The Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Growing up, this time of year on the religious calendar was always celebrated. Indeed it was my father’s favorite time of year in the church, as it is a time to reflect and exercise discipline. Every year, as our Lenten Discipline, we gave something up and took on some kind of extra spiritual task.

Through out the years, I have given up either chocolate of soft drinks, as those are vices that I enjoy very much. One year Dad gave up beer, Mom gave up cigarettes and my sister gave up sugar all together.  Looking back I am surprise any of us survived that 40 days – I am shocked that we did not kill each other in a fit of irritation and withdrawal. And I have given up something every single year, except one.

And so it goes this year as well.  I am giving up soft drinks, and taking on extra prayer, reading and meditation. Because I am have been unbelievably blessed in this lifetime. And this is the time for reflection and planning. You cannot always ask, you must give in return as well.

And oh my, many things are being planned for this future, this life. And it will be spectacular.

The Healing Art of Being Bum

here are times that were must just take it easy and relax. There are time that we must take to heal and take care of ourselves. And there should be no shame in it. And when we do it, we should absolutely enjoy it, and make the rest worth our time.

A friend asked me what I did today, and I really couldn’t tell her past the one appointment that I had. I told her that I had been staying up ridiculously late, because I am a nite owl, sleeping late, purging things I don’t need from the house, watching TV, and not really much of anything really. I started to say that I felt a bit guilty and she interrupted me – “In other words you are resting, healing and taking care of yourself.”

And there it was. Her words brought me to a complete stop…I had not thought of it that way, but she was right. After all, I deserve to rest a bit and not feel guilty about taking some time off. I have been going long and hard for three years.

Why do we, especially women, feel so guilty for not doing anything but taking care of ourselves and healing after a hard time? I don’t know, because it doesn’t make any sense. Self care is so important to our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. We are stress out, underpaid, overworked, super tired, burned out and feeling sideways.

Maybe we feel guilty because there are others whom still need our care? Or maybe we don’t want to be seen as lazy, or unproductive, or selfish? Maybe we have the need to be needed, and taking care of ourselves is so foreign that it just feels wrong. For me, it is a combination of all of those things, plus I do not feel useful unless I am busy doing something, accomplishing something. But who is to say that self care is not a huge accomplishment?

Because we are taught to take care of everything and everyone first. And not just women. Men are taught they must kill themselves for their job and career. And single parents, both men and women, feel like they cannot take the time, because they have no help and must do everything themselves.

But the price of not taking care of yourself is expensive. I have experienced it first hand and never want to visit again. The feeling of being burned out and completely bent is not pleasant. Not to mention that when we are overwhelmed and sad, everything else is magnifies. All those little things that would not normally bother us, can send of over the edge. Because our nerves are already so raw, that the slightest touch is like touching an opened wound. The only protection we have, is rest and self care.

And so before life gets all crazy again, with a job and the relationship and travel and life in general, I will take this time for myself. I will stay up late, sleep late, watch my favorite shows and heal from the last few years. I am already happier than I have been in years, and taking this time of self care will only make those crack and chips even stronger and shinier.

So take care of yourself. Set that time aside, whether it is an hour, a say, a week, or more if you need it. Concentrate on making sure you have everything that you need. And stick with it until you are good again. Because when you step back into the world, you ill feel better. YOU will be stringer, finer, happier and better equipped to handle life. And you will have more to offer whose for whom you care. An empty vessel cannot full itself, or any other vessel. Trust me, you are the best investment you can make.

Life is short. So take care of yourself, and don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve the same amount of compassion and understanding as you give others. Treat yourself, invest in yourself, and watch your life, and quality of life, improve dramatically. And the best thing? Practice makes perfect.


My Love

This is it, I am in love. I am in love not only with my life for the first time in years, but also with the man I am dating. It is Facebook and Insta official, which is the comic side of relationships these days. And he is even on my profile picture – something that has never happened in the 12 years I have been on social media. And I love it.

Finally. And I feel like this man, this wonderful relationship is my reward after going through hell for the last three years. It is natural, and fun and serious, and light and everything I never knew I always wanted.  He is kind, sexy, capable, and smart and he actually challenges me intellectually, which is incredibly rare. He is romantic and wonderful. We have known each other since high school and are planning a future together.

I look back at my past relationships – the last man who was much more impressed with himself than I was, and who cancelled on making dinner for my friends. The one before that cheated on me with prostitutes and strippers. And then the one who strung me along for 6 months….and I am thankful that none of them worked out. Because I would have missed the love of my life.

Life is short. Love it.

“I want love to be so present in my life that it is tangible.” And it is.

10 of Years

In 2008, my friend Melissa was part of what was referred ti on Atlanta as the “Leap Day Dozen.” She was the number one rated DJ on air in Atlanta, and was fired, along with 11 of her on air colleagues in order to make a 30% cut in expenses for the station.  She was rightly upset, and I remember telling her, that there would come a time when what happened wouldn’t even matter. In 1 yr, 5, even 10 years, her life would grow, her perspective change and and she would see that somehow this was a blessing.

But the truth was that in 10 years, she would be gone. In 10 years, she would be taken, too soon, from us. And I wonder, in a way, did she know, that on Aug 5th 2008, she would die 10 years later, to the day?

I wish I could ask her. And I wish I could ask what would she have done differently if she had known she only had 10 years left? And then I wonder, what would I do differently if I only had 10 years? What would we all do differently?

Would you worry less and laugh more? Would you play more and work less? Would you travel, or try skydiving, or do whatever it is you are too scared to do?

Life is short. And everything you want is on the other side of fear. So do what you would do with your last 10 years? Go do it. 🙂