Category: Love

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.

 

 

Spare Me Your Toxicity, I’ll Take Insight and Kindness Instead

This is the little story that caught my eye on social media the morning after Thanksgiving.

Thinking of the young woman walking in a dress and high heels on the cold Thanksgiving day; the young man that had the nerve to leave her at the gas station when she was in the bathroom; all of the people who passed her by; and my brother and niece who picked her up and went way out of their way to take her home.

Wow. Hmmm.

Until the heartfelt kindness shown by someone’s brother, it’s safe to assume there was no Thanksgiving spirit going on for that woman in the dress and high heels. No feasting on good food, family togetherness or reasons to feel gratitude, seems more like pain and cruelty. There are a good amount of people who don’t enjoy a Normal Rockwell family portrait no matter how much they want it or how hard they wish for it, or even pretend they have it.

shoesThere’s always one, or maybe a few, sitting or standing next to you who make you stop and wonder. You are just trying to live your life happily, peacefully, you know – the way you are entitled to by the simple fact you are alive. But like the noxious smell of gasoline, there are some who make you feel sick.

You ask yourself if it’s you. You look in the mirror again and again, maybe even for years, you have tried to understand why some people don’t see how they come across – or more like won’t see. Because to them it’s you, it’s always you not them. You are the problem no matter what.

But you know deep down in your heart of hearts that just isn’t the case. You’ve worked hard, learned, evolved, grown, and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will likely keep living from their own little closed-up space that prevents them from valuable soul-inspired insight.

It takes work – insight – it’s hard and uncomfortable, it’s so much easier to blame instead of waking up and really seeing who we are and what we are putting out there into the world. It becomes a right-wrong thing. You were wrong so I left you at the gas station. No you were wrong to leave me there.

A few minutes after I saw that little story, I heard a news report that statistics show more and more young people are having heart attacks and strokes. They didn’t say it was due to one particular thing because there are so many thingspeople…situations… that create stress. These physical repercussions, including illnesses like cancer, are sometimes referred to as “wake up calls” to living better – more healthily, more clean, less stress, less toxic whatever it is.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the wake up call came before our life was threatened? How do we feel better in spite of things or people who make us feel sick, who have no interest in addressing their own poison?

We’ll never really know what happened with the woman in the dress and high heels. But when you really think about it, truthfully it’s our journey and ours alone. Thank goodness for kind strangers who stop to lend a hand along the way.

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Everybody’s Got A Story, And We Sure Stick To It

Story of my life. Everybody’s got one. Anybody want a do-over? Like hitting stop on a Netflix movie and watching something else? Not so easy to do when it’s the story of our life.

It’s usually built on our past, made of memories, and what perplexes me is why people stick to it like glue. It’s our personal narrative that defines us. But why? Who says we have to live by our story like it’s written in stone? And why are we so invested in it, especially if we don’t like it?

everyones-storyI noticed this about my own life when a few years ago someone whispered in my ear that she was tired of hearing me moan and groan day in and day out. It was like I had my unhappy story on instant replay. I constantly focused on the same miserable theme over and over, no matter what was going on. I had a good reason for it, my friend didn’t deny that, but she told me if I didn’t start to re-think my story I would never feel better about my life.

I got what she was saying, intellectually. It’s the whole change your thoughts, change your life thing. But that’s huge. I mean how do you even do that? First of all most of us don’t even recognize it – we’re just living our life, doing the best we can. When she pointed it out to me I was a little defensive. It felt natural to just be me – however I was being.

never-too-lateNot to mention, it seemed impossible to just let go of my history, let go of the unhappy happenings and the situations that were part of my day-in and day-out existence. Was I just supposed to pretend that things were not as they seemed or appeared or felt, or in all actuality, were?

Well…yes. I don’t know if it’s habit or simply human nature to be invested in our story. We live it, sometimes in such a deep rhythm we actually get lost in it. Then we become a magnet for like-minded storytellers. And if it’s a sad story, we get caught up in that particular vortex. After all, misery loves company.

let-goI knew my friend was right, but I realized after losing most of my happy tribe from my drama and doom I knew I would have to change my thinking and as hard as it felt, invest in joy instead. I had to not only want it, but be willing to give up my story. It was definitely a major task.

I saw on the Today Show that genes determine 50 percent of our happiness and circumstances account for 10 percent, which leaves 40 percent up to us. Whether that’s true or not, what it comes down to is how badly we want to feel better. What we’re willing to give up in order to make gain. Whether we will opt to work with our situation as it is, not the way we wish it was.

Whether feeling joy is worth letting go of the pain.

No need to overthink it. It is.

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Click here for some facts and tips on how to feel the joy.

 

Bearing Witness to This Changing World May Be The Only Thing To Do

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I’m screaming on the inside. Well, the outside too. It started the day after the election as I was voicing my upset on social media (which I rarely do,) responding to posts calling for my input. I  “watched” myself do it – let my emotions publicly come out. I wanted to step back and just let it be since we don’t have any control over it other than casting our vote – and that’s an iffy control with our contorted Electoral College – but I couldn’t.

As I watched and read what I typed, I felt the sheer terror of what our world may look like in the upcoming months and years – not just with the President-elect, but with the great divide we see between American citizens – and I had an overwhelming surge of negative emotions, much like many others who were clearly feeling the same.

Part of my intrinsic upset comes from knowing deep down what may be in store, as I have experienced a few “psychological terrorists” up close and personal in recent years, much like Donald Trump –  narcissistic elitists who live from their massive egos that are beyond normal comprehension. Not to mention their visible indicators of emotional ignorance not only to those around them, but more importantly to their True Self – their soul – and Divine Love.

Living from the pureness of love is not an easy place to live whether we are the average-Joe-everyday narcissist or not. Projecting love instead of fear when emotions are reeling (and even when they aren’t,) is tough, even for the teachers of human compassion.

The election results in a spiritual frame of reference call for long overdue healing of the human race. But I’m not sure the task of wide-span healing on any profound, impacting level is going to happen in our lifetime, it’s too gargantuan. I’m guessing that this Divided States of America will go on for generations to come, because there seems to be this ongoing question of boundaries. Not just national border boundaries called into question in countries around the world. But personal boundaries. Who has authority over our private lives?

That is the question. Who is in charge? Ourselves or someone else? Because the fight for control is often deadly. And the fact that there is even any question of who can dictate our private lives – who we are, what we feel, who we love, what we believe, what we say, do, where we can live, work, eat, play and pray – is immorally absurd.

Then to tie all of that in with the color of our skin, our gender, our race, our nationality, our incomes, ourselves, casts our hopes and every scrap of our dreams – American and otherwise – out the window, and worse, into the fire.

And yet it goes even deeper, to the boundaries around dialogue, personal and public conversation that is so important in these unstable, uncertain, seemingly dark, catastrophic times. For the common man, for you and for me, dialogue is all we have right now, that’s how we engage with the world we live in. I’ve read and heard so many conclusions and predictions already of this impending new regime – just the beginning of speculation twisted with fact, without any hope of true knowing until hindsight reveals it – and it’s confusing.

So I decided to step back just for a minute and really think about it. We know fear begets fear, and there’s plenty of that everywhere we turn. But in that moment it occurred to me that I don’t have to ride the rollercoaster. I can simply observe life as it unfolds – wherever and however it does that – on television, on social media, online, on street corners. I can exercise the peaceful neutrality of witnessing, not as a bystander but as a person engaged in my own personal evolution occurring alongside the rest of this topsy-turvy world. It may feel like mayhem, but by witnessing I can protect that little space inside me that still wants to believe in a fairy-dusted existence. Even though the worst may be yet to come… or not.

It’s like that sweet and symbolic ditty Row Row Row Your Boat that we learned when we were little. Sing along…at least on the inside.

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The Big Reveal: Love Yourself More

What do I miss besides my youthful glow, my grown-up children, and that phrase “you have your whole life ahead of you”? A lot of things actually. Like writing a blog every day. Or being able to eat spicy food. Sometimes I even miss little things about owning a house – mostly the ability to do what I want with the outside decor each season or on holidays, pumpkinswreaths, pumpkins, flowers, even answering the door to trick-or-treaters. Don’t get me wrong, the freedom of condo-living is awesome and I may never again want another piece of the American Pie.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to embrace a lot of things about midlife, and not just dwell on things I miss. All that stuff you hear about getting older is true, including gaining wisdom. But instead of sharing the to-do list of successful aging, or what to put on a bucket list, I’m just going to share the one piece of essential information I now have. It doesn’t cost anything, take any time, it even doesn’t require special skills, knowledge or training. It’s actually something everyone can do.

Love yourself more.

That’s right. That’s it. Love yourself more.

For many of us by the time we get to this midlife turning point we are tired – we feel bogged or beaten down, by life, by others, even by ourselves. We think we haven’t achieved enough, aren’t successful enough, don’t have enough money or the car we hoped for by now, the paid-off mortgage, the retirement fund, many of our dreams are starting to seem like vaporous clouds floating out of reach. Not to mention our body just isn’t what it used to be.

dont-worry-if-someone-doenst-like-youBut I’m here to tell you, nothing will change our past circumstances, and while there is always hope for the future, the most powerful thing we can do is love ourselves as we are in this very moment today, right now. Our health and well being depends on it. By the way, not loving ourselves proves what point and to whom?

It’s not easy. We are a society that focuses on youth, wealth, power, money and looks, and aging gracefully seems impossible. While we can’t fight that reality, we can learn to accept and appreciate ourselves just as we are, no matter what. That perception changes everything.

zuesSir Husband and I are paying attention to the midlife people around us who appear to have this “I Love Me” thing down. They seem happy, well-adjusted, and comfortable inside their own skin. We listen to what they say and watch how they move through life. Sometimes we even ask them what their secret is. Do they look in the mirror every day and say “You are awesome” in a Stuart Smalley affirmation way? Do they imagine themselves as the Greek god Zeus?

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It’s easy to feel powerless when we’ve got a lot dragging at our feet, and isn’t always easy to shake off. I know a lot of miserable people, I used to be one of them. But what we noticed is that happy people keep their focus away from life’s sludge. They don’t let it invade their personal space, or their minds. Even if their situations are not the way they want them to be, they are ok with a different “different.” We have to see ourselves, and what we want, differently.

What do I really miss? Not realizing I’m worthy and deserving of my own love long before now. It’s truly the undercurrent of happiness.

 

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Feeling Rejected? Mourn It And Move On

identityHere’s where bloggers can get into trouble. People see a post that although is anonymous, they know is about them, or they think it is, and they back off from interacting with us – even if the post was all good. Not because they are angry – or maybe they are – but because they are afraid. Like how a lot of people are afraid to speak to the media. There’s something intimidating about it I guess. When other people take you into their hands, especially public hands, all of a sudden you’ve lost control – of your persona, your self-image, your perceptions, maybe even your identity.

I’m not shy about sharing my blog, that’s what most bloggers do. We write and want people to read it and feel something, relate, discover, even feel validated. We don’t want them to turn away.

suck-it-upWhen I moved home after 14 years gone I had hope, not even expectations, but hope of renewing lost friendships from all those years ago. My memories – the few I do have in spite of situational amnesia – are good. So I thought that maybe for some of my old tribe, their memories would be good too. But now I’m not getting that vibe. It’s not that they are shunning me, but some are brushing me off without batting an eye – which feels hard when I extended a kind hand built on a cherished past. They simply aren’t responding to my gestures. Way to burst my bubble people.

As we know, life is not a fairy tale. We just want it to be. Of course I wanted some big happy reunion, and why not?

sometimes-only-paper-will-listen-to-youSo when we get the blow off, or the polite ‘thanks but no thanks,’ we start to wonder what’s wrong with us. What did I say or do that makes them not want to be friends again? I know I have a lot of baggage but I literally left it at the door – my other door – the one I moved away from. I never put it on the moving truck because I didn’t want it anymore. Don’t they know that? Can’t they tell? Or is the brush off not even about me?

I’ve always been an outsider. Picked last in gym class, bullied, made fun of, betrayed – that’s a big one. Betrayal leaves damaging scars that are very hard to ignore. So it’s hard to assimilate being ditched. We can tell ourselves it’s not us it’s them, or we can try to accept and let it go. If I am going to raise my vibration like saints or Jesus or da Buddha – rise above that level of fear-based living and into a higher space of love – then I have to say ok, briefly mourn it and move on.

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My new thing, that I say to myself of course, is “So be it, I tried. I wish you goodness, see you in the afterlife.” Yes I believe in an afterlife, and it’s comforting to think that in that “place” everybody loves everybody and it’s nothing but happiness and joy.

That’s the bottom line really – happiness and joy – that’s all we want. So I’ll keep extending it outward, even if it’s rejected. What else can I do. Well…I can blog about it.

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The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life Takes Guts

This past weekend Sir Husband and I found ourselves in a coffee shop in a little village at a high-top table in the center window, where we sipped iced coffee and watched the world stroll by. We also had great seats to watch a wedding at the big antique church across the street.

IMG_3069Guests for this event were dressed quite formally for a Saturday afternoon. We watched the bridal party of eight bridesmaids in their mint-green long dresses laughing and swinging their bouquets around while lining up to parade in, alongside eight groomsmen sporting their mint-green silk ties. We saw the bride get out of her limo and try to get up the old, tall wooden steps in her lacy white gown behind her hefty crew, a couple of gals in long dresses carrying her train.

This was a fun thing to see, but for me with some irony. This was the same church where I married Mr. Ex. I too, hauled myself and my lacy dress up those old wooden steps behind my bridesmaids and their groomsmen many years ago. But somehow it all seemed the same.

Sir Husband and I looked at each other and laughed – we’ve both been down this road before. And unfortunately when we did it, we weren’t marrying each other. We were each the 20-something bride and groom in big, formal church weddings marrying the completely wrong people. We both even semi-subconsciously knew it at the time, but we went through with it just the same. Yea, we were kind-of dumb.

So as we watched the pre-ceremony hoopla in the front of this beautiful church, with all the beautiful people, underneath a gorgeous blue sky on a perfect, sunny, late-summer day, we couldn’t help but be cynical.

This is the first day of the end of their marriage were the words that slipped out of our mouths. It’s all over after this. Sure the honeymoon will be fun, but then life will happen, and eventually it will all fall apart…… said hindsight. We laughed, although we weren’t trying for any bad karma, it just seemed reasonable to say.

IMG_3063When I got married at that very church, if I had only stopped it all right then.

Why do we make decisions when we know deep down they’re wrong? Marrying Mr. Ex wasn’t the first huge mistake, there was a long line of many more. Like staying married to him for years in spite of all the colossal problems.

We can’t really know what lies ahead when we make decisions in life. But we can tune in to our instinctual inner guidance system and let it help show us the way. There’s such a huge amount to navigate, why do we take it all on? If I only knew at the time that I was well-equipped to choose a new path…but I didn’t believe I was, and also refused to pay attention to the signs. I am certain that’s a huge part of the cause of divorce overall, we don’t listen to our guts.

It only took 30 years to finally marry the right man. Better late than never I say – and this time I knew it was right. Nobody can truly predict the future but we may have more control over our destiny than we realize. It all just depends on our view.

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Partaking In Joy Is Part Of Our Daily Grind

Wisdom food for thought:

Do we define joy by achieving a desired outcome? Or is the joy on the path itself?

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I don’t really feel like chewing on that, because like the rest of the human race, I just want to feel the joy whenever I want, which of course, is always. But it doesn’t work that way for the majority of us, so I’m trying to figure it out.

When Sir Husband received the news that he was getting his dream job a couple of months ago and we would be moving back home, we felt this burst of joy coming through us at light speed. Ironically, it was exhausting and we experienced some weird physical symptoms that are typically signs of distress. Bathroom issues…GERD…headaches…and both of us stopped sleeping.

It was weird because we were so excited that our path was finally changing for the better, so why were we so wiped out? Years of heavy stress finally lifting, and cloud nine was wearing us down. Oh we were definitely happy, we just didn’t expect the process of executing the joy to feel different than how we defined joy itself. It didn’t seem to make sense. Joy after all, is a feeling. Or is it?

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When I mentioned this to local guru Dr. Christiane Northrup, she laughed and said, “Correct – your body and mind don’t know what to do with all the toxic overload from the past now that it’s over.” As we know, emotional toxicity can cause physical symptoms from stress, and we’ve had plenty of that. So turns out feeling joy is actually a process. Who knew?

pathAfter a few weeks on our new path of joy we noticed something else. That joy doesn’t always override the daily stressors. Life still happens in all of its grit and glory no matter what. That also tripped us up. Hold on – we have joy now, why is sh*t still happening that feels stressful? First we’re joyful and tired, then we’re joyful, stressed and tired, doesn’t joy win out and erase life’s other junk? Easy answer, no.

Intellectually I guess we knew this, but when you get a taste of pure joy, you don’t want it to leave. So things had to become a matter of perspective.

We habitually went to feeling sad or bad when anything went “wrong,” but interestingly yin yangthe joy of our new path was still happening. Is it possible to experience both things at once?  Stress and joy linked in a yin yang circle bouncing like a super ball through our daily existence?

The goal I’m told, is to experience joy as the constant undercurrent that rises to the surface – and here’s the key – when we let it. So that begs the wisdom question again, is joy in the desired outcome or is it on the path? Only we can know.

 

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(Notes from the Universe)

Even on His Birthday My Teen Won’t Leave His Room

tyler bday 007 copyBirthday season just opened in our house. We have three birthdays in just under a month, starting yesterday when the youngest turned 16.

I love to celebrate special occasions, especially birthdays, especially for those I birthed. I’m pretty sure I even celebrated in the delivery room as my kids were being born. I remember my doctor on the third child asked me why I was so smiley despite all the pain. Little did I know what that truly meant.

I spent my boy’s 16th birthday pretty much by myself. No cars and friends and cheer for him, he just hung out in his room. Like almost everyday, I can’t get my teenager out of his room and I don’t know what to do.

I have tried everything, but he won’t really come out except to go to school and eat, and it’s been going on for a couple years. Why am I waiting so long to speak up? Because I keep hoping it will change.

He isn’t hiding anything that we can tell, he’s got a fancy computer and spends all his time online. Introverted, totally tech, smart as a whip honors student, he’s not like me or his sibs. He opts out of interaction and seems perfectly happy. But it makes me really sad.

No matter what I do or say to try to help him, he pishaws and rolls his eyes. I realize this is teenager-speak, I’m not new to this. My other two 20-somethings seem to be fine, so I guess this will pass. But it’s worrisome nonetheless. He’s isolated and putting on weight, and even with encouragement from family and friends, it’s like trying to move a boulder. 26_23.jpg_24 copy

Nobody tells mothers that one day they will feel pain with their children like they did in the delivery room. Having children is as heartbreaking as it is joyful, and the teenage years are intense. All kinds of factors come into play – genes and environment, family status and stability, extended family, community – everything plays a role. So on some level I have to wonder where in all this I failed to help him be the best he could be.

Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe this is his best. Teenagers are still developing in their bodies and in the world. So I try to give him the benefit of the doubt instead of blaming myself. He’s not young anymore, not to mention he’s the size of an adult, unlike when he was two and I could control his life.

He has gone through a lot with our family trauma, problems and pain. But all I can do is keep showing him things are now really good, and role model every day.

So as I search for the answer to help my teen thrive, I keep repeating the old standbys – everybody is on their own journey…parents are only vessels, kids are individuals…don’t make him someone he isn’t…he has to want to change, nobody can do it for him…  But some days it’s really hard.

I guess one day he will come out of his room. In the meantime I’ll keep trying…and waiting…and trying…and hoping. This is parenthood.

 

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The Ring He Gave Me Fell Off My Hand, Now He’s Giving Me The Moon

Let’s see how we can get her attention, said the Cosmos the other day…

I was minding my own business, typing on my computer, when PLINK. The diamond in its four prongs simply fell off my engagement ring. I saw it roll a couple of inches on the floor by the desk where I was sitting.

What the … ? I was just typing. I didn’t bang it, it wasn’t loose – I check it all the time. I picked it up and it was as tight as could be inside the four white gold prongs. But the ring was now broken and missing its head, I was as sad as I was surprised.

017 0flowers copyWe took it to a local jeweler the next day, maybe even the best one in our state. But I didn’t know there was a difference until that very morning. They wouldn’t even touch the ring until I spoke to the jeweler where it was purchased. We got the ring in another state a whole day’s drive away. So I called him on the spot and explained about the head of the engagement ring he sold us, simply falling off.

Much to all of our surprise – and we could all hear him on the phone – he was not too interested in the ring’s demise and told me I could mail it back and he would get to it eventually – he didn’t seem to care. Eventually?!!? I don’t think so, and what does that even mean? Now I was silently shedding tears.

ring boxThe goldsmith came out and looked at ring and told us why it just broke. It was not properly made from the get-go, and he explained in full detail why. I was lucky it happened at home he said, because at least we have the diamond.

The one carat diamond has a story of its own. It was originally my grandmother’s nearly-flawless gem that I was so fortunate to inherit. I wore it as my engagement ring with Mr. Ex. But a few years ago – when Sir Husband and I took it to be reset in a new engagement ring from him – the diamond did not match the appraisal. We determined it had been swapped out at a jeweler many years ago when Mr. Ex and I lived near Washington DC and took it to have the prongs tightened. Chaos ensued for quite some time until I finally had to accept that I didn’t have my grandmother’s diamond anymore.

In the meantime my diamond was sitting on the counter of our local jewelry store while we tried to decide what to do. The ring was not repairable, it was only worth its weight in gold.

moon_goddessSo we looked at new settings for quite some time before we found one that felt perfectly right. It’s beautiful. And custom and will become an heirloom. The setting’s name is Luna.

Luna:  The moon ~ a goddess ~ luck ~ miracles ~ the Divine.

Now we’ve got her attention, said the Cosmos the other day…

As we were making the arrangements to have a Luna made, the jeweler was looking at my diamond underneath the microscope. “Do you have the original appraisal?” she asked as she peered through her looking glass. “This is absolutely beautiful,” she said, “a near-flawless and perfect gem.”

What? You mean it’s maybe not the imposter diamond we thought it to be?

“This may be your grandmother’s diamond,” she said. “Let’s see what the appraisal says.”

Hooray! said the Cosmos the other day… She’s finally paying attention to her miracles.

 

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