Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Best Birthday Gift . . . EVER!

Yesterday, I received a birthday card from my Mother. Now, this isn’t really unusual, because my Mother ALWAYS sends me a card, but this time, it is really special.

Ten years ago, after a nasty break-up with a man with whom I’d had a 3 year relationship and who I really thought I would marry, I changed my name. I decided that I wanted to be called by my initials, rather than my name. Shortly thereafter, I changed companies, as well, so just kind of “started over” with a clean sweep, new name, new me!

My family did NOT agree to calling me by my new name. At first, I thought it was because I hadn’t asked. So, I asked. Then, I decided it was because I didn’t explain. So I explained. Over the next 10 years, only one of them acquiesced and that was my Dad.

Most recently, I made ANOTHER plea, this time to EVERYONE and in WRITING. One sister wrote back and flatly refused. She said she wasn’t going to call me something that only one Uncle and my Ex-husband had called me. A brother-in-law (not her husband) wrote and said that “we don’t know who PJ is” and insinuated that “they” wouldn’t be calling me PJ anytime soon.

I talked to my husband about it: Isn’t this ridiculous? The only thing I have ever asked of my family and they won’t agree!

(I’d like to point out that my daughters jumped on board with this Day 1 and one of them routinely calls me PJ instead of Mom! Steve met me as PJ, so he never had a chance to call me anything else!)

And, then I got my birthday card from my mother! Inside was the most beautiful butterfly card, in shades of blue and purple with metallic, sparkling accents. Along with the traditional check for both birthday and Christmas (my birthday is only 4 weeks from Christmas) was a typed sheet of paper with a list of 11 names of various family members. Each one had changed his or her name, one doing so at age 50 and legally changing it in front of a judge.

Now I knew about each of these stories, but I had never thought to use this information as substantiation for my own request. At the bottom of the sheet, she said simply, “So, if you want PJ for a name, then go for it. I may not always remember, but I will try.”

I was jazzed, surprised and elated! WOW! She finally heard me! (You have NO idea how BIG this is for my Mom.)

And then, on the way in this morning, I had this thought: something in me has shifted and changed to allow this great gift.

If our outside world reflects what is on the inside, then I have really shifted something. So, what’s next?

Gratitude doesn't even begin to describe what I am feeling!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diana, Princess of Wales - Her Ring Takes on a New Life

Well, with all of the talk around Prince William and Kate, I am reminded of my facination with her ring. In 1981, I was coming to the end of a really bad marriage. We really lived totally separate lives and I was very unhappy. We tried counseling. I tried talking. I tried being flexible. I even tried comprising . . . a lot! In the end, he wouldn't change and I had to move on. In Jan 1982, I asked for a divorce and in February, I fell in love with Husband #2 on a trip to Mardi Gras. (Doesn't that only happen in the movies?)

So, for those friends and family members who propigated the story that I had an affair with someone from work and then divorced my husband, here's a message for you: Not True!

Anywho, we met, fell in love, decided to buy a condo together and then he proposed in the summer of 1982. He gave me a beautiful, small ring, a kind of "promise" ring, he said, although he knew we were a little old for that tradition! (Both of us were 27 at the time)

We then went to jewelry stores and looked for the perfect ring! I was especially excited because I got to pick it out myself. In my prior engagement, I had been given a family diamond (it was beautiful, truly) but I was taken to one of those discount, catalog stores and shown a few mountings and allowed to select one. I never truly felt it was "my" ring.

So, this time, it was going to be mine. Initially, I dreamed of a sapphire and diamond ring, just like Princess Di. Now, I knew that I would never HAVE a ring like hers, since Charles paid $65,000 for her ring at the time. (It would be worth about $150,000 today!) However, I
was excited about the idea of something similar.

That is, until I saw one on the finger of a woman I worked with. Somehow, when I saw the ring on another woman's finger, I realized that I really didn't want that ring at all. It was only then that I was able to go and select a ring that was truly mine. What a blessing that I was able to see the ring and all it represented to me in that way.

So, thank you, Lady Di, for providing contrast for me, back when I didn't even know what contrast was.

And congratulations to William and Kate!

Becoming Me, With My Shadow and All of My Imperfections

‎"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." -Anna Quindlen

This quote speaks to me on a level that is so true, so wonderful and so liberating! When I saw it this morning, I just knew I had to blog about it!

I used to love that Hershey’s Kiss commercial where the little boy gets a Kiss in his lunch and says, “When my Mom says ‘nobody’s perfect,’ she could be talking about my brother!”

Nobody IS perfect, but that doesn’t stop parents, teachers and church folks from pretending that it’s possible and then holding all of us (except themselves) to this standard.

So, today, I’m going to give myself permission to BE myself. I’m working a lot these days with my Shadow self. It started a few years ago when someone mentioned Jung and his concept of Archetypes. I read the books by Caroline Myss and bought her Archetype cards.

Then, in February of this year, I heard a woman speak about “the Shadow” and how relationships bring out our shadows. I invited her to hold a workshop on Astrology and The Shadow Dance in June. Then, in September, I invited my friend Dr. Margaret Clench to teach a 6 week workshop on Archetypes.

Recently, I was cleaning out my guest room and found a bunch of old files, including some sheets from Byron Katie on “The Work.” She invites us to look at our conflicts and use a journal sheet to record each conflict, a little about the person with whom you are in conflict, what you would like instead, etc. Then, she has this amazing technique that she calls “The Turnaround.” You take the very thing that you are accusing the other person of doing and invites you to look at how the person might do the opposite and how you might be doing that very thing to the other person! And, if that isn’t enough, she asks you to reflect on how you might be doing this same thing to YOURSELF!

Well, it is just incredible! I had been introduced to Byron Katie quite a few years ago and even downloaded the free worksheets from her site. However, “when the student is ready . . .” I guess this week, IAM READY.

I did the process on a conflict with one of my brothers-in-law and my little sister. WOW! It is so liberating!

This morning, I was running out the door and went back to say something to Steve. He said, “Baby, I’m trying to get ready here and you keep interrupting me!” Well, I fumed to the car and thought to myself, “He doesn’t have time for me!” Then, as soon as it came in, I thought of “The Work” and did my turnaround:

Steve doesn’t have time for me.
Steve DOES have time for me.
I don’t have time for Steve.
I don’t have time for myself.

WOW! What an insight! I’ll be working on this for the rest of today!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Au Revoir to Suzy, Not Goodbye

I just got word that my friend Suzy Moore crossed over this morning. She was such a sweet person, with kindness and caring such a part of her nature. She was always smiling and radiating love, wherever she went.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw her at an event and we hugged and talked as if only a day had passed since the last time we spoke. She always asked about me, my work, my husband, and family. And, she really wanted to know. Suzy REALLY was interested in whatever interested you and it showed in her compassion, her attentive listening and that smile! Her smile could light up a room!

About a year ago, I invited Suzy to be a part of a group I was creating to produce retreats for women who are just coming on to their spiritual paths. She politely declined, saying that she didn't think she fit in. I begged her to reconsider, but she continued to decline and wished me the best with our project. I thought many times about how I handled the invitation. Was I too brusque? Should I have given her a chance to help us create the group, rather than attempt to add her later to the faculty?

I thought of my questions this morning when I learned of her passing. I immediately went outside and talked with her.

Suzy, I want to apologize for the idiot way I invited you to be a part of our group. I know I screwed it up. And, I also know you know me. You REALLY know me now! And you know that I was inviting you from a "heart" place. That I really wanted you to participate in whatever way was authentic for you. Thank you for touching my life, Suzy. I love you and I am blessed to know you and I can't wait to see what we will create in the next life! Cheers, my friend! I'll bet you are dancing and kicking up your heels as you transition. And so I say to you, "au revoir," as the French say, which means "until seeing you again."

As I walked back into my building, it began to rain. I thought about other friends & family with whom I might have misunderstandings. Well, the one with Suzy is settled now. However, I don't have to wait for someone to pass to work things out, do I?

I've got some phone calls to make . . .