Do Lightworkers Change the Toilet Paper Roll?

According to Google, a lightworker is “a special person with almost psychic ability to intuit what other people are thinking, feeling, or need in order to heal.”

Wrong!

We do not need psychic abilities to be a lightworker. I have seen light workers busy, doing their thing, everywhere, everyday.

My son is a lightworker when he snuggles up to me and utters, “I love you, mommy.”

My dog is a lightworker when she wags her tail and licks a stranger’s hand.

The man who pumps my gas who asks me a question instead of staring at his phone, is a light worker. The stranger who passes me on the street, meeting my eyes followed by his warm smile is a light worker.

Children are light workers, bringing their vulnerability and openness to everyone they meet.

A lightworker is someone who wants to yell back at her Facebook friend for the post about a political candidate of the opposing political party, but instead writes “Thanks for sharing,” and takes a walk instead. A lightworker takes a moment before lashing out at Verizon for charging so much for service, and also the one who lashes out before apologizing for taking out their money frustrations on a stranger.

A lightworker connects us to the feelings of so regret or sadness through the words of a song, and the one who listens in the quiet of their bedroom, weeping alone.

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The man who stands in the freezing temperatures directing traffic away from the road construction is a lightworker as well as the one who puts her hands upon a man’s leg, healing his tumor.

 

Deer grazing, and birds flying in unison are lightworkers, as is the homeless man who tugs are our heartstrings, reminding us to have gratitude for all we have been given in life.

A grief stricken man who forgives the police officer who shot his unarmed brother, and the woman who bakes homemade chocolate chip cookies, spreading sweetness in the world are lightworkers.

The young woman who stands up on court, speaking her anger and grief at her perpetrator, is a lightworker.

We do not have to have a profession as a spiritual teacher or become Instagram famous to be a lighworker. Handing another a blanket when they are cold, letting a car pass in front even when we are in a rush, texting a friend whose radio silence could be a sign of her struggles, and saying “I am sorry” are all signs of lighworkers doing our job.

Getting out of bed when we feel like hiding, and standing in front of an audience speaking about “shame and vulnerability” are the actions are of a lightworker. Sharing our story so others feel less alone, and listening to a friend with all our attention are signs of lightworkers doing our thing.

Lightworkers fall down, and break apart. We also get back up. We remember it is our mission to walk away when our soul is waking up, and then to help another do the same.

We stop in the road to help a deer who has wandered out into traffic and put a hot meal on the table for our family. We take our children out for ice cream, and laugh when we see their face covered in chocolate. We get our hands dirty, and clean up our messes when we make a mistake. We work long hours so our family can go on vacation at the beach. We collect clothing for those that are in need and send cards to our elderly grandmother who feels alone in the world.

All lightworkers are angels, their wings hidden beneath their human facade.

We all came here to be light workers. We just need to get on to how we are to use our gifts in the world. We may become a comedienne creating laughter, or be willing to pick up everyone’s trash each Monday. We may organize rides for those without cars, or give temporary jobs to the unemployed.

We connect one another by running support groups, networking lunches and book clubs. We share what is on our mind and in our hearts.

Lightworkers are agents of change, bringing light into the darkness. A whistleblower and the mother who allows her son, the addict to become lost, and hit rock bottom so that he can find his way back, are lightworkers.

A lightworker is even the person who takes the time to put on a new roll of toilet paper for the next person.

Lightworkers reach out, cry, laugh, lend a hand, say no, speak the truth, face their fears, fetch the newspaper, create beautiful bows, cook, clean, love, share, respond, walk away and connect. They are healing our world.

The next time you pass someone on the street, look them in the eye, smile and say silently or aloud, “Thank you.” And then give your self the same gratitude. We are all doing so much more than we know to bring light and love into our world.

For more inspirational and heartwarming messages, please visit my website at www.thesacredletters.com

 

What is Healing?

We hear the word healing so often in life. In the doctor’s office, on the therapist’s couch, in the spiritual community. Healing can be seen by a surgeon cutting us open or felt by a child whose mother kisses his skinned knee. We know our bodies, minds and souls can heal from many things in life. But what is healing really?

Healing is messy, as well as beautiful. It is heart wrenching and uncomfortable. Healing takes courage and strength. Healing is moving from feeling like a victim to knowing we are a survivor. Healing is finding our voice, even after it was stuffed down for so many years.

Healing is taking a risk to change jobs, move our home or stand up to the person who has been bullying us, no matter how afraid we feel. Healing is reliving our worst nightmare and taking a stab at our grandest daydream. Healing is facing our demons and feeling what it brings up for us. Healing is walking away from a relationship that hurts us, no matter how much we still love them.

Healing is going to the store for a gallon of milk and having a meltdown because this size we want is not available. Healing is also realizing after that a half gallon would have been fine, under normal circumstances. Healing is looking inward at our self and asking what makes us happy? What we can do better? And how we really feeling?

Healing as doing what we came here to do in this life, no matter how distracting life becomes. Healing is following our gut, and pushing through our doubt and fear. Healing is changing the way we have always thought because it simply is not working anymore. Healing is taking care of our self, giving our self what we need for the first time. Healing is saying yes to what we want and no to what we don’t. Healing is taking a chance and asking someone to be there for us, risking rejection.

Healing is asking for that raise, knowing we are worth more. Healing is knowing we will find strength in overcoming adversity. Healing is doing as we say. Healing is putting down that drink, or other addiction that is wreaking havoc on our life and asking for help in doing so.

Healing is walking through vulnerability and showing our true self to the world. Healing is knowing the shame that comes from this raw exposure is temporary and we can do it all again. Healing is putting away our technology and looking in the eye of the person sitting across from us. Healing is simply being alive.

Healing is not reacting to another who triggers us on social media, nor blindly following a politician who is leading us astray. Healing is no longer separating the message from the messenger knowing this never works. Healing is addressing someone’s character even if it affects your bottom line.

Healing is putting away those negative thoughts, the ones that come time and again, because they are not who we really are. Healing is doing something different, than we did the day before. Healing is cursing, screaming, running, journaling, walking, painting, gardening, noticing, exploring, meditating, listening, adoring and inviting.

Healing is learning something new, even if we are afraid to fail. Healing is making a mistake, losing our job, or experiencing divorce, death, illness or injury. Healing is seeing our anxiety as trying to reveal something to us that we have stuffed down, and understanding our depression is the space we are given to breathe, feel, change our thinking, our behavior and our life. Healing is addressing our past and choosing our future.

Healing is moving one inch to the left and seeing the bigger picture of a traumatic event. Healing is forgiving our self and another, when we are ready. Healing is showing up at court and doing our community service. Healing is taking a class at sixty years old and taking time off before college at eighteen.

Healing is breathing, sleeping, smiling, laughing and loving. Healing is a bear hug, when we feel like frightened fawn. Healing is speaking the truth, finding our voice, and calling out injustice for what it is. Healing is knowing we are not our zip code, the numbers in our bank account, our our children’s achievements.

Healing is saying no to a tyrant, a racist, a perpetrator, a bully, a dictator for another, who does not have the courage or strength to speak out for him self. Healing is manning up when we are caught, finding the courage to admit to unconscious behavior even when it affects your popularity, pocketbook or freedom. Healing is recognizing an agent of change, no matter what he looks, acts or seems to be.

Healing is protecting our children at all costs from unclean conditions, dirty water, abuse, neglect, and harm. Healing is hearing the screams within the sounds of silence. Healing is taking risks to believe the first victim that comes forward, not waiting for more to collaborate the story.

Healing is nonviolent protests and open conversations across cities, states, countries and continents. Healing is entertaining another viewpoint, for the sake of respect. Healing is no longer putting entertainers, politicians, musicians, the wealthy, the white, the educated, above the law, and on pedestals.

Healing is knowing that nothing is wrong or right in our life, but everything is here to help us.

Nothing is a coincidence and we are never alone. To take in the beauty of a flower, and the movement of a poem is to know healing. There is a bigger picture, and healing is stopping for a moment each day to look just below the surface, knowing that we are all part of something bigger than our self.

Healing is happening in every moment when we choose to live from our soul, and to become guided by our heart. Life will always lead us where we need to be. We never have to look too far for healing.

For more inspirational messages on healing, please visit our website at www.thesacredletters.com

We Often Do Not Know What We Are Capable Of, Until Suddenly We Do.

It was fifteen years ago, when I sat across from my husband in Atlantic City. We chatted over a very greasy, breakfast buffet. “All you can eat” meant we had eaten a lot and after a weekend of romantic dinners and losing some money in the name of fun, we felt relaxed and tired. It was then the idea popped into my mind. “I want to write a teen book,” I uttered. “I think it is going to be about a girl who commits suicide and leaves notes for her classmates. It is these notes which unlock the reason why she ended her life.”

I have always loved writing but when I was a child, I wanted to be a professional football player. More specifically, a Dallas Cowboy. I loved their uniforms and I could play a pretty good game of touch football in the street. I didn’t realize that there are things girls just didn’t do. In many ways, I still don’t. I have never believed in limits. So, while I waited to become bigger and stronger to have a try-out with Dallas, I created stories in my mind. 

I wrote when I felt excited or scared, and always returned to my pen and paper when life became both wonderful and overwhelming. Outside of school, I wrote long letters to my camp friend across the never-ending northeastern winters. 

Then I fell in love – with Judy Blume. 

I sat for hours devouring her books that spoke about painful emotions, worrisome thoughts and never before talked about stuff. She wrote about controversial topics that nobody else had been talking about. Stuff that I was both living through and hiding within myself.

I began to write about this difficult stuff, too. But it was my stuff. My entire fourth grade year of writing was filled up with tough experiences, coupled with lessons, insights and inspirational happy endings. 

I went on to minor in creative writing in college, not caring where it would take me, just that writing made me feel alive. When my girls were little, I awoke each morning at 5 am to write. I cherished this time, sipping coffee, laptop in hand and connecting with my imagination. It was then I created a series of middle grade fiction called Crabby Gabby. Makes sense as my daughter’s name is Gabby. Yet, I did nothing with the books. Maybe I sent them to a few agents with no response and gave up? Maybe I got too busy driving to soccer practices and bake sales? Maybe it was not meant to be? But for whatever the reason, I found it funny when my daughter came home from babysitting this summer and told me the child had a book called, “Crabby Gabby.” That ship had sailed, and I had waved goodbye.

In between all this writing, I was being prepared for something greater (spoiler alert – we all are, we just need to get onto it). Yet, life had been throwing me lemons since childhood, one after the other, and I was growing tired of trying to make lemonade. There had to be something I was meant to do when I grew up, but I wasn’t getting to it. 

I refused to give up.

I began delving into spiritual books, seeking answers as to why life seemed to challenge me so often. It was then that I began tossing the lemons onto paper. I wrote about the losses, traumas and challenges we all face in life. And as I wrote through some intense grief, I began to find my inspirational happy endings again. I created my blog Alternative Perspective and continued sharing what I was thinking, feeling and learning about life. 

I found success publishing parenting articles, short stories, and essays; but I was not yet playing for The Dallas Cowboys, nor was I the next Judy Blume. There was something more I was meant to do, but what was it? I wanted people to know that life was meant to be difficult, incredible, creative, hysterical, abysmal and amazing, and that I had seen, felt, experienced it all.

The Universe is always helping us. I felt as if God was looking down upon me thinking, “I have given her all these ideas and she does not do ‘shit’ with them.” Probably not in those exact words, as I am fairly certain God does not swear. Perhaps it was more like, “You need to give up playing for The Dallas Cowboys, but in exchange, I am going to help you put some of these wonderful ideas into action so you can fulfill your purpose on this glorious earth.”

It was then I met my now great friend and co-author, Berit Stover by accident. Or was it? 

I believe we were always meant to become co-authors and working together feels so familiar and right. We come from different paths, each with our own talents and are guided to be present and attentive in bringing forward these messages to be shared. Berit and I complement each other in our strengths and have the patience and drive to put into action what is meant to be. 

When we grow up, we change, but not everything. I still like football, but now my allegiance is to New York Giants and with every prayer, I ask, “Are you there God? It’s me, Beth.”  I still believe anything is possible. I look for the miracles, the rainbows and the happy endings, knowing that fear, doubt, failures and obstacles are just as much a part of life as laughter and joy. We cannot avoid pain, but we can choose not to suffer.

Our book, Living Beyond Fear: Sacred Letters from the Afterlife is unlike any other book written, and well worth the wait. I think Judy Blume would be proud that we speak to the truth, addressing challenges within all our life stories, while reminding us all of the always present inspiration, hope and love. 

How amazing would it be to receive a letter from one of your loved ones from the afterlife?

This is what our book is about, coupled with almost unbelievable scenarios on how we came across these spirits. Some of them well known, some strangers to us. There is a yoga teacher, a grandparent, a child, a well known musician, even a dog.

When that great idea I had in Atlantic City came to life, the book, 13 Reasons Why was published. My husband later exclaimed to me, “That could have been your story!” I never wrote that story, but someone did. Someone took action because it was his story to write. Life had other plans for me, only it took some time to get there.

We never know what is in store for us, or what we will be when we grow up. My writing had to evolve as I grew in years, and my gifts for connecting with the spiritual realm to transcribe pages of words from spirits in the form of Sacred Letters in just sheer minutes became better known to me over time.

We often do not know what we are capable of, until suddenly we do.

Not that a girl won’t ever become a professional football player, because anything is possible, but it is not going to be me. 

www.thesacredletters.com

Living Beyond Fear: Sacred Letters from the Afterlife is available now on Amazon!

What Humpty Dumpty Really Taught Me About Feeling Broken.

One of the most difficult things about living in our chaotic world is figuring out how to live beyond the fear, doubt and separation. How to remain loving and compassionate with our hearts open even when it seems as if loneliness, illness, divorce, job loss, addictions, and even death have been a part of all of our lives. Yet feeling broken, depressed, anxious, lost, bored, rejected, not good enough, or even like we have failed in some way, are all incredible opportunities.

If you are alive, you have been broken in some way. Some of us have been shattered, and the process of putting our self back together feels like walking up a mountain covered with ice. We finally figure out a way to move forward only to slide back down, losing our momentum. Others have been split in two or more pieces. Some of us, slightly cracked. 

Whether we need glue, cement or additional tools to help us mend is not important. Becoming whole requires the same process, whether you have been shattered or slightly cracked. 

Like Humpty Dumpty, we know we have fallen off the wall but do not know how to put our self back together.

Fixing our self in the broken places is the most difficult task we may take on in life. It means we begin to peel back the layers, dispelling the lies we so often tell our self. “I cannot change.” or “I’m fine, really.” And we must resist the urge to convince everyone that we are doing well, perhaps fooling nobody. It means we stop running, distracting, using substances – drugs, food, alcohol and the Internet. We understand we need not be a slave to our negative thoughts, or even self-imposed optimism. 

These are all simply defenses, coping mechanisms that have created a false self in order to get up after our fall; or even just to survive in our world today. But there is a far simpler way. And that is to feel – to get out of our heads and move into our hearts.

Living from our hearts is no easy task; but the most important ingredient to living a life of peace, joy and love no matter what happens to us. If splintering off, cracking or losing pieces of our self has left us broken, feeling through our hearts puts us on the path back to wholeness. Yet it is feeling the darkest of feelings, those we avoid on a regular basis, that is the key to putting our self back together again. 

Becoming whole is a process; one that takes courage, commitment and effort. Yet the rewards are enormous. The pathway involves becoming aware, releasing judgment, admitting the truth, finding support, and lastly feeling those hidden feelings of anger, loneliness, fear, doubt and grief. 

Becoming Aware

There is a voice, a watcher, an observer in each one of us. This is our higher self, consciousness, intuition and we all need to be able to tap into our higher self. In order to do so, we need to begin watching our thoughts and actions. We need to become curious. Why would I react in that way? What does this situation or person remind me of? We need to become aware of our critical thoughts, and where they come from. We need to learn how we think, and how we avoid feeling the hard stuff. 

Release Judgment

We are all beautiful human beings prone to making mistakes. That is how we learn. Judging these mistakes keeps us broken. We need to find compassion for our self so that we can heal or mend. Having judgment for what has happened to us by another person or something we have done to another, keeps us stuck. If we release judgment, we can free our self to speak the truth of how and where we have become broken. Releasing judgment requires moving beyond our mind, releasing those critical thoughts. 

Admitting the Truth

Opening up to what has been our experience or even what we are feeling in any given moment helps us heal. We need to admit the truth to our self that we have fallen off the wall. If we have been pushed, we need to accept the pain another has inflicted upon us. If we have jumped, we need to understand why. Pretending, denial, lying and covering up what has happened and how this has made us feel keeps us broken, lying next to the wall, unable to get up.

Support

Sharing with another how we have become broken helps to release not only our shame about falling but what we have done to hide the fact that we feel broken. For shame survives – in darkness and silence. Someone who has been shattered may need someone at the top of a mountain with a rope helping us climb the ice ridden jagged edges. Others, who do not need to climb a mountain, can find relief in journaling, walking, and healing in solace.

Once we walk through some of our defenses, we are ready to feel.

Opening our heart to powerful feelings is the ultimate piece in becoming whole. Feeling what we have stuffed down, ran from, what has broken us is not easy. There is a reason that we have not fully felt these feelings. We think they are painful. But the secret remains in knowing that what is painful is the resistance to these feelings. Feeling our shame, deep grief and rage feels beautiful. Running, stuffing, distracting, avoiding is what is painful. 

These steps are not linear but circular, and we must go back to them time and again. With each step backwards, or new insight, we must remember to continue observing, releasing judgment, admitting the truth and finding support. 

What would Humpty Dumpty look like had he took on the task of becoming whole?

He would have spent less time on social media in order to be able to pay more attention to his thoughts, feelings and actions. He would have shared his experience of falling off the wall in a journal, with a trusted friend or support group. He would have consistently resisted the urge to pour himself a drink to distract himself. He would have released judgment and blame about all of the king’s horses and men who could not help him, for he would have learned that he had to help himself. It was never their job to put him back together. And he would have continued asking himself as much as possible, what am I feeling

Why would Humpty Dumpty or any of us undertake such an arduous task of putting our self back together, becoming whole? 

We do it because it is why we are here – to evolve, heal and change. Healing and soul growth is the purpose of life no matter what our outside looks like. Our marriages, jobs, parenting or how we spend our leisure time is simply an opportunity to evolve and become whole. We do it because it leads us down the path of connection, unconditional love, joy and a life of unlimited possibilities. 

“There is nothing to fix and everything to feel.”Peter, Living Beyond Fear: Sacred Letters from the Afterlife.

We all deserve to find our way back to wholeness. The secret is our souls are always whole, no matter our experiences here in life. They are just hidden underneath layers and falling off the wall has given us the opportunity to uncover our hearts through pain, adversity and remembering how to feel. 

If Humpty Dumpty knew that everyone falls off the wall and he was not beyond repair, he would have been able to take the steps to put himself back together again. And then he would have uncovered the secret that he was never actually broken because he fell off the wall. In truth, falling off the wall was the best thing that ever happened to him. 

Please visit our website for information about our new book

www.thesacredletters.com

Living Your Best Life

My husband says I think too much. Perhaps he is right. I remember sitting in forth grade, the teacher scribbling math equations upon the blackboard. I don’t remember the lesson, as I was not paying attention. I was too busy thinking about life. I was asking myself questions: Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? I was also thinking about how I was late that day because I stopped to pet the cutest dogs, and was not unhappy about being tardy, even if the teacher reprimanded me.

Most of us do not have a clue about life, let alone what it means to live a great one. Some of us do not care. Living each day, doing what we are asked, is what matters. We are each on our own journey, which is perfect.

But I care. I cared in 4th grade and I care now. When looking up quotes about examining our life, I came across this beauty.

“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?” 
― Kurt Vonnegut

What does it mean to live your best life?

Does it mean spending your summers surrounded by 300 plus girls, running an overnight camp and ensuring they are all happy, safe and fulfilled? Becoming the CEO of a multi-million dollar company or opening that restaurant you have always wanted to do? Maybe living your best life involves traveling the world, obtaining odd jobs in various places, or choosing to stay at home, raising your children. Becoming a lawyer, doctor, landscaper or politician.

Living our best life is all of these, and none of these things. Whatever is in our path, we need to follow it. But this list, even if we added thousands more to it would be incomplete. For living our best life is not about what we do, but how we do it. Are we happy? Or are we in pain? Do we hop out of bed in the morning, ready to start our day or come home from the greatest job yet drink ourself into oblivion each night when we come home? Are we controlling, unhappy and abusive or open, compassionate and unconditionally loving?

Do we serve our customers with a smile or scowl?

Life is stressful, for almost all of us. We have bills to pay, a family to care for, relationships to navigate, rules to follow, teenagers to worry about, and then we have all the baggage we take with us from childhood. All of us, even those that come from the happiest and most loving of families have baggage.

The ones that travel light, with only a carry on, can sling it over their shoulder, go about their life, feeling satisfied and loving to most people. Their bag easily fits beneath the seat in front of them and they move about the cabin spreading their good cheer. Sure there are a few things in their backpacks. That awful teacher that embarrassed her in the 7th grade. That girlfriend that cheated on him in college. For the most part, life is good, and a person who travels light can manage the ups and downs in life, and are living a good life.

The ones that have a set of luggage, matching nonetheless, but heavy, bulky, with zippers threatening to break, will find it more difficult to travel, move effortlessly through life. They always have to pay for each bag, and need to put more thought into moving from place to place. Often frustrated, sometimes angry at the weight of all the stuff they are carrying around, they look around with envy at those with carry ons. Perhaps they should ask for help with all their bags, they are thinking, but everyone else is too busy, carrying their own bags, managing their own life. For the most part, life is difficult, and this person with additional baggage finds it hard to manage the ups and downs of life, and often do not feel like they are living a good life.

No matter what we are carrying around, in order to feel lighter, less weighed down, we must open our bags. We need to take out the pieces, ask ourself if we need all that we are blindly lugging around each and every day. All of us carry around items we no longer need, although mostly, we don’t remember what we even packed.

What do we do about our baggage?

We cannot just drop its contents in the street, hoping someone will throw it out for us. And we cannot force someone to carry our bags, for that is like throwing our pain on someone else. Then without thinking, we are online, cursing at someone we don’t know, or worse, taking it out on someone we are meant to love. We may even hurt ourself, the weight of our baggage too much to carry. Our shoulders droop, our back hurts and our legs weaken.

We can do it ourself, unzip that first bag, no matter how much we dread looking inside, or better yet, ask for help from someone with a carry on. Asking another person, lugging their 5 pieces of matching luggage will not work, as they are too burdened.

Once we open our bags, and see what’s inside, there are many, many things we may have forgotten we packed. Slowly, we take out our first item, hold in our hands for a few minutes, or longer if necessary. Then we toss it. That was not too bad as our items on top feel easiest to let go of. Our next item may bring us to tears, and the ones buried deeply, we may not want to let go of at all.

Within out bags, we may find lost love, missed opportunities, failures, mistakes, disappointments and losses. Or we may find toxic people, coupled with abuse and trauma. We may feel doubt and fear as we go through our bags. Denial will arise as we tell ourself it is better to just zip this back up. We may even realize that we never even packed our bags. Someone else put their stuff in our bags! It takes courage and strength to go through our baggage, to reach for that lightness and greatness that is all of ours to live, feel and know. We will become uncomfortable, once we begin lightening our load. We may want to run back and stuff our bags, as it was heavy, but it was familiar. But we cannot. Once we unload our bags, we cannot put our things back inside. We simply won’t want to.

Knowing peacefulness, joy, gratitude; finding enlightenment, living a great life, feeling unconditionally loving to all, does not mean we do not have a carry on. We are human, and we all have something that we carry with us through life. It is far easier to rest a backpack nearby as we drink in the beauty of a sunset or a wildflower than a five piece set of matching luggage.

Don’t wait. Go through your bags now. Feel your pain. Air out your grief, shame, guilt and anger. You will feel lighter, freer, and able to travel light. You will be able to release your need for control, rigidity. Anxiety will lessen and depression, the spaces you may feel as you lighten your load will allow you the breaks you need to process. Your envy will become gratitude. And your inner knowing will blossom. You will lose weight and release that addiction. Spontaneity will emerge along with a balance of well thought out planning. You will laugh harder and longer. You will find love in another, walking side by side, supporting each other through the challenges and joys of your days, without being triggered by past wounds. You will forgive yourself for carrying so much luggage around in the first place.

You are now, living your best life. Where you will be going, you can never imagine. Just know, it will be beautiful whether it is raining or sunny. Whether you sit in first class or coach, you will feel grateful.

Although the gifted Kurt Vonnegut fears the clunker life, I believe the only “klunker life” is the unexamined life I believe we must continue moving forward, get on to our purpose and do that. For all of us to know why we are here, what we are meant to do and become, to live our best life, we must lose our baggage.

If you like Alternative Perspective, you will love my co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, coming soon to Amazon, and fine book stores. These Sacred Letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is healing and inspiring.

Feeling Triggered? Stop Reacting and Start Healing in 6 Simple Steps.

Feeling triggered means something unresolved from the past has come calling. An invoice that is left unpaid from an earlier transaction. An old injury that aches whenever it rains. Loose ends that need tying up. A trigger always feels unpleasant, and always lingers. 

My latest triggered happened unexpectedly, and lasted a few days.

I have co-authored a book and what a project it’s been! It has been worthwhile, demanding, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, amazing, fun and now, I can add, disappointing. In writing these words, I realize this describes most things we encounter in life.

Life for me, is one big classroom, and what is most important is what we learn and how we grow. Do we make the same mistakes over and over, hanging around middle school like a relentless case of acne, or are we able to learn over time, moving on to college, even graduate school (this has nothing to do with book smarts or actual educational achievement, but what we set out to learn in this life). It would even seem, if we stopped judging ourself, in reality, our failures and challenges, along with our triggers are what helps us move forward, grow up, and graduate, or at least move on to the next level of life school.

When we move out of our comfort zone, get off the couch, write a book, start a new relationship, move to a different town, sell our business, we take risks. And unlike a romantic comedy, we never know how it will turn out. This discomfort zone of writing a book, has brought on many small successes and failures, and is also where my latest trigger occurred. 

In hopes of receiving a testimonial for our book, I had sent the manuscript off to a well- known spiritual teacher, one who enjoys a hefty following of devotees. Although I do not follow him as closely as I used to, his words can still bring my body to a state of blissful relaxation, and the rush of insights within my mind.

I received a “no” when it came to his testimonial. He was too busy to read the manuscript with his third book in the works, plus his hectic schedule of speaking engagements.

I got it. I did. But still, an unpleasant feeling emerged, and then lingered. I knew I was triggered.

I have grown accustomed to rejection, as it is part of the writing process. And a part of life. Yet, this felt different. It felt more personal. The feeling was unpleasant, and was not going away. I needed to resolve it.

In the past, I had always gone to my head when triggered. I would try to reason myself out of it, which would only lead to ruminating, lack of sleep and the repetition of the incident to anyone who would listen. It was like banging my head against the wall to get rid of a headache. It did nothing; in fact it makes it worse.

Breaking through old patterns, often feels like I am busting down thirty year-old kitchen back splash with a hammer. It’s gratifying, and hard work. Yet, it takes time, and effort. In the end, not only can we rewire our brain, but we have brand new tile as a reward. The more we admire and look at the new tile, the less we remember the old. But we must stay awake.

It appears, in dealing with this past trigger, I fell asleep, and went back to old patterns.

I told three people about the teacher’s “no” and each had a different response. One uttered, “What as ass!” Another said, “Oh well, keep in touch, you never know.” A third replied, “Maybe you can offer to endorse his book!”

I nodded. I pondered. I laughed.

We do need others to share our unhappy moments, to feel less alone. This can soften the blow, yet, this does not make a feeling go away. If we avoid the feeling when triggered, it will fester, and settle into our being, only to arise again at another moment. Feelings can even become stuck in our bodies leading to imbalances and dis-ease. Once I realized I did not want to lose sleep, to go another round in the ring, I stopped. I knew what I needed to do.

I knew the only way to resolve this feeling, was to get out of my head. I knew I had to let my heart win.

Once I stopped banging my head, I asked what I needed to feel better. These 6 steps emerged:

  1. Prepare or regroup. Since life is one big school, what better place to do that, then going back to Kindergarten. In this first step, I enjoy snacking, napping, getting my hands dirty. (and of course, binging on Netflix). Especially when we are in the throws of a higher education term paper. I not only feel it is necessary, but good for my soul. For me, it is the reward before the work. 
  2. Move. In order to get out of our head, it helps to move our body, change our state. We can go for a run, garden, walk, or go outside and get the mail. Do a load of laundry or go to the store. Create some distance so you can do the next four steps. We often need this space in order to work through a feeling.
  3. Locate the trigger. It may be obvious what triggered us. As in the case of the testimonial, the news, or if we are cut off in traffic. We also may need to search for what set us off. It could be an off-handed comment by our significant other or we may wake feeling irritated, having dreamt something unpleasant.
  4. Name the feeling. Knowing what we are feeling is not as easy as it sounds. For me, it can be obvious, but not always. Irritation can feel the same as anger, but with closer observation, irritation happens when I am not listening to myself and my needs. Anger occurs when I feel betrayed by another person. One feeling may even be a cover up for another. We can start feeling anger, and then realize underneath the anger is sadness. Be patient, you will know sooner or later.
  5. Pin Point where this feeling is in our body. Once you know what you are feeling, see if you can figure out where you are feeling it. Our hearts are inside our bodies, and a feeling can lodge itself many different areas of our body. I often feel fear in my gut, grief in my chest. Stress can give me stomachache, and change can result in a headache.
  6. Focus our attention on this area. When we put our attention on a feeling in our body, a number of things can happen. We help move it through, which may bring forth tears, insights, a memory, or all three. 

These steps may need to be done once through, or repeated, depending on how deep the trigger. You may be able to jump right in, or take a detour first. Do whatever you need to gather the courage, as this work is not easy. If it were, none of us would ever become lost in our minds.

Here is what happened with me, when I took on these 6 steps. 

  1. In preparation, I watched a few shows on Netflix (okay, maybe more like 10). Afterward, I felt ready to look at why I was triggered.

  2. I took my dog for a walk to get space.
  3. I knew the trigger was about the “no” I received for the testimonial, and didn’t need to linger on this step.
  4. As it turned out, the feeling of rejection, morphed into disappointment. 
  5. Surprisingly, I felt the disappointment in my throat, the feeling lodged itself there like a bad case of strep. No coincidence, I used to get Strep all the time as a child.
  6. When I focused my attention on it, I realized the disappointment came from an earlier time in my life when the adults were too busy, too wounded, too self involved to help me. To even see me. Over time, this stifled my voice.

As I moved through the steps, I became depressed momentarily, which is simply the space for healing, then felt sadness. I was now in the heat of the trigger, the fire that needed quenching. Here I stayed, until the feeling passed.

For every tear shed, we will enjoy a deeper moment of joy.

Don’t let your scars fool you. It seems if we ignore an old wound, it always comes back. Life always gives us another chance. Like a seed planted in the soil that innately moves towards the sun, we are always growing, moving towards healing.

All triggers are gifts, and all challenges, rejections or failures, are opportunities for healing. 

My co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, will be available soon from amazon, and in fine book stores. These 37 letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is both healing and inspiring. Details to follow!

 

 

 

Why We Should All Stop Feeling Guilty.

Our son was barely two years old, when our rescued dog bit him, barely missing his eye. Charlie, our mixed breed yellow lab, was never ok. The first time I saw the hackles on his back stand straight up, he was only six months old. During the second week of puppy training, he began attacking other puppies in an aggressive way.

At the time, I had been volunteering with a rescue group for years, fostering dogs, screening prospective families and working at adoption events. Charlie was a puppy we had been fostering, the only one that we decided would become ours. These hours I spent volunteering, were exhausting, yet satisfying. I loved being around the most kind, compassionate and giving people. I loved making a difference.

Until the day, I needed help. And then nobody was there.

Charlie’s aggressiveness was fear based, and he was afraid of other dogs and small children. We began to realize, he not only became volatile around dogs, but was not to be trusted with young children. We watched him, closely, walked him where dogs were less likely to be around, and did the best we could. Still, when a dog bites, it happens in a second. And when my son, reached to pet him, in the moment I turned my back, Charlie went for it.

Five stitches later, along with complete honesty, we found Charlie another home. The rescue group offered no help except that I could bring Charlie to one of their events and stand by his crate. I did try it. I was desperate, but, Charlie did not do well in a crate, barking and growling when anyone approached. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and I did. I found a family, with no small children. They knew everything about Charlie, and still decided to adopt. We bid a tearful goodbye, as the wonderful couple with grown daughters loaded Charlie into their car. It was hard, watching your family pet drive away. I took solace in knowing it was better for Charlie and for us.

A year later, I was ready to search for another dog. I wanted to believe Charlie was not the norm, that adopting from a rescue was not only admirable but a perfectly reasonable way to bring a dog into a home. After all I knew the numbers of how many “very good dogs” are put to sleep each year because of overcrowding. In some small way, I wanted there to be one less dog, because of me. With my son along for the ride, we went to the pet store where we knew there would be rescue dogs up for adoption. I inquired about a dog, and was instantly remembered by one of the volunteers.”We do not know if you should adopt from us,” she uttered. “You put an ad on Craig’s List. Don’t you know you are supposed to return a dog that is not a good fit?”

I was shocked, and hurt. Never mind the hours I had put in for them. Never mind, I had put ads everywhere, hoping to find the perfect family for Charlie. Never mind my job for them was to screen families, and that is what I did with Charlie. Never mind, I had received no help from the rescue, and my pleas went unanswered. Never mind, I knew if I simply gave him back, he would never have been adopted in the methods they use. Never mind, dogs are so near and dear to my heart, I would never have just dumped him anywhere, with anyone. Dogs were always a part of our family, even our fosters, no matter how long they spent with us. I had cleaned up more poop then I want to remember, and had chased dogs down the street without a bra that had gotten loose.

I was not one of them, the ones that dump dogs at the pound when they are older, less cute. When they are moving, or are having a new baby. And yet, that is what they were insinuating. They then uttered, “Well you can adopt, but we just want you know how we felt.” My response was, “No thank you. Have a nice day.”

This was a wake up call, and I never went back to rescuing dogs. And not because of a few sour apples, or because of the judgement on their part, but because I realized an important lesson.

In the end, the snubbing did me a favor. It woke me up. No amount of guilt was worth putting my son in danger. And no amount of guilt was worth the stress that I often felt volunteering for a rescue group, even if I was doing good. It was not a fair exchange, and never is. Doing anything out of guilt creates more stress, not less. It is not good for anyone. Once I began applying this to my life, in a bigger way, I knew those women’s comments gave me a gift. I knew I had to learn to stop doing things out of guilt.

Many rescue dogs are amazing, and most rescue groups do incredible work. The time and attention needed to fix this problem of homeless animals is abundant and overwhelming. And yes, I still weep uncontrollably at the videos where the dog is dirty, living in the junkyard and is rescued, now living happily ever after in her new home. She is clean, healthy and has no issues. At least on the video. That is not reality. Most rescue dogs have issues. Often, purposely, this is left out of the video. Normally, you need an abundance of time, resources and desire to work with rescue dogs. It can be rewarding to both help out a rescue group and adopt a rescue dog. If it works for you.

Are there exceptions? Yes. There are always exceptions. I know families that have had a wonderful experience adopting a rescue. This just has not been my experience. I know the saying, “Adopt. Don’t shop.” How awful it is to not adopt a rescue, to adopt from a breeder.

Do you know what is also awful? If you keep a rescue that is tearing apart your family and your walls with separation anxiety. To not be able to walk comfortable with your dog, because you are afraid another dog will approach, and your dog will attack. To not be able to have other children over to play and relax.

This attitude, this adhering to “shoulds” never works in life. Just as happiness creates waves outward, so does misery.

While I would never adopt from a puppy mill, as they are abusive and neglectful, I would also never again adopt from a rescue. For the simple fact that it does not work for me and my family.

We need to pick our battles. Martyrdom never works, and just keeps us on the hook for a crime we never committed.

I still hold on to this fantasy of working on a task force, one that raids puppy mills, or hoarders, rescuing hundreds of animals at a time. I admire those that do engage in this kind of work, but also know I will never be doing this. My life and home will never again be turned upside down by a rescue animal. And I will never do this type of volunteer work again. As this is not what my life’s purpose is about.

If we want to make this world better, we first need to do what makes us happy. Then, we can reflect outward and see how we can help. There are those meant to march on Washington, and those meant to help another cross the street. Devoting yourself to others, while you are secretly miserable, makes no sense. It wears you down, leaving you drained and empty. Staying in toxic relationships because of some obligation or thinking you can help, change them, and then turning around and drinking yourself blind every night or worse, yelling at your children for making a mess, creates more misery for yourself, and leads to more chaos in our world.

Learning the difference between codependency and compassion has changed my life. Knowing where the line is drawn between obligation and self-care has been eye-opening. Learning to check in with myself, using my intuition on how I am meant to help others has been incredibly rewarding. I now use discernment, and feedback, not guilt.

If we listen more, and ask what we are to do, we can choose to help where we are meant, and we find our path. We will need to stop, listen and open up our awareness. We will need to say no, often.

Looking back on that interaction with that rescue group, I can still feel the hurt I had felt. I can still remember calling my friends in disbelief. The words, “After all I did for them?” leaving my lips. And yet, I now know, they were doing me a huge favor.

Sometimes, especially when we act out of guilt, we need a little push in a different direction. And if we can read between the lines, what appears as rejection, is simply life saying, Back away. This is not your path. You are not listening so we are going to give you a gentle shove, even a good slap in the face.

As it turns out, after I left the pet store that afternoon, I found a breeder, and we adopted our amazing yellow lab, Bella. She has been the love of our life, bringing incredible joy, unconditional love and laughter to our family. So full of love, she helps all of us to smile a little deeper, and she is always there when one of us needs a hug, or a laugh.

I pray someday, that all dogs and all animals are treated with respect, love and compassion. I applaud all those working endlessly to help all animals and species. And then I go home and snuggle with Bella, knowing she is the perfect dog for us.

My love for storytelling, is one way, I hope to help our world. Through my words, I hope to help others feel, laugh, cry, and know they are not alone. As much as I still want to go on that task force, and personally right the wrongs that are done to animals, that is not my path in this life.

Life is meant to be a series of learning experiences. We are not meant to know exactly what to do, but it is important to understand why we are here, and how we can grow, evolve and change. I am still learning. I still feel guilty many times for saying no, for doing what is best for me. But I have learned that self-love, self-care and what is right for my immediate family come first. That is what I agreed to, and that is what I will strive to do for as long as I am living this life.

And of course, I hope to continue learning and overcoming, the failures and successes, the codependency and compassion, all the while, snuggling with Bella. 

My first co-authored book, Living Beyond Fear, will be available soon from both amazon, and fine book stores. These 37 letters, stories about life and death, will take you on a journey that is both healing and inspiring. Details to follow!

How a Margarita Helped me Learn the Truth about Life.

I love rejection. Yet, each and every time, if given the choice I would opt out of rejection. It is a good thing we don’t have that choice because without rejection life would be boring, and very confusing. We would all be going in the wrong direction down a one way street, and nobody would be shouting at us to turn around.

If there truly is a life path mapped out for each of us like I believe, then every failure, mistake and rejection makes sense. I have heard all the arguments about free will. They do not negate the bigger plan/fate theory.

Free will relates to freedom of choice, and we always have it. If we want, we can go back to the same toxic relationship time and again. If we wish to start our morning with some shots of vodka in our orange juice, we will find a way. If we choose to wake up every day, and complain about our dead end job, never updating our resume, we can do just that.

But, what if when this life ends, and we cross over to never never land, God will be waiting along with our dear Aunt Francis, saying, “Didn’t you hear me? Didn’t you see the signs? Was getting fired not enough? Was your need to get drunk every night not a sign?”

This is why I am giving you the answers to the test. So when you face your next mistake, failure or rejection, you do not look at it as doom and gloom. It is simply life’s way of giving us a nudge, saying, “This is not your path, not your person or not your moment.”

How do I know?

What if I told you, I talk to God. When life sucks, and when it is great. And when I called upon God, (I call him God. You can call him  The Universe, Your Higher Self, Higher Power, or Daddy Warbucks), and asked him about rejection, I heard him reply, “What if every rejection was a gift in disguise?”

He then showed me an image of myself waiting in line before coming to this life. It looked like the airport terminal, complete with a food court and numbered gates. When we are about to come here, to have a new life, we all go to this holding place. Some of us drink our Starbucks, or eat our Au Bon Pain sandwich, before boarding our flight bound for a new life. Others read the newspaper, or have a drink at the bar.

I had always wanted to believe that I had a few too many margaritas at the bar and got on the wrong plane; that I was meant to go to Hawaii and ended up in North Dakota. What God then told me, this was not possible because we each have our own flight attendant, which boards the plane with us, and joins us here on earth. They help guide us, especially when our direct line to God is fuzzy. They work for God, acting as our district managers.

My flight attendant, who looks just like Aerial with long red hair, but wears jeans and white high top sneakers, explained with patience, that  I did not get on the wrong plane. How I made all the decisions myself about what I would be experiencing in my next life. She showed me how we pick out everything we are to experience from our bodies to our college, even the people we “accidentally” run into on the street. How we all plan our life experiences before we go and live it, from the miraculous to the heart wrenching. And we are all just here, bumbling around, trying to remember what we decided before we got here. Our mistakes, rejection and failures point us in the right direction.

You know the saying God gives us only what we can handle in life? What if you gave it to yourself? God was just the boss who signed off on what you chose. If you have been having a hard time, or have had many challenges in your life, instead of blaming God or someone else, look at yourself and ask the question that I ask myself over and over, “What was I thinking?”

Maybe I did have a few drinks before boarding, as the ride here has been bumpy. But there have also been many moments of turbulence free flying. I met my husband and soulmate at fourteen years old. My friendships have been lifelong and I am blessed with three of the most incredible children. Music, books, writing and weaving stories, as well as my dogs, always ground me. 

What if each amazing gift, along with each challenge was well thought out for you, too. What if your flight attendant blindfold you while you were opening our bag of peanuts, and in order to remember, we all need to learn to crawl, then walk, then run. If we are lucky, we get to fly — and that is when the fun begins.

Looking back at my life — every rejection, every mistake, every failure was turning me a little to the life I was meant to live. I am still making mistakes because we do that, as humans. We sometimes need to be extra sure we are to walk away from that toxic person or quit that awful job. Sooner or later, we figure out that we all have a purpose, a reason for being here. It is not just to find the best frat party, run that marathon or get that promotion.

What if life is about so much more. And each failure is a gift. Each breakup is pushing you one step closer to finding your soul mate, and maybe it is the guy or girl behind you in the Starbucks. Look up from your iPhone the next time you are waiting for your double espresso and see who is around you.

Even better, why not look at your life like you are figuring a massive floor puzzle. Do the easy ones first. The borders. Sit down and ask yourself, what choices you can make today that just feel right. Do I like chocolate milk or orange juice with my breakfast? Where should I go on vacation? What do I really want to wear today?

Once you create your border, it is much easier to fill in the middle pieces. Those harder questions like, Where is my soulmate? Why am I here? How can I change my life?

While you wait for the answers, get busy becoming grateful for all you have. The pieces will fall into place. With each piece that fits, you will feel peaceful, relieved, happy, even accomplished. Conversely, If you try and shove a piece in that does not fit, you will feel out of sorts, anxious; it is even painful.

If you miss any of it, you will have a chance to do it over again, to get back in line. But I always think, why would I want to do it all again? Why not learn our lessons now, and then next time, I know it is not a mistake when I get in line for Margaritas. I am just here for the party.

How to Stop Feeling the Monday Morning Blues.

Do you have Monday morning blues? The feelings creep up on you Sunday, around midday, or the day before coming back home from vacation. And then, pow, we get punched in the face with them immediately after opening our eyes, Monday morning. It feels like there is no stopping them, that we just have to wait it out.

These are different than feelings of grief which are caused by losing a loved one or a relationship and this deep sadness needs time and attention for healing. I am also not talking about addiction because that is a much longer period, and a deeper escape. Monday morning blues are empty feelings, let down feelings and are what happens when we temporarily escape our real life, for the day, weekend, or week. Monday morning blues are an indication that somewhere, at some point, you checked out. And now, you have to face reality, your life, or whatever it is you checked out from.

Working life sets up us for this with our weekends away. We party hard on Friday, go out and about on Saturday, and lounge around watching football on Sunday – or something that looks close to that. It is not that we should not have breaks, but it is our thinking and avoiding of something, that causes us to feel blue when this temporary hiatus ends. 

What if there was a way to rid ourself from Monday morning blues altogether? 

The first way to end this vicious cycle is to come out of denial. It is not the rain, nor the cold that causes Monday morning blues. While The Carpenters sang about rainy days and Mondays, this was never the true cause of the blues. 

The second step is to figure out what you need to change in your life. What are you needing to escape from. Is it your relationship? Your job? What are you unhappiest about? Stop procrastinating and do it today. Nobody woke up on a Monday from a job they loved and felt blue.  

I love watching motivational speakers, and my favorite today is Gary Vaynerchuck or Garyvee, as he calls himself. He has a following of on Instagram 4.6 million (@garyvee) because he loves what he is doing, and it shows. He also calls people on their shit. He is real. For those of us who fake it, the life we dream about will never happen, and those blues will creep in sooner or later.

Find your passion, somehow and do that. It does not matter what it is, but that you do what makes you happy. Start on the side, and then go to full time. I know you didn’t come here in this life, to be miserable. I know you didn’t come here to wake up each and every Monday morning feeling dreading the day and week. If you want to get off the rollercoaster, stop riding the waves of what you are supposed to do, and grab some cotton candy for once. It is ok, you are entitled as a grown up to eat some pretty pink colored blown up sugar, and feel happy as it melts onto your tongue, along with the Monday morning blues.

It is not about Monday morning blues or Hump Day or TGIF. Each and every day is the same, and you can either be happy or miserable. These so called special days are an illusion to pull you into fake happiness – to encourage you to escape from your life, which will never work.

The only things that will work will be to change your life, so you don’t need to escape it. Do that thing you have been dreaming about. Leave that relationship. Share your gift. Take care of your business today, not tomorrow or next week.

Stop hiding behind a mountain of what if’s and if only’s. Start today, and you will find the life you have dreamed about, without the ups and downs. Life will be smooth sailing once and for all.

I woke up this morning feeling blue, and I do what I normally do when I don’t feel happy. I ask myself why. I look to see if there is a valid reason, or if I am avoiding something. I can be a queen procrastinator, and I realized this morning, if there are things in my life I am avoiding, I will feel blue sooner of later. With guidance this morning, I asked for how to release myself from this cycle of Monday morning blues. And whether it was God, or life or my higher self, I heard plain and simple, “Deal with your shit.”

Therefore, I am sharing this guidance with you. Time is an illusion, and facing the reality of what you are avoiding or running from releases you from the endless cycle of Monday morning blues. Face your self. It does not matter if you are avoiding a bad life or a bad day; if you hate your job or your partner. Deal with it, and you will find each and every day feels the same. It may not feel like the anticipation we experience as we hop aboard a plane for the Caribbean but it won’t feel like waiting for your baggage on the carousel before heading back home.

It’s not whether your glass is half full or half empty. It is whether you put that glass into the dishwasher or let it sit on the counter for weeks, staring at it each time you go into your kitchen. Thinking to yourself, I should put that it in the dishwasher and then walking back out.

So today, I encourage you to deal with your shit, and I will deal with mine. And I will meet you next Monday, and the Monday after feeling much lighter, freer than we feel today. The sun will be shining no matter what day it is, or what the whether is outside. I know it’s hard, but you are not alone. I am facing it, too. Take my hand and we will do it together. 

Love is Always Having to Say “I am Sorry.”

I have been in love with the same person since I was fourteen years old. I remember it like it was yesterday, although the date was April 1st, 1982. The guy I thought was cute, had asked me to “go out” with him. Not long after we fell in love, and he asked me to marry him.

Actual Ring from 1983

Although we were very young, he was serious, and had made a ring out of tinfoil, to win my heart, forever. He worked up the courage and gave it to me, asking me to spend the rest of my life with him.

I was not ready. And there were others, for both of us. But life had other plans. Ten years after we graduated high school, we got engaged. There were balloons and tears, and of course a toast with champagne. He knew life would bring us together, and never lost faith.

Today, my husband still has the bigger view of us, while I often can only see us through to the end of the day. There are other differences, as well. He likes to always be with people, while I cherish my alone time. He loves television, I love books. My idea of an ideal vacation is sitting on a beach, somewhere, anywhere. To just be, feeling the sun upon my skin and bury my toes in the sand seems like heaven. While he hates just hanging out, and would prefer to go anywhere, but the beach. My past was rocky, as I endured many challenges, leaving more scars upon my psyche. His, less so, with perhaps a few nicks and cuts, barely visible to the naked eye.

Even with our differences, in many ways, we compliment each other. His strengths are my weaknesses, and mine are his. He does not care what others think. My sensitivity makes it more difficult for me to honor what’s right for me, when it makes others unhappy. He often says, “I am as shallow as a puddle.” I pull him into the deep end for as long as he can tread water. He wears his heart on his sleeve; mine is tucked away, not as easily seen until I have more evidence that it won’t be used against me. I encourage him to enjoy life, spend a little, while he reminds me that we need to save for a rainy day.

When we were teens, we disagreed about the little things, teenage things – what we would do, or what party we would attend. Who we would spend our time with, mostly. Not surprisingly, we still disagree about these things. As much as we change in life, grow up over time, we still often keep the core preferences about ourself the same.

There is not a day that has gone by, whether the sun was shining, our spirits high or the dark clouds lingered above, threatening our mood, that I would take back. When almost losing ourself within an abyss of grief brought on by a devastating pregnancy loss, I could not imagine going through those harrowing moments with anyone else. In some way, it is those moments, those unexpected life events, those moments of loss, that always create a crack within a relationship and throughout our being. Whether you repair it with gold, or allow it to create distance between you, producing an irrevocable break in the relationship, depends on how sturdy the foundation.

My husband is my best friend, my go to, my rock. We can spend hours playing cards, or just hanging out. My biggest laughs and hardest cries has been by his side.

Today, we disagree, sometimes even raising our voices. We get into it fast and furious, our emotions coming on like a tsunami, and withdrawing just as fast. We never linger when we butt heads, and that is only because we have both learned to say, “I’m sorry.”

It feels to me that it is one of the most difficult things for someone to apologize. It seems silly, really. For as humans, we are supposed to mess up, to say something dumb, to make a mistake. It is how we learn. It is the first thing we teach our children when they hurt another, to say they are sorry. Yet, when we grow up, we find it difficult.

The three most important words in a relationship, other than I love you, is to say, I am sorry. To be able to admit to our mistakes brings us closer to one another. To accept someone’s apology, allows us to move on. 

Apologizing does not have to be about the big stuff, although that eventually needs to be said for broken relationships to be repaired. Starting small is just as necessary. It can be as simple as, I am sorry for being in a bad mood and taking it out on you. I am sorry for leaving my clothes all over the house. I am sorry for ignoring you when you needed to talk. I am sorry for not filling up the car with gas before you got it back. I am sorry that I got caught up and didn’t make you dinner. I am sorry for forgetting to get your favorite snack or leaving the cap off the toothpaste. Earth shattering? No. Important? Yes.

When we get around to the big stuff, apologizing for how we hurt someone on a grander level, this is where greater healing happens. I am sorry that I had no idea what it meant to be a good parent, spouse or friend. I am sorry that I didn’t take no for an answer. I am sorry that I stole from you.

I am sorry that I neglected you. I am sorry that I talked behind your back. I am sorry that I ghosted you. I am sorry that I could not tell you how I felt. I am sorry that I caused you pain. I am sorry that I cheated. I am sorry that I was addicted. I am sorry that I took my stress out on you. I am sorry that I left. I am sorry that I stayed too long. I am sorry that I blamed you, when it was me that was wrong all along.

There are people alive who cannot get there. Who will always blame others for their mistakes, who cannot allow themself to apologize for even the small stuff, because it would unravel a lifetime of self serving, narcissistic, even abusive behavior. It would mean having to take a cold hard look at what they are truly about. Some people will never get there. It is then, you need to do it for them. Whisper those words to yourself for as long as you need to hear them. If someone you loved has hurt you, and never apologized, it is not too late. Say those words, the ones you needed to hear, and probably still do.

When I take out that tinfoil ring I saved, the one my husband gave me over thirty-five years ago, I see the beauty in his proposal. Love is circular with each disagreement and each apology bringing us deeper, closer towards unconditional loving one another. One cannot truly say I love you, and mean it, if they have never uttered the words, I am sorry.

Love is always having to say you are sorry, for these three words are the answers many are looking for in order to live happily ever after, or at least until infinity and beyond.