Falling Upwards

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I, I Did It All May 17, 2015

Recently, I’ve been looking for a new job. I more or less gave up my photography business when I agreed to help my mother with her businesses (a medical practice and a residential care facility) a year and half ago. My intention was to go full steam ahead with my business when my son went away to college. I would now have the time to fully commit. Instead, I’ve spent the past 1.5 yrs bringing stability to two businesses for which I have no interest. But, I don’t regret it. I did it for love. I did it for my mother.

“Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises, you built a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay”

Any change is difficult. But, as we all know, change is healthy and necessary for growth. And, even though this wasn’t the change I was expecting, my life has definitely changed. One of the positive things from the past year is that it has given me the time to decide whether investing more time in photography was what I really wanted to do. I’ve never been as passionate about it as most other photographers I know. As one friend put it, “[you] don’t carry your camera everywhere with you.” But, giving up something that I’ve been doing, that I know, is scary. Still… I kept thinking that there was something else out there for me.

My issue this past year has been in trying to figure out what the “something” is. So, last December, I went to see a career counselor. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d written an actual resume, and I truly didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, … and, oops… here I was middle-aged and, supposedly, grown. What I learned in our meetings surprised me. Very little of my interests had to do with photography and more to do with spirituality, community/volunteering, holistic health/lifestyle, and food. (If you were a FB friend, you wouldn’t be surprised by that last one.) So, I began to look for things in those areas, including possibly going back to school.

“Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad
The only way you can know is give it all you have
And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say…”

I told very few people about my findings, that I was considering going back for an M.A. I told those I knew it would affect — my family members and a few close friends.But, now, here’s where I got a surprise. The folks I thought might be unsupportive (namely some in my family) were completely supportive of the idea, even knowing that I’m financial strapped as it is and going back to school will be an even larger financial burden. But, the bigger surprise was that the one person I thought would be most supportive (because she always has been) got angry at me. Angry. (I repeat that word ‘cuz I’m still baffled by it.)

My Good Friend’s opinion is that I need to take grow up, get a job, any job, and take care of my finances. Now, mind you, I have very few expenses, excellent credit and really want for nothing. I may not have all the “extras,” but I’m grateful for what I have and believe that Source/God/dess (whatever you wanna call It) will provide. And, I’m not silly enough to let myself (or my kid) starve and be homeless because I’m too proud to work at Micky D’s. But, because she has been one of my guides for so long and because I respect her opinion, I began to doubt to myself.

In fact, the doubt grew so strong, it turned into fear; fear that I cannot provide for myself, fear that I won’t be able to get a decent-paying job (her opinion is that I should be an AA because that’s all I can do, even though I’m grossly over-qualified for all AA positions); fear that, as a middle-aged woman, I really have no choices or opportunities left.

Around this same time, my son started to have serious problems his second year in college. His grades started to dip; he can’t shake off feelings of depression; and, he has been ill with one virus or another since the beginning of the year. His words to me (via text) were “idk if classes are the right way to go.” What do you tell your kid when he pretty much says he wants to drop out of school? Ok… now what do you tell your kid, who’s been telling you since sophomore year of high school that he doesn’t like school and how things are taught? I’ve been telling him he needed to “play the game.” But, now he says, “I don’t want to play this game anymore.”

“Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up
And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes, I’ll say…”

Then, because my angels and guides speak to me through the internet (maybe), interesting articles began to pop up on my wall and in my feed. One was from a Reddit post by a 40-something man who felt he wasted his life. Another was a compilation of inspiring life lesson quotes by Rumi. (Just click on the links if you want to read them) The author of the Rumi quotes article listed the #2 life lesson as “Your job is to live your life in a way that makes sense to you, not them.” Well, if that didn’t hit me between the eyes!…

What I realized is that is DOESN’T make sense to live in fear, according to somebody’s else’s concept of what should or shouldn’t be and playing society’s game when it’s one you “don’t want to play.”

I’m 46 years old. Yes, my time in the workforce is now limited, but that just means I’m not going to settle for any old job. I’m going to get one that has meaning for me; one in which I can contribute and learn. Or, I’ll get a part-time job and go back to school to learn more stuff. I haven’t decided yet! And, I’ve got at least 40 more years of life to have more adventures and experiences.

As for my son, he’s at the beginning of his life. He, as a young adult, is at his peak, invincible. Why must he go through school the “proper” way? Why not take the time now to explore while he has the energy and is young enough to fail again and again with few consequences? So, as his mom, I’m encouraging him to take a “leave of absence” from school to get his health back on track, figure out what he wants to do and maybe go an adventure of his own.

I’m sure some people read the last two paragraphs and cringed. I know my Good Friend would. But, here’s something else I learned in the past year and a half…. your good friends may love you, but they don’t know what’s best for you. Only you know what’s best for you. I learned to listen to Myself, to trust my inner voice. And, in doing so, I also learned to hear what my son was really saying.

I think, though, that the hardest part in all this was the part I didn’t expect I had to do, which was to let go of my Friend. She was the last in a group of “friends” I recently let go because of their negativity. Don’t get me wrong… I”m not a fountain of positive words and actions all the time myself. But, I started listening to my body when it was telling me that certain people made me feel bad, about myself, about my situation. Being around them made me feel tired, sad, uninspired, and that was not the energy I wanted around myself. I plan to live a fearless life, in the Now, full of possibility,…  that is the sort of energy with which I choose to surround myself…. so that, someday, I can say..

“I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

With every broken bone, I swear I lived.
With every broken bone, I swear I…

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

 

The rest is still unwritten February 5, 2014

You know, this personal growth thing is a roller coaster ride. No sooner do I think I’m getting close to the top, hearing the click click click of the belt as it pulls up my coaster, then I dip right back down to what feels like the bottom. Or, I’m riding that fast ride up but don’t realize it’s a loop-de-loop (is that what it’s called?), and I’m right back at the same level I started. It’s enough to make a girl feel like she’s making no progress.

In the few years I’ve had this blog, I’ve broken up with a boyfriend, which led me on a path of enlightenment, only to be sidetracked when I met my twin soul, with whom I had a non-relationship that put me off my path of personal growth for two years. He came back into my life like an unexpected maelstrom last autumn only to depart just as quickly and with as much confusion this past month. I would like to say that these unfulfilling, negative romantic relationships I’ve had have put me off of them for good. It might be nice to have an easy ride down the lazy river and live a quiet life of no romance, desire for self-improvement, growth or change. It might be peaceful. But, I would take Magic Mountain rides over Disney rides any day.

Even though it’s so frustrating to be near the bottom again, I think it’s worth the hard work to get back to the top and be able to see the view and feel the cool air on my face again. And, what does that work entail for me? I was just gonna describe them as a paragraph, but then I realized it’s a laundry list of things. So, here goes:

Meditation – I used to do it daily and worked my way up to a good half hour, at least. Now, I can barely meditate for a few minutes. Time to get back to my daily, morning routine of meditating. It’s a great way to start my day as it helps me start off with good energy and an openness. And, I personally think of meditation as that time during which I listen to God/dess/Universe. There’s much wisdom to be gleaned there.

Journaling – I, again, used to do this daily especially while I was with and just after I broke up with the Ex. My journaling, much like my blogging, is a lot of personal rambling that helps me organize my thoughts. It helps me get out my frustrations and insecurities without burdening others with them. But, I also try to be a cheerleader for myself and write down my hopes and dreams and desires. It’s definitely interesting to read back on those pages to see how much I haven’t changed but how far I’ve come.

Practicing Compassion – I can be super-critical (especially of myself). It’s a terrible thing I inherited from my father. But, I have a choice as to how I view life and those around me. And, I have the ability, as we all do, to put myself in someone else’s shoes (it’s called imagination). That grumpy, old lady who was snarky to me today…? maybe she’s in some physical pain or her kids haven’t called her in months so she’s lonely. Maybe her best friend just died. So, my reaction to her doesn’t have to be equal snark. It can be gentleness. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with remembering not to take things personally. How someone behaves towards you usually has nothing to do with you.

Experiencing Nature – whether it be a hike through the woods or a walk on the beach or even just sitting next to a city planter full of green stuff, touching base with Mother Nature is always soothing to the soul. Looking up at the sky at night and seeing the millions of stars above reminds me that the Universe is vast, and the mistakes I make in life will hardly impact anything. Watering my lemon tree, whose life depends upon my care, reminds me that I am responsible for the well-being of other living things on this planet, so my actions do matter. Feeling the wind upon my face lifts my spirit and reminds me of those things unseen that surround us and are a part of us all.

Creating Art – as a photographer, this should be fairly easy. But, it’s not the only art-form I want to “experience.” I enjoy painting and drawing (even though I’m not very good at either) and scrapbooking (yes.. it’s art!).  For me, this is really about creating. After all, life is about creation, isn’t it? My art can be on paper or canvas, on the computer, or even a delicious dish I’ve cooked up. The very act of creating is soul affirming.

Practicing Gratitude – this doesn’t have to be formal, like a gratitude journal or a list or anything. Even if I take a few seconds out of my day to just appreciate a flower and send a quick, little thanks to the Universe for showing me Its beauty, I find that practicing gratitude gives me joy. There’s no room for complaining when you’re truly grateful for…whatever.

Practicing Forgiveness – yeah… that sounds weird. But, I find people just carry so much anger within them. I do, too. I’m not talking about being angry at anyone or anything specifically. Just read comments on any article. Even if it’s inspiring, there’s always at least one person who’s just pissed for who-knows-what-reason. I know I get “justifiably” angry at whatever social injustice I come across. That anger is a weight on my heart. It’s negativity that I don’t need to carry. So, yes.. it would be great if we were all on the same page in this world so that there would no longer be bigots and their like in this world. But, I have to remind myself that we are all on our separate journeys, each at our own pace. And, we’ll eventually arrive at the same place, given time. So, yes, I have to practice forgiveness, a lot. Release the anger and send out love.

That’s it. Just those few things. Some of them are even fun. Some of them are a lot harder than they seem. But, I want off the easy, lazy river ride and back on the roller coaster. My coaster car might keep coming down — there’s fun in that, too — but at least I know I’ll keep climbing up. Ok…so maybe a roller coaster isn’t quite the best metaphor here.  heh heh

Definitely, though, I think the song I chose for this post is fitting because, even with all the ups and downs, my life is still before me. It is still unwritten.

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

 

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

 

You’re the Inspiration June 13, 2012

Filed under: resources — frannymarie @ 10:30 am
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In September, last year, I started seeing a business coach. She helped me tremendously in getting my photography business re-started, and she continues to help me grow it so that it will be profitable this year (for the first time in five years). I was so impressed by what I’ve learned and how I continue to grow in my business that I hired another coach — a life coach.

I think one reason I’ve found the coaching to be invaluable is because of the stories of the other men and women in my two coaching groups. What they share about the way they live and how they do things serve as inspiration to me to become a better person — a better business owner, a better mom, and better ME.

But, as I sit here this morning looking through the posts on my Facebook wall, I realize that I garner that inspiration through many other channels as well. One source is the posts by Belief Energy, a community fanpage. I got curious enough this morning to look up their actual webpage and was/am so impressed by what I read that I felt the need to do a blog post and share it with you.

As I continue to fall upwards in my life journey, I know there will be times when I’ll veer from my path, when the necessities of everyday life cloud the lens and make me lose my focus. There will be times when, planning and worrying about the future, I’ll forget to enjoy and revel in the present moments. It is times like these when it becomes more imperative to surround myself with the positive energies of others, whether through my coaching sessions, through reading others’ blogs, spending time with people who inspire me, or… just taking a moment to BE.

Perhaps you and I can inspire each other…

How?  Well, taking from one of Belief Energy’s posts:  “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world need is people who come alive.” –Howard Thurmann

So, Let’s BE alive together.

 

one thing I can tell you is you got to be free… March 26, 2010

… come to together
right now
over me
— The Beatles

I haven’t posted in ages ‘cuz I thought I’d pretty much given up this blog. This cyber-world had become a place for me to vent and re-create myself. I, now, no longer really need to vent –the anger is almost all gone — and, I’ve been working internally and with awareness to transform myself into a truer Me. That being said, I’ve often thought of posting if only to share the wonderful books, blogs and websites I’ve come across in my journey to Self. So, I’ve decided to share what I’ve found. They’ll make for shorter posts, which makes for easier reading. yay! 🙂

Today I’m reading, and recommend, Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. This book is considered to be ground-breaking and a classic.

Granted, I’m no longer in a relationship, but had I known the concepts introduced in this book a couple years ago, the Ex and I would probably still be together, and in a loving, truly committed relationship. (My Ex says the same.) And, in reading this book and understanding its concepts, I know it will help me in future relationships. As with some of the other books I’ve recommended, Passionate Marriage goes deep into the concept of “differentiation.”

Warning — the author does get very explicit with some of his patients’ sexual acts and sexuality. Also, this book is over 400 pages. But, hey… the time investment is well worth saving your relationship, right?

Here’s the link to Amazon for this book.

More posts and references to inspiring and helpful books, blogs, websites and podcasts can be found in my category “resources.”

 

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.