So Why Exactly DO We Have To Put The “Christ” Back In Christmas?

Sorry folks, but I am really tired of watching that meme float around my social media universe. Really tired.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for anyone and everyone having an opinion. I’m all for anyone and everyone LIVING their opinion (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else). I just have difficulty with sanctimonious drivel. I have even more difficulty with people who are incapable of opening their hearts and seeing a bigger picture.

See the thing is, I don’t think you have to say “Merry Christmas.” But if you want to say Merry Christmas please, by all means say it. And if you want to say Happy Holidays or Season’s Greeting say that. I simply do not believe that the actual spirit of Christmas is served in any way by narrowing down our salutationary (yes, I just made up that word) options. What? We’re only allowed one? Because of course Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of Christ (who of course we all know was a Jew) so we better make damn sure we get his name in there somewhere, right?

Wrong.

Because to me Christmas is something so much more than a religious event. To me it is a time to be a little kinder. A little gentler with yourself and those around you. A time for generosity. A time to be reminded that giving is a good thing. Giving to the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, the disenfranchised. A time to include EVERYONE in your circle of love. No matter what their religion and no matter how they greeted you on the street.
I mean seriously, wasn’t that Christ’s mandate? To love and accept everyone? Like, even Conservatives?

Kidding.

Kinda.

That’s what I don’t get. Why was it cool for Jesus the Jew to love and accept everyone and not give a flying hoot if there was Christ in Christmas? But now I am supposed to. I am supposed to proclaim loudly that I am a CHRISTIAN who insists that two words and ONLY two words be used during this festive (oops … bad choice of word) season?
Um … nope. Please be festive. Even if you’re not a Christian please be loving and kind and generous and festive. The spirit can exist amongst all of us, regardless of our personal beliefs.

Years ago I happened to be dating a lovely Jewish man and come holiday (oops again) time I invited him to my office soiree. It was Hanukkah and he had to light a candle first but he did show up (late) and we had a marvelous evening. Celebrating Christmas with my colleagues. I didn’t care and HE didn’t care that he was an orthodox practicing Jew. What we cared about was each other and sharing the season (I’m not saying oops again).

My son, whilst becoming a rock star, works in the hospitality industry in Toronto. He doesn’t have a hard time getting Christmas Eve, Day and even Boxing Day off work (he loves Christmas and being with his family) and you know why? Because the hospitality industry in large cities is populated with non-Christians. And they are more than happy to work the holidays. And to those fabulous folk I say “Thank you and God bless!” (you pick your deity). I am SO grateful to you because YOU are the reason I get to celebrate with my son.

Do I make a conscious effort to say Happy Holidays to those wonderful people? Ya know … cause they don’t believe in Jesus?

Nope. I say Merry Christmas because that’s what I say. That’s what I’ve always said. Even in England (where I have spent many holidays) where everyone says Happy Christmas I always said Merry Christmas. It’s how I grew up. It’s what makes me happy. Yes, Merry makes me Happy.

But please know beyond any doubt that I don’t say Merry Christmas because I am keeping the Christ in Christmas. I know far too many people who haven’t been to church in decades (apart from weddings and funerals) who have posted that stupid meme. No offence my friends, but walk your talk or please embrace silence. Because here’s the one thing I do know – the God of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians ALL preaches love. And that should be enough.

That should be ENOUGH in December and it should also be ENOUGH in January when the tree is down, the presents are unwrapped and the carols are no longer sung. Love, acceptance, inclusion … should be enough.

I think Christ would have agreed.

So please … say what you want, believe what you want, celebrate what you want and love who you want. Just don’t ask me to blindly be a sheep, simply because you re-posted a meme. The truth is I don’t think that meme is Christian at all.

I don’t think that meme is anything.

I think the Grinch said it best (I wonder what religion HE was?).

“What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

I’m pretty sure it does.

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What Is Your Type … and Why Do You Even Have One?

I have a bunch of single friends and I, aspiring to be cupid when and if I can, am always attempting to fix them up. More often than not, however, after I’ve offered up a descriptor or a photo, I am rejected firmly with a “Sorry, not my type.”

This reminds me of a story from back in my band-on-the-road days. Our keyboard player was very talented but a bit of an odd duck socially. He was always trying to find a girlfriend so I once asked the bandleader what A’s type was. He responded with a laugh “His type? Two arms, two legs, that’s his type!”

So when people now talk to me about type I think … why? Why do you have a type? Why have you narrowed your pond to just the goldfish and the angelfish? Have you ever tried a different school? Oh my Cod, if you haven’t then please let minnow why not? Did you lobster and never flounder? You hate shrimpy dudes? You’re not interested in a crab with no sole?

Okay I apologize.

But I just don’t get it. And so I want to float this idea by you.

Okay sorry again. Please … don’t tuna me out here.

Why have a type? Why limit yourself before even starting? Why not approach every prospective suitor as the individual they are, get to know them and THEN decide if they are your type?

My pal G definitely had a type. Tall, thin, pretty – that was his type. When he met F he liked her immediately. They shared interests, ideals, passions and senses of humour. And she was damn pretty. But F wasn’t tall or slim. She wasn’t fat either but he described her as “chunky”.

So even though it was obvious she was totally into him and he totally enjoyed her company he back-burnered her completely when R came along. Because R was his type. He was SO going to explore a romance with R because she was tall and slim. That was his type.

What G didn’t factor in was that R was also haughty, self-absorbed and demanding. Like seriously demanding. And when, after a few months, all of those delightful traits came to light G hoofed it out of there as fast as he could and guess where he ended up? Yep … back with F.

Guess where he still is 6 years later. With F. He is happy as a clam (oops, sorry again) with F and they are making a pretty fantastic life together.

I say “Yay G” because he learned an incredibly valuable lesson and for most dudes past the age of, say, 35, that is virtually impossible. He learned that his “type” was not the be-all and end-all. Sure it might be a starting point but it can just easily be an ending point if your “type” doesn’t factor in at least a hundred variables.

P also had a type. Back in high school P only wanted to date the good-looking dudes. The popular boys. The jocks. She was a damn pretty girl and she had her pick. Never mind that M totally adored her and was pretty much her best buddy. No way she was going to date M because he had a big nose. And he was super smart and maybe a little geeky. Nope … she was going to date the super-cute dude and in fact not only date the super-cute dude but marry the super-cute dude. See ya later, M!

Until many years and a few children later she discovered that super-cute dude was cheating on her. Pretty much all over town. But not before M had resurfaced. After a couple of decades and a burst of newfound technology M showed up in her inbox. What a surprise! His nose was still big. So was his bank account. And his lifestyle. His job. M’s world was fucking huge because he had made a huge success of his brainy geekiness.

They never did end up together even though P did leave super-cute dude. M too was married and that was that. But P told me wistfully that it would always be a regret. She would always regret choosing her “type” over honest exploration and discovery.

And then there’s me. Yeah, I know, there’s always me.

I was playing at a bar in my twenties, middle of August, deathly hot. It was an old hotel so not much AC. During one of our breaks I was chatting with the bartender about the heat and I said “You know what I need up in my room is a fan. I need a fan!”

And the dude sitting alone a few seats away started to clap. He just started to slowly clap while his eyes remained glued to the television.

I was feeling pretty bold because I had just spend exactly 7 minutes chatting with the best-looking dude in the room who had turned out to be not only extremely handsome but extremely boring so I strutted over to clapping-guy and exclaimed “Why are you clapping?”

“You said you needed a fan,” he replied sardonically. “Here I am.”

Hilarious.

Long story short we spent some time talking, he invited me out to dinner, I accepted (hey, I was a poor musician and free dinners were magnificent!) and we ended up dating for almost a year. I can assure you clapping-boy was not my type at all. Best-looking dude was my type. Until I actually got to know them both.

Can you spell tables-turned?

So if you are single and still searching for your type, I ask you to write down ALL of those attributes and then … throw that paper in the trash can. Because trust me, you truly have no idea what the heck your type is until you fall in love with him.

I’m 5’6″. I still like high heels so the possibility exists that on date night I will be 5’9″. For this very reason, back in my on-line dating days, I never even considered anyone under that height. Ever. Even the guys who said “Hey it won’t matter in bed!” … hugely funny and please read that with sarcasm dripping.

This was a ridiculous choice when I remember that one of the great loves of my life was 5’8″. Well he would argue 5’8.5″ but whatever. He was no basketball player and yet I adored him. And since then I have adored other vertically-challenged dudes. Oops … was that politically correct?

What I mean is I thought my type was “tall” but maybe it is not?

I also enjoyed (sometimes) a 2 year relationship with a tee-totaling vegetarian. Yes me, the certifiable lush who delights in ripping barbecued flesh from the bone learned how to drink tea and cook tofu.

Sorry. That was a lie. I did learn how to cook tofu. Whilst drinking wine. Because as we know, in every relationship compromise is key.

My point is that dude was tall. But he wasn’t other things. And eventually other things got in the way.

And then there’s my darling ex. Of British extraction and I spent so much time in England, a country with merit but not exactly my soul’s home, visiting his family and wondering if our child would also have bad teeth, I vowed my next lover would be Italian! British is just not my type!!

Guess what? My current lover is …

British. And I mean the real deal with the accent and everything. And guess what else? We go to England every year to visit family.

And guess what else?

I like it. I like England and I like his family and I like visiting and then, well sometimes we … hop over to Italy.

My point is … I gave up. On types. I gave up on criteria. I logged on to exploration and discovery and POSSIBILITY and I gave up on any other guidelines.

Henceforth I solemnly swear that the only type I shall entertain is the type I type when I type this blog.

The ocean is FULL of fish.

Please do not carp if you can’t reel in your type. Expand your net. Adjust your perch. Scale different heights. Don’t trout …

Okay … you know I meant pout and now I think I’m done with horrible puns.
Seriously … try something different. Something new. Something against type.

Just for the halibut.

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Are You Aging Gracefully or Gratefully?

Today I visited my dear friend G. In hospice.

G is just a few years older than I am and has pancreatic cancer.

He also has a thousand watt smile that still lights up the room. A sharp mind and beautifully articulate voice. A fortitude that defies his prognosis and yet a dignified and reasoned acceptance of his fate. He is an absolute marvel.

So is his mother. She just turned 103 and today he said with resignation and also perhaps a tiny bit of pride “She will probably outlive me.”

When I left my dear friend after our visit I was overcome with gratitude. Gratitude not only for knowing him and loving him but gratitude to have been given a chance to share THIS part of his journey too. Gratitude for ALL the memories we made. And yes – maybe selfishly – gratitude that I am still here on this planet, alive and ready to kick some more.

And then I got to thinking about the concept, typically applied only to women, about aging “gracefully.” I just read a Facebook post about this and I think (could be wrong) what that poster meant was aging “naturally.” So I wondered – who decided that natural and graceful were synonymous? And why is graceful so important? I mean damn, sometimes I’m as clumsy as an ox and I’m pretty sure I’ll never be a fan of wrinkles and gray hair. You know, on me. On MY person.

And then it hit me. Aging “gracefully” is simply not on my agenda. If it’s on yours, and by the way you can define gracefully any way you like, then yay … go for it. But if you want to Botox your forehead and plump up those lips … go for it! Wash that gray right out of your hair … do it and go blonde! Get laser treatments and chemical peels and facials and a face-lift … it is YOUR call. And no one can tell you that you are not aging “gracefully” just because you would like to look as young as you feel.

No one.

By the way I think Jane Fonda is aging FABULOUSLY and fully admits to getting work done. I also believe so is Ali McGraw (remember Love Story?) and apparently she is all original.

The truth is – I do not care how you age.

What matters to me, for you AND for me, is that we are granted the privilege of aging. Whichever “higher power” deals those cards, or even if it is just random dumb luck, what matters to me is that IF we are given the opportunity to age we chose to age GRATEFULLY.

We don’t waste a single moment of the moments we have left. We love deeply and truly. We feel every emotion and heck, appreciate even the bad ones because every emotion reminds us that we are still in the game. We check in with the big picture, do not sweat the small stuff, express appreciation every single day and stop judging anyone, even backhandedly, for their choices.

We are all rare and beautiful individuals on unique journeys that, oddly enough, will end in the exact same place. G and I talked about that today. And as I love to say (in my best southern drawl) – “We all gonna die!”

So how we choose to LIVE, how we choose to facilitate our golden years – should we be so fortunate to enjoy them – is as exclusive as our fingerprints. You are the architect of ALL of your life.

Gratitude is such a simple thing. And yet a thing that some of us forget to express, feel and LIVE IN on a daily basis. Which I think is why I have blogged about it more than once. We ALL forget. We ALL need reminders. We ALL get so caught up in minutiae that we forget to be grateful for every single breath.

Those breaths are numbered.

I’m going to say that one more time my friends – THOSE BREATHS ARE NUMBERED.

Don’t waste them.

Be whoever it is you want to be in whatever package makes you feel yourself and do NOT let anyone else tell you you’re doing it wrong.

Just be grateful that you are still here.

Doing it.

Just like G.

 

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This Lady’s Not Home … (thank you Melissa Manchester)

Back in the 70s, on one of her first albums, Melissa Manchester sang a song called “This Lady’s Not Home Today.” Even then, when I was a mere babe, fresh and innocent, those lyrics resonated with me.

Got a house on the hill
And it’s constantly filled
With a number of passing acquaintances
But I’m tired and spent
From all the friendships well meant
And the rents getting high on my maintenance, Lord

In recent weeks I have found myself humming this very song over and over again, mostly under my breath. Not so much because of friendships well meant (although there have been a few of those) but more because I am feeling increasingly tired and spent.

Now I’m not a big fan of pity parties. I rarely throw them for myself and I sure as hell don’t like attending those thrown by others. We’ve all got shit, right? Figure it out and move forward. Don’t waste your life stalled in self-induced muck. Or even muck induced by others. Shovel that muck into a ditch or ditch the person mucking with you. I always thought it was fairly simple.

Until the muck really started to pile up on my head and I found myself drowning in it, even with shovel in hand madly scooping. I won’t bore you with the details of that shit-storm. Suffice to say it has been ongoing and suffocating.

But the worst part is it has sent my blood pressure skyrocketing. Yes I am already on meds and have been for quite some time – I was blessed with pregnancy induced hypertension when my son entered this world and it kinda stuck with me. I was also blessed with a genetic predisposition to big numbers. Both my mother and grandmother had high BP (and both lived long lives) but my father, with his LOW BP, made up for it with a decidedly Type A personality which he thoughtfully passed along to me (thanks Daddy).

So here I am, Type A with high BP and I sound like some fucked up alphabet soup about to boil over and splatter against the ceiling.

Actually, THAT is how my head feels. Like my brains are trying to escape through my ears and splatter … anywhere.

Okay damn, this IS sounding suspiciously like a pity party.

But here’s the point: the point is as much as I have been fighting the inevitable – “This lady’s not home today.”

I mean, she is, but she is unavailable for consultation.

Okay that is not true either. Today I have consulted with my son, my best friend, my partner, my sister, my neighbour and my dog.  Apparently I am unable to simply turn off. Oh, how I wish I could.

Well I can’t be a fool
Though I’d like to come through
With a satin edged blanket for comfort
But, I got needs of my own
I’ve been too long left alone
Without somebody shoulder’n my hurt, Lord

I am now consulting with a glass of Pinot Grigio , new medication and a new conviction to let the world carry on without me, at least for a few days, while I decompress and hope these ridiculous numbers drop. No more charitable endeavours, no more long “helpful” chats. No more picking up all the pieces and no more making all the plans.

No more.

Time off for good behavior
Time off to be my savior
Stay in touch with your indecision
So I’ll have something to return to
After this brief intermission

I DO want to return after this brief intermission. I would very much like to return with my brains still residing inside my skull. And when I DO return I want to be available. As I’ve always been available. For consultation, for conversation, for consideration and of course … for wine.

But I am reminded now of the plane/child/oxygen thing. Take care of yourself first or you won’t be taking care of anyone. Period.
And that is why …

Right now I’m relighting my fuses
And tending to my bruises
Trying to find my direction, Lord

MY direction is towards better health. Less stress. No more headaches. More vitality. All things that will lead me back to my people. The people who need me. The people I need.

Self-care is so incredibly important. So why do we leave it to languish at the bottom of our to-do lists? Are we so full of our deluded sense of self-worth that we don’t believe the planet will spin without our constant involvement?

I am probably more guilty of that particular brand of hubris than most.

But no more. The world will turn. And yes of course I will return to that turning world.

But – for now – I’m hanging out the sign:

Say do not disturb me this lady’s not home
Today.

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Say What You Need To Say

I was just yesterday told that I am an “open book” and that there aren’t very many people “like me”.

Perhaps. And I did take it as the compliment it was meant to be. And then I got to thinking …

Why aren’t there more people like me? Why doesn’t anybody else (or very few other elses) want to be open books? What good is a closed book? You get to read the title and the author’s name and maybe see a pretty picture on the cover and then pfft … you’re done.  Isn’t it way more fun to open the book and actually read it?

Of course the answer is fear, right? Everybody is afraid that if they become an open book someone will misread what is written, or misinterpret. And if they share all their secrets and tell all their truths it may backfire. They might end up getting hurt because I’ll tell you this – it is impossible to manipulate anything, any situation or any ONE if you are an open book. Absolutely impossible. Plus you up the odds that someone just might manipulate YOU.  Because once your truths are on the table, well baby you are naked. No more mystery, no more wondering, no more armour.

In his famous song John Mayer sings:
Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Than never to say what you need to say again

John darling, I fully agree. HAVE NO FEAR. Because the worst thing that can happen is that you get hurt. You don’t get what you want. Or what you think you wanted (probably more realistic). But so what? If you said what you needed to say and you did it with the truest intentions and a heart wide open, then hold your head up high!

That’s was John says:
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Because there is absolutely nothing more beautiful and true than a heart wide open. Sure those clever, calculating, contriving and crafty creatures who never give anything (meaningful) away, play their cards ever-so-close to their chests and ALWAYS play to win (no matter what the prize), well they do seem to be the ones in charge.

But they are not. Trust me, it takes a lot of energy to keep your stories straight, your truth concealed and your heart fully protected. Quite frankly it is exhausting. And in the end, the only prize you win is … more prevarication. Sure you might win the round. You might save yourself from getting hurt. You might even carry on endlessly unscathed, flying way low under the radar.

What a horrible way to endure.

I would much rather be ON the radar. Flying freely. Wings fully extended. Heart wide open. Saying what I need to say.

Of course being an open book can also be exhausting. Living without any armour whatsoever tends to be somewhat bruising. And we all know bruises hurt.

But I have lived the other way. I know that pain too. It is much much worse.

Usually at this point in my ramblings I include some anecdotes about myself or people I know who have experienced whatever it is I am writing about.

Today there will only be one. Prefaced by a small bit of history.

Soon after my ex-husband and I split up, he and his new love condemned me for “sharing too much” with my son.  For being “too honest”.  For “speaking too freely to a child.”

Sure. Maybe. He was 12 and possibly wanting a few more Disney years. Heck, I was 47 and I wanted a few more Disney years.

What I did not want was any more lies. And more concealed truths. I wanted “heart wide open”. For ALL of us.

This morning, after a long chat yesterday, my son informed me that he had decided to “say what he needs to say.” It’s a delicate situation. It could be fragile. It could backfire. It could hurt him and it is fraught with many unknowns. There is no dodging the radar when he says what he needs to say. There is only belief. The firm and unequivocal belief that saying what he needs to say and accepting all ramifications is better … and healthier … than keeping it bottled up, behind glass, hidden away in a heart half-closed.

I have never been more proud of him.

And truth be told I have never been so proud of myself … as a mother. Because years ago I made a choice about what kind of mother I wanted to be. And I chose regardless of the nay-sayers who wanted me to NOT say what I needed to say.

I am so very very glad I made that choice.

My son (just like John):
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

IF ONLY.

How many times have you uttered those two words to yourself?

IF ONLY.

Today my son torpedoed IF ONLY and said what he needed to say.

I will only take a small amount of credit. But hell yeah, I will take some. Apples and trees, right?  I’m so grateful he didn’t fall too far from mine. Grateful and proud.

Say what you need to say.  Heart wide open. It won’t matter if you are met with rejection, ridicule or even silence. The outcome is not yours to control. That would be manipulation.

But the truth? The truth is ALL yours.

Own it. Love it. Say it.

Say what you need to say.

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What Do You Think You’ll Regret The Most? The Things You Did Or The Things You Didn’t Do?

Think about it. When you look back on your life is it your mistakes that haunt you to this day or is it the opportunities you let pass you by?

I think for most of us we automatically go to ‘mistakes’. Only because they are tangible entities. Blunders we can recall. Missteps that caused pain, to ourselves or to others. Egregious gaffes that lurk in our memories, reminding us that our potential for monstrous miscalculation is always just a breath away.

Yeah, we can beat ourselves up over that shit for a lifetime.

But what about the things you didn’t do? The dreams you didn’t pursue? The compromises you chose that, in the end, still didn’t … and don’t bring you satisfaction.
I read somewhere (my favourite line when I can’t remember) that one of the most common death-bed regrets is ‘opportunities missed.’ Not ‘mistakes made’ but the stuff we didn’t do that we really wanted to do and for whatever reason didn’t do and now we’re about to die and guess what? We’ve run out of time.

So why didn’t we do those things? What held us back?

I would wager the number one answer is fear. I mean, sure you could say I never went to Italy or drove a Ferrari because I didn’t have the money and if those are your death-bed regrets, good for you. But what if you didn’t go to Italy because you were afraid of traveling alone? Or you didn’t drive a Ferrari because that’s a frivolous pursuit and your money is better spent on the mortgage? What if you didn’t go after your dream job because you were certain you wouldn’t get it? Or you didn’t ask that girl out on a date because why the hell would a girl like that go out with a guy like you?

What if?

Years ago my son wrote a song called “Say HI”.  He no longer likes it but I still do because it contains this one brilliant line – “one yes and a million nos is better than zero of both.”

What if you just said hi? What if you threw caution to the wind and went for it – whatever IT is? Maybe if you just believed your gut and believed IN yourself and you believed that you deserve a shot at anything and everything, maybe just maybe IF you believe, you’ll find the gumption to go for it? Even IF success is not guaranteed. Even IF you might fall on your face or get your face slapped or lose face or face the future knowing you tried and failed. Maybe even IF you fail, the knowing that you TRIED will be enough?

Maybe.

Which leads me to my point. Sometimes inaction is even more determental than action. Sure if you take action you might make a mistake and it may not work out and you might get your feelings hurt and you might even regret taking that action.

But you know what happens when you take no action?

Nothing. Nothing happens.

Absolutely nothing.

Life as you know it stays exactly the same.

Except … and here is the big BUT …

It doesn’t. Because inertia will lead to change as assuredly as enterprise. Allowing yourself to get stuck and then stay stuck because you’re afraid of what un-stuck might look like just leaves you stuck. In muck. Muck of your own creation. And once you’re in that muck you’re going to find yourself drowning and then Holy Shit! you’re going to have to scramble like hell to get out. IF it’s not too late. Because no one can thrive in muck. You might be able to exist. For a bit. But you will never thrive.

F and T have been together for ten years. F changed her like completely (geographically, socially and legally) to be with T.  T changed nothing except to sacrifice half his bed. F wants to move house. Escape old memories, make a fresh start in a location she loves. WITH T! T keeps saying he is amenable but he keeps doing nothing. Year after year he has yet another excuse why nothing can be done at this moment. T is terrified of change and T believes that if he does nothing it has GOT to be better than doing the wrong thing.
So F and T are now living in perpetual limbo. Except they are not. Because F is already plotting her escape. F has already come to the realization that T’s inertia is debilitating. To her and their relationship. F doesn’t want to escape. She has just come to accept that T’s fear may well hold him back from change of any kind. And that is not good enough for her.

P has been married for 40 years. He knows his wife is not his soulmate because he has had a soulmate and he knows what soulmatedness feels like. But P gave up his soulmate to keep the peace. To keeps his family unit intact. To do the right thing.

Is this going to work out in P’s favour? On his death-bed will P say “Thank goodness I did the right thing?”  Or will P always wonder what his life might have looked like and felt like if he had chosen his true love?

Who knows? And that’s the kicker, right? We don’t have a fucking clue? Maybe P’s soulmate really isn’t his soulmate? Maybe she’s just a fleeting fancy? A fly-by? So maybe staying with his un-soulmate wife IS the right thing because maybe some of us just don’t get to have it all? Maybe getting family is worth relinquishing soulmate? What if on his deathbed P regretted NOT staying with his family because he gave that up for his soulmate? And she turned out to NOT be so special after all.

These are all noble and reasonable questions. Is it fear that is keeping P put? Or reasoned argument?

Like I said … no fucking clue.

But this one I do know.

D wants a job. A very specific job. And this very specific job is on offer. But D doesn’t have quite ALL the qualifications for this job. So D procrastinates until the deadline passes and then D blames the deadline on her inability to go after said job. Oops. Just missed it by a hair. Oh well.

Oh well indeed. Because the truth is D is SO afraid of applying for that job and not getting it that she’d rather not apply at all. You see if she doesn’t apply there’s no way she can get turned down.

And do you know what all of this ultimately goes to?

Ego.

It always goes back to EGO. MY sense of self-worth will not be jeopardized by an unknown. My sense of self-worth is tied to the tested and true. And so here in this familiar world shall I stay.

T doesn’t see a move with his beloved as an adventure. T sees it as a disaster waiting to happen. As an unknown with no clear outcome. As an upset to his neat and tidy life.
T is stuck.

P thinks he’s being a good guy. P thinks that staying with his wife is a noble act. P thinks that giving up his soulmate and doing the ‘right thing’ is honorable. P hasn’t considered that he’s not giving his wife a vote in this election (maybe IF she knew she wasn’t HIS soulmate she’d want to go find one for herself?) and he has also not acknowledged that HIS life and HIS heart actually DO count for something. His martyr-cloak is now his armour. And he will wear it proudly to his death-bed.

But what if on that death-bed he asks “What if I wasn’t a martyr? What IF I had just been true to myself?”

Because really, if you’re not true to yourself, how can you possibly be true to anyone else?

D is still unemployed. D is frozen. D is so afraid of what might NOT happen she has no clue how to embrace what MIGHT? She doesn’t see possibility. D only sees potential failure. And her fragile ego can’t handle anymore failure today, thank you very much. So D will now tell anyone who listens that she just can’t find the ‘right’ fit. God knows she is looking. It’s just not there.

D is stuck. And drowning in her own muck.

So how do you get out?

Again … no fucking clue. But for me personally I have decided that the only two words I shall henceforth heed are ‘gratitude’ and ‘adventure’.

I love gratitude and practice in consciously every day. To be grateful for everything we DO have allows us to accept all that we do not. With grace.

And adventure is how (I believe) we should approach every decision. Not adventure as in climbing Everest or sailing the seven seas. Adventure as in every new job, every new love, every new house and every new friendship IS an adventure! No guarantee how it will turn out BUT if you go into it with eyes and heart wide open you have at the very least accepted the Universe’s rules – No promises. No predetermined outcomes. No crystal balls.

Just one helluva ride.

I don’t want to EVER regret NOT getting on the horse. I want that ride. I crave that ride. I am ready for that ride even if I  get bucked off and broken. I will never regret those poor old bones. What I will regret is sitting in the bleachers. Watching some other cowgirl have her turn on some fiery steed while I eat popcorn.

I will make the decision, take my chances and live with the consequences. What I will NOT do is die wondering. I do hope with all my might that my only regret will be NOT wearing a bikini when I’m 65. Ask me when I turn 66. I’ll let you know how that goes …

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How Many Colours Of The Rainbow Do YOU Need?

Several years ago I attended a songwriting forum in Nashville. It was fronted by a pair of hugely successful composers, a married couple as luck would have it. They both boasted long lists of hit songs bearing their names. They were both intelligent, witty, engaging and fun. They could both sing as well as anyone and they were both fine-looking humans. That Saturday morning forum was educational and entertaining.

When it concluded we were invited to ask questions. Up shot my hand and I was first to the gate: “You two can obviously write awesome hit songs and you can both sing and you’re funny and fascinating and kinda cute.”  They smiled. “So does it ever piss you off that you’re not big stars?” Stunned silence from the crowd. “Does it ever piss you off that some other singer recorded your songs and had big hits and those singers are big stars and even with ALL your attributes you are not. Does that ever piss you off?”

They glanced at each other and hubby gave an almost imperceptible nod, like he was saying “Honey, you take this one.”

And she did.

“Interesting question,” she began. The audience tittered nervously. “When I came to Nashville 15 years ago I came in search of the rainbow. Maybe not even just the rainbow, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I wanted it all and I thought I had the goods to get it all.”

She paused for a breath and you could have heard that proverbial pin drop. “Obviously I didn’t get it.  I did not get the pot of gold and I did not get all the colours of the rainbow. But hey, I’ve written a catalogue full of hit songs, I’ve won awards, I’ve met everybody who is anybody in this business, I met my husband, I still enjoy singing my songs, I make a really nice living and I do it doing something I love to do. So I would say I did get a fair chunk of that rainbow. More than one colour, that’s for sure. And I am good with that and therefore, no … not pissed off.”

She smiled again and the audience applauded.

Great answer.

Today as I reminisced about that morning I got to thinking – how many colours of that rainbow do we really require? Sure when you’re young and full of piss and vinegar the only acceptable response is ALL of them! But is that really true? When you reach a certain age and look back and you realize there is no red in your arsenal, or yellow or green, do YOU get pissed off?  If the ONLY colour is indigo are you mortified or are you grateful?

I haven’t seen an actual rainbow in awhile and quite frankly I’m not sure how many colours are in mine. I guess even that ebbs and flows on any given day. What I do realize with complete certainty is I do not NEED the full rainbow anymore. And if I can consciously be grateful for the colours (or colour) I am graced with, my outlook will change, my attitude will change and much like that songwriter in Nashville I will learn to ENJOY purple (least favourite colour, if you must know).

My pal B is a single 50-something. She is still drop-dead gorgeous, successful, fun to be around and the proud mother of two incredible kids. Yet there is no man in her life. Hasn’t been one for awhile now. She has no interest in cyber-dating and her circle of friends and workmates has not yet yielded Mr. Right. Would she like him to show up? Damn straight. Is she okay with him not being here (yet)?  Also damn straight. Because B is super busy enjoying the other colours of her rainbow. Daily.

My other friend L has fallen madly in love with M.  Problem is M is married (with a capital M).  Does L insist that he leave his wife?  Does L settle for a clandestine fling? Nope.  L just enjoys his friendship and his insights and their (reasonably) innocent communication. She enjoys the one colour that is on offer and she abandons the desire for the full set. She accepts that one colour as a gift.

W chose a career which inspired and fulfilled him.  But now it looks as though that career path may conclude. Like many he is downsized. As he approaches impending ‘retirement’ does he fret? Does he moan? Does he rail against the winds, beating his chest over his unfortunate lot in life?

Nope. He looks forward with optimism. He counts all his other blessings, he thinks about his other talents and he starts planning out his other options. Sure, orange is off the table, probably forever. But he fully embraces all those other hues because they are still there, beckoning.

And then there’s me. I always wanted to be a Broadway star. Or the next Carole King. I wanted stardom and Prince Charming and a pumpkin and an Oscar! I dreamed hard and big. I sacrificed my twenties to that dream.

Alas the vision did not appear. The rainbow was conspicuous only by its absence.
So … I readjusted my sights. I mean c’mon, really – rainbows, mountains, oceans, meadows … it’s all beautiful. Just look in a different direction. I looked towards new career options, other ways of satisfying my muse, other avenues of filling my heart and other colours still illuminating the sky.

I now look towards my son. HIS rainbow. My desire for HIS rainbow to appear in all its resplendent glory!  THAT will illuminate my sky.

Does that make me a wuss? Am I pissed off?

I don’t think so. It makes me a realist and an optimist. My rainbows just looks a little different these days. And I am quite certain I will continue to adjust that lens until the day I die. Adaptability is key, right? We get older, we learn, we modify.  We determine that committing to a rainbow may be beautiful but it might also be fleeting. Rainbows are far too elusive.

But a colour? A colour is something you can hang on to.

I still make music. I still find love. I still greet each day with an open mind and an open heart.  I still believe that magic might happen.

Hey … it might.

Even if it is purple.

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