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A Soldier of Love on Buddhist VD

"Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town." ~George Carlin~
“Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”
~George Carlin~

Welcome to February!

In Canada, it’s another month of cold weather gear and snuggling by the fire. You may only be snuggling with the cat, a good book, a tumbler of your favourite winter red, or like me, all three.

During this month of winter, I am going to try my best to warm you up with cozy thoughts of love my darlings.  This will replace my annual whining about being bombarded by pink, white and diamonds tossed at us by Cupid, the  figment of our collective imagination aptly decked out in a diaper.

This year I am determined to laud Valentine’s Day as a day dedicated to loving and friendship. I will be doing this from a sailboat in the Caribbean Sea, which may be taking the sting out of it, but I digress…. Regarless of motive, I shall persevere and not question my rose-coloured outlook.

Yesterday, I as I lounged under my pile of duvets, I had time to read a short piece in Mindful magazine by Dr. Cheryl Fraser, entitled, Make Love a Priority.

Now, I really don’t have one special person in my life, so you might be wondering why on earth I was reading an article on making relationships last. Well darlings, it’s always best to be prepared.

I was reading the article as I would a map of sorts. It’s nice to become familiar with the landscape before you arrive. Consider it reconnaissance of the most delightful kind, being carried out by this soldier of love.

The little teaser read, “Remember: “Love” is a verb”…Oh good lord I thought as I sipped my coffee, this is going to be a bunch of idealistic pooh. Since I usually refer to Valentine’s day as VD, I thought I should carry on with the article in case it might change my very stubborn mind.

Dr. Fraser went on to tell the story of her Grandparents who met at a Valentine’s dance while her Grandmother was already engaged to someone else. This meant nothing to Norman (her grandfather), who was determined to woo and romance this woman.

Now that’s my kind of love story; real, messy, and completely lived on the fly. She had me hooked;

Though she was engaged to another man, he wooed her, won her, wed her.

“Go get her Norman,” I thought as my wee little cynical heart began to beat a  faster.  In a few sentences I learned that the couple did, indeed, live not just happily-ever-after, but with passion and that little je ne sais quoi that keeps your wiggly bits warm.

Most of us know a couple like my grandparents, and we want that sort of love affair, too. None of us plan to become the couple staring blankly across the restaurant table with nothing to say. But great relationships are created, not discovered.

I’ve been that couple. But that’s the kicker isn’t it? The ever-evolving creation, the ongoing magic of spiritual alchemy between two people that needs constant tending. I wish I fully realized that when my marriage fell to bits. It’s only in hindsight I have been able to recognize these things, and fully come to realize the ongoing effort that’s involved.

I’m a great one for grand gestures and whirlwind (but time limited) romances. They are so much more exhilarating than hacking away at the same old thing, but you miss the joy of reminiscing, and looking back on the trail you’ve created together.  It’s a cowards’s way out I’m afraid. It’s a way to let fear rule, and your heart remain safely locked away.

Authentic relationships are  a fine balance with pro’s and con’s on both sides of the ‘to be in a relationship or not be in a relationship’ debate that so often wages war in my anxious mind.

Whichever side you take; better-off-coupled or better-off single, it’s an article worth the read. Most of the advice applies to friendships as well. Those can be lop-sided too. Without effort, the friendship becomes stale, and meaningless. The maintenance of  true connection and attention to care in any relationship is necessary for survival.

Treat Valentine’s Day like a meditation bell, reminding you to slow down and show up for love, over and over again.

Call me a hopeless romantic Buddhist if you must, but I do have to recommend this article to friends, lovers, and armor-clad soldiers of love such as I.

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Not Being In Love: The Truth From Someone Who’s Single

"Don't ever settle for a relationship that doesn't allow you to be yourself." ~Unkown~
“Don’t ever settle for a relationship that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.”
~Unkown~

When you’re not in love, life is a lot simpler.

That’s what my experience has been. When you are in love, your heart aches for that someone special, and you would twist yourself inside out to make their world a little brighter.

Being in love is ideal, and not being in love can be very liberating.

Not being in love allows you the freedom to be distracted from your real life and to be entertained. Flirting requires a cleverness that gets lost in relationships. Not being in love means not being attached. Not being attached means not being attached to any particular  outcome. Not being attached to outcome lends itself to a lighthearted freedom, and you know what Janis Joplin’s famous rendition of Me and Bobby McGee taught us about freedom;

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

~Kris Kristofferson & Fred Foster~

One of the best parts of any great relationship that I have, whether it be romantic, or platonic, is that it was rooted in the deep muck of silliness, play and lack of inhibition.

Too many relationships have been about saving the other person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like hanging around like that hideous orange and white life-preserver that dries out and cracks in the sun while everyone is having fun in the pool. I don’t want a needy partner looking to be saved. I want a relationship to be a place where we can both come to recharge our batteries, instead of sucking the energy from one another. It’s a fine balance my juicy little love-plums.

So if you’re not in love, the next best thing may be to be engaged in some sort of flirtatious shenanigans. These are the things that keep us young at heart, and there is nothing more deliciously sexy than someone who knows how to have fun. Wine doesn’t hurt either…but I digress.

Being in love can be safe, comfortable, and deeply satisfying. Not being in love often results in the singleton being told a plethora of platitudes from people who are only somewhat satisfied with their partners, some of the worst of which are; you’ll find someone when you’re not looking, don’t settle, and, have you tried on-line dating?

All the while, the singleton at the receiving end of this merciless load of poop is thinking, “Maybe you should try shutting up and going home to suffer in silence next to your boring partner who makes you feel mediocre at best.”

Not being in love does not offer the safety of two incomes. It does not offer an unconditional casual therapist. Not being in love leaves you free to choose when you want to wake up on your no-alarm clock days, and coming home to eat curry and drink beer in your undies after a long week at work. Not that I would personally ever do such a thing….

Not being in love also opens up a world of delight if only you can let yourself enjoy some harmless flirting. Which, has also been known to lead to falling head over heels into the sticky spider-web of love…proceed with caution my lovelies. Consider yourself warned.

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Trailblazing & Looking Back

blaze your own trail
Copyright I assume belongs to Beringer Vineyards, because it sure as heck isn’t mine!

“Blaze your own trail”. That’s what my inspirational evening post from Beringer Vineyards offered up by way of inspiration tonight.

Two glass of pinot grigio framing a distant, ethereal view of the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful, dreamy, and decadently inspiring.

Odd that I just spent a lovely visit with two of my friends who served me this very same wine following a rather long, cold day at work, isn’t it?

Odd that my cuddly male companion mentioned the same vineyard Friday evening? Coincidence?

Perhaps, but I don’t really believe in coincidence.

I believe in meaning, and paying attention to signs.

Years ago, a series of bad decisions lead me to Beringer Vineyards. They were bad decisions, but they were also what I needed to launch myself from a history of loss and bad relationships.  I didn’t see it that way when it was happening, but in retrospect, my decisions catapulted me into a life with purpose, meaning, and genuine friendships.

But hindsight is perfect isn’t it darlings? They say living in the future makes you a dreamer. I’m not so sure about that though.

Tonight, I blazed a bit more of my own trail. One that no other person on this earth will ever walk in the same way, the same time, or in the same company as I am.

Without at least a few bad decisions, my trail would not have been blazed. It likely would have just been the same rutted, ankle-twisting path that most people follow.

I indulge myself in seeing signs that indicate I am on the right path for me, even if others would call it mere coincidence.

Now, I must pay attention to the other signs too. You know, the ones that are a warning.

I consider something ‘a sign’ when it comes to me three times within a short time frame (say a few days).  So, my warning ‘signs’ this week, that have come in three’s via social media or email are;

hobby

 

 

aluminum foil

 

Tonight, as I was preparing for a bit of ‘Blazing’ in my industry, I had an opportunity to take a quiet moment and catch up with a friend. She told me that she’s excited to be moving in with her boyfriend of almost a year.

Now, to a middle-aged-single-parent-career-woman, that is trailblazing.

Perhaps I need to consider the signs again. Are the men in my life Knights or Aluminum Foil Assholes?

Do I really need to be focused on a hobby or work, or should I exhale and take a chance on love?

Time will tell. Of that, I am ever so sure.

Sometimes we must look back in order to move forward. But it is merely a glance over our shoulder if we know we’re headed in the right direction.

Please, send me a sign…..and another glass of that delicious pinot grigio….

 

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You Think You Have Time

thinkyouhaveI’ve had a lot of pretty deep conversations this week. In my line of work, that’s not so odd, but in my personal life, I try to keep things gloriously simple and straightforward.

After all, time ticks by quickly, and no matter how wealthy you are, you can’t buy more of it.

My own summer has seen three young lives suddenly lost. My professional life partners me face-to-face with loss and life choices every single moment. We all, do, think that we have time. But we really don’t darlings. Life is a dazzlingly slick dance of smoke and mirrors that we barely have the ability to comprehend.

If you want to be happy, be happy. Love is rare and beautiful in this short and precious lifetime. Leaps of faith are required to make the most of your precious and delicate debut on the planet.

A delightfully delicious specimen whom I think is relatively gaga over yours truly said to me, ” I think you like being single.”

make someone love you

After having lived my words, and taken many great leaps of faith when it comes to matters of the heart, I have been let down each time.

So, my response to this wonderful man was that of course I like being single. I like my own company, and over the years myself and I have gotten to know one another pretty well.

We’re both hilarious, brilliant, and we share the same taste in men and wine. Why on earth would I give up spending time with myself unless my male counterpart weren’t as equally loving and kind?

So, that’s the crux of the matter folks. Although I won’t be making the cover of Vogue any time soon, and I’m pretty sure that regardless of however fabulously engaging this blog is, I won’t be winning the Nobel Prize for literature this go’round, I’m worth at the very least, a kind, loving partner.  We all are.

 

There you have it. Life in the nutshell of a few sentences. Everyone wants someone, but that someone must make life happy and good. You may even have that person in your life, but failed to wake up to that realization or be courageous enough to do anything about it.

Isola FarneseSo, as I make my debut into the foyer of the grand ball of middle age, I realize that however imperfect the circumstance may be, I will continue to take chances when it comes to matters of the heart.

I hope, that in the middle of that leap of faith off of the trapeze of love, I will catch the hand of my partner, and make a spectacularly sublime landing.

Time is short and precious my darlings, and I have every intention of taking a firm hold of what makes me happy and I shall passionately follow.

 

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Life is a Fridge Magnet Slogan

selfconfidenceHe’s not. Fucking. Worth it.”

As soon as she said it, I pictured the rest of my refrigerator wisdom in the bin, and a big, bold, black and white sign sprawled across the fridge.  Substitute whatever pronoun you need.

Monogamy is a very sad thing to waste. Let me clarify; don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t appreciate it. Monogamy is for the love of your life, your partner, your confidant, the person you look forward to…every. single. day.

In other words, if they can’t choke out the word commitment or relationship, double up on your contraceptives, and enjoy the ride. Make no promises and  keep an eye out for the next bus to the next town sweetheart.

But you don’t know until you know ,do you? I mean, life and our wonder years are too short and fleeting to let much time pass with the wrong, person. One night stands and sex-only relationships work because they don’t leave anything to the romantic imagination.

furPatience and tolerance for bullshit are traits I have not been blessed with. My very livelihood comes from being straightforward, bold, and not afraid to speak up and stand out.

In the past, I’ve waited, and wondered and whined about the men I’ve been with, waiting for the magic, over-night, I love you, etcetera.

However, after a long, drawn-out, dare I say, ‘shit-show’ of a relationship that sucked almost three good years into the vortex of wasted time (kind of like those hours they figure we spend peeing and commuting), I decided that I was going to go whole hog with this relationship hoo-ha.

weakstrong

I no longer wait and wonder, I just put it out there, and if it comes back to me, super.

If not, I cry in my pillow a bit, cook, drink, have a rebound tussle under the sheets, and carry on.

As it turns out, we all know it’s pretty easy to snag the wrong kind of person. The Friday night guy. The Sunday afternoon guy. The mid-week drink and a puff guy. Whatever your poison, it’s always preferred to snuggle in with Mr. or Ms. Right when you’ve reached a certain age.

It doesn’t get easier to navigate uncharted romantic waters, when in fact, you may  be lost  in Shag-it-for-awhile Bay. But then, it’s not supposed to. What I like to believe is that all the failures make success that much more sweet.

When you put your heart out there ( sooner rather than months and months later, is, in fact, much better for you my darlings), and you don’t get anything back, pull up anchor, and abort the exploration.

As much as I like to believe there is good in everyone, sometimes, when it comes to matters of the heart, “He’s not. Fucking. Worth it.”

You can put that on your fridge honey, and take it to the bank.