IT AIN’T ALL HEARTS and ROSES

This past Valentine’s Day had me thinking about love, as it should. Love of family, friends and things I hold dear. In Canada, we also celebrated Family Day the same weekend. It’s a happy coincidence.

Most of us find it easy to spend heart day with family or others who we love. It got me thinking about those I love who are gone, like my Mom, Grandma and my oldest, dearest pal Maggie. It also got me wondering about a cherished family member, the “Black Sheep” who in her selfishness, walks a road of self-destruction via drug and alcohol abuse.

After many years of late night phone calls for help, a bail out, collections and copious amounts of money loaned and wasted, I decided to accept what I had always known. You can extend a hand of help but you cannot make someone take it. Help is but a step from others and real change comes from internal strength and determination within.

 

This revelation helped me to unburden myself from taking the responsibility for the life of another. It is hard, damn hard to watch someone you love struggle with their demons. It’s harder still when no matter what you do, no matter what love, assistance, guidance and lies you overlook, the charade continues. It is hard to bear witness and stand back. It is difficult to watch someone you love endure pain, without feeling and in some respects, share their pain.

In the end, all that is left is love, hope and prayer. I have found nothing detracts from the love. The humanness of struggle has in fact increased my love for her and myself and provided clarity for which to see the fissures and solutions without prejudice. I am still blind to her deceit as  love does blind but now I can help through love, which is a better way.

Many folks are hard-core adapters and devotees of life’s societal norms and while I have never fit into this category, I understand the rules of the game. Those dark horses who refuse to learn and scoff will always be outside the circle of candy, roses and epicurean delights. They are perhaps the ones who need love the most. They are the adult children shyly clutching the barbed wire fence looking to others for succor on Valentine’s Day. They are the dogs baying at the family door, waiting to be let in.

I have never been one to look away or ignore the pleas in their eyes. I’m a sucker for a tin cup and a hard luck story. Stories are who we are, singularly and collectively. If we choose to look away and turn our backs on those in need, this tells our story too.

During that frosty, sunny weekend of celebration for love and family,  I felt it should have been impossible to exclude those who need us the most. Those who are the most vulnerable need us to be vulnerable and be the love. Be their Valentine.

If your family, like mine has dysfunction, love and embrace that too. Valentine’s and Family Day are not always filled with pink hearts and pretty pictures. The key to loving is in the acceptance of another’s ability for impropriety, their fragility, imperfections, foolish hearts and yes, their selfishness.  It is the essence of Valentine’s and Family Day. It is the heart and soul of every day.

I am single this year so no roses, chocolates or champagne. Instead, I choose to flow with my profound love of family and spent part of the weekend with them and as usual, my cup was overflowing. I hope yours was too.

When you learn to accept instead of expect, you’ll have fewer disappointments.

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TRAJECTORY OF HOPE

2015 is going to be a better year, personally and globally. It was the optimism, ignorance, perhaps even arrogance in me when I made the claim to a dear friend. Not that 2014 was a horrific year but there were many tragic events we could have done without. Too many tragic events should never have happened.

To name a few:

  • Ukraine Crisis. (02-18-2014)
  • Nigerian School Girls Abduction. (04-29-2014)
  • ISIS Seized Large Regions. (06-10-2014)
  • Israel Conflicts with Hamas in Gaza. (07-03-2014)
  • Airplane with 298 on board was Shot Down over Ukraine. (07-17-2014)
  • Ebola Virus Outbreak. (07-30-2014)

We are an intelligent species, I think. Yet here we are less than a month in the new year and negative words attached to devastating images populate news headlines. Add the Internet and it is incessant, inescapable and difficult to turn away from, should it be your option.

I won’t go into details of Charlie Hebdo. This sobering display of ignorance has been bandied about enough. Per usual, politics is discussed while the victims and their families are lost between the lines. Lives forever sullied and changed. This is the true tragedy.

Nor will I provide further fodder on the massacre at the savage hands of Boku Harem.  Once again, victims lay dead yet outside the periphery of the masses macabre interest and talking points. Sad.

What I will speak to is how 2015 is going to be a better year despite the heart-breaking start.

We cannot forget the losses. We cannot forget the insane, senselessness devastation. We cannot forget evil does reside beside us. What we can remember is light also lives. Hope still lives. Resilience still lives and our strength is boundless in the face of adversity.

It is in times of darkness and deep sorrow when we look inside and recall our power. We can conjure up our light, our hope, foster resilience and acknowledge our strength and say, “evil will not live here.” We will mourn but until the last breath is drawn, we can refuse to allow fear and terror to hold us hostage. Then and only then will my optimistic prophecy for a shinier global 2015 meet actualization.

Please join me in dispelling the dark.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  ~ Winston S. Churchill

REFLECTIONS ON 2010: Highlights of a simple life

In the past year I have achieved some of the goals I set for myself in 2010 and some fell freely by the wayside. I will resurrect a few for 2011 and others I will be more precise in defining them.  I will celebrate all that I have accomplished, as we all should. We need to celebrate event he mistakes we made but if we realized it, those mistakes taught us valuable lessons and this is cause for celebration. In fact, when I review my list I see that I missed many targets but what is missing are the things I achieved that cannot be defined by the written word. Those are memorable days, nights and events written from and by the heart.

2010 GOALS, check, check…

  1. Live better, love better, laugh harder and longer and much more often. THIS WAS DONE.
  2. Write three (3) screenplays and sell one (1) screenplay. STUCK IN ACT II HELL BUT WILL REVISIT.
  3. Finish the novel that I started in 2009. STARTED A NEW ONE WHICH IS NEAR COMPLETION.
  4. Travel more to local places, places within an hour or two to drive. ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND AND I WENT FARTHER THAN EXPECTED.
  5. Travel to a new city. PARIS AND I WILL GO BACK AGAIN.
  6. Get a better paying job that fulfills me and adds to the betterment of humanity. TOO LOFTY A GOAL PERHAPS AND THUS FAR, NO FORWARD MOVEMENT HERE BUT…
  7. Lose 60 pounds. I WOULD HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED BUT I WILL UPDATE TO 40 POUNDS.
  8. Do yoga three times a week. SOME WEEKS YES, SOME WEEKS NO.
  9. Meditate daily. SEE NUMBER 8…
  10. Go for a walk around the neighbourhood three times a week. THIS WAS DONE.
  11. Cut out sugar. NOPE, NO LUCK BUT I AM USING ORGANIC CANE SUGAR.
  12. No cigar smoking. BACK ON THE LIST AND I WILL BE STRONG ON THIS ONE IN 2011.
  13. Spend more quality time with family and friends. DONE AND WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM AND HAVE MADE SOME NEW FRIENDS ALONG THE WAY.
  14. Make time to read the books on my reading list and on my bookshelves. DONE AND DONE.
  15. Produce one new painting a month. If not, then two the following month and so on, and so on. SADLY NOT DONE AS PAINTING IS MY GREATEST JOY. AT THE TOP OF THE 2011 LIST.
  16. Write up that Edgar Cayce story/script/outline. NOPE, FORGOT ALL ABOUT THIS ONE.
  17. Take my Spanish to the next level—-fluency. SI, NEARLY THERE.
  18. Go to see a movie at the theatre at least once a month. STARTED OUT WELL AND FIZZLED.
  19. Find some worthwhile volunteer work. MY HEART LIES WITH ENVIRONMENTAL AND ANIMAL RESCUE WORK.
  20. Spend less and pare down to keep life simple. Quality, not quantity. ASIDE FROM PARIS, DONE.
  21. Have connective, compassionate, passionate sex. NO ONE’S BUSINESS BUT MINE. I WILL ADD IT TO THE 2011 GOAL LIST.

2010 was a wonderful year for me for many reasons. No one that I love died. My brother finally separated from a horrible marriage and is finally finding the happiness he deserves even if it comes in small measures. My sister left her 10-year relationship at the beginning of November. Packed up and left. Who leaves someone before Christmas I ask you? I would ask her this but she has yet to call me because she knows I will be brutally honest with her and that she is unwilling to hear my straight talk. I love her regardless but if you cannot share your choices with the ones who love you, then perhaps your choices are unwise after all.

My dearest friends Mothers have both been diagnosed with two types of cancer. Both of them have little stuffing and weigh in at a mere 98 pounds but these women are of such grit, such spirit as to give courage to all.

My own Mother suffered her health scars this year. Many of her battles begin in the past and wear her down. She is stubborn and we argue over the silliest things. Much of the time I want to smack her much as she likely wanted to smack me as the obstinate child who has become the obstinate adult but she is and always will be the only Mother I will ever have. It is an unconditional love, limitless in its compassion and depth. I met a woman on the train recently who told me that I was lucky to have my Mother as both her parents had passed away. She is right, and I know it.

My job leaves much to be desired but there have been days of pure joy and for that I am grateful. Most of all, I have been loved and have been allowed to love others and I am full of gratitude for this life, my simple, yet full of kindness, love, humour and hopeful life. A life well lived and truly lived in doing the things I want to do.

I have had my ups and downs, this is life. Life isn’t fair, nor is it perfect. You can kill yourself in your attempts at perfection and for what? We are all perfect imperfection and that is more than enough.

I try not to timidly quote Thoreau but instead honour him by living my life by his teachings and guidance.  I think he would be proud. I am.

I hope each and every one of you make good choices in the coming year. Choices based on what makes you feel like you are living the life God meant for you, a life of your purpose and no one else’s. This is truly living, true freedom of heart, mind, body and spirit. This is how I believe all humans are meant to live. Live your life in love and you will find all that you seek. This is my wish for you today and all the days that follow.

♥ PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TO ALL ♥