At 8 AM; I wiped the sleep off my face, downed the last of my chai latte, said my typical pre-reading prayer and called a new client on the other side of the United States. Even after four years and a lifetime of experience, I still get nervous. My faith is deep and wide and true, but there is still a small part of me that hopes all goes well each and every time.
The reading that took place this early Sunday morning was one of my all time favorites. The sitter (my client), was nervous, and had been anxiously awaiting this appointment for months. We got started with the what to expect mumbo jumbo and spirit started to speak.
Spirit is so unpredictable. They come through with their unique personalities full of love and hope. It still surprises me how much laughter happens during a typical reading. Spirit has waited ages to speak through the microphone of a medium to get messages through to their loved ones. And once that connection is made it is like years of healing take place in under an hour. It’s a miracle. There are no words that accurately capture what happens in that hour; and yet here I am trying to find a way to impart some wisdom and capture what happened in this particular session.
This reading, I still don’t have a better word for these spirit interactions, brought so much out of my client. She like me is intuitive and had spent years ignoring or down playing her intuition because other people didn’t understand the way she made decisions, how she knew things without having any access to the information prior to an event or “knowing moment”.
It filled me with sadness that we aren’t recognizing these talents on a wide level. I know we don’t always understand it and logic rules the western world – don’t get me wrong logic is important, but so is a healthy dose of intuition.
Take for example, a mother and her infant. A worried mom bring her infant to the doctor because she “knows” something is not right. The doctor is not seeing that there is anything physiologically wrong with said infant, but the mother knows that there is. She is adamant that her child is suffering. She demands more tests, second opinions and lo and behold her baby has a severe case of acid reflux or Lyme or food allergies. Our society tells moms to trust their instincts. My friends these instincts are intuition.
My long winding point is intuition is getting a bad wrap and we need to trust that spidy-sense we get deep in our stomach that makes us feel like something is off or like something is just right. It is okay that we can’t explain it more than – it just feels right! That should be enough.
We ask our children to trust the feeling that if someone makes you uncomfortable in any way to physically change your proximity to that person and not ever be alone with them. Or at least I do and we should all trust our feelings even when they don’t make logical sense.
Intuition is our soul sending messages to our brain. It is trying to give us information when logic may not be enough or even when logic is failing us and we need to know the truth another way. Through the reading I had that Sunday morning this all becomes apparent. Spirit was validating my client’s feelings and telling her to listen to her intuition, it is her soul speaking. And I am reminded in this small session with her just how important that is for our safety, sanity and happiness.
How does one listen to their intuition or even find it in the first place? It is feeling all the feels. When you make a choice, become conscious of how your body reacts to that choice and then just keep practicing. Does the choice leave you a little off center? Does the choice make you a bit tingly all over and excited about what is coming next? Do you get a deep sense of calm thourought your being after you have made that decision? The more aware you are of how you feel the more likely you are to pay attention to these feelings.
Intuition can be practiced by entering a room and seeing how your emotions and body react to that space. The people you are with; how do you feel about them? What does your body naturally do around those people. If you are tense, there is probably a reason. If you easily relax; there is probably a reason.
Sometimes there is not a peep from intuition to guide you any one way and that is because logic is enough. You have it all figured out. Intuition steps up its game when it is trying to get you to see another perspective or make you take that big leap you are so hesitant to take.
When your soul is whispering to your conscious mind that is intuition and it has a place in our lives. It can keep you out of trouble and lead you into the right place at the right time. When we ignore intuition, our lives seem to be missing something.
Intuition has led me to so much success. Logic alone would not have led me down my current path. Intuition makes us a bit vulnerable which can be scary. Intuition often leaves us without explanation for our actions other than, “it just feels right”. I know some of you don’t need to hear this, but those of you that do, “it just feels right” is enough – no more explanation needed.
Our intuition is enough and it does us good to be in touch with how our soul is interpreting our surroundings and not just our mind. They are two separate things; sometimes they work in concert, but other times your soul wants something your mind can’t quite grasp and that is when intuition takes over. Let it. It doesn’t have to be what wins out, but intution should at least be considered and trusted as a valid part of our daily lives and how it guides us through our experiences. It is our soul speaking to us after all.
“If there is no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to one another.”
— Mother Teresa
It has been a month or so ago now, but I had a client send a question that I thought you may have stumbled across as well. Sharing it here, with you, felt right.
This client reached out to me because she had been chided on her Instagram account for sharing a spiritual experience. We will call her Monica. Monica received a sign from spirit and she also had a reading that helped her realize that these signs were possible. Someone commented on Monica’s post using Leviticus as a reference basically stating she couldn’t be a good Christian if she sought the services of a medium.
The verse the commenter used was,
“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”- Leviticus 19:31
Monica asked how I dealt with things like this when they happened to me or if I had advice for her.
This has no easy answer and maybe there is no answer at all. I prayed on it for some time and one thing is for sure, I know I am not here to debate the Bible. That is definitely not my place. I won’t even begin to try. I can share some important things that mediumship and life have taught me, though. Some of what I shared with Monica, I will share here with you today in case you have wondered about this dilemma yourself.
Here are some of the important things.
The important thing about life and faith is that we all get to make our own decisions.
The important thing about a relationship with God, the Universe, etc. is that it is between you and God and no one else.
For me personally, the important thing about my mediumship gift is that it has brought me closer to God. I hear Him crisper and clearer than ever before. That can’t be a bad thing.
The important thing about answers is we don’t have all the answers and we might not ever in our lifetime.
There is bad in everything, but the important thing is, there is way more good in everything. It is all perspective.
The important thing about grace is that we should offer it to ourselves and others.
The important thing about what other people think about us is none of our business.
When people try to steal our light, our joy, the important thing is that we recognize and acknowledge it and then do not let them take that from us.
I try my best to live with a Jesus heart and a deep faith in the Lord. I hear His voice in my heart and it guides me to the next best choice. He knows my heart better than anyone else and the important thing is that is what matters. The good news is that goes for you, too.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people think, do your best, you won’t have all the answers, but offer yourself and others grace in finding your way because we belong to one another; that’s the important thing.
At a reading last week, a client asked me why does this year suck so bad? Why is everything so damn hard? (Side note: Yes, I am slowly doing readings again – but be ready for a wait: I am doing them very little and most will NOT be in person)
Shit, life is hard people. I don’t have a good answer to that except LIFE IS HARD. But life is also fan-freaking-tastic. Life is a roller coaster ride of emotion good and bad. Plus, no one knows what the heck they are doing all the time. Some people may make it seem easy, sure – but we all have something crappy going on at sometime in our lives. We are all just doing the best we can.
That is part of the gig called life. 2016 has really sucked for some people, but so did 2015 and 2014 and 1988 and 1908 and every year in between or before. And you know what? Some people had a killer (and I mean that in the 90s cool way) 2016. Like best year ever – they got married, they had their first baby, they finally finished their thesis and graduated from grad school, or just had a relatively quiet year that they are grateful for. Point is the glass isn’t half full or half empty – it is refillable. Life is hard, but we can find hope and fill our cup back up again.
Example: Last year for holiday cheer one of our nominees was a woman who had been through several pregnancies and right before Christmas lost twins. Two little girls that were weeks away from being delivered did not get to make the entry into the world that was expected. Needless to say this mom was devastated that instead of holding her twins she was burying them. She was done. No more miscarriages for her. No more babies she wouldn’t get to raise; no more. And yet a small gift was delivered to her with lots of hope and prayers behind it that she would somehow find a way to cope and survive her new normal and you know what I received last night. The below photo. This momma is bringing home a little girl. A sweet baby girl. A healthy sweet baby girl and in the email in addition to this picture was this, “One person really can make a difference…” You all helped do that. You helped give her hope. See? What a great 2016 for this family.
As I take this time to reflect on my year and what lies ahead for me (I am a goal person okay) all started with the above question and one other question I happened across: what would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Let me back this post up for just a minute. I have started walking/jogging again and also reading The Universe has Your Back – (thanks Janessa) and so instead of just going through the motions of my life; I am taking it back. Which I know I have discussed in my recent lessons post. Don’t get me wrong, I am no guru – I still eat way too much chocolate, get irritated when my kids don’t listen, choose to sit on the couch and read instead of doing dishes, avoid confrontation at all costs and spent my staycation being pretty darn lazy. The point is, I am doing a better job of taking care of me and listening to/watching for signs.
Example: I am resting. I am not giving myself a hard time for reading a book or not organizing my closet. I am not beating myself up over the “shoulds” and instead am trying to do one thing every day just for me and I am not calling myself a narcissist for doing it. That is a pretty big win my friends.
So back to the second question: what would I do if I could not fail? I would be a full-time medium, write my book and be my own boss. And you know what, for the first time that doesn’t seem impossible. I have talked about it before, but it was as if it were some sort of dream. This is what I would do if I could not fail. Hmmm…I am not saying that this is what 2017 will bring, but I do know that I am unstoppable. If I choose to go after something, I can. So can you. One person can make a difference in someone else’s life and that same one person can make a difference in their own life, too. Deep thoughts by afourytale…okay so I am no Jack Handey. Any way, I think we are all pretty amazing and unstoppable when we set our minds to it.
I will leave you with this. The last word I pulled out of the word bowl at acupuncture was “divine love.” The truth is we can’t really fail. We are all deserving of divine love and mistakes are just part of the process. The only way to fail is to literally sit still and do nothing at all. So as long as we move forward and do our best some measure of success is always within our grasp.
So whether 2016 sucked and you hated it and can’t wait for 2017 or 2016 was your best year yet and you know you are going to have an even better 2017; I think for me the point is life isn’t predictable, it can be hard and wonderful all wrapped up together and I will have good days and bad days when it comes to achieving my dreams and goals. So will you. But each day we get is pretty darn remarkable; each moment is a possibility and if we add up all the moments and possibilities and just do the very best we can in each of those moments it can’t be all bad. Can it?
What is your take [on Heaven]? And what have you learned from being the mediator for spirits?
To answer that question, it is important to get a little back story. I think it is important to understand the source behind my answer.
Becoming a medium wasn’t in my lifelong goals and dreams. It became something I am extremely proud of. It is a gift I hold dear. It has also become my dream to help as many people as possible. To be the best medium that I can be. It is work I take seriously and hold in the highest regard. In my youth; however, it was something I spoke of little and felt more comfortable keeping to myself.
Now, the road wasn’t an easy one and I often took the path of least resistance in the beginning; I am human after all. But, God asks more of us. God asks us to follow Him into the dark and help shine his light unto the world. I know that is what God has asked of me.
When I decided to share my gift with the world I was terrified. In fact, I went to see my therapist and discussed this at length with her. In her wise way she told me that the path was already clear and I just needed to see it for myself. She asked me to follow her in a simple exercise. She said, “I want you to close your eyes and just focus on your path.” Over the next few minutes she continued to ask, “Who is leading you? Where are you? What is happening next?”
I closed my eyes, and asked God to guide me and instantly I was in a meadow filled with white and yellow flowers and tall grass. A breeze was gently caressing my cheek and the light that surrounded me was the brightest and warmest I had ever felt. I looked down and I was on an unpaved road; it was packed down beige colored dirt with stones and pebbles, and in some areas the grass had grown high and wild covering the path. I could see no other tracks or footprints on this path.
When I looked up ahead of me to see who was leading me, there was a man dressed in a white robe with dark flowing hair. He turned back to make sure I was still following and gave me a radiant smile. His eyes were the color of dark, rich honey and they reflected a warmth in his soul. I immediately knew I could trust him. In fact, I felt like I had known him all my life. He travelled the path ahead of me without ever having to watch where he stepped. His sure footed-ness let me know he had travelled this path before.
He stopped every so often and reached out into the grass and each time he did a child rose. He would usher me to touch them on their head just as he did. These children began to flock around me. A sense of purpose filled my soul.
My therapist asked me to open my eyes. She then asked me to relay what I had seen. Just before I opened my eyes, the man nodded at me. He told me it was time.
I know this could have been my imagination working overtime, but what I saw that day, in that moment felt real and tangible. There are still moments I can feel the way the blades of grass brushed against my hand as I passed. I can still see the light shining down and wrapping itslef around me warming and filling my soul. The faces of those children shining up at me and the support as they fell in behind me on the path.
I believe God is leading me down the path toward sharing my gift; I believe God is always guiding me to share the messages he wants delivered through spirit. It is always Him that I ask for guidance and strength to work with both spirit and the people who ask for my assistance. It is always Him.
So, while I may not be an expert on Heaven, I feel that what spirit has shown me is coming directly from the source. What they describe is love. Heaven is love. It is unconditional, ever-growing, never-ending love. Spirit arrives to open arms and they are instantly washed over with love and warmth. It fills their soul to the brim and all fear vanishes.
Heaven is a place where each spirit is welcomed and nourished with all that they need. Everybody is in. Not one soul is left in the dark.
What I have heard in reading after reading is that while Heaven is open to all and everyone is welcome; there are privileges and jobs assigned to a soul based on their journey both here on Earth and in Heaven.
A soul may be required to complete tasks and provide assistance to other souls based on what they have experienced or neglected in this life. While another soul is open to choose and explore Heaven because of how well they lived their life here on Earth. I always get the sense that all is forgiven, but not forgotten. A soul is always required to work through unfinished business and learn valuable lessons that may have been missed or overlooked while on Earth.
I have had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of spirits and all with different ethnicity, religion whether devout or atheist, of all different sexual orientation, all different ages and genders and all of their descriptions of Heaven have the items I discussed above in common.
Jesus came to teach us how to treat one another; how to wash away sins; how not to judge one another. His message was simple; his message was love.
Heaven is love. It is unconditional and non-discriminatory. Heaven is a place we can all look forward to. But it is also a place where we will be held accountable for how we treated others and we will be lovingly guided to heal our souls and the souls of others we may have affected.
For me, God is everywhere. God is in every church, synagogue, mosque, pew, park bench, school, creek, ocean, river, lake, home, mind, heart, every nook and cranny where there is space; God is there.
Like with anything else that truly matters, we cannot use money or material possessions to purchase our place in Heaven, we have to earn it with our words and actions. We all get a ticket, but that doesn’t mean we get to ride for free. We have to do well here. We have to pay attention here to ourselves and others. We have to lift people up and be a part of a community. God is always paying attention and while we are held accountable for our actions; we are always welcomed home.
So in answer to your question; Heaven is love and we are all welcome there. What we do there is up to us; based on how we lived our life here. We are always forgiven and always welcomed with open arms.
One of my sweetest clients wrote to me the other day and she included these questions in her email to me. She wrote to me about dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. She has witnessed these first hand and wants to know what happens to the soul when bodies are afflicted with these conditions. Many of you know that Alzheimer’s is a disease that hits incredibly close to home for me. So these questions resonated with me and I wanted to answer them here for anyone else that wanted to know about souls, too.
Over the past two and half years I have delivered messages from souls who are still in a body here on Earth. These souls had or have bodies afflicted with mental handicap or illness, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, cancer, paralysis, and other conditions in which the body and mind deteriorate and the soul may seem to be trapped.
What I have learned, mind you I am no expert – nor do I presume to be – I am just sharing what my experiences have taught me. In this case it seems that the soul continues to remain vibrant and unscathed by what may happen to the body. Our bodies may not be able to withstand these conditions over time, but our souls can.
A soul is tethered to its body – connected by an invisible pull or in some cases I have seen an actual thread. But this does not mean that a soul exists solely inside a body while it is alive.
Did your mind just explode a bit?
Mine does, too – every. single. time.
So let me explain by example. I have met with clients who have loved ones who are still living and are afflicted with dementia, Alzheimer’s or who may even be in hospice care on the verge of their ascent to heaven. These souls can communicate with me even though their bodies cannot and even though they are still in a living body. Again, a bit mind-blowing. I try to explain it by saying: I speak soul. So I don’t talk to the dead or just deliver messages from heaven – I speak soul. So if your soul chooses to speak to me I can hear it.
So these souls have delivered messages to me about what they want to be buried in, what pictures they would like at their funerals, how they know who is caring for them and the sacrifices that they have made. These souls exist both in and out of their human forms. They can see and feel what is happening around them. They can feel their loved one’s care and concern for them.
It is important to note that these souls do not feel trapped. I have communicated with these souls both before and after they have crossed over and they speak of how they were visited by other souls while they were alive. Somehow their souls exist in both Heaven and Earth. They exist and feel unencumbered.
For example, one spirit came through to me and told me how when he was alive he would often awake in the night and wonder through the house. He was always heading for the front door. He didn’t know why, but we all know that would be treacherous for a man with Alzheimer’s to be on the street in the middle of the night. He relayed to me that spirit loved ones would come to him and would help keep him safe inside his home. They would dance, walk and distract him from his path to the door. From his description of events, it would seem that this idea of a soul being able to experience both worlds – both Heaven and Earth – would seem accurate.
The other item that I think is important to share is this…souls feel no physical pain. Not one soul has ever told me something hurts…instead they always tell me what NO LONGER hurts.
Souls for the most part, are light and at peace. They remember physical pain they experienced, but no longer feel it. I always say it’s like childbirth. Us girls always tell our harrowing stories of childbirth, and yet we do it again and have another one because we remember what it was like, but can’t feel that pain any longer. Or even if you have broken a bone – you remember the pain, but don’t feel it any longer. It is like that.
So if a particular person’s brain failed them at the end of their life, know the soul’s consciousness did not. A soul flows through our bodies, but does not exist because of the body – our bodies are just a casing for our souls – souls have cognition, memory and emotion because they are made up of energy; they do not experience physical pain the way we do.
I speak soul and it is my understanding that a soul does not die. It can change, evolve, grow, but it does not die. A soul is always becoming, it is infinite. Our souls are always on the horizon of new emotion or understanding.
Souls abhor when I say they are dead or if I describe what I do as speaking to the dead. They ALWAYS correct me – they are LIVING. They exist. Souls are always alive.
So my sweet, dear client first I am so sorry for your struggles and what your family is going through and what it has been through. I hold space in my heart for you and send healing prayers. Know that even though I may not be right next to you; that I am here step in step with you and if you need someone to just listen; I am here.
But a great woman also told me to not just be sorry, but to be active. So for me, my way of being active was answering this question that you sent to me. My way of being active is sharing what I have learned and to continue to bring some peace to both bodies and souls. May this help answer your questions and bring you some comfort.
Kintsugi is the centuries old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold.
My heart was shattered by autism on July 25, 2011.
“Your son’s delays are consistent with autism spectrum disorder, and we recommend you enroll him immediately in our intensive in-home autism preschool program.”
That word. Autism. Six letters punched me in my gut and knocked the wind out of me. The edges of the room blurred and the evaluator’s voice faded into static as my brain desperately tried to process this information. I nodded and appeared to listen, but I was frozen. It was like a movie where the character leaps and hangs suspended in perfect form while everything else continues at normal speed.
My husband Scott and I brought our son Matthew to be evaluated at our county’s early intervention school campus. Matthew was 22 months old. He had been a happy, outgoing baby; he started talking around his first birthday. I worried when his words vanished six months later. He began melting down in large, echoing rooms full of people and in large crowds. He stopped responding to his name and was happy playing alone as long as we’d let him.
Matthew’s behaviors raised alarming red flags and a cold fear settled into the pit of my stomach. I am a general education teacher, and in 2004 I wrote my master’s degree thesis paper on reading instruction for autistic children. I became fascinated by autism after having several students on the spectrum, and I intensely studied what was known about it at the time. This is why I recognized it so quickly in Matthew.
Even though I knew a lot about autism and taught autistic children, I was not prepared to hear that word used to describe my own child. I was confused about what I did wrong to allow this to happen. Had I missed some prenatal vitamins? Had I inhaled toxic fumes while we remodeled our house during my pregnancy? Did hitting his head as an infant cause damage to the part of the brain responsible for speech? I stupidly thought devoting my career to helping children learn would protect my own children from disabilities. Of course that is illogical reasoning; dentists can get cavities, oncologists can have cancer, and teachers can have children with special needs. Knowledge does not equal protection. However irrational it was, this false and naive belief intensified my grief.
Matthew’s days were immediately filled with behavioral, speech, and occupational therapies. His particular intervention program required intensive parent involvement; we found ourselves in a crash course of parenting a child with developmental delays. We learned to use icons to help Matthew communicate, activities and games to help him learn to follow directions, what his sensory needs were, and how to anticipate and respond to his frustration when he was not understood. Autism is a spectrum disorder with many subcategories of deficits and behaviors ranging from mild to severe; it doesn’t look the same in any two individuals. Therapy interventions felt like the “Whack-a-Mole” game we played as kids; we tried everything we could in this precious window of early intervention and desperately prayed our efforts would help the delays we already knew about and buffer against ones yet to emerge.
Autism was not part of my plan, and my organized and particular personality chafed against this unexpected detour. My older daughter Faith was starting kindergarten and needed me. I wanted to volunteer in her classroom on my days off and I still had my teaching career to tend to. I did not have time to drop everything and have therapists in our home five days a week. When I took Matthew to the park, birthday parties, church, or anywhere with children his age, I saw his peers flourishing in speech, responding to their names, following directions, and doing many other things taken for granted as developmental milestones. I felt sad, frustrated, and angry that wasn’t happening for Matthew and bristled at the unfairness of it all. These feelings quickly segued into depression. I scolded myself to end the pity party, to stop comparing him to others. I’d be paralyzed by anxiety and panic at the oddest times. One night in the shower, I felt crushed by thoughts such as “It’s time to wake up from this bad dream. I just can’t do this.” I reached my breaking point that spring and after talking to one of my pastors, realized I needed to stop suppressing my feelings and find a way to express and process them. I had to take care of myself in order to take care of my family. I started seeing a counselor for talk therapy.
My broken heart began transforming into Kintsugi. So many people poured gold into those cracks, so much that I had gold to share with other cracked hearts.
Our “first responders” were an incredibly gifted and caring team of Early Start professionals. They worked with Matthew and supported our family with a bottomless well of patience, sensitivity, humor, and compassion.
Our local family members mobilized to make sure we had our childcare and transportation needs covered. They were also grieving Matthew’s diagnosis but they all rose (and continue to rise) to his challenges with loving determination.
My church’s preschool bent over backward to include Matthew in a typical class two afternoons a week, completely covering the cost of a 1-1 shadow. The church’s special needs ministry was immediately there to support Matthew in Sunday School. Ironically, my interest in autism led me to help organize this ministry before it became a part of my personal life. I agreed to chair “Donovan’s Door” ministry for two years and connected with many inspirational families in our community. It was heartwarming how many youth and adults volunteered to work with Matthew and other children with special needs on a weekly basis and also at quarterly respite nights.
I’m a better second grade teacher because of Matthew. I considered myself a kind and caring teacher up until 2011, but autism opened my eyes wider to understanding children’s struggles and achievements. I know behavior is communication; this forced my patience to blossom in a way it could not have if Matthew could speak. My teacher experience with special education, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and the “system” helps me navigate them as a parent, and my parent experience helps me understand them as a teacher. I empathize with my students’ parents as we all muddle our way through trying to do our best. I know the fear of admitting something is “off” and the instinctual parent guilt we carry. Most parents appreciate how deeply I care for their children and feel we are a team. Their gratitude and trust humbles and reminds me why I teach, because that is how I feel about Matthew’s team. Many gifted and compassionate teachers, therapists, and aides have been part of Matthew’s village since our days in Early Start.
We benefit from living near two powerhouse autism research universities, Stanford and the University of California, Davis. Matthew received thorough testing and groundbreaking therapies for free that would have cost thousands of dollars otherwise. It feels good to know we are helping these dedicated doctors and scientists slowly piece together a complicated puzzle.
Friends showered us with words of support and offers of help. Anytime I share something about Matthew and/or autism on Facebook, the comments buoy my spirits. Autism brought new friends into our lives that we never would have met had his trajectory continued on the typical path.
I received the book Bloom by Kelle Hampton as a gift. Kelle’s second daughter was unexpectedly born with Down syndrome, and I was moved by her memoir about her grief of losing her imagined child and her path to finding beauty in a new reality. I started following her blog “Enjoying the Small Things.” A year later, I entered Matthew in Infantino/Step 2 Company’s 2013 “Everybody Plays” model search after Kelle blogged about her involvement in the campaign. Matthew won a spot in “Everybody Plays,” and my family flew to San Diego for the photo shoot. The whole thing was surreal and thrilling, from the modeling to seeing his photo in one of their ads. It was an honor to represent the special needs community with this toy company. But for me, the most valuable part was meeting Kelle. We had a strong connection in the short time we met and she injected my soul with resilience.
I also found an amazing blog written by Chrissy Kelly, a Fresno, California mom of two boys with autism. Reading “Life with Greyson and Parker” became a cherished part of my mornings. I felt as if Chrissy reached into my mind, took out the jumbled up thoughts, and transformed them into beautifully eloquent words. Her vulnerable honesty resonated with me so I reached out to her through e-mail. We corresponded and met in person a few months later. Before autism became a part of my life, I could not imagine connecting with unfamiliar moms online and drawing such strength and comfort from their witness.
Unexpected gold also seeped into my cracked heart. My husband and I had always dreamed of having two children. After Faith was born in 2006 and Matthew in 2009, we agreed our family was complete. As they grew, we gradually gave away or donated clothes, toys, and assorted gear families amass when babies come into the picture. I felt a blend of nostalgia and relief giving baby things away. I loved raising babies, but I was glad to be done with the nausea and discomforts of pregnancy. I happily welcomed full nights of sleep back into my life and I looked forward to the day when we were done with diapers. When friends teasingly asked me if we wanted more children, I’d laugh yet firmly say, “NO!”
Two years into our autism journey with Matthew, we saw that for all his progress he was still nonverbal and considered on the “severe” end of the spectrum. My husband and I considered the benefits of another child in our family. We painstakingly discussed the “what ifs” and decided to try. After one miscarriage, I carried a healthy baby boy to term and he arrived after a short labor on June 25, 2014. We chose the name “Tobin” for our third child, meaning “God is good.” Toby completes our family; I cannot imagine us without him. He is full of love, joy, curiosity, energy, and personality.
My dear friend Michelle, the author of this blog, helped me make the biggest breakthrough with Matthew. When she was at my home one day I said something to Matthew and she gave me a surprised look as she exclaimed, “I just heard him answer you!” If you are choosing to read this, I am going to assume you already know about Michelle’s incredible gift of communicating with spirit and know the authenticity of what she does. I had never considered that she might be able to communicate with a nonverbal living person, and I am not sure she had either! She later came back and listened to Matthew respond to questions I asked. I was moved to tears by the deep feelings, wisdom, and tenacity of my precious son. I got a glimpse into what it is like for him to live with autism; I learned how to better meet his physical and emotional needs. I know he is all too aware of what goes on around him and he can pick up on nonverbal cues and feelings better than most “normal” people. People sometimes talk about Matthew in front of him like he isn’t there or doesn’t understand; I think it’s a false assumption that a nonverbal child doesn’t “get it.” That drove me crazy anyway, but Michelle’s reading of Matthew lit a fire under me to be an even better advocate for my son. Matthew is smart, he is caring, and he feels everything so intensely that he has had to devise coping strategies just to get through each day. Those behaviors may seem odd to the untrained eye, but they all serve a purpose.
Above all else, Matthew knows he is loved. Words seem inadequate to express my gratitude to Michelle, for helping me know Matthew better and for her willingness to try something different than what she was used to doing as a medium.
For years, the word “autism” made me scared, angry, overwhelmed, and stressed, but now it makes me thankful for the unexpected blessings it brings. I can’t lie and say that every day is easy and that I still don’t get frustrated or worry for the future. But I imagine if my life had continued on the “neurotypical route” and I shudder to think of everything I’d be missing if had my route not been recalculated.
That’s the beauty of Kinsugi. The pottery is made even more beautiful because those flaws have been visibly healed.
“Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated…” — Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
Thank you for letting me share my illuminated heart with you today.
Most days I feel like I am trying to fit the pieces of me together. Other days I feel like I am struggling to keep them together. And since I am always completely, dangerously honest here, sometimes I am trying to understand if the pieces matter enough to pay attention to them at all.
Some pieces are complicated. Like the mommy piece; holy Christmas Cookies Batman, that one is my most sacred piece, but also the piece that is like an uncut diamond. I am sure if you have a mama piece we are in the same boat sailing.
My mommy piece is bumpy, it isn’t always pretty from every angle, it has imperfections, and it can cut you deeper than you thought possible. Yet at the same time it is perfection, if the light hits it just right it is infinitely the most gorgeously amazing thing you have ever witnessed or experienced. It is always delightfully surprising. Last but not least, there is nothing exactly like it in the whole wide world.
See same kid below, different highs and lows of mommy hood.
I could go into the other relationship pieces, but it’s the pieces that I think make me uniquely me that give me the most trouble. The writer piece, the medium piece, my creativity piece. They are the pieces I don’t understand. They are the pieces I compare to other people’s seemingly matching piece. They are the pieces I wonder if I should toss back in the box.
See in life there are always people brighter than you, stronger, more talented. Then there are the naysayers or as Taylor Swift says, “the haters”. Those things coupled together, are enough to put doubts in anyone’s mind. If you also tend to struggle with self-esteem and be over-analytical well then you start to look at the pieces of yourself and see that they don’t stack up in comparison to other peoples’ pieces.
I think everyone has a piece that is filled with fire and drive and passion. If you are able to keep the fire in that piece burning despite all the curve balls thrown your way then personal success is achieved.
When, I look at all my pieces, when you look at all of your pieces, it is important to remember that they are unique and special because we each put our stamp, our fingerprint on them.
What is most important is that you stay in your lane. Comparison knocks you off the track. It causes you to examine your pieces too closely. You can’t compulsively scan Facebook each day or look at Pinterest for things like ideas for school lunch and think you have to also make the sandwich with the monkey face and rose cut tomatoes; that just isn’t realistic unless your that is your personal passion. You also cannot compare yourself too closely with those in your same field. You just need to do you and strive to be the best you.
Of course, there are still going to be haters, dream stompers, and heartbreakers. I think that says a great deal more about them than you; so try to keep that in mind and I will, too.
So when you stop to look at your pieces, (the photos above are some of my pieces) when I stop to look at my pieces, focus on your own strengths and passion, don’t look around to see how they compare. Just work on fostering them so that you can be your best self and know that, that isn’t just good enough; that my friends is greatness. If you can become the best version of yourself and find joy in this world and that is success. So even though you may stop from time to time to examine the pieces; question the pieces and rearrange the pieces, don’t let the outside world force pieces to change if you like them just the way they are.
“In Western culture, the ‘miracles’ referenced in scripture seem to have been relegated to the past as if to imply that they were reserved exclusively for certain historical periods.” ― Mark Ireland
I talk to the dead. Since I was two and probably before I have been visited by spirits.
People ask if there are always spirits in a room and the answer is yes. There are just as many spirits in a mall as there are live people at any given time; same with schools, post offices, houses, cars, hiking trails, the dessert.
Can you see animal spirits? Yes. I am often greeted by cats and mostly dogs when I enter someone’s home. Both living and deceased.
A lot of people ask if this has ever bothered me. Do I see it as a gift or a burden. It has never really bothered me; startled me from time to time; unnerved me occasionally and only a very few times actually scared me. I know it is a gift something other people cannot easily do, but I don’t in any way feel special; I am just a girl.
People’s reactions bother me. There anger and disbelief bother me. People tell me not to take it personally, but I do not lie, cannot lie and their outright disdain is sometimes way too much for me to handle. I do feel insulted because never, ever would I want to bring up and discuss a painful loss with another human being for my own profit or benefit. Only have I ever wanted to do this because I thought it may be helpful. Any time a reading does not go well, I want to run and hide and never ever discuss publicly with anyone what I can see. I want to crawl so deep back inside myself that no one will ever see that part of me ever again. The spirits themselves are against that; they are the ones who are constantly saying this is what I am supposed to do and this is a helpful thing, but I would say 90% of the time it doesn’t feel that way. 90% of the time I feel like a crazy person talking nonsense to complete strangers.
Another common question revolves around the spirits themselves. Are there really bad spirits? Just like with people there are good and bad with anything – the same with spirits. There are dark souls. Each soul is on a journey to grow and evolve as a being. Some have a more difficult time than others making the kinds of choices that allow them to be more enlightened. But just like Glennon Melton says, God is forever tries and all soul’s get forever tries to be enlightened souls.
What is heaven like? That is another common question. The best answer that I can give to this question is that heaven has places of pristine beauty and is definitely a place filled with a great deal more peace than Earth. Heavenly beings know no physical pain. I still sense emotional pain from souls but often with a greater understanding to that pain than we have in human form. Heaven is also just another layer in the human world; spirits are around us constantly we are very much a part of heaven.
Do spirits often come to talk with me? Yes.
Do they stop me on the street and ask me to talk to complete strangers? Yes. Spirits are as much a part of my life as the living. Spirits are everywhere in my daily life. I don’t get to pick and choose who I see, but they are there just the same.
Do I think I am crazy? Yes. I am as skeptical as the next person. I am often trying to explain things away and find concrete excuses for the types of things I know or have seen. I am often left with certain things I cannot explain. Having witnesses to these incidents is incredibly helpful because most times I will just discount it to my overactive imagination.
How many mediums are there in the world? Can everyone see spirits? I think everyone is a medium on some level and just like athletes, teachers, chefs, business people, sales people, engineers, etc. some people are just more adept at doing a particular task or occupation in life. We all have the ability to do these things; some of us are just naturally inclined and endowed with certain innate abilities to gravitate and excel at certain things over others.
So many people ask me if spirits can hear their loved ones talk to them and think about them? The answer is yes. And no they do not follow you into the shower. Spirits respect your privacy.
Many people also ask what I experience when I see a spirit. I don’t know all the fancy names of what I can do – I know there are names for each way that you experience spirit, but I am not a student of mediumship in fact I don’t even like the word medium – I would like to be a medium in size, but other than that I don’t really like that word.
But back to the real question: I can see a spirit to the point where I can describe exactly what they look like and pick them out of a picture line up. I can hear them clearly when they speak and even smell the smells they want me to experience. I can taste things and feel things they want me to taste and feel. For example, I have had spirits allow me to feel the softness of a particular blanket between my fingers or smell their favorite food cooking in the kitchen. I experience spirit’s and their energy just as I do the living many times. I have always been able to ascertain the heart or soul of a person only after spending a few minutes with them.
Do I like what I do? That is a difficult question. Some days after bringing someone who is receptive so much hope and peace about the world beyond us, yes I feel like I have done small part to make this world a better place. Days like today after a reading that went completely askew because of doubt and negative energy that clouded judgment and instead of understanding the release of tears and grief it incited anger and resentment; I want to run and hide and never ever talk to any other person about spirits ever again, but I am writing this today because I don’t think I truly have a choice in the matter any more. I truly believe that this is what I am supposed to do, good, bad or indifferent this is a part of who I am and it can no longer be ignored or stifled.
The other day I was asked if I have to go into a trance to communicate with spirit? No, there are no trances involved. I write a great deal during a reading because spirits communicate at a rapid rate. I can often write down what they are trying to communicate faster than I can repeat it. Spirits are pure energy uninhibited by a body and can move and communicate with great speed. Sometimes for them to slow down enough for me to understand them they present images of what they are trying to communicate to me and it is a bit like charades. I often see the things they saw or want me to see so that I can communicate them to their loved ones. They often also say random, nonsensical things that only later come to make more sense.
I know there are many more questions to be answered and that I will probably never be able to fully describe what it is like to have this type of experience, but I am inspired by Mother Theresa and the quote below to keep answering questions and keep trying because I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I was given this gift not only to share it with others but to also try to remove some of the stigma associated with it.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
When I was a freshman, I worked on the yearbook. Our yearbook advisor, Ms. Olson was an interesting woman to say the least. She taught freshman english and although I did not have her as an instructor; I spent many hours in her classroom after school working on the yearbook. During the year, we learned that she was expecting a girl. One day, she overheard us talking about something that must have had gender stereotypes associated with it because she went on a soap box about how she would never, no not ever, supply her child with gender specific toys. She would offer an environment with only gender neutral toys.She wanted to raise a strong daughter, with high self-esteem and she felt “girl” toys would not be representative of what she wanted her daughter to become.
At the time I remember thinking, whoa woman I think you are reading way too much into things. Plus you will probably cave when your 4-year-old daughter decides to ask Santa for a Barbie. I just didn’t understand what the big deal was about.
Now, twenty some odd years later and I get her frustration. My children are constantly labeling items, whether it be toys, colors, or clothing, as girl or boy. I have tried to teach them that there is no girl or boy anything; there are only things; plain and simple.
However, it is difficult to escape stereotypes when our schools, media, and outside world are so full of them. My long-haired, ten-year old son is often the recipient of questions about his hairstyle or worse mistaken for a girl. My daughter already receives the comments about how helpful she must be and what a good mom she will make some day. My youngest is called “ALL BOY” a great deal and his twin gets raised eyebrows over his Sofia the First birthday presents, as well as his tutu and Sofia the shirt wearing escapades.
The difficult part for me is that long hair is what my older son loves because he wants to be like Steven Tyler – in that he wants to be a über cool rock star. My daughter may or may not become a mom and she shouldn’t be pressured by society to fit into that gender role if she doesn’t want to. Just because my youngest son loves to tackle and wrestle shouldn’t require him to be a specific gender; instead those should just be activities that he enjoys. And his twin brother should be able to wear whatever he likes and play with whatever he likes without having anyone make snide comments or ask critical questions. Even young children ask him why he carries around a doll. That is something they are taught to believe boys shouldn’t do and it isn’t inherent. Not one ounce of them expressing themselves in these ways is hurting anyone else (even the tackling; it usually doesn’t involve any injuries and no one outside of the family is tackled – he isn’t a random tackler).
The items below are items you will find in our house and these are often labeled by my own children to which I am constantly telling them that none of these items are boy or girl things, they are just things…plain and simple.
The good news is that these are who the toys actually belong to in our family; so maybe I am making a little headway.
I am hoping that this lesson will continue to sink in with my kids.
My hope is that as a people we can just accept each other as human and realize that each human has likes and dislikes. I know our brains want to group things together and classify things, but we need to work on this and be more open and accepting of one another.
Only when we slay the hydra, only when we liberate people of all genders from unfair and regressive gender roles, will we be able to liberate people of any gender from those roles.
It sounds overwhelming, but one step at a time working in unison I believe the human race can do anything. And working together to eradicate the world of gender stereotypes wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Take this video as a sample of the far-reaching effects of gender stereotypes and why changing these ideas is more important that one may think:
Empowering one another to be our best selves should be our goal; not using a gender as a derogatory idea. Or even further, to hold someone in ill regard if they are not meeting the social norm of what a “man”. “woman”, “boy” or “girl” is SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE – we need to remember that no one is supposed to be like anything but themselves, PERIOD.
My yearbook advisor wasn’t completely off her rocker like I once thought; she had a valid point and I sure hope she never caved and that she succeeded in helping her children eradicate gender stereotypes from their minds.
Here’s hoping to a world that is more open and accepting,
Today I am thinking lots of things and my blog post might be a big, jumbly mess. But I won’t apologize…if you didn’t want to read it you wouldn’t. (I am trying to stop apologizing so darn much).
Today started with me waking later than usual which meant no run, which meant the nagging about my weight and laziness and no excuses was already buzzing through my brain rapid fire. As I stood in the shower I took deep breaths and did a lot of repeating, “I am enough.”
And, “Right now I am enough.”
And, “God loves me right this minute and that means I am worthy.”
Yes, I am still taking lexapro – this self-doubt happens any way.
Of course from the shower it was straight into mommy world as many of you know…getting breakfast, and kids dressed, and then straight to work. But at 12, I walked away from the screen and made us all lunch and ate it outside in the dazzling sunshine.
I am trying to slow things down and get my joy back. I am not a good routine person and life is very routine these days. So I am trying to remember what takes the stress away. What I like to do and where the joy is. I know that some of you are thinking, “you have to find the joy in the moment.” I agree. However, I also think you need to make room for the joy you want and to make those moments happen.
Anyway, writing used to be a joy for me. Yes, I wrote used to, you read that correctly.
I am sure you noticed I am not writing as often as I was before. I brought this up with my therapist and she asked some questions that led to me thinking about myself of course. That is how the therapy thing works – the therapist asks you a lot of questions to get you doing a lot of thinking. Luckily my therapist also does a good deal of telling out right.
Again, I digress, I told you it would be a jumbly mess…So during our conversation she asked me what I was avoiding? Was I avoiding accepting my accomplishments? Was I avoiding the audience? Was I avoiding myself?
I guess I was avoiding all of that a little. Avoiding myself a bit and what has blossomed out of this blog. This blog, while it still has a relatively small viewership, and I am I am grateful for each and every reader…has created some miraculous things. I started it because I had a dream of being a writer one day, and to also smash the perception others had of me, as well as have a bit of documentation on my journey to be more like the kind of human I want my children to become.
I never expected people to really read it…I started sharing it of course because I wanted people to see the real me…the me underneath the quiet. And when I started writing I had no intention of sharing as much as I have. But when I did start writing it all just started tumbling out and it felt like the right thing to do. To be open and vulnerable and courageous about just being me seemed like the right thing to do.
Recently as more and more people started to talk to me as intimate friends, and don’t get me wrong it is a really cool thing; it also made the shy me; the quiet me want to hide again. Run for the hills and let someone else do the writing and sharing, someone who was good at it and okay with the attention. I just wanted to blend back in with the scenery for a while.
I don’t wear make-up or dress fancy or even fashionable for the most part because I just want to blend in and not be noticed. Drawing attention is not my cup of tea.
This blog had started something else though; I have shared that I am a medium. I have begun doing readings and that drew more attention. Attention I thought I was ready to handle, but I guess I wasn’t. I get asked some pretty hard questions and I don’t have all the answers. Even though this has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember (and that is since I was 2 years old). I don’t understand all the ins and outs. I am still learning. Plus, I am as skeptical as the next person. I am constantly looking for proof as I do my readings. Proof that I am not a loony toon and that the communication that I am able to aid is nothing short of miraculous. Each time I have been surprised at what happens and added that proof to my arsenal, yet I still remain skeptical.
I guess I have come to the conclusion that hiding isn’t really the answer. I have to continue to be open, honest, and share my gift because that is who I want to be. A short escape is definitely necessary, keeping some things to myself is probably a good idea, and one of these days the pieces will all fall into place and I won’t even feel the need to hide any more. Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but I have always believed you should shoot for the stars and if you land on the moon you did pretty darn good.
This past weekend I was in the grocery store and as I scanned the magazines during my wait in line this is what I saw…
Apparently the very happy Blake and Miranda or headed for divorce. Miley is having heart trouble and Nicole and Keith Urban are also having marital troubles. Not to mention the smaller headlines of meltdowns and most hated celebrities. These headlines made me so sad. Shouldn’t we have more self-respect than to read about other people’s sorrow? I think we need alternate headlines screaming at us while we wait in line.
This is also what came up on TMZ when I searched happy news; just in case you wondered. I am pretty sure no such thing exists on TMZ.
I know some local news and radio stations are starting to have air time for uplifting news stories. Even the big morning shows are starting to give air time to “good news”. But we really need to take back the news media and turn it into a more informative arena without so much drama and devastation. Our news should have more good than bad in it. Here are my thoughts on what should be on the cover of a magazine.
What do you think about the current state of the news industry? Are you a fan of the “ticker of devastation and doom” and 24/7 media coverage of horrific events?
Do you think that our magazine covers should be wrought with judgement?
Oh my gosh! No seriously, oh my gosh! The kindest, sweetest blogger just nominated me for my very first blogging award and I think it might be the best one of all because it is an award from fellow bloggers to fellow bloggers. What better way to be honored than by your fellow writer peers. YAY!
So the wonderful writer that nominated me is Jaime over at Motherhood Honestly. She is delightfully funny. One of my favorite posts of her’s is Driving in Cars with Kids. Once you read it you will know that we are kindred mama spirits.
The Liebster Award, in case you don’t know, is an award that was originated by bloggers to honor one other. It is a blogger letter chain if you will, because as you accept the award you pass it on. Seriously this award is so me – pay it forward – that is my kind of deal.
This particular version of the Liebster is meant for bloggers with less than 500 followers and there are some rules attached once you accept. I am using the rules given to me by Jaime; they are as follows:
Thank the blogger that nominated you – Thank you, Jaime you rock!
Answer the 11 questions you were given.
Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 500 followers – I can only nominate 8 because well I am new to the blogging community and most bloggers I follow have more than 500 followers.
Tag your nominees and post on their blog so they know all about it!
I am answering the questions that Jaime provided me below. And then I will nominate 8 bloggers that I think will appreciate the love.
1. What is your morning routine?
My mornings usually consist of rising by at least 6:30, racing around waking up the littles and running around feeding our turtle Davis, the kids, and making sure lunches are made, twins’ are clothed and then doing D-Mack’s hair right before we rush out the door to drop her off at school. When we return I head straight to my computer to begin my day at work.
2. Where was your favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot growing up was Utah visiting my family. I had lots of cousins and grandparents and extended family to visit. I just loved being around everyone.
My favorite vacation spot as I got older was Pismo Beach. That is where I met my sweet husband.
Now my favorite vacation spot is probably Newport Beach.
3. What is your guilty pleasure?
This is hard to name just one – I am addicted to Pretty Little Liars and Once Upon a Time – silly little shows, but I don’t have to use my brain to watch them. Plus I have a slight TV crush on Colin O’Donoghue. He may wear guy liner as Captain Hook, but I could definitely spend a day in Storybrooke with Killian Jones. I mean look at him – couldn’t you?
I am also a hard-core Blacklist follower – the show in case you were thinking it was some other crazy thing. And Hot Tamales – I love Hot Tamales.
4. If you could have a cup of coffee with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?
Good question, Miss Jaime, good question. I think I would want to have coffee with my grandmother. My grandma Nielsen was a mother to 6 kiddos and I think now as a mother I would love to sit and talk with her about her life, things she did as a mother and I think sitting with her one more time would just be pretty wonderful.
5. What inspires you?
My kids inspire me. They make me stop and smell the roses…literally. As I am rushing them to school they literally stop and smell the roses along the way and that keeps my perspective on life grounded because spilled milk is really just spilled milk and stopping to watch the snails and Rollie Pollies while smelling the roses is what life is really all about.
6. Name three of your favorite features about yourself.
I can speak with the dead – I know sounds crazy, but it is true.
I am a good mom and wife – my family comes first.
That even when my house looks like the tornado zone below – it is okay because I am focusing on what is important. That and really we can wear our laundry faster than I can fold it and put it away.
7. If you could go back in time (knowing what you know now), what career would you choose?
Call me crazy I wouldn’t go back in time – I like that I was a teacher, than a college professor, than a Sales Person and a part-time writer. I have learned something from everything I have done.
8. Name a habit you picked up from your mom.
I tap my fingers to the beat of songs on the steering wheel.
9. Describe a perfect Friday night.
Curled up with a book near a fire with a warm drink; listening to my kiddos play while my husband watches some sport on TV. I know I am totally fun!
10. What is the best television show you’ve ever seen?
I think I may have answered this in a previous question. I love The Blacklist.
11. The thing you use every day (other than your phone)…
Hmm…well I guess that would have to be the microwave. I am always heating up cold coffee everyday or heating something up in there.
And now the moment you have all been waiting for my Liebster Award Nominees in no particular order….
A friend posted this on FB today and definitely got me thinking:
If the words YOU spoke were written on your body….would you be beautiful??
Yikes…as much as I try to always treat others as I would like to be treated I am sure there would be some pretty ugly words; especially from my youth. But maybe even a couple interesting words from days like today.
There is too much whining in my house and too much on my plate to always respond appropriately. I am way over the whining and definitely way past my patience point. But we all slip up sometimes so I am sure we would all be pretty colorful. And maybe just maybe the good and the bad all swirled together would be a beautiful way to show how human and alike we all are.
So what would your answer be; if the words YOU spoke were written on your body….would you be beautiful??
“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I’d miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I’m sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.” ― Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake
I think we all want to be remembered. It must be written in our subconscious or part of our DNA, but we have a common need to be noticed and remembered.
These days that need has catapulted into something more extravagant; almost everyone wants to be famous. Between social media, reality TV and the news it seems like just about everyone has some claim to fame these days. And if they don’t already have a claim to fame they can quickly get one; or so it seems.
I noticed this in myself on Friday, while I was scrolling down through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a picture on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page (if you aren’t familiar with Jen Hatmaker you can check her blog out here). She was standing with other writers; one of which happened to be Glennon Melton Doyle – and if you don’t know who she is check out her blog here. And if you do know who they are; I know you felt like I did. I was knee-deep in envy. I so wanted to be in that picture!
I thought about this a lot since Friday. I started out thinking about how I want so desperately to be a well-known author. But the more I thought it about it, the more silly it seemed to HAVE to be extraordinary. To have to be famous or how much that even counts really. So many things have become so OVER the TOP extraordinary these days that maybe there is something to just being ORDINARY.
For instance, you can’t even get into a four-year college any more without being a 4.2 valedictorian, concert pianist, who also happens to volunteer twice a week at the local convalescent home and lettered in field hockey.
Our young kids are so over scheduled with soccer, guitar, language lessons, extracurricular math programs and robotics camps on top of school in the hopes that they will be extraordinary, they don’t even know what it is like to just play.
I think we have forgotten how extraordinary it is to be ORDINARY; to sit content in the daily hustle and bustle of our average lives and find peace in that. We are so busy trying to be someone famous and special that we have forgotten that we are already special to begin with.
I think I would much rather be the voice of the ordinary, the voice of being content with what we have, the reminder for all of us that we are already extraordinary because we are unique and have our own personalized God Given Gifts than one of the extraordinary that HAS to be famous.
There is so much beauty in our lives already that we don’t have to add fame and flash and paparazzi to make a difference or be remembered. We just have to be ourselves and open our eyes to what we are already doing every day.
To find comfort in the simple beautiful moments of laughter, goodnight kisses, a job well done, a phone call from a friend, fresh-cut flowers, a warm bed and clean sheets to sleep in.
Or for example, letting our little ones pick their own clothes, so they can express their independence…
Our remembering that one little love story created something magical…
Or watching the world through a child’s eyes…
Or just remembering to look at the beauty of the world around us…
It is definitely what is in the small stuff that is going to be remembered and cherished. So after much thought; I don’t want to be in that Jen Hatmaker picture any more. I would much rather be the girl I am; whose life is ordinary and filled with small, magical extraordinary moments.
I am my own worst enemy. I am definitely not an expert on depression, but I think that when you suffer from depression your own brain becomes your worst enemy; it just never stops analyzing and going through how you could do things differently or better. It never stops trying to drag you down. So you are constantly exhausted because not only are you fighting an inner battle between common sense and your debasing self-talk, but you are also fighting whatever hard battle life is dishing up at you at the moment.
For instance, this last year when I lost 22 pounds, I felt great as long as I didn’t look in a mirror. I would look in a mirror and think wow; I lost all that weight and still look awful. None of that hard work made a difference. There is nothing you can do to change you. No matter what you lose you will still look like that. It was defeating and just plain frustrating to constantly struggle with the self talk and my own view of myself. Now I have gained 10 pounds back and started running again, I am trying to figure out how to not sabotage myself this time around and just keep up the work out for health sake and not for image sake.
I remember when I went to see a therapist several years ago and she asked me this thought-provoking question
If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, would you allow this person to be your friend?
My answer was no because I would not ever talk to anyone else the way I talked to myself. My self-talk as has been discussed before, as my inner voice is the biggest, baddest bully on the playground. I am working on this daily and fully understand that logically it doesn’t make sense to have the inner dialogue that I do. The good news is that 5 years since that therapist visit; I have grown to a place where I would be my friend and that part of me is the part that is just finally beginning to win that battle against depression; s…l…o…w…l…y but one day, one day it won’t be so hard to live in my skin – I just know it.
How about you – if you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, would you allow this person to be your friend?