Yesterday afternoon, I joined four other women on a boat.  For the next six hours we: laughed, cried, ate, drank, floated, swam and peed in the water.  No one got drunk but we all “let go”.  A few hours in, someone suggested we go around and tell each other what we most admire about each woman.  This was a powerful experience for all of us!

As we went around and shared our hearts with each other, I realized something…  Each of us has gifts.  Each of us has a natural way of being that is our greatest strength and also our biggest weakness if acted on mindlessly.  Without someone to “love without analyzing”, the “analyzer” can get caught up in too many task lists.  Without a plan, the person who is able to “feel unfiltered”, can get paralyzed under a cloak of emotion.  Without someone to cheer us on and suggest things like “go around the circle and compliment each other”, nothing great happens.  WE NEED EACH OTHER.

My approach to my self has been to “fix what’s wrong”, reduce my weaknesses, pick something to improve and “work” on it.  Now I see what I need to do is recognize my strengths and develop THEM!

In the group of women on the boat, every single peson had strengths obvious to the rest of the group but often not to themselves.  Most of us saw our strengths as the very things that got us into the most trouble.  The most powerful forces in the world have both the power to do extreme good and extreme harm.  Our inner strengths are no different.  We need to identify them, honor them and develop them.  Recognize our weaknesses, but instead of trying to “fix” them, accept them and honor them for allowing us to connect with other human beings.  There are others with strengths in the areas we are weak and they will have our backs if we let them.


From my heart to yours

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Ask For The Relationship You Want, Don’t Settle For Less

I’ve had my dose of miserable relationships.  I still look at my husband sometimes and think “I don’t deserve you, you are too good for the likes of me”.  The following is my opinion of how to have a satisfying long-term relationship based on my personal experience, for what it’s worth…
There comes a day that each person needs to ultimately decide:
  1. Do I want to be together because I haven’t met anyone else better or do I want to be together because I want to have a committed partnership with him/her?
  2. Is our relationship based on fear or love?
At some point the conversation needs to change from “if” this works out (or this can’t work because…) to “how” is this going to work out.  When there’s a will, there’s a way but it’s not always easy or worth it.  Unfortunately, sometimes people start a relationship saying “yes, I’m looking for long-term” when they really mean, I want the “idea” of long term but am not willing to do the work necessary within my self for that to be possible.

Commitment isn’t as easy as “get married” or “live in the same house” or “I’ll never leave you”.  It’s deeper than that.  It’s committing to working on yourself and communicating how you feel to the other person.  Commitment is a work in progress, little decisions made every single day.  Compromise when you can but don’t sacrifice who you are.  True, meaningful, love doesn’t ask you to sacrifice who you are, it builds up and encourages you to take risks because you feel safe.  Yet, it’s not always comfortable.  Sometimes, you don’t like what you see in the mirror of the other person.

If one or both of you isn’t ready to commit, there are conversations to be had about why.  If it’s “you”, then deal with your junk.  If it’s the other person, then explain that without attacking.  Do what you need to do to get clarity on which is which (It’s easy to take on other people’s junk, be aware of that tendency and avoid doing so. It will happen but you can stop it once you realize it.)

Think about and discuss together:
  • What are the deal breakers?
  • What are the qualities that each are looking for in a partner that are “must haves”?
  • What things do you not like in the other person you’d like to see change?
  • If they don’t change, are any of those things “deal breakers”?

True love is possible but people stuck in dead end relationships because they don’t want to deal with answers to the tough questions are too distracted to find it.  A lot of people aren’t ready… That’s OK!  If you are ready and he/she isn’t, find someone who’s ready too.  Believe it’s possible for you and ask for it.  You’ll find it!  You will!

In the meantime, have your life.  Take the gift of being single and do exactly what you want when you want with who you want!  Own it.  You’re worth it!

From my heart to yours
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Mexican Honeymoon 2012

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My husband and I have been married for 5 years but never went on a honeymoon.  At the time of our wedding, we had neither money nor time to plan a trip.  After years of discussing options, we booked a room at the Valentin Imperial Maya in Playa del Carmen around our anniversary this spring.  We left our house at 3:30am June 26, not knowing how long the new x-ray scanner at the airport would delay us.  It turns out security wasn’t any busier than “normal” that Tuesday so we sat in the airport for a couple of hours until our flight left.  We were tired and anxious for the many unknowns we were about to experience in our first international trip.

On the ride to the resort, flash flooding a couple days earlier necessitated a detour.  We saw parts of Playa del Carmen that we wouldn’t usually have been shown.  Just a few short blocks from the lap of luxury is absolute poverty.

The resort was breathtakingly beautiful!  Without our cell phones, computers, kid or pets, we had a lot of time just the two of us without other distractions.  No building was over two stories high and the beach was in view almost everywhere we went.  Iguanas were as plentiful as squirrels in the Midwest.  I was fascinated by them!  Most restaurants were open seating.  The food was fresh and delicious!

I spent a few hours one afternoon sitting on the beach at the edge of where the waves landed and returned to sea.  Life is a lot like the ocean…always moving, always coming and going.  When the white froth was at eye level in the distance, it felt a little scary but once it got closer, it was more manageable.  A few times the water came forcefully enough my body swayed with the movement but I didn’t get swept away.  Instead, I became more firmly planted in my spot.  The wave came, the wave crashed, and it was gone.  Sometimes it’s time to move away from harm but sometimes, if you just stay where you are at, problems with dissolve around you, just like that wave did around me.

As we ventured into surrounding towns on our way to and from guided tours, I saw a completely different way of being.  Bars covered all the windows where people lived.  Merchants in the tourist trap hot spots were aggressive and crowding.  Many bathrooms had no light fixtures inside.  Instead, they had openings to the outside, providing natural light and saving energy.  They asked you to put your toilet tissue in the waste basket instead of flushing it.  Many rode bikes or walked, stop signs were viewed as a suggestion to slow.  A few times, trucks full of men in black bullet proof vests and large guns drove by.  I was told they were the police and locals hoped the upcoming election would change things.

We learned that minimum wage is a mere 5 US dollars a DAY!  Not an hour, a day!  A gallon of gas costs almost as much as a day’s worth of work at minimum wage because they have no refinery.  They have petroleum but no way to turn it into fuel so the raw material is exported and then imported back into the country once refined.  The candidate our tour guide hoped would win the presidency planned to put in a refinery to change all that (we later learned that candidate didn’t win).  Subway, McDonald’s and Starbucks also cost the same as in America (yes, those chains are present and prominent).

We met some incredible people.  Locals and world travelers alike.  Learned names, shared stories and exchanged email addresses.  One particularly special couple even invited my husband and I to visit them in their home on the East Coast! (more on them later)

While away, I often thought of Pete’s speech in “Muppets Take Manhattan” saying “people is peoples…dancing, music, potatoes…”.  He’s right.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading