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Romance: The Thing that Haunts Us

addamsToday I teared up when a gal-pal of mine told me the lengths to which her true love goes to woo her. Romance is a lovely thing, and it makes my heart happy to hear that there are people out there who make the effort and take the risk.

When I hear love stories like this, it makes me dreamy and hopeful and a little jealous too. I mean, why isn’t my guy like that? Ah, yes, the WHY’s always haunt us.

The truth is that each and every relationship is unique with benefits and drawbacks, and a one-of-a-kind intimate alchemy that cannot be distilled by anyone else. Truth be told, they can’t even be distilled by the people in them. C’est la vie.

Why did you fall in love? Often, and in the best relationships, it’s inexplicable. It’s a je ne sais quoi that cannot be expressed in language. It’s all a matter of the heart.

Romance is emotional not logical, so it’s hard to explain the importance of it to someone who prizes logic over emotion. Logic is safe (it’s black and white after all, and our brains love to neatly categorize), but what makes us human (our ability to feel) is the drive behind it all. So, in my case, my man isn’t great in the romance department, but he’s wonderful in other ways. And yes, the things that I adore about him are also the things that could potentially find me sporting  an orange onesie. This is a universal truth.

A hard lesson that I’ve learned is that romance and true love are two very different things. Ah, now there’s the rub darlings.

True love breeds romance, and romance alone eludes true love. I’m a true romantic, and I like to think that there’s a balance between people like me, and people like my guy.

If you are with Mr. or Mrs. Romance, enjoy every second. If you are not, don’t let it haunt you. You will never know WHY or WHY NOT. Rest assured; it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with an individual being vulnerable enough to play, to open their heart, and to be tender.

 

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Everyone is a Kid at Christmas

kidsThis is for teenagers, young adults, and parents.

Let me tell you a short story. Today was my day off. I work long hours, at a very (physically & psychologically) demanding job (which I love). Even so, I L-O-V-E my days off.

No-alarm-clock days are luxurious. After all darlings, I have mastered the art of living and relaxing. But today I set my alarm for 6 a.m. You see, my kiddo had to get up and out before 7 a.m., and I wanted to give him a drive.

Yes, he’s old enough to get there himself. Yes, he knows how to pack his own lunch, cook, clean and do his own laundry. Despite the kiddo’s protests,  “Mom, why do you want to drive me? I’m fine on my own. Go back to bed“, I often get up even on the days I work a late shift.

Why? Well, as any parent will tell you, they cherish those moments with their children, and those moments come fewer and more far between as our children grow up.

The Christmas season offers many opportunities to argue, fight, and to feel annoyed with one another.

When we want to be with you to decorate the tree,  have dinner with friends, and participate in family traditions, please remember that it’s not intended as a form of torture.

When we ask how your day was, we’re not so much checking up on whether you were a stand-up human being, we want to make sure you’re ok. Ok as in, we’ve been there, and we know that the world can be cruel and hard. We want to make sure you never leave for the day, or go to bed at night feeling, ‘less than’.

When we pack you a lunch, or suggest you take more food, we’re not criticizing your menu choice. We don’t want you to be hungry.

When we make sure you have a winter coat for the season, and suggest you take a hat or gloves, it’s not because we want to send you out looking like an over-grown toddler or out of style. We don’t want you to feel the cold.

When we ask you about your first crush, we don’t want to give you a moral lecture on sexual behavior. We want to know if your crush is treating your tender heart with care. We don’t want you to feel heartache.

When we ask you what you want to study or what you want to be be when you grow up, we don’t care if you have a definitive answer. We want you to go after your dreams.

We don’t want you to suffer; to feel pain, cold, hunger, loneliness or sadness.

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky, you will always be someone’s little boy or little girl. At a certain point in life, the roles reverse, and like I feel about my mumster, you’ll want to swaddle us in protective love too.

Wishing kids of all ages, a very happy holiday.

 

 

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The Perfect Gift for Her

You can never find the perfect gift when you’re looking for it. Never.

That’s why I hate Christmas shopping so very much. I hate feeling like I have to buy something for someone.  I prefer to see something that makes me think of that someone special and snatch it up.

Alas, no one is perfect, not even me, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the busiest shopping season of the year. Yikers.

I’ve personally never been told that I’m hard to buy for, but I’ve heard the cry from my friends, their spouses, and the singles among us who are inspired to use the romantic leverage of this time of year to spring something wonderful on their true-love.

I don’t pretend to know the love of your life, but I can tell you this; women, unless you know them extremely well (and if you did, you likely wouldn’t need to read this) all enjoy similar things.

Never forget that just spending time with you is what makes  her truly happy.

If you feel bound to buy a gift, unless it’s gawd-awful or an engagement ring, with jewellery, you really can’t go wrong. White gold, yellow gold, whatever gold. Diamonds? Meh. That may not be the message you wish to send. How about sapphires, rubies or emeralds? And remember, the strength of the stone represents the strength of you love for her. If you’re not thinking of taking the relationship to the next level, do not buy jewellery.

unstoppable

 

 

Perfume. Know what she wears, or what she likes to wear, and splurge on her favourite scent. Most perfumeries offer sets at this time of year, and we love them. What could be better than travelling with a miniature vanity stocked with your favourite frangrance?

elie saab

 

 

If you’re just not really that serious, but you feel like you should buy her something, try alcohol. Chances are she knows you’re also not the one, and could use a little liquid therapy. Buy her something bubbly and delightful.

les etoiles

 

 

If she loves her spa time, give her a generous gift-certificate to her favourite escape. Always, always, always accompany this with something soft and snuggly like a teddy bear or a stuffed reindeer. Silly can be cute. A stark envelope cannot.

blitz.jpg

 

A weekend away. If you can both manage this one during the holiday season, I tip my hat to you. Giving of your time is often the most coveted and most difficult gift to give.  Make it romantic. Bring champers, roses, candles, and a be well rested so you can….well, you know…

room

 

Of course a beautiful bouquet at any time will let her know that you’re thinking of her…

peony

 

These are all terrific Christmas ideas, but what every woman really wants is just to spend time with her sweetie.

Stay tuned for Being Jolly on a Budget….’cause that’s how you’ll win and keep her heart.

HO-HO-HO!!!

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Christmas Dreaming; Joy Rapture & Ecstasy

christmas datingEvery single woman (and women who are in relationships that lack relating) dream of Christmas Romance, passion and at the very least, a decent meal and some intelligent conversation.

Emotions run high at Christmas time, and the word Joy can be found on everything from teacups to the ass of red panties that jingle-all-the-way.

So let’s start with the romantic scenarios that inspire joy…

Joy; the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

Last year I had a blast-from-the-past-he’s-the-one propose a very romantic date.

“Whatever you want. You name it. I want to do something special with you this Christmas”

I was joyous. “Really,” I though to myself. “After all of these years, it’s this guy.” This guy that I’ve known for so very long and idealized since the night he took me for a romantic dinner and kissed me outside a winter, storefront window more than ten years ago. I remember the boots I was wearing that night, and I still have the skirt.

Rapture ; the experience of being swept away by overwhelming emotion or passion.

Ah yes. It was a passionate date. We shared a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants. We had just enough of my favourite bottle of wine to make me even more giddy, and went for a long, romantic walk which meandered outside the Grange at the AGO and included a long, slow, kiss.

Ecsatsy; a state of being beyond reason and self control.

Well, a lady can’t expect everything now can she? Mr. Wonderful-After-All-These-Years turned out to be exactly who he had proven himself to be years before.

We never reached the ecstasy stage as date number two never happened.  Oh, don’t worry, he asked for a second date. I just didn’t give it to him. I was hurt. I cried, and I raged, and I called my bestie to rant about what a colossal, self-absorbed dick he was, and then I moved on.

What I did not do is turn to a brand of romantic atheism and man-hating.

I let myself want that decent meal and intelligent conversation. Oh, and the wine, the really delicious wine.

I let myself be satisfied with the company of friends old and new. Most importantly, I allowed my heart to stay open to all of the possibilities of joy, rapture and ecstasy.

Wishing you all three romantic stages this Christmas time, even if the joy and rapture come in the form of wonderful get-togethers with friends and the ecstasy comes from too much eggnog and a  bad one-night-stand decision…xo

 

 

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The Practice of Practicing Loving

decisions todayI’m not a re-reader. I have re-read less than a handful of books and a few articles.

There is one article that I’ve kept around, read and re-read, copied and passed along to friends; Let Me Count the Ways, by John Tarrant, Shambala Sun, September 2011.

I’ve kept it around because I’ve needed it. It made sense to my heart, but I couldn’t assimilate it into my being, into my practice, into my every-day-can-I-not drag-the-pain-of-my-past-into-my-future.

As I write this, the love of my life is nestled in front of me. I look into his blue eyes and see the hope, the joy, the pain of the past and all of the questions about the future, and I practice loving. All of it. The joy, the pain, what happened in the past to bring us to one another, and the wonderful mystery of what joys the future will bring us if we just surrender.

You remember your first kiss or when you met the one you love. Youemember where you were, what the weather was like, what you were wearing, who else was with you, and what song was playing. Such a memory is one of the compass points of life. It doesn’t mean that the love was smart of worked out or you understood what it meant, but it means that you surrendered. You risked the taste of life, and that changed things.

When you sit across from a man who makes your heart beat faster, your loins become outrageously moist, and your mind stop churning, you know that you’re in trouble.

The question is, how do you stop thinking? How do you stop bringing old wounds out into the light to be re-opened, dissected and left to fester? How do you live in a deliciously perfect moment that life has been conspiring to present to you since the day you were born?

It’s about risk.  It’s about surrender. It’s about letting go of everything that you ever thought made any sense to a bruised and battered heart. It’s about not calculating and just simply letting go.

When things come into being involuntarily, everything shakes: the universe appears, expanding rapidly, poems arrive out of nowhere, coincidences occur, and the mind is rearranged. In love you do things, that don’t make rational sense. Like enlightenment, love teaches you how to live down a level, to follow instructions that come from deep inside.

So this practice of practicing loving is an unforgiving master. This practice of practice of loving strips me bare of everything I’ve ever thought about myself and my values. Love makes you wake up, feel alive, and grateful for each and every sensation.

You notice what gives you pain, what hardens your heart –  how when you dislike someone or hold a grudge, or embark on a crusade, or are jealous and principled, you make yourself and others around you unhappy. Noticing is a practice of love. You don’t have to exclude, extinguish, or dislike anything that the mind presents. Life becomes an adventure. You take the ride.

So in the on-going practice of practice of loving, as we venture into mid-life and the increased awareness of what-might-have-been, I choose to stick my thumb out and take the ride.