visualizing change

My 2011 Vision Board

I have some pretty major transformations planned for the coming year, as I mentioned earlier. So I thought creating a vision board would be a smart way to begin my New Year, a visual reminder of all the goals and dreams and desires I’ve been jotting down for myself. So many of us, myself included, often respond more deeply to a combination of words and imagery. Also, for an impatient soul like myself, for whom changes cannot come quickly enough, I’m hoping it will help me manifest more quickly and effortlessly. I plan to hang this board in my room as a daily reminder of the new energy I’m welcoming.

I’ve included imagery to reflect changes I’d like to make in my career and income, relationships, health (more vegetables and more yoga!), home, experiences, friendships and romantic relationships. I’ve included words to describe the best of my qualities, those I’d like to emphasize — such as savvy, resilient, optimistic, authentic, soft, irreverent, confident and captivating. Yeah, I like that last one, too!

Creating this vision board was a time-consuming process and a labor of love. I spent literally hours cutting words and images from old magazines and catalogs, focusing on those that evoke feelings I want more than actual things. I would like to remodel my bathroom, but rather than spell it out, I simply included a photo of a sleek, modern bathroom. I used words like “warm” and “comfort” for my home. I allowed myself to include photos of two very specific wants:  and iPad and new car, in part because I feel certain and confident in wanting these. For some of my less tangible desires — socialization and community — it resonates more to use aspirational words, combined with my heartfelt intent, to ask for the universe’s help in welcoming what’s right into my life.

For relationships, I cut out a wide swath of material — even including diamonds and diamond rings, and the words “engagement” and “commitment.” When it came time to paste these to my poster, I realized that words like “romance,” “unforgettable moments” and “touch” resonated the most with what I feel comfortable welcoming into my life for the coming year, along with the words “trust, thoughtful, kindness and good humor” to describe the qualities in a man I’d love to invite into my life. I left off the diamonds for now.

Right in the middle of my collage, I placed two key themes:  “choose wisely” to keep myself focused and “receive more than you imagined possible” to remind myself to be open to the divine plan.

When I awoke that first morning and went to visually absorb my work, I had to take several deep breaths to process through some fear. Why? Well… I want a lot! Having suppressed so many of my desires for so long while in my dysfunctional marriage, it feels a little scary to let myself want again. I’ll have to erase a few scripts — e.g. “to want things is materialistic” — that came with the relationship and release my fears as I go.

I have enough left over verbiage clipped from magazines to craft several crude ransom notes — some of it stronger, bolder language than I felt comfortable using just now.  I think I’ll keep these for next year’s vision board. I might feel better about opening myself to even more abundance and possibility next year — maybe even those words and images that welcome and invite a partner into my life.

love is tragic

I grew up in a houseful of books, and I’m certain I’d read just about everything on the shelves at least once by the time I was 13. By this I mean Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, books by Wharton, Austen, Dickens, etc. — all before achieving a level of emotional maturity or ability to discuss and interpret the themes found in several of these novels.

Combine this with my parents’ off-and-on tumultuous relationship, and it’s no wonder I’ve grown up believing that tragic love is the norm. In fact, I think I’ve always expected that love would be romantic, passionate, dramatic, heart-wrenching and that there would be obstacles to be overcome.

The early part of my relationship with my husband was full of these things. My love for him was ferocious, we pined for one another when we were apart, and I was certain we could overcome anything.

And then our life together became routine and steady. Ultimately, it was the boring, staid comfort of sharing daily life that I loved the most. For many years, I loved going home to him, the warmth of his body next to mine in bed each night, communicating in the shorthand we developed over time, his scent each morning when we hugged in the kitchen.

I’d like to believe that I’ve learned and matured enough to turn around and run if love comes with drama, tragedy and the kind of obstacles with lingering effects. Sure, I’m still hoping for a little romance, chemistry and excitement in my future, but I’ll be holding out for loving behaviors tempered by steadiness, companionship and responsibility.

what to do with the ring?

About six month ago…

While traveling together, a co-worker asked, “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Sure,” I said, “but I may decline to answer…”

“What will you do with your ring?”

Without hesitation (I’ve thought about this before), I replied, “I’m going to have the stones re-set into a new, ‘Let Freedom Ring’ for my right hand.”

“That is so awesome!” she exclaimed. “And unexpected. The second I blurted it out, I regretted asking in the first place. And your answer makes me so glad I did. Good for you!”

It may be awhile before the “Let Freedom Ring” becomes a priority (or a financial possibility). But my ring meant a lot to me when I wore it. It was difficult to make the decision to take it off. I invested a lot of love and tears into the commitment those diamonds symbolized, and I intend to continue wearing them — but, going forward, they will symbolize my commitment to myself.

dumping distractions

Yesterday I dumped a guy. Damn! I had forgotten how good that feels!

I suspect this sounds a little harsh. The truth is, I cancelled a date with a reasonably nice guy because he doesn’t have what I want. Yes, I know I need to practice dating again. And I’ve decided that I can accomplish this within certain parameters. It felt good to recognize that this guy was not in line with the direction I’m going in life, and to say, “Sorry. I don’t want to do this.” Making an empowered choice, one that nurtured my highest self, was deeply satisfying.

In small ways like this, I am rediscovering the power of affirmative choice. I spent nearly a decade developing great clarity about what I don’t want — this part is usually pretty easy. I’ve heard many women say, “I don’t want to be alone.” I’ve probably said similar things myself in the past. Transitioning to a positive vision of what we want — e.g. “I want to share myself with someone truly special” — is a deeper, more profound, knowing.

So I’m going to adopt the philosophy I take into the fitting room while shopping for clothes. I don’t buy it unless I’m in love. True, I fall pretty easily. But I need more clothes than I need men or hobbies or other diversions and flirtations that get between me and my ultimate bliss.

This challenge goes beyond being able to vote “YES!” to myself without hesitation. It requires discipline. I’ve always considered myself a bit of an opportunist — dreamy and flowing and allowing myself to be blown in the direction of the wind. More recently, I’ve also become easily distracted, possibly even developed (or come to recognize in myself) adult Attention Deficit Disorder.* So I’m going to have to stay focused, work my plan and keep my eyes on the prize. Here’s what I intend to do:

  • Develop and refine a clear vision of what I want
  • Believe that it’s out there and that it’s available to me
  • Stay focused; don’t get caught up with distractions (no matter how pretty and shiny they may be)

What pretty, shiny distractions are standing in the way of you having what you want or being the person you want to be? Which of these are simply and easily eliminated — dumped — by stating your truth?

*I realize the legitimacy of this condition and, no, I have not been diagnosed.

flirting in 160 characters or less

About 17 months ago…

If you’ve been following and reading about my attraction to Max, you’ve read that we’ve shared some powerful words via text. And so began our flirtation, in 160 characters or less.

Who knew this genre could be so complicated? I soon learned to edit my thoughts into a single, 160-character message, as well as how many ways I could possibly communicate in this abbreviated form:

  • start an exchange,
  • keep the conversation going,
  • end a conversation,
  • have the last word (and realized this was not entirely desirable)
  • and more.

We texted almost daily. Nothing inappropriate, just flirtatious. It became such a lifeline for me that I began checking my phone in the middle of the night to see if Max had texted me. After all, we were in different time zones and he often texted after I had gone to sleep. It was nice to wake and get a sweet message like, “I have a hard time believing that the man in your home doesn’t appreciate you” or “How did it take this long for us to find each other?”

There was never a time when I took any of these things to mean more than the sweet thoughts that they were. A flirtation blossomed.

Were we crossing the lines of what was appropriate, given that Max was married? I suppose a few times we did. But one of us always brought the conversation back into the realm of what was safe and appropriate.

falling into the feminine

I have already mentioned my all-out assault on beliefs and habits that have limited me, as well as how I’ve bungled many a relationship.

I’m ready for some major transformations, and I’m ready to invite some male attention back into my life. Rather than just flirting within the safe realm of old flames, I’m going to go out and meet some new men and start dating. I’m not ready to meet Mr. Right just yet, but I am ready to practice the things I’d like to do once I meet him.

Thus, after years of having to be the hard-driving, get-it-done masculine energy in my home, I’m ready to surrender into my feminine nature. And I’m turning to some experts to learn how this is done.

One of the tips I’ve gleaned from relationship expert Rori Raye is to say what you want, demonstrate emotional resilience and communicate clearly by using “I feel…” This gives a man an opportunity fulfill his nurturing role and take care of you. As an example, “I’m feeling a little hungry” gives a man an opportunity to offer to take you out for a bite.
You can add to this “What do you think?” to further appeal to your man’s desire to solve problems. Call it a new way of negotiating.

Since there is no man in my life, I asked a co-worker to test this new method of getting what you want. She and her husband have been arguing over the thermostat all winter. So… she went home and said, “I feel a little chilly. What do you think?”

He:  “You’re wearing three sweaters. How can you be cold?”

She:  “I had to sleep in my robe the other night.”

He doesn’t respond. She goes to bed cold and irritable, thinking that, yet again, she hasn’t gotten through to him. In the morning, he wakes up and says, “You know? It is a little chilly in here. Maybe we should turn up the thermostat.”

After weeks of arguing and a final night of thinking she was being dismissed, my co-worker was finally heard and her husband finally turned up the heat.

“I feel…” followed by “What do you think?” Pretty simple stuff. I think I’ll try it for myself next time there’s a man in the vicinity.

dedicated to my ex

I’m in a crabby funk of a mood today. And so I’m going to share a poem I wrote for my ex:

you are lying next to me
near, yet far away
I lie here sleepless, thinking
that even your snoring
is shallow.

 

I long dreamt of becoming a writer. Even while I studied Communications and Business in college, I audited creative writing and poetry courses to feed my passion.

You could call me a late bloomer. I wrote short stories in my twenties, struggling with characters I felt were incomplete and immature. It took me until after I had my second child to grow up in many ways. That’s when I began to find my voice, so to speak…er, write.

It’s also when my ex began to come across my writing (on his laptop) and criticize it. So this is the last poem I’ve written, probably four or five years ago now. But I have a feeling I may soon be churning out a whole lot more!

bungling the big stuff

It’s taken me remarkably little self-reflection to grasp that I haven’t approached relationships with the habits or behaviors that will allow me (and the relationship) to be successful. After all, where on Earth would I have learned healthy and appropriate behaviors or seen such examples?!

Let’s digress for a moment to my childhood within the environs of my parents’ spectacularly unhappy situation:  I recall being a small girl, playing with a Little People toy set, moving the characters around on the living room floor. I was an avid Sunday school student, and I suddenly had the thought that God must maneuver humans (and all living creatures) in the same way I was manipulating these small toys in play. What a thought! It was a big job, but God was all-powerful and everywhere… Still, I remember with absolute clarity thinking that, when creating my family, God had put two wrong people in this house together. At age four or five, this was my first conscious thought about my parents’ relationship.

Fast forward about 35 years. My own marriage failed spectacularly — due in large part, I’m realizing, to my utter cluelessness about how to be a woman in a relationship. I expect a man to behave like a man — he should provide, have good manners, be handy about the house and with the car (or at least earn enough to pay others to take care of them), among other things. My husband did not do these things. But were his failings caused, in part, by my own inability to provide the feminine energy in our relationship?

What if all the behaviors that allow me to be effective in professional and / or general life situations are jeopardizing my domestic happiness? In the absence of having a truly masculine presence at home, I’d taken charge…and became “the man.” And then I resented my husband for not being the man.

Let’s look at another hypothetical example:

Let’s say I’ve been flirting around with a fellow I’ve known for some time, and I’ve come to rather like him. I mean, I like him such that I’d definitely like to explore the energy between us, as I think we may have potential.

Imagine this fellow has said to me things like, “I like you” and “I think I’m falling for you.”

What would I have done in this situation? I’d have let him know directly, in no uncertain terms, that I’m interested. And in so doing, I’d most likely have ceased to be even remotely intriguing. I’d have taken away the chase, the feminine mystery, and circumvented any avenue or opportunity that might have allowed him to feel masculine.

This is how I’m bungling the “big stuff,” failing at relationships that could well be a big part of my equation for long-term satisfaction and contentment. Stay tuned for what I’m learning about how to stop messing it up!

new year, new me

New Year, new me. I’m not only counting on 2011 to be better than last year (or, rather, the past three years), I’m planning on it. I’ve been meditating, visualizing, thinking, defining, feeling, creating, reading and contemplating. I’m creating vision boards and drafting goals and writing down the steps I’ll take to reach them.

My philosophy is this:  There are many people I don’t know. There are many companies I don’t know. In fact, in general, there’s a lot I don’t know. And it’s entirely possible that among the body of things I don’t know, so many things are way cooler, more positive, sexier, more abundant and better for me than what I have known. There is a man out there, who I may have never met, who is a perfect partner for me. There is a company and a position out there that wants, needs and rewards all the best of my knowledge and skills — and it has fantastic pay and benefits! I can only truly create these things if I can believe they are possible.

So I’m trying to dispel some old, worn-out beliefs, test my assumptions, expand my horizons and learn new ways to be open, invite, and welcome amazing new things into my life. I invite you, in all your fabulousness, to join me!