Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 2011

What I love… My Friends

This is a shout out to my amazing friends in my life. Since moving to Portland, I struggled with building friendships, or so I thought I had. What I realized was that I had many friends, both back home, here, and even in Seattle. What I didn’t realize is that I was the one out of touch with them. I had been neglecting these amazing friendships, for what reason? Well, I couldn’t even think of a good reason. I know at the time, I had a million and one excuses why not to call or why not to go spend time with someone, but that’s what they were, just excuses.

Over the last two months, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be present in a friendship. It not only involves sharing myself (this is something that I don’t do very well), but listening and even asking the hard questions that I wouldn’t ask before, because I was afraid I might bring up issues that nobody wanted to talk about,  but I’d rather be the one that shows I care than be the one that’s aloof. Because I do care! Come to find out, I care a lot! I promise to be more present and make more of an effort, where in the past I didn’t.

I want to say thank you to all of you amazing friends, who have shared both my laughter and my tears, my joys and my fears.  Thank you for giving me your amazing advice and inspiration. Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences with me. Thank you for listening and letting me have a voice. It’s been a great journey and I’m looking forward to all our plans in the next few weeks. I’m a stronger, better person for having you in my life. Love you all immensely.

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May 29, 2011

What I love… Skeleton keys

When I was eight or nine years old, I came across a skeleton key at my grandparents house. I immediately fell in love with it. It was a foreign object to me from a time long ago that I had no comprehension of. It’s mystery of what it went to and where it came from had me consumed for days, years. My imagination lead me to a box full of treasures – necklaces, rings, letters from a lover lost at war or long forgotten, or even old black and white pictures of lost family who were awaiting a happy reunion that may or may never  have happened – I hoped it did though. After move after move, I lost that key somewhere along the way. I still wish I had it, maybe it will randomly turn up in a box somewhere, when I least expect it. I know it probably disappeared in the abyss of my nomadic childhood and adulthood.

Today, I happened across an antique jewelry store while walking on NW 23rd in Portland, Gilt. As I walked in, I remembered I had been there before a couple years ago when I first moved to Portland. The antique jewelry, while well out of my personal price range, drew me in as a window shopper. There it was, the first object I saw, a necklace with a skeleton key hanging from it. I immediately knew that I was going to buy it. It was simple and yet alluring and brought back many nostalgic memories from my childhood. I still roamed the store to see if there was anything else that might catch my eye. A couple was eying the antique wedding rings for their pending nuptials, a mother was buying her daughter a gorgeous circa 1940 ring, a few other people roamed the store as I did. Out of all the jewelry there I could have fallen in love with, I still returned and bought that necklace. It was probably one of the most inexpensive items in that entire store, but it’s the one item I really wanted. When the saleswoman asked me if I needed a box, I stated ever so proudly, “No, thank you, I’m going to wear it”. Even before she had finished charging my card, I already had it around my neck. My new favorite piece of jewelry, my little indulgence. Even now I’m determined to try and figure out what it went to, although the writing might be worn off, some of it is still legible and it will be an adventure, who knows where it might lead to.

Even now, I’m already onto my next project, which involves collecting various skeleton keys. If anyone knows of a great place to find them in various sizes and shapes, let me know.

May 27, 2011

What I love…. Horseshoes

I envisioned my first blog for this topic of 365 days of what I love to be AMAZING, but a Thursday at the end of May is a random day to start on. It was a typical workday where nothing spectacular happened, besides it raining all day, there being brief moments of torrential downpour and me not wanting to go to last Thursday on Alberta St. because it was rainy and somewhat miserable outside. I was hoping to pick up a piece of artwork that I loved, but that will have to wait for another day… There are many topics that I want to write on and I stewed a little bit this evening on which one to pick, but I think I finally found it.

Lately, I have been obsessed with horseshoes. I love them. They are not incredibly beautiful, they are usually rusted and worn, and they used to be on a horses foot and who knows where that foot has been or what it stepped in. I don’t want to think about that last part. It’s what they symbolize that I love. Luck.

I think luck can make or breaks a person, but I also believe that if you think you’re lucky then you are and if you don’t think you’re lucky then you aren’t. It’s like parking magic, if you want that perfect spot you have to think you have parking magic. When you believe it then you open yourself to finding it and you will see opportunities that might otherwise be missed. If you don’t think you have parking magic then you can never quite seem to find that spot, because you closed yourself to that option. There have been many times where I drove past the perfect spot, only to look back and realize I missed it.

I have heard that if the horseshoe is facing up, it catches all the luck and if it’s facing down, the luck will fall out. Although, I have also been told it doesn’t matter. Lately, I have felt incredibly lucky with everyone in my life who has been there for me and who has shared their lives with me. I know I don’t need a horseshoe to be lucky, I already am lucky, but a little extra help couldn’t hurt.

Searching for the perfect shaped horse shoe to paint, decorate and hang above my door for good luck, has proven itself difficult. I realize that maybe I don’t need a perfect horseshoe, because nothing is perfect. I just need to pick one and make it mine.

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May 26, 2011

365 Days of What I Love

My life motto is live, love, and laugh, but I realized recently that maybe I’m not sure about what I love or why I love it. Being the youngest of 5 children, where the first 4 where very strong willed, I tended to go along with the flow and I ended up liking and doing everything that my older siblings liked or did, without really thinking about it. Yes, I took German in Junior High and High School because most of my older siblings did, but I really wanted to take Spanish.  I studied business because that created more job opportunities when I really loved writing and psychology. I was trying to fit in, in my family. I find it funny to think about, because I know they love me for whoever I am and whatever I love. Although, I cannot discount some of what they have shown me. Thanks to them I love 80s movies and music, a passion that I will not forget; writing, a passion and outlet for almost everything; and I somehow ended up with an affinity for Guns ‘N Roses and Aerosmith at a very young age, although that affinity has faded.

Still sometimes I wonder how much of what I like/love isn’t because someone else in my life likes it. I think my habit of going along with the flow  is one that stuck with me, for better or worse. In an effort to not be a follower but an active player in my life, I am going to take 365 days to explore and figure out what I love, juxtaposed to my ABC’s of Life reflections. This seems like a daunting task now that I have written it out, but something tells me it will be amazing. My only disclaimer is that I know there will be days that I have to skip for life, laughter, and love, so I will let some posts span across a few days if I need to.

As today is almost over, I will start tomorrow.

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May 22, 2011

Be Kind

Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. Sometimes, we are are own worst enemies. The little voice in our head can say the cruelest things about ourselves. But why do we listen to that little voice in our head? It’s not always speaking the truth. My favorite part is when I argue with that voice when it says something negative about what I did or didn’t do. Instead of being kind to myself over a mistake, that little voice beats me up and I have to stop myself from believing it when it says “You’re a failure,” or “That was stupid”, or “You shouldn’t have done that” or “Why did you say that”. I have to stop myself when I start and say “No ego, I am enough, so cut the verbal abuse”. These doubts and criticisms are just thoughts and yet we can give them so much power and believe them to be truth, when in reality they’re not. We can change those thoughts and by using positive affirmations that are kind and don’t tear us down.

The past couple of months have been hard for me to be kind to myself, especially after a recent breakup. Thoughts of what happened and how we got to that point kept turning over and over again in my head, blame was being placed, not on him or by him, but on myself from myself. A common thought that came to mind was that I was a failure. Coming from a place of strength, I know I’m not and I had many great lessons that I needed to learn, so how could that be failing if I learned that much? It’s not. But every now and then that little voice pops into my head trying to tear me down. People fall in and out of love and it doesn’t have to do with right or wrong, bad or good, it just is what it is and it’s not failure and to judge myself over something I can’t control is not fair. Yet I find myself beating myself up often over many things in my life that I have no control over. But by becoming aware of it, I am kinder to myself and think in more positive terms when my doubts come along.

I had an amazing meditation the night before the breakup. I was completely lost about what to do and had been lost for quite some time. I didn’t know how to fix anything.  I couldn’t fix it though, it was broken in a way that I didn’t have the knowledge to fix. At the time, I felt completely unloved by myself,  and that voice in my head would not stop with the doubts and insecurities, which I’m certain didn’t help my situation. The key to happiness is loving oneself unconditionally. Well no wonder I was so miserable, I was not showing myself the kindness of unconditional love; I was not being compassionate to myself. After realizing this, I knew I needed to find that love deep within myself to prepare for what was to come, what I knew needed to come. As I meditated I asked for guidance on love and I asked for love. Over and over I repeated a simple mantra, “Love”. As the world faded and my mind silenced, I felt my body relax and could only hear the soft repetition of “love”. After some time had passed, I heard the words, “You are loved. You are loved.”  Actually hearing and believing those words made me cry tears of joy. Being kind to oneself is loving oneself. Know that we are each amazing perfect and whole, something my loving mother and aunt always say to me when they know I’m in doubt.

Once we have the loving kindness toward ourselves, it’s easy to love and be kind to those around you. I’m much more pleasant and much more compassionate to even those I meet on the street. A common word for me would already be “sweetheart”, but sometimes I’m not that sweet and may pass judgment too quickly. I’ve been focusing on loving kindness to those in my life that I know and those that I may have never met.

Part of being kind is also the ability to be compassionate towards others which I find rewarding and liberating. By putting myself in others’ shoes and trying to see the world through their eyes, I have been less judgmental. Everything is about perspective and we all have a different story to tell and a different past that brought us to this very moment. That is what makes each and everyone of us unique and beautiful. I realize it is important to release my expectations and let go of judgment because those expectations and judgments are really what leads me to my frustrations, mis-communications and emotional pain. The great part about this is realizing that other peoples’ actions and thoughts have absolutely nothing to do with me, but rather with what is going on with their lives and I have no control over other peoples’ actions, only my own. That is relieving. I feel blessed to share other peoples’ experiences with them, but in order to do that sincerely, I try to see it through their eyes. This makes it a lot easier to be compassionate when someone does something that I don’t necessarily agree with.

One last thought I want to share is that I have learned a sincere smile can go a long way. I’ve been trying to smile more often even to complete strangers or when someone enters the room. It is a welcoming, nice act and immediately makes someone feel comfortable. I have also found that it makes me feel more comfortable. I really like the new, more loving me, but as all growth is spiral and not linear, I know this is an area that I have much to learn about and am looking forward to doing just that.