“Life Is Like The Great Outdoors”

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Life is about perspective and I have become the queen of analogies lately. Some call it a defense mechanism, I call it survival; it’s my way of taking the ugly and finding some beauty in it.

I’ll admit, the month of March was not so good for me; losing loved ones, feeling so drained that I got sick, not once, but twice, and any bad news that could filter it’s way into my life came in the month of March. It’s no wonder I’m celebrating April 1st today!

This morning I was speaking to my girlfriend who’s had a bit of a rough go lately. Sheoutdoors 1 was feeling down and not knowing what to do to get out of her head and this funk she was in. She told me that she felt like she had to get a hold of her life, get hold of a line of it. I tried to reassure her that this too will pass and then I said to her: “Go fishing. Go stand at the edge of the river and throw in your line. Look at that hook that’s out in the water and see it as your life. Gently reel it in, keeping a firm hold on it. And there you go, you’re reeling it your life that you felt got away from you.”

She laughed but also understood the analogy. Sometimes our life can feel like “the one that got away,” yet when we feel that we all we have to do it go fishing, be patient, and reel it in…and this one “won’t get away.”

I have my own analogy for letting go of toxic people in my life; I say that I’m going “gardening.” I look at the difficult process of letting some people go as one of “weeding out” the toxic people, or “weeds” as I like to think. So, I envision a beautiful garden which represents all those I love and that are in my life for my Highest Good. When I notice a weed in my garden, I know it’s time to pull it out. After all, it’s the weeds that choke out the flowers.

My favorite analogy is one I use often to help my friends out: it’s about the fear of taking 999383-002a leap of faith. I tell them to envision themselves on a cliff, looking out and over a beautiful ocean or endless mountain range. I tell them to see everything that is beautiful and good, and to pick a spot to land. That spot is what or where they want to be or have in life that fear is preventing them from having. Once they find the spot, I tell them to jump…jump off the cliff, knowing that you’re protected by a parachute or bungee cord of faith, and that the arms of love will be there to catch you. It’s an incredible leap of faith, but one that you can do if you change your perspective on it and lose that fear.

Sometimes on your worst of days you have to try to envision it as something else; change your perspective, make it a picture in your mind, or just head to “the great outdoors” for a little fishing and a bit of gardening. End it with strapping on your parachute of faith and take that jump…

It’s worth it; I promise.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“My Voice Is In My Writing”

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There’s so much in my heart right now and so many thoughts in my head. I want to talk to someone and let it all out, yet it seems lately that no one wants to listen. No one wants to hear my thoughts and feelings, no one wants to hear my truth. I need to ramble, to vent, to let it all out, yet it’s all tucked inside me and it’s driving me crazy.

Talking to someone is my way of figuring things out; what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking and why. Talking helps me to get it out and hear it in a new perspective; talking to someone allows them to be a gift that I need at times: a different perspective or a voice of reason.

Yet no one is listening and I find myself literally drowning in my own thoughts, in my own heartache. I find myself feeling alone and unable to feel love or happiness. Losing two loved ones in a short amount of time last month had a profound affect on me. I always appreciate each new day that life has to offer, yet when a life is suddenly taken and you’re not ready for it and didn’t see it coming, it certainly changes you.

And it changed me.

I’m sure the changes are temporary, but lately I’m not sure…I’m not sure of anything. What I need most right now is a listening ear and someone who can allow me the time to heal, the time to figure this all out, and who can do it with love and compassion.

I’m a strong person and I’ve been through worse than this, but something is different this time and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I’m a spiritual person who understands death and knows that all these emotions are simply things coming to the surface; that this was all meant to happen this way and at this time.

There’s a lesson coming from all of it and I know I can’t rush it along. I know I need to be patient and realize that this journey I’m on now is leading me to another chapter in my life, one that will be different and better.

I know  in my heart that it’s not just the loss of two loved ones that is causing this; it’s so much bigger than that and so much more.

I’m standing outside of myself as a spectator, observing all that is and isn’t in my life right now. I’m understanding that I have put so much time and effort in to loving those in my life that I forgot to love myself as well. And I know to my toes that in order for someone to love me the way I need to be loved, I have to love myself that way first.

One of the greatest blessings of being a writer is just this: that when my voice can’t be heard, it can be read in what I write. When no one wants to listen to me, someone may want to read about me. My words are my heart and soul, whether they’re spoken or written, yet I know they need to speak out loud.

But they can’t.

Not right now.

Not until someone thinks I’m worthy and important enough to listen to, and not until I know that I am.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

balance my darling

 

“A Day In The Life Of A Ship Agent”

When I first met my love he was a self- employed custom tile worker. He did the most amazing sawork yet a few months into our relationship he suffered an injury that would end his days of tile work. I remember how frustrated he was at not working, yet I kept reminding him that everything happens for a reason, and within 3 months time he knew the reason. A job that he had done many years prior suddenly had an opening and my love finally had his reason for the injury: he became a ship agent. It’s a job he loved before and one that he loves even more now.

So what is a ship agent? Well, it’s many things, and my love let me spend an entire Saturday with him on a day he had to “sail a ship.” It was an incredible experience for me to see what he does and to be able to watch the ship, the crew, and all that they needed to do.

First off, let me tell you that being a ship agent is a tough job. My love is at the beck and call of the ship and there are times he’s out in the middle of the night until the wee hours of the morning doing his job. He works overtime, spends every other weekend on call, and will even do ships on his weekends off. He climbs gangplanks and pilot ladders, rides on a tug to get to a ship that isn’t docked, and at times has to walk over and around an obstacle course of machines and equipment just to get to the ship, and all the while with a heavy backpack strapped to him.

I thought I knew a lot about his job until after this past Saturday. The ship had been docked in Staten Island so we had a long drive home and I asked him: I know what you do, but what do you really do as a ship agent? Well, he told me and it was much more than I had known and it filled the time in the car until we got home!

A ship agent is the liason between the owners and operators of the vessels, and everyone else in between, which includes the government, customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. The job of the agent starts long before the ship comes into the port. The agent has to gather the information on the vessel, the crew and their cargo, sending all this information to customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. A PDA, or proforma disbursement account must be sent to the owners before hand; this includes the costs necessary to bring the ship in. After that the agent sets up the pilots, tugs, lineman and long shoreman that are needed to help bring the vessel into port. Many factors have to be considered with each ship; whether they are tide restricted, which berth can accomodate them, and when it’s safe to travel, to name a few.

And the ship agent doesn’t stop there; he is there to help the captain and crew with anything they need while in port; this could be a trip to the store, a doctor or dentist appointment, phone cards or accomodations necessary if the ship is berthed overnight. The ship agent does what it takes to make the captain and crew comfortable while in the port and to help them with the lay of the land, especially when it’s a foreign ship.

Once the ship is ready to sail, the ship agent has to record a “statement of facts” which includes everything they did with the ship while they were in port. It is then sent to the owners and operators. All of these tasks are done at minimal cost and maximum efficiency.

The interesting part is that these ships come from all over the world, and the ship agent has the privilege of meeting the captain and crew, and sometimes is invited in for coffee and something to eat…all indicitive of the country they are from. It can be exciting at times for my love to meet people from all over the world, sharing stories of his life and listening to stories of theirs; many are out at sea for months, leaving their wives and children behind.  No matter the culture or the miles, the stories of “love and family” seem to be universal.

Each ship carries something different, from salt, to orange juice; chemicals to containers.  Ship agents rarely have a mundane day “at the port or the office!”

I’m grateful I had the privilege of spending the day in Staten Island watching my love handle a “salt ship.” It was exciting for me to watch the process and wave to the crew members on board…I know they all saw me watching and taking pictures.

I’m a believe that “everyone has a story” if you just take the time to ask and to listen.

And this is the story of my love and “the day in the life of a ship agent.”

Wishing you love, light and smooth seas,

~Anne Dennish~

ship agent and the girl

“The ship agent and the writer”

 

“Wish Them What They Deserve”

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I wrote this quote years ago and the reaction to it by some was a much different one than I had expected or anticipated. I didn’t write it with malice or ill-will, yet the people that took it that way had a reason for feeling that it was a nasty quote: they were afraid of what they “deserved.”

At the time I wrote these words I was in the process of letting some people in my life go. They had taught me life lessons and had become a “toxic” presence in my life, so it was time to wish them love and light and let them go. It’s a hard thing to wish someone who hurt you or betrayed you “well,” so I decided that I would wish them what they deserve, which is my way of putting the responsbility of what they deserve in the hands of the Universe.

And I didn’t mean any of it in a nasty way.

I believe that what you put out there in the world you get back; if you’re nasty and vindictive, at some point you’ll receive it back. If you’re a kind hearted soul, that will come back to you as well. Some call it karma; I call it the laws of attraction: you attract what you put out there.wish them well 2

I remember saying this quote to someone I knew well. He wasn’t the kindest guy in the world; he was selfish at times and self-centered most of the times. When I told him this quote he got all upset and said “why would you wish me what I deserve?”

My answer was: “Don’t you think you deserve all that is good? If someone wished me what I deserve I would be happy, because while I’m not perfect, I’ve lived my life being a kind and compasionate human being and I would think I deserved all that is good.”

His response: “Point taken.”

So you see, it’s not meant to be a cruel quote. It’s an honest one, and my feeling is if it offends you, then you need to look at yourself and your behavior and figure out why.

As for my tribe of people, if I tell them I wish them what they deserve, they know that what they deserve is all good stuff and I would feel the same if they said it to me.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

 

 

“Under The Tree – Just Me”

under the tree uncle bobI sit here this morning alone  with my coffee while all my loved ones are asleep, thinking to myself that I can’t wait for this month of March to be over. I lost a very close friend two weeks ago and last night I lost my “favorite” uncle. It seems that throughout my life this month of March has brought pain and heartache, and sadly, I have the proof to back it up. Anyone who knows me will joke and say to me”ugh, it’s that month of March for you.” And so it is, and so I try every year to change it. This year has been a tough one, and this morning I’m grieving and my heart is hurting.

I  hadn’t heard from my close friend, Rosamond, in almost two weeks, so my love and I trekked over to her house, only to find that the car hadn’t been moved and the house was locked up. I came home, called the local police and received the phone call I was dreading an hour later: they found her in her home, and she had passed away.

She was just 70 years old, but one of my closest friends and my greatest spiritual teacher. She was the one who introduced me to this amazing circle of “Angel” people that have been my teachers as well. I miss her everyday and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her…yet she’ll never answer.

Last night I received a call from my cousin on the West Coast. He called to tell me my most favorite uncle had lost his battle to brain cancer. I knew it was coming but I wasn’t ready to

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My “favorite uncle” with his “favorite niece.”

know it. He was just 68 years old and a man that had a life of love and passion, excitement and adventure. No matter what life handed him, including cancer, he made the best of it. I’d love to believe that this part of him is part of me.

I’m feeling the loss so deeply this morning, yet I also believe that when someone passes we can still hear them…and sometimes still feel them. I’m grieving at the loss of the physical touch and the sound of their voice.

This morning I’m sitting quietly outside while the rest of my house is asleep; I’m sitting under my “magic tree,” which hasn’t yet bloomed, but it’s still magic. It’s under this tree that I wrote a poem which turned into a song by the same name; it’s under this tree that I can hear my loved ones on the other side; I can hear their reassurance of them being okay and that I will be too; I hear them whisper “I love you and always will” to me; I hear them that they take our love for them with them and that their love for us will always be a part of us; and I hear them assure me that they will always be with me, and that all I need is to speak to them, and they will listen and answer.

It’s this belief that helps me grieve and heal and brings me a sense of peace that while their physical body may be gone, their spiritual soul lives on. And it lives on in me.

Today I remember Rosamond, and I wish my Uncle Bob well on his travels to the other side, knowing he’ll be whole, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll be carrying all our love with him.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~”

*I wrote this song over a year ago and today I dedicate it to my “favorite uncle,” my Uncle Bobby and to my dear friend, Rosamond

 

“Breaking Apart”

break apart 2We’ve all broken apart at one time or another in our lives. We may have endured a broken heart, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or the brokenness of a good friend showing their true colors. Whatever the reason, it’s caused us to “break apart.”

I’ve had my heart broken, endured cancer, gone through divorce, and been hurt by people who I thought were my friends. I’ve been broken many times, yet through it all I learned that all these moments that “broke” me were all lessons I needed to learn. I learned to take the pain of each moment that broke me apart and make peace with it; I learned to be grateful for them because it taught me something about myself and my life that was for my Highest Good; I learned to see it as a blessing in disguise.

So what do you do when you break apart? How do you get through it all? You make a choice. You make a choice to put the pieces back together, and you put them back together stronger. It’s the lessons you learn through them that enable you to put them back differently; stronger, smarter and tougher.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never “break apart” again, but what it does mean is that the next time you’re faced with a “breaking apart” moment, you’ll be able to handle it differently. You’ll handle it even better. And the time it takes to put the pieces back together get’s shorter and shorter…and that’s because you learned a lesson from each of those moments.

Life is all about perspective and if you can learn to embrace those “breaking apart” moments as a gift towards you having the life you deserve, then you will understand that those moments aren’t forever…just for the time it takes for you to understand the lesson.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“Maybe You’re A Dreamer”

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I wrote that quote two years ago amidst some naysayers telling me that I was a dreamer and should be more focused on the “real world.” They felt that all my dreams were “nice” but that they were to far fetched; too high to reach for; too ridiculous. They thought I should be focused on “reality.”

I used to believe that it was a bad thing to be a dreamer; that it meant you were living in a fantasy world, not reality. I thought about what they said, took into account WHO was saying those things to me, and realized something about myself: “I am a  dreamer and I do live in reality;  but I still believe in going after my dreams because the difference is I have faith, and they don’t.”

I’ve come to realize that the people who critisize my dreams are the one’s who have no idea how to pursue their own. They are the one’s who look at me and see what they wish they could do: believe in themselves. And they are the one’s who will hurt and criticize me the most because they’re afraid.

They’re afraid to take a chance on their own dreams; they’re afraid to step out of their comfort zone; they’re afraid to do something new; they’re afraid to change. And that’s their choice.

And my choice is to be a dreamer.

“Dream big and make it happen!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

*Here’s a song I wrote about myself called “The Dreamer.” Who says dreams can’t come true? Not me!

Lyrics by Anne Dennish – Music by Sutton Thomas Music – Vocals by Sutton Thomas & Anne Dennish

“The Sweetness of Doing Nothing”

It’s a lazy Sunday morning in my home today.  My love and I are sipping our coffee a bit more slowly and are in no hurry to get dressed for the day. I can already see that it will be a day of sweat pants, big comfy shirts and slippers, mindless television and catching up on reading.

It will be a day of “dolce far niente” which in Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” And after a busy day yesterday, this is just what the doctor ordered for everyone in my house: a day of doing nothing…together.

“Dolce far niente” is one of my favorite Italian quotes and one of the most important ones for me to remember. All of us get so busy in life that we forget to do nothing, and doing nothing together can be the most meaningful way to spend your time. Sometimes we have to slow our life down to be ready for when it speeds up.

“The sweetness of doing nothing” means that you can breathe, meditate, think, talk, love and laugh with no agenda of time limits or constraints…just time “to be.”

Find your “sweetness of doing nothing.” It will inspire you, motivate you, and allow you the time to rest and relax. It will fill you with peace and serenity…and that is a good thing!

“Dolce far niente…”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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Photo by Anne Dennish – copyright @2017

 

“The Gypsy”

Anne Dennish - Writer

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I  believe that we all have an inner gypsy, and I’m missing mine these days. You know what I’m talking about, that “roll down the windows in the car, hair blowing in the wind, radio blaring, bare feet,  that free kind of feeling.” It’s your inner gypsy and mine has been silent for too long.

My inner gypsy is the girl who dances barefoot in the grass under the full moon, spinninggypsy in circles and releasing all that stuff that no longer serves her; it’s the girl who dances in public, no matter where she is; it’s the girl who flies by the seat of her pants some days, not knowing where she’s going to land; it’s the girl that takes a leap of faith and leaves a life behind to find a better one; it’s the girl who remembers how it feels to be happy and has the nerve…

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“Getting Your Balls Back”

I once put two brass balls in a plastic bag and gave them to my girlfriend. I told her that if I ever lost them again to give them back to me.

I was a different woman then than I am now when I went through my divorce. It was over 10 years ago and that woman I was seems so foreign to me now.

I remember that at that time I made many changes in my life; I had lost weight, been college booksworking out at the gym, and had gone back to college to take creative writing courses. I was invited by my professor, a published author as well, to join his writer’s workshop. It was the best time of my life, yet also the darkest time knowing that there was a divorce to go through.

Yet I was strong. All those things I was doing for “me” gave me the strength to endure a nasty divorce. I felt good about myself, I felt like my brain was functioning like a writer, not just a mom, and I was in great shape. I will always believe that my Higher Power had directed me to all those positive changes to make me stronger, because He knew what was just around the corner for me.working out

I thought at that time that my children would feel like their mother had “left the building” because I was doing a lot of things, good things, for me. Yet that wasn’t so. I remember them being so proud of me for all of it, and I realized that all the things I did for myself were making me a better “mom” to them. What a feeling and what a lesson to learn. Sometime we “mom’s” think that if we’re doing things for ourselves that our children will suffer. So not true. It made my relationship with my kids even stronger, and to hear them brag to their friends about their mom going back to school and writing a book was one of the best moments I ever experienced as their mother. My oldest son loved the fact that I was working out and used to joke with his friends that “they better watch out because my mom can beat you up!” So simple, yet so empowering.

And that’s when I realized and learned that doing good things for me isn’t selfish. It made me a stronger and better woman and mom, and all that good stuff spilled onto my kids.

Sadly, it didn’t spill onto my husband. He hated it all. I look back objectively now and see that he may have felt threatened that this woman he controlled for over 20 years suddenly had a mind and body all her own, and she did it without him. I actually did it because of him.

Everything happens for a reason and I look back at that time and truly believe that all those things I did for myself were put in my path to make me strong, because once the divorce process began, my world changed. And it was all that I did for myself that helped to get me through.

It was sad enough that the marriage had been abusive on all levels, yet the divorce was even worse. The details aren’t important but the outcome is: I’m a different woman now and living in a happy life with two of my five children and the love of my life.

Yet there were times I lost my strength during it. I was a single mom taking care of the mental and physical well being of five children; I was the woman dealing with lawyers and sitting through mediations, which were a waste of time. I was tired, lonely, and so wanting it to be over.

My serenity at that time was in the backyard of my girlfriend. I could shed my tears there, talk for as long as I needed, and could always count on her shoulder to cry on. I remember one day she looked at me and said “where’d your balls go? You’re such a strong woman but not now? You gotta find your balls again, girlfriend.”

And so I did. I put two of them in that bag and told her to give them back to me if I ever lost them again.

And I never did.

Well, to be honest, there are times I feel weak and ready to give up, but I always remember that bag of balls that she still has and that’s enough for me to get them back.

And I always do…

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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