I left astounded. Hurt. And definitely pissed the fuck off. I guess that’s what happens when you let your guard down. Interactions with people that leave me feeling this way are something I try to avoid. In fact with some of the people I love the most, I have very limited interactions for this very reason. This time, however, I was in new territory and wasn’t sure how to respond. It wasn’t necessarily the actions or words of the offending person that bothered me so much as it was the glimpse of my own past that I had never seen from that viewpoint before. I needed to process. I needed my mom.
We left our house that morning with plans to take his daughter and her man to the races with us then stay the night at their house so we could spend some time with them before the baby was born. Plans changed, she didn’t want us to stay the night, said she was embarrassed because they didn’t have much food. Well shit, we all been there, no need to be embarrassed, just say something. We can help, a hand up – not a hand out! Well, that is what we were feeling when we got to their house, this changed quickly. Luckily we had made other plans for overnight, but stopped by their place to drop off some groceries.
I was comforted by the fact that I looked over at my lover and seen the tears of anger and frustration welling in his eyes as we left his daughter’s house. What a strange thing to draw comfort from. I have been with my boyfriend for a few years now, and although there have definitely been some rough times, I have lots of love for most of his family as he does mine. It’s like it all just fits…… He has been doing lots of work to repair some of his family ties and is finally starting to build a solid relationship with his adult daughter, who is expecting a grandson in just a about a month’s time. The history of their relationship was rocky, a lot of manipulation and the behaviors that go along with it, involving her mother. That’s not my story to tell though so I will move on from there.
Many people in the family had an ill feeling about the baby daddy from the start, but I always go for the benefit of the doubt stance because tons of people who have a rough start in life are able to clean up their lives and make good things happen. I met him at the same time as meeting the daughter, so I took them in my heart as pair, a family, as she was already expecting. I kept a little distance at first and allowed her to set the pace of our relationship. It seemed to blossom with ongoing texts and conversations, even an invite to the gender reveal ultrasound and being referred to as “grandma” a time or two. I was asked to be in the delivery room. My heart gushed. However, was turned back to the current reality and source of the surprise, hurt and angry feelings sprouted from her baby’s father that day and the insight into a potentially abusive environment.
A dose of disrespect goes a long ways, especially when it comes from someone you consider “one of your kids”. The little event that took place was based off of a moment of real life encouragement as a parental figure to the baby daddy. He was telling of how he had quit his job….. again…. and was pursuing to start his own company and be a contractor so he wouldn’t have to work for the man. Discussion pursued with open support of his ideas, but with the realistic approach that with a baby on the way, he may find himself needing to have a consistent job. This was often the type of life experiences that I shared with all my kids, kind of like its ok to dream, but you have to have one foot in reality. He took it the wrong way, continued to get angry, proceeded to curse, attempt to throw us out of his house, and even attempted to instigate a physical fight before stating for his gf to call him once we had left and out the door he went. The whole scene was ridiculous and definitely a glimpse to a new side of him.
Amazingly, both myself and Josh stayed seated with calm voices covering our feelings of being disrespected and angry, stunned. I seen a glimpse into my past, things my mother may have gone through that I couldn’t even apologize for. I remember times where she felt unwelcome at my house because of my husband’s influence, I thought it was ridiculous, but was seeing it through new eyes. As I watched Josh’s daughter sit there through this interaction, and her empty eyes afterwards, it was difficult to know what she was thinking. I can’t say her path and mine were exactly the same, but familiar nonetheless, I had been there before. The rest of the evening, things felt surreal. We continued on to the Races as planned, but my mind was elsewhere most of the night. I know his was too. I sunk into moments of meditation, feeling the vibrations of the motors of the racecars, the smells, the sounds, letting them flow through me as I worked through my own shadows that had surfaced. I know my mom had spent years in this same environment, I searched for any of her remaining energy. The welcome taste of whiskey on my lips brought me back to reality here and there. I longed to hug my mom and tell her I love her and see now, yet another thing she suffered through just trying to love and support me.
Looking back, I realize I was also incredibly angry with myself for putting myself out there. This also was a prime example of behavior that I do not have to tolerate, will not tolerate. I know now I put myself in a place to allow this to happen, I will further proceed with caution. I choose not to have interactions of this sort, they are toxic and quite frankly they hurt. FUCK, allowing vulnerability in your life sucks, but building walls sucks even worse!!!! However, I realize that over the last few years, I’ve really changed. Had this happened even just a couple of years ago, my reaction definitely would have been different. I wasn’t one to sit calmly and attempt to diffuse the situation back then, but rather add fuel to the fire and poke it til it burns oh so bright! I had a short fuse (still do at times) but I’m learning to keep the explosion controlled. I hate the way it leaves me feeling when its not.
I don’t take for granted the amount of respect that has been instilled into my sons and nieces and nephews alike. It comes from examples handed down through the generations. The amount of love that I feel for them is intense and it grows each year as our bonds tighten. In fact, when I think about the number of souls I consider “my kids” it encompasses, not only my boys and nieces and nephews, but many of their friends that have attached themselves to my heart throughout the years. They have all been “real-lifed” by my own hardships and experiences and this little incident will not stop me from providing strength, guidance, and support to those that I love.
Its been a couple weeks now, baby is due anytime. The communication between them and us is non-existent. It hurts me tremendously and I know it must hurt her daddy tenfold. The excitement of the bonding with this little family, helping them set up house and gather supplies for the new baby was a great source of joy for us. Its rare to see a man so high on life as mine was the day we took a whole truck load of household items and groceries to their house when they first moved in, being honored to help. There is definitely something missing in my man’s smile, a piece of his pride taken away in worry that he is again losing his little girl. I hope that as time passes and they learn lessons of their own that they are able to learn and grow from them. I know even as small as the confrontation was, the box that it opened in my proverbial closet brought immense opportunity for my own personal awareness and growth. Past to present and ongoing into the future of this fun adventure called life, I hope for continued ability to process and share the things I’ve learned as well as listen and learn from the experiences of others.

I’ve been experiencing much lack of self love from the women in my life that I love lately.   My wife, my friends and sisters, my mentors, my mothers……

As research has shown its in the stars right now and we all need to be humble. its good for us. However, humble doesn’t mean shame and it doesn’t mean lack. Too often when we feel low we seek to belittle others in order to grasp onto a glimpse of egotistical worth.   I challenge us all to not just state but to actually view each other in whatever radiance we ACTUALLY embody.

I recently moved back in with my wife. I have slowly unpacked things as they have become necessary. Finally this weekend I got to the things that I don’t need.   My living space… infused with the smell of great essential oils,  I opened up the happiest part of my wardrobe.  I set out to carefully hang my most favorite pieces after laying them out in exact order on my beautiful new , well chosen, duet cover.  lol  YOu se I’m getting old.   hahaha ive always wanted to have beautiful  things, its in my nature. Yet, other things have been more important. wether it’s that one of the kids needed something important, or perhaps they just wanted something.  Often times a friend or someone in my family needed to pay  bill.   Too often I was just hanging on by my teeth financially and could not afford to meet my own needs and express myself outwardly.

As I unpacked I pulled out my very ultimate absolute favorite creation in the whole of life’s essence….  my black j crew cardigan.   My sister purchased me this cardigan fr my birthday. I had noticed it while we were out shopping once and it was one of the first gifts I had received from a family member where I had pointed it out and expressed my adoration. It was beautiful, well made, soft good material, the perfect shade of black and had subtle trim… it made me feel special to receive this gift.

Strait away I unfolded my yummy cardigan and “AHHHHHH”‘d    ”  Ladies I found my cardigan and I’m telling you now. I’m stripping down to nothing and plan to walk around in this beautiful piece of cloth butt naked for the rest of the evening. Sorry if that bothers anyone but I don’t care!!”

After about 20 minutes my butt felt very exposed (bending over and all) and my old breasts were dangling in my way so I chose to put on a bra and some panties. I did however spend the rest of my evening loving the shit out of my cardigan, my oils, my duvet, the way it all felt on my skin……..

Finally clothes carefully put away, I sat in my space a breathed.  This is my time. The time when  everything is done well with thought states to my internal clock that I have everything handled. nothing has to be rushed = I can do the things that I love. this is when I can feel myself fully. this is when I am at peace.

I helped myself out to my back porch ( yes in my undergarments and my cardigan), smoked what seemed like a ver loooong leisurely cigarette, and smiled at my daughters incessant talking for the first time  in a month.  I had focus and a genuine smile…   I was whole.

As the night came to and end I cleaned up in the bathroom. You know, teeth, oil, lengthy skin check, washed my face, made sure my bobby pins were where they belonged, had the time to wipe out the sink,  and walked to the bedroom to slip into bed with my wife.  As I approached the bed she gave me a calm smile.   Once I laid down she leaned over to me and said, ” You’ve got this old lady thing going on and for some reason it is really doing it for me”. Then, she touched my tummy and smiled at me quite pleased to be next to my granny panties and calm demeanor.   I was like “WTF”??!!   She laughed.

” Carmen,  lots of people are not satisfied with themselves after 30. Lots of people walk around trying to look 20 when they are 40. not accepting that they look 40. Sometimes people want to be what they’re not and it is not appealing.. you walk around in those underwear and an old lady sweater and its sexy.  its like your owning your womanhood, YOUR WOMANHOOD is SEXY! 20 looks good but it doesn’t look like womanhood.”

I’m pretty sure this was the sexiest fucking compliment I have ever received.  And it wasn’t fake.  she didn’t tell me I’m hot.  She didn’t tell me she wanted to fuck.   she took me in and accepted me whole and loved and was excited by what she saw and felt.

believe me.. My granny panties were immediately soaked and they came right off.   If this was her ploy to get me to take those wretched things off… it worked!

My wife doesn’t always feel completely attractive. Like the rest of us, she sometimes judges her looks and abilities by ideas of others. And though, of course, I think she’s beautiful physically.  It is her ability to see in hindsight toward everybody that attracts me the most to her.

I hope we all take the time to honor our bodies and minds and comforts and needs and time and learn to want that for each other. At any age, any social status, any gender….. it is so nice to be loved for what you are.  I challenge all of us to love ourselves right exactly where we are   and then give that to others who should also know the completeness of full self acceptance.  I’m thankful my life has produced people who can do this













I have been madly, ferociously in love with my children since the moment I held their soft sweet bodies against mine. Their powdery smell and clingy limbs filled my every organic need for a very long time.

Fast forward and they are beautiful adults. I still long for their embrace and miss their smells. I know I could go blind and know them immediately by scent alone. Or by the sound of them moving through a space. One is so quiet and the other is quite the opposite.

For many years, my favorite humans felt excitement at creating a special Mother’s Day gift for me. These are the one’s I long for. They told me that I was their favorite person on the planet and that they spent so much precious time working out the best gift they could co-create. Whether it was an inedible breakfast or a hike I would rather have napped through, each gift made me so happy and I knew I was blessed beyond what I deserved to have these precious, perfect humans create in their imaginations what would make me happiest; from snuggle time, age appropriately once and forever more called nuggle time, to culinary delights made by their sweet and probably dirty hands. I ate them all up, every meal, hike, and nuggle. I am sure I let them know that each gift they presented was a treasure to me, because it was.

As they’ve grown and found their own lives that no longer revolve around their Mommy, I can’t help but feel some sadness and loss. I miss those Mother’s Days so much. Even the ones when their dad gave me an hanging fuchsia basket because that was what my mom always wanted when I grew up. The girls always presented them like they were baskets of gold, and that’s all I wanted, was to make them feel good about giving a gift of such value to someone they loved. That was the gift I wanted to give them. To give them confidence and unconditional love. They could have brought me a mop and I would have been as happy with them..maybe not with their dad!

I have been a little sad this Mother’s Day because I felt forgotten, but as I recall the past holidays, I know how blessed I really am. I have known the love of having my children give me rocks that might has well have been diamonds, and what more could I ever want?

It’s taken me a long time to find the comfort and grace to be at ease in my own company, to sit with no one but myself and my own thoughts. I’m not talking about just a few minutes before having to placate my mind with some distraction. I am talking about hours on end. The long drives to dad’s beach, nights spent after the divorce laying in the dark alone for the first time and after each breakup.

This has been one of my biggest lessons in that last few years, it’s not an easy one to digest because it means I have had to learn to be absolutely comfortable with myself. Which is fucking difficult. You have to be ready to face the nitty gritty parts of your mind, the dark places of your heart that are broken and bruised, you have to be ready to face your pain and work through it. It’s a messy process and hard, and leaves you feeling raw and at times empty.

But I am starting to savor it as its becoming my independence and my way of clearing the negative out of my life. I value and love my independence and ability to do what I want when I want, I am so tired of holding myself back for others, like little bits of me are not fully able to show. I came close this last time to being fully me, I only had a few guards up. Yet I am less broken and hurt than I have ever been. I feel happier and more free than ever before.

I see this time as a chance to push myself to grow, to show myself more love and kindness. To show more forgiveness and kindness to those around me. To calm the ripple effect of the negative that seems to just grow. If I show love and send it out it will reflect back. I want to fully love this void and in-between. I have come to realize that for me when I hop from relationship to relationship whether it’ long term or just a few months of dating I leave an open wound that is never fully healed and that leaching effect just keeps going and it drains me of my essence and makes it hard for me to fully give to my lover’s which is unfair to both parties.

This last time I waited till I felt ready to step into the vast expanse of dating again, when I did I did it with pure intentions and made sure that my wounds from the past were not bleeding into my unknown future. It was an incredible experience and fuck I am so thankful for it, it was a lesson that I needed to learn and feel.

Now as I take this time again to heal it’s not a massive damage in anyway, while still a heartache of a different kind it’s one that I can give utter thanks to. It’s one that leaves a bitter sweet smile on my face. For its left my heart open to whatever may come with a light that I can’t explain. Yes the void and the dark nights are still very much around and I feel them but I am able to embrace them like an old lover and take solace in it.

This void is my growth, its my murky waters where I filter out the bullshit and crap, its where I continue to push the negative out of my head and show myself more love, it’s where I show the people in and around my life more compassion and grace. Its reconnecting with me and letting it all flow. It’s a lesson in closing old wounds and true healing. It’s making sure that I don’t continue the ripple effect of negativity and making sure that not only am I really ready and wanting someone in my life but having a healed and whole heart and soul to give them.

I think as humans sometimes we are so afraid of being alone that we never fully understand the peace and healing that comes from that alone time. That void and loneliness is a hard place to be and to digest but think of the possibilities that could happen if we as humans take those moments and heal to stop the ripple effect. How many extra wounded hearts and people would we avoid hurting by doing that.

Maybe that is the lesson here, I know it has been mine so far. I’m stopping the ripple from my wounded heart. I want to pass on kindness and gratitude, my past has taught me so very much even from the ones who taught me the deepest pain to the one that showed me the brightest light. There is always room for gratitude and kindness.

Acceptance of the void and loneliness, the loving of one’s true and authentic self. Be brave enough to show your bright light to the world and don’t ever hold yourself back for fear of rejection. You as a beautiful human and soul are enough and are loved. Don’t fear the void and the loneliness for its temporary and merely a state of mind.

Let that murky muddy water filter the bullshit out of your head, be like the Lotus and bloom in the middle of the dirty water.

Blessed Be.


I’m going to dance naked in the full moonlight next to the ocean worshiping all that is me and the beauty that I have blossomed into. I will wear my battle worn heart out in the open for my lovers to see.I will have no shame in the scars of my past for they have shaped me into the graceful lover that I am today. I will love,I will forgive easy. I will be authentically me.

The last ten years have taught me so much growth, and the best has been in the last year for me. I am finally learning to live as my authentic self, no apologies, no holding back, to speak my mind freely and not filter my feeling and emotions for fear of how the other person might react. I am stepping into my full worth and potential as a woman the one that I have always known was deep inside and has been climbing her way out of the smolder fire for so very long.

It is an amazing feeling to finally be at peace with being on my own, knowing that I am amazing and at ease walking this planet with just me and my friends and family. I don’t require or need a partner to complete my being, I know that I already accomplish whatever I want in my life quite well by myself and will continue to do so, it’s realizing that if I choose to have a partner in my life it’s not because I need them, it’s because I actually finally want someone in my life to include them and be apart of their lives but not be consumed by them..

I have become consumed by my past partners, abusive relationships have a tendency to do that to people, until the one they are abusing wakes up and starts making some changes. It took me a long time to finally make the changes but I did, Once I did and started to change my own inner story and loving myself and knowing my worth this funny and fucking incredible thing happened to me.

I finally got a taste of how I have always wanted a relationship to form and feel like, every bit of it including whom I was with was a massive breathe of fresh air for me, it wasn’t perfect but it was so damn in close for me that even though it ended to soon ( my opinion) I am walking away from it with so much hope for whatever is yet to come. The simple ease of slowly getting to know someone. To that random moment you look over at the way they are talking to their kid and you realize how much you care about them.

There is no way to express how grateful I am for this last relationship it has left such a positive mark on my heart and in my life, after so many years of hurt and heartache to have even just a few short months of just the ability to freely express myself, to be authentically myself with someone, to be comfortable enough to let down my walls, with someone and have it leave me feeling so full of happiness. I loved being able to be freely me and to be able to express my feelings so freely no matter if they were returned or not was freeing

I know now that I will never settle for anything less than something like that ever again, that small taste gives me so much hope of whatever is yet to come in my life, whenever that may be. For now I am going to settle into just being me. Being free to be and to dance naked in the full moonlight if I choose, to play in mud and crawl under barbed wire, have wild times with my girlfriends, teach my daughter to be brave and free and let what will be will be in the matters of the heart, as mine is in a good place right now.

See that is how I know I don’t need partner in my life, I am back on my own and while it hurts and yes I definitely wanted to see that last relationship go entirely a different way as it was ( again my opinion) pretty fucking amazing, chill and dam that man made me happy and and knew how to make me smile in way I can’t explain. I am just fine and life is still absolutely amazing. That is the beauty of year’s growth, wisdom, change and maybe just maybe that’s what they truly mean when the say if you love someone set them free, including yourself set yourself free to love.

*Editors Note- Lisa-Anne is an incredible inspiration to us all. Her personal journey to be who she wants to become has enlightened us all with the struggle and success. This woman is a warrior. I included these photos as a small visual to the work she has put into her life, and the continuing rewards she shares with us all.



Life has a way of turning you upside down in an instant. Your happiness, or what seems like your truth of momentary happiness, gets pulled out from under you like a rug by the universe in a way that shakes you to your core and forces you to continue to peel back your layers of bullshit and clear your path so that you can move forward.

It can be a simple doctors appointment that turns your week on its heels, when you ignore your body for months because you think it’s just a side effect of your birth control and deal with it until it becomes utterly annoying and you find out that it’s actually something that requires a referral and surgery… yeah okay thank you universe round one goes to you. Lesson learned listen to your body. The constant fatigue was not just from being super busy, constant periods are not normal side effects… ect. Gotcha!

Then there’s the endings of relationships whether mutual, or not. In friendship or romance there comes a time where you have to make a decision on how you handle it. You demand respect face to face, you don’t hide behind the keys of a device. Be kind and gentle with your words, you’re dealing with a human heart and there is no need to ever be cruel no matter your reason. Speak your unapologetic truth, own your feelings, be honest, be real but always, always be kind. Walk away leaving that other human with your final words being ones of kindness, there’s enough bitterness and hate in this world.

I read some words today in an article about the upcoming Full Moon this month and in it is spoke of love and it’s power that it has. I believe with all my heart that showing someone that you care is the most powerful gift you can give them. Being capable to love after you have been broken and hurt is one of the most difficult things to do, so when you can get through someone’s walls and guards and they show you their soft side, even for a moment, cherish it, for they are giving you so much. I am so thankful to the ones who have given me these moments, and I am blessed to have had moments like that with someone.

Loving even though you have been hurt.
Loving even though you have lost.
Loving even though you have witnessed and seen terrible heartache
And destruction is the most powerful thing a human can do
And is the deepest purpose of all of us.
Despite being hurt, or abused, or torn,
We can still love, and this is where we
Find our true power.
This is where we find our true enlightenment.

Ahhhhh Universe I see you are at it again well played. I bow my head in humble grace to you now, you have yet again humbled and surprised me. Unapologetic yet kind and gracious heart lesson, does this mean I am getting somewhere?

Wait you had one more for me universe I forgot… it’s the working so much that you push your body too far and ignore it ( i.e lesson one),to exhaustion and your family thinks that you live for your jobs so on the eve of you leaving your second job the first two lessons slap you so hard in the gut and soul that you are not sure if you need to call a timeout from the universe or ask for a rewind on the last two and a half weeks just so you can figure out where in the fuck it all went sideways. Golf clapping for you now universe, I am humble at your feet now.

So as I sit here writing this pondering my next step as my physical health has me putting training and a few races on hold and honestly has me a bit scared and nervous and my heart is shaken from an unexpected twist that has hurt it in a way that I never in a million years expected, I am able to smile because I know I spoke my honest truth and was pure in my intentions. I think that I am going to remind myself to remember to always choose Love. Love myself and the unapologetic authentic woman I am becoming, to honor the love that I have so freely given as its true and mine to freely give. No matter how it’s taken, to love my body better for I have an incredible one that is not only physically strong but it is beautifully sexy inside and out.

Oh You’re really funny Universe….lesson number four Self Love, that all important lesson. Check Mate.

By Kristina Rasmussen

The girl is only 18. She wears a borrowed pink sweater that’s too tight across the chest. Poverty, humiliation, acne, peroxide, abandonment, and abuse have damaged her. Still, she is young enough to feel hopeful that this will be her last first date with a sailor on leave. The young men who serve at the naval base like to visit this port town before going overseas, and the girl and her only friend dress up tirelessly for the dance, waiting for their own ship to come in. She has faced humiliation at school for wearing hand me down rags, and believes no local boy would want her. She can be whoever she wants on these nights, but self doubt keeps her quiet. While the girl and her friend apply shared pasty-pink lipstick and powder in the backseat of the ‘67 Nova, the boy in front watches in the rearview mirror. She catches him spying and wonders if he is the one, but doesn’t realize how plainly the question shows in her eyes. She’s surprised when he doesn’t look away first. She thinks she’s found her answer.


The boy believes this girl has the prettiest eyes he’s ever seen. They’re almost black, like his mother’s. Her teeth are crooked, but whiter than the snow back home, and if she covers them again with her gloved hand when he smiles at her, he’s afraid he might turn around and pull her hand off her face. They’ve only met this afternoon, but he’s learned enough about her to know that in a few hours, she’ll pack her few belongings and quietly leave her foster home where her time is up, anyway. He sees her eyes searching his when she catches him staring. In this game of chicken, he doesn’t look away first. He intends to answer every question in her innocent eyes because he knows he has finally found the reason he survived two tours of duty on a riverboat in Vietnam. If there is ever going to be redemption for him, it is through this girl.


Later, after dropping off the girl’s loud, horse-toothed friend, the sailor and the girl walk on the beach and sip whiskey from his flask. Not used to drinking alcohol, the girl throws up. The boy kneels beside her and gently holds her hair out of her face. He doesn’t mind. The boy has futilely held his best friend’s guts in place while waiting for the medics. He’s not squeamish. He gently rubs small circles on her lower back and tells her he’d like to take care of her.


As he drives to the motel that will be their first home together, the girl slumps, exhausted, against his shoulder. They check into a room under a married alias. He sees the makeup wash away, leaving a clean, bright faced girl in a soft, worn ivory flannel nightgown. In the blackest night, she holds the sobbing boy with phantom wounds, huddled on the floor in the corner. For two days they whisper, dream, and cry in room six, leaving occasionally for long meals at the café, until the courthouse doors open Monday morning at nine o’clock. Then, purged of their pasts, they move to the honeymoon suite for one night, where their futures begin.

Loved… AHHHHH. Carmen and Peggy, I am most certain that you both are loved and capable of giving love, but allowing it to happen? Being vulnerable and accepting it? Giving it freely without expectation? Yes these are challenges we must face! How do you define it? When you think of love, is it something that you feel? Do? Think? Want? Need? Does it cause you stress just to think about it? What is it that makes it so powerful? So scary? How high are your walls and why? These are all questions I have posed to myself at times.
 I’m going to start by attempting to define LOVE, or my interpretation of it. Funny that the definition of Love lists it both as a noun and a verb. Ok, maybe its not that funny  outside my mind.
verb: love; 3rd person present: loves; past tense: loved; past participle: loved; gerund or present participle: loving
  1. 1.
    feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). “do you love me?”
noun: love; plural noun: loves
  1. 1.
    an intense feeling of deep affection for example: babies fill parents with intense feelings of love OR she was the love of his life
I guess if you ponder it long enough, you could see how it could be both. I have never really set out to define it, but before I started looking around, I guess I generally classified it as an emotion. But does it really fit in the same category as Happy, Sad, Angry, etc.? So I continued on with my internet searching… that’s where we find all the best information, right? I found one reading with an interesting viewpoint about emotions and feelings and if they are the same or different?
Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” to mean the same thing.   However,  I suggest that you think of emotions and feelings as distinct, but highly related things —  two sides of the same coin.  One side of the coin is an emotion:  a physical response to change that is hard-wired and universal.  The other side of the coin is your feeling: mental associations and reactions to an emotion that are personal, acquired through experience.   Despite seeming interchangeable, emotions actually proceed feelings.   Like with coins, what you notice will depend upon where you are looking
Because emotions are physical, they can be measured objectively by blood flow, brain activity, facial expressions and body stance.   Because feelings are mental, they cannot be measured precisely.  Emotions are generally predictable and easily understood, while feelings are often idiosyncratic and confusing.   Feelings reflect your personal associations to emotions – the other side of the coin.”
But where does love really fit in? I believe that it could potentially be measured objectively through blood flow, brain activity, and so on, but could definitely also be idiosyncratic and confusing. FOR sure confusing, lol.
LOVE! One word….. 4 little letters that can mean so many different things, for me anyways, and it only seems to get more complicated the more I think about it. Regardless of the depth of my current level of cognitive energy spent trying to define it, I know that definitely…… I love love, in every form. Does it come with risks, most certainly. Did I have to learn to love it? Most certainly! However, when you feel it, and it overwhelms you and you are completely absorbed by love, I would say it outweighs most heartbreak. Maybe I’m just getting old…. getting soft.. but I feel love more than any other feeling. Maybe it started with the challenge of truly learning to love myself? How many times can I use the word love in this blog and still have it seem relevant and purposeful in each placement? *Devilish Grin*
I haven’t always loved love. It has taken a long time and a lot of work. Forgiveness has been monumental in my ability to love, whether its myself, my mother, kids, friends, family, or my lover. I think the hardest love for me to accept is that from a man/lover/partner. Loving my kids was easy, especially after I learned forgiveness. Mostly I needed to forgive myself for the shitty choices I made throughout their childhood. Like being 17 and taking a bong hit while I breast fed my infant. FUCKING BRILLIANT (dumbass) or the time I got wasted drunk while we were on a mini-vacation in Seattle with the in-laws and I locked myself in the bathroom all night. The kids pissed out the window of the hotel. Not that I think they minded, but looking back I think WTF? They turned out alright.  Ever since I first laid eyes on their squished little heads. I can recall the feelings of love pouring out of me when they were little, it still does.
Then there’s my momma, I can’t even begin to measure how much love I have for her. It took me a few years of being a mother myself to see her for her. I often told her I wish she could see herself through my eyes. Being “grown” and seeing things from a different side, I was able to turn the focus of my upbringing to highlight the positive awesome things we did. There was likely an equal share of terrible things that happened, but overall, my mom did the best she could with the tools she had. At one point, she was a single mom working 3 jobs and trying to take college classes. At another point, she was leaving her kids at the babysitter til 1 or 2 in the morning while she was out at the bar. These were her struggles. First, I forgave her without telling her. Then seeing that she was still struggling I forgave her out loud, to her. With further conversation over the years, it was like a big load lifted off her. She’s been gone two and a half years now, but I still am learning important life lessons from her influences. I treasure them. Love and acceptance are 2 of the biggest that are ongoing.   I believe that other than my momma, probably my children are the only people in my life that I was able to love when I couldn’t manage to even feel anything else, like when your whole world crashes, numbness sets in, nothing matters, fuck life, can I disappear now, kind of not feeling anything else. The attachment to my mother and kids keep me going. Its unconditional, its free, and even if they hated me and walked away to never see me again, I would still love them. How could I not? They were born from my womb and I from hers.
Can I love inanimate things, like the ocean – cuz I do. Watching the power of the waves and all the things associated brings the familiar sensation to the center of my chest. It’s an energy that is not easily described, only that for me, that’s how I know its love. I love my pets, does that count?
Ok, ok, I have been avoiding this long enough. The scariest form of love. Relationships. UGH!! (Insert walls here, like tall ones, made of the strongest stone, and a moat. Yes, a moat filled with the most vile creatures) My ex-husband taught me how to build walls. We were together from the time I was 16 til just before my 30th birthday. There were lots of fun times in our marriage, and for most of it I was head over heels in love. The butterflies stayed far longer than anyone ever mentioned they would, but were they actually butterflies or were they some nasty moth eating me from the inside out? BUT after the divorce and the next few years of hard work and struggles, its apparent to me that although we gave it a good try, that was not the kind of love I wanted. When we separated, I was beat down. I didn’t dare look at my face in the mirror, I didn’t know the power of looking myself in the eyes. I nearly turned into that Whore he always said I was through reckless sexual behavior. It was tough, I was a faithful wife, prided myself in this, never even kissed another man for the 13 years we were together, but I paid emotionally for being a girl with a vagina. I got fat while we were together because I felt it kept other men from wanting me and maybe he would see it as an act of my devotion to him. (I’m still fat haha) I have put in tremendous work, into me to get past this. I can look in the mirror. I do love myself, and when I forget to, I find a mirror and stare myself down. I look into my own soul and remind myself of who I am.
My current relationship is a new experience. I could tell from the start that it has the potential to be something awesome, but there will be a lot of work along the way. I have walls and I have let them down a few times, only to feel the heartbreak that can come along with that. But we are both learning. He has had some terrible relationships as well and has an equally hard time being vulnerable and letting people in. He has high walls. Having walls is necessary to protect ourselves, but I do not want to live forever inside mine. There’s something there though, a kinship I have never experienced. I am learning how not to push. I love him. We have come to a point where it gets mentioned once in a while, but its not something I say every day, I show it everyday, he shows it every day. Through all the little things. I think the biggest difference for me with this relationship is I keep a lot of it to myself. I keep the intimate things private for the most part. Every little detail, or fight, or awesome display of love that we share is not announced to the world, I don’t brag or bitch to my friends on the regular. Its between me and him, but every girl needs at least one closest confidant that she can be completely transparent with. Can fess up to her own bullshit and not just twist it to see his. I have this, its a good balance and keeps me centered. I feel myself growing more.
Hearing the call of the CROWS has allowed for a colossal shift in my thinking. I welcome it freely and look forward to the things to come. Who’d have known that a group of small town girls could turn into such influential women. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of this movement and hope to continue to feel the strength of CROWING LOVE.

Me, a type 8? Are you serious? That was my reaction when I attempted some enneagram testing the first time. I was convinced it was wrong, surely I had to be a 2. The Helper. That was me, all nurturing and stuff. The woman who presented this to the office, a woman with whom I had also been doing some spiritual work with, laughed at me. Well, she told me, I was most certainly an 8. I groaned. Read the description, it doesn’t look nice at all. POWERFUL and DOMINATING… I was a nice girl, at least that’s what I always told myself. Now this woman who did the presentation, let’s call her Bertie, she knew me pretty well. I was able to share things with her that I didn’t even care to say out loud. I had hit a place in my life where I could feel the potential for some serious personal growth, which naturally turned into a path of professional growth as well.  The enneagram was the gate to a whole new world of self-awareness.
I started to listen and question myself, constantly gauging my reactions to everyday things in life. Through the next couple years I worked hard to pause myself and let people exist around me without telling them  when, why, and how to do it, etc., it was tough at times. I learned how to empower people by giving them knowledge and decisions, instead of telling them how they should do “life”. I basically put my opinions in the back seat where I could keep an eye on them, but keep them in check while I worked on figuring out the big question “who I am”
My work changed from the focus of just my personality, to being more aware of all of myself.  I noticed the more work I did, the more I was letting my walls down. Allowing myself to be vulnerable. It was weird and foreign, but I knew good things would come of it.
“Bertie” invited me to walk a labyrinth.  Have you walked a labyrinth? Its a pattern in the ground, a path that looks like a maze, but there is only one way in and one way out, no wrong turns or tricks. There’s multitudes of religious and spiritual meanings that are attributed to this path, but here was my instructions. We were both going to walk it. She would start and I needed to wait a certain amount of time to give her space to be far enough ahead of me that I would not catch up. There was no talking, no interrupting. Once you cross the threshold, your mind and heart are open, you are to receive whatever is brought to you and spend time in reflection for things that come to mind. There was a small task of working on something that was causing an issue in your life, but not allowing it to take over. This was my first real exercise in Mindfulness.
I don’t remember every little detail of my walking experience, but I came away with some very profound insights. The task that was my issue to think about involved relationships with men and how they all seemed to turn to shit at some point and I was tired of the drag it was putting on my life and most of all my kids. I spent a couple years in a relationship that took my attention from my kids more than I would have liked, but I didn’t see it until it was over and I was reflecting back during this walk. I could have delved deeper and deeper, but decided that this particular situation had taken enough of my time. I wanted to receive the energy of the earth around me. It was mid-april so there were birds and sunshine and beautiful greenery. The labyrinth was set on Bertie’s friends property so it was private, it was just her and I. Once the conversation had stopped and the walking had began, the birds came back to what they were doing before we arrived. Before stepping over the line into the pathway, I allowed for my instructed time to let Bertie get started before my journey commenced. I took time to notice every little thing, the sounds, sights, smells, everything. Then as I was in the depth of my mind, my soul, walking the pathway, something weird happened that stopped me in my tracks. I noticed an alligator in the grass, it was just there out of nowhere, but had really been there the whole time. It was part of the decoration, I had walked by it at least a half dozen times, looking in its same direction at the birds around it and the trees that were behind it, but never, NEVER seeing it. It scared me. I stopped. I think back to the physical reaction, (heart rate through the roof, short scattered breaths) and then the realization that as I thought I was so aware and perceptive of my surroundings, there was an alligator that I didn’t even notice, what else in life do I not notice? After a minute or so, I decided I needed to get walking and could further contemplate the relativity of the alligator to my life as I wandered the path. There was just one problem. I had no idea which way was forward or which way I had come from. I was standing in the corner of the path in which I had been walking when I got distracted and I was LOST! The effects were crazy. The world silenced as my mind raced.The physical feelings of being lost rose in the back of my throat. I wanted to cry and puke at the same time. Now I wasn’t really lost, I could look and see Bertie as she gracefully maneuvered the path, still going towards the center, but there was no way even assessing her journey that I could figure out which way I was supposed to go. I couldn’t just stand there forever, I had to move my feet. So I walked the path, not knowing if the direction I was going was right or not. The physical manifestations of panic and fear and insecurity were so intense I could barely get a full breath in. Not wanting to be a distraction, I forced myself to hold all this in, abiding by no talking no interrupting the journey. It the first time in my life that I stood, feeling completely defenseless to the world and SO completely lost, not knowing where I was going. I had been scared before, beat down emotionally,  left with nothing, questioned my direction, and had never felt anything even mildly close to this. Maybe because I never allowed myself to reach this level of vulnerability? I don’t know, so I walked. slowly. This time it wasn’t because I was absorbing the world around me, I was in a stupor for the first few sections of the path. Still frantically trying to figure out if I was going towards the center or back to the start. Well, as it turns out, I ended up back at the start. By the time I got there, my breathing and heart rate had returned to normal. The frantic, panicked thoughts subsided as I reflected on how great the impact of this lesson was. When I reached the starting line, I did not step outside the path. I stayed. Inside the labyrinth. My journey was not over. I turned around and completed what I had set out to do, still taking my time, still abiding by the rules, but with a new and raw sense of awareness.
I could probably write another 2 or 3 pages on the rest of my walk towards the center and what I found there and my journey back out, but I’ll savor some of that as my own and save you the extra long read. Bertie sensed my strange energy, she knew I had started over and we discussed it in depth after we both had stepped outside the path. Describing what I felt and how my body reacted brought involuntary tears to my eyes. She could relate. We finished conversation and left. I was high. On spirituality. This was new for me and I craved more.
 I should set the picture of the setting maybe a little more. During this walk, I was never out of sight of my vehicle, my Bertie, or the birds and bugs that were bouncing around. The labyrinth is set in a small yard that is secluded from onlookers, nestled up on the hillside with trees and fields on every side. The path laid out in the grass, identified by stones that line the grassy walkway, with a pile of stones and tokens brought there by the journeys​ of others marks the center. You can feel the energy of the land the minute your foot makes contact. I wish I would have walked it barefoot. Maybe its due time to walk it again….
labyrinth 1This is not the actual labyrinth that I walked, but the depicts the correct pattern and feeling of quiet and natural space.