spiritual

Frosty Windows

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Though it seems Autumn may signify the death of nature,

it does not.

It preserves – it protects – it strengthens.

The trees still stand tall,

and below the Earth’s surface lies the warmth that we all hold dear to our memories.

Do not fear or dread the winter chill or the long haul of darkness.

Preserve – protect – and strengthen yourself

so when the trees bud and the flowers grow again,

you may grow taller and stronger than the year before.

Embrace the frost.

Embrace yourself.

And though your skin may be cold, keep your heart warm.

Life your life with peace,

and with the certainty that much is uncertain.

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#100HappyDays 7: Gotta Have Faith

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith.

What a word. What an idea. 10 years ago, I would have told you I had none. I’d ask my mother, “How can someone have faith in something that you can’t see?”

My mother would just look at me with such certainty and reply, “That’s what having faith is, Lara.”

I never really identified with a specific religion. I grew up Catholic, forced to go to church and Sunday School. My parents would drag me there and I would spend a few hours playing Jenga, only moving pieces when I’d recite a prayer with no mistakes.

It felt forced. Unbelievable. Tiring. It felt like I was being punished.

Though I’m glad I was pushed into the realm of believing things that aren’t staring us back in the eyes, I wish it had been gone about differently. Even today, I don’t resonate with my family’s religion. I am spiritual, not religious and it sometimes breaks my father’s heart. I wish he would realize that to believe in something greater than myself is better than not believing in anything at all.

The only thing that kept the idea of faith in the back of my mind was a reoccurring dream I had as a child. I would be in my bedroom with a chest at the foot of my bed. Jesus would wake me up and point to the chest. Inside, I would find a box with light breaking through the cracks. I would open it, light would come out and brighten the entire room, and then I would wake up.

Freaky, right?

Even then, I had little faith.

When adolescence hit, it was like a ton of bricks. In the body. In the brain. It just came crashing down and broke me into a million little pieces. I still sometimes wonder if what I went through was just puberty, or if it was truly depression.

I’ve touched on a bit on my teenage experience and how awful it was.

Fueled with bad decisions, drugs, and alcohol, my developing brain couldn’t handle the psychological overload and put me in a very dark place. Self mutilation, mentally and physically plagued my psyche and well being. I had this addiction to physical pain because it felt so real. It reminded me that this life wasn’t a dream and that I was actually a human being, playing a part within this filth I called a human body.

Not only was I high on pretty much everything, I heavily lacked individuality. Those years were honestly the hardest times of my life.

I kept this entire situation a secret. From everyone, including my best friends. My family was involved in serious turmoil at the time, and I didn’t want to burden my poor parents any more than they were already being subjected to.

The only place I could get all of my feelings out was in a miniature journal I kept in my bedroom. I still cry when I read it today. I filled it with all of the darkness that I had kept inside. Poetry. Prose. Pictures. I filled the pages with everything that I was.

Looking back on it, I’m honestly surprised I didn’t end up dead, in jail, or in an institution.

How did I become this Lara that screams positivity and “it’ll be okays?”

Faith.

Even through the most trivial times in my life, I had this little glimmer of hope that something better was out there. Even when I felt like I had nobody, it always felt like someone was watching over me.

I knew I was meant to be happy. It was just buried so deep inside of my darkness that it was blanketed.

But just like trying to find your remote in a bed full of tangled sheets at 2 in the morning, it was possible. Difficult yes. But I was fully able.

As I got older, the sadness slowly washed away. I began to see the world in a new light and with the idea that I was destined for spiritual greatness. As I finally grew into my own skin, I realized the potential I had.

I crawled out of the dark. Slowly, but I made it.

And the further away from the darkness that I traveled, the closer to the light I had come.

Today, I am happy for my faith. My faith in something bigger than me. My faith that this physical life is only secondary to what will come. My faith in positive thinking, holistic healing, daily prayer, and endless possibilities.

And my contentment with my beliefs.

Just because I don’t put a stamp on myself declaring which religion I am, doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in such things. I just choose not to put a label on it. And I also choose to accept everyone for their beliefs, or lack thereof. Many religious people don’t understand that kind of acceptance.

And now that I have hindsight on my side, I see that the light bursting from my dream-like box is a wake up call, all around me…

It’s called life.

When I Grow Up

I’ve found as of lately that there just aren’t enough hours in the day or even week. It’s definitely not a bad thing. I love being busy-that’s one thing I’ve always been. But with work picking up due to this POLAR VORTEX (I’m sorry, but I love saying that because they make this situation out to be sci-fi-ish), I’ve barely had time to catch a breath. Things at work are finally starting to die down since the freezing/thawing temperatures aren’t as intense, so I finally have a little time today to get my WordPress on.

When the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve, I felt a shift within myself. I know it’s cliché, but I feel like I will awaken more than I already have this year. I certainly feel happier and most importantly, more motivated. But motivated for different reasons.

I am my niece’s Godmother, so on holidays (though I don’t resonate with Christianity too, too much) I feel compelled to bring her to church with me. I don’t want to force a religion on her, but I do want to give her a loving platform to practice some sort of faith-since that’s so important to me. I don’t judge anyone on what religion they are as long as it’s a peaceful and harmonious one, and I want my Goddaughter to be able to choose what she feels the closest to.

I only attend on certain holidays and I spend the entire hour and a half deep within my own mind trying to put the pieces together. I attended mass on Christmas morning with the little nugget, as usual, but this Christmas I had an epiphany that lifted much of the world off my shoulders.

I’ve always wondered why a career wasn’t THAT important to me. Mostly everyone I know has either gone to college and made it big or they at least have some sort of career path lined up that they are ‘destined” to accomplish.

I never really stressed out in college. Even now, going to school for HR, I’m sort of just doing it for fun.

My problem doesn’t lie in my freaking out over what I’m going to do with my future.

My problem is that I’m NOT freaking out over my future.

Why don’t I have a professional passion?

Why don’t I have a plan?

So on Christmas day, these were all the things I thought about while I stood and sat. Stood and sat.

Then finally, it dawned on me.

I don’t have to be passionate about something professionally. I don’t have to want to be a huge HR manager or some big wig anything.

My passion is living. It’s life. It’s giving love to all of the people around me. THAT is my true passion. It’s not pushing paperwork or making phone calls or trying to impress my boss for a promotion. And even though that might not sound revealing to all of you, to ME, it meant the world that day.

Sure, I need money to live. That’s what a good job is for. I’m in school right now so I can get a better paying job. But other than that, a job is nothing more than another task to accomplish in a day. As long as I enjoy being there, I don’t really care what I do or where I work. When I finish school, I am going to find something that I love to do and that will pay me enough to live well, but I refuse to let it define who I am.

I don’t want to live for work. I just want to work to live.

My passion lies in seeing the world. Spending my life with someone I love. Volunteering. Helping others. Learning to cook the most amazing foods. Making sure I tell everyone close to me that I love them. And, maybe, a 9-5 with a good vacation policy thrown in the midst of all that living. I mean, children scare the hell out of me right now but who the hell knows?! Maybe I’ll pop out a kid or two or adopt one with no home.

This realization made my future finally at peace. When we were young, everyone in our lives wanted to know what we wanted to be when we grew up. Careers are for some people. Living is for others.

I don’t judge anyone else’s dreams. Some peoples’ definition of happiness lies in what they do with their careers. That’s completely fine. I just realized that isn’t my definition and I need to stop worrying that I don’t care as much about my career as other people.

I know now that my dream, my vision, and the answer to that question from childhood is just to be happy.

That’s all. Simple to some. To me, it’s my entire life.

xo

You Are The Answer

 

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
-Buddha

Throughout my life I’ve known many who were broken. They’ve felt helpless. Alone. Insecure. And distant to themselves and everyone around them. And they’ve continued to feel that way because they don’t want to admit that they need to look inside themselves for happiness. They spend their entire life waiting for someone to save them. Someone. Anyone. Even external forces. This is where they’ve become stuck in the mud.

Nobody can make you happy.

Sure, they can make you happier. But, true happiness and contentment comes from inside yourself. You have to put work into it. You need to feel, be present, reflect, and dig your heels so deep in the dirt that your ankles become sore and tired.

That’s true struggle.

Overcoming those obstacles and loosening yourself from the tight grip of sadness and destruction is where you can find your light at the end of the tunnel.

But to do all this, you need to stop looking for others to do it for you.

We all know that person. You may be that person. I used to be that person.

The one who will be in a relationship with anyone just to avoid loneliness.

The one who clings to their friends like a last lifeline.

The one who chases danger, but mistakes it for excitement.

All these people have one thing in common. They’re trying to fill a void and gain happiness through anything other than their inner self. Do you think they’re actually happy though? Probably not.

If only these people put as much effort into themselves

as they do clinging to other people and things, they would find what they are looking for.

Doesn’t that make sense?

This is a great year and time to get to know yourself better. If you haven’t already, start doing some soul searching. Even if you’re not broken or lonely. The more aware you are of yourself, the more prepared you will be when life gets twisted.

Love yourself. Truly love yourself.

Love those around you, but don’t use them as tools that control your emotions.

A friend is just that-a friend. They are hands to hold. Not crutches to walk with.

Time is always of the essence. Be sure to use it wisely.

xo.

C’est La Vie

 

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”

-C. JoyBell C.

This quote gave me the chills this morning and slightly moist eyes. This year has been filled with so many ups and downs, but love could always be found at the core. To the end of 2013. To the beginning of a new year.

 We’ve been given the ultimate gift- to live

We are all destined for greatness.

Do not fear the unknown, for as long as you have love in your heart and a positive mind,

your soul will take you to exactly where you need to be.

Happy New Year, WordPress.

The Inventive Blogger Award

The Inventive Blogger Award

AHHHH! Hi! Hi! Hi!

 

I’m totally back. Well, sort of. I had to do a post today regardless of my busy schedule because I miss you all and I came back to such a positive feeling on my little corner of the interwebz.

The lovely Christopher Malone sent me a note letting me know that he included me in his nomination for the Inventive Blogger Award.

God, can you guys get any more positive? I’m in love.

With any nomination, there’s a set of rules to follow and I will try my best to do so.

One of the requirements is my own personal nomination for blogs which I feel are deserving of this same award. Now, I honestly don’t follow too many blogs. I have this complex when I don’t get to read every post about your life(lives), so if I had too many people in my blog feed, my brain would explode If I missed more than a day.

 

However, the blogs I follow are all incredible. Every single one of you. I enjoy reading about your lives and luxuries, and even your downfalls. But due to a time constraint, I only have time to pick one that I can write a few blurbs about.

Aussa.

I’m sure many of you know her on WordPress. She blew up bigger than the Biebz and in a shorter amount of time than Kim and Chris Hump were married. I chose to speak about her because even through her witty stories, I see a life full of struggle. Full of pain. And full of courage. She doesn’t make it out to be a secret either- Her backpacking adventures were brought on by none other than a last attempt at changing her life, or at least changing her perspective on how she views life. Plus, I think the girl is an adventure-addict. Her life is more interesting than any fantasy novel I could pick up.

What I admire about her the most is her uncanny ability to take all of life’s lemons and turning them into humor. Many people cannot do that. As unorthodox as it sounds, sometimes laughter is the best medicine, even in the most dire cases.

I see a lot of similarities of Aussa in myself, which is another reason I can relate to her stories. I’ve been up to my hips in life’s dog shit and although it certainly wasn’t funny at the time, I HAVE to laugh about it now.

The universe doesn’t care how bad your day, week, or year has been. It has no regard for the black cloud following you everywhere you go. Things will happen to you where you want to revert back to childhood and scream how UNFAIR IT IS.

Why me?

Why now?

What did I do to deserve this?

I give up.

How many times have you caught yourself saying those words?

I’m guilty of doing this time and time again. But after I give myself my “mourning time” I stop using those phrases and asking those completely unanswerable questions.

Because there is no answer.

No. You didn’t deserve this.

Life did not pick you out of a worldly lineup and decide to seriously ruin your day and your day only.

Life also did not know that you had 10,000 other things on your plate to deal with.

Things don’t work that way.

You’ll never know why you get curveballs to the face. And you’ll never solve your problems by continually asking those questions. Like I always say, you cannot change what has happened to you. You can only react to it.

And I love Aussa because her reaction is to laugh about it.

Sure, there are things that we might not all be able to laugh about. And it might not seem like any positive thinking could come after such events. But if you don’t want to feel like the world is crashing down, you have to think that way.

It’s difficult.

Feels almost impossible.

Most of the time, it’s unbearable.

But that’s life.

[enter the appropriate Coldplay lyrics here]

 

Nobody said it was easy.

Triumph over life’s obstacles wouldn’t feel as good if you didn’t try so hard for it.

Laughing wouldn’t feel so amazing if difficult times didn’t feel so awful.

And happiness wouldn’t be so fulfilling if pain wasn’t so defeating.

Nobody can make you feel a certain way. Sure, they can provoke you. But at the end of the day, only you have power over your emotions. And if you don’t feel that way, then maybe your locust of control needs to be looked at and revamped.

Because you’ll never pull yourself out of sadness’s web with the thought that the world controls you.

So thank you, Aussa. For showing us how to laugh at our misfortunes and how to slap our negative selves in the face and smile through the pain. You rock.

***

And now, the 5 things I enjoy about blogging:

1. A Community of Strangers

After my break-up, my first step to recovery was deleting my social networks. Considering my ex and I had about 100 friends in common, I couldn’t bare to see what he and everyone else was doing. I soon realized that Facebook just wasn’t for me. I’m not saying that’s how everyone should feel, but I prefer the term “Livebook” where I actually live my life instead of updating everyone, their mother, and the kid I threw paint at in kindergarten about every aspect of my boring, uneventful life. I’d much rather write detailed posts about my thoughts to fellow bloggers-unbiased, colorful, and wonderfully different people who don’t know me from a hole in the wall, but yet can relate on such a magical level. Plus, does anyone really give a shit what my margarita looked like on Friday night? IT LOOKS THE SAME AS ALL THE OTHER MARGARITAS, YOU JUST ADDED A FILTER TO IT.

2. Hi, my name is Lara and I’m a life-aholic. “HI LARA!”

Blogging is straight up therapy for me. It’s the only place where I can be totally dramatic and won’t get judged for it. Much like real-life therapy, your therapist should be an unbiased individual who doesn’t know you past what you tell them. I’m lucky to have almost 200 therapists. Take that Obamacare! I got free therapy.

3. I’m a sucker for non-fiction

I’ve never really been into fantasy reading. I’ve always enjoyed real life stories and that’s one thing I love about blogging. I’m so enthralled with peoples’ lives because quite frankly, humans are extremely interesting. Who needs werewolves and vampires when you have online dating? For reals.

4. Dear, diary.

As you all know, I’ve never really been much of a journaling person, so I consider this platform my public diary. And I want to keep these entries for the rest of my life so that when I’m 70 and doing word searches in the nursing home, I’ll have a chance to reflect on my life-especially the best parts of it. I sincerely believe 20’s and 30’s are make-or-break years and I plan on keeping myself updated every step of the way. Plus, I have an awful memory so it would be nice to know the actual story rather than a false memory. (Big shout out to pot for ruining my short term memory during my teen years).

5. Inspiration-nation

I love blogging, and reading blogs to get inspired. Reading about others ripping themselves from the chains of negativity and actually doing something about their lives is so uplifting. I know for the most part I have a positive blog, but I’m not always so damn chipper. And I have a hard time pulling myself out of a situation and changing my actions. I’m a Taurus for god’s sake. A stubborn bull.

***

So there you have it. Another lovely nomination for another fabulous award. I wish I had time to write about each and every one of you because I love you all the same. You are all inspirational, uplifting, positive people who, even if you don’t think so, you light up my life. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. It wouldn’t be so great without every one of you.

2 days left of 2013.

 

Unlikely Gratitude.

I am thankful.

 For my troubled childhood;

it has made me a stronger adult.

 To know what death feels like,

because it taught me how to live.

For every cut, bruise, and scar,

there is a reminder of lessons learned.

For every tear drop on my pillow,

there came the victory of a smile.

For every negative person who has passed through my life,

you showed me how to walk away.

For even the most torturous heartbreak,

I was given a chance to exude unconditional love.

Every yell, scream, and shout I’ve heard,

has taught me how to practice patience.

***

To be thankful for unlikely experiences is a victory in itself.

Every ounce of pain has entered me into life’s game of challenges.

And I am grateful.

For every bit. Every crash. Every bang. Every shake up.

Because through the fog of negativity,

A strong woman breaks through.

Just because the journey can be blind to the eye

Doesn’t mean it cannot be seen with the soul.

I always know it will be okay,

and for that, I am thankful.