Posted in Buddhism, Life

Spirituality and Buddhism

I think more and more people are seeking. I see more and more support groups sprouting up everywhere and everybody is trying to get aboard. More and more are looking for something that is fulfilling and meaningful to their life in order to cope with the demands of day to day stresses. Making ends meet, being employed and having a career is no longer enough. Being successful at whatever level you might define it is no longer enough. What is required is a balance, an outlet, a belief that often reflects in wisdom, spirituality, and some sort of awakening.

There are light workers and healers, people that need a purpose of belonging, a desire to rise above the mundane, to feed the need of wanting to contribute and help.

I have noticed a hunger for wisdom to escape the ordinary and to leave the conventional behind. Everyone is awakening at some level as if to claim that they have escaped the wormhole and made it. Long taught virtues, principles and customs no longer fit the modern hectic world that demands so much more in our current times. We need validation, we need to know that we are on course and that the chaos we are feeling at times is normal and part of the human condition. So perhaps holding on to something makes us feel worthy and makes the struggles worthwhile.

These can be confusing times, especially when it comes to our belief system, our faith and who we worship. How can we be Christians and also believe in Native American wisdom? How can we relate to Buddhism if we are raised in different corners of the world, perhaps under strict catholic guidelines? Do we feel guilty as if we have stayed from our god, seeing value in different religions?

I found a statement from Thich Nhat Hanh on Omnism which is the recognition and respect of all religions.

He said that there is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like Yoga, you can be a Christian and practice Buddhism. I met a catholic priest who lives in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes him a better Christian. I love that.

Posted in Art, Buddhism, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, music, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

Tired….so tired.

Ughhhh….I’m tired and if I wasn’t already, I definitely feel the holiday stresses catching up. More and more I find myself just vegetating away after work in the little time that seems to be left, playing a game on the iPad to relax and just “Be”. A game that requires no concentration while drowning out all noise as I play it in silent mode. The rest is filled with reading (my main read has been mailed off to be autographed and I’m waiting patiently for its return), when I’m not writing or another creative outlet to allow my mind to dangle carefree with not a single thought in mind. I had every intention to write this morning but my mind seems to be a bit foggy as it is resting up for another day of retail madness hahaha. I find myself sliding more and more towards the majority of people asking “Is it over yet?” and it truly makes me sad. It takes away from the true meaning of a time that should be filled with magic and wonder. I’m sure many people feel like this as the stresses mount and I hope you find time to pause and do something that allows your soul to marvel. Heck, I hope I do so myself. I feel like I’m sleeping my life away right now as I try to rest enough to stay healthy and make it through another day.
Another favorite outlet is music and art for me, which I often combine. Listening to music while creating something that is one of a kind is very soothing and feeds my ever growing need to create. It actually ties into one of the stages of spiritual awakening which will be the next chapter I write.

My paintings are fed by intuition and the events that happen in my life. Therefore they often become very personal to me as they remind me and resemble a certain time of my life. 

Here is an unfinished painting I started awhile back before I first stumbled across the article about spiritual awakening. It’s a bit creepy and you can see the similarities in my painting and the picture of the article, even though I had never seen it before. The Rays coming from the head, perhaps energy fields, waking up…..I’m not sure how my mind painted something I had never seen, something I would stumble across at a later time. You can imagine my astonishment and surprise as I saw the article. It looked strangely familiar, but I couldn’t place it at first until I saw my unfinished painting sitting in the corner, resembling those same lines emitting from the person. ??????

Creepy? What do you think….? Was my mind and subconscious trying to show me something? Divine intervention perhaps? A nudge from the divine universe?

The picture from the article I read…..

My unfinished painting….notice the lines and eyes closed in both pictures as if taking in a greater meaning, awareness, a spiritual awakening of the mind.

Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

Spiritual awakening – Stage 4

Stage 4 in my journey was “Seeking to understand” and I definitely knew something had changed within. I was on to something, I just didn’t know what. Life felt enriched in many ways and yet I couldn’t put my finger on it to explain how so. Besides, there was also confusion when hunches materialized. It felt as if I had experienced something before, and yet I knew all too well that I had never been in those situations before. My perception had shifted and I felt more aware of everything around me. I had questions, but more so I felt strangely at ease and contend with how life was progressing.Stage 4 was described as seeing magic in the mundane and I remember straightening the sales floor one evening, preparing the store for the next shopping day. Not exactly a job that required a lot of brains and it was definitively different from what I was used to while running my own store. It was a non challenging task, a part of my job that could feel downright boring and mundane. There was nothing liberating about completing this task, it was simply just work, a means to pass the time, making a living and it was lacking a feeling of accomplishment. The job got done, but it held little significance to me, even though it was a task that couldn’t be compromised and had to be completed. Something happened that particular night and I remembered the movie “Night at the museum” with Ben Stiller guarding all the treasures inside the museum. Strangely I identified with this role as if it was up to me, the closing manager, to return all the toys to their rightful spot since they had gotten lost throughout the day. And just like that there was “Magic in the mundane”. A make believe fairytale, a land far away with all the toys coming to life long after everybody was gone. Of course that wouldn’t happen in reality but magic is reality to the one who believes and sees magic all around. And if not so then it was definitely the beginning of me going crazy haha. 
Some typical event of this stage to be experienced were: 
The thirst for spiritual knowledge – I found myself spending less time on social media, especially Facebook. Pinterest continued to be my best friend, flashing new pins at me that corresponded and tied in with prior saved ones, promoting my thirsting knowledge to grow even more.
Voracious reading – was an active part in my discovery and I realized that the stages I had experienced so far where much more than a phase. It wasn’t something that I completed and had moved on from, but it was something that was here to stay and to be experienced over and over. Something to add to my repertoire that enriched my soul and was here to stay with me forever. 

New books were flooding my home in the quest to learn more, seeking to understand. They were books connected to the soul, self help, the words of others who had experienced what I was going through and even a book talking about conversations with God. It was also a time I stumbled across Buddhism and Hinduism which I related to in many ways and felt connected.
It was a time said that you might seek like minded individual to share your findings – I was still a bit reluctant to share my experiences, in part due to not fully understanding them myself. I knew that it was during this phase that it must have felt to friends and family as if I had vanished off the planet. I didn’t keep up with connections as much as I should have been, or should I had? In prior times, everybody always came before me. It wasn’t that I became selfish overnight, but I was going through something, something I couldn’t explain just yet. I was on a journey to either find myself or return back home to myself and to who I was meant to be. I had felt lost for a long time and it was time to take care of myself for once. How was I going to explain that to anybody? I knew there was no way that I could have articulated that one, nevertheless trying to share it with somebody in the hopes that they could relate and understand what I was talking about. 
It was also mentioned that you might seek physic readings or attend a workshop. Although intriguing, I never did. Yet, that was and I say “Never say never”. As of now there are no plans to do so, but if one crosses my path at the right time, I can see it to be very possible that I will indulge. 
Another event could be traveling to sacred places such as Sedona, Stonehenge or Machu Picchu. My experience with such will require a separate post as there is so much to be said. 
And last but not least was seeking your true purpose. Something that could be experienced through really any stage. It’s another big one, one that makes me wonder how you might feel about this and if you have ever wondered about your purpose here on earth? Is there something that we are meant to do, and how do we know if and when we are doing it? For me it was and continues to be something that is connected to my core, my soul, something I feel deep inside. Something that is hard to explain but what is filled with the gratitude of being allowed to make a difference, or at least trying to do so and being able to see the bigger picture through increased intuition. The effort and desire to give it my best shot. It’s something that bestows the gift of awareness, letting me take it all in without taking anything for granted and finding joy in the simple things of life. The little things that often become the big things in life. Finding magic in the mundane and the strength to pursue and change my stars as I see them fit. It’s something that gives me the patience to endure by knowing that everything is how it is meant to be, even though there are big changes ahead in my immediate future. So the statement of “Hang in there” or “Everything will be ok” is out of place here and everything is already the way it is meant to be. If it has not progressed further, it is merely because another lesson needs to be learned to make the victory even sweeter. 
Typical emotions experienced during this phase are joy and exhilaration. I didn’t know how to articulate what had changed but I was happy that it did and I marveled in the feeling of bliss. Life had just become a little easier, maybe even a bit more enjoyable and the mundane tasks weren’t all that bad after all. 

There was also said to be impatience, a feeling that was described as not being able to learn fast enough. I was hungry and I had a yearning for knowledge, that was for sure. Sometimes it caused me to dabble in multiple books at the same time, but I wouldn’t label it as impatience. 
Xoxoxo ❤️

Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help

Spiritual awakening – Stage 2

The second stage was described as “A shift in perception”. The beginning of seeing things differently which would ultimately alter the perception of your life. This could include:

  • Questioning the Status Quo
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Relationship issues
  • Longing for a soulmate
  • Desire to move / change of scenery

The typical emotions felt during this stage were discomfort. A feeling that your life no longer fits you. Once again I was relating to the words somebody else had written and felt as if so, they were written exclusively for me. There was no doubt that I had begun to question the Status Quo of everything. I no longer felt my achievements to be fitting and my questions often involved something like “Is this it” and “Is this what it’s all about”. It couldn’t have been and there had to be more to life was always the outcome of those thoughts. Without a doubt something had awakened and I had questions galore. I refused to settle into something that my heart wasn’t sold on and so the The quest for more  began.

I look back to this stage as the beginning of my observation period. Not only did it ring true for me and my own behaviors, but I also found truth in the ones of which I found the majority of others conforming in. I often wondered if people were experiencing similar issues and I questioned why so many seemed to settle into going with the flow. I’m curios if this presents an easier path, but personally I see it as a path that would require me to stray from who I am. It was something I wasn’t willing to compromise any longer. I was on a journey of finding myself instead of losing myself. I had strayed for too long and a change was upon me. I know that we all have to decide for ourselves and there is no right or wrong whether you go with the flow or swim upstream. I thought of my own choice and knew that I was going against the flow and the values/beliefs that I had grown up with. They were still important, but also resembled the values and beliefs of somebody else and it was time to find my own truths. Time to polish my own individuality as the transformation had begun. I had no clue of this at the time and reiterate again that those “A-Ha” moments all happened in hindsight.

Further my job was no longer a fit. Despite the success I had achieved being a foreigner in my second home country, it also came with a huge price tag. A sacrifice I no longer was willing to pay. I needed a change of scenery. I knew that I had achieved everything I set out to do and once more it was while pursuing the values and beliefs of others which weren’t necessarily my own. The “Stuff” I had worked so hard for, was something I was still grateful for and I felt that I had put blood, sweat and tears into it, but it was also stuff that was burdening me down with responsibilities and obligations. Another first and the beginning of my realization that “Less is more”.

I won’t even talk about the relationship issues which I had questioned for quiet some time and which had spanned over a decade. Everything was contributing to this stage and my shift in perception. I was no longer willing to continue in the same fashion and accept the things I struggled with as a normal part of life. This was not going to be a permanent part, a part that was here to stay and I knew that one day I would look back at it as a phase in the transformation of becoming the best version of myself.

It was said that the typical emotions during this stage were discomfort and the feeling that your life was no longer a fit. Confusion and a lack of understanding was a normal emotion to be experienced during this stage and so it was for me. I knew something was different and I knew something had shifted. I just didn’t know what, when it happened and why it happened. Was I going through midlife crisis? The thought did cross my mind a few times but only led to more analysis and questions which is an entirely different post. I remember this stage holding little discomfort for me. Yes, there was confusion but I wasn’t resisting with what seemed to unfold in front of me. It was as if I had already surrendered to the process. I think it was an important step in my journey instead of fighting it all. Sometimes you just have to step back and let life unfold without interfering. You have to remain a “Warrior instead of becoming a Worrier” and trust that everything will be ok. This was one of those times. Somehow I managed to do this without being aware of doing anything different and special. I can only credit it to not fighting the universe that was guiding me at the time and I guess in that sense I did go with the flow.

I didn’t have all the answers, nor do I have them today. I didn’t know what was happening or how to understand it, but somehow I didn’t need to. Soon I would find the article that explained everything and which would confirm that I wasn’t going crazy just yet.

Most  of all I wasn’t alone and others knew exactly what it was that I was experiencing.

This little video reminds me of this stage…the transformation period of becoming the best version of yourself and most of all the quest in challenging the “Status Quo”. It’s a reminder that everything is possible and that you should be in no competition other than yourself. I hope you enjoy….

Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help, Spirit animals, Spiritual awakening

Spiritual awakening – Stage 1

“The transformation begins”

As I mentioned before it was Pinterest that steered me into the direction of spiritual awakening. You might wonder what exactly it means to be spiritually aware, awake and enlightened. Don’t you walk around with your eyes wide open every day and if so well then you are definitely not asleep, right? What could be missing? I had the same questions and it remains something that is somewhat difficult to answer. I think that the timing has to be right for you to believe and to see the signs the universe is throwing you. I like to say it’s made more of the things that you just feel, a instinct, a gut feeling, maybe a hunch. And even when you do feel it, you won’t know what it is, which stage you are going through, let alone that you realize that you are going through a stage or a phase. None will make any sense as it is new information and you are learning it for the very first time. Perhaps it’s a discontent you have felt, something you want to change in your life, maybe you have questions that have gone unanswered, until now. To say the least my curiosity was sparked as I first embarked on the first message and my hunger grew to learn more about this mysterious subject. I kept most of it to myself and shared very little of what I was exploring. How could I explain it to others if I couldn’t even explain it to myself. Many times I thought people would for sure think that I had gone crazy, not that I really cared all that much about what others thought of me. I had learned a long time ago that people will always have an opinion one way or another, whether you do something or not and even if you do it perfectly. Sometimes you merely get caught in the crossfire and have to accept things how they are. If you can, you will feel less burdened and may even be healthier and happier for sure.

One article exclaimed that there were 7 stages to spiritual awakening and that a person could go through any given step at any given time without any particular order. The process is different for everybody as we all awaken in our own way, so this is really where the tricky part comes in as there is not a one fits all process. From person to person we interpret and feel things in a different way and it was said that some people may even skip a few stages where others yet repeat a few stages to solidify the lesson until it is learned.

I still think that the first stage is vital and sets the course for all the other stages to follow while it remains unclear to me if the first stage could ever be skipped.
Stage 1 The Catalyst
The Catalyst is described as a life change, a paradigm shifting event that shakes and jolts you awake. Some people may need several of these catalysts which are said to be gentler after the first strong jolt. They weren’t in my case but I did require quiet a few to finally wake me up. I think the first big one was my fathers death, but I was only ten years old. And while I knew back then that life would never be the same again, I understand now that I couldn’t have had many plans and experiences at such a tender age that would have wanted me to completely change my life around! I simply was too young to understand, I didn’t know, but I still believe it was a vital event that shaped my life and my future that was to come.

The miscarriages were catalysts further forging my path. And there were a few others of which I am not sure if I could ever sort them into a gentler category. Being torn between two countries, being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis which almost left me crippled for awhile in excruciating pain and the fear that it would rob me of my life, a failed marriage and the estranged mother / daughter relationship that had brought me much guilt over the years. Maybe I had learned to live with most of those things, maybe I had accepted them over time and they were no longer catalysts at all. I don’t know for sure but I believe that everything that happens in our lives is here to guide us onto the path we were meant to take. So ultimately I have to believe that these things are a part of my journey.

The next jolt came as Sparky did not make it home after a vet visit and the aftershock of having to say goodbye. The final catalyst came 2 1/2 years ago as Nikki crossed the Rainbow bridge. I never recovered from that one and it shook me to my core. There was no way I could sleep through that one and it was then that I found myself in the early stage of waking up. Nobody ever said that it was suppose to be beautiful and it was better be explained as very painful, life altering, a life changing event, a shift, catalyst and jolt that was character building but not to be ignored.
Some example events / jolts can include:
A near death experience,

Loss of any kind,

A life threatening illness,


But also meeting your soulmate
Further it was suggested that spirit visitations could also be a part of it. This last one truly made me pause and think. It wasn’t that I had experienced any ghosts, aliens or other spirit visits, but how did I know and how could I make such a statement! How exactly did a spirit look like, would it take on a human form to sit here and chill with me, having a conversation as if it was the most natural of things? I was thinking back to the Spirit Animals that I had encountered, the sightings and the incidents in nature that remained mostly unexplained. Could it have been?
The summary of the emotions experienced during this first stage were:



Not understanding what was going on,


And the difficulty grasping that it happened to begin with.
I definitely could relate and without a doubt I knew that I had experienced stage 1 in the process of spiritual awakening. I’m still curious and wonder how many others experience similar instances. For myself, many questions were answered and the article even though it was read in hindsight and might have not guided me at the time, it still shed a lot of light. It brought explanations and clarity to me during a time I felt alone and confused with the feelings I couldn’t articulate and share with others. I look back to these painful catalysts and I have learned to embrace them. I don’t hold any bitterness as these painful thresholds are nothing more than a push towards a life that is enriched and lived to the fullest. A life with my eyes wide open and my senses heightened to take in all of what truly matters, in all of it’s glory and all of it’s beauty.

How could I ever be bitter about that?

Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

The quest for more 

It was my friend “Pinterest” that peeked my curiosity and was guiding me without being aware of it at the time. I had reached a point where I was questioning everything these days. Old learned principles and my way of life was simply not enough anymore. I was existing but I was not alive. Physically I was breathing, but inside of me my soul was dying a little more with each passing day. The void grew bigger and I couldn’t remember a time where I didn’t feel burdened and bogged down with responsibilities and obligations. Really, it’s been like that for years, who was I kidding. I grew more and more intolerant to it, while growing more and more tolerant to changing my stars. I didn’t know how to do that as I felt trapped in a vicious circle that always had the same outcome. I didn’t understand all the components involved and I didn’t know what was going on, but I was willing to listen in the hopes to attain more insight and understanding. I had noticed physical signs in the form of totem animals and their symbolic meaning. I would soon learn that it was only the beginning and more sightings were heading my way. I also noticed the silent messages and the signs through the quotes I found on Pinterest. I was trying to understand the underlying reasons as to why a particular quote would reach me at a certain time. One could easily dismiss this and think that it is a non brainer to come across quotes if that is what you are looking for. Of course it is on a superficial level but I was on a quest for more, a quest to understand. Understand what?…you might ask, what’s there to understand as it might seem nothing more than a set of mere coincidences. Somehow these weren’t coincidences to me and all the messages I read, I analyzed as to why they crossed my path at any given time. 

In order to summarize my spiritual journey, I now knew that there were physical signs but also silent messages that may enter our life from time to time. I once heard this quote “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This quote had profound meaning to me. I didn’t know if I was ready. What was required to be ready, to make changes and what needed to be changed in which order. The only thing I knew was that I felt a difference inside and I was ready to listen and understand on a different level, a level that was new to me. Some say that this quote originated from Buddha, others will claim that it is fake. True or fake, I came across a article that steered me into the direction of Buddhism and spiritual awakening as it outlined the individual steps. Like a sponge I was absorbing and taking in all the information. I was hungry and curious to learn. I heard that people will believe what they want to believe and once again I was reminded that I was a optimist, a believer if you will. I engaged in the countless articles laid out in front of me and for the first time things started to make sense. I was relating and I wasn’t alone as I found myself identifying with the signs, physical, written and the not so obvious and silent ones. I believed that me, the student was ready and what transpired was that the teacher was appearing to open my eyes.

One article described the 7 stages to spiritual awakening. I found myself glued to it, nodding as if a lightbulb inside of my head had finally turned on. You could experience any of these steps in no particular order and I was beyond amazed to realize that I could relate to most stages. A transformation deep within, a shift in perception had begun, God knows when but I had a pretty good idea. I was finally waking up, although I never realized that I was asleep. Once again I felt that my life had passed me through mostly existence but not through being fully awake, being fully alive. Weird enough was that my experiences with the 7 stages went pretty much in order with how they were listed in the article and at least they were in the beginning. I believe that the first stage is vital to make the rest happen and I’m not sure if the other stages can occur without stage 1 as it involves life changing occurrences. 

To be continued…stay tuned. 

Xoxoxo ❤️

Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Loss, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Survival, Wisdom

The “Ugly” Beauty store

Indeed I slept like a baby during the first winter storm last night. The freezing temperatures quickly turned the castle (a cancers home) into a chilling brrrr, and for a moment I was contemplating to turn on the heater, but refrained in the end. Instead I added that extra blanket to the bed which did the trick and kept me snug as a bug. You know what I mean when I say it was just the right weight, the right amount of warmth to cradle my body while keeping me comfortable and content beyond words. The world was alright in that very moment, a speck in time that held everything in place, attaining perfect harmony.It got even colder overnight and I woke up to a landscape frozen in abstract beauty. Branches, covered in white, with little frost icicles dangling, appearing to be delicately fragile, a beauty that was to be admired, (from afar) but sure enough too freezing for me to go outside. I wasn’t prepared as the sudden change was lacking time for transition and time to adjust. Winter had moved in overnight and just the other day I was sporting a sunburn. I even considered going outside to take pictures last night, but the cold, wet temperatures chilled me to the core and stopped me in my tracks to reconsider. The forecast called for a warm up after today, but for the moment, this was too hard to imagine and my body remained cold. I had to mummify myself with layers of clothing as if it was the middle of winter before I finally warmed up.

Locking all the windows in place, I felt a certain degree of sadness, as if I was executing the final step of locking something away for a very long time. Not to be seen, touched and re-opened for months to come and I felt a similarity to locking away certain feelings in avoidance of having to deal with them. A strange comparison perhaps, but I recognized the source for this comparison. It stemmed from my past, from feelings and events that wounded me so deeply, from time where my own life experiences carved a scar so profound into my soul that it would change my life….forever. And it was something or rather somebody that appeared back in my life to wake those memories I tried so hard to dismiss and lock away.

It was a different kind of storm that had swept through my life a few years back. A ugly hurricane, tornado and tsunami that claimed everything I had worked for so hard. A devastating time, based on the fact that I was promoted to run my own store and had surpassed a few jealous people that couldn’t share in the celebration of my success. I would tell you that it was due to my work ethic, my dedication and my hard work that got me noticed instead of saying that I was better then the ones left behind, but I knew that it was indeed the very reason as to why I was chosen. I was better and I say this in the most humble form and without ego. From a business aspect, I was simply the most qualified person for the job. I would also tell you that in my mind I was equal with everybody else, except the additional responsibilities that came with the job and that would allow me to use my newfound reign of power in the right context by helping others achieve their own dreams. I never got the chance and instead I found myself caught in the storm of envy and jealousy from my coworkers, the team that was so essential to not only my success but also to the success of the company and the operating store.

I was in uncharted territory and I had never seen any behavior like this. It wasn’t a consequence of my doing or that I wasn’t liked, but it quickly became a act ruled by selfish motives, a disregard to anything or anybody else (me in that case), including the sanity and livelihood of another. I worked in a retail environment that had the ability to make a difference in the life of its customers. An environment that empowered people to feel good about themselves and to give confidence. An environment that had the capability to teach and share, a venture I loved to be a part of. I think it stems back to my desire of wanting to make a difference for people, to help where I can, in whatever form possible.

I became a store manager but it wasn’t management I was looking for as I was aspiring to lead. To lead a well known beauty store chain, I could have never known how short I would fall of doing so. There was nothing beautiful about it and while it wasn’t the company and I remain to have high regards for its genius, it was the cattiness, the greed and the selfish motives of jealousy and envy that eventually caused me to call work “The ugly beauty store”.

I struggled to relate with the behavior and in the beginning I was naive enough to think that I could perhaps change those ways and help. I promoted a few people by providing an amazing opportunity and focusing more energy onto their success. It wasn’t enough and instead of gratitude, I had only given more power to the cause of of those seeking to destroy me. I was dealing with all sorts of things from personal mutilation, to employee affairs and fights, to drugs and lies, to…you name it. I fought for nearly two years and I have to say that I have never seen so much ugliness in one place, amongst any group of people prior in my life. A vendetta that was so strong with the intend to undermine and deceit, where lying became second nature without even blinking, to sabotaging and disrupting at any cause and without regard, it was simply too much for me to comprehend. What’s left is jealousy and envy….and still I struggle to understand it no matter how hard I have tried.

I was stressed to the max as I had to prepare myself to go to work every day, not knowing what would await, but it was seldom that it was anything good. I was losing myself and I was stuck in a non winning situation. Without a doubt it was the most difficult time in my career. I had achieved so much being a foreigner and succeeding in my second home country, being trusted to run the store of a multi million company, what an honor, right? For awhile I made great money and there was no turning every penny, trying to figure out how to make ends meet. It was pretty nice to splurge a few times, buy pretty much what I wanted and go on vacations.

It came with a hefty price tag and my health was deteriorating as well as the health of my mother in Germany. I no longer recognized the person that was looking back at me in the mirror. I had aged so much and the signs where very evident, not only in my face and with the wrinkles, the eyes the windows to the soul that seemed to had lost all their sparkle, but also by reaching the heaviest weight I ever carried. Eventually I walked away from it all and went home to Germany for awhile to help my mom and to help myself cope. I would have my own struggles for the next year trying to understand the behavior that I had encountered. The lack of compassion, the lack of being happy for somebody else’s success and the drive and intensity, including the methods used for a selfish agenda filled with jealousy that is beyond words to me. Today it’s all behind me and it was a tough time, filled with days of losing myself, losing my self confidence, everything I had ever known to be true, questioning what had always been my strength. I knew nothing anymore, I wasn’t sure about right and wrong and what I could have done differently. Worst of all I was questioning and losing faith in mankind, us as humans. To say the least I was hurt and disappointed beyond means.

Today I know it was for the best and the wounds are pretty much healed. I still don’t like it, but it no longer has a hold of me and the warrior within finally claimed her life back. With broken wings she learned to fly again and while the scars are still visible and perhaps will always graze my soul, I would not trade the person I have become today for what I had back then. No amount of money could make me go back as I am not for sale. You couldn’t pay my worth and again I say this in the humblest of ways, without a trace of arrogance. I have no room for that either in my life and it’s probably a pet peeve of mine to encounter people with that traits. Nobody is better and superior in this life and we all bleed the same.

A few days ago I came around the corner at my new job and almost ran into a former coworker from the ugly beauty store. There she was, both of us surprised and taken off guard, I quickly remembered of how miserable she used to make my life and realized that I didn’t miss her one bit. Drug laced cookies at work sending a coworker to the emergency room and playing the victim so well whenever convenient to turn somebody against me, she could have won an Oscar for acting. There she was and I felt almost nothing seeing her stand there. As a matter of fact and while I could have easily walked away leaving her to somebody else for help, I choose to assist her. She was surprised and came up with some BS small talk which almost made me feel pity and sad for her poor existence. I couldn’t help it but I wasn’t going to save her today, I had tried too many times in the past and while I had never given up on her, it was her who was not ready to be saved, leaving me helpless. We got done with our interaction and she couldn’t wait to walk through the exit door, texting somebody the news of running into me with a devilish, evil grin on her face. I simply smiled and untouched by her behavior, I thought that nothing had changed but indeed there was something very vital that had changed. Not with her as she was still stuck in her own mean ways, but with me and her actions no longer determined my path, I had risen above it and all of this was lying behind me now.

I know that I will never understand and perhaps I don’t need to understand any longer. Some answers are not to be attained and I am at peace with it now. I hold no grudges against her and the others she rallied against me as I have learned to view it as a painful part of becoming a more beautiful version of myself. A painful experience to shed the old me and awaken to my true life’s purpose that seemingly never was meant to be found in a retail environment. I may not make the same money I did back then but I’m richer in many ways. There is no need to prove anything or to rub a face into the fact, I even wish them all well. If it is true of what they say about karma, there will be hell to pay for quite a few and it is not my desire to contribute and revenge. I know that if given the opportunity to help, it would still lend a helping hand regardless of the past, despite running the risk of being deceived once more. Call it foolish and stupid but it’s who I am and I couldn’t turn my back from someone in need. I survived it before and I could again with a lot less feelings attached to it this time around. On the other hand, I just need to stay away far enough so I never end up in a situation like this. It shouldn’t be hard to do as I am not looking to becoming friends or having future regular run ins.

Two days later and out of the blue another prior ugly beauty store member sent a friend request per Facebook. It just happened to be the girl she used to have an affair with at that time. Coincidence …I think not and I have no desire of accepting as I don’t feel like seeing these faces pop up on my wall. I don’t care about the reasons for the request, remorse, bad conscience, do you need my ok accepting your friendship to justify and ok your actions? You see, although that I have moved on, finally, it still remains a sore subject that I finally have digested and that I finally spit out into these words you have been so patiently reading if you made it all the way to the end. So if it helps in any way….please read the following.

Be well, take care, no hard feelings, good luck and thank you but no thanks. I have forgiven you in order to become free, to lose the shackles you have placed across my heart. I finally succeeded but it was you who ensured that I would have enough memories to last me for a lifetime. And I’m not talking about the good ones.

Posted in Buddhism, Experience, Inspiration, Life, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Survival

Negativity – The emotional vampire

Another thing that I had to learn and what was standing in the way of playing well with others was that I had no interest in the negativity that was derived from that “gossip wagon”. Everybody was entitled to their own opinion and I full heartily believed in that, but it was the negative view and the negativity itself that sucked the life right out of me. I felt a great dislike, a discomfort and a disturbance if you will, whenever I was around those vibes. I knew right away that this wasn’t my cup of tea.

Have you ever noticed the emotional little vampires that buzz around you every day? Ever heard the saying that “Attitude is contagious”? I truly believed in it, but chose not to adapt to the same attitude or to become a negative mind in the process. Not if I could help it, even though I couldn’t deny that being around those complaining, always seemingly unhappy people was definitely affecting my own vibe. I could feel it wanting to rub off on me and I despised it. I knew that there was nothing to gain and it was always the same outcome. I wondered if something was ever resolved from that method but I guess I would have had to stick around to find out. I saw the same groups of people, huddling with new toxic subjects of negativity, filling the daily gripe in rallying each other up. The negative little vampires seemed to have an opinion about everything and knew everything better than everyone else on top of it.

Eventually I started to avoid their company. I could no longer bestow the doubt of them just having a bad day and it turned out to be an ongoing series of only bad days. We all have bad days, perhaps when things don’t turn out as expected or if life throws us a curve ball. But come on….every day!!! It was the same, day in and day out and it was mind boggling how much effort was directed towards being so negative. There was never a glimmer of hope, never a possibility for the positive, just a negative view of everything and anything that was on today’s menu. I wondered how amazing it would be if all that energy was directed into their jobs, but then this would be an entirely different chapter, wouldn’t it?

The gap of becoming an outsider widened. I couldn’t relate with the emotional vampires and they couldn’t relate with me. I was strange and different and what we learned so far is that I didn’t like to gossip and that I didn’t like to feed into negativity. By nature I am an optimist at heart but in short I was lacking interpersonal savvy and “I didn’t play well with other’s”. Perhaps interpersonal skills and playing well with others required to be tolerant or even join the gossip of being negative. I didn’t know and I didn’t waste much time with it. If that was the case, it would require me to change and I didn’t want to change for the acceptance to fit in.

I felt drained from their behavior and while life was not excluding me, I had my own share of negative experiences. I saw little resolution in choosing the negative approach. What was I to gain from literally chanting louder and louder, bitching about my situation and letting everybody know how much it sucked and how displeased I was? Would it miraculously change and fix itself? Maybe I would get temporary relief of getting it all out there and getting it off of my chest. In parts I believed that it would be healthy to not harbor negative feelings inside and to hold on to anger and frustration. I don’t know, maybe I should try it, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. Feeling my blood pressure rise, I associated this behavior with bitterness, hate and great dislike. That doesn’t mean that I smiled at a lousy situation that was happening to me or that I even liked it, but I looked at it more like a lesson. For sure there was something to take away from it, something that was to be learned. And I knew that many of the most important lessons we learn are born out of hardship and adversity. Bad things happen to everybody and nobody is exempt, but how we react and what we take away from these situations is up to us. I found it to be much healthier for myself to uphold and focus on my inner peace and not to disturb that balance, but once again it only caused others to abstain from relating to me.

I became stranger by the minute. At least in their eyes….

And then I came across this quote and all made sense once again. I was still on my way and I was coming home to myself.

Posted in Buddhism, Experience, Inspiration, Life, Motivation,, My story, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Survival

Does not play well with others 

I felt fewer and fewer people were relating with me. Perhaps it had been like this for a long time, but it was now that a new emphasis was shed onto the subject to make me reevaluate the “why’s”. I was quiet and only shared my opinions on a few occasions, but there were also times that I had to stand up for my beliefs. I called it the warrior side of myself that fought for the rights of innocent others and my own unique nature. I did so in a non confronting manner, more through sharing, but by not allowing my values and beliefs to be swept under the rug or to be labeled as unimportant and false.
I remember a performance evaluation at a prior job and it was narrowed down that I needed to work on my interpersonal savvy. Interpersonal skills are used by people to interact with others properly. “Properly” it said, leaving me to believe as if I didn’t know how to get along with others and clearly the fault must have been with me. It was nagging on me for a long time. How could it be, I always wanted to contribute and help others, I just wanted to be a part of the team and claim my rightful spot! Where was that and what did that even mean, to contribute and help others? Where was my spot? Maybe they didn’t need my help and clearly they didn’t viewed me as somebody they wanted help from. After all it was me who had to work on interacting with others “properly”. I contemplated the varies of the subject and learned about what I believed to be my part and what I thought could have caused the divide. I didn’t know if it was truly a fault of mine or was the world just not accepting of my individuality? Was the goal to change me, to lose my unique identity so I could join the herds and masses of it’s followers? I once heard that the “M” in masses is sometime silent and while I thought it was funny in the moment, I also felt a certain level of sadness from the quote for those that might find themselves in the midst of the masses, unable to pursue their identity. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind and what I believed to be the contributing factor as to why I didn’t play well with others.

* I was unwilling to join the gossip wagon. I stayed away from harmful conversations that expressed the hurtful opinions of others. The ones who did all the talking and knew little to no facts, the ones that were still eager to share their “perceived truths” at the cost of others. I knew how painful and unjustified these comments could be and I wasn’t willing to form an opinion without the facts. Even if my own opinion was present, it wasn’t meant to be displayed for the cost of ridicule, for the expense of somebody else. In that case the victim of the conversation that wasn’t here to defend themselves. It is normal to have impressions and opinions, we all have them, we all are human, but it was not somethings I wasn’t going to verbalize in a group and publicly share.

People couldn’t relate with my reaction, did I not have an opinion, why was there nothing to say? I walked away from the conversation so I would not expose myself to the temptation of forming a negative opinion about the ones shaming another human being. I avoided confrontation, not because I was afraid of it, but because it was a battle that wasn’t to be won in a group setting. Being one against many, I believe in the power of one and know that each and everyone can make a difference. Yet timing is everything and this was not the time.

That was back then and I know that more has changed since then. I learned to choose my battles while staying true to my beliefs. I no longer feel the need to explain as to why I don’t want to join the gossip wagon. I have lost the drive to fight for acceptance in explaining my opinions for the hopes they are to be understood. It’s a given to show compassion for each other, to help each other along and lend a helping hand. And while I will never give up, I know that this is an endless battle that is perhaps not won in numbers but by influencing one person at a time. It is my mission to lead and influence, one person at a time, to create a movement that promotes all good in humanity. A huge goal that seems daunting but is also simple as it requires nothing more than to be myself. You can love me or leave me and I hope you shoot for the first part.

I am grateful that I achieved that level of freedom while reminding myself that we all are in different parts of our own journey.
Conclusion…Sadly I will never have interpersonal savvy if it requires me to lose who I am in order to find my spot amongst today’s common behaviors. Happily I accept this as my truth and continue the fight for my inner warrior to be free from those constraints. And as Ellen would say…”Be kind to each other”.

Posted in Buddhism, Experience, Inspiration, Life, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

Today’s vibe…Be yourself

Not a quote but something I came across and was pondering.

While we seek acceptance and our place in the world…

While we hope to be heard in our yearning to contribute to humanity…

And while we alter and adjust ourselves, to portray who we believe that society wants us to be….have you ever wondered if it is worth the price of losing yourself in the progress? Have you ever considered the sacrifice you are making when you suppress your true self? Exhausting to say the least. We need to remember to uphold and embrace the truest/purest version of ourselves. One that is free to soar without being stifled by the need of becoming a more acceptable version. Who decides this anyways, you are beautiful just the way you are.

Be yourself and embrace your own unique light….the world will adjust!