Learning to Accept What I Can’t Control

***Originally posted on https://lifeinthespectrum.com/.

As one who has minor (ginormous) challenges with slight (immeasurably large) control issues, I have yet to find a way to master my emotional response to situations that don’t turn out according to plan (that I created in my mind regardless of anyone else’s plan or reality). While I am aware of this flaw in my thought process, I struggle deeply with disentangling my personal feelings from the scenarios that upset me even when I recognize that I can’t change them.

A few months ago, we moved to a unique suburban area that offered over-sized lots with a small forest of trees blanketing the back of the yards. My oldest daughter and I discovered a shared passion for wildlife photography (especially of the feathered variety). We have always loved birds, but we were clueless about the vast array of species that would appear when we shared a little space with a grove of native trees.

In addition we have since found countless animal tracks trotting across our yard (inside our entirely enclosed fence). Our family and friends have been entertained over and over again with photos from our game camera as well as our evening animal stakeouts (a.k.a. sitting together in the dark in my room while we all stare out the windows with binoculars in hand and wait for our eyes to adjust and the nocturnal zoo to reveal itself).

game cam1

This level of nature may not be for everyone, but it’s an absolute paradise to my crew.

So when I woke a few mornings ago to the sickening crack of massive trees being felled a few feet behind our home, I felt an indescribable sadness. Our lot backs up to a tiny creek that separates our property from the lots behind us. Despite having a massive lot and a huge amount of space available for any castle / pool / soccer field the a new resident might need, the builders bulldozed tree after tree to the ground. The birds flew madly and many pairs could be heard wailing madly for hours as their nests and chicks were stolen away from them.

trees1

This was the view from our lot a few days prior. We were upset with our own builder for clearing the back of our lot, but we were confident that the green space would be maintained.

To be clear, I’m not an unrealistic person nor do I live in a tree house of my own. I understand that even if it isn’t exactly what I want, many trees may have to come down to make room for a home, pool, and significant yard. But if you buy a massive wooded lot, why in the world would you ever destroy such natural beauty that took decades (or longer) to grow? Why come here at all? In addition, it was a clear violation of everything that we had been told about maintaining the larger trees. Although we rallied with the other neighbors beside us to get the builder involved and stop further mindless clearing, the damage was already done. The builder feigned confusion about the excess of clearing, and the destroyed trees were piled into an 18 wheeler and hauled away.

trees2

This quickly became our view as the bulldozer began to tear through the trees. They did significant additional clearing after this photo was taken, but I couldn’t stomach taking another picture of the decimated habitat.

There was a pair of great horned owls that lived in one of the trees behind us that is now gone. We used to see a thick forest when we looked across our back fence but now see power lines and electrical boxes running along the other street several hundred feet behind our lot. I feel so sad and I don’t know how to let that go. I can’t control their choices nor can I fix the damage they caused.

All I can do is pray that the sadness will fade and that hope will find a way in the end.

I can’t change what has been done, but I humbly ask that you please consider planting a very small native tree or shrub near your home, school, or park. Any home improvement or garden store should be able to offer basic advice regarding appropriate plant species. If not, google might have one or two (thousand) suggestions. People constantly asking us how we get these beautiful species in our yard, and the answer is truly so simple. They just need a little bit of help.

We can’t control the situations around us nor can we go back in time to undo a hurt once it has happened. But we can make better choices when others can’t or won’t. We can rise above the pain. We can recognize that anger may be warranted but cannot define our existence. And we can choose hope and prove that it’s more than an idea.

As Willy Wonka beautifully said, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.”

And it’s true. Regardless of what is occurring around you, find your song and celebrate your dreams. Never forget that the smallest light can brighten the darkest room. Don’t let fear, hurt, or anger extinguish your brilliant glow. Find that beautiful spark that is an innate part of who you truly are, take positive action of your own whenever you can, and show the world what it’s like to shine.

Hugs to you all. Jo

***Originally posted on https://lifeinthespectrum.com/.

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

Day 10 – It’s Time to Shine

Born to Shine

I wrote the two lines above tonight because these words have been circling my mind more and more with each day that passes.  I feel the truth in them, and I sense them pushing me forward.  They tell me to get out of my own way.  To get out of my own shadow.  To shine.  The words are for me, and they are for you.

My challenge continues to evolve in ways I could have never predicted.  The tech turn off element is very much in effect and is extremely important, but this challenge is really about recognizing my priorities on all levels of my life.  It is about becoming my highest potential self by allowing me to embrace my authenticity.  It is about remembering who I really am and helping others rediscover their light as well.  I am being flooded with signs and revelations.  Undoubtedly they were always there, but I needed to open my eyes once more to be able to see them.

During this evening’s challenge, I unplugged for several hours to listen to a speaker discuss the topic of knowing your value and acting on it.  He talked about recognizing your priorities and gaining positive momentum as you allow your authentic self to take the lead.  For obvious reasons, my ears always perk up whenever I hear the word momentum, but the entire lecture could have been written in response to my unspoken fears and uncertainties.  His words challenged me yet again to reevaluate what I was putting first.  They reinforced the importance of honoring my own value and becoming who I am meant to be.

We cannot expect others to see our beauty if we refuse to see it in ourselves.  It’s time to leave the shadow.  It’s time to shine.

***Joanna***

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