What Do You See When You Look In The “Mirror” ?

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First, a note on inspiration: So often, I find that when I try really hard to think of topics to write about, I end up with nothing. I’ve learned that by paying attention to the people around me and the conversations and topics that keep coming up again and again organically, I’m left with more inspiration than I know what to do with. So, I’ve been making it a point to take notice of what’s repeatedly coming up and what the Universe is trying to tell me. Inspiration, it turns out, isn’t something you find – it’s something you open yourself up to.
That being said, this entire week, I kept finding myself in conversations about LOVE. It wasn’t like I was bringing it up – people were bringing it up to me. I knew there must be a “take-away” from all of these conversations, because it was way too strange to be a coincidence, but I wasn’t sure what / where the point of connection was. I knew eventually all of the dots would connect into a bigger message, and as I sat drinking my coffee this morning, BOOM, it slid into place (like that one Tetris block you’ve patiently waited for because it causes the whole wall you’ve built to disappear and add to your score…I know you know what I’m talking about).
The majority of the conversations about love I’ve had this week wound up being centered around the people we choose to be with, and how they’re a direct link / connection to how we feel about ourselves at any given time. I would venture to say that if you want to learn more about yourself, the best way to do that is to look at the people you choose to be with (your “type”) because they mirror back to us where we are on our path of evolution. Trust me…I have this down to a science.

Let me (attempt to) explain…..

Take, for example, the man who consistently chooses to be with attractive younger women. Sure, at first glance, it appears he’s just in it for looks – after all, what’s cooler than being 50 and dating a 25 year old (take it easy, sarcasm here, but no judgement). However, I do not believe for one moment this is simply a physical attraction. It speaks to me about how the man feels about himself; how he has a tendency to need to be a “Daddy” to women. He likes to know he’s in control and loves being needed and depended upon. It’s less about the taking care of someone and more about the superiority and power it gives him. If a woman isn’t below him in age (and usually career, income, education, etc) he isn’t quite sure what to make of her and he isn’t getting the validation he needs mirrored back to him. He wants a “little girl,” not an equal partner. This is how he feels emotionally satisfied. What is this saying about how he truly feels about himself? * I want to add that I don’t believe this dynamic is “right” or “wrong.” It’s simply where he is on his path of evolution. * He may become aware of these patterns and through a little self-exploration, unlock why he craves this dynamic, and then begin to seek out a different kind of woman because he’s dealt with his own empty space and is ready emotionally to deal with a different level of intimacy.

On the same note, what about the girl who consistently chooses the older man – or the bad boy, or men who are emotionally unavailable?

But if these dynamics aren’t particularly “wrong,” why change? Why grow, you ask?

Because it feels good. And because most of us want a true and lasting love. And LOVE feels GOOD when it’s right.

After having this conversation with a certain gentleman this week (he usually chooses submissive and quiet women and was visibly moved into self-reflection when we discussed), I dared him to consider why he chooses the women he does. I dared him to ask himself why dating a woman with a bit of a stronger personality is hard for him. “What is it saying about YOU? What are these women you choose mirroring back to you” I asked. Last night, he decided to go on a date with a woman who is outside of his usual “type,” and after speaking to him this morning, he sounds more alive and excited about someone than I’ve, quite possibly, ever heard him! Let me restate: I have never heard him this “alive” over a female. And, as he said this morning, “it’s not just the girl, it’s what she represents.”

Ding, ding, ding!!!

I am, by NO means, the final word on all of this. I simply observe the dynamic I see between people and have come to believe firmly that a true partnership is built upon two people who are at the same point of evolution coming together into an equal and healthy bond; meeting someone at the same level, if you will.

The people we choose to be with speak volumes about where we are on our own path of growth. This is why it’s unhealthy and even dangerous to “hold onto” certain people in our lives. Some people aren’t meant to stay. They’re meant to mirror back to us where we need to grow and evolve and then be set free. I encourage you to look at the person you’re with at this moment. What can you learn about yourself from them? What are they mirroring back to you?
What are your thoughts on this? Please feel free to disagree….

– A

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Love, Loss, Liberation

 

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What if we could never lose the people we fall in love with?

What if we could keep them forever?

Wouldn’t that be magnificent?

To get to just know they’ll always be ours?

How much heartache have we all felt over the course of a lifetime in letting go of and “losing” someone we love so much?

What if there was a special potion that would make it so that you never feel that loss? A potion in a beautiful little vial you could buy at a candle lit shop at the base of a snow covered mountain, concocted in limited amounts by a beautiful old woman with magical looking eyes?

Would you take the journey to buy it to ensure you’d never feel that loss again?

I’ve reached a point of understanding that has really allowed me to come into a new sense of what love is about and I want to share it with you, because it’s liberating.

To convey what I’m wanting to say about love, I need to rely on some words, first, by my favorite author, Paulo Coelho.  Read these once.  Read them twice.  Read them as many times as you need to until you realize the full magnitude of them.

“People give flowers as a present because flowers contain the true meaning of love. Anyone who tries to posses a flower will have to watch its beauty fading. But if you simply look at a flower in the field, you’ll keep it forever, because the flower is part of the evening, and the sunset and the smell of damp earth and the clouds on the horizon.

That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you. You were my hope during my days of loneliness, my anxiety during moments of doubt, my certainty during moments of faith.”  – from the novel Brida

I feel like, throughout my life, I’ve always sought to posses people if I love them.  We all do. I think it’s a really “human” thing to do. We put labels on our relationship that denote different levels of possession. Whether it’s friendship love (best friend), or romantic love (husband, girlfriend, wife), we are always seeking to make the person belong to us in some way, which is inarguably, very romantic.

They are “ours” and we are “theirs.”

We go through life, acutely aware that someday we may lose this loved one.

And, let’s face it, we always do.

Sometimes it’s mother nature that takes them away from us, and sometimes it’s something more complicated like conflict of beliefs or infidelity or mismatched signs of the zodiac. Or the fact that they like raisins in their oatmeal cookies and you don’t.

While this idea of love equating possession is romantic, I really like the idea that love isn’t about possession at all.  If we realize that we can’t possess people, it means that we can never really lose them.  And that is quite freeing, because I know whenever I “lose” someone special in my life, I’ve felt like I had to mourn the loss of them.

I’ve been seeking to look at life through new eyes in the past few months, and I think this is one really important aspect of that.  I want to look at people I love as though they are flowers.  I want to admire their beauty, and gaze at them, and know they’re part of what’s going on around me.  I want to leave them planted, right where they are, for if I pick them and try to keep them, they’ll fade away.  But, as Coelho says, “…if you simply look at a flower in the field, you’ll keep it forever…you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you.”

There is no magic potion, simply shifts in your way of thinking.  If you’re going through a break-up, and you’re feeling a loss of someone important and you’re hurting…remind yourself:  We cannot possess people, and because of this, you haven’t lost this person at all, and you never will.  They’ll always be yours.

I’ll leave you with another quote about the same subject from another one of my most beloved authors that echoes the same sentiment…in possibly even more beautiful language, if that’s possible:

“You see love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says “I love you.”  I love you if you’re in China, I love you if you’re across town, I love you if you’re in Harlem, I love you. I would like to be near you, I would like to have your arms around me, I would like to have your voice in my ear but thats not possible now. I love you, so go. Love liberates, it doesn’t hold. Thats ego. Love liberates.” – Maya Angelou

Love liberates.

If you’re hurting, if you’re going through it, as they say, I hope this helps to change your way of thinking and ease pain you feel, even if it’s just a little.  I know it has certainly helped me and changed the way I think.

Now, let’s collect all of the candy hearts and cards saying “Be Mine” that get handed out at Valentine’s Day and replace them with “Be Free.”

Love,

A

If People Had Warning Labels

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I’ve often thought life would be a lot easier if people came with warning labels. It would save us the trouble of discovering things we should have known from the beginning; things we all hold back for fear that we may not be lovable if we showed who we really are. The bad and the good. How many times in life have you taken someone to be the person they presented themself as, only to discover down the road, they’re not the person you thought they were. Why not just show who we are from the beginning? What are we all so afraid of?
Now that I’m truly entering a new decade of age this month (30 was last year, but THIRTY-ONE?! I’m really “in it” now), I feel less inclined to hide parts of myself. I’ve grown to accept the things about myself that make me imperfect, and I’d really like to think that anyone I invite into my life from this point forward will know the real me. I’d like to think that by putting my own warning label out there, maybe others will do the same. To save anyone trouble in the future, here’s what mine would say:

WARNING:
Known to bust balls (I’m from Massachusetts. Get a backbone or get away).
Quotes movies incessantly. Incessantly.
Tends to isolate and retreat inward when faced with difficult situations.
Nostalgia has been known to incapacitate and depress for periods of time.
Doesn’t know how to ask for help.
Laughs too loud.
Never listens to voicemails.
Doesn’t work well when combined with individuals with subversive or passive aggressive tendencies.
Has frequent urges to spend long periods of time alone.
Wakes with the sun.
Has an aversion to talking on the phone.
Disorganized.
Cannot make the simplest of decisions.
Intolerant of judgmental people.
Has smelly feet.
Falls asleep at 9 p.m.
Likes to be in control.
Has a habit of starting projects and not finishing them.
Sees the good in everyone.
Won’t play “the game.”
Doesn’t back down.
Holds those around to high standards.

This is me.

And I’m quite sure I’m leaving something out, even. I’m not saying all of this to indulge in narcissism, but in the hopes of making others less afraid of showing who they really are. I want people around me to know who I am from the get-go, so I know they have me in their life for the right reasons. Because for all of the things that may be bad, there is more good. I know this.

If getting older means becoming increasingly unapologetic about who I am…bring it on.

What would your warning label say?

-A

My Love is Entirely Conditional

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Lately I’ve been doing some thinking about love.

More specifically, unconditional love.

I used to think that in order to really love someone fully, at the highest level, my love had to be unconditional. I’m not completely sure why I thought this way, but I suppose in my head, I knew that every time someone lashes out or becomes disrespectful, it comes from a place of fear; fear of abandonment, fear of losing, fear of the unknown, etc. I derived that to soothe these fears, it was best to let my partner know that there was nothing he could ever say or do to make me stop loving him. By letting him know this, he’d be calmed and reassured that I’d never leave him. This was not a one time occurence. I’ve done it in several relationships.

Because, let’s face it: unconditional love feels really good. I don’t care who you are, we all become difficult to love at times, and it feels good to know that no matter how thorny or prickly or mean we can be, the one we love will never stop loving us.

But….. Continue reading