Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘fear’

Stand Tall

stand tall

Unless you live in a bubble, it is hard not to avoid attempts to make some sense of the world around us.

We are inundated with so much each day and with so many things that simply evade logical or rational explanations.

Not everything in this life makes sense.  Not everything that happens in this life is fair.  But we can certainly grow and learn from all of it in one way or another.

What is more important than making sense of things that make no sense, however, is what happens next.

What we choose to do or not to do after we hear of something tragic, experience something traumatic, or simply experience consequences of our actions is what matters the most.

Experiences and events around us change us.  How we move forward with those changes determine whether the change is ultimately positive or negative.

Today I imagine that the people of Paris are feeling much like we did on 9/11.  I remember being so full of fear.  I remember fear dictating just about everything for many months, in fact, so my heart goes out to all of us as we relive our 9/11 experience along with the people of France today.

Out of that trauma and fear for me came great changes.  Shortly after, I moved to be closer to family and I had a clearer idea of what was truly important in my life.  I have spent a great deal of effort in my life to move farther away from fear and closer to love since then.

Stand tall, remember there is still love even when there is so much fear in the forefront today.

Day 14 sending love to all.



tea bag love

What Would Duke Do?

Several weeks back, no matter where I was turning, there was a barrier.  Some of the barriers were biting and hurtful.  I couldn’t help but think that if Duke were here, I would feel better and figure out how best to move over, through, above or around the barriers.

I asked myself daily WWDD?  The answer was always that he would be love.  He would love so much that no one around him could feel anything other than special.  Everyone would feel his/her ability to rise to any occasion.  He would remind me that hurtful, biting, stinging things thrown in my direction were merely evidence that someone needed some extra love sent their way.

His love for me would then allow me to have the strength to do just that—to be love.

Sometimes it doesn’t come as easily as believing in rainbows.  Fear and ego serves no real purpose on the mission.  The mission to be the change essentially is to be love and fear and ego only serve to block the way forward.

buddha dog

I haven’t yet let go of the notion that if Duke were sleeping in the next room because he was my center of gravity.  He was my go-to guru on all things.

He could always figure out some magical dog antic way to make me let go of whatever it was I was holding onto so tightly.

Since June, I have actually had to find it and maintain it on my own.  He taught me how to do it independent of him, after all.  It just isn’t always that easy.

Duke would certainly always be love and I will do my best to follow his lead.

Day 12 and really happy to be back in the routine of writing everyday!  Go Team Pepper 2015!


Gratitude aka Veteran’s Day

10-25-12 Duke with color guard

Our ability to move forward into something more positive is directly proportionate to our ability to let go of the fear.

For many moments so far this week, I have forgotten how I learned to have a cooperative relationship with my fear because I believe it is serving to protect and to help me to grow forward.  Fortunately, I wrote an entire Fear Series here several years ago to remind me.

And because of that I am grateful.  In the course of a nine-hour period, I have almost taken back my personal power as a result.  For that, it has allowed me to feel a great deal of gratitude for so much.

Because it is also Veteran’s Day, I am also grateful for all of those Veterans I have had the honor to meet and my favorite of those I have had the honor to love and to be loved by throughout my life—my father.

May all of you feel the love and feel the power that love holds for you in your courage, bravery, sacrifice and ultimately in your healing for those sacrifices.

Happy Veteran’s Day!  Remember you are loved and supported by so many of us!

Day Eleven of


Surgery Anniversary Week

Jaycee's Birthday Present from Gramcee

Jaycee’s Birthday Present from Gramcee

“If you have already lost everything and made your way through it, what do you have to lose by trying to create something new?”

I have asked myself this question nearly every day for the past eight or nine years.  This question was part of a discussion or three that I had yesterday.  Because of that, I found myself thinking about just how critical it was to what happened next in my life.

It certainly became a valid part of moving outside of my comfort zone after illness, homelessness, nursing home…This shift got me out of isolation, guardedness and fear.  It allowed me to create a better quality of life, develop a social support network of quality people, and restored my faith in humanity in general.

This shift made room for growth in every area of my life.  I stopped fearing the risks.  I was empowered and more confident in my own ability to cope with whatever might come next.  Even through the last few years of pump drama, I felt confident I would figure out how to manage eventually.  I felt confident that I had many cheerleaders lifting me up to do just that.

My deepest fear was a repeat performance of losing everything, and I was often struggling with letting go of that fear.  The day I realized that it could never get as bad as it once was, and took back my own power, was the day I let that fear remind me of my strength.

Yet another pivotal shift in thinking that accelerated growth, allowed me to move through the pump drama, and ultimately the pump’s removal, to see the other side with more clarity.  It certainly isn’t perfect over here either, but it is lovely just the same.

This week, it has been a year since the surgery to remove my second baclofen pump.  While I continue to feel frustrated with limitations, pain, and such, I continue to move forward.  I continue to grow.  I continue to take risks, even when it would be far easier to not.  I continue to work, and I continue to feel grateful for a life that is overflowing with blessings.

It is almost as if I am finally growing into the very shoes I was meant to wear in this life.  There is a sense of quiet contentedness in being who I am; more so now, than I can ever recall.  It feels comfortable without feeling stagnant.  It feels like home, with the understanding that new paint on the walls and rearranging the furniture will always be necessary to improve upon it.

There is not anything in particular I am searching for anymore.  It was here all along just waiting for me to stop resisting, to stop fearing long enough, to look within to find it.

What do you have to lose by taking a risk?  The better question is really what do you have to gain?






Tawny’s Birthday Wish 2.0

Last year, I shared with you my Birthday wish.  I wished that we would all move one step closer to love and one step farther away from fear.

It was a lofty wish, really.

It was genuine, and it was an intention I set for myself for the year.  How did I do?

If I look at the big picture, I certainly did move farther from fear from birthday to birthday.  After all, I met my greatest fear of having the baclofen pump removed.  I didn’t see that one as even a possibility when I made the wish 365 days ago.

My argument was that moving farther from fear would move me closer to being love.  I still believe that is true.  I can share more love when I am not consumed with fear of something than I can when I am not consumed.

Consumed with fear is not likely to look like you might first think.  Consumed with fear includes worry, frustration and the inability to be present for any length of time.  Any obsessive, compulsive thought process can suck the love right out of the moment.

If I am worried about what will happen because I haven’t gotten something important accomplished by a deadline, then I am in fear.  That time spent in fear makes it very hard to enjoy whatever might be happening in that moment, right?

In that regard, I probably could have done much better than I have done from birthday to birthday.

Just the same, if I take the bigger picture and the smaller picture, and average the difference, I figure I still made some improvements moving farther away from fear and closer to love.

At 6:30 this morning, I turned 43.  Even though I wanted to skip this birthday entirely, I have come around to the idea of the need to celebrate it (or at least allow others to celebrate it).  I also think that acknowledging it gave me a moment to pause and reflect on my birthday wish from 2013 to see how I did.

Fortunately, it means that I have another year to make even more progress toward the birthday wish of 2013.

Where’s My Other Shoe?

mo one day at a time

I was conditioned at an early age to anticipate the other shoe dropping.  I watched that shoe drop all around me as a child, so as young adult, I still held my breath wondering when it would.  Sometimes it did, and sometimes it didn’t, but the only times I remembered were the times that shoe fell hard.

For probably 15 years, I have worked on retraining my brain and redirecting my energy so that I didn’t create a shoe falling from the sky.  For a long time, I really didn’t even find myself holding my breath at all.

Now, I find myself holding my breath.  I hold it about Amore’s heart, and I hold it about how well I am moving about since the pump removal.  If I can notice that I am holding it, I can remind myself that today is all that matters, and I can breathe out.

I didn’t notice I was holding my breath until Monday, but I am sure I held it all weekend with Amore.  I let out my breath enough to sleep in my bed instead of the floor with him, and to take Duke to the Homeless Emergency Project on Monday.

Breathing out was possible because someone was with him while I was gone.  Yesterday, he was alone and I realized after my third hour at HEP that I was holding my breath until he was checked on and I heard he was ok.

Monday I also had some trouble driving, and realized I was holding my breath.  I am waiting for the moment my leg won’t drive me because of what I remember about losing my ability to drive when my illness first started.  I am holding my breath waiting for the other shoe.  Maybe there aren’t shoes up there waiting to fall from the sky.

Amore isn’t holding his breath.  If anything, he is acting like nothing ever happened over the weekend.  He does what he can and then rests, but he is only living for the moment.  He only cares about what is happening right now.

I am trying to follow his lead.  Today is really all that matters.  Things happen, but they aren’t shoes, they are just things.  When they happen, I deal with them.

Living for today, like my dogs do, means that whatever happens is embraced.  The trick for humans (me) is to work at not attaching that good or bad label to what happens.  It won’t be a shoe.  Both shoes are right here, right now.  There is no other shoe.

Kitt O'Malley

Bipolar Writer and Mental Health Advocate


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