You will get through this….

Dear Courageous Girl,Many times, life throws us into a battle. These are times that teach us, strengthen us, test us and show us what we are made of.

Don’t ever think for a minute that you are weak when it feels like life is a battle.

Life doesn’t give us battles to turn us into vengeful fighters, rather to show us the strength that we have that we don’t even know we have until we have to use it.
Life is not out to get us, but rather there to teach us. Life is not working against us, but absolutely for us.
Sometimes life hands out some really tough love, but if we take it as love and return with love, openness and faith in the journey, miracles happen.

Brave Girls Club - youwillgetthroughthis

It is ok to feel weary sometimes. It is ok to cry and even to shout at the sky. It is ok to throw fits when we are at our wit’s end. The important thing is that we keep those fits short, make them count, and then move on – move forward, keep moving, keep learning, keep hoping, keep believing, keep smiling. Things have always worked out. Things will continue to always work out.Be brave, dear girl.

You are so very loved.
xoxo

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Get busy….you know what to do

Dear Terrific Girl,

Sometimes the things that are tugging at our hearts come with strings attached that feel too risky, too difficult, to scary to follow.

Sometimes we keep doing the same things day after day, even though we are treading AGAINST the water, even though we really want to be doing something else, even though we want to be somewhere else or with someone else, even though all signs point to a totally different direction.

You know what you are supposed to do, lovely…you know the answer. Your intuition has been telling you for SUCH a long time, and every day that goes by, the little messages keep getting stronger, the miracles keep showing up, the signs keep appearing….in ways that you cannot deny.

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It doesn’t matter if your path is not a common one. It doesn’t matter if some people will not understand…sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether YOU understand all of it.
What matters is that you follow YOUR heart…that you listen to YOUR soul….that you do what YOU are meant to do.

Now, get busy….you know what to do.

You are so very loved.
xoxo
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Sometimes the best way to help ourselves is to help others….

Dear Loving Girl,

When life feels overwhelming, upsetting or grim…we can instantly change our outlook on things by getting out and serving someone else. Somehow, when we turn our focus to someone else, and especially to making their load lighter, or their day brighter…it comes back to us ten times stronger even than what we put out. That is some sweet math, isn’t it?
If things are tough right now, even if you feel like you don’t have time……just try it out. Make a phone call, write a kind note…..bake some cookies or make a piece of art for someone. Take time to really visit….help someone do something that is hard for them and easy for you.
Something so beautiful will happen that you will forget about your own sadness for a while…and when things start feeling tough again, you have the power to get out and serve someone in little ways all over again.

Just try, my friend. It will be worth the effort.

help others

This is one of the most magical facts of life….and it works every time.

You are amazing and brilliant…and oh so loved.

xoxo

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Feed what is true and good…

Dear grateful girl,

What do you choose to see? It might seem like so much is going wrong around you, and it might even be true….but there are always many many more good things to see and wonderful things to be grateful for.

If we can get our thoughts to sway away from feeling lack….whether it’s financial or emotional or physical…and instead focus on every little simple and beautiful and lovely thing around us…our lives can be full and abundant and joyful.

When we have difficulties finding the beauty we are looking for, we always have the ability and the choice to go out and create it.

Between the beauty and truth already out there and what we can create….we can each find joy and strength at any time. Isn’t that wonderful? Life is so good!

You are so very loved.
xoxo

Brave Girls Club

 

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I love myself enough to do what it takes (to get well)- PART 1 of a series about adrenal fatigue, chronic hives, hormone imbalance, weight gain, emotional healing, etc. etc. etc.

Ok…first I want to tell you why I am doing this. I am doing this because this journey to regain my health has been very difficult, very confusing and many times very lonely. What helped me most is hearing the stories of how others have healed. So….I am doing my part and telling you what has helped me. There might be some things here that help you, things you might want to try or ask your naturopaths, doctors and healers about….PLEASE do your own research about your own body before you take any of the steps I have taken. I am not a medical professional. I’m just sharing what has worked for me. I am not feeling 100% yet…so I am still on this journey too…but I feel like I’ve hit a stride and things are just continuing to get better and better.

to go where I need to go to find peace

If you are new here…I’m Melody….I was born in 1971 so right now I am 43 years old….almost 44. I have 5 children and have been married for 25 years. I have 2 grandchildren, too. (the best part of my life!)  I have been a business owner for almost all of those years. Life has been wonderful and busy and also very hard sometimes.  I got really sick a few years ago after a decade of traumatic, stressful and difficult years where one horrible thing after another happened in my family, my business and my personal life. The hardest part was that my husband got a traumatic brain injury and took 6 years to get him well and get him back.  Once my life started calming down a bit, I started getting sick. It started with chronic welts that disfigured my face and body, then went to adrenal exhaustion (severe stage 3), I gained over 40 pounds and I lost my vitality, my energy and my passion for lots of things. Everything in my body was depleted….hormones, adrenals, blood pressure, cholesterol…all of it was dangerously low. I wore my body out and it’s been a very long journey. But I’m finally starting to feel like myself and I just want to share this information if you are in the same situation. This is me today….I will share some photos in future blog posts of when I had hives, etc……because doesn’t everyone like a good before/after photo? :)

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Ok….here’s what will NOT be in this blog series

  1. An easy way to fix all of this
  2. A program I want you to buy (although I will tell you about programs I have tried that have worked and give you info if you ever want to try them)
  3. Someone who knows exactly what they are doing…..I’m just telling you what I have learned and what I know so far…because I know how it feels to not know what to do or how to do it and also to have tried so many things that didn’t work

to choose what works best for my life

Now let me tell you what WILL be in this series…(and why this series will be long and so many parts   )

WHAT HAS WORKED FOR MY PHYSICALLY…

  1. The supplements I have taken
  2. The medications I have taken
  3. The foods I can and can not eat (and other things I’ve tried concerning food)
  4. The symptoms I have had and their patterns (the hives, the weight gain, the exhaustion, the brain fog, the emotional instability, the grief, the discouragement, the aging, the depression, the shame and blame, the ups and downs)
  5. The kinds of professionals and healers who have helped me
  6. The exercise my body can do (and can not do yet)
  7. The rest my body must do (and what I’ve had to do to make it possible)
  8. The relationships that my body reacts to both positively and negatively
  9. The stressors my body will not tolerate anymore
  10. What has worked to start and continue shedding the weight I’ve gained
  11. Building FUN into as many things as possible
  12. I will also share some before and after photos and some photos of where I’ve been in this journey along the way

to eat the best foods

WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME MENTALLY

  1. The new mindset I’ve had to adopt and integrate about my unconditional worth and my personal responsibility for what comes in and out of my life and what I give to the world
  2. The thoughts I can allow and can not allow
  3. The things I have learned to focus on
  4. The things I’ve had to become an expert about
  5. Planning and scheduling my self care into my day like it is the most important thing I could ever be doing, (because it is)  and not letting anything interfere
  6. Understanding and even doing scientific research to find that what used to work for me when I was young will not work the same for me now….my body is different
  7. The books I’ve read, the talks I’ve listened to, the research I’ve found
  8. Building FUN into as many things as possible
  9. to create comfortable and beautiful spaces

WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME EMOTIONALLY

  1. Going to therapy and healing my emotional wounds and issues
  2. Being 100% honest about my feelings and not willing or stuffing them away or being dishonest about how severe or even how minor they are….being honest about all of it
  3. Dealing with my anger (which I have denied all of my life because I really and truly thought that I was just not an angry person, but that actually I have much repressed anger that has turned into sickness)
  4. Dealing with my hurt and resentment
  5. Getting rid of clutter in all areas of my life
  6. Making very strong, clear and strict boundaries and keeping them (with myself and others)
  7. Owning ALL of my emotions, all of my decisions, all of my actions, all of the words that come out of my mouth, all of the thoughts I think, all of the ways I react to everything. Not allowing blame toward anyone in my life anymore because I have to take control of my life and what is happening inside of me is largely my choice…and what I do is my choice. I’m a grown woman and can not blame how I feel on anyone else.
  8. Walking away from or changing relationships that hurt me, stress me or are not resonating with me (this is a matter of life and death)
  9. Letting others walk away when I’m not a good match for them and not chasing after them
  10. Forgiving EVERYONE for EVERYTHING (this does not mean let toxic people in your life, just forgive them and wish them all the best and let it go)
  11. FORGIVE MYSELF FOR EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME FOREVER (no matter what)
  12. Understanding that I am going to have big setbacks….like, I was doing really great and then my dad got sick and then he died….it was very heartbreaking, traumatic and unexpected….it set me back a lot and I wondered if I was going to have to start over completely in my healing…but I bounced back and I knew what to do. I am certain that I will continue to have setbacks, and that it will be okay.
  13. Making a commitment to love, honor, cherish and stay with myself in sickness and in health, for better or for worse and taking that commitment very seriously
  14. Understanding that what worked for my body when I was young does not work the same for me now. My body is different than it used to be….and that is ok.
  15. Understanding and accepting and cooperating with the cycles of life of the human body and aging…growing older….looking older….behaving as a valuable wise woman
  16. Building FUN into as many things as possible

to burn my list of imperfections

WHAT HAS WORKED SPIRITUALLY

  1. Admitting that I need help from my creator
  2. Accepting the unconditional love and acceptance of my creator
  3. Building and maintaining a deep relationship with my creator
  4. Understanding and accepting and cooperating with the cycles of life of the human body and the everlasting soul
  5. Getting my view of who I am from myself and my creator only…not from anyone or anything else.
  6. Learning from my creator and believing my creator that my worth is absolute, is infinite and does not have to be earned, nor can it be taken away.
  7. Believing my creator when my creator tells me how incredible I am, how loved I am, how watched out for I am, how seen and heard I am, how protected I am, how equipped I am, how beloved I always will be
  8. Believing that my creator wants me to be happy, to have fun, to heal from my trauma, to learn from my struggles, to create, to have wonderful relationships, and to help others whenever possible, but first to help myself…and that my creator is there to help me with ALL OF IT, ALL OF THE TIME, no matter what.

to forgive everyone for everything

I have not blogged about this yet because it is so multifaceted…and truly, my friends…there is not an easy solution to this that I know of. (and believe me when I tell you that I have looked and tried and researched and tried again…just about everything) The truth is, it takes time, it takes dedication and it takes doing a lot of things that most people aren’t willing to do until they are on death’s door….the hardest thing of all is putting yourself ahead of everything else that takes every bit of your time and energy. It is very very very hard to do this if you are a caretaker…or if you are a human. :)

But if you are feeling as crummy as I have been feeling…..I know that you are ready to do whatever it takes to get your life back.

I’m called this “I love myself enough to do what it takes” BECAUSE that is the very first step. To do what has finally worked, I have had to make some very big changes that have required me to change my heart and my mind and myself. I have had to learn how to put myself on my list…and much of the time, I have had to put myself FIRST on my list and that is something I have never been able to do….not only that, but I had to heal a very broken belief that putting myself first was bad…selfish…arrogant….etc. Actually, putting myself on my list AT ALL was all of those things. I can now proudly say that I have learned to put myself on my list every single day…and that I feel very good about that and want everyone else to do it.

to see my own beauty

Ok so let’s start this blog series with where I was before I learned what I have learned about all of this…….and then we will get right down into the nitty gritty of what has worked for me in the next blog post that I do. ok?

Sooooo…what I want you to know is that I wanted a quick fix. I tried a lot of quick fixes. I also want you to know that the people who knew what they were talking about told me that this was going to be a long journey….but like so many other things in my life….I thought it would be different for me…because I am a hard worker and I have a lot of willpower and I knew I could do the fast track. The problem is….that fast track mentality was largely what got me in this position.

Something else that I want you to know is that EVERYONE who knew what they were talking about told me things I was going to have to do…things I didn’t want to do…and I tried doing EVERYTHING but those things because I didn’t want to do those things and didn’t think I could. Healing from all of this requires doing things that are difficult, uncomfortable and slow. I didn’t start to heal until I just surrendered and started to do those things.

to keep going no matter what

For example. EVERY healer and doctor and person who has healed told I was going to have to give up caffeine, wholly and completely. I didn’t. I didn’t think I could. I did lots of the other things, and I did cut down on caffeine….but I wasn’t getting any better…and lo and behold…I did not start to heal until I finally did. Same with sugar. (and stress, and toxic relationships and gluten and processed food) They all told me that I was going to have to get a lot of sleep. I didn’t think I had time for that…but I did not start to heal until I made time and made my life in such a way that I could get a lot of good quality sleep… A LOT of it. They told me that these were lifestyle changes that were not for a little short time….that if I was feeling better and stopped doing these things, went back to my old ways….that I would get sick again. I did that….lots of times. It has taken me a few years to figure out that this is my new way of living…not a short term thing.

I am telling you this because I just don’t want you to think there is an easy way. I thought there had to be an easy way. I tried lots of “easy ways” …..none of this started to work until I did what had to be done.

to begin again

I was exhausted, puffy, sad, mad, annoyed, and thinking that life was not very much fun. I was moody.  I was ready to give up lots of times and just be sick the rest of my life. It was too hard to keep going when I only saw a little bit of progress. Sometimes the only thing that has kept me going is that none of my clothes fit and I really want to be able to wear my clothes!! But those are just the days that I am being vain. What has really kept me sustained is that I want a good quality of life. I want to have energy. I want to be happy. I want my moods to be stabile. I want to feel confident and full of vitality. I want to thrive and accept myself as I move into the second half of my life.

So……if you think you are ready to love yourself enough….to do whatever it takes to feel better….read on. But here’s the bottom line, sister……lots of this might not seem important or that it could be related to your health…..but the stuff that ended up helping me the most was the stuff that I kept putting off because it didn’t seem that important. This is going to require a change of heart…and the biggest change your heart needs to make is that it needs to build a big beautiful, comfortable, happy room for YOU in it.

I will write the next blog post about some of the physical things I’ve done, and I will go on from there…but this one is long enough and lots to digest.

I hope you will stick with me. I want you to feel better too. Living the way I was….it was hell. None of us need to live that way. Let’s take good care of ourselves and of each other.

So much love,

melody




Dear Fantastic Girl,If we all just followed one simple rule, every day, no matter what, no matter where, no matter who was involved, our lives could truly become consistently beautiful.

What if there was such a rule? Would it be worth following? What would prevent us from doing something that could have such profound impact and essentially give us everything our hearts want most? What would hold us back from keeping the rule every day, no matter what?

It might be worth a try.

The one simple rule is to love everyone, without expecting anything at all in return — to love for the sake of loving, for the joy and peace and relief that comes when you love without expecting anything in return.

Brave GIrls Club - ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE

Beautiful friend, life is actually so much simpler than we make it. Try it out. Love everyone around you, regardless of their behavior, regardless of their background, regardless of what they can do for you, regardless of what they have done TO you. Love them, wish them well, help them along if you get the chance. Don’t allow their negativity to keep you from being the loving person that you are.You are so worth whatever it takes to live a happy life. This is one of the best ways. It is true.

You are so very loved and so very loving. You are strong enough to love. You are.xoxo

 

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http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/25522

It is okay to be weary…

Dear Weary Girl,

You have already done so much, dear friend, it’s okay to be weary. Sometimes it is just so hard to think that we still have to keep going even when it seems like we’ve been going and going and going. The beginning is hard, and sometimes it’s hard to finish….but the most important time is sometimes the time that happens between the two of those times.

There is this time, this space between not anymore and not there yet…..that middle space…that space where it’s hard to keep going, it’s hard to keep perspective and it’s hard to keep a smile on our faces. This is an important time, and a confusing time. It’s a time that we don’t know how to measure and that we aren’t sure when will end. It’s a time when we’ve got to be braver than we’ve ever been.weary

If you are weary, beautiful soul….know that it’s okay to stop and rest. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to cry when you are in between here and there. It’s okay that you want to quit, it’s just very important that you don’t quit. It’s okay to spend some time thinking about quitting and then spend even more time not quitting. But, when you are weary, it’s okay to have a break in the middle somewhere……and then remember where you are headed and get going to where you belong.

You have always been strong enough to do this…you have always been brave enough…that has not changed. You know even more now…you are even stronger and braver. You are going to be okay. You are a phenomenal woman.

And you are so very loved.
xoxo

 

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Dear Beloved Girl,

Oh beautiful soul, do you know of the epidemic that is breaking so many hearts…the epidemic that has taken over so many good days?….it is the epidemic of feeling unwanted.

All of us have felt unwanted from time to time, but we are living within a culture that creates entire ways of living around the feeling that we are unwanted until we have the right car or the right body or the right job or the right hair or the right shoes. We live in a culture that is always trying to make us feel like we will not be happy until we have the things that are pasted across the magazine pages and the billboards and the movie screens and the computer screens.

And all to make us feel wanted. But let’s ask ourselves, dear friends….wanted for what?

What if instead of waiting to be chosen, instead of waiting to be wanted, instead of working to have and be all of the things that would make us desirable, wanted and chosen………what if we just chose ourselves? What are we waiting for and who are we waiting for to choose us and what will it even mean to us if it happens if we can not first choose ourselves…if we do not first want ourselves as a friend and a companion and a fellow soul?

Today, wonderful soul….you could choose yourself. You could choose yourself every day without having to fall for all of those tricks that say you must have the right things to wear and the right shape and the right amount of any number of things. You could choose yourself right now, just as you are…..and then….walk away from the game that says you have to be something more before you are wanted or chosen. Choose yourself….because, really…you are the only one who can do it. And….you are so worth choosing.

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And while we are all at it….let’s encourage each other to do the same…to not wait anymore. Remind her that she’s enough right now….she doesn’t have to wait to be chosen, she doesn’t have to wait for anything.

This is important….please choose yourself. It doesn’t matter who does or does not choose you after you’ve chosen yourself…..because, you are not waiting around anymore. Live now…choose now….no more waiting.

You are so very very very loved.
xoxo

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Come and paint with me……you are invited! (even if you are just learning!)

Hi Friends!!

I am excited to announce that I have been invited to do a collaborative course with 5 other artists, where we will teach your our favorite techniques inspired by our favorite master artists. I am SOOOOO EXCITED about this because I love the work of Gustav Klimt and I can’t wait to show you my interpretation of his work and teach you to come up with your own interpretation too.

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You will also learn from 5 other incredible artists!!! AND….get this…the course has an early bird price of only $49 (after that it will be $82) This is an amazing offer and I really hope you will come do this with me…

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Go here to sign up before the early bird price is done….(technology is so awesome that the way I get paid for doing this class is by you signing up under this link, that is attached to my name….so it would be awesome if you could sign up this way! thank you!!!)…this is such a great value for the amazing content of this course……




 

But here’s more about the class!!!

This 6 week course begins May 5, 2015 with lifetime access.

Early registration price is $49.99 and the price will go to $82 on April 6th.

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Here is a glimpse of what you can expect each week:

*The guest artists will study under the “master” of their choice.  This will include a brief history of the artist.

*Start to finish video of the artist practicing a painting of the chosen master

*Videos sharing what they learned through practicing the techniques and style of another artist

*A start to finish video of the artist creating their own art using techniques they have learned but creating in their own style

*Each week will end with the artist sharing the artists that have encouraged and inspired them over the years.

*Each week will have book and video references

*Weekly live online “chats” with the artist

*All content has lifetime access

*All videos are pre-recorded so you can watch at your convenience

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Are you getting excited? This is a great time to learn how to paint, to learn some art history and to have some wonderful fun….this is also a great way to teach your children art history! I have used previous editions of this course in my homeschooling for art history….it is perfect! I hope you will come join us! You can’t go wrong for only $49….plus…lifetime access!!

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I hope to see you there!!!

Here are some great testimonials from others who have taken this course….

Praise for the Masters series…

“In all my years as an artist, I have never had a course that stretched and grew me so much. Not only has my art taken off in so many exciting ways, but I was blessed with friendship and support I never expected. Thanks for all that you do. I am so looking forward to part two!”

-Renee

***

“The Studying the Masters class inspired me to look deeper into my own art process. The format where I was able to find out more about the artist’s process and their techniques captured my attention. The presenting artists were quality women whose own art process gave me confidence to keep going. I look forward to the next class.”

-Linda

***

“This course is one of the best I have taken in that it introduced me to several different modern day artists. In watching how they studied under some masters, I became a student of, not one, but TWO artists each week, some of whom I feel a real resonance with!! I feel as though I am finding more of my artistic voice as a result of this class, and that is pretty exciting!! Thanks so much Jeanne for helping me take another step closer to my dream! ”

-Silvia

***
“The best class ever no matter your talent level…seeing the instructors paint right along in  “their” style of painting trying to get close to what a Master created was so enlightening since each had awesome talent but different ways to get the final results that they wanted! We were in their studio with there favorite supplies, magic!”

-Tari

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Ok…please please please come do this with us! It is going to be amazing!!!

Here’s the link again to sign up at early bird pricing!




See you there! I can’t wait to paint with you!

xo

melody

 

 

3. Let’s Explore LOVE….

I am in love with the power of love.

Even with all of the ways that this word is overused, misunderstood and manipulated, I don’t know of another word on this earth that is more important. I promise not to get sappy or dramatic or candy apple sweet on you. But, if there was one thing I could ever tell you, my friend, it is that if you want to feel whole, happy and complete….if you want to feel healed from the past and ready to take on the future…

…LOVE can do that.

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I come by my love for love honestly, but also selfishly, for it was love that finally saved me from all of the things that ever hurt me. Being loved by another human being is beautiful and profound. I think we all hope with everything that is in us that everyone alive gets to experience the joy of being loved, including ourselves. But I am going to argue that if we go through our lives seeking the experience of BEing loved above all other experiences, we will suffer.

We don’t need to suffer.

I love being loved. I have been loved. I am even truly loved by some loving someones this day. It feels so good to be loved. It really was not the love I receive or have received, however, that saved and healed me, but the love that I learned to give. There is something incredibly liberating, freeing and deep breath inducing about knowing that I don’t have to wait around for another human being to save me, heal me or want me….but that love heals in so many directions that it does not matter who the giver or receiver is.

Love is a power, for real. It is kind of like a super power.

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You see, love is such an active word, and not a “thing” to discover or find. We are taught something quite the opposite in our culture, and I believe that is why we see so much inner torment. We are taught to seek out happiness, happiness for ourselves above all else, like it is some kind of hidden treasure with a complicated map that only the very seasoned explorers will find in their lifetime. It is in our culture, in our media, even in our child selves to think and say “me, me, me.”

We are taught to become as desirable as possible, and to stay as desirable as possible, so that we may attract someone to love us. We are taught to do whatever it takes to be desired….which has translated into a shallow version of what love really is. Many of us feel useless or unlovable when those shallow measurements are not met. Yet…we yearn to feel the power of love.

And we ALL come by that honestly. We are creatures who have a survival instinct. We WANT to be happy, we want to survive. We want to be loved and understood and important. We want to make sure that we have what we need. As a child, this is absolutely necessary and appropriate and part of our development to be able to rely on others to give us what we need.

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We hear it in music and literature; we see it in all kinds of works of art from the beginning of time, that LOVE is what we want more than anything. Why then, when we seek and seek and seek for love, does it often elude us, leaving us feeling empty and miserable?

Well….again, it is because love is not a “thing” to be found…it is, rather, something that we DO.

THAT is where the power is, it is in the DOing.

It seems counterintuitive that to feel loved (which is what we think it will take to feel LOVE) that we could simply GIVE LOVE. It is not counterintuitive. When we give love…when we are love…when we perform selfless acts, expecting nothing in return…the love just fills the space that we live in, and it is as if we are being loved at that very moment. If we release the expectation of another human being having to give us the love that we need….it frees us up to feel the love that is already there when we ourselves are doing the LOVING.

It’s like you are thirsty, so YOU turn on the water instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Then…everyone gets to drink… get it?

This is what unconditional love is. And…in all honesty, love is not pure love unless it is unconditional,

I want to illustrate this with a personal story….because I am certain that I sound like someone who just smoked something that made me really happy and idealistic. I know I am making this sound easy. It is NOT easy…but, my friend, it IS simple.

My marriage changed 14 years into it. It changed BIG TIME. It went from 2 people who love each other deeply, to one person who is in love and one person who can not feel love. My husband suffered a brain injury and it took nearly 6 years for him to recover…by the time he was whole again, we had been married 20 years.

Brave Girls Club - Melody Ross - young family
We had 5 young children, we had a big business that we started and owned together, we had 7 acres and a farm that we operated together (mostly him). We loved our life and we loved each other….I loved him and he loved me back. He loved me and I loved him back.  That is what love is, right? You love someone, and they love you back.

One of the things that happened with his frontal lobe brain injury was that his personality changed. Along with this new personality came a lack of ability to feel romantic love or real compassion. He cared about me still…in the same way he cared about the horses out back, or the lawn, or sports…he cared about me. He just did not feel love for me (or anyone else) anymore. He knew intellectually that he should, and that he did at one time…he just couldn’t anymore. This was the worst kind of hell you can imagine…for both of us.

Brave Girls Club - Marq & Melody Ross

Sometimes the worst, hardest, most hellish stuff teaches us the best stuff, though. That was definitely the case for me. Because we had 14 years of pretty terrific marriage under our belt, because we had 5 children and a business and a farm….most days I decided to commit to doing whatever it took to hold things together. Simple? YES. Easy? NO.

I have to give a lot of thanks and credit to a neuropsychologist who pulled me aside one day and told me rather frankly that my husband’s recovery was going to be a very long journey, one that might not ever end in healing. He did tell me, however, that all of the recoveries that he had seen had one thing in common….that the patient was met with unconditional love and patience as he recovered. So…I committed to figuring out just what unconditional love was. I wanted to save my husband….but what happened was that it saved me. Then, it all went on to save my marriage, and maybe even my husband. Unconditional love saved my family, for sure.

If I were to explain what happened in my heart, I would have to tell you that it was a process. It was a process of going from a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged for my husband to love me…to a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged to be able to endure my husband not loving me…and finally to a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged to love my husband with the purest kind of love that existed, no matter what I got in return.

THAT is when I started to heal.

THAT is when I gave my husband the freedom to heal.

THAT is when I got my superpower

LOVE is a power. It just is.

This has become a super power that has taken all of the weight off of my shoulders of expecting any specific outcome in ANY relationship. This is a superpower that has taught me that expecting, assuming or feeling disappointed by the action or inaction of others is just a giant weight that was preventing me from soaring.marq and melody now

You can’t fly when you are holding onto a bag of rocks called expectation, assumption and disappointment.

But still, we need love. It didn’t make sense to me that I could ever HAVE love without GETTING love from someone. UNTIL I started practicing GIVING unconditional love…and like I said…it filled the whole room with love, the whole house with love, the whole day with love, my whole heart with love. And…..lo and behold….I had the love that I needed. It didn’t matter where it came from. Unconditional love is unconditional love…and it is SO BIG that it can’t help but absorb into your parched skin like the best cocoa butter out there……even if it started with YOU. Love is just magic like that.

I bet you are having a hard time believing me. I get that. I can not tell you the frustrating days and nights I spent, drenched in tears, while I practiced. I was so hungry, thirsty and desperate for love that I thought I might die. I was at a place where I felt like I had no choice but to figure this out. I am just begging you to give it an honest try.

Sooo….let’s explore unconditional love with some little activities….Come on, it will be fun!

Brave Girls Club - The Thing About Love - PROJECTS