Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,  was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I  went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.  Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)  I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

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Remembering my grandparents

As I held and rocked one of the twins (9 month old boys!) today, I started feeling such strong love and emotion. These grandbabies, and my 3 year old granddaughter, are so very precious to me.

It brought back memories of my own grandparents, and what they did to have a relationship with us. It was back in the 60’s and 70’s and they lived 2000 miles away – no internet, no cell phones, no social media.

I was born in California, near San Francisco. My father’s parents lived about 40 miles away, in Sonoma, where he was raised. From what I gather, they were very involved with their three granddaughters. I was the middle sister, and when we were five, two, and six months old, my father’s company transferred him to Houston, Texas. This was in 1959. They packed us all up and drove us all that way. I imagine my older sister and I in the back seat, loose, and my mother holding the baby. Glad we all survived.

Anyway, looking at it from the grandparent’s view, it must have been pretty difficult. But it seems that they made the best of it.

Every summer we would meet them somewhere between here and there for a great camping vacation. The most memorable one for me was somewhere in Arizona, where we camped for a month and my father broke his leg.

When I was about 12, my parents went to Europe and Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard, as we called them, and their dog Mike, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks! When I think about that- wow, I’m impressed! They would have been in their early sixties, and took on us girls plus my then 4-year-old brother. I’m sure we drove them up the wall, but I have only good memories of that time. Except for having to eat boiled squash.  I am exhausted after 2 days with my granddaughter, so no doubt they were VERY happy to see my parents. I remember going to the airport to meet them. Good times.

Long distance phone calls weren’t cheap, but I think they called us about every month or so, and I remember the excitement of knowing that Grandma and Grandpa were on the phone. We’d take our turns on the extension in my parents bedroom and talk for maybe two minutes apiece. I have no idea what we talked about, but the memory of sitting on my parents’ bed talking to Grandma brings a sweet thrill of love to my heart.

They’d always send us presents for our birthdays and for Christmas. I still have a book they sent for my sixth birthday, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, with characters from the comic strip Peanuts. I treasure it now simply because it brings warm memories of my grandma.

They would come and visit us occasionally, too, in between camping trips. I think they did a lot of traveling around the country after Grandpa retired, and they pulled a travel trailer behind their car. At least once they parked it in our driveway and stayed awhile.

This picture was probably taken around the time of the trip to Europe. That’s me in the hideous blue glasses.

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Now that I’m a grandparent, I get it. It’s quite possible that I may experience long distance grandparenting in the future, and I know it will be much easier for me to keep in touch than it was for them. I am so glad they made the effort that they did. I hope Hazel, Hudson, and Sebastian (and any future grands) remember me as fondly as I remember Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard.

 

Affirmations and intentions

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. — Lao Tzu

About four years ago I started writing affirmations on my bathroom mirror. (Use a dry erase marker) The previous year had seen divorce and a move to a new place with new beginnings. I started with Affirmations 101: I am worthy, I am loved, I love you. Without self-love, it is difficult to love others or believe anything else good about yourself.

If you’ve told yourself 70,000 times that you are not good enough, it will take at least 7000 repetitions of a loving affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind. Say it to yourself, with strong feeling, and it will become integrated into the subconscious mind.

After I did that for a while, I wrote I am beautiful and I attract beautiful people and I am extraordinary. Those were challenging for me, because I never thought of myself as attractive, either physically or otherwise, and thought of myself as just an ordinary person, nothing special.

Writing them where I would see it every day, repeating it over and over to myself, slowly but surely I found myself knowing the truth of these words. I AM beautiful and extraordinary! And I started attracting a different type of people into my life, people who brought positive, bright energy into my life.

Currently on my bathroom mirror: I invite personal transformation into my life every day.

A few years ago I subscribed to “Notes from the Universe”, delivered to my inbox every day. Here are three that I printed and taped to my bathroom mirror.

Live your dreams NOW to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.

And let’s just see if you can handle the torrent of treasures I send your way! – The Universe

 

Time out! Time out!

What do you mean, you can’t see it? You don’t know? You aren’t sure? You’re scared?

This is an adventure, you’re an adventurer, and uncertainty, fear, and even setbacks happen. Besides, “easy” has never been your style, and just because you can’t see the miracles doesn’t mean they aren’t happening, doesn’t mean you’re alone, and doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

The day your ship arrives, and it now swiftly approaches – the confusion, fear, and setbacks will be among your fondest memories. – The Universe

 

It’s easy. Just once a day, imagine the life you dream of. Believe that it can be yours in this world of magic and miracles. Choose to live as if you know of its inevitable manifestation. Don’t compromise. Don’t worry. Don’t look for results. And as surely as spirit crafts one moment after another, so too will it fuse together the life you now lead with the life of your dreams as if they were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, destined to become one. – The Universe

 

My wish for you is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you “just because.” I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all I wish for your happiness.

And these dreams of mine are what started it all.  – The Universe

Hanging these up with intention and reading them frequently continues to bring me inspiration to keep on my path. I truly feel that I am living the life of my dreams, and that there is much much more to come. I can honestly say that I get to go barefoot more than I wear shoes! And my circle of friends who are family is ever expanding.

For years, when things weren’t going so well, I would say to myself and to God “I just want to love and be loved.” And now, I know that I am loving and being loved.  It didn’t happen in a way I expected, rather, it has happened as I began to use affirmations as well as regular meditation of the heart-based kind.

And the love is ever-expanding.

 

Yoga, I love you

I may have mentioned this before, but I am in love.

Since leaving my day job, I have spent more time with yoga, and this love I have for it – it is the real thing.

I was briefly introduced to yoga five years ago at a gym I belonged to. I thought it was pretty great, but didn’t have much time for it. Two years ago, we were reacquainted during my trip to the Chopra Center. The best thing I learned there is that I can have a relationship with yoga even if I can’t sit in lotus or do certain asanas (postures).

Shortly after that I discovered the yoga studio less than two miles from where I live, and began to go weekly, for a while. Then I began studying ayurveda, and since I still worked full time, it was a challenge to get to class, so I stopped going regularly. In the meantime, I began to learn more about what yoga actually is.

The word yoga means union, and is a means to bring your entire being into balance and union with the greater consciousness many people call God. A common perception of yoga is that it is about moving your body into different positions to increase physical fitness, but there is so much more to it than that.

There are eight limbs of yoga:

  • Yama – this is about our behavior, principles, and how we conduct ourselves in life
  • Niyama – has to do with self- discipline and spiritual practices and routines
  • Asana – the postures practiced in yoga, through which we develop habits of discipline
  • Pranayama – this is about the breath
  • Pratyahara – withdrawing from sensory stimulation and looking inside
  • Dharana – concentration, dealing with the distractions of the mind
  • Dhyana – meditation or contemplation
  • Samadhi – transcendence, connection with the Divine, interconnectedness with all living beings

There are quite a few flavors of yoga, and this Mind Body Green piece explains the most common. I personally prefer a very slow flow, with stretching and holding poses for longer periods, a combination of hatha, sivananda, and yin. A have a friend who is dedicated to kundalini. Others love the more workout like flow of vinyasa or the heat of Bikram. There is something for everyone.

I am so happy to have found yoga. Or, as the owner of The Yoga Institute in Clear Lake, Rae Lynn Rath says “You don’t find yoga. Yoga finds you.”

I am elated that I have the time to pursue this practice. Yoga and ayurveda are sister sciences, so it makes sense to me to be able to teach this to those who are following this path of seeking better health through greater awareness.

And so, I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course! Namaste. 🙂

 

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5 ways to increase intimacy with humor

Pillow Fight

What do you do when you get in an argument with your partner?

Do you keep trying to prove your point, keep trying to get them to see it your way? Do you have to convince the other that you are right? And where does that get you?

As someone who has been married and divorced twice, I am here to tell you that none of that works. I used to HAVE to be right. I HAD to get my point across. The other NEEDED to agree with me. EVERYTHING was a serious matter. And where did that get me? (Crying alot, for one thing!)

Sure, you have to have a compatible sense of humor. And I’m not talking about sarcasm and putting the other down and calling that funny. I’m not talking about laughing at the serious things of life. It’s the little things that eat away at a relationship, and it is in those moments that lightheartedness can turn things around.

Some examples of stuff to laugh about instead of arguing: he doesn’t load the dishwasher “right”, she’s always losing her phone, he’s directionally challenged and tends to take wrong turns, she’s not a good cook. Nobody is perfect or has all the skills. Add the busyness of life, tiredness, and control issues, and you have the setting for a boiling fight or a lot of belly laughs! And we all know laughter is better.

  1. Start by laughing at yourself, especially when you find yourself taking things too seriously.
  2. When you catch yourself getting into one of those fruitless arguments, step back and look at it as if you were watching a comedy.
  3. When you realize that you are arguing over something that doesn’t really matter, just stop. Kiss your partner. Start a pillow fight or tickle fest.
  4. Be spontaneous. Look for ways to surprise your partner. Make sure it’s the kind of surprise you know they like! Again, little things, like a back scratching or a little unexpected act of service, can make a huge difference, especially if acccompanied by affection and laughter.
  5. Do fun things! Learn what kind of entertainment/movies makes the other laugh, then seek it out and laugh with them. They should do the same.

Admittedly these will only work if both partners are on board. If one person is determined to sabotage, argue, and destroy, it is time for the other to consider what is important and what they really, really want. But if both of you can laugh at yourselves and at life, the power struggle that most of us struggle with will be diffused.

Instead of throwing angry words or objects, throw pillows!