Suicide Is Not a Buzzword.

*Please note this may be triggering for those suffering from depression or contemplating suicide*

I tap the screen of my phone, image upon image on Instagram sharing words of encouragement and support for those struggling. Two celebrities have taken their lives this week. It’s caused an uproar on the internet, globally. Folks sharing favorite quotes, inspiring moments, and beloved times with or from those people. — There’s no doubt they made an impact on the world. They are loved, and they will be missed. The loss has left me thinking much about suicide and the tendency of our community to obsess over people that take their own lives. When celebrities do it, it’s plastered all over the news, social media, and is being turned into a buzzword more and more. Suicide is not a buzzword, it has a permanent consequence that leaves a massive wake of effect.

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I have been reading this book lately — rather, my boyfriend has been reading it to me (my favorite thing in the world, even if I do fall asleep on occasion listening to him). The story starts with a celebrity attempting to take her own life, only to be saved by a dear friend and a complete stranger. No one knew about her attempt. She was alone in her home. The two had arrived in time to not let the rope choke her to death. It was enough to save her, but she was weak. When she recovered days later, she confronted them with anger, frustration, confusion, and a deep sadness. Eventually she came to the decision to fake her own death publicly, to start a new life, one unknown to the outside world. The world was outraged and saddened, celebrating her legacy by creating a shrine in her memory. Yet, no one really knew her or what she was experiencing. She shares in the story that the only one who knew her well beyond the walls she had built was her housekeeper.  But everyone celebrated her life as if they knew her.

No different than what I’m seeing here today, really. People are lifted up and recognized for their profound impact made on society, but the humanity of their lives seems to disappear. I’m left wondering what thoughts and emotions were running through those that took their live’s brains. I wonder about the support they sought, if they did.. I wonder why they choose suicide, and who even cares about that…

We mourn the loss of people we don’t know. Attach ourselves to stories, ideas, words, and images. We don’t know their reality. Even if we do know them personally, we often are held at arms distance from their thoughts. We don’t understand what has triggered their actions whatsoever.

All life is valuable and deserving of celebration. I’m not afraid to share my honest thoughts on the matter, though: We often over-glamorize the day to day lives of celebrities (or even just other humans) and yes, even their deaths. People can absolutely leave a profound legacy, and still take their own lives. People can be completely unknown and take their own lives, too. I wonder in the secret spaces of my mind who really cares about those people. — The ones without family or close friends, without a profound legacy — do we celebrate them just as much?

I wish I could say we do. Day by day, so many take their lives without massive awareness but when a celebrity takes their life, we are in an uproar as a society.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and its effects are devastating.  Too many people struggle without a community or support system, and they see death as the only way out. It’s a way out, no doubt, but it doesn’t fix the problem. We need support. We need more love, more listening, more seeing people instead of overlooking them. Death is sad, but depression is even more tragic in my (maybe unpopular) opinion. To live in that darkness is not even living.

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There were several times in my young life that I was heavily impacted by suicide. One particular life lost will remain ingrained within me forever. I never felt more connected  to someone I did not have a personal relationship with. I was struggling with depression myself at the time of his death, although I did not know how to label, identify, or explain it to anyone.

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I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw the name of a boy in my brother’s grade all over my feed.

Oh no. No, no. This can’t be real. 

They were the first thoughts that crossed my mind. I was horribly saddened. Yet, something within me understood. He must have been hurting so badly.  My heart hurt for him.

I attended the candlelit ceremony on our school’s front lawn that night with my brother. — His best childhood friend was so close to this young man.  I was worried for my brother. Worried he might feel depressed about the loss of life, or about the struggles that came after. I was worried he and his friend’s relationship would forever be changed. I was worried he’d feel the same way I did inside. I dreaded the thought of that.

I didn’t know this young man personally. I’m not going to even pretend I did. But something within me felt for and with him that night as I sat in the grass outside my alma mater. I thought for the first time about what it would be like to be gone from this world. About what it would be like to take my own life. To be rid of the pressures, the fear, the feelings of inadequacy.

I wept by myself and tried to hide it — I didn’t know him, but my heart hurt because I felt as if I had lived some of his story myself. Depression was overwhelming me during that first year at school, eating away at me from the inside out. I could see why he wanted out of this life. I wanted out of this life.

I remember attempting to text my boyfriend as I sat with a candle in my hand, and tears sliding down my cheekbones. All I was able to put into words was “I feel so sad”.

Sometimes, there is no way to adequately explain the suffering or hurt we are feeling. Not everyone understands, and that’s okay. Since then I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if people fully understand you, what matters is that they hear you, see you, and believe you.

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In the story I’m reading, the gal that attempted suicide truly wanted her life to end. She didn’t want to be saved. She was infuriated that she was. Saddened by the idea that things would not be the same.

I can relate. I was sad when I woke up in the hospital, alive and recovering. I didn’t want to be there.

The day I chose to choke down too many pills, and drink myself into oblivion, I just wanted an escape. I didn’t think about it really. It was impulsive. If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure I had intentions of dying that day, simply of escaping; my actions said otherwise, though.

I had been sitting with feelings of unworthiness that invaded my every being. I wanted to be done with this world, but hadn’t thought everything through. I grabbed a handful of pills and chased them with vodka, straight. I partied with my best friends as we cheered on our beloved Buckeyes. We took shots, danced on rooftops, and laughed all day. No one had a clue that I was numb to it all. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I began feeling unwell. At some point things became blurry, and I remember running to my ex boyfriends house (whoops, not the best idea I’ve had). I needed to see him, for some reason. — I knocked on the door and begged him to come out, screaming at the top of my lungs. In my intoxicated and drugged up state, I wouldn’t have wanted to see me, so I was surprised (now thankful) he came out.

Shortly after he came outside (simply to get me home safely) I began vomiting profusely. I remember that much.  From then until I woke in the hospital hours later, I don’t have any memory whatsoever. Here’s what I was told when I came to:

I collapsed.

My heart stopped.

I was revived.

I am here, now.

I felt a heavy amount of pain in my chest, an emptiness in my stomach, and heaviness in my body. — Damn it.  I was alive. I really didn’t want to be at that time. In that moment, I really wish I had been gone forever. My mother was sitting next to me, ex boyfriend and two of my best friends in the hall. I was still drunk, thoughts of what had happened loosely coming together. — Damnit. What did I do. — I began thinking about how my choices were affecting them. Everything seemed overwhelming. Fuck. I fucked up. Anxiety welled within me. Tears filled my eyes. The doctor asked me repeatedly, “How much did you drink? What was the name of the medicine you took? How many?”.

I wanted them to shut up. I wanted them to leave me alone. I wanted everyone to. I wanted to slip back into the darkness; into the state where I didn’t remember anything. I made a choice that was going to change myself and my relationships with those closest to me forever. There was no going back. — I thought of the boy that I wept for that summer night on the grass in front of my school. My cheekbones became wet with my tears again, as I sat naked under my hospital gown, coming to terms with the choice I made.

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To this day, I still have feelings of frustration with myself for the choices I made that day. I have come to terms with what has happened, but I accept there are feelings and consequences attached to the event that occasionally rise (especially in situations such as this). — I realize the selfishness of my acts and I also acknowledge the reality of the suffering I was experiencing. I live in the duality of hating that I made that impulsive choice, but knowing why I did.  That much pain, sadness, and feeling of utter worthlessness drives you to cover it up and replace it with anything you can.

I become sad very easily at the thought of suicide. Not necessarily because a life has left this planet, but because I understand the darkest place they were in. — Though its hurtful to think about, suicide is a real “solution” for so many. It is a way out, but it’s not a way through. To be in a mindset where you’d rather be dead then try to navigate the chaos of this life is a very low place. It is not inescapable, and there are people who want to support those that are there.

As I write and rewrite these words, some of them do surprise me to my core.  I wish I had different thoughts, I wish I hadn’t risked so many relationships by choosing to end my life, I wish I didn’t understand how people who commit suicide feel. I’m not often honest with myself however, this topic is too important to bullshit my way through (I can be pretty good at that sometimes, though).

These thoughts and feelings are real thoughts I have, real feelings I feel, and I realize the depth of them. Mom, Dad, Maria, Katie, George, and all my friends — I’m sorry to put you through the stress of nearly loosing a daughter, sister, and friend.  I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel like you weren’t loved. I’m sorry if you thought I didn’t care about you. I care so so deeply.  For so long, I simply was terrified at recognizing I was struggling to intensely. I also didn’t know how to put words to my thoughts and emotions. That’s half of the battle; knowing yourself more and learning about your thoughts and emotions. Knowledge truly has been my biggest power in battling depression. With the incredible people at The Ohio State University Harding Hospital I learned to get real and honest with myself, face my emotions, and understand more about myself than I thought possible (honestly, I learned more than I would really even like to understand some days, ha). The knowledge aquired has helped me build on my past, and gain a new and healthier perspective on this life.

While we speculate on the recent suicide of celebrities, It is my hope that it provokes honest conversation rather than buzz-worthy stories. Talk about suicide. Don’t let it be taboo. Don’t let it just be a post on Instagram. It’s real and it affects us all, directly or indirectly.

Please know that you have so much to offer this world, and it wants to give right back.  This life is precious. Love is often overlooked. Hug the people you care about, tell them you love them, let them know your honest thoughts — good, bad, and ugly. Don’t miss out on the good shit out of fear. Embrace the chaos in this life. It’s in that chaos that you find yourself a little more.

In the words of a good friend of mine:

“You are loved. You are needed. You are wanted.” — Even on our worst days.

We don’t always want to help ourselves, and it can be hard to accept that we are truly struggling. Please know if you are feeling depressed or suicidal there are so many ways to be supported.  If you are feeling like you want to hurt yourself or have thoughts about suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255. There are also several ways to receive free mental health support through Mental Health America. Learn more here. >>> http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

 

love you.

 

+C

 

Book in reference is Unwritten by Charles Martin. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am, I am trying

the best that I can.

-vance joy

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acknowledging truth.

A little while back, I learned from a great mentor that nothing is more important than uncovering truth and acknowledging it, head on.  He shared wisdom on the concept of proving or hiding — that when we don’t live through a place of security and truth, we often end up trying to prove that we are worth something or we hide away out of fear.

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The (uglier) truth I’m facing right now is that I thought if I had a full time job, I would be valued and loved — I fear being devalued and overlooked. My truth is not pretty, but it is honest. I have learned there is beauty in honesty, even if it’s not pretty.

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A lot of this life has been lived feeling unworthy, followed by impulsive actions to try to create something that “looks” worthy to others (and mostly, to me). The past few months I’ve really been trying hard to prove myself. For over a year I hadn’t had a full time job. I was “just a fitness instructor, and a barista” in my mind. these thoughts had me thinking that  I was not valuable. That if i could create something “profound” for myself, I would be well thought of, I would be loved, I would be worthy. This mindset has pushed me to a place that has become really unhealthy. I’m trying each day to take steps that create a healthier outlook on this life I live. — To come from a place of love, instead of a place of fear.

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It’s okay to accept where you are at, and to not force things. It’s okay to be proud of the work that you have put in, regardless of what work others are doing. It’s okay to not know where you are going all the time. Most importantly, It’s okay to not always be profound — To simply be human. Learning to accept this, one thought at a time. 

 

+C

 

Or.

We have a choice,

in this life. We can take action when we are terrified. Or, we can remain safe. We can overcome. Or, we can settle. We can risk it all. Or, we can be comfortable.

We still live regardless. 

but, we can choose to die knowing we lived each breath with intention, with soul, with passion + emotion + feeling. Or, we can say we made money, had it easy, and survived.

I don’t want to survive. 

I want to feel. I want to fail. I want to love. I want to create. I want to share. I want to move + be moved. I want to be shaken. To learn. To be filled with emotion.

I choose to live

1/100 Days.

There’s been a challenge circling around social media that is particularly popular with the creatives I follow [ and greatly admire] – It’s called the 100 day challenge. It encourages establishing a habit of creating something every day for those 100 days in a row. Some people follow themes like painting, calligraphy, photography, etc. I decided I am going to attempt this challenge again. I failed my first attempt after about 30 days. I am interested to see, if I switch up my method of creation, how much longer I can last.

 

That being said, the next 100 days I will be writing at least one piece to contribute to my blog. I want everything that is published to be raw and authentic. If I am feeling uninspired, I will be honest and write about it. I will be looking to gain inspiration from people around me, my daily activities, feeling, and the landscape I am surrounded by.  The writing may be vulnerable, it may be earth shattering ideas (likely not), it may be mundane things I did that day..

 

I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to learn from this, and honestly, I don’t really want to set any expectations for this project, though. I want to let what is to come, come. I do know that I’ll likely be posting on social media throughout the process occasionally to help keep me accountable. I’m eager to see what this will look like.

 

Here’s to day 1.

Out of Love.

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Like many people in this world I worry so much about what I “should” be doing with this life I was given (soon-to-be grads, maybe you can relate) – with the way God wants me to live it, the way my parents want me to live it, the way other people perceive me. It’s exhausting to live like that. Yet, I want to please my parents. They cared for me since before I was born. I want to have the approval of others, it makes me feel worthy. I want to please God. He made me for a purpose. All I want to do is live by that. – That doesn’t mean I want the easy path. I want the real path. I’d say I’ve been listening to Him. I just worry about mis-stepping and mistaking. Bottom line, I don’t want to mess up.

Fear has been so paralyzing to me lately. – a client whose child I watch used this word when we were talking today about life (side note: I am so grateful for authentic people who want to talk about mundane, and real life).  That’s exactly it. I’m paralyzed by fear. – fear of doing, fear of not doing. Fear of judgement. It doesn’t really end.

I read a book a while back that a dear friend recommended strongly. – It discussed fear as being the opposite of love. That only when we act from and for love (of ourselves and others), can our lives be truly full; that love is the acceptance of virtually everything. I want to choose to love myself wholly. To trust fully that I am capable of making big ass decisions that freak me the heck out. That it is OKAY to mess up and to learn from mis-steps and mistakes. That we can recover from them.

I’ll tell you a little story that I don’t like talking about all that much. – 6 months ago I was admitted to the hospital after nearly dying of alcohol and drug ingestion. I made a choice to drink excessively even though I was on new meds for supporting my anxious thoughts and feelings. I made a choice to take an extra pill because I knew I’d get drunk faster and “feel better” sooner. I made a choice to numb myself and avoid my feelings instead of facing my fear and digging deep to stir the suffering, the hurt, the pain I felt in my life at that time. Fear paralyzed me, until the only decision I felt okay with making was to numb everything away.

That was not an act of love. That was an act derived from cultivating fear and hopelessness in my life over a long period of time. I never want to go back to believing that is the only way to cope. I never want to go back to believing that I was a failure, that I was not good enough, that I was disposable.

That may have been the biggest mis-step in my life thus far. I made a choice which bruised not only my mental health status, but also those of several people close to me. It did not ruin us though. It may have altered relationships, but they sure as heck are not destroyed. It may have changed my outlook on life, and those nearest me, but it did not change the root of who I am. I mis-stepped. I travelled off the path God had intended for me, and now, I am able to see that. I can see clearly now the choices I made, why I made them, and I know how to live a better life now because of that. Without this, I wouldn’t have known how to grow in this life. I would have remained stagnant and frozen. Unable to move forward with my life. Living in a void of depression.

Like I mentioned earlier, I want to live this life out of love. To trust fully that I am capable of making big ass decisions that freak me the heck out. I finally did that when I made the  choice to separate myself physically from a lot of stressors, for healing and renewal, by moving out here to Denver. I made a terrifying decision to leave my comfort zone and the place I wanted to be in order to pursue a better version of myself. I did it out of love for me; for my wellbeing and healing, spiritually and emotionally.

Sometimes, we need to falter in order to grow. In time, I have come to realize that throughout this life, there are several mistakes to be made. Life carries on. – YOU carry on. It’s no longer survival, its taking everything you have learned, every decision you have made, and choosing to actively learn from them. Choosing to be a better version of yourself than you used to be. It’s about seeing that despite darkness, light can still be found. – it’s from these “low” moments in life that we are able to see our growth. Without my mistakes, without my mis-steps, there’s no chance I’d be different from who I was 5, or even 10 years ago.

Okay, now that I’ve talked about it for the past few paragraphs, you’re probably wondering what the heck a mis-step is. I learned about this awesome word back when I was helping with BOLT at OSU. – A mis-step is a form of action when you take a step in the wrong direction on a path (we used to do this in a dot-maze activity). It is the first time you take that step off path. It is the first time you fail at that thing you just tried. A mistake is very different. A mistake occurs when you take that step in the wrong direction having made that move before. It is a recurrent choice, despite your history of knowing it was the wrong move. I freaking love this metaphor. It’s so applicable to many aspects of life, and it allows us to be gentle and kind with ourselves. It allows us to be forgiving and understanding of one another, too.  – I challenge you to take a look at your life and see if there are any mis-steps that you thought might actually be mistakes.

Life is messy. We are human. We will mis-step, and likely mistake several times over in this life. Know that although you may mis-step or make a mistake, you are able to go forward. This is where growth stems from, friends. You are not damaged goods. You are not a shameful human. You are human. We stumble, we fall, we breakdown, but we can always grow from there. Surround yourself with people who radiate love and encourage you to grow to your best self. You are worth it.

Out on a Limb.

I try to keep my spiritual thoughts and feelings to myself when writing as much as possible. I suppose this is because I don’t want anyone to be offended, or for fear of judgement. — We let fear keep us from doing so many things; even from healthy and meaningful things.

I’m tired of letting fear win. So, I’m going out on a limb and sharing some things that have been on my heart lately.

 

Life has been hard the past 6 months. I lost someone that meant the world to me, I almost died (and was rescued by that person), I quit my job, I enrolled in a partial hospitalization program for people struggling to overcome their mental illness, and I have moved to a new city where I didn’t know too many people, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I have lost, I have suffered, I have reached a new low.

 

However, the past 3 months have provided me with so much positive change, internally. I have learned about my emotions, and bettering my mental health as a whole. I discovered unhealthy patterns I held in my life, and I have spent my time intentionally working to reframe my thoughts and behaviors.

In the process, I finally began recognizing that my heart and mind were not focused on things that are most important. I had been straight up selfish. I had said yes to all the things I wanted. I soaked in every minute of the world that revolved around me. I felt entitled to all of it. I thought I worked hard at my relationship, I worked hard at my job, I worked hard to put me first, but I was not doing so in healthy ways. Yet, I expected everything to work out, for me to earn recognition for my work.  All this “hard work” was well intentioned, but the way it was executed was poor. It lead to a lot of resentment, and a lot of hurt. I thought I was helping myself live my best life, but instead, I was living selfishly. I was living for me. I lost sight of God and what he wanted for me, though I claimed to be living for Him.

 

Bottom line, I really effed up.

 

I lost sight of Jesus. I put me before Him. Time and time again, I have learned that this never leads to happiness.


 

I began reading a book before Christmas. Halfway through this book, I was encouraged to begin to practice listening more; to people, to things I read, to God… Almost a month ago to this day I went to mass, sat down, and thought of that book.

 

Listen. That was my mantra for this mass.

 

I can’t tell you what the readings were or where I was sitting, but I can tell you what happened. — I was kneeling right as the priest was blessing the eucharist and I prayed “God, just let me listen to what you have to say. Let me truly hear you”.

I kneeled.

and waited.

and closed my eyes.

and waited longer.

When suddenly, I began imagining a hike I went on a few weeks before. The hike led to an overlook facing the snow covered Rockies. The sun was shining, and the overlook had a beautiful outcropping of rocks to sit on and enjoy the view. I imagined sitting there. Just listening. To the wind, the sound of branches moving, to the familiar sounds of the forest.  It wasn’t too long until I was imaging Jesus there with me. Just sitting next to me.

It was in that moment that I heard God whisper, “You are my daughter”. I could feel tears welling behind my closed eyes. He wasn’t done talking, though. He continued, “I am so proud of you”. He leaned in and gave me a hug. — I really lost it then. I burst into ugly tears; boogers coming out of my nose, trying to stifle the noise of my sobs with my sleeves. I just kneeled there, feeling so incredibly loved, and finally having hope.

I often feel like I’m lost. I feel confused. I never really know which direction in my life is the “right” way to go. I have a hard time making choices, because I want to please so many people – I’m learning that as time goes on,  I’m focusing on the wrong things. It’s not about choosing which way I think is right…because, well, I don’t know any better. I don’t know what my future holds. If I did, you bet your ass I’d be running toward it instead of struggling through this period of pain and confusion.

I know one thing is certain. No matter the paths or options I can choose, If I pursue Christ, he will show me the way. If I pursue Christ, whole heartedly, and put him first, I will be living the life I am called to instead of the  life I think I want.

 

Here’s to more prayer, more boogery tears, more learning, more meaningful conversations, more hours spent listening.

 

Who’s with me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective.

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I’ve been coming to a particular coffee shop for the past two months or so. — This is my “happy place”. It’s the space which I’m greeted with warm coffee, see some stellar human interactions, and the one in which I have learned to reflect and write.

Even before I walk in the door, I usually know what I’m going to order (most likely a cortado, or whatever’s on drip). I glance across the room to see if my typical spot is open at the bar. — It usually is.

 

Today, it was not.

 

Today, I took a seat across the room; one with a view of the shop in its entirety. Here’s what I saw:

a young man and women, sharing laughs over two lattes the size of their faces.

a woman chatting on the phone, slowly sipping her iced coffee.

two men (one with one heck of a fu-manchu mustache) discussing the current status of our public lands.

two women working diligently at their computers, looking up from their screens occasionally to collaborate before getting back to typing.

two baristas slinging espresso and sipping their joe, connecting with customers as they come in and out.

two students doing more gossiping than they are studying.

one artist practicing calligraphy.

and snow slowly falling outside of the garage doors.

 

I would not have seen all of this beauty, joy, and human connection occurring if my typical spot was available. I would have had my back to the room, head in this computer, and been typing away about something completely different.

 

I guess what I’m getting at here is that sometimes, little unexpected changes in our lives can provide us with a new perspective. We have chances to get a little uncomfortable and try new things. In this new position, we discover and learn some seriously awesome things. It’s outside our comfort zone that we  have the opportunity to gain perspective, which ultimately helps us grow.

 

Maybe I’m thinking too deeply into this, but that’s my nugget of wisdom for this happy Thursday morning.

 

Wishing you all joy.

Darkness to Light.

Every night, the sun sets and darkness consumes the earth. We wait and hope in anticipation for a new day; for the sun to shine again. It gets cold, it is dark, it is hard to see. — Does that mean that everything has to stop once the sun goes down? That we hide away in anticipation for the new day?

Sure, we may sleep, we may rest, but even when the sun is down and darkness is around us, we still fill our time with meaningful activities and surround ourselves with people that matter the most. — I find it interesting; that when the world is at its darkest, when the light seems to fade, that we are usually with the person, or people, that matter most to us in this life.

When darkness approaches, we begin interacting more with loved ones — over dinner, maybe watching a movie, maybe chatting around a table. Darkness brings out a new kind of light. — Love.

Love can be found in the people we are surrounded by in moments of darkness. Invest in people. Learn to be kind. Share the dark times with those you love. You will grow closer. You will grow in to a better you. You will encourage other people to seek light through love in dark times.

 

Love is light.

Create Newness.

Life is messy. 

All too often we try to fix it; to take control of the things that seem as if they’ve “gone wrong”.  Change can hurt. Especially unsolicited, completely shocking, and painful change. It can feel as if we’ve lost all control at times. We may even feel so traumatically affected by hurt that we label it as being or feeling broken.

We desperately attempt to fix things that appear to be broken in our eyes (naturally). — Especially things we never intended to break. Our life comes at us so quickly. We fill our days to the brim with activity. It can be hard to be intentional about things that matter, both to us, and those we love. Sometimes amidst the chaos, we lose track of where we place our intention. It can lead to something that looks like brokenness..

Think about it this way:

You’re going about your Sunday doing the dishes, mind foggy and focused on other things, when you suddenly drop and break your roommate’s favorite coffee mug. I mean, this mug meant the world to your friend (it got her through finals study sesh’s, early morning workouts – and hangovers-, even those late night heart to hearts!). And you broke it. — It was a total accident, and you didn’t expect something like that to happen at all. It was an honest mistake. You just weren’t paying attention to what was happening right there. Still, you know it means the world to them and she means the world to you as a friend. You know she’ll be crushed when she finds out, so you try to fix it.

You go buy gorilla glue to repair the handle and small crack. Good as new, right? — Sadly, no. Any liquid put in the mug comes right out, the handle’s all wonky… It’s not the same as it used to be.

You apologize profusely when you show her the remnants of the precious mug,  but your roommate glances at you with a knowing smile and says , “Come on, I have an idea”.

She rips off the handle you attempted to reset, adds some dirt in the basin of the mug, and plops a succulent from her room in the mug.

“I think it works better this way. We can leave it in the living room, it’s beautiful!”.


 

Okay, now we may not all have someone as creative and forgiving Jess from New Girl (who I’m envisioning this roommate to be, LOL.) in our lives when shit hits the fan.

Life is messy. We lose track of what matters from time to time. We may lose people. We are challenged. Our hearts ache. Things appear to fall apart. It can look like we have to do something to fix things in order bring us back to a state of happiness or contentment.

In hopes to fix where we’re at, we tend to just patch the holes. When we “fix” something, it never fully returns to its original state. We can, however, create newness from the rubble. There is so much beauty, still, within us in moments of despair. If we try to “fix” these problems, to go back and cover up the cracks, we will miss out on seeing that beauty. We would be expecting contentment again, but it may not even come because things will not go back to the way they were.

It’s through brokenness, that we grow into newness.

It’s not easy to look at potential, especially in times when we hurt. It’s okay and normal to grieve losses, to be afraid of the unknown, to doubt ourselves. It’s okay to take reality for what it is.

I want to tell you something though: We are not as fragile as we may think. We hurt, we feel, we totally and completely screw up. We are human, yes — and it is because of this that we are graced with several chances to create new life, new relationships, new opportunities.

So much lies ahead. It’s rather exciting to think that newness can be brought into our life.

 

I challenge you to shift your mindset. What newness can you create from the rubble you feel in your heart? You’re made for greatness. Your life may be messy, much like mine, but there is so much beauty in the possibilities of what we can create.

 

I am hopeful. For you, and for me.

Intention.

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I have recently been consuming a lot of media and text with the principle of finding, creating, or cultivating happiness in our lives. Many of the pieces I have delved into have begun with sharing stories of “success”  or lives of grandeur — filled with money, material items, and fame of sorts.

One thing was common among all of these stories. The people living in them discovered, although wealthy and surrounded by the things they want, they were truly unhappy. There was a piece of them missing, despite the celebrity or monetary/materialistic wealth. Each claimed to have found happiness through a variety of means; minimalism, meditation, choosing God first, etc.

 

Among all the stories, a constant change was the focus on one thing alone:

 

Intention.

 

Our lives mean nothing without it. We could live our day to day, going through the motions. But we are empty without a purpose to our actions.

This is a battle I have faced the past several years. Often, I get caught up in the chaos that each new day brings. I choose a busy life, one filled with loads of action, rather than a slower life with more meaning. I cruise through each day, from activity to activity, and come home exhausted. It leaves me feeling like something is missing. Through practicing intentionality, I hope to find that piece that is missing.

It is my goal to wake each morning and live with a little more intention. It seems silly, but a major change in my life has been eating with a purpose. I strive for intentionality in what I choose to eat, rather than grabbing something convenient from the fridge. — cooking a full, nutritious meal, and savoring each bite brings about a new appreciation for the things I have. I am grateful for this food that fuels my every day actions. I even interact with my dog with more intention. I put away my phone, and focus on playing with him when we’re at the dog park when I would typically instagram or snapchat that (Seriously, its my dog at a dog park, why do I think that’s so “instagrammable”..).

Point is, you can choose to be more intentional about almost ANYTHING in your life. It’s about focusing on where you are at and what you are doing in a single moment. Ask yourself if those things that you do throughout the day are bringing you closer to others, or to God, or do the best-possible-version of yourself.

I’m still working on this each and every day, and it will probably be a continual process in my life. I know I have loads of improvement I can do on this, but I am happy to even be practicing a little more intention each day.

Are you living life with a purpose? What is it? How can we be more intentional with our day to day interactions?  — I hope you are finding ways to pursue you purpose and find intention each day.

 

Wishing you luck.