Tag Archives: Truth

You Don’t Have to “Sell” the Truth

When someone throws the big-time sell at you, don’t ignore your internal GPS truth system.

I recall sitting at a kitchen table with an earnest couple who gave me the sales pitch of a lifetime about how joining their church would ensure I’d fulfill God’s purpose for my life.

They persistently pounded on the need to be planted, despite my dreams of travel. My television career was in its infancy, and in TV, you couldn’t stay put in the Delaware Valley (one of the top markets in the country) and gain the experience you needed to rise through the ranks.

The thought of moving to Lima, Ohio to hone my craft…and then to a middle market and finally, a big city – maybe even back home to Philly – thrilled me. This was the path I knew led to my desired outcome: A successful career in broadcast journalism.

And I was being told; being SOLD, that staying put was what GOD wanted.

I bawled.

I remember sloppy tears streaming down my face and crying, “But why would God want something for me that I DON’T want?”

“Ah,” they said. “That’s the voice of rebellion trying to talk you out of the will of God.”

Since when do you have to sell someone on the will of God?

Still, not wanting to rebel against God, I acquiesced.

Fourteen years later, this “church” revealed to be a cult, and over the course of those fourteen years I had the very life sucked out of me. Each “sell” involved me taking action counter to my God-given instincts.

Any resistant truth I haltingly uttered resulted in ME as the guilty party for daring to question authority. Chastised for wanting some semblance of normalcy (like, say, dating, establishing credit or having medical benefits), giving credence to my feelings signaled carnality.

Feelings, they said, were liars. Only the spiritually weak listened to feelings.

This was the master stroke of control that made me a walking zombie. I could quote any scripture for any situation, but I had lost the ability to think for myself. Why? Because when I dared to do so, it resulted in “counseling” and threats of disqualification for the ministry.

I often wonder if an alternative universe exists in which I left that table and listened to my heart. Who might I be today?

Fortunately, I believe everything is always working out for me and boy has it. To this day, the dearest people in my life are those that I met in the cult. Those I escaped with are the kind and tender friends who helped me find my mind again. But it took YEARS; even another fourteen, to fully understand the danger of suppressing my internal emotional guidance system: my feelings.

To realize that if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t in alignment with that which is Divine.

Jesus doesn’t want or need me to suffer for him to prove my love.

And the truth sets you free.

I own my part in the charade because I abdicated my ability to choose for my life. At first, I thought they were more spiritual and would know better than me how I should serve God. Later, I acquiesced mostly just to stay out of their counseling offices where the most vile twisting of truth would render me full of self-loathing and confusion.

The good news is that truth won. It never fails to rise to the top and it will win the day.

And when you truly are flowing with the Divine, there’s no such thing as lost time.

We are eternal beings. And we’ve only just begun.

My parting thoughts on TRUTH and a double whammy WOW:

https://youtu.be/I01_2fOZ47w

It is rare to have a two-word WOW. I wonder what opportunities to put yourself out there on behalf of someone else will present themselves this week?

Let me know what happens as you take them!

Much love,

Brenda

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Pretty Little Lies

They’re just little lies.

You know the little soul band-aids I’m talking about? They tell you “just one” is hardly a problem. But you KNOW that one leads to another and another until you’re headlong back into a bad habit.

Whether it’s a cookie, a cigarette, a missed day at the gym or that glub glub of red in a wine glass – you know your poison.

Well meaning people will try to assuage your doubts, believing the best of you – but the best of friends say, “Warning, warning! This is fire not to be played with!” They WANT the best for you (and are well aware of the worst of you.)

Generally, when we want to go back to our poison, we do it in secret — because the LAST thing we want to hear is that we shouldn’t. ‘Cause we really WANT to…whatever.

Bad habits are a slippery slope. They are familiar grooves in our soul and the OLD us wants to play that record again. That’s why it’s best not to play…even a little bit.

These pretty little lies talk you out of your resolve and make you forget why you quit in the first place. Seductive little buggers, they’ll even begin crafting a whole new story just to defend your lapse.

So you fall. And you stay there for a little bit until you really do remember why you quit in the first place.

The good news is, each day offers the chance to start over. In fact, each moment extends that opportunity.

We’re all grown-ups and don’t need to hit rock bottom to make smart decisions.

We just need to love the truth more than the lure of those pretty little lies.

If they weren’t pretty, we wouldn’t fall for them. So how do we know they are trouble?

When you protect them, hide them, defend them and don’t allow anyone to dare broach them with the light of a question…that’s your warning sign.

My pretty little lie is revealed toward the end of this week’s video, and if any of you have stumbled, I hope it helps you get back up again:

https://youtu.be/HwQsmbwMz3Q

How appropriate that TRUTH is our new WOW!

xooxoxox

With love,
Brenda

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Under the Influence Of…?

We are all under the influence of SOMETHING.

Back in the day, it was usually a nice red wine or a very naughty Grand Marnier.

Because my feelings were on lock-down, I had to numb them.

When I started to allow my feelings to rise to the surface (thanks to getting off of Zoloft and eliminating alcohol), those feelings made clear what was TRULY influencing me.

Good feelings? Happy thoughts? Joyful intentions and a positive outlook? That means I’m under the influence of Source/God/Spirit…however you choose to refer to the Divine.

Stressed? Anxious? Feeling insecure and inferior? Oh, I have just unplugged my connection and I am all caught up in what I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

The senses are very compelling, but they are only PART of the story.

There is a meta (above) physical reality that is FAR more powerful that what my senses can discern.

It is in THAT universe where unlimited potential, lavish abundance and boatloads of  creativity and inspiration reside.

One of the most powerful realizations of this past year has been that Brenda and Source are ONE.  I don’t have to strive for a connection; it is not sever-able.

I don’t have to be good enough, or praise enough, or be holy enough to make myself attractive to God.

That’s the unconditional part of love where traditional religion goes off track.

Conservative Christianity’s view that a God that is love – and unconditional love at that – could damn a soul to “hell” always troubled me; yet I was so entrenched, it terrified me to consider otherwise.  I felt guilty reading Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, yet I couldn’t pull myself away from the sense it made.

This awakening was the first of many to follow…and just like playing whack-a-mole, as soon as I learn something new I learn there’s more to learn.

We’re all on our own, individual journeys. Some of you are further down the road than I, and maybe I’m down the pike from where you are…but the best part is it doesn’t matter.

Ha! Doesn’t it often turn out that when you think you’re ahead you’re really behind (and vice-versa?)

This isn’t a competition.  No one has the corner on the market of spirituality and everyone has a little piece of the truth.

I have found that the safest, most peaceful space to live in is where love truly wins.

In that space, everyone wins.

My closing thoughts on awakening and the new WOW, coming right up!

Well, hello possibilities!  What risks are YOU going to take this week?

(I’m rooting for you!)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Decorating Our Lives with Truth

Decorating my apartment was NOT on my “to-do” list this year.

After all, I wouldn’t even be home from the 18th through Christmas due to work meetings followed by spending time with family.

It was just me, myself and I , so why did I need to haul out the decorations only to store them away again in a couple of weeks?

The first part of December had all but wiped me out with a nasty, lingering cold that made my raisin-bread baking tradition feel like trying to run through quicksand.

Oh, and I didn’t even have a tree!

I purchased this girly-corset faux tree at the Tuesday Morning store and thought it would suffice:

Love it, right?  Except the “branches” are so soft, it can’t hold ornaments.

And I have VATS of ornaments.  Last year I went crazy decorating with my peacock colors (Pier One’s stock went up as a result).

No tree.  Not an ornament to be found. No Christmas spirit.

You can’t even play carols effectively when the ambiance has nary a glimmer of Christmas.

So this happened:

I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person.  Thank you Amazon, for accommodating my last minute shift from Scrooge to Santa.

I reflected on how the tree transformed with each ornament I placed on it (because without the ribbons and balls, it’s kind of a Charlie Brown scrawny tree.)

And it occurred to me that each truth I embraced this year decorated my life, making what was barren and empty downright beautiful.

Yes, my halls are decked.  And so is my life.

Truth transforms you when you let it in. Just KNOWING the truth isn’t enough.  That’s like having vats of ornaments and not decorating with them.

Truth works its magic first when you embrace it and then when you have opportunities to live it out in relationship with life and people.

Which leads me to this week’s video message about the truths that changed me in 2017:

What a beautiful time of year to extend ourselves in support of others…and to link arms with others in love to ensure this is a lovely, not a lonely time of year.

Sending you much love!
xoxxoxo

Brenda

 

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Recipe for Resilience (and the New WOW)

This recipe has been through A LOT…yet the stains and markings comfort me.

In a year that has been tumultuous (to say the least), Mom-Mom’s Raisin Bread recipe, (which I wrote down when I was a teenager) is proof of resilience, endurance,                  bounce-backability and most of all, the prevailing power of LOVE.

This recipe has traveled with me to at least ten different homes and each year when I get to baking I think about how Mom-Mom packed love into every loaf.

I already burned out one Kitchen Aid mixer in 2014, because this dough is NO JOKE.  It’s thick and sticky and clings to EVERYTHING.  (This includes my walls, my bowls and me.)

Each year the list of people I send the bread to grows.  It’s my one claim to fame; a tradition that honors my Mom-Mom and lets the people I love know they RATE when the package arrives.

So this was what my first UPS trip looked like:

I needed elves to bake, wrap, address, package, tape and ship.

All I had was me, myself, and I.

But I had the recipe for resilience!  L-O-V-E.

Every moment that I felt like waving the white dish towel, I conjured up thoughts of the dear people on the receiving end of these packages.  When a friend saw my war zone of a kitchen covered with flour, he kindly observed, “These are loaves of love.”

Yes, they are.

I talk more about how love fuels resilience in this week’s video, but before we go there, let’s make your mouths water:

Yep, they are crunchy sweet golden brown outsides with soft, cake-y, raisin-filled insides.  This treat is best served toasted and SLATHERED with butter.

Sorry to tempt you so.  But you are resilient!  And here’s more on that topic:

Loving and embracing the TRUTH with you this week!

And loving YOU.  It means so much that you are out there.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Your Masterpiece is YOU (and the New WOW)

For our entire lives, we’ve been working on a masterpiece.

We may not call ourselves creative and a paintbrush may never have graced our hands – still, we are artists.

On my 4+ hour drive to Jacksonville to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Anita and her family, I had good company.  Joining me on the open road was the audio book of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Voice of Knowledge.”  A new friend had shared with me that Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” deeply affected his life for good. He highly recommended the trilogy of Toltec Wisdom Books.

The word “Toltec” means “artist of the spirit.” In the Toltec tradition, every human is an artist, and the supreme art is the expression of the beauty of our spirit. To consider that we are artists (rather than mere humans), makes us creators – just like the One Who created us.

From page 47 of The Voice of Knowledge:

How do we live our life? This is our art; the art of living.

There are two kinds of artists.  Those who create their story without awareness, and those recover awareness and create their story with truth and with love.

To think that I – that WE – hold the paintbrush to our lives is an awesome realization.  Is there something that doesn’t fit into our vision of truth and love?  Paint over it.  Create something new.  We have the power to do this.

We were BORN to write our own story and have everything we need to make it a work of art.  Yes, people will come along who will try to impose on us what THEY think our lives should look like.

When I handed over the paintbrush to other people, I became something other than the authentic Brenda.

It has taken many years to get her back.  As the song goes, “Reunited and It feels SO good!

This passage from page 68 excited my spirit so much I wanted to share it with you:

You are the only one who can change your story, and you do this by changing your relationship with yourself.

Every time you change the main character in your story, just like magic the whole story starts to change in order to adapt to the new main character.

I think of one of my favorite movies of all time, Frequency, in which the main character is able to connect to his long-deceased Father through a miraculous ham radio.  At one point he mentions that “cigarettes will kill, you Dad…” as an off-handed comment.

Long story short, that suggestion led to a decision by his Father that resulted in him changing the course of his life…and his death.  The script was rewritten.

I consider my decision four years ago to stop drinking.  After years of wrestling with, “Do I have a problem?” I heard clearly in my spirit that if I kept it up, I would die prematurely.  When tempted to sip a Cosmopolitan, I have reminded myself of that revelation to keep me from turning back.

The clarity of sobriety has graced me with so many gifts; most importantly, a clearness about what I want my life to be and who I want Brenda to be.  It has afforded me a newfound ability to call a lie a lie and step away from pretense and performance.  Being clear gave me the courage to walk away from those things that no longer “fit” the true me…and the health in mind, body and spirit to enjoy a new way of living.

It was the first domino in a series that led to removing Zoloft from my life, journeying to Costa Rica to get back in touch with my wounded soul and begin this journey to wholeness.

What a ripple effect!

I’m sure there will yet be many more changes to the main character of my story, but my point in writing is to encourage YOU to take that paintbrush and adjust your masterpiece accordingly.

Paint your beautiful life with broad strokes of love and truth, my friends.

And what a great word to follow up these thoughts on CREATIVITY:

What a wonderful assignment for all of us!  It is NEVER too late to be who you “might have been.”

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving.  It’s a holiday to be celebrated year-round…and my heart is overflowing with gratitude for this life I get to live (and create!).  I’m so blessed to share it with you.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Willing to Handle the Truth? (And the New WOW)

If you conjured up the scene from A Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson’s character screams, “You can’t HANDLE the truth,” that is exactly what I was thinking of when considered being WILLING and this week’s post.

For me, the focus on our word “WILLINGNESS” wasn’t so much about being open to trying new things (God knows EVERYTHING in my life is new these days.)

It wasn’t about stubbornly holding on to stuff, because the last few months have been all about letting go.

For me, it was about being willing to dig beneath the surface to uncover TRUTH about how I really feel, what I truly want, where I want to be, and why I did (or didn’t do) certain things in my life.

This awakening revealed that I had mastered performing the politically or socially correct script. I knew what “played well” with different audiences and rolled with THAT instead of considering what Brenda, at her core, honestly felt.

It’s shocking to realize how well we can become at adapting or chameleon-izing our behaviors to avoid conflict, rocking the boat or setting off another person’s explosions.

I’m tired of carefully tip-toeing through this world.

If bombs go off in my wake, so be it.

I’d rather have real than fake.  And I’d rather be fully me that a watered down version of me to make everyone else happy.

But it takes a WILLINGNESS to be honest.

That’s off-putting at first, but ultimately, so freeing.

And here’s the upside: When you are really YOU, the people you attract to yourself are keepers.  They’re not being swept up in a performance; they’re connecting with the REAL YOU.  Good, bad or ugly – it’s REAL.

I will always enjoy fake eyelashes, the transforming power of makeup and the invaluable support of Spanx.

But for the stuff that matters in life, I want REAL.

And I’m willing to be honest enough to get it.

More on that and the new WOW coming up!:

Yippee!

The word JOY always reminds me of my friend Krissie Vincent, who can sing like Janis Joplin but uses her gifts to sing in church, too.  She used to sing this song: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy…” and she milked it perfectly until it exploded into a jumping, rousing “Down in my heart!  Down in my heart! Down in my heart!”

You really had to experience it to know what I’m trying to say.

Joy is a jumping kind of emotion.

It’s when happiness spills over from the inside and activates your outsides.

Give me huge doses, please.

May we all jump for JOY this week!

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Keeping it Kind in the Mind (and the New WOW)

My mind can be either a landfill of thoughts or simply a breezeway for them to enter and exit.

Thoughts are like beloved company or dreaded solicitors, and we should treat them similarly.

A welcome visitor should be encouraged to stay (perhaps forever). You fluff their pillows and linger over coffee at the kitchen table. You ENGAGE and cultivate experiences that build to more of them.

With solicitors, who never fail to call just when you are sitting down to dinner or ring the doorbell at the WORST possible time (actually, any time the doorbell rings without a pre-planned visit is usually inopportune), you cut to the chase and close out the contact as quickly as possible.

I suggest we do the same with the thoughts that come to call, hoping to lodge in our minds.

Why do we entertain liars, bullies, Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers?  If we wouldn’t invite them to sleep in our guest room, why let them linger in our minds?

Perhaps because we fear they speak the truth.

I protest!

It is the TRUTH that sets us FREE; lies put us in bondage, render us losers and talk us out of our dreams.

As those of you who follow this blog know, I had my own crisis of faith in recent weeks that almost talked me in to quitting my practice of the Word of the Week.

It toyed with my soul, nagged and chipped away at my joy and was building power…

…until I gave it a voice. Speaking it out loud and sharing it with people whose opinions I respect took it out of the shadows and into the light.

When the light shines, you see the fuzz balls and the dust for what it is – and you can clean house.

Which is what I did.  And why I am here today, talking to you wonderful friends.

Let’s take the flipside for a moment:  If Jimmy Fallon showed up at your door (or George Clooney or Oprah or maybe your favorite character from This is Us or someone else delightful and/or hunky), wouldn’t you roll out the red carpet?

So when someone compliments you or you think kindly about yourself, why do we so easily dismiss or deflect?  Is it a false humility?

Does it matter what it is if it doesn’t serve our best selves?

I had some close encounters this week with wonderful people setting up housekeeping with MEAN thoughts.  Here’s what I had to say about that (and of course, the new WOW):

Ah, HARMONY.

A call to be at peace, within and without. Embracing differences so they blend rather than tear us apart.

This goes along beautifully with the exhortation to be kind, to yourself and to others.

When the nasty thoughts come, toward yourself or to another person, show them the door.

And usher in HARMONY.

xoxoxoxo
Brenda

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Voting with the Truth (not the Lies) and the New WOW

I wrote a card to a friend this week, because I was struck by just how gifted he is in drawing good people together.  I found “my people” in Sarasota because of him, and I wanted to him to hear that TRUTH (in true Word of the Week style.)

I tried to say it – and believe me folks, I have no problem saying anything to anyone (God gave me that gene instead of the one that can balance checkbooks or cook meals) – but every time I tried to go there, he cracked a joke.

The truth wants to set us free, but can only do so when we LET it.

I only bring up that example because sometimes I see that same deflection in myself. A compliment poo-poohed, an expression of appreciation responded to with “oh, that'[s nothing…”  I thought about why we all sometimes fall into that trap that sticks an umbrella up when blessings start to fall down and have considered that it’s often because we are more comfortable with the LIES that bind us than the TRUTH that sets us free.

Have you ever heard in your head:  “You’re a loser.”  “You’ll never change.”  “Why bother?” “It’s too late for you!” (You can fill in the blank with your own variety of playful thoughts.)

And we entertain them!  Sit right down and tell me more!  Oooooh…that reminds me of ten other regrets/failure/fears…and down the rabbit hole we go.

Ah, but “You’re beautiful.”  “You’re talented.” “You inspire me.” “You make a difference.” “You should go for it!”

These lovely truths to often die on the vine because we sometimes (falsely) believe that embracing such good stuff about ourselves is conceited or arrogant or haughty.

Which is another LIE!

 

Lies

Let’s continue to vote with the TRUTH this week (and every week).

Imagine the energy and strength and power you’ll bring into your situations and challenges!  

And you’ll have an abundance of good feelings so you can give the excess away to others.

More on TRUTH…and the new (first ever) WOW!:

Boy does this play off of the whole empathetic approach to life that was part of the TRUTH I heard last week!

As always, when we apply the Word of the Week and seek to extend UNDERSTANDING to others, don’t forget to offer yourself some healthy doses of it, too.

xoxoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Honoring Your Truth – and the New WOW

Honoring your truth is being true to you because you know you’re worth it.  It’s when I’ve played games to keep the peace that I’ve dishonored my self and settled for shams in my relationships.

As my friend Roseann always says, “Your feelings aren’t right or wrong, they’re just the way you feel.”

For too many years, I thought my feelings WERE wrong. “I shouldn’t feel that way…”

But that didn’t change that I DID feel that way.

Sure, maybe it was an ugly feeling, but denying it or sugar-coating it didn’t make it stink any less.

HONESTY is like Febreze for your soul. Only it’s better. It doesn’t just masque the stench, it opens the windows and doors and lets the fresh breeze in and clears the air.

The challenge is that when you open up those doors, it’s an invitation into the deeper chambers of your heart.

Like Jack Nicholson’s character screaming to Tom Cruises’ in A Few Good Men “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” – there is always the potential that the person on the receiving end…well…can’t handle the truth.

Or choose to love you, warts and all.

But even if they don’t like it, do they care enough to hear you out? This was a key part of my meditations and musings on honesty to close out the week:

Oh boy.  Can you believe after all of this time we have NEVER gotten this word before?

Methinks I’ve never needed it more.

How about you?

Special doses of LOVE to you, today and all week long –

xoxoxox

Brenda

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