Tag Archive | obstacles

Born over & over. And over again.

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“This girl is a woman now
She’s found out what it’s all about
And she’s learning learning learning to live…” ~ Gary Puckett & the Union Gap

“The wound is the place where the light enters you. ” ~ Rumi
“Surviving meant being born over and over.” ~ Erica Jong

Adversity can crush our spirit – or strengthen it – it is our choice.

Yeah, this post isn’t about reincarnation in the sense of the rebirth of a soul or spirit after biological death.  But it is about death and rebirth in a sense.  

This post is more directed at women but men and anyone who identifies as both/none can read and learn too!   The message is definitely not exclusive to women.  The book I’m reading is mostly geared towards women. But the lesson goes for anyone.

I’m reading Sarah Ban Breathnach ‘s “Something More – Excavating Your Authentic Self.”
I absolutely love her writing style.  It’s so warm and gentle but so strong and passionate.

In this book, in a section called, “Near-Life Experiences,” she writes 

“Every day we experience death.   The death of dreams, misconceptions, illusions. The death of vibrancy and enthusiasm. The death of hope. The death of courage. The death of confidence. The death of faith.   The death of trust.   More often than any of us ever expect, life stuns us with the sudden wrenching away of a loved one, a devastating diagnosis, a conversation that begins with the chilling words “There’s Something I’ve got to tell you.
We feel as if life is over, and we are right.  Life as we knew it is over.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes about when her marriage ended and when her health was threatened.  She writes

 “In each instance, when I regained consciousness months later, I was someone else.  I died to myself, and a stronger, wiser, and more passionate woman was resurrected in my place.  Although this woman answered to my name, she was profoundly different. “

This woman was in a serious accident, years ago,  in a fast -food restaurant with her toddler daughter when a large ceiling panel fell off and crashed into her.  She fell unconscious onto the table.   No one else was hurt.  She suffered a severe concussion, was bedridden, confused, and disoriented for months and disabled for a year and a half.   For a few months her senses did not function properly.   She had to stay in bed constantly in the dark because her injuries rendered her extremely sensitive to light.  She was inarticulate and couldn’t speak coherently.  She felt imprisoned in her own body, neither alive nor dead but having a “near -life experience.”  

She shares a quote by Eudora Welty, “the fantasies of dying could be no stranger than the fantasies of living.  Surviving is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all.”

And here is, what I see, as the most beautiful part of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s story.

When she was bedridden in the dark she had nothing to do but tell herself stories in her head.   She writes this,

 “In order to get through this purgatory, I would lie in the dark and tell myself stories – discombobulated sagas, to be sure – as I wove in and out of wakefulness. Clara Pinkola Estes believes that ‘Stories are medicine.’   They certainly became my homeopathic remedies.   Although I had been a journalist for ten years, I had never thought of myself as a storyteller. But snatches of stories-fairy tales I’d heard as a child, adventures I’d lived as a young woman- would float to the top of my distress and hang in midair until I retrieved one and recast it as a personal parable.  Each starred my own romantic heroine, an extraordinary woman who triumphed over her travails with courage, grace, and grit – a person who bore no resemblance to me at all.    This woman was beautiful and radiant, with a strong, healthy, and vibrant aura.   Her eyes sparkled and she laughed uproariously . She was mysterious, magnetic, accomplished, powerful, irresistible, confident, smart, sassy, funny, and sexy.  She was passionate.   She possessed verve, but more important, she reflected, even in the worst situations, the essential characteristic of all romantic heroines – repose of the soul.   I couldn’t remember having an imaginary friend as a child, but now I did and I adored her company. 
I looked forward to my alter ego ‘s daily dose of diva-gation- her wandering, straying, but always pulling through with pluck to live and love again.”

After this ordeal was over, Sarah Ban Breathnach realized that this beautiful, passionate, strong woman in her waking dreams is in fact herself.  Her authentic self.
 The self she always knew deep, deep inside she can be.   The self she already was then but buried beneath layers of social demands and pressures, the stresses of everyday life, denial, feelings of unworthiness….She had to learn this and practice acknowledging it but eventually she came to know that she is a strong, wise woman of love, passion, and strength.   This woman and this wisdom were born of pain and horror but she was there all along waiting for the birth of herself. 

It’s true that every single day parts of us die so new parts can be born.  Even our skin and cells physically die and give way to new ones.

Death hurts. Not just the biological death of someone we love or the death of a relationship but even the death of minor details in our lives or the death of certain ways of thinking can hurt. Something we once believed and no longer believe.   The death of certain opinions, the death of an illusion. 
The death of certain ways of living.
Even the death of something unpleasant can hurt at first.  A job you always wanted to leave and finally do get to leave it.  It can hurt because you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, something you have known for so long. It hurts.  Even though it’s what you wanted.

When hope dies, when faith dies, and we fall, when we have setbacks and seem to fail, we can let this all guide us, push us forward to something bigger and better, we make room for new things, better things, more beautiful things to fall into place.

We can allow our pain, struggles, challenges, failures, setbacks, relapses, and unpleasant experiences to strengthen us, make us wiser, better, enlightened, empowered, and more empathetic and compassionate to others and ourselves.   We can take our pain and struggles as challenges to come up with creative ways to better ourselves and use them to our advantage. 

So, girls think of the woman you long to be, the one you would love to know, be friends with, be in the company of, the woman you KNOW you CAN be and deep inside ARE already her.

Materialize her. Realize her.  

Think of the best girl friend you would love to know or one you have already if you’re that blessed or the the kind of mother you want to be if you want to be one and would love to have for yourself, the kind of sister you would adore, the professor you would look up to in college, the counselor you would love to talk to, the neighbor you would love to chat with on the street, the girl of your dreams….

What do you love about her?  Why do you adore her?  What traits does this beautiful woman possess and display?  What virtues does she embody?   What surrounds her? What dwells within her?  What does she do?   What do you see in her?  What ways does she have about her?  What goals does she have?   What does she dream about at night?   What daydreams occupy her mind?  How does she feel?  How does she love?

If you can dream her, you can be her.

You can recreate yourself into the you that you want to be. You can strengthen and play up the things you already love about yourself and develop the things you want but do not yet possess.

“Act like a lady, think like a boss.”
“She believed she could so she did.”
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.” ~ Elizabeth Edwards
“She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world. ” ~ Joanne Harris
“Girls compete with each other, women empower one another.”

Don’t deny your needs and desires.   Don’t repress yourself.   Let your opinions be heard. Don’t feel threatened by an opinion which opposes yours.   If you know what someone says is or may be correct and you are wrong, admit it, at least to yourself.   Let it shake you up and then change your views.   If you know in your heart of hearts that you are correct then let your opinion be as loud as the opposing one.   Don’t let anyone make you squirm or back down.  Stand tall.   Stand proud.   Stand.
It’s ok to be wrong and it’s ok to give in and see the other side and admit it.
It’s ok to build yourself up.
To call yourself beautiful. 
To love you. 
To cherish you.
Do what makes you happy no matter what, don’t let anyone dull your sparkle or get in your way.   Be true.   Be you.
Take care of yourself, tend to your needs, be selfish occasionally when you have to be for your own mental/emotional/psychological/spiritual & physical health.  Say no when you must.   Say yes to you. 
Buy yourself flowers.
Laugh loudly. Live passionately. Love fiercely. 

Reflect and think about who you want to be, write in a journal, meditate, list qualities you wish to posses or strengthen and ones you want to abandon.

And if you’re not a woman, this can still apply to you. It applies to all humans. We can all work to be a better version of ourselves.

Each moment we fall apart, we are made new. Born again. And again. And again. And again…..a new dawn comes to life. The sun rises again.  Morning has awakened.

Crumble. So you can stand again but even stronger.

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“Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything .”~ Helen Reddy

“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’m not a one in a million kind of girl, I’m that once in a lifetime kind of woman.”

“Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of Hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down.” ~ Tom Petty

Let your pain make you better, not bitter.

“Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens.” ~ LeeAnn Womack

Xoxo Kim

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Loud & Proud No Matter What

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I believe we should be proud of all our accomplishments, big and small, alike.   
Accomplishments such as kicking a bad habit, healing or recovering an addiction, quitting old detrimental ways…are still great accomplishments even though some people think they are not because they believe those things shouldn’t have been started in the first place.

I subscribed to this page:

http://www.inspiregreatnessnow.com/Free/day1_okJuK.shtml

And the man who the page belongs to said he is grateful he no longer cheats on women who he is in a relationship with. He wrote that it may seem like a bizarre thing to be thankful for but it was a very destructive part of his life at one point and he finally stopped.  Now his life is better.

I don’t see that as a bizarre thing to be proud of or grateful for. It takes strength and courage to admit to a problem or being wrong then working to change it and also to share with others. 

Everyone makes mistakes.  As I have said, no one is perfect in everyone’s eyes. No matter who you are or how amazing you are, someone out there somewhere,  thinks or would think, if you met the person and the person knows about it, that something you do, say, think, or feel or something you previously did, thought, felt or said is/was wrong. Someone will see flaws in you.

It seems as if we often tend to negatively judge people based on the seriousness of the consequences of their actions instead of the morality of the actual action, I guess you can say.  

For example, people often severely criticize people who take drugs and get addicted. The fact that someone takes recreational drugs and gets addicted may have serious, devastating consequences but it says nothing about the character of the person or the person’s general morals.  Some people never take drugs but are just very unkind people who want to drag others down and go out of their way to hurt people merely for the thrill.   And many people who do take illicit drugs or have previously taken them are great people with beautiful personalities who would never go all out to hurt people just for the thrill.

A couple months ago someone told a lie involving me at work.  I forgive the person and believe it was a mistake and not typical of her. Not a mistake as if she wasn’t aware of what she was doing, she knew, and she had malicious intentions, although I have no idea why because we always had a good relationship with each other.  But I view this as a mistake, something she should not have done but she did.  This could have cost me my job.

But I don’t view this as something that defines her personality or character.   It was a mistake, a wrongdoing, a negative act but I choose to look at her as the whole person she is and not as a horrible person based on one vicious act.

People have advised me to feel bitter towards her, to seek revenge, to see her as a horrible individual.  But I choose to move forward with an open heart, forgive her, and “forget.”

She did not admit she was wrong and she lies to the bitter end but I don’t believe her lying now has to do with being malicious towards me any longer.  I think it now has to do with her not wanting to admit she was wrong, feeling as if that’s a weakness on her part.  She has to lie to back up the main lie so as not to confess that she was initially wrong.  So even if she’s sorry, she won’t say it because that would be admitting she was wrong.

However, she did express guilt in other ways and seemed to be trying to make up for it by being extra kind and helpful.  That, in my opinion, is better than an empty “I’m sorry” anyway.

For months I have been angrier than I have ever been, some moments, to the point of fury and it was seeping into every aspect of my life, not just work. I would forgive then go back to holding a grudge off and on but I finally let go, for myself and for her. I don’t want to be angry. She doesn’t want me to be angry.  And it’s done now.

So, my message here is that mistakes you have made and will make, usually say nothing about who you are as a whole person and even if you aren’t as great as you can be, there’s always the possibility for change. You may have to work hard.  It may be awkward and feel uncomfortable now and then but it’s worth it.

And when you accomplish something great like realizing you were wrong and you change your ways or work on yourself for the better that is something to be proud of yourself for no matter what others say.

I have difficulty deleting apps, songs, pictures, and other files off my phone, even ones I never, ever use or even care about.   I always have this fear like “What if I change my mind and delete it and can’t get it back again?!” or “What if later I would come to really want this stuff on my phone and I forget all about it and never know to put it back on?!”.   Lol things like that. So because of this, I can’t put on new stuff or take new pics.

But two nights ago, yesterday,  and today I overcame my limiting fears and decided to go on a deleting spree, deleting everything I don’t use.  Some things I wrote down just in case I may want it again. 

I let my reasoning prevail over emotion. Now is what matters and now I really need more space on my phone.  And I probably will never want those apps and the truth is I can install most of them again if I want later.

This may seem like a trivial thing to be proud of but I must say, I’m proud! Lol. For me, that’s an accomplishment. 

Also, I’m a slob. It’s true. I leave empty soda bottles and candy wrappers around my house and my mom gets so mad. That’s not something I should do ever. But I do.  So when I actually avoid doing that on my own without being told, I feel a sense of accomplishment.   

I hope you will go easy on yourself.   Forgive. Learn.  Move forward. Be honest & open with yourself.

Lol My message here now is that you should be proud and thankful for all of your accomplishments no matter how trivial or important they seem to you or to others. Every little thing you do that contributes in some way, big or small, to a better you, a better world, a better environment, a better relationship, or a better anything is worth being proud of and grateful for.  Even the simplest things.

And this will get you in the habit of seeing the good in you and acknowledging and celebrating your positive aspects and successes. I believe this can lead to a happier life.

What are you holding onto that you should be letting go of?
What should you forgive yourself for?
What would happen inside you if you admit that you were wrong? Admit to yourself?   To others?
Why are you holding on to self resentment?
How about you make the decision to let go now?

Xoxo Kim

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An Inspiring Conversation

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” I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU. “~Mayor John Pappas (City Hall, 1996)

About a year ago, I had a conversation with someone at work one night. At first, I found this conversation to be very unpleasant but shortly after the conversation ended, I felt energized, inspired, uplifted, and so hopeful.

This conversation is one of the things which has had the greatest, positive impact on me in my journey to recover my suicidal depression.

A person was talking to me about drug addiction and people who struggle and have struggled with addiction. She had a very negative view of people who have suffered substance addiction, even the ones who have overcome it and no longer consume illegal/recreational drugs.

She basically held the view that drug addicted people are lost causes who are bound to go nowhere in life. And even when they recover or heal, they will always be “druggies”. “Druggies” who even after recovering will never find redemption or worth.

I couldn’t have disagreed with this girl more. I see so much potential and hope and light in almost everyone I look at. People are remarkably strong and resilient and can overcome and move forward even when it’s hard. Even when it’s painful and all seems hopeless. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it’s all just so dark. 

There can always be light. When I look at a person, even a troubled, difficult, broken person with great obstacles and challenges, I don’t see an addiction or an illness or a mere label or a “lost cause”. I see a person.   A light. Possibility and hope. Hope for healing.   Hope for change.  

Everyone has something to contribute to this world and everyone around us whether or not they realize it and even when it feels impossible.   You may feel so empty, so broken, so devoid of life, so hopeless but you are not beyond healing or hope or love.

A person who has struggled with addiction and has overcome or healed that addiction and no longer takes drugs/alcohol has acheived an incredible accomplishment. It takes great strength and courage and dedication to pick up the broken pieces, the shattered parts of self and put them together again and become whole. There may always be scars, cracks, breaks, pain..but it’s possible to move forward and find true happiness, true joy in existence.

Why judge someone negatively for previous mistakes or a health condition or a choice that got out of control?

I have never struggled with addiction of any sort and cannot possibly know what it’s like.   All I can know is that it is painful, devastating, heartbreaking and difficult for the person who is addicted and everyone around that person and that it IS possible, with help & support of various kinds, to get better enough to live and be happy living. Whether or not the person is completely recovered with no more urges or still has urges that are difficult to resist. Even someone who relapses now and then.

It’s not always easy for an addicted person to know this or to ask for help or to not relapse.   And people struggling with addiction deserve empathy, understanding, compassion, love, encouragement.   They aren’t monsters. Many of them may steal and assault people and become unrecognizable to those who knew them before the tragedy of addiction but they are not all bad people . Underneath the devastation and the addiction is an amazing person who can find hope and healing.

After this girl I had the conversation with left me that night I started to think about our contrasting views. She viewed people who struggle with addiction as some of the lowest people on Earth, worthless, bad, taking up space in a world they don’t deserve.

And I view them as the people they are. Worthy of love, empathy, care, acceptance, compassion…

And I started to think about how we need more people in this world with my view. We need people with better understanding and compassion.

I thought of my own struggle with suicidal depression, which back then, a year ago, was not as healed as it is today, right now.

I thought of all the moments I wanted to kill myself in this life, feeling as if I had nothing to live for and never ever would , as if I was worthless, empty, nothing, as if the pain was just too much to bear, weighing too heavy on my life, to go on.

And I realized if I ever kill myself, I kill my compassion for others, my love, my empathy, my understanding, my acceptance, my open mindedness. If I kill myself, I kill all the chances I will ever have to help another, before those chances even begin. If I kill me, I kill the opportunity to tell someone s/he is not a lost cause, not an addiction, not a loser, not deserving of callousness and abusive insults and cruelty. I kill the chance to tell someone there is hope.

I’m not an expert on addiction. I don’t know exactly how to handle an addicted person, especially one who is acting out. They may need firmness every now and then and not all sap and gentleness, I don’t know. But that’s not my point anyway; my point is that we need more people with compassion and positive views of troubled people. We need people who will not destructively criticize and tell people there’s no hope for them.

This goes for any troubled person or anyone who has made mistakes with serious consequences, not just addicted people. 

And that if you ever kill yourself, you kill every positive aspect of yourself, your opportunity to eventually be fulfilled and healed and find or create a sense of purpose, and your opportunity for growth and your opportunity to impact the world and maybe even just one life for the better.

You’re under no obligation to live for others, it’s yourself you should live for. But there are people who need you to live, you may not have met them yet and maybe won’t meet them for many years, maybe you never will but your life will somehow touch theirs.  Someone, somewhere needs YOU to LIVE.  And eventually you will find or create a sense of purpose for your own existence.

Live for yourself and your own empathy and care and love. And live for all of your good qualities and possibilities.

I vowed to myself that night after that conversation which at first I believed to be unpleasant, that I will never take my own life. We should all live for ourselves. But when I used to get suicidal, I did not want to live for me. I saw nothing in me worth living for. But that night I vowed to never, ever end my own life even if I feel like it because if nothing else, there’s  one thing in me worth surviving for, my concern and care for others.   My empathy, my ability to see beyond illnesses and difficulties and troubles and mistakes, my desire, my longing to help heal and console in any way I can. This fulfills me.  I know those aren’t my only reasons for living, my reason is just to be,  but when I’m contemplating suicide I usually see nothing to go on for.  But this view is something I will always believe in. Helping others, also helps me. We are all connected.

I don’t live to be a “slave” and used by others, I allow myself to be fulfilled by helping and positively impacting anyone I can.

There are many, many people like me who feel this way about people, that they can heal and are deserving of compassion and love. And if I kill myself there will be one less of us.

(No one should kill themselves even if they aren’t compassionate or empathetic or caring.

Since that night, I haven’t seriously contemplated ending my own life. And if I ever do again, I have a sweet reminder of something worth living for.

And there’s also another lesson to be learned here, anyone can be our teacher even those who are unpleasant, even unpleasant encounters can be inspiring and teach us valuable lessons. This young woman who I debated with that night, this at first seemingly unpleasant encounter, provided me with the chance to think about things which have filled me with hope & inspiration. 

And here I am today, still inspired, still hopeful, still going strong.

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Xox Much love, blessings, & hope to you all.

~Kim

“Don’t judge me by my past, I don’t live there anymore.”

“Possibilities are everywhere.”

“Always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

“Your past is a gift to guide you, it doesn’t have to imprison you.”