Looking beyond the surface

I see people in soo many different stages of life in my field. Some in the midst of a life crisis, others just years of not coping, self harm, self medicating, untreated mental health disorders, untreated trauma or abuse… The list could go on & on….

The one thing they all have in common…. they are *Human*….

I say that to make a point, I often tell my clients; The only difference between you being on that side of the table & me, is…. *circumstances & coping skills*!

I have yet to meet someone that woke up & said, Today I want to be homeless, or mentally ill; Today, I want to have an addiction disorder. Noone wants that life, but like any disease, we don’t get to choose which disorders we have; but we do have to address them!

I am very careful to not judge my clients, to listen to their story & try to learn how they got to the point in life where they are….

You never know when the chairs could be turned, and you find yourself in their place. A little empathy… goes a long way!

Seek to understand the Chaos….

Not my place to judge

I don’t have to like your behaviours to love you as a friend. I can look and see your pain, I can see your addiction as the disease it truly is. I can love you & be encouraging & supportive of you getting help. I can remind you that relapse is only a small part of addiction, & encourage you to simply keep moving forward!

I don’t have to lower my standards or expectations of you just because you are struggling right now! I do however have to be fair, & mindful of your journey & choices.

I am allowed to be upset, hurt, disappointed. I am not allowed to however, judge you, mistreat you, or disrespect you.

I can meet you where you’re at, in this process. I can verabilze to you my concerns & I can express how I feel.

I understand so much more that you know. But I see you’re not ready to talk, or open up, or engage in treatment.

So I sit back, gather my thoughts & pray. I reach out, I just try to remind you; of the person you lost… I see him…

I hold back my anger, I just try to remember, my goals in life & your goals aren’t the same, nor do they have to be; but that doesn’t mean, I don’t love you, or that I don’t respect you, or that I am not your friend!

Thing is…. I just might believe in you… more than you believe in yourself! I see you, I see through the phase you’re in. I know you, I know what you are capable of. I know…. who you are, inspite of your actions… I know that when you’re feeling very much the victim of life… that in fact, you are a survivor, a warrior of life!

I never stop believing in you!

I just simply love you… as you are!

#addiction #recovery #mentalhealthawareness #sfami #thestruggleisreal #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill

#meetingyouwhereyouare #healthycopingskills #healthyboundaries


The true Beauty of being Broken

Growing up in life, we are taught right from wrong at such a young age. The world quickly becomes black & white, or; so we think.

Working in behavioral health & Substance abuse populations, one thing I can tell you; the world isn’t… black & white. It is filled with a world of grays & colors, in art, the concept we learn so young of black & white; is actually light & shades of dark…

Paintings are very much like people. We start with a rough outline, slowly the idea we envisioned starts to fade as new life transpires; with each new layer of color we add on.

Sometimes, my heart aches: for things it cannot understand. For desires it has, that breath life of their own. For others that it feels hurting & suffering around me. For the sadness it hears in those around it.

Sometimes as an artist, we try to capture those intense emotions; we feel them soo deeply, soo intensely, we have to purge our soul of the sensation & thoughts around us.

In, Japanese culture Kintsugi or Kintsukurio is the art of taking something broken; and putting it back together, filling the cracks with gold or silver. The thought is, that the object is actually more beautiful, because of the cracks. The cracks, imperfections are highlighted; to show the endurance & strength of the object & is considered to actually add more value than before it was broken.

Art mimics life & people. The most beautiful souls, are the ones that have been broken. The souls that have overcome & risen up from the chaos life has given them.

Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes & could see their pain? It’s the kind of pain that only hides behind a broken smile. Those eyes sparkle, they light up cold dark nights, they make you feel warm, welcomed, & loved.

As an artist we strive to capture that raw pain moment & put it to canvas… As a nurse, I tend to gravitate towards the broken souls… I hear them call so loud at times… I just want to mend them, filling in the cracks with gold & silver. Highlighting all that they have overcome in life!

The world simply is not black & white…

The world is filled with broken souls, in full color , with light & dark shades adding to their depth. You just have to look beyond, your mental concepts of things, talk to people, hear their story, & stand back & admire the beauty of their journey!

Poised like a picture

Here’s the thing, you can wear a mask in life, smile pretty for the camera, But that’s just it, it’s an *attempt* at creating an illusion.

You don’t really, truly fool anyone. You might in fact give yourself away. See behind the poised photo, there is this glimmer of hope, this beacon of pain, humility, internal sadness that lingers from within, just long enough to cast shadows from the illusion you were trying to create.

There is a reason we admire those that are fearless, courageous, & bold enough to live out loud. To truly be themselves, that seem truly unapologetic about expressing how they feel or view the world.

Life isn’t composed or arranged in a neat, tidy bow. Life is messy, complex, emotional, & raw. Life was designed to test us, push us, drive us to be our best selves.

It’s up to us, to arise to the challenge…. It’s up to us to determine if we are poised, unattached, emotionally removed. It’s up to us to decide if we want to juggle 50 things at once, if we want to grin & smile behind the pain, if we want to guard up, and later on our armour.

We have the power to become, overcome, lift up, help, and or inspire .

We have the power to changes our lives!

Or we can just….. sit & complain & blame, while the world passes you by.

People will disappoint you

So yes, people will let you down in life and disappoint you. It is a fact, after all we are only human. Oftentimes, our expectations were simply just too high, or perhaps that’s just it; they were *our* expectations and not the desires or intentions of the other person.

Communication is the key, but that requires two parties to verbally identify their needs, intentions & desires. Life is just too short to get caught up in the what if”s or maybe’s…

Be bold enough to live outloud, bold enough to have the courage to speak on your emotions, needs, & desires. Bold enough to be honest about your feelings. That takes courage, it takes honesty and knowing ones self!

That requires for you to truly reflect & own your faults as well as your strengths. It requires, humility, grace, integrity & and a earnest desire to find your truth!

It requires you to not hide behind your past, or trauma, or life circumstance. It requires you to embrace every step in your journey, it requires you own the events that have lead you to this point.

People will disappoint you…. Because we are simply, *Human*…

That should however, not stop you from being your best self & embracing life, the good, the joyful, & the bad, the painful… Those are the lessons we need to carry us to the next step on this journey!

If you can’t dance in the rain, learn to admire its beauty! You just might learn from it.

#lifelessons #lifegoals #embraceyourself

Stormy Weather

Today was a rough day at work. Somedays are just emotionally draining just because of the nature of my job. Helping people heal…

I respect all the parts that come together to make things work. Nothing is ever a quick or simple fix! I don’t mind that or hard work. I like being busy, I like helping others.

I go home and I can sleep easy knowing I did an honest days work & helped change someone’s life for the better.

Not everyday feels like a success. Today felt very much like the weather outside, stormy, wet, dark & messy!

Some days, life simply is messy!

Letting your gaurd down

I think the hardest thing in life is opening up to someone. To put faith and trust into another individual. Life isn’t really that different from nature. When it rains and the world crashes down around us; we close in our walls and put up our protective layers. Not unlike a flower that draws in its petals during the rain storm.

I think I seek out the beauty in each day, because I see the pain and feel the suffering of so many around me. It’s like I have to look past all the craziness of the world to find the little nuggets of beauty God places around us.

If you think about it, not much unlike the videos games children play. Characters go through intense situations and after each obstacle is overcome, they are rewarding with; treats that renew their energy.

God has done that for us; when we choose to see it. I try to find a creative art outlet in each day. Today it was after visiting my Nanny in the nursing home. I parked beside a Magnolia tree, it had rained and the sun was just starting to peek out, from under the heavy blue-gray clouds.

Today I really missed talking to my friend. There isn’t much I don’t want to share and tell him about, when you find someone you trust, truly trust in life; well that is hard to walk away from.

You don’t get many of those moments in life, they are far and few in between. It’s hard to let your petals or walls down during the rain.

My art

My art

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I have always drawn since before age of 13 and journaled. Visually, I have also always loved art. Be it fashion, home decor, paintings, jewelry, or music. Art in any format, I tend to be drawn to.

For me, painting came much later in life, I took art history in school & college, learning about styles of art and color, light, and shadows. In my 20’s; I got into photography, quickly loved digital photography with the editing; and everything you can do to bring a photo to life or tell your story by changing something, as as simple as lighting.

Painting however; challenged me, in many ways. I started out with acrylics, I still prefer them as you can water them down to almost water colors or thicken them up & add other outside elements to fade the color or add texture and depth; or you can use the slightest hint of pigment and give a soft suttle feel to a painting

Photography made me study every aspect of light and shadows. To look and not see a tree but rather branches with holes of light reflecting off the surfaces. Leaves were no longer simply green, but now entire hues of shades of green, yellow, sky blue, and depths of black and browns.

Photography opened up a whole new worldview for me. It impacts you in ways you don’t realize. Being a nurse, I am a caregiver, observation is second nature. You notice colors of skin, flesh, body fluids, and shades and hues of gray or blue. You learn that pale tones in the flesh correlate with whether someone is ill or not feeling well. That red tones could possibly indicate emotional responses such as passion or anger. Nothing is no longer black & white. Everything and everyone suddenly has depth and underlying layers.

You have to slowly pillage through the layers to see what lies beneath the surface. Similar to painting, where you must slowly build up the layers to show depth & emotion.

I really started painting when my daughter Summer was diagnosed with a mass in her brain. I found I was unable to sleep at night, unable to empty out the thoughts from my mind. Focusing on layers of emotions, expressions, and colors allowed me to detach from the intensity of my reality and escape for a little while.

In many ways… you might say, art saved me from myself.

The paintings above, are just a few of ways of how I have explored the world through shades of color over the last few years.

New world of art to explore!

I came to wordpress to journal and empty my mind. I am beyond excited to discover a whole new world of artists. I have enjoyed following a variety of artists on other social media platforms over the years.  I think just the concept that this format allows for a more intimate experience, is most intriguing.

So often as an artist you get highlighted into one category,  but the truth is; as artists we simply think and see the world so differently. Utilizing diverse forms of art and expression is what make an artist so unique.

To be able to share all sides and incorporate that into new creative ideas and art is something,  I have been longing for awhile now. Due to work and life being so busy, I have been relying on photography to break up the day and keep the creativity flowing.

#randomthingsyouseewhiledriving #godscanvas #nobodypaintslikegod #phototherapy #nature #photography #itsthelittlethings #randomphotoshelpbreakuptheday



Welcome to my journey

I use to journal all the time. I have journaled in many different formats over the years. This past year, I guess it was in the format of emails with a cherished friend.

I feel the need to start again. I am entering a different phase of life and hopefully this will help me sort through the chaos. I don’t plan on censoring myself here, this is my place to unload and for once not hide behind anonymity.

This is my journey, “Not all who wander are lost” J. R. R. Tolkien That is true, but I won’t go as far as to say I know what it is I am seeking either…