Hope – An Embrace – The Full Story

Hope – An Embrace – The Full Story

An embrace, a symbol of love and support. A sign of acceptance and adoption. Learning to embrace the many facets of my being encourages me to embrace others and each day with enthusiasm and hope.

As clothes hang listlessly in a closet waiting to be worn as self-expression, words sit on a page craving a connection by the hearts that read them.

Look in the mirror. What do you see? A reflection of your heart and a journey well-lived? Or do you see only an outward appearance, a physical being disappointed in what is and what could be? Finding ourselves in a one size fits all universe sends a message that something is wrong with us because we don’t fit a perceived mold. Squeezing ourselves into a template that was created for everyone else only bruises our enthusiasm and desire to be who we truly are.

Walking a path of disillusion for many years of my life, as the ingredients of dissatisfaction poured into an insatiate lifestyle, I finally found hope in self-acceptance as I focused on sharing a unique contribution to this life and world. And along the way, I learned something of value that I ask you to consider with me now.

Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves up and working against ourselves by focusing on our weaknesses? If only we knew early on that those weaknesses were strengths when viewed from another angle.

Why hold on to an image of what could have been, what isn’t, or what should be? We are given time to grow and flourish. Regret only devours that time and skews the view of our potential.

Self-acceptance doesn’t come easy. Do you, like me, often overlook compliments, rather than graciously accept the embrace? Recognition of our worth comes from other’s caresses of support combined with accepting ourselves.

Embrace the opportunity to share your unique contribution. Look at your reflection, share your colors, embrace who you are.

Invite the harsh critic that lives inside you to leave, and imagine a room filled with loving, supportive and involved hearts. Writing brings these people into your room. They nod appreciatively, and say, “Yes. I like that”. And if not, let them pass by unnoticed.

Value self-expression.

Accept that creations brought forth from deep inside are not always consistent. Days bring melancholy, elation, sadness, joy, and vulnerability. Writing follows whims and moods. There are days when my heart speaks effortlessly. Other days the seriousness of writing loses its connections. Today I free write about the simple act of embracing. Embracing life, love, others and myself.

How encouraging if we continue to embrace ourselves and others through it all? Love is not conditional and our embraces should not be either.

©Erika K Rothwell

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Discovering Hope – A Solo Flight – Day 28

Discovering Hope – A Solo Flight – Day 28

As I see a flock of birds fly across the cloud-knit sky, my thoughts follow them.  Once they disappear from sight, one lone bird flies in the opposite direction awakening a story I tell myself and now share with you.

There must be pleasure in following, not having to forge your own way, deciding what you should do or even where to go next, for someone is always in the lead and many others have trusted enough to follow.  It appears to be a safe route.  Hasn’t it been said. “there is safety in numbers.”?

So why does the solitary bird attract my attention?  Perhaps it seeks a unique path. And, as in the similarity of my venture, I sit at my desk alone exacting words as I venture forth, trying to connect through individuation.

Individuation, a call for awareness of our unique nature and an intimate connection with all life.

Hope secures the quest.  I am looking to discover the idea that appears after the first five obvious ones.  The wind of change moves me in unusual directions and variables often upset the consistencies of my work.  Inspiration exists everywhere I turn, sending me to travel indirect routes.  

All the while, my shadow seeks me out with the fear of commercialism.

The message glares at me, “It can’t be necessary to follow the masses to find success.  My work is art.  And my art, a calling.”

At this moment, contentment resembles only a meditation.  Artistic creation, ongoing pursuit of perfection.  As every artist or writer knows, the search for a perfect element, color, or word is a quest into another dimension.  And some days you must keep seeking.

Suddenly the moment arrives when you bring your creation to life.  Yet, you hesitate unready to share.   

So many of us struggle with diametrically opposed feelings.  Do we covet the peace as we set our work on a shelf never to be discovered, or do we risk the comfort of obscurity to become known to others?

Our fear is well-founded.  In a world of mass-production, artistry can be devoured by hungry giants.  What once was birthed as an original work of art, intricately crafted as the first of its kind, can be copied or modified in a fury with only a blurry likeness.

At this point as I encourage myself, I implore you, believe you are an inspiration.  Your solo flight has attracted a following.  Find others that choose to fly alone. Share your gifts with them. 

Most importantly, never give up.  Hope can always be discovered within you.  You cannot be mass-produced and your originals always live in you.

-Erika K Rothwell

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Hope – The Fuel of Courage

Hope – The Fuel of Courage

“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear, but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” — Paulo Coelho

Slowly, I trudge on.  Fear tries to stop me in my tracks.  When I speak of fear, it’s not panic or fright dreading something horrible.  Rather, an uneasiness that lightly gnaws at my confidence causing me to believe that perhaps I may be a little too bold to tread in a world of unknown outcomes with only hope in my backpack.

My writing has grown from the seeds of momentary epiphanies to an appreciation so great, I desire to encourage and inspire with insight.  This monumental endeavor creates small episodic heart flutters and vague insecurity.  From a past of seeking accomplishment for recognition, my concern is remaining authentic on all levels.  

Yes, we all write what we know, but some days I feel I just don’t know.

This unknowing creates a stumbling block that could potentially grow into a mountain.  It is here where I seek to encourage myself with words of resilience and put fear where it belongs, buried by hope. And so, I have reset courage and continue my journey.

– Erika K Rothwell

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Hope for the Best – Day 6

Hope for the Best – Day 6

It is Day 6 of my hope journey.  The struggle exists to continue focusing on hope.  There was a time in my life when I forgot to hope, gave up on dreaming, and fell down a deep dark rabbit hole.  

There appeared to be no escape.  My fate was sealed.  I was a horrible person who deserved no remorse.  The judgment I dealt myself was harsher than imaginable.  I lost hope because I forgot to believe in a power stronger than myself.

My power ran out.  There was no battery or charger.  Energy could not sustain my desire to fight.  There appeared to be no me and I was hopeless.

Love brought me back to hope.  And hope brought me back to believing that we are all loved, and every day is a new day to hope.  We are not alone.

The more I tried to control my life, the more I lost control.  And so I learned it is from a place of humble acceptance of what exists that hope is discovered.   I’m here for a reason other than my survival.  My gifts were granted me to be shared with others. 

This does not require grandiose or newsworthy actions.  It may mean only a smile directed to another at the right time, or maybe a kiss on the forehead of a loved one who may be suffering from a cold.  The importance of the question, “What can I do to help you?” is too often minimized, as we overlook the opportunity to generate hope in our daily lives.

Sometimes the strength to survive exists in supplying others what they need, while trusting and believing that our needs will be met in the process.

I rose from the ashes of surrender because loved ones didn’t give up on me, and so I didn’t give up on me either…for them.

P.S. I still struggle on a daily basis to let go of my need to control events and others to feel safe and secure, but my journey of hope reminds me of what is possible when we are able to just let go and hope for the best.

-Erika K Rothwell

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You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

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“Come on Eleanor, you can do it!”, she emphatically told herself out loud, struggling to open her newest prize in the back seat of the car while I was driving.  I smiled from ear to ear.  She’s only four years old, yet she presented a powerful message with her example of persistence, cheering herself on, as her own best advocate.

Lately, I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all the things calling for my attention.  With that, disorganized thoughts and actions often follow.  Of course, there is always the list strategy.  Herein lies the problem with my latest lists; they are black holes.  No sooner do I check a box, another box grows from that same box. 

My approach to life’s “to do” list most certainly cannot be referred to as methodical.  In fact, I have been known to veer from one realm to another without any given notice.  This is what my husband refers to as my bubble strategy.  Actually, he just uses the word, “bubbles…” with an affectionate smirk and a long pause at the end to describe my style.

So, you guessed right, my writing is on the list.  And it is not getting much attention lately.  It seems to be the easiest and most forgiving box to ignore, regularly getting shifted to a lower priority.  I am quite saddened by the admission.

Negative talk has been reaching a loud chatter in my mind, for this reason, morphing into procrastination.  Though, all along, there has been a whisper imploring me to just sit down and write. 

After a few weeks of stalemate, the words finally are emerging in rough blobs of thought.  Discouragement stands in my way.  The creative work I believed I could accomplish effortlessly infused with passion begins to elude me.  The beauty of raw feeling appears to be stifled by the burden of a daily task list.  The irony of the black and white words I’m able to write stares at me, paralleling the non-emotional characteristics of a task list.

And I realize, I’ve been here before.  I spent years reigniting my creative lifeline, after snuffing it out with the burden of self-imposed secular aspirations, and financial obligations.  I found hope in my desire to share my experience of reconnection to my artistic self, with others, through my writing.  And this is when the healing happened.  I’m reminded, feel first…words will inherently follow.

If you have ever felt like this, you need encouraging reminders as I do.  Where can it be found?

Observing the simple examples of young children can teach us the greatest lessons.  The struggle to accomplish begins soon after our entrance into this world.  Those who love and support us can help along the journey, but it is self-motivation and self-advocation that fuels our drive.  And as usual in my life, out of the mouth of a babe, my little granddaughter modeled the positivity I needed to emulate.

Think how much more we could accomplish if we simply replaced our negative self-talk with self-encouraging words. 

It sounds rather elementary, but recall how many times, lately, you have actually championed yourself with the three little words, “You can do it!”

-Erika K Rothwell

P.S. For those of you who believe in serendipity, I published this post and celebrated by boiling a cup of tea.  The tea bag quote read, “Happiness is an accomplishment.”

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