Back to School Again

Our students return to school tomorrow, and I am SO excited! Back to school time is overflowing with energy, with excitement, with possibility…opportunities are lurking behind every door, and how fantastic that we get to take them!  For our teachers, it’s a time to embrace the idea that you really are the superheroes of the world….all that’s missing is your cape. Not many people get to go to work every day and change lives – how very lucky you are. :-) For. Real.

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Last week, our superintendent shared the following with us, and I couldn’t wait to pass it on to you – it’s beautiful. :-) It’s a letter from a teacher to their students – courtesy of C. Mielke - here goes:

 

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself. And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be honest with you — both in what I say and how I say it?

Here’s the thing: I lose sleep because of you. Every week.

Before I tell you why, you should understand the truth about school. You see, the main event of school is not academic learning. It never has been. It never will be. And, if you find someone who is passionate in claiming that it is about academics, that person is lying to himself or herself and may genuinely believe that lie. Yes, algebra, essay writing, Spanish, the judicial process — all are important and worth knowing. But they are not the MAIN event.

The main event is learning how to deal with the harshness of life when it gets difficult — how to overcome problems as simple as a forgotten locker combination, to obnoxious peers, to gossip, to people doubting you, to asking for help in the face of self-doubt, to pushing yourself to concentrate when a million other thoughts and temptations are fingertips away.

It is your resilience in conquering the main event — adversity — that truly prepares you for life after school. Because, mark my words, school is not the most challenging time you will have in life. You will face far greater challenges than these. Sure, you will have times more amazing than you can imagine, but you will also confront incomparable tragedy, frustration, and fear in the years to come.

But, you shouldn’t be worried about the fact that you will face great adversities. You should be worried because you’re setting yourself up to fail at overcoming them. Here’s the real reason I lose hours of sleep worrying about you: You are failing the main event of school. You are quitting. You may not think you are quitting, but you are because quitting wears many masks.

For some, you quit by throwing the day away and not even trying to write a sentence or a fraction because you think it doesn’t matter or you can’t or there’s no point. But it does. What you write is not the main event. The fact that you do take charge of your own fear and doubt in order to write when you are challenged — THAT is the main event.

Some of you quit by skipping class on your free education. Being punctual to fit the mold of the classroom is not the main event of showing up. The main event is delaying your temptation and investing in your own intelligence — understanding that sometimes short-term pain creates long-term gain and that great people make sacrifices for a greater good.

For others, you quit by being rude and disrespectful to adults in the hallway who ask you to come to class. Bowing to authority is not the main event. The main event is learning how to problem solve maturely, not letting your judgement be tainted by the stains of emotion.

I see some of you quit by choosing not to take opportunities to work harder and pass a class, no matter how far down you are. The main event is not getting a number to tell you you are worthy. The main event is pulling your crap together and making hard choices and sacrifices when things seem impossible. It is finding hope in the hopeless, courage in the chasm, guts in the grave.

What you need to see is that every time you take the easy way out, you are building a habit of quitting. And it will destroy your future and it will annihilate your happiness if you let it. Our society cares nothing for quitters. Life will let you die alone, depressed, and poor if you can’t man or woman up enough to deal with hardship. You are either the muscle or the dirt. You either take resistance and grow stronger or blow in the wind and erode.

As long as you are in my life, I am not going to let quitting be easy for you. I am going to challenge you, confront you, push you, and coach you. You can whine. You can throw a tantrum. You can shout and swear and stomp and cry. And the next day, guess what? I will be here waiting — smiling and patient — to give you a fresh start. Because you are worth it.

So, do yourself a favor: Step up. No more excuses. No more justifications. No blaming. No quitting. Just pick your head up. Rip the cords out of your ears. Grab the frickin’ pencil and let’s do this.

 

Bloody brilliant, yes? I know. :-) It’s the perfect thing to think about on the eve of a new school year, but it’s also a pretty good philosophy about life in general – when you’re feeling overwhelmed and incapable and small….just grab the frickin’ pencil and let’s do this. Love. :-)

Now let’s have a great year! :-)

xxx

Let’s Hear It For The Boy

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I saw Richard Linklater’s masterpiece “Boyhood” last weekend, and find my mind forever altered by the artistry of it…I’ve never seen aging and growth portrayed onscreen like that before, and I thought it was gorgeous. Here’s a review of the movie from Roger Ebert’s website (pay attention to this review – beautifully written):

 

The second shot of “Boyhood” doubles as the movie’s poster image: a young child named Mason, Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) lying on his back in green grass, staring at the sky. He does not speak and there is no voice-over narration, so we cannot know what’s in his head. But the movie is contemplating, among other things, the fleeting nature of existence—the way that time, to quote “Life Itself,” slips through your fingers like a long silk scarf.

“Boyhood” became the instant subject of media buzz last year when Linklater revealed that he’d been working on the project for 12 years, following the same actors (including Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the hero’s parents, Olivia and Mason, Sr., and the director’s daughter Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha) through the early part of the 21st century. We watch the children grow up and the adults thicken and grey. We see Olivia and Mason, Sr. in various relationships. Olivia is looking to replace her ex-husband and make her “broken” family intact again, and this search leads her into a series of arrangements that are wrong for her, sometimes horribly so. Mason, Sr., goes the other way, acting the role of bohemian free-spirit even as he works a series of rather typical jobs. The kids get taller and become interested in particular subjects, and in sex, and after a while they start to think about college and what they want to do with their lives.

It’s all a blur. The blur is indescribably moving. We’ve seen people age in movies and on TV programs—the kids in the “Harry Potter” and “Up” series, for instance, and little Ronny Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and Kiernan Shipka on “Mad Men”—but we’ve never seen it happen in such a compact span of screen time. That’s what makes “Boyhood” singular. There is no other work to which one can directly compare it without distorting pop culture history. This movie is truly its own thing, as eccentrically unique as Linklater’s breakthrough “Slacker,” another Austin-set feature to which “Boyhood” feels (curiously) like a companion piece, or perhaps a bookend.

Mason is a child of divorce. He and his mother and his sister move around a lot, all over Texas, a U.S. state as big as France. Mason’s dad does not have custody, so has to accommodate his wife’s shifts in geography over the years, sometimes driving hundreds of miles to see his children. Even though Olivia and Mason, Jr. love their kids, there are moments when they resent them, because once they had them they were locked into a particular track and had to put their kids first, always. The trick, though—and this is where Linklater the writer shows how generous and kind he is—lies in realizing that sometimes when parents think they’re putting their kids first they’re really responding to conditioning, or doing what their society or their gender or their parents told them was the correct thing to do.

The movie’s about social conditioning as well as time. It asks basic, deep questions. What makes us “normal”? Is there such a thing as “normal”? What makes us identify as men, as women, as children? Is the traditional domestic arrangement—a wife, a husband and kids living in the same house—really desirable for every person, and genuinely good for society, or does it inflict distress on those whose personalities and desires cannot function within it? Two important men in Olivia’s life have drinking problems; alcoholism is a disease, but it’s also a means of forgetting, of numbing pain, of denial. Do we really change over time? Can we decide to change ourselves? Or is free will an illusion? Do we seize moments or do moments seize us? (“You are responsible for your own actions,” warns a sign hanging in the hero’s elementary school.)

Olivia seems, like many single moms, dispirited by the the responsibilities she bears. Early on we hear her arguing with her boyfriend, a single man who resents that she can’t just come and go as she pleases, as he does. (“I was somebody’s daughter, and then I was somebody’s fucking mother,” she says.) She’s chasing an idea of normalcy that may not be right for her. In an intense scene that occurs in a car outside of a school, not long after a period of domestic strife, Olivia asks for understanding because she’s trying to build “a family” with a new boyfriend, and Mason exclaims, “We already have a family!”—and he’s right. Olivia is a college professor and a liberal feminist, but she’s still bought into the husband-and-wife-and-two-kids-equals-a-real-family thing. She studies “unconditioned response” in one of her grad school courses but it takes a few years for her to figure out, in practical terms, what the phrase means.

There are points near the end of “Boyhood” when Olivia might remind you of George Bailey, the hero of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Of the movie’s two parents, she is nearly always the responsible one—the “boring” one. Even her worst decisions were made for noble reasons, but the constraints that motherhood placed on her freedom always gnawed at her. Over time, though, she grows by leaps and bounds, finishing grad school and becoming a teacher and then a person of considerable influence in her community. We start to see the profound, lasting impact that her moral rectitude has had on the world. She evolves, as surely as her ex-husband and children evolve, but the process is subtler. It’s not right out there, like her ex-husband’s delayed maturation.

The film’s title and choice of protagonist have been criticized (gently but firmly) for unthinkingly confirming that heterosexual men are at the center of the universe. But this reading ignores the movie’s constant (if empathetic) critique of American manhood, or what passes for American manhood: an entitled mental state that is really just boyhood with money and a driver’s license. Mason, Sr., for all the love that he shows his kids, is an example of this. He’s a great natural playmate for his son and daughter, joining them on the floor as they futz with toys and taking them on camping trips and trying to purchase their love with gifts as if every visitation were a miniature Christmas. But he doesn’t express much real wisdom until his kids edge toward adolescence and become tight-lipped and undemonstrative, and he pulls the car over during a family trip to demand that they have real conversations (amusingly, Samantha makes the same request of him).

He has to learn to give in as well as to give—and that giving in doesn’t always have to mean giving up. Even when Mason, Sr. is 30 or 40 he still lives like a 19-year old who just got his first place. He resents his ex-wife as a killjoy, and clings to his GTO the way little boys cling to their loveys. And yet he matures onscreen along with his kids, mellowing over the years and becoming less strident and arrogant and more generous, learning that it’s possible to be a person of integrity even if you aren’t insisting that every single thing go your way at every single moment (a pattern of behavior that only narcissists mistake for freedom). We get the sense that in some ways Mason the elder is un-learning what he learned during the first part of his life—an experience that his kids are now going through, with different details. It’s rough, this process. It’s emotional boot camp, with versions of hazing. And I love how “Boyhood” admits that, in certain ways, growing up stinks. Every character has a least one moment in which they have to heed the advice of Corinthians and put away childish things. None of them like it.

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The adults in Mason, Jr.’s orbit (including his mother and father and various teachers and authority figures) all want to parent or mentor him by turning him into reflections or extensions of themselves. In high school, a photography teacher tells the budding shutterbug hero that he needs to move away from arty compositions and learn to shoot sports so that he can make a living, advice which assumes that Mason, Jr. wants to earn a living with photography rather than treating it as an avocation, or as the visual version of a diary. The manager of a restaurant where Mason, Jr. works as a dishwasher wants to groom him as a fry cook. The man’s eyes light up as he describes this arc, as if he’s moved by his own generosity.

At various points during the boy’s life he’s pushed toward bad decisions by other boys who warn him that failure to act a certain way makes him a “fag” or a “pussy.” You sense the kid pushing back against these pressures. You realize that, for all their faults, and despite the geographical and emotional obstacles that they were up against, his parents did a good job raising him. Or maybe he absorbed their better qualities as if by osmosis. (Did he seize their better qualities, or did their better qualities seize him?) Linklater doesn’t explain any of this—the storytelling and filmmaking are intuitive; things that look like pointers or labels aren’t—and yet it’s all there in the movie. You can feel it. Perhaps without meaning to, the film exemplifies the best piece of advice that anyone gives the hero: “We’re all just winging it.”

“Boyhood” is broken into discrete dramatic chunks—this is really an anthology of short movies with a recurring cast—and there are no timestamps telling us that we’ve passed from 2002 into 2003 or from 2009 into 2010. We realize where we are on the timeline when we hear somebody talking about the Iraq war, or hear a song on the soundtrack that was big during a certain year, or realize that the boy has changed his haircut or gotten a little bit taller. The simultaneously nourishing and corrosive effects of time make the film quietly moving and humble-seeming, despite its three-hour length and conceptual audacity. Time is what makes the film cohere even when particular scenes, images or performances seem clunky or undernourished. Fixating on imperfections while discussing “Boyhood” would be as petty as criticizing the sculpting of individual stones in a cathedral. The totality matters. Even more important is our recognition that the totality is as fleeting as life.

Time, and our interaction with time, and the way in which we are all ultimately overmatched and worn down by time, and the notion of cinema as a means of sculpting with time: these and other aspects of temporality are at the heart of “Boyhood.” Time is the core around which all of this movie’s musings on childhood and parenthood are woven. It’s the river down which the scenes and characters travel without consciously realizing that they are on individual journeys that all have the same ending. If life is “about” anything, it’s about realizing and accepting that fact: that everything is fleeting. Time gives birth and nourishes and then obliterates as it moves ahead, like the family which, in an early scene, prepares to move out of a house by covering murals and hand-lettered height charts with white paint. The film ends and the credits come up and you ask the same question that you ask at the end of an evening spent with old, dear friends: where did the time go?

 

Lovely, eh? The movie gave me so much to think about and marvel at….and I cannot recommend it enough. Go check it out!! See what you think – be sure to let me know! :-) I’ll be waiting to hear from you! :-)

 

xxx

Seven Spanish Angels

I decided to try a recipe for Sugar-Free Granola this morning – how disgustingly healthy of me, eh? I know! It’s not ready yet, but I will share the recipe and details once I know that it’s turned out decently enough to share with you – hopefully it’ll be gooooood! :-) After mixing my chia seeds and assorted other healthy ingredients, I thought I had better do something “ME”-style to counteract all the healthy Martha Stewart-esque juju vibes that were in here – so I made sangria. :-)

I cheated a bit by using a bottle of sangria that I’d bought at the store yesterday, but I doctored it up with a TON of fresh fruit: apples, oranges, peaches, and strawberries. Yummy!! :-) Here’s how it turned out:

I layered the fruit in my favorite Maggiano's decanter (which was a gift - I swear I didn't swipe this one!!!) - apples, strawberries, peaches, and oranges on the top!

I layered the fruit in my favorite Maggiano’s decanter (which was a gift – I swear I didn’t swipe this one!!!) – apples, strawberries, peaches, and oranges on the top!

Ready-to-go sangria! :-)

Ready-to-go sangria! :-)

Yuuuummmmyyyy!!!! :-)

Yuuuummmmyyyy!!!! :-)

Ta-dah!!!!! :-)

Ta-dah!!!!! :-)

 

It’s five o’clock somewhere….time to dig in!!! :-) It’s going to be a great day!!!! :-)

 

xxx

All About That Bass

This. This is everything that’s right:

Click on the picture! :-)

Click on the picture! :-)

 

 

Feel free to sing along:

Because you know
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty, just raise ‘em up
Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass
Hey!

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She said boys like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass

Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass

Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass
‘Bout that bass, ’bout that bass
Hey, hey, ooh
You know you like this bass

 

Great, right? I know. I could not love the message that this incredibly catchy song preaches more…it’s all that’s right about body positivity and self acceptance. I love that…and hope to someday do a better job of embodying these ideas….it’s a daily struggle. I hope that somewhere out there are people who don’t care about the width of your arse, who think that curves and junk in all the right places are desirable, not something to be tolerated. And I hope that these people come around my neighborhood…it’d be nice to see them and have some fun. :-)

 

if you’re looking for me, I will be shaking my arse to this song…because, dear friends, I am all about that bass. :-)

 

xxx

Brooklyn Baby

I spent Saturday evening at home with the Wee One, sprawled on my bed, reading the newest Jennifer Weiner, listening to Lana Del Rey and playing Words With Friends. It had been a day – the dog got scared by fireworks on Friday night and did a runner…and I walked the neighborhood streets from midnight to 4:15am before giving up. Thankfully he reappeared at home at around 5:30am, but by then the night was pretty much toast. I spent the day painting my front door red (see below), and watching the entire first season of the AMAZING series The Fall, from BBC Northern Ireland…if you’ve not seen this one yet, rundon’twalk to Netflix and stream it now. There’s only 5 episodes, an hour each…and it is bloody riveting. SO good. Anyway, I watched that while coats of paint were drying, I started reading the Jennifer Weiner book, and then moved on and listened to Lana’s album. Her music left me wanting to lounge around outside of some impossibly hip pub, drink in hand, contemplating life, the stars, and destiny with a hipster in horn-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, and a cardigan. The album sounds like summer, yet had me wanting to buy shoes for school in the fall. The more I listened, the more I felt as if I was in on her secrets, that together she and I were on the outside looking in on the popular kids. Listening to that album had me feeling all the feels, which is rather odd, as I haven’t had that happen in bloody ages. Strange! What music moves you, my friends? :-)

The old door :-(

The old door :-(

Midway through the process

Midway through the process

The door!!!

The door!!!

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

 

Last Saturday night, the Wee One and I drove up to Austin to a graduation party for my dear friend. It had been a hellaciously long day, and I was afraid of falling asleep, so I started singing with the radio. I found out that I was kind of loud and preventing the kid from sleeping due to my volume, so I was happy when she joined in. For me, the easiest way to ensure there’s no falling asleep at the wheel is by singing – and, because I’m an equal opportunity pain in the arse, I will also sing to someone else who is driving to make sure they stay awake! I have a good friend who I know probably still has nightmares about driving home with me from Austin at 4:00am, singing along with the old country tunes on the AM band on his radio *which he’d purposely picked thinking I wouldn’t know the words to those songs – fooled him!!!* I was jet-powered by a lot of beer that night, so my singing game was really on. The things I do for those I care for!!! ;-)

I’ve heard three great albums recently – the Lana one, Sia’s album is friggin DIVINE (Google her singing Chandelier on Howard Stern…you’ll weep, I guarantee), and Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour is CRAZY good!!! His voice is fabulous – LOVE!!! :-) I’m so excited for great new music – it’s been awhile since I’ve been excited about something like that. Yaa!! :-)

What excites you, my pretties? :-)

Xxx

PS: If Sam Smith’s Stay With Me doesn’t rip your bloody heart out and make you want to touch someone you love as you cry into their shoulder, then you had best make your way to the nearest ER, because you’re dead or about to be. Sorry about that. :-( That song is a heartbreaker…wowza!

Marigold

I have all sorts of troubles with makeup. First, I’m mighty pale, meaning that I have a tough time with colors that look good (and not whorish) on me. Second, my skin is über-sensitive, so I have to tread carefully lest I use something that I’m allergic to -I found out the hard way that I was allergic to makeup from Estée Lauder: I tried some eyeshadow and mascara, wore it to work, and then frightened the bejeezus out of my students when I began bleeding from my eyelids (no joke)…it was gross!!! It also took ages for all of my eyelashes to grow back (the Estée Lauder mascara caused them to fall out, too, no doubt in solidarity with the bleeding eyelids). I’m always on the lookout for new makeup that will work for me – and not cost a fortune. I might have found it in the Flower line, by Drew Barrymore. I’ve always loved her – I dig her movies, but more importantly I appreciate the unapologetic way she’s lived her life. I admire people with the nuts to do as they please in a very public way…I think that’s fabulous! :-) As she’s grown up, Drew has diversified – she has a winery now (that makes DAMN good wine, no joke!), and a line of low cost-high quality cosmetics. I ordered a bunch of things online, and so far I’m right pleased with what I’ve received. Here’s what I got:

I am completely in love with this lip color - it's rich, moist, and is true to the color in the tube...even on my odd lips. It looks very berry-ish!!! :-) Love!!! :-) Bonus - it lasts!!! :-)

I am completely in love with this lip color – it’s rich, moist, and is true to the color in the tube…even on my odd lips. It looks very berry-ish!!! :-) Love!!! :-) Bonus – it lasts!!! :-)

This one - Tender Tuberose - is positively stunning!! I love the richness of the color, and the lasting power. Yaa!!! :-)

This one – Tender Tuberose – is positively stunning!! I love the richness of the color, and the lasting power. Yaa!!! :-)

I ought to be better at wearing blush - I need it because I'm so pale! However, I fret that I go from rosy glow to street walking whore far too quickly, so....I get nervous. As well, I've always feared using bronzer for contouring purposes, even though I need it badly. I tried this duo out this morning, and good news: I resemble neither whore nor pumpkin! Woohoo!! :-)

I ought to be better at wearing blush – I need it because I’m so pale! However, I fret that I go from rosy glow to street walking whore far too quickly, so….I get nervous. As well, I’ve always feared using bronzer for contouring purposes, even though I need it badly. I tried this duo out this morning, and good news: I resemble neither whore nor pumpkin! Woohoo!! :-)

This palette is on my eyes today....and it's pretty great! I think my eyes are probably my best feature, so I try to play them up as much as possible. I also ordered a really good black eyeliner from Flower, and it used in combination with this palette has really upped my eye game today!! That plummy color in the corner? Dy-no-mite, friends! :-)

This palette is on my eyes today….and it’s pretty great! I think my eyes are probably my best feature, so I try to play them up as much as possible. I also ordered a really good black eyeliner from Flower, and it used in combination with this palette has really upped my eye game today!! That plummy color in the corner? Dy-no-mite, friends! :-)

Haven't tried this yet, but I will give 'er a go tomorrow. I love the sandy colors, they remind me of a palette that Revlon used to do that I looooved!! I'm planning to use the darkest color to really smoke things up on my eyes. What do you think? :-)

Haven’t tried this yet, but I will give ‘er a go tomorrow. I love the sandy colors, they remind me of a palette that Revlon used to do that I looooved!! I’m planning to use the darkest color to really smoke things up on my eyes. What do you think? :-)

 

All in all, I think that some of these Flower products are going to be fun to use, and a nice, inexpensive change to mix things up this summer. I won’t give up on my staples (I’m talking to you, Chanel foundation and lipstick #45), but I’m excited to experiment with fun colors for summer. Thanks Drew!!! :-)

xxx

 

New Perspective

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Perspective has to be one of the most important, life-altering parts of life, don’t you think?  Interestingly enough, perspective is one of the few things in this world that we can control. Think about it – so much of how we approach the world depends upon our attitude, and our perspective. Some of us are glass half full people, while others see theirs as half empty…when all along it’s the same damn glass. I’m usually one who sees the glass as half full, but I, too, have my days where that bad boy is looking empty, and the cards are all against me. Even on those days, though, I figure that there’s still room in the glass for more vodka! ;-)

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I’ve spent quite a lot of time considering this idea, because it really matters to me for some reason. I try to see the best in people, and I try to make the best of tough situations…it just feels better to approach life that way. Sometimes I tell myself fibs in order to persuade myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, because if I really looked at things with my reality goggles on, I would turn tail and run for the hills. I need to make myself believe that things will be okay in the end, and if they aren’t yet okay then it’s not yet the end. I make mistakes every single day, some accidentally, and some purposefully. I justify my errors in judgment by confidently telling myself that my actions are for the greater good, even if that greater good is little more than my own selfish happiness. I try to keep things in perspective as well, and frequently find myself muttering under my breath that things just aren’t that big of a deal, even when I’m SO angry in the moment that I want to scream.

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I had a major event at work this evening, and I’m happy to reveal that it kind of went okay. From the perspective of the audience, things seemed to go pretty smoothly…for which I am SO grateful. However, the reality was that the preparations and the behind-the-scenes stuff were an EPIC disaster, there were a lot of prep tasks left undone, things were ridiculously disorganized, all sorts of stuff was missing…I stepped up to the microphone to begin speaking, with pretty much no idea what I was about to say. Happily, I winged my part and enough was done , so it all went off okay. I shook a lot of hands, hugged a lot of kids, and survived the evening without basically shitting the bed on stage in front of hundreds of people. From my perspective, though, it was a disaster the likes of which I hope to NEVER have to endure again! Grr!!!

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Here’s an idea for a TV show: we open each episode (it’ll be a crime procedural) with the scene of a crime; the rest of the show will unfold by showing the events/the crime from the different perspectives of all of the people involved in the resolution of the situation- the suspects, the police, the CSI peeps….and, finally, the actual victim of the crime, which, of course, will show us whodunit through the victim’s eyes. Good idea, right? Maybe Dick Wolf or Donald P. Bellisario’s peeps could call me and we could discuss script ideas. I think I’m on to something here, folks – when you see this on NBC in about three years, please watch the credits for my name, and be sure to say you knew me when. ;-)

 

xxx

Take On Me

I did something really stupid today. I was having a conversation with someone, trying to express my feelings (which we all know I pretty much suck at), when I apologized for being needy, for saying stupid stuff, and for asking for what I needed. I didn’t realize how ridiculously self-destructive that whole shit-sentence was until I replayed it over in my head later (I do that, replay pretty much every conversation I have in my head at later times…I know how obnoxious that is, but I can’t help it. Sorry.) . Can you believe that? Apparently I’m so full of hatred for myself these days that I actually apologized for sharing my truth and expressing what I needed. Ick.  :-(

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You wanna know what I really need? To learn to accept myself as I am, and give myself a damn break. When you Google accepting yourself, there’s a ton of New Age-type, hippie stuff going on…but when you wade through the fluff, there’s some good stuff to be found, like this article :

Therapists Spill: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.

For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It’s tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.

Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t.

Below, clinicians reveal 12 ways we can cultivate self-acceptance.

1. Set an intention.

“Self-acceptance begins with intention,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. “It is vital that we set an intention for ourselves that we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust,” he said. 

2. Celebrate your strengths.

“We are much better collectors of our shortcomings than our strengths,” according to Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, California. Psychologist John Duffy, PsyD, agrees. “[Many people] fail to see their strengths and cling to antique scripts they carry about their lack of worth,” he said.

Duffy helps his clients hone in on their strengths and abilities by writing them down. If you’re having a tough time coming up with your list, name one strength each day, he said. 

Howes suggested making a similar list: “Make a list of all the hardships you’ve overcome, all the goals you’ve accomplished, all the connections you’ve made, and all the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep it close by, review it frequently, and add to it often.”

3. Consider the people around you.

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? Sumber suggested asking yourself these questions about the people in your life:

Who speaks negatively to me? Who reinforces negative self talk? Why do I allow such people to hurt me? Are they just doing my own dirty work because I’m not willing to choose a different reality?

4.Create a support system.

Distance yourself from people who bring you down, said Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC. Instead, “Surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you,” she said.

5. Forgive yourself.

Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on. “Whether it’s about something you’ve done or a personality quirk that resulted in a social faux pas, it’s important to learn from the mistake, make efforts to grow, and accept that you can’t change the past,” Howes said.

When the tinges of remorse resurface, remember these words, he said: “I made the best decision with information I had at the time.” “The behavior or decision might not seem correct in hindsight, but at the time it seemed like the best choice,” Howes added.

6. Shush your inner critic.

Many people equate their inner critic with a voice of reason. They think their inner critic is simply speaking the truth. But if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, it’s not honesty or sincerity. It’s unwarranted — and harsh — judgment.

To quiet your inner critic, Marter suggested choosing a realistic mantra. “I believe in the power of mantra and encourage clients to select a mantra that is normalizing, calming and encouraging during times when the inner critic rears its ugly head,” she said. For example, you could use: “I am only human, I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do,” she said.

As Marter said, “Our mistakes and our imperfections are not bad or wrong or failures–they are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.”

7. Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams.

“Many of our problems with self-acceptance come from our inability to reconcile who we are as compared with the idealized dreams of our youth,” Howes said. Maybe you dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete or a multi-millionaire or staying married forever or having a big family, he said. Whatever your dreams or goals, mourn that they didn’t come to pass, he said. Then “get back to being the best you possible.”

8. Perform charitable acts.

“When you sacrificially give to others, you see how your deeds are a positive influence on other lives. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain the idea that you are no good when you see how your deeds help other people,” Howes said.

9. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

Marter described acceptance as letting go of the past and the things we cannot control. This way, “you can focus your energy on that which you can [control], which is empowering,” she said. In fact, for some people accepting that they have a problem is the first step to making positive changes, she said.

10. Speak to your highest self.

Marter suggested readers try the following activity that includes imagining and interacting with your highest or best self.

I often ask my clients to visualize their highest and best self that lies deep within them. This process of visualizing a separation or detachment from the current [or] suffering self often helps clients tap into the wisdom that already lies within them — their highest self — to promote healing.

This exercise teaches clients how to be their own best parent and demonstrate empathy, compassion and love towards the self. I advise clients to take a few minutes to meditate and practice this visualization whenever they are in crisis [or] need some direction or some self-soothing.

11. Be kind to yourself.

Many people are hesitant to show even a shred of self-kindness because they see it as selfish or undeserved. But the key to self-compassion is “to understand that weakness and frailty are part of the human experience,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. “Coming to accept who you are involves loving yourself because of your flaws, not in spite of them,” she said. You’ll find more on practicing self-compassion here and here.

12. Fake it ‘til you make it.

If you’re unconvinced that you’re a worthy person, keep the faith and keep at it. Keep practicing self-compassion along with the other suggestions. “Most of us do not have direct communication from our deity of choice, yet we take the leap and trust that our God is true and real. The same goes for our self-acceptance. I first must think and do before I know,” Sumber said.

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When I started reading this, I was thinking it was pretty much like every other list (and therefore useless), with nothing of value for me. But I felt compelled to keep reading…and then shit got real. Consider the people around you? Yikes. Most of the people around me only know me when they want something,…which sucks. Very few people seem to enjoy the pleasure of my company, which leaves me wondering if I’m such a miserable arse that nobody wants to be with me! I’ve noticed that I spend A LOT of time listening to the troubles of other people,  but rarely does anybody ask me about mine. I have one friend (she reads this, so she will know who she is! I love her!  ;-) ) who says that she doesn’t ask about me because she figures that if I have something to share, I will just say it. I bet that approach and philosophy works great for most peeps, but for someone like me who struggles with self-worth and rarely believes that anyone gives a shit about her, that approach is challenging. I’m not usually brave enough to share my innermost self, and I take my cues that it’s okay and safe to proceed when people ask me questions. So, if they don’t ask, I say nothing…and the cycle goes around and around.

Create a support system? How? I believe that I’ve got this one cracked at work, but….not at home. At work, I have the world’s most wonderful boss whom I love with all my heart – she treats me wonderfully, supports me, and legit wants me to do well. I’ve not had that many times in my career, so I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate her. :) My secretary is dynamite as well, she’s helpful, supportive, and would do anything with me and for me – I loooooove working with her!! She’s fab!!!!! But, at home…it’s just me. I can’t go and visit my parents without enduring my mother’s endless criticism of my appearance and everything I do, so I generally try to spare myself that misery. It’s maddening….and probably explains why things are so rough for me inside my head. I have a few people in my life who I think believe in me and are my personal cheerleaders, but the team is in dire need of some new members. How do you make that happen???

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The next three bowled me over – forgive yourself, shush your inner critic, and grieve the loss of unrealized dreams. Hmm. I can’t ever forgive myself for some of the mistakes that I’ve made, and I don’t get why. My mistakes have hurt mostly me (with a few others tossed in along the way for collateral damage), so it should be easy to forgive myself…but I don’t. I can’t. And I don’t know why. My inner critic had a bloody megaphone that she yells into at ALL TIMES, and let me tell you, that bitch’s voice is LOUD. It never ends. I’ve always marveled at my ability to manage a career that requires me to be the sage on the stage so much of the time, always enduring the scrutiny of a lot of people, when all I hear a constant stream of hateful words in my head every moment of the day. It’s bloody exhausting. :-(

Now, tell me…how do you grieve the loss of unrealized dreams? That’s what’s I need to do. There are so many things that I’ve wanted to do with my life, but they just didn’t happen – generally not due to lack of effort, but rather circumstance. There are many things that have left me feeling disappointed, but there are so many things that have gone well in my life, and I’m a very lucky girl. :-)  I have, however, had difficulties letting go of a few things that I’ve always wanted – and instead of always feeling like a failure, or like I’ve let everyone else down, I need to somehow grieve the passing of my dream, let it go, and move the hell on. I bloody love this idea, it’s brilliant – how to put it into practice??!

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Are you watching the reality series “True Tori” on Lifetime? Cameras have been following Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott following his stint in a rehab facility after he cheated on her last fall. I’m surprised that I’m watching it, actually – this is so not my usual cup of tea, but I came across the first episode in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, and have been compelled to watch ever since. I was a huge fan of Beverly Hills, 90210 – I was still wearing my Donna Martin Graduates shirt a couple of years ago, I still watch the reruns whenever I can find them on TV, and many a life decision of mine has been made by thinking What Would Kelly Taylor do? I still love the fashion of that show (and I still want to wear flowery baby doll dresses with my Doc Martens every day of my life), and the music was pretty damn great as well. Tori’s Donna wasn’t my favorite character, but her wedding to David Silver still brings me to tears. Anyway, over the years, I have kept up with Tori’s life, and while I haven’t watched them, I’ve been aware of the series of reality shows that she and Dean have made following their marriage. I’ve always felt leery about those kinds of programs, since people who go on Tv and tout how happy they are and how perfect their marriage is seem to be hollering, “Look how great our life is!! Look how much yours sucks !!” to me…and I’m uncomfortable with that. (Sidebar: I call it my Facebook theory – if you have to brag about your shit on Facebook, then your shit probably isn’t all that and probably stinks a bit!)  Anyway, I know that she and Dean have four small children, and careers that are very much intertwined -until all hell broke loose and he bonked some broad in Toronto. (There’s another quandary – why do men choose to bonk women who can’t keep their damn mouths shut and be discrete? Stupid.) Now, they have cameras on them filming them at home as they try to adjust to Dean being out of rehab, and they attempt to rebuild their family. This is where things are getting really interesting – Tori is hurting so badly and needs to express it, but every time she does, Dean falls apart. He was suicidal at one point, and she’s scared that her feelings are going to literally kill him. So, she holds it all in…until she’s an absolute mess. It’s painful to watch, truth be told…I never would want to see anyone suffering and hurting, and I can understand the pain she’s feeling. I, too, feel completely alone a lot of the time, and pissed off with the world for ignoring me – I get it. Whatever happens, I wish them well….and I remind the rest of you: don’t brag about your happy relationship – you’re only dooming yourself to misery!!! Be happy and peaceful about it..it’ll mean more that way. :-)

xxx

Another One Bites the Dust

I was recently reminded of the douchebaggery of people (something I’m reminded of far more frequently than I would like to be) when listening to a friend discuss the asshat behavior of men. She was irritated because the new man in her life was doing dumb things, making her feel self-conscious and ridiculously insecure. This dear friend of mine is a serious number one stunna and has no business whatsoever to doubt herself even a smidge. Girlfriend has it going on – the dude in question needs to get his poop in a group and smarten up!!

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Once upon a time, I was asked out for drinks and food by a member of the male persuasion. I didn’t usually accept such invitations, but I knew this fellow a bit and figured it wouldn’t be too bad, so I gave it a whirl, and said yes. We went, and had a lovely time – everything went very well, including the good night kiss at my door. The next day, he asked me for a movie date a few days later – again, I went, and things were awesome: laughs were had, hands were held, I was on my best behavior (witty, charming, not breaking wind or burping)….I thought it was great. Oddly , there was no good night kissy-face at the end of this date, but…I didn’t give it much thought. Over the next few days, we messaged back and forth, but something felt palpably different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off. I asked a few times about making tentative plans, that kind of thing, and there was always a reason, an excuse of why he couldn’t get together. It was weird. One night, he invited me over to his house to watch a hockey game, which I thought was code for something else – it wasn’t. Hockey was watched, cheeks were chastely kissed, and I went home. Huh.

Me being me, I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked if there was something up – this was the conversation:

Me – Is everything ok?

Him – No. I can’t see you anymore. I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Ok. My apologies if I’ve done or said something to offend you. I’m confused!

Him – You didn’t do anything wrong, haha, you are very cool.  I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Gee, thanks. Never mind, it’s all good.

Him – By doing that, I broke a very long-standing personal rule and I owe you an explanation. Or an apology.

Me – No apology needed.

Him – It’s hard to adequately explain without you taking this the wrong way, but this is completely on me. I stay out of relationships because I’m really really really bad at them. I hurt people emotionally, even nice people. I’m not going to go through that again. And you especially don’t need that either.

Me – Oh, okay. I understand.

Him – I doubt that. It’s just me. I’m stuck in a behavioral pattern that I recognize but can’t break.  For what it’s worth, you’re the first woman in over five years to make me forget my rule.

Me – Um, thanks.

Him – I tend to be a much better friend…just ask my ex’s!!

Me – Haha.

Him – You are by far the most interesting person I’ve met in years. Plus you are actually a decent human being. And maybe even the Least Crazy Female I’ve Ever Met???!

Me – Gee thanks.

The conversation continued with more insanity, so imagine my shock when the next day, he texted to ask if I wanted to make plans for a few days later. I said okay, assuming we were having a ‘friend’ outing, and made a bunch of suggestions.  We made plans for the evening – to go out somewhere. Here’s what transpired next:

Him – Are you still coming over tonight?

Me – Oh, I thought we were going out!

Him – I don’t know.

Me – Okay, would you fancy a trip to see a movie? That’d be fun!!

 

About an hour passes.

 

Him – I don’t know. I just got out of the hot tub. But yeah, by the time I shower and get dressed and all it’s probably late to head uptown for a movie.

 

FYI – this text came in at 5:45pm.

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Baffling behavior, yes? Frustrating? Indeed. Why do people who pee standing up act this way? Lest you think me a psychotic stalker who saves messages, I wrote this all down in a journal. Ages ago. And I kept the notebook. You know why? So that I could pull it out from time to time to remind myself of just how shitty some people are, and just how far I’ve come. There was a day when a conversation like this would have crushed me, leaving me crippled and feeling like there was something wrong with me. Now it makes me think that he’s a freaking idiot with issues far beyond the scope of any crap I’m interested in dealing with.  Gross.

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Why are relationships so hard? Why is it so difficult for people to be straightforward? Why can’t we as people say what we mean and mean what we say? I find that the older I get, the more blunt I am  - God help us when I’m 70….yikes!!! I am not mean (or I try not to be), but I sure don’t endure stupid crap like I used to!! I would never have done what the idiot from the above story did….because, even though I’m really blunt and stuff, I’m not hurtful. I try not to toy with people’s emotions, I try not to be hurtful or unkind…and I try really hard to be the kind of person I want to be around. In her book “Miracles Now”, Gabrielle Bernstein writes that peace begins with you. So does happiness. Being happy depends on how happy you are with yourself. If you’re a miserable sod who loathes their own company, nobody else is going to want to be near you, either. So, to the guy who told me the crap above – thank you for reminding me of the things that are important in life…and, sadly for you,you weren’t one of them. I wish you well still – just as long as it’s nowhere near me. To my dear friend who questions her own desirability – love you, friend…you deserve the moon and the stars, and any man worth having will give you all that – and more. :-)

 

xxx

Desire

This Georgia O'Keefe soothes my soul - it's lovely :-)

This Georgia O’Keeffe soothes my soul – it’s lovely :-)

What are the things that you desire most in this world? Wealth? Fame? Freedom? Love? I started thinking about this today while doing cafeteria duty (it’s mind-numbingly dull, leaving me with a lot of time to contemplate the universe and ponder life in general). While considering the idea of desire, I started mentally listing the things that I desire: good health for my daughter, financial security, independence, love, freedom to travel, a comfortable home, companionship, good health, professional fulfillment, happiness, great shoes…nothing too earth-shattering there, eh? However, after two more laps around the cafeteria, I worked on checking off the things that I have from my list…and that’s where shiznit got real. I’m a long way away from too many items on that list, which makes me so sad. I’m 40 years old now for goodness sakes (that’s so weird to type)…shouldn’t I have all of this stuff figured out by now and want for nothing? Yeah, right…nowhere close. Am I behind?

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

I’ve been reading a lot of the work of Gabrielle Bernstein lately – she touts the whole #SpiritJunkie movement, and making miracles all over your life. I love that so much, don’t you? I want this SO badly, but holy shit is it ever hard to try to adapt her way of thinking and make it work for this chaotic existence of mine. I just don’t know how to  work it out! Same thing with the magic of crystals – I keep reading about their mystical, magical powers so I got some. I felt kinda weird about it, but whatever…I’m so bummed about so many things these days, I’m willing to try anything. So, now I’ve got crystals, but no clue what to do with them. I put amethyst in my pillow the other night, and I can’t be certain, but I think I had a better sleep than usual. The half Ambien might have helped as well. ;-) I had a rose quartz shoved in my bra this morning (nobody ever accused me of being classy), hoping to improve the love that people send my way, but it appears to have fallen out. I will have to retrace my steps and find it, because it was a cute one.  Isn’t that just the way with me?  I’m a girl who needs tremendous heaps of help and sparkle in my life – I work hellaciously long hours, I don’t have much of a social life anymore, I’m severely sleep-deprived, I don’t get nearly enough time with my Muppet, and the things I try to help myself end up falling out of my bra…I need some assistance, whether it’s from crystals, magical miracles like Gabrielle’s got going on, or a kind person who just decides to shower me with goodness. Perhaps that’s where my problems lie, and why my list of desires is still so damn long – because I’m looking outside for assistance, rather than searching within. I think that’s what Gabrielle is all about, harnessing the magic inside and using it to make all your dreams come true. Now to figure it out for me!

My rose quartz crystal - I found it!!! :-)

My rose quartz crystal – I found it!!! :-)

I came across an article on finding your inner peace in ten simple steps – doesn’t that sound like the very best thing ever? Here are the steps: (source:

http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/find-inner-peace-in-10-ways/. )


Accept what is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you open the blinds to this fact, and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Meditate
If you do not meditate yet, you are missing out on a very important activity that can change your life. Meditating for 20 minutes daily can have an enormous impact in all areas of your life. Take a look at this post I wrote 100 Benefits of Meditation. If that doesn’t convince you to start meditating, I don’t know what will! If you have a lot on your mind and you feel like your thoughts are driving you crazy, meditation can help you find peace. Simply close everything, sit back, close your eyes, and clear your mind of every single thought. Focus on the emptiness. You will be surprised what a mere 20 minutes of meditation can do to turn things around for you. If you have trouble meditating, I would suggest getting a professional guided meditation CD, which will help you get used to this level of peacefulness

Spend time in nature
We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget where we come from. It is natural for us to be in nature, and this is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a trail in the forest. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in front of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but that I find peace within it. I have blogged before about how I enjoy biking and one of the reasons is that it brings me closer to nature. It is something you just can’t experience in a car. If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are tons of trees and far from the city. Be there and just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Learn the power of a smile
Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, the other day I mishandled a dish and it fell on the floor, breaking into pieces, creating a big mess. Now, I could have been angry with myself for being clumsy and thinking “here’s another reason why life sucks!”. But I did the opposite. I began to smile and kind of make fun of myself for not being able to hold on to that plate properly. As I cleaned up the mess, there was no bitterness or anger. As a matter of fact, I did it with a smile on my face…I did it with peace. So whenever you find yourself in a similar predicament, just think of the silver lining, and don’t be shy to poke fun at yourself. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you smile.

Think outwardly
What I mean by this is that most of the time, we are so consumed within our own problems that we can no longer see the forest from the trees. Therefore, it helps to remind ourselves how big the world is. Take a moment and read up about some other countries, cultures, and the likes. Be aware that the world does not revolve around your problems. I find that when I hear about a tsunami or an earthquake killing hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world, my problems aren’t really “problems”. Looking beyond ourselves is very important in finding peace and it leads me to my next point.

Care about others
You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Never lose hope
Hope is something you can never afford to lose. With hope you always have a path towards peace. Whenever we get too stressed out and overwhelmed within our own life, we forget that hope. We forget that the sun always shines after a rainy day, and that this is merely a bump in the road. I find immense peace in just knowing, deep within my heart, that everything will be ok. With hope, I know that whatever is seemingly terrible, is only temporary and that soon enough, things will be just fine. This lifts off all of that negativity from my entire being, and I feel better pretty much instantly.

Embrace your beliefs
I am not one to pick or favor one belief system over another, so whatever it is that you believe in, embrace it with your entire being. Be within your faith 100% and peace will find its way into your heart. Now, we may all disagree on each other’s beliefs but one thing we must all agree on is that having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in founding a proper conscience that helps into guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to have diseases such as cancer. This is because they experience more inner peace, which is important if you want to increase the quality of your life.

Keep learning
One thing that provides us with much stress in life is the fact that we always worry about not having all the answers. Just accepting that you do not know everything, and that you are open to always keep learning is a tremendous step to take towards achieving inner peace. I find great joy in learning all kinds of different things, and just being aware that I am growing as a person each and every day provides me with great feelings of peace. Accept that life is one big journey of never-ending learning and you will find yourself closer to experiencing true peace within yourself.

Live in the present moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? (see point #1, accept what is). Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen or not? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace. I used to be such a person that worried all the time, to the point where I had trouble sleeping. Once I learned to live in the present moment, I stopped thinking about the past and any potential future, and just worried about being ever-present in each and every moment. My life is definitely more peaceful since then!

 

 

These are great, eh?  I believe in the power of smiles,  and I have a serious commitment to lifelong learning. I care far too much about most others, and I am one of the most hopeful, optimistic people I have ever known. I can’t seem to figure out the whole meditation thing, but…perhaps I will give that a shot again. The hardest one for me is learning to live in the moment – I’m really improving on the whole ‘It is what it is’ thing…hard as it has been for me, I know that I’m not God, I can’t change anything…but learning to quit planning is going to be the death of me. I need to learn to just embrace the many beautiful moments that I have, and quit fretting about what is going to happen next. I need to stop trying to plan and schedule every detail of the world around me, and I need to just let it be. Let it be. I may have just found my next tattoo. :-)

 

What do you desire, friends? Whatever it is, I hope you get it – you deserve it, you’re awesome. :-)

 

xxx