Girl in the Tree

Dear Girl in the Tree,
This is supposed to be one of those letters where I, your older and much wiser self, am supposed to give you all sorts of advice but I look at you and the confidence that you portray and wonder what you might be able to tell me.
I don’t remember this picture being taken and when I first saw it I was surprised to see that you were at the top of the tree above everyone else. This is not how I remember being but Danita (yes, we are still friends) remembers it differently. When I mentioned my surprise to her, she just laughed and said that I was always brave back then, always the first to try new things. Really? I have to stretch my memory in order to remember this feeling and I am not sure when things changed. You already had so many things to be afraid of, yet you look so happy.
I guess if I had any advice to give you at all, it would be this: Don’t lose that fearlessness because in the process you will lose yourself and let me tell you, you will spend a whole lot of time in the future looking for you.
I know you have this inherent need to please others but don’t put everyone else’s needs above yours because eventually you just forget your own and, again, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure this out.
I guess what I am really trying to say is hold onto that Girl in the Tree as tightly as you can. Don’t let her go.
Love, Me (The girl trying to find the Girl in the Tree)
Note: My good friends brother posted this on Facebook recently. I had never seen this old photo before.  We were probably about ten years old. I am the girl at the top of the tree and I am amazed at my apparent courage.
I am linking this post to Tuesday at Ten where this week’s prompt was – “If I could write a letter to the past me . . . . }”

Be Still

Canva Be Still

I have FOMO Syndrome. I know, it sounds terrible, right? How do you know if you have FOMO Syndrome?

Well, here is a list of symptoms:

  • You can’t pass by anything that is shiny.
  • You have so many things on your to-do list and you are so overwhelmed that you don’t to-do anything.
  • You want to do it all because, well, you are just a really passionate person, right?
  • You don’t finish anything. In fact, you have a walk-in closet for all of your unfinished projects.
  • Sidetracked is a state you often find yourself in.
  • You have a hard time focusing.
  • Your husband often shakes his head at you when you are telling him about your “latest new thing”.
  • As a child, you stayed awake at night trying to listen to the adults’ conversations because you just might miss out on something.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may suffer from FOMO Syndrome, commonly known as Fear of Missing Out Disease.  Yes, it is a terrible thing but don’t despair, there is a cure.

Here are some home remedies:

  • Clear your calendar
  • Stop glorifying busy
  • Believe you are enough without the fuss
  • Take time to be quiet and listen – to yourself, to your body and to God
  • Slow down and take the time to heal
  • Create daily rituals to incorporate quiet space into your life, put them into your calendar and make them non-negotiable
  • Let go and just trust
  • Be still in mind, body and spirit

Do you feel like you have to be constantly doing in order to keep your head above water? Paradoxically, the opposite is true.

You can’t move forward until you take the time to be still.

This does not mean that you should stop trying new things and doing what makes your heart happy. It just means that it would be helpful to recognize when it is time to fold in and become still and listen.

Take five minutes today to just be.


Life Tracks – Helen Reddy… Grateful

Don't let your struggle define you.(1)

You can bend but never break me ’cause it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal. And I come back even stronger. Not a novice any longer. ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.

“I am grateful for my struggle.”

“Say it again,” she said.

“I am grateful for my struggle, ”  I said through my tears… and at that moment,  I truly meant it.

I am grateful for the way it has broken me wide open allowing me to see things from a depth that I didn’t have before. I am grateful that I know the darkness so that I can truly appreciate the light. And the light is so, so bright after the darkness. I am grateful for my lessons that have threatened to break me… but haven’t.

My son is an addict. There. I said it out loud. More people need to say these words without the fear of shame. There are so many of us affected by this deadly disease but no one wants to talk about it for fear of being judged. You must have been a bad parent to allow this to happen. Right? Wrong. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t discriminate – whether you come from dysfunction or harmony, it doesn’t matter. Unlike cancer or any other horrific disease,  we have to show our support by not helping… not in the usual sense of the word. This is counter-intuitive because as a mother, it is deeply instinctive to want to protect our children and to try to ease their pain. Addiction is the only disease where saying no is the antidote and turning away from the ailing is the only hope for a cure. It is a disease that magnifies the pain that the addict is so desperately trying to numb and all you can do is hope that they will finally hurt badly enough to want to help themselves… because helping themselves is the only way out.

Oh, oh, yes I am wise but it’s wisdom borne of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price but look how much I’ve gained. If I have to, I can face anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

So… yes, I am grateful for my struggle because it has made me stronger than I have ever been before. It takes a lot of strength to give up the need to control and to just trust. Trust that everything is as it should be even if it seems so. totally. messed. up. Just trust.

I will not let my struggle define me but I will allow the growth that has occurred as a result of it, to shine from me and through me, beautifully.