Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being in a relationship ...

Webster defines Relationship: A connection, association, or involvement.

Some of my 'summer vacation' personal discovery this year
has focused on relationships.

"In a Relationship" is a status on Facebook. 
Makes me chuckle.
Really? But aren't we all in relationships?

Partners & children.
Friends & family. Co-workers & peers.
The melding of lives.
Evolving. Growing together or growing apart.
Aging. Loving. Giving.
Life is all about 'being in relationships'.

Summer Epiphany: Rare is the relationship that isn't complicated.
Non-existent: A relationship that doesn't require tending,
that doesn't require energy.
All relationships that mean something to us,
should receive our attention and love. 

This should also include how we take care of ourselves,
emotionally and physically.

Unhealthy relationships: toxic & negative. 
Usually full of drama & emotionally draining.

Healthy relationships: refreshing, life-giving & positive.
Meet-in-the-middle, sharing, encouraging, loving.

Pretty clear in black and white, eh?
But, we all know every day life tends to be a tad more gray.

There are those in our lives we can't avoid, then what?
Still a work-in-progress, but, I've decided, if nothing else,
everyone deserves kindness.
I may not invest energy into the relationship,
but, you have my promise, at the very least, to be kind.

Oh, but wait, I'm not even to the best part yet ...
It took many years, (yes, and cancer), to realize:
No matter what, some relationships are just not going to work --
or not be what you'd like them to be.
And that's OKAY.
(Repeat the above paragraph about kindness).

Emotional battle scars, yup, we've all got them. 
Time to put a bandaid on them and move on.
Time and energy is precious --
spend it with those who bring you joy and love.
I've gotten pretty greedy with my time and how I want to enjoy life.
You should too.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Choice & Change ... or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

My little car was packed with all of my most favorite things.
Maps and music.  Apples and string cheese. 
Road trip.  Arizona or bust.

Looking forward to new choices and changes.
Making new memories with friends and family.
Desert sunsets of soul-warming oranges and majestic purples.
Sweet wines, sweet times, sweet sharing of conversation.
Yes, I was going, home.

Summer Lesson Number One:  Life is all about choice. 
Choice involves consequence ... good and bad.
Your choices affect others as well. 

Choice sometimes involves change.
Choice leads us to discovery, adventure and educates for future choices.

I am so thankful for having choices. 
There's no need to fear choice; there's no need for 'choice' to be final.

No need for a situation to be 'either/or' ... it can be 'also/and'. 
Many find making life choices difficult and daunting;
procrastinating for so long they miss the opportunity.  

Lesson Number Two: When you listen to your heart, you can't go wrong.
Trust that 'heart-gut feeling'. 
Even if the outcome is different than what you had hoped,
it was an experience you wanted and learned many things.

Deep sigh. So, here's the thing,
it's impossible to know how any future scenario will play out.
There are way too many variables ...
(houses that should sell, careers, changing relationships.)

During my extended summer vacation ...
I've enjoyed the desert, good conversations with friends and family.
I've spent valuable time with my parents.
I've found answers to some of my life questions.

Late Autumn -- nearly Winter.
With absolutely no regrets,
my little car will be packed with less of my favorite things.
Road trip.  Pacific Northwest or bust.
I'm returning home.

Isn't life strange?
but, isn't life grand?
Choices?  Listen to your heart.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Outta Balance. Outta Control.

The year:  2007.

Little did I know
this would be the beginning of my metamorphosis.
Slowly, a new life began to unfold,
like the wings of a butterfly.

Life took on a whole new importance,
a new meaning.
The sky was bluer. 
Oceans more brilliant blue, gray and green.
Wine tasted sweeter, coffee richer.
Rain, beach and the forest smelled fresher.

Hangin' with my kids. 
The sound of Sam's trumpet
giving me goosebumps or
hearing that 'crack' of ball meeting bat,
hitting the sweet spot. 
Giggling sleepovers in Seattle with Kandace. 
Just enjoying their smiles and our conversations.
Oh wait, there's more.
Painting.  Yoga.  Running.  Dancing. 
Traveling.  Hiking.  Knitting.

How was I going to 'enjoy' this new found joy?
How was I going to include so much more, um, life?
How was I going to mix calm and excitement?

In the beginning, it really was quite overwhelming.

Whew, I was at least headed in the right direction.
Defining what brings one joy is the first step. 
But, how was I going to make time for
that which brought me pure joy?

Ahhh, what or who was taking advantage
of my energy and not adding value to my life?

But wait, this would be walking a fine line
between being Selfless and SELFISH.
Is that allowed?

Then I thought of those air masks
falling from the ceiling of an airplane.
The flight attendant advising:
"please secure your mask,
before helping those around you".

Yes, it was time I started taking care of me. 
My body was clearly giving me signs.
My life was out of balance.

BC (before cancer),
I was on the brink of job burnout. 
Every volunteer position had
my name written all over it.

Time to change careers.
Learn to say no, politely. 
And time to prune toxic relationships. 

The result? 
AC (after cancer)
there's a whole lotta happy life going on!

I still get 'off-track' or unbalanced.
But instead of letting
years of energy be zapped,
almost immediately I 'right' myself.

So, what brings you joy?
How can you add just a
sprinkle of it to your life today?

Or, how 'bout
we spend the rest of our life, getting it right?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Here's Permission: Smile.

What are you waiting for?
To live?  To enjoy? 
To love?  To be happy?

Some wait their entire life for 'someone' to
give them permission to start living.
Okay, so here's the thing ...
only permission needed to enjoy a happy life,
comes from you!

Today, we're going to start small.
The smile.
Simple.  Easy.  Free.
In an instant you will bring unexpected joy
to those in your world,
or even a complete stranger (imagine that!). 

By turning the corners of your mouth upward,
you will instantly lower your blood pressure,
boost your immune system,
and release endorphins and natural pain killers.

Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh,
master of the inner smile says,
"A kind look and a warm smile on your face,
give up frowning,
and be a friend to the whole world."

Never underestimate the power of your actions.
Even in this smallest of gestures,
your smile says to the recipient,
"We may not know each other.
I may never see you again. 
But our paths have crossed today
and we share this world.  I wish you well."

In a world where languages, religion,
and different lifestyles can separate us,
just the flash of a smile could connect lifes.

Sometimes I wonder if I smile too much?
Nahh, the crinkles and lines
on my face have been earned
from a lifetime of smiling.

Try it.  Right now.
Is that YOU smiling?
Go ahead.  You have my permission. 
How many smiles will you share today?