Pondering the new year…centering it around LOVE!

Once again we are at the end of a year and facing the beginning of a new one. For what ever reason I always get excited about the possibilities that lie ahead this time of year and with that excitement I like to make list of what I want to achieve and experience moving forward. I have always been a deep thinker and I love making list of goals and day dreaming of what is possible. As we enter the new year many of us reflect back to what happened in the past year good or bad. I have had some bad in regards to friends passing, storm damage and unfortunate happenings that resulted in a non extant bank balance at times but I choose not to focus on those things. They happen, they are a part of life and I want to take all things good or bad and focus on what those experiences gave me not what they took away from me. Negative things DO happen, life is like that but when you choose to focus on only the positive, you move through “things” quicker and that enhances your quality of life.

So with the new year quickly approaching here is my list so far:

-come out of the closet….as a mixed media artist! My friends have known for years of my artistic endeavors and how I have been giving my art to charity and as gifts. I have not publicly marketed or shown my work as an artist and I have hopes of extending my creative career with additional income doing this in 2012!

-learn how to weld by taking a welding class, yep I have wanted this for years but I hope this will be the year I finally learn, I want to be able to make table legs and lamps after learning how to throw fire from a torch!

-look into the possibilities of re-launching “ReTune Nashville” as a non-profit 501c3 that helps raise money for inner city schools art and music programs. This has been in the back of my mind since ReTune Nashville was launched as a flood relief project. I have a teaching background and understand the politics and lack of budget available for these programs and I truly believe that  music and art can help those students who are not doing well academically. Imagine the possibilities we could create for underprivileged kids by giving them a reason to feel self worth through art and music. Imagine a non profit that also allows those who contribute to have a platform to share their talents with the world. This is not just a platform about giving to help, it is helping and being showcased as a mentor for artistic and musical talent. It is about giving back and becoming an inspiration to others. I have a vision and pray that God will bring the people into my life who have the strengths to make this a reality!

-offer a workshop to people wanting to know how to take better pictures and how to use imagery to promote themselves in the world of social media. Working on the logistics now, hoping I have the appeal and value to offer others inspiration and knowledge to improve their visibility!

-continue meeting and making new friends who inspire me through positivity!

– continue writing about my personal experiences in a way that inspires others to be more loving to themselves and to others. My hope is to motivate others to be happier in their lives through positive thinking!

-date more…have fun dating and enjoy the pursuit of flirtation that it creates!

-and of course the one thing on the list every year…work out and lose those few extra pounds, my new “Move’s Like Jagger” plan has great potential!

I still have a few days left to add to this list but I also want to reflect on how 2011 has enriched my life. The hurdles I have experienced and what will stand out most as my greatest memories from the year.

-the most important thing 2011 has given to me is the gift of love and wonderful friendships. I am extremely grateful for the beautiful friends I have in my life, how those relationships grew this year and how love has multiplied all around me due to those wonderful relationships.

-I am blessed to have had a better year in business than the past few years due to the economy, I was able to pick up some big accounts including the Cracker Barrel and feel so blessed to be doing what I love and getting paid for it.

-I am grateful for all the volunteers, sponsors and support of so many people through out Nashville who helped make “ReTune Nashville” so successful. I am proud that all of our hard work was able to raise $ 65,000.00 to help musicians and songwriters who were directly affected by the flood of 2010. It was a one year labor of love and commitment and by far the most gratifying thing I have ever been a part of in this lifetime.

-I lost two very important friends…a best friend from my past life in Orlando, Florida Victoria Bowen died from heart issues at the age of 51 and one of my best friends Dina D’Gerolamo passed away in September, she was my age, we had similar backgrounds and I felt a connection to her like a family member. Although I miss them both so much I know they are in a better place and I am so honored to have had the chance to have had their friendship while they were alive, I will cherish those memories for a lifetime!

So with that I am done for now with my pondering….I am curious what your new year has in store. Please feel free to share with me your list! One last thing I want to hope for in the new year, I hope that every single one of you out there choose to enhance your life with love this year. Love toward others, love for something you enjoy doing, love for your family, love for what you eat, love for who you spend time with, love for where you go, love for what you share, love in all your judgement, love in the words that leave your mouth, love in forgiveness, and most of all love for your self. If we all put a little more effort into “LOVE” I believe the world will be a better place, one baby step at a time. And with that I hope you will spread the word of “Love”, I will continue working on my art series “Love Is…” and wishing you all love from the bottom of my goofy, humble, grateful, open, touched heart, pass it on!

Love, loneliness and a goofy dream…

I awoke from a dream the other morning in a panic. I had dreamed that I was invited to a Christmas party, everyone there was dressed up with dates including all my ex boyfriends and I was the only one who showed up alone. In the dream I left and started calling all of the hot guys I knew trying to find one to meet me so I didn’t feel so alone but no one could come. In that moment I awoke and I had a sickening feeling in the bottom of my stomach, I was sad, embarrassed and lonely all in that instant. It was as if I was a character in one of those cheesy love stories I have enjoyed watching most of my life, you know the ones…

-the woman who is always with the cheater

-the woman who gets dumped for a prettier or younger woman

-the woman who works too much so no one is interested

-the woman who is too shy, geeky or different and no one wants her

-the woman who’s friends and family say she needs to be married but she cant find a good man

During the holidays when we don’t have family around, friends available and/or we lack a partner to share our time with we may feel lonelier than normal. We have all been in a lonely place at some point in our lives, male or female and often we allow our thoughts to reflect negatively towards ourselves in those times of loneliness. As humans we all want to have a partner to share our love with and when that is not in our lives we sometimes feel inadequate.

I believe that women are generally more sensitive and often more insecure than most men. We tend to treat ourselves terrible with negative self-talk and often that shows outwardly as insecurity especially when we are single. There are a lot of single gals here in Nashville and based on the conversations I have had over the years many of them feel like damaged goods. They can’t figure out why they can’t find a guy or why they always get the guys who are not so perfect for them. There are a lot of women who have never been married and feel they are missing out on something. Some who wanted children yet never quite found the guy that was right for that path. I have come to learn through conversations with my guy friends that women are not always alone in these feelings. As humans we judge ourselves much harder than others and often give off that energy of insecurity. We take our negative experiences with past partners, hold on to the hurt and eventually believe that all partners will be this way. Sometimes these uncomfortable internal feelings can make us treat others in a negative way because of our fear of being hurt. Wether we are hurting others or being hurt the cost of carrying that around is negative and will continue to have negative consequences with our happiness if we don’t learn how to let go of the negativity and change the pattern.

I believe that we attract the energy we are offering in life depending on where we are in our thinking at any given time. It may sound silly but I believe if we can learn to accept ourselves, do a little work to get and keep our mindset in a positive state we will have healthier people come into our lives. This is true with not only companionship but with all relationships. If we allow things to happen keeping a positive outlook rather than passing judgement and allowing our past experiences to resurface we will attract better experiences into our lives. The amount of power we have over our thoughts allows us to change the reoccurring negative things along our life path. I know this is true because I have met people in my life who are always genuinely happy and positive and their lives seem to continue to stay on a positive path because of their attitude not because they are lucky!

These day’s the most important thought I have when facing new opportunities is “am I happy, will this make me happy or is this a positive path that will allow me to feel good”. By allowing these thoughts to occur when facing something I am unsure of I offer myself the opportunity of awareness, not repeat behavior. When I am feeling good and make others feel good it makes me feel even better about myself. I am not saying that I always take the right path but by reminding myself of what is important and being aware of those things as they are happening I feel I am making better choices. No more auto pilot…auto pilot gives me the quickest result not the most beautiful route!

I am sure that this dream signifies something in my own life that I need to look deeper into but I am unsure what exactly that might be. I have gone a year being single and enjoying the fun that it brings. I really have not cared wether I had a date or not because I have enjoyed my time of discovery with in myself and the fun flirting can be with men I have an interest in. I was not consciously making an effort to BE single I just haven’t felt a need or desire to put the effort into anyone. I spent the year looking within my self, doing what I wanted for ME, finding fun things to do and surrounding myself with people who make me happy. I buried myself in charity work, in personal work, in art and learning how to be spiritual alone-just me and my higher power. I revisited my past decisions, forgave the other person, considered the lessons learned, accepted I had a choice in those situations, forgave myself and let go. Some of those past experiences were tough and have continued to re-surface but I am making progress. Allowing myself to forgive, take accountability and letting go sometimes requires revisiting, reworking and redirecting how to take the negative and fill it with something positive. We are human and because of our egos some issues at hand are more difficult to overcome. If we are holding on to anger because someone did something that truly was wrong and unkind we think we feel better playing the victim but carrying that weight will have some negative affect on any relationship moving forward. We will feel complete and eventually happier if we  allow ourselves to feel the hurt, be humble, forgive and let go.

It’s funny after I awoke from that strange dream feeling sad, in the next minute I started laughing because in every one of those silly movies the woman always finds true love. I know I will find it when I am ready and when I do it will be better than any love I have had in the past because with every day that passes I am becoming a better person. With that I know I will attract a healthy, loving and beautiful person into my life! While I am on this journey I am reminded daily of how wonderful love is even if it excludes a partner. Love is always available, I have beautiful loving friends and a loving family so I am not lacking by any means.

If you are out there questioning your worth, feeling insecure and thinking you are not worthy of love remember we are ALL worthy, we are all human and we all sometimes need to take a closer look at how we are treating ourselves. If you are feeling alone because you do not have a partner stop and believe that finding that person can be just as fun as having them. In that moment if you can accept and believe you are a wonderful and loving person deserving of love, and I promise you are, you will be that much closer to finding a loving partner because it has to start on the inside first! Love yourself and watch what shows up all around you! Wishing you all a happy holiday and as always sending love…pass it on!

The Smell of New Beginnings….

I love the first signs of spring, especially after such a cold winter. The tree outside my bedroom has started showing some small blooms that make me smile each day as I watch them get bigger. Soon there will be a wall of beautiful white flowers intertwined with green separating my view of the house next door, the birds will serenade me each morning and my nose will be alive with the smell of new beginnings.

I feel like that tree outside my window….new beginnings are ahead and I feel anxious, sad, excited and lonely all at the same time. I feel a shift happening in my life once again, I realize that the more I make an effort to live with purpose the more things keep changing. The past year has been filled with new experiences, new friendships and the satisfaction of offering my time to help others to a level I never thought I would have the ability to reach. With the end of ReTune Nashville quickly approaching I realize I am looking forward to slowing down my schedule some and allowing my personal life to flourish. I have been in a committed relationship for the past 8 months but that recently ended due in part by my busy schedule and a lack of communication. As our lives change we must have a partner who is willing to go along with the changes and understand that sometimes part of growing is accepting the one you are with may not always be available when you need them to be or that they may not be who you want them to be. Supporting another’s efforts is not always comfortable but can bring you closer if you are willing to be patient. I have found comfort lately in John Mayer…”When All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye”, “Perfectly Lonely”, “Half of My Heart”.  I love the lyrics, they make me feel good because they are as much me as they are him!

Relationships are lessons and each time they fail we learn something about ourselves and something about what we want to look for in the next. As I get older I know I have become very set in my ways. I am a very independent woman and although I consider myself open minded I know I am extremely stubborn. I am aware of my imperfections but I also know I am a good person and have a lot to offer someone who is open minded, can communicate and has patience. Why is it that couples often get to a point where they feel insulting each other will somehow bring comfort in the one insulting through the pain of the one receiving? An apology can help heal some of the pain but the scar is still there just below the surface. Follow that with the reassurance of love and things become confusing if the pattern continues. At some point the words really don’t mean anything, they start to carry less of an impact, over time resentment will replace any pattern because each side has to continue the cycle in order to feel validated. Love doesn’t insult for the sake of validation, that is NOT love, that is manipulation. I was married to that for 10 years. Love is patience, acceptance, appreciating, giving and communicating with an open mind even when things may not be going as you want. Love is complicated yet simple, it is soothing yet painful but it is beautiful even as you watch it go away.

When you are learning how to spend time without a partner you often experience an emptiness or loneliness as you re-learn what to do with all your free time. No more phone calls, no more emails or text messages just you and the silence of your time spent alone. I believe there are two forms of “loneliness”. I have been told that if you believe in God you will never be lonely. While I believe this to a certain degree it is my opinion that loneliness is experienced spiritually and physically. When you are spiritually lonely you are lost in life because you have no direction or motivation, you struggle with who you are, what your purpose is and you feel something is missing but you can’t find relief to what “that” is and you feel stuck. For me it is a time to re-connect to self, with God, to get quiet and clear my mind. It is a time to begin believing internally that I am ok, that I am not alone and the “feeling” of what that is like is just as important as thinking about it.  The act of internalizing physical loneliness is completely different, it is the yearning of connecting with someone, it is touch, it is feeling love in your heart toward someone else and friends can serve this need to some extent.  As humans we have the desire to be loved, we thrive on the excitement of being with someone we are attracted to and the need for physical attention. We want to feel connected to someone weather a friend or a lover. A lover is where intimacy comes into play and we all want that but when that is not there we feel a little out of sorts.

I feel alive right now, like the blooms outside of my window. I am growing, I am maturing and I know that there will always be a cycle of loss in life but eventually the beauty that is always available to me will show up as long as I take the time to believe it is possible. I can smell new beginnings and I am excited for the next chapter because in life that is what makes us feel complete, it is the journey not just the experience.  I made a promise to myself that my life would be as full as I have the time to make it while there is still a breath of life in my lungs, vision in my eyes and love in my heart…

Sending love out to all of you, please pass it on!

Feeling a little off on this "V" day but sending love…

I slept in today and that is not something that happens often.  I actually was awake but couldn’t (for some reason) bring myself to want to get out of bed.  Today is Valentines Day and all week leading up to today I have read post, received emails and talked to friends who were dreading the day’s arrival.   “Love Stinks” parties and “Single Valentines” events for those sad souls who are without a partner.  Those who are in relationships complaining how the hype makes the holiday expensive with limited restaurant menu’s and expensive price tags.  All this stress over a day focusing on “LOVE”.   Why  do we really need a day to remind us to be grateful and celebrate the one or one’s we love.  Everyday we should be showing love and for a day that was created for the sake of love it seems so many are stressed out and wanting it to pass as quickly as possible.

I am happy today, my dad’s birthday was yesterday, this week several of my friends are celebrating their b-days and I have wonderful people I love in my life.  Today I started my day with a kiss and a hug to my big white pink eared dog and a call to my mom to say happy “V” day and “I love you”.  Sure, it would be great to have someone special to celebrate the occasion with and in time I will be in that place but I won’t need a “specific” day to remind me show love to that special someone, it will be shown everyday.

So I have to admit although I have been happy all week, grateful for the busy work week and looking forward to a little quiet relaxation time I have felt a little off.  I have been aware of it but not sure what it was about.  I avoided people all weekend and enjoyed spending time at home alone watching cheesy movies about falling in love.  I often with draw, I enjoy being alone at times, I am not feeling depressed in any way so although I am not feeling sociable I feel happy overall.  Perhaps I feel a little off because I am trying to use less sugar in my diet and have felt a little out of sorts over the experience and the failures at times.  I though it was the reason I was feeling restless all week and having a hard time focusing.

As I become a healthier person in mind, body and spirit I am learning that often things trigger past events in our lives.  That no matter how positive or happy we are there will always be times of reflection that might feel painful yet need to be experienced.  I believe these events happen because we need to be reminded of who we are, where we have been and by believing that happiness lies with in our own minds we keep moving forward.  These events are reminders for us to see the beauty in all things, good or bad, and to live life feeling and growing rather than being numb to the process.  More often than not if we keep a positive mind set and believe these events are there to help us grow we will see something beautiful on the other side from the experience.  Individually, for each of us this is our very own road of life, we make the decisions where and when to turn so we must live with where ever we end up!  I choose to be happy no matter where I land.

The truth is that Todd has been on my mind a lot this week and I think maybe Valentines is the trigger.  I have had some dreams of him, I have been missing him and I am sad that he is gone.  I never watch tv and this week found myself watching an episode of Celebrity Rehab, connecting so much with what was happening in the episode especially with the drama. For those of you who are new to my post, Todd passed away a year and a half ago of a drug overdose.  I dated him for two years prior and was unaware of his issues, after a year of dating and then moving in together I realized he had an addiction.  I tried to get him help and eventually had to break up with him because I could no longer handle his addiction.  It was a tough decision because I loved him dearly but I could no longer deal with the events that the drug and alcohol addiction had created in our lives, he died eight month later.  I have never been into drugs, I don’t even like to take aspirin and other than drinking alcohol on occasion I prefer to feel in control of my body, my mind and my actions.  I am very nieve to the habits and characteristics drugs create because I have no knowledge of what they do internally nor how they make you feel.  Now days everyone seems to be taking pharmaceutical drugs….personally I think these might be worse than any of the ones I knew about when I was younger.  The bottom line is that losing someone you love is tough especially when it is sudden and unexpected, it takes time to heal and although it gets easier over time things do resurface.  You do repeat the grieving process and remember the person who is no longer living.

Todd has been on my mind, although I have been happy this week there has been a slight unknowing sadness or feeling of being off.  I realized this morning while lying in bed that three years ago Todd had given me a beautiful saffire ring (not an engagement ring) for valentines, it was one of the most memorable and happy valentines I can remember ever having.

So here I am not sure why I am writing today but wanting to say something to lift my spirits and yours, at least those of you who may be feeling a bit down on this day of recognizing “LOVE”.  What I can say is this…I am ever so grateful that even though Todd has passed I had the opportunity to love him, to be loved by him knowing he loved me the best he could in light of his addiction and realizing that in life there are no guarantees.  We must remember to show our love to all those who are important to us, lovers, friends, family and even strangers.  Life is a constant learning platform with up’s and downs.  At times things may not seem fair, bad things do happen but the ability to think positive even when you might not be feeling it will make all the difference in your life and in being happy.

Love comes in many forms, kindness is the greatest and it is within all of us, it is free and always available to give. Today I am grateful for every single thing in my life.  Thinking of all those unfortunate people in Haiti and what they are having to endure makes me that much more grateful and makes me want to give more because I have the ability to do so.  Today I celebrate “Valentine Day” buy saying to all of you…those I know and those I do not, “I love you” for being who you are, for reading this and for being in my life.  Sending love out to everyone….until next time!  SMOOCH!!!!

Join me in celebrating February as the “LOVE” month…lets make it contagious together!

This year I want you all to join me in celebrating February as the “LOVE” month.  No I have not regressed with age to the likes of a hippie although I have had someone call me a hippie chic recently.  Generally those who are in relationships feel the love during this month due to Valentines Day but I think the whole month (whether you are in love or not) should be celebrated with love.  I believe every month it should be celebrated but for now lets just focus on February!

This new place I have found in life revolves around being grateful for what I have, not allowing myself to focus on what I don’t and giving something back.  I have grown to understand the importance of self-love and now realize that having that allows me to give more love outside of myself.  Maybe I have watched too many romantic movies lately or maybe  I have focused too much on the wisdom of Dr. Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay.  The point is that something has shifted inside of me in the past year and I have become so full of love and gratitude that I want to share it and make it contagious.  The more I give out the more it comes back to me and the more I smile.

Let me start with the things I love on an average day in the life of me….

I love my daily 7:20 AM call from Mom in Florida, just hearing her voice, the fact she wonders what I have planned and her saying to me “I love you” just before she hangs up.  I love the kisses I get from my 100lb, 1 year old big pink eared dog just before he rings the bell hanging on the back door to go out for his morning poo.  I love the painful hour of exercise I do everyday to get my day started and how it makes me feel, how it gives me time to think, clear my head, get focused and to breath.  I love the view I see from my treehouse on the hill looking out my kitchen window each and every morning as I make my morning coffee or tea, it makes me smile every single day.  I love that I have been fortunate enough to spend every day of my adult life thus far taking pictures, creating art and doing what makes my heart sing.  I love the checking in of my friends through out the day weather on FB, by text or by phone and I am so grateful for all those who acknowledge me, I have the greatest friends in the world.  I love Nashville and my home, the warmth it brings me and the fact that I survived the journey that brought me here.  I love that I have healed from that journey, that I have found inner happiness and that I smile more because of it.  As I end each day I love the comfort of my bed, the softness of my cotton sheets, the twinkle of the lights in the distance that I see from my bedroom window as I lay my head down to sleep. I love that I am healthy, alive and feel completely connected to something much bigger than I am (who I call God).

I believe love is the single most important thing we have yet we seldom see it because we get so caught up in the rush of everyday life.  If you could imagine for a moment that it was felt by all and replaced feelings of hate, judgement, arrogance and racism (among many others)…how do you think our world would look as opposed to the way it looks right now?  I could speak of love far longer than you might care to read so I will end by saying I love that I was given the gift of creativity, I believe I am good at it and that I am finding ways to use it to give back.  Life reflects how we think, love is what we all need, and I believe is what we were put here to do.  No matter how busy you are, how little money you have or how bad you may think your life is, today lets all begin to celebrate the month of “LOVE” and see what comes back.  What are the things that YOU LOVE in the average day of YOU?  Are you grateful?  Do you show your love to others?  This month give LOVE openly, and see where it takes you.  Love is a gift to us all, it is meant to be shared…you have no excuse not to love because it is free!