Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happinness

It is two days after Christmas and I am feeling so thankful.  Not because I received more presents than per usual, but because I received less in fact.  This year was the first where we didn't exchange presents with our aunts, cousins, and grandmother.
Alastair and I had gone over to a friends on Christmas Eve to deliver cookies and a few gifts and to see her newborn baby.  It was such a gift to see this new life and hold him in my arms.  What was even better was to see the joy in the new mother and how proud she was of this small child that had accomplished nothing but entering into this world.  What a gift life is.
We went from there over to my mother's where we enjoyed prime rib, twice baked potatoes, green bean casserole and chocolate cheesecake for dessert.  It was such a treat just to sit with them and share a delicious meal.  Afterwards we chatted for a bit and then exchanged gifts.  I received a wonderful electric blanket and a beautiful gold bracelet from Alastair.  And a pair of shears from my mother and a new vacuum for Alastair and I.  It was the first year where we didn't write out wish lists and instead just gave each other gifts. 
In the past, since I was a child we have always wrote out Christmas lists and hoped that our most desired gift would be given to us, and if it wasn't then we were greatly disappointed.  When did giving gifts become a demand in expectation?  This year, having no expectation for anything and simply receiving had made me the most grateful.  This has helped me to realize that having set expectations and not receiving them is a recipe for depression.

This year I was not able to make it to my grandmother's house on Christmas day because Alastair and I had to catch a ferry.  Although I was disappointed that I would not see them, I became thankful that I did get to spend so much time with Alastair's family and play with his nephews.  This is not something I expected but instead was purely open to.  It's amazing how the absence of material gifts and expectations can really free you.

I have not been this at peace or joyful about life in a long time.  And this time it is coming from inside of me rather than an outside source.  I am learning to expect less and less and instead give more of myself to create my own happiness.
On a side note, I have had a few people ask me what I am going to school for and when I say Cosmetology there seems to be this loss for words as I feel that they look at that education as not something to be held in good standards.  I understand that society views being a doctor and being a hairdresser on two totally different levels.  And I can see those things as well.  However, my degree or career does not determine the kind of person I am.  I could have a doctorate and be an asshole.
I feel as though I have found my niche.  I love art and I love sharing it with people and this has become the perfect avenue for me.  And I feel personally, if you are loving what you do, you will be successful.  I understand I may not be "rich" one day.  But I want to succeed at this art and make people happy through it.

It is such a good feeling to use your own skills to make someone feel good about themselves.
I am in love with life and am not going to take it for granted.
Much love and Peace to you all,
Holli Lyons


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The excitement in letting go.

I'm sitting at my computer as I listen to Christmas music by Over the Rhine, and the smell of tea and turkey soup surround the air.  I feel at peace and creative.

I had my last day of work at Peet's and it was a bitter-sweet feeling.  I realized that that is the place where I built a lot of wonderful relationships with people that I love and that have been part of my ever-changing molding process.  I have also been somewhat scared as I delve into a life of unemployment and merging of relying on my savings and trusting Alastair.  In this process I have gained the knowledge that I am a bit of a control freak.  In all honesty, I intellectually comprehend that I really have no control over anything, but I enjoy the illusion that I do. (Sigh.)
However, I have also experienced the peace of letting go.  The peace doesn't come until after you do let go.
I know, 'damn' is right.
But once I've experienced it I feel like I can take a little more risks and continue to move forward into the person I want to be. 

In this new venture of temporary unemployment I look forward to a routine of fitness, baking, reading, and my most exciting one yet; writing my own book  I have craved to write a book for quite some time and now I am actually going to begin to dabble.  There is a strong glow of excitement that ignites when I think of the idea of creating my own story.  I have yet to truly fetch my focus of this story and paint what it looks like but it will happen.  I will begin with small sketches and see what emerges.

I have also recently discovered or perhaps accepted, that I am an adult.  I no longer depend on someone to follow me into what I long to discover.  I am not afraid to go alone.  I am okay with having a different opinion than everyone else and doing things differently.  My first priority is to love myself, because out of that I can love others freely instead of expecting them to fill a need that only I can fill.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about relationships, and she had asked me if Alastair was the one that I envisioned myself being with, and I said no.  I love Alastair with all my heart.  But in my fantasy state of dreaming of Mr. Perfect, I realized a few things as I look back now.  1) Mr. Perfect doesn't exist.  2) In all reality, Mr. Perfect is who I wanted someone to see in me.

In my relationship with Alastair, I have found that I am the one who can only make me truly happy.  That is not to say that he doesn't make me happy, because he does.  It seems, that because we desire to make this relationship work and that we have both fallen in love with eachothers' heart, that we therefore can let the other teach us how to better love ourselves.  I am not sure if Alastair would word it this way.  But I know this is how I feel about it.  Sometimes there is a part of ourselves that likes to 'give' in order to 'receive' and I know that I am guilty of that.  And through conversations with Alastair I have seen this.  In a way, being in a committed relationship is like having someone hold a mirror in front of you.   To see the good and the bad.  I have also learned through Alastair, of how beautiful and worthy of love I am.  This is one of the greatest gifts of being with him.  He has taught me to see these things in myself and I am thankful for that.
That is not to say that you can't find these things without a partnership but either way, you need to work at it,
 And God.

I had a conversation with some ladies not to long ago about God.  And my definition was with a reference from Shakespeare.  I don't think we realize how much of a barrier language is, sometimes.  "Would a rose, by any other name still smell as sweet?"
If you call something by another name, does it change it's form or essence?  Does it matter if I call him God, Higher Power, Energy, Love, Buddha?  It is up to no-one else to decide what I believe or how I address my Higher Power.  Although, because I am most familiar with Jesus and the Bible, I will continue to explore those things as they see fit.  But that does not mean I turn down other "names."  I do my best to look into everything before I have an opinion.  However, because I am human, I fail at this often. But this is my aim.

I cannot help but be attracted to Jesus.  He feed the hungry and stood against the majority and spoke to people who were outcasts.  Whether this is fact or fiction, my heart cannot deny the feeling of being moved.  It seems to me that truth is something you have to weigh and be open to.  And remember that we all do not speak the same language.  If we could know absolute truth than we would be perfect.


Peace to you,
Holli


EDIT

I fear, I have downplayed how wonderful Alastair is in fear of not to step on anyone's toes for not having an Alastair in their life.   But in remembering my favorite quote by Nelson Mandella; "There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you." "When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

Therefore, I want to add that I am truly blessed to have someone who is so devoted to and patient to me.  Whom I can share my thoughts, ideas, tears, and laughter with.  There is a certain treasure in finding someone who you can share your most innermost being with.  
However, that being said.  Who is not to say that you can't find it another way?  I have found mine and will continue to.  I have faith that you can find yours too and continue in it. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

May the Peace of Love surpass all understanding.

Wow, I feel like I have a day off when really I have to leave for work in 45 minutes.  I am really enjoying AVEDA but I am tired.  I am there Monday through Wednesday for 10 hours a day.  And I travel by bus so that is an extra hour or two you are adding on there.  I barely have time to make dinner, do some homework and then go straight to to bed.  I love everything I am learning there but it is intense.  I am finding that planning out my weeks ahead of time is needed.  I have gotten behind on some of my homework because I have not had time to keep up because if I'm not at school then I am at work or I am trying to catch up on errands and sleep.  I am not complaining though, just voicing.  Usually I would be well stressed about these things, but I would rather recognize the challenge, let it go and do it differently next time.  Life is to short to let things the little things stress you out.  Enjoy Today. 
It is interesting though that when you are run ragged like this, how the little things seems to be the most pleasing.  This morning being able to wake up next to Alastair and just snuggle up beside him, made me the happiest person.  I did not have to leave right away or do anything right away, I could just lay there and snuggle beside him and feel that my world is perfect.  It's those kind of moments that I live for. 
To just be able to sit here and write all of this is another joyous moment.  I am at peace. 

Some things that I am gathering from my AVEDA experience that I would like to share is that I am learning how much "the little things"  really can change someones day.  It seems that for myself and a lot of other people I know, that there is often this feeling that you are running to stand still.  That we are all trying to "arrive"  somewhere, in actuality we have already arrived and at the same time never will arrive.  I am reminded of the Nelson Mandella quote and that we really are afraid of our own strength.  We don't like being responsible and therefore it is easier to not say anything.  Just a smile to someone or saying hello, or treating yourself to a massage that you don't want to waste the money on because you feel you don't "need" it.  Those things speak to us experientially and like it or not, we learn through our experience, or at least it is the largest way we can impact ourselves or someone else.  Just by doing something so little can mean a bigger thing to someone else. 

"We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"  "There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you." "When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Pamper yourself, you deserve it.   And by doing it, you help others to recognize that they deserve the same. 

Love and peace to you

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Existential

Two hours until I need to catch the bus to Capitol Hill, and 1 hour until I need to take a shower and get myself all dolled up.
Today is the day for the Aveda Meet and Greet.  I did my usual routine of getting up with Alastair this morning and bought him a cinnamon roll and coffee for breakfast.  I usually make him a lunch to take with but my headache got the best of me.  All last night my head had been singing a dull pain and so I finally took some meds for it this morning and the song ceased.  It is such a great feeling.  I then went back to bed, after he left for work and didn't awake until 12pm.  I have been really taking in the sweet comfort of not having to get up right away and just relaxing.  That has been something that is most often quite difficult for me to do, but there is such rejuvenation in just resting ones body and mind. 

When I did awake I had one of those nagging sour feelings that were beckoning for my attention.  This is something that I only recently learned, that I need to listen to those feelings or they end up exploding later on someone else, or on me. 

So as I prepared for my day I decided to take a walk down to Crossroads clothing store and see if I can sell some items.  While I walked I also grabbed a coffee and let my thoughts wonder.  It is during these times where I feel most peaceful.  It's almost like I have a ball of twine bundled up inside of me, and as I walk I let it unwind.  These times are so beautiful to me.

As I walked I began to think of Aveda and of my last therapy appointment yesterday.  Yesterday, I was told by my therapist that 'I am holding a lot right now.'  I see that I am too, but what I heard from her is that she thinks I could benefit some more with staying with her.  I don't really doubt that, but I think part of me is worried that I made a mistake.  It seems she was trying to make sure that I knew when I should come back.  And I feel that it's one of those times you just know.  Perhaps she was inadvertently casting her worries on me and I was picking them up as my own?  I feel that may be to case.  However, I feel that only time can wash these things out. 
I am always asking a lot of questions about life in general.  And I feel part of that has been because my experiences had lead me there.  But I feel, as long as I am taking care of myself, I will be fine.  As long as I am taking the time I need to ask these questions and to listen for answers.  Things will be okay.  And I know if I feel overwhelmed, I will go back.  In some way, I feel there is not much I can receive from therapy at this time.  And that is something only I can know.
Before I go on about Aveda, I would like to tell you what started all of these thoughts
I believe what my therapist said to me yesterday, carried into my dreams.  We talked about why I had first began to see her, and that was before my accident, and then I remembered it was 3 months before that my dad had passed away.  I still feel that there is a lot of myself wrapped up in that still that I do not know how to touch.  But I also know that it will come in its own time.  This morning I had awoken to a pressure in my chest for the need to sob.  And that is because I was dreaming that I was working at Peets and my grandmother came in.  However, I did not recognize her at first because it had been so long since I had seen her, and I knew that sometimes I would mistaken someone for someone that I knew.  However, she approached me and said "Hello Holli"  at that moment I began to reach over the counter to hug her and found myself awake in bed, wanting to sob.  This was my dad's mom whom I had saw last when I went to her house to collect some of my dad's things.  She came and visited me in the hospital but I do not remember. 
I was carrying those feelings with me today as I walked and remembering how fleeting life is and that I feel some yearning to not 'miss out' on any of my family, because you never know when you or they may leave you. 
However, I realize too, that I cannot give up living my life so that I don't "miss" anything.  There is nothing I can do to keep people from leaving me.  But I can keep myself from leaving me.  It has come to my understanding lately that we really cannot save anyone or keep bad things happenning.  We can only sit with ourselves and others in the midst of the pain. 
Anger is a rightful emotion, and almost always comes out of pain or feelings of threat behind it.  Pain is a part of life. "the rain falls on everyone."  It is through pain that we are able to experience life more richly. 
I feel that it is through experiencing pain, that I am able to understand love.  I am not saying that we all deserve pain or that we should be spreading it in order that other people can learn love.  NO.   What I am saying is through my own collective understanding, that through the pain and sorrow in my life, my love for myself and other grows deeper. 
Which brings me to the question of, "Where did we learn how to love?"  Is this a survival of the fittest strategy?  Perhaps.  Or is this what it means, "to be made in God's image"  I don't know.  Or maybe it is a combination.  One thing is for sure, Love is very powerful and cannot always be heard when we want it to.  But it is the best thing life has to offer.

I have been thinking lately as my thoughts on god re-emerse.  I am thinking of actually picking up the Bible and not reading it literally as I once did.  To think of it that way brings me anger, and that anger is stemmed of feelings in punishment.  I used to read the bible to punish myself for being human.  I am now deciding maybe it's time to read it in light of a fairytale and see where it takes me. 

Oh and as far as Aveda goes, I go back and forth between this being a good decision or not.  But I remind myself that my money is not only used to give away to others but also give to myself.  Giving myself this opportunity I feel is an adventure.  I am diving in to something I used to set below me because I felt I could not compare.  However, this is something I am proving to myself that I am worth it, that I can have fun, and that I can investigate beauty in a different light and share what I come out with.

Peace to you.

Holli

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Learn

I have been feeling the need to write for some time now.  To write second and first listen.  To have a conversation with someone.  Perhaps myself?  Or perhaps it's God?  I do not yet have a name for this experience but it's the feeling of someone wanting your attention, wanting to tell you something.  So I am listening. 
I have known this experience before; when I had left Bible College in order to redirect my life and ask some very big questions.  Now I am at home where I live with my boyfriend, who constantly sharpens and softens me, and asking some very big questions again.
 To provide some background, I was once a Conservative Fundamentalist Babtist.  I believed the Bible to be literally true and that my life was predestined and that if you didn't "accept Christ as your savior"  (whatever the fuck that meant) you would be going to a terrible place called Hell, where you would suffer for all Eternity.  
Now, I have asked a great deal of questions around this and ended up at a place called "I don't care anymore."
Because of all the pressure to succeed and the damnation if you didn't, I left this belief and decided to just seek out my own happiness, and essentially, that's what I did.  And I was happy.  I rode my bike everywhere, I was care-free, I treated people with love and I pursued my dreams.
Until one day I was hit by a car.  Now most of you already know about that and that I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury.  I stayed in Harborview for 15 days and lived with my mother until around October and then moved back into my house in the Central District.  I continued to go to work and school, up until the summer where I have just been working.
It has not been until recently that I feel I have been finally able to catch my breath, or rather understand what has happened to me over the last year.  I don't know what is different about now, then it was a couple of months ago, but it feels new.  
I have recently been having this conversation about  how fragile life really is.  A freak accident can happen at any moment.  Tornado, eartchquake, car accident, you name it, and you or your loved one could cease to exist.
After being hit by a car and almost dying I have come to question a lot of the purpose of living.  My purpose of living.  I am piecing it together still but it seems to happen in those nagging conversations every so often.  I can sum it up in the word, Love.  But what that looks like specifically to me, changes day to day.  And I am starting to feel that it is supposed to.
There is no way that one person can have their life figured out in a plan. I am finding for myself, life is a lot like the Sea.  It is easier to ride with the waves than to swim against them.  I'm not saying it's wrong to make plans, but that it's okay to loosen your grip on them. 
I recently today have come to the awareness that when bad things happen, we want to direct our anger at something or someone.  But what do you do when it's no ones fault?  I used to be angry at the driver that hit me.  After I accepted the fact that it was not intentional, I became angry at myself for choosing to ride my bike during that time.  Then today I realized that it's not my fault I wanted to ride my bike, I was doing nothing wrong. It is not the drivers fault that he did not happen to see me, for he did not intentionally hit me with his car.  Therefore it was simply an accident.  So where does that leave me to direct my anger? 

No where.  And instead I am left with the pain, suffering, and acceptance that this was a horrible thing that happened and that is it.

There is a sense of lightness when accepting this fact, but there is also a great deal of pain.  And I become overwhelmed with both.  I was reminded today about the stroy of Job.  Job went through a great deal of suffering and all that his friends had to say was that he must be doing something wrong in order to deserve all of this pain.  But Job's friends could not endure the pain with Job and that is why they said these things. 

It is better to endure the pain and accept it than it is to fight it.  I feel that I have been Job and treated myself the way Job's friends treated him.  It is a natural response, but not one that is helpful. 
I am finding that it is in these times of suffering that conversations become most apparent.  Where I feel someone wants to tell me something, and when I listen, I feel much better.  Maybe this is my adventure in finding God in a different light.  For the first time I feel like I can look at God with an understanding that it really doesn't matter what I call him or if I choose to believe that he's there.  It's my choice and that is it. I think this is the way it should be.

Life is full of births and deaths of their own kind.  It is our choice to distinguish which is which and to either grieve or celebrate. If we do not do either of these, then we sleep through life. 

-Holli



















































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