Tag Archives: @Ray_anne


Tearing Down Walls and Discovering The Path

The Challenge of Reality

Contemplation of my own life has kept me quiet for a while. 2016 was an interesting year of learning and change for this old girl. And as I look back on it, I am thankful.

I truly am thankful for the trials presented and the learning that has gone down. How else would I be who I am were it not for the life shifts and professional challenges I have faced? I understand that I am presented with exactly what I need. For if I am unable to do what I need to do to triumph or move past a particular challenge, then it is time for me to go around or leave behind what confronts and confounds me or has slipped through the side gate into my house or has stabbed me in the back.

You see, I am a realist and it is not in me to deny, decry, or lie about what is ahead of me or what my responsibility is in it all. I know. I know who I am, I know what I am. And while I could sit back and say, it’s all good. I know it is not.

Even as I type this, the latest gauntlet has been dropped before me – a chronic plumbing problem which has led to two clogged sinks, a leaking pipe, a cracked toilet and the need to replace a bathroom wall where mold has found a home. Damn. As my neighbor – who is also my plumber just said, “nothing is ever easy.” I have to believe that I may not thrive if it were – if it were easy.

The love

As I look back on my last year and the love that has been poured upon me by friends and family, I can only consider myself lucky. Truly lucky —

December was a time for family and friends and I was able to see and hug those most important to me during this month (most of them, anyway) and I happily said goodbye to 2016 and rang in the New Year with people I love dearly, who have stood by me in times of dread and heartache, who have lifted me and brushed the tears away, and presented me with incredible opportunities of professional growth. And I was lucky enough to witness a testament of marital love as some of my best friends sealed their love in a New Year’s Eve wedding celebration.

I would be lying if I said it was a breeze. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of my own broken heart and wedding just 19 months earlier. A doomed union, though I never would have guessed. But it was and guess what? Life goes on.

Those who know me, know I am incapable of lying or hiding such things. They are written in the lines on my face. And in the beats of my heart.

Which does beat on. 

The Path

There are those for whom I have built walls. Many of these walls were built upon misconceptions, lies that others tell, or circumstances I, myself, created. 2017 is my year to tear down those walls, deconstructing someone else’s reality to build my own, laying those stones and bricks under my feet which once were walls and creating the new path I choose to walk – a path of truth and light, a path of joy, of love and friendship. A path of well being. Some have asked why, why now and are you not tired of being hurt? Indeed, I am – but far worse than loving and trusting others is loving and trusting no one.

My path is before me. One I happily walk.


Share Your Strength

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Shedding Light

I once spoke at a Women’s Conference called “Business in Heels,” a well-attended one-day event in a beautiful setting. I felt fortunate to be included in their agenda. Not only did I make several new friends, but I learned a bit more about women in business locally and what they are achieving.

The program cover featured slender beautiful legs donned by a pair of hot pink pumps – not exactly my attire, and at the top of my presentation, I told the audience that I hoped next year’s event would be titled “Business in Flip-Flops” – this warranted a low chuckle from the nearly all-female crowd but got me thinking about expectations and how business and life has changed over the last ten to fifteen years. Many women, like myself, and men are fortunate enough to work from home, for a company or running a small business.

Not one morning of my adult, working life have I awakened thinking, “Oh damn, I am a woman, therefore – my day in the world of business will be tougher than if I were a man. How can I fight this injustice?” I simply thought, “Oh damn, the price of Lucky Charms and gas went up again — I need to work even harder so I can afford to be a mom.”  Much of my struggles are no different than other single moms or dads, as well as multiple two-income homes.

Life is expensive, whether or not you have a family.

I Made Choices

Life as a single mom is not easy, but I never had time to dwell on those difficulties. Fifteen years ago, it was normal for me to fall asleep at my computer, writing and working until 1 to 2 am, only to rise by 6 am to get four kids out the door. The end of a couple marriages, surviving a couple controlling relationships that included all kinds of often unspoken abuse, returning to college to get my biz degree, getting a great job then losing my home to foreclosure, being fired from a job I thought was great, unemployment or underemployment for extended periods of time, being drugged but escaping sexual assault while on a business trip, and yet another broken heart….

It’s been tough and I have not been shy about writing and sharing these tough times. The best part? Others have let me know that I am not alone – men and women who have have similar experiences have messaged or connected with me to share their own stories. We all have our individual paths paved with thorns. I readily recognize the responsibility I bear when it comes to my lot in life and the cards I have been dealt. Some of my choices have added to my struggle, there is no denying.

I Am Becoming More and More Aware

With the continued fights against racism and bias, as well as other injustices like LGBTQ prejudices, domestic abuse, and un-equal pay, a resounding personal awareness has come to light.

The fight must be fought by ALL,
not just those who suffer from injustice.

No one who hears my story can believe that I was once an abused wife. “You are such a strong woman, how did you ever let that happen?”

It didn’t happen overnight. It was years of conditioning – of guilt, regret, of “this is my lot”, and how could I possibly ever leave? No academic degree and four mouths to feed. I never thought I could leave until a man, actually several men who were family friends, told me I deserved better. None of my women friends told me to leave. Afraid to get involved? Afraid to break up a family, like I was?

The decision to leave became real when I finally realized it wouldn’t change, it wouldn’t get better, and that one of us would soon be dead. That is a frightening realization. One of us would be dead. 

I didn’t want that someone to be me. I needed to be here for my kids. I had more life to live. And I didn’t deserve it, no matter what I had done or not done – I didn’t deserve to be beaten on a regular basis or fear for my life during the next drinking binge. I deserved better.

Sharing the Strength

The strength of those not subjected to abuses, racism, or discrimination must be shared with those who do suffer, undeservedly or not. If you can be a voice, a hand, a lift – please be that voice and that hand. It is not our place, my place, to remain silent when your/my voice or strength can make a difference.

One more thing…

My fire or passion may not burn within you – and that is ok — we are all in the place or getting to the place where we need to be. It is a journey. My journey – my path – is different than yours.

And if I can share anything, please remember:

Just because you do not see or experience injustice
or inequality yourself doesn’t mean it does not exist.

I never had a bruise on my face, but there were plenty on the back of my head and in my heart.  Lift where you can. Shed light where it is dark. You may be saving the heart or life of your best friend, your brother or sister, your child.

You don’t know what you don’t know.


The Pursuit of Happiness: Like a Room without a Roof

The Pursuit of Happiness

The best way I have found for me, personally, to combat depression is to discover new levels / places where happiness can be found or discovered: an actual pursuit. Seems elementary, right? I suppose it is, at its base. I want to be happy – I think most people do. But do most people aggressively pursue happiness? Or do they wait for it to show up at their door, unannounced but welcomed with significant fanfare, given today’s social media-infused environment? We live in a strange time – it would seem that gone are the days of suffering in silence, of struggling alone in our heartbreak or addiction, and certainly gone are days of quiet celebration or humility.

Not a Professional

I am not a psychologist; I have visited a few. I am not a doctor of any kind; I have visited many different kinds. Most have wanted to prescribe a pill to help me sleep, to battle light anxiety, to keep me alert, to combat fatigue, to ease digestion issues, and reflux – an so on, you are most likely familiar. I am not against pills or drugs. I am, however, against the masking of issues or unnecessarily prescribing drugs.

Let me clarify, I do not suffer, as many do, from clinical depression or anxiety. I am a person with typical aches, pains, joys, and sorrows that accompany being a human. I’d call myself “normal” if I didn’t have so much trouble believing there is such a thing.

Bipolar Disorder

My father was diagnosed as manic depressive 25+ years ago, before Bipolar became the chosen name of his disorder. He was a light-hearted, loving man who taught me, not only the power of a solid handshake, but also how to see beyond a moment, a place, a person. He truly loved all people.

Even today, many years after his death, I receive messages from people telling me how much they genuinely loved my dad and what a difference he made in their life. That is quite a legacy of someone who suffered severely from mental illness for many years – of someone who made many mistakes later in life – of someone who hurt family and friends with those mistakes.

He never stopped loving people or trying to achieve success. He never gave up on happiness. Just two of the many lessons I learned from him.

The Pursuit

I think it is my responsibility to grow, to develop talents or learn new skills – these things bring me happiness or help me to see beyond a current level of status quo or a feeling of being trapped.

An example of this would be my current obsession with visiting cities or landmarks I have never seen on recent road trips. It’s easy to visit Carmel a dozen times and dine at the same restaurants on every visit. It’s another thing to step outside your comfort zone and take a bit of time to learn something new – you don’t know everything, as much as you would like to believe you do.

Dr. Daniel Crosby, author of The Laws of Wealth,  states in a recent article, “Eighty percent of the non-genetic components of happiness can be controlled by our attitude and by making choices that are consistent with finding true joy. The first step in this pursuit is ensuring that the goals we are setting for ourselves are consistent with finding true happiness.” – Can Money Buy Happiness? Sort of.

Pursuits can be as simple as discovering a new hobby or talent. A little over  a year ago, a good friend introduced me to mosaics. It is an art form very different from what I was accustomed to. I am still learning, even after re-tiling my hearth and a couple window sills, creating several decorative trays, platter, and plates. Expanding my horizons keeps me from being locked in old ways, with old, stale thoughts and same old experiences. For me, NEW = Happy.

Out of the Box

The unexpected in life, as well as meeting new and different people can enrich your soul and change perspectives. You are not done – you are not complete. The moment you find comfort in your own little, lonely box is the moment personal growth retards and doors close for lifelong learning and the actual search for happiness. I am determined to stay outside of that little box which has been my life until now.

Happiness A worthy pursuit, yet somehow, most of us fail.  And in our failure, of what do we miss out?  Does it affect our partners, spouses, families, or friends?  Our work?  Our lives?  Of course, but do we even notice?  We get so caught up in living that we don’t even realize or even care when we are unhappy – it has become our normal.  And then, we fail to recognize when we are happy.  Sometimes, the simplest things alter our attitude and mood enough to allow a little bit of joy to creep in. And sometimes, it’s just faking it – and hell, if it works, why not?

Don’t Miss It

Like grabbing the brass ring, it is easy to miss.  Life goes whizzing by so quickly that we can’t even see the joy we have found or slow down enough to embrace it and feel the difference between happiness and a droning existence or what we think we should be doing, how we think we should be feeling — what the world or our world expects of us.

My Little Tip

I use a fab little app called Sleep Cycle – every morning when I wake, it asks me how I feel. I started selecting the smiley face, no matter how I felt upon waking – guess what? It has made a huge difference in how I start my day. And why wouldn’t it? Perception becomes reality. If it works the opposite way, it stands to reason, right?

Happiness is contagious and NOT underrated. Share it. Like a room without a roof.

**Stay Tuned for my new 3-part Key Point Podcast series with Dr.Daniel Crosby: “The Pursuit of Happiness”