Monthly Archives: April 2015

104 pounds and counting.

In a world where we often feel helpless watching what’s going on around us, I met someone who decided that his life mattered.  I want to tell you about him.

On Sunday (after doing one too many errands), I was in the car by myself heading home for a much-needed hour alone (kids with their dad for dinner!).  As I got off the freeway and started to head down toward my house I saw a guy in the distance walking and then sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk.  Now, this is Sunday and near my old office building so there really aren’t people walking around the area.  I worried that something was wrong – maybe because I could see he was very obese.  So, I pulled over and got out of my car.  I hope he wasn’t embarrassed but I just wanted to make sure he was ok.

His story:  He was fine.  Actually, just tired because he’d walked two miles as exercise and was heading home.  He admitted to me that walking or doing much of anything for that matter was exhausting.  But, he told me, he’d lost 104 pounds in the last 10 months and he was shooting for another 100.  I was so impressed and I asked him what had triggered his need for change.  He said that when he heard “Black Lives Matter” he realized that he never thought his life mattered (he’s white, by the way). He’d always been overweight and never really thought he counted for much of anything.  Hearing that phrase caused a switch to flip and he realized that he needed to make a big change because he too deserved to live.  Wow!  As we said good-bye, he shared his favorite quote:

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.   Mike Murdock

Friends, even when we think it’s so bad.  That we’re so stuck. That we can’t change our world, our life, our perspective — we have to believe that we can.  We need to push our fear of failure away. Each one of us matters – regardless of color, gender, orientation, size or age … we all matter.  And, to make a change –  the kind we need to make to keep ourselves in the game of life — well, we need to start thinking that we matter.  That we can change.  That we can do things differently.  We need to believe it, visualize it and then do it!  Join me … that’s my quest this year!

Have a great day!!

A story of very quiet love.

Love’s been in the air at my house and it’s caused me to wonder, how is it that the most beautiful and most painful feeling is the hardest to describe?  And how is it that people fall out of love and are able to survive and fall in love with someone else? Oh, and why is my love for my children so deep, yet so indescribable? Always questions and only a few answers!

I know a few things about love:

1. No matter who you’re in love with (kids, partner, friends), love makes colors brighter and boring things less boring.  We feel happier when we have love in our lives.

2. The strength and depth of love is determined by two conditions: (1) having a level of self-acceptance and love for ourselves; and (2) being open, honest and self-exposed.  So, I guess love starts with “me” and moves to “us.”

3. Love is also uncertain. One day you’re over the moon and the next day not.  And, we fall out of love (I’m not sure how because I thought love was forever –yes, I wear rose-colored glasses!). But when love crumbles, we shouldn’t grind it to dust. We shouldn’t add to life’s burden by hurting others – especially those we’ve loved. Trust me, it doesn’t make life better.

I’ve got my own little list about Love:

  • Love is knowing all about someone and still wanting to be with them.
  • Love is trusting someone enough to tell them everything about you, including the things you might be ashamed of.
  • Love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting. weak knees when they walk into a room and look at you.
  • Love is someone kissing you even when you’re sick.
  • Love is listening and not judging.
  • Love is elastic. It stretches, retracts and changes shape constantly.

When I told a friend yesterday about my struggle with the definition of love, she told me this story:

Her parents were married for 60 years. Her father was not always nice to her mother (possibly an understatement).  But in his own way, he loved her.  Later in life, her mom got dementia and no longer knew her husband or anyone else for that matter. Yet, despite not knowing him, he would still go to see her every day and hold her hand. Even though she didn’t know who was holding her hand, she still was being loved and he was giving love. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Love is being there for someone even when they don’t know it. Love is like mismatched gloves that go hand in hand yet not perfectly matched.

So, even though love feels different sometimes, it’s really all the same.  It’s beautiful, painful, ever-changing and quiet. It’s loving our children, our partners and our friends even when they don’t know it.  And, it’s being loved in the same way.

I’m totally in love with love!

Have a great weekend!

XOXO

He took my “me” time.

What was I thinking that I could get some “me” time?  I suppose the result was to be expected.  

Yesterday, after coffee with my dad and a quick run through the grocery store, I decided to swing by my favorite coffee shop (with big chairs) to finish up a book I’ve been reading.  I ordered an unsweetened iced tea and sunk down in my chair with my baseball cap well over my face.  It had a nondescript “LB” on it (which means nothing to most).  I was so interested in being alone that I didn’t even put on my Packer cap – which might spur conversation with a stranger!

The chair next to me was empty.  I quietly put my purse there so no one would sit next to me (ok, maybe not my nicest move, but I really just wanted a few minutes alone!).

I saw him come in (I know, supposed to be reading my book).  He looked familiar but maybe not.  Who cares … I’m reading!

“Is LB, Laguna Beach?” he says.  I slowly look up.  “Yup,” I quip.  I want to be clear that this is not going to be a conversation.  “I love Laguna Beach,” he says.  “It’s the best people watching of any warm city.”  I just smile.  I don’t want to talk.

He asks if anyone’s sitting next to me. I want to scream – YES, but I say no and move my purse.  I close my book.  Obviously, this is not going to be “me” time.

Turns out, I’d never met this person before.  He wanted to chat about something (and I didn’t), so I said very little and he said a lot.

But, what he said isn’t the topic of today’s blog.  The topic is a reminder about life’s “disruptions:”

Life has a lot of unplanned changes and lately I’ve been experiencing them.  You know that sense of unrest I’m talking about?  That feeling of being like a dog chasing their own tail.  I’m a believer in “to-do” list, I plan my meals, I write my blog, I get my work done, kids fed, and enjoy my social life.  But lately my days were ending with that dull feeling of not really completing my tasks.  Of too many distractions, things getting in the way … of failed accomplishment.

As he spoke, I realized that even when life feels interrupted, blemished and haggard, it really is exactly how it’s supposed to be.  It’s beautifully flawed in the most perfect of imperfect ways.  This guy, who was “disturbing” my time, was really giving me an opportunity to remind my selfish self that life has been graciously given to me and I should put some reins on my perfectionist ways.  To be present when someone wants to talk. And to just enjoy life’s disruptions – no matter when they come.   So, I quieted my mind and listened to him.  I never finished my book.

Friends, enjoy your own distractions this week.  At least we’re around to have them.

I want to get on the road to humility.

I am reading The Road to Character, by New York Times Columnist David Brooks.  It’s caused me to think about what makes a fulfilling life and how to become more humble, kind and self-sacrificing.

What exactly is humility?  Humility is not difficult to define (though it’s hard to embody). It means not thinking we’re more important than anyone else, including those who’ve achieved less than us. And it implies judging ourselves not in comparison with others, but in light of our capabilities, and the goals we’ve set in our lives.  Tall order.

Brooks says that our obsession with individual achievement and self-worth has gone too far.   He cites to a 1950s, Gallup poll which asked high school seniors if they considered themselves to be a very important person. Just 12 percent said yes. When the same question was asked 50 years later, 80 percent of students said they thought they are very important.

Why this huge cultural shift toward inflated self-worth?  Well, we’ve become a culture focused on our own importance and believing that success leads to happiness and a meaningful life.  I’d argue the exact opposite – it leads to narcissism and loneliness.

Let’s think about this for a second:

To have a truly fulfilling life of humility and character, we must learn how to let go of our perceived importance.  To forget ourselves.

Powerful.

And, how can we succeed at this notion of humility and character?  I think the answer is through our friendships.

We likely can agree that it takes about three seconds to figure out if someone we meet is genuine.  I’ve made the mistake in my life of not going with my gut on that one and I’ve spent years regretting such decisions.  I’ve also gone with my gut and now have some life-changing friendships!

Even our ancient writers (Aristotle, Montaigne, for example) wrote that while one can go without marriage, justice, or honor — one cannot live without  genuine friendships.  You know the kind I’m talking about …. the ones where all your secrets, fears and joys are shared, and then loved and respected.

How is it that for some people this seems to come so naturally?  Here’s what I’ve noticed about my life-altering friendships:

  • They ask questions.  Questions they really are curious about.
  • They listen and don’t talk while listening.
  • They can perceive what is not being said but is felt.
  • They are vulnerable enough so that it makes it easier to share.
  • They are humble and have humility.

Know any of those people?  They are indispensable to life.

Let’s change our self-absorbed culture through our friendships? Why don’t we teach our children the importance of being a good friend?  Or about humility?  When we leave here will look back on what we did for ourselves or for others?

What better gift for the collective consciousness of the world than being less “me” and more everything else.

Food for thought.

Have an amazing weekend, my friends!

 

Is it the Universe?

Have you ever had something that you really, really wanted fall unexpectedly into your lap?  Or something you needed help deciding and then all of a sudden the answer was right in front of you?  Coincidence?  The universe?

I’ve always had a thing for coincidences and synchronicity.  Sometimes, it hasn’t worked out well.  For example, for many years, before my mom got sick, she’d tell us that she thought she was going to die at 59.  We always told her she was insane and there was no way she was getting sick and dying and certainly not a 59. When she turned 59 she threw a big party (Fred Astaire – for my daughter – her favorite!)  and said, “Well, this is my year – my time.”  We again told her she was insane.  But four months later she was diagnosed with brain cancer and died six weeks later – at 59.

I’ve had my own fair share of envisioning things that in one way or another came true.  So I’ve always wondered, what is this all about?  Is there some way that our thinking brings things to us?  I have no idea.  But this is my impression of how it works:

A large percentage (85%) of all communication is body language.  How you hold yourself, how you connect with people, the energy you put out there — and, that’s what you get back.  It’s what some people call the “law of attraction.”  

Some time back I was in a situation that I wasn’t sure about.  I kept asking for “direction” (from I’m not sure who, but I continued to ask).  I totally got the signs that I was looking for – some brutally clear – but I ignored them – (not really believing in signs despite the fact that I was asking for them!).  

Recently, I’ve been working on making a major life change and every time I get scared, I ask the “universe” to give me a sign that I’m going in the right direction.  I hate to admit this but I’ve gotten some pretty good signs!  

Here’s what I think:  when you visualize something and can see it in your life you start to send out those signals with your body language.  People react to the body language and before long, you have the opportunity you were looking for.

So, let’s don’t be afraid to ask.  The worst thing that can happen? We don’t get it?  What’s the best?  We do!  I have a feeling that these things take time. So if you really want some inspiration – give yourself that extra space and time.  Visualize what you want, feel yourself in possession of it, notice the sense of fulfillment and happiness.  Honestly, I think you’ll be amazed at the outcome.  

Still no answers on how it works but at this stage in my life, I’m not sure I really care how, I just care that it’s happening!

Keep me posted and have a great day!

 

Mr. Greenjeans

I was with someone this weekend (older than me – but not by much!) and he asked me if I knew who Mr. Greenjeans was.  Wow, talk about taking me back in time (of course I do, I’m over 50!).

So, as a little game (with wine!), we came up with a list of what defines being a 50-something (we chose not to address body ailments, sex, loss of hair or weight!).

Your first Barbie doll did not have bendable legs.

The Monkees.

You know what a slide rule is (calculators was considered cheating).

You know about “old math” and “new math.”

You know who Dick, Jane, Sally, and Puff are.

You know all the words to “Hotel California” (We knew all the words, but had no idea what they mean)

You inhaled (shhh).

You remember paying 5 cents for a full size candy bar (g-d knows why we stole them when they were so cheap!).

You had milk delivered to the back door.

People hung clothes outside and then had to iron everything.

You listened to AM radio. No one listened to FM.

We would order clothes from the Sears catalogue.  The boxes came to the door and the bill came in the mail. 

Aluminum Christmas tree (now available at antique stores at the price of a new home!)

Shopping at Woolworth’s or Ben Franklin.  What the h*** was a Mall?

“Wonder Bread builds strong bodies twelve ways.”

You used telephone booths with closable doors.

You popped popcorn at home then put it in a large brown paper grocery bag and took it to the drive-in.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course
And no one can talk to a horse, of course
Unless, of course, the name of the horse
Is the famous Mr. Ed!

Ahh, the memories!  Got any of your own?

Have a great Monday!

His question left me speechless and in tears.

Kids can ask the craziest and most bizarre questions.  They can also ask questions that leave you stunned and without an answer.  The other night my son (who is a very deep thinker) was talking to me about how everyone will die someday and there’s nothing to do about it — so why worry (like I do)?  (Love these kids!)

As we quietly lay on the floor I looked at him and it was clear he was thinking.  So I said, “What’s on your mind?”  “Mom,” he said, “What do you think is going through a person’s mind when he realizes that his next breath is going to be his last breath.

S***

At first, I quickly tried to cover up with — “Oh, honey, people are usually sleeping so they don’t know.”  But then I realized that I was avoiding the real question and issue – the deep feeling he was having about how he loves life and how difficult it will be when it’s time to say good-bye.

I have no idea how he got to this point (this is the one who will hugs me every time he sees me cry.  So, I guess it’s not too shocking that he asked the question).  But, it’s a question that deserves some thought.

First, we never know when.  I imagine that even when someone is close, they must not actually think it’s the last moment.  And, since we can’t know, we’re going to have to look at it from a different angle.

Our focus should be on life.  Taking each breath as if it’s our last.  Really experiencing and making sure we feel as many moments as we can.

Yesterday, I was picking up take-out food and I noticed a couple come in for dinner.  They were in their 60’s.  I watched the husband, without a second thought, reach over and start to touch his wife’s hair.  She looked at him and smiled.  It was a split second move.  Likely without thought.  But it had enough meaning for a lifetime.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post other than to remind you that the reason we want to continue to take breaths, is not because of our nice furniture, new clothes or beautiful jewelry:

We want to continue to breathe because of the love in our lives.

That’s it.

So, show and express your love today.  Touch someone’s arm when you talk to them. Give a loving look, smile or hug.  For those of you who are the constant recipients of my unconscious hand squeezes, hugs and touches — pawn it off to my constant feelings of love for you (and being Italian!).  

That’s it.  It was a good question with no answer.  But once more, one of my kids has left me thinking about how lucky I am — in every sense of the word.

Pay attention this weekend and have an amazing day!

.