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ON KARMA

 A short note before you read on.  This is by no means a lesson on Karma.  I’ll save that for the experts.  These are MY thoughts on Karma, and how disheartened I AM at hearing it used in the negative on a daily basis, and seldom about the actions of the person who uses the word.  I most often hear it used in reference to someone else after the person using it has been hurt, insulted or pissed off.   

 It’s amazing how many times a day I hear someone refer to Karma, and I love that people are thinking about cause and effect.  It’s used rather loosely here in North America, but when I hear people use it, I feel it at least shows awareness of actions.  What is mind boggling to me, is how often people use it in the negative!

“Yep.  Karma’s a bitch.”  Hmmm….I don’t believe that’s how it was intended to be used!!!

I’ve noticed that the thought of Karma is used more in regards to ANOTHER person’s negative or unwanted behaviours than it is to our OWN behaviours, both positive and negative.  I used to just smile and shrug it off but it is suddenly driving me BONKERS!  I am not saying I have never used it in the negative, I most definitely have.  I make an effort to catch myself and stop, because I believe that by thinking “they did this bad thing to me, so something bad will happen to them” I am wishing ill on another human.  When I realized this it scared the shit out of me!  If I wish ill on someone else, I am no better than they (or their actions) are.  Instead of choosing to think about how Karma is going to ‘bite them in the ass’, I think about what energy, or intention I choose to put into the situation.  I can take huge offence to someone’s treatment of me (and deal with it if it’s needed) without projecting my thoughts on how horrible THEIR life is going to be because of Karma!  I control MY thoughts and actions, and the direction MY life will take because of them.  I believe the Karmic result of the situation is directed at my behaviour and mine alone.  Their Karma is quite honestly none of my business.  Patterns repeat themselves in our lives, and we will keep finding ourselves in the same situations until we learn from and change our responses.  CAUSE AND EFFECT…the essence of Karma.  The same rule applies to all of us, be it good or bad behaviour.  Think about it for a minute.  How many times have you found yourself thinking this way in a situation?  What feelings were you having?  How similar are the situations?  How did you respond?  Have you attempted to change your thoughts or actions to see if you will get a different result?  If so, what did you learn from responding differently?  What was the lesson???  Now consider for one second the person who you feel has done you wrong.  Those same questions can be asked of them.  We each have our OWN lesson to learn.  The only control YOU have is over YOUR actions.  They control theirs.  This is YOUR life, make Karma work for YOU and let them worry about making it work for them!

Our society views Karma as people getting what they deserve and think of it as ‘fate’ (something beyond our control).  My belief is that the future is not set in stone.  Karma is ‘action’ and this includes our thoughts.  It is constantly being created and modified.  It’s no secret that I feel strongly that our thoughts change the direction of our lives, and this includes the concept of Karma. We have all done things that haven’t been very loving or kind.  Most of us, at some point, realized we were hurtful or rude then had remorse and took corrective actions.  We realized our error and change our thoughts or behaviour.  Our ‘Karma’, the energy behind our thoughts and actions, is suddenly shifted.

Here’s a thought.  Instead of addressing:  a rude customer, a boss that doesn’t care about their employees well-being, a person who cuts us off on the highway, or someone who did us wrong, with the comment “Karma’s a bitch, they will get what is coming to them”, why don’t we put our judgments aside (it’s none of our business anyway) and focus on our OWN Karma and respond accordingly.

Everything we do creates a corresponding energy.  That energy comes back to us in some way or another.  Choose to worry about the energy YOU are creating. 

As I said in the beginning, this blog was not intended as a lesson on Karma, it is just my thoughts.  My hope is that, if any of you, like me, find yourselves in what I like to call a ‘negative Karmic projection’ on another human, you can remember that it’s your Karma you ought to focus on and look for the lesson.

I feel better now that THAT is off my chest 🙂                                                                   CHEERS!                                                                                                                                           Until next time  ~Jacquie~

CHOICE

CHOICE

 I was delighted to have a conversation with someone recently who made the comment “it’s like everything is pointing me in this direction”.  How many times have we thought that, then failed to follow the direction the arrow was facing?

Life if about moving forward.  We can never go back and we can never get back time.  What we choose to do with the time we are given is what life is all about.  When it comes to change, making the CHOICE to not repeat things we have done in the past is where the success lies.  Sometimes when we see the options before us, and although we want a different outcome, we choose the path of least resistance.  This is an absolutely normal thing for us humans to do, but it is a CHOICE that will keep us exactly where we are.

“IF YOU WANT A DIFFERENT RESULT, MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE” has become such a cliché, but there is so much power in it.

There are the easier choices: consciously making the decision to not respond to situations the way we always have, making healthier lifestyle choices, choosing to remove toxic people from your life, deciding to change your routine and get up an hour earlier every day to savor some quiet time.  No, I’m not saying these are EASY, just that they are easier than some, and expect that the Universe will test your resolve on all of these.

Then there are more difficult choices.  The ones when you make the decision to move towards a goal, or away from something that is not serving you, and then the Universe throws a monkey wrench at you and has you second guessing your resolve.  DO NOT EVER make the assumption that this is because you are meant to stop moving along the new path!!!  This is EXACTLY where the CHOICE happens!  We often mistake this as a ‘sign’ that we should abandon the direction we chose to follow and go back to our old ways.  I believe with every fiber in my being that every time this happens we are challenged to pass a test, REPEAT or EVOLVE.  This speed-bump often has us feeling that maybe we made a mistake with a decision and the Universe is giving us an opportunity to ‘go back’ for a ‘do over’.  There are no ‘do overs’.  The past is the past.  There is however the opportunity to make corrections and create something new while leaving the old behind us where us belongs.

I remember a phone call I received about a year after my first divorce.  My ex-husband called, very distraught, saying he missed me and the kids and us as a family.  He wanted to ‘try us’ again thinking it would be ‘good for the kids if they had their family together’ and said he would change and do things differently.  He said he still loved me.  Monkey wrench.  You cannot imagine how tempting this was.  I struggled financially, was exhausted as a single parent, and loved the idea of having a family and sharing experiences with the father of my children.  I missed his family and the fun times we had shared.  There it was, the test.  As difficult and tempting as this was, I am so grateful I let go of the fear of the unfamiliar and made the CHOICE to move forward.

When I left my corporate career after 17 years, choosing to follow my passion as a Life Coach and Holistic Practitioner, the Universe, of course, threw something very tempting in my path.  I was offered a supervisory position with a large company that paid very well and was quite stable.  Again I was being given a CHOICE.  Move forward on the path I had chosen that would be difficult but fulfilling, or stay on the road I had been on and never know how my story would unfold.  Being comfortable with something I had known for so long and fear of the unknown almost won.  Obviously, I AM walking on the new path, and as scary as it is sometimes, I AM so grateful I didn’t ‘turn back’.

I only share these stories as examples of the opportunities we are given.  OPPORTUNITIES TO CHOOSE.

YOU control the direction of your life.  The Universe WILL test your willpower.  It will put obstacles in your path and force you to question what you want in life.  We become so comfortable with the familiar, that we mistakenly believe these obstacles are put in our paths to turn us back.  We fight the CHOICES we are given, that may make us feel uneasy or scared, but provide us with joy, excitement and guide us towards the life we want for ourselves.  DO NOT be tricked into thinking that the new path will be smooth sailing.  The new direction will be filled with ‘firsts’, and if you can think back to your childhood, when everything you tried was a ‘first’, there is always a hesitancy with each new adventure.  Remember the first time your parents let go of the bike after the training wheels were off.  You probably begged them to hang on because you didn’t think you were ready!  Afterwards, when you finally rode on two wheels, by yourself, remember the exhilaration and satisfaction you felt and the thought ‘I don’t know why I was so scared, this is fun…I DID IT!”

Pay attention.  Big CHOICES and small ones.  Just when you get comfortable walking along the freshly graveled new path, without fail, expect that there will be forks in the road (sometimes verging off the new path to even more exciting adventures).  The signs will read ‘Past’ and ‘Future’.  THE CHOICE IS YOURS.   Remember, if it makes you nervous and excites you at the same time, it’s probably the CHOICE for you!

As always, I hope to inspire and motivate with these blogs.  I feel so passionate about this topic that I AM actually sweating while I AM typing!  Please, notice the CHOICES you are being given and choose wisely.  If you falter, it’s OK.  We all do it.  It’s a life lesson we have to learn for ourselves and it’s only through learning that we start to recognize we are the ones CHOOSING the outcome.

Sharing in the struggle with you all ~Jacquie~

A BEAUTIFUL THING

A BEAUTIFUL THING

I AM sitting here this morning, sunshine pouring in the windows, birds happily chirping outside, a freshly pressed cup of coffee steaming beside my computer, and I feel happy.  The last few weeks have been somewhat tumultuous with things not turning out as I had planned, and events that normally would have caused me to pace my little apartment on the riverfront, stressed out and wondering “what else is going to go wrong” and “of course this crap happened to me, just my luck!”

I didn’t go to that yucky place this time.  I turned my attention to all the good things in my life and focused on the little things that daily brought a smile to my face.  You know what I am talking about!  Those things that you see, hear, taste, touch and smell every day, yet neglect to acknowledge how wonderful they make you feel.

The smell of coffee brewing in the morning.

The sunshine in your windows.

Birds chirping.

Attempting latte art, getting it wrong, and laughing at the abstract latte art you created instead.

The smile from a stranger.

Squeaking in the door behind someone before it closes without having to touch it (so much fun!)

The 75 year old man on his morning jog.

The feel of grass on your bare feet.

Watching 2 people share a hug.

The feeling of euphoria when you take your bra off.

That first sip of wine at the end of a long day.

Crawling under a fuzzy blanket that’s still warm from the dryer.

Three birds perched on a fence.

The lady at the grocery store that sees you only have 4 items and she has 50 and lets you go first.

The list is NEVER ENDING!

Fact…life rarely turns out how we planned it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to turn out brilliantly!  Finding those little happenings that we normally dismiss as quickly as they occur, and literally taking 5-10 seconds to acknowledge them, recognize the positive feelings they bring us, and holding that space for a few seconds, helps shift our perspectives and the course of our thoughts as we move through our day.  This, I believe, is where change happens.  Even if it’s as simple a change as arriving to work with a smile.

Savor those brief BEAUTIFUL THING moments that happen over the course of your day.  ACKNOWLEDGE –> RECOGNIZE –> HOLD for 5-10 seconds.

Your life may not have turned out how you planned it, but that doesn’t mean the days of your life can’t be filled with BEAUTIFUL THINGS!

Creating a life where I can share my stories and inspire…A BEAUTIFUL THING!!!

CHEERS!  Jacquie

THE BEACH-my turning point

THE BEACH-my turning point

Flames grew with each breath.  Sparks were rising out through every opening and the fuel was coming from somewhere deep inside my soul.  The fire that started when I picked up a pen and paper to draw was now raging…and I was ready to explore it.

I had been sleeping in a separate room from my second husband for a few months when I felt like I was going to burst.  That stirring inside me kept calling and I needed to find out what it wanted me to know.  I decided to pack up and spend the weekend by myself in a beach town a couple of hours up the highway.  The music was blaring, the coffee was sweet and I was ready, although I had no idea what I was ready for.  My backpack was loaded with everything I needed:  books, art supplies, wine and a bathing suit.  What more could a girl need on a soul searching weekend.  I was on the verge of discovery, and I was happy.

IMG_3155

I remember the first thing I did after I dropped my bag on the desk in the motel room.  I went and purchased a whole barbecue chicken pizza at a beach side shop, for myself, and ate half of it.  I was more than just hungry for food though, so I put on my sandals, grabbed a beach towel and headed to the water.  The waves were HUGE!  It was after dinner by this point and the beach was mostly deserted.  After laying out my towel, bare feet against the cool sand, I headed for a much needed walk along the shore.  The moon was almost full, the waves were crashing, and it was perfect.  I walked for about 30 minutes when I decided to just sit myself down in the sand and be still.  Being still had always been an issue for me.  I was always busy, and if I wasn’t, my thoughts would take over and I would be busy mentally.

IMG_3159Under the full moon, my toes were being kissed by the last remnants of crashing waves and I could feel the magnetic force within me.  Meditating had never been a strong point of mine but the serenity of it all had me hypnotized and absolutely peaceful.  GROW.  That’s what I heard.  No I am not crazy.  It wasn’t a distinct voice and I didn’t have to turn around to see where it came from.  I just knew.  I heard it from within me.  I knew at that moment I was on the right path.  Over the course of just a few years, I had met people that inspired me to explore things I never would have done on my own, I had rediscovered art and the joy it brought me, I learned through the dozens of books that I read that happiness was within my reach.  I had discovered Buddhism (again I AM not a Buddhist) and how the teachings fit with who I was and the beliefs I had.  I had STARTED to grow but what was stunting it? 

I had come to the realization over the few months leading up to this get-away, that my husband did not like anything about me.  He was not supportive of my art, did not share (nor was he happy about) any beliefs I had, was absolutely opposed to me exploring Buddhism, didn’t like how I dressed, and didn’t like my friends.  I have a very large personality and I love to talk.  Well I come to fine out I was an embarrassment to him!  I stopped sharing the excitement I was feeling with all these new discoveries because I was so tired of seeing the look of disgust on his face.  I refrained from going places with him because I couldn’t be authentically me without upsetting him.  My friends never came over so he wouldn’t be made to have to stay in the garage because he didn’t want to be around us.  You get it…I just stopped everything.  There was nothing left to share.  Either I continued to grow and things stayed the way they were, or I stopped.  Ok…back to the beach…

IMG_3156GROW.  I heard the message but wasn’t sure how this would develop.  Classic Jacquie move would be to spent the rest of the weekend trying for the life of me to figure out how to make this work, but for the first time since reading about ‘being present’, I made a conscious decision to not worry about HOW I was going to make this happen.  I was just going to be here, NOW.  I meandered under the moonlight back to my now cold, damp beach towel and headed to my room.  After cleaning up and pouring a lovely glass of wine, I turned on my iPod, picked up my pen and some drawing paper and sat down to create.  Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ came on.  I’ve always loved that song but tonight it resonated with me.  I was the Blackbird.  It was time for me to take my broken wings and fly, my sunken eyes and learn to see.  I drew a blackbird (side note: 3 weeks later I had that drawing tattooed on the inside of my right wrist to remind me every time I see it that I AM capable of anything).

 

After spending the next morning exploring the town, I grabbed my stuff and headed out onto the now busy beach.  I found a quiet spot, set myself up, went for a short swim in the frigid waters, and then laid out to soak up some vitamin D.  I had recently found a book titled ‘642 Things to Write About’ and decided that whatever page it opened to would be my challenge for the next hour.  The winner: Describe A Tree from the Point Of View of a Leaf.  Challenge accepted.  Except it wasn’t a challenge at all.  It just poured out of me!  This is what I wrote:

I dangle precariously on the edge.  Not of extinction, but disconnectedness.  I  AM at the farthest point.  She stands tall, firm, proud.  Tho never moving forward, she reaches out indiscriminately.  Receiving energy, giving life.  My role is my own.  I let go.

I actually wept on the beach.  They were mixed tears.  Angry tears because I had put off growing and spent my entire life not being me.  I was half way through the functional years of my life and was exactly where I started, feeling not worthy and unfulfilled.  Sad ones because I now had to make a choice, and it seemed that either decision I made, the man who was my husband would be hurt.  Mostly though, they were tears of joy and absolute peace.  I had, at that moment, decided that I was ready to be completely Jacquie.  I was ready to explore who I was and grow as a human and I was not going to allow anyone to stand in my way.  I was ready to embrace everything that was me.  I was the tree, tall and proud, always giving.  That’s who I am.  I was also ready to be the leaf.  I was a part of the tree, but separate at the same time.  I was ready to let go of everything that was holding me back and see where the wind would take me to plant new roots.

After another peaceful evening enjoying the magnitude of the waves and the moon, a very restful sleep, and a morning of delicious coffee and fun in the water, I packed up and headed home.  I thought I would dread going back, but it was quite the opposite.  I was looking forward to BEGINNING AGAIN…for the 6th time.

The next 2 months had me continue growing and trying to somehow share my life with my husband without causing any stress.  I can’t say it was going well, but this time I was not retreating back to my old ways.  He either loved me for who I was, or he didn’t.  That’s when something happened that made me realize this kind of life was not conducive to me being authentic Jacquie.  My husband and I had to switch cars for the day.  The next morning when I got into my car, I immediately noticed that the mala beads I had hanging from my rear view mirror were not there.  Very strange.  I thought maybe they had broken.  I frantically searched the car floor for loose beads.  I looked in the glove box, under the seats and then the console storage.  That’s where I found them, wrapped up in a ball and forcibly shoved to the bottom, under everything else in there.  I was confused to say the least.  Did they somehow fall off the mirror?  Did the thread break?  Did they obstruct his view while he was driving?  I got out of my car and went into the house to ask him.  “How did my mala beads end up at the bottom of my console?”  And there it was, that disgusted look and angry tone.  “I don’t believe in that shit and I shouldn’t have to look at that crap when I’m driving your car.”  WHAT??? I explained that I would never dream of taking down the beautiful rosary he has hanging in his car because that would just be disrespectful.  He replied with “Don’t you dare think about touching my rosary!”

And there it was.  I was done.  I wore a mala.  I loved how the beads rolled between my fingers when I was stressed or anxious.  I realized that same disgust he felt looking at them hanging from my rear view mirror was how he felt when he looked at me.

Things fell into place for me at that point.  I was ready to stop living a life of begging for love and acceptance, and The Universe, God, Source, whatever word you choose, provided me with the opportunities I needed to escape the life I had repeatedly created for myself and move forward to a life of self-love and growth.  A good friend of mine was moving out of town and I easily took over her apartment.  Friends supported me emotionally and with the essentials I needed to start my new life in a place of my own.  It was time to have probably the most difficult conversation I had ever had.  I told my husband it was time for us to talk, so we headed out to a local trail to walk and talk.  I explained to him that I couldn’t do this anymore.  We fought all the time, neither of us was happy and it was time for us to part ways.  He cried, I cried.  He said we should stay together and try to make it work.  I reminded him that I had begged 7 years ago, and more recently, that we go to counselling and he always refused.  That I had tried at every turn to have conversations with him about the state of our marriage and what we could do to improve it and he would not engage.  He replied with “that’s not a reason to quit”.  I think at that point I was probably considering giving us another chance when I said, hoping beyond all hope that he would disagree with my statement, “But you don’t like ANYTHING about me.  There is not one thing about me that adds joy to your life.”  I got confirmation in his reply.  “Ya, but when you get married it’s for life whether things work or not”.  I had no more tears.  

A month later I was in my new apartment and I have not stopped growing.  I AM happy.   I continue to grow and learn and have made a choice to not believe what I was taught as a young girl.  It’s a daily struggle, though it does get easier to recognize when I AM falling into those old patterns.  I acknowledge that this is not what I believe of myself, and turn those thoughts around.  I have come to understand that everything that has happened in my life has taught me a lesson and I have the choice, to wallow in self-pity and beat myself up for the things I have done, or accept that I AM not that person any longer.  I AM NOT the decisions I have made.  I AM a result of the lessons I have learned from those decisions.  I have no desire to go back and change anything.  Nor do I wish to spend my life trying to prove to the people, who unfortunately got hurt because of the false beliefs I had of myself, that I am not that person any more.  I have acknowledged the errors I’ve made and apologized for my role in the events that had occurred.  I wish them well, and they will be a part of my life because of the children we share, but I AM under no obligation to prove to them how I have changed or that I AM better than I was.  I do not need that acceptance from them any longer.  I accept me for who I AM and I finally understand what it means to love myself first.

IMG_3158This knowledge did not happen on the beach.  It’s taken years of soul searching, educating myself, reaching out for help, research and commitment to get this point.  The first step was acknowledging I wanted change. The second was committing, no matter how scary it was, or how much easier it is to retreat back to what I have known and am comfortable with, to consistently move forward.  I learn from my past, but that is where it stops.  It has no control over me today.  I AM…HERE

AND THE PATTERN CONTINUED

AND THE PATTERN CONTINUED

 Remember, I am sharing this story to show how the power of our thoughts controls the direction of our lives.  For my entire life, I had the false belief that I wasn’t worthy.  This continued story is evidence that until I shed that belief, I will continue to make choices that only validate it.

I had been divorced for about a year when I started at a federal, well paying, Monday to Friday job, I looked great, had confidence in my future, and loved the important role I had being a single parent.  I was free, certain I had my shit together and knew who I was.  I’m laughing at myself as I type this!!

When I met my second husband, he showed me things I had never seen or experienced before.  He was attracted to me, didn’t care that I had 2 young children, and introduced me to so many new things.  He was kind, and that was huge for me.  Looking back, I think the biggest appeal was the friendships I was creating with the people in his circle and the abundance of adventures I was having.  We were always doing something, and the friendships were deep and meaningful.

All of our friends were happily married with children and they were a huge part of our lives.  We traveled together, hung out on weekends with the kids, always got together on holidays, and helped each other whenever we could.  I always felt somewhat uncomfortable with them though, out of place you could say.  They were families and I was just his girlfriend with kids.

After 2 years of dating we bought a house in the country.  We started talking about having a child together.  He definitely wanted a child of his own, my first 2 children were getting older, and at 34 I wasn’t getting any younger.  I reasoned that I did not believe in having a baby if we weren’t married because it would send the kids the wrong message.  Looking back, I realize, without a doubt, getting married was important to me so that I would fit in with our circle of friends.  How absolutely ridiculous that sounds now!!  Being unmarried in a group of married people made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and that our relationship wasn’t legit!  And there is the pattern again!!

He did agree (hesitantly) to marry me.  I remember the conversation when we finally decided to tie the knot and plan on adding to the family.  He was active in a weekend sport, so getting married would have to wait until after the competitive season.  HMMMM…a red flag went off.  Wasn’t marrying me and having a child important enough to him that he could miss ONE competition?!?  Apparently not.  I had made it very clear to him that if I wasn’t pregnant within 6 months of turning 35, having a child was off the table.  Tick-Tock.  One day while he was at work, I went through the competition schedule, found a weekend there were no events, called a minister and booked a date for our wedding.  When he got home from work I shared the news with him.  Two months later we were married on our front lawn.  It was a lovely and fun wedding, but once again, I found myself standing in front of a minister thinking “nope, you should not be doing this Jacq”.  Something small in the back of my mind knew I was doing it for the wrong reasons, but wouldn’t it feel so good to be a ‘normal family’???

He was a wonderful father to my first 2 children, adored his new son, he never hit me, and up until a few years into the marriage, never said mean things to me.  It was about this time he took on a new endeavor and opened a ‘gym’ with a couple of his friends.  I can’t say I was thrilled about it, but according to him it was his money and he could do with it what he wanted.  He had a passion for this, so I supported him.  Money had become a huge issue.  To keep it short, he paid the mortgage and house repairs when needed.  That is it.  The rest was his play money and the gym was now his playground.

An even bigger issue and in the end a major part of our divorce, was the fact that he never chose me.  He is a good human being and always willing to help other people, his mom most of all, and now there was the gym, and then his mom again, and then the gym, and then anyone else who needed something.  We had one day a week when the 5 of us would sit down at the table for dinner together, Wednesdays.  He would get home at 4:10, take his shoes off, wash up, sit at the table and his mom would call, without fail.  If she lived out of town, or if something important needed to be conveyed, it would not have been an issue at all.  The fact is, she had already spoken to him on his lunch break (which she did everyday) and she was just calling to talk.  I had a conversation with him.  Because of our busy life, could he have a chat with her and ask her not to call until after dinner, or let it go to voice mail and call her back when we were done?  I was put in my place.  This was his mom and he would drop everything to be there for her.  Feckin’ hell.  This hurt.  After that conversation, it seems he took knowing how much it hurt me, that his mom would always come first, to a whole new level.  I really wish I was exaggerating, but I am not.  His mom suddenly became his top priority.  The gym wasn’t any different.  We stopped doing things on the weekends because the gym needed him.  We only ate together as a family once a week because he had to be at the gym.  Any date night we had was tied together with events dealing with gym.  I am struggling to convey in a blog just how important everything else was to him ALL THE TIME.  I didn’t want much.  I didn’t need fancy dinners and tropical vacations.  I wanted time.  Once in a while pick me first.  Once in a while pick the family over everyone else.  I begged, FOR YEARS.  I felt worthless, used, and that nothing I could do would ever be good enough to get the love and attention I deserved.

Slowly, I started pulling away.  I was tired to my core.  Tired of begging for love.  Tired of doing so much to make his life comfortable and not being acknowledged for it.  Tired of coming in last place.  I didn’t leave the marriage yet, but at just over 4 years, I took my wedding ring off, telling him when he was ready to choose me I would put it back on again.  It never saw the outside of my jewelry box again.  THIS was my FOURTH BEGINNING OF FORWARD.  I established a boundary.

I had a good friend from work that knew I had studied art decades ago.  She saw I was depressed and suggested I try my hand at drawing Zen tangles as a form of meditation.  I thought I’d give it a try and when I got home I grabbed a sheet of printer paper and a pen and started doodling.  I got lost in it!!! 2 hours had passed in a blink of an eye.  During that time I didn’t think about how unhappy I was.  I was hooked.  It was like a drug.  I quickly moved away from abstract and into small ink pieces that were meaningful.  I showed a few of them to friends at work and they could not believe how good they were.  I was on fire and passionate about something for the first time in my life.  A friend encouraged me to create an Instagram account to showcase my work.  I remember how excited I was when sharing this information with my husband.  He was standing at the end of the kitchen table overlooking my artwork and scattered pens.  No smile.  No happiness that I was excited.  Just, “it’s not that good, she was just being nice, are you sure you want to put pictures up for other people to see?”  I was not expecting that.  I had always supported him in whatever he was doing and honestly thought that he would be excited for me.  At the very least, if he wasn’t excited about it, I figured he would fake support!!  I felt my excitement sink, but not diminish.  Scared to death, I did a couple of shows, sold a decent amount and my confidence was soaring again.  People liked my stuff!!  In all honestly, the second show I did at a local yoga studio, catapulted me forward and helped me start to grow as a human.  I was incredibly sad, but started to recognize that I had some worth and wanted to explore that new feeling!

I had started reading books on creating a happy life.  Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron.  Reading these continued to add to the fire that was starting to grow inside of me.  I was growing.  My mind was open to creating happiness in my life.  I started reading about Buddhism (I am not a Buddhist) and it sat so comfortably with me.  It made sense.  It was what I needed to find at the exact moment I found it.  I purchased some mala beads and a meditation pillow and vowed to create some calm in my life, even if for just a few minutes a day.  I was starting to feel happy and shared this feeling with anyone I was with.  I spoke of my art, the things I had been reading and was always respectful that not everyone would agree with me.  Just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it works for someone else.  I had read a line in…I think it was Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye.  He said “the opposite of what you believe is also true”.  I think that was the most powerful line I have ever read.  Unfortunately, my husband didn’t feel that way.

Anyway…here I am being all happy and Zen, having a conversation with my husband about all these new things I was learning, when he blurts out, with the most disgusted face I have ever seen on a person “you’re a fuckin’ FREAK Jacq”.  Well holy moly!  I had no reply.  I burst out into tears and he headed to his gym.  Something was different about my tears though and I still don’t know what it was.  What I can tell you is that when he walked out, I picked up my phone and googled the definition of ‘freak’.  Once again, what I needed to see at the exact time I needed to see it showed up.  I wish I could remember what site I read it on, but the first definition I came across defined ‘freak’ as “a person who does not conform to mainstream society/one who dances to the beat of their own drum” THAT WAS IT!!! This was me!! I had tried to be everyone else my whole life (more on that in a later blog) and reading that definition at that exact moment in my life, sent me on my FIFTH and biggest BEGINNING OF FORWARD!!

Something switched in my head that day.  I wasn’t mad at him anymore.  He got home later that night and I genuinely thanked him for calling me a FREAK.  I was finally ready to embrace me and all my uniqueness and by thinking he was crushing my spirit, he actually helped me.  That night I started sleeping in the spare room.  I had hoped that by doing this he would miss me and realize how important and special I was.  I honestly thought that this would change our relationship, that he would realize what an amazing wife I was and accept me for who I AM and who I was becoming.

Oh I was definitely LEAPING FORWARD at this point but wasn’t ready to stop looking for validation from outside of me yet.  I could feel something inside of me stirring, I just didn’t know what it was.

Though I wasn’t aware of it then, I had once again chosen a situation, a person, a life, that made me feel the way I thought of myself.  I did not believe I was worthy of love and acceptance for who I was.  I believed that other people were better than me for whatever the reason.  I chose to continue the pattern of thinking that if I just did this, that or the other thing, that my value would increase and I would be as good as other people.  If I got married, had a baby and supported my husband in his adventures, then I would be accepted by him (he spoke so highly of the other wives).  If I did these things I would be like all the other people that surrounded us and this would make me their equal.  He was highly looked up to by his friends and family that I thought if I was his wife and not just his girlfriend, they might look at me that way too and I would be seen.  I did kept the promise I made to myself after my first marriage. I did not allow any person to hit me or verbally abuse me again.  In the end though, old habits die hard.  I once again chose a person with whom I would have to constantly beg for love and respect.  This had NOTHING to do with him, and EVERYTHING to do with me.  It was MY journey and I chose to make him a part of it.  I turned into a miserable bitch, unhappy, begging all the time, and he suffered too.  I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made, but I am sorry that he ended up hurt because of my insecurities and the false beliefs I had of myself.  It was never my intention to hurt him.  This chapter of my life is deeper than I can share in a blog.  It was the complete dismantling of me.

IT WAS ALSO THE MOST IMPORTANT PART TO REASSEMBLING MYSELF.

The next part of the adventure has been the most exciting!!!

I WAS ASKED A QUESTION

I was recently asked, “WHEN WAS YOUR BEGINNING OF FORWARD?”  This was a tough one to answer.

I believe every event in my life, every choice I’ve made, has led me here.  What made that question hard to answer, was trying to pinpoint the moment I decided I didn’t want to be stuck anymore, and to stop making choices that kept me repeating cycles.  I spoke of my childhood last week, and how I had this extremely distorted and negative image of myself that left me feeling unworthy and ‘not enough’ for most of my life.  Ends up, that view had me choosing things that continued to feed it.

MY BEGINNING OF FORWARD BEGAN SEVERAL TIMES and will probably continue to do so.  Each is a part of my adventure and I have no regrets.

I believe it started when I married to my first husband.  I met him just before I turned 16 years old.  He showed me attention and made me feel special, both of which I was starved for.  We started dating and it didn’t take long for the behaviors to change.  We would make plans, I would be on the couch at my parents’ house, with my coat on, waiting for hours and he just wouldn’t show up.  He started belittling me in front of his family.  His mood swings were something I had never seen before.  He would switch from being nice, to being the vilest person I had ever met.  He would say terribly mean things and then apologize wholeheartedly.  Of course I would forgive him.  I was a nice person and this is what I was supposed to do.  This was constant.  Four years later, just after I turned 20, we were married.  I remember standing at the alter when it struck me that I should not be marrying him, but it was too late to change my mind.  If I did, I would just let everyone down.

Fast forward two years and we moved to a small town in the middle of know where.  I had no driver’s license, no place to find work and no friends.  I was alone.  He worked a job that ran 12 hour shifts and required him to carry a pager from after dinner until early morning.  He was gone…A LOT.  It was the perfect scenario for him to gallivant around with other women, and for me to be none the wiser.  I thought he was out saving lives.  His meanness grew worse, in the things he said and didn’t say, and in the unspoken threats.

I finally had a driver’s license and was working 3 jobs.  I wanted out, but there was no way.  I knew deep down that he was unfaithful and feared one day I would somehow piss him off to the point that I would get beaten.  He controlled the purse strings and I felt I had no options.  I was at work one day when I discovered sign language and thought “I can do this”.  I convinced him to let me study to become a Sign Language Interpreter back home in Windsor.  I would get an apartment there and he would remain at our rental out of town.  Of course it didn’t take much to convince him.  Now he would have all the freedom to be unfaithful without his wife being around.  This was my chance.  Get my diploma and then get out!  I believe this was my FIRST Beginning of Forward.

That was a short lived idea.  I worked my butt off, carried a perfect average and then discovered I was pregnant.  Being who I am, I took it as a sign that we were meant to stay together.  I completed my year studying and then became a mom.  Two months after my baby girl was born, I was pregnant again and this time it was a boy.  Million dollar family.  Back up to the small town we moved with 2 babies in tow, this time to an even more isolated location.  He still worked the same job that had him gone the majority of the time and I spent my days raising the kids.  I thought “God must want me to stay, so He will help him change”.  Not…even… close.  It got worse.  The verbal abuse was constant, I could do nothing right as a wife or parent and the silent threat of violence grew stronger.

The kids were 1 and 2 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We moved back to Windsor, in with his mother and step-father.  They would help take care of the kids while I nursed my mother.  My husband spent 5-6 days a week working and living out of town.  The good news.  My mom only needed a mastectomy and she was as good as gold.  Unfortunately, nothing I said would convince my husband that over a year later, we didn’t need to be living at his parents anymore.  He was having too much fun.  I didn’t think it was possible, but life with him got worse.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I rented a house for myself and the kids and applied for mother’s allowance.  My SECOND Beginning of Forward.

Slowly he creeped his way back in.  I started working full-time when the kids were 3 and 4, and for a few months things were calm.  Something was eating away at me though.  I thought this time it would be different.  I called his bluff and had moved out, certainly he would make a legitimate effort to change his behaviors if he wanted to keep our family intact.  My gut told me something different.  For absolutely no reason we had no money, he was working more than ever and something wasn’t sitting right.  He basically lived out of a duffel bag and I decided one night to go through it.  Wow!  Proof of infidelity in dozens of letters and keys to what I was certain was his own living space that I knew nothing about.  The worst part…a card from a woman that thanked him for sending her pictures of ‘his beautiful kids’.  That was it for me.  I woke him up from a dead sleep and demanded to know everything he was up to and accused him of putting our children’s lives in jeopardy by sending a stranger pictures of our children with his return address on the envelope!  Apparently he didn’t like being confronted, and I paid for it.  Physically.  When he finally felt I had suffered enough, he left the house.  I told him the next day I wanted a divorce.  He was calm and accepted it.  Later that week he came over to draw up a separation agreement.  He decided he was the better parent and was taking full custody of the kids, which of course I would not agree too.  An argument started and our voices were rising.  At that point, my just turned 4 little girl walked out of the bedroom and asked what was wrong.  He replied calmly, “get in your room, it’s time for mommy to die”.  I picked up the phone to call 911, he backhanded it across the room and then walked out.  That was it.  There was no way in hell I was going to raise my daughter thinking she could be treated the way he treated me, nor was I raising my son with the idea that it was acceptable to treat a woman that way.  I was in my own apartment within 2 weeks and I never looked back.  My THIRD Beginning of Forward.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOUR STORY JACQUIE?

It took me years to realize MY ROLE in this.  I put myself in that position, and I kept myself there.  I chose that relationship.  That by no means justifies his behaviors.  They were disgusting, pathetic, vile and absolutely unacceptable!  But…had I not chosen to be with a man that validated my feelings of unworthiness, none of those things would have happened.  My belief that I wasn’t good enough had me seek out someone who treated me like I wasn’t good enough and stay there for too long!!!  I created my reality.  Had I believed I was worthy, just as I was, of love, respect, and happiness, I would have sought out someone who added to those things in my life.  They would have been mine to begin with and I would not have had to look for them outside of me!

I needed to confront the voice in my head that was telling me I was not worthy, and tell it to get the hell out!  That would take several more years.

I would like to say that by my THIRD Beginning of Forward I had changed my thought patterns.  Not the case.  I did promise myself that no one would treat me that way, nor would I allow any person to lay their hands of me, ever again.  As I started over, with incredible new confidence in myself, the pattern of looking for acceptance outside of me would repeat again, and that’s ok.  I wouldn’t be here now if I was wiser back then.

Wherever you are along your journey, whatever your challenges are, you are not alone.

Jacquie

How I Arrived HERE

WHY did I create this blog?  To make a difference.  To inspire.  To reach one person, who, at some point, has felt that they are alone in thinking that their whole life is an uphill battle.  To share my story as a testament.  No matter what you have been through, you CAN change the direction of your life.

HOW I ARRIVED HERE

I AM no different than any of you.  Many of us are stuck in:  repeated life experiences, want, unhappiness, ‘bad luck’, desire, un-fulfillment, negative self-talk, low self-esteem…the list is never-ending.  This is where we are.  Not having enough, or any, of the things we want (financially, emotionally, romantically, etc.) But why?

It’s a two word answer:  Our Thoughts.

Seems too simplistic doesn’t it??  I thought so too.  I thought I had my shit together.  I used the power of positive thoughts, looked at the bright side of things and always did what I thought was right, hoping those would be instrumental in changing where I was in my life.  I believed that thinking this way and visualizing the things I wanted would manifest them.  When this didn’t happen, old school Jacquie thoughts would creep up “maybe I don’t deserve them”, “someone else must need it more than me”, “things will never change”.  So I remained stuck, plugging away, HOPING things would just about-face.  Truth is, I could visualize until the cows came home, but if I didn’t believe I was worthy or entitled to my desires then nothing was going to change.

This is where the past plays its role.  As a Life Coach, we focus on the present and moving forward.  That doesn’t mean what happened 5, 10 or 40 years ago doesn’t impact the present and create a false reality.  We have to acknowledge, accept, and let go of past experiences that don’t serve us in a positive way and change our thoughts to begin to move forward.

So you’re probably thinking, “<insert sarcasm> OK Jacq, how can just my thoughts control what is happening in my life?” Trust me, I thought the same thing.  Let me tell you a story.

I AM smart, funny, quick to smile, kind, loving and lovable, helpful, positive, caring and have incredible work ethic. My whole life though, I’ve never felt like I was good enough.  I chose to be an underachiever in high school (it didn’t matter how smart I was, I would never be smart enough), didn’t try new things (if I wasn’t as good as someone else I would look ‘stupid’), lost interest in things I had curiosities about (people might think I am weird), kept to myself outside of school (didn’t feel ‘cool’ enough), copied styles and behaviors of other people (if I’m like them, I’ll be accepted)…you get the gist.  This carried on into my adult life, where two unsuccessful marriages left me thinking “why am I not good enough/what is wrong with me?” Of course, there are a lot of factors at play with the marriages.  In the end, my role in the breakdown of those marriages was that I was always looking for validation outside of myself, in places I was NEVER going to find it (more on how these added to my false self-beliefs in a future blog)

Where did all those negative beliefs come from?!?

Here is where it began.  Elementary school.  I would come home with an A on a test and be asked “why didn’t you get an A+?”  If I offered an opinion that someone didn’t agree with, I was “a big dummy”.  If I put weigh on, “pork chops” is what I was called and if I lost weight I “looked sick”.  I lived in the shadows of a talented brother.  Forget about developing my own style (or more like Cindy Lauper’s).  When I did, I was told it wasn’t how normal people ‘dressed’.  When after 6 piano lessons (or any of the dozens of things I was enrolled in), I didn’t enjoy it and wanted to stop, I was called a ‘quitter’.  It seemed that no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough or didn’t reach someone’s expectations.  That was how I was raised, as a young child, and even into my 40’s.   I’m not looking for sympathy or playing ‘poor me’.  I am simply stating facts. (NOTE: I love my parents very much and have gone through the process of understanding that they did the best they could, given the tools they were supplied when they were growing up, and that their intentions were to inspire me.  I know they love me.)

So…What does all this boil down to?  It boils down to the fact that I ended up believing all of those things about myself.  I took them as the truth.  That is why I was stuck.  I didn’t feel like I deserved or was capable of any successes, in any area of my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I felt like I deserved good things because I was a good human, but my thoughts, the voice in my head that repeated “you’re not good enough” kept me from truly accepting that I was, and am, worthy and capable of great things.

The reality is, THOSE ARE NOT MY TRUTHS!  They are the OPINIONS of someone else!  They are NOT my opinions of me.  The voice I heard is someone else’s values and opinions of themselves, projected onto me, then confused by me as how I see myself!  It was this reality that was my BEGINNING OF FORWARD.  Who am I? What do I want? That was the first step in changing my thought pattern.

It has been a long process.  It is not easy to let go of what you have believed as truth for over 40 years.  And if I’m honest, those false beliefs still creep up daily, but now I catch myself and affirm that I AM enough and open to receiving and accepting all the good and wonderful things life has to offer.  It is not an easy feat to accomplish.  I had to make the commitment to accept and release that those beliefs were not mine, focus on repeating hundreds of times each day that I AM strong, able, valuable, committed and deserving of an abundance of the things I want that add happiness and joy to my life.

Where exactly is the HERE that I have arrived at you ask?

 Today, HERE is believing, without fail, all the positive qualities I listed about myself earlier.  Today, HERE is knowing that I control my thoughts.  Today, HERE is constantly affirming MY TRUTHS.  Today, HERE is knowing I am worthy of love, success and abundance.  Today, HERE is taking on new adventures with confidence.  Today, HERE is knowing I have value.  Today, HERE is knowing I have a positive impact in people’s lives.  Today, HERE is happiness!

Making a short visit to the past and CHANGING MY THOUGHTS has been the most powerful tool I have used to move forward in my life.  A single blog post cannot explain the lengthy journey it has taken me to get HERE, nor can it share the plethora of experiences, both positive and negative, that I have encountered along the way.  My hope is that you come back to visit and find even just one thing to take away that has a positive impact on your life.

I AM enough.

HERE is just the beginning…

-Jacquie-