Mmmm……

“It ain’t burnt, Rosemary, it’s blackened.”  ―    Bunny Mathews

I have been thinking about my relationship with food lately.  It’s a love/hate relationship.  I love to bake, I hate to cook, and I love to eat.  I have been told that I know how to cook, and I have also been told that I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen.  I’m often made fun of with my cooking.

I know that can bake.  I can make a serious Turtle pecan Cheesecake, and my other desserts can knock your socks off.  I can read a baking  recipe and tell you if it will turn out to be good or not, by looking at the ingredients and how it’s prepared.  And now I have a cute apron to wear when I bake!

Cooking is a different story.  Despite what some people say, I think I can cook – though some people may argue against my point. Looking back, I can see that when I first got married, I had a rocky road ahead of me.  Prior to being married, I didn’t cook a day in my life, and then I was expected to cook gourmet meals – every day.  And I was being constantly compared to my mother and mother-in-law.  Not fair.  Of course I would hate to cook.  Who wouldn’t? And recently I realized just how much I dislike it. And it’s a strong dislike. I think I may do just about anything possible to not cook. There have been times when I’ve jokingly asked my daughter if she would like to make dinner, and her response would be “Mommy, I’m too little to cook.” Of course, she’s right, and there was a bit of truth to the question, but one can hope, no?

If I could, I would live off of Nutella sandwiches all day long – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fact that I have a dependant, and I care deeply for her nutritional needs prevents me from doing so.  So I have no choice but to suck it up and move on.

But like I said, recently it hit me in the face how much I don’t like it, and being spoiled and served this yummy food all the time while on vacation doesn’t help the matter.  I’d like to share some of the photos of the DELISH food I had recently:

I had never had French Onion Soup until my trip to Paris.  The day I arrived, I had this one, and all the ones I had afterwards (one each day) none could come close to being this yummy.  Restaurant La Ville De Abbesses is the place to go.

The same restaurant also served Creme Brule’ in the most interesting way, and this too was to die for.

One thing I found interesting in both Italy and France was the lack of veggies.  I love my veggies. Yes, I’m strange, but I can’t help it.  I found out later on that the veggies weren’t growing very well due to the very hot temperatures, but the fruit did well. Look at the gorgeous apricots!

Gelato. Creme glacee.  Need I say more?  Isn’t your mouth-watering yet?

I need a crepe pan. It’s not real cooking, more a dessert. I went to a crepe restaurant in Rennes – La Creperie Saint Georges.  All the menu items contained George.  I had the George Clooney, and he was delicious.  It was a Rapini crepe with goats cheese and tomato, and cucumber sorbet.  YUM!

Italy means pasta.  Nothing beats pasta baked in the oven.  My Mom’s cousin made this and it was lick your lips yummy.

In Rennes, the little Bed and Breakfast I stayed in was wonderful. Symphonie Des Sense was luxurious, and totally spoiled me. How could I possibly go back to making my own breakfast when I was brought this to my room at my arranged wake up time?

So back to making Nutella sandwiches I go.  At least when I’m home alone. If only I could bring this back with me.  Too bad there wasn’t enough room in my luggage.  It would have made my life so much easier.

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You Are All Beautiful People

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  ― Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So yesterday I decided to do something which scared the heck out of me. I decided to put myself out there and ask for feedback. Yes, I did say that I welcome feedback, but after I hit the “Post” button I realized what I was actually getting myself into and thought, “OMG, what did I just do?!!”  I also realized that most of my life I’ve received feedback which was unsolicited, and I had to deal with it. This time I decided to solicit it, and it was torture waiting for the comments to roll in. All sorts of questions were swirling in my teeny, weenie brain.  Would they be good? Would people be kind or cruel? What could I expect?

The results were astonishing, and I’m very touched by the responses I have received. Many of you have decided to keep your comments private, and I will honour this by not publishing them. Others, you put yourself out there and shared them with the world. There have been many different approaches with your feedback, but one thing is noticeable – you are all caring, wonderful people.

One of my readers, whom I will call Caring Carol from now on, took me up on my offer of giving me a topic to write about – “what is beautiful about people” (What a wonderful topic, considering that my readers are the most beautiful bunch around!!)

Everyone is beautiful.  We’re born beautiful.  The question isn’t “what is beautiful about people” or “what makes them beautiful” rather “what takes their beauty away?” Everyone has a spark, a light inside of them that radiates life into everything they do and meshes with everyone they meet. A baby is born angelic, kindergarten students are adorable, teens are full of curiosity and wonder, adults have a wise beauty about them – this is all beautiful. So what is it exactly that diminishes a person’s beauty? If you really pay attention, you will see it around you.  For example, that one person who looks miserable or rarely smiles, and when they do, suddenly their entire being transforms. They are breathtakingly beautiful. What causes this transformation?  Usually, it’s a result of being complimented, validated, heard – essentially, being seen and accepted for who they really are. Sometimes even for a split second. This lifts their mood, esteem, they feel valued.

Some people need help to bring out their beauty – a kind word or act, a bit of gentleness and encouragement. We all know the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and it’s true.  But why not take it a step further?  If you see someone who isn’t radiating their beauty as they should, why not lift them up a bit?  It really doesn’t take much time, and while you are lifting them, you’ll also be lifting yourself.  But the same holds true for yourself. We all have days where we don’t feel up to par, we don’t feel beautiful, we need a bit of a nudge in the right direction. Rather than sitting there and stewing, why not ask for assistance?  I did that yesterday, and look at what happened!

I’m smiling a lot today. I feel good.  I feel beautiful. Why? Because I have discovered that my readers see me. They have validated me, encouraged me, and renewed my sense of purpose, given me the push I needed to continue on materialize my dream.

My readers are wonderful, beautiful people. And I am blessed and honoured that you have chosen to read my blog and follow me on my journey. Thank you!

Hugs,
Smartie

Let’s Play with Play-Doh!

“One of the greatest feelings in life is the conviction that you have lived the life you wanted to live-with the rough and the smooth, the good and the bad-but yours, shaped by your own choices, and not someone else’s.”  ―    Michael Ignatieff

 

I would like to say that the last few weeks have been such an awakening time for me, but I’m not so sure of this. Has it been a few weeks? Or could it have been months? Or perhaps it’s a year? Does it really matter? Part of me would like to find out, but at the same time, maybe it’s irrelevant. More importantly it is the events which took place that really is of impact.

I have a sense that I am going through a transformation. I am no longer the person I was, and at this point in time, I don’t k now who I am. This is what I am trying to figure out. However, I must admit that I feel like I’m a piece of Play-Doh. Yup, that’s right, good’ol Play-Doh. I’m playing around trying to sculpt myself into a masterpiece. This is so exciting and yet really scary at the same time.

Here’s the thing, with Play-Doh the possibilities are endless. I can be as beautiful and big as I want. I get to choose what colours I want to use, how I want to look. I can be a rose, a swan, a bear, or even just a big blob. It’s up to me. I can take my time, and carve out the find details of my work, or I can be rough and throw things together. I decide what I want to be. It’s my choice; my sculpture.

But I find that when you’re playing with Play-Doh, building your creation, there are always bits and pieces that fall off to the side. You don’t use these pieces. They’re left behind, and you save them just in case you may need them later on. Most times you don’t because they just dry out. And when you use different colour dough for your art, trying to separate them later on becomes difficult, and as a result the two colours will be joined together forever. And if the colours don’t work well together, this means when you mix the dough up again, the colours will merge and become an ugly brown.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, or admit to myself is that I really need to think about what masterpiece I want to be. I must take the time to think things through. I need to ensure that the pieces that I leave behind are not the crucial ones I will need to survive. That the colours I choose to use, when blended together, actually complement one another, and don’t turn an ugly brown. I don’t lose sight of the end piece.

And the neatest thing about Play-Doh is that if my masterpiece really isn’t what I imagined myself to be, I can reshape myself until I’m satisfied. I am flexible to adapt to any situation. What an awesome feeling!

What I’ve Learned on Mother’s Day

“She’s my teacher, my adviser, my greatest inspiration” – Whitney Houston

Photo by Amy Arroyo

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Normally it’s a day that we honour our mothers and thank them for everything they have done for us.  This year I decided to do that, and something more.  I decided to reflect on what it is to be a mother, and honour my daughter for gifting me with the opportunity of being a mother.  I looked back on the last six years of my life to the remarkable moment when she was born.  On that day I suddenly found myself face to face not only with a little baby minutes old, but someone who would one day be a little girl, and then a woman.  I knew then that I was in for the ride for my life. I saw the tremendous responsibilities I would face, and also the unmentionable joys she would bring.   OMG!

Shortly after she was born I found that my life was turned upside down. It was as if an earthquake took place and the earth cracked open and swallowed me up.  Everything I knew had shifted and all the deep feelings inside of me which I had covered up were unearthed.   Somehow, everything that did not make sense to me became clear – all the stuff that I didn’t understand about my mother. Double OMG!

So yesterday I looked at how my life has changed since this little creature decided to crawl into it and what she has taught me thus far.  Where do I even start to tell you what she taught me?  I’ll guess I’ll start with her rules to live by.  She states (and is right of course) that “The secret to a happy life is to: 1. Don’t take anything too seriously 2. Make sure you have fun 3. Use your imagination”

Not bad for a six year old!

So I’ve been trying to apply her wisdom to everything I do.  And with that have learned countless lessons as a result of following her three rules.  I think I can write an entire book of the lessons she has taught me, but for now I’ll name a few:  She has taught me what it is to believe, what courage and strength is all about, and how to love and dream.  And of course, she is oblivious to all of this because she is only six years old.

There were days when I would be filled with exhaustion.  When I have been brought down to my knees and didn’t think that I could deal with one more thing without having a major freak attack – not one ounce of energy was left in me.  I would find myself wanting to curl up in the corner in a fetal position, screaming at the top of my lungs to God, telling him off and saying “Ok, you’ve got me! I give up!!” And then, my little girl would step in and become my personal cheer leader.  For example, there was a time when I was having a battle with the kitchen cabinets and I was losing in the most pathetic way.  I was ready to throw in the towel, or better yet take a sledge hammer to them, and then cry when she says “Way to go Mommy! Look at what you did! I knew you could do it!” And I knew then that I could keep going.  I did accomplish a lot. It didn’t matter what the world would throw my way, that because of her, I knew that I could get through anything some way, somehow.  I learned that success doesn’t come from everything being perfect all the time, but from trying, failing and trying again. Or better yet, being happy with what you have already accomplished.  And every time I would continue to try, my belief in myself would grow just that bit more.  I learned that it doesn’t matter where I am, there is someone who believes in me, and she is the most precious angel of all.

In the past when I was afraid to do something, I would tirelessly try to dodge whatever needed to get done.  My fear would paralyze me. But with this little delicate, yet fiercely brave girl, I find that there is nothing that could challenge or try to defeat me.  There is nothing else that matters more in this world to me that my daughter.  The courage that this little girl has brought to me allows me to crush down anything that stands in the path between me and her.  I find that I am able to stare down into the darkness and look fear right in the eye and say “get out of the way or else you will get hurt.” I learned that strength comes from standing up, facing things and doing what’s right even if sometimes you must stand alone. I have been faced with many challenges which I wish upon no one and the biggest one being not know if my daughter had a life-threatening condition.  I had to find the courage to take her to the children’s hospital and having her tested, at the same time being scared down to my very core all the while being calm and supportive of her.  It’s a delicate skill to have to be shaking in your boots, be graceful like a ballerina and smile like a beauty queen all at the same time.  You should try it some time.  You’ll feel like an idiot, but it does work.  Really, it does!

I am also going to let you in on a little secret that we both share:  A hug can sometimes say more than words ever can. It can make all the difference between having a good day or having a bad day.  It’s a way to communicate that no matter what happened just now, it’s all ok.  In between those arms is a comfortable place to get support, to lean, to hide.  It’s a safe place to go to.  It’s a way to say I love you without words.  My daughter and I hug all the time, every chance we get.  I see in her that she pays this forward.  As a result of our being affectionate with each other, she, like me, has come to feel more deeply, question more deeply and ultimately love more deeply.  And knowing that we have each other’s arms to return to whenever we want, it’s a reminder that we are there for each other. She knows that the door is always open if she wants to talk, to share things with me, now or in the future.  She knows that I love her, and I know that she loves me – no matter what.  She knows that I love her just because.  It’s also a great time to have silly time together, and laugh.  Nothing beats a great hug.

My daughter is the most beautiful gift that I have received.  She brightens my day and warms my heart.  It’s difficult being a Mom, I don’t deny it.  There is no way to be a perfect mother, as such a thing does not exist.  But I strive to be a good mom.  I strive to teach my beautiful daughter the art of living, just as she has taught me the very same thing.  When I was pregnant, I found it odd that I was never alone, even though there was no one else in the room with me.  And now that she is six years old, I still find that I’m never alone, as she is always in my thoughts.  Before I do anything I always find that I have to think twice, once for me and once for her.  I feel that she and I are connected to one another.  She keeps me straight and true as she is the spine in my body.  She keeps me strong by being the blood which runs through me.  She is in my heart and keeps it beating. She is in my soul as she is my energy.  She is my biggest supporter and shares with me little wisdoms each day.  She shaped me into the person I am today.  I now cannot imagine how I ever lived without her.

Have A Little Faith

Fath Makes All Things Possible

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“Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there. “~Author Unknown

A while back someone said to me “If you want help, all you need to do is ask, and I’ll be there for you.” Actually, many people say this to me.  But there is a problem – a big problem. The problem is: I’m stubborn.  I really am.  And for those of you who know me, and are saying “noooo, really?” I say to you “shush up!”  Sit tight and hear me out.  I know I can be pig-headed, and I’ll be honest, I really don’t see anything wrong with that.  I know what I believe in, I know what is suits me, and until someone can show me something different, I’ll continue doing what I’m doing.  I’m open-minded; I want to learn new ways, and I’m willing to listen.  But like I said, I’m stubborn, and because of this, I sometimes suffer a great deal of hurt as a result of it.  I’m working on changing this though, albeit slowly, but I am working on it.

The other day I found myself on my knees.  I didn’t fall; I wasn’t searching for something on the ground.  I was on my knees because I was praying for a miracle. I was told some terrifying news which made me weak in the knees. This news scared me right down to my core, and has the potential to change my life forever.  Despite of all the troubles, heartache and tribulations I have been through in the past, this has to be the worst of it.  It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, and right now I feel like I am living it.  I hope it turns out to be a dream, but only time will tell.  This news is challenging me in ways which I have never been challenged before.  I don’t know what to do, and so I’m doing what feels to be the right thing at this moment.  I’m on my knees – well, not really, but figuratively speaking.

Life hasn’t been easy for me, especially these past few years. I’ve been through a lot. I’m not looking for sympathy, or pity, I’m just stating the facts.   It appears that as soon as life starts to get better, I get hit square in the forehead with another brick.  This time I I’ve been knocked out.  10 points to the thrower!

As I mentioned in an earlier post “God, I Hate You”, I’m not a religious person.  There are a lot of things that I just don’t agree with about religion, but one thing I have finally come to understand, is why people pray in their time of need.  I never fully understood the term “Have Faith.”  But right now, I’m learning more about my faith and what it means to have faith.  For some reason, I keep hearing Bon Jovi in my mind singing “Keep the faith.”  But what is faith and what does it mean to have faith?  I have no clue.  And so I went on a journey to figure this out.

And it wasn’t easy.  I’ve discovered that faith means many different things to many different people.  What you’re going to read is what faith means to me.

One thing I believe is that having faith does not mean that everything will work out fine.  Having faith is a huge stiffening process, and it hurts. I have learned that once I was willing to share my burden with a higher being, I felt lighter. By doing this, it makes life more bearable for me.  It doesn’t mean that my life will be without worry or care, no way.  But it took the fear that I was feeling, and somehow it turned it into some kind of a prayer.  It also kind of lets me see the sudden joys, the startling glimpses of happiness during all the tragedies which I am experiencing.  As a very wise woman who I had the honour of having a conversation with told me, faith doesn’t make things easy, it just makes things possible.

Faith is also a shovel.  I find that it allows me to dig deep into an inward reservoir and tap into a bunch of courage, hope, confidence and calmness which I didn’t think existed, especially in a time like this.  I am finding a sense of calmness around me, assuring that despite what could possibly happen, even if the unthinkable happens, that I will be ok, I will survive this. It also gets me through the day.

In the past I would have been full of self-pity.  I would hear “be strong” over and over again, but not understand what the heck that meant.  I have now understood that having faith allows you to be strong of soul, which in turn, feeds your body to allow it to be strong physically.  Self-pity is paralyzing.  It can be your worst enemy.  When I was wallowing in self-pity, I did not have faith.  Having faith wasn’t possible.  How could I give the situation everything I had to give, when I couldn’t see past myself, my despair?  I couldn’t understand what was happening, and so I was afraid.  I couldn’t do anything to help the situation because I was blind with fear.

And this time I was beyond fear, I was petrified.  But I was not blind.  The difference was that I had accepted what was happening, rather than resisting it.  I  handed over all my fear to God.  It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t afraid, I was, but I was not fearful.  I acknowledged the fear, said thank you to it, and said to God “Ok, now you hold onto it, so it doesn’t weigh me down, and I am able to do what I need to do.” Like I said before, faith makes things more bearable. I wasn’t about to let fear control me, make me useless.  By handing things over, I’m saying “Ok, this sucks, I know it.  I’m scared to death.  I hate what’s going on, but things also need to get done.”  But I’m now able to meet whatever comes my way head on with courage, and I vow to give it the best that I can give.  I’m not waiting for the storm to pass; instead I’m walking right into it head on.  It makes things less scary.  I know that with the storm I’m going to get wet, but I also know that I have an opportunity to dance in the rain as well.

Life may not turn out as I had hoped.  I can see that very clearly, and I also know this for a fact.  But it’s a lot less lonely now, and it’s comforting to know that I have someone around me all the time, even when I’m alone.

But the one big thing I learned the most about having faith is that in order for me to be in touch with my faith I had to ask for help.  I had to be willing to hand over what I need help with otherwise I couldn’t be helped.   And this is what faith is: asking for help, and accepting, receiving, help when it arrives.  And this was my biggest problem in the past.  I was too stubborn to ask.

The Ending Is The Beginning

“Let me give my love to you.
Let me take your hand.
And as we walk in the dimming light
Oh darling understand
That everything ends…” ― Death Cab for Cutie

The most unthinkable thing happened to me today.  It’s so tragic.  I feel like crying.  I’m not sure how it happened, as I thought I had planned it so well, but obviously I didn’t.  I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to go on, as I feel this huge sense of loss within me.  I ran out of Black & Gold Dark Chocolate Covered Licorice.  Yes, this is horrible!  You see, you can’t find Black & Gold in Toronto.  Recently I received four packages of this yummy confectionary, and I paced myself, trying to let it last for a very long time.  But I miscalculated, and when I finished the package today, I thought I had one more left, but I don’t.  It’s all gone.  I don’t know when I will get some more.  When I received the licorice, I knew that one day there would be no more, but when something like this sneaks up on you, it sucks big time. And because I’m a thinker, I started doing just that….I began thinking about endings.

Through my enjoyment of Black & Gold, I knew that eventually the day would come when there would be no more.  My stash would end.  I began thinking about my relationship with this yummy substance, this love affair.  As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and so I wanted to know what was so sad about this ending?  Sure, I can’t enjoy them anymore, but I sure am happy that I had the chance to.  What exactly was making me sad?  I used to think that there were two types of endings – either happy ones or sad ones, but really, there are more.  What I now think to be the opposite of a happy ending is an unsatisfying ending, as sad endings can be happy ones too.  It’s the unsatisfying ones that really cut like a knife, and this is why I’m so distraught.

I must admit, that despite my unhappiness about not having any more Black & Gold, I do like endings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love beginnings too, such as a new job, a new love, new home, but nothing has the satisfaction of an ending, whether it be happy or sad.  It’s the rawness of the emotions felt which I think people shy away from, or rather, run away from, such as a heart wrenching goodbye, an irreversible fight, and end to a good time.  I don’t see endings as being bad.  I look at them to mean that something else is about to begin.  Room is being made in my life for something else, which could be equally as good, if not better.  If you look at it, many things in our life do not really end, they just begin again in a new way, shape or form.  For example, I knew for a while that my marriage had to end. It was hard for me to see it, to acknowledge it, and I never thought that I’d be the one to end it.  But the relationship with my ex as husband and wife did end, but our relationship has also begun again in a new form, we just play different roles now. I was extremely sad, hurt, angry and distraught when our relationship as husband and wife ended, even though I knew that there was something to look forward to on the other side, a new life for the both of us. I had thought that perhaps we could get along better as non-spouses, and one day we will get there, it will just take time. And when we do, the relationship we have now will also end in order to allow for a new cooperative relationship to begin.  But between the beginning and end is the journey.  The middle part is where it feels like we are sometimes walking on eggshells, or on tightrope above a flaming wild fire.  The middle part is the most important part, where you can grow.

Another thing I noticed is that endings, although they can sneak up on us, we can also see them from a mile away if we allow ourselves to really look at them.  For example, we hang onto friendships because of the past, because of the memories, instead of letting them go. We sometimes feel obligated to spend time with these people even though we’d rather spend the night tweezing out leg hairs one by one than go out with them.  That relationship should have ended long ago, but we blind ourselves from it.  If we allow ourselves to see when something needs to end, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be felt in the ending of it.  There is some type of weight which is lifted off of our shoulders, a sense of freedom, such as resigning from an unsatisfactory job.

Ending can also be bitter sweet.  An example is when my father was dying.  I knew that the day would come when the cancer would take over.  I tried to prepare myself the best I could, but you never really can prepare for something like this.  As I held his hand while he was in his hospital bed, I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye him taking his last breath.  I was distraught at the thought of my father leaving this world, the ending of our physical relationship together.  But when I saw him take his last exhale, I remember how beautiful it was to see his spirit soar.  The beauty I saw in my father all of his life was not that of his physical body, but rather the presence of his beautiful spirit within him.  This ending is what I call a bitter sweet ending, the beauty and sadness all meshed into one; a happy sad ending.

Endings can be seen as closing chapters in your life, in order to begin a new chapter.  However, I see it also as a finishing of one of the books of your life.  You see, chapters are part of the same story, but new books can be new adventures, new lives.  I believe that there is an opportunity to make life the way you want it.  Not every ending needs to be sad and heart wrenching.  It’s all in how you look at it.  Your perception becomes your reality.

To Fear or Not To Fear?

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are – Don Miguel Ruiz

There are times when I feel like as if I’m a marionette puppet.  I’m being stringed along,  doing the daily grind and many times in my life I have wondered, is this what life is supposed to be all about?  Really? Because if it is, this really sucks.  I appreciate the people and things I have in my life, but I feel as if something is missing.  I look at around me, and everyone seems happy, content at where they are in life, and I say to myself “Smarite, are you sure there isn’t something wrong with YOU!?!”

You know, there IS something wrong with me.  I can feel it inside my chest most times. No, I’m not having a heart attack and I don’t have indigestion.  I’m talking about that painful, heart-twisting, hollow feeling in my chest.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s the one that when you quietly sit alone long enough, and truly listen to what your inner voice is trying to say to you, you start to get so scared at what you might hear that you want to cover your ears and yell “LA, LA, LA, LA.”  I’m working up the courage to hear THAT voice right now.

I want to hear what is being said to me, and I know it won’t be easy to do so.  This requires me to look deep into my soul and truly face that fear I’m so desperately trying to run away from.  It means that I have to finally allow myself to see the horrible things in MY world, and literally scare myself to death.  It means letting the old me die, in order to become the new me, and essentially have phoenix processes over and over again.  I’ve done that before, but looking back, those were mini ones.  This time it’s going to be big.

This means that I will have to dig deep inside and face the things that keep me up at night.  Confront the ‘boogey men’ and the ‘wolves’ which frightened me.  I need to find out what paralyzes me at night; so much so that I am afraid to set my tiny toes to the ground for fear that something from under the bed will grab hold of me, and suck me underneath.

But before I can face these items terror, I feel that I need to learn a bit more about fear.  When I think of fear, I feel alone, shaken, desperate and out of control.  I think fear is something that we learn over time, something that is instilled in us.  I remember my daughter when she was first born, and going through all her ‘firsts’ – crawling, walking, running etc.  She would fall and pick herself up again and try again.  She didn’t cry, she wasn’t scared, and mostly because I didn’t react with fear.  But when she would try things that I found to be fearful, she would act in a certain way because I would project my feelings onto her.  She learned to be scared, frightened. Over time she would become paralysed with fear herself and not try new things.  Looking back at those things she didn’t try, I robbed her from new experiences which would have allowed her to grow.  Now, with encouragement she is building her esteem up and becoming confident in herself and the things she can do. So to me, I don’t think fear is present with us at birth, but something we learn over time.  Fear really stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

So I know there is something I’m fearful of in taking this journey of self-discovery.  I know that I have a choice in this matter, I can either face my fears and weaknesses, or I can continue stopping myself, really, from living.  There is nothing else stopping me but me.  I know that even though I’m frightened, life is sending to me people and circumstances which support and enable me to face my fears.  It keeps giving me opportunities to transcend.  I see the signs, but why am I stopping myself?

I don’t know.

I’m lying.  I do know.  I’m afraid of what I may find out.  Actually, I just lied again.  I know what I will find out, and what I’m afraid of is the confirmation of that I am right – that I have been right all along.  My fear is not of the boogey men or the wolves.  My fear isn’t of discovering some big family secret.  My fear is in the knowing that the answer has been in me all along, and that what I have been searching for boils down to is love.  Yes, one word: LOVE.

The one and only answer is love.  I’m afraid to love, accept and forgive myself.  I see that there is a huge disjoint with the level I love myself and others.  The level to which I can give love, acceptance and forgiveness to others should be a mirror of how much I can give myself.  But I’m afraid to love myself.  And I know that whenever anything other than love shows up to my doorstep, I know it’s the universe mirroring back to me what I’m putting out there because I’m not loving myself unconditionally.  I need to ask myself at those times “why do I feel like this?” rather than pointing to the other person saying “you did this, you’re wrong, life is unfair or the world is a big, bad, scary place.”

But I don’t want to ask myself why I’m feeling that way, because it means to look into myself and find out why I’m not loving myself.  It means looking to find out why I’m feeling inadequate.  My fear is in the realisation that I am NOT inadequate, I AM powerful, I AM capable, I AM beautiful, I AM smart, I AM talented.  I just don’t understand why I don’t give myself permission to be.  Why am I afraid to love?  Why am I afraid to live?