The AH-HA moment!

After we are born, we rely on our parents to give us nourishing food, a warm place to live, comfy clothes and a safe environment. As we get older, we find our independence. We feel invincible and able to conquer the world. We no longer rely on our parents as much.

As a teenager I struggled with understanding my parents way of expressing love, compassion and generosity. There were times when they had my best interest in mind yet I felt as if they were smothering me. For instance, my friends would go to the movies and hang out but I wasn’t allowed to go. At the time, I felt they were trying to control me. I felt I wasn’t given the opportunity to grow and mature.

When we get to a certain age, something in our life changes. We get married, have kids, and soon find ourselves living across country. It’s only then that we start to realize how important our parents really are. Or at least I hope we do.

I come from the East coast – New England – and lived there with my parents for the first 35 years of my life. When I married my husband, I was whisked away to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. It was challenging for me because I had left everything I knew behind. From there we moved even further away to the middle of the Pacific ocean. Hawai`i was a tropical paradise but it wasn’t New England. Today, seven years later, we live near San Francisco still 2,400 miles from home.

At the end of January I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks with my parents. It was just them and me. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a teenager again. I had made a comment about needing another suitcase if I bought too many souvenirs. Because I said this, my folks went out of their way to find me one. They spent the day driving me to the mall and to two different outlet malls. I tried again to tell them that I didn’t need another suitcase and it was only if I bought too much stuff. I began to feel like I wasn’t being heard.

My AH-HA moment arrived.

I was so busy thinking about myself that I didn’t even consider that they were trying to help me. Talk about feeling like a donkey.

There were a couple more situations like this during the two weeks but by the end of the vacation I understood that this trip was not about me. It was about them. I was so thankful to have the time to spend with them. What a precious gift. Although, it took me some time to realize how precious it was.

My dad is going to be 79 this year and my mom 76. I am so grateful they are still here and I can call them when I need them. They are not retired and they are so busy and they do so much for my family, myself and anyone else that may need help. They are the most selfless, loving, compassionate people I know. I can’t think of a finer example for their seven children and eleven  grandchildren.

People really need to consider how precious their parents and family are because they will not be around forever. Just ask someone who has lost a parent, sibling or family member. There is no greater gift in this world than your parents. Cherish every moment and talk to them. Find out what their life has been like. I’ll bet you’ll find it more interesting than you think.

P.S…You can always start researching your family genealogy and compile your research in a book for generations to come. Check out Families Across Time for helpful information on how to do this.

Is this you or someone you know?

Have you been around a family member, friend, or co-worker who was in such a good mood that you couldn’t help but be in a good mood, too? Or the opposite: they were in a rip roaring bad mood and by the time you walked away you were feeling the same way?

This is how most of my life has been.

I always felt like I was different than the rest of my family. Instead of having that strong will and understanding of who I was and what I wanted, I was the opposite. I was led by my emotions and feelings and relied less on my reasoning – like they did. People who knew me and met my family for the first time would look at me with that tilted head, like an animal does when they are unsure, and say, “Where did you come from? You are nothing like your family.” It made me feel like Cinderella… LOL! All kidding aside, the point is that I chose to turn inward yet tried to fit in.

Ultimately people want to fit in, right?

Until 3 years ago, I didn’t have the tools or language to understand what I was feeling or sensing. I couldn’t explain to those around me the intensity of my emotions and how those emotions translated physically. Before 3 years ago, I didn’t understand that my abilities affected my daily life and affected those around me. What happened 3 years ago? You’ll have to continue reading my post to find out. What I can tell you is that up to that point, I didn’t know that I was an empath.

It’s not always easy to define the term empath but I did locate a great definition on the Internet that does just that:

“Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others. Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily.  These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.  Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.”

30 traits of an Empath (How to know if you’re an Empath) http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html  By: Christel Broederlow

To make it clear I will refer to myself as a sensitive and not an empath because I feel people can relate to the word sensitive more so. In addition what my abilities encompass is more than just being an empath and sensitive seems to cover it all.

I personally believe society dictates that sensitivity is a weakness. Vulnerability is challenging and hard to process because it can be overwhelming. I have experienced those who became angry with me because of my sensitivity. They became frustrated and angry, turning their focus from themselves to me. They made me feel inferior or were dismissive. I now understand why some people reacted in this way. Think about it, how many people in your life do you feel safe enough to be vulnerable in front of? I’ll bet not too many.

Most of my life people told me that I was too sensitive, a “baby”, over emotional, a pain in the butt, hyperactive, annoying. Each and every one of those labels where presented in a negative way. I truly believe they did not know how to be around someone who was so openly vulnerable.

When I was over tired, backed into a corner, or felt threatened, my “sensitivity” would bubble up to the surface. I would get crazy mad and scream and yell. I felt like a Drama Queen! There were times I would cry uncontrollably and I’d hear “Big Baby” or “your being over emotional!” If I was excited about something, I would bounce off the walls. I’d then be labeled “Hyperactive” or “Pain in the butt!” Those around me found these very expressive outbursts annoying. I can only speculate they felt as if they were in the middle of a tornado. Oh boy, can you imagine?

In addition to the sensitivity, I was blessed with ADD/ADHD as a child and adult. What this means for me is that food containing artificial coloring, flavoring, preservatives, flavor enhancers – like Monosodium-glutamate – would amplify my mood. If I was in a good mood, I would be in a hyper good mood. If I was in a bad mood, I would be in a explosively bad mood. Anger would come out in a nasty way and you would not want to be in my path. Sadness? Forget it. I would be a weeping willow all day.

I am grateful my parents refrained from putting me on medication as a child. Instead, they chose to put me on Dr. Feingold’s diet program. When I was 5 or 6 and in school the teachers felt I was too disruptive in class. My mother found Dr. Feingold’s cook book and put me on his diet. While following the Feingold program I was calmer, more focused, and my temperament evened out. That was my way of eating until I turned 18. I decided I didn’t need the diet anymore. Who was I was kidding? I was too focused on what I was missing and not what was in my best interest. Needless to say, I follow Dr. Feingold’s suggestions today. You can find his information and findings at this link. http://www.feingold.org.

Do you know anyone that’s like me? If you do, you may want to show some compassion, patience and understanding. Some people are just more sensitive than others. I feel there is no need to resort to pills to deal with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD or being a sensitive. Instead, we should educate ourselves. After I learned that I was an empath, I was able to learn more about it. Learning allowed me to come to terms with what I was feeling and build a network of support. Food, another thing that affected my life, can be easily changed. When combining the two, those pain in the neck, hyperactive or Drama Queen children and young adults become more understandable.

Take the time and research. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

Is it a dream or is it real?

Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985
Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real? Maybe you dreamt about a loved one or a pet who had passed and when you woke up it felt more like a memory.

I have had several dreams like this.

My mémère (French for Grandmother) Jacques was everything to me. She was a tall women with brown permed hair. Her skin was like porcelain. Mémère had thick bottle-like glasses because she had cataracts. And she only wore dresses – or at least that’s what I remember. She had the warmest hugs, the sweetest French accent, and a most infectious giggle.

When speaking with a French Canadian who’s second language is English, they don’t say things the way we are used to hearing them. Mémère would pronounce “th”, as in thumb or thankful, more like a “t”. Thumb was more like tumb and thankful like tankful. I always loved that about her. She always carried Canadian mints – the peppermint and spearmint flavors. Her spearmint mints were pink so we called them Pepto Bismol mints.

Whenever she would call the house to talk to my mom, I would get so excited that I practically ripped the phone out of her hand. I was always excited to talk to mémère. I remember her coming out to dinner with our family and having her over the house during special occasions.

My most favorite memories were when she watched my younger brother and me at her house.

My uncles hunted and once killed a fox and had it stuffed and mounted. Whenever I would visit my mémère, I would sit in the small living room in the back of the house and hug the fox. When we weren’t watching TV we would sit at the kitchen table and play cards together. Mémère Jacques was so patient when we played cards. She’d often gave us a bowl of ice-cream. I loved her so very much. I miss her every day.

I remember the day she had passed. She had been very sick. I remember my sister staying with her to take care of her during her final days. On December 9, 1985, I was sitting in my 8th grade class doing my work. I looked up at the clock and the time read 3:00 p.m. I knew she had passed away. The story I was told is she had been in a coma for a while and my mother and the nurse were there when she had finally opened her eyes. The nurse told her to close her eyes and rest and then she passed.

It was a sad time but I know I didn’t fully understand it all. At that age I know I didn’t process the loss like an adult could. I remember not being sad right away. It was more like a happy feeling for her. I thought there was something wrong with me because I saw my family members crying from the loss.

It had been many years after her passing that I had this dream. I remember being in a kitchen. It was like a black and white scene that had a soft white haze. We were there along with my father’s mother who had passed three years earlier. They were teaching me how to boil potatoes. There were these huge pots on the stove, restaurant size, with boiling water. We were pealing potatoes to put in the pot. I remember thinking to myself, “is this real?” It felt real. The time that I spent with them they didn’t speak. They both just tended to their work.

After waking up from the dream I wanted to go back to sleep so I could be with them longer. I felt sad because I missed them so. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still with me even though she is no longer a part of the physical world.

What are your thoughts?

Earliest Dream I Remember

When I was little, not sure how old I was, I used to have this recurring dream.

I would be in this office building that had many rooms. There were filing cabinets lining all the walls. The walls were a light tan off white color lit by harsh florescent lighting. There was this evil witch flying around the office building looking for me.

She wore all black with pointed shoes. Her nose was long and crooked and she had skeleton like fingers. Her cackle was ominous and would send shivers down my spine.

I remember being very afraid and hiding in one of the many rooms crouching down so the evil witch couldn’t find me. I was trying to be so small so she couldn’t see me as she flew by and the fear of her wanting to kill me was overwhelming. Most of the time I would just wake up before she could find me. But there was one dream where she did find me and stormed into the room where I was hiding and took a hold of me.

Then I woke up, thank God!