The Dark Side

spooky-dark-foggy-landscape-17989098Apparently, there comes a time in everyone’s life when the dark rules. Or, at least tries to rule.

By dark, I mean self-defeating thoughts, looking and dwelling on the past, anger, confusion, dread, mistrust.

Even hatred.

No matter what caused it, it is there and you can’t seem to make it go away. Can’t get things to be back the way they used to be. Back into the light of day. No matter how hard you try or what tricks of the past you employ.

Different people have different methods of battling the dark.

They rationalize or flat out deny its existence. They fill the dark void with an array of entertainment to keep their mind from having to deal with the reason for the dark. Lots of people, places, things, actions.

Some constantly keep the light shining, somehow, even into the darkest corners. Whether it is because they truly feel the warmth of the light, or they are trying to convince themselves and all the onlookers that it is there….I can’t tell you which. Maybe a combination of both.

At some point, everyone has to make a stand against the dark.

This stand does not necessarily need to be a line in the sand. But, I guess it might be, if things get bad enough.

01-spotlightWill it be a flashlight, a floodlight, an illumination from above? Flushing out the doubts, the haze, the clouds, the encroaching twilight.

Or will it be a plunge, merging, with the dark? Immersion, enveloping you and removing the urge to fight.

Maybe it will be a line in the sand, to which you both toe the line. Egg the dark on and dare it to come closer.

Is it possible to simply turn your back on the dark? Like night….and day. Turn one way into the darkness. Turn the other way into the warmth of the light.

No switch involved. Just turning of the heel and changing direction. Leaving the dark crevasse, or the things that created that dark place, behind in its inky dwelling. Slimy, cold, deathly.

Choosing the light over day would be easier for those who have felt the light, who previously have resided and basked in the light. They feel the light and they know the comfort it brings, so they have a memory to go back to. To seek. For which to long.

But, I guess for those who may not have ever felt the warmth of light, this process might be much more difficult. For all they know of is the false comfort of dark. How it hides things, masks reality, is a temporary correction for something that really needs to just come into the light of day.

sun-sunlight-24299247In the end, the sun always rises. Every morning. Even the blanket cannot keep it out.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Taking Out The Trash

Plastics+Story...Cani+among+the+garbageLet’s talk about trash. I know. Your very first image is wet garbage, dirty diapers, perhaps a landfill. Right?

What trash is – and what it represents metaphorically – is simple. Trash is anything that is not needed, not wanted, or is broken or unusable. Yes. Trash can become smelly and overwhelming, especially if it is not addressed in a timely manner. If you haven’t watched the cable program called “Hoarders”, you might want to check out YouTube for some imagery of what trash gone unattended can do to a person, that person’s family and friends, and that person’s home.

Basically, unaddressed, trash can take over your life if you allow it to.

Interestingly, there is a not much discord over the definition of trash. Both mainline dictionaries, like Merriam-Webster and Oxford, and Urban Dictionary concur on what trash is.

Discarded, junk, beaten.

Everyone accumulates trash, all the time. No one can be free of it. Whether trash is food, containers, paper, furniture, vehicles, time, effort, relationships…anything wasted or no longer needed or used is trash.

carbon+footprintBut, in this new world of counting carbon footsteps and recyclable-everything, we all must try harder to be conscientious about our consumption, thereby reducing trash and re-using as much as we can. After all, we don’t want to overfill those landfills too quickly.

This concept of trash, of things that are not needed or broken, can be applied to intangibles as well. I already mentioned time, effort, and relationships in a previous paragraph.

Intangible trash – such as time, relationships, effort, and thoughts – can accumulate in your mind in the same way that hard trash, like paper and food, can accumulate in your home or a landfill. They take up space. They are “visible” everywhere you go. Sometimes you have to step over or around them to get to where you are going. Like a hoarder, you might get into a situation where it is easier to let it be than to take the time and effort to sort through it and determine what you want to let go of (e.g. what is truly trash), and what you really could use in the future.

072908-1624-losangelesa1Remember that we are also meant to recycle, if only because another person might be able to use something that we can’t. Not everything needs to be completely discarded. Some things only need a fresh perspective, a new coat of paint, some extra time and different talent.

The real problem with the intangible trash is inherent: you can’t see or touch it. And, because it has this elusive quality, it is easily forgotten or glanced over. Like dust bunnies under the bed or crumbs under the couch. Intangible trash sneaks up on you, at the worst time and completely unannounced, and causes problems with your focus, your dreams, your sense of self.

In addition, another problem with intangible trash is that it is vested in the heart. Emotions feed it. Emotions like hope, fear, desire, jealousy. These emotions, good or bad, involve a huge investment of time. Sometimes that investment makes the idea of completely getting rid of the trash untenable. It’s worth too much to throw away, or even give away.

However you approach it, real trash or intangible trash, it must be addressed.

Why not identify and catalogue it, just like you would with your other stuff?

Trash? Or recycle?

If recycle, can it be used for something else? In a different way? Or, if you can’t think of any other way that you can use it, maybe someone else can use it?

Whether the trash is real or intangible, it will reach a critical mass if left alone.

Again, check out Hoarders.

This is trash. This is your mind on trash.

Is that really how you want to live your life?

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Forgive and Be Freed

forgive-bible-quotesI have spent the past few days immersed in the concept of forgiveness.

I have two specific goals in mind:

  • To effectively apply it to a few ongoing situations in my own life, not to mention my overall personal growth
  • To analyze it from an objective viewpoint in order to answer the toughest questions about forgiveness, like why and how

Apropos that this analysis should happen now. Why, you ask? Because it is Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement for those of Jewish faith. It is a time to forgive and to seek forgiveness. Christianity, as well, holds forgiveness as a main tenet of the faith; it is a prominent topic in the New Testament of the Bible.

In reality, forgiveness is something we should be engaging in every day. Through prayer, through our actions, and our relationships with those around us. It can begin with the smallest acts.

  • Someone bumps you in the Starbucks and spills your coffee. Forgive it.
  • Someone steals your parking spot in the mall parking lot during a busy shopping weekend. Forgive it.
  • A friend says something awkward that hurts your feelings. Forgive it.

Stop and think about that. I know many of you might be thinking about what you would do to that person to retaliate. Who hasn’t at some point?  Why is that so easy to fight back, so to speak, and so difficult to just forgive it and let it go?

It’s difficult because we are human. As humans, our first instinct is to protect ourselves from injury, physical as well as emotional. We engage in “soft” protective behaviors, like sarcasm, cynicism, indifference. Many of these methods of protection are learned behaviors that have evolved as a means to shield us (in a socially acceptable manner) from the potential danger from others. After all, we can’t be out there punching or physically attacking everyone who slights us.

Every time we engage in one of these protective behaviors, however, we unfortunately deny ourselves the proven benefits that forgiveness can provide. MayoClinic.com has a great article called Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness that lists the benefits of forgiveness, many of which are proven in various scientific studies. Also, check out Forgive to Live: New Research Shows Forgiveness is Good for the Heart by Amy Westervelt. Benefits listed in both sources include:

  • Physical health, including sounder sleep, lower blood pressure and blood sugar spikes, and more balanced levels of blood cholesterol
  • Emotional health, in the form of reduced risk for depression and substance abuse
  • Psychological health, like healthier relationships
  • Spiritual health, like a stronger connection with yourself, other people, and your higher power.

freedom from cageThe best benefit of all is that forgiveness not only frees the other person from the burden of guilt, but it frees you to move on to bigger and better things. Because, while you continue to hang onto the pain of what someone else has done to you you allow that act and that person to have control of you. In essence, you cage yourself within a set of thoughts and ideas that have the potential to hold you down. Thoughts like these have a potential to gain strength and power, ultimately draining you of energy and holding you down tighter.

Who would want to live like that?

With all of the evidence and positive benefits, engaging in forgiveness on a daily basis is practically indisputable. Too bad it can’t be shrunk into a pill and prescribed. The health industry might make a fortune.

Until then, it’s a fully manual process, taken on by choice. As mentioned above, it goes against human nature to forgive injury. But, humans have been known to assume much more difficult tasks for fewer rewards and greater risk to themselves. Like climbing Mt. Everest or riding the Tour de France. If a human being can focus on a goal like that, for far fewer benefits and at much greater risk, why not something like this?

It’s all about choice.

Once you make the choice to forgive, the rest is intuitive. There is a great WikiHow document called “How to Forgive”. It concisely lists and details a bounty of good suggestions.

I really liked two of them:

  • Realize that the hate you may feel towards the person who hurt you probably doesn’t affect them the way you want it to
  • Stop telling the tale of how you were wronged

Forgiveness-is-unlocking-the-door-to-set-someone-freeOn this Day of Atonement, or every day, make forgiveness a way of life. Your mind, your body, and your family and true friends will thank you for it.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

It’s Only a Jigsaw, Silly

Every so often, I wake up with something really profound screaming in my head.

Sometimes I forget to write it down, or think that, because it was SO profound, that I will surely remember is later.

Not!

jigsaw This morning, I woke up comparing jigsaw puzzles and relationships. As I researched it, I found that, even though profound, it is not unique. But here goes.

Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles:

  • Some puzzles are simpler than others; hence, they can be put together quicker and easier.
  • None of them are easy. But, the easier they are, the less satisfying they are.
  • There are many pieces that on their own are pretty and unique ~ but together they make a beautiful creation.
  • The smaller and more intricate the pieces are, the longer it takes to put the puzzle together; but, when that puzzle is complete, it is a work of art.
  • If a piece is missing or misshapen, the puzzle can still be completed. You may have to work harder to finish it.
  • When you get stuck (because you will at some point), it’s best to give it a rest.
  • Sometimes, you have to put it back in its box and up on the shelf because it just wasn’t the right puzzle for you.
  • Some people have the curiosity and endurance to complete them; some don’t.
  • If you get one that you don’t like or can’t figure out, you CAN find another one that suits you better.

In the end, jigsaw puzzles and relationships can be as challenging and as satisfying as you want them to be.

Like anything in life, the choice is yours.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

I See The Light (I think…)

moralcompassHuman nature is a crazy and unpredictable thing. The actions, thoughts, and feelings that make up a person are convoluted at best; so much so that sometimes that very person is rendered powerless to understand or navigate the labyrinth effectively. And, to make matters worse, those actions, thoughts, and feelings are clouded and shaped by current perceptions and past experiences, all the way back to childhood.

It’s no wonder that, without a strong and steady compass, so many people get lost and confused.

If that person cannot navigate on his/her own, can you imagine the impact this person will have on other people in his/her life? Sometimes without even knowing it? Like a ship without a rudder in a storm, it is only a matter of time before a collision occurs.

All of us are susceptible to this, not only to being navigationally-challenged, but also to being on the receiving end of someone who is. We are all human, and inherently imperfect; hence, on a daily basis we struggle with these exact issues.

My questions are: How do we best adjust for this element of our humanness? How do we recover from being the victim of the navigationally-challenged? And, a more difficult question, how do we prevent ourselves from victimizing others by our own personal challenges; basically, how do we stop the vicious cycle?

Each of these questions has only two answers:

  • Honing the ability to see the goodness in each other instead of focusing on the imperfections or the things they might do to hurt us
  • Learning how to trust

In “How to Trust People – Even When You Expect the Worst” on Oprah.com, the author, Alina Tugend, suggests that trying to not judge or pre-assess why someone is doing something, and instead accepting his action at face value, can be less taxing on our day-to-day efforts and can actually make us feel better about ourselves in the process, especially when it turns out that the person really did not have any ill-intent.

But, the best part of this is that being a victim becomes less of a concern. Because instead of generating negative energy on the hurtful and possibly emotionally degrading elements of your interactions with the person, you can focus on the good points of light in that person, no matter how small and flickering they may be. In this way, you begin to create positive energy and a connection with others, thereby contributing constructively to the bigger picture of why we are all here.

Seeingthelite“Once you see the light, there’s no way you can be casual about it. It gets hold of you. It moves you and shakes you. Even if you try to push it aside and turn your back on it, it haunts you…,” says the author of “Seeing the Light”.

In my own experience, I have employed this approach to the hurtful actions of other people and it has helped me to move past my pain. In the process, I have experienced freedom of mind and of spirit.

chainlinkThere is no denying that we are all connected in some manner, if only by our humanness. So, if we are all connected, what would be the point in stressing, severing, or otherwise permanently weakening one of the connecting links?

Correct: none!

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

A Prayer

A good friend of mine texted this to me yesterday. I believe it is a Twitter post from @pastornaeem.

I am making it my blog post for today because it is very relevant to yesterday’s post.

I hope that in reading and reflecting on it, no matter what your faith or religious beliefs are, that it will provide hope and courage to anyone who has recently been (or is about to be) dumped.

~ Heavenly Father ~

It’s time for me to forget the past, forget the mistakes, and focus on what you are doing in my life today. I know you are doing a new thing. You are placing the right people in my life and removing the wrong ones. You are closing old doors and preparing me for new opportunities. The pruning process can be uncomfortable and painful, but I know it’s for my good. I trust you.Trust

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

The Dumping and The Spin

dumpingSo, you say you just got dumped? Friend, job, boyfriend, husband, wife…? That sucks and I feel your pain.

I am here to tell you that who or what did it to you is irrelevant. Really…and in more than only a literal sense.

What is relevant is that it came out of the blue like hot shrapnel, ripping through your perception of your very existence, your own reality. Drilling holes through your ego, your perseverance, your compassion, your memories, your stability.

Questions reel through your mind. Questions about why and what did you do wrong or what could you have done better.

Bottom line is that right about now, you may be lying in the dumpsite, crumpled and sore, wondering what just hit you and slowly awakening to a brand new kind of reality.

The pain, unfortunately, is still there. You are probably wondering when it will stop, but you would be happy if it would just dull down a bit.

It threatens to drag you lower as each day passes.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there and the pain isn’t going away soon, and it certainly isn’t going to feel better on its own.

Kick in the ass

A swift kick in the ass is due!

It needs a swift kick in the ass, from you.

If you want to get closer to less pain, you have to change the way you think about what has just happened.

When you change your mindset, you alter your approach. As issues of pain become non-issues, you can emerge from the devastation.

SpinIt’s time to put a positive spin on as many elements of the event as you can.

Let’s use a breakup as our example to illustrate only some possible symptoms of the pain you may be experiencing:

Positive Spin #1 – Are you nauseous and/or lack an appetite? If so, look on the bright side of it; you might be losing weight. Just think of how many months and hours at the gym it might have taken for you to lose that final 2 or 3 pounds.

Positive Spin #2 – Did you used to spend a lot of time and/or effort doing things a certain way to please your ex? If so, look on the bright side of it; you won’t have to worry about those anymore. Just think of all the free time you will have to pursue other things.

Positive Spin #3 – Are you losing sleep over it all? If so, look on the bright side of it; you now can use that free time to get caught up on movies, TV shows, or a good book that you missed before because you were wasting time with your ex.

Positive Spin #4 – Are you dreading the dating scene? If so, look on the bright side of it; you will now have the opportunity to meet and really get to know the other people in your life.

Positive Spin #5 – Are you distracted and unable to focus? If so, look on the bright side of it; you can use that lack of focus to delve into something creative and new – something that within the confines of the failed relationship would not have been possible.

Positive Spin # 6 – Are you feeling empty, possibly rejected? If so, look on the bright side of it; you can use the energy you generate from those types of thoughts to get connected with a stronger you and your higher power.

I think you get the picture now. And, I know I’ve missed a bunch of issues. Please feel free to comment if you know of other “spins” I might have missed here.

The takeaway from this post is that you can and will survive this. There is another side; a side that is brighter and more promising if you let it be.

And after you reach that side, there is an open door just beyond it, waiting for you to enter.

Open doorWhere God closes one door, He already has in mind another door for you that is so much better.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.