag Archive | empowerment

You’re Gonna Miss This

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“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire.
And now I am dying…
And suddenly I realize I forgot to live.” ~ Unknown 

Yesterday morning I woke up to a lovely, Positively Positive, post:

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2014/04/07/there-is-no-perfect-age/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+positivelypositive%2Fpositive+(Positively+Positive)

The author states that every age and stage of life has its blessings and its challenges. No age or stage is “THE perfect one.”

And it’s great to appreciate each stage for what it is.

I frequently say that getting older is a blessing and so is every age, young or old. The longer we live the more chances we have to love and be loved, bless and be blessed, learn, teach, give and receive, meet more wonderful people, animals, have more opportunities to do, see, encounter all kinds of amazing things. Getting older is a gift denied to many. If you’re here, you’re blessed, irrespective of your age or stage of life.

Maybe you’re young and jobless, in college and struggling financially, maybe you’re single or experiencing the stresses of life as a married person, caring for a family, house, working a lot, maybe you’re waiting to retire and be done with your job, waiting for your kids to grow up so you can be done with most of the stress factors of taking care of children….

Maybe you’re single and long to be married or married and are longing for those days you were more carefree. Maybe you have no kids and think you won’t be happy until you have one. Maybe you do have kids and it’s hectic and you’re stressed and pulling out your hair.

Maybe your kids just moved away or you are done work for good and you’re feeling kind of empty.

There are unique gifts that you have when you’re single that you won’t when you’re married or in a committed romantic relationship and the other way around. There are blessings you have being someone without children that you won’t have if you have children but there are blessings you have when you have them that you did not have when you weren’t yet someone with a child.

Whatever stage of life you are currently in, chances are there is something about it you don’t like much and another stage or age is looking really good. But whatever stage that is, it also has challenges as well as gifts.

Wanting to be younger doesn’t make much sense when you think about it because you are so much wiser now, know so much more, have much more experience than back then. And if you wish you could go back but still know and be all that you are now, it’s basically the same thing then but with a different numerical label.

People often want to be younger because of the physical aspects or sexual (and other) appeal of youth but you can be appealing, in any way, at any age.  And an appealing personality is better than a bangin’ body anyway. I actually believe that a woman’s beauty often deepens with age, in different ways. And I find this to be true for men too. Anyone can be wise, beautiful, and intelligent at any age, but age definitely brings blessings with each one.

And if you feel currently trapped within your youth, just remember, you won’t always be this way. You will grow, lose people and things, gain other things, meet more people, current moments will turn to memories to be cherished and you will develop more and more memories.

But one thing is very likely, wherever you currently are right now, no matter how stressful or chaotic, there’s something you’re going to miss about this.

I can think of previous stages I once lived, and couldn’t wait for parts of it to end, that I now miss! Even things I once found stressful or boring. Thinking back, reminiscing, I experience a sense of sadness or longing sometimes. Even for things I never thought I could miss. It’s bittersweet. 

But this isn’t about being sad or wishing to go back or about regrets.   It’s about becoming aware of right now and embracing the present knowing that one day it’s possible that we’ll look back on this and realize how great it really is/was but we never realized.

It’s about taking full advantage of the NOW even if we’re struggling.   Then we can look back, miss it, but still know at least we made the most of it while we had the chance. 

I write here frequently about how I love country music! Especially when it’s songs about love and ones that are inspirational and uplifting and full of wisdom.   I have a long playlist of them. Yesterday I was introduced to one I haven’t heard of before then! Trace Adkins’, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”

In the article above, the author mentions this song! 

The dad is singing about how his little girl couldn’t wait to grow up and throughout different stages of her life, all she wanted was the next stage. Her dad tells her to slow down and just cherish now. Now is good.

Even with screaming kids, barking dogs, a small apartment with stuff breaking down. Now is good.

“Before she knows it she’s a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her It’s a nice place
She says It’ll do for now
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says Baby, just slow down
You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These Are Some Good Times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now 
But you’re gonna miss this
Five years later there’s a plumber workin’ on the water heater
Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’
One kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’
She keeps apologizin’
He says They don’t bother me. 
I’ve got 2 babies of my own. 
One’s 36, one’s 23.
Huh, it’s hard to believe, but …”

Awww

I love it.

Whether you’re a 20 year old girl and broke as a joke, struggling to find your place in this life or a 40 year old person wishing you were younger and more youthful again, or a 60 year old person waiting to retire to be done work or 80, 100 years or older, cherish right now.

This song reminds me of another song with a similar concept:

“Then they do” – Also sung by Trace Adkins about how parents often can’t wait til their kids grow up, have lives of their own, find true happiness and dreams coming true. Then they do. And then that’s when they start to miss all the days their kids were young and annoying and stressing over trivial things.   It teaches us to appreciate what we have now.

So if you catch yourself saying “I can’t wait till….I have more money, it’s Friday, my vacation, I’m a certain age or I wish…I could be younger, more accomplished, more important…
” just remember, you are enough just as you are and one day, you just may find that you miss this.

” No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.” ~ Dale E. Turner

“No matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road it’s never too late to turn around and begin again. ” ~ Unknown 

Xoxo Kim


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The Wound Is the Place where the light enters you

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“There stood Beethoven, gravely ill and totally deaf.  Eyes closed, he kept conducting the orchestra even after they had ceased their performance and the audience had risen to its feet in thunderous applause.  As a singer stepped from the choir to turn him around to see those whose shouts of bravo resonated throughout the convert hall, tears of elation filled his eyes.
Perhaps the worst loss a composer could experience had been the catalyst for a remarkable adaptive creativity that allowed him to transcend his tortures to become immersed in the thrill of conducting the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, the ‘Ode to Joy’ “
(Pearsall, Paul (2003). The Beethoven Factor: The New Positive Psychology of Hardiness Happiness, Healing, and Hope. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing, p.xi.)

Have you ever read this before now? It’s beautiful,isn’t it? I was introduced to this true, short and sweet story when I picked up the book, “The Joy of Appreciative Living” by Jacqueline Kelm. I seriously recommend this book! It is great! The author helps us develop and strengthen the habit of seeing the good in life. She provides steps to exercises that we can engage in to really ingrain the habit into our heads. It has great reviews and testimonies. But her steps should not be taken loosely if you want true effectiveness. We must work at in seriously and be dedicated. I believe it helps to not view this as a hassle or boring task just to get the results. It benefits to view it as a joyful journey that will eventually lead to greatness and evolution of the self.

The book, “The Joy of Appreciative Living,” has a forward by David Cooperrider and Mr. Cooperrider provides the above story about Beethoven. He explains that Beethoven became extremely successful “not only in spite of but because[emphasis added] of the way he related to his adversity.” He was able to rejoice in this moment and inspire all who experienced this with him and discovers his story. 
This is a great lesson to all of us. Any painful or difficult experience we endure can be used as the catalyst for positive change. Because of our pain, we can become even better, wiser, stronger, and more enlightened than we would be without that painful experience. Disabilities of any sort, health issues, losses, any difficult or painful situation can be used to our advantage if we allow it and work with it.
When we’re currently experiencing pain, we may not be able to see how this can possibly benefit us. But if we think back to previous painful situations that contribute in some ways to better us, we can keep hope and strength alive that this, too, will somehow be advantageous to us.
You can be creative with your situation and think of ways that this difficulty can actually be your strength and inspiration. Then work to make that happen.

Going out to intentionally look for pain is not the best idea someone can have.
But as long as we live, some kind of pain is probably inevitable for almost everyone. So let us take that pain and use it to evolve in any ways we can. We can build on ourselves and develop a greater sense of wholeness. Pain can help people be more empathetic and compassionate to others. It can help us acknowledge and appreciate the simple treasures of life.   It can provoke us to change our whole lives around for the better.
So if you are experiencing pain or any difficult struggles, keep in mind that even though it may not feel this way now, you can take that pain and run with it, own it, and be better for it.

Whenever I am hit with a severe episode of clinical depression I let that be my reminder of how much better I am than I used to be. I no longer contemplate killing myself when I’m severely depressed because I worked on myself intensively to better myself. And now when an episode hits, no matter how severe, throughout the episode, I generally have hope that it will end and I keep in mind how strong I have become.

It’s extremely painful but I am able to use it and view it in a positive way.

Own every step you take.
Let your pain make you better, not bitter.

Fifteen Happiness Killing Habits

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Here are some little habits that I believe get in the way of happiness & joy and cause unnecessary stress. I have done all of these and I think many or most people probably do a few of these every now and again. I think we should not make these things into serious habits and if they already are a bad habit for us, we can “unlearn” them. With practice, we can learn to avoid these happiness killers and cultivate positive habits instead.

1.) Overly comparing yourself with others
This is something so many of us do constantly.   I used to do this so much. We look at people around us, people on Facebook & blogs, coworkers, celebrities, peers, family members….and see how much “better” we think they have it. Everyone lives at their own pace and even some people who seem to “have it all”  are often unhappy and people with very little material objects & things can be very happy & fulfilled. If you catch yourself comparing yourself negatively to others, it may benefit you to stop and remind yourself of a few things that are going right for you and make that a habit until eventually the negative comparisons will mostly stop. Let us be inspired, motivated by, and in awe of other people’s successes and not jealous or depressed over them.  It’s better to focus on being better than your previous self, not better than someone else.  Dwelling on feeling low about your own life or self won’t help you. Change what you can if you really want to; it’s worth it! And accept what you can’t change!   Let you & your life be your own kind of beautiful! 

2.) Dwelling on or obsessing over what other people think 

It’s ok & healthy to care to a certain degree what others think of us but it should not be so important that it stresses us out or takes over our lives, making us deny or repress our true selves.  Everyone has good things & bad things, people who like them and people who don’t. It’s good to just focus on being our true selves no matter what.  What YOU think of you matters most! 🙂

3.) Putting happiness on hold until the “perfect” moment or until something big happens.

Often, we feel that we can’t or won’t be happy or we can’t celebrate life until….we have a better job, more money, lose five pounds, have kids, get married, graduate, get a work promotion, go on vacation, the weekend, next year…..and it’s ok to want and work for all of that but we should never let it take away right NOW.  Ordinary occurrences, days, & moments are just as important and are a true gift. Let’s not lose them for something “bigger & better.”
Wear your favorite earrings, your favorite clothes, buy yourself flowers, NOW!
 Celebrate NOW. Celebrate you.  Celebrate life itself.   Be happy NOW!.   ;-D

4.) holding onto grudges 

Almost everyone has been or will be hurt in some way by someone else. It may be a small way or in a significant, tragic, life-changing way. I don’t believe that forgiveness is always necessary but whether or not we completely forgive, we should not let what someone did to us, destroy us. We can let go or find ways to cope with the hostile feelings we have for people who hurt us and not dwell on the person or incident.   Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean believing what the person did is ok, it means we choose to no longer let it have a hold on us.
You don’t have to love or accept the person, just let go for yourself. And accept yourself!

5.) getting wrapped up in trivial arguments/not letting things slide 

Some things really have to be confronted but many things can be let go before anything even begins…maybe a rude comment made by someone, a stranger pushing you out of the way on a crowded bus, someone accusing you of being wrong about something trivial when you know you’re right, someone trying to start a frivolous argument with you….these things can often be brushed off and are often not even worthy of your attention.  Definitely stand up for yourself, express yourself, have a backbone but there’s no need to blow things out of proportion. Some things can be ignored so we can move forward and get on with our lives. 
It may appear to be a “weakness” on your part or like the other person got over on you but I believe just the opposite. When you can maintain your composure and keep calm in and out that is a true strength and no one got over on you! When you get all worked up and furious then someone got over on you. Even if you punch the person in the face or yell insults, you let your anger get the better of you.

6.) doing things for people just for “credit” or appearance or for something in return 

Being “fake” and acting kind & friendly to people just for a certain reputation or to get stuff out of it is likely to leave someone feeling unfulfilled. If you really just don’t care about being kind to people, helping others, maybe you can find something else you love instead of putting on a show. Doing something you don’t like, pretending to be someone you aren’t can make you feel hollow inside.   Emptiness is an unpleasant emotion. And as the saying goes, it’s better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not. It’s so true, imo.
I think we should help others because we genuinely want to even if no one knows and even if we don’t get tangible rewards out of it. Helping people is beautiful!   And helping animals too!

7.) being too concerned with money

It’s ok to want & work for money but it’s not the best thing in life, in my opinion anyway. There are more fulfilling things, like rewarding jobs helping people or ones that are fun and interesting, even if they are low paying jobs. We don’t have to be stacked to be happy! ;-D. We can do volunteer work or paid word that is truly rewarding. This is just my opinion. I think some people feel like they need money to be happy when if they look within themselves they’ll see it’s not so true. But if someone really is interested in money more than anything and has no problem with that and is fulfilled anyway, that’s ok! Whatever floats your boat! 
:-D. As long as you’re truly fulfilled!

8.) Dwelling on lack  & loss instead of abundance & gratitude 

We all lack something & will eventually lose something.   And we can dwell on that if we want to. But we also have so much to be grateful for and can dwell on that instead! 

“You can cling to your loss or learn to dance again.”
This can be difficult but it is possible with practice & a positive frame of mind. 

This quote helped me tremendously when my grief over the loss of my dog was overwhelming me, many months later. I think it may be a biblical/spiritual quote. I’m not religious or anything but I still find beauty and inspiration in some religious/spuritual stuff. I still have difficulty coping with the loss of my dog in April 2013. But it helps me to focus on what I do have.

You can work for more while still Acknowledging and appreciating what you currently have.

9.) being stuck in the past or obsessing over the future

Remembering & planning is good. But we are alive now and should not let our past imprison us either by regretting it frequently or mourning it and we don’t have to fear the unknown of the future or put happiness on hold for it.

10.) resisting the flow of life/reality

We should definitely work to make things better. But life will always be happy & sad, positive & negative, pleasant & unpleasant & joyful & painful. That can’t be changed. Not all bad can be eradicated. Some things just have to be accepted for peace of mind. We should in no way ignore or deny negativity or pain, just accept it and embrace it when it can’t be changed.

11.) taking life too seriously.

Some things just have to be laughed at, joked about, and let go. Everything doesn’t have to be a big thing to get angry over, stress over, break down over & held on to. Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff! 😉

12.) perpetuating gossip/drama:
Even if you yourself aren’t into gossip & drama, as long as you live and interact with people, at one point or another you will probably encounter someone who spreads gossip about you or tries to bring drama to you one way or another. I see so frequently on Facebook, usually girl’s, posting statuses like “She’s talking shit about me again..blah blah blahhh…” & “Shut your mouth instead of blabbing stuff about my life….” & “People are talking so much about me and I’m tired of the drama….” & “I want to punch her in the face or bitch slap her….”.
Some of these girls probably really are innocent “victims” of someone gossiping and being dramatic and want nothing to do with it and are just venting  but when I see statuses like that I often think that many of these girls secretly like being the “victim” of it or engaging in it and they want everyone on their list to see that they have something going on in their lives. They often don’t post names but just allude to someone. If you really don’t like gossip & drama, I believe that it’s best not to even post statuses like that at all and either ignore the gossipers & drama queens or confront them in a calm civil manner & just focus on being a great person yourself. Even if you don’t post names, you’re still engaging in & perpetuating it. I don’t mind seeing these statuses at all, they have nothing to do with me and I can always block or “x” the person’s posts out if I want. People can post whatever they want on their account but my point is that negative girly gossip & drama can stress us out & in my opinion isn’t at all attractive or interesting. Those have to be some of the most boring statuses I have ever read. But some people really take pleasure in them. Whatever floats your boat! :-D. I’m not innocent of those posts, I have posted a couple some years ago on rare occasions and it brought me nothing good.

13.) Harboring excessive or delusional guilt: Sometimes we may feel guilty when our lives are going well and tragedy has struck somewhere else. But repressing our own gratitude will not help in any way. It’s ok to be happy even when others aren’t. We can have empathy & compassion for them and reach out to them while still embracing our own lives.  
We don’t have to be “in their faces” with how great it’s all going for us but we don’t have to feel guilty and repress our own happiness either. We can find a healthy balance when being around people who are suffering when we are not.
And if you unintentionally hurt someone and are truly sorry, forgive yourself even if that person doesn’t.   We all make some kind of mistakes.   And if you hurt someone intentionally, still, you deserve your own forgiveness. You can learn, realize you were wrong, and move forward with true intentions to not hurt people on purpose again. 
You cannot take responsibility for the entire world or everyone you know. Go easy on yourself.   You can’t do everything, cure everyone, or help everyone.   Just be the best you that you can be without trying for some objective sense of Perfection.   

14.) Obsessing over/attempting perfection :

No one can be perfect in everyone’s eyes and even if we could, we shouldn’t try, in my opinion. We should just consciously be our authentic selves. Perfection is actually subjective for the most part. What’s perfect to me may not be to you.   Why be my definition of perfect?   Or Society’s? Or your friends’, family’s, or lover’s? Making some compromises to be compatible with others is sometimes a very good thing but denying your whole true self or most of yourself for someone else is detrimental to you. You are just as important as anyone else.

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.
Harvey Fierstein 

15.) Treating yourself horribly/thinking/talking negatively in reference to yourself:  

Many people mistreat themselves terribly in ways they would never dream of treating others. They verbally abuse themselves frequently with words like “Stupid,” “fat,” “loser,” “no good,” and the list goes on…..

Would you call your best friend “fat” or your mom? Do you constantly call your friends “stupid” not just in a playful way but seriously to offend?   Probably not. And you shouldn’t do that to yourself!   You are no less than anyone else! Instead when you catch yourself calling yourself insults or thinking negatively about yourself whether it’s true or not, think of how you can work on yourself to change for the better.  If you really think you’re stupid see what you can do to not feel that way. And when you think of Negative words about yourself, then think of three or more positive qualities you possess. And if there’s ones you would like to have but feel that you don’t yet have them, think of ways you can work on yourself to develop or strengthen them. But don’t abuse yourself. 
I have worked hard to change certain ways and things I think about me. Years ago I constantly referred to myself as a “loser,” “piece of shit,” “worthless,” “taking up more space then I deserve in this world,” and I would frequently say and think things like “I would rather be dead!” or “If that ever happens I will die!” 
Now I do not say or think those things. Not even in jest. It’s not funny and even as a joke it may unconsciously bring me down.

Habits can be intentionally and unintentionally learned and ingrained.   And they can be un-learned with practice and conscious application.   It is definitely worth the work!

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
John Lennon 

If you have any you would like to share, you can post in the comments section! I would love to know! 😀

Thank You!!!!!!

Much love & happiness to you!

Xoxo Kim

27 Lessons Learned

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In May, this year, I turned 27 years old. I have learned much in my 27 years, inside of school and out of school. I find that many of the most important lessons are ones learned through experience (good & bad) , adversity , challenges, blessings, and some even through reading or hearing about or witnessing other people’s experiences and techniques. I decided to create a list of 27 of the most valuable life lessons I have learned in my 27 years. Here is in honor of the 27 years I have been blessed to know!

1.) Attitude & a strong  and pleasant life Philosophy  is just about everything. It usually doesn’t matter what happens to us, it’s how we respond and react to and view the situation or event, that contributes to or results in our happiness, joy, & peace of mind or suffering and chaos. We cannot always control every thought, every emotion, or our attitude at literally every second but with practice we can become good at basically & generally choosing how to respond and what thoughts and emotions we dwell on.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

2.) True, pure love is selfless. If I truly love someone, whether it’s in a platonic or romantic way, I want that person to be happy & healthy, & fulfilled with or without me no matter how painful it is to me. I won’t try to stand in the way, sabotage, or drag people down for leaving me or living their own lives even if I don’t agree or like it and even if the person’s plans don’t include me. “True love doesn’t have a happy ending; true love has no ending.”

3.) We all have things that someone else doesn’t have and we all lack things that others do not and we may want. We all possess certain characteristics or material possessions  that others won’t. No matter what I have there is someone who has more and someone who has less. Someone who has better and someone who has worse. Someone who is more skilled and someone who is less skilled. Someone who can do the job better and someone who will do worse.   And this fact will never change.   But instead of dwelling on lack, I will dwell on abundance and gratitude, and blessing, for all that I do in fact possess and everything I am. Why focus on lack?   We all lack something and always will. We all have something amazing and always will that we can focus on instead. And it’s a choice to see in terms of lack and loss or to see in terms of prosperity & abundance. It is best for me to fill my head with positive  thoughts of abundance and gratitude, and blessings. We can just look around and look within and count our blessings. It may take some practice to begin to generally and frequently *feel* blessed and gratitude but if we develop the habit of looking and taking notice of the positive, we are likely to start feeling blessed and not just making lists of our blessings without truly feeling it.  No one can replace YOU as the person you are. No one can be better at being you than you. If the grass appears to be greener on the other side, water your own grass.

““You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

4.)  This world is full of ugliness, craziness, greed, tragedy, bad people, discrimination, inequality,  and heartache.   But it is also filled with beauty, love, perseverance, growth, friendship, kindness, blessings, consolation, lessons learned, hospitality, healing, hope, strength, and great, incredible, good people.  When a tragedy occurs and it’s blown up in the media, we see strangers reach out in love and kindness to strangers willing and eager to help heal and allay the pain. We can focus on and dwell on the ugliness or learn to dwell on the beauty and healing instead. This is never to say we should ignore and deny pain and tragedy, we should definitely acknowledge it and make true attempts to help in any way we can but never let it drag us down and keep us there, seeing the world through negative, dark lenses. We will on occasion experience difficulty and be overwhelmed by what we witness and feel and experience and this is ok but we can muster up the strength and passion to go on positively and keep going and find joy in being alive.

When it rains it pours but soon the sun shines again.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” -Martin Luther quotes

5.) When you’re at your lowest point and can get no lower, the only way now is up. When you’re lower than your lowest depths of despair, there is a light above waiting to be seized and held. When it feels as if there’s no way out other than to stop existing, to stop breathing, there is new air, new life, and new opportunities to be felt and taken. No matter how low you are, you CAN get better. I know.   “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill 

6.) No matter who you are or what you are, no matter how good or bad or average, there will ALWAYS be someone to want to drag you down,  reject you, make fun of you,  negatively gossip about you, make you feel low, point out only your flaws, magnify your imperfections, see you fall, laugh in your face, want you to lose, not like you and even loathe you. And there will be lots of people like this, the more people you meet and the more successful you become, the more likely you are to encounter negative people & rejection(and positive people too & acceptance). You cannot please or satisfy or be loved or liked by everyone. It’s not happening. And that is ok.  When someone does not like you that is that person’s problem, don’t let it be yours!   Be true to yourself. Love yourself. Live your dreams and plan your goals how YOU want, not how anyone else wants.   And if you change to please a person who doesn’t like you now, then you’ll have someone else not like you. Trying to please everyone is not only detrimental to you, it’s not practical. It’s a physical impossibility.   And you are under no obligation to dedicate your life to please anyone else at the expense of yourself.   Be you. Love you. 

“While it is natural to feel some degree of
need for the approval of others, be careful.
If you find yourself unwilling to
take actions that others disapprove of,
you have lost control of your own life
and have given your destiny to others.
An excessive need-for-approval
is a sign of low self-esteem,
and in severe cases, a condition termed co-dependency.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

7.) You’re never too old. It’s never too late as long as you’re living. You can wear cartoon characters on your clothes if you want, You can wear bright clownish/ parrot -like makeup as a middle aged or old woman if that’s what draws you.   You can read children’s books and sleep with stuffed animals and that’s ok no matter what people say or think.    As long as you’re mature enough to care for yourself and not hurt or interfere with others, it’s ok to be youthful and child-like and find wonder in every breath. Child-like is not the same as childish or immaturity. There are no 7 wonders in the eyes of a child; there are 700, 000 +.   Go to college if you want, take fun classes, hold hands and giggle out in public, jump rope outside, wear those cupcake earrings….do what you want! Don’t let your age or what people think of it restrain you. “As long as you’re living no matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road it’s never too late to turn around and start over.’ ~Unknown

8.) Kindness even to people we feel may not deserve it is a strength and not a weakness. We are not always kind and we do not always feel like being kind. Maybe sometimes we want to be vicious, even cruel but that accomplishes nothing but putting more pain out into a world where there is already too much. Avoiding this is a great strength. “Don’t treat people as bad as they are; treat them as good as you are. “. This is not being fake, it’s being mature enough to know that kindness and being civilized is better than drama and negative arguing and uncalled for negative encounters.

“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because they are like us, too.”. ~ Larry Aitken

“When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

9.) Money & material possessions and even a great job are not the only or ultimate successes. They are great and can bring us some senses, often fleeting, of happiness or thrill or make us happy about those specific things but they will likely not make us truly, genuinely happy in the truest, purest general sense.  Love can do that, self- love and unconditional love for life itself.  .   Life -satisfaction as a whole can make us happy but material possessions often will not. We never need big things or lots of things to be truly happy.   The simple and beautiful things can be enough if we let them. Look at the beauty of the sky. Soak in the beauty and richness of this life. The sunlight, the moonlight, the stars, your senses….we never need a reason to celebrate. No birthdays or anniversaries, LIFE itself is reason enough to jump for joy and celebrate! Sweet simplicity.

“Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.” 
Robert Browning

10.). You are the one ultimately in charge of your happiness and well being.   Others can help greatly along the way but you are the one who has to work the hardest for yourself.   Therapy can help but cannot, itself, cure you, most likely.   Therapists can help, friends & family can help but you are ultimately responsible for yourself.

11.)  I have the power to choose. I may not always feel like I am responsible for my circumstance but, ultimately, I am. Even the choice to do nothing is a choice. When I look at where I am right now and truly think about it, I will realize I play or have played a significant part in it. I may not have realized all along that I was making choices to get where I currently am but I was. This thought empowers me because I am aware that I can get where I want to be. If I am ultimately responsible for my pain, suffering, and unhappiness then I am also responsible for my happiness, joy, and fulfillment.   I do not choose everything that happens to me but I choose how to respond and I have more control than I may sometimes think. Often, if I’m in a situation I do not like, I can think back and see how I was/am in some ways, responsible and I can now make more positive choices to change it. If I have a victim mentality that life merely happens to me, then I have no control but when I have a “life architect” mentality, that life responds to me and I have the ability to choose and proact, then I am empowered and in control. 
I can’t choose and control everything but I can choose and control enough. 

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” 
― William Jennings Bryan
12.) Many of us live in a stressful, fast paced, demanding society which pressures us into thinking we should live a certain way or we’re not living “right”. We’re expected to overwork ourselves or we’re “lazy” or “dependent” , to have families of our own by a certain age or we’re “old spinsters” or outcasts or “alone” or going against tradition.  We are pressured to obtain advanced school degrees or have impressive jobs to bring purpose to our lives….but There is no one specific meaning or purpose of life. There is not a reason out there waiting to be grasped. We each create our own purpose and meaning. There is no “one size fits all”.    Maybe it’s to have a job helping people, healing with compassion and kindness or being a stay at home mom, basking in the joys of being a mom or daddy, or maybe yours is a specific hobby like drawing or sculpting, or maybe you dedicate your life to research of some sort. Or maybe your purpose is simply to live, to be, to breath.   Maybe you live for the simple moments, the beauty around you, to help people every chance you get, to inspire and to be happy just to be, to be the best you that you can be. Whatever you choose, that is ok. That is great. Find your purpose and embrace it. Live it. Love it.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” 
― Joseph Campbell

13.) It’s ok if people don’t like you or appreciate you. It’s ok to be disliked by people, even ones who you really like. You CAN go on living. You CAN still succeed. If you like or love people who don’t like or love you back, it will hurt, but you can move forward and heal. Or stay stuck and dwelling on the fact and that is detrimental and will interfere with your growth. It’s healthy and it’s normal to want to be accepted and included.   Humans are social creatures and have a need, a longing to belong but we do not need everyone to love us or accept us.  Like yourself. That’s all that matters. And for all the people not liking you, there’s so many more who can and will, and already do like you.

14.) We don’t need a new year to start anew. How many people do you know who have goals and dreams they plan to achieve and realize at the start of a new year? They can’t wait for the current year to hurry up and end already.  They get pumped and inspired and energized at the mere thought of a new year about to begin. And they make resolutions they plan to start on Jan. 1st.  But imagine feeling that inspiration at ANY part of the year?! New Year is good & symbolic of new beginnings but new beginnings can happen anywhere, any place, any time.  How about now?

15.) Everyone has pain and struggles and they all deserve love and compassion and empathy even when someone else’s problems seem worse. Just because a person has or seems to have a worse problem or greater pain than another, it doesn’t take away the person’s pain who seems to have a less severe problem. Everyone can benefit by kindness and empathy and having a loving, caring, active listener. There should never be a “pain contest or competition ” to see who has worse problems and pain and judge people negatively. What doesn’t seem so bad to you may be to someone else. 

16.) About friends. Quality over quantity. One true friend is better than 20 or more acquaintances. And blood doesn’t really have to be “thicker than water”. True friends are better than family who doesn’t even care about or even think of you. 

17.) Kindness & compassion should be bestowed in general, not just to people we know & love. We don’t have to like or love everyone equally, that is unrealistic anyway, but we can still be kind and empathetic in general. Remember each person you meet has a life and a story and a breath, pleasure & pain, needs & desires just like you and the ones you love.

18.) My intense, extreme empathy is a gift and a blessing to me and to others even when it feels like a curse.   It’s good to care and have the true ability to deeply understand. I have the tendency to literally feel pain when someone else does. Feeling immense pain at the knowledge of someone suffering is often agonizing and sometimes despairing.   But it helps me connect with people and provides me with more depth and the ability to identify with another even when I haven’t exactly experienced it myself.    I would never say “I know how you feel.”. I don’t know how someone else feels and never will but I can understand to some degree and experience much compassion. But I would never overstep my boundaries and assume I know more than I do. That is pure arrogance.   Some things I can never even begin to imagine but can still be understanding and compassionate.  While I take on the world’s pain, I also have the ability of taking on the world ‘s pleasure and basking in the success and happiness of others even when I, myself am not feeling happy or successful. When one wins, we all win.

19.) The past can be a gift to guide us and doesn’t have to imprison us or hold us back. It can be our teacher. Let the bad strengthen us and the good bless us with sweet memories to cherish forever.

20.) Every person, young & old can teach us something valuable. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant that person or our encounter with that person is, we can learn something.   Inspiration is everywhere.

21.) Life is a gift. It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. Let small things slide.   It can be painful and unpleasant but that is the price we pay for being blessed with a gift so priceless. If someone gives you a beautiful gift you were never entitled to to begin with (or even if you are) and it is an unexpected and truly incredible gift that just is shockingly beautiful but isn’t perfect, you likely would not complain about its flaws. You weren’t expecting it anyway. It wasn’t something that had to be given to you in the first place.  So you would probably bask in it and cherish it and embrace or accept its flaws.   Life is that gift.

 22.) Other people are just as important as me even if we have strong opposing views. They are as convinced as I am. Their conviction, their compassion is as strong as mine is. And often, even their longing and attempts to do what is right and their sense of justice is as passionate as mine. They frequently have good intentions. And it’s wise to step outside of ourselves often and attempt to see how and why people do the things they do and feel the way they do even when it’s hard and startling.   I may disagree with people, even get angry at them or their views but they deserve a chance and my respect. It’s ok to have differences.   You don’t have to change your views but it’s good to make genuine attempts to understand a view other than your own.

23.)  People are often misunderstood but well- intentioned. They often aren’t trying to be assholes or cruel even when it seems that way. Sometimes it’s thoughtlessness or differing points of views. It’s hard sometimes, to think about things and the world employing a perspective other than our own. I try to understand people as best as I can and give them a chance.  I believe that people in general are basically good with good, selfless intentions but often seem cold, selfish, arrogant, and uncaring. Many people or their actions are just misunderstood and misinterpreted or miscommunicated. I try my absolute best to understand people and give them a chance.

24.). The present moment is the only moment.   It is priceless and great. It is all we have right now. If you learn to live in the present you will be amazed. Let the past teach you and cherish your memories and plan appropriately for the future but LIVE for now. Then you won’t constantly mourn or be destroyed by your previous experiences and won’t fret or overly anticipate your future experiences.

25.)  Pain can strengthen us and make us more whole than we were previously.   Underneath my wholeness lies a broke- ness  that has led me to where I am NOW. Beautifully WHOLE.  

26.) People don’t have to be like me, think like me, look like me, live like me, or breathe like me to be beautiful like me.

27.) Age doesn’t matter as long as you’re alive.   There’s no reason to wish to be younger or lie about or conceal your age. You don’t have to feel the desire to keep it a secret. Shout it off the roof tops! You are blessed, truly blessed to be your age.  Every age has its blessing. However old you are now, you know more than when you were younger. You have likely evolved in ways that was not true before now.   So why want to regress back to a less developed age? And if you want to be younger but know all you know now, what’s the point then anyway? It would be the same as now but just with a different numerical label. And maybe you look older now but so what? It’s part of the blessings of living. Your “flaws” are reminders of all you have survived and learned. You can feel young, BE young, at any age! Cherish it! Embrace it! Many people die tragically young. You are still here, allowed to live this long! Beauty deepens with age. It’s better to be over the hill than under it!! :-D. You are a survivor.

These lessons I find to be true to me; I do not attempt to force any of them upon anyone. You may disagree with me on some or all of them and that’s ok. Different people have different views.   I hope you can find light & inspiration  in some of them.    

X0xo Kim

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You Can Bend but Never Break Me </3 <3

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Recently I have been thinking about how “unfair” and “unjust” things are and seem.   People and things in this world can really drag us down and if we let them, even keep us down. There ‘s no doubt about it, people and things outside of ourselves affect us in negative (as well as positive) ways. In ways that may seem out of our control. But my truth is that people can have control over the extent in which they allow people and things, circumstances to “get to them.”

I don’t always have control over what anyone other than myself says or does or feels. I can’t help if people lash out at me, sling insults at me, physically assault me, verbally abuse me, or try hard to bring me down. I also do not and will not always have control over my circumstances or situations.  I can’t always help getting stuck in traffic, things breaking, things not going my way.  And the truth is since I am a living mortal with human emotions and not a robot, a brick wall, dead, brain dead, or whatever else these negative people and situations and things WILL negatively affect me in ways. They will. And that is part of being a living human. A feeling human. I may not have complete control over how things affect me but I DO have control over the degree in which they affect me.

Maybe not right away. But I can practice and learn to not be buffeted by things outside of myself. 
I can do this by acknowledging and accepting the fact that life is good and bad and to remind myself that when people do things wrong to intentionally impact me negatively it says something about them, not me.  
I can look at all the greatness I am surrounded with and filled with and learn not to dwell constantly on the pain and negative things.
I can honor myself. Do and Be what brings me joy. And know that if people do not like me or appreciate me, it’s their loss, their problem.

One day recently I read a story, a true and devastating story, written by a grieving mother who lost her 22 year old son to homicide many years ago. He was a college boy, shot dead by a much older “friend ” over a trivial argument. The mother’s strength and passion and determination amazed me then when I first read that story and amazes me now.  
She chose to live. To keep going. A criminal, a murderer changed her life. And the lives of everyone who knew and loves him. It changed this mother ‘s life for the worse. He took away her only son and left her with just memories, grief, seemingly unbearable pain, and so much confusion and shock . He shattered her life. But she made the choice to put her life back together, though it will never be the same. A vicious, malicious criminal ended her loving, caring son ‘s life but she sure as hell wasn’t going to let that same malicious man end hers in anyway. She is now an advocate for homicide victims and their families and friends.   She works with criminals and murderers in positive ways to try to get them to understand to some degree the devastation that their horrific actions have on everyone around them.
She is a survivor.

Some years ago, a man held a gun to my chest at the store where I work. It’s window service. I was working alone late at night with no one else around.  He came up to the window and told me he had a gun and that I better give him all the store money or he would kill me. He actually said those words to me. “I’ll kill you.” I refused to give him the money and he pulled the gun out and held it to my chest and said “I’m serious, I will kill you.”. 

I still refused. (yeah people told me later how very stupid I was)

Then he told me I better give it or he’ll kill me and take the money then kill the people in the bar across the street which my boss also owns. He said if I give him the money we all live. I never want anyone else’s lives in danger so I let him have it.

The man was never caught. There was no camera to catch his image. I couldn’t identify him in any pictures.   None were of him.

I wasn’t hurt. And I wasn’t touched physically.   

My dad says every now and then how one of his biggest fears is someone coming to the window again while I’m working and actually carrying through with a vicious plan or threat of some sort and either ending or “ruining” my life. He’s afraid I’ll live but be seriously attacked or injured in some way.

But I made a choice. No one will ever ruin my life unless that person ends it. But as long as I’m living No one other than me can destroy me or ruin me because I said so and I will never give anyone that power.   I may not always be able to prevent or avoid an attack, physical or verbal. But I won’t let it destroy me. No one deserves that kind of power over me.

Something or someone can hurt me. Scare me. Paralyze me or whatever but NO ONE will destroy or ruin me. I will be negatively affected by negative people and things.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to be fully alive.   It is normal. Natural. Healthy.   To be negatively affected by the world around us. To be sad. Disappointed.   Grief stricken. Angry. Scared…..jealous….suspicious, all in healthy dosages.

But then we get back up and move forward. And keep going. And keep living.   And still create happiness & joy.

Like Helen Reddy sings, “You can Bend but Never Break me”

What I’m saying right now must be said gently or I risk sounding cruel. It is in no way intended to tell “victims” or survivors of anything to “get over it” or that they’re overreacting or not handling things right. Everyone reacts in different ways and handles things differently. I want survivors of anything, big and small things, alike to take back the power and never let someone or something else have that power.

I don’t want a criminal or a bully or a situation or illness or anything to have power over a person. I want the person to empower herself (himself). It’s not always easy.   It takes learning and practice and maybe some extra help.
But we can learn not to be destroyed by someone or something else outside of ourselves. We don’t have to feel numb or deny the impact or the scars. We can admit the horror we have endured and how it affected us and then muster up all the strength we have and move forward with an open heart. 

It’s not your fault that people do bad things to you. There’s no justification for abuse or assault or mistreatment of any kind.  And it’s not your fault if you have a sickness of any kind or a disability.   And it’s not your fault if you react negatively to the negativity or mistreatment. It’s just your natural reaction. You can take back your power and own yourself.

I will rise above the victim mentality. Instead I will acknowledge and honor my ability to make choices, my ability to choose happiness and joy even through the trauma and sorrow and grief and negativity.

I refuse to be a victim.

Xoxo Kim

“You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul”. ~ Helen Reddy (I Am Woman)

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The lovely Moon, a light in the darkness.