Reality Is - What's Your Reality?
 Poor Dorthy running around in that short dress and shinny shoes. Everyone knows that by the time she reached the tin man her feet were killing her. From the moment that house touched down the only thing she had to eat was an apple, that she didn't even get to finish. Once she reached the wizard things didn't get any better - he sent her off to kill the witch that had been trying to kill her since her arrival. So off she goes, with no real weapons. Just a cowardly lion, a heartless man made of tin, a mindless scarecrow and a very tiny dog. While watching that as a child I thought, she was very brave, much braver than I.

And then we find out it was just a dream, a horrible nightmare. A nightmare that helped her realized there is no place like home. Making it clear that running away was the worst thing she could do. If only every nightmare had a clear message.

I have loved this movie for so many reasons, most of them childhood memories that still make me smile but, watching this as a adult has made me think about number of other things no child considers. As a child the movie fascinated me, terrified me, and made me want to fly some where over the rainbow. As an adult all I can think is "that poor thing". When I think about the fact that this was all a dream I have to wonder, if she was a real girl what would her reality look like?

In this dream neither she nor her companions needed the wizard. When push came to shove they all found what they needed - what they have been looking for was right inside them. Like Dorthy - the answer, the key, or cure to what ailed them was with them through out the entire journey. But, I wonder - had they not taken the journey where would they be? With the exception tin man - who would have been to rusty to move on his own - they all found out something about themselves fairly quickly. The scarecrow went from barely walking to skipping down the yellow brick road and the lion even though he was clearly afraid found the courage to promise to protect the young girl.

This I believe can be credited simply to the change in their surroundings which supported the reality they where in. As an adult I can't help but think about these two things: How our surroundings effect our reality and How the impossible becomes possible with small changes. In their cases the changes were not that small.

As for Dorthy and her reality. While I know she was just a child or more so a teen - and we know that reality changes with the wind for teens - I still have to have to ask why did she not know that the power to go home had been with her the whole time? She held the keys to her happiness or was wearing those keys on her feet - poor thing. Still she was a teen who, much like many of us adults, wondered, whenever there was a rainbow “Why, Oh why can't I?” - find those keys myself.
I am sure you have heard it said time and time again “you can’t love someone else if your don’t love yourself” or “no one will ever love you as much as you love yourself”. Oh, that is unless you factor in a mothers love (we will save that one for another day). It has been said to me and by me more times than I can count. To be honest I am not sure if the saying is true – for everyone that is. For me I have to say I can think of times when I was sure it was love, like when I wanted to run away but the love for my children made me stay. I am pretty sure I was very low on the to "be-loved list" in that case. Never the less, I do remember loving myself at some point – just not has much has I loved everyone else in my life.

I remember when I first realized how much I loved my husband – a feeling like nothing else. Yet I will admit that even then the feelings for myself was not what could be called mutual. And the answer to your question is – No, I did not think I deserved to be loved (only selfish people think they deserve things – another one for a different post). In my reality love was something you give, to get and it came from someone else, and it was based on how much you gave. You shouldn’t have to ask for it – if you gave enough you would get it in return. That was just how it worked. Don’t ask me what enough is - I never learned the answer to that.

I’m not sure where I picked up that belief, but it was a strong one and it shaped all of my relationships and interactions with everyone I met. If you are a responsible person with a family – working long hours and then coming home to finish you work day, before falling to sleep on you sofa – beat – you don’t have room in your life for much. Most people struggle day-to-day to prove to others that they love them. Running when told – jumping when told and not forgetting to ask how high. To prove – without asking – that they deserve love in return. Trying their best to prove this to their parents, their children, their spouses and friends. To their extended family and even their hardly there family. It is enough to wipe you out.

For some people keeping that up is just too much, something has got to give. The easiest way to free up space is to start from the bottom. You do remember where I told you I was on that list. How can a person who does not love themselves feel love? How can they know love? I believe it starts from  a memory. Yes, at some point I stopped loving myself but, I never said that I never ever, loved myself at all. And it’s a good thing that the memory survived. Because at some point I got tired of having a “prove your love” to do list two miles long that I wasn’t on. New habits formed, beliefs changed and slowly I made it back on to that list.

Slowly I worked my way up that list and the strangest thing happened – when I reached the top – the love I had been looking for was right there in the spot next to my husband, my children and no longer distant family members. Whenever I thought about doing something nice for someone else – not to prove my love to them but simply to say I love you, that nice thing was something we could do together. I also found that those I love, loved doing the things I loved doing, simply because I loved it. There was room in my life for me to love everyone including me.

In my reality loving myself made loving everyone else easier. I was no longer angry and depressed. I no longer felt obligated to please everyone in order to get love in return. I was a happier person and those I loved got the best of me everyday and I began to get the best of them. Yes, some of those people on that list got left behind, with the anger and depression. They should never have been on this list to begin with. They were actually only put on the list as a way to justify the anger and depression. I could count on them to keep me down when I was down. It was only right that they went when the anger and other bad habits went.

I added a few new habits, bright ones that attracted that love I was taught never to ask for and better than that I made it clear to everyone that I deserved to be loved and if it wasn’t clear in my actions well, I just asked for it.

I am Cynthia Williams and My Reality there is no relationship stronger than the love affair I am having with myself.

Well what’s wrong with your hose? No hose, what about a bucket? Don’t have access to water? So what if you don’t. Maybe your lawn is starting to brown and there may be more bald patches than you can count but you do have a lawn and that means you are blessed.

Let just say that the person you are so envious of IS living a full and happy life – maybe they ARE completely happy in every area – what can you do about it? Well, spending time and energy comparing your life to theirs is the last thing you should be doing. You should be focused on your own grass.

One place you can start is by taking a good long look at where you are in your life.  Starting here can be uplifting believe it or not. I don’t mean get out a ruler and start measuring your failures or weighting the things that have been disappointing you. If you can only think of one good reason to be you – hell one great reason to be you then you are off to a great start. If you can find one, you can find another - it may take some digging but you may find more reasons to celebrate your life than you expected. If you find that you are not where you want to be – don’t waste time being jealous of the neighbor, friend or co-worker who may be completely happy (or not). Instead take that energy and invest it.

Here’s how to keep your own grass green and healthy:

1. Do your homework – Do you know your grass?  What type of grass is it? (Take time out to get to know who you are and what will make you happy). Not all grass is the same. (Not everything is for everyone).

2. Invest in the right tools – A well keep lawn requires the proper tools. (Should you be taking that class you have always wanted to take? Maybe it is time to join that gym you have said you would be joining?)

3. Lawns need plenty water and lots of nourishment as well. (Find a friend or support group something that will help you stay focused and positive). Be careful what you use on your lawn – chemicals can be harmful. (Get rid of the people and stay way from the places and things that are toxic or doing harm that could interfere with positive forward movement).

It is hard to find time to be jealous of someone else when your busy with your own life. This year make it your business to put yourself first, meaning – do the work needed to grow your own patch of thick green grass. It may take some time -  a few days or maybe weeks but, once you get on a roll you will find that going after what makes you happy will become easier.  The only thing you will feel when looking at your neighbors grass will be joy. You will able to take in its beauty and appreciate it.

I am Cynthia Williams and my Reality will be growing sweet bell pepper this year

There are people out there that just can't seem to keep a relationship going for longer that a few months. Some people are lucky and can go on for a few years before crashing and burning. You know the type - after every break up they sit around looking confused - they were just sure they had the right one this time. In the mean time you are shaking your head - just as confused - only you're wondering  *what the hell they are thinking? How could they not see this was not going to work out? All of the signs were there but they didn't see any of them. What's worst is you have picked up on a pattern that they seem to over look every time and you don't know how or if you should say something.

Why is this clear to you and not clear to your friend? Well, what you have is a  classic case of someone not being in touch with their reality.

It is hard for those of us who are looking for love (in all the wrong places and in some cases even the right place) to accept that they may well be the reason for all of their misfortune when it comes to relationships. If in their hearts and minds they see things much different from the rest of the world - what is there to change? For instance - take a guy - a good guy who just keeps getting taken advantage of by all of his girl friends. He can be the sweetest guy; always helping others - quick to come when called. Paying bills and helping out with children he hasn't fathered but still ending up alone. You may ask yourself (and him) what is he doing wrong or you may just think he has really bad luck. You may feel bad for him and even try to set him up. Nice guys like him shouldn't have to put up with women who don't appreciate him, right? Well, he should if he wants to.

My question would be what's going on in his belief system? What does he believe about himself or others that is the fuel that is keeping him going? What were his relationships with family and friends growing up - what was he taught about women or about his role in a relationship? He may not be aware but his reality - the way he see the world and the world he really lives in could be two very different things. He may be clueless to all of this - he may be totally unaware of the connection  but, he is the connection. He may not be consciously picking these women but he is picking them. Being oblivious does not make you blameless. OK, I am not saying anyone is at fault - lets just say maybe there is something he could do or change in his life - in his belief system that could put a stop to this.

It comes back to something pretty simple. What he knows to be real is the engine that keeps him going - all the while he is in the wrong lane.  Poor soul, he may be a sweetheart but the world is full of  people who could care less.  If he was in touch with his reality he would be prepared and could see the people who would take advantage of him coming  a mile away.

I am Cynthia Williams and My Reality is my Armor.

How  many times have you heard someone say either of the following: “Sure, in your world.” or “Yeah, on your planet.” Most people get offended whenever they hear those words but, in some cases it’s true,  we do live in our own world or on our own planet. This is not always a bad thing. Coming to grips with what you view as real could be the  key to achieving happiness and satisfaction in your life.

I once saw an interview of Warren Buffet – he was asked something to the effect of – how did he come so successful? He gave credit to a number of things but the one thing that stood out to me was – he never listened to what others told him coud or could not be done.  He never let others doubts get in the way of his goals. He took chances others never dreamed of and was told he was making mistake after mistake but, he believed in himself and what he knew to be true. Needless to say he knew a thing or two that others didn’t and because of his belief in himself he is now one or the riches men in the world.

I am sure he was looked upon as being more than a  little crazy while taking what others believed to be huge risk but, what others saw as a crazy risk he saw as a oppurtunity for success.

Also being interviewed at the same time was the rapper Jay-Z (given name Sean Carter). His rise to the top had a much different beginning.  Jay-Z was a drug dealer, turned rapper, turned music mogul. He maybe one of the richest rappers in the history of the business. How did a kid from Marcy projects grow up to become part owner of the New Jersey Nets and many owner companys bearing his name? Well, failure was never a part of his reality. He credits having to struggle to make it day-to-day doing what he had to do so that he would never have to do it again. He took the struggles that were a real part his life and use them as motivation to become the man he is today. But for him becoming a successful rapper was not enough he wanted to be a force to be reckoned with and became a pioneer of sorts the first to do the very things people said could not be done.

For both of these men, what could not be done was a part of the reality they dreamed they would do. They ignored the doubts others had and used the struggles of their everyday lives as fuel – as ammo and kept moving forward never looking back.

When I say to people – What’s your reality? – they normally respond with what do you mean? Sometimes I have to do a little  explaining and give a demonstration of  how it can affect ones life  – putting a straggle hold on your hopes and dreams  – I usually get their attention and the idea does provoke questions. It is often eye opening, even life changing. The reaction to learning that your beliefs have been the main road block in your life can bring on a bout of depression. I can often see the darkness move in  before our conversation is half way through but, when I explain the upside to understanding your reality and how any and every mistake or wrong turn can be used to jump start them into a reality that is in line with the life they say they what to live, the sun starts to peek through and light smile begins to show.

The best part of introducing one to their reality is hearing them say “SO I’M NOT CRAZY FOR WANTING SOMETHING MORE, SOMETHING DIFFERENT?”  It is like a load has been lifted and they can finally breathe. They begin to question everything and everyone. They begin to see things a little clearer and can relate to those they have never been able to understand.  For some of them - for the first time in a very long time - they begin to plot out the future they were told is not real or just a dream. They begin to trust themselves and take risk they were too afraid to take before being able to tie their beliefs to their actions or lack there of. Those who express disbelieve or doubt become the fuel needed to excel and succeed. Life becomes more than worth living it also becomes worth celebrating.

Both Mr. Buffet and Mr. Carter learned this well before I and are living proof that if it is a part of your reality than you can live it.

I am Cynthia Williams and
My Reality is keeps challenging me.

I had many childhood fears, a lot of them fueled by my love of scary movies (side note: my dad would take me to the matinée on Saturdays back when you could get two movies for the price of one and one of those would always be a scary movie). But  most of my fears had to do with my parents and my younger brother. I don’t know when it began but I would have awful nightmares about losing them and being all alone. It has been with me ever since I can remember. Sure enough the worst thing that could happen did happen. I lost my father by 15 and my mother less than 20 years later. There was nothing I could do and all that worrying didn’t mean a thing - it didn’t save my parents.

I know what you are thinking – she believes she could have done something to prevent their deaths — and the answer is:  Yes, I did.

The fear would move depending on where I was in my life. Pretty soon I was afraid I would lose my husband and my kids, my best friend and even my bosses whom I love like parent.

Somewhere long ago, as a very young child I learned that I was responsible for what happens to the people I love. It is a very heavy load for a child but, at that point in my life that was my reality. It remained my reality for many years – effecting everything I did – it even fed my fear of flying. I never wanted to fly and never with my husband. That’s how I made sure that my daughters would not end up as orphans.

It wasn’t until my mom passed away that I was able to see how long I believed that my actions could keep my love ones alive. Talk about helpless, I watched her take her last breath and there was nothing I could do. I felt more helpless at 30 than I did at 13.

But believe it or not it was a blessing in disguise – a real break through for me. The worst thing that could happen did and guess what I made it through all of  it. It made me take a good long look at myself and why I believed it was my job to save everyone, my job alone. I have always felt this way and I was able to figure out at least part of the reason why. After a good long look I realized:


 I can remember her saying clear as day, I had to take care of my brother – If someone grabs him you go with him. If he get in a fight you fight for  him. I can even remember getting a beating for crossing an empty lot (a BIG no no) and leaving my brother so that I could make it to the bathroom. I was young to young to be his protector but I tried my best. All through my childhood – all through my teens and well into my married, with two kids, adult life. I was the good one and I had to please my mom so that she would love me as much as she loved my brother. That was my reality. DEEP! I know and a much longer story than I can write tonight. But at some point this belief morphed into a life filled with panic attacks, sleepless night and constant worry over family and friends. 

What matters now is where I am today. Oh, I still worry (once an addict right) but now I that I know why I worry and where it comes from – I am able to let go little quicker each time. The fear quickly turns to laughter and I quickly turn the page. Because if the worst thing that can happen does – I already know I will make it through.

I am Cynthia Williams and That is my Reality.