You Will Survive Being Vested

Vested is defined as secured in the possession of or assigned to a person.  We search for being vested in out careers and in finance with our 401Ks, why not find a way to be vested in life. In our lives?

To me being vested means being in-vested. After all, isn’t that why we want our 401KS vested?  It’s free money, it multiplies and helps us attain our retirement goals.  To me, there is no better investment to make than in yourself.

What does that mean exactly?  That means making sure to take care of yourself so that your spirit, your goodness, you life-force, multiplies. I know what happens when you don’t take care of yourself and get run down.  You get beyond tired and weary.  It is an exhaustion that is felt from the tip of your soul to the bottom of your heart. And it can take years to recover and get your “You” back, to feel 100% again.

Taking care of yourself means getting enough rest, exercise and spiritual food.  We hear it all the time, to take care of yourself, almost to the point where it is cliche’ but there is a reason.  I spent years taking care of others before myself. It took it’s toll. When you are tired like that, down to your heart and soul, you cannot feel happiness or see the good in life because it simply takes too much energy.  So even the amazing is bland.  It’s like being sick on vacation, no matter how great the vacation is, you won’t enjoy it if you are sick.

Yet somehow along the way, taking care of ourselves has become synonymous for “being selfish.”  Except it’s not.  When you don’t take care of yourself, you become depleted and can no longer take care of others. You no longer have anything left to offer, and then you will only take from others.  Because you have to be replenished.  Better to do so before you reach empty rather than after.  Think about it, we don’t let our cars run out of gas before we fill up the tank, why would be do that with ourselves?

But it is more than that, taking care of yourself also means giving ourselves the compassion and forgiveness that we give to others. It is great to hold ourselves to a high standard, but we are all human, and no one is perfect.  Yet we beat ourselves up for not doing everything, being everything, accomplishing everything, and being perfect. Why do we do that?  Why do we give others the love and understanding that we do not allow our very selves to enjoy?

Take time for yourself, listen to some music, get rest, take your vitamins, breath fresh air. The model of doing for others to the detriment of yourselves is co-de pendant and unhealthy.  Maybe in the dark ages, when they had no technology, and science and medicine were in their infant stages.  But in this day and age, we should be able to take a break, invest in our own physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health.  Go to the doctor, or psychologist, or psychiatrist, or to yoga, or for a walk, or do what ever you need to do to be happy.

And if you don’t take care of yourself, then who will?  Whose responsibility is it?  Your job, big companies won’t do it. Corporations are looking our for the bottom line.  Your bank won’t do it.  And your family and friends have their own lives and issues to deal with.  Yes, we can lean on our loved ones, but if we won’t help ourselves, take cafe of ourselves, then why would we expect any one else to?  Bottom line is no one else will, so you have to love yourself enough to invest in yourself.

Be vested in yourself and your life.  We are so careful and considerate with our money, shouldn’t we be at least give the same consideration to our health and happiness? I want love to be so present in my life that it is tangible.  That love first has to start with myself.  And like any good investment, that love will multiply, until it envelops everyone in my presence.

For me, love always originates from God.  So I pray for His love, compassion and Grace to be passed on to me, And with His love passed on to me, I can invest it in myself, so that it will multiply and be shared with others.

Because i don’t just want to survive.  Or even just exist.  I want to live.

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The Rough Boy

We all have strength, we all have the ability to make it through hard times. And no matter how good you are at life, hard times will happen.  Because life happens.  The loss of job, break ups, divorces, loss of loved ones, can ll happen. The question is how to tap into that strength we all possess during the rough spots.

The easy answer is you just have to do it.  You make up your mind, reach deep down inside where the heart meets the soul, you pick yourself up my the bootstraps (or heart straps) and you get on with it.

Getting on with it, over it and to the other side of it may take some time. Because it takes some time for the dust to settle so you can see new the landscape clearly. The good news is that with confusion comes many possibilities.  Many think that feeling confused or even lost is a bad thing.  And it certainly feels like it.  Modern times would have us to believe that we are never supposed to feel either way, or even uncomfortable. And we are always supposed to be secure and know exactly where we are headed.

But feeling less that secure about where you are and the future means that change is happening. And change is necessary for growth.  There is a story told about how a lobster outgrows it’s shell.  During the time that the shell is too small, the lobster feels incredibly uncomfortable and must shed it’s old shell in order to grow and change into the next phase of it’s life.  After shedding the old shell, the lobster goes someplace safe to grow into the next shell.  When it reemerges, it is bigger, stronger, better and bigger than it was before.

But it had to be uncomfortable first.  The truth is that change is precipitated by discomfort. So when we are uncomfortable, that means that we=, our lives, our souls, are growing. And just like that lobster, once we get to the other side of the growth, we will be magnificent.

I have been through my own rough time and have written about it extensively.  That was part of my growth period.  And now that I am on the other side, I can see the growth.  It has not been easy. It was painful, confusing, uncomfortable and difficult.  But here I am.  And when you are on the other side, you can see how small the old “shell” was.  My old shell is for too small for me to step back into it now. But why would I want to?  At some point it would be even more uncomfortable to step back than to move forward.

I had a good life before, I was happy.  But I was not at my potential.  I would not have to possibilities in my path now if I had stayed in that life.  And I would have – but God had other plans.  So he made it too difficult for me to stay.

Confidence comes with getting to the other side.  You feel and know your strength and take pride in it.  You don’t have to shout it out, you are fine tucking it deep into the knowledge of yourself.

I know I am strong and capable.  I have endured more in the past 18 months than many go through in a lifetime.  I owe apologies to no one. I am better, finer, stronger, more compassionate now that I ever thought possible. And honestly it was not possible without the growth from the past 18 months. You know you have nothing to prove and have no interest in the audience.

We all have songs with which we identify, on of those for me is Rough Boy by ZZ Top.  The lyrics ring true, and even those who dislike me will tell you how tough and strong I am.  I shoot straight, have no times for games and can not only take the heat, but cool it as well. Whatever the truth is, I’ll look you in the eye while I tell it or take it. Whatever it is, God willing, I’m strong enough.  Because God made me strong, He made me rough and He made me to last.

And after the growth, and after the confidence of realizing your own strength, there is a peace of mind and a comfort that comes over you.  There is a feeling of that which is yours.  That which you have earned, and that which you intend to enjoy.  It is called life.  And it feels as if you are taking your first breath of fresh are coming out of a cold, stale room.

Because after you have been so strong. you feel happiness on a level that few others can understand. Only those who have been made of the same fire can comprehend. God got me through the tough spots, he gave me the strength to make it through the rough times. Now life, love, happiness, is mine for the taking.

“I am the one who can fade the heat
The one they all say just can’t be beat
I’ll shoot it to you straight and look you in the eye
So gimme just a minute and I’ll tell you why
I’m a rough boy, I’m a rough boy” – Rough Boy, ZZ Top

The New Birthday

We all have days that we celebrate and look forward to each day.  One of those days for me is my birthday.  And why shouldn’t it?  Your birthday is when you get to celebrate – you.  You get to have fun while your friends and family celebrates you.  You get gifts, you get taken out to eat, you get hugs and presents and songs sung to you.  A birthday is a great and beautiful thing.

And so it is, my birthday was wonderful.  After a drive to the office, I left for the DMV, only to find that the county in which I reside offers self help kiosks.  No waiting. No lines.  You just go, type some information in, pay and you get the sticker printed out.  So easy.  Yes, I am using the words “easy” and “DMV” in the same sentence.  What a gift in itsself.

Then there were all the birthday wishes.  The calls, the messages, the texts, the emails…Oh, to be surrounded by love and well wishes it a wonderful and beautiful thing.

And keeping with the theme for the year – love, there was dinner.  One of my new favorite places, some wine, great conversation and lots os laughter and smiles.

Even though the new years was a few weeks ago, it feels like finally now my new year has started.  Finally the celebration of everything good that will last all year started on my birthday.

Sometimes you just have to celebrate in life.  And do we really need an excuse?  No, but a birthday sure does help.

The Eve of the 45th

Here it is the eve of my birthday.  I usually have big predictions and plans for the next year…but this year not so much.  This year I think is going to be about noticing and appreciating what is around me and being present int he moments of life.

Sometimes when you have a a challenging year, and you spend time rebuilding your world, you go back to the basics.  You do this because of the fundimental understanding of human nature. You understand that to build you must first know and see the basics.  And when you are talking about life, that means enjoying what is in front of you.  Taking the time to notice.To understand why, Let’s rewind to last year:

Dad’s facilities were failing as he became more and more unsteady and I had no idea how to stop it.  The ex had arranged a birthday brunch with people …except he did not know that I hate birthday brunches. It took all the self control I had to not drink an entire pitcher of mimosas.

Two weeks later Dad would go into Hospice.  Four weeks later the ex would leave.  Six weeks later Dad would die.

Fast forward to now…I have a life rebuilt.  There is happiness and love everywhere. And isn;t that the way life is?  When you are stripped down, then built up.  You go back to the basics, you enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like a beautiful day, or a loyal friendship.  And you let that joy seeps out of you.

I have no big declarations this year.  No big aspirations.  OK, maybe a few.  I want to travel, take better care of myself – eat better and exercise.  Mainly, I just want this next year to be happy.  So far it is off to a good start, as I enjoy the last night at this age, and celebrate a year of the next.  I am happy, though still have much to do. I celebrate my life being given back to me.

So I will raise a glass to this year. May it be better than the last, but not as good as the next. And more than anything, may there be a lot of happiness and love for me.  Those woudl be the best gifts.

Life is what you make it.  And God willing, I am going to make this one great. So let’s party.

The Deep Spaces

This is takem from a blog I wrote in 2012. My mother, who was nursing me through a broken heart, once told me about deep spaces within us, and how they become so deep…

 Life is messy. We have to, in our lifetime, deal with betrayal, lies, heartache and false friends. But in the end, those that try to harm us and hurt us only make us stronger. Better. And they hate that. The best revenge truly is simply being happy and living a fabulous life. And when you move on, happy and confident, it is your life returned to you. And each time we feel pain, we feel it a little deeper in our soul, until we are the beautiful, complex works of art we were meant to be. But life must carve out those deep spaces in us first. -Ada

Muesday Much

Written a year ago…one of the funny days. Enjoy!

Muesday Much:

I have often said that my life resembles a sitcom, even a dramedy on certain occasions.  These “sitcom moments” are things that happen in real life that would be hysterical if you were watching them on TV…those moments that are so embarrassing or awkward or funny that you would never think that they would actually happen in real life.  But sometimes fact is stranger, and funnier than fiction.

Take this morning for example.  It started out a bit like a Monday (even though it is Tuesday).  Everything just seemed to be going wrong.  My father didn’t want to get out of bed…which means I was late into the office (or later than I wanted and was planning on getting to the office).  Much like a toddler who doesn’t want to get up and eat breakfast, many times my Dad has to be coaxed.  This is time consuming and a bit exhausting.  And then there was no more coffee for that 2nd cup.  Hmmmm, will have to stop on the way to work to grab a cup…

Meanwhile, there is a special review meeting that I should be at my desk to Skype in to join, but since running late getting Dad up and eating, I’ll just dial in…except it isn’t the normal dial in.  This meeting is only a Skype. I don’t have Skype on my mobile.  No problem, I’ll download it. My efficiency cannot be stopped. I am on a roll and  run out of the house, not even taking the time to grab a jacket for the cold morning.

I manage to download Skype for Mobile while driving to QT for coffee.  In the parking lot I complete the many sign in, verification, notification, etc. steps to initiate Skype (I think about 20 in total).  Finally, able to join the meeting!

While on mute on I walk in the store and manage to fumble through the coffee making process…except that there is no sugar canister, they ran out.  GREAT. They do have the little packets of sugar – the ones that contain a half a baby teaspoon of sugar in the large by comparison packet. But I always feel bad about the 25 or so packets I have to put in my coffee, so I avoid the guilt altogether by pouring out the coffee.

As I toss the cup in the trash there is a pivotal moment in the meeting….my boss thanks me for the hard work I have done on my assignment…and there is a pause, for me to say something, anything, some kind of comment back.  Except I cannot find the home screen for Skype to unmute the mic and say thank you…and more silence…then someone says an awkward comment about maybe I cannot join the conversation….and I am frantically searching and pounding on my touch screen phone, cursing under my breathe.  Surely onlookers thought I was having a seizure. After what seems like an eternity, the moment passes and the meeting moves on.

After blowing my moment in the meeting, I reenter my car, no coffee in hand, and notice a loud smell.  Cigarette smoke. My man generously took my Dad to the doctor’s office the day before, but did not air out the car well before parking it for the night.  OK, no problem.  I’ll drive to work with the windows down. In 34 weather. With no coat.  Well, at least I won’t need the coffee to be fully awake.

After prying my frozen hands off the steering wheel, I walk into work with a windblown hairstyle that could have only been inspired by a mad man with an electrical outlet. It was truly an awe-inspiring mess. There are a few double takes from co workers as I pass them and smile, holding my windblown head up high.  If you are going to be a mess, at least be dignified about it.

I imagine a young Goldie Hawn or Kristen Wiig pulling off a scene like that, not something that would be in my life. And that is my Muesday (Monday + Tuesday) Sitcom moment.

I can hear you laughing.

The Joy Jar

She will rise. With a spine of steel and a roar like thunder, she will rise.”

Joy is defined in the dictionary as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. But how is measured?  How is any feeling measured?  It cannot be contained in a gallon or quart, or miles or pounds or hours, days. We have all of this technology and science, and yet no way to quantify joy, or happiness, or love. In all of our ways of measurements, in all of the countries of the world, and yet these are still immeasurable. It is a mystery.

And yet, we all want a piece of this illusive Immeasurable.  I think there are things on this earth that are supposed to remain a mystery. as humans there are things that are beyond our comprehension, though it is human nature to wonder and be curious.  IT is out nature to question.

So how do you measure Joy? How do you measure the human heart and how much joy it can hold? I don’t really know, except that maybe that is not something we are supposed to be able to quantify.  Maybe it is something that is individual to each person.  Imagine if we could quantify it, break it down into a formula.  As convenient as it sounds, that would ruin it all together, because somehow we would find a way to put it in a jar and sell it, gluten free, fat free, no preservative, so use it fast, not available in stores and order now to get a set of free steak knives.

Maybe there is no way to measure it because it takes work, because it takes time, because there is no app for that.  Or formula, or recipe…maybe some of the best things in life are not only free, but a beautiful wonderful immeasurable mystery.

So then, if you want it, how do you get it? And once you get it, how do you acquire more of it?  Ay, there’s the rub!

I don’t quite know the answer to that either, except what I am doing in my own life.  I think part of it is a decision that you make – you decide to be happy, to feel joy, and then you decide that every morning when you wake up.  Many think that you just snap your fingers and BAM!  There it is, happiness and joy.  Nope. But we can get into a habit. The habit of Joy in every day life because we can train ourselves to get into the habit of looking for joy.  And I have a theory that you find whatever it is that you look for. There is even a saying “what you are seeking is also seeking you.”

To bring more joy into my life, I have a Joy Jar.  Every time something wonderful, happy, or good happens, I write is down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.  The idea is to do this all year and at the end of the year, read all of the wonderful things that happened over the year. Not too mention if you are down at some point during the year you can always take a peak in the jar and remind yourself of all the good things that have happened. All the memories and wonderful moments. This also reminds me to be present in the moment, so that I remember to write it down and the details. There are already 3 slips of paper in the jar and it is only 9th days of the year. Not bad.

So forget the cups running over, may all of our jars runneth over, and over and over.  May we all decide on happiness and may we all have so many moments that we cannot keep up.