Relation-What?

I was lying awake last night and thinking about the many people in my life. Their faces, personalities, how they move in and out of my life and I began to realize RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD!!!

I have the skills to participate with individuals with varying intensities; I’ve been working on this for years. But I began to think about what it takes to navigate each relationship and the specific nuances that occur in each one.

I think about the basics, communication, connection/interest, compassion, love, time, energy, empathy, enjoyment, and investment to name some. Working with these simple concepts, for me, create the basis of each relationship. And yet as I look deeper at each person I realize I have a whole other bag of goodies that seems to come into play.

You see there are these wonderful things called “my baggage”. It’s this grouping of emotional components that I bring with me based on past experiences. In this life, and others, if you are so inclined to believe in past lives, which I do. Also running a close second are these annoying expectations, realistic or not that seem to want to have a voice in each relationship.

Let me talk first about expectations. I have come to understand through my emotional work, it is best to approach each experience, relationships included, with no expectations. If you are able to do this it eliminates the feeling of disappointment and disillusionment, allowing for the avenue of joy. For me to enter into relationships with no expectations has been a difficult and complicated walk. How do I give and expect to receive nothing in return? Does this mean I am ignoring my needs, desires, wants?

I guess I had to come to a place where I was willing to give, from my heart, from my desire, with no need for a response. It was giving from a place of love instead of a place of need. Often times in the past I have seen myself give so that I could get my needs met. I would say, “I love you” just so I could hear it back. Give a hug so I could feel a hug. I would be showing love to feel loved. Connecting so I could feel connected.

Entering without expectations began to mean to me that I would extend myself and give when I was willing to receive nothing back. This is hard!!! I have grown enough emotionally to truly want to show someone love or kindness without feeling as though I needed something in return, and still I have come to understand how I must also fill my needs.

I have been able to recognize, when I want to give to get, it is important for me to first fill my soul. There are many ways I have learned and continue to learn to do this for myself. A TV show, a walk, exercise, a movie, a bath, a nap and many more ways fill me so I can give without expecting something back in return.

And still I have learned I need. Sometimes I need a hug, a reassuring conversation, someone to tell me I’m pretty. I believe in those moments it is my responsibility to myself and the other person to acknowledge it is MY need. “I am needing a hug, can I have one?” It allows me to be emotionally present and vulnerable with another person, fostering connection, compassion and love. It also allows for someone to determine if they want to give. Just because I have a need doesn’t mean one individual is responsible for meeting it. Here is an example. I learned to not ask my ex-boyfriend to hear my emotional concerns during a major sporting event. It either needed to wait or I found someone who could be present with me in that moment. You see if I expected him to put aside what he was doing because of my immediate need to talk, I knew I would be disappointed. It set us both up, and I was the one putting us in that position to fail. I began to realize I loved me enough and him enough that I wanted us both to be successful. I could ask if we could talk later or simply find someone else to listen.

On a similar note, I’m not going to ask my friend who has no interest in sports to be excited or even enjoy going to a sporting event with me. I have tried this and have been frustrated because she wanted to talk fashion and movies and I wanted to watch the game. It’s learning to match people and needs together so relationships can work at their best.

So now the heavy load…. BAGGAGE. It seems there is a dance between expectations and baggage. Kind of a comes first, chicken/egg, expectation/baggage sort of thing. As I stated earlier, our baggage is what we carry around from past experiences that have left an emotional imprint. We have the opportunity, through our relationships and experiences, to lighten or add to our load. I see people pass through my life and can feel an emotional response, sometimes superficially and sometimes deeper. Each passing allows me to face a past emotional experience that has left hurt, sadness, anger or any other emotion but love.

These emotional experiences we carry with us, from our children, parents, friends, teachers, partners continue to impact our present day relationships. I have recently come face to face with a feeling of not being good enough. I’m not sure where it originated, and for me it isn’t important. I know that I want to be willing to process that feeling that radiates, consciously or subconsciously, through friendships, work, partners, children, everywhere. You see, I don’t seem to unpack my baggage. What is in my bag travels with me into each experience. The component that varies is what specific individuals bring to light for me.

In this light I have the opportunity to face the emotion and attempt to heal so I don’t have to keep revisiting this issue in destructive or perhaps ways that are not as successful. Literally taking out the “clothes” that just don’t fit any longer. I want to have happy, mutually beneficial, respectful, giving, loving relationships. I can have these wonderful connections as long as I am responsible for me, my needs and approaching people with love. I am grateful for the people that come into my life and provide me the chance to take a closer look at myself and acknowledge where I need to heal. It is a gift, because I want to learn and understand myself. It’s sometimes very hard, very painful, and very sad. I also know and have experienced pure joy, exuberance and love in many of my relationships. The difficulty that can accompany spending time with people, getting to know them, allowing them to know me, is worth the lessons and the love.

The Rainbow of Relationships

The Rainbow of Relationships

If you have been following this blog you know I have recently had My Love move out and my relationship of 5 years has ended. I am continuing to walk through this sad and confusing time and I wanted to take a break from writing about it and put my focus elsewhere, well sort of.

I was thinking the other day about the various people in my life and how each person plays a different role. I never really thought I compartmentalized my relationships but through observation I was able to recognize how the people in my life story were significant in a myriad of ways but also very individualized ways too.

I would say my most important relationship, outside of myself, is my mom. We have been on a relationship journey, outside the normal parent/child dynamic, for over 30 years. I know she is in my life to teach me and I certainly have felt an amazing amount of love and support through difficult times and especially recently. She is my “go to gal”. I call her at any time day or night and she is available to hear me. I am able to tell her what I need and she respects and works very hard to provide the specific emotional support I am asking for. She cheers me on, even when I feel like I am dragging my ass along in life. She tells me I am doing great and also confronts my unproductive behaviors and thoughts. She is a constant source of support and I am blessed to have her in my life. We haven’t always had this relationship, like I said it has been years in the making, but it has grown to something very deep and very valuable to me. I am grateful.

Stemming from there, because I see her as my core support, I have been surprised by the unfolding of connectedness from a variety of people that has occurred during this time period for me. My son had an interesting conversation with me, explaining to me how men operate (through his eyes), need space to figure things out and seemingly can usually focus on one thing at a time. His youthful and honest insights brought me some peace when I was feeling turmoil.

I have my friend M, who has approached me with nonjudgmental support, especially throughout this process and also is a soul sister for me. We can talk about our desire to self reflect, our attempts to be more loving and accepting of ourselves and others, as well as share our shitty thoughts about life as we know it. I can go to her and say, “what do I do?” and she most often replies, “you’re doing it and you’re doing it great!” M will leave her house and husband, (who is a total gem btw), to meet me for a martini so I can express my crazy thoughts about my plans to sell everything in my house and move to another country to try to get over My Love and she will calmly say, “well maybe you want to take some time and think on that one”. We laugh, we cry and most of all we share. She sees Me and that is an amazing gift she gives me.

Now, L is my balls to the wall gal pal. She has taken me out to let my hair down, so to speak, even when all I wanted to do was cry. I have gone to her many times and she is the tougher no BS voice in my life. I was trying to get My Love to move his stuff out, in my time, and when he seemed to be dragging his feet a bit, L said “sell his shit on craigslist and give him the cash”. Another suggestion was, “bag that shit up and set it out front”. She was also the friend who sent me a link to a cowboy dating site the day she heard My Love had moved out. She thought the best thing would be to move on. Although her approach is not necessarily my way of doing things, I always feel a sense of solidarity from her. She has also communicated that no matter what she and her husband will be here for me AND My Love. That also has brought me comfort because we have both always benefitted from the friendship of L and her husband. They have and will always be our family.

Now in this rainbow of relationships there are others who have played a role. Clients who have become friendly over the years have shown support by laughing with me, encouraging me, bringing me gifts and always offering prayers or positive thoughts that all will work out for the best.

I also have peripheral friends who have reached out and said how disappointed and shocked they are and that if I need anything to let them know. I get sent fun photos that will hopefully lighten my days as well as messages about keeping my head high and chin up as this will all pass. Most of all, people want to make it clear I am not alone. Not in this process and not in life.

Fostering these relationships are important and require different skills for the depth of each diverse connection. It is imperative I give each person the time and attention necessary to maintain the ties that exist. The energy I put into each relationship varies, from day to day and often season to season. The efforts still need to be present so these valuable partnerships can grow.

I know this is my journey, my life is mine and in fact I am alone. It is my responsibility to see me, love me, take care of my needs. It has felt wonderful to feel the support and love from so many people. It’s been nice to know, in times of joy or in times of sadness, my experiences, my “lone” walk through life, is made vibrant with my rainbow of relationships.

Thank you all.

Heartbreak

Heartbreak

 

There is a saying, at least I think there is, and it goes something like this, you write what you know or what you need to learn.

I know heartbreak. As I mentioned in my last blog entry My Love of 5 years has decided he needs to sort out his feelings and figure out if he can truly commit to this relationship.

We are 2 ½ weeks into his move out and I have asked him to take his things so I may find my way to a new beginning for myself. Today is D-day and tonight when I come home, it will feel even emptier than it has felt these past 2 ½ weeks.

I have had a lot of quiet time, well in between my over indulging in heart wrenching love story movies that always seem to work out better than real life, UGH! Any way, I have taken time to be quiet and feel what is in my heart. I have needed to examine my behaviors, my shortcomings and where I may have contributed to the break down of this relationship. I want to be successful in a relationship. In truth I feel I have been successful and still I know there are always ways I can improve. The end result was not what I wanted.

Back to broken heartedness. In my reading, talking, listening to YouTube experts there are many ways to overcome the pain that can accompany a relationship ending.

I will share my walk so far in my current situation. I have established with my first blog that my first priority is to act with love. I have absolutely loved and adored this man for the last 5 years. I did not waiver, my passion did not diminish, I never stopped being thrilled with the fact that I was still getting to know him. Feeling this love, was a great gift and I needed to exit this relationship with the same love. OK, maybe not the same, I have needed to establish some internal boundaries, but none the less, with love.

You see, I too have been confused in previous situations about where my heart was drawn. I have been conflicted about a relationship and questioned if I wanted to stay. Judging My Love for doing the same only would lead me to judge myself. This has never been productive for me.

I love him. Want him happy. Think he’s making a HUGE mistake, but truly how can I determine that for him. It is my pain that wants to dictate the outcome.

So what do I do with all this hurt and sadness? I feel it, I exercise, I drink, I talk, I get together with friends, I do some activities, (I painted a bathroom). I put one foot in front of the other. I am trying to breathe. I cry. I lose faith and I get stuck in false hope. I move forward and I fall back.

You see there is no magic answer to getting through a break up. We each do the best we can. For me I must be true to myself, no matter what. And to be honest I have been a bitch in this process and have needed to apologize. For me to live with me, I need to remain true to who I desire to be even in these depths of pain. People tell me this will pass and if/when it does I need to still be able to look at myself and feel good about my behaviors during this break up.

I love this man. I’m very sad that our time as it was is done. Now, I must examine my life, pick a direction and hope that one day this pain I feel in my chest will dissipate. Everyone says give it time. Log the days. One day I will sleep a full night, one day I won’t wake up and begin my day crying, one day, they say it will come one day.

Letting Go

Letting Go

 

I was driving to work the other day and saw an opening in the clouds and felt inspired to pray. My prayers are generally directed toward the universe and the general good that exists out in the world.

I was inspired to pray because my boyfriend has moved out, determining he needs to figure out some of his own issues. There has been a time frame set on this break, which could eventually lead to a break up. I have been devastated, and processing my own feelings of loss and aloneness.

So I began to ask the universe to please lead My Love back home. I continued with, change his heart fast and don’t make this a long process. As I said these words I realized I wasn’t giving anything up to the universe, I still believed I knew what was best and all I was asking for was what I wanted.

Letting go. I let go of My Love only because he walked out the door, only after he had used a crow bar to disconnect my hands from around his ankles. Having him leave has allowed me the opportunity to experience letting go of the results I think would be best. Do I still want him home? Yes, but differently because as he has said, what we had was good but we both want great.

I have had many opportunities in my life to practice letting go of what I want as an end result but perhaps this is the first time I am allowing it to happen with love and the presence of both myself and the other person. In the past I have allowed my emotions to dictate what I want, forgetting if I open my heart and mind, my greatest desires will be fulfilled.

I have to accept responsibility for closing a part of me that stores my desires and wants. Were some of my needs being met? Yes! Was I happy? Absolutely! Yet, I still denied other wants, romance, fire, and passion. I let them go.

I need to be sure when I am in a relationship that all parts exist that I want present. I need to be sure I don’t let go of me. It’s very easy to love and give, for me, its what I do best. But I need to be sure I am loved back with the same intensity and the same fire that I am giving.

So, My Love, I let you go. I let you go to find your greatest light, love and happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, my belief is he can find that here. We can create magic here. But I can’t be the magician and the lovely assistant. I need a partner to make this show a success.

My Love, I let you go so I can have my greatest light, love and happiness. I await what the universe will provide. I wait with my heart wide open. I move forward, letting go of the grief, anger, pain and open for joy and love. And hope our paths will cross again.

I let you go.

The Cautious Do Not Live At All

The Cautious Do Not Live at All

 

 

I heard this line in a movie and it had an impact on me at a time in my life where I was living so far from my true self. I had abandoned so much of me I was unrecognizable. I was a ghost, a shell, and I am grateful for the realization that if I didn’t get out, I may no longer exist. I WAS able to get out of the situation, and upon the rebuild of myself I came to see I was living with so much fear.

Fear is such a powerful emotion. It is a power source. It can fuel change, action, withdraw or it can absolutely paralyze you.

Have you ever felt that visceral feeling of tingles, numbness, body paralysis, breath taking, core stopping, choking FEAR! It is such a real sensation and yet so controllable if we learn how to manage it in our lives. Managing fear allows us movement towards new thoughts, new goals.

In order to make changes in our lives it is so important to address this powerful emotion, acknowledge it, feel it, honor it for it’s strength and presence, and put the f-er in its place.

If one wants to make a change, fear can either motivate or stop you in your tracks. I’ve thought a lot about fear, wrestled with it and in all honesty continue to be faced with situations that provide me the opportunity to further face my fears. They run deep and are rooted to so many issues. It’s like a tree with branches, where the branch represents a time or situation that validated a fear. A loss of a relationship, a deception, divorce, loss of job, financial struggle, death, loss of faith, it can be anything that personally attaches that feeling for you.

What does that really mean though? Face your fears? For many years I have gravitated to facing my fears and walking through them to represent COURAGE. I like that scenario. I don’t believe courage exists without a bit of fear.

But what is at the root of fear and how does that block change? I have often heard, fear is the lack of love. As I sit here in the dark of night, I’m not sure I can subscribe to this thought. I’m not sure there is a lack of love in fear but perhaps a desire for love.

When we look to change a behavior or a thought, we are taking a risk and in that risk exists uncertainty of the outcome. Whether looking to lose weight…can I achieve, will I have different results than in the past; or in a relationship…I’m going to trust and open my heart, will I be hurt or disappointed or elated and loved; in a career choice….I’m going to follow my dream, will there be a financial reward or will I fail.

We look to take risks, but often they can be very calculated, so we can receive the outcome we desire. Is that a risk? Or are we being cautious?

Fear has so much to do with the “what if’s” in life. What if my dream fails? What if I am not loved back? What if I get the same result? What if, what if, what if?

Don’t be cautious. Live in the moment and with your truest self. Love because you must love. Dream because you must dream. Act because you must act. Be because you are not able to do different.

What happens if we throw abandon to the wind, so to speak, live on the edge. One of my favorite movie moments is in Indiana Jones 3, when he is seeking the Holy Grail and one of the tasks is to take a leap of faith. There is a channel he must cross but he see’s no path. He must step before he sees the bridge, a leap of faith. Isn’t that what living with true abandon is? A leap of faith! The polar opposite of faith? Could it be fear? Is it in the “I believe” that change can be possible?

Today I am willing to set goals I haven’t achieved, or even been willing to state out loud because I am willing to live. Today I am willing to say I will love even when love is not being returned because I am willing to live. Today I will start something new even if I am afraid because I will not live with caution.

 

Today I will live, I must live, I choose to live!

Let me start with love

I wanted to start with love because I believe this is where everything, EVERYTHING, originates. I have had a long journey with love. My first memory of wanting love, and searching for love, was sadly not in the most beneficial places. But what was I searching for? I know at the time, acceptance, validation, and adoration. I definitely looked in all the wrong places. But I was searching and looking for something solid I could tangibly hold on to.

My beginning experiences of love resulted in hurt, disappointment and disillusion.

Fast forward to now and my understanding of love is very different.

Through the years I have gathered experiences and information to realize that love is completely unconditional. COMPLETELY! True love cannot exist with conditions. Whether with my children, friends, business colleagues, partner or anyone my path crosses, simply I must love. There is nothing else. Love.

My first husband, after 10 years of marriage, realized he needed to live as a gay man to realize his true self. This was ultimately devastating, but I needed to honor the love I felt for this man and support him in living his truth. Difficult? The most!! I still needed to love.

So through pain, loss, hurt, triumphs, how do we still love?

It truly is a choice. That’s it, a choice. I CHOOSE LOVE. I choose to love despite my feelings for revenge, despite my desire to cause pain, despite my hurt, despite my anger. I love.

That’s the magic. It’s a choice. I know you probably want to leave now and say f-you to me. The truth still is here, love. Even when it’s not in your best interest, desire, end result, LOVE.

I wish I could say there was a magic word to be spoken or wand to be waved but there isn’t. Today I choose love. My parent who judges me, I choose love. My partner who is leaving me, I choose love. My child who is screaming at me, I choose love. My boss who doesn’t appreciate me, I choose love.

I really do understand if you are skeptical, or cynical about this concept. I simple say it is a choice. You make choices everyday. What food you eat, people you associate with, activities you participate in, choices.

Each day I wake up and know I get to choose how I want to treat the people around me. Each day I choose love.

So what does this “look” like? When someone hurts me with words, I don’t hurt them back. I can walk away; I can be calm and tell them their words hurt me. When someone meets me in a conversation with defensiveness? I can say I want to understand their feelings and thoughts and be close to them and ask for their help. Find out what they need to hear me and be heard. If I’m exhausted and want to sit on the couch and just vegetate, I choose to go and sit by my partner and touch their cheek, their hand so they know they are loved. After a day of work, when I finally sit down and my child asks me to make cookies…..I make cookies.

Love is not for sissies!!! Everyday in many moments you must decide who you want to be and then choose to act accordingly. It doesn’t require you to be a saint. Vent to friends, find physical outlets to your frustrations, journal, go to therapy, go to church, volunteer, but approach people with love.

This concept whether applied to yourself or others will allow you to make changes in your life that are long lasting. Each change we face needs to be approached with love, for self, others and the process. When approaching with love, the greatest outcomes can be achieved.