Gratitude Saturday February 16

How to capsulize my week: Had horrible cold all week, which forced me to cancel plans (including reservation at a restaurant that I’ve been trying to go to for a month but something always comes up causing me to cancel) So yeah…But I’ll try.

  1. black cherry cough drops
  2. very sweet hot tea
  3. English muffins
  4. aloe tissues
  5. murder mystery reruns
  6. HGTV
  7. ability to instantly buy books for my nook
  8. many people wishing me Valentine’s Day
  9. finally starting to get better
  10. I’m the last one in the house to get sick-

I’m adding a new feature to Saturdays: I’ve been reading a book “Calm” Michael Acton Smith and it’s obviously about calming my mind.  He suggests jotting down the things that calmed me, as well as highlights.  I’m going to add some of those each week. I’ve noticed that these things somewhat overlap.

Things that calmed me:

  1. sleeping with my head at a tilt
  2. having the ability to rest

Highlights:

  1. Valentine’s Messages from those I love
  2. Being able to eat a sandwich on Friday- a sandwich with actual fillings and not just plain bread…
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What I Learned About Love This Week

I recently asked a friend how he knew he was in love with his person. The answer was simple:

“I just know.” he said.

“But don’t you want to know why?” I badgered

“Why? Does it matter why? I just know it like I know any absolute in my life. I know I’m in love.”

And many of my friends answered the same way.  They don’t know what it is, but they know it when they see it, they know it when they feel it.

I’m trying to be practical with regards to love- trying to find the algorithm and it just doesn’t exist.  Dating websites might find you someone compatible based on your likes and dislikes, but they can’t predict love. A computer can’t just know.  And for the second time in two days I feel myself being compared to a cyborg.  Because. I. Want. To. Know. LA wants the formula.

Good luck with that.

Now let’s talk about Valentine’s Day.  I know there’s a lot of haters out there- people who can’t stand Valentine’s. And I get this: Hallmark holiday and all. Pushes love in your face.  Makes singles feel bad.  Etc. Etc.

But…

What’s wrong with a day that celebrates love? We still have April Fool’s on the calendar. So- it’s ok to have a day to prank or be mean to someone, and then we say “April Fools” and all is forgiven? Why is that OK and Valentine’s not?

I got an 8 am group text from one of my best friends yesterday with the simple words: Happy Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t romantic, but it was from the heart. it solidified the bonds of friendship that we share. What’s wrong with that…reminding the people that you love that you love them?

And while we’re talking about February 14: I had an observation yesterday: My friend who has the strongest marriage I know received a bouquet from her Hubby. Sweet. She also received one from her daughter. See, that’s love too.

And…

My other friends and family to receive Valentine’s: all on second marriages or the relationship equivalent.  Why do I point this out? Because maybe it’s silly to celebrate Valentine’s, but maybe it’s worse not to. Maybe it’s not about the actual day, but maybe it’s about the actual feelings.

Don’t get lazy about showing the person that you love that you love them.

It doesn’t have to be flowers or candy or hiring a skywriter. But is does mean telling your partner early and often how you feel about them.  Maybe you do “just know” you’re in love, but you need to make it evident to your person in whatever way you best show love.

Make the effort. Show the love.

If you love someone it’s worth the effort.

Because it just is.

 

Who Speaks of Love

I’m pro-love.  But as demonstrated this week, its hard to define what love is.  And a little fun to describe what love isn’t… But music, lyrics…to me, songwriters do the absolute best job of describing love.  If you’ve been friends with me long enough, you know that “Patience” by Guns N Roses is my all time favorite love song- I mean really- you need sooooo much patience when you love someone. But I wanted to come up with the perfect love song for this year- and I found myself in a quandary: there were two songs that I liked equally.  So, I present the lyrics to “Shallow” (Star is Born) and “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran.

To love….

Shallow
Lady Gaga
Tell me somethin’, girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?
I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longin’ for change
And in the bad times I fear myself
Tell me something, boy
Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?
I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself
I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now
In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
We’re far from the shallow now

Songwriters: Andrew Wyatt,Anthony Rossomando,Mark Ronson,Stefani Germanotta
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,Downtown Music Publishing,Universal Music Publishing Group,CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC
Data from: LyricFind

Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks
And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way, mm
I know you will still love me the same
‘Cause honey your soul can never grow old, it’s evergreen
Baby your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand
But baby now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are, oh

Songwriters: Amy Wadge,Ed Sheeran
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,THE ROYALTY NETWORK INC.
Data from: LyricFind

The Definitive Guide to Showing Your Love

It’s hard to define love: many people say they know love when they see it.  So here’s a short list of ways you can show your betrothed how much you care.

  1. Be jealous. Every time someone talks to them or shows interest act a little crazy. Nothing shows love like a crazy tirade against the mail carrier.
  2. Never say thank you. You love them. Shouldn’t they be thanking you?
  3. Never say you’re sorry.  If it worked for Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neil it works for you
  4. Assume they are going to take care of things- don’t they always?
  5. When they want to talk about a problem they’re having, immediately jump in with solutions- that’s why they’re talking about it isn’t it?
  6. Forget what they said two minutes after they say it
  7. Better yet- don’t listen to them at all- just make uh huh sounds- they’ll probably repeat all these things anyway
  8. Don’t help around the house- you admire their ability to get so many things done, and you know how they like things “their way”
  9. Forget about personal hygiene and taking care of yourself- you get to be yourself now that you have a partner
  10. Lie- it’s easier than the truth
  11. When you spend money, hide it from them.  Having things will make everything better.
  12. Put your kids or other people in the middle of your disagreements. Unity is overrated.
  13. Take other people’s sides 100% of the time- just because you’re together doesn’t mean you have to back them up
  14. Put others first: fishing, sleeping, texting, fortnite. These are all things that make you who you are
  15. That habit you have that annoys them? keep doing it.  Love means not changing who you are inside.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Love is everything.  Love is enough. You don’t have to work at it at all…

Love vs. Me

Scene at recent book club:

Member 1: Heathcliff and Jane!  What a love story!

Me: Really? I don’t think they were really in love.

Scene at Indian café over cups of chai:

Friend 1: What did you think of “Cold War”?

Me: Ehhh

Friend 1: You didn’t like it?

Me: I really liked the movie.  I just didn’t think the characters were in love.

Friend 1: Really? I thought they were totally in love.

Scene at….

I can recount numerous scenes where I have said similar statements.  Whenever I am discussing a love story of sorts, I tend to err on the side of: sorry, not sorry. I just can’t call that love.

I’m beginning to think I have a problem with the way love is depicted on screen or on the page.

Why?

Because love doesn’t make sense.  It’s not logical.  There is no proof or formula. I just have a hard time accepting this.  I want to see the step by step progression of love. I want to know who, what, when, where and how. And if I don’t see it with my own eyes, I just don’t believe it.

Cynical.  I know.

In a book or movie, what are the tip offs that two characters are in love? And I don’t mean one character saying to another “I love you.” Using those words- well- that’s cheating.  Anyone can say the words- but there has to be actions supporting those words.  What did person A do that shows why they love person B?

Let me be clear: I also think giving someone a gift is cheating.  Giving someone a gift does not mean that you love them.  There’s a scene in “Grace and Frankie” where Grace realizes that her then husband has bought a bunch of jewelry to give her just in case he screwed up.  The gifts really have no meaning because he was just trying to diffuse difficult situations. Gifts must really matter: they must be given from the heart.

So my dear friends: when you are seeing two people portrayed as being in love, what are the tip offs?  How do you know when two characters are actually in love? What is the greatest example of love between two characters that you have seen/read?

 

First Step To Love

This week, not surprisingly, is going to be about love. But a funny thing happened on the road to love.  Saturday morning I woke up ready to go.  But somewhere along Saturday afternoon I started to feel eh. Went to movies Saturday late afternoon.  Starting to feel worse.  Dinner….let’s just say that I needed to leave as soon as we had our meal.

Got home.  Put on pajamas. Made tea with honey and lemon. Got out some saltines (the universal I’m not feeling good comfort food) and looked up my symptoms on WebMD- thrilled that it was not the plague but either Common Cold or Flu- and settled myself on the couch under some blankets.

I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

But…

In my moment of foggy head and sore throat, I realized that to me, love is the person willing to take care of me even though I don’t need to be taken care of. The person that wants to take care of me just because.

So there you go.  Love is the person who is willing to take care of you when you’re down.

More on love tomorrow!

Gratitude Saturday February 9

As we zip through the shortest month of the year…

  1. Grateful that I finally shaved the little patch of hair I kept missing on my calf every time I shave
  2. Two glorious springlike days after the polar vortex
  3. Old school Centipede- so much fun
  4. Atari video games from the 80s in general
  5. amazing foreign films and documentaries
  6. Kusmi Darjeeling tea
  7. book discussions where we really delve into the heart of a novel
  8. “A Gentleman in Moscow”- best book I’ve read this year (I know- it’s only February, but still)
  9. People who love you
  10. having the ability to see some Keith Haring work that I’d never seen before

How to Become a Mindful, Meditative Person

Did the title draw you in?

Sucker.

Because I am only slightly more mindful and meditative then when I started the week.  I am still a work in progress.  As always. I have no answers.  I only have theories.  So the title should be how to theoretically become a more mindful meditative person.

You may have noticed that I am formatting my blogs a little differently now. I am attempting to have theme weeks, where I sort of, kind of cover the same topic for five days straight. I used to jump around from topic to topic, writing quickly, writing on the fly…these are all fine, but….Being more mindful means thinking about things in different ways.  It means allowing one days ideas to flow through to the next: to use each blog as a stepping stone. This week I tackled mindfulness from the different ways that my mind perceives it. I am trying to slow down a little and focus on the topic at hand.

Slow down.

Focus.

I don’t think it’s possible to be mindful if you don’t focus. You have to think about what you are doing.  Respect the moment and concentrate on the task at hand- which means slow down.

Intention.

I need to live my life more intentionally.  Which is another way of saying focus.  Why, what, how…Pay attention to what I’m doing.

Balance.

Here’s the most important word: what happens if there is too much weight on one side of a see saw? It tips to one side- the other side doesn’t have a fighting chance. You can’t live to the extreme in anything- you have to know how to find the right proportions. (and you thought all that math you learned in school was for nothing- see- you need it to be an adult) It’s figuring out how to find time for myself, and my husband and my daughter and my parents and my friends and my pets and the house and writing….you get the idea. Each area of your life must be attended to.  I think I get so wrapped up in other things I forget to take time and be thoughtful with myself.  And it I’m not thoughtful with myself, I get lost.

I don’t want to be lost.

I want to be present.

How hard is it to be present? Focused? Intentional? Balanced?

Really hard.

I went to the movies with a friend yesterday.  When I got to the theater the line was really long.  And sloooooooow. One cashier and a line of people that needed to pick seats. A line of people who are really picky about which seat they wanted.  Really.  Picky. So as I stood on the line, I opened up my Fandango app, paid the surcharge, and went into the theater.  I was impatient. (I also wanted to use the bathroom before the three hour film began) Was this a good way to be more mindful? I don’t know.  Probably not.

As I was writing this post, my Husband was very needy. He actually said “I need attention.” OK- I know he is like this.  He’s not changing. I know I need to change my reaction to it. But….it’s hard to focus when someone is whining….

I have to learn how to gauge my actions and reactions.  I need to not let situations bother me.

Good luck with that.

But I am going to try.

 

Mindful the Gap

On the road to mindfulness I discovered an unexpected roadblock: my family. As often the case, husband and daughter just insert themselves into my life. They are both the reason I need to be mindful, and the obstacle blocking my enlightenment.

Ok.  Not really.  I think you all know that I am stubborn enough to get down to doing whatever I need to do.  But that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy route.  And sometimes my family…

Husband is a rusher. He never takes the time to savor anything.  His usual choice of phrase it “What’s the ETA?” In the morning he is often quoted as saying “How long do you need?” He has an almost pathological need to be first- if something opens at 9am he wants to be there at 859 to help unlock the door.  Now, while I know that sometimes you need to be someplace at a certain time, he could do this to us on a day where we have nothing in store.  On Sunday mornings I like to go to a body conditioning class.  Class is at 915, hour long, home by 1030- and it takes me an hour to get ready. (you had to know I know exactly how long it takes me to get ready) Even if we have nothing to do on a Sunday, he will get irritated that we’re not “starting” our day till 1130. (those of you who know me know that I’ve probably done at least three other things on any Sunday morning including laundry)

It’s hard to be mindful when someone is rushing you.

And being a parent….Is there anything worse for your piece of mind than being a parent? Whenever I get almost to a point of being chill (remember I said almost- we know I’m never actually chill) in pops the child with some request. Can you…will you…would you…please…I need….come here….The language of a child is anti mindfulness…they will not let your mind rest. And even when they’re not physically there, how often do you think about them?

Claudette wrote a post the other day about her wish to be alone sometimes. I was right there with her building a playhouse for one in my imagination. There was an episode of Big Bang earlier this season where Bernadette actually starts hanging out in her kids playhouse in the backyard because the Mom/Wife/Employee badge was becoming more of a weight around her psyche.  How can you be mindful if the weight of the household and world is on your shoulders?

(on a funny note- as I was halfway through writing this post my Husband started hounding me to help him…I don’t know what I was thinking- how can he possibly pick out a shirt to go with his grey, black or navy slacks…..)

It’s nice to be needed, but those who are needed need time to get their head together. I realize that I control my own destiny, but my present includes other people.  I’m trying to find the balance (there’s that word again) between helping my family and helping myself. We must coexist, but it’s often easier said than done. Hoping to come up with some thoughts on how to actually accomplish this.  I like a good goal…

 

 

Mediwhat?

So I began meditating.  So I began reading about meditating.  Lots of people do it.  In fact I read an article stating that many influential people start off their day with some sort of meditation. If people who get things done, who are successful in their chosen areas, do it, shouldn’t I give it a chance?

Excuse #1: I can’t sit in that position.  I have weird hip joints.  Who sits on the floor anyway?.

Excuse#2: I am not good at sitting still. I’m a two speed person: on and asleep. Do you really think I can sit anywhere for more than a minute without losing my mind?

Excuse#3: I can’t clear my mind! You know me- I’m always thinking.  What? You think I can just shut off a brain like this?

Excuse#4: Breathe? I already do that.  Why do I have to concentrate on breathing?

Excuse#5: Mantra. You want me to repeat the same word over and over again? First off- what word do I choose? What if I choose the wrong word? Can I change my word? Secondly- you want me to keep saying the same word over and over? Really?

Excuse#6: Close my eyes.  OK- if I am going to close my eyes for an extended period of time, why don’t I just take a nap?

Excuse#7: Where’s my yoga mat?

Excuse#8: If my eyes are closed and I’m not thinking, how do I know when my time is up? Do I set a timer? Are there special meditation timers? Or do I just make the ringtone a bell?

Excuse#9: I don’t own any meditation clothes.  If I buy an outfit it will up my clothing total which I just worked hard to get to a manageable number. Does it fall into athletic clothing? Technically I’m on the floor with a mat, there’s timing involved and I’m breathing….

Excuse#10: I’m just not a spiritual person.  I’m practical.

Now you see, I obviously can’t meditate….

Obviously- if anyone in the world needs to learn how to meditate it would be me…I really do need to relax my mind and quiet my thoughts, but it’s actually a little scary, the thought of getting a sense of peace and serenity. It’s so unlike me.

For now, I’m going to continue reading about it.  Perhaps I can reach a Zen state by association- I think about meditating so I vicariously meditate…

Ok- maybe not so much…

But….

I’m going to work on this.