Dream Stoker Nation

Motion drives emotion

For the first time in what feels like forever, I am happy. I don’t mean I feel happy, because at this exact moment, I don’t feel it, for numerous reasons. Despite not feeling it, I am happy.

I took a bit of a trip down memory lane this past weekend.

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The left image was my freshman picture (I think), the upper right was either my 7th or 8th grade self, and the lower right was my sophomore picture.

I wasn’t happy in any of those pictures. I didn’t like myself and pretty much hated my life in each of them. At first glance, all that can be seen though is a beautiful, smiling face of a young girl without a care in the world. Then, if you look into her eyes . . . Well, they’re not quite telling the same story.

Middle school and high school years can be brutal. Especially if you don’t have the support and encouragement that comes with living in a family and community that offers and supports connection, encouragement, and cohesiveness.

That girl didn’t have any of those things. She thought she was fat, ugly, and unlovable. She felt isolated and alone, irreparably damaged, and inherently, inevitably like a failure.

I look at these images now and see beauty, potential, and nothing but possibility – or I would if I didn’t know that she was me.

I want to reach out to her and tell her it’s all lies, that she is none of the things she believes herself to be. I want to comfort her, encourage her, and teach her what she doesn’t know about herself: she’s beautiful, creative, graceful, loved, and valuable.

Looking back, I know some people did make the effort to do that. A teacher, a school counselor, a youth pastor. Sadly, their voices were drowned out in the cacophony of other voices she heard daily from her peers and those voices also were lost in the vast silence and overwhelming chaos that existed in her home life.

Bullied, abandoned, and essentially left to fend for herself, she became me and has dwelt inside of me all this time.

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At 17 she became a mommy. Terrified, embattled, homeless, and nomadic she didn’t know anything really about loving her child. She did her best. Within two years she was doing it on her own. She never believed she was enough: knew enough, did enough, or had enough to do right by her son. There was never enough: time, opportunity, and support. She did her best, but her best wasn’t enough.

Defiant, conflicted, filled with shame and fear, she became me and has lived inside me all this time.

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After years of trying to get it right: two GEDs and a High School Diploma, a fast and successful year in community college, and frantic pursuit of love, acceptance, and approval – she crashed and burned. Depressed, overwhelmed, and isolated she saw her mother in the mirror one day. A few weeks later, an aborted suicide attempt. Six months later a rabbit died and the proclamation was made by a family member, “Now you’re never going to get anywhere!”

At the age of 24, two became three and all the doubts, fears, and mistakes of her past lived and grew until she became me.

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LaLa and I were talking about how this is the first time I liked a picture of myself and saw the beauty of me before I saw the flaws.

Then I saw this snapshot.

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I was seven and a half months pregnant with her and 23 years old. Things were not alright in my life. Circumstances were still tough. I had a few friends and no money. What I did have though was hope. I had someone investing in me who believed in me, saw my potential, encouraged me, and supported me to go for what I wanted to do.

I was engaged in pursuing a goal and doing something I was good at. I hadn’t let the negatives outweigh the positives and dissuade me from pursuing the things I wanted to do. For that brief moment of time I had hope.

This is exactly the position I am in today. I have barriers, obstacles and challenges:
• Keith and I have been in major conflict for the past three days.
• The severity of the lower back pain & sciatica is becoming excruciating.
• Finances are in the toilet again.
• Technological and logistical glitches abound.

In other words, nothing new or different.

However, I am doing something I love that feeds my soul (blogging/writing/creating word art), I am reaching out and receiving encouragement, motivation and support (I joined the Dream Stoker Nation on Facebook), AND I’m moving – doing what it takes to get things done, despite the pain and difficulty.

The motion of moving forward, despite and through the troubles and obstacles drives the emotion that let’s us know we can be happy, even when we aren’t feeling it.

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Choosing the light

There is a lot of negative perception about Facebook. That’s alright, since Facebook has it’s fair share of negative people with negative outlooks sharing negative things for negative purposes. It’s easy to get caught up in the trauma and drama of all the negative programming.

However, it’s also an awful lot like fine tuning the dial on the old analog radios in order to hone in on the clearest signal on the FM dial. Too far to either to the left or right and the signals cross, the messages overlap and there’s a lot of static.

The Law of Attraction seems to be working for me these days, because more and more positive people are connecting with me and my news stream is becoming filled more with smoother flowing, calm, clear, and thirst quenching messages.

Perhaps I’m just getting better tuned in.

Yesterday, my meandering led me to, The road to ME, where I found this image and quote:

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“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view.

When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.

The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before.

Its never too late to take a moment to look.”

~ Sharon Salzberg

I was immediately inspired in a number of ways. The synapses began firing and the words and concepts began forming. Here’s the end result:

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It’s never too late, until it is. As long as you have the breath of life, you have a life worth living. We are meant to thrive, not merely survive, although, surviving is where many of us start.

At some point, many points, if the truth be told, you have to decide between surviving or thriving. Surviving is easy, regardless of how it may seem. Thriving is much more challenging of the two, believe it or not.

Thriving means letting go, losing control, and trusting when there may not be a basis for trust. It means deciding ahead of time to forgive the unforgivable and letting down your guard enough to allow others inside your defenses.

If you have adapted to living under the cover of darkness, you may yearn for the light, but flinch away from it’s piercing brightness. If the attic of your mind has been accumulating and storing haphazardly arranged bits and pieces from your life, the switch to turn on the light may be hidden or even not the kind of thing you may assume it to be. It could even be located where you don’t remember it or expect it to be because it’s been so long since you’ve actually looked, or it may be your first foray into this dark and cluttered place, filled with darkness, dust, shadows, and cobwebs.

You might need help to find the switch. That’s okay. You might need to borrow a flashlight or have someone hold it while you rummage around in the darkness. Maybe you need help with the heavy lifting or the arduous task of sorting and identifying all the various items. That’s perfectly fine and acceptable.

However, it’s your attic, your stuff, and your switch. You decide what to keep and what to let go of. You determine what gets done with the items you’re keeping. Repurpose it or put it back in storage? Use it and let it benefit your life or move it someplace else where it becomes a hindrance? It’s your choice.

Once you get to the switch, you decide when to flip it. If someone else flipped it on without warning, without you being ready and without your permission, your initial reaction may be pain, shock, fear and anger. Your first inclination may be to turn the light back off, because darkness has become soothing and familiar, it makes you feel protected and safe.

It’s your life. It’s your decision. .
Isolation or Reach out and accept help?
Reside in darkness or Move into the light
Survive or Thrive?

You choose.

I want to thank Steven Shomler and Marc Shelske for their leadership and examples of how to live and work for your dreams with authenticity, dedication, integrity, and transparently.
http://www.dreamstokernation.com
http://www.marcalanschelske.com

First world problems

I can’t take it anymore! Not writing feels like I’m withering away.

On Friday I realized I hadn’t connected with Marisa regarding our Monthly Manic Mondays with Marisa post and that yesterday would be the last Monday of the month. So, I sent her a private message on Facebook to see if she would be willing to carry the brunt of this month’s post since I am sans computer. She agreed, yay!

So, I invited her to be an Editor here and decided that I would create a scheduled blog post for her to edit. I didn’t save it as a draft because I’ve had issues where I’ve saved a draft then later updated it and new content didn’t save correctly. However, my work around was to schedule a future post and that seemed to work well. So, I thought that would work well for us in this circumstance.

Yeah…not quite.

It turned out that the initial post I did and her first edit saved correctly. However, I tried to add pics and edit from the app while she was logged in and editing the post, but I didn’t realize it. After that point it was like two different posts were created and saved. She saw her version and I saw mine. Two different occasions I saw hers, but when I checked back later, at first I couldn’t locate either version, then I saw my edited version minus her newest content.

I was so beyond frustrated!

Thankfully, she had saved the text in a different file. So, we finally agreed to scrap the first post that published and run with one she would post, which I would leave untouched.

I am a tinkerer and really want to go in and fine tune the formatting, but I really need my computer to do it.

Which leads me into what I’ve really been thinking about these past few months – what my dream and vision for my life is.

Since beginning this blog, I feel like I’ve grown and matured in my recovery journey in significant and palpable ways – at least internally.

I think some of that is showing through in the fact I’m not constantly posting about the angst and drama of the relationships in my life and all the problems and hindrances I still deal with on a regular basis.

Part of the reason for that is that I have cleared out some of the emotional and psychological clutter, so there’s room for other things. Yay! That factor opened the pathway to me starting the Author Interview feature. I realized that was something I truly enjoyed doing. I have at least four lined up and waiting for me to edit and schedule them to publish. I just need my computer to be able to do it.

A second reason for the shift in what I’ve been writing about is that I got tired of repeating myself about the difficulties and conflicts. I figured if I was tired of whining writing about the same things, surely those of you who have been reading for a while must be ready to see me move on into new territory. Let’s face it, I’ve done my proverbial 40 years of wandering in the desert, it’s time to take the steps to move into the land of promise.

Finally, enough people who know me and the key people in my life have found their way here that I kind of chickened out about continuing in the tell all, journaling format I had been doing. I’m not going to go back and censor or remove anything previously written. However, after the way relationships were affected and the events of the past four or five months, I am choosing to be more circumspect in what and how much detail I offer here.

All of these things have been weighing on me as I’ve contemplated who I am, who I’ve been, who I want to be, and what I want to do with and in my life.

I’ve realized that writing, blogging, getting to know fellow bloggers and seeing what they contend with on a regular basis and still keep reaching for the things that enrich their lives and the lives of others, has brought me to the point where I need to identify the thing that fulfills me, grab on and not let go of, no matter what.

I have been watching LaLa navigate through the difficulties, barriers, and challenges in her life. I am witnessing the miracle that she is: scared, wounded, and on shifting sands but determined, persevering, and unwilling to let go of her dreams. I’m awed by her. She inspires me. More than that, she needs to see me stand up, take up my mat, and walk. So that she has one more person to travel with on life’s road.

I need to write. I am energized by promoting and helping others seek their dreams. I frequently am in the position to do that by connecting interests, ideas, and resources between others. Yet, I have been hesitant to risk believing that these are things I can pursue and capitalize on with the physical and mental health issues, the family and relational dynamics, and the logistical circumstances of my life.

No more, my time is now and now is the time to dare to let myself dream again.

I took a step and joined the Dream Stoker Nation group on Facebook. It has people I’ve met and many I haven’t. There are teenagers and some older than I am. Men and women, people from varied backgrounds and with diverse dreams.

This was my introduction:

I’m turning 44 in June and realized a while ago that I’d given up on and forgotten my dreams. I’m tired of just surviving and being tossed around like so much flotsam and jetsam in my life.

I’ve been blogging a little over a year and am seeing the possibilities of allowing myself to dream again and figure out how to hold onto it and not let go despite the things that always seem to rise up and hinder me.

So, here I am.