Category Archives: growth

The farmer and the viper

Aesop’s fables told us everything we needed to know as children.

I read a large volume, hard covered copy in the library many times as a child.

It was thick and heavy and felt full. I felt full holding it on that old library floor.

That old library used to be a church and the knowledge I found within continues to be sacred to me.

Aesop told a story of a farmer and a viper. For a class project in the 6th grade I acted it out in a play.

I picked that fable to act out because it struck me as important then. I dressed in a heavy flannel shirt and wore jeans and my dad’s old hat. I had a silk snake stuffed with sand as my antagonist. I used to collect those at craft fairs because they felt so real.

It all felt real that day in Mr. Moser’s class.

I was terrified. But I did my best to tell the tale.

Here is what I learned about the farmer and the viper…

It may be easiest to bite the hand that feeds you. After all, their hand is so near your fang. But, in the end, you stand to lose every ounce of sustenance that you have ever known. You will undoubtedly starve. Worse yet, you’ll live a life of shame thereafter. Shame you’ll never rid yourself of.

So, I beg you, reconsider your hasty reactions to words and actions that may displease you.

Please, do not bite the hand that feeds you.

WE will be damned every time for “pitying the scoundrel” and we can NOT expect a reward from the wicked.

For starzki on her journey

I thought I’d have this eye opening experience where life and my purpose would just click and make sense…. but here I sit 2 months into the trip of my lifetime, in a random country, where I know no one, and I feel so alone. I have no purpose, no path and it’s utterly confusing.  What am I doing? Why am I here? What am I actually looking for? Did I make a mistake? I’m 100% free from everything I thought I wanted to be free from. Wandering the world like a true gypsy… I belong to no man or no city, yet,
it’s like I’m trying to feel my way through the darkness. Searching for my people/my tribe. The one place I truly belong. Budapest has been the closest I’ve come… and, it scared  me…. they were weird and strange and wonderful and hardly showered, all make love… they lived in an old ruined building that resembled a crack den…. still I ran. With the fear behind me I’d stay forever and miss out on something on that “feeling” I’ve been searching for… the feeling I have no fucking clue what it is or if it even exists. Maybe I just need to embrace that and run straight back into their happy family of weirdness. To the Dirty people who want peace. It sounds right to me! There are too many clean people who want nothing but war.

Still  I feel alone. This loneliness won’t seem to leave. I can never seem to escape it.  Maybe it’s my empathic nature and I’m simply absorbing the loneliness around me is this giant world of truly lonely people. As I look at the man across the room from me and my heart breaks for him. I can feel his feelings, his sadness like I’m drinking them down as I would a glass of water. Consuming every ounce of me. How do I help him? How do I help myself? Literally fighting my own tears back as I try to look into his life. The crows feet around his eye intrigue me. I want to know where he’s been, how old is he, what his stories are that made him laugh that made him cry. The stories behind what brought him here today. Sitting alone drinking a beer.  

Soaking up his energy is hard for me but also inviting and full of pure sadness. 


My friends, this woman is one of the most magnificent specimens of selflessness and kindness on this planet. She is genuine and pure and unique. She’s my best friend. One I haven’t seen in years but, I don’t need to in order to know she’s still there. She and I are connected by something real and rare. We are bonded in a way that, unfortunately, i don’t think many will ever feel. She says soul sister. That’s very true.  I don’t know what a soul is made of. I don’t know who gave mine to me. But everything in me knows that hers and mine are very much the same and it kills me when she says things like, “This loneliness won’t leave me alone.” That is beautiful. It’s that kind of absurd irony that makes life so strange and beautiful.

We’ve lived very different lives but have come to the same conclusions on most things. Mostly we believe that there is an overwhelming need for kindness, love, and acceptance on this planet and that we have to work to do something to combat the people in this world who preach the opposite.

Let me tell you about my friend.

She and I grew up in the same area. It was a rural one and most people don’t leave there. We certainly did (although I’m back there for reasons). It’s a lovely place,  as all places are. It is typically the people that screw places up.

During our younger years she and I weren’t that close at all. We were friends but we had different best friends and we were often among different groups of people. When we were both still in high school it seems we simultaneously hit a wall. We each found our own vices to cope with the onset of awfulness that was our emergence into this modern society. I don’t know if she could pinpoint the feelings that drove her to destruction back then. I never asked. Maybe I should have. Mine were fairly clear but took a decade to dig out from.

“I’m not what I’m supposed to be.”

That phrase would ring through my mind over and over again. I spent time trying to conform within my own code of conduct but, none of it ever felt right. I went to college thinking I’d found a path I could live on. That didn’t really work out. She came to see me a few times as she attempted to escape the asylum the world wanted to put her in. That’s not my story to tell but, guys, it’s a good one.

Anyway, when the dust settled after the disastrous teenage years were behind us, we found we were closer than ever. She may have been a teenager still, come to think of it. I don’t really know. I know she’s younger than me but I can never remember by how much. Some reading this may think, “How can you not know how old she is if you call her your best friend?” Well, it never seemed to matter. In high school she was more mature than I was. By A LOT. She taught me the drama and standards of female friendships were COMPLETELY unnecessary. That changed me. Her free spirit punched my free spirit right in the gut with that. I remember thinking, “I don’t have to participate in this nonsense?” I was under the impression that I was bound to that code or I’d be left alone. I thank whoever created our consciousness that she showed me I was wrong. 

I guess you could say, as we figured out more of who we really were, our spirits came closer to alignment within our individual selves and then became closer to alignment with each other as they are so similar. 

I always felt her spirit was a good bit stronger than mine. I had a tendency to draw myself inward and she forced herself out into the fray. She has well developed social skills because of this whereas I hide in my head and behind the keys of a computer in an effort to riddle it all out. 

I had a family and a marriage and I moved away from her and everyone I knew just trying to do what was right and grow into what I thought I should be and what I felt I was being directed to become. She was in a serious relationship with a dude, had a real job, a house, and some dogs. We seemed to be finally fitting in.  

But, it still didn’t feel right.

She called me one day. She told me she wasn’t happy in that spot. The world was so small there. Everything is the same over and over again. The people and the places and the experiences are quite limited when you live in the Midwest. So, I told her to stop worrying about obligations to others if she knew she’d be miserable in those boundaries. I told her to live for herself.

I’m sure she had already decided what she needed to do. That conversation couldn’t have held much weight. She does what she’s compelled to do and it’s magnificent because she’s one of the rare ones who can be trusted to do well with that kind of power.

She moved to the desert of Arizona. I was in the deep south. We spoke on the phone maybe twice a year, but, in those conversations from thousands of miles away, I felt more of a connection to her than I’d felt with any other and in a way that made up for all of what I felt was meaningless in my day to day interactions. Speaking with her refreshed me and made me feel like there was hope for true happiness.

From Arizona her world has only gotten bigger as she’s joined with philanthropic teams to assist those in need. Her world, it just keeps getting bigger.

I can see why she’s lost. We don’t have what is required to travel the paved roads on the maps that seem so popular. Their way doesn’t fill us up. Also, doing what does come naturally and what feels right doesn’t garner us any praise. We are often scorned for our actions in ways that don’t make sense to us. We are asked why we would be kind to certain people. Why would you give so much for someone you don’t know? Why would you do this and that and the other thing? It’s like we are weird and abnormal and strange and, maybe we are. 

There’s a lack of appreciation in a life like that. A lack of acceptance, a longing for camaraderie and, let’s face it, we were taught to need those things. Shaking that bad habit is hard as hell. When you’re an empathetic soul it hurts to watch people hurt each other. When you see an end to all of the useless pain and you’re told it will never work because of old ideas and standards you start to think others refuse to see the future and it’s frustrating and unfortunately, the laws are made in their favor so, you are forced to bend to their will in a lot of ways. It’s a bummer.

Maybe we evolved too early. Maybe it’s harder for us to find the like minded in a crowd because we are a sparse group of folks. Or maybe we were born too late. That hippie culture lingered but it feels like it’s gone. 

Regardless, the answers you’re searching for, my dearest friend, they aren’t out there. They never were. Whatever made us all gave the plan to us when he/she/it made our souls. They were attached to us before we were born so they couldn’t be taken from us. So everyone had a fair shot at happiness and fulfillment. Who you’re supposed to be and where you’re supposed to go and what you’re supposed to do are things you already know and you, precious Starchild, you’re lucky enough to be one of the brilliant ones who doesn’t need to be directed. You’re soul is smart enough and loud enough to drive you there. If you get it wrong something will turn you around. If it doesn’t feel right, walk away. Or run. You’ve been so far and you’ve done so much good.  Your intentions are PURE and your motives are clear.  You’re exactly who and what and where you’re supposed to be. 

If you don’t feel appreciated it is only because most people don’t know how to appreciate you. You’re like one of those stipple paintings that looks like dots up close to people who don’t know well enough to take a step back. You’re just too big for their small views. And that’s ok. Because there are a few exceptional people out there who can see you for all of the glorious good that you are. Don’t be lonely. We feel you there. Alllllll the way over there.

One person’s appreciation doesn’t feel like enough sometimes. Especially when you give so much of yourself without asking for much in return.  Administering polio vaccines and helping to build water filtration systems.  Jeez, man.  You should never have to doubt your beauty and worth.  You should never have to search for validation. But you will have to.  

Some days you won’t feel any love at all. Then you have to look for it and, on the way, you’ll find something that’s going to change you. The next step. It always starts in a moment of discomfort or pain. You’re about to grow wings, you beautiful creature.  Soon enough, you won’t have to look for anything at all. You’ll have found it all inside of you. And you’ll find that there is so much in there that you need not fear sharing it with any and everyone you come across because, if there is one thing I know, people like you never run out of love.  

Love is what fuels you. Love fuels us all and a lot of people replaced it with something else. I’m afraid many have forgotten what it really feels and looks like in it’s many magnificent forms but, you have it in abundance and it’s not going anywhere. 

I imagine you’ve seen things that make your efforts seem small, as exhausting as they have been. They aren’t small. And neither are you. When you reach out your hand or extend your love with that brilliant smile, you plug into another soul. And they bring it to another and on and on and on and, before you know it, your smile improved the whole of humanity. How can anyone feel alone when they start seeing that? It may sound trite but, you’ll see it, if you’re looking for it.  

You’re strong. Smart. Capable. Diligent in an effort to make humanity more positive and pleasant. You’re important. Just because you aren’t “following the rules” doesn’t mean you’re off course. I’m sure there are kids in India who’d be dead had they not met you.  YOU are everything you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to do, exactly where you’re supposed to be. 

I love you.


I miss your face

The traveler. 

   This post has been a collaborative effort between my dear friend Andrea and I. Andrea, being the brave and selfless soul that she is, is currently traveling the world on a charitable mission. She and I have long known that we share a very similar set of ideals and perspectives so, when she approached me today with the idea of working on a piece together that could express what her soul has been screaming to say, I didn’t hesitate for a moment.  We wrote this today to convey a sense of sorrow we share for the path that many we have met seem to be on in the hope of awakening a dormant energy in the good people of this world that may act as a catalyst to the creation of positive change.

   As a traveler, exploring new countries, cities, and places is truly inspiring. Adversely, it has also saddened me deep into my core. As I sit here sipping my coffee, I look around and have realized that there are too many people on this planet that have never truly lived. 

   One day they are going to wake and realize they haven’t enjoyed life but, by then, it will be too late. They were too busy trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. They have spent a life time acquiring material goods to fill their homes instead of acquiring substance and experiences to fill their souls. It is my fear that they will leave this world with an emptiness as they have failed to do and see the things that actually make life worth living. To develop and fortify their eternal selves. To leave a spring of energy behind that future generations can draw from.

   I understand the logistics and necessity of money but it’s the constant consuming that society breeds into us from birth that I can’t seem to wrap my brain around.  Why do we not focus on teaching our children the more substantial, fulfilling, and worthwhile values of life? Such as meeting new people in strange places, however alien or odd they may seem, which enriches our love of human kind and adds to a sense of sameness that allows us to feel empathy, a deeper connection, and an ability to relate so that we need never feel alone. To be kind to one another including those we don’t understand or stand to gain anything from. To become acquainted with people unlike ourselves so that we can learn something from them and they can gain knowledge by knowing us. To not judge critically but rather embrace our differences and to search out commonalities we can use to unite. 

   Maybe it is me who is running away from society. Maybe I am searching for something that does not exsist. It’s a feeling I’m longing for that I’m unable to find.

   But, as I sit here, I can’t seem to get far enough away from where I am. 

   Every adventurer travels with a multitude of items that vary due to the individual needs of each mission or destination. However, there is one thing they carry with them as they travel to every location.  No matter where I go, there I am. And, so is the feeling that the people I have met could benefit from walking a slightly different path. This feeling and place I seek may not exsist yet but, they very well could.

  It’s not that I feel my way is best or perfectly suited for every soul on this Earth but, with a greater commitment to performing kind and altruistic acts, a deepened empathy and connection to all of humankind, an amplified desire to teach and elevate every population, and with a renewed focus on the aspects of life that are soul enriching and knowledge expanding as opposed to the superficial and meaningless things people seem to lustfully desire, we may be able to create that peaceful place in every valley, village, and bustling metropolis the world over.

  Perhaps the sense of fulfillment I have sought for so long as I have walked alongside so many empty spirits as they scratch for sustenance on the walls of malls and market places will finally overtake me as I successfully help to realign the human hearts I touch with a real sense of purpose.  Maybe my philanthropic deeds and toiling to teach a man to seek a sense of duty or a position in which he can lift another man up instead of exhausting himself in an effort to obtain a title, a place of power, or a societal status that only holds value in his office building while making him stacks of paper money that could easily blow away or burn, will bring me that sense of ease. 

   I wish to teach people to value the things that don’t fade in and out of style.  I want to show everyone the roads that I have found to happiness on a map that any and all can read and travel, despite their income bracket, race, or gender. Despite any affiliation of any kind.  I wish to pass on the knowledge I have gained through great difficulty, freely and to all who seek a well of limitless joy that is built with the bricks we create by being of service to others and is filled with the satisfaction of knowing that we have contributed to the positive forces, giving as much as we have taken.  

   I know that not everyone can see or experience what I have seen. I’ve witnessed a broad scope of the human condition and life on many levels.  I have seen the very poor, unable to feed themselves or seek necessary medical care. Children, homeless on the filthy streets of dangerous cities. Their stomachs aching with hunger and their hearts aching with the discomfort of abandonment and the weariness that comes with never having had the opportunity to feel at rest or at ease. They are in tears because of the pain with no one to console them. Alone. Without hope. Vulnerable, uneducated, unprotected, and cast aside to be abused and left to die.  

  I grew to maturity in the American middle class where I was freely given an education. I was afforded the food and shelter that these children consider to be luxuries. I was told I had the right to safety and health. Ignoring the ridiculousness in desiring statuses and stuff is impossible for me now. 

   No matter the country, race, or creed, people are people. Children are children. A smile is a smile and laughter and tears, worry and regret, hunger and cold, love and anger are endowed upon us all to let us know that, despite our differences, we are made of the same material. 

  We cringe as we watch others suffer because we are born with a sense of responsibility to be of assistance to one another. The borders of countries created imagined walls.  With those walls came the division of race, religion, and allegiance to governments that have seperated us for thousands of years.

Men created those things. 

Men make mistakes.

   I’m not seeking a Utopia, for that seems an unattainable dream.  I only dream of kind hearts and helping hands and minds that seek out similarities instead of the divisive differences. I’m in search of a more unified society that is comprised of a brilliant pallette of colorful faces and is driven by compassion, acceptance, and open mindedness. It is fueled with the warm and inexhaustible energy of love instead of this one that seems to be hell bent on stoking the furnace fires with hate while we fill our empty spaces with gold or plastic, closing our eyes and ears as people beg for help and shutting ourselves off only to wonder why we feel so alone. 

  If you would only try the way I found, grow accustomed to living with a little less, become used to desiring little but offering much, I am certain you would find that seeking fulfillment by helping and bringing joy to others is an everlasting source of contentment, and, the opportunities for entertainment and intellectual growth are never-ending if one becomes willing to look beyond what they already know.

   My benevolent spirit was cultivated from the same materials that every one of us is made from and the world seems to be in need of an adjustment. If even a small portion of this planet’s population of over 7 billion beings would make even a small shift in a more selfless direction, millions of lives would be improved and millions of minds would be grown. All of those good things that we millions of changed souls do would become the seeds, planted in the newly fertile soils we have enriched and made suitable for growth with our new philanthropic mindsets, that will grow into the crops that feed the next generation of kind and hungry souls.

Forgiveness is easy for the emotionally invincible.

I often thought myself a fool for forgiving so often because people thought I was naive, or full of self doubt, or even that I had been dishonest about events that I claimed had caused me to separate myself from those I chose to leave behind.

It seems to me when someone such as myself refuses to trouble themselves with self preservation-spawned explanations because my self worth and value don’t rely on outside opinions, people tend to fill in the blanks in my silence with their own assumptions.

Their assumptions are often very wrong.

They see a weakness in my forgiveness because they can’t understand how I could do it. 

Until a few years ago I didn’t even understand how I was able to do it.

How is it so easy to forgive?

First I had to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean I’m unworthy of justice for the harmful things that have been done.

I just don’t have a need to seek retribution for myself.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean things go back to the way they were. 

Some broken things can not be fixed.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the bad things didn’t happen.

I remember them clearly. Vividly. Painfully.

Forgiveness is a tool of freedom.

It allows me to empty the tightly packed spaces in my mind and spirit where resentments and anger grow and thrive like bacteria, infecting my consciousness with bitterness and hate.

Bitterness and hate are like poison. They infect my attitude, actions, and mentality. They pour out in words and behaviors on everyone and everything I encounter.

I choose not to allow that type of sickness to live inside of me and I certainly won’t allow myself to harbor it and infect anyone else with it.

Not even by accident in the form of displaced anger.

I don’t forgive because people deserve it. I forgive because I deserve to be happy, joyous, and free.

It helps to see people as they really are.

Making monsters out of men makes the world a scary place.

I don’t believe in bad people and I have never met an evil baby. Most of the “bad” people are just badly broken.

Some will die behaving badly, though.

Some really don’t change.

But I won’t deprive someone the benefit of the doubt.

I won’t deprive someone the opportunity to learn and grow.

They don’t need to do it with me, near me, or at my expense. But I try to avoid an attitude of judgement at all costs.

I was lost once.

I found my “self” was always in me. 

That’s the one thing that never leaves and being okay with who I really am is what made the world worth living in and made me worthy to live in it and be a part of all of its beauty.

Some people are never going to be okay with who they are. I won’t make it harder for them by being hateful or holding grudges.

I truly believe most “bad people” are just in pain, in fear, or lost somehow.

Something I picked up in my religious studies is an idea that no one’s life or sense of comfort is more valuable than another’s. This is why I must set limits while helping others so I don’t allow myself to be destroyed because my life and comfort is valuable, too.

I’m really strong, though.  

Damn near invincible when it comes to spiritual fortitude.


I also have an incredible sense of who I am and what my value is.

So, forgiveness is easy.  

I feel no need to make people like me.

I feel no need to save face.

I feel no need to be vengeful.

I feel no need to repay suffering.

I feel no need to be right in the realm of public opinion.

Forgiveness is easier for those reasons, too.

Religious philosiphies and spiritual teachings often repeat themes throughout centuries and sects.

One of these is that it is an enlightened person’s spiritual responsibility to teach others the path by showing them the way with their actions. 

The Dalai Lama said, “We should not seek revenge on those who have committed crimes against us, or reply to their crimes with other crimes.  We should reflect that by the laws of Karma, they are in danger of lowly and miserable lives to come, and that our duty to them, as to every being, is to help them rise toward Nirvana rather than sink to lower levels of rebirth.”  

So I forgive them for their harms.

I move forward on my journey toward enlightenment, fortified by my good deeds.

I show them kindness.

In my kindness they can breathe for a moment. 

In that breath they may find rest or peace.

In that moment of calm their chaotic mind may unfold.

In that clarity they may find the way forward.

I forgive because it is my duty to myself and to the world.

I forgive because it strengthens and soothes my soul in the way that vengeance and anger briefly satisfies some who may not feel connected to their spirit, or their consciousness, or whatever it is that they believe it was that created them. 

I forgive because forgiveness is helpful.

I forgive because forgiveness is good.


A lot of people can see the moon.
Most see it as a light in the night sky.

Some go to the extent of seeing it as it is.  A planetary object circling the Earth. Dusty and gray.

Not many go as far as to see themselves upon it. 

Not many try to experience it as if they were there, in the fine particulate, smooth between their toes. 

Not many see themselves there, imagining the exact sort of smile that would spread across their face when they realized where they were. 

Wondering wildly. 

Kneeling down in that soft sand and inspecting it’s color and texture. Looking over their shoulder through the black sky to the moon sized Earth in their peripheral then out to the stars so clearly seen in the absence of an atmosphere.

When you are a person who has a mind meant for more, this universe is more to you than the majority and the majority of those you meet will inevitably call you crazy.

I was lost in it for awhile.

I felt more.

I tasted more.

I smelled more.

I experienced more in everything than most could even imagine.

Personalization + overactive imagination = PAIN

It was lonely, it still can be.  

There was no one to teach me how to travel here because they couldn’t possibly show me a way they could never understand.

Their way wouldn’t work for me and they couldn’t see or feel as I did. They couldn’t pave my road. 

So, I learned to fly over them.

The world as most know it wasn’t designed for my comfort. 

Majority rules. 

I turned inward, then outward, then every which way. 

I’m comfortable now.  Like an alien adjusting to a foreign atmosphere. Like a fish out of water that somehow survived.

I learned to live in my own skin and mind and morals. 

I learned my limitations and strengths.

I’m lucky I got to learn it all.  Many like me don’t make it here.

Judgement. Persecution. Ridicule. Because “they” don’t understand.

They can’t. 

That’s ok. 

It all hurt. All of it. Good and bad because it was too much for awhile. 

Imagine living in this world and seeing the bad and actually putting yourself there and inside of them.  Becoming the mother of a starving family or a child living in war.

There was pain every minute.

There were bombs shaking me in the night.

To harness the gifts I was given was a struggle.

To learn how to feel and sense and survive with this mentality was pain in the purest form.

I grew into it.

I outgrew a lot of it.

I’m growing into more.

I’m going to keep going. On my own terms. In my own time. By my own volition.

The will and wishes of others seemed too small for me. Their world is too small too.

But, here’s the beautiful thing, I don’t need it, or them. Not anymore.

Mine is brighter, bigger, fuller, and, I’m comfortable here.


The power in personal accountability.

A man builds a bench. 

People sit on the bench.

The bench breaks.

The man blames the nails and builds another bench using different nails.

People sit on it.

It breaks again.

This time he blames the wood.

He uses different wood and nails to build a new bench.

People sit on it.

It breaks again.

Nothing left to blame for the injuries that occured than his own craftsmanship.

So he takes a class.

He builds another bench with the original wood and the original nails.

People sit on it.

It stays strong. No one falls. No one is hurt.

He’s proud of his work and people compliment his skills.

When he offered up excuses no one trusted his abilities to craft any object.

As they sat in every chair they were aprehensive, on guard, nervous.

When he blamed their weight for the collapse they were hurt and offended.

They wouldn’t return to buy his goods.

When the man owned up he was able to build strong seats. Craft quality products. He gained a new clientele with these goods. 

Word spread. 

Old clients heard and became less skeptical. They gave him a chance again. His new skills and well built furnishings were proof of his newly developed talents.

The old customer told people he was better now. They bought furniture that proved to be worth what he charged. 

They had faith in his skills because it had proven to be reliable and the changes he made were obvious.

Proof was given in real things, not empty promises and hollow words.

His business was now thriving because he stopped blaming the variables and improved himself.

This is the best example I could think of to describe the power that lies in personal accountability. Full personal accountability. Blaming no other variable for things that occur.

There are reasons for almost everything. But justifications hardly ever help someone to grow.

Sometimes life requires an explanation. But there are rarely acceptable excuses. None that actually mean anything, anyway.

When someone insists upon looking outside of themselves for these reasons, justifications, explanations, and excuses they become too distracted with everything that exists in a realm outside of their control and begin to ignore what they are capable of creating change in; the things inside of themselves.

No one is perfect. Mistakes are made. Even a person who takes full responsibility for their actions in most occasions can find fault in the external from time to time.

No growth occurs in these situations.

I crave growth.

I crave wisdom.

I crave accountability that paves way for positive change.

I learned long ago what enabled me to make these changes and I grew up.  Not all at once. Quickly, though.

When my mother died I felt very weak. She had always been so strong. She was so strong that no one around her had to be strong within themselves.

If something very difficult occurred I would call her. She would either help me find the solution or listen quietly as I worked it out myself, only interjecting her opinion to nudge me in the right direction.  Always letting know I had her support.

When she died, I felt lost. A lot of people did. She was a force of nature.

The best thing she did for me was to allow me to absorb her strength by being an excellent example for me.

The moment I realized that her strength wasn’t gone from this world but, instead, had been given to me like a priceless type of inheritance, I grew. I grew more in the following year than in the decade before.

I learned to rely on myself and I learned that I was, indeed, strong enough to face any obstacle I encountered. I was strong. A certain amount of strength is required in order to face failure without folding.

I also found a great deal of strength in recognizing my own limitations. By seeing my capabilities with honesty I was no longer exhausting myself by carrying too heavy a load. I learned to ask for help from qualified individuals because it’s easier to maintain a healthy spirit than to rebuild one that has been neglected, broken, and overworked. I realized my limits, pushed slightly past them to strengthen myself in order to grow somewhat stronger, then let others help me when it was necessary so no permanent harm was done.

The next attribute that helped me benefit from what I was personally responsible for in order to affect positive change was humility.

When I lived inside of myself I lived in my own ego. Often times it wasn’t the type of an egocentric nature that made me feel better than or above others. Quite the opposite. I felt unworthy and unlovable.  I hardly had the motivation to do the work that creates growth. I felt low and small and as if I deserved the bad. So much so that I didn’t even bother to attempt to live in the good.

Or, even when I felt somewhat worthy of good things, I would doubt that my comfort or well being was worth anything more than another person’s. I often had an unbalanced measurement, one that worked to my disadvantage, that made me believe the discomfort that would befall others if I did what was necessary to keep myself healthy was unfair to them and this often caused me to accept negative treatment that I didn’t deserve.

Other times I felt that because of what had been done to me that someone, somewhere, owed me something. It felt like a good excuse for my bad behavior and that mentality kept me feeling like a victim every moment of every day.  I stayed in that mentality too long because it was easier than doing the work necessary to make a real positive change.  

There was absolutely no benefit in these excuses. I stayed stuck. I stayed sick. I stayed the same. I was in pain but had an explanation for it so I thought it was OK. It wasn’t and I needed to grow up and out of it or I was going to be that way forever.

When I began to see myself as an equal to others I saw that I deserved no more and no less. I was no longer humiliated I was humble. I was no longer complacent and living in justifications, I was right sized and ready to change and correct bad behaviors.

I don’t take credit for things I don’t have a right to and I try not to place blame on others unless I have to, even when they deserve it. I typically don’t run around gossiping about others bad behaviors but when I’m asked to and feel compelled to be honest I won’t lie for them. I won’t lie for anyone. It isn’t constructive or conducive to healing and personal improvement or advancement. 

I own what I have a right to. I take responsibility for what I’ve done because being equal to the rest leaves me no room to attribute myself with more or deny myself of the rest.  I don’t take undeserved punishment and I won’t inflict it upon another to benefit myself in any way. 

The depletion of prideful nature allowed me to make real ammends. No excuses attached. No offerings of justification or explanation to deplete the sense of honesty that came with my apologies.  My survival wasn’t dependant upon their acceptance of my apology, either. I had gained strength to thrive without them. I had gained self worth and that came from doing good. 

I proved to myself I was worthy of a good life by living one.

I had gained the ability to practice a healthy sense of humility that made self awareness possible and non destructive. When I stopped feeling I was owed something and stopped focusing on what had been done to me, I stopped feeling like a victim. I took the power from the hands of those who had hurt me and decided to hold the reigns myself.

I realized who I was, what I was capable of, what I was responsible for, what I needed to improve, and what I had power over.

When I could look at myself and my actions instead of focusing on the affect that people, places, and things I had no control over had in the circumstances I faced, I was finally able to take hold of a dormant power. I could change things. I could grow. 

Strength, humility, and self awareness were the attributes that made accountability possible for me. I can truly focus on what is beneficial now. I can see what I am capable of creating change in. I can grow.

Of course I had to be willing to do the work. I had to accept whatever came my way.  A lot of unexpected changes occured and I had to be flexible and open  minded.  

Attributes cannot be strengthened if strength isn’t put into practice. Defective personality traits can’t be changed or lessened without humility and the awareness that they exist and belong to you entirely are realized and put to work.

There is no excuse for bad behavior after these principles are put into practice. There is no sincerity in an apology heavily laden with excuses.

You can tell someone you love them every day but they won’t believe it, not even one time, if your behavior proves otherwise. They won’t believe it one time if the words “I love you are followed by the word “but…”. Then your love has become conditional. I don’t believe in conditional love.

Accountability moves us forward while denial only keeps us stuck in negativity, losing people who have heard the excuses too often.  No one will know who I really am if they’re always running away or being replaced and I want to be known. I want to be known for who I am.  

Accountability makes me better and paves the way for long lasting and real relationships, truly fixing the harms done and making wrongs right. It creates trust and respect. It is an action of integrity. 

It is necessary in my life. 

The man building the bench wouldn’t have succeeded had he continued to blame the variables. 

He would have lost everything he worked for and he would have had to start over completely had he made the decision  to give up.