.underneath

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You ask me where I come from. What I’ve done. Where I’ve been. Who I am. 

I could write about my childhood…. growing up in a household with parents who don’t know what love is. With siblings that follow suit. I could tell you about the endless days and nights where I cried alone in a dark room hoping for an end to my own misery; learning the ins and and outs of lies and manipulation. My journey of raising my younger siblings alone and trying to educate them so they have a chance at a decent life…. or how my drive to be better than the life that was set up for me. I taught myself everything I know. I learned what love was by loving and nourishing others. That’s where I come from. 

Where did it lead me? Into the law binding marriage of an emotionally and physically abusive man. Into the home of another shade of ugly that disguised itself in religion and tortured me behind closed doors. I didn’t believe that I deserved better. Not after all I had been through before. 

The next rut was just as ugly with out the exterior bruises as proof. Manipulation and emotional abuse that ripped me to pieces….

You want to hear the struggle? About my endurance and drive? 

You want to know what makes me tick? How I managed my way through life and how the hell I’m probably the happiest person you know?

Well that’s just it… I’m happy. Because I choose to be. I had no reason to be for the first half of my life. I’ve changed my perspective and I’ve embraced life. I’ve walked away from the toxic waste that loomed over me for so long. I’ve built bridges out of trust and communication. I’ve formed relationships out of love. And I’ve learned to love myself. Scars and all. 

This is me. My past is just that. It is not who I am. Or who I have been. It just was. It was a chapter in a book that was burned. One I’ll never open again. One I’ll never revisit. One that lead me to emotional turmoil… and eventually to peace. 

Peace. Such a lovely thought. It seems impossible to some. But the secret to it is acceptance. Acceptance of the ugliness we have all carried at one point in our lives. It’s acceptance of failure but also acceptance of who we truly are. How beautiful we are. How magical we are. Peace is alive. It is an attainable blessing that comes from making a simple choice. 

That my friends, is who I am; I am Peace. Don’t ask me where I come from as if it reflects who I am today. I am who I am today because of who I choose to be each morning. And that is where I come from. I come from the beautiful acceptance of beauty and love each and every morning. And that too, is who you are. 

Namaste 

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.i’ve learned how to forgive

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I had a personal achievement a few weeks back. One that I had been working on/through for months, if not years. I understood the feeling but I couldn’t grasp the concept nor put it to words….. Until last week that is… A dear friend of mine asked me to elaborate on the subject… So here goes.

My life, like most anyone’s life, has been full of ups and downs. Some of my downs have been a lot deeper than most, but I always found my way out and back up to where I needed to be. Surviving conflict though, whether within yourself or with someone else is not the same as finding peace within it, OR the same as healing… I don’t like to survive life… As one said before “We all die at one point anyway, so what’s the big deal about being a survivor?” Well, that question resonated with me. And I started looking for the answer. Because surviving isn’t peaceful, it isn’t happy, it isn’t inspirational and it isn’t a mindset to be grateful in either. You can’t grow from survival, you can’t learn from survival, you just survive. So once you have survived whatever it is that you have gone through you need to forgive. Ah, yes, forgive. Such an easy task, right? I’m sure you sense my sarcastic undertone…  But in all seriousness, forgiveness is truly the key to personal growth and ultimately inner peace.

Chew on that for a minute……

Now, forgiving someone (including yourself) isn’t a one and done kind of thing. You can’t force it. You can’t fake it. And you definitely can’t go without it. The question now is how to forgive. And here is where my epiphany came to play.

You can’t bundle forgiveness.
You have to compartmentalize it. You have to choose forgiveness every day. Sometimes multiple times in one day. This goes for self forgiveness as well as for others. Allow yourself time and space to heal by accepting, understanding and letting go of the pain for individual hurts. Don’t bundle them up into one blanket of forgiveness. It doesn’t work that way. You’ll continue to fall back into the same dance over and over if you do. Take the time to address each hurt…. And learn to forgive them on their own

Does that resonate with you? It does with me. I realized I can’t just forgive someone for everything they did just because I want to let it all go. I have to go through the list and understand why I forgive each thing that happened or that transpired individually because they all had lasting effects that trickled their way into my NOW. Thus allowing me to let go of the pains that relate and are attached to those memories or hurts. It takes time, effort, patience and for me, a lot of tears…. But as I work my way through my forgiveness I feel an enormous amount of peace. I feel confident in my decision and confident in my emotion that now correlates to that memory/event of forgiveness.

When you see me smiling…. I am truly smiling, it is not a vail or a mask like it used to be. With patience, perseverance and a passionate desire for wellbeing and personal growth I have been able to over come what I never thought I would.

Forgive

.you

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How can I love you in so many untold ways?
The depth of the sea nor the height of highest mountain top peak
Compare to the magnitude of love and passion that my heart holds for you

My fears hold me back from showing you
My angst prevents it from transcending…
My flaws mask the sincerity
And yet you still love me…

Your mind is a beautiful canvas
It holds secrets that no one will ever know…
Your soul power is overwhelming
And your heart overflows with a deep passionate love… For everything and everyone. For the good and the bad.

I wish I had the words that would impress a great poet…
But words don’t suffice when you are the subject…
You’re a beautiful soul and I think you know it.

Smile for me, beautiful one
Smile for me….and let us fly home

.i am listening

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I am listening to you…
with intent to learn, to grow and to give
I am listening to you…
to your words unspoken
that seep through your bones
I am listening to you…
trying to grasp your language…. your needs and your wants

I am listening to you…
even when you think I am not
I am listening with my eyes as I watch the way you move
I am laughing at your jokes but I see the underlying truths…
I am listening to you in ways you wont understand
but I listen with an open heart as I grasp your hand….

I am listening to you even when I don’t comprehend
the world through your eyes… very different from my own
but, alas, a world that I long to know

I am listening….

.a not so pleasant reflection

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What is it that makes us create this ideal person in our minds? This person who should never fail, who should never fall or get upset? Why do we dwell on our shortcomings as if this person is expected to be golden?

Why can’t we just accept ourselves as is? And not in an “I’m okay with mediocrity and never going to grow” kind of way, but in a way that we accept ourselves as human beings with flaws. One that is inevitably going to make mistakes, and sometimes repeat them, one who is going to look stupid at times, step up to the plate when they are feeling frustrated and just be who they are?

So what I get upset sometimes, and say things I shouldn’t…. I was expressing what I felt at that moment. Or something silly got me excited so I squealed like a child… So what if I fall madly in love and don’t pay attention to the reality around me for a while… So fucking what?

People will always judge us, that is the most predictable part of the story, but shouldn’t we be free from judgment in even one element of our lives? In self love? Now, I am regretful of several things in my life, and at any given time, if the opportunity was present, I would go back and ask for a redo…. but that is because I have gone through the experiences of both the decisions and the outcomes.

At the time, I was just living.

And a lot of my bad choices are only bad because they didn’t get me where I would like to be now or they hurt someone… but if they had gotten me where I wanted and perhaps not hurt anyone along the way, would they have really been bad at all?

I don’t label myself a failure, but I have failed a lot. Because my expectations for myself are higher than for anyone else. I hold myself to this standard of perfection even though I am so far from my ideal self that, on occasion, I can hardly stand to look at myself in the mirror. At the same time, I know that I am a very strong person, I am someone that I would like to be friends with…. I am a survivor. I am an inventor, I am an artist and lover and inspirer….. But to who?

I don’t inspire myself, so here I am again, seeing the good things about me only through someone else’s eyes. And the bad stands out like a peacock in a chicken coop. I’ve hurt someone that I love because I can’t seem to keep my rose colored glasses on for more than few moments at a time. I hold it all in until it all bursts out…. then…. pow. I’m back to square one.

Now I’m sick to my stomach in disgrace with my lack of tact and empathy because I spewed out all those nasty negatives that have been bundled up inside…. rather than work through them and find a solution… I just spewed it all out. I regret it, I shouldn’t have done it, but now what? How do I erase what I’ve said and how I have painted myself to be, both to this person and myself?

I want to apologize and wipe it away just suck up the emotions, whatever they were, and say they are gone… but are they? Will it fix anything? Or am I doomed to repeat my mistake once again…. After I hide it for a while as I attempt to live up to my perfect idea of me, will it creep back out of me? Will I ever “grow up”?

Maybe I should embrace those crazy emotions and say this is part of me… It is a part of me that is evolving still and hopefully will adapt to a more understanding demeanor in time. But alas, it is part of this big ball of good and bad I call myself. And like it or leave it, who I am is all I truly have in this world. I don’t control things, or people, or circumstances, but I have me, the good, the bad and the ugly until my time here is done…..

I still haven’t come to any fantastic conclusions or had an amen moment when I sit and try to figure this out, but I have realized that my choices now, dictate my future no matter how small. Words can’t be erased once said, feelings can’t be un-hurt, expectations can’t always be met, but with each stride I take, I grow a little more… and maybe one day that lady on the other side of the mirror will sincerely smile back. Maybe then, I will be able to be me without so much discontent. Maybe then, I will truly be free.

If you think of anything sooner than I do please let me know…. I forgot to mention that I am not very good with this thing called patience either….. Namaste!

.the art of my life

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Most people question what kind of legacy they will leave behind….

I don’t care too much about my legacy from someone else’s eyes but I do want to look back at my life and be proud of the art it created.

As an artist I love to create things… Music, poetry, jewelry, and visual art.
But I also realize that I create my own life.
Everyday is another brush stroke on my work of life. I want it to be beautiful.
My life has had a lot of dark moments but it has also had a lot of beautiful, bright moments too.
I want them to mesh and build and layer upon each other because that is what has created the person I am today.
I don’t look at my faults or shortcomings as such, I look at them as one area of my picture that is needed to make the lighter parts stand out.
The best parts of my life are when another artist comes in and paints part of their picture with mine… My children and their love brighten all areas, my partner meshes with my patterns and adds a level of bold vibrant colors… it keeps getting more and more detailed.
I want to look back and remember every stroke, to realize the importance of every color and every twist and turn.

It might look like a big mess to you, but to me…. It is beautiful. And it is the life I call my own.
Namaste

.the dancer

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And so the story goes
That she sang her way through life
Wandering through the paths unknown

With her head up in the clouds
And when the sun sets…
Her head is upon my chest
Although her lips are moving
She is just talking in her sleep
But she is dancing in my dreams…

She doesn’t see what I see
That with every step she takes
A melody is written for her
She has all that it takes

The magic that she carries
Every smile shines so bright
It’s early Sunday morning
To her I’ll hold on tight
That beautiful creature
Little girl divine
Behold in love the dancer
The rhythm in her mine -JF

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