Closeness

*The other day I posted about the distance I was feeling in my marriage. A very smart reader inspired me to write about what I want. Here it is.*

I would like to feel the kind of closeness with you that you feel when a newborn baby is first placed in your arms. The feelings of awe and beauty in what you have created make you feel elated.A sense of total dedication and belief in all the possibilities that lay before you open to you and bloom like a rose. The total acceptance of this person and the belief you can handle whatever lays before you with them. The way they fit so perfectly in your arms and automatically snuggle in, burying themselves deeper into your heart and soul.

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I want the sort of closeness with you that feels peaceful and reassuring. A closeness in which what what I see before me is truth in all its glorious nakedness and not something dressed to cover it up.

I want a quiet and dignified closeness in which you know the person so well that they will tell you when you are wrong in a way that allows you you to hear it and know it is true because they love you enough to tell you. In a way that in reaching for your hand they are actually grabbing onto your heart and holding it gently in their hands.

I want a closeness with you in which your love knows and acknowledges my flaws while gently trying to lead me to a better way, not through superiority but through genuine good will wished for me. A person who tries to concentrate on the good and not only acknowledge the bad in me. The kind of closeness that encompasses true forgiveness and understanding.

I want a closeness with you in which if I had to have a mastectomy in wouldn’t bother me that I had missing parts because I know you could let those go knowing that I have other parts that were just as precious and wonderful.

I want to feel a closeness with you in which talking to each other throughout a work day feels like a bonus, like a 5 minute picnic in a meadow full of warmth and happiness instead of feeling like a chore.

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I want a closeness with you that at times needs no words. It is just strong and steady and something we can hold onto while feeling safe and confident when the gales of life threaten to pull us from one another.

I want to feel a closeness to you that feels like the biggest and best quality feather bed ever made. It feels light  and airy and its a place where deep rest and relaxation can be found.

I want to feel a long-term closeness with you not something fleeting and temporary based on whims and moods. But something strong and sure  like a Boy Scout knot that won’t come untied unless you release the ends with purposeful intent.

I want to feel a closeness with you that is steadfast and steady like a dogs love and admiration to his people. No questions asked, it is just there unwavering.

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I want to feel as closeness that is devoid of fear, mistrust and hidden agendas. I want this closeness to be pure and bright like a guardian angel or like the closeness God shows us when we are open to seeing it. Closeness that you guard with your life because you both feel that it is precious and worthy.

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I want to feel a closeness to you like I never have. I want to have a deep never-ending connection with you.

Letting Go Again

It’s been going on for over a week now.

“I’m nervous!”

“I won’t know anyone there!!!”

“What if I get lost???!!!!!!”

“What if there is nothing there for me to eat?”

“What if I land wrong on the board and hurt myself?”

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This is what I have been hearing from Gracie lately and it intensified as the day drew closer for her to attend diving camp at a large university four hours from home. These are the words of a child whose age is between the first double digit and her teens. Excited but scared to death especially because she knew no one who would be attending camp with her.

She’s good at what she does so I wasn’t worried about that aspect. She has accomplished in three years of doing her sport what it has taken of most of her competitors 6-8 years to do. Learning and practicing wasn’t the issue but being away from home was.

Gracie has always had difficulty separating herself from us. I often wonder if she would have been this way if she had been born to us or if her adoption has played a role in it. Not knowing if people will come back to you or if they will stay with you does tend to put doubts in your head. And as we spent last night together in the city she looked as if she might cry. But I knew that she needed this camp to teach her about courage and accomplishment not so much in her sport but in life in general. That’s what we are suppose to do as parents. We should give our children experiences which allow them to separate with confidence so they will be able to be independent adults when they go off on their own.

Waking up this morning was hard. Her nerves were bouncing all over the place and I was watching as a “bad hair day” started to unnerve her even more. I said all the right things and did all the right things. I asked if she was okay and told her since she could do double rotations she had nothing to be afraid of.  Finally, it was time to go and check into the college dorms. Now, I was getting a little hesitant.

We drove over in near silence with Gracie taking in everything around her. After unpacking and making her bed I saw that Gracie was beginning to get her groove back. Her confidence began to soar (or at least she wasn’t going to let anyone know anything different just like she does when she dives). Just before she was to go to the pool with her group she remembered she had left her water bottle in the car so we dashed off to get it. As we walked back I took her into my arms and said, “You’ve got this baby. You will be okay.”

And with that she lifted her big brown eyes, looked up into mine, let go of my hand and said, “Geez mom, you worry too much!!!”

It was at that moment I knew she would be just fine and that in releasing my hand she was letting go of so much more.

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Fences- A Positive Post

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Yesterday Paul needed to get some service hours in for Scouts. He elected to paint the fence at our church. It was hot and the fence sat square in the path of the intense rays of the scorching sun. Six hours spent working in the sun is difficult for anyone but even more so for a young autistic teenage boy with no previous painting experience. Fortunately, one of the older members of our congregation (R) was there to provide guidance and cheer him on.

I love it when old and young connect. There is something almost magical that happens when wisdom meets youth. Learning occurs in an unstructured setting and life’s lessons are conveyed easily. More importantly, both parties share those things that are important to them and greater understanding of the world and each other is obtained by both.

When he arrived home Paul was stoked and could hardly wait to tell me about his afternoon. But it wasn’t the fence he talked about. It was the connection that he made that mattered the most to him.

“Did you know that R served in the Korean War?” my sweet Korean boy asked.

“I had no idea,” I replied.

And so Paul sat with me and excitedly told me all that R had shared with him. Things about the war, what the country of Paul’s birth looked like back then, and how his life had changed because of his service. They also talked about what boys did growing up in the 40’s, how times have become more complicated and R’s ideas about the important things in life. But most of all Paul gained a friend. A man who could teach and discuss without being parental. A person with whom Paul could relate his troubles regarding peers in school and his concerns for the world as he navigates becoming a young adult.

It’s funny how sometimes in doing things for others you gain something special and totally unexpected for yourself.  This weekend Paul learned from R the value of a friendship with someone older and wiser than himself. He learned to share problems and issues and listen to good advice in return. And more than just learning about how to paint fences he was also taught how to mend a few too.

 

 

 

 

Damn I’m Good-A Positive Post

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I love the color red. It’s bright, invigorating and screams out “LOOK AT ME!” like a three year-old having an intense but satisfying tantrum. Yes, red is a color that begs to be both seen and heard.

I have never had much red in my life even though I love it’s sass.I tend toward colors that live life in a predictable fashion, steady and neutral ones, which when I think about it, describe me perfectly. They are the familiar and comfortable colors. They represent things like  grilled cheese and soup on a warm winters day. Nothing fancy and nothing too far “out there.” Just reliable go-with-anything colors that you can count on to get you through life.

This week I decided that the house needed a facelift so I bought a gazillion of those cans of paint samples trying to find the perfect hue with which to paint my shutters. There were forest greens, navy blues, and soft grays. Yellow was out but black remained on the list. With the amount I spent on samples I could have bought several gallons of paint but it was important to find the “perfect” color. Just for kicks I decided to try a red on for size and surprised myself when I decided to paint those shutters a kiss-me-once-more shade of RED.

Now I think I have shared with you that I am desperately afraid of heights. Terrified. And the shutters are mostly on the second story which would necessitate crawling out on the roof to get the job done. Now B would have eventually gotten around to it if I had asked but frankly his painting sucks. Drips everywhere. Streaks galore. Whereas I am a painting pro who doesn’t even need to tape off because I have such a steady hand. I am a Leondardeschi of the da Vinci gang. But up on the roof? Heaven help me. Even I had my limits…or so I thought.

So it was with trepidation yesterday morning that I eased myself out of my daughter’s second story window and stood out on top of the roof, the sun scorching my delicate skin, while I scrapped, prepped, and painted eight shutters. And if I do say so myself the change looks great. But it is not the exterior change that is important; it is the interior one I made inside of myself that is significant as well as meaningful to me. Because once again I conquered my fears and I accomplished something that made me feel positively giddy. I did what made me happy and was not afraid to transform things just a bit. And if the truth be told, painting the shutters became symbolic of something even greater. It spoke of my belief in the longevity and eventual recovery of my relationship with B because I wouldn’t have risked life and limb on the roof of a house that I wouldn’t be living in in the future. Amen.

Just Sit With It…Or What If I Just Shut Up?!

 

So I decided to try just sitting with it this weekend when B and I had 24 hours together. It is hard for me to do because I want answers now, but that said, for the most part I just sat with what is. Sure we had a small talk in which I told him he was damn lucky he had me and that he had better make sure that whatever was looking good on the other side of the fence better be because there were no second chance come backs. Once over it is over forever. His response, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” So I didn’t, stopped talking, just sat with things and just had a wonderful 24 hours where we had sizzling sex, hiked in the mountains and visited an ancient Native American site along a creek.

I guess this picture looks like I am peeing a river but it really just me laying by it!

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Just sitting with something is difficult. It means not trying to force the issue. Not trying to make things the way you want at all costs. It means you just watch, wait and listen and see what comes to you without anyone involved in the equation while you are sitting. You take time to ponder, weigh all evidence and then don’t act. You just sit with it. For someone like me who takes the bull by the horns and goes into IEP’s and gets what my kids need, well, “inaction” is the opposite of everything I am.

One thing we have decided to do after this weekend is to try to find a different marriage counselor. B will stick with our present couples counselor and will start seeing her alone and I will continue with mine. And while I am pleased that he will be getting individual counseling sometimes I just think that things seem worse with all this counseling going on. Maybe we should just quit. But I don’t think that is an option at this point. I just wish it wasn’t all so hard and try to imagine a day when it isn’t.

Another thing we have done is signed up for a Marriage Encounter weekend in May. This is a Catholic retreat for couples whose relationships are challenged. I am not Catholic so this will be somewhat of a challenge to me. B was raised Catholic for the first 10 years of his life and when he parents were divorced they were forced to leave the church. He is still carrying some of the Catholic guilt with him today.

So all in all, I think sitting with it this weekend was a success. Of course, this means NOT talking about the nitty-gritty or getting into serious discussions. And it felt good not to do that as it feels like that is all we have been doing lately which is making things worse thanks to hurt feelings, sad conversations and misunderstandings. Just shutting up for a while and not saying what was on my mind seemed to help both of us have a lovely time with one another but does this mean I need to go get my jaw wired shut for us to be happy?

JUST SIT WITH IT…another ink perhaps..I think I will just sit with that one for a little while.

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On Making A Decision

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Recently I was reading about the effects on our body when we make a decision.  Besides solving problems decision making also has the added benefit of decreasing anxiety and worry. Because making a decision involves setting goals and creating intentional effects it engages the prefrontal cortex which reduces that anxiety you have been carrying around. And because decision making involves a shift in how you perceive the world when this shift happens in calms your limbic system creating a sense of tranquility.

Yet, what about all those times when making a decision feels like it involved two equally difficult or disastrous end points? Well, neuroscientists say to go ahead and “make a good enough” decision. Instead of trying to make the perfect decision “the good enough” decision will decrease stress and make you feel like you are more in control. In fact, just the act of making that decision will give your brain a pleasure boost so that skipping your way through the day seems like a real possibility instead of just dragging your butt somewhere.

So there you go. Make a “good enough” decision…stick with it…and you will find yourself under less stress and feeling good about yourself and your place in the world!

What Is Happiness?

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about happiness…as in… what is it really, how do we get it and most importantly how do we hold on to it?

Sometimes I know what happiness is. It is a warm cuddle with a baby who looks at you, eyes wide, and smiles so broad you wonder how it is contained on such a small face. It is laying my head on my husband’s chest and feeling its rhythmic rise and fall and with it the feeling that everything will fine in all that we have created. It is writing the ‘perfect’ piece in which you feel you have gotten your point across and a bit of your own humanity as well.

But, I wonder, is happiness suppose to be this fleeting…small moments in time that when added together don’t account for all that much? And what is the difference between being content or feeling joy? Is joy just happiness on steroids and is contentment just joy three times removed? Or is happiness just a deep appreciation for a moment felt whether it lasts three seconds or five minutes? And the big question… how do I feel more of all of these positive feelings and hold them in my hand like pearls savoring their smoothness, shape, color and beauty?

I once had a friend named John who swore he never had a bad day. His secret, he told me, was that he would get up in the morning, look in the mirror and say out loud, “John, you are going to have a great day!” And according to him he always did. For John, a “great day” was simply a state of mind, a place that his mind took him to and stayed with him there as the hours counted down from midnight and back.

I’m not sure what happiness really is but I know I would like to experience more of it and expand that feeling for a longer period of time when I do happen upon it. I would like to find more of that “elusive state of mind” that allows happiness to be seen easily and enjoyed fully. And finally, I would like to one day be able to define for myself and others exactly what it is because until I can answer question I suspect that it will remain a random feeling instead of a large part of my everyday life.

So here’s to happiness…may it find us all easily and may we chose to see it when it arrives.

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Getting Back To Life

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When I started this blog I made a promise to myself that I would write everyday and have pretty much stuck to that come hell or high water. I made this commitment out of a primal need to express myself after B had talked about a “maybe” divorce. This was/is my safe place to vent those things weighing heavily on my mind. It was/is a place I could use to say the words I needed to say but not always to B because they were too painful and raw. Blogging was my escape from life in the sense I could look at my life as if I was an outsider and consider it as such. I thank everyone who has read what I have written and given me a nudge, a kind word, or pointed things out that I needed to consider. So many people have helped me on this journey.

Recently however, I have decided I must get back in the game of my life. In my “real” life I write magazine articles and since the “maybe divorce” I put those assignments on hold. I also stopped working on the three novels and a child’s picture book that are all in various forms of disarray. While the blog has been helpful in that it helped ensure that I didn’t check out all together, it has also taken up time that I probably need to use to complete what I started and finish SOMETHING… ANYTHING. So while I will continue writing, maybe still on a almost daily basis, I have decided to allow myself a little flexibility. We shall see what happens!

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Of course, now that I have written this I will probably blog more than ever…go figure!

 

 

Give Thanks

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GIVE THANKS

For my sons

And for my daughters

For my man who is

My  best lover

And for my friends

Who have taught me about myself

Even those parts I delude myself into thinking

Are good for my soul

GIVE ME APPRECIATION FOR ALL I HAVE

 

GIVE THANKS

For all the people in the world

Trying to do their best

Suceeding with what they have been given

Never giving up

Never giving in

Putting one foot in front of the other

On a journey which is so different than my own

GIVE ME UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY

 

GIVE THANKS

For all I have been blessed by and with

And all I have had the opportunity to discover

May I never forget

Fatima’s mother and her daily struggle, her smile

Etched in my memory

GIVE HER MUCH NEEDED BLESSINGS

 

GIVE THANKS

I have a warm belly

No bombs dropping and  causing chaos and destruction

A life free from true suffering

That so many must led

Through no fault of their own

Lives shattered by policies

Not of their making

GIVE MUCH NEEDED WISDOM TO THOSE IN CHARGE

 

GIVE THANKS

For life-giving trees

For abundant fresh water

For those remaining polar bears fast disappearing

Due to man’s negligence

A earth that supports so many

In peril and under stress

Because of wants not needs

And our throw away culture

GIVE ALL HER CITIZENS INSIGHT TO DO BETTER BY HER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas This Year..Think Heifer International

Yeah, I know, this post is going to sound like one of those poor-oh-so-whiny and  spoiled American blogs and today that is what is truly is. I know. I get it. But today I will put myself out there and hang my head in shame if it gets just one of you over to the Heifer site to make a donation to this worthwhile organization. Thanks.

Christmas has become a fiasco in this house. Every year the pile of presents seems to get bigger while the actual needs get smaller. The holiday had become grand that no one can remember exactly what they received because there was just too much to process and catalog at one time.

I confess this is all my fault. Unlike my ex-brother-in-law who takes his kids shopping for a new toy every Friday (ugh); I am one of those parents who rarely buys something for my kids unless it is their birthday or Christmas. The rest of the year…forget it.  Yet, I have discovered that this parenting philosophy of mine also works to my disadvantage because I guilt myself into believing I have to make up for all those “NO’S” during the rest of the year and so at Christmas I am like Santa on steroids…disgusting…especially when there are so many children in the world just wanting to have a meal to fill their empty stomachs. Over the years my travels have pressed into my psyche the enormous needs throughout the world and in this country too.Buying toys or providing food…the seriousness of this weighs heavily on my mind during the holiday season and throughout the year. Really a child going hungry should not be happening anywhere in this day and age. But it does all too often and we all suffer because of it because who is to say what that child could have grown up to achieve? Perhaps they would have been the one to provide the missing “ingredient” to make sustainable cold fusion a reality? Or maybe they would have become a person who promotes unity and healing throughout the world? Maybe someone like Gandhi? Or maybe they would have practiced the art of a local healer whose ability to diagnose keeps her community alive? So much potential talent snuffed out and wasted due to weather, politics, poor infrastructure, greedy middlemen or assholes who intentionally starve their citizens while their pockets and bellies grow fat.

While I cannot change all the problems in the world I can change them in my little corner. So after much decision and debate this year we are trying something new. Each child will get four presents; one in each category: SOMETHING I WANT; SOMETHING I NEED, SOMETHING TO WEAR and SOMETHING TO READ. They will also pick out a animal to donate through Heifer International to a family whose life will be changed because they now have a way to sustain themselves and make money as their animals procreate and grow. And if you are interested you can contribute too. Visit Heifer International and learn more about this worthwhile charity. Or do something for your neighbors in need. Whatever we each do we will be making the change that we all want to see and that is the best gift we can give ourselves in a world gone mad.

http://www.heifer.org/