The look of Love

Relationships are a strange entity. We marry and assume it is for the long haul without realizing life changes on a dime. I watch an older couple sitting across from one another barely speaking. Their actions are of those who have been together a long time. Sadly when some are together for many years, boredom takes hold and the loving stops. They become 2 ships passing in the night barely blinking their lights or sounding the horn. Instead of addressing the dysfunction and the discomfort, many choose to live in a quagmire of conformity believing this is the way life and relationships are supposed to be. I once asked my friend who works in a spot if men ever frequented. Her response did not surprise me. She reported more men beautify when they are separated of going through a divorce. That made me sad and I wondered why that same man could not give that same attention to his long term partner. Why can we not appreciate what we have when it is right in front of us. I admire respectful and loving long relationships. When they last and are working well it shows two people doing the work necessary to maintain such an intimate connection.

I am here in Costa Rica sitting with 2 of my friends. We have not been close friends but we are cultivating our connection. I watch as they banter back and forth. They are different as he is the volatile temperamental one and she is the balm that calms him. They know each other well and work in sync to make a wonderful life possible. Yes she laughs when she rolls her eyes when he is on a rant but somehow she knows him and it works. He listens when she speaks and agrees frequently. She is soft spoken and has the patience of 100 angels rolled into one. I am thinking, my lord she needs it. They have worked as a team to make this piece of jungle a home and have navigated together the challenges that are all a part of being a part of a new culture. He confides in me that she is his glue and how lucky he is to have her. He is a big vulnerable kind hearted man. I watch as he breaks off pieces of food for a little dog that has wandered by.

I have come to understand that relationships are about respect and communication. It is the ability to listen and hear without interruption. It is about being able to say “I am sorry or that I was wrong.” It is about giving in to what another may desire instead of it being always about self. It is about looking at our loved one and saying just how lucky we are and how glad we are to have them in our lives. Love is a gift and when we have the one we love to walk with us on the path we call life, it is a blessing indeed and never to be taken for granted.

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Navigating the sharp teeth of change

I sit here this early morn contemplating my existence and my future. It has been a constant partner in my mind now since my long term marriage landed in the state of separation. I am here in my childhood town in Virginia emptying out my childhood home. I am alone and filled with every emotion one can imagine. In the attic, I empty a box of naked dolls missing arms and legs and immediately I am taken back to a time when I argued with my sister about which Barbie would be the girlfriend of my brother’s GI Joe. I pull out a box filled with Christmas ornaments from years gone by and have a mini emotional break down. This is difficult and confusing. I sit and realize that I am in the midst of emotional turmoil and something we all will get to experience in one way or another. I am blessed my parents are still alive, albeit living in Florida but alive. They are elderly and I also realize my time with them on this earth is limited. That too makes me sad. I visit with childhood friends and it reminds me of a land frozen in time as they talk of days gone by and limitations. Some say one can never go home again, I sense that is true.

There was a time when I could see my road or at least thought I could. Isn’t illusion marvelous? Loss of a long term relationship adds to the confusion and clouds our view. We can no longer see the road. There was always someone who cared and could lend an ear or a hand or even check in once in a while. The ground beneath us now is no longer stable. It has shifted and continues to move as we try to hold on. Those of us in the turmoil see we will get thru to the other side as we have seen so many who have done it before us and they seem to survive. I reach out for comfort from my previous long term husband but now that is not to be. There is no comfort to be found there and it now dawns on me that I must continue alone in the fog until it clears. We are becoming anew. We are like snakes shedding skin to find a new and shiny self. Change and growth cannot happen without some discomfort. We are knocked back and down for a moment and may have to walk part of our path alone but if we allow we can get back up and come out even stronger. We open ourselves to the pain of grief and loss and we feel how we need to feel. No one can say how long we need to grieve. We allow ourselves the luxury of giving ourselves space and time. We hide the pain behind the smile pretending all is right with our world as others tell us to “get over it, or move on” but it never goes away until we feel it deeply and give it its due attention.

I continue to walk on, sometimes stumbling sometimes unsure of the next step. All I can do, all any of us can do is to walk on and know we really are not alone.

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Where are you?

Well it’s been a moment. Finally back in the country sitting here at my old laptop thinking about relationship. To be specific I am thinking of marriage. I sit here tonight on the cusp of divorce after a very long marriage. I am sad, scared and wondering what the hell went wrong. Why after so many years did it all boil down to this point. I knew marriage was work as I had always heard it and had always wanted to do the work. Myself like so many women in our society had my vision of that perfect day and that perfect life. I knew what I wanted but sadly, I was the only one who wanted it. When marriages fail, it really does no good to point a finger and name a guilty party. Usually there are red flags all along the way that we fail to see or don’t want to see. My case it was the latter.

Once I read a book that talked about differences between women and men. For the most part, women are communicators and love love love to talk. Men on the other hand can grunt a word or two but usually sit in amazement wondering why they need to be the recipient of such conversation from their female partner. It has been said that women speak an average of 7000 words a day while men a mere 2200. Women adore connection and sadly many men feel that connection is sexual and once that is done nothing more is needed. In my mind as a woman, it really is not that difficult to understand. I would think if I were a man I would want to learn and do my best in keeping my woman satisfied and loved. Communication is at the top of that list. Ask us and we will tell you. Ask about our day, our life, our dreams, our plans. Ask how we are feeling. Stop to listen. Sit and listen. Tell us how happy you are to be with us and how fortunate you are. Know the color of our eyes for god’s sake. I once asked my long time hubby the color of my eyes. “Green” he says. My eyes are brown.

Yes it takes a lot to be in relationship and the longer it goes, the work continues for all of us. This is my moment to understand me, us, and how do I now navigate my world. It is work to maintain a loving relationship and it may involve skills we truly do not have and need to learn but investing in us and those we love ain’t such a bad gamble.

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A moment in time

Some years ago I got a call from my husband to tell me that one of my best friends had committed suicide. I had just spoken to her the previous night and could not believe the words that I was hearing. I did not want to hear the words and I did not want to believe my beautiful friend so full of life had taken hers. I was beyond angry as at that time I had been fighting for my life. I had just undergone surgery for a life threatening cancer not many survive. I was mad and I was barely able to breathe waiting for the monster to come claim me and my friend had made her own monster. Her anguish and pain I had not noticed. She hid it well. Before her death, she spoke to me of my diagnosis and how difficult it was to accept that I had appeared healthy and yet here I was possibly looking at my own demise. I had not seen her sadness. I had small glimpses of complicated matters in her world but nothing that would have alarmed me. I often felt and heard a sadness in her voice as she talked of family matters and insecurities but once again nothing to take away her usual jovial mannerism. She died in October.

The same year in December upon returning home from holiday travel I received a message that another very close friend had taken his life upon the death of his beloved partner. I once again listened to the words and wondered why I had not seen signs and what if anything I could have done. He was alone and my mind thought of how lonely and sad he must have felt. I cried. He was the one who cooked original Cuban rice and beans for me as we sat chatting about his homeland. He was the one who was so proud of his Barbie doll collection still in original packaging. He was the one I had met in a beauty supply store and admired his hair and asked him to do mine. He was my friend and I could not see his sadness.

In this world we pass by those every day filled with lost hope and sadness. They smile on the outside and say all is fine but inside is a cauldron of tears and fear. We go about our days not knowing who is hurt or why. We avoid eye contact as if a look of connection will bring harm. We see them sleeping in the streets, in doorways, on subways and even in our own homes. I wonder sometimes if a kind word, a smile, a touch would make a difference. if reaching out to offer a hand would have saved the lives of my friends. Would it make a difference if we took the time to notice, if we paid attention. Connection is a human need. We all need to be touched, held and cared for. No man or woman is an island. We all need each other. Rest in peace dear friends.

Photo by Irina Anastasiu on Pexels.com
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Unglued

I am lying here at 430 am in a small apartment in NM. I am here on a 2 day get away to allow myself a little r and r and a get away from the crowded scene of folks being released from covid jail. They come ready for travel and release. For the past 4 years I have felt overwhelmed, sad, scared, frustrated, guilty,and just over all exhausted. The killings of so many of my fellow black Americans, mass shootings, political chaos and covid has been enough to head me down a path of ptsd. The uncertainty and the blatant hate and uncivility of fellow humans has been almost more than a body and mind can bear. Yes I feel the need to run far away, to escape the madness, the news and put my hands over my ears and say “lalalalalalalala I can’t hear you.” Am I being selfish to want to care for me? to want to take care of my sanity? To bow out of the constant human chatter and talk of the next calamity?

There appears to be some sort of addiction to chaos at least thats how it appears to me. The human need to fixate on what is to befall us next. Enter the media whose job has become to keep us all on edge. The desire to pull away from all of this is real and takes me to an image of a hamster in a cage running on a wheel or a barrel of crabs where one tries to escape and the others hold him back for dear life. Self care and stepping away from the collective need for drama can give one a feeling of being selfish or uninvolved.

Society tells us suffering is the way to go. If one is not suffering then one is not paying a high enough price. If one is enjoying too much or living too free then of course they are not fulfilling their duty to be miserable. For women the music plays louder. Society asks how dare we take time for ourselves when our families need us, the world needs us. Who will take care of everyone? Who will keep all from falling apart? How dare we live a life that does not consume us with guilt? Every day i hear the same refrain from friends who have retired. I hear them say how happy they are now that they are free from work, free from a job that consumed them and they hated for so many years. Many look forward to that day when they no longer have to work and all the plans and things that will happen when they are free. Imagine having fulfilling work that feeds one’s soul where there is enjoyment? Is this what we have become? A human cog factory keeping the machine alive? Society has a lot of requirements to keep its machine running smoothly. Society needs its workers to give their all; their time, health and sanity. The more it eats, the more it wants. So many of us are guilted thru life with societal expectations. Walk that line or else. We are looked at with a side eye when we travel too much, spend too much, rest too much, remain child free, say no, or take time for the things we enjoy. we are not working or suffering enough. Of course we will have no idea when the astroid is about to hit if we are not glued to the news and that just might be a good thing.

Scared Turtle in Shell — Image by © Sabet Brands/Corbis
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Is That My Glass Slipper

Once upon a time there was a young girl who believed in fairy tales.  She was raised to believe that a dashing prince would ride into her life and sweep her off of her feet.  He would adore everything about her and her every wish was his command.  She believed what the others had told her that she would only be happy when she had found this man, married and raised her children in the little country house with the white picket fence.  Well, Beaver’s mom June Cleaver had it so what is wrong with us when we fail to achieve our storybook dream?  A mind is a fragile thing and easily manipulated. 

Ahh the young girl believes her dream and the day arrives when her prince does arrive.  The odd thing is her prince has other ideas but of course he fails to tell her and goes along begrudgingly acting his assigned role.  They walk in step along fairytale lane.  The young girl gifted with her strong intuition realizes it ain’t the life of June Cleaver and wonders why her prince drags his feet and sours his face as she talks about  future of their story.  Has the fairy tale been a lie?  Nah it can’t be she tells herself.  The world would not have lied.  Her mother would not have lied.  All the others would not have lied.  Her prince just needed more time to come to his senses.  It never dawned on her that her prince never shared her dream.  He had his own dream and it did not include her.

Society has a vested interest in keeping the fairytale alive.  The disruption comes when our soul realizes the story is a lie.  When the happiness does not materialize as we are told we wonder if the problem lies within us.  If everybody else can live in the story, why can’t we?  Why is it me who always has to be different?  We actually believe there is something wrong with us and society wants us to believe it.  The fairytale wants us all to believe.  If we find ourselves on a different path or find ourselves following the soul instead of the story, we are often labeled as inconsistent, irresponsible, ungrateful, immature, and a host of other perjorative terms.  The prince cannot understand why we all of a sudden changed our course and cannot understand our “selfish” ways especially after all he has done for us.  One day we wake up and realize the prince never wanted to marry us.  He never held the same dream.  He never wanted the house with the white picket fence or the 2.5 children.  It was all the fairytale we held for ourselves as well as what the others said we needed.  If we are lucky our soul guides us to the place that is right for us and the fairytale remains what it always was, a delusional dream.

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into the light

As the year comes to an end, many are left wondering what 2020 has meant. What lessons did we come away with if any. There is no doubt it left its mark on the majority; be it through loss, isolation, illness or just having to slow down. Many are waiting for the final bell announcing its departure in hopes of newness coming our way. In my mind when that final firecracker pops, I will be left with a mix of profound sadness and relief. I will grieve for the ones lost. I will grieve for the loss of connection. I will grieve for so much change. I will grieve for the collective anger and fear swimming amongst us. So much has been lost but alas much has also been gained. We have been given the opportunity to see anew. The scales have been removed from our eyes. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Many of us have had to remove toxic friends and even family from our lives to maintain our own sanity and morality. We have been surprised by words and actions of those close to us. We have been given a mirror to look at all of our tears, cracks and breaks. The question remains can we heal?

Always after the dark comes the light. Will we find a new way to be? Are we witnessing the end of an era and the last attempt of an outdated power structure to cling to power? Is the pandemic a harbinger of change to come? In the darkness we have the time to sit with ourselves, to observe. We have the moment to see what we are really about, to test our mettle. As frightening and triggering a specific event may be it sometimes forces us to stop. It forces us to see our fears and to ask who and what we are. Are we our jobs, our houses, our bank accounts? We saw our own insecurities and many felt the need to assert their “rights” to the detriment of others. We did not work as a unit to solve a common problem and we were left wondering what went wrong. The universe sent us a lesson. Only time will tell if we learned.

Times are changing and we can allow the change or we can dig our heels in and fight with all of our might. It won’t matter as fate will always have its say and the universe and mother nature were here well before man.

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derailed

I have no desire to make this a political post but I imagine some will take it as such. These past 4 years have caused me as well as others a lot of angst. In my opinion it had nothing to do with who voted for whom. To be honest I like to consider myself an independant and usually hold no allegiance to any political party. Having voted for the candidate instead of the party I have gone all over the board.

My heart has hurt these past 4 years and I am probably having a small amount of ptsd. Many of my friends have spoken of insomnia and to be honest I have had my bouts waking up wondering what would happen next. I want to be fair but i truly have had a hard time watching America become a land with a multitude of unemployed losing their livelihoods as a virus sweeps the globe. It has caused me great sadness to see so many dying alone in intensive care units unable to be comforted by families. It made me angry to see many refusing to wear masks or keep gatherings small all for the sake of their safety and others. I fretted and worried for my elderly parents doing all in my effort to keep them away from the ravages of this new and unknown virus. I have plain been afraid and now I am just exhausted. I miss the touch and the hugs of my family and friends. I wonder how this will all play out. I watch as Americans have been pitted against one another. How we have allowed hate to be a part of American discourse.

Not only the pandemic, my heart breaks for the immigrants waiting in long lines for a chance for legal immigration that is far from being granted. I cry for the children that were kept in detention separated from parents. I wonder what the statue of liberty would say. did she not say “give me your tired and your poor?’

For 4 years breaking news had me wondering what was next. What in God’s name could be happening now? Now here I sit with elected politicians questioning the vote. For me it is disheartening. So many of us died for the right to vote. Many felt the pride as they cast that first vote paving the way for me and others. It sickens me to have that right questioned and it should sicken every American who considers themselves a patriot. No my post is not meant to be political but it should stir one to conciousness as how close we could come to a dictatorship; how our constitution could be dismantled by those hellbent on doing so. It saddens me that grown men and women put in power to protect rights and the work of founding fathers can so easily attempt to overthrow the will of the people. We the people should be that, We the people.

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For the Love of it

This morning I awake and I am thinking about love. There seems to be so little of it in the world any more. I wonder about love and how do we know we are ready to give or receive in a way that is conducive to the wholeness of our hearts.

We say love is unconditional but is that possible for the human heart? Is it possible to love another completely accepting all of their foibles? love has been written about, sang about and talked about. Many have killed for it, died for it yet its definition remains elusive. We speak of the love for our beloved as lasting forever, till the end of time. We stand at altars professing our love until death we do part. Yet it fades and we are left to wonder if we stopped loving or did we ever truly love.

To truly love is to first love ourselves for to give to another that greatest gift we must first possess it to give. The initial attraction we see love in the eyes of our desired. We look upon him or her as the one heaven is built upon but alas one day the scales are lifted from our eyes. We see the faults. We see the one as they truly are and for some it comes as a rude awakening. We begin to take the one we cherished and valued for granted. The voice that used to soothe our ears has now become akin to the sound of chalk on a board. We have lost our way and our connection.

Love is heartfelt. It is giving and being emotionally vulnerable. It is the tearing down of walls that block communication. It is exposing our weaknesses and openess to another claiming our vulnerability. We may risk ridicule or hurt but in love we are accepted. Our shadow selves, our dark days and our faults are seen. With seeing our own dark we also can see the other in a reciprocal manner and work towards mending and healing our history of wounds. Without doing our own work and coming to our own place of healing and wholeness we are not capable of being whole for another.

Love is not only for the romantic it is for all of us who inhabit this planet with one another. It is our shared humanity and aids us in our collective healing and growth.

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Monsters that bite

 

 

monster-300x181I awake this morning with a sense of dread.  I wonder what the day will bring.  Of course I lie in this quiet space and give my thanks for this moment of peace.   It seems every day brings an event, a happening.  We are at the point many of us no longer know what to expect. We no longer know what we thought we used to know.  It all looks different.

The outer turmoil in the air has me edgy.  I allow my mind to travel back 13 years ago when a monster tried to eat me.  The monster had formed a mass in my belly that my hand located on a cold winter morning and it was set on claiming my life.  That day my world shifted in a second.  All that I had previously given importance now took a back seat.  Arguments, disagreements, beliefs all would morph and live in a separate space. Now my focus was on survival.  I come back to the present moment.  I am here and I am alive.  I no longer experience my life as a numb existence.  I watch as so many of us become our arguments.  We find ourselves arguing on social media with complete strangers feeling in some way we can make them see the errors of their ways.  We stand by our opinions convinced we are the ones who hold the answers.  We watch our world collapsing and today’s atrocity will be taken over by the next one tomorrow.  I wonder why deviciveness is now being encouraged instead of the unity we all need to head towards healing.  I feel a deep sadness for this country and its inhabitants.  I hear the heavens ask “when will they learn?”  What wakeup call will we need?

Wake up calls are just that. They grab us and shake us into the light of day. They bring a newness and hopefully we are forever changed. They have the power to send us into a hole so dark and deep, we think we will never crawl out. This is where many of us meet our monsters. We are the lucky ones as the monsters give us a chance to come back into the living. They can shake off the chains of conditioning and help us to see anew.  Monsters come in all sizes, shapes and colors. When they appear we can try to run and hide but they will always find us. I saw my monster and was able to stare it in the eye. I refused to let it eat me.  I refused to cower with fear.  That is what we all need to do, stand our ground and refuse to be eaten with whatever monster shows its fangs. Have compassion with your monster for it brings a gift. Allow it to work its magic. Yes they often bring fear but let it open you.  Feel the compassion. This is a test for us all.Take care of each other.

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