Posts Tagged With: Change



Change starts with the individual.  If we set our eyes on our neighbors proclivity for/against change, it will skew the changes we dare to make within ourselves, and therefore prevent any true change from occurring.

I’m sick… I mean, I’m literally sick of the boxes we put around other people.  We see a victim and a terrorist in every box.  There is no right side of hate/anger/victimization/terrorism. It’s all hate.  Hate is the true offender.

I’m so sick of the violence committed in hate. I’m also sick of the repercussions committed by victims of hate, who now in hate, commit the same acts of violence.

I’m so sick of the ignorant white community who think there isn’t a race problem in this world, not just the United States, but in many different countries, involving many different races.  Blacks are not the only victims of racism.  ALL races, including white, have both victims and terrorists.

I’m so sick of the ignorant black community who think there’s no compassion or action in this world against the violence committed against their race. Whites are not the only ones who commit racial hate crimes, and blacks are not the only ones standing firm against them.

I’m so sick of religious and class wars, racism, sexism, human slavery and trafficking, drug abuse, sex abuse, child abuse, animal cruelty, waste, environmental and corporate greed, gluttony, poverty and disease.

What can I do? We will never be free of these plagues, the evil and hatred  we humans commit against one another.  I can’t save the world.  I can’t change my neighbor’s mind. ALL I can do is love my fellow human being.  Love them as I love myself.  Love them regardless of their color, their sex, their status, their religion or their heritage.  Grieve with them, fight beside them, show them mercy, love, and compassion.  I’m not talking about letting someone hurt or walk all over me, because just as much as I will love them as a fellow human being… I will also fight against their hatred and anger – no matter their color/religion/sex/status.

If ALL you can see is the hate and the differences between us – you are blind.  That anger, even as a victim, will take root and the result will be just another strain of hate.  You will become what you currently despise.

I hate what this young man did in Charleston.  I hate it with every fiber of my being.  My heart hurts for those victims.  This young man committed this terrible act of terrorism in hate.  Don’t let your own hatred, your own anger, your own prejudices, your own hurt make you bend to his level and become the next instrument of hate.  Because YOUR actions will either lend toward furthering the divide that already exists or else serve as a healing balm to breach the gap.

Choosing to love and not focus on color, isn’t ignoring the race problem.  It’s helping create a human solution… one individual at a time. Before you hit the streets, before you make your signs of protest, before you start lopping every person you know, and many you’ve never met into one box or another – stop. Close your eyes.  Stop being black, white, victim, or crusader – and then open your eyes and be human – no matter if your neighbor does likewise or not.  You change YOU, and then YOU will affect the world around you. Hate will NEVER change hate.  Anger will NEVER bring about peace.

~T.L. Gray

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To Love Somebody

To Love Somebody

Change is a part of life they say.  Who is they?  (TPTB)The Powers That Be, the people in this universe who pay attention, observe, and speak about this life we live.  Do they have all the answers? No.  No one does.  But we don’t always have to have all the right answers to understand parts of our existence.  I know change.  I’ve experienced it in many forms, and without doubt, without scientific evidence (though that really does exist), I agree with TPTB – change is a part of  life.

I have a love/hate relationship with change.  There are parts of it that thrill me while other parts scare the hell out of me, literally ripping my heart to shreds as I desperately cling to the things I don’t want to change.  Yet, I also work like hell and push myself beyond limits at other times.  I’m learning change defines us as human beings in how we adapt.

Life evolves.  Love evolves.  Relationships evolve.  Understanding evolves.  It all moves from one state of being and understanding into another, regardless of what we want or think. That makes problems for us, especially those of us that are creatures of habits.  One thing I’ve learned – nothing stays the same no matter how much we want.

Who the hell am I to think I can stop change?  I’m not God.  Trying to stop things, or to make things happen, has only hurt me worse than has ever helped. I look around at my life and sometimes my hands start shaking because I’m so fucking lost. I see where I’ve been, but I can’t go back.  I see where I want to be, but I can’t just go there.  I want so many things, yet I am powerless to make any of it happen.  The only choice I have is to breathe. But if you really think about that –  I don’t have complete control over that either.  I can choose to hold my breath, but there’s a safety mechanism in my body that when deprived of oxygen causes me to pass out.  Once my conscious gets out of the way and goes to sleep, my body will resume it’s breathing due to natural self-preservation.

Life changes and so does everything in it.  I’m not the same person I was a few years ago.  I won’t be the same person a few years from now.  The only thing I can define is who I am in this moment.  When it comes to change, I will either learn to adapt and survive or suffer. I’m so fucking sick of suffering, so I must adapt.   It’s only those who learn to adapt to the changes in life that succeed.  I need to learn to adapt in everything… in how I live, how I believe, how I trust, how I approach, how I treat others, how I love.  If you’ve followed this blog for any period of time, you’ll know that I only know how to live one way – honestly.

I can  have all the best intentions, the best ideals, the best PLANS laid out for my life all the time, but change will fuck them up – every time, especially when it comes to love and relationships.  Some days I hate myself for compromising, for being weak, mostly for being human and needing to bond with another human being.  I want to be tough. I want to be independent.  I want to be in control and strong and not allow another person to hurt me. So, I often isolate myself, put up my walls, and shut the world out – until I’m so lonely my body is starving for human contact.  I want the fucking fairy tale, only I don’t believe in the fairy tale. But change will come, and there’s nothing I can do to stop from getting hurt. That’s the true lie I tell myself.

I listened to a song this morning, and it hit me hard (Yeah, once again a song tears me up.)  It goes, “There’s a light, a certain kind of light, that has never shown on me. But I want my life to be only lived with you, yeah lived with you.  There’s a way, everybody says, to do each and every little thing.  But what good does it bring when I ain’t got you? When I ain’t got you?  Baby, you don’t know what it’s like.  Baby, you don’t know what it’s like  – to love somebody, to love somebody the way I love you.”

Someday that certain kind of light will shine on me. I KNOW great love exists, because I possess it.  I know others are capable to love completely- that somebody can love me – the way I love.  It’s possible.  Life is constantly changing – and one day it’ll change for me too, and this dark loneliness will go away.   Even if not – I’d rather to have loved the way I have loved, than to have never loved at all.  God help me.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Falling Out of Love

Falling Out of Love

Is this really possible?  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced it on both sides of the coin, am experiencing a form of it now, and yet I still don’t understand how such a thing can really occur.

It’s easy to get angry at the opposite end of a love affair falling apart.  We are beings that change, adapt, evolve and go through several metamorphosis on a constant basis.  There’s no such person that always ‘stays the same’.  Yet, as much as we change we are also creatures of habit.

I think the part that hurts most in a Falling Out of Love experience is the change that occurs when the habits, especially the habits that made us most happy, are the ones that change.  I.e. – Simply saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’… and having that suddenly or slowly stop.  I had a friend and it drove him crazy with me simply sending him a good morning and good night text every day.  He never understood that it was my way of saying to him that he was important to me… that I thought about him in my early morning thoughts, wished him well through the day, and then as I meditated before I fell asleep he was a part of those thoughts as well.  But because my habits bothered him, I stopped (mostly)… and with it… I stopped thinking about him so much.  Days sometimes go by where I barely think of them at all, or mention his name, or concern myself with his well-being.  I miss him terribly, but I don’t want to bother him either.  The daily wishes… were more for me than for him.  I’ve been forgotten, left behind, and abandoned a lot… and I never wanted anyone I care about to ever feel that from me. So, I try to keep the ones I care about most fresh in my thoughts. Yet,  I still sometimes find myself reluctant to send a simple, “good morning” thinking I’m bothering them.

When  you’re in a relationship, regardless of the type of relationship, we develop habits on how we relate to one another.  Those tend to be the first things that change when the relationship changes.  It’s always small changes, a slow pulling away, that happens when a relationship is fading out.  Those are painful if you are observant enough to see them.  The absence of these habits produces emotional holes.  If you are  used to communicating with someone every day, consistently, and they suddenly stop or those communications get farther apart, it hurts. It hurts because you know the embers are dying and unless the coals are flamed, they will fizzle.

This is where my stubbornness hurts me most.  If I feel someone withdrawing from me, I slam up my walls preparing myself for the pain I know is coming.  I should be pumping air onto those smoldering coals, but instead I withdraw further away.  I run… emotionally and physically.

I’m not saying that’s the thing to do.  On the contrary… that’s  the thing NOT to do.  I’ve never saved a relationship by walking away or letting them walk away.  But, it’s one of my triggers.  It’s one of my self-preservation psychotic moves.  Just because I will stand back and allow people to walk away from me, doesn’t mean I don’t care or that it doesn’t hurt.  It  hurts.  It hurts a lot.  I still have holes where people have walked away from me and I let them go.  But it doesn’t mean I ever stopped loving them.  How is that even possible? For me, I have truly loved them all, and in some ways still do.  What died was the relationship, the communication, the connection, but the beautiful things I loved about them are still there.  Perhaps it’s just me because it sure seems they stopped loving me.  I don’t think any of my exes hate me, but did they ever really love me?  Do they think fondly of me on those rare moments I brush across their thoughts?  Who knows.. it doesn’t matter because they’re not here now.  They walked away or else let me walk away.  I had friends I thought would be in my life forever that are nowhere to be found.  I had lovers who I couldn’t imagine my life without.  Yet, here I am today alone, yet still breathing, still living, still existing, just not in their world.

So, did the love just fall away? Did it just stop? Or just the effort to fight for it? Will I ever be worth fighting for in someone’s life?  To maintain a relationship with me, they’ll have to fight for me, because I won’t stop them if they ever chose to leave. Watching them leave is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, because I’m helpless to stop, to change, to save the fall.  I’ll never be where I’m not wanted.  Never.   Being in a relationship like that doesn’t just hurt emotionally, it kills the soul.

I don’t the answer.  I don’t know if falling out of love is possible, but falling out of habit is very much real.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Not Giving Up …Changing Gears

Not Giving Up …Changing Gears

Just to be clear, I’m not giving up on dating right now, I’m just not giving it any of my focus.  I do plan to return to the wacky world of 21st Century dating after I take a little time to figure out what the hell I want to do first with the rest of my life. I’m at a crossroads …again.  I really wish I could find me a nice, long, winding, coastal road, one that I can just sit back and enjoy the scenery and get past all the interchanges.

I’m changing gears.  I’m taking a new road.  I’m looking for new adventures.  One thing I’m not changing is my focus and my direction.  I’m not looking backwards. I can’t go back to what had been, and I have to let go of what could’ve been.  Both were beautiful dreams, but the journey has moved on and I have to make room for new horizons. I know where I’ve been, I know the road I’m on, I just have no idea where it leads.  In some ways I like that – just hitting the open roads and letting it take me where it dares.  But, in other ways, I need at least a near point of reference.  All I know is forward.

I guess the first question is …what do I want? How the hell do I know?  Seriously, do any of us know?  I can’t answer that question, not honestly.  I know more of what I don’t want than what I do.  The only thing I know that I do want is something real.  I’m so tired of all the bullshit.  I’m tired of the games. I’m tired of the excuses.  I’m tired of the delusions.

Over the last several years I have done some really hard soul-searching.  I have uprooted everything in my life, put myself out there, and dared to love.  I have met some assholes and I have met some angels.  But mostly, I’ve met a bunch of liars. Why is the world so afraid to be honest, to be who they really are?  I’ll tell you why… it’s because they have no fucking idea who they are or what they want.  They can’t even see the obvious lies right in front of their faces.  Can I do this, too?  ALL THE TIME.

I’m not perfectly minded, but I’m honest.  I’m not perfectly sculpted, but I’m real. I’m not perfectly educated, but I’m smart. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I learn from them.  We all have fucked up, many times, but we have to learn to get back up and keep moving forward, keep learning, keeps trying, and really live in the moment.

I have faced death and I have won.  It’s changed me, I mean, it’s really changed me.  It’s not only changed a little part of me, but it’s like I’m being reborn again – made new.  There are so many things I could go back to, but the life bubbling inside me refuses to allow me to look backwards.  So, I can’t.  Sure, there are things the world made say needs to be fixed, but I disagree.  I will not step backwards… but forward.

What does this mean to all the plans I once had, the dreams I dared to dream, the work I was working on, and the relationships that have come and gone … that none of them are guaranteed to be a part of my life now.  I’m alive.  I’m awake. I’m moving on.  Everything up to this point has helped get me here, and I’m grateful, but not everything or everyone will be moving onward with me.   If it wasn’t good enough to sustain me then, I’m not wasting my time hoping it would sustain me now or in the future.  If not loved then, they don’t deserve to love me now.

For those I leave behind, while I may miss you, I don’t need you.  I’ve never needed any of you. I wanted your love.  If you were in my life it was because I chose you, I loved you, or I wanted you.  If you couldn’t simply choose to love me back, that’s your loss and your dumbass decision. I’ll never be where I’m not wanted.  I won’t love, wait, and chase that which doesn’t want to be found or loved. I can’t save you and it’s not my job to fix  you.  Love yourself, guys.  Me, my love, who I am, what I have, or what I can do for you will never be enough.  I don’t want anything from anyone but honesty and something real.  Take your lies, your games, and your fucked up ideas and go away. If you couldn’t fight for me in the storm, you don’t deserve to dance with me in the sunlight. I’ve had enough bullshit.  I’m so thankful to be alive.  I’ve got things to do, places to go, dreams to chase, but I don’t have time for nonsense.

So, having said that – I’m going to take a break from the dating scene for a little while, re-evaluate who I am, what I want, and get my life set on a particular road, and then perhaps take another look at the idea of dating.  It’s quite exhausting shoveling through bullshit, talking to people who don’t listen, or caring for people who don’t care in return.  I’m running.  If you can’t chase me, you sure as hell will never catch me.

I’m happy.  There’s been a smile on my face for days now and it’s for simply being appreciative to be alive, for being and loving myself just as I am.  I’m alone and happy – go figure.  Don’t call me with your problems.  I actually don’t answer my phone much these days.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Etching Scars Upon Our Souls

Etching Scars Upon Our Souls

There’s something inside me, a certain flickering flame, one that for a brief period of time burned really bright. So bright, in fact, it threatened to consume everything inside and around me. With both feet, I surrendered to it. It was magnificent, wonderful, and greater than anything I could ever imagine.  But it was only for a moment.  Over the past year it’s been dying.  I felt it slipping away from me.  Every day it grew smaller, colder,  and darker.  Every once in a while It would flare, just for a second, before it dimmed even more. The difference is that I’m not doing anything to stop it, now.  I’ve done everything I could. I don’t understand why it has to be this way, but I’m praying it will hurry and die completely.

I can close my eyes, hear a particular song, or come across a familiar scent and instantly be transported back to that particular moment when that flame burned it’s hottest.  I can still feel myself shaking as I stood on that curb, and in the background heard the sound of jet engines.  It’s like an adrenaline sting  – ice and fire at the same time.  I’ve tried to hang onto that feeling for as long as I could, but I’ve finally reached a point – to let it go.

Recently, I’ve sought to see if another flame could be lit in its place. For a brief moment, the band-aid held. While there were definite sparks, there was also something missing inside.  I’ve felt this emptiness before.  It’s familiar.  It’s the same numbness and void I felt standing in a little restaurant many years ago staring down at a set of dog tags.   I can still hear the sound of those tags clanging against one another,  reflecting the sunlight off their dented faces, sliding around along the riveted chain that held them. They made a distinct sound.   Even to this day I can’t breathe when I think of that moment.  What I find odd,  I pass that little restaurant almost every day now –  and though it’s closed, I can still feel the pain of that moment as if it were yesterday.

There are some moments in our lives that create these shadows, imprints, rifts in the universe, etching scars upon our souls.  They never go away.  Some are good, some are bad, all are significant.  This is yet another scar.  But as I have survived the others of my past, so too will I rise above this one.  This latest burned brighter than all the ones before.  Perhaps the next one will consume me completely.

Till next time,

~Scarred Soul

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Philosophy, Spiritual | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Not Now, When?

If Not Now When

It seems like most of my life I’ve spent a majority of my time “waiting”.  Especially when it comes to my dreams.  I allowed life, responsibility, duty, and compromise to get in the way.  For nearly twenty years I was “waiting on the Lord” to move in my life for things to happen, believing that He would open a path for me.   Before that, I waited on Karma.  Living in a dark, ugly world full of hate and lies, I chose to follow a higher standard of excellence, believing if I tried hard enough, worked hard enough, studied hard enough, I could change my stars.  My Pastor used to say, “You’re working way too hard for what God wants to give you.” Wanting to give me something and actually doing it are two different things.  Maybe… just maybe …He wanted me to fight for it, to take a chance, to leap into the unknown – to get it myself? Maybe.

Do you know what happened to and for my dreams in all that waiting?  NOTHING.  I spent all that time doing something else, hoping for that magical  opportunity to open and change my world.  All I’ve got to show for it is a long wait period of back-breaking sacrifices, and one disappointment after another as I watched my dreams slip through my fingers, one after another.  Not all of them, but most.  I’ve had a picture perfect life for the last two decades.  But, pictures don’t always present the whole truth.  It would really depend on your definition of what a perfect life consisted.  Is it what you achieved?  Is it what you’ve collected?  Is it what you possess?  Is it how you look, where you live, how much money you make, what church you attend, what titles you’ve received, what car you drive, what invitations you get, or how many Christmas cards you collect?

Now as I look back, I don’t understand how I believed in either of those concepts in the first place.  I knew better, yet I believed.  I had full faith that if I just obeyed, if I was good, if I diligently prayed, if I spent my time and talent helping others, then God – or even Karma – would swoop down and magically open all those great doors of opportunity. It’s what I was promised would happen.  I mean, after all, there were countless of testimony regularly voiced of how God did this and that for others, and how miraculously things just fell into place and dreams were realized, or how Karma (both good and bad) always paid her debts.  I prayed the same dream prayers over and over and over, yet never saw them manifest in ANY way, especially when it came to relationships.  Of all the hard work I did, I just couldn’t seem to get ahead.  Life (Karma) always seemed to come in and throw something in my path that kept me from really taking off.  Nothing changed.  I was still unwanted, unloved and undesired. I couldn’t be successful enough, pretty enough, or good enough to change anything.

Don’t get me wrong.  I had many successes.  I worked with a spirit of excellence and mastered just about everything I put my hands to do – the problem was – I was doing everything else for everyone else, except me – believing that would lead to my own dream fulfillment.  Then, when I took the chance on ME… all those who supported, encouraged, and bragged about all the things I did for them disappeared or remained silent in and for my pursuits.  I was supported as long as it didn’t interfere with all those ‘other’ things I did, as long as it didn’t cause an interruption or hardship or sacrifice on anyone else’s part – I was good to go.  But, the moment my dream, my wants, or my desires caused any form of inconvenience, if it was different, or became a sacrifice for someone else – that support disappeared, often replaced by resentment, opposition, and judgment. When I started being ‘me’, and not who I was expected to be, I suddenly became the rebellious one.  As long as I looked and acted like everyone else around me, I was loved.  But have an individual and differing thought … that love and support disappeared.

I just wanted someone to believe in me, the same way I believed in them.  I struggled with believing  in myself.  People let me down.  But a funny thing happened… I quit waiting.  I quit believing that I could do anything good enough to make a difference with anything.  No, I no longer expected those doors to magically, supernaturally, or karmatically open on their own in response to my goodness, faithfulness or obedience.  I found those doors on my own and kicked those fuckers down. Did it cost me anything?  Yes, it cost me everything.

When is the time to chase my dreams or work on fulfilling my wants and desires?  NOW.  I still have faith – faith that I’m brave enough to chase what I want in and out of this life.  Have I found everything? No.  Has everything worked out exactly as I planned? No.  Have I found that happiness I desired for so long?  Some, but there’s more.  Am I loved, wanted and desired?  Not yet. But I’m living. I’m moving.  I’m doing.  I’m falling.  I’m getting back up. I’m missing the mark.  I’m hitting my target.  The point is … I’m living in the now. I’ve done more in the last two years for myself than the last forty-one combined.  It’s not all easy, a bed of roses, or happens perfectly. On the contrary, it’s often painful, I make mistakes, I get hurt, I fall down, and I spend a lot of time crying – but I’m moving, I’m doing, and I’m experiencing life – not letting it waste away waiting for some outside or unknown force to open a path for me. I live in the NOW.

My life is now one big verb, not an adjective.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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If You Can Fly – Come Find Me

If You Can Fly


Not all changes happen on the outside.  The best ones, the ones that have the most impact, often happen on the inside.  I’ve always heard the phrase that if you want to make a change on the outside, you have to first make a change on the inside, or it’s not really a change at all.  I’ve come to realize that the outside is either a reflection or a mask.  I used to hide behind a mask, a secret identity, but I’ve since learned to shed my skin and expose all that I am to a harsh and judgmental world.

I’ve had some ups and down in my journey of change, expect even more, but I’ve accomplished so much in a short period of time.  I’ve not just lost weight, but I’ve focused on getting my body, mind and spirit healthier and stronger.  I’ve learned a lot about my limits, and pushing myself beyond those limits, and listening to what my body, my heart, and my mind needs.  I’ve learned to love and appreciate them for what they are, not only focused on what they could become.

I used to not be able to look at my scars, being reminded of the pain in receiving them, some things no human should have to endure. I’ve seen the true face of evil – it has burned, cut, stabbed, raped, degraded, abandoned and used me. I don’t know how I survived, but I did.  But, the outward scars are not the only ones left by abuse, there are inward scars that run much deeper. Those are the ones no one but a few ever get to see.

I’m a beautiful woman, but I know that not everybody will be able to get passed my scars, both inwardly and outwardly.  Not everyone has the strength to look at them and see their beauty.  I would win no beauty contest and would never be the object of a dream fantasy, but someday, some lucky man is going to be showered with such an abundance of love he’ll be overwhelmed.  Because it required an abundance of love to get me where I am and to teach me to see the world, people, and things around me with a different set of eyes.  I used to have shallow eyes, and hid behind their prejudice, but I now possess x-ray vision.  I see hidden beauty where others only see skin.

My skin is steel, forged by a stubborn will.  I use that thick skin to repel the bullets shot at me, letting them ricochet back at those who meant to wound me. I have a spirit that soars in the clouds.  The world wants to ground me, force me to keep my feet anchored to the earth, but I can’t.  My cape flaps in the wind that calls my name.  I don’t know where I’ll land, where I’ll go, or if the ride will be wrought with fear – but I leap anyway.

So, I’m not an ordinary woman and it will only take an extraordinary man, a superman, to be my partner.  I’m a stranger and an alien, different and alone, and the world seeks to use me and my gifts for their own ends.  But, I don’t play by their rules. I won’t be found on the ground, only in the clouds.  If you can fly – come find me.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Musing, Philosophy, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Right in the Middle of My Life


Photo by T.L. Gray – Olympic National Park – 05/30/2013

For my 42nd birthday this past week, a dear friend of mine gave me a book called, “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck.  For those of you who know me, you’re aware I’ve started a company called North Star, so the title of this book fit perfectly.  It isn’t the title alone that grabbed my attention, but the opening paragraph.  In addition to the partial quote above, it goes on to say: “I don’t even want to remember how scary that space was – makes me feel like I’m gonna die or something.  I’m only telling you about it because a lot of good came of it in the long run.  So anyway, I don’t even know how I ended up so far off course.  I felt like I’d been sleepwalking.”  – Dan, age 41.

 I’ve made this statement quite often, especially among some of these blog posts.  According to Beck, the above is a loose rendition of the first twelve lines of The Devine Comedy written in 1307 by Dante Alighieri.  Changing course in the middle of life seems to be a common theme throughout history.  Moses was forty before he began to free the Israelite slaves, Abraham was already married and well-seasoned when he separated from everything he knew to wander into the wilderness, and even Jesus himself was thirty-three before being called into the desert and starting his short-lived ministry. 

Beck goes on to claim that everyone is on a journey, searching for three main things in life – truth, love and joy, and these aspects she calls collectively the “North Star”.  Everyone knows the Stella Polaris is fixed in the heavens and doesn’t move. Everything else moves, but this a fixed central point.

“You may think you’re utterly lost, that you’re going to die a bewildered death in the Dark Wood of Error.  But brush away those leaves, wait for the clouds to clear, and you’ll see your destiny shining as brightly as ever: the fixed point in the constantly changing constellations of your life,” Beck writes.

Wow, that’s exactly how I feel… utterly lost and hopelessly bewildered; like a bit of my soul is dying every day amid the pain, confusion and worry of this mid-life shift.  I don’t know what tomorrow holds and I fear meeting even the basic of my needs, but in the middle of my fear, with shaking hands and wobbly knees, I march forward.  The pain of my heartbreak is so thick and so strong, I can barely breathe at times, but I move onward. 

I pray I can brush away these leaves – the ones tussled in my hair from falling on my face – and look skyward to see the clouds of my despair parting, because I really need to find my “North Star”.  I know it’s there, I’ve seen it before; I’m lost without it.  I don’t want to wander this wilderness anymore.  Beck writes that when we can’t see our North Stars, we have built in compasses to help guide us in our search for our true paths.  The following chapters of this book promises to help us discover and learn how to use and rely on these inner compasses, so that when we find ourselves once again (for there will be many) lost, cloudy or off course, we have to go on faith and trust our inner compass in order to stay close to our right life,  and live the life we were meant to live.

That’s one hell of a tall order, but right now I’m taking a chance on faith and trusting Beck knows what she’s talking about.  What do I have to lose?  Will it be painless?  Not in my experience.  According to Dante, the way back to la verace via, the true path, lay directly through Hell.  THAT I understand, but fighting and surviving Hell was always worth the effort when I knew what I was fighting for or against; knowing  that purpose (North Star – destiny) helped keep me focused no matter the pain.  I need that again, I need to find and be reminded of my North Star.  Perhaps the name of my company means much more than I initially realized? 

Do you know where your North Star lies?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


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Ruined Lives


I’m no stranger to tragedy or chaos coming in and ruining my life.  It’s happened many times, but like a cat I keep landing on my feet.  I keep getting up and trudging forward.  What else do I have?  What else can I do?  Lay there and die?  Well, yeah… but I suppose I’m too stubborn or too stupid to do that. 

I can’t give a list of things that have come in and uprooted my life; there are just too many.  Also, some of the things that brought me down may not be a problem for others, yet held the power to destroy me.

I can’t tell which hurts the most, because I still wear the scars and feel the pain from time to time.  Scars are reminders of those battles, and I believe they hold within them part of the original pain.

I can’t tell which disasters were my fault or from which I was the victim.  All left residual marks, all bore harsh consequences, and all required their pound of flesh.

All I can tell you is that I’m still here. I’m still alive. I’m still breathing.  Though it’s hard sometimes to inhale and exhale, I am able to fill my lungs. Hope stirs for a better tomorrow.  I can’t say anything about the day after.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


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Fearing Change

Change is the greatest thing most people fear, and most of us don’t ponder that realization until it begins.  I didn’t think I feared change, especially working in a career that transformed on a daily basis, but I did, and still do.   Change goes against my natural instinct, which is to be organized, to be ritualistic, and to have a set pattern and routine.  All of that relates to security.  Change is unsecure, unpredictable, and unable to control.  That’s really what we fear most, losing control. 
We, humans, believe that if we can control everything around us, we can avoid disaster and find success – to control the flow of our lives.  However, I’m beginning to learn that the more control I give up, the more success I gain; the tighter I cling, the more I lose.   
More than financial or professional success, I desire peace with myself, my family, my friends, my neighbors and my God.  There is no secret formula, or ten-step program that can guarantee possession.  Formulas and programs are about taking control. I’ve tried them, again and again.  However, the past several years I’ve tried something new – letting go.
It’s been scary not knowing what the day holds, or what will happen tomorrow.  What’s funny is that this concept isn’t something new.  None of us knows what the day holds or what will happen tomorrow, and none of us have control over it.  We can set goals and agendas and direct ourselves to fulfill them, but whether we are successful remains out of our control, no matter how much we believe.  The moment we become comfortable in our assurance, something happens to shake our belief and disrupt our plans, and then cause us to doubt everything we thought we knew, especially ourselves, since we thought we were in control.
Please don’t misunderstand.  Continue to set goals, agendas and make plans (they are good), but keep in mind that the ultimate success of them is beyond our control.  If our plans succeed, be grateful and thankful, but if they fail, get back up and try again.  This is living – going from moment to moment, step to step, journey to journey.  Our failures are just as much part of our living as is our successes.   Who we are, is who we are while we’re on the journey, not necessarily what we achieve at the end.  Don’t fear change, get excited about it, because in the midst of it dwells our peace.
Storms, obstacles, set-backs and monkey-wrenches are not to be feared, for they’re just as important in our lives as our triumphs, our sunny days, and our discoveries. We won’t truly appreciate acceptance letters unless we’ve first received our share of rejections, and neither defines who we truly are. How do we let go of our fear of change?  I’m still working on that.  So far, I take it day by day, and one decision at a time.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray
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