Self-awareness

Sleepless in North Carolina


It’s another sleepless night.  What exactly is keeping me awake:

* rehashing every conversation I had today

* thinking about all the things I did today

* regretting all the things I did not do today

* going over in my head all my past failures

* start worrying about how many hours are left until I have to wake up; assuming, that is, I ever fall asleep

* wondering if I should have a snack

It’s no wonder I cannot sleep.  My brain will not shut off.  If, by some miracle, I am able to shut one part of my brain down, something else pops into another section and it starts all over again.  Why do I do this to myself?

I could ponder that question but it would only leave me unable to sleep.  Maybe one night in five do I find enough peace to actually sleep most of the night.  All the other nights I wrestle with problems, have conversations that will never occur and generally beat myself up for everything I have ever done and said or didn’t do or say.  Basically it seems like a no-win situation.

As I sit here with only lights from my mini Christmas tree (it is one of the few things I kept from my old life) and the light from my iPad, I feel content in some strange way.  The absolute quiet is really peaceful except for the faint ticking of a distant clock.  The world is quiet for a while.  I should be making better use of this time instead of making myself feel bad I should be doing something positive like writing, reading or praying.

I think subconsciously I get some strange pleasure out of making myself feel bad.  The healthier I get, the more sleepless nights I have.  As if my mind is saying, sure things are better in here but I still control it and I can make you sad at a moments notice.  It’s like some sick obsession that stems from my uneasiness with feeling too good.  In the back of my mind I feel if I am too happy something bad is going to happen.  This leads me to have low expectations of life.  Don’t expect much, never be disappointed.  

Now I realize that is plain stupid thinking.  I wonder how much joy I have missed just because I was afraid of it.  So things go well and I have to sabatoge myself.  That has to end. I can never feel better if I continue this line of thinking.  If I raise my expectations, does that mean I will never be disappointed?  Heck no.  Disappointments are going to happen, that is the human condition.  But for the times when there is nothing particular to be disappointed about, there will be joy.  Joy that I was afraid of before but now I embrace for the lovely moment it is.  

I’m going to start to stop that disruptive behavior and concentrate on seeking the joy.  If I quit criticizing myself all the time, then maybe I will have peace enough to sleep or, at least, be positively productive.   I’m going to try this new theory right now.  Either I fall asleep or use the time in better ways.  I have beat myself up enough, I have worried obsessively about things that have never happened and I played out more than enough conversations I will never have.  It’s time to put on my big girl panties and take charge of my thoughts instead of vice versa. I’m going to sleep now, I hope.  

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When Words Hurt

inner beauty

This has been a weird month for some reason.  Out of the blue, with no hint or preview, I was reminded that I am not physically a beautiful person by two separate and unrelated people.  I have been working on not caring what people think of me, but these words hurt.  I tried to brush them off, especially since they were said by people who barely know me but they stayed in my brain and continued to erode away any confidence I had.

I am not sure why these things were said or if I did something to bring them on.  But after stewing over the hurtful words for a couple of days, I have learned a few lessons from the experience.

Firstly, I am reminded that words do indeed hurt.  You can either build someone up with words or completely devastate them.  I knew from past mistakes that this is true, but maybe I needed a refresher course in the evils of a wayward tongue.  Even something said in jest can be hurtful.  I do not want to be that person, I want to be the one who lifts people up.  There is just not enough of that in this world today.

Secondly, I am reminded that no matter how tough I say I am on the outside, I am still affected by other people’s opinions.  That is really a lost cause.  Unless the person is someone who is close to me or someone I care about, I should take the words with a grain of salt.  I should remember that everyone these days has an opinion about everything, including my looks apparently, and they are very willing to share that opinion.  I cannot control or censor what they say, but I can control how I take those words and process them.  Sitting by myself, depressed and lingering over the words is not the choice I want to make when something is said to me.  Can I use the words said to better myself?  If so, then I need to do it and if not, I need to let them wash down the drain like dirty dishwater.

Thirdly, I sometimes forget how easy it is to judge a book by its cover.  I know that is so very clique, but it is true.  I was judged harshly by my cover by people who do not know me.  True beauty comes from a generous and kind heart, it comes from a place of humanity and concern for others, and it comes from a million or so lessons learned the hard way.  Beauty is not skin tone, hair color, fingernail length….it is how you live your life when no one is paying any attention.  It is about how you treat people and how you handle situations.  I forget that for a few days.  I am now reminded of it.

I may not be a beauty by the world’s standards and that is okay.  Looks do not last, they fade like the sunlight at dusk.  I do not want to be remembered for how tiny my pores are or how silky my hair is (neither of which is true of me by the way).  I want to be remembered for trying to become a better person.  I still have a long way to go, but I am, at least, trying.  Does that make me beautiful?  I do not know and, frankly, I am not worried about it.  As Dr. Seuss points out, “I am who I am.” (or maybe it was Popeye.)

I am glad the words were said because it made me lose my confidence for a few days.  It reminded me of a place where I no longer wanted to be.  It was a place of sadness and inner conflict.  That is a place I left behind and it should stay behind.  That place has no place in my present.  I learned that I can be hurt, but there is always something to learn from the sting.  For that I am thankful.

Lois Loves Earl

karma 1

I have been crushing on Earl Hickey for quite some time.  If you are unfamiliar with the show, My Name is Earl, here is a quick synopsis.  Earl and his brother, Randy, are bad boys.  They hooked up with bad friends and they did bad things.  Until one day Earl won $100,000 in the lottery and immediately got hit by a car.  While in the hospital, Earl felt he came to understand Karma and that bad things happened to him because of the bad things he did.  So he made a list of all the people he had hurt and he went about making all his wrongs right.

Earl and his crew are not overly educated (mostly for comedic reasons), but they have big hearts.  They fight among themselves, but also take care of their own.  Earl and Randy work very hard to do the right thing.  Earl just wants to be a better person.

I, too, could have such a list from my life.  I have drank too much at times, been loud and obnoxious many times, hurt people’s feelings, made bad decisions that affected other people, and was generally an overall pain in the neck.  I still can be a pain in the neck today but I think that probably never goes away as there is no cure for that.  Once a pain, always a pain.

But today is different.  I want to be like Earl and I want to be a better person.  I do not want to impact other people’s lives negatively.  I do not want to do or say stupid things anymore (unless it is really funny…only kidding).  I want to be able to say I’m sorry when it is appropriate and I want to say thank you all the time. I am finding out that those little bits of manners are severely lacking in our society today.  All you have to do is look around, no matter where you are, and you will see people being rude and selfish.  They will be inconsiderate and will act like they have no manners whatsoever.  This makes me sad.  I lived that life and it is a very sad existence.

The more I help others, the better person I become.  I do not know much about Karma but I do know how I feel inside.  I feel as if everyone just tried to be a little more polite, a little more understanding and a little more tolerant that life would change drastically.  Today, many people feel that their needs and opinions are the only ones that matter and unless you believe what they do, you are wrong.  That kind of thinking is causing such strife in our communities and our world.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I realize that there are some things that are just plain wrong, seriously wrong.  That is not what I am talking about.  I am taking about  very grassroots things such as saying thank you when you someone holds the door for you, or not pushing your way to the front of the line just because you are in a hurry or driving like a maniac because you feel you are more important than the other drivers on the road.  Simple things that could completely change our society.

I lost my manners for a while.  I was a selfish, uncaring, unempathetic person.  I only saw me and how I was wronged by other drivers or the people in the grocery store.  I felt as if they were out to get me for some unknown reason.  I was a martyr in my own mind.  Then one day, like Earl (unfortunately it had nothing to do with winning the lottery), I saw the error of my ways.  Now I just want to be a better person.

Karma 2

The saying goes something like:  “man’s inhumanity to man.”  It is a true saying that has real impact in today’s world.  You do not have to be a serial killer to be inhumane.  I am going to try to be nicer to people who are serving me or giving me customer service.  I want to not get impatient with new workers who may not know everything yet.  I need to remember that everyone I meet today is going through something in their life and might just need some kindness to help them through.  My parents taught me manners and, although, I “forgot” them for a while, I still remember them.  I want to start using them daily and maybe make my little corner of the world a little bit better.  Who’s with me?!?!

Hiking Clingman’s Dome

Scenery No 1

Part of my North Carolina plan was to start hiking.  I have a friend that I used to work with (shout out to Jan!) who moved here and started hiking.  She is so healthy now and I want to be like her. She is my inspiration.  Except I really do not like the outdoors, or sweating, or hiking for that matter.  I am an indoor, read a book, or binge-watch Netflix kinda gal.

Unfortunately I have found all my years of non-outdoor activity have made me rather soft.  Walking the parking lot at the grocery store can cause me to want to take a nap.  I am actually afraid that I am so out of shape that I can never recover.  Everyone says it’s never too late to start getting in shape, but I think I am the exception to that rule.  I am marshmallow soft.

Mike came to visit for his birthday and he gets hold of Jan who happens to be in town and we all meet up.  We catch up for a while and then the talk goes to taking a hike.  I start to get nervous because everything around here seems so hilly.  I am not good with hills or non-paved walkways.  But I figure I can tough it out, it is the least I can do.

They decide on Clingman’s Dome and off we go to the National Park.  I learned along  the way that it is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at 6,643 feet.  Obviously, I realize we are not going to actually climb this peak, like from the bottom of it to the top.  That is not an adventure you start at 3:30 pm on a Wednesday.  There is a parking lot with a half mile walk to the top.  I was much more at ease as I know I can probably walk that amount without major injury.

IMG_1517

The drive to Clingmans is worth the experience.  The National Park is overwhelmingly beautiful and is beautiful from all angles.  As we climbed, in the car, the temperature dropped and dropped from a hot and humid 90 to a refreshing 70.  Ok, I was loving this trip so far.  We did not see any wildlife on the way in but we did see a black bear and a few elk on the return trip.  That was very cool.

After about an hour, we get to the parking lot at Clingman’s Dome.  Remembering it is only a half a mile, I put a spring in my step and we started off. Little did I know that, although it would make sense since this is a mountain, that the half a mile was all uphill.  Not just up a hill, but intense, steep grades that would make a grown man or woman cry.  Luckily, there were benches every few feet and I utilized them all.  Finally, I told my walking companions that I was never going to make it before sunset and that they should go without me.  They tried to talk me into continuing but I fought them on it.  So they eventually went on without me.

As I sat on the bench I watched a variety of people coming down from the top.  Each person shouting encouragement and saying how worth it the trip was.  I saw older than me people, some were handicapped, some were out of shape like me and many other varieties of shapes and sizes.  I was wimping out and became very disappointed with myself.  Quitting, especially this early on, was not what this adventure was all about.  So I started walking up some more.  After several stops, some short and some longer, I made it to the top just as Mike and Jan were heading down.  Their faces showed such surprise and happiness that I had made it. It was worth doing just to see them. They accompanied me to the top of the observatory where it is said you can see up to five states because you are so high up.

The scenery was breathtaking and surreal at the same time.  It did not seem possible to be over 6,600 feet up, on top of a mountain.  My brain was having a hard time believing what my eyes were seeing.  It was beautiful.  As I took some time to catch my breath, I realized that climbing this mountain, albeit not so much climbing as walking a path, was more than just taking a hike for me.  It was overcoming my fears of heights, and fears of having a panic attack due to the strain.  The fact that I even made it without collapsing made me so inspired to keep trying new things.

By the time we got back to the car, I was exhausted but in a good way.  I was thrilled that I toughened up and did it.  Mike and Jan were proud of me and that encourages me to do more.  At first glance, the mountain seemed to have won, but I steadied myself and talked myself into completing the journey.  I also prayed a lot for strength as I struggled up the walkway.  But it got done and I could not be happier.

Muhammad Ali said “Don’t count the days.  Make the days count” and that day counted in my book as an accomplishment that I can be proud of.  If you ever get the chance to “climb” Clingmans Dome, I highly advise you do it.

Observatory

Please note:  the photographs in this post were not taken by me.  I have some great shots that I took.  Once I figure out how to get them transferred from my camera, I will post separately.

Small Town Girl

NYC

Like John Mellencamp, I grew up in a small town and I lived in a small town.  Whereas he loved it, I hated it most of the time.  Oh, how I wanted to be like Mary Tyler Moore and move into a really cool apartment and have a really awesome job.  I dreamed of being a big city girl.  I thought I would hang out at art museums, listen to symphonies, drink fancy beverages, write awesome prose and basically just be very bohemian (a word I had to look up before wanting to become it).

I always put off my dream of writing because I had not experienced anything.  I thought only living in a city like New York or Chicago would give me the cred I needed to write and to be cool.  I have already established from other blog posts, that when God was giving out coolness I must have been in the ladies room or quite possibly taking a nap.  Cool is not who I am.

Let me tell you about my two days in New York City.  I was given an opportunity to visit New York City for a travel coordinator’s seminar.  I jumped at the chance and packed my bags.  I had been to Chicago many times and Los Angeles too.  I figured New York was going to be the place I fell in love with, the place that would change my life.

The plane landed in Newark and from that moment on I hardly drew a breath.  All the people, all the commotion and the overall bigness of everything started to overwhelm me.  Every movie I had ever seen about NYC flooded my memory all at once.  I somehow got into a cab (which was way smaller than I had imagined it to be) and got to my hotel.  When I got out of the cab, the city noises were almost deafening.

I finally got to my room on the 12th floor.  I quickly bolted the door and placed a chair in front of it for added security.  I slowly moved toward the window and looked out.  Buildings were everywhere, as far as I could see.  Even that far up all I could hear were car horns and sirens.  The sidewalks were wall-to-wall people.  More people on one street than lived in my entire hometown.  I gingerly moved over to the corner of the room, fell to the floor hugging my knees and stayed in a fetal position for most of that first day.  Overwhelmed did not begin to cover how I felt.

Not sure if or when I even slept, most of the day was a blur.  I had obligations to fulfill regarding this trip so I made myself get out and go to the seminar.  After it was done, I walked to the Chrysler Building thinking it was the Empire State Building.  That is how “cosmopolitan” I was.  At home, I always considered myself so citified, when in reality I was really just a small town girl and New York City was not the place for me.  I was lost and afraid the entire time I was there.  I walked to Times Square which was larger than I thought it would be but at the same time smaller than I thought it would be.  It seemed very surreal to me.

Saddened on the way home, I realized that all my grand dreams were just that…dreams.  Nothing was as I had thought it would be.  I was pathetic in the big city.  I was so very sad when it hit me that I was just small town.

Fast forward to North Carolina.  I stayed in Asheville for a while.  Asheville is in no way similar to  NYC but it is a fair size town with lots of people.  I never felt secure there.  I never felt like I fit in.  It is a lovely town with lovely people but it just was not for me.  Then I found Bryson City.  A town more like where I came from.  My comfort level went through the roof.  This town fit me and I fit it.  Everyone literally knows everyone else.  The people in the diners are friendly as are the shop owners.  There is a slower pace that small towns have that I require in order to thrive.

I cannot live under the constant pressure of a big city.  I can do without the over-abundance of micro-breweries and dance clubs.  I like shopping at Family Dollar and Freds.  I do not need specialty shops and fancy places.  My heart is heavy that I am really not as cool as I once thought I was, but I understand it now.  Some people are made for the big city and some are not.  I am not.  I am learning to embrace my small town attitude and be thankful that I, at least, got to see a few big towns in my life.  I guess part of the journey is finding out not only what works but what doesn’t.

I guess, like John, I will probably die in a small town and I am finally ok with that.

The Most Important Part of my Uniform

smile

As part of my job on the railroad, I am required to wear a very specific uniform.  Failure to comply with this mandate means that I would be sent home without the ability to work that day. There is no wiggle room regarding this issue.

In the morning, I make sure my white button-down shirt is pressed, that my pants are black, that my tie is straight and that my vest is neat and clean.  All the employees in the same position are required to wear the exact uniform.  It adds to continuity and looks very good.

There is one other very important component to my uniform…it’s a smile.  I have learned that a smile can warm the coldest person, it can soothe a scared child and it can set the tone for the day, not only for me but my customers and co-workers.  A genuine smile is the most important piece to my uniform.

I am learning to smile more and to really mean it.  I get dressed in the morning and start smiling; I start work smiling, I serve my customers smiling and I end the day smiling.  The power of that single gesture changes everything.

Being positive has never been a gift I have possessed.  Low expectations meant less disappointment and that is how I ran my life.  I was overjoyed when my expectations were exceeded, but I learned to not expect it.  In the process, I missed a lot of joy.  Shrouding yourself with protective walls keeps the hurt from coming in, but also keeps the unexpected happiness from coming in.  I am in the process of breaking down my walls.

The smile I give to myself and to others helps open my heart to new experiences and allows me to meet new people.  Smiles attract smiles…and laughter and joy.  Those are things I want in my life but have always been afraid of.  Seems if I was happy, I worried when it would end and how that ending would come.  Happiness was fleeting because I had learned to worry about everything, real and imagined.  I missed a lot in my life because I gave up on having faith and started to trust the worrying.

Not every person will accept the smile as a gift, I totally understand that.  I was that person.  I cannot change them, I can only change myself.

As of today, a smile and positive attitude are now part of my daily dressing routine.  I want to be open to those new experiences and learn from them.  It is amazing how such a small thing can have such a large impact.

Here’s hoping you have a smile-filled day full of joy and laughter.

People Who Need People…

people

The revelations just keep coming…

So, I have been saying all along, in this blog, that it is the people I am meeting who are making this adventure really relevant.  I knew it but today the reality finally set in.

I was riding the rails today (at my job on the railroad) and my car was full of the most amazing people.  They listened to my story and told me theirs.  I heard stories of missions work and traveling the world.  I realized that this is not an isolated day, the people I have met since I started working on the railroad have been awesome.  Everyone’s story is different, yet they are all based in being human and helping others.  I aspire to be that inspiring.

After work, when I had time to contemplate my newfound knowledge, I realized it has always been this way.  When I look back on my 25 years of working in an office, I barely remember the work.  I remember the people.  I remember all the things we as humans shared and all of our unique differences.  Filing papers and answering emails may have provided the means for a paycheck, but laughing or crying with someone created a lasting bond that cannot be destroyed.  Memories were created.

I always considered myself to be a loner.  I have always enjoyed my own company and never felt that I needed others to complete me.  I could not have been more wrong.  I see it clearly now.  Some of us may not need as much human contact as others, but it is still a necessary part of life.  Making connections with people, hearing their stories, feeling their joys and pain, sharing a laugh, working together for a common goal…these are the things that give a real meaning to life.  It’s what makes you get out of bed in the morning.

Like most things in my life, I have taken many people for granted.  That should be considered one of the bigger sins in life (maybe No. 11?).  No one should be taken for granted.  We have so much to learn from each other.  The more people I meet, the more inspired I become.  The more I talk with old friends, the more I realize how they shaped me into this person today (a mess still am I, but on the road to being better).  I can no longer discount the impact I feel when I talk with an old friend or when I meet someone new.  I want to be a better person, I want to get out there and be alive.

That is what this adventure is about; me not being afraid of everything anymore and taking the time I have left and actually doing something instead of just thinking about doing something.  I could never have gotten to this point without the people in my life.  It makes no difference if I have known you all my life or for just a few hours.  The impressions have been made and they are filling me with awe and a desire to learn more, do more and be more.

The song is right, people who need people are the luckiest people.  I get it now.  I cannot believe it took me so long to realize it, but I do and I think this may be a turning point in my 360 degree change.  I could not have done any of this without all of you, your support and your love has made this possible for me.  Thank you does not begin to cover it.  I am so very and completely blessed because of the people I know and the ones I have yet to meet.

My Life as a Television Show

television

Maybe I watch too much television, or more likely, I watch the same shows over and over again.  It has made me sometimes see my life as if it were a television show.  Did you ever have one of those moments when you are riding in the car, you are feeling good, the weather is absolutely stunning, the sun is shining bright and a great song comes on the radio (Sultans of Swing, perhaps)?  It feels like for just a very slight moment you are in one of those perfect television scenes that make you forget about life and it just plain feels great!

I have not had one of those moments in a while and I miss it.  I miss the free feeling you get and the temporary state of perfection you feel.  Unfortunately, you cannot force those moments they just happen and need to be savored.

I am learning that life is that way.  You cannot force it, and goodness knows I have tried!  The perfect moments come when you are not expecting them.  They come with an unexpected smile, a kind word, or sometimes when you are somewhere you did not want to be.  I have found that many times when I look forward to something, it falls short of my expectations, but when I would rather skip it, the event turns out to be most worthy.

Life is a funny thing that way.  It can be so glorious and it can be hell on earth, sometimes all in the same day.  The perfection is not always obtainable, but it can show up no matter how fleeting.  I am learning that one must grab those moments and keep them in your heart.

Here is to hoping that those magic moments do not become strangers, that they visit often.  Here is to enjoying them in the here and now and not worrying about how long it will last.  Here is to a happy ending now and then.  We all deserve that and I hope you have as many as life wants to hand out.

 

 

Getting Old: It Is Not for the Faint of Heart

older sign

As the saying goes, getting older is not for the weak.  I am finding that statement to be one of the most truthful statements I have ever heard.  As I look through the postings on social media, I see people who are ill, depressed, lost, depleted and grieving.  That names just a few of the human conditions being dealt with on a daily basis.  My heart breaks for my friends who are suffering.

I am sitting here right now contemplating the latest of many losses already this year.  Prince.  I was a huge fan back in the day and his loss is weighing heavy.  But it is not just him, it is all of the loses I have endeared in this life.  There are days I wake up and my first thought is that I am going to call my mother today.  Well, I cannot do that because she went to heaven several years ago along with my father and my sister.  But I would do anything to hear her voice and get her advice one more time.

I am blessed that I do believe in Heaven and believe that I will see them again, but for those days when the heaviness of loss is almost unbearable, that time cannot come soon enough.  I took my loved ones for granted.  I never dreamed that they would ever be gone.  Yet, they are and the loss is epic all these years later.

That is not to say that one cannot experience loss at a young age. There are so many young people hurting from their loss suffered in childhood or young adulthood.  Loss is not, by any means, gifted only to the older.  I realize that, but I am personally getting older and that is where my particular viewpoint focuses.

So add the new aches and pains of older age, the possibility for accidents and disease, the questionable future of retirement and the uncertainty (which again crosses all age lines) of this political  future we are all looking at and getting older stings a little more.  Yes, it is better than the alternative, but it still hurts.

Getting older has some advantages.  I enjoy the wisdom I have now that was completely nonexistent in my younger years.  The filters now work on my mouth much better than before.  I have deeper understanding and empathy for others now.  Those are just a few of the blessings that come with age.  Most days, you can see those positives and put the negatives out of the picture for a day or however long.  But the losses never really go away, do they?  You never quite stop missing the parent, sibling, family member or friend.  You even miss the celebrities you never met.  I see a picture of Princess Diana and I feel remorse to this day.  I hear Stevie Ray Vaughn and my heart skips a little beat.  That is all part of being human.

I am happy that as I age, I do not feel the overwhelming need to rush at everything I do or to do every single request that comes my way.  I have learned to say “No” as a complete sentence.  That was unheard of as a young person.  My back hurts now and I have a garden variety of other ailments that come with getting older.  The once broken heart has mended a bit and appears to still be working, and that is a good thing.  To add insult to injury, I now pee a little when I cough, laugh or sneeze, I pass more gas, my favorite foods give me heartburn and the reflection in my mirror is unrecognizable at times.  As my mother used to say sarcastically, “More fun.”

The reason, in my mind, why aging is not for the faint of heart is because burying pain and angst is no longer an option as when you were younger.  When I was younger I could make myself so busy those thoughts never entered my mind.  Now in the dark silence of the many sleepless nights I encounter, the reality comes to the forefront and stays there.  There is no dismissing it or moving on.  Age seems to make you deal with it, sometimes once and for all and sometimes over and over.

We all will deal with things that make us wonder about that alternative that is so much worse than this, but in the end we should all be glad for each new sunrise we see and each day we get to say “I love you” to those important people who are left.  I think for today I will stand in the Purple Rain and let it wash my tears of sadness away.

Tomorrow is another day I hope to see.  If I do, it will have its share of pain and sorrow, but lets hope yours and mine are gifted with some peace and lots of love.  That is all we can ask for.

No More Wringing of the Hands

wringing of hands

I worry about everything.  Things that are possible, things that are impossible and all that is in between.  Basically I wring my hands a lot.  I have known for a long time that worrying is a waste of precious time, but I cannot seem to drop the habit.  I feel as if I do not worry about something, that thing is going to happen.  It is a vicious circle.

This is not a new behavior for me.  As a child, I worried that my parents would die, that I would get sick or that some catastrophe (like nuclear attack) would happen.  It was the groundwork for my OCD in later years.  OCD that hampered my life for so long.

So here I am on a quest, and I have something holding me back.  I knew it was fear but the fear is based in my worry.  Now is the time I need to break the chain of both fear and worry.

No more rethinking every conversation, no more coming up with scenarios that are not  ever going to happen and no more wringing of hands.  I cannot even imagine how freeing it would be to step out the front door in the morning and not have that dark rain cloud over my head telling me to stay in and hide.

I have found it is actually easier to be fearful than to be brave.  Which makes sense; going out on a limb, so to speak, is scary no matter who you are.  After talking with many people who have done exciting things, I have found out that brave people are not necessarily unafraid, but the fear does not stop them.  Some say that the fear actually encourages them to keep going and pushes them further.

I am going to take baby steps.  Firstly, stop wringing of my hands.  Secondly, I need to accept the fear I feel as motivation to walk over it and start experiencing all those things I have been looking for.  Modern life is always trying to cramp the bold style; scary news broadcasts, all kinds of media that exploit the horrendous nature of some humans, and just a general fear of those things we do not understand.  Life seems to have become full of random, unexplainable violence. That will do a lot to keep you behind closed doors.

For today, I will let the sun shine on my face.  I will feel the breeze blowing through my hair. I want to smell the outdoors and hear the sounds of nature.  I am excited to finally be taking steps to actually go outside my comfort zone, not just words.

Here is to being brave, even if it is a small step.  It is, at least, a forward step.

praying hands

Here is from going from wringing hands to praying hands.