Lost and Found

Lost and Found

I was torn on what to write about today, because the ideas just keep coming. I know #bloggerproblems right? Just kidding, I’ve never been a blogger before now so I wouldn’t know if it is a problem for others or not. However, today I have just felt extremely good about everything, for no reason. I kind of hesitate to write that down because it’s like Murphy’s law, if you say it out loud you jinx it. Anyway, too late.  Over the course of the last 2 weeks I’ve went through a lot of very deep diving emotional and mental breakthrough’s, it’s been exhausting to say the least. So why the title “lost and found”? Well, because that is sort of like what the last couple of weeks or, if I’m honest, the last 4 years, have been like. It’s been like I found what I had lost, except that before I found it I didn’t really know it was lost. I guess in a way, I kind of did, it’s like scotch tape or the scissors in your house. Do most of us know where they are most of the time? I mean, we know we have tape and scissors somewhere, but could we actually tell someone where to find it in the house if we had too? Well, maybe some very organized people can, but I can tell you I can not.  I might be able to say, I saw it in the general vicinity of the kitchen,  maybe start there.

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So, like the scotch tape and the scissors that I know I have in my house somewhere, I felt like my faith and my spirituality and my emotional and mental health were somewhere inside of me. Like I knew it wasn’t just gone, but like my tape and scissors, I probably couldn’t have told you where it was or what happened to it.  So when I say it wasn’t really lost, I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know where I put it. So I suppose a better term would be misplaced rather than lost. But lost sounded better in the title. I mean misplaced and found sounds silly.

Now maybe you are one of those people who always knows where you put everything. You know, everything has its place and everything it its place so to speak.  You are probably one of those people who has a label for your label maker right? You have a cute holder for your scissors or your tape that you made off of Pinterest right? Well, for that person I say, good for you. That is awesome that you are such a tidy person.  So being that type of person you probably would never misplace your faith right? Let’s hope not. I’d hate to think that you could keep track of scissors but not faith. Okay, I’m totally making fun of organized people now. But it is all in good fun and I don’t mean anything bad by it. I am truly in awe of your organizational talents.  Come to think of it, I used to be a very organized individual and at work I still am, but when I’m at home I have essentially given up the organization fight.  But I digress, so back to spirituality and faith. How does one misplace it? That is the million dollar question.

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For a lot of people it is probably gradual, where they just sort of stop using it. When you don’t use something very much it’s easy to lose track of its whereabouts, where as something that is used daily, like your cell phone, you don’t lose track of because it’s likely permanently glued to your hand.  But the scissors or the tape only get used occasionally so it’s easy to forget where you last left it. The same can be said for your faith, your spirituality. If you stop using it, you lose it.  So by that I mean, you stop doing the things that brought a spiritual connection to you. Maybe you used to pray daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to read scriptures daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to go to church every Sunday and you stopped. So if you stop doing the things that exercise your faith, then you start to forget where it is or how it made you feel.  You let life happen in its place. Now again, I am truly awe inspired by those individuals who consistently exercise their faith because they are more likely to not misplace it. I, on the other hand, am very prone to complacency and very prone to be arrogant enough to think that I could stop exercising my faith and still know where it is. I am wrong. I am wrong every time I do that and yet, I keep doing it.  Just like I’m wrong every time I say I’ll just set the scissors here, I’ll be able to find them again next time, only to have to tear the house apart looking for it when I go to wrap Christmas presents every year. I swear, I never learn.

 

Over the past 30 days or so and more specifically the last 2 weeks, I have undergone some what of a spiritual overhaul. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it? It’s not. I mean it is but it is emotionally and mentally draining. So I uncluttered my psyche, and in the process found where I had left my faith and spirituality, turns out it was right in front of my face the entire time. It’s always the last place you look though. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot more clutter and organizing to do still, but I found the core of it at least. Like a scattered puzzle, I found the box with the pretty picture on it,  I’m just looking for all the pieces now.

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Part of my journey I really think started late last year, but I didn’t realize it.  Possibly even half way through last year. I was having problems in my business and with my family and just with everything in life including my health. I think everything was manifesting itself in my left eye. Cornea infections are not fun, let me tell you and I am still having left eye issues. I was searching for something but didn’t know what. I had even hired business coaches and life coaches to assist me thinking that would help. I know, me, life coaches (nothing against life coaches) but I was seriously that desperate and the fact that I was paying life coaches was just, eww…like made me want to gag. Because I’ve never been that type of person. Now I’m not saying life coaches are bad. I know plenty of them and they do add value to a lot of people’s lives and businesses, so don’t start sending me hate mail. It was just something that I never thought I’d do. Anyway, the point was I had done this trying to find answers. The answers were in me all along. I had just misplaced my faith. What I was searching for was God. He never left though. I just closed the door on  him and forgot which door I left him standing behind. But he was still there, when I found that door and opened it, there he was. Never moved.  Just in the same spot I left him. The wonderful life coaches I hired didn’t know I’d left him behind a door. How could they. So they couldn’t help me find the door he was behind because they didn’t know he was there.

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What I needed was help from someone who actually knew he was there and that I had left him behind. So, God, in his infinite wisdom, because he couldn’t get a hold of me, started calling on some friends to alert me to the fact that I totally forgot about him. Luckily, eventually the right people answered the phone and he sent them to the rescue. To remind me that hey, I’d slammed the door on God and left him just standing out in the cold. He didn’t do it for himself though. He wasn’t like, how dare she do this to me?! Just forget about me like that! He was concerned that I hadn’t come back after I closed the door. His concern was for me. So he sent a posse out to find me to make sure I was okay. I am so thankful that he did. Because now, today, even though I’m still finding pieces to the puzzle, I feel amazing. I feel connected. I feel again. I think I had stopped feeling. So here I am writing this ridiculous blog about tape, scissors, and faith, but I feel amazing doing it. I have a lot of unanswered questions right now and I’m even unsure about some drastic events that may or may not happen in my life right now and somehow, I’m okay with all of it. I’m so okay that I’m actually happy, giddy, excited about life again, regardless of what that life looks like now.

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The bottom line is never lose hope, never think that something or someone is so lost they can’t be found. God doesn’t quit looking, he will stand there at the door knocking for eternity until you finally find the right door again. He will call reinforcements to help you. He will never quit. You will always be found! Now, the tape and the scissors is another story, that’s all on you, but rest assured that tape and scissors can be easily purchased again so don’t sweat it.

Use Your Life Line

Use Your Life Line

Over the years we have all come across trials and hardships in our lives. No one is exempt from this. It’s called life. Have you ever stopped to look back at trials in your life and realized that without knowing it you were probably thrown a life line? A metaphorical life-preserver if you will. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize it at the time but then, when you look back you see the help clear as day. What if you were aware though? What if you were fully cognizant of the fact that you were being thrown a life line and you chose not to take it? No thanks, I’m good, I can swim. Move along. What if instead of letting our pride get the best of us, we grabbed that life line and held on for dear life? Or maybe, you didn’t even realize you were drowning until a life line was thrown to you? I’ll admit, that is usually me. I’m going along, just swimming along thinking I’m good, everything is good, and then suddenly a life boat appears or a life preserver and I think, “well that’s odd, like why do I need this? I’m totally fine.” But, for some reason I grab it anyway, because, well, why not?  Maybe I’ll need it someday.

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The point is, often times we get so busy with life and thinking we can do it all on our own that we forget that we can’t. That’s right, I said we can’t. It’s not a some can and some can’t kind of thing. It isn’t a debate, we absolutely cannot navigate this life alone.

Recently I’ve been thrown a life line, one I didn’t know I needed. This person who has come into my life, has offered me one thing….friendship. That’s it, something so simple. Something we take for granted every day. Someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to just listen when you need someone to listen. To try to cheer you up when things seem hopeless. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. It doesn’t have to be some drastic hallelujah sign from above. It’s the little things.  We are sent these angels every day, to help us through the tough times. Sometimes it is someone expected, sometimes it is totally unexpected. But none the less it’s there, and who knows, maybe you were sent to that person to help them in some way. I think God absolutely uses us as tools to help each other and the bonus part is you end up with a life long friend. Who couldn’t use one of those right?

This is not the first time I’ve been thrown a life-preserver. Although this is probably the first time I’ve been fully aware that it was happening.  I can think of many situations and times in my life where divine intervention is absolutely the only reason that I got out of a bad situation. There just wasn’t any other way to describe it. I don’t believe in luck, I don’t believe in coincidence really, I mean yes sometimes things are coincidental, but not usually big things. My life has been orchestrated in such away that it lead me right to this moment. This moment where I am writing this blog to whomever, explaining that God knows each of us, and he cares for each of us individually and there is nothing that we feel or experience that he isn’t aware of. He absolutely inspires events and people in our lives to reach out when needed.  I am here, at this point in my life for a reason. It wasn’t by choice (not really) it was by circumstances, and yes choices I’ve made, but ultimately choices that maybe I needed to make to get here.  This all sounds very deep and vague I know, but honestly, look at your life and think back. Who was your life line, who helped you, how did you make it through some situations? Was it truly alone? I don’t think so.

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Now what about those truly horrible situations that happen to some people where you think, why would a loving God let that happen? Yes, there are truly bad things that happen to good people through  no fault of their own. Why is that? Is it because he cares less for them? No, it isn’t. There maybe no real clear answer to that until we ultimately pass on and the big picture is revealed, but one thing I can say is that even though some people endure horrible circumstances in their life, they ultimately come out of it with an experience that in some way, I am sure, has taught them something. Is it fair, well, no, but life isn’t fair is it? Some of those people don’t make it out alive, fair? Maybe not, or maybe they were taken out of this life to live a better one, without the pain and suffering of this world. So while we may not know the reason why some people are saved and some people are not we know that everything happens for a reason. Even if we can’t see that reason in this life.

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I am fortunate enough to not have to go through something truly horrific in this life thus far. But, I truly am blessed to know that I am not alone. That through inspired events in my life I’ve seen numerous life lines thrown to me. Some I have taken, and some I have passed by only to have that life line offered to me again later on. I am here writing this blog because right in this moment God knows what I need. He knows how I feel. He loves me even when I don’t love myself. Maybe I’m writing this for myself, maybe someone else needs to hear it. I don’t know. But I don’t need to know all of what God has in store for each of his children to know that right here in this moment he sees me, and hears me, and loves me and is proud that I used the life line, even when I wasn’t sure why I needed it.

 

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we just hold on to useless stuff. Not just material clutter (which I have plenty of) but emotional clutter, baggage, unnecessary feelings and struggles. We just cling to those things like they are so precious to us. Why?

Here is what I think, I think those things build up. I think we don’t think about them until suddenly we realize our minds have become this waste land of crap! It happens slowly so we don’t realize it until we find ourselves mentally bogged down by these feelings. They have suddenly taken over your life to the point that your true feelings, your true potential, and your true spiritual nature are suffocated under the weight of it.  So why do we let it get that way?

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Have you ever carried a heavy bag or back pack? You pick it up at first and think this isn’t so bad. Maybe it isn’t even that heavy at first. You walk around with it on your shoulder and as you go along you collect stuff. You have the bag after all, why not put stuff in it.  Maybe you don’t even put that much in it. But, if you carry that bag around long enough, it starts to feel heavy. Suddenly you find yourself switching shoulders. Then you walk around with it on that shoulder for a while until it starts to get to heavy for that shoulder to. So what you end up with is 2 sore shoulders. Do we ever not think of maybe setting the bag down, or even setting it down and taking some stuff out of it that we don’t need?

Now that’s a great metaphor obviously, I know women out there can relate to carrying around that enormous purse that you throw literally everything into. I’ve done it.  Then when you go to find your wallet or your keys it is buried under all this crap. Well, because we are always so busy and just never get around to it, we don’t clean out our purses until one day we get so frustrated that we can’t find what we need that we dump the contents onto the table and start sorting things out.  Most of the stuff we collect in our purses, is just garbage that we end up throwing out. Receipts galore from shopping trips and grocery store trips. Business cards from networking events, (who is this person again)? All the crap that we just throw into our bags without thinking gets sorted through and then we put our wallet and our keys and maybe our lipstick or a compact mirror (you know, the necessities) back in and we are so proud of ourselves for getting organized. At least until we go out again and start that collecting process all over again!

My point is, maybe we should stop (first and foremost collecting useless junk in our purses) but more importantly, stop collecting useless junk in our minds.  Because we do the same thing with our minds.  Sometimes we are just a veritable plethora of useless information right?

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What if, instead of filing away that offensive remark or that small slight that someone made towards us (either intentionally or unintentionally) and just decided to let it go from the beginning? What if instead of beating ourselves up for stupid things we’ve done to ourselves or to other people, we rectify it and move on. Why keep that stored in your head to trip over one day? What if instead of the hurts we remember the good things someone has done for us? What if we kept those things. Wouldn’t we value those things?  What happens when we trip over that memory of something bad? Ultimately it brings us right back to that moment in time where we have to feel all of that hurt again. So what we’ve done is saved something that makes us feel bad so that we can one day stumble across it again and feel bad all over again. What?! Why?! LET IT GO! Let it go so that you don’t have to stumble across it again.

For example, in our homes we take care of the things we value and they are displayed nicely and kept safe right? The junk, is just left around or stuffed in a closet or a corner and only pulled out or dealt with when we keep tripping over it.  So what if we treated our emotional and spiritual minds like we treat our valuable possessions? What if we didn’t store useless junk in the corners of our minds to trip over on our way to getting to the valuable things? What if we only stored the good stuff? What if?

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It is easier said than done to let small stuff go and to not keep it filed away. It is easier said than done to let the big stuff go. I’m not sure I have the answer, what I do know is that if we take the time to pause for a minute and decide if something is worth keeping or not keeping (mentally or emotionally) then maybe we will stop collecting the useless stuff and start valuing the valuable stuff. Something to think about, and if someone out there masters how to do this let me know because that could be useful information right?

The Great Escape!

The Great Escape!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an “all-in” kind of girl. When I decide to do something I jump in and do it and I do it full force.  It’s a blessing and a curse. Anyway, blogging has become my great escape. It seemed a little odd at first putting my thoughts and feelings and ideas out into the internet world for anyone to see. But I gotta say it’s been liberating as well. Because, I truly am a person who doesn’t care what others think, or at least that is what I always told myself anyway, this really has been a testament to that idea. Do I really not care? If I put these personal thoughts and ideas out into the world-wide web, you better be sure of that. So far, I haven’t been flogged by anyone or told that I’m stupid or whatever mean and nasty things people can come up with. Or maybe I’m just not that interesting and people don’t really care. Either way, it has been liberating for me.

Most of my blogs thus far have been about some personal discoveries I’ve made about myself. I haven’t even touched on politics yet (don’t worry at some point I probably will) I’m sure that’s when I’ll get the hate posts. I am just basking in the idea of personal growth and my own personal thoughts right now. I guess I’m being a little selfish because, everything has been about me thus far! Shocker! I have to admit it feels a little narcissistic at times. But oh well, maybe my struggles or thoughts can help someone else in the long run.  That’s what I like to tell myself anyway.

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What I have found is that self-reflection can be hard and draining.  I think not enough of us take the time to really reflect on who we are, why we do the things we do, or how we got to be the person we are now. I mean why would we, we all have lives and are busy and why would we stop to ask those questions anyway? I’m really not sure what lead me to ask them in the first place. I think we are afraid to look too hard at ourselves because we might not like what we find. We might have to admit we are wrong in some way. We might have to admit that our way of thinking or doing things is flawed, and who really wants to admit any of that? Not me, for sure. I have always thought of myself as knowing exactly who I am and what I stand for, and if I make a decision one way or another, it is the right one for me. Because I never really stopped to examine why I was doing something or thinking a certain way.

What are we afraid of? I’ll tell you what we are afraid of. We are afraid of change. We are afraid that if we stop to reflect on ourselves and really look at ourselves on a deeper level that we will have to do things differently. That we will find out that we are wrong and if we find out we are wrong, we have 2 choices, to either stay wrong or change.  Change is never an easy thing and admitting you are wrong, is even harder.

What I’ve found about myself (right, wrong or indifferent) is that I act first and think later and that I have an amazing ability to reason myself into what I think I want.  Since I am in the legal field professionally, I have been asked by many people why I didn’t just become a lawyer. I guess they recognize what I fail to recognize about myself, which is that I’d probably make a great attorney. I mean what do attorney’s do essentially? They reason away their client’s actions or lack of actions, or whatever. They find that loophole. They come up with a plausible scenario which makes that winning argument. Essentially that is what I do to myself. I come up with those winning arguments in my head which essentially makes my actions or in-actions, or whatever, plausible. I find those loopholes. I twist the facts or the truth until it fits my narrative inside my head.  That’s crazy right? When I put it on paper like that it sounds crazy to me. But when I’m rationalizing it in my head it doesn’t sound crazy at the time. I don’t realize I’m doing it.

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So now that I’ve figured out that about myself, what is the answer? How do you fundamentally change how your mind works? Seriously! I mean it’s like changing your personality. So even if I do realize this about myself, how does one go about changing the fact that you have a really good attorney in your head? I mean, she is obviously very good at her job. This does kind of go along with my last blog post from 2 days ago. “Punch Satan in the Face!”. Essentially I alluded to the fact that it was Satan in my head feeding me my thoughts or twisting them. So I suppose going back to that position, I just have to evict Satan from my brain right? Is it that easy though? I mean part of the reason that Satan is in my head and that I can’t tell the difference between what are organically my thoughts and what are his, is because he twists my thoughts so they sound like me. Again, I am Satan, Satan is me, etc. But I think even if I do successfully punch Satan in the face and kick him out, I’m still me right? I’m still the one that finds loopholes aren’t I?

Here is what I’ve been told in the past about personal revelation. I’ve been told that you can tell that it is the spirit of God speaking if the idea or thought is good (I’m paraphrasing) but if it is bad it is from Satan. Great! problem solved! Oh wait, except that good and bad are totally subjective to each individual and also relative to the situation. Right! Forgot about that. This is where things get personally murky for me. Obviously if I have an idea in my brain box that says that I should go rob a bank, obviously, that is a clear indicator that it is bad and is not from God. Okay, cool. Now what if I have a thought in my head that says, keep your family unit together at all costs and do what is right for your family. Okay, this is where it gets confusing because that could mean so many things. Now say an opportunity presents itself to re connect with your spouse or something and you really feel that it is a good idea because re connecting with your spouse will help the family unit. Perfect! That must be good right? Now let’s say that the way your brain came up with you to re connect was to have a great weekend with your spouse that may involve going against a principal that you have been taught is fundamentally wrong, but doing it makes your spouse happy and by extension brings back that closeness that you were thinking was good for the family unit? These are just examples, but really, those little small decisions are the choices you are going with and they seem inherently “good” at the time. So, was that a loophole? If the way we make decisions or know if personal revelation is really from God is based on whether it is good or not, then how do you always tell the difference given the subjective nature of good and bad? If you pray about it and your brain still finds those loopholes, how do you change that?

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I’m still figuring that out of course. But I think they are valid questions. Of course, what do I know, based on my self-reflection, I don’t know much. But I do find that escaping into my blog and typing from this stream of consciousness that may or may not make sense, somehow let’s me escape into a reality where good and bad can co-exist for a short time just to wade through the cob webs of your mind that have been discarded and forgotten. It allows me to play, what if, for as long as I need to until that light bulb comes on that says this is the clear answer. So, even if my blog is not helping anyone but me, I guess that is good enough. If it only serves to let me escape long enough to focus on an idea or thought, then I guess it is worth it to bear my soul to the internet!

 

 

Punch Satan in the Face!

Punch Satan in the Face!

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the adversary, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, the father of lies, etc. Yeah, you know, that guy. Why do I want to talk about him? Because he is so crafty. He is so ingenious, he is very smart, and he is very sophisticated. People might think of him like some horned devil breathing fire with a pitch fork, but that isn’t him at all is it? Satan is you, he is me, he is everyone everywhere in the world. What do I mean by that? I mean he can literally infiltrate anyone. Yes, anyone! Scary right? Well, why don’t we just punch him in the face and kick  him out then. Well, that would be fun and rewarding, however, how do you even know when he is there? I mean literally, the way I see it is he knows us as well as we know ourselves. So, he can mimic us. By that I mean he is so good at infiltrating your thoughts that you actually think the thoughts are yours and not his.

I’ve recently, and by recent I mean this morning, had the epiphany that my thoughts haven’t necessarily been my own. I will tell you that this blog had a lot to do with this epiphany, as well as a dear friend of mine who has recently indulged me in critiquing my blog. Through a series of conversations and emails, I actually saw it. The power of writing is very powerful, because you can go back and re read what you’ve written and sometimes it is like, wait what? What did I mean by that? Why did I say it like that? or even “what was I thinking?” So because I have had the opportunity to re read and reflect on my ideas and personal philosophies, I found a flaw. I know, me, a flaw in my own logic and thinking! or was it really mine? This is where Satan comes in. Were all of those thoughts really mine? Did I actually plagiarize Satan? Or did he plagiarize me? Maddening right?

So here comes the gritty part, I started reflecting on a lot of decisions I had made over the past few years and realized I wasn’t necessarily behind the wheel. Instead of singing “Jesus take the wheel” I think it was more like “Satan take the Wheel”. I think I had allowed Satan to take the wheel in my life and he was driving it full force. He was making the decisions from then on out. Now, I’m not saying that I wasn’t making any decisions. I think sometimes he’d fall asleep at the wheel and I would grab it so we would fall off a cliff. But then, for some unknown reason I’d say okay, this car is going nowhere, here you go Satan, your turn.  I think this has happened several times in my life and I finally realized why. It’s because Satan is me and I am him and we are one (so to speak) I think he set up residence in my mind a long time ago and he knows very well how my mind works. He knows what strings to pull and when and he knows how to think like me so when he applies reason to my ideas, they sound like my ideas and my thoughts.

Now, I’m not trying to give the old “the devil made me do it” line where I escape accountability for my actions by throwing Satan under the bus. No, not at all, in fact, I’m saying it’s my fault he has so much control in the first place. At some point I let him in and he is one tenant that is hard to evict.  Man he is evading the constable like the plague. The fact is we all have weaknesses and we all fall for those same weaknesses consistently. I’m reminded of my favorite scripture which is Ether 12:27: And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Great, so that’s awesome! God gave men weakness so that they will be humble. I love the thought that his grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before him. That’s great, so I’ve humbled myself and my weakness is that I consistently let Satan drive the bus. Awesome!  So the scripture says if I humble myself before him and have faith in him, then he will make weak things strong unto them. So that’s where it says, okay, if your weakness is that Satan convinces you to let him drive the bus, how are you going to make me strong to evict Satan and not let him drive the bus anymore? Boom! Have faith and be humble. Admit you are wrong and that you don’t have control and ask God for help! Or, accept the life line he has already sent you (cause chances are he has sent you several already). Grab that life line and then punch Satan in the face and throw him out of the bus!

Okay, okay, I admit that all sounds much easier said than done.  I know, because Satan is still driving my bus to a certain extent.  But not for long. I just have to find my boxing gloves!

 

 

Where do you Stand?

People who meet me generally have the same opinion at first. She’s nice, or she’s sweet, or she is so confident and sure of herself. I’ve heard she is fearless as well. Sometimes, I get not so nice comments, more on the side of she is a bitch, or she is pushy.  So which of these is the real me? The answer is all of them and none of them. Now you are really confused right? Where do I stand?

Every few years it seems I go through a personal transformation. But, at the same time I always remain me (who ever me is). It’s been a few years since my last personal transformation so I guess it was time again. But, this time it’s different. Before, whenever I’d decide (and that decision was usually made very fast) I’d just jump in and head in that direction. Full speed ahead. I didn’t earn the nick  name of “all in” for nothing.

This time I think I am aware that I am changing. I’m aware that it’s happening and its making me pause and think about it more. So my normal gut reaction of jumping into the transformation head on without looking is being evaluated.  When I was probably 5 years old my mom put me in swimming lessons at the local college. I think I was 5 the age might be wrong, but the point is I was young. I am deathly afraid of heights, so when it came time to jump off of the high dive I was naturally scared.  I remember climbing up the ladder and standing on the board looking down the long board toward the edge thinking, I can’t do this, it’s too high. So rather than walking to the edge of the board, like I was supposed to and positioning myself to jump, I shut my eyes and ran down the board and just jumped off at full speed without looking. This pretty much sums up my life. I knew if I walked to the edge of the board and looked down I would never jump. So I just shut my eyes and ran. This sums up most of my decisions in life where I wasn’t sure what to do or if I could do it. I just shut my eyes and jumped, wherever I land I land.

So this time, I find myself at the edge of the diving board staring down. Should I jump or should I turn around and climb back down the ladder? So now I’m asking, where do I stand? Normally, I stand wherever I land and I can’t say that hasn’t served me in the past, it has. But sometimes it hasn’t. It’s always a gamble.

This blog has forced me to actually think. Instead of going through life on a whim, living on a prayer, so to speak, I am analyzing myself while writing this. It is both liberating and a little scary because once I’ve created that logic, that dialogue that can’t be disputed, I pretty much can’t talk my self out of it anymore, or internally reason with myself. Because now it’s in writing. Wow! the power of  writing is off the charts.

So, I am a complex person who has many sides and all of them are me and none of them are me. I stand at the edge of a diving board staring down into the abyss for the first time, actually looking. Will I jump? No, I think maybe I’ll just sit a while.

 

What is Bad?

I was having a conversation with a friend last night and somehow my weird brain came up with the idea of what is bad? When people think they have been “bad” or had a “bad life” or were even “born bad”, what does that mean? I think the idea of bad is both relative and subjective. What seems bad to one person may not be to another. Sure there are certain social constructs that dictate that things like murder and theft are bad. Not just because of the act and what happens once the act is done, but it is also illegal. So what if we dispel with the idea of “legally wrong or bad” and talk about why people tend to think of themselves as bad.

Many people live by a certain set of rules or standards that dictate to them what is right and wrong or what is bad or good. Religions are based on it a lot of times. It’s funny that people of different faiths sometimes have these righteous indignation’s that make them seem so superior to other people, like they hold the moral high ground all the time. Sometimes people just guilt themselves needlessly and sometimes those overly righteous people make sure those people continue to feel guilty.  I mean sure we are all human and we all make mistakes, does that mean we should walk around wringing our hands and fretting over being damned after we die? This is what I mean by what is bad? It’s subjective and it is relative to the situation I think. I think it’s relative to your own mind-set at the time.

Now here comes the tricky part, does your mind-set at the time or the situation absolve you from whatever wrong or bad thing you did? I mean surely there has to be accountability at some point especially if that bad thing hurt another person. Should we just say well he or she was not in the right frame of mind or they were in a bad situation so it’s forgivable? Shouldn’t there be consequences even if the situation was bad? It can get pretty convoluted when you try to wrap your mind around it. What about those situations where the only person you are hurting is yourself? I am reminded of a line in the movie “Where the Heart Is” where Stockard Channing’s character says “Sheriff, we’re alcoholics, we’re generally satisfied just to hurt ourselves.” Should you endure some sort of hell fire and damnation when you really just hurt yourself? In this situation, doesn’t the hurt you inflicted upon yourself serve as sort of its own punishment? One could argue you’ve suffered enough right? But then again, is there such a thing as only hurting yourself? Whether you are speaking physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. Sure I suppose if you are alone and have no one else in the world that loves you, then maybe yes what you do to yourself doesn’t hurt anyone but you. But for the vast majority of people, we all have people who love us and worry about us and care when we are hurting ourselves. So in that sense, is there really such a thing as only hurting yourself? Because if you hurt yourself and the people you love have to watch it, then are you not by extension hurting them as well? Like I said, tricky right?

So what is my point? My point is, and this is just my opinion of course, that sometimes life is life and we make decisions that sometimes we shouldn’t, but does it really serve us or anyone else to go through your life kicking yourself for things you may have done that either hurt you or someone else or both? What is the point? Is it what God wants? Now depending on your faith you may think of God as this omnipotent being who takes inventory of your rights and wrongs all day every day for infinity and dole’s out a punishment or a reward at the end. Sort of like a glorified Santa Clause, he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake or you don’t get any presents on Christmas type of person. Maybe you see him as a merciful God who understands that you are human and understands your mind-set at all times and takes into account these things and just loves you no matter what. Sort of like a mother or father on earth loves there kids no matter what, even if they are not being the best kids all the time.Maybe you don’t believe in a God at all and you just think we are here on this earth and then we die and there is nothing after that.That is a pretty grim outlook but some people do believe that.

So regardless of which scenario you believe in, the question still remains, if we are here on this earth because God put us here, we are still here and we still have to try to live the best life we can and try not to be miserable regardless of if you think you are headed for hell fire and damnation or heaven or nothingness, wouldn’t you want to at least spend your time on earth trying to be happy and not being guilt ridden? I would argue that would be the best use of your time. Make yourself happy, try to do right by other people and if you make a mistake, apologize and try to make it right the best you can and then move on. Don’t carry that burden of all your wrongs forever on this earth until you die, because I suspect there will be plenty of time to pick those back up after you are dead. Maybe you will pay for them after you are gone, maybe you won’t, but I used to worry about it. I used to wring my hands over it. I used to think, I will be punished for time and all eternity after I’m gone because I couldn’t measure up. Measure up to who? Who are we really trying to measure up to? The other people at church? Our parents? God? Maybe it’s true that I’ll be punished maybe it isn’t. But what good does it do me to worry about it now? Am I serving myself, my family or anyone else if I am paralyzed by guilt? Not really.

Now, I am LDS, and so I do happen to believe in the hereafter and that Jesus died for our sins so that we could return back to our Heavenly Father. That is my personal belief, and I have gone through the repentance process before. So I am not preaching anything contrary to my beliefs or contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, this is my opinion not doctrine, it’s my personal experience of having tried to live the gospel as well as I could and failing miserably, more than once. Does that make me damned? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Does that make me bad? I don’t think so. I think it makes me human and I think the Lord knows my heart and your heart and everyone’s heart and he knows that I am strong-willed and that I have a hard time discerning between my own thoughts and the spirit’s thoughts (if you will) personal revelation does not come easy to me because I literally can’t tell the difference most of the time. Do I do things that I know (according to my religious background) are “bad”? Probably. Does that make me “bad”? I guess I will have to let God be the judge on that when I die because honestly, it’s all relative and it’s all subjective and I have chosen not to worry about it anymore. It’s too exhausting and I will probably never figure it out in this lifetime, but that’s alright.

I probably stunned a lot of my church going friends when a couple of years ago I made the decision to be less involved with my church. That was probably confusing to, well, probably all of them. I’m sure they thought did someone offend her? Was it something someone did? Did she just decide to abandon her faith and her beliefs? The answer is no to all of them. If you know me, you know that the only person capable of offending me successfully is my own husband. Quite literally, no one else has that power over me. Maybe my daughter a close second but not really because I recognize she is a teenager and it’s sort of the teenager’s job to be difficult. Did I lose my faith? Not in the slightest. I still believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on the earth today. I still believe that President Monson is the true prophet. I still believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost to restore the true gospel to the earth, and I still believe that Jesus Christ died for all of our sins so we could return to our Heavenly Father. So, why? I guess the answer is still a mystery to me. At the time I told myself that it was too hard. My daughter wasn’t interested and it was always a struggle and my Husband is not a member so it was just me. So I told myself I did it for my family. In part I guess that’s true. But mostly, I think I was just tired. It’s exhausting being a lone island in your own family. One could argue that if I didn’t marry a non-member I wouldn’t have these problems, or if I wasn’t living a lifestyle that lead me to marry a non member that I wouldn’t have these problems. That may or may not be true, we’ll never know now. Now maybe it’s “bad” and maybe it isn’t. I think I’m just not sure I care anymore whether it is or it isn’t. I think I will just live my life and do the best I can and it will all get sorted out in the end. Bad? I guess God will be the judge.