Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Good Morning, World - 04-30-2014 - The Aftermath

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Good Morning, World - 04-29-2014 - Whispering Wind

Monday, April 28, 2014

Good Morning, World - 04-28-2014 - Masters of the Universe

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good Morning, World - 04-23-2014 - Say Something

Lately, I’ve had a few conversations with some of my closest friends about the subject of not being guaranteed a tomorrow. It creates a need to be appreciative and a desire to express love while there’s still time.

My heart overflows with love and admiration to those who own a piece of it. They’re precious to me. I can’t describe the depth of my love for them, because it’s bigger than me, more beautiful than any word I know. They are a bright spot in a dark world, a warm beam of sunlight in a field of ice.

I am rich because I possess the greatest treasure this world has to offer – I am loved, and am able to love in return. This world is hard and angry. I taste its bitter tang every day. I see its vicious negativity as it tries to pull me down into its depth and snuff out my bright spots. The toxicity of negativity, pain, and victimhood is detriment to my joy and happiness and I choose to push that negativity away from me like a deadly disease.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Good Morning, World - 04-22-2014 - Sense of Humor

Saturday, April 19, 2014

If You Can Fly - Come Find Me

Not all changes happen on the outside.  The best ones, the ones that have the most impact, often happen on the inside.  I’ve always heard the phrase that if you want to make a change on the outside, you have to first make a change on the inside, or it’s not really a change at all.  I’ve come to realize that the outside is either a reflection or a mask.  I used to hide behind a mask, a secret identity, but I’ve since learned to shed my skin and expose all that I am to a harsh and judgmental world.

I've had some ups and down in my journey of change, expect even more, but I've accomplished so much in a short period of time.  I've not just lost weight, but I've focused on getting my body, mind and spirit healthier and stronger.  I've learned a lot about my limits, and pushing myself beyond those limits, and listening to what my body, my heart, and my mind needs.  I've learned to love and appreciate them for what they are, not only focused on what they could become. 

I used to not be able to look at my scars, being reminded of the pain in receiving them, some things no human should have to endure. I’ve seen the true face of evil – it has burned, cut, stabbed, raped, degraded, abandoned and used me. I don’t know how I survived, but I did.  But, the outward scars are not the only ones left by abuse, there are inward scars that run much deeper. Those are the ones no one but a few ever get to see.

I’m a beautiful woman, but I know that not everybody will be able to get passed my scars, both inwardly and outwardly.  Not everyone has the strength to look at them and see their beauty.  I would win no beauty contest and would never be the object of a dream fantasy, but someday, some lucky man is going to be showered with such an abundance of love he’ll be overwhelmed.  Because it required an abundance of love to get me where I am and to teach me to see the world, people, and things around me with a different set of eyes.  I used to have shallow eyes, and hid behind their prejudice, but I now possess x-ray vision.  I see hidden beauty where others only see skin. 

My skin is steel, forged by a stubborn will.  I use that thick skin to repel the bullets shot at me, letting them ricochet back at those who meant to wound me. I have a spirit that soars in the clouds.  The world wants to ground me, force me to keep my feet anchored to the earth, but I can’t.  My cape flaps in the wind that calls my name.  I don’t know where I’ll land, where I’ll go, or if the ride will be wrought with fear – but I leap anyway. 

So, I’m not an ordinary woman and it will only take an extraordinary man, a superman, to be my partner.  I’m a stranger and an alien, different and alone, and the world seeks to use me and my gifts for their own ends.  But, I don’t play by their rules. I won’t be found on the ground, only in the clouds.  If you can fly – come find me.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Existential Crisis

Being self-aware, trying to understand the meaning of life, or finding philosophical truths in the human condition can sometimes be life-changing - other times it can be burdensome.  We seem to find our deepest worth in our intimate understandings and our insignificance by seeing beyond ourselves and observing the vastness of the universe.  But those moments we find ourselves in-between are the moments we enter into an existential crises –a moment when we experience the complexity and beauty of humanity.

God, I’m amazed that among the hate, the struggle, the fighting, the bickering, the posturing, the judging, and the surviving are those beautiful moments of amazing love, joy, peace, and beauty - laughter and tears - hope and fear. Being alive in the world we truly do experience both Heaven and Hell… right here, right now, from one moment to the next.   

Love.  The most powerful force in the universe – the thing that defines us most – the passion that drives us – the hope that fills us – the mystery that eludes us – the desire we crave most. It alone builds us or tears us down.

Love one another.  Love me. Let me love you back.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Addictions, Consequences, and Directions

I’ve been reading … well, let me clarify, I’ve been studying …“Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck for some time now.  I’m still only at the beginning, because I don’t move forward until I feel I understand what I’ve already read.

This morning I was reading the chapter on Reconnecting and came across a section about addiction.  In this part she talks about an overachieving guy named Allen who would occasionally embark on an alcoholic binge.  What Beck says in this chapter really resonated with me because it’s a principle I’ve found to be true in my own life over the past couple of years.  When Allen started recognizing that his essential self no longer needed to hijack his behavior, because he started understanding what his social-self needed, he made some very drastic changes in his life, his family, and his job.  Everyone he knew was upset about all the changes, and by all outward appearances it looked like his life was a mess.  But Allen was happy because both parts of him were on the right path, and he no longer found himself binging.  

When I’m doing what I know I was created to do, the work isn’t work to me, it’s just part of what I enjoy.  When situations come into my life that threaten to keep me from doing those things, I get stressed, filled with anxiety, depressed, angry, and sometimes turn to an addictive behavior (not your typical devices – for me it’s pushing the world away and isolating myself to a lethargic state).

I understand this.  But so far I’ve yet to discover how to stop it from happening.  When my basic needs are not met while I’m participating in fulfilling both my essential and social selves and being happy, it forces me to have to seek supplication elsewhere, therefore pulling me away from the path toward my true north star. I then fall into a self-destructive pattern where I can’t sleep and my stress levels shoot to the roof. 

Philosophers, poets, and therapists make it sound like all these dramatic life changes just happen and there are no dire consequences.  They don’t just happen and sometimes the consequences of letting something go costs you more than you can often afford.  Sometimes there are not simple answers and solutions right around the corner. No matter how much you understand the source of a problem, knowing about it doesn’t make life any easier and it isn’t some magic word that puts everything in the proper order.  Sometimes it’s a fight to get where you know you need to be.

Saying you have to do what you have to do, Beck says this is a battle cry from the social self. I understanding taking a stand can cost you.  It’s cost me my livelihood, my marriage, just about all my friends.  She ends with a quote from the Bible about the dangers of gaining the whole world but losing your soul.  Believe me, I’ve put it on the line for that very reason.  I have no regrets of what I’ve put on the line.  

But, what I’d like to know… is how much can one truly lose before they once again make a decision to do what they have to do, even if it takes them off the track to their north star?  There is such a thing of losing it all… having nothing, no one, and nowhere to go.  Just volunteer at any homeless shelter and you’ll see it.  Would you be willing to go that far?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Fantasy by MS MR featured in

Check out my latest article in featuring the song "Fantasy" by MS MR.

Here's a snippet:

"Every time I hear the soft, sultry tunes of "Fantasy," clearly recognizable as the Brooklyn/London duo MS MR (pronounced Miz Mister - made up of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenaw), I’m instantly propelled into the most beautiful memory I’ve ever had. It was the first time I ever visited the beautiful mountains of the Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest."

Visit SongPlaces to read the rest of the article.

Take the Scenic Route

To my deepest core, I’m an adventurer. I was born a rambler, a gypsy, a vagabond.  Not by choice, I’ve spent the first part of my life moving from place to place, searching for myself over and over, and experiencing different places. In contrast, I’ve spent the second part of my life in one place, trying to transform myself into what everyone expected of me. I’m now in a new part of my life where by choice, I’ve returned to my rambling ways and entered the biggest journey of my life, searching for myself.  

This movie meant so much to me, because it helped reflect my own personal journey. I was that sleeping wonder, letting life pass me by, only having adventures in my imagination.  But, I woke up and my life has been one grand adventure after the next.  It’s not all roses and jubilee.  Many of these adventures are scary, living in the unknown, stepping away from all safety and security.  But, man… the freedom I feel in my soul is indescribable. 

This poster really inspires me.  One of the key parts of this journey is the choice to move away from the expected, to get off the fast track - the interstate, and take the scenic route.  Slow down and look around.  Life is right in front of me.  Beauty and love are everywhere, even if all I’ve known is a concrete garden.  Mountains, rivers, oceans, flowers and the music of nature are teaching me to love myself, love the world around, and love the people close to me.  Even the scary parts are an adventure to be cherished.

What about you? Can you find the passion to take the scenic route in your life?  Come on, I dare you.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

North Star Literary Agency: Vagabond's Education - Jeff Suwak

North Star Literary Agency: Vagabond's Education - Jeff Suwak:  Check out the latest short story published by author Jeff Suwak in the online magazine Roadside Fiction called &...


Today is April Fool’s day.  Why the first day of such a glorious month was chosen as a day to celebrate foolishness, I don’t know, and I really don’t want to know.  I enjoy a good laugh, a good prank, and seeing the creative mind being exercised.  Have fun, you little pranksters.

The bigger question for me today is: What is really foolishness and being a fool?

At times I see it as a positive thing, something admirable, full of strength and courage.  Other times I see it as being weak and stupid, something to be avoided at all costs.  There are times I love being a fool and chasing foolish pursuits because it brings me alive, it stirs my soul, and refreshes my heart.  Other times it tears me apart and makes me feel stupid, unworthy and unlovable.

One of the things I try to do is not judge a thing on its possible outcome, because what may seem impossible can turn into the possible, and none of us has the power to really control what happens in our lives.  We can do our best to reach certain goals, achieve certain outcomes, but only God knows the end.  Instead, I try to look at the results of a thing and judge it by those merits, because every decision we ever make leaves a mark, has an effect, creates a truth – a fact of what is or what has been.

Looking at things from that perspective, perhaps some of my foolish decisions haven’t been very smart ones. Things I took huge chances for haven’t happened.  Other things I’d hoped for haven’t become reality.  Even more things I dreamed for have remained out of my reach.  On the flip side of that, I’ve accomplished some really great things in my life I thought were impossible and have experienced some beautiful things that I will treasure for as long as I live.  I’m a walking contradiction… so happy with so many things, strong and healthy and doing amazingly, yet so empty, hurt and scared at the same time. I’m so proud of myself for the courage to do the things I’ve done, but also so ashamed of those things I’ve not been able to complete.  Never felt more love, yet unloved. Never felt more beautiful and desirable, yet unwanted. I once asked for my eyes to be open, now I wish more than anything they would close.

Am I a fool to continue to tightly grasp those hopes and dreams?  Or am I a fool for not letting them go? How does one let go of their soul?  How do they let go of their heart’s desire?  I know it’s possible, I’ve seen the emptiness behind the smiles.  I’ve seen the shells behind drunken stares and indifferent glances, tucked neatly behind middle-class banners, dangling from the end of a needle, or in the gooey center of a jelly donut.  I’ve wore its clothing and hid behind its smile.  It’s comfortable there, because it’s also dead.  I’m so afraid I’ll go back and give up. I’m terrified I’ll choose to be the wrong kind of fool.  I’m petrified I won’t go forward. The uncertainty kills me, yet the idea of the possibilities thrills me. I’m sick, I tell ya.  Sick. 

Is there a cure for this big fool? Or at least a cute little hat?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray