Freedom

I swam in the ocean and played like a child. I did back flips, hand stands and the back stroke. I let the current of the ocean carry me as I floated on the surface. I swam underwater, like a fish, seeing how long I could hd my breath before coming up to the surface for that first gasp of air when my lungs felt like they are going to burst. There was an excitement, an innocents that coursed through my veins as I felt the water against my skin.

At first the water was almost too cold, but then as my body adjusted tot he temperature, it felt refreshing and I was energized. The entire sea in front of me, with all the mystery it holds. All it’s secrets being whispered to me in the currents.

It had been almost two years since I swam in the ocean. Almost two years since I did back flips and let the water carry me. And it was wonderful.

It makes you appreciate the cool fresh salty air of the sea. And to feel the soft breeze across my damp face was pure heaven. And I saw God, in the sea, int he sky, in the everything of the moment. And I knew He had me in his hands and that all was well in my world.

There were hot Krispy Kreme donuts in bed, melting in my mouth from the first bite to the last. There was laughter, wine and dancing. There was the innocence and playfulness of a child. It was freedom.

Animal Rescue Need Funds!!

Animal rescue group in DESPERATE need of funds!  Soul Saver Rescue, takes the animals no one else will take, gives them medical care, fosters them rehabilitated them and finds homes for them. Due to lack of finds, they have run out of dog food, cat food, flea medicine, and cat litter. They have nothing to feed the animals they are fostering!!  PLEASE donate, and help the people who save these animals.  Soul Saver Rescue, is a 501c non-profit and all donates are tax deductible. PayPal is soulsaverrescue@gmail.com. Please donate now!!!

Thank you.

The Gift of Play

Sometimes we all need a break. A time and place that we can relax, have a good time and play. When we were children, life was all about play. We lived to play; play was our lives. Weather it was with Barbie or GI joe, Lego’s or Connex, it was always playtime somewhere.

But somewhere in adulthood, between the job and the mortgage, hidden under the kids and the housecleaning, around the bend and after tomorrow, we lost it. We Are responsible now.

But play did many gigs other than serve as a way to entertain ourselves. It taught us about society ad how to be social. It taught us about sharing and when I go it alone. It gave us a break and worked out our imagination. All things we could stand to re-learn.

And so it is, this weekend, I am being given the chance to play. I have been the responsible leader for a long whole, burning it at both ends, taking care that everyone has what they need. But we all still need playtime and relaxation, something we never outgrow, I we re truly honest with ourselves.

And so it is, that’s forget my responsibilities for a few data. I have nothing and nowhere that us not Ruhr before me. And that thought is almost as scary as it is exciting but just or a moment. Then the fear gives way to more excitement and relief.

It’s time to play…

Part II:The Dalai Lama’s Advice on Spreading Joy

I had one question for the Dalai Lama. I thought about it for a long time, then asked a friend if mine who has known me for a long time with help. There re so many questions that could be asked, what would just one question be. And he hit the on the The head. As soon as he said it knew that was it: once you find happiness and inner peace, how do you share it to others?

And the question was answered. As u listened to the Dalai Lama speak, he talked about the key to changing the world truly is by looking in the motor…but not in the way that you think. By being happy an at peace, you draw others to you and become on example. You spread happiness and peace to others simply by being happy and at peace yourself.

Such a simple concept, yet it is so complex to grasp and implement in life. But for the first time, past the clichés and self-help books saying take care of yourself first, I got it. It only tool hearing it from one of the biggest spiritual leaders of our generation (why no, I am not hard-headed).

And his truly changed my thinking and actions. I have written extensively about making your life what you want, that you make te rules and write the story. That you should ask yourself how you want it to feel and go after things that make you life feel that way. But sometimes in the daily grind if bein there for others, we forget. And suddenly I remembered.

And I started going after how I wanted my life to feel. I started going after what wild make me, make my life feel the way I want it to feel.

And it feels so good, it feels right and as if t is divinely inspired. Things are falling into place. A better life for my family and me. A better place, better money, opportunities and so much more.

And something else also accounted to me: to be a good least to you must first take care of yourself and your own needs and happiness. Because as I am going after these goals, takin risks and making y dreams reality, I am leading my family by example, showing them it can be done, that good things happen, that then your head and heart are both happy, when you work hard and have faith, go adapter how you want life to feel, you can make it work.

You can make so ting out of nothing. They see me song it, and they can so it too. You can do it if you follow your bliss. What brings you peace, will also make you happy. So do it, go there, even I it’s risky, even if others say you are crazy. Be the leader in your life by taking the initiative to be happy.

And as the leader of the family, if I am happy, I can lea them with love and compassion. More compassion can be held in a happy heart than in an unhappy one. I see their faves, see hope in their eyes, and I know what the Dalai Lama said is true.

Seeing the Dalai Lama

Seeing the Dalai Lama was probably one of the spiritual highlights of my life.  He is so humble, delightful, so wise, that you just love him from the moment he walks onstage. He is a small man in stature, yes humbly larger than life. His entire face, especially his eyes, lights up when he smiles, which is often. He laughs a lot too. A soft deep chuckle that makes you smile and chuckle too. He emits happiness and peace. And he loves people. You can tell by his openness and general demeanor. He loves talking, communicating and sharing. He truly is interested in caring.

And as I watched him speak, softly, kindly, there was a rhythm to his words and his speech pattern. And it drew me in, so much so that I could not not listen. Hung on every word, every  story, every point of what he said. I wanted to be open and soak it all in, just like a sponge. To always remember this moment, his talk and the words he so wisely spoke to thousands of people in the audience. And the way he spoke, even though there were so many in the room, he made you feel as if he were only speaking ot you. His connection with people was that strong.

He came out on stage, spoke for about 30 seconds, looked out on the audience and smiled. He then pointed and announced that he would be going down there, turned around and left the stage. Everyone in then looked around, waiting, wondering where he would turn up…a minute later he walked out to the first row, and hugged a man as if they were long friends. And indeed they were. After a pleasant exchange, the Dalai Lama explained that the man he greeted was a good friend of his and someone he considered to be his hero.

I immediately wondered what kind of person the Dalai Lama calls his hero? He explained that he man he greeted in the audience is someone he has known many years that when his friend was 10 years old he lost his sight during an attack where he lived in WWII. Instead of getting angry and bitter, he went to school, attended college, and never let the loss of his sight stop his ambitions. He grew up to raise his own family with love and compassion. The Dalai Lama said he had the easy part, all he has to do is get up in front of people and talk, talk, talk, but this man he greeted in the audience, this man actually lived it. And that is why the called the man in the audience his hero.

And I took notes, so I would not forget. My hands typing as fast as they could, skipping keys and vowels just to make sure I could keep up and didn’t miss a thing. Here are the notes, please excuse the rawness of the notes:

  • We should not rule by faith, we should use faith to find and rule with compassion. That is the way to a happy life and happy humanity.
  • We should use common sense first, science second.
  • We need a healthy mind and healthy body to keep up hygiene of the mind. Mental thinking is more important than physical comfort.
  • Compassion and trust are based on respect. A happy home is based on trust.
  • Those who are given love and affection from parents and others are happy. Those who grow up with abuse grow up to be distrustful and broken. They often lie and keep themselves at a distance from others. They often have a lack of compassion.
  • We can change humanity and government, but it must be done through humanity.  Compassion must start from the individual.
  • We must be happy no matter what the situation, must find that kind of peace within ourselves. Then we can change the world. Build a family, and neighbors, then a village.  We build this kind of world through talk, then prayer, and this grows.
  • Action is more important prayer, but prayer with action is very powerful.
  • Most unhappy problems, like those in Syria,, Iraq, Serbia and Africa are manmade.
  • The 21st century can be the century of compassion.

There was a question and answer session after he spoke, and those answers were incredible and had a great impact on my way of thinking.  He told many humorous stories about his childhood and his mother. But that is for the next blog.

Hours in the Life

As I sit down mun my favorite chair in my home office, watching my favorite TV, Mom is downstairs cooking dinner for all of us, Dad is watching the news, my sister is on the computer in her room, and my nephew is studying in his room. Life in the house of Ada is a bit…normal. Everyone is busy, but we still make time to eat dinner together at the table, we still find time to talk over wine.

Yes where does the time go? I planned to write a post everyday, I was committed to it. And then…Life ate Time. Literally. I looked around and says have passed since i last posted a blog. friends and readers are emailing, texting and calling wanting to know where the post(s) about the Dalai Lama. What happened? I could write for days on that one topic, how it affected me and my thinking. It was truly an amazing and emotional experience.

And then there are so many other things to write about:

Picking pumpkins

carving pumpkins

taking walks and the importance of incorporating nature

Loving relationships

nurturing yourself.

Why tasking care of yourself is the kindness thing you can do for those you love

Adventures in-house cleaning

Getting back on the treadmill: riding on the back of a motorcycle

I want to write about wine tastings, being humble, falling in love, having a father on chemo for cancer, what it’s like to be a writer, how to start writing and have a career and so many more things.

And then I look around. And the kitchen needs to be cleaned, the floor needs vacuuming, my favorite show is on TV, I need to work out, Friends and family  are calling wanting to talk, I need to work, do laundry.

And yet with all of that, a smile is on my face. My heart is light and life is good.

Meeting the Dalai Lama

We all have those moments in life that are so incredible, we will always remember them. Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama was one of those moments for me.

The Dalai Lama came to Atlanta, sponsored by Emory (great hospital where my father is being treat for liver cancer). You literally love this man from the moment he steps out on stage. He is so humble, kind and humorous, that you just adore him. He is not big, large and loud, but rather quiet and soft spoken. You have to tune everything out and listen to him. And somehow, even talking in a room full of thousands, he still draws you in with the kind of connection as if you were speaking one-on-one.

His talk was on the topic of Secular Ethics. He spoke of how the 21st century can be the Century of Compassion. He spoke of how those who grow up with abuse and cruelty grow up to not trust others. But how those who grow up in love and acceptance grow up to function in love and compassion. Therefore, it is more than our duty to have a loving home in which to raise a family, but our global responsibility. Because changing the world truly does start with oneself.

Happy people trust others. A happy, trustful person is more accepting and compassionate of those around them. And they talk to their follow human being. The only way to have love and compassion grow on a global scale, is for each one of us to talk to our fellow man, learn about them, appreciate them and see the beauty in them. If each one of use did that, the movement would spread so fast, It’s the 4 people know, then they tell four friends, then they tell four friends and so an and so on…before you know it, the whole world is in the middle of more compassion, tolerance and understanding that we ever thought possible.

Those who are unhappy are distrusting and keep others at a distance. Because of this they have less compassion for those around them. In this instance it is very easy for jealousy and resentment to grow. Bitterness and hatred. We see it all the time too. That is where the cycle of abuse comes in. That is how people become so bitter and hateful that they drive everyone away form them.

He also spoke of education, politics, Syria, Africa, Afghanistan. He spoke of other religion and faiths, races and beliefs. His was a wonderful message of which I could write about for days. I took a lot of nots because I just wanted to soak everything up and not forget a single word, a single second and single moment. I want to always remember the meaning of his message.

But the main highlight?  Getting to actually meet him, ask him a question…and he even hugged me!  Yes, I have been hugged by the Dalai Lama.

I could write for days on his message, taking each point and discussing it in detail.  And I no doubt will have many blog entries from his talk,But right now it is a beautiful Friday afternoon. And the sunshine is calling my name.

Burning at Both Ends

One thing about being so busy os to get every thing done, you must burn the candle at oth ends. Mixing business with pleasure, working late, aworking in spurts, in between house cleaning, phone conversations, dinner and wine, it is easy to have fun while working. Which is great for a wrter like me as I get boed easily.

And now as I would love to write somehting profound, as this has been an incredible week. Indeed, it has seen me meet the Dalai Lama and cry from the sheer beauty of life. The fact is that most of the catch up daily writing will have to be done this wekened, as thigns slow down from one of tghe best weeks in a long time.

So until then, it is burning joyfully at both ends.

The One Day Challenge

We all have those times, when life just explodes into a busy fireworks display.  We all have those times when we make all kinds of plans, then there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. That is what this past week has been like. It has been a wonderful array of friends, loved ones, family, fun, wine, sweet cool nights, time in a hot tub, laughter, smiles and so much more.

Work has been so very busy as deadlines draw closer. The weather is getting cooler and time is spent outside, on patios with wine. Time with family and friends, those visiting from far away. House cleaning, organizing, getting ready for family to come up and visit. Preparing for a family gatherin soon.

With all of this going on it has a  post once a day. So I am at least trying to post several at a time when I do have time to write and post.

The fact is that I am doing many things that scare me, I am growing every day, and so is my joy. And so busy getting things done, enjoying life, looking for ne places and enjoying everything life has to offer. And jus like the weather, it’s delicious.

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The Questions and The Thought

If you could ask Jesus one question, what would it be? We have all heard this theoretical question. And the answer is, I would ask if I can ask 1 thousand more questions.

really, how do you just slim it down to one question? So many things run through my mind, ranging from the philosophical, to the comical and silly, to the curious to the offensive. Who shot JFK? What is it like to be the Holy Trinity? What’s it li,e to have God as your Father? Can you really see people having sex? Can you hear every prayer? What do you think of gays, transvestites and Miley Cyrus?? Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen top bad people? What’s up with free will? What’s Heaven like? Does Hell exist?  Can God create an equation that he cannot solve? What is the meaning of faith? How did the Universe come to be? Why does chocolate have so many calories, while broccoli is virtually none? Why do all the lost socks go?

And the list could go on and on and on.

And tomorrow I have the opportunity to meet and speak with one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So many questions I would love to ask, so many thoughts I would love to hear.

And still, one persistent thought and prayer runs through my head: Dear God, please do not let me trip and fall tomorrow in front of the Dalai Lama.

New Awakening

This past weekend was one of the best that I have ad in a long time. One of my best friends, who I have missed since she moved away, visited this weekend. One she is one of those friends that no matter how long it has been since we have seen or talked to each other, it’s like no time has passed and we just pick up like it was yesterday. It was so good to see her and we had such fun. And along the way, there was a re-awakening.

We talked, laughed ate and drank. We talked of old times and people we knew, how they were and where they had been. We talked about our lives, our family and our boyfriends. We went to our favorite hangouts, our favorite stores and she laughed because even after several years, I am still clumsy as I ever was. And I told her some incredible news.

But mostly we talked about our plans and dreams for the future. We talk about our plans for our lives, our careers and the lives of our children. We traded ideas and suggestions of how to accomplish what we have set out to do. We talked about our hopes and fears, what we thought had held us back.

And as we talked of all that is to come, we both git so excited, and that is when the re-awakening happened.  A re-awakening of my enthusiasm, my hope, my energy. I have been taking care of my family and it is taken most of my energy. And there are things that I have set aside until it is a better time. That better time is now. And I have much to do.

Surround yourself with positive people who love you, support you  and believe in you. Those who will be your cheerleader and encourage you to reach higher than you thought you could.  And your life will be filled with many awakenings.

 

Team Cantore

So…posting every day on the weekends can be a challenge as this is a very busy time of year. However, if I post enough to make up for what I missed, it will equal out to one every day, it all will be good. At least that is what I tell myself…

There are many, including myself that say you should always give back. Give of your time, your talent or your money. Always give back, volunteer, choose a charity, help someone out who needs it. Not for the bragging rights, but because it is the right thing to do. And because somewhere down the line, it may be you that needs help.

This weekend was a wonderful weekend. One of my best friends came down to see me. Friday night she hosted a wonderful event raising money for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a terrible debilitating disease that steals your life away, a little a time. There is medicine to help slow down the progress, but eventually it does get worse. If it sounds familiar, it is because Michael J. fox has it, and has campaigned tirelessly for research to find a cure.

This fundraiser I attended with my best friends, was put on by a great woman by the name of Tamara Cantore. It was the 10th year she out this show on, and it indeed was a truly unplifting experience. In addition to several country music artists performing to raise money, there was also a silent auction and a live action – which were both great fun. There were many people there, and it truly was a very close knit community attending.

There were lots of hugs, smiles, catching up and, of course, dancing to the great live music. The food was delicious and the bar was cash.

And it was wonderful to see the local community come together to raise money for one of their own. To care not only about other in the community, but to help those everywhere who suffer from this disease. To help fund the research it takes to find a cure, to help those who suffer now, to help their friends and family, and to be in the presence of such caring and generous people, left me with a smile on my lips, joy in my heart and faith in Humanity.

For more information or to donate to this worthy cause, please go to http://www.teamcantore.org/.

Be Fiesty. Always

control

Always be feisty. Always.  This is advice that I would give to girls and women today. Why? Because ebing feisty means that you can think for yourself. It means that you are smart; you have a brain and are not afraid to use it. Being feisty means you will not be controlled nor have your dreams curtailed by those who have ulterior motives.  It means that you stand up for that which you believe, even if no oe else stands with you and you are alone.

In this day and age, there are may influences. So many people, circumstances, situations and choices that pull you in all different directions. How do you know which way to go? How do you know what is that right way, the right thing?

You pray and you listen to your conscience – your gut instinct. And you refuse to bow down to those who would be bullies or those who would try to control you or tear you down to make them selves feel better.

Let’s face it, the world can be a scary place. I truly believe that the majority of people out there are good, even wonderful honest people, just trying to figure it all out the best they can just like the rest of us. But, there are those who would do you harm. There are those who are predators, who would hurt you just for there own demented enjoyment. There are those who are completely broken, and must feed off the life they can get from others. There are people who will try to tell you that you cannot accomplish your dreams, that you are stupid, ugly, wrong, or whatever.

Don’t listen to them. Be strong. Be feisty. Know your own worth when you look in the mirror – because you are beautiful, strong, competent and worthy of all good things, wonderful things that you can imagine. That is what being feisty means. And those who love you, will embrace you being feisty, strong willed and determined. Don’t listen to those who do not. Because those are the ones who do serve you – those are the ones who will do you harm. Let them roll off you like water off a ducks back. Do not let them concern you, because you have bigger and brighter things in store for you.

Being feisty also means walking away from unnecessary drama. Yes, life gets messy, and maybe even ugly, sometimes. But it should never stay that way. It should never be the constant. If you look around, and all you have is drama around you…it’s time to make some changes. It’s time to look around at the people you have in your life and starts making some cuts to your friends list. And start conducting your life in a way that courts peace, positivity and forward movement. This con be hard to do, but trust me, it’s worth it.

And more than anything, don’t ever let yourself be controlled by anyone. You control your destiny, you control how the story is written and what happens in the end. You. And yes you can do it. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t. They are wrong.

Being feisty os being strong enough for all of these things. It is not being mean or ugly. But there are those who will call you names for being feisty. There are a few ex’s of mine who still call me a bitch because I fought against them. Let them say what they want. It is of no concern to you.

Pray, treat others right, and stand up for that which you believe. And be feisty. Always.

A Post a Day

There are many things for which I am thankful. One of those things is the fact that I am a writer. I get paid to do that which I love. How many are that lucky? But every day, we still must strive to challenge ourselves, get out of our comfort zone and grow. This is the month for such things for me. I am actively stepping out of what makes me comfortable. There is a saying to do something every day that scares you.  That is my goal for this month of October.

The first day of the month, it was the dentist, yesterday it was setting in motion one of my goals in life, that also scares the crap out of me. Today, it is committing to challenging myself to write a blog a day for the rest of the month. This may not seem like a big deal, but to a writer to writes when I am inspired to write, this is a bit scary.

It’s challenging and scary because of everything involved. Will I have something interesting and intelligent to say every day in a public blog post? What will I write about? And to make the time commitment of posting every day is substantial. With work, freelancing, all of my family needs and then actually having a life with friends and a boyfriend, time is precious.

But that is part of stepping out of your comfort zone. You learn new things and new ways of doing old things. You stretch your creativity and go beyond your limits. You face your fears. Whatever they are, and whatever it is you are doing…Can I do it? Will I do it well? Will I be Ok doing it? How will I feel when I have done it? What do I want to learn and get out of it? What if I fail?

Relax. Take a breathe. You will do fine. This is life, and the fact that you are willing to challenge yourself, to grow, to learn, to face what makes you scared, it more than most do in a lifetime. So get out there and do it. You only live once.

So a post a day…for 31 days. OK. Let the creativity flow and the typing begin.

Adventures at the Dentist

We all have those doctor’s appointments we wish we could skip. Not many things make me cringe as much as going to the dentist. Even my annual lady’s appointment is a walk in the park compared to the dentist for me. My teeth are extremely sensitive and I just about nearly come up out of the chair when they try to clean my teeth and go poking around. The dentist is the worst doctor’s appointment ever – of course I say that before having had my first mammogram (coming up next month), so I reserve the right to change that statement at a later date.

I can take the optometrist poking me and blowing puffs of air in my eye – no problem. The gynecologist and his partner in crime, the speculum – piece of cake.  The endocrinologist sticking me with needles to get blood samples is fine. The cardiologist and those sticky EKG thingies…But put me in a dentist’s  chair and I freak out a bit. My mouth gets dry and my palms get sweaty.

And this morning I had my first dental appointment in many years (let’s not say just how long…). I had a bad feeling from the moment I walked in, but just that it was me being anxious. I got into the chair and told them to put me on the gas.

And then the bomb was dropped.

They didn’t have the gas. WHAT?!? What kind of dentist does not have the gas? The gas is the best part of the appointment and the only thing that keeps me in the chair and not running out of the office screaming.

This was not good news.  A dentist visit with no gas? Nothing to dull the pain of them poking, picking, pulling, pounding, sucking and pushing?? I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. My mind was racing and my heart was bouncing between my throat and my stomach. I knew I was in trouble when the technician looks at me and says, “When this hurts, just remember I am not being mean, it just may be uncomfortable. “

Excuse me? I laughed nervously and barely was able to say that that statement was not very re-assuring.

Why the heck would you say that to someone who is visible about to fall apart in the chair?????

After about 30 x-rays, chomping down on whatever-thing-that’s-way-too-big-for-my-mouth, it was time for the dentist. She steps in and I realized that I really had to pee.

After a brief discussion about how long it had been since my last visit (all of the sudden I felt very Catholic, and like I was saying how long it had been since confession). After a bit of poking she announced just how bad my teeth were and proceeded to try to sell me all kinds of procedures. Not just your garden variety root canal either…I mean the high dollar stuff. It’s been a while since my last visit, but I do know I have good teeth and do not need $25,000 worth of dental stuff. If they want patients to agree to such things, they really need to have the gas.

Needless to say I got out of there as fast as my non-nitrosed bum could go. I just had a bad feeling about it from the start, and when I checked them online  – which I should have done before hand – they were known for “selling” their services when not needed. They have many complaints against them.

And now…I have an appointment at a reputable dentist, who does sedation dentistry. I go in, I go to sleep, I wake up and it’s all done. Shame we can’t have all of our doctor’s appointments like that.

The moral of the story? Always trust your gut feeling, whether it’s about a dentist, a date, a job, a co-worker, whatever. Your guts are good to you. That little voice that warns you of those red flags…listen to it.

Now, excuse me while I pass the gas mask…