Mind Confusion: Good for you?

dance_school-1280x1024 (2)Body confusion sounds bad but is good. As my yoga coach explained, when your exercise routine becomes routine, your muscles get bored and slack off. You can schedule the same exercise routine every week, but after awhile it becomes old hat, and your body does not benefit from the workout. In other words, you have to challenge—shuffle things around; in essence, confuse the body to keep it at its best. Challenges and new moves keep you in healthy grooves!

In this same vein, if the body slacks off, wouldn’t the mind do this also? Not to minimize the impact of a life crisis, but one thing it does do is shake you up and orbit you to unfamiliar places that may feel foreign and scary at the beginning, but later as the journey unfolds, recharges the imagination and ignites the creative problem-solving juices.

For instance, before our family’s personal crisis in 2010, I could have continued to hide under some fifty extra pounds of weight and allow myself to fade into the buttermilk color walls of my house, vaporizing behind my then husband’s emotional tailspins.

Instead, nearly four years later, “mind confusion” has kicked me into over drive. Tons of new challenges undertaken…daunting jobs, grubby courtrooms, and a longtime friend who threw me under the bus just when I was about to get my bearings! With the challenges, new joys have also unfolded…dating again since 1989, the last time I had a date; neighborhood kids who come to the door with shovels during a blizzard and a late-life love who surprises me with a kiss that transplanted me back to feel sixteen again when my high school’s gym class cheered me on as I did a tap dance atop the trampoline.

Thanks to the element of surprise, total mind confusion, I not only shed the pounds, okay, some of them, but I have also had a love affair—with my femininity, my individuality, my sometimes tragic, miserable, highly interesting, amazing life, and I learned that courage doesn’t come to me naturally, but that I have to have faith and work at it…not face danger and freak out and bolt, but face danger, freak out and stare it down—a little bit longer at each new perilous zone.

In the end, I still have “the bad” confusion in my life and I struggle as a single mom. It remains an everyday challenge to be stable and balanced, especially when the mortgage due date draws closer, every month, and my mind becomes a 24-hour melee in which I must battle it out with beasts that can and will flex their muscles to frightening proportions. Then there are those days when my body joints tell me I have been squeezed out of so much youth.

Through it all, I have learned to get my shine on and dance through life as if my experience on this earth has been a skip through a meadow of wildflowers and not a plunge into an abominable pit of hot coals, employing grace and dignity at all times when tears mar the vision, but faith carries me forward through the downpour.

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Believe, just believe

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. –Romans 12:2 

HumilitySince my divorce proceedings in 2010, I have been trying to save my house. Down to the wire, my former husband will not cooperate in the process. PERIOD. Finger pointing, to me, is part of politics; a total waste of productive time.

On my end, to work with a bank is like having a second job—one in which you do a lot of overtime! Then the process stalks you all day…deep into your nighttime dreams—or shall I say nightmares.

Wait a minutes. WTF…where’s the faith here? Okay, Lord, thank you for this opportunity. I get to pack up a household and leave the premises, not having the foggiest notion where I am going. Yet another good-bye that I am totally powerless over….Oh, that’s right, this is a temporary setback. So why does it feel like I am about to walk off the face of the moon?…the ride down is one-way, not picturesque and definite.

Oops, there I go again. Not Believing that God is watching out for me. I need to praise Him and thank Him for the memories….

Losing houses, marriages and the like, it’s not just about bare-bone statistics. Statistics are meaningless next to a heartbeat of a person. A house is as good as its people; it evokes the times that made you feel secure, alive and thriving—so removed from just surviving. It’s about baking “Welcome Home” cookies on the first day of nearly every year of grammar school. Remembering the times you stayed up until 2 a.m. preparing for the best Easter egg hunt on the block. Visualizing your six-year-old daughter dancing around the kitchen like a hula dancer in her Brownie uniform. Recalling your seven-year-old son frantically turning his closet upside down trying to find his neckerchief slide so he could properly complete his Cub Scout uniform–for the tenth billionth time! Memories that take you back to painting the bedroom with your now former spouse and your best friend and going beyond the tiredness, knowing the chosen color was perfect and would last for years…years…a stretch of time that felt so comfortably forever. It’s about sitting on the couch in the playroom long after the kids had gone to bed and sitting with your former spouse, crying, saying, “I’m sorry. I love you.”

I suppose beyond wanting stability for the kids, the pets, beyond it all, my house holds a piece of our innocence. Our youth. A hope of tomorrow. A joy knowing that love once existed here—and still does in another, wonderful, but very different way.

Late last night, in my melancholy of telling myself yet again that nothing stays the same (unless we are insane believing so!), I came upon a very healing post…one that tells me He is watching over me…when I have a hard time watching for Him. I thank a very gifted fellow blogger and photographer for writing this post. Let me take the liberty to share a little of it.

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“I’ve been learning that life is fleeting.  We often realize that as a result of tragedy…allow your sorrow to spur you, not to bitterness, but push through it to the lesson, which will make you stronger. I lived my life as a unbeliever for 33 years and during those years, try as I might, I could never figure out how to do that.  But with the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we can forgive, be healed of the loss, grasp the lesson, and move on. Everyone has pain…it is the privilege of the Believer to reap a great harvest from it. Life is fleeting, don’t miss it!”

90327119_bd17bf7c49As painful as it all has been these last few years, I’ve taken a front seat and haven’t missed out. When people say, “live life fully,” do they really mean to pick and choose? Would that even be possible? To me, I have to remember, life is an experience. Good. Bad. All the gray. To live life fully is to embrace it all. I recall the words, “Nothing absolutely nothing happens in God’s perfect world by mistake.”

At this point I can really say, what a roller coaster…and what a glorious, thrilling ride it has been…and is. I am so grateful that I have had a seat reserved especially for me! I can’t wait to witness what’s around the next bend. I do Believe…divinity will greet me.

Until next time….Faith forward!

Jesus was not a Debbie Downer, so why should I be?

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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

 Sometime while in post-trauma, I can allow crisis to define my thinking and emotions.

In a nutshell: NO GOOD. NO GOD.

When I feel myself slip into emotional turmoil and upset, instead of focusing on friends and family who have been by my side, the cloud over my head cripples me to believe that I am alone.

Instead of focusing on the monetary wins that I have received especially after a financial downslide, in a split second, I can reawake the vision of the wolf at the door.

Instead of trusting, at least sometimes, after suffering a divorce, a new romance in my life is not necessarily going to kick me overboard, but maybe, in actuality, help keep the float above water just a little more.

Negative thinking destroys me. It lies to me and tells me there is no promise of a tomorrow.

If ever there was a promise of tomorrow, it is the theme behind Calvary. However, swallowed by the darkness of Calvary, Jesus was not a negative thinker and not one to throw a pity party.

I mean, did he say, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m a good guy. I got a lot of charitable acts to prove it. I don’t deserve this. It’s not fair. It’s not fair!  It’s not fair!”

Did he cry uncle?

No, he had said seven things, which Christians emphasize especially during Lent, Holy Week and Good Friday.

As quoted from Wikipedia, “Sayings of Jesus on the Cross”:

  1. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
  3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).
  4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me, (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
  5. I thirst (John 19:28).
  6. It is finished (John 19:30).
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

(Traditionally, these seven sayings are called words of 1. Forgiveness, 2. Salvation, 3. Relationship, 4. Abandonment, 5. Distress, 6. Triumph and 7. Reunion.)

On Cavalry, Jesus experienced abandonment and distress; juxtapose that with forgiveness, salvation, relationship, triumph and reunion, and you know these are not the ingredients for a robust pity party.

The thought of Calvary helps me turn my thinking around and abandon the pity party grab bags.

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To me, God is light not darkness. Birth not death. Resurrection. During this Christian time of Lent, it is good for me to reflect upon this especially when the old negative gremlins attack.  If I set my sights on my Higher Power instead of my brainpower, then I am guaranteed that the beam of light will bleach out even my most tar-soaked moments and absolutely bring me the hope of tomorrow without compromise.

Until next time….Faith forward!

Enough, already!

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” —Joel 2:12-13

nacreous-clouds-98341292728102hyGIf the Lord relents over disaster—why doesn’t he change it?  

If he can indeed perform miracles then why doesn’t he?

If Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, why can’t he reawaken an innocent child or, for that matter, an innocent bystander suddenly in the crossfire of gun violence?  It really can be frustrating to think that God is after all God; so why doesn’t he make things right, just? I mean, why does the test of faith have to be so agonizing to a point of feeling that there is no way around a grade of “F.”

In the sight of death, divorce, financial ruin and emotional bankruptcy, how many times I have I bellowed, “It isn’t fair!”

How many times do I say “enough” only to feel the rain turn into a torrential downpour.

How much heartbreak can one person survive without a fatal break?

On the other hand, I have heard about the “almost” fatal accidents and all the horrific things that nearly happened to others, but by God’s miracle did not. Does that mean that his grace, his power, his miracles are stingy? Given to only a select few?

I think if you have faith, eventually, slowly, you stop asking so many questions and, instead, try extra hard to find the miracles beneath the surface.  As humans, I believe we have a pin-hole vision compared to the Good Lord.  If, for instance, whenever I think about my son’s best friend at the minute of the fatal impact of a head-on car on his off-road vehicle, I envision a huge angel that interceded. An angel that wrapped around him, fluffy and aglow, like the huge blanket of snow that had befallen that night two years ago, and cuddled him home—to a place in which we cannot even imagine the level of eternal paradise.

I also recall my dear friend. He said after his wife prematurely died leaving him and two adolescent girls behind, she came to him in the dream and said she was taken away so she could lead them smoothly home one day.

In crisis, the more I ponder and ask and try to keep an open mind not allowing the ego to throw me for a hurdle, I can see that what I see is only as limited as my vision. In those rare instances, I can “return” to him, get into the passenger’s seat, give him all my heart and allow for a joy ride for as long as I am ready to give Him back His steering wheel.

Stay tuned!…until next time…faith forward!

cri•sis

cri·sis

[krahy-sis] noun, plural cri·ses  [-seez], adjective.

noun

1. a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially

for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

2. a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

3. Medicine/Medical .

a. the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change

occurs, leading either to recovery or to death.

b. the change itself.

4. the point in a play or story at which hostile elements are most tensely

opposed to each other.*

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* from dictionary.com.

I looked up the definition for “crisis” in dictionary.com and chronologically shifted the meaning around, dissected the interpretation and garnered my own interpretation. Here we go.

A dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

Once my son’s best friend died, a volcano erupted inside me. I bawled. I screamed. My words out shot my thoughts. Release was the due course. Emotions had many times edged out rational motions. For me the shock and denial stage meshed with the reality and the “being in the raw” stage. In other words, I had to work really hard to put on a sane front!

A condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.

In the middle of divorce and what I thought would amount to bankruptcy and losing our house and a few other emotionally charged things; there were obviously, duhhhh, decisive changes to be made.

Where to go? Where to live? What attorneys to use…or not use. Clearing out the house, especially my now ex-husband’s belongings was a welcome reprise. Being proactive gave me a sense of control.  When life gets out of control, I say, do something that gives you a sense of control—no matter how simple—even if means just cleaning out a drawer!

A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

Although this is the first meaning under the word “crisis” in dictionary.com, I use it as my final meaning, because I think this is where the metamorphosis happens. Living through crisis has changed my life—forever.  I feel like Dorothy in Oz, but Oz—this new, overwhelming, scary place remains—forever. Blindsided, I couldn’t even pack an overnight bag, never mind decide on the destination.

And this is where faith comes in big time. Somehow, behind the emotions, the grief, the upset, the fear and rage, I prayed that the faith that had sustained me for so many years prior would not vanish. That it would not abandon me or betray me too. And, to me, if my faith triumphed, I knew that this turning point would be for better not worse. At the beginning, my inner child threw a tantrum and beseeched God to save my house, my finances, and my wounded and damaged family. Things did not change, certainly not immediately. Nevertheless, faith carried me—more like clobbered me to my knees to the ground. I prayed nearly 24/7. I prayed for peace. For understanding. Mostly I prayed for miracles.

Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion, from The Wond...

Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz first edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two years later, the lows are, ouch, low, but tolerable. Life’s insurmountable boulders have become speed bumps. The verdict is in. My turning point is for the better. Instead of obsessing on the pain, I cannot wait to jumpstart the day, new adventure, something interesting at every bend, crossing. I am still in Oz. I have a roadmap now. It does not always take me where I think I ought to go; but it always dumps me where I need to be. Luckily, along with my faith, no matter where I do land, the yellow brick road is level and smooth and provides the support I need. That’s a good place to park myself.

Stay tuned!…until next time…faith forward!