Archive | March 2013

Last Winter’s Night

It is that time of year where it is on the cusp of the seasons – winter to Spring. And indeed Spring is in the air, along with the ever so slight start of pollen. The days are getting longer and warmer, the nights cool but not cold. Look close and you will see the beginning of new life on the trees and in the bushes. Listen and you will hear the sound of a few birds, see the squirrels playing. In the last few weeks, winter has loosed up his grip so that Spring may enter the room.

The last few weeks have also been a whirlwind of activity, both personal and professional. I have been immersed in family as my parents visit for Dad’s chemo treatment and my sister moves in to start her new life. The last few weeks has seen the definate end of an old relationship, and the very new start of another. Work is sprouting in different directions, and friends have been everywhere too. Yes, I have felt like a vine growing in all different directions, stretching thin looking for the warmth of the sun. 

But tonight, it seems, is the last winter’s night. The weekend will be warm and full of spring air, pregnant with the promise of possibilities. The season of heavy coats will be past of this weekend. And so I put on my favorite coat and walking shoes, and walk around the neighborhood. And asa I walked around, looking at the stars, breathing the cool night air, seeing the few neighbors who came outside to retrieve things from their yard or car, I pondered the last few weeks.

Now with my sister here, I am learning how nice it is to not be alone, to have someone I know and trust around, to have interdependance, to be OK to cry in front of someone, to hear someone else around the house, and not need to grab a gun because someone broke in. It’s nice to come home and have someone happily cooking food, have the hosue smell great, and not have me doing all the cooking. It’s nice to have help folding the laudry and that I do not have to face Dad’s health by myself. It’s just so nice.

And there was a sense of peace that came over me, because now that have this, now that I know what it is and what it feels like, I know that I want to have this in my life – with my friends, continued with my family, and with my lovers. And this heart of mine warms up, from the inside out, and I know that this is the start of a new phase of my life. And it is indeed that last winter’s night.

Life is good and I am happy.

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How to Learn to Let your Light Shine

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” — Alain D. Button

 Swiss-born/British writer, philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur, Alain D. Button was truly onto something we he said the above quote. If we are constantly developing and learning as human beings, when we look back at all we did not know in the past year, we will be struck by how ignorant we were. Conversely we should be proud of all we have learned in the past year, how we have developed and grown. As long are we are learning, we are growing. When we stop learning, or being open to learning new things about ourselves, others, the world world around us, then we become stagnant.

One of the thing I am most embarrassed about , is that I dimmed my light to encourage another to shine. This has taught me a valuable lesson.

As a human, I want to encourage others. I want to help others see their potential, raise self esteem and help build them up. And it’s not completely altruistic either, it makes me feel good as well. But what I started doing with my last ex boyfriend, was to dim my own light so that he felt better about himself.  This, in retrospect did not help either one of us.

For example, we went hiking at a local spot called Amicolola Falls and had a bet – whoever could hike the longest would win. He was 51, 12 years younger than I. We hiked up and down the stairs 3 times, and while both of us were tired, I knew I could go several more times. I was a healthy 39 year-old and a runner, so I was good. But his ego was very fragile, he had a big ego and I thought he might have trouble dealing with a girl who could beat him so badly. He was a very sore loser.

So when he suggested we race downhill, and the first one to the finish line would win I agreed. He was 5’11”, had long longs and a long stride that I knew would better handle the very steep down hill slope while running, than my short 5’2″ frame. He started off fill speed, while I lightly jogged down, letting him win. I knew it was important to him, so I pretended to be slower.

The result was pretty disastrous. It was not a great evening that I had after loosing the bet, and he was not kind. The whole time bragging how he beat me. He needed a weaker woman in order to feel more like a man. I never told him I let him win, and I should have. actually, I should not have let him win in the first place.

He was a math major in school, and prided himself on his mathematical prowess. I do math in my head, very quickly. But I found myself pretending not to know the answers in order to let him feel like he was superior to me. I pretended to be a lot dumber than I actually was, so as not too offend him. When I did correct him, he would get offended. I should never have dumbed myself down.

Why? Because what I have learned since is that if you have to pretend to be weaker, or not as smart, or less that you are for someone to like you, you should not be around them. Regardless if you are a man or a woman, regardless if the other party is a man of a woman, the people who care about you should celebrate your strengths, not be threatened by them.

It is not my ex’s fault, it is mine in that instance. I should never have pretended to be less than I was to boost his self esteem. While I do believe it is our responsibility to be kind. compassionate and build each other up, you should not do so at your own expense. Shine as bright as you can. Those who love you, will be proud of you, they will love you even more for how smart and capable you are. Don’t worry about those who don’t.

What happened to the ex? One of the many reasons he is an ex is because he could not handle a strong woman. He needed someone he could dominate, and indeed there are plenty of women out there who want or need to be dominated. I, however am not one of them. So he went off to find a more suitable partner, as did I.

But when I think back to that relationship, I am embarrassed about how dumb and weak I was willing to pretend to be. No wonder we did not work – I was not honest with him about who I was, and that wasted time for both of us. I was so busy trying to be his “ideal partner” that I forgot part of who I was – a smart capable strong women. And when I could not fit that mold any more, the real me came out, the relationship came to an abrupt halt, because he did not know who he was in the relationship with. He had the impression that I was a person he could walk all over.

So moving forward, I know that I am a very strong woman, and I need a very strong and secure man who can deal with me.

Lean from my mistakes, and never dim your light so another can outshine you. The result is neither one of you truly shine to your potential.

How to Respect Yourself in a Relationship

Madonna sang about it and made it famous. Respect Yourself. Go for what you want and need in a relationship and don’t settle. Pop songs can rarely be applied to real life, but maybe the singer was onto something. When you are in a relationship, how do you respect yourself enough to not loose yourself? How do you know where that line is that should not be crossed?

Aside from the obvious – no physical abuse, no criminal activity – sometimes defining just how to do this can be a bit tricky, even for a feisty red-head like me. And when you really care about someone, it can be easier said than done. But basically it comes down to this: Respect yourself.

If you don;t respect yourself, then why would anyone else. No one will respect you any more than you respect yourself. Have standards. Love should not hurt and someone who loves you will not do anything to hurt you intentionally. Have pride in yourself and walk away from anyone who tears you down, makes you feel bad for wanting to be treated well, or makes you think that you do not deserve to be respected. A person who loves you will not disrespect you.

If you are in a relationship, you are going to hurt each other at some point, that is par for the course and part of the deal. Respecting yourself though is not about the occasional spat or even cross word. It is not about who left whose dirty socks on the floor or squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle. It has to do with being treated at a certain level – as a human being. Girls, if the man you are with lies about something (like when his divorce is final), he will lie to you about other things.Respect yourself enough to not allow him to lie to you this way. Hold him accountable for not only his actions but his words, and walk.  

Forget about second and third, and 100th chances. and ut’s not your job to try to understand them or why they are mistreating you. It’s not your place to make excuses for them. You are not the jerk whisperer. Nor would you ever want to be.

If he says he loves you, then you find out that he is seeing other women, he doesn’t love you. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Don’t settle. Walk out the door and know that nice people, normal people, do not treat others in such a cruel and damaging way. If he balks at the fact that you have called him out on his bad behavior, if he doesn’t like you knocking on the door when you catch him cheating when another car is in his driveway or you find messages on his phone or such, then walk. You deserve better and there are too many wonderful, kind and amazing men out there to settle for someone who is so uncaring that he would let others suffer.

And some people think that if you care about or love someone, that that gives them the right to mistreat you. No it does not. No matter how much I love someone, I will not let them mistreat me. Period. And if they try to mistreat me, they will quickly see this little red-headed girl put down the law in a matter of seconds.

So chin up, and respect yourself to know that you deserve someone who treats you with kindness and caring, someone who means it when they say I love you, someone who doesn’t cherishes you and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the room. And know that, just like Calvin says, normal people do not destroy other human beings.

So what does Madonna have in common with Calvin and Hobbs? Now you know.

Life In Time

As I turn off the alarm clock, early in the morning, I wonder who thought up this Spring Forward thing? Who thought it would be a good idea to loose a precious hours worth of sleep. And I just lie there, in the warm bed, under the covers. As most of us do, the first morning on Daylight Saving Time. we have lost an hour already, and yet we just lie there.

But then I get up and start moving. And the day is beautiful. The sun is shining, birds are out, the air is promising words of Spring. I look out, around the yard, open the windows to let all the fresh air inside, and head outside myself. I let the cats out, who know it’s spring as well. The run outside to enjoy the spring air and all the smells. They life their noses into the breeze, then playful jump in the flowers, lie in the grass and chase bugs. Yes, after I am out in the air, I start to appreciate Daylight Savings. We loose an hour, but yet, we gain an hour of sunlight.

Time. It is what life is, a matter of time. That finite commodity. And in time, in where life happens, even when we just lie there. Even when we are lost. Even when we are confused. Even when we are a mess, or our lives are a mess. It is all in time. And it takes time to work things out, to get all the kinks gone, to do the homework, and complete the process.

But one thing is for sure, time is life, so if you want to have the time of your life, you have to get up. You have to move, even when you are tired, or discouraged, or scared.  Time is our friend, always there for us when we need him. Father Time. Yes, so many people waste the time that they have been given on such trivial things. They become selfish or bitter in their treatment of others, out of insecurity or fear.

So what marks good use of Time? I don;t know, for sure. But I think it is has something to do with quality of life. and I don’t mean being surrounded by nice things and taking expensive vacations, though there is a time for those too. I mean, the quality of person that you are. Do you live the best life you can? Do you make decisions out of fear? Are you reacting emotionally out of ego and defensiveness? Are you honest and truthful? Do you handle others with compassion and Grace?

I am not perfect by any means and I have made decisions out of fear, and they have been the wrong decisions to make. Every time. I have acted out of defensiveness, and hurt others. I have been not been truthful in all instances, and have sometimes lacked compassion and certainly Grace. But I am committed to using the time I have to being better at these tings. Because when you live your life in a sincere manner, you will bring what is sincere back to you, in time.

And when you are sincere, your laughter, your tears, your happiness, your sadness, your joy, your LIFE, all come from a deeper space.

So don’t waste any more time, you have already lost an hour. Use this time to be the best you that can exist. Be sincere, honest, earnest and you will see the wrinkles in time smooth out. And that will certainly put a spring in your step as you walk with Father Time.

A Great Day for a Hike

When the weather is warm, for the first time since last summer, we all just want to get outside. We have spring fever from being cooped up so long and having cabin fever. it’s warm, it’s sunner, it’s time to get outside and start moving around agian. Breathing in the fresh air, hearing the birds start to chirp again, seeing the squirrels play around on the trees. Yes, spring is here, finally!

My sister and I, anxious to enjoy the warmer weather, headed up to the northern part of Georgia to a place called Amicalola Falls, Located just a little nmore than an hours drive, we knew it would be the perfect place to dive back into spring, into life. And indeed it was.

Now when traveling with my sister, one must be prepared, for her being prepared. This is no ordinary, or let’s just bring this for just in case, girl. No. I had to convince her to leave her 25lb purse home. But we still brought with us, because she beleives in having for whatever what-if’s come along, a large knife, a compass, a flashlight, two sets on binnoculars, our phones, her cameras, a poncho and several other things…and I felt as if we could take on the world. We were not just two city girls getrting away to the comforts of the country. We were nature people prepared for anything.

And on our way up, as we drove and passed strange sounding roads and lanes, as we followed the voice of the GPS telling us where to turn next, as we laughed and had a great drive, I came to a realization. I finally have intimacy in my life, at the young age of 40. Most people think of intimacy only in a romantic sense, but that is not the case. There are many types. I have lived alone and been on my own now for over 20 years. And living with my sister has been a wonderful expereince, as for the first time since I was a child, do I have someone around who I trust and am comfortable with no matter what.

I mean, who else will stand in the bathrrom with me and make sure my chin is free of those annoying hairs?  And who would I trust to pluck those little hairs out with no judgement? It is companionship. It is trust. It is familiarity and comfort. It is family. All this time I have been seeking it in a romantic relationship, when it was right their in my family relationships. And so, as I go forward, looking for a romantic relationship, I know the kind of comfort and intimacy that I want, because of the trust and comfort I have with my family.

This expereince has made my life more fullfilled and complete, so that when I look for a partner, I am a complete and happy person. And that, among many other things, it what I can bring to the table.

I was first overwhelmed at the idea of mysister an nephew living here, because I thought I can never do all of this alone. But my sister has made it so easy, because she has made sure that I am not alone. She, as my big sister, has made sure that WE have this. It is the first time in my adult life, that I have not shouldered everything myself. Life is truly easier when you share the load.

So we drove up and had great conversation, listened to music, and just had fun. When we arrived, it was time to hit the welcome center store for a few things, then head up the trail for a great hike.  We went up the most popular way. It was only a mile, but it has 604 steps before you reach the top, after hiking uphill for quite a while. not for the faint of heart. And as we huffed and puffed out way to the top, she pointed out things about the rocks, the terain, the plants, the water flow, the minerals arouond the area, and I was taught quite a bit.

My sister is brilliant, and has studied biology, chemistry and geology quite extensively. She taught me how to see the different years in the rocks, as she told me their age, she showed me the different minerals in the rocks, as she pointed out the different colors and hardness of each. I learned how to tell the age of the tress by just looking at them and how to tell where the water used to run, how big the waterfalls used to be, before they were dammed up and controlled. I was amazed, not only at the amount of rich geological history that I never noticed before, but that my sister knew of these things like they were every day things. She reminded me a bit of Temperance Brennan on the TV show bones, rattling off all of her superior knowledge to wide eyed people around.

We went up the 604 steps, stopping along the way to look at the trees, plant life, the way the water was dripping form the rocks and notice the different size and shapeds of the rocks. We did not, however, stop because we were tired or winded. no. Absolutley not.

We even did a bit of rock climbing, as any self respecting 40 something women would do. It is true our bomes creekd a bit more than they did when we were younger, but we still managed to get up the rocks, take our pictures, and awkwardly get back down. We still got up up there, we can still do it, we are women, hear us roar! 

And on our way down, we mused at life. We talked about how sad it was the my latest ex, who I last made this hikle with, never tried to steal a kiss or hold my hand while hiking (one of the many reasons why he is an ex maybe?). We talked of the different types of trees, of our childhood, of the views of the waterfalls and the mountains, and we got a lot of exercise. These two middle aged women are going to be very sore tomorrow morning.  And we will wonder what we were thinking, going up all those stairs, walking all those steps and climbing all those rocks? And then we will smile and say, we were living life. And then we will stumble to the medicine cabinet to get the Advil.

And so it is, this hike on a perfect day, with the perfect weather, with a great big sister, and a wonderful life.

 

Loves Labor

Today has been on e of those days that reminds you how lucky you are to be alive and have the life you do. First of all, it was a beautifl day with beautiful weather. The windows were open, the fan on. There was laughter, TV watching, rice crispie treats and good times.

But in the back of my mind, I had to say a prayer. A man I knew 7 years ago was going to his son’t funeral today. His son committed suicide, and he and his family have to find a way to pick up the pieces.

And so as the day went on, there was nothing that could keep me from beeing thankful for the life I have. No matter what happens, no matter what issues or hick ups, I am here, I’m alive, and that in itsself is a huge gift and blessing. We are given the gift of life, no one promises that will be easy, no one promised that it would be fair.

So, take care of the life you have, treat the people in your life well. They say a man’s charactor can be judged by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Yes, indeed. And you never know when those people who can do nothing for you today will be in a position to help or hinder you down the line. Karma is a bitch of a mistress, so make sure it’s pleasent visit when she comes to call.

Because the best way to show your appreciation and thankfulness for the life you have been blessed enough to have been given, is to treat those around you well.  It may be hard, but life will multiply when you do right by others. you will flurish.

And every day, I want people to see how thankful I am by seeing how I treat those around me.

Unconditional Love

There is such a thing as unconditional love. And when you love someone, I have always believed that a part of them will always be in your heart. For this reason, I have always tried to end relationships on a nice note and with a hug. The fact that these two people walked the Wall of China, to meet in the middle and give each other one last hug before never seeing each other again, is beautiful. What an amazing, loving and respectful way to handle when a relationship comes to an end. Relationships never have to end in an ugly or dramatic way…but of course it takes both to make that happen.

This is such a beautiful vidoe and it will make your day.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.