A little ray of sunshine.

you are my sunshineKeep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.’ – Helen Keller

Do you believe that every day brings the possibility for a little ray of sunshine? Or does negativity overshadow your life? Is your glass half-empty and running out fast? Or is it half-full and waiting for a sparkling refill? The choice is yours.

An upbeat attitude can bring brighten up the gloomiest of circumstances. Choosing to think positively can revive you when you feel weary, provide clarity in chaos and keep you encouraged during uncertainty And when you make a conscious decision to refuse to allow the darkness to engulf you, you keep the way clear for your optimistic thoughts to shine.

Admittedly there are some days when tragedy strikes or a huge disappointment has to be dealt with and it is impossible to feel anything but despair. That’s a natural and expected way to react to a serious life event. It’s during those times however that you need to dig deep into the warm memories from the past until the shadows of your trauma have passed.

‘Whoever is happy will make others happy too.’ Anne Frank

Some people however have a consistently pessimistic outlook that overshadows everything. Their negativity can be emotionally draining not only for themselves but those around them. My advice is to steer clear of those who continue to wallow in self-pity and misery. You don’t need that in your life.

Instead surround yourself with those who can nurture, support and encourage you. Allow their positive support to strengthen you and motivate you. Happiness is infectious, so keep near to bright, cheerful souls and catch hold of the light. 

If that sounds too simple or too good to be true, I understand. It took me many years to catch hold of that light.

I grew up in a fearful atmosphere of darkness. As a result depression and alcoholism took their hold on my life at an early age. I developed a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom and gloom. Experience taught me not to expect good from anything or anybody, so I set myself up for repeated disappointments.

Whilst I had alcohol – ‘my sunshine in a bottle’, I could manage the rejections and failures in life. But of course my reliance on a drink rapidly developed into addiction and I spiraled into the darkness of despair.

‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’   Psalm 119:105

An alcohol induced suicide attempt signaled the need to give up the drink for good, yet my pessimistic self feared the worst. I couldn’t imagine how I would ever be happy again. I held on to the tiniest glimmer of hope and somehow found the courage to make my way towards the light. The light of love.

It was faith that shone the light of love in my way and helped smash through the bleakness of my life. My journey of recovery involved breaking down the psychological barriers that were keeping me in dark oppression.

I replaced each negative omen with a little ray of sunshine that came in the form of trust, kindness, hope, healing. And if you are fighting your way through some dark times let me offer each and every one of those to you too.

On those days when I feel the clouds have gathered or I’m in the midst of a personal storm I am reassured that it won’t be long before I feel the warmth of affection. Those that love Rengahenk_by_Doriahme are my little rays of sunshine. They are family and friends who illuminate my life and reveal the glittering promises of good things to come.

And it’s good to return the love. Even the smallest gestures can bring brightness to someone’s day. So follow the wise words from Amma;

‘Always have a smile on your face, kind words on your lips and a compassionate heart.’

 And you too can be a little ray of sunshine.

Image thanks to http://doriah.deviantart.com/

Sorry.

mariana stauffer

Mariana Stauffer

Sorry. A little word with a big impact. Genuinely meant as an expression of remorse, it has the power to restore a relationship.

But how many times can someone say sorry before it becomes valueless?

If you have heard ‘Sorry’, once too often or worse still, don’t hear it all,then it’s time things changed.

‘How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.’ – Wayne Dyer

My damaging and dysfunctional childhood resulted in a complete lack of self-esteem and worth. So it wasn’t surprising that as an adult I found myself in a relationship where sorry was never spoken. In his world sorry was a sign of weakness and to preserve his perception of his superiority he would say or do anything but apologize.

It didn’t matter how abusive he became, it was always someone else’s fault. Actually it was nearly always my fault – I was too sensitive, too intense, too controlling, too critical. And even when I would feel brave enough to confront him about his name calling and put downs, I would be accused of having no sense humor. But believe me, there was nothing funny about the verbal abuse and his unreasonable demands.

Thankfully I started to challenge my own victim mentality and realized that although he wasn’t going to change, I could. Finding the courage to make the transition from victim to survivor, I learnt that the responsibility for my happiness lay with me. And I grasped a truth that was the catalyst for my healing –  you can ‘t change other people and you can’t change the past. But you can choose how you react.

Of course I did want to hear ‘ I am sorry and I shouldn’t have behaved like that’ or ‘I won’t treat you like this again’ and ‘How can I make it up to you?’, but I didn’t need to hear any of it, in order for me to make a decision about my relationship.

For those of you who have the opposite experience of someone who apologizes all the time only to carry on hurting you time and time again, remember that ‘sorry’ can be the last thing they say before you walk away.

‘Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.’ – Maya Angelou                          

As I learned how to define my boundaries, and to hold others accountable (myself included) I realized that it was also important to maintain a sense of serenity whenever I was offended. For me, a peaceful soul keeps me joyful and positive whatever my circumstances.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people do act thoughtlessly and cause harm. But a heartfelt apology from a place of love can heal the deepest wounds. Sometimes a simple ‘Sorry’ is enough, but you may require something more. Sincere remorse and a willingness to make amends are all steps to restoring trust and love.

Whatever is spoken or promised however, what really matters is how the person behaves afterwards. When it comes to apologizing, actions do speak louder than words.

‘Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble’ – French proverb

I love the gentleness of that statement and the sentiment of remembering the positive rather than the negative is how I would like others to view me. Nobody is perfect and when I mess up and say things I regret, I want to be able to say sorry and for my mistakes to be forgotten and forgiven.

Mariana Stauffer

When I say sorry it means I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. It means I didn’t intentionally want to cause offense and I want to make amends. It means I am hurting as much as you. and I don’t want either of us to feel that way again.

When I say ‘Sorry’ I mean it. Do you?

Huge thanks to Marianna Stauffer for allowing me to use her wonderful and inspiring artwork  (May not be reproduced in any form without her permission.) Take a look at her other work here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/malorcka

Miss you.

miss you“Even though you’re always in my heart, I long for you to be with me today.” ~ The Hurt Healer

As the seasons in our lives change, so do the people. Transient relationships that are meaningful in the moment can disappear into our past without detriment to our selves. As quickly as they transpire, so someone new takes their place. People come. People go.               Life moves on.

 

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”     ~ Aristotle.

Then there are those relationships that you wish could last forever. Everyone has someone who plays an intrinsic part in their life. There is a bond that you never want broken. There is a uniqueness that you never want to share. It’s special. It’s precious. And it’s all yours.

Unthinkable then that one day you may have to live without your kindred soul. Unimaginable that you may have to go through each day without the one that filled your heart. Yet it happens. It doesn’t really matter how, because the outcome is the same. You have lost a part of you. And you will never the same again.

But even though that person is no longer present doesn’t mean they are gone completely. You can’t be with them but you can sense them. You can’t touch them but you can feel them. You can’t talk to them but you can hear them. What a comfort to know that whilst the physical relationship has ended, your deep connection continues in the spiritual.

“True love stories never have endings.” ~ Richard Bach

Sometimes it takes me by surprise when I start to miss someone whose existence has long passed from my life. The heartache has ceased but still the emergence of the memory of that special one can bring reminders of the agony of my loss.

        “Even though you’re always in my heart, I long for you to be with me today. Maybe it’s because I’m facing a season of change that I wish you could be here to share it with me. I miss you more than anyone can imagine. 

Strange though that missing you reminds me of just how far I have come. In those dark days, the lack of your presence would have fueled a cloud of despair and kept me in a depth of depression. No matter how hard I tried to numb the pain, your absence was an endless void.

           Now I can dwell on your memory and know that it’s because you went away that I found my strength. It’s because you left that I could find out who I really was. And I’m grateful not only for what you were able to do for me, but for what you were not. You have helped me become what I am, but that doesn’t stop me missing what we might have had if only you had been here.”

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~ Psalm 73:26

Thankfully I have a faith that not only comforts and heals, but gives meaning to my life. You need all of these things when you’re heartbroken. For when there is nothing you can do in the natural, it is the spiritual that must relied upon.

Making that connection didn’t come easily for me, because I blamed God for the loss in my life. It took time to learn how my anger and bitterness was misplaced and that God had been with me through the tears. My pain had been His pain too.

heaven and loveGently and tenderly faith restored my brokenness and replaced the emptiness with love. It healed me of the past, gave me meaning for each day, and the assurance of a hope-filled future. But most of all I have the promise that the one day, I will be reunited with the one I love and no longer will there be the need to say ‘ Miss you.’

Thank you to Kim Sisto-Robinson whose fabulous blog My Inner Chick, written in memory of her beloved sister Kay, inspired me to write this post.

Time for change.

change 2“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Kindness, generosity, compassion, patience, trust, loyalty and honesty all make for a good relationship. But what if the person you extend these forms of love to doesn’t reciprocate? Not just on the odd occasion but consistently using or abusing your friendship? Then it’s time for change.

In the past I have been caught up in relationships that were simply no good for me. On reflection I can see that I was willing to put up with being let-down and mistreated because I didn’t believe I deserved any better.

Anyone who has been involved in an abusive relationship knows how difficult it is to think clearly in that situation. It starts with comments and actions that undermine you. If you have self-confidence then you are able to deal with these incidences appropriately. But if you’re feeling vulnerable or depressed as I often did then the doubt is set in your mind and so begins the downward cycle.

From my own experience I know how dangerous that can be. The longer I stayed the more I enabled the other person to carry on belittling me and making me believe that I was always at fault. Which in turn confirmed my uselessness as a human being. I gave my all but my all was never good enough.

Then when it reached the point that I literally couldn’t do or say anything right, instead of questioning how wrong it was to be living in a constant state of fear, I kept trying to change myself to fit in with the other person’s demands.

I ended up feeling like something that had crawled out of the ground and had no right to life. Except it wasn’t a life. It was an existence. It wasn’t a relationship, it was a one-way ticket to hell on earth.

“Even the worm will turn.” Proverb

You may feel like a little worm that is worn-out and weary but you can fight back. You are still alive and you as long as you have breath in your body you can change your life. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but you don’t have to live one more day as a victim if you don’t want to.  Get ready to tell yourself, “It’s time for change.”

I had to hit rock bottom before I could make that choice, but with the support of friends, the guidance of professionals and the grace of faith I was able to reclaim my life.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

When my time for change came I knew it was never going to be simple or pain-free. It was time to accept my failures, time to let go of the past, time to forgive and be forgiven, time to live each day as a new beginning.

change1Time to live my life as the person I was meant to be.

What about you? Time for change?

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandi

You’re worth it.

il_570xN.436604577_50qpDo you like yourself? Do you celebrate who you are? Do others appreciate you?

 “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Very few of us live in isolation and most of us juggle the numerous roles life has assigned us. Parent, colleague, spouse, family member – all come with complicated tasks and expectations from others. Each role demands commitment and loyalty.

But you should never give so much of yourself that you have nothing left for you. Likewise your self-worth should not be defined completely by others. It is so important to be able to identify yourself too. Because it is who you think you are, not who everyone else thinks you are, that will ultimately result in who you will become.

“They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

Anyone who has experienced verbal abuse will know that the scars  can run deep. Whether the person intended to harm you or not, it is possible to grasp the abuse as a truth and use it to wound yourself time and time again. Too often the deceptions of the past are still allowed to shape who you are today and will continue to mould your future. But only if you let them. You do have a choice to reject the lies.

It amazes me that after all my years of recovery and despite my strength of faith, that I can be caught off guard. Some extremely hurtful comments were made to me last week at a point when I was feeling less than strong. Even though I could rationalise that person’s tirade as transference of their own inadequacies, there was a part of me that took it on board.

And as I did I hurtled back to that place of fear, loneliness and low self-esteem. The intense doubts surfaced and the feelings of self-hatred emerged to remind me of how worthless I was.  The intensity of the darkness was overwhelming.

But instead of wallowing in the gloom and succumbing to the negativity as I would have done previously, I was able to stand firm and fight my way back into the light. The light that shines from accepting that I am perfectly imperfect and knowing with confidence, who I am.

It can be a psychological battle sometimes, but when those demons raise their ugly heads at those times of vulnerability, you need to affirm everything that is good about you and your life.   Do that and you will find that you will start to free your authentic self and begin to live the life as the person you were meant to be.

“……I am fearfully and wonderfully made……”Psalm 139:14

As a child the emotional abuse I experienced laid the foundation of my depression and alcoholism in adulthood. Healing could only take place once I took the inner child by the hand and reassured her that I could reject what had gone before and claim the truth.

It was through faith that I found the truth. It was through faith that I could heal. And through healing I could love myself. After years I thinking I was worthless, I realised I had value. After years of thinking that nothing mattered because I didn’t, I found that life did matter and I did too.

What about you? Isn’t it time to be bold about yourself. I’m not talking about being boastful or arrogant. I’m talking about appreciating and nurturing yourself. About believing in your talents and abilities. About celebrating everything that makes you unique.

Children have an ability to take things at literally and internalise what is spoken over them. It is so important that when it comes to my own daughters that their personalities are cherished, their achievements are praised and that they know that they are loved unconditionally.

So it made my heart glad to hear my youngest daughter talking to her friend as they played the other day. Her friend spoke of how she wished she could be a princess because she could wear a special dress and this would make her special. My daughter told her friend that  she didn’t need to a special dress because feeling special came from the inside not from the outside. I don’t know if her friend understood what my daughter was saying but I know it made me smile. What we have on the inside of us is infinitely more important than the outside.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

Are you mourning the person you could have been if only……?  It may be too late to recapture the past. It may be too late to pursue a particular dream. But it is never too late to be the person you were meant to be.

il_570xN.436607721_sygnAccept you can’t change what has gone before. Let it go. Resolve to make new goals and new dreams. Accept you can’t change what others have said. Let it go. Resolve to speak new declarations and embrace everything that is good about you.

What ever is stopping you from loving yourself, caring for yourself, being yourself, let it go. Life is too short to hold onto those things or those people who are robbing you of your worth.

Believe me. Believe in yourself.                You’re worth it.

Top image Believe in Yourself  and bottom image Let it Go used with the kind permission of the fantastic Stephanie Ryan at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/stephanieryanart  All rights reserved. No part of these images may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of Stephanie Ryan.

The gift of giving.

il_570xN.393890513_9c2gThe gift of giving is that it is in itself a gift. Whether you are giving or receiving, it’s an exchange of love.

Yet the message that surrounds us is that you should you get what you can, when you can. The daily bombardment of advertising tries to convince us that you will be happier, more beautiful, more successful if you have more. Believe me. You won’t.

“You can’t find happiness in getting, but you can find happiness in giving.” ~ Joyce Meyer

It’s easy to compare yourself with others and become disenchanted with your own life. However you can be content and happy if you accept that you may not have what you want, but you do have what you need.

But just as there is a law of attraction, so there is a law of giving – you reap what you sow. Therefore sow with abundance. If you are willing to share what you have, you could find that you end up with what you want – especially if what you want is to be loved.

“Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” ~Richard Bach

I know what it is like to have been given a second chance at life. I remember the times when it was practically impossible to give to myself let alone anyone else. Anyone who had suffered with depression will know how isolating it is and how even basic communication can be a challenge. Depression engulfs you in a bubble of despair and loneliness that prevents you from giving anything to anyone – physically or emotionally. You can’t give away to someone else what you don’t have for yourself.

One of the joys of my recovery is being able to share what I have and to be able to genuinely care about others. Every day I aim to give back in some way.Often it’s through the opportunity to respond to those who contact me to disclose their difficulties and challenges. My gift to them is a safe place to share and the promise of hope by switching on a little flicker of light as they go through the darkness.

Other times it can be gifts that I know will bless or encourage others. A thoughtful present, an offer of practical help, or an act of kindness are all things that are easy to do, yet are wonderfully rewarding.

It’s marvelous to receive, but in my eyes it’s infinitely better to give.  Paying back to those who have and continue to help me on my journey is important to me. It gives me a connection with others that I treasure and helps me appreciate what I have in my life today.

An anonymous donation reminds me that I am able to pay back what has been given to me, without the need for recognition or acknowledgement. Because life isn’t all about me. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an anonymous gift you’ll know that the joy is for more than the gift itself, it’s knowing that you meant something to someone, that they were thinking of you, that someone cared. For me, that is love in action.

“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” ~ Jean Anouilh

Sometimes the hardest gift of all is when you give something of yourself. If you have invested love in another only to be rejected or abused then you can become wary of giving away your love.  The fear of opening up old wounds or being hurt again can turn your heart to stone. Any trace of generosity of kindness can be overshadowed by bitterness, resentment and fear.

“The degree of loving is measured by the degree of giving.” ~ Edwin Louis Coleil_570xN.364132462_2nag

Any gift can be a gift of love if it is given willingly and without obligation. And whilst money and actual presents are always a wonderful way to show you care, there are many other ways to give that are just as valuable.

Sharing your time, your expertise, your advice, your encouragement, your support or your prayers are all ways to offer yourself to someone. .A gift can be given anytime or anywhere. It may cost nothing to you, but to them it may be priceless. And the return for you can be greater than you ever imagined.

The gift of giving is love.

Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely.

janeoneIs loneliness part of your life? Are you in a relationship because you are scared of being on your own? Well then, you are not alone.

I spent years battling with the feeling of emptiness. The dysfunctional love I received as a child left me with a fear of attachment and a fear of loss. My head told me that I wouldn’t miss what I didn’t have and to be prepared to let go of anything I did have. My heart of course told me otherwise.

My heart ached. I compared my existence to those around me and saw only their happiness, their success, their sparkling futures. Whilst in my life I focused only on my pain, misery and failure. I didn’t believe in myself, so how could I be good enough for anyone else?

Not liking myself naturally meant that I didn’t like being on my own.  Medication and alcohol offered some relief but in they end my depression and alcoholism served only to reinforce my worthlessness and compound my loneliness.

“Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate.”  ~ Germaine Greer

I had plenty of friends and work colleagues but even they were kept at an emotional distance. Whilst on the inside I yearned for a meaningful relationship, the outside accepted anyone who would give me the time of day. It would be hard to describe these encounters as relationships as that implies some sort of connection or purpose. There was none. And I regularly played the game of ‘someone’s other-half’ even though being in their company made me far more lonely than being single.

Occasionally there would be someone who sensed my vulnerability and made it their mission to rescue me from myself. But the moment they did something nice, treated me well or heaven forbid told me that they loved me I would run. I knew that if I could leave before them before they left me, then it wouldn’t be as painful. Except it always hurt like hell.

When I had a complete mental and physical breakdown my isolation was excruciating.  It was something I will never forget, will never return to and would wish on no-one. But I had to face the reality that no-one could make my journey for me.The brokeness was mine. And mine alone. Only I could get sober. Only I could heal.

As faith filled the void left by alcohol so love filled the void of loneliness. Little by little I learnt how to connect with my inner soul and listen to my heart. Through forgiveness of others and of myself I was able to come to a place of peace with my past. And then I was free to live life as my authentic self.

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barabara de Angelis

I discovered that I as much as I appreciated being around others, I also enjoyed my own company. Instead of trying to shut myself out, I embraced who I was and what I was. And it was through this process that I learnt that being alone didn’t have to mean being lonely.

In fact the more I healed, the more I was open to relationships and the less time I spent on my own. The wonderful position I find myself in today is that I am filled with faith and surrounded by friends and family who bring me contentment and joy on many levels. Yet I am not dependent on them to fill any emptiness.

I am now in that privileged place of being able to say that I don’t feel lonely. For me, being alone means to be at ease with oneself. And for anyone who has stayed in a relationship rather than be single, they will know that this is a gift.

Amazingly, where once I would have craved company, I now seek times of solitude. Instead of a need to be in the presence of others, I look for space to be alone. A day is not complete without the experience of a few minutes of serenity.jane two

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”  ~Wayne Dyer

Alone doesn’t have to mean you no longer care for those who have passed. Alone doesn’t have to mean that you no longer care who comes into your future. What it does mean is that today,if you love yourself, alone doesn’t have to mean lonely.

Thanks to Chris Edgar at purposepowercoaching.com for his comment on ‘What’s love got to do with it? which prompted this post. And thanks to the multi-talented Jane Hinchliffe for permission to use her artwork – http://www.etsy.com/shop/JaneHinchliffe

 

No regrets.

art-beauty-blue-cool-cute-Favim.com-411774No regrets. What does that mean? That you’ve lived a blameless life? Or that you’ve been too scared to live your life?

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”  ~ Jonathan Larson

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t done or said something that they wish they hadn’t. But are you still punishing yourself for something you should have let go? If you’re holding onto to guilt, you’re holding onto the past. But the past can’t be undone. And feeling guilty is not going to make it better. If fact your guilt can infect every relationship through mistrust, judgement and unrealistic expectations.

“If you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t forgive others.” ~The Hurt Healer

During my dark drinking days I had many regrets. When I look back there are so many things I wish I hadn’t done or said. But through recovery and faith I was able to find forgiveness. And for those who believe that ‘faith’ equates with ‘cop out’, allow me to show that it is far from it.

Anyone who is familiar with the 12 step programme knows that the steps are rigorous and challenging. For me it included:

“Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.”

“Admitting to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.”

“Making a list of all persons I had harmed, and being willing to make amends to them all.”

“Making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

“Continuing to take personal inventory and when I was wrong promptly admitting it.”

So although today I can freely say I have no regrets, it doesn’t mean that I’m not accountable. Rather it means that I am willing to acknowledge my wrong-doing and have a willingness to put it right. And then I can let it go.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”                                              ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Regrets will hold you in the past, at the expense of your future. So learn to deal with your mistakes, hold your head high and determine to do better.

And don’t let the fear of doing something you might regret stop you giving it a go.Because living a  life of passion and purpose requires risk. Sometimes things will go wrong. You may even unintentionally hurt someone. But you have to weigh up the benefits of trying something with the detriment of doing nothing.

“If only I’d……” What a tragic sentence. Missed opportunities to say or do something can leave you empty and frustrated, disappointed and angry.stumble

There are no guarantees that life is going to go the way you want it to go. We can encounter either the possibility or the certainty of regret. But as for me I’d rather stumble and fall than not try at all.

What about you? No regrets?

Why did you leave?

Mother and Child DancingPeople leave relationships for all sorts of reasons and if you’re the one left behind you want an explanation.

Usually there’s some discussion and even if it changes nothing or you don’t believe them, it forms an ending. After the initial heart-break, you learn to accept the loss and move on.

Much harder though is to be left without any notice or further contact. It leaves you with a void and a mass of unanswered questions.

As a young child my mum left one day and never returned. No one ever offered any explanation. Asking questions of anyone was futile. I was expected to simply forget her. But I couldn’t.

I have no idea what goes through the mind of a woman when she suddenly decides to walk away from her little daughter. But I know what went through my mind. ‘I wasn’t good enough.  She didn’t love me. It was my fault.’

And as I got older the self blame intensified, as did my need to know ‘Why?’  Why did you leave?  Why didn’t you take me with you.Why didn’t you contact? Why didn’t you come back? Why did you remarry and tell your new family I had been killed in a car crash?

The questions that were left unanswered triggered the depression that was going to become a life-long battle. The emptiness led me to my ‘hurt healer’, alcohol, which for many years filled the loneliness and eased the heartbreak.

“Grief is a process, not a state.” ~Anne Grant

One of the hardest things I’ve experienced in my life was ending the non-existent relationship I had with my mother. I had no other choice except to allow myself to grieve for the woman I remembered and to grieve for the mother that should have been.

Eventually only the need to forgive remained. And with time and tears I forgave. Not for her. But for me, so that I could finish with a part of my life that had caused me so much emotional pain and physical destruction.

Forgiveness released me from the torment of longing to know ‘Why?’ My mother no longer existed in my heart or my mind so neither did the need to fill in the past. It had been over for my mother many years ago, but finally it was over for me too. Mother and Child Beach Text

Today I have the freedom to live for the day and look forward to the future.

I am blessed to be a mother of two amazing daughters who bring me unimaginable joy. And there’s one question I know with absolute certainty they will never have to ask.

‘Why did you leave?’

Images thanks to Katie M Berggren at http://www.etsy.com/shop/kmberggren

A passionate heart.

surround yourselfWhere’s your passionate heart?

Has it been crushed by past abusers and oppressors? Or turned to stone by previous disappointments and betrayals?

Perhaps you have vowed not to commit yourself to anyone or anything for fear of failure and rejection? Then it’s time to reclaim your passion for life.

Passion comes from the heart. But for most of my life, my heart seemed to do little apart from keep me alive. Whilst friends and colleagues appeared to be thriving in every way, I functioned from day to day cocooned in depression and alcoholism, in self-doubt and fear.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. ~ Nelson Mandela

My journey to recovering started with a reality check. My heart, mind and soul had been numbed to the extreme leaving me emotionally void. I was physically alive but mentally dead. The truth was that I was existing but not living. And I was tolerating myself and others but not loving.

When I reclaimed my heart, I reclaimed my life. I chose to swap the pain for the passion and use the energy to reconnect with myself and those around me. As I pursued my recovery with eagerness and intent, I learnt to refute those negative beliefs I had internalised since childhood.

My self-image of a woman who was worthless, useless, ugly, stupid, hated, rejected began to fade as I opened up my heart. Despite my vulnerability I allowed love and laughter to enter my world again. And I began to be able to define myself differently – valued, positive, beautiful, intelligent, loved and wanted.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” ~ Rumiballoon-tree_826017

Today my passionate heart reveals itself through my devotion to my faith, family and friends. It sustains me through the bad times and fills me with joy through the good times.

No longer do I simply exist or tolerate.                                                                                     I live and I love.                                                                                                                   With a passion.

Top image thanks to Freaky Peas http://www.etsy.com/listing/119986407/heart-original-mixed-media-painting