Sail with the Phase

“Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the  moment you are in, can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.” Barbara De Angelis

A life is full of many moments. Some I love, some I tend to resent. I remember when my children were young. Somedays would be more taxing than others. Often during those times a friend would say, ‘they are going through a phase, they will move into another soon.’

I gave that a lot of thought. If I hurried them through every phase, the end result would be to rush their lives. Lives are so short anyway. Why would I rush a life away?

Today, my children are adults. My parents have passed away. Illness and disease have come and gone. And I have asked myself again-would I wish away any of these phases of suffering?

My answer is, no. All the moments have made me who I am today. The good and delightful, and the sad and sorrowful. They comprise me.

Phases do come and go. Some are short, and some seem as though they will never pass. My goal is to keep moving through the phases. Embrace what I can and try not to get stuck in any one place.

“To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor, sail not drift.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/phase/

Freedom!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Thomas Jefferson

What a wonderful time for our nation as we witnessed a milestone in our legal system which just enabled more citizens to embrace a long with-held freedom. The freedom to obtain a legal certificate of marriage for same sex partners.

I think the definition of marriage, is the legal union between two people. At some point in time, the concept was added-between a husband and a wife (male and female). But that is a very limited definition. The full definition is a ‘legal contract’.  Having that legal contract allows one to speak on behalf of their injured/or medically impaired partner, to be provided spousal privilege  in not  testifying in court when it could harm your partner, and in issues related to taxes.

Many of these issues were unknown to me until I became friends with those who did not have those same freedoms. I am happy today that they can now experience them.

Our nation has many concerns to think about. We are starting the presidential campaigns and must look at issues related to our financial processes, and defense resources to name a couple. It is time to put aside social differences.

“I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Thomas Jefferson

Let’s be inspired by our founding fathers as we ALL celebrate freedom today!!

 

 

Thick Skin

“Only fools let compliments get to their heads and criticism get to their hearts.” unknown

4 people-5 opinions. You can’t please all the people all the time. Despite my rhetoric to remind me of this ancient truth, I am still concerned when I know that I have disappointed someone. My 30 years as a minister’s wife fueled the mandate to please everyone. Of course, that is impossible, yet that was my daily goal. When I finally realized that demand was unachievable, I gave up that goal. Then I had to figure out, how would I please myself.

I had not gotten in touch with what I wanted in a lifetime. I had to let myself out to see what I had to say. I am still listening.

However, a new truth is evident to me. I will make mistakes and I will inadvertently hurt people. People may be hurt simply because I do not agree. I no longer have to pretend to agree with everyone I come in contact with. Whew! What a relief that is! I can be nice, but I do not have to give up my thoughts to inherit another’s.

But, my skin is still thin. I am trying to let it thicken. Who knew that process could be so painful?

“You have to grow thick skin and that only comes with time and learning.” Karlie Kloss

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/I-have-confidence-in-me/

Embrace or End the Relationship, the Choice is Yours

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”  Victor Hugo

One thing most of us are not short of, is opinions. In general, I am in agreement with many of the opinions of my friends. That is one reason that we maintain a friendship. There are other people in my life that are probably not in harmony with everything that I believe. It is interesting to experience a dialogue with someone who comes from a different perspective.

One of two things generally happens.

1. We have an engaging experience. From a mutual respect we learn from each other. I have friends that are more conservative than I am. We would disagree on some religious practices. But, we love each other. We were there for each other when our daughters had surgery. We were there to hug through tears of sorrow. We shared history, and experiences. We see beyond the current difference and nurture the areas that we agree upon. We do that because, at the core, we love each other.

2. I am shunned or dismissed because of a difference. The singular difference is so great in the perspective of the former friend that the disagreement becomes insurmountable. The disagreement may have been over who should be president. It may be over watching certain movies. It may be over church attendance. Despite the volumes of areas that might be agreed upon, the critical focus is on the issue that we do not necessarily agree on. My marriage of 30 years to a minister basically fell into this category. Despite the fact that we shared a love of reading, travel, dancing, cooking, gardening, riding bikes and playing games-the fact that I did not want to attend the ultra conservative church services was enough to dissolve the marriage.

The danger to a relationship is when you hear the words, “if you loved me, you would do……”. “If you loved me, you would listen to me….” Those are hurtful words of control and manipulation. They represent conditional love. A refusal to agree to disagree. In many ways that attitude is egocentric and calloused.

“If my love is without sacrifice, it is selfish. Such a love is barter, for there is exchange of love and devotion in return for something. It is conditional love.”   Sadhu Vaswani

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/agree-to-disagree/

love is a choice

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love” Stephen Kendrick

I grew up with the feeling of being loved. I believed that no matter what I did, I could talk with my parents about it, they would help me, forgive me, and love me. It made me feel so safe and secure…no matter what the world threw at me, if I rallied or if I failed, I could count on my parents. Not that I was always lovable. I am pretty sure that during the teen age years I caused some heart break. I veered from the path of strong love to a religious bent. I became a zealot and while I am sure I presumed to love my parents, I would also fall on my knees in sobbing pleas for God to save their souls-as I felt they were doomed for hell. I am afraid that during those times they didn’t feel love and acceptance from me, but could sense my thoughts of judgement on them. Despite my intolerant distance from them, they loved me.

I grew out of my zealot bent. I had an opportunity to show both of my parents before their death my devotion to them, full acceptance and great love. They didn’t expect an apology…it was all a part of growing up and experimenting with different philosophies, ideas, and directions. But I have apologized. To them, and to myself. It is one of my regrets: if I ever made anyone feel bad about themselves because their beliefs were different than mine.

I have also been the recipient of conditional love. My husband of 31 years could not accept me when I began to question the actions and dogmas of our strong fundamental conservative church. He was a minister and my freedom of thought was unacceptable. I often say, when I stopped enjoying the church, he stopped enjoying me.

In the end, I learned unconditional love from people ‘outside’ the church. The people in the church had ‘conditions’ on their love for me.

But I cannot answer for other people. I can only answer for myself, my actions, and reactions.

Love may feel very natural and instinctual. Sometimes it is, and most often it starts that way. But love is a choice and a commitment. When a child / teen starts to get involved in things that one might feel is wrong, and maybe it is, and maybe you need to show a little ‘tough’ love, but when you look into their eyes, you see who they are, who they will become and you believe they can do it. You have to look beyond the current moment.

When my daughter was born with spina bifida, she learned to walk with leg braces and crutches when she was two years old. It was wonderful that she could stand, it was also sad that she needed assistance. Sometimes she cried and didn’t want to put on the braces. After my hugs to her, I would look in her eyes and I didn’t see a two year old with crutches, I saw a beautiful young woman who was mobile and could get around independently.  I gave her strength through my belief that she could do it.

When my son was in college and feeling listless and couldn’t find direction in his life, he looked at me and asked , “what should I do”? This was during the time that Back to the Future movie had come out, and in the movie there is a family photo and people keep vanishing from the picture. He said, tell me what to do, I am vanishing… But I looked him in the eyes and didn’t see a lost young man. I saw a capable, bright, strong young man. I told him I could not tell him what to do, he had his own journey, but I knew whatever he chose to do, he would do it great. He could accomplish whatever he set out to do.

Today my daughter is driving a special equipped van and living in her own apartment. My son is a husband,  and father of a beautiful 4 year old daughter and gainfully employed. He looks at her and tells her she can be and do anything she wants to do. No ‘box’ to stay within, just a free spirit soar that her spirit can take.

Love can be challenging. Loving people can let in pain. Loving people can bring joy. But love them, it is a choice. That is what makes conditional love so painful—they choose to let go of their love if you don’t do as they say, or be as they want. When I met and fell in love with my current husband, he accepted me then, and now, for who I am, not necessarily what I do. When he hugged me, he hugged my soul.

“The fire that we call loving is too strong for human minds. But just right for human souls” Aberjhani