Tag Archives: gifts

Alas, direction

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Tonight I am flying high.  No, not on sugar, though I do have it running in my veins, but because what seemed to be a very long, much anticipated and grueling time that I have been “in waiting” for direction has finally arrived.     And comically, or rather ironically, I really don’t know the logistics or to what is going to unveil itself to me, but I can tell you, when the spirit hit, a couple weeks ago, I forced myself to walk in faith.  To just keep doing what I believe I was “supposed” to do.

Like negative space in a drawing, painting, or room, waiting for direction is anything but comfortable (unless you are privy in past to “wait for it”).  But I’ve lived long enough to know in order to have peace we have to find comfort in the uncomfortable, and those things that come after the longest time, and that time feeling like purgatory (No, I’m not catholic, but my mother was raised in this religion, I also pay attention to those people that are the happiest, the most peaceful, serene, and I listen to what is beautiful in their life), so when a break comes, a ray of light, or hope really, it is so incredibly wonderful.

In youth I was quick to jump, to “find” whatever it was I thought I was supposed to experience.  Maturity has taught me, nothing worth having comes easy.  Nothing.  And if it looks too good to be true?  It probably is!

So tonight I have five paintings started.  A still life, floral (2), a rooster, and  for the life of me I can’t remember what the fifth one is.  All started this evening when I got home from a day that felt purposeful, important, helping others, others who weren’t practicing the kind of drama that belongs on a stage (or in a helium balloon that floats fastly and quickly away), but real life, illnesses, frustration, and just needing a fresh advocate come in and help.  It feels so good to me to help others.   My last therapist wrongfully suggested the reason why I help others is because I get “kudos”.  I looked straight at her, without hesitation and said “If you believe this to be true?  You have never given to another from the goodness or your heart, and RECEIVED the loving touch of God blessing you.  I feel it.  I don’t seek for permission, admiration, or for others to pump up a broken soul.  I am not broken, I am not in need of friends, and I am certainly not in need to be validated as worthy.  I learned from the age of 10 or so that to give is to receive.   It’s one of my most cherished gifts in life.  And to fully understand this, give without the other person, or recipients KNOW you are doing it, and tell nobody, not.a.soul!

Of course, as with anything, there are extremes, and there are takers out there that will rob your heart from the generosity that we’re meant to feel, to do, to be.   That’s where lives lessons kind of kick you in the teeth.   Oh how I know this place, and I have no desire to return there, but I will.   That old familiar feeling of caring or giving too much to another will shadow a day, or two, but I’ll jump back in and try it all over again.  Just not necessarily with the same person, but sometimes, YES, the same person.

So, I really need to get to bed, but I don’t want to put the brush down.  It’s flowing, and creativity is at my optimum.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful, place to be.  So grateful I struggled so long in purgatory!   Because even if I wake up tomorrow and the creativity has fizzled, tonight?  What I’m feeling tonight?  Was worth the wait.  Keep in mind, I don’t know what’s ahead of me, I don’t know ANY details, I was just given a direction.   It’s exciting that something I once thought was so insignificant can and does bring me so much joy!

 

May peace be with you, and may you bask in the glory of “knowing” which road or path to take.  Love to you!

“50 things about me!”

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1.)   I get teary eyed and goose bumps when I see a big old Red, White & Blue flag flying

2.)  One of the proudest days of my life was when I bought out my ex-husband, and owned my own home!

3.) I am the middle of five siblings

4.) I have known love

5.) I hope to be half the person my dog thinks I am!

6.) My mentor is an 87 year old retired art teacher who I just adore.

7.) I have been in a room with someone I loved when they were told they had only a short time to live

8.) I have EXCELLENT taste in friends.

9.) I find great joy in making things…. Art for one

10.) I have had more surgeries than I can to share!

11.) My home is like my womb, and I hope it’s comfy and inviting to all my guests

12.) I do not like to cook

13.) I rarely lose anything

14.) I am not a morning person, have never been

15.) I was unable to have children, so I guess I married them

16.) I believe in God, and I’ve been blessed to see his work in my life

17.) I believe if you give to another it comes back to you, tenfold

18.) I do not feel my age mentally, but physically I do

19.) My most creative time has been 10pm – 2am

20.)  I despise phones, but I love what my Iphone offers me

21.) I have smoked one cigarette in my life (at age 15), and I had a headache for 2 days

22.) I love Bailey’s Irish Creme

23.) I believe when a door is closed, a window is opened, or visa versa

24.) Music is vital to my happiness

25.) I have had the following cars:  1976 Subaru (Turquoise), 1980 Subaru Coupe (New), Renault p.o.s., 1988 Honda Prelude (new),  Pontiac Fiero, 2003 Subaru Wagon, 86 Jetta, 91 Jetta, 2003 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Jeep Liberty, and I now drive a 2002 VW Passat with 270K!

26.) I am my own worst critic

27.)  I believe food tastes better, and possessions are more appreciated when earned or grown yourself

28.) Sometimes I think about growing old, and I wonder if I will

29.) I am very grateful for my parents and their love for me

30.) The best advice given to me (or that I heard) was “Step back, look at the situation before responding, hence reacting

31.) I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that life is like a 100 piece puzzle that we will only get 60-70 pieces to connect

32.) I know mental illness intimately

33.) I love being near or close to bodies of water, I find it tranquilizing

34.) I hate snakes

35.) Family comes first, always

36.) I know what lost love feels like

37.) I am a cancer survivor

38.) I have laughed so hard I’ve wet my pants

39.) The older I get, the smarter my parents are!

40.) I believe we are responsible for our own happiness

41.)  I don’t like the state of the World.  It saddens me

42.) I have been physically abused before

43.) If I had to do it over again, I would have become a graphic artist

44.) Nature grounds me

45.) I like who I am, I am honest, kind, caring, and I love to laugh

46.) I have lost two sisters to ovarian cancer

47.) I fear more loss

48.) I love animals

49.) Fall is my favorite time of year

50.) I am an extrovert who heals and recoops like an introvert

Whose next to share their list???????????  I dare you!

Which came first, being chicken or the ego?

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For those of you who have read my blog, you know I am a fan of the ID (Investigation Discovery) channel.   This morning I was doing some housework and “listening”.   The commentator shared a comment that struck me to a point of heightened eyebrows.   He said “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”…which ended up being the motive for killing his soon to be ex wife.    I sat down, grabbed the remote control, rewound it…Yep, that was what I heard.  “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”.

Too many times on these programs the motive is to hide a secret, a dirty secret.   I didn’t listen to what he was hiding, I didn’t care.  This phrase just struck me.  “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”.   Really?

I thought of how stupid that comment was.    Mind you, I am not underestimating the mentality or ego driven homicides that happen everyday.   I think the word “narcissism” can be used to describe many of these murderers, these criminals.   Narcissism not being quite as cold as evil.   So why did that comment bug me?

It is simple.  It has been the roughest, most difficult times in my life when I experience the most growth.  It is when I am humbled that I become one with my gratitude.  My mind isn’t bouncing from here to there, with a tongue that flippantly says “I am grateful…”.  The truth is, I am grateful daily, for the things I do recognize as gifts in my life.   But when I am humbled, when I am scraping bottom and feeling like my happiness is gone forever, that my life now has no purpose, that my pain will never end, my bruised ego gets pushed to the side.  What replaces it, at first, is a steady flow of self pity.  But eventually that gets old and I’m forced to look at my situation, my shortcomings, my problems head on.   The very thing that displaces my hurt ego has the impetus to become an eventful, meaningful, powerful change in my perspective, thus my life.

I recall two occasions in my early 30’s when I went through what I then called “hell”.  One being a divorce from my second husband with whom I had been married for 10 years.    Now, I was working full time, I had good benefits, I was receiving good pay, but his “threats” to sell the house out from under me ruled my mind.   Between the loss of love, betrayal, and images of a cheating spouse in which I had compromised too much over the relationship (basically myself) and the loss of my home being threatened, what was “clear” and indeed a lie was that “my happiness, my life is over”.

As I think about that now I shake my head, in fact I am right now.   Much worse things happened to me in life, and while not invalidating the pain of a broken marriage, it was a time of incredible growth, painstaking growth.   My girlfriend Janice was my saving grace during this time.  Ever my confidant, my friend, my support, I doubt I would have made it through without her.  Not because it was insurmountable but because my unhealthy mental state was leading me down suicide alley.  My crushed ego, my “security”, my life had been turned upside down, thus my thinking not only what would obviously be unsettling, but the mindset in itself was a mine field.  I was my own worst enemy.

Twenty years later, another long term relationship having ended, a new career in the arts which I seeked out, I realize that what was totally devastating then, was the beginning of my life!   Engulfed in misery and pain, it can only last so long before one self destructs or can no longer look at themselves in the mirror.   I certainly didn’t pull myself out of this by myself.  I was given people, places, things that put me in alignment with my desires IF I dared to step away from my sorry self loathing, pain.   The event of this painful divorce helped ready me for the next major change in my life.

What that divorce brought me was the beginning of understanding, there is no security in marriage.  There really is no security in any relationship except your relationship with God, source, whom or whatever you call it.    As difficult as this time was in my life, it would later seem insignificant to things that happened in my life.      It was the beginning of my paving out my life in the terms I wanted it, what I wanted to do, to become aligned with that which I believe I was born to do.   I don’t believe we have one purpose but many.   That time in my life, that separation, divorce actually became my security!     I survived what I thought I never would, and not only that, became a better person.   I was being “pushed” to the next phase of my life.  All I had to do was show up!   But how difficult that can be when we are in despair.

So the comment “If his reputation was lost, his life was over” really made me think about how grateful I am for the things in which dropped me to my knees.    I am grateful I was humbled, I am grateful that I felt humiliated and embarrassed and 100 other things.   My life today, my security today is not based on another person, and while I am considered poor financially, my life is rich with color, family and friends.

I seldom carry “secrets”.  I have learned that we become as sick as our secrets.  I share openly events, both good and bad in my blog.   Chuckling as I recall a male friend saying to me “For someone who is afraid of intimacy you sure do share some personal things in your blog!”   I looked at him and said “Well, I wouldn’t talk about my sex life… even if I had one!”

We are all one.   A person’s financial wealth may societally be high on the totem pole, but that doesn’t make them a better person, or exempt from loss, illnesses, pain.    Perhaps one of the most significantly positive events in their life could be LOSING that societal “security”.  As there really is no security in that.   We are all one in the same.  It is not only basic needs that uniforms our lives similar.    We may have different colored skin, drive different cars, live in smaller or bigger houses, and for some, boxes, we are all one.    We may only be an event, a thought away from new perspective, a perspective that probably will not come without painful consequences, but our lives as a result of this could very well in fact become more purposeful, more meaningful.

I often say that I wouldn’t wish the journey of cancer on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.    Sharing my life’s journey with others is in itself, humbling, but what another person thinks of me no longer rocks the core of my existence.   If nothing else my words are there to help another whom is walking a similar journey.  We are all one, we are all susceptible to things we fear (or don’t fear), and we are all a work in progress.

As has been proven repeatedly to me in my life… when I am aligned all that I need is put in front of me.  After a day of thinking about this, I logged into facebook and read an excerpt from Dr. Wayne Dyer’s new book “I can see clearly now” which speaks of this very thing but much more eloquently! 😉  Validation, a sign, proof for me that I am on the right track.  I am right where I am supposed to be.  My thinking is clear and my perspective on healthy ground.

The wise woman

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Ran errands and met appointments I had scheduled today.  Hallelujah.  On my way home I decided to take the back roads, the scenic view to remind me why I live in Vermont, how I love Vermont, how beautiful it is.    Winter has overstayed its welcome and I’m walking on the edge of Can I?  Do I even want to?   It’s been a hard winter and its far from over.  Yes, I know, always weather talk.  Sure beats politics. Besides, weather is a large consideration in my daily life.

New England is beautiful.  I love Vermont.   As I drove beside the brook I smiled.  THIS.   THIS is why I love Vermont.   Not the snow shoveling, the heat or plowing expenses, the flooded cellars… I love nature.   I pulled my car to the side of the road and sat there, as if meditating, while glancing at the view.    A foot thick of ice with a foot and a half of snow on top where the running water has broke away from it’s center.  All that ice on a small brook.

I needed to get back in touch with this.  I have been feeling very discouraged with all the challenges this winter and also being sick.  Finally got antibiotics today. Am hoping this will do the trick.

Walking into the hospital this afternoon for blood work I paid particular attention to this tiny, frail older woman.     She was smiling, smiled at me, and was walking around apparently waiting for more tests, or someone to pick her up, though I think more tests given where she had left her coat and purse and the vicinity in which she was perusing.    I would guess her to be in her late 80’s.    So much this woman has seen, societal changes, government, schooling, parenting… the list goes on and on.     I wonder what her dreams, her aspirations were when she was a teenager?  What was her upbringing like?   Did any of her dreams come true?   I looked down, not wanting her to see that I was studying her.   She happily greeted others as they came into the lab area.  She walked around with her hand knit wool sweater and hat on, the smile never leaving her face.    Wow.    Every day is a gift.  How quickly I can forget that when I’m caught up in the crap.

Of course I was curious and had pointed questions because this…this is what I am asking myself.    What were my dreams?  What have I accomplished in my life?   What makes up the story of my life?

Watching her was nice.   Who knows what she was having tests for, but whatever it was, it didn’t stop her from enjoying the day, the moment.   She didn’t seem anxious, not at all.  She was serene, peaceful, she was happy.   Wow.   Are you done bitching today, Donna?  Learn from your elders.

After my blood work was taken I bundled back up to go outside again.  She was still there, now speaking with a nurse, smiled at me and waved ‘good bye’ to me as I walked out of the building.  She was a ray of sunshine, answered prayers from asking for help with the tude and challenges I am encountering.   Got it!  As I walked back to my car, trekked over the snow bank to get there I looked up and said “Thank you!”

What were her dreams?  Her aspirations?  Did she expect to live this long?   What else does she want to see, accomplish in her life?    As she walked around with her hand knit wool sweater and hat on, the smile never leaving her face……What a wise woman!

The older I get the more I understand, it isn’t about WHAT happens to you, it’s about how you deal with.

I am grateful for….

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I am grateful for

 

My family:    I am most “home” when I am with my family, physically, mentally, spiritually.   I am so grateful for all.    Parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, in laws…

My friends:  The most diverse and loyal people in my life.   My friends never cease to amaze me with their abilities, their strives, successes, their love, their encouragement, dependability, willingness to help

My animals:  The joys of children without the fear of drugs, alcohol…..college tuition

My health:   Cancer free, remission

My home:  My humble womb

My jeep:   Wheels, dependable transportation, great snow vehicle…and from a generous friend

My abilities:  My ability to write, paint, design, empathize with others, feel, comprehend, love, cry, reach out

My creativity:  My livelihood, my love, my essentials

Food, clothing, shelter covered:   Essentials for all, and gratefully I have all three

Memories:  Internal movies and pictures, moments in time that I can fall back to, open up, and treasure.

My therapist, my psychiatrist, oncologist, pcp:  I depend on each, they have all helped me enormously, have provided good care. 

Medications:   I can smile, laugh, feel happiness.  I can get up in the morning without biting someone’s head off, for the ability to think clearly, have my brain off the adhd hampsters wheel and the depression in check

E-Service people:   Police, firemen, paramedics, doctors, nurses, aides…. The unsung heroes that keep us safe and come to our rescue.  Who put their lives at risk every day.

Veterans:  For all who have and are serving our country, protecting us, our land, putting their life on the line, and their family and personal lives on hold to do so.  

Art:  For the many artists, forms of art that richen my and others lives.  For music which is my muse, for painting, designing, for every form of art and all artists who share their God given talents with us.

Creativity:   This right brained artist lives and functions by creating….

Decorative Painting:  The people I have met, the art, the sharing.  I have never met a decorative painting student who hasn’t been willing to help another, lend their brushes, etc.,   And when I see the looks on my students faces, or all students really, at conventions, seeing their excitement, their happiness, delight, being proud of what they just painted….it touches my heart.

Beads:   Necklaces, earrings, sun catchers, bracelets, anklets…. Must I go on?

Computers (well, sometimes!):   What would life be like without the internet?????

Sewing machines, fabric:   Enjoy this and can create beautiful embellishments for my home

Love:  It doesn’t get any better than this

My brain:  Even when I have brain farts

My body:  Ability to move around, function, ability in general!

My neighbors:  They help me with my yard, my walkways….  Enormous help

Joy:  Who wouldn’t be grateful for this?  

Challenges and Difficulties:  Because they strengthen my character and ability to withstand the difficulties of life.

For my life:   It has been one incredible journey, one of growth, one of love, one of accomplishments, set backs, disappointments, conquers, strides, achievements

The past is only a chapter, it doesn’t define me

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Last night, well the wee hours of the morning, I started working on my book.    I have steered clear of writing about things that I really feel need to be shared, if only to help another because  some of the things I would like to share would reflect badly on others.   Some things are better left unsaid sort of thing, but last night that changed.    I will not post names, I will not defame another, but I will share my experiences and some…some???   Clearly are by the harsh hand of others.    Perhaps it’s maturity, perhaps it’s part of my healing, perhaps I’m just a frigan bitch who wants to expose them!   🙂  Nah, I decided last night, however, that my loyalty should be to myself.  And if I keep the things that harmed me quiet, untold, that empowers them.  I am totally wanting to extinguish all!   But that cannot be done.   I can, and am, however, finding a proper place for it all.

Anyways, words flowed last night like a trout swimming downstream.   It was great.   I shared some in a blog, but in the contents of my draft I am really digging deep and wrote about some of the trenches I’ve been in.   Not for sympathy, not even for empathy, not for any other reason than to celebrate surviving, celebrate learning, knowledge, celebrate where I am today.   

I recall a moment in an Alanon Chatroom where someone was venting about their  “spouse the souse”, as he called her.   I sat back, listening, many were there listening, just validating his feelings, his thoughts, his frustrations.   I met some incredible people in the confines of that room.  I am still in touch with probably a dozen, and I consider them true friends.    Anyway, I was having a fairly good day, surprisingly but pleasantly.   But I digress….   When he was through venting, he thanked us all, and he felt better, we always feel better to blow off steam.     You know how God gives us what we need?  And when we feel bad, or sorry for ourselves someone is put in our path to help us understand that there are a lot worse off than you?   This is how it works for me anyway.  So a friend asked me how I was feeling, I shared.  The gentlemen who vented asked what I was sick with.  I explained to him that I was going through treatment, radical surgeries, for breast cancer(s).  And that my brother simultaneously was going through treatment for colon and rectal cancers.     I laugh at this now, I actually laughed at it at the time, the gentlemen venter was really quiet for a few minutes and then he writes “I have absolutely nothing to complain about, Thank you for sharing.     Hey, I didn’t want to invalidate his feelings or anyone else’s.  We all have struggles, we all have days where we would like to kill someone but where and how would we hide the body?   I realized that, after hearing what I was going through, it helped him compartmentalize his difficulties….   Oh my god!  I was the one that was worse off and that helped people move forward.  I say this because I found it comical then, and I still do.   Yah, things were pretty difficult then, but I was going through the motions, doing what needed to be done, not having the time nor energy to take it all in.   When in survival mode, it takes everything you have, every ounce of energy to get through the day.    There was no time for self pity, no room for bullshit, and no interest in sharing it with another, things were happening way too fast to conceivably share all that was happening.  I suppose some of it was also denial.  I am one woman who is very grateful for the gift of denial, if it is short term, that is.   When something traumatic happens, that numb period, tears, pain, but numbness I think is a gift.  We aren’t equipped nor can we consume excruciating pain for long periods of time.  Our bodies, our minds protect us from this.   A life of denial, well, that’s another topic entirely, and one that I’m not particularly keen on.   

So I wrote and wrote, the words flew off the tips of my fingers.  I wrote about things that I have rarely if ever revealed.   I wrote about a husband who physically abused me, and the next who verbally abused me.  I wrote about how little I thought of myself, and the feelings of self loathing then.    had and some still have to, forgive myself for.     When my head hit the pillow this morning around 6;30am I slept like a log, solid, uninterrupted for 6 hours.  Apparently it was cathartic!    Today I shared with my therapist some very violent parts of my past.  I have been seeing her for almost 2 years now, and I trust her, I like her, she is helping me.   I shared about what I had written about, the thoughts the memories that came flooding through me while writing, and I was sharing all of this pragmatically, without emotion, without feelings, I was sharing my truth.    How POWERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Then she said “I have time open tomorrow, I think we should meet tomorrow because with the holiday we are missing our next session.   I laughed, okay okay….  “We don’t want to lose momentum, Donna”…. so true, so true.   I found this funny.   “LoOk at me, LoOk at all my progress”….. “Yes, now come back tomorrow!”

Following therapy I reluctantly had to go to the Walmart.    I was dreading it, but I knew it would be much worse tomorrow if I put it off.   So in I went.   When I grabbed a cart one of the wheels was really messed up, it was sideways and not working.   A woman and her daughter came in behind me and said “Are there any dry carts?”  I replied “No, and don’t use that one, it’s retarded…”    The minute that word came out of my mouth I knew it was improper and inappropriate.  Seldom do I use this word.   My oldest sister was mentally retarded, I meant no harm, nor disrespect to anyone.  She said to me “What did you say?”  I said “I’m sorry, I was wrong in choosing and speaking those words”.   She said “Well, don’t think I’m lecturing you or upset with you.  Ironically I had just corrected my daughter for using that phrase when we were in the car, and then we walk in and you are using it.”   Between the three of us we decided the best way to describe the cart was a pain in the butt, broken, and unusable!

$180 later, and 10 bags lugged in and put away, I poured some eggnog and decided to read my mail.   The eggnog, settling like a gut bomb has me upset with myself that I chose this when I had healthy juice I could have opted for!   Live and learn, live and learn.

There were a few screaming kids in Walmart.   I always call this “birth control awareness day”.   But for the most part, I roamed around, got what I needed without interruption.   I did run into a neighbor whose husband was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Leukemia.   Ouch.   Cancer really does suck, ya know?

So, what is my message today?  Good question!  I think it is to embrace who we once were, the difficulties, the joyfulness that we have experienced, appreciate who we are today, at this very moment.    Forgiveness is the key to freedom.   I forgive others quickly, I learned years ago that doing so set ME free.  It was forgiving myself that I have had and still do have problems with.   Hey, I made some bad choices, I took some wrong roads, I have sat in shit and swam with stingrays…. I am who I am…  I am more than those experiences.  I am more than my name.  I am a result of 52 years of life, learning, lessons, good times, bad….

The older I get the less I feel the need to impress anyone, and the less I care about what others think of me.    The old adage “Walk a mile in my shoes” rings true, still, today.    Sometimes I forget that I don’t know what another person is going through.   I lose patience with them, if they cut me off in traffic or snap at me on the phone.   I need gentle reminders that we all have our crosses to bear.  We are all trying to find and make our way here, and it surely isn’t all roses.  By the way, I’m allergic to them, so let’s say “sunflowers!”

Today I am forgiving myself for putting myself in harms way.  I am forgiving myself for being in bad relationships, for allowing others to beat me down.   Today I am one with myself, the person I was then is unrecognizable to me now.   That is not a bad thing.  Of course that/those experiences are a chapter in my life, but no longer do they define me, rule me, or are part of my present.   They are compartmentalized, acknowledged but not dwelled upon.   Doing this work is rewarding.  When I can come home from grocery shopping, and still be humming?   Rewarding!  I am participating in making my life better, fuller, richer.   I am participating not only in my own life now, but in the world!

 

 

 

The best gift of all

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The holiday season has begun, the hustle, bustle, tightening of waistbands, celebrations, Christmas music, decorations are starting to appear in my neighborhood.  Today I even ventured the thought of putting up one of my little artificial trees on my kitchen table, and hours later I’m STILL liking the idea…. 

The thing I love most about Christmas is the giving.    I also love that when you run in to the grocery store to pick up something quick, or into Walmart (YES, I shop at Walmart, I’m a single, self employed artist, remember?) you see friends, people you haven’t seen in years.  It is amazing how in five minutes you can catch up in  10 minutes or less what has happened in your life.  Let that be a lesson for us on story telling! 

I had a leisurely day today at home, a nice quiet day.  I was thinking about a friend who is at the end stage of her life, dying of breast cancer.  I saw her two weeks ago at her home with other friends, she hosted a warm, welcoming brunch for us.  It was a bittersweet yet beautiful experience for me.   A woman of incredible courage, immense beauty inside and out, with a softness and acceptance of where she is in her life, with this illness.  Soon she will be saying goodbye to her husband.  For the past few months her purchases, her actions have been with her husband in mind, his life ahead, without her.   Acceptance, love, strength.

The holidays are a wonderful time for many.   Advertisements on television, radio, ads always leave us with the image that it is a happy joyous time of the year.   It is, for many.  I wish it were for all.   We will all have times in our lives where our holidays will be sad, or we will go thru them with a heavy heart.   Life just isn’t always, or sometimes doesn’t even comes close to the Cleavers, though I have dated a couple Eddie Haskells in my time!

Back to my friend, Elaine, I was thinking, if I am granted knowledge to know I am dying, what will I think about?  Will I be thinking about the type of cars I had?  How clean I kept my house?  (Um, NOT!!! for the simple reason that I don’t! )  Will I remember the fears or the challenges that kept me awake at night?   Will I think about all the times I felt insecure?   Obviously I do not know, but I would like to think that the things that I will think about are…

Was I a good daughter?  sister? auntie? friend?  Did I live my life in a manner that I could be proud of, accepting that I am only human, imperfection and mistakes must be accepted as proof of living a good life?  Did I have the courage to tell those I cared about “I love you”?  Did I have the courage to speak up for what I believed in?   Did I laugh enough?  Did I bring laughter into the lives of others?   Did I touch the lives of others in a way that they will remember me and smile?   I hope I will remember my first kiss, and my last, the first time a man stroked my face and hair, and again, the last.   I hope I will measure my success by how much I loved and took risks on challenging my own insecurities and doubts.  I hope that I will remember the smiles and eyes of all my family, extended, their voices, conversations we had, and I hope that I will be able to take with me all that love.  If not, it is certainly the last thing I hope I am blessed with… what more could we possibly hope for?

This week I plan to go visit my friend Elaine, it could very well be the last time I see her.  Perhaps I will bring her flowers, bake her the muffins that she liked, bring her some cider or something.   What do you bring someone who is dying?  You bring them your love, your honesty, you bring them your ears to listen, your hands to hold theirs, your eyes to witness their very existance, and perhaps I will bring a book, read her one of my favorite passages.

My girlfriend and I were discussing some “gift” ideas without spending a large amount of money.  I suggested writing the person a handwritten letter telling them just what they mean to you, thanking them for being in your life, and telling them just how much you love them.  When I have done this, the receipients have been very pleased with their “gifts”, when really,  I was merely expressing what was in my heart.  Sometimes the nicest thing is to hear we are appreciated and loved. 

There is no greater gift we can share with someone than giving of ourselves, our time.

Relationships

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Prince Pasketti  Day, April 7th, 2010

Though very slow to show it’s pretty face this morning, the sun has finally blessed us with its presence today, thus automatically painting a smile on my face!

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“There will always be lovers with borders of their own, and you may charge across in a golden chariot, but you will never be home”  – Patty Larkin “Good Thing”

As a woman with two failed marriages, and a long term engagement behind me, I’m currently single and truthfully, enjoying it right now.  It’s fairly interesting, however, to be single at 48, and in this time, complicated only by living in a very small town in Vermont!  MOOOOOOOOOOO

It’s been said that the key to happiness, to wholeness must be found within self.  I agree.  But getting there for me has taken me thru some rough terrain.  First of all, a person only shows you what he/she wants you to see.  Only over time and experience do we get to know someone else, and for me, myself.

The first boy I married was my high school sweetheart.  I was too young, too immature, and I married him to escape circumstances from my home life.  Did I know that then?  Hell No!  Hence the “too young, too immature!”  Amazing how honesty with ourselves and our perception changes with maturity.  Aging has brought to me a natural state of slowing down, but maturity has and is bringing me clarity, and hopefully vision to make better choices for myself today.  The second man I married, I loved him, but I didn’t know myself, so I was willing to become who he thought I should be.  (Rolling eyes, shudders)  Any idea why he left me for a woman 16 years his junior when I started to come into who I really was?  When I started to go outside of the security circle that was nonverbal but clearly defined nonetheless.  This was the beginning to the end.  (Laughing now)  After two years of being on my own, and just when I started really enjoying living alone, in walks the love of my life (to date).  I fell and I fell hard.  In this relationship, I started genuinely as myself.  Within this relationship I grew, and I believed I would spend the rest of my life with this man.   The problem here was, he was an alcoholic who went back to drinking.  Enough said. I’m sure I’ll write on this at a later date.  After 9 years, I said goodbye.  Still miss the man to this day, some 5 years later, but truth be known, I missed him long before we parted.  And with his departure, went the couch!  The more I loved them, the more “things” that went with them!

I have done self help work, and will continue to do so.  I recognize that in my younger years I used the men in my life to “fill” me, to actually define me.  (gasping).  Thank GOD for maturity and personal growth!  I have dated players, a man who is addicted to the “newness thus LUST of relationships”, and more.  It has been quite an interesting journey.  I am no longer looking for anyone to fill me, complete me, or whatever.   I step up to plate now a stronger, wiser woman with less expectations from what a relationship will bring.    I am quite content with my life, I do not need attention from the opposite sex to validate my existence or my worth.   I work hard at not comparing myself to others, and to forgive myself for the lousy choices I made in my past. I wish I had “gotten this” earlier in life, but I didn’t…. so therefore I have MANY interesting stories to share!  (grins)  My life is unconventional, but it is mine, and I am grateful for it.

One huge change in me is that  when I date men now I am looking more at the man, who he is TODAY, not his “potential”.  I’m getting too old for potentials.  And I’ve learned to invest in my own potential, or the potential of a child.   This line isn’t quite defined however, as if you believe in a “soul mate”, aren’t you willing to invest in him?  YES!  But, not in his “potential”.  I think the investing comes to play in trust.  Awww, but that’s a blog for another day, now, isn’t it?  (grins)

I’ve witness people hanging onto relationships that ended long ago, I am guilty of same.  We have stayed out of fear, perhaps fear of being alone, fear of financial devastation, fear of abandonment, fear of pain, fear for their children, fear of the unknown.  Some stay because they made commitments and through hell or high water, they will honor them.  But I ask myself, and I am asking you, is this healthy?  One thing I will say, however is… every relationship in my life presented itself with lessons and growth, sometimes long after the ending of each!

The childhood fairytale in my head was, you grow up, you get married, and you live happily ever after.  That didn’t happen for me, nor did the children or grandchildren.  I am not one of the “lucky” ones who found their life partner early on, and shares the rest of their life with the one they love.  But please don’t take that as I’m looking for sympathy (or hell, even a date!).   It is what it is, and I feel fortunate in many ways that my life has turned out the way it did.  There are times of incredible loneliness, a longing for human touch, but I’ve filled my life with good friends, family, hobbies, and if I’m really feeling blue… I just visit my 6 year old niece.  All challenges from that point on are long forgotten.   Oh the joy that children can bring us… And I’m grateful to be mindful of my time with her.  She brings immense joy to me.

I’m learning to accept that, perhaps there isn’t one man for me, and not that I believe in cheating on your partner, or that I’m polygamous.   Do I WANT to find my soul mate and settle in?  Of course!  Who doesn’t?  But I wonder, is that really possible for me?  A woman who not only physically travels much of the time for work, but also is on a constant  journey of discovery?    I want to believe that this doesn’t rule me out of the arena of “love”  (said to the same pronunciation as Bruce Springsteens Tunnel of LOVE!  Time will tell..

I believe deep within all of us, is this natural and basic longing and desire to mate.  It doesn’t matter how much work I’ve done on myself to improve myself, how strong I’ve become, how much wiser, richer, or more successful I’ve become.  If I am being true to myself, in my heart or hearts, I desire to find the man or men to which I’m to spend my life with.  “What will be, will be”. My life lessons has proven to me time and time again that to acquire something you really want, you have to let go of it completely first.  And I’m doing a pretty good job at letting go of this.  Life is good, full, colorful and joyfilled.  Sex?  Um, what is that? 😉 winks

My relationships with my family is very important to me.  My relationships with my friends is as important, but they do take the backseat when it comes down to family or friends.  I have a career which gifts me with meeting new people continually and introducing me to new friends who have the same interests as I.   This is very cool.  As I hear from some newly single friends that it is difficult to meet new people, new friends.

But I think the relationship with self (myself) and with a higher power that I am calling God today is of the highest importance.  To be true to myself, and in alignment with my higher powers will for me… then all the rest of these relationships fall into place.  At least that is how it has worked out in my life.  You just never know who will be around the bend tomorrow, or who will drop out of your life by choice or one of the certainties in life… death.

I get much joy from my relationships.  From some I get grief, (laughing)  but that is part of relationships.  And as I grow, some of my relationships grow with me, some of them stay the same, others fall by the wayside… and that too is okay.  Each day, as the sun sets another page turns on the story of my life, and sometimes a chapter of my life unfolds.