Giving Up Or Letting Go…

Today’s blog post is coming from today’s emotions. I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of dismay, a whole lot of frustration, some sadness, gladness, and a bit of gratitude. Sounds crazy, I know. Yes, even I have days like this. This blog is about smiling, happiness, random acts of kindness and so much more, but ultimately this website is about truth and occasionally that means I’m frowning or even having a day of roller coaster emotions. An important aspect of truth is being open and I do my best to be open with my readers. On days like this I remind myself..never give up..simply let go…

How about a blast from the past..”Mama said.”

I just recently heard this quote from Pastor Rick Warren, “God doesn’t waste a hurt.” It was made in reference to what S.H.A.P.E.’s us and our purpose. Our experiences are part of this equation and I agree with him, that often it is the painful experiences that are the most important. You only need to look around this website, and read my backstory, it becomes obvious that I took my painful experiences and transformed them into Unlimited Smileage.

If you are curious about the other letters in his acronym, here they are.

  • S is for your spiritual gifts.
  • H is for heart, the things you love to do.
  • A is for your abilities, what are you good at.
  • P is for your personality, what kind of person are you.
  • E is for experiences, all your life experiences–good and bad.

I find so many times my heart knows the answers and I can speak them, I can even write them down. Then my mind kicks in and so does the doubt. That’s when I ask myself, “Why are you doing this?” There are times when I feel like I give my heart and soul, everything I have to this mission and for every person I help there are two more waiting. This is not the glamorous life that it may appear to be.

I have some wonderful suppliers who make sure I have clothing on my back, a bike under my behind, a helmet on my head, bags to carry my things in, and pictures for this site, for that I’m ever grateful and humbled to know they found this a worthy cause. This site wouldn’t exist without some wonderful donations of services from those with more tech knowledge than I can ever hope to have.

The newest to add to this list of suppliers is Eddie Bauer, they have sent me clothing for my presentations so I’m not showing up in riding clothes. I felt as though this was the company that best aligned with my values and could provide the more professional, yet still casual and comfortable look I need when sharing with a group or business. A huge thank you and a big smile go to them for believing in me and what I do.

Are you wondering how I pay for all this if my sponsors don’t pay me, how do I what I do? It is through people like you. The donations that come in to the site go to taking care of the needs of others. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smile on a child’s face when he gets a new pair of shoes, or a the tears of joy from the Mom who’s refrigerator you just filled or even the assurance you get from paying the bill for a woman who couldn’t otherwise pay for a much needed PAP.ย  The list goes on. I’m never sure what the needs for the week may be. It is difficult to predict what the email requests will be. Some weeks I’m not sure where I will be, making it nearly impossible to know what my heart may see.

When I set out on this journey I gave up my apartment and sold most everything I owned, including my car. As a minimalist, I didn’t own much but I knew I would need a small amount of cash to keep myself going and to eat. I promised myself that I would not use donations for my own needs so I’m constantly on the search for freelance work as a writer. Those jobs have seen me through some tough times since I started this journey in 2011. Just like everything else in life, Unlimited Smileage is evolving, ever changing and so is the one woman show. ๐Ÿ™‚ When the going gets tough I never give up, I just let go….

What can you do? How can you be part of this evolution–the one thing I want more than anything, words of encouragement…yep..I want you to read this blog and leave me a comment that says you appreciate what I’m doing..maybe you have feedback..maybe you disagree with something I’ve said..all comments are welcome and fill me with the joy of knowing I have made a difference in someone’s day.. Yes, I know some of you are saying but I tell you on Facebook or in some other way..and for that I’m grateful but having it here as a permanent part of the smile movement would make my day..

 

Challenge!

What’s in a word? For those of you who don’t know, I put out a challenge on the Facebook page for Unlimited Smileage. I asked all the followers and readers to think of one word that they would like me to write about in a blog post.

The first word came from Kristin, a wonderful storyteller and friend. Kristin asked me to write about “challenge.” Amusing, that I challenge the readers and what I get back is challenge. Knowing Kristin that was her intent, fun.

Let’s start with the dictionary definition of the word; something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, or special effort. When first looking at the dictionary definition, I must admit, this didn’t seem like a very positive word. I mean really, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to battle and I’m not extremely competitive. Special effort could be given a positive spin or a negative one depending on your perspective.

I’ve never really looked at a challenge in quite the way the dictionary defines it. With that definition it would seem you are competing against someone or something and that ultimately there will be a loser. I’ve always looked at a challenge as the precursor to a joyous celebration. The rainbow after the storm. The oasis in the desert. I’m sure you get the picture. Does that mean that every challenge is a fun experience? No way! Does it mean that every challenge has the outcome I would think it should have or desire it to have? No way! There is no real challenge in always knowing the outcome. So what does it mean?

Simply put, it means that a challenge is only an obstacle if you give in to it. It means that what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger. Life challenges are inevitable, defeat is optional. When life challenges me in a way that seems out of alignment with what I desire I know that Spirit is telling me, there is a better way. There are no negative outcomes in a challenge, only lessons to learn. Learn the lesson and although the outcome may not be what we wanted, the outcome is a powerful form of positive personal growth.

Nothing in life is insurmountable unless you give it permission to be so.

โ€œWhen you do what you love, the seemingly impossible becomes simply challenging, the laborious becomes purposeful resistance, the difficult loses its edge and is trampled by your progress.โ€
โ€• Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

One Billion Rising–Stand, Dance

I thought it only fitting that I post this today as women, men, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, husbands and wives are rising up to speak out about the violence against women. I was one of those women wrapped in the chains of violence and it took me 22 long years, and 2 failed marriages, to break those chains.

My story didn’t start with the marriages. It started much earlier when, as a young girl, I was molested by a half-brother and a grandfather. It was many years later after breaking those chains, that I knew in my heart that those earlier circumstances were what lead me to the men I married. For many years I would not speak about the things I had been through and there are still details, no one knows. Not because I can’t bring myself to speak about them, but because I have found that I am able to help others without all the details of my experiences. Healing is a reality not just something we hope for!

However, you could say that my chains started even earlier than the first day I was abused. My parents divorced when I was 5 and I watched as my father threw my mother out of the house. I was hiding where they couldn’t see me and crying softly. I just knew it had to have been something I did. I didn’t see my mother for years after that. Despite everyone telling you, it isn’t your fault, as a child, you never really believe that. I don’t remember consciously thinking about it much but I would discover later, when I had my own children, that it had always been buried in my subconscious. I now know that it wasn’t anything I did but it took me many years to understand that.

I was blessed with 3 beautiful children and it was because of those children and my experiences of divorced parents I endured the abuse. Ironically, it was those beautiful children that helped me find the way out. They don’t know that, it wasn’t something they did or said. As a mother, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our children. I love my children with all my heart and I know they love me. I knew that then and it was as if a light went off..divorced parents or dead mom..divorced parents was a much healthier option for all concerned. This truly was a case of “Love conquers all.”

I have always been blessed with the ability to keep the smile in my heart despite the outside challenges I may be facing. However I have not always had the ability to truly know how to break the chains and stop the cycle of abuse. Learning to break that cycle is a true awakening to the power of who you are. It is a time of returning to spirit and knowing you are worthy of love and to be treated like the goddess that you are.

There are no excuses for violence against another human being. If you are reading this and in a violent situation, STOP reading, get help. Violence comes in many forms and is not always physical. If you feel anything less than extraordinary you may be suffering from abuse. We all need to rise up against violence! Children learn by example, they mimic what they see. We need to show them a world filled with love and peace.

If I only help one person in this world to break those chains I will have been a success.

I would love to hear what you are doing to stand up against violence..leave a comment below and share with the community of friends.

Blessings!

See a need, fill a need–that’s how I live each day. Do I always know how I am going to fill the needs of the day? No. The one thing I am certain of is that I would not be shown the need if there wasn’t some way of filling it. We are shown a need because we have the power to do something about it.

I am truly blessed with the friends in this community. All your donations go to helping fill those needs. Those of you who donated last week helped to feed a family with 4 young children that had almost no food. The money I make as a writer feeds me and the remainder goes to the random acts of kindness that happen every time I see someone who needs help. When I offer a Laughter Yoga session that is donation only, I make sure that everyone knows that although the donations are to cover my costs, if there is anyone in that class that has a need or knows someone else who does, those donations are theirs for the taking.

I have learned to be creative, think outside the box, and do whatever is within my means. If I don’t have what is needed I examine whether there may be some other way to be of assistance. It may be that I can guide someone in the direction of another person that can fill their need. I may make a phone call to a government agency asking the right questions to get the necessary solution. I don’t give up until I feel I have done everything humanly possible. There is always something we can do, even if it is to simply give someone a hug when that is all you have left to give.

I’ve quickly learned that when I give all I have, my needs are met. I won’t hide the truth, fear can sometimes get the best of me. I never let fear take control, I acknowledge that it exists and then I let go. Letting go can be a very powerful tool.

I’ve found that any time I am willing to let go of the outcome and let go of the fear everything works out for the best. I set my intention for the good of others, the universe and myself and all is well.

If you have ever found yourself in a place where you just don’t think there is anything you can do, remember, the most valuable thing you have to give is yourself and your time. Live to give!