My Relationship With Silence

Silence can mean many things.  It’s not just the absence of sound, but can mean so much more.  A purposeful retreat.  A kept story.  Hidden truth.  Stifled memory. A chapter sealed shut or a precious moment locked away for only your viewing pleasure.

Silence and I have experienced all of the above.  For better or worse, Silence and I have shared them all.

I would love to say that Silence is good or that Silence is bad.

Don’t we always want the black and white?  The right and wrong?  The clearly defined choice?  But the truth of the matter is, Silence lives in the gray.  There is a time and a place.  It serves a purpose.  It can be our friend or foe, but just like real relationships, it exists in our life to teach us a lesson.  When we look back, we can see how Silence was there to help us.

I don’t even need to dig far back into the memory files to give you an example.  I can rewind just the past few days and examine the relationship I have with Silence.

Typically, I am a sharer.  I open myself to others.  I listen to their stories and readily share my own.  Many people struggle with sharing their deep and intimate thoughts, but I share them frequently with my loved ones and often with strangers or new friends that I consider to be kindred spirits.

And since you, dear reader, are a kindred spirit, I will share with you a few details about my relationship with Silence.

silence

Silence Example #1

I am currently in the beginning stages of a budding romantic tale.  A new love interest has entered my world and I want to share all of the beautiful details with everyone I know (and there are many), but they are mine. And his. Ours. And so it goes that I give the bullet-points and highlight reel to a select few confidants, and the rest stay sealed away for myself.  They are far too precious and too valuable for sharing.  Outside of he and I, those moments are silenced.  Kept fresh and locked away with the valuables – unwilling to let words or time wear away the gleam.

Silence Example #2

Someone I hold dear to my heart contacted me the other day. We have a strange relationship, he and I.  Once lovers, now friends – but walking that fine line of how much is too much communication and what does friendship look like, post-romantic-relationship?  I was almost silent. For hours I rolled around whether or not I should respond.  Whether I should remain silent and seal our relationship shut (since this awkward phase frustrates me), or whether I should answer my friend and try to navigate this new terrain of friendship.

After hours of deliberating, I wrote him back.  For me, purposeful silence feels like punishment.  Not everyone perceives it that way, but I do.  And since I do, I simply will not do that to someone.  I either tell the person I don’t think we should remain in contact or I open a dialogue and work on mending the relationship.  But he is far too special not to at least try navigating this new friendship terrain.  Ultimately, we had a pleasant chat and made another small step down our new path as just friends.

Silence Example #3

My poor, sweet, patient mother has been dealing with my silence.  About six months ago I moved cities, changed jobs and all but altered every single facet of my life.  While this change has been welcomed, and wanted, and I am more than grateful for every ounce of change – it has also been extremely exhausting.  Unable to do any single daily task on auto-pilot, I was left drained and in need of more “me time” than I have needed in years.  Prior to my move, she and I would chat regularly and text often.  After my move, I all but fell off the face of the phone and went silent.

In reality, we exchanged a few texts a week and a brief phone call once a week, or every other week, but for her it was as good as silence.  We had a nice long chat tonight and I explained my silence and my gratitude for her patience.  I am well aware that silence can seem like abandonment, but I needed to retreat. My own personal silence was necessary to process all the change in my life.  So my personal silence, my walks in the park and books by dim lighting, resulted in a restful mind for me and worry for my mother. But she kept silent, out of respect for me and waited for my return and our lovely, silence-mending conversation we had this evening.

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We all have a personal relationship with Silence.  We share different experiences and view Silence under different light. It’s amazing really – how something that seems like such a simple concept, can take on so many forms.  Isn’t it?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S. This diary-like post was inspired by the Weekly Writing Challenge posed by the Daily Post on “The Sound of Silence.”

Avoid, Rinse, Repeat. – I am breaking the cycle.

I struggle with when to stay and when to walk away in romantic relationships, friendships and even in my career.  This is a sensitive subject for me.  In order to discuss this and have any kind of opinion on the matter, I am going to be vulnerable and air my dirty laundry for all to read.  I don’t like this.

So here it goes…

I don’t think I really noticed how wounded I was until I started writing this blog.  I didn’t fully understand how strongly I hold my loved ones in my grasp.  I didn’t realize that some I would fight for endlessly and others I would let slip away as if they had meant nothing to me. To the outsider, it may seem haphazard – but there is surely a rhyme and definitely a reason.

The thing is, it is the same thing every time.  I will fight to save and help and encourage the people in my life.  To no end.  When they call, I am there. Even if it has been years, my heart beats for my loved ones.  I truly carry their heart in my heart.  This is true until this one thing happens.  Until I think that I might be left. If I fear that I may be at fault, have done any wrong and that I might be abandoned, I leave. I rewrite what has happened in my head and make it seem as if it was my choice to be drama free – when really I was guarding my heart.  And wounding it further along the way.

Same story, different boyfriend, lover, friend – every time. Avoid, Rinse, Repeat.

And yes, some of those relationships are better left where they lay.  It was a blessing.  But some could have been nurtured.  Some I could have taken the time to reach out again and listen with a patient heart.  I could have asked to hear what I had done, if anything, that lead to the growing canyon between us.  But my standard response was to speculate and write the story in my head. As if I knew. As if there was anyway I could really have known what happened.

My cowardice in confrontation has left me with lost friendships and lovers that perhaps could have been life-long friends or loves of my life, had I not been so fearful of their judgment.  Had my insecurities and childhood wounds not left me so fearful of being brokenhearted. And on the flip-side, I may not have even been their friend or lover had I not been seeking their approval in the first place.  Knowing this is a trip.

What I have learned from all of my writing, the endless hours dissecting my thoughts, and countless hours learning to quite my mind, is the truth. The essence of me. (And I know many of you are going to relate to this) I have a large heart.  A big one.  I could fill a football stadium with my loved ones. I would fly around the world and scale the highest mountain to help any one of those dear ones.  But have I always given myself that same amount of love and dedication?  Sadly, I have not.  Not until now.

nurture

Now I am going to fight to save and help and encourage myself in this life.  This means that I will lean into the discomfort of conversations to find the truth.  I will no longer walk away when things get scary, I will stay and talk them through and hug everyone on the way out – whether it is for the last time or if I will see them bright and early the next morning.

I am giving up on the idea of never.  The idea that you have to even walk away. It doesn’t have to be a forever goodbye, slam the door in your face and never hear from you again.  It can be a “So long my friend, I wish you the best.  I love you.  Until will meet again”.  Because guess what?  Life is short.  It is crazy.  There are twists and turns and chapters we can never imagine. Leading characters may fade into the back, and supporting characters may swoop in and save the day.

You never know.

To assume and wonder and speculate does no one any good.  Ask for your answer.  Hear it with an open heart.  If you do not get an answer, then do your best to release it and bless it on the way out – “until we meet again”.  Or at least that is my plan.  Instead of “Avoid, Rinse, Repeat” it is “Love, Nurture, Forgive”.

Yours truly,

Miss Erin Terese

It’s Okay to be Sad Sometimes

It’s okay to be sad sometimes.  It’s okay to feel the weight of things.  It’s okay to cry and ask for time alone.  It’s okay to feel hurt and betrayed and wounded. It is.

It may not feel good, or you may feel foolish about your weighty emotions, but when they arise it is important you acknowledge their presence.  These moments of despair and loss and sadness reveal what is important to you.  What makes you tick.  Who you are, where you have come from and what you have learned.

Whether this bout of sadness is grounded in a break-up, an illness, a death, a job loss, a bankruptcy or a mistake you have made, the feelings are valid.  Even if you cannot place the reason for your sadness, it still needs to be addressed.  Nursed.  Tended to.  Loved and  cared for with kindness and patience.  When you find yourself in these moments, you need allow the feelings to be, address them, and then dig into your bag of tricks and exercise the things that help you heal and reset.

We all have them: the cure-alls.  Not the glass of wine, cigar, romp in the sheets or fist fight you might be yearning for – but the real medicine.

The moment alone.  The walk in the park.  The deep breaths.  The nap.  The tall glass of water.  The talk with a friend or words in your journal.  The tears on your pillow or tea in your cup. The coins tossed in the homeless person’s hat or hand on the weeping woman’s back. The gratitude and forgiveness. The prayer or plea or pause for reflection.  The gentleness with yourself.  This is the real medicine.  The real cure.

Sadness

When you take a moment to still your mind and ask yourself what you really need, the answer presents itself.  The answer always lies within.  We forget this sometimes.  And sometimes we see the answer and because we don’t like it, we push it aside. We need to take the time to address what ails us and to sit with it.  To understand it.  To heal it and forgive what needs forgiving.  To love it and feel gratitude for all that we have and for the opportunity to change and grow.

The important thing is that we take these moments as a lesson.  A lesson in learning more about who we are and how to love ourselves more kindly, with the gentleness and care that we deserve.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  How do you care for yourself in times of sadness?

Reconciling the Past, Present and Future Self

The journey of life sure is an interesting one, packed with twists and turns, flips, back flips, and quite a few head-spins.  One of the things I find most interesting is how much we change, how frequently we change, and how difficult is seems to reconcile the many versions of ourselves.  Maybe some of you fit in a pretty little box that never changes, but I am more like a hermit crab constantly finding a new shell.  I am Fifty Shades of Erin.

hermit crab

There are things in my past I would never want to repeat and things that I am not proud of; but I do know that every little thing has shaped me into who I am today, and because of that I wouldn’t change a step.  Where I am now is a result of all of those things. Every last one. All of the people that I helped and people that I hurt.  All of the things I learned and trouble I made.  All of the people I kissed and the ones that I dissed. All of the people that harmed me and all of the people that helped me. Yup, every choice and moment has led me here.

It’s honestly amazing to me, how that young girl has become the woman I am today.  It’s amazing how her outlook has changed.

How she was once glass half full, then glass half empty, and back to glass half full. How she trusted in the good in people, felt everyone had an agenda, thought the world might end, that there was a master conspiracy, and that love heals all.  How she thought she wanted to be a photographic journalist, an economist, a financial planner, a business owner, a writer. How she wanted to be married with children, single and in the city, how she just wanted to be happy.  How she cared about others first, thinking that was selfless, only to learn she must care for herself first before she can properly care for others.  How she thought being a good friend was making others happy and later learned it’s about being authentic.

As you change, some friendships and relationships deepen and others fall by the wayside.  Some go quietly and some go with a fight. Some jobs change and other times you change your job. With all of the people that have come and gone, houses I have moved into and out of, jobs that have given me a paycheck and those that I have given my two weeks notice to, there is one resounding similarity: I could never have planned or predicted the change. At least not in the beginning.

While I am learning to accept the past and to be grateful for everything that has lead me to this moment, so too am I learning to invest less into what I think my future should hold or should be.  It will be what it will beWhat matters most is this moment.  Who I am now and who I am creating myself to be. This current version of Erin is no longer making life decisions based upon past circumstances or the things she envisions for her future, but rather from who she is today and how she would like the future to feel.

She would like the future to feel very much like it is today: filled with love, passion and purpose.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  This reflection comes one week before my 30th birthday.  This new decade seems to have my mind doing a review of the Shades… If you have any comments or feedback, please share!  xo

Writing for Personal Growth

This misserinterese blog serves me in many ways.  It began as a way for me to write more – whatever that meant. I was being called to write.  As if out of nowhere, I was bitten by the writing bug and I needed to have more of it.  It consumed me.  And like any great love, when you find it you want to share it and shout your love from the rooftop!  This particular love is a little more personal and left me open to criticism, but sharing it was worth it. I had to.  Whether people would say I had poor writing skills or that my ideas were ridiculous, I had to share them.  It could no longer be contained.  It was time.

I had tried keeping a journal before, but I was not very consistent with it and I tended to ramble on without much direction.  Essentially, it was word vomit on a page and usually when I read it again later, I would be embarrassed by my crude writing and dramatic stories.  This blog allows me to explore my emotions and aspects of life in a more structured format.  I take a bit more care in crafting my thoughts, my sentences and my stories knowing they will be read by others.  Rather than word vomit on the page of a journal, it becomes an article, a poem, a short essay explaining in detail each thought, idea and situation.  Each post comes from the heart and with great reflection and care poured into each word.  Since the blog is shared publicly and available for me to reread many times over, it is important for me that it represents me accurately – and it does.

writingWhy am I telling you this now?  It is at the request of one of my readers.  She asked me to write about why I journal/blog and what the benefits are for growth.

The benefits have been huge for me.  I have more self confidence and feel much more self aware.  When you are going to share your ideas with an audience, it really makes you dig deep to find your voice.  It is not a time to be timid or shy; it is a time to be authentic and vulnerable. My greatest posts and those that are most well-received are those that explore not only my strengths, but my weaknesses as well.  People want to know how to learn. How to better themselves.  How to take the mess of their thoughts, pick them up, dust them off and organize them into something beautiful.  We all struggle at times in our life.  Hell, most of us struggle with something on a daily basis.  The pressure to be perfect can make anyone feel as if they are losing their grip.  Reading other people’s stories and sharing my own, helps remind me that we are all in this together.  That we are here to learn from one another.  That my stories of overcoming hurt and heartbreak and learning to be mindful might be beneficial, not only to me, but to you as well.

Lastly, writing breathes life and meaning into the thoughts that dance their way through my head.  When I put pen to paper, or fingers on keyboard, I am able to take those thoughts and string them together into something that makes sense.  Something that reveals a little more about who I am and what I am learning.  Somewhere between the key strokes and punctuation marks, my voice finds its home.  My thoughts lay to rest and I am able to breathe easy knowing that I have explained myself fully.  And whether anyone else learns more about me, more about themselves or more about life in general, I have learned more about myself, and that is worth everything to me. The act of knowing thyself is ongoing; it’s a process we will continue until our last breath.  And every time I uncover another layer of myself and the depth to which I am capable of, it’s like unwrapping a gift. It’s just beautiful.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Do you journal/blog and how has it helped you?

Why Starting Over is a Good Thing

There are many ways to view starting over. It may seem daunting, overwhelming, exciting or exhilarating. In truth, the concept of starting over generally brings about anxiety in most people. It implies scrapping all that has occurred and starting from the beginning – insinuating that all work up to this moment is null, void or a waste of time. I’d like to re-frame the idea of starting over as a rebirth. A new opportunity. A chance to create, start fresh and begin anew. An opportunity to reflect upon the past, gather all that you have learned and apply your new self and ideals to this endeavor. If you were to think about it that way, wouldn’t your new approach yield a result much more spectacular than before?

Starting over in your career, relationships or hobbies can feel frustrating at times – but it may be what is absolutely necessary. Presenting your authentic self to the world is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle called life. In order to lead a life filled with love, passion and purpose, we must feed our soul. And what feeds our soul? That which speaks to our authentic self. If we are in a career, relationship or partaking in a hobby that does not align with our authentic self, we most likely are not receiving the nourishing love and energy that feeds our soul. Starting over in a way that represents your true self allows the space for you to thrive. Beginning anew and starting fresh from a place of pure intent allows the world to recognize your authentic self and to respond accordingly. Moving forward carrying a renewed sense of purpose will open doors that have not been opened before. Paths will illuminate and guide you on your new course.

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Starting over is not something that should be feared. It is something that should be embraced. Welcomed. Cherished. Creation is the ultimate source of life and all that exists. Any chance we have to create should be appreciated and accepted with gratitude.

How will you create the world in which you live?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S. Inspired by the Daily Post Writing Challenge: Starting Over

Learning to be Mindful

This post was written for The Lotus Effect – a group created to aid in Spiritual Development.  Enjoy!

Today’s challenge is one I hope you all choose to partake in.  This challenge lasts for one full waking day.  From the time you wake until the time you drift into a peaceful sleep, I want you to be mindful of your thoughts, actions and the words you speak.

Mindful

Our Mind is an amazing tool.  We use it to assign words and values to people and things.  We remember past experiences and formulate wishes and hopes for our future.  It is an amazing and beautiful tool we use to help express our soul and emotions. But I want you to “keep in mind” that your mind is a tool – it is not you.  It is a tool to help you. And as we all know by now, your mind can also speak words of doubt, hurt, conspiracy and gossip.

I want you to be mindful of the words that are passing through your mind and across your lips.  Are they serving you?  Do the words in your mind express doubt and uncertainty?  Do the words you speak express love and acceptance?  Are the words you think and speak reflecting who you are?  Does it reflect your spirit?

All of us participating in The Lotus Effect are trying to open our mind and our heart to a more loving and peaceful existence here in our bodies.  We need to eliminate our self-doubt, negative thinking and judgment of others.  Our primary concern during this process is finding peace and love within, thereby allowing us to share this wonderful state of being with others.  We are looking inward.  As you catch yourself having negative thoughts and conversations throughout the day, I want you to stop and recognize them.  This is not to say you shouldn’t explore why you are having these negative thoughts and speaking in such a manner, but today I want you to realize how much of your energy is spent in this area.  Until we understand how our mind is perceiving our experience, how will we know where to start our healing and what issues need to be addressed.

Do not feel badly about your negative thoughts and words you speak, just recognize that they are there.  If you so choose, feel free to correct your thoughts with a positive affirmation or stop your gossip or conversation in its tracks by changing topics.  But for now, the most important thing is that you observe yourself.  I want you to experience your thoughts and interactions as if for the first time.  Let them resonate with you. What is your mind doing and is it serving you?  Your mind is a tool and is here to help you live the life your innermost self is meant to live.  Do not let your mind get in the way.  Your mind is not going to like this challenge, but your soul, spirit and inner light (whichever you choose to call it) will love this.

Ultimately, we want to trust our intuition and soul.  Part of this is learning the language we have taught our mind to use, and training it to work in a manner that serves us now.  Whether this means quieting your mind, calming negative thoughts or learning to be present rather than thinking about the past and future, we need to first see where our mind is going and what we are doing in there.

This exercise is to know your Self and better understand your inner workings.

It is more challenging than you think.  Please re-read this challenge, take it all in, turn on the Awareness Button and observe your thoughts and the words you speak all day.  Be Mindful of your Self. Once you are aware of how your Mind is serving you and how it is viewing the world around you, you can better assess what areas and issues are in most need of your loving attention.  We all have issues, triggers from our past and hidden things from our childhood that flow in the undercurrent of our emotions.  This exercise is to help you see what parts of you may need healing.  What issue is manifesting itself as impatient, judgmental, anxious, nervous, worried, lonely, overly busy, overly concerned?Be mindful of your thoughts.  Be mindful of your actions.  Be mindful of your words.  Be mindful of your inner voice that speaks through the knot in your throat, the pit in your stomach and the butterflies in your heart.  Be mindful – all – day – long!

Now, re-read, turn on the Awareness Button and observe.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese