Glory Days

AMC’s brilliant “Mad Men” ended on Sunday night…and man, will I miss that show. What did you think of the finale? I like that it ended rather open-ended (although not as wide open as the ending of “The Soprano’s”, which only served to piss me off), but yet tied up a number of the storylines with bows on top. I will forever love Joan, Peggy, and even Betty doesn’t grate on my nerves like she used to…and I will certainly miss my weekly hour spent with Don Draper. There was so much good about this show, something so beautiful about the glory days of a nation coming in to its own…I will miss it.

When you look back on your life, what time period do you identify as your ‘glory days’? I know a lot of people who thought that their best times were in high school or college. That’s great, I’m glad that they enjoyed the experience – but holy hell am I ever glad that I am not one of those people. High school was okay for me, for the most part (not the early part, but the latter years), but I sure as hell hope that wasn’t as good as it gets. I think – HOPE! – my glory days are now – I’m happier in my work than I’ve ever been, I’m a deliriously happy mama and can’t imagine a moment of my days without my Wee One, and I think perhaps I’m on the cusp on finding the happiness that I’ve long sought. Things are starting to feel differently for me lately – I feel like things are coming together, and maybe life isn’t as hard as it used to be. I hope that this is a sign of things to come, rather than a one-off fluke thing. I am not struggling as hard as I always have, and while I can’t say that things are coming easily, I can certainly acknowledge that life has been considerably more peaceful lately. It’s been great….and I’m hoping for more good times. :-) I feel like I’ve earned them!

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I’ve not been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that is feeling different, but there is certainly something going on with me lately. I’m feeling so much more at ease with myself…and it is friggin’ LIBERATING! I read this article on self-acceptance, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you:

There’s nothing wrong with you.


Let me repeat that statement one more time so you can take it in more fully: There’s nothing wrong with you.


How does that concept make you feel? Maybe it filled you with a sense of relief … it affirmed that you’re okay and that made you feel better. Or, maybe your mind flat-out rejected the idea, saying something like “Baloney! There are lots of things wrong with me … you don’t know me and you don’t know what you’re talking about!” Perhaps it was a blend of these responses or something else entirely. 


There’s nothing wrong with you.


What does that statement even mean? So many of us are walking around in life feeling broken or weary or wounded in some way … thinking we’re not good enough or we’re not worthy enough. We count up our faults and use them as evidence that we’re defective. We work on improving ourselves, certain we must reject who we are to become the person we’re capable of being. We’re looking for the fix to make everything better. But what if … I urge you to open your mind to this idea for just a moment … what if there’s nothing really wrong with you after all?


Our bodies may not be functioning at 100% … I’m not denying the existence of illness. Yet, our bodies are not “who we are” … they are the vessels that carry our souls in this life on earth.


Who we are … who we truly are … arrived on earth with everything we need for our life journey. We came complete … whole … there was nothing wrong with us from day one. And, nothing we can do can change that.


Can our behaviors be wrong? Yes – they can, for instance, it is wrong to deliberately hurt another person. Can our thinking be wrong? Well, I’m not sure “wrong” is the correct word, but certainly we can perceive things in a way that brings us stress instead of peace. Still, who you are at your core is who you are meant to be, and in that sense, there’s nothing wrong with you.

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WHY IS SELF-ACCEPTANCE SO IMPORTANT?
I find that when we really love and accept and approve of ourselves exactly as
we are, then everything in life works. ~ Louise Hay


Self-acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t want to change. Quite the contrary, it often leads to dramatic change as you give up the limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors that you’d adopted trying to be someone you’re not. The secret to finding the happiness and peace you seek in your life is not in trying to figure out what’s wrong with you; instead, your aim is to explore the truth of who you really are.


Perhaps this analogy might help. Imagine your vision is getting blurry so you go to the eye doctor and get a prescription for new pair of glasses. A mistake is made in the lab and the actual lenses you receive are far too strong; the glasses not only make your vision worse, they give you headaches. You realize the problem so you go back and get the prescription that is correct for you. With these new lenses, the world appears sharper, crisper, and more beautiful. You see the world around you more clearly. All I have to do today is be myself — because I am more than good enough.


Self-acceptance is like putting on that wonderful new pair of glasses with the perfect prescription for you. You see every action and thought you have in a new light … the way it really is rather than how you’d once imagined the world to be (the world you saw through the lenses that weren’t right for you .. the world that gave you headaches!). Little by little, you’re able to let go of past patterns … pretense falls away … you embrace the authentic you. You accept yourself, you love yourself, and your world becomes rich with a sense of peace and happiness that may have alluded you for years.


We are constantly invited to be who we are. ~ Henry David Thoreau


There is nothing wrong with you. Know this and live your life being true to you. If you’ve not listened to your inner guidance for a while, it may take time to get reacquainted with the true you, but I promise, the “journey to you” will be worth the effort!

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I know it’s kind of new age-y and hippie-ish, but…there are some really good points in there. You are good enough – and so am I. We can make minor improvements because we want to, but we sure as hell don’t have to. There is nothing we HAVE to do but be our true, awesome selves…it IS enough. I love that. :-)

I have 6 tattoos (somehow that sounds really shocking and like it is a lot when I say it, but they don’t appear that way in real life), and I want 3 more: “To thine own self be true” on my back, “Let it be” somewhere (I’d like the inside of a wrist, but I’m not 100% certain on that one), and the Latin phrase “Satis sum” somewhere on me as well – it means “I am enough”. Because I am enough. So are you. :-)

Don’t you love it? I do, too. :-)

 

xxx

School’s Out

Something pretty exciting happened today – I earned some new letters to put behind my name. I have been pursuing a Doctorate for a number of years now – sadly, the degree I did earn was not that….but it’s pretty damn close. I have completed all of the course work necessary for an Education Specialist degree (EdS) – I received my grade for my final massive research project this morning: I got a perfect score. :-)

As I said, I’ve been toiling away on the Doctorate degree for awhile now – I flew through the course work and found it to be very interesting, educational, and fulfilling….but the dissertation process has been the death of me. No joke. I went through three different dissertion chairs, and I could not seem to get myself and my way of working to the point that they wanted me to be – and they couldn’t provide feedback or advice in a way that made sense to me, so….there was no meeting of the minds whatsoever. It was painful, and awful, and I decided a few months ago that I was done. I couldn’t take it a moment longer, no degree was worth my sanity. I contacted my university to see if there was something that I could do that would allow me to get some acknowledgement for all of the work that I had done – and they told me about the EdS program. It’s designed for those who are already working in a specific field, and it’s kind of like a stop along the way between the Master’s degree level and the Doctorate programs. They took most of my course work that I’d already completed, and asked that the only class I take was the final Capstone research project. I agreed, and began the class in April.

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I had one of the most positive learning experiences that I have ever had. My instructor was amazing, he understood me, and he valued my work and contributions. He didn’t make me feel like I was depriving a village of its idiot, and he didn’t tell me that I was useless on the daily. I was able to research a topic that relates to my current job (which was a source of constant struggle under the old program – they wanted me to research something that was considered a ‘hole’ in the existing literature…which I didn’t give a shit about. I wanted to research things that were happening around me every day, so that I could be better equipped to deal with them. Different philosophies and approaches, I guess).  My instructor gave me feedback that I could actually use and apply to my work, and he didn’t rip me apart for my writing style. The entire experience was so positive that I feel tremendously proud right at this moment. Am I disappointed that I didn’t complete the Doctorate? Absolutely. Do I think that someday I may take another run at it? Probably. However, it won’t be any damn time soon. Right now, I want to focus on improving in my job, improving on the time that I spend with my Wee One and those that I care for, and I want to spend some time on me. I want to write write write for pleasure, not academic purposes….and I want to read for fun, not research.

 

I’m SO excited…I can hardly wait! :-)

xxx

Let’s Make a Deal

Are you a planner? I sure am – it’s probably one of my most annoying qualities. I can’t help it, though….I like to make the most of the time that I have (in a day, and here on earth), so I do my best to schedule things and fill it up with stuff that matters. Someone asked me recently (while scoffing at the calendar that was open on my desk and the kajillion obligations that I have coming up in the next two months) what I had planned for the next 20 years. I laughed and started to tell her that she was a jackass for mocking me – but then I stopped. Hmm. She made a good point. Where do I want to be in 20 years?

This. :-)

This. :-)

In 20 years from now, I will  be 61 years old. Holy shit. No doubt I will still be cute as hell, and my rack will still be awesome (please don’t interrupt with a dose of reality – I’m not interested). I will still be working in Education in some capacity, but hopefully at that point, I will be about 5 years from retirement. (Fun fact – if I retire at the age of 66, I will have worked in this industry for 46 years. Yikes.) My Wee One won’t be so wee anymore – she will be 28 years old, and probably working on building a life of her own. I hope that she will still want to hold hands and be best friends with me – I guess time will tell on that one. :-) I want to have made some of the trips that I have on my list (I’m looking at you, Bali!), and I want to have learned how to paint (art, not walls). I want to have learned to speak one other language, and I hope to have mastered the bagpipes by then. I know that I won’t have cured cancer or the common cold, and I know that I won’t have done something so amazing that Diane Sawyer calls for an interview, but…I’d like to have made some contribution to the world that left it a little better than I found it. I hope I can figure out what that is. :-)

I want to be living in a home that I love, one that is full of warmth, laughter, and love. Bonus points if it’s paid off by then!!! :-) I don’t want to be living alone anymore – I’ve done that, and I don’t choose to live out my days that way. I want to spend my time in the company of those that appreciate me, not tolerate me – again, I’ve done that long enough, not doing it anymore. I want to still feel well enough physically to enjoy life, and I’d really, really like it if I could finally find some relief and peace from the constant agony that is my left arm (which is hurting like a mo’fo these days). I want to not have to worry about money anymore – I don’t expect that I will be rollin’ like a rock star (although I believe in my heart that I would truly excel at that type of life), but I do want to live comfortably, and not have to worry. That would be nice. :-)

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Most of all, I want to be happy. I want to look around me and feel joy at what I see. I don’t want to feel annoyed, and I sure as hell don’t want to become one of those people that complains ALL THE DAMN TIME. I really dislike that quality in others, and I certainly don’t care to try it out myself. Ick. I’ve worked so hard in recent years to adopt an attitude of gratitude as I go about my days, and that is something that I really want to see continue. There’s a lot of great things in this world – it’s my duty to appreciate each and every one of them. :-) I have spent a fair bit of time lately focusing on doing more of the things that make me happy – I’ve not been working quite as much, I have been saying no to things I don’t want to do, and I’ve made spending time with those that I care about a real priority. I’ve met some amazing new people, and actually taken the time to live like a normal person with a social life and everything….it’s been great!! I’ve been watching all of the hockey playoff games (which you know makes this Canuck happy), and the time that I’ve spent cuddling on the couch with hockey and wine has been some of the best moments that I have had in years. See how little it actually takes to make me truly happy? :-)

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I’ve also been making plans for the summer, which I’m SO excited about! I’m really looking forward to a few weeks off work, taking a couple of trips, and spending time with the people that I love. :-) I’m also looking forward to spending an entire day in bed, and not putting pants on unless I have to go to the store for supplies (it’s good to have dreams). I want to go kayaking, sit outside and enjoy some (a lot of) wine, swim, and just be happy. It’s going to be GREAT. :-)

 

I came across this article on Lifehack today, and it made me smile – 40 Little Things in Daily Life That Bring Us True Happiness. :-)

1. Finding money in your pocket that you didn’t know you had.

2. Being asked by someone who cares how you are doing.

3. Climbing into bed when you have fresh sheets.

4. Taking an extra-long bath or shower when you have some free time.

5. Smiling at a child you see in public.

6. Receiving a 10 minute massage from your partner or friend.

7. Cuddling someone before you have to get up and start your day.

8. Waking up and realizing it is a sunny, beautiful day.

9. Having a long phone conversation with someone you care about and haven’t spoken to in a while.

10. Watching the rain fall when you have nowhere to be, and you can curl up on the sofa.

11. Watching children playing and laughing together, reminding you of the joy in the world.

12. Spending some time with your pets – or animals in general!

13. A stranger giving you a genuine smile.

14. Having a nice, long stretch when you first wake up to get your body moving.

15. Laughing out loud at a funny memory.

16. A gesture of kindness from someone in your life – as simple as your child helping you cook dinner.

17. A smell you love, from baked bread to a freshly mowed lawn.

18. A meaningful, long hug from somebody you care about.

19. Putting on clothes after they have been warmed on the radiator.

20. Taking a few moments alone when things get hectic.

21. Watching the sunset or the sunrise.

22. The smell outside after the rain has stopped.

23. Listening to your favorite artist or album.

24. Receiving an email or a letter from a friend.

25. The chance to be creative, from painting an old set of drawers to doodling a picture.

26. Holding hands with someone you love.

27. Eating your breakfast in bed.

28. Playing a game you used to love when you were younger.

29. Eating healthy, tasty food that makes you feel good about yourself.

30. An extra half an hour to snooze in bed.

31. Having some time to yourself to read a book you love.

32. Buying your favorite drink or snack and savoring it.

33. Receiving flowers from someone who cares about you.

34. Eating your lunch outside in the sun.

35. Trying out a new recipe and creating something delicious.

36. A gesture of support from your friends or family.

37. Listening to a song you used to love and haven’t heard in years.

38. Taking the time to help someone with their problems.

39. Spending time in your home when it is tidy and clean.

40. Achieving a small victory, like fixing the washing machine or replacing a light bulb.

 

Great list, eh? I know! There is nothing on there that’s too revolutionary, but all really sweet, wonderful things that feel good. I think that’s the kind of life that I want to have in 20 years – it’s the kind of life that I want to have NOW. I want to spend my days revelling in the sweetness of the world around me. I’ve said before that life to me is like a beautiful summer peach…let’s all bite in, and let the juice run down our chins. Good deal? :-)

xxx

 

PS: This:

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Shake Your Tailfeathers

It became apparent a long time ago that I must not be a very easy person to love. I’m not high maintenance, my heart is most decidedly not black, I am not mean, I’m not cranky….none of that kind of thing – I’m just a different kind of kitten. Part of the problem is that I am a very creative person – my mind never stops going, I’m not known for my finely-tuned logic skills, and I’m also quite averse to seriousness (which is a polite way of saying that I am a raging jackass most of the time). I came across this article recently, and I absolutely LOVED it! Entitled “20 Things to Remember if You Love A Highly Creative Person”, it’s a great read. While I’d never be so pretentious to think of myself as being highly creative, I do think there’s some very decent advice for all of us on how to deal gently with each other – and, for those who may be interested, how to deal with me. :-) Happy reading! :-)

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1. They have a mind that never slows down.

The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. This can be exhausting at times but it is also the source of some crazy fun activities and conversations. This is absolutely, 110% me – my bloody mind never stops (which is probably why I suffer from insomnia), I’m always thinking…I exhaust myself. The rest of the world must find me frustating!

2. They challenge the status quo.
Two questions drive every creative person more than any others: What if? and Why not? They question what everyone else takes at face value. While uncomfortable for those around them, it’s this ability that enables creatives to redefine what’s possible. I don’t do this so much, actually….I tend to go along with things outwardly, rarely pausing to rock the boat – but you should hear the revolutions I’m starting in my head!

3. They embrace their genius even if others don’t.
Creative individuals would rather be authentic than popular. Staying true to who they are, without compromise, is how they define success even if means being misunderstood or marginalized. This is ME!!! I don’t give a whooping funt about being popular or well-liked – I care far more about being me, and being true to me. I think I’m a pretty decent person – if others don’t get me, then that is their loss. Whatevah.

4. They have difficulty staying on task.
Highly creative people are energized by taking big mental leaps and starting new things. Existing projects can turn into boring slogs when the promise of something new and exciting grabs their attention. I am natually inclined to be this way, but years of conditioning has forced me to learn to stay on task, hyper-focus and finish the job at hand. If I didn’t have to worry about keeping my job, I’d probably be loopier than a shithouse rat!!

5. They create in cycles.

Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary. I can definitely relate to this – sometimes, my creative juices resemble the rushing waters of Niagara Falls, and I can’t get all of the ideas whirling in my head out quickly enough. Othertimes, it’s like the friggin’ Sahara around here…dryer than hell. Ebbs and flows, friends…ebbs and flows.

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6. They need time to feed their souls.
No one can drive cross-country on a single take of gas. In the same way, creative people need to frequently renew their source of inspiration and drive. Often, this requires solitude for periods of time. I am a girl who definitely requires ‘me’ time – I need to be left alone to read my favorite websites, slide through my Twitter feed, catch up on my favorite shows on my DVR…all of these things feed my creativity, they inspire me, they get me thinking, and they make me feel good. Does anything life-shattering ever happen after I watch the week’s worth of Jimmy Fallon on Saturday mornings? No. Does it make me feel as if I’m ready to take on the world and I am going to be okay after an exhausting week? Absolutely. Bring it on. :-)

7. They need space to create.
Having the right environment is essential to peak creativity. It may be a studio, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of the house. Wherever it is, allow them to set the boundaries and respect them. I wish that I had a quiet space to work and think and just be, but I don’t. Instead, I set up shop on my bed most of the time (I got a new Casper mattress in December which is the friggin’ bomb of all time – seriously, it has been SUCH a game changer for me. Love it! :-) ), or I park it in the living room on the love seat, and get down to business. I used to love writing outside on my deck, but the yard is a shithole of a mess and I don’t have time nor arm power to clean it up, so…I’ve taken my show inside. :-( In other news, I’m currently holding auditions for intern yard boys/pool boys ( even though I don’t have a pool) – all interested applicants are encouraged to apply through the Comments section. 😉 PS: Shirts will be optional! 😉

8. They focus intensely.
Highly creative people tune the entire world out when they’re focused on work. They cannot multi-task effectively and it can take twenty minutes to re-focus after being interrupted, even if the interruption was only twenty seconds. This is partly me – I am a focusing fool….but I can multitask with the best of them. I think it must be the years of conditioning in the work place -plus the fact that I’m a girl. 😉

9. They feel deeply.
Creativity is about human expression and communicating deeply. It’s impossible to give what you don’t have, and you can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself. A writer once told me that an artist must scream at the page if they want a whisper to be heard. In the same way, a creative person must feel deep if they are to communicate deeply.  I can definitely relate to this one…I feel all the feels, all the time. When I get my feelings hurt, it cuts me to the core. When I care for someone, I love them with all of my heart and want to build a shrine in their honor on the regular. I spout love declarations, I sing their praises, I compose them bad love poems – the whole nine yards. When it comes to feelings, I am a believer in the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy. This probably explains why I’ve been hurt/shattered so damn many times. Oh well….nothing ventured, nothing gained.

10. They live on the edge of joy and depression.
Because they feel deeply, highly creative people often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Their sensitive heart, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering. I don’t suffer from depression – I get sad and bummed, of course, but I generally try to keep that in and hide it from the world. However, thankfully, my moments of melancholy are mostly few and far between. I said to someone recently, as I was pissed off and ranting and raving like a lunatic, that I work so hard all of the time at keeping my feelings between the lines, keeping everything on a real even keel…never allowing myself to swing to extremes. Why? Why do I feel that I have to do that? I suppose it’s the years of my mother telling me to tone it down, to stop every time that I showed any extreme of any sort – she still does it, in fact. I’m 41 years old…perhaps it’s time for her to realize that the ship has sailed???!  There are days when I would like to just let’er rip, show all of my feelings and emotions to everyone around me, whether they asked for it or not. I can’t imagine the carnage that I’d leave behind! 😉

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11. They think and speak in stories.
Facts will never move the human heart like storytelling can. Highly creative people, especially artists, know this and weave stories into everything they do. It takes longer for them to explain something, explaining isn’t the point. The experience is.  I don’t know if I am a good storyteller, or if people think I am boring as shit and wish I’d shut the hell up when I talk….I hope that I am interesting. :-)

12. They battle Resistance every day.
Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes:

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Highly creative people wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful the person, that fear never goes away. They simply learn to deal with it, or not.  This is so me. Every day, I know where I want to be, the things that I want to do….but I seem to lack the knowledge of how to bridge the distance between the two. I certainly don’t lack the motivation, though…so perhaps some day I will figure it all out. :-)

13. They take their work personally.
Creative work is a raw expression of the person who created it. Often, they aren’t able to separate themselves from it, so every critique is seen either as a validation or condemnation of their self-worth. This is something that I struggle with…I take criticism very personally, which I really ought to get over. With the amount of shit and abuse I take from the world, you’d think I’d be better at it!

14. They have a hard time believing in themselves.
Even the seemingly self-confident creative person often wonders, Am I good enough? They constantly compare their work with others and fail to see their own brilliance, which may be obvious to everyone else. Amen. That’s all I’ve got to say about this one!!!

15. They are deeply intuitive.
Science still fails to explain the How and Why of creativity. Yet, creative individuals know instinctively how to flow in it time and again. They will tell you that it can’t be understood, only experienced firsthand. This is a weird thing that I go through all of the time…I get these wonky feelings about stuff, and I am usually right. I feel it in my gut, and there is little that I can do once that feeling settles in…I don’t understand. However, I am also the dimmest person in town about some things, and you damn near have to hit me over a head to catch on to them. Grr! I am maddening!!! :-(

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16. They often use procrastination as a tool.
Creatives are notorious procrastinators because many do their best work under pressure. They will subconsciously, and sometimes purposefully, delay their work until the last minute simply to experience the rush of the challenge. I’m funny about procrastination. I am SUCH a doer, 99.9% of the time – but there are a few things that I happily put off, hoping that perhaps a fairy will appear and take care of it (or the shirtless pool boy). Cleaning out my fridge is one of these things, cleaning the old toys and junk out of the upstairs of my house is another. I don’t know what the hell I’m waiting for with these two tasks, but I am clearly waiting for something!!

17. They are addicted to creative flow.
Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, they are addicted to the thrill of creating. I get this. I find painting to be the most thrilling activity around…and I’m NOT a good painter. However, the act of putting colorful blobs on a canvas and making something pretty makes my heart pound with excitement, and each time I do a painting class, I’m like an addict looking for another fix, checking the calendar to see when I can go back. Nutty!

18. They have difficulty finishing projects.
The initial stage of the creative process is fast moving and charged with excitement. Often, they will abandon projects that are too familiar in order to experience the initial flow that comes at the beginning. This is linked to my procrastination – I do finish things that I think are important, but…unpacking the last two boxes from when I moved in 7 years ago? Not important. Oops.

19. They connect dots better than others.
True creativity, Steve Jobs once said, is little more than connecting the dots. It’s seeing patterns before they become obvious to everyone else. This is me, I am this – I see patterns everywhere I look in the world around me. I see patterns in people’s behavior, I see connections between our actions, I see links all the time – whether they exist or not. I am a person who makes meaning from connecting to those around me…which is probably why I’m always trying to establish relationships with others.

20. They will never grow up.
Creatives long to see through the eyes of a child and never lose a sense of wonder. For them, life is about mystery, adventure, and growing young. Everything else is simply existing, and not true living. This is the essence of me…I live most days full of a childlike sense of awe and wonder, and I frequently have to stop what I’m doing to marvel at the world around me. I love to laugh, I love to have fun, and I love sharing those things with other people. I think the Wee One and I get along so well because we are very similar in our sense of glee…and I hope that never changes. Some people that I know have been OLD since they were 10 years old. I am not one of those people. I want to always feel the tingles of a new experience, and I actively combat cynicism and being jaded with all of my might. This doesn’t make me immature (much)…I think it makes me a lover of life. :-)

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Are you a creative bunny? Whether you are in love with a creative person or you are one yourself, embrace the qualities that make this kind of person so magical to be around….and try to love them in spite of these things. :-) Maybe, just maybe, you will learn to love them BECAUSE of these things – and that would be the very best of all. :-)

 

xxx

Knowledge – Reposted from 2012

Note: April 28th is a sad day for me…I lost my Dad 11 years ago today…and the sting is still there like it happened a week ago. I doubt it’ll ever pass….and I’m okay with that. I love my Dad more than I can tell you, and I miss him with all my heart. I’m reposting this old post today – sometimes it’s hard to find new words to express an old feeling.

Miss you, Daddy.

xxx

 

 

Knowledge is power, they say…but is that always the case? I’m all about learning – not that surprising for someone who has worked in Education for nearly 20 years. I believe passionately in the idea of lifelong learning, and I am such a believer in knowledge being the key to enlightenment – however, there are things that I believe we are better of NOT knowing. Are you with me?

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First off – I don’t need to know your ‘number’, nor do you need to know mine. Of course you know I’m not talking about our phone numbers (everyone and their kitten has mine, I’m sure…no big whoop), I’m speaking of the number of others (significant or insignificant) you’ve been intimate with. A lot of people believe this to be a critical question – I couldn’t disagree more, actually. Rarely do people tell the truth about their number, anyway – women are famous for shaving a few (or a few dozen – absolutely no judgment here folks) off their numbercs, while men have been known to add a few (or a few zeroes) to theirs. What do we accomplish by pressing our partners to tell us this? Not a lot. The knowledge is going to hurt us – if their number is high, we run the risk of thinking they’re a whore and we won’t measure up to their masses of other partners, leaving us feeling jealous as all hell and hideously inadequate. If their number is really low, then we have a dilemma – do we tell the truth and feel whorish ourselves, or do we lie and then feel like shit? Either way, nobody wins. This is a time when knowing something is probably going to hurt far more than it will help.

Another thing that we don’t need to know is whether or not our arse looks big in something – sadly, if we have to ask, then it probably does. I’m sorry, friends. But…so what if your arse looks wide??! Who cares??? There are a lot of men out there who worship a big caboose, so…not to worry! What are you going to do – stay home because you’ve got a big butt and you cannot lie?? Noooo!!!!! That’s insane!! It is what it is, you are what you are…just own it. Be it. Be you! Enjoy that junk in your trunk!! You are definitely good enough – that is something you always need to know. :)

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There are a bunch of things that I personally don’t want to know – some of them are insignificant (whether or not someone was lying to me 20 years ago – it doesn’t matter now; what exactly goes in to sausage; whether or not my friends would consider cannibalism and eat me should we ever be in an airplane crash in the Andes), and some of them are pretty big. I’ve written before of the absolute heartbreak that I went through when I lost my Dad to Alzheimer’s eight years ago – his battle with that wretched disease was hands down the most difficult thing I have ever dealt with in my life, and I still find it hard. When my Dad died, a number of people talked to me about having genetic testing done, to determine whether or not I had the gene responsible for Alzheimer’s. I thought about this for a very long time, and came to the conclusion that knowing if I had the gene was not important, and that nothing good would come from it. It would probably change the way I lived my life, I would have second thoughts about doing a number of things, and…what’s the point in that? I wouldn’t want to live half a life, would you? Probably not. So, I decided not to have the testing done, and I’m still happy with that decision. I’m not getting any younger, and if I happen to have the gene behind Alzheimer’s, then…I have it. I will know soon enough. In the meantime, I endeavor to live every day the best that I possibly can – and every time I remember a useless fact (which happens a zillion times a day, because my memory is pretty amazing – don’t think the irony of me, the daughter of a man who had Alzheimer’s when he was incredibly young, having a great memory is lost on me – it’s not), I celebrate because I’m doing all that I can to keep my mind active and engaged in the world around me. If I have the gene, all I can do is keep my mind going for as long as possible…and enjoy the ride. :)

 

On a lighter note….here’s a few other things we probably don’t need to know:

  • You have approximately 4,000 wax glands in each ear – gross, right?
  • A cockroach can live nine days without its head before it dies of starvation – disgusting. Disgusting disgusting disgusting.
  • More people are killed by donkeys each year than die in plane crashes. What the hell are these people doing to their donkeys??!
  • There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
You’re welcome, friends…you’re welcome. 😉

xxx

 

Happy Birthday! :)

Happy Birthday to my long term love William Shakespeare!! (it’s also the anniversary of his death, but….we don’t focus on the negative ’round these parts) Our love affair began with me reading “Romeo and Juliet” when I was 8 years old (and yes, naysayers, I totally understood it!)…and continues to this day. We get each other – it’s a pretty deep and real love thing. :)  To honor him, I give you some of his finest…. :)

 

 

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This this THIS :)

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Clearly Mr. Shakespeare knew some of the places I have worked over the years.... ;)

Clearly Mr. Shakespeare knew some of the places I have worked over the years…. ;)

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The wisest words of all :)

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, my love! :)

xxx

Ghost Town

Madonna released the video for her latest single ‘Ghost Town’ this week, and it’s pretty bloody stunning. Here’s a link for you to check it out….it’s beautiful. :-) ** Click on the image to see the video**

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Should you fancy a sing-along, here are the lyrics:

Maybe it was all too much
Too much for a man to take
Everything’s bound to break
Sooner or later, sooner or later

You’re all that I can trust
Facing the darkest days
Everyone ran away
We’re gonna stay here, we’re gonna stay here  

Ah, ah
I know you’re scared tonight
Ah, ah
I’ll never leave your side

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

Tell me how we got this far
Every man for himself
Everything’s gone to hell
We gotta stay strong, we’re gonna hold on

This world has turned to dust
All we’ve got left is love
Might as well start with us
Singing a new song, something to build on

Ah, ah
I know you’re scared tonight
Ah, ah
I’ll never leave your side

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

I know we’re alright
‘Cause we’ll never be alone in this mad mad, in this mad mad world
Even with no light
We’re gonna shine like gold in this mad mad, in this mad mad world

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown


This song is just gorgeous…and a beautiful sentiment as well. It’s kind of the musical equivalent of relationship goals, eh? Think about it – when things go bad, I will be your fire when the lights go out; when it’s cold out I will be your cover, let’s just hold on to each other…when there is nobody else around, we will be two souls together. I LOVE it. :-) It’s amazing. :-)

I was asked recently what I thought relationships should be – my answer was not words (for a change), but this image:

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This is really it, isn’t it? Someone who wants your company, thinks you’re the best, and wants to shag only you. Sounds pretty straightforward – and great – to me. :-) I was listening to an acquaintance describe a man that we know in common, and he described him in the most elegant and tragic way – he said that he was a “seeker of lost souls”. I can’t stop thinking about that sentence….because I think that is me. I have always been drawn to strays (animals and humans), those that are down on their luck, those that are unavailable, those that are inappopriate choices….the whole nine yards. It seems like I purposely and deliberately go out of my way to choose the most difficult options in life, and make things hard on myself. I suppose that part of it is that I have always believed greatly in the power of the underdog, because I have felt like an underdog myself. I have always wanted to teach in the prison system, because I believe with every ounce of my being that when we know better we do better, and education has the power to transform lives – and I wanted in on that. Sadly, that opportunity hasn’t come my way yet, but hopefully it will some day. I think I could do some good things. :-) That wide-eyed optimism is the same way that I approach my interactions with other people…and, while this attitude has got me in trouble far more times than I’d care to admit (there are too damn many cruel people out there, my friends), it’s the only attitude that I have. Thinking the best in people, regardless of how lost their soul may be, is all I’ve got. My soul is probably lost as well, you know…and I’m just looking for someone to seek me. :-)

 

xxx

Come On Get Happy

On January 1st, I embarked on a journey to celebrate things that made me happy. I started posting a minimum of 1 picture a day to my Instagram (@leannaerin, if you’re interested in joining in the fun) of something that made me smile and feel happy – and I labelled it with the hashtag #100HappyDays. I had technical difficulties a couple of times that prevented me posting before midnight, but I did fix them right away, and I made it all the way through…my 100th day will be this Friday, which is, ironically, my birthday. :-)

You can find out about this project on their website – and I strongly recommend you give it a look. It’s a great idea – I put a reminder on my phone for every evening at 8:00pm, just to be sure that I wouldn’t forget. Some days, I had so many happy things to post that I blew up my Instagram (sorry about that, following friends – my very large night out in Austin last Friday must have been a beast for you!)…other days, I had to dig pretty bloody deep to find anything to feel happy about. The thing is, though, that I did it, I did find things to feel optimistic and happy about….which is always a great thing. :-)

Here are some highlights for me:

My love :-)

My love :-)

The truth!

The truth!

Hahaha :-)

Hahaha :-)

Sage life advice :-)

Sage life advice :-)

My new short 'do!

My new short ‘do!

I have said these to people....much hilarity ensued ;-)

I have said this to people….much hilarity ensued ;-)

It happens ;-)

It happens ;-)

Amen!

Amen!

If you don't do this, then you're a liar.....EVERYONE does. :-)

If you don’t do this, then you’re a liar…..EVERYONE does. :-)

:-)

:-)

 

According to their website, people have found the following when they have done this project:People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
– Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
– Become more optimistic;
– Fall in love during the challenge

 

This is what I found: I looked at the world around me differently, constantly keeping my eyes open for things that made my heart super-happy, and took a picture….just to be sure that I remembered the feelings that I had in that moment. I didn’t receive more compliments from people, sadly – however, this is totally fine, as the project was done for me, not for anyone else. I believe that my optimism level improved, which is quite the thing as my optimism is already pretty darn high! As for the last point up there…I think that I fell more in love with myself, with my surroundings, and with this life that I lead – mixed up, chaotic, confusing, and difficult though it may be….it’s MY life, and most days, it’s pretty damn magical. :-)

 

xxx

Done

It has come to my attention recently that people that I thought I was close to, that I had developed friendships with, and that I felt I could trust were, in fact, shitty, shady people who were simply playing me to try to get something from me. I am extremely frustrated by this news, and SO angry at myself….I’m smarter than this. Yet, somehow, in my stupid bloody desperation to have friends and a social life, I believe all of the lies, and open myself up to the possibilities…and then this happens. Again. I’m done.

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Why can’t people just be who they say they are? Is it really that difficult to have integrity? I don’t get it. I have done a lot of reflecting over the weekend, trying to figure out if something I had done could have possibly led these people to believe that this kind of behavior was okay – and I got nothing. Nada. I’m trying to tell myself that their shitty behavior says nothing about me and everything about them, but….it’s hard. If you are finding that this can be an issue for you, here are five signs that you might be in trouble when it comes to integrity:

1. It’s all about you. Selfish people harm their organizations, families and friends. If it’s all about you, you won’t go the distance. Or you will, but you’ll hurt a lot of people in the process and you’ll never know what could have happened if you made it about others.

2. Your self esteem rises and falls with the opinion of others. A secure leader can see the right way and lead people there through tough conditions. An insecure leader will bend with every change in public opinion. Which means you’re not actually leading anyone, not even yourself.

3. You’re hiding things. You shouldn’t be telling everyone everything (that’s not healthy) – but someone needs to know everything. If you’re keeping secrets, you’re heading for a fall.

4. You fail to do what you said you were going to do. This isn’t just about keeping promises; it’s about keeping your word in everything. Better to say nothing and surprise someone by delivering than blurt out an intention you can’t fulfil. Ultimately, people lose confidence in you when you fail to deliver. It’s a trust issue. A fairly easy way to address this is to say less and deliver more. A great follow up system also helps (sometimes a lack of integrity isn’t even a moral issue – just an awareness and organization issue).

5. You make too many compromises. Leadership is not about getting everyone to like you or about finding the easiest path. It’s about discerning the best way forward. It’s about getting people to go where they wouldn’t go if it wasn’t for leadership. If you make too many decisional compromises or even a handful of personal compromises, your effectiveness will be–you guessed it– compromised.

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Those points really make sense to me, how about you? The real question is, though – what do we do about it? Here are some tips to do this better, to be a better person, and less of an arsehole:

Meet your commitments. As an entrepreneur, when you are late with a committed business plan or meeting with an investor, you lose integrity. As a company, if your customer feels you did not meet your product quality commitment, your company loses integrity. Your view or reason doesn’t matter.

Honest to a fault. This term is usually used to mean honest as seen by other people. Some think honesty is only related to what is said, but not telling the whole truth is dishonest, even in court. If you can’t deliver a service because of your company’s mistake, integrity suggests that you include the real reason in your apology.

Strong and consistent moral code. The target here is to meet the receiver’s moral code expectation. If your product or process is marginal or worse, you will lose that customer. If you are trying to find an investor for your new gambling site, you probably will be disappointed.

Treat everyone with respect. No one likes to be dis-respected (from their perspective). Respect is difficult to define in the abstract, but quick to be recognized by the receiver. Be courteous and considerate to all on cultural differences, positions, races, ages, or any other types of distinctions.

Build and maintain trust. Trust is a reliance relationship built on character, strength, and ability. It usually takes several good acts to build, and one bad act to lose. To build company trust, you need to personalize your company. People do business with people. Even internationally known brands are judged daily by the quality of their people.

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While these tips are meant to be taken into consideration in the business world, I don’t see why they wouldn’t apply to our personal relationships as well. We as a society need to treat those around us more carefully, and stop being so reckless with the feelings and emotions of others. We need to be more deliberate in our actions and our words, and we need to be more thoughtful of our fellow man. It seems that more people than ever before are all about themselves these days – gone is the time when we did unto others….we need to bring that kind of thinking back.

 

xxx