Destination Self- Acceptance Realized

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I’m feeling an overwhelming desire to be alone. Like yoga retreat alone. Contemplative, meditative, looking inward alone. I’m not lonely or depressed. Or having social anxiety. On the contrary, I think in the past these are the very things that drove me to be so social and lovable. I needed something from out there.

I’m no longer seeking recognition or acknowledgement or validation. It’s a refreshing change from the old, insecure me who needed attention and acceptance to feel good. Instead, now I feel good anyway. I feel loved. I feel special. I feel secure. My circumstances have not changed. I realize that I have always been loved, accepted and made to feel special by the people in my life. But there has been a shift in me.

I am more grounded and self-confident than ever before. I finally feel like a woman; no longer a little girl. And I am embracing her. I will always nurture and love my inner child. But I’ve grown up. And no one can take that from me. Just like no one could give that gift to me.

Peace

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I just don’t know what to do with myself

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I just dropped my only child off at summer vpk for his first school experience.  I could not be more excited or nervous or nostalgic or hopeful for his future and mine.  I’ve been watching him for weeks now, marveling at his accomplishments and how pleased he is with himself at all the “big kid” things he can do.  He helps me cook, he feeds the cats, he brushes and flosses and he waters his garden.  He tells me not to kill bugs, but to catch them in a jar and free them outside instead.  He just finished sports camp and he gets along well with other kids.  He’s polite to grown ups.  So I know that this little guy is not my baby anymore and is more than ready for the adventures of school and friends and independence.

I prayed last night before going to bed. I prayed this morning when I woke up and I prayed in the car all the way to school.  Yes, I’ve become God-dependent.  Its different than being independent. It’s cool though.  Better actually.  I’ve become God-confident instead of self-confident (thank goodness because self-confidence wasn’t working out for me lol.) As I watched my little man in the car on the way, talking about random stuff and not seeming concerned at all about spending the day away from Mommy and Daddy, I decided to take a page from his book and that is go with the flow.  Life’s flow is natural and easy.  When the time is right, there are no frets and tears.  It just works. 

Good luck and God bless your school days, Marky.  Mommy will be brave like you and I’m ready to move to this next chapter in my life also ❤

 

P.S. I swear I can’t make this stuff up! This song just started playing in Starbucks as I’m typing!

 

Motherhood

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????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The road to motherhood has been paved with the examples of two women’s love, devotion and sacrifice for me that I have learned from on my way.  I’ve always wanted a baby and I definitely felt like I was ready to be a mommy when it finally happened for me.  That’s because I waited, partly for my child and partly for myself.  I waited for my unborn child’s sake because I knew the importance of the right timing in such a serious matter.  I know what it means to be a “mistake”, an “accident” in the eyes of society (but certainly not in the eyes of God).  I was conceived by teenagers and given up…Though I carried that heartache of abandonment for a long time, I know my beautiful-hearted biological mother, when faced with a decision to kill, to struggle and unintentionally deprive, or to entrust her newborn child to another to nurture and share love, made the choice of completely selfless love.  I honor her for that! It was not her time.

While I recognize God’s divine timing, I also waited for my own selfish reasons.  My Mom was a full-time, hands-on mom 24/7.  From my young perspective, it was all about us kids! I guess as a woman and a mother now, I can see that she probably had a life outside of us (how could she possibly have done it without girlfriends and merlot?!) But as a kid, oh boy did she make life seem like it revolved around us! I knew that’s the kind of mom I would be one day.  And that meant enjoying lots of cool stuff while I could before the babies came.  I didn’t want any resentment about what my baby “took from me” spilling over onto his precious moments of life! So I went away to college.  I traveled and had adventures.  After college, I traveled and I explored some more.  I joined fun group activities and tried many different careers and hobbies.  I made a lot of really close friendships with women to whom I’m still close and with whom our bond gets stronger even as our lives get busier.  The rich tapestry of my life experiences that Mom gave me through the years has provided the most vivid memories for me to enjoy and pass on to my son as I help him create his own.

Becoming a mother for me has been a wonderful and scary experience, filled with moments of joy, self-criticism, triumphs and failures.  There have been so many times that I cried to myself out of fear that I messed something up when trying to care for Marky. In the beginning it was mostly new mother fumbling; trying a million different pieces of advice from well-intentioned people.  Other times I berated myself if a choice I made (that came from my own intuition) didn’t seem to work, or if other moms who did it differently had a more successful kid.  I don’t even need to give any examples here because every mom can relate to second guessing her decisions.  The choices we make are not as much the issue as the fact that when we make them from a position of love, they are always the right ones!   The simple truth I’ve learned about being a mother is that in spite of my insecurities and inadequacies, God loves me, and that love allows me to open my heart to my beautiful child.  So whether that love manifests by sacrificing your own joy to give your child a chance at a better life, or whether you devote your whole heart and life to raise someone’s child as your own, at the heart of motherhood is love.  The love we have is like a mirror; light shines on the surface and gives us back a reflection of ourselves and self-love. It’s my turn to reflect that light on to my son.

Sometimes when I look at Marky, as I watch him sleeping or laughing and playing, I feel an incredibly overwhelming inflowing of love.  It’s very much a feeling of “inflowing” at first…filling me up inside.  Then it spills over and becomes an outpouring of the love I have for him. I want to hug him and kiss his adorable cheeks and give him a special treat that I know he loves “just because”, not as a result of him earning it.  In that moment when I am cherishing him and in awe of his goodness and purity, I remember that my mother once felt that way about me.  And if I call her right now and ask her if she still loves me that much, despite all the dumb things I’ve done and all my faults and failures, I am certain she will say yes.  That’s what being a mother is all about.

I Have Nothing to Do…Said No Woman, Ever!

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ImageWhy is it that women constantly need to be in motion? We’re always active and if we’re not doing something, we’re planning what to do in the future!  Even as we’re doing it, we are feeling overwhelmed and wish we could slow down and relax.  Yet, we won’t get off the roller coaster.  Some of us don’t even get up from our desks at work to eat lunch!  Some of us don’t even SLEEP because that time can be used to get more stuff done once the kids go to bed!

Why is it so mentally and emotionally difficult for us to give ourselves permission to do absolutely nothing guilt-free without a plan as to what we’ll be doing in the near future? We are all driven by purpose and the desire to live a meaningful life.  Yet, somehow, well-meaning distractions direct us away from our truth.  Men certainly don’t have this problem. They do not like to be busy.  If they do, most likely the women in their lives push them or make them feel guilty for not doing enough.

What if I had enough money right now in the bank that I did not have to do anything? No errands to run or household chores to keep me busy.  No scheduling or planning, no meetings or activities to attend, no shopping to do (uh, I think in some alternate universe, people have personal assistants, shoppers, chefs, nannies, drivers and housekeepers).  I wonder what rich people that don’t work do? Charity work? Spiritual and community involvement? Spend time with other rich friends that have tons of time on their hands? Travel? Volunteer?

Wait a minute…See? I’m already thinking of ways to busy myself! I have to keep reminding myself that being idle is not the same thing as allowing the mind and body to just “be”.  Choosing to take a rest is refreshing.  The idea of being idle is scary.  I think that (fear) is implied when they say the idle mind is “the devil’s playground”.  If we stop running, stop planning, doing and achieving, then self-criticism and unrealistic expectations start to run a marathon through our heads.  Why don’t men seem to get this? They seem to have no problem vegging out in the man cave for hours, perfectly content with themselves!  Maybe they are not as critical as we are.  Maybe their minds remain more in the present and are blank (i.e. – clean!) slates more so than women’s are.  Hmmmm, Jesus was a man (whether you believe he is a deity or not, in all historical accounts he was male so it works for this example ha!).  He kept it simple and didn’t berate himself every 2 seconds for not doing enough.  And he got a lot done.  He didn’t seem to let anything worry or affect him.  It didn’t matter to him what people thought about him or what he did or didn’t do.  And other people criticized him a lot.  He just stayed true to himself, his purpose and kept on doing what he felt was right.  If he needed to go be alone for a while, off he went!

There is so much going on in the world, so many choices and fun, enriching things we can do.  Can we ladies find satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment in doing NOTHING for a change?  Being a “mother” is really just loving and serving another, which is what most of us women do every day, whether or not we’re legally responsible for a small human.   So this Mother’s Day, to honor all women and our busy, get ‘er done lifestyle, let’s all pencil into our schedules a solid block of time where we get to relax alone guilt-free.

P.S. The best way to do this is to pretend you are a man!!!!

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What’s Your Instagram?

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Today as I was walking home from a yoga class, a guy asked me for my Instagram.  I don’t even have one so then he asked for my phone number.  Of course I didn’t offer him that either but it got me thinking about the way we communicate in this decade.  Why did he ask me for my Instagram handle? Is it less invasive? I can ignore a call or text if I really didn’t want to communicate.  Or I could give him a fake number.  Or did he ask so he could follow my pictures?  How could we get to know each other through pictures? Seems like all the different social media networks are more of a collection of fans rather than a valid way to meet people.  I mean, does anyone actually meet up with their Facebook “friends”?  Even groups and events that are formed online are often e-groups and e-events, eliminating the need for face to face contact.  This can be good and bad.  We’re connected more now to people who may not live near us, and we can participate in conversations and events without having to get dressed or commute.

But I think it takes a bit of authenticity away from the human experience of community.  If you are down and you need emotional support, how often do you really turn to your Vine followers with a heartfelt video? Sure Facebook has the cute emoticons that you can update your status if you’re feeling blue, but for the most part, it seems to me that people use social media sites as a platform to put their best foot forward.  But the difference between this and authentic relationships, is that you are protected from ever really having to reveal your true self if you don’t feel safe enough to.

 

The Power of Meditation

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Prayer will get you everywhere.  Giving your cares, worries, hopes and dreams to God, while thanking Him for what you have already been given, opens up doors and lightens your heart.  But have you forgotten about meditating? Maybe you are so used to praying at church or at bedtime or throughout the day that it is a part of your routine.  All that asking will never fall on deaf ears.  God always hears you.  But do you hear His replies? If you’re constantly going at 100mph every day, and you never get quiet (i.e. you’re always plugged into social media, the internet, tv or music), how will you notice the still, small whispers of your heart?

ImageMeditating is miraculous.  It is not a passive act.  It is not reserved for hippies and eastern religions.  It’s a rest for our over-stimulated brains.  Rest! Doesn’t that sound nice?  Yes, rest in the quietness of the morning before the kids wake up, in the stillness of the forest, in the comfort of God.  Finding your center becomes a safe haven you can go to every day; even just 10 minutes a day feels like an eye in the storm of our busy lives.  The beauty of it is that the answers don’t necessarily come while you’re meditating. The clarity you’ll begin to receive at random moments throughout your day is like lifting the brain fog and revealing the sunshine!

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Humanity, Compassion, Hope, Love, Caring and Sharing

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It’s amazing that my dear blogger friend The Always Believer (www.thealwaysbeliever.com) has honored me with the Peace and Justice Award! I thank her humbly and thank God for continuing to inspire me to spread light and love. Be your best selves!!!

I do believe in equality, human rights for all and spreading love amongst all nations. I hope this video inspires you to speak out and extend a hand to each other! ❤

18 Years and Counting!

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Today is our anniversary. 18 years in a relationship.  Wow! That seems crazy long.  How do we do it? It’s really not that hard to explain, but it has been hard.  Not what you expected to hear from this romantic optimist? Well here it is, sparing the sometimes sordid, sometimes mundane details…

Most people seem to think that the magic of new love carries people through a long term relationship.  So if they don’t click with someone right away, or if the spark dies out or they hit a rough patch, it must not be meant to be.  “I’m better off by myself.”  “I don’t have to settle.”  “I’m not willing to change, someone will love me for me.”  These statements are true to some extent, but you do have to consider the other person, compromise, bend a little, stick it out and be willing to change in order to show that person that you value them in your life and you respect the fact that it’s not just about you anymore.

We both were “me” once.  He has his own story.  I’ll start the story of our journey with mine.  I broke my own heart at age 17. It’s better to say it this way because anything else would be unfair to the boy that broke up with me back in high school.  See it was my fault that he broke up with me anyway.  But it was meant to be because I went away to college a free agent.  And it made room for me to meet Mr. Right, aka my current hubby.  Of course I was still pining for boyfriend #1, but I fell hard for Mark nonetheless.  He was cute and super sweet and we became friends first for about a semester.  Then it blossomed from there when I had resisted his charms enough and decided that I didn’t want to lose his friendship because my friends said he was too young for me.

It’s actually funny how they say the first year is the honeymoon because now that I look back, boy was it NOT!  Our 18th year is way better than that first year ever was! Sure we were lovey dovey and always wanted to be together. But we fought constantly about jealousy and control issues (yep, boyfriend #1 hadn’t gone away yet).  We did the break up/make up bit over and over again for 2 or 3 years.  But gradually a funny thing happened…

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Amid my indignation for his double standards about male/female relationship roles and his resentment about my aloofness and arrogance, we somehow moved from our base of friendship, to a base of family.  Yes, he had become family to me.  I couldn’t separate him out of my life as just “some guy I’m seeing”.  He became as important to me as my sister and brother.  I fought with them all the time growing up.  But I would never think, “I’m going to leave you, cut you out of my life”.  I couldn’t do without a sibling or shop around for a better one.  Likewise, Mark just clicked into place as my partner.  I could even see the big picture; a crystal ball showing me a glimpse of us 20 years down the line with a family, sharing our lives together.  We weren’t just boyfriend/girlfriend anymore.  We were family.

Well with me deciding to stick around through thick and thin, that meant making some choices, like dealing with things instead of just putting my hand in his face and moving on.  Being in a longterm relationship forces you to look at yourself and your flaws.  If I just left him because he did this or didn’t do that for me, I would have possibly moved on to the next person that couldn’t give it to me either.  That’s not their role!  I had to learn how to actually get whatever “this or that was” from myself.

Do you know what I mean? Haven’t you been in a relationship where the other person seems uncompromising or extremely hardheaded and you didn’t see how it would ever work out? But your pride was so stubborn that you were not willing to give in, even an inch, because no one is going to “play you”.  You can do “bad all by yourself”, right?  Well I needed to take a look in the mirror because my sh*t stinks too!  As soon as Mark and I both took the focus off what we didn’t like about the other, and held up a mirror, we slowly began to let God show us how we can be better partners to each other.  It was humbling.  It was internal work.  Not like couples therapy (nothing wrong with that, we just decided to go the spiritual route).  And it was a lot of work.  But little by little, big sacrifices switched to little compromises and big relationship deal breakers became things that we could overlook when we saw the big picture and remembered how much we cared for each other.

It’s really amazing what 18 years can do.  I’m so glad and blessed to have him in my life this whole time (my entire adult life really).  We were together for 3 years before we moved in together.  We made a big move across country after 7 years together.  We got engaged at 8 years and married at 9.  We had our munchkin after we were married for 3 years.  I’m older than him plus I’m a woman, so we mature faster (lol), so I reached all these milestones before him and had to pray and wait for him to be ready.  But there is beauty and wisdom in that.  I made no ultimatums.  I did no tricking him about birth control to get pregnant.  I got to enjoy being me, being part of a couple, and we grew closer every year.  Mark got to be a guy, hang with his boys, and did not feel smothered or pushed into something he was not ready for.  I waited because I could see that he loved me.  I could see (in the early years in our 20s) that he wanted to be free but that he wanted me in his life.  I can see that getting serious so young may have been bad timing.  But I’m so glad that I had patience because now, when the timing is probably “right” (many guys seem ready to settle down by their mid to late 30s), many of my single friends have an extremely difficult time meeting someone! Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to create a relationship with someone you met online, at the club, at church or at work.

 

So we are blessed with our love story.  Don’t get it confused with a Hollywood romance.  There were a lot of bumps, bruises, backstabbing and heartaches along the way.  Our pride was bruised, ego was bumped, independence was stabbed in the back and our hearts ached in confusion and perseverance.  But pride was replaced by confidence in our love, ego was replaced by God and a soul connection, independence shifted to our interdependent little family of 3, and confusion and perseverance were rewarded with clarity and certainty.

Don’t be afraid to stick it out with someone!  Yes, you can be happy alone, especially when you know God’s love.  But God wants each of us to be bonded in loving partnership.  First love Him, then love yourself and then watch yourself open to trust and love someone romantically.

It’s Nothing a Little Breathing Can’t Fix

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If you don’t like my inspirational posts about how swell life is, then you may like my practical post today!

Here’s real life example of dealing with a stressful situation that you can apply at any time. My family got some fantastic news late last week and this weekend has been a whirlwind of preparations and activity after months of boredom and waiting. I thought I had this yoga and zen thing down pat, but I found myself with old familiar feelings of anxiety creeping in.

I literally had to force myself to sit down and breathe as I felt the tightness in my jaw and neck, the overwhelming rush of nerves that makes me unable to sit still; you know, the “coffee buzz” without the caffeine. (Anyone else recognize these feelings?)

I sat down and turned off the tv. Luckily I was alone so I just closed my eyes and concentrated on my breath. At first I felt like jumping out of my skin…. So I kept still and kept breathing.

Then I started to feel the tension in my jaw relax… Next my heartbeat slowed… And the tight feeling in my chest dissolved into a light airiness that made me sigh with relief. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. 10 minutes. Not hours of chanting or a long meditation. It was so simple!

Have you tried deep breathing or another technique for relaxation? Share your experience in the comments below.
😄

15 Ways to Be Happy (Even If Your Life Sucks)

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1. Give something nice to someone else
. A compliment, a helping hand, a cup of coffee, the possibilities are endless…

2. Have a friendly chat with the bus driver (or cabbie). Everyone has an interesting story to tell.

3. Make soup from a recipe, not a can, and then serve it to your grandma.

4. Take an R&R day from work or school, get a babysitter and do whatever you please -100% guilt free.

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5. Set a goal for yourself with a firm date of completion. Commit to it and then, ready or not, accomplish it!  A dance tryout, a 5K, a solo in your church’s choir, the possibilities are endless…

6. Call your best friend.

7. Immerse yourself in anything funny. The more hilarious the better. Endorphins, baby!

8. Think of one time when you had an absolute blast or the best day of your life. Now think of another one too 🙂

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9. Out of nowhere, start singing a song that makes you smile. This is even better if you’re around people; the goofiness will make you even happier. Come on, you know how much fun it is when you pull up next to someone while you’re singing in your car!

10. Write down 10 really great childhood memories.

11. Get your heart rate up. Do anything you want, preferably something fun like having sex. Or playing tag. It’s your call.  Endorphins, baby!

12. Go to the zoo. Or anywhere, really, where you can pick up on the excitement of the kids there. Geez, they get so darn happy about seeing a monkey poop!

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13. Make a vision board. Decorate it with pics from magazines or catalogs of your Dream Whatever (home, vacay, car, business, wardrobe, the possibilities are endless…)

14. Get a hobby. Try whatever you loved to do as a kid! Catch butterflies (then let them go), play the drums, horseback ride, sit on the grass and read your favorite book for hours….You get where I’m going with this – the possibilities really are endless. 😀

15. Cuddle a pet or a baby – preferably one that you like.

There you have it. I bet you’re happier already! If you’re psyched now, imagine how good you’ll feel when you actually do them. Have fun. Be happy!

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