Category Archives: Progress

39 More Days

Only 39 days left until Sunday – January 1, 2017!  39!!  I don’t know where the time goes.  Most days, it all seems to pass in a blur … a blur of depression, sadness, hurt, tiredness.  The past two years, I have to admit, has seen me at my most vulnerable in real time and not just via words on my blog.  I have had some heart-to-heart conversations with family and so-called friends who have hurt me or not been there for me in my darkest hours.  I have done a lot of de-cluttering of my life.  I may still be alone, but I am at peace.

I have tried to make each year better but I failed so many times.   I pray that 2017 is it – the biggest year for me yet.  I have been living off the radar, under the bar for so long.  Now I just want to shine bright.  I want to be noticed – I want to be appreciated.

I wish I knew now what I have learned while dealing with the death of so many loved ones back-to-back.  I believe I wouldn’t have lost so many good years due to my mourning.  I put myself in such a dark place, such a sinking hole.

Ironically, I have complained that I had no support system but honestly I realize now how much I cut people out, and how easy immediate family made it for me.  As for new friends, I rarely let new people in my life the past 15 years.  Working hard on trying now.   I need and want people in my life – but worthy, deserving people.  I want to be able to build each other up, not tear each other down.

For so many years, being strong found me pretending to be okay.  I didn’t want to appear weak.  But this pretending came with a very high cost which I am still paying the price.  I shut people out, I lost interest in so many things, I gave up, I let depression and PTSD keep me mired down in grief.  I hid parts of me away.  I would not get really close to anyone.  I kept to myself, isolated.  I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable nor have anyone worry about me.  So today, I have no support system and no one is worried about me.  I guess I ultimately got what I thought I wanted.  Emotional seclusion instead of a complete and utter breakdown is where I have been residing.  And the few times I have let myself be honest, forthcoming, and vulnerable, I have been met with lack of understanding.  So I withdrew even more.

It’s such a cycle.  When a person like me who is already an introvert, keeps everything inside, never fully accepting how messed up I really was, it’s all downhill from there.  I find myself trying so hard to crawl out of the dungeon I found myself in.  Writing has helped me tremendously.  Social media  has helped me as well – I get to be somewhat social without actually investing in friendships too much or sharing true intimacy.   It has provided an outlet – a necessary one.  I need to search and bare my soul.  I need some guidance, acceptance, understanding – even if it at first it appears shallow.  We all need to feel connected.   I’m thankful that social media has brought people back into my life. To me, the past few years have been a rebirth for me – learning how to crawl, walk, talk … all over again.  Now I am more than ready to spread my wings and fly away … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.

Makes me think….

Life…everyday life provides a lesson…makes me think…mmt…

I have learned that life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never ending commitment to push forward even when times are tough…

I am not sure who said this first, but I firmly believe that sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, smarter version of yourself….I know, because I feel that I am getting there myself.

My Mom was admitted to the hospital last night and trying to reach out to immediate family proves to be so disheartening – they are so non-responsive and so quick to judge.  I pray that they come around and actually care what happens to her, to me, to others.  Life is way too short – I am sad that so many in my own family have not grasped this yet.  They hold grudges; they ignore the goodness in others.

Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be. But it is these losses that make us stronger and eventually move us toward future opportunities for growth and happiness…if we pay attention.

Over the past years I have dealt with several hardships, including the sudden death of my only brother, the death of my father, the loss of my heart and a few best friends to terrorism on 9/11, betrayal from a close childhood friend, and an unexpected employment layoff.  These experiences were brutal. Each of them, naturally, knocked me down and off course for periods of time.  But when my time of mourning was over in each individual circumstance, I like to think I moved forward, evenutally, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life….and a respect for myself…I got lost somewhere back there, but no more.

Times like this only reinforce the lessons I have learned along the way…

I am NOT what happened to me in the past…No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. I am not my past failures. I am not how others have at one time treated me.  I am only who I think I am right now in this moment. I am only what I do right now in this moment.

I try every day to focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have. The important thing is simply to find one POSITIVE thought that inspires and helps you move forward.  Hold on to it strongly, and focus on it. You may feel like you don’t have much or anything at all, but for me, I know I have my mind to inspire me and my writing. And I have realized that’s really all I needed to start moving forward again.

I have learned…

That struggling with problems is a natural part of growing up – part of living is experiencing unexpected troubles in life. People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die.

That it really is okay to fall apart for a while – no longer pretend to be strong all of the time, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. I no longer concern myself with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears and to pig out on chocolate.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again. And trust me, a smile doesn’t always mean I am happy; sometimes it simply means that I know I will get through the day, and that I am strong enough to face any problems.

That life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems.  Life and time are not promises.  There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone.  Sad reality is that right now, somewhere, someone is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today. This is sad but true. So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it – even this oppressive heat and humidity today. Every moment we get is a gift. Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things. Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go.  I  know I am.

That at times no matter how hard I try, I will fail sometimes.

That I have the capacity to create my own happiness; to reinvent my life.

That everything that happens is a life lesson.

That I should view every challenge as an educational assignment.

That feelings, people, things change, and time keeps rolling and the sun always rises the next day; The bad news: nothing is permanent. The good news: nothing is permanent.

That giving up and moving on are two very different things.

That distancing ourselves from negative people is essential.

That perfect relationships, people don’t exist.

That we all must love ourselves. – One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, missing them too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

That we shouldn’t allow others to make decisions for us.

That holding onto grudges, resentment only hurts us; forgive people and move on, even if they never ask for your forgiveness. Don’t do it for them – do it for youself. Grudges are a waste of happiness.

That you’re not alone. Everyone has problems.

That there is still so much to be thankful for. Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of brave people who are overcoming it. Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

That honesty is still the best policy! It’s better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie. – You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. It’s always better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.

That there will always be people who dislike you. – You can’t be everything to everyone. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What others think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.

That you are better off without some people you thought you needed. – The sad truth is, there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave.

That you can’t control everything that happens to you – only how you react to things.

That you are not trapped; you just need to re-learn a few things and refocus.

That most things in life are two-sided. – There is good reason why we can’t expect to feel pleasure without ever feeling pain; joy without ever feeling sorrow; confident without ever feeling fear; calm without ever feeling restless; hope without ever feeling despair: There is no such
thing as a one-sided coin in life, with which one can buy a pain-free, trouble-free existence. If you find one, please send my way.

That you always have a choice; there are always at least two options. If you can’t physically change something, you can change the way you think about it.

That sometimes you really need to let others in when you’re in a dark place. That it is okay to admit you need someone, some help, sometimes.

That asking negative questions, usually only results in getting negative answers. There are no positive answers to, “Why me?” “Why didn’t I?” “What if?” etc. So stop and swap them for questions that push you in a positive direction. For instance, “What have I learned from this experience?” “What can I do right now to move forward?”

And the most important lesson I have learned is that life was never meant to be easy, it is however meant to be lived the best way possible…as my pal George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage — it can be delightful.” So let’s all live life to fullest, pray for those who haven’t learned and for those who no longer can…mm♥

Something clever, wise, pithy and at times melancholy…Oh my!

I am feeling pithy and melancholy…Uh oh – probably not the best combination! But it’s yet another rainy, gloomy day and I am still beyond exhausted, feeling slightly less stupid. I am only responsible for what I say not for what others understand. Life is all about trusting our feelings, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, appreciating the memories and forgetting the past.

Best advice in two lines:

  1. Silence is the best answer for all questions.
  2. Smiling is the best reaction in all situations.

And…If you find yourself trapped between your own feelings and what others think is right, always go for whatever makes you happy unless you want everybody to be happy except you.  Trust me – I learned this a little too late in life.

There’s always a little truth behind every ‘just kidding’…

A little curiosity behind every ‘just wondering’

A little emotion behind every ‘I don’t care’

A little knowledge behind every ‘I don’t know’

A little love behind every ‘I hate you’

A little I need you behind every ‘leave me alone’

And a little pain behind every ‘its ok’…

With Memorial weekend fast approaching and summer right around the corner – I am working hard on not gaining weight, just knowledge….♥

Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you;  love, prayer and forgiveness.

Received a new Blackberry Bold 4G at work and wow its takes great clear pictures….Let’s all treat life as a class in photography…

Capture every moment,

Enjoy each shot

Don’t miss a frame,

Identify what went wrong and get better with the next shot,

Develop the negative into something beautiful

Life offers a lot of things and challenges…enjoy it!

Remember finding peace is not about being in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work; it means to be in the midst of these things and still remaining calm in our hearts…♥

T needs to toughen up!

Ever feel like a failure at work, at life in general?   *sigh*  This second, this past week and weekend, already spilling into this new week – sadly this is how I feel.  I had to work late each day last week all through the weekend, and I was not able to be as successfully productive and effective as I would have liked.

I am in the midst of yet an equally busy week. But I am so exhausted.  Being sickly, trying to work a full-time job is so much harder than I ever imagined.  But I am hopeful…I will keep trying to rise in life and at work even when I feel like a failure.

In the fall of 2001, when life knocked me down to my knees and I lost everything – I was so lost, I felt like a complete failure. What I learned was that by making a decision to rise above any and all circumstances, backed with the strongest inner vision of true heartfelt purpose, one day at a time, one moment at a time, I continue to be able to transform my entire life.

Overcoming adversity is something I no longer feel like a complete failure at – I just have to somehow apply this to my everyday life.  I am still learning that….no experience is a failure.  I am not a failure simply because I have yet to achieve all that I desire.  Experience is definitely a good teacher – as long  as I am open to change.  I believe that the fateful twists of life amid our tragedies are what bring us our greatest strength and wisdom.  Trying not to judge myself as a failure simply because I have not yet succeeded at so many things.  I believe my time has come…I am deserving to have all of my desires and joys manifested.   With resolve, understanding, faith and decisiveness, I am slowly creating the life I want and desire.  I just need to STOP buying into the false belief that I am “less than” any other person.  Working on not comparing myself to no one; but to gain inspiration from the few who have shared their pain and have overcome their own darkest hours.  I am learning that the only difference between them and me is a stable support system, and an inner resolve, a decision backed with sheer will, vision, determination, and consistency.

“Winners never quit and quitters never win”….It’s an old saying that I’m sure you’ve heard many times before.  But just how much truth is behind those words?  When and how do you know if it’s the right choice to cut and run and throw in the towel?

You are never ever going to follow every single path you begin to it’s end destination.  You change. Your life changes. Your goals constantly change.   Every step that you take, causes you to grow and stretch beyond your current boundaries. Sometimes those changes will almost predetermine your need to give in and throw in that towel in certain areas.

It’s not a failure to give in.  It’s a courageous act, too often unrecognized.

Decisions are tough, and the bigger attachment you have to the outcome the tougher they can be. Be honest in your assessment.  You can play head-games forever and  justify your argument no matter which side of the coin you’re backing.  I need to believe that we all  struggle with throwing in the towel, second guessing ourselves becomes part of our nature.

On my journey….learning to toughen up!!!  ♥

Just learning to be ME….creating beauty.

It has been a good year for me…especially deep down, where it counts.  My self-esteem is at an all-time high.  I have come to realize that there are people out there who try to bring me down – which I have finally realized and accepted only means that I am above them.  Yup!   And if that sounds like I am egotistical, then so be it.  I know who I am…and I will never again allow another person to doubt myself, make me feel less than whole.

Some may say that I have erected the walls around me because I am scared; but I don’t agree.  I know that these walls around me protect me from false people.  In my self-imposed isolation, I have learned my self-worth.  I have been able to discover who I really am, and who I continually strive to be.   I no longer look outside to others to define my value.

For years, I have tried getting my mother to actually like me, be proud of me – but now I just accept her lack of approval and interest in me and my life.  I no longer seek it; I no longer become so sad by it that it hinders me.   I have changed.   I no longer feel the need to try to convince her or anyone else that I am right or good; it’s more about acting from the center of my own heart with convictions that are unshakeable by someone else’s judgment.

I have learned that everyone, yes including me, creates their own beauty…with our actions, attitudes, and behavior.   When you know who you are, you can do anything…♥

“Everyone comes in and out of your life at certain times for a reason.”

Wow – I feel like I have not written a word in months…been busy quitting a job, looking for full time work, trying to pay bills, stay above water, fighting back depression, trying to stay positive, reconnecting with an old friend, trying to maintain my new friendships, trying to get in shape for summer….*sigh* …its no wonder I am exhausted.

I found a new job.  Its Friday, so I survived the full week.  Made actual dinner plans for Saturday night.  Joined a gym.  *yikes*  A lot of change for me in a short period of time.  Learning to relax and just go with it….so far so good.  Two of my favorite things about growing older are the lessons that you learn and passing that advice onto others, if lucky.  As I was sitting on the train this morning, relaxing and not really thinking about anything in particular.  All of a sudden, the phrase crossed my mind, “Everyone comes in and out of your life at certain times for a reason.”

A beautiful young lady, who I spoken to a couple of times on the phone, and just met in person late last week, wrote the most wonderful thing to me that has stayed with me for the entire week, and I need to share:

Hi Tere,

It was really so great speaking to you earlier. I have to say, my favorite part of this job, is occasionally I speak to someone who really touches my heart.

Even though we have not met yet, I find such similarities in our stories. Even though we might be a few years apart in age. It really sounds like you have come through a lot and are excited about a new future! …. I know you are going to love the club. Anything I can do to help you enjoy this experience more, I would love to help.

Words, simple at best, just stirred something real deep within me.  A wonderful man who I had the good fortune to work with at my last consulting gig for a few months, provided me with such a fantastic reference that I know its partly due to him, I landed my new job so quickly.  He helped me re-write my resume, always had words of wisdom, encouragement.  I am blessed to have met him.  He sent me a note(s) that stated:

CONGRATULATIONS!…how fast you landed is indicative of your value, competency, capability and presentability.  The market has spoken and rewarded you!  I always say “Cream rises to the top”…I want to share my good fortune at work and for meeting such a spark of life and wonderful person as yourself…The new place will quickly appreciate your skills, common sense touch and work ethic.

I wonder if my friend, former colleague, knows the profound difference he has made in my life?  I am starting over.  And in doing so have learned that sometimes its all the little things that amount to something great.  And being grateful, surrounding ourselves with positive people, gets us through the next hurdle.

“Everyone comes in and out of your life at a certain time for a reason”

This phrase  can be applied to friends, family members, co-workers, partners, neighbors, grocery store cashiers, complete strangers, etc. Every single person you meet or have a relationship with is placed in your life for a greater purpose. The lessons that you learn from that person are meant to help your soul grow and develop.  Think about some of the influential people that you have known in your life.  Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.  And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

*Everything happens for a reason.*

Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck.

Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul.  Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be learned from.  In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.

Sometimes I wonder why a particular person is in my life. Sometimes I can pinpoint what I think the reason is, but I also believe that there is an even grander reason that I cannot see at this time in my life. I like to think that the Universe and God have a larger plan than any of us humans can imagine. Have you ever wanted something so badly only to not have your wish come true? Then, something even better than what you had wished for somehow ended up happening. That is how I view life. I can’t understand how or why things happen, but I have faith and hope that everything happens for a greater reason. That’s part of the reason why I believe that people come in and out of our life for a reason…and why some are just meant to stay forever, even if just in our hearts.   This is my life…♥

Let there be light…

It is Wednesday afternoon and I would estimate that I am at a 55% personal restoration rate.  Let me explain, last night I went out after 9pm, stayed out way past my bedtime, could not sleep, tossing around yet another mild rejection.  Earlier yesterday, I was so blissfully unaware of what lay ahead for me.  I just thought, heck, life is short – it was Fat Tuesday, let me go out and enjoy!  *sigh*  I was able to confirm some nagging questions I had though.  So that is good.  I think I am finally able to put some things and people behind me.  Some closure was warranted.  And as hungover and achy as I may be today, my head is clear, my heart still open. 

Kick the darkness till it bleeds daylight…

“It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years – we turn on the light and it is illuminated.

Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

Now what?!

The past year or so, I found myself re-entering the workforce after my divorce and caring for my parents.  Who knew this would coincide with one of the worst economic cycles ever?  As if it weren’t bad enough trying to wade through all the emotional, financial, and logistical obstacles leading up to the divorce.   In the past year, I actually found myself trying to compete with younger, smarter, straight out of of college kids who have no real responsibilities nor financial burdens – so they were willing to work cheaper and work longer hours.  I have been, at times, so scared to be back out here – that there have been more than one paralyzing moment after another.   Under much duress and time constraints, I took a role too quickly and now find myself in  a corner of working way beneath what I should be earning.  Such is life I guess. 

Temping and consulting the past year, has been difficult, but is helping me move forward.  One difficult issue for me was low self-confidence.  I felt old, rusty, out of touch with all the new technologies.  Most of my professional network was full of outdated contacts.  This loss of self-confidence led to “analysis paralysis” – extreme procrastination and inertia. 

Now I am pushing through that “I don’t know where to begin” phase.   Finding myself in this transition, I am stepping back, clarifying what I want and need, and am not as scared nor paralyzed anymore.   I have dipped my toe in the vast world of the workforce, and am ready to look for something more challenging, better paying, continuing to re-assess my skills and worth.   Learning what issues I am willing to be flexible on, what is non-negotiable and why.

At the same, I am trying to work hard at pursuing my other passions of writing and traveling…let’s not forget eating…

Wish me luck…

It‘s not where we stand but in what direction we are moving….

You know what makes me happily relieved??  It makes me happy to know that none of us were provided a how-to guide at living…we are all just kind of winging it. The struggles make us stronger, changes make us wise, and happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time…sometimes I wonder if I have learned anything about life or will I be condemned to wander the world learning little and basically understanding nothing?!

But I have learned….that everything that happens – good and bad – can be a life lesson.

Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be.  But it is these losses that make us stronger and if we keep an open mind, we can work on moving forward, toward future opportunities for growth and happiness.

I am proof that sometimes you have to die a little on the inside in order to learn how to get back up and start living life again – working on becoming a stronger, smarter version of myself.

I have learned to stop berating myself for being a work in progress.  I have started embracing it!

I have learned that being a work in progress doesn’t mean I am not good enough today.  It means I want a better tomorrow.  I am working on healing my heart, expanding my mind and developing the gifts I know I was meant to share – hence my blog, my writing. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!

I have learned that I have to stop spending time with negative people.  I plan on spending more time with nice people who are smart, driven and creative.   Working on surrounding myself with people who reflect the person I want to be.  Life is way too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of us.  When you free yourself of negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the simplest way to live.  That is what I have learned…and continue to strive for.

I have learned that I am not just what has happened to me in the past.  No matter how sad, chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate.   I am not only my past habits.  I am not just my past failures.  I am free to be the ME that I want to be…

My daily mantra:  “Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me.  Dear Future, I am ready now…and Here I Am”.

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