Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Leaning In" Short Story by Valerie Michele

Image Credit: MeteoWeb
We were at the lagoon: the one that is known for its magical healing properties--the one spelled with a capital L--the one that is Negra because of the dark water that represents the Void where all answers and solutions reside.

I almost didn't make it to the mid-line of the mountain where Laguna Negra makes her home, grounded between two large stone formations looking like the face of the Incan ancestors from whom the legends about her were passed on from generation-to-generation.

Anemia choked my chest, and the breath became strange and stranger to me as we made the climb to reach her sacred space of tears that flowed from the heavens down the mountain into her liquid womb to fill her up: the largest cup for the seeker.

I was so breathless that the best I could do was to lay down my burdened body over a flat rock and lean my face in as close as I could, darkness regarding darkness.

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You can also LISTEN to the reading of the story (1:18 minutes)

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Leaning In was written while participating in a writer's group with about 11 participants in Northern, NJ. A number of  writing prompts were provided, "leaning in" was one of them, and we all had fifteen minutes to write a story using that prompt. There is very little editing here except for punctuation, tense, and spelling to keep it as authentic as possible to the original created at the workshop. Thanks to all the writers!

The Creativity & Spirituality Magazine (February 7, 2016)







TOP STORIES

1. How Art Changes Consciousness
"With so much talk about the evidence of Yoga and meditation, you might be surprised at what scientific research also says about how art affects the brain. Long before modern . . . . " (Read More)

2. Five (5) Spiritual Love Signs That You Are Really In Love

3. The Transformational Power of Creativity

4. The Book Most People Have Lied About Reading

5. How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently

Plus much more content: 





CLICK HERE to read the magazine via this link, or read the content from the box above, or in the column on the right side of this blog. Enjoy!

Top Visitors/Top Countries to this Blog (Last 7 Days)

1) United States - Welcome!
2) Brunei - Salamat Detang!
3) Germany - Willkommen! 
4) Ukraine - Ласкаво просимо!
5) Mexico - ¡Bienvenida! 



Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Creativity & Spirituality Newsletter (January 31, 2016)

The ‪‎Creativity & Spirituality Newsletter is Out!

TOP STORIES

1. Being Spiritually Creative: Thinking Outside the Box
"Human beings are at their core “sacred artists” not “problem solvers.”  To be a creative artist is to use divergent thinking to find multiple ways to know, love, and serve our God and those he places in our lives.  In many ways the world we live in is that corner of the garden God asks us to cultivate. . . . " (Read More)

2. Carol Burnett Receives SAG Lifetime Achievement Award

3. The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook

4. Film: A Thousand Suns, Unique Worldview Held By People of Gama Highlands

5. What Trees Teach Us About . . . The Secret of Lasting Love

Plus much more content. 

CLICK HERE to read the magazine via this link. Enjoy!

Top Visitors/Top Countries to this Blog (Last 30 Days)

1) United States - Welcome!
2) Slovakia - Vitaj!
3) Germany - Willkommen! 
4) Russia - Добро пожаловать!
5) Brunei - Salamat Detang! 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Creativity & Spirituality Newsletter (January 24, 2016)

The ‪‎Creativity & Spirituality Newsletter is Out!

TOP STORIES

1. Five (5) Top Tips On Using Instagram for Creative Entrepreneurs

1) Hashtags are a great way to attract the attention of those who are on the look-out for something in particular. As a beginner, you may want to try a number of simple and relevant hashtags per post to enable your content to reach a wider audience. To help you do this, take a look at what hashtags others are using . . . (Read More)

2. Going Public--What All Authors Fear When Getting Ready To Publish

3. The Science of Healing Thoughts

4. Social Media and the Creative Process

5. Bodh Mahotsava: Event Needs More Spiritual Content

Plus much more content . . .

CLICK HERE to read the magazine via this link. Enjoy!

Top Visitors/Top Countries to this Blog (Last 7 Days)

1) United States - Welcome!
2) Slovakia - Vitaj!
3) Germany - Willkommen! 
4) Russia - Добро пожаловать!
5) France - Bienvenue! 


Saturday, January 23, 2016

GIFTS: Top in Romance Short Stories on Booktracks (eBook Created with Movie-Style Soundtrack)

 

By Valerie Michele Oliver
 
A potential romantic dinner turns tense during the Christmas holiday season when some unfortunate words are spoken on a first date. Will love rise to the occasion? 

"This story really reminded me of "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, but where his tale is about a newly married couple [Gifts] is about what seems to be a first date gone awry -- as they often seem to do . . . It’s just occurred to me that the two characters aren’t named in the story, which I didn’t really mind, in fact it kind of added to the universal nature of the story."
—Hope Hammond, Freelance Editor

*** "GIFTS" is a Top Booktrack in Romance & Short Stories
      with 500+ Views here at The Healing Artist Studio Project

 
What is a Booktrack?

 A Booktrack is an eBook with a synchronized movie-style soundtrack.

Instructions for Reading: 
  • 1) Press the PLAY button on the eBook cover.
  • 2) Click the arrow on the right side of the page to turn the pages.  
  • 3) Use the (-) and (+) symbols on the bottom of the page to slow down or speed up the soundtrack to synchronize better with how fast or slow you read.  
  • 4) You can experiment with the other symbols on the bottom of the page.  

                                


" Gifts Has Received Excellent Reviews

"A beautiful short story."
—Priyanka Seth, Editor, Star Scribes

“It gave me chills. I appreciate all the details you included. I did feel the love as they both did what they could to honor the other. Beautiful!"
Angel-Rose Coen, Divine Guide/Healer/Author, Beyond Illuminated

"It is a touching reminder of how we so easily let petty, unimportant thoughts obscure the pure love that ought to be our focus. I thought back to times when ego took over when my husband presented me with a meal made in the way of his country, and I insisted that the way of mine was more refined or sophisticated or natural, and I spoiled an occasion to enjoy together something that was made with love. Now, I've learned to curtail those knee-jerk impulses to criticize and it happens less often.
Your story would make a great short film." 

Annie MacDonald, Screenwriter/Director at Cinemannie Productions

“Wow, what a storyteller you are, Valerie Michele! This could be a mini-movie! It reminded me that to allow words to "hurt me" by taking something personally erodes my happiness . . . Spirit does have a sense of timing and humor?” 
Lore Raymond, Entrepreneur/Writer, Women As Visionaries
 
"I have just read your story, and found it... how to put this... having been in a serious relationship for some time, I can see exactly how the characters are fighting over a trivial matter that is in the end just that: trivial and unimportant in the larger scheme of things. For that reason, I found it not only touching but also real, and amusing in that way that makes you smile for the irony of life."
Carrie White, Managing Editor, Glass House Press

SHARE the direct link to "Gifts" that can be read at Booktrack (plus other books):
https://www.booktrack.com/content/read/5b924f225ae54adaaa8d1be0d9b8cb73

"Gifts" may soon become available to purchase and send to your loved one(s) as an eBook only or as a Booktrack! Stay tuned for updates.
 

Friday, January 22, 2016

HOLIDAZE (Excerpt from a Short Story About the Loss of My Mother)

Some of you may have read my blog post about my father's death in November (the month I hosted some guest bloggers here). I've fallen behind in my plans to write a biography brief about my dad, and a post to inform you about which guest posts were of most interest to you by the number of views. For some reason, I just can't write about my father now (perhaps it's too close and raw), nor about the guest posts. Instead, I am sharing an excerpt from a short story about the affect of my mother's death on some slices of my life (Sarah Bernice Turner Oliver Hoskins, March 2, 1933 - September 12, 1979). A book of short stories is a component of my memoir project that's been in storage for a while. This one is from Holidaze in the chapter titled, "The Anniversary." The short story isn't finished yet, nor has it been edited (I've no guilt about imperfections as per Cassie's guest post), but I'm happy that my Creator has guided me to share it with you just the same. Love, serenity and joy to you and your loved ones.

HOLIDAZE

by Valerie Michele Oliver

THE ANNIVERSARY. I write: We buried her. Anger, sadness, and numbness competed inside me for priority. When I last saw my mom, she was not the person I wanted her to be; full of  life, the face with the perpetual smile. She tried to be though, attempting smiles through urine-soaked eyes, and dry, wrinkled skin. She vacillated between being skeletal thin or bloated, expanding with intravenous fluids. Eyes full of sorrow and desperation, she asked me to take her home, far from the intensive care unit.

“I want to go home,” she stated. Her eyes looked into mine. I saw striped and solid pool balls in her mouth. Yeah. I smoked some kick-ass weed on the ride down from Athens, GA where I was bartending to Savannah.

I held her bony, frail hand, returned her look, and responded, “I can’t, Ma. This is the best place for you.”

That was not the answer she wanted to hear. Perhaps, she thought I hadn’t heard her the first time. Perhaps, she was expecting me to be the strong one, and take charge as I had many times in the past when she had been able to rely on me.

“I want to go home. Please. Take me home.” It was more urgent this time. A few of the balls fell out of her mouth and shattered on the floor. Tiny, white, thin skeletons laid among the remains.

“Ma, I wish I could, but I can’t. They can take better care of you here. Now eat something. Please ma, you’ve got to keep up your strength, so you can fight this thing and get better. Drink this juice. It will help you get stronger.” I placed the juice up close to her lips. She forced herself to take a few sips. I knew that it was not for her benefit, but to please me.

“Please. Please, take me home.” She had tears in her eyes now, and pleaded through them. My hand was in hers, and I knew that if she had more strength, she would have pulled me closer to her by them. It wasn’t happening, but I felt that pull anyway. I knew I couldn’t take her away. I had no power in this situation. My stepfather had all the control, and was calling the shots (which in my mind were bad ones). At that time, I loathed myself for being weak. I told myself, “You’re weak.” And after she died, I blamed myself. I was weak.

That evening, when the hospital rooms were dark, and most of them quiet, I laid on a cot next to my mother’s bed listening to her breathing. It was the first and only night that I spent there with her in that room. I don’t remember sleeping, but do listening. Her breathing became low moans like the kind you have when you dream someone is chasing you, and about to catch you, and you’re trying to scream but it comes out like muffled moans. I climbed into her bed, put my arms around her, stroked and rocked her, and said, “I love you.” This was what she needed. What she didn’t get from her husband. It was the exact opposite of what he offered her as she slipped away, everyday . . . a . . . little . . . death. It was what she needed, and I gave it to her.

That morning, I left town. I returned to my home about four hours away from the hospital. She told me she wanted to leave. I believed her, but could not face that she was dying, and that I couldn’t even grant her last urgent wish of me. I felt that I deserted her. She deserted me a few hours after I left. I got the call only minutes after I returned home. She checked out on her own.

Less than an hour after I returned home, the phone rang with news of her death. Three voices on the telephone, my sisters and my brother, spoke to me. “She’s dead,” said one voice. Was anyone crying? “She died not too long after you left,” said another. Were their voices soft? Were there really three voices, or just two, or one? “There’s going to be two funerals. One down here in Savannah, and one in New Jersey. Grandma is going to fly back with the body,” my sister said. Was anyone crying then?

I dialed my best friend. She said, “I’m so sorry.” It was sympathetic, heartfelt, sincere. It was time for her to take charge, and she was definitive: “I’ll be right over.” Company and comfort were on the way. I rolled a joint and smoked it—a familiar, unconscious pattern to help dull my experience of reality. I shed my clothing—anesthetized—and stepped into the bathtub. I stood underneath the showerhead, washed away by tears. They kept flowing. They soaked my body. They went down the drain.

copyright © 2015 Valerie Michele Oliver

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 Top Visitors/Countries to this Blog (Past 7 Days)

1) United States - Welcome!
2) Russia - Добро пожаловать!
3) Brunei - Salamat Detang!
4) France - Bienvenue!
5) Ukraine - Ласкаво просим!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Creativity & Spirtuality Newsletter (January 17, 2016)






The ‪‎Creativity & Spirituality Newsletter is Out!

TOP STORIES


1. Three (3) Crucial Principles of Storytelling You Can Learn From Kevin Spacey + House of Cards

2. Alan Rickman, Giant of British Screen & Stage, Dies At 69

3. David Bowie: Invisible New Yorker

4. Creative Commons (Music Licenses) Explained

5. How Congress Is About To Make It Easier For Chemical Companies To Poison Us

Plus much more content . . . 

CLICK HERE to read the magazine via this link. Enjoy!

Top Visitors/Top Countries (Last 7 Days)

1) Russia - Добро пожаловать!
2) United States - Welcome!
3) France - Bienvenue!
4) Germany - Willkommen!
5) United Kingdom - Welcome!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Top Posts for December 2015 and All Time (Based On Your Interests & Views)

Tick tock. Tick Tock. The New Year is here! There's so much love for us, and so much to give. May 2016 explode with loads of GOOD ______ (fill in the blank) for us all. Now with that said, since it's the end of the year, I am sharing with you the Top Posts for the month of December 2015 and the Top Visitors/Countries, plus the Top Posts for ALL time since the creation of this blog, and the Top Visitors/Countries (This will provide an opportunity for you to view some posts you may have missed if you're a fairly new subscriber or visitor). I'd love to share your favorite posts for the 2015 year, but blogger does not provide the statistics. 

So here we go . . .

Your Top Picks for December 2015


1 - GIFTS MONEY JUST CAN'T BUY

2 - Holidaze (Excerpt from a Short Story About the Loss of My Mother) 

3 -  Lava Mae: Showers for the Homeless - Hope NYC Gets On Board Soon

4 - Angel-Guided Star Sigils (An Introduction & Vision)

5 - GIFTS: Top in Romance Short Stories on Booktracks (eBook Created with Synchronized Soundtrack)

6 - The Healing Artist Studio Project: It's What?

7 - Magical Music Moments: Nataly Dawn & Dawn Kallevig (Her Mom) Singing "Wild Horses"

8 - What's In or On Your Bedside Table: What It's Says About You

9 - I Am Definitely Not Perfect by Cassie Parks, Money Maven

10 - What's Up, Twelve?: Twelveness by Eleanora Amendolara

Top Five (5) Visitors/Countries

1 - United States

2 - Brunei

3 - Germany

4 - Slovakia

5 - France



Your Top Picks of All Time (2009 - 2015)


1 - Angel-Guided Star Sigils (An Introduction & Vision)

2 - Stories From the Healing Dream Realm: The Treasure Chest

3 -  How Chumpi Stones Are Made and How They Impact the Healing Artist Studio Project

4 - GIFTS: Top in Romance Short Stories on Booktracks (eBook Created with Synchronized  
     Soundtrack)


5 - Archangel Ariel/Auriel/Uriel -- Which One?

6 - Top Comments From Healing Arts/CHILL Clients (Your Testimonials)

7 - Lava Mae: Showers for the Homeless -- Hope NYC Gets On Board Soon

8 - The Healing Artist Studio Project: It's What?

9 - Gifts Money Just Can't Buy

10 - Holidaze (A Short Story)

Top 10 Visitors/Countries


1 - United States

2 - Germany

3 - Russia

4 - United Kingdom

5 - France

6 - Brunei

7 - Ukraine

8 - Canada

9 - Slovakia

10 - China




It's an honor to be of service to you, and I'm so grateful to be in this partnership with my Creator, who is love, superhuman strength, all-knowing, all-powerful, creative intelligence, and direction. My main goal for The Healing Artist Studio Project in 2016, is to continue to act on the guidance I receive from God/Goddess/Great Spirit/Jehovah/Allah/Source, and the many names used to describe The Creator.

In the words of the child character, Tiny Tim, in the story A Christmas Carol written by Mr. Charles Dickens . . . "God bless us, Everyone."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

All My Life - Song That's Dedicated to Reach 4 Freedom: Heal Child Abuse Music Project

"All My Life" is a song dedicated to the intent of the another one of my blogs. The song is about unrequited love and love feelings.

The Reach 4 Freedom: Heal Child Abuse Music Project is a component. of The Healing Artist Studio Project. Simply read the description at the top of this blog to learn what it's all about.

"All My Life" is one of the songs dedicated to this project, and has been recorded in a number of versions as you will see when you view the post: it has all the songs on my profile page at ReverbNation.com. It's been in the Top 10 in the Jazz category a number of times in the NY/NJ/CT/PA area . . . Learn more about the song and play it at the Heal Child Abuse Music Project blog.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Guest Bloggers Results & Twitter News Updates

Stefanie Campione
As some of you may recall, I invited people to become guest bloggers for November. This was prompted by how I couldn't stop thinking about the number 12. Why it is so prevalent in our world was insistent in my consciousness: 12 Disciples, 12 Chumpis, 12 Seeds of Faith, 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, 12 Concepts, 12 Ideals, 12 Astrological Sun Signs, Angel Number 12, 12 __________ (fill in the blank).

An invitation to post on the topic was extended to some healers, coaches, wellness practitioners in my circle. I knew they are busy people in their careers, but hoped I would get a response. As it turned out, there were two guest bloggers who replied to my question: "What's Up, Twelve?" and one person who talked about a different topic: Perfectionism. Heartfelt thanks to the guest bloggers for taking time out of their schedules to post here.

Guest Blogger Posts Views (in order of interest per your views)

- What's Up Twelve? Numerology & the Number 12 (3) 
   by Stefanie Campione (261)
- I Am Definitely Not Perfect 
   by Cassie Parks (236)
- What's Up, Twelve?: Twelveness 
   by Eleanora Amendolara (178)

BLOG TOTAL PAGE VIEWS: 3,147

Cassie Parks
Some Results on Twitter for The Healing Artist Studio Project's Blog Posts

Paper.li News Features (Dec. 16 - Dec. 27)

- The Daily is out! Stories via

- The Spirituality Daily is out! Stories via

The Small Business Daily by iEntrepreneur is out! Stories via

- The Update is now live on Stories via

- Homelessness Awareness is out! Stories via  
 
Eleanora Amendolara
Twitter List Additions (Dec. 16 - Dec. 27)

- added you to list

- added you to list

- added you to list

- added you to list

- added you to list

added you to list

- added you to list

- added you to list

- added you to list  

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Sincere thanks to all the folks on Twitter who have included The Healing Artist Studio Project posts in their online news magazines, added the Project to their lists, or who liked, re-tweeted, or made a post one of their favorites.   

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Top Visitors/Countries to this Blog (Past 7 Days)
1) United States - Welcome!
2) Brunei - Salamat Detang!
3) Germany - Willkommen!
4) Slovakia- Vitajte!
5) France - Bienvenue!
 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

BlogTracks: Getting To Know Peace


Click on the links for a multimedia experience of sight and sound.
 
Getting To Know Peace (In Honor of Jesus, The Prince of Peace: Happy Birthday!)

Image Credit: Huffington Post
“I AM happy to be at peace today.” I wrote these words as a status post on my Facebook profile page (Val Oliver) on Friday, August 5, 2011. These eight words generated the largest response I have ever received (except for notices about the death of family members).

People who rarely reply to anything I post either had a comment or simply “LIKED” it. I know how much I value peace, how much I am willing to give peace a chance in the midst of living life during these times of uncertainty about the future. Evidently, from the amount of responses to my post, people want to get on the peace train  and stop living life in wartime as the days accelerate. People wonder how I can be at peace and have a smile on my face so often.

In my personal experience, peace is the balance of opposites merged together that transform to become something new. It’s like the old saying that opposites attract  and those two hearts can beat as one . It’s recognizing that both have a right to exist because it’s the nature of how this world is created. Everything in life has an opposite or complimentary energy form: up has down, in has out, hot has cold, dead has alive, good has evil, black has white, love has hate, fear has faith, and Democrat Maria Shriver has Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger (Well, they did have their share of marital bliss). The point is that two opposing forces can co-exist in the same space. Have you ever experienced a beautiful sadness?

What is it like when two opposing forces merge to create something new? It’s peaceful. Oddly enough, I experience it the most when other people and situations around me are off balance. Peace can also be accepting who you are and where you are, and who they are and where they are without judging any of it. Peace can be in those mind, body, physical and energy spaces where you accept what you can’t change (others), change what you can (you), and have the wisdom to know the difference. I put a premium on peace in my life, and choose to continue to support myself and others who invest in the same choice.

Music artists: Jane Olivor, John Lennon, Juris, Michael Jackson, Norah Jones, Stephen Bishop, Talking Heads, The Who, U2, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)

As the disabled child Tiny Tim says in the book, "A Christmas Carol", written by Charles Dickens: "God bless us, Everyone!"

Thursday, December 24, 2015

GIFTS MONEY JUST CAN'T BUY

Synopsis: What's a person to do who can't even spare a dime on a gift? Lots. There are plenty of priceless gifts that no amount of money can buy. This blog post describes a few with tremendous value.

If you're not in a position to spend money on gifts, don't feel bad. You're not alone. There are numbers of people who don't have disposable income these days whether we recently lost a job, have been out of work longer than we ever dreamed, have a limited income, are on a tight budget, or just aren't good at shopping for people. It's a horrible feeling when it appears that everyone around us is spending money on things to celebrate a holiday, a birthday, or some other celebration.

A couple of days before a Christmas holiday some years ago, I visited my eight and ten year old nieces to spend time with them since I had to work on Christmas. Another reason for the visit was to let them know I couldn't afford gifts for them. It was incredibly stressful to break this news to the kids, but I told myself they would have some ideas about gifts I could give that didn't cost a penny.

I asked them to name some things that are important and don't cost any money. Well, they looked at me as if I were from another planet. Granted, they are kids, so although I was a bit disappointed I understood their reactions. Even many adults expect to receive or feel obligated to purchase commercially-driven gifts, but there are others to consider. Here are a few of them.

TIME. For New Year's Eve one year, I gave my sister and brother-in-law the gift of time by taking my niece for the evening so they could be alone together. It was perfect because it doubled as a gift for my niece who loved to spend time with me. Even the teenagers valued the time I spent with them (even if they didn't talk to me much, and spent most of their time doing other things that didn't even involve me).

One year, one of them actually HUGGED ME and KISSED ME on the cheek after spending the weekend with him while his parents were on a get-a-way.

I had given the parents a computer-produced gift certificate for nephew-sitting redeemable at any time. He hung out with his friends most of that weekend. He even thanked me for the barbecue-grilled lunch I put together one of those days, even though he gulped it down quickly, and left me to join his friends again.

My greatest lesson about time concerns the consequences of NOT giving it. There are people I love today who I never gave much or any time to at all in my past. I feel like a stranger to them, and it hurts. All the monetary gifts in the world can't build the bonds built by time, or make amends for lack of it.

LISTENING. Some are better at listening than others. It's an area in which I sometimes feel I need more growth, so giving it as a gift is a way to become more disciplined. My mind and thoughts move at great speed, and I'm one of those people with the annoying habit of talking before someone has finished what they're saying.

Sometimes I get so excited thinking about my response that I cut people off. I do my share of apologizing for it, and acknowledge active listening is a gift I can offer to the people in my life and myself.

Three of four of my nieces had cell phones. I received calls and text messages from one of them. She complained about and shared the trials and tribulations of being a big sister. She unburdened herself to me about her relationships: family, friends, and school.

The one without the mobile tool talked about how she was feeling when we were physically together. Neither one wanted to leave my house when I had them for a weekend, and I know it's because I paid attention to them and listened, listened, listened. No matter what our age, we all want people to pay attention and wholeheartedly listen to us.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. When R and B artist Aretha Franklin sang this song released by Atlantic Records back in 1967, it quickly became a Billboard chart hit. The music was great, but what also contributed to its popularity was that people identified strongly with the message: "What you want? Baby, I got it. What you need? You know I got it. All I'm asking is for a little respect when I get home! R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me." People wanted and needed it then, and do so just as badly now. Many people believe it's in shorter supply today than ever.

One year, one of my cousins, who in in her early 30s, was visiting from out-of-town and asked my family to pronounce her name differently. Our family didn't take her seriously; in fact, we made fun of the name. Over a short span of time in our communications with her, it became clear she was hurt and felt disrespected. I apologized for the part I played, and began to call her what she requested. No matter what our age, the gift of respect never fails to hit home in a good way.

FORGIVENESS. This is a big one. Although it's beneficial to the person receiving it, the person offering it may also get a huge personal payoff. Why? Forgiveness tends to release the giver from RESENTMENT. Resentment is one of those things that begins as anger (a feeling that occurs in the present) and moves into resentment (leftover old anger that hangs around ad nauseam). I've heard resentment described as drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. The longer we put off forgiving, the longer the energy leech called resentment drains us.

Although it was tough and took incredible love on my part, I had to forgive someone who sexually abused me as a child. It happened a long, long time ago, and I had therapy in the past that was a bit successful. I was so tired of this resentment rock I'd been carrying over time, and didn't want to die with it weighing me down.

Although I confronted him face-to-face, and he didn't admit to it, I forgave him. Today, I have a limited relationship with him, and am comfortable with the boundaries I employ. What happened will always be a chapter of both our life stories, but it's in no way, shape, or form the entire book. The gift of forgiveness can lead to freedom for both parties.

HONESTY. How many of us do the injustice of telling people what they want to hear because we want to please them and avoid conflict? I won't be casting any stones. It takes courage to share the truth, especially when fear is stirred up concerning how it will impact a relationship. What's worse is knowing in our gut that intimacy requires honesty, so we're living an illusion if honesty is missing from our relationship.

Once upon a time, a friend told me she was head over heels in love with someone. Next, she turned to me and asked me if there was anyone I felt that way about in my life. The easy, perceived safe answer was a lie: "No." Instead, I said, "yes," and told her it was her.

I took a chance that she wouldn't end our friendship, or feel so uncomfortable that it would never be the same. As it turned out, it did change: for the better. She thanked me for the gift of expressing and feeling what I did for her knowing her feelings for someone else. She honored my courage and our friendship.

Our life paths took us in different directions. Recently, I received a call from her after many years. She'd been trying to find me for a while, and we were both eager to see each other again. She came for a visit from another state and brought her college-aged daughter with her! It was wonderful! Honesty stated from love is a powerful gift; it's cruel when used to deliberately hurt or harm someone. I find it important to be clear about my motives when using it.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. As time goes by, I'm beginning to believe this gift is a combination of other ones like acceptance, non-judgement, and intimacy. The truth is, I'm open to other people's experience and knowledge about it, so perhaps people can respond and help educate me. It's great to realize our humanness, another gift that provides plenty of room for healing, growth, and change.

Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, and all other times money changes hands to acquire things for people as gifts are fine if we can afford it and choose to do so. Let's try to remember the jewels in the crown of humanity outside the reach of finances.

Image: In Native American spirituality, Turkey Power Animal Medicine equals giving, giveaway, sharing. Read more in the blog post, titled "Turn Your Love My Way: Every Day As Thanksgiving Sharing and Gratitude."

Top Visitors/Countries to this Blog (Past 7 Days)
1) United States - Welcome!

2) Brunei - Salamat Detang!

3) Germany - Willkommen!

4) Slovakia- Vitajte!
5) France - Bienvenue!