Tag Archives: Struggle

To my friends

With so much wrong in the world, I wonder what is right anymore. As unfortunate events continue to unfold in the world and shake up the minds of my generation, a few close friends have turned to me for advice. I think, me?! What can I give? What wisdom do I have within me? I don’t know anything other than what I live each day. I’m not a teacher, nurse, politician, world traveler. I’m not necessarily cultured, I didn’t even finish my degree for God’s sake! I’m a mom, a ‘kind-of’ writer, what can I possibly give to these friends during such a scary time in our world’s history? I’m probably the least qualified person to give advice, yet for a split second I am humbled that others look to me, so it’s time to do what I love to do: Remind the world that there is good everywhere, and it is up to us to see it and spread it like wildfire. I wake up each day with these words in my heart: You are the light. Be it, live it, spread it everywhere you go. The same goes for love. Be love, live love, and spread it everywhere you go.

So, to you friends, this is what I can offer you today:

I, too, am scared. What a scary time to live. What a scary time to raise a family. Ebola, ISIS, beheadings in our own country, terrorism, disease, cancer, abductions, and the list goes on. But let me remind you that you have a choice each morning when you raise yourself and your spirit from bed. You must choose life. You must choose to live. Live for the moments of true connection. Yes, that’s the secret. That’s it. Use every moment you have to connect with the world and the people around you. Get out of your head, and get into the world. Let the fear, the doubts, and anxiety pass, and plug yourself into what truly matters.

Spread goodness —

You don’t have to be a powerful person to spread a powerful message. It is up to each of us to harvest an inner love, an inner goodness, and we must spread this goodness, this light, to every person we know, to every person we pass on the street, to every person who serves us in restaurants, to every person who shows us hospitality, to every person with a beating heart. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we all did this every day? If we all smiled at each other? If we all cared just a little bit more?

Live spontaneously —

Plan for your future, yes, but don’t forget about spontaneity. Perhaps it feels impossible to be spontaneous when there are bills to pay and meetings to attend. At times, yes, you have to suck it up and go to work. There are evenings when you have to clean your house or go to bed early, but don’t forget to look for the moments when you can look into another’s eyes and connect with him. Get out of your routine, get out of your head, and tap into that universal energy which brings us all together. Go for a run in the park only to be surprised by an old man’s genuine interest in how your day is going. Ask how he’s doing, and leave the park feeling renewed. Call a friend half-way across the world and be surprised when the chat ends 3 hours later. Make a side note about how good it feels and how much you needed that spontaneous chat. Talk to the new neighbor on your street and find out that she’s from England and needs a friend, just like you do. Yes, all of these examples are recent experiences of mine.

Laugh and dance and yes, have a good cry –

I cannot tell you how good it feels to listen to a favorite song of mine when I am at my lowest. If you are a close friend, you know I love European dance music (which I’ll admit is a bit odd for a Midwest American girl, but hey! It’s who I am!) – There is nothing better than getting lost in the words, the beat, the rhythm, and connecting with that silly side of myself. It is good for my heart, my health, my soul. It is good for you, too. I really do believe it’s good to get caught up in our emotions sometimes. I believe in laughing until our bellies hurt. I believe in crying until our souls are cleansed. I believe in dancing ridiculously until my toddler asks me to ‘please stop, Mom.’ We are humans! We have emotions for a reason! It is okay to feel them — It is okay to let them move through us, so long as we remember to come back to what matters most.

Unplug, and Be present —

Turn your phone off right now. What would happen if you unplugged for half an hour a day? What would you do with that time? Would you pick up a book? Would you meditate? Would you take a walk? Would you say a prayer and send good vibes to other parts of the world? My, oh my, what 30 free minutes can do for your soul! I dare you to try it!

Most importantly friends, Be with the ones you love. Your presence is the only thing that truly matters. If you can give nothing else to the world, at least give it your attention. Stay current with what is going on around you, and keep those you love most close to your heart. Make a phone call to an estranged friend. Say I love you. Give hugs. Offer your time, your advice, offer your true self to the world. When the money runs out, when we’ve traveled the world and returned home, when the child in us is tired and needs a rest, all which is left are the people we love. Be present with them, that IS enough.

Cheers, friends.

coffee mug ki

Be

I believe there are times when life moves through me with such speed that I forget why I get up each day. Yes, there are days when I rise as scheduled and sleepwalk from moment to moment. In the next two weeks, I will attend two weddings, one birthday celebration, three soccer games, and one funeral. In a 14-day span, I will laugh, I will undoubtedly cry, I will cheer at the top of my lungs, I will be angry, and I will experience such blissful joy that I am again, moved to tears. My soul will be joyous, my heart will ache under a black dress, and my head will again come to know that life moves through us all, it’s fluidity an undeniable gift.

I do not know if I am prepared for this lesson, to appreciate the precious gift we have each day. It seems a bit difficult to appreciate life when mourning a man whose own life ended far too soon. I am feeling many emotions this week. A bride-to-be excitedly glows as we chat in anticipation of her big day. Hours later, grief glazes Danny’s eyes as his uncle’s final days flitter in the space between us. I seem to wear everyone’s emotions lately. I simply cannot avoid it. It is who I am. It is in my nature of being.

Perhaps it is a gift that I can find a piece of myself in others’ feelings and experiences. We all – sooner or later – try on these different hats of emotion as we experience life. Each one of us feels the same feelings eventually. Joy, sadness, grief, nervous anticipation… the list goes on. As new beginnings and abrupt endings course their way through us, we live every emotion, each day, every one of us.

As few of you know, I began a journey back in the spring that has led me to creating a story for my son to read one day, when he is ready. In this story, I relive experiences in my young adult life that perhaps he will relate to, maybe even find relief in knowing. I explain to him that all emotions are okay. The ups and the downs are good and healthy and human. Bliss and grief and happiness alike – in our own way, we feel it all in time. I write to him,

“Your sadness, I have felt – though perhaps not today.

Over lifetimes, trust me

We all feel the same way.

Be present with it all.

That is the lesson.

That is the gift.

Be with each moment.

Now is your time.”

 

For whatever you are celebrating, or grieving, this moment offers you a chance to feel the experience of being alive. Whether you are high, or have fallen so low, those around you are here now to guide you through. As you wake each day, step with risk – and land with trust. You were created to feel it all.

It is time to be who you are.

You are loved.

-Ki

blog tree ki stuffs

Thanks to Mark Nepo for guiding me daily.

And to a lovely friend who says I think too much and should just be… you’re right. Thank you for being honest with me always.

 

The good hurt

He just keeps running from me

A little bit more each day,

Our hands held one moment less today,

Our giggles lasting a minute shorter,

And I keep thinking, how do parents willingly do this every day?

It never gets any easier

Letting go.

I don’t understand this constant cycle

My baby boy walking and talking,

Hilarious and wise,

Laughing and stepping into moments

Apart from me and dad.

But I smile and clench the tears,

Biting lips until the coast is clear

And it’s okay to cry.

He’ll never know how good it hurts

To be his mom.

lucas on bridge

I’m exhausted. I don’t know how some moms do it… the ones with multiple. Hell, even the ones with just one, like me. My dog is staring at me like I forgot to do something, which I probably did. You do lose your mind after having kids… that is a fact. I look forward to this time of day though. 2PM. Nap time, or at least I think he’s napping. If he’s playing quietly, I’m okay with that. I just need a break. I can’t believe he’s leaving tomorrow. The next chapter begins, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready.

As I’m sitting here, eyes heavy from the early mornings, I know I need a break. Some days I pray for a relative to call and say he/she is on the way to steal Lucas for the day, but as I stare at the calendar above my bookshelf, I can’t help but feel the nerves swell and swirl in my belly. It’s time to let him go a little bit more. Preschool starts tomorrow.

This is how it goes though, I guess. The day comes when we need less of one thing, and more of another. There are periods of time, months, years, even decades when less of ‘this’ means discovering more of what is next on the list. I’ve had 4 years of unconditional Lucas, 4 years! An abundance of love, growth, challenges, and blind hope, on-call and alert 24/7… and it’s time I need a little less in that direction. It’s time he needs a little less of his momma’s helicopter love. Yes, I can admit I hover. It’s time we both work on ourselves, our own individual paths, apart from each other.

A little less time together doesn’t mean we will love any less, and it sure doesn’t mean he’ll forget me (though I worry). A little less will bring a little more of what we both need, whatever that may be. No, I don’t know where exactly my life is headed. I don’t know what is next. I don’t know Lucas’ path or how he will walk it. But we’re moving and learning and growing together, supporting each other.

There’s a lot I don’t know, and I’m relieved to say that. What I do know is that life is a beautiful cycle of less this and more that. It is certain to happen that ‘the plan’ of what life ought to be always blooms into what my soul knows it will be. Do our lives ever go ‘as planned’ anyway?

I hope you begin to see that every moment is beautiful during times of change and uncertainty. Just because you can’t see what’s next doesn’t mean something magical isn’t happening right now. Look for the good. Hope for magic. Open yourself to every step along the way. We all go through this. Trade less for more, more for less, let life move through you. Be fluid, be in the moment. Trust that in weathering this change, what is next will be more beautiful than you could ever have imagined.

Sooner than later, we find the answers. Keep going.

Ki

I’m getting better at it

My son is a little Buddha — a tiny guy with a big belly and an even bigger heart. I first started the ‘little Buddha’ joke when I noticed skin playing peekaboo from underneath his t-shirt. All parents go through this with their children. Growth spurts ignite the dreaded ‘in between sizes’ phase. One day the shirt fits, the next… sheesh! All you see is belly! We laugh together as I tickle the exposed part of his belly, and that was it for a time.

Suddenly, I find that my once lighthearted reference is now quite a fact: my son is a little Buddha, wise with untainted knowledge and insight, a being capable of unmatched love and compassion. Over a cup of hot chocolate one chilly morning, Lucas eyed me and sternly voiced his concerns.

“Mom… if you give me too many pieces of your heart, you won’t be alive.” He smiled, wiggled in his chair, and continued sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows.

(Cue shivers up the spine) — I mean good god!! What?? How did our conversation shift from Tuesday morning cartoons to the challenges of parenting?? I smiled in silence and stared at the Crayola craft table that separated me and the enlightened being who cheerfully scanned my face for a reaction. I was baffled. Mute and dumbfounded. And as any other over-thinking parent would do, I fell into the depths of introspection.

Am I giving too much of myself? Do I love him too much? Can he sense my anxiety? Does he know I’m exhausted? How does he KNOW these things? Does he know I’m a people pleaser? Can he read the worries on my face? Can a three-year-old know and comprehend the idea that pleasing everyone first leaves little time and energy for oneself?

Well, he’s figured out the secret to life.

He is right. Every word is the truth: If you give too many pieces of your heart, you won’t be alive. His words scared the hell out of me and ignited tears, so I politely excused myself from our hot chocolate date. Perhaps they were tears of relief. Perhaps they were tears of joy. I’m not sure. Perhaps I cried for all of the moms and dads who undoubtedly face this issue: when we give too much of ourselves, we (and those closest to us) suffer the most.

To say I struggle with this issue is an understatement. I am consumed with balancing my well-being and that of my family, friends, and blog readers. I am plagued with a hunger to tend to everyone else first. I’m convinced it is engrained in my DNA. I want to ease pain, fix everyone and every tough situation that arises. I smile and tend to others before giving a thought about me and my needs. Motherly instincts remind me that every waking moment with my son is an opportunity to teach, play, learn, and explore. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I sit at the computer replying to emails from friends and new readers of mine across the globe — advising, listening to, and easing others before I’ve showered, eaten, even used the restroom! I am obsessed with helping others; it consumes me; and I think Lucas sees that. I know he does.

I know he suffers because of it. I know he hurts inside when Mommy is stressed and on edge. I know he vibes off of that, and in knowing this, I have a choice. I can keep going, keep doing, keep helping, keep tending to everyone and everything and risk becoming worn down by life and living and caring. I could walk on this winding road for years. I could. I know this road quite well. It’s beautifully paved with exhaustion, sleepless months, and anxiety. But it’s familiar.

Or I could slow down. I could put a pause on all of it. I could prioritize my health, my family, and my goals. I could tell my readers that I need some time to respond. I could take a moment to realize how absurd it truly is to worry about everyone else first before myself! I could toss the selfish feelings aside and go to the gym. I could turn off my phone and reply to emails in the morning. I could go for a walk with my son, and leave everything else in the back of my mind for an hour. Yes, I could do that.

And I am. I am spending much less time blogging, connecting, Skyping, pleasing, helping, etc. and more time focusing on my health and well-being. It feels strange when I choose an afternoon at the gym, but my body thanks me afterward. It feels selfish to spend an hour juicing veggies when I could be practicing counting to 100 with my son, but my spirit thanks me afterward. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time to lay in bed with that book I’ve been itching to read when I could be cleaning and washing dishes. But my mind thanks me afterward.

I wonder if other people are like this? I wonder if people-pleasing is a disease? I wonder if others suffer from it as I do? I wonder a lot about these things. I wonder if it’s curable? I wonder if it’s a plague or a gift? I wonder if it’s possible to live in the Now if I’m constantly caring for others? I wonder what it will take to truly put myself and my needs first? I wonder if hearing my son’s insight is the moment that I need to wake up?

I wonder, what is your moment? When will you wake up and take care of yourself first? I’ll be (less) anxiously awaiting to hear from you guys 😉

Take care, be well, do something for yourself today. Slow down — the world will be here when you get back.

 

xo,

Ki

 

Photo: @redxluckyxcharms

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

 

 

 

 

Who are you?

My name is Kiley. I was born on December 6. I am a left-handed Sagittarius. I write poetry. I love coffee. I cry during previews at the movie theater. I laugh by myself often. I have an obsession with touching trees as I pass them. Talking to strangers is my greatest fear…. And biggest source of intrigue. I love the idea of traveling, but familiarity soothes my soul. When I say I enjoy ‘being alone’ what I really mean is that I want others to be around me, just quietly. All of these qualities describe me… and yet, they don’t.

These things are not who I am. None of the ‘things’ you say define you, either. We are very good at convincing ourselves of who we are. These qualities are, in fact, just thoughts, just tools used to label ourselves, to separate ‘us’ from ‘them.’ So who are we? Who, or what, is underneath every thought that we have? Does anyone really know for sure?

What if we came to accept that none of us knows anything about who we truly are? What if we dropped all labels that we use to separate ourselves from others … and we simply existed, together? What would the world be like then?

Tell me – who are you? Who is that being beneath all labels, beneath all thoughts? Can you answer? Ideas come and they go, but what is waiting there between each thought? The mind is a powerful tool. It tells you that you are a parent, you are Caucasian, you are a college graduate, you are an employee, a nurse, a brother, that you are happy, you are worried, you are anxious, you are sad, you are a baker, you are a politician, you can’t afford that trip, you are incapable of writing that book, you are unworthy. It tells you who you are and how to be that person. And most of us listen. We obey. We succumb. Why do we assume that these labels define who we truly are? Why are we at the whim of what our minds tell us? Do you realize that your mind has been conditioned since the moment you were born? From your first breathe, you were told who you are and given a name with which you identify. And what if, today, you quieted your mind…

What if your mind was silent and didn’t tell you who you are today? What is left? Who is there reminding you to breathe?

It is quite a mystery to me. Maybe I am the mystery. Maybe you are a mystery. The truth is that there is something magical that lives in each of us that is indescribable with human language. It lives and grows us each day. Whatever it is, it is strong, resilient, magical. Whatever it is, it lives in us all. Don’t forget that the next time you are quick to judge another person, or hurt another person. What is in him is in you too.

Keep asking the tough questions. Let’s be puzzled by what seems obvious. Never stop searching for the answers.

With compassion, we grow.

xo,

Ki

photo

 

 

It begins

I live it

I breathe it

And now it’s all I want to do

 

I thought for a while

How do I explain it to everyone?

Then I thought,

Stop thinking and start writing

 

And that’s all I do these days

I can’t explain it

I just wake up and it begins

And keeps going

Until my eyes rest at night

And even when I sleep, it writes itself

Onto my brain

And before I know it

I’m awake writing bits and pieces

Of everything I think I thought

And it begins again

And again, every day

 

And each time I doubt everything

I do

My lover’s eyes whisper

Keep going

And that’s exactly what I do.

It begins.

———————-

I’ll be writing more freely like this for a while. I find the unstructured, poetic style comforting. I find it truthful, I find it healing. I’ll be touching on all aspects of my life – Relationships, heartache, mommyhood, love, loss, friendships – openly and freely for all of you to see. I’ll use names when it’s appropriate to do so, and poetic verse when it’s not. I can’t wait to begin this raw writing approach… I guess I’ve already begun.

Now to begin sharing with you all what I’ve been thinking, feeling, realizing, and WRITING for the past few weeks. I won’t share too many details just yet — But, during my LifeofKi hiatus, I began somewhat of a personal project, and it is beautifully molding how I see and write about the world inside and outside of myself. This is my life, these are my thoughts, dreams, hopes, and fears – unguarded. All of it for you to see in the weeks to come! I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to speak about it all. I’m ready. Now, it begins. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Cheers, readers.

photo

 

 

Rock and a soft place

Sometimes I find big rocks

And climb under

Every ounce of their weight

Upon me

And the heaviness saves me from the

Light

I hide within

 

Chewing on thick

Black dirt

As I wait it out.

 

Darkness

Loneliness

Embrace with

Open arms to those chronically ill

From agony.

 

Sometimes the darkness

Turns warm

From the sun

 

Rocks lift

From my crushing bones

I breathe a breath

Shared with you

And you laugh at

The absurdity of my

Climbing under

Dirty rocks.

 

I laugh in nervous anticipation,

Eye a boulder that will

Consume me

Soon again.

 

We laugh together,

And this is comforting

But not as comforting

As the agony that bleeds

In me.

 

Now I live,

Swimming in the space

Between a rock

And a soft place.

 

 

–Original Poem–

Human interaction is a peculiar thing. Describing what goes on in this head of mine is always so difficult in plain verse. I could talk about depression, anxiety, dark thoughts, but I’d rather just tell you that sometimes I hide under heavy rocks, and this is comforting, more so than truly living…. But it is in breaking free from my agony that allows for my passion of writing to continue. And in writing, I live. One day at a time.

I hope you find your passions, your hopeful ways of escape from the mundane, from the agony that you feel sometimes.

Keep living through the heaviness of the world. Keep going. Keep swimming.

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

-Charles Bukowski

Cheers, readers.

for blog -- rocks

Thaw

I trace every face

In search of your love.

I wonder if you do the same…

Like a lost child in search of her mother,

I am.

The weight of that simile

Suffocates me.

Be love, and I’ll show myself to you.

Resilience, live me

Until then.

 

My body is cold from this horrendous winter. I was told to wait patiently and sure enough, spring will show herself again. So ‘they’ said.

I waited, and here she is. Her warmth now mending the aching bones I carry. Like my body, my heart grows cold from relationships strained, and I build walls around it for protection. Yet just as seasons change and frozen lakes thaw, my heart grows warm as I lower these walls and open myself, once again, to those I love most.

I encourage you to do the same.

Cycles, seasons, all things impermanent. Be love, and forgive. Resilience is a beautiful color on you.

 

With love and light,

Ki

sun

 

Need

It feels so lonely, growing up. I feel so alone, as a grown up. I thought I wanted this, but I don’t. Shed me of these layered skins I’ve tried on. They don’t look so pretty after all. I don’t know what I want to be, as a grown up. When will I grow up? I just want to ask questions. I don’t want to have all the answers anymore. I just want to take a hot bath in a pool of unknowns where I drown in naked surrender of the things that scare me…. Like open water. I don’t want anyone to save me. I want to choke the waters that chase my fears deep into my belly until regurgitated truths surface and my breath meets yours in embrace. Relief will hug us as I cry out my fears of growing these roots deep into yours. Breathe in me, you. If I tell you that I’m scared, is that enough to interrupt the pace at which we’ve rushed this life? You’ll always be mine…. Won’t you please let me weather this blow? Changing seasons from a young girl to a grown up. I still need time.

need post

Be patient with yourself…. It’s not the worst thing in the world to wake up and realize that you’re in need.

We all are.

I challenge you to speak up about what you truly need from life, from the Universe, from others, from yourself.

You will be heard, I promise.

 

 

This post is for Sally. Your struggle is my struggle. Your happiness is my happiness. I’ve seen the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly — as you have seen all of mine. We may not be living the lives we had planned, but isn’t it beautiful to laugh at our naïve ways as we grow to become the strongest women we always hoped we would be? I love you, and I created this with you in mind.

Calling

Sometimes I find myself laying on the floor at weddings wresting ugly thoughts that scream at me, telling me I’m not beautiful, not worthy, I don’t deserve to be here on this Earth celebrating with wonderful people. And then I look up at tiny lights on the ceiling that are actually a direct reflection of lights within me. For the most powerful images are not those from our past, nor the ones that lay ahead; they are the voices and images that lay patiently within us. So I wrote a poem about that day, at a wedding, laying on the floor.

 

————————————————–

 

My efforts to love you

Tossed away.

A severed connection,

You put me at bay.

 

Now I find myself in a beautiful house, with beautiful people, with a beautiful spouse.

 

And I lay on the floor only to find,

Nothing consumes me like you

On the mind.

 

I look up.

I see a miraculous sight.

Colors glowing, illustrious light.

I wonder why it is you treat me this way.

Flip of the switch

We’re strangers that lay.

 

One day you love me,

I’m beautifully so

Exquisite like diamonds

Inside, I glow.

 

Yet today we are strangers

With hollowed eyes

Ignoring passion

For you,

Hear the cries.

 

Tonight I know you have left my side

Your abandon, I surrender. You win. I abide.

How long will this last? Who me? I don’t know.

The mirror shouts reflections you refuse to show.

 

This love, it is patient.

This love is for you.

Though you won’t wait for me,

I’ll wait for you.

 

I say I, when I mean we.

For I am you

And you dear, are me.

I speak to you daily

Can’t you see?

I am the light

That only you can set free.

Love me completely.

This is how it must be.

Surrender yourself

Let go

And breathe.

This you know, we both truly need.

 

Love yourself,

That’s all I will say.

That’s all I want

For you each day.

 

Look up at those lights as you lay on this floor,

It’s me, I’m calling, please do not ignore!

Get up now dear

Please lay no more.

Reach out, be brave

Now open the door.

 

I’m calling.

for me from missy

–Original Poem (original artwork created by a beautiful soul and friend of mine)–

I challenge you to listen today. Listen to the voice within. Stop for a moment. Don’t look forward, don’t look behind, look at what is calling out to you in this moment. Can’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? It’s you. Won’t you accept this beautiful gift?

Love and light,

Ki