Nice Matters: A Shout-Out of Gratitude

peonyToday I’ve written a bit about mean, so let’s shake that crappy mojo. I’m going to  write about something more important; nice (aka kindness).

Kindness matters. It’s part of that grace thing that I’ve been trying master for a few years.  We get it right sometimes, and we get it wrong sometimes, but what matters is that we strive to get better at it.

It’s good for us. Just as good as a healthy diet, or eight hours of sleep. Nice makes our bodies happy and our spirits calm.

Lately there has been a lot of nice in my life. My ‘crazy’ family and friends have been generous in their support of my son’s flight from the nest. He as been encouraged, supported, and cheered on. As a mother, there is nothing better than knowing your child is thriving and that they have a solid support network or friends, mentors, coaches and family. Thank you for being nice.

I’m taking a little longer to adjust to the transition. I tear up daily, and am struggling with the transition of being totally dedicated to my kiddo to being totally dedicated, but from a distance. My friends have been kind and gentle and supportive. Thank you for being nice.

I have flooded my social media feed with proud mom moments and not once has anyone told me how annoying it is. Thank you for being nice.

This is a challenging transition year for me, once again wondering where I will live, work and mom from in a year. In advance to my friends and family; thank you for being nice.

 

 

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Abounding Grace & The ‘F’ Word

angrywomanFor months, maybe even years I wrote about how I had observed the incredible life-affirming beauty of grace in action.

I wrote about people overcoming heart-shattering loss, adversity, and hardship with incredible grace; without fists to the sky, without making the lives of those around them miserable, without despair.

I wanted to be able to handle shit that way. I think we all do. What I have discovered is that we don’t necessarily want the practice that it takes to be graceful. In other words, it takes hardship to to learn how to navigate the rough rapids of change with some savvy and style; Without using the ‘F’ word, without letting the shit show shadow all of the other other elements of our lives that we have to be thankful for.

As I have been chronicling in my mid-life-move blog, Andsheshines, (Be sure to subscribe!!!)

I believe I’ve finally leveled up when it comes to coping. You can read about some of my experiences in the great adventure of preparing to empty-nest,  moving in with a man for the first time in two decades, and everything else that goes bump-in-the-night while those stages of life march onward. Time waits for no woman, and I’m going to ride my time like the wild woman that I am.

Change: Looking Forward to the Unknown

not-all-those-who-wander-are-lostA rogue wind gust smashes through the window and sucks the ashes of her ancestors from their urn, scattering them back out across the vast, midnight landscape…and so the protagonist knows that finally she is home.

Sounds delightful doesn’t it? Knowing that you are home. Forever. Where you are meant to be.

Actually, I find it a bit terrifying. I know better. I’ve witnessed it thousands of times; people who think that life will never change.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt that forever-at-home feeling.

Perhaps I should elaborate; I feel at home everywhere and nowhere. I have a gypsy soul and have a tendency to want to wander. I’ve lived close to the bone, just surviving with enough, and according to the stages of my life; student, young wife, mother, mother of a teenager…and soon, just me again.

This past year has been a combination of settling in and hurrying up to wait. And it’s killing me. Seriously, I am not a patient woman.

I am decisive and spontaneous, and quite frankly sick of the daily, commuting-to-barely-pay-the-bills-soul-sucking-grind. In light of not having a partner in adventure to plan the next grand project, place or party, I’m preparing to pack up my parlour and part. But all in good time.

As my Mumster would say,

My body is still here, but my spirit has moved on.

I get what she means. I’m restless and dreaming, and just fed up enough not to be nervous, which actually does make me a little nervous.

To anyone out there who thinks things don’t change, don’t kid yourself. To those of you who have a spirit of adventure, I wish you speedy decluttering, friends to help you unpack and courage.

 

A Guide to Achieving the Perfect Life

daring adventure or nothingPerhaps there’s been a huge cosmic shift in energy, maybe we’ve had some rare planetary eclipse, or maybe it’s just the big old world shaking us up a bit to remind us that nothing is as it seems and everything changes. You see, I can’t seem to understand what the heck happened this week in Andshelaughs land.

Just when I think I have it all figured out, somebody shakes the snowglobe and I haven’t got a clue what’s going on.

When I was a kid, I used to see adults and think how nice it would be when I finally had my life together. Ha! Anyone over 30 knows how much of an illusion ‘having it all together’ really is. Throughout  years of helping people during crisis, I have come to realize that we never, ever have our lives together in such a way that we are immune to change.

Often change can cause suffering and pain; anxiety, addiction, grief, fear, or  tightly woven combination of all of those emotions. If you can make your way through it, keeping fear at bay, and even a tiny flame of hope burning, change can be the best thing that happens to you.

This week, I had a number of conversations that were difficult, enlightening, and even shocking. People I assumed to be sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful demonstrated qualities just the opposite of that, and others, surprised me by crawling out of the dark-ages and exposing excellent quality of character.

Because the conversations were not what I expected (expectation is such a fickle bitch anyway) they made me think. Hard. Should I have said that? Should I have kept silent? Can I trust you? Who cares...

fancy dark chocolateThe bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter. Most of our big decisions in life come about as a result of something we never expected.

So I’ve decided to sit back and watch. Wait and not wait; carry on. See what happens. Go with the flow. Dream. Hope, and even laugh a little at it all.

Life will always roll like waves on the ocean, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, and every once in a while there will be a rogue wave that knocks you down, pulls you under, and spits you out, disoriented but with a fresh perspective.

The only time we ever have life under control is when we can sit back, breathe deeply and accept that life changes. When you are aware of your reactions, you can actually stop reacting, and remain calm, observant and cultivate a deep sense of who you are and what you need to do.  In the mean time, there’s champagne; bourbon if it’s serious.

Life-Uversity

carrouselIt never ends, does it?

You know what I mean darlings, this learning something new every day.

When I was much younger, and had a whole  of  uncultivated fabulousness, I thought that one day, I would have it all together. All -as in my life. As in career, finances, family and my man.

Ha! Haha! Please stop reading for 15 seconds while I try to contain my hysterical laughter and go get a tissue.

Life, as it turns out is a series of lessons, tests of character, and moments of exquisitely breathtaking, and sometimes painful beauty.

Dennis Leary had a blunt, but oh-so-marvelously-truthful comedy skit about happiness. At about fifty-five seconds into this video, he nails it. He speaks the truth about happiness as we know it; it is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts.

On the flip side, my juicy little niblets, life is agonizing as well. The key is to ride the ups and downs of life more like a carousel than a thundering roller coaster destined for hell.

Life, if anything, is chaos, change, impermanence, and a relentless opportunity to learn that you really know absolutely everything and nothing at all.

So choose joy when you can. Choose mischief and fun, and  the occasional sweaty tousle under the sheets when the opportunity arises (ah-hem).

Just remember, what goes up must also come down. And what hits rock bottom generally bounces back up.

 

 

Darkest Before the Dawn

"Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.” ~Woodrow Wilson~

“Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.”
~Woodrow Wilson~

Stick with this one darlings, it’s going to be a meandering read, but it will make sense in the end. I promise.

We all have days that mark significant changes in our lives.

Yesterday was one of them. Well,  for me anyway my juicy little plums.

It was the kind of day that demands a popped cork,some kind of celebration with someone special, and the quiet contemplation of feeling the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Although I love order,  knowing the next step, the next task, and the next expectation, I love happy endings even more. Which aren’t  endings at all really. They’re just bright shiny markers on the twisting, turning road of life.

I had definite plans in my head about how this long weekend would roll-out. I allowed myself the indulgence of daydreaming about seeing someone very special on Friday night, working my ass off on Saturday and Sunday, and relaxing on Monday.  Even though I had some work to do, I was ok with what I had thought my plans would be.  (Refer to How to Enjoy a Long Weekend).

But my plans went the way of good intentions around 9:30am yesterday morning.  I arrived home at least two hours later than I had planned and had to rush or entirely abandon all of my deliciously sinful daydreams. Instead, I  settled for a quick shower and threw on some comfy clothes.  It’s amazing what a combination of total freedom and stability can achieve emotionally.

So, although my day, and as it turns out, my evening was not what I had expected, I experienced one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time. So good in fact, that my plans for working my ass off today and tomorrow have been abandoned. Apparently all of my hard work has already paid off for now, and I can take time to re-focus, creatively strategize, and allow myself the indulgence of a little hope.

Between work, parenting,  friendships and men, I’ve re-learned a few lessons this week;

1) Always believe, deep down in your core, that you have value and something wonderful to offer the world.

2) You never communicate as clearly and brilliantly as you think you do. Make space for intentional conversation with no expectations. Speak from your heart.

3) Logic will never speak the language of emotion. Sometimes our hearts take us to places more rich, a bit scarier and way more satisfying than our heads ever will. Be brave and pack a lunch.

4) Given the truth in item #2, there are always people out there who care about you more than you know or could even guess.

5) To be still and present in the darkness of the soul is a skill that takes practice and incredible courage. Learn to connect with your breath.

6) Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.