Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Friendships

sad-friendship-quotes-2345

 

I believe that we are all faced with certain lessons in our lives, that until they are learned from, will continue to be repeated until we finally ‘get it.’

For me, one of my biggest, repetitive hurdles was in the arena of friendships.

It is no secret that I am the shy, introverted type. So when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone- that takes up a lot of energy on my part.

I tend to keep people at arms length, but the ones I do allow in, I am trusting and loyal to a fault.

I am never the clingy, needy sort. I do not like that in others, so I try hard not to be that myself.

In elementary and junior high school, the few friendships I had were best described as illusory.
Maybe it was the age. Maybe kids that age do not have the social wherewithal to be authentic with themselves or with others. Or maybe, introverted kids do not know how to deal with the meanness they find in others and are at a loss as to how to react. Couple this with the unstable home life that I had and it is a miracle I actually made it to my adulthood. Many kids don’t.

In High school, I had a really good friend whom I admired greatly. Looking back, I can see now the patterns of my youth that created such a breeding ground for the contempt I would later feel as an adult, but life lessons don’t always present themselves wrapped up in a neat little package, tied with a bow.
I see now, that this friend I had was just as flawed as the rest of us, but she was my friend and friends over look the little, irritating things in others until they become too big to ignore. I had put this person on a pedestal and treated her like gold.
Years later, when she married, I was even in her wedding. And once the vows were said, she never spoke to me again. She cut everyone out of her life to find her happily ever after, (which I hear lasted only a couple years), but she never returned a single call, or letter, (yes, this was in the days before texting, cell phones and email) from me.

How is it that people do the things they do and not even once consider that their actions affect others as well. I am not clingy, but I do hurt.

Fast forward several years. I am now married and a mom. My husband and I are both shy, introverts. We become friends with a seemingly nice couple from church. Sounds safe enough. After all, Godly people, right?

It is our first Couple-friendship. So adult. We have so much fun hanging out. They have kids. We have one. It’s great. Then came the day Mrs. S felt she had the right to discipline my son… in front of me… by pushing him.
Yeah, that didn’t go over too well, but it doesn’t end there. The one time we spoke after said incident, she proceeded to rail at me as to what a monster my child was but she didn’t blame him, she said it was his parents that were responsible for creating such darkness. (and this was someone I thought was a friend?)

I was devastated to the core of my being by the words she hurled at me and even more upset with myself because for the first time I wondered, who are these people that I call friends. I took stock of my history in this strange battlefield and realized, I have been on the losing side for far too long.

After that, I hardened my resolve and maybe a little bit of my soul. I vowed that my circle of friends was now closed. I would only widen this circle if someone wanted to prove they were friendship worthy. (Yes, I said that). Anyone wanting to be my friend would have to have the stamina of an Olympic athlete. They would have to run faster, try harder, and prove their mettle before I would even consider letting them into my life.

I basically told the universe, Lesson Learned. Friends are overrated and I am moving on either alone or with someone that wants to be by my side.

Maybe it was the hurt talking or maybe it was my way of making a stand. My problem wasn’t that I was choosing bad people, (well, ok, the last one was bad), but the problem was that I would choose flawed people and hold them up to a standard even I couldn’t achieve and when they inevitably showed their human-ness, I would be the one hurt and disappointed.

Once I saw this aspect of myself with clarity, I knew in my heart I was ready to move on.

Since then, I am happy to report that I have lifted the ban on new friends, and have met some of the most wonderful people that have made me a better person. I don’t expect others to be something they are not, nor do I expect more out of others than they are willing or able to give.

I no longer go overboard investing my good energy in places that operate in a void. All this does is bring everybody down.

I am still cautious with who I let into my life, but I am open to the opportunity of what could be.

I do admit, there are some people I would like to get to know better and it does sting a bit when even a simple invitation to coffee is rebuffed–but I move on.
Maybe that was not meant to be.

It would be nice to have girlfriends like they show in the movies or on tv, but life doesn’t always have a Hollywood ending, and that’s okay, because life is so much bigger than that anyway.

Lessons From My Father

weathered hands imagesVMW3B69TI was folding laundry, listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday interview with
Miguel Angel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. He was so charming and humble, and when I glanced at the television screen, I had a laugh out loud moment, because his interview was subtitled! I guess the producers felt his Mexican accent was too difficult for viewers to understand otherwise.

The reason I found this funny was because my father had an even thicker accent, yet he never had a problem making himself understood. It is times like these when I miss him most, (deceased now 15 years). I believe it is the little things like that which identify our humanity and make us memorable to others.

My father was a hard working man who gave his children a strong work ethic, which we, in turn, have passed on to our kids.

For an ‘uneducated’ man (schoolwise), he had a wisdom that surpassed knowledge and a wicked sense of humor- which he also passed on to his kids…and we, in turn, have now passed this on to ours, as well. (Apologies in advance if you run into any of us in the real world. You have been warned)

While life was not always easy being raised a girl by strict, old-fashioned, Mexican parents, it did offer some life lessons that could not have been learned any other way.

Here are some of my father’s favorite gems:

~ Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies

~ There is a time for everything

~ I am always right, even if I am wrong, I am right

~ Money follows money

~ The grass is NOT always greener on the other side

~ Life isn’t fair

~ Let your conscience be your guide (as long as it was what his conscience wanted, we were ok)

~ The good Lord giveth, and the good Lord taketh away

So what would I tell him if he was here with me now?

I would start with, Dad, (aka, Ruben, Mr Ruben, or Don Ruven),
Happy Father’s Day
I’ve missed you….
and you were right… about everything

Bridging the Gap from Surviving to Thriving


beach life

~Is your life what you always imagined it to be?
~Do you live in relative comfort or is survival your middle name?

From the moment mankind stepped into the history books, future generations were given a model of survival to follow. Our hunter/gatherer brains set us apart and dictated our place in the food chain.

Honing the very skills to ensure our top dog status, we have fallen into a trap that says only hard work and excruciating pain will give us what we need to succeed in life. I find this kind of thought mentality dangerous. It not only breeds contempt and stress, it leads to a plethora of mental disorders that wreak havoc on our bodies as well as our minds.

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to create a life”
~Dolly Parton

I have found that a bit of mocking, as well as the occasional eye roll, often accompanies the saying, ‘Work smarter; Not harder.’ This is because the ones applying this concept to their own lives are seeing results that enable them to spend less time howling at the moon in anguish and more time doing the things they enjoy, as much as their fellow brethren, slogging it out in the salt mines are left to wonder…is this it? Is this all there is to my life?

My parents were hard-working people. My father never made it out of the third grade. My mother never made it to college. Yet they were able to live the ‘American Dream.’ They raised five kids, owned their own home and managed to take family vacations every year. How is this possible, you may ask. Because they lived in a time where hard work paid off and the fruits of their labor was measurable.

Fast forward several decades. My husband and I, raising two kids, spend our lives working just as hard, living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to make ends meet. We eke out an existence and life for us is a struggle. Yet somehow, through all this better or worse stuff, I still think that there is a better life waiting for us, we just haven’t found it yet.

“Nothing lasts forever, not even your problems”
~Arnold H. Glasgow

creating a lifeSo what is the answer to those wanting to bridge that gap from surviving to thriving? I am still working on that one. I do know this. I have spent a lifetime working hard with very little to show for it. Now, I think, it’s time I start working smarter.

Here is a rough draft of a game plan that has been on the periphery of my mind for too long.

-First, there must be an awareness that we have the power to change…our lives, our choices, our minds. Believing this removes a sense of victimhood mentality that tends to keep us stuck.

(I am the poster child for this, so I know it to be true)

-I believe each one of us is drawn to an interest unique to our souls. Find your interest. Learn everything you can about it. Study others that share your same interest(s). Study people you admire. Let it all sink in. This won’t pay the bills but it will give your mind a new focus and a direction in which to head.

‘No knowledge is wasted…ever’ ~ Ben Carson

-Search for opportunities to apply your interests. You never know what doors this will open or even who else it will help.

‘Life is an opportunity…benefit from it’ ~Mother Theresa

-Challenge yourself to be daring, even if that means having a cup of coffee in a new location.

‘You must never limit your challenges…Instead, challenge your limits’ ~Unknown

And most of all,

– Be gentle with yourself. As someone who deals with anxiety issues and has “felt” on the verge of death more times than I’d like to admit, (this is my own personal challenge), this step is very important. Each one of us has so much to offer the world, even if that ‘world’ is only ourselves.