Learning to Want What God Wants For Us

Learning to Want What God Wants For Us

Have you ever felt yourself at odds with what you want? Or rather at odds with yourself and then at odds with God? I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes what we think we want,  or what we do want is so strong that it overshadows everything else. We are positive we want this more than anything in the entire world. We become hyper focused on it. Whether it’s wanting to find the love of our life, or whether its to have children or the perfect job or career, or whether its wanting an eternal marriage and family. We become hyper focused on it and we shut everything else out. We don’t notice warning signs or even other people telling us the warning signs they see. We just don’t see it. Because we are laser focused on this desire so much that we have tunnel vision. The problem with tunnel vision is it blocks the view of the big picture.

Tunnel Vision

Even if our wants and desires are righteous and good, sometimes they aren’t what Heavenly Father has planned for us. That is the hardest thing to accept. How can my righteous desire be ignored? Why do some people seemingly have it so easy? We ask a lot of why questions to Heavenly Father. Sometimes it seems he isn’t listening. Sometimes it seems he is just ignoring us all together. We know this isn’t true, but be honest, doesn’t it feel like that sometimes? Here is the other thing I have come to realize, what if our righteous desire isn’t really as righteous as we think? I know….mind bender right? How could it not be if it is a good thing right? It isn’t a bad thing or doesn’t seem to be to us. But what if in the midst of trying to control the outcome of our righteous desire, we overstep some boundaries? What if we are so hyper focused on our desires that we actually go too far? Maybe we justify some behaviors or ideas because it fits our “righteous desire” and it fits the narrative that “we” want? I think sometimes this happens, where we get so focused on what “we” think we deserve and “we” think we want that we actually take a few small steps away from the iron rod, from the straight and narrow. We try to cut through an ally or field to get there quicker but we find that taking that short cut just got us lost. I think this happens more often than we think and it doesn’t make us any less of a righteous or faithful person. It makes us human. It makes us vulnerable to the attacks of the adversary for sure, but it doesn’t make us unrighteous.

Short cut

Now this is just me talking. This is just how I see it. I’m sure people will disagree with me on that. I mean how can one stray from the straight and narrow and still be righteous right? Seems contradictory. Here is what I think. I think the Lord knows our hearts. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows whether or not our intent was to be unrighteous or if we just got caught up in a momentary lapse of judgement that carried us a little to far, ultimately he knows where our hearts are.  Does that justify our behaviors? No, it doesn’t, there are always consequences to any of our actions (righteous or not) regardless of our intentions. But I also think, that sometimes the sorrow and pain we feel after recognizing our mistakes, are often punishment enough. Often times the pain and anguish to our hearts and minds serve as the consequence.  Yes there are harsher consequences depending on what the action was but often times the Lord is very merciful. Because often times we are the only ones that know that pain and the consequence besides God, and sometimes that’s enough. I think we are way more harsh on ourselves and others than God is on us. Let me actually rephrase that, Satan tells  us to be harsher on ourselves than God is on us. Satan tells us that all is lost. That we cannot make it back, that we have gone to far. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are never too far gone. We have never strayed to far, righteous or unrighteous in our desires. God is always there, he never leaves us. We may stray or wander, but he is always right there, never wavering, never flinching.

hqdefault

I think the lesson sometimes, is that God wants us to trust Him and His judgement more than our own. This is hard to do for probably almost everyone. So even if the thing we want most, we can see, we can feel, we can almost touch it but it’s just out of reach, maybe it’s out of reach for a reason. Maybe even when we pray for guidance about our desires or what we want, maybe it seems we get no answers or maybe not the answer we want because it’s not for us. Maybe it is not what God wants, or in the alternative, maybe he does want it for us, but not yet.  Or maybe he has other plans and then again, maybe what he wants most of all for us is to want Him more than we want anything else. Maybe once we realize that God wants us to want Him first, then maybe he will grant our righteous desires in His time.

temple

I have been in the temple many times,  praying for my righteous desires to be fulfilled. Thinking surely he cannot deny me this. I have felt in the temple actions I wanted to take, and felt that they were absolutely the right thing to do or that I would be granted these things someday. I have received (what I thought was revelation in those moments in the temple even) and they have been wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but misguided. Because my request was based on my tunnel vision. My request and my prayer was based off of what I wanted so badly without being able to view the entire picture through my tunnel vision. So it can be tricky when sometimes even in the temple our own desires, our own way of thinking, drowns out what the spirit is actually trying to communicate with us. In short, sometimes, our tunnel vision makes us deaf, dumb, and blind, even in the temple.

See no evil

So what is the best thing to do? Do we stop praying, studying the scriptures, going to the temple? Of course not! But maybe we change our focus. Maybe instead of praying for what we think we should have or what our righteous desires are, maybe we pray for other people. We pray in gratitude and be grateful for what we have. We go out and serve others and forget about our so called righteous desires. Because if we lose our selves in service to others we just might realize that then we are wanting God more than anything else. We are serving Him if we serve others. Then, I think, our righteous desires may be granted (again if it is God’s will and not our own). For if we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God.  Maybe we should stop tying God’s hands with all our righteous desires. Let go, and get out of the tunnel, then we might see God’s whole glorious picture the way He sees it.

img_6320

Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

My life can best be described as me rushing to get to a finish line that doesn’t exist. You know what I mean? You have a goal in mind, whatever it might be, and you think to yourself, once I reach that goal….then…..then I’ll be finished. Then my life will make sense. Then I will be happy. Right? Is that just me or does anyone else do that? So what always happens is I get to that goal and then I think YES! I’ve made it! I finally arrived! I can relax cause I’m done right? WRONG! Because life is a journey and it’s ever changing and there is no destination. The only destination that exists is the fake one you created in your head. So what I have been trying to do this year is enjoy the journey. Which is hard for me, because there is a deadline right? I have to get some where after all! It must be working with attorney’s for 19 years and working under deadlines that has probably hardwired that thought into my brain. Although, that work never ends either. There is always another case, another file, another client to work with right? It’s never ending. Kind of like life. It’s never ending. Well, until it finally ends and we die, but then that isn’t the end either is it?

images deadline

 

What this awesome year of 2017 has taught me is that life is so much more than just going to work, earning money, and paying bills. It’s about enjoying the journey we are all on. It’s about making time for your family and making new friends and throwing conventions out the window and just enjoying what’s in front of you. The reality is this life sucks sometimes, and it isn’t fair most of the time. We get let down, we get hurt, we get frustrated and angry at our situations but those situations are temporary.  This life is temporary and beyond this life is so much more that we can’t even really comprehend at the moment. This life is about learning to love ourselves. Learning to love each other. Learning that even if we get knocked down we can get up again and move on. That we don’t have to carry all of that weight with us. There are so many things that I can look at in my own life and just think….this isn’t fair. Why did I have to go through that or why did someone I love have to go through that? Why did my brother have to be in such pain that he took his own life? Why did his daughter, my niece, get ripped from our family by her mother? Why did those things happen? They are truly heartbreaking things. But you know what I’ve learned is that there is a plan, and we don’t know the entire plan. We don’t know what God knows. Will I ever see my brother’s daughter again in this life? I don’t know. But…..after this life we are promised that if we endure to the end and keep the Lord’s covenants that it will all work out after this life! What?! Seriously!  I mean, yeah, it sucks right now….and we wish to be with loved ones now but this life is very temporary and very short in the grand scheme of things.

stairs-to-heaven
stairs in sky

Basically, everyone has different trials they are faced with in this life and no two people have the exact same trial and even if it is similar, no two people have the same reaction or solution to that trial. Sometimes the answer is to just be patient. Sometimes the answer is that a particular blessing isn’t meant for you in this lifetime. Sometimes the trial is accepting the fact that you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it. But it doesn’t mean you go without forever. I’ve spent a lot of years feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another because no matter how hard I tried, things just didn’t connect like I wanted them to. The problem was that it was what I wanted, and I didn’t stop to think that maybe it wasn’t what God wanted at the time. Maybe, I just needed to be humbled enough to where I could actually see the Journey and not focus on the destination. I needed to take a certain path that really was quite hard to take before I could see the beauty in the journey.  When I was shown that path, when I was humbled enough to look outside myself, in the blink of an eye, I saw the light. I saw the journey, I saw the miracles and the blessings. We spend so much time worrying about what we don’t have, we don’t stop to look at what we do have.

it-is-during-our-darkest-moments-that-we-must-focus-to-see-the-light-quote-1

If we look to God in all things, and rely on His wisdom and spirit to guide us, we will find that while the journey might be long, and hard and unfair sometimes, He promises that He will make it worth it if we endure to the end. There are so many things that distract us from the journey. When we are worrying about those things we are thinking about the destination and not thinking about living the journey. However, focusing on the journey of life, on the gospel, and enduring to the end, will bring you everlasting peace and happiness for eternity! Eternity, so I hear, is a very long time….much longer than this temporary state we are in. So, Are we there yet?

Mental illness is a myth?

Mental illness is a myth?

I was scrolling through Facebook and came across an article that said “Everything you Will Miss if you Commit Suicide” then it followed with the caption of “suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you are no different. But we need to talk about it.” This caught my attention for 2 reasons, (1) because it is true and (2) because my brother died by suicide in 2009, so I instantly see posts like that. They just jump out at me. So why does my title say “mental illness is a myth?” I say that for a number of reasons. Number one though is because I don’t believe that it is an “illness” so to speak. What if it is just how you are wired? I mean essentially it is. You are born a certain way, with a certain personality, with a certain way of thinking and sometimes your internal wiring is different than the average person. So, why should we call someone that is wired differently, mentally ill? Why should that term be used? Doesn’t it just further stigmatize the idea that the person has something “wrong with them”? That they are some how damaged? What if the way they are is essentially the way they were meant to be. That God intended them to be different for a reason? I know, really nice idea right, but what’s my point? My point is, that maybe if we didn’t label everyone who was different as “Mentally Ill” we might have less suicides.

30598_1334660084599_2168105_n

Think about it. If you feel different your whole life, if you are told you are different your whole life, if you are labeled with this affliction or that affliction your whole life, how are you supposed to feel anything but damaged? In addition to that, if you are diagnosed with this syndrome or that disorder, it becomes a part of your permanent medical file, it literally follows you your entire life. Sometimes it hinders the things that people will let you accomplish in life. So what if we said “mental illness” isn’t a thing. What if we just accepted that everyone is different and some people are a bit more different than others but they are still children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves them just as much as he loves you and I. What if instead of labeling people, we just loved them? What if instead of having government agencies and societal constructs that set these people up as failures, we let everyone be who they are without judgement? Without labels?

stop-the-stigma-of-mental-illness-e1381250784828

Here is what I know (I don’t have a psychology degree or anything) but here is what I know for myself. I know that labels break people. I know that once you stick that label on someone, it’s over. They are now not human anymore, they are a label. People begin to talk about you, while you are in the same room as them, as if you aren’t there. You become this thing. This problem that people have to deal with. You start to feel like you are a burden to those around you. Then maybe you think, what if I just wasn’t here anymore? This is what I think, I think it is really easy to get from a label to a place of “people are better off without me here”. I recognize that I have even done this to people in my life who have been diagnosed with a “mental illness”. It is easy to see the problem and not the person. So, yes, I have wrongly done that, without realizing it. Now that I realize that this thinking, to me, is inherently wrong, I think it might be better to dispense with the titles.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-26-at-12.10.29-PM

When you think about it, don’t we all have some sort of baggage we bring with us? Aren’t we all at some point or another “mentally ill” if you want to use that term? I’ve gone through depression in my life. I’ve been at very low points in my life. So why am I not “mentally ill”? Simply because a doctor hasn’t diagnosed me as such. But what if we just stopped looking at people as problems? People who see things differently aren’t problems, they are people, they are human, they likely feel very deeply about a lot of things. They likely know they are different and punish themselves for it. I’d like to stop perpetuating the cycle that people are problems. I’d like to recognize the true greatness in all people. That greatness that is God given, not man given. God loves all his children, he doesn’t see there problems as problems. He doesn’t see there quirks as issues. He sees all of us as we are, loves us where we are at. He doesn’t think there is something wrong with you. We need to be kinder. We need to insist that in schools and anywhere else that we interact with people that labels aren’t used. Maybe we say mental illness is a myth. This person is struggling with something and we just need to love them. We don’t need to label them, or break there spirits or talk about them as if they are a disorder and not a person. We need to see them as the awesome people they are, nothing else.

notalone_default_300x244

I feel like if we do this, that maybe people who are struggling with whatever issue it is, will feel more comfortable coming to you and saying I feel this way, can you help me? The reason people don’t speak out about the problems they are having or feelings they are feeling is because of those labels. If I say something, they will tell me I am “Mentally Ill” and then that will be my life forever. Think about how daunting that is for a minute? To be labeled forever because you asked for help? Really? Is this the best we can do? I don’t know about any of you, but, for me, my new philosophy is that mental illness is a myth and everyone has a struggle that they are dealing with, and it’s okay because we all have struggles and we can all help each other. We should all help each other because God loves us unconditionally, regardless of our problems. He loves us. We need to do better. We need to stop judging. We need to recognize that people are not”ill” for being who they are.

To be honest, I was planning to blog about some very spiritual experiences I’ve had the last week, but this topic just jumped out at me and I felt I needed to address it because I feel like life is too short to let promptings like this go by. It is something I feel strongly about. I feel like this life is hard enough without labels. So why not? Mental illness is a myth!

Finding Strength in Unholy Places

Finding Strength in Unholy Places

I started this blog around 5 weeks ago. As stated in my first blog, I wasn’t sure why I started it. I am still not sure. I think it was a need to get my thoughts out instead of holding them in to fester. For some reason, typing them out was easier than just talking to someone in person. I think because if I suddenly spewed all of these thoughts out on a person they’d be overwhelmed or at the very least, avoid talking to me again. I’ve probably over shared in some of my posts, inadvertently. You see, my posts are very much just an idea that my stream of consciousness runs away with.  I’ve learned recently that I should at the very least, not publish all of my thoughts. Live and learn right?

So back to my current thought, finding strength in unholy places, I’m sure that title seems strange. It is, in the sense that unholy is subjective, but the strength is real. So what do I mean by that? Well, I mean that my life is very much unorthodox when it comes to most LDS, married women’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one with my circumstances, but I’m the only one I know of.  I haven’t always found strength, in fact until recently I would just buckle. I suppose that was easier, or at least I thought it was. Quite frankly, it only seemed easier at the time.

 

As I sit in my living room, the night before fast Sunday, fasting for the first time in years, my thoughts are on strength. I’m looking at the pictures on my walls, which is a Hodge-podge of pictures such as: a gorgeous picture of Christ with a child on his lap with the quote from Matthew 28:20 “For Lo, I am with you Always” inscribed on it, family photos, a picture of the Manti Temple and the Las Vegas Temple, posters from the suicide prevention website, “To Write Love on Her Arms”, my brother’s eulogy, the Proclamation to the Family, Football memorabilia, Motorcycle paraphernalia,and a large painting of a motorcycle club that my husband belongs to, among other things. I realize the things that are important to me. My family, first and foremost, Christ, my deceased brother’s memory,  music and the biker lifestyle. Pretty eclectic right? I have always felt comfortable (at least after I got older anyway)  in most situations. I am adaptable to most things. I can be comfortable sitting in church on Sunday by myself and also comfortable  hanging at the bar later on. I am comfortable listening to (and I love) rock and roll, #aerosmithisthegreatestrockbandever, country, punk, alternative, underground bands, etc. You name it, I am probably comfortable hearing it. I don’t flinch at curse words the way some people do. I am comfortable letting strangers sleep on my couch (well, strangers to me, my husband usually knows them or knows someone who knows them) but still strangers none the less. So when I say, strength in unholy places, I mean places where the spirit generally doesn’t dwell. My house for example. The spirit dwells there temporarily, but never permanently, by virtue of external factors that may come into my house.  I love the life I have. I think maybe a few months ago I might not have said that. The lifestyle catches up to you at some point. But, having reevaluated how I deal with the situations, I find that I do love my life. I love the bikes, and the noise, and the friends/family, the smell of cigarette smoke and whiskey. I love the loud music and the lyrics and the feeling. I love the company that stays at my house at a moments notice. I love riding on the back of my husband’s Harley in a pack of other Harley riders, heading down the road with the wind in my face and tunes blasting in my earphones.

img_6320

What I have found, is that I can stand alone in these places, in these situations, and I can still be me. That I don’t have to buckle under them to make things easier. I used to think I did. But now I know I don’t. So I find strength every time I go to a bar and I stand alone. I find strength every time I find the joy, the pleasure, and the fun in the situation that others may find cringe worthy. That yes, I can even laugh, dance, and make jokes, and that I don’t have to buckle. The strength comes from within me, regardless of the holiness or UN-holiness of the situation. What I lacked before was the faith in myself that I could stand alone. I always stated that I didn’t lose my faith in God. I really didn’t, it was faith in myself that I lost.

4f311e918fdc807554fd77c213636006

I get that it isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, and not everyone could exist in it. But this is my life, this is where my journey took me and it’s chaotic at times, and it’s loud, and it’s atypical, but it’s perfect. Yet, I also find strength in the scriptures, in the church hymns, and the talks and lessons in church. I find strength at the temple, just walking around the temple grounds. I find strength in friendship and in music. I find a lot of strength in music I think. It grounds me, regardless of if it is rock and roll or if it is a beautiful piano solo of a well-known hymn. I think that everyone should find what brings them strength and figure out how that fits in your life regardless of how typical or atypical it is. I truly believe that the Lord understands each of us individually and understands that different things strengthen different people. I don’t feel like there is a one size fits all recipe to finding strength in the gospel. So whether you find it at church in a pew, or on the back of a motorcycle, or in playing music or singing music, or however your strength is revealed, remember that you can find strength in any situation because the strength is within you because the light of Christ is in all of us and we all have the ability to feel that strength. We just have to reach inside ourselves and find what triggers that strength in us. You can always stand in holy places, even if you stand alone and even if the external environment is unholy because the holiness and the strength lies within you.

Bring it On!

Bring it On!

So I know I’ve not written in a few days after my last very dark post. But I’m back today with a whole new attitude. I feel amazing today. That might have something to do with the fact that I got a full nights sleep last night for a change. Sleep is my friend. I have had a strange week. First there was Monday, which we all know what Monday was for me. Dark and dreary. Then Tuesday I felt a bit better. By Wednesday I had gotten my groove back. I went up to the Temple Wednesday afternoon after my afternoon appointment. I listened to some conference talks that had been recorded for me. I sat at the temple in my favorite spot, in the back by the fountain. I had my earphones and I just listened.  First was our Stake president speaking about the Book of Mormon and he, as he always does, put out the challenge to read the Book of Mormon daily. Great message as always.  Then there was another President speaking about Fast Sunday and the blessings of living the law of the fast (which I personally have never been able to fully do). Great talks from them as always.  Then came the Temple matron’s talk. I love this woman, she and her husband taught a temple prep class that I took years ago and they are just the nicest, most genuine and helpful people ever.  Her talk was about the temple and how when she was a young mother she had decided to make the temple a priority.  Great stuff and I thought it was awesome that I was on the temple grounds to hear that message.  Then her husband spoke, and he also spoke about the temple. I can’t pin point exactly what about his talk struck me, I really can’t. But I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that made me shake. I just had this, almost need really, to decide to make my way back to the temple.

532749_3300371026144_1452575013_n

So, just a bit of history, I took out my temple endowments in October of 2010. It was a special day. I personally never thought of myself as a temple going person even though I’d grown up in the church my whole life. I just always assumed it was not something I would ever do. So without going into too much detail about how I got there, I finally had my recommend given to me in July of 2010. I didn’t go and actually take out my endowments until October because I wanted to wait until I could go when we took my Brother, Ryan’s name through the temple. He had passed away on September 29, 2009. We had to wait a year before doing his temple work. So in that time I had received my recommend but chose not to use it until I could go when Ryan’s work was done.  So that is how that happened. I remember going to the temple often after that and feeling the piece that I felt there every time I went. In probably 2014 my recommend expired and I didn’t renew it. There is a story behind that as well, but perhaps a story for another time.

30598_1334660084599_2168105_n

So here it is 2017 and I still have not renewed my recommend and a lot has happened since then that will require some additional work to get my recommend back. So, back to the story, I was at the temple grounds this past week and I had this overwhelming feeling just come over me that I needed to get back to the temple. But, I also had the thought that it would not be an immediate thing or maybe even something that happens this year. I know, somewhat conflicting ideas right? Anyway, there I was having this very spiritual experience on the temple ground, literally ugly crying outside. I’m grateful that no one was around, or honestly, if they were, I didn’t notice. I was sort of in my own little island. It seemed isolated. I suppose, if I’m honest, there could have been people around and I’m not sure I would have noticed.  I cleaned myself up and left because I had to pick up my daughter to take her to singing lessons. So I went home, sort of on this emotional and spiritual high. I wasn’t sad, even though I was crying. I was just overwhelmed. So I picked Mikayla up and we went to her lesson. During that time I was scrolling through Facebook and finding all of these inspirational quotes, video’s and talks that just helped me make sense of what I was feeling.  After her music lesson, we went to my friend’s house to practice a song and then after that I went home, still on this high.

You know how when you get so high up, that the only way to go is down? Well that’s sort of what happened when I got home. While it was no one’s fault, I was somewhat irked by some things my husband had said (which of course, I know he didn’t mean) but they sort of brought me crashing down into this very defeated place. Where I had once had this hope it was dashed by these inconsequential comments.  Funny how that happens isn’t it? It’s funny how some people can just push the right buttons to instantly deflate you at a moments notice.  My husband is the only person who knows how to do that. Quite literally no one else has that ability. It’s sort of his super power.  But I love that he is the only one who carries that much weight in my life. It’s the way it should be I suppose. Anyone else could have said far worse and I would have just brushed it off because those people don’t mean anything to me. So I was up late Wednesday night literally giving way to much attention to this exchange between he and I that I know he probably didn’t think that much about. It literally probably didn’t faze him at all. But he didn’t know that I’d just been on this roller coaster of emotional high so he wouldn’t have known that what he said would bring me down. Totally my fault.

temple

Yesterday, I woke up late and had to be at a meeting at 10:00 in Henderson, so I got ready fast and left. Went to my meeting, and then had to meet someone about some marketing for my business. After that I realize, I have 2 reviews that are due tomorrow that aren’t done. So I rush to my other office and get those done.  Meanwhile, that night my husband and I were planning to go out for a belated Valentine’s dinner.  Meanwhile, I hadn’t showered because I woke up late. He texts me and asks if I can pick up dinner for our daughter on the way home oh and by the way we need to leave by 5:15. So I’m like, I haven’t showered and was going to shower before we left.  So he said he would pick up her dinner so I could shower. Thank you! I was starting to feel stressed out. So I get home and get ready. We leave the house and head to The Edge Steakhouse at the Westgate. It was a somewhat tense ride there. I think he sensed that maybe he had messed up the night before. I just kept saying I was fine and I really was. Anyway, things got better, we talked a bit and had a nice dinner and ended the night with just cuddling on the couch, which I fell asleep! I was so tired from this week. I fell asleep in his arms.  He went to bed and then I woke up and went to bed not to long after that and slept through the entire night!

11695858_10205694874709167_1908315726099886597_n

I know, so what is my point. My point is that I managed the ups and downs this week but what I found was that  I needed to sleep, just really sleep. Now today, I feel like I can take on the world, so to that I say, world, BRING IT ON! I got this.

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.

o-before-570

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.

junk-drawer-oprah

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.

puzzle

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.

woman-accidentally-joins-search-party-looking-for-herself-240x180

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.

heartsdoorsmall

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.

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?

wpid-20130826_202020_lls

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?

157838-nervous-breakdown

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?

mind-767586_960_720

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?

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.

 

 

Keep the Wind in your Sails – my Achilles Heel

Keep the Wind in your Sails – my Achilles Heel

Yesterday I started this blog. I was so excited to be sharing and doing something in life that might bring me inspiration and a little bit of joy. Have you ever been so excited about something and then have someone or something totally take the wind out of your sails? It’s frustrating isn’t it? So yesterday I messed around with Word press and got this blog thing started. I basically wrote a prologue of my life (as my daughter called it) and posted it. I was very excited about it. Again, not sure why as I wasn’t sure why I was writing it. My husband, who doesn’t do social media at all, wasn’t aware I had done this blog because he didn’t see the post all over my Facebook page. So I told him when he got home from work. His question was “why”? I said simply because I wanted to and why not. I’ll admit my family’s reaction took a bit of my wind out of my sails, but I half expected it so it was cool. My daughter said It was too long and was like a prologue (that wasn’t surprising to me because basically if anything is longer than a short paragraph she likely doesn’t read it). I smiled and moved on.  I texted my new blog website to my  husband so he could go online and read it.  I immediately regretted doing that, because I had posted a picture on my site of him and my daughter and without going into detail (for his protection) he said he wanted me to take the photo down. Bam! Wind completely out of my sails.  I was hurt by that. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, as he explained his reasoning and while I might disagree somewhat with it, I did understand where he was coming from. But still, I half way thought “can’t my family just be happy for me, even just for a little bit before criticizing something I was proud of doing? ” So, here is my point, I am not posting this to rag on my family for their reaction. I’m really not. As my husband pointed out, “are you sure you want to do this because you realize the public could not like what you have to post and then you will get haters.” Obviously I was aware of this and wasn’t worried about it. So if that is the case, why did my Husband’s reaction bother me? If I truly don’t care what people think then why did the wind get knocked out of my sails so fast? Here is the answer, that which I’ve always known of course but sometimes need to be reminded of, I don’t care what strangers think but I do care what my close family thinks. Mainly my husband and my daughter who are my whole world. So when they don’t like something I’ve done or are critical of something, that is when my sailing gets bumpy and I enter choppy and unforgiving waters. Great start to my blogging right? Day 2 and already bumpy, but I expect some bumps along the way, I just have to remember that no one can take the wind from my sails unless I let them, or rather the wind can throw me around but I control my sailing.  I admit this is hard for me because historically the only opinion I care about, aside from my own, is my family’s. So I should expect that and I should know how to react better to it by now, I should be able to adjust my sails.  What can I say, everyone has an Achilles heel, now you all know what mine is. It’s my family, fortunately for me, the general public can’t use that against me. Only my husband can!  So here is the point, when you feel the wind either dying down or blowing to hard, adjust your sails. You can’t adjust the wind, but you can adjust your sails. The moral of the story is, you can’t control other people, but you can control your reaction to them. Even when it’s your family.