Power in the Shadows

Hey Marisa!!

I’d like to take time today to discuss something different than planned, which was to be a resource list I’d created of the best-of-the-best self-help/inspirational materials that’ve gotten me on my feet the past four years, but decided instead to table that until next week. Today I feel so moved to discuss my primary passion, beyond that of healing and making a positive difference in the world; that is the nature of cinema – this is a discussion of why I do what I do (as a filmmaker/visual-artist/film professor):

First of all, I’d like to address something about the medium of film: it’s the most powerful medium within the arts by virtue of combining ALL other media: sculpture (set design), theatre (the proscenium framing, the lighting, blocking, and acting), music, editing (unique to the form, but based on written grammatical concepts), dance, fictional archetypal storytelling, singing, drawing and animation, computer arts, et cetera.

Film is powerful enough to have both started and quelled riots, saving many lives through informing, teaching moral lessons, and inspiring masses onto greatness. It even helped spark World War II when Hitler (whose favourite films were Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) ) recognised that the medium was such a consequential tool that he, through Joseph Geobbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, established the film division in order to sell a brand of propaganda that would brainwash millions of the new Nazi Regime’s significance in the world.

If one studies the artistic triumph of the Nazi’s use of the art-form, young female filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935), you can see it’s a textbook case of how subliminal the medium is in effecting an emotional response from the viewer: camera angles, screen direction, the way sound and music is manipulated, the style and choice of edits, et cetera, all collaborate to have convinced so many that the next world villains had a legitimate, and worse, pressing cause, as a prime example of film’s ability to infiltrate our very core.

Brain science tells us that our subconscious mind, which is responsible for our dreaming, repressed memories, and unconscious motivations, cannot differentiate between reality and the dream state. In effect, to become absorbed in a film is to have lived it. Eastern Orthodox Christians, rather than believing in the Western Catholic concept of transubstantiation, wherein the bread and wine during communion actually transmutes into THE physical manifestation of Christ’s body once taken into our mouths, believe in something similar in that they pray to hand-crafted icon-paintings of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and/or the saints. They follow that during intercession to these images, it temporarily opens a direct portal to these individuals to hear and receive the prayer, much like an open frame to another dimensional reality.

What does all this have to do with inspiration, shining, and healing? I’ll hit upon that in a bit, but first a bit of clarification: I tend to follow the more spiritual concept of both creating and receiving in the filmmaking/viewing process. Some filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky specifically make movies to serve as a spiritual experience. Film for me is vitally-important as a communal experience; every time you watch the same film in a different setting, it takes on a different mood or sensibility, and how an audience’s collective energy builds around a film’s moments has much to do with our enjoyment of it.

There’ve been films I’ve hated upon release in the theatre, only to give them another chance at home on a small screen and instead loved them, and vice-versa. And like those within the Christian Orthodoxy, I believe that allowing our subconscious to interface with the projected archetypes on screen is a form of spiritual meditation. Some people meditate while sitting in a lotus position, eyes closed; some by running, some by driving; some by gardening or hard labour or exercise routines.

I do all these, but the most important to me is meditation via the experience of getting lost in the manufactured world of cinema, which unlike the harsh video-ness of television (running 30 frames per second), has traditionally been captured at 24 frames per second, which is most akin to replicating the way we “see” while dreaming. By watching waking dreams, we are able to consciously explore our reactions to events and archetypal themes and characters (those common to all people and cultures throughout history); the ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed there were only roughly seven stories in existence, replicated time and again in differing ways, and 20th Century psychiatrist Carl Jung identified 32 character types that appear time and again (the mentor, the hero, the wicked stepmother, et al).

How we react to these situations and characters gives us much to ponder, about our selves, our world, and those we interact with. Our relatively new medium of cinema is not unlike Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which described everyone’s uniquely-different reaction to the same ancient shadow play on cave walls since the dawn of civilisation.

So what does all this have to do with inspiration, shining, and healing? While wars, revolutions, and riots have been stirred up by this tool, think of all the good, and the potential for good that exists within its framework: inspirational films have set people onto new and higher paths; socially-conscious documentary films have changed the landscape of politics, repealed hurtful old regimes, and brought awareness to the masses of an injustice or unforeseen danger.

For me, the films of the aforementioned Jodorowsky changed my life in late Dec. 2007, and the film John Rambo (aka Rambo IV) (2008) was so inciting in its imagery about the horrors of present-day Burma that it brought me to such tearful emotion I began to volunteer my time, efforts, and money to assist the persecuted peoples there; who’d have expected that from a typical entertainment “blockbuster” film designed mainly for entertainment? Film can entertain surely, which is its primary-existence, but it also informs, serves as artistic expression for visual-artists, and lastly, and just as importantly, serves as a sort of spiritual intercession on our behalf whether we know it or not – use its power responsibly!

And be sure to check out Spiritual Cinema Circle for a Netflix-like rental service that specialises in uplifting, healing and inspiring films.

Hey Damon!

I learn more and more from you about media arts all the time!  You and I can watch the same movie and see totally different things!  Your trained eye notices everything in the background and the angle of the camera.  I watch movies to be entertained.  At the end of the day my brain is tired and I’m usually not in the mood for a documentary or some deep, soulful, foreign film where I actually have to read subtitles.  I just want to relax and not think!  Entertainment is my key goal in the movies.  I know that I’m not alone in this – make me laugh, crash-land on another planet, blow something up….whatever it is just make it interesting and take me out of my normal world.

There are so many great movie lines that span time.  I could quote a million of them from hundreds of my favorite, witty, movies.  When I watched The Notebook, I cried for two days. Two days!  Some movies just stick with us and change who we are.  I love how well you’ve outlined this fact.  I’m glad that you took the time to write about one of your greatest passions, for following our passions makes the world a better place.

So, next time we watch the same movie, please don’t think me ignorant for not noticing every little detail, such as the floral arrangement on the back wall in the middle of a fight scene!

I love how brilliant writers have given us so many lines that speak of how we are, how we feel, and how we want to become.  We are many times drawn into a film because we see ourselves in it. On that note, in the words of Jessica Rabbit: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”

Want to be stupid with me? (How good of a friend are you?)

Hey Damon!

When we are toddlers we play toys together; when we are tweens we have sleep-overs; when we are teens we go to the mall.  In college we study and party. In grad school we…what DO we do in grad school Damon?  You are the authority in that department.  When we are adults with families and jobs, things sometimes change, but good friends are always a welcome comfort.  I want to do a shout-out today to good friends!

Friends who know you and somehow love you in spite of it.  Friends who call when their life is in the toilet or when they know yours is. I have some really great friends.  We don’t live next door but when we see each other we pick up right where we left off.  We call, text, and send cards (some of us are addicted to the card sending). The amount of support a friend can lend is remarkable.  They are angels.  We have been through it all together.  Dating, marriage, kids, divorce, girls weekends, job changes, moves, bad hair days/weeks/months, aging parents, car and house buying, shopping, working out, and on and on. They know my struggles and they cheer me on, they make me want to be better.  I guess that’s how you can tell if a friend is a good one for you, they make you want to aspire higher, they cheer as you reach your goals.

I hope that everyone who reads this decides to do one nice thing for a friend today.  It can be a simple email or a call.  It can be a silly text or a kind word.  Just remember that friends make like worth living!

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”               -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hey Marisa!!

I’m here to vouch for lifelong friends! It’s good to recognise our friends for how we enrich each others’ lives. I need to mention that for me I have several close friends as you know who’ve been staples in my life for decades. Once you make the right decision to keep those best friends through thick-and-thin, through the things you mention such as job changes, moving, or divorce makes the relationships for you even stronger.

The friends that have fallen away during changes such as these despite  my efforts to stay in touch with them doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of my life, but maybe simply on a temporary hold for what could be a number of years. People often re-emerge in our life when the time is right; we both agree that the 17 years we were out of  touch were years we wouldn’t have been able to connect anywhere as well because we needed to mature. You and I respectively went through A LOT during that time, and when that connection came back around, it was perfect timing for us both.  The best relationships in life are like that – natural and not forced, almost as if divinely-inspired.

Friends certainly add dimension and colour in our lives, and I know that though it’s great to have a very strong network of acquaintances, it’s best to limit yourself to a very few close friends with whom you share, for rather than being spread too-thin (as I definitely was for a time in the past several years), it’s better to focus more of that attention and energy into the most  meaningful relations. The quote you included above is indicative of these friendships, for it’s the shared common energy that glues us together. When we finally find our “5 people” influencing us the most like this we can feel proud to have done so at last.

P.S. –  You want  me to talk about “Grad School” eh?  Only  in due time will I reveal those myriad sides of  me  from that period. You know about it already, but those “ish-ues” shall have to wait for another day’s post  🙂

But who’ll save the turtles?

Hey Marisa!!

It’s that time of year again, or has been the past month. That time in late spring when all the turtles begin their hard-shelled march to traverse across both highway and bi-way, city street and sidewalk; and I’m there to save their cuticle-hides as a superhero of saving grace. This time of year I meet at least one turtle per day trying to make a trek, either in early morning, or at dusk, and I always have to allow an extra five minutes’ travel time to my journeys to ensure that my mission doesn’t detract from my schedule.

If I spot them (which is impossible for me not to), I promptly pull-over or efface a U-turn onto the opposite shoulder, grab a salmonella-shield from the passenger-seat floorboards (usually just a tissue or piece of printer paper – whatever’s on-hand), and then make a made dash to the little reptile, scooping them up and running them across the road and some-odd feet beyond, to where I then plant them towards a particular direction as in a spin-the-bottle game, and then run back to my car, assured they’ve been given a second chance.

What gets me in doing all this, rescuing an estimated 80 turtles per spring, are two things: firstly are the many dead ones I encounter; how do you hit a turtle on the road, if not purposely? They’re SLOW; it’s not like they’re squirrels who change their mind about running direction with split-second timing. Even for someone like me who often multi-tasks while driving (I’m getting better about not doing this, I swear!), I never fail to spot things in the road and avoid them.

Secondly (and even more alarming!), is the fact that half the time I’m running across the road towards the turtle in question, oncoming drivers often don’t bother to observe my intent, and will often plow straight-ahead, often running right over them in front of me, as in mockery, even as I jump around waving the white paper sheet I’m using to pick the little guys up. This story remains the same whether on highway or city street. Are drivers today THAT distracted, or simply callous? Fortunately the last time this happened, the driver JUST nicked the side of the turtle shell, sending it spinning into the air and landing back on the road with a thud, but he was okay once I picked him up.

One time a friend and I were driving near a wetlands area and we noticed a huge snapper turtle in the dead middle of the road, about two feet in diameter, with its back caved in from having been hit. As usual we stopped to check, making sure of its link to the earthly realm. Needless to say that though he lived, he was spitting-mad! And probably quite hurt…

But how to deal with a snapper, who’s head can shoot out in any direction, including backwards, up to two feet away and lop off several fingers in a single bite? Fortunately we had a rope in the trunk, and after an hour-and-a-half of playing turtle rodeo, we finally managed to lasso and pulley-system him into said trunk. As we drove him to the Okla. State University Vet Med clinic twenty minutes away, we decided he should be admitted as “Bluto”, because he thought he was real mean (from Robert Altman’s immortal Popeye film (1980) – “I’m mean, I’m mean, you know what I mean?”).

When we arrived they were happy to take him, and they let us know they’d update us on his status. The next day we received a call to let us know that Bluto had been anaesthetised and put into surgery, wherein his spine was corrected, and his shell had even been reconstructed with a fiberglass mixture so he was happy (as much as could be expected for a snapper!) and ready to return to the wetlands, which they took care of on their own (thankfully, since they had the proper equipment).

Though that example is the most extreme encounter I’ve had with turtle-rescue, it’s usually a daily given at this time of year. It’s not that I have a “thing” for turtles, it’s just that I can’t but help these little guys out when I see the opportunity. As other drivers have proven to me and the world, everyone else is either too ignorant, too inattentive, or worse, just too careless about God’s living creatures that share this world with us. Call me a hippy if it makes you feel better, but I’m sure the hundreds of turtles that’ve lived full lives because of me would be ever grateful to walk another day here in the sun. Let’s hope most people can treat their fellow humans with as much dignity and compassion.

Turtle rescue shirt: http://bit.ly/LBNQU0

Hey Damon!

It’s Turtle-Mania season for you!  You are a good example of caring toward all living creatures.  I have a hard time killing a spider or a moth in my house because of you.  It seems like someone is always catching some poor creature and putting it back outdoors instead of crushing it since you became part of our lives! We’d like to stay on Karma’s good side!

I give a thumbs up to the OSU vet clinic.  They are always so helpful when you find and save some poor animal from the roadside.  What they did with “Bluto” was remarkable!

Your remark about being too distracted while we drive rings true to me.  Not only do we risk hurting others, but we miss opportunities to serve when we are so caught up in ourselves.  We all need to take a deep breath and look at the world around us…that we SHARE with other people, animals, plants.  We are not the center of the universe.  Thanks for the reminder my hippy friend!

Read, Read, READ!

Hey Damon,

I love to read!  I know you always have a book in your bag and that you are an avid reader.  Many of us have already benefited from the books you’ve passed along.  I want to start a book club of sorts.  I’m going to pick a book and we will have one month to read it.  Then we will discuss it and hopefully have some positive comments from some of our followers who decided to read it with us. The book I’m choosing to kick off our book review is called: The Travelers Gift, by Andy Andrews.

My sister-in-law sent this book to me years ago and it still sticks with me as one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read.  It’s an easy read, it’s entertaining, and you will definitely learn something you can use to better yourself.  I think this book really hits the point of Inspire, Shine, Heal. It’s a very “ish-ish” book.

So, for all of you who want to join us, you won’t regret it.  It’s a fun read! We will discuss it on Monday, June 28th!

Happy reading!

Hey Marisa!

This is a great idea.  I’m in the midst of reading the book for the first time.  I look forward to sharing comments about it with our readers.  It’s a good idea to give them a months notice so we can all be on the same “page”.

Sometimes life is like that, even in Australia (dealing with depression and anxiety)

**NOTE** We changed the planned-topic for today to cover something we felt more pressing at the moment – keep checking back for a new schedule of upcoming posts!

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Hey Damon,

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is one of my very favorite books.  Have you ever felt that way?  Some days are just hard. I love how things seem to go wrong from the beginning of his day to the very last second.  It doesn’t matter how creative he is, how much he tries to help, how he uses his talents, how much he wants to please and feel included, nothing seems to go his way. He wants to escape to Australia but his mom wisely tells him that sometimes life is like that, even in Australia.  Some things are just out of our hands.

You are “Mr. Positive Attitude”, “Master of Your Destiny”, “Never Let ‘Em See You Cry”.  I am sometimes negative, wonder if destiny is even real, and I cry often. You are a glass half-full guy and I am still looking for my glass…

Sometimes I feel lost.  Sometimes I scream out in frustration.  Sometimes I even eat ice cream or cookies hoping they will heal my hurt. I grew up caring about appearances.  I wanted everyone to think I had things under control.  I cared how I looked and who I was with and I worried more than the average person about…well, EVERYTHING.  I worried about my math test, my friends, my parents, my siblings, my room being clean, my chores being done, if I was smart enough, pretty enough, cool enough, fun enough.  It took me about 25 years to realize that this wasn’t “normal”.  That other people weren’t getting sweaty palms when they put gas in the car. Others weren’t dealing with this level of worry.  I was struggling with anxiety far above what was looked on as healthy.

When I finally went to see my doctor she listened to my heart with the stethoscope and looked at me in surprise.  She asked if my heart beat that fast often.  I told her I was having a panic attack at that moment but I had them all the time and had learned to breathe through them.  She told me that most people would think they were having a heart-attack if their heart was pounding like mine was in that moment.  She put me on an anti-depressant. It seemed to help.

Since that day I have been on several anti-depressants.  I have been mis-diagnosed with several other things as well.  I have had many days where it seems pointless to get out of bed and there have been many days where I haven’t. Depression sucks.  Anxiety is awful. Sometimes the most difficult illnesses to handle are those unseen.

You know how you feel when you’ve had the worst day ever and if one more tiny thing goes wrong you’re going to lose it?  Then you stub your toe, or spill your drink and the swear words or the tears flow?  That’s what anxiety is like all the time.  You are spending SO much energy in such stress and still trying to reign everything in and look “normal” that you can’t handle a lot of outside stress.  Things are hard enough when everything is going well – you can’t afford life’s little mishaps.  So the depression sets in.  And the self-loathing.  No one else could possibly be as big a LOSER as you.  I’ve lived this for years and years.  I’ve suffered with millions of others.  For those of you who have not dealt with this personally, thank God.  For those of you who have…I love you.  I know it’s hard.  I know it hurts.  I know the pain of feeling alone, helpless, scared.  I know the confusion of balancing medications.

I also know there is hope.  There is always hope.  I promise.  I have found a few things that help me.  The Healing Codes and EFT. Try them.  You’ve tried everything else.  The Healing Codes by Dr. Alex Loyd was written because his wife suffered terribly with debilitating depression.  They really help.  EFT is a huge blessing to me also.  These things are free to do, they work better than anything else I’ve ever tried and they are worth a shot.

Please don’t ever give up.  I’ve had friends who have given up and are no longer with us.  My heart breaks for the amazing souls they were and for how my life is less without them. I’m writing this because if it can help even one person then it’s worth it to me.

There will be a few people who know me that read this and will be surprised.  I am the “life-of-the-party”,  the “funny girl”.  And I am those things.  But there is another side.  A struggle within. And I am learning. I am not anxiety.  I am not depression.  They are something I have and deal with. There is so much more to me.  So much good.

Some days really are Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Days.  But there is always tomorrow.

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Hey Marisa!

I have to hand it to you: you really laid yourself bare with this post, which I know how hard it must have been for you. I still remember how shocked I was when you first told me of this history of depression; I’d spent 17 years looking up to you as a sort of role model for me; everytime I’d get down I’d always picture the overly-chipper and excited Marisa, a sort of Flo from Geico who made everything seem more upbeat and positive, and always giving new hope. To hear that you suffered as you have for so long was a huge surprise after so many years.

(Marisa in upbeat-mode)

I’m SO happy that EFT and the Healing Codes have begun to change your life and take that depression away for good. I know we’ve beat the drum about these alternative healing techniques a lot just within the first two weeks of this blog (Happy 2nd Week Anniversary today!), but as you point out, they’ve provided help for so many people who’ve already tried EVERYTHING else. You are living proof of their effectiveness and relevance, and I look forward to your complete recovery within the next few months, as has happened with all the others bearing testimony.

We can change our DNA; we can rewire the way our brain reacts to things; we can cultivate deeper, more positive, real emotional states within ourselves. Anything we can dream of in this life is possible, and this is the very heart of this blog. I want everyone reading it to KNOW these things are here, now, for you to use, NO MATTER the issue! If you’re merely stressed about an upcoming test or utility bill that needs paid, or if you suffer from something as deep and mysterious as depression as you have, it can all be cured, for free, within just minutes, and permanently over a short time using just minutes per day.

And what better post for a Friday? Normally we’d do something fun, but if you’ve had a bad week, just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; there IS hope! Feel free to discuss below; we’ll be happy to point you to any other resources you may need or be interested in. We dedicate this coming Memorial Day especially to those who’ve been lost to Depression and/or Anxiety disorders – may knowledge such as this spread to help heal and stamp it out entirely.

We hope everyone has a super Memorial Day weekend!! (Don’t forget to check out today’s Daily Feature before heading off)  :)

To sleep, or Not to sleep…

Hey Marisa!

Remember how I mentioned in another post that it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 attempts before he hit upon the invention of the light bulb, which revolutionised the world? That’s not to mention all the other myriad inventions he gave us. But how did he have the time? How did another famous inventor, Leonardo DaVinci? The secret is, their sleep cycles were whacked-out to most people’s standards. They practiced what many other successful people do, which are 15 min. power-nap cycles.

I’d read about this most of my life, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I discovered the High Existence blog, where alternative sleep cycles are discussed, that I read about the varieties of different ones that you can actually develop as part of your sleeping existence, thus sticking it to the oft-quoted fact the we spend a third of our lives sleeping. With most of the sleep patterns described there, you can actually get 8 hours’ worth of sleep in only 2-3 hours by adhering to a pattern of short power dozes. Apparently Edison and DaVinci were followers of at least one of these templates, which helped enable their creative output that hugely changed the world. Like my recent post on my Insanity exercise regime, many times the determination and fortitude to keep persistently trying is what is most important, even moreso than any innate talents or abilities; vision is everything, and what makes us more god-like. The only trouble is, the enforced routine of modern Western life means that it’s nigh-impossible to adapt these routines; unless one is “above it all” by virtue of station or wealth, we have to find a way to work around it.

Much more recently I discovered this more straightforward plebeian gem on sleep, which pulls the curtain on the “8 hour sleep myth” we’ve been living for more than a century. It’s a rather engaging read which once again proves that our modern conceptions of sleep are not as old as the dawn of time, and nor do they necessarily make the most sense. How would our cultures be different if we followed the pattern laid out in this latter-article, where we awoke after just three or so hours and spent “quiet time” in more leisurely pursuits, before a second sleep-shift? Or what of the difference between Spanish peoples, who often begin their “evenings” at 10 or 11 PM, and hold conversation and public entertainment until dawn? Or the Mexican siestas, which reinforce the natural Circadian-balance of needing a lengthy nap after lunch each day? Will the Western culture ever become flexible enough to allow for such diversity of sleep patterns? Maybe we’d appear a bit more fractured, but outside the hugely inefficient 40 hour work week (another post for sure!), I wager we’d all get a LOT more done, and a LOT more out of life!!

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Hey Damon!

I love this post!  I am a big fan of sleep but it seems that I’m getting too much or not enough.  This is really interesting to learn about.  It makes me want to try it out and see if it works on me.  I would love more time in my day!  Who wouldn’t?  It seems like I work hard all day with kids and house and business that I never get enough down time.  I can either choose to sleep or relax!  What a difficult choice!  I would love to be able to do both.  The more I learn about Eastern ways of life the more I agree that the Western world tries to be over-efficient and that we fail miserably.  Without rest and fun what is the point of life?  Life is about thriving, not surviving.

Spank me! Marisa’s birthday musings…

Hey Damon!!!

Let the party begin! Let the wrinkles set in!  Bring on the cake that I don’t have to bake! I’m officially a year older! 

I know that a lot of women have a hard time aging and I have to honestly say that until this year I have not been among them. I will never understand panicking over turning a year older.  I mean, you’re going to feel the same you did the day before; you aren’t going to look any different in the mirror on your birthday, and you get stuff that you want!  Plus, people are celebrating the fact that you were born.  Which means they like you.  Which is a good thing.

I DO have to admit to a tiny mid-life crisis this time.  Just a tiny one mind you.  The thought that when I live the same amount of time I already have I’ll be 70 is kind of a freaky thought. The thought that my child bearing years are coming to a close, that I may really start to see wrinkles soon, that things aren’t all perky like they once were has caused me to stop and ponder.  What have I learned in 35 years?  What have I done that is important to me?  What do I still want to accomplish?  Allow me to answer these questions (after all, it IS my birthday so you kind of have to be nice and let me have my moment).

What have I learned in 35 years:

  • That people are more important than things.  That everyone deserves to be loved regardless of their past, their present, or their belief system.
  •  That the simple things in life make me the most happy.  I have fun with the big things but it’s the simple, quiet moments that change who I am.
  • I’ve learned to say “no”. Finally.  This year.  Go me!  “No, I don’t want to do that.” “No, I don’t like that.” “No, I’d rather not, thanks.” “No I cannot possibly be in more than one place at a time, nor do I care to try.” “No, I will not allow your lack of planning to make me rush around and destroy my peace.” “No! No! No!”
  • I’ve learned to say “yes”. Yes to time for myself.  Yes to allowing myself not to feel guilt over every little thing.  Yes to living my life as I see fit and getting the voices of those who would like me to do otherwise out of my head. Yes to using my gifts to better the world.
  • I’ve learned that my friends are precious.  They know me and still they love me. Unconditionally. 
  • I’ve learned that comparing myself to others is a bogus waste of time.  I will never look like someone else.  I will never have a sweet and quiet disposition.  I wasn’t created to be a wallflower.  I wasn’t created to conform.  It’s not in my nature. 
  • I’ve learned that lack of self-esteem is the #1 biggest problem in this world.  It changes the choices we make.  It’s my platform in life.  Self-esteem must be raised, for only when we know who we are, when we accept ourselves with all of our glorious gifts and abilities and faults, can we truly be our best selves.

What have I done that’s important to me?

  • I’ve come out of my box.  I used to live in a box. (Metaphorically speaking people…don’t come looking for me in a cardboard box in some trashy alley.) I was held there by others’ ideas of who I should be and what I should do and where I should go.  I was a shell of a person. I stepped out of my box and found a whole world waiting to be explored and I’m having a wonderful time exploring! It’s amazing how freeing it feels just to be me.
  • I’ve had a beautiful family.  My kids are all awesome.  They are individually interesting and I love being around them.  They make me laugh, they make me cry, but most of all they teach me.
  • I have been blessed with wonderful relationships in my life.  I have been loved by great people and I’m grateful every day.
  • I bought a house that I love. This may seem silly but it was a big deal to me.  I love where I live and the house I share with the people that I love.
  • I have been able to help many of my friends in various ways over the years.  I love talking with and counseling with those who are in need of help. 

What do I still want to accomplish?

  • Well, being the bionic woman would be neat but I think I’ll stick with something more realistic…
  • I want to reach a million people through “ish”.  I want to inspire, cause to shine, and heal.  All this through information gathering and sharing, speaking in public forums, and starting our radio show.
  • I would love to travel far more.
  • I want to learn to garden-and keep things alive.
  • I want to use a potter’s wheel.  I don’t care if I ever make amazing pottery, I just want to try it.
  • I want to go back to school.
  • I want to raise five children who are happy with themselves and who know that I love them the most.
  • And about a million other things.  My bucket list is LONG.  I hope you have a bucket list too.

So, there you have it.  Though shocking to some, I have actually learned some things and have some goals in my life.  I’m happy with who I am today.  I realize that I have great untapped potential that I’m working to bring to light.  I am growing every day.  I make mistakes often and I learn.  I will never stop learning.  I know that life is a journey, not a destination.  Most of all I’m thankful. Very thankful.

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Hey Marisa!

 

Happiest of birthdays to you!!

Your musings are all rather moving; I remember feeling the same way at 30, though I refuse to “get down” by thinking we’ve both lived half our lives at the age of 35. My favourite filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky swears he’s going to live to be at least 140 years old, based on the same lifestyle that allowed a Chinese monk to live to just over 200 years old before his death was reported in Time magazine during the 1930s. If anyone can do it, it’ll be him, and with him as one of my mentors I intend the same.

Your post is rather bittersweet; hopeful, but with that “haunted by the sea” look you get that I so adore. I can relate to being grateful for all the things you mention, and see how they work in your day-to-day life. May you achiev ALL the things on our Bucket List, and while yes, I do have one, it numbers into a few hundre items so let’s not get into that just now 🙂

Happy Birthday!!