I’ve been a rule follower, maker, and advocate for my entire life. In my mind, rules keep me safe and help me to navigate through this sometimes unruly world. I can remember from a very early age trying my darndest to keep track of all these commands: “Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back…Don’t look at the sun…Don’t swallow your gum…When walking with scissors, make sure they are facing down…” It’s a lot for a small girl to take in!
As I grow and learn more about the world, I am trying to edit some of these restrictions (although I will always walk with those scissors facing down! (Thanks Mom)) I recently found myself in a bit of a pickle when faced with a pretty important life decision but found comfort upon the realization that it’s always okay to update those rules or even possibly…GASP…change my mind.
In my early twenties, like many women, I was in a hideously disastrous relationship. The red flags were everywhere but I chose to ignore them for years hoping and praying that this caveman would eventually come around. Well, he didn’t. I (finally) broke up with him and moved out and with the very generous support of my family and friends, was able to start a brand new happy life on my own. At the time I implemented many rules for my life in hopes that they would protect me from future devastation. Among them:
Never Ever Wever Shever Live With A Boyfriend Before Marriage.
This protective amendment was easy enough to follow for the first couple years of my newly single existence seeing that my boyfriends were certainly not marriage material. But then it happened: I feel in love, deeply in love. And with a really great guy (Hi babe!). I held my ground for two more years, paying the rent on my very own studio apartment (which I slept at perhaps two days a week). But still, I had my own place and I thought of it as my insurance policy if this relationship regrettably turned sour.
A couple of weeks ago I received a notice from my management company declaring that indeed my lease was up for renewal; I realized then that my relationship outlook was up for renewal as well. My boyfriend and I have both read the articles on marriage and divorce, listened to the horror stories and seen first-hand what happens when things get bad. We’ve vowed to respect our independent lives and not allow our relationship to become a vacuum. And it’s agreed that we are both definitely in this for the long haul (insert wedding bells here). So why am I standing with one foot in and one foot out? Because I am scared. And that’s no way to live.
So I changed my mind, I’m moving in with my boyfriend and couldn’t be happier. I plan on walking away from my rules that are rooted in fear and replacing my motivations from a more loving and trusting place. But I am left with one question: who gets the big closet?
Some shots of my pad before I start packing up…
Pure love - Stella
Pure love - Harrison
I just came back from a relaxing trip from California sans kids and Neil (my first time being alone in about a decade). Although I missed my munchkins’ sweet faces and my husband’s love and support, I have to admit, the time to myself gave me the opportunity to nurture my spirit. I saw many special people during my trip, enjoyed nature (sunlight, amazing mountains, fabulous greenery and gorgeous trees) and had the opportunity to reflect (something a lot of moms don’t have time to do juggling children, housework, a marriage and all other things life hands us on a silver platter). I realized I don’t need to put so much pressure on myself
. As the oldest child, I feel responsible for the happiness for my mom, dad, brother and sister – and of course my own little family. Then it hit me – all I need to do is support and love unconditionally
. I am going to embrace this new way of thinking with all my heart. I have a feeling this simple way of being will benefit my family and me tremendously.
Gotta love The Beatles for their amazing and inspiring lyrics.
I reported a couple of weeks ago on my sheer exhilaration surrounding the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Committed. Ashley and I were even able to meet her at a book signing in Oak Brook! The now Mrs. Gilbert was as effervescent as I imagined – and effortlessly charming and witty. I clung to her every syllable as I tried to commit her words to memory. When asked by an audience member who her biggest supporter was she told us indeed that it was her mother who is an “Olympic Distance Optimist.” I loved that.
However, my experience with the book so far (I’m about half-way through) hasn’t left me with the same warm fuzzy feelings. And honestly, she did try to warn us. In her Washington Post interview from January of this year, she says: “If you want the gossip of what happened with Liz and the Brazilian, you will get it, It’s all in here. But in return you’re gonna have to read, like, a dissertation on the history of marriage in Western civilization.”
And let me tell you, that dissertation is a bit of a bummer. Marriage is not, nor has it ever been in the history of Western civilization easy-or even very pleasant. I am grateful to have this dreary data set before me (by an author that I love nonetheless!) but I do miss the uplifting qualities that I so loved in Eat, Pray, Love. I will continue to forage through the book, with an open heart. Hopefully in the end we can all live happily ever after. I hope.
We use our brain every day. We go to work or school, do our daily routines, tackle small obstacles, operate heavy machinery (our car), and we observe and make judgements.
What if we didn’t just go through the motions everyday and simply used our MIND to understand the bigger picture of life? What if we didn’t think of the (sometimes negative) little thoughts that occupy our minds that affect our relationships, our daily activity, our bodies and our outlook on life?
What if we thought “bigger picture”. What is the “bigger picture”? I don’t know, but I don’t think it consists of us obsessing about our credit, what a person thought of us, that last 10, 20, 30 lbs we need to lose, whether or not the neighbor raked their leaves this weekend, etc.
These are my thoughts on bigger picture and our life’s purpose:
-We are here to learn particular life lessons (more on how I feel about this in later posts)
-To help one another though our journeys (we are all going through life together, let’s help one another out by encouraging and supporting one another)
-To treat people with kindness and respect
-To let others know they are loved by you
-To raise small minds to be as creative and expressive as possible
-To teach small children to love well (by loving them well and unconditionally)
-To inspire greatness in others
-To know that when we are doing something with our BEST INTENTIONS, our hearts will be bursting at the seams with love, pride and absolute joy.
This is possible. I know it is. We just need to trust ourselves and use our minds to look at the bigger picture. Let’s stop thinking of the petty stuff and start thinking about the important stuff.
How do we do this? This is the journey that we are on. We will figure this out together, but I do know it’s out there.
Feel free to share your thoughts on what the “bigger picture” means to you.