This morning, my eyes opened and I looked with delight at the time on the clock: 8:04 am. For the first time in months, maybe even years, I have been getting seven to eight hours sleep a night. What a relief, when a few years back, I was lucky to sneak in five or six with a work schedule of 12 or more revolutions around the clock. That led to several serious health crises. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I would be wide awake in the wee hours. I attributed it to being an empath and picking up on all of the chaotic energies on the planet. I had become a repository for the pain and struggle of the people around me as they faced illness and injury, loss of loved ones and financial changes. How can anyone with a heart and mind not be impacted by world events on top of it? Gun violence, bigotry, murder on mass scale, rape, abuse, environmental devastation, addiction, unspeakable loss impacting people on a daily basis. I wonder how those on the receiving end of such acts can function. As a therapist, I have witnessed off the charts resilience among my clients. As a friend, I have listened to stories of atrocities committed and I am honored to know these souls and see what they have transcended.

I kept attempting to push it away and bury it in hustle and bustle. Blessedly, I have my writing skills to get me through the darker times; a candle for me to light my own way. As I am typing these words, the mid morning rain is providing a counter point for emphasis, washing away the sticky humidity that I know awaits beyond my door. I can allow the tears that represented my own inner water works to cleanse me as well. Alone and in the presence of supportive friends, I have let them flow. There was a time when I would refrain from crying, since I wondered if the torrents of tears  would ever stop. Of course, they did. They always do. I also denied that I had normal and messy human emotions, subsumed in the service of keepin’ on keepin’ on. After all, how could I hold everyone else together if I was falling apart? What I discovered, paradoxically, is that if I am fully human; strong and vulnerable, I am more reliable and capable.

This past Sunday I spoke at Awakened Heart which is a New Thought church based on Science of Mind teachings. I visit there four times a year or so and I always feel welcomed home when I head down the stretch of highway that takes me the 90 minutes or so door to door. Hugs and smiles abound. This time, I shared on the topic being raw and real. Standing in front of the congregation of kindred spirits, I offered my take on the dynamic of vulnerability and self revelation. Being emotionally naked and baring our hearts to each other is no task for wimps. I pondered the idea of asking for what we want being riskier when we are invested in the answer. I also focused on the concept of self assurance. If I am at ease and peace with who I am and how I present myself in the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental realms of my life, then it almost doesn’t matter how anyone else perceives me. If I am able to nourish myself from the inside out, then I don’t require it from another. Does it mean I don’t still want to be loved and affirmed? Of course not. No woman or man is an island and we are intertwined. I laughingly told them that I live with the paradox of wanting to be loved best of all and being embarrassed about being recognized; sometimes when I am washing up at the ladies’ room sink. “I know you from Facebook, or I heard you speak, or read your writing, or you’re the hug lady,”  are some of the statements made when I have my hands under running water. The last time was right after spinning class at the gym and I was red faced and wringing wet with sweat. Another woman in the class knew me from a local Facebook group and the FREE Hugs events I organize. Blessedly, I had the presence of mind not to ask if she wanted a hug.

How do you want to be seen?

I shared with the group that I had two  major fears.

  • Losing my marbles and memory, since both are essential for writing and speaking articulately. I have noticed that the more deeply I connect spiritually, the more the mundane fades away. Names, directions, what I walked into a room to fetch or do, seem less accessible than once they were. I have learned to smile and laugh it off, attributing it to middle aged/wise woman moments and the proverbial hard drive being full.
  • Being incapacitated and requiring consistent care. When I had the heart attack two years ago, I annoyed myself with thoughts that I wouldn’t rebound and would have to rely on others. As a result of changing lifestyle, including cardiac rehab which has now progressed to four to five times a week workouts at the gym, spinning class, and recently at three mile hike on steep and rocky terrain. I have more than proven to myself that I can hold my own in the face of challenges.

I am also awakening to the realization that joined with others, I am more powerful than I ever imagined. Yawning and stretching with y’all as we greet the new day together.




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