“For contrary to legal precedent, women are considered guilty of incompetence until proved otherwise.”-Amelia Earhart.
Forsome time my life has been dictated by the reference point of before the stroke versus after the stroke. The closer I came either physically or mentally to being like myself before the stroke marked improvement and progress. No doubt that is a clear indicator of recovery after such a horrific event. However, what if the stroke wasn’t so much a detriment but something like aflint against which yousharpen a rock? I had become that rock. Therefore, rather then pretend that the stroke had destroyed me, why not see thatI was very much still “there?” In personality and physically.If a city can be rebuilt after undergoing a round of intense bombing, then why couldn’t I? In thisprocess it has been imperative to stay positive and be around others who are. Because, sadly as I have experienced first hand, there are more people out there that want to extinguish your light rather then feed the fire. Personally I am frustrated by the reference point, as I’m sure so are other stroke survivors. To be compared to ones self and trying to outdo it, seems like a cruel sports event. Being stubborn and ambitious, I naturally try to outdo myself(and others) anyway. Not only is that the natural human inclination, but this was something different. I was being measured against myself andasked to meet the expectations of others. Naturally, this turned into walking a personal war path to prove any naysayers wrong. Maybe you haven’t heard, but anyone who tells you your aspirations are impossible is a liar.After all, if it can happen to anyone why not you?Winning the lottery, finding great love, traveling the world, and full recovery after a stroke. I believe all these things are possible to thosethat deign to dream them. However, don’t insert a wishbone where a backbone should be. The people that will emergeafter a tragedy and that should be kept in your atmosphere, are the ones that build you up rather then drag you down. When it comes to the naysayers, learn to protect yourself from them and relish the moment you inevitably prove them wrong. Because, if you remain focused on the finish line rather then the hurdles, you will.
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom.
Today, a newrecord was quietly accomplishedin a corner of the globe rarely heard of. Three once unrelated strangers gathered in friendship, and oneamazingpersonal journey was thrusted ever forward to the “finish line.” While the rest of the world hummed along minding its own business, I was excitedly(and happily) checkingone more daydream off my to do list.Just like most personal goals it was of little importance to everyone else, except in this particular case Iwas accompanied by others that understoodthe importance of such a day. Many of us are skilled at rationalizing our way out of doing something. When in truth, we need to be rationalizing our way intomore things! There is no reason you cannot accomplish what you dream of. As they say, where there’s a will there is a way.By working through seemingly insurmountable circumstances with gritted teeth and a rock solid resolve, I have found that to be absolutely true. You see, what we aren’t told enough growing up is that we can do anything.Be weary of those who tell youany different. Ultimately, the people that believe in you as much as you believe in yourself, will walk right alongside you during the race.
above: My two pillars of support during the race Early on(when I was injured) there were questions of my ability to walk well again if at all, and much less trek a mile! However, with tremendous support and blessings I’ve done just that twice now. Both times were events that originally had been dreamed up in my mind.
above girl in tutu:Tropicolor, color run. the happiest 5k on the planet!
EvenifI completed each goal slowly, the point was to complete it at all and soak up the fact that dreams do(and can) come true. Especially when you put your best foot forward and your mind to it. Therefore, be careful of what you tell yourself and who you listen to. Because, whatever words are spoken get eaten up by our heart. Certainly, your heart deserves only the best things that life has to offer, so don’t let it consume words thatwill harm it!Find windto carry you where there is none, and fly high even when others want you to stay low.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
Do both of your hands function? I have often daydreamed about what I would do if both of mine did, because currently my left hand does not. I think I would take up knitting, complicated needle point, scrubthe entire floor with a tiny toothbrush, and finallyfind every excuse to use my hands. When you havean ability naturally,it’s taken for granted. If only We all realized how amazinghaving them truly is. We would all bemuch more grateful, andeager to use our abilities.Also, it’s likely that We’d look for opportunities to be able to use them.Many of these opportunities, would be in helping those that do not have the same abilities.Being aware of these things now, I know in thepastthat I would’ve been much more charitable and helpful towards my fellow man. Just as John Lennon imagined an enlightened World so do I. However, my wish is that everyone would fully realize what a gift they have and share it amongst each other. If that happened, I imagine there would be no need for charityor as many costly social programs. The level of people helping each other would dramaticallyincrease. Just imagine if We met each day as zealous as Scroogeon Christmas morning. What kind ofdreams would berealized if We were aware ofour innate abilities and gifts?Even more soif Weshared them, culminating into acollective good that We allbenefitted from. There are times each of uscan recallof not going out of our way to help someone. If We were aware of how incredible our abilities to function normally really are, very few things would be considered as “going out of the way.” Insteadhelping others would just be a normal part of life.
“The secret of genius is to carry thespirit of the child into old age,which means never losing your enthusiasm.” -Aldous Huxley.
Those of us who manage to hold onto our childlike wonder, become like amagnet,and light to others. It is with the simple joys of a child that life becomes and remains magical. Why is it that imagination(or creativity) is so often scoldedrather than fostered?It seems that the World is uncomfortable with the daydreamers. However, before We are able to do anything we must imagine it first. No great feat(personal or otherwise) has been accomplished by following the rules,playing it safe,orby thinking within the box. Unfortunately people like to see others fail, rather than flourish. Therefore, they try to negate thegrand ideas of dreamers. Whether it’s by telling you that you cannot accomplish something or children inschool(a rigid place) teasingthe often aloof daydreamer of the group.The more opposition you’re met with is a clue thatyour on the right track. Although, it’s unwise to be bullheadedand stubborn.At any rate, just don’t give up on your dreams.It is known that fear and doubt only serve to derail you,so ignore thosefalsedirections!Surround yourself with that which is good, and turn a blind eye tothe doubters.Life is far too short to waste any time withthe fears of someone else. Fillyour mind with encouragement and positive thoughts. It helps tremendously to fix your thoughtsonwhat istrue,honorable,right,pure,lovely,and admirable(Phil 4:8). Personally I’ve found thatby just havinglovely thoughts and objects around me, it makes a difference. More recently I acquired an old 1960’s vanity, which I filled with lovely objects that lift my spirit,eitherwith memories or simply their aesthetic. We(family) refinished it back to it’s original splendor, and then I proceeded todecorate it with what makes mefeel good(see below). Some people create shrines to a specific God,but I think it also worthy tocreateashrine to all that makes you feel good(an idea here)whether, you choose a physical collection of objects, or a vision board you cannot go wrong. Before something can manifest in the physical, it’s imperative we visualize it,and this is why imagination is so vital to the human experience. Dear friends,don’t be swayed by the cares of this world,because if youlet it,it will choke the dreams from behind your eyelids. Therefore, keep your eyes seton the sky above,and shoot for the moon!
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t either way, you are right.” -Henry Ford.
In a world ravaged by the painsof “reality,” it’s easy to forget that miracles do happen. By all accounts and in reality, I very well should not be here(see here) orfind it difficult to communicate with you. However, I’ve defied the odds because of a miracle. It’s easyfor us to limit ourselves as well as miracles. What many people don’tacknowledge isour limitless possibilities as humans, it’s one of the most beautiful things about us. I used to think I had to make things happen, which in many ways I did. Whenyou take responsibility for your reality,monitor your thoughts,and actively choose to change it,good things manifest in your life. Just becauseyou cannot see it in the physical sense doesn’t mean it’s not there. Our lives begin in our mind. Therefore, don’t self identify with your doubts, or put up with negative thoughts, they can be countered and they’re simply not you. It’s difficult at first to counter thelittle voices that tell you, you can’t but aftersome time it becomes easy(even fun to thwart them!)and with them out of the way it will allow your confidence to blossom. Our thoughtscan produce our reality. To quote the bible “You shall know them by their fruits.” We can be trees that blossom,multiply,and arefruitful! Much of it begins in our minds. If the circumstances don’t agree with you, strive to actively change them. Todo this you will find yourself having to negate all those sentences that begin with but, I can’t, and don’t. The mind is a battlefield and often you can be your own worst enemy. Rather then comply, fightthe path of least resistance and go against the grain. This can become a chore but when you bear the fruits ofthat labor, they will surely be sweet.Too often We let”reality,” limit our miracles.I’ve had to tell peopleto stop being so realistic! The fact is, We create our own glass ceilings. Sometimes it’s us that create the limits or it can be others. One of many solutions would be toeither hangout with like minded people,ignorethe naysayers,oraddress it(tactfully).The best adventure stories are those that overcome the odds andmake their waythrough a battle and claim the victory. I don’t believe that anybody held(or wrote?) a story about a heroine that always gave into doubts and fears in high esteem.During this life write your ownepic adventure and certainly don’t be afraid of the battles.
“You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
Much like Alice we are all on a journey to find our muchness.
I have found that my own personal journey has very much reflected the story of Alice in Wonderland.
Over the past year and a half I have met character after character.
The jabberwocky for me was the recovery and overcoming of the massive stroke.
Many times I have been at a crossroads of confusion.
It was as if the Cheshire Cat was pointing me in all sorts of directions.
However, I couldn’t always listen to him but follow my own feet as best I could.
The evil queen of hearts for me though, resided in a large hospital castle.
She sent her army of doctors after me,while I ran thru a garden maze looking for the exit.
Luckily, I have found the tiny door to a room that leads out though.
When I finally return from the depths of the rabbit hole I have plans.
Like Alice,I too have large dreams and new frontiers to set sail for.
Alice keeps getting questioned who she is in the film repeatedly.
Until, finally the mad hatter recognizes her after she regains her”muchness.
I also was questioned repeatedly on who I was.
In test after test I determined to show therapists “I’m still here, I’m okay!”
After months of outpatient therapy, I began to feel mad.
However as in the film:
“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter’s temperature]
I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
On October 12th of 2012 in upstate Newyork at the age of 28 I had a massive stroke out of nowhere,but now a little over a year of recovery time,I am in therapy on a weekly basis,its been a hard road…We put a years worth of miles on our car in half the time…
There are several types of therapies to keep you moving…
Massage Therapy(which dealt with getting nerves to wake up again)this was considered to be an alternative therapy
Suit Therapy-which is typically for children with Cerebral Palsy but helps to activate
Speech underused muscles 6. Speech TherapySincemy discharge from Inpatient Rehab(all 64 days of it…) I have been on a weekly schedule of therapy and Doctor visits,which at first were arduous,but now have become routine as I make my way back into some normalcy in what as been a very irregular and difficult time period in my life thus far,now all I can do is continue to work,persevere,and keep hope.Never has the saying “One day at a time been more relevant,as well as the term ‘Patience of a Saint’ While recovering and being less independent I have had to learn how to be patient and wait for nearly everything, which has probably been one of the larger changes,coming from being a fiercely independent woman….
Barwis Method is ran by College Football Strength&Conditioning Coach,legendary Mike Barwis out of Plymouth,Michigan, the training facility consists of an area for weights and modified workout machines(built by personal specifications according to Mike) as well as an indoor field,He physically challenges athletes and laymen alike and of all physical rehab I have done his is my favorite.These days Mike is a hard guy to catch as He builds a new center and more recently has begun filming on American Muscle,soon to be on the Discovery Channel.I have been lucky to meet this forward thinking trainer,not to mention a person that like most rather than being self focused chooses to take time to help others.
A poem upon parting……
One ship drives East,
and another drives West,
With the self-same winds that blow;
Tis the set of the sails, and not the gales,
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
Tis the set of the soul that decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
Happy Saturday ! I just returned from a nice week of work (believe it!) I got to go to sunny California and catch up on my vitamin D intake.. it was a nice change of scenery, however the flight time I could do without … At any rate I did get some reading done. I wandered and wandered Laguardia Airport and I came across Pattie Smith’s Just Kids …. I never got into her as an artist but I have to say after reading this book I was impressed, it’s a sad and beautiful tale of two people that really loved each other *sigh*
Truth be told I cried at the end on the way back from California…on the plane in total obscurity among a sea of strangers. I can only hope to have such a love story with another human being, I really liked the fact that they fueled each others creativity in the best of times and more importantly worst of times. If you enjoy or adore any of the old NY artists and beat writers you MUST read this.
In other news… While in California I recalled a haunting dream that I haven’t been able to shake. My Mother always half joked that as I got older I would figure out all the things she screwed up.. well not too long ago I had a vivd dream, I was looking/watching myself as a child, perfect and untainted by the world and so full of potential. I got the overwhelming unspoken feeling/sense that this little girl could have anything and everything. I was smiling and laughing next to my Mother who was bent down lower to be near my plane of view. We were exceptionally happy there, next to one another. Then the dream was punctuated by a voice, not in my own voice either. All it communicated was a single sentence “Your Mother made you insecure.”
Since then I have been working out and filling in all the holes of where this has negatively effected me in life and it has pretty much everywhere, from my romantic choices or pursuits throughout the years right down to me wanting to go to Art School. It got me to thinking that I need to correct this, I have gotten better but that dream… Wow. This brings me to my point. There is a beauty company that makes great little products and in nicely designed packaging I discovered years ago, and upon investigating further found they donate proceeds to a local girls group in Colorado that helps girls come into their own at a young age. I never thought I needed that sort of thing but I realize maybe I did !!!
I am running a contest, I would like to hear your personal stories of or about a time of difficulty and how you overcame it. I think this could be of encouragement and help to others that read it. I will pick one story and the “chosen one” (haha) will receive a gift set from Love&Toast. (see below)
I can’t take credit for this title, its ripped off of a Banksy piece. I’m not one to risk futurecopyright infringement, although… in the case of Banksy it wouldn’t matter, that is part of his art or manifesto or artist statement/idea….so ya. Anyway the whole point of this article is exactly what the title says: Change.
I just started to read a book my best friend bought me years agocalledStumbling on Happiness, basically the psychology of humans in relation to happiness. What you think will make you happy and what actually does. I’m excited to read it because I know it will be good (Ashley you are a girl of great taste), I always enjoy a new spin/perspective and well… I want to do something scary. Real scary. At least for me. You know that ever important thing that most people need in some facet?… (no not $$money$$ but it can relate to it..) …. SECURITY.
A secure job. A secure place to live. A retirement?? etcetera etcetera… well I value it a lot, I hate feeling on edge not knowing where or how I’m going to make it next month, or next week, or even tomorrow. -BUT- you know what? Its also motivating, I hussled the most when I had no security because I wanted to get it. In a way, the lack of security was a challenge, it made me more productive. Now that I have it, I feel I’ve moved back into a bedroom in the procrastination palace. I loathe the very thing that provides all this “security”… i..e. A “normal” job. Most days its okay but ugh… I just wanna go back to school for something fun, or travel all over the world, or you know.. be my own boss. The idea is grand, actually doing it—- SCARY, because there is little security in it (at least until your successful….IF you are) and your taking a risk. Now I am not entirely risk averse, in fact, I have taken many risks (some smart, some not so smart) in life but one I have not taken much of is that of the working kind. I chose the safe reliable degree.
Although for the same reasons girls always pick the bad guys (according to popular belief and my own observation of the female species) … well.. safe and reliable=boring. Now unlike the lesson in which you learn after dating one too many assholes, (at least hopefully you are one of the fortunate who realize it and pick a good guy finally) safe and reliable=fantastic ! ladies. Well they can still be edgy just reliable in the fact that they reliably do not treat you like shit !… wait this isn’t a dating post, argh! ) Anyway…with work safe and reliable is for me at least…..boring. I do something different everyday but its just not entirely my passion. Mostly it not being my passion is the problem… *sighhhhh*
What is?? Good question, I like making shit. I like helping people. I love travel. What should I do with the rest of my life??!!! This is exactly why I just went with the safe degree b/c I changed my mind so often I would have been broke and in school forever had I not… but… it gnaws at me still. Little by little, like a caterpillar taking tiny bites out of a big leaf… I cannot be practical forever, there is much of me that is completely impractical ! hahaha… I want to follow my passion, I want to be my own boss.
Sooooo… what is the plan? The solution?? Well first off, get out of debt. Secondly, think about school… Thirdly, I want my own place dammit. Living alone might be lonely or boring but I feel it would be alright, after all, having a pet exists for a reason. (Adopt !!) Also… I’m going to start up myEtsyagain and get business cards once I get the finances in order. Think about it: Less shoes and meaningless material belongings.. more life experiences and freedom !! (Credit cards are slavery disguised as fancy sugar daddies, or mamas (if your a boy) )
SO I invite you along with me to journey towards no debt and dream achieving instead of just dreaming. Life is so short and fast. You need love and to give love as much as possible and to dwell in what you find beautiful and fulfilling. I always attempt to do that but modern day society is great at side tracking you from it with a lot of needless junk (material and otherwise) ….I just want some more freedom.
I know half the fun is in the journey not the destination but, geezus, I want it NOW!!! I hate waiting sometimes.. its torture when you want something badly. Looks like I have a lot of work to do, now… where is that EASY button????
For now… I will use my practical job to fund the daydreaming impractical pursuit.. so Cheers! to all you space cadets, I’ll meet you on Mars.
If any of you have stories, advice and or opinion please share !
P.s. I’m sorry if this makes you annoyed or lose your cookies..but.. I am actually bursting with happiness about a lot of things, life is good overall, who am I to complain?? Well, anyway, I think finally after years of kissing disgusting frogs I finally found a prince. Please watch the clip below.
Happy New Year everyone !! In contemplating the past, the future, the potential, the successes and failures… whilst flipping over to the next calender year a thought occurred to me… Is the grass really greener on the other side?? Many people think this and base a majority of their decisions on it…it’s a human thing to want, to wonder, to wander…but be careful what you wish for, right??
As a restless soul I always had the problem of discontent, my mind wandered (as it still does because I am a dreamer) but to what I could or should be doing.. the B that should be an A, the country I want to inhabit, the numerous amazing projects I wanted to begin or complete, etc etc.. goals are great however there is a point where it becomes hard to be content; truly content and many times we inflict this discontent upon ourselves. I found a great list,38 “Zen Habits”some of them are good advice and insightful and at the very least entertaining.
After all…. if your not fully in the present you’ll miss most of your life. I think back to the people I wish I would have spent more time with but was distracted by being too “busy” with work, school, a social function. This New Years I spent with my Mom and turned down the numerous other places I could have been, and you know what?? The social functions will always be there, my Mom will not.. its one of the best New Years I have had for that reason… quality not quantity… I believe too many of us have the tendency to possess this restless spirit, but there is a degree I believe to where it becomes detrimental.. its all about priorities..
How many times have you and certainly I, left something only to realize how good what you had was.. life goes on.. you live and learn but growing up and figuring out what is important to you makes all the difference… making better decisions, learning how to be content with yourself and where you are. For me this has meant spending as much time as I can with the people who over the years have shown me boundless love, acceptance and support. I’m not always as good at making time as I’d like to be.. balance is another thing I am forever trying to master….
I remember reading about the Dalai Lama and he had said that true happiness comes thru altruism.. I believe that is right too.. I want to live for something bigger and better then just myself. Living in NYC has been a crazy, wonderful, sometimes terrible (aka exhausting) journey but its made me tougher and its further shaped what I have come to value….. For me my job is not important, money is not everything, spending time in hollow relationships with people who don’t actually care about you is a waste, and furthermore being able to recognize the friends and foes is an ongoing journey as sometimeessss…. wolves dress like sheep.
Heck, this idea even carries over into romantic relations…When I first moved to the city I remember meeting in my first week, at my first job (bartending) a beautiful, nice, seemed non-crazy( really! but who knows….), successful girl and as we got to talking she complained of her difficulties in finding a solid/stable dude….”They all just want to play and move on to the next girl because here there are so many girls” (lots of pretty smart ones too)…. I thought I was doomed for sure if this girl couldn’t find a real relationship…(It was long before this I began my imaginary cat collection in my mind.. ha ha. sigh. Actually fuck that, motorcycle collection, and lest not forget vintage Vespas and Lambrettas and loud Rock N’ Roll. yaaaaa !) and I will say 90% of the women I meet here (young to middle aged to old) all have the same problem…(Note: for some reason I attract these kinds of confessions/discussions from many times total strangers, ?? I’m too approachable I think, NEVER make eye contact ha ha (kidding..sort of…)…
I really feel it is unfortunate that it seems to be how this city predominately is… new generation? a NYC thing? bad dating skills? bad decisions? Holy smokes Batman.. I am not sure… however I believe its a typical case of the grass is greener.. with so many people in the grass is greener mindset I believe they miss out on what is right in front of them; don’t miss out. Take good care of the grass your on and you’ll soon have a garden and soft cushy grass to cloud watch in. (=
Also ladies, about all those dudes.. Someday you’ll all find someone to look into your eyes and say “Helloooo your my very special one.” Here is a song for you about just that and perhaps maybe about prolonging this new year just a little longer (especially if 2011 treated you well)