Month of April

My Goal this Month in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:

My goal for week 4/8 actually turned into a month long goal. Learning to lean towards love rather than pull away because of fear or past trauma. No wonder this goal took so long to write about…

My Experience this Month:

Hmmm…the goal for the first week in April actually turned into a month long process and honestly, it is still on going. As I wrote my thoughts and feelings each week, it didn’t seem right to post any weekly updates about my experience when I felt little closure or accomplishment at the end of the week. In addition, each week was difficult to write about because the topic is so personal and hits really close to home. I mean how much closer can you get other than your relationship with your spouse, your partner, your love?

Being through my share of relationships before marriage also means I have been through my share of break-ups. And like many women, I spent my 20’s and early 30’s being single, dating, learning what I wanted, how to handle compromise and how to be “me”. Fortunately, I did most of that learning and growing up in the big city of Denver rather than the small town where I was born and spent my high school years. For obvious reasons, this was a bonus.

I moved back to Napa, CA after spending nine years living in Colorado. My main reason for moving back home was to help my Mom take care of my Father, who by that time was in a scooter and needed constant assistance. Coming back home felt like the right thing not only to be with my Dad more but also because I felt I was finally ready to meet “the one” and have my own family.

Needless to say, I didn’t find my husband until late in life…dare I say how late? By then I was certainly set in my ways and carried the scars of a few bad relationships (as most do I guess). But I always knew I wanted to get married and have a baby. And like most young women I imagined a Prince Charming would show up one day sweep me off my feet, take care of me and we would live happily ever after. What I didn’t know is that marriage isn’t so simple. Marriage is a harder proposition and you have to want it…

My husband, Tim, and I were married in 2009 and started dating in 2006 so this year in July will mark our 4th year anniversary of marriage and 7th year of being together. For both of us, this is the longest relationship we have experienced so far. And to be honest, I don’t think either of us was prepared for the stress, changes, challenges and vulnerability that comes with being married. Now add some left over issues from childhood and previous relationships and things can get a little chaotic.

But one of the great things about marriage is that you have promised to stick it out – to work through the issues – to hang in there and I think that is what makes all the difference. In marriage, the stakes are higher than when you are just dating and the consequences are greater. So it forces you to constantly remind yourself that there is a bigger picture than whatever the issue is at the moment that is causing turmoil or chaos.

I believe every relationship in our lives has a purpose and is designed to help us learn to love and bring us closer to Spirit. Some of the relationships in my life (and not just previous romantic partners) are truly testing me in so many areas and helping me work through several barriers. So for me, during the month of April, the goal that was in my heart of learning to “lean towards love” and not pull away was a huge undertaking. And it also struck me as I was writing this post that this goal also applied to other relationships in my life as well.

My past relationships (and not just romantic), with their heartaches and betrayals, have taught me that when things get tough – the safest bet is to pull away and put up a wall so I don’t get too hurt which doesn’t allow myself to be vulnerable. And perhaps that is hard for everyone at some point in their lives. Being vulnerable is what opens you up to tremendous growth but at the same time will leave you open for pain. This is a delicate balance that maybe everyone has to learn and grow through.

To me, leaning towards love means:

– trying to believe the best rather than expecting worst

– trying to let go of the little things rather than allowing them to fester

– trying to express my needs rather than assume they are known

– trying to be more patient rather than quick to respond/react

– trying to see the issues through the other persons eyes

Honestly, I am not sure how well I have accomplished this goal over the course of the month and I know it will be an on-going lesson for me but being committed to the growth and leaning towards love feels like the best step in the right direction. And every relationship that I hold dear to my heart can only benefit from “my leaning in”.

A therapist once told me; “in your relationship you are always in one of 3 states: Neutral (not good, not bad, just is), Pulling away (not forgiving, not engaging) or leaning in (having compassion, loving and forgiving)”. And if you are pulling away then perhaps look at what stops you from leaning in. There it is…the tough question: What holds you back from leaning towards love? Answer that and you just might be on to something….

~ Hoping  you find a way to stay connected ~


Victoria  🙂

Me, my squished hubby, Tim, with our daughter Kaylee and my bonus daughter, Jena

Me, my squished hubby, Tim, with our baby daughter Kaylee and my bonus daughter, Jena

Week of April 1st

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:

My goal this week surprised me…as I sat in “quiet time” and thought about my week ahead in visiting my Oma (Grandmother) in Washington and what my goal should be (read post from Week of Mar. 18th & 25th for background) the words that came to me were “Be Open”.

My Experience this Week:

We left Tuesday night for our long drive to Washington with the motor home packed with every possible thing I could think we might need for our 18 month old daughter and ourselves of course. The shopping, planning and packing took some time but by the end of dinner we were ready to load up and begin our first trip away from home with Kaylee.

We intentionally left at night so that hopefully she would sleep for most of the drive and for the most part she slept fairly well in between the rolling around, bumps and noises…I however did not sleep and surely my husband, Tim, didn’t sleep as he was driving. The night was long and we finally stopped at 7:30am so Tim could rest and I could make breakfast and get us back on the road.

We arrived at my Mom’s around 1:00pm, exhausted and hungry. After lunch Tim took a well-deserved nap and I was having fun watching Kaylee play with my Mom. This is the first time she has seen her since she was born. And it was so fun to watch them play the way my Mom used to play with me when I was young…oh the memories!!!

But as I unpacked some items and started settling in, I had thoughts racing in the back of my mind about what the next day would bring. Seeing my Oma again after at least 3 years and wondering if she would remember me at all. If she did, would I tell her how I felt for all these years? What would she say? Would I get an answer that gave me any sense of peace or closure?

Finally, the morning came and we were off for the short 1.5 hour drive from Shelton to Port Orchard – let me tell you – Washington is such an amazingly beautiful state! We arrived at my Oma’s house and were greeted by my Uncle John and Aunt Didi. My Oma was sitting in her wheelchair and looked so different from the last visit. She looked almost “gone” – like the Oma I knew was somewhere else and left dying in this body was a woman that I didn’t recognize. Her frail body looked tired and her face looked pale and a little sad. And she didn’t remember me. I wondered if somewhere deep inside she knew how sad it all felt that she didn’t know who we were? I asked how she was doing and just chatted about stuff. I held back the tears when my Aunt would tell her who we were and you could tell it just didn’t register.

We only stayed a few hours as I didn’t want to impose and Oma was looking tired. But just as we were leaving I knew I wanted to come back again so I asked if we could make another visit the next day. The drive back to my Mom’s that first day was hard. I just kept thinking about the Oma I remembered and felt sad that I hadn’t tried harder to have a relationship with her when she was younger and healthy. But I also knew that when I would try, I was left feeling unimportant and like a burden so eventually I gave up. Now I am left with so many unanswered questions about her story, background, life and why she made some of the choices she made. The little I do know I will carry with me always.

We went back the next day and this time when we arrived Kaylee was napping in the car so Tim stayed with her while I went inside to say hello. I was hopeful that maybe on the 2nd day something would click and she would remember me. The amazing thing was that she did remember me visiting the day before but still wasn’t sure who I was. When I said “Hello Oma, I’m your granddaughter”, she looked at me, smiled and said “Wow, you are so beautiful”. I said thank you and again tried my best to hold back the tears. Then she asked me where my beautiful daughter was…she just loved watching Kaylee run around and play. She kept saying “look at her” in her strong German accent.

Suddenly as I sat there looking at her and holding her hand, I was overwhelmed with a sense of calmness and peace. Peace in knowing that somehow, even though, she was quiet and didn’t know who I was she could feel my love through my touch. In her eyes – somewhere way in the back through the darkness and sludge of Alzheimer’s – I saw a glimmer of hope that maybe she knew me on some deeper subconscious level.

My Aunt and Uncle were very gracious and welcoming. They even allowed me to go through some old photos and take a few with me which really meant a lot. At one point, without any hesitation, these words just flowed out of me as if they were coming from someone else “You know, we always felt like we were at the bottom the totem pole” and she replied “sweetie, that was never the case”. A little part of me wanted to believe that so much. But in that moment, I knew in my heart there was nothing else left to say. No further words needed to be spoken. No rehashing of let downs and hurt feelings was necessary. I felt relief.

We all make choices in life and now that I have a daughter of my own I truly get how your life can get wrapped up so easily in those around you every day. I rarely lived close to my Oma – we were always traveling, always moving. So there is a part of me that can now understand that the distance between us in miles was simply geography and not an intentional choice to not be with us. But the distance between our hearts – that is a separate story. We each have our own journey in this life and make choices as best we know how. Maybe she felt that they needed her more than we did? Maybe she needed them more? Who knows now – Alzheimer’s has taken away any chance of answers for all of us.

But what I do know is that the goal for the week to “Be Open” was wholeheartedly accomplished. As I sat with my Oma, held her hand and just looked in her eyes – I knew there was love surrounding us. The need to share my hurt feelings or find some closure for the past just faded away and no longer seemed as important as the time just being there. Because in that moment, I was OPEN to feeling LOVE, even if it came from above.

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

Love & Light,

🙂 Victoria

Week of March 25th

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:

Oddly enough, this week’s goal turned out to be one of my favorite things: plan, plan, plan. We decided that next week is the best time for a visit to Washington to see my Oma (Grandmother) because it might be our only chance before June (read post from Week of Mar. 18th for background).

My Experience this Week:

Anyone that knows me can tell you that I am a huge planner! Event planning, wedding planning, project planning, you name it. (You would think that with all the planning I am good at, I would be just as good at being on time…but no…LOL). But planning just comes naturally to me and I think I get it from my Dad who designed bridges in the Army for years among many other talents.

Knowing my Oma’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, as are other ailments, and that she has never met our daughter, my husband and I decided that we should make a trip to Washington State for a visit sooner than later. And as we checked our calendar over the next couple of months it was clear that if we didn’t visit the week of April 1st then it wouldn’t be until after June and we weren’t certain if we had that much time before sometime might happen.

So, we made the decision to visit the week of April 1st; which meant we needed to spend this week planning our trip. Airfare was insane on such short notice so we chose to drive a motor home so we would be more comfortable and our daughter could sleep, eat snacks and enjoy the view. The packing list for an 18 month old is totally insane. The amount of stuff to pack “just in case” was overwhelming. But I made my lists of “we cannot forget to take” and started planning, shopping, organizing, etc.

Although my goal this week was not as concrete as it relates to Learning 2 Love but it was all about preparing for a trip that I knew in my heart would be a challenge for me on several levels. Not only emotionally as it will bring up feelings from the past with hurts that still have scars on my heart but also physically as the drive is between 17-19 hours with a toddler. Thankfully my husband will do the driving, whew!

The thought of facing my Oma knowing that she probably will not remember me was really hard because it forces you to let go of wanting “to get it all out there”. What is the point of telling someone with Alzheimer’s that you feel they let you down? Also knowing that this could very well be our last good bye made the visit all the more pivotal. This will be my chance for whatever closure I feel I need. This will be my chance to maybe tell my family how I feel. Will I even want to? So many questions, so many emotions and so much packing…we shall see where it all ends.

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

Love & Light,

🙂 Victoria

Week of Mar. 18th

My Goal this Week in Learning 2 Love & Be ConnectedHonestly, I did not set a goal for myself this week. But nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned, if you are open for them and I believe I am…

My Experience this Week: This is the first week since my New Year’s Resolution to begin this journey of Learning 2 Love and Be Connected that I haven’t set a goal for myself. The past few weeks have been so emotional for me, with losing an Aunt and my husband losing his Grandmother. But I was also dealing with the 5th Anniversary of my Dad’s passing (read post from Week of Mar. 11th for background) plus trying to celebrate my birthday. So, when Sunday came around to set my goal for the week, my heart just wasn’t in it.

The interesting thing about being on this journey is that the concept of “loving and connecting” is always on my mind and in my heart as I go through the routine of daily life. I have felt a shift in how I perceive and relate to people and the world around me but also realizing how much I am connected to…everything! So as I stated above, although I didn’t have a goal set, there are lessons all round us if we are open to them. Being on this journey has opened my soul in ways I had not expected.

So, midway through this week I received some not so pleasant news that my Oma (Grandmother) was in hospice care again. She has been ill for some time with Congestive Heart Failure and Alzheimer’s but still able to have a meaningful life. At first, this news, although unsettling and sad, did not spark an overwhelming sense of loss in me. It sounds heartless when I write those words but honestly, I am not really close with that side of my family – at least not as close as I am with my Dad’s side. And the details surrounding the reasons why are not important but the feelings of semi-abandonment or neglect (for want of better words) were suddenly in the forefront of my heart.

I started asking myself why I felt this way. When I called my Aunt to see how things were going and I was able to talk to my Oma, I started crying. Not just from feeling sad that her time on this earth might now be limited but also from a desperate feeling of longing – longing to feel loved and important. She immediately remembered me and during those brief moments, I told her I loved her. Then like a flash she was gone and didn’t know who I was but I felt blessed that I at least was able to get those words out.

Growing up I always felt that somehow my Mom, sister and me weren’t as important. It seemed like all my Oma’s energy, attention, love and money were spent on other family members. Almost like we were wicked step children. Those feelings have made it so difficult for me to desire a connection with them and I have not allowed myself to work through those feelings and be honest with myself or with them.

So once again, my goal became to reflect and pray. As I started thinking about the past, how things developed, how I felt and what I needed to do or say in order to feel a sense of closure so I would have no regrets – I remembered something that Marianne Williamson had said during an interview with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday: “Only what you are not giving can be lacking in any situation”.

That is a powerful statement. I mean think about…as an adult, anytime you have felt wronged, hurt, alone, angry, betrayed, etc…what were you not giving that contributed to the outcome? I can honestly say that I have never told my Oma how I felt. And I certainly didn’t make any extra efforts to connect with her because I was too busy asking myself why she wasn’t trying to contact me and be a part of my life. Hmmm…at what point do you give up trying? Well…my Dads motto during his whole ALS struggle “Never, never give up!!” And if I am honest with myself…I did. Not only did I give up, I was too stubborn and settled in my hurt that I neglected to be the bigger person.

So now the challenge becomes what to do next. Perhaps try to make a trip to see her and hopefully she remembers me? Should we spend some time just being together or talk about my feelings? Not sure…I guess time will tell. Prayer and meditation do wonders at providing answers if you are patient (not one of my strong suits).

For now, on this journey to Love more deeply and be more connected…I have to be strong and own my piece of how I feel and why. Embrace it and realize my feelings aren’t wrong, they just “ARE” and I can choose how I feel at any moment. So I can choose to let go and just LOVE!

~ Hoping you find a way to be connected ~

🙂 Victoria


Me and My Oma


Week of March 11th

My Goal this Week in Learning to Love & Be Connected:
This week’s goal was to embrace the joyful memories of my father and allow myself to feel the sadness from remembering that this week is the 5th Anniversary of his passing. But also find a way to be happy and enjoy my birthday.
My Experience this Week:
My father passed away the night of March 14th five years ago, the night before my birthday. It always amazes me how much that day still affects me. Just when I think I will breeze through it, the morning comes with sadness and grief because I still miss him so much.

He survived for 3 weeks when the doctors gave him 1 to 2 at best. But that was my Dad. He always said “doctors don’t know anything, they’re just “practicing” medicine”. He always knew in his heart and truly believed in his own power to make things happen. So it didn’t surprise us at all that he lasted 3 weeks. Just like when he was diagnosed with ALS and was given 2 to 3 years to live…he knew he would put up one of the strongest fights ALS has ever seen. And he certainly did…more than 17 years in fact. I am still blown away by his courage, strength and faith through all the ups and downs.

I can still remember the last night I was with him in the hospital before we brought him home. It was just him and me…he had fallen asleep watching the history channel (one of his favorites besides old western movies) so I used the remote and changed the channel to something I wanted to watch. He immediately woke up, looked at me and said “Hey, I was watching that”. I said “no, you were sleeping”, to which he replied “I was just resting my eyes”…LOL…if I had a dime for every time I heard that I would be rich by now. We laughed and started talking about “stuff” – we always talked about everything going on in my life and he would give me advice – this night was no different. He always knew just what to say.

And one point, he looked at me and asked me what was wrong. I started tearing up and said “I’m not ready. There is still so much we need to do. What about my wedding?”. He held my hand and said “I’m sorry sweetie. Everything is going to be okay, you will be fine and I know I don’t have to worry about you. Don’t you worry…I will be there on your wedding day”. I said “it’s not fair” and started crying, holding his hand and resting my head on his arm while he went back to sleep. I sat there watching him breath for what seemed like hours and I started asking myself and God how I was ever going to deal with this. How was I going to have the strength to say good-bye, to take him home knowing this is the last time, to let our family and friends know what was happening, to witness his last breath, to have a funeral, to say a eulogy, to watch a burial, to live without him. How, how, how?

I always thought that after more than 17 years of preparing myself for that day it somehow would have been easier. But it wasn’t. Loss is loss and a broken heart is broken whether you knew it was coming or not.  Those last 3 weeks were some of the most blessed, fun, scary and depressing days of my life. To say I was close to my Dad is a huge understatement. He was always tough on me but he truly was my best friend in so many ways. And I will always be grateful!

So this week, in my year long journey of learning to love more deeply and getting more connected, I wanted to spend time in quiet moments just thinking about him and letting the feelings come – whatever they were. And in the quiet stillness I could feel him near me, and I could hear his voice saying “everything is going to be okay, I am always with you”. The message was so clear and so overwhelming I just cried. But not all the tears were for sadness, because I also felt a slight reassurance that he is not far – that he is watching over me and my family in ways he never could when he was on this earth. And when little miracles happen in my life I can’t help but wonder if he is helping the stars align for me to make them happen.

The second part of my goal was enjoying my birthday. For the 5th year now I have mourned my father on the 14th and then tried to wake up on the 15th in a joyous mood to celebrate my birthday. Each year it has been a little easier and somehow I am able to smile and enjoy my day. Perhaps a little help from him and the Holy Spirit! But I also think it’s because I try to focus on how much fun he must have had celebrating my birthday for so many years. Now that I have a child of my own, I totally get how happy that day is when you remember your little baby coming into the world. I also have amazing family and friends that try to make my birthday special and I am so, so blessed!

This year my birth-DAY turned into a birth-WEEKEND…I was able to spend time with almost all the people I love and care about starting from Friday to Sunday. I felt so LOVED and honored to have so many wonderful people in my life that wanted to spend time celebrating with me. It was a very special weekend and I felt my Dad enjoying it with us! I don’t know if this time of year will ever be “easy” for me and I have no idea if being without my Dad will ever get easier, but knowing that when I am still and quiet, I can connect with him anytime I need him, and in a small way it helps to ease the sadness. The love we shared keeps us connected…always…

I love you Dad and miss you!

🙂 Victoria

Week of Mar. 4th

My Goal This Week: Well…as they say “the best laid plans”…I had a goal set for this week and by Wednesday life had other plans and things changed. So my goal for “learning to love” this week became: get through the week as best I can.

My Experience This Week: On Wednesday this week we found out one of my Aunt’s passed away. Although it was not a huge shock as she was in her nineties but still not expected as she was full of life and vigor. I actually had not seen her since my wedding shower a few years ago. But nonetheless, the news was sad and was harder the more I thought of her.

Technically speaking, she was not an Aunt by genetics but she was my grandmothers’ best friend (for decades) and we all grew up calling her our Aunt and it certainly felt that way. And like my grandmother, she was the sweetest woman you would ever want to meet. She had a way of making you feel special when she was in your presence – like you were the most important person in the world to her at that moment. That is a rare gift. She loved life, loved to dance, laugh, play the slots and have fun. She always called you sweetheart, honey or some other endearing nick name and was always concerned with what was happening in your life. She will be greatly missed but perhaps now we all have another angel looking out for us and maybe helping us win a few dollars at our next gambling venture.

But then, just as we were wrapping our arms around that news, we learned that my husbands’ grandmother had passed away. His family had been caring for her and visiting her for weeks as they knew she was nearing the end of her earthly life. But although she was in her nineties as well, it was still very difficult news. Being there for my husband and his family as much as I could became the second goal for the end of the week.

Upon hearing the news, we immediately drove to his Aunt’s house to be with his family for those precious final moments. Saying good-bye is so painful – even if it’s only good-bye for now. When you care so much and see your loved ones going through this pain – you wish there was a way to take it away. Especially if you have been there before and know what they are going through. But all you can do is comfort, hold and share your love with them while they work through the process of grieving their loss.

But what I was not expecting this week was the memories all this brought back of the loved ones I have witnessed in their last moments and how much I still miss them no matter how much time as passed. My dad used to say when I experienced pain or loss growing up “sweetheart, time has a funny way of healing all wounds”…so funny that now I can understand what he meant. All wounds heal over time, but the deeper the wound, the large the scar left behind. When it comes to the most special people in our lives, the deeper we love them, the deeper the scar their loss leaves but healing is still in progress under the surface.

My father was already ill with ALS when my grandmother passed away. So, we knew we were on borrowed time where he was concerned. Watching him grieve for his Mom, I can remember thinking “how am I going to get through this when it’s my dad?”. The only answer I have is by the grace of God. We all experience different forms of loss in our lives and somehow, from somewhere, the strength we need arrives and we can do things we never thought were possible.

I guess the ultimate end result or lesson for me in learning to love this week is that by the grace of God we are all connected to each other, to God and to everything around us. Because of that connection we can never be separate from God, each other or everything around us. There are times I feel more connected to my grandmother and my dad now because their souls are limitless and connected to mine in a powerful way. There are times, when I still miss them tremendously and some days it’s harder than others but I do feel blessed in the comfort of knowing they are able to offer guidance and a helping hand in my life more now than ever and the more I connect with that love of them, the more little miracles I witness in my life that could only have come with a little help.

~ Hoping you are staying connected ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of Feb. 25th

My Goal this Week:  Well, in the past weeks I was working on a really big goal that was very emotional, draining and uplifting all at the same time (read previous weeks goals for background if you are just joining). So this week I chose to slow things down and simply meditate and pray for continued “release” from the feelings I let go during the previous goal.

My Experience this Week:

This week’s goal didn’t have the same concrete resolution that I experienced in the prior week’s goal but nonetheless I did learn something unexpected.

When I was pondering the idea of writing this blog I knew it would be a risk. After the 2nd post I realized how much I am opening myself up to the world in a way I normally don’t with my closest friends or family. That feeling of intense vulnerability is scary at times. But when I came up with the idea of setting weekly goals to really challenge myself to Love more deeply and connect with the universe, God and all that is out there – my plan was to set goals throughout the year and keep a journal for my own growth. So I thought “why not journal about it through a blog?” But once I got started and realized how personal these goals would be and how intertwined they are with my family, my friends, my life, etc. I second guessed myself. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea?

But a little voice inside me said to go for it…so here I am! I think often times we don’t listen to that “little voice” inside – which is really the voice of God, the highest power of all that is, trying to lead you on the right path. That book that 4 friends have mentioned to you, that program that was on when you were flipping channels and you learned something or heard something you needed to hear, that person who you thought of twice and suddenly calls you – these are not coincidences – they are the inner workings of a master plan and if you try to connect to that power more (through prayer, meditation, quiet time, etc.), you will see more of them!

This week brought me to a realization that even shocked me! And because this is all so personal, I intentionally leave names and event details out of my writing. Those details aren’t as important as the end result anyway. Plus the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. I knew these posts would reach my family and wondering what they would do or say weighed heavily on my mind and heart. Then I thought, perhaps that is where my true growth will come from?

This week I received a message from a family member about my blog that challenged me in a whole new way. The message wasn’t from anyone I would expect. In fact, it was from one of the people that were part of my “letting go of past feelings” goal from the previous 2 weeks. This person was following my blog and wanted me to know, in short, that they “were proud and forgave me”. Now I have to say that when I first read that message I took a deep breath and couldn’t even speak. At first I was incredibly angry (my immediate reaction is to FIGHT back and defend….remember?) and I thought of a thousand things I wanted to write back in a message. And to be perfectly honest, none of the things I wanted to write were very nice.

After all, I was the one with all these feelings I was trying to let go and work on forgiving other people. Honestly, I was totally upset that this person had the nerve to tell me they forgave me! If I did say or do anything, I was only defending myself – right? Well, seeing my face, my husband asked me what was wrong and after we chatted I went upstairs to calm down. I ended up calling another family member that I am close with and we discussed my feelings for a few minutes and the advice I received was certainly not something I felt I could do…..nothing. “Nothing” I thought…that’s crazy! I have to do something, right?

After I hung up, I sat in our bedroom, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and prayed. “I am so hurt and angry” I mumbled and then I said “Holy Spirit, I am open and willing to see things differently”. This was a prayer that Marriane Williamson talks about in her book “A Return to Love”. And I now say this prayer quite often. And believe it or not, it really does work.

I literally only prayed for couple minutes when the answer came to me like a flashing light. This person that sent me the message has a journey and a path all their own. Just like me. And if along the way, during a time when our lives intertwined, they felt that they needed to forgive me for something I did or said that hurt them, who was I to take that away? Who was I to say that their feelings were wrong? That they don’t deserve the same peace of forgiveness that I am trying to experience. Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t do anything “wrong” – each person’s reality is their perception of the life around them. And in their perception, they needed to forgive me for something, for what I am not certain, but I do know that their journey is not for me to judge, control or try to explain. We all do what we know how to do at the moment. (Wow, that is a powerful statement when you think about it.)

Coming to that final place and having the strength to not respond was very powerful for me. (I really like having the last word…the Pisces in me perhaps, or maybe a trait I inherited from my Father who always got the last word, LOL). I am sure I will have more opportunities in the future to learn to LOVE rather than to fight and defend…but I know now that I have it in me to choose my battles more wisely and to stop and pray before I react or respond to things that have such an adverse effect on me (which usually means a lesson in at hand). A prayer for guidance and the willingness to see things differently provides more strength than I could have imagined.

I hope all of my friends and family know that I am truly blessed to have been through all the good and the bad in my life because it made me who I am today! I wouldn’t change a thing – everything was for a purpose – a higher purpose. We are all here to learn the lessons needed for our souls to reach a higher state of being…a higher state of consciousness…a higher state of LOVE. After all, God is LOVE! I am on a journey this year and love sharing it with all of you – I love you all!

~ Be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of February 18th

My Goal this Week:  Actually, if you are following this blog weekly, it is the same goal as last week (Feb. 11th) – to release the feelings of the past by burning my “journal” and trying to let go. Such a large goal – it took 2 weeks.

My Experience this Week:  For the full detailed experience during this goal, please read the update for Week of Feb. 11th – I wrote about both weeks at one time. This was a huge goal and I didn’t want to separate the experience into 2 different posts. Thank you for caring and following my journey!

~ Be connected ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of February 11th

My Goal this Week:  As a continuation from last week’s goal (please see goals in prior weeks for background), this week I am still focusing on letting go! Week of Jan. 28th was spent writing down my thoughts and feelings from past hurts & experiences that I am holding onto and last week (Feb 4th) I spent time reflecting on the situations that created those feelings and my part in the outcome. But when it came to actually letting them go (read last weeks goal for details), I struggled. So this week’s goal is to actually reach our BBQ, burn the pages of my past so I can release these feelings once and for all!!

My Experience this Week:  After two weeks, I can finally share my experience with this week’s goal. Wow – it was quite the challenge! Not only emotionally but also in terms of finding the time in our busy life to really reflect. I had spent the time writing out the feelings I was holding onto from situations and events in the past that I really wanted to let go of and not have them weigh on my heart. The real underlying goal was to work through forgiving those people who I felt had “wronged” or hurt me somehow.

My list contained everything from feelings of betrayal, being let down and anger to blameful, sad, and unloved. On every page I started out with the person’s name and a brief reminder about the event or situation and then I just listed the feelings I was holding onto. All in all, I had 5 people that I felt I was being called to forgive or find “closure” with. As I reviewed the pages, I saw a theme arising in the situations or events and the feelings I had related to them. In all cases, I felt completely attacked and betrayed on some level by the other person’s actions, words, etc. And honestly, reliving those moments was very painful and not easy (thus the 2 week time frame). But what I also saw, which I am not proud of and is difficult to admit not only to myself but in this blog, is that my reaction to how I was being treated was to “fight back with a vengeance and defend myself”. In a few cases, I was not proud of how I reacted and things I said . So much for turning the other cheek right?

Then I started thinking “where does this immediate need to FIGHT” really come from. Partly, due to the fact that I was young and we all go through lessons in life on how to handle our feelings and cope with anger or hurt feelings. But this seemed more like something instilled in me. From a young age, I can remember being teased in school and in some instances, bullied (to use a new popular term). My dad being in the army and us moving every 2-3 years forced me to be the new kid in school and quite often in small towns; towns where kids knew each other from diapers. So being the odd kid out happened regularly. Plus I was smart so the word “nerdy” comes to mind. But I think my favorite nick name was “sticky Vicki”…LOL. But I didn’t feel like I had any power and so that need to stick up for myself just kept growing inside me and once I got old enough to voice my opinion and if I ever felt “attacked” – I would come out fighting. Makes sense right? Well it certainly does to me. And now, I can look at those events and situations with much more clarity. I might have experienced a different outcome for myself had I chosen to react differently to the actions or words of others. I can’t control what other people are going to do or say but I can control myself! So what I can do now is to learn from the past and realize that sometimes letting bygones literally be “bye-gones” will ultimately save ME! To think before I react and try to come from a place of LOVE rather than defending or fighting – then perhaps I can not only save myself from future negative feelings to hold onto but also teach our daughter about what it really means to “LOVE”.

So now that I had spent the time truly reflecting on all those feelings I had spurted out of me onto paper it was time to let them go. That last step was harder than I thought. I tried several nights in a row to head out to the BBQ but felt I wasn’t ready. Then I started thinking about this blog and really doing what I said I would do and finish this goal! So, one night I got the courage to grab those pages, put on my robe, grab Kleenex (which I knew I needed) and go out to the BBQ. My husband had it all lit and ready for me. And just when I thought about going outside, anxiety started bubbling inside me. Was I actually going through with this and letting all this $h*t go?! All of a sudden I couldn’t do it by myself so I asked my husband to go with me. I felt I needed to read out loud the feelings on these pages and I just couldn’t do it alone. Facing these feelings was scary enough let alone having to share them with my husband. But thankfully he was willing and very supportive.

So I sat at our BBQ, read the words and feelings for each person, cried through the process and then watched as one by one the pages burned in the fire. As I saw the flames grabbing at each word I wrote and the rising smoke carrying my feelings to the sky, I whispered to myself “I forgive you and release you to the Holy Spirit”. No harder words have ever come across my lips and at times I had to take a deep breath just to say them. But the release I felt at the same time was so calming and so warm that I immediately knew I was doing the right thing. Something inside me was calling me to this goal, this place, this time to send it all up to God. I felt a tremendous weight being lifted that I was not expecting. As if God took all those words now in smoke, sucked them in and made everything alright. Very liberating! Once it was all burned and over…I was actually excited to “burn” anything else that stood in my way of peace and love in my life. And so the journey continues…

~ Hoping you find a way to be CONNECTED ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of February 4th

My Goal this Week: This week, I am focusing on going through the process to actually forgive the laundry list of hurts and feelings that I finished during last weeks goal (refer to prior week for background). My first task is to reflect on the situations that actually created the negative feelings of hurt, anger, fear, etc. and really look at how I could have handled them differently. And the finale at the end of this week will be going to our trusted BBQ and setting the pages on fire as a symbol of letting them go! Wish me luck!

My Experience this Week: This past week has been quite a challenge for me. This goal (week of 2/4) to focus on trying to forgive some past hurts, etc. has been an eye opener. Not only was I revisiting the past, but I was also revisiting the part I “played”. Looking at yourself with such raw “eyes” is not always pretty and certainly not easy. But I was determined to be honest with myself. Believing that “we all do what we know how to do at the time” became the boat saving me from flooding waters.

As indicated in my goal above  – I spent some time this week reflecting on the past, situations and people that left me with anger, fear and hurt feelings in my heart. I really tried to focus on my part in the “mess” and how I could have done things differently to possibly have a different outcome. And as much as there was a part of me (that for some reason) wanted to hold on to my actions at the time as being right or justified, I had to look at why I reacted with such vigor, such intensity.

During those difficult times that still sort of “haunt” me, I really felt much like a lioness protecting her cubs. I came out fighting as if my very well being was at stake. But was it? The only thing really being attacked at those moments was my pride, my ego or my sense of being right. And perhaps a feeling of being let down was also predominant as I had expectations for people behaving or treating me a certain way and when they didn’t I was extremely hurt.  Then I tried to look at where that need in me comes from? That need to control the situation or to be right or having high expectations for others in “my world”. The only thing I came up with is that there were so many times in my childhood where I felt helpless or felt things happening were beyond my control. So ultimately, as I grew up, trying to control as much as I could in any given situation was important for my sense of well being.

As I reviewed the pages where I had written all these feelings (from the goal of week 1/28), I finally thought I was ready to walk the last mile of this week’s goal by burning them as a symbol of letting things go. I had spent the week analyzing, thinking and looking back so now I could reap the rewards – hooray! As the weekend approached, I honestly thought I was ready for the next step. But to my surprise, I struggled. And I don’t mean just slightly. I mean REALLY struggled with this last step of letting go. Every time I thought about grabbing them and heading to the BBQ with a match I felt this anxiety in me. This internal struggle that caused me to stop and put it off. I would have rather walked across burning coals than to walk to our BBQ. I couldn’t understand it. Why was I resisting this final step so much?

If I am honest with myself….I’m no spring chicken…so I have lived with some of these feelings, fears, hurts, etc. for many years and used them as my excuse to not reach out or not move on or not be the person I know in my heart I should be. Sad to admit, but a part of me felt like I would be saying what happened was ok – that the words, actions, experiences, etc. that left me with these feelings was somehow not their fault. Ugh…WHY WHY am I so determined to hold on to all this stuff! So needless to say….the weekend came and went…no burning at the BBQ. And as I am writing this on Thursday night the following week, still no BBQ fire! But I am determined to complete this process. And so…we are now focusing on my goal for the week of Feb. 11th.

~ Hoping you are staying connected~

– Victoria