Tuesday, August 31, 2010
It occurred to me today, that I have been using the word "joy" quite a bit lately. I've used it to describe my feelings, my life, my work, and my family and friends. It has provoked a physical and emotional response for me. I get this very warm fuzzy feeling in my core which produces a huge smile on my face. It just makes me feel so wonderful. This is why I've been pondering today why the use of this word has been so pronounced for me these past few weeks.
Joy is apparently defined as the emotion of great happiness. David Lykken was a well-know behavioral geneticist who developed the self-point theory of happiness. He proposed that one's sense of well-being is half determined by genetics and half determined by circumstances. His research suggests that a person's baseline levels of cheerfulness, contentment, and psychological satisfaction are largely a matter of heredity. Of course, many have disputed his theory, and I must say, I have my own arguments with it as well. How disheartening to think that the ability to be happy is largely influenced by genetics.
There has to be more to it than a double helix. Joy is a state of mind; the ability to exhale and find yourself in a place, where one's life is abound with happiness. I'm just thrilled to say, that this is where I have finally found myself. I am finding joy in the simplest of things...hot coffee in the morning, the cool breeze at 6am, warm flannel sheets, my cute little kitty cat curling up with me...all of this brings me joy, and all of it so incredibly simple. I'm starting to realize that this is what life should really be about. It's not about titles, or money, or acclaim, it's about finding joy in everything you encounter and do. Even writing this blog brings me immense joy, and I write from the heart.
I've also noticed a considerable attitude shift that has accompanied this recent enlightenment. I look and approach the world from a completely different place. I'm learning to not let petty and insignificant things bother me and kill my joy. My joy is way to precious to me to allow it to be squashed. Melba Colgrove once wrote that "joy is the feeling of grinning inside." I'd also like to think that is like a warm blanket that envelopes you and melts away all the distress and fills you with light.
So, to all of you out there, practice joy everyday of your life. Shakespeare had it right..."joy delights in joy." Remember that joy is within each and everyone of us. So start grinning and sing a joyful noise, and before you know it, you too will experience that warm fuzzy feeling from you head to your toes.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Power. It is a word with multiple connotations, some good, some tepid, and some just down right evil. Whether we realize it or not, one of the biggest power struggles of all is the power struggle that exists in a relationship. We tell ourselves that things are peachy keen, and that we both see eye to eye, but in reality, we are wracked and riddled with worry and fear because the power has shifted, and now we realize he has it all! So, why is this a problem? Well, as someone I hold in very high esteem once told me..."you never want him to have all the power."
OK, so this not some feminist manifesto. This is merely an observation and examination of everyday human behavior. The power dance that is the relationship. So why not let him have all the power? Counter question, why would we want him to have all the power? Now, it's reasonable to say that throughout the course of a relationship, the power will shift from partner to partner, and one can hope that the flow will be equal and that when one does have the power, they will use it for good. The problem is, when one individual in the relationship retains all of the power. This is when it becomes more like a dictatorship than a democracy. Think of all the tyrants we've had in this world...Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin...all had absolute power, and it all led to utter destruction.
When the exchange and dance of power in the relationship is constantly unbalanced, then it becomes a recipe for disaster. Of course, there are the obvious discords of power...abuse of any kind for example. However, have we ever stopped to think that allowing him to have all the power, to manipulate to control, whether he is one of the kindest men in the world, is the purest form of masochism? Here's a notion, how about power from within first. Power to hold ourselves in high esteem and to look in a mirror and see the beauty that exists. Lao Tsu once wrote that, "he who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still."
So there is it...the balance of power of any relationship begins with the power we have within each and everyone of us. Strength is beautiful, and self-awareness is far more powerful than any outward physical beauty. So, never give up that power. Alice Walker so poignantly proclaimed that, "the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." Always remember how beautiful you are, and how much good exists within you. That is what makes you the most powerful person in the universe.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I'm feeling very punky today. I'm not sure if it's hormones, or the fact that it's Sunday evening. Regardless, there is a part of me that feels empty and alone today. Unfortunately, I still have these days on occasion. Don't get me wrong, I had an absolutely wonderful time with my family today. They always seem to lift me up when I'm in a funk. However, at times, I just feel so hallow. I often wonder when I have days like this what is missing.
I guess I would have to say that I am missing someone special in my life. I absolutely love my life, and feel very fulfilled, but there is part of me that longs to share a deep intimacy with someone. The few times that I have gotten close, it seems as if the men I was with pushed me away. When can it be that I meet someone who will embrace, and allow me to want to be vulnerable and not protective when I am with them? Building on a previous post, I know that I have not done anything wrong, and that my only fault is wanting to care for someone deeply. Hell, that shouldn't even be a fault. I think of my last relationship, and how much I cared for him, and how much he hurt me in the end. Even though it occurred only a few months ago, there really isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of this person. This isn't to say that I would rush back into his arms...in fact just the opposite. I'm confident enough now to know when something is good for me, and when something is really bad for me, and he was very bad for me. It's more that I miss the potential of something remarkable with another human being. I have so much to give, I just wish there was someone out there that was willing and able to accept it.
Not that I have given up hope. I think for the first time in my life, I feel worthy of a great love, and I truly believe that it is because I finally feel worthy of receiving it, that it will find me. I've suffered far too long with poor self esteem and the tragic belief that I was not worthy. How sad of me to think that way. If I have learned anything, it is that in order for someone else to love you, you must love yourself above all. I sometimes want to run to the top of the mountain and shout out, "Yes!! I do love me!!!" Now, I just think, when will he find me?
There is so much beauty to love, and I so desperately want to experience that now that I am in a place in my life where I feel confident, secure, and ready to conquer the world. And above all, I want someone to love me for who I am. I just want to be me, and part of being me is giving as much love as I can. I know it will take a special person to accept that, but then again, I don't want anything less than special. So, I will continue to live my best life ever, and embrace the day when I finally find my life partner. And I believe it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. The power of belief is so strong. I choose to believe in good, and love, and all of the beauty this world has to offer. I also choose to believe that love will find me, and when it does, it will be simply magical.
"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end." ~Author Unknown
Saturday, August 28, 2010
What would any of us be without our girlfriends? If there is anything a girl needs in this life is a core set of girlfriends. We all need someone to be with us through good times, through bad times, through heartache, and through some of life's most wonderful moments. Boyfriends, husbands may come and go, but I know I can always count on my girlfriends to be at my side.
I've always said that my friends are my chosen family. These are the people who have left indelible marks on my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful. When I needed a shoulder to cry on after another heartbreak, you were there for me. When I was on a horrible date, and stuck in a bathroom stall with my cellphone glued to my ear, calling "Help!!", you replied with the life saving phone call..."Ah, Michelle, you have an emergency." When I landed that great job, or bought my first place, you were there with me to celebrate. And on one of the most tragic days of my life, you were there to dry my tears and hold my hand.
So, to each and everyone of you, I say thank you, for always being there for me. My life is much richer and fuller because of your presence. I know that we will stay friends forever, swap stories of days gone by, gripe about gray hairs and wrinkles, fussy children and cantankerous husbands, all the while, knowing, that we will always have each other.
Friday, August 27, 2010
I've come to realize that there is an ebb and flow to life, and that the best things seems to happen organically, without force or manipulation. When I started blogging, I had no clear direction, but I figured it would find some type of evolution. I want to remember my 30th year with resounding joy and as a testament to the will to carry on and grow with each passing year. So, I've decided that this will be the documentation of the 30th year of life, in all of its glory and pain. I hope this will prove to be one of the most significant milestones of my life.
The number 30 is pretty darn cool if you ask me. Did you know that the minimum age to become a US senator is 30?! Hmmm....I think I'm too honest to be a politician. 30 is also the international calling code for Greece!! Mykonos, I'm coming back! There are 30 tracks on the Beatles's White Album. Ok, enough with the useless trivia. The point is, 30 is a number. It's how we feel about ourselves that defines who we are, not the number of years we've accumulated.
I want to leave you all with a piece I read from Andy Rooney. He wrote a piece sometime back about turning 30. There is such wisdom in his words. I wish I could share this with every woman turning 30, fearing that her youthful days are behind her. I say, there are even better days to come! So, here is the piece by Mr. Rooney (with some improv by yours truly thrown in)...savor it, embrace, take it all in, because we really are remarkable 30 somethings :)
Turning 30 by Andy Rooney
As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:
A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?". She doesn't care what you think. (He's absolutely right. We don't give a hoot what you are thinking about at 2am. All we are thinking about is getting some sleep!)
If a woman over 30 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting. (Agreed...why in the world would I want to watch some boring, barbaric football game, when I could enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon to myself.)
A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 give a damn what you might think about her or what she's doing. (Damn skippy. Take me as I am, or keep walking.)
Women over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it. (That's become we know you're not worth wasting our good energy on, because if it comes down to a screaming match, well, then, you were never worthy of us to begin with.)
A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women
friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.
(Absolutely. 30 somethings realize that men may come and go, but our girlfriends will be by our sides until the end.)
Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. (Wrinkles are merely a right of passage.)
Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one! You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her. (If you're acting like a jerk, believe me, you deserve to hear it!!)
Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free." Here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage. (Love it!)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
So, I've been thinking quite a bit about why women choose to blame themselves for every little mishap in a relationship. Things get a little rocky, and he starts acting weird and dismissive, and we think..."oh, my God, what did I do?!" I'm not exempt from this ridiculous thought myself. I don't know how many times I have agonized over relationships and wondered what I did wrong, what I could do better, if only I had done this...Ugh, it's tiring. Well, you know what I have realized....we are doing nothing wrong!!!! God forbid we act like ourselves, care for someone, be vulnerable!! I'm so tired of magazine article after magazine article declaring, "we must play hard to get" or "10 simple steps to landing your soul mate!" Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is wrong with being our genuine selves?
This is something that I have been working very hard on these past couple of months. After years of doing what I was told, and behaving as everyone thinks I should act, I've finally taken control and declared, "STOP already!! I must simply be me!!" I know that I cannot please everyone, nor will everyone like me. Frankly, the only person I worry about liking me, is, well, me. It seems to me that liking yourself, no, loving yourself, is the key to living the most genuine life you can lead.
Dictionary.com defines genuine as the following: adjective
1. possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real: genuine sympathy; a genuine antique.
2. properly so called: a genuine case of smallpox.
3. free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere: a genuine person.
4. descended from the original stock; pure in breed: a genuine Celtic people.
Wow! That is a pretty remarkable definition. Dissecting it down to its roots brings the depth of its meaning into full light. Possessing a claimed quality or origin...NOT counterfeit! Authentic! Real! These are beautiful, glorious words found in the English language. They just sound so lovely. So, why must we make them so difficult to apply to our own lives? Mother Teresa once wrote, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” Phew....imagine that, love and a relationship without getting tired, all because we were our genuine selves. That, I think is novel.
Don't you think a genuine self is much sexier then some facade we display or act we put on in order to accommodate or, God forbid, get someone else to like us. Here's the real kicker...do we really want to be with someone that requires us to play our most convincing role? I certainly don't want that. I'm not planning on winning the academy award for the woman that acted her way right into her man's heart. I want him to love me for all that I am; the good, the bad, the ugly, the really ugly. So everyone...love yourself, and most importantly, be your most genuine self. This is the greatest and most profound gift.
So, I would like to conclude today's post with another quote. John Paul II once said, "The future starts today, not tomorrow." Begin your genuine life today, and smile and love as much as possible.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I'm not sure who will read this, but for those that do, my hope is that we will all realize that we are not alone, and that turning 30 really is, no big deal. I hope to broach multiple subjects...love, life, relationships, careers, friends, etc...all to make us stronger and more confident. For my first post, I'd like to present a small piece that I wrote about all of my embittered past relationships. You wonder why I decide to harp on them...well really I'm not. Actually, I consider it a very cathartic experience, one I would encourage everyone to do. Let it go. Realize, that it takes two to tango, and that accepting the blame entirely for the demise of two peoples' mishaps, is well, just silly. So here we go...blog #1. Hopefully we will laugh, cry, and celebrate together :)
Enough already. There comes a time in a woman’s life when all of the bullshit and heartache reaches a crescendo, and she is faced with two paths: crawl under a rock or forge ahead like a victorious empress. I say, hip-hip hooray, here comes the victor!! No longer will I be slave to the deplorable behavior of crude, insensitive insignificant men…no dare I say boys. Thirteen years of dating loser after loser, for what?! Let me be frank, dating is exhausting, and I need a nap. I have enough bad date stories, heart crushing relationship tales, and men behaving badly sagas to fill every shelf of the library of congress and then some.
My journey into enlightenment didn’t begin until my 30th year. A pitiful 20-something, hopelessly in love with the idea that romance and true love exists, and…gasp…will conquer all. Well, ladies there comes a time when we must stand up, stand proud, and declare….”Enough already!” When will the time come when we will embrace the goddesses we are, and come to the understanding that men, as a dear friend of mine so poignantly stated, “men should be the icing to our lives, not the flour.” I venture now to share with you my harrowing tales of relationship folly, accompanied by buckets of mint chocolate ice cream and snot soaked tissues, in the hopes that someone will hear my desperate cries, and declare once and for all…I will not settle for anything less than stellar!!!
A master of relationships
Oh, dear I say, I have inexplicably mastered the art of the relationship…or maybe not…eek, that’s another story. Anyway, I’ve certainly had enough practice at relationships to know that if it’s broken in the beginning, no amount of super glue will keep it together. I’ve also discovered that there are different types of relationships, and as some relationship guru will preach (blah, blah, blah), they are all learning experiences. There’s first love or teenage love, or as I like to call it, adventures in babysitting. Honestly, no man is mature enough at the age of 17 to be in a relationship. I really don’t think most men are mature enough at the age of 35 for that matter. Then of course, there’s the relationship that drags on and on and on, and all you can think is dear God, somebody throw me a life raft before I drawn. There’s the relationship with the seemingly normal looking guy, who eventually turns out to be some freak of nature, you wondering away shaking your head, huh? The guy who declares his love for you, and then decides, eh, maybe we should be just be friends after all. Then there’s the real jerk that builds you up, and then conveniently forgets to return your phone calls after he’s promised you the world. Well, guess what, we get the hint. Then, there’s the sensitive artist who’s trying to find himself, and maybe is just into himself a little too much to bring you along. Of course, there’s the wounded bird that has been mauled and mangled by his cheating ex wife. Too consumed with his own grief and sorrow to get a grip and face reality…she’s gone, buddy, and not coming back. Move on! Finally, the learned man, who for all accounts looks great on paper, but then you start to wonder, why are you 39 and still single? Phew, I think I need a cocktail. So, let me take you on my journey, bit by bit, and in the end, hopefully we will come out wiser and maybe even a little bit sexier and more confident then we were before.