When I’m Driving In a Beautiful Place and See Someone Doing “The Ugly Face”

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Yesterday morning, as I drove along the winding Pacific Coast Highway singing my lungs out and smiling like a fool on my way to spend a relaxing solo day / night in Malibu, I pulled up next to a brand new silver Mercedes SUV at a stop light.

“Beautiful car,” I thought, as I shook my shoulders and wagged my head back and forth, dancing in my seat.

I inched forward to see if maybe it was anyone I’d recognize ( * True story: On this very same section of road, I once glanced to my left at the same stop light, and there in the SUV next to me was Julia Roberts. Seriously. Now you understand why I was behaving slightly creepy. * )

So, I glanced at the driver. She was a beautiful lady, I’d say in her mid-30’s, with brown shoulder-length hair styled to perfection. Beautiful earrings sparkled in her ears. Diamonds crusted her delicate wrist. But, something didn’t fit.

This beautiful woman…

she was sobbing.

And I don’t mean crying daintily and dabbing at her doe eyes with a tissue – I mean she was what I call “ugly face crying.” Face contorted, jaw quivering, mouth turned down at the sides, hand to her lips; her chest rising up and down quickly with her uneven breathing. The kind of crying you do when you’ve reached an emotional point of “I can’t contain what I’m feeling anymore,” and unleash because your heart aches too much to hold it in. The kind of crying where your soul is screaming louder than your voice. The kind of crying we usually only feel like we can do when we’re alone.

Only, she wasn’t alone. I could see her.

I quickly turned my radio down, the loud and happy noise now seeming cruel – and looked at her again. “Gosh,” I thought to myself, “this poor lady! What could possibly be making her so sad?!” I mean, maybe it was because I wasn’t in a sad place, but this woman – her sadness was profoundly affecting me! I mean, I REALLY felt for her. I could feel her desperation. I suddenly had the urge to smile at her, to offer her any kind of comfort I could. I wanted to reach out to her in case no one else did. When people cry alone in cars, it’s usually because they have to be brave and keep it together for the rest of their world. It’s a lonely cry.

The light turned green. I sped off, and she turned onto another road – only I couldn’t leave her behind.

Seeing the woman in such dire pain really got me thinking.

I’ve done the same thing many times: Cried and sobbed my eyes out in the safety and isolation of my car. (What is it about cars? Have you done this, too?) I’ve wiped my eyes, controlled my breathing, gotten myself together again, and continued on with my day – no one the wiser to my emotional breakdown. I’ve put on my braveface and made the world think I was fine. But, God, what I wouldn’t have given for someone to reach out. For someone, in my moment of complete isolation, to offer a kind word. A smile. To see that, despite how I held it together in public, I wasn’t okay. To acknowledge the suffering I was feeling. To be kind.

I wondered where this woman was going, did she have someone to talk to, why was she crying? I wondered how she’d behave when she reached her destination. Would she feign happiness and try to convince herself that she wasn’t just “ugly-face crying?” I wondered what her life looks like.

Though I’ll never get a chance to offer this woman comfort, I wanted to tell you about her. This woman was a great reminder. She reminded me that, even if people seem okay, we are ALL fighting battles that the rest of the world may know nothing about. So many of us put on a brave front, when inside, we’re crumbling. This is why it is SO important to BE NICE to each other. There have been days when I’ve been so broken and sad and lonely that the simple kindness of the cashier at the grocery store has brought me to tears.

Just because someone isn’t calling for attention and telling the world they’re sad, does not mean they aren’t suffering.

So today, I just want to extend this to you:

Sometimes we all get a little caught up in our own weird little worlds, but take notice and be gentle and be kind with the people around you, because we are all in the midst of fighting battles invisible to those around us.

– A

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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

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

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.

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What I Know For Sure (Things I Won’t Apologize For)

Wherever you go, there you are.

Wherever you go, there you are.


Be it the fact that I’m now 30, the fearlessness I’ve adapted after dealing with huge losses, or simply being more confident and secure with myself, I have developed an expanding list of things that I refuse to be apologetic about. I’d more often consider it a blessing than a curse, because time and time again, I find this list saves me from dealing with situations and people that may prove to be less than healthy for me. At some point in my life, they were all things I used to cover up to make it easier for other people to like me. Now, not so much. Some of them are deep, and some are pretty silly and superficial, but they’re all me.

Here are a few:
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