Tag Archive | rebirth

Spring. 🌸🐞🐿

There are signs of spring appearing all around, assuring me that the natural world is re-awakening, despite the fact that it does not yet feel like spring.

There are still piles of snow on the ground and icicles hanging from the roof tops, and the overnight temp last night was a cool 15 degrees!

But in spite of what feels like winter’s final, desperate cling, there are buds sprouting on the trees, hundreds of birds returning to the garden, newborn ducklings, squirrels aplenty, and, perhaps, the most awe-inspiring sign has been the visits of two bald eagles, who have been flying overhead, right over my backyard at dusk each night, perhaps nesting in a special spot nearby!”

This is something I received in an e-mail through a soulfulliving.com subscription, written by Valerie. I was going to share my photo above, on Instagram, and caption it, “Spring is in the air!” Then I realized today actually is the first day of Spring here. I totally did not realize til someone told me lol

It sure doesn’t feel like Spring; it’s freezing cold and we’re having a snow blizzard. I love it! But also love Spring weather & am so happy for the impending Springy weather and everything that comes along with it.

This beautiful piece, I shared above, by Valerie, inspires me and is a beautiful reminder of how inspiring nature is.

I have been struggling a bit with lower back pain. It’s not chronic pain; it’s only temporary (at least I hope so!) but it does tend to get quite severe every now & again. Sometimes I can’t reach for things and it throbs whether I’m sitting, standing, or laying and occasionally I get just very little to no relief. It is difficult because I work with dogs! So it’s kind of hard managing back pain & physical limitations with a bunch of furballs jumping all over me and pulling me. Lol

At some points, I found it difficult to have an interest in anything because the pain consumes me. It’s definitely not the worst pain I ever felt and generally, it’s not unbearable. Pain of any sort or any level isnt fun though! I’m also sick and exhausted. Im laying in bed now half sleeping but still managing to think & write. Lol

For about two months, I have worked seven days a week(I generally work seven days a week and love it but have been working many, many more hours than usual), some days, 24 hours(overnight), morning til night. Some days I was out for work at 6 something in the morning til around 10:00pm. I LOVE the job. This much physical work really takes a toll on the body though. My poor body needs a break. It has been under a tremendous amount of stress. (At least it’s work that I love though)

As Valerie states in her message, it doesn’t feel like Spring. It’s cold, snowy, icy…but there are signs of Spring everywhere, still blooming through the harsh Wintery weather. Spring blooms and life blossoms are around. Snow, ice, cold, Winter, doesn’t hinder it.

I am reminded that we can do the same. We can blossom, keep going, and let our beauty bloom all around straight through the pain, stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, grief…or whatever other struggles we may currently be experiencing.

We can channel that inner-spring and unleash it, sending it out into the uni-verse to lift everyone around us. Look for all the little gems of beauty we can find, all the flowers, acts of kindness, butterflies, animals, smiles, hugs, laughs, pretty colors, inspirational quotes, uplifting social media/blog posts, the love of a pet, a favorite song or food, the feel of soft blankets, the fragrance of flowers, food, coffee, cookies baking….any little bit of beauty…these are the things to focus on, to dwell on, to embrace.

I’m happy to share this soulfulliving message here along with my experience and hope others can be inspired also, to keep going & appreciate all the simple joys of living.

We all have an inner-spring just waiting to be embraced & unleashed!

Much love & light, & hugs!!

Xoxo Kim💐💚

Random Inspiration #10 {old memories and what to do with ugly/plain/useless photos you take}

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Sometimes I take pictures that turn out not that good, blurry or ugly or boring or plain looking, too dark, too bright, seemingly having no point…I usually have the urge to delete them.

But not so long ago, I got a better idea. 

I can “recycle” them in a way, I guess you can say. Get creative and fix them up and make them pretty or more interesting. 

I can do things with the pictures that will make them look good that would ruin other pictures.

Example:

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Look at this terrible picture! Ack! I want to delete it right now! I meant for it to be a lovely view of the Philadelphia skyline at night but it sucks instead. No hope for it…

Unless!

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Now it’s pretty, right?!

I think so! But even if you still think it’s just kind of useless or sucks, you still get the picture, right?

You can take a sucky photo and prettify (or creepify) it. Imagine if I took a beautiful picture and then put that heart on it like that? It would ruin it!

But this picture already sucks so the heart can’t ruin it! And you can still see part of the skyline and I think the heart makes it look even better.And the colors pop more The heart is the main thing now but then we catch a glimpse of the buildings and lights in the background! Perfect!

Or you can make a sucky picture look creepy, like with my pic of the door above. That was just a simple pic of a door I took that had no use (the pic had no use, not the door) so I put a weird creep effect on it!

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I like this one. Sometimes I’m in the mood for making my pictures cheery and pretty and colorful while other occasions I want them seeming dark, nostalgic, hazy, blurry, creepy, sad-like, vintage, shadowy…
This one is on the dark side.

Heres’s the original :

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And here’s another pic I made fantastic when it was just kind of blah originally:

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Original:

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I actually like this one too but can see how it’s kind of plain. It’s interesting though. It’s a University of Pennsylvania building. The campus is beautiful. This is the medical examiner’s office, where they do autopsies and examine corpses and stuff.

And here are some more pics of mine that weren’t that good and I fixed them up:

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Lol the heater at work. I made it look like I was having some dance party with strobe lights. I only took the pic to test my phone because it wasn’t working correctly. I took the picture last year and just found it in my phone recently.

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Library on Temple University campus. I used to go to school here. I took this pic a few nights ago as I was going by.
I love when I see the campus again. I don’t see it frequently and whenever I do so many emotions come flooding back to me.
Both happy and sad ones, feelings of longing and feelings of joy. Nostalgia and happiness and gratitude.
i embrace them all.
It’s so familiar yet so distant now. I know it so well, so intimately, yet I feel as if I would probably get lost walking on there again.
That is so strange to feel.
i am never quite prepared for the feelings I experience when seeing the campus again and reminiscing.
I loved walking all around the campus day or night. When I had breaks in the middle classes

sometimes I would walk around the same buildings over and over and over, loving every single second of it. I would explore the entire campus by myself. And I would get there early just to have breakfast and iced coffee and just to walk around campus in the early morning before class.
It’s there and then that I learned to love my own company. I was always afraid to do things, go places alone, not because of social anxiety but because of my depression and certain painful memories I have. I dreaded long breaks in the middle of classes and it hurt me to see girls alone drinking coffee or eating or reading, it stirred feelings of horror and despair in me because of certain of my own experiences but I took the chance, the risk, and embraced my physical aloneness and came to welcome it and love iit.

Sometimes I still get those old feelings and fear of aloneness but then I remember my strength I found on campus in college.

I loved those early mornings having coffee with just me, reading, walking, exploring.i found it healing and I love the memories now. I cherish them always. This was before my depression was as healed as it is now and that aloneness and embracing it helped heal me so much and instill more joy into me. I’m naturally extroverted, always wanting people around me and it was hard at first to learn to do things like this alone but I accomplished it! 😀

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These are steps that lead to nowhere. They are in a neighborhood I used to live, one I lived in since I took my first breath until I turned eleven years old. It’s a small place where everyone knew each other. It’s often called the “ghetto” because it’s a very poor neighborhood and full of trash and falling down houses. And loud people, prostitutes, criminals, and people with drug problems. It wasn’t always as bad as it is now. It started to get worse and that’s why my mom and dad decided to move when I was eleven years old. People were getting murdered on the street corners where I played with my friends. One day I saw one of the murder victims after the homicide occurred.
A young woman who I still think of today. I never saw her before she died
That I know of. I don’t know who she is/was.
she had thick curly long hair and I remember it so vividly. I wonder who she would be if she were allowed to live.
I saw the whole thing, all the gore and all, I saw the emergency paramedics take her body away after covering her with the white sheet. I saw the gruesome aftermath, the things that no one cleaned and remained day after day until the rain washed it away.
She was killed on a man’s pavement and I wondered why he did not clean up his pavement after it occurred.
She was stabbed to death.
I knew it’s horrific but I was too young to completely understand.
i was sad to leave the neighborhood because I loved it there (not the violence and gore and all though)
i knew everyone, I had many friends there.
i never minded the loud people or the prostitutes on the corner.
One of them was even my friend when I saw her around.
she was sweet and friendly and I wondered why people talked about her In an unkind way.

i just saw her for her, not the unfortunate circumstances of her life.
I was very angry at my mom and dad for taking me away and moving me to a bigger place where I knew not as many people. I met a few friends I frequently saw but I still wanted my old ones and wanted to go back “home.”

i used to know a lady who lived on the street where those steps are. Her house is gone now but the broken steps remain.
she was very old, very sweet, very youthful and full of life. Very loving and warm.
She worked or volunteered at the elementary school I went to.
i remember when it was almost Christmas and I was in 4th grade and a little girl in class asked her if she thinks Santa Claus is real and she said “yes because who else brings all the toys?!” 😀

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These are some of my darker pictures. The ones that don’t resonate with everyone. My mom and sister don’t care for them. Some pictures are universally pleasing like, most people would probably like them or agree that they are pleasant, pretty, uplifting…such as flowers, a bowl of fruit, cute animals, sunsets and sunrises, babies…and I love all those too. but there are certain kinds
of 
artistic things that only certain others will understand or appreciate like this stuff. I never used to like black & white or sepia pictures but now I love them. Only for certain things though, usually not for people or
Nature, definitely not for the sky usually. I think those things are meant to let their colors fly. But for buildings and things I like b&w and sepia as well as color.

This concept can be applied to many things. Some things are probably better off being tossed. But some things can be given new life, used in a different way. Old clothes, old mail, things which no longer serve their original purpose well can be creatively made into something else. Even ourselves! 

You can use useless mail for an arts and crafts project, clothes too.

This can probably be good for the environment too! Recycling is important!

And we can even rebuild ourselves into something new, grow, evolve, expand…

I wish you much love, happiness, health, joy, and creativity!

😀

Xoxo Kim

P.s. This post is not in good condition, like the format because I posted it directly onto the app on my phone instead of how I usually do. The app is not compatible with my phone for posting directly onto it, I can’t correct mistakes easily and other stuff. I did this like this because I got confused with the locations of the pictures in my phone and that part was easier to just use the app directly for. Most of my posts won’t be this much
Of
a wreck though. Lol ;-D toodleloo lolz

Fear & Hunger

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(me then & now)

“Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

It seems that some emotions or feelings such as fear of death or fear of anything really, and desire for things or people we can’t or shouldn’t have are viewed negatively by many people. Viewed as a weakness, a flaw, something to avoid at all costs. There are self-help books and teachings designed to help us not be afraid and to not desire. Not to fear death or how to overcome the fear of death, not just overcoming an unhealthy phobia but even just any natural, primitive fear of death. Not to feel desire, to not want things we do not have, to just be content with what we already have or to be happy with very little. To not want more. To not want material things because material things are bad and desire is reprehensible. To not feel disappointed if we can’t get more. 

It’s like a rebellion against the media, advertising, commercialism, and consumerism. 

These are good things. We don’t want fear taking over our lives or being too frequent. And it’s not good to ignore our current blessings just to want more, more, more. 

Too much restlessness and ungratefulness are not good. 

We often think of disappointment, the feelings we have after not succeeding or getting what we want, wanting what we can’t have, as a bad thing. Sometimes we may feel guilty for acting or feeling ungrateful. 

Maybe we feel wimpy for being afraid. 

But fear, hunger, and desire are beautiful things. They are not bad. They are not an indication that we are bad or wrong or ungrateful or that we need fixing. We don’t need self help books or anything to help us completely obliterate fear & desire.

It’s fantastic to be happy with very little or with everything we already have but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things with gratitude while also desiring other things now & then. 

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I see things in a way that I would never have if I never suffered with depression. I see through a lens of depression, even when I’m not depressed. (it’s a good thing) I see through depression tinted glasses. Even when I’m very happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

No matter how happy I am, no matter how healed I am in general, I will never lose touch with my depressed self and the deep wisdom it has shown me. And I don’t ever want to lose touch with that part of me.

There are lessons and observations and truths bubbling in my core, ingrained into me, resting in the crevices of my brain, that I would not have come to realize any other way. 

For many, many years I suffered with depression and often, very little to no desire, hunger, or fear. Many days, I did not want anything. I did not fear anything. I did not care about anything. There was no hunger for life. No hunger to win. No hunger to get better. 

I often did not care if I lived or died. 

When I was a little girl I wanted everything. I wanted every toy in every store. I wanted to go out and play with my friends. I looked up at the sky and I hungered for more. I hungrily devoured the scents, the feels, the sights and sounds, the tastes of Nature. The taste of salt water as the strong Ocean’s waves washed over me, the feel of the dirt that got under my fingernails as I rolled around in the lot my friends and me played in. The blueness of the sky that pierced my matching oceanic blue eyes as I stared innocently into the sun until it blinded me and all I saw were specks of unknown galaxies and dark black shadows of mystery. Mysteries lost in the whites of my eyes, sparkling amidst the invisible spaces of my corneas. 

Mysteries I longed to know. But loved the obscurity of. 

My immense love for water bugs, roaches, and my wonder at maggots turning into flies almost matched my love for caterpillars, butterflies, songbirds, and the
colorful flowers that bloomed into Spring. This seemed to baffle most of those around me, both the other kids as well as adults. How could anyone love such ugly, repulsive things? The other kids would run screaming at the first sight of a big brown roach while I would drop to my knees in awe and watch closely as one would turn over and play dead. Then I would playfully imitate the scene, lying on my back with my arms and legs crumpled up, tongue sticking out, trying hard not to laugh. I loved the disgust on the faces of those in my audience. 

Or I would watch a white maggot squirm and wonder what they’re made of. What makes them white? What gives them the ability to move? Do they have insides like people? Like me? Does a maggot have a heart? My innocent, curious little girl thoughts swirled around inside my head. There was no Internet I was aware of. I couldn’t easily look it up like I can now. So I wondered. I contemplated. I entertained an infinity of ideas, in my little girl ways. 

The Internet is a great gift to the world but the absence of the Internet in childhood is also a great, valuable gift. I am happy I had no Internet. 

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 Bumble bees never scared me like they scared the other kids, even after I was painfully stung by one in the neck and my mom had to remove the stinger as I yelled in anguish and confusion. I would chase them just to catch a glimpse of that yellow fuzz that decorates their bodies, getting as close as I can, feeling a deep connection to another living, beautiful creature. Not very unlike myself. I wanted to run my finger along that fuzz. I never killed insects or bugs out of fear, dislike, or to capture that magical green glow of fireflies in my hands, on a hot Summer night. 

I knew that would be one of the worst offenses anyone can commit in this life, like stealing a star out of the sky and keeping it all to myself or taking a jellyfish out of the ocean just to see through that thick clear gelatinous body
all the way through to the spineless depths of her being. 

I would look up at a navy, starless midnight sky and just know somewhere deep inside there were no stars because they all burned out, not being able to stand the heaviness and constancy of my endless, annoying wishes. I felt that they had secrets I was never meant to know. I felt both sadness and awe. Awe, a feeling of great wonder, deep inspiration, and a strange kind of fear and respect. 

I couldn’t think in these words or concepts at such a young, innocent age. But I felt it in my bones. I felt it venturing throughout my veins and electrifying with each pulsation of my beautiful heart that pounds through my chest. The rhythm of life pounding through me. 

I still feel it. 

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As a little girl, my friends and me would build tents out of sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and beach towels, building tents to huddle in and play house together, and pretending as if these tents were our hideouts deep into some lost, secluded woods where we were being chased by a big bad wolf or a deranged stranger, I noticed the rough and smooth sounds of the sheets and nylon sleeping bags as they gently brushed together. I was struck by the infinite beauty of something so simple. Time stood still. 

Listen to that! It’s like music!” 

Kim, you’re just crazy!” 

Maybe. 

I would eat fun-dip candy until my tongue bled and stung, like catching a mini falling star on the tip of my tongue as if it were a snowflake. I would stare at the white stick streaked with my blood, my beautiful life sustaining fluid, in awe. There was something wondrous about eating delicious colored powder until my little tongue started leaking pink-red blood onto white. There was something thrilling about that sting. The coppery, metallic taste in combination with the sweetness of powder. I loved the burn in my chest. I would happily run to inform my mom, as if it were my greatest accomplishment. Holding up the white stick to show her this magic I discovered. But my wonder was never met with satisfaction and praise as I always hoped. Instead my mom would tell me to quit eating the candy. 

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Unlike most kids I knew, I happily anticipated going back to school when Summer ended and shopping with my mom for school supplies, shoes, and clothes. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day back. Happy, grateful thoughts raced across my mind. I wanted to get up and dance. I wondered who I would meet. What would I learn? Even now the memory of that feeling thrills me. The great potential of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, the thrill of new teachers, and learning new things I would run home to proudly share with my mom and dad. Wondering what desk I would sit at, what kids I would be grouped with, who would my work partners and playmates be…

I loved shopping not just to get the stuff but the whole feel of shopping for it with my mom, seeing all the other shoppers, the feel of the back to school spirit all around me, the endless commercials advertising impressive things for going back to school. The scent of new, blank notebooks with white, lined pages just waiting to be filled and freshly sharpened pencils and broken crayons in a multitude of fascinating colors with fascinating names. “Tickle me pink.” 

The big fruit scented markers in a disarray of colors and soft, squishy pencil erasers that felt like rubbery cement upon my fingertips. The various shapes of pencil sharpeners. I even loved the idea of white-out and couldn’t wait to make mistakes just to get to white it out. I loved the containers it always came in, the little bottles and then the other kind that came out, no longer like liquidy liquid but a little sponge that smoothly glides across the paper. 

I always loved how it smelled mixed with paper and ink as it wafted up to tickle the scilia in my nose. In school we were not usually permitted to use pens so I had no use for white-out so my mom and dad would buy me it for home. I cherished the opportunity to give out valentine’s day and Christmas cards with paper hearts and candy canes taped on and would usually make one up for every kid in class. It felt so beautiful making them all happy with a sweet little card and I always had some to bring home too with sweet little messages of friendship. 

I loved the feel of being in school surrounded by other kids, cared for by teachers. Immersed in the glow of the whole environment. My hungry curiosity soaking up all the information my little brain could hold. I took in all the fragrances of the classroom, the smell of food, pencil lead and shavings, washable, markers, non toxic paint, clay…,the chatter, the laughter, and all the emotions swirling about, through the air. People, children & adults alike, always told my mom how “crazy” it is a girl can love school so much. 

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Each day after school, I couldn’t wait til my friends came out and we ran through the streets and the abandoned lots. We snuck up onto the railroad and secretly climbed the gates to trespass into people’s backyards with the possibility of getting caught hanging over our heads, both thrilling us and frightening us. 

As I sit here and write this, I can smell the fragrance of the green grass that filled my nose and lungs in the Summers all those years ago, I can smell the sundrenched metal on my hands after climbing the fence surrounding the big lot we played in, I can feel the richness of the soil we buried treasures in and searched for wiggly worms in with our bare hands and little fingers, I can taste the magic of the glistening snowflakes as they landed on my tongue in the dead of Winter, I feel the crisp Fall air as it caressed my skin, I feel the rainy mist and the floral beauty of Spring as it bloomed into my essence after that long, cold slumber finally ended. I hear the childish screams and laughter, the innocent taunts “takes one to know one! Last one there is a chicken brain…! I’m rubber you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you! Traitor! Dirtball! Kimbo Bimbo!!

I can still hear the songs we listened to as our small bodies happily danced up and down the street, the songs that skipped and stopped and started back up as a result of my scratched up CD’s I never took good care of. I can feel the sunlight dancing upon the rain puddles after a heavy storm and the bruises and burns of the scrapes, like little sun beams, that adorned my knees as I did somersaults, went tumbling endlessly down the hills we used to play upon near the railroad, only to smack hard into the low concrete walls that surrounded the sandy, rocky spaciousness when I reached the end, and burst out laughing.

My Earth colored hair soaked in mud and sweat and grit as it tangled into an unrecognizable mass of chaos and beautiful destruction. 

I can taste it today.

I sit here and my head overflows like cauldrons of emotion, nostalgia, longing, joy, happiness, pain, a deep ache way deep inside in some mysterious place of me I can’t quite identify, crackling and sizzling to the brim, on an old stove as brilliant purple and orange flames swallow it up. I see colors and stars and thousands of burning suns and glowing moons, everywhere.

It reminds me of a line in LeeAnn Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance”. One I reference often.

“…get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.”

I was satisfied with the beauty all around me but I always wanted more. I got my fill but I kept that hunger. Each day I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the dirt, the snow, the grass, the rain and oily, muddy puddles my feet loved to dance in, the leaves, the worms and rolly pollies….I was astounded by the beauty in every form it came to me. My senses passionately, greedily devoured every bit of it. I was filled with wonder & awe. And I was very aware of this wonder and awe that always breathed in my lungs and flowed with my blood like a starry serenade.

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I desired things I couldn’t always have. I wanted every toy, every book, every pair of shoes the instant I saw them and I would throw brief conniptions Sometimes on the rare occasions I was told no. I thought it was the worst thing to want and not get.

I also felt fear. I feared my own death even though I was too young to truly understand the full concept. I feared getting lost. I feared getting sick. I feared deeply. Fear did not take over my life but I experienced a healthy dose.

But then I gradually developed mild depression and I saw beauty still but not to the same depth. I couldn’t quite feel it as much. But it was still there. Then my lowgrade depression turned to severe, unbearable depression that consumed me in its darkness, pulling me into the secret black waters of its depths, I was submerged in despair, hit like a bag of bricks, with this thick, heavy darkness, and I saw beauty but almost never felt it as deeply. It jumped out at me and I noticed it to some degree, still noticing the simplest things it seemed no one else noticed or cared for, like the taste of cold air, the sounds of crickets, the smoothness of floor tiles, the cars and trucks sloshing through the rain in the flooded streets, the soles of shoes squeeking on bright white floors, the light reflections bouncing off of metal, the smell of hospitals and medicine and healing, the salty taste of longing, the way my soft hands feel in warm weather as they softly stroke utility poles and the wood of public benches, in fact, I seemed to notice it even more now…but it was shadowed by gray and darkness. I wanted to want it. But I just couldn’t to the extent I once hungered for it. And on those instances I paid too much attention and I did begin to really feel beauty again, I would shield myself against it, feeling as if I don’t deserve it, that this world is too beautiful for someone as ugly as me.

I noticed the city lights softly bathing the pavements and streets, the sounds of trains rolling across the tracks, the Beauty of the

soft rhythms of car horns in the distance late into the night while most of the world around me remained asleep, laughter out in the streets, the starlight illuminating the night, music notes riding the air as neighbors played love songs all night long, the wind that danced through my long hair. The scent of soil after the rain, the taste of cold air, the feel of soft fleece against my delicate, sensitive skin that brought me a sense of comfort, the sense of unity that surrounded me during the holidays, the creaking of floorboards beneath my feet, the green glow of fireflies, the gentle creases on people’s faces, the laughlines and the wisdom, the curve of shoulders, the little hairs in the big, dark, moles on the face of the girl I used to see on a bus often, the things I have always known are beautiful that others believe are ugly or not worth noticing.  And it was all incredibly beautiful but I closed myself off to it. 

I forced myself not to notice it. I wanted that beauty but I did not want to want it. I believed I wasn’t deserving and it hurt me. I have always been blessed with an ability to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate things, incredibly simple and mundane things, in a way it seems most around me almost never do or never notice and appreciate in the same way I always did. I have always loved simplicity and monotony. And not just the things themselves but the fact of experiencing them, the whole experience itself. And I have always lived in gratitude and some degree of mindfulness even before it became my intentional way of life. Even before I knew what gratitude or mindfulness even is.  

I was never quite able to put it into words. 

I was not brought up this way. It just lives in me. It always has. It always will. 

Most children are more mindful and grateful than adults I believe, it’s a child’s nature, but mine seemed on fire and still is to this day. As we’re growing up, we often lose that sense of childish wonder to some extent, just getting caught up in the obligations and expectations and stresses of everyday life. Mine was hindered by depression but then brought back to life by depression way more intense than it was before depression. 

Now even in the throes of a deep, deep depression, I don’t shield myself against that beauty. Instead, I cling to it for my life.

When I’m depressed, I can’t feel it to the same depth usually, as when I’m not depressed but I still easily notice it and can feel it to some degree. And I seize it and hold on tight. 

Like a lifeboat out on some distant shore waiting for my grasp, promising to save me if only I reach out. 

That wonder never left me completely. 

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Even in a mental hospital under suicide watch for weeks, as a young woman,  when I got my hands on a pen without anyone knowing (mental patients weren’t allowed to have pens) I was thrilled beyond belief. A doctor accidentally left it on a table and the second he walked away I snatched it up and it hid it and when we had to sign in for a group therapy session I was just the coolest thing around,  signing my name with a pen in big bold, blue, letters, while every other patient had to use a pencil.     ;-D

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And the day I found a paperclip in the visiting room and hid it because it was just the most amazing thing to have a prohibited and somewhat sharp object in my possession while under suicide watch. I got both the pen and the clip taken off me when they saw me strolling the halls with them in my hands.

:-/

My mind drifts back now
to that moment my sense of taste returned while in the cafeteria, after what seemed like an eternity.

I am sitting around a small table with my friends who are not my friends but intimate strangers, all held together by some kind of lonely bond. No laces in our shoes, plastic forks and spoons, strings removed out of our hoods, plastic bracelet around my slender wrist bearing my name that then seemed
anomalous to me.

Struck by the sharp taste of the potatoes, struck in a delicious way, like meteor showers.
blasting through my whole being. Still so deeply and heavily depressed but

holding onto that moment as if my life depends on it. A moment surrounded by people who understand my pain and bizarre thoughts. 

When they took me to the court of mental heath and I was the star of the show, I was fascinated. It felt so bizarre and so intriguing to be the center of attention, everyone talking about me but not to me. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to and no one spoke to me til the end when my lawyer and me lost the case and I was involuntarily hospitalized even longer. I sat in a zombified state, lifeless, sedated not by medication but deep emotional pain. But some moments my hunger returned. My hunger for knowledge, my fascination for how laws and courtrooms operate. 

Even in my deepest, blackest despair in a mental hospital I stood with a young man, another sick patient, as we marveled at the vibrancy and color of the life in the courtyards outside the windows, just beyond our reach. 
Tantalizing and beautiful. And heartbreaking. And breathtaking. We stood in breathless wonder, even while held in the agonizing bondage of our sickness, invisible fetters keeping us chained in darkness and psychosis.

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He brought my attention to it, bringing a small spark of life back into me, a thin sliver of feeling to my zombefied state when he showed me the solitary flower that seemed to blossom just for the two of us, reminding me that life still exists beyond the pain as he showed me a bright red flower bathing in the golden, fiery, sunlight. Even the thin sliver of life, that

sparkle of electricity that surged through my body was enough in that moment. Just enough. This reminded me and continues to remind me to grasp and embrace whatever gems of beauty are before me, surrounding me, within me, in any form they exist. No matter how much it hurts or how lifeless or hopeless it feels. There is always something to hold. Something to move forward for. Even if it’s just a tattered thread blowing in the bitter
cold winds of despair. 

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I think of the nights we are kept awake by the sound of each other’s insomnia and the silent but screaming tears the night weeps onto our surface and into our core, and those moments we are able to laugh with one another as if we were never sick, as if we never knew the lifelessness and horror of depression and psychosis. Laughing uncontrollably without holding back, everything else is pushed aside for a moment, all the despair, the hallucinatory voices & figures that
stalk
the
nights, the suffocating loneliness,  the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.

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I recall the day a group of us got together and decided to trick the psychiatric technicians and pretend we were talking to people who weren’t really there. She knew we were faking and laughed with us playfully warning us “just wait til the doctors get here and see if you get to go home any time soon, you’ll never get out of here!” We quit real fast!

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And the day I was going to be discharged to go home which happened to be the day they were having an ice cream party but not until later, after a couple of us had to leave. I wanted ice cream and to sit around with the others and I seriously, very briefly considered telling them I was still suicidal. I wasn’t. But it was almost worth it to pretend. Just weeks before I would not even get out of bed for breakfast. My hunger got stronger each day.

I have always known a certain awareness that most others I know or encounter seem oblivious to.  

There are moments I have felt lonely in my ability to see and appreciate the things it seems many or most overlook. It reminds me of a scene in Edith Wharton’s, Ethan Frome.

“He had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty. His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion. But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege. Then he learned that one other spirit had trembled with the same touch of wonder: that at his side, living under his roof and eating his bread, was a creature to whom he could say: ‘That’s Orion down yonder; the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones – like bees swarming – they’re the Pleiades…’ or whom he could hold entranced before a ledge of granite thrusting up through the fern while he unrolled the huge panorama of the ice age, and the long dim stretches of succeeding time. The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. And there were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills, the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, or the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: ‘It looks just as if it was painted!’ it seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul….” (pp. 24)

I was shocked the moment I first read those beautiful lines. Pleasantly shocked. I feel myself in those words and in the small but profound spaces in the middle of each little lexeme. 

It can be frustrating and also beautiful to feel as if those around me cannot or won’t share in my sense of wonder at the simple beauty all around us. The forgotten. The ignored. The abandoned. 

The things I make it a point each day to reclaim. 

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(I STILL do this when I get happy, thrilled, overwhelmed in joy!) 😀

It’s one reason I love poetry and photography and novels. They have the potential to capture beauty, ugliness, pain, and ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Shedding light on dark, abandoned places and spaces. Places and spaces I have always longed to color with the beauty of my Truth. 

And it’s beautiful.

They have a way of replicating wonder and awe and fossilizing them. Bringing them to life. Bringing them to the surface of consciousness. Threading them throughout eternity like a beautiful tapestry of gold and red, fire and ice.

I have always had a poetic way of seeing things. My head spins the world into poetry and song. 

It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible even to me. But it’s always wonderful.

So even in my desperation, my depression, my despair, and lifelessness, I often noticed and wanted these beautiful things but I closed my heart to them, shut it off as if encased in thick cement. 

Sometimes I wanted to want things and couldn’t.

Other occasions I wanted things I did not want to want. 

Still, other occasions I wanted nothing and did not want to want anything but to vanish into nothingness or die a horrible violent death to match the horrible violent feelings inside me. 

This went on for years and years, and more years. Until I finally decided to get myself better. I asked for help. I work on myself relentlessly to be the best me I can be(not a perfectionist).

Now I feel beauty everywhere, every day. And I feel fear. Fear for myself. 

Have you ever been crossing a street or standing at a curb on a pavement and a car seems to be coming too close to you and a bolt of fear runs though you? Or have you ever been in a car and another car almost hits the one you’re in or actually hits it and you feel a bit shaken for a while after and you feel it’s a bad thing? I don’t think most people have true near death experiences but I think many/most of us have experienced at least one of those mundane occurrences like with cars coming a bit too close, maybe an encounter with a creepy stranger, walking up a dark street alone and hearing footsteps or seeing/hearing something that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Or a person driving a car you’re in a little too fast and you fear for others but also yourself. 

All these experiences may shake you up a bit but that is an amazing thing!

It shows that you are healthy. You’re meant to be afraid when you think you’re in danger. 

Desire.

Have you ever walked through a store and saw expensive things you strongly desired but couldn’t have? Jewelry? Designer clothes? Beautiful furniture? Antiques? A lovely handbag? A gorgeous dress? Ever laid eyes on a beautiful house you couldn’t buy? 
And then you felt low for not being able to buy them…for not having them…

Have you ever wanted to win a game so badly or a competition of some sort? Ever wanted to be accepted to a certain school and graduate? Or applied for a job you desperately wanted?

And it did not turn out how you wanted it to and you felt devastated…

This too is a great thing! It’s healthy to want, to need, to hunger….and to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out.

Just like when a very physically ill person is too sick to eat or even want food then the person begins getting better and appetite and physical hunger returns and the person’s doctor or mom says how great it is. Because it’s healthy to want to eat. 

Have you ever shielded yourself against beauty and things you want, feeling as if it’s wrong to want them or feeling as if you deserve none of it?

I encourage you to embrace the beauty around you and within you. Embrace your hunger, your fear, your desire. Whether or not you act on it. 

It’s healthy to want. 

Wanting is more important than getting.

Desiring, itself, is to be cherished, valued for all that it stands for. For all that it is. 

It shows you are an active participant in life. 

I had this epiphany, I guess you can say, in greater depth one day recently walking through Target. I saw so much jewelry, real and fake, I wanted but could not get. I felt disappointed. The way I wanted it was more than desire. It was hunger. The bracelets, the earrings, the necklaces, the bags that can make a girl go weak at the knees!…and then I remembered various occasions years ago walking through that very same store, seeing all that jewelry but not caring to have it even though I loved it, or wanting it but not with the same enthusiasm I would now, because of being depressed, or wanting it and becoming more depressed for not being able to have it.

That’s when I realized more how great it is and feels to desire what I love. Even when I cannot have it. I don’t always desire material objects like that even when I’m not depressed; generally I’m so happy with just the things I already have. I can often walk through stores without wanting everything I lay eyes on. And that’s a good thing too. But it’s not good to have no interests because depression or guilt saps it all away. Some people have reached a certain level of spirituality where they want almost nothing and do not fear death even when it’s currently staring them in the face but not because of an illness, because they have trained their brains to not be concerned with material things or external factors. They are happy this way. They are not numb. They are alive. This is a good thing. Most of us, though, are not spiritual like this or to this extent. So when we have desire and fear, it’s good. 

I think it’s hard for non depressed people and maybe even some depressed people to realize this. It’s ok to want and not get and then be temporarily devastated or angry or disappointed. It’s healthy to a certain point.

After years of pain, numbness, and lifelessness, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead. 

When I used to think I was going to die, I was usually either happy or indifferent.

Seeing a speeding truck coming at me only provoked my concern for others, not myself. 

I still get like that but generally I’m not that way anymore. I’m like the little girl I was before all that. I experience hunger & fear again. Often.

I realize how beautiful it feels to want to paint my nails, to want to put makeup on because it’s fun, to want to walk through a store and buy things even when I don’t have the money. 

I wanted these things sometimes even when I was depressed but not to the same extent. They often felt like hassles or obligations. Or just tainted in gray. Dull gray. Or the color of vomit. A faded kind of green. A lifeless shade of green-gray. 

Often, I would see things I wanted to want or see things I knew I would want if I wasn’t lost in a vicious kind of darkness tearing me to pieces, choking me, swallowing me whole. 

Now I want to paint my nails. I want to choose eye shadow of various pretty colors to complement the vibrancy of the blue of my eyes.  I want to wear pretty clothes that look amazing on my beautiful physique. 

I want things I can’t have and it hurts. 

And it’s beautiful.

I still get depressed and am consumed by the dark pain or I get the other kind of depression, the kind that numbs me and I feel nothing, which sometimes feels worse than the unbearable pain.

But it’s not in general anymore. It’s just episodic now. And I realize more and more the deep, primitive beauty of hunger & fear. 

When I come out of a severe depression, when it starts to lift, I am hungry. Ravenous. Not hungry for food but hungry for life and everything in it. Hungry for the colors in the wind, the textures, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings and fragrances. Food tastes better than I can ever remember, an out of this world kind of deliciousness.. Music and songs are beautiful in an unfathomable way, my mind feels clear and hope is restored.

My judgment can be trusted. 
 
I become ravenous, rapacious, like a starved, wild animal. My eyes, my mind devour anything they can. 
It’s like I can’t get enough.
It reminds me of a blind person who was blind his/her whole life then all of a sudden can see and it’s overwhelming. Everything jumps out at once, the sensory input is too much to bear at once, dizziness, confusion, clashing, mind-blowing.
But it’s beautiful because the person can see.

I was blind but now I see.

It reminds me of the novel “The Secret Garden,” a beautiful story of growth, hope, and rebirth. 

It reminds me of when I had emergency surgery on my kidney when I was a girl of twenty-one years. I couldn’t eat for days, I was in pain and had an IV drip for a couple days. When I got a little bit better, I was starved. I was hungry.
I craved food like never before.
And pizza fries and Coca Cola never tasted so good.

I feel the entire universe inside me in all its perfections and flaws, all its beauty and pain. Its joy and misery, happiness, and despair. And I am born again. 

When I look up at the sky or at a bumblebee or at thin blades of green grass or weeds, I see poetry and music and paintings. When I’m in a dark room and I look at a door, ajar with just a streak of light seeping in through the narrow crack, I see photography. When I look at strangers on a bus or walking up the street, when I see traffic speeding in the rain on a dreary gray day, I see novels flash across my mind. When I think of my pain, I feel a story. A story to be written and told again and again to reach out and touch someone else for the better. 

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I’m not manic. I know what mania is. I don’t have it. It’s an illness and the people struck with it can’t think clearly even when they think they can and have clouded judgment. I can remain and think in a calm manner even when I think and feel this way. I know I am not invincible. My judgment is sound and I am not delusional in this case I mention here. And I know there are reasonable limits and rules I must adhere to and I do.  Mine is not dangerous like mania can be. But what I describe here may resemble that illness. It’s not to be confused with it. Mine is an awakening, an awareness triggered by an illness of the mind, one that has ravaged my brain for years.  It’s not an illness itself. I don’t always feel this ecstacy when I’m happy. Sometimes it’s more of a calm serenity, a quiet joy. But it’s just as fierce. 

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If you want something you don’t have, it’s ok. It’s best not to let it take over your life and make you miss out on all the goodness you do have and it’s usually best I believe, not to feel our worth is dependent upon external factors but it’s ok to desire, to hunger. And it’s ok to be angry, disappointed, devastated for a while, that we can’t have it yet or ever. Even if it’s something  trivial like jewelry or a fun vacation. Bask in the beauty of that hunger to be better, to have more, to get away…bask in that desire and the disappointment.

Sit with it.

Then remember all the greatness you possess and are and let that disappointment And desire dissolve.

And be happy now.

Did you ever think of disappointment as a good thing? 

I’m here to open you up to another perspective.

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You don’t have to be someone with longterm depression like me to get an idea of what I write of. That’s one reason why we write, to help others understand and discover wisdom without ever experiencing what we have. And to let those with similar experiences know they are never alone.  

The worst thing is not to want and not get. The worst thing is to be dead. And half dead. To not want at all because you are too lifeless to care. Or too lifeless to have the energy to even begin to desire or fear. And it’s ok to be half dead. If you are half dead then you are half alive. And you can awaken that other half. 

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When you have a brush with death and your body turns to jelly, bask in the beauty of that fear. Embrace it. Keep tasting it. You’re alive. And you want to be alive.

Revel in the wonder of that trembling.

Trembling in awe. Trembling in fear.
 
Trembling. 

Don’t shield yourself against the beauty you know. Try not to mask your desire and fear with feelings of guilt because we’re taught it’s wrong to want, to need, to fear, to get.

Let’s be happy, thrilled, overjoyed with the simplest of all the beauty around us. And nOt too

disappointed too long when we don’t get what we want. And let us keep reaching for the stars. I have always been naturally inclined to notice and love the simple beauty but I learned to strengthen my nature, make it more conscious, intentional.

Keep wanting more, keep desiring, keep trying, keep fearing. 

Get your fill to eat. But always, always, keep that hunger.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nICs–86Vng

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw&app=m&persist_app=1
😀

Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/113/113-h/113-h.htm

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4517/4517-h/4517-h.htm

Xoxo Kim

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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Until It Is Carved in Stone

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(second photo not mine)

Hello darlings, I’m here to knock your socks off this lovely morning.   It’s just after 12:00am. Yup! ;-D

Have you ever read a play called “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder?  I have and it’s amazing. It’s beyond amazing. It was produced and published in 1938. It won the Pulitzer Prize.
It takes place in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

I first read it when I was twenty – six years old. And whoa am I so beyond pleased that I did. Thank You to Sarah Ban Breathnach for mentioning this play in her book “Simple Abundance”!!!! Sarah Ban Breathnach is another one who has one of the biggest impacts on me with her beautiful writing.

The play is about a young woman, Emily, who dies during childbirth. She’s twenty -six years old.  It starts out when she’s a young girl and it’s all about her and her family and friends and all the people in their small village of Grover’s Corners.  It’s so small everyone knows each other.

The girl dies at age twenty – six years and she “wakes up” in the afterlife where she meets again, all those who she has known during their living years.  The girl, Emily, is freaked out, grieving, and just devastated that she lost her life and can never again have it back.   She was always a happy girl with a wonderful life while she was alive, but just like most of us tend to do, she usually took most things for granted. Never stopping to just be and allow gratitude, wonder, and awe to surge through her at all the simple joys like the white fence surrounding her house, coffee, flowers, the way people look at each other, the simple ticking of clocks and folded laundry…

Other than people dying throughout the play, the play is extremely uneventful and has received criticism for that fact but the very essence of being uneventful is the whole point of the play. It is the heart, the gut of it, if you will.

Mr. Wilder intended to show people through his wonderful play, how beautiful, wondrous, amazing, lovely… life IS even when it’s so simple, monotonous, agonizing,  and lacking in big events.
While this may seem like a play depicting an idealized view of American life, it actually is not.   The message is that life is good while being painful, it’s heartbreaking but breathtakingly beautiful.  

One character in the play, Simon Stimson, is a pivot of this message. He struggles with alcoholism and is known as the town drunk but he serves as a message to people . He is a tortured soul who constantly cries out for help but people refuse to help. They are steeped in denial and overlook his desperate pleads for help.  He eventually dies by suicide. The message here is that society, friends, family, people….we ignore, deny, repress, overlook so much of life. Even when one of our own is desperately pleading, screaming out for a helping hand.

   In the version I have, there is a beautiful forward by Donald Margulies.  

Donald Margulies states, “You are holding in your hands a great American play. Possibly the great American play.”
He goes on to say if you have read this play many years ago, perhaps in school as a requirement for some class, you will greatly benefit by reading it again.  But now, read it more mindfully, soak up the incredible message this play conveys.  Draw on your own life, your own experiences to really receive the deep wisdom of this play.

Donald Margulies admits that he is envious of any person about to begin reading this play who has never read it previously. He loves this play passionately but reading it again isn’t the same as reading it for the first occasion, he says.   But he is a teacher/professor and gets to watch others experience again and again which he loves.  

The title of this play “Our Town,” itself, is a pivotal message. The town in the play, “Grover’s Corners” is a representation of human life everywhere.   It can be extended to all of American life and beyond, all around our world.  We are all human and we all share basic human traits no matter our culture, country, society, nationality, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, political views, experiences, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, opinions…

“Our Town”, as Margulies states, is a “microcosm of the human family…”. It is all towns.  Everywhere.  This play captures the universal experience of simply being alive.

Act III of this play is breathtaking. Mr. Margulies states that he was shattered by it and that is how I feel as well.  Shattered then put back together once again but not without a few scars, a few breaks, a deep enthralling sense of enlightenment and compunction.

You know someone is a good teacher when that person can slap you with a truth so profound it brings you to a sense of ruin, leaves you with a sense of pudency, remorse for old ways, living and never knowing.   But it’s good to have someone or something break you down to the bone, pierce you to the core, punch you in the gut , knocking the wind out of you,   shatter you just to build you back up with a new sense of life, a new philosophy, a newfound strength, rebirth. 

Let it rip your heart out, shatter it to pieces, almost beyond recognition then let it glue it back together and move you forward with some scars to remind you to be mindful of the wonders of being alive.   The wonders we ignore, overlook, and slap in the face day by day.

Now I will leave you with some poignant quotes or lines out of this play.

In the play when the stage manager is interviewing one of the main characters, Mr. Webb, about their town, Mr. Webb says this:

Very ordinary town, if you ask me.  Little better behaved than most. Probably a lot duller. But our young people here seem to like it well enough. Ninety percent of ’em graduating from high school settle down right here to live-even when they’ve been away to college.”

Mr Webb: “…No ma’am, there isn’t much culture; but maybe this is the place to tell you that we’ve got a lot of pleasures of a kind here: We like the sun comin’ up over the mountain in the morning, and we all notice a good deal about the birds. We pay a lot of attention to them.    And we watch the change of the seasons; yes, everybody knows about them. But those other things – you’re right ma’am, – there ain’t much….”

When Emily died and found herself in the afterlife she insisted on looking back at her previous life.  The other dead people strongly advised against it as it would be too agonizing and despairing to see a life we once lived and can never , ever return to , but sweet, innocent Emily just had to see for herself.   They urged her to choose an “unimportant” day as opposed to one she viewed as very important.  One dead woman told her to choose the “least important” day of her life as it would be “important enough.”  And it would still be incredibly painful.

Emily chose her 12th birthday.

Here are some things she said as she looked back, as if watching a movie.

Emily: “Oh, that’s the town I knew as a little girl. And look, there’s the old white fence that used to be around our house. Oh, I’d forgotten that! Oh, I love it so!…”

Emily:(softly, more in wonder than in grief.)  “I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old?  Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything. – I can’t look at everything hard enough.”

Emily: “Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.  Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama. I married George Gibbs, Mama. Wally’s dead too.  Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway.  We felt terrible about it – don’t you remember?  But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for one moment we’re happy.  Let’s look at one another. “

When asked if she was happy looking back, Emily responded, “No…I should have listened to you.  That’s all human beings are!   Just blind people!”

Here is what Simon, the suicide victim says after death to Emily:
Yes, now you know.  Now you know!  That’s what it was to be alive.  To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those…of those about you.   To spend and waste time as though you had a million years.   To be always at the mercy of one self – centered passion, or another.  Now you know- that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to.   Ignorance and blindness. 

Emily:
Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you.  Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute?
Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.”

Think back to days in your life, maybe a birthday, a holiday, a special event, a graduation, a wedding….what was important to you then?  The perfect napkin patterns?   The perfect gift?  Being a perfect entertainer? Spending a certain amount of money?  Looking good?  Getting gifts?

What was really, truly important?  Napkin patterns and “perfect” gifts?  Or looking into each other’s eyes.  Really looking. Hugs.  Warm embraces.   Really tasting that hot tea or coffee. Looking up at the sky and feeling awe surge through you.  Genuine friendships. Tucking your kids into bed.   Really listening as we speak to each other.  Stopping to see the flowers, to feel the sunlight, to hear the cars on the expressway, the birds chirping, to feel the warm blankets at night.  Cuddling with your fur friends.   To smell the honeysuckle and the roses and the warm cookies baking, to feel the rain on our skin , the soil beneath us.

Think of any “ordinary” day. What about clocks ticking?  What about the refrigerator buzzing?   What about the cars parked on your street? What about the concrete beneath your feet? What about the feel of air on your skin? What about the walls in your house? The ones you look at every single day. Do you ever stop to notice them?   Or are they so mundane you don’t give them a second thought?   What about when you’re making your coffee or tea? The sugar and cream going into it?  Look at that. Really.   Just look.   When you brush your teeth, get a shower, wash your hands, inhabit your body and your life.  What if you died but were allowed, for a few minutes to look back on this life, wouldn’t you miss all this?  Miss it ALL with a passion so potent it can knock the stars and the sun into oblivion?

It’s not just the big things, the holidays, the birthdays, the weddings, babies, and graduations.  It’s not just the pretty things, the sky, flowers, sun, butterflies and birds.   It’s everything.   All of life. The cars screeching in the streets, getting out of bed. Walking, driving to work, standing in lines, paying bills, stress. Wouldn’t you miss all that?  
What if your life changes dramatically?   What if someone dies on you?   What if you are stricken with a long term illness or chronic pain disorder?   What if a close family member or friend, a pet becomes terminally ill?   What if you become paralyzed tomorrow or something else drastic happens and your life doesn’t look like this anymore?  Oh, how you would long for the mundane, your old monotonous ways, your old stress and concerns.

It’s too late for them, but not for us. We are still alive.   Still so blessed with this gift. THIS life.

And now with this awareness.

We can wake up and do all the things alive people can do. You can die at any second whether or not you realize or believe it.  

Isn’t Thornton brilliant?  Isn’t he still touching people long after his own death with this wonderful play? His beautiful, profound message?

You can die right now.

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So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go make eye contact.  Go smile at a stranger.   Go embrace someone.  Go look up at the sky.   Hold hands.  Sit in a warm, cozy cafe with a friend and truly listen.  Go listen to people. Listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say. Take advantage of your senses, of being alive, Share a banana split with your mom, sister, or best friend, hold a door for someone and really want to, buy someone coffee or tea, And if you plan on getting married, forget about the napkins if they don’t turn out right, if you plan on celebrating the holidays, forget the “perfect ” material gift.  The true gift is your presence and your love and care.
I am a blessed girl. Truly.

Now.

Xoxo Kim.

P.s. And oh, yes, go read “Our Town” please. Ty

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ~ Mary Jean Irion 

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“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” ~ Alexander Woollcott

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” – Rosalind Russell

“So the sidewalk is crowded, the city goes by
And I rush through another day
And a world full of strangers turn their eyes to me
But I just look the other way

They roll by just like water
And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst” ~ Joe Cocker (and other singers)

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” 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

Morning Glory

Mornin’ darlings!!!

 

It’s morning here in sunny, Philadelphia, Pa!! ❤

 

  I got up extra early today to attempt to get a picture of the sunrise, something I always wanted to do. I have so many of the sun setting but none of the sun rising! But I have seen some beautiful sunrises in this life! Today is too cloudy though! That suuuccckss! Lol oh well. One day I WILL accomplish this goal! Maybe in the sweet Spring! 😉

 

Today, I’m greeting this morning with veneration & love!

 

I’m in a lot of pain and have been for a couple days because of my tmjd, pain disorder, and then I threw out my back, neck, and shoulder which makes it worse and the cold weather compounds it.

But I’m still in a great mood! 

😀

Let’s face it, I’m a bum! Lol ok well not in the strictest sense of the word. I do like to work. I love going to work and working and I like working out at the gym when I get around to it. And walking is amazing. But I also love lounging around and I tend to sleep late and find myself waking up in the afternoon very often.

 

But I always wish that I would get to sleep early enough so that I wake up early in the morning on my own, replenished and well rested without going right back to sleep. That has happened before and sometimes I have to get up in the morning when I have somewhere to be that early. Like this morning. And I find that there’s something so magical and wondrous about the crisp new morning and being up and alive, fully participating in life. Just like the new year, I believe morning is symbolic of new hope & new beginnings, of new birth and all possibility. It’s a beautiful sunrise after a long, dark night. It’s hope. It’s light. A promise, and confirmation that there is, as a matter of fact, light at the end of darkness, a kind of rebirth. And there’s a sweet, early energy just swirling around us and twinkling about the atmosphere. We have a bright new day ahead of us where anything is possible. Maybe we’ll meet a new friend, learn something new, have some amazing new opportunities, receive an incredible phone call, receive an inspirational message or beautiful e-mail, maybe we’ll help someone in need, brighten someone’s day, be deeply inspired, or just have a sweet ordinary day that we make extraordinary.

At the first sign of dawn, the rays of sun bless the Earth with incandescent warmth & sparkling wonder, the birds sing a perfect serenade, and new hope rivulets through the vibrant blue sky.

Mornings happen everyday and we may think them too commonplace to be worthy of honor or adoration. And they do happen for many of us over & over again and that is a gift.

The birth of a new day – a perfect gift. I read in a book of Tao that most places in the cosmos are not blessed with morning. We, we are incredibly blessed.

Yes, for many of us, morning means we have to reluctantly drag ourselves out of bed, we have a long day of work ahead of us, we have to leave the comfort of our warm blankets and pillows but that is ok. Shake the sleep off and give thanks to this wonderful gift, this incredible present.  

Life here begins again at dawn. As my book of Tao says, this is blessing enough. This is happiness enough.

So give your thanks & blessing to this beautiful new morning. 

 Greet the dawn with veneration and awe!

There is a website called “Meditation Oasis” and the authors create mindfulness meditation mp3’s and generously put them on for free for us to use to guide us during meditation. They have so many, some of them are gratitude meditation, pregnancy meditation for pregnant girls, sleep meditation for children, relaxation ones, and of course, a sweet morning meditation! Check it out!!

http://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/listen-to-podcast/

 

#34 Morning meditation

 

It’s intended to get you to breathe in the morning energy and to really become one with the morning.

 

I believe that in the morning it’s important to be optimistic and positive. Our attitudes and expectations can unconsciously impact the day ahead of us. If you are thankful for a new day and look ahead with wonder and curiosity in a positive way, and expect good things and know you have control for the most part of how your day turns out, an amazing days awaits you!

Everyday is what we make it so let’s make it beautiful! 😉

Here’s to the promise of a brand new day!

😀

 

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” 

― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

 

Just another cold, misty morning inviting,

“want to go again?”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

 

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher 

 

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~ Buddha

 

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love-then make that day count!” 

― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

 

Now here’s one to get you to chuckle a bit:

 

“The morning always has a way of creeping up on me and peeking in my bedroom windows. The sunrise is such a pervert.” 

― Jarod Kintz,”Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life”

 

Lol!

 

Here is a great song by the beautiful Dolly Parton! 

Dolly Parton, “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning” Lyrics

 

“Its been a long dark night

And I’ve been a waitin’ for the morning

Its been a long hard fight

But I see a brand new day a dawning

I’ve been looking for the sunshine

Cause I ain’t seen it in so long

But everything’s gonna work out just fine

Everything’s gonna be all right

That’s been all wrong

 

Cause I can see the light of a clear blue morning

I can see the light of a brand new day

I can see the light of a clear blue morning

And everything’s gonna be all right

Its gonna be okay

 

Its been a long long time

Since I’ve known the taste of freedom

And those clinging vines

That had me bound, well I don’t need em

 

Cause I am strong and I can prove it

And I got my dreams to see me through

Its just a mountain, I can move it

And with faith enough there’s nothing I can’t do

 

And I can see the light of a clear blue morning

And I can see the light of brand new day

I can see the light of a clear blue morning

And everything’s gonna be all right

Its gonna be okay

 

I can see the light of a clear blue morning

I can see the light of a brand new day

Yes I can see the light of a clear blue morning

And everythings gonna be all right

Everythings gonna be all right

Everythings gonna be all right

 

Its gonna be okay

 

Cause I can see the light of a clear blue morning

I can see the light of a clear blue morning

Yes I can see the light of a clear blue morning

Everythings gonna be all right

Its gonna be okay

 

I can see the light

I can see the light

 

Its gonna be all right

Its gonna be all right”

 

Here’s to the promise of a new day. ❤

 

And I hope you all have a fantastic one. ❤

🙂 😀

X0xo Kim

 

P.S. Some more lovely quotes to inspire your beautiful life & beautiful, loving heart!! ❤ 😀

 

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~

Marcus Aurelius

 

“In the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” ~

Kahlil Gibran

 

“Morning is when the wick is lit. A flame ignited, the day delighted with heat and light, we start the fight for something more than before.” ~Jeb Dickerson 

 

P.S. Again!!, lol

Thank You sooo so much again to all who like & read any of my blog entries! I truly appreciate each & every one of you! ❤ :-D. You are all so great! Image