Opinions and Expectations

We judge (and criticize) based on our experiences. If someone is not the same religion, or political party, or looks and acts the same as you then there is a lack of them filling your expectations. The speculations arise from the difference. There is fear at times of the unknown and lack of understanding. The insecurities may rise to the top of the list.

If you are too lovey dovey you are too needy.
If you are too positive you are bypassing all human experiences.
If you use crystals and burn sage you are not Christian because you are a witch.
If you cuss you are a bad uneducated person.
If you are too trusting you are naive and gullible.
If you share too much spiritual stuff you are a fake wanna-be guru.
If you speak your truth you are arrogant and a know-it-all.
If you don’t participate in every argument you are weak and afraid to stand up for yourself.
If you have a sarcastic sense of humor you are hiding major trauma.
If you let your kids watch too much television you are an uncaring parent.
If you send love and light to the world you are a new-agey hippie.
If you aren’t fighting for a cause you may be a closet racist.
If you are overweight you have low self esteem.

I am certain you can add to the list. If you do anything that is outside of other people’s perspectives there will be judgment.

You can only meet someone at the level of their awareness and experiences. Your opinion of me and others is based on your expectations. When those expectations aren’t met you immediately judge.

Guess what fixes that?
Getting rid of your expectations and accepting others as imperfect and learning from their diversities. We are all truly trying to walk each other home. All day. Every day.

Guess what else alters this state of speculations?
Loving folks as they are. Meeting people where they are emotionally, physically and spiritually. We need more open-minded-closed-mouth souls on this planet. We don’t need categorizing anyone. Not hurting them because they are different. Not using past experiences as markers for all future events. Forgiving and letting go of shit are imperative at this time.

IT IS TIME TO COME TOGETHER AND NOT TEAR EACH OTHER APART. Who the hell left anyone in charged of this planet that we are fighting for freaking rights that shouldn’t even be questioned? We are all of the human race.

We are living in the most intense times of our lives as the massive collective consciousness shift is happening. Most traumas and triggers are coming up because it’s time to release them. We are healing. We are shedding old beliefs. If you can’t handle those issues with the people you love then it’s time to truly reconsider your relationships. Love means loving the entirety of a person, not choosing and picking the parts that align with yours.

Be gentle, darlings! There is so much anger out there and it’s shocking to our systems. My heart is cracked open. I am feeling it deeply. I love you.

Expectations

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize the most beautiful gifts another person has given you. Often times we take those things for granted because life happens. We have good days and bad days.

Last night, in the middle of tossing and turning, returning our four year old back to her bed (several times) I had a moment of full gratitude. I had a moment of retrospect.

Kali Rose is technically my granddaughter. She is the child of one of my adopted daughters from Romania. Tunde arrived into my life when she was nine. She suffers from bipolar, schizoaffective d/o and other mental disabilities. When social services called me to let me know that Kali (5 months old) was being removed from her care I was given a choice: I had two hours to go get her at their office or she would be placed in foster care.

I turned to my then boyfriend and before I could finish the sentence he said, “Babe, where do we pick her up?” He had no questions or doubts. He had never been a father. He didn’t even flinch. There was zero doubt of what needed to be done. And as time passed we made her ours and it took two and a half years to finalize her adoption. Matt did not care that she could have had HIV (since her biological dad did) or that she could suffer from mental illness from her gene pool. There was absolutely no question of what “we” had to do.

Back this April we got a call from Florida that Tunde’s second child was taken into foster care. Within a few hours we had a plan. Matt explained that this little boy needed to be with us. He was Kali’s biological brother. “We can do this!” And we did. It took months and fighting with the system but last month we brought him home.

I thought about this after all these years. I don’t know why but I laid in bed massaging my heart in gratitude. He never once questioned his decisions. This wasn’t my first rodeo. But it has been his.

What ruins us in relationships and other commitments in our journey is the abundance of irrational expectations we place for ourselves. We expect much from our loved ones and when it doesn’t appear as the perfect package we get angry and disconnect. We end the relationship. We stop growing together.

I share this today because sometimes in the middle of adulting we tend to forget the small significant details of what others do to impact our lives. It’s a habit. It’s old programming. It’s just life. Because, let’s face it, living in this human form is challenging. We take one step in front of the other unconsciously. We forget what we were here to remember.

Look back at those small increments of time. Acknowledge the love from another. Today I’ve thought about that particular day on May 28th, 2014. His kindness and determination allowed me to move forward knowing he had my back. No relationship is perfect or happy all the time. But, it’s in the brutal challenges and obstacles that you get to witness the integrity and support of another.

I love that. And I am beyond grateful. ~m.a.p.

Love = Freedom

A few weeks ago I was in Starbucks writing in my journal. Two gentlemen came and sat right across from me. They began chit-chatting, opened up their bibles and began to share scripture. I kept on writing but their voices began to echo through me. It was a busy morning in there but somehow I could feel and hear all they were discussing even when I tried to block it out.

I stopped writing. I closed my eyes and with full abandonment entered their world.

One said to the other, “The Lord will forgive you. He will have mercy upon us. Christ won’t hold this against you or me because we are walking the righteous path….” More scripture was recited. I began to stare away from them out the window, pen in hand, waiting for my heart to stop beating so tightly against my chest.

They shared a lot of intimate moments and experiences for a while. One man cried, the other got up, walked around the table and hugged him. There, in the middle of a busy shop. No one noticed. The man wiped the tears away and sat down. The other sat in silence for a moment gathering his will to continue the conversation.

The story was not unlike another. I get to witness many of these, whether I am being told the stories or I am partaking from a distance. But, what I found interesting was the way they had used religion to mask their love affair. They spoke of their wives and children. I wanted to reach over to them, hold both their hands and tell them that they hold the key to changing their struggle and heartache. I wanted to hug them, look at them, see them, listen attentively, and let them know they weren’t alone and Christ doesn’t punish for loving anyone. And, if they needed to finally be happy freedom and truth needed to be addressed.

But, this wasn’t my story.

But, this is a story of hurt and confusion. It’s a story of living under erroneous pretenses. It’s a story of pretending and not pretending; loss and gain; faith and guilt. I had to take a few deep breaths while trying to hold my tears. I was paralyzed in that chair, feeling these two souls whose lives were better because of each other but also tragic because of their circumstances. I ached deeply for these strangers while feeling their love and admiration for one another.

And…there…right there…in that coffee shop everything evolves and resolves. I left them still reading to each other, fighting their desires, attempting to tackle their faiths while denying what was real.

We all fight something, right? We all have little secrets at times that eat us and shame us? Nothing is perfect. So if you love, please love harder. If you are miserable, please adjust your motives and find a plan. Challenges and obstacles rise to show us our strengths. Life is too short to feel shame, guilt, resentment and become bitter because you can’t change things right at this moment. Love openly and fully. Say your ‘I Love You’s’ as much as possible. Nothing lasts forever…

~m.a.p.

The way we see things at times…

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize the most beautiful gifts another person has given you. Often times we take those things for granted because life happens. We have good days and bad days.

Last night, in the middle of tossing and turning, returning our three year old back to her bed (several times) I had a moment of full gratitude. I had a moment of retrospect.

Kali Rose is technically my granddaughter. She is the child of one of my adopted daughters from Romania. Tunde arrived into my life when she was nine. She suffers from bipolar, schizoaffective d/o and other mental challenges. When social services called me to let me know that Kali (5 months old) was being removed from her care I was given a choice: I had two hours to go get her at their office or she would be placed in foster care.

I turned to my then boyfriend and before I could finish the sentence he said, “Babe, where do we pick her up?” He had no questions or doubts. He had never been a father. He didn’t even flinch. There was zero doubt of what needed to be done. And as time passed we made her ours and it took two and a half years to finalize her adoption. Matt did not care that she could have had HIV (since her biological dad did) or that she could suffer from mental illness from her gene pool. There was absolutely no question of what “we” had to do.

I thought about this after all these years. I don’t know why but I laid in bed massaging my heart in gratitude. He never once questioned his decision. This wasn’t my first rodeo. But it was his.

What ruins us in relationships and other commitments in our journey is the abundance of irrational expectations we place for ourselves. We expect much from our loved ones and when it doesn’t appear as the perfect package we get angry and disconnect. We end the relationship. We stop growing together.

I share this today because sometimes in the middle of adulting we tend to forget the small significant details of what others do to impact our lives. It’s a habit. It’s old programming. It’s just life. Because, let’s face it, living in this human form is challenging. We take one step in front of the other subconsciously. We forget what we were here to remember.

Look back at those small increments of time. Acknowledge the love from another. Today I’ve thought about that particular day on May 28th, 2014. His kindness and determination allowed me to move forward knowing he had my back. No relationship is perfect or happy all the time. But, it’s in the brutal challenges and obstacles that you get to witness the integrity and support of another.

I love that.

Find Joy in Your Life

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The absence of proof is not necessarily proof of any evidence. You want to hold certainty in your hands and it can’t be done. It’s not available. The proof of life is in living and being aware of your humanness.

Imagine: You lie dying on a bed. Do you speak about politics, religious indifference, race or cultural issues? Nope! You speak about loved ones. You tell stories of your lovers and spouses. You share about your childhood. You do not listen to this timeline full of sensational news. You don’t care what is happening out there. You want to know about places far and wide that you didn’t get to visit. You express your love of sunrises, fast cars, delicious food and beautiful company. You marvel at the journey, often with regret and other times with admiration. Politics, war, injustice and indifference do not matter at this time. They are not held captive in your presence.

Why? Why do we give so much energy to those things that will not reside in later years when we will be ready to transition into death?

Make your thoughts count. Create energetic moments that will transcend your existence when you are in your last breath. You are a creator of your reality. At the end of your life you will remember the first pretty girl you kissed, the puppy you got that Christmas, the horse ride you took in the trip, the way your child felt upon your chest…. You will not care how much money you owed or if you cleaned under the bed or if there is expired food in the pantry. Life is a precious commodity so use it for greatness. Make moments count so that when you are ready to embark into the light you will feel joy and not sorrow; love and not hatred, admiration and not regrets.

Go be happy. Fake it till you make it if you must. But, remember that you decide how you feel and react to everything that happens around you. Don’t keep waiting for a tomorrow that might never arrive.

Have a blessed day y’all! Mucho love!

Your Here is not My Here

you are here

I was sitting waiting on some friends in front of an event. A man pulls up on a van, his wife steps out to get tickets, he and the children drive off to park and wait. He whistles at her in a coquette manner as she walks into the place. She ignores him. A short time later the wife steps out and frantically starts searching for them in the parking lot. She calls him on her cell rather loudly, “Hey, where are you?” He must’ve answered, “I’m here.” She then says sarcastically, “I AM HERE! If you were here I would see you. YOUR here is not MY HERE.” She sees the little girl waving and walks towards the end of the parking lot.

I sat there thinking about relationships. How many times don’t we think to ourselves, “I am here. Where are you? Why aren’t you seeing me?” It happens with out mates, our children, our parents, and even friends. We want to be acknowledged. We want to be heard. Nothing is more relevant than knowing that our presence is honored and appreciated.

Whenever I had something important to say to my young children I would make sure they stopped whatever they were doing. I sat or stood in front of them and asked for their attention. “Look at me for a second, sweetie….” Then to make sure it was heard I would ask them to please repeat it back to me. This was necessary because otherwise they didn’t seem to comprehend. With them, I used small sentences. I made sure there were no long explanations because children need simplicity. When my mother got ill I had to use the same technique. It’s usually in those few words that the brain understands that it needs to pay attention. The tone of your voice is vital in how another person listens.

And so it is in relationships! We are often asking, “Why am I being ignored?” But the question we should be asking is, “How am I saying this? What needs to change in my presentation in order to be present and acknowledged?” Are you yelling your thoughts into chaos? Are you screaming in anger? Are you ignoring that the timing might not be right? You cannot blame another for what they are thinking when their ‘here’ is not in alignment with the way you perceive it to be.

Listening and hearing are two different animals. One requires being. The other is just noise. We have been accustomed in this society to use the art of over thinking and analyzing. We are conditioned to go-go-go until we drop. Relationships suffer because of the multitasking and technology. Allow for YOUR HERE to be another person’s presence. Be willing to provide the sacredness of listening and being in the moment. There are things that are being lost in this new age of technology: speaking, being heard, and being able to decipher the importance of union with your loved ones.

Notice how a dog behaves when you walk out of the room and return. Your are in his “here.” Let’s be like dogs in our commitment to provide space for our loved ones. I see you. I feel you. I honor your existence. I love you. Have a great day.

Mystifying Riddles

falling stars

There are amazing mysteries in our universe:  the great pyramids, the Mayan calendar, the conscious mind, the cosmos, the beginning of time, the big bang theory, UFO’s, and the spiritual world whose veil is thinning with acceleration of these times.

These great mysteries aren’t meant to be solved.  They are as apparent as love out there in the world to ponder and accept.  We are constantly trying to solve the miracles of life.  But, some things aren’t meant to have specific reasoning.  Miracles happen every day.  (I, for one, thrive on them while searching for every possible sign that they are happening around me). We are born out of an extraordinary phenomenon. We survive illnesses, near-death experiences, and so many heart aches.  We come out from difficult situations and have no explanation for them…except that something larger than ourselves intervened.  This is the miracle.  The mysteries of our existence lie in the knowing that there is something so much greater than reasoning.  It is that knowing that gets us through the difficult times.  Some call it Christ, Buddha, Shiva, God, the Divine, the Great Goddess, Mother, the Holy Mother, etc.  There are millions of names and expressions for this mystery in our existence.

I have stopped looking for that which cannot be understood.  I have learned to accept things as they come.  There is no lack of anxiety or disappointment in what I want and what is.  There is no lack of worrying at times for what cannot be understood.  It is what it is.  However, what I have learned with the hard knocks of life is that in the end I have no control of what will happen.  I am always joyfully surprised with how things appear.  There is no perfect planning…only perfect timing.

Two nights ago I sat outside watching the meteor showers.  Falling or shooting stars adorned the clear night sky.  It was beautiful.  Each time I witnessed a quick one fall I would gasp.  Such quick simplicity!  It was precious.  I made a lot of wishes upon those stars.  As I went to bed I said my prayers to the greatest mystery of all…God.  We are so fortunate to be living in these times.  Each moment is a complete unsolved mystical twinkle in time.  Relish in it!  Dive into the moments with awesome-driven excitement.  The best is always yet to come.  Have a mysteriously wonderful day!

T is for Trust

traveling

Two friends and I sat yesterday afternoon briefly discussing what we were going to do after our retreat center sold. I get asked a lot about my future plans. “I don’t know” is the only answer I can give. I have no clue. It’s the first time in my life that I don’t have a plan that sets my future on gear. I do know what I don’t want. I can feel my body constrict and heart palpitations take place when I think of settling down again in a house and in one place. I can feel my breathing get erratic when I think about being stuck immediately after getting out of this huge responsibility. So, yes….the I-don’t-know answer is accurate but it’s rarely received well by others. People need certainty. People are conformed and programmed to know. To hear a 47 year-old woman say, “I have no clue” is somehow perceived as an irrational and insane behavior. Some would think I was going through a major midlife crisis.

One of my friends who has been traveling extensively the last few years shared his story. He sold everything and just returned to the states from Italy. He said to me, “T is for trust. Trust is a marvelous design. It will never do you wrong.” And, I have to know that it is. Until this moment I have always known what I needed and wanted and follow through with every expectation.

All of my life I have been stable and responsible in making sure everyone around me was taken care of and was lacking nothing. In the process I stopped asking what Millie wanted. Now in view that there is open fields ahead I have nothing but the idea to take some time and leave the premises. The baby is small enough that she adjusts to anything. Matt (my fiance) can work from any place as long as he has a computer at hand. When I shared with him a month ago that I just couldn’t settle he took a deep breath and said, “We can make this work. We can do whatever you want.”  It’s priceless to have a mate who supports your wishes and desires.  He is excited to trek new mountains, fish in new ponds, and backpack through forests.  I am beyond giddy to experience nature through my own senses rather than reading of others’ experiences. 

The things I know for certain are based on dreams. My middle name is America, after my paternal grandmother. I was destined to travel this country and see every part that has been in my little head all these years. I own the label and title. But, the what if’s seem to start lurking throughout the nights as we get closer to reaching the new stage of this journey. As we close one chapter and another opens I get those familiar doubts visit me in moments of restlessness. Then I remember one of the most amazing quotes from the movie Letters to Juliet: “What” and “If” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? I don’t know how your story ended but if what you felt then was true love, then it’s never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn’t it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart.”

Follow your heart”…my spirit keeps echoing in moments of clarity when the world isn’t questioning my motifs. Follow my heart through intuitive guidance that lets me know I will make money writing and traveling (I don’t need to know right now how). Follow all that I know for certain: I cannot be caged like a broken-winged bird. It’s time to take flight and move through my dreams. I want to meet folks along the way and write their stories. I want to be touched spiritually by all that is out there. I have been an obedient student the past five years. It’s time. The voices answer through the nights, “Get through this stage of uncertainty and the world will open up with all the what if’s you have always questioned.”

I urge you to follow your authentic self, dreams, aspirations and childhood goals. Ask yourself what you want and work towards the urgency that screams inside. Don’t let the uncertainty or society tell you what you should do or not do. Go for it. Make it happen. My “I-don’t-know’s” aren’t really unknown. They lie inside with answers that I, alone, choose not to translate to others at this moment. And that’s magical! For the first time the not knowing is overshadowed by what I do know. I am well on the path to enchantment through the balance and alignment of mind, body and spirit. I am ready to begin living a life that is fulfilling to the little girl in me. I am ready to follow the what if’s and make them work for me….

A Marriage of Insanity

divorce of expectations

I slept very uneasy last night.  I stared at the dark ceiling for a large part of the early morning hours.  Those “witching hours” tick-tock themselves into the darkest corners of my little brain.  I have learned to let go.  Nahhh…let me try that again!   I am “learning” most of the time (with a little curse word or so along the sentence) to freaking let go and release.  In those reciting moments that catch me off guard I had a thought that made no sense until I got up, rubbed my forehead, had some coffee and gave into the writing prompt:  “Assumption and expectation are in a marriage of hellish proportions.  Stay out of their way.”

The word expectation means: “a strong belief that something will happen in the future, and a belief that someone will or should achieve something.”    The “should” in that definition is what truly empathizes this word.  The “should” seems to be the magic wand to the desire we place on others. We are disappointed when someone doesn’t step up to what they “should” do for us.  We are crushed when our expectations of how we perceive them gets tarnished.  To expect anything is to wait for the future to deliver.  Our parents had expectations for us.  We have them for our children.  We hold expectations on our spouses, mates and lovers.  We even have expectations for our pets.  What are we doing to each other stressing on future outcomes?

Then I thought about assumption.  The word means: “the act of taking for granted or supposing.”  I remember that old saying, “When you assume you make an ass out of you and me.”  Oh, and do we ever place a hold on assuming things in relationships, circumstances, and plain ole life.  We assume stories that put fairy tales to shame.  Instead of getting to the point of issues we rather take the assumptions and develop story lines that feed the ego.  The destructive power of assumptions can shatter the strongest of relationships.  They validate absolutely nothing but an imaginary character that will never be a hero.

I remember when I was studying psychology that we touched upon behavioral expectations.  These types of expectations are role sets and social influences that determine how each person judges others in the world.  This is learned early on in our childhood. Children learn from observing those near them.  They interact with others who see the world in similar ways.  They also learn from their siblings and how they are seen in the family.  The impact of socio-economics, culture, gender and race all play a huge role on how children develop and interact with each other.   Expectations are then built on.  We gather the structure of what is expected and place them on all types of relationships.  Expectations are imprinted and then we immediately begin the implementation from others.   Unfortunately along side of Expectation is the bipolar partner called Assumption.

Of course we are going to be disappointed!  How can anyone live up to the expectancy of another?  Expectations are little hunches of what “should be.”  They are no different than fortune telling the future through judgment.  There is no healthy way of living a peaceful and happy life based on the assumptions and irrational expectations of others.  Yes, it hurts when friends let you down.  It is horrible when a spouse doesn’t step up to the plate in moments needed.  It’s hurtful to watch our children do careless acts that in the end DO build a powerful lesson to them.  Most people are not consciously aware of what “should” happen because they have a whole different set of expectations and assumptions as well.  The whole theory of supposing and expecting seems to lead to disappointments.  It is in those moments of disappointment that guilt, shame, anger, judgments, and hurt destroy the trust in another because of a belief system that we created.  We fabricate the conditions that will always let us down.  Let’s be honest now…we all have them!

I vow this morning to stop the insanity of assuming things without verbalizing them.  There is magic when we vocalize what goes on in our minds.  I promised myself a while ago to stop expecting.  That has worked pretty well at times.  I’m not going to lie to you it is freaking hard to stop the brain from assuming and expecting.  I am not a saint.  But, rather than be part of this insane marriage of expectation and assumption I need to delete the belief system that they are part of my life on a constant basis.  They are no longer residing rent-free in my head.   You can’t be disappointed if you don’t expect.  You cannot be disappointed if you don’t assume.   It’s that simple!  If you want to make God laugh, make a plan…and definitely add a dash of expectation and assumptions.  Watch how He rolls over and chuckles.