Tag Archives: Grace

A Dream Goes on Forever

A little known Todd Rundgren song is a favorite of mine: A Dream Goes on Forever.

My interpretation? Our dreams sustain us through difficult times. They are unsinkable corks, bouncing up as lifesavers (sometimes despite our best efforts to drown in our sorrows.)

Like flowers yearning to break through the cracks of cement, these resilient buggers called dreams stretch onward and upward.

“A dream deferred makes the heart sick…”

Oh, boy (or oy vey!) I’ve had some sick hearts over the course of 56 years. From not getting the part of Dorothy in the 4th-grade play (and instead, cast as the Lion) to watching my younger friends marry during my single 20’s and 30’s, life dumped some #$%^@ on some of my dreams.

“…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

Beating out thousands to land a job as one of the original QVC Show Hosts! Finally walking down the aisle to a packed church cheering the end of my single days!

Some of you quizzically read those last two lines, knowing that I was unceremoniously dumped by the shopping network and cut bait on an unfulfilling marriage after 14 years.

Hey, weren’t those dreams fulfilled supposed to be trees of life?

Well, they were. For a season.

My tears dried after losing the part of Dorothy. Life went on. Life marches on! What mattered SO much once is just (as my friend Roseann likes to say) a pimple on an elephant’s ass.

Gotta love my spicy Roseann-isms.

Thoughts of dreams stirred my soul this week when immersed in a Sex and the City marathon. The show begins in their twenties with invincibility fueled by cosmopolitans and a fabulous foursome of friends. Over the course of a decade we watch breakups, losses, cancer, babies and so much more that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte could never have imagined.

Had they a crystal ball, they might have avoided most of their adventures to avoid pain.

And so might have I, as I pondered this photo from my past:

This photo captures the moment in time when I prepared to graduate from college. Already working in my chosen field, there was no doubt in my mind I would be the next Diane Sawyer.

It was my dream to write and speak words. To use them skillfully to inspire and inform.

Also, to be fabulously wealthy and famous. (Look, I’ve never claimed to be Mother Theresa.)

Oh, had I a crystal ball I would have definitely bypassed that QVC audition, kept driving past the church (that ended up being a cult)…

…but in the choices made to avoid pain, I would have lost some of my best stories. And my best friends.

I may not be Diane Sawyer, but I’m really glad to be Brenda Viola.

Yes, Viola. I loved my ex, still hold affection for him, and love that last name. It fits!

Just as I have changed over the years (my taste for pitch black, sky-high hair replaced by golden highlights), my dreams also evolved. Some have come true! (Published author, anyone?) Some remain to be fulfilled.

But that’s the beauty of life.

I believe the dreams of our hearts are Divinely planted. And they must grow! They will materialize in perfect form when the gestation period has ended.

But aren’t we supposed to learn lessons from disappointments?

Sure!

And once learned, we move forward. To think that life is meant to be a constant string of lessons learned from heartbreaks runs counter to the idea that God (Source, the Divine, All That Is) is good and life should be happy.

I believe life should be happy.

Perhaps my message today is if you are pregnant with a dream, don’t abort it.

Turning your back on your dream is to turn away from your very self.

Your dreams are intertwined with your gifts and answer the question, “Who am I?”

They light you up. You feel most alive when expressing from that deep, holy part within you where the dream lives.

This is what you were made for!

John Russo croons a standard from the Rat Pack. My sister, Shirlee, acts on a moment of inspiration and whips up a calligraphy masterpiece. Artists are brave souls!

I have friends who claim they don’t have dreams. Oh, but when they express their gifts, they so beautifully live their purpose.

Maybe that’s a better word…purpose.

But I’ll stick with dreams. And I hope you stick with them, too.

On this topic of how what we want evolves over time and how when WE change, everything changes, here’s this week’s video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7S8BZ-CNsc&feature=youtu.be

If your dreams are feeling choked, your hope has been deferred, and you feel a bit adrift – take heart. We all weather such storms. These, too, shall pass.

Ask for the grace to help in time of need (and don’t be afraid to ask for help.)

Much love –

Brenda

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Are You Open or Closed to Good Stuff?

The opposite of open is closed.

We might never view ourselves as those who are closed off to blessings. But sometimes self-defeating behaviors are so habitual, we don’t even realize we’re pinching ourselves off from good stuff.

Like deflecting when a compliment comes our way.

Or feeling despondent when comparing our progress against another person’s.

We see the dark clouds so predominantly, we can fail to see the silver linings.

There is a false drumbeat that drives us to focus on what’s wrong, as if worrying makes us worthy of good. This could be the last vestiges of religion or our cultural upbringing.

As if beating ourselves up when we fail is proof that we mean well.

(And to whom are we trying to prove that we mean well. Ourselves?)

Hyper-focusing on where we think we fall short is a faulty, preemptive strike to forestall the pain of others noticing our lack. Especially silly since most are too busy looking at their own to be bothered with ours!

Such a hefty price-tag we impose upon our imperfections! And all the while, grace and mercy and kindness and love surround us.

Just waiting for us to give ourselves a break and open our hearts.

And let the sunshine in.

Some thoughts on being open…and being closed…in this week’s video:

https://youtu.be/5hjkL84RyG8

I hope the thoughts you think these next two weeks are healing ones. As the scriptures say, “Thought of peace and not of evil…to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

That passage refers to the way God (the Universe, Source – however you wish to call the Divine) thinks about us.

And if God thinks that way, shouldn’t we also?

In fact, the reason negative self-talk feels so horrible is because it is in direct conflict with the Almighty.

Let’s stop voting against our inner being, which always thinks thoughts of love about you.

(And everyone else, too.)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Letting Love IN (and the New WOW)

Can you imagine a table loaded up with love and yet you remain starving?

I’ve considered this on a week where HARMONY was our Word of the Week, and all of the messages I kept reading referred back to LOVE as the secret sauce for harmony.

When I am out of sorts with myself, I’m learning to check my love levels.  Since Costa Rica, my first step is to check out how well I’m loving ME (or not).  Because I’ve learned that I will only attract what I emanate.

Harmony is when there’s unity of thought and feeling – and fear is always the great divider.

Fear’s leading line is, “What if…” and leads down the rabbit trail of negative possibilities.

That’s when I need to go and sit in Mom-Mom’s chair, and talk to myself.

Taking that five minute (or more) time-out is just what I need to get back to unity between my soul and spirit, and it always ends with a little love note to myself.

“I love you Brenda.”

When was the last time you said those words out loud to yourself?

Picture yourself, through all of the many stages of your life:  The chubby toddler, the acne-stained teen; the insecure but tough-looking college student or the polished (but anxious as hell) professional.

With each mental image, let love well up inside of you.  You’ll find floods of empathy and compassion, tenderness and grace rise up.

Then let those loving feelings wash over you.

Some tears may spill out of your eyes.  That’s okay.  It’s your angels washing your heart from the wounds accrued over time.

After that good, cleansing cry, you may find that where there was discord, harmony now resides in your heart.  And you’re ready to face life again, because YOU’VE got your own back.

The table of love is a feast that is always set before us.  May we all choose to partake!

I talk a bit more on this (and just wish I had put some better lipstick on), but you’ll forgive the momentary lapse of aesthetics in the new Word of the Week reveal:

Looking at life with fresh eyes is how I’m going to approach creativity this week.

After all, if I keep doing the SAME thing, I’ll get the same results.

I want new stuff!  How about you?

Oh, and let’s GIVE THANKS for all the wonderful stuff we already have.  I hope you and yours enjoy a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday, seated at a table where the feast is LOVE.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Amazing Grace (and the New WOW)

I didn’t have a clue just how much GRACE I would need this past week.

It was perhaps the most profound week of my life; so profound I can’t talk about it with you yet.

But here’s what I know – and I will be brief:

Grace IS amazing.

It is the remarkable calm when, for all intents and purposes, you should be freaking out.

It’s moving in skills and having wisdom beyond yourself because you NEED to – and there it is, like manna from heaven.

Grace supersizes life; it takes what YOU can do and multiplies it.

Grace swoops around you just when you are feeling faint and provides reinforcements.

It provides the peace that passes understanding.

For those of you who may know what is going on in my life right now, thank you for not using this forum to comment on it.

It’s too fresh, too private and the dust has not settled.

I considered discontinuing my posts for a while during this time of personal disruption, but it didn’t feel right to do so.

So this video was recorded before the volcano of my life erupted, but the words are eerily prophetic…again, a sign of grace.

And this of course comes to mind:

And that’s how you know you must take that risk.

Make sure there is water in the pool before you leap.  But if you take the step, and walk with God, you will be amazed to see how the waters part.

Much love to you all (and still and always, extra doses of grace.)

xoxoxoxo
Brenda

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No Crying on the Devil’s Shoulder (and the New WOW)

Many years ago, a friend suggested to me that complaining and feeling sorry for myself was like “crying on the devil’s shoulder.”

This analogy struck me with a visual that always caused me think twice about letting my feelings run a muck.

When I reflect on my teens, 20’s and much of my 30’s, I wasted a bunch of time crying over things that wouldn’t change by crying.

The tears didn’t serve me, they only fueled the pain.

To be clear, I LOVE a good, cleansing cry.  The kind that makes you want to call everyone you know and tell them you love them; the kind that relieves stress like air leaving a balloon – and a good snotty howl from a heartrending movie or book (yes, I’m talking about YOU, The Notebook and The Art of Racing in the Rain.)

Those pity party, “Oh woe is me!” cries?  As Janet Jackson would sing, “What have you done for me lately?”

When I peel back the curtain on those quicksand feels, I see they predominantly began with negative thoughts that, left unchecked, grew exponentially.  I played with those thoughts in the shallow waters and next thing I knew, the undertow whipped in and I was drowning in the deep end.

Which brings me to RESILIENCE, our most recent word of the week.  Resilience, to me, is like a tank that fuels our get up and go. Every complaint, every negative thought entertained, every pity party or surrender to fear depletes the tank.

When your get up and go has got up and went, check your resilience tank.

For me, encouraging someone fills my resilience tank.  Checking off an item from my to-do list; surprising a friend with a gift and yes, self-maintenance in the form of a mani, pedi, massage or blow dry fits the bill.

A walk on the beach at sunset.

Or simply deep breathing.

What fills YOUR resilience tank?

As we end this week, I hope the only parties you had were on Memorial Day (and certainly not pity parties!)

Onward to a brand, spanking new WOW:

Unmerited favor, ushered in through humility.

Yes, please – heavy doses needed!

May our cups run over with GRACE this week.

xxoxoxoxo

Love,

Brenda

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