All My Days

Last week, I turned down a job as an office manager/bookkeeper for a lovely nonprofit. I agonized about the decision for at least a week. Almost everything about the position checked all the boxes: great, positive people; beautiful work environment; a position where I would be supported and could learn new things; flexibility of time after several months in the role; amazing, mission-driven environmental organization. ALL the boxes except one – financially feasible. Ugh.

Yes, it’s true that working for a nonprofit generally equates with earning a lower wage rate. And, this place was paying the going rate for the position. I may have more to say on that in another post. But, what made it infeasible was its distance – 36 miles away. That means a 45 minute to one hour drive each way, in traffic, each day not to mention the cost of gas and wear and tear on my car! Because lunch was unpaid and a 40 hour work week required, the time invested would have been from 8 am to nearly 7 pm, 5 days a week. That doesn’t even factor the time you spend getting ready for work and prepping meals.

Yeah, yeah … I know. “Whine whine whine,” you’re saying. Most people live this, do this; some with longer commutes. And many, I would guess, do this with lower paying jobs. I honestly can’t wrap my head around this. How? And … why?

What, I wondered, is my time worth? At what point does paying the bills (and this pay rate wouldn’t have allowed me to break even) offset what you sacrifice in life balance? Ok. Let’s even throw “balance” out the window. What about quality of life?

But, I’ll be honest. I would have temporarily sacrificed balance, quality, time, all that, if the numbers worked out and I knew that I would eventually stop having to draw from savings to make ends meet. I wanted to work there. Everything about the place was and is amazing. But the fact of the matter is that wage rates in this country have not risen to account for cost of living in even the most basic sense. The baseline is too low to make what would’ve been an unending sacrifice. That whole can of worms is a discussion for another time. Sadly, the years it would’ve taken to reach that break-even point may have put me into my retirement years.

Many a road, you know
I’ve been walking on
All of my days
And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Making the decision to say “no, thank you” lifted a burden off my shoulders. The entire process of crunching the numbers, considering the costs versus the benefits (I was a business student,           ya know!), and struggling with the frustration brought on a large amount of anxiety. That anxiousness was on top of the everyday concern that I really do need to get a job, or make enough somehow, to stop drawing from my dwindling savings. Yet, I know I’m blessed. I have financial means to fall back on. My worry is not that great.

What about the hundreds of San Diegans I see with two-hour work commutes, each way, every day? How are they not just sitting in a cesspool of anxiety as they sit in unending traffic, knowing that their incomes just barely support their lifestyles? What about the time, an irretrievable commodity, they sacrifice away from family, friends, healthy activities, and anything else that fills their hearts? It is no wonder that people suffer from anxiety disorders now more than ever. You want numbers? “About one in five Americans cited unemployment and low wages (22 percent), and climate change and environmental issues (21 percent) as issues causing them stress. (APA, Nov. 2017)” Money and work are among the top three most common sources of stress, in fact. (I’ll add the infographic link at the bottom.)

Many a road, you know
I’ve been walking on
All of my days
And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Why do I bring this up? Because this freaks me the fuck out! I worry about the future of our nation (which, btw, is the number one most common source of stress) and the people in it. And, it’s obvious I’m not alone. This … THIS is a huge reason I’m building an organization that addresses anxiety disorders. We want to teach people how to be less anxious using nature therapy as the main modality. Nature is free and readily available. Interacting with nature chills us out and leads to creating deep connections. Those connections we have with nature and each other make us more compassionate, loving beings. I would guess compassionate bosses are more likely to pay an actual living wage (a bit of sarcasm here), therefore, less stress/anxiety, better life balance, etc. You see? There are so many ways this can go that are cyclical and beneficial.

Time really is an irretrievable commodity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And, I made the decision last week to spend the time I would’ve been sitting in traffic to building something that will benefit everyone. It’s called Earth Connect. I hope you’ll check it out.

www.earth-connect.org

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/11/lowest-point.aspx

 

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I Am the Walrus

Finished grad school. Now what?

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly
I’m crying

The Beatles’ song, I Am the Walrus, was the B-side of their hit single Hello, Goodbye. When I found that out on Wikipedia, I thought it was serendipity, and I’ll explain that in a bit. I wanted to write this blog as an update to the last blog post – what did I end up doing and where am I now? I’m inspired by listening to songs, so I Googled one for “where am I now.” The walrus song popped up, and it just felt fun and right to me.

So, the things I’m reading about I Am the Walrus is that it was written as a nonsense song. At this moment, right now as I write this, I feel like “nonsense,” in its most whimsical sense, is the very word that applies to my life. Two years after my last post, I did “do it all!” I went to grad school and graduated this past June with an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, a specialization in spiritual psychology and certificates in transpersonal ecopsychology and creative expressions. I did everything I could possibly do in the time I allotted myself for school. But …. now what?

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don’t come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain

I went to grad school not because having the degree would enhance any career opportunities I might have. I went simply for the love of learning. And, the program I entered taught all those things I had already been (unknowingly) learning for myself in the articles, books, and random webinars and seminars I’d been taking. However, I did go in thinking that, over the course of the two years, I would come out with a better understanding of what I was to do with my life, career-wise.

Four months after graduation, as jobless as I was before and with no idea of what types of jobs I can apply to, I might say I’m no closer to fulfilling that particular area of “adulting” than I was two years ago. I might say that, but I won’t. Since July, I’ve embarked on three potential career opportunities. One of them didn’t pan out; another has been put on hold. And, the third just presented itself a couple of weeks ago.

Though I did not come to a definite idea of my career path while I was in grad school, what I did learn (and continue to discover) is my authentic Self, my purpose in this life, the innate gifts I possess, and the knowledge and experience I have to offer. At the moment, all these things point to coaching as a profession. The irony is that I’ve been telling everyone who has suggested coaching (or that I go into the coaching program) a firm and definite “NO!” I have had a business coach and a life coach, so it is definitely something I believe has value. It was just something I couldn’t see myself doing. So, I reframed my idea of coaching.

In my first quarter of grad school, I was writing in my journal and channeled a poem (this was just the beginning of how my innate gifts began presenting themselves to me and me remembering what some of them are). In it, I was told that part of my life’s purpose is to be a “healer of healers.” The understanding of what that means has been, and is, unraveling slowly. Coincidentally, many of my former classmates are, themselves, healers of all forms – from energetic healers in the esoteric world to people who have or want to create programs that help people heal from their various traumas. And, as I worked through my grad program, I found I have an ability to “hold space” for people. Again, in the esoteric world, this may mean energetic space. But, what does that really even mean? From a very grounded and practical standpoint, it simply means that I can listen well, with compassion, without judgement, and with total acceptance of the speaker’s truth, pain, challenge, or what-have-you. Isn’t it interesting how changing verbiage allows one to change perspective to better understand?

I say high, you say low
You say why and I say I don’t know, oh no

 I decided that part of my “job” in this world is to help those who help others in the way I can best do it just by being myself.

So, if it didn’t occur to you in previous blog posts over the years, I’m a bit of a “woo-woo” gal. You wouldn’t know it to look at me. I rarely wear the uniform or have the affectations of someone you’d consider a neo-hippie or spiritual seeker (though my one allowance to this was to wear a flower crown for my graduation). And … gasp! I have an undergraduate degree in business from a top-rated school. My work experience has been with helping small businesses get into the black or increase their profitability by implementing policies and procedures and streamlining their efforts. These are seemingly strict, hardline things for the flowy, free-spirited person I am. Yet, it all works together, within me. I can dream big, embrace and practice the spiritual, and still convert all of it to practical actions explained with mainstream terminology. And, vice versa! What I have found I’m good at doing is advising (still don’t like the word “coach”) creative and spiritual people like myself establish their businesses/nonprofit/career path by identifying their fears, reframing their understanding of them, and break through blockages so they can take affirmative action.

The serendipity I mentioned before is found in that the intention for this blog post is that it is my way of completing the last chapter of my life and starting this new one. So, really, I’m saying, “Goodbye. Hello!”

You say yes
I say no
You say stop
and I say go go go

In our current socio-political climate, there is a tremendous need for people who help others and spread the love in their own authentic ways. The time for recognizing, acknowledging, and putting into action our individual gifts to benefit humanity is NOW. That sounds so lofty and high-reaching. But, is it really? How often do we suppress our authentic selves, disregard the knowledge and gifts within for fear that we won’t fit into social norms or that doing so would affect our financial lives, or . . . whatever. There are so many reasons, so many excuses. Most point to fear. Is it possible that the fact there are now thousands of coaches offering their services point to the fact that tens of thousands are tired of living this way? In my own way, I have decided to do my part to heal the disconnect many feel in their lives.

With this blog post, I close with “goodbye” and hail with a new “hello! So glad to see you again!” I will be posting other blog entries through two other channels on www.earth-connect.org , the social organization I’m in the process of creating with a friend, and on http://www.spiritualreflectionsadvising.com, which isn’t yet live but will house my spiritual business advising (coaching) efforts. I hope you’ll come to visit me there. For personal, spiritual editorials, you can continue to find me here at Falling Upwards.

Btw, for those who read the last post, my son also took an alternate route in life. He took a “leave of absence” from his undergrad where he was bored, unmotivated, and unhappy. He came home. But instead of taking a year off to breathe a little, he applied and is going to grad school. It turns out you don’t necessarily need an undergraduate degree to get your masters if the graduate program is an out-of-the-box, alternative one that values knowledge and experience over degrees. My wonderful son is also innately a healer and is studying Oriental medicine.

I hope you’ll continue to follow me in my journey. I have so much to share with you – stuff I learned in school and stuff I’m learning on my own, but which I think I may have known all along. I’m sure there’s stuff I can also learn from you. Maybe we can explore a topic a month together? Let me know!

P.S., I’ll update this once I create my spiritual business advising website. And, if you want to find out about healing through Nature, follow our fanpage on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EarthConnectOrg/

Dreaming about the things that we could be…

Yesterday morning, I stopped to talk to a man in my fave, local coffee shop. He was sitting at a table making chain mail. Yup… you read that right… chain mail. I questioned him about it at length; asked who he was making it for and what its uses were, etc. He giggled, thinking it was funny that some random little girl was asking him about chain mail. I told him I thought it was a very cool hobby and an interesting skill.

The night before, I’d had a lovely conversation with my son who has called me less than a half dozen times since starting college last Fall. So, the few times we’ve talk, they’ve been longer conversations during which he’ll talk about something on his mind that he needs a different perspective on because he can’t figure it out for himself, and it is often the social aspect of college. My kid is inherently introverted and finds it difficult to make friends. In fact, though he seems to be superficially outgoing and friendly, he finds it difficult to understand and deal with people in general. It’s genetics. His father was the same, and so am I. His dad and I both had to come out of our “shells” in college and learn how to socialize.

“And my face is flashing signs
Seek it out and you shall find”

I told my son that when I meet someone, I ask them about themselves, not only to get to know them but because I love to hear people’s stories. Every person I’ve ever met has had an interesting, often times inspirational or educational, story to tell. Every person has something crazy cool about them, regardless of how they may appear on the surface. Had I not seen the man making chain mail at the coffee shop, I would never have known that this random person has an interest in, and has deeply researched, a period of history and a specific craft that one would think is obsolete in this day and age. In fact, he told me that much of what he makes is used by divers and people who handle animals, among other things. It’s amazing what things you learn just by talking to people about their interests.

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars”

I read a free iBook yesterday about a man and his robot girlfriend (His Robot Girlfriend). The robot pretty much started doing everything for him, all the menial, household tasks that he wasn’t doing for himself because he was busy sitting on the couch watching TV. By changing his diet and encouraging him to exercise, she helped him to become healthier and have more energy. And, with her industrious example, he started to use his time to do projects around the house, then to start working on a book he’d been meaning to write. The robot girlfriend encouraged him to be disciplined, care for himself and put time into his passions, to become a better, more complete, version of himself; reach for and attain his “possibilities.”

Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly”

Through my conversations with people, I’ve learned  a couple of things : (1) we are all the same, and (2) we are all crazy interesting and unique.

Every single person, every human being, has their story, whether happy, sad, hopeful or whatever … we all come from someplace and someone, and we all have our “whys” as to how we got to where we each are at this moment in time. We have this commonality across the board.

Also, every single person has their “possibilities,” whether we are currently acting upon them or they still lie in our future. These possibilities are unique to each person. What makes you drown makes me fly. There can be no judgement there because, despite how differently you see the world, how different your beliefs, your interests or actions, now or in the future may be, despite our “differences,” we are truly all the same in that we each have a story.

And, in this world that seems so divided by politics, religion, social and economic perspectives, or what-have-you, we all live under and count the same stars.

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars”
 

We Are Love, We Are One…

… We are how we treat each other when the day is done.

I’m posting this a little later than I meant to, and I actually wondered for a few days whether this even makes sense to post… this is kind of an announcement, and a challenge, and an invitation … all rolled into one. It’s not my usual post, hence the questioning on my part. So, here goes…

Several months ago, I asked my Facebook friends what they thought of a particular personal challenge I thought I might want to do — not because I need permission or validation, but because I thought I would put it out there for accountability. Well, I got great support to do it, and to start at the beginning of the year, but I chickened out. My challenge to myself was this:  365 Days of Love

Every day, for the next 365 days, my goal is to create one art project each day which represents, in some way to me, the concept of Love.  The art can be in the form of a photograph, a drawing, a sculpture made on the beach of sand and rocks, or a poem. The challenge is to create each and every day, even if it sucks or is created in a medium with which I have no experience. And, believe me, this is quite a challenge because I can’t draw to save my life, my poetry is laughable at best, and my schedule is so hectic that to go out an capture something on digital and upload, process etc. is difficult.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who likes to challenge herself on… anything, really. I’m not competitive, and I’m mostly a “go with the flow” kind of person who rarely thinks ahead a week or two. And, “disciple” has never been an attribute assigned to me. So, why even think of something like this to do and put it out there to my family and friends? Well, honestly, it has nothing to do with discipline or challenge.

One day in December, I just happened to be thinking of how it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain positive; how even the positive things I read on the internet can turn so negative when people make terrible comments on a post/article that is meant to uplift. People are so willing to be angry about anything, it seems, whether there is merit or not. I read recently that it is human tendency, and a product of our evolution, to focus on the negative. The I started thinking, … beyond trying to catch myself in my negative thoughts and turn them to the positive, what do I do to try to put positive vibrations out there? What do I do to promote a higher vibration in my family, in my community, in my world? What do I do?

To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it.

Other than trying to always remain positive and optimistic, trying to show compassion (when I’m aware of it), and trying to help relieve my family and friends of their burdens, I don’t do a whole lot. And, then I realized, for all my preaching and writing of how we are all in this world together, how it is up to all of us as a community to raise the vibrations of our societies and the world, how the answer to everything that plagues our world is Love, … I’m not doing a whole heck of a lot to contribute to make that world happen.

So, that’s when I thought of the project. It doesn’t seem like it might be that useful in promoting Love. After all, it’s an art project. But, I think that if it’s something I’m thinking of all the time — if I’m thinking of Love and how to represent that –then my thoughts are already beginning to create a possibility. And, if I give form to those thoughts, if I create something that is a material, touchable, seeable representation of Love, then I can share that with others who will then, at least for that brief moment of their day, think of Love and, maybe, feel Love. I guess it’s an actual, physical way to spread Love without going around hugging everybody and anybody I can find.

To be humble, to be kind.
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, To a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.

So, here’s my invitation: won’t you join me on this journey, this challenge, this .. spreading of Love?

The rules to the challenge are simple:  There aren’t really any rules. Just every day, for a year, you create something that, for you, is representative of Love. It can be any medium – drawing, painting, photo, sculpture, poetry…. anything. The only rule is to take photo evidence (can be on your phone). So, if, for example, you make a heart out of rocks on the beach, just take a pic since you can’t take it with you. Then, share it! Spread the Love! If you can, please tweet or Instagram a pic of your art with the hashtag #365DaysOfLove. If not, share it with your friends, your family, with people on the street. It’d be awesome if we can spread the Love globally!

And, since practicing Self-Love is just as important, if you miss a day, forgive yourself, pat yourself on the back for what you’ve accomplished and just resume where you left off the next day. I have a few friends joining me in this already. We start February 14th (yeah, sorry for the late notice).

I’m going to try to figure out the whole Instagram thing and link it to my Facebook page, so if you wanna follow me and see how well I’m doing on this challenge, I’m on Facebook as Facebook.com/FrancesMarie.Photographs  (where you can friend me), on Twitter as @FrancesPhotos, and on Instagram as FrancesPhotographs. I’m not a complete luddite, but I honestly haven’t figured out how to link everything, so the posting may be spotty. I will try to figure it out by the the 14th, though.

And, if you decide to join me, first of all, that would be awesome (read that in a sing-song voice). But, also, please comment on this post so I can watch out for you, too. I’ll be able to find you if you use that hashtag #365DaysOfLove (I think. I hope.). And, remember,

Tell me what it is that you see
A world that’s filled with endless possibilities?
Heroes don’t look they used to, they look like you do.

P.S., I actually didn’t know this was featured in the Olympics until I went to get the Youtube vid for you. What a nice coincidence. I’m taking it as a sign that this is the perfect time to be doing this project.

We Are Family

I was going through my Kiva account because the $25.00 I’d “loaned” out had been repaid, so I wanted to loan it out again. I hadn’t gotten around to doing it before, so this time I went to my account settings to make sure my personal profile and stuff were set to my preferences. Under “My Lender Profile,” there was a text box starting with “I loan because…”

Well, this got me to thinking. Why am I loaning? Is it simply because this Kiva account was given to me as a gift from my brother-in-law (he knows me well) and the money had to be “spent?” Is it because it makes me feel good to help someone halfway around the world whose circumstance is not as lucky as mine? Could it be totally superficial – because my own opinion of myself is that I’m a generous, giving person? Why do I loan?

Then, I thought … if not me, who?
I don’t really have the means to give out money contributions, and if I really need the cash, I can close the account and have Kiva put it back into my Paypal account. But.. these people in these countries who need just a few U.S. dollars to survive and sustain their families… whose job is it to help them, to take care of them as they take care of others?

My mom … she worries about everyone. She is the most generous person I know, sometimes to her detriment. She works very hard for the money she has, and she is quite well off. In fact, she could probably work a lot less and still be quite comfortable. But, she is also very generous with her money, donating thousands to charity and freely spending on her family (thank you, Mom, for the new car!). When we talk about her retiring from her medical practice, her thoughts are of her office manager who can’t “afford to retire.”
“But mom,” I insist, “that is not your problem. She is your age and should have saved by now. You’ve helped her put her kids through school. You need to think about yourself now.”

In her desire to take care of her employee, her generosity in taking responsibility for another’s well-being, she has also helped countless others. Her generosity helped put her office manager’s daughter through nursing school. That nurse takes care of so many others on a daily basis. Her office manager, like my mom, also does a lot of volunteer work, helping who knows how many others who need just a bit of aid to have a better life. There is not only a domino effect to my mother’s generosity, there is an exponential effect. I won’t spell it out…you get it.

This is a compelling reason for me to help in whatever way I can, whether through monetary means or donation of my time for good causes and community. But, it’s not the biggest reason.

As I sat there trying to figure out what to write into that text box, I realized that the reason I do this and volunteer my time and give a dollar to the homeless kid at the corner and any other way I give positive, loving energy to another is because deep in my heart I believe, I know, that the person(s) I am helping is someone who is connected to me.  That person is, as the Christians say, my brother or sister (in Christ). We are all family. We are all the same. However you want to say it, we are connected through Spirit, and yes… there is an exponential effect. The one person I help can help many, and it explodes from there. All of humanity is helped. What can be a better reason than that?

And, as the song goes:
“…high hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
..no we don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong
This is our family Jewel”

The Commitment

A couple days ago, I had what I thought would be my last phone call with my life coaching group. I had told them a month ago that our Wednesday afternoon time slot was not working for me so I would have to leave the group if we couldn’t change it to another time. Well… after much discussion (some of it quite emotional), we didn’t change the time. And, I’m not leaving the group.

You see … after a month of trying to figure something out, with some of the ladies expressing that they’d be very sad not only for me but for themselves were I to leave the group, two of them spoke up with a bit of anger and annoyance towards me. They felt frustration; that my excuses for not being able to re-arrange my schedule to accomodate a standing, weekly engagement was just that — excuses.  They felt they were getting an ultimatum from me but no commitment. And, though I felt a twinge of hurt, I wasn’t offended at all nor did I take it personally. Because… they were right.

In the months we’ve been having our conference call sessions, the last 10 minutes of this call taught me the most about myself and my life.  Heck, maybe it taught me about life in general.

I realized that were I to make a definite commitment to being in the group, that were I to make it a priority in my life to participate in those calls, all those conflicts I said I had would begin to fall away. I realized that the Universe would shape around me, my desires, my goals so that I can my commitment.

After all, if we want something bad enough, we make it happen, right? Even if our goals aren’t accomplished the first time around, we keep trying, push past the failure, until we get what we want, or something that is better.

“We go from pimps to prophets, liars to logic
Zoo to drug abusers, survivors of the projects
My mind sets to clarity, predicting me well
A sign past the tragedy, commitment to self”

A conscious breakthrough I had in that group “meeting” is that I’ve been hesitant to make any kinds of commitments in my life these past few years. I can make excuses like (yes, this is the one that popped up in my head immediately) I’m unconsciously waiting for a great change to occur what with the 2012 shift coming and all… but, really? how’s change supposed to occur if we don’t consciously make the effort for it?

“I will live my life full of conscious
I’ll be the god amongst monsters
I’ll exercise more often
I’ll walk my talk and keep talking”

And, day after day, while I sit here at my computer desk trolling through Facebook and dating sites while watching t.v. and just baffled by the fact that I get nothing done and my house is a mess and why can’t I find time for myself and my kid…. gah! and, duh! I had made no absolute commitments – to helping my son with his college apps, to losing the 10 lbs. I gained this summer, to getting my home in working order, to really, really making a go of my business (which is gonna be my only livelihood in less than a year). I think about those things, but I didn’t, in my heart, commit to making those things happen.

And, why? Well… my inner shrink tells me I have a fear of failure (I was diagnosed with it in college). And, there it is again — fear. Now that I know what it is, now that I’m aware of it, I can change — my outlook, my actions, my verbiage even. I can create, or re-create, the reality around me.

“In the midst of the risk we became better people
Life is a movie, I’m a change the sequel
We owe it to ourselves, evolve out of Hell
Even for my folks behind bars in the cell
Stay well, it’s still a challenge
Reflect upon greatness, embrace it to your balance
Ultimate awareness comes from when you seek the truth
See, life is a journey, plans and patience
Know that you’re worthy, transformation
Manifestation of creation as we know it
Red’ll rip redundant abomination of culprits
The life they giving you is all subliminal
Now we must commit and take back our principles
Turn hate to satisfaction, anger into action
Greed into giving and passive into passion”

The lyrics above say it perfectly. I’m changing my story, my sequel. Do it with me … come on… change your reality, change our reality. Make the commitment. I have.

The Commitment – by Sabac Red

This could really be a good life, good life

Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’ t jump out
Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work now
We are god of stories but please tell me-e-e-e
What there is to complain about?”
– One Republic

I’m still falling. As are people around me.
About a month ago, I found out that my source of income will be cut by a third this Fall. We barely make ends meet as it is, so in a few months, we’ll have to live beyond frugality. A few days ago, a friend texted that he was “let go” because of company downsizing. He has no savings and is just hoping the unemployment checks won’t be held up due to…whatever new reason the government has, as they so often are.

In the past week, however, I have socially met with two completely different groups of people, in an effort to expand my network for my photography business. And, despite the hardship I’m going through, and others are also experiencing, I just have to feel grateful. Because, really… life is good. Life is very good.

These folks I’ve recently met are so interesting … one a group of “lightworkers” and the other walks in the socially unacceptable “dark” fetish world, but in so many ways they are the same. In the material world, they all have their struggles. Many, like myself, have come to a crossroads where choices must be made for survival’s sake. But, in both groups, I saw laughter and joy in the company of “their” people. I saw, in people of both groups, a desire to be accepted, loved for who they are. And, yes… those wonderful people in both groups are very accepting and loving to those around them.

How could I be afraid of what’s to come for my (and my son’s) future when I know I am surrounded by good people? The fear is in the loss of the material. The hope rests in the trust and the knowledge that, in two opposing, different groups of people, there is a commonality .. that we are all the same. And, if we can all perceive and accept this, nothing else matters, and we can have a really good, good life.