Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ripping the band aid off.

I’ve ripped a few band aids off this year – left the comfort of a firm to start my own business, left a relationship, and saw my first-born off to college.  So what have I learned (other than to make sure I have Kleenex in the car)?

It’s going to hurt. When we make changes, they can physically hurt.  Sometimes our body aches.  Today, I just wanted to hold her and hug her like I did when she was little.  It hurt, but eventually I had to let go.  Life is just that – a series of “letting gos.”  Life.  Painful, beautiful and often messy.

Embrace the positive.  Change is change.  Watching my child transform into a confident adult has been exhilarating. But, it’s a reset button for me, too.  When someone in your life moves on or even when you move you, it allows you the time to devote yourself to your life and usually something even more positive.  This change will definitely leave me with less laundry!

Don’t rush to the next thing.  A couple of my life changes needed months of thought and planning.  So, once they occurred – I thought of rushing into the next thing.  But, there’s no need to jump right away.  Take time.  When you do, the next right thing will happen.  Feel the difference.   To my lovely daughter  – so nice of you to leave an unmade bed.  I think I’ll keep it that way for a few days! 🙂

You’ll grow as a person, but you’re still the same. Going through a change, especially one that’s traumatic, changes you forever. It changes how you see life and deal with things.  Just know that when these changes occur, you’re never going to be the same again and that’s ok.. Continue to ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” “How can I grow?” “How will I become a better person because of this?”  Change brings a stronger and better version of you.  Yet, let’s remember that any change on the outside will not change the core of who you are as a person. You get to keep that forever.

We can adapt to anything.  Our ability to adapt is amazing and we naturally find ways to solve our problems. Those who cannot grow and change are inwardly centered and have convinced themselves that they need not change.  If you believe that you can adapt and change, then you will – no matter what the challenge.

So, I came home to an empty house (boys at a soccer overnight) – and I’m enjoying this space for the oh-so-brief moment with a nice big bowl of ice cream and my favorite movie! Next up?  Another life change.  Isn’t it what keeps us paying attention?  🙂

Have a great weekend!

“What scares me about getting married, is that I don’t want to get divorced.”

There are times when I hear things from my kids that just break my heart.  At dinner with my kids and my father, the kids started to talk about divorce.  I got the statistics from them about coming from a divorced family and the likelihood that they would get divorced.  My father suggested they be very careful in their choices.  I sat there, not sure what to say or how to react.  I’m already emotional packing my daughter up for college, so I find myself holding off on responses until I’m sure I’ve got my s*** together.  When the moment was right, I asked them to stop talking for a minute to listen to me.  Essentially, I gave them this response:

Life is full of choices.  Some don’t work out the way we hope or expect. Sometimes we make decisions too quickly, or we act on fear, or we throw our common sense out the window (although that can be very fun!).  But, even though I’m divorced, I don’t think my marriage was a mistake. Sure it’s painful to get divorced. Absolutely it can drain you financially and emotionally.  But you get to a different place in life.  Sometimes you have amazing kids that you wouldn’t trade for the world.  Sometimes you have experiences that move you to a new emotional plane.  Sometimes you learn about you as a person and a partner (if you’re lucky – or smart – enough to dig in and figure out what role you played).

Sometimes, it gets you to the next and right person.

Sometimes you can learn all this (and more) by staying with the same person.

Hey kids – here’s my secret to not getting divorced:  Don’t worry about it.  No matter what you do, as long as you learn about yourself, learn about the give and take in relationships, be aware of the importance of trust, honesty, respect and productive communication as critical components in any relationship and understand each person’s role in any problem –  you’ll be fine.  You might not stay together “forever” – but you’ll be fine.

The challenge of marriage – or any relationship – is not allowing the driving factor be the fear of it ending.  Rather than work  on not splitting up, why not work on being happily together?  Healthy relationships don’t come out of worry. They come from being proactive (not reactive) in love – from respect for you and for your partner.

I’ve made a commitment to be more open in my relationship than in the past.  To trust my intuition.  To not be afraid of some future problem, but to explore happiness.  To take risks.  To be vulnerable.  It’s not enough to keep trying to avoid splitting up.  Love, not fear, will determine the health and staying power of any kind of relationship.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work out as we think it should.  But, if we make a point of learning – there’ll always be way more positives than negatives.

Enjoy the start of your week.  🙂

 

 

Her diabetes was a gift that gave her grace.

This week I mentioned to someone that I’ve not “met” anyone lately that I could write about.  My feet are just not on the ground with all my life changes and I assume that I’ve not been paying attention.  But just like that, I met someone.

I was at a local store looking for clothes for my boys and she was looking for her son.  She was petite and was about to check out in front of me when she said she needed to sit down.  I helped her to a chair and asked if she needed anything.  She was already taking things out of her purse and I could see medication.  She must have seen the worried look on my face, when she smiled at me and said that she’d be fine.  I didn’t feel good leaving, so I sat down with her.

Apparently, her diabetes was a bit difficult for her to manage and the doctors were working with her on a solution.  I asked how it affected her every day life and she said, that her disease was a gift – it was her grace.  It kept her grounded and focused and made her a better person.

I told her that my focus has been living with grace.  Finding ways to celebrate my life, my family and my surroundings as often as possible.  She said that her disease has forced her to look at how she can make others lives better because her doctors are making hers better.

That’s a serious commitment to life.

Her life plan has been to take her ordinary life and ordinary moments and make them extraordinary.  She uses only what she needs and shares the rest with anyone who will take it.  She says that even if she lives a shorter life, it’s about making a difference in the time you have, not needing more time to make a difference. Powerful.

There are a few young girls in my sons’ grade who both have had (and one still does) serious health issues.  But rather than focus on how difficult that’s made life for them – they found a way to give back.  I love watching them change their part of the world.

Why does it take something serious to get us to that point?  To see the grace in life?

We know that we won’t be remembered for what we owned, where we lived, or how much money we made; we will be remembered for what we gave, the memories we helped create, the way we treated others – even strangers – and the time we spent together.

She reminded me that life is about questioning everything, assuming nothing, listening carefully and speaking softly.  It’s about being the storyteller of your life and about making sure that story helps at least one person before you go.

I lucked out by meeting her yesterday.  She was my gift of grace in an otherwise ordinary day.

Peace.

 

What would my mom say to me?

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mom’s death.  Still as hard every year as the first.  I miss her.  But, I must tell you that this year has been different.  Since October of last year (I decided to make the change months before, but it took me awhile to execute!), I made a conscious decision to change my life.  To recognize my long-term mistakes and change my direction.  What would my mom say about what I’ve done this year, the decisions I made, the people I’ve met, the life I’m now living?

When I decided on this path, I recalled that my mom once told me that it’s not enough to admit failure or mistakes, you have to understand them and look deeply and critically at yourself in the process.

That’s what I’ve been doing this year.

My first step was to recognize my mistakes.  I used to blame outside circumstances on what was happening to me but the truth is I was allowing s*** to happen to me.  I was putting up with the mistakes over and over again.   Think of kids who try over and over to get something right.  Eventually, they figure out that their approach is wrong and they try something different – or walk away.  Their first step is recognition (which for adults can take a bit longer!).

Then it’s time to ask yourself some questions: Did I make accurate assumptions about the person or thing or situation?  Did I forget to listen to my gut?  What would an outsider say about my decisions?  Am I hiding behind something else?

For me, I often made some decisions based on my own insecurities.  They looked like mistakes (and they usually were) but they were based on a number of different factors that were partly me and how I looked at the world and based largely on my own fears.  In my ruthless review of my strengths and weaknesses, my needs and wants, my ability to keep my blinders on longer than most, I can see more clearly how I got myself into various situations.

Once we can see how we got there, it’s time to implement the changes.  Sometimes making these changes can be overwhelming.  So, just try fixing one thing at a time.  That’s what I did.  First, I made the decision to change.  It took me three months to do it, but once I did – I decided to let it marinate for a bit.  Then I made the next move, and the next.  Then I let myself be vulnerable again and here I am – closing in on my year with the most amazing changes and people in my life.

Look, we can’t stop making mistakes.  But once we understand them, they won’t bother us as much, we won’t let them last so long and we’ll forgive ourselves more, all the while continuing on our cool learning experience called – life.

Have a great rest of your week!

 

“I haven’t had sex in over a year!”

Ok. Not a quote from me. And not a quote from someone I know.  But if you’ve seen the movie Hitch – you know the scene that this comes from. A speed dating event where a woman stands up and screams this in front of everyone – clearly frustrated that her speed dating activity has been interrupted by an argument with Hitch and his girlfriend.

I was watching this move (for the millionth time) the other night when I told my friend that I felt sorry for the woman screaming this out loud.  Not because of the sex (although I’m going with that’s too long!), but because she seemed alone and angry with her situation.

Life is full of times when there’s lots of sex and when there’s not.  Sometimes its amazing, then it’s not, then it is again.  Sometimes it’s not about the sex but it’s about the companionship.  The feeling of belonging to something or being with someone.

We can have this feeling in lots of different ways.  With many different people (yea, different than in our 20’s!).  I mean for most people, this aspect of a relationship waxes and wanes in life and sometimes goes away for a period of time.  But we fill those voids in other ways.  My sense of the woman in the movie was that she’d not filled that void.

I may have told you this story before about my grandparents but it bears repeating:  When my grandfather was dying, I sat in his living room with he and my grandmother to ask him some of my final questions.  One question was how long they had sex together before age or life got in the way.  My grandfather told me that although the sex may be different, he was more in tune with my grandmother’s needs at that moment, than ever before.  Beautiful.  So, it was about love and needs and compassion by then – the sex was simply a product of those feelings.

So, while title might make you think I wanted to write about sex (and I certainly wouldn’t mind!), it’s about being ok with the changes that occur over time and in life.  It’s about finding comfort in where you happen to be right now and, not being angry or sad about it.  But just understanding that when one door closes, another one will open – sometimes slowly.  And sometimes only when you’re ready.

No matter where you are in life – no vacation in a year, no sex in a year, no money  or partner or whatever – know that life gives you what you need.  Not always what you want … but what you need.  And if you can live in the moment knowing that – you’ll find that what you’ve been waiting for will be right in front of you (and maybe it always has been). 🙂

Have an amazing start to your week!

“Inner Beauty Med Spa”

One of my big life confessions is that I do almost nothing before I put myself out there in the world.  No make-up, generic body lotion, bar soap, no hair dying, no blow drying … literally nothing.  Don’t think I haven’t thought about it and some day the plucking of gray just won’t work.  But for now – nothing. Lazy I guess!

The other day I walked past an office door with the sign, “Inner Beauty Med Spa.”  After a little investigation, I learned that their idea of inner beauty is doing something to the outside.   I’m not buying that.  True inner beauty has very little to do with what happens to our outside or what we have or do.  It’s not easy to peg but we know it when we see it – and we know it’s inside.

Here’s my analogy:  Imagine an old building that has been re-painted a dozen times over the course of many years.  If you scraped the years of paint away, you’d likely find a pristine piece of wood or a room that is so natural, that you see its true inner beauty.

Inner beauty is also the peace you feel from a loving hug, or a great cry.  It’s the warmth we feel when we see people in love or making up after conflict.  We have a chance every day to feel and see inner beauty.  But how do we find it in ourselves?

Inner beauty is the most important feature in our human being.  The outside looks of a person may be the initial attraction, but it’s the every day actions of people, how they treat us and how they treat others that draws us to their inner beauty or their soul, if you like.

Love is an expression of inner beauty. Do you give love on a daily basis? Do you feel loved on a daily basis?   Do you feel compassion toward another human being when you see them in pain or suffering? Compassion comes from inner beauty.  You can also feel inner beauty by what you see outside.  For example, I once went to Banff and realized that I’d never seen or felt more beauty in my entire life.  But I felt it inside, in my heart.

So, I didn’t go inside Inner Beauty Med Spa. But if you want to, I’ll love you no matter what.  I just want you to know that you don’t have to do anything to find your inner beauty or for me to feel it.  I hope our daughters, sons, etc.  know that what is on the outside is not what we see and feel from the inside.  

Inner beauty is where it’s at.  Let’s try to remember that when we’re looking in the mirror and feeling worried about one thing or another.  Or when we see our kids doing the same thing.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

 

My lawyer brain on a long run.

In an effort to make it through 18 today, I began to think about a friend who once told me that there are really only two main emotions in life:  Love and Fear.  They couldn’t be more different and all other emotions flow from them.  Do you agree?  While running, I began to think of what each represents in relationships and how you know if you or your partner is acting out of fear or love.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • Love is unconditional.  Fear is conditional.
  • Love is strong.  Fear is weak.
  • Love releases.  Fear obligates.
  • Love is honest.  Fear is deceit.
  • Love allows you to live your life.  Fear requires a certain path.
  • Love gives.  Fear resists.
  • Love forgives.  Fear blames.
  • Love is a choice.  Fear is about avoidance.
  • Love is kind.  Fear is angry.
  • Love creates.  Fear takes away.
  • Love heals.  Fear hurts.
  • Love energizes.  Fear saps your energy.
  • Love inspires.  Fear causes worry.
  • Love is relaxed and patient.  Fear is nervous and demanding.
  • Love is blind.  Fear is judgmental.
  • Love accepts.  Fear rejects.
  • Love believes in you.  Fear hides and deceives you.

So, here’s where I ended up when I finished my run:

The natural result of fear is to act selfishly without regard for the wellbeing of others. It is about protection but at the expense of others.  I see this as destroying the fabric of society and causing much of the horror we see in the news.  Fear inspires more fear.

Love is the selfless devotion to someone or something.  A determination to do them right and to encourage and care for the person you love.  Love allows us to focus our attention away from dead matter such as money or material goods, and put it on to living beings where it rightly resides.  Love helps us to rediscover our humanity and our direction in life.

There’s nothing better than feeling love – whether in a social relationship, personal relationship or in life.  It brings healing energy wherever you take it.  And in a perfectly imperfect world, we’re going to spend our lives moving between these emotions. But the older I get, the easier it is for me to move from fear into love – and to stay there.  And, at my advanced age 🙂 I can finally look back and label my actions as based on fear, rather than love.

See my friends … there are some advantages to this aging-thing!

Have a great weekend!