Monday, August 22, 2016

Going Through It

Life definitely gives us lessons over and over until we learn what we are supposed to learn.  Right now, I'm going through it.  I'm questioning why the things that happen, happen.  And, questioning why things ended up they way they ended up.  I am working on figuring out what to do with where I'm at now and how to do better next time.  I'm learning that if you're saying to someone, "Can you believe..." that's victim mode and you cannot dig out of victim mode by acting that way.  Changing things digs you out.  Faith and trust in who you are and in God's plan digs you out.  
I believe it's important to keep peace and to make peace when conflict has occurred.  Leaving a situation toxic (through arguing, name calling, punishing) is so bad.  Communication and peaceful (hopefully, loving) conversation solves a lot.  A little bit of understanding and compassion solves a lot.  Saying "sorry" helps a lot.  The ego is so attached to not being wrong.  
Consequently, it's important to make peace but not at the expense of yourself.  I often cave in and apologize just to shut down the conflict because I cannot handle conflict.  It's important to stay strong, empowered and stand up for one's self (in a loving way).  Life is tough enough.  Dealing with the extra crap, meanness, ridiculous conflicts, unloving comments from those that should be our biggest fans and loved ones is such a waste.  I wish life was more about sending positive vibes and less about sending daggers.  I wish people responded, communicated, listened with intention to really hear what the other is saying...instead of reacting.  
Needing the approval of another is a waste.  If we seek approval from others, we stifle ourselves and never take a step.  No matter what we do, we will always be wrong to someone.  I'm learning more and more to get quiet and listen.  Listen to what my gut is telling me, because that's my intuition leading me to better things.  I need to trust my instincts more and listen to my body and mind when something isn't feeling quite right.  Most importantly, I need to trust that I can make decisions that are right for me, regardless of the good opinions and judgments of others.  

I found this quote from José Micard Teixeira that I adore and had to share.  He sums it all up so nicely:

Make a reverence to who you are. See yourself with different eyes and find in you what didn't want to find those other times when you looked at yourself. Don't judge yourself for the life you had. Don't condemn yourself for everything in which you thought you failed or got it wrong. Don't beat yourself up for allowing others to disrespect you or lie. What's important is what you are going to do about all that. You know very well that you can't change what's happened. What you can do is change today your attitude towards yourself and not others. Only if you change your attitude towards yourself, you can change how you act with them. Only if you change the way you behave with yourself, you can improve the relationship you keep with yourself and, consequently, with everyone else. Understand once and for all that there's no one else like you, not even someone better or worse than who you are. There are only people who are different from you, just as you are different from them. For that reason, make a reverence to who you are. Surrender to yourself. Commit to your own essence. Don't fool yourself anymore, and don't be dishonest with your heart. Always choose what makes you smile inside, what makes you take back what is most pure in yourself, what protects you from comparisons and lies, from anger and illusion, what takes you closer to the pieces of you that you thought were lost forever.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Being Brave

My loved ones would most likely not describe me as very brave.  In fact, I shudder at confrontation and absolutely do my best to avoid it.  Recently, however, I took a HUGE leap of faith and I confronted once and for all a situation that has impacted me and my loved ones for far too long.  I tried to do the right thing through the right channels.  I look back now and think, why the hell did it take me so long to actually have the balls to take real action, action that would have real impact rather than my unsuccessful requests.  Most people don't have any problem standing up for themselves right away.  I, on the other hand, sit there in shock and unable to speak because I'm so knotted up and upset inside that the words don't come.  Eventually, the words do come but in this case, they remained ineffective.  So I decided to trust in the system and get some help.  I felt confident and hopeful that decisions would be made to offer fair resolution and I put my trust in the process and in the standards set forth from those tasked to resolve the matter.

I was so focused on resolving the matter and doing what was right that I thought nothing of the consequences.  It never occurred to me that doing what was right and putting my foot down with a firm "NO!" would yield such stressful changes.  Not to mention the extreme disappointment in the system that was meant to protect me.  

I don't know how to handle the disappointment I feel right now.  I feel so much anger at how this has impacted my life in such personal and profound ways.  This has invaded my personal life and my most important relationships and with never any care and concern for how this affected me or my loved ones, it went on.  

How do people move on from that?  How do we pick ourselves up after doing what we were supposed to, trusting in the process meant to protect us and then getting let down?  I've learned some hard lessons through this, one of which is that doing what is right, doesn't always yield "right" results.  Or rather, what I thought was a "right" result.  I can only hope that life will just work itself out and things will fall into place.  Positive thinking...positive thinking...

Right now, I worry about the future.  Fear of my new role in my day to day life...will I be good enough, will I excel, will the ship be steered back on course?  The unknown can be scary but I know it can also be something ultimately better as we learn and grow through experience.  Where will I land and will it be peaceful, productive and wonderful?  That is my wish.  

I am trying to right my course by focusing on the fact that I stood up for myself, my rights and my feelings when usually I keep my mouth shut until pushed to the edge.  I stood up for my loved ones who have been burdened by this and most importantly, I set boundaries for what was right for me.  For that, I can be proud of myself.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Battle Scars

I've been terrible at writing consistently in this blog.  Well, perhaps I've been consistently neglectful.  The truth is that someone broke my heart and for the past three months, I've been living in a fog of despair, depression and the most agonizing pain I have ever experienced.  Sounds dramatic I know, but the emotions, feelings, thoughts and worries that loss conjures are dramatic, they just are!  Truly, does anyone really go through a loss and come out unscathed? 

And man, do I wish I could stop feeling, hurting, and missing this person I love and yet loathe at the same time.  I keep asking myself how someone that claimed to love me with such determination and such passion end up betraying, cheating, lying and being so cruel to me. 

I suppose there's a significant difference between love based on lust, looks, an instant chemistry and a love that's a union of two souls who just know they are meant to be present in each others life.  To  really know each other and the inner workings of their heart as well as their hopes, dreams, fears, and what they really think about everything.  Wouldn't that be a beautiful love to encounter, even for a short time?  To know that someone really cares...protects...guards your heart and protects you from harm and always strives to keep you safe.  That's the dream.  That's the gift.  I sure hope I'm lucky enough to be given that gift someday. 

Thankfully, I've had a lot of support as I work my way out of this sadness, confusion and pain.  I've received support from people I'd never in a million years expected to receive support and kindness from.  I'm so beyond grateful for that, for them. 

I've learned that everyone is going through something...battling something...experiencing gut wrenching sadness...wishing, hoping and having faith for things not seen and yet with each passing day they still find a way to keep that faith even through the sadness of one more day passing without wishes fulfilled.  It just shows that we must be kinder, gentler and more understanding with each other.  Because, life is a real bitch sometimes and all we have is what we can give to others.  I hope it's all good things, after all, what is the point if all we do is bully, hurt other people, and feel anger and pain.  Let's all try to be kinder. 

I learned that forgiveness is the only way.  Someone I thought would always be in my life as my safe haven and my friend turned out to be the one that caused me the most pain and hurt.  Yet, through it all I try my best to forgive this man each day.  After all the bad emotions run their course, somehow I manage to forgive.  He will never know, but forgiveness isn't for him, it's for me.  I suppose that's what life is about:  being honest, giving and receiving kindness and love, forgiveness and the lessons we learn from these experiences that help to make us better and more loving people. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Thanksgiving Eve is upon us and it got me thinking about what I'm thankful for that I'm really not thankful for.  If this confuses you, it should make sense, read on.  This Thanksgiving will be much different than I expected.  Not what I hoped for, envisioned and longed for.  It made me think about all the ways we get derailed in life and what, if any, good comes of it.  So here are a few things that challenge me to look for an opportunity to give thanks.

For the time I spent with my loved ones that are no longer in my day to day life, even though I wish they were.  Sometimes I wish I could go back and never have met them because it's painful not having them around me, but that would take away such beautiful moments and memories that I'll carry with me always and for that, I'm thankful. 

For the times my family challenged me.  Even though they challenge me in ways I never want to be challenged or encourage me to do things I absolutely don't want to do, I know they love me and only want me to be happy.  For that I'm thankful. 

For heartache, because without heartache I would never have known deep love.  Even though it is incredibly painful, I know I loved completely and for that I'm grateful that I had the capacity to love that much. 

For the lessons I learned about parenting.  Being a parent is the most difficult job in the world and the sacrifices people make for their children are incredible.  So are the ups and downs a parent experiences.  I have gotten a glimpse into what being a parent is like and while it has brought me incredible joy, it has showed me how hard that role is.  Still, I learned that is a role I hope for in my life: to experience motherhood in the truest sense of the word.

I'm also thankful for times I've had to wait (in traffic, in long lines, or for something I want so badly that I can't sleep at night).  These times teach me patience, a virtue that I don't yet gracefully exhibit.

For times of solitude.  Even though I much more prefer having people around me, I know times of solitude present perfect opportunities to regroup, reconnect to self, and get lost in things I enjoy. 

For a commitment I made to myself to only consume food that truly nourish my body.  That means I must get used to cooking.  Cooking is not one of my strong suits and I've been known to botch something as easy as pancakes and set the smoke alarm screaming and the dog running for cover.  Still, my lack of skills in the kitchen make me appreciate how my grandmother could make the most delicious homemade apple pie (crust and all) and butter horn rolls from scratch that took a full day to prepare or how my mom spends an entire afternoon making Lefse (a traditional Norwegian flat bread) and they made it look so easy.  I'm grateful for those memories.   

Finally, for cold weather and Winter approaching.  I dislike cold weather, snow, sleet and hail but I love getting bundled up, snuggling and drinking hot chocolate by a fire and I'm thankful for those moments.  

Sometimes life presents hard times and significant challenges.  Those are the times when it is most important to look for reasons to be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Finding My Way

While I haven't blogged in a long while, I decided to lean into blogging again by incorporating inspirational and beautiful writings of others.  Hopefully with time, I will find my voice again soon.  In the meantime, I will let others speak for me.  

“You have no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So I've brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and remember me.”


Monday, April 1, 2013

Expanding Horizons

A few weeks ago, I let my friend Jodi talk me into trying Bikram Yoga.  Normally when I think of Yoga, I think of a serene, relaxing, stretching workout that doesn't strain me too badly.  This particular practice takes place in a 105 degree room with lots of half naked sweaty individuals all bending in lots of different positions for 90 minutes.

You could call this a bonding experience.  Sometimes people have bodily releases, we all struggle to make it through.  I like to call my hot yoga classes as the torture chamber.  Its hard to withstand 90 minutes in that heat and it's especially difficult when trying to bend my out of shape body in 26 different positions.

But, yoga is a practice and should be a daily practice.  I'm learning and it's forced me to be mindful about what I put in my body and how well I take care of myself.

I've been stressed out.  MAJORLY stressed out.  I let things get to me more than I should.  I carry burdens and I drag the weight of the world on my shoulders.  That gets exhausting.  Maybe stepping into this healing (HOT) practice will lead me out of the stressful stuff...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is Every Step Mother...Wicked?

I should start by saying that I am not a step mother.  However, my partner has two beautiful kids that he shared with his now deceased wife.  I have been in their lives for a year and a half and even though their dad and I are not married, I have adopted them in my heart and would do anything for them.
Consequently, navigating a relationship with a man who has two kids is challenging.  Even without having to deal with an ex-wife, there are still challenges.  I guess I assumed that if there was love in my heart, my intentions were good and if I always put the well being of the kids and the health of our relationship first that everything would fall into place.
I was wrong.  I should say that this year has been filled with challenges for my partner and I.  You may remember my partner in this blog as, "hunky older beefcake."  We started out with a rocky relationship because of boundary issues, people interfering and most recently, we've discovered that we've been fed false information by people who apparently just enjoy the drama.  But, all of that is another story.  The one takeaway from this point is that the kids were exposed to our hurt feelings and one massive public blowup. 

I saw a quote that said, "The best thing parents can do for their children is to love each other."  That couldn't be more true.  I really believe the partnership, respect and genuine love shared by partners who deeply love each other infuse all sorts of positive things to the kids and the family unit.

Someone once said that your spouse/partner should always come first.  That was always contrary to my belief system.  I always thought that once you have kids, they are first and your partner is second.  But, it was explained to me that you put your partner first because kids grow up and move away, your partner/spouse is the one that stays.
I had never thought of it that way before but it makes a lot of sense.  You choose your partner and you choose that person to go through life with.  Your kids are blessings and then they leave the nest to create their own lives and choose their own partners.
So, how do you navigate parenthood while maintaining a healthy, loving partnership with your partner?  And, even more challenging, how do you navigate "step parenthood" while being a good mate and a loving, supporting presence to the kids?
Given that I'm not officially a step parent, my status is so low in the grand scheme of things.  I'll always have an uphill battle.  I just wish I could get some credit for genuinely loving the kids.  You see, since I'm not an actual parent, I chose to love those kids and I chose to be in their lives.  I truly want what is best for them.  I am sure there are many step mothers out there in the same boat who struggle through the same challenges.
Sometimes I wonder if I should've just remained a buddy to the kids.  Instead of being even remotely bossy or critical, I should've always maintained a role as fun and totally neutral.  But then I think by nature of my relationship with Hunky Older Beefcake, they would still be resentful of the time I monopolized just nurturing my relationship with him.  I don't know if I'll ever win in that situation.  Perhaps I've already lost.  But at least I tried.

So how do step parents do it?  I was criticized by my partner the other night for wanting the kids to brush their hair (only because they get very large and painful knots and I worry they'll get teased at school or worse, that the teachers will become involved.  Not to mention the unending head lice fiasco...).  In all fairness, the last time I brought up hair brushing was in January.  I decided to drop the issue totally but I was still encouraged never to bring it up again the other night.  I told him that I'll just let the kids do whatever they want from now on (said in a sarcastic and defensive tone-not right at all on my part).  Even though that goes against my better judgment.  I believe that when you love kids, you set boundaries and you enforce rules and encourage them to take care of themselves and I believe kids need that structure.  But, I'm not an official parent so I have no forum to speak except for this blog.

My background having step mother figures in my own life has left me worried that I would do or say something that could cause the kids pain like I endured as a child.  Still, I thought that if my heart was in the right place and I loved them completely as if they were my own, that things would just work out.  

I tried to be a buddy while maintaining an authoritative role.  My partner encouraged me to be more of a mother figure and to dig my heels in about certain things even though it was hard for me.  And per his advice, I tried.

I tried and I learned a lesson.  I realized that when you're in a step parent role, it's better to step aside, be a buddy and leave the heavy lifting to the actual parent.  No matter if intentions are good and you act out of complete love for your kids you will never be able to hold the ground of an actual parent.  Even though you love your partner with all your heart and even though you've adopted the kids in your heart and would do anything for them, over time the kids could come to resent you and eventually your partner could too.  And then you realize, you're truly an outsider.

I realized in that moment that no matter what I think or how much I love the kids, I have to let them do what they want.  I realized that my role will always be one in which I'll always be there for them if they need me and they can come to me needing help or support any time.  And right now, that's my only role...