Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Month: May, 2012

Big Girl Panties…

I know a word in the title might make a few of you cringe. But I can’t help but write about it, as this is the phrase that has come up in my life a multiple times this past week (what are the odds? It must be Life talking!) . Truth be told, I love this expression because it actually means something to me. I have strong associations of laughter and fun when I think of big girl panties. These associations are all thanks to Camp Seafarer and the staff training they always did at the beginning of camp. 

You see in our contract there was a sneaky clause that was titled “Other”. The way they use to teach us about our “other” responsibilities was to bring out the big – and I mean big – underwear. The idea was that when one of these tasks comes our way – like cleaning out a trashcan that has maggots in it, or staying up all night with a sick camper, or taking pictures of a camper’s nose for parents at 1:00am (don’t ask) – we were to not hesitate but simply put on our big girl panties. We were to grow up, to suck it up, and to embrace the unknown of what might be asked of us. 

The beauty of camp is that this pair of underwear was actually real. At times before we were about to be asked to do something, a Director or Head Counselor would throw the underwear our way. You knew that something was coming. Yet you embraced it with laughter – heck, maybe even a costume change! We have all been known to put the biggies on over our cover-ups and life jackets, over our summer garb, all the while doing the task that we were asked to do. 

Why is this such a good metaphor? – because it is such a tangible example of growing up. When we had the real transition from diapers to “big girl panties” we were changing our lifestyle significantly. We were praised for growing up. We felt honored and proud to have “accomplished” this milestone. In our adult lives we don’t have such tangible milestones. We don’t get praised for the steps we take where we are growing, but instead perhaps live in fear of criticism and failure, where nothing is good enough to us. However, we do deserve praise for putting on these big girl panties, in whatever form they might take as adults. We do deserve to flaunt it! We do deserve to feel proud and to have fun with it. 

This is how the phrase came up in my life for the third time this week – one of my best friends, one of my idols, one of the inspiring figures in my life has done this – and a colleague of hers wrote about it (http://camdenmainefilm.com/2012/05/29/big-girl-panties/).

Taking a step into the unknown last summer, this friend along with 5 other young women wrote, produced, acted and directed a movie. And not just any movie, but the best movie I might have ever seen. It was moving to the point, where even now I am tearing up with its beauty and truth. 

So this post is a thank you. A thank you to her and the others that decided to put on their big girl panties and face the bold, uncertain and meaningful endeavor that has since defined their life. It is a thank you for being the an archetype to me, as I meditate on the qualities I hope to acquire. It is a thank you for not listening to any outside voice, but giving the stage to the still and quiet one inside that says, “Yes, even though it might be scary, it is what you are meant to do. Go forward and do it.” 

This is to her, for taking the chance. For willing to look foolish by exposing her heart, but for putting on her big girl panties and advancing into the life she has dreamed of. 

Complaint or Request?

I was exposed to this idea last night and I think it is brilliant!

Every body has the choice to hear someone as either complaining or requesting.

Hidden deep within every negative comment is actually a secret request.

It is our job to find the request, not to think of it as a complaint.

Let us work with a fictitious example:

Drew decides to visit a friend on Saturday morning.

I get angry since I feel I have to do the laundry and the dishes, and that there are things around the house that I have to attend to.

My mind starts to go down the path and blowing this up (this is feminine energy at work – making little things big)  – Why isn’t he here more often? Why do I have to do all these things? When do I get a break?

All the while, deep down, I am thrilled he is going and doing something he wants to do. Then I am just annoyed that I have conflicting emotions.

He gets back and I am angry with him. After a while I open a little, yet instead of trying to be nice, I give him a deluge of complaints against his behavior.

Here is where it gets interesting. 

He can look at me and see that I am complaining – or he can see that I am actually requesting something.

This request is far from the complaints. The complaints, it appears are just vehicles, for in some strange language that we communicate to each other, I was asking for something more than just a partner in crime to attack the laundry. If he was to pause and say, what is it she is asking for,  he would see that it is not about the laundry or other household tasks, it is about feeling supported and loved. I am asking for his presence, full presence for me and no one else. (And I might not have even known this myself!)

Then, if he tries to give me the request, not a defense against the complaints, I imagine I would in no time feel more than excited to do the laundry all by myself since I would be so fulfilled.

These requests may not be reasonable- or even know to the one so annoyed – but even if they cannot be met, the simple act of  recognizing the request, instead of the complaints,  could change the whole situation – not to mention your relationship.

It’s all ok…

Have you ever had a night or a day when you are just off? It’s as if everything you say comes out incorrectly.

This was me last night.  I was at a cocktail party and there were three instances where things were misconstrued, when things I said where complete missteps, when I couldn’t seem to get back on my two rooted feet and simply be safe with what I was talking about. I insulted people. I embarrassed myself. I shared too much.

Luckily, in my case these nights aren’t too often, but I cannot help but see with all these blunders that I have the potential to really mess up some times. Could things I say actually have the effect of hurting someone’s dreams, including my own? Could I be so untactful that I don’t think ahead of what not to say?

The night before Drew and I had a transformational conversation. When we finished I felt we were brought to a new level. We were more aligned than ever before. We were more free. More excited. More in love. I think this is why the day after I fumbled. I had entered new territory. This was unchartered seas, and like a blundering freshman, I excitedly got ahead of myself.

This helped me realize that I am not immune to mistakes – and I mean quality mistakes (the kind you think will end your life – I was saying some things that could have jeopardized our dreams greatly, not intentionally). While I think I tend to dwell in the safe mistakes that I can romanticized and write about as small lessons, I realize that the more we start living, the more risk is involved.

The more you choose to live your greatest life, the greater our perception of our potential failure. The closer and more dedicated you become to your dream, to truly living a life that is thrilling and exhilarating and fun and risky – the greater distance you think you have to fall. It is here that we have a greater fear that if we make a mistake we will actually perish, since this dream is something that we care more about than anything else – it is our secret and greatest identity – that we guard intensely. It is easier to mistakes when you don’t live fully – those don’t matter as much. I don’t care if something that isn’t part of my greatest self fails – but what if this thing that my Soul is telling me to do gets messed up by mistakes I make?

I imagine if I was to talk to a Yogi about this, he would look at me, and say, “Ahh, yes. It is nice to hear you and your loud, very important voice, Ego. But, tell me, Soul. What is the truth that you see?”

Then I would know. The quiet voice inside of me would whisper as gently as a slight summer breeze that relieves the sweltering Southern heat for just a moment -” There is no fail. I, your Soul, am indestructible and brilliant despite anything you externally choose to do. Despite any external situation.”

Anything worth doing is worth failing. We have said that before here. But this is what it means – it means that anything worth doing, brings forth facing the fact that you could fail – and fail in such a way that all of your identify crumbles, even the achievement of your secret greatest desires in life .

But perhaps it is just then,when your identity is lost, that the ashes only nourish the soil for your Soul to truly root down and have a chance to grow in your life.

Happy Thoughts

afternoon thunderstorms in the summer

being excited when you wake up

making a new friend

having an “event”

seeing yourself in a new light

potstickers

blue and white bedrooms

not being able to get enough of someone

healthy ways to feel significant

“reduced- guilt”

drops of lavender essential oil in a shower

a two-seater

beach cruisers

being honest

sleeping in a sleeping bag

a can of beans cooked over a campfire

acoustic guitar players in your neighborhood

recognizing the brilliance of your day

feeling beautiful

silk robes

making your home into a spa

eating only vegetables for dinner

learning something new that is useful

being tan

using fine china and silver silverware everyday

playful dogs

having hope

someone greeting you excitedly

unexpected compliments

being ok with imperfection

falling in love with a new feature you have

nights without TV

Cloe Madanes

“Joyful! Joyful! We adore thee!”

God It!

“God it”

Saw this on a bumper sticker today, after praying to make it through an intersection where I have been hit before.

I love how Life continuously talks to us!

Getting to Enough

I remember my first experience of truly feeling that I had enough. I was 21 years old, sitting by the ocean while I was abroad on a destitute island in the Turks and Caicos. I had my bowl of dinner and I sat there with the peace and happiness of another day of studying, diving, laughing and learning completed. Then, in a moment I was overwhelmed. I had no idea what this new sensation was, yet like a wave that was crashing below the sea wall where we sat, I was taken over and submerged in the peacefulness of this new feeling.

I stayed there for a moment and thought to myself, what is this? What exactly am I feeling. Then in a moment and with tears in my eyes, I knew what I was experiencing was the feeling of having and being “enough”.

The remarkable thing was that this feeling came because of my rationed dinner that had to fit in one bowl and usually involved cabbage and rice. In the fact that I hadn’t taken a fresh water shower in two and a half months. In the fact that almost all of my days were spent in the heat of a Caribbean Spring, which isn’t always welcoming. My feeling of enough came from wearing the same 2 every day and from sleeping on top of a bunk bed. It came from the mosquito net above me as I slept and the single sheet that covered me at night. It came from the fact that I woke up early to greet the world as the sun reached my part of the sky, and that there was no television to distract me in the evenings. It came from playing card games with friends and finding humor in little things and idiosyncracies of each other. It came from walking and not being in a car once while there.

It came, I believe, because suddenly in the simplicity of my life abroad, I recognized that all I already needed I had always had. It took two and a half months for my “wanting mind”, as the Buddhists would say, to quiet down and give up its struggle of trying to convince me that I needed or wanted more. In the starkest of any of my previous living situations, I found my peace, I found the fact that I truly had enough.

This feeling, this state, is one that I find more precious than others. It is the state where I feel completely grateful. Truly alive. Truly blessed. It is a state when Life seems to be so near, saying, “Yes! See! I am here to give you exactly what you need! Now and always! So let’s dance and play. ”

As I sat on the bench by the ocean wall, I turned to my best friend  and started to explain what was going on inside of me all of a sudden. It was in this moment, when I suddenly realized that being here, being in a state of “enough”, I suddenly didn’t know what to do next. It was as if I reached a goal that I had been working on for my entire life. There always comes that time, the morning after, the moment after, when your mind is left lingering  without any stronghold and you are left bewildered about what to do.

So I looked to my friend and said, “Kelly. What do you do when you realize you have enough?”

She paused and thought for just a moment. Then responded in the most profound way.

“I think you help others to realize that they have enough too.”

Just thinking of her response and the wisdom she shared with me brings me back to the state of utter joy. Since that moment, it has never been the same. While at times my wanting mind comes screaming in, this experience and this knowing Life is enough, is part of me. Now, I can’t help but want to help. I can’t help but want to spread the Joy, the Peace, and the Happiness of what it feels like to live in enough. Because I know “enough” doesn’t cost a lot. I know “enough” doesn’t have certain requirements or external circumstances. I know enough can happen in a worn down t-shirt and three bowls of rice a day. I know enough can happen on a yoga mat, spot of grass, or a seat on the subway. I know enough can happen with a one really good friend. I know enough can happen with just a moonscape or a laugh.

Yet, above all, I know that right now you dwell in enough and it is my greatest desire that you see this and live dancing with Life here.

Dream Watchers…

I really like Weight Watchers. I have been to a few meetings with friends and thought that I found a little enclave of camp in the real world. They cheered for each other! They encouraged each other. They went and faced the truth every week. They set clear and definable goals and were rewarded for them! I remember the first meeting I went to when everyone erupted in applause because a woman ate a carrot instead of birthday cake! They cheered for carrots! I love cheering for vegetables! I was in!

Yet, as time passed, I quickly realized that as much as I  loved the encouragement and joviality of the group, it wasn’t aligned with my health ideals (I just couldn’t agree that it was “healthy” to cook a box cake with diet coke….). Yet I often think how wonderful it would be to have such groups about other things, not just weight. Why can’t we form groups around different goals too? Why can’t we all get that excited for each other’s little decisions that mean real growth in the direction of our dreams?

It is my hope to form such a group, yet, until then, I write about weight watchers because there was one thing in particular that I did take away from it and am applying right now. Like any long term goal that is changing habits, Weight Watchers was very good about encouraging each other not to stop completely because they took a break. They spoke openly about how we all “get off track” and that there were certain things to do to get back on track. 

I think of this today because it has been a while since I have written on this blog and I am faced with the uncertainty, the self-abuse, the internal dialogue  that berates me for neglecting it (the voice even hinted to me to stop!) It is funny to observe this. It is even funnier that it makes me think of a meeting where people are cheering because  I have chosen to quiet that voice and take the humble road back on track to doing what I feel good about.

It is interesting to me that we tend to push aside so often that which really means the most to us – we push aside what we find is our calling. This could be our health like in those Weight Watcher meetings, it could be writing for me now or  making the calls for business and success. Perhaps we do this because this calling is a part of us and we know it will always be there, even if it’s not being expressed. Yet I can assure you that we all can very easily deny our true selves -our highest selves  and the daily actions that bring us to that place of happiness and greatest contribution.

But we have to get back! We have to go back to the meeting and shyly say that we have been off track, but are ready to come back. We have to forgive ourselves for not meeting our own standards or daily goals. We have to understand that Life has a reset button, even though our minds try to convince us that It doesn’t.

So what does this mean? It means that it is ok to veer away. Consider it the scenic route on a vacation. A detour to appreciate the daily path you have chosen. We don’t beat ourselves up for taking vacations. Why should we here? Everyday presents an opportunity to “get back on track”. The hardest part is simply taking the steps again towards the goal – even if you feel you have put yourself miles behind where you were. This is a time for us to recognized our humanity and embrace with celebration and love that we are not perfect! But we are strong – as proved by our decision to bring ourselves again on track towards our ideals.

Be the Lover you wish to have….

I heard something today that reminded me of this excellent piece of advice that I received about love 6 years ago. The idea is really quite simple…. We must be the lover we wish to have.

There are probably many qualities you want in your love. Gentleness. Acceptance. Playfulness. Joy. Surprise. Appreciation. Passion. How does this translate for you? What do those things look like? Then, how can you be those right now?

I remember when I heard this piece of advice I was incredibly single. There wasn’t even a boy anywhere on the horizon, nevertheless, close to becoming an interest of mine. But I knew I wanted to experience love. That was something I had dreamed about since being a little girl. So what did I do? I worked on becoming the lover that I wanted to have.

I became playful. I would laugh more, enjoy other’s company, play exuberantly with the children in my life! I found fun in the little things, despite what was going on. I danced. I sang in the car. I did exactly the things I would imagine my true love would do.

I practiced self acceptance. Not self-help. Not self-improvement. But true self- acceptance, where I congratulated myself on mistakes at work and examined the ugly corners of my life with a loving eye. I breathed deeply.

I worked on being sexy. Don’t worry- I won’t give details here. But the truth was that somehow I was waiting to find my sexuality after falling in love. But it is within us now and always. It is part of this body and this life, and comes out to play in relationships. Why not begin to befriend it now?

So the question, like I said,  is really quite simple. What are the qualities that excite you about love? It doesn’t matter if you are in a relationship or not. Be those qualities. Practice those traits right now!

Just thinking about this today radically changed my approach to Drew tonight. I didn’t want to get dragged down by the weight of the world. I want to experience those ideal qualities that I dreamed were associated with love right now. Right here. With him!

So tonight we laughed. We flirted. We high-fived on some “fails” I had. No matter what he does, says, or thinks tonight, I have already experienced that Divine Love that I always thought would be mine and I was able to give it to the one person in the whole world I want to give it to the most.

Happy Thoughts

Tan men in white linen shirts

Feeling prepared before a big event

the peace of walking into a sacred space

Peacocks and Peafowl

Using cutting boards as clipboards

taking time to relax

memories of relaxing days when your life is busy

someone figuring out that happiness is a choice

“everything in its place”

“holes” where your pet should be

campfire songs

praying to God to not let you hate someone

laughing, genuinely, when you open a bill

unexpected raises

working with good friends

singing loudly when no one else is around

making friends with people at local businesses

girls dinners

getting a new book

finishing a book

daily habits you have chosen

effortlessly seeing yourself in the future you have always desired

hypnosis

straw hats and lady luncheons

the way high heels puncture the grass you walk on

shelves of clouds

attic fans

perfect gifts for friends

knowing yourself.