Tag Archives: Judgment

Free to Be Me: A Lesson in Forgiveness

When age 50 arrived, so did a swift quick to my soul that if my desire was to be free, only I had the key.

I admire (with a tinge of jealousy) those light-hearted youths in their 20’s and 30’s who figured this out without wasting decades running on a hamster wheel, hoping for someone else to show up on a white horse to save the day.

When it occurs to you that (a) No one is showing up to save the day and (b) Life doesn’t owe you anything and (c) You’d better get crackin’ if you want to start living the life of your dreams…

…it can be depressing.  Especially if you dive down the black hole of “What about all that wasted time I’ll never get back?????!!!!!”

But is it wasted time if lessons were learned along the way?

Is it wasted time if, on the journey, you were able to love and be loved?

My life has been a series of Family Circle cartoon paths, rarely a straight line going from glory to glory.  My trajectory features dark valleys and nonsensical detours along with entire decades I mistakenly thought I was moving forward, but instead completed a circle. Over and over again.

And today I find myself tempted with the anguished thought, “You’re starting all over again…at age 54???”

Who says it’s supposed to be a straight trek to the mountaintop? And how can we judge our journeys by their seeming dead ends? If I hold myself hostage to every perceived failure, I will never be free.

One of my favorite quotes from this past week will encourage your heart if you’ve ever fallen into the trap of beating yourself up:

Therein, for me, lied the secret to my freedom: forgiving myself for what I didn’t (and couldn’t) know at the time.

And, as Maya Angelou said so perfectly:  “When you know better, you do better.”

Each day offers a new opportunity to know, and do, better.

Let’s give ourselves a break – and buckle up for the new Word of the Week (with some parting thoughts on FORGIVENESS):

What are you needing FAITH for?

Remember, it works by LOVE (not fear).

With much love,

Brenda

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Risk and the Flow of Life (and the New WOW)

This week I pondered the flow of life.

Sometimes it is a gentle canoe ride on a placid lake.

Other times it seems you’re attempting to surf a tsunami.

This video cracks me up, perfectly characterizing my life these last couple of weeks:

Leaked footage of me going with the flow

Just gotta roll with it

Posted by Viral Thread on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Life is replete with rather dull moments; the comfortable hum-drum of morning coffee, work, gym, food –  rinse and repeat.

Suddenly, epic moments arise when a portal opens in the universe. You can either muster up the courage to walk through or stand by, indecisively…and watch the window of opportunity close.

These moments are not so gentle, yet are still a part of the flow of life.

So how do you know if you should go with the flow and take the risk?

There’s an uncanny peace to the flow of life.

You’re not trying to make it happen; you aren’t freaked out or driven by it; yes, there are butterflies associated with the risk, but they are not born of desperation.

There is a quiet knowing within you that urges you forward.

Someday soon I will share what is happening in my own life; it’s still too fresh and raw to comment on because it doesn’t just involve me and I respect the privacy of those who are also involved.

But I liken it to the parting of the Red Sea.

It has been said that the waters didn’t part for Moses and the children of Israel to walk through until Moses took that first step of faith into the water.

The flow of life and the promise of his God was that he would lead the children of Israel into the promised land. He didn’t know how they would cross that sea, but he knew deep inside that the One who had promised would make a way.

So, risky as it was, he took that first step.

Swoosh! (Have you ever seen the movie that shows how the sea divided into water walls on the left and right?  Powerful stuff.)

I wonder if some of the crew marveled at this wonder but said, “No way.  I’m not walking through that!”

And who could blame them?

On the other hand, Pharaoh was checking out Moses and those who fled with a huge, “How DARE they!”

They dared, because they knew a better life awaited them – and the risk to remain was more painful than the risk to go.

Going with the flow of life is an act of obedience.  It’s a decision to stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole.

And it is entirely personal.

What is unconscionable to you may be someone else’s passport to freedom.

Judge not, lest you be judged.

If you can imagine your life happy WITHOUT going for it, don’t.

If you can only imagine yourself tormented by “What ifs” if you don’t take that step, please, take the path of peace and that first step.  Watch the waters miraculously part.

Here’s my pre-recorded recollection of a professional risk that landed me in the emergency room and the new Word of the Week:

I sent this card recently to some key people:

There’s nothing like the people who rise up and support you when you need it most.  Let love in this week – and if tempted to judge, consider that supporting a friend doesn’t have to mean you agree with them.

Love is the constant.

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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Relax and Enjoy the Journey (and the New WOW)

It seems like everywhere I turn I see inspirational signs that say the same thing: Relax and ENJOY the journey.

As I took Shasta on what was supposed to be a short walk through the neighborhood on Saturday, this phrase jogged my memory…because I got lost.

Intended as a half-hour stroll with some garage sale browsing, the walk turned into a two-hour trek with no sign of home as the sun beat down and our energy wilted.

Ha! I can relax and enjoy the journey IF it goes according to plan.

My internal GPS is usually spot-on, but this time it took me to neighborhoods I never knew existed.  So surely headed in the right direction, I didn’t bother to ask for help (because I didn’t think I NEEDED it) until several miles out of my way.

When I realized just how far from home I had traveled, I wanted to scream a little.  ‘Cause there was no way to get home without walking.  My thighs were burning; I dreaded taking another step.

Life itself is quite a trip, but we often are tripped up by the speedbumps, roadblocks, detours, snowbird drivers and traffic that make the journey imperfect.

To ENJOY the journey, the trick is to embrace instead of despixing those bends in the road.

What keeps us from relaxing and enjoying the journey?

JUDGMENT.

We perceive we should have gone further, arrived, accomplished, or achieved far more by now.  Our progress pales in comparison to those around us and we find ourselves lacking. We judge ourselves for taking a wrong turn that led us astray from our view of where we should be.

I could vote with aggravation or instead to relax and enjoy my long, long, long walk with Shasta.

Aggravation almost won, especially since my little girl decided to sniff EVERY bush and tinkle her mark on almost every homeowner’s patch of lawn.

I know, it’s hard to stay aggravated at a face like that.

Then I felt a cool breeze.  Waved to a friendly lady with a golden retriever. Realized that I was burning almost as many calories as I would have if I had woken up in time for Zumba.

Silver linings are there if you look for them.

May I suggest that each detour; each speed bump; each traffic jam might be the very respite we need to slow our pace; smell the roses; miss an accident five minutes down the road or make or new friend?

Imagine that we’re taking a road trip from my former home state of Pennsylvania to sunny Sarasota.  On the way we’d pass Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina –  you get the picture.  Would it be foolish to quit in South Carolina – after having traveled so far –  and judge the journey as a failure?

We may not be in Sarasota yet…but we’re on our way!  Maybe we need to relax and taste the peaches in Georgia, or see a race in Daytona, but if we keep going…we’re going to get there.

Let’s stop JUDGING our journey and instead ENJOY the journey.

Each of us are headed somewhere.  We may not be there yet…

But we’re on our way.

Here are parting thoughts on RELAXATION and a brand, spanking new Word of the Week:

Ah…they do go together so nicely, don’t they?

This week, may we be flexible when those bends in the road try to mess with us!

Enjoy the journey, my friends.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Healed ‘Cause It No Longer Hurts (and the New WOW)

I didn’t even know I was healed ’til that button got pushed again.

You know the button, right?  (Everyone has one.)

It’s the reminder button; the deja vu scenario that is a shadow of former pain, betrayal, abuse or loss, disappointment and regret.

It’s the memory of the place you survived and promised yourself, “Never again.”

You all know my QVC experience by now.  The big break that ended up being the first professional heartbreak of my adult life so wounded me that, though I lived practically across the street from the studio, I couldn’t drive by the campus.  For years.  And SHOP there?  Fuggetaboutit.

You’d think a year or two of that would be sufficient, but we’re talking DECADES.  To this day, I choose not to fund the place that hired me away only to drop me three months later, leaving me with a lease, a pixie haircut, and a severe crisis of confidence.

But from the experience itself?  Totally healed.  It is always the blip on my resume people want to discuss and a great source of stories to entertain others at parties.

Does time heal all wounds?

Perhaps.  If you let it.

My take on this is that if you learn a LESSON from the pain, it’s a silver lining that can help you avoid making the same mistake twice.

Fast forward to my toxic church experience (which came soon after the QVC debacle.)  You know this one, too, where my desire for purpose and to fulfill my calling in life was manipulated and abused by narcissistic “spiritual leaders.”

Well meaning people sometimes say, “How could you ever get sucked in to something like that?”  Hey, it’s not like it started OUT like the hell it ended up to be.

It puzzles me that people could be so smug to think they couldn’t possibly be lassoed in to something they later regretted…whether a business deal, a relationship, or any type of investment.

This just happened to be an investment of my very life.

The years that have unfolded AFTER have taught me so many lessons.  Primarily, that questioning is healthy; trust should be earned (not granted just because of position) and that when my gut screams, “No!” I should listen to it.

Most of the following years have been free of anything that even remotely smacks of the potential for control.  But I recently found myself in a gathering (I thought it was a professional, business networking group!) and it soon became apparent that there was a religious undercurrent that reminded me of the seductive beginnings of my long ago church life.

Instead of causing me anxiety or torment, the experience was necessary because it showed me just how healed I was.

Sometimes things come around again just so you can celebrate such a victory.  

I was fired up when I recorded this…

Going back to my church story, that good has come out of such bad brings me JOY.

And really, SO much good came out of a bad place.

Some of my dearest friends in my life were met at that toxic church.  Because THEY were real, they remain today.  People who have had an amazingly positive impact on my professional and personal life?  Yep.  Met them there.  All those scriptures that pop up just when I need them the most?  Also from that time…only now pure and not used to manipulate me or anyone else.  Which reminds me of a scripture (!):

Are you weeping right now or filled with sorrow?

Whatever has caused you pain can turn into the greatest life lesson; a tool to make you more empathetic and less judgmental.  It can give you wisdom that can save someone else from pain.  Remarkably, it can even end up being a source of joy.

‘Cause you’re not that person anymore.

May you find the joy in every little thing this week, my friends.

Love,
Brenda

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Compassion, Bathroom Trauma and the New Word of the Week

How’s THAT for a title?

A lovely series of pitfalls and roadblocks, professionally and personally, tried to hi-jack my week.  How about you?

But around every corner, I was looking for and expecting (and offering to myself) compassion, rather than the judgment that so often tries instead to win the day.

I mention this in the video, but THIS was the most “responded to” post on my Facebook page this week:

Sympathy-quotes-compasion-quotes-kindness-quotes-remember-that..

That harsh retort?  That grumpy receptionist? The driver who cut you off and provided a one finger salute?

Who knows what they are going through?

Taking a step back to entertain the possibilities in your mind opens the door to empathy and then, compassion.  

And the desire to strike back or lash out dissipates.

Which plays in nicely to the big reveal about our NEW Word of the Week…but first, a recap of COMPASSION (and in some cases, a little TOO MUCH information…):

Ahhh…so you see where I’m going?

If we seek harmony and it seems elusive, we can take a step back and remember COMPASSION.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Or give yourself a break for seemingly falling short.

Don’t judge.

Have empathy.

Extend the olive branch.

Isn’t life too short to live in disharmony?

Can you think of a time when you chose to be the bigger person, and it built a bridge leading to harmony?

There may have been a HUGE gulp first, like the teeter-tottering of a child getting ready to take a leap off of the high dive for the first time.

But you jumped.

OK, maybe violins didn’t play and perhaps you didn’t ride off into the sunset singing kum-ba-yah.

But you went to sleep knowing you TRIED.  You followed the Holy Spirit’s gentle prodding and did it.

Their response is not your responsibility.  Just be true to your best self, and let harmony fill all the inside places of discord.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. – Matthew 5:9 

According to Wikipedia (so blame them if this is inaccurate) the word peacemakers does not imply pacifism.  It does not refer to those who do not fight, but rather to  those who actively bring conflict to an end.

Wow.  I like that!

Here’s to a week of bringing conflicts to an end, both externally and internally (or at least trying) and increasing the harmony level in our lives and the lives of those we love.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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