Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Dragonfly - Who Knew?

Growing up in the Midwest, I never really paid attention to dragonflies.  Once I knew they wouldn't sting you like wasps, bees and hornets (ouch!), I just saw them and knew I didn't have to feel fear.

Recently in Texas, hanging out with a friend at her pool, a dragonfly landed on me, and she told me it was "good luck."  Laughing, I said that I could use a lot more dragonflies then!  It did return a couple of times, landing on me now and again, and I thanked the little beauty... just in case it was actually trying to provide me some good vibes.

Two days later, at our apartment pool, three different dragonflies kept landing on me - the funniest was a blue on my nose... and yes, one decided to rest on my butt for a bit!  Thinking of what Angie suggested about "luck," I referred to Google for some information.

Of course there is no way to know - every interaction is based on your own perception - but after reading that they carry "wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life," I feel that these little creatures are trying to remind me of my goals.  To Clear my head and get rid of all the baggage that no longer serves me; to Connect spiritually to God and nature and all the Powers That Be; to Continue to grow and develop and flourish as the best person I can be.  To not give up.  Keep looking inward for clarity and know that I am glorious and loving and encouraging.  Success is my own measure, and I have so many blessings.

My journey is nowhere close to being complete - besides, what would I do if it were?  Relax?  Not likely.  But perhaps these aerial beings are coming to me to alert me to lighten up.

I'd like to believe they are sharing the following with me:  Problems aren't generally solved quickly - especially the big ones.  True solutions take time.  Patience is a gift and needs to be practiced to be performed well.  Stay light and adaptable, like the dragonflies, and ride on the winds of life.  You'll arrive where you are meant to be, and you'll know when you get there.   "Stay open to the enfoldment of your personal journey."  I like it... maybe I need another tattoo.

My Google reading sources:
http://www.spiritanimal.info/dragonfly-spirit-animal/
https://themoonlightshop.com/blogs/news/17224984-dragonflies-and-you

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Waiting for the Right Time...

I hold on to the belief that everything happens for a reason.  Experiences shape our character and the people we meet affect our personality.

When I moved to Austin in August (2017), I did not feel ready to leave.  Yes, I was determined and I admit that I was pretty damn excited, but I did not feel it was the right time to leave my friends and to move my daughter in her high school experience.  The latter happened to me, and I hated it and have held the extreme disappointment ever since.  I did make forever-friends in Wisconsin who I truly wish I could see a lot more often... but I am still upset that I did not get the "Senior Night on the football track" for Dance Team, and now, neither will my beautiful, talented, stunning daughter.  But Hope is not me.  She is stronger and wiser and has appreciation for the much broader scope of life that this relocation has provided.

My teenage daughter recognized it before I was able to do so.  I love Peoria... but I did feel limited there.  I pushed to own my own business, networked, and did all I could to feel successful.  But shifting to a larger city in a climate that is much more suited to my hot blood... I know it was the right thing to do.

Given choices, I put off moving for her to have the High School experience that I had wanted... but things never go as I plan, and my daughter is flourishing.  We have a very open friendship now, too, and I am finally able to celebrate that she actually likes me, wants to spend time with me and holds respect for me that I made a drastic move in hopes to improve life for all three of us.

If I had waited for the "right" time, I don't think any of this would have happened.  I would not know myself as well as I do at this moment (and I still have a lot left to learn!), and I don't think I would hold so much continued excitement for the future. 

I still don't know if Austin will be where I stay, but it is definitely my HOME right now.  "When nothing is certain, anything is possible."  There is a whole, big world out there... And the time to take leaps is always "right" because not only will everything be okay - things can be amazing if you just stop thinking and take the chance.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Another Year - an Unusual Year - Passes...

Another birthday passes, and this one was quite unusual.  I trusted friends who encouraged me that "the 40's" were going to be great - that you finally "know yourself" and are comfortable in your skin.  After moving to Austin nine months ago, that's certainly not my experience!  Not yet, anyway.

I was making progress solo in ATX, though.  Sure, I'm not currently pursuing my passion in a career.  I'm not living in a space that is where I want to be after my daughter graduates high school.  I've accepted that I will never inhabit the body of my choice, and I work with what I was given.  But I continue to try to figure out my purpose in this world, and I don't feel remotely close.  

My first birthday as an Austin resident was spent in my hometown of Peoria, Illinois.  My sophomore daughter was invited to a prom, so - as a great parent would do, right? - I bought plane tickets and decided her monumental weekend was more important than another birthday in my books.

Then - the Illinois boyfriend broke up with my princess.  We had already purchased the dress, bought the shoes, notified some friends... so, I let her decide if we should cancel.  She asked if we could enjoy a "Girls Trip" weekend, or as I call it Non-Prom.  "Sure!  Sounds like fun!" I thought. 

Central Illinois had beautiful weather during our visit - but still certainly not warm enough to keep me there.  It really was terrific to see so many of my amazing and wonderful friends.  Moving 1,000 miles away and leaving most of the people I love has been difficult.  I have questioned my decision at least a million times.  But yes, I did the right thing by leaving.  Growth and development demand change - and I had been in great need of major change for several years.

For those I was able to see - even briefly - it meant so very much to me.  It is not being able to see my friends that are so far away that makes my heart ache the most.  Reflecting as we made our way back to Texas, I hope that seeing me wasn't a disappointment to anyone.  I am still evolving, and I have a lot left to resolve and heal. 

I know I don't belong in Peoria anymore, but I'm not sure I belong in Austin.  Maybe I will never really feel like I belong anywhere... but I'm stuck with me for the rest of my life, and I will have to keep working on it

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Life Ends - How it Should Change Us

A dear friend of mine just lost her second round battling cancer on March 27th.  More than that, however, our world lost the presence of one of the most positive, encouraging spirits I have ever met.

In all her roles, Amy led fitness classes, but I met her when our children were attending Elementary school.  She had a fierce, powerful presence that was a bit intimidating when I first saw her, but when I made a comment and we started our first conversation, I immediately knew that she was an amazing being that I simply HAD to have in my life.

Moving school districts, I was not able to see Amy frequently, but social media kept us in touch.  We never "got together" nearly enough, yet, the times I was able to spend with her - even if they were moments - were always inspiring.  My heart is aching that I will not be able to share any more time on this planet with her, and I am unbelievably sad that I cannot be in Illinois to say a farewell to her and offer any support to her family.

The fact that there are billions of us roaming around this planet and that I am so blessed to know so many incredible individuals truly blows my mind sometimes.  My dad asked me on the phone last night if I miss Illinois... I miss the people.  I miss the community.  I miss seeing so many lovable faces and having so many fantastic talks.

But it also makes me feel lucky.  There is a bit of every friendship that I carry with me, that makes me the unique person that I am and continue to aspire to be.  I only wish we had more time to spend together - and time is not guaranteed to any of us.   It feels cliche to echo the "make the most of today, it could be your last" comments that most people voice after losing someone they love.  But it is true - death reminds us that we are still alive.  Most of us get into sort of a panic that we need to spend every possible moment while we are here making our lives grand and doing what we can to make the lives of others even better than that!

Sadness fades as people ease back into routines.  I do, however, feel it's a little different for me right now, being 1,000 miles from so many people that have my heart.  I hope it makes me different anyway.  I want it to change me and help me appreciate every day a bit more.

Amy's spirit is one of the encouragements I had when I finally decided to go for it and obtain certification as a dance fitness instructor this year.  There will always be a piece of her inspiration with me when I share my SHiNE classes.  It will help me have courage to keep doing things out of my comfort zone, and her compassion will show through me as I encourage others.  Life can go on... just in a different form.

May the Force be with you, Amy.  You will always be a true hero.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Always Challenges - Nothing is Easy

"If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you."  Road blocks and hurdles.  My life.  I'm sure most people have struggles, but honestly, I question why nothing is ever easy for me.  Ever.

From moving to a new city, achieving my certification as a dance fitness instructor, having a medical procedure done... I am constantly accepting that nothing goes as I plan or how I perceive it should.  It's taken quite a while, but I am learning that it's all part of the process.  My process anyway.  Accepting it and letting go of the outcomes... it's difficult, but I know that I have gotten better about it.  I think because I cannot control life, I developed the passion for planning events.

While continuing to face challenges and persevere is my goal and the messages I want to share, I admit that it gets tiring.  And old.  I have too many "why the hell can't things just happen?" moments.  Since I don't want to write about those, I have started, edited and scrapped Post after Post the last couple months.  Then, we watched the animated film called "Inside Out" this past weekend.

The realization that sadness and joy are partners really hit me.  Rather than focus on the obstacles, look at the steps taken for achievements.  They go together.  If things are meant to be, it will work out how it's supposed to in the end.  And if not, it was a lesson.  While I don't like to complain and I resist negativity as much as I can, my feelings of helplessness and despair do give me depth as a person.  Discouragement is something we should all be able to relate to.  While some of my friends seem to have easier lives than others, we all have our disappointments and hardships.  It's how we as humans connect.  True friendships share the hard times, and that helps them celebrate the joys even more.

Life is not simple, and finding glimmers of hope can seem impossible at times.  But darkness is required for us to enjoy light... and we need to be comfortable with both.   On my "Continuing" path, (https://www.facebook.com/marnisblog/?pnref=lhc), I do want to share that the constant resilience is the most difficult part for me.  I have challenges, and they help change me... so they will keep coming, and I will keep learning.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Affirmations and Perspective

Affirmations are statements that we can repeat to ourselves that can redirect our perspective, which is our attitude and outlook on our lives.

There are so many negative people, and unfortunately, more are being created every day.  Poor souls that just want to bring you down and make you feel inferior.  It is difficult for me to remember that this behavior is so much more about "them" than it is about me.  It is challenging for me to not take things personally and back up to see the bigger picture.

I am so blessed with a tremendous support team.  I am loved and cared for and encouraged by so many amazing, talented people.  I need to remember to give those people the megaphones and redirect my attention away from the doubters and haters - even when the loudest one happens to be me.

It is very easy for me to allow the negativity to pull me down and to focus on all that is going wrong or areas of my life that feel completely out of my control.  Thankfully, I have the glimmer of words spoken to me or written to me that live in my memory.  Devoting my attention to those reminders and absorbing them as much as possible truly helps me rise above the struggles and just keep going.

Amplifying the positive statements and pulling them into the spotlight helps me to continue to be my best and push to be even better.  I've worked too hard on myself to quit and give up... and I owe it to all those I adore and treasure to keep inspiring them as they encourage me.  Low moments make me vulnerable, but rising back up helps me to be courageous, which is the goal after all.  Out of the comfort zone.  Evolving.  It isn't easy - which is why most people don't want to do it. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

How Badly Do You Want it?

Over the past year, I have endured many new tests.  Just like most people, I have faced barriers and challenges my entire life, but the magnitude of what I have faced and what I have accomplished (specifically since March 2017) has been pretty incredible.
 
When knowing Chad would not find a new job in Peoria, Illinois, at the time, I didn't know when he would be moving, what I would have to do on my own, or how it would affect our lives.  When I decided to put myself out there to see if I could relocate to a more artistic market, during interviews, I had to picture myself in a new city, a new environment, and eventually, a completely new industry (if law and government can be categorized as "industry").
 
Nothing has ever come easily to me, and no one has ever handed me anything.  I have worked my best to accomplish everything I have received.  I suffer self-doubt; my negative self-talk is deafening; the image I hold of myself is beyond disappointing, but I find ways to still fight for what I want.
 
Yet, somehow, I am still surprised when I face barriers against goals.  Maybe it's part of my process - to reach that moment when my head tells me, "you know you aren't good enough for this.  Who in the world did you think you were fooling?"
 
But I keep pushing.  I attended my first "Sexy Stiletto" dance class and went ahead and joined the group for the video promo.  I achieved my certification as a Dance Fitness Instructor this weekend.  I am sharing all this -  whether anyone gives a shit to read it or not - I am being brave enough to post it, share it, and keep it real. 
 
Today on Facebook, there was a statement shared in a group by a beautiful young woman who is just ready to die.  She doesn't feel she has anything to contribute anymore, and, while she doesn't intend to take her own life, she has sunk to such a low that death seems her only consolation.  I don't have the answers for her - I don't even have the answers for you or for myself.  However, I do know that we are all on this planet for a reason.  We may never comprehend why, but I think it's our job to do what we can for one another.  It might be as simple as a smile when you make eye contact with a stranger, a quick text to a friend, or an invitation to someone to get out and "do something" and actually follow through.  Or you can lead in a supervisory position, be a mentor, or inspire some people to dance in a fitness class... maybe all the above.
 
I don't know my purpose.  But if I can inspire anyone - any one person - to try something new or dance without care or share feelings when they feel they are all alone, I will feel I have succeeded.  Thank you for your support.  Let's dance.