Water... I've decided that water inspires me. I do some of my best writing and creating when I am near or in water. I love being beside the drifting river or watching the waves come in to shore. It is calming to me. It releases the creative juices. But it doesn't have to be big bodies of water... my sister bought me one of those small, indoor fountains that were all the rage for a minute there... I used that thing all the time until the motor calcified on me. Sad day. (Hey, I didn't know...) Anyway, I find the same creativity from watching or listening to that and even more so, it the shower or the bathtub.
No, I'm not even kidding. I compose chapters, new stories, blog posts and all kinds of things while the hot water runs over me or I am just sitting there soaking. However...
And this is where the A.D.D. part comes in. (and you thought this was going to be a post about water!)
By the time I am finished with my shower or bath, have gotten dried off and dressed, I have completely forgotten all I have "written" in my head. First of all, I usually get distracted and never make it to my computer or notebook and if I diligently go straight to my computer (even in a bath towel) I sit there and stare at the screen unable to compose so beautifully as I did while sopping wet.
If only I could think of a way to compose WHILE in the shower or tub, but that doesn't seem to work. My daughter, a brilliant author in her own right has somehow figured out how to put her thoughts on her phone while still in the shower. (Apparently water affects her creativity as well... must be in the genes...) But I would surely drop it, or drown it, or something bad would happen.
I think the reason it works is because your brain has free reign. There is nothing else distracting me but maybe soap... and that can certainly be postponed if a good thought process is happening. As long as I don't run out of hot water, my brain is happy to create in many directions. I wish I had the wherewithal to get it all down on paper before I was distracted. I can only imagine the number of books and blogs that will never been seen because I have attention deficit disorder...
What Love Isn't
Ahh, the month of l'amour... (read in a very thick French accent) Love is everywhere. Flowers, gifts, cards, wedding proposals... February creates the feeling of passion, romance and long lasting love.
I don't want to be the one to pop your shiny helium balloon or anything, 'cause I'll be the first one to go all crazy for Valentine's Day, but just because it is the month that invokes the spirit of love... does not mean that love is what you are feeling!!
Sadly, I am here to tell you what Love. Is. Not.
And it breaks my heart to do so, because I want everyone who wants it to feel those butterflies and goosebumps of love. I want everyone to find that special someone that will stay with them forever- through thick and thin, good times and bad, fat days and skinny days, and all that stuff. But just because it is Valentine's Day does not make it so...
A client of mine had recently gotten away from an abusive relationship. He was both physically and emotionally abusive. He was her addiction. But she finally broke free and moved back in with family for support. She started going to church and became an active participant. Through our sessions she began to realize the destructive behavior and how it impacted her life and the lives of her children. She began to see that maybe this wasn't love, because love doesn't do those terrible things and cause pain to each other. Love only lifts you up. Love never tears you down or manipulates.
She had cut off communication and went out of her way to avoid seeing him and took this time to concentrate on healing. She had to realize that she could live without him, that she was addicted to him lustfully, and that she did not deserve to be treated in such a harmful, manipulative way.
Enter Valentine's Day. In walks Mr. Wonderful with a bouquet of flowers and a shiny helium balloon... oh, and one more thing... a ring. My client went blind, deaf and dumb but still managed to accept his proposal.
"He said he was going to change. The Lord told me to forgive him. If I am supposed to be a good Christian, I should give him another chance. He loves me."
I was speechless. She was in her moment of euphoria so, she wouldn't hear a word I said, so... I'm saying it to you.
What Love Is Not....
Forgiveness. Yes Forgive. Yes, always forgive. Because forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It allows you to heal and move forward and not give others control over your emotions. Yes, forgive. Even in the hardest, most painful of circumstances... forgive. But forgiving is not forgetting. Saying that, hear this- Just because you forgive does not mean that they should stay in your life. Let me say that again. Just because you forgive someone, does not mean they still belong in your life! Not all relationships are meant to last forever especially if they are abusive. You are not being a loving, forgiving person if you allow someone back into your life that is going to continue the same behavior. You know why? You are not loving yourself! That is unhealthy!! You deserve better!! Yes, people can change, but if this is the twelfth time you've forgiven and tried over... chances are, no change is going to take place. You've already proven to them that you will take them back no. matter. what. That is not love. To allow yourself to be treated anything less that amazing... that is not love.
Actions speak louder than words. Just because they say it, doesn't mean their behavior backs up their words. Sometimes we want to hear those words so badly that we tend to turn a blind eye to bad behavior. People can only be artificial for so long. Eventually their real, true self will come to the surface. You know it. You see it... but you chose not to. Those three little words are magic. But if the way they treat you and others contradicts those beautiful words, see it and believe it. It is not love.
Being taken advantage of is not love. When you are someone's second choice, and not their priority, that is not love. If they wait to find out if there are any other offers besides yours before they give you a commitment, that is being taken advantage of. And if you are willing to drop your plans because they called at the last minute, you are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. If they can't put your first, get out of their way. You deserve someone that will be into the relationship just as much as you.
If you have to try to convince someone to love you... they are not for you. You don't match. It's not necessarily a bad thing! Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else! Don't try to force love. Don't look for things that aren't there. Don't try and change someone into your idea of the ideal mate because you will only be hurt in the end. Love is not forced. You shouldn't have to try so hard to make a relationship work. If there isn't a foundation that you can build on, that is not love.
Disrespect is not love. When someone realizes that they pretty much have a green light to do whatever they want, because you'll always take them back they will continue to respect you less and less. They will wear down your standards; coerce you to have you bend your belief system. They aren't as afraid of losing you as you are of them. When someone disrespects you, it is better to remove yourself from that person. They will never suddenly see your worth. And if you continually drop your standards ("yes, he cheated, but I know he was sorry") they will continually cross that new line. And soon, you will feel shallow and empty waiting for them to love you the way you imagined they would. Let them go.
Love is never hateful. Or abusive. Or harmful. If someone lays a heavy hand on you. That is not love. They may think they love you, they may honestly believe they love you, but love is not designed to hurt. More likely than not, it is an addiction. Addictions are possessive, love is freeing. If someone loves you, they would never, ever want to see you in pain. If they love you, they will not cheat on you. No exceptions. If they love you, they will not leave you. If they love you, they will let you know. You won't have to wonder. If they love you, they will have your best interest at heart. You won't have to force them to want to be with you.
Walking away isn't easy. We all want love. We want to feel the joy of love and sometimes we think that if we just keep trying, we can love someone enough for both people. That is not love. And when you keep trying and keep trying waiting for a different outcome, you only sink deeper and deeper into that loveless hole. They are not going to change. So you either have to tolerate their behavior or walk away, loving yourself enough to start again. I vote for the loving yourself option. The right one IS out there, when you are ready. But you can't really give yourself to someone else to love, when the love is not already there within you.
Don't settle for anyone just to have a someone. That... is not love. Be patient. Take care of you. Do what you need to do so that when love comes along, you'll be ready. You'll recognize it for what it is... and what it isn't.
The Difference is in the Details
When I put together the book Pillow Talk, it was, at first, because my publisher said to "hurry and get something else out there" to keep my name in everyone's peripheral vision, with the success of Captive Heart.
I was just finishing up my relational coaching education and truly, truly believe that communication is vital for every and all relationships be it romantic, work-related, family or friendships. I did want to have a presence on the non-fiction lists as well so I put my mind to it. What could I come up with quickly and still fall under the above parameters?
I put together lists and lists of questions and surveyed lists and lists of people to find out what makes them tick. Did a little more research to find out that the best (but usually wasted) time to really communicate with your mate was those few minutes before you fall asleep... and well, Pillow Talk was born.
And yes, it was literally just thrown out there. No publicity, no promotion and a LOT of flack because I put myself on the front cover. So. Taken back a few notches on the self-esteem ladder, I just let it... be. And I even was thinking to myself that I should just pull it from the shelves.
But then... along comes a research study that supports EVERYTHING Pillow Talk stands for! Not just communication... but a KNOWING. Pillow Talk initiates that level of knowing. Let me back up...
An article in Time Magazine written by Francine Russo talked about the deeper fundamentals of communication that comes from knowing your partner's intimate details such as favorite color, desserts to understanding how they feel about the afterlife and such.
Couples who knew these finite details about each other seemed to have stronger connections and their relationships last longer. "Learning more about your partner could be relatively easy if people (especially men, since they scored worse in this area) took the trouble to find out, remember and put to use such relatively simple information," says Robert Epstein, professor of psychology at the University of South Pacific. (who was quoted in the article)
This gives me renewed hope that Pillow Talk really could be everything I had originally hoped.
Pillow Talk has seven sections of questions that can either be a jumping off point for more conversation or just something to kill time with while spending time together. It's both fun and informative and now... it can even help your relationship last longer and become stronger!!
There's questions in Pillow Talk for couples in every stage of their relationship. Some couples have even used the questions to see how much their partner already knows.
Hopefully, this will give Pillow Talk that little extra push to encourage people to give it a chance. It really is a good little book. Very helpful. Very fun...
So, if you haven't gotten your copy order one today! Use it to get closer to the ones that you love by learning (and remembering) those wonderful little details that make your partner unique.
Let me know in the comments below how you made use of Pillow Talk in your relationships! I mean, Time Magazine says these questions are vital! Better get a copy and get on it! Lol!
Who IS that guy in the Pillow Talk photos with you?
Pillow Talk's Front Cover
As many of you know, I am a hairstylist when I am not writing, and I have recently moved from my home state where I'd been living most of my life to someplace completely different. Adapting to the changes have been quite a challenge.
People fascinate me. Now, being an introvert, I like to watch from a distance, but being part of the human race, I eventually have to participate as well. When I was studying relational coaching, my goal was to use it for mainly teens, but I am surprised that I can use this knowledge in every aspect of my life.
I have been a hairstylist, off and on for over 23 years and have belonged to several different shops. The one I left was probably my favorite and the one that I developed the best friendship skills. Granted, this was also the time I was studying my relationship coaching training, so I learned a lot and put new ideas into practice of how to get along with other people. They essentially became my tribe. I belonged. We all looked out for one another. We played together, we worked together, we loved, we lost, we bonded. It was the first time in my life, I had multiple friends. In the past, I had only been able to concentrate on one friend at a time. This became a separate.... family, so to speak. (Like I said, I'm an introvert but never had a name for my "condition" until a few years ago!)
When I moved and started my new job here, it's been an excellent reference as to how complete strangers assimilate to become one team. These twelve people, my new tribe that I had been assigned to- some have worked together before, some knew each other in passing, and I, of course, was completely new... but all of us were new to this franchise and brand new store.
I like watching the natural progression of things grow. How people group together; find different ways to assert their authority; come together to weed out a common enemy, toleration, education and bonding together. It is amazing to watch.
I had been asked to be the leader of our motley crew but had declined. I wanted to devote my time to creating and not so much cutting. But knowing that I am out of the running for a leadership role, I am able to watch the process unfold without bias.
It's a good group of girls here, under a good GM and a positive owner. The shop will do well, and these girls look like they are here to stay. So I am anxious to watch the friendships unfold and to see if it stays "just" co-worker status among them or if they will bond together as a cohesive unit.
I am having a nice time learning who everyone is. They're likes and dislikes, things we have in common, their work practices (how they cut differently than me or customer skills or retail skills). I am fascinated with their family-lives, how many kids they have, boys/girls, ages, married/single. Their hobbies, their joys, their addictions, what makes them laugh.
While I miss the cohesiveness of the tribe I left behind, I am learning so much about myself and the others and this experience is only going to make me a better person by being able to love on these new people.
We have all been thrown together for about a month now, and in that short amount of time I have learned so much about these young women. Their heartbreaks and their trials and the things they are doing to cope. If they have a common denominator among them all, it's strength. I have heard of some of their trials; things that would cripple another human being, but these girls don't give up. They find a new way to keep going. They all have strong family ties and as with everyone, they are all struggling through something. I am humbled that they trust me, an outsider, to tell their troubles to. They don't tell me to "get" something from me, they are just sharing. I am honored that they feel comfortable in such a short window of time to share with me. Apparently, I fall into the "momma" role wherever I go.
It is true that people fade in and out of your life in seasons and that not everyone you meet is supposed to be in your life forever, and sometimes its hard to let go of your "comfort zone", but we can grow stale if we stay in the same "place" for too long. I have discovered that I am a wanderer. I physically need to move from place to place to stay inspired. I think I've known it for a long time but was too afraid to step out of the "norm". But when I say "place", I am more referring to a mental or spiritual attitude if you will. We as humans need to grow. We are created to want other human companionship, and yet its scary to face change. I wish for you to embrace change. Me, the introvert, says reach out and love people. All kinds of people. It doesn't have to be up close and personal, but we can love from a distance as well.
I will have to get used to meeting new people and leaving others behind. And while I feel the need to not settle- at the moment- I hope that I leave behind me a trail of affection and that I touched people's lives with love. I hope that those I come in contact with feel inspired and if I'm lucky, I will have the opportunity to watch their dreams come true. (Facebook at its finest! I can move about the country and still keep track of all my people!)
We all come in contact with people every single day. Make it a positive experience. And while we won't build tribes with all these people and they may only be in your life for a season, (or less), let it be a good experience for all involved. A little love, a little kindness can go a long way. Lead with love.
Sarcasm- The Double Edged Sword
I have a very sarcastic sense of humor and it can sometimes get me into trouble. I assume that everyone knows of my sarcastic way of thinking (ah... assuming, I think I've found the root of the problem!) and that they understand that I'm really only "joking".
Laughter is my go-to or knee-jerk reaction to most things that are out of my control. Grief, stress, anger... I can feel giggles bubbling up from inside as a sort of coping mechanism, so yes, I can be found, perhaps not out and out laughing, but a tense giggle at the most inopportune times.
I can only assume that I would laugh at a gunman who tried to rob me at gunpoint. It would be funny to me, not that I could lose my life, but that I have nothing for him to steal. My knee-jerk reaction would be laughter. That poor criminal, just trying to do his "job", not looking to be heckled. (sarcasm) I know. It doesn't make sense. But I'm the one who laughs at funerals because I want to remember the good times. I'm the one who tries to make others laugh in a time of crisis to divert the attention from what is causing them pain. I am the one who laughs through my tears because I am at such a loss, and I am convinced that there is a silver lining somewhere. Life is pretty funny, you know. Irony can be downright hilarious at times... okay, for me anyway. And if you can't laugh at yourself, life can get pretty intense. So I laugh at myself... and everyone else too.
My sarcasm definitely stems from all that, I think. It is easier for me to come back with a sarcastic quip than have to deal with the "real" issue. They say that there is a modicum of truth in every sarcastic comment... I'm inclined to believe that is true. But again, truth when softened by a little bit of laughter, is so much easier to get through. Am I wrong?
For example, I have a co-worker who brings in tasty baked goods on a regular basis. And every day, I yell at her (when I say yell, I don't mean raise my voice, I mean sarcastically scold) that she is trying to make me fat. Am I really angry at her? No. Do I think she is personally attacking my waistline? No. But the pastries ARE there, tempting me and I COULD blame her for putting that temptation in front of me... testing me.... So my sarcastic side "blames" her for tempting me and downplays the exact opposite that she is being thoughtful and caring to the people she works with. (Sarcasm often times takes the extreme opposite of a situation in order to make an exaggerated comical point) I'm not even mad. Not at all. But I scold her. And until she realizes that I have a sarcastic sense of humor, she may think that I am really and truly angry with her. Which is not the case. And that would hurt me immensely because I would never choose to hurt anyone's feelings. But the words come out because it is just who I am and a lot of times I end up apologizing to those who don't know how to read me.
I am usually around people who can handle it and even play along. Both of my children have a razor sharp sense of humor and I love the banter with them. Whoo! They keep me on my toes... so since I enjoy such clever conversations with them, I assume- there's that word again- that others can keep up as well.
Some people don't appreciate a good sarcastic wit and even I am annoyed when some take it too far, but as for me, I need to learn to reign it in until the people around me get used to me.
All this to say... You know, I'm not really sure. I guess it's a PRE-apology for when I say something sarcastic and you're not really sure what to do with it. Just know in advance it is sarcasm at its finest and that no harm is meant.
Have a great day... no really... have a great day, no sarcasm... (yes, I see the problem....)