A Broom of Her Own

July 11, 2011

Moments of clarity aren’t always so clear


Sometimes I have great moments of clarity. On those rare occasions, I “get it” and I take action.

But for the most part even when I have a moment of clarity, I slip back into my bad habits – not because they’re good for me  – because they’re what I know and am used to.

What would it take to cut the proverbial bullshit?

July 9, 2011

not risking is too high a price

Filed under: creativity,hope,possibilities,resiliency,wake up & live — A Broom of Her Own @ 9:01 am
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what do you want?

what is the cost?

is it worth the price?

I came across these questions in the book Stretching Lessons by Sue Bender and reread them a bunch of times because they really speak to me. What do you want? What is the cost? Is it worth the price?

Gives you pause for thought, doesn’t it?

Apparently, a Buddhist teacher posed these questions as a way of helping Bender understand that she was closing down the part of herself that wasn’t pursuing her dreams.

She isn’t alone on this one.  Too often, practicality holds us hostage. We want to make or dreams reality but we are too afraid to take that first step, much less the leap it might take to achieve our desires. The risk scares us and keeps us in our so-called comfort zones….even if it isn’t so comfortable.

Believe me, playing it safe has been my way of life for way too long. But where has it gotten me?

How about you? I think Bender has it right;  not risking is too high a price to pay.

Take some baby steps if you can’t make the leap.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

June 5, 2011

An adult merely in disguise

 

My mom was 83 when she died last February. She had emphysema, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and an assortment of heart issues that likely paid for her cardiologist’s kids’ college educations and his vacation home.  On the surface, she was the quintessential old lady with white hair, oxygen tank, and shortness of breath.

But very few people who met her considered her elderly. That’s because as sick as she was, she radiated vitality. Mom had an irrepressible zest for life. Shortly before she died, Mom told me that she wasn’t afraid of dying (she was deeply religious), but she wasn’t ready to go because she was still having a good time and didn’t want it to end.

It sometimes shocked Mom to look in the mirror and see an old lady. Physically, she probably felt like she was 110. With her breathing issues, walking from the kitchen to the living room took the energy of running a 10K. Everything she did was a struggle during that last year. But she still considered her life grand. She said she felt like a 26 year old trapped in an 83 year old body. I found that oddly ironic; I’ve known 26 year olds who carried the weight of the world on their shoulders and seemed much older than my mom. The secret to her youthfulness was that she had a hard life but never let it weigh her down.  She was always game for an adventure and had a great sense of fun.

My mom taught me by example that the key to living well and weathering every storm is to not take anything – especially yourself – too seriously. She was extraordinarily gracious and always optimistic.

She was one of a kind. I miss her so very much.

Life is about choices. Our circumstances and age can make us old before our time. Or we can live well and savor the day. Mom was a 26 year old in an 83 year old body. How about you? How old are you in your mind’s eye?

June 4, 2011

What are you afraid of?

I have to admit; it feels strange to live with uncertainty about what the future holds. I used to work 60 hour weeks, but now I see that there was an ease to that life. My old routine was kind of like a safety blanket.  Now I wake up every day wondering about my next chapter. What’s next?

In the scheme of things, this isn’t a subject we usually spend a lot of time mulling over. We’re too busy with our jobs, kids, families, careers, etc., etc., etc. Our day-to-day resembles those automated sidewalks at the airport, mindlessly moving us forward like automatons. Wedon’t have time to pause to consider where we’re going.  The mundane aspects of our lives blind us from Living.

Are you happy? Truly happy?

What does it take to shake you out of your routine? Why not examine your life from a different angle? Intuitively, we all know that if you don’t do what you love, you die a little every day. But we cling to the familiar anyway.

What are you afraid of?

A lot of us get thrown out of what we consider our comfort zones and we start wandering. Whether it’s losing your job, watching your marriage go up in flames….whatever the catalyst, you’re forced to shed your notion of your life and your notion of yourself.  I wish there were a road map to show you the way to your new kind of normal. I wish I could help you avoid those days when up feels down and down feels up. But have faith. You aren’t lost. Take off your rose-colored glasses and face the future.

That old way of being clearly, wasn’t your destiny.  This is your journey, my friend. It may not be what you envisioned, but if you stop clinging to the old, you might surprise yourself.

It’s never too late to change. And you never know what’s waiting for you around the corner.

I’m not sure what’s next for me. But that’s okay. If nothing else, the journey is helping me find my destination.

June 3, 2011

this being human is a guest house

Filed under: possibilities,resiliency — A Broom of Her Own @ 3:43 am
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The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

~ Rumi

May 26, 2011

Resurfacing……finally

Filed under: possibilities,Uncategorized — A Broom of Her Own @ 11:17 pm
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Sorry for flying under the radar for the past few weeks. I was sidetracked by jury duty. Out of 200+ potential jurors I was one of 16 chosen for a very long, high profile white collar crime trial – agh!.  And then I spent the last couple of weeks reclaiming my life after being in that courthouse day after day after day. Too many things to do and not enough time to do them. Plus, I think I just needed a little break from technology.

The weird thing is that while sitting in the jury box, I wrote blogs in my head. Go figure.

When my life gets in the way, I go offline. How about you gentle reader? What do you do when life gets in the way?

here’s the link to the Wall Street Journal’s article about the case:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576315101670843340.html

April 23, 2011

When we shout, we can’t listen or be heard

“The major problem is not the vociferous shouting from one camp to the other; rather it is that many have given up even being heard. We are losing the very value of dialogue—especially respectful communication—in the name of the sheer force of naked power.”

– Cornel West, from Democracy Matters (2004)

April 22, 2011

You can’t always get what you want

“You can’t always get what you want,

but if you try sometimes,

you might find,you get what you need”

Sometimes your plans get obliterated. And picking up the pieces is a bitch.

The first time it happened to me was when I was a 30 years old. I considered myself successful and independent. But about a month after my husband died – when all of the sympathy calls stopped and I was faced with being truly alone – I realized how many of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations just didn’t make any sense anymore. With Ted gone, it felt like someone had erased a whiteboard that had all of my plans on it and now I was staring at a completely blank slate.

Now what? Why bother? What’s the point? What next?

Sound familiar?

Sometimes your life changes so radically that your carefully constructed plans aren’t relevant anymore. Your vision of raising your kids in a nuclear family, growing old with your spouse or retiring together in that dreamed-of beach house…..poof! gone in an instant when your marriage ends in divorce. Your savings plan to get the kids through college debt-free or that almost-funded retirement plan….poof! gone with your layoff and extended unemployment.

Things change. Plans get obliterated.

It would be so nice to get that life of your dreams. But it ain’t gonna happen.

But take it from me, life goes on.   That dream wasn’t your journey. This complicated, messy life is.

And that’s okay. So identify and move on.

You’ll get what you need.

April 1, 2011

Can we just get along?

I don’t get it….

My marriage fell apart four years ago. Now I have a wonderful life, my children are doing amazingly well, and I’m with a man who is a gift from God. Life is good. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful to my ex for liberating me from that marriage. His affair and our divorce gave me a life I never dreamed possible. I don’t hold a grudge against him. I have my rose-colored glasses off, I see him for who he is. And that’s okay.

A lot of people do horrible things to get back at their ex-spouses. But isn’t it the kids who end up in later years on the shrink’s couch dealing with  scar tissue? For my kids’ sake, I’m focused on working with him in a collegial manner. I treat him with respect, especially in their presence. But he invariably comes off as an angry jerk. What is up with that? He plays the role of the victim of this divorce. He was the one who chose – in his words –  to “dismantle the marriage.” Yet he feels victimized because he has to pay child support and doesn’t have the kids full-time. So to get back at me, he always has a “fuck you” attitude and tries to undermine me whenever he can.

We’re divorced. We’re both much happier in our new lives, which is as it should be. Why is he so angry? And what’s the point?  As Rodney King famously said, “Can we along?”

Believe me, I’m not Mother Theresa. In my heart of hearts I think he’s a jerk and it bugs me that this is the man I chose to be the father of my children. But what’s done is done. I’m moving on with my life.

But he is stuck. He puts so much energy into hating me. My friends say he does it because he’s guilty for ditching us during cancer. But I don’t think so. Regardless, it’s tiresome and not good for our kids. And as much as he baits me, I bite my tongue till it hemorrhages. I refuse to engage with his foolishness.

I just don’t get it. I feel like it will never end.

If he wants to live a vitriolic life, he can knock himself out. I choose not to own it. It’s his problem, not mine.

March 26, 2011

Even if you’re afraid of the dark…..

Filed under: creativity,hope,video,wake up & live — A Broom of Her Own @ 12:00 pm
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It’s only an hour. We’re going to turn ours off. How about you?

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