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Hunker down folks, this is gonna be a good one cuz I’ve got something to say. Something that had a momentum strong enough to drive me out of my cozy flannel sheets where I was sleeping so solidly, so comfortably, so peacefully because I just had to get my fingers to the keys. I guess I’d say the subject of this post is how to get strong.

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I’m not gonna lie, I went through some serious angst, over several things colliding in the last few days.  Some deep, some more superficial but flavored the deep wound with their particular brand of seasoning (salt) and some just decided it was their time to rise.  I thank all of it for driving me in to that fire to cleanse.

I remember the first time I heard that Scorpios tend to transform by crashing and burning then rising from the fire transformed, like the Phoenix, I felt in some satisfying deep way;  understood.  Yep, I get that completely.

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Of course you can resist that fire through a number of means but I stopped being able to resist long ago and funny how life has a way of running a forest fire through your house on a weekend where you had no real structured plans, by choice, in order to have the time and space to burn. I’ll continue the starting out of this post now by sharing the center piece of it:  my completed treasure map.  Yay!

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I swiftly drove after work Friday to Office Max to get this new friend laminated which to me is a sealing of the deal.  The commitment is made, everything is exactly where I want it, now time to let go and let the magic begin.  I’ve not hung it yet as I’ve spent most of my time this weekend in my living room but today, it goes on the wall.  Under a skylight with it’s own illumination and connection to unlimited space.

Maybe I’ll grab another shot once the sun is up fully to show it in it’s Home (with better lighting 😉 ). I love it and can’t wait to watch the miracles unfold.

Speaking of magic, I made an unexpected friend through the Travis Alexander trial last year.  I can’t go in to the entire story here but the Reader’s Digest version is, she was the first to send me a large box of gifts to pass to the Alexander family during that trial.  She sought me out on the crime forum I was posting on and asked for my address and sent me this large package.  I’ll never forget opening it with it’s beautifully tissue wrapped items inside each with a note attached.  Who they were intended for and one for me too.  It was like opening a treasure box.

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The magic of this box became, literally, the gift that kept on giving because the day after I received it was a weekend day and the first time I’d ever seen any of the Alexander family outside of court.  I’d been invited to a day where, among other things, one of his sisters wanted to go see Travis’ house.

So a group of us went to support her.  I brought the treasure box along with me to pass to her.  I considered it perfect timing as I didn’t know how I was gonna schlep that big box up to the courtroom. One of the main things it contained was a collection of Vera Bradley cosmetic bags for all of the sisters and Travis’ aunt.

I thought that was a very thoughtful gift as they were living their lives on the road.  It’s nice to have something new and special like that, as well as useful. I had heard from this woman, who chose and chooses to remain anonymous in this gift, that she was essentially housebound from illness.  Yet she had managed to get out of her house, get to a store, walk all the way to the back of the store, find these bags and be so drawn to them that she bought every single one out of that store. I still use the one she gave me to this day for my makeup when I travel.

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If you look closely on this print, you see an elephant marching across it. As Travis’ sister opened this large treasure box that day, she gasped.  Literally gasped out loud when she saw these bags.  She immediately reached down to her waist and clipped off a tiny stuffed elephant danging from a beltloop.

She looked at her husband, also wide eyed and nodding and then began to tell us three different, unbelievable stories of how Travis had been visiting her since his death, through the images of elephants.  I remember her stories but will hold them in my heart.  Just trust me, pure magic.

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This was the inception of my relationship with who I later simply referred to as BB (Beautiful Benefactor).  She was posting among all of us on that crime forum and no one ever knew who she was–the person who started this avalanche of miracles that people felt around the globe who read about it as I posted the unfolding of this story that evening.

MANY people were then inspired to send things to the Alexanders, also some anonymously.  I rarely walked in that courtroom over those long months without something in my hand for them (and sometimes for Juan Martinez too, including custom M and M’s with his words on them).

It was a magical time for me being used by God in that way–the delivery person of all this outpouring of love. BB and I started a beautiful friendship that way and just this past weekend, during my own Dark Night of the Soul, she became my own benefactor.

She delivered me a compass.  One which guide me this entire year (and beyond).  And she delivered it through one simple question.

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Without going in to details, I ended up feeling left out of something important.  Well I felt left out because I was left out.  Plain and simple that’s just what happened. I’ve written about this before though so this seems to be a bit of a learning curve for me.

Sometimes, just because a door closes, you want it back open but really you are not longing for what’s on the other side of it as much as just wanting it opened again.  I wrote a whole post on this idea–guess I’m still contemplating it.  😉

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Let me tell  you though something first about my BB.  I call her  my own personal “hotline” ( aka a lifeline).   She is literally, most days, at my beck and call.  To quote Pretty Woman, she’s my Beck and Call Girl.  😉  The reason for this is that she is “stuck” at home with her illness.

She has shared with me that she herself lost much of her social circle due to being sick basically causing her to “drop out” (I won’t go in to details but this woman lives near the most important city in our country and swung in some serious circles all the way, literally, to the White House).  Her ability for activities changed dramatically so friends coming by to hang out, after a period of years, just has diminished.  She shares this with a wistfulness but also an understanding that this kind of thing just happens sometimes.

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Then comes along me.  I drive to Sedona often.  We developed this ritual where I call her most times on that drive and she keeps me company.  I talk to her, most of the time, nearly that entire drive–both ways.  She has become my sounding board, my confidante, my friend and my therapist at times.

We’ve gotten to know each other very very well although we’ve yet to meet in person. What’s she’s shared with me though, is that I’ve brought her life back some meaning. You see, we have so much in common–both former nurses (she was an ER nurse) and both of us lost a sibling to homicide (me a sister/she a brother).

My BB and I, we get each other.  In that deep unspoken way those of us walking this path of tragedy know. She’s shared that my reaching out to her in need has reminded her she still has value in this life.  That never occurred to me until she said it.  She may not be able to get on a plane just now (I’m working on that one though, subtlely 😉 ) or go out frolicking with friends.  But she is my lifeline on the other end of that phone.

We have a total win/win situation going on here.  I consider myself lucky. She has also become my champion and guard dog or “pit bull” as she calls it.  She makes me laugh.

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She answers every phone call with the words “tell me” and I laugh.  She knows there is likely something going on and I need to share it (between my brother, my Dad, myself there always seems to be something I’m needing to sort out in my head).  She helps me. This weekend was no exception as so many worlds were colliding in that fire it was a situation they invented the word chaos to describe. And my BB is the one who handed me the compass with this one simple question:

Does this make you stronger or does this make you weaker?

I’m pretty sure I gasped out loud when she said that as this question shot right in to my soul like an arrow.  I knew the answer instantaneously and she said something like “it’s as simple as that isn’t it?”.  And it was.

Weaker you walk away from, stronger you walk in to.

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It really can be that simple.

I decided to add to this compass one more question:

Is this on your treasure map?

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I put all that time, energy, love and commitment in to that map for a reason and I better respect it!

I don’t know about you, but I can complicate the most simple decision or dilemna like I’m building some kind of tunnel to China single handedly.  So this compass is serious business for me.  A tool to help me breathe deeper and navigate more swiftly.  It’s like standing before a raging muddy river, not knowing how to cross or even IF to cross and someone hands you a magic wand that all you do is wave and the bridge appears before your eyes.

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That’s how important this aha moment, this compass, is to me right now.

I thought about this all day yesterday and shared this awareness with two friends who’s eyes lit up (well one of them over the phone but I could hear her eyes light up) with the same sense of magical relief I felt.

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I sat across from my brother at lunch yesterday, my brother who’s really been struggling, who’s Dr. wants to have a serious talk with the entire family soon about “the future”, who I’ve been worried about every single day lately and asked myself the question “does this person make me weaker or stronger?” and the resounding STRONGER came immediately to my mind with no hesitation.

As my dear brother sat across from me, holding both my hands, thanking me for all I’ve done for him, tears in both of our eyes telling each other raw truths about how we need each other and will never leave each other.

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he invited me for Mediterranean food-yum

That makes me stronger, no matter his illness or needs;  he makes me stronger.

My BB makes me stronger though her presence is across the country and her “limitations” as she’s seen them;  she is strengthening me.

Try it:  it’s a very clear question and you will get a very clear immediate answer.  And then you simply, quietly, pick path you’re gonna walk, the smart one and you just start walking.

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All I know is this life needs me.  It doesn’t need me weak, it needs me strong.  I’m needed somewhere just like I was needed in that Alexander courtroom to be that conduit for all of our giving/receiving/healing.

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And I know this compass will guide me where I’m needed next.

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5 thoughts on “strong

  1. “does this person make me weaker or stronger?”

    person= person, object, situation. I hope i have imbedded this permanently in my brain, and I would like to have it as a painting on my wall. I do believe this might be one of the most valuable things you have taught me. It is so very much appreciated.

    (I remember hearing about the BB at the trial forum. I am thrilled to know how the friendship has blossomed and grown. 🙂 )

  2. Zuri

    Thank you for sharing this story. Your blog is a gift that keeps on giving and makes me think of things I don’t think of everyday. You impart strength, courage, truth and wisdom through your journeys to all of us. You are the friend we wish we all had.

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