Monthly Archives: May 2015

The s*** in my purse. Or, Letting go is hard to do.

I mentioned to a friend last night that I wanted to write a post about the sh** in my purse.   Why?  Because yesterday I found a fork, a napkin, an empty baggie, underwear (don’t ask), 10 pony holders and a flash drive in my purse.  This is not normally an issue for me, because as some of you know, I’m a minimalist.  But in thinking of all this “stuff,” I realized that it represented a bigger flaw of mine – the inability to let go.  This, my friends with college-bound students, is killing me!

Eckhart Tolle believes we hold onto things because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain/bad relationships/habits far beyond their ability to serve us.

Of course, its human nature to become attached to things or people.  But, sometimes we go overboard.  According to the Buddha, our natural addictive behavior is the root of all suffering.  Could this be true?

There’s a reason why we don’t let go so easily:  It’s because we believe that our “things” (whether people, habits or objects) will make us feel better, complete, happy.  This, we know, is not really true.

Lately, I’ve been taking a good hard look in the mirror and asking myself, what am I so afraid of?  Why do we keep our bad habits when we know they are bad?  I think it’s an inability to realize that what we think the habit brings to us (comfort, completeness, love) is already inside of us — In reality happiness, comfort, joy comes from inside and we bring it out to our relationships and the world.

It takes strength to deal with fear emotions and our addictions to things and people.  It requires that at that moment, when we want that huge bowl of ice cream or we want to run after that person who really isn’t the right fit, we must stop and notice that our sense of craving can be released with every breath out of our body.  And, with every breath in, we can bring in love for ourselves and understand that the very thing that we (wrongly) expected from the thing/person, is already inside us!

So, the fork and the underwear in my purse?  I’m not sure what subliminal message I’m sending myself there.  But the truth is, there’s no reason to carry every last thing with me.  I’m fine with less as long as what I do have, I bring out to the world and let go of the rest.

I once read that the road to happiness must be uncluttered or else it’s a road to somewhere else.

Time to start cleaning house my friends. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Did she get married for love?

This morning I spilled my can of already ground coffee – twice! – not because I’m clumsy (maybe I am) but because I was thinking about someone I know who got married yesterday.  I was distracted wondering about her reasons for marriage.

Love is a tricky business.  And my reasons for getting married when I was younger are different from my reasons for getting married in my “advancing” age.  And, we all define love a bit differently.

This person I know wanted to get married.  The person she wanted to marry didn’t want to engage in such a formality. So, she went out in search of someone who did.  She found him and yesterday, she got married.

I was talking with a friend about that marriage and we agreed that she didn’t get married for the deep passionate love we all think we’re looking for.   Instead, she searched and found a partner who could move with her through the rest of her life.  Someone to take care of her (and her for him).  Someone who had some of the same interests, but not all. Someone who was gentle and listened to her.  Someone who let her live her life and was there for her when she came home at the end of the day.  That sounds like love to me.

I read an article recently that suggested that love is about connection and kindness.  For example, when your kids ask you to look at some “cool car” passing by you, they are connecting with you.  Your response is love.  When your partner tells you that he/she had a bad day for the fifth time that week, they’re not just complaining — they’re looking for a connection and support.   Love, right?

What do we know about what doesn’t work in the world of love?  Contempt and criticism and being disconnected from your partner — it’s the number one killer.  Or using “love” as a weapon, responding minimally or ignoring or shutting your partner out.

Kindness is what keeps us together with our partners, our friends, our children.  It’s like glue.  It makes us feel validated, understood, and, yes, loved.

I know people who don’t have much kindness in them. At least not on a consistent basis.  And, even for those of you who do (which is all of you!), kindness still needs to be stretched and used.  Just like a muscle it can atrophy. Plus, it’s easy in a long-term relationship to just forget about it.  To get distracted or frustrated.  And, it’s the most difficult to use during a fight.  But, kindness must be the focus of any relationship.  It must be used early in a relationship and often – throughout it.  This, my friends, is not rocket science.

So, I think her marriage is for love.  For lots of reasons, but not the least of which, he’s kind to her and she’s kind to him.  What could be more beautiful than that?  That is love.

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

Thankfully (or sadly) the mirror does not lie.

This week I went to PT for a running issue.  At one point I stood in front of the mirror in my running clothes, while the therapist went out to get something.  I happened to look at my legs and I lost my breath.  Those were not the young legs that I had 20 years ago, those were my 50+ year old legs.  The skin was not smooth looking and my “runner” legs looked old.  What happened? Yikes!!!

The mirror does not lie.

It made me wonder what we all think when we look in the mirror. What does my daughter think as a teenage girl?  Or my boys?  Or my father?  How do we define ourselves?

Most people don’t like what they see in the mirror.  It doesn’t reflect how we view ourselves and the mirror’s prone to point out our flaws. Remember the Evil Queen in Snow White and how she felt when the enchanted mirror told her that she was not the fairest of them all?   She, as we know, was a serious narcissist who looked to people for the view of herself rather than actual mirrors.  Most of us, are more realistic than that.  We don’t need complete validation from others to see our beauty.

What if the mirror could do more than just reflect back at us what we project onto it?  It might challenge us to our very core.  It might say things like, “I love you as you are.”  “Don’t look at the imperfections, look at your eyes and how alive you are.”  Or, “Accept me as is.”

But we don’t listen. And, when we do, the voice is faint compared to the negative self-voices which scream and drown everything else out.

Maybe the mirror at the PT’s office was speaking to me and I wasn’t listening.  Maybe when I looked in the mirror with my running gear on I should have heard, “Fast.”  Or “Strong.”  Or even, “Accomplished.”  Why not that as opposed to “old?” Where’s my positive voice?

Next time you look in the mirror, take the time to really look at the core of who you are. The love in your smile. The twinkle in your eyes.  And the wrinkles on your face – which show beautiful years of life! Encourage your girls to do the same.

Before John Legend completed his music video, You & I , he asked 63 different girls  – “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” The video is incredible. Girls and women replied by saying they initially didn’t like what they saw and tried to cover it up.  But by looking at their core being, they realized that they are unique and different from everyone else. And those differences make them special.  Just as you and I are special too.

The mirror loves us only as much as we love ourselves.  This is something we can (and should) work on. 🙂

Enjoy the video and your long holiday weekend!

 

 

 

Have you ever met someone who encouraged you to be the best you could be?

I was at a used bookstore recently and I saw a book, Being, Nothingness and Fly Fishing. I was curious (although I’m not a fisher-person) and flipped it open to this:

I feel I owe the river the very best I have to offer, after all, the river has given its very best to me.  The North Umpqua makes me want to be a better fly fisherman.”

Have you ever felt this way about anything? Do you have any things or people in your life that make you want to be a better person?

Have you ever met someone who makes you feel like you want to give him/her the best of you?

I once went to a therapist and when she asked what I was hoping to accomplish, I said, “I want to get unstuck.”  What I meant by that was that I wasn’t in a life situation that demanded or encouraged the best of me … the best I had to offer.  The answer was, of course, inside myself. Which meant that I had control over whether I was giving or in a situation where I could give the best of me.

I recently read the following question: “Imagine that you woke up tomorrow with the feeling that you owe your life the very best you have to offer. What would that day look like to you?” Deep, right?

So, yesterday I decided to life my life that way for one day.  I quietly gave the best I could  to everyone I come across.  I was amazed at the result.  Someone who normally would not open up, did and shared some important feelings. And, I felt less stressed (even though yesterday was a stressful day) and I was very much more present.

So, let me leave you with one of my favorite poems and maybe some encouragement to try at day of being your best:

We are perfectly imperfect
and beautiful within
because beauty isn’t skin deep
it’s deeper than the skin

We are who we allow ourselves to become
we get what we give, we give what we get
so give it your all
and don’t ever give up

Be the best you
be the person you want to be
just remember to be yourself
not who others want to see

This day is yours
it belongs to no one but you
put one foot in front of the other
and take a step closer
to making all your dreams come true

You are perfectly imperfect
and this is okay
because no one is flawless
no one is perfectly made

You are beautiful within
and your smile reflects
the love inside your heart
So, share a grin
and let others see who you are

Be the best you
just be who you are inside
be the person that makes you happy
and live your best life.

Unknown

If you’ve got someone in your life who encourages this of you, send him/her this post.  And, have an amazing day!

It rained but the bird “s***” didn’t come off my car window.

I’ve had a big “spot” on my window for a week now.  I’ve done nothing.  I don’t normally sit on that side and it’s not bothering me.  But, it’s bothering the people in my car.  The other day it rained pretty hard and I figured that would be the end of the “spot.”  I thought that I could get by with doing nothing and it would go away. I was wrong and the big white spot is still there.

The “spot” on my car is not all that dissimilar from our lives – or maybe my life (I don’t want to be presumptuous by saying you have poop on your car or in your life!).  I’ve been very good at just ignoring the junk in my life rather than cleaning it up.  Know what I mean?

Sometimes we allow things to happen to us rather than being proactive.  We don’t protect ourselves from the junk and negativity that influence our mood, energy levels, health and behavior.  Have you ever noticed that when you’re in those relationships that drain you, that you’re never really yourself?  That you act in ways that don’t feel like “you?”  That’s a sure sign that you’ve turned over your power to them and allowed someone to take over your world (or view of your world).

It’s important to put taking care of yourself first.  It’s the old adage, put on your oxygen mask before you put on your kids’ mask.  Don’t let the junk stay in your life just because you think it’s easier to do nothing than do something.  Be proactive at using your positive energy to ensure you feel good about your direction rather than letting someone else’s “stuff” choose your direction. My life changes are a perfect example of how I let my life happen to me for many years rather than directing it myself.  And now – the changes – well, they are almost unbelievable!

So, rather than let that “bird” control the views from my car window, I’m heading out to get it washed.  I guess it’s my way of continuing to take control of the views from my world.

Have a great weekend everyone!

My Fast (and maybe a new life goal).

Today was my day to fast.  For two years my doc’s been asking me to fast, so he could run a particular test.  I never do it.  I love my food.  I love to have my breakfast (quietly and with the paper) before others get up.  I love my 10 a.m. snack.  Lunch with clients?  A must!  And then there’s my I-need-a-bump chocolate at 3 and … well you get the picture.  I’m eating all the time.  But I was determined today.

I had a plan: Get up at 4 am (please don’t judge me), so that I could eat breakfast and still fast the requisite number of hours prior to my appointment! Perfect! I knew that if I wanted to be a decent human being today, I needed to at least have my morning waffle. I was right and was still happy by 9:30! Easy Peasy.

By 10, I was not happy.

I wanted coffee.  Now!  Off the list.  By 10:30 I could smell someone’s donut.  I walked around the office but no one would admit to having one.  By 11 I was opening and closing my drawer (the one with food) as if I was going to just cheat and have those chocolate covered nuts.  By noon, people were cooking in the kitchen. So, I closed my office door and laid on my floor, only to see some popcorn kernels near my head, which I was tempted to eat!  Don’t they vacuum our floors?  I’m clearly cranky now.

By the time of my appointment, I don’t have my happy face on.  I tell the nurse that I need to have my blood drawn and she says, “After you see the doctor.”  S***!  

While I love my doctor, I had a difficult time concentrating and all I wanted to say was, “Get in and get out!”  But that kind of talk seemed pretty inappropriate given the kind of appointment I was at.

But, as my mind was drifting and I had trouble concentrating, I realized something: This is what some children feel like when they don’t have enough money for breakfast or lunch.  This is the way people feel, who get their food from garbage cans – or who don’t get it at all.  How do children learn when they’re hungry?

In the end, I spent an hour talking with my doctor about all my life changes, all his life changes and getting old(er).  I didn’t run out of there like a crazy woman.  I waited patiently for my blood draw and then walked to my car — where my snack was waiting for me.  As I ate it, I decided I want to find a way to help one person avoid that feeling of hunger.  Imagine if we all helped just one person have enough (or just more) food.  One person per lifetime – sounds life changing, right?  Food for thought (no pun intended), don’t you think?

Have an amazing start to your week.

 

Dear Mom: (from my daughter)

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s the day when sons and daughters across the country, and world, celebrate and thank their mothers for all that they do every day. Today, however, is different from any other Mother’s days we have had. It is the last one of an era (as one of the twins likes to say). The last one before I go off to college and won’t get the chance to see and thank you every day. So, I want to take this opportunity to show how grateful I am to have you as a mom.

You are compassionate, kind and loving to every one you meet. As many of your friends and blog readers have realized, you are never quick to judge others and you will help any one at the drop of a dime (even if it means sacrificing something for yourself).

A long the same lines, it is so difficult to go anywhere with you because you seem to know at least 10 people at any given place, or you get to know someone in the check-out line, the baseball field, or at a restaurant. 🙂 This just speaks to your willingness to love everyone and be open to learning about new experiences and backgrounds of others.

No matter how annoying, bratty or crabby we are at a given moment, you never cease to offer up your time to help us: whether it is with homework, friend troubles, teacher troubles, or just plain advice.

I have become an exponentially better person by watching you and learning how to live life the way you do. While it doesn’t seem like we know it sometimes, the boys and I are so lucky to have you as a role model. You have taught us to be driven, motivated, hard-working, kind, loving, and thoughtful.

We all have so much more to learn from you and I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day.

I love you so much!

Your Daughter