Thursday, January 31, 2008

Emotions, Changes and Gratitude

This past week has been a very emotional time for me. I am not sure if its a hormonal thing (though yes, that has something to do with it) or if I've simply stirred up some pent up festering wound that finally needs looked at. Perhaps there's something in the cosmos?

I still haven't heard back from my soldier. This shouldn't be a big surprise since his email correspondence began to taper with the start of the weekend. He could very easily be out on a mission or something much more important than dealing with my neediness. Yet, because of our misunderstanding and my emotional firestorm, I feel that the lack of communication has something to do with me. Pretty self-centered, aren't I?

He called on Sunday afternoon and we had a wonderful long conversation. Even that left me feeling upset. I'm realizing that I expect him to act or not act a certain way. And this is only due to my past experience with my ex. Those expectations screw me every time! (Another darn dragon on this quest. Or perhaps just a wrong turn in the labyrinth?)

Yeah, its definitely my problem. I get it. "There's strong, and then there's Army strong". I haven't made it to that "Army Strong" status yet. What kind of basic training do they offer for Army girlfriends anyway?

I just registered for a 2-day/150 mile bike race in early May. Yikes! What the hell am I thinking? I keep telling myself that I can do this. I have lots of support and plenty of time to train. I know I can. I know I can. I know I can. Still... wow.

Then I got an offer on my house yesterday. This is good news as my house has been on the market for nearly 2 years. Once it sells and I can move into my own comfortably affordable home, divorce papers will be filed. I can finally be a free, independent woman. Woohoo!

Ok...why am I so terrified? I have to find a new place to live in the next month. I should be thrilled and excited! Instead, I was completely broken down last night on the phone with my ex. It has been 16 years since I've been on my own. He said, "You've been on your own this whole time - for 2 years now!"

But I've still depended on him financially and to help out with things around the house. Ever the supportive friend, even as an ex, he said, "I'm not going away. I'm still here to help you."

Therefore, I've decided today to stop this silly whining and look at the bright side!

How can I complain when I have:
  • The sweetest, hottest and most loving man diggin' me from the other side of the world.
  • A wonderful friend that I will soon legally call "ex" who is still so good to me and my girls.
  • A great job with much support, love and understanding from my co-workers. And a really easy commute!
  • Two beautiful, healthy and amazing little girls who want nothing more than to see me smiling and happy.
  • A healthy, strong body that is getting stronger all the time. All the goals that I am setting, I am accomplishing!
  • Lots of friends, new and old, who care about me, pray for me, send me love and support me throughout anything I am going through.
  • A family that is close enough to help me with my children. My children benefit from this as well with their cousins as best friends.
  • The opportunity to continue my spiritual quest through my A Course in Miracles study groups, my blogging and constant awareness of the lessons in my life.
Perhaps I am simply purging the old in order to make room for the new. 2008 seems to be off to a great start for me. I guess I just need to have those "dark nights" in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.
~Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rock this!

My soldier and I had a lost-in-email-translation/misunderstanding yesterday and, since I haven't heard from him, I'm overreacting and analyzing. This is what you do when communication isn't immediate.....

I know we're fine but needless to say, I needed something to take my mind off of it.

Yep, that'll do it!

Whew! We needed to lighten up in here a little anyway!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I rest in God

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 109

We ask for rest today, and quietness unshaken by the world’s appearances. We ask for peace and stillness in the midst of all the turmoil born of clashing dreams. We ask for safety and for happiness, although we seem to look on danger and on sorrow. And we have the thought that will answer our asking with what we request.

"I rest in God."

This thought will bring to you the rest and quiet, peace and stillness, and the safety and the happiness you seek.

"I rest in God."

This thought has power to wake the sleeping truth in you, whose vision sees beyond appearances to that same truth in everyone and everything there is. Here is the end of suffering for all the world, and everyone who ever came and yet will come to linger for a while. Here is the thought in which the Son of God is born again, to recognize himself.

"I rest in God."

Completely undismayed this thought will carry you through storms and strife, past misery and pain, past loss and death, and onward to the certainty of God. There is no suffering it cannot heal. There is no problem which it cannot solve. And no appearance but will turn to truth before the eyes of you who rest in God.

This is the day of peace. You rest in God, and while the world is torn by winds of hate, your rest remains completely undisturbed. Yours is the rest of truth. Appearances cannot intrude on you. You call to all to join you in your rest, and they will hear and come to you because you rest in God. They will not hear another voice but yours, because you gave your voice to God and now you rest in Him, and let Him speak through you.

In Him you have no cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets. In timelessness you rest, while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all.

You rest today. And as you close your eyes, sink into stillness. Let these periods of rest and respite reassure your mind that all its frantic fantasies were but the dreams of fever that has passed away. Let it be still and thankfully accept its healing. No more fearful dreams will come now that you rest in God. Take time today to slip away from dreams and into peace.

Each hour that you take your rest today a tired mind is suddenly made glad, a bird with broken wings begins to sing, a stream long dry begins to flow again. The world is born again each time you rest, and hourly remember that you came to bring the peace of God into the world, that it might take its rest along with you.

With each five minutes that you rest today the world is nearer waking. And the time when rest will be the only thing there is comes closer to all worn and tired minds, too weary now to go their way alone. And they will hear the bird begin to sing, and see the stream begin to flow again, with hope reborn and energy restored to walk with lightened steps along the road that suddenly seems easy as they go.

You rest within the peace of God today, and call upon your brothers from your rest, to draw them to their rest along with you. You will be faithful to your trust today, forgetting no-one, bringing everyone into the boundless circle of your peace, the holy sanctuary where you rest.

Open the temple doors and let them come from far across the world, and near as well; your distant brothers and your closest friends; bid them all enter here and rest with you. You rest within the peace of God today, quiet and unafraid. Each brother comes to take his rest, and offer it to you.

We rest together here, for thus our rest is made complete, and what we give today we have received already. Time is not the guardian of what we give today. We give to those unborn and those passed by, to every Thought of God, and to the Mind in Which these Thoughts were born and where they rest. And we remind them of their resting place each time we tell ourselves;

"I rest in God."

(That's all I have for today. And all I needed to hear.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hangin' on every word

It seems my whole adult life
I've been hangin' on every word
Of the person that I love

I fell in love at first sight
at the tender age of 19
Convinced he'd love me too

He loved me in his own way
And I hung on his every word
Always wanting more

I married him in love
Gave all of me
and I hung on his every word

Wonderful deeds he gave
Yet I yearned for more
Waiting for the words

What I needed to hear
I still don't know
But I wanted more

I hung on his every word
As our marriage crumbled
And the words weren't nice at all

When the pain was more
Than all I could bear
I had to turn away from his words

Looking deep inside
I found gentle words and began
Believing in my own truth instead

In weakness, I cried
In strength, I persevered
And then the words grew quiet again

Somehow feeling lost
I yearned for another's love
Hangin' on his every word

For years his words inspired me
Surely this was the one with
The words that I longed to hear

But it was not to be
I tried to hear my words once more
Deep inside, still and quiet

I found them again
They were never gone
Right where they'd always been

I was hangin' on every word
Happy and content for once
Singing my words out loud

In a pause in my song
Another's voice interrupted
What did he have to say?

Too frightened to listen
I tried to continue the verse
But my own words grew weaker

As his voice strengthened
I found myself falling
And hangin' on his every word

Now he's far away
Months and miles between us
And all that we have are words

I can hear my own voice
Sometimes singing my words
Pulling them from the inside out

But his voice is there
Saying, "Remember me"
And my voice falters as I break down

My words get lost when
His words are spoken
And I'm hangin' on every word

I hope I can do this
A struggle every day
Trying my best to keep singing

I have to remember myself first
Though his words are beautiful
Mine are the ones that I trust

The still small voice
That reminds me to listen....
Hangin' on every Word

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Valentine's Care package

My soldier's Valentine's AND birthday care package will be in the mail tomorrow morning. Tisha left a comment asking me what I sent him for Valentine's Day.

Its pretty disgustingly sweet, I wanna warn ya...

Valentine's Day:

  • A heart of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates (Yum. Hope they travel well.)
  • A tiny book of quotes called "I love you madly"
  • A big stuffed bulldog in a bandana and black leather jacket. A patch on the jacket says "I Wuff You" (I warned you!)
  • The girls made him a craft heart and butterfly
  • A silly pen with a heart at the end that lights up and says "Be Mine"
  • A sexy card
  • A special piece of clothing that smells like me. Yeah. I know.
  • I also sprinkled rose petals in the box

For his birthday (a few days before Valentine's Day):

  • A giant tin of home baked chocolate chip cookies (that he keeps reminding me to send)
  • A video movie of naughty photos that I took just for him. Yeah. I know. (hee hee!)
  • Happy Birthday blowouts
  • A big balloon centerpiece
  • Happy Birthday napkins
  • A silly card
  • Something for his desk with a photo of me, each of the kids and one of all of us. We then were able to record a message on each photo. The kids enjoyed singing Happy Birthday - he'll love that. I recorded myself singing "Happy Birthday" a la Marilyn Monroe.

I also included a few items that he needed and had asked for. I sent a disposable camera too. Hope he can take some pics for me!

I realize some of this is silly and stuff he doesn't need but I hope it will bring a smile to his face. I also want him to know how special he is to me.

I'm sure he has some idea.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Note from the Universe

I'd say the biggest decisions of your life, T, were not your career, your marital status, or your home... they were choosing to love as often as you have.
And that's a lot,

The Universe

Especially, T, when it seemed in vain. It never is.

(Love my daily notes from the universe.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Just playing around

You know those silly quizzes that are all over the Internet? Come on, don't lie. We've all done at least one.

I'll admit it. I took a few of them last night because... well...for no real reason. Maybe buying for a Valentine's care package made me feel all "teenager" again:

Are you in love?

How deep is your love?

Love quiz

Love Test

In the final analysis and after much deliberation, the verdict?

I'm definitely smitten!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Treat yourself or A Night in the Life, Part 2

Yesterday evening, I did actually have enough energy to hit the gym while the ex stayed with the girls. I did a spin class and while I have some crazy notion of doing a really long bike race in May, this was my first spin class. It was fun. I did well. But... can you say saddle soreness? Um. Yeah.

I was able to get some grocery shopping done sans children and decided to treat myself to some flowers. I am a firm believer in treating yourself the way you'd like to be treated. And frankly, I deserve it! Anyway, if the girls were with me, they would make me buy flowers for myself too. Maybe they too are learning about treating themselves well. I'd like to think that they'd settle for nothing less.

My favorite part of this time of year: Red Tulips! Yay!

Last night? Pretty much like the night before. I guess the little one is coming down with something. At least my oldest daughter slept through. Last night it took 3 doses of Calms Forte and 1 Melatonin for me and one dose of Calms Forte for the little one to get us both back to sleep. Whew! Thank God that stuff is homeopathic! I only missed 3 hours of sleep last night. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Night in the Life

The kids would absolutely not sleep last night. I don't know why. We had our dinner. I made some hot chocolate because its DAMN cold outside. Maybe that was it?

Nice warm bath. *check*

Watched American Idol. *check*

Try not to feel guilty for choosing TV over books tonight. It is the new AI season after all! *check*

Brushed teeth. *check*

Combed hair. *check*

Put water in humidifier. *check*

Fill one sippy cup and one big girl cup with "ice cold water" (their favorite). *check*

Tucked them into their beds with their favorite "pink soft blankets". *check*

Turned on lullabies. *check*

Ok, so why, a 1/2 hour later, were they still out of their beds, the little one on the floor crying and the older one in the playroom digging through the stuffed animals?

Try not to lose temper. *check*

Tuck them back into beds. Again pull pink soft blankets up over their shoulders. *check and check*

Breathe a sigh after 10 minutes when they're both finally asleep. Aren't they so sweet when they're asleep? Stare at them, hug them, kiss them and touch their baby soft faces while they're sleeping. *check....*

Finally get myself all tucked into the middle of my big, comfy, king size bed with pillows creating a cocoon around me. Yay. I love this time of night.

Drift off into a deep sleep and begin a sexy soldier dream.


Argh! Too tired to fight it, I allow older child to cuddle on one side of the bed. Drift off again.


Ugh, what?

"I can't breathe."

Get up, look at clock that is thankfully telling me its only 2:40 a.m. Cool, still enough time to sleep more.

Try to open the green crusted nostrils of my little one's nose so that she can suck her thumb and go back to sleep. Attempt to get comfortable on the last 6 inches of my big, comfy king size bed; my pillow cocoon now dominated by the legs and arms of my two children stretched out like stars in the heavens. Little one flops back and forth, still snorting in her doze. I can't do this.

At 4:00 a.m., still awake, I decide that I need help and take a Calms Forte. Feeling defeated, I take the leftover crumbs of my pillow cocoon and drag myself into their room. Curl up in little one's bed amongst Mickey Mouse and various other stuffed toys and babies.

Thank God for the pink soft blanket. Sleep takes over and I attempt to find my way back to my sexy soldier dream. Ah, I love this time of night.

This morning, not so much.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First Care Package well-received!

From my soldier:
I received two boxes from you late last night and am excited to see what's inside when I get a few minutes to myself in my quarters later. I could have opened them very late last night, but felt like savoring receipt of them a little longer before revealing their contents...... I wanted to be awake and able to completely absorb everything you sent when I did dig into them.
And that's before he even opened the boxes!! Man, if that doesn't speak volumes what a care package can do for a soldier, then I don't know what will.

I was also asked to post on another blog called Manslations, a hilarious blog written by a stand-up comedian giving advice to women about men. Someone had asked how to "keep it steamy" when your man is away on deployment. I commented about some of the things I do with my soldier including sexy sign offs in email and naughty photos. Hey, I gotta keep it fresh for the guy, right?

Here's to making the deployment into many months of foreplay (as I'd hoped.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King

I remember very vividly the first time I saw the full video of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. We had celebrated MLK day for years but, coming from a very prejudiced area of the U.S. and therefore, a very prejudiced family, we weren't raised to think of it as anything special to commemorate.

I always rebelled against the racial prejudices of my family. As a child, some of my best friends were black and I was never allowed to bring them over to play. I couldn't understand it but that's just the way it was.

I went to work with my parents on their bread routes and witnessed firsthand why my parents saw blacks so drastically different from us. My family had always delivered to grocery stores in the most depressed area of town, full of poverty and drugs. There were still restaurants we delivered to where the blacks had an entrance in the back and the whites came in the front door. This in the 1980's! As a pre-teen, I was approached with, heard and saw the most vulgar things. Still, they weren't like that at school. "They" were just like "us". I did not agree that race had anything to do with it and I couldn't comprehend how people could be stereotyped based simply on the color of their skin.

Fast forward to high school and I was finally able to watch this amazing man speak of things that I already believed in. And he said it in one of the most dangerous times for a black man to speak out. He lost his life for it! I was in tears and completely blown away!

So, this past Friday morning while dropping the girls at school, I asked my daughter's Kindergarten teacher if she was going to explain MLK day to the kids. She said they read a book about him and she explained to the children that Martin Luther King believed in everyone being treated fairly. I was baffled as to why she didn't go into more of his story. She enlightened me:

"These kids don't see color. Why should I point it out to them?"
Wow. Just... wow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fisher House

You may notice that I've added a Fisher House logo to my sidebar. Yes, yet another way to support our troops. But this one is even more special to me.

My best friend, the artist who missed out on my birthday party, (and yes, she has since made up for it) is involved in a very special way with the Fisher House project. Her mother is the interior designer of all of the Fisher Houses throughout the world and my friend does ALL of the art for the houses. Is that cool or what?

The Fisher Houses support our military by providing "a home away from home" for family members during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury of a soldier. Kind of like a Ronald McDonald house does for families of sick children.

I don't know why I didn't think about this before. When my soldier called yesterday and asked about my weekend plans, I told him that my friend and I were going out. It wasn't until he asked what she did for a living that I put it together. I mentioned the Fisher Houses and of course, he knew exactly what I was talking about. Duh!

Anyway, check it out by clicking on the logo. Great organization. Again, whether or not you support the war, support our troops! (I'm starting to sound like a commercial or something...)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home?

I realized as I was going to bed last night that it was 19 years ago yesterday, that I left my hometown in Louisiana to move to Texas. I had just turned 19 years of age 3 weeks prior to moving.

So does that mean that in 3 weeks Texas is officially my home?

Then I would have been here longer than I spent there, right?

The funniest part of this is when I'm driving back to or from Louisiana. I have a halfway point that I stop at for snacks, bathroom breaks or just to have a stretch. Every time I get back in the car, I have to think about which direction I'm heading, east or west. Since I was a little girl we've stopped here and east was always home. I still, after 19 years, have to consciously tell myself to head west to go home. Maybe I still think of Louisiana as home and always will. (and on that note, Happy Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!!)

Ahem! Sorry, I digress.

What does "home" mean anyway? Is it where we spent the formative years of our life? Where our family is? The only family I have back in Louisiana is my brother, my grandparents and my dad's wife. My mom, sister, kids, friends, ex, in laws, etc. are all here.

Where do you call home and why?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008 Calendar

I love calendars. Every year I go on a search to find that one calendar for my kitchen and my office. This year I also decided to hang one in my office at work. I found the most perfect calendar for the job. Its called American Soldier and the photos are by Rey Leal. Here is more information on the photographer:

Rey Leal was an award-winning photographer before entering the Marines and currently serves in Iraq. He has participated in some of the heaviest street fighting since Vietnam while documenting his life and those of his fellow comrades for the past two years.

With these striking photographs reminiscent of the work of Robert Capa, Rey Leal has gained the experience of a lifetime, documenting his life and those who serve with him.

This year, I am marking the dates off til my American Soldier comes home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Five X 5

Susan at One Woman Show tagged me for this meme. It has taken me a while to sit down and think it through. I'm glad I did. This helps me to put my focus back where it needs to be.

5 things I want my kids to know

1. Please know that even when I'm crazily yelling at you to hurry up or whatever the reason, I still love you very much and more than you could ever know. You'll know when you have kids of your own one day and find yourself yelling crazily at them.

2. Remember that you will have other people in your life that are crazily yelling at you but it has nothing to do with you. Usually people are yelling because they're angry. And they're angry because they're sad about something that has nothing to do with you at all.

3. I'm sorry that kids are so mean. Adults are too, we're just less obvious about it. Just remember that if it isn't true about you, you need not let it get to you. And by the way, none of it is true about you.

4. I know it seems like we're always rushing to the next thing and I'm sorry if I don't seem to pay attention to things that are important to you. One day, I know that I will miss these little girl years.

5. Thank you for teaching me the value of:
* the moment
* playfulness
* laughter
* a good, long hug
* forgiveness
* complete acceptance
* the beauty all around me
* the wisdom to look at everything with new eyes

5 things you want to tell your children when they are grown up

1. Always be grateful for where you are and what you have in your life. If you live life this way, you will always feel blessed with abundance!

2. Take time to listen to that still, small voice within you. You can call it God, Buddha, Holy Spirit, Higher Self, Intuition, Gut instinct. Whatever you call it, it will always guide you where you are supposed to be.

3. Never ever be afraid to be who you are. And no one knows who you are except YOU.

4. Remember that the only thing for certain in life is that things change. And that's ok. Never, ever regret something in your life that once made you smile.

5. Know that the only way to bring about a miracle is through acceptance.

5 things you want to tell your children before you die

1. Please be good to each other. Be there for each other. Love each other.

I have always loved without abandon and I have no regrets for it.

3. I could not have chosen two more powerful and loving souls to go through life with than my daughters.

4. I hope that you know that I have done my best to be a good mother to you. I am not perfect and I hope you see that I never tried to be.

5. Know that you are never alone. I will be the breeze in your hair, the light upon your face, the warmth of the sun, the blue of the sky, the depth of the ocean, the love in your heart. I will always be with you. And you will always be with me.

5 things you want your child to know before she dies

You have saved my life over and over again and I am endlessly grateful for it.

2. We will always be a part of each other; we were never separate and we never will be.

You are complete, perfect and whole, loved and lovely. You are spirit and you always were.

4. Your life has brought such joy and so many valuable lessons to my days. Thank you, eternally, for being my greatest teacher.

Even though I know all of this, in the depths of true knowledge, if you die before me, I will be at such a loss that I do not think I could bear it.

5 folks I’m tagging for this blog

(I'm still new to the blogosphere so I only have 3 people I'm tagging!)

1. Tisha at Thoughts by Tisha D

2.Dauna at Daily Dose of Dauna

3. A Soldier's Wife at Quiet Moments Busy Lives

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Day in the Life

Last night after dinner, I told my daughters to go run themselves a bath. I’ve only had them do this one other time and I was in the room with them.

So I hear the bath water running and I hear them playing.

The water’s still running.

My little one comes into the kitchen where I’m washing dishes and she’s naked. She’s running around the kitchen naked and saying “Booty booty booty!”

The water’s still running.

She stops and says “Mommy, I’m naked!”

“Yes baby. I can see that. Being naked is fun isn’t it?”

“It is fun Mommy. Let’s all take off our clothes and have a Naked Party!”

Are they totally my children or what?

Meanwhile, the water’s still running and the older daughter comes in naked too.

“Um, honey...why is the water still running?”

“I can’t figure out how to get the water to the other side of the bathtub. Its on one side but it won’t cover the other side of the bathtub.”

It took me a second before I realized…”Did you put the plug in the drain?”


Ha! I guess some things you just have to live to learn from, right?

The Mom Test

Someone sent me this in email and it made me smile:

I was out walking with my young daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

'Why?' my daughter asked.

'Because it's been on the ground, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty, and probably has germs,' I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, 'Momma, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.'

I was thinking quickly. 'All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mom Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mom.'

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.

'OH...I get it!' she beamed, 'So if you don't pass the test you have to be the dad.'

'Exactly'. I replied back with a big smile on my face.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pardon me for obsessing

I know, I know. I pride myself for trying to stay in the present moment. I do try not to dwell on the past or future.

But now, after rereading about my first date with my soldier, I just want to cry. I can't seem to focus on anything today.

I hate days like this when my heart knows better but my brain won't stop.

*From my heart*
At least you know that he's still alive and well. He's safe and thinking of you. His new work schedule is keeping him busy so his deployment seems to pass faster. That makes him happy! A happy soldier is good!

*From my brain*
Shut up and let me obsess here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I guess sometimes, you just KNOW

While browsing my email archives, I came across an old email that I'd sent to my soldier:

"I have to say, the Iraq announcement sent my mood down even more. I know, I’m sure you were worried enough about telling me. I can’t lie, I’m very sad and upset that you will be leaving so soon after reestablishing contact with me. However, I also try to do everything in my power to focus on the present moment and not dwell on the future – which we have no control over.

So, I am happy that we are getting to know one another again and that I can stay in touch and send love from the USA to my soldier overseas. But while you are here, let’s enjoy each other."
Sounds very sweet and supportive, right? What blew me away about it was that the email was sent only a week after reestablishing contact.... and we hadn't even gone out on our first date yet. I sent this to him without having seen him in over 17 years and we'd only spoken on the phone once.

Wow. Did I know that quickly that I would fall for him? Was I setting myself up or did fate play a hand in this? And did I really comprehend what I was getting myself into?

His reply to the above email:
"I enjoyed reading your email. It hits home so firmly that you are such a grown woman. I know things can lose the proper emphasis and tone via email, so let me assure you that I am being sincere and mean that in a positive way. Your maturity and wisdom come through when I speak to you as well as in your written words. It makes you even more attractive to me. Of course I realize we aren't high school kids anymore, but I just wanted to point out that your growth and development as a woman is apparent and wonderful."
Seriously, is it just me or how could a girl not fall for that?

Thursday night, my fortune cookie said: "Do not give up; the beginning is always the hardest."

Boy, that's an understatement.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

People... and their opinions

As I was getting a sandwich for lunch on Thursday, I heard someone calling my name. It was an acquaintance whom I've visited a few times for acupuncture treatments. The first time we met, I had asked her if she knew another friend of mine that lives in the area. It sounded as if they knew the same people, shopped at the same places, etc. The acupuncturist didn't know her however on my next visit, both ladies had met and spent an exhaustive amount of time discussing my relationship, past and present, with my spouse.

My friend had told the acupuncturist all about my marriage (I've known her since the first year of our marriage) and her utter dismay at hearing that we had separated. She asked the acupuncturist to plead with me not to get divorced. She told her all about what a wonderful man my husband is, how it would damage my children, how she was just sure we could work it out... We haven't spoken in years and she knows nothing of the details of why we separated. Why, oh why, do people like to get into my business?!

So, as I'm standing there in Subway, the acupuncturist, to whom I've talked to maybe 6 times, continues to tell me that I should forgive my husband's shortcomings.

"We all make mistakes. No one is perfect."

I guess she's making assumptions of why we aren't together.

"I've heard he is a wonderful man. Just be patient with him and see what happens. Don't shut him out. Always stay open to him."

On and on and on...

As I walked back to my office, I started laughing. Here's basically a stranger, telling me to wait for my husband to decide that he wants our marriage to work out - even though we've already been separated for nearly 2 years.

Meanwhile, anyone else I talk to, most friends included, can't understand how I could "waste a year" of my life waiting for someone who actually does want to be with me.

Does anyone even care what I want?

My husband is a wonderful man. I am very fortunate to have chosen him in my life. I also consider him a great friend and wonderful father. I have heard plenty of stories of what divorced dads do or don't do to realize that I am one of the lucky ones. However, I am way past waiting for him to decide that he wants to be with me again. We've gone through so much to get to this point that I can't imagine going back. I love him and I probably always will but from a different place than I was before. I can credit my soldier for helping me to get past a certain point where there was no looking back. But there's always someone out there who will say, "Well if you're such good friends, why not just work things out?" Some things are just more complicated than you could ever explain.

My mom and dad divorced when I was in my early 20's. They remained great friends up until my dad passed away last year. I guess I have a good role model when it comes to divorce. It didn't do too much damage to us.

I hope our separation and eventual divorce will have a lessor impact on our children due to our good relationship. Thus far, my children have adjusted remarkably well. Still, its not all tea and crumpets with the ex and me. We do still have our disagreements but at least we can talk about things and not take things as personally as we did before when we were together.

You know that saying, "Some people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime."?

I remember reassuring my husband as we were making this awful, gut-wrenching decision. We both always assumed we'd be together forever. You know, that naive fairy tale stuff? We lived it and believed it all the way up until the end. I had a realization that I shared with him during that time.

I told him that we would be together, even after our separation. But it would be because we are parents. We would always have holidays, weddings, births, etc. to share together so that "forever" idea wasn't so off the mark anyway.

It really didn't make the decision any easier. There is still a feeling of failure included with any divorce decision. However, I'm glad to know, everyone else's opinions aside, that it is still a relationship between him and me. We are the ones who dictate where it is and where it will go. And I am happy to share that kind of "forever" with him.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Snow in Baghdad!

From my soldier this morning:
"I've been in Iraq only a week on this tour and already have seen something that I've never seen here before. The rainy season appears to have kicked off this morning, but in a different way than last year. I got up this morning at about 7AM and began preparing to link-up with my counterparts. I exited my quarters in order to go to the building where we have sinks/mirrors for shaving and discovered snow falling. Big flakes were falling in combination with some rain. It was melting as soon as it hit the ground, but it was definitely snowing. Snow in Baghdad."
And this from MSNBC:
BAGHDAD - After weathering nearly five years of war, Baghdad residents thought they'd pretty much seen it all. But Friday morning, as muezzins were calling the faithful to prayer, the people here awoke to something certifiably new.

For the first time in memory, snow fell across Baghdad.

Although the white flakes quickly dissolved into gray puddles, they brought an emotion rarely expressed in this desert capital snarled by army checkpoints, divided by concrete walls and ravaged by sectarian killings — delight.

"For the first time in my life I saw a snow-rain like this falling in Baghdad," said Mohammed Abdul-Hussein, a 63-year-old retiree from the New Baghdad area.

"When I was young, I heard from my father that such rain had fallen in the early '40s on the outskirts of northern Baghdad," Abdul-Hussein said, referring to snow as a type of rain. "But snow falling in Baghdad in such a magnificent scene was beyond my imagination."

Morning temperatures uncharacteristically hovered around freezing, and the Baghdad airport was closed because of poor visibility. Snow is common in the mountainous Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, but residents of the capital and surrounding areas could remember just hail.

"I asked my mother, who is 80, whether she'd ever seen snow in Iraq before, and her answer was no," said Fawzi Karim, a 40-year-old father of five who runs a small restaurant in Hawr Rajab, a village six miles southeast of Baghdad.

Only in the movies?
"This is so unusual, and I don't know whether or not it's a lesson from God," Karim said.

Some said they'd seen snow only in movies.

Talib Haider, a 19-year-old college student, said "a friend of mine called me at 8 a.m. to wake me up and tell me that the sky is raining snow."

"I rushed quickly to the balcony to see a very beautiful scene," he said. "I tried to film it with my cell phone camera. This scene has really brought me joy. I called my other friends and the morning turned to be a very happy one in my life."

An Iraqi who works for The Associated Press said he woke his wife and children shortly after 7 a.m. to "have a look at this strange thing." He then called his brother and sister and found them awake, also watching the "cotton-like snow drops covering the trees."

For a couple of hours anyway, a city where mortar shells routinely zoom across to the Green Zone became united as one big White Zone. As of late afternoon, there were no reports of violence. The snow showed no favoritism as it fell faintly on neighborhoods Shiite and Sunni alike, and (with apologies to James Joyce) upon all the living and the dead.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not getting any?

Yeah, you know what I mean.

I work in a male dominated field so I'm familiar with the colloquialisms that they use. I don't mind all the talk - perhaps it comes with the mask I'm wearing? I am honestly one of those people who really doesn't get offended easily.

So, I had to laugh when one of the guys I work with remarked that I was smiling yesterday as compared to the day before. (It's also amazing what a sexy email from my soldier will do for my mood.) I didn't recall being in a bad mood the day before. He stated that I seemed "ornery".

"What was your problem?" he asked me. "Are you not getting any?"

Of course, they know the answer to that question. They all know about my soldier. And, as I've found, they all ask if I'm "seriously going to wait" on him. I get so sick of answering that question.

I saw a t-shirt I've thought about buying. There are several deployment related shirts on It says, "Sexually deprived for your freedom." Boy, do I feel that way...

Isn't it funny how not having sex can affect us so? I remember with my ex, we always irritated each other more when it had been a while since we "knocked boots". Then we'd finally admit that we needed to get busy and afterwards, we felt all glowy and in love.

Its such a human need, isn't it?

Now let's think about those soldiers for a moment. 15 month deployments and only 2 weeks off somewhere in there?

Whew! If I can see my soldier during his R&R... well, let's just say, there probably wouldn't be any blogging going on.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Secret Door

Recently someone pointed out to me that I have a melancholy temperament. I took offense to this since I had no idea what it meant. Here's a short definition:

Idealists want to search for Self, to become themselves, to have a goal, a purpose in life, to be self-actualized, to be and become real, to be what they are meant to be and to have an identity which is uniquely theirs, to become self-actualized into a perfect whole and to have an identity which is perfectly unique, to have meaning, to have their significance appreciated, or at the very least, recognized as existing, to have integrity, that is unity, with no facade, no mask, no pretense, no sham, no playing of roles, to be genuine, to communicate authentically, to be in harmony with the inner experiences of self, to avoid a life of bad faith, to live a life of significance, making a difference in the world, to experience life as a drama, to be sensitive to the subtle gestures and metaphoric behavior in relationships, to help others become kinder, warmer, and more loving human beings, to reform the world, to romanticize their experiences, their lives, and the experiences and lives of others.

Ok. I can agree with that. However as I looked at myself more and my interactions with people, I found that I would describe myself as more of a sanguine temperament:

Hedonists want to be free, not tied down, confined, or obligated, to do as they wish when they wish, to enjoy today, to be impulsive, to have a life of action which repudiates long term goals, objectives, or plans, to be active just to be active, to do what they feel the urge to do, to experience excitement, to be seen by others as being free to act, as free spirits, to be exciting, optimistic, cheerful, light-hearted, and full of fun.

This would not be a problem except that I've found this "sanguine mask" that I wear seems to hide the true me. I get tired when I wear it too much. Why do I do this?

I think that as a melancholy or idealist, I feel that not many people can handle the true intensity that is me. So, I put on this lighthearted mask to show people that I am fun and accepting and they need not worry about burdening me with their pains or troubles.

Except that I do feel burdened at times and I am not always lighthearted. Sometimes I'm downright intense, pensive and depressed.

I also think that the people that know me well, understand this and love me anyway. (whew!)

I'm glad that I noticed this about myself. Perhaps I can find a balance now that I'm aware of what I am doing.

Its almost like I found a shortcut through a secret door to move me further along my quest.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Positive thoughts during war?

For those of you who know me or have read my blog long enough, you know that I always try to take a painful situation and turn it into an opportunity to learn something. I guess I'm a "positive spinner". Lately, I've been wondering if this is even possible for a soldier at war.

I tend to get lost in the blogosphere reading the blogs of other soldiers at war or those who have already served and returned home. The Sandbox blog has been a wonderful resource for me. It features posts on the war from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. From there, you can venture off into their own blogs and they have links to other blogs and so on... It is almost like going out to look at something on YouTube. I always feel like I get ADHD when I'm there because 2 hours will pass and I begin to question "What was I doing?" - it totally sucks you in! I think I'm reading so much because (again) I enjoy learning new things. I also would like know what my soldier is going through to be prepared for his return and his possible state of mind.

After reading this post on a major who was killed a few days ago, I was both saddened and enlightened a bit more. It was helpful to read something from someone who seemingly thinks as I do and actually lived the war as well. It also gave me a bit of a scare because the job this major had is very similar to the mission of my soldier. (ugh!)

The Unlikely Soldier blog is helpful from the standpoint of the dire chaos of what these soldiers go through. Its almost like watching a war movie - his posts are so descriptive. There are plenty of angry posts but some also reflect a young guy trying to maintain some sort of innocence during this time in his life. He has a good heart. Just like, I believe, most of the soldiers do. Or else they wouldn't be doing it.

From his blog, I ventured onto GI Kate's blog. Kate is a female soldier who has already returned from a year at war. Of course, she is giving an entirely different perspective. One post in particular that drew me in was a post about love and war. I found it interesting that the only things a soldier seem to focus on during their deployment are sex and war. And both, hopefully, without emotion. Being a female, of course, she had a difficult time with the removing of emotions from sex but she knew of other female soldiers who attempted to live it, only to have it come back to haunt them upon their return.

I'm hoping to give my soldier something positive in his life while he's at war. Something fun and lighthearted. I realize that emotions have to be shut down and reading these blogs helps me to comprehend why. I've thought about trying to help him to see his situation differently or with some sort of positive spin but will that be helpful? He has to deal with it in his own way. And according to what I've read so far, war sounds like nothing more than doing time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Obsess much?

I have found and have been told that I tend to get obsessive. This is, yes, another dragon I have to slay. I'm not sure why I do this. Is it the Capricorn in me? Is it the need to figure things out?

I have mentioned before that I can't stand vanity license plates if they don't make any sense. I have been tempted to follow a car to its destination just to find out what it means. It simply drives me crazy when I don't fully comprehend something. I will go over the deep end researching and living whatever has hooked me until I'm sick of it. I love to learn new things. On the one hand, this could be a very good thing. Sometimes, not so much.

I bring this up because I spent Saturday with a friend of mine who's husband is also an Army guy. She has been one of the few friends who supports my need to talk about, worry about and yes, obsess about my soldier. I finally felt that yesterday, I may have worn out the welcome on her support.

She didn't say anything to me but I could tell that she was tired of hearing about him. I am very good at reading energy from other people. I remember riding in the car as a child and I could tell when something on the radio would upset my mother or father, be it a song, news, DJ blabber or what have you. I can usually tell when someone isn't feeling just right or when they're shutting down. I can't say it's anything special but just a sensitivity to it. This talent served me well when I was in sales. I knew right when we were overwhelming the customer and knew when to leave. My sales team built many great relationships that way.

So at the end of the evening with my friend, I was trying my best not to talk about my soldier. This is a difficult task when the topic of conversation is relationships! I found that I was trying to change the subject but it kept circling back around to relationships again.

I felt uncomfortable. I would like to continue to share my thoughts and feelings about him with my closest friends. I would also like to think that they enjoy hearing about him because it makes me happy. I think it goes back to my feeling that my friends think he's a figment of my imagination since they've never met him. I don't know. There's something there. Maybe they think that he won't survive or that our relationship won't survive. Maybe I'm reading something else into it. I'm not sure.

I don't want to obsess but don't we all tend to talk about our relationships in the beginning anyway? That's when we're learning about the other person and trying to figure out where the relationship is going, right? And is it a bad thing for me to want to share my giddiness when I get a frisky phone call from a soldier who cares for me all the way from the other side of the world? Do people get sick of hearing about it because they really don't care? Or are they worried that I'm holding on to something that may not turn into anything? It really boggles my mind. That's why I blog. I feel like this is my place to brag or worry or cry or OBSESS if I want to. And if you don't want to read about it, you can always go somewhere else, right?

Hmmm. Just wondering...perhaps obsessing?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bloom where you are planted

Daily Om
Now Is The Time

Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in North Dakota putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Illinois.

There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.

We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.

I love Daily Om! Its always just what I need to hear!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Care packages

My soldier finally has an address and is anxiously wanting care packages. I decided to hit the grocery store last night and buy stuff to mail.

I had no idea where to start.

Its funny because when he and I talked about it back in October, I had a list of ideas a mile long. He kept telling me to be patient because he wouldn't have an address until January. So, here it is and my mind is blank.

I started choosing some healthy snacks. He had commented that family members he didn't even know sent so many sweets last year when he was there. He said, "Of course I can't resist and I gained so much weight!" I promised him no chocolate chip cookies and no sweets, only healthy stuff.

I chose some of my favorite Odwalla bars (of which he took two of the last time he was here) and some fruit snacks. I also found some pistachios and Cajun trail mix.

Then I stood in the grocery store will these things in my hand and cried.

How could these things possibly help him? What difference does a bag of nuts make to a soldier who is facing life and death at every turn? My shoulders get tense just thinking about living like that every day for over a year! And how could life possibly ever be normal after that?

The check out girl inquired why I seemed so distant and upset. I told her that it was my first care package and I felt so helpless as to how to make things better for my soldier. She gave me some suggestions (very sweet) and then said, "I salute you."

Why salute me? I am certainly not the one putting my life in jeopardy. My life seems pretty light compared to his.

Hopefully a healthy snack will help him to remember that I want to nurture him. Maybe that thought will bring a temporary smile to his face and a little stirring of love in his locked-away heart...

Friday, January 4, 2008


My previous post reminded me of the post relating to my soldier’s detaching and I was remembering how I had felt as he began to pull away. I was so emotionally drained and confused. I had never gone through anything like that before. I am one of those people that completely shows all emotion and feeling; if its there, you know it! I couldn't understand how he could continue to feel so much, tell me how sad he would be without me, tell me how so many things reminded him of me, and still pull away from me.

I decided, back then, that there was no way I could possibly handle it. It was too much for me to bear with him still in the country. I couldn't even fathom how I could handle a 16 month deployment. So, I decided I would simply do as he expected - I would stop answering his phone calls and not speak to him again. It would be painful but then I could move on with my life and so could he.

The very next day, after making this decision, I was attending a workshop on pranayama (yogic breathing), meditation and Indian cooking. The workshop was also attended by 3 other ladies, 2 of which I knew. At the end of the 3 hour workshop, I happened to be seated by the one lady I didn't know as we enjoyed our Indian dinner. She and I hadn't spoken during the workshop but I enjoyed her energy during the class.

I don't even remember the topic of conversation but she began to speak about her son who was weeks away from deployment to Iraq. I choked on my dahl and asked more about her son. It sounded like it would not be his first deployment either and he would be deploying around the same time as my soldier. I could barely hold in the tears as I sobbed to this nearly complete stranger about my soldier, our love, his detaching, my confusion and my decision to stop speaking to him. I told her that I simply could not do it!

She looked me right in the face and said to me,
"Oh yes you can. You need to suck it up, find that strength that you know is inside you and BE THERE FOR HIM."
She went into many stories of soldiers and what they do to prepare emotionally for deployment. She is also a counselor who has counseled many returning soldiers and knows what they have been through. She told me stories of infidelity, post traumatic stress disorder and selfish young women who marry the soldier before they leave only to cheat on them and divorce them while they're gone. She reminded me that he was only going off of his past experience with girlfriends and deployment and he was scared.
"But you have to show him that he can depend on you. He needs something real to hold on to when he is going through things that you can't even imagine. You will help him have hope."
I cried all the way home. I knew what I had to do. Once he sensed that I was feeling stronger, he relaxed and we have grown closer as the result. And so now you know, "the rest of the story". (as Paul Harvey would say!)

I bring this up because A Course in Miracles says that every encounter is a "holy encounter". You never know why a person appears in your life but everyone is there for some reason. You are also appearing in their life for a reason as well.

Maybe I am in my soldier's life to give him hope. On some level, he provides that for me as well. I have felt things and grown to trust more than I thought I could ever again. I just wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting any of it. I only knew that I needed to feel those things again but I didn't know how.

It goes back to what I mentioned a few days ago about form and content. We're always looking for things to happen a certain way. "I will only be happy if this happens..." and if it doesn't happen, we decide that we aren't happy. Most of the time, even when it does happen, we're only happy for a short time before we want something else anyway! If we decide that we just want to be happy (as the content), it doesn't matter what the form is. You will then be open to many things that you will be happy about simply because you made the choice to begin with.

In this particular encounter, I was open because I simply didn't know what to do. I had asked for help and felt that shutting down was the answer. The form of the answer was pretty obvious but sometimes it isn't. Try to remember this as you go about your day. Send a smile into your day ahead of you. You never know when you'll see it again.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yet another dragon

My soldier remarked last week about my birthday party:
"Glad to hear you had a fun birthday party. It's nice that you can have everyone enjoy your birthday even though it's in the middle of the holiday season. It would be easy (and lame) for people to say "we're tired/busy/have relatives visiting and can't be part of your celebration." I'm glad that it's not that way for you. I suppose they all know that you have fun parties and they wouldn't want to miss one."
I'd like to think that people went out of their way to celebrate with me because they think I'm worth it and fun. But, as the ego loves to create drama, there was one person I expected to see who neglected to show. And didn't call.

It was my best friend of 17 years. She's notorious for "hermitizing" herself (a word I made up just for her). When we met, she had pretty much locked herself away in a dark apartment, mourning a man who loved her but couldn't devote himself to her. I showed up and, in her own words, brought some light back into her life. We met and moved in together really quickly.

I've noticed this about me. I can just tell when someone's a "lifer" - a person you will know for the rest of your life.
She's an artist and nearly 8 years older than me - both descriptions she uses as an excuse for her frequent flakiness. She's told me for years that I should change my birthday to the middle of June so that she will remember. Something tells me that she would forget anyway. She's normally the one to show up last at the party or gathering. There have been times that we've planned girls' nights with a few other of my girlfriends and she will show up, without calling, 2 hours late. She and her husband (another long time friend) both avoid driving to my house because "its too far" and yet amazingly, it seems like the same distance when I drive to their house.

I'm not using this venue to slam her or talk negative about her. This is the same friend who dropped everything and rushed to my side when my soldier began his detachment process. I was completely broken down and she stayed up with me all night helping me to understand that he was doing what he had to do. (see earlier post.) I am giving some history of our relationship to make a point about myself. (I'm getting there!)

I always forgive her. I never give her any grief about any of this. This is something that I've found that I do with people I love. I tend to hold inside when something hurts me because I don't want to make someone feel bad. I know in the hearts of these friends, and people in general, that there isn't a need for vengeance or the need to inflict pain on me. I get that and so I tell myself, "Well, they didn't mean to do it. Its your problem that you're hurt. Get over it and everything will be fine." And so, that's what I do. I do believe a lot of the pain we feel, we have inflicted upon ourselves by a skewed perception or the fact that we all take things personally.

I felt guilty and pathetic enough that I had to throw my own birthday celebration - but to have one of my oldest and best friends not show or even call to wish me a Happy Birthday, hurt my feelings terribly. (See? Even saying that is difficult for me. Why do I feel silly admitting to hurt feelings? Is this yet another dragon on my quest?)

We finally spoke yesterday and she started out the conversation saying that she knew I was mad at her but she just was too tired and didn't feel like going to a party. She then went into some other conversation about something great that was happening in her life, yada, yada, yada. I could've easily let it slip and I almost did. I realize that she didn't want me to be upset with her. Then I realized that the entire reason I had a party was because she didn't like the original idea I had for celebrating my birthday - a small gathering of my closest girlfriends for a sensual dance workshop. She had flat out told me that she wouldn't attend a dance workshop because she's too embarrassed to dance. So, I had a party so that she would feel more comfortable.

I finally let it go. I told her the above reason that I was upset. I told her that yes, there were other friends there but I thought I could depend on her to be there as someone who mattered above and beyond some other friends. I told her that I had my children stay because she said she was bringing her children. I was upset that she didn't even call to wish me a Happy Birthday but I stopped short of telling her that another close friend called from Chicago (Thanks Dawn!), I had emails from friends all over the world and that my soldier even called from Kuwait to wish me a Happy Birthday! I was crying on the phone and I couldn't believe it.

She was crying too. She said she never knew or expected that I would feel this way about it. She admitted to her selfishness and said she wanted to make it up to me. She apologized for being such a horrible person and was glad that I felt strong enough to tell her my true feelings. She knows I would normally keep it inside. I told her that I didn't feel she was a horrible person but that her action simply hurt my feelings. She understood and said she was going to work on her selfishness and try harder as my friend.

It was very strange to admit to these feelings and I felt terrible for making her feel bad. Yet, this is something I felt I had to do. Perhaps this is something I need to do more often. I need to remember who I am and, not necessarily take things personally and lash out at people, but have the wherewithal to speak up if something does rub me the wrong way. If only just to find out the reasoning behind it.

One of the things I love about my soldier is that when I would get upset, instead of taking it personally (like my ex), he would sit at my side and ask me to explain my perception so that he could understand it better. How refreshing! I hope I can learn this lesson and move on to the next dragon...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Inspiration for 2008

On living:

"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy."

"Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.
What you see reflects your thinking. And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see."
-A Course in Miracles

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
-Joseph Campbell

"All the Buddhas of all the ages have been telling you a very simple fact: Be -- don't try to become. Within these two words, be and becoming, your whole life is contained. Being is enlightenment, becoming is ignorance."

On loving:

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
-Rumi and A Course in Miracles

"You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you, and so you seek without for what you cannot find within."
-A Course in Miracles

"Millions of people are suffering: they want to be loved but they don't know how to love. And love cannot exist as a monologue; it is a dialogue, a very harmonious dialogue."

"We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present."
-Marianne Williamson

On learning:

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?"

"Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity to heal."
-A Course in Miracles

"It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure."
-Joseph Campbell

"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain."
-Joseph Campbell