Everything Miz Meliz

A Foodie Fest Tradition @MastersofTaste

What makes something a tradition? Doing it twice or three times? Well, I am about to go to my fourth Masters of Taste with my husband on Sunday, so I would call that a tradition for sure!

I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than to walk around tasting the best food and drinks that a city has to offer with someone you love. We enjoy this every year! Even when it rained, but that is a story for another time. It will be a beautiful day this Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. That’s where this Food Festival takes place. It’s truly amaze balls. I can’t wait!

It’s going to be a pretty epic date weekend with going to see the much awaited Avengers Engame (No Spoilers Here!) movie on Saturday night and then going to the Masters of Taste on Sunday! Lucky us!

Here is a code to get $10 off your ticket to the Masters of Taste : MizMeliz19 Just tell them I sent you! Have fun and if you see my friends at Iron Triangle Brewing – tell them I said “Cheers!” They like donating to The Masters of Taste and their beneficiary the Union Station Homeless Services (USHS) for all the right reasons. Watch the video below to find out what I mean…it’s pretty cool and says it all!

Don’t forget to share your pictures on Instagram and give me a shout out #mastersoftaste – I will post all my favorite tastes @mizmelissa

Everything Miz Meliz

Listen to it: Mindfulness During Difficult Times

Here is the link to my podcast, this episode is in 2 parts. Read it on my blog and get the links to all the resources and quotes.

Part 1 Mindfulness During Difficult Times
Part 2: Mindfulness During Difficult Times
Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe, mindfulness

Mindfulness and Love During Difficult Times

Using Mindfulness When Facing Challenges

I was thinking about how to apply mindfulness when facing a challenge and I came across this list of challenges I made years ago:

  1. Dealing with difficult people
  2. Being assertive without being labelled a “bitch”
  3. Managing stress
  4. Keeping up a positive image while managing perceptions
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Communication (communicating clearly with others)
  7. Multi-tasking and completing projects
  8. Self-sabotage, facing fears and following through
  9. Continued personal growth
  10. Letting go (of things that no longer matter)
  11. Saying “No” – prioritizing
  12. Continued professional development
  13. Reaching Goals, facing my fear of success
  14. Increasing efficiency
  15. Managing finances

I am still, and now realize that I always will be, dealing with these challenges to some degree. And more challenges – some worse, and sometimes less challenging but equally important things. I call that the “stuff of life.” It can be dizzying to think about. I know!

This is when mindfulness comes in. Making a list like this and thinking about all of these things at once is overwhelming. It is not a to do list. It is more of a mind dump. I like to just put those things down and walk away from them for a bit. I know I can always come back. I let my mind wander and think happy thoughts. You can train yourself to do this anytime you start feeling overwhelmed.

What is the most important thing?

I interviewed a man once who kept telling me, “The most important thing I learned was this, and the most important thing that happened was that, and the most important thing about it was….”

I asked him, “Okay. but what IS the most important thing to you? Is there one important thing that truly matters?”

Love

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go”
― Jack Kornfield

If you could boil it down to just one thing that truly matters to you, what would it be?

For me, it’s love. To feel loved, to know that I love with all my heart, that I am able to love. Love makes me smile, it makes my heart sing with joy and fills me with happiness. Every cliche, catch phrase, and song that may be coming in to your mind right now – that is what I am talking about! I love that stuff. I live for it. It makes all the other stuff seem somehow less than. I don’t want to say pointless, or unimportant. Those things on my list have meaning. However, I can go on without them. I cannot live without love.

Growing up Catholic, I have always had a faith belief that God is love. I believe that at the root of hope and faith lies the true feelings of love and one’s belief in it. In his first epistle, John the Evangelist wrote:

“God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgement day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

We love because God first loved us. If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. The commandment that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.” 1 John 4: 16-21

Love gives me courage.

Love is perfect for me.

There is no fear in love.

Perfect love drives out fear.

Being loving means loving all people. (Even myself.)

This is me in August 2018, trying to smile while dealing with facial paralysis.

How does Mindfulness and Self-Care help Me?

According to Psych Central, “Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our awareness to what we are experiencing in the present, both internally and externally, without judgment (Kornfield, 2009). It is a wake-up call to become conscious of the ways we perceive and respond to life’s situations.”

You might ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all go around just feeling happy and loving all the time? Why can’t we? Why are we so messed up and why do we want so much out of life? Why am I afraid? Why do I work so hard?” I know I ask myself these questions!

In her Musings and Affirmations, I am Resourceful and Resilient, Martina McGowan proposes that we can learn and grow from challenging circumstances. We can resolve to use resources that reminds us of our own strengths. She says, “My focus on learning enables me to be enormously resilient. I know that I can make it through any situation that comes my way. After all, I am already a survivor of every circumstance in my life so far and I continue to learn from each of them. So today also, I trust that I am resilient.”

I want to just be who I am and be satisfied with that. But something in me is always wanting more. I have a yearning desire to go out and do more, experience more, and learn more. With that comes opportunity as well as risk. All of this brings up fears and overwhelm. Should I or Shouldn’t I? What is keeping me from following my heart?

I worry a lot. Worry causes stress. Stress manifests itself in my body as tension. Tension builds and becomes pain. I begin to worry about the cause of the pain. Then I get sick with worry… There is a pattern here. I am aware of it. I know I need to handle this as soon as, if not before I recognize the signs. I would love to live a worry-free life. I have come a loooong way! I have taught myself to take a breath, to imagine a happy place, to let go, and to live with intention. Now, I aim to learn more about mindfulness and resilience.

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”  This is one of the questions Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness suggests we ask ourselves in The Mindful Approach to Facing Your Fears. 

It is part of our genetic design, it is human nature, to constantly seek information, try new things, and grow. While we are doing that we can’t forget about self-care. That’s how I handle so much. My list of 15 challenges, honestly is a partial list. It doesn’t even touch on my physical, medical, or emotional issues. I don’t even begin to list my worries about family, friends, grieving, financial, and relationship issues. We all have those. Instead of falling deeper into a hole of self-doubt and worry, I pick myself up and think about my “one thing.” I am always striving to boost my self-confidence and resilience. I am constantly self-nurturing. And, I do not mean just taking time to do some deep breathing and lighting a candle.

In Foster Mind-Body-Spirit Resilience Through Self-Care Marquita Herald examines the life-long practice of self-care:

“Authentic self-care is about becoming aware of what you want and need on the deepest level and then making it a priority to develop and consistently practice the rituals and habits that will nurture your well-being for the long-term, not just to get through the day.”

A self-care regimen:

  • Prevents disease and illness.
  • Shortens recovery time from illness or injury.
  • Enhances your sense of autonomy (control over your life).
  • Improves self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reduces stress and stress-related anxiety.
  • Helps you be more productive, engaged, and connected.
  • Makes it easier to manage your weight.
  • Helps to build stronger more meaningful relationships.
  • Improves both the length and quality of your life.

So, if self-care has the potential to make such a huge positive impact on our lives, why aren’t we doing it? -Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living

Just Be You

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All I want is to just be me and feel comfortable in my own skin. I have learned that I am pretty good at that. I like who I have become. I tried a lot of different things. I am at a point of re-becoming my favorite me. I don’t want to fight it anymore. I want to go to my happy place, my one thing that I know to be true, the root of it all. Simple Joys, my theme for this year says it all – I am mindful of the thing that people like about me. I am loving.

Can it really be that Simple?

“Always fall in love with what you are asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.” ~Robert Frost

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change, rather than allowing it to master you.” ~Sri Ram

Yes it can! When you question everything, you are setting limits, doubting your gut instincts, going against what you believe to be true. Use mindfulness to combat limiting beliefs.

Choose to listen to the calming voice of reason. Remember to listen for your inner sweetheart! That’s the soft, nice voice telling you, “Yes, it is okay, and you are all right, and this all you need to do right now.” It is possible that the soft voice is your true self speaking at a regular constant volume. Those loud crazy thoughts and ideas could just be noise, distractions, and minutia that brings about the overwhelm.

Be the master of change. You are in charge of you. Changes are going to happen, like it or not. You can change or stay the same and go along with it. Remember what truly matters. Does this make you smile? Does it make your heart sing? Can you live with out it? Does it make you happy? You are the most important. Take care of you!

Just be you.

#SimpleJoys2019

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Re-becoming

I love my life right now! Said no one ever, right? Well, I did. And I do. Seriously, no matter how difficult things get, I am grateful for my life. I love it!

I started writing a post called, Living the Life I Want, in April 2013. Looking back at my drafts I found these quotes that apply perfectly to what I’m going through now.

Jean Shinoda Bolen says, “As soon as you recover or discover something that nourishes you and brings you joy, resolve to care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

Alice Walker says, “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.”

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. Every goal is possible from here.” – Lai Tzu

In my post, “Peace of Mind, Imagine the Possibilities 3-7-13, I said, “Knowing that stress causes ailments to manifest and weaken me, I recall the goodness that surrounds me and I regain my strength.  It is almost instant.  My head lifts.  I feel light.  When I walk, I walk tall.  When I speak, I speak with love.

It has to do with following through.  I honor the practices of self-care.  I honor my core values.

“When your values are the source of your actions, even the lows become a positive experience.” –Sandi Amorin, Life Coach

So, how did I go from hard times to living my best life and loving it? It has to do with staying true to myself and to my ideals.

It’s 2019 and my theme for this year is Simple Joys. My plan is to really take it easy. It’s the no plan plan.

Of course, things are starting to come together and some events are in the works in the coming months. I’m traveling a bit here and there and my husband’s 50th birthday is happening soon. I also made a commitment to teach an art camp this summer. But these things are spread out throughout the year and I will try to remain true to my theme and allow the simple joys to be my focus.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys

This comes after a very difficult couple of years. I pushed myself to new limits and I was tested in unexpected ways. I spent my 49th year convinced that if I set my intention on action and activating my best self that I would be more successful than ever before and be able to reach new heights.

Ironically, one of the most symbolic things I could use to describe how that plan worked out is so cliche it’s a little embarrassing- – I actually got a treadmill and made videos on You Tube and Instagram hoping to inspire myself and others with my “take action” attitude. When in fact I spent all year literally running in place and not getting anywhere.

See one of my treadmill videos here:

To my defense, I weathered through some really tough crises with the help of my husband, family, and dearest friends and learned a lot about myself in the process. I gained a deeper perspective and I am at peace with it. I still love my treadmill as much as I love all the things I attempted during the past few years that didn’t take me as far as I had hoped.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys http://MizMeliz.wordpress.com
This is me – feeling hopeful!

I might not have successfully gotten a new business off the ground, made any money selling books, card decks, jewelry, or anything else, or become the superstar of my dreams – but I did take action. I tried. I worked my butt off and made the effort. Which is more than I ever did before. Doing that lead me to meeting people and going places that I otherwise never would have. More importantly, I went outside of my comfort zone and saw myself rise up and develop my abilities, hone my talents, and excel in unexpected ways.

All of it was extremely satisfying, just like knowing that I have walked the entire length of Italy (736 miles) and climbed over 2000 floors (which is the equivalent of the height of a hot air balloon in flight) during 2018 without even leaving California or being lifted off the ground.

So here it is, a new year, a new intention, a new focus. I like to take what I have learned and move forward in my life mindful that each moment has its own merit. I am a new person in many ways. I am also the best at being the me I like being too. I am going to relish that this year. I consider that the simple joy of living life.

I am the best at being the me I like.

As a life coach I often use “re-” words to help in the moving on or moving forward process. Review, recharge, refresh, renew. I heard a phrase today that really encompassed what I have been feeling. Re-become. I am so ready for that. I became who I want to be. I am fully vested. I tried a few things and that was good. Now I can re-become me. It’s that simple.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys Sunrise http://MizMeliz.wordpress.com
Re-becoming like a sunrise after a rainy day. Photo by MReyes 1-2019
photo credit Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com
Everything Miz Meliz

Managing Challenges using Mind-Mapping

Here are some of my challenges.  Make a list of the things that come to mind when you think of all the things you are taking on right now.  What is holding you back?

  1. Dealing with difficult people
  2. Being assertive without being labelled a “bitch”
  3. Managing stress
  4. Keeping up a positive image, managing perceptions
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Communication (communicating clearly with others)
  7. Multi-tasking and completing projects
  8. Self-sabootage, facing fears and following through
  9. Contintued personal growth
  10. Letting go (of things that no longer matter)
  11. Saying “No” – prioritizing
  12. Continued professional development
  13. Reaching Goals, facing my fear of success
  14. Increasing efficiency
  15. Managing finances

Whew!  That’s a lot!  It is not a check list.  It is a reality list.  I believe knowing the things that are tugging on the back of my mind can help me to set a clear path to what I want.  I use this technique to achieve my goals.  A list is a mind-dump.  It isn’t in any order.  It may not include everything.  It is just what I put on the list.  Mind-mapping is so much more.

If you are creative, like me, your thoughts and ideas don’t always come in the form of a list.  They don’t even fit on a calendar.  Sometimes it feels like the ideas flow through me and other times it feels like they are coming at me from all directions. Mind-mapping is a way to organize your thoughts in a creative way that uses both sides of your brain.  Yes! You can be organized and creative at the same time!

I will be giving a workshop on how to use mind-mapping for setting goals and improving your blog (or other projects) and applying these principles to maintain a balanced lifestyle.  If you have questions for me, please put them in the comments.  I will address these questions at the workshop and on the blog.

Keep an eye out for my next post on mindfulness.  I will be taking an in depth look at cognitive behavior therapy and how positivity impacts life balance.

If you want to attend the workshop – sign up here:  https://sclbworkshop.eventbrite.com/

For more details on the workshop and So Cal Lady Bloggers, see Melissa Dell’s blog, “A Bit of Everything

photo credit Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com
Where is your path leading you?

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Questions You Ask Yourself

I keep thinking in lyrics.  Eighties lyrics.  True, I did listen to Missing Persons with my hubby recently on the way to Lobsterfest, so it is no surprise that this one lingered on my mind.  I hesitate to post anything right now.  This will be more for me than for anyone else.

I hesitate to discuss death, dying, and grieving here – – again.  Death is a part of life.  It seems that I am quite familiar with the grieving process.  It is still difficult for me, as it should be.  I don’t want this to be easy.  I do not take life for granted.  Life is precious.  Living here, now, I ask myself lots of questions.  Sometimes the answers are quite simple.

The answer to my question today is. . .

Life is strange.

The question. . .  Why?

Why did one of my best friends die? Why him? Why now? Why couldn’t I do anything to stop this from happening? Why did he leave, breaking the heart of his loved ones, like this?

Well, here I go again. . .

Life is so strange when you don’t know
How can you tell where you’re going to
You can’t be sure of any situation
Something could change and then you won’t know

You ask yourself
Where do we go from here?
It seems so – all too near
Just as far beyond as I can see
I still don’t know what this all means to me

So you tell yourself
I have nowhere to go
I don’t know what to do
And I don’t even know the time of day
I guess, it doesn’t matter any way

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don’t know
Your destination

Something could change
It’s unknown
And then you won’t know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don’t know
Your destination

Something could change
It’s unknown
And then you won’t know
Destination unknown

You ask yourself
When will my time come
Has it all been said and done?
I know, I’ll leave when it’s my time to go
‘Til then I’ll carry on with what I know

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don’t know
Your destination

Something could change
It’s unknown
And then you won’t know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange
Destination unknown
When you don’t know
Your destination

Something could change
It’s unknown
And then you won’t know
Destination unknown

Life is so strange

Read more: Missing Persons – Destination Unknown Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

I live my life for now, making the best of the moment, and moving forward gracefully and hoping for the best for my future.  No regrets.  I am trying to make the most of all of my experiences.  Good or bad.  Happy or sad.  It is all part of life.

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Turning a Page and Facing Some Changes

It’s time for me to make a change on Miz Meliz – the blog and in my life.  It’s something I have been planning for a while and I am quite excited about it.  I woke up from a nice deep sleep thinking about one of my all time favorite songs from David Bowie and I knew that today is the day to share what is going on.

Changes

Oh, yeah
Mmm

Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse of
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Mmm, yeah

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time

Strange fascination, fascinatin’ me
Ah, changes are takin’
The pace I’m goin’ through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out you rock ‘n’ rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Read more: David Bowie – Changes Lyrics | MetroLyrics

It may just seem like a new background and color scheme to you when you see the new website.  Other than that not much will look different at first when you see it.  And that’s good.  But there are some major changes.  The new site is going to be everything Miz Meliz iz (sorry couldn’t resist!) and more.

One exciting feature that is in the works is a new page where you will be able to schedule an appointment or book sessions with me for coaching.  Soon, there will also be a place to sign up for workshops that I am offering. Of course there will be a page where you can learn more about my book that is due to be released in October.  And that is the BIG news!  The book.  My first book to be published is almost ready.  Correction, I am almost ready to publish it!  The words have been written and ready to go for awhile.  I will release it to you in a few weeks.  I hope you like it!

Please let me know in the comments if you will be willing to buy my book, “This is the Sound of My Soul.”  I would like to start a list to get an idea of what to expect.  I’ve been wanting to put this “out there” for a while.  There are so many options and price points and decisions I need to make.  Here is what I am thinking . . . if you like entertainment you might pay $12 to see a movie.  If you like to drink reasonably good coffee, you might pay $4.50 for a latte.  Could we split the difference and price the book (approximately 135 pages of reasonably good entertaining prose of my perspective on life, roughly four and a half hours of reading) at $8.99?

Let me know. I greatly appreciate your input!

As the sun sets on this chapter of my life, I look to the horizon for a glimpse of inspiration.
As the sun sets on this chapter of my life, I look to the horizon for a glimpse of inspiration.

Moving on. Changes are happening!  Not just the new website (same url by the way, but new host so it will be my own real estate on the internet.)  Not just the book release.  Not just the coaching and workshops.  My life is changing in a big way.  My son, is moving in a few days.  He is going away to college.  This marks a big milestone in the life of my family.  It is monumental.  It is exciting.  I am proud beyond words.  My heart is singing with joy!  It does not feel like the emptiness I thought it would be. (Wow, I just realized how I timed all these new things to start in my life with this big change, positive changes and moving forward, me thinks.) It feels like my heart is expanding.

Our family is growing, learning, moving forward.  These are good changes.  I am fully prepared and ready to embrace these changes.  I believe my son is more than ready and capable.  This makes me oh so happy!

So I will turn and face the strange changes.

Time may change me.

But I can’t trace time.

Don’t forget.  Please tell me in the comments:

Would you buy my book online for $8.99 (paperback) or $3.99 (download) and would you like to be on a mailing list for further notices about the book and future publications by Melissa Reyes? (That’s me of course!) Yours truly, Miz Meliz

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

It’s a Nice Day to Start Again

Hey little sister, what have you done?
Hey little sister, who’s the only one?
Hey little sister, who’s your superman?
Hey little sister, who’s the one you want?
Hey little sister, shotgun

It’s a nice day to start again
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again

Hey little sister, who is it you’re with?
Hey little sister, what’s your vice or wish?
Hey little sister, shotgun, oh yeah
Hey little sister, who’s your superman?
Hey little sister, shotgun

It’s a nice day to start again
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again

“Pick it up!”
Take me back home, yeah

Hey little sister, what have you done?
Hey little sister, who’s the only one?
I’ve been away for so long
I’ve been away for so long
I let you go for so long

It’s a nice day to start again
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again

There is nothing fair in this world
There is nothing safe in this world
And there’s nothing sure in this world
And there’s nothing pure in this world
Look for something left in this world

Start again
It’s a nice day for a white wedding
It’s a nice day to start again
It’s a nice day to start again
It’s a nice day to start again

Songwriter
BILLY IDOL

Read more: Billy Idol – White Wedding Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Going over the edge?
Going over the edge?

That part about nothing being fair, safe, sure, or pure in this world really gets me.  It leaves me feeling empty.  Then he says, look for something that is left in this world.  As the song goes, when I feel completely depleted and defeated like there is nothing worth fighting for, I find something that I love,  a new day begins and I can start again.

It’s a nice day to start again!

Lately I have been getting ahead of myself in a lot of ways.  I have been wanting to have now what is just beyond my reach. I have been wishing I can get there without doing all the work.  I realized something.  I am not in a hurry.  I have the ability to slow myself down, do things right and make the future better.  I have a lot of ground work to lay.  The projects I have in the works are big.  Yes, I want to jump ahead and get the party started!  But I need to chill and get the work done in the right time first.  It’s going to be the best party ever!

Living in the moment means loving the moment, cherishing it, embracing it, feeling it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have to plan for the future or that I don’t have to learn from the past. It’s the moment when I ask myself, what is my vice or wish?  I need to make a choice here.  Will it be happiness, joy, bliss? Will it be good, clean, honest? Will it be about me or someone else or someone I used to be or someone I want to be? Decisions, decisions.

Pick something and try it.  That’s the best we can do.  Success is in the trying.  We can always try again. And it is a nice day to start again!

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Freedom: Be Glad for What You’ve Got

These are the lyrics to the song, “Free” by Prince from the album “1999” which I discovered and loved sometime in the mid 1980’s:

Don’t sleep, ’til sunrise, listen to the falling rain
Don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, don’t worry ’bout your pain
Don’t cry, unless you’re happy, don’t smile unless you’re blue
Never let that lonely monster take control of you

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Glad that you are free, there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

I know my heart is beating, my drummer tells me so
If you take your life for granted, your beating heart will go
So don’t sleep until you’re guilty, ’cause sinners all are we
There’s others doing far worse than us, so be glad that you are free

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

Soldiers are a marching, writing brand new laws
Will we all fight together, for the most important cause
Will we all fight, for the right to be free

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

~Prince Rogers Nelson

I have been thinking about what it feels like to be free lately.

This is about that feeling of freedom.

My Jeep has been acting up and it has been pretty much out of commission since the beginning of August.  It chugs and lurches and doesn’t drive well in second gear.  My hubby has been working on it and has fixed the problem a few times.  But it seemed to be getting worse and worse.  One day the problem was so bad I barely made it home from work which is just a few miles away. I was fed up.  I said, “That’s it! I am not driving it anymore.”

So, there  It sat – in the drive way –  for a few weeks until we took it to the shop.  Then it was at the shop for a few weeks.  All the while, I got rides from my husband and sons and friends to and from work and anywhere else I wanted to go.  I “borrowed” my son’s car if I needed to drive somewhere.  I liked getting driven places.  In fact, I said that, “My chariot awaits” on a few occasions.  I liked being taken care of.  That is, until I lost my sense of freedom.

I started to feel dependent on my husband and sons and friends.  That was a little bothersome.  I knew it was temporary and it would be resolved so I didn’t pay too much attention to those feelings.  I began asking my husband if he knew when the Jeep would be fixed and when I could get it back.  I really didn’t need it since I had so many other transportation options and I couldn’t really afford to have a lot of work done on it.  It’s old and requires a lot of maintenance, but I love it.  I love having a Jeep for so many reasons.  After cursing it for weeks because of it not running well, I forgot how much I loved it. Until Wednesday,

On Wednesday (three days ago) my husband picked up the Jeep from the shop.  I did not know this until he pulled up in front of my office to pick me up.  There it was!  Oh my gosh!  I was so excited.  Seeing it through the window at work, I jumped up and said, “Hey, that’s my Jeep!”

The next morning I drove to the office myself.  I couldn’t believe how good it felt to be behind the wheel of my own car again!  My Jeep felt great and I wished, for a moment, I had a longer commute so I had more time to enjoy it.  It is still running rough and needs more tuning, but I was back in my ride!  (After a month!) I felt free again.  I forgot how good that felt.  I remembered what it was like to have that freedom for the first time as a teenager.  I could identify with my sons and their feeling of freedom having their own rides.  I felt a little guilty for infringing on that recently.  But then again, they depended on me for a long time to provide transportation to all of their activities, and this was just a month. That is how I got to thinking about how much we take freedom for granted.

There certainly are many types of freedom.

My friend and client, Ana Lydia had a freeing realization about constraint and risking her own personal values in her business this week.  She said, “I pressed my colleagues to “be brave” and value their skills, while I have been scared to call on late payments or call-out injustices. . . coming to terms with that realization felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.”

A friend of mine posted this statement on her Facebook page yesterday and shared it with me:

“There is nothing you have thought…have done…that needs to be kept a secret. You were born to be free and we are not free when we carry the burden of secrets.”  ~Ali Kossack

In an effort to protect freedom in our country, this morning President Obama said “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.”

I spent some time this afternoon visiting a very close friend of mine. She is laid up in bed, immobile for at least three weeks under doctor’s orders. She broke her leg recently and because she is paralyzed she didn’t know it was broken at first.  She is unable to sit in her chair, or drive her car until the broken bone heals.  She is one of the most independent women I know.  She has never let her situation stop her from doing all the things she wants to do.  Now she has temporarily lost the freedom that she enjoys.  I sat in her bed with her and I cried.

My tears are not for sadness, although I am often saddened.  My tears are not for grief, although I am often stricken with grief.  My tears are not for fear, although I am often hopelessly fearful.  These were not tears of joy, although I often cry tears of joy.  I believe these were the waterworks of tears of those who cannot or will not cry for injustice.  I cried the tears of pain for those who cannot feel pain.  I cried for the many wrongs that I carry deep in my heart.  I cried for the hope of freedom for those who have died for it unknowingly, unwillingly.  I cried for the simple feelings of freedom that I take for granted.

I am done crying for today.

My tears cleansed me.  Now I am free to carry on.

In most cases, the feeling of freedom comes from knowing you are doing the right things.  Freedom comes when we exercise our core values.

Freedom comes when we are glad for what we’ve got.

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