Posts Tagged ‘God’

It’s Stronger to Forgive

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

032In stillness, when the silence seems almost magical and we sit by ourselves in a comforting, peaceful place…we can sometimes hear the whispers of Higher things. One of these is forgiveness. Make no mistake, however; though its voice is soft, forgiveness brings us power and strength beyond comprehension. Although many think forgiveness is a sign of weakness, of submission to or acceptance of injury from others, nothing could be further from the truth! Forgiveness comes from a highly evolved soul, one which knows that we can pardon others’ hurtful behavior while at the same time not remain a victim of it.

Forgiveness reflects love of self, so to find it we must turn our attention inward instead of outward. It is within every person’s reach, and yet impossible to achieve without at least some willingness on our part to feel it. In other words, to forgive is a choice, and some of us need to go through the pain of not forgiving before we’re ready for its healing effect.

The Pain of Anger

Why is it painful not to forgive? Because without forgiveness, hate is like a ball-and-chain, keeping us bound to the thing we loathe. In a very real sense, we give up our power to whatever we hate. Consider all the pleasures, happy thoughts, and creativity that could fill the hours we spend brooding over some person or situation we resent. Hate also breeds retaliation, causing more injury, destruction, and sadness…and of course, more hatred. Simply put, anger and animosity only lead to more of the same, and our entire lives can pass beneath this dark cloud of negativity.

Unlike the gentle tones of forgiveness, the voices of hatred, vengeance, and bitterness are loud, adamant, and raucous. They noisily grab our attention with promises of immediate gratification, causing us to say and do things we feel guilty about later on. Unfortunately, however, besides being the loudest voices, they sometimes yield short-term rewards. When we act out our resentment, we gain a false sense of power, righteousness, and superiority. In the anger equation, we are right and someone or something else is wrong! And let’s face it, who doesn’t love the satisfaction of being right? (Of course, we’re “right” according to our own view of what that is…) Also, if others cower to our bullying, we feel mighty and in control.

In its extreme form, intense anger demonstrated by tantrums, yelling, and physical aggression can be a physiological stimulant that accelerates our heart rate, breathing, and muscular tension, among other bodily effects. These sensations can actually be a “high” to some, who unconsciously look for a “fix” again and again. In this way, anger is like a drug, and one to which many become addicted. Like any addiction, however, the behavior and feelings often must be escalated to achieve the desired release.

Even on a lesser level of intensity, dwelling on the people and situations that are unacceptable to us can take up so much of our time and emotions that it becomes a distraction from dealing with other less compelling but very real emotions and problems. Things we might unconsciously wish to avoid are non-glamorous aspects of being human, including fear of close relationships, anxiety in social situations, confusion, low self-esteem, boredom, lack of motivation, feelings of failure…the list goes on and on. Like any escape from reality, however, anger blocks pleasurable feelings as well, like satisfaction at reaching a goal, appreciation of beauty in the world and people around us, and gratitude for the gifts we have in our lives. The saddest consequence of clinging to antagonism is that we become “stuck” – unable to grow emotionally and spiritually.

Working on Forgiveness

To forgive, we sometimes need more than just willingness. We actually have to work on changing our attitudes. Depending on how gravely we feel someone has injured us, this process can take time. The good news is that if we persist, we will always – ALWAYS – succeed in forgiving. Furthermore, even if we can’t forgive someone fully yet, we’ll feel better immediately just by taking small steps to try. Think of forgiveness as opening a window just a crack in a stuffy room. The fresh air we let in revitalizes us so much, we will want to open the window even more.

It’s crucial to understand that we cannot forgive others until we have forgiven ourselves. You’re probably wondering what you must forgive yourself for… The answer will be different for each one of us. What are the things you need to look at about yourself and your behavior that are or have been harmful to others or to you? It’s time to come clean about these things – write and talk about them, take responsibility for them, and make amends if needed. Now, here’s a real challenge: if you’re in conflict with someone else, say, a person you simply can’t stand, apologize to him or her for your part in the dispute! Sound crazy? You won’t believe how you’ll feel if you give it a try. Amends can also take the form of simply making better choices in the future. In many cases, we ourselves are the ones to whom we owe the greatest amends.

The hardest job is to develop more love and compassion toward yourself, but when you do this, the ability to forgive others comes naturally. If you get mired in resentment toward a particular person, here are some tricks you might try. One is to silently wish the very best for them (even if you know you’re lying initially). Do this every time you get caught up in anger at the person, and you’ll find the feelings loosen up and disappear over time. Another strategy is to make a short list of the person’s positive qualities, and read it to yourself daily or whenever negative thinking threatens to take charge of your brain!

One other fully guaranteed bitterness-buster is to make a list of the things you’re grateful for in your own life, apart from your anger at anything or anyone else. This is basically a positive displacement exercise, because if your mind is full of gratitude, there’s no room left for destructive thoughts.

Spiritual Help is Limitless

Alexander Pope said, “To err is human; to forgive divine.” In just these few words, Pope expressed that the act of forgiving requires more than just our mortal ability. As human beings, we make mistakes, have misunderstandings, and hurt each other. That’s where all the anger and hate comes from in the first place. Without something more powerful than our own limited mental and emotional capacities, we frequently aren’t able to forget or let go of that which has caused us pain. This is where we must reach out for spiritual help, and once we do, we are ultimately granted the strength to forgive no matter how deep the hurt.

What is your “something more powerful?” Many call it God, but others prefer terms like Universal Order, Higher Power, or Spiritual Center. It really doesn’t matter what we name it, as long as we are aware of two critical things: that He, She, or It has infinite power over the world and every single one of its troubles, and is a loving force that cares about us deeply as individuals.

Forgiveness and love are something we’re all born with. It is “life,” people, and painful circumstances that then start chipping away at us, teaching us to fear and to build protective shells around our core. If we didn’t have to create these insulating layers between ourselves and the world, we would all be able to trust, and freely love and forgive each other. It’s food for thought, wouldn’t you say? Maybe the true challenge and goal of life is to find your way back through all that accumulated defensiveness and hatred to reconnect with your whole, forgiving self. Seen in this way, the return journey is worth every step.

Pig at a Party: A Story with a Moral

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

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A woman heard that a fabulous party was going on in a swanky club downtown. Anybody who was “anybody” received an invitation to this extravagant soiree, which featured live music, comedians, an open bar, and a gourmet-prepared, eight-course meal.

Hearing the sound of happy laughter, singing, dancing, and celebrating, nearly everyone in the woman’s neighborhood wanted to be there, as did the woman herself. She and many people she cared deeply about went to the entrance of the gala, but were turned away because their clothes were not elegant enough, and none of them were popular or powerful enough. All who were turned away felt sad and ashamed at being rejected.

The woman soon found out, however, that all three of her daughters were at the party! She was delighted they were part of such a splendid affair, but now more curious than ever. She decided to take a risk and sneak in to see them, which she managed to do by hiding underneath a cart of hors d’oeuvres being brought to the guests.

Well, the party was everything people had claimed it was! The décor, the 40-foot buffet table, the guests adorned with diamonds and gold…everything was a picture of wealth, success, and joy. The woman, amazed and overwhelmed, looked around for her daughters. But while looking, she noticed something so odd, that she had to rub her eyes to make sure she was seeing correctly. Sure enough, there was a fat, hairy pig sitting on the couch! This was no ordinary pig, though. Besides a sapphire-and-emerald tiara on its head and blue satin hoof-covers, this pig wore medals around its neck to show the many awards and degrees it had earned from renowned institutes of higher learning. The woman could only stare in wonder…

She began to turn to the people around her, pointing out the pig on the couch, which by now had carelessly pooped on the dessert tray. The others only looked at the woman coldly, because they knew that the pig was of great importance and that the party would end immediately if they said anything derogatory about it or even hinted that the pig might be better off outside. To make matters worse, the woman saw her youngest daughter go up to the pig and start playing with it! It looked like her little one adored this fancy pig.

But nonetheless, what was a pig doing at an elaborate party? The woman saw her middle daughter just then, and she went to her and embraced her. She told her daughter that she did not think it loving that so many of her dear family and friends – some of whom were also the daughter’s family and friends – had been turned away from sharing in this celebration because they weren’t rich or powerful enough. Also, why was there a pig here? As a mother, the woman felt compelled to remove her daughters from this strange and snobbish gathering.

She went to her youngest daughter, who was still laughing with the pig, and pulled her toward the door. After all, since this daughter was barely fourteen years old, the woman had the legal right to remove her from the premises! The young daughter was surprised and started crying, as she still wanted to sit with the pig, who had offered to share a French éclair. But as the woman was about to drag her daughter out of the room, she suddenly heard her cell phone ring. It was God.

God told her to leave the party immediately…alone.

In spite of her anger and fear for her daughters, the woman obeyed because she knew that God loved her and was never wrong. She let go her young daughter with a hug and kiss, and walked out.

There are a couple morals of this story, both of them simple.

  • No matter how expensively a pig is dressed and groomed, it is still a pig.
  • When you try to force others to do something they are not ready to do, you start looking like a pig yourself.

Journal and Grow

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Journaling is not simply writing. It is a journey, a touchstone for personal growth. Think of your journal as a friend, one to whom you can tell your secrets and reveal all that burdens your mind and heart. You’ll never be met with rejection or impatience by your journal! Because of this, you have complete freedom to say it like it is, allowing discovery of thoughts and emotions you may have never known were inside you…

There are no absolutes for this type of writing, no “right” or “wrong” ways to keep a journal. Your journal is for you. Write in it as often as you want or need. Here are some suggestions for making the most of this marvelous tool:

  • Always journal in an undisturbed, quiet place that feels comfortable and “safe” to you.
  • Instead of writing about the events or people in your life, focus on expressing your feelings about the resultant situations or relationships.
  • If you believe in God or another spiritual Source, address your writing directly to this “power greater than yourself.”
  • Your journal is your private confidante. Be completely honest, knowing that what you write is for your eyes only. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling, and if you need to use four-letter words, that’s alright too!
  • If you are writing about troubling feelings, explore what aspects of the situation or issue are actually within your control. Regarding the parts outside your control, how can you change your attitude to restore peace and serenity to your mind?
  • End your writing session with a few minutes of silent meditation, during which time you try to focus your mind on just one calming object, place, or idea.
  • If you’ve written about problematic emotions, and these do not ease after journaling, share this part of your writing with a person whom you trust.

When We “Lose” In Love, Have We Really Lost?

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Most of us have had our hearts “broken” by a failed romance, some of us many times over. That special someone – the person with whom you shared your secret self, your problems and successes, your dreams, your feelings, your body, maybe even your living space – is gone. What we thought would never, ever happen while we reveled in the ecstasy of deep love and trust, has indeed come about and ripped us away from our beloved. It seems surreal, like a nightmare being played out in front of us. We think, how could this have happened? I thought he or she loved me! How could this person betray me, hurt me, and worst of all, abandon me, for reasons I can’t control or even understand?

In our grief, we cry and ponder what could have been. If only… she hadn’t cheated with someone else, he hadn’t been addicted to drugs, she hadn’t been afraid of commitment, he had treated me better, she hadn’t had baggage from her past that prevented us from getting closer, and on and on. With tightly-closed throats and stinging eyes that finally burst tears, we feel immersed in acute pain that seems to come from some unknown space between our brain and heart. What we had is gone. Something precious has been lost to us, something we wanted and believed in and were grateful for, even if we didn’t realize it before. Loss. Its sadness is unmerciful, its longing for a different outcome overwhelming and unrelenting. How, we think, can we possibly go on?

Terrible as this experience can be, we can and will survive. Fortunately, we have a safety net that is always there, one which never, ever abandons or betrays. God. For those of us aware, God was the One who created our loving feelings in the first place. What a privilege, what a “piece of heaven” to feel that much love for another! It is time to be grateful that we were able to experience this, no matter how it turned out in the end.

Romantic love and intimacy are special gifts from our Creator, a tiny glimpse of the ecstasy we will find in trusting Him with all our needs. Graced with the close, wonderful feelings, the joy, the sense of communion with another, we need to remember that these sensations existed within us. They were and are part of us, whether or not their target was able to return them.

In thinking about relationships, spiritual and emotional maturity demands that love not only be expressed in words, but in actions. When our partner’s actions don’t match our instinctual sense of the supportive, nurturing, gentle, thoughtful nature of real love, we are aware of this on some level. It may take awhile for us to become truly conscious of the lack of consistency between our partner’s words and actions – our own emotions can blind us for awhile – but eventually, the pain catches up to us. No one of us wants to face the possibility of a loss of love, the possibility that the other person either cannot or will not be able to reflect our love back to us in its original, intense, selfless, beautiful form.

But in the end, and no matter how long we try to push it away, the limitations of our partner and their effects on the relationship become undeniable. This is the point at which we are forced to make an agonizing decision. Can we live with our beloved’s shortcomings, whatever they are? We absolutely cannot change someone else, and trying to negotiate their limitations is basically fruitless. Ultimately, the choice to be in the relationship – or not – is our responsibility. What do we want for ourselves? Conflicting feelings of pain and longing can make this decision seem impossible. At this point, think about that safety net: the sure guidance and comfort of God, Who has been loving and helping us all along (whether we knew it or not). By turning to this Source of all love, we are strengthened to take care of ourselves. There really is no earthly hurt or dire situation that cannot be handled for you by God.

Nothing happens by accident. If your “romantic ideal” lets you down in a way you cannot accept, try to see this as an indication that something better is planned for you. Be grateful for “better,” which means something more fulfilling and more satisfying is waiting for you. The door is open now. All that caring, happiness, physical and emotional ecstasy, closeness – they are not lost when their particular object disappears for some reason. They are still there inside you, part of your wonderfulness. You do not have to grieve their loss, because they are within you like a light that shines no matter how dark it is outside. Remember this!

Loving helps you to grow, but losing love can help you grow even more. If you can understand this on a deep level, with the awareness that an ever-caring God is handling all the details of your life, you will walk forward with courage, faith, confidence, compassion, and forgiveness. You will love again.

Being Sensitive in an Insensitive World

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Do you sometimes think you get your feelings hurt too easily? Would you describe yourself as a little – or maybe a lot – sensitive? If so, I can relate! Well do I know the agony of having someone hit me with cruel words or reckless criticism, watching much-anticipated plans fall through, being let down by a friend, or not getting something I was hoping for or thought I deserved. Ouch! I want to back away, isolate myself, get angry, cry perhaps, and lick my wounds. Then I berate myself for taking things so hard, for being “so damn sensitive.” After all, sensitivity means weakness, right?

Being touchy like this certainly makes a person prone to getting hurt by others and the world, at high risk for suffering pain in all its excruciating extremes. And who wants that? I have learned from my experience as a fairly thin-skinned person, however, that I make things infinitely harder when I criticize myself for being that vulnerable in the first place. Wishing my eyes were blue instead of their actual hazel color doesn’t change the fact. And in the same way, wanting to be less sensitive than I am is nothing more than an avoidance of reality.

When I’m harsh and judgmental with myself about this personality trait – sensitivity – honestly looking at my reactions and feelings is nearly impossible. The brutal inner critic takes over… Why do I have to get so emotional about that? I shouldn’t care so much. I’m overreacting. I’m being childish. This doesn’t bother other people, so there must be something wrong with me because I’m upset. And on it goes, with my peace of mind spiraling downward.

It’s enough! These kinds of thoughts just sabotage me by pulling me away from acceptance and from taking responsibility for myself. Now when I sense myself going down this road, I pause and take a self-caring breath. What is bothering me, and why? If I do some self-examination about the source of my hurt feelings, I can learn a lot! Sometimes I am reacting to something in the present that subconsciously reminds me of a troubling situation from my past. Or perhaps I’m exploding over one issue, but my melt-down is just a “symptom” of difficulties I’m having in one or more other areas of my life. Sometimes I need to look at what my expectations were regarding whatever is bothering me – were they reasonable? In every instance where I find myself disturbed, I’m either losing something I have, or being deprived of something I want. Trying to identify what was or is at stake leads me more quickly to accepting my feelings.

Digging a bit to get to the root of my “hot buttons,” if you will, is a compassionate approach that gives me new information about myself. Not only that, it’s the first step to healing from the pain. Taking a close look at and becoming aware of why certain people or circumstances affect me so strongly can give me insight, help me notice patterns, and hopefully lead to talking about what I uncover with myself, God, and someone I trust. By being gentler with myself, I can lessen my distress immediately; and if I’m patient, it’s possible for me to stop reacting negatively altogether. It takes some work, but wholeness and calm will ultimately replace the angst.

Over my many years of being a sensitive person, I’ve come to see that my reactions – particularly the upsetting ones – present opportunities for personal growth. Obviously no one likes pain, but I’ve learned that until I’m able to really feel it and take an honest look at it, it keeps repeating itself in situation after situation, and with person after person.

Ironically, by acknowledging and being more tolerant of my vulnerable side, I’ve actually become less sensitive. But I know I’ll probably always have this tendency; it’s a part of my nature, after all. Changing my attitude towards this trait has helped tremendously, though. Stop and consider that sensitive people are some of the most loving and creative individuals in the world! With the ability to experience all of life with extra “intensity,” they perceive themselves and the world around them with greater depth and awareness. And because they have generally suffered more, sensitive people possess greater understanding and compassion towards others in pain.

My lesson from being sensitive is that the more comfortable I am with this part of myself, the less it presents problems in my life. I believe this generally holds true for most characteristics we wish we didn’t have. The more quickly I can accept myself right now – with my positive traits as well as my defects – the faster I can move past the issues that cause me misery.

Be cautioned, however, this kind of growth – which is really the process of developing a healthy love of self – takes courage and the willingness to feel some discomfort. In my own case, I’ve never been able to do it by myself. It’s way more than my ego can handle, I’m afraid. So I rely on a Source that has far more power, One whose strength and love are basically guaranteed every second – God. With help like that, things about me that once seemed like total liabilities turn into blessings of self-discovery and growth. After all my struggles in this area, I am rewarded by seeing miraculous improvement in my attitudes and behavior. Truly, I’m even beginning to think being sensitive is one of my best qualities!

Soul Hunger

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Evening comes early on this gray, cold, and rainy day. I can hear it. The steady, hushed patter of raindrops hitting the pavement outside. Some are lightly slapping the leaves of trees near my window. It’s a comforting sound, quiet and consistent and natural. I imagine sitting under the eaves, wrapped in a warm, dry blanket. I am listening to the drops; feeling and breathing the cool, moist air; smelling the fragrance of the soil and plants and pavement mixing with the water. I could sit for hours like this…

Except that I cannot, because life’s demands and responsibilities don’t allow such immobility for long. Or perhaps I don’t allow myself this time – I am programmed to complete, to accomplish, to produce, to resolve.

This robotic state of productivity, however, can only continue for so long until my soul becomes tired and hungry. Hungry for union with my mystical, ever-present, ever-caring Source. The One that makes the rain and earth it falls upon; including the small birds that hide cleverly under leaves and intertwining branches. I know they’re there. I want to sit with them and be as they are: silent and watchful as God speaks in the gentle language of the rain. It is, for me, a compelling invitation to think; to be embraced in security which the world can never provide; to be part of a goodness more vast than even human love.

We are all like those little birds and animals that bow to the larger forces, taking shelter from the rain and hopefully listening for the eternal.

It is in these soothing, peaceful, warmly-wrapped moments that my empty soul is fed. Connection to the spiritual is as vital to me as rain is to all life’s creation. Let me dwell here until I am full, and thank my Creator for His bountiful whispers of love. They are always there, waiting for me to become quiet enough to hear them. Hunger feels raw and bleak and painful, but I know it is a true gift. If I did not have it, I would not seek the only thing that can fill it.

Where Does Love Go?

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Ah, love. Sweet, pure, healing, spiritual…we can’t see it with our eyes, we can’t touch it with our fingertips, and yet it is unquestionably there. It stirs somewhere between my head and chest when I see a fellow human suffering – hold my baby in my arms for the very first time – watch the figure of my lover walking toward me smiling – behold a problem solved or pain erased without my effort.

Such a beautiful and real thing is love. Probably its most wondrous quality is that it usually is focused on another person or object, seeking to bless the other as much as it does me. Thus, love is a gift that spreads outward and can transform both the giver and recipient. Precious and seemingly so fragile, but able to withstand and endure great strain, great sacrifice.

Sadly though, the gift of love – the source of which can only be God – can cause great pain. We give our love to the wrong person, who spits it back because they can’t or won’t embrace it. It seems to disappear into a bottomless pit, fruitless and unreturned. The daughter who rejects my love because she is lost on her own journey. The friends who can’t appreciate it because they’ve never truly recognized it in themselves. Those people who accept my love, but cannot reciprocate because of their slavery to other forces like drugs or money or sex. Tragically, we have all had our love declined at times.

Having my feelings be rejected is traumatic, certainly. Depending on the intensity of affection I’ve given or tried to give, having it refused or misused is capable of rendering knife-like damage to my emotions. Unreturned love is not a new phenomenon to me, yet on every occasion it occurs, the pain feels as fresh and keen as if I were a baby being slapped or hollered at for the first time. Sometimes the agony feels so overwhelming, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to love again.

But I know also that to love or not is my choice.

After each debacle in this regard, the same question comes into my mind: what happens to the love I feel – so intensely sometimes, it almost is palpable – that is rejected, unrequited, spurned? Does it simply die like unpicked fruit withering on a vine? Or does it live on somewhere in my soul’s deep recesses, out of view and out of thought? Does it drift upward, back to God, who created it in first place? Where does all this “wasted” love go? Is there some emotional stock-pile where it’s “archived” for posterity? Or is it deposited into a spiritual landfill of sorts, where it’s layered over with denial, anger, and fear, until it can’t be seen or touched without some in-depth digging? The question comes to me, back and back and back.

Obviously, this is one of those questions with no answer… Or perhaps everyone’s answer is different. For me, I like to believe that no love is ever wasted. Every time I love someone or something, regardless of what happens or does not happen as a result of that love, I am changed in a positive way. My emotional range is widened; my soul expanded by this miraculously selfless feeling. I become a more understanding and compassionate person. To know love is, to me, getting a glimpse of God. And if I am hurt as a result of that love, God sends His grace to soften the blow, as well as another big portion of love to keep for myself this time. Because at that point, I need it to heal my own wounds.

This is why, no matter how many times I’ve “loved and lost,” I’ll not shut down my heart, nor close myself off from loving again. It’s always worth it, whatever the cost or consequence. In fact, for me it’s a necessity to stay alive as a whole human being. I know that ultimately, any love I can feel – even if it doesn’t come back to me from a person – has somehow made me better, made me just a little bit more of a reflection of its Source.

Deepest Wisdom and Truth

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa

Writing For Me

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

For me, writing is not merely an instrument of communication. It goes far deeper than that. Writing is the bridge between my internal life and the outside world, both the means to an end as well as the end itself. Sometimes I wish I could make up amazing stories, but honestly, I find reality much more compelling. Thus the plot is ordinary, but my thoughts and attitudes about what exists around me can be complex, deep-seated, and ever-changing.  And hopefully evocative to some readers to see the mundane in the light of their own inner uniqueness. All becomes so much more precious and beautiful that way.

Words are my paint, paper my canvas. Sometimes I see something so striking and appealing, or ugly and disturbing, that I simply must talk about it pen-in-hand. This I try to do in my way, using language to basically describe and clarify first, then to embellish. It’s not much different from the painter who builds a picture, using white and pastels to highlight and draw the eye’s attention, darker colors to subdue or convey a mood. It is all art, which seeks to affect in some way the people that can appreciate its message.

Yes, I write for a living, so my skill with words and language also has many practical applications. Creativity is one trait I claim, but I also crave organization, so my business report and marketing writing allows me the opportunity to exercise that. Or exorcise, as I’m often like one possessed when it comes to correct grammar, spelling, and word usage. I don’t know many people who proofread their text messages before hitting “send,” but I admit I am one of them.

Making a clear picture from ideas, paragraphs, sentences, and words fulfills me the way it does when I clean out a drawer. I throw out the things that are worthless and unnecessary, and try to put the valuable items in their proper place. Writing for business is a form requiring directness, with less need for description and creative embellishment. In this respect, it can be easier to compose. On the other hand, some business writing, such as marketing or resumes, necessitates specific and at times subtle use of language to glorify the subject and persuade the reader that they need to procure it no matter the cost.

But by far the most personal and necessary use of writing in my life has been to express my mental, emotional, and spiritual condition. Perhaps it is because I’ve been doing this for so long – I’ve kept a journal since I was in my teens – that writing has become almost inseparable from who I am. There have been times, and still are, when my notebook is my always-available confidante, one that doesn’t judge what I reveal nor how I say it. Generally, the only descriptive verbiage I use in this writing is four-letter words. And lots of exclamation points.

Honestly, writing in my journal is a spiritual experience for me, because when I’m spilling my guts on paper, I’m aware that God is reading it. (Duh! Who do I think put the feelings and expressive words there in the first place?) Although I don’t understand how this happens, I get greater acceptance of all those feelings, both difficult and joyful, after I write about them. And if God and I can stomach all that crowds my head, it becomes more likely to me that other people will not be put off by it either.

Considering all the above, writing helps me to survive on many levels: financially, artistically, emotionally, and spiritually. A means not only to survive, but to thrive and grow. Although it has its challenges and frustrations, writing gives back to me according to the effort I put into it. Like so many things in life, practice is the key. Thankfully, I love to practice!

Proven over and over to me, however, is that my life is better the more I write. Or perhaps the better my life is, the more I am writing. At this point, it doesn’t matter because it is all good. And I want to write all about it.