“Let’s leave this year behind”

You try to check everything off your to do list.  You make resolutions you fear you will not keep.  You attempt to make amends with people from your past.  It blows up in your face.  Some people never change.  And they will hold that heavy hate in their chests for the rest of their lives.  But not you… you feel free on this cusp.  One less chip on my shoulder…

You meet a new friend who you connect with on an intimate level.  Seems like a crazy crazy dream and something stirs in your soul.  Sparks fly.  Creativity flows.  You emerge on play after a very long pause.  You touch me like no one else can do.

I am raw and a bit numb.  Maybe it’s winter or a cold.  There’s so much to do yet.  Ready or not, time bends.  And quit trying to figure me out because I still can’t.

 

Let’s leave this year behind – Melissa Ferrick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP2us_UfsQk

 

 

A rainbow sorbet end of the day

I often wonder about life. I ruminate about it and all the paths I’ve taken up to this day. And I try not to let that rumination ruin the present moment. I’ve had one of those days where reflection and enjoying the moment coincide peacefully.

After driving home after a breath-taking Jersey sunset, I took some time to reorganize my music collection to include some new additions as well as import some of my well worn cd collection catching dust on the shelf. It was a musical journey as I played familiar tunes of my past paths. This process was complimented by completely new songs and feelings. Lovely. It’s definitely something I will enjoy doing again and good thing I still have a lot more oldies but goodies CDs to import into iTunes.

Love is like invisible algae

Several days ago, I realized that I have never written a love poem before, not a pure one that is.  I’ve been writing poems since I was twelve years old so that’s almost twenty years of poetry and not one love poem.  Well, I take out my pen and pour myself over the task, known here on this blog as “Winning”.  Then, I look at my phone this morning and I’ve been broken up with over a text message!

I will not get into petty details but it has come to my undivided attention that I do not understand love one bit.  Oh, I used to think I knew everything there was to know.  Oh, I used to think I was an expert, the crème de la crème of the love, how I would bask in it, how I would commit to it, how I would go to the end of the earth for it.

But listen to me now.  Love is like invisible algae.  Sometimes you can grasp it, taste its salt, but other times it slips right out of your fingers and you wonder if it was ever there in the first place.

Well I know this.  I may have been through the ups and downs of romances.  I may have had numerous failed relationships.  I have never been married.  Maybe I will never be a lifer, a no-matter-what committer, a wife.  But I have loved.  I have loved hard.  I am loving.  I love love even though it kills me sometimes.  But I don’t understand it.  Are marriage and life long commitment the ultimate expression of love?  If so, I can’t speak to it.

And I’m a thirty-year-old woman now.  I am no kid.  What is it, if not love, that I have been doing?  What are these sacrifices?  These time commitments?  What is the sweetness?  The kindness?  The passion?  The caresses?  The tenderness?

I love even though I’ve let go.  And guess what?  I think that’s love too.  I love even though it may not be the right choice for me.  I’ve loved more than one person in my life, and to some people, for a woman, that makes me a whore.  Well, I know that they know even less about love than I do.  I know that when and if I say “I do” it’s going to be because I mean it.  I know that I don’t need a ring to love.  I know that some people who do that do not know love at all.  I know that the people that marry for love I admire greatly.

But I will end this musing on love reiterating that I do not understand love one bit.  I do not know why love would lead you down the wrong road time and again.  I do not grasp why love would leave you completely and utterly alone.  I do not know why it is here for moments, for days, for years, and then disappears.  I do not know why it reappears in a different form.

And you know, maybe I have written love poems.  Maybe I have written lots of them.  Maybe it’s just too painful to look back on all of them, knowing that in real life it didn’t work out.  Maybe I have only yet to write a poem about marriage because the right person has not come into my life.

But now I’m convinced that this love stuff is really invisible algae.  It may be lovely, soft and graceful, a joy to be covered with, but it has slipped from my fingers yet again.  And this time, I don’t know that I want it back.  Here’s hoping I don’t slip into love amnesia again.

Feeling the guilt

I’m on a romantic getaway in Atlantic City with my boyfriend.  We’re enjoying the casinos, our gorgeous room with the view of the city and the ocean, slot machines, mojitos, Cabernet, Caribbean Breeze, delicious feasts, Qua Spa at Cesar’s, the pool and hot tub at the Borgata.  I should be relaxing.  I should be having the time of my life.  I should be in the moment.  I shouldn’t be shoulding myself.

But instead, I am obsessing about my body.  What the hell?  There are mirrors everywhere here.  I am ruminating over every physical flaw, over every bite of food, over every choice of food, wishing I hadn’t brought short summer dresses to wear on this trip because I am not comfortable showing my legs.   I cringe with guilt over the drinks.   And, maybe it’s because I’ve been so vigilant with my diet and exercise for almost four months now.  I’ve managed to take off thirty pounds.  It took constant monitoring of food portions.  It took working my tail off in the gym, sweat-drenching work.

So why can’t I take it easy on myself?  I guess I feel like I’ve lost a bit of control and I am disappointed in myself.  I have found a new resolve to exercise more, get more active, 2-3 times a week in the gym plus dog walking may just not cut it.  I am thinking dog walking plus gym 4-5 times a week.  If I can transform into a mini athlete, then perhaps the obsession with food will lessen.  As soon as I typed the words, I already knew that the obsession is not going to get any better.  Can you tell I love the show, The Biggest Loser?

I’m not going to bore you with the details of my weight gain and loss journeys.  But I will say that the struggle began with puberty.  I flirted with eating disorder in high school.  I’ve blown up like a balloon the last ten years of my life and I’ve been on the yo-yo dieting rollercoaster ever since… protein shakes, Atkins, Weight Watchers, gym memberships, personal training.  Hello treadmill, hello elliptical.  Hello free weights, hello zumba.  Maybe that was too much detail.

My doctor said that I need to focus on real permanent choices for my diet.  He says that I should not lose more than 1 pound a week.  He says I should drink skim milk with every meal and have fruits and vegetables with every meal.  He says that activity is more important for me than any diet and the more physically active I am the better.

Well, these changes are not going to happen overnight and definitely not tonight.  As I head to the slot machines, I have resolved to call it a night on the alcohol.  My alarm is set first thing in the morning so that I can go do laps again in the pool before we leave.  And mentally maybe I wasn’t ready for this mini vacation.  But I’m not going to let it stop me from having fun.

In love of mothers

It’s a beautiful day in New Jersey.  It will be seventy degrees and full of sunshine.  In a few hours, I will be going over to my grandmother’s house for a mother’s day lunch with my mother and grandmother and rest of the family.  We will be partaking in a small feast complete with heavenly cupcakes for dessert.  But the greatest part of the day will be getting to party with my two favorite women.

These two women love me a lot.  I cannot begin to describe how much they’ve done for me and how great a debt I owe them for making me who I am.  They are the shoulders I cry on, the women I turn to with anything.  They’ve been there for me when no one else was there, through thick and thin, storm and high water.  My mother has toiled in the trenches to provide support and my grandmother has been a constant caregiver.  I don’t know what I’d do without them.  Between the two of them, I have the double-whammy of female role-models so I know the multifaceted nature of being a strong woman.  My mother goes out into the exterior world.  She is a superstar of song, hard work, and living your dreams.  My grandmother is the master of the interior world and making a home and caring for your family.

I hope to one day be the best of both their worlds.  I eagerly look forward to the day I will have my own family for which to care and support.  I also want to be an example for my own children in living my dreams.  I think I am that woman.  And it is thanks to my mother and grandmother.

In love of mothers everywhere, happy mother’s day!

Breadth v. Depth AND Judgment

We all look to “experts” for advice.  It’s with good reason.  We are looking to people with depth and their skills and “know-power” on various topics in order to make informed decisions.  I bought a marketing book simply because it is printed by Harvard Business School.  That name has the prestige of serious knowledge.  It outweighed more of the gimmicky books I could have purchased.

As a person who has an intellectual focus on “breadth not depth,” I often look for specialized information from experts.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  It makes good sense.  I was a liberal arts major.  We, as a group, are specialists in well-roundedness.  So as a well-rounded person, I do my homework, gather information, and synthesize that information using my best judgment.

What’s this about judgment?  It’s a constantly evolving but critical component of our individuality.  As I’ve matured, I’ve seen just how critical exercising good judgment is in all facets of life.  Good judgment is something that takes many experiences and lessons to develop.  And, you can lose it on a bad decision instantly.

From experience, I am slow and cautious in judging human beings.  This reserved approach works well sometimes.  In other words, people have a chance with me.  I don’t immediately rule people out based on their walk of life, personality, profession, accomplishments, so on and so forth.  I generally consider people my friends until they give me a reason to consider otherwise.  A lot of people don’t operate like this.  I am fully aware of it.  It’s an area where I perceive myself going against the grain.  It’s an indicator of a strongly felt value.  It is the belief in the inherent goodness and worth of human beings.  When you dismiss a person on a quick judgment call, you are dismissing the value of that person.

With my moderate approach to judgment, I am aware that exercising judgment often requires snap decisions.  You have to go with your gut.  It is zen-like in this state.  You have to be able to instantly pull from your reservoir of lessons.  And that is where synthesis comes into play.  As a well-rounded, evolving human being, you need to be able to gather expertise but make decisions based on your own unique judgment.  It’s a delicate balance.  We inevitably make bad choices.  But ultimately, if you are paying attention to the balance, you are going to consistently make more good choices.

I will spend my dollars on a book from Harvard Business School.  I will look to a seasoned scholar with a PHD in psychology for insights.  I will listen to Zig Ziglar for motivation and sales tips.  I understand how the economy of knowledge works.  But I understand this because of my well-roundedness.  No one else on this planet has my same exact perspective.

Seth Godin pointed out today that there are 80 million blogs on the Internet right now.  Regardless of whether or not anyone should stumble across this one, I can confidently assert that this blog will always be a little different.  I will also boldly assert that an individual prone to instant judgment may quickly dismiss the content found herein this blog.  There is a very clear picture in my head of the individual I am describing.

If you concentrate on one path and dig consistently, you are going to get depth.  That’s how it works.  You get to be an expert on that one path.  I respect this.  But I think sometimes people who focus on depth, get a serious case of tunnel-vision and do not always respect the unique perspective and judgment that can be honed from people who focus on breadth.  Maybe “breadth” people like myself spread themselves too thin at times.  But don’t forget that there is an actual spread that is a force to be reckoned with and not underestimated.

Am I making a case in favor of “breadth”?  Not at all.  It’s all yin and yang.  We are all interdependent.  The breadth people depend on the depth people.  I am just daring to point out that it also works in reverse.

Integrity in the workplace and beyond

I have been working for fourteen years now.  ‘What’s that?’  You say.  ‘You’re not even thirty yet?’  It is true though.  I have worked consistently since I was sixteen years old when I was able to apply for my working permit.  Yes, I am counting the waitress and cashier jobs at the pizzeria and the bagel shop – all work counts as experience.  These jobs were my core foundation in customer service and the very principles I still hold onto today.  Simple tried and true principles like courtesy and respect… From day one, you are honing skills if you are paying attention and applying them.

Thirteen of these years have been spent in offices.  And, fortunately, I have had the opportunity to start my career with extraordinarily good people and upright companies.  These leaders of the profit and non-profit worlds have demonstrated the meaning of integrity in the everyday.  Sure there are always moments of frustration, mistakes abound, people have power trips… but what was ingrained in me was a deep sense of right and wrong in the workplace.

I can’t pinpoint the very moment when I started to realize that my work experiences were something of an exception to the rule.  It’s probably been in the last few years though.  My more recent perception has been that there is a real absence of integrity “out there” so much so that it hardens you up a bit.  You have to toughen up and look at others through different lenses.  I am still a proponent of reserving judgments at least until you’ve gathered a good deal of information and experience with another human being.  On the other hand, in often quick and dirty business exchanges, you have to set your lenses to ones of caution.

We are conditioned not to trust.  We are expecting insincerity and deceit.  And in that regard, we wield our own virtual spears of insincerity and lack of integrity.  But, the eternal optimist that I am, I still believe in the inherent goodness of others.

Lately, I have been listening to my audio book of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (for more on Stephen Covey – go here.)  There is a reason why Stephen Covey has something of a cult following.  It’s because his advice resonates with what we all know to be true.  Call me new-agey if you’d like.  But I believe we are on the cusp of a societal shift.  I would like to see it shift to one where principles like integrity are seen as the norm and not the exception.  I would like to see it shift so that people treat each other with more heart and less caution and disdain.  I’d like to see us dream big.

That’s my two cents on integrity.  Please pray for Haiti and donate as generously as you can.  God bless.

-S

An introduction to personal synthesis

This is my first entry in this blog but I am not new to the blogging world or web 2.0.  I’ve spent the past decade immersed in this world – the entirety of my twenties.  I will be thirty this year.  An official adult.  With youth behind me, I like to think I have some lessons and wisdom to share if you care to stick around.  You and I and our parents and grandparents are now doing this blogging thing.  And, we’re all linked-in.  We all tweet and facebook now. (While spell-check doesn’t recognize it yet, facebook is now being used as a verb.)  Privacy is dead.  We are all expected to update our “status” around the clock.  We follow each other and accept friend requests left and right. Transparency is the new “thing”.

Do you really care that tonight I went on a mission with my boyfriend to Metuchen to find a 2004 vintage of Red Diamond for $9.99 because I’m on what I refer to as my recession budget?  (See my twitter page if you do.)

I think my first blogging experience began with a diaryland page that I kept for about two years and posted to religiously.  I was twenty years old.  I bared my soul before it was really popular to do so.  I impulsively locked that page and never returned, moving on to the new horizons of Myspace and Facebook.

My first and foremost passion is poetry.  I have a box full of notebooks and diaries that date back to adolescent pining and angst that took place for years and years.  There are numerous unpublished chapbooks and several manuscripts of poetry.  I also dabble in painting, photography, and fiction.  I have active remnants of those endeavors as well.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the field of marketing with my new job.  And what a wonderful fit it is as it merges both my innate creativity and my developed skill set.  It is my personal synthesis.  I have had the ah-ha!  The light bulb has gone off and it has clicked that this is exactly what I was meant to be doing.  I start my mba with a concentration in marketing in a few months actually.  Can’t wait.

What you can expect from me?  Honesty.  I am this transparent in real life too.  That you can rely on.  I try my best. I’m not always perfect.  But I am a person of strong character, doing my best to do the right thing even if it seems that I am often going against the grain in this regard.  I believe that there is great strength in being yourself.  You can also expect a lot of heart.

And that’s an introduction to personal synthesis.