Friday, February 5, 2010



A very dear friend of mine once said (as I was video taping her with my old VHS video camera – you know those big huge heavy things that you had to rest on your shoulder while operating – well, maybe you’re too young to remember), she said: “Life is an illusion. I am an illusion.” I do believe she had a grip on something that has become much more apparent to me recently.

In my younger days, my mind was filled with illusions. I had the “happily ever after – fairytale” mentality. If I get married, I’ll be happy, because that’s how my Mom and Dad were. But, it didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t completely true. My first husband abused me, both physically and mentally. I’m so grateful I escaped when I did.

That still didn’t change my distorted thinking. I filled my mind with excuses. I told myself, next time will be better. I was always searching for my Prince Charming. He didn’t exist – at least, not the way they are in fairytales. Prince Charmings come with baggage and human faults, just as we all do. I was seeking perfection. That was my ILLUSION then.

I do have my Prince Charming now, but he is very human and is far from perfect. But, he is perfect for me. And, that’s what matters most.

But, this story is about ILLUSIONS.

Being the straightforward, honest person I am (hey, my Mom carved honesty and truth into my brain), I had more faith in human nature than many do. I guess I thought everyone’s Mom was just like mine, so I trusted. However, I thought I knew the liars, and I avoided them. But, my “trust meter” must have needed calibration these past couple years. That, and/or the fact that some people are very very good masters at deception; so good, that I believed in their lies. I had always thought I could detect people like this. I had previously had my radar in tune with fraud, lies and dishonesty.

I don’t know, how, or when it actually happened, but, somehow, whatever blessed me with the ability to identify lies and deceit, became defective. Had I noticed, I would have gotten a tune-up. I was immune to deciphering the lies of one person, who was (is) quite the skillful illusionist. In retrospect, I am able to recognize this. As “they” say, “hindsight is 20-20”. So many things that did not seem logical then, now suddenly have become crystal clear. Should I have noticed this before? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m sure this was a lesson I was meant to learn.

Not everything that we see is what we think we see.  Often we see others and the world through ILLUSIONS.

I’ve experienced many emotions since making this grave sobering discovery.

Initially, I was hurt – very hurt.

It was difficult to discover that what I had believed to be true was just a fa├žade.

My hurt quickly turned to anger, when the true colors of this person suddenly appeared.

Then there was a brief period of shock. Where did THIS come from? And why?

Of course, I searched deep within the corners of my mind to attempt to figure out what had happened. I think everyone does this, when one finds themselves in a quandary over a conflict or disagreement. We begin to assume, and our thoughts wander aimlessly, anxiously searching for answers.

What I’ve realized with this recent experience is that sometimes there are NO answers. It just simply “IS”. It is what it is. And, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter what caused it, or where it came from, or why. None of that will change reality.

We search for those ILLUSIONS that will bring some semblance of reasoning. But, it’s not necessary in some instances – such as this one. We do not know why anyone else does what they do, so why even try to guess.

Instead, with truth (“the truth shall set you free”), and breaking away from ILLUSIONS, I found it was much easier and quicker to “LET GO”. After what was done to me, there was absolutely NO justifiable reason to hang on to anything related to this issue or this person any longer.

Humans have an instinctual tendency to want to grasp and hang on to people, places, things – whatever. But, the real blessing is in the “letting go” process, when it becomes necessary for self-survival.

I’m so eternally grateful that I did not allow this situation to bring me down or to cause me much dismay for very long.

Instead of dwelling on what would now be missing in my life, after letting go I was able to focus on all the amazing wonderful, loving, honest people who are in my life.

It was then I realized what a huge relief there is in “letting go”.

Besides, all that will be “missing” are the ILLUSIONS.

You might wonder how this is affecting how I perceive others now. I will NOT allow the lies of one person to destroy my faith in people. I will NOT allow the malicious actions of one person to create bitterness within my heart. I refuse to allow the cruel, vicious, inconsiderate, and vindictive words of one person to cause me to be any less loving, understanding or compassionate to people.

I’ve risen above what has happened. I am NOT a victim. But, I am a person with a heart full of gratitude for no longer being exposed to one person’s delusional, cruel and irrational behavior.

I AM a person filled with love for others.

Am I leaving myself open to the possibility of being hurt again? Perhaps I am. But, that’s a risk I’ll take. If I close myself off to the kindness of all of the wonderful caring people in this world, because of only one person, I might as well stop living right now.

I still have adventures to travel and more challenges to experience, and I choose to do so with an open loving heart.

I am so very grateful for all that crosses my life’s path. Each moment is here for a reason; sometimes to be the student learning a lesson, sometimes to be the instructor helping teach others.

Regardless of whatever role we play or whatever the reason…………………

It is what it is.
Sometimes we will be fooled by ILLUSIONS. And, sometimes our intuition will give us a warning. Sometimes we will listen to that warning. And, sometimes we will choose to ignore it. Either way is okay, as long as we remember to find the GRATITUDE in the experience, the challenge or the adventure.

And, now, the lyrics to a song that keeps replaying in my head…………………………………..

“Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, released in 1969

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at cloud that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it's cloud illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
When every fairy tale comes real; I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show. You leave 'em laughing when you go
and if you care, don't let them know, don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it's love's illusions I recall.
I really don't know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "I love you" right out loud,
dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say
I've changed.
But something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
from win and lose, and still somehow
it's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.

In love and gratitude always,


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trying to find GRATITUDE in the last of 2009

2009 ended on a sad note. 

I had planned on posting a tribute to our daughter on December 12th, which was three years since the horrific car accident that robbed her of her beautiful life. 

Michelle was an amazing soul.  Her beautiful smile lit up the room, when she walked in.  EVERY time!  Her warmth was like a fresh dose of sunshine.  She taught me the value of organization and planning.  I know she's with me often, to remind me to continue to declutter my life.  Intellectually I know there is no such thing as perfection.  But, Michelle was pretty close to perfect.

I'm grateful to have shared life with her, if even for a short time.  

She is an angel whose spirit is with me often to inspire and to guide me along my way here. 

Yes, I had planned on writing my annual tribute to Michelle on the 12th..... but sometimes things don't always follow our plans.

Early that morning, I received a phone call that my father had passed away (just a couple weeks shy of his 87th birthday).  Selfishly, just as we don't want our loved ones to die, I didn't want Dad to leave this earth either.  He was such a strong man, that I actually believed he would outlive me.  Silly, I know, but it just seemed like nothing could ever remove his ability to remain strong through any adversity.

When Dad was only 58, Mom suffered a severe stroke.  That was her 59th birthday.  Dad cared for her during almost the entire following seventeen years. 

Dad smoked cigarettes from the time he was eleven years old until just a couple years before he died.  That's over seventy years!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He didn't eat right, never exercised, didn't go to the dentist, and didn't go to the doctor until his later years.  During his working years, he worked six days a week, ten to twelve hours a day.  Everything that we are told will kill us,  seemed to have no adverse affect on Dad.  He was a pillar of strength.

But, eventually, as will happen to each of us, it was time for him to leave this earth.

The past thirteen years had been difficult for Dad, being without Mom, the love of his life.  She passed away one month before their 50th wedding anniversary.  It's comforting to know that they are now together again.  I'm grateful for this.

I'm eternally grateful for all the amazing wonderful memories of all the awesome years shared with my Dad.

From this moment back in 1952 ~

to this one in 2009 ~

My Dad was my rock.  I'm grateful for all that he taught me, for all he did for me, for everything he was. 

I'm grateful that I now have another angel in heaven, watching over me, just as he did here on earth.

Yes, even through some of our saddest and most heartbreaking moments, it IS possible to find gratitude.

Wishing all of you a GRATITUDE-filled 2010..............