Oct 5 2012

My aha moment with commitment on my journey into dating…

LOVE 768x1024 My aha moment with commitment on my journey into dating...

I  have spent the past year ready to date, I have tried different avenues and I have to say I have found my journey so far pretty interesting. I have learned more about my self than I ever imagined because I thought dating was about others. I have seen many of my friends go through breakups, people I thought were truly meant to be together and it has shifted some of my belief in the reality of what we see in others versus truth. I have had deep conversations with both men and women about the process of dating, the kinds of dates out there and the journey to find what we are looking for in our search for love. I wanted to share with you all what I am discovering and my hope is that you will contact me with your own insight after reading.

The first thing I want to say is I am learning. I am learning about the human condition, the desire to want and to be wanted, to love and to be loved, to trust and to be trusted. I believe over time as we age we become very set in our ways based on our life styles, our desires and our choices. I had an interesting conversation with someone recently who seems to have more confidence in himself than anyone I have ever met. He appears to have no fears of dating or with relationships. He spoke confidently about how easy it was to gain any woman’s interest and admitted to cheating on past lovers. He seems to always have beautiful women at his beaconing but when I look at him I see something missing, I don’t see him being truly happy. In my opinion he appears to act the part of being a “stud” but appears to fear getting too close to anyone. I have to ask you men out there is having any woman your desire really that great, do you not hope for more, is it fulfilling to just sleep around if there is no deep connection? I am sure there are women that should also be asked that question. Upon digging deeper I discovered that with my friends lifestyle of playing the field he had never actually experienced the heartbreak of someone cheating on him and no one had ever broke up with him. He was always in control in every relationship he had been in. In my own journey I have been cheated on by almost every man I have ever dated and here before me was one of those guys, yet he had never been cheated on. Could it be that those who cheat have no idea of the pain they cause those whom they cheat on? I tried to image how it would feel to have never experienced what that act of betrayal feels like, how would I be different, my mindset, my actions, my choices.

I pondered that for weeks and wondered is that perhaps the way a player gets labeled? We all seem to have a different definition of what a “player” is. In my world a player is someone who leads someone into believing they are “the only one” while dating (or sleeping with) multiple people at the same time. They are truly playing the field with no desire to be in a committed relationship. Is a player a bad person, I don’t believe that is the case, I believe they are that way because they fear something when it comes to relationships. Can a player be honest? I think they can be honest in saying they are not looking for commitment but somewhere down the line they are being dishonest if they are not telling the truth with who they are spending their time with or where they are spending their time. The worst part of their dishonesty is that they are not allowing themselves to be loved or to love and that is, in my opinion what we as humans are supposed to experience. I won’t label this a man or woman thing because I am finding through my guy friends that there seem to be just as many women players as men.

I have talked to men about the women out there and there are a lot of women who say they want desperately to be in a relationship but are playing the same games as the men. Partying every night and serial dating in men and women will not find you anything other than that. Trying to find the right mix is hard but you have to know what you want before you can start finding what you want. Making changes that are not always comfortable but sometimes they create the greatest treasures.

The biggest common thread in all my discussions of dating were that on the topic of cheating. So why do people feel the need to cheat? Yes this still applies to the dating scenario early on because you have to trust that date as you are getting to know them or you are never going to feel fulfilled in a relationship with that person. After talking to so many people who have experienced being cheated on I started to think about what our society is putting out there in regards to morals. In my opinion cheating and lying go hand in hand, it is not only a moral thing but a selfish thing and that is where integrity comes into play. My mom always told me treat others how you would want them to treat you. That has always stuck in my mind and it is how I have learned to live with integrity. I admit I am no angel, I have slipped outside the realms of integrity and honesty in my past but I can say in the last 3 years I have worked very hard to become a person I love, living with honesty and integrity frees up my insides so that I can deal more clearly with what is happening on the outside. It truly feels good to be in that space! I recently visited Jason Aldean’s FB page after those pictures were put out there of him kissing all over a woman in a bar. I was amazed that most of the remarks were forgiving him because “we all make mistakes”. I think our society is starting to believe that and with that train of thought we are doomed with ever having true devotion and trust with someone, with fully giving our hearts or with love. True, we all do make mistakes but we shouldn’t just brush it under the rug and move on. An apology is not change, changing our behavior, understanding what truth is and how it feels to live with that is change. Treating others the way we want to be treated is key. I am sure Jason would’t feel so good if his wife had been caught in the same situation. What has happened to our morals, to our desire to be honest loving people. I hate watching tv any more because everything out there is about cheating, dishonesty and anger. My friend Amy Venezia had a great post on flirting recently that also shows how our morals are changing referring to “the grass is greener on the other side…”.

So our past, especially our childhood sets up the path to the people we become, the struggles we deal with and the places where change needs to take place in most cases. Being aware is the first step. It dawned on me that I may be dating those “not so truthful” kind of guys because I am not being truthful with myself about my own commitment issues. I was taught very early on in my life through people close to me that trust, commitment and love hurt. It was played out over and over and as I grew older I wouldn’t allow myself to give my heart fully to anyone because I always feared it would be hurt. The problem is, giving a little of your heart still hurts when someone betray’s you. Most times I would feel as if I was in control, stay in a relationship knowing it was wrong, the signs were there but I always questioned my own judgement more than the actions of the person betraying me. Over and over again I attracted the same kinds of men, gave just enough to be hurt and experienced the same pattern. I believe they were good people but not good “FOR” me. Last week I had that aha moment when I caught myself making sharp, sourcastic remarks about my lack of belief in marriage and the idea that all men were the same. I was laying in bed and started feeling really embarrassed with what I had said, I felt the energy when those words left my mouth and those around me had nothing to add. I realized they did not feel the same and I was coming off as one of those wounded, angry broken hearted people. Well folks if the shoe fits you will wear it! I began digging deeper and realized how perfect “players or bad boys” are for me, they don’t want commitment for their own reasons so they do what they do. I date them because I fear anyone who shows me too much attention, who isn’t a challenge or who might make me commit. That “game” of keeping them interested knowing they won’t commit is no different than them keeping me interested yet wanting to be with others because nothing is holding their interest fully. Wow, in that moment I realized what a turd I was being, how can I find a good relationship with out realizing my commitment issues. I definitely won’t attract that into my life. Yes I truly believe we attract, weather consciously or unconsciously what we are putting out there and folks my banter was creating exactly what I was supposed to have!

So with my dating experience so far I have discovered woman are just as scared of commitment as men often seem to be. People cheat because they are not whole inside and until they discover and repair what lies on the inside they will not be able to find or make healthy choices on the outside. We all need to feel a spark, it may not always be the personality, it might just not be the right energy. There has to be intrigue, compatibility or something that creates chemistry. Just because someone is hot as hell doesn’t mean it will make for great chemistry, it might in the beginning but that will go away quickly once time factors in. We are all searching for something but we have to be in tune with our hearts, with our emotions and with our choices to figure out what we really want. Life is a lesson and dating is a huge part of finding one of the many links to wholeness. As I said earlier, I am learning. Just because I have had some aha moments does’t mean my choices will change right away or that I will attract the right one for me right away. I still have work to do, I have to start by changing my vocabulary. My negative banter is a defense mechanism because I don’t want to be hurt. It is tough talk yet I am as fragile as a baby on the inside. I will start right now by admitting out loud that I do want to find love, I want to be in a relationship and I am not apposed to marriage. BUT I want it to be healthy, I want to be aware of what I am offering, not just expecting the other person to give me what I want. I want to be the best person I can be for that person who will someday be in my life. I know relationships can become work but communication is key. I want to be sure they are deserving of me, that they believe in honesty and they live with integrity. I know that in a relationship each person has to give and take. They should be proud of who they are with, comfortable being themselves around each other and share not only what they want with their partner but also their fears. The person I am with has to love himself first or I can’t expect him to be able to love me. I had to discover that in myself and I get it. We all have the ability to attract a mate whom we desire we just have to believe we do and that we can! I have my list of what I am looking for, I know what I want I have to remind myself to not settle and to keep my emotions in line with my gut. I know my awareness has to help me in the future as long as I continue to love myself. I may get my heart broken again but at least Im willing to open my heart up enough to feel love and that is part of being alive.

We have all worn different hat’s in life, some were just a phase we were going through others were our true style. I am creating a hat that fits perfectly for me as I head into the next 40+ years, this time with a better understanding of how I tick and what it feels like to operate with internal love for myself first. My goal is to be the absolute best I can be, for myself and toward others with integrity yet without judgement.

Thank you for reading, I hope to hear from you. Sending love….pass it on!

Dec 24 2011

Love, loneliness and a goofy dream…

love 1024x682 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!

Jul 10 2011

Contemplating my anxiety, boredom, a lost compass and a goal almost competed!

Today I awoke feeling restless, wanting to release some anxiety and not really understanding why I was irritable and uneasy. Nothing had happened, no apparent reason for feeling this way but believing there must be something unsettled within me.  Have you ever felt that way? I sat around quietly at first, turned on some music then silent again. It is interesting to just sit quietly and listen. The things around the room, the dog breathing, the fridge, the ac, a motorcycle in the distance. At first it can be uncomfortable but once you allow yourself to become relaxed your mind begins to speak to you. Thoughts and memories come out of no where, nothing is organized just random things but without the noise of tv, radio or people you actually hear your thoughts. After several hours of contemplating, reflecting on where I’ve been, where I am, what seems good or bad within me, the only thing I could come up with was I am ready for some change. Something new, I am unsure what, maybe seek out some new friends, a new hobby, join a new group or something. After several hours of silence I took a nap because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. When I awoke I realized that I need something in my life to intrigue me, to stimulate me, to interest and inspire me because I am becoming too comfortable in my daily regiment which is beginning to bore me. I believe this is what  is creating my anxiety.

What would you do if your compass was broke? I guess in a way that is how I am feeling right now. I am out there doing but not sure what direction I am headed. I have been so dedicated over the past year, first to ReTune Nashville and now to myself, my art and my career and all of a sudden feel a little lost. My entire life I felt I had a map, a goal and a direction, when ever I felt this way I would create more busyness or on several occasions pack up move somewhere new without knowing anyone and start my life over. It kept me happy, it kept me re-mapping my destination, perhaps it was a form of running as my father once said to me but it always worked and pointed me one step closer to where I am now. Eventually I realized that I had to love myself and that is what I have worked towards for the past 10 years here in Nashville. This place I am in now feels different, back then I was not happy with me, once I learned of self love I became happy, now I am just bored. My life list of accomplishments have pretty much been by design minus the things in my relationship sector, and I am unsure what I want next. Nashville is my home 100% so there will be no move in my future to take me to my fresh new life ahead.

I have restricted my social activity and spent many, many hours working towards new year goals I set for myself in January. One in particular was to not date, to focus on me, to get healthier in body and in mind. When I set the “NO” dating goal I told myself I would re-visit dating in August because I felt that would be enough time to get healthy. Dating often seems like a job search to me and I really am not interested in that process. So many of my friends are on dating sites and it all looks too overwhelming to me. It seems it should be so much more simple than that. I always find myself meeting great men but not having any chemistry and then having a difficult time figuring out how to let them know without hurting their feelings in hopes of maintaining a friendship. My problem is that I very seldom feel an attraction or chemistry and then am left with the realization of what a man would think if faced with “I just want to be friends”, most do not want to stick around for that. Maybe it is silly but I love the immediate WOW factor when you have big energy with someone you just met. It is not just physical attraction it is the conversation, the intrigue, the entire package not just one part. Perhaps this is why men and woman seem very different, or maybe it is just me. Men are wired differently and seem to be intrigued with women first through physical attraction before anything else even registers. Please share with me if I have this wrong!

I have been told by several friends that I have no game, that I am unapproachable or that I need to learn the art of flirting. Maybe this is true but I have never really felt I was like any other woman out there. I am not one to flirt with a stranger, to dress flashy in order to turn a head or to have to work at being the center of attention. I am somewhat shy in the presence of an attractive man, even more so if I am attracted to him directly and maybe I give off the impression of not being interested. I feel men have become lazy, they put no effort into the process of dating, maybe that is because so many women are throwing themselves at them or that women have become so independent that men don’t actually have to do anything any more. I think women have become too aggressive and often come off as being desperate. What is wrong with a little mystery, with patience and with getting to know someone before pursuing anything. Maybe I have watched too many movies, maybe too old fashion or perhaps just a hopeless romantic but I can’t be something I am not and if that causes me to remain single because I am not willing to compromise or settle for something I am not then so be it.

When I look at the overall dating scene especially for people my age I realize it is complicated because we have spent half of our lives becoming who we are. I think that many people, male and female are trying too hard, looking for someone who will fill a void that is missing in their lives. I think that there are so many people who can’t just sit and be quiet without freaking out to the silence…which we all know is not silence but our inner voice speaking to us. If we can’t sit alone with ourselves and be happy how can we expect to have someone else make us happy. No one can fulfill that void, that “Thing” that is missing because that thing is inside of us not out there in someone else. If more people realized this I think there would be more happiness and more love within us all. We would allow others to be as they are and love that they are unique, if things don’t match our expectations we have the choice to leave. Making a person wrong for not being what you want will not work, love does not insult for the sake of validation!

What I have learned with age is that the more I am honest with myself and with others the better I become. The more I love myself and life the healthier I am. I am comfortable with who I am, I love my life no matter what it lacks, I have forgiven myself and others for anything and everything from my past and I am by far the healthiest both inside and out than I have ever been in my life. I know that if a man comes into my life he will get a beautiful person, not a perfect person…there are flaws despite my self confidence. Most of all he will get me and will either love that or not. I don’t really think that my anxiety is from the lack of a man being in my life but I do feel allowing myself back in the game could add some interest and perhaps allow me to let go of some of this boredom. How to find a date is another story and it is not August yet so I will wait till then to worry about that. I know that you have to want to date to get a date so until August….sending love out to you all!

Mar 24 2011

The birthday that hit me in the head with a brick of knowledge….

I have been celebrating my birthday for almost a week, it is something I started on my 40th birthday a few years back. I acknowledge my age with a yearly house party where a generous number of friends from all walks of life join me to a night of fun. I have been told that my friend base is as eclectic as the decor throughout my house and I absolutely love embracing all kinds of personalities, it allows me to grow, to learn and be who I am- different! This year it was tough for me to muster up excitement, I was in a funk and not sure why. Maybe it was that I recently went through a break up, or that I have not had a significant other for the past 3 birthdays, or that I am starting to see my age and hate seeing the physical changes with the loss of my vanity. Whatever the case, from the party over the past weekend to my actual birthday yesterday, I just wanted it to pass so I could put it behind me. 

I awoke yesterday (my birthday-day) thinking I would feel extremely lonely with my family being so far away and with out any plans of a private celebration. To my pleasant surprise when I checked my email I was confronted with hundreds of Facebook birthday wishes. By the end of the day I counted some 226 wishes from people I knew and some I didn’t. It reminded me that we live in a very different place these days and I was extremely humbled that so many people would take the time to acknowledge me over the course of a day. I replied to every single FB wish because I wanted each person to know how much their simple wish meant to me. You would think with that number of birthday wishes I would be happy for the day but I was extremely hurt and disappointed  over the one “wish” that I did not receive. I checked my email and my phone at 11:49 PM and faced the reality that it was not going to happen. Earlier in the evening, I brought attention to my disappointment with a few girlfriends who seemed surprised that I would even expect anything due to the apparent circumstances of the relationship. I went to bed feeling a little sad and confused.

My mom called this morning and I mentioned my disappointment to her, she too was surprised in me but as mom always does she offered her wisdom in a way that resonated. She said that she knew no matter what I went through the goodness in me would always remember the good in this other person and dismiss the downfalls which is the reason I am no longer included in that persons life. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t acknowledged with even the simplest wish of “Happy Birthday”, I thought that I had been important enough in that persons life for them to want to acknowledge me on this day, after all I would have done it for them without even thinking twice. Mom said in the simplest of ways, as moms do… “you would Sheri because that is who you are and you need to realize that the people you deserve in your life are people who think in that same way.” In that moment it was as if I had been hit in the head with a brick of knowledge. I realized my biggest gift “seeing good in others” might be holding me back from finding what I want in my life because I was not allowing myself to see the entire picture.

You could take the meanest person in the world, put them before me and I could find something good in that person. I have never been one to avoid a friendship because of the clothes someone wears, where they came from, what color their skin is or how much money they make…or don’t make. I see the good in others because I believe we all have that in us. I have wondered if it is a curse to think this way because it makes me an easy target for being taken advantage of due to my ability to trust. What I am learning is that often those great qualities I see in a person become overshadowed by the faults. I have to allow myself to accept the disappointment in the bad even with the good rather than blindly staying focused on only what I want to see “the good.” Most importantly I need work on my sensitivity from others actions, or lack of, by not allowing them to affect me so deeply. When someone does not think in the same caring and kind way as I would, I need to accept it and move on, after all…it is not required. Is this making sense?

I pondered all morning that my ability to see the good in people is a wonderful thing to have. Seeing people in a non judgmental way allows me to be kind and to see the beauty in our differences. It also brought to mind that I need to acknowledge my choices with what is best for me and accept that with good or bad I have a choice to let the relationship go if it is not healthy for me. This includes a  friendship, a family member, a romantic partner or even a business partner. There is never a reason for me to just settle. My desire to live a healthy life in alignment to what I need to be happy relies on these personal decisions as long as I am acting with integrity. Seeing goodness in others is not a bad thing but allowing those good things to overshadow the negative is where I need to be honest with myself in evaluating my choices. I cant expect someone to be what I want if that is not who they are even if they first appear to be “that”.
Wow, I allowed an entire day to pass, in disappointment, because I let one non existent birthday wish over shadow 226 good wishes. STUPID, shame on me!

I am at a place in my life where I feel kindness and love is what I can afford to give most and it is in an endless supply. I can allow myself to trust, to see goodness in others but I can’t loose sight in what might be read in between the lines, I always have a choice. I must make decisions that are best for me, they can always be made in a kind way but at that point I have to accept the outcome and move on. In the end I believe that the lives I touch through just being me will be more meaningful because I was honest with others and with myself.

Sending love out to you all…thank you for reading!

Mar 11 2011

Living life with trust, integrity and self love…

After a night out with friends talking about life and relationships I sat down before a blank piece of paper hoping to let go of some things. As I let my mind wander awaiting to see what my hand would eventually record two words kept coming up….Trust and Integrity. When I was in my 30′s I went through a program called “The Landmark forum,” in that course I learned about the importance of living with integrity and how much I was not living that way at the time. After weeks of exercises and learning about myself I realized that most people really don’t live in a place of integrity because they are not honest with themselves and many times they don’t even realize it. That course was very difficult for me because it opened my mind to how I was living, the truth was I did not have the ability to live with integrity because I had absolutely no self love or self esteem and I was very unhappy. Over time the depth of what I was learning would change the course of my marriage, of my life and eventually bring me here to Nashville. It would also show me how happiness results from having self love.

In a sense self  love comes partially from living with integrity because when you are living that way you have nothing making you feel bad about yourself. I once had a tough time understanding the difference between trust and integrity but now I believe trust is something that you have with others and integrity is what you have with yourself. Integrity is your moral principles in motion, your character, your honesty…it is your word. Trust is what results from having that integrity.

A simple example:  Helping out a friend for the sake of being kind but complaining to someone else about helping because you didn’t want to do it, or talking negatively about the person you helped. You are acting without integrity because you are talking negatively about the one you helped behind their back. If your complaints to someone else get back to the person you helped it could hurt the way they feel about you and offer a lack of trust the next time you offer to help, it reflects your Integrity of that situation.

To live in a state of true integrity you have to own what you do, you can’t complain or judge and it has to come from a place of love. If you look at any choice or situation with honesty and act accordingly you are operating with integrity. Others see that in you and will pass judgement based on how they perceive you to be which really doesn’t matter because integrity in my opinion is most important to the one living in it. I think it is impossible to live with complete integrity all of the time because we are human, we make mistakes, we pass judgement and it depends on what you choose do with all of those things outwardly. When you are operating at the highest form of integrity, with honestly and own all that you do you are genuinely at your happiest because you are offering the best YOU to others.

Trust is most important when you feel it in another person and when you see their lack of integrity it can cause you to NOT trust. I have been through many relationships that lacked trust. Most of the signs were there early on but because I was so focused on what I wanted to see I overlooked what I didnt want to accept for the sake of hoping I was wrong. Why?  Because I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be accepted and hoped that someone else could make me feel that way. The truth is someone else can’t fulfill what I believe is missing, loving myself is what fills that void (along with spirit). Every single relationship that lacked trust was because the person lacked integrity, there were always early signs and a feeling in my gut! In a relationship you can trust until something creates doubt which in turn can create a lack of trust. We can never know for sure when someone is being dishonest but I do believe that the more in tune we are with ourselves and when we have self love we will make clearer decisions based on what we are feeling. The confidence that self love can create will help you to see through the fog of infatuation. Once trust is broken it is very difficult to get back, if it is broken more than once doubt sets in and when that happens it reflects the integrity of the one who broke it. Forgiveness is very important but you can forgive without actually trusting. It takes time to trust, to repair trust and if integrity in the person being forgiven doesnt show up it can’t be repaired.

My past decisions have made me who I am today and hopefully I am learning the lessons, making better decisions because of them and becoming a better person in the process. I always try my best to live from a place of integrity not because of what others believe me to be but because I want to live my life with integrity for me. “Trust” and “Integrity” were on my mind when I started writing this but I couldn’t deny the truth that lies in having “self love.” Thank you for reading, wishing you all the best and sending love…..

Mar 6 2011

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!

Feb 14 2010

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!!!!

Jan 2 2010

2010 has arrived…my list of discoveries!

2010 has arrived and so many of us have prepared the usual list of New Years resolutions.  I have never been much for resolutions but I do set goals each year in both my personal and professional life by reflecting on my past year and deciding what changes I want to happen in order to be a happier person.  Each year my first priority always seems to start with my eating habits because diets and challenges all seem to be temporary.  Learning more about nutrition, eating fresh -not processed foods and eating smaller portions is a constant goal.  At 40 something my metabolism is not as it used to be and it is much more challenging to keep my body healthy.  I am excited about finding new ways of staying healthy, I prefer referring to it as “Staying Healthy” rather than wanting to be thin.

When I awoke this morning I though I would make a list of some of the things I have discovered in my life up to this point…here is what I came up with:

*As a woman-feeling healthy, eating right and steady exercise does wonders for self esteem!

*My biggest challenge in life is patience, if I can slow down and enjoy the ride it always has a better outcome.

*Being single can really, really be fun!

*I have no idea how to flirt, actually I stink at it because I was told that by a guy recently.  I need to work on this one.

*Winter sunrises and sun-set are absolutely beautiful!

*I have no idea how to cut wings and pizza out of my diet…or at least to replace them with a healthy alternative.  These two foods are always the first thing that come to mind when I want something really bad!

*The person who invented the chocolate chip cookie was a personal trainer who’s pleasure was seeing the pain of lunges in the eyes of the cookie eater.

*The world needs more love…in every city, state and country, I always feel a bit like a hippie from the 60′s saying that out loud but I do believe it is the most important and underachieved thing in most of our lives.  It is also the one thing that makes us feel the best at any given time when we truly feel it in our hearts.

*I have learned that with age my heart continues to soften and giving something back is becoming more and more important to me.

*That Mr. Deisel is really Mr. Barker and is continuously trying to communicate with his ancestors far away….God help my neighbors, I am working on this issue!

*If you love yourself you have self-confidence, if you have self-confidence you make healthy choices, making healthier choices makes you happier and your life becomes more fulfilling.

*You can not make everyone who comes into your life happy merely by being nice, that some people will always place blame, always be the victim and no matter what you say or do nothing will change their outlook.  With this I have also learned that you must let these people go and pray that they find love within to fix what they believe they don’t have.

*I may not know a thing about men after all!  Over and over we are told that they are very simple creatures of habit….define simple please!

*Life is exactly what we create, creation happens with the way we think. There is no one else to blame in regards to what our lives look like so we need to make our thoughts align with what we want and be accountable.

*I have learned that I have a world of things to be grateful for and I am so, so fortunate for all that I have.

*I have come to realize that I may not have ever really been in love after all.  The thought occurred to me recently while talking to a friend about love and questioning the circumstances of my past relationships.  Do I get so caught up in the excitement of someone showing me attention that I confuse the intimacy and a somewhat codependent time of being together as love.  I am not sure, I have never thought of it in this particular way before.  It is something I am seriously looking at…

*The movie “The Sound of music”? is my all time favorite, and the best love story ever!

*Every human being on this earth wants to be in love and have a partner no matter what they say, it is the most primal part of being human.  What I don’t understand is why is it not occurring more often and why when we all want it, is it so complex and hard to find?

*Coffee doesn’t taste good to me with out all the sugar, it is the one thing that I can’t make healthier and taste good at the same time!

*Working out everyday really helps me to relieve stress and I am learning to love the process more and more.

*I still after 8 years in Nashville hate cold weather…at least when it gets under 40 degrees.

*I love who I am…it has taken 44 years to be able to say it but finally I do, and I look forward to creating more for myself that I will love in the future.

*I believe my purpose here is to continue to find ways to inspire others, my desire is to help, give and continue to discover ways of doing this…it truly brings me happiness.

*Laughter is the one thing that instantly makes us feel good and we all need so much more of it!

I’ve never needed New Years for incentive to change something I needed to change. As I grow older life has become a time of discovery and I have learned to look inside for change rather than having to go outside of myself for incentive.  While doing all of this internal work I have become much happier, I laugh more and I  worry less.  Some goals continue to challenge me, I am still working on increasing my income through my passion, loosing that junk in the trunk and I still have the desire to someday be in a committed relationship. I know that with the work I am doing on ME those things are on the way. The most important thing right know is to enjoy the process, take each day moment by moment and be grateful for all that I have because I know I have a lot!  Sending love out to all of you for the new year…thank you for reading (and please leave a comment if you feel the desire)!

Dec 7 2009

What I have learned, what I know and as always sending love….

It is strange how your body feels when your heart  is really let down.  The thoughts of what was race through your mind along with what could have been, your heart aches and you don’t even think about food.  There is a strange emptiness within, a bit of a lost feeling and a loneliness.  Days go by and you go through the motions mostly wanting to crawl into bed and sleep only so you will forget how bad you hurt.  You hide out not wanting to see or talk to people and if you do go out it doesn’t take away the hurt , it only covers it up for a bit. The hardest part is getting your mind to stop and to refocus in a forward direction, never allowing yourself to feel anger or self pity.

I had a very long post prepared from my Thanksgiving week planned to go here but I have put it on hold for a bit.  This is so that I can move forward.  I started this blog to share my experiences in order to help others, so many times it has come back around and taught me about myself while helping, I think I am sharing today hoping to get comments that will help me so please feel free to email me if you have something to say.

My life over the past few months had taken a turn and was amazingly happy, fun and different.  It was a world wind, something I wanted and something I needed.  Although I wanted to go slow it had a mind of its own.  The ride was wonderful but it did not last for reasons that right now really don’t matter. Standing where I am and always looking at things with an open mind I can say I have learned more about me than anything. This was the first time in my life I allowed myself to experience each moment with out judgment but being completely aware of what my gut was telling me. Right now it is a disappointment only because of the fun and happiness I experienced that is no longer there, the reality of the situation was there in my gut a while back. I am proud that all the work I have done over the past few years gave me that awareness, prepared me and is giving me strength to deal with it in a positive manner.

What I have learned over these few months is that being open with someone needs to be done slowly.  Most people will say things when you first get to know them wanting so badly to make a good impression and I believe that is a natural part of human nature.  I am a very honest and open person and I think it is difficult for some to understand or to sometimes take that side of me.  If you feel a certain way because of something someone says I believe you have the option to allow it to effect you the way you choose.  There can not be blame in others words because we have the ability to think what we want. Most of all I have learned that there are no guarantees.  We can choose to be cautious and hold our self back from experiencing things due to fear or we can choose to take a chance and enjoy what ever comes knowing in a moment things could change.  I will always choose taking a chance but I also choose to always be myself and never loose that part of me while in a relationship. A good relationship is not always saying or doing what the other expects from you, it is the joining of two different people and when there are uncomfortable situations you discuss them.  If there is no discussion and you hold them in you allow that to manifest and nothing good ever comes from manifesting negative feelings. Communication and honesty is always the best method for getting to know someone and knowing if you are compatible.

Regardless of this feeling I am experiencing right now I know these things about myself and my beliefs.  I am a good person and I have a lot of love in my heart for others.  I have a lot of energy, I have a hard time sitting still especially watching tv and I don’t need a lot of sleep, I realize this is hard for some to take.   I like to learn, I like to see things, I love being creative and I enjoy music.  I enjoy being healthy through exercise and food.  I believe food in excess and drinking has become a vital part of socialization with in our culture.   With drinking weather it is “full on party time” or “just a few drinks a day” it is still allowing something to numb your awareness through comfort.   I can take it or leave it and it doesn’t need to be a part of my daily routine although I do enjoy it from time to time.  My being is not defined through others it comes from with in and it grows and improves from both positive and negative experiences and how I allow them to affect me.  I choose being positive no matter what, never blaming because I always have a choice.   When I hurt I want to allow myself to feel it knowing that my spirit is teaching me something about myself.  I believe there is something positive to be learned in every situation.  Most of all I know that everything is happening just as it should and with that alone I can move forward.  Though I am feeling a bit down there is a smile right around the corner. I will not allow myself to manifest a bad attitude, my sadness will be brief because I know there are so many more wonderful and beautiful things ahead that I still need to experience.

I will close by saying that I truly believe I am feeling good in this moment about my self and my situation because I have learned to love who I am.  Because of that I will focus on my thoughts, they will be directed on myself and my healing while overcoming this whirlwind.  Life is so sweet and has so many amazing things to offer.  I am grateful for all that I have, especially my wonderful parents, friends and the big eared white dog who is and always my little angel.

My next post will be my experience of change over the Thanksgiving week and will come soon.  Right now I am healing my heart and I am doing good.  Sending love out to all of you…thank you for reading!

Jun 16 2009

The pondering of loneliness, of things learned, lost and discovered…

What causes loneliness…something I have been pondering a lot the past few weeks.  I have always been one to enjoy my quiet time, my alone time, what I like to think is the time I am most creative.  Perhaps growing up in the country without a lot of friends close by, spending afternoons as a small kid alone in the woods with a notepad writing while mom and dad worked was the beginning of my life persona.  In that time it was safe for a child to roam alone and for me it was the birth of my being.  So lately my life is full, full of creative work time, full of phone talk to the family in Florida, full of friend time and full of summer fun.  For some reason lately I have a usually small yet sometimes larger feeling of loneliness within me I can’t figure out.  I have hardly dated over the past year, I have not really had an interest and in my past 8 years since my divorce felt I was wandering a bit, jumping in too soon and overlooking what I needed in relationships just to fill a void.  I told myself after the last relationship it was time to change, I set some rules with myself, to not allow myself to get serious, to not get involved and to allow myself to live a while as a single person, embrace it and be happy.  The past year has been just that, I have discovered who I am again, learned to be independent from a man and to wake up every day allowing myself to do what ever I want to do and worry about no one else but myself.  It has been liberating, it has been challenging and lately it has become…well, a bit lonely.  After living alone for most of the year I recently allowed a “guy friend” to move in and perhaps that is where my thoughts began to change, strangely where the loneliness began to start peeking its little head in my settled mind.  When you see two people showing affection and happiness with being together it is enlightening for old farts like myself, especially when it is someone you know.

I admit I have some issues to get over with regards to opinions of men and their wondering minds…hands and other parts, with commitment, exclusiveness and cheating.  Things that I am struggling with because of my past choices and with wanting to believe there are men who are different, I know there are good honest people who live with integrity in every choice they make out there.  My best GF who happens to be 10 years younger tells me I need to really work hard on these things because they will show up if I continuously focus on them in the negative rather than believing there is a positive side.  I take full accountability for my past choices both with life and with men, hold no blame in others and realize I knew the red flags early on but did not pay attention.  I made my own choices and no one made me make them.  I have absolutely no regrets with my life except maybe that I wished I had traveled abroad as a 20 year old.

With this post as always I am trying to be positive and honest, I need to fully acknowledge my fears with men…if only women had a body part they could think from to blame for uncontrollable actions, that actually sounds like a lot of fun.  Enough said, truth is we as human beings want to be with someone who we are attracted to, to be touched and to feel connected in a deeper way than just sexual.  At least that is what I choose to believe.  I would like to believe there are relationships out there where people truly feel connected and can see themselves with the same person even when they are old.  Call me a dreamer but I want a relationship that feels like the words of a great country love song where you feel every word is a reflection of you and the other person intertwined both in love and in companionship.  Keith Urban says it better than most for me….

In the past year I have seen what I want to believe was true love many times and it always makes me smile, believe and then feel a bit sad with loneliness.  So perhaps this loneliness I am feeling lately is my spirit nudging me, saying to me to let go of the past…really let go not just think I have, to see through new eyes- like a child believing there is only good out there as if never having had experience bad, nothing to compare to, trusting my gut and opening myself to the possibilities.  Someone once said to me as I was going through a broken heart, “just think Sheri, even though you hurt right now look how beautiful it is that you now have the chance to experience the wonderful feelings that come with falling in love with someone again…..”  I wish I could remember who said that to me because it has stayed with me over the years, through many breakups and still makes me smile.

So what is it that causes loneliness..I guess the lack of something that we really need to be human.  It is tough to have a completely balanced life, to have the beautiful relationship, the perfect career, to love yourself, to live with confidence and to be happy all of the time because there always seems to be something missing, something out of alignment.  I believe in my past (for myself) it was the lack of self love, confidence and the confusion of spirit…what some may call “God”.  For the first time in my life I am no longer confused with spirit and I talk to my God everyday because I realize it is a part of me, within me and not something out side of me I am trying to find.  Although I still want to lose a few pounds and hate seeing the visual result of age in my skin I am ok with who I am.  Maybe my recent loneliness is my spirit reminding me that because those things are aligned my fears with men need to be challenged and that it is time to fill that void.  To know that because the most important internal things have been conquered now it is time to allow myself to find something outside of myself to add to the fulfillment.  Knowing now that being happy with myself on the inside is key, because by loving myself first I can love someone else honestly and share who I am knowing if it is not right I am ok being alone.  I am ok, I really am and that makes me smile, still…it sure would be nice to have someone to hold me once in a while!

Ahhhh life is so grand with all it’s twist and turns, age is my journal of things learned, lost and discovered…life is so beautiful if you allow it to be and see with open eyes and an open mind!