True Grit

Whether you prefer the original, 1969 film version with John Wayne and Kim Darby or the exceptionally well-done remake with Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges, the message is the same: having true grit.

What is True Grit?

The simplest of the definition is firmness of mind and unyielding courage.  Some people would call this stubborn or hard-headed.  Well, yes, but what is so terrible about that?

If something you are doing or want to do is important to you, and it is not illegal, immoral or unethical, then you should stand your ground and pursue it.

The character in the film, young Mattie Ross, was determined to avenge her father’s death and obtain what was stolen from her family.  Nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about that.  Well, maybe the fact that she was carrying a gun might have made it illegal, depending on the use, but certainly necessary for a young woman who planned this trek.

Mattie’s single-minded intent carried her through the film, no matter renegade lawmen, high water, creatures or outlaws.  She stood her ground even when she was told that she was too young, too small, and well, female.  Her courage and unrelenting determination won her the respect of the two men she was partnered with on her quest.

Most everyone needs a good dose of true grit.  When you do something appropriately, in service, and with integrity and someone attacks you (not necessarily physically), then you need to stand your ground and defend yourself.  No one has the right to demean you or make you feel less than who you are.  No one has the right to silence you or invalidate your values.  No one has the right to push you into doing something that crosses your value system.  Defend yourself, even if it means putting yourself on center stage.  You matter.  Your values matter.  Your integrity matters.  No one can take that from you, but they will learn to respect you.

If center stage is scary for you, call upon your inner Rooster Cogburn and let fly with “fill your fists, you son-of-a-b*tch!”  I can almost guarantee that they will back down.

Me Who?

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I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.

 

I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.

 

The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16.  Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one).  The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13.  Do the math, I’m 58 now.  Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain.  Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?

I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones.  I don’t remember the exact day or time.  It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon.  I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred.  And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day.  I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it.  Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated.  I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters.  Yes, really.  I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate.  I’m not the judge of that.

The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words.  Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts.  Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this.  Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult.  Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail.  I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive.  At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.”  So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.

Sexual molestation creates life-long damage.  My sexuality suffered.  I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering.  When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way.  My sweetie is a good man.

There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out.  Many have and I hope many more will.  Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create.  The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within.  You must do the grieving.  You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it.  Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself.  Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.

Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others?  I don’t know.  There are plenty of theories.  Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on.  How about “because I LIKE it”?  There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths.  When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away.  It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this.  The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.

However, I do believe in karma.

I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident.  Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle.  Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.

Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged.  Allow her to help you heal.

He Said, She Said

silhouette-2480321_1280There is a lot of finger-pointing between the sexes these days.  No one is right, yet no one is wrong.  It appears to be battle of control, when what it really should be is a balance of power.

Energy must be balanced in order to flow.

In every effective relationship, there is a balance of feminine and masculine energy.  This is not limited to gender nor sexual preference.  Feminine energy is receptive and sensing-feeling.  Masculine energy is giving and thinking-doing. 

Women can be masculine energy, and that doesn’t mean that they look like men or lack femininity.  Likewise, men can be feminine energy and still look and act masculine.  It is only how the energy is processed.

I am a masculine energy, very feminine woman.  I have friends and acquaintances who are similar.  I am in a heterosexual relationship and am a total fashionista.  I am highly intelligent and get more sh*t done in a day than many people do in a week.  My sweetie is a feminine energy male, who is also very intelligent and a creative former ironworker.  He appreciates my forward thinking.  Neither of us is weak and neither of us is in charge of the relationship.  Because we have a balanced energy relationship, the energy can shift back and forth depending upon our needs, desires and skills.  Good relationships have this ebb and flow.

The problem comes from two same-energy people in a relationship.  Two masculine energy people will constantly fight for control.  Two feminine energy people will passively want their way.  In either situation, neither get their needs met nor get sh*t done.  Trying to pretend you are one type, when you are not, does not work either.  Just like coloring your hair, the dark roots will always grow out the blonde.  Why create more conflict to an already conflicted situation?

The first step is to acknowledge your energy type.  Forget the male-female, masculine-feminine typecast for a bit.  Ask this question instead: are you more offended if someone calls you stupid or if they call you ugly?  If being called stupid sets you off, then you are more likely masculine energy, whereas you don’t give a rat’s a$$ if they call you ugly.  You might also get irritated and impatient by people who cry all the time.  If being called ugly makes you cry, then you are likely feminine energy.  Your feelings are more important than whether or not you know how to calculate the return on investment.  Again, neither energy type is right or wrong.  Just learn to be happy with which one you are.  You will have a happier life if you do.

I almost wonder if what we are seeing in the world today is from real energy types finally emerging.  Perhaps the conflict is more from within and easier to project on someone else than to acknowledge what is.  Internal conflict can turn nice people into alien life forms from hell.  Figure out what type you are, but throw away the label.  The energy will settle down and fall into balance.

Because it is better to be happy than to be right.

Your Body, Your Choice

 

clothes-2029337_1280If you follow my blog, you know that I write about emotional issues and beliefs, many of which are from personal experience.  I pose challenging questions in the hopes that you think about them and make changes so you can live your best life.  I wish that for everyone and that is what we are here for.

This time, I am asking you to challenge your beliefs.  It is a very controversial subject, but one that is near-and-dear to me both personally and professionally.

It is the choice of when to have or not have a baby.

Babies are very precious.  They bring much needed light and life to the world and teach us that humans are amazing.  Because they are so precious, they deserve to be born into a family that is ready and able to give them the love and care they need to thrive.

Human beings are biologically wired to have sex, which can lead to procreation.  Males are wired to have it quickly and often.  Females take their time to choose the best mate.  Increasing the vitality of the herd, so to speak.  The human component of this is a loving family.

Biology rules, in spite of our denial of it.  The moment we start producing hormones, the urge to mate begins.  I’m sure that the global impact of media and entertainment can stimulate this somewhat prematurely, but nothing stops biology.  Certainly not denial.  It is important to acknowledge this.  Acknowledge what might be happening.  That preteen, supposedly studying with a friend in their bedroom while you are snoozing during the evening news.  The college student, far away from home for the first time, is lonely and goes to a party with friends.  The adult, emotionally battered from a neglected childhood, equating love with sex.  And the list goes on.

The biggest gift you can give your child is teaching them the facts of biology and how to respect and honor their body.  Their body, their choice.  Teach them that No is a complete sentence.  Teach them to respect someone else’s no and move on.  Teach them to protect their body from disease or unintended pregnancy.  Teach them to honor someone else’s decision to protect their body.  Your child is precious.

The argument is that a baby is a gift from Spirit.  Well, absolutely.  No argument there.

I truly believe that Spirit created human bodies with unconditional love.  We are placed upon Earth with Free Will choice in order to experience life and grow our spirit.  The ultimate goal is to live our best life, give and receive love, and find our way back to Spirit.  If all of this is true, and Spirit gifted us with Free Will Choice, doesn’t that mean we get to decide when to have, or not have, a baby?  Isn’t honoring your body a Thank You to Spirit for its creation?

If instead we believe that this is entirely up to Spirit, why would Spirit allow a baby to be born into an abusive home with possibly fatal consequences?  If we exercised our free will choice, then isn’t that like protecting the baby prior to its conception?

Babies are precious.

This subject has deep personal meaning to me.  If my birth parents had the resources to protect their bodies, I wouldn’t be here.  I am okay with that.  I may have, instead, been born into a loving home and not had to spend most of my life struggling to resolve the emotional damage from my present life.  My mother was a teenager when I was born.  She missed graduation and all the other fun things of teenage and young adult life.  Her boyfriend, my father, was older – an adult – and chose not to give up his lifestyle for family life.  I held little interest for him since I wasn’t a boy.  Three lives have been impacted by not having a choice.  Well, I suppose I wouldn’t be trying to help others if I hadn’t had that experience.

Professionally, I am at the front lines of the consequences of unintended pregnancies.  I work for a government social services agency.  Thankfully, I handle money and not directly interact with clients – it would break my heart.  Each month, we experience these results.  Each year it costs more and we receive less funding to provide services.  We treat sexually transmitted infections, dispense planning methods, do cervical cancer screenings, process paternity tests, accept child support payments, authorize public assistance payments to families who can’t afford to feed their growing family and much more.  The numbers keep growing and the costs go up.  We rescue babies and children from homes where the parents struggle with substance abuse, have mental health issues, incur sexual abuse, bring violence into the home that may result in a fatality.  There are too many children in foster homes.  These homes are expensive.  Some of these children never return to their birth family.  Some of them may get adopted by a loving family, but even then, a few are returned to foster care because the new family cannot cope with the severe emotional and behavioral issues of the children.  It tears at my heart to see these numbers growing.  When and where does it stop!!!

Denial will not stop it.  Celibacy will not stop it.  Incarceration will not stop it.

It stops where it begins.  Your Body, Your Choice.

Honor and respect your body by making the choice.  Honor and thank Spirit for your body by making the choice.  But most of all, honor the babies and children by letting them be born to someone who is ready and capable of loving and caring for them.

Because. . .babies are precious.

 

For Kathy B: It is not how many you reach, but reaching the one who gets the message.  For each one who does, the energy will radiate out and multiply.  Many Blessings.

Kickoff

football-1488156_1920Football season has begun.  The first pre-season game has been played and many of the players, as well as some of the coaches, are wondering what their future holds.  A crowd-pleasing punt return; the dejection of an intercepted pass; or the season-ending injury will change the tide for many.

We are still in the midst of summer so the tantalizing smell of grilled meat fills the air.  The “splursh” of a pop-top can spreads the yeasty scent of beer.  Chlorine, coconut oil and wet dog hair.  The sounds of summer echo with the squealing giggles of children playing.  Summer is for play, whether you are a big kid or small.  It is no wonder the game of football begins in the middle of summer.

braai-2572725_1920Football games can change the mood of traffic.  Fortunes are won and lost on chancy bets.  Big money rolls through the NFL in the form of salary caps, signing bonuses and the inevitable Super Bowl commercials.  How many Clydesdales have marched across the television screen?

We worry and stress over the players lives and the weekly games as much as we worry about what to have for dinner.  And forget that football is just a game to entertain us on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  It’s not much different than watching “The Voice” or “American Idol”.  Relax, football friends, I’m not picking on football, just making a comparison.  I get all edgy, too, when I watch the Broncos.

football-801047_1280So why do we get all twisted up when we watch a football game?  The action and suspense, of course.  And then there is the beauty of watching a pack of incredible physical specimens do amazing things with their bodies.  Football [and its European counterpart, soccer] is an enjoyable diversion in our lives.  When some strong-armed guy launches a football downfield and a speed demon latches onto it with one hand, tucks it into his chest and runs hell-bent for leather to a touchdown. .  . well, it’s pretty easy to forget all about the big report you have to write the next day.  Or maybe when you have to kick-off a big project, you’ll have that touchdown in mind and the process just might seem a little easier.

I say, go for the two-point conversion and maybe you’ll get a bonus.  It might be just enough to go and see your favorite team play in the Super Bowl.

Walk This Way

rundmc-aerosmith[1]Aerosmith or Run DMC with Aerosmith?

Either one, the message is still “move your a$$”.  Walking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your well-being, especially if you can get out and connect with nature.

man-1225488_1920During my work week, I take a half hour walk at lunchtime.  Beyond the exercise, it gets me out of my chair and out of the building.  The first five minutes are a bit stiff-legged and my feet are tender.  Sometimes my thoughts match that movement. Then the blood flow kicks in, joints get lubricated and most all of the pain and stiffness goes away.  There are two ponds located near my building, with a variety of birds, a few turtles and an occasional muskrat.  Just moving past water drops my stress level.  If I tune into the sights, smells and sounds of nature my thoughts slow down and make room for the Universe to give me suggestions for problem-solving.  A bonus, for sure.

nature-243483_1920Yesterday, I battled with a database not giving me the information I needed.  I fussed with it for a half hour and it resisted.  So I went for a walk.  My thoughts calmed down as I enjoyed the beautiful day.  And then, lo and behold, I heard a voice in my head [that would be the Universe, not a psychotic episode] tell me to delete the problem data and re-enter it.  When I went back to working on it, I did that, and . . . you can guess the results.  Bingo!

As I have gotten older, I have discovered that walking doesn’t necessary cause weight loss like it did in my younger years.  This seems to be a common complaint, especially amongst women.  I read an article about menopause that said when your estrogen drops your body looks for another place to find it.  Apparently, belly fat is a source of estrogen.  WTF.  Fat gut or hot flashes from h*ll.  I don’t think there is a choice.  I think sometimes your body gives you both as payback for all the abuse you’ve put it through.  You men don’t get hot flashes, but that beer gut might be replacing your lost testosterone.

Enough about guts and sweating to the oldies.

Walking is still one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Movement keeps you moving and as you move forward through life you will want to enjoy it as much as possible.  If nothing else, being able to walk to the bar to support your beer gut and avoid a DUI.

Slainte!

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Recently, at work, the subject of dress code has surfaced again.  We have a new director, and he is getting his feet wet in all areas of the business.  After initiating the topic of shoes, he wisely turned the dress code idea over to a team of women.  Women police each other, after all.

59745-2001_CEREZA[1]Many a man, to his everlasting regret, has ventured in to the female shoe closet thinking to discuss the quantity, cost, necessity, appropriateness and style of female footwear.  Many of them wisely retreated when they notice the squinty eyeball staring back at them.  A brave few thought to continue the topic, and then determined that there is a fine line between brave and dumb.  Some hearty souls continued on, and were grateful that the living room sofa was a comfortable place to sleep.  And some were never heard from again.

The only men who can safely traverse the domain of the female shoe are those of a “different persuasion”, or the Great Oz of Shoes himself: Mr. Manolo Blahnik.  Should Mr. Blahnik ever appear in a woman’s shoe closet, especially if he were bearing gifts, she could succumb to a heart attack at that very moment and consider her life complete.

51g35jLUYvL._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Shoes represent the Holy Grail to women.  They are the ultimate form of self-expression.  We willingly spend thousands of dollars for coveted pairs, suffer untold agony and blisters for a few hours of wearing a spindly high needle for the praise of a friend or stranger.  Women have made new friends over a pair of shoes.

A beautiful pair of shoes can brighten a woman’s day.  Knowing that pain could come later, she will still step out proudly and with confidence that she can kick a$$.  An ugly pair. . .well, can make a woman feel ugly.  They are the equivalent of Superman’s kryptonite.  A necessity, if you will.

Oh and if you are available, Mr. Blahnik, my closet is open. . . size 7, if you please.

Let’s Talk Chakras – The Advent of the 12 Chakra System

12chakrasystem-web[1]12/21/2012 is known as the date that began a shift in Divine Energy. The Universe is simply tired of the old way of doing things. Mean people can’t hide in the shadows anymore. Greed, corruption, male domination, lack of empathy and compassion and many other negative patterns. . .I guess you could say it is the time to clean up the Seven Deadly Sins.

We live in volatile times. Shifting energy will do that. Think Spring on a grand scale. Just imagine what will blossom when we get through this. I doubt that our minds can even comprehend that right now.

Another shift in energy is with the chakra system in the body. If you have been following this series, you know that there are seven that exist within the body. There are a few minor ones that I haven’t written about: hands, feet and ears. They need equal attention as the others. Five additional new chakras are being awakened and they exist outside of your body. As they are still developing, I don’t know enough yet to write about them. However, the eighth chakra – The Higher Self – is the one we should be opening up to.

The Higher Self Chakra allows you to seek guidance from higher realms. Your Higher Self is the part of you that knows all about you and guides you to your best good. Expanding this will open you to spiritual channels that can take you to a more meaningful existence. Think Archangels and the Council of Light. They are the guardians of the planet, guiding us to peace and ensuring that we don’t blow the thing up. Good to know. Earth is an amazing incredible place, filled with endless possibilities for growth and spiritual development. We have no idea how important it is in the grand scheme of the Universe, which is why these Higher Beings are so involved.

Open your heart, allow your mind to expand with possibilities you can’t see, listen with your inner hearing to the Wise voices that can and will guide you to happiness and contentment. Don’t know what that sounds like? They speak very formal-like and calm, always starting with “We”. They will never, ever make you feel bad, scared, depressed, nervous or any other negative emotion. Their truth will resonate down in your gut in a way that you don’t understand, but just know without a doubt. If you listen to their guidance, your life will be smoother. Oh the sh*t you might be dealing with will still be there, but that guidance will help you get through it with confidence and composure. If you let them, they’ll even reduce the drama.  Wouldn’t that be nice!

So tune out, tap in and turn on the faucet of light that will fill you with the strength, courage, confidence and direction to move forward in your life. A meaningful existence will seek you out, giving you purpose and the desire to stay here as long as possible. You’ll improve your health without struggle. Relationships will be with like-minded people. You’ll have exactly what you need in your garden of life.

May Divine Light and Love be with you always.

When You Learn How To Love, You Forget How To Hate

valentines-day-3124846_1280 - CopyI was recently reading a fiction novel, and the heroine was still burned by the fact that she had caught her [now ex-] husband in flagrante delicto with another woman and then discovered he’d taken $15,000 in cash from her. It was the evening of a well-attended house party, and she proceeded to toss him out on his a$$ – bimbo included. Thus earning her a, I think, well-deserved reputation as a ball-buster. At least until the rest of the story’s characters learned the truth.

Many people, myself included, have had to deal with a cheating spouse. At the very least it is unpleasant, and perhaps did us a favor. (Yay, me.) At the very worst, it is devastating to the point of life changing and shuts off the avenue of receiving love.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, there are multitudes of reminders for acknowledging those we love. Love makes the world go ‘round, so they say, or at least the cash register. But the one we should love first is ourselves.

I believe that when we pass on, we won’t be greeted by some ancient fellow peering over the top of his readers at us, quill ready to write upon some scroll as he states “what have you done with your life?” No, I truly believe that we will be greeted by some kindly soul who inquires “how much did you love?” and reaches out with a hug.

As humans, it is so easy to shut off the flow of love. Whether it is our upbringing or situations, we can become damaged from love relationships. Fear of more pain is the first line of defense. This just causes more damage because we shut off the flow of love from the Universe. Our soul pulls back, pulls in and builds a brick wall around it to protect us from some perceived hurt. We can no longer connect with the Universe and the unending, unconditional outpouring of love that would literally fill our heart and soul with more than we can imagine. It never ceases, it never lessens, and it will never cause you pain.

love-3141228_1280 - CopyTake a big step and find a quiet space by yourself. Talk to the Universe. Pour out everything that hurts. Hand it over on a big platter. Ask the Universe to fill you with love. ALLOW IT. Do this every day until it becomes a habit. When your heart is constantly full, it becomes easier to give it to someone else. They can never take it away from you or empty you. Whether your relationship is fleeting or for a lifetime, you will always be filled with love.

So when you are asked “how much did you love?” you can answer “endlessly”.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Men In My Closet

I know that sounds kinky. It’s not. Not even remotely. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I confess I have an attachment to fashion labels. Yes, shallow and easily swayed by a name. There is quite a crowd in my closet and I love them all. Tommy, Louis, Christian, Brian, Marc, Manolo, Franco, Michael and some I’m probably forgetting. Sorry guys. There are women there too – Kate, Cynthia, Miucci and Anna. But it seems that men are really good at creating beautiful things for women, especially shoes. I am thankful for this.

Why do women need Men In Their Closet? Yes, we know we have fourteen pairs of black shoes. Yes, we wear them all. It’s fun and it makes us feel good. When I put on a favorite outfit, I feel like I’m getting an upgrade. I smile. I stand taller. I start my day on happy

feet. A great outfit can actually turn a sh*tty day into something tolerable. Sure I look in the mirror, but why not? If. It. Makes. Me. Feel. Good. It. Is. A. Good. Thing. And if I feel good and am happy, then it radiates out to everyone around me and they feel good. Bonus!

Let’s hear it for the Boys!