Monthly Archives: December 2014

I’m totally not there yet.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Goals are important (and I do have a few for this coming year) but I don’t want to live my life by goals. I want to live my life by wisdom. Know what I mean? I want to find more peace and understanding. I want to stop being triggered by things outside my control and which really have no importance (although at the moment of my red-hot anger or hurt feelings, the issue always seems of incredible importance in my life!).  I want more patience.

But the question is, how do I do that? How do I let go of my fears and worries and live a more peaceful existence?

Some people become wise very gently, just by paying attention. Some add meditation (or medication!) or study and some through trial and error. But most of us become wiser by experiencing all of the above.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that wisdom will inevitably come from vulnerability mixed with the inevitable pain of life. Roosevelt once wrote about effort, error and shortcoming. Essentially, he believed that without pain, without taking a chance, without the effort, without vulnerability and without some suffering – we can’t gain wisdom.  Isn’t that the truth?!

This notion can be uncomfortable at times. Even a little dangerous because we’re left entirely exposed. But as I look back on my life, there is nothing is as scary or hurtful as standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to live the life I want to live. One with my eyes wide open. One not afraid of taking a chance and getting hurt.  I need to be willing to crack remove my outside shell at times and let myself by seen – not only by me but by others.  Are you with me?

For me, wisdom also comes from acknowledging where I fall on the perfectionist continuum (pretty high, I must admit).  There’s no way wisdom comes from hiding my flaws, managing perception and pretending to be something I’m not. I have imperfections – thousands of them.  Aren’t we much better off using our imperfections to gain more wisdom and strength?  I think  hiding them only brings internal weakness and more fear.

This is a continuous process – this gaining wisdom thing.  And thankfully so.  I need all the time I can get!

Have an amazing day!

That was some meaningful mind chatter.

My daughter went to the health club at a g-d awful 5:45 a.m. yesterday, and I decided to go with her.  Instead of running I just walked on the treadmill and listened to music.  But my mind chatter got to me and I started to ask myself some tough questions:

What drives you in your life?  Since the past is not a predictor of the future, why are you always looking back?  What do you want (and whom) in your life to keep driving it forward – to be fulfilled?  What will make a difference in the quality of your life?

Shit.  It’s now 6:30 a.m.  This is too much chatter!!

So, I turn on a TED talk.  I usually listen to the science ones (yes, Dad – I do like science), but I didn’t have my glasses on and picked some guy named Tony Robbins.

This guy has a huge ego (I can now spot those a mile away!) but he said a couple of things that resonated.  First, I agree that emotion is the force of life.  That, it’s not about achievement.  We all know how to achieve. There’s a formula for that, a plan, get a good score, sell a lot, etc.  But we want fulfillment and the question is, how do we find it? What does it look like and how will it feel?

Robbins is also correct that there’s an “art” to fulfillment.  You’ve got to figure out how you want to contribute to the world.  How do you want to put your emotion and love out there?

We all know people who have tons of money, love, and opportunities – but they’re still not fulfilled.  Why?  Because it’s not what you have it’s what you give.  Amazingly simple, right?  There’s no code or process or science to fulfillment.  And, if you lack true emotion, you can’t be fulfilled.  That’s why narcissists have such a difficult time.  You can give them all the love and support you have but it’s never enough.

I had one of the toughest years of my life – both professionally and personally.  And how did I get through it?  I gave.  I gave and gave and gave.  I found that by giving my love and emotion (even when I was hurting) I could keep walking through the pain.  I could get to the other side.  It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t about me.  It was about those I gave to.

So, as we wind it down here let’s remember that biography isn’t destiny.  Even if yesterday was bad, we can give it our all again today.  Don’t look back.  Look forward.  Give, love even when it feels uncertain.   Don’t be afraid to get hurt – because you will.  But when you do, it will allow you to experience more of life’s emotions and in turn you’ll have more to give away.  That’s fulfillment.

Have an amazing day.

They were fighting in the dressing room of the store.

Yesterday, my daughter and I were on a mission to get all my shopping done in one night.  We were in the dressing room of a popular clothing store when I heard a woman speaking quite rudely to a man.  He said a few things back, but she was relentless.  Eventually, they came out of the dressing room and I quickly realized they were husband and wife.  She was talking down to him in such a way that I was uncomfortable just being there.  It made me think about how we talk to one another – whether in public or at home.

Most of us have come across the statistics that the strength of interpersonal communication is divided as follows: 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% words.  Communication specialists believe that our body language has more impact and speaks louder than our words.  I don’t believe it.  To me, words are as powerful (if not more) than body language and tone of voice.

I think words have staying power.  Think about your last serious conflict with someone. What makes a deeper impression on you? What can you remember? Most of us remember the words.  That’s what tags our emotions.  I suppose at the initial stage of any relationship, non-verbal language has more strength than the words and the art of eye contact can be much more powerful than words.  But, once you know someone, words will prove to be a formidable foe to both body language and tone of voice.

Look, I remember the words, “I love you” over someone’s body language.  Or, important statements by my grandparents or mother before they died.  Don’t you agree?

This is precisely why text messages and emails are often very divisive.  When we read messages, we often pull the negative out rather than the positive.  Or why self-help books tell us that when we’re angry, we should write a letter expressing our feelings (and thus venting our anger) but not sending the letter or talking (yelling) at the person  when we’re angry (note to self there!).

This doesn’t mean that we should listen to words, rather than actions.  I’m living proof that the words someone tells you mean Jack S&*% when the actions are completely different. But, that’s for another blog post!

So, I wish that wife would have been encouraging to her husband on his clothing choices rather than yelling at him about how “stupid” his clothes looked.  Words have such a lasting effect (likely longer than their marriage may last) and I would suggest that during this holiday season, we try to use positive words, loving statements and lots of hugs (I think hugs are like words!).  Try it and I’m positive that’s what you’ll end up remembering  about this holiday season!

Have a fantastic day!

 

I ignored the first 2 billion.

Today while working out, I was talking with a friend about signs. And for me, three times a charm – this was the third conversation on this topic this week.  I  can’t tell you how many times something happens to me three times in a row (I’m excluding speeding tickets here!).  And the “signs” – well, they’re never exactly alike.  I even think the person I had the conversation with today was a sign.

I must admit that I’m not always the best at reading signs.  It’s not so much that I don’t see them.  It’s that I often refuse to recognize and act on them.  In fact, some of you know that I went years (and years) ignoring signs (some actually screaming at me) until I finally hit bottom, opened my eyes and saw it right in front of me – as if for the first time (despite the 2 billion I missed).

Why do we ignore signs? Is it our lack of trust?  Do we think we’re smarter than the signs?  If you’re like me (a pedestrian at life), I just hate change and those signs usually mean change.

All I know is this  – when you’re wondering what direction to go or why you are having certain experiences you can get a sign, if you want …

1. Be clear on where you need guidance.  Ask yourself the question, “Do I really need help?  If so, what guidance do I need or am I ok right now?”  I often ask for guidance but it’s in desperation.  Wrong way to do it.

2. Release it to the universe.  Don’t brood over it.  Send it off and trust that something will happen and it will be heard — somehow. It will.  I promise you.

3. Be in the present moment.  Be in tune. Whether when you’re alone, or with your partner, children or even a stranger (so important!).  You have to be engaged in the actual moment, not engaged in your mind.

4. Be open.  Most of my signs come when my eyes are open.  Maybe that’s why I have so many experiences with people.  I literally walk with my eyes open.  In fact (as weird as this might sound), when I’m in the skyway, or the gas station or even the coffee shop (!), I try to look at people, not my phone, and be totally open!

I’m thankful that whatever/whomever sent me the 2 billion signs, which I ignored, still likes me and is still sending me messages. I sometimes cry thinking about how many I brushed off.  I must not have been ready.  Life.

I like to think of signs as guideposts of what choices to make. All we need to see the signs is just plain curiosity about life and a willingness to look at the world in a way different from that which we think is “right.”

Keep your eyes open and have a great rest of your weekend!

 

I suggested he use my bridge (to cut his tie).

Before I went to law school, I was in a relationship that I needed to leave.  I felt bad doing it because this person needed my help, and I was the “helper.”  But, I knew it was time to go.  Over a big glass of wine, a friend suggested I try a certain visualization.  I had no idea what she was talking about and I never tried it.

Last week, an acquaintance of mine told me that it was time to leave a long marriage and he was heartbroken about doing so.  He felt that he had a cord or (soul) tie to this person and he didn’t know how to let go.  I felt sad.  Life can be so difficult sometimes.

However, as he was talking, that old visualization came to my mind.  As if I could finally understand what my friend was telling me oh-so-many years ago.  I shared it with him and I thought I might share it with you too.  I think it’s meant for all relationships or situations where we have to move on but feel bad/sad/scared doing so.  Hopefully it won’t take you 30 years (like me) to understand it:

Visualize a beautiful walking bridge in your mind. Imagine yourself standing on the far end of this bridge. Now imagine the person you are wanting to cut the cord with or end the relationship with, is standing on the opposite end of the bridge. When you feel ready, you must first begin walking toward the person.  Allow the person to walk toward you, meeting you half way. Once you are with in eye contact with one another you can begin your inner dialog.  Tell the person what your feelings are. This is not a time to be angry or be holding grudges – you are releasing the ties. Tell the person that you are sorry for all of the things you said or did that hurt him/her. Tell him/her that you are forgiving him/her for all the hurtful things that were said or done in your relationship. Say your good-byes, wishing each other well in your separateness. Turn around and walk off the bridge.  You may feel that the other person remains on the bridge.  Sometimes takes longer for the other person to disconnect from your energy.  You just keep walking.

I’ve tried to teach my children this valuable lesson: There will be times where we have to move on from a relationship or situation.  Where the energy is damaging or negative or just not right and holding us back.  Don’t feel bad.  If you are living your truth and doing it with love in your heart, it will be alright.

Have a wonderful start to your day!

 

Teenagers! (only one word is necessary).

Yes, I know – appreciate the time you have with them.  Enjoy it before it’s gone.  But if you have teenagers, chances are they’re driving you crazy.  Well … mine are.  So many stupid moves, stupid statements, and attempts to just piss me off.  I’m DONE!  I’ve decided – why should they have all the fun?  Why can’t I find some ways to piss them off?

1. I’m going to talk like a text message.  It seems like it’ll be easier to say IDK instead of explaining all of my reasoning on things.  I’m tired of justifying my decisions. So from now on, I’m going to respond to their cries, “Why?”  with “IDK.”  Or I might even try this: “WDYWFD” rather than asking them “What Do You Want For Dinner.”  Or maybe I’ll just put some cold food on the table and say “Hashtag Dinner,” and see what happens!

2. I’m going to friend them and their friends on all social media sites.  And as a bonus, I’m going to start responding to their posts … things like, “Love you Honey!”  “Cute outfit!.”  “Love that selfie!”

3.  I’m going to be on social media sites so much that I’m not going to look up any more and certainly not make eye contact with them.  When I go to the bathroom, I’ll tweet about it. Doing laundry?  Tweet.  Need them to take out the garbage?  #Garbage Now.

4. I’m going to start singing in the car with the windows down when I pick them up from practice/school/etc.  Won’t they just love my awesome singing?!

5. When they need something I’m going to say, “Just a minute, let me finish this game.”  I’ll have to find a game but I think I’m capable of that.  Any suggestions?

6. I’m going to start mixing the colors of my clothes, hat and gloves when I go out in public with them.  Isn’t this the season to wear red and green?  I got some cool bunny slippers that I can drive in.  Why not look insane?  They think I am anyway.

So, I’m not sure if this will help the total chaos in my house.  But at least I’ll have some fun and be wearing comfortable clothes doing so.  I better up my data plan!

Have a great day!

Her cancer’s not going to win because it’ll die with her.

She was in a chair, drying her nails, when I sat next to her.  I could tell she was not feeling well.  And, the scarf covering her head was the tell-tale sign.  I started a conversation and our small talk turned to serious talk and she told me she was at the end of her battle.  But, she said, “the cancer isn’t going to win because it’s dying with me.”  Mother of three, teens and twenty-something.  She’d been battling for a few years.  But, now she was going to stop fighting and live.

I asked if she minded a personal question (of course she said “no”).  I wanted to know how she got through her days not crying or feeling scared about leaving.  (I cried asking her the question and she gave me a Kleenex from her purse – as if she kept them for those of us who couldn’t keep it together!).  She started talking (I felt like I wanted to take notes but that seemed rude) and I was mesmerized by our conversation.  Here’s what I got:

1. “I’m thankful I get to say good-bye my way and on my time. How great is it?”    She told me that at her stage of the game, you find the joy in everything, including saying good-bye.  She said, that it was hard sometimes but she just takes one moment at a time.  She said she closed her eyes as her feet were being massaged at the salon.  She didn’t read a magazine or talk with anyone — she just enjoyed the wonderful feeling of the moment.

2.The notion of “do it yourself” goes away quickly. Life is all about being with others. When you’re dying you understand that idea. People who unconditionally love you, make your life brighter.  Plus, she said to me, “You never really die alone.”

3. Everything is beautiful and the little things mean the world.

4. Nothing makes you angry.  Don’t waste your energy on a negative emotion.

5. From the day we’re born, we’re in the process of dying – so we’re all heading her direction.  She told me that she wished (pre-diagnosis) she’d lived her life thinking about the idea each day.  Before – she just assumed she’d get another day.  Now, she doesn’t make that assumption.

She said so much more:  How she planned a video to say good-bye at the funeral;  How gentle the cold crisp air felt on her face; And, how unafraid she had become of death.

Before she left, she reminded me that we never know what’s in store for us.

This past weekend I lost it with one of my boys (topic for another post) and afterwards, I got in bed and prayed that I would be able to say I was sorry the next morning.

Life’s super short.  Treat people as if it’s the last day you’ll see them. Enjoy the cool air on your face.  Get your nails done!  And, have an amazing day.