Live the Life You were Meant to Live

It’s been an insane year, in a good way! Book published, workshops, caregiving and bringing my business back on an even keel. So I’ve been dormant on my blog and want you to know I am moving to more normal time-line postings!.

This post was written on February 24, 2015

I’ve really been struggling with my depression recently.  It seems to take more and more of my emotional energy to get through the day, so by the time I get home, I am emotionally drained and don’t have the energy to be happy. Tears seem to be always threatening, and there’s a heavy pain in my heart that doesn’t go away.

I.   Just.   Don’t.   Care.

I’m not suicidal (I’m much too interested in what’s going to happen next), but I am feeling that my life is pointless.

I was talking to a friend today. Her daughter wants to be a writer, and is attending Tulane University in Louisiana. She is studying creative writing, and her mother encourages her.  But her father, more practical (Like you, my friend says, pointing to me), thinks she needs to get a degree in a field where she can make a living.

It’s a reasonable thought.  Engineers, scientists, lawyers, doctors make more money than writers, unless they are Ann Rice, J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King.  For me to make the same money I do selling insurance, I’d have to sell 10,000 books….a year!….just to equal that. At this moment that seems a bit daunting.

It’s funny, my friend sees me as practical.  I have learned to be practical, but it’s broken my heart in the process.

You see, I listened to my father, and I got a business degree.  I don’t regret the business degree in that I met my beloved husband Ernie at Pepperdine, and it has helped me with my insurance agency….but it’s not what I dreamed of.  My dream was to go to Columbia and study writing.  I wasn’t strong enough emotionally, nor did I have the backing of a parent telling me to chase my dreams, and my parents made too much money to get any kinds of grants or scholarships, so I took the money path.

After all, in my childhood, money was our family’s god, our idol.  I’ve written about my father’s insane chase of money, and how it in the end destroyed him and our family.  In the end he was abused by a woman who wanted his money and married him when she thought he was dying.  She took everything and he missed living life.  The last words he ever spoke to me was “I regret my life.”  He spent his life craving money yet left it to a stranger.

So I’m a little warped by money.  I make good money, but I’ve created a golden trap for myself.  There are bills to pay, mortgage payments, vacations I like to take.

I want to run away and join the circus, but the reality is I can’t. Or at least, I have chosen not to. (See how we speak to ourselves?)  I have married a man with tap roots deeply entrenched in the soil, and he wants to stay put.  I want to stay with him, so I am tethered by a love-chain to the ground when I want to fly.

This is the kind of typewriter I used to write my first novel when I was 14.  Image courtesy of Just2shutter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the kind of typewriter I used to write my first novel when I was 14. Image courtesy of Just2shutter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I was in elementary school I have wanted to be a writer. I devoured books, and loved to escape into different worlds. It made childhood easier.  I wanted to create those magical worlds myself, and scribbled furiously on my novel while driving around the country in our camping trips.  Being a writer seemed to be the noblest calling I could think of. Writing allowed me to vent onto the pages what I was unable to verbalize in my family. But I didn’t. I chose the safe path, the predictable path, and it has crushed my soul. I love my Ernie, but I yearn for the gypsy wanderlust life.

Ernie is good for my soul. He lets me be me.

Ernie is good for my soul. He lets me be me.

I tell my friend to let her daughter take the creative path.  Don’t smother her daughter’s soul in business, or engineering, or law, if her heart is not in it.  That’s a deadly trap that takes 40 years to kill you.  Maybe she won’t make as much money as she could being a professional, but hopefully she will be happier.

And in the end, isn’t happiness what we are all really chasing?

Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us how you find happiness.

 

Khalil Gibran and Healing

Khalil GibranOut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. —- Khalil Gibran

I have always resonated with Khalil Gibran’s words. This quote helps me get through the darkest days that I have while I continue to heal and forgive.

Most days I am happy; I have learned to forgive those who have harmed me, whether physically or emotionally.  By forgiving them I do not condone their actions, but I allow it to not affect me as much.  I have found it is impossible to hate or be angry with someone you have forgiven. Forgiveness allows the light of happiness to enter your soul.

Just because I am mostly happy, this doesn’t mean the wounds are not there, and that my soul is not pock-marked with scars like the moon is.  I’ve weathered too many emotional meteor showers for my soul’s skin to be smooth and glossy. But like the moon, I reflect the light of the healing. There is the dark side of my moon, the side very few people see when they look at my smiling face. That is a big reason why I started writing this blog — to share the dark side so others could realize that even someone who seemingly ‘has it all’….a great marriage, owns a business, owns a home, has lots of friends —- can be silently struggling behind the smiling face and big smile.

Going into nature helps me heal. www.HealingJourneyBlog.com

Going into nature helps me heal. www.HealingJourneyBlog.com

I seem to write best at 3 to 4 AM. Perhaps my ego is still sleeping and the words can flow out of me faster and easier than when I sit down at an appointed time to write.

I write because I must.  I write to be a witness to life.  I write to help you with your journey.  I am always hopeful that my words help you overcome your own struggles, give you courage to explore the dark places, allow you to cry, to grieve, to mend.

You are stronger than you think you are.  Your soul may be seared with scars as the amazing Khalil Gibran says.

Much like these Pioneer Trail ruts are still here, my scars will always be there. But as with this field, beauty can cover the scars

Much like these Pioneer Trail ruts that were created over 100 years ago are still here, my scars will always be there. But as with this field, beauty can cover the scars

I will never be a woman who was not emotionally and physically abused by both her mother and her father.  I will never be someone who had a happy childhood. I will never be a child who wasn’t afraid and did her best to be good, fit in, and be invisible.  The things that happened to me are a part of my history and will always taint my perspective. But I have learned to remove some of the filters my family placed upon my vision and see life as the wondrous and beautiful thing it is.

I have been reading a book by Cheryl Richardson The Unmistakable Touch of Grace. Just as I am writing this I realize that Grace is what led me to Khalil Gibran. I was given a wedding planning book and in the suggestions for vows was a passage from Khalil Gibran’s book The Prophet on marriage. I immediately read The Prophet and was profoundly affected by this book.  Khalil Gibran’s words have always helped me. Now it’s Your Turn! Tell me how Khalil Gibran’s words resonate with you.

Healing and Happiness

Ten years ago I was an angry, bitter victim.  I had been taught to think that the world was against me.  My parents were at best unfit, and at worst, monsters.  My mother was a paranoid schizophrenic who repeatedly told me “I wish you had never been born.”  My sadistic father liked to kill my pets while I watched.  So I didn’t just grow up in a dysfunctional household; I grew up in insanity and understood cruelty too well.

On the outside you would never know any of this.  I learned to keep secrets and wear a socially acceptable mask at school. No one must know what happens behind the upper middle class suburban home with the Mercedes in the driveway.  Anyone driving by might envy my family…until they stepped through the front door.

I was angry at my friends for having relatively normal families, where the worst thing they argued about was jealousies, politics and sibling rivalry…but they knew they were loved. I was angry that they had parents they trusted, and siblings who might disagree with them but would protect them.

I was afraid my entire childhood.  I learned very quickly to become small and invisible.  I escaped into a world of books and dreamed of a day I would feel safe.

For me the path of healing was not straightforward.  There were many twists and wrong turns, inadvertent u-turns on the path back to victimization.  I chose partners who verified I was worthless, and I hung out with negative and cynical people. I understood that world and while not happy to live there, I at least knew what to expect. This lasted until my late 30’s.depression

Happiness eluded me. I embarked on a deliberate path to healing.  I wasn’t sure where the road would lead me, but I knew where the path I was on would take me, and I didn’t want to end up like my family.  I missed some of the steps and fell through the cracks along the way and wallowed in anger before pulling myself out.

I learned that happiness is a choice, and some days it’s harder to make that choice than others. But as I kept deliberately looking for the positive in negative situations, I formed the habit of happiness. I began to stop looking for the bad in things, and sought the good.  I learned to relax about things I couldn’t control. I enjoyed this feeling of happiness more than the darkness.

Fast forward to my late 40’s.  I’m mostly happy, though there are days when the inner darkness does still poke through.  I don’t know if I will ever fully ‘recover’ from what was done to me as a child; but I do know that I have learned to shift my perspective through forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not change what happened to me, but it changes the way I think about it.

This blog was prompted by a conversation about happiness and friendship. There are people in my life who live on the periphery now. They keep trying to get back into my life, but a seemingly invisible forcefield keeps them away from me.  They can’t get to me anymore.  They have not changed, but I have, and my energies won’t let them near me.

As you chose happiness rather than bitterness, chaos, crisis, strive, anger or whatever other form your pain takes, ‘friends’ are going to fall away from you.  You can mourn the passing of the friendship; grief is a normal part of anything ending, whether it’s healthy or not.  But know in your heart that a new set of friends and relationships will arrive in your life that will support you in your quest for happiness. If you grow past that new group of friends, new more positive friends will show up.happiness

I wish you the best in your own healing journey.

Steps to Health, Happiness, and the Perfect Weight

weight management tips

What are your goals? What motivates you? What changes do you want to make?

How do we guarantee success whether our goals are in health, getting fit, in relationships or career? (My clients know that we talk about everything in my office and not just food.)

Here are some steps to help you get started. Share your thoughts on my Facebook or Blog and let me know what’s working for you.

Motivate. Find your motivation. What drives you? Is it disease prevention, feeling good, looking good, or being able to play sports or play with your kids?

Be Present. Keep it in the forefront of your mind. Be present and conscious about your goals. Once we make it a priority, you WILL succeed. Don’t put it on the back burner and let everything else get in the way. I know that beach volleyball makes me feel good, stay in shape, and creates social time for me so I often schedule it first in my calendar before business appointments. Why not balance pleasure with obligations? After all, we work to live not the other way around.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together. Identify people with similar interests. Our environment determines our success. Hang with positive people, you’ll be positive. Hang with negative people, and they will drag you down. Identify the 5 people you spend the most time with, and notice where they lead you physically and mentally.

Immerse yourself. Get knowledge, do research, talk to professionals, and immerse yourself.

Set goals. Set goals and take action. Without action, nothing gets done. Just do it!

Fake it until you make it. Your emotions determine your action and your action also determine your emotions. (e.g., act like you’re full of energy and happy, and you’ll feel that energy.)

Support is the key to success. Let me know how I can support you.

www.HappyFoodHealth.com

For healthy cooking ideas:  www.healthy-cooking-videos.com