R.O.C.E.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

May you shower the people you love with love today.

It’s been a few years since I had a Valentine. But that doesn’t mean love is invisible.

Filled with expectations, hope, and tokens of affection, this day represents great joy for some, a lot of pressure for others, or a reminder of loneliness to those who aren’t recipients of flowers, hearts or poems.

Personally, I’ve decided that “romance” without the ‘man’ makes for a Really Outstanding Chocolate Experience.

Since chocolate is one of my first loves, I declare today a calorie-free day and will indulge! If you need help in this arena, you can get guidance in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile I raise a champagne toast to Mr. Absolutely-worth-waiting-for.

“I know I’m still young and there’s a lot of time for things to happen, but sometimes I think there’s something about me that’s wrong, that I’m not the kind of person anyone can fall in love with, and that I’ll just always be alone.

But I think if I knew someone was going to fall in love with me when I’m fifty-three or something, I think I could wait. Maybe. If I knew it would happen.”

~ said by 13-year-old protagonist Debbie in Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Don’t lose heart if you are not recognized as the object of someone’s affection today. It just means something wonderful is yet to come (hopefully in less than 40 years!). For those lucky souls who have a mate, revel in the miracle of love, and ENJOY today and every other date to the hilt!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13

Processing

I am processing the chapters of my library books in thought and deed. Last week I had a great conversation with my accountant that is helping me with the business planning. But in order to move forward, we must let go of the old, and “create space” in our lives as Kathy Freston puts it.

Ironically, it has been 7 years since my last business shut down (do entrepreneurs have a seven-year-itch?), and I was able to let go of some of that paperwork. Then I took it to the next level and evaluated other files I have. With everything going ‘paperless,’ I went on a shredding spree.

My hardworking shredder taught me an interesting lesson: “Take breaks!” As I fed it stash after stash, it would at some point just stop and not budge for about 20 minutes. I figured out its rhythm, and realized that I too, must honor my rhythm. Make some progress, take a break, make some progress, take a break.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it still captivates people today!

This week I declared freedom from the Blackberry (too much of a corporate reminder) with a new phone. Then I set out to organize all the books I own (900-ish). The various Feng Shui diagrams didn’t work for me (not putting a bookcase in front of a window!), so I decided to organize the titles in my own way of inviting the creative in and dusting off the stagnant air.

Going through my photo albums and school projects was quite a walk down memory lane. As old bills brought back flashbacks I realized that most memories are fond ones with the distance of years. What was once a struggle now is a milepost of achievement. Hardships (like car troubles) were overcome, student loans were paid off, furniture was purchased and happily used (and some eventually passed on to new happy recipients), trips were made. The scrambling of planning, pinching pennies and extra work all paid off several years later.

The realization that struggles or resistance do serve a purpose is crystallizing more for me.  In The Wishing Year Noelle Oxenhandler gets her head around that we don’t necessarily have to struggle to ‘earn’ or ‘deserve’ what we ask for (something I’m working on myself!) but I still think that these (perceived) trials and tribulations help us grow and prepare us for the next phase in life—either for perspective or to know what to do in the future.

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place-yes, that’s in my library next to Anne Frank)

I also realize that all the worrying I did a decade ago only “robbed today of its strength” The big fears never came about, and with a decade of perspective, it all worked out just fine in the end. I’m hoping that that realization stays with me through the next decades to come. That regardless of what comes my way, there is a solution. The Universe does take care of everything, as I can see from my own life journey.

And so my thoughts swirl on with each day. I’m quite curious what the next week will bring!

I wish you a lovely weekend, with fondness for the days past, and much joy in the present.

Drifting

“You need to have dreams.
Dreams are actually the avenue through which we achieve success and true prosperity. To be without a dream is to be without a plan. You are at a loss for what to do.
Give yourself permission to dream and to succeed.”

~ Ellen Peterson, Choosing Joy, Creating Abundance

By many accounts we had the blizzard of the decade here last week (the Top 5 in the region if you’re counting). Even though I prepared to stay in, my indoor projects went nowhere. I do think that when the wind howls around your house, it stirs up energies inside the self too, creating a restlessness that prevents one to tend to ‘life as usual’. Because those natural forces are highly un-usual and need to be respected.

I observed the growing snowfall from my windows and went out the day after the storm had settled. Now we’re treated to gorgeous sunny days, while the city is trying to figure out how to clear all this snow.

Meanwhile I am processing the shifting of my life, and integrating all the different aspects of ‘me’. When I was leaving my job there was a duality in responses. People wished they could just leave too, and yet they could not conceive that I had no concrete plans yet. Culturally, we are tied to what we do. The first descriptor of oneself is tied to a job or a primary role we play.

In the movie Avatar, their greeting is “I see you,” but the English greeting is “How do you DO” or “how are you DOING.” The implication, which I am grappling with, is that if we aren’t ‘doing’, we aren’t.

Especially now with modern gadgets, there is very little stillness. When I take walks in the park, the people I see walking alone are on the phone. The only gadget I have out is my camera. But even when its battery dies I like to just wander and look at the beauty of the world.

There is a stillness in the blanket of snow. The pristine white feels soothing and cleansing. The day after winds were howling and waves were crashing, the lake is silent, and the blanket of snow softens the world.

One doesn’t have to take a sabbatical to explore stillness. You can dedicate a day to just being. To not be guided by obligations, but to just drift into your own self and think about the tiny wishes you’d like to come true. When you catch yourself saying “I wish I could…” what is it that prevents that from happening now? Can the to-do list wait? Do you truly need a full year, quarter or month to fulfill your wish? Is there something you can work toward on the weekend or during a vacation?

Are you using ‘obligations’ to other people as an excuse? Most people want others to be happy, so your significant other or children should be willing to accommodate you in what you’d like to achieve. They might even cheer you on.

I let a lot of nay-sayers direct my actions in the past. But ultimately I was the one responsible for my life and how to make my dreams come true. I used circumstances and opinions as an excuse to stay put in the safety of the known, rather than daring to explore the unknown. Over time I realized that the desires I have within me need to be honored. Those heartfelt wishes are what guide us along our path and help us fulfill our destiny. There will be detours and meanderings to teach us and reinforce our dedication to our personal quest, but if something is tugging at your heartstrings it is doing so for a reason.

Don’t wait for a life-changing event to affirm your destiny. Start building toward it now. You are the one in control of your life, no matter what the circumstances of it are. When you commit to your heart’s desire, you will start to see affirmations along the way. When you voice that heartfelt wish, even more encouragement will start to flow.

There will still be naysayers along the way, because your actions remind them of their own unfulfilled wishes, but they prefer to maintain the status quo. But even those dialogues will help you affirm how dedicated you are to making a change, now.

My past decisions about college and jobs were guided by practicality and logic, and the plans I have for this year will be ‘difficult’ and ‘tough’ by the market’s assessment. Still, I have to honor that wish and see how it goes in spite of any ‘logic’. If I don’t try, I’ll never know for sure what might have happened.

With all the meandering choices I’ve made, there is a rightness to this year, to the present. I still try to give it structure and operate under the ‘doing’ mode, but I am allowing events like the blizzard and my inner senses to guide each day and not adhere to rigidly to schedules and timelines of my own making.

There is a strong sense of inner preparation. For what, I don’t know. But life has worked out fine thus far, so it’s best to just drift along and see where the days lead…