After 16 moves to as many cities, 29 jobs, a couple of marriages, and a myriad of relationships, I've lost and found my inner-child, discovered the power within me, dropped my Cinderella complex, loved too much, enabled, disabled, and self-helped until I'm smooth worn out!
I've been reborn, remade, changed, and rebranded so often I'm the human equivalent of a box of Wheaties. I don't need a new and improved me, I just need to fall in love with the one I am.
I know, I know. I am a very complicated being. I guess my own complexity has kept me running lo these many decades. I just never have felt comfortable in my own skin and someone thought I could reinvent my way into one that fit better.
Like my search for that perfect pair of jeans (a fruitless quest) no matter how many I try I on I am destined to compromise between the ones that hide my thighs, but gap in the waist, or suffocate my abdomen but lift my rear -- it's nigh unto impossible to find one single swath of denim that's flattering on all counts.
Perhaps I need to invest in a really good pair that does the best with what they have to work with. I guess I need to invest in me and do the very best with what I have to work with. It seems I can't overcome all the flaws but I have some real assets I can accentuate. I have a wicked sense of humor and a wonderful ability to make others laugh. I can listen longer and empathize deeper than most. I have great Irish blue eyes that see past the worst and into the best. I love quite deeply. If I can accept my figure flaws, surely I can accept my defects of human-ness -- and if not embrace them, at least wear a stunning pair of strappy, red patent stilettos to show them to their best advantage.
What will you do today to show yourself off to your best advantage?? In clothes, thoughts, or attitude?
For those hoping I was going to talk about uncovering the secrets of the universe by contemplating your navel? Sorry to disappoint – this piece is all about control. Not self -control, out of control, or even losing control – Locus of Control.
It’s been a long time since I was introduced to the term – but it has to do with how we view the world – do you see yourself as someone the world happens to? Or, do you think you are responsible for shaping your world?
If you think that life is more about chance, fate, whimsy and happenstance, you probably fall in the outie camp – You have an outward Locus or center of control. When you win the Lotto it's because you got 'Lucky'.
If you think, yes, somehow you are responsible for the oil spill, the failure of your marriage, the stock market and Lindsey Lohan’s sobriety, I suspect you are an innie – you believe you have the reins in this horserace of life. When you win the Lotto it'll be because you picked the right time, place, and numbers.
I am decidedly an innie that really needs to get some of her outie going on. A friend likes to remind me: “It’s not all about you”. It’s not that I’m particularly selfish, but I do give myself more credit that I want or deserve with respect to managing the affairs of this planet of ours.
Remember the term I used last week? Chill-ax? I think I need to try to do some of that… Hand over the reins for a while. Rest a while. Sure. I could begin by contemplating my navel, Oooommmmmmm…
So? Are you an innie or an outie? And what would you rather be?
Good day Brave heart sisters -- There's a reason I adopted ellenoutloud as my professional persona, website, and user name.
I found that nothing has ever been resolved by keeping my mouth closed. Oh, it has stirred up more than it's share of trouble, to be sure. But even trouble-stirred is better than elephants ignored -- I cannot fathom the notion that not addressing a problem will somehow make it go away. If I've learned anything my brief tenure on the planet, it's that unattended troubles don't get better, they get bigger!
Look to your own life and see if I'm right. Does that unpaid bill get paid if overlooked? No, they tack on penalties and late charges. Does that nagging pain in the stomach go away if you ignore it? Nope. What about unspoken hurts and disappointments? They grow on you, don't they? And not ever in a good way.
It was of tremendous importance in my own life to discover that speaking up and airing a "matter" did not single-handedly cause the planet to implode. Oceans have not dried up, tsunamis didn't rise up, quakes didn't split the continents. I have lost days of my life pondering and worrying over a prospective outcome rather than confronting the issue at hand. And nothing has ever transpired that was nearly as awful as the reality I cowered from.
So, I encourage you to step out and speak up. Eat the live frog first. Unstick whatever’s stuck in your craw. Live out loud.
Pay attention to your elephants – unless you tend to them and invite them to move on they sure can be ferocious!
And yes, I'd love to hear about the frogs, elephants, and bears you're wrestling with today
I have been continually amazed how I have been guided through the greatest challenges and difficulties of my life. Whenever I have faced a daunting seachange, the Creator of the sea has led someone to my side to help me through it. It’s never failed. Part of the reason I weather change so willingly is I am excited to see to whom I shall be introduced.
It was the summer camp counseling gig in Colorado, a spontaneous trip I took my second year in college that led me to meet the dearest friend of my lifetime. In pulling anchor and moving to another state and opportunity I found my husband. In transiting from city girl to country mouse I discovered an array of fascinating people I never would have/chould have met on the trajectory of my life plan.
Now, I’m on the border of two countries, with one business ending and another taking off, midway through another exciting ride. And again, I’ve found a wise, supportive buddy to hold my hand on the roller coaster of life as it makes it way through the inevitable ups and downs.
Life has not gone according to plan – at least not to the plans of my creation and devotion. But I have found the fates always provide other, better, decidedly more necessary routes than the ones I would have chosen for myself. Best of all? I’ve always been given a companion for the next phase of the journey.
In my willingness to step out I’ve found others waiting and willing to step in. In the letting go you find the reaching for. I am grateful that so many gifted, caring, loving, teaching folks would reach back.
I encourage you to step out today. I bet there are several folks willing and waiting for you to, and ready to step in to help you.
Ever notice that what bugs us most about other people we’re often guilty of ourselves?!? I know of what I speak! Well, come peek over my shoulder for just a sec and you'll see what I mean...
The phones were crazy at work yesterday. I was on the line with a, shall we say, “long-winded” fellow who had decided right then would be the perfect time to detail his entire medical history beginning with that nasty illness back in ’79.
Suns rose, moons set, still he talked. And talked. I listened patiently (for me) through all of his recap of the 1980’s and most of the nineties, while my other lines rung off the hook. Several times I would excuse myself from Mister “But-Wait-There’s-More” to take another call.
The last time I put the gentlemen on hold I ended up on another call for longer than I expected. When I finally returned to him I heard: “(deep sigh) …and that’s how I ended up in Arkansas!”
I stuttered, and sputtered, and started to explain how I had been on the other line and hadn’t heard a word, when he said: “Thank you SO much for listening to me. You don’t know how much that means. I guess I really needed to say all that. Thank you.”
Dirty worm that I am, I said, “you’re welcome. My pleasure.” But I promise, I am really going to make a better effort to both listen, and hear. See? Watch. My head’s going up and down. I’m listening.
What can you do today to make someone feel really "heard?"
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about choices – how we make them and whether we really have them. You know, having those ‘deep thought’ conversations with myself. As I struggle with the paralysis that often accompanies decision-making, I am wrestling with right choices. I haven’t always made them in my past.
In fact, I have made a lot of poor choices, and I’ve certainly suffered the consequences of them. Sometimes I chose poorly not understanding the consequences involved, sometimes despite them.
Choice-making was easier, I think, early on. I was either more courageous or more naive, but I didn’t go ten rounds with options like I do now. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to “what if?” myself right off the deep end. Usually, when I struggle THAT hard with a decision, either I don’t have enough information to make one, or I know what the decision must be and I don’t want to do it.
I miss the days when I could jump off the high dive of decision-making without first check to see if there’s water in the pool.
Maybe the difference is that in our early years our choices are teaching us and later on we choose based on what we’ve learned? Or, not.
Guess I wouldn’t make a very good contestant on Let’s Make a Deal. After all, it’s only a 30-minute show. Maybe, just maybe, I’m over thinking things, and the only real decision I need to make is where to take my nap!
I wish you all a happy weekend. May your decisions come easily and your nap opportunities often!
I wonder how we would behave if we REALLY knew how many people were watching us? My dear friend and writing partner is getting ready to move across the country. (AAACK! Is she crazy??)
I am absolutely in awe of her focus, organizational skills and stamina since “Move”, at this particular juncture of my life, has taken on the mantle of swearword. I have found that moving, in terms of physical relocation of one's belongings, is a practice best left to those with the chronological age of about twelve, with the emotional and physical stamina to match. Yep. Moving is best left to a super, strong twelve-year old.
I’m still recovering from my last move two years ago. I find the whole, "where is my bra?" adventure tremendously unsettling. There’s a perfectly good reason most of my packing boxes now double as end tables. I didn’t think I could survive one more day as the answer-woman. How did I get appointed “The One Who Knows Where EVERYTHING IS.” Clairvoyant, clairaudient, I can see through moving boxes! They speak to me. By the time we were done I thought "couldja,didja,what-didja-do-with" was my new Indian name.
Back to topic, my friend is practically whistling through this seachange of life! She’s powering through all the tough stuff with nary a whine on her lips. (I said whine – with an H. It took me a pantry full of the red grape variety to get me moved.) I watch her attack each task with gusto and grace and frankly I want to slap her! C’mon, be a grouch. Bitch. Moan. Carry on about how hard this is.
Nope. She’s going to show me how to tackle the hardest tasks with a positive attitude and spirit. She’s going to demonstrate exactly how you do the tough stuff. You make it fun. You dive in. You laugh. You dance. Funny thing is? She doesn’t even know she’s setting a good example or how high she’s raising the bar – or even that she’s being watched --
she’s too busy dancing.
-- I'd love to hear how you are Tango-ing through the tough stuff...
I was barreling down the freeway last week when I saw a highway alert sign that read: Rough Road Ahead. Thanks for the heads up, I thought.
Wouldn’t it be great if life came with flashing roadside alerts? “Warning: tough patch coming”. “Fasten Your Seatbelt, It’s Going to Get Bumpy”. Or, for those of us in the midst of relationship angst: “Use Extreme Caution When Exiting.”
I know, I know. We should always be prepared for life’s big emergencies. Still, we’re humans, and we tend to get pretty comfortable driving down the road, minding our own business, or at least somebody else’s. Then WHAM… screech…. Out jumps the unexpected ___________________ (fill in the blank) illness, layoff, break-up.
A little warning before we have to slam on the brakes and take corrective action would be appreciated.
It’s funny, I used to be so fearful of what lay ahead I was overly cautious – like one of those driver’s you honk at going 35 mph in the fast lane. I was always braking as I got to the on-ramp. Now I’ve probably over-corrected, and anxious to cover a lot of ground I go careening down the expressway.
I guess we can’t prepare for every eventuality, but it does help to keep our emergency kits packed and at the ready. I suppose it’s the near miss of the hurricane that’s got me thinking. Bottled water, check. First aid kit, check. Phone number of best buddies on speed dial, check.
What’s in your kit?
I wish you a happy, productive, enlightened, bump-free week!
Okay, Law of Attraction fans. This one’s for you! Just yesterday I posted a piece about ‘emergency preparedness’, and how we never know what’s waiting for us a little further down this road of life we’re on.
Right after that I blew a gasket. No, I don’t mean I blew a casket, my Buick did.
Now I’m not going to do a blog on Auto Mechanics 101, but I would like to stress that there’s really only one thing that’s super hard on the engine. Heat. Repeat after me: Heat bad, Tarzan, Cool good. So when the pretty little red thermometer symbol thingie turned bright red? That was the clue that the car was pretty hot.
Hot enough that said car decided the struggle wasn’t worth the effort so it decided to die mid rush-hour when apparently the flow of traffic likes to run about a gazillion miles an hour. Okay, maybe just fifty, it’s hard to tell when you’re stalled, they’re not, and all you hear is the whooshhhhhhh as everyone flashes past you.
Ever notice how good your hearing gets when your eyes are closed?
I opened mine just in time to see the sweet thing behind the wheel of the car rapidly approaching mine, who was really, really involved in that text message she was crafting. You know, I’m all about writers, but there is such a thing as right time, right place.
I’m not sure how effective honking the horn is to those in back of your vehicle but I leaned on that sucker with everything I had. She looked up, in time. I’m blessed.
I don't really think that just because I wrote about roadside emergencies I had one. I like to believe my guardian angles were sending me a big metaphysical "heads up". Still...
Today I’d like to focus on prosperity. Abundance. Lots and lots of abundance. Abundant prosperity. Yes. The open source…I'm visualizing how winning the lottery would only enhance the warm, generous, loving, human that I already am… ah… --
May all of your wishes be happy ones, and may all of your wishes come true!
Good day, Bravehearts! Just so you know? There’s very little I haven’t messed up, few mistakes I haven’t made. Seems I’ve misstepped, lock-stepped, twelve-stepped and quick-stepped through this life of mine – which means I’ve been stepped on, I’ve stepped upon, and often just stepped in it. The good news is, since most of my rough edges have been knocked off, I’ve learned a couple of things along the way.
The biggest mistake I ever made was selling myself short. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to morph in to somebody else – somebody approvable. I did a poor job of living up to the person other folks wanted me to be, or the one I thought they wanted.
I’ve tried to be quieter, thinner, softer, sweeter. I’ve put up, shut up, let up. No matter how hard I tried I still ended up the loud, sensitive, frizzy-haired chick with a big heart and thighs to match.
I would have been way ahead of the game early on if I’d put down my makeover list, worked with what I had, and developed my strengths – my humor, compassion, and ability to communicate. When I finally focused on that? My life turned around dramatically. I get it. I wasn’t real good at being some one else, but it turns out I’ve done a dandy job of just being me.
I highly recommend you enjoy today, and I encourage you to just be you! As Carly Simon sings: “Nobody Does it Better!”
There is great serendipity in mistake-making! Sometimes, mistakes and accidents turn out much better than some of the things we do on purpose. Like a typo you hadn’t intended that actually makes more sense than what you’d planned.
I have a friend that misread one of my promotional pieces where I talk about being a motivational speaker, a natural born-encourager, and an exhorter. She read that as “extorter”. Kind of changes the whole meaning. Extort comes from the root word “torture”. Well, having reread some of my writing, perhaps she’s on to something…
My point is, sometimes what we say and what we see may not always be correct but it may still be just right!
My niece was raised to enunciate words very clearly – in doing so she often puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable. I remember when she said she found something in her refrigerator she hadn’t expected and she was startled, only she hit the first syllable really hard. It came out START-ulled not start-ULLed .
At first I was going to correct her, but then I thought, “huh, seeing her favorite food in the fridge surprised her, it gave her a start – she probably was START-led.” And if you were to take a peek in my Kenmore Side by Side? Trust me, you’d be startled too!
So hear this: Everything that happens today may not go the way you had planned.
The universe may have cooked up a whole mess of surprise casserole for you.
Whatever happens today?
o You are MORE than equipped to handle o You will undoubtedly learn from o You’ll never forget – IF You choose to make it memorable!!
Have a blessed and memorable day -- Get Started, or Start-led!
I'd love to hear what starltes you? What mistakes made turned out better than your plans?
One of the features of the community I inhabit is “minimal maintenance”. That means most green, growing things, like grass, have been replaced by gravel. It’s everywhere. Our backyard is gravel on concrete.
Fortunately, gray goes with everything so we’ve brought in huge planters and stuffed them full of fuchsia oleanders and hot pink Roses of the Desert and Purple something-or-others that will thrive in their pots. Okay, maybe not thrive, how about stay alive.
In two years we've learned which plants have the temperament to withstand the incessant upwards-of-ninety degrees this climate provides. They do better than their gardener!
In these stifling climes “gardening” becomes an aerobic activity – you’ll break a sweat watering. You can’t let a day go by without tending to the flowers or the sun will burn them up in a day.
So last night, as I was moving the hose around the steamy cement, I marveled again at the revelation that the prettiest, lushest, most abundant flowers we have we never even planted.
You should see the periwinkles. Beautiful, purple, lavender, lilac vinca and they are everywhere – they grow in the gravel.
I should say, they FLOURISH in the gravel. Carried on the winds, nurtured by the rains, tenacious in the droughts - they were planted not by intention but by fate. No matter where they’d hoped to be, they landed where they were blown – adjusting to their circumstances and flowering like mad! --
I pray wherever you’ve been blown today you adjust, flourish, and flower like crazy!!
As my sister tells it, when we were 4 and 6 years old, our parents would have us stand up on the fireplace together and entertain our grandfather by belting out show tunes from Camelot, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady. I don’t remember this at all but she swears that I would beg to perform, shrieking: “Lemme! Lemme! Le-meeeeeeeee!"
Hmmm. Perhaps I still do.
I do cautiously admit that I’m a bit of a stage hog, and limelight is my favorite color. While I’m afraid of needles and I don’t think I have the guts to get a tattoo, “Drama Queen” does appeal to me. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable with that.
No doubt, if you are my polar opposite, shy, and uncomfortable in groups or in the spotlight, just reading this is bringing on a bad case of hives or some minor hyperventilation. I have the same reaction when I think of being alone, or worse, ignored.
I am only starting to accept me for who I am, and I still wish I were quieter. But that’s not in the cards, nor my DNA. So I may not have a fireplace to sing from, but I’m going to sing show tunes at the top of my lungs until I get it right – as Dolly Levi might say -- before the parade passes by.
-- Here's hoping today finds, well, if not a song from your lips, a song in your heart. I'd love to hear what you're singing about today?
Long before that weird, media grabbing, attention seeking, celebrity-wannabe couple stalked and crashed that White House dinner, I went to a party uninvited, too.
I really wanted to go to my Senior Prom. It was less than a month away, and I didn’t have a date, when my big, serious crush of all crushes, my one-kiss wonder pseudo boyfriend who had been dating the same girl for two years came over to my house. I remember we were in the den, and we were standing, facing each other. He was staring at me, getting real emotional, and struggling for words when he finally got out, “uh, I was wondering, if you would go to the Prom with me?” (long pause).
Can you imagine how thrilled I was?
So, I said to my BIG SERIOUS CRUSH, “I’d love to go to the prom with you”. And he said: (wait for it) “That’s good to know.”
See, as he explained it, he wasn’t inviting, he was just wondering. He was just curious. Just checking to see if I would go. You know, like taking a poll or a survey.
Ow. Ow, ow, ow, yes that hurt. But did I mention I really, really wanted to go to Prom?
So, I did, along with a handful of other folks, “the un-asked”, one of which had a sailboat. The prom was held at a beautiful pavilion right on the southern California coast. My friends and I sailed right up and walked right in like we knew what we were doing.
Okay, yes, we were asked to leave, we were making a scene – but we also made a memory.
I learned a lesson that night. It’s stuck with me all these years later. You know, we don’t need to stand around and wait for life to invite us to participate. We can always jump right in. Or sail right up, for that matter.
Hey it’s always great to be invited but there’s no need to stand on ceremony, if you want to go somewhere, go! Make a move – heck, make a scene! Make a point, but make a memory.
I’d love to hear where you’re taking yourself today!
If we were to search this website for the word gratitude, we would get 3,177 hits.
And, I think I know why.
A lot of us are probably wondering, how in the world do I practice an “Attitude of Gratitude” when my husband just died? Or I just lost my job. Or I’m still out of work after two years. Or I lost my child. Or my child’s on drugs. Or I’m addicted to alcohol. Or _________ fill in your own blank.
It’s pretty easy to be grateful when we first fall in love, we just won the lottery, our tests results were great, and it wasn’t cancer after all.
I don’t have life’s answers. Heck, I’m still working on the questions, but I think we learn gratitude like we learn anything else, but practicing it, and we start right where we are.
A thousand years ago when I was trying to put myself through school and working two jobs, taking a full load of classes, and a long way from home, I called my mom. “Mom,” I started bawling, “This has to be the worst day of my life! It’s finals week, they’ve cut back my hours at the bank, my car broke down, oh, Mom, I’ve been on the beach all morning crying!”
After a pause she said chuckled softly and said: “Hmm, sounds like a pretty wonderful day to me.”
“WHAT?!?” I asked.
“Baby, anytime you can spend all morning crying on the beach? You’re having a wonderful day. You don’t believe me now, but one day you’ll know what I mean.”
And in the thousand years since I learned what she meant. BY COMPARISON to the things I have had to deal with, that day at the beach, was, well, a day at the beach. I learned there are worse things in life than final exams, problems at work, and car trouble.
Maybe every day we wake up – no matter what we face – we woke up. Maybe we need to remember life could be so much worse and it is not. Could that be the secret to blessing counting? We just take baby steps towards gratitude. We just thank God right where we are, and maybe even whisper, “Mom, you were so right”.
I'd love to hear what small steps you are making towards gratitude. I am grateful for this site, and for all who come here.