Thursday, September 27, 2012

Special Offer - Free Kindle Book - September 27-28, 2012

Free - September 27-28, 2012 - Kindle edition - Reflections in Silhouette: Poems for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Love or Hate: We Choose One or the Other with Every Action

As I watch the hatred spewing around me these days, I find myself struggling to love those who are being so hateful. Many would say I shouldn't bother. Doesn't hate deserve hate? Perhaps, but, seriously, what good does that accomplish?

Here's the thing. If I hate the haters, don't I become as bad as them? If I can find a way to love those who deserve my hatred, perhaps I can be one small disruption in the machine of hatred. If I can cause even one person to question the hate he or she is directing into the world, then not letting myself fall into the habit of hating is worth it.

Let's be clear about this. Nothing good ever comes from hate. It can't. Hatred is too negative to result in anything good. It isn't until we act from a place of love that we can begin to heal hurt, betrayal, or hate itself.

This bring to mind Blue October's song "Hate Me" in which the band sings "Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you." And in theory that sounds like a positive outcome from hate, but I believe  a better way to think of it is "Love yourself enough to let me go, so you can do what's right for you." Sorry, Blue October, I love your song, but I have to be honest.

When we spread hate, we close communication. When we focus too hard on what doesn't work, we run the risk of blinding ourselves to what does. I'm not saying we shouldn't fix what's broken because we should. However, if we never see the good, we'll lose sight of why fixing things even matters.

If we begin to approach the world around us with love, we soon discover that even that which doesn't work is easier to release than hate would have us believe. When hate rules our hearts and minds, we become mired in things that really aren't relevant. We can't see what has changed. We can't allow growth within ourselves or others. Hate holds us in the moment when things went wrong, and we become so surrounded with negativity we begin to drown in it.

Several years ago, I reached a point where I realized I needed to let go of the hate that lived in my heart. It was hate I felt entitled to feel, so I clung to it. I thought it somehow protected me from becoming too vulnerable. That hatred had created a fear of intimacy that allowed me to keep myself isolated from people and situations that might hurt me. Over time, I thought the hate didn't matter because I didn't actively express it. But the fact that I allowed it to take up valuable space in my heart kept me from loving fully and openly. Letting go of that hate scared me. I feared if I let it go, I'd forget the lessons from the situation that had created the hate.

So I had to let it go a little a time. I experimented with just focusing my thoughts and emotions on love and not actually tackling the hate. When the hate surfaced, I resisted it at first. The more I focused on love, the more I was able to accept that I felt the hate and to surround it with love. Eventually, it grew smaller and smaller. And, what I realized was that over time the hate I had for a situation had grown to be a hatred of self because of self-blame, self-doubt, and self-recrimination. As I loved myself and embraced my own goodness, I discovered the hate had less and less impact on me. Life grew better. Life grew happier. Life grew more productive. Life grew more satisfying.

My problems weren't all solved by living from a place of love, but they became more manageable. I learned to accept them and see solutions I wouldn't have considered before. I even learned to let go with love, something I'd never even considered before in my life. Well, that's not entirely true. I had let go with love before though I hadn't recognized that until much, much later because my self-hatred had also played a part in that letting go.

Living from a place of love doesn't mean never changing. In fact, it makes change easier. When we love enough to want to give the world our best selves, we change to become the people we want to be. We can love ourselves as we are and still become better. This lesson took me a long time to learn. I thought I had to identify what I hated about myself to change it. Instead focusing on what I hated about myself only brought more negativity into my life and kept me mired in my issues. When I focused on what I loved about myself, I grew in ways that allowed what I hated about myself to become less prominent. Suddenly, I nurtured the good in me, and that's what grew. Love became a fertilizer in my life reaping positive change when I stopped allowing hate to feed my insecurities and doubts.

These days we are so surrounded by hate, it feels almost palpable. That frightens me. Hate leads to nothing good. Hate leads to lies. Hate leads to violence. Hate leads to demonization of others. Hate leads to dogmatic thinking that excludes others from their rights. Hate leads to fear. Hate leads absolutely nowhere worth being.

Love and hate really can't reside in the same heart. If you love, then you love. If you hate, then you hate. People say you can "love the person, but hate the action." I no longer believe that. You can disagree with an action. You can even condemn an action. The moment you begin to hate an action, you are acting from a place of hate. And, that mere action of coming from hate spreads hate and closes off any possibility for understanding, change, and reconciliation.

Every morning I wake up and I choose love. I choose to love even when it hurts. I choose to love even those who don't and never will love me. I choose to love even those with whom I'll never agree. I choose to love my life with all its ups and downs. I choose to love myself. I choose to be someone who puts love into the world. I choose to not allow other people's hatred to affect the love I let guide my life even though that is often very difficult.

The simple act of choosing love over hate has enhanced my life enormously. Perhaps, you might find it in your heart to release any hate that lives there and allow love room to grow...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Special Offer - Free Kindle Book - September 20-21, 2012

Free Kindle edition of Love in Silhouette on September 20-21, 2012 for your reading pleasure! Enjoy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It Matters to Me, It Matters, I Matter

Lately, the refrain in my head has been "If it matters to you, it matters." spoken by Pheobe to Jenny Gordon in the first episode of season two of Charmed. Yes, I'm a Charmed fan. Close your mouth. It's not that big of a surprise...

The more I tried to fight this thought, "If it matters to you, it matters." the louder it got... Finally, I had to ask myself why I was trying to convince myself that a statement about the importance of what matters to me doesn't matter. Suddenly, I realized what it was.

So often when I feel hurt, sad, disappointed, concerned, or frustrated, I tell myself it doesn't matter. I ask myself who will care in a hundred years. I convince myself that just because it matters to me doesn't make it important. Why the hell not?  I would never tell another person his or her concerns, needs, or pain were unimportant even if their significance didn't resonate with me. I just wouldn't do that. Yet, I've somehow, over the years, come to believe that my concerns are less important or are overblown or that I'm just being too sensitive or melodramatic, and therefore my concerns don't matter. Push it down and move on with life... After all, who will care in a hundred years, or even five, or maybe even next week?

I'm fairly certain I also tend to do this with good news. I'm more likely to share good news, but I'll still question whether it matters to anyone besides me. When I share good news, I always feel like maybe my good news will inspire someone else to keep trying even if they don't necessarily care about my good news.

I tap into what matters to me to write words I hope will matter to someone else. I attempt to share my struggles and triumphs with others in an effort to let other people know they matter and that what they are going through matters. Yet, far too often, I downplay what matters to me even to myself even as the words are spilling onto paper in hopes of reaching out to someone else. It's a dichotomy I'm struggling to reconcile within myself.

So the next time I feel the urge to ask myself "Who will care in a hundred years?", I'm going to instead remind myself that "If it matters to me, it matters." because that's honoring myself. It may not matter to me five minutes later, but in the moment it matters to me, there is a reason it matters. When something matters to me, it is up to me to explore why, learn from it, grow from it, and share what I learn with others in the hopes we can all grow together.

Perhaps with time I'll also learn to more easily focus on what really matters to me as I allow myself to remember that mattering to me is enough to make something worth paying attention to...

And, the same goes for you... If it matters to you, it matters. Never let anyone else tell you anything different.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Special Offer - Free Kindle Book - September 13-14, 2012

The Kindle book of my novel, All She Ever Wanted, is free September 13 - 14, 2012.

When Victoria, who is white, meets Daryn, who is African American, she has no idea the effect he and his family will have on her life. As she struggles for the success she’s certain will make her parents proud, Daryn’s family introduces her to a new definition of love, family, acceptance, and success. Victoria and Daryn struggle to keep their friendship intact as they are faced with the prejudices of family, friends, and lovers. The empty place in Victoria’s heart forces her to face all she’s sacrificed in her quest for success including friendship, love, family, and grief.

Download and enjoy!!