When Lemons Fly

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Just over a year ago my life was flipped on it’s head. As it turns out it was the best thing to happen to me in a long long time. Other people in my life would not agree. They like to point out, but this or that bad thing happened. Well, yes those things did happen. I chose to focus on the good things that happened and not the bad. There are at least as many good things as bad, maybe more. Besides, it’s my life not yours thank you very much. Maybe it is the whole if life hands you lemons thing or I should say, when lemons attack.

When life threw the first lemon in my direction, I ducked out of the way. I changed perspective. I did not think about what could happen in a week, a month, a year. I focused on the twenty four hours in front of me. I looked at each day as a brand new opportunity, a blank page. I got through that one and each morning I turned to the next page then the next and the next. Before long an entire year of pages had been written. Yes, there was a pretty big barrage of lemons at my feet. However, there was laughter, love, happiness and blessings written on the pages of my year. Pretty dang good year if you ask me.

It is up to you. You can live with the poor me, I had a terrible year attitude. You could focus on the all the bad things…Blah Blah Blah. Or you can do what I did, ignore the stupid lemons. Take a look back on the year and focus on the good stuff. Besides, you can always take those lemons and chunk them back. Take that life!

OK, enough with the cliches already. Go do the things and be happy.

Trust is a Choice

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Trust is a fragile thing. Trust is a choice. Once someone has broken trust is hard if not impossible to get it back. There are some of us who can’t trust even when there is no reason for the doubt. Trust does not come natural to those people. They will doubt you while loving you. They will keep you at a distance. Hurt and life have taught them that humans are fallible and hurt you. It is not like they always set out to hurt you, they just do. People are self preservationist. It is human nature to protect one’s self. Survival of the fittest and all that. Sometimes that means other people get hurt. We all do it. If you say you don’t hurt people you are dead or lying.

If you have read my blog before you know that I have a strong opinion that love is above all things the only reason for living. It is the reason we choose to be with other humans. What are we to do if we are to love, can’t trust a soul and are scared of getting hurt?

We must keep life in perspective. Remember people are not perfect. You are not perfect. The one you choose to love is not perfect. Your children are not perfect. Trust them anyway. Learn what the people in your life are capable of doing and not doing. If you can’t love and trust them where they are in life, then don’t have them in your life.

However, if you can love them despite their faults. If they can love you despite your faults. If the good in a person outshines the bad, love them.  If you can manage to trust each other even when it is difficult to do so, then do the best you can to make it work.

I am not saying that this is in anyway easy. Trust is one of the hardest things in life to do. Like love, trust is a choice. Trust and love are not emotions they are choices. We choose to love and trust. We can just as easily choose not to.

 

 

Love by the Numbers

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I have been in more relationships and marriages than the average person, so I thought. I recently read a couple of studies that say statistically the average person falls in love 3 or 4 times in a life time. Theses magical studies also say that you will have 7 to 10 serious relationships, with men having ten in their lifetime, compared to an average of seven for women. The average number of marriages is 3 to 4 for Americans. Thinking back through my life I have only been in love, true love, twice. I have had many more serious, or what I thought at the time were serious relationships. Marriages? Don’t get me started!

I am not so out of the ordinary after all.

What the studies do not explain is why will the average person have so many relationships,why will they fail and why we settle for less that perfect in some relationships. I can’t speak for the masses but I can tell you that there are several reasons why I had so many relationships, why they did not work out and why I stayed in the dying ones. Since I am about average according to the studies I bet my reasons are about the same as yours. The topic of why relationships fail is a big one and space here will not allow for a complete exploration, so we won’t go there.

I  do believe that God sends love to your life. You choose if you accept that person or not. Choice means that you choose to stay with him or her, to fight for love even though they are not perfect. One promise to them that you will be their forever person no matter what life throws at you. Never taking them for granted even on the days when you are the only one in the fight for love. Love is not a 50/50 thing. It is a 100% by both people in the relationship. Like any good fighter you also have to know when it is time to throw in the towel. That is a difficult choice, still a choice. Love is your choice to make.

Let me reassure you, dear reader, that you are not alone. No matter how devastated you are at the death of a relationship, all of us have been there at least once in a life time if the studies are to be believed. To me what is worse than the out right end of a relationship is the staying in a dead one.

I stayed in  dying relationships for several reasons, the number 1 reason was fear. I was afraid to be alone. I had been told and believed that no one else would want me. No one would ever love me again. What is worse I had more than one ex tell me such lies and I believed it more than once. I was so wrong.

No matter how broken by love and number of relationships you are now, you can be fixed. You will love again. You will never be so broken that some one will not want to love you.  Forget what the numbers say. Forget the lies the sorry relationship killers tell you. Be brave and take the leap off in to the abyss that is love. Do not fear the future. Love is all that matters in this life. We are not meant to be unloved and alone. We are meant for great love. That love will look different for each one of us.

The common denominator is the same. It only takes 1 person to show you 1 time that love is worth all the sacrifice. 1 person to care enough to love you in all your crazy weirdness. 1 person + 1 love + you = happiness

 

Becoming Me

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What makes you say that is me? Is it what you do? How you look?  How you feel? What is it in your life that make you who you are? Ever felt that you became a different person? Ever discovered that you became weaker than before? Do you feel that you are not being yourself anymore?  From a young age, we are conditioned to act in certain ways in order to feel loved. This is the beginning of our loss of personal authenticity. We are taught to function in society we must conform. Your authentic self is the real you that is beyond all of those conditioned beliefs and thinking patterns that you have accumulated throughout your life.

I have spent the last thirty years becoming someone I did not recognize. I was so concerned about not offending anyone and not looking crazy to the outside world that I become some version of me that I did not know. I didn’t see this happening. It was a gradual process. One sacrifice here. One compromise there. One held word here. One concession to do something that I didn’t really want to do but did it to keep the peace there. Before long these things become who I was. I evolved in to this person that did not want to upset the status quo. I chalked it up to this is what a good mom and a good wife does. I ignored my intuition for the longest time because I felt so obligated to others. Their happiness was more important than my own. I had been a mom for twenty some odd years and a wife for thirty some odd. Somewhere along the way I lost me. Please do not misunderstand. It wasn’t all bad. My baby girl was the best thing that came out of that time of my life. She is amazing. I am not sure how she turned out to be so wonderful, but she is. I did find love and happiness along the way. I had good times during all this but the core of who I was ended up not being who I really was. I used to have my own way of speaking, behaving and thinking, and I felt like it was hiding somewhere. Every time I let out a small bit of who I was, someone or something would make fun of it, insult it or say it was stupid. I would tuck it back in. I became a stranger to myself.

One day I woke up. I looked myself in the mirror and said, that is it. No more being someone else. No more putting everyone else’s idea of who I should be above who I really am. I will be me. If the rest of the world doesn’t like it, that is too damn bad.

I am beginning to understand the intention behind every action I take and I am making a conscious decision to do only what is right for me as a true version of myself. I am gathering the courage each moment and to sometimes say no to anything or anyone that doesn’t allow me to be myself. I focus on what is in alignment with my personality. As a result I am better to others. I can be more honest to them. I am not hiding and lying to protect them or me. I am a better listener. I am fully present in my life. I am more authentic. I am more empathetic.

Being myself is risky. Something could go wrong, and then whose fault would it be? Mine. I have come to accept responsibility for my actions. This I found out is a gradual process too. It is painful, exciting, and freeing to become who you really are on the inside and outside. I have lost friends. I have lost family. They could not accept the real me. They liked the me who was compliant. The me that was their comfortable person. The let’s not rock the boat person. They preferred the watered down version of me. Did that hurt to lose them? Yes, extremely painful in some cases. What I gained is priceless. I have gained a life. I have gained a sense of purpose. I have gained my sanity.

I am becoming me and I like me.

 

 

 

 

She Builds the Wall

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Here is a bit of fiction…or is it?

She Builds the Wall

I found her standing in front of a wall. The wall was made of bricks the same color red as the bricks that build the american dream home but about half the size and perfect cube in shape. She was mixing a bucket of concrete and slathering it on the bricks. Then she placed them ever so deliberately on the wall where it looks like a strong force crashed in the bricks flinging them all over the ground. I walked up behind her and she does not turn around. She continues to work one brick at the time.

I look to my left and see the wall goes on past my line of sight. I look to my right and see the same. On it goes. I look up and it disappears in to the fog. “What are you doing?” I ask her. She sighs, “What does it look like? I am repairing the break.” Her voice is soft and not unlike my own.

It is a slow process since she is very particular in how she chooses the bricks. She lovingly picks them up and dusts off each side. She then sizes it up for the next location on the wall carefully placing it on the vacant spot. Once she is satisfied it is the correct block, she then coats it and places it on the wall. She continues to pick up bricks, coat them with mud and place them on the wall.

“What broke your wall?” I asked

Again she sighed, “It was my fault. I let my guard down and when I wasn’t paying attention someone got in, wreaked havoc and I forced them back on the other side. Now I am fixing it so they can’t come back on my side.”

She never broke her stride as she explained the break and what happened. She continued to work. Carefully picking up bricks, tenderly stroking them and placing them on the wall.

“When it is fixed, what will you do then?” I asked

Again she sighed, “I will wait for the one who is worthy of coming to my side. I think that they are never coming though. I will just watch and maintain the wall.”

With that she turned and looked at me. She smiled with my smile. Printed on her shirt was the word “Resilient”

She said, “Your shirt says ‘courage’, will you stay with me?”

I sighed, picked up a brick and dusted it off. I measured the place where it would go, slopped on the concrete and placed the brick on the wall.

Storms

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Here where I live storms are a fact of life. If we have a week or so without rain we swear it’s a drought. We are ending the summer and headed into Fall. I love warm weather. I hate wearing shoes. Someone should make flip flops acceptable business footwear. I am a die hard ocean breeze, sunshine and summer rain kind of girl.  I am not looking forward to Fall and cool temperatures, not really.  Don’t get me started on pumpkin everything everywhere….

Anyway, where was I ? Oh storms, we are waiting for one now. The air is thick and humid. The wind is picking up a bit and the clouds are rolling in. It is the prelude to the rain. I love this feeling of anticipation and then the release of summer rain that smells of clean air. It brings peace to my soul.

In life we get so wrapped up in the drama and why of things that we need to just let the summer rain wash the worry out of our minds. Ignore the chatter and let what you need to happen happen. All else, all the unneeded words and feelings, let them wash away like the peaceful summer rain.

…but I like my cheese where it is

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How many of you read that little book Who Moved My Cheese? I read it years ago and then again recently. (If you don’t have time to read it watch this short video.) The premise is easy, change is going to happen and you have to control how you react to it. If you stand firm and refuse to accept it you will get left in the wake of change. If you flow with it and adapt you will be better after the change levels off and status quo sets in again.

Most people do not want their cheesy goodness to move and do not want change. Change is scary and challenging. In the end I believe most people accept change and move along to the better cheese. Then there is me….

I have been a solid do not move, touch or even look at my cheese kind of person. I like my daily routines thank you very much. As long as I am in charge of the change and I am the creator of the change it is fine, but let someone else change something that affects me look out. I think it is the helpless feeling of not having control. What’s crazy is I haven’t had control in years until just recently. I have let life push me along. I did grab hold of control, went to school and changed my stressful job. Slowly I have taken control back. It is my cheese and I will do the moving..not you…me.

There’s old wisdom that advises that we can only lean against that which resists. This suggests that there might just be something good, or at least useful, about resisting change. Discovering what this resistance is and learning to work with it is key to understanding reluctance to change. That is all fine and dandy as long as I am in charge of the cheese…I mean change.

What throws me for a loop is when I am not in control of the change. That sends me in to flight mode. You know, fight or flight? I am a classic flight risk when I loose control. Either I fly or I bury my head in the sand and ignore the change. If I don’t see it, don’t acknowledge it, then it is not real…..there you go…denial.

Learning that change, even wanted change is stressful will make dealing with the cheese realignment easier. Taking the cheese knife in hand and carving the life you want is hard too. I have no answers here. You have to decide how you will deal with the fact of life that someone will move your cheese. It is just a matter of time.