Me in the Middle of Being Grateful (#FlashBack)

        
It’s FlashBack Friday~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on November 7th, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because by looking back on what I was grateful for last year I was able to see where I needed to maybe make an attitude adjustment here and there.  I rememberd what joy I was getting from sketching and watercolor back then.  I’ve slipped a little on my intention to do it often and now need to renew my commitment to something that brought me so much satisfaction.  All in all, this list still stands in my attitude of gratitude.  🙂 

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November Grid

(c) May Lou Q

Writing 101 ~ Make a List of Gratitudes

Last November I was in the middle of taking an On-line Art Journaling Course with Joanne Sharpe ~ Draw Your Awesome Year 2014.  For November we used the theme ~ Something I’m Grateful For Each Day Of November and we illustrated each day as gifts.  It was such a rewarding exercise!

 

So, when WordPress Writing 101 gave the assignment to make a list, I decided to do something similar except make a list of a dozen gratitudes for 2015.  It’s been a great year all the way through!

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2015

  1. I love waking up in the morning and seeing the light of the new day streaming through my window.  Life is a gift!
  2. This year has given me wonderful friendships with lots of new experiences.  I’m so grateful for them.
  3. The Joy I’ve found in creating watercolor sketches and focusing in on the details of our beautiful world.
  4. Renewed strength and health so that I’m able to walk five miles along a wonderful scenic trail.
  5. I’m at a point in my life where letting go feels really good … letting go of people and expectations.
  6. Finding my inner self and no longer being a self critic .  So much gratitude for this.
  7. A knowledge that whatever comes my way, good and bad, I can meet it with strength and courage.
  8. A year without any health problems.  In fact, I’ve improved along the way.  How about that!
  9. The courage to ask for support and guidance while making a commitment to myself!  I matter!
  10. Grateful for the healing power of writing.  A path to the clarity of finding my own voice.
  11. My comfortable, cozy apartment that’s become an expression of me and what I love.  ❤
  12. A sense of community ~ of connectedness ~ with people, near and far, who are there for me.
“There is an unchanging spark from the Creator in each of us, our highest self, a piece of God. And we are all connected.”
– Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Me in the Middle of Writing (#FlashBack)

        
It’s FlashBack Friday~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on November 2nd, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because I know I’m among people who also share my love for writing.  It’s so easy to forget the sense of joy and freedom we find through writing and let ourselves slip back into just thinking about it and not doing it.  This post inspires me to keep thinking about and creating through blogging. 

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The Eternal Sea of Creativity

The Eternal Sea of Creativity

© Mary Lou

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Why Do I Write? ………………. Writing 101

I write because I have a story to tell and memories to share.  The story and the memories are through my eyes and not a reflection of someone else’s perception.  Sometimes our stories can be lost or hidden from view unless we find our own voice.  Writing allows an expression of that longing to be heard when we’re surrounded by other versions, other perspectives and other agendas that can distort and embellish the validity of our own experience.

Writing has been a path to my middle ground.  It’s there at the center of my thoughts where I’m able to find that thread of continuity of my own self.  It surprises me when, after procrastinating on getting started, I find a joy and freedom that begins to awaken and I wonder why I waited to begin.  It’s an awakening that points to the whole ‘me’.

What stands out in my memory about my writing experience over the years, more than the keeping of a diary or writing a personal journal, is that writing has become a way to be able to identify the process of finding out where I fit within the middle of things …… my reality.

I remember an award I received in an Anthology of New York-New Jersey High School Essays ~ “Young America Speaks”.  I was genuinely surprised that my essay was chosen and I felt mine wasn’t as good as the other high school writers.  When I reread what I wrote at this time of my life, I can clearly see that what I wrote was helping me to find my place ……. where I belonged in the middle of things.  I belong to a family of writers ~ my father, my mother, my two brothers.  When I wrote I was saying I was a part of it all and that I belonged here.

Whenever I attempted to write poetry, it was usually at a more challenging time in my life.  When I was sorting through life’s paradoxes and finding my way through the complexities and seeking answers.  When I wasn’t able to find the words to express what was going on inside, writing poetry helped to define that struggle.

There’s value in writing!  Sharing what we write is secondary to just the pure act of putting pen to paper.  When it comes to the gifts and revelations we receive about life, both now and in the future, writing is a priceless contribution to ourselves and others.

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 free-canva-write

Me in the Middle Turns One Year Old (#FlashBack)

anniversary-2x

What a difference a year makes!  

My One-Year Anniversary badge from WordPress got me thinking about what inspired me to start blogging in the first place and what I’ve gained from this whole experience.

Me in the Middle was the beginning of my sharing my life story with family and a way for me to write about things I needed to let go of so that I could move forward in my life.  It was my hope that through sharing my journey I might encourage others and pass on lessons learned.  It turns out that, in one year’s time, I’ve been able to do that and so much more.

At first I found other bloggers who met that need for support through experiences of abuse, trauma and PTSD .  Bloggers who encouraged and supported each other in a positive way.  Then my enthusiasm for blogging grew and I began to open up my focus to many different topics and directions.  The WordPress Team and Community inspired me and helped me with any questions I had.  Soon I was connected to a wonderful group of blogger friends that have moved me well beyond the need that had initially brought me here last year.  I found that ‘Letting Go’ is an on-going process of being mindful of when we’re allowing our thoughts and emotions from flashbacks of the past to disrupt the wonderful experiences of the present.

One of the major influences in making this transition was the A to Z Challenge 2016.  I used it as a way to bring together all the lessons learned through my life.  It was a real purging and letting go of the past.  So, what a difference a year makes!

one-year-old

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When I first created my website I posted an Invitation to Guest Bloggers.  I wanted to open the door for others to share in their surviving and thriving stories.  I re-posted the invitation again in May and the response was wonderful!  Take a look ~ Here ~.   I’d love to hear your Me in the Middle story.  

So, for FlashBack Friday I decided to post one of my first post at the very beginning that started me off through this great year of blogging.  Thanks to everyone for being a part of it!

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It’s FlashBack Friday~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of your that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by MICHAEL G D’AGOSTINO from A LIFE EXAMINED–That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on September 27th, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because it was one year ago that I created my WordPress Website and this post is one of the first I published.  I believe it’s relevant because it shows where I was back then in September 2015 at the very beginning of my blogging experience and just how much blogging has helped me to let go and move on in life.

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Me in the Middle of Learning to Stand on My Own

I found Two Poems I’d written ~ in those first years ~ when I was coming to terms with the reality that the person who I thought was there for me was never really there.  I was learning to stand on my own and to find ways to push through all the walls that were coming down.  I was learning to believe in the possibilities that might be opening up for me.  It took every ounce of creative effort and courage that I could muster.  Writing poems during those first years was a way of finding expression for what I wasn’t able to make sense of while I was experiencing it.  When I reread them from a different place, a more improved view, I saw how important these exercises were.  They were stepping stones to carry me through that time to a new and better place in my life.  A life that keeps moving forward with Hope while wrestling with Life’s paradoxes.

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?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Divorce

Not sought after ~ this divorce
Thrust upon me as last resort
Insanity running its full course
Destroying trust and mutual support.

Sacrament now turned nightmare
Unraveling years of hopes and dreams
Document once sealed our covenant
Now document seals our parting means.

Final period closing painful sentence
Marking wreckage left behind
Will one day find me free of malevolence
Allowing forgiveness and peace of mind?

© Mary Lou

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Choose Life

Currents of humor and understanding
Toward the human condition
Life’s path created by paradoxes of life
Challenging past held beliefs
Toward unique revelation
Sun shines on evil as well as good.

Forms of life-force and truth
Point toward responsible kinship
Belief in goodness and care for humanity
Moves me out of my own poverty
Toward unique evolution
Choose Life ~ that my future may live!

Poems andSketches © Mary Lou

Me in the Middle of Looking Back (#FlashBack)

        
IT’S FLASHBACK FRIDAY – A TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE YOU CAN REPUBLISH AN OLD POST OF YOURS THAT MAYBE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION, OR THAT YOU’RE REALLY PROUD OF, OR YOU THINK IS STILL RELEVANT ETC. THIS BLOG-GO-ROUND IS HOSTED BY MICHAEL G D’AGOSTINO FROM A LIFE EXAMINED–THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE REST OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR TO JOIN UP YOURSELF.

THE POST I’VE CHOSEN FOR THIS MONTH FIRST APPEARED ON ME IN THE MIDDLE ON November 20, 2015.  TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COMMENTS TO THAT POST YOU CAN CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL POST. 

I CHOSE THIS POST BECAUSE I BELIEVE  IT’S STILL RELEVANT AND IT’S A MESSAGE THAT’S NEEDED IN TODAY’S WORLD WHERE SO MUCH SEEMS TO BE TAKING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION:

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 Me in the Middle of a Virtual Cup of Coffee

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Writing 101 ~ Update my readers over a cup of coffee

Coffee Mug #2

 

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If we were having coffee right now …..

I’d tell you how awesome it is that we can connect this way and how much it means to me to be able to share with you.  Some of you are from all over the world and some are right here in the USA.  The ability to get to know you while sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee is fantastic!

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If we were having coffee right now …..

I’d share with you that this past week of seeing terrorism at work, has almost brought me to the place of hopelessness.  It almost brought me to a place of resignation that hate is winning over love.  I read this poem by a blogger I’m following and felt that she expressed exactly how I was feeling.  A human reaction to a violence that strikes out and destroys what people of good will strive to build.  Our hope is in the children growing up in this world.  We need to start there!  We need to show them and teach them that the courage to love is more powerful than cowardice of hate…………….

I Am Tired of Praying for This World ~ Thank you, Laura Lord

 

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If we were having coffee right now …..

I’d tell you I still believe in peace………… I still believe in love …………… I still believe in the goodness in most of us who chose to do the right thing.  We can’t be divided in these beliefs and straddle a fence between love and hate. 

At times like these I like to listen to the beautiful spirit of John Denver. Never stop dreaming …………………. ❤

John Denver ~ Peace Poem & Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

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If we were having coffee right now …………

I’d want to hear your hopes and dreams.  I’d ask you what gives you strength during difficult times?  How you put aside fear and act on love? 

Me in the Middle of Looking Back (#FlashBack)

        
IT’S FLASHBACK FRIDAY – A TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE YOU CAN REPUBLISH AN OLD POST OF YOURS THAT MAYBE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION, OR THAT YOU’RE REALLY PROUD OF, OR YOU THINK IS STILL RELEVANT ETC. THIS BLOG-GO-ROUND IS HOSTED BY MICHAEL G D’AGOSTINO FROM A LIFE EXAMINED–THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE REST OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR TO JOIN UP YOURSELF.

THE POST I’VE CHOSEN FOR THIS MONTH FIRST APPEARED ON ME IN THE MIDDLE ON Friday, September 18, 2015.  TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COMMENTS TO THAT POST YOU CAN CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL POST. 

I CHOSE THIS POST BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT’S A MESSAGE THAT’S NEEDED IN TODAY’S WORLD WHERE SO MUCH SEEMS TO BE TAKING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION:

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Arrival ! ~ 2012 ~ at the Abu Dhabi Airport

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0061 Emirate with Falcon at Abu Dhabi Corniche

(c) Photo mlq

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As 2016 Campaign Season comes into full swing, I resolve to remember my visit to the UAE in 2012 and the lessons learned there.  Cable News 24×7 spews out fear of terrorist concerns about the Middle East and Muslims.  While I know there are genuine concerns about extremists, no matter where they spring up, I resolve to remember my arrival to a place in my awareness where I recognized that we all have so much in common as human beings and I refuse to let the media hype up divisions among us in the name of ratings.

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 My first introduction to the United Arab Emirates was through the Abu Dhabi Airport. This was the moment when I put aside all the preconceived notions and inner messages of fear of the unknown and of threat about the Middle East.  As I departed the plane and entered into the Abu Dhabi airport, I felt an inner peace and feeling of trust that enabled me to meet this new world with new eyes.

When I arrived I received a warm welcome from an Emirati dressed in the clothing worn by the UAE nationals; a Gothra (white headscarf) and Kandura (long white cloak).   He asked me where I was from  and what brought me to Abu Dhabi.   Being greeted by an Emirati who was dressed in traditional clothing and who spoke in English was my first step towards embracing a whole new outlook.

The atmosphere was calm, not chaotic, and the airport was bright and clean.  It was hard to believe I was in a foreign land arriving from half way around the world.  Security didn’t seem as heightened and frenzied as it was in the Chicago Airport where I had departed from.

I began to take in the scene before me as people milled about….. some dressed in middle eastern garb and others, appearing to be visitors or expats from other countries, dressed in attire familiar to me.

As I was walking through the airport on my way to meet my family, the sounds of the Muslim Call to Prayer filled  the airport for about a minute or two.  The adgan, the Islamic call to prayer, is done five times a day and is heard throughout the United Arab Emirates.  While I was taking all this in, the visual and sensual experience all around me,  my visit to the Middle East was intensified by this sound of the Muslim Call to Prayer being transmitted over the P.A. system in the airport.  It was, at one and the same time, both calming and disconcerting.  In the US, under our Constitution, freedom of religion means government cannot show religious favoritism or choose a state religion.  I’d never been in an airport where the prayer time of a religion interrupted the daily routines at different times of the day, and yet I found myself lifting my heart and mind in prayer as I often did during my own daily routine.  It was calming.   My preconceived notions of a volatile, violent Middle East were slipping away and I could feel the building  of excitement for learning more about this new world welling up inside me.  Was I in danger?   My instincts and intuition told me …. No.

A year earlier, my youngest son and his family embarked on an adventure that would change their lives and open up a world of treasures.  They joined a group of families who had moved to the UAE to teach English to Arab-speaking students through the program called Teach Away (To Find Out More).  When I received the invitation to come visit them and spend “Christmas in Arabia”, I jumped at the chance.  It was a trip of a lifetime that I knew I couldn’t pass up.  I was eager to see this new world and the new life my son’s family was building.

….. And there waiting for me at the baggage claim was my son, his wife and my granddaughter.  My heart filled with joy and I felt I was home…… even though I was half-way around the world…. I was home.

This trip of a lifetime opened me up to an awareness of the common bonds we all share … we are all One …. People share so much of the same hopes and dreams that we all have as human beings.

On my returning back to the States I found I had a new resolve not to get caught up in the political fear mongering that makes a group of people or a particular religion a scapegoat.  I learned about the customs and beliefs of the people in the United Arab Emirates through this journey …… and I learned a lot about myself.  My trip to the Middle East helped me to discern what it is we really need to fear…. And what terrorism is….and how it can be addressed.  Terrorism is a tool used by those who hate.  It can reside in any part of the world …. In anyone’s heart… if we let it.

Visiting the Middle East has added so much to my conviction that we are a small world and have more things in common than our differences. When I was there, I felt at home and welcomed.   Traveling, in a way, grounds you and helps you appreciate life wherever you are.

The United Arab Emirates is a beacon of hope for the Middle East, rising out of the desert.  I hope they continue to be that example of hope for all of the Middle East.

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