Monthly Archives: February 2014

Lunch with my Dad and afterwards.

I had a break in the action yesterday (kids with their dad for a few hours), so I was able to have a one-on-one lunch with my dad.  We had a very open conversation about life.  He did the usual parent thing, asking questions about my health, the health of my kids, what’s new with them, etc.  I told him something that I know he wasn’t excited about – a direction in my life.  But, he didn’t push too hard.  He listened to my point and we moved on.

When I came home my daughter talked to me about how emotional it was to attend the visitation of a friends’ mother who had just died.  She was open about her feelings and for a second, shed the teenage cloak to give me a big, tight hug. I could tell she was reminded of the significance of the parent/child relationship.

Both these events made me ask myself, “How can I keep an open, non judgmental relationship with my children so they feel comfortable talking to me about any questions, problems and joys they experience in life?”

I try (very much the operative word today) to be an approachable parent.  I want to encourage my  kids to feel safe and comfortable bringing up sensitive concerns – even those they know I may not approve of.  And, in trying to do so, I follow a couple of basic tenants:

1. I try to have a non-judgmental outlook on life in general (even when I want to be judgmental!).  Kids model the good and not-so-good in us.  So, I try not to react externally or get upset about life or situations they might bring up.  I try not to push my agenda too hard.  So, for example, when they come home with a low grade or tough situation occurred at school, I avoid, “How could that possibly have happened?”  And, instead say, “That must feel bad.  Can we figure out what happened?”

2. I try to listen, listen and listen more.  This means I really have to hear the feeling behind the words.  I have to focus – not multi-task.  In the car, it’s as simple as turning off the radio and opening my ears.

3. I try to remain calm in the face of things I don’t “approve” of.  This one is actually the toughest one for me.  I use a lot of deep breaths!  It goes back to the judgmental streak I’m working on!

4. One thing I’m not as good at is using my humor.  But, when I do, I see how much more open my kids are.

Thanks for lunch Dad and for being a good role model yesterday!  I think I needed it for dealing with my kids and just life in general!

Have a safe day!

Here are my “thoughts” on this Hallmark holiday.

First let me say that for many (including me) this is one of the most polarizing holidays of the year.   Full of pressure and total disappointment. Look, even Christmas can be enjoyed by all – the Christians get their holiday and the Jews get a day off to bowl, eat Chinese and head to the movies!

I’ve had more than a decade of not enjoying this holiday.  But I had an experience with someone yesterday that changed all that for me.  Let me tell you yesterday’s realization and my love story.

Once, so many years ago I can’t even count, I met a man.  Not at a time I was planning (we never are) but it happened.  He was not someone anyone expected I would be with, including me.  I spent a lot of energy trying to make it “work” and I never could figure out why it didn’t, because we “loved” each other.  But, yesterday I was talking with someone and for some odd reason (maybe for today’s post), it hit me – this relationship did not last for one big reason – neither one of us was willing to be transparent, ask for love and more importantly to love ourselves.

Self-love is like a seed.  It starts out tiny and unnourished.  And, no matter when it is watered (as a child or finally as an adult) the seed will grow into something amazing (or not, if you so choose).   Watering the seed is not all that difficult.  It’s simply asking yourself, “How can I love myself today?”

Some days, it might be something very simple or nothing but the question.  Some days it might be changing something very big and difficult.  But, the goal is the same – thinking about loving yourself every day.

I look at my children and see their self-love.  They are full of kindness, joy and love for those around them.  They are not afraid to love others because they love themselves.  They felt love growing up.  Not everyone does.

My kids find beauty in the world in a way I never did at their age.  It’s not perfect.  They’re not perfect. Nothing is.  But you just can’t pretend on this one.  Look, anyone can run a business, get good grades, or have lots of outside accomplishments.  But, to love yourself, so you can be transparent and let love in … now that’s “a gift that keeps on giving.” (See, I can get into the Hallmark thing!).

So, ask yourself how you can love yourself today.  Then, to solidify that self-love, find someone who can receive your love.  It need not be a partner – it can be a friend, a stranger, the mail person … it doesn’t matter.  Every day (not just this goofy day) should be about love.  Love – allowing love for yourself, being loved, showing love and totally giving love away!

Have a wonderful day!  I’ll see you at the 50% off chocolate sale tomorrow!

I just want to be me.

This is the tricky part of life – finding the place(s) where you can just be you.  Where you don’t have to worry what someone is thinking when you are who you feel like being at that very moment.  Do you know what I mean?

I am pretty much “what you see is what you get.”  But, recently I’ve noticed times when I’ve not felt safe or comfortable being me. These are usually times when the person I’m with is doing what I’ve been talking about lately — pointing outward, rather than inward.  When the person is being judgmental about who I am when really they should be looking at what they don’t like about themselves or who they are in the relationship.

I’ve done this too, of course.  I’ve judged people before I’ve known them.  I did it this weekend at my meditation class.  A woman came in for the class and I immediately thought she was out-of-place … didn’t look like someone who would meditate.  I was totally wrong but judged her from the outside and by her initial actions.

I’m frustrated with a situation where someone is doing that to me.  I keep changing who I am to try to meet the person because it is clear that who I am is not working for the other person.  But, what happens is that when I’m not true or genuine, I end up being frustrated with myself and resentful – and it gets worse, not better.  (It also makes me want to run super fast in the other direction!)

The good news is, we can change those situations.  We can decide to be our authentic self and act in accord with that.  And if someone doesn’t like it – well we can walk or they can too!

Being true to yourself takes courage.  It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open and intellectually honest.  It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions about who you are or what you should be doing.

So today, be true to the very best of you.  Be ok with where you are at right now.  Live your life consistent with your highest values and dreams.   Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to change or be something else.  If you need to change, it will occur when you are looking internally – not when someone is pointing a finger at you.

Have a great day!

 

“Why do you make the same thing over and over again?”

That was the quote from one of my children about my making a particular Italian dish the other night.  On the one hand, I want to say that he’s right.  If there’s something they seem to like, I will make it over again (and maybe again).  On the other hand, I want to say – “Are you freaking kidding me?  You want to say that to me now?  As you sit down to eat and I’ve worked all day practicing law and then come home and make dinner for you?”  But, I don’t say that.  I just look at him and try to retain my composure when I say, “Well, you could start making your own dinner, if you prefer.”

I am tired of cooking.  I really am.  Here’s my dream: someone comes to our house and cooks for us three days a week.  I agree to take the other four.  Wouldn’t that be fantastic?  Three home cooked meals by my “helper” and for my four nights, we eat out at Chipotle, Baja Sol, Chinese food (from almost anywhere) and Jimmy Johns.  That almost sounds like heaven!

I hate pulling the “when I was a kid” card, but seriously, when I was a kid, if I ever complained about dinner – I was told that my options were a PB & J sandwich or nothing.  Or, if my mom was feeling generous, I could have a toasted english muffin.  Ahh, the digression of a blogger …

I’ve started to kabob anything I can find  for variety – I almost kabob’d hard-boiled eggs the other day!  I use my crock pot more often than my stove.  And, I’ve taken to serving breakfast for dinner.  Still, I’m tired of cooking!

Now, I know, from my last mom rant, that I felt a bit of remorse for complaining about something I will miss in a few years.  I totally get that.  But it doesn’t change my feeling right now that I have not one more idea for dinner nor do I even feel the desire to cook!

Today I’m going to post a sign on the kitchen wall: “Kitchen closed due to illness.  Mom is sick from cooking!”  See you all at Subway for dinner! 🙂

“I’m never going to get divorced.”

The first time I heard this from one of my kids, I went to my room and cried. Just writing it gives me a stomach ache. I’ve heard it since then and I recall saying it many times when I was a kid (my parents were divorced). I said to my now ex-husband. And, I meant it. But after almost 10 years of being together, waiting until we were in our 30’s to have kids, and being best friends, our marriage didn’t survive. Thankfully, we have remained friends and partners in raising our kids.

Why is it so difficult to stay together?

Relationships/marriage, being a two-party event from the word “go,” affords us the “convenience” of thinking that any problems reside in our partner. We focus—wrongly—on the characteristics of our partner rather than on the processes taking place in the relationship, which by definition involves two people.

Moreover, we allow ourselves to indulge in the unrealistic expectation that we’ll meet the “right” person and all will be great. Yet, the elephant in the room is this: no matter how many times we try marriage or a relationship, we will continue to trip over the same mistakes. And, those are the ones that are inside us: the expectation of bliss without conflict, the expectation of continued intimacy and excitement as it was at the “beginning,” and the idea that all the problems emanate from someone other than us.

Moving on to another relationship can sometimes make a huge difference. I totally grant you that. But, sometimes, it’s just that we are afraid to look internally, see what role we are playing and to make our own changes. The “looking outward”syndrome just follows us to all our next relationships.

Why write about this now … divorced more than 10 years? Maybe it’s the upcoming holiday. Or, maybe it’s that time in our lives where we are wondering about a change… life’s passing us by and we think, “Is my relationship right for me?” “Does _____ fill my bucket.” But, I think the real question is, “Am I the person I want to be in my relationship and toward my partner?” The look is internal, not external.

As for my kids and my divorce, I get where they are coming from. And, I hope they never get divorced. But, I’m not going to worry about it. Instead, I’ll make sure that they understand that sometimes, it just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. But, before giving up (and afterwards), it’s critically important to take time to look inside and find your peace and happiness there. Only at that point can you truly make a decision on anything else. Likely the kind of advice we can use in all areas of our lives. Maybe I could have used it 10 years ago. 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

Coincidence or happenstance?

Some believe that life works with a flow of energy, information and connections throughout every moment of our time here.  Yet, most of us don’t think of life like this … instead, we spend our time simply trying to ensure that we leave the house with clean underwear, that our kids make it to school and that we make it back at the end of the day to start all over tomorrow! Am I right?

But, I have to admit, in the last seven days, I’ve had more than my fair share of “coincidences.”  Meetings, if you will, of people who have entered my life at an unusually appropriate time.  Finally, yesterday I ran into someone at the grocery store who claims to have met me six months ago at a restaurant (apparently, we chatted while I was waiting for a client to show up).  This person said he tried for the last six months to find me, but couldn’t (who can’t find me?!).  Weird.

After I left the store, I began to ask myself:

  • Are the events of our lives objective or subjective?
  • Is there an order or purpose to the universe?
  • Or, are we the lucky accidents of evolution, living our wonderful but brief lives in a random world that only has the meaning we give it?

This “coincidence” phenomenon fascinates everyone – those who believe and those who are skeptics.   For those with an empirical mind, a coincidence is happenstance, “a simultaneous collision of two events that has no special significance and obeys the laws of probability.”  To others, coincidence is synchronicity – “The purposeful occurrence of two seemingly unrelated events.”

I really don’t have an answer here.  All I know is that the impetus for my blog was my assistant constantly telling me to put in writing all the “things” that kept happening to me.

It happens to you too.  Think about it: You are in line at a coffee shop and you’re near a woman who smells like your mother or grandmother.  At that moment you are reminded of her – she’s there with you. Or, you run into someone who you’ve not seen for a long time and the connection leads to something else that affects your life.  Coincidence or happenstance?

Here’s all that we really need to remember:

Pay Attention to Life

It doesn’t matter if there’s any meaning to our coincidences.  What matters is that we make every effort to experience as much of life as we are afforded in this oh-so-brief period of time.  It matters that we pay attention and watch as life unfolds right in front of us.

We (seriously, read “me” here) need to stop worrying about what’s next and enjoy what’s in front of us.  And, when we do – those “coincidences” will be right there leading (or dragging us) to our next experience.  🙂

I hope you all have a fantastic (and eye-opening) Monday!

I just couldn’t figure out what to write – then I “heard” it.

I had three blog posts written for today.  Just couldn’t get in to any of them.  I’m having “issues” today (ever happen to you??) 🙂  So, I’m posting a song that’s been in my mind (and I’ve been playing for my kids) all week.  And then, oddly enough, it was playing at the health club this morning.  That was my sign to send it to you  The site is at the bottom for you to see (and hear) it.  I promise once you actually hear it, you’ll smile and sing it all day too!  Have a lovely day and weekend!  XO

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day