synchronistic encounters: part iii

I wrote about my synchronistic encounter with a long-lost friend in synchronistic encounter: part ii and wanted to share my aha moment.

To be honest, a part of me wanted to say so much more, to reply charged with emotion. I wanted to win the argument, have the last word, or at least get even. I struggled with it and it was so hard to resist, but in the end, I realized that none of that matters. (Plus, the satisfaction from a snarky remark would be momentary, only to leave a lasting sentiment of regret.) By creating distance, removing emotion, and seeing our shared past as it was, not overwrought and blinded by emotion, I felt like I gained power over it.

To admit even further, I think that part of me sought one-upmanship. I wanted to feel superior, to validate my meaning over hers as wiser or more meaningful. How foolish of me. If I’ve come to understand and made my meaning of my past, of course, she has, too, just as firmly. How weak and insecure of me. I don’t need to take the bait of outwitting, I just need to stay strong and keep my eyes on me, on my path.

Meaning is relative to the individual and this profound truth resonates with me. It’s meaningless to seek validation of my meaning over hers. Rather, such an attempt is counterproductive, an interference and regression from my own path.

My meaning is meaningful to me, all on its own; its validity and gravity doesn’t depend upon approval, acceptance, or even acknowledgement from others. My meaning is all that really matters to me.

Relinquishing labels and relational hierarchy from my youth, I feel more grounded and connected to the heart of who I am, who I aspire to be.

synchronistic encounters: part ii

I wrote about synchronistic encounters in my previous post and want to continue that thought here.

I believe everything happens for a reason, even if one can’t see the reason in that moment. The encounter of this book, “Love” by Leo Buscaglia, was synchronistic in more ways than one, addressing so many of the personal issues I’ve struggled with for so long. It spoke to me, cheered for me, and reassured me on my path. It was a perfect nudge of support to navigate another interesting synchronistic encounter, this time, with a long-lost friend.

Last year on my birthday, I gave myself permission to cleanse, let loose on paper the occasional and obnoxious tinge of shame from my past. As I revisited those words today, they are clearly strung with anger and resentment. I only note this to share that I was still struggling with my past then, even after 10 long years.

This New Year started with a surprising message from this long-lost friend through Facebook. She was offering her forgiveness for my unforgivable act of betrayal over 10 years ago (yes, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, betrayed her trust, and lost a friend but over many years, I had learned to forgive and love myself again, as well as grieve and adapt to the loss of that friendship). She added in the message that she was moving back and thought it would be fun to reconnect with our daughters.

As much as I was happy to hear from her and the possible reconnection, I was a little thrown off. More than a little, actually. With close to 10 years of silence, I wasn’t confident we could repair the damage of the long separation. And out of the blue, completely on her terms, she was ready to let it go, offer her forgiveness, and see me again.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond and I wrestled with all the possibilities, but I couldn’t disregard this nagging gut feeling. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. Something felt off. Maybe it was her message, her string of words, there was a hint of something I can’t quite name. Maybe carelessness. I’ve always had a sharp intuition, but my trouble has always been listening to it and trusting it. This time, thanks to Buscaglia and other synchronistic reads and thoughts, I convinced myself that the only way to reply was to be honest, to be me. So I did.

Though I welcomed the opportunity to reconnect, I also honestly shared my reservations. She replied with hints of surprise and annoyance. She couldn’t understand my reservations and found my response to be negative and off-putting. I replied with calm and truth. I clarified I was only being realistic. I wasn’t interested in hanging out without ever acknowledging and coming to terms with our shared past. Knowing myself, I knew I couldn’t forever ignore the “elephant in the room,” my betrayal over 10 years ago and the long separation thereafter. If it needed to be addressed, better sooner than later. I didn’t want to waste any of my limited time and energy only to find out later that our definition of “reconnection” were incompatible. She termed this “drama and negativity,” yet I saw it as a necessary, positive, challenging opportunity to learn and grow.

I don’t quite know what she was expecting but I noted that if she couldn’t understand my reservations, maybe it would be best to keep things as they were.

In the end, she ended our brief reunion with, “Have a nice life.”

I will and I am. I have a nice life, an extremely nice one, growing in love, a happiest trip of my life.

“There’s value in the past. After all, it brought you to where you are.” – from “Love” by Leo Buscaglia.

Ironic but I’m grateful now for the painful past because it brought me here, to where and who I am now. Thank you for the lessons, the opportunities to choose a better path, a better version of me, to get closer and arrive here, particularly this last exchange.

I am most proud to have stayed true to who I am, stayed true to my path of truth, authenticity, and vulnerability. I didn’t give in to the trap of labels, expectations, or rationalizations. I trusted, I stood up, and I spoke up.

I am empowered to break the chains of labels and stereotypes from my young adulthood, to make peace with the shame and guilt of my past, and live and love this moment.

I will end with another powerful quote by Buscaglia: “If one wishes to know love, one must live love, in action. To think or read about love or carry on profound discourses on love is all very well, but in the last analysis, will offer few if any real answers. Thoughts, readings and discourses on love are of value only as they present questions to be acted upon. One will learn love only with fresh insight, with each new bit of knowledge, which he acts out, and which is reacted to, or his knowledge is valueless. As Rilke states so accurately, he must simply “love along someday into the answer.” One, in other words, lives the questions. But in order to live the questions, it is logical that one will have to pose them.”

synchronistic encounters

I love synchronistic encounters, whether that may be a person or, in this case, this wondrous book: “Love: What Life Is All About” by Leo Buscaglia

I added this book to my reading list from reading excerpts from Brain Pickings (Leo Buscaglia on Education, Industrialized Conformity, and How Stereotypes and Labels Limit Love and A “Dynamic Interaction”: Leo Buscaglia on Why Love Is a Learned Language) a few months ago and it just sat there on my list, waiting patiently. I felt the urge to start my New Year with this book, along with a few others, and I am beyond glad that I listened.

I just started two days ago but I’m already so captivated by his words and ideas, willing to learn, grow and “take what is right for [me]” from all that he is sharing.

This quote hit home hard and gave me a boost of confidence to believe in my own path:

“You can only be “real” on your path. The hardest thing in the world is to be something you’re not. By straying from yourself you must get closer and closer and closer to what you are. You’ll find it’s an easy way to be. The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position. Find “you,” who you are, be as you are. Then you can live simply. You can use all of the energy that it takes to “hold back the spooks,” as Alpert calls it. You won’t have any spooks to hold back anymore. You won’t be playing games anymore. Clear them all away and say, “Here’s me. Take me for what I am with all my frailties, all my stupidity, and so on. And if you can’t, leave me be.”

~ Leo Buscaglia

And this quote:

“If a man in the street were to pursue his self, what kind of guiding thoughts would he come up with about changing his existence? He would perhaps discover that his brain is not yet dead, that his body is not dried up, and that no matter where he is right now, he is still the creator of his own destiny. He can change this destiny by taking his one decision to change seriously, by fighting his petty resistance against change and fear, by learning more about his mind, by trying out behavior which fills his real need, by carrying out concrete acts rather than conceptualizing about them, by practicing to see and hear and touch and feel as he has never before used these senses, by creating something with his own hands without demanding perfection, by thinking out ways in which he behaves in a self-defeating manner, by listening to the words that he utters to his wife, his kids, and his friends, by listening to himself, by listening to the words and looking into the eyes of those who speak to him, by learning to respect the process of his own creative encounters and by having faith that they will get him somewhere soon. We must remind ourselves, however, that no change takes place without working hard and without getting your hands dirty. There are no formulae and no books to memorize on becoming. I only know this: I exist, I am, I am here, I am becoming, I am my life and no one else makes it for me. I must face my own shortcomings, mistakes, transgressions. No one can suffer my non-being as I do, but tomorrow is another day, and I must decide to leave my bed and live again. And if I fail, I don’t have the comfort of blaming you or life or God.”

~ Zinker, Gestalt Institute in Cleveland, from his paper called On Public Knowledge and Personal Revelation

Other powerful quotes to share:

“We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.”

~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer

“We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating and adventuring. Consequently, the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventures of our lifetime.”

~ Herbert Otto

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

~ Herbert Otto

what they think is none of my business

In my previous post, RB’s life lessons to revisit daily, I highlighted a few of RB’s life lessons that serendipitously resonated with me.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

So simple, so profound. The power of words truly amazes me.

Personally, I can live by this life lesson when “other people” refers to acquaintances and strangers, but it’s dawned on me that this “other people” encompasses even loved ones, anybody that’s not “you.” I’ve always cared deeply about how my family viewed me and valued my choices. Probably too much for my own good.

“You’re probably seeking their approval subconsciously,” he says, smiling at my frown. My husband knows me so well.

I really hate to admit it but there must be some truth to that. I guess we all seek approval from someone or validation from something. Mostly, I hate that I’ve allowed them so much power over me, family or not is beside the point; without this acceptance I can’t get beyond my search for approval.

What they think of me, what they think of us, is really none of my business. What a relief.

All my life, I’ve taken everything so personally, so deeply to heart. I’ve been draining my emotions on things that have nothing to do with me, only with them. They point their fingers, I carry the blame, burden myself by finding faults where there were none.

I feel empowered and I need to let it all out.

I own.  I am in control.  I take back my control.  I won’t let others conveniently disrupt my peace of mind, and shove me back into their vicious cycle of self-righteousness.  I won’t stand by the sidelines as they insult my integrity. I take offense.  I am insulted.  I have every right to be.  I take a stand.  I take back my right to be equal. We’ve perpetuated this power structure in our relationships and it stops now.  No, I won’t go along with it.  I won’t play along.  I make my own rules, rules I value and live by. It’s who I am. It’s who I’m proud to be.

Nothing I do or say can change anyone else. Change can only happen in their own time, on their own terms. It’s really none of my business anyway. I can only wish them well and good luck. Of course, I love them and I’m always here for them unconditionally.

I give myself permission to stop seeking, to walk away.

Everything I need is here; within. My only business is me.

one perfectly good day at a time

In my previous post, RB’s life lessons to revisit daily, I highlighted a few of RB’s life lessons that serendipitously resonated with me.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Back in 2009, I wrote, “Yet another dawn of submission, relenting to euphoric, effortless sleep. To drift off and away, to sink, float, and drown in weightlessness. What lies beneath this deliberate momentum to be swallowed in sleep? Laziness or torture? Pleasure or punishment? Is it a giving up or a giving in? A release? A surcease?” in this piece, “Seduction.” In fleeting moments, this same desire to be “swallowed in sleep” visits unannounced.

Unlike before, staying in bed all day is not an option because I have Mina, so I get up; but to be honest, there are days when I spend all day in my PJs, too lazy even to dress.  Almost always, I feel like a bum, like I wasted away a perfectly good day. All it took to avoid this, is to literally change. Changing out of PJs into even jeans and t-shirt made all the difference. It didn’t matter what I changed into, all it mattered was that I changed. This has been on my mind for some time; how serendipitous to come across this life lesson now, like a nod from the universe.

This life lesson made me realize that each day, each perfectly good day deserves my respect. My respect to get dressed and greet the day. My respect to show up and live the day. My respect to put my best self forward. Each perfectly good day carries with it a gift only for me. A gift that would never be realized in indifference or laziness. A gift that would be lost to a lackadaisical one. It’s up to me then, to show respect and receive the gift it carries, one perfectly good day at a time.

RB’s life lessons to revisit daily

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons & 5 to grow on (click the hyperlink to view the article with complete list) I’ve read it, printed it, and posted it on our fridge because it’s too profound a list not to revisit daily.

A perfect succinct list of reminders to keep your eye and heart on what really matters, despite all the noise and distractions, the lies and delusions.  I love them all but here are my favorites:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Some of these resonate profoundly, especially the bold ones (I placed for emphasis). Serendipitous to read them right now as they reaffirm my own realizations in the past few weeks, months. I’ll have to examine this further in order to synthesize it for sharing.

♥ happy 21 months ♥

Happy 21 months to my sweet Mina. She’s not a baby anymore; she is her own person! We love that she’s sharing more of herself with us through her humor, her wit, and even her tantrums. I’m so proud of her and so proud to be her Mama. I am above all so proud of us; this family is everything I dreamed of and more. This family is mine; I believed, fought hard, and always dreamed of us; I stayed true to the truth in my heart, even if it risked losing my family! (All I have to say is, What a journey! Life works in interesting ways…another story for another time!)

21 months= 639 days=15,336 hours=920,160 minutes=55,209,600 seconds since that life-changing moment of her birth at 9:14 AM! So empowering, feeling her travel through me. So magical, holding her close to my heart. So poignant, feeling her breath, her life. Beautiful beyond words. Days full of love, full of wonder. Learning and growing together, and sharing our aliveness with one another.

“We always find our own ways to live in truth and love with truth. Most of the time, in unconventional ways. I love that about us. We create our own rules…no, not rules actually; we create. We just Be. I love this place of me. Of us. Of a we with an amazing future. A life forever. This feeling, like a river, so fluid, so peace-full. I am finally able to flowglow in this fountain of love for me. For us. For a we to come. …I feel perfect in my imperfections. They are my scarred treasures, my gems. Sacred in its own crooked little beauty.” I wrote this in April 2008 about us before our marriage, before Mina’s birth. Serendipitous to read this today…

We’re perfect in our imperfections. I love the family that we are. I love us. Feeling the completeness of a full circle.

♪ ♪ [We] are so beautiful, [we] should be guarded by monkeys ♪ ♪

Aphorism of the day: Writ(be)ing in the moment, you never know where it will lead you. (Loving the surprises!)

To read the full post from April 2008: Tomorrow is my 31st birthday

Today is the day!

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” ~ Dalai Lama

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. That’s not to say that I read into things, but more that I do my very best to appreciate, welcome, and embrace everything. I try to be mindful and aware. To me, this means to be open, pay attention, and take it all in. Like this quote, for instance. A friend on Facebook posted it, I read it, was moved by it, shared it on my wall, and now, it’s inspired me to do today what I’ve been putting off for months. Serendipitous. The right nudge I needed to take the first step but I know, this is only the beginning, just the birth.

Aphorism of the day: Life exists in the minutest details.