Falling Upwards

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Dreaming about the things that we could be… April 28, 2014

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person has an interest in, and has deeply researched, a period of history and a specific craft that one would think is obsolete in this day and age.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… February 12, 2014

… 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 January 13, 2014

Filed under: friendship,Uncategorized — frannymarie @ 11:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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 November 30, 2012

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 June 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — frannymarie @ 8:03 am
Tags: , ,

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.

 

The Dog Days Are Over June 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — frannymarie @ 9:21 am

Three times in the past week someone has mentioned blogging to me. I had already been thinking about this blog which I’d neglected, put on hold, until I could decide what to do with it. I’ve been wondering whether I should resume writing this or starting a new one, or both. I figure that with three instances of “reminders,” the Universe was telling me to do something.

So, here it is. A small start to .. whatever this will become. This blog is called “Falling Upwards,” and I have fallen quite a distance over the past two years — higher in some areas of my life, lower in others. The only constant is change. In all areas of my life there has been change, which is always a positive thing.

I’ve titled most of my posts with song titles or phrases, most of which I woken up with in my head. I think there’s something to that… don’t know what exactly, but it must be telling that, this morning, “the dog days are over” keeps repeating in the back of my head. I guess with that in my mind, I continue to fall upwards.

 

hey soul sister… May 21, 2010

You see, I can be myself now finally
in fact there’s nothing I can’t be
I want the world to see you’ll be with me…

… Hey Soul Sister
I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do
tonight
— “Hey Soul Sister”, Train

A few weeks ago, I started getting to know a man I’d met last Fall. We’d only said “hi” in passing at the martial arts studio my kid attends. But, God only knows how or why, we’d started texting; about the studio stuff at first, then more esoteric stuff. I guess it happened when I put myself out there and texted something to the effect of “I’ve known you before.”

About a week before that text, I was talking to another martial artist at the studio. He was telling me that he and his partner are soul mates, and in his beliefs (Judaism), God splits a soul in two, puts each half into two persons who are destined to meet in this life and complete each other. A neat and tidy understanding of soul mates. From my end, I was not surprised when my text friend answered that he knew, as much as any man could know anything, that we have known each other before.

My understanding of soul mates is not typical. First, I don’t believe that you can have just one — because, frankly, I believe Love to be boundless since God is boundless. And, my understanding of soul mates is atypical in that I believe those connections are created over Time, through several lifetimes. (Mind you, I wasn’t raised to believe in past lives, but only a dozen years ago learned the truth of them.) I have a high school friend who is one of my soul mates. She and I went to a psychic fair 12 years ago and decided to talk to a past-life psychic on a lark (neither of us believed in past lives). The psychic told us details of one life we shared together, when she and I were mates/lovers. Other people in our current life were also there. My friend and I looked at each other, both a little freaked, and knew, just knew, that what this woman was saying was true. My friend and I are soul mates. And, somehow, we knew that instinctively from the moment we started hanging out. We have a strange connection, perhaps some would call a deep friendship, so that no matter how many years have passed, it’s as if we’ve never been apart when we do re-connect. And, we are very attuned to each others feelings when we are together. Makes things between us… easy, synchronistic, effortless. It was through our past lives together that we developed this friendship.

I’ve come to learn, over the past couple of weeks, that when you refer to someone as your “soul mate,” there is a romantic, intimate connotation. This saddens me because I’ve been referring to my new friend as a soul mate though I know that, in past lives, we were not romantically connected — just playmates. I think I’ve caused a bit of ruckus in telling other friends about him, though I’ve made clear that I’m not interested in a romantic involvement with him at this time. Besides, he currently has a girlfriend, and having recently been on the “innocent party” end of an affair, I cannot bring myself to play the role of “other woman” — not now, not ever.

It also saddens me that society’s understanding of Love is so limited. I have been, for two weeks, trying to figure out a way that I can be friends with this man without that friendship hurting anyone. Here’s the thing with my soul friend (I’m dropping the “mate” because of those stupid connotations) — we seem to have a connection that defies explanation, logic. With intent, we are able to pass energy to each other. Draw from whatever belief system you prescribe to — that energy.. it’s Love. In the presence of this man, my spirit calms, I am aware of everything around me, I am present, and when I feel his energy, I feel bliss. There is nothing romantic or sexual going on. There is just joy. In the words of a spiritual person, I am in God’s Love. How can that be a bad thing?

It became a bad thing when one of my closest friends sobbed in my ear last night, as I was telling her of my feeling for this man, that I am having an emotional affair and how could I do that? She divorced her husband of 20 yrs because he loved another woman though he never had a physical relationship with her. And, she reminded me that I was more hurt by my Ex falling in love with another and not-so-much that he had sex with her.

But, this morning, I can’t help but think that those hurts had more to do with the agreements between the parties. My agreement with my Ex was one of monogamy; an agreement he broke without my knowledge. And, for me, the pain wasn’t so much that he could fall in love with someone else — after all, Love is boundless –but that he kept the truth from me; kept it all a secret. I’d like to think that I would’ve been understanding if he’d come to me and let me know of his growing feelings for this other woman. Then, we could’ve changed our agreement. It was the pain of all the lies (those of you who’ve read this blog know that more lies came to light eventually) and his inability to be completely truthful that led to our break-up.

So, last night, out of perhaps undue influence of my friend’s tears, I sent my soul friend some text messages that … were mostly not my own words. I had forgotten, in the cloud of tears, my Truth, my understanding of Love and friendship and told him we could not be friends. I could not separate the emotions and the limited understanding of those around me from what I know, in my heart, to be truth — that …

We are all capable of incredible, boundless, limitless Love. That we are all soul friends to each other. That we are all connected through this Universal Energy some would call God. And, in these connections, there is bliss, compassion, awareness … all those things that our religious leaders, mystics and saints preach, pray for and hope for.

But, it is up to each Individual to accept this concept. And, it’s up to each and every one of us to strive for it, fight for it, desire it … as an outcome for our civilization.

If, because of my hasty words my Soul Friend, I never connect with you again in this lifetime, then please know that I am grateful for the lessons you taught me these few weeks; for the knowledge that I can live in bliss because the joy is inside me, and you showed it to me. Thank you. And, to You and all my other Soul Friends — I send you Love.