Accepting Yourself the Way You Are

When you look in the mirror, what do you say to yourself? Do you notice all your flaws and wish you looked different? (Or do you see your best features and thank your body for everything it’s done for you?)

How do you receive compliments? Do you say thank you with a smile? (Or do you counter it with self-criticism?)

Do you use negative words like dumb, fat, and stupid when you think about yourself or talk about yourself? Do you criticize yourself both to yourself and to others? (Or do you use empowering words and focus on your positive attributes?)

Do you think life would be better if only you had a better job or worked harder or if you lost some weight or if you had nicer clothes or a more expensive car? Do you think people would like you more if you put on fake eyelashes or carry an expensive purse?

I know people like this. They put themselves down all the time for one reason or another, and they can’t accept compliments when you point out something positive about them. They think what’s on the outside matters more than what’s on the inside. They think happiness is always around the corner if they just do more, have more, weigh less, be a certain way etc. They never find happiness because they are focused on the wrong things.

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I’m here to tell you to stop it if you are one of these people. Just stop it. You are enough. You are perfect the way you are. You don’t need to change to please anyone else, and you don’t need to change to be happy or to be loved by others.

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In fact, happiness comes from inner peace. Happiness comes from the inside. It’s not something you find outside of you. And it’s definitely not something you find in a material object. People who will judge you and like or not like you based on something material are not real friends anyway.

But can’t we all make improvements? Absoutely, yes we can. If you need or want to lose weight, go for it! If you want a better job, go for it! If you want flashy clothes and cars, go for it, but don’t think that changes your value as a human being. If you want to change your lifestyle choices like eating better or drinking less or working out more, go for it, you will still be perfect every single day on every single step of the way. You will still be lovable and worthy.

We are all exactly where we need to be, and we are perfect exactly the way we are. We are all beings of love and light on separate journeys in this life. We are all unique and perfect in our imperfections. We are all very different, and we all have positive aspects about ourselves, and that’s great!

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Just be you. It’s really simple. You’re already you. When you accept yourself the way you are, your confidence will make you shine. When you are secure that your life is a wonderful thing just the way it is, you start to appreciate what you have. When you let go of caring what other people think, you are free to be whatever you want and smile about it.

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Try looking in the mirror and seeing what is beautiful about you. Try identifying a few character traits you like about yourself. Try being grateful for everything you have (make a list) and examine your relationships to see which ones are genuine. Let go of people who drain you and situations that wear down your sense of self. Identify goals and take baby steps to meet them. Keep growing in the direction of your choosing. Never lose track of who you really are inside.

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We only get one life, and life is short. Find your inner peace and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Handstand365: Days 114-227

Another hundred plus handstands, and many more life lessons learned since my last post about my progress. I’m almost two-thirds the way done with the #handstand365 challenge, and I am learning more and more every day with this fun practice.

I learned a whole lot about technique when I went to Aruba for a week in August and did a yoga retreat with yoga girl Rachel Brathen. I learned to exhale when I kick up (sometimes I would hold my breath in the past). I learned to make sure my shoulders are directly above my wrists. I learned to put most of the pressure in my hands on the thumb knuckle and first two finger knuckles. Doing this is difficult, but it makes a difference in doing handstands as well as in other yoga poses that use your hands on the ground. I learned to squeeze my legs together and to squeeze in my core. It’s hard to keep track of all these things and to perform a handstand, but I practice almost every day, and I think I am improving little by little.

I have an amazing boyfriend who does handstands with me, and together we’ve learned how to balance together and share fun times doing yoga! We’ve tried back to back handstands as well as front to front kissing handstands. We want to pursue some acro-yoga where we can do other poses together too. It’s so fun to share yoga with someone you love.

I’ve literally learned to find my plumb-line when upside down. I’ve started to be able to hold my handstands for a bit longer than a split second, and it’s a weird feeling, something that is hard to describe. But I get a balanced feeling. And then I have to focus on my core and squeezing my legs together and then usually I have to come down. I look forward to the day when I can hold it longer with complete control.

Also, I’ve learned the importance of symmetry. Whatever I do on one side of my body, I do on the other side of my body. For the first hundred or so handstands I mainly led with one leg. Once I spent time in Aruba, I learned to try it on both sides. Surprisingly I was able to balance pretty well right away on the other side. So, every time I do a handstand, I make sure to practice it on both sides now.

I’ve experimented with some other forms of handstands also like hollow-back handstands, forearm handstands, and handstand scorpion. These poses build on the basic foundations with more difficult variations.

I’ve learned to incorporate this sense of balance, challenge, and persistence in my personal life as well. When upsetting things happen, I try not to take it personally, feel whatever I am feeling, let go of the negative and return to a centered place mentally. I’ve learned to keep trying when things are difficult because that’s when the change takes place. We don’t get stronger when things are easy. So if I fail at something, I try again. I don’t let setbacks set me back. I keep going with a smile and face the challenge again and again….with a sense of calm confidence that all I can do is do my best and that is enough in every situation. I gave up on caring what other people think of me and I focus on me and what I want to do regardless of others’ opinions. (Think what it’s like to do handstands in public places…it really does teach you not to care what people think). I’m self assured and look for joy in every day. I laugh every time I’m done doing a handstand!

My sense of inner peace is strong. My sense of self is strong. My sense of adventure is strong. I am ready for what each day has to offer and I appreciate each day because I know that’s all we really have. I have confidence and a zest for life that was missing for a long time.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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21 Day yoga Girl Challenge Day 17: I Love You #yogagirlchallenge

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There is so much love overflowing from my heart for these people: my three amazing kids and my best friend/boyfriend Bill. See that big happy smile on my face? That’s because loving these people makes me so happy! I try to tell them every single day how much I love them and how much I appreciate them in my life.

I’ve been a mom for 21 years now. Loving my kids has been the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my whole life. It’s an unconditional love that weathers the storms and celebrates the good times and fills in all the spaces in between. l tell them I love them, and I also show them with my actions, being there every day for them, holding their hands, giving them big hugs and kisses, giving encouraging words when they need them, and so many more ways.

Bill and I are in a new relationship, but the love is strong and based on 34 years of friendship and history. I love him with all my heart, and he gives it right back to me. People tell us we ooze positive, loving vibrations when they are around us. We can’t help it; we glow with love.

I also took some time to let other people know I love them. I contacted my mom and told her. I posted some messages on people’s Facebook timelines. I try to be open and loving to people on a daily basis, but it did feel good to consciously make a point of saying those three words together.

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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 16: The Altar #yogagirlchallenge

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This is where the Buddha sits in my bathroom under the leafy plant with the flower, mermaid, candles, and incense holder. I don’t technically meditate in the bathroom, but I do stretch in some yoga poses and I do spend quiet time alone. My meditation mostly takes place on my yoga mat. Because of the challenge, I added more things that connect me to spirit: some seashells my kids brought me from Florida, another candle for more light, a lucky bamboo plant, a picture of me and my man who lives 1,000 miles away, and a reminder that I am loved.

This is a place that helps me find my center. These small symbols of things that matter most to me are a beautiful reminder every day that I have so much to be grateful for. I appreciate taking some time every day to reflect on these things, to be still and calm.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Yoga Retreat in Aruba with Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen

Susanne’s World has been under construction for the past nine months or so. My life turned upside down within the past year as I’ve been turning upside down, literally, advancing my yoga practice by doing handstands. The more work I did on myself, the more I realized I wasn’t truly happy. Today I am grateful I had the courage and the strength to recognize that and make the changes that needed to be made. I got divorced, sold and moved out of my house, and started crossing things off my bucket list. I spent last week in Aruba doing a yoga retreat with Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen, connecting with a beautiful new place on the earth, deepening my yoga practice and truly spending every day exactly how I wanted to. I have a new love in my life (an old friend since seventh grade) and couldn’t be happier. He joined me on the yoga retreat, and we had an amazing time together!

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arrival day

I was starstruck when I first saw Rachel and Dennis. She is an internet celebrity, someone who inspires me daily with her pictures, videos, and words. Seeing her in person at the welcome dinner was amazing. I was giddy, hugging her saying, “I love you!” She was so cool and down to earth with a friendly smile. She shares highlights and lowlights from her life on social media, so it was like meeting someone I already knew a little about. We talked a little about her wedding and honeymoon as well as the recent passing of one of her dogs. Out on the beach, there were baby sea turtles in protected areas hatching and making their way to the sea. I wasn’t lucky enough to see one of them, but some other people in our group did and posted videos and pictures. We had a lovely dinner and met new friends, enjoyed the sunset and starry night sky.

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with Rachel and Dennis

This is a typical view from the beach chairs in front of Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, where we stayed. We did our daily handstand in front of our spot that day.  Instead of beach umbrellas, there were beach tiki huts, and the kind staff at the resort set up the chairs and brought drinks.   Eagle Beach is the widest beach on the island of Aruba, and our resort didn’t have any kids activities, so it was peaceful and serene.   There was a relatively long walk on the white sands until you hit the turquoise waters due to the wideness of the beach.  The sand was white and didn’t get too hot.  The color of the water was something I’ve never seen before.  Bright turquoise is the best description I can muster.  There were gentle waves and plenty of room to swim and float around.  A line of buoys contained the swimming area.  I swam out there and back a few times. The water got too deep to stand right away so it was fun to take a little swim.

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handstands on the beach

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typical view from my beach chair

We had two Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga lessons on Palm Beach near the high rise hotels. It was the more touristy and more crowded part of the island, but the water was still amazing! It was waist deep and calm. We used special boards made for doing yoga (Boga boards). They were wide and rounded on the ends and had a sticky yoga mat on the top. Doing yoga on the water is especially challenging because the stability of the floor is no longer there. You must release control to your surroundings and adjust accordingly. It works all the small muscles of your core and other places in your body in ways you normally don’t use them. The warrior series was the hardest of all the poses we did. Once one person fell, it was like a domino effect because the boards were so close together. Everybody fell in the water at some point or another, and I loved the metaphor with real life. When you have difficulty and fall down, laugh, smile, fall, and get back on the board.  The other life skill it helps develop is focusing on the moment.  If you let your mind wander and lose your focus, it’s pretty easy to fall off the board, so it really required being in the present moment.

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Rachel teaching SUP yoga class #1

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beautiful ocean

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excited to try SUP yoga for the first time

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SUP yoga class #1 in Palm Beach, Aruba

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headstands on the Boga boards

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Our group to an exciting hike on the north shore of Aruba to a natural pool.  It was located in the Arikok National Park, a large undeveloped area with a desert landscape, rocky trails to hike, bike, ride horses and four wheel drive vehicles.   There were beautiful ocotillo and other kinds of cactii, wild goats, and a varied terrain much different than the beachy areas.   Along the hike, we stopped to play at a beach where the waves are forced between rocky outcroppings.  Rachel said we had about ten minutes to play, so I jumped right in!   Unlike the waters in Eagle and Palm Beaches, these waters were rough. The waves were big, and I enjoyed body surfing in the crashing water.  The water took my hair tie and one of my earrings; I threw the other earring into the ocean as an offering.  I was exhilerated and felt that I could have stayed there longer to play!

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The natural pool had rocky outcroppings, and the water from the waves crashed over and formed the pool.  It was so cool.  There was another smaller pool up a little higher than this one. It felt like a hot tub.  Saw lots of little crabs camoflauged on some vegetation growing on the rocks.  I brought my goggles and dived under the water to see many tropical fish teeming in the waters. You can see a wind farm in the distance.    I climbed up and sat to watch the ocean for a bit, contemplating its vastness and its incredible power.  The sun was shining, and the wind was blowing.  What an amazing place and an amazing moment!

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My man taking it all in..

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sunset in Aruba

That night, we had a restorative yin yoga session.  This was the magical view as I walked into class.  Everybody was tired from an active day.  Yin yoga is calming and relaxing.  We hold poses for longer (up to five or six minutes) deepening the stretch to the connective tissues.  In contrast to vinyasa flow where movements are tied to each breath and we generate heat in the body, a yin practice is cooling and still.  The hardest pose we did (for me) was frog pose, and we held it for a while.  Rachel talked about how we hold of lot of tension in our hips and frog pose helps to release it.  We did heart openers after that to release whatever emotional tension arised.  It’s a soft practice that feels like a whole other place when it’s over.  Holding hands with my man during savasana made the experience even more magical.

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Yin Yoga class

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handstand technique help from Rachel

Rachel taught us a lot about yoga including workshops on handstands, headstands, forearm stands, arm balances, and paid special attention to teaching us proper technique and alignment for chatarunga to upward facing dog to downward facing dog.  There were two yin yoga sessions, and the rest of them were intense and challenging. Dennis taught a class too, and it was the hardest class I’ve done in a long time!  We worked hard on our core strength as it’s a fundamental for many advanced skills.  I was thrilled to get some personal attention from her and am working on the pointers she gave me.  For example, when we have hands down on the ground they should be firmly planted with the most pressure on the thumb knuckle and first two finger knuckles.  When we get tired, we tend to shift weight to the outsides of our hands causing the thumbs to curl instead of remain intact on the mat.  I never  noticed I did that before. She said it’s a common mistake. It’s something I really pay attention to now.  I also learned alot about how to do chatarunga and upward facing dog properly.  I didn’t know to shift forwards a bit from plank so when you drop into chatarunga your elbows can stay above the wrists and make a ninety degree angle.  Then, shifting backwards before going into upward facing dog allows the shoulders to stay above the wrists.  I think I’ve been doing those two poses slightly wrong all along.   I tried a forearm stand for the first time ever.  It was not solid at all, so I think I will follow Rachel’s advice to continue strengthening and preparing for the pose by practicing dolphin (downward facing dog on the forearms)  more often.  The arm balance workshop was my favorite because I’ve been wondering how to get into those poses for a while now, and Rachel gave us clear instructions and demonstrations.  Now they make sense to me, and I can work them into my practice more often.  I got a footprint sized bruise on my upper arm from working so hard in class!  I was able to try all the arm balances she taught us but still have a lot of work to do.

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bruise from arm balance workshop

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handstand workshop with partner work

Below are three links to videos from the handstand workshop.



 

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Rachel and Ringo teaching class

 

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Rachel and Ringo

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handstands at the go kart track

We met a lovely couple from Norway and enjoyed many good times eating, drinking, and laughing during our retreat.  They had an awesome idea to go to the go kart track for racing.  It’s something I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing, but I am so glad we went!  My man won the race, lapping me three times, as he is a seasoned motorcycle racer.  I didn’t mind coming in last place as I know racing is not my forte, but it sure was fun to do.  Despite the hot sun and the sweaty helmet, I was smiling and laughing my way around the track.  After we were done we thought it was a good spot for a handstand picture.

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go karting with our new friends from Norway

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al fresco dining at Machebo Beach Resort & Spa, Aruba

We took advantage of the all-inclusive meal option at the resort and enjoyed al fresco dining every day. Breakfast and dinner were at this restaurant by the pool, and lunches were at the cafe in the forefront of the picture. The views and the service were outstanding. Birds and iguanas joined us for breakfast every day, and the moon and stars twinkled over head during poolside dinners at night. The staff at the resort were incredibly warm and friendly. It’s a smaller, two story, hotel and I really enjoyed the personal attention we got during our stay. I have lots of food allergies, and I was impressed by their ability to accomodate my needs. In addition there were healthy fruit and vegetable based smoothies available every morning. Yum! We went out to dinner with the group once, visiting Rachel and Dennis’s favorite restaurant in town called Yemanja. It was a wood fired grill featuring delicious seafood, steaks, and vegetarian/vegan food. I got a superfood salad packed with greens, veggies, berries, and seeds and a ribeye steak with scallops on top.

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iguanas by the pool

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Rachel and Dennis

Our group took a sailing and snorkeling trip on a party catamaran from Palm Beach. What a fun activity! I don’t drink liquor except for (good) tequila, so it wasn’t a drinking day for me but for everybody else it was. We sailed up the shore and then stopped to snorkle first at a place right off the beach, not too deep. I snorkeled to the thore then right then left and back to the boat. It was amazing! I think I saw a baraccuda. I swam back toward the shore and then noticed the boat was raising the ladder. I guess I didn’t hear them blow the horn, so I swam back to the boat knowing they wouldn’t leave without me and rejoined the group. Others stayed on the boat to play on the water slide and jump off the side.

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sailing and snorkeling trip

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loving the view

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loving the view

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all smiles swith Dennis on the catamaran

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happy people

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the view off the back of the boat

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Rachel and some of the ladies in our group

We sailed some more and then stopped to snorkle in sixty foot deep waters. There were different kinds of fish in that deeper water, and I thought it was interesting there were layers of different schools of fish in the waters. Some of them stayed low while others were higher up. I dived down a few times as far as I could (holding my ears so the pressure didn’t hurt) and then floated for a few seconds in awe as I was surrounded by schools of bright and beautiful fish. How cool to be in their world just for a few seconds. I ventured out a litte farther and then lost sight of any fish, so I came back toward the boat more this time.

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our group after sailing/snorkeling trip

Here we all are, happy and high on life after the fun outing.

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our group after the sail/snorkel trip

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On the second day of SUP yoga, I wasn’t feeling too well. I was a little seasick after not having enough sleep and having a little too much fun the night before. To make things more challenging, I also got the orange board…the board that whoever is last and needs a board uses. The orange board is narrower and pointier than the other blue Boga boards. I took a “I’m a rock star. I can do this.” attitude and did my best. It sure was harder than the blue board I used during the first class!

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planking on the Boga board

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downward facing dog with hip opener

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IMG_4499.JPGSUP yoga class #2 in Palm Beach, Aruba

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heart/chest opener

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side plank

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finding balance

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chair pose

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had so many laughs with our Norweigan friends

We made new friends with people from all over the world. In addition to meeting other americans (Texas, Virginia, California, Washington, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey), we met people from Norway, Sweden, Canada, Brazil,and Aruba. Our new friends from Sweden even brought their teenage daughter along.

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new friend from Sweden

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until next time

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thank you Rachel!

Since I wasn’t feeling well after SUP yoga class #2, I had to say goodbye to Rachel there on the beach. The whole group was walking down to a beach bar to continue the fun, and my flight was early the next morning. I thanked her for everything she taught me that week and for inspiring me. I couldn’t stop hugging her, just one more! My heart was full of love and gratitude. Just for fun, I asked if we could take the moment to get a handstand picture together. It was my last chance until who knows when. She happily obliged and went upside down waiting patiently for me to try and try again to join her long enough for a picture. She was so patient, hanging out in a beautiful handstand encouraging me saying, “you got it Susanne.” She right, I got it. Thank you Rachel!

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in the presence of greatness

 

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sunrise at the airport – departure day

This is a pictue of the sunrise at the airport when I was leaving. No filter, no hi definition enhancement. Just pure Aruba bliss. I am so grateful for my time there and can’t wait until the next time I can visit. Will have to stay for two weeks next time!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

 

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30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 30 Love

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Love is spending a long weekend with my college daughter and then having to say goodbye. Twenty is such an in-between age. Clearly mature and grown up enough to live independently and go to college, yet too young to fully take control of life and all its responsibilities and demands. We are all getting used to her first summer living away from home. For us, it means twelve months this year of only two kids at home. For her, it means working to pay rent in addition to taking summer classes. I spent several days with her, doing the things that mothers do, going grocery shopping, helping take care of errands and scheduling appointments etc. We had long talks about school, work, and friendships. It made me feel needed as a mother, and I hope it helped her feel less all alone in a big world and that her family is here to support her all the time. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was a heartwarming feeling knowing my presence made a difference. I’m also super proud of her and her hard work and happy to see her growing into an independent woman.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 9 A Song You Can Dance To

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsUsVbTj2AY

“Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake is a song I can dance to. I can probably dance to most any song, and I kind of got stuck on this one (as you can tell since I’m posting this a few days late). This is a song that makes me want to dance, that’s for sure. It’s just too bad I can’t be dancing with Justin Timberlake! Love how Jay Z joins him to mix it up a bit. And I love JT’s big band ensemble. He’s all grown up, dressed in a suit and tie, and he’s still got the killer dance moves. Not only can I dance to it, he can dance to it too, and I sure love watching JT dance!

Read the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Friday Fiction #8: Home = Our Beliefs about Love

femmesfatales

It’s Fiction Friday and the last week of romance month.  Every Friday, the Fiction Friday Femmes Fatales post different fictional stories based on the same prompt (see below).  This is episode eight. If you missed the first seven episodes, the links are below.

______________________

Amanda sat down in a chair in her front yard with her laptop and her assignment. Just thinking about her childhood made her both angry and sad, but her counselor gave her online homework. If I want to start feeling better, I need to do this.. She told herself, even though she didn’t want to do it.

“Think about what it was like growing up. Are there specific feelings or situations that come to mind? Write them down and use a word to describe the feeling or situation (ex: mom was always angry: anxious).

Raised by a single mom.  I remember a lot of fighting, frustration, and angst.   Frustration.

Questions to ask yourself:
 Was there lots of affection in your home or was affection withheld?

There was affection from my mom.

Were you frequently criticized?

Yes I was. I felt like I was never doing well enough at anything. My father was Korean and preferred by brother, my mom told me, because of cultural reasons.  He didn’t want me because I’m a girl. And I never lived up to either parents‘ expectations-spiritually or academically.

Were your parents available to take care of you? Were your needs met?

My mom was for the most part, but she was very busy working three jobs to support us. My dad was not available. My physical needs were met, but not my emotional or spiritual needs.

How was anger expressed – or not?

Yelling, throwing things, fighting, crying, threats of suicide from my mom.

Were there addictions?

 Sugar-mom
Smoking-dad

What was your parent’s relationship like?

Non existent. Dad sent a monthly check and visited maybe once a year. They never talked as far as I knew.

Was love freely exchanged?

Same answer as above. We were told we were loved by my mom. Not between me and brother.

Did you feel a sense of stability?

No. I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t around and other kids had dads. I didn’t understand it when my mom got so mad and sad that she would threaten suicide. I wondered if I would find her dead several times and that it would be my fault because we fought.

Did your family communicate about feelings?

Not very well. My dad was absent. My mom did the best job she could. She would try to reassure me when I was sad about not having my dad. She explained that Koreans favor the first-born son. She tried to love me enough for both of them, but it didn’t work. She didn’t really listen to me about anything I wanted to do when I became a teenager. She said no to everything so I just started lying and doing whatever I wanted anyway.

Did family members support one another?

My mom supported me to be a good student, to keep my eyes Asian and not have plastic surgery. She supported me through college. She supported me financially. Brother never supported me. Not sure that I supported him either.

How about fidelity?

My mom was single so I never had an example of faithful parents. I learned that my dad was cheating on my mom when she was pregnant with me. My mom said not to have sex until marriage because of the bible. But I didn’t listen to her. I cheated on all my boyfriends.

Did you feel “safe” or anxious in your home?

Anxious. I wanted out. I didn’t know why I was born into my family.

Key Words About Home
Write down 6 keywords about your home life growing up.

Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Positive examples might be:

safe
secure
loving
open
caring
fun
joy-filled
comfortable
inspiring
supportive
Negative examples:

scary
chaotic
critical
dishonest
not available
disregarding
shut down
betrayal
abandonment
violent
Take the six keywords you wrote about home:

Home = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Now substitute the word home with LOVE = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

This may help you understand how you have formed your beliefs about love and relationship. It may also shed light on past or current partners you have chosen as we tend to repeat the familiar until we learn new patterns of relating.” – read more and take the online quiz by clicking here

*************
These were probing questions. The more she thought about it, the more upset she became until for some reason tears started erupting. She never realized how much of an effect her parents’ relationship had on her overall outlook on love. No wonder she had problems inside her own marriage. She didn’t trust the forever part of marriage even though that’s what she wanted more than anything in the whole world.

Her dad taught her to run from her problems, to abandon your children, and that because she was a girl, she was actually worth less than a boy. She spent her adolescence seeking male approval and the intimacy she lacked with her father. She blamed herself unconsciously, blaming herself just for being born. She didn’t know what to do or how to behave to gain his love.

Her mom taught her to be easily overwhelmed, to act out in times of stress. She taught her to be rigid and unreasonable. Amanda constantly fought off critical thoughts about how she didn’t measure up to expectations. Her mom was desperately depressed before Amanda was even born, yet when they fought, she would threaten suicide because Amanda was so cruel and hurtful. Amanda grew up with the irrational belief that she had power over someone else’s will to live. She wondered if she would find her mother dead from suicide and if it would be her fault because they had bad fights.

As a teenager, she started lying to her mother because she said no to everything. There was never an intelligent, rational discussion about life and how to live it. There were just angry lectures full of ‘shoulds’ and the only time she felt free was when she was away from her family.

She didn’t have a good example of marriage, love, or fidelity. To her, it was all pie in the sky. Yet she based her whole life on creating what she never had.

Amanda decided to write them a letter to let it go once and for all.  Perhaps letting it out would be beneficial to her progress.

Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for my life. I now know why I am alive, and I am changing things in my life from this day forward. Say goodbye to the old Amanda. She’s dead.

I forgive you for abandoning me dad. I accept that your life, your culture, your personality made you behave the way you did, I believe that you loved me even though you didn’t know how to show it. I forgive you for cheating on mom. I forgive you for leaving us. I forgive you for setting me up to believe that all men will act like you did.

Mom, I forgive you for your angry past. I know you’ve had a rough life and have done the best job you could have given the circumstances. I forgive you for criticizing me and for being so angry you threatened to kill yourself. I know it wasn’t my fault that you got so angry. Know that the guilty feeling you gave me still lives inside of me. Two of my kids died because of decisions I made. I really was my fault. It’s ironic that our fighting never resulted in your suicide, but that a momentary lapse in judgement killed my two kids. I can never fix that. And I can never go back in time to fix what you said to me when I was a kid. All I can do now is forgive you and myself for everything that has happened.

Richard loves me. Steven, Brad, and Robert love me.  Richard weathers the storms with me. Richard and I have a life together despite all our ups and downs. We lost two kids, but we still have three who need us to be happy people and parents. I release you into the universe so I can live my life without a heavy cloud from the past hanging over my head. You tried the best you could, and you both really messed up. I refuse to let the past define me. And I refuse to use the past as an excuse not to fully appreciate and trust the relationship I do have.  I believe in love and fidelity, and intend to live my life accordingly.  From this day forward, I am vowing to life my life in a way that when my kids grow up and take this quiz or one like it, they will have different results and healthier beliefs about love.

Love,
Amanda

______________________________

Here is the prompt:  Your character has a certain deep-held belief about love and fidelity. This belief may be based on religion, on something s/he learned from her/his parents, or on her/his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief. How does your character react? Write the story.

Visit the other  blogs to read what they wrote based on the same prompts:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.itsadomelife.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://the-suds-box.blogspot.ca/
http://www.quirkychrissy.com/

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on Twitter:
@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@ItsADomeLife
@DeBieHive
@MollyFieldTweet
@monsterNbox
@chrissawoj
@Near_Genius

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

February Friday Fiction #5: Eyes are the Window to the Soul

February is romance month in my Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales group.  We write different fictional stories based on the same prompts from Molly Field at Grass Oil.  Make sure to visit the other blogs to see what stories they wrote (links at bottom of this entry).   If you missed the January Fiction episodes, you can click on this link to start at the beginning:

https://susannenelson.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/january-fiction-challenge-1413-lesson-learned/

femmesfatales

He didn’t know it would be the last time he looked into her eyes when he complimented her.  “You have the prettiest eyes,” he said as if really seeing them for the first time.  They were deep green like the ocean on the Emerald Coast of Florida.  There was depth and breadth and body in her eyes.   There was kindness and wisdom, and there was naivety at the same time.   She was younger than he, barely more than half his age.  When they were saying goodbye, her eyes caught his attention.

She smiled in return and said a simple, “thanks,”  followed with a shy laugh.  They were both a little embarrassed and uncomfortable with the connection taking place, but were both overpowered by it nonetheless.  The chemistry between them was strong, and when they made eye contact it felt like fireworks inside for both of them.  Time stood still.  A rush of emotion flooded over them as they both grasped for words awkwardly.

He now understood why people say that eyes are the window to the soul.   He never noticed how striking her eyes were until then.   He felt a soul connection with her, and it grew deeper that sunny afternoon.  Perhaps it was the universe’s way of letting him see into her soul before it was too late?  It’s funny how things work that way.

green eyed girl..

green eyed girl.. (Photo credit: ~no bullshit~)

They met at the hospital one day when a mutual friend introduced them.  If he knew what kind of pain their relationship would cause in the future, he would have turned her away, but he didn’t have any way of telling the future.   All he could do was live life fully each day and hope that his actions today would bring him to  brighter and better tomorrows.They hugged, said goodbye, and she went on her way smiling and waving.  It was a warm and friendly embrace. She smelled like a fresh breeze, and he got goosebumps from feeling that breeze rush through his senses. The sun shone behind her blonde hair like a halo.  Her smile and her beautiful eyes were forever etched into his memory.   He waved,  admiring her fit petite body as she walked away.   God she is gorgeous he thought to himself.  He got lost for a few minutes speculating what it would be like to be intimate with her.   He imagined she had a body like a Victoria’s Secret model under her hospital scrubs.  She sent flirtatious messages, and although they were subtle he picked up on them.  They got along so well, and her hugs were so genuine.   She felt so natural in his arms. He felt young and desirable again when he was with her.  She’s way too young, and besides I’m married he reminded himself.  He felt guilty for even letting himself follow that thought.  If he acted on his impulses, it might be wonderful temporarily, but it would crush his family and ruin his life.

He was clearly in the lustful stages of attraction and infatuation with her.   He only knew her for about six months. They started meeting for lunches then taking walks together when they could steal away the moments.  They got along in a best-friendly manner even though they were in vastly different stages of their lives.  He saw her only at work when she was at her best. They laughed and told each other stories.  There was nothing to fight about and no boring routine to get used to.  She admired his maturity and prestigious reputation as one of the best neurosurgeons in the country.  She flattered him and brought to life a vibrant part of him that had been lying dormant for a long time.

His wife was his best friend a long time ago, but their romance turned into attachment and commitment.  It evolved into responsibility and day-to-day mundaneness.  He loved his wife, but he hadn’t looked into her eyes that way in more than a decade.  It was a very different kind of love.  The passion had waned from his marriage.

Although his life appeared perfect from the outside, he was suffering a lonely existence.  Tragedy befell his family when two of his children died in a car accident.  His wife withdrew into herself, sinking into a downward spiral of depression.  He felt disconnected from her emotionally and physically.  He struggled with his commitment and responsibilities to her and his family versus the passion he felt for this young woman.  He wished he could get all of his needs met by one woman so he didn’t have to struggle internally this way.  He imagined starting all over again with a new relationship, a new life with a young wife free from complications.  He couldn’t get it off his mind, but he went through the motions when he got home from work that night.  He ate some dinner and retreated to his office where he ‘worked’ until midnight while the house was quiet.  He did have some paperwork to catch up on, but mainly it was an excuse to be alone with his deviant thoughts.  He carefully weighed his options and decided to sleep on things.  Perhaps they could meet for lunch again tomorrow and see where things go on their own.

The next day, he woke up early with the alarm at 5:30am.  He went through his morning routine getting ready for work.  He had a full schedule seeing patients all day.   He turned on the news while he ate breakfast.  “Breaking news,” went across the bottom of the screen.  “23 year old woman found dead from an apparent drug overdose.  Police are investigating evidence collected at the scene.  More on this story when we return.”  Pictures  of her apartment building and her face filled the screen before programming broke for a commercial.    Her green eyes looked right through him.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing and hearing.

His heart sank and his stomach flip-flopped.  He felt a wave of dizziness and sank to his knees.  He couldn’t hide his grief or mask his reaction.  Tears poured from his brown eyes uncontrollably, and he put his hands to his forehead and tried to slow his breathing.  He just saw her yesterday.  How could she be gone today?  Drug overdose? 

His wife heard him crying and came out of the bedroom to see what was going on. “Richard? Is everything ok?”  There was no answer.  He didn’t know what to say.  She held him as he wept.  The news came back on continued with more details. Cocaine and prescription bottles were discovered in the bathroom where her body was found.  There was no suicide note, so it’s not apparent if it was intentional or accidental.  “Did you know her?”  she asked.

“Yes, from the hospital,” he finally managed to answer.

“I’m sorry honey, why in the world would a beautiful young girl like that want to do drugs anyway?”  she didn’t know what to say either.

Richard was speechless.  Usually he was the strong person in the family.  Now he needed support.

__________________

Here is the prompt:   When was the last time you looked into someone’s gorgeous eyes? Maybe they were sea green and seemed to have all the secrets of the world behind them? What would happen if you had a chance to know this person intimately?

Then you find that person has a dark secret that would bring your perfect but lonely life to its knees.

Visit the other blogs to see what they wrote with the same prompt:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.itsadomelife.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://the-suds-box.blogspot.ca/
http://www.quirkychrissy.com/

Follow us on Twitter:

@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@ItsADomeLife
@DeBieHive
@MollyFieldTweet
@monsterNbox
@chrissawoj
@Near_Genius

Thanks for reading. Peace out!

Related articles:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-436932/Scientists-discover-eyes-really-window-soul.html

http://thedailylove.com/the-eyes-are-the-window-to-the-soul/

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/viewnews.php?id=224296

At The Stroke of Midnight Where were you last night when 2012 turned into 2013? Is that where you’d wanted to be?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/daily-post-midnight/ dailypost.wordpress.com image I was at the Four Seasons With my husband last night. It was exactly where I wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We had our first kiss at the stroke of midnight when it turned 1999, so this was our fifteenth time spending new year’s eve together. We checked in, and I hit the spa for a massage and then relaxed for a while in the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and intermittent dips in the cold plunge. We had drinks with friends and then went to the dinner party. It was an elegant affair with a roaring twenties theme. After dinner, there were s gambling tables in the bar area and in another room there was a DJ, a dance floor, a few more bars and desserts. At midnight, we were dancing. Fun times! Thanks for reading. Peace out and happy new year!

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