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Left, Right, Center

Have you ever played this game? You have die that are marked L, R, and C. If you roll the L, you pass a chip to the left, R to the right, and C...well, obviously to the center…..

Either way, you are giving to those around you, or to the big pot in the middle. This kind of reminds me of life in general. If you win, you get that big pot. Otherwise, you are empty. And really, it’s all up to chance. You roll the die and have to go with what is given to you.

Some times when life happens, I can lose my center.

I give so much to those around me, and I don’t get that big pot. It’s easy enough to do, to lose who you are. You give so much to others, you forget.

It doesn’t take me long to get my center back though. For me, giving to those around me, eventually comes back. I’ve also learned to know myself. I know who I am, and what is needed for me to be a whole person. When I feel out of sorts, I remember my foundation, my base.

I have three levels in my foundation of self.

My foundation begins with who I am. I know what you’re thinking…shouldn’t your foundation begin with Howie and Jilly and your support system of friends?

No, because if I base who I am on other people, I will always be disappointed. Certainly, they are part of the next level, but the first level has to be me. I have learned what makes up the me that is happy. I like who I am. I love my personality. I love how I look; I love what I represent as a woman, a mother, an atheist. I think I try to do as little harm as possible to others, and I try to help as much as I can. I like my brains. I think I’m fairly smart, for someone that never attended higher education. These (and many more) make up what gives me that “high”. You know what I’m talking about, when you feel really good about yourself, and you have a great day. I have that “high” most days, because I know who I am.

Part of my foundation is my morals, my ethics, and my values. I need to know what makes me, well, me.

When I feel out of sorts, I’m betting that I’m doing something that goes against my foundation. Or I’ve been exposed to something that is battling my core. For instance, someone telling me I need to lose weight can make a blow. If you know your foundation, you are immovable.

The second layer of my foundation is my family, my friends, my loved ones. I mean my closest friends, which is a small inner circle. These are the people that I make some of my decisions around. They are the constant in my life. When one of them waivers, I usually stay strong, because I know who I am, and who I am entwined with each of them. We make each other strong.

I draw strength in their strength. I know who they are to me. They are mi familia.

The third layer of my foundation is my environment and my experiences. There is a little connection with my inner core of being, because I feel that I am who I am because of my experiences. What has happened, currently happens, will happen, can strengthen, or weaken me. My 1st and 2nd level help me to determine which of those experiences I will choose to continue to make me super Lisa, and which I will gain knowledge, but ultimately discard. For example, I grew up in a rather harsh setting. I could have let that base make me into a bitter person, but instead I learned to love more.

There aren’t too many things that move me from my center of self. If my first level gets a bump, the waves come through to my core, and I move.

This week has been one of those times my center moved.

The reason why I lost my center, well, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I did. What is important is that I became introspective to find out why that reason made me move from what I know. It took me being distracted by mini crises to be able to come back and see myself from the outside. I examined my constants. What are those things I know to be true and ever present? Once I went back to those constants, I identified a new constant that I hadn’t integrated with the others. I was able to take a look at this new strength, and mesh it with the others, plotting where in my core it belongs.

Viola! Centered once again….

Well, almost. Part of my foundation is my connection to my friends. When they hurt, it affects me. This week was a rough one for friends.

Not one, but two friends passed away. I felt so sad, that I questioned everything I did, everything I said.

The first was a beautiful woman named Linda Potter. She and I would go out to have a smoke when I worked at DSS. She became ill, and didn’t tell anyone, but she had been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. This woman had a heart of gold. She would encourage me at every turn to take as many civil service tests. We would talk about some of the injustices at work, and she would just tell you at a moment’s notice how she didn’t give a shit about something or someone. She was set to retire in a few short months. I will miss her.

The second was a lovely, strong brave woman named Christina Knapp. So young, with a 5 year old, and a husband who adored her. This woman was always smiling. Even in her later pictures, with oxygen being fed through her nose, she smiled. And not a little smile either. It was a sea of comfort to tell you she was fine. When you read her Facebook pages, you would never have known what pain she was in. When we held her benefit, you just felt that this was going to be beat. That she was going to live forever. I guess that wasn’t quite accurate….

These two beautiful souls are gone. In the same week. Yes, that shook my center.

Both these women taught me that life is too damn short not to do what you need to do, that it is too short not to show love every day to the people that are around you as hard as you can, and to appreciate everything in life, ups and downs.

Life is too short to not be with the ones you love. To tell them what they mean to you. Don’t let obstacles keep you from them.

These same women that sent a blow to my center, are also are the same people that put me back where I belong. I remembered them as they were, by the message they gave me when they were walking and talking to me, and by knowing that how they were in life is how I intend to be.

A strength added to my foundation.

It’s times like this that I wish I could believe in an afterlife, especially for them. Who wouldn’t want people like these two strong women to cross over into a beautiful world where they meet their relatives that they also loved? I wish I could. It’s ok. To me, my memory of them is their afterlife for me.

I know my strength. I know my core. I am centered. And it doesn’t matter if I keep rolling L’s or R’s, because my strength is giving to those around me. I always win the pot.

Do you know what makes you, well, you?