Monthly Archives: June 2011

Outreach Experiment

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“Be a lamp unto yourself, make of yourself a light.”
— Buddha

Last week, about the day after I told you I felt pathetic and loser-ish, I began a “Get Anne out of the Dump Program”. I decided that I would contact one new old friend each day that I missed, that I had a previous authentic connection with, and that I would like to follow up on.

It wasn’t that hard. I cleaned out my email at work, realized there were 2 in there that I kept meaning to respond to, and then cleaned out my messy yahoo email and found several more people. Then I actually prayed about it and asked God to let me know whom I needed to contact (of course the first one that came up after the prayer was the amends I needed to make… not as much fun, but necessary).

On Day 3, I got an email back with so much genuine emotional thickness, it has stuck with me for a week. On Day 4, I realized I already had 3 people who had sent me outreach emails that I had not even recognized. On Day 5, I got to talk and laugh with an old teaching friend of mine whom I hadn’t spoken to in years. We laughed and laughed about stuff. Day 6, the miracles were downright circling me- I began getting outreach from friends I hadn’t heard from in a long time. Other people are reaching out to me! And today, Day 8, I got an invitation to a neighborhood women’s gathering, to make more friends.

So it is cascading now, that intention I set a week ago to get my butt out of the Dump. I challenge you to try this if you are feeling a lack of love, support, and encouragement in your life. Offer it to one new person a day, in a genuine, enthusiastic, look-them-in-the-eyeballs kind of way, for 8 or 10 days. Offer it to women, old men, coworkers, old coworkers, whoever crosses your heart. Just offer it out there, and see what you feel like giving. Tell me what comes back to you.

Seeking and Being Sought

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My previous crush didn’t seek me out very much, for whatever reason. We had a great time giving each other support, encouragement and laughs whenever we talked and shared time, but he doesn’t make himself available for it very often. My MO has always been to wrangle them in, try to convince them that they really cannot live without me, and basically to go after what I want (like most women in my generation who have been trained to do so withour careers). I decided to step out of my comfort zone this time: I stopped the grabbing for attention and tried to be thankful that I figured it out in time that he really is not in the right place for sharing with me. Otherwise, he would be!

The wise advice given to me by my good friend Mary was “Let myself be loved. And let myself know what it feels like for men to come to me for my time, love, and attention. Stop trying to capture love. In the meantime, give myself love, time, and attention.”


So I am answering the old emails and phone calls from people asking for time even though they are not Romeo*. And I am enjoying it! Ha! I think I can train my heart to give and receive love and attention, not question it or judge it, and just enjoy it. Let that energy flourish and see who else pops up. Essentially, I am enjoying the blessings of today and trusting that the right guy will show up, but I need some practice giving and receiving love in the meantime.

*Not Romeo: I have a 70-year old widowed man (a previous employer), 2 long distance married ex-boyfriends, 2 long-distance married men (just old friends), 2 girlfriends from college, 1 new neighbor woman friend, and 1 acquaintence from junior high. No one of relationship material is knocking, and I told you 2 days ago that I am not quite ready for one anyway… I am really enjoying these new/old connections and letting myself just relax and enjoy what is here.

I think we all need to practice giving and receiving this love, support, and encouragement, from wherever and to whomever comes in for it. We cannot force it on anyone, but offering it to the Universe helps us to open our hearts for the next person.

From the Victim Wagon to the Strawberry Stand

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“Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.”
— Marcus Aurelius

It is time for me to get back out of the victim-wagon and walk on my own 2 feet, tall and proud of where I am, what I have survived, what I have turned from mess into blessing.

What would it be like to just stop feeling guilty, making others feel guilty, and count the positives? My friend Pam counts positives all day long. A pencil and paper is a lot cheaper than therapy appointments. Thereby making more money available for beautiful shoes, water park visits, and fresh strawberries.

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Noting positives all day long is a nice spin on the same old gratitude list. I have heard multiple times now that the energy of gratitude is higher vibration and more healing than the energy of love even. Of course, gratitude energy IS love energy, as we are loving our lives, and loving our God for giving us our lives and blessings.

Life is not for the weak. Awful shit happens to undeserving people every damn day. Luckily, we aren’t weak, and every day is a fresh new day to get off our butts, be courageous, and make the changes we want to see in our lives.

No-go on the Blind Date

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I cancelled. I just couldn’t get my brain around it. The idea of a blind date is too pathetic, too needy, too awkward. I know that you, my faithful readers, have told me that love is everything, and all the important things in the world are better experienced in the context of a loving relationship. You really wanted me to go on it, even just to hear the awful story of how I fell off my shoes, got lost on the way, drank too much, and kissed his ear accidentally. And I would have enjoyed writing about that! But… I still didn’t want to do it.

I am finally in a good place with me. The Current Crush has (for the most part) left my peripheral vision, and become the Previous Crush. I am not angling to see him and communicate with him. My hopes were dashed, but perhaps I can rest in the concept that there is a better partner out there for me, and he will arrive with perfect timing.

I am living in the present, able to be there with my daughter in body and heart when she came down with strep throat yesterday, available emotionally to talk over my son’s social life and laugh with him about the practical jokes he played on his friend this morning, and ready to make some serious new career goals- working 40+ hours a week is just too much drudgery when combined with all the parenting responsibilities and attention I need and want to pay to my teenagers.

I think it is possible to work less and make more money. I am going to find a way to do that in the next few months.

There is no better place to be than here and now. No more regrets, and no more fear of the future. We are loved right here and right now, just enough.

Another Good Tolstoy Quote

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“As our self-interest diminishes, our anxieties disappear, and then comes quiet and firm joy, which always diffuses us with a good spiritual disposition and a clear conscience. Every good deed helps to kindle this feeling of joy within us.”
— Tolstoy

Well, I could have used this quote before the reunion gathering! And again before any date, and again before any family function, and, um, again before any job interview… Actually, this is a good one that I could tattoo on my arm to keep me remembering it really isn’t all about Anne-Anne-Anne. Although it could be about shoes, shoes, shoes. I found that shoes do fill the God-sized hole in my heart, even if only for a temporary time while I get my “spiritual discipline” together.

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It All Ends A Lot Better Than It Starts

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It ended miraculously compared to how it all started and the garbage I let in.

I felt really really awful when I realized my divorce proceedings had been attorney-office gossip, then dinner time conversation, and eventually evolved to bar talk… My stomach did a 3-day lurch down to the bottom floor of the Empire State Building as I realized that it was possibly an interesting story (to an outsider, not going through the tremendous emotional and financial devastation that highly public criminal court cases come along with). Why wouldn’t they unearth it, roll it around, and look for something of interest to chat about? Never have I wanted to be as Normal as possible as when gathering with my old friends from Normal 2 weeks ago. But my life diverged from Normal (and my Normal expectations for it) in 1997 when my then-husband was arrested. I guess I have not healed as much as I had hoped; it continued to unravel me. But read to the bottom…

I was standing tall in my gorgeous shoes, in the afternoon sunshine, over beers on the sundeck of a beautiful bar, laughing with old friends over a crazy 8th grade social studies teacher we had 30 years ago. He casually said “Oh, my wife works with your attorney. She was talking with him… he told her… she told me…” There I was, having a very private memory lane of my own at the reunion- my divorce case from 13 years ago dredged up, all the old wounds freshly incised. I could only stammer “Ah, interesting”.

Later, boulders ran downhill quickly as I came to and realized how inappropriate that was. But it was too late, I was at dinner, struggling to keep up with conversations while drinking as many margaritas as they would place in front of me. After midnight, the salt on the wounds came on, as the old boyfriend’s wife bizarrely pulled out a stack of high school photos of us from those old days when I dreamt about happily ever after with a loving man, picket fence, 2.3 children, etc. I have no idea what her intentions were, but suddenly there I was, in our prom, homecoming, senior photos, smiling with joyous expectation of life ever after. Surreal does not begin to describe it! So I drank more. Then got a ride to the hotel, which I discovered is 2 blocks down the street from the Church I was married in.

The failed expectations were swarming me. It all combined to form a tangled coil of nerves in my brain that would take a couple of weeks to unravel. I couldn’t stop the time travel and I got very dizzy.

I forgot who I was for 3 days. I forgot that I am a fabulous mom, that I have a career in a field I enjoy, that I have dear friends who enjoy talking to me and value me and my opinions. Basically, I forgot all that I have accomplished, all that I am proud of in the last decade. The incredible sadness of my divorces and my single life was dredged up to stare me and my childhood friends in the face. I didn’t sleep for the next week, and conversations felt strained and useless for days as I struggled to get back to the present.

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Most importantly though, I forgot that God holds me closely in his hands. I forgot that this IS the plan, for me to raise my 2 beautiful children alone, and to be doing an incredibly great job of it. I forgot that the other crap may have occurred, taking me away from MY plan, and yes, away from my Normal upbringing, and my Normal expectations for my life. But I am never going to do things that will take me away from God’s love.

It may happen to you too. You will think you are buzzing along finally, doing your life, wearing beautiful shoes, paying the rent on time, eating healthy dinners with your kids, and going to work at a job you are proud of. Your guard will be down. Your Grandmother might corner you at a Christmas dinner with dreadful questions about “him”; your Dad might make a financial decision that clearly unseats your place in the family; your coworker at a summer BBQ may reel you back with an intensely personal question in front of your boss; or an old friend, your neighborhood, or your newspaper might gossip about something that happened to you 10 years ago. Precisely when your guard is down, it will shake you to your roots. You may think you are small, stupid, worthless, and pathetic because of things that happened long ago. Don’t believe those thoughts.

The bottom line, my friends, is that God is holding us, not letting us go. I didn’t screw up my life marrying idiot losers. You didn’t screw up your life either with your choices. You are on track, right where you are supposed to be today, raising your lovely children, and doing a beautiful job of it. Don’t forget that you are doing God’s perfect will, just today when you poured the milk for her and listened to his music with him. No matter what hell breaks loose, threatening to unravel your sanity and clarity, you are beautiful and doing a beautiful job. Nothing else matters.

Psalm 145:13 says, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.”

I Will Start with the Shoes…

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I helped to plan this weekend reunion event for 8 or 9 of us from junior high and high school with very high hopes of fun, laughter, and excellent relaxing times. You know the preparation that went into it: haircut, manicure, pedicure, nervousness, new outlook on where I am with my life, and of course new shoes!

I bought a pair of beautiful tall shiny black wedge strappy shoes, for jeans and capris. I also bought a pair of tall-tall black leather strappy spiked heels for dinner out, which I loved even more. Then, I ALSO bought a pair of short REALLY cute flip flops that are leather and have leather flowers on them – they are cuter than they sound. All three are awesome shoes, and helped me feel beautiful all weekend. They rocked, and were possibly my favorite part of the whole weekend (a little foreshadowing…).

I ended up leaving the weekend very tired, glad to get home, to sort out all the drama, to look past my foggy lenses of how wonderful everyone else’s lives SEEMED to be in comparison to mine, glad to enjoy the best that each of the old friends had to offer, and yes, to get a relief from the tall shoes.

By the time I got to my kids and home afterwards, I felt pathetic about most of my life except my gorgeous shoes. So thank God for the shoes!

I have had a ton of ups and downs in my heart since leaving for the famous weekend… It would take days and days of blogs to explain it all to you: attorney drama, old boyfriend drama, getting lost every time I got behind the wheel of my car, drinking way too much (not while driving though), dirty dancing, stories and stories ad nausea, anxiety, fears, boundaries, renewing old friendships, and realizing some friendships could stay un-renewed. All mixed in with laughter and hilarious stories from childhood.

So I will just use wearing the shoes as a comparison for now: They were awesome, I didn’t fall down, I felt tall and beautiful in them, and they worked out just right- the way they were supposed to. That is exactly like where I am today- it was a great experience to spend the weekend together; there were uncomfortable times for sure; I had ups and downs (felt really short and small); I learned a few painful lessons; but now I feel again like life is beautiful and God is lovingly holding me in his hands.

Details to follow as I keep on sorting and sifting it through…