Why is there only one day out of the year that is dedicated to verbalizing how thankful we are? Same thought with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Secretary’s Day, or Veterans Day. What good is acknowledging someone or something one day and leaving to chance the other 364 days of the year?
Don’t get me wrong. I love holidays and all of those special days that are set aside to showcase a certain someone or something in our lives. It’s a great reason to hug each other and have parties and buy cool stuff for others.
But what has always bothered me was that the specialness of it all was confined to 24 hours. For example, the day before Mother’s Day my boys would be in their usual form of…well, being themselves. Then on Mother’s Day, they’d turn into
perfect little angels the one day that all mothers get the day off from chores, cooking, cleaning, and if lucky, get taken out to dinner, only to find that it’s business as usual the next day. It’s a great big bone thrown to us mothers just to keep us going until the next year. Personally, I’d like to see Mother’s Day be celebrated everyday, but I would settle for once a week.
Now from November 1, when the stores start filling their aisles with Christmas stuff, when most of us get warm fuzzies and show extra love to our family and hug our neighbors, until the evening of December 25, the feeling of gratitude does prevail. It’s a beautiful and uplifting experience. I only wish that the feeling would go beyond the holiday season.
And I’m thinking Hallmark and boxed chocolate companies would make a hell of a lot more money if they would promote this idea of gratitude and giving all year round.
I must say, though, that there are a lot of people who already put this into practice – I see it all the time on social sites such as Facebook, and that’s awesome! They are all way ahead of the game. They know that giving gratitude every day (or at least the majority of the time) only brings on more people, places, and situations for which to feel grateful for.
It’s easy to forget this in the face of life’s issues, but if we can remember to be grateful for at least one thing, one person, one experience every single day, it would be my guess the world would be a better place. I know the effort that something like that takes better than anyone. My days tend to pass in a blur and my head hits the pillow at the end of the day without an utterance of thanks, but it’s something I strive to remember every day.
So, like everyone else, I’m being swept up in the season love. I’m grateful for the events that have brought me back in touch with high school friends. I’m eternally grateful for whatever inspired me to take Kristen Lamb’s blogging workshop which in turn gave me new friends from her classes (WANA sisters and big bro!) and new friends whose light I soak up in Twitterverse. I’m grateful for my family, embracing cousins, aunts, and uncles, neighbors, and friends I have known since moving to this town.
My list of gratitude is long, as I’m sure yours is as well, so I’ll leave it at that for today. Starting tomorrow, I’ll begin the list of 364 more.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!
The eyes – the proverbial windows of the soul. They reflect a myriad of emotions – fear, sadness, elation, excitement, confusion, anger. Most novels have some reference to them. Regardless of what the rest of the face is doing, the eyes are what tell the truth. “…he smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.” “Her eyes flashed with passion.”
No, these are windows that can never be shut.
Covered, perhaps, but never shut. They hold the light of our soul until we are no more.
Eye contact connects one soul to the other. How comfortable are we when talking to someone who refuses to look in our eyes? Or soothed when words are emphasized by a caring look? Words are strengthened with simple eye-to-eye engagement. Eye contact also helps us decipher what words can so cleverly conceal.
But not only do these fabulous, expressive orbs transmit emotions, they can transmit something more – the actual soul of a being.
Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes – a stranger’s – and just…known…them? Were there, within those eyes, years, maybe lifetimes, of friendship? Perhaps that is what seals the deal between Elena Aitken and her “Besties.” I’m fairly certain that is what happened between my friend of 30 years, Marie, and I when we met in college. We were picking roommates in our dorms and with just one look, one “Hi there!” and we’ve been best friends ever since. Months will slip by without us speaking to each other, but we are always able to pick up where we left off without skipping a beat. My neighbor, Jill, and I had met about five years ago, but from day one, I just knew her, almost like a sister. And my cousin, Toria, and I are closer than most, though I didn’t meet her until I was 30 years old. Same with Kathleen Mulroy. We connect on so many different levels, I knew when we met six years ago, that our friendship was solid.
Now let me bump up the intensity. Tell me about your lifemate/husband/wife. Did you “just know” that he/she was the one? Like you both knew the same dance, the same rhythm of life? What was it when you first looked into each other’s eyes that told you that, yeah, I know you from somewhere?
For me, it was a volleyball player from UCLA. The recognition was instantaneous and riveting. So much so, it scared me. I bumbled my way through the few words that we exchanged, and I turned that meeting into one of those, “Damn! If only I had said…” He ended up walking away, and me…I’ve been kicking myself ever since.
That was 24 years ago. His face, more specifically, his eyes, are just as real today as they were all those years ago. I still wonder who it was looking out at me. Was it an angel who wanted to offer me encouragement or perhaps he was my twin flame who wanted to connect? My nerves and/or shyness had taken over and I had blown it. Or maybe the timing was off. Kind of a ships-that-pass-in-the-night thing. I’ll never know for certain, but that encounter had such an impact on me, I just had to include it in my first novel, Again.
Now here’s a kicker. We have built such a strong social circle with our followers and those we follow through our blogging, commenting, and connecting through tweets …how would all of that change (if indeed it would) if we could Skype in blips of say, 10 or 15 seconds? We hide behind our words and profile pictures now, but what if we actually showed our face and our eyes? (Gasp!) Not only would we have to make sure our hair is brushed and we are out of our pajamas and slippers (maybe), but we would have to make sure our intentions are cleaned up as well. Would there really be a difference? Our fingers type one thing, but is our soul saying another? Do our words and eyes really corroborate with one another? After all, there is no “delete” or backspace button and we can’t tweak our eyes.
Sure, there will always be exceptions, but overall, where do you stand? Come on, be honest here…or perhaps we could have this conversation through Skype…
I read a quote on Twitter the other day by @Perlkvist: “Giving up can mean you are weak. However, it can also say you are strong enough to let go.”
So I lined them up – five Rubbermaid containers – the big ones – and filled them with all the things that just didn’t work for me anymore; the residua of procrastination and a marriage gone south. I smudged the rooms with sage to banish the negative energy, cleaned the cobwebs from the corners, and read books on Feng shui for the house. I de-cluttered and simplified my life. The qi was definitely moving in the right direction.
Then I’d step out of my cozy little nook and hang out with my friends and I realized I didn’t always have that same great feeling. I found myself avoiding conversations with some and avoiding eye contact with others.
There is a woman I encounter on a daily basis. At first our conversations flowed easily enough, allowing the energy to exchange in a positive way until one day I noticed a slight shift. I can only assume it was because we were becoming friends that this person felt comfortable enough to start unloading the negative suitcases from her baggage cart, but it got to the point where I would ask, “Hey, how’s it going today? Wait. Don’t answer that.” I would steer clear of any verbal triggers that might set her off, taking our conversations spiraling down tunnels I never wanted to go.
And it wasn’t just her. I have more than one Eeyore shuffling their feet around in my orbit, and talking with them – hell, just being with them – is absolutely exhausting. It throws me off balance. After a particularly stressful encounter with one of them, I knew what I had to do…
I had to do some Friendship Feng Shui.
It is my nature to be the peacekeeper, the one who placates people and smoothes ruffled feathers. Being the perpetual optimist, I try extremely hard to find the good in people, but when subjecting myself to their negative qi threatened my sanity, when the relationship used up my precious energy, I had to draw the line.
Delete, delete, delete.
The process was ruthless, painful, and felt absolutely incredible. I even had to inform certain family members that being part of my family was a privilege, not a right, and forcing me to deal with their hang-ups was not an option.
As social creatures we gather for coffee at Starbucks, meet over lunch, and hook up on Twitter and Facebook. We share hobbies, sporting events, and conversations over wine.
Throw into the mix the 40-hour work week (and that includes the job of “Motherhood” that goes on 24/7), social/sporting activities, household responsibilities, and family time. And if you have a hobby or second career going on, that’ll pretty much tap out the well. At this point, an energy budget is just as important as a financial budget. We need to carefully choose where we allow our energy to flow in order to avoid a deficit.
With such a large network of friends and family, we are bound to have one or two in the group who make us want to click the “Block this person” or “Delete” button.
Those are the people my friend, Theresa, labels The Energy Vamps. You know who they are. The chronic complainers. The half-empty-glass people. The ones who insist on bringing the planet and everyone on it down to their level just so they can have guests at their pity party.
It could be in the way they sigh a little too loudly or give us a smile that falls short of genuine. All we know is that by the time we walk away, we need a nap, a double shot of espresso, a double shot of tequila, or at the very least, a week in a decompression chamber.
Any relationship should be mutually beneficial, bringing out the best in us, encouraging us to reach our full potential. It took me awhile to realize that, no, I’m really not that bitchy or impatient. I’m just that way in the presence of some people – the same people who no longer hover in my orbit.
You know that saying: “You can’t fly with the eagles if you’re swimming with the alligators.” Well, look up in the sky…that’s me up there, soaring with my peeps.
So where are you? How do you handle the Energy Vamps in your life? Are you in need of a good Friendship Feng Shui? What is the best part/worst part of cleaning out your friendship closet? Leave a comment! I’d love to know!