Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I know. I hate it when it happens to me too! And I find it's hard to keep the faith and have a positive attitude when you are in the midst of another hard time.
A friend sent a link to an article that talked about our relationship with God. And this quote is so true to how I think sometimes:
"Too often we create and want a god who demands nothing of us, protects us against all disappointment, tramples the agency of others so we may never be hurt by them, arranges life so that we must never stretch beyond where we are, instead of worshiping the loving, powerful God who sees all and promises that all things in their time will work together for our good if we just hold on with faith and trust in Him."
Maurine Proctor, "Pouting Before the Lord"
This quote describes how I have felt in the past - OK, maybe even yesterday! Why can't I just trust God??? I mean, out of all the people I know, shouldn't HE be the one true person that knows what's best for me?? Yet still I doubt him whenever it gets tough or when things don't go my way! And I have even gotten mad at him for letting these problems happen to me.
The eternal perspective is so hard to keep concerning life here on earth. Everything around us is temporary and the world's philosophy is all about "what I want RIGHT NOW." So it makes sense that it would sneak into our daily lives and make us confused and forget the real reasons we are on earth - 1) to get a physical body and 2) to be tested with different life situations to see what we will do and what we will get out of those experiences. That's the core of it. But we are also to be happy along the way...("...men are that they might have joy" 2 Nephi 2:25)
So how do we go through what is expected to be some "hard times" and be happy with it? Well, I'm not sure I know exactly how to do that. I know the Sunday School answers are all about service and being grateful for what you have. And I believe that they do help in getting outside of yourself and seeing the forest from the trees.
But I also believe stopping and looking around you - right in the middle of your problem - and trying to see the bigger picture. If I can keep my perspective, things seem less tragic and disappointing. But it's hard. VERY hard. When I can do it though, it helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel faster, because I'm actually looking up - instead of down, crying in self-pity.
Lately, my goal has been to be an "adult." The kind of adult that we all thought we would grow up to be and that we thought all grownups were. The kind of adult where you think through things FIRST before you say or do anything. The kind of adult where you try to think rational thoughts instead of letting emotions take you to some new level of absurdity. (Can you tell I can be a drama queen at times???) The kind of adult that you wish the TV character would be when someone is possessed and starts saying really crazy hurtful things to those they love. (You know, like on Charmed, when one of the sisters goes crazy and says she hates the other two and points out all of their failings and problems. And you think, "DUH! It's so obvious!! She's possessed by a troll!! It's not really her!"). I can't tell you how cool that would be! Not being possessed by the troll - but being the adult...a real, live, mature adult.
I guess it's about maturity. And in relationships, sometimes I come off so short in my reactions to what life throws me. And really, the situation needs some maturity to deal with it properly and to keep things in perspective.
I'm kind of rambling, but that's what has been on my mind lately. So my new goal? Start actually believing that God does know what's best for me and being mature enough to deal with what happens like a real adult.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Hi, I am Lorelai guest blogger. Here is my story: I was cruising along thinking I had found my prince and then slam things changed and I found myself bouncing in a lifeboat through an ocean of uncertainty. Where had the fancy cruise with endless buffets of yummy food gone?
As I was out there alone in the darkness of anger and hurt I felt like I wanted a big pity party in my honor. I had done all the right things and look where it landed me. But clinging to bitterness and defeat is just not in my nature. I did not date at all for about a year and then hesitantly tried to get back in the game.
I have dated one good man and one not so good and gone on several one-time dates but realized recently that I am sitting at home with the lights turned off. You know when Halloween night you run out of candy and instead of making a late night run to the store you just turn off the porch light. The thing is that I have been willing in theory but not in practice. So what does it take to brave the dating game? To be vulnerable AND to trust that it will be different this time? For everyone the answer must be different but for me it was my son.
I was getting pretty content living alone, doing things my way. It was easy; hard in many aspects but easy on the heart. Having a loving five year old tell you that you are beautiful does wonders for the soul. But one day he told me he wanted to buy a brother because in Primary they talked about families and he wants a brother so bad he is willing to buy one because mommy you know families are forever. We talked about how buying brother was not going to happen. But it got me thinking. I had been complacent and perhaps I will not marry again but I wasn't even trying – at all. So with renewed hope, faith and a not so gentle shove from friends I am back in the game. So good luck to me and good luck to you.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
What I want to blog about is the trip I just went on to New York with my two brothers and one of my sisters. I had a great time, but with all of the hustle and bustle and the many, many people hustling and bustling around..i was very happy to get back to the west coast. The strong desire to get back home told me that i am in the right place for me geographically. The question I then have found myself asking is, Am I in the right place emotionally? Spiritually?
I answer this with an unequivical YES.
I read through a Depak Chopra book while in New York..he proposed that basically if we're in a situation, there is a reason and instead of wishing we were in a different place, to accept that what we are feeling, experiencing in our life at this very moment is the way that its supposed to be. A lot of anxiety in life, he noted, is the fight against the feelings that we're having, and would be diminished if we can just again, accept.
In the current theme of blogs, imaginining and seeing ourselves in the situations we would like to be in is so helpful. Saying that, there's a reason we are going through the experiences we're having...there's valuable lessons involved. The ability to accept is important to master...and to just be in the moment, because according to many wise teachers, the moment and being in it is a very important tool for joy.
Many times in the past for me , a trip to New York would be spent thinking and obsessing about the moment that I would be back at work and the moments in which I am seeing the sunset on the top of the Empire State Building, or eating the amazing chocolate cake at the delightful eatery Serendipity , or singing along to Elton John songs played by the piano man at Brandys Piano Bar would be past and lost. Never to be found again. Its in the moments girls, I feel it in my soul.
Thank you for sharing your feelings about Marnie’s posting about Visualizing Marriage. I can feel your pain in your words and I’m so sorry you feel the way you do. I think we’ve all been discouraged at different points in our lives – I know I’ve been there more times than I care to remember.
What I love about this blog is that it forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I also love how the other writers remain hopeful and optimistic about reaching the end goal – even when the process is sometimes painful. I think everyone who is single and who wants to get married has been discouraged many times. What I’ve learned is that there really is no one right way to date or get married. What works for one person may not work for another. The point of this blog was to force us out of our comfort zone, to try things differently, to just make us accountable for getting out there and doing something…anything.
I give total credit to this blog for getting me married after 42 years. My relationship with Clue was on a path headed towards failure. We weren’t communicating, we weren’t connecting and we definitely weren’t progressing. For me, this blog helped me open up and communicate my feelings with Clue. That was all the opening we needed. In hindsight it seems so simple, but at the time it seemed so difficult and hopeless.
So my challenge for you, Anonymous, is if visualizing marriage hasn’t worked for you, try something new. Maybe you could start with Marnie’s “security guard stare” experiment. I’ve been trying that lately and it’s not always easy, but it’s something!
Hang in there Anonymous…we’re rooting for you and we’re here for you if you need a cheerleader!
Friday, October 17, 2008
I have had some conversations with some friends who are younger than I am who are where I once was about 7-8 years ago. Kris's last entry brought this back to mind. At this point, they're not dating and they've never been kissed. These are beautiful women in thier 30s. How do I put this . . . within the context of my perception of what a "good mormon girl" is—they are all much closer to that than I am now and will probably get to heaven quicker than I will. Having said that, I'm so glad I'm not where they are anymore! I'm so grateful to have had some experiences with men! Some good—some bad, but not all bad and in-valuable because they didn't end in marriage. Speaking to those friends I remember how confused and closed and bad I felt about myself for things that DIDN'T MATTER! I let issues that I had about my body and beauty and whether I thought God even liked me so overtake my thoughts. I'm grateful for the changes I made (including some counseling) that put me in a different place and let men into my life.
Now I'm just working on finding THE one. I haven't been very open to men in the ward in a little while. Feel like I'm maybe starting to round the bend on being too old for them or something. Online I'm having a hard time getting to the meeting in person part. Maybe I'm coming off as arrogant or something. I don't know. Seems like that has dried up a bit. Maybe some new photos. (I so hate taking those) Maybe I'll switch services for a while.
Anyway, thanks for all your latest posts ladies! Very inspiring. And congrats Marcia and Kris!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The next question was what to do about it. I felt I needed to change to have a more forgiving heart and be able to let go of everything in my past, big or small, and be open to love. I did a number of things. I fasted every Sunday to have a forgiving heart and for the ability to open my heart to others. I worked on changing my self talk about myself and men. I made an effort to have gratitude for the men who were in my life, even if they weren't asking me out, or even be grateful for the men who asked me out that I didn't find particularly desirable. I focused on changing my energy and keeping my desire in the front of my mind, for instance, I wore a necklace that had a chinese character for love on it.
It took a few months, but it worked. I've dated more since then than I have my whole life (which isn't saying a lot since I've never been a huge dater). That was six or seven years ago. I admit I went into it thinking it would bring "Mr. Right" into my life immediately, which it didn't. But I've always tried to be grateful for whatever relationship- one date, a casual boyfriend, a serious boyfriend, or even a pretty rotten boyfriend- that came my way. That seemed to help keep my heart open through it all.
I realize some of what I did will seem silly, and I'm not saying my specific experience is what anyone else should do. However, I do think the idea of honest self reflection together with prayer and a willingness to change will lead us in whatever direction that will bring us the most happiness.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The conversation then turned to me and my wedding plans. This is a friend I’ve known since I was about 7 years old. She knows me well and as I started rattling off wedding plans she stopped me and said, “Yes, but how are YOU, are you getting cold feet?” Ah, she knows me well. In fact, I have been scared spitless about getting married. Apparently when you’re almost 40 and still single there are possibly some phobias around commitment. Ü I proceeded to tell her how much I’ve enjoyed being single all these years. I have figured out how to be happy and on my own. Now I’m faced with heading into something I know very little about and I’m scared. Can I really be as happy or happier? And if I’m not…. then what? I’m stuck.
My friend laughed and said she is seeing a mirror of this situation and her trip to Cambodia. She called and was worried about doing something unknown and I laughed because I knew it would be OK because I’ve been there. Now I’m stressing about my unknowns and she can laugh because she’s on the other side knowing that all the bad “what if’s” are just in my head. It’s the same kind of thing- as long as I’m not going to do anything really stupid, it will all be fine. Just like her trip.
Funny- reading my post from a few weeks ago, it's pretty much the same issue. The funny part is that it felt like a revelation to me last night figuring out what has been bothering me, however, looks like it's the same issues coming up in different ways. Recognizing where it is coming from helps a lot. I'd just like to know how to get rid of it altogether. Any ideas?
As for the vision I had when I was 14 - the one that had me in a white dress and all - well I never really lost it. I never turned my back on it. But truth be told, the older I get, the harder it is for me to really fathom the idea that it will happen. When I start dating a guy it's natural for me to start seeing and making accommodations for the inevitable break up. It's what I'm good at. I still see the white dress, but the vision I really need to work on now is the relationship getting past the slower harder awkward parts without giving up or self destructing. And for the record, I still have a hard time being able to say that I can get a guy to want to even go out with me. They ask every now and then - but really - not very often. I don't know why New Phil asked when he did (well I might - I blogged about it early on this blog), but I don't know why he keeps asking me out. It's not surprising when he doesn't call. Hurtful a bit, but it's very natural for me to go this route. I wish I could see past it. I'm working on that.
So whatever step in the vision is hard for you... figure out a way to see beyond. Look through the bedrock mountain and press forward. I've found that just my talk - the kind in my head and the kind out loud - can make a huge difference. Even when it's hard to believe I make myself say things like, "I'm in a meaningful productive relationship. Men ask me out. They enjoy my company and we have deep connections." Stuff like that. Okay, I think that's my two cents for the night.
About five years ago, a super-chic, super-cool woman a couple years older than me moved into my Midwestern ward. She was so glamorous, introduced me to Sephora and In Style Magazine, and convinced me that every year, we needed to attend at least one Single Adult activity. I had no problem going with her, because she made everything an adventure. Even when the activities featured dozens of women and 3 men. Then she moved. But I continued her challenge, considering it to be an offering on the altar of "please-don't-let-me-die-alone."
Well, these Single Adult activities usually leave me frustrated, sometimes in tears, and it gets more difficult to gird up my loins to attend them solo. There's one coming up next weekend, and I'm still on the fence about making an appearance. I can't make it to the keynote (Julie Beck!) because we are rehearsing for the Primary program, and I am the pianist. But I could make it for the workshops and—gulp—the dance.
I've been feeling like I need to make my yearly offering (it is October, after all), but I'm not sure I have the emotional strength for a conference. So when a friend asked if I'd be interested in "just emailing" someone she knew, I said sure...and let his email address sit in my inbox for a couple of days. He had my email too, and why should I be the one to write first? Wasn't that a little desperate? But then I weighed my options: attend the conference, or send an email. I sent an email.
I don't know if it will go anywhere—long distance, email-ish things have not been kind to me—but it is this year's offering. I am willing to do something, to not just wait for Heavenly Father to FedEx a decent guy to my doorstep. I took action. Again. The next step is taking more than one action a year. Hard to do in the Midwest, but is it any harder than parting the Red Sea or sending seagulls to eat up crickets? Probably not.
Monday, October 13, 2008
If you’ll recall, when we were first dating, I didn’t feel a connection. Clue also “accused” me of being emotionally unavailable. Gradually things started to change. I was starting to really fall for him but he wasn’t the type I thought I’d end up with. I was both resisting and falling in love at the same time. One night I was praying about what to do about Clue. I don’t always receive strong or immediate answers to my prayers, but that night I did. The answer was so clear that it brought tears to my eyes: “He’s what you’ve been praying for.” I was completely surprised. And then I thought long and hard about Clue. His resume looks different than what I was looking for, but I realized all the essential elements plus more are there. I'm grateful for prayer and answers to prayer since I wasn't smart enough to see that myself. From that point I tried to focus on learning from rather than worrying about our differences (and I still have to remind myself of this). The rest, as they say, is history.
Hopefully my experience helps…personally, I think you’re on to something Bridget!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
In 2003, my best friend and roommate got engaged and was going to move out. I remember distinctly one very cold morning I was walking from my car into work and pondering this huge change in her life. And I tried to put myself in her shoes and envision myself getting married: putting myself in a wedding dress, envisioning a reception...what it would look like...what HE would look like. And the harder I tried, the more I couldn't do it. I could NOT see myself being married! Since my biggest desire was to be married, it scared me to death!
When I was 16 years old, I decided I wanted to go to BYU's study abroad program in Israel. At the time it seemed SO far away and so impossible to accomplish, but it's what I wanted. And from what limited knowledge I had about Israel and the BYU center, I could envision myself being there...going to classes and seeing the country. A lot of what I pictured wasn't even close to what happened or how it really was, but I could see myself there. It was a hard road getting there (lack of money, political unrest, etc.) - but without that picture in my head, I honestly don't believe I would have gotten there and experienced the Holy Land.
So, for me not being able to even SEE myself in a wedding dress - something girls dream of since they are little - was a real wake up call!! It was then I realized I needed to change my way of thinking and envision me - as a bride, wife, and mother.
At about that time, a good friend started challenging me to "get outside of the box." Her ward was working on many things that would help them grow and change for the better. I accepted the challenge. Basically, I started doing things that scared me spit-less...blind dates/set ups, going to grad school, living by myself in my own place - there are too many to name them all here.
I also had to start putting myself in an image of marriage. Before when girlfriends would ask me about what I wanted when I did get married (dress, colors, ring etc.), I had no idea. I had put off the decisions of what it would all look like when that day came, because I just couldn't see it. I didn't understand that it was a mental block that kept me from doing so. I had to force myself to think about what I would want in a dress, a ring, colors at my wedding, where I would have my wedding and wedding reception. It actually was hard at first, but the more I applied myself to the task, the more came open to me on what I wanted. The point was not to plan it out so that 2.7 years later it would go as I had drawn out, but to "see it" all in my mind's eye and let my brain and heart accept the concept that yes, I could get married! It could happen, because I can see it!
It's an image I've had to work hard to keep in my head. I know for so many it's so easy to do, but I think fear and lack of faith - in my myself and God - really held me back for a lot of years. I'm just grateful that I at least see now what was blocking my path. Because once you see it, you can start conquering it!
And trust me, when that day arrives, I'm going to look gorgeous in my ivory, sparkly, buttons down the back, sweetheart neck wedding dress!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
(not really my hand or ring - protecting my not-so-secret identity - but you get the idea)
I'm giving a lot credit to the blog for this relationship. There is no way I could have been so casual and open to internet dating had I not felt like I was just doing an assignment for the blog. Plus support from fellow bloggers and tips from Bridget helped as well. It took away a lot of inhibitions. Thanks to all of you!
Let me put it out there again, if any of you want to join as a regular blogger or guest contributor let us know.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I've had some interesting realizations lately.
1. I know the Lord send us people that help us to keep the hope alive. I met someone from an online dating site about a month ago. We talked for about a week before we met up...during the week we texted and talked on the phone a few times. It was very cool to get to know this guy. In the week of chatting, and moreso when we actually met (we had a nice time...)I just focused on having fun. I focused on being comfortable, even though I would be out of my comfort zone. In the end, we didn't have the chemistry to get to a secon dated..but I continued on with more hope that the person I'm looking for will appear at some stage of the game.
2. I know the Lord hears our prayers. And answers them when its the right time. A few weeks ago I prayed one week specifically to have a fun date, to kind of break up the monotony of life. I volunteer up at a children's hospital and many of the Saturdays i am up there, there is a really cool guy that volunteers as well. I had never looked at him as someone that I would particularly like to date. But a few days after I started praying specifically to have a fun date, he asked me if I wanted to go lunch with him after volunteering. I felt very strongly that this was an answer to my prayer. We had a great time and went to lunch another time as well. I don't necessarily think we're compatible...but I do know that my simple prayer was answered .
3. I can ultimately trust the way I feel about a situation. I can trust that things work out the way they are ultimately supposed to. I don't have to question why,or analyze why I don't want to date someone, I can learn to trust my gut feeling. Although it takes practice, to listen and hear what is going on inside of us is a great skill. Remember Dodger Guy, he was an online prospect from one of my first blogs. For some reason, the thought of actually meeting him in person made me anxious. Ultimately, I didn't meet up with him, I let him know that a long distance relationship (he lived 6 hours away,in Northern Cal) was not an option for me right now. I stressed and wondered, why can't I just go out with him and see where it goes? Why do I need to be so closed minded? I kind of stressed myself out about it. Recently I texted him to see how he was, because in the time that I talked to him, I got a sense that he was a really good guy and was genuinely wondering how he was doing. He said he had a found a wonderful woman that lived close to him, he felt he would marry her. I was happy for him. During that conversation I felt for sure that things had turned out the way they should have. I felt like my lack of inspiration to meet him, was just that, a lack of inspiration. It didn't have to say anything about my commitment issues, or social anxiety..or that I was "wasting" a chance to meet a potential husband, and I would be alone forever because of my close mindedness,or whatever else I obsessed about at that moment. Saying that, I know it is also important to make sure we are open to stepping out of our comfort zone and into the unknown when we feel inspired to. But its ok if we're not inspired...I have been since, and I will be again...