Tag Archives: regret

Memorial Days and Emotional Landmarks

Dates on the calendar can be such emotional triggers, can’t they?

Now that I FEEL my feelings rather than stuffing them into a dark crevice of my soul to be more easily ignored,  I “get gotten” regularly.

Instead of skipping along in merry oblivion, life and its memories stop me dead in my tracks and instead of plowing through, I stop.  And I feel those feelings, as messy and soppy as they may be.

A “memorial day” of sorts just passed; it would have been my 15th wedding anniversary.  I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but for an entire week I felt like I was walking through emotional quicksand.

Another is right around the corner: The one year anniversary of when I left.

Every memory can be weighed on a scale, balancing all of the reasons why and, alternately, why not.

Ask ten other people to view the same set of circumstances and their judgments rendered will run the gamut.  They bring their own biases and projections as they view the evidence, which is why I am not a fan of judging.

To one observer, we are heroines of our own stories.

In other versions, we are the villains.

Some days, I see myself as both.

Why?

Because I am well aware of my imperfections.  And I refuse to try to pretend that I am without fault  (though I became QUITE adept at pretending happiness and have since given that up for good.)

Someone recently chastised me  – not intending cruelty – but these words plucked at my heart:  “You could have done it differently.” (This was in reference to how I left my marriage.)

My reply?  Yes, perhaps I could.  But at the time, I couldn’t see any other way.

And maybe it WAS the only way.

None of us will ever know because it went down as it did and it can’t be undone.

Which leads me to another “memorial day.”

September 9th marks the day I finally let go of all of the trappings of pretension; looked my soul square in my heart and said, “I love you.”

Yep, I am aware of all of my stuff – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And I love you.

I forgive you.

Now let’s get on with this thing called life and start feeling again, start living again, and let love start winning.

Our word these past two weeks has been flexibility, and sometimes it is painful to dislodge from our fixed position of how we see things.  Or to entertain someone else’s view of the choices made.

I can see your point of view. Perhaps it could have been done differently.

These close encounters of the heart are all part of the bumps and bruises of life.  From my current vantage point, I believe a life unmarred by such wounds reflects a life not fully lived.

I could have died, long before my physical death, by not rocking the boat.  And I could have existed the rest of my days without really living, only to get to the end of it all and find I missed the point.

May I always be flexible enough to admit when I’m wrong.  To leave – anything – when it is time to move on.  To own up and apologize, but most of all and always, to forgive. Everyone.  And especially, me.

After all, I’m the ONE person I’m definitely stuck with for the rest of my life.  So I might as well make it a love affair!

And I hope you will, too.

On a lighter note, some less profound matters can easily make us anguished, irritable, emotional, and altogether flummoxed.  I talk about them in these closing thoughts on FLEXIBILITY (and ushering in a new WOW):

Ah, finding joy in the right here, right now.

Wishing you all boatloads of contentment these coming two weeks!

(And Happy Memorial Day Weekend.)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Fertilize Your Life with Appreciation (& the New WOW)

Sometimes you can feel like you’re under a pile of doo-doo, but later you realize (with appreciation) that it’s just meant to fertilize your life.

The seed of your dream is in the ground, and it is sometimes a dark place, compounded by the compost of, well, poopy circumstances.

Can I use any more childlike words to describe #$it?

I know that those of you who read my posts are generally like-minded; we seek to GROW our lives, don’t we?

My recent attendance at an Abraham Hicks workshop gave me an AHA that turned into a recent Toastmasters speech that I plan to take to the International Competition. (Nothing like thinking big, right?)

Here it is in written form (which I need to pare down by about 500 words to make my time constraints!):

It was love at first sight.

I was 16 years old…and no, it wasn’t the captain of the football team.

It was a 1981 Chevy Camaro Berlinetta.

This story, however, is NOT about a car.

Still, let me paint a picture for you.

It was a second generation Camaro; the last with the rounded body style. Black leather bucket seats; a sun roof, silver pin-striping – I have no idea what engine type – but it didn’t matter…

…because it had air conditioning and an 8-track player…

It beckoned to me from the showroom floor.

Perhaps it was my mom’s way of honoring my dad’s memory – he was ALWAYS opposed to buying a used car.

Maybe it was the pleading look in my eye.

Whatever unseen miracle was at work, I drove that Berlinetta out of the showroom, certain it would

  • Solve all of my self-esteem issues,
  • Secure me a prom date and
  • Send my classmates into a jealous frenzy.

None of that happened, but what did happen was the minute I drove that car off of the lot, it depreciated by 11%. At the end of the first year, that percentage rose to 19%.

I learned the concept of DEPRECIATION.

Webster’s defines DEPRECIATE as to diminish in value over a period of time or to disparage or belittle. To DE-PRECIATE shrinks things.

Which got me thinking about APPRECIATION.

Could it be said that APPRECIATION grows things?

When I water and fertilize my flowers, they GROW. Saying “thank you” or complimenting a friend GROWS a relationship. When I make deposits into my savings, that account GROWS.

APPRECIATION is like a magical super-sizer.

Famed inspirational speaker and motivational coach Tony Robbins said it this way:

You’re enjoying the sunny Sarasota sunshine. (Or imagine that you are, dear Northerners!)

It brings a smile to your face.

You’re walking down main street and say to a passerby, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

They agree, smiling.

And your appreciation has made a beautiful day even better by the very act of appreciating it.

Appreciation GROWS things.

When I throw my Burger King wrapper in my garden bed, it chokes the roots.

If I don’t tend to the weeds or protect my plants from critters or pests, they fall prey.

My actions – or lack –  of appreciation can either SPEED or IMPEDE growth.

Appreciation is ACTIVE.

When I moved out on my own, my Camaro didn’t have the oil changed regularly.  (I hear you groaning.) It became a repository for fast food wrappers and dents and parking tickets from Glassboro State College. It eventually died on the highway.

Because of the way I DIDN’T take care of it, it had steadily diminished in value.

Had I appreciated it and cared for it, it might be a classic – the target of oohs and aahs at car shows.

And when it comes to matters of the heart and appreciation, I think of my marriage.

It started with roses and cards and praise…

…and ended in shouts and divisions of property and our very lives.

We stopped appreciating what we loved about each other and the marriage continued to shrink.

How do we DE-PRECIATE our lives? We:

  1. Nit pick
  2. Start complaining
  3. Focus on what’s wrong instead of what is right
  4. Let negative thoughts take up residence
  5. Poison our dreams by marinating on their impossibility

Has  anyone here been guilty of these?  Me too, so how do we FERTILIZE OUR LIVES? Through APPRECIATION.

  • Acknowledge what IS GOOD right now.
  • Praise progress – even baby steps.
  • Remember what obstacles you’ve surmounted.
  • Recall how far you’ve come.
  • And be good to YOU.

Yes, be nice to yourself.

Stop complaining about what you didn’t, should have or might have been or done.

The past is in your rear-view mirror. You’re not going there.

Regrets do NOT serve you or anyone else. Guilt is a non-productive emotion, and if you look ahead, the sun is shining – always, even behind the clouds.

I want my life to GROW.  I want MORE GOOD STUFF – and  I don’t want to take the blessings of life for granted until they de-preciate from view.

What do you love – who do you love, RIGHT NOW?

  • Fertilize
  • Compliment
  • Applaud
  • Praise
  • Even worship it (or them) with appreciation

AND WATCH YOUR LIFE GROW.

We had two less-than-sexy words this past two weeks, but I was inspired with a fun take on RESPONSIBILITY and TRUST.  Here it is, plus the new WOW:

It’s a mandate to go with the flow, my friends.

May that flow take you ever closer to the life you’ve imagined.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

 

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Little Things and a BIG Life

My friend Roseann has said for years that it’s the little things, like sharing dinner at the table with her husband, Mike, that make her life rich.

This view of life never resonated with me. For 14 years, I ate by myself on the couch while we each “did our own thing.”

I became the queen of the grand gesture.

The trip to Normandy…the lavish birthday parties…the Tag Heuer watch.

To me, it was a “go big or go home” approach to life.  Little?  Ha!  That’s for losers.

Now that I look through the lens of lessons learned, I see that my grand gestures were desperate attempts to bring meaning and satisfaction to a life lacking in what mattered most.

Tenderness. Connection. Laughter.

My grand (and expensive) strokes were also my stabs and finally doing the great, big thing that would make my life WORK.  

Do you remember when old cars took some work to “turn over” on a cold winter morning?  You’d turn the key and pump the gas; the car gasping for life…

…yes, that’s how I see many of the years in my rear view window.

This is not a post about regret, however!  No, no, no!  This is a post about finally seeing the light!

It’s about really and truly and finally understanding that no external thing could fix something wrong on the INSIDE.

That no grand or lavish gesture can evoke love that isn’t there already.  And that nothing you do can make other people happy if they choose to be miserable.

And most of all, if you are not happy, no one else and nothing else can make your motor run.

Finding peace within my heart and falling in love with ME has changed everything.

I beat this drum with everyone now, and I’m sure it is a bit annoying.

But can you really say that you’ve settled into a full-blown love affair with yourself?

Can you boldly say, “I’m wonderful!”

When you think of yourself, is it with the tenderness that you would offer an innocent baby?

This seismic shift changed everything for me.  It took a trek to Costa Rica and a visit with a shaman to get there, but man was it worth the journey.

Now friends, you don’t have to go to Costa Rica or take a psycho-spiritual journey to get there, but whatever it takes, please get there!

Oh please forgive yourself!  Oh please stop regretting the past!  Oh please…because life is too short to put a band-aid on and we were never meant to be the walking wounded.

How tragic to get to the end of our days (and gee, we don’t know if that will be TOMORROW!) and consider that we wasted it all being unhappy and that unhappiness served NO purpose.

And how tragic to numb ourselves or empty our bank accounts in the attempt to compensate for a broken heart we never forgave.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of picking up Shasta for a play date.  Mark and I wandered around until we ran into an arts and crafts festival.  We meandered hand in hand.  I bought a cheap anklet, we sampled kettle corn and Shasta was loved on by every passerby.

And I said to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

Louie Armstrong, I get it!  Roseann, I get it!

In a lifetime of talk about having an expansive life, I realize just how BIG little is.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE sniffing the air at any Ritz-Carlton.  I plan to visit Greece and publish a few books.  And birthdays?  Puh-leeze!  I love an excuse to party plan!

But those things will all be the icing on a cake that is sweet already.  And I wish the same for you, too.

Here are my closing thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS and a brand-new, never before received Word of the Weeks!

It’s a week to speak up!  (And to listen…)

May these last two weeks of February bring riches to your heart.

Love, love, love –

Brenda

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WOW (Word of the Week) for 9.27.15

Just as I had settled into a nice, easy take on WILLINGNESS (i.e., bad hair days and dancing in the rain) I came face to face with a far more weighty situation that I was NOT initially WILLING to face.

What were the telltale signs?

Hurt.  Anger.  Justification.  Torment. Despair.  Depression.

My entire arsenal of defense mechanisms kicked in…but in that space there is no resolve.

In fact, for some of life’s hardest junctures, there simply is no resolve.  You can’t change the past.

But there is always a choice here in the present.

Will I choose love or fear?

And if someone hurt me (or I hurt them) – am I WILLING to forgive us both?

Life can be a running string of regrets and offenses when fear and unforgiveness win.

I choose love.

I choose forgiveness.

And when the past comes back to haunt you with your failures, take comfort in Maya Angelou’s words:  When you know better you do better.

In other words:

Every hard fought lesson learned is a building block.

Yes, Brenda 2.0 fell short.  But that was 15 versions ago.  And I am NOT willing to hold myself hostage an obsolete version of me.  And I hope you won’t, either.

Which is quite a preamble to this week’s WOW.  When I recorded this, I was a bit at a loss…but now I see – all the pieces of life work together as a tapestry.  If you look closely, you’ll see ugly bits of fabric and lovely ones, too.  Focusing on just the one or the other causes you to miss the full picture, which is a combination of it all.

We all have failures and regrets in this life.  But what did you do with them?

Did you change and grow and evolve and learn?  Do you know better and then do better?

Then stop obsessing over that ugly bit of fabric.  It’s just one piece of you.  Yes, it may be the only thing that others see, but that is their choice.

You can choose to see through the lens of love and forgiveness.  And when you do, you can see how all the little pieces have come together – and continue to come together – to make you who you are today.

What does SYNTHESIS mean to you?

 

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