The Big Difference (K.Blais)

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Awful things happen to us or to the people we love and care about. Terrible things occur continuously in our daily lives. We make decisions which end up being disastrous, although they may have seemed like the best option at the time, and in other cases choices are made for us without our having any say in them at all. Sometimes we hold the power in the decision-making process, and other times we are completely powerless.

Through it all though we strive to stand up and not to sink. We do our best not to let the floods drown us or to pull us down into the depths of despair, even though they may threaten to.

It isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t always work for all of us.

It is essential to remind ourselves that eventually the waters will recede. It’s tricky to remember that sometimes though and, by no means, do we ever intend to make light of the terrible things that happen, but it remains extremely important to attempt to search for the positive amidst the negative.

Out of every horrendous situation is there always a positive to be found? Depending on individual perspectives the answers may vary: maybe, maybe not… and maybe not right away. But, if we search hard enough there is always a bit of light, a small glimmer of hope, a tiny piece of dry land that we can place our feet on, even if it’s just a tiptoe to start. Maybe sometimes the negative just requires a different perspective.

A very close person to me, my dear friend Tracy, has struggled with some health issues over the past couple of years. She one day found herself with mobility issues, needed surgery to repair her knee injury, had a health scare with a dangerous item on the job site, and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after that (all issues completely unrelated to one another). Add to that other issues which she has dealt with throughout her life, the scope of her tribulations was immense. To be perfectly honest, her world was bleak and dark and at some very low points. With so many negatives piling up on her, there were days when getting out of bed was too much for her to think about.

The floods threatened to close in on her on more than one occasion, but through it all she always searched for that tiny aspect of hope, that glimmer of light, that small piece of land on which she could attempt to stand. Her faith led her to the belief that her cancer was a blessing because having gone through what she had, she was able to be a support system to others battling with cancer. Her journey led her to new friendships which she may have otherwise not have made. Her struggles allowed her to realize the love that so many people had for her. The darkness has allowed her to appreciate the light all that much more. All the negatives that have happened to her have led to so many more positives in her life because she chose to see past them.

Some of us battle with physical or mental health issues, or have loved ones which are battling, which have affected our (and their) quality of life. Frustration, powerlessness, and a feeling of incompetency may overwhelm us. It can be hard to find the positive when we feel so awful. Sometimes we have to realize the negative for what it is. Sometimes we need to surf the waves when we cannot stop them.

Financially or materially we may be experiencing damage or loss. There may be days when our situation seems so bleak that there seems to be no place to go. It is hard to find the positive when the negatives are reflected in everything we have, even our bank accounts.

We may have lost a loved one or loved ones. We all know someone who has experienced the immense grief of losing a person very close to them. It’s extremely hard to see the positive in death and loss, especially when we are in mourning. Sometimes though death can bring us closer to those who remain in our lives. Sometimes death brings a new appreciation for all that we had and all that we have shared with that person, and it may encourage us to cherish and hold dear the time we have with the loved ones left with us. A belief that we will be reunited with our loved one one day can offer peace. Sometimes death can lead us back to life: to living each moment to the fullest and with a deeper appreciation, and may even lead us to taking nothing, even the little things, for granted.

Perhaps relationships have dissolved, friendships and partners have been lost, and life as we knew it has become an illusion. It is difficult to see the negative when everything around us in our personal life seems in a disarray. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things can fall apart so easily… and perhaps we neglect to see that sometimes things need to fall apart so better things can come together.

Being positive does not mean to ignore the negative. There is no need to put blinders on and pretend that the negative does not exist. Being positive, and living a life which chooses to focus on the positive, can simply mean to live by overcoming the negative. That’s the big difference.

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Keeping Our Heads Above Water (K.Blais)

We have been inundated by rain. Not only rain, but the consequences of water displacement, dams, and beaver habitats have wreaked havoc on many areas. Our rivers and creeks have overflowed with the sheer magnitude of the volumes of water they have struggled to hold. Our lakes, once beautiful places of serenity and peace nestled in God’s country, have become sources of gradual destruction and continuous elements of stress.

Bridges have been destroyed. Roads have washed away. Sink holes have erupted where the earth has seemed to attempt its escape from the intensity of the water’s force. Beloved cottages and breathtaking homes at the edges of our bodies of water have suffered. Belongings have been lost, and while only material, the loss of these possessions has still hurt us.

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(photo credits to RL)

We see a sense of devastation and destruction in so many physical ways, several locations around us hit harder than others, and yet how similar this flooding is to our emotional lives as well.

We often become inundated with problems in life. Those emotional wounds we know all too well, in addition to other stresses (both physical and emotional) laid upon us, can seem so much like the volumes of water poured upon our land. We feel the powerlessness of our inability to control what is happening to us.

We have been wronged and the sheer unfairness of being the person wronged can overwhelm us. We feel the injustice of being taken from and yet we are unable to fight back. We are abandoned, betrayed, and deceived. We struggle to obtain truth, only to be scorned by lies and untruths. What we have attempted to build up for ourselves, has only been torn down. More and more the complexities of life, even the every day things, saturate us.

Yet somehow, maybe even somewhat surprisingly, even through the downpours and the flooding, we do not crawl inside of ourselves to hide away. We do not permit the waves to simply continue to cascade over us, rendering us powerless. We do not allow ourselves to sink and drown.

Instead, we search for higher ground. We fill our sandbags and attempt to barricade the water from causing further destruction. We attempt to salvage what we have left. We lean on the support of our loving friends and family. We allow those who want to help, to help. We trust in our faith and in our beliefs. We face the issues assaulting us head on, doing what we can with what we have.

We take things one step at a time, one day at a time. We try to look for the positive and to acknowledge it, wherever the positive can be found. We remind ourselves that tomorrow is a new day in which the sun may shine and the water may slowly begin to evaporate. We keep our head above the water line, treading for as long as it takes because we do not give up. We will not let the waters win.

We remind ourselves to keep our faith forefront. Soon the water will recede back to its natural shoreline. Soon our feet will touch the sand again. Life will continue on. There may be some repairs ahead of us, but that is no different than how the Earth continues rotating on its axis, repairing itself as it goes.

And we trust that what was once beautiful, can be made beautiful again.

 

Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

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So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

Being Elsa (K.Blais)


Yep, that’s right. I have become Elsa. I don’t spontaneously burst into song, nor do I conjure up a storm and freeze everything in my path when I am angry or upset (now that’s not to say that some days I wouldn’t like to!), but for all intents and purposes I like to think that I have become, at least a little bit, like Elsa.

While I have written and posted on similar topics, ideas, and concepts throughout the years, I have found myself, as of late, really relying and focusing on the idea of “Let it go”.

I have used and reused the phrase lately probably more than anyone cares to hear, and, perhaps in some ways, it has become my mantra. But whatever works, right? And “let it go” works.

I say “let it go” to my children when I recognize they are becoming bogged down and focused on issues which seem big to them, but which I know are draining their time, energy, and positivity. When their friends (or their siblings) treat them unfairly and they cannot get past the point that it “isn’t fair”, I tell them to “let it go”. They are right, ‘it’ may not be fair, but they have to recognize that, realize it for what it is, express their feelings, but then to move on.

I tell my students to “let it go” for many of the same reasons. It is important that their voices and concerns are heard, but they must also realize that it is equally, if not, more important to “rise above” and move forward. Dwelling on things which we cannot control seldom does us any good. We must also recognize that and move on.

I tell myself to “let it go” when I recognize that I am becoming weighed down by things which are not good for me to be so focused on. There are days when the world either becomes too big or too small and either overwhelms or underwhelms me. There are times when I want more and then there are times when I want less. There are moments when I forget to be simply be grateful, to be happy with what I have been blessed with, and to work for what I want.

Far too often we may find ourselves caught up in issues or business that are really none of our concern. We need to take a step back and ask ourselves some pretty serious questions when we involve ourselves in things not directly related to our own personal life. Does or should this really concern me? Does being involved in this, does knowing (or needing to know) this information really affect my life? Am I involving myself for the right reasons, or am I becoming involved to benefit or to make myself feel better? Am I holding on to something that isn’t mine to begin with? Would it be better to simply “let it go”?

One of the most interesting quotes which I have read most recently is by F. Scott Fitzgerald , “It is more important to be kind, than to be right.” Perhaps maybe we need to let go of things which weigh us down, of the things which are unfair, and of the importance of being right. It is more important to be kind than to let less than important issues and concerns hurt our relationships with others needlessly. 

Maybe it’s time we were all a little more like Elsa. 

words and dreams (K.Blais)

I had a dream the other night about someone really important to me. In waking, I was overcome with feeling melancholy and “saddish” (if that makes sense). While dreaming I was trying to convey how much I truly cared for this person, but my words seemed to have little effect. The individual in my dream seemed to be unfazed by my words which seemed so clear to me, and, it was indeed saddening. I woke up almost in tears and I carried that feeling of sadness with me throughout the entire day. 

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, vivid and clear dreams that often seem so real I could retell them as if I have actually lived them in real life. I’ve also noticed that my dreams of late have reflected my real life thoughts and feelings, even concerns which have boggled about in my mind throughout the day. 

I have a number of friends whom I care about very much that are going through difficult times with various issues in their lives. My heart goes out to them and my thoughts and prayers are always with them, but I also think how important it is to hug them when they need it and to tell them how I feel, and not just in my dreams. 

In real life, there are times when I worry that the people I care about don’t know how deeply I do care for them. While I always strive to use words full of meaning and to choose them wisely, I wonder sometimes if the words we say have enough value to make people truly believe them. Yes, actions do speak louder than words, but, as I’ve said before, words can be extremely important too. They are, afterall, one of our main forms of communicating with one another. 

Have words lost meaning? Have we used, reused, and overused them so much that others cannot find their intended value sincere? 

We are now submersed in the season of sharing peace, love, and joy. How do you intend to spread those things? Will you share more of yourself with others? Will you choose words that adequately and genuinely express how you feel about those in your life? Will you be more aware of the words you choose to use, how their meanings are interpreted, and how their interpretations might differ from your intentions? 

Will you speak and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, even if it means that you are one voice and are standing alone? 

This Christmas, and there beyond, will you choose your words to tell others how much you appreciate and love them? Will you make sure that your words have the meaning and value that you intend for them? 

The View From Down Here (K. Blais)

I wrote a love letter to a boy once. In it I told him about the things I liked, one of which was lying under the Christmas tree and looking up at the branches. 

  

I remembered this “love letter” the other night. The idea had struck me in the quiet of the late hours that I should revisit my childhood and lie down beneath the lit Christmas tree. Truth be told I could only get my head and shoulders under it, but as I gazed up at the branches the love letter popped into my head. 

It wasn’t the love letter that inspired me to write this post however, but as I thought about the letter and I wondered if the boy I wrote it to even remembered it, I thought about the secrets we keep. 

I never told anyone about the letter. In all actuality that very same boy is married to a friend now. I’m sure we would all probably laugh and joke about the letter if it ever got brought up, but it seems content to keep its own secret for now. 

As I lay under the Christmas tree and gazed up at its branches I also thought about how different it looked  on the underside and how my perspective of my tree was entirely changed. The angle in which I could see the ornaments was completely different and while the tree was still pretty, it definitely looked less glamorous from underneath. 

I wonder if we only let people see one side of us, the glamorous side, will they ever truly understand us or what goes on under our branches? 

I told a dear friend recently that it’s ok to be weak in front of others that care about us and that it is completely acceptable to show that we have feelings that can be hurt. I truly believe that there is nothing wrong in letting others know that they have caused hurt. It really doesn’t make us weak, or less, or give others any power over us. In fact, it reminds everyone, including us, that we are human and that we feel. It is no secret that if you prick us, we will all bleed. 

But yet so many of us tend to keep so much of ourselves hidden, even the wonderful things that make us who we are. Some of us may feel that people will like us more if they only see certain sides of us. Some feel that they don’t want to be seen as ‘soft’ or ‘sensitive’ or even ‘too emotional’. We keep a lot of our “mushy” stuff hidden for fear that we may scare others away. 

Life is too short for regrets though. Perhaps we should all start baring a bit more of our undersides to others. Maybe if we started to share more of ourselves, the world would become a less complicated place. While filters are good (and we should definitely think before we speak and say something hurtful), maybe we need to filter a bit less and love a bit more. 

What if we all focused this Christmas season on telling others how much we care about them? What if we spread peace, love, and joy by sharing more of ourselves? 

Maybe we don’t have to keep so much of ourselves a secret. Even those things that we perceive as flaws can be intriguing and captivating to others. 

Perhaps we should be more like the Christmas tree – shining bright, beautiful in our own way for all to see, from no matter what angle. 

Less Is More (K.Blais)

Saying less is definitely saying more. Sometimes saying nothing at all is even the best approach.

It’s been a while since I posted. I hadn’t intended on taking a break, yet again, and it’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, because I did.

It occurred to me today as I contemplated a blog post topic that sometimes saying less is more.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people use words carelessly and don’t seem to realize the effect their words have on others. Many don’t consider, or want to acknowledge perhaps, that there are some of us who take words and how they are used very seriously.

Yes, I am one of the many people who listen to (or read) carefully the words people use and how they actually are being said and then derive the intended meaning from them. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I don’t believe so. Does that make me vulnerable to people? Maybe it does. We are all different and some of us may find it easier to let things ‘roll off our backs’ than others. Many of us don’t believe that words are just words and that we should not take them too seriously. I think words deserve a lot more respect than that.

It bothers me to no end when words are thrown around carelessly towards others, comments are posted on social media without thought as to whom they may affect or hurt, and that it seems everyone has a “right” to speak first and think later. Yes, we are all entitled to our thoughts and opinions, but not at the cost of hurting others or attempting to make them feel badly about their successes or things beyond their control. And “jokes” are only funny when both people see them as so (just because a ‘just kidding’ is added doesn’t make hurtful things ok to say).

Sadly, many of us that these words and comments are directed towards take these things directly to heart. We process and re-process the words, comments, and statements over in our minds as a way of trying to understand why they were said and how to deal with how they have made us feel. Even those who shouldn’t matter that much to us (you know the ones who wouldn’t jump puddles for you) have a way of affecting us with their words, whether we want them to or not. We may try to say that we don’t care, but in reality we do. Does that give them unlimited power over us? I don’t believe so. Some of us just may feel more deeply and be more sensitive than others, a difference which is to be respected not controlled or abused.

I realize that this blog post echoes many of the thoughts and perspectives that I have shared over the last three years, but I felt that they could bear some repeating.

Think first, speak only after much considered thought.

If it isn’t positive, productive, or true, don’t say it.

Words can hurt just as much as sticks and stones and can do even more damage.

Not everyone feels, thinks, or believes the same things that you do. Respect those differences.

You truly don’t know the battles or successes that people face each day, especially when you haven’t bothered to try to get to know them. Refrain from passing judgment.

Not everyone receives and interprets information the same way that others might. Some people just don’t know. Some just may not understand.

It is more important to be kind than it is to be right. Being right doesn’t make you a better person.

We were put on this earth to help one another, not to compete with or to be better than one another.

Use your words to help and to heal. Choose them wisely.

The Power Of Words (K.Blais)

Over the past couple of days a very dear friend of mine has been telling me of her struggle with standing up for and protecting a loved one who is largely unable to speak for and defend herself. Today, in our conversation, my dear friend was excited to tell me that her diligent efforts had paid off – her loved one’s care was being investigated and would drastically improve. My friend enthusiastically stated, “The power of words – this just goes to show you how powerful they can be.”

I agreed, hands down. I was also struck for a moment as I pondered her statement about how powerful words are and can be, how I had written a few months ago about my war with words and how damaging or destructive they can be. In this moment though, I realized with the certainty of the example she had just provided, how wonderfully constructive and how powerful in a positive way they can be also.

My dear friend had used her words to advocate and to prove what she needed to. She hadn’t demeaned anyone or degraded them in pleading the case of her loved one, but she had used the necessary words in such a way to express her feelings and how important it was that the situation be investigated properly.

Words are powerful. They can build up and they can tear down. They can prove and they can disprove. Words can lead to belief or disbelief depending on how they are used. They can lead to anger or love. They can allow us to forgive or they can permit us to continue to struggle with our pain.

My friend’s situation also led me to thinking about my own life and the issues therein which I have been struggling with and the peace which I am seeking with them. I realized too that we all need to advocate for ourselves using our words when it is necessary to stand up for or defend what we believe in. We also need to use our words to adequately and clearly explain our thoughts and feelings so that they are properly understood by others, especially when we are hurting or in emotional pain.

Last week I mentioned how therapeutic writing often is for me. Writing has gotten me through some tougher moments in my life, has led me to realize that I need to focus on the positive, and that no matter how hard things can get, there are always blessings and strengths which will see me through.

Writing is about using words to explain our thoughts. (The sweet thing about writing is we can also choose our words more carefully and accurately; there is always the backspace or delete button when things don’t “sound” quite right.) I often prefer written correspondence to verbal in regards to delicate manners especially, as I can select my words with more care and precision, rather than stumbling over the words which sometimes don’t come quickly enough into my brain and elegantly out of my mouth.

When we use our words to say, “This is how I feel. This is what I think,” we are essentially empowering ourselves. We are allowing ourselves the permission to say, “Hey, I’m important enough for this to matter”. Words can give us confidence and assertion to say what we think and feel is going on.

Sometimes we can get it wrong though. We can think one thing, when something entirely different is the reality. We can erect immense walls of hurt feelings that no one could ever climb, especially when we coat them with an icy glaze.

We can use our words in all the right ways and still get it all wrong.

But there is still peace in being wrong. Our words can lead us to finally facing what it is that is troubling us most. Those words can lead us to realizing that while we believed things to be one way, they aren’t necessarily that way at all. Using our words can lead us to putting an end to practicing our pain, to forgiving those who have hurt us, and to embarking on the path to peace.

Words can reopen doors which we once thought were shutting for good. Words can thaw the icy film.

Words can heal when we are just willing to use them and to hear them in return.

The Path To Peace (K.Blais)

Where do you find peace?

Is it in the quiet moments of the early morning when the house is silent and the world is only beginning to wake up?

Is it in the comforting presence of a quiet talk with a good friend?

Is it in the moment that you look out the window and see the pure and simple beauty of the earth and realize that the clouds, trees, and mountains have no stress and for a moment you feel like you are one of them?

Is it in the serene moments of prayer, faith, and personal belief?

In all the turmoil and ups and downs of the last few months there have been many days when I have felt anything but peace. I have let my own thoughts and doubts become my worst enemy and I have let the opinions, words, and actions of others attempt to eat away at my self-confidence. There have been moments when I have doubted my self-worth, my own abilities, and even my sanity. I have self-diagnosed myself in so many ways, probably none of which are true… probably.

I have struggled. Yes, I’ve had it pointed it out that I have and am struggling still. I’ve struggled with forgiveness, with understanding, and even with being able to move forward. I have struggled in allowing all of those things to happen, for various reasons, but in all of these ‘struggles’ perhaps I am finding peace.

You see, I don’t need my struggles pointed out to me. I don’t need to be sung the same song over and over again. I don’t need any advice in how to quit practicing my pain. What I need is to allow myself to find peace to move past, not even forward or upward, but just past. And sometimes that moving past is still done in darkness. Sometimes it means that walking beside someone in their darkness is more important than offering them your light on the other side.

There comes a time in our lives where we begin to see people and things for how they really are. We begin to truly see who we can rely on, and even though they may be as flawed as we are, we know we can depend on them. There comes a time when we realize that opening up to some people is only going to cause us disappointment and pain and so we keep to ourselves for a bit. There comes a time, maybe we call it growing old, when we start to realize that trusting ourselves and our own instincts is what is going to be the best for us and our loved ones, because perhaps we are the only ones with our best interests at heart.

Maybe finding peace isn’t about an intentional quest or journey we must embark on. Maybe there aren’t 10 or 15 steps to moving forward, past, or wherever we’re headed. Maybe peace is just about accepting a struggle for what it is: a struggle. Maybe peace isn’t about having someone offer you light on the other side. Perhaps peace is about forging your own way through the darkness and realizing the light isn’t where you need to be right away anyway.

Peace can mean something different to all of us, but maybe peace is accepting, acknowledging, and embracing our struggles. When we acknowledge a problem, that’s half the battle, right? So perhaps peace begins with the acknowledgment that things are not ok. Perhaps we may need to embrace the fact that our struggle does mean something; that it’s not meant to be brushed off with simple words or phrases that seem to say a lot but mean nothing. Perhaps peace is accepting that things are not ever going to be the same because they’ve changed. Maybe the peace is in realizing that things MUST change.

One thing I do know is that writing is often therapeutic. Sharing and talking to kindred spirits has made me realize that there are many of us who ‘struggle’. Part of my path to peace has been realizing that I do not need to feel that I struggle alone. There are others who are willing to open themselves up and share their feelings, to join someone in their struggle in darkness, and to walk with them to wherever the path may take them.

That path to peace, even through the dark, will evermore be more important than the promise of a light waiting on another side because it is the journey there which will make all the difference.

Perhaps the most important thing about finding peace is the path we take in finding it.

We Are All Human (K.Blais)

Ever have a day or two, maybe even more, that you would like a do-over for?

(I have had several over the last six months, to be honest.)

The day may have started like any other or it may have started off on the wrong foot to begin with. Things may have begun smoothly enough, with most things falling into place, or the proverbial crap may have been hitting the fan from the get-go. Sometimes there’s no warning as to when a good day can go wrong, and sometimes there’s enough signals flashing and sirens wailing to indicate that things are going to go bad very quickly. In both cases, we often feel powerless.

Sometimes there is nothing we can do about the crap that happens and, sometimes, even with the best intentions, the crap flies in projectile mode regardless of what we say or do.

The point is though, we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all fall short of our own expectations just as much as we fall short of the expectations of others. No one is perfect and we need to remember that we shouldn’t expect anyone else to be either.

That being said, I think it is also fair to say that we can hope that others will treat us with the same dignity and respect that we try to treat them with. I think it is also fair to say that the Golden Rule should be at the forefront of our intentions and behaviours: if we wouldn’t want it said or done about or to us, then we shouldn’t say or do it to others. If we have certain religious beliefs or convictions, it is also important to remember that these beliefs should work as guidelines to monitor our own behaviours and actions as well.

There are times though when we truly believe that we are doing the right thing, even when it may appear or seem to others that we may not be. We may feel that we are standing up for what we believe is right, but others may feel differently. We may do or say things meaning them one way, but they are taken in a different way. You know the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? I’m sure this has been a problem across the ages and if we delved deeply enough into history it may even be proven that many of the world’s historical conflicts arose from misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Many of us do not like conflict or confrontation. Some of us may even go to all extents to avoid it. Confrontation is neither comfortable nor enjoyable for most of us, but sometimes it is necessary. Now the negative types of confrontation, yelling, shouting, verbal accusations, public rants are seldom beneficial, but approaching someone with our concerns often does help. It all boils down to communication. When we communicate how we feel, especially about issues that bother us, we often achieve better results in being able to express ourselves and in clearing up any misunderstandings as well.

I was talking to a close friend the other day about my writing and she asked me a very interesting question about one of my characters. Her question was this: “What are your intentions for [her]?” The question really got me thinking because, while I write without a plan or plot outline, I do have a general idea of where the story is going and I feel like I know my characters very well. I was able to answer her easily with what I thought the character herself wanted to achieve and learn.

More importantly, the question also made me think personally about my own actions and behaviours and what my personal intentions in my own life story are.

Perhaps this is something we all should consider. What are our intentions in our words and deeds towards others? Are those intentions beneficial to us and/or to others?

We are all human and we are impulsive at times. We make mistakes and often have to face the consequences of our own actions. We must realize also though that when our actions and reactions negatively affect the well being of others, it is human kindness that should move us to apologize and to make amends. It is also human kindness that will move us to forgive when we are ready and to move forward.

It’s not always going to be that easy. Issues in our lives will not always be black and white or shine with clarity. There will be many shades of gray and days which we could want to call for a “do-over”. It is in us to realize this and to be understanding of each other’s shortcomings and oversights, as well as our own. I believe that while we are all human, we are all capable of compassion and concern for one another too.