Falling Upwards

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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.

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We Are Family January 13, 2014

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

 

It’s Always Better When We’re Together November 7, 2012

Filed under: love — frannymarie @ 4:06 pm
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It’s been sort of a dramatic two days, full of emotion of my part – first, with the elections last night then, this afternoon, on a phone call regarding a friend’s love life. What have I gotten out of the ups and downs of my last two days? Simply this …

Every thing should be easy!

No… really… I mean it. I wonder, at times, why there is so much strife in the world. I understand that, as humans, we value that for which we fight and have to take a stand and pour our hearts into. But, really, must we have to fight for everything? And, by that, I mean — aren’t there things that should just be no-brainers? Things that should just come easily, with no dissension, no animosity or hard-feelings; things that just are or become because they’re right.

Prop 37 in California, for instance, is something that you’d think would have passed easily. You would think that people would want to know what’s in their food and would want to be informed and have the ability to choose. I don’t care if you put GMOs in my food. But, I want to know — darned it! — so I can choose to eat it or not it. It’s really pretty simple. Why did it have to come down to a fight against the big companies for them to do the right thing?

Then, there’s Love (romantic love, friendship love, whatever love). If two people love each other, and they have the time to be together (and WANT to be together), why can’t they just have a relationship? It can be for this moment, or this day or week, year, the rest of their lives….
Why does so much thought have to go into whether or not we ought to have a relationship with this person or that? Beyond maybe social and moral limitations, why can’t two people who enjoy being together just… BE together?

I think our brains get in the way. We start thinking about the all the possible negatives so we hesitate.

I also think, though, that if we come together to remind each other of the good in everything and everyone, there can be a positive (and quick) change in this world. If we stand together in love and harmony (sounds like a Coke song), the fears and the doubts will dissipate. Without all that fear and with support, understanding and hope for each other, I think life would be easier. Life would be better.

“Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together”

Better Together – Jack Johnson

 

I Won’t Give Up on Us March 15, 2012

“… even if the skies get rough..”  — Jason Mraz

In the last year or more, the theme of things ending has been re-occurring…  the end of relationships, the end of the world, the of end times…

I know a group of people who are preparing for the apocalypse (or, at least that’s what it seems like they’re doing); making sure they have stockpiles of food, know how to defend themselves when anarchy hits, have everything they need in the event society breaks down. I guess this is an extreme form of emergency preparedness. I find it, though practical, to be a bit sad.

I must be the kind of person who has unconditional HOPE … “to expect with confidence,” as defined by Merriem-Webster. I expect that society will progress to become more civilized, not less. And, I am confident that, despite the many setbacks (and crazy proposals the Republican party currently seems to espouse — yes, I went there.. to the political) our society continually seems to undergo, we will.. as a community, as a nation, as a civilization.. grow.

“I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make…”

I know a man who should be Lightworker. (Well, I guess we are all lightworkers according to Lightworkers.org .)  He believes, like the group mentioned above, that there is Darkness on the horizon; that our society is in a spiritual war, and the dark is winning, at the moment. I agree with him … I agree there has been a spiritual, energy war happening, but I believe that the Light is winning. I can feel it in my bones, in my dreams and in my very Being.

But, I might just be the kind of person who has unconditional FAITH … in God/Goddess, the Universe, whatever you wanna call it, that all is happening as it should and all will be right in this world. Merriem-Webster’s definition is: “something that is believed especially with strong conviction;  belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” It also considers the word “trust” synonymous with “hope,” with the additional qualifer of “dependence on something future.” Yes… I completely depend on the future turning out wonderfully. I insist upon it. I completely believe and trust everything, everyone will become amazing.  I am looking forward to it. And, I will do my part to ensure that it happens by spreading my joy, my light, as much as I can to all around me.

“Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake…”

This same man I just mentioned also happen to be my Twin Soul (aka, twin flame, something a bit more than just a soulmate). Because of many misunderstandings, he and I cannot be friends at this time. It makes me sad, but it is where we both need to be at this time. And, the very concept of having a Twin says that he and I are learning, growing, progressing in the same direction, together (even while we’re physically apart). That, alone, is exciting. But since we have this awkwardness, and strange energy, between us, a few of  my friends have suggested I give up on him, forget him.

But, I know I am absolutely the kind of person who can LOVE unconditionally … no strings, no expectations, no desire for benefit…  just… Love.

“unconditional: not conditional or limited (M-W.com)”  There is no limit to what I feel for this man, as there is no limit for my love for my son, my family and my friends. I will be there for him, for them, when they need me. There is also no limit on how much I will keep my Hope and Trust that our world and humanity will rise to what it is meant to become — the very best. I will not, cannot, stop loving and showing love no matter how dark and scary and depressing things seem, with either my Twin or the world or what have you. Because..  as I have learned.. this is simply who I am.

“And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough, he knows (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up”

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I have died everyday waiting for you February 26, 2012

Filed under: awareness,love — frannymarie @ 11:15 am
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“…Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
for a thousand years
I will love you for a thousand more.”
—Christina Perri

Last night I saw my “soul friend” (I’ll call him “Milo”) for the first time again in a year. There was no hug, no hello, no good-bye. And, he tried his very best not to talk to me, though we were seated half a table away from each other. Just the thought of it now makes me sad. Last April, he’d made the very difficult decision to stop talking to me. He thought our friendship was hurting everyone around us. The only time he broke his silence was to reprimand me for gossiping, or so he thought it was me feeding his girlfriend (ex, at this point) lies about the two of us. It was causing her hurt. Never mind the pain it caused me to be accused of something like that…

Two weeks ago, I had sent him a final email telling him that I will love him for the rest of my life; that, whenever he feels lonely, he only needs to remember that there’s someone out there (here) who carries love for him and sends it to him, energetically, daily. Two weeks ago, I had “abnormal cells” that might have been pre-cancerous. Last week, after surgery to cut out those cells and knowing I had done everything to I could to complete my karma with Milo, I erased his number from my cell and archived the hundreds of emails. I think both the surgery and my actions were physical ways to wipe the slate clean.

“…How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall..”

Last night, as I was sitting at that dinner table, trying to assess my feelings and still give off positive feelings to my friends and son around me, I got a sad text from my sister. She had just had a very difficult conversation with the man she had just started dating and who she obviously (to me) had already fallen in love with. Turns out he decided he doesn’t want children. And, my sister has been trying to have a child (even before she met him). His feeling is that they do not continue the relationship because it would prevent more pain in the future. If she succeeds in getting pregnant, that would be the deal breaker for him and… what if… what if he, and she, are more attached at that point. There would be a lot of pain.

Why are we all so afraid?

Last night, I made a conscious decision to go to that dinner. I did not want to skip out on spending time with my friends (and all-you-can-eat bulgogi) because I was afraid of my reactions and being around one of the guests. If, at the last moment, it didn’t feel right to me, then fine… I would have left. But, I did not want Fear to make my decision for me ahead of time.

Why would this man my sister is seeing make a decision to cut short their possibility for happiness now because he’s afraid they may both be hurt later on? It is already inevitable. We hurt those we love, we are hurt by those we love… sometimes, there’s a happy ending, sometimes the ending sucks. But, in between it all, there is that wonderous, beautiful time. And, that love may still exist afterwards. What’s so bad about knowing that someone loves you, and you return that love, even if you cannot be together?

Does it take the possibility of having cancer for people to value the time they have? Life is so short. Tomorrow, I may… well, I may not have a tomorrow.  So, let me love you for today, for this moment.

“…Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer…

I have died every day waiting for you.
Darling don’t be afraid
I have loved you
for a thousand years
I’ll love for a thousand more.”

 

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss January 3, 2012

Filed under: love — frannymarie @ 7:57 pm
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“How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?” — Bob Dylan

My new year starts in mid-December, on my birthday… my new year of life. For most everyone else, it started two days ago, on the 1st of January. Everyone is excited about all the new possibilities, leaving any difficulties and failures behind.. a new year, a new life, new opportunities…

I made my resolutions and started living them. I figured out my motivating words for the year: dogged determination and discipline. I was, and am, totally excited about what 2012 will bring, not only for myself, but for our society as a whole (I mean…gosh.. I subscribe to the “new age” understanding that this year will be one of raised energies, etc.).

Then yesterday morning, I had an interesting dream. I dreamt of my late husband, something that only happens when something really sad is about to happen. We were walking hand-in-hand when I had a overwhelming feeling. I beckoned to him to come closer then, very hesitantly, whispered, “I love you.” It felt like I didn’t really want him to know it or that I didn’t want to admit it. He said, “I love you, too” which was nice, but I thought, “I don’t want him to say this just because I did.”

What an odd dream. In my half-awake state, I tried to figure it out because… it was my husband, and of course I loved him. Why the hesitation? At this point, my phone beeped with a text message, but I decided to ignore it and go back to sleep and back into my dream.

It was my neighbor texting me. She had found my cat’s collar and… tail.
This cat adopted me, and my patio, as her family and home. She’s a feral cat, a survivor living in our complex for years, from a kitten. She lived on our patio, and I fed her, for at least a year before I got attached. For over a year, I refused to acknowledge her as “my cat” (even though I named her), telling neighbors she was a stray. Refused to buy things for her, had her eating out of a broken Tupperware. My neighbor bought her a bed, a little house, blankets, a dish… I jokingly said she was my neighbor’s cat living on my patio.

Well, I got really attached to that darned beautiful, black cat with the expressive yellow eyes. I said she was a perfect witch’s cat. I don’t like cats. I’m a dog person. But Micah (My-Cat) wanted attention like a dog. She met me at my car when I drove up and walked me to it when I left. She walked me to the mailboxes (a block and a half away) when I got the mail. She “conversed” with me through my screen door, asking for company, for love. And, I gave it to her. I begrudgingly (at first) gave her love. After all, every living thing, no matter its circumstance, needs love.

What kind of way is this to start a new year? How cruel that she should die (and horribly, at that, taken by a coyote) just when we finally acknowledge her as a part of our family and acknowledged our love for her? But, I guess, more importantly, the question is not ‘why did she die’ but ‘what lessons am I to take from her life, from having her in my life and knowing her’?

There are always so many lessons to take from a death:
– practice non-attachment
– live each day as if it were your last
– cherish every moment you have with your loved ones

other lessons I took from knowing Micah?
Keep an open heart so that love can enter it, in whatever form.
No regrets. I cannot think “I should’ve let her live inside” because she was a free spirit, and I had to honor that.
and, That Spirit (Micah’s and John’s, my late husband) is with us, part of us, always.

I know that, as I go through my grieving process (I’m crying as I write this), I will find more lessons… right now, I’m just grateful.. for the opportunity to give that beautiful kitty a better life than she would’ve otherwise had. I’m grateful that the little wild thing let me love her. I’m grateful for the past year Micah was in our lives.

I guess it’s great and all to look forward to new opportunities ahead. But, it’s just as important to look behind, with lots of gratitude and understanding of lessons learned.

Here’s to you Micah … wherever you are (kitty heaven?).
And, here’s to the rest of you out there.. that, whatever 2012 brings you, you will always find the goodness and the love in every experience and relationship the year brings.

 

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.