The Shadow

For years I have heard throughout many spiritual communities “Something big is coming.” Nobody seemed to be able to say what that “big” thing was but it was a repeated theme for several years. And then Donald Trump was elected President.

Over the last three and a half years the United States has been a lesson in chaos and upheaval. I believe that this is what was coming, this is the “big” everyone talked about.

What this presidency has done is expose the deepest of Shadows throughout the United States. It has been exhausting, frustrating, heartbreaking and revealing. It has knocked many of us off kilter, myself included.

Why? For myself, I have always believed that with all of the failings we as a people have there was an underlying sense of deep humanity. We cared about our fellow citizens. We were strong because we always came to the aide of those in need. Now, I cannot say that this is true. Now I look at my fellow citizens and I seriously just want to cry. Most days I prefer to scream to release my frustration and aggravation at what I am being shown.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are still many who care about their fellow humans. Not everyone has tossed their humanity aside. Yet, the shadow of this country has been exposed and it is a very ugly shadow. It is filled with hate. Hatred for anything “other.” Whether it be a person of color or someone that disagrees with an individual’s point of view. Our country is deeply divided.

We are literally looking in the mirror of a deep seeded hatred. We are facing our original sin of stealing the lands and murders of the indigenous people. We are facing the history that we have white washed so we did not look so bad of slavery and the truths of how we have not made it possible for people of color to have equal opportunities. We are facing the abhorrent truth that black men, women and children have to worry about whether they will be murdered just for being black. Add all of this to a pandemic that thus far has killed over 135,000 citizens with no relief in sight.

Many of us feel that this administration has abandoned the people of this country. It seems that their re-election is more important than the lives of the average working American.

Regardless of your view of the happenings of this country, in this moment in time, the truth is that we are facing what has been laying in the underbelly of our country for years. This shadow is not here timidly instead it is roaring and it is forcing each of us to look deeply within. It is forcing us to look and see what we have done to our fellow citizens. It is forcing us to see what we carry in our hearts. Do we carry hate and disgust towards each other or do we carry hope, love and a willingness to help our fellow humans regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, color of skin or preference in political party

I do not have a crystal ball to look into to see how we will come out of this time of chaos. I just know that we all have to look deep within to find who we are and then take the steps to make our country a better place.

We cannot blame it all on the president. He is the catalyst. These issues have been here and we have ignored them for years and years. We can hold him responsible for his actions or lack of actions but we must hold ourselves accountable for our reactions. We have the opportunity to come together despite the divisive rhetoric that he seems to bring forth every single day. We need to begin seeing past him and looking to each other to figure out how we are going to heal the shadows we are seeing.

Before we can come together though we have to look within. We need to understand why we feel the way we do about the issues we are facing. We need to understand how we have contributed to the culmination of each issue. We need to look within and hold ourselves accountable for our own actions that have contributed to the divisions and hateful rhetoric that we are all enduring.

The question becomes: Do we have the fortitude to do the work? I am no longer sure we do. I am holding on to hope though. I am hoping that we can begin to see through the smoke and mirrors and begin to take the steps we need to take to make the changes that are necessary. To show that we value EVERY life. To show that we value the very earth we walk on. To show that we are not the hate filled people that it seems we have become. I am holding out hope that hearts begin to open and healing begins.

In Her Service,

Sage

The Desert

That desolate desert! So many times, from a spiritual perspective, we come to a place where we feel as though we are in a place of non-movement. We are stuck. I call this the desert. We feel lost, disoriented, out of sync. We are searching for something but we have no idea what it is we are searching for. As humans we become frustrated and we try to “make” things happen just so we don’t feel “stuck” anymore.

I call it the desert because for me it reminds me of being lost in a desert. You keep aimlessly wandering looking for a way out. Along the way you have mirages of pools of water that you run to only to find that there is no water, no sustenance.

It can be frustrating. It can be life changing.

I have been there many times over the years. At first I would find myself turning every rock I could find over, is this where I am suppose to be? Is this something under this rock that will take me out of here and get me moving again? I am here to tell you that this is normal! I know, if you are there, it does not feel normal. I know, if you are there, it is dark, cold and desolate and you feel very much alone. If you are there you are wondering “When will this end?”

I am a firm believer that when you shift your perspective you shift your world. I say this because I live it all the time. When you enable yourself to see things differently, step out of the way you were taught, step out of the thought processes that you allow to rule your world and open yourself up to seeing things from another point of view, everything shifts.

After a very long trip to the desert I had an awakening of sorts. My perspective shifted and since then I no longer fear the desolate desert.

Why? Because what I found was during the times I was lost in the desert I was not really lost. Instead it was a time of great growth. Everyone needs down time. Just as our physical bodies need rest so does our spiritual bodies. When we enter the desert we are not really lost but rather we are integrating, absorbing and growing but most importantly we are integrating all that we have learned.

The desert is where we find the lessons that have been offered during the situations we have faced.

The desert is where we build the strength we need to go into the next phase of learning.

The desert is where we find solace and mend our hearts when they have been hurt or broken.

The desert is where we prepare ourselves for the next leg of our journey.

The desert is where we look in the mirror and really, deeply, see ourselves for who we are and who we are becoming.

The desert is where we begin to dream again.

When you look at the desert in this way you soon realize that it is not a desolate desert at all but rather an oasis.

If you find yourself in the desert, take time to rest and recharge. Take a few deep breaths and instead of turning every rock over to find where you are suppose to be just allow yourself to sit and “be” – just “be” – don’t push, don’t fret, don’t stress, your way will be shown to you when it is time.

Just “be” and know This too shall pass!

In Her Service,

Sage

 

Allowing

If you had told me 2 years ago that I would love again I would have cried and then laughed at you. I never believed when Mike died that I would ever love again. I honestly just could not see how I was even going to live the rest of my life without him. It was one of the hardest times of my life thus far. I couldn’t imagine life without him. Love again? Never! Laugh again? Doubtful!

I think the aspect of loving again that scared me the most was opening my heart. Let’s face it, in order to love someone you have to open your heart and allow yourself to feel. Feel the fear. Feel the love. You have to be able to trust again. Trust that if you give your heart to someone they will treat it gently. You have to open yourself up to the possibility that you will be hurt. The thought that I could have a best friend again was beyond my comprehension. I didn’t think I could ever share my deepest, darkest feelings with anyone ever again. Mainly because I didn’t feel that there would be another person that could understand me or love me enough to just allow me to be me, no matter how messy that me is. Loving again was not something I truly thought was possible.

In the last 2 years I have traveled several thousand miles. I have seen and made a couple of friends. I truly had no definitive plans and I never dreamed that there would be a future, anywhere. I thought I would just be a wanderlust for the rest of my life. No roots. No future. Just being.

Apparently, Spirit had other plans for me. I originally thought I would be staying in Texas. That didn’t happen. I ended up here in South Carolina. What brought me here is not near as important as the fact that I have stayed. It is beautiful here. I love the landscape. On one side of the street you have the forest, the beautiful green pine trees and on the other you have the ocean. If you know me you know that I love both but there is something that touches my soul deeply when I stand at ocean’s edge. It is truly where my heart is filled and my soul is at peace.

I thought that being alone for the rest of my life was exactly what I wanted. Then it happened. I met someone. At first I wasn’t sure I could love him. I actually didn’t want to love anyone. I just wanted to be me. Funny how life takes you down the roads you believe are closed off with barriers! At first it was the fact that he could make me laugh. Oh my does he make me laugh. It felt good to do so again. It had been a long while. Then I found myself spending every moment I could with him and actually looking forward to those moments. When his protective side came out I felt safe. When we would talk I could tell him things that I would never have told anyone else and he listened. More than listening he understood. Slowly we began to build a friendship.

I am a true believer that the foundation of any relationship is friendship. If the person you are with is not your best friend then when your world falls to pieces you will find yourself alone. It is the worst of times that your best friend is there to help you pick up the pieces and get you through. They are the ones that pick you up when you have fallen, when don’t feel like you can or want to get back up to fight again. Friendship is the ultimate key to love.

Let’s face it, every relationship goes through stages where you want to be with that person every day, spend every moment with them to where you just don’t like them. The friendship you build is what will get you through the times where you just don’t like them. The friendship is what will get you through the roller coaster of life and in the end it is the friendship that will overcome anything and everything that life brings. Without that foundation you most likely won’t make it through together for very long.

It took me a while to come to grips with my own feelings. Letting go of what was, allowing what is in the here and now has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I had a beautiful relationship and although this relationship is different I have a beautiful relationship.

On the one hand I find myself still going through many stages of grief. I have found myself extremely angry that I have had to let go of so many dreams, wants and desires that I had. On the other hand I find myself embracing the life I have. There are a lot of struggles and I still do not have a firm and steady footing but I can honestly say that I am happy and very much in love.

“Allowing” life to unfold. Learning to trust. Learning to “allow” myself to love again. Learning to let go of things that no longer serve. Every day is an adventure. Some days I pass with flying colors. Other days I cry at every little thing. Everyday I strive to live this thing called life to the best of my ability.

I will never fulfill some of my dreams. I will, however. continue to dream. I have learned to open my heart and at times I find myself shutting it down again but ultimately I have allowed love in my life again. As scary as that is, it is here, I am open to it. Will it last forever? What is forever anyway? For me. forever means that you carry the love you share with you when you leave this earth so in that aspect, yes, it will last forever. The love we share today will always fill my heart. The memories we make will always fill my soul. In this aspect I know that this love, the love that has begun to heal a shattered heart. The love that has helped me find my way will forever be with me.

I don’t know what the future will bring. Obviously, nothing I planned 2 years ago has been what I thought it would be, instead my heart has been opened, my healing has been difficult and my grief has been intense but today I am alive and living life in a way I never dreamed I would. I am thankful and I am blessed.

Life is never everything we believe it should be but when we step forward and live it to the best of our ability we open ourselves up to allow things to be better, sweeter, more intense than we could have dreamed.

For me, I am going to continue loving this man. I am going to continue letting go of what I had and embrace what is here now. It is different but it is just as beautiful, just in different ways. I look at my life and I am in awe that I could be so blessed to have this love in my life. I am in awe to have the laughter. I am in awe to feel protected and have the knowing that at the end of the day I was and am loved. I never dreamed it was possible and yet here it is and I am in awe of the blessings.

In Her Service,

Sage

Looking Back

Do you ever stop and think back over your life? Remember what your dreams were when you were young? Do you ever just sit and wonder how much different your life would have been if you had followed those dreams? Or did you follow a different dream and are happy with where you are in this moment in time?

If you follow astrology at all you know that we have several planets in retrograde which for me seems to be a time for reflection and letting go. Although, the last 2 years have been about nothing but letting go. This year though, it has been about facing my past and feeling the deep disappointment I feel in myself and then letting go of all of it. This last week it has been about looking back on what my dreams were and letting them go. After all you can’t make room for new if you are holding onto the old. Even when you don’t realize you are holding on.

I was in the middle of a conversation this week when it hit me. The conversation was about having a 25th wedding anniversary. Something I don’t ever see myself having. It hit me in that moment that all of my life I wanted two things. I wanted to be married and I wanted children. Well I was married, to many times. I never wanted to be married more than once but apparently that wasn’t in my cards. Then when I actually found love and happiness, he died. Now, well now, I am in a new relationship. I am in love, something I never thought possible again, but lets face it, I am 53 and the chances of having a 25th wedding anniversary is pretty much slipping away. There are no wedding plans and honestly I don’t really believe marriage will ever happen again for me.

This made me cry. It was a dream. It was something I always looked forward to and now I am looking back and working on letting it go. It is hard to let something you wanted all of your life go. It is hard to face the realization that your dream is dying day by day and will never come true. It is hard. Yet, the only thing you can do is shed your tears, feel your pain and work on letting that dream go. What is ahead of me is beautiful so why so much sadness over a number? A question I have yet to answer.

Going through the process of looking at my dreams when I was young I realized that there were many dreams that I never achieved. I didn’t go to college to become a forest ranger. I didn’t marry and have the happily ever after. I didn’t travel. One of the things that I always thought would happen in my life is to have life long friends. Yet, I don’t. Really when it comes down to it most of my life has been lived alone. Yes, I was married, yes I had children (that is a whole other story filled with immense pain) yet, I didn’t have many friends. I still don’t. I love the few that I have. I have one best girlfriend. She is 2,900 miles away and I miss her every day. Here, the women I thought I was building friendships with well as so many others, they have disappeared. I am alright with it though. It isn’t that I don’t care about them but honestly they were friends before I came along and when you have an issue with one you apparently lose them both.

My whole thing with friendship is that it is a two way street. I have learned that I only have so much to give and once I feel that I have been used or taken advantage of I walk away. So, here I am, 2,900 miles away from my family, my best girlfriend and I am working on letting go of my dreams.

It has been a long, arduous journey, this life of mine, and each day I find more of me and let those parts that I pushed away go to make room for new. I refuse to give up. I refuse to believe that my life doesn’t serve a purpose. I refuse to believe that in some small way I don’t make a difference. I refuse to waste this thing called life with living in the past and not embracing the future. So I move forward. I feel my pain. I embrace the woman that I am becoming each day and I know that it is time to start dreaming new dreams all while looking back and letting go of what was and what never will be.

In Her Service,

Sage

Past Haunting

There is an old record that continues to play in my head. I am sure that we all have one. It shows up when you least expect it. It shows up when something unexpected happens which triggers old feelings or memories. Sometimes it is easy to turn it off and other times it gets louder and louder and ignoring it doesn’t stop it. It doesn’t have to be a truth. It doesn’t have to be where you are, in this moment. It is there, always, whether it is in the forefront or lingering somewhere in the back of your mind.

Mine is “you are not enough.”

Not good enough….

Not pretty enough….

Not smart enough….

Not sexy enough….

Not confident enough….

Not funny enough…

Not wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, sister, friend enough…

I know this is not true. I know that I am enough of everything. I am just me. I am a loving, caring, compassionate, intelligent, woman. I KNOW this. I love who I am. Yet, it takes very little for this record to start playing its tune, rather loudly, over and over again. Some days I can ignore it other days it engulfs me. I have worked hard to overcome this record. It has played for so many years that it is ingrained within my being.

This year has been a rough year. This record has played many times over the last year. The journey over the last year has been a difficult one. I still have not really found my footing. I have moved, met new people, fallen in love, and struggled with this record.

Stepping out of my comfort zone more times than I can count, putting myself out there and trying to establish myself here has been difficult. I thought I had built some pretty good friendships only to find that when I was not in a position to do what was wanted of me I was accused of not being myself. I had no choice but to say no. That was obviously not taken into consideration but ultimately what it showed me was that the people I thought were my true friends were not really friends. I was a convenience. As long as I did all that was wanted we were good, once I began to say no they walked away. It has been well over a month since I have heard a word from them. I won’t make contact because I am not the one that walked away. I am not the one that expected them to do something they weren’t capable of doing.

What it did to me though was bring up this old record of “you are not enough.” It hurt. It broke my heart. Why? Because I trusted. I loved. I was always there to help and yet I was not enough. Yes, I KNOW that this is not true. Yes, I KNOW that it is a reflection of them and not me. Yes, I KNOW! Yet, the record plays on. I look back and try to see what I could have done differently and ultimately my answer is nothing. I followed my heart. I asked nobody to agree with my decisions, I did what was right for me. Ultimately this is all I can do.

Today though the record continues to play. I find myself listening to it in the worst of ways and it really has me in a cycle of never-ending turmoil. On the one hand I know that what my record is playing is not true. On the other the record continues to play and ultimately it is affecting  my relationships. All I can do is look at it, feel it, recognize the fallacy of it and try to explain to those that I love so deeply why I feel the way I do. Will it be enough? Will it ruin what I have built? Will another walk away because I can’t get the record to stop playing? I can only pray that there is compassion and understanding. I can only give what I am and work through the haunting of my past. Until I can once again see my own worthiness I can only hope that those who love me will stick around.

It is like peeling the layers of an onion. Just about the time you think you have worked through it another layer shows up. Hopefully someday all the layers will be peeled and the record will stop playing. Until then I keep taking two steps forward and one step back knowing that I am, at least, making a tiny bit of progress.

In Her Service,

Sage

Hidden Healing

For many years now I have worked on healing my own wounds. There have been many. If you have read my blog prior, you know this.

Yet, for all of the healing I have done, all the tears I have shed, all the heartache I have endured, I am finding that beneath all of the stones that I have turned over there are still many shadows lurking.

Just about the time I thought I had myself completely together and had a handle on my own healing life threw some wrenches in the mix to show me that I still have plenty of work to do.

It started with an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner that ultimately ended up being an un-invite. It was extremely painful.

Then it went into a step forward to help someone I thought was my friend to only find that I was more a means to an end.

After that it was being thrown into the middle of a situation that cost me relationships that I valued.

These are just a few of the situations that have occurred over the last couple of months and each of them has caused me to re-evaluate where I stand and what my truth is. I have for years had the same friendships and they have been strong. With moving I have stepped out of my comfort zone and tried to make new friends only to find that what I see as friendship is not always what others see. It has, on many levels, been disheartening. Yet I continue to move forward and I have cut my losses.

At the beginning of all of these happenings I met a man. I had actually met him a couple of months before but really had not had the opportunity to get to know him until November. In November that all changed. To be quite honest I never thought it would be more than maybe a one night stand. Something I am not comfortable with but I have learned over time that no matter what your hopes are sometimes they happen. I liked this man from the moment I met him. There was something about him that I felt very drawn to and I didn’t quite understand what it was. His name is Rodney.

Over the last couple of months I have faced more shadows, walked through more grief, faced many demons and ultimately healed a lot of hidden wounds. Why? Because of my relationship with Rodney. Through all of the things I listed above he has stood by my side. He has supported me and helped me through some very trying times. He has given me strength when I didn’t think I could make it through another day and through it all he has made me laugh. But ultimately he has helped me heal a specific area of my life that I had completely and utterly ignored for decades.

A little history here. As a child I was sexually molested by my grandfather (I call him “Satan himself”). Through the ages of 5 to 12 I was his play toy, so to say. I have blocked many of the memories out, they are just to painful to remember. Some of them have come back over the last couple of years and none of them are pretty. As they appear I work through them.

I knew that the memories would return when I was going through my training. During that time I would journey to retrieve a soul part and for three years I would be taken to a little girl in a sandbox. As I would begin to talk to her I would be thrown out. The trauma was so deep that it took me three years to even have a conversation with her. I have worked with her now for well over five years and still the healing is not complete.

Then there was my abusive marriage. It included more than just physical abuse and it just compounded the wounds I received as a child.

In fact almost every marriage I have had there has been a sexual wound that has just compounded the ones received as a child. I am not going to go into details because they are not necessary.

I will say that with my late husband, Mike, there was no abuse, instead there just was no sexual contact for the last 8 years of our marriage. His choice, not mine.

As a woman in her early 40’s having my husband tell me that he was not interested in me sexually was hard to deal with. I did though. I loved him enough that I literally just shut off my sexual desire and anything to do sex. It did, however, compound the sexual wounds that I had already incurred.

I am now 52 years old. Along comes Rodney. He is kind. He is gentle. He is patient. Every day he helps me heal.

I have to say that Rodney is the first man in my life that I trust explicitly. It has just never happened before. There was always fear. Fear of abuse. Fear of abandonment. Fear that I was not good enough.

Throughout my life there have been two theme’s that have weaved themselves into my world. Abuse and abandonment. I had literally closed myself off to the possibility that there would ever be anyone that could make me feel safe in the bedroom. Rodney has done that. He is truly the first man that I completely trust. He is also the first man to put my satisfaction before his own. In turn, he is the first man to bring me orgasms. Yes, that is plural because every time we have sex I have multiple orgasms. I feel safe and loved.

Rodney is a man of great patience. When I am facing my wounds. When I am crying and can’t explain why, he is patient, he loves me through it until I can get to the point of telling him what is going on inside. He is not so worried about the past as he is about the now of things. He understands my brokenness, even if he doesn’t always like what he is told and he literally helps me face those wounds and then loves me through it.

Some issues I face and they go away quickly. Others it takes me days to process. Either way he never forces an issue. Never.

Within our society we focus on women’s bodies more than any other thing. Sex sells. After having 5 children via c-section as well as a hysterectomy my body is not something that I have loved. When I look in the mirror I see scars, stretch marks, sagging boobs. Desire is not a word that I have felt or known. Until now.

I love the woman I am. I love what I have to offer another. I know that I am a good woman. I know that my heart is true and that I love wholly. Yet, looking in the mirror and seeing the body that houses that woman is not something I have enjoyed doing.

There are still hurdles to cross. Some may seem inconsequential to others but to me, to me they are huge. One of those hurdles is lingerie. Something that millions of women take for granted on a daily basis. Lingerie sells because sex sells. For me though it strikes fear in my whole being.

Imagine my fear when Rodney asked me when I was going to get something pretty to wear to bed. It literally made my stomach do a flip. I seriously wanted to throw up. Why? Because 24 years ago I walked out in lingerie and I was asked what the hell I was doing. I was told to go back to my room and change because it just wasn’t going to work. I have not worn lingerie since. So to have Rodney ask me about getting some struck fear in my heart. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of being undesirable, again.

The key here though is that because of who he is and how he treats me he has made me look at that fear. I have yet to buy lingerie but I am thinking about it. That is a step in the right direction. Another aspect of healing. There have been many moments of healing that which has been hidden.

There are moments that he doesn’t always understand. There are moments when he gets frustrated with me or doesn’t want to know why I am the way that I am. There are moments when he wants me to just leave the past in the past and get past it all. Yet, he doesn’t push me. He supports me no matter what I am going through. I know that it would be easy to just push it all aside but I also know that doing so is not going to help me heal those wounds. He understands that and in turn he offers me patience and love. He shows me that I am no longer there. He shows me that I no longer need to have that fear. He shows me that I am desirable and worthy. He literally loves me through my wounds and when I walk out the other side of that wound he is standing there loving me some more.

I know that he cannot heal me. I know that I have to face my own darkness. I also know having someone who looks at me with desire, love, kindness, caring and gentleness has given me the ability to learn to love my body for what it is. It has given me the ability to see myself in a different light. It has given me the ability to look at those fears and face them head on and know that when I walk through I am still going to have that kindness, love, desire and gentleness. Nothing is forced. Nothing is ugly. When I look in Rodney’s eyes, those eye’s show me beauty and in turn I am finding my own beauty.

Within all of these moments the most amazing thing is that he has opened up an area in my life that I pushed aside, tried to deny and in turn he has given me the opportunity to heal that which has been hidden. For that I will be forever grateful. Seeing my beauty through his beautiful eye’s has been a remarkable journey.

In Her Service,

Sage

Learning To Live Without Words

I am a word person. Let’s face it. All you ever have to do is sit and read my blog and you know that about me. I am no different in person. For me, words speak what the heart cannot say. I try to choose my words carefully and I give a lot of thought to them before I use them, yet, I don’t always get what I mean out clearly. I think that is part of being human. Many times we let our emotions rule what we say and we forget to use the words we mean to say and instead it comes out differently than intended. This is why I strive to think before I speak. Especially when something is important.

I recently realized that I am learning to live without words. Three words to be exact. Three words that can bring a person to their knees, warm their heart, change their world. Those three words are “I love you.”

When I was in California I had my family and a few chosen friends that let me know daily how loved I was. I never went a day without feeling loved nor did I go a day without being told how much I was loved.

Now, I struggle. I struggle to find my footing with people. I feel off balanced and out of sync. On many levels I feel as though I cannot be all of me. I have to give myself out in small doses. I find this very frustrating.

What I struggle most with is learning to live without words.

 

They are just words. I have heard that before. Yet words can heal the broken. Words can break the weak. Words can build a person up to make them stronger. Words matter.

To many times I have seen what wasn’t said break a person’s heart more than what was said. I remember when my dad died, hearing that he never said I love you, I saw the pain that caused. I have witnessed the hurt and heartache over the words not spoken because of the questions it leaves behind. The doubt it breeds within someone.

Almost everyone remembers the last words spoken to them from a loved one who has passed. They hold onto those memories. Why? Because words matter.

I am adjusting. I no longer hear the words on a daily basis. I no longer expect to hear the words at all. I want to cry when I do, because for me, they are a heart speaking. While I adjust I find myself closing my heart a little more each day. It is harder to penetrate. I am slowly reigning in my emotions and in turn I am changing. Changing who I am and who I will be in the future. It is more a survival mechanism than a hardening.

Learning to live without words has been a huge adjustment for me. I am learning. A lesson I never dreamed I would have to endure but here I am learning it.

Sometimes the lessons life offers can be so disappointing. Learning to live without words is one of those disappointing lessons.

In Her Service,

Sage

 

 

 

 

 

Expect The Unexpected

I always laugh when I begin to make plans. I already know that every plan I make is subject to change at the drop of a hat. The Universe has a way of laughing at me just when I think I have gotten everything together and know where I am going. My plans never seem to go exactly the way I see them. I am good with it though. I learned a long time ago that if I just go with the flow things work out better than I could have imagined it. Especially when everything seems to be falling apart.

I haven’t written in a couple of months. Life had gotten the best of me. I just couldn’t find the words to say what was going on in my mind and heart. Many days it wasn’t good and even today I struggle with just focusing on the good. It has been a couple of tough months. I have kept my head above water but it hasn’t been easy. I am still standing though and as I sit down to write this I find that my heart and my head are actually on the same page again so all is well with the world. That does not mean that it is perfect. It doesn’t mean that I have any answers whatsoever but it means that deep down I know that everything is going to work out and be exactly what it is suppose to be and once again life will be different.

I am good with change. I know many do not like change. I have heard it said that the harder you fight the changes the harder the changes become. I quit fighting. I step back and just watch. I look at me, look at my feelings within and I figure out where I am and how I am adjusting. Sometimes I adjust better and others I just cry. Either way I find that the less resistance the easier the change is. I do my best to just go with the flow.

My world has changed significantly the last month. My son came to South Carolina. He faced many challenges the first couple of weeks he was here and yet he has managed to keep on moving forward. I would like to think that it is because he was taught well but really it is because that is who he is. He is a determined young man and I am proud of him. His challenges have created many challenges for me and yet I am doing alright. In fact, I am happy. Did you hear that? I am actually happy.

I don’t have a place to live. I am staying with a friend. I am looking for a place to live and my life has been one huge challenge after another the last 2 months but I am still here, still doing what I have to survive and I am still standing.

The biggest change in my life, other than housing, is that I have met someone. I never, ever thought I would find anyone to make me laugh a full on belly laugh again. Yet he does. Every single day I laugh. It is the most amazing thing in the world.

I met him a couple of months ago but we didn’t really get to know each other. We would say hello in passing and then just go on with our lives. Then one night we were both hanging out with friends and the next thing you knew we were there, side by side, talking, laughing and getting to know each other. It has been an amazing journey since that day. He not only makes me laugh he also shows me how much he cares. He says he doesn’t but I see and feel it every day. Every day he makes me smile. Every day he makes me feel like a woman. Every day he shares his life with me and every day he is by my side helping me and supporting my decisions. I can talk to him and know that he is going to listen and although he may not have answers he will be there.

I have a couple of friends who are not fond of him. I know from experience that if you base everything on what your friends feel you will find yourself alone and miserable. I have to acknowledge that they have a right to their feelings and thoughts and ultimately it doesn’t change my love for them but I have to do what is best for me and right now, in this moment, he is what is best for me.

Honestly, I have not felt this complete happiness in a very long time. It is healing. It is helping me let go and more than anything it is making me feel alive again. I was lacking that deep within. I was going through the motions but deep inside I was empty. I had no will to really live. I had promised that I would so I went through the motions but until now I didn’t realize that I didn’t care whether I was walking this earth or not. Now I care. Now I know that I am suppose to be here doing me and finding complete and utter joy within is the key to that.

My joy is not based on one individual. Instead that individual has shown me that I have a life that is worth living and in turn that I can find my happiness again. He woke me up. He woke my heart up again and in turn he helped me heal me. I will be forever thankful for all he has offered me and all he has shared with me.

I have no idea where this relationship will go. I am one of those people who love and love fiercely and love is not something he wants in his life. I am doing me. He is doing him and right now we are doing us. I am good with that. Whatever comes about I believe it is meant to be and I now know that I have the capability to care deeply again and be me without condition. It is the most liberating and joyful feeling in the world. This has been his gift to me. He has opened me up. I am thankful.

Sometimes we just have to expect the unexpected and embrace the change that it brings forward and right now that is exactly what I am doing. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Really it doesn’t matter because life is going to bring what it brings and I am going to stand strong and continue to just be me.

In Her Service,

Sage

Hurricane

Mother Nature is powerful. That statement is an understatement. I have lived through fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and now a hurricane. It was something I will never forget.

Let’s face it, when you move to a new area one of the joys is learning the land. Learning the weather and finding out what you are made of. Can you handle it? Will you survive it? How will you react? What will you learn? There are so many unanswered questions when you are facing something you have never faced before. Much like life the weather can show you things about yourself that you never knew or help you rediscover things about yourself that you have forgotten. That was the case this past weekend when facing a hurricane named Matthew. An experience that was not only exhausting but also exhilarating.

In my last post I talked about the women in my life. The lessons I have learned and the friends I have made. Hurricane Matthew hit here in South Carolina and I found out what the women here are made of. Pure grit and amazing love.

Having never been through a hurricane I was rather feeling out of step with life. Yes, natural disasters have hit my world many times and many times I have faced situations that not only scared me but also taught me. This is no different.

I live a block and a half from the beach. I can literally walk there in a matter of moments. When the hurricane headed our way they ordered evacuations rather quickly. I have to say that I was rather annoyed that I had to leave so soon but I packed a few clothes, grabbed my cat, Seth, and headed inland to my girlfriend, Jesse’s house. Little did I know that this would create an adventure of a lifetime.

So Matthew decides to show himself. I, along with Faith (an old acquaintance from California) and her daughter Anna are all at Jesse’s so we have safe shelter. We are doing alright. We make food to have in case the power goes out. We have an ice chest to fill with water and essentials. We have our blankets and pillows and we are all fairly comfortable. Then the storm hits. Next thing we know we are flooded! Literally.  The water is flowing into the house. We are calf deep in water and it is still flowing in. Faith’s car has water up to the doors.

Our first priority was to get all of the animals to safety. Once we managed to figure out where all the animals were going we loaded what we could in my Jeep and we headed out. Yes, I know you shouldn’t drive in flood waters. I get it! You don’t know what is underneath but I also know the feeling that if you don’t drive out you aren’t getting out alive. We took the chance. Obviously, we survived because I am sitting here writing. It was scary and heartbreaking all at the same time. I am watching my best friend’s house fill up with water and there is absolutely nothing I can do. Feeling helpless is one of the worst feelings in the world.

There is a woman. Her name is Carol. I met her when I came to South Carolina. She has an amazing story in this thing we call life. She is a retired soldier and police officer. I have talked to her many times and each time I have gotten to know her a little better. She now owns a bar, along with her husband Larry, called 707. Every time I had seen her I had seen her at 707. Although I have had many conversations with her I had not spent any time with her outside of the bar.

I have found over the years that generally bar friends are just people you sit and talk to but when push comes to shove they aren’t really friends. I learned this lesson many, many years ago and it was a tough lesson to learn. It is also a lesson I have never forgotten. One thing I can say is that I am finding that to not always be true here in South Carolina as the people here tend to meet at the bar and share life outside of it. The bar is more of a “hey let’s go have a drink and then we will go bbq.”

Sometimes lessons need to be relearned with a new twist on them. That is the case here. Carol and I have always gotten along really well but I didn’t know her outside and although I adored her I just didn’t know what she was like outside of the surroundings I had met her and gotten to know her in.

Something you may not know about me. I take the word “friend” very seriously. I do not consider everyone a friend. I have many acquaintances but my friends are few. If I call you my friend I mean it. I don’t take it lightly. I make friends and keep them for life. It isn’t a matter of accumulating people it is a matter of giving my heart to them. To me a friend is someone that I would risk my life for. A friend is someone that is there through thick and thin and someone that can be depended on. I just don’t use the word flippantly and when I call you my friend I mean it. I have committed to you for the rest of my days. It is who I am. Acquaintances come and go, friends last a lifetime.

Back to the storm. So we have to evacuate Jesse’s house. Carol had offered her home to me before the storm and she was a few blocks away. We made it there and she graciously opened her home to Faith, Anna and I as well as my cat, Anna’s dog and one of Jesse’s dogs. Yes! We had a houseful. Already there was Carol’s daughter Tiffany, her husband Sean and their 2 cats as well as Carol, Larry and their dog Jazzie. To say we had a houseful is the understatement.

We got there and the first thing offered were warm pajama’s. I have to tell you that nothing on the face of this earth feels better than a pair of flannel pajama’s when your blue jeans are soaked from walking waist deep in water! I have never been more thankful for the warmth of a pair of pajama’s!

There were many adventures on this day. I will have to write about them on a different day. This is more about what I found that day than the storm and the adventures I had.

Here is the thing. I found 3 women who are no longer acquaintances.  They are friends. Carol has over the last few months protected me on levels that others may not understand. She has opened her heart as well as her home. She fed and clothed me in a time of need but beside that she showed me that just because you meet and know someone elsewhere does not mean they won’t be there. She has been there for many things, slow and steady. One of the things that hit me during the storm happened when I went to give her a hug. She wrapped her arms around me and held me while I cried. I was so overwhelmed with all that had happened it was a sweet relief to let it out and know that this beautiful, kind woman understood and shared her heart with me. She shared so much with me in that moment that words can’t rightfully describe it.

Her daughter, Tiffany, had always been around but I think that on many levels she is like me. She just doesn’t trust a lot of people and she sits back and watches people before she decides if she wants them to be a part of her life. Friendship means something to her too. On this day I believe we became friends. We faced adversity together, we laughed together, she made the best hot chocolate (in the fireplace with 2 cups, a teapot and a sterno) that I have ever had. By the end of the storm she went from someone I knew to a friend. We have already gone all in for the next storm! Tiffany, if you read this I will gladly go on any adventure with you!

The third woman was Faith. I had known Faith from California. I didn’t know her well but I knew her well enough to always be happy to see her and just enjoy her company. During this storm we found ourselves side by side facing adversity unlike anything I have experienced before. If we were going to die we were going to do so together. She stood by me, side by side, through all of it. We had quite a few adventures that day, Tiffany joined us for one of them. Imagine 3 women in a foot of water, wearing flip flops or no shoes at all, wind blowing, rain falling, pulling a downed tree out of the road so they could get by. Yeah that was us! We laughed through it all. We rocked it!

We experienced a lot of things during Hurricane Matthew. Yet, for me, the most important thing I experienced was the love and true grit of 3 women who stepped up and showed me that friends come in many forms. I would go to war with any of these three women by my side. I would sit with them in their darkest times and am happy to stand by them in their good times too. To me, I made 3 beautiful friends. They showed me, once again, how beautiful it is to have strong, intelligent, caring, loving women in my life. They taught me to leave all preconceived notions behind and to just be in the now. They also taught me that not all lessons learned in the past are set in stone, change your perspective and you change your world.

Thank you Carol for being that slow and steady friend that understands that friendship is worthy of many things and sometimes you just have to be willing to accept the whole situation for what it is and be thankful for all of it.

Thank you Tiffany for confirming that watching and waiting to see can produce extreme beauty and the beginning of a good and firm friendship.

Thank you Faith for having my back, making me laugh in the worst of times and showing me as well as allowing me to show you that we can surround each other and always know that we’ve got each other.

All of the individual thank you’s could go to each of these women in totality. Each of them showed me the same things over and over. Each of them have offered their hearts, their friendship and their laughter with me. Each of them are unique in who they are and allow me to be me. I love you each more than you can possibly know. Not because you gave me anything but because you showed me that friendship comes from the heart. I am honored to call each of you my friend and I am looking forward to many years of growing, laughing, crying and standing side by side with all of you. You women are phenomenal.

Yes, then there are women and these women, well, they are AMAZING!

In Her Service,

Sage

My heart in Texas

Shattered heart. Broken woman. Lost in darkness. Grief stricken. Tired. Strong. Weak. No hope. No dreams. No trust.

These are all the things that I have felt and been this last year. Yet, here I stand. Finding a new way of being. Here I stand looking for a new tomorrow. Here I am living in the moment. There is pain. I will not say otherwise. There is doubt. I would be lying if I said otherwise. Sometimes seeing that hope and feeling it is the scariest thing on earth. If you have no hope you can’t be hurt. If you have no hope you can just get through and not have to worry about anyone or anything. If you have no hope you are existing, not living.

My heart has been broken so many times over the last 30 years that there are times I wonder how it can feel anything. There is always pain. There is always hurt. Finding happiness and joy is something I generally don’t expect, yet, I strive for it. I yearn for it. I pray for it. When it shows up I celebrate it. It isn’t often and when I feel it I revel in it. I bask in it’s light. My life has been filled with grief for so long that I wouldn’t know how to exist without it. I would really like to find out but I have a feeling that it is here to stay. I have had to befriend it just to breathe. The beauty of grief is that it is a great teacher. It teaches you to appreciate every moment. It teaches you that nothing is permanent, everything changes, in a blink of an eye. It teaches you that life is short and you are here for only a short time so you better make the most of the life you have.

A year ago my heart was shattered. I had no hope. I could no longer dream. I was buried in darkness and couldn’t find a way out of it. Grief became my best friend. Grief almost destroyed me. I felt as though I couldn’t take one more loss. You see over the last 30 years I have grieved, non stop. First it was the loss of my sons, having to start life over, losing that start and going home only to have my grandmother die, another start, then the death of my daughter and loss of my marriage, another beginning to face, so many friends that I can give you their names by the order that they died, another start, the loss of my dad, father in law, my “other” dad and my husband, 14 deaths in the last 6 years. Another start. To be honest I am tired.

I needed a change. I needed to find a connection. I needed to rejuvenate and find my place in this world. I planned my journey. Obstacle after obstacle appeared. They are still showing up. Then I felt the need to be the friend I wish I had, had this last year and I came to Texas. For the first time in years I felt joy. Along with that joy there has been a lot of pain. A lot of letting go. A lot of doubt. A lot of being unsure of myself. A lot of life.

The land here has spoken so deeply that each day I am amazed at the beauty in the sky, the earth beating beneath my feet, the life that pulses through even among the concrete. I find myself dazed many times. Just standing in amazement at the beauty of this place. I have yet to find words to describe it, yet, it fills my heart fully. The thought of leaving brings tears to my eyes, a crack to my voice and feeling of extreme loss.

The people here, the people of Texas. They are open, kind, warm. They have welcomed me as one of their own and I feel very much at home with them. I have made some beautiful friendships that I know will last the rest of my days on this earth.

In the short time I have been here I have found love, not the all engulfing, can’t live without you love of a partner, but rather a love that fills my being with hope. I gave up on hope a long time ago. I quit dreaming. Now, well now I have glimpses of hope, it isn’t long lasting, something always makes me dash it because to hope means I have to believe in another and I have a hard time with that. I just can’t put my heart in the hands of another because doing so means that I have to trust them and trust does not come easy for me. If I trust you enough to share my world with you then you have to be someone very special and there are very few that I feel that way about. Yet, there are glimpses of hope. There are moments of dreaming.

For me, the hope and dreaming means that I am healing. I may back up and step away. I may walk away and throw that hope and that dream away, I have done so many times since being here. Each time a piece of my heart is ripped open again, but for me, it is a sign that I am healing. It is a sign that someday I will no longer have a shattered heart and I will be able to hope and dream without feeling the acute pain of loss. That day isn’t here. The pain I feel in this moment, in the last 3 weeks has been great. Someday. Believing someday it will be, means that there is a sliver of hope telling me that there is healing happening. It is a beautiful way of being. Hope is here, healing is happening, and fear is fading.

This place, these people, they have opened my heart, it will be hurt, that I have no doubt about, it already has been, but the gift they have brought to my life is the true heart of healing. Love, they have given me love and in the process they have offered me hope. The journey to self is long and arduous, finding healing is a gift that is greater than any pain. Here I have found the beginning of that healing. Here I have felt joy. Here I have felt acute pain and I didn’t go to that deep darkness, instead I just kept holding on and I found solace in the land and sky. Here the sky brings comfort and the land reminds me that I am still alive and I need to live the time I have left with all of my being. Here I have found gratitude for the life that I have been given, pain and all. Here I am finding life over death again. Here I am blessed. Thank you Texas – both land and people you have helped me find a piece of me I had forgotten about. Thank you for the love!