First off, Marta from m.writes is awesome. And I'm not just saying that because I won a giveaway from her site. Marta offers great beauty tips, has wonderful prompts for the WriteClub, and has a gorgeous boy named Benji. (Seriously, he's adorable!) If you're not familiar with her blog, you should go and check it out; you'll just love her optimism and creativity!
Two of my siblings (one's a minor) are in a deserted terminal in Belgium with no food or water. It's been crazy trying to get them on another flight (the previous flight was canceled due to a strike.) It reminds me of the movie The Terminal* when Tom Hanks' character gets stuck at the airport. My brother and sister are probably eating out of the garbage by now. Okay, maybe not yet, but you get what I mean. But this is getting ridiculous. No one wants to take responsibility. Let's hope this gets taken care of soon. We've been on the phones for 4 hours now!
Update: My mother had another screaming match with a not-so-nice lady at the airline, threatened a law suit and finally got my siblings past the Belgium security to speak with someone at a counter. I think they'll be on a flight soon.
Those that know me well might be familiar with this story, but I'm going to tell it again because it had such a profound effect on my life. It's a true story. All of the details are real. The names are real. The feelings are real.
Years ago I met myself at a coffee shop, although, I didn't actually realize it until after. Her name was Elizabeth. She was sitting next to me journaling (doing the same thing I was doing). Somehow we ended up having a conversation. A conversation that changed my life. She was a complete stranger, but I felt so comfortable talking to her. Somehow in the 15-20 minutes that we spoke, we managed to exchange our life stories. She was young and beautiful, belly-danced for fun, journaled for at least 30 minutes a day, was optimistic and recently left an abusive relationship that she had been in for almost a decade. She literally took a small bag with a few belongings and a change of clothes, left and never looked back. [Similar to the movie "Sleeping with the enemy" except she didn't fake her death, just ran for her life.]
At the time, I was in an abusive relationship and was trying to come up with a "game plan" on how to get out safely. Due to the relationship, I had completely lost sense of who I was, had terrible self-esteem and was struggling with depression. I was young, confused and struggling with finding myself. I felt so lost.
Although I never met or spoke with Elizabeth again, she gave me the optimism and hope that I needed. It was long after that day at the coffee shop that I realized why that conversation was so important to me. She was me. She was where I was headed if I didn't change things. She was "me" ten years down the road. Not everyone gets to have an experience like that. I am thankful that she bumped into my life, even though it was so very brief. She honestly saved my life; saved me from heading down the same path. I'd like to hug her and thank her, to tell her how much she changed my life; how inspirational and motivating she was. I have faith that one day I will find her and finally be able to let her know.
Celebrate Today: The rebirth of you!
Have you lost your sense of purpose? Have you lost your zest for life? Perhaps you're just looking for more? You're always trying to do more, experiment with your life, your body, always buying new items or constantly changing your hair or furniture or even significant others in hopes of filling that void? Yet somehow, you seem to still find yourself back where you started. Instead of looking for happiness elsewhere, focus on yourself. Try looking for the missing pieces within.
What steps can you take to ensure that this does not happen again?
Do you need to set up rules or boundaries?
If you take anything from this, let it be this: Forget trying to fit in. Be who you are. Being your authentic self and being loved is much more rewarding than fitting in and being loved for someone you're not.
Spunky has been a little sick lately. I have come home to kitty presents throw-up everyday for the last three days. [For some reason, she doesn't do it when I'm home. Only when I'm gone.] Yesterday it was mostly a hairball (as opposed to mostly food like the previous days), so I'm hoping that's the last of it. If not, then Chunky Spunky is going to the vet.
Aside from that, she's been super extra loving. She's turning herself into an attention thriving lap cat that wont stop purring. It's been nice, except for when she decides that she wants attention while I'm sleeping -- which has suddenly become a nightly thing! She likes to walk all over me in the middle of the night while meowing. I usually just swaddle her (like a baby), pet her a little bit and cuddle together while we both fall asleep.
Recently, I've been concerned about how Spunky will handle the move. (My apartment lease/job ends on July 31st.) Most likely she will stay with M until I have found a job and a new place to live. M and I are also traveling to Greece for 3 weeks at the end of summer, so I'll have to find a "kitty babysitter". Right now, it looks like Spunky will have to go to Fresno and stay with my sisters while we're gone. I just hope that all of the moving and traveling won't stress her out.
M and I went into downtown LA last week for date night. He took me to Dino's. The joke was that it was a Greek restaurant without Greek food. (The owner is Greek.)
Here's a shot of downtown from the freeway:
This is Dino's:
The restaurant is super small, but the food is delicious. (We both went for the grilled chicken.) We then drove around for a bit. We found this great little Mexican bakery, but were too full to buy anything.
This is another shot of downtown from the opposite direction:
And one of the sunset behind us:
We enjoyed each others company and the sunset, and went back home early to watch a few episodes of DuckTales before calling it a night.
Despite the fact that I have lived here for almost a year now, until this week, I have never seen or heard about local wild parrots. As the story goes, about 25 years ago a local pet store caught fire. In an attempt to save the animals, the store keeper released the birds. Apparently they manages to survive and procreate over the years.
Yesterday morning, I spotted two parrots (one big and one small) squawking outside of my apartment. I immediately knew that it was not a normal bird squawk. When I looked up, I saw two parrots on the telephone lines. I quickly grabbed my camera to shoot a photo, but the little one flew away.
I hopped in my car, opened the sun roof and drove under the big parrot. This little guy/girl posed for me when I talked! So cute!
"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure." - Oprah Winfrey
Maybe you have had a chance to sit down and consider all of the things that you might be holding on to, or maybe you haven't had a chance yet. Either way, I wanted to give you a few ideas and ways to help you "let go". Sometimes it's easy to pinpoint the issue, but difficult to come up with a strategy to overcome it.
Clearly it is much easier to suggest ways for an exact situation, but since everyone's situation is different, I figured that it would just be best to throw out some general ideas. [If you're struggling with a certain situation and would like some more specific links or ideas, you can always email me.]
Possibilities for situations that involve another person:
You could sit down and have an honest conversation with that other person. (This could also be done over the phone, but in person is usually best.) Explain how you feel and what you have been keeping in/holding on to. Sometimes this is all it takes to get past it.
Perhaps you need to own up to and apologize for something that you have done. By not apologizing, you live with the guilt.
Does it deal with someone who has passed away? Clearly you can not have a conversation directly with this person, but you could write a letter expressing your feelings and details of the situation. You could go to the grave site or another place where you feel connected to this person and privately read your letter out loud to them. You don't know how therapeutic it will be until you do it.
Most importantly, maybe the answer lies within you. Perhaps all you have to do is look within and forgive yourself for whatever it was. (Usually this one is the hardest to do.)
For issues that are personal and do not deal with others:
Clearly for these issues, the "problem" and the "answer" lies within you. But it is important to realize that you are not alone. There are people around you who can help -- family, friends, God, professional help, therapists, etc., all you have to do is look. There are several different methods that you can use, you just have to figure out what works for you:
Journaling your thoughts and struggles.
Map it out. Literally draw out a mind map of what issues you can work on. You can then visually see what changes you can make and track your progress towards addressing those issues and setting yourself free.
Write a letter to your future self. You can do it here and have it sent to you at a later specified date (ie. a year later). Sometimes it's motivating to see how far you have come!
Talk it out. Sometimes it's easier to see a solution to an issue when you're not the one directly involved. Scout out a friend to confide in; the answer might just be easier than you think! After all, what are friends for anyhow?! Trust and lean on them.
Forgive yourself. As I mentioned above, and will repeat again because it's that important, perhaps all you have to do is look within and forgive yourself for whatever it was.
Lastly, sometimes it's helpful to do something symbolic as you let go of the past.Here are some possible ideas:
Once you have worked through and realized your exact, concrete issues. You could then write them down with a sharpie on rocks and physically throw them into the sea/lake/forest/etc. Perhaps your struggles deal with weight gain. Consider carrying those rocks by foot in a backpack for a certain distance to the tossing site. After physically throwing your worries away, you will literally feel the weight off your shoulders. I can guarantee the walk back will feel liberating.
Plant a tree as a symbolism of a "new start". You can bury that letter you wrote, or your journal pages (or photocopies of your journal pages) that you wrote with the tree. As the tree grows, you will be reminded of your personal growth as well. [Note: Do not us an annual plant for this process!]
Perhaps you have been keeping some secret that, for whatever reason you can not tell a soul. Why not send it in anonymously to Post Secret? Or you could write it down on paper and burn it immediately. [Careful not to start a fire!] Perhaps it would be liberating to anonymously write your secret on a public sidewalk using sidewalk chalk?
Finally, here are some other helpful websites that you might find useful:
WEEK 3: "It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure,
to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer
meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for
in movement there is life, and in change there is power." -- Alan Cohen
It's time to stop carrying your baggage around with you through life. Liberate
yourself. Set yourself free.
Have you been avoiding something or someone? Is it possible that you're doing so because you're afraid?
Perhaps you put all your attention into things you enjoy. Or you repeat the same joys over and over. Are you doing this so that you don't have to pay attention to another issue? So that you don't have to acknowledge the issue?
Perhaps you have been holding on to a grudge or something similar. What do you gain out of keeping it? I can guarantee it's not happiness. Maybe it is time to let it go. [I will post more about "letting go" later this week.]
What are you holding on to? What do you gain from holding on to this?
What can you do to move past it? What steps can you take to set
Either way, it's time to take a look at why you are doing the things you are doing. Dig deep. If you have a strong negative or positive reaction to an experience (any experience), then you should take the time to stop and address it. Figure out what the root of the issue is. It is only when you can figure this out, that you can address it an move past it.