The ONE

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And in the beginning, the two young saplings, being pushed from side to side in the driving wind decided to join together to become One.

As the years went by the One grew tall and stood above the rest. At some point, the rain and the bugs and the dust and the curiosity began to weaken the One until there came a time when the weight of it all could not be held up.

So it fell.

Broken, alone, and exposed the One became sad.

Then one day the sun shined on one of the saplings and it was given the courage to grow. Still drawing from the One it began to flourish and grow a new life.

When the sapling came to a point where it contemplated leaving the One it stopped to talk to the other sapling.

"Be courageous, you can grow too....I'll wait for you and we can grow our own paths together. But before you grow you must reach out to our own saplings and have them journey with us as well"

So here it is, majestic saplings who could have simply died when the One was broken and damaged and instead now draw on it for strength to become their own Ones.

Majestic, beautiful, with awe-inspiring strength so special, that when the others had been taken down and are gone it's left there standing for all to see how the will to live and flourish is the most powerful thing on earth.

You will remember

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One of the most dramatic moments in the movie “The Abyss” finds one of the main characters working through breathing liquid oxygen for the first time since being a fetus.

He is prepping to make a deep decent into the ocean.

He was well aware of the science behind the liquid and was sure in himself as he put on his helmet. As the liquid got closer to his nose a panic set in and he loses it.

His crew had to restrain him as he fought to save from drowning. The terrified look on his face showed how helpless he was. Those around him knew he’d be ok but to him this was the end of his life.

One of the crew members yelled out to him “we all breathed liquid for nine months, Bud. Your body will remember”

This scene comes back into my mind every time I have a moment where I’m scared of change or overwhelmed by emotions.

As my heart twitches and aches and screams and fights to save itself I have to whisper lovingly “You will be ok, You will remember........you will remember.....” 

Falling in love with/for myself

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“You have to eat buddy……please……You have to love yourself enough to eat and get better you can’t keep hurting yourself”

Those were the words I heard as I made my way down the road towards what had lately been the only place on earth where I felt I had control over my life. It had been 7 days, it’s hard to remember possibly 8 or 9, since my heart had been told things were never going to be the same.

The sadness came in waves and the only way to combat it was to hop in the car and head towards the 24-hour gym to work it out. I had come up with a rule for myself that if I was sad for more than an hour, I had to move my body until I felt better again.

For a while, this meant working out three times a day and doing yoga a few times as well. 8am, 12pm, even 130am…..it didn’t matter what time of day it was if I felt helplessly caught up in emotions I would take action and gain some control back.

Even with all the working out for some reason I couldn’t seem to muster up any appetite. 400-700 calories per day were the norm for me now.

The daily scolding from my FitBit, telling me the 4,000 calories I was burning at the gym was unhealthy because of my calorie deficiency. Over and over these messages letting me know that I was messing up my health and my body. “You need to eat more calories” FitBit would message me with it's cold heart.

But I couldn’t.

So on this day, I heard my own voice talking out loud in my car. I say it was my own voice but to be honest it was different than I had ever heard it before. It had the tone of my mother, sitting there in the grass with her 7-year-old son at the next door neighbor’s house begging him to come home instead of running away.

It was the most loving voice I had ever heard, and it felt as though I was outside of my body. Tears streaming down my face as I pleaded with myself to stop punishing my body and to love myself as I’ve never loved anyone before.

“If you are ever going to truly love someone you’re going to have to love yourself with everything you have and that means you need to eat, today, and start being kind to yourself”

I ended up at the Deli in Union, one of my favorite places in the world, taking a few moments in the car to wipe my face of the tears and “look normal” as best as I could.

My voice trembled a little as I mustered up all the energy I had to not cry as I ordered breakfast. I had never been here on a weekend morning and thought it would have been busier but I pretty much had the place to myself for a while.

Every bite was a struggle.

I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t want to eat this, I just wanted to go somewhere and cry. I kept thinking to myself “one more bite, you got this, one more bite” and it took every ounce of my concentration to continue to eat.

I’m glad nobody I knew came by, the smallest hello or wave, or worse off, a “how are you doing” would have brought me to my knees. Somehow, I was allowed to be there by myself(s) and work through the breakfast until the last bite was taken.

There was an overwhelming sense of relief and exhaustion when I finished. I sat there looking at the bowl with what I imagine is the feeling someone has when they’ve finished a long marathon. The sense of pride slightly muffled by the sheer exhaustion.

Walking out to my car I could feel as though things had changed. I had always seen myself as one person but now realized that there was this kind loving soul that was a Sheppard in my life.

The struggles, the joy, the pain, and anything else I experience in my life would never be experienced alone.

I would always be there for me.

I would always love me.

For the first time in my life, I not only truly loved someone, but I was also loved unconditionally by someone.

By me.

My first true love.

***edit this occurred about seven weeks prior to me writing this. I appreciate the calls,emails, and texts asking me if I am ok. I am at a much better place in my life right now and I’m doing well thank you for the love ❤️

When paths split

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Hand in hand the girl and boy walk down the path they began so many years ago. As they round the corner they see the end of their lives calling for them in the distance.....beautiful, radiant, warm, full of love and peace.

They stand there for what feels like an eternity basking in the warmth coming from the distance.

When they look to each other they are startled to find the young friend they began the path with is no longer there. In their place is a wiser older soul staring into their eyes.

While they were busy gazing at the birds and the trees and the water and the flowers along the path they failed to see that their sweet young companion had grown.

The path ahead has two options for them to choose from.

One path is filled with excitement and growth and unbelievable love that fills the girl with a passion beyond belief.

The other path is filled with everything the young boy ever wanted. The warmth, the love, the smiling faces, the sense of belonging, and the joy that he has always wanted.

Tears down both their faces as the two sweet souls realize that someone is going to have to sacrifice in order for them to continue on the path together.

But who gets to choose? Who is the one that gets fulfilled? who will have to sacrifice in order for the other one to be happy?

"I'll meet you at the end", the sweet girl says to the boy with the most tender eyes filled with love.

Hands clenching tighter, struggling to let go at the divide, the two souls smile as they let go their clinch and walk towards the warmth of their own path.

From time to time at a distance, they see each other through the thick forest brush.....glimpses of their sweet friend smiling and enjoying their path filled with its own unique treasures.

Until we meet at the end...........


A beautiful mess

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Standing there I gaze out into the forest and take inventory.

She's not tidy, She's actually a mess.

Fallen limbs.

Dead leaves.

Misformed trees with uneven arms reaching in all directions.

Crisscrossed branches and damaged tree bark.

Careless and unorganized and without any sense of direction, order, or care.

"This is my problem", I tell myself, "this is how I have always been, careless and unorganized and without any sense of direction."

She's beautiful though. All of her colors and textures and details.

An absolute stunning beauty that I can't stop staring at.

She didn't know I would be walking by so she didn't have time to "fix herself up" before I arrived.

To be honest, I'm not sure she cares.

She just is, she's so busy growing and nurturing and living that she hasn't the time to make sure she's perfect.

I doubt she even knows I'm here so I'll capture her and be on my way.

Before I turn I whisper out, "You're beautiful, I love you, don't ever change"

"And so are you", she calls back......." and so are you......"

Rise and Honor

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There the fallen King knelt as his heart sinks into defeat.

His life, his Queen, his castle...... everything that fed his fragile ego had been stripped away from his grasp.

As he weeps, he calls out for his queen to turn back round and clutches his chest.

Watching the tears and the blood and the sweat stain the snow he hears footsteps coming his way.

“Rise King!” In a powerful voice he’s never heard before

“Rise and Honor!”

“Honor every moment, every child, every pain, and every joy.

Honor the euphoria and the despair.

Honor every moment that was ever us by going forth and building a new Kingdom!

A new Kingdom so glorious that all that was, everything you’ve ever done, had a purpose.

When you do this you will not only honor yourself but you will truly honor us”

The King stood up, wiping the tears and the blood from his face, filled with hope and inspiration.

As his once Queen turns towards her band of warriors and mounts her horse the King asks,

“But where will you go, what will you do?”

Taking inventory of her powerful warriors, then putting her hand over her heart, she smiles and answers......

“I’m off to build my own “