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

Then There Were Women

I hate to say it, but it is true, for the majority of my life I have not trusted other women. I have always been a tomboyish kind of girl and now woman. I love sports, working on things and have always related to guys better than girls. I could, and have, sat in a room full of women and been extremely uncomfortable. I could, and have, sat in a room full of men and never felt uncomfortable.

Here is the thing, part of this, is because of society. I see it now. I didn’t before. We pit woman against woman. You always have to be the sexiest. The prettiest. The smartest. The fill in the blank. I just couldn’t relate. Maybe because my dad was one of those men that always stressed knowledge before beauty. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. I had to keep my grades up. I played sports. Oh, I did girl things, I cooked, still love doing so for that matter. I didn’t wear a lot of dresses. I was and still am a blue jean girl. I just never felt the need to compete. I couldn’t compete. I have always said I am just me and what you see is what you get. No hidden agendas.

I have been on the losing end of competition and I don’t like it. I always strive to be the best in everything I do. It has been something that has been a life long thing. I have been on the losing end of relationships where other women were trying to take whomever I was dating. I lost. Why? Because I generally wouldn’t compete. If you want someone else then I am not your girl. That is how I look at it. Yes, my heart has been broken but I survived.

I have very seldom trusted another woman with my deepest, darkest places within. I didn’t trust because let’s face it, women gossip. I am not one to put myself out there because I don’t want to know that the trust I had was broken. It has happened to many times.

Guys didn’t have a need to talk and for the most part they got me. So for the most part the most important people in my life have been guys. Not in a sexual way but in a friendship way. I knew I could share and it would stay right there. Somehow I found them to be more compassionate and understanding and really more trustworthy. This had been my life until a year or so ago.

A little over a year ago I was accepted into the SOA Seminary program. There were a small group of women and our assignments were very personal, very deep and really it was terrifying. As time went on I found solace in this group of women. They became true friends. They knew the deepest, darkest parts of my soul and yet they always stepped up and supported me. They didn’t judge me. They were there for me when I needed them most. There was no competition, it was all about loving each other through. It changed my life. It gave me a new perspective on the ability we have as women when we choose to be who we are with no apologies.  To these Sisters (and I use that word with a deep understanding that they are truly my Sisters of heart) I thank you for this beautiful lesson.

When you are able to so profoundly change a view you have carried for your entire life your entire life changes. Because of my SOA Sisters I have found my relationships with other women more enriching. I have made some beautiful friends. Women that get me. Women that know that I am not competing with them but rather loving them for who they are. I have been blessed with a handful of these women and ultimately it has made me a better person.

You hear talk of Southern women all the time. They are like no other women on earth. Well coming to South Carolina I have met many. Some have taken the time to get to know me and some have stayed on the fringe and are just acquaintances. Some are drama queens and some are down to earth and filled with love.

There are two that I can say are there through thick and thin. These two women are amazing women. I have learned so much in such a short time from both of them. First there is Miss Barbara. She is that woman who doesn’t need to compete with any other woman because she is her and you either love her or you don’t. She doesn’t care one way or another! She is 76 years old and she shines. She has zero problem sharing her mind and always, at least within our group, always says what she says in love. She will be the first to tell me that I am screwing up with no apologies. She has had some amazing experiences and her stories will have you rolling on the floor in laughter.

Some of the things she has taught me is that age doesn’t matter. You can do and be anything you want and if others don’t like it then that is their problem. Be you. She has also taught me that I am alright just being me. Please me no matter what others think. I love my time watching football with her (even though our teams are rivals). I love my time listening to her stories and I love her attitude.

Then there is our girl Jesse. She is 12 years younger than me. She just turned 40. She has had some life experiences that I wouldn’t want to have and yet through it all she is one of the most AMAZING, CARING women I have ever known. She is tough and soft all at the same time. She has the most beautiful smile and it literally lights up the room.

Some of the things she has taught me is that no matter what your past is you are not defined by it. Make life what you want it to be. She has shown me how to be kinder and gentler. She has shown me that I can trust a woman with my secrets and I won’t be betrayed. She has given so much of herself and never asked for anything in return. She has taught me selflessness. She has taught me how to be a better woman just by being her and not judging anything.

To both of these women I say with the deepest of gratitude, thank you. Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves with me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall. Thank you for being there no matter what. Thank you for loving me. You have changed my life for the better. I love every single second we spend together. You brighten my world in ways you will never see nor understand and I love you both.

To the women that feel there needs to be competition. To the women that feel that they can’t trust other women. I can promise you that there are women in this world that are not those women. There are women that don’t care if you have make up on or are dressed to kill. We see you for who you are and the outer shell isn’t it. Find your women and trust them. It is an amazing adventure that will enrich your life beyond words.

 

South Carolina

There are many differences from being in California and being in South Carolina. Some of them are mind bending, others are joyful and yet I find that there are many preconceived notions regarding both states and the people who live there. I have found it remarkable and I have decided to write a bit about it.

Last night I met a man that lives here in Myrtle Beach. He said he was originally from Lake City. According to him he has traveled the world. Regardless it struck me how his view of me being from California went.

First of all he could never remember my name, I always find this comical for some reason. You can see them struggling, grasping to find what they have lost in their mind. I have been there many times. He asked where I was from and I said California. As goes every conversation the next question was what part of California. Most people don’t grasp the enormity of the state and locations are just words that mean nothing. My answer is Southern California. I lived in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead/Big Bear area. Immediately I became the place because the rest of the evening he called me Big Bear. For whatever reason I found this humorous. Maybe it was because I was flat out tired and didn’t feel good. Who knows.

He asked me two questions that stuck with me. One was what will be your epithet when you die? What is it that you want on your headstone? Once I clarified that I had zero intention of having a headstone because my final resting place will be the ocean. I answered his question. I told him if I were to have a headstone the only thing besides the vital statistics I would want on it would be my favorite Bible Scripture. I know, I know, me? The Bible? It doesn’t really fit but hang in there for a moment and it will all make sense.

My life, my beliefs, are that we are here to love. We are here to learn to love unconditionally. I just recently had a beautiful conversation about this very thing with one of my dearest friends, Mel. So with that in mind, and believe me when I tell you that all of my life this has been the ONLY thing I have ever said I wanted on my headstone because over the years it is the one scripture that I carry in my heart all of the time, the bible scripture I would choose is:

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Now abide faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.”

That’s it. That is my guiding light all of the time. It is how I try to live my life. It is who I am, in one complete sentence. Do I always succeed? No! I keep loving though and I hold that scripture close. It has gotten me through many days in my life and I imagine it will never change.

His second question threw me for a loop though. Actually it took me by surprise. His next question was “Coming from California do you find South Carolinians ignorant?” Really I was taken aback. I think I was so stunned that I had to take a moment to catch my breath.

There are a lot of preconceived notions about the Southern States and the people who live here. It makes no difference where you live you will hear people talk about Southern people.

My answer was not anymore so than what I saw in California as there is ignorance everywhere you go. He didn’t respond to that and the conversation ended at that point. It didn’t leave my head though. I have heard many different comments since being here. I have laughed many times because I can tell you that the people here also have preconceived notions on Californians.

Here is the thing though, people, no matter where they are from always think they know what other places and people are like. We walk in thinking we know. Sometimes we are open enough to allow ourselves to find out differently and other times we are so closed off that we are going to find exactly what we believe to prove our point.

Here is what I have found about South Carolina and the people who live here. I will share some preconceived notions that I have heard before and what I have seen with my own eyes and heart.

  1. Preconceived notion: All southern people are racists.  – My findings: There are many people here who are openly racist. They will tell you they are racist. Yet, they are not all racist. The majority of people I have met don’t dislike people because of their color as much as they dislike them for who they are. If you are an asshole they will call you on it right there. They will dislike you for your actions much quicker than they will for your color. So I find the preconceived notion incorrect.

The racism in this country is a central conversation in our nation and yet I believe that it is no more rampant here than anywhere else. I have seen all colors co-existing with little problem here. The language here is much different, less politically correct, than in California but with that said the language here, no matter how offensive it is to my senses at times, is more honest than what I have seen in California. In California we go out of our way not to offend anyone. Here they don’t. Which is more honest?

2. Preconceived notion: All southern people are ignorant. – My findings: Just as anywhere, and as I stated above, there is ignorance everywhere. Who am I to judge another? I can tell you that I have had some very intelligent conversations with the people here. They are funny, kind, intelligent, caring and giving. Many attributes that many elsewhere are lacking. You hear about southern hospitality all of the time and maybe instead of trying to find why there is something wrong with the south we should be taking lessons on how to be hospitable from them because they have that down better than the majority. Southern people are not ignorant.

They have their opinions. They share their thoughts openly. Yet, for the most part, you can disagree with them and they don’t get angry. They may think you are just that hippy from California who needs to get a grip but ultimately they will accept you just as you are. They listen with an open heart and they are passionate about what they believe yet they are accepting of you regardless of your own beliefs. There are great lessons there to be had if you are willing to learn.

The things that I have found here have been remarkable in the fact that the majority of the people I have met are genuinely caring and concerned for your well being. They will go out of their way to make sure you are alright. I am use to the California way of ignoring those around you. Most often you can stand next to someone for a long while and never speak a word to them and vise versa. Not here. You will have a conversation with just about every single person you see if you are open to it.

There is a lot of history here. Each state has it’s own. Some embrace that history and continue to live it, others strive to make life better than the history they carry. Either way the people here are beautiful people. They show love and compassion even when they are telling you how wrong you are. It is a beauty in motion if you really think about it. To have that passion. To know your own mind and yet be willing to accept another for who they are even when you don’t agree with them is pure beauty.

I have chosen to not engage in any political conversations because honestly our politics are such a mess that it has divided our country. I refuse to engage because I personally find nothing worth talking about anymore. Why create chaos when you can’t change it? Bad attitude or Reality? You choose. Either way I won’t engage.

All I can tell you at this point is that if you are basing your opinion of a place on what you hear then you need to get out and meet the people. You will be pleasantly surprised if you have an open heart and choose not to judge others.

I live by a non judgement stance. You have the right to your thoughts, way of being and how you live your life as do I. We don’t have to agree. There are many people I disagree with but I choose to look past our disagreements and love them because that is their world and in my world I choose to love the person not the choices they make. I work diligently to be non judgmental because I have not lived their life and I have no right to tell them what they should or shouldn’t believe. This is a constant regardless of what state I find myself in.

Ultimately I find the south a beautiful place to be. The people and the land offer more beauty, change and growth than I could have ever hoped to have and for that I will always be grateful.

Blessings,

Sage

 

 

Gratitude is an Attitude

I am sure that some of you have noticed that there haven’t been any posts here lately. Much of that has to do with the fact that I was in process. In process of moving. In process of traveling across the country. In process of finding my footing. I can’t say that I have accomplished the last one but it is slowly happening.

Over the last 8 weeks there have been many changes in my life. I am no longer in California but rather in South Carolina. I have a place to live and I have made new friends as well as re-established old connections.

To be perfectly honest with you it has been a roller coaster. Leaving your comfort zone always is. I left my family, my son, my kids as well as some very dear friends. I have been asked what I was running from a few times and my answer is always the same, I am not running from anything, I am running to a new life. Will I find what my soul yearns for here? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not, but I am here for a reason, even if I haven’t figured out exactly what that reason is, yet.

One thing I do know is that healing is a focus for me here. I am literally a block away from the ocean. The ocean is and always has been my healing place. Being here soothes my soul, standing on Her shores makes it soar.

There have been many trials since arriving here. Some I have gracefully flowed through and others I have struggled with deep within. All of them have helped me grow and clarify what I do and don’t want. It is a beautiful thing even when it seems to dark to see the light.

Through everything (some of which I will write about in another post) the one thing that I have found is that you can find gratitude in every single situation. No matter how bad things seem there is always something to be grateful for.

I have gotten to the point where each morning when I awaken I say thank you for another day. Come what may I am still here. I am still breathing. I am still able to think, laugh, cry and be me. Not everyone will have this opportunity today so I am grateful that I do.

When you stop and look you can see other things to be grateful for. I find the thunderstorms here in South Carolina a blessing. They cleanse my soul. I can hear the thunder roaring and watch the lightening flash and many times it is in sync with how I feel inside, this allows me to acknowledge the roaring within and when the rain begins I can let it flow out and away. I am grateful that I have found yet another way to flow with nature. It is a beautiful thing.

When I walk outside and look up I see blue skies or a cloud full of gorgeous clouds, either way there is beauty. This morning I walked out and the leaves in the tree in my backyard were moving rather frantically and as I looked up I saw a squirrel running across the limb of the tree. It reminded me this morning to face life with a playful attitude. I was grateful for the reminder.

My friends here have brought a myriad of joy. When I walk in I am received with smiles, hugs and love. For each of these encounters I am grateful. They have gotten me through some rough days.

I could easily focus on the things I have lost. I could easily focus on the people I miss. I miss many people, terribly. Instead I am choosing to focus on the beauty of the love that these beautiful people shared with me and continue to share with me even from afar.

My point here is that where you put your focus, matters. In every day you can find a way to be grateful. Whether it is in the weather, friends, the fact that you are here, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can choose. What will you choose today? Will you choose to be grateful or will you choose to stay focused on the things that are making your life difficult? Change that energy, embrace the beauty and love those you have with you and watch your world change. I am, each and every day.

Many Blessings,

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!

 

 

Counting Blessings

My life is blessed. It is far from perfect. Just as everyone else in this world there are trials and tribulations. Things happen that rock my world. Things that hurt so deep that I wonder if I will ever recover. When I look at the larger picture though I know that my life is blessed.

I have love in my life. My family is there no matter what ups and downs I face. I have friends, real friends, the kind of friends that no matter what time night or day I need them, they are there. Bumps in the road do not deter them. They are always there and vice versa.

I have a roof over my head. I have food for my body. I have my beliefs and my path that bring me peace. I may cry and I may hurt but always I have the knowledge that when the world seems upside down it is because something great is on it’s way. I will persevere. I will survive.

There is nobody alive that has not faced hurt. There is nobody alive that has not faced trials. Our record for getting through it all is 100% thus far.

A bad day does not mean a bad life. A difficult year does not mean several difficult years. It just means that life will be a bit rocky for a while and climbing the mountains in front of you just means when you get to the top the view will be beautiful.

So as I work through the trials. As I work through the pain of loss and the lesson of letting go I grasp onto my faith and knowledge that this too shall pass. Lessons tend to repeat themselves until they are learned. All I can hope is that this lesson, the lesson of loving, losing and having to let go is done repeating itself. It is getting old and I am getting tired of the lesson. Do you ever get to that point? The point where you say “enough already I get it!?” I am there.

This time it will take me time to recover. I don’t love lightly. To give my heart is something I have yet to learn to avoid. I never want to. I can’t be anyone but who I am and because of that I grieve those I lose, whether they walk away or die, loss is loss and grieving is grieving. My time to grieve is not over. I still have more to learn. In the process I will work to deepen my connection with Spirit and move on in life with the sole focus of achieving my dreams and staying on my path.

Yes, my life is blessed. I am loved. As the losses mount up I am reminded that life is to short not to live it. Live fully, love wholly and be you always.

In Her Service,

Sage

Widow – Another Label

According to websters A “widow” is defined as “a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.”

I really dislike this word. I mean really! There seems to be a stigma attached to the word “widow.” When someone uses the word you can see the connotation of sympathy in their eyes and yet somehow it feels more like they look at you as though you are helpless.

I am a lot of things, helpless is not one of them. I am stubborn. I am ornery. I am intelligent. I am funny. I am beautiful in ways that shock people. I am sad. I am happy. I am many things but helpless is not one of them. Not yet anyway. There are definitely things I need help with. I am a human. We all need help with something.

Our society has the weirdest ways of seeing things. We have to label everything. Single, married, divorced, widowed. All labels. All carry their own meaning. Why? Why can’t we just base things on the individual. Why do we have to define people by their marital or lack of marital status? It isn’t just your marital status you are labeled with it is your sexual orientation, color, religion, political views, the list is endless. It is how we define ourselves as well as others. Why?

I have no answers. I only know that I really dislike labels and out of all of the labels I have carried in my life “widow” is the one I dislike the most.

When Mike died I changed my status on facebook to widow. It seemed appropriate at the time. I had never been a widow and had no clue how that label would affect me. After a year of being a widow I decided that if I were going to be labeled I would prefer to be labeled as single. Why? Because I don’t like the way people look at me when they are told I am a widow. I am not helpless. I am a capable, intelligent, woman who is getting through life the best way she knows how.

There are many labels I have carried in this life. During my training the shaman I worked with explained that most of these labels are roles we choose to step into. The role/label of wife, daughter, sister, auntie, mom, grandma. The role/label of friend and foe. We label everything. We step into and out of the roles that these labels portray daily. How many of us are conscious of the choice of stepping into them and out of them? How many of us see them as ways we define ourselves as well as how others define us?

When you own your story. When you are able to take responsibility for who you are and stand in your own truth you no longer have to take the labels of the society you live within. You can create your own if you feel like it. For me I choose not to be a widow. It isn’t who I am. Yes, my husband died and no I am not remarried but ultimately that makes me a woman standing on my own two feet. Living life on my terms and being who I am. Finding my strength and weaknesses and embracing them all. I do not need another person in my life to define me yet I will choose to love someone else when it shows up. I do not need to be married to be complete but if I choose to remarry it will be because I want to be with that person for the rest of my life. They will be my best friend. I will need them in many ways but I will not need them to define me.

I will step into my roles when I choose to and today and every day after I choose to never step into the role of widow again. I am not helpless and it is alright to always just be a woman whose husband died without the label.

How many labels do you carry? Are you conscious of how they affect your life? Do you choose what labels you wear? Are you aware when you step into a role that is labeled? Do you know why you choose to wear the label? Do you know why you choose to step into the role that is given to you? All things to think about. All things to knowingly be conscious of. Are you choosing or are you allowing the world to choose for you? Are you defining yourself or are others defining you and you just go along with it? Be aware. Choose. Step into your roles with full awareness. It not only will shift your perspective it will make you more aware of the people around you and how you view them. Step into your own sovereignty and love who you are.

In Her Service,

Sage

Allowing Life

It has been a year since Mike passed away. This last week has been a week of reflection. Where did I change? What perspectives have shifted? How is my life different than it was? The list is endless when it comes to the questions that I ask myself. For me these questions are necessary to keep moving forward. I am not good with staying stagnant and I am always looking for where I am, in this moment, and why I feel the way that I do about anything that comes up. It is one of the ways I keep myself in check and aware of my own way of being.

Sometimes asking the hard questions brings up things that I don’t much feel like facing. I know that not facing them keeps them hidden in the shadow and growth is in the shadows of life. So many just don’t face their shadows. So many just take their thoughts and ways of being as “just who they are” and they never change that because it is their comfort zone. Living in your comfort zone is a nice place to be but it doesn’t seem to help me grow much so I try really hard to step out of it as often as possible.

Anyway, a couple of things that I have seen and learned this last year are things that I knew but had pushed to the back. Most are related to relationships. I am good with relationships as long as I don’t have to pursue them. I am not good at pursuing people I figure if they want me in their lives they know where I am.

One of the things that came forward is that no matter how much you think you love someone if it is not returned you are fighting a losing battle. You can’t make someone love you. Why would you want to? If it doesn’t flow freely why do you want it in your life? Many times when you are pursuing someone you are pursing what you imagine it will be like and not facing the reality of what it is.

Sometimes leaving someone you loved in the past is best left in the past. People change and not always for the better. Some people stay right where they were when you knew them and never move forward. Life knocks them down and they turn ugly and bitter. They stay knocked down. They can’t find the strength to get back up. It is not a pretty sight but you can’t fix them. You can offer them a hand but they don’t have to take it and when they don’t you have to let go or they will pull you down there with them. Letting go sucks but it is a part of this world we live in.

Another thing I have learned is that sometimes you have to put your dreams on hold. You face obstacle after obstacle and you know that this is showing you that the timing is all wrong. I am there. I know what I am suppose to do but life keeps throwing one obstacle after another in my way so I have to keep climbing over and getting through all of the obstacles.  It is alright because when the time is right, when I finally get through all of the obstacles I know that the journey will be there waiting for me. In many ways, I look at the obstacles as part of my journey. You see I have to face the fears, find the trust and walk through the obstacles before I can get to what I look at as my journey. That means that I am on a journey within a journey and nothing will be a waste of time. I know that it will be better than I ever dreamed and I know that I will then be right where I am suppose to be. For now I am biding my time, doing what I need to do and seeing where it is taking me in the future. Obstacles are temporary set backs but they are not permanent deterrents.

Nothing in this world is permanent. You can plan your life yet that doesn’t mean that life will adhere to your plans. How many times do you wake up in the morning with a list of things that you need to get done and half way through your day a wrench is thrown into the mix and you aren’t able to stay the course? This is life. It is never going to be exactly as we plan and in many ways that is a beautiful thing.

I think about all of the plans I have made in my life that didn’t happen. I didn’t plan on having anymore children after my third son was born and yet I had a beautiful daughter and my darling son. I didn’t plan on having my only daughter die, instead she was suppose to be my last, if she had been then Jeremy wouldn’t be here and I honestly can’t imagine my life without my son.

I didn’t plan on ever having to bury my husband. We were suppose to grow old together. Sit on the front porch and watch our grandchildren grow up. We were suppose to have a lifetime of memories to share with our kids and leave for our grandchildren. We were suppose to love each other until we were old and senile. Now I find myself alone. He is gone and I am left to figure life out again. I didn’t plan this. He was suppose to me my last love. This is not how we planned our lives. Those plans are gone and so is that life.

We plan and the Universe laughs. So what do I learn from this? How do I find a life without plans? How do I just let it all go and see what happens? This is not how the world works right? We always have to plan. Well the last year has taught me that planning is of no use, at least not in my life, all I can do is let it all go. Be where I am led to be when I am led to be there and allow life to happen. It has been an interesting way of being. What are you doing Monday? I have no idea. What are you doing next month? Hmm, let me get back to you.

I imagine that allowing life to flow, following the Universe’s lead and going where I am led to go will lead me to the life I am dreaming of. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but me. All I know for today is that life is a roller coaster and I am along for the ride. When I slide into my final base I hope that I have someone standing next to me, laughing and saying thanks that was one hell of a ride. I know that somewhere out in this world there is someone dreaming of me just as I am dreaming of him. Life is to short to be alone forever and we all need someone to laugh with.  So go out and love and allow yourself to be loved. It is what life is all about. Throw the plans away and just allow!

 

In Her Service,

Sage

 

 

Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zones

My son, Jeremy, taught me a very valuable lesson this week. He doesn’t know it but he did. You see he was homeschooled and because of that he had to get his GED. He went to school for the testing before Mike became sick. That is going on well over a year and a half now. It came time for his testing and he was unsure of himself. Especially with his math. He doesn’t like math and it is his weakest subject. He was sure he would fail the test and even after taking it he was sure he had failed. He was none to pleased with himself. I kept telling him he could do it, that I had faith in him, but he didn’t have faith in his ability. He did it anyway. He took the tests. He stepped out of his comfort zone and didn’t delay taking the test. He knew if he failed he would be able to retake the test but he wanted to pass them all the first time. He passed! He passed all of his tests! I am extremely proud of him.

The lesson he taught me though was that no matter how unsure, or how sure, you are stepping up and stepping out of your comfort zone may not be easy but it is well worth the risk.

You see, I know that I have been called on this journey. I know that I have to leave. Regardless of how it turns out, whether I have to come back home, the point is that I have to trust. I have had a lot of issues with trusting people for many years. I trust me but I have made a million mistakes in my life and sometimes I will back away from what I know I should be doing because I don’t trust myself enough to know that what I am knowing is a sure thing.

I am one of those people that believes that some things happen to delay you from something that you think you need to do only to point you in a new direction. That is what I believe has happened here. I was determined to head a specific way and then everything was delayed. I believe that there was good reason for the delay and I now find myself heading in a direction that I would never have anticipated. I have a renewed excitement. I can’t wait to leave.

Yet, I have worried about all of the things that are still unresolved here at home. It hit me last night and again this morning that I need to step out and step up and trust that everything is working out the way it is suppose to. Me staying here isn’t fulfilling what I have been called to do and me leaving will. If I leave with unresolved issues I have to trust that they will be resolved because I am suppose to go. So I am going.

So to my son, Thank You for the lesson. You are an inspiration to me. Sometimes we just have to step out of our comfort zones and let things be what they will knowing that one way or another it all works out in the end.

In Her Service,

Sage

New Normal

It has been 5 years now since my dad died. I cannot begin to tell you how hard his death was. I was devastated when he died. He was my hero. Since his death I have lost my father in law, aunt, cousin and ultimately my best friend my husband Mike.

One of the most important things I learned when my dad died was that waiting for “normal” to return was futile. I kept waiting for things to get back on an even keel. For life to show me some sort of resemblance to what it had been. Then one morning I was blessed to actually hear the words “this is your new normal.” It was life changing.

When we have life changing events happen, a death of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, it doesn’t matter what the event is, it changes our lives. We often wait for our lives to get back to normal. What we don’t see at the time is that our lives are now presenting us with our “new normal.” We never get to go back to the way things were before the event. It is a hard pill to swallow most of the time. It is heart breaking. We crave the normal that we knew. As humans we are not good with change. We are creatures of comfort.

I was very fortunate that I learned this lesson when my dad died. I am not sure I would have been as prepared as I was when Mike passed without this lesson. You see there are many things that shift and change when your spouse dies. It is different than any other death you have been through. All of a sudden your life as you knew it is no longer. You no longer have that person to talk to, to turn to when you are happy, sad, angry or any other emotion you can think of. When you crawl in bed at night there is an emptiness that is indescribable. You are use to having your person there and all of a sudden there is no snoring, no breathing noises to lull you to sleep. The world is different. You adjust, no doubt, but knowing that this is your new normal helps alleviate some of the waiting for things to return to what they were.

We don’t necessarily have to like the new normal that we find ourselves in. Embracing it gives us the opportunity to move forward. It isn’t always easy and there are days when it seems impossible. You take one step forward and three steps back but the next day is a new day and you awaken and try again.

We move forward whether we want to or not. Life continues to go on. The birds still sing. The sun still rises and sets. We still continue to breathe and we live. The alternative is not an option so embracing the life we have and finding a new comfort zone is what we strive for. As we do so we create our new normal and somewhere in that normal we find laughter, love, yearning and life again. There is always sadness but we befriend our grief and live again.

Finding your new normal does not mean you ever forget. You never forget what came before, you just accept that your life has changed and what was is no longer. You have changed, your life has changed and the future you once dreamed of has changed. It is alright, you will dream a new future. You will live your life and move on, you just won’t forget what was.

Have you found your new normal? It is this journey we call life and at some point we will all face finding it. May your “new normal” bring you solace and happiness.

In Her Service,

Sage