Archive | May 2017

May 31st: Repeating the Same Pattern and Expecting Different Results

May 31st

Lately I have been catching myself repeating old patterns of behavior.

I have been allowing someone very dear to me to break promises, break boundaries, and let me down over-and-over again.

At first, I was very understanding.

I know my friend has a hectic life and that…

Everyone gets busy

Everyone can end up overwhelmed and unable to keep commitments.

But, as time continued on, and promises of change were made, but the behavior continued to be repeated,  I was suddenly reminded that my friend was not the problem in this situation… I was the problem.


Because I was choosing to accept behavior that was unacceptable to me.

I was allowing myself to be hurt… to become resentful… again-and-again.

I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect the outcome to magically change.

I have to change my behavior and the outcome will change accordingly.

I must be willing to address the issue, even if confronting someone I love, can be very uncomfortable to do but…

If the friendship is valued… I believe it will weather the storm and if not… my Higher Power is trying to tell me that it is time to move on with my life and find people who do value my friendship and who are willing to work on creating a relationship that is acceptable to each of us.

“Dear God, help me to set clear boundaries. Help me to stand up for myself when needed.”

May 30th: Validation and Self-Esteem

May 30th-

In the past it was easy for me to let my self-esteem rest on someone else’s validation.

A quality I learned growing up in a gregarious and charismatic family, where each and everyone of us, fought to be the “most sought after child” by our parents who loved to pit us against each other believing sibling rivalry would only improve our chances of being successful.

We learned to excel at school, sports, music, wit, in hopes that we would be perceived as the best of the group and each time we waited for validation from our mother or father, and failed to receive it, somewhere inside, we began to feel “less than” no matter how bright and beautiful we appeared on the outside.

Today I still struggle with validation: wanting someone to like me and believing if they don’t there is something ultimately wrong with me.

When my husband left me for another woman my first thought was: I’m not thin enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not talented enough. If I had done things differently, if I had tried harder, if I had been more perfect… he wouldn’t have left and I would have continued to receive validation from him.

The truth though… is it had nothing to do with his validation at all: The validation I so long for needs to come from me.

I have to believe I have worth.

And if I don’t… no matter how many people tell me I’m bright and beautiful… I will never accept it… never receive enough praise… because inside I will still be rejecting myself.

“Dear God, help me to believe that I am worthy of love. Help me to be the best person I can be today and accept that I am loveable just as I am.”

May 29th: Forgiveness

Paradise Gardens

I’m not always good at practicing forgiveness.

It has not been easy for me to let go of a grudge, stop myself from stonewalling in a moment of intense anger, or finding myself “teaching” someone a lesson by making them “pay” for their mistakes.

I’m not proud of this part of me: this shadow self.

It has been a struggle to let go of my bitterness, my anger, over my past, and learn to forgive.

But it is imperative to my spiritual growth to do so.

My mentality of “you have hurt me… so now I will hurt you…” behavior, truly only adds to my own pain.

If I hold resentments over the past… over how I was hurt in the past… and use those resentments to punish, manipulate, and hold onto anger and despair in the present, than I am doing myself a great disservice.

I cannot choose to let go of faith, spiritual growth, and love and embrace my ego and my character flaws.

That is not the person I am today.

The person I am today must learn to forgive and let go and use my experience, strength, and hope to guide me away from the pain of my past and towards new and better actions for addressing hurt feelings in the future.


“Dear God, help me to forgive. Help me to see that we all make mistakes and help me to right my behavior when I choose to act out of ego and anger.”

May 28th: Spinning the Broken Record

May 28th-Spinning the Broken Record

Today, someone I love dearly was lamenting a temporary “break” in a friendship.

They continued to find a way to keep coming back to the topic repeatedly; at the distress of everyone else in the conversation.

Everyone was very loving and patient… willing to help soothe our friend during their crisis but…

We had given our input numerous times.

We had acknowledged her grief, her concern.

We had offered up our own experiences, our strength and hope, but to no avail: she just wanted to repeat the same conversation over and over again… unwilling to hear us… unwilling to move from where she was stuck.

Finally, I said, “I know how you feel. I have felt your despair… I understand what you are going through… but you are spinning a broken record… allowing your mind to dwell where it will only continue to cause you pain. And… you are unable to move on because your focus is not where it should be: on you. I hate to see you waste so much energy on this… you are so dear to me.

Everyone was quiet for a moment before my friend said, “Yes but if I just had the chance to do it over again… if he just…”

At first, we thought she was going to “spin the record” again… still unable to move from her position but then, she stopped herself from continuing, she smiled and said, “I’ll try.”

Unfortunately, in life, we don’t get to magically go back in time and “do something different.”

I was reminded, once again, during this conversation, that we only have today.

We must start from where we are right now, and do things differently from here… and it begins with acceptance.

“Dear God, help me to accept life as it is today. Help me to embrace change and find spiritual growth in the process.”

May 27th- Progress not Perfection

Pacific City, Oregon, Cape Kiwanda, Sand Dune, Haystack Rock, Oregon Coast, Road Trip, Surfer, Cape Kiwanda Classic

Sometimes I can be really hard on myself regarding the spiritual and emotional progress I am making in my day-to-day life.

Beating myself up each time I have a slip.

Letting my mind dwell on every conversation I had where I felt I said something unworthy or callous.

Re-thinking each and every step of my decisions and my plans, sure that I am constantly making the wrong choice.

It is easy to get wrapped up in a shame spiral, especially when I throw emotions, old wounds, and also new relationships into the mix.

I am amazed at how cruel I can be to myself at times: unwilling to forgive myself for my mistakes… unwilling to be kind when I have stumbled.

Wouldn’t I be loving and kind to others when they are struggling on their path?

Why am I so hard on myself?

Today, I am reminded that life and spiritual growth are about progress not perfection.

I am not perfect… I am flawed… as all people are. And if I find solace in the fact that we are all struggling on our paths, all working towards being better human beings… then maybe I can let go of my need to seem flawless and perfect and embrace the struggles that we all share.

“Dear God, help me to be kind to myself. Help me to find strength in my journey as I work towards eliminating my own character flaws through spiritual footwork and faith.”

May 26th: Love and Perspective

Endurance - Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

In the midst of my separation and divorce, I was unable to emotionally detach from the situation, so full of pain and despair, it was too difficult to accept that the love I once shared with my husband would now change forever.

I was so attached to my idea of the perfect picture: Us… as a couple… in love…for the rest of our lives.

I was heartbroken, and therefore, had lost all perspective at what time could bring.

Today, I am no longer in love with my husband but I am still able to love him as my former mate, the father of my children, and my dear friend.

It takes time to allow love to change from being in love, to platonic love, and though I never wanted us to grow apart, I find solace in knowing that we still love each other, still care about each other, still share moments together with our children, even though we have both now moved on to new relationships and new possibilities.

It wasn’t my plan… I had to accept and let go of my vision for our relationship… and have faith that my Higher Power would lead us both to a place where we could forgive each other, and love each other, as family… and friends… who have shared a joint history that deserves to be honored and acknowledge.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing love to my life. Help me to allow time to heal my pain and bring me perspective. Help me to find the good in all of my relationships instead of focusing on the bad.”

May 25th: Giving Up instead of Letting Go

May 25th- Giving up Letting Go

When I become overwhelmed with frustration, distraught by a given situation, it is easy to want to “give up” instead of “let go.”

I often confused these two in the beginning of my spiritual recovery but today… I know the difference.

If I allow my anger, my despair, my obsession to drive my decision regarding a difficult situation then I am giving up.  I am no different than a child throwing a tantrum: unwilling to accept the situation as it is and throwing myself into a fit, until tired and worn down, I make a decision from my “shadow self” and not from a place of spiritual enlightenment.

When I disengage myself from a moment of intense passion; such as an argument gone awry, and take the time to weigh the situation calmly and rationally, from my highest spiritual place, removed from ego, I can come to the decision willingly to “let go.”

Letting go does not mean that I give up on a particular person, relationship, situation. Letting go is not about allowing my unruly emotions and my shadow self to rule the day.

Letting go is about accepting everything just as it is… accepting and then deciding how best to move forward for the sake of my own sanity and balance.

In all of my relationships, no matter what their current status: married, separated, divorced or even newly in-love, I must focus on letting go of the outcome and doing what I can in the present to benefit both myself and the person I care for.

“Dear God, help me to let go. Help me to accept life as it is and work towards moving forward with spiritual awareness.”

May 20th: Listening

May 20th- Listening

One of the things I have learned over the years while working with young adults is the importance of listening.

I can imagine right now some people laughing at this statement …. thinking to themselves, Young people don’t listen, but I can tell you with absolute surety… that they would be wrong.

Young people do listen.

And when I was having my most trying days: the end of my marriage, the loss of my beloved nephew, it was in their concerned, caring, and focused attention on my well-being, where I found my solace.

As an adult, we often lose this quality of living “present” in the moment.

And though I am good at saying to my students, when they are desperate to share with me, “Wait. Hang on… let me put this aside… I want to give you my full attention right now because I can see that this conversation is very important to you…” I often do not show this same kindness to those I love at home.

Driven by emotion, caught up in my own needs and wants, I sometimes fight to be heard, sure that what I have to say is absolutely the most important thing.

Today, I am reminded that a conversation is a dialogue between two people.

That both of us have a right to be truly heard.

That sometimes… it is more important to listen than to speak.

That by only caring about my side of the conversation, only waiting for my words to have meaning… I will not learn how to build solid relationships of trust and compassion with the people I love or find out what they really want or need.

“Dear God, help me to listen. Help me to see that for me to be heard, I must be willing to listen to those who so desperately need to be heard around me.”

May 19th: Thinking before Acting Out

May 19th

My emotions during my divorce often left me sad, lonely, full of despair but, there were times… driven by high emotion… when I would inappropriately engage in an angry exchange with my soon-to-be ex-spouse.

In the moment, to scream, to yell, to say all of the horrible things I wanted to say, directly to the person causing me intense pain, felt incredibly liberating.

But of course, after the fact, when the emotions had cooled and the battle was done… I was ashamed that I would behave in such a manner.

What if my children had seen our angry exchange?

Would I want them to witness my verbal abuse towards their father?

Would I want them to behave like this with their friends and loved ones?

Would I want them to learn from me… that it is okay to break all of the rules of kindness when we are hurting?


My acting out in anger went against everything I believed in the core of my spirit.

My aim should always be: to heal myself in relationships and not to inflict harm on another.

I do not have to agree with what someone has done… I do not have to accept poor behavior in my life.

But I do have to consciously choose to walk away from an altercation and put the focus where it belongs: on me.

It will do more damage to my spiritual growth, by allowing myself to become my shadow self and act out, instead of embracing life, and learning from my experience.

If I choose to engage… I am condoning this behavior and refusing to look at life from a higher perspective.

“Dear God, help me to not engage in angry outbursts. Help me to not waste energy that could be focused on my own healing, well-being, and spiritual growth.”

May 18th: Milestones and Silver Linings

May 18th-

When I was in the midst of my divorce, each moment, of each day, seemed like a struggle:

To get up without becoming physically ill from anxiety.

To make it through the work day without crying in public.

To make it through the night without waking.

To be present for my children when my mind was obsessed with the despair of my loss.

It was a never ending cycle of heartache and I had no idea when time would move me through the pain.

But time did move me through… and soon… I began to count the small milestones, the markers that gave me hope… faith that I would soon be healed:

The day that I woke up and though weary… did not become ill from nervous anxiety.

The day that I did not cry in public.

The first night of restful sleep.

The first moment with my children when I was once again truly present in mind and body.

These may seem like small milestones to someone looking in, outside of the pain, but to me… they signaled that relief was coming if I just had faith and kept moving forward.

My divorce was one of the most painful experiences of my life but today, I am thankful for the lessons I learned from it.

My silver lining is in the knowledge that I have strength beyond measure, compassion for others who now suffer what I suffered, and that I was willing to give myself whole-heartedly, committed, to someone I loved.

My divorce changed my perspective for the better: It reminded me that empathy is key to life.

“Dear God, help me to light the path for others that walk behind me. Help me to be present for those that need my experience, strength and hope today.”