Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the mouths of babes...

Blended Family.
 
Its a popular p/c phrase that is indicative of the times and the reality that so many people are having second even third marriages. And like most phrases that become popular, the term blended family can have a slightly different meaning depending on who is using the phrase. 
 
For example, in recent years its more accepted if much older women are coming together with younger men which a different twist to May/December blended family union.  Likewise, as is the popular trend in Hollywood to adopt children (primarily from African countries) into a family with birth children to create a sort of mini-UN blended family.   And of course now that gay and lesbian marriage is legalized, the blended family is being borne of  people who had children before and/or  in spite of being gay/lesbian, as well as adopting children into same sex marriages.  
 
And yet for all the ways one can approach the blended family scenario, one thing is certain - all blended families are intended to bring together - connect - blend people who are not related by blood.  And like oil and vinegar blend to create something good (delicious), the emulsion (the mixture of two liquids that usually don't combine so readily or smoothly), the blended family may not always come together so well at first either.
 
Case and point, I recently was recently entrusted by a child to share some insight about a possible, potential blended family union.  A rare opportunity, that children look to grown ups for answers (rather than peers, FB and the Internet), I felt privileged this young person asked for my advice.  
 
The child (not yet a teenager - a tween) had been alone with mom after the father died some 5 years earlier.  Now it seemed the mother had started dating a divorced man who also had a child about the same age.  In explaining the dilemma, not only was the tween bothered by the fact the mom was dating, but what if mom decided to marry the man (which would be bad enough), but if the man's child had to live with them -  the idea of the blended family would really mess a good  thing.  Perhaps the saving grace in the scenario was that the tween didn't dislike the man dating the mom. "He's okay...nice...and I want my mom to be happy...but I'm not sure I want them together with me and my mom," was the way it was put.
 
After hearing the problem out, two things sprang to mind:  1) lovingly let the tween know it is always a good idea to have conversations like this with a trusted adult and 2) lovingly convey that as a grown up, the mother has a right to grown up companionship (of course this should never put a child in harms way - which was not the issue here).  For the most part I think the issue for the tween was the coming together - blending of people to make a family - which would shake up the existing family of mom and tween.  
 
I admit, that although I was honored to be let into the inner psyche of a young person, entrusted to be the bearer of some wisdom not found on the Internet or from peers, trying to provide a loving, honest and helpful "answer" put me in the hot seat.  But answer I did and here's how it went:
 
I'm glad you decided to talk with me about this, that is a smart idea.  And it sounds like you respect and love your mom a lot. So that means you probably think your mom is pretty smart too. Sometimes a grown up just has to make a grown up decision. Your mom is old enough to decide if she wants a boyfriend.  And I know if he ask to marry your mom, she will know that he will treat you right before she says yes.  I also think that your mom would want you and his child to be good to each other too.   I'm sure because you say your mom is smart and her boyfriend is nice, that both grown ups will do everything possible to make it nice if you four were to become a blended family living together in one family home.  I know situations like this can turn out nice because I once dated a nice man with a teenager and I was so glad his child was nice to me.  In the end, we did not get married but if we had come together to be a blended family, I know everyone would have done their best to get along well.  The same way you love your mom and want her to be happy, I know your mom loves you and will think of your happiness.

Clearly, I'm no Dr. Spock, but I hope the tween received the message as honest, helpful and loving.

To be continued...

Loving Thought
... little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:5-7

Ade,
Peace

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kiss of Death

So what do you think?

Of course by now you've heard the news about the Arizona lesbian couple who were thrown out/asked to leave the restaurant because their (intimate) kiss offended some customers in the restaurant.

First let me say something that's going to sound rather silly (perhaps dumb and little to do with actual issue).  However, I am always fascinated (in fact dumbfounded) by women who are so attractive yet lesbian (I know this is going to get me some real nasty remarks).

But Wait!

Before you start criticizing my comment (which I've already said was a bit off), let me explain.

Both lesbians in this case appear to be very attractive women and recognizing these days that often seems to be the case, I am forced to come to terms with this silly myth that (most) women become lesbians because they are so unattractive they can't find/get/keep a man. Where the myth originated, I can't trace. Perhaps because in the days before gay/lesbian rights the les feminine a women "appeared" - the more comfortable/confident she was not hiding the fact that she was a lesbian (I don't know and that's another discussion).

However, my point here is that the kiss in public "incident" that occurred between these two lesbians who both happen to be attractive has caused me to really examine this (mis)conception that only unattractive women could/would be lesbians. And this brings me closer to the point of my discussion..."Who gets to decide?"

"Who gets to decide who is attractive or unattractive?"

Are these the same people who get to decide whether someone who looks like these women (of color) live in certain neighborhoods - or not?

Are these the same people who get to decide who is allowed to marry whom - if both parties are consenting adults in agreement of the marriage?

Are these the same people who decide who is fit to run a city, state or the country?

Are these the same people who decide healthcare and social security benefits?

Are these the same people who decide that thousands of young men and women get shipped off to a war they have no involvement in starting?

Are these the same people who decide whether you go to hell or heaven?

Are these the same people who decide whether a lesbian couple can kiss in public at restaurant?

Is this not a supposed free society?...for all?

Then who does get to decide what is and/or isn't okay for everyone else?"

I guess the answer would be "the majority" - that's supposed to be the democratic approach anyway.

Except in most of the stories (and that's what they are because very few of us were there) about "the kiss" incident I can't ascertain if there was a majority bothered by the kiss or a few of those people who decide for everyone else.

You feel me?

Still this is a duplicitous issue for me because in all honesty, if there were a majority bothered by the overt public show of affection - I would have been among them. And yes, I believe even if it were a man and woman making an overt show of affection, I would have been bothered. 

Now whether I would ask a consenting adult couple to leave a restaurant because they kissed in public, I'm not so sure about that.

And yet, although I can't put my finger on it, there is some unspoken social code that makes kissing in a public place - out of place.

After all don't most of kiss in public at some point?

Indeed you've kissed on the lawn with your partner in a public park. Or maybe hello and goodbye at the airport? And certainly, nearly everyone has kissed in the dark - but public-private-place of a movie theatre? (I have).

Thus I'm left asking myself..."Why does this public show of affection between these two consenting adults seem more like the 'kiss of death' than a simple show of affection between two consenting adults?

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the kiss itself:  A kiss is intimate and intimate should be private.

That is unless you're among the tens or hundreds or thousands of people who come together (thanks to Reality TV) - in public expressly for the purpose of watching - in public - a bride and groom consummate their marriage in public...for the public...with a kiss.

To be continued...


Loving Thought
Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it. 
Bernard Meltzer



Ade,
Peace

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On Fire

What happens when you run into an old flame?

Moreover, what happens when - for whatever reason - you both admit that you are not with anyone special "at the moment" - you are in fact alone.

What happens next?

One morning I woke up in the wee early hours with an attack of  loneliness.

I saw an old flame and afterwards expected that we might rekindle the old pattern of  making up, hanging out and making out. Interestingly, the initiation of the familiar pattern always came from the other side; and I would with little thought or reservation comply and begin again we would.

But this time it didn't happen. No further contact was made and I wondered why not ignite the passion again? What happened that there's no longer interest - and how does that make me feel? Hence the attack of wee hour loneliness.  An attack because it sneaks up on me with little warning and for me its important that I attend to such plights of unrest that can affect my peace of mind.

Of course, getting back together is never the most healthy option for either one of us (lest we would never have broken up in the first place). But we rarely think of it that way when we begin to fan the fire of that old flame begin to burn.

And with fire the old feelings heat up - mostly the good (little of the bad).  Giving into heated emotions you start thinking about all the good times you once had together. Hot flashes of how good it was to meet for that "afternoon delight" and you relive those passionate clandestine late night rendezvous. Burning desires return and like an out of control forest blaze, something begins that ultimately leads to disastrous consequences. And you forget in the end you will be brokenhearted and burnt!

So why do it?

That's the question that sent my gray cells pondering.  Although, the fire with the old flame was not rekindled - I was still left with the feeling of being burnt!  And its been a flickering thought ever since we ran into each other. I think it has something to do with admitting I was alone - which somehow implied loneliness - something you don't want your old flame to be privy to (ego, pride, dignity either or all). Still I was compelled to address why the fire had smoldered in the heart of  my old flame. Why no invitation to rekindle the old passion? More importantly knowing the disheartening results of such a heated interaction...why do I care?

As yet I've not come up with a soothing answer.  However, being on fire with thought about this old-flame-burning-desire pattern, I do think may help smoulder the fire for future episodes of this not-so-healthy combustible connection and prevent further flare ups...at least with this old flame.


Loving Thought
True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist, nor can it be hidden where it truly does.”
~ Unknown Author


To be continued...
 Ade,
Peace

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Too Careful?

So where do you stand with DWD?


You know:  Driving While Distracted

I don't do it. I don't dig it.  And I don't let other people do it to me.  I say "to me" because I'm very clear that I can't make other people do anything with/in/or about their car, but because I do love and care about myself, I can tell (ask) while I'm in your car that you don't drive while distracted.

Today that's most likely to mean driving while texting or talking on your cell phone (if you want to discuss driving while putting on make-up, or screaming at the kids or even driving drunk...do it in your own blog).  Because the statistics attached to texting and talking on cell phone while driving represent a new brand of intentional killing (not to mention those accidents that leave people badly hurt, sentenced to a wheelchair and brain dead).

Statistics report that "Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)."

So you might ask yourself, ponder, give this a bit of thought before your next driving while distracted choice:  Do I care about the well-being of the person sitting next me  to as I drive and text? Do I care about the well-being of the people riding in my backseat while drive and dial? Last but not least, do I love and care about my own well-being enough to make the choice not to drive while distracted?

Seems to me its not rocket-science; because you don't have to do it. There's truly nothing so important that you must divide your attention between driving (keeping your eyes on the road) and texting (or dialing on your cell phone). Unless you're a medical personnel trying to save someone's life or a agent of the Governor trying to stop the 12th hour lethal injection of an innocent man...I say there is nothing that important that you have to try to drive safely while distracted! Nothing!

Go ahead...use your cell phone as much and as many hours as you like (it does keep the cell phone companies happy) but do pull into a 7-11, pull off the side of the road or wait until you there to text or dial your celly - it can save lives - maybe even your own.

Look at this way, there are so many things in life that you can't do anything about to make the world a safer, better, more peaceful place to live; you can't stop nuclear warfare, you can't stop drug trafficking, you can't even stop the price of gas from going sky high so that you can drive the car you're driving while distracted.

But this, this is something real and very easy with immediate results you can do that says I love and care about the people in my car, I love and care about the world community, I love and care about myself.

Or maybe you think I'm just being too careful?

Loving Thought
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The Dalai Lama

 
Ade,
Peace

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love in Death

How do you handle death?

Death in the family, death of a friend, death of a co-worker...death of a young child; how do you handle death? 

Indeed, there is more than one way to do anything - and death is no exception.

As you may have heard, there was another crazy, insane, senseless rampage of killing this week at a school in Ohio. Sad and tragic three students died as a result of the fellow student's random violence.

This a painful and challenging reality to come to grips with for the parents of the students who lost their lives, as we as for the parents of the of the gunman schoolmate. Likewise this shooting death at another school has affected the immediate community, the nation and many others who share the disbelief and pain through online connection. A blanket of condolences and support go out families of those young students who lost their lives due to the tragic and irreversible choice of another student.

Certainly, nothing anyone can say this (earlier) in the tragedy to relieve the pain and absorb the overwhelming grief. And as the tragic facts unfolded, I can't help but consider that how I handle death is probably (very) different than most/many people.

Namely, I don't find death to be a horrible thing - even a young child's death. I truly believe it is as God has plans (perhaps people decide to carry out the plan in horrible way). I don't have fits of tears or emotional breakdown (and this is not to say someone close to me has never died - because there have been people very near and dear to me to "pass on" - as some of my family down south might say).

Moreover, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a fits of tears or a relieving cry when somebody you love /care about or know dies (especially in such tragic circumstances).

However, I remember of the story of a woman during the Civil War whose husband was killed in the battle and a clan of men from the opposing side stormed into her home triumphantly delivering the tragic news. After getting the bad news in such a horrible way, the new widower invited the men of the opposing side to join her at the family's table for the meal she was about partake. The unruly men took seats around the table, but as they proceeded to grab food and further dishonor the woman's home, the new widow closed her eyes and bowed her head and began to pray giving thanks for the food, thanking God for the care of her husband that was killed in the battle and in addition praying for the guest seated at her table. As the story goes when the woman finished her prayers and opened her eyes, she was the only one left at the table as all the rowdy and disrespectful men who had caused the death of her husband had fled her home. Apparently the very nerve of the woman to not only pray at such a tragic time, but to "pray positively" and in her "enemy's" favor was powerful enough to ward off the warmongers. When asked how she was able to maintain her composure and pray at such a frightening, tragic and painful time, the widow explained her faith didn't change because circumstances change - not even when the circumstances change in such painful, horrible and tragic way to affect her life.

I think this story is the good way to explain how/why I handle death differently (than most) because I do pray. I pray (affirm) the person "is in a better" place. I pray that the family and loved one's will not suffer prolonged pain of heart. I affirm that loved ones are comforted by sweet memories and familiar times they shared with the person.

I believe the loving grace of God will provide peace even in the most tragic circumstances.

I pray peace for the Chardon High School families and community.


Loving Thought:
“And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”  Kahlil Gibran, The Poet

To be continued...

Ade,
Peace





To be continued...

Award Winning Health!

Congrats to Ms. Octavia Spencer for her Oscar 2012 Academy Award!

Actually I didn't watch The Oscars last night (I don't watch TV in general).

However, today one can't help getting the news (any news...good or bad) from somewhere - that being FB, Twitter, YouTube or direct connection to Internet. And indeed it is good to keep up with what's going on in the world (right?).  So not only did I get the news about her big Oscar 2012 win, there is big news about Ms. Spencer's big...well let's say there's big news about her.

It seems as a result and/or in conjunction with her Oscar win Octavia Spencer is quoted as saying "I figured going into my forties I want my boobs where they were when I was 17,” on the subject of her intent to have breast reduction.  And like all Internet "newsworthy" information, the gossip about Octavia Spencer's proposed breast reduction has spawned opinions, post, polls, FB discussion and blogs discussions (case and point). And of course, I'm inclined to think my blog discussion is a little different than those others. You see this intended breast reduction operation by Octavia Spencer, as well the ongoing (never-ending) Jennifer Hudson Weight Watchers campaign and drastic drop in weight by Star Jones are related to the issue of balance and gives pause for thought about this idea of  instant (drastic) weight loss.

To be clear I'm not saying anyone should maintain an unhealthy weight...absolutely not! And yet, as I ponder the Internet discussions of weight loss, I come back to the matter of balance (of course I would) and I am reminded of last year's YouTube story about  73-year old body builder Ms. Ernestine Shepard who is in magnificent shape! I mean magnificent as in I-could-be-25-shape!

It puts one to shame to think that someone old enough to be your grandmother is in better shape than you - LOL - I can't figure out if I'm more embarrassed, depressed or inspired by her story. Nonetheless, Ms. Ernestine's story is amazing and we would do well to take a hint from her lead (and I have).

However, the thing about being inspired to "get in shape" (lose weight) - the desire may not always mean one is inspired to develop a healthy, balanced program to get in AND stay in shape. More simply put, like the old masters such as Jack Lalanne would advise, a healthy lifestyle is the best - balanced - way to address issues of weight gain/weight loss (further confirmed in a recent Oprah discussion regarding her recent weight gain compared to her dramatic (instant) weight loss in 1988 some 20 years ago).

And of course, someone might say I don't have the same issue of weight - as Octavia Spencer, Star Jones or Queen Latifah (who point to health issues for their breast reduction) or Jennifer Hudson before her dramatic weight loss.  But let me tell you when I was teenage girl if there had been something called breast reduction surgery - I would have begged my mother to check me in!  It was horrible (especially emotionally) being a teenager with such "weight" on me (and dirty old men made it no less horrible). So I do know - from personal experience (and emotional pain) about having a body which one wishes could be changed instantly!

But for grace, thankfully there was no such procedure - in my world - to make an instant body change (and even if there were my mother could not afford and would not have arranged this cosmetic operation - as many mothers are doing today).  Indeed, eventually as I matured - nature, spiritual practice and healthy dietary habits, my breast "issue" would cease to be an "issue" - literally and figuratively.  But I digress, my thought here is one regarding the adult option and/choice to make "instant" changes in one's body (please don't lump this with any discussion about life-threatening body/health concerns).

The fact is whether one is inspired to "drop the weight" by an Academy Award, A Grammy or an amazing granny (respectfully said), one must consider making choices to incorporate healthy and balanced lifestyle changes such as those comedian, actress and Talk Show Host Mo'Nique incorporated to achieve her dramatic weight loss and improved health

So perhaps you're asking "What does all this talk about Oscars, breast reduction and weight loss have to do with a blog where I'm supposed to 'write on love'?"   Or maybe not.  Maybe like many of us you are also realizing that the beginning of our best love, begins first with developing a healthy, loving, balanced relationship with ourselves.

Loving Thought:

Hallow the body as a temple to comeliness and sanctify the heart as a sacrifice to love; love recompenses the adorers.   Khalil Gibran


To be continued...
Ade,
Peace

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lovers

I know you have one - you can't forget - won't let go - wish you could, but can't.

If you don't - God bless you when you do!

If you have...follow me for this discussion on old love(rs); this is also good reading for those headed toward "the one".

I can't forget him!

Well in my case...its several hymns - as in favorite songs we repeat because the song lingers in our mind and stays close to our heart - for me old lovers really is like that.

Sweet memories...fun, joyful, youthful, free, unscripted, no games, flowing, needing, wanting to be needed, loving, being loving, wanting love, feeling loved, just plain ole simple, passionate pleasure!

These are the reasons I can't, won't, haven't been able to let go of those old love(rs) - at least not in my heart.  And I'm not sure I want to - or need to (although psychologist and others suggest it is good to let go of those old love(rs)).

But I say "Why?"

Why let go of something that feels good, makes you feel good, is free, is uniquely yours, and has brought you such joy?

Why must the heart let go of old love(rs)?

They would answer because "Old" lovers hold you back from new love; old lovers keep you tied to what was and what's over and done - anchor to what is no longer possible - stuck on chapters that are closed."

And to this I say..."Olove(rs) are the reason I am able to go forward, forge ahead with love in spite of any hurt, against heartache or heartbreak, keep the faith, believe, know that love - even old love is good for the heart.

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.  Judy Garland


To be continued...
 
Ade,
Peace