Tag Archives: Social Media

Breaking Out of a Living Hell

Breaking out reminds me of that scene from The Shawshank Redemption, where the main character chips away, little by little, at the wall that holds him in prison. He’s determined to get out, even if it means slogging through sewage to finally be free.

For many of us, 2020 has felt a bit like that prison.

Unable to easily hop on a plane; adventurous plans or opportunities cancelled.

Zoom fatigue.

Jobs lost, bills mounting. Childcare and homeschooling! Aging parents in assisted living or nursing homes that don’t allow visitors.

Election season and endless vitriol inescapable on social media.

Civil unrest.

Yes, 2020 has been a scratched record, replaying disappointment, anger, angst, and turmoil over and over.

And over.

A friend recently encouraged me to consider all the things you still CAN do rather than focusing on what you can’t.

And that helps.

But what if that prison door was unlocked? Instead of agonizingly inching toward an escape, our main character could have just walked out instead of breaking out.

This idea struck me as I watched a recent episode of Lucifer on Netflix.

Yes. I know. You’re shocked that I’d watch – and even like – that show, aren’t you?

Well, I was too.

But it intrigued me because the story turns the traditional explanation of satan on its head and offers thought-provoking ideas that make for great conversations between Mark and me.

In the episode that caused me to think about prison, Lucifer explains that “hell” is a place only you can take yourself. And there is an open door…but people rarely take it.

So caught up in a loop of self-recrimination, guilt, shame, and replaying painful memories, hell’s inhabitants never escape this place of their own making.

Look, I’m not citing the show as gospel, but the idea has merit.

I’ve been the villain in some people’s stories and have mistakenly felt that if I wallowed in the sadness and grief of how they perceived I failed them, it would somehow absolve me.

It doesn’t.

People who cannot forgive WANT you to torture yourself for the error of your ways.

And anyone, isn’t everything between you and…YOU?

Who hasn’t done wrong?

Or failed to act?

We make our own hell right here on earth by torturing ourselves for our failures.

For missed opportunities.

Or for how we may have let someone down.

One of Mark’s favorite lines that I have adopted is, “If it would help, I’d do it.”

At some point a few years ago I realized that guilt and regret only serve to drag down my energy. It renders me incapable of joy. Sans joy, I am depleted; a walking zombie.

I quit the apology tour and walked through the door, free.

It was just a decision. To forgive myself.

Forgiveness equals freedom.

And for those of you walking around still paying for the past, my wish for you is that same freedom.

Let yourself off the hook.

Yes, learn the lesson! When you know better, you do better…and now you know better. Since we don’t get a do-over, please don’t spend this limited journey on planet earth a living hell.

The door…is open.

Communication can take many forms; breathing a prayer, expressing an apology, writing in your journal.

There are words inside of you that, once spoken or written, will heal your soul.

And that is my wish for you.

With love,
Brenda

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Hey, Beautiful! (Yes, I’m Talking to YOU.)

I had a beautiful time a few months ago giving the keynote speech to 600+ librarians at the Michigan Library Association’s Annual Conference. The capacity crowd smiled, nodded and laughed throughout the presentation and when it ended I thought, “That was just beautiful.”

Why? Because I felt so alive, doing what I believe I was born to do. Encouraging others – and seeing that my words were hitting the mark? Talk about satisfying!

Until I saw the organization’s social media post featuring yours truly at an unposed moment.

I looked like the Michelin Man with three tires at the midsection. No joke.

I was horrified.

My beautiful experience had now been tainted by an un-Instagram-worthy moment. My only recourse? A) respectfully ask that they remove the post and B) start SOME kind diet, immediately.

Before those two action items came into focus, self-loathing kicked in. How could you let yourself gain so much weight? How could you deceive yourself for so long through loose clothing?

Then despair: “You know, you’re getting older. Maybe just give up on trying to avoid fat and eat the damn twinkies.”

But I’ve been proudly vain for 55 years. By God (and my Rodan and Fields eyelashes), I’m not about to give up on being hot now! (I vowed to myself.)

That was 22 pounds ago. Thank you, OptaVia, for being an eating plan that helped me jump start a healthier me.

I want to get to the place where self-loathing isn’t even in my wheelhouse; where I can – warts and all – look in the mirror and smile at myself.

This post isn’t about dieting as much as it is LOVING myself (yourself; ourselves) through every stage of life.

While my outer self got thinner these past few months, I’ve continued to focus on my inner me. Because that’s where beautiful begins for all of us.

Spending some quiet time – just 15 minutes – to APPRECIATE and stir up positive aspects is more powerful than any beauty serum. (I know; I’ve tried them all.)

When I’m thinking anxious thoughts, or feeling left out – maybe even a tad jealous – it’s like wearing a cloak of ugly. (Note to readers who may think otherwise: I do not fart sunshine and rainbows; I deal with the same petty stuff we all do on occasion.)

But when I take the time to set my soul in alignment with Source/God/Spirit – Who is ALWAYS loving me – I shine.

After a gloomy week of worrying about my mom’s health, my workload, my bank account. Oh, also my puppy dog, my ex-husband and pretty much everything (worry is like sticky tape; it attracts a bunch of cohorts to gang up on you) I made the decision to stop.

Worrying is simply thinking about what you DON’T want.

– ABRAHAM HICKS

Instead, I spent time that morning thinking about what I DO want. In fact, Mark and I were headed out to romp around Key West. Before we left the cottage, I announced five things that I wanted to happen that day.

With one block of our walk, a woman stopped her car in the middle of the street. She stuck her head out of the window and literally shouted, “You look so pretty! I love that dress.”

(One of the things I had asked for was a delightful encounter with a stranger.)

That was delightful – and I felt beautiful. Not just because someone shouted it from a car window (though how much fun was that???) But because I was thinking beautiful thoughts again.

Here are my parting thoughts on our recent word of the week, BEAUTY:

https://youtu.be/LyK9p0AUT6Y

Well, beautiful people – let’s wash those negative thoughts right out of our minds!

With much love,

Brenda

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