Wisdom (from a 7 year old)

I admit, I approached the Fourth of July, in fact the whole week, with a bit (maybe a lot?) of melancholy. Maybe it was hard to shake? But maybe I didn’t try? And you know what….I’m not so sure that is a bad thing. Why? Because I was aware, very aware of how I was feeling. And I think it’s so important to feel, to process every emotion.. even the ones that unexpectedly pop up, even the ones that don’t. Selfishly, it was hard watching families share the day together – I wanted the same. My mom’s friend commented “Oh, you have no kids today? Enjoy this time!” I couldn’t even muster a full (fake) smile to her words that were in so direct contrast to my wishes. Not too long after, my mom looked to a woman she was speaking to and asked “Is it okay that I tell her?” and then across the boat dock loudly stated “She had Stage 3 Breast Cancer!” This woman’s battle, who I did not know, my mom suddenly felt – as I sat with my brother about 10 feet away from her – should be announced to me at that moment. What??

Truthfully my mom’s energy is not one that is positive. Managing how I allow her energy to affect me can be draining in and of itself. But still I was aware. The whole day. I consciously breathed in the salt water air, felt the ocean breeze against my body, and enjoyed with a vengeance the sea salt and vinegar Cape Cod chips. My brother made us all belly laugh as is his talent. And my sweet nieces gave me so much unconditional love as I knew they would. My dearest sister-in-law and I shared a few eye rolls as she struggled (understandably so) to manage my mother’s behavior. And my father, well with each year I  have come to appreciate more and more his patience and kindness and calm way. How I wish I were more like him.

But the highlight of the day was when my 7 year old  niece looked at me and said “This is the best day ever!” We had done nothing out of the ordinary this day – boating, tubing, eating. So I curiously and somewhat perplexed asked “Why?” And quite matter-of-factly she stated “Because first, it’s Fourth of July. And.. I got to eat a cake pop and a cannoli. And I got to tube. And I got to stand there in the front of the boat.” And there in that moment all wrapped up in my beautiful, wisdom-full niece was gratitude and mindfulness and love. It quite literally stopped me, gave me pause. I am so happy I was present for that gift.

To Clarify and to Remember

Years ago someone told me to create a list of all the important attributes I would like in someone. I wouldn’t call it a wish list so much as necessities. Unfortunately, the list was lost during a time my cell phone was infected with a virus (the joys of technology!). So I thought it the perfect time to revisit, to clarify, and to remember what I not only want in that someone, but what I need.. and maybe what I don’t need as well. In no particular order, what I want in someone:

a great smile, a father..but with older children, a profitable job, one who can dance and show me how to as well, enjoys long walks and rainy nights, a good photographer of candid moments

What I need in someone:

truth and honesty, ambition and passion, positive energy and a taste for healthy foods, funny and a good sense of humor, confidence without the arrogance, happy and full of life, adventurous and motivating, a desire to travel and learn, to fit perfectly in their arms, to feel safe and taken care of, someone who believes in me and accepts me, who absolutely without a doubt would move mountains just for me, a true best friend, truth and honesty (because it’s worth repeating)

What I don’t need in someone:

manipulation, deceit, dishonesty, selfishness, weakness, words without actions, secrecy, controlling, minimizing

While this list is not all encompassing, it’s pretty clear. And a good reminder for me. Don’t forget. The old adage remains true “Actions speak louder than words.”

 

 

 

Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.

50 Happy Things…and then some

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yoga, deep breaths, fall air, carved pumpkins

sleeping babies, running hugs from my nieces, smiles, holding hands

salads, pizza, hummus, chocolate chip banana pancakes

a wink, toes in the sand, surprises, a kiss on the forehead

fresh herbs, burnt marshmallows, a vase of just picked flowers, a thank you

dreaming, reading a good book, HGTV, learning

a strong run, a solid race finish, a good stretch, a massage

a passionate kiss, a beautiful love affair, a gaze, cuddling

a clean house, a trimmed lawn, hydrangeas, a sunset

ocean waves, salt air, meditation, heart shaped rocks

awakenings, opportunities, hope, peace

families, friends, carnivals, farmers markets

my boys, my boys, my boys, my boys

 

Sometimes it’s nice to notice all the wonderful, happy things in my life. What a nice way to start my day! Can you take a moment and notice all the positive things in your life? Positivity spreads…happy energy is contagious. Begin now.

 

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Trying

Trying equals effort. Some days, it feels too much.

I received an article in my inbox today referencing a study that linked a father’s mood to his children’s development. The article peeked my interest as it was titled “Dad’s Bad Mood Affects Kids, Big Time.” (To read the article click here) I immediately felt validated in some way. Sounds silly I am sure. But I firmly believe our moods, stress, outlook, our state of being, all have energy that is shared.

The energy in our house was like a tornado. Intense, thrashing, silently destructive. It was picking up speed and strength. The only way to stop it, was to somehow get out of the center. The force so strong, it seemed impossible. Until there was a clearing one day, a small opening. And so to save my family, I reached through that opening.

But what lay on the other side was not simplicity nor pure bliss. Struggles remain – this is life after all. The energy however has balanced. Sadness lingers just the same.

But I am trying. With all that I have, I am trying.

When it all changed

Nonna passed away August 14, 2011. My grandmother. Italian, trouble maker, selfish, strong yet weak…and I loved her so. We spoke most days. She was a friend. Believe it or not, she did have good advice and she made us laugh. Her life was far from easy. This I know. What I have also come to realize is that her negative energy and ways, spread and contaminated. Do you know how hard it is to separate that harsh reality from love?

Anyway, her passing created a major shift in my life. And to this day, I don’t quite understand how, but it did. Becoming clearer, I started to see things differently. It’s much like a foggy window, where you wipe away some of the condensation and you start to see. See what’s real. What’s just a mirage. Slowly, and slowly still, my focus deepens.

Akin to an awakening, the past several years have been most interesting. Such contradictory emotions, so many heavy days sometimes balanced with light, free days, a world coming undone so that it can be built again with an impenetrable foundation. This has been my awakening.

Yes, everything has changed.