Safety Starts with Trust

Today is Memorial Day.  A day when we remember those who gave their lives to keep us safe and protect our rights as citizens of the United States of America.  Safety is an important thing that demonstrates itself in things like remembering to buckle your seatbelt, not driving through certain parts of town after dark, insisting your child wear inflatable arm bands when they are learning how to swim, and checking to be sure all your doors are locked before you go to bed each night.  But, feeling safe is a lot more than taking these kinds of precautions.  Safety is the feeling you get when you trust that your environment and the people in it will not cause you harm.

Trust is a significant part of our ability to feel safe.  As a child we trust that when someone takes our hand as we cross the street they will keep us from being hit by a car.  We trust that the people who love us would never hurt us.  But, many of us have experienced a situation in our lives where the people who loved us have hurt us.  Some intentionally, some not. When this happens, it dampens our ability to trust. 

We even lose trust in our ability to judge whether someone is simply going through the motions or using the words we want to hear, as opposed to them genuinely caring for us and willing to put themselves in a personally uncomfortable or dangerous situation to make us feel safe.  Putting yourself in harms way is an extreme demonstration of making someone feel safe.

Making someone feel safe can be as small as returning a phone call when you say you will, or checking in from time to time to just let someone know you are thinking about them and are there when you need them.  Good friends do this.  They call just to say “hello” and “how are you doing today?” to let you know they care.  They ask about pertinent details of something you shared with them, demonstrating that they listened and geniuinely care about your life.  These are the friends we know will bring us soup when we are sick and unable leave the house to get it ourselves.  These are the friends that make us feel safe enough to share our deepest, darkest secrets without shame or guilt. 

We all want to feel safe.  Start by creating a feeling of safety with others.  It doesn’t require you to put yourself in harms way.  It can be as small as a phone call to let someone know you care and are thinking about them.  These are the foundations of trust that lead us to feeling safe in our environment and with the people who love us.

Love and Light,

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The Hidden Blessings in Being “With Myself”

I refuse to use the word “alone” to describe the times when I am “with myself”. The word “alone” has so many negative connotations to it including the word “lonely”. But, who says you have to be “lonely” when you are with yourself. Some of my favorite, most memorable moments in my life were spent with myself.

I love to go the movies with myself. I get to pick what I want to see. I can order the largest popcorn and soda… and if I get full and don’t finish it all, I am ok with that too. I get to pick where I sit, which is usually a couple rows from the back in the middle. And, guess what…it’s much easier to find one seat in the best part of the theatre even if you come in a little late. Love that.

When I was married, my then husband hated the symphony so we never went. I even had free tickets one night from work. So, I went home and got all dressed up to suprise him and when he got home from work his response was, “I am sorry you got all dressed up, but I am not at all interested in going to the symphony… even if it is free”. After we were divorced one of the first things I did on a Friday evening was drive myself down to will call at the symphony and bought myself a single seat in the third row, center. What an amazing evening that was. I closed my eyes and dissappeared into the beautiful music and enjoyed the company of “me”.

These days, I spend the majority of my non-working time with my son. He is with his dad four days and eight nights each month. I love my son, but I treasure those moments with myself because they are few and far between.

I try to steal 15 mins each morning before he wakes to enjoy the first moments of my day with a cup of coffee in the quiet of the house… in my favorite chair with my thoughts. I contemplate my goals for the day and set my intentions for success, happiness, peace, joy and love. It’s the perfect way to clear my head of the chaos of the previous day and night, and focus on experiencing the coming day with good intent.

Each night before I turn my light off to go to sleep, I try and steal another 15 minutes to reflect on the day with myself. I think about the challenges I faced that day and how I responded to them. Most times I am happy with my response, but when I am not I replay those scenarios in my head and change the outcome to a more positive one. Sometimes I have the opportunity to live the experience again and when I do I use that “practice session” to change the outcome in real time and am grateful for having a second chance to do so.

I have grown to cherish the time I spend with myself. I get to do all the things I love, eat whatever I want, turn the music up as loud as I want to, and dance around the house without anyone thinking I have lost my marbles. I sing at the top of my lungs until I lose my voice. I can watch 12 hours (or more) of Lifetime Television Movie network without anyone complaining.

I have found a lot of blessings in being with myself. For that… I am grateful. And, when the universe decides to bless me with a new partner for the rest of my journey, I will still steal away for a movie every now and then… but, it will be nice to also have someone sitting next to me. For now I will enjoy my morning coffee with myself and pray for the right partner who also appreciates a little “myself time” every now and then. Someone who understands that being with ourselves keeps us grounded and allows us to enjoy life to its fullest and not just those things we have in common with someone else who shares our space for a while.

Love and Light,

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What You See Is Not Always What I See

I’ve been struggling lately because someone I care about is having a hard time understanding that we all see the world through a different set of eyes, and it’s causing a serious breakdown in communication.  I appreciate that most times we see things the same, and yet we have entirely different views of the world around us at times.  This very thing gives us common ground to build a foundation on, but also provides a situation for us both to grow and learn more about ourselves and each other.

Based on our previous life experiences, good or bad, we each formulate our personal perceptions of what is occurring around us.  We take mental pictures and the pictures I come away with in my mind are not going to look the same as the pictures in anyone else’s mind, because no one can be forever standing in the same set of shoes at the same time.

When I first met my now ex-husband, we had a very interesting date that opened my eyes to this concept of “differing perceptions”.  We both had art degrees and knew how to use all the manual settings on our cameras.  So, one Saturday afternoon we headed into an old cemetery in my college town.  After a couple hours of wandering through the headstones, massive memorials, and park benches that sunny afternoon, we took our black and white rolls of film to a lab to get contact sheets.  That night, we sat and compared what we saw.  It was a very interesting.

Even though we both took pictures of some of the same objects, they were always different.  Different angles of pointing the camera resulted in the same scene appearing entirely different on film.  But, what was even more interesting was that even though we had different images on the paper, they all were compelling and told a story.  Each image…  each different perspective was beautiful and told a story.

What we both came away with that day was this… Even though we had different images on paper, different perspectives on what we saw, we both had a lot of respect for the art we created that day. 

We all see the world differently.  It doesn’t mean one person’s perception of a situation is right or wrong, good or bad, it just means it’s different and should be respected as different.  After all, if we all saw the world the same way, there wouldn’t be any creativity, inventions, or new ideas.  As my son would say, we would all be zombies (or sheep as some would say).  And, what kind of life would that be.   

What you see is not always going to be what others around you see, and that’s ok.  However, in order for it to be ok, we all should have respect for each other’s perspective of the world, and honor the art each of us creates through our life experiences.  Thinking differently is good.  It keeps us alive and aware.  It opens our minds to new possibilities every day.

Love and Light,

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