20 Things That You Don’t Know About Me

secrets

secrets (Photo credit: Ramon Snellink)

  1. My nickname in one of my high school yearbooks was “peanut.” I hated it then and I hate it now.
  2. I do not like having my photo taken. I am known to run from cameras.
  3. I have 6 g’children, 4 girls and 2 boys.
  4. I used to be so clumsy when I was little that at one point, I had not one, but two hickies on my forehead. NOTE: I was 2, so I am not referring to the type of “hickie” that you are thinking of.
  5. As a baby, I was so bald that my Mom resorted to taping ribbon to my head.
  6. Snakes, pre-historic-looking lizards (no, really, lizards in general) and big hairy spiders terrify me.
  7. If I have to chose between “cat” or “dog,” I chose cat.
  8. I am a world-class worrier.
  9. I speak to my grown daughters almost every day.
  10. I love singing and dancing to 60’s and 70’s R&B music.
  11. I’ve always loved playing jacks.
  12. When I was young, my favorite sports were tether ball and volleyball.
  13. I do not like opera.
  14. I like country music.
  15. I love books.
  16. I love to write, and would love to be an author.
  17. I was getting my yoga teacher training certification, but had to stop because of my health.
  18. I am taking painting and drawing e-courses.
  19. I meditate to force myself to stay still.
  20. I cry at Kodak commercials.

Blessings, Lydia

Quote Tuesday

letters

letters (Photo credit: Muffet)

Even a simple letter demands that we put all power into it that we have, as if we were to carve its meaning in hard stone. It’s the moment, when, in silence, we are able to to connect to our soul. But we also can apply that to any act performed with commitment, humility and love. ~Paulo Coelho

I am Loving Right Now. . .

self expression : heart-of-stone

self expression : heart-of-stone (Photo credit: cauchisavona)

Facebook has allowed me to meet so many talented, interesting and amazing people. One of those people is Mary Costanza: A Woman’s Heart and Soul. Her page speaks to every woman and those who love them. It is a community wherein a woman is reminded of her strength, beauty, power and self-worth. Mary reminds women that within them is the key to every secret dream and desire.

Granted, I regularly find that it is as if Mary’s posts speak directly to my heart, but I found a recent one especially compelling. In it, Mary writes about self-expression, which is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. She writes:

self-ex•pres•sion
noun

The expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas, esp. in writing, art, music, or dance.

She slowly began the process of self expression. She had so much in her heart and soul that she wanted to share with the world. She was tired of being so damn passive, quiet and unknown, and hiding in the shadows. She had a voice and wanted to share who she was with the world. She didn’t want to be loud and obnoxious; she wanted to express herself with class and style, and a little mystery. So she said to herself, let’s go for it, let’s be brave and bold, and let’s step out into the unknown, and with a deep breath, she began to write what she was feeling in her heart and soul, and the creativity was unstoppable, it’s like the sky above opened up and just started pouring down on her. Idea after idea just keep coming, the ideas kept coming so quickly that she couldn’t keep up with them all. She said I am not afraid anymore, she said I’ll dye my hair purple, red, gold whatever color she feels like wearing that day, she’ll wear leather, cover her body in tattoos, buy a Harley, travel the world, have a beer for breakfast or whatever it may be to express what she is feeling inside. She knows that there are those that will judge and criticize her, but she does care anymore, she is old enough, wise enough and brave enough to admit she is a little wild, and wants to be free, and she now knows it’s time to free that wild woman inside, it’s time for her to come out and play, she not hiding her anymore. The beauty of self expression, it can’t be explained; it can only be lived.

Mary Costanza

For the most part, I discovered self-expression through my role as a trial lawyer. I expect that given the public mindset of lawyers as a whole, it seems odd that one equates the practice of law with self-expression. Nevertheless, as a lawyer, I was able to express myself through one of my favorite medium — writing. More surprising, however, was the extent to which trying cases allowed the actor in me to flourish and blossom. Although representing the client was my first priority as an attorney, doing so placed me at center stage with an opportunity to orchestrate a performance wherein the most compelling, persuasive, engaging and believable party was deemed the victor. In most cases, that party was mine and justice was indeed served.

After years of practicing law, fibromyalgia forced me to resign from my active law practice. I landed on disability. For a very long time, my health took center stage and the idea of self-expression was frivolous and thus banished. In illness, I lost myself and with it the need for self-expression. The passage of time silenced that part of me that delighted in or curious about the act of creation or self-expression. I came to deny that such a need existed. I was lulled into an existence where my thoughts and feelings were unimportant and the only thing that mattered was my ill health and all that it had taken from me. I was told repeatedly that this was an opportunity that few had — a clean slate upon which to create the life that I wanted. I wanted no part of it.

However, as time passed, I began to yearn for a creative outlet that allowed me to express myself in new and exciting ways.  With that in mind, I created a list of activities that I wanted to learn and incorporate it into my life as a positive and healthy form of self-expression; something to counter and out weigh the self-defeating thoughts and ideas that had become the norm.  I sought to banish the idea that I was not and could not be creative.

During the past year, I’m beginning to overcome the word “can’t” and surrender to both drawing and painting. I am allowing myself to explore various forms of self-expression, some new like photography, painting, and drawing, and others like journaling, blogging and even writing. I’ve come to realize that the move of the hips in dance, every line of a pencil in drawing, every mark or stroke of a brush in painting and every word choice in writing or song, conveys a particular thought, idea, or feeling. Through these forms of self-expression, we release fear and anger, as well as love, joy and happiness. Embracing self-expression can be an antidote to negative thinking, pain and sorrow and an affirmation of  forgiveness, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth and self-acceptance.

As I read Mary’s post, I found myself nodding in agreement with one sentence after another. She expresses, far better than I, my thoughts, the why and nature of self-expression, and its’ pull that once unleashed is self-fulfilling. Her words remind me that self-expression is yet another of the precious gifts given to humans as a product of being human, of being alive, and “that it can’t be explained, it can only be lived.”

Blessings, Lydia

 

The Missing Pieces

Pieces of a puzzle

Pieces of a puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. ~Rumi

For some time now, I haven’t posted regularly to this blog. It is not that I’ve lost interest in it. In fact, I realize that I need it more than ever, but I’ll get back to that later. Anyway, for months, my head has been stuffed with so many complex thoughts that it has been impossible to separate the wheat from the chafe. If I am to be honest, more often than not, my thoughts are not happy, happy thoughts, but those that I like to pretend don’t exist.

I mean, who wants to admit that, more often than not, their head bombarded with negative self-talk. Who wants to acknowledge that they are oftentimes overwhelmed with sadness and depressing thoughts that they can’t seem to shake. More importantly, I convinced myself that no one wanted to read about my particular bouts with my own ‘darkness of the soul.’ No, that would certainly fall into the category of t.m.i. (too much information).

Granted, this is a personal journey blog. With that said, it touches upon the inevitable thoughts, feelings and challenges that I experience on my journey towards self-discovery, mindfulness, and inner awareness. I created this blog, not to sell or market any product or service. I did not create it with the intention of attracting scores of readers; although I welcome and treasure each person who happens by. I created it as a forum upon which I could be a witness to my thoughts, feelings and impressions, and where I could confront my ego self and come to know my real self. In other words and without the woo-woo words and phrases, I wanted to tell my story, and more importantly, uncover my truths and expose the lies that I tell myself.

The thing is that I’ve come to realize is that from the beginning, I’ve censored my story. Except in passing, I choose not to write about fibromyalgia and the way it has a firm grip on me and every facet of my life. I didn’t write about the feelings arising from the loss of a hard-fought for career as an attorney, and the resulting loss of self-esteem. I didn’t write about the effect of constant pain on the body. I didn’t write about my loss of independence, which having grown up poor, was essential to me. I didn’t write about the irony of the yearned for ‘clean slate’ at the very time that my health prevents me from acting upon it. I didn’t write about the grief that etched itself into my being, and I certainly didn’t write about the depression that sometimes overwhelms me and brings with it a blanket of loneliness, darkness and at times, hopelessness. I’ve created a blog that embraces the positive, while denying the more difficult and undesirable truths about myself.

Yet, these missing pieces are, like those of a puzzle, integral to my story, to who I am and to who I am meant to be. Without exploring and integrating them, my story is incomplete and in some cases, prone to inaccurate conclusions. Without experiencing life’s lows, we cannot fully appreciate its’ highs. Similarly, to know and appreciate the light, it is necessary to welcome the darkness. I intend to begin doing just that.

I’ve learned that blogging, like journaling, is an invaluable tool that allows me to piece together things about myself that were previously unnoticed. In my case, I writing has always given me the opportunity to be open and honest about my thoughts and feelings, while, at the same time, forcing me to acknowledge and accept them in a new and different way.  It is through writing that I’ve uncovered valuable details about, for instance, why I believe and do the things that I do.

Granted, I am not turning this blog into a litany of ‘poor me’ posts. Instead, I will strive for balance, and as Rumi writes, I will meet the darkness, depression and other negative thoughts, and invite them in. Yet, I can assure you that I won’t be laughing as they waltz on in. Instead, I will begin with a grudging respect, for they are an undeniable part of who I am. 

Blessings, Lydia