Sunday, January 18, 2015

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

As my Jewish girlfriends often say, "Oy Vey".  This past week has been exceptionally difficult on several fronts.  Life sucker punched me a few times, and hard.  On the professional side, I’m overwhelmed by a recent series of events and, to exacerbate the situation, I received news that I’m losing one of my strongest team members.  On the personal side, I’ve had one disappointment after another in addition to receiving difficult news on a medical front that has rendered me with some tough decisions to make.  I’m a fighter and will certainly soldier through, but when life hits you with a myriad of challenging issues; it leaves you spiraling a bit. 

It would be so easy to sit back and feel sorry for myself.  To hole myself up in my bed all weekend and play the “woe is me” card.  Anyone who knows me, knows all too well, self-pity is not in my DNA.   Truth be told, the martyr and victim mentality is a pet peeve of mine. 
What I’m choosing to do is have an attitude of gratitude for all the pleasant moments life brought this week. 
  • Gratitude for a lovely home cooked dinner and the warm fellowship shared with my friends as we watched the Golden Globes. 
  • Gratitude for hitting a 17 pound weight loss since November 1st.
  • Gratitude for the special bonding time with my son as we brainstormed over a new script for his next movie.
  • Gratitude for the success one of my brothers is experiencing in his new job
  • Gratitude for wonderful people in my life who have reached out this week to offer support
  • Gratitude for the gorgeous drive I have to work every morning that helps reset my soul and remind me of all the amazingly wonderful blessings in my life
  • Gratitude for the unexpected, kind words of a friend that put a smile on my face, even if just for an hour
  • Gratitude for the lessons I’m learning through the difficult situations I’m facing
  • Gratitude for good wine at the end of the day to help erase all the yucky parts of the day J
Through exuding gratitude I’m choosing the direction of my focus.  Each morning I sit on the edge of my bed and whisper the following mantra: “I’m making a choice to live an extraordinary and happy life today”.   By doing so, it sets the course of my day.  We all possess an amazing power, the power of choice.  By choosing to push through and have an attitude of gratitude, I’m choosing a healthier and happier outcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running from my problems. I’m simply making a choice to not let them have dominion over me.     

As this next week approaches, I eagerly look forward to gaining victory over the shortcomings and difficulties experienced these past several days.  I’ve left enough tread marks on this earth to know that the solutions will present themselves and I will press on.  I’m also looking forward to the many new blessings yet to be bestowed and potential hidden gems that will lift my spirit even higher.  I bid adieu to last week and all the turmoil it brought and welcome with open arms the week ahead and all of its renewed possibilities!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Tearing Down the Walls

As I sit at the precipice of a new year, I can’t help but reflect on years past as well as look with great excitement to what lies ahead.  With each passing year, I find myself coming more and more into my own as I evolve toward the woman I’m destined to be.  As I embark upon 2015, I do so with an abundance of gratitude for what I consider to be a very happy life.  I have a son who makes my heart smile every day and never ceases to amaze me with his loving, gentle spirit, great sense of humor and immense talent.  I have a job that I deeply enjoy and get tremendous satisfaction from.  I have a beautiful home, wonderful possessions and money in the bank.  I have some of the most wonderful friends and family a girl could ask for and, with the exception of needing to lose a few pounds, (who of us doesn't), I am in great health. 

With all of this said the one area of my life that I would like to see blossom is my love life.  This is not to say I've not had opportunity.  I've had countless opportunities to fall in love and even start a new life with someone.  What I've learned of late is that I've subconsciously resisted letting someone in, truly in, bringing them into the inner sanctum of my heart; standing in front of them emotionally naked and surrendering, wholly.  Instead, I've consistently erected the preverbal walls of defense in an effort to protect my heart and barricade me from the painful travails of it being shattered to pieces.  It wasn't until late that I came into this awareness, and perhaps I've become aware, because the emotionally complex and broken pieces of my heart have long since healed and it’s well beyond time to move forward.

This became ever so evident about six months ago.  I was shopping at my local Trader Joe’s where I noticed a lovely elderly couple.  They had to be in their eighties.  He was dressed impeccably well.  The personification of Dapper!  Tailored pants with a sharp cuff, a crisp white shirt, vest, sport coat and felt tipped hat.  She was in perfectly pressed slacks, a floral blouse and cardigan draped in pearls and well-coiffed white hair.  She was also in a wheelchair.  What struck me were the tender exchanges between both.  He would pick up an item and show it to his beloved asking her if it was the product she wanted.  She would gently put her frail hand on his and reply yes or no and, or point to what she needed.  With each interaction, he acted as if it was his utmost pleasure to be there with and for her and she looked at him as if he’d hung the moon.  I was so deeply moved watching them.

I had paid for my groceries and was readying to drive out of the parking lot when I noticed the elderly couple again.  He was now gently taking her out of her wheelchair and placing her into the car.  I watched with utmost respect and envy at his love for her.  Once she was safely in the car, he put her seat belt on and then lovingly placed one gentle kiss on her forehead.  It was at this point that I welled up with tears and went careening off of the emotional cliff.  This beautiful, delicate dance between husband and wife moved me in such a powerful way.  I knew in that moment that I wanted to have that kind of love.  I also knew that I would not have that kind of love if I didn't take measures to tear down the walls I've had up far too long and let that love in.  I must have looked like a fool crying alone and uncontrollably in my car, yet, it was a moment that was meant to be and one I needed to walk through.  My emotional response was powerful and deeply cathartic.  I truly believe I was destined to be at Trader Joe’s to witness this amazingly beautiful exchange as life’s way of saying “it’s time”. 

The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the body, yet so fragile when it comes to love.  Once it’s broken, it shatters into a million pieces and needs to take the necessary time to heal properly.  Trust, self-worth, confidence and a desire to love and be loved again all need to be re-instilled.   We all deserve to love and be loved and should not let the hurts of the past rob us future joy.

Since that day at Trader Joe’s, I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  It is only through removing the bricks from the fortress I've been hiding behind will I see and experience the love that awaits me.  I've taken down the velvet ropes that encompassed my heart, put myself out there and, at times, have even taken the reigns.  It’s scary and exhilarating all the same.  Some moments have been met with acceptance, some not.  I've been empowered when they've been accepted and have learned not to become crestfallen when they are not.  Both experiences are part of the journey toward finding love again and will make it that much sweeter when I do. 

Will I find love in 2015?  God, I hope so!  The “who” is unknown and, in some ways, makes the odyssey that much more exciting.  I know I run the risk of potentially getting hurt again; however, I've made peace with the thought.  In essence, it will mean I had the opportunity to love and be loved again.  None of us have a crystal ball we can peer into to know if a relationship will work or not.  I certainly did not know that on June 2, 1991 as I pledged my undying love to the then, love of my life, that years later I would awaken at 3:22 a.m. a divorced, heartbroken, single mother with the financial worries of the world on my shoulders, scared out of mind about how I was going to pull through and with the other side of the bed empty.  I don’t regret falling in love and getting married and I don’t regret dissolving my marriage either.  Again, it’s all part of the journey, both the good and bad.  

As I lift my virtual glass to the year ahead and herald all that lies before me, I embrace it with unfettered passion and excitement.  I feel the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, softly whispering in my ear that this is my year.  Here’s to love and all the joy, euphoria, excitement and albeit pain it brings. Let's hope that this truly is my year to be enraptured by it's sweet intoxication again.  Maya Angelou put it best when she said “First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.”