Falling Upwards

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To Everything there is a Season April 5, 2014

… and a time to every purpose, under Heaven.

Today, I went for a walk. And, there was a very specific purpose for that walk. I walked to a place that is sacred to me, a place where I have, in the past, been able to reflect and find peace during times in my life when I was in inner turmoil. This time was no different. But instead of just sitting there to think and, perhaps, to journal, I needed to bury something; to physically, symbolically cut ties with a certain person who has appeared on this blog numerous times.

Without going into too much detail, I created a little ceremony for myself in order to sever a connection with “Milo” (whom I’ve written of in the past). I took heart-shaped pieces of paper and, on each one, wrote our names and the names of those I feel he and I have been in shared past lives. I tore each piece in two so that the two names would no longer be connected then burned the pile of torn paper while giving thanks to God/dess for the lessons, the love and the connection we have shared and praying for more beneficial relationships in the future that will also lead me to more lessons, love and connection. It was the ashes of the paper I needed to bury to complete my “ceremony.”

As I walked over the footbridge that crossed the lake on my hike in order to get to my sacred place, I remembered the last time I’d walked that path with Milo in mind. At the time, the lake was full, teeming with fish. And, as I looked over it, I saw the ripples in the water and composed a poem:

Karma

What effect has my one pebble
when compared to the ripples made by the wind?

Is God’s hand not greater than mine,
large enough to diminish my careless toss?

waves abound,
made by the stirrings of many

So why does my hand hesitate
to cast my stone far and wide?

Why not make my fleeting mark
upon the vastness of this little lake?

(Frances Marie Reilly – 5.21.10)

Four years later, and I finally felt the change I needed within me. And, as I walked, a heron flew towards me, then stopped at a rock and seemed to point, with its beak, the direction of my path. (Why do I mention this? Google “animal spirits meaning heron”.)

At my special spot, I sat on a rock, closed my eyes and felt the wind, listened to the birds and creek while I prayed for completion, for closure and openness. I gave gratitude for the love, the patience of the Universe (as I felt I’ve lived through this cycle and have had to learn these lessons repeatedly, over eons), and the God-given strength I knew to exist within me. I meditated, listened and felt the energy of the Earth, of the Sky and the Wind, then drank Water to cleanse. Nobody’s ritual but my own, I knew, in my core, this was all necessary. Lastly, I dug a hole near some daisy-like flowers (so fitting, because I have always associated that flower with Milo), and as I filled it, again gave gratitude and put into it the intention of closure, change and growth.

As I walked back from whence I came, I reflected on the lightness I felt in my core. I realized that I was doing something I LOVE. I love to hike. This was a significant realization for me because it was the very thing I have been agonizing over for at least two years. In trying to decide on a career path, the question of “what do you love to do?” often arises, and, to my dismay, I have thought “I don’t really love to do anything.” I have been in a dark place of sadness thinking that I truly felt I had no passions in my life and that, somehow, that made me a lesser person. And, because of this, I would never “make my fleeting mark upon the vastness of this little lake.” But, here I was… just having completed a symbolic act, and at that moment, the sense of lack, of lowered self-worth lifted in some strange way. All because I realized that I love love love walking in nature.

Almost to my car, I stopped to watch a hummingbird, which seemed to stop to watch me. Google “hummingbird spirit animal,” and you’ll find “The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being.” I also love that “this fascinating bird is capable of the most amazing feats despite its small size…” because I’m 4’10”!!

Can you feel my joy through this post?! In one short walk, I managed to let go a Love that no longer served me (a very difficult thing to do indeed), to reclaim that part of my heart so that, with a whole heart, I am open to new Love, to new experiences and lessons. I remembered my powerful Self – that through intention and ceremony (and maybe a bit of magic), I reclaimed, or just recognized, my inner strength and felt my Light and knew Passion.

It is so hard, in one blog post, to really convey everything I took away from my hike. The symbolism of the two animal totems – the heron and the hummingbird – are even more significant if I could tell you my whole story, my life in the present and the truly difficult, but necessary, situation I deal with daily. But, really, we all have those challenges in our lives. We all have the times we can’t figure out who we are, where we need to be, what we need to do. We all have things we need to let go, whether it’s stuff or, with more difficulty, people. And all these things wear us down, day after day, and its challenging to keep the darkness at bay (some times, we don’t even know it’s there) and remain positive through it all.

But, look at what I remembered. We are, each of us, so very strong inside. We were born that way, born with the strength to accept and live through the challenges and lesson Life gives us, and made even stronger by meeting those challenges which, with lessons learned, increase the Light within.

This time that is upon us now is a good time, a good season. I, for one, am looking forward to the new challenges ahead and finding my passions and my strength, my light. For, it is my time, my season, as it is … yours.

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

 

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”

 

Things Left Undone January 3, 2014

I was just reading my last post on “commitment” and, being as it’s the beginning of the new year, the traditional time of the year to make new commitments, I have to take pause – review, rethink.

It’s been over a year since I posted last. I’d written “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.” And, I still believe that to be true. But, sometimes, life throws us a curveball, and we have to adapt our swing, change our goals or, at least, the timeline.

“When your life is over and you’re reaching the end,
River of Jordan is around the bend,
Will you be counting all the trophies you won?
Or will you look back on the things left undone?

I was determined, last year, to put my photography business on the road to success. The plan was to implement all my marketing ideas and really start booking shoots and making money in the business. What actually happened the latter half of the year was the complete opposite. First, I lost my largest “client.” The organization decided that they were perfectly happy having me photograph their events for free and, now that we had come to the point where I should be properly compensated for my efforts (even after the many thousands of dollars they’d saved with me as their photographer for the past two years), they happily let me go to “hire” another photographer. I took that event as a positive thing as I had become quite unhappy with our relationship.

….

I started this post last night when I’d written everything above. I was going to go on about how so many things happened to make me re-think my commitment to having a successful photography business, including losing the client, the death of my grandmother (for whose funeral arrangements I was responsible), going to the Philippines (for grandma’s funeral) and getting caught in Super Typhoon Haiyen (Yolanda), and leaving my home in San Diego for extended periods of time in order to help my mother with her businesses (I would drop everything, except anything for my son, to help my mother). How can I possibly continue as a photographer when it seems life is pointing me elsewhere?

I couldn’t quite complete the post because I was so torn as to where it was going. I mean… I make commitments all the time and, when they’re made to others, I will always follow through. But, the promises I make to myself, whether they be in business or personal life, somehow get put on the back burner.

I looked around my home and saw the many, many projects left undone — paintings partially completed and barely begun, books half read (like a mountain of them), even food in the fridge I’d meant to turn into some yummy dish but ended up throwing out because I’d never gotten around to cooking, and it spoiled.

I was in this frame of mind when I’d titled this blog post and found this video with the words that described how I felt last night — the fear of letting another year go with so much left undone.

“Do you regret, Love, all the things left undone?
Do you regret?

Then, this morning, I watched this Ted talk:

It is given by Diana Nyad, a woman who this past year, at the age of 64, completed an epic journey, swimming from Cuba to the U.S.; a journey she began in her 20s.

In the midst of my “rethinking and reviewing” and just going back and forth in my head as to my photography business and all the other half-completed, unfulfilled promises and commitments to myself, I watch this video and some of her words just jump out and touch me:

“Isn’t life about the journey and not the destination?”

Yet, Ms. Nyad does also say, “Of course I want to make it across. It is the goal.” We all want to keep our commitments. We all want to reach our goals. And, as much as I’ve always believed in her first statement and have always considered my journey the reason for my life, I also want that feeling of satisfaction, of completion. I want to end my life (when the time comes) to know that I’ve done and created. 

So, I start today, the third day of January, with more hope that I have enough time to complete my many paintings, to read my many books and to be successful (in my definition of “success”) as a photographer. It took Ms. Nyad forty years to reach her goal. I am only just 45 now myself. There is so much more time, and I’m walking my path on my epic journey at my own pace. I have the time to fail a hundred times over before I can succeed. And, more importantly, I can be forgiving and compassionate with myself, to allow myself that time.

I think, though, that more than Ms. Nyad’s words of commitment, promise and hope to “never, ever give up” are her very wise words that:

“Every day of our lives is epic.”

 

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.

 

I am Woman, hear me roar December 6, 2009

Last night, I went to a good acquaintance’s house (I think she and I need to hang out more to be considered friends). Four of us women: two of us recently split, two happily married for over 16 years.

The divorcee and I are good friends. She has really been there for me since the beginning of the end of my relationship. She herself asked for a divorce from her spouse over a year ago, when she finally decided that she could no longer live a life that clashed with her principles. Her husband had been having emotional affairs the entire 20 years of their marriage. It was supposedly “ok” because they had never been taken to the physical level.

The other two women were spouse-less for the evening. One told us of how she and her husband got to know each other as pen-pals before he went to Hungary to meet, then propose to, her. A true love story. The other woman made mention, during certain points of the conversation, of how she was now digging herself out of her self-constructed hole. She had lost her home in San Diego’s Witch Creek fire two years ago, and we sat there in her freshly constructed, newly decorated replacement dream home. She had needed the quiet time of self-imposed reclusiveness to … well, recover, I suppose.

It was an evening taken out of a movie — a “girls’ night in” evening in which the characters got insights into each others’ lives and caught glimpses of each others’ true selves. And, as I watched our scene and listened to the stories, a feeling of immense gratitude came over me. Here I sat with three amazingly strong women. Each incredibly courageous in her own way: in rebuilding a life for her and her family, in pursuing a new life in a new land, in leaving a life that was emotionally destructive.

I briefly wondered how it was that these women came into my life, at this time, when I needed to remember the equally strong and courageous woman I have been in the past. But, I know in my heart, God/the Universe/Source…whatever you wanna call the Almighty Being that connects us…has reason for everything. People come and go in our lives to teach us and support us. And, we are in their lives as teachers, too, whether or not we know it.

And,… I feel grateful.

As a side note on resources and the concept of people in our lives for a reason, you can google “soul contracts.” Also, a book I recommend in a previous post is Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss.

 

Left Unfinished November 16, 2009

“Why was I born?
Sometimes I wish I didn’t know
Been times when
I wish that I had just never been
Why did you have me?
Or better yet why’d you leave?
So to the parents who could fuck
But then abandoned me ”
– Machine Head

This doesn’t really apply to anything except that I was looking for a song lyric or title that said what I wanted — “Left Unfinished” — and this is what popped up. Funny that.

It’s funny because one of the books I’ve read in the past basically says that most of our issues comes from our parents, and their parents. They’re handed down through generations.

I haven’t been writing here for a couple of reason. One, we broke up about 2 1/2 months ago. But, the main reason is that I felt this blog was so negative. It was getting me down, and the thought of writing was getting me down. Recently, a friend from college found me. Turns out, he’s got his own blog and is also going through a divorce. So, he inspired me to, at the very least, finish this thing I have started. And, bring it up to a positive level.

One thing about this blog that has been nagging at the back of my mind (that happens when you leave things unfinished).. I’ve been meaning to list the books that have really helped me through this whole process, if only to help someone out who is out there looking for this info. I know I’ve mentioned a couple of them in past posts. But, here’s a list of a few I started off with:

Extraordinary Relationship: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions
by Roberta M. Gilbert, M.D.

The Monogamy Myth
by Peggy Vaughn

Dance of Anger
by Harriet Lerner

For those with a Christian bent –
Jesus: The Greatest Therapist Who Ever Lived
by Mark W. Baker, Ph.D.

For those with a Buddhist bent –
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

For those who are Both –
Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
by Anthony de Mello (a Catholic priest who sounds like Buddhist)

For those with a New Age bent (like myself) –
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life
by Judith Orloff, M.D. (an energy psychiatrist)

I am also currently reading

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

The Power of Intention
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential
by Caroline Myss

and,
The Artist’s Way
by Julia Cameron

There are several more not listed here that I’ve devoured the past few months, but this’ll give you a start.

From here on out, I’m definitely Falling Upwards.