Here’s To Being Wonder Woman in 2015 – My 2015 Intentions

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Intentions 2015

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. They seem cliché to me. But, I do believe in using Intentions to change/mold and direct my life. I am a planner; setting goals and Intentions makes sense to me. I believe if you set a goal and make a plan, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

Below is the list of Intentions I posted last year. Under each Intention is my “Monday Morning Quarterback” review of how it actually worked out as the year rolled by and a new Intention for 2015.

2014 Physical Health Intention
I will remain Gluten Free and Alcohol Free.  although I do miss having a glass of wine, I can’t go through all the work it took to heal my Liver again.  I just can’t do it again. The Liver Specialist told me the Liver disease will come out of remission and will be even worse and may even kill me if I gain too much weight or drink alcohol again. So, I’ve accepted that alcohol is my Kryptonite.  Moving on…Now that my stomach is healed and I no longer have multiple nutritional deficiencies from lack of absorption I have to work on finding the right balance food and calories for my health body.  I would like to take off the 10lbs I put back on.  I will use use Yoga and Power Walking as my primary exercises to nourish my body and help me maintain a healthy weight. Also, if you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I removed the Celiac Disease Infographic.  I did this intentionally. I now believe when you identify yourself with an illness, you open the door to more illness.  In other words, I am happy and grateful now that I am healthy and I feel good.  I do not identify myself with any illness or disease.

2014 was a pretty good Heath year until November. I remained Gluten Free, Alcohol Free and for the most part healthy. But, in the back half of 2014 I noticed some small changes in my body. Most of which were attributed to being 47 years old and premenopausal. In November I started experiencing a lot of pain and missed periods. An Ultrasound showed a nodule my right ovary. In a recent ER visit, I learned the nodule was indeed a Benign Endometrioma that was shrinking. But they also found another Endometrioma on my left ovary. This confirms the diagnosis of Endometriosis and explains all the weird symptoms I was having for the last few months. And, I will indeed be starting drug induced Menopause on January 7th and may need a Hysterectomy in the future. The way I look at all of this – Thank God it’s not Ovarian Cancer. I can handle this✌️ 😄

2015 Physical Health Intention
I will continue to make strong healthy choices for my body and my overall health. Here’s to Gluten Free, Alcohol Free and maybe even Ovary Free in 2015👍😄😜

2014 Emotional and Mental Health Intention
I will continue to walk my own path. I will remain authentic in everything I do. I will be genuine and open.  I will continue to embrace my highly intuitive nature.   I will continue to use Yoga, Mantras, Meditation and prayer to facilitate my spiritual journey. I am happy and grateful now that I am living life as my authentic self.

2014 brought a new level of authenticity in my life. I noticed the more I owned my shit and revealed who I was honestly, the more I attracted genuine people into my life. I also noticed an increase in my intuitive power in 2014. I think this is because I’ve been practicing with great intention. Also helps that I have someone who is very tuned into me. I’ve noticed an increase in our ability to communicate with each other intuitively. It’s nice and it also fun❤️

2015 Emotional & Mental Health Intention
My 2014 Intention in the area of my life remains intact. It’s pretty much the way I live life now.🙏

2014 Financial Health Intention
I am a money magnet. I attracted abundance.  Money comes to easily and effortlessly.  Everything I need want and desire appears before me effortlessly at just the right time.  I have excellent money managment skills 🙂

2014 brought greater financial comfort and security. While I still need to work on building an bigger nest egg a bit, financially I’ve had a good year. I moved to a beachfront condo with an ocean view, I bought a new 2015 Honda Fit Ex and I’ve helped some people in need. It’s been a good year..

2015 Financial Health Intention
My 2014 Financial Intention remains intact for 2015. But I will add saving more and sharing my blessings with more people in need✌️

2014 Spiritual Health Intention
I am happy and grateful now that I live a life of passion. I will keep the fire in my belly burning by kindling it with growth.  I will continue to challenge myself, nurture myself and celebrate my victories. 2014 was all about personal growth and rekindling the fire in belly.

2015 Spiritual Health Intention
2014’s Intention remains intact for 2015. I will add personal growth is extremely important to me. I will continue to grow in all directions and embrace all opportunities that challenge me and grow me👍

2014 Relationship Health Intentions
I will continue to surround myself with good influences who challenge me and encourage my growth. I am good to know. I will maintain an open heart and mind. I am attracted to people who are good for me. I am attracted to people with like energy. I attract health relationships.

The most important relationship of my life is the one I have with myself. In 2014 I loved myself on all levels. I accepted myself on all levels. I allowed myself to receive – to receive all the goodness I deserved.

2015 Relationship Health Intention
2014 Intentions remain intact for 2015. But I will add…In 2015 I will attract people who are good for me and people who encourage me to grow. I hope a clear path is identified in my love life and I will make an effort to make more friends with similar interests.

2015 Career and Professional Development Intention
In 2014 it seemed like I was in a holding pattern. But I foresee that pattern being broken in 2015. I plan on getting my PMP Certification to give me a push in the right direction I am most interested in pursing.

While I don’t feel my 9-5 job is my passion or my purpose, it is a secure way for a single independent self-sufficient woman to support herself. I can pursue my passions on my free time.

While I’ve never had the Oprah Ah Ha Moment, I have noticed as I grow and embrace my authenticity I seem to encourage others to do the same. I also noticed as I overcome obstacles I seem to inspire others to do the same. Maybe that’s my purpose in life. Maybe it’s all about being strong, growing and becoming my best self so I give others permission to do the same👍😄❤️🙏😇

One last note, if what doesn’t kill you doesn’t in fact make you stronger than I’m going to be like fucking Wonder Woman by the time God is done with me👍😄😘👏

@ 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit:
Don Monroe

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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
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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

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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

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

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

The Last Moment – Love, Sex & Poetry

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The Last Moment
By: Linda A. Long

If you knew
It was the last time
You would look
Into someone’s eyes
Would you say
The words
That have laid
On your lips
And tell them
The tide in
Your heart rises
When they are near
Would you choke
Back your nerves
Fears and reservations
To be sure
They knew
You are breathless
In their presence
And sad when
They are away
If you knew
It was the last time
You would hear
Their voice
And see their smile
Would you
Walk out on the limb
And tell them
What you feel
And make sure
When they
Close their eyes
They know
They will take
A little bit of you
With them
Would you choke
Back your nerves
Fears and reservations
For the thrill
Of being alive
If this moment
Was the last moment
You would see their face
Would you
Grab their hand
And cherish
The final seconds
As years of lost
Possibilities
Flash before your eyes
If you knew
They felt the same
Way about you
Would you choke
Back your nerves
Fears and reservations
And finally
Rest your tender words
In their ear
Would you place
Your heart
Into their hand
Would you finally
Live in the now
Embrace this last
Moment with them
And say goodbye
Would you have
The courage to
Claim the love
You deserve
If you knew
It was the last time
Your lips could touch theirs
Would you
Kiss them
And live your life
Without regret
But with the passion
Of a heart ignited
By the flame
Of sweet desire
Would you choke
Back your nerves
Fears and reservations
Would you stop
Living in the future
And embrace the NOW
Would you let yourself
Have what you deserve
Now
If you knew
Would you
Live in the now
(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Note: I woke up this morning in the middle of a dream saying these words. I hopped out of bed to grab my iPhone. I wrote this in iPages while laying in bed. The words took about five minutes to come out. Some recent events in life gave me some time to think about the fragility of life. We’ve been trained in life to wait, to be patient, to be cautious and prudent. What if one day we chose to be reckless with our hearts and say how we actually feel. I don’t intend this to be just about lovers but about anyone who we love.

The other thing I was thinking today was how I watch so many of my friends who are raising their children to expect perfection and be entitled in life. I do not have children. Perhaps, I should not voice my opinions. But I think children should learn how to be happy and grateful when things aren’t perfect. They should be shown how to find peace and gratitude even when their dreams do not come true. They should be encouraged to live in the now, plan for the future and put people first. A child should learn to be comfortable and secure in their own company without needing constant activities and distractions. It makes me a little sad to see how parents run their kids around. They give no time just to lie back in the grass and look at sky or hang a fishing pole off the a dock. Children miss the opportunity to learn how to find peace in the quiet moments. We train them to be stressed.
But I guess a parent can’t teach what they don’t have within themselves.

Photo Credit
Antonio Sicurezza

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Holding on, Letting Go

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Holding On, Letting Go
By: Linda A. Long

Soft and serious
Is my mind today
Not enough space
For the luxury
Of light and easy thoughts
Some days are like this
Some days are serious
Looking back on my life
I see missed opportunities
Things that could have been
If I only conformed
Things that might have been
If I settled
For what I knew was less
Than I wanted or deserved
At a place of reflection
I am not weighed down
By the complexities of regret
I am empowered
By my fortitude
To stand my ground
There have been many
Times in this life
I’ve stood alone
Times I stood up for myself
And walked away
From people and things
I knew weren’t genuine
I am not sad
That I left those
Things in the past
I am not lonely
For the life
I knew wasn’t authentic for me
I am grateful
For the experiences
That made me better and stronger
Trusting my instincts
I am now standing
Confidently in my
Authentic self without
Feeling the need
To explain myself
Without needing approval
Or validation
I am authentic
I now know peace within
From this place
I walk into
My future
With a greater capacity
To love and understand
From this new place of peace
I can be a source
Of support, strength and compassion
To those I love
Stepping away from
The noise of the crowd
I finally heard my own voice
And followed the beat
Of my very own soul
To peace
While some look back
With regrets
I look back with
Gratitude
The person I am today
Was molded by the
Experiences of the past
And shaped by
The difficult choices
I had to make along the way
Life is a series of moments
When we hold on
And when we let go
But it seems to me
Our true character is more
Reflected in how we
Handle the moments
When life calls us
To let go than
When we try to hold on to
Something that
No longer serves our well-being
It seems to me
The defining moments
In life
Are those when
We must timidly
Let go
And try something new
With nothing more
Than hope it will all work out
In those moments
We are our most
Vulnerable
Beautifully
Authentically
Vulnerable
Yet
In those moments
We are also
Magnificently
Alive in our surrender
Holding on
Letting go
Holding on
Letting go
Letting go
Letting go
Surrender
Alive
(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Note: this heavy thought process has been rolling around in my head for days. I haven’t been able to put it into words until today. I am stuck at home waiting for an oven to be delivered. It’s quiet and I am enjoying my ocean view. I guess being still for a while I finally gave the heavy thoughts a chance to bubble to the top and be released. My life in recent years has been mostly about letting go. I think it’s good to reflect on the past and be thankful. This was my exercise in gratitude today. Gratitude for everything in my past that made me stronger, better, wiser and who I am today🙏❤️✌️👏🌹.

Photo Credit
Kate Powel

Retrieved From
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Things I Am Learning About Myself

Growth is important to me. I don’t want to be who I am today for the rest of my life. I want to be open to change. I want to embrace new experiences. I want to stretch myself in every area of my life to the very edge of my capabilities just like I do in Yoga. But, this is also where I get myself into trouble. My desire for growth and expansion drives me to keep moving even though my body is saying “STOP! I NEED A BREAK”.

The last couple of months I am learning things about myself that I kind of wish I learned a long time ago. But, I suppose it’s better late than never. Or perhaps these things I am learning about myself have always been there for me to see, I just didn’t want to see them. We all blind ourselves to reality occasionally. Or maybe I just didn’t want to give in to them. The “NOW” of my life is that my body is kind of forcing me to STOP, sit and rest; actually it is not all that bad. Frankly, it feels kind of good to have taken all the pressure off of myself. It’s just that I’m not used to standing still, resting & not moving towards a goal. I am not used to being still I suppose. So, this is a whole new experience for me.

Learning to be just where I am for a while and not push myself is a challenge for me. I find myself continually holding myself back and stopping myself. When the “action” person shows up, I politely ask her to wait patiently instead of jumping to her every desire. I now recognize how much stress I put on my body and my mental and emotional well-being over the years by not leaning back a bit. Holding back seems unnatural to me. I’ve always pushed to my edge whether in a Yoga class, personally or professionally. I’ve always been open to change and growth. I always felt that arrogant people who think they know it all and won’t change actually know the least. So, I’ve always tried to learn and grow. But, now I am seeing that sometimes growth doesn’t require action, sometimes it just requires stopping, standing still and reflecting. Sometimes growth happens just by opening our minds and seeing a new dimension within ourselves. I now find myself on a daily basis pushing aside my continual need to stay busy, fill my time and accomplish things. I’ve been focusing on just being still and this helped me see what I’ve been doing to my body and well-being all these years. I’ve been stressing myself out on a continually basis for years. I’ve created chronic stress in my body. I now see things clearly and I am trying very hard to change.

By pushing constantly I was actually offering resistance to my body’s natural authentic rhythm thus creating a mis-alignment between my physical body and my authentic-self. As it is turns out my authentic self is actually pretty chilled out.  Who knew? I spent so much time in motion I never let myself see that. My authentic self doesn’t need nor want a lot of stimulation from outside forces anymore and maybe it never did. I find when I am home I don’t put the TV on as much as I used to. I read in silence and enjoy the peace. When I walk, I don’t wear my Ipod all the time anymore. I listen to the sounds that are around me. I enjoy socializing with close friends. I love going out to dinner. But, I find don’t really enjoy large crowds or noisy places all the time anymore. The stimulation is a bit overwhelming. Who knew? As a former barfly who loved the noise and activity of the bar scene it was a shocking revelation to me to find out the new Linda would rather have a one on one conversation with a close friend over dinner on a Friday night than be the life of the party with the crowd:-)

It’s interesting how life can change us if we let it. I am thinking that learning to let go of what no longer serves you and embracing the NOW of life are two of life’s greatest lessons if you chose to learn them. But, please don’t assume I have all the answers. I only recently found out I didn’t even know the questions 🙂 But, I am willing to learn and change. That’s what life is all about for ME 🙂

Photo Credit:

Garden Of My Mind – 1980 – Elena Vizerskaya

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Posted by ‎كذالون Colors‎ on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Count Me In!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cd-hKBCua0w/UUxi_SztRbI/AAAAAAACjiY/LCount Me In!
By: Linda A. Long

Looking
In the mirror
Knowing
It’s me
But also
Not recognizing
Myself
Remembering
Who I was
And being
Grateful
To have
Left her behind
Choosing
Only things
That are good
for me
Finding myself
Drawn
To people
Who are
Good for me
I say
YES!
Count me in!
Reprioritizing
My life
To set
Myself free
From things
That drained
My spirit
I let go
Of the people
And things
That held
Me back
I say
YES!
Count me in!
Opening
My heart
To genuine souls
Opening
My mind
To new perspectives
Opening
My life
To new experiences
I say
YES!
Count me in!
Standing
On the threshold
Of something
Wonderful
In my life
Knowing
Something good
Is coming
Feeling
Reignited from within
I say
YES
Count me in!
Gratefully
I say
Yes!
Count me in!
© 2013 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit:

Vadim Stein – Fashion Photographer

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Doing The Doggy Paddle

Doggie-Paddle-and-Play-DayWhen I was a young girl my mother sent me for swimming lessons at the local recreation center. The first thing we learned how to do was the Doggy Paddle. Basically, the Doggy Paddle is treading water in one place; it’s not swimming. You tread water to keep you afloat to gain strength so you get ready to swim yourself or you tread water in place until help arrives to rescue you. I woke up this morning realizing that this is a time of my life that I just need to tread water for a while and stay in one place to gain some strength.

This morning I thought about the last six weeks of my life and tried to glean a morsel of inspiration or motivation to keep me moving forward. Honestly, I couldn’t find one. By the end of my reflection period this morning I did come to one realization. Maybe standing still for right now is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. Maybe this time of my life isn’t about action. Perhaps this time of my life is for staying in one place and just doing the Doggy Paddle until the storm passes and I am stronger.

Just over two years ago I had a moment of perfect clarity in my life while sitting in a Doctor’s appointment. The Doctor told me if I didn’t do something to change my life that I wouldn’t make it to see 50 years old. When I walked out of the office I knew what I had to do but I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to do it. I spent the weeks following in a severe depression. I knew the only way for me to save my life at that time was to walk way from the life I was living. An unfortunate event between me and the man I was in love with at that time gave me the push I needed. I knew then in that moment it was time to walk away and start over. It was time to give myself a fresh start and a new healthy body.

Losing 75lbs was actually the easy part of the transformation process. Distancing myself from unhealthy relationships proved to be much harder but I did it. Healing my Liver and stomach was challenging but I did it.   Stabilizing my Congential Heart Arrhythmia without medication seemed out of the question two years ago but I did it. Being diagnosed with Celiac disease, a shellfish and tree nut allergy all seemed overwhelming but I survived. And, learning to live a different life seemed completely out of the question to me two years ago but I did it. Now, I am safely on the other side.

After going through all of this the last two years I suppose I expected things to calm down so I could just relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor for a while. Everyone deserves to relax and have fun. But, six weeks ago things in my life got even more stressful and complicated. In the last six weeks I had a month long migraine. I was in the hospital. I had a reaction to a medication that adversely affected my heart. I found out I have a 15 year old neck injury that may need surgery but I am currently going to physical therapy for it as I am not interested in surgery. I had two life threatening anaphylaxis reactions in one week to NSAIDS. I went six days without sleeping. I had a mini emotional and physical breakdown as my Doctor called it from Post Traumatic Stress and was told to rest and relax for a few weeks. I took three days off of work:-)  The medicine I had to take to offset the allergic reactions jacked up my stomach again.  It’s been three weeks and I am still waiting on that to calm down. And, most recently I found out the other night one of my very closest friends was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer and she will be having radical surgery this coming week and starting Chemotherapy.  She didn’t want to tell me until she knew for sure.

Well, I guess I could be a pussy about things. I could feel sorry for myself and start drinking again even though I know it will kill me. I guess I could lose myself in Xanax everyday to numb myself to my reality. I guess I could hide in my bed and pretend it all isn’t happening. I suppose others would be eyeing up the branch on the tree outside their house that they would hang the rope from or looking for the pills in the drawer that they would take to finally end it all. But, I am not a pussy and I don’t give up.   I may end up in the the Psych Ward if this trend continues, but I won’t give up.  🙂  As a saying I recently heard said “I’m not only putting on my big girl panties. I’m putting on my bitchin’ bra, my shit kicker boots, & spiked leather belt with the FUCK YOU buckle. So don’t tell me to “deal with it”.  Honey, I got this shit covered.”  My only minor correction would be I would need to sex this up a bit. I would put on my red lace garter belt and matching panties instead of BIG girl panties. My ass is smaller these days and I would like to show it off a bit 🙂

Just yesterday afternoon a friend a said to some really important words that I found very comforting and I would like to share all of them.  She said,  “Linda, you’ve been through a lot in two years. A lot of people would have broken down before now. Most people would have never had the courage to do what you’ve done and change their life the way you did. The last six weeks have been horrible and you have every right to be sad and frustrated maybe even a little pissed off at God – that Mother Fucker.  It’s ok you were weak and broke down. You are human. Sorry to tell you. You’re not Super Woman.  It’s ok to admit you can’t handle this by yourself and ask for help. It’s perfectly ok for you to stay in one place for a while and do the fucking Doggy Paddle until you are strong again. Just don’t make me get in the water with you and pull your new skinny ass to shore. I am too old for that. 🙂 Stop being so hard on yourself.  Stop expecting so much of yourself.  Stop pushing yourself.  Just tread water until this storm passes.  It will pass eventually. But, until then it’s perfectly ok for you to cry, rest and say no to people.  No, I am sorry I can’t do that for you. Especially now because you are going to need your strength to help our friend.”   In her words, she gave me permission to surrender to the now of my life. In that moment I was able to accept that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do right now. I am resting, healing, gaining strength and just trying to ride out this strong until better days come around again.

I am writing this deeply personally blog today in an effort to share my experience with anyone who may find themselves at the end of their rope. This is for anyone who thinks they can’t do it one more day. This is for anyone who isn’t sure they have the strength to keep going. Remember, you are not alone. Get help if your life is in danger. Get help if you want to harm another human being. Talk to a friend. Take a nap. Close your eyes for ten minutes and rest. Do the Doggy Paddle. Stay in one place for a while. Breathe deeply and hold on tight to my words. Better days are ahead. But, you won’t see them if you give up now.

I am hoping one day in the near future I will receive good news and good things will start happening again.  But, until then I just have to do the Doggy Paddle until the storm passes.

Love, Peace & Happiness

Linda

The Story Of My Life – Bohemian Gypsy Meets Intellect

J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all who wander are lost.” This resonates with me on the deepest level because it that is very much the story of my life. I have a bit of a gypsy soul but was also fortunate enough to have book smarts too. I’ve been this duality of bohemian artist meets intellect my entire life.

My Mother saw the gypsy in me when I was young. My father died when I was seven. My Mom raised five kids on her own and knew life was tough but would be tougher for her wandering gypsy daughter. Being a “Drill Sergeant” type of Mom she insisted I focused on using my intellect, learning “real” life skills, as she said called them, and getting a good education. Because my grades were high and my family’s financial situation, I was lucky enough to get a grant that paid for half of my tuition at local all-girl catholic prep school so I had a great high school education which has left me with some life-long friendships. After high school I wandered from one college to the next. I ended up having to drop out of La Salle University with 90 credits because I couldn’t afford my tuition the last year of school even with having two jobs. After taking many years off from school I finally finished a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 2007 in Business Management with Thomas Edison State College.

My professional journey over the years gave me the opportunity to grow and expand in many different directions and for that I am very grateful. Once again the gypsy can’t help but breaking loose at times it’s like a drunken sailor in port when the mood strikes her. I am working on containing her enthusiasm a bit. It’s getting easier as I get older because I simply don’t have energy to keep up with her. From my early 20s to mid 30s I worked for three different retail companies in the buying and planning departments as an analyst, buyer and merchandise manager and coördinator. Since leaving retail I’ve been a Hostess a local restaurant, a Receptionist for a local realtor, a Driver for a Home Care business that serviced the Senior Citizen population, an Accounts Receivable Representative and I even worked for a summer making Hoagies or should I say Subs for those not from Philly. Oh trust me, I can make a mean Philly Style Italian HOAGIE! I still work for owner making HOAGIES occasionally on holiday weekends. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease last summer I suspect I will not be able to do that anymore because the roll dust could make me sick.

Over the years I’ve volunteered for numerous local non-profit agencies. By a strange twist of fate or divine intervention in February 2002 I ended up taking a part-time job working as the Business Administrator for a small non-profit historical Museum and within six months I was promoted to the full-time Executive Director. I had no idea how much I would love that job or how that job would make a permanent impact on my life and relationships. It changed me and I am forever grateful for the experience. That job allowed me to use my full skill set and challenged me to be better, act better and do better in work and in life. That job gave me invaluable experience and taught the importance of good people skills. In many ways I grew up while working in that job.

While working as the Executive Director for the Museum for four years, I was introduced to a man who changed my life.  He took me from a girl full of unharnessed power and potential and helped to mold me into the woman I am today. His name is Paul and he was the President of the Museum when I worked there. Oh, let me tell you. Paul and I had our go-arounds. We are two head-strong people and when the door closed we often were screaming at each other or at least having a heating discussion:-)   But, we also respected each other and liked each other. And, we ALWAYS had each other’s back. As much as I bucked him and tried to steamroll my way through things and people he showed great patience with me. He slowly nurtured me and guided me like a trainer breaking a wild horse. By example, Paul showed me that I could get what I wanted in life without being a bitch, dick or asshole. He taught me to be strong and express my opinion without being arrogant or full of myself. Paul showed me the importance of compassion, empathy, patience and good people skills. Paul led me and the organization by example. He was never afraid to take on City Hall. He stood up for what he believed in. He was never afraid to take a stand and didn’t care who he pissed off if he believed in something. He was always respectful even when he was kicking your ass. I’ll never forget him saying to me one day, “Linda, you don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk! Walk away. You’re better than that.” Words I live by to this day! Paul and I are still close. I now loving call him “Dad”. As my father died when I was seven, it’s nice to have a father-figure in my life.

Unfortunately, all non-profits struggle for funding. As the budget got tight, the organization asked me to work part-time again. I couldn’t afford to that. Because of budget constraints they eventually laid me off. But, that still remains my favorite job and it gave a solid foundation of experience working in every aspect of the non-profit arena. I now volunteer my services in many capacities for other local non-profits. The part of the job I loved the most was the Public Relations aspect and, actually, I even enjoyed Grant Writing. Call me crazy but I like it.

Well, this brings me to today. I am very grateful for the job I currently have but I feel it is important to keep my blog separate from my current professional identity so I won’t go into any details of what I do for a living now or who I work for. But, all I will say is I am lucky enough to live and work near the beach. I was fortunate enough to have the skills to land a job that affords me a nice lifestyle in a great location. That makes me happy. On my days off during the summer you will usually find me on one of the local beaches enjoying sun and surf.

In my free time, I am a passionate Yogini. I was planning on doing Yoga Teacher Training this year. But, I need to postpone it for another year because I need to tighten the belt a bit this summer. I am an art LOVER. My first trip to an art museum was when I was in high school. I took the train into Center City Philly by myself because no one else would go with me to see a Diego Rivera Exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  I enjoy writing this blog, erotic poetry and am starting to write guest blogs and freelance articles. I hope to write a book one day. I am a Reiki Level I practitioner. I am preparing for my Level II training by practicing and I plan on doing Reiki Master training by next year. I have a VERY active lifestyle. I powerwalk. I do Pilates. I golf. I sail, parasail and want to zip line this summer. I meditate which brings me great peace. I live and breathe the law of attraction. What you think about you bring about! I am spiritual not religious. And, I firmly believe in KARMA. Protecting my Karma is very important to me. This means choosing right actions by taking thoughtful action instead reacting in most situations.

In the last four years, I’ve gone through a series of transitions which changed not only my body but also my relationships and hobbies. The hardest part of transitions is letting go yet it is also the most important step in healing and moving forward. Through these transitions I’ve learned to embrace the duality that lives within me and enjoy the gypsy nature of my soul while using my intellect and intuition to make good solid choices. Mostly I am learning to be grateful for every experience I’ve had in my life as they made me the woman I am today. I am strong, compassion, driven and open to change and growth. While the gypsy that lives within is my true self, I’ve also learned the benefits of stability and the power of dependability in life.

This post is dedicated in loving gratitude to my Mother and all of my teachers, mentors, spiritual counselors and personal heroes along the way. I am who I am because I was lucky enough to have you in my life.

Lastly, one of my favorite books is “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. If you are going through a transition or need some spiritual soul food, check it out. It helped me along the way. I am now reading it again for the third time.

Peace, Love & Happiness to all
Linda

Photo Credit

Midnight Red – C.M. Cooper American Impressionist Painter

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