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If you are like me, you have a love/hate relationship with surprises. While I love the idea of a thrilling surprise, I am also a very impatient and curious person, and ‘Let me see, let me see!” is my common refrain. I know that this is terrible, but when I was little, I used to surreptitiously open up my Christmas presents to see what was hidden inside. My mother never knew, until I told her as an adult. As I grew older, I grew out of this stage. However, my desire to know what hidden gem lay inside the package remained. Similarly, I used to approach life that way.

I thought that if I knew the future, I could avoid the mistakes, doubts, bad choices, hurts, regrettable decisions, and the inevitable feelings that go with them. In essence, my goal was to avoid the very things that lead to life lessons and wisdom. There is no doubt that there are things in my life that if I’d known the outcome of my actions, I would have chosen differently.

Fortunately, I’ve grown to appreciate the comfort of the unknown. It allows me to dwell in the present, the only moment of certainty. It also provides me the freedom to act without being hampered by the knowledge of the future. In reality, even if I were given a glimpse of the future and the likely outcome that goes based on my own present actions, we must remember, to weigh the fact that each of us is connected, and that the actions of others affect the outcome of our own future. The wonder of life is that it is unpredictable and subject to change, and if a single moment changes, it can greatly affect future outcomes. (Just thinking about it, makes my head hurt.)

One point that a Daily OM article makes is that “Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened.” Well, I disagree with some of this statement. Granted, it is true to a large extent. Nevertheless, after witnessing various outcomes caused by my actions, there are several choices that I would change post-haste. In my case, those that cause a unintentional fallout to others. Yet, facing my actions brings with it both a lesson and strength.

I sincerely doubt that I would be the person that I am today, blessed with all the people and things that I love, if I’d known what the future held for me. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though we do not see it immediately, we will come to realize it — when the time is right. Every person and thing, even those we consider unpleasant, are in our lives for a reason, and only by accepting and embracing them as integral to our journey, do we learn from them, and of their importance. Much like knowing the ending of a good book or movie, knowing “the big picture” robs us of the experience of living our lives as they should be — in the present.

This Is Who I Am

An Instagram friend shared a post in which she was asked to list “10 things I am.” I found the idea intriguing, because once I stopped actively practicing law, I lost my sense of self, and honestly, have been floundering to find myself again. This exercise reminds me of who I am at my very core, and what is important to me.

1.) I AM proud to be a native New Orleanian. I was blessed to be born and raised there. Growing up, the city was my world, and I never dreamed of ever leaving my city, my family and my friends. Unfortunately, I had to leave, because I could not find a job in New Orleans. I have been in Texas since 1981, but New Orleans will always be my heart home.

2.) I AM a meditator. Since December 2013, I have meditated every day.

3.) I AM an attorney licensed by the State of Texas, but because of the pain caused by fibromyalgia, I was forced to stop practicing law, and go on “inactive” status with the State Bar.

4.) I AM easily obsessed. My current obsessions are crystal and rocks, succulents, art supplies, lavender, orange blossom and sweet jasmine scented candles, my beautiful grands, essential oils, books, gray clothing, writing, and container gardening.

5.) I AM an artist. I have been away from painting and drawing for health-related reasons, but they are an integral part of me, and I feel the pull to return to created my art.

6.) I AM a highly sensitive person (HSP), and an introvert, with slight extrovert tendencies. As such, I am very empathetic, crave silence, and welcome my alone time. Also, I believe in the cathartic affect of tears.

7.) I AM blessed to be my Mother’s daughter, because she is MY HERO. My father abandoned us on my birthday, five days before Christmas. He left her to raise three girls, five and under, on her own, without a job. Soon after the holidays, she went to work as a cook for one of the many Catholic elementary schools in New Orleans. The pay was meager, so, over the years, she simultaneously worked 2-3 additional low wage jobs, in order to clothe and feed us, keep a roof over our heads, and provide us with the best education that she could afford. Yes, we were poor, but we always had what we needed. I admired her sense of grace and pride. She could have easily qualified for governmental assistance, but she said that as long as she could work, she would never take handouts from anyone. I’d be satisfied with a mere fraction of her strength, compassion, determination, beauty, honesty and grace. In the face of much sadness and adversity, she has always maintained an unyielding trust and faith in God.

8.) I AM a staunch proponent for equality. I believe that no one should be discrimnated against, ostracized, or singled out for unequal attention, because of his/her gender, age, race, national origin, disability, sexual or gender preference, religious preference, weight or political affiliation. I believe in, and respect the right of everyone to believe and live as they chose, so long as it is done so, with respect for others and without causing harm or animus to others.

9.) I AM one who believes in a world where there is no homelessness, hunger, war, unequal education opportunities, unequal housing opportunities, unequal job opportunities, where the top 1% richest Americans do not hold more wealth than the bottom 90% of Americans, and where the bottom 90% do not hold 73% of the countries debt. I believe in a world where no one is forced to chose between purchasing crucial medication or food, where everyone has insurance so that money need not dictate who lives and who dies, and where there are no school or mass shootings. I believe in equal pay for equal work, and a living wage for all. I believe in a world in which hospitals and insurance companies are forced to price services and medications at a price point that is fair to all. Finally, I believe in a world where everyone is entitled to his/her opinions or beliefs, as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights listed in point 8.

10.) I AM a believer in hugs and “I love yous,” as often as possible,  because no one of us is promised the next minute.

11.) I AM determined to leave this world, better than I found it.

12.) I AM a believer in the power of prayer, hope, faith and the love of God.

13.) I AM a believer in standing up for what is right, even though I might stand alone.

14.) I AM a believer in the power of love to heal and change lives

15.) I AM a  blend of my positive traits, that I readily embrace, and the negative ones, which I tend to shoo like pesky flies, hoping they will go away, so I am not forced to delve into them. Well, they don’t. In fact, the more that I swat them away, the more that they return, undeterred.

Just as there is no light, without the dark, no highs, without the lows, and happy, without the sad, there are positives and negatives within each of us. We desperately try to cling to the positives, while ignoring the negatives, so that we won’t have to face them, i.e., face ourselves. They will not be ignored and until we take the time to acknowledge, accept and determine their reason for being, we cannot hope to know and appreciate all the facets of who we are. Both make us who we are.

Well, this is a partial list of who “I AM,” and it was a perfect exercise to remind of my true self, whether I am a lawyer, an artist or a role, yet to be determined. I am a woman of conviction, obsessions, compassion, kindness, hopes, dreams, love, and faith; however, I am also a woman with fears, worries, doubts, self-sabotaging tendencies and more. They are all within me, and I am okay with that.

#whoami #thisisme #selfinquiry #myheromymother #ibelieveinequality #ibelieveinstandingupforwhatisright #iamagainstdiscrimnationofalltypes #theperfectworld #nohunger #nowar #nodiscrimination #genderequity #equality #nohomelessness #insuranceforall #equaleducationforall #wearebothlightanddark 

Quote Tuesday

Homeless woman in San Francisco

Homeless woman in San Francisco (Photo credit: Franco Folini)

A Beautiful Mess

“As she almost collapsed to the ground, she stopped and looked around: she looked at herself and said, “What a mess you are,” but what a beautiful mess, it’s called strength. You are black and blue, scared and exhausted. But I am proud of you at how far you have come, and you didn’t give up, you have been through a lot. She recognized how much strength already existed inside her, and how much strength she had gained along the way. She stood up tall, even though she was tired, hungry, and exhausted, putting one foot in front of the other, she continued on her journey.”

~ Mary Costanza, A Woman’s Heart and Soul

Blessings, Lydia

All Will Be Well ~ St. Julian of Norwich

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