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.

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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.

 

Pat on the Back

A year ago, my father started having major cognitive issues because his kidneys and liver were failing. And even though he was taking his medicine as prescribed (we thought he wasn’t), the amonia was building up in his brain and effecting his memory, coordination, just everything.

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It was incredibly difficult to watch. It started on this date, and by the time a week passed, he could not even remember my mother’s name.

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I am not sure which was worse, my 30th birthday, or my birthday last year when Dad could barely get dressed, walk or speak and make any sense. Since then there has been so much loss. It has been so hard, many tears. I always knew I could get through it, but I didn’t know how or when. There were times I sobbed in the shower, or on the floor of the closet, because my legs gave out and I couldn’t do anything but sob. And pray.

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I prayed and prayed and prayed. And somehow, I made it. And a year later, here I am, standing pretty. Since then there have been lifetimes. I leaned on my friends, I found my roots again. I have dealt with and handled ridiculous family drama, reconnecting and rebuilding family relationships, a difficult move, real estate issues, and ridiculous ex issues. I have found my way from being lost and feeling alone. But slowly, with millions of baby steps, I am on the other side.

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I have a great life now, but I have worked hard and fought tooth and nail for it. There is making my wonderful house a home, a new job and contracts, a wonderful man, and every day I am thankful for this life. Those who have felt the deepest sorrow can also appreciate the smallest moments. When you have had your heart broken on such a level, and you come out of the other side, you see everything much deeper. You feel life with every fiber of your being.

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Isn’t that what life is supposed to be…loving until there is nothing left, then letting God rebuild you? Having faith and holding on. Looking back on those millions of baby steps, I am proud of the path I have gone down. I am strong, I am good, talented and I have earned this happiness, paid for it in full. And God willing, it will continue.

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I am hopeful for the future, excited even.  So many good and wonderful things coming down the line.  I am back, better and stronger than ever.

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I have seen the darkest hours, felt the deepest sorrow, been to the coldest places. I have felt too much anger, been through too much loss, confusion, depression, and fear. I have felt like I was drowning, falling, losing and couldn’t breathe. I have prayed for strength, compassion, Grace, wisdom, patience, and forgiveness. I have yelled, screamed, sobbed, run away, punched, and collapsed from exhaustion, nothing but my will and faith on which to grasp. I have traveled millions of baby steps, carried the heaviest loads, felt every heart beat, and left pieces of myself scattered on the dirty sidewalks of life…to be right here, right now.

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The Good Man

In my research today I came across a YouTube profile that was shocking and horrible.  Some pore sap has been watching and favoriting videos about how to possess a woman, and get her to fall in love with you, make her your emotional slave by manipulating her, How to take control of your woman, control her mind  and use your social power to seduce her. And you do this – one video said – by making her feel special then by making her feel sad and rejected. That this will make her love you and you will possess her.

Is this really what we are teaching men boys these days?

Wow.  I think we all can say a collective wtf?  One video said that the only people who reject these ideas are feminist and “pussy whipped” men. I am neither and I was shocked that this is how some are being told to treat  others, anyone, whether man or woman.

To me, these things are scary, shocking and emotionally abusive.  And not just for women either. If done to a man they are just as horrible. Because if you truly love someone, the last thing you want to do it is control them, manipulate them or possess them.  It doesn’t matter if a man does it to a women or a woman does it to a man, it is not only wrong, but abusive and damaging. It further perpetuates the stereotypes that men are assholes and women are bitches.

And honestly, no one has time for that, at least emotionally healthy and mature people don’t.

It is as simple as the law of attraction, if you use these techniques when dating – it doesn’t matter of you are a man or woman – then you will only attract trash.  If you use manipulation to attract someone into staying in your life, then you will in turn be manipulated by whomever you have.  You get what you give in the world, it all comes back, full circle.

It is also men who believe manipulation and control are how you get what you want from a woman…who perpetuate the Harvey Weinstein’s, the Bill Cosby’s, and the Brock Turner’s, of the world and who are the reason why so many women participated the #metoo  and the #timesup movement.

Men need to be taught better than so they can do better and be better.  Only then will it be a better world for our daughters. What is described in the videos is called love bombing and is extremely emotionally abusive – so much so that it is often associated with psychopaths and sociopaths. And for those men who listen to advice like the videos on that profile…times up.

Love is based on trust, values, respect and honesty.  Love is based on being authentic. And falling in love is one of the most amazing, beautiful and wonderful processes in this world.

Love comes from God. It is not manipulative, or hurtful or unkind.  Love feels good, in all of it’s stages.

Seeing that profile made me incredibly thankful for the man I have in my life now.  It made me thankful that my parents taught me what real love looks like, and it made me thankful that I am not as bitter, angry or damaged as the person who owned that profile. It made me thankful that even after all of my struggles, I can still recognize a wonderful, genuine, good man.

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EDIT: I don’t put much stock in Hollywood, but this is a great inspiring speech. I really love how the #metoo and #timesup movement are taking boys to task and and demanding better from men.

The Birthday Month

It is a special day when you are born, because you were born out of love, into to love. That is what I was raised to believe. And that’s one of the traditions that I carry with me. And so it is that this is my birthday month.

And so it is that I will celebrate everything this month.  I couldn’t last year at this time, due to my wonderful father’s health, but this year, I have a few years to make up for.

SO this year, this month, I will celebrate every day. And isn’t that how life should be in the first place?  To celebrate every day you  are gifted on this earth.  Celebrate and be thankful for every day that we are loved and appreciated by those around us.  Some don’t see the love, but if you get still and you look hard enough, you will see it feel it.

I have a theory in life, that whatever it is that you are looking for, you will find. If you look for the bad, the twisted, the dark or reasons to be suspicious and distrust others, then that is what you will find. Conversely, if you look for the good, the love, the bright and reasons to trust others, then that is what you will find as well.

That doesn’t mean being naive or a doormat. It means be careful for that which you looks because that is what you will find.

And this month especially, I intend to find every reason to celebrate.