Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Gift of Being You

Dear Friends,

It’s been a bit since I wrote and not because I don’t think about you.  I have so many half started blogs racing about in my head…. Where do I begin?

While I don’t like to visit the past, sometimes you have to take a look in the rear-view mirror to see how far you have come.  And so my story unfolds…..

A couple weeks  I attended the Gritman Medical Center Pink Cocktail event. As table captain, I was surrounded by family and a couple of friends who graciously accepted the invitation to attend. 
Denise, Lisa, Jill, Jen, Mom, Edie, Kristy, Me
This event is the stuff that inspiration is made of.  There were a couple of heartfelt stories from cancer survivors and from a radiologist who reads the mammograms.  The stories that emerged brought tears to my eyes as they told their story of surviving cancer and how their mate was there every step of the way. And as I sat there, I was beyond thankful to know I now have a man in my life that would be that kind of person who would help you through those battles. How do I know? On our second date, he told me it was an honor to honor his vows, “till death do us part”  with his wife who had passed away a few years ago from cancer.  He is definitely a keeper in this girl’s book.   And it feels good.  I feel blessed.  Then I started thinking about self-care. And Kara, another good friend sent me a picture with the words  “the trees show us how lovely it is to let things go”.  And it set my mind to thinking and then words started flowing…

Every couple of weeks I get together to chat with my confidante & friend Sondra.  And the last time we talked, it was about SELF CARE and how can something so important can get shoved to the back burner of our souls?  If you are like me, it is easy to say we need to practice it, but hard to do in real life.  Is it a woman thing?  I was raised to be people pleaser and at a young age, I remember understanding the difference of how boys were treated differently than girls. I recall being told, be nice, help others, be a good girl.    In my young brain, it felt that I was held to a different standard than my brothers. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn’t, but it was how I perceived it.   I grew into wanting to be “the everything to everyone”.  In the process I ended up draining the life light out of my soul.  It was a gradual downhill slide; one that I knew was happening and did not know how to fix. I was never happy with me and would create all sorts of life distractions to occupy my thoughts so I didn’t have to think about that goofy girl in the mirror with all her flaws.  I’d volunteer for things, or I’d get asked to do this or that ….. and I’d say yes. My soul would be saying no…. and I’d just push down the voice and think, I can do this, it isn’t that big of a thing to get done.  And it seemed like I’d reorganize my schedule or my life to please others.  I was a poor advocate for myself and wouldn’t stand up for me when I needed to.  Such the life of a people pleaser.

Lately, I've been a bit retrospective…perhaps it is because this month, notably October 3, 2012 that my house of cards came tumbling down and life as I knew it was no longer.  That day was the catalyst of change as  I found out I was going to be single after 27+ years of marriage.  To compound matters, I was consoling my newly widowed daughter whose life had also changed just 9 days before mine had.  And while it was devastating at first, the journey of self-discovery was one of the best things for me. A forced restart on life.  I learned to let go of my past life and move forward on a path that I wasn’t sure where it would lead.  I had to re-create me as I didn’t know who I was.  Fast forward five years and here is where I am today.  I learned that I’m an “outgoing introvert”.  I love people but I also realize I need vast amounts of alone time to recharge my batteries.  I make the “me time” my first priority because I finally learned, you can’t help others until you help yourself.  I ask for what I want. I’ve gotten pretty good about setting boundaries with myself and I’ve learned to say no if the request isn’t what I truly want to do.  When I help others, it is out of joy and of my choosing.   I listen to the quiet voice of my heart and soul and it’s never wrong, it leads me to the right decisions. The authentic me emerged and I like who I am now.  And finally,  I have gotten to the point where I feel whole. And that tiny voice somewhere deep inside me says it is time to begin writing  a book about my healing and where I found strength, hope and inspiration. And that quiet voice also says, yes this will help others too.  It just feels right.

And as you read this I hope there is some nugget of wisdom to know that you matter and to stay true to you.  Only you know what kind of self-care that is right for you.  Let go of the what doesn't work and find what does work for you.  You are a magnificent original, take tender care of you.  Surround yourself with positive people and say a prayer of thanks for the gifts (life lessons)  heaven sends your way.   Sometimes it may not feel like a gift, but when it fully unfolds and you find that God gave you the very best gift of your life, you. 

As always, a heartfelt thank you for stopping by and feel free to reach out at  All my best, Gayle