Category: Awareness

When Your Baby Becomes A Real Person, Life and Birthdays Are Never The Same

Having babies is a great idea, until you realize that they are real people. My real people are pretty much grown up now, and this is not where I say “but they will always be my babies.” Of course, in some way, they are still my babies. Big, tall, hairy, manly babies.

My real people were born in different years but all within four weeks of each other, which means every year we have birthday season. We’re in it right now as a matter of fact. For nearly two decades I enjoyed the yin-yang of it – expensive…and celebratory. And I thought this year would be no different.

But the first rule of parenting is to give up the rosy glow, because guess what, real people do what they want to do regardless of their parents hopes, dreams and expectations. We’ve had a lot of years to adjust-abhor-accept that, but it’s still not easy when birthday and holiday season roll around. Why? Because this year my real people made plans of their own. And worse – without even telling me until I had already ordered the cake.

Me to Real Person who is actually permanently moving “home” soon:

“Hey how about you drive down for a long birthday weekend before you move back, and we can celebrate your birthday and get your car registered, get your classes and financial aid all situated, and find you an apartment.”

(The middle child real person is transferring to a college near home to finish his senior year. Hooray! Although I better not have any hopes, dreams or expectations that his being around the corner will grant me free access.)

Real Person:  “Um, no, I can’t. I’m going to a festival.”  

Me:  “What festival?”

Real Person:  Electric Forest.”

Me – while quickly googling Electric Forest festival:

“Oh wow sounds like fun, but how did you get time off from apple?”   Wait… hold up… “It’s half-way across the country?!?”  What?!? (I have to admit it looks pretty cool.)

“Oh yea Mom, it’s in Michigan. Don’t worry, I’m not driving and I’ll only be gone 5 days.”

Ok, the kid is going to be 22 this year, but this is my baby. (Big, tall, hairy, manly baby.) He is going to an outdoor music festival – in the forest – and there’s more – working the festival to get free food and camping space – with a group of his friends.  My son camps?

Wow. I don’t know how I feel about this. Um, Happy Birthday.

My youngest did not utilize the shock and awe factor, he just decided on his 17th he would go out to dinner with friends and afterward to do whatever they wanted until he got home by 11pm. He told me the day before his birthday that this was his plan.

Oh ok. <sigh> Happy birthday.

Not sure what is in store for the oldest yet, we are still only part-way through birthday season. But I bet it will involve his girlfriend, and I don’t know if we’ll be part of the plan. I’m so proud of this kid, he will be 24 and finds his own way every day. I have such a soft-spot for this one that I will be totally fine with whatever he decides. (Can we get that in writing?)

I’m actually proud of all of them, and my soft-spot is pretty big. Like them. Big, real people.

It’s ok, I still ordered the cake. And yep, enjoyed every bite.

 

All Grown Up I Can Now Be Myself

A long time ago my mother told me that no matter how old we are, we still feel the same on the inside – we feel like ourselves. That makes sense, at the core we are who we are.

Not sure we always notice the “Myself” in ourselves because we are busy navigating our day-to-day, immersed in whatever we are doing, who we are with, what’s happening on our own particular path and that’s our focus. For years and years.

But what if we change? I mean really change. Like “Myself” is not who you think I am, or even who I think I am.

I was sitting in church the other day – something I don’t usually do. I was forced to go every Sunday growing up, and it didn’t feel right to “Myself.” But since Sir Husband does multimedia communications for the Harvard Memorial Church now, I go when he’s covering a special event. It’s kind of like going to the theater. This church is the pulse-center of Harvard U, where big things take place – from Commencement or famous speakers or concerts to High Church holidays during the academic year. Neither of us are religioulsy-affiliated but subscribe to spiritual wisdom.

I sat there for the event and thought about when I was sitting in church as a little girl. I hated it and hated my parents for demanding I participate. I didn’t “feel” it, it didn’t seem right to me and I didn’t appreciate their disregard of “Myself.”

But this particular day, my past tapped me on the shoulder differently, like it does when we least expect it. I felt like a grown up. I had decided to go to church that day for my own reasons – to see the special event, to sit in what the Memorial Church calls Harvard’s “Space of Grace,” a safe place with an astounding history and a magnitude that spans brilliance and imagination, beauty, hope and possibility. Wisdom defines Harvard. And although I was never a student there, when I go, I feel like Myself. Not the struggling little girl who flailed through a lifetime of hard knocks, chaos, roadblocks and dysfunction.

Our experiences leave deep imprints, some good, some not so good. I spent the last decade trying to not be Myself. To unlearn what I learned growing up and reintroduce myself to Myself. And in pivotal moments, there she is. The birth of my children…unconditional love with Sir Husband after our childhood close friendship…finally moving home after a whirlwind eight moves. And sometimes it’s simply an everyday moment that seems pivotal.

That place inside my mother was talking about – the ‘feeling like myself’ place? Sure. No matter how old we are we feel like ourselves. But things change – circumstances, hopes, dreams – and it doesn’t require being in church to notice who we are. We just have to pay attention.

It may have taken me a few decades to learn all I really ever have to do is be Myself. But it’s definitely worth the effort.

 

 

Fairy Wisdom

It’s amazing when we step away from our daily routine into a new space, how our perspectives can change.
We see things and people and ourselves differently. And sometimes it isn’t pretty. But it also provides an opportunity to learn and grow. Removing ourselves from complacency is not only refreshing, it’s enlightening.
We are different. The world is different. Life is different.

Anything Is Possible In A “How-To” World

Pretty sure we live in the “How To” era. It’s a virtual world of self-help everywhere we turn. How to feel – sleep – eat better, live longer, save money, fight fat – depression – chronic pain, change our DNA, our life, become happy, aware, creative, organized, joyful…or the biggy –  find peace.

Is it working? Maybe. Maybe not.

My kindred-spirited good friend told me she will never find that zen-like state of peace no matter how hard she tries. Why? Because of what she calls a History of Horribleness.

Yea, I get that. Kind of hard to feel the zen when we’ve endured a lot of crazy and it sometimes still surrounds us. Oh she’s happy, but the undercurrent of inner peace? Forget it.

And it’s not just dealing with whatever is going on inside our own life – family, job, health, finances – all our personal “stuff.” There’s crazy stuff happening in the world right outside our front door. Anybody else notice that the outside world is the same, pretty much every day?

We get so caught up in it – all of it. Why do they do this. What are they thinking. Why are they acting like this. What are they doing. When will they fill in the blank. Doesn’t matter who “they” even is.

Life’s intensity can often define the parameters, and it impacts us. We try to explain, understand, make excuses, deal with whatever is happening – from the world-view all the way down to our bird’s-eye view. But sometimes we can’t figure things out. Or know what is really going on. Or worse, change or fix it.

We can’t always choose the parameters. So, Zen is easily thwarted.

But life itself seems to be paradoxical. It’s the ultimate bliss and torture, beauty and heinousness. And we’re supposed to somehow both manage and accept the paradoxes to obtain a sense of peace. How do we choose the parameters?

From the unlimited supply of “how to’s.” And thank goodness there are plenty to choose from. Key word? Choose.

We can choose to see things differently, feel differently and act accordingly no matter who around us doesn’t. We can choose to flow through it all as if the horribleness is just part of it. We can choose to infuse moments of sucky reality with acceptance. We can stay focused on our personal intentions, hopes and dreams in spite of “them” or “it.”

We can “create” with whatever we “choose.” It takes some serious commitment, especially after a history of horribleness. But it’s true. Choosing changes everything. 

Loving that How To.

Bad News Does People No Good

The news makes me so sad. The state of the world, the way people see it and think about it and react to it – it’s hard. Perhaps it’s no different than any other time in history, we have learned about the chaos humans create…and endure. Chaotic times go back as far back as history remembers.

But it’s hard to fight for the calmness we humans so desperately seek when we’re surrounded by a deep unhappiness that spreads like a contagious virus.

I woke up to the news of United Airlines hurting a Chinese doctor because he would not give up his seat due to airline overbooking. He is an old man who just wanted to go home, but instead was sorely mistreated by airline employees. Ugh, horrible.

Or the story about children in several states being publicly shamed in school because they could not afford to buy lunch. Worse – denied lunch when the visible stamps on their hands say “I need lunch money.” And these children walk not just through a lunch line, but throughout their day in school, every day, stigmatized, humiliated and hungry.

So incredibly sad. And as we know, that’s not the half of it nor the worst stories “out there.” Some are too terrible to even absorb.

These are humans. People. Living, breathing, loving, and losing – people. The human race is losing. But haven’t we always? History seems to think so.

It’s easy to blame. We have a crippled democracy now, governed by a few who think it’s ok to hurt people and seemingly by no accident instill that mindset to ignite their cause. But it’s more than that. It’s the whole planet, all the way down to my street.

We live in an urban setting but ironically surrounded by nature that we see every day. Not just the usual squirrels or birds, but deer, coyote and wild turkeys. Recently traffic was stopped on my street because a large flock of turkeys was crossing the road – big, beautiful, slow turkeys.

One man continued to try to swerve his car around the long line of stopped traffic, honking, yelling out his window, flailing his arms and cursing at those of us who tried to point out that we were stopped for what looked and seemed so beautiful, so peaceful – creatures simply living their lives without concern about the turbulent world around them – but with great concern for each other.

You could see the bigger ones rallying the smaller ones, helping them cross the street. It was a Make Way for Ducklings moment right before our eyes. But the enraged man certainly couldn’t appreciate it. I think he would have run them over if he could. Sad.

I’m not sure what causes people to be so hateful. Whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, kind or cruel, observation over time shows we are who we are and that’s who we put out into the world.

There is beauty out there, sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

 

 

I Can Do A Happy Dance Especially In My Yoga Pants

I will come up with any reason in the world to wear yoga pants. Why? Not just because I love doing yoga – it’s great for the body and the mind – but because I love the pants. They’re soft, stretchy and even stylish, they feel good against my skin, and bonus – no undies needed. Nobody really wants panty lines. (No judging please.)

I have eight pairs (yikes!) all black and boot cut, comfy cotton/spandex blends, and I wear them with everything from boots with heels to clogs to flip flops. They’re fashion-forward, you can dress them up or down – in fact they’re making yoga dress pants now and even yoga jeans. Throw on anything from a tunic to a tee, a seasonal sweater if need-be, and you’ve got a winner outfit year-round.

Which got me thinking.

If yoga pants make me so happy every time I put them on, is what we wear – or what we feel good wearing – driving our overall happiness factor? Because so many people (myself included) walk around finding all kinds of reasons to be unhappy. All kinds of reasons. But seemingly…without reason.

Have you noticed that?

People get so comfortable in their unhappiness that they actually think they’re happy, but don’t know why they’re not. Yea read that again.

Then examine your own loop. We’re happy one minute for whatever reason – we love what we’re wearing or eating or watching – then the next minute something trips us up – the electric bill arrives, the internet blips out, the cat puked, or somebody in our orbit projects their own unhappiness into our airspace. Boom, happiness balloon deflated.

I only recently noticed this – or maybe I just ignored it – because it’s really easy to slip along the path of negativity. We always find reasons to be miserable in the moment some discomfort comes along. Then if we don’t catch ourselves and remember that overall life is actually really good (and yes, this may take some remembering as we ebb and flow through our day,) we might forget to be happy.

It happens, a lot. And ironically happiness the one thing everybody most wants in the world. I guess we forgot that too. I just heard the coolest thing in an online life-changing class taught by a guy who is seasoned in joy. He said we are wired to win – our default settings are perfect health, super abundance and yes, bliss. As in, we already have the winning lottery ticket, we just don’t really know it.

But I do, every time I put on my yoga pants.

 

 

 

There Really Isn’t A Magic Pill That Produces Perfect Health

This may go down for me as the year of getting well. That’s my optimistic way of saying since the flu shot or antibiotics or even Purell doesn’t always work, I must be building up my immunity. I’m now on round four of a plague that seems to cycle around bimonthly. I’m no stranger to the chronic infestation of the moment, or chronic anything really – it’s my middle name.

I shared that a couple years ago with a well-known and well-respected women’s health guru who then “prescribed” me some seriously top-shelf multi-vitamins and supplements that she swore would change my life – and I bought right in.

It only took a couple of years to learn that trying to keep up with the rich and famous is just dumb, because the top-dollar price of this magic “prescription” pretty much broke my bank. When you could buy a car with what you’ve spent on daily vitamins, you know it’s time to quit.

But what if I really need them? And how do I really know? I had a lot more energy and my hair and nails grew fast, so I assumed they truly worked. But a cure-all they are not, no matter who says they are. I still wrestle with the same old chronic health issues and seem to catch the nasty bugs in spite of their expensive claims.

So I headed on over to my local Whole Foods and checked out the alternatives. Even those at half-the-cost of the magical ones were just too much to spend. Why are vitamins so expensive? Is this a marketing craze because people are gobbling up the concept of special daily pills in search of perfect health?

I was. And I’m still on the fence. Some of the wisest people I know swear by a daily handful, but what do you do when you can’t afford what they say will make you well? “If you can’t afford to invest in your own health then you don’t really want to heal,” someone said.  Um, that could not be less true.

Life is just a balancing act. Sure it may be easier for those rolling in the dough, but I don’t knock that abundance isn’t always about dollars in the bank. Although when I saw my checking account balance the other day I flashed right back to college…it gave new meaning to the words “lean years.”

So I’m rethinking my path to perfect health. And I’m pretty sure healing comes from within. That’s not to say that daily vitamins wouldn’t help, but I’m changing how I think about how to feel physically good. Because I don’t think it’s all the ingredients in a vitamin as much as the ingredients in life.

Most of us are way ahead of the game because we can afford to eat. We have food and fresh water and even wine – that’s doing pretty well. We have shelter and heat and clothes and jobs – again that’s not too bad. Some of us are even fortunate enough to have unconditional love. No, it doesn’t always pay the bills but it certainly helps the soul. Throw some fun and laughter in and I’m betting that all beats a pill.

I just took my last handful of what I thought would change my life, but real change means making different choices. Then time will tell. Just like recovering from the flu, change takes its own time.

“Sorry, Wrong Number” Doesn’t Work Anymore

I wish the national Do Not Call List actually worked. Turns out our home phone number was affiliated with a felon. I say “was” because after 10 months of harassing phone calls from bill collectors, lawyers and authorities, we finally changed the number. The irony is we don’t even want a home phone number – who uses landlines anymore? But we’re locked into a contract with Comcast that if broken, will increase our bill by way too much.

It’s a world of deception and there’s no way around it. Telemarketers, hackers, spammers, now I even get text spam. In the old days Spam was pressed ham in a can. But now, it’s all about marketing and breaking through the defunct barriers of privacy. How do we even know what’s real…or worse, safe?

“Click here for a major discount on Uggs.”  Ugh.

“Newly launched porn site.” No thanks.

“Make real money starting today.” If only.

Even my blog gets super-spammed in spite of my anti-spam plug-in. My dream of having a viral blog didn’t mean being solicited by bottom-dwellers. I get over 100 spam comments every week. Imagine if those were real, or shares or likes.

My latest blog spam – and tell me if this is just a fluke – is in Russian. It’s not even in English. At least before it was fairly readable in all of its misspelled, bad grammar, illiterate, illicit glory.

Some genuinely good info , Sword liⅼ I detected this. A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. by Ingrid Bergman.”

Um, sure, ok.

Or…

I’m with PanjabPharm. we produce many items of quality drugs. Our engeneers have more than 20 years expirience in complex med researches. buy cialis online doctor lr6472hf3121.

Good for you!

And my all-time favorite came from Hot F**k:

Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

Thanks Hot F**k!

But now it’s this:

Как заработать в интернете уже сегодня Ребят, хватит сидеть без денег!) Я был простым бедным студентом, а теперь рублю 15-17 тысяч рублей каждый день вот здесь: [url=https://vk.cc/5DFvY9]https://vk.cc/5DFvY9[/url] (обучающая статья) Это РАБОТАЕТ! Проверено. Всем удачи!Имеется такая услуга – добровольное медицинское обслуживание (или ДМО).Она предполагает, что вы вносите небольшую сумму за то, что ходит на прием весь год не платя за каждый прием.Однако опросы показывают, что лишь 5% жителей Санкт-Петербурга знают о ее существовании. Почему? Потому что клиникам выгоднее сдирать с людей деньги за каждый визит. А если какой-нибудь сотрудник клиники попытается посоветовать добровольное медицинское обслуживание клиенту – это сулит ему увольнением.

Try that on for size Google Translator:

How to make money on the internet today Guys, that’s enough to sit without money!) I was just a poor student, and now the ruble 15-17 thousand every day here: [url = https: //vk.cc/5DFvY9] https://vk.cc/5DFvY9 [/ url] (tutorials) It works! Checked. ! Good luck There is such a service – voluntary medical service (or DME).She suggests that you make a small fee for that goes to the reception the whole year without paying for each meal. However, surveys show that only 5% of St. Petersburg residents are aware of its existence. Why?Because hospitals more profitable to rip off money from people for each visit. And if any hospital staff member will try to advise voluntary medical service to the client – it promises him a dismissal.”

Yea. It’s kinda scary. You just don’t know whose lurking on your devices.

Then there is the other kind of spam. Texts or messages from people you might know but don’t want to hear from. “Trolls, haters,” or my favorite terminology, “energy parasites and those addicted to chaos.” These are the people we know who feed on their own anger and misery and want to share it with us. Yuck.

Anyway, not sure there’s much we can do about any of this. It feels pretty power-draining, like we aren’t really in charge of our own life-supporting stuff like a phone number, or an email address or even a website. Comcast, Verizon, Amazon, and maybe even Russians own our privacy now, that’s almost a fact.

In the meantime I have a new phone number I’ll never use. But as Hot F**k suggested, I’ll keep up the great spirit. Hey maybe I can get some Uggs really cheap. Or some Cialis. You just never know when you might need it.

 

(Thank you Danielle LaPorte for your awesome words about energy parasites.)

For Millennials, Mom Doesn’t Always Know Best

Seriously, high school kids don’t wear coats anymore? It’s winter in the northeast, there’s snow everywhere, it’s cold… but I have yet to get my almost-17-year old in any coat, let alone a winter one. Makes me crazy.

He’s not the only one, I don’t see any of them wearing coats when I drop him off at school every morning. That’s the other thing. He goes to public school but our town doesn’t have busses for high-school kids. They have shuttles – busses for middle schoolers that will shuttle any high schoolers to the high school as a last resort. He won’t ride with the youngsters. Not to mention it costs $500.

No coat, no bus.

He wants to fit in, not stand out, not ride the bus with babies. I get that. But I don’t get the stubbornness. He’s my third and by far the most resistant to anything I suggest, say, advise or even insist. He simply won’t comply.

Not sure I can blame this on the millennial m.o., although this fits into the selfish stereotype. But I don’t see it as selfish, ego-centric or even lazy. It’s about this generation’s ability to make choices that they feel are best for them and be solid in that. They walk their own path and they stick to it, because they have the will, and the courage. They don’t let other people tell them what’s best for them. I can totally appreciate that.

Minus the condescending, not-so-nice, teenage bad attitude of course. Empty nest is just around the corner and is looking pretty good.

Maybe I’m just inexperienced in the ability to stand tall in my own resolute identity. I’d love to be able to do that without any guilt or lingering trepidation. I grew up differently. I had to do what I was told or the consequences would be painful. The innate hesitation therefore, is real for me.

In fact I’m still hemming and hawing about a story I recently submitted. It was a tough assignment, long, involved and I had to follow a complicated outline. I do better when I can write without explicit restrictions – you know – walk my own creative path.

Sure everybody has to follow rules, but the politics of working well and playing nice with others can be a little tiring. He said…she said…do it this way…that way…no my way… Honestly, I was not only a little grumpy, I was sad when all was said and done because the powers that be didn’t seem happy with the story. Yet I complied and worked hard.

But do you think my son (and I’m guessing his comrades,) are sad when they don’t comply, even if it seems sensible? I doubt it. Maybe he’ll grow out of it, although his older brothers didn’t. They lost the b.s. teenage attitude, and they do ask for advice, but they still do what they want in the end. Even if it doesn’t make sense…to me.

Imagine the freedom living like that. Although I’ll still be wearing my coat.

 

Locking Down Our Destiny Is Pretty Hard To Do

Do you ever wonder what on earth you are doing here at this particular point in time? Are we here to evolve our souls or make an impact, or do we just live for a while then turn to dust? Because however you look at it, we are here now, making and breaking history.

The movie Slum Dog Millionaire (love it) tries answer that with a multiple choice question ~ “Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 Million Rupees. How did he do it?”  A. He cheated  B. He’s lucky  C. He’s a genius  D. It is written.

I’m an answer D’er. We have our own destiny, it’s already written and we’re here to fulfill it. The bigger question is, what is it? For some it’s obvious, for the rest of us, not so much.

Until this year I never really questioned my place and time in history, I was always just happy to be an American at a time that life in our first-world country was pretty okay. So I just went about my business trying to fulfill my unknown-but-written destiny.

Turns out our path to destiny comes with challenges we have try to work through, hopefully learning as we go. Doesn’t matter what they are – health, job, people, life – I was feeling pretty happy recently to have finally overcome (or so I thought,) years and years of rollercoaster challenges, thereby rocking my destiny.

Then things started getting tricky. Trump tricky. And all of a sudden some of those challenges I thought I was done with – bullies, narcissists, abusers, sociopaths, dangerous, angry humans – is happening on a massive, grandiose scale beyond what most people really imagined. Doesn’t matter what side you’re on, historical chaos ensues.

So the other day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the state of national affairs, I asked myself, any idea why you are here at this particular point and time? Was this written? Did you pick this time to exist to experience this? Or are you just lucky? Because some might say experiencing hardship is good for the soul. Think about Moses and the Israelites. Or slaves. Or Jews in Nazi Germany. Syrian refugees. Was that good for them? Did they meet their destinies or their fates?

And now why, all of a sudden, do I feel like I need to re-examine my own destiny more closely? To dig deeper and lock it down? I thought I already did that. But thanks to our lifetime’s history-in-the-making, I get the opportunity to keep on keeping on my own path of destiny discovery.

Maybe that’s the whole point. Whether we are here to evolve, make a known impact, or simply turn to dust, wouldn’t we really like to know what on earth we’re doing here? I guess I shouldn’t work so hard at it. After all, I’m pretty sure it’s already written.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: