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.

Liz Obert’s The Secret Lives of People Living with Depression

The Secret Lives of People Living with Depression

The secret lives of people living with mental illness Photo courtesy Liz Obert www.lizobert.com

The secret lives of people living with mental illness
Photo courtesy Liz Obert www.lizobert.com

I recently read Katherine Brooks’ op-ed on the Huffington Post “Exploring the Double Lives of Everyday People Living With Mental Illness” by the photographer who chose to open the curtains and expose the dual world people who struggle with mental illness live in.

I struggle with depression and have the meds to help me get through life with a smile, but there are days when darkness covers my life.  I am normally a happy, vivacious person; I’ve learned to find joy despite child abuse.  However, there are days I wake up and don’t care about anything that is important to me — my beloved husband, my sweet dogs, my writing or artwork, my garden —- nothing.  I have what most of the world would consider incredible success —- I have a 20 year marriage, own a home, have my own business, control my time.  Yet on those days I tell myself I am a loser and hate my life.

Photo Courtesy of Liz Obert  http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Megan_large.html

Photo Courtesy of Liz Obert http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Megan_large.html

When I try to explain this to others they just can’t grasp it.  How could such a positive person have days of self-loathing and sadness? Well, it happens, it’s true, and depression is an illness, not a moral failing.

So I was thrilled to learn that Liz Obert is courageously illustrating through her photography the darkness that hides within your friends, children, parents, colleagues and loved ones.

photo courtesy of http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Marie_large.html

photo courtesy of http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Marie_large.html

Liz Obert has been an artist since she was a child. She worked with painting, mixed media and installation work until a photography class transformed her artwork.

I asked her why she decided to do a photo series on the duality of depression, and she said “I wanted to do something personal with my photography and I’ve always lived this double life of holding a job and then going home and dealing with the depression.  Then the idea came to me to photograph both sides of my personality” She told me that she is inspired by the world around her, whether it is by objects or personal issues.

Liz Obert’s work can be seen in Portland in June at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center and in McMinnville, Oregon  in September at the Linfield College. Her work “The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness” recently won the top spot in the Top 10 most popular Photography Posts of 2014 in Slate Magazine

http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Wil_large.html

http://lizobert.com/dualities/content/Wil_large.html

I am glad to see that more people are “coming out” and acknowledging they suffer from depression. For too long it has been looked at as a personal failure, an inability to suck it up and be happy, a self-indulgent habit of weak-minded people.  Depression is anything but that.  People who struggle with depression yet get out of bed on the good days, suit up and face the world and contribute to is, truly are spiritual warriors.  They struggle with an incomprehensible inner pain that provides no warning before it arrives, and they get through the dark days anyway.  In many ways, people who struggle with depression and then work in the world are probably some of the most optimistic people you will ever meet.

I’m glad I had a chance to connect with Liz Obert, and I look forward to seeing more of her work.  You can find Liz at www.LizObert.com

Now it’s Your Turn!  Go to Liz’ site, and tell us which photographic montage speaks to you the most, and why.

 

In Spite Of… #InSpiteOf

We so often live our lives as victims of others. #inspiteof  Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We so often live our lives as victims of others.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Guest Blogger Wendy Whitmore MS LMFT & LIFE COACH

As a survivor of neglect, abandonment, rape, molestation, racism and discrimination,I stand firm in my belief that you can overcome your tragedies, trials and tribulations. I am a firm believer that #INSPITEOF the barriers put into place, failed marriages, partnerships and relationships; it is still possible to succeed at love, your career, and everything in between. Many times when barriers have been put into place, your marriage fails, or your partnership dissolves, we find ourselves wanting to blame the world for our unhappiness.

Many of us will choose to play the victim role and not hold ourselves accountable for the part that we played in the things that are bringing us so much unhappiness. When tragedy strikes we naturally have a tendency to “fall apart”, and when trials and tribulations cause barriers to pop up in our lives, hindering us from being successful at love and in our careers, we look to place the blame on our partners, co-workers, mates, friends and family.

#inspiteof We can blame others or accept our roles in our life's situations. Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We can blame others or accept our roles in our life’s situations. Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet the truth is we are capable of withstanding all the negative, hurtful and disappointing things that may come our way. We have to choose not to be the victim. As a young woman I consciously made the choice to succeed and triumph #INSPITEOF the tragedies, trials and tribulations that occurred in my life. I chose to not label myself as a victim and to stand tall and proud in the fact that I was a survivor of neglect, abandonment, rape, molestation, racism and discrimination.  I chose to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. I chose to embrace my flaws, imperfections and shortcomings and use them as a learning tool for both myself and the people around me.

You can choose to win and not be a victim! #inspiteof Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can choose to win and not be a victim! Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned that choosing to live my life to the fullest meant that I had to accept my past and my mistakes and not allow myself to play the ‘blame game’ or to be hindered by the barriers, tragedies, trials and tribulations that occurred in my life. Choosing to triumph #INSPITEOF all the bad that may have taken place in your life, is the true definition of success and happiness.

 

Wendy Whitmore M.S. LMFT & Life Coach #inspiteof

Wendy Whitmore M.S. LMFT & Life Coach#Inspiteof

Wendy Whitmore MS LMFT & LIFE COACH

www.truthhealingevolution.com