Hope – In Ashes of Love

Hope – In Ashes of Love

Hope arises from the ashes, a time to reframe and rebuild.  

Love begins as a flame that burns so bright.  Eventually, there are only embers, flickers of warmth lighting up what remains.  

When we are left with the cold ashes of a fully disintegrated relationship, only hope can move us forward.  Hope for second-chances, hope for change, and hope for a new life motivates our steps in the right direction.

To risk love is to risk being hurt.  The paradox that exists within relationships can send ripples of sorrow our way.  But love is not supposed to hurt us, so why all the pain?

We were not born to live another person’s life.  Yet once we fall in love, the connection makes it difficult to recognize where our boundaries end and the other’s begin.  At times we may even feel lost to ourselves, fully engrossed in our loved one’s drama, leaving little time for our own development.  

Yet why do we fight against freeing ourselves from a destructive cycle, even when possessive and dependent actions suck the life out of us?  

It is only by letting go of the illusion of what could be, allowing what is, and accepting we are powerless over another’s choices in life that heals what is left of a suffering relationship.  We can make a choice.  When we stop responding to the narratives of the past, we find strength within the power of adversity.  As the poet, Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

If and when we have embraced our inability to fix the other person and the embers burn out, we will know it is time to move on.  The suffering is done.  The closure is painful yet peaceful, and we must believe hope will light another fire when it’s time.  For Rumi also said, “where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.” 

– Erika K Rothwell

Disclaimer: This was written for the loved ones in my life facing breakups and heartbreak. Empathy from my past ignited the rawness of this post.

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Hope from Love – the Heart Circle – February

Hope from Love – the Heart Circle – February

“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.” -Wilfred Peterson

Loving yourself is not narcissistic.  Self-acceptance, self-awareness, and self-appreciation all build a stronger you.  When you become stronger, you become more confident and more open to your purpose.

The last day of January 2019 has come and gone. Today is the first day of my favorite month of the year, February.  Perhaps it is because my birthday falls in this month (not narcissism), but even more exciting, it is the month of love and hearts.

As I reflect over my hope journey, I realize that it is love that brought me to hope.  Love from others brought me to be able to love myself, which in turn brought me to love others by sharing my writing openly.  

The more I shared, the more I realized I loved my work.  I was overcome with joy when I spoke of it and the warmth that surrounded me motivated me to share it publicly in a blog.  Filled with trepidation, I forged forward with writtingfromthekitchen.com focusing on the motto, “Love is the main ingredient.”

The support I have received from my loved ones and dear friends over the past months has been amazing.  In their busy lives, they have taken time to listen to and read my posts, critique me gently, and sometimes just simply tell me how much they love me.  

Knowing that you, dear reader, also enjoy reading my posts adds to the love and generates hope for me every day.

Love and appreciation from others cannot be measured. And I have found it to be only part of the love equation.   

I venture to explain.  We enter the world fully dependent on love and support.  Many argue that it is through those early experiences that our view of love is determined potentially shaping our destiny.  Once we feel secure and loved, we venture out of the security of those arms and begin to explore, manipulating our environment for self-satisfaction, while still looking for affirmation.   At that early stage of life, self-love may not even be questioned.

It is not until we begin to self-loathe that we absolutely need self-love.  The question of when or why this happens, I can’t answer, since it is different for each person.  But this love is necessary for growth.  We need not fear to appear selfish by being gentle with ourselves during this process.  

Loving ourselves allows the richness of love to flow in and upon acceptance of this love, our love flows out toward others.  When we love others, we love ourselves.  And the heart circle is created. 

-Erika K Rothwell

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Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty to Drink

Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty to Drink

It strikes when we least expect it. For the most part, we are content with life, and yet there is a longing for something out of our reach, a mirage on the horizon, a thirsting that can no longer be ignored.

Days pass with normal rhythms of life, often without a second thought given to ourselves. As mothers, serving others often becomes the priority.

Undeniably, motherhood is a rewarding profession. Watching babies grow and blossom into young adults and then on to parenthood is joyous.

So why does it sneak up on so many of us?

Feeling out of balance and running on empty startles us into facing a reality we strive to avoid. We are thirsty. We can no longer function at a high level, and what do we do? Instead of drinking the needed water, we work harder while ignoring basic necessities. We push away the first warning signs, by prioritizing our family’s needs as first and using our last bit of fuel, only to stall at empty.

Conflicting advice exists about whether to drink before you feel thirsty or when your body tells you, you are thirsty. Either way, if you disregard signs of thirst, you will eventually become dehydrated which can lead to a state of imbalance or worse, immobility.

When signals of nagging thirst call for your attention, ignoring the warning is the wrong strategy.  Overlooking your own needs, physical or emotional, is tantamount to self-neglect.

Do Not Neglect You

Unfortunately, once you begin following that path, it becomes extremely difficult to turn around.

My tears fall, today, for all the moms out there that work tirelessly to support their families in every way possible, and then beat themselves up for not doing enough or being good enough. The following is an excerpt from my journal written some time ago exemplifying my own struggle with the same.

Not good enough. Not skinny enough. Not smart enough. Not successful enough. Not enough. When is enough, enough? The standards that burrow into our psyches and souls define us or destroy us.

When did I stop feeling that sense of true accomplishment? That overwhelming feeling of “I did it!” So many “dids” yet so many “I’m not good enoughs”, “I need to do more”. Wow, I’m tired. Tired of trying to be everything to everyone. Tired of dressing to impress. Tired of sacrificing my sanity for someone else’s sake. Yes, I’m trying too hard.

When I can accept me, I will have accomplished enough.

– Erika K Rothwell

You Are Good Enough

It is clear from my experience, once you neglect your needs…the result is a “not good enough” theme song that plays repeatedly in your mind. The moment actually calls for self-attention to survive, yet that is in direct opposition to everything you’ve built your foundation on…putting yourself last. This is when emotional exhaustion takes hold.

Working mothers are most susceptible to this malady as they just run out of time. The planned end-of-day self-care turns into end-of-day collapse.

Empathy motivates this recognition. Not too long ago, I walked in those shoes. And I forgot to grab ahold of a crucial lifeline. So, I implore you, drink before you get too thirsty.

Define Your Needs  

Make some time for yourself, pour yourself a glass of water.  In that refreshing space, you will be able to see things clearer…then write it down.  Follow your definition as a path to rejuvenation.

You deserve that attention. It’s time to accept an embrace of compassion. You are made of love and you are made to love. Now, allow yourself to be loved.

I love you,

Mom

-Erika K Rothwell

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Mind Your Words

Mind Your Words

My brain screeches with righteous indignation while my heart burns with empathy in reaction to the careless onslaught of one man’s opinionated insult.  Unfortunately, situations like the following are a reminder that our world teems with bigotry and intolerance.  Under the guise of freedom of speech, bullying appears to continue on the adult playground.

I don’t normally react to current events.  In fact, I avoid the daily barrage of negative news.  With my pessimistic challenges, these stories knock me down a rung on my day’s climb.  The story of a hero came into my internet world though, and I love heroes.

So I was reeled in by the plight of a young lady who was fat shamed on a recent airline flight by a man who texted in clear sight that he was sitting next to a “smelly fatty”.   Fortunately, there was someone who cared enough to notice her sadness, and rescued the situation.  But the damage had been done, both to her and the perpetrator of the text.

As we travel through this commune called life, consideration should be given to how simple words can affect our fellow humans.  It is probable we have all been guilty at one time or another of forming thoughtless words, possibly because a toddler “me-first” attitude remains in the history of our psyches.  Especially within our families, the urge to ‘say it like it is’, as we compose it in our own minds, can unintentionally cause irreparable harm or at the very least, dents in overall confidence.  I’m guilty. 

An old story taken from Cherokee folklore of two wolves comes to mind; I repeat as I recall.

There was a grandfather who was speaking with his grandson about a battle that goes on inside each person’s mind. 

He tells him,“You will find there are two wolves fighting inside all of us.  One has evil qualities, such as anger, envy, pride, superiority, ego…etc.

The other is filled with good qualities like joy, peace, love, humility, kindness…etc.”

The little grandson after thoughtfully considering, asked: “Well, which wolf wins?”

The grandfather answered simply, “the one you feed”.

How does this relate?  It reminds me that at times it’s not easy to choose to respond to the call to love our human neighbors.  It can even represent a battle in our deepest selves. 

Superiority and the ugly actions that follow in words have no place in a world where love for others drives common decency.  Sadly, fertilizing the seeds of the evil wolf’s qualities only causes non-retractive

indiscretions hurting everyone in the process. 

And the lesson that sticks in my mind, while reading about the impact of a seemingly harmless expression of discomfort in a text message, is how our words become our actions when we inflict insults upon others, and how our actions clearly define which wolf we are feeding.

-Erika K Rothwell

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