Body, Mind and Soul… Day Three

Body, Mind and Soul - Day Three

Good morning and welcome back. Yesterday I promised to speak about the soul. For the sole purpose of reaching my life goals and dreams, I have to set my mind on what I want to achieve. I have to focus, fill my thoughts with the things that will help me reach those pinnacles.  I need to protect my body, mind and soul from people or things that will steal, detour, or destroy the plans I have made.  Not everyone in my life is good for me, some will not only destroy the plans I make by sabotaging my progress in my physical goals, messing with my mind and peace, but they will also seek to destroy my soul.

From the time we are born we are told how important family and friends are, often to the point that we ‘put  up’ with toxic people in our lives because we happen to be related to them or grew up around and with them. We essentially are taught to be tolerant and acceptable of abuse if we had the misfortune of being born within an abusive family or on a particular side of the tracks. As a child, we have no choice.  As a young adult, we are often tortured during those transitional years of dependency to independence, and some of us have to navigate that journey into adulthood with an already damaged soul.

Our souls are the most precious part of who we are.  Our exterior, our body, our skin, our faces, our strengths, our genetics, our culture… those are not the great and important aspects that truly define us as human being; those are the shallow parts.  The depth of who we are as a person is the part known as our soul. This is the part of us that defines the difference between right and wrong, compassion or apathy, love or hate, our integrity, and our self-esteem, etc. This is truly what defines our beauty.  But the world is shallow and most often can’t see beyond the exterior, physical, shallow aspects until we’ve entered into a relationship with someone, and thereby endangering our souls from the choices we made.

Come on, we’ve all done it. We’ve all at one time become infatuated with a beautiful smile, a set of dimples, strong muscles, or long, beautiful legs. We’ve fantasized about who we wanted that person of our infatuation to be, and it was good… while the fantasy lasted. But then we got to know the person behind the dimples, behind the muscles, behind the smile, behind the crocodile tears, behind the legs or the boobs, and that picture wasn’t as pretty as the one we had first imagined. Soon, those things we first found attractive was no longer eye-catching, because the soul became more and more evident. This has happened to everyone.  My question is this: How much damage did we allow to happen to our souls during this time of infatuation?  How much damage do we then cause to the next soul that comes into our lives because of the state of our now-damaged souls? Can you see the cycle?

We have to protect ourselves – our bodies, our minds, and especially our souls. We have to forget all that fucking nonsense that was drilled into us as children that we have to ‘put up’ with toxic people because they’re relatives or from the ‘hood.  We don’t HAVE to do anything or allow anyone into our lives that we don’t choose. If they’re toxic, selfish, detrimental to your own well-being, vampires that use, abuse, or take us for granted, disguised as friends but add no value to our lives, only there with their hands out when they need something – CHOOSE to protect and love yourself enough to walk away.  Choose to protect your soul. Choose to fight for yourself. Don’t allow them to infect your own soul and bring you down.

Here is a truth that I hope will change your life. It changed mine.  So, listen, and listen carefully.  IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO SAVE THE WORLD. It’s not.  We don’t possess the power to save anyone from anything.  People have to want to save themselves. This is what I’m trying to tell you today.  YOU have to want to save YOURSELF.  It’s God’s job to save other people’s souls, not yours.  If the world would concentrate on saving themselves, focus on being a good person with a beautiful soul, and then they will have a beauty that the rest of the world can see.  They will possess goodness, kindness, and compassion the world needs.

Protect your soul.  Stop allowing people to use you, to take from you when you have nothing for yourself.  Surround yourself with people who sow INTO you, who encourage you, who lift you up; not take from you, drain you, and takes advantage of you and what you have. Until you are strong enough to be an example, to be a light, you’re sacrificing your own light, your own soul.  How can you be a light when you’re filled with darkness, and pain, and your soul is so damaged from the abuse of those who claim to love you most?  It’s not selfish to cut these toxic relationships out of your life. Separate yourself – no matter if it’s a parent, a sibling, a gown child, an ex, a childhood friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker – it doesn’t matter who they are.  If they’re toxic and they have an ugly soul, or your soul is too damaged to deal with their drama – protect yourself.  This is YOUR life.  You only get ONE. You don’t get a do-over.

Protecting yourself, your body, mind and soul, is not going to be easy.  It will require dedication, determination, and devotion.  Love your body enough to do what is necessary to be healthy, to be fit to enjoy the things that make this life adventurous.  Love your mind enough to do what is necessary to be brilliant, open, and inquisitive, seeking out those dreams and ideas that will fulfill your life and give it purpose.  Love your soul enough to be a good person, a light in a dark world, deep love in a shallow society.  This is YOUR choice.  This is MY choice.

I’ve been a lot of dates that remind me constantly of how much the world is so focused on the shallow outside, how much there is a lack of vision, drive, and determination in the pursuit of happiness, and how many dark souls are out there just waiting to use and abuse me.  It hurts my heart. I’m so disappointed in what I’m finding.  I had to quit dating before I fully lost faith in men and in society in general.  I’m an odd duck.  I actually care about the world around me and the people in it.  But I keep dreaming, I keep praying, and I keep working on MYSELF to become the best person I can, hoping that I may be a light for someone.  I can’t save the world. It’s not my job. I am responsible for everything I do and say, but I’m not responsible for what the world hears or how they respond.  I hope I am a light on a hill, and that is why I work so hard to make sure I protect and focus my love on my body, my mind, and my soul.

Until next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Spiritual, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Body, Mind and Soul… Day Two

Body, Mind and Soul - Day Two

Okay, this is now day 2, and I promised I’d get to the mind and soul part of this blog. I’m conflicted on which to write first.  During meditation this morning I was really focused on the soul part, but then had electronic issues that pissed me off, so now I’m on the mind. Let’s just see where my fingers take me.

I suppose this part is both mind and soul.  There’s a rule in life that I’ve learned over the years. It’s one that’s help me realize many goals and dreams.  I’ve accomplish most of what I’ve set my mind on accomplishing. The rule is this, which is actually from the Word: Don’t start what you don’t plan to finish, and count the true cost before you make the first move. Then commit to it. Then jump. When I make a decision, I then make a plan, visualize the steps I need to reach the end result (write my vision upon the walls), and then settle it in my heart and mind to do what is required and necessary to achieve those goals (they will test resolve and require sacrifice), and then act.

Listen, this is important: Having a good idea never got anyone anywhere.  Action and dedication are required. But, that’s not all.  Action only gets the plan moving.  Do you know how many great plans have failed because when the planner took the first few steps, things got tough and they gave up or changed course?  I bet if you looked back you can see a long trail of unfinished plans and dreams.  Those didn’t fail on accident. They failed by choice. It may have been an easy or hard choice, but it was still a choice. You chose to quit, you chose to give up, and you chose to let it go.  There may have been good excuses, great reasons, or magnanimous consequences, but it was still a choice.  The ONLY way to make a plan succeed is by making the choice to fulfill it.

One of our biggest problems when we make a plan is that we make plans where we don’t possess the tools, determination, understanding, or skills in order to fulfill them.  This is a little complicated.  On one hand, we should always strive to reach beyond ourselves, outside our capabilities, and above our limitations, but at the same time we have to be reasonable and practical.  Dream. Oh, God, dream big! But then break that dream down into obtainable, sensible, practical steps.  If you can’t see the path to the dream, you’ll get lost, detoured, distracted, and discouraged.  Don’t be afraid to take risks, but be practical and honest about the true cost of those risks. Don’t lie to yourself. Be willing to pay those costs, or get off the pot and go back to half-ass your way through life. NOTHING good has ever been without sacrifice. NOTHING.

I once made a vow, just like King David, that I would not give to my God, or myself, that which costs me nothing.  I would not be like Cain and give the least of what I had to fulfill a requirement, but to always give my best and with my whole heart – at work, at play, at love, and at life. That promise is not for anyone but me, for the sole purpose of being able to stand in front of the mirror and face that woman who has been through hell and back, and know that I’ve done my best. Whether I succeed or fail, fly or fall on my face. SHE deserves my best. I value my dreams and goals, and THEY deserve my best.

So for the sole purpose of reaching my life goals and dreams, I have to set my mind on what I want to achieve. I have to focus, fill my thoughts with the things that will help me succeed.  I need to protect my mind and soul from people or things that will steal, detour, or destroy the plans I make.  Not everyone in our lives is good for us, some will not only destroy the plans we make by messing with our minds, but they will also seek to destroy our souls.  That’s what I’d like to blog about tomorrow – our souls.

Until next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Musing, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Body, Mind and Soul… Let’s Go

Body, Mind and Soul

Well, it’s a new day and I’ve got a lot of things bubbling up inside and I’m ready to start working on them. Last night I went on a date, and I think that will be my last first date for a while. It really confirmed to me what I want in this life and that I no longer have the patience or tolerance for anything that will distract me from that goal. I had a pleasant time, but I couldn’t wait for the date to be over. I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to keep getting disappointed when others don’t or can’t meet my expectations. I didn’t quite realize what those expectations were until this weekend. They’re quite high. I’m tired of being hurt or let down. I’m tired of putting my heart out there, when others are unwilling to put their own. I’m a risk taker. I’m an adventurer. I’m not lazy in anything, and that includes love.

So, what’s on the agenda? Well, that included a LOT of things: I’m working on body, mind and spirit. I’m going to really sharpen my focus on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Let’s start with the physical: I’m healthy and active. I’m not skinny, but I’m not obese. I work out so that I will be able to participate in the activities I enjoy. Being single I am WELL AWARE of how important the physical body is when it comes to attractiveness. I don’t have an issue with it. I personally would never date someone extremely obese because it’s unattractive, unhealthy, and detrimental to my own healthy lifestyle; however I think a few extra pounds on a man looks good, healthy, and not so vainly arrogant. I do have a stereotypical reaction to men who are what I call ‘gym rats’ and I know it’s not fair. I’ll stop thinking they’re overcompensating for either a lack of intelligence or penis size if they will actually try to see a woman beyond the first two layers of make-up and skin. Don’t get me wrong, I love being sexy, I love men being attracted to me, and inside a relationship I love to have lots and lots of sex (I mean, really a lot of sex). But, I don’t fall in love with someone based on their sexual appeal. I fall in love with souls, not faces. I have loved some really plain faces that had such beautiful souls. Anyway, my physical health is very important to me and it’s time I amp up my workouts and start focusing on setting and meeting some physical goals for myself.

  1. Body Boarding – I got to experience it for the first time on Easter, and I love it. I want to do more and do it often. During the experience I realized I need to focus on my upper and lower body strength because trying to get passed the breakers required a lot of energy. It’s the hardest part of the whole process. So, now that it’s getting warmer, I’m planning on spending more time at the beach working on my upper and lower body strength, simply swimming passed those breakers. I also want to start working at the gym/home with strength conditioning – using weights, yoga, and workout routines centered on strength training.
  2. Bike Riding – I plan on doing a lot more bike riding around my town. Not only is it great exercise, but you get to see and experience the world around you with an open view. I see so much more when I’m riding my bike. I feel so much freer. I’d love to have a riding partner, but I’m determined to go alone because riding my bike also gives me time to think. With my job and all the other things I’m doing, I really don’t have a lot of time to think anymore. Everything is rush, rush, rush, rush. I’ve sometimes considered getting a physical labor job, because when my hands are busy my mind is free, but then I think about the heat or the toilets and change my mind. Maybe with a little more bike riding I’ll be able to figure out the perfect job for me.
  3. Swimming – Because I do live near the ocean and have daily access to a pool, I want to become a really strong swimmer again. I used to be one, even competed for a time, but these last few experiences have shown me that I’m not that strong of a swimmer any more. Also, swimming is great physical exercise. So, I plan on doing a lot more swimming. Also, being in the water is really helping this white girl get a beautiful golden tan. I just hope I don’t get that dark leathery skin that makes you look old. I look so much younger than I am because of my porcelain skin.

So my new workout routine will involve:

  • Monday – Friday: Early Morning Yoga, Afternoons – 500 Stairs, 30-min swimming, 3 miles on the treadmill, and strength training on the machines – targeting legs and arms. (12,000 min on FitBit)
  • Saturdays: Bike Ride & Beach
  • Sundays: Lazy Day – Off (Video Games/Writing/Binge-watching)

My new diet will include:

  • M-F Mornings: Grapefruit/Cheese/Coffee/Water
  • M-F Mid-Morning Snack: String Cheese/Trail Mix
  • M-F Lunch: Smart Ones – 3 Cheese Ziti & Water
  • M-F Late-Afternoon Snack: Cottage Doubles/Pineapple
  • M-F Dinner: Lean Meat/Green Vegetable/Starch/Tea (Less than 1000 cal)
  • NO EVENING SNACKS
  • Weekend Morning: Bagel w/cream cheese, bacon
  • Weekend Lunch: FREE – whatever I want
  • Weekend Dinner: FREE – whatever I want

I’ll blog tomorrow about my mind and my soul.

Until next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, Musing, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Victim: Made or Chosen

 

Victim

Shit happens, and most of the time shit happens to us beyond our control. If you’re a human being and have meet another human being, then shit at one time or another has happened to you. You’re not special. You’re not unique in THIS aspect. We don’t always see what someone else has endured, but EVERYONE has had shit happen to them. No matter how cushioned or sheltered or privilege of a life they live, or how depraved, everyone has experienced pain, disappointment, abuse, neglect – shit. Everyone. Every – one. Understand that? I know some of you right now are thinking about someone who you think has had a perfect, sheltered, and uncomplicated life, but you’re wrong.

What makes us different is how we individually process the shit that’s happened to us, and how we allow it to affect us. Some of us have endured horrors unimaginable, yet are mentally and emotionally amazingly strong. The strongest are the ones that refuse to allow the shit that’s happened to them break them or repeat the cycle of abuse to those around them. When you can take a person that has been abused, neglected, and beat down, and they spend their life and make it their mission to encourage, help, and love a hateful world… that is a true hero, a beautiful soul. They are not victims, they are victors, survivors, over-comers. On the flip side of that is a weak person that has allowed their souls to be filled with all the shit that’s been piled onto them to consume them and transform them into the monsters that tormented them, and now torment others. They are the new monsters, predators, abusers. Then there are those that dwell somewhere in the middle – strong in some areas, and weak in others. This is where much of society lives. This is also where victims dwell. 

I believe with all my heart that victimization is a mindset, and one that is chosen. I can feel the excuses dwelling up inside your mind right now. There is ALWAYS an excuse, always a reason, always a diagnosis for the victimization. I’m not disputing that. SHIT happens. Things happen to us beyond our control, at the decision of someone else, and it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s painful, and it causes damage. I have endured unimaginable shit.  But HOW we respond to the shit that happens to us is OUR decision and completely in our control and up to us. How we allow this shit to affect us, to guide us, to destroy us, etc., is also up to us. We choose to become heroes, or monsters, or victims. We choose to fight with a will of steel or a pill, with a determination or an excuse.

Sometimes laziness is because we’re simply fucking lazy and have a weak will, not because we can’t face or handle the shit that was thrown at us or that covers us. Laziness is a CHOICE. Laziness is weakness, and a state victims choose because doing what needs to be done is hard. Cleaning up the shit in our lives is hard. But if we want to live a clean, victorious, strong life, then we must be willing to do the hard work to make it happen. All by ourselves! Because WE choose it. We don’t need a pill. We don’t need a diagnosis to tell us it’s okay. We don’t need someone else to tell us we can. We must face the facts of who we are, where we are, and then make a fucking choice. When WE don’t work on cleaning up the shit in our lives, because we choose to be victims, then what we are really doing is being lazy and leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. Guess what, victims… you’re becoming the shit-slingers now, throwing your shit around for someone else to clean up. You become the burden to those who love and care about you. YOU are creating more victims. Many of you reading this right now just shut that thought down because you don’t’ like to face the truth, you’d rather hide in your corner and wear your victim cape. You can’t make a change until you face the truth. Life isn’t fair. It never has been and never will be. Get over it.

What I’m talking about is changing a mindset. STOP thinking you’re a victim. No, changing your mind to become a victor, an over-comer doesn’t mean that the shit will stop flying and your life will become perfect. There is ALWAYS shit flying. ALWAYS. What changes is YOU and who YOU choose to be, and how YOU effect the world around you and the people you love and who loves you. You can’t save the world, but you can choose to save yourself. Victims whine and complain about how they were treated, and how unfair the world is to them, but do they think about how THEY treat the other people in their lives with their victimhood?

Changing your mindset will change how you respond to the world around you. It will change how you respond to everything in your life. Being healthy, be energetic, being successful, being focused, being compassionate, making a difference in your body, your mind, your heart, and your world. It will change how you love, how you forgive, what kind of person you are at home, at work, at play. You don’t be like everyone else around you. You will destroy all the boxes, be an outsider, not be understood, and most often unaccepted.  But you will be AMAZING, inspirational, and be something good in this shitty world.

The choice is yours. There are no made victims, only chosen ones. There are no made victors, only chosen ones. There are no made monsters, only chosen ones. Choose.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

Categories: Blog Post, Faith, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Life, love, Musing, Philosophy, relationship, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cinderella Getting Restless

I’m so discouraged.  I’m trying to stay positive, because those of you who know me, know that I’m always chasing rainbows and glass slippers despite the world constantly telling me I’m a fool for doing things the way I do them, or thinking the way I think.  This is also the same world that wants to teach me about love, show forgiveness, obtain success, and walk with integrity. Have you seen the world’s version of those things?  Have you seen their interpretation?  No way!  That’s not for me.

I’ve accepted the fact that I walk my own path, knock down boxes that people try to place me into, and swim against the current, walk the narrow path, shovel the ashes, and any other metaphor that will describe how odd and out of touch with what is known as common that I am. I am covered in cinder. (It’s no secret.  Some people try to be different, spend their whole lives in a movement (along with a billion-other people), trying to prove it.  I try to be common and normal, to fit in, to act the part, but I fail – according to the world. But…. BUT, I succeed at being me.

So, having said that, can you imagine how frustrating it is for me trying to date?

I’m going to pause there for a little while. I’ll try to continue this thought later. I’m sure as I try to sort this confusion and discouragement out, and try to get a grip on this thing called dating, I’m going to go through many stages. These stages are very like those that go through addiction and depression counseling. 

This is stage one – acceptance.  I accept who and what I am. I’m an odd duck.  Took a loooooooonnnnnnnnngggggg time to get there, but I’m there.  I’m a princess without a prince, a castle, a father’s love, or a mother’s touch. I’ve been abandoned in a selfish world. Now what? Where do I go from here? What does this mean for the relationships in my life? Will I always be the woman that most men find fascinating, amazing, love the way I think, appreciate the way I am, and value me for my character, my integrity, my creativity and talent, but fall in love with ‘common’ women?  I gotta think about this.  

Till next time,

~Lost Princess

 

24-Hours Later

Okay, I’ve thought about it. I’m sure there’s an odd duck out there like me who experiences the same difficulties I do, who dreams as I do, who dares to hope as I do, and refuses to give up no matter if the world calls them a fool.  I know there is a man out there that will love the way I love, who hopes the way I hope, who cares the way I care.  I don’t need a fairy godmother to give me a pretty dress and a pair of glass slippers to dance. But,  It doesn’t mean I’ll ever meet my Prince Charming and we fall in love with each other. There’s no guarantee in life. I’ve witnessed too many people die alone to believe that “other” fairy tale – that as long as I’m patient and show up to the dance that my ‘happily-ever-after’ will come along.  I not stupid.  I know damned well that I may never find my soul mate.  Actually, that’s not true. I’ve found my soul-mate twice already.  Once when I was a teenager, though a few years later he died.  The second time just recently, but he left.  I’m hoping the third time will be the charm… (pun intended).  But, I know free will, the ability to choose, determines much.  I can’t make someone love me, fall in love with me, want me, or choose me. I believe in magic, especially in the magic of love, but I don’t hold a magic wand. I refuse to manipulate and force a man to love or be with me in any way.  I don’t want someone because I need them or they need me, only because I want them and they want me.  I REFUSE to accept anything less.  That makes me odd.

I’ve had many opportunities to be in relationships, to not be alone, to have a companion, to have a lover, to have a convenience.  But, I believe I deserve so much more.  I want love. Real love. Deep love. When I love, I love with my whole heart, and so I want someone to love me with their whole heart.  I’m not their toy, their distraction, their fantasy, or their temporary place-holder.  I’ve been told so many times, and left behind for lesser women, that I’m loved, respected, admired, and valued, Bu……..t, they can’t choose me because I deserve better than they could give.

If I deserve anything, it’s simply to be loved. I don’t need anything to be given to me. I don’t need saved. I don’t need to be supported. I am not co-dependent, have low self-esteem, or incapable of doing anything for myself. I’m smart, I’m self-sufficient, independent, and driven.  I don’t need a man, a partner, a lover, or a friend.  I WANT one.  There’s a huge difference between need and want.  Someday… someday someone will ‘want’ ME, not my body, not my talent, or anything else I could give them, but want me, my heart, my mind, my love, and all my oddities. 

I’ve mentioned this before. I made a promise to myself, no a VOW, about 7-years ago, and it is still valid today. I have it posted on my refrigerator – “I will never again waste my time, love or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me”.

Oh, Prince Charming, come slide that glass slipper upon my foot and allow the magic to envelop us both, transforming us into something wonderful, and then let us disappear into the unknown to explore it together. I have my sword.  I’ve slayed a dragon or two in my time already.  I’ve got your back. 

Till next time,

~Cinderella getting restless

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Fairy Tale, Hope, Inspirational, love, Philosophy, Relationships | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Valued Vs. Liked

Valued vs Liked

VALUED VS. LIKED

 

I read a meme the other day that said, “There’s a difference between being liked by a man and valued by a man. A lot of guys like you. Not many value you. Be valued.”

On our moral compass, all human beings want to be valued. But, we also want to be liked. Why does it have to be one or the other? I’m just brazen enough that I want both.

But what does it mean to be valued? Per the dictionary it means, “Considered to be important, beneficial; cherished.” My inner 10-year now wants to go down that rabbit hole and ask, what does important mean, what about beneficial and cherished? See where I’m going… wanting to get to the deeper existential meaning?

I have this philosophy I try to live by, it’s one that was instilled in me as I began my journey to find the god of my heart and prayers. I didn’t want a religion, and still don’t, but I wanted to know the spirit I called out to in my darkest moments, in my highest moments, in my quiet moments. I lived in a world of tragedy and it had me question the very fabric of the universe, the very heart of man. What I witnessed was cruelty in its highest form and my small mind couldn’t understand it, but became determined to live a life contrary to it. I was raised among greed, selfishness, anger, violence, shown a world where I saw taking, but never giving, hating but never loving, anger but never peace. You hit first, or you’ll get knocked down. Take or it will be taken from you. Be a better liar, because you’re always being lied to. It wasn’t wrong, that was the world I witnessed, but it was a world I didn’t want to be a part. For a while I lived it and realized it was a never-ending cycle. The world was never going to change for me, but I also learned I had the power to change MY world. So, I made myself a promise to be better that what I had given. To be a blessing to those in our life, and not a burden. To always leave a place we’ve been better than when we left it. As a guest, be courteous and thankful. Give thanks, show appreciation, be understanding, and always be honest.

Yes, people will still take advantage, lie, and mistreat us, but our actions can’t be based on them, only on ourselves. We are not what happens to us or what others do to us; we can’t control the actions and decisions of others. Who we are is how we respond and what we decide to do. That’s our character. We can color it, paint it, disguise it, lie about it, make excuses, blame everyone else, pretend, present a false picture, but the truth of who we are will always eventually come out, because it is evidenced in not only the ‘big’ things we do, but mostly in the little ones…today, every day, after day, after day, after day.

Everyone can pretend for a little while, but time will always reveal the truth. We also leave a footprint of our true character… just look behind us and see the path we leave behind. Is it one filled with victories, accomplishments, and love… or chaos, heartache, and one disaster after another? We can all pretend to be anything we want, and even lie to ourselves about it, but if we want to know what kind of monster we really are? What footprint do we leave behind?

Being this way won’t always lead to us being liked by our fellow human beings. In our minds, we think it should, but it doesn’t. When we take the high road, we are often resented instead of liked, because we become a reflection and most people really don’t like about themselves.

I believed most of my life that my mother hated me because I was unlovable and unwanted, but I’m beginning to understand that my stubbornness, by courage, and my strength were the things she lacked within herself and she hated that reflection, not me.

While I may not be liked by many people, I am valued. Those that know me, or have known me, know my character, my soul, my heart. Those that don’t know me and don’t like me, more than likely don’t like themselves. I can’t help that. That’s their problem, not mine. I used to care, but I don’t have time for all that wasted energy. I’d rather pour that energy into the people I love and care about, into myself, into my job, into my goals and aspirations.

While I’d love to be both liked and valued, I’d rather be valued. Like my face, like my ass, like my smile or my eyes, like my stuff, like my accomplishments, none of that stuff is really important and I refuse to be a person who lives their life trying hard to get that approval from the world.  As for me… value me as a person.  The friends I have in my life – I don’t always like them, but I love and value them. Sometimes I like them, but let’s keep that to ourselves.

What about you, reader? Are you a person that would rather be valued or liked?

Till next time,

~The Valued T.L. Gray

 

 

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Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

 

Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

Life is complicated.  It’s filled with difficulties. No matter how ‘together’ we get ourselves, tragedy finds its way into our lives, upsetting our plans, providing roadblocks to the best of our intentions.  If we are ‘waiting’ to live in any capacity, or for our lives to be less complicated before we open our hearts to love or happiness, then we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of any love or happiness we could experience today. We need to get busy, NOW. We need to start living in the moment, right in the middle of our chaos.  We need to get into the busyness of being happy.

Waiting never brought anything.  Life doesn’t present itself out of the blue, we must go out and grab it, live it, and choose to fight for the success we want to enjoy.  If we think things will be better LATER, when our priorities and problems are lighter, we are telling ourselves the biggest lie. It’s a lie that robs us of the love and happiness we could be enjoying now.  If we can’t choose happiness now, or accept happiness in our lives now, we never will.  There will always be reasons and excuses.  We must choose happiness in the middle of our chaos if we ever want to experience it at all.

Are we waiting to love after …our kids are grown, our bills are paid, we lose weight, we have a better job, we have a bigger house, we have a better car, we have gained success, or we are healthier?  Are we waiting to be happy to be happy?  That’s stupid. It doesn’t work that way. If we think so, we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of the happiness and love we could be enjoying now.  Not only enjoying it, but allowing it to fuel, encourage, and inspire us – giving us the strength we need to obtain all those other things we want for ourselves and the ones we love.  Do we want our children to be happy?  How are we teaching them to be happy when our example is the opposite?  Do we want to be an example of hope, determination, and success?  Do we think we can teach something that we are not leading by example?

Love and happiness are our strength.  It is the force in this universe that gives us the forte to properly deal with all the chaos the world throws at us. We are weak without it.  God is love.  Love is where we find forgiveness.  It’s where we find hope.  It’s where life truly happens. It’s where we learn to truly love those in our lives.  Outside it, we only find pain and heartbreak, loneliness and fear.  I speak of love, not lust, not obsession, not passion, but true love. Love that puts others’ needs before our own; love that reaches for us in the fullness of our failure, at our weakest, at our most low and desperate moments. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we should be alone. Choosing to be alone isn’t about trying to find ourselves, it’s about being afraid.  Our fears keep us alone.  Our fears make the self-destructive choices that only bring more chaos, more oppression, and bad decisions into our lives.  Fear is our weakness. The only way to confront fear is to get back to the busyness of being happy.

1 John 4:7-8Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” ~Euripides

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”  ~Hubert Humphries

“We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Welles

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Complicated frustrations, Dream, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musings, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Business of Being Happy

 

The Business of Being Happy

There’s only one person that can truly make us happy, and that’s our self. While others can influence us, inspire us, encourage us, or detour us, we are ultimately in control of how we allow others to affect us.

I have had some happy moments because of my interaction with others. My children have made me happy. My loves have made me happy. My soul mate has made me happy. My friends have made me happy. Well… they’ve created moments that have led to me accepting that happiness. At the same time, they have also led to moments of great pain. But my happiness and my pain have all been in my control, by what I’ve allowed to affect me. I’ve recently went through a period of great happiness, followed by a period of great pain and stress. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of being stressed. I’ve decided to get back to the business of being happy.

I wish I could tell you it was a simple as that… to just decide and then *poof* it’s done. But, making the decision in only the first step. As I blogged yesterday, part of the path to happiness is changing my atmosphere. Change what music I listen, what foods I eat, what activities I participate, what is the state of my health and fitness, and what company I keep. All these things contribute to the business of being happy. I can’t reach that state of happiness working in or on just one of these areas.

Happiness is about balance, an equilibrium within my heart, mind, body, and soul.  When one is injured, damaged, abused, or neglected, it affects them all. Life is too short to allow my heartaches and disappointments to keep me from reaching or fulfilling my potential. I’ve got too many things to do, too many dreams to chase, too much life to live to allow these pains to steal all my joy. The Word says there is a time for everything under the sun… a time to mourn, a time to grieve, a time let the pain out… but there’s also time to pick myself back up and get back to the business of being happy. I was created for a purpose, I have a dream, a plan, a vision, and that is to live my life to its fullest, and its time I got back to it.

I really don’t understand laziness.  I understand taking time to just relax and let your body, mind and soul rest.  While most of the time I can’t sit still for more than an hour, I can at times spend all day in bed binge watching or reading. What I don’t understand is laziness in the form of a lack of drive, of not having a goal, a plan, a vision, or a dream.  I don’t understand the concept of procrastination and just drifting by and surviving the day, letting the world and circumstances dictate what happens in our lives.  Why on earth would we give that kind of control to chance? 

I also really don’t understand the concept of being reactive compared to being proactive.  I can’t grasp the mindset of spending all my time and effort chasing the chaos. I’ve been on this earth long enough, and intimately acquainted with Murphy, to know that SHIT HAPPENS.  If we drift through life always reacting, believe me – life will continuously keep throwing shit at us, spiraling our lives out of control, sending us into places, circumstances, and situations we never wanted to be a part.  But when we don’t take control and plan, and then do the hard things necessary to move those plans into action, then we cannot be proactive and are constantly moving from one disaster to another.

Getting back to the business of being happy, there’s no room for laziness or a reactive mind set.  Being happy has a lot to do with having purpose and then doing what is needed to fulfill that purpose.  Work isn’t work when you’re working with purpose or for a purpose.  It only brings us down when the effort we are expelling is only to meet a need.  If we work just to pay the bills, to survive from one paycheck to another, yet not LIVING in the moment, then we will despise what we do and hate every moment.  But, when we work because we have a goal, a vision, a dream, or a purpose, then what we do isn’t draining.  We don’t wake up in the morning groaning and despising having to get dressed and go. If that’s our mornings, we need to remind ourselves it’s not our jobs we hate or that makes us unhappy, it’s our state of mind, happiness, and purpose.  I don’t particularly love my job, but I like the opportunities it provides.  

I’m happy, because I’m happy with myself.  I can look at my image in the mirror and smile, because I love the woman I am and have become.  I am proud of myself. I’ve been through hell and back, been knocked down so many times, but I keep getting back up.  I’ve been rejected, unloved, and unwanted, yet I continue to hope, to love, and to dream.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes, done shameful things, but I’ve worked hard making amends, facing my demons, and repenting for my sins. I’ve learned from my mistakes.  I’m my own hero. If no one else on this planet thinks I’m amazing or worthy of their love, their time, or their attention, well… that’s their loss, because I think I’m pretty damned amazing.  It’s time I got back to it, too.  Call me arrogant, but not too many people are going to be able to keep up with me in these coming days, because I’m back to the business of being happy, of chasing dreams, and of living life out loud.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, music, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Where We Are

Where we Choose

We are exactly where we choose to be. I’m not talking about any situation we may find ourselves, because sometimes things outside our control come in and effect our lives.  But, the condition we are in while inside that situation is completely up to us.  We choose how we face our circumstances.  We also choose our success or failure in that battle by the selections we make in how we fight it, who we select as our source of strength, encouragement, and support.  If we surround ourselves with defeatists, we will be defeated, because they’re going to drain the hope, the life, and the strength we need to fight, leaving us weak and vulnerable.  If we surround ourselves with positive, driven, deep thinkers and overcomers, then we will draw from their positive energy and gain the strength we need to make us strong.  Once we are strong, we will then have the energy to give back, to pour into, and to help others.  

The greatest way OUT of our darkest times, deepest holes, shattered hearts, and bouts of hopelessness is to change our atmosphere.  Here are a few little changes you can make that will help you change your success or failure.  We can’t stop things from happening.  We can’t protect ourselves from tragedy or from the choices and actions of people who will hurt, use and abuse you.  BUT, we are where we choose to be in our responses and reactions.  So, if you WANT to change your circumstances, you’ve got to change your atmosphere and set yourself up for success, not surround yourself with the things, choices and people that will contribute to your defeat.

1.        Fill your playlist with positive and energetic music.  Stop listening to songs filled with anger, defeat, heartbreak, stress or other influences that lead your mind down a dark or dangerous path.  There is a time and place for all songs and all types of music.  Music plays a huge part in determining how we feel, what we think, what encourages us, or makes us feel more defeated.  Always listening to angry songs, you’ll discover you carry around angry thoughts and feelings.  Always listening to party songs, you’re going to find yourself choosing to party.  Think about what you need in your life, think about where you want to go, and then choose the songs and music to fill your playlist with songs that will get you to that point.  If you’re struggling in your life right now and can’t see a way out, then listen to songs that inspire you, that encourage you and give you hope.  “Let’s Get it Started”, let your “Eye of the Tiger” play over and over.  Then, after that, “Don’t Stop Believin” because once the change happens inside you, you’ll start making the choices and decisions outside to put those changes into effect. Sometimes we need “A New Pair of Jeans” to be “Feelin’ so Fly” and start skipping through our “Beautiful Day.”  “Get up, Stand Up,” “Walk,” “Dream On,” because “I Feel Good,” and I “Don’t Give Up,” nor will I “Let it Be.”  Fill your life with the lyrics that are going to push you.  “I’m a survivor, I’m not gonna give up, I’m not gonna stop, I’m gonna work harder (Destiny’s Child – Survivor),” “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down (TubThumping – Chumbawumba),” “Stronger than yesterday, now it’s nothing but my way, my lonliness ain’t killing me no more, I’m stronger (Stronger – Britney Spears),” “I get by, with a little help from my friends (Joe Cocker),” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller (Stronger – Kelly Clarkson), “I’m walking on sunshine (Katrina and the Waves).”

Get it? You’re already feeling better just hearing those song references in your head right now. So, check your playlist. That’s the power of music. Stop listening to those angry, depressing, and defeatist songs.  Inspire yourself.  Change the atmosphere.  Music puts energy in the air around you. Put the right kind of energy in the air, into you, and let it flow through you.  YOU ARE WHERE YOU CHOOSE to be. You make the choice of what you listen to.  Edit.  Edit.  Edit.

2.       Fill your life with positive and energetic people.  Who are you hanging around with?  Who are talking to? Who are you getting advice from? Who do you spend most of your time reading their posts, texting, chatting with, talking to? Who is influencing you?  Look around and evaluate the people in your life. Everybody is either pouring in or pulling out energy from and to you.  They are either building you or tearing you down.  They are either making your life better or more complicated.  Here’s a couple tips that shouldn’t have to be said, but often the most overlooked and cause the most damage to our efforts of change and success.  Don’t take relationship advice from someone that has a long history of bad relationships.  Don’t take financial advice from someone always broke and needing help.  Don’t take loyalty advice from a cheater.  Don’t take exercise advice from a couch potato.  Don’t take dietary advice from a food addict.  Honesty isn’t found within a liar.  Life isn’t found within a vampire.  Energy isn’t found in a zombie. Love isn’t found in the player. Integrity isn’t found in deceitful.  Maturity isn’t found in the immature. Success isn’t found in those always in a disaster.  Surround yourselves with those who’ve been THROUGH some shit.. not ones still going through it, again, and again, and again, and again.  The only thing you’ll learn from them is how to keep failing.  But the ones who’ve been down and have gotten back up, who have pulled themselves OUT of their darkness and tasted success, who’ve actually ACHIEVED some things in their life, those are the people who will inspire you.  Being down isn’t  a bad thing; staying down is.  Failure is when someone doesn’t reach higher or beyond their boundaries and circumstances.  Staying around the same type of friends will create an atmosphere of the same defeat.  You’ll find yourself dealing with the same problems over and over and over and over again.  That’s insane according to Einstein.  So, change your atmosphere. Think about what you really need in life, and then make THAT change. 

 

Life sucks sometimes. We all go through struggles where can’t seem to catch a break, bills just keep piling up, responsibilities just seem so overwhelming that we get to the point where we think we’re going to break, that we can’t hold up too much longer.  Our hearts have been mangled, our lives turned upside down, and no matter how far we run, how much we try to drown the pressure or numb the pain, we can’t find relief. Our bodies ache and begin to fail from carrying the weight of our stress and pressure for too long. We spiral, we fall, we push away the wrong people, surround ourselves with even worse people, find comfort in playing with fire, destruction, just to feel something.  We listen to things that constantly remind us how much life sucks, and we just stand in one single spot, turning and turning and turning but getting nowhere. Stop!!!!!!!!!  Please, just STOP!!!! Breathe. Pray.  Know… “Everything’s gonna be alright.”

 

3.        Our bodies carry our stress and pressure.  Change your atmosphere by changing your body.  Start working on the outside and watch the changes happen on the inside.  Start exercising, because exercise releases endorphins and adrenaline, and dopamine.  Don’t turn to alcohol and drugs, turn to diet and exercise.  Do something good for your body.  Feel good.  Feel strong.  Feel healthy.  As you change your body, and work on changing mind by changing your atmosphere, music, and friends, your soul will change.  Have sex, but even with that, the kind of sex will play a big role in that transformation.  While emotionless, uncommitted, and casual sex can be fun, it will add no value to your life, only help contribute it to your defeat.  We often think casual sex doesn’t affect us, but it does.  It affects our souls, it affects our minds.  Nothing is more healing than the gentle touch from fingers filled with honest love and affection, a hug that is honest and as strong as the love of the person wrapping their arms around, and don’t even let me get started with a kiss that you feel down in the deepest part of your soul.  Having casual sex has no real benefits, but comes with a LOT of added problems (std’s, possibility of someone getting hurt, sharing intimate moments with someone that doesn’t care, infidelity, lies, problems, stresses, unwanted pregnancies, etc), but making love – making love with someone that deeply loves you, adores you, respects you, trusts you, someone filled with integrity, honesty, and a pure heart – is a conduit that gives and receives hope, inspiration, and energy. 

We are where we choose by the choices we make.  No matter where we are at this moment, it’s not where we have to stay.  If your heart is broken – love another and let another love you.  If you need help – help someone else and let someone help you.  If you need inspiration – inspire others and let others inspire you.  If you need encouragement – encourage others and let others encourage you.  Just be careful who you choose, what you choose, and how you choose to give and receive.  It makes ALL the difference.  It’s our choice.  It’s our responsibility.  We are where we choose to be and how we choose to be. Protect and fill your mind, your body, and your soul with the things that will change your stars.

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dreams, friends, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Muses, music, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

It’s Time

 

It's Time

Life is filled with moments.  Good moments, bad moments, great moments, and moments of defeat.  We laugh, we cry, we love, we hate, we fall, and then we rise. 

This past year has been filled with a little bit of it all.  Hell, the last few years have been such a rollercoaster, riddled with ups, downs, sharp curves, steep inclines, and free falls.  I regret none of it because all it means is that I have LIVED.  I have felt and experienced the greatest of love, and I have also experienced the worst of pain. It’s time.  It’s time to move on to the next phase, to get on the next ride, and see where the universe takes me.

My spirit cries out with a howl so deep and filled with so much longing, even the wildest of wolves would bow in reverence. My soul has been ripped in two, a piece of it lost, possibly forever.  I’m a weary warrior who’s been fighting the ghosts of my past for so long that my blood-soaked sword is heavy, my arms are weak, and my resolve is exhausted.  But, it’s time.  It’s time to rise from the ashes, leave the battlefield behind, and be reborn to peace. 

It’s time to let the sunshine warm my face, caress my shoulders, pour its radiance into my skin, healing me from the inside out. As Jack Johnson says, it’s time to radiate. It’s time to face my ghosts.

I think it’s time to finally write my story.  My mother just recently passed away, and I think a part of me held back from telling my tale because I didn’t want to hurt her more than she has been hurt in this life. My story isn’t an easy one, and she’s suffered enough.  I’ve tried to write this story a few times already, the last being because I had a source of joy to battle the heaviness I knew that would come, I was in love. Love is always a strength of comfort when battling something very painful. But that source of joy left me, and I just wasn’t strong enough to face my ghosts while my soul was in so much pain. But, it’s time. 

It’s time to face my ghosts. It’s time to open my heart and let healing come in, to let my walls down, to let my gift once again flow freely.  It’s time to get back to being great.  I am great. I am talented. I’m not wasting my life chasing mindless things that mean shit.  I don’t need drugs to numb my feelings, or alcohol to drown the thoughts that torture me, or mindless sex to make me feel alive.  I have many gifts and it’s time to let them do what they’re meant to do. I will not apologize for being driven, for having vision, for living a life focused on rising above the circumstances of a shit world.  I love myself, and believe I deserve the best this world has to offer.  That doesn’t make me a snob, it makes me a warrior.  This world didn’t give me anything, nothing was handed to me, I was not of privilege, and I have fought for everything I’ve accomplished, everything I have done.  I’m so sick of being surrounded by people with nothing but excuses. There are NO excuses.    

We are responsible for the things we allow to come into our lives that distract us, that use us, that hurt us, that we let bring us down.  We have the responsibility to ourselves to remove those things, take a stand against the vampires and the distractions that seek to destroy us.  We can only blame ourselves when we allow people to lie to us and tell us this is who we are, when we should be looking up and forgetting those things that hinder us. I will look forward, look up, move ahead, casting off all those things that hinder. I’m the only one responsible for my situation and my circumstances.  If it was up to the world, I’d be a cheap whore dancing in the local strip club, drowning my sorrow in booze and sniffing my morals away up my nose, blaming everybody else for my circumstances, not caring who I hurt in my path of destrucktion.  But this world can go fuck itself. I am not a victim. I am a survivor, a warrior, and a lady.  I choose love over vices.  I choose hope over the mentality of defeat.  I choose vision instead of excuses.

God, I’m so sick of hearing excuses.  Everywhere I turn I’m bombarded with them.  Everybody has issues.  Everybody.  EVERY BODY!  Everybody is going through something. EVERY BODY has been hurt, tripped up, knocked down, had the rug pulled out from under them.  Who we are – is not what happens to us, but how we respond.  Being a liar, being a cheat, being a fucking vampire scumbag, being an addict or full of excuses and quick fixes, is OUR choice. The only person we have to blame is ourselves.  Keep whining like a little bitch, and that’s all we’ll ever be… a little bitch. So what – We got hurt.  So what – Our dreams were crushed.  So what –  We have to start all over again.  Suck it up, Buttercup.  It’s time.   

I’m tired of hearing excuses… from myself and everyone else.  It’s time. I’m cutting that negativity out of my life.  Some of you are NOT going to like me very much in the coming days.  Some of you are going to hate me because I’m not going to be your sounding board to whine about your problems or lie to yourself with your endless excuses.  I’m going to tell you to shut the fuck and do something about them.  Some of you are not going to want to hang around me because I’m going to be focused, driven, energized, and fighting.  If you’re lazy, you’re going to be intimidated, jealous or irritated by me and my energy.  I don’t give a damn.  Sayanara, bitches.  It’s time. Those I leave behind… I will miss you.  Those who are about to come into my life with all your energy and vision, I can’t wait to meet you.  I’m not apologizing for being hard to keep up with.  Shame on you for being too weak. I know we live in a world of weak people.  That’s their choice.  I love me just as I am.  I have fought hard to be the woman I have become.  It’s okay, I don’t need you or anyone else.  If you’re in my life, it’s because I choose you and I want you.  I can choose to leave at any moment.  It’s time.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Faith, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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