As I sat her tonight, debating over whether to even write a blog post from my seemingly empty brain, a topic quite literally fell into my lap, courtesy of a dear friend.

Over the last few years, I’ve shared a lot of things from trivia to mind babbles, to struggles I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned.  On more than one occasion, after sharing one of those life lessons, I would receive comments from others who were facing a similar challenge, and were able to draw some insight from my own learning experiences. 

But it isn’t only on screen where I’ve had these experiences.  Once I “came out” about the nature of my parents’ deaths,. a number of people shared their own experiences with me, not only giving themselves permission to talk about something which society has deemed shameful, but also helping me in my own healing process.

Today, my friend was given such an opportunity to share her experience with a parent’s Alzheimers.  Being an utterly kind person in the first place (unlike yours truly who struggles with kindness all the time!), she shrugged it off as nothing much.  But I disagree!  She bared her soul to this stranger in sharing her own sorrow and pain.  I hope that she, like I have, finds that in so doing, she finds a little more healing herself as well.  But just as I share in hopes of helping someone else who is going through what I have and do, her only concern was for the person with whom she was speaking.

We have many levels of challenges in our lives.  Some are simple to face, and just as simply forgotten.  But others reach right into our hearts and scramble us pretty thoroughly.  But once we’ve been through the worst of it and move towards healing, we gain not only strength, but compassion.  We understand that nobody has a perfect, fairy tale life.  Some have a tougher row to hoe than others, at least from where we sit, but in truth, we can only judge the difficulty of a situation from our own point of view.  What may seem simple to us can be earth shattering to someone else because they don’t have the same quality of tools in their virtual tool box.  By the same token, what someone else might breeze through, unscathed, will shatter us and leave us picking up the pieces and trying to remember what order they were in as we slowly glue ourselves back together.  The fact that we never can put ourselves back together the same way we were before the crisis is really a good thing, because when we do reach the point where we’re on the road to healing, the person we become is a new and improved version. 

Some of the pieces we pick up and glue back weren’t in our original selves, but are the result of how we faced this particular challenge, and survived.  Some of what we pick up become new tools for that tool box I mentioned, and will make some of the new challenges we’ll face a little easier.  Still other pieces are added on later, when we’ve had time to process the crisis, our response and some of the things we learn as we’re continuing to recover from it. 

Which brings me to my favorite word of late:  Evolution.  I have learned, over the past few years, that the more we evolve, the fuller our lives become.  The more we step outside of our comfort zone, both in what we do and who we interact with, the more we evolve. 

I won’t say that I am not having moments when I think to myself “What the hell were you thinking???  You’re not seeing results very quickly, and you’re losing momentum and this is really starting to scare me, because look at how much it costs you each month to just be, and what happens if…”  

Before I turn myself into a blubbering idiot, I have to say: “Stop!!!  Have faith!  That’s what led you to make some choices, but you have to give those choices time to evolve!  Relax!  All will be well!”

When I get to the other side of the most recent challenge I’ve set for myself, will my experience give just one person the courage to listen to their own heart?  I don’t know, but I do know that it has other people thinking about it, and isn’t that where it all starts?

To get back to the original topic, what we learn can help others.  Many people will have experiences similar to ours, and to be able to talk with someone who has not only survived but is thriving is sometimes just the little boost we need to pick up our load and keep moving forward.  That person who takes the time to listen because they can relate to what we’re currently experiencing can be that light at the end of the tunnel we might desperately need at that moment in time. 

The short message here is that sometimes we need to be the listeners, and others, we need to be willing to ask for help, and that help might not seem like much to the giver, but to the receiver, it can be a lifeline!   And maybe, just maybe, by being the listener, you’ll learn something new, or, at the very least, heal a little more.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who share their experiences that I might learn my lessons a little quicker.
2. I am grateful for quiet evenings at home, just loving my cats, and sharing our grief over those we’ve recently lost.
3. I am grateful for the continuing flow of ideas I’m getting, even when I think I have nothing to share.
4. I am grateful for reaching the 5 year mark with my blog.  I can’t believe it’s been so long!
5. I am grateful for motivation, even though it ebbs and flows, it will be there when I need it!

Love and light.

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