“Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.” — Anna Quindlen
The sad news that Valerie Harper has a rare form of brain cancer was just another reminder to me that right now is all each of us has. I appreciate Valerie’s effort to confront her impending end publicly, and I applaud her courage in the face of death. She is making an effort to remind us all to live each day as if it were our last. This is a message I can use.
Too often I can get totally wrapped up in memories. I may wonder why certain things happened to me, or why someone was so cruel in my past. These days I try to stop myself and say, “There is only right now, and right now things are OK in my life.” There is no future in the past.
The same goes for obsessing about what will happen tomorrow. Realizing that anything could happen tomorrow and I truly have no idea what that might be, is essential to bringing my focus back to today.
This moment is the only one where I have the power to act.
I also realize I have spent most of my life worrying about my future, instead of living in my present. I was raised to plan far ahead for retirement, and I’m glad I did save up for that eventuality. But something about being in the middle of my life has brought my attention to living fully in the present.
I have found meditation to be the best place to start living in the now. Sitting quietly and observing my own mind’s patterns can be quite the education! See where your mind naturally goes. That is the first step towards disciplining it. Do you naturally focus on worries or concerns out of your control? How does that make you feel?
Now try to focus on all of the ways your life might be better if you could discipline your mind. And remember, what you focus on grows!
With Valentine’s Day coming right up, a few of us might be wondering exactly what love means.
Sure, when we have it, we generally know it, but then it changes through the years, and sometimes it dies. This is often called a “midlife crisis” when one or both partners decide that love either never really existed, or else it has simply disappeared for no good reason.
Some get angry because their husband or wife does not love them anymore, or does not want to try to work things through somehow. There are so many different types of problems in relationships and each is unique. Some can be worked on, others cannot. But nothing will change if one partner blames the other for all of the problems.
What I hate to see is a husband or wife who insists on trying to shame or guilt the other partner into staying, when love is so obviously non-existent. In general I believe that we all know when it’s time to accept reality and move on. Do you really want a man you have “guilted” into staying with you? Why not believe in yourself enough to move on to something better for both of you? Grow up and leave the nastiness behind.
Unfortunately, leaving a bad relationship behind does not solve any of your own problems. Often we lose faith in love eventually, after a number of bad breakups, but there is a very good reason for this. We finally realize we will continue to attract the wrong type of relationship unless we change something inside of ourselves; the broken, mean, negative feelings we hold against ourselves.
If you think this might be you, ask yourself this question: “Would you want to marry you?”
Most of us go out looking for someone to save us in our relationships with others, but we attract what we are now, with comparable levels of generosity, caring, insecurity or self-hate.
The first rule of love is you get what you are. So who are you when it comes to love? Are you a victim, a martyr, someone who is trying to save others? I found that personal change was the only solution to my love problems.
Learn how this works with: How to Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.
Give you and your friends the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, for those who really want to get it right next time!
Once you have experienced the sting of betrayal, you will never forget… As I finished reading the fine novel “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain this morning, I re-experienced a time in my life 34 years ago when my lover made clear that he had chosen the company of a friend of mine over me. The devastation I felt for years afterwards cannot be exaggerated.
I am afraid too many of us know that feeling, that fear, that wondering if we will ever trust anyone again. Loneliness and sorrow took over my life. Hadley, in “The Paris Wife” says, “My life was in shambles; how would I right myself? How would I get through this?” But most of us do somehow, by doing whatever comes next.
I clearly remember how low I felt, lower than I ever had, and found it almost impossible to rally. I knew my only way out of this staggering depression was to complete my degree in library science and find a job elsewhere, so that is what I did. I took the geographical cure and found my first professional job in Salt Lake City, where I ended up having the BEST group of friends ever!
I learned that life is often unfair, and even cruel. I learned not to trust most men or women. But in the end I learned no one you love is ever truly lost. My lover at age 22 was fine and strong and weak and flawed, much like everyone else I have ever met. We both went on to experience many more loves, but I like to believe “I got the very best of him.”
I love to see spunk in older women. That’s why I so enjoyed watching this interview with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on 60 Minutes. Don’t miss it! What an inspiration! The take away for me was her statement about trying.
Sonia, now age 58, grew up in the South Bronx with juvenile diabetes. She knew that life was not going to come to her. She would have to go out and get it!
Raised by a single mother because her alcoholic father died when she was only nine, she knew it was all up to her to make something of herself. She saw early what life would demand of her.
Some of us come to this realization later in life. Circumstances converge, losses accumulate. Perhaps you see for the first time that you do not want to remain in the same relationship or marriage. Perhaps the plan you laid out unconsciously decades ago will not suffice. Do you then have the courage to try something different? Do you have enough time to change your life?
In the end, there’s only one way to find out, and that is to try. Find the courage inside to experiment. Open your mind to all of your possibilities. Decide that you are now ready to find a different kind of love in your life.
When I ran into my own series of midlife crises around age 46, soon after my own divorce, I took the time to sit and consider what I wanted more of in my life. What did I need to happen before I died? I decided I wanted to have a LOT more fun, while finding true love for once in this lifetime!
Going inside can be quite the challenge after decades of just doing the usual. I found remembering the child I was once, and what fun used to look and feel like is a great place to start. You may find your definition of love has also changed quite a bit over the years!
There are definitely do-overs before it’s all over, but only if you’re willing. Life is constant change, so why not make the changes you choose instead of just rolling with the punches? Take ownership of what you want to see in your future.
You may find, as I did, that there are some life-changing opportunities well-hidden in feelings of sadness. Underneath your fear of striking out on your own and finding a new way of loving yourself and others, you may find the EXCITEMENT of knowing that anything could happen!
Take the time to open to all of your possibilities today.
There IS courage in trying!
I have seen the film “Beginners” twice in the past 24 hours, and recommend it to all who desire, but fear love.
Beginners is about how we are all beginners when it comes to finding love again, and dying. It’s about that voice in your head that says, “Things never work out,” and that other one that still believes in magic. It’s about never giving up the hope that you will someday feel real, loved and lovable. It is about the endless dance between hope and fear, and it’s also about not settling for less.
Beautifully constructed and filled with surprises, irony, and subtle humor, “Beginnings” tells the parallel story of Oliver, a graphic artist in his 40s, who wants to believe in love, but instead continues to write “The history of sadness.”
Oliver has recently watched his father die of cancer, a father who only embraced the fact that he was born gay at age 75, but did finally embrace everything in himself before he died.
This comedy/drama is really about how deeply funny and transformative life can be if you ever have the courage to risk embracing it fully. It’s also about those who have spent a lifetime leaving relationships, because they “don’t believe it’s going to work… so I make sure it doesn’t.” It’s about whether it is better to settle for a giraffe when you’ve been waiting your whole life to find a lion.
Most importantly, this film is about becoming real and authentic at some point in life:
“What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
“Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are REAL, you cannot ever become unreal again. It lasts for always.” – Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit