Life goes on…and so does the ride!

Have you ever been on a ride, where initially you were a little afraid, as you didn’t know what to expect?  Then after a few minutes, the ride becomes more enjoyable.  You feel the wind in your face, you’re smiling from ear to ear because you can’t believe how great it is!

Ups, downs, sharp lefts, sharp rights, upside down – the works!

Then abruptly the ride ends… leaving you disappointed.

I’ve had a couple of relationships that came to a complete stop.  But like the rollercoaster ride, you build a connection, you come to enjoy it and you hope it doesn’t end.  Your hope to make the type of friends that are for life.

All relationships change… they all evolve to a different stage.  A simple friendship that seemed to revive your soul, sparkle return to your dull eyes, adding pip to your step, and had you smiling from ear to ear.  Making plans for life!  You are happy, and excited in life again, as if suddenly the world you’ve know was turned on its axis.

You look back at everything as B.T.F /A.T.F – before that friendship, and after that friendship began.  It seems as if 1940 are just ending and color tv has now been implemented into our lives.

And suddenly……. you no longer matter, you lose your luster in their eyes.

And you ask… “What happened?” “What did I do?” or “What didn’t I do?” And sometimes, you don’t get an answer, so you start to drive yourself crazy, with..,. “Was it this…or could it have been that……?”

Sometimes the standard answer is given… “It’s me, not you”.   That’s when you have to learn to just move on.  If you’ve done your part, and your effort isn’t reciprocated, than you move on.

In both relationships where this happened. I allowed doubt, self disappointment to lay roots in the cracks “between thoughts and feelings.”

And, after many days and nights of mourning, my heart and mind finally came to an agreement…”get over it!”  It’s until these two agree, that the advice given by other dear friends, finally made sense.  “Just let it be…”

 “Only YOU have the power to either dwell in the mud, or rinse off and move on.”

One friend said, “It could be simply that person is done with you having purpose in their life.  You’ve played the necessary role in their life, and they’ve grown.  Just like you should.”

My initial response, “OUCH!” It was hard to move on.  I had created a bond that I had always longed for.  So hearing this, at first made my heart ache.  But after, gallons of tears, boxes and boxes of kleenex, the classic movies of BFFs and breakups, and a playlist of songs that reflected my pain.   Queue TLC – “What about your friends..”

I finally came to the realization that, “Okay, maybe this relationship died, but I didn’t.”

So I took their advice.  After much self examination, coaching, meditating I found the bright side to this sad chapter in my life.

I learned from it, I grew because of it, and in turn found myself and learned to love me.  I read a quote that absolutely hit the spot, “I didn’t change, I found myself.”

If you find yourself dwelling, and miserable… it’s because YOU want to.  Not because you have to, no one is forcing you to stay stumbled.  Get up, acknowledge your situation, and remember YOUR worth.  If you need to, remenize on what once was, do so.  Analyze what you learned from that relationship, or event in your life.  Smile that it happened, because whether good or bad, you grew from that experience.

Get on a new ride…the ride of YOUR life.  While on your ride, close your eyes and enjoy the wind, enjoy the excitement, the ups and downs…because life goes on!

 

“Sometimes… when I am bored…”

That was the intro line to a conversation, my co-worker started. She cracks me up… we have offices right across each other and we chat as there are in the same room. Reality is that a small narrow hallway separates us.

It’s funny how we react to boredom. She mentions to me that during the times where she feels bored, she looks up homes.

Nothing weird about that.

Well, she opts for the 7–8 figure homes. She cracks me up. As she browses, she comments, “This house looks too snobby”. I bust out laughing, and respond, “They should for that price!”

I started to inquire in my mind, “What do YOU do when you are bored?” I drew a blank… I don’t think I am ever “bored”. I am always doing “something” or talking to “someone”.

I just read a magazine where it talked about a lack of balance in our time. It really made me focus on the fact that I don’t usually take time to just think, or relax, or even… daydream. I am constantly cramming 24 hours worth of things/errands/meetings into 24 hours worth. Does that make sense?

At first when I said that out loud, I thought, “Okay so I am not adding anything else, I am balanced”.

Nope.

In a 24 hour day, you have increments. 8 hours to sleep (which I only take about 4–6 hrs, if that) and then comes the list of things. 8 hours for school/work, 8 hours for the things in the middle.

So, what I did is step back, and rewind…

When I was a kid, life was different. There was no time to be “bored”. I remember hurrying through my chores so that I can go outside to play. I would be out until the street lights came on, but mostly, until my mom threatened me (I think CPS would have had a field day with those threats).

I remember spending time coloring, playing outside with upside down buckets as drums, taping along to Kingdom Melodies with tree branches. Then, I would pray, and I would stack all my stuffed animals in rows, and would to read them “My Book of Bible Stories”. I had about 16 bible studies under my belt! Quite proud of myself right now.

I would climb our back yard trees, and I would race up the tree. I would time it over and over and over, and then I would call my parents out to show them my record…3 seconds! I remember turning tables on their sides, and using old sheets to make a house, in my back yard. The thing that I notice now, I was alone when I did these things. I didn’t have an imaginary friend, or have a sibling, it was all me.

Why, did that simple life become such a “fantasy”, now? I asked a friend of mine the other day, “Do you ever do silly things?” Even as I asked, I blushed and felt stupid for asking.

Why? Why did I stop doing silly things? At what age was “fun” now too embarrassing to do?

I get it, we “grow up”, and even as simple as that sounds, it makes me sad. I feel that just as life got “going”, I lost the innocence of me, my“reality”, and was forced to live in the “real world” with “real problems” to live the “real life”. Yay.

But at least in reflecting on this, it’s forcing me to find a way to use my time wisely. To set aside some time to color a book, play with clay, draw…. etc. #Newgoals #Havefun #Actlikeafiveyearoldatforty

Now, my new phrase will be…. sometimes, when I am bored…and I will not draw a blank. Instead, I will draw a picture!

Change your filter

As I lazily looked through the pages of a magazine, though many different models appeared, I stopped at one particular girl. She was very pretty, beautiful smile, but something about the look in her eyes seemed to me very insincere. But of course, I shrugged my shoulders and move on.

At that moment a co worker passed by and I asked his opinion on her, and he said “false advertisement”.

That caught me off guard. I asked him why he said that, and he stating his past disappointments with women. “After the “wooing” stage of a relationship the girl changes”. He sits on his chair, and plays with a ball against the wall…he continues, “She doesn’t wear makeup, she’ll wear sweats all the time, she stops going all out for the guy.”

I listened, and pondered. And then, it hit me…

“Oh, no he di’int’!” The latina in me heated up! That to me is a bunch of -whatever! And I will tell you why. (I won’t go into the fact that men change, they grow weary and look to greener pastures)

A very large percentage (NOT ALL * there are exceptions…) of men only look at appearances BEFORE they get to know the girl. I UNDERSTAND that physical chemistry has a lot to do with someone allowing the opportunity to further the initial “meet and greet”. But more men will “write” off a particular woman because she doesn’t have the right proportion (she’s fluffy) that they are looking for, or the right hair color (not a blonde).

MEN! Wake up! SO many men have overlooked a great person because of their looks. Don’t give me this garbage of “false advertisement” because it’s your fault you end up with disappointments. Why? Because YOU look for THAT “look” instead of giving the girl the opportunity to show you how great she is! Of actually seeing the real her.

Meghan (photo courtesy of Gary Edlund

Gina Botello

Yadira

Yesenia

I am not saying that the perfect girl doesn’t come in an “all inclusive package”. I know of several beautiful young women (all pictured above) — they are very intelligent, very witty, walking encyclopedia/dictionary/thesaurus, etc… who are genuine “Good girls”. They can make you laugh so hard you cry! They have the whole package going on. So I know that those packages exist.

It’s just that a lot of men sure miss out on women, who are witty, genuine, kind, caring, intellectual, and would make you a happier person. But, because of their filter “criteria” for dating so many have slipped them by.

I have a great friend who for quite sometime had been looking for that “someone”. What did he bring to the table? Great personality, great dancer, super funny, spiritual, very intelligent, and fabulous cook. Added value? VERY good looking.

Knowing what a great catch he was, and knowing he was on the “prowl” — I tried to get him to meet several of my really good friends, who knowing his personality and theirs, had them meet each other. These girls were “down to earth goodness”, and would give their all to a relationship. They would be someone you’d be happy to bring home to mother.

His take on them….she’s too short, she’s not enough blah…she’s too blah…blah…blah… she’s married…. JK….

Found HIS flaw…

He always found a “superficial” reason that wouldn’t allow him the chance to get to know them to a deeper level. So when he kept asking me about my friends, I no longer had any… I wasn’t going to allow them to be cherry picked. End of story ? He finally found someone who DIDN’T fit his initial criteria. Perplexed? He grew up. Got married, and now have their first child — all is good!

What it took? He changed his “filter”.

Moral of the story — don’t be superficial! End of the day… ALL that makeup comes off, and if she is not as pretty with that off, and doesn’t have the “persona” to backup all that “pretty” you are going to be disappointed on a greater scale — ALWAYS.

Refinance my soul

There are some moments in life when your are at the brink of something and you are fully committed to it. Sometimes it’s a decision of a split second that sometimes is the best…. “Choosing the Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine was the best choice, and my tummy agrees!”

 

Then, there are the decisions that you rummaged over for weeks, or even months… and then you finally pop the question.

However, in some of these decisions made…picking the red pill instead of the blue…you can’t undo (thanks, Morpheus, a little heads up or FYI would have been useful.)

“Selling your soul”. A phrase many jokingly speak of, but when you have…it’s no joking matter.

Especially, when you’ve signed on an invisible dotted line, if you will. When you have vowed to be loyal, to be “in it” through thick and thin. No, not talking about the wedding vows. But the vow of being true to you, to your foundation engraved in your DNA and have made you, you.

Beliefs have been etched into minds, more as tradition and not out of true enlightenment, or self-convincement. An automatic entrenched, learned instead of a belief that has been etched into one’s heart, from proving to oneself it is so.

The real duel… mind vs heart.

We’ve all been through that fight… sometimes even to round 9 only to be disappointed to see the outcome. KO!

We allow ourselves to entertain the What if’s.

“What if it’s not what I really wanted? What if there was someone better out there? What if the Altima was better than the Audi? — Not usually the case, but still a valid question, depending on budget no doubt.

That is where the pool of regret starts to form. And, as you allow it to form, drop by drop… what if after, what if…. it starts to overfill. How is THIS beneficial?

It’s not.

Let’s pull the plug, and allow the regret to dissipate down the drane. Why?

Because… the decision has been made, there is no “going back in time”. Believe me, I’ve wished upon that star… pleeeeeeenty of times.

So, if my only control is the now, then fold up the sleeves, pen on paper, fingers on keyboards and hit go. Future decisions can start to be made.

Such as, reviewing the fine print, the small details, or the situations that caused your doubt to start. You know, such as thinking that the grass was actually greener on the other side.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/284712007671510963/

When in reality…it’s was synthetic grass, the visual pleasure of what I thought was going to be “the real happiness” turns out to be a fluke. Faux happiness.

So maybe we can refinance our soul, but in different terms. A realistic plan, with factors of failure of the past, details that should have been taken in consideration, and cross out the terms that didn’t work, and marked the new terms and conditions of our soul contract with our mind.

Even choosing a new lender, all together.  But, this time, please read and be aware of the small print, always.

Mildness, the new black

We all have that favorite little black dress… the one we have for that special event. That black shirt for my favorite jeans… or the black skirt that saves the day, when I haven’t done laundry.

Why do I say, “Mildness, the new black”? Because this world is so overrun by the opposite… Me-ism….

It think I had always thought “If I see myself as this… I am being conceited, I am full of myself…” That is why I never viewed myself as important. A friend told me once we all need to “honor our self-worth”. But, it was a “foreign language to me”. Sorry, I don’t speak French.

I didn’t have that in me, I didn’t know how to, and for a bit there, I didn’t quite believe I deserved to see myself in that way. I appreciate that someone was now, teaching me how to be outside of the box, for once, and look at me through different eyes.

What I noticed, is that when I look in the mirror, it’s always in a negative way. I never compliment my hair, my eyes, my smile… it’s always, my wrinkles, my quadruple chins, etc. I realized that I was for lack of a better word, my own worst enemy, my own worst critic. But, why?

In the stories we heard as a children, their is always a villain. The big bad wolf, the evil witch, etc. Okay, let me start by wiping this mirror, as I never noticed before how muggy, foggy, and distorted it was.

I stared back at this clean mirror, and asked, why? Why was I the one that hated myself the most? I was my own villain.

I started to “dissect” my inner me. I was always taught, others come first, then me. I now feel that though, that is a good for manners, it’s not fully accurate. We need to put ourselves first, at times, to be able to keep a healthy relationship with oneself. A person once told me, our first date should be with ourselves. INSERT BIG GULP! I never “dated” myself. I have to work on getting the courage to ask myself out. I am nervous. This will be an ongoing project no doubt. First date, here we come!

But back to this “me-ism” of which I am tired of, of this world. It involves not caring about anyone else, showing no regard for the needs of other. Just their feelings, their space, their time, etc… nothing else matters.

A while ago, I was suggested a project and was given a list of characteristics that pertained to the spiritual side of things. I research the one assigned to me, but I started to see that mildness, intertwined with love, with patience, with joy, gentleness, self control…. etc.

I noticed on my way home, rush hour traffic, that none of these qualities were shown. People honked at others because the light turned green and they didn’t sprint! Honked because they were wanting to go faster than the limit, and the person in front of them wasn’t going to go above the limit.

I thought what characteristic could I start with…

Patience… We are driving on the road, and someone keeps slowing down, over and over and over…is our initial reaction to:

a) honk their brains out

Image Credit: https://goo.gl/images/hE9T8C

b)scream — Idiot! What are you doing?!?!? Make up your mind?!

c) Pass them on the left, and emphasize “sign language” in a heated moment, or in a different form of expression

Image credit:  https://goo.gl/images/XMe8t

What I noticed, is that as started to apply different characteristics, even if just for one day, I noticed that my life was a bit calmer, a bit more joyful, enjoyed the feeling of being happy. My blood pressure was more in control, I had less headaches, and my day went by quicker.

To some people displaying mildness, self control, kindness, comes natural.  To some it becomes too much of an effort, as they are used themselves always being put in first place.

I was at a grocery store not to long ago, and there was only one cash register available at the time. As I approached the counter, an older lady was putting her things on conveyor belt. This was the express lane, and she did have more than 10 items, and she was carefully and slowly putting things onto the belt. I was in a rush, but I thought to myself, “It is not her fault that I am running late, it’s my poor planning that has me in this predicament.” I saw her shaking hands as she pulled her gallon of milk out of her cart, and struggled… so I asked her if she needed help, and she just smiled. I am not sure if she understood, or heard me, but since I didn’t receive an answer, I just smiled back and leaned back.

https://goo.gl/images/pXmrrV

A lady arrives behind me a few seconds later, and she has about 10 items, and she looks at the lady in front of me, and sighs heavily. She complains “Really?!? It says express lane 10 items for a reason!” Another person joins her, and she has to express her frustration to them as well.

At this point the older lady in front of me, is now about to pay. Her frail hands are reaching into her purse, and she realizes that she either doesn’t have enough, or forgot something. I couldn’t really hear, because of “angry pants” behind me is rudely complaining, again.

I had held my tongue long enough, so i told her, “Look if you are in such a rush, you can go in front of me, but stop complaining about this lady.”

She rolls her eyes at me, and tell me to mind my own business.

Ohhhhh…. no…..she…. didn’t! I looked back at her, and said “Well, if you didn’t breath so heavily into my ears every time you complained, maybe it wouldn’t have become my business!”

I am sure she said something, but this time, she made it a point to not be as loud about it, as her previous complaints. By this point, the lady in front of me smiled, and nodded her head towards me, and went on her merrily way.

Now, my turn to put my items on the belt… I take my time, make small talk with the cashier, and for the heck of it, “Oh, I forgot, can I buy a bag of ice please?” after she had already rang me up. I hand her my cash, she rings me up, and I said “Thank you very much!” my words oozing with caramel, if you will. I grab my cart and slowly move out of the line.

The moral? I will get to it, be patient!

So I put all my things in the trunk, start my oven of a car on, and roll down the windows, and wait a bit for my car to cool down. A few minutes later, I am heading down McDowell Rd…and I get a little of a chuckle.

The lady that had been so unkind, and complaining about this older lady, and how she was taking so long… was pulled over by a cop as she must have been speeding by.

I will leave that… to self interpretation.

So back to kindness, when we show it towards others the benefit is not just for them, we receive the benefit inside ourselves. We feel good!

How about we take a characteristic from this list below:

Choose one a day, or one a week, or one a month….however it suits you best.

Try it! If you don’t see, feel, or experience a difference in your “persona” then quit.

Allowing an opposite characteristic to be a constant in our life, such as anger… does have many side effects….

Side effects of allowing anger to be a constant in our life… to name a few…

Your choice, try each one, and make each of them, the new black!

Now what…

It’s crazy how life seems to trick you into thinking…. everything is awesome!

And, it’s really not life’s fault because – it doesn’t make decisions. It doesn’t decide what road you are going to take… it doesn’t decide to have the beef instead of the chicken, it didn’t decide if you were wearing a skirt or dress… you did.

We make our choices.

Everything surrounding life is our distraction. Friends, family, work….etc.

But their comes a point where something, someone, changes…. and your life that you had all figured out.,. Comes to a halt.

Now what? I didn’t have a Plan B.

Whether this be with the end of a friendship, a job, a relationship.

What do I do now?

Like the little fidget gadget had a start, you restart it again.

Sometimes it maybe a spiritual jolt of energy that we need. A new haircut, a new outfit…a new person of interest.

Sometimes, it all comes down to, coming back “home”. Home to yourself.

Me…

I looked into the mirror today and thought, “I never noticed my brown eyes…” and the more I stared, I felt a smile coming on. I kind of chuckled… and for once said to myself: “You have pretty eyes.”

The next thing I knew… I started to cry.

What happened to me? Why have I never made it a point to really get to know the inner me?

What else have I overlooked?

That’s where my new adventure will start… “Hi, my name is Toni”… I looked in the mirror again, and brushed my hair from my face…”Nice to meet me”…

To be continued…

“I am Prime Rib”

I was recently talking to a friend of mine, and this person indicated that certain things are released in themselves depending on whom they choose to be around.  Not those exact words, but that is what I took from it.

Made me wonder, “what did I contribute to this person?  In their life.

So in trying to wrap my mind around this question, I thought to myself, “I have to make sense of this, what could I likened this to?  Then, it came to me…. a meal.

Friend “A” connects in an emotional way, Friend “B” connects in spiritual way, Friend “C” connects in a mental way – and so I went through the alphabet list… and found myself being likened to an appetizer or even dessert.   .

Who doesn’t like dessert, right?

In a meal, you have your “appetizers” that start your meal.  To hold you over until what you are really craving comes your way.

You start with your salad.  Crispy, refreshing lettuce of all flavors, and croutons, preferably the garlic flavored,  and a side of ranch dressing.

Then you have your main dish.   Your cut of meat…. some prefer Porterhouse, T-bone Steak, Fillet Mignon.  For this story, I will use Prime Rib.  Whatever, the cut,  that way its cooked, it completely overwhelms your sense of smell, as it arrives, and is placed before you.  A sense of euphoria takes over, and makes you salivate as your eyes feast on the view before you, as you see it glistening with juice dripping down the sides of this tasty dish.  You compliment your main dish with golden, fluffy, mashed potatoes dressed with melted butter with flowing rich brown gravy that seem to dance together to a beautiful waltz.  Last but not least, your vegetables.  Crispy, beautiful, orange carrots, green asparagus, so rich in color that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into.

Mmmmmm….  You’ve had your fill.  You push your plate away, and sometimes, you leave room for dessert.  Which is just enough to complete this decadent meal.

Back to dessert, I mentioned earlier, I am either the salad with croutons and a side of ranch dressing, or… I am the delicious cheesecake you ordered as a closure to your meal.  I would normally be content, except… I am not.  With my own placement, of me… in my own life.

What do I contribute to myself?

I had been the “Prime Rib” (pun intended) at one time. Someone took the time to look at a menu and made a choice.  But from placing the order to receiving it, He changed his mind.  Regret set it, and this led to hurt and pain, I didn’t deserve.

Pushed away, until I began to emotionally, and mentally rot, and eventually be thrown out.

What a disappointment I had become.  Took ten years to finally remove myself from the “dinning table”, with my head hung in deep remorse that I had not been my best.  I had all my life looked forward to being that important part of someone’s life, the best wife I could be, only to be brought to a very harsh reality, that I wasn’t.

In trying to make sense of my place in my friend’s life, I began to see the parallelism, and I came to realize, I have changed.  I used to feel, that I was only worth  whatever placement I was given…IN MY OWN LIFE.

Being displaced previously,  I believed I was only the salad with croutons and ranch dressing.  I didn’t think I could ever measure up again, to ever being the main course, the “Prime Rib”, if you will.

At the closure of that initial disappointment, I was given some closure: “You are an amazing person, I am sorry I treated you the way I did, you deserved better.”  Even though, I believe it was to wash his hands.  It still brought closure to my heart, and mind.  I went over details in my mind, of things I said, things I did, things I didn’t do – “had I done this, or done that, or been this, or been more that…”  But, I realized, it wasn’t me, and I won’t let it be me any longer.

It’s taken me TWENTY years………. to come to this realization.

Not everyone wants salad, not everyone wants Prime Rib, not everyone wants dessert either.  And that’s okay.  So whatever someone sees me in their life as being, great.  I may be someones “soup that comforts on a cold day, or “a crisp refreshing salad on a summer day”  or even dessert – at any given second of the day….  I will however never cease to be the best me.

But, as for me, in my life….. I am Prime Rib.