Tag Archives: love

Day 16 Be Present: Inner Peace and Finding the Love from Within

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Day 16 Be Present: Inner Peace and Finding the Love from Within

I have a funny (as in not helpful) habit of finding myself unloveable when difficulty arises. If my laundry has stacked up/the kitchen is gross, I bounced a check, I made a mistake at work, or I lost my cool with a kid, I turn that on myself, and feel unloveable, and then unloving is close behind. What is that about?

We think we have to be perfect to be lovable? And then, my silly brain goes from feeling unloveable to unloving, because if the world doesn’t love me, then by God, I will beat the world to the punch and be the first to un-love. Then Snarky Anne comes out to protect herself against an unloving world.

WHAT?!? That logic is more than flawed, it is a circle jerk backward approach. And self-fulfilling. If I think the world is going to push me down, then I shove first. I think I am not alone. Do you do this too?

What if, instead, we decided to love first? Would it help us to notice the love around us? Leave our opinions about ourselves and our lovability out of the equation and extend love regardless of our vision of ourselves.

Action Item for today:
-Say hello to the garbage man
-Smile and look the cashier in the eyes; ask how they are doing with sincerity
-Thank the police officer for being kind about giving us the traffic ticket rather than a power freak dude (?!)
-Laugh loudly at the joke someone tells
-Quietly listen to the kid’s complaints about the teacher rather than telling them to buck up and do it anyway (this is hard for me)

In short, find ways to be a blessing to others. Everyone has a big sign around their neck, wanting love. Let’s get out of our own shoes and be the one to give it to them. See what happens. And notice if we feel more love? (More on that tomorrow)

I have a great daily blogspot with a video for you to watch- very short:
http://www.darrendaily.com/make-love-all-day/

Here is the video:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg&feature=youtu.be

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February = Love Month (not that kind, read on…)

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I was thinking of Jasmine, and how she reprimanded Jabbar about cleaning his room the other day and I wondered how Camille was doing with her painting, and also if Christine would ever find close friends (she is kind of controlling… more than me even). I took a deep breath and realized I had actually been feeling closer to my favorite TV show characters than with my real- life neighbor Dena and old freinds Katy and Delia lately. Wow- I am very gullible, and out of touch with reality!

I am stopping just short of pathetic because I know I am not alone in this tendency. Why mess with real people when I can sit for 4 hours on Netflix and watch Christine try to make a new friend over wine and sushi?
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Relationships = Relating

If I/we want to have more than 2-dimensional depth, I/we need to put some elbow grease in to it. So- here are the new habits I am adding for the Love month of relating better and loving better.
1. Hug kids twice each daily
2. Call or speak face to face to reach out daily to friends
3. Keep trying to have empathy for annoying (but real!) people. My real- life neighbor Dena talks too much about her toddler. If she tells me one more time about how she won’t wash plastics in her dishwasher due to carcinogen risk to toddler, she won’t let her kid eat hot dogs because of the nitrates, or that every Saturday morning they eat fresh fruit and homemade french toast together, I could scream… And don’t get me started on my retired parents who seem to gloat on a weekly basis about how much free time and extra cash they have on hand to buy new cars for themselves. (I know, I know, I should pray for them. I am trying…)
4. I will strive for a 4:1 compliments to criticism with kids and loved ones every day.

These are lofty. Really huge. I will keep on trying though I know some days I will crave my pretend friends over real life.

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Single Mom of Teenager Blues: My Fix-it Steps

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“If one thinks that one is happy, that is enough to be happy.”
Madame de la Fayette

I had a bout of SMTB (Single Mom of Teenager Blues) this week.  Crying jags, going to bed early, out and out sobbing while driving, afraid to talk to coworkers because I might cry in front of them, sitting in my car, wondering if I could put mascara on yet in the morning, and eating lots of chocolate chip cookies (oh wait, I do that every week).

The reason? I had to have some strong natural consequences for my son and he HATED them.  So he argued, blamed, struggled, stomped, told me I loved his siter more than him, etc.  He really worked at making me feel like the Wicked Mom of the West.  I was tired, weak, feeling unloved and underappreciated, and consequently, I felt awful about it all.  I missed the concept of a partner to step up next to me.  I missed my sweet 5-year old boy who would hold my hand and beg for me to read him more books. I missed that sweet boy who would hug me spontaneously.  I missed a husband helping to fix us dinner.  I missed sleep.  I even missed MY Mom!

Here are my feel-better steps:

1-I texted my single mom friend Sandy, asked for prayers, and she commiserated with me. 

2-I told my sister with no children that raising teenagers is wearing, and I wasn’t feeling that great.  And my sweet sister emailed me that I am doing a fantastic job, and making it look easy (I am pretty sure my kids would disagree with that!).

3-A friend at work gave me hugs and told me that I was right on track. 

4-I went on strike and did not cook or clean or ask my kids about any chore or homework or bedtime or soggy pizza box they left on the kitchen counter.

5- I went to bed with a picnic dinner and my book at 7:30.

6- I woke up this morning and ran 4 miles.  I prayed big time through it all, and decided that I have a guardian angel- I must if we have made it this far!!! She is watching over us and making sure it will all work out just right, just perfectly.  I decided to be happy and let my son be mad. 

He woke up today talking to me again, and I breathed deeply.  We are all doing the very best we can.  So let’s rest tonight, knowing all is well and will be well.

Choices, Ripples, Grace, Joy

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“Each choice we make causes a ripple effect in our lives. When things happen to us, it is the reaction we choose that can create the difference between the sorrows of our past and the joy in our future.”
– Chelle Thompson, Editor of Inspiration Line.

This is my quote for the day/week/millennium.

We can make choices to blame ourselves when our kids run away, and fall into self-blame about choices we made 2 weeks or 2 years or 10 years ago. Or we can do our best to love our child and ourselves through the turmoil so that we are open to new ideas, new approaches. My friend Susan is working through her daughter running away this morning; obviously our hearts go out to her and her whole family. I haven’t experienced a run-away, but I just hope she is able to love herself enough to let the grace happen on the other side, whether that other side of the horror is today, next week, or in 10 years.

We can choose to blame ourselves when our home is robbed- “Why didn’t I double check the doors and windows?! I am such a knucklehead! Why do I sleep at night?!”. Or, we can model to our family what it is like to be calm in the face of invasion. My friend Mark lived through this last week- at 2 am scary-looking losers entered his home while everyone was asleep. No one was hurt (or even knew about it until they went to look for their wallets and phones). His reaction not to blame himself for being a “Bad Protector” helped his family minimize the trauma. We don’t know what grace waits for them on the other side.

This is not on the level of runaways or home robbery, but I happen to be one to spend money when I am feeling low self-esteem. I inflict my own trauma. Towels helped me through infertility issues. I had lots and lots of plush colorful towels by the time I got pregnant. Cars helped me separate from my parents’ manipulations. And now it is fall, and I obsess about boots making me feel worthwhile in my office (the black Liz Claiborne suede zip-ups would help me have more clients, right?). I need to stop and love myself enough to let the grace in rather than spend the money that is already ear-marked for the mortgage.

You know the grace on the other side, they are creative miracles just in time: unexpected closeness in a relationship, tangible connection with our higher power, material blessings for someone truly in need, kindness from a stranger, reprieve granted on a stressor, the phone call we didn’t know we were waiting for…

Don’t be a victim, don’t let your past experiences be your bitch and make you make a mess of something that God intends for grace and mercy.

What will our ripple(s) be today? Will we role model calm to our kids when it hits the fan? Decorate our house with the Halloween goodies wehave rather than buy more? Make banana bread rather than feel grumpy and tired about the weather? Workout? Go to a yoga class? Congratulate someone on a job well done rather than point out the miss-steps? Decide to balance our checkbook rather than live in mystery?

Each and every choice has a ripple effect. Be courageous. Make some ripples today.

Welcome to the Dark Side: Stingers, Snarls and Bikes for a Single Mom of Teens

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Welcome to the Dark Side          

I think that a “Welcome to the dark side” kitchen banner should accompany a coupon for 2 year’s worth of massages and alcohol for all mothers on their daughter’s 14th birthday.  My golden-hearted sweet child of heart, love, prayers, consideration for others, and all-around awesome Christian pre-teen has turned into a blood-thirsty wasp.Image

Yes, I said that.  I don’t include pictures of her here, because she is beautiful and I am super-protective of her online.  However, there have been moments when I wondered if I would be the one to take her out before her 16th birthday.   She will be 15 in December, and I know it will get worse before it gets better…

She can sting me with the sharpest barbs…  Saturday, I asked her if she wanted help putting her Homecoming dress on, and she said “No, that is the last thing I would want or need right now”.  Ouch.  I asked if she slept well the other morning.  Her reply was “Yes, no thanks to you. You left my door open in the middle of the night”.  I didn’t touch her door and it was all I could do not to get in an argument that would have looked like a 4th grade spitathon. 

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It is taking all of my patience, prayers, and walking out of the room when she blows up at me to survive 14.5 years of age.  “This too shall pass”, “It will get better”, “She is in a tough transition”, “High school is hard”, and finally “Was I this much of a bitch to my mom?!?!” all scamper through my muddled mind like a squirrel on crack when she pops me with one.  I need to adjust to this rolling roller coaster so dang quickly!  I am told to be a pillar of comfort, hold steadfast boundaries, and be the safe secure haven my teenagers can count on.  That is hard to do when you are hyperventilating from a swarm of bees that you thought were little cupid angels until just a few months ago!

Her brother is 16.25 years old and has made great strides in maturity, accepting responsibility, having a little etiquette, a sense of vulnerability (however, he still thinks he can eat a meatball sub sandwich with his hands, while riding a bike across town), and the ability to comfort someone when they are upset.  He is surprising me… “Mom, how was your day?” actually leaves his mouth several times a week!

I do not arrange my life around my kids and their needs any more.  They do need to budget their spending money and keep track of their shoes, homework, and phones.  But lately I have started talking to each kid alone, before my bedtime (which is earlier than theirs).  I channel that sweet mom who had 4 and 5 year olds and listened to them, no matter what they were saying, without giving them direction or judgment on their lopsided opinions of the world.  That was fantastic advice from a mom of 20-somethings who are not in prison, graduated from college, and have jobs.  She seems pretty sane too, for a stressed out working mother…

I thought that when kids got bigger and able to tie their shoes, get dressed, go on dates, and get across town on their bikes to a job that they didn’t need some quiet alone time with me anymore.  It turns out that they like it quite a bit, and so do I!  I am trying to remember that she is quote possibly digressing in the most painful ways into herself and this phase is actually more painful for her than me…Image

There is hope; we will prevail in love.  And we won’t give up on them.Image

Love – The Terror of It

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“True Love is one of the rarest jewels of life, treasure it with all your heart. When you find someone who loves you just as you are, is steadfast during moments of stress, willing to grow with you and allows you to feel however you choose to feel in any moment – there is nothing more you will ever find in a person. You’ve found True Love when you feel fear; fear of vulnerability, fear of abandonment and fear of letting go of your own stubborn egoic patterns that keep the real you separate and safe from the other. Trust in love and go towards your fear, taking this leap of faith in every moment is the journey Love requires for its sweet reward.”

– Jackson Kiddard, author & polymath.

pol·y·math   [pol-ee-math]
noun
a person of great learning in several fields of study; polyhistor.

Ok, so the quote above was written by a man of great learning in several fields of study- a very smart cookie. I love this quote! Love is terrifying! So I would add that it requires courage added upon our relationships on a daily basis.

Truly loving ourselves requires courage to stand up for the person and her ideals, even when we really aren’t so sure about how she will be received by the world.

Loving our teenagers means we have to step up to the plate and stand up for what we believe in (our rules, our boundaries, our behavioral expectations), and who we believe in (the cute pimply kid in front of me who just got busted for breaking the rules, again). It takes guts to show up every day as a single parent, ready to step in when needed, to discern when we can butt out, and to have faith that we are enough and what we have done is enough. With no back-up, no cheering section, and no partner.

For me, loving my lover means I need to show up, let my ego take a break, and throw that oh-so-ugly-fear of abandonment out the window.

Some days, the courage needed to truly love me, my teens, and my lover is elusive, I really want to back down, accept, and burrow in to the fear, let it take me over. I think that I am not worthy, that I just can’t do it…I don’t have the energy needed. Ha!

Guess what? I can do it! And you can too. So keep on stepping up to the plate, keep showing up, keep on setting aside your fears, and give the ego a shove-off. You are vulnerable, you may be abandoned, and the real you might not be compatible with your lover after all. But today, in this moment, you know what you know. So do this one step you know right now. Be present. Be vulnerable. Be Truthful. God and the Universe are on your side. Ask for their help!

What would it be like to live this day believing that we are truly blessed, protected, and guided? I have that written on my mirror with stars and underlines, because I tend to forget that, even though it really is kinda important…

Let’s get out there and love, truly love, you, your children, your lover, and your life. You are truly blessed, protected, and guided.

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Daily Bread

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God gives us our Daily Bread. I was bummed yesterday and pulled out all the stops, cried, wailed, journaled, blogged, all that. And now, that river has passed and I am counting all the ways that God has given me my Daily Bread, and has had my back. Yes, I know… you were right after all. Go ahead and gloat.

Life is full of sadness and disappointments. Nobody ever said life would be easy, if you are a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an atheist, or whatever, life will hit us all (really really hard) every now and then. It is not for the faint of heart. So we get hit, we feel it, we talk about it, we learn the lesson, and we get back up.

I am celebrating all the love in the world today that is available when we look for it:

-I got to hold a 2-month old little baby named Annie today.
-My daughter put a bouquet of flowers and a note on the bathroom mirror last night for me to see first thing.
-I got to hug an older lady friend today and tell her I had been looking forward to that hug.
-Two women I snowboarded with on Sunday posted fun photos of us on facebook and called me a “Badass Boarder” (they are -10-15 years younger than me, and I got to show them the fun powder and give them a few tips…haha).
-My son gave me a huge hug this morning and looked me in the eye (he had to look down, cuz he is taller than me now) when he said “You are awesome, thanks Mom, I love you”.
-A friend gave me a piece of chocolate cake and a red rose this morning.

I got a heartfelt apology from Goober yesterday. I have stopped playing the victim, and remember that I am strong, courageous, and I held my boundary. I am learning and growing and I did really good work, breaking up with him. I needed it and maybe he did too, that is not for me to decide. I am celebrating the fact that I broke out of my old habit of taking the crumbs of love and am now celebrating with the entire cake.

God does have our back, and is giving us our daily bread of love. I just don’t always notice it in the moment. I hope your Valentine’s Day is awesome and you feel all the love surrounding you!