Healing, Inspiration, Life

Getting in Your Own Way: Missing out on Love

“Who holds you?”

This has been one of the most powerful questions I have ever been asked.(I was in my spirituality residency [chaplaincy] at the hospital, and my supervisor asked me this as a reflection question). I was stunned that as I tried to respond, I began to cry. It was the kind of cry, where you have to work really hard to get yourself together. My tears seemed to be the only answer I could give, because I honestly didn’t know how to answer the question at all. After I left our meeting, I reflected some more, and I still couldn’t put my finger on it. Why was I feeling so broken, so confused by this question?

I did the natural thing for me: Evaluate my feelings…figure out where they stemmed from…what was the reason for my tears? I even sort of fought with myself internally about my tears: I know I am loved. I come from a family that loves me. I have people around me who love me. I believe God loves me. So why then do I feel so darn empty inside, each time I try to answer this question?

This happened in 2004. Here I am 9 years later, and I still reflect on this question. The question of, “Who holds you?” for me has always meant “Who loves you?” For many years, I kept searching for what Love was supposed to be like: that perfect kind of love. But as time has gone on I realize that by searching for perfect Love, many times I’ve missed the opportunity to really embrace moments of Love in my life, because I was afraid that it wasn’t the “right” kind of love, or the way love was “supposed to be.” So I walked around life feeling empty, when Love was all around me, waiting patiently for me to let it in.

My answer to this question has changed over the years. I’ve found a peace inside myself over time…instead of trying to figure out my reaction to this question over the years, I’ve learned to  “Let it be;” i.e., trust more deeply that life will reveal its answers to me, when it is the right time.  And in many ways, I finally feel I have come to an answer that I feel to be most truthful to who I am both in my every day life and in my spiritual life. I now recognize that each time I was trying to figure out where Love was in my life,  I was actually preventing myself from experiencing it because I was searching too hard for it; i.e. I was getting in my own way of  really being able to feel “held.” Instead of searching for love in my life, I now allow myself to feel Love, to experience Love, and most importantly Love myself so that I can even more honestly share my love with others and receive love from others. In other words, I allow Love to be what it is, and not what I expect it to be. I’ve gotten out of my own way! Now I feel safe and secure with Love’s arms holding me up, with a strength that will  never break. Love is always there for me, and for you. It’s everywhere in nature, in people, in God, in the Spirit, in this amazing gift of Life, and inside you…you just need to give yourself the freedom to experience it without putting up so many walls.

How are you going to let Love into your life?

Rumi Love Quote

We all search for relationships in our lives, and deeper connections…open yourself to looking deeper within you, so that LOVE may spring forth anew for you.

You are Beloved. You are Loved.

So I leave you with my question today, “Who holds you?” 

…and just remember that whatever your answer is today, it may change again tomorrow: be gentle with yourself, offer yourself love…and your answers will come. I have faith that they will for you.

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue

©Bella Bleue Healing™ All Rights Reserved.
Please also visit my photography site: Photography by Bella Bleue

And if you use Facebook and would like daily inspirations and messages check out my page Bella Bleue Healing

Healing, Spirituality

Maybe LIFE really is All about LOVE.

Sometimes life is extremely challenging, even when it seems there is no reason for it to be. It’s the kind of challenge when something just feels off inside you. Maybe it’s that your heart just isn’t happy, and you don’t know why; maybe you’re feeling lonely, even though you saw your friends today; maybe you’re feeling sad, even though the sun is shining; etc.

We are all looking for ways to make ourselves feel better. But no matter what works, we all know feeling better, comes and goes. It is a natural rhythm of Life to have ups and downs, and a plateau every now and again. It is easier to share the good, than to allow the bad to have a voice. Because it is easier to share with others that you are “put-together,” and can handle anything that comes your way. Otherwise, you assume, others will think you are weak, even though they are putting on the same mask as you.–Life–our everyday making it through–has created us to believe that we always have to be strong on the outside. But our real LIFE—says You are human just like me, and me, and me, and me…and we all feel a total arrange of emotions.

So maybe we all just need to be a little kinder to ourselves: Allowing ourselves to be really who we are: beautiful and broken, broken and beautiful. Maybe strength is really about giving ourselves permission to be honestly who we were each created to be, rather than being the “well-put-together-all-the time” persons we think we need to be or ought to be. Maybe LIFE is really all about LOVE–accepting yourself, and accepting others; choosing to forgive and allow yourself to be forgiven; welcoming the Sacred into your life, whatever you call it God, Universe, Spirit, Beloved, etc., so you always have someone to share your journey with.

Love Life Quote

Yesterday, I was having a difficult day. Everything, seemed to be overwhelming me, and no matter how hard I tried to keep my spirits up, I just couldn’t get out of my funk. But then I remembered something as I washed the dishes, I had forgotten to talk with God. So I did. I just said, “I’m having a hard time, and You know how I am when I feel this way. If there is anything You can do to help me feel just a bit better…” A little later my husband called me, and told me the thing I was worrying about, I didn’t need to bother myself with any longer, and then suggested I take my son to the playground.  His reassurance made me feel a bit more at ease. When we got to the playground my son ran around, until he planted himself at the sandbox, with a bunch of little boys. I sat down next to another mom. She was very welcoming and friendly. When we got in the car to go home, I realized I was feeling better.  God had listened to my prayer and gave me the phone call from my husband, and brought me to a playground where there was a kind mother to share with and feel listened-to.  I experienced Love from God, my husband and this mother.

I wonder what kind of world we would live in if each of us gave each other the gift of Love? Maybe these hard days wouldn’t be so hard. And maybe we’d all realize we are all just as human as the next person. Just maybe being “put-together” would mean you are a person of many feelings and emotions, but most of all you are a giver and receiver of LOVE; instead of being able to do it all, have it all, and always be happy.

Yeah, I wonder…how about you?…

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.
Please also visit my photography site: Photography by Bella Bleue
 

Connecting to the wonder we are, Life

When Love Hurts: Keep on Loving and Living Anyway

It’s inevitable that love and pain will dance together in our lives, no matter how hard we try to keep them apart.

A really beautiful woman, who I have been blessed to have in my life, now has Stage 4 Cancer. She  is a woman “full of grace” and absolutely amazing.  She is a warrior queen who rages against her battle with a softness and love for life, that breaks all boundaries of the kingdom of the “Big C,” and day by day she gently and powerfully conquers with another day of living life.  She often dresses up with a colorful scarf atop her head, that draws out the beautiful colors of her eyes, that sparkle every time she smiles. She reminds me that every day life is worth smiling about, even when it really sucks. And even more importantly, she has taught me: that even when life seems like it is trying to close its door on you, keep reaching out in open arms and gently say to it, “I’m still here. And I’m ready to receive you and accept you, even if what you are placing in front of me is not what I want because I WANT TO LIVE.”

And this is why Love and pain will always dance together. They dance together in this deeply real image of  my beautiful friend (our beautiful friends) moving in perfect rhythm to the music of life, while death keeps stepping on her toes and throwing her off balance every once in a while until it wins [in the literal sense]. It’s the deeper reality for those of us watching this happen: that at times Love Really Hurts.

Loving my friend brings with it a deep hurt: I know deep down inside that she is going to die: there will be an emptiness inside me when she is gone, and it hurts right now because her inevitable death seems so unfair because she is so good and she wants to keep LIVING.

And because I love her,  deep down inside my heart is that painful question of,”WHY?”

“Why if she is soooo good, and sooo loved, does she need to suffer? Why did she have to get sick? Why does she have to die at such a young age? Why….and the questions keep coming.

I know that I can answer these questions in a very spiritual manner…and connect to an understanding of spiritual, emotional and bodily suffering as a part of life, and a Creator and the Beloved who suffers with me, with her… and at times brings me great comfort…

But…that’s an answer that may only fulfill me, or still may not be enough…

And so I look deep inside myself and I feel it…and I listen to it. The sadness deep in my heart. The part of me that feels the grief. The inevitable knowing that one day, she won’t be here. The anticipatory awareness that others too are going to hurt. In other words, the parts of me that Love her. The parts of me that are LOVE.

And then the tears come slowly, but deeply. And then the quiet sobs, that make you hold your breath, because your body just hurts too much.

Then you get yourself back together. And you put your feet back down on the solid ground below you, and you move forward again.

And you remind yourself. She’s not dead yet. She’s still here.  And that she’s living life. And you’ve got to do the exact same thing: LIVE.

And the question is no longer Why, but HOW.

As I return to Love as a powerful force for living rather than for pain, I am able to learn from my friend. She is teaching me how to live my life by the way she shares  her love and welcomes and receives my love; and she teaches me to love life more fully by the way that she lives…

LIVING:

  • Embracing your own fragility,
  •  Being comfortable with questions that don’t have the perfect answer, or maybe even an answer at all.
  • Breathing & Smiling even when life gives you a hurricane when all you asked for was a little rain
  • Loving yourself even when your body is failing you
  • Loving others even when death is knocking on their door
  • Letting your body, mind and spirit weep from the pain with a good cry every once in a while
  • Connecting to your spiritual roots, and allowing them to nourish your spirit
  • Seeking out others to accompany on their journey, and inviting others to accompany you on your journey too

What would you add?

And Living and Loving is what makes you more fully YOU: When you LOVE: and allow all that is LOVE to touch your life, then you LIVE, and by LIVING a deeper more meaningful life—one that doesn’t stop loving because of fear of the pain—you become more fully who you truly are: you become more fully and deeply human.

—This is what I realize now that I have been able to step back from the pain, and going forward can embrace the beautiful reality of how my friend celebrates life through her ability to Love  Life and all that it is.

Below is the message I wrote to my beautiful friend, that I want to share with you.

*

May you always be blessed to know LOVE and to become more fully yourself each and every day by giving yourself the gift of Living life.

Blessings AlwaysErin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.

* If any of you would ever like me to write something for someone you love, or even for yourself with one of my images, I would always be honored.

Connecting to the wonder we are, Inspiration

How a Simple Gesture of Love Can Ignite Your Imagination

It is amazing how a simple car ride can suddenly ignite your imagination. I was sitting at a red light and glanced at a few people walking through the bus stop parking lot. It’s a special parking lot. The people who put their feet on its grounds bring stories with them: they are on their way to a life journey after a flight in the sky.

I noticed an elderly couple walking to a car: I began to create scenarios in my mind: I imagined they must be returning from a trip. So often people return to the Northeast for the summer after a winter down South. I imagined they were feeling happy to be back…and then I saw a woman approach. She gestured to them, and they walked toward her: luggage in hand.

And then the moment: Open arms reaching and connecting bodies, hearts and “I’m so glad you are here” all in one spontaneous moment of a Hug.

My imagination took me down a new path. I imagined the women are sisters. They live across the country from each other. Over the years their children have played, but are grown now with children of their own. They have a long history of memories. They recall how they used to talk about moments like these when they were young women, but now these moments are real. They are living these moments right now.  And they create a  memory for their future moments starting with a Hug.

There’s something about the connection of human touch sprinkled with love that ignites a feeling of gratitude for being alive, either as the observer or the actual receiver of this love.

What do you imagine when you watch people connect to each other through out the day? Here’s the opening clip of Love Actually to inspire your imagination.

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.

Life, Spirituality

Please: Just Try to be Patient with ME!

It was one of those days. The kind of day when everyone needs you, kind of day. All you hear from the ends of every corner you try to hide in: “I need you, Mama!” And every time you get a moment of “alone-time” (which really is a figment of you imagination) the dog or cat come find you–and of course need to be pet or taken outside. So you literally want to scream! and of course catch the first plane to a secluded island of paradise, but you regain your senses and you grab a hold of the reins of your life: and you patiently respond: “Here I am. What do you need? How can I help you?”

I’m sure we’ve all had days and moments when it seems like no matter where we turn someone needs us or life is making us wait for something we hope will be better.  Whatever these moments are like they require our patience. Patience: that ‘wonderful’ virtue that life tells us to work at each day…well that is if we want to.

“Patience (or forbearing) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.”    —Wikipedia

So as the day went on I did try and work at not being negative: I smiled, let my son climb all over me while I tried to type, played games, made dinner and all the usual housewife stuff with out getting angry at all…

Well, I guess I did show some frustration and raised my voice, a couple times. But I did wait it out until I got to boiling point—(which totally defeats the logic behind being patient). And then as quickly as I let it out, I put all those feelings of negativity and frustration aside and smiled again.

How are you with patience? Is it something easy or challenging for you?

When I used to go to work daily, I was really good at patience. I believed patience was defining of my character and I had to be flawless. No matter how rough or intense the situation was at work, I remained calm and serene.  I credited myself for this virtue. And people affirmed my ability to be patient.

But the problem was, I was so patient at work, i.e., I had a really high endurance for staying positive and calm even when I was frustrated or overwhelmed, that I didn’t release any of these feelings (frustration, etc.) during the day. So the negative feelings would show up at home when I felt annoyed about a house chore or responsibility; and these feelings would be released in the communication between my husband and I.  Which of course did not do wonders for our relationship.

Now that I have been away from my work environment for 8 months, I realize that although being patient at work was a virtue I prided myself on…I was not good at taking care of myself because I didn’t have a healthy outlet to release my exhaustion, frustration, or negativity that sometimes was welling up inside me while I was being patient. And I am reminded  that I am still not really taking care of myself because I experience these negative feelings when I’m at home from time to time, and I’m still not always good at creating an outlet to release them.

Do you have a way to take care of yourself when you feel exhausted from being patient?

Today I’ve come to realize that I can offer patience over and over, and continue to put on my smile for everyone, but if I am not taking care of myself while being patient, then I am doing no one a service. When I start feeling frustrated or I get impatient: wanting things to change right then and there, I get down on myself. For example, I often get the idea that I should be able to be all these things: a patient worker, a patient mother, a patient wife, a patient caregiver, a patient believer, a patient follower, etc.

But as I’ve been writing this I realize I’m doing the best I can, right? So if I have the patience for other people to be imperfect and I have the patience to wait for them to figure things out shouldn’t I offer the same kind of patience to myself? WHY OF COURSE I SHOULD. So there’s a bit of wisdom I’ve discovered. Now I just need to act on it.

What about you? Are you good at being patient with yourself when life isn’t going exactly the way you want it to, or when you just can’t seem to get life right? Are you able to provide yourself with compassion and patience while you are working on healing or recovery?  I’m going to work on all these things starting today.

We all deserve to love ourselves and one of the ways to do this is to offer ourselves the gift of patience. A gift of patience that says: “I’m not perfect, and there’s no way I can be. I am always healing, always learning, always growing…Learning to love myself and my life is an ongoing process every day.”

I truly believe that when we are patient with each other, and patient with ourselves: by allowing healing to take the time it needs to, by allowing ourselves to feel different emotions, and by allowing ourselves to take as much time to grow and develop as we need to, we will all be happier, healthier people. And Life in general will be a much more pleasant experience for us all.

So offer yourself the gift of patience.  And be well.

…and as I finish this post my son is running around the house and playing his drums…breathe…”Patience is a Virtue.” Breathe again. Smile. Amen. 

He finally went to sleep. Now I get to edit. And the house is quiet. I really worked at being patient with myself and my son today, and it seems to be paying off. And my husband was patient with me tonight too, and said, “Go ahead and work on your post” while I clean up after dinner. Wow! What a gift. I guess being patient does pay off sometimes!

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue

Related articles:
Be Patient with Yourself by Steve Pavlina
How to be Patient

©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All rights reserved.

Healing, Life

Hear Me Long Enough to Listen

One of the greatest ways to connect to another person is to give him/her the gift of your listening ear. Every single one of us wants to be heard. We want our words to mean something to someone else, because the words we speak come from within our being. Just as you long for attention from another person, someone else longs for your attention. During my years as a spiritual counselor, I’ve discovered that listening, usually without saying a word, to someone’s story is most often the greatest healing gift I can offer; and within personal relationships it is the one of the greatest gifts I can receive.

When you feel listened to you are empowered to trust more deeply in the wonderful, amazing, incredible, fabulous, unique, (& so much more) person you are! -Bella Bleue

I invite you:

  •  To make an extra special effort to really listen to someone you care about.
  • After you walk away from this experience take some time to reflect on what you learned about this person that you hadn’t noticed before AND
  • Reflect on what it was like to be so fully present for another.
  • If you are the one who needs to be listened to: Ask that the other person to listen

It’s amazing how when we “Hear Someone Long Enough to Listen” we are giving an incredible gift, and at the same time receiving so much in return.

I originally shared this post in my first weeks of blogging. I sometimes return to my writings to see if there is anything I need to reflect on, or that speaks to me in a different way at this moment in life. After sharing my last post about healing our brokennessI reflected some more…and part of  ‘naming’ what I feel is also being able to share my story with someone and be listened to.

I continue to be grateful for the supportive community of readers and writers here from all over the world.

As we listen to each other and support each other, a deeper healing is happening in our lives and in our world.

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue

©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All rights reserved.

If you like to read more from Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., check out her book: “Kitchen Table Wisdom :Stories that Heal” The quote is from her message, “Just Listen.” I have more about her in my Blogroll. Blessings!

Blessing, Life

Connecting Beyond the Boundaries of Space and Time

One of the best gifts of being a ‘blogger’ is meeting and connecting with people across the globe who share their wisdom, strength, pain, healing, inspiration, art and so much more.  In this day and age of the cyber-world, it is amazing how connected we can be with people we’ve never met before, and yet, they transform our lives and we are transforming theirs. I am so astounded by the heart-felt sharing that happens here in this little piece of the world I am apart of. And I again, want to say thank you! Each of you is a Blessing!

I am finding that in some ways, I am at a lack of words to express all that I want to say tonight. I realize that I am pretty drained right now—so much of my energy over the last few weeks was being consumed by the discernment I was personally and collectively undergoing about my family’s future. And I need a reboot.  All is well, now. We have figured out what we need. We have worked on being more affirming of the gifts we have, accepting challenges that aren’t always fun, and trusting more in our faith.

Thank you for the gift of your listening hearts and beautiful sharing.

In life we need each other. I know I have said this so many times before. But it is so very deeply true to who we are, as human beings. We yearn for connection, and it is the greatest source of tangible strength that we have—and at least in this day and age it comes not only through the person who sits beside us, or the pet we have, but through the words and messages of the people who grace our Blog page.

So give yourself a pat on the back, and know you are making a difference in someone’s life today.

Thank you for your incredible gifts!

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life
™ All rights reserved.