Do you remember the moments? Stay present & get more out of your life.

Be-present-1 be-present

Has anyone ever asked if you are “present”?   What does it mean to be “present”? It means to be aware and involved in the moment you are experiencing RIGHT NOW! It is focusing on who you are with and what you are doing as you are doing it.   It means not focusing on what comes next, worrying about the future, “how am I going to get this done”.  Have you ever gone on vacation, been out for a wonderful evening, thought about parts of your past and had little to no memory of specific events?   Do you know why?   Most likely you were not present.

This morning my six year old son got on a bus to a brand new school beginning the next chapter of his school career in first grade.  I cried beneath my sunglasses as the school bus went down the road.  I am so happy for him and his beautiful independence and confidence.  I am emotional realizing another chapter has closed and a new one begins.  So I had moments remembering things that have occurred that will not happen again.  And with all my emotion, I am happy and grateful I have amazing memories.  Memories of things he said, things he has done or we’ve done as a family during this last chapter and all the previous ones.    That reminds me of something my Dad told me on my wedding day.

He said “stop for a moment before you walk down the aisle. Tell yourself, I will remember this and then pause and look around.  Take in the moment.”  You know I did that.  As excited and nervous as I was that day, I remember SO much of it.  Thank you Dad.  Just as much as I know I’ll remember yesterday watching my son go to the fridge and be able to reach a higher shelf, grab the milk and take it to the table, pour more in his glass and return the carton to the fridge.  I was in awe.  I told myself, I will remember this.  And I will.

I was really busy yesterday getting the house put back together, getting stuff ready for the first day of school and more.  But taking those two minutes to see him do this simple and yet amazing pouring task (one of the first times on his own) will stay with me forever because I was present.  Think of all the experiences or words you may be missing by not being present or by half listening and looking at emails or texting, etc.

Connection between us is so important.  We are social creatures.  Everyone wants to be heard and yet so many of us are “multi-tasking” during conversations that we often don’t feel heard.  The listener may miss valuable nonverbal cues or even spoken information that can lead to disagreements, disgruntledness and even Drama.  Stay with each other.  Listen with the intent to just listen.  Don’t let the razzle dazzle of someone walking by or noises outside distract you. You’ll be amazed how something this simple can change your life at home, at work and all your relationships.

Stay Present, Keep Listening.  With immense gratitude for allowing  to me share this especially today.  This truly helped me,

Lovingly Lotus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t leave it unsaid, you don’t know what tomorrow brings.

The recent and unexpected death of Robin Williams reminded me again of the preciousness of life.  Every minute/moment counts.  Don’t take it for granted.  I feel for him and the fear and pain he must’ve been in.  I feel for his family and wonder what their last moments with him were like.  Was their last conversation one of love & laughter or something else? This reminded me of my own experience with unexpected death.

When I was a college Freshman, I met a guy who became my best friend.  We shared a lot of time and stories together.  We were close like brother and sister even setting each other up on dates.  We could make each other laugh so easily, cheer each other up, have easy fun or be completely serious with each other.  Then towards the end of our Spring semester we dipped our toes in the “more than friends pool”, hooking up a couple of times.  It happened and felt very natural, passionate.   My own immaturity and insecurity kept me from dealing with this aspect of our relationship. He tried to talk to me about it.  I did my best to ignore it keeping us in the “friends zone”.  And then summer came.  He went home to Chicago and I went home to Charlotte.  We stayed in touch speaking on the phone.  I loved our conversations from serious to silly to sports to anything.  While apart I began to deal with what was going on in my heart.  I admitted to myself I had feelings for him that went beyond friendship.  I was trying to find the words and the courage to talk to him about my feelings.  One day we were on the phone and had an argument.  When we hung up, our disagreement was unresolved.  It wasn’t a friend ending argument, just a disagreement that I’m sure we both thought  time and space would allow us to cool off and resolve it later.

That night my friend went out.  While he was out the car he was in was hit by a drunk driver and he died.  I still get tears in my eyes and choked up thinking about it.  I couldn’t believe it when I heard what had happened.  Our disagreement remain unresolved forever and I never told him how I felt about him.  I know he knew I loved him, as a friend.  Who knows.  He may not have returned my feelings or he might have.  I’ll never know because I was caught up in my own fear and insecurity to take a chance.  And that day we argued, I cannot even tell you what it was about.   I’ve lived with that loss for a large part of my life.  College was not the same when I returned.  I tried to numb my feelings through my bulimia, drinking, hooking up with other guys.  And in the end, I transferred schools trying to escape  my feelings.  It was years before I could talk about and think about him honestly dealing with my feelings instead of “acting” normal.

What I learned is EVERY moment is precious.  Those things that seem so important when we argue about them are, as my Dad says, “dust on a peanut”.   Even the days we disagree, I cannot leave the house or go to bed without Marc knowing how much I love him.  The same holds true for our son, Eli, and all of my loved ones.    I don’t ever want to be in a position of words and feelings of love unsaid or disagreements being the final conversation.

always-remember-to-say-I-love-you

How do you do this when a loved one pisses you off, pushes your buttons, even unintentionally hurts your feelings?

5 Quick Tips for living a happier life (BRAFS):

1) BREATHE, deep belly breathing to help clear the “fight/flight” cave man/big brain reaction that is occurring within you.

2) REMEMBER, you love each other.  Focus on that love. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.  Seek first to understand. Keep Breathing.

3) ALLOW each other space and time to process feelings, behaviors, etc.  We each have our own unique amount of time needed to process, understand and move forward from any situation in our life.  Give yourself and your loved ones this processing time.  And Keep Breathing.

4) FORGIVE yourself for any big reactions, you are normal and that means NOT PERFECT.  Forgive your loved one for their reactions, they are normal and NOT PERFECT.  Forgiveness is for yourself.  Carrying around anger eats you up inside, comes out in your tone and conversations with others and comes across as if you wear it like a suit.  It acts as repellent to many and attracts negativity and fear. And yes, KEEP BREATHING.

5) SAY, “I love you” sincerely when you part to give each other space, even if you are angry or hurt.

I didn’t have the opportunity to follow my own tips with my friend.    I still talk to him, his picture or write in my journal to him periodically especially when an experience reminds me of him. I wrote him a letter long ago apologizing for our disagreement, for not having the courage to share my feelings and finally sharing my feelings.  I forgave myself.  I forgave him too.  Now I remember so much happiness, joy and laughter  when I think of him and I smile inside my heart.   I am grateful for the life lesson he taught me.  I don’t take relationships for granted.  I don’t hold back and I love large! When I met Marc, he shared deep feelings with me EARLY in our relationship and I felt it too AND I shared mine with him.

I dedicate this post to my friend Ross.  Your eyes, heart and smile always shined from the inside out. Thank you for being my friend and for teaching me so much about life.  I am grateful for you and love you.

Sharing love with you always,

Lovingly Lotus

 

 

 

My body, my belly, how do I love thee?

I-heart-my-body-for-web love my belly

Up until a few days ago I thought I understood the connection between my body, food/fuel and energy/emotions.  I’m a recovering bulimic so I’ve been delving into this foodie thing for a long time.  I spent many years in my life using food as a way of comforting my soul/spirit or numbing myself so I didn’t feel or couldn’t feel pain, hurt, anger, disappointment and then eliminating the “evidence” out of my body.

Recently I had a trying couple of  mornings with my son and getting him ready, fed and out the door to camp.  FYI.  I pride myself on being a good  present and nurturing mother.   Day one I was patient.  YAY! I didn’t get sucked in to the performance.  We had a wonderful conversation and it seemed he “got it” and was moving in a more positive direction.  The next morning was a repeat performance as if our entire conversation had not occurred.  UGH! And you may have already guessed it, I didn’t handle it too well.  I was pissed.  And yet, we worked it out again but this time it took much more out of my energy.   When I arrived at my home office, I was out of focus and feeling hungry (already had my protein shake).  Knowing I was out of sorts, I decided to meditate instead.  After a 40 minute meditation, I was  calmer but also smelling food and wanted to eat something.  Why am I smelling bacon and pancakes with maple syrup? I don’t even eat bacon.

I was of enough clear mind (thank you meditation) to ask myself some questions.  Am I really hungry or am I not wanting to feel these yucky feelings I was feeling?   What was I feeling that I wanted to numb with comfort food? Answers: I was upset about the mornings events.  Why? I believed after our conversation the day before, the issue was over and I expected it wouldn’t be repeated (hello, he is only six and none of us are perfect).  I was so happy with Eli and myself for how we handled it day one…moving on, next! So when it happened again the next day, I definitely didn’t handle it with grace, I was sucked into the performance and I felt like I must’ve missed some thing (s) the day before resulting in chips in my motherhood armor ie…”beating myself up and thinking I’m screwing up as a mom.  Yes, sometimes I am that hard on myself.  Oy. Once I realized and delved into how I was really feeling and why I wanted to eat, I asked myself if I was really hungry.  NOPE!

I was on a roll and kept going.   If my body was another person, then I was beating it up verbally and wanting to abuse it physically…OUCH!! Not nice.  From there I asked myself if I have ever been kind to my body verbally?  And the answer was YES.  I am kind to my body and grateful for my body except for my stomach.  Epiphany…The ONLY time in my life I’ve been kind to my stomach is when I was pregnant.  I lavished my belly with so much love then.  Even when I was ribs sticking out bulimic I never loved on my belly.  Hmmm…  What did my tummy ever do to me?? It has helped me digest my food, it houses my belly button, it has helped me deal with emotions and it expanded graciously as I carried my son.  And yet, here I was almost an hour before thinking of dumping a bunch of food inside it that my body didn’t need as fuel so I didn’t have to feel painful emotions.  I would’ve been damaging my tummy, my body and my soul.    Do you ever eat without thinking and the next thing you know, pow you’ve eaten a bag of chips, a bunch of cookies, something?

So I have all these insights, now what?  How do I develop sincere love for my belly and body when I really want it to shrink? Gratitude, exercise and being present when I eat ANYTHING.  I believe in thinking and feeling gratitude.  It has and continues to change and shape my life.  So I began talking to my tummy.  No I wasn’t “feeling it” right away, but hearing myself speak in my own voice is powerful.  Yes, I speak out loud to my body and belly and not just in my house or shower.  Then to hold myself accountable I went public on Facebook.  I plug my workouts offering gratitude for my body and sometimes my belly for the entire FB world to see and read.  Now you know my secret.  It is out.  Is it working?

All I can tell you is I feel better.  That day I felt amazing, almost high,  for really digging in and uncovering this.  I’m not perfect and my imperfections make me awesome.  I feel even more acceptance  and understanding of myself than ever before and yes, I do feel a bit lighter.

I love my body, my belly, my mind and my spirit and I’m grateful for all of them.

Love yourself, it does the body good!!

Lovingly Lotus