Growing Pains 

 
They don’t call them “Growing Pains” for no reason. Have you ever seen a Caterpillar break out of the cocoon and become a butterfly? The transformation process is a struggle! But then one day the Butterfly emerges and realizes it’s true potential. It’s simply magnificent.

This summer has been quiet strange and somewhat intense for me as compared to last year because I’ve been having “growing pains” this summer. Mostly these pains are self-inflicted as I’ve challenging myself in different aspects of my life to break old habits, smash the old paradigms of my thought processes, let go what no longer serves me and rise to be my highest best version of my myself. Yes, quite a change from last summer. Last summer allowed myself to stay still, rest and enjoy living on the beach. This summer, well, living on the beach is great but it’s time to focus on the other areas of my life that perhaps I’ve been ignoring or neglecting.

In July 2010 I had a major heart event that was related to my Congenital Arrhythmia. This “event” which was not a heart attack but an electrical problem in my heart was the first sign that something wasn’t right my body. But then I believed ignorance was bliss. I got out of the hospital and met my “friends” for happy hour the next night. But that was just the beginning of what only can be described as a storm that totally ripped apart my life. Over the next year and half I continued to have rhythm disturbances. I wore a heart monitor for three weeks to be sure It wasn’t time for a pace maker. I took two medications every day and rarely missed a happy hour.

Well, the combination of too much medication and too many happy hours destroyed my stomach and polluted my Liver causing Non Alcoholic Steatohepitiis. That’s when happy hour stopped being happy. I was sick more days than I was well but I was still working full time. I hid how sick I really was from everyone including family, friends, coworkers & bosses. I hid it because I hadn’t made my decision yet as to what I was going to do about the situation. I knew my life would have to change. I wasn’t sure I wanted it bad enough. I wasn’t sure life meant that much to me to fight that hard. I wasn’t ready to let go and I sure as hell wasn’t ready to lose everything I thought I needed. “I thought I needed.”

I called my Mother after I had a doctor’s appointment with a specialist at Temple University Hospital in Philly. It was time for me to come clean with her. It was serious and she needed to know. She was the first the person I admitted the truth to. She was the first person I told just how sick I really was. I’ll never forget her crying into the phone and saying, “Linda, just so you know, I’m not strong enough to watch another one of my children die. If you chose to continue living this way and die, you will be taking me with you because I just can’t do it again. I can’t!”

Her words sat on my chest like an elephant. I almost couldn’t breathe when I got off the phone. After crying for a few hours I made my decision and started the hardest job of my entire life. I started reclaiming my spirit but diving into meditation and yoga. I started reclaiming my health but quitting drinking, smoking and eating gluten. I reclaim my emotional well-being by disassociating myself from people who as it turned out were just drinking buddies and not real friends. I reclaimed my heart from an unhealthy relationship and man who treated me like crap.

That was the day I said, “What the fuck! How did I let things get this bad? How did I neglect myself this much? Why didn’t I see it before now?” Nothing like a Mother’s Guilt to open your eyes to the truth. My Mom is and always has been about “keeping it real.” But, now I can say my Mother not only gave me life but she also saved my life that day with her words. I am 100% healthy now. My Liver is 100% healthy. My arrhythmia is for the most part stabilized. It only acts up occasionally. But I only take a very low dose of one medication. I’m still a non smoker and I still don’t drink alcohol. While the Liver specialist said I could have a glass of wine, beer or champagne now and again, I don’t indulge because it can and has adversely affected my arrhythmia. The Premature Atrial Contractions & Tachycardia that I get are innocent for the most part but can really freak you out especially when you wake up out of a dead sleep feeling like your heart just stopped. It’s not worth it.

But, back to the reason I am writing this blog. I didn’t mean to retell my story. If you follow my blog, you probably read it before. I’m very proud of myself for having the balls and determination to reclaim my life and pull myself back from the edge. But, I’m still struggling some areas of my transition. As a natural introvert, alcohol used to grease the wheels for me and help me interact socially without constant anxiety. Going to happy hour was a social outlet and after my first drink I was actually quite extroverted, popular, fun, animated & chatty. But this new authentic Linda is more reserved and quiet. It’s hard for to enter new social environments especially alone.

Some friends from my former life invite me happy hour with them and say, “Oh, come on. You can come out. Just drink a soda!” That cracks me up because I tried it. I order a soda and I am ready to leave after about an hour. They knock back two Martinis or glasses of wine and nurse the last one begging me to stay until they finish. Meanwhile, it’s hard for me to understand their version of English and I get a headache from the noise. It’s not fun. I LOVE going out to Dinner! I enjoy going out to Dinner! Can’t we please eat a meal together while you drink? Then I can enjoy dessert and coffee while you nurse your after dinner drink. We will both be happy😄👍 But, it doesn’t seem to roll that way. I would go out dinner ever Friday night I could find someone who didn’t need to go to happy hour. Thankfully, I do have a few true friends who make an effort for me and will have dinner or go out for coffee with me.

As I’ve stepped away from the bar social scene and my old crowd, I’ve been exploring other interests. But honestly, a lot of these activities require me to go into new groups, new environments by myself for the first time. That is very hard for me with nothing to grease the wheels for me. Last night I went to a new Drum Circle on the beach a 1/2 mile from my house. I went alone. I didn’t know anyone. But, I pushed through my anxiety and did it. I enjoyed it. The facilitator also owns a Yoga studio which is perfect. I will go back. It’s was a first step in finding a new social outlet and new tribe of like minded people.

I was telling my story about last night to my friend, Brian, earlier this afternoon. He and his wife own Herban Legend in Smithville, NJ. I bought my Djembe Drum from him last year. After I told him the story, he got a big smile on his face and proclaimed, “I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourself!” He made me laugh. I felt like I was five and my Dad just told me he was proud of me. I then told him next I was going to go to an Open Mic Night on a Saturday night at the local Coffee Shop and read some of my poetry. He laughed and told me I was starting to talk crazy and winked at me.

This brings me back to my first sentence. They don’t call them “growing pains” for no reason. But if you want to grow, you have to leave the comfort zone and be extraordinarily horribly uncomfortable time to time. There is no way easy way around it.

Well, now I will be working up my nerve to read my poetry out loud at the Open Mic Night some Saturday Night. I will tell you this… It won’t be tonight😁 I grew enough last night. It’s time to chill out and just “be” for a while😁👍

Are you experiencing “growing pains”? Are you pushing yourself to expand and be open? Tell me your stories! Motivate me! Inspire me! Challenge me! But, most importantly, grow with me!

(C) 2015 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

“Life is best when lived passionately”

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Art by; Jonas Kunickas

The song “Daughters” by John Mayer has always been especially moving to me. The truth is my Dad dying when I was seven was very traumatic for me and honestly fucked me up a bit in relationships. But, thankfulky, I have a strong Mother who not only gave me life but saved my life too. I’m the best Linda I’ve ever been. I’m finally ready to share myself and my life. I’ve finally grown enough that I am ready to let someone in.

GROWTH!

My Intentional Difference Exercises 


I’m in a growth spurt☺️😁 Reflecting and evaluating myself to facilitate growth and new opportunities both personally & professionally. I’m working with “Your Intentional Difference”, a Coaching book to help identify what makes me different & how to harness that difference to affect growth & change in my life. A link to purchase the book on Amazon is below.

I’m about half way through the book now. I’m taking a break to review and reflect on the exercises I completed thus far. The first exercise was to identify three words which are my Critical Outcomes, in other words, the words most used to describe me. What’s my Brand? My three words are pretty strong words.

Honesty – It’s important for me to honest and authentic on all levels with myself and others. I chose to be authentic in my words and actions so people can trust and believe in me. This makes me a pretty good employee. I try my best. I have the best intentions. I have integrity.
Undaunted – I’m not daunted when things are difficult. Disappointment motivates me. I like to prove people wrong. In some regards I’m fearless. I will gladly stand up to a bully, I don’t back down. I would rather stand alone than be in any clique. I don’t follow self appointed leaders. That pisses people off sometimes because they can’t manipulate, control me or threaten me. But I have the utmost respect for people in leadership positions and often seek their counsel.
Determined – I’m determined to succeed in life. I’m determine to be a kind, caring, compassionate person while pursuing my own goals. I will overcome obstacles between me and self awareness. I’m determined to do what others think I can’t do. I’m determined to stand my ground. If you take a swipe at me and try to knock me down a peg because you think I need to be, guess what? You just triggered that part of my brain that tells me to dig my heels in further, work harder, grow more, open myself up more and succeed in spite of your attempt to push me down. Remember this… I won’t swipe back. But, I’ll remember and use the experience to grow. Because I am determined it is important for me to do what others say I can’t do. It motivates me to prove them wrong😁 See how that works? Motivation can come in many forms. As Christina Aguleria sings, “Thanks for making me stronger!”

The next exercise was most revealing because it actually helped me work through a professional issue I’ve been having. It was an exercise to identify my Driving Passion.
It started with answering the following questions:
What keeps me up at night?
What do I think about over and over again?
What ignites my creativity?

My answers were:

What keeps me up at night?
The hunger for growth.
The need for self-awareness.
The craving for knowledge and learning.
Serving others with my abilities and skills.
Making a meaningful contribution in this life and at my work.
Expansiveness – The need to expand my mind & experience.

What do I think about over and over again?
Self evolution
Self development
Ways I can help others succeed
Staying grounded and open to change
Strategizing solutions to problems
How to make things better personally & professionally

What ignites my creativity?
Problem solving
Helping others
Unanswered questions
An open mind

What is the one thing that motivates me?
Knowledge
Growth
Self awareness
Making a meaningful contribution
Proving my critics wrong
Standing strong in the face of adversity
Motivating and helping others succeed

After I completed this exercise and I reflected on a current professional situation. I realized what the problem is. I, by nature, need to grow, expand, do something meaningful. While I feel like I’m being held back from growth for the convenience of others.

I inherently need to creative problem solve and relate with others while I feel some of my current responsibilities are restrictive and better suited for someone who more on the clerical level. It doesn’t mean I’m a “Princess”. The talk of my critics is more reflective of their negative nature than mine. It means I know who I am. I know what I am capable of doing. I know what I need to do authentically as part of my nature.

One of my blessings is that I’m lucky enough to learn quick and be good at most things. But it can be a curse when it seems I am held back or pigeon-holed because I do something well because I am a professional and I take pride in my work.. Yet, I despise doing it because it is restrictive and holds me back from expansive work. Just because I am good at something doesn’t mean I should continue to do things I’ve outgrown. It does mean that it is time for me to work with my leadership to use me to my fullest potential. The solution can come in many forms one which is being a dedicated staff member to a group that works to support the organizational mission or a dedicated staff member in managing our Portfolio. It’s perfect fit for someone like me. I’ll discuss this with my leaders later.

I am hoping to work it out to the benefit of all parties. I don’t want to leave where I am for a few reasons. But, I realized I am at a breaking point on this issue which I have been trying to work out for two years. If I am forced to do it without an exit plan in sight & it can’t be worked out, I know now I am willing to let go, move on and try something new. It is causing me a great deal of stress, anxiety & unhappiness. It has to change or I have to change. I may not know what I want to be when I grow up. I realized I don’t need to know that. I like being a Jack of all trades with wide skillset. Opportunities will present themself as long as I am willing to change and let go, if necessary. I do know who I am and I know I need to do work that is authentically aligned with who I am. That is happiness for me. That is authentic for me because it’s part of my DNA. And, that is the crux of the problem I’ve been navigation recently.

So glad I am reading this book. It’s already been really helpful this week. I’m very grateful to one of my Mentors/Coaches for suggesting it. I am also glad I stepped away from the situation for a few days and took a staycation. It helped me work though a few things and gave me the space I needed.

The quote above by Frank Underwood on “House of Cards” resonates with me. Treading water(Standing still)is drowning for me. I guess I need to make sure people are aware of that ☺️🙏

Music “Listen” by Beyonce from “Dreamgirls”. Yep, Listen Up!

Proud To Still Be Hot, And A Mess…

  
I am a hot mess this weekend😄 I’ve had some intense lower left Pelvic Pain and I’m having some Sugar Withdrawal symptoms. I’m a sugar lovin’, Pre-menopausal frustrated hot mess. But, thankfully, I have a good head on my shoulders. I don’t panic. I have common sense and a good sense of humor about the crazy stuff my body is doing lately.

I’ve been absolutely exhausted which I think is my body adjusting to my new low or no sugar lifestyle. Trust me, I would be satisfying the cravings of my sweet tooth all day long if I wasn’t told I’m Insulin Resistant which is Pre-Diabetic. Thankfully, it’s reversible with lifestyle changes. It would irresponsible for me to ignore the symptoms as many others do. It frustrates me. But, it is also within my control and it is causing hormonal fluctuations. So, it’s time to Sugar detox and move forward in life with stabilized blood sugar.

As for the lower left Pelvic Pain, it was pretty intense last night between 3pm and 3am. I was up most of the night. Tramadol, a Narcotic pain killer, wasn’t even taking the edge off of it at first. The Doctor taught me how to triage myself when I get pain like that. For example, the pain was on the left not the right. Therefore, it was probably not Appendicitis. I didn’t have a fever; it probably wasn’t an infection. I was passing Urine, Stool & Gas; it probably wasn’t a Kidney Stone or a Bowel Obstruction. I had pain and sensitivity in the lower left Ovarian area but wasn’t throwing up. I wasn’t nauseous. I wasn’t bleeding and I could stand up and move around. I thought it was most likely an Ovarian Cyst; that really bummed me out. I think it acts up when I ovulate and that means a Period is on the way. BUMMER. Once I have another Period, the 12 month Menopausal clock is reset. We start counting missed Periods all over again. But, I also wondered if the radical change in my Blood Sugar could be affect my hormones enough to cause the Ovarian issues. I spent some time at 1am this morning Googling that. And, guess what? Yes, blood sugar levels can affect ovulation.

Back to how I got through last night…While it would have been nice to get hooked up on a Morphine drip for a while in the ER, it didn’t seem necessary. I also knew I had a followup for Bladder Scope with the Gynecological Urologist on Monday at 3:45pm. She can do an exam then. Instead of paying a $125 copay for a Morphine drip, I made some Ginger Tea from fresh grated Ginger. I broke out the Heating pad and took the Tramadol every six hours. The pain slowly subsided. But, I didn’t really sleep until this morning.I stayed in bed late. I also cancelled my plans to go up to Philly for dinner at my niece’s house. I needed to slow down & take care of myself.

It’s occurred to me this weekend that “growing old gracefully” isn’t possible. It’s not possible. It sounds nice. It seems like words of wisdom from your prim and proper grand mother. But, it’s not reality. At least not in my world. For example, my Mom is a 75 year old Great Grand Mom. She can talk trash with the best of them and trust me she can make a Saint lose their patience and bang their head against a wall. Let’s not even talk about the F-Bombs she drops and her “keep it real even if it hurts” communication style. My Sister is a beautiful 53 year old Redhead. She wears tattoos proudly and, since her kids are grown, she’s reverted to being a teenager herself. My other sister is 54. She made an announcement at Sunday dinner not long ago that she was no longer bailing anyone out of jail😄 That statement should tell you a lot about tempers in the Long Family and how graceful my tribe is as a whole🙀So, why should I be any different?

Seriously, I’m going be a train wreck. You know, the type you aren’t sure you want to look at but can’t take your eyes off. And guess what, I’m ok with it. I’m ok with it because I’m going to share what learn about health issues so people are educated. I’m going to talk about the stuff other women are too embarrassed to say like Vagina, enjoying sex and, much to my surprise, totally shaving all the carpet off is not recommended by Docs. I was told to let it grow out & trim instead😉 The carpet protects the sensitive areas from unwanted invaders. But mostly, I’m going to speak the truth. Hopefully, others out there will know they are not alone.

As my Mother has said, “Getting old ain’t for sissies and I’m no fucking sissy.” 😉😄😇😂 I’m proud to say I’m almost 50. I’m almost in Menopause. I’m almost a Diabetic but working on reversing it. I almost have the carpet completely shaved now because apparently I didn’t know women actually need a little carpet😉 I’m almost a lot of things now. But, I am still HOT and I’m a bit of a mess. Yes, I am now officially a hot mess🔥🔥💋

The Music is “Blister In The Sun” by the Violent Femmes. I spent a lot of fun, crazy drunken nights in the 80s & 90s dancing at 2:00am to this song. I saw the Violent Femmes at The House Of Blues in 2007. My girlfriends and I all turned 40 that year. One of their husbands bought four of us tickets. Things that happened night still crack us but my lips are sealed…😈💋❤️

(C) 2015 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
Life is best when lived passionately
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Note:
Photo Credit:
Sageword Facebook Page

3 Years And Counting

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November 25, 2011 was the Friday after Thanksgiving. And, it was the day that stopped drinking alcohol and I quit smoking. I loved red wine. I salivate thinking about a cold beer. Remembering how a cigarette tasted when I was drunk almost brings a tear to my eye. I never would have quit either unless I had to.

I was sick. By late 2011, I knew my life, my health and my Liver were on the line. The Liver Specialist at Temple University Hospital said to me, “Dying from Liver Disease isn’t pretty, it’s painful and your skin color is already changing. Is this really how a pretty young girl wants to go? You have to at least try to reverse the disease with changing your lifestyle.” The doctor told me there were no guarantees it would work. But, I decided to try anyway and November 25, 2011 was the day I started my journey towards Heath.

November 25, 2014 my Liver disease is in remission. My Liver is mostly healthy. But, it’s remission. It can come back for no reason even with me living clean. So, my lifestyle changes are for the rest of my life. I am not dying yellow and in pain. I’m too vain for that 👍😉

Walking this path hasn’t been easy every day. I’ve done most of it by myself with the sheer force of my own will. The changes I may three years ago transcended into every aspect of my life. I see things clearly. I see people clearly. I know who and what is good for me.

The choice I made that day was the best and hardest choice I ever made because I knew I was walking away from my entire social life too. It forced me to recreate myself. It pushed me to grow and expand my horizons. It gave my life depth and meaning.

I’m exceedingly grateful to all others who have supported me, encouraged me and believed in me during this transformation.

Authentically Linda

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Authentically Linda
By: Linda A. Long

I am a woman
I am a passionate bold woman
I am not afraid
To speak my truth
I will not conform
To make others comfortable
I will not hold back
So you can keep up
I am woman
I embrace my sexuality
I am not embarrassed
To proclaim my desire
As a woman
Who desires a man
I am woman
Don’t underestimate me
Because your view
Of the world is limited
Nor assume that
I can’t or won’t
Have the guts to change
Do not view my world
Through the narrow lens
Of your own limiting beliefs
I write my words
Proudly and openly
I proclaim
The freedom
Of my passions
For my life
And for a man
Without being bashful
Without being shy
I state it authentically
As the strong confident woman
I am today
Who left behind
The person you used to know
Three years ago
To walk boldly
Into the unknown
Standing here on firm ground
There is no
Looking back
I am no longer
The person I was
I’ve changed
I courageously
Proclaim
Victory over the
Demons in my life
Perched on the brink
Of wonderfulness
I open my arms wide
And breath in the
Clean fresh air
Of things and people
Who are good for me
I stand in a state
Of receiving
Knowing for once
The true power
Of my very own soul
God has blessed me
With an abundance
Of courage
A brave heart
A strong mind
And passionate soul
This is just
The beginning
Of my story
Instead of remembering
Who I was
In the past
Be happy for now
Be happy because
I am finally
Healthy
Happy
Free
I am
Authentically Linda
(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Note:
Tuesday, November 25th is an important day for me. It’s the day three years ago I chose to walk away from the life I was living and chose health. It will be three years since I quit drinking alcohol and smoking👍👏❤️ On that day,
gave myself a fresh start.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it. Some friends still can’t get used to the new me. Here’s the thing…once I walked away, I kept walking. No one expected me to do that. I say openly instead of trying to pull me back, let go and be happy I am healthy. 👍😄😉❤️

Photo Credit
Adam Braun
Retrieved From

http://abraun.deviantart.com

The Gift Of Self Love

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a poem about what I would do for love. In that poem, I explored what I would do for romantic love, love that happens between me and a man ❤️ Recently I was thinking about what I did for love of myself and how my life changed because I started showing myself the same affection I always showed others.

I am a sensitive soul and I mean that on many levels. My feelings, especially for people, run very deep. The deeper the connection the more sensitive I am to them and their needs and feelings. This has been a blessing and a curse my entire life. It’s a blessing in that it gives me the ability to read people & know their true intentions. It’s a blessing in that I am profoundly compassionate. It’s a blessing in that I’m highly Empathetic. I can tune into people and relate to them without them really needing to put their needs into words. As a young girl, my sensitive empathetic capabilities were confusing. These capabilities actually caused a lot of pain and depression when I was young. The curse of being a “feeler” and not really understanding it was profound in my life. I had no control over what I was feeling. It was all so intense. I had no idea what was happening to me me most of the time. I see now a lot of what I was experiencing was not actually my own experience but it was the pain and confusion of those who surrounded me. Hard to explain to people that you are feeling their pain even harder to live with especially as a child. In recent years, I’ve learned how to block things out and tune things out for my own self protection. And, let’s face it. Some people are just drama queens and others are overly emotional. I tune them out as much as possible👍

In retrospect, I see clearly my biggest issue for most of my life was that I had weak boundaries with people. While I always had a strong sense of self and an independent spirit, I also put the needs, wants and desires of others before my own. I hated that I was different from my peers and I often dumbed myself down and adjusted my life to fit in with the crowd more. Every day a little of my authentic self slipped away. I almost didn’t know my own voice because so many people had say in my life and continuously crossed my boundaries.

Over the years I had my share of health problems. The source of most of my health issues was that I didn’t value myself. Therefore, I did not take care of myself the same way I took care of others. As I started to see things clearly in my life, I started learning how to nurture myself and care for myself. As I started loving myself and trusting my instincts, my emotional, physical and mental health improved. All it took was self love and affection.

Time was the gift I selfishly gave myself. Distance from negative relationships was the only way I could start to hear my own voice again. Having the courage to give up all that I knew for something that held no guarantees was the ultimate gut-check for me. I walked away from people, a lifestyle, a social life and an action-packed social calendar. But I also walked away from bad habits, an unhealthy body and a broken spirit. I left it all behind. September 15th was the third year anniversary of the day I started walking away from people & an unhealthy relationship. November 25th will be the third year anniversary of the day I chose health over being a party girl. On that day I stopped drinking alcohol, I quit smoking, I started eating healthy and I started living a life that I am now proud of living.

I am not going to say the last three years have been easy. The first year was especially challenging because I was still struggling with unresolved feelings and I had hard time letting go. The second year things started to shift and became easier. Stability returned to my life. I let go of the people from my past. My emotional well-being healed as my body got stronger. But, I really started hitting my stride in the third year. Year Three has been full of the fruit of my labor. My mind and body are relaxed. I’ve enjoyed good health. I hear my own voice clearly. I am able to maintain and enforce boundaries in all situations. My sensitive/empathetic capabilities have become sharper and I am able to control them. In year three my heart cracked open to love and its complexities without fear or hesitation because I see true goodness looking back at me. The most important gift I was given in year three has been the power of discernment. I intuitively know what and who is good for me. I sense it. I feel it. I know it. It is the true fruit of the labor of self love.

Today I am clear about who I am and what I want from life. I am clear who I want in my life. I have absolute clarity within my own soul. This type of self knowledge has been the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I see now that I have a peaceful soul. I don’t want or need the distractions of the party lifestyle. I need peace. I finally saw that I was deserving of more than I was accepting.

Today I am taking care of myself by simmering a pot of Chicken Bone Broth all day. Bone Broths that are cooked for a long time have many nutrients and health benefits. I’m snuggled on the sofa with a blanket, a pillow and plenty of books to read on my iPad Kindle App. I’m writing, reading and just enjoying the peace I finally have in my life. Today I’m loving myself the same way I love others.

Take some time to dial the noise down in your life. Tune into the natural rhythms of your own heart. Explore the caves of your soul and love yourself as much as you love others.

(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit
“Visible Darkness”
Pat Erickson

Retrieved From
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/visible-darkness-pat-erickson.html

Absolute Beauty Of Life – Daily Prompt

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The Absolute Beauty Of Life

I feel something rising up in me lately. It’s almost like I am breaking through something. Maybe an old paradigm is being broken. Perhaps an old way of thinking is no longer working for me. Maybe a heart once guarded is putting down the shield. The only thing I know for sure is whatever is happening to me is for my highest good. It is good. This I know to be true. I feel it. I sense it. It’s taking me to the very center of my soul. That is absolute beauty.

The other day I found myself bursting into tears as I as driving. As I took a moment to dry my eyes, I realized they were happy tears. I realized I was feeling something profoundly beautiful. I knew something was healed inside of me. I also knew what I was feeling scared the crap out of me. But, it was comforting like a long lost friend returned. It was that moment I knew whatever is rising up in me is good. It’s very good. It’s absolutely beautiful.

I find myself having these profound moments lately where I feel…I feel things intensely. Tears come to my eyes and I have to pause and feel whatever it is. At first, these moments were unsettling. They made me feel vulnerable and weak. In recent weeks I am learning these moments, these emotionally charged moments, are me with all barriers stripped away. In these moments of honesty, truth and vulnerability I see myself clearly. It’s good. It’s very good. It’s absolutely beautiful.

I know people who live life in an illusion. They live in mini-mansions and they are surrounded with superficial happiness. They have all the things they were told would make them happy. Yet, they still don’t know peace. They still feel empty. They still know something is missing. I lived the same way until a few years ago. Illness and a painful end of a relationship pushed me into change. It was in the separation from people, a lifestyle and way of thinking that I found freedom. Without letting go and trusting my intuition I would not be open to life the way I am now. When everything is stripped away there are no illusions. It’s a wonderful time to start everything fresh. It’s the perfect time to welcome truth into your life. Pain was a teacher for me. I chose to heed the wisdom and respect what I was feeling instinctually. That is absolutely beautiful.

Today the deeper I allow my soul to the dive into this sea of emotions and feelings the more I feel my potential blossoming like a flower. It’s opening me in new more beautiful ways with each passing day. I feel my heart opening again. My mind is welcoming new thoughts and ideas. My world is expanding with possibilities and I am embracing my natural capabilities. I am finally embracing my God-given “giftedness” instead of holding back or hiding it. Self-acceptance is absolute beauty.

With all of these wonderful changes also comes a greater ability to discern what and who is good for me. Although I am somewhat open on my blog, I am actually quiet, introverted and pensive in real life. I need people who respect that. Although I am intense, romantic and passionate, I don’t show that side to everyone. If you are lucky enough to experience my intense passionate side, keep it to yourself and cherish the gift I am giving you. I don’t share that with everyone. Even though I am emotional and driven to know myself on the deepest levels, it is not essential for some people in my everyday life to know this aspect of me. Mostly, I know now that I need people who aren’t overwhelmed or intimidated by my intensity. I also like people who aren’t afraid to go where their soul calls them even if it means giving something up today to have something better tomorrow. Knowing you deserve the best in life and not accepting less is absolute beauty.

Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” is one of my go-to songs when I am feeling the intensity of life. It’s funny because I do really feel like I’ve seen both side now. I know now that I would rather be where I am today and be the woman I am today than where I was three years ago.
(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit:
Charlene Van Den Eng

Retrieved From:

http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/2014/04/Charlene-Van-Den-Eng.html?m=1

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

Seven Ravens (Long post)

 

March 31, 2014 – I took some online quiz to find out what my Spirit Animal was this morning while I was laying in bed at 4:30am.  It said I was a Raven.  The description said, “In some mythologies, the Raven represents the Creator. It is a dark, mysterious, and highly intelligent animal. Like the Raven, your soul is filled with creative energy. You will make something that others will be in awe of…”.

It reminded me of the the “Seven Ravens” poem I wrote a couple years ago and it also reminded of the post I wrote last year at a time of reflection.  The last three years of my life have been nothing short of unbelievable. These three years of my life were filled with complete honesty and authenticity. I stripped everything away and truly saw myself.  I learned to love everything I saw in myself even the things that aren’t pretty. I survived, overcame and blossomed in spite of opposition, naysayers and negative forces.  I rode out the highs and lows. I made changes and choices. I found the courage to let go of anything and anyone who held me back, wasn’t good for me, spoke negatively about me, didn’t wish me well and wasn’t healthy for me in body and spirit. None of it was easy. But, I did it.  I choose it every day. If I could chose between my life ten years ago and my life today, I choose today.

I am grateful that God gave me the choice.  Many in life do not get choices. I got them and I feel I took responsibility and owned my life and my actions.  I grateful that I am not afraid to show my vulnerability on this blog or to the people I care about.  I recognize a good soul when I see one and to them I will show all of me. I will NOT hold back or hide from those who I know belong in my life. I live in gratitude everyday for the life I am living now.  It didn’t happen by chance. It happened by choice. 

I choose today!
___________________________

May 1, 2013 – I originally wrote the poem, Seven Ravens, in October 2o11.  At that time, I was sick, I was depressed and I was overwhelmed. And, a relationship abruptly ended after a horrible incident. It almost broke me that it all was happening at the same time. Sensing that the only way I was going to survive the storm my life was in was to relax in to it and just let go. I felt like if I didn’t stop resisting everything or if I kept trying to hold on, then I was truly was going to die.  I tried to do it my way. I tried to force my path. But, nothing was working.  I was filled with anxiety.  But, I was so afraid to let go of everything I knew. I was so afraid to change. I was afraid I would lose my friendships and my social life. I didn’t think I was strong enough to do what life was calling me to do. I was ready to give up rather than change.

Everywhere I went I was receiving little messages of comfort and reassurance from unusual places.  People out of the blue telling me it was going to be ok. Phone calls from people I lost contact with saying they had dreams about me. And, I was having recurring dreams of my decease sister and father holding my hand.  Talk about spiritual experiences!  

On one particular day I was exceptionally anxious. When I am feeling anxious I chant and visualize my lucky number seven. While doing this, I take deep breaths. This practice seems to work like magic at calming me down and returning me to peace. So, one day after I was chanting and visualizing the number seven I logged into Facebook. I started reading status updates and then I saw “Seven, a journey” posted on a friend’s status. It was so unbelievable that as I was chanting and visualizing the number seven to relieve anxiety as she posting the number seven as a journey.

I called her and told her about the synchronicity of our actions. She told me Seven Ravens landed on her window ledge at the same moment I was chanting and visualizing the number. Incredible! She told me about the Native American meaning of Seven Ravens. Seven Ravens is a Native American symbol of a journey. The Seven Ravens come to you to provide you direction and safe passage in your journey.  As the Ravens sat on her window ledge, she prayed. Then one by one she watched as each flew off carrying her prayers into the wind. She said the Ravens gave her great peace and comfort. They were a confirmation that the choices she has been making are good for her. And, now she knew for sure I was on the right path as well. In traditional Medicine cards, Ravens symbolize strength and healing.

That was 19 months ago.  If I only knew how my life would be changed. If I only knew how much healthier I would be. If I only knew my broken heart would mend. If I only knew I would find peace and happiness within my own soul. If I only knew those Seven Ravens were providing me a safe passage on this incredible journey. Would I have continued on knowing everything I would eventually change and give up? I don’t know. All I know is the friends that really mattered are still in my life even though I don’t go out drinking with them. They support me now in what I am doing. What I do know is that Yoga has been a refuge and safe haven for me and has provide me relief and sanity on some hard days. What I do know is that my world has opened up and new powerful spirits and come in and refreshed my spirit with hope. What I do know is that I am healed and back to living. I am changed forever and that was supposed to be my journey all along. I was jus too afraid and stubborn to give in. But, oh what magic happened once I finally let go…

To those seven beautiful ravens, thank you for providing me safe passage. I am eternally grateful.

Seven Ravens – Love, Sex & Poetry
By: Linda A. Long

Did you hear that?
It was a voice
Gently calling your name
If I close my eyes
I can play its melody
In my mind
Calling to you
The sound calms my spirit
And nourishes my soul
Softly drifting
It carries me to sleep
The sound of your name
Carried by the wind
Nestled gingerly
On a leaf
Floating miles
To my window
As if to heal me
And bring My weary heart Peace
In its presence
I say your name
As low as a whisper
I place it carefully
On the backs of
seven ravens
And ask the ravens
To protect your journey
And to keep you safe from harm
They leave my window
And take flight
Saying your name
With a message of love
Seven Ravens journey
From me to you
They wait
to softly kiss
your ear
Preached on the ledge
They sit
with the melody
of my name
On their backs
to sing to you
Their song
Of love and peace
Seven Ravens
A journey
Follow the raven
© 2011 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit
Fine Art Print Grimm FairyTale Seven Ravens & Girl 8.3 x 11.7 inches
by: Christina Lank
Retrieved Fromhttp://www.etsy.com/listing/114107463/fine-art-print-grimm-fairytale-seven?ref=market

Running Down A Dream

Chelìn Sanjuan 1967 - Spanish Magical Realism painter - Tutt'Art@ (34)
I suppose it was being sick for so long that changed my perspective on things. Maybe it happened when my best friend was diagnosed with advanced Peritoneal Cancer. Or maybe it happened when I thought I was going to Steve & Cookies for my Tuesday night Chicken dinner but instead got my head put on straight by good caring friend. But, probably the time came and I was ready. Ready to look my fears in face. Ready to break free of the shackles that were holding me back. Ready. Maybe that’s all.  I was ready. Maybe I was just ready to move again.  Maybe now the comfort zone is awkwardly uncomfortable.  Well, I should say I am mostly ready. Nervous, worried and excited. But, ready to get back off the bench. Ready to live again.

I spent such a long time keeping myself in a holding pattern I lost some of my fabulous “Linda confidence”. Everyone who knows me well knew something wrong. But, no one could put their finger on it. “Is she still sick and not telling anyone?” “Why isn’t she re-engaging?” “She seems stuck.” “Should we say something to her?” Yep, I heard the well-meaning whispers. The truth is I  lost my confidence and wasn’t sure how to get it back. I spent the better part of two years healing my body and feeding my soul that I neglected the rest of my life. I forgot about my dreams. I lost touch with the fire that has always lived in my belly.

A few months ago I had two weeks off from work and had sometime to really look at my life. I saw it all very clearly. I was living smaller out of fear and allowing my anxiety about my health control every aspect of my life.  It had to stop.

About a month ago I ask myself “why am I waiting to live?” “Why am I waiting?” Well, the truth is if you don’t try, you can’t fail. That’s the bottom line. As a recovering perfectionist I still have fear of failure issues. But, that’s not the only reason. I conditioned myself to live safely, take precautions – after all, I was sick. But, here’s the thing. I WAS  sick. I AM WELL NOW. That was my mind playing tricks on me and trying to keep me stuck. I also see now people who fed into this way of thinking were not real friends and were just trying to hold me back the same way they hold themselves back.

As I’ve slowly left my comfort zone my confidence started coming back. One day I woke up and before I even opened my eyes I knew “Now is the time!”. Almost like angels were whispering in my ear that night. I heard the message. Before my feet even hit the ground I was running down my dream. I was planning an escape from the comfort zone. My mind was spinning. It was time. The time is now. I will write more in coming weeks about the Beach Lover’s Dream I am running down currently. . But, for now, I have a big smile on my face because I am no longer afraid. One demon slayed, hundreds to go (lol).

What’s holding you back?  What dreams have you lost touch with?  How many demons do you need to slay?

(C) 2013  Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit: Chelìn Sanjuan 1967 – Spanish Magical Realism painter
Retrieved From: http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/mOwBuP-or50″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Jump – Poetry

Jump

Jump
By: Linda A. Long

Jump
Take a deep breath
And jump
No time for fear
No time
To second guess
Trust
Your gut instincts
Have faith
Your plans are solid
Believe in the best
For your self
Have confidence
In your ability
To make strong
Healthy choices
For yourself
And
Just Jump
Out of the comfort zone
Into a new life
Full of possibilities
And excitement
Jump
Into your life
Free fall
Into exhilaration
Feel alive
Once again
Feel amazingly alive
Jump
A new life
Is waiting for you
© Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software

NOTE: I am jumping. Although nervous, my intuition is telling me it is safe. So, I am jumping. This is what being alive is all about. I’ll provide more details in coming weeks. But, the important thing to know is that I am on the move and out of the comfort zone 🙂
Photo Credit:Michael Dean Jackson
Retrieved From:http://michaeldeanjackson.blogspot.com/2012/06/jump.html