I can think of times when nothing seemed to matter. Times when I didn’t care at all. Moments when I had run out of hope, or answers, and there was nothing, nothing left to give or tell myself. I can think of times in my life where all I wanted to do was run, and I can name a few times when I actually did just that. There have been moments when I couldn’t even put it in to words what I was feeling, there was nothing there. Certain times in my life when I truly felt defeated, times when I had a very lonely soul. Coming from me, a woman who at most times cares way too much, who is more optimistic than pessimistic, these feelings are very strange. This last year has been very hard, to say the least. Let me rephrase; this last year has been the most difficult year of my entire life.
I believe that everyone in life is recovering from something. I think about all the people I see on a daily basis, the people I interact with everyday at work, co-workers & customers. I think about the people I already know, and the ones whom I have yet to cross paths with and meet. I remember thinking these things when I was in prison, serving a short 6 month sentence for a probation violation. In that prison, so many women asked me, ‘So, what’s your story?’. And as I chose my words very carefully, what to share and what to keep to myself, I thought about how each person in that prison has a story. How many walks of life did just the inside of that women’s prison see? Hundreds of thousands over the years. And mine? Mine was just one. Just one life story. And for all of the things that I have been through, just me, it makes me realize that when I feel like whatever I’m going through is so huge, so monumental, so bad that it can’t possibly be fixed, that I’m also just one soul in a world with over 6 billion souls, all going through something, all recovering from something.
When my soul was at its loneliest, I had to look myself in the eye and ask myself why. I was the only one who knew the answer. Ultimately, I was the only reason it was there, in that lonely place. Sure, there are outside influences, but the most beautiful gift we are all given, yes, all of us, is free will. The ability to choose, the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. And when I came to be truthful with the choices I have made, only then did I get the answers I was looking for. Only then could I tell myself, this is why your soul is lonely today. Self-realization can be a very scary thing. For me personally, in the times when I knew, when I truly knew deep down, no arguments, if’s, and’s, or but’s, that I was not living the right way, those were the most hard of times. The times when I struggled the most, and in those struggles, I would cry a little and ask myself, ‘why can’t I find happiness today,’ but I always knew the answer. I was not being honest with myself. Denial has made quite the example of me. Denial was one of my biggest falls, but, denial lead me to places that I never thought I’d ever see! I grew up well. Very lucky, had great parents and family, I’m educated, college graduate and I’ve done some very cool things with my life. But life doesn’t discriminate. I was never too good for the inside of a prison, my denial taught me that, as it welcomed me through the door. I could be negative about all of this, but I think that prison saved my life.
For the first time, in a really long time, I was given the time to think. Everyday, the blinding whiteness of the cinderblock walls would tell me, ‘this is not where you belong, but it’s where you need to wake up.’ I learned daily survival, and not letting anyone treat me like a door mat. Everything I thought about, wrote about, and the things I chose to speak about with others had meaning. And slowly, even in the inside of a level 5, maximum security prison, I began to wake up. I began to feel alive again. I started to nourish my tender, lonely soul, who I had been the most destructive, the most abusive to… me.
No matter what I was going through, my mind was always free. This is something I told myself everyday. The hardest thing that I came to realize, was the wonderful life that I took for granted, the things I have always had. From the inside, you would give anything, anything just to go back to the life you had! I remember feeling so ‘not-my-self’ anymore, and this was on the outside. The lesson came from on the inside and that was how badly I wanted to get back to the very life I had. Those 6 months flew by but I will never, ever, forget the things I learned inside those gates. I will never forget the hard days, the up’s and the down’s, the beating myself up, and breaking myself down, all to come out a ‘corrected’ person, who could appreciate the gifts and virtues that I have been given in my life. Of course, there was the one thing that I probably will never understand. And that is why my brother was taken from me, just two weeks from the day I was free… this is something I battle with everyday. There has to be a reason, why I was there when my brother was killed. There must be a reason beyond my understanding, because I do not understand it at all. I suffered the greatest loss of my life from inside that prison. That day haunts my mind, my dreams, my everyday life. The very moment I heard the words, the moment I collapsed and fell to the floor, to when my tears ran dry, as I had cried them all. Why this had to happen, I seek this lesson, and I always will until the day comes when I know.
I have written about hero’s, and how perfection is unrealistic. I have written about controversy and complications of the world. But through all of this, I look at the world and I see things that are so beautiful, I can’t put my appreciation in to words. I have learned to appreciate my lonely soul. When ever I feel it’s presence, I step into my spirit, and seek to find what it is that my soul is trying to tell me. I soak up the elements around me, because the air, the sky, the clouds and the stars are all placed in front of me, in the moments that they are, and I am meant to see…
Where ever you are, that is exactly where you are supposed to be. Nothing stays the same forever. Everyone’s path, everyone’s life is so very special to them, and different from yours, cherish that. You have a life, a path and a purpose. Fate can lead us, and karma can shape us, but ultimately, you are where you are for a reason, what can you see for yourself today? These are just my beliefs. These are some of the things that I have learned and through them, I am a much wiser woman today. Thanks to my entire past, thanks to prison, and thanks to my sometimes lonely soul. As for my brother, I know that I will get to see him again someday… just not today… my time here is not yet finished.
~ Jen 🙂
I am a catalyst… I am the ultimate reason for anything that happens in my life. I am the door that opens things, the bridge that brings things together, the road in which I get to other places, and I am the voice that brings others attention my way. I am the catalyst for all things good and bad.
Sometimes I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions. Pulled away from the things that I really want to be focusing on, and I’m completely distracted by a million other things. When those things start to get in the way, I have to ask myself, what is this really worth..? But I have to admit, that it was me who gave my time and attention to these certain things, these distractions, the opening of certain doors, the leader down other roads. If it wasn’t for me and my acknowledging these things that come and go, in and out of our lives, the distractions, then they would never exist at all. It’s like when you are told something by someone, that thought only becomes validated if you believe in it as well. Otherwise, it’s just words coming out of someone’s mouth.
I see myself on this path. There are things that I know I want and I even know what I need to do to get there… but I’m distracted. My past gets in the way a lot. Even if it’s just bringing up certain fears or doubts. People get in the way too. People ask things of me, or remind me of things that I am so determined to move past and away from. And one of my biggest challenges in life has been using the word ‘NO’ and being able to use it at the right moments. I get pulled in a lot of different directions just because I have failed to tell people ‘NO’, and look how far that has gotten me! Life is full of daily distractions. Some of these things are just my daily responsibilities at work or at home. I even get distracted by my dreams. My dreams are so vivid and intense that I wake up feeling like I literally lived, or re-lived, the things I just dreamed about. My subconscious haunts me, it does, but I choose to listen to it very carefully because I understand that that part of my mind is always honest about the things that I’m feeling inside, things like fear, doubt, sadness or joy, and knowing how to listen to my subconscious has helped me understand myself in a much more clear way. i realize that I have been the catalyst for many thing in my life that I have gone searching for answers, when all along, they were right inside of me. If I find myself off the beaten path and distracted, it’s my own fault for placing myself there.
But what if my biggest distraction is really me? Ok, so, I understand that I am a catalyst, but what if I play both parts. Both the catalyst and the distraction? What if, if I really want to be honest, I am the number one reason that I may be stuck, idol, in a certain place and not moving forward!?! Sure, I can point out that there are outside forces pulling me this way, pulling me that way, but really, if I choose to give them the time and attention, then it’s really my fault. So by allowing myself to become distracted and pulled away from the more important things in my life, I have become the catalyst to my distractions. I am the reason they are even there in the first place.
When I think of all the huge, the monumental, even the painful and the detrimental things that have happened in my life, there is one common denominator… me. This kind of realization can be a lot to take in, but it’s also very therapeutic in the same sense. Think about all the time I could have saved if I only had to seek inside myself for all of these answers. The moment when I became truly honest with myself about the things that have taunted and tormented me in my mind, in my experiences, it the moment the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders… only then, when I realized that I played a responsible part in everything in my life, did I get a sense of integrity and with that integrity, I began to move forward…
Yes, things in my life can be very distracting, but only because I allow them to be. I am the catalyst…
Just as these hills of rolling green, seem to go on forever… my internal desire to understand my purpose in life does as well. Playing the entire cast in my life, the student, the teacher, the role model, the disaster, the reason why (catalyst), the distraction, the weak one, and the strong… among many others, the forgiven, the judge, the cruel and the kind… I think that in some way, I will never really have it all figured out, I will always be learning because my purpose in life will change with time… that is all for now.
Fate. Can you make a mistake and miss your fate?
The space between the stars in our galaxy is so large, its vastness is quite unimaginable to the human mind. The stars are so far away, that when we look at them, up in the sky, they are only tiny little sparkles of light. There are hundreds of millions of them are sprinkled against the dark, black galaxy. So many more than we can even see, they are infinite. We have, in the history of our existence, always been curious about the possibilities that our eyes allow us to see when we look to the sky, to our atmosphere, and to our galaxy. And our galaxy is not the only one that is out there. We are not the only galaxy, by far! Through scientific studies we have measured it, the millions of miles between our world, our stars and other galaxies, but how do we know for sure that we have measured it accurately? If you Google ‘galaxies’, it will tell you that there are 30,000 galaxies, approximately, up in our atmosphere! That is truly Amazing!
Today I have been thinking about fate. Fate or destiny is often regarded as the “course that life takes” and karma is one of the factors that influence this course. People often believe that fate cannot be changed, but is this really true?
Fate is known to be a predestined path that we each have, unique to our own lives. Fate is known to be out of our control. It is understood that, according to the placement of the stars and planets in the sky at the exact time of a person’s birth, those things determine a person’s character and their fate. That which is said to be, ‘written in the stars’, our fate. But, what is fate really? And how do we know that fate really exists? The Buddhists believe that, “Your destiny is shaped according to the combination of conditions pre-determined at birth and other factors that you are able to change through your own efforts.” And see, that right there, is my question! In a person’s life, if we wander off our ‘path’, ARE WE MISSING OUR FATE?
If a person’s fate is decided by a complex combination of conditions and factors, then it would seem we can’t change, or shape, or miss our fate. Some of these factors are already decided at the time of a person’s birth and some of them come into play later and shape the course further. There are five factors that form our fate or destiny: 1) tendencies of our soul, also known as karma. 2) family environment. 3) social climate. 4) our own efforts and self-discipline. And 5) the influences of other people. Amongst the factors that shape our fate or destiny, some of them are settled and some are not. It means that we have a certain scope to change our fate or destiny by our own efforts. Factor 2 (the family environment) and factor 3 (the social climate) are elements that should be called the “destiny that is decided” before we are born; however, there is a great secret involved in these too. Namely, before each reincarnation we draw up a plan for our spiritual training and we are born having agreed to such details as our parents, the environment, the social climate and our gender. However, as soon as we are born into this world, we forget it. Wow.
So, am I living by my fate? Am I, have I always been, on my path to my fate? What about all of the hard moments, the bad choices and the tragic things that I have been through that were not of my choice and out of my control? Have all of my moments been pre-determined for me? Written in my fate? Or have I, by the freedom of choice and by free will, led myself astray, down other paths, leading me into things that are far from what my fate had planned for me? There are no tangible answers to these questions… and that drives the analytical part of my mind freakin crazy!! I want to know if fate really exists!!
What else do I know? I know that we have the freedom of choice, as I have already said. There is also karma. Now I’m a firm believer in karma. Karma is the, ‘you get what you give,’ the ‘what comes around, goes around.’ I have witnessed truths in these things! Karma is very real, and it is very patient! Karma watches and it waits. For those people who think they can always come up on top by screwing people over, pushing others down to benefit themselves and by celebrating in the suffering of others, karma knows. Karma will find you… where ever you are. With this in mind, I believe that karma plays a big part in a persons fate. How couldn’t it? Buddhists say that karma is fate that cannot be escaped from. (smiling… I think karma is bad ass) We also have responsibility. We are responsible for ourselves, for our choices, and our choices shoulder the outcomes for the results of our own mistaken decisions. There is always a cause for everything, and that cause is always created by ourselves.
So, can we shape & conquer our fate?
The starting point to shaping our own fate is to abandon the cowardly attitude of blaming other people or our environment for our present unhappiness or mistakes; we must adopt the stance that “everything is our own responsibility.” Yes! Nothing disappoints me more than watching someone point their finger at someone else, someone who is not accountable for anything. In addition, it is important to change the state of our mind, reflect on the tendencies of our own soul and break free from committing the same mistakes again. I have worked very hard to not only be accountable but to also break free from my past, not re-visit mistakes, and build a real sense of integrity. And… this feels extremely good! 🙂
I believe that if I observe myself and others with an enquiring mind, if I minutely analyze the habits, tendencies, strengths and weaknesses of my soul, and if I continually strive to change myself and discard my current self: then I will be able to guide my fate into the kind of life that fulfills the desires of my soul.
When I have a problem or when I am going through something tough, I tend to think/feel like it’s a much bigger deal than it really is… looking up at the sky, I can, for the moment, get out of my head and tell myself how little & insignificant I am compared to the miraculous wonders of this universe. Can you even imagine…? I do believe in fate. I believe that we are also the guide of our fate. I think that the ‘pre-destined’ elements that are layed out for us at birth are there, but it’s up to us to lead the rest of the way. Like the saying, ‘I’ll lead you to water, but you must teach yourself to drink,’ in my life, I have been lead through part of the way, but it’s up to me to keep walking, and to choose which way I’ll go. Fate has lead me here, and karma has my back, so tomorrow I am blessed with another day on my path, let’s see which way I choose to go…