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My Own Next Step

First Step

We hear so much about it – many of us tend to avoid it – often at all costs. Some of us claim to look forward to it, but in honesty, we do not at all, in fact we fear it. It evokes the unknown in almost all of us and that is not a comfortable place to be.

Change is necessary, but it is also some place difficult for most of us to get to, especially those of us who are seeking self-honesty and truth. It is quite difficult to achieve, even after we have committed to it. It is a process, not something that happens quickly. And it is something many of us, even if we do our best, do a tiny bit at a time, and very rarely in a continuous forward motion. Change is something that, if and when we accomplish it, we look back on over time, and see, not something we recognize while it is happening.



It is only through continually recognizing how difficult change is for me to achieve, that I truly find myself able and willing to accept how unlikely it is that I will be able to change someone else. Let me say that again, a bit differently. By being honest about how hard it is for me to accomplish, and that is after I have made up my mind that it is necessary in my life, something I am willing to do or recognizing the need for in my life; then it makes it much easier for me to accept how unlikely it is that I can successfully get another person to change. They are not at the point of acceptance in their own lives that I am in mine. They may not have gotten fed up enough with things the way they are to commit to the long, tedious and difficult process and all it entails in their lives. In fact, they may not be anywhere near that point at all.

Yet, somewhere, I have convinced myself it is what is best for them, something I wish to see happen…and therefore, I believe it should be so.

“I hereby decree, it is time for you to change,” I tell them subliminally or maybe not so subliminally depending on the type of relationship we have. “I hereby decree that from this time forward, you change outcomes to given situations. I demand you respond differently, feel differently and most definitely, react and behave differently because I am not happy with the present situation. I am not finding it pleasant, rewarding or something appealing, thereby I demand you make the necessary alterations to fix things!”

What the heck am I thinking? Because that is, more or less, what I am saying every time I expect other people in my life to change.

So, this is not a lesson on how to get other people to change, rather, how to remind me how to get back to the place I need to be – a place of understanding and acceptance of my own – one that is true and real, in which I can look around and see things the way they really are, not necessarily the way I have mentally decreed they ought to be.

By going back to my own being and revisiting what it is like for me to make changes in my own life, even those I believe to be good and positive changes, I remind myself how difficult it is to ask of myself…how hard it is for me to achieve small, little bits of progress.

The older I get, the more I see – and the less I know. I do not know what is right for you. How could I possibly know how difficult or maybe even impossible or drastic an undertaking the change I wish to see occur might be for you at this point? I can’t! What I know is that I want it. And I am experienced to know that when my entire reason is based entirely on my own self-will, as in this case, I most definitely cannot account for the outcome.


THAT is something way out of the scope of my own existence. It lies elsewhere, outside of me and my abilities to regulate; harness or control. So that leaves me in a very different position than when I began. My position may be one of my honestly telling you, if you care to know, how I feel and where I stand, and then stepping back away, to take my own next step.

Humble Beginnings

Credit Judy Douglas

Credit Judy Douglas

I always find it interesting how words and their meanings seem to evolve. I start out thinking I ‘get’ it – that it makes sense to me and I am able to wrap my brain around the concept, but somehow it changes or it adds on a different component that I missed entirely. Or even in some cases, that I had it all completely wrong.

Very often, I experience this morphing sensation when it comes to personality traits or virtues and qualities. Take HUMILITY for example.

There’s no wavering in the fact that I have always viewed it as an admirable quality to possess, one, that I have wanted to say I exhibit in my own everyday life, yet one that I have struggled to really understand. As I young girl, I learned that humility was akin to modesty, someone who did not flash things in front of others, brag, or even wear clothing that could be seen as promiscuous or outwardly displaying indiscretion. I used to think that when a person exhibited humility, they lowered themselves, becoming meek or subservient to others and putting their own needs beneath those of the people around them.

But recently, I have come to see humility in a different light.

Humility, I now believe, comes with an understanding of knowing what belongs to me and what doesn’t. It means staying in my own space, keeping my own side of the street in order and free of debris. This is something I am not used to – because it means paying attention to what I am feeling and what is happening within myself rather than focusing so intently on what others are doing.

Humble Thoughts

Humility, in a sense, involves letting go of my pride and realizing I don’t have all the answers, I am not able to handle everything for everybody…I don’t know the right thing to do all the time. It means I can instead, focus in on not only my abilities, but my inabilities, my limits and my imperfections and accept them as part of me as well. I begin to embrace my humanness…my being a part of an imperfect entity. I am more willing to accept myself, as incomplete as I may be; thereby I become more willing to accept others too. I join with others rather than separate from them, believing I know better and do better.

Shedding Conditions

credit to

credit to jarrodinspires

Something I’ve come to realize is that my own, personal happiness can’t survive once it gets diluted with conditions. It gets diluted, of course, by me – although never with this being my intention, or for that matter, rarely with me being aware I am doing it. It is something that happens beneath the surface, not something easily recognized or realized.

This is how it usually happens: I am unhappy or discontent and I begin to think “once (fill in the blank) happens, then, I will be happy.” Or I tell myself “As soon as _________ occurs, it will be better and I’ll be happier.”

Only, that is not how it goes at all, because it is never really the need for any one thing to happen, in order for me to feel happy. In fact, there are many times when that very thing I originally tell myself has to happen in order for me to feel happy, does indeed happen; and still it does nothing to elevate my mood. In fact, there are times I remember just the opposite happening. I prod and push my way to get what I want, I get it, and then I am left with a sense of disappointment, feeling let down, left asking myself ‘is that all there is?’ I learn that it is an illusion, that this one thing I have pinned my happiness on possesses this amazing ability to make me feel happy.

Perhaps this is because I am not seeking the type of happiness that lasts for a moment – is fleeting – as if swallowed up in one, huge gulp.

Credit to

Credit to picturequotes

I may, in fact, be looking for the type of happiness that is better described as contentment or satisfaction the feelings that come from acknowledging and recognizing what truly is, not something fueled by my expectations. And something extremely profound for me, is that all this goes for people in my life too, not just events, things and situations.

Many times, whether I have been aware of it or not, I have handed my mood over to other people in my life – not outwardly, but inwardly. I have put the way I feel about them, myself and my life in the hands of those around me. If they are in a good mood, kind, nice and all the things I believe make them so, then I feel good and I can be in a good mood, kind and nice. Not only is that rather insane (professionals refer to that as co-dependent) but conversely, it means when that is not the case; when they are in a bad mood, mean and unkind, and all the things I believe make them that way, then I feel bad, and am in a nasty mood, mean and unkind.


Credit Healthyplace

So, if that seems crazy to you, then you understand what I am saying and feeling. I am learning that how I feel is simply that – HOW I FEEL. It does not come with conditions. It just IS. And the same goes for other people. It is not the feelings that are the causes of the confusion. It is the conditions we tend to attach to them.

Well, then…. Here’s to more times and things in my life without conditions.

Helpful Heartbreak

Credit to Tinybubbles

Credit to Tinybubbles

I know this isn’t my usual type of post, but today I got the chance to play mom when our 17-year-old foster daughter got her heart broken by the boy she’s been dating for the past 6 months. It’s not a role I play very often, but I found quite a few more life-lessons to be had in light of this particular situation…so here goes.

It has been said that some people would rather die than let an illusion die.

What a powerfully profound comment that is!

In addition to my seeing how she’s hurting, I am seeing how true this is – she had such a clear image in her brain of how she was starting to envision her life in the future.

Every moment she spent with him, or listening to music that she associated with the time they spent together, or thought of him…the more detailed and precise that illusion of her future with him became…until just half a year at the age of 17 and she feels as if her entire world has come crumbling down around her because she is beginning to hear from others and see for herself, that maybe he is (to coin a phrase) just not that into her.

It seems the straw that broke the back for our kiddo was hearing from a friend of this young man’s family, how habitual the behaviors that he is exhibited regarding her and how he is backing off now that the relationship is no longer fresh, new and exciting, seems to be something that he has done in other situations, time and time again. It seems, once her young man comes to the realization that (to coin another phrase) the thrill is gone, he backs off, begs for time to ‘do his own thing’ and pretty much moves on, emotionally.

If you are a young male, this more than likely makes perfect sense to you, but if you are of the female persuasion, this is a pretty crude and insensitive thing to do to the girl you’re about to take to prom this upcoming weekend. In a way, it’s actually worse than formally breaking up – because you’re not even owning up to the fact that you want out…you’re sort of just fizzling out and hoping she will be the one to tell you it’s over, so you don’t have to look like the bad guy. You can actually turn this into the preliminary ‘come-on’ you provide to the next girl who’s heart you’ll be breaking down the road – letting her know how you’ve got these trust issues because of how girls always hurt you and end up with other guys…Boo Hoo!

Credit To Eyetestonline

Credit To Eyetestonline

Okay, so back to the life lessons. Beginning with the concept of building illusions that we then hold onto, in ways where they begin to direct our behaviors our choices, our complete outlook on things… It becomes so difficult not to hurt and torment ourselves…we have put so much of ourselves into this make-believe future outcome. We have so much riding on it, that when it doesn’t produce the anticipated or expected results, we are not just upset…but to a certain degree, shattered.

It becomes nearly impossible to see through all those negative feelings, believing even if only for a moment, there may be something at play that we haven’t been able to see or realize clearly on our own. We are so focused on feeling let down or disappointed and sad, that is pretty much all we can see.

In the case of our foster daughter, just last week, she ran into a young man she had not seen in years who she is just beginning to talk about – someone whom she has told me throughout this week, seems to be very forthcoming about how grateful he is to have reconnected with her…someone who already seems to be more in balance with her than the young man she’s been ‘running after’ for the past 6 months.

I am in a position in my own life, to be able to see the outer workings of forces beyond her and her 17 year old world at play – not to draw the conclusion that this other young man will take the place of her current boyfriend in time (although this may indeed play out) but that he just happened into her life at a time when she needs to be able to see for herself what type of qualities she prefers in her close relationships – what qualities she appreciates and desires and how good it feels to feel valued rather than always being the one to initiate conversation, time together and couple activities.

Personally, I couldn’t have plotted the timing any better had I written the screenplay myself. So, I’m left, looking at the life-force that has moved the pieces of her chess board into an entirely new position…and I see it for just that, something greater than her, directing the scenes and placing before her what she needs to move forward in a stronger, healthier, more self-reliant manner than ever would have been. The heartache is unfortunate, but pretty much collateral damage when looking at all the bigger picture holds.

Credit to 1Folonion

Credit to 1Folonion

I too, have been given this grand landscape with which to point out, when she comes to me, not only the narrow point on the canvas, but also the background and the scenery in the distance. If we’re going to look at this image as it really is, we may as well break down all that there is in it; not just the parts that are close and easy to see.

One more thing I can walk away from this experience with is the consistent hope and belief that I too, by practicing bringing qualities such as faith and patience in my own life, will be able to see the landscape of pictures in things that occur to me, in my world…that I somehow see the inner working of events as they unfold to me – and I learn to let go of my false expectations and illusions and learn to let what will be, simply be.

Please feel free to share  your experience of “blessings in disguise” or events of this type below.


The Letter Z

I’m guessing most of the people who read the Z-topic I have selected, are scratching their heads while looking at the word TZADDIK. To be perfectly honest, I, someone who knows what this word means and where it derives from too, am scratching my head, feeling quite amazed, because I had no idea it could be considered an English word. Yet, lo and behold, there it was, in my Z-word lists, one that it clearly states is permissible in games of Scrabble. And what could be more legitimate than that?

Love and Giving

I am hard pressed to think of many real-life examples, however, and that saddens me – frightens me too; because a TZADDIK is defined as a man (because of grammatical conjugations and such the word changes to TZADEIKES when referring to a woman) who is righteous and saintly according to Jewish standards. And, needless to say, one of the things we are NOT inundated with in today’s world, is righteousness and saintliness according to ANY standards.

I’m not looking to pick an argument or rile anybody up with this conclusion, and a part of me would love to complete my A-Z blogging challenge on a much more upbeat note, but I also feel a tremendous need to speak from the heart; at least that is what I hope I have been doing a lot of here this past month. In no way am I looking at this from a religious point of view – but rather an ethical and moral one – one that comes from a sense of ‘good for the soul;’ nothing more, nothing less.


This all makes a lot more sense by working with the meaning of the word ZADDIK itself. Even though it can get confusing because of the very act of trying to work with words across different languages – some constants remain. The Hebrew word for charity is TZEDAKAH, but it has a moral obligatory component added to the concept we don’t have because of how closely connected it was to Jewish law in ancient times.

And the word ZADDIK (also spelled TZADDIK since there is no single letter in our alphabet that duplicates the sound of the first letter in the word) comes directly from here. Hebrew words often contain root words (3 letters in length) that logically connect to other words with the same root. The connection between righteous, saintly and charity is one of those.

kindness can change the world

And it makes me wonder – I wonder about why we aren’t inundated with kindness and charity and righteousness, at least enough to help balance out destruction, corruption and mean-hearted stuff. I doubt there is a simple, single-dimensional answer. And I know that means it is not an easy thing to bring attention to, nor do I expect it to be very popular.

Can it be true that we’ve collectively, as a society, gotten so accustomed to all the negativity in our lives? Do we accept it without even trying to set it right anymore? Maybe we’ve bought into it all being so much bigger and pervasive, because it can be found everywhere, and we just turn a deaf ear to it; as if numbed to its effect desensitized.

Facebook status

Sometimes it seems as if these things that we know deep down inside should matter, these things we truly want to do something about but feel helpless about – get replaced by terribly unimportant things…things like continuous updates to the status of people who we may never have been that close to in the first place.
We don’t address how little goodness, charity and kindness is broadcasted or announced. We are hit with so much information in the course of any given day, but it isn’t usually about such things as righteousness and charity – I guess those types of things don’t sell or monetize easily.

So, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to close this challenge with this brief piece on the concept of ZADDIKIM, those who live their lives with an element of righteousness. Maybe this might remind us to bring some type of balance back, to help these types of qualities regain a place in the world as something to look up to, rather than something to eliminate and override.

An Ode to Y

The Letter Y

As I compose ideas and thoughts for today’s post, I am absolutely amazed that I have come through this challenge. But before I go further down that path, I will disclose today’s Y topic.

Interestingly, when the letters are not the most common, or when I find it difficult for whatever reason, to settle on a topic for the post, I have found myself resorting to searching. I quickly punch in the keys that spell out “words beginning with the letter (fill in the blank) and within seconds, Master Google has provided for me a number of sites I can click on that will present for me a list of words from which I can choose. Some do this seamlessly in word-count order, but for my desires and purposes related to the A-Z Blogging challenge, I tend to prefer one large alphabetical listing, uninterrupted by letter count.

List of words

I spend a few moments reading through the list, and find a word that sparks my interest, or perhaps a word that I am not that familiar with but one that I find interesting anyway, so I look it up. If I like what it brings up for me, I may go with that and a post is born.

But that is not how I decided on this one. Well, at least, not entirely. Since I found it difficult to think of my own “Y” topic, I pulled up a listing of words that began with the letter Y and read through it, finding it quite limited with many of the same words posing as ‘spin-offs’ of a word beginning with that letter. There was a multitude of ‘yellow’ words; words that expressed a full variety of shades of the rainbow like yellowish green and yellowish beige. I found something similar with the word ‘year’ as the springboard word. These included concepts than ranged from ‘year Y2K compliance’ to ‘yearling’, ‘yearbooks’ and ‘year-old.’

No way would I stoop to anything so contrived for this topic of the second to the last letter of the alphabet. I’ve come too far in this challenge to settle for them.


I did however, find myself drawn toward the word “youth” because it instantly brought a saying my father quoted very often over the years. He used to say “youth is wasted on the young.” It almost had me, but then I also like ‘yesterday” and a lot of what that brought up for me.

Yesterday and toay

So, the struggle between the two, “youth” and “yesterday” began in my head and my heart. And it was right there, smack dab in the midst of the battle, when I suddenly decided on today’s topic.

Okay, now do you remember how I started this post, by saying how amazed I am that I have achieved this undertaking of posting through the alphabet? The reason for my being so amazed is because I tend not to believe very much in my abilities nor my perseverance or determination. And that is because of my “Yucky Thinking.”

Now, I am not quite sure that “Yucky” is even a word, not in the official sense, anyway. I may have missed it in my original search list, but I don’t think so. And if it was there, it certainly wasn’t attached to any other word to compose a phrase like “Yucky Thinking.”

But I know that is most definitely something I had to put out there, because I remember when the challenge was first posed to me by a new friend, but someone who I have grown to become quite fond of in a very short while; how my first, second and even third reactions were products of just that, “Yucky Thinking.”

I knew it was something that I wanted to be able to do, but something I was equally filled with excuses against taking on. There was no way I would be able to do it on a consistent basis. Come up with 26 different things to write about that I would actually hit ‘publish’ for? Don’t be silly. Only real bloggers do that sort of thing.

I had already attempted to write fairly consistently and had abandoned it as soon as I missed one time that I had scheduled and destroyed my perfect vision of my perfect writing. Not only that, but I had no idea how to measure up to others, not in regard to the quality or quantity of their posts, nor to the number of their followers.

“Yucky Thinking!”

And I do it a lot…with so much of the things that I might, God forbid, allow myself to find pleasure and enjoyment in.

Positive and Negative Thinking

So here’s my ode to you, “yucky thinking.” May you rest in peace… least more often!


The letter X

Okay, I might as well admit it right up front, for today’s chosen topic beginning with the letter X, I had to do a bit of research. Despite all my workings with the English language, I must confess my resources for words beginning with the letter X are sadly, quite limited indeed.

Having said that, I set off to find a word that contained something I might be able to relate to and that, right off the bat, eliminated the few common “X” words that come rolling off the tongue like X-ray or Xylophone. Sheesh!

Succulant plants

I found myself, where else, but on the web, poking around for X-words and I stumbled upon one that I feel has (wait for it……..) depth.
The word I give the honor of the day to is XEROPHYTE. And if truth be told, I had never heard the word until today. But I like it.

To the best of my understanding, Xerophytes are a species of plants that compare in a way to camels within the animal kingdom. It seems these plants are highly adaptive in their ability to conserve of all things, water. They are actually able to store large quantities of it during dry periods so they can survive. Some sources actually claim that these plants can get their metabolic systems to effectively shut down so they don’t soak up the water the same way, thereby making it last longer so they survive.

How cool is that? They are designed to be able to balance their own intake of water, their very source of life, in a way that pertains to their individual need. If there happens to be a drought, their internal mechanism is able to monitor their functioning so that they can live longer.

Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree here, but I don’t know “advanced” species, say, us human beings, who can do that. Almost all of us have a really hard time balancing the things we think we want, let alone the things we truly need in order to survive. Heck, most of us can’t even balance our checkbooks (if we still have them since the advent of online banking).

Blooming Cacti

Typically, plants would evaporate water at a quicker rate in an environment that was dry (and this can go for hot, dry climates such as deserts, or arctic climates where the water plants need to survive freezes due to the continuous, extreme cold). But this doesn’t happen with Xerophytes. They allocate the water they absorb to the areas that need new tissue growth and are able to store it for later too. Somehow, they manage this intricate, individualized water supply system within themselves, enabling their continued survival.

So I am thinking a lot about how I can learn to be more like a XEROPHYTE. I need to learn what is truly needed in my own life and to discover a way within me to balance it so I too, can continue to survive – even through periods of drought.


The Letter W

Today’s post is one that I’m looking forward to because it is going to be something I consider great fun.

Word Game Letters

W’s choice is WORDPLAY – something that I enjoy in many different forms and something I can link back to as very fond childhood memories with my grandfather when we used to play ‘initials.’ The wordplay game didn’t come with a title and I don’t even know if we ever officially gave it one, but that is what the game involved, initials.

My grandfather would start telling me something, get to a point in his conversation and then instead of completing the thought, he would provide me with initials of the phrase to follow and I would have to figure out what the individual words were based on their initials, the letter the words started with.
Yep, I was groomed for wordplay!

Word Game Shopping

From there, I graduated to more standard forms of wordplay, crosswords, anagrams, cryptograms, and the like.
Of course there were wordplay board games that had me captivated for hours and hours as well – Scrabble, Boggle, Perkwacky (remember that one? It was one of my favorites).

Digital Word Games

And now, I go in big for the digitized versions…my new favorite is Word Hero.

So, next time you try and figure out if:

they’re there, near their room, or

which witch is which or even if

you wonder which one won the challenge

Just sit back and have fun…enjoying the wordplay!


The Letter V

She told me she was well-versed enough in the field of mental health and emotional issues to be aware when she, herself, was not being rational. And, that it was a good thing, she supposed, but it didn’t prevent her from having moments, maybe even entire days when her responses were visceral, much more intense and intuitive, than anything that resembled reason or rationale.


She couldn’t say exactly why, maybe it was because she still hadn’t quite adjusted to some of the many adjustments she felt she was making in her life, causing her to feel, most, if not all of the time, as if she was on unfamiliar and unsteady ground….and that overwhelming feeling of instability didn’t bode very well with angry outbursts of those around her – those that she consciously and sometimes intuitively or viscerally relied on to just be there for her.

She said she was adjusting – accepting life on a different level than she had previous, when she was younger; the limitations of others who she tended to expect too much from, something she said was a very hard adjustment for her – most likely, for anyone to make. But when it went beyond that, beyond dealing with the feelings of fear – maybe abandonment and loneliness too, into a world where angry things were said, and deep resentment spewed forth – or at least what she perceived as deep resentment, she felt herself coiling up inside, internally, into a ball, with the need to hold herself tightly, and just rock herself – letting the tears come and the pain out.


There were no comprehensible or rational explanations for this response, she said; only something way deeper within her – something heartfelt and unmediated by reason and logic – something that wasn’t really looking for consolation and fixing – something cold, dark, way inside; something visceral.

She told me she went through the motions of her day – or at least the ones she was able to bring herself through. Her insides dampened and cold. She felt the tears again, welling up at first and then dripping from their pools in her eyes – so she took another breath.

She briefly asked both me and herself what was so awful, so terrible. She asked why she was overcome with this sense of dread and unrelenting sadness…and what scared us both most is that we didn’t know.


It is not something knowable – only something that is … something that lives deep down, something visceral


The letter U

As we are nearing the last of this fascinating A-Z challenge (there are only 5 more after today’s post) as someone who has considered myself to be in awe of words for as far back as I can remember, have found a new and even deeper respect for words and how significant they are to me.


There are more books on my shelves than I can count about writing prompts and how to awaken creativity and hurdle over writer’s block – all of them helpful and wonderful in their own way.

But none of them have helped me to discover a renewed passion and love for writing as having to select a single word every day – a different word, picking just one from lists that I can find at my fingertips, if I so choose, or those that float inside my brain…like with the horses on a carousel, spinning round and round, as I search and reach for the brass ring; the one word of the day that can spark within me, something ‘writeworthy,’ which translates to being ‘readworthy.’ to those who visit.


I have found myself breaking words down in ways that I have never before – thinking about not only their wound and their origin, but what a deluge of meaning and submeaning, it has for me. And I am amazed…amazed at how, rather than being tired and exhausted, having traveled this far down this path; I find myself renewed and refreshed, excited and bubbling over, more thoughts than I ever imagined I had.

Maybe the difference for me, is that these thoughts suddenly all seem to be coming together – in one place, more or less, at one time. And it is a glorious feeling – one that I will be sure stays with me as I move ahead and continue to write more and become more committed and more devoted to my craft! I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. It is wonderful!

All that leads me to the alphabetic muse for today – which is UNDERSTANDING.

All that I have written so far today, has come from an understand of the process of writing that has been a mystery to me up until now.

But beyond that, I have begun to take my overly-obsessive analyzing behaviors, the ones that have been with me from the time that I first learned how to spell my name as a child. My mother, God rest her soul, used to love telling the story of how when I proudly learned how to spell my name at the ripe old age of 4, would clearly amplify each letter on command of whomever asked for me to perform this circus-like act, “J….U….D….Y…. CAUSE!” At that point, my mother would make sure all who were within ear shot clearly understood how clever it was for me to connect the letter Y with the word WHY and immediately have to find the answer or the reason.

Later, when I got older and pursued a career in mental health, my mother would revert to this tale and claim to have known back then, that my need to UNDERSTAND would lead me through my entire life.

All this many years later, and I’m fairly sure, that at least for the most part, she was onto something.

Understanding vs Judging

So, here I am, breaking it all down, yet again…except this time, I’m actually looking to even further understand the word “UNDERSTAND.”

And, to may amazement…it is actually quite obvious and simple – UNDER STAND can also be STAND UNDER which to me, defines support. When I gain UNDERSTANDING, I feel more able to provide support…to raise up, once I am armed with a sense of UNDERSTANDING.

Understanding Understanding

It isn’t an answer, it isn’t a solution…it is simply reaching an UNDERSTANDING.

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