AWARD – Tell the Darkness to Get Lost

get lost award

The “Tell the Darkness to Get Lost” award was created to celebrate the rock stars who were kicked in the teeth by life and kept going anyway. It is also for those who inspire me to pick myself back up when I all I want to do is stay down.  It’s my tribute to the bad ass gem of a human I see in you.  You remind me to keep the faith, to keep going, and to never give in to the darkness.  Your light brightens my world and gives me strength to tell the darkness to get lost.  I celebrate you, I thank you, and I adore you.

Rules for accepting the award:

  1.  To me, awards and rules shouldn’t be paired together.  It’s like a great book and a forced book report.  It goes from fun reading to work.  So these are suggestions and ideas.  You do what you feel inspired to do.  If you change it wildly, that’s awesome!  As I said before, you’re a bad ass.  I would love to see what coolness you instill in this, but this whole thing is an optional gig.  You’re a bad ass no matter what.
  2.  Share one thing about you that is funny, interesting, or unique.  Ideally tell something that you haven’t shared before, but again, it’s your call.
  3.  You may display the award or not.  It’s your blog, so I’m not going to dictate website aesthetics.
  4.  You may nominate 5 or more or less other bad asses whom you believe deserve this award.  I don’t know how many I listed below, but I wanted to include countless more.  We all feel inspired by others and sometimes it’s beautiful to tell them how much their words have helped you when you needed it most.
  5.  Tell those people who you have tagged why they matter even if it’s just a word.  Kindness, bravery, resilience, laughter, quirkiness.  Whatever comes to mind.  Just tell them why you thought of them when you decided to share this with them.
  6.  Know how much I genuinely appreciate you.  You matter.  This world is infinitely better because you are in it.

Something about me…  Well, I have recently developed a serious talent for breaking my blog.  In less than a week, I have managed to delete my access, disconnect domains, upgrade downgrade upgrade and sorta downgrade my plan when I should have just stayed where I was, and mess up some of my normally untouchable fonts with “stray code” (uh what is that and how would I have done it?!?).  As a bonus, this is actually the second time I am writing the bottom half of this specific entry because it disappeared.  The last hour is 100% gone from my revisions history.  Even WP support couldn’t find anything.  Apparently I’m a frickin’ magician, too.  Now you see content and then POOF!   It’s gone!

Please note that I struggled greatly with selecting the nominees below because so very many of you bring light into my world.  There just isn’t enough internet to include all of the people I want to award.

Nominations (in no order at all):

https://joyfullyrenewed.wordpress.com/ – Your friendship makes my soul smile.  I could write a book on everything you have taught me.
https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/ – You are like a butterfly with a gentle beautiful kindness that I adore.
https://insidetherainbow.blog/ – You are my sister from another mister.  I laugh and cry with you.
https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com/ – If you are future me, I couldn’t be happier.  And if not, I’ll just have to stick with being inspired by how fab you are.
https://bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com/ – You are Adele and I am Lady Gaga.  What a pair we are!  I’m so thankful for you sweet girl.
https://misifusa.wordpress.com/ – You make everything shine and fine light in the darkest of places.  You spread incredible kindness and bless us all.
https://knockedoverbyafeather.wordpress.com/ – Girl – you’re just kickin’ ass and taking names.  You are raw and real and fan-effin’-tastic.  Hold on.  Write that damn book.  You have a big important story to tell.  You are amazing.  Stick the #@*& around!  😉
https://watchwaitandwitness.com/ – Your teaching stories give me such joy.  You change the world in the very best way by opening little minds and hearts.  You changed mine, too.
https://thisismytruthnow.com/ – My friend with countless names…  Thank you for always finding a kind word and positive note.  I am perpetually in awe of the extensive writing and reading you do everyday, and I truly appreciate that you make time to include me in the mix.  I am thankful for you Jumper.
http://inspirationpie.com/ – You do serve up that inspiration!  I love your journeys, your wisdom, and your sass.
https://magickmermaid.wordpress.com/ – You are a fairy among us.  I adore the way you create magic all around you.  It’s infectious and marvelous (unlike the flu – also infectious but less fab).
https://foodzesty.com/ – On the one hand, you do not get this award because it’s terribly mean to make all that fantastic food while I sit here eating a hot dog.  On the other hand, I think that you are the cat’s pajamas and I can’t help but appreciate you on every level!  😉
https://collie123.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/r-e-m-everybody-hurts/ – You accept people for who they are.  You find beauty everywhere.  You are a kind soul Andrew.
https://carolrolke.com/blog/ – Hello outcast sister of mine!  I am certain that mom misplaced you in the hospital where we were born.  You are amazing.  I so enjoy your clever wit and your wicked smarts.  Keep ruling the world woman!
https://itrippedoverastone.com/ – Your ability to keep your chin up when life is lobbing some mega softballs your way is truly beautiful.
https://roseelaineblog.wordpress.com/ – Do I even need to mention the birds again?  (Clearly yes since I just did!)  You make the world beautiful on many levels.  Never stop painting.  Never stop shining.  I don’t think you could even if you tried.
https://elbycloud.wordpress.com/ – Your stories make me giggle.  Who wouldn’t feel seismic at reading them?!?!?
https://donnaanddiablo.wordpress.com/ – You don’t write on your blog anymore but you should!  Your comments always lift me up.  Thank you my friend.
https://welcometothenursery.wordpress.com/ – You recognize the importance of laughing at all things parenthood and I love that.  Kids – the original comedians.  I love your posts.  It’s like you live in our house, too.
https://readrantrockandroll.com/ – Mischenko – I told you that I was a mess with WordPress!  Hopefully your name will stick on this version!!!  In response to your latest post, reading your blog makes me happy!  I just love it.  You are a reading machine and you gobble up every book under the sun.  It’s like you’re the Flash but for nerds (cool nerds who read).  😉  So sorry about the revision revision revision!  I do adore you!

Thank you so very much to all of you.  You are precious to me.

Joanna

Sing Your Song Anyway

rainbow

I recently learned that the song “Over the Rainbow” was repeatedly stricken from the film The Wizard of Oz.  The pundits at MGM felt that it was too slow and that a little girl singing in a barnyard was in poor taste.  Two men, Arthur Freed and Roger Edens, fought to keep it in the final release.  Thank heavens for their insistence.

Can you even imagine watching The Wizard of Oz without hearing Judy Garland singing that beautiful song?  It embodied the tremendous love and kindness she represented and set the stage for everything to come both on and off screen.  “Over the Rainbow” went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was deemed to be the greatest movie song of all time by the American Film Institute.  The recognition and awards list goes on and on.  It was a musical and theatrical masterpiece.

At various times in our lives, we may not be following the norm or we may be outright defying it.   Big important people may disagree with our techniques, our methods, or our words.  Those close to you may tell you that you are heading the wrong way.  That you are on a fool’s errand.  That you are wasting your time.

Sing your song anyway.

They may be right about many things, but that does not mean that they are right about everything.  There is true magic within each of us.  A divine spark.  A song to sing.  Don’t allow it to be silenced by another who is unable to recognize it.

You have an inner light.  A shimmer.  A sparkle.  A shine.  Have faith in a universe bigger than this world, and know that divine love stands with you always.  You have something important to share.  Be brave.  Keep writing.  Keep painting.  Dance.  Love.  Design.  Whatever it may be.

Just don’t give up and don’t give in.

Sing your song, no matter what they say.

In love and light always – Joanna

Shimmer

And That’s When I Totally Lost It

This is an actual photo of me that was taken when I went bazerk earlier this week.

When my (perceived) sense of control slips out of my grasp, I become an erratic and volatile wild animal. The smallest minor nothings explode into monstrous threats under the massive magnifying glass of my emotional frenzy. A questionable tone, another task added to the neverending must do list, sporks – virtually anything that isn’t synonymous with “nothing” may viewed as an  aggressive attack on my sanity. However it never begins that way.  I don’t expect it or plan it.  Nevertheless some Wednesdays don’t care about your plans.

Although I was tired, my day began uneventfully. I dropped my young daughter at daycare and rushed back home to tackle the mountain of work that comes with quarter end. A few minutes into the professional pile, my older daughter entered my office to let me know that there was a swarm of bugs on a plant our home.

I’m not going to feign indifference. Insects are not my favorite, but in most cases, I can live and let live. Outside. Inside is more like Thunderdome. Two bugs come in. None come out. I just can’t have that inside. And there’s no way at all I will be residing with a swarm of them. Never ever ever.

That was bad.  And while seeing that you have many many bugs is way bad, it doesn’t hold a candle to the realization that holy #&@! I think that those are termites.

That was REALLY bad.  My panic attack began, and I hyperventilated my way through a desperate phone call where I begged my pest control company to come out that same day.  Yes, all good – 2-4pm window. Ok. Better. Breathing going back to normal.  Someone would fix this.  And then my phone buzzed.  House showing request at 2pm – a couple of hours later.

Bad wasn’t covering the badness anymore. Nothing says “This is the house for you!” quite like a termite inspector reviewing a potential infestation right when a buyer walks the home.  Keep in mind, we hadn’t had a showing request for over a month.  Of all the times and days, it would have to be right then.

I called the company to have them move the pest control appointment to the next day, the hand of the clock swung wildly around as the minutes flew by, and we tried to clean to show-ready status. Having OCD and getting your house show-ready is only great on picture day and day 1.  After that, it just makes every other showing feel like you’re never enough. But I can’t stop trying.

We were still racing around trying to get the house ready when the doorbell rang. Surely they wouldn’t be attempting to view the house early??  Nope. It was the pest control guy that was supposed to be rescheduled. Panic. Why was he there when I had cancelled and the buyers could appear at any moment?? As we were talking (and I was still trying to clean), the kids started hollering in the other room.

A frickin bird had flown into the window and had become lodged in the sofa cushions on the patio. Seriously bird? Clearly I wasn’t going to leave a hurt bird or fresh carcass on the patio. The kind pest control man and I went out to figure out what needed to be done. The poor little thing was lying between the pillows. I picked it up with a towel, and it fluttered off. At least one thing went right, so I felt slightly better. The minutes still ticked away.

I begged the pest control guy to please come back later as I involuntarily itched my head and arms for the millionth time at the knowledge that my home had bugs – bleh. He left as I looked up and saw a car in  front of our house. We were past time! Panic!

We couldn’t do anything else so we jumped in the car to leave. As I opened the garage, I found myself trapped by another car in the driveway. Are you kidding me universe?? The realtor came out with a look of sheer annoyance and moved her car moments later. We drove off and one of the kids said, “Oh no!  The dog dishes are still in the sink!” He might as well have said, “Oh no! Your ratty granny panties are hanging on the television!” I was mortified. I heard my other big kid snap at him, “Hush!  You’re going to make her go even crazier!” Sadly she wasn’t trying to be funny. Thankfully it did make me laugh. Panic subsided.

Ten minutes later the showing was over. Hours of cleaning. Minutes of not liking. The realtor later gave feedback that said that the prospective buyers would have bought the house had there not been dog dishes in the sink.

(No she didn’t.)

We went back home, and I started to work again. I wanted to post something on the blog but decided to change a couple of minor settings to improve the layout. Such good ideas…such poor execution. Kaboom – total website blow up. Curse you plugins!  Panic yet again. I hollered for my husband. This wasn’t a po’ lil’ ol’ me kind of move. He’s a professional tech nerd. My nerdiness is more generalized. However he isn’t a web tech nerd, so his frustration quickly escalated as my anxiety (and supposedly) my volume also went up. He then did something that never goes well for any man. He snapped and told me to calm down.

And that’s when I totally lost it.

Lost. It. Like multiple term mayor of Crazytown, USA lost it. Banging my desk. Hitting my computer. Stamping my feet up and down madly. Screaming for him to get out. I went totally bazerk.

The story ends with a major blowup conversation about anything and everything – 99% of which had nothing to do with that moment – and a website that is working again.  Thank you Chaitanya at WP support – you saved my site and probably my marriage!

I hate those moments. “Frustrating” doesn’t remotely encompass how I feel about them. It is a terrible helpless feeling to witness yourself spiralling out of control.  You know exactly what is going to happen if the stress continues to build, but life just keeps pushing. Do you remember Vesuvius and Pompeii?  It’s like that but with less ash (so far). I flip back to normal much faster than I flip into wild animal mode, but the explosions are unwieldy and incredibly destructive in the meantime.

Like the calm after the storm, it’s been quiet here since that point.  Although I wish I could stick with perpetually smooth waters, that isn’t the ocean I sail.

As a follow up note, they weren’t termites. You are going to think I’m making this up. The pest control team said that they were crazy ants.  Can you believe it?

No wonder they felt right at home.  🐞

Joanna

Other critter battles –  https://misifusa.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/ants-wasps-and-mice-oh-my/

Partner

Depression Is NOT Equivalent to Being Broken

different

Don’t bother calling the Louvre.  I’m keeping this one.

I have read countless articles, blogs, and books written by people struggling with depression, anxiety, autism and OCD.  One of the themes I see over and over again is that people who have been labeled with those disorders often believe that they are chronically different and utterly broken.  I understand that feeling because I have been there before and will dance in and out of it again.

I considered tackling each of the specific disorders I mentioned above on an individual basis, but when I started to write the words, I couldn’t draw clear lines.  The reason for this is two-fold.

First – Personally, I don’t see these diagnoses as being wholly separate.  Imagine a sweater made of 100 threads (yes, it’s an itty bitty sweater).  Depression is one thread, anxiety is another, and so on with autism, OCD, etc.  They weave in and out of each other with such intricacy that you can’t really tell where one begins and the other ends.  They blend together to form one entire sweater (that might fit a skinny mouse).

Second – While I agree that there absolutely are people confronting severe mental illnesses, I don’t believe that the majority of those diagnosed as such have true disorders.  I feel that we are created differently and that it’s most certainly part of our divine spiritual design.  I don’t mean this in some kind of fluffy “we are all God’s children kind of way.”  Yes, I get that part, too, but I literally mean that we aren’t broken, we don’t have disorders, and we are made this way for a reason.  I frequently substitute the term label versus disorder because that is how I see it for most people I know with these diagnoses.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for medications and treatments.  It’s just a different take on the whole mental health shebang in general.

In an earlier post I wrote, (https://momentumofjo.com/2017/07/15/depression-shifting-your-perception/), I talked about the special gifts I believe that many people with depression have.  To take that a step further, I would like to bring in the other labels.  Again I look at these collectively.

People who fall into these categories frequently have a sense of being out of control.  We may struggle with addictions to anesthetize the hurt and fear, or we may turn the other direction and go into a hyper-control mode.  At times, this can manifest in odd places.  Precise placement of objects.  Excessively clean environments.  Fixation on possible and frequently highly unlikely scenarios.  Worry worry and more worry.  It can be exhausting.

The interesting aspect is that many highly successful people deemed by standard society to be “normal” fall into these categories, too.  These individuals have learned how to shift how they use their excess of quirky energy.  They change the perception of fixation to one of focus.  It’s sounds like basic semantics, but in truth, it’s a different approach to life.

I would bet that you already know numerous reasons why your label is supposed to be a negative.  Now it’s time to look deeper and find the reasons why that same label can also be a positive.  I believe that the universe has an innate balance and those reasons can be found if we are willing to really open our eyes.

Here are some of my own examples.  I put my stuff out there because I have permission from the owner (me), I know exactly how I felt before and how I feel now, and I pray that others may see parallels and hopefully benefit.  And the winners are:

  •  Emotional ranges on all extremes – At times this has made for a wild ride for those in the fallout zone, but it has also allowed me to be exceptionally perceptive of the emotions of those around me.  It goes beyond noticing that someone seems a little sad or frustrated.  If you are sensitive, you probably know it, too.  Also for the sensitives – stop trying to take another person’s pain on yourself because that’s not your role.  (That last sentence is a big post for another day.)
  • Obsession with perfect placement and specific random job completion – Well this one is rife with quirkiness, but I am one heck of a decorator.  I have a great eye for visual continuity and flow.  People have a natural tendency to appreciate order and often find it soothing.  As for the job completion element, I can become focused on something really insignificant, but I can also zero in on something huge.  Either way, the task will be completed with precision and excellence.
  • Irrational worry – That falls lower on my “favorite things I do” list but even it has its place.  The key with this behavior is to point the fearful anxious energy to a more productive place.  When I do this, I can come up with clever problem resolution techniques.  I find ways to avoid potential pitfalls and can streamline process fails that I see.
  • Excessive list-making and concern with keeping schedules – This can become a bear, but it’s also an absolute gift when I use it in an effective way.  Rather than list all the things I will need to buy for a trip three months away, I can scratch my list-making itch by coming up with three goals I need to do, three goals I want to do, and three goals I have to do.  Being a compulsive list crosser-off-er (yes yes that’s a word effective right now) means that I will tackle those goals like a champ.  Something will get done one way or the other.
  • Extreme fixation on a specific subject or topic – This can be unnerving for people around someone who does this, but the benefit is that you can also become an expert on the subject with minimal effort.  You already love it, and if it’s a thing, someone else out there probably does, too.
  • The benefit of addiction is not the addiction itself.  It is the part when you realize that you are no longer willing to be chained to it.   The real you is so much better than any anesthetized disguise.  Taking you back is empowering beyond belief even if that happens in baby steps.  It’s not about the distance of the step but rather the fact that you are moving forward.  Find your momentum and own it.

If you want to find the negative side of those personality traits and behavioral patterns, you absolutely can.  However, I have traveled that road and would advise a u-turn if possible.  You can drag yourself down if you want to, but some of your worst of things may actually be your best of things.

Change how you see yourself and what you bring to the table.  Find the divine instead of the disadvantage and the benediction instead of the burden.

The last major point I want to add is this – everyone feels broken sometimes.  Label or no label.  We are all trying to be someone better and find something real.  We seek counsel from each other and from the heavens because we want more from ourselves and from our lives.  It’s just how our souls work.  We are constantly changing.  We are always  learning.  We may be unable to see the magic within us, but we aren’t broken.

As Carl Sagan would say, we are made of star stuff.  Open your eyes to the light you have within you.

Love and light always – Joanna

 

Taking Back Your Self-Worth – Releasing Another’s Unkindness

STONE

Sticks and stones have yet to break my bones, but words have left me reeling on countless occasions.  Many of us were raised to speak kindly and ignore harsh comments from others, but as we all know, it’s not quite that cut and dry.

I’m going to share a personal story that very few people in my life have heard.  Congratulations internet – you are now part of The Circle of Secrecy.  (Apparently The Circle is quite large.)  (Also I feel like it would be disingenuous if I didn’t clarify that there are actually additional Circles within The Circle.)

When I was in high school, I participated in a program that allowed several students and teachers to spend a couple of weeks with various families in Asia.  It was incredible, eye-opening, and beautiful beyond words.  Experiences like that change you forever in ways that you couldn’t imagine.  Sadly, the trip also left me with a memory that I can’t forget either.  It may seem small, but it had a tremendous impact on me.

The flight from Texas to Japan took about 500 hours (give or take about 485 hours).  We were antsy teenagers, and while we were excited to be going, it took foreeeeveeeer to get there.  100 or so hours into the flight, I started talking to the guys sitting on either side of me.  I wasn’t looking for love in all the wrong places.  I was just bored, so I chatted with the adjacent humans.  Unfortunately they were also bored and got trashed with the adjacent liquor bottles.  It wasn’t my favorite spot to be in, but I didn’t know what else to do.  It was an exchange program, but the exchange option did extend to my seat number.

Eventually the men became extremely rowdy, so one of the head administrators of the school called me over to sit in a seat in the row in front of him and his wife.  Another staff member moved to take my seat instead.  That was 100% fine by me.  I re-seated my seat, buckled my buckle, and the plane kept plane-ing.  Nothing could have been worse than their obnoxious behavior, so I was incredibly relieved to be elsewhere.

Until I heard this spoken softly by the administrator to his wife in the row behind me…

“That Joanna is a total slut.”

I can’t tell you how much it hurts me to repeat such base words of intense unkindness spoken about me by a leading administrator of my school.  There was zero truth in them.  I may have been brash and loud, but I truly was an innocent child.  Overhearing those poisonous words from this respected person of authority made me feel like trash.

I have kept this story close because it is something I have wanted so badly to forget.  It’s one small utterance, but it scratches my heart raw.  Someone who knew absolutely nothing about me saw that when he looked my way.  He thought I was low.

My mistake was not speaking to the two faceless men.  My mistake was listening the one whose face I can’t forget.

In his defense, he was not a bad man at all.  On the contrary, he was a very good man who did countless wonderful things to help many students.  While he was utterly wrong about me, I don’t know of any other student that he failed over the years.  I want to believe that he was stressed while watching the whole scene from several rows over.  He misunderstood my not being able to deflect those inebriated jackasses as an invitation on my part.  He misunderstood the situation, but more than anything, he misunderstood me.  I never called him out on those words, but I have often wished that I had for my own sake.  In truth though, it doesn’t matter.

Even though I knew then that what he said was not true, it still tore down my self-image.  That poison has coursed through my spirit for years.  I should have never given such power to the thoughtless words of that man.  The unkind words and acts of another do not deserve the authority to govern my self-worth.  Self-worth should always remain an inside job.

Unkindness does not define me.  Unkindness does not define you.

People say and do things that are strikingly hurtful.  They lash out and lose control and make mistakes.  Sometimes hurting you is intentional, and sometimes they don’t even know that they are doing it.  Your hurt becomes invisible collateral damage.  Most can’t see, but you can’t avoid.  It gnaws at us and steals our happiness.  But their unkindness is about them – not you.

I now see the paper tiger in his untruth.  I forgive a kind man who mistakenly whispered callous words with zero understanding of their impact.  I release that ghost of my past.  I take back all power I once gave it, and I bring yet another part of my soul back out of the shadows.

We have sacrificed pieces of ourselves to others who never deserved them.  No one should ever be given the power to make you feel substandard or less than.  You are never less than.  You are meant to excel and grow and dream and learn and soar.  Let go of another’s false perceptions, and discover who you really are.

Release the unkindness.  Take back your self-worth.

You were born to shine!

In love and light always – Joanna

***This is one of my favorite posts from an awesome lady and fellow outcast / badass who also had to brush off hollow unkindness thrown her direction.  High five from me to you girl!  😉
Too Good for Wal-Mart

Substandard

What I Would Have Missed

1a

Over the past couple of months, I have not written about my strong belief in angels.  I don’t ask or need for you to believe what I say in this entry, but I can’t share my experience without doing so here.  Not that I would want to anyway.  I owe them my life.

Twenty years ago, I almost died.  There was no accident.  I wasn’t suffering from a terminal illness.  I just didn’t want to fight against my tormented mind and my broken heart anymore.  It wasn’t worth it, and I wasn’t worth it.  I was lost, and I attempted to take my life.

1d

1b

When the roller coaster of emotions was climbing upward, I could recognize that everything would be alright.  I could see possibilities all around me.  But whenever the imminent crash would happen, my ability to perceive the relevance of my existence wouldn’t merely fade – it would disappear.  The darkness would swallow me whole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had struggled for years with the unpredictability of manic depression.  I read the books.  I met with the doctors.  I took the pills.  But I couldn’t make it stop.  It was as if I had no control over my life or my sanity.  I could see it. but I couldn’t stop it.  I wanted to turn off the noise.  Turn off the pain.  Turn everything off.

1f

I couldn’t hurt myself or anyone else anymore.  I couldn’t stay any longer.  I couldn’t hold on.  I took the pills.  Handfuls of them.  I was blind with confusion and hurt.  I was going under and I wanted to let go.

I stood in the little bathroom with the empty pill bottle in my hand, and I heard a clear voice that was not my own.  “This is it.  You have to do something NOW.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A switch flipped inside me in an instant.  Immediately my head became clear and my mind snapped to attention.  I knew what I had heard, and I understood exactly what it was saying to me.

I had to get those pills out of my body right away.  I tried to throw them up but I couldn’t.  I calmly approached my mother and told her that I needed ipecac syrup or some other medicine that would force me to vomit.  She was terrified but managed to track some down.  I can still envision the countless pills floating in the water.  Even though I had expelled the pills within minutes after taking them, I still slept for two days.

1kThat experience changed me on every level.  It didn’t make the ups and downs go away.  It didn’t stop my anxiety problems, my OCD tendencies, or my mercurial emotions.  I didn’t become the easiest person to be friends with nor did I become a dream family member at all times (or even most times, but I really do try).  However my eyes were opened.  I realized that I was supposed to be here, I was not alone at any point, and my life had value.  I didn’t have the slightest idea about the blessings I would receive nor did I understand those I would give.  I didn’t understand my true value, and I suppose, to a very great extent, I still don’t.  But I knew then that my worth was beyond measure.

I matter.  We all do.

There are moments in our lives that can change everything.  Our destinies can be shaped over time or they can be flip in an instant.  When you have depression, the finality of that choice can be lost when you are in the darkness.   It will pass.1g

There is more light around you and in you than you could ever imagine.  There is beauty and wonder and love and hope and magic.  And there are angels.

Your life is precious, and you are never alone.

Do not give in to the illusion of endless darkness.  There is no darkness without the light.  The sun is always there even when you can’t see it.  Just give it a little more time.1e

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hold on a bit more.  Let the possibilities of your life become beautiful realities.  Never give up on hope.

You can’t fathom what you would never want to miss.

1l

In love and light always – Joanna

***There are countless photos I wanted to include of others who make my heart smile, but I didn’t need to ask permission from this crew.  🙂

 

Breaking Free

butterfly4aYou wouldn’t think much to look at it.  And of course that assumes that you would have even noticed it in the first place.  Many people would walk right by and yet it would remain unseen.  They don’t recognize the magic.  The wonder.  The amazing.  It’s all within view if they can simply look a little harder.

I feel this way sometimes.  I am invisible.  Hidden in the roles I play.  Camouflaged in a daily routine.  Surrounded by a beautiful facade.  At times I want to fault others for their failure to see what I have to offer, but then the realization slams into me.

The others aren’t the ones who are missing it.  I am.

I am the one who can’t see who I truly am, and I am the one who can’t recognize what I have to offer.

butterfly3aHow often do we degrade our perceptions of ourselves based on where we are in the moment?  We criticize our physical appearances.  We curse our life circumstances.  We replay our sad choices and moments of humanity in our minds and declare ourselves unworthy or unlovable.  We twist reality to meet our misconceptions and insecurities.  We assume that the world sees us this way as well.

But that doesn’t make any of those judgements true.

It is human nature to seek validation from every external source we can find.  The irony is that the wonder and mystery of our lives is not what happens on the outside.  It is without question that the experiences and individuals outside of our physical and spiritual selves are there to be enjoyed, loved, and appreciated.  They complement our human experience and allow us to grow on countless levels.  We develop with these external elements, but the true miracle that is embedded inside us was there long before they came along.

Something deep and beautiful and mysterious lies dormant within us.  It waits to break free of all that we create to keep it locked away.  We must push past our fears if we are to know our true beauty and purpose.  We are so much more than we allow others and ourselves to see.  Wake up.  Reveal your beauty to the world.  And break free!butterfly1a

Love to all of the beautiful miracles out there!  Joanna

Dormant

***pic 1 – monarch chrysalis hanging on a lemon plant on our patio
***pic 2 – monarch caterpillar having a nap before chewing up more milkweed
***pic 3 – monarch butterfly that had just emerged from another chrysalis on our patio this morning

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