I'm a week behind on the Portrait of Our Life series, but figured this little gem should make up for my lapse.
About once a month (sometimes more, if I'm lucky) I meet up with these ladies for a happy hour or coffee date. It's usually just us 3, though occasionally we are joined by a guest star. The reason why I post this silly picture to represent a week in my 2014 life (I took about 32 shots of them and they still couldn't agree on a TGL worthy version, so I went with the one that makes me giggle the most--sorry, gals!) is because, quite frankly, these monthly dates have become a life line for me. No matter what may be swirling around me, spending a few hours with Sara and Meggie lifts my spirit in ways that I have only really experienced from my most valued long term female relationships. It's so easy to be with them. It's playful and silly, but it's also a completely safe space to connect, hash out, break down, analyze, feel lighter, be free, advise, console, and love. They are east coast souls with west coast vibes, and I adore every moment of our get-togethers. They continuously heal me so much, in fact, that I can physically see the approval on B's face when I mention I have a date with them! My gosh, I am so thankful for these two. I hope everyone has this kind of life line, too.
Recently a TGL reader wrote to me about receiving a bit of news that left her feeling unexpectedly unsettled: her ex, whom she had willingly separated from months ago, had begun dating someone new. This is weird, she said. I'm not sure how to react to this or how I actually feel. The break up was my choice, and I don't want back in, yet I also can't shake feeling...not good.
Oh honey. Been there.
After a few days of mulling over her situation, I decided it was time to head back to the blog for my most honest reply...
When my last serious relationship ended (quite some time ago), after many months of deep unrest, I truly wanted my ex to be happy. In fact, I felt there was no one else on this planet that deserved to move forward into a fabulous new life more than him. In a sad way I'd wanted him to find new love for several years; a love that honored all that he is and fulfills him in the ways that he completely deserved. I meant that with every pore of my being at the time, and still hope this for him everyday.
In some ways, when your ex moves on, it will be a relief.
It will feel like you are finally let off the hook a little bit. That you can, perhaps, stop punishing yourself so much. That you can let go of feeling bad for him or worrying that he is sad and lonely or that you damaged them in irreversible ways. You can, simply, let go.
You know what it's like to be loved by this person, and it is a truly special thing. Because really, all great love...no matter how long it lasts...is truly special. Being loved by this person is probably one of the most special things you will ever experience in your life because it changed you. Letting go of him fully, knowing that you are no longer holding that particularly special place in their heart, leaves you a little bit sad. And scared. And coulda/shoulda/woulda consumed. And of course, guilty. Always guilty. Guilt from constantly re-evaluating how you could have done better, been better; that you made it more difficult than it needed to be for the both of you.
This person has likely been a source of comfort for you. He will always feel a little bit like "your" person. Knowing they are moving on, even when a break up was your choice, can feel like the last bit of comfort in your old life leaving you. And lord knows as humans we run from discomfort at every turn.
Your ego thrives in times like these. It's mildly jealous of the lucky guy or gal who gets this love next. Your ego is fearful that you will never again be wholly loved, respected, adored, appreciated the way you might have been at one time, or hope to be again soon. In situations where you played the role of the heart-breaker more than the break-ee, your ego also tells you have no right to feel anything but positive towards them. How on earth could you possibly be so selfish as to feel any other way? After everything that transpired? After all of your mistakes?!
The ego is a real bitch.
From time to time one thought in particular will float around in your mind, and eventually it just might hit you like a ton of bricks: You are, officially, alone.
And this, dear friend, is more of a blessing than you probably realize right now.
As always, trust the process. Give time and space their deserved credit; they can be miracle workers, those two. And whenever possible, celebrate the life you shared with this person instead of re-mourning the relationships demise. Know that you did the best you could with what you knew and understood at the time, and give thanks for how they did the same. Being comfortable with who we are, including our pasts, is key to opening the doors for wonderful new relationships.
The truth? There's no right or wrong to how one should feel when an ex moves on. Like the little Shrek ogres that we are, there are layers to our being we often don't quite understand. Be gentle with that. Sit with it a little; get comfortable in the discomfort. Then send love and light to your once upon a time "better" half, and remember to hold a bit back for yourself -- for the person you are, have been, and are gloriously continuing to become.
My first weekend of school starts this Friday and boy, I sure am nervous/excited. This decision was a long...long...time in the making, though, and there is something really satisfying about finally committing to furthering your education as an adult after mulling over your true desires for awhile. As I'm sure we all know, both financially and time-wise it can be a BIG commitment to choose a new path that includes classes, exams and life managing in a way that is very different from the days of 19 year old you in college. Because really, what the hell did 19 year old me know about what she truly wanted? (Other than boys, beer, football and freedom, of course.) In a way I think it's sort of better. It's more...solid. A bigger risk, perhaps, as there is often more at stake. But it is also like a courageous nod to our ever expanding spirits that says you're worth it. And that in and of itself is a pretty positive reason to take the leap.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Just a few months ago I sat with my sister at a pub in Dublin, Ireland enjoying heaping plates of fish and chips, shepard's pie, cold glasses of Smithwick's with a Guinness top and cider. Man, what I wouldn't give to be feasting on the above platter right now...(Ireland, I feel confident that we shall meet again)...
Today is officially the only approved day on which you may call me "Patty" (as I'm legally a Patricia): use this privilege wisely, my friends, as it truly comes just once a year. We'll be celebrating tonight with one of B's Irish grandmother's traditional dishes (that I cannot for the life of me remember how to spell or even say, so I'll have to get back to you on that). I'm looking forward to humbly acknowledging a piece of both our heritages, especially since my trip proved to be so beautiful and rich with a resilient history that it sparked within me a surge of pride to be part of an Irish lineage.
Whether or not you, too, have a connection to Ireland, I think as a Grateful Lifer you will enjoy this poem as much as I do:
O’ What is it all when all is told
This ceaseless tolling for fame and gold
The fleeting joy of bitter tears
We’re only here for a few short years
Nothing’s our own save the silent past
Loving or hating-no thing can last
Each pathway leads to a silent fold
O’ what is it all when all is told
What is it all a grassy mound
Where day or night there is never a sound
Save the soft low moan of the fanning breeze
As it lovingly rustles the silent trees.
Or a thoughtful friend with whispered prayer
May sometimes break the stillness there
Then hurry away from the gloom and the cold
O’ what is it all when all is told
What is it all just passing true
A cross for me and a cross for you
Ours seems heavy while others seem light
But God in the end makes all things right
He tempts the mind with loving care
He knows the burden that each can bear
Then turns life’s grey into loving gold
O’ what is it all when all is told.
- Mona Tierney
Wishing you luck,
Portobello Mushroom Burgers
1. Whisk together 1tbs of olive oil, 1 chopped garlic clove (or 2, depending on how much you love garlic!), and some finely chopped basil (fresh is best, but a sprinkling of dried will work fine).
2. Spread on portobello mushrooms and grill. We use our handy George Foreman, but a pan will also do the trick.
3. Chop a few slices of goat cheese (we used a sun-dried tomato variety that was super), roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts.
4. Pile together on a fresh bun with big, leafy lettuce.
*Optional: Make a bit extra of the olive oil mix and use it as a spread on your rolls by whisking it with either mayo or Veganaise.
Easy peasy and oh so yum!
Latest addition to my desk, courtesy of our fabulous OM :)
Check out glassybaby for more beautiful glass art (that gives back!) and consider spreading some cheerful Springtime love to folks in your corner of the world. My green piece stands for...what else?... gratitude! Add a faux peony from Pottery Barn and voila: pure happines next to my monitor. Thanks again, Natalie!!
Friday after work I spent a little time by myself at an Italian cafe in North Beach-- just me, a Nutella latte, and a chocolate filled pastry so delicious I had to force myself to take breaths in between bites. I was waiting for a ride home from B (not taking the bus on a warm Friday evening = heaven) and decided to pop into the cafe for a bit of reading and unwinding me-time. The cafe stereo played a perfect mix of 60's classics and Motown favorites; I found myself unable to resist quietly singing along while swaying my body to the likes of Marvin Gaye's Too Busy Thinking About My Baby. I read a portion of The Desire Map and let my mind wander, sometimes gazing out onto the sidewalk to watch the eclectic mix of folks bustling, strolling, walking hand in hand. San Francisco has the best people watching.
I stayed for only an hour or so, then joyfully hopped into the car with my man to head home for some cooking, wine and more music playing happily in the background. Our tiny home is always filled with Van Morrison, Stevie, Bon, Otis and whomever else suits our fancy at the moment--I'm so grateful for our mutual love of music. It was a quiet, fairly uneventful Friday evening. But it was also such a peaceful, relaxing and genuinely pleasurable way to end the work week that I might just have to make a routine of this--Honoring exactly what I want to be doing (in this case, freely licking sugary crumbs off my spoon and day dreaming near an open window in a wonderfully sweet smelling cafe) and not what I think, at 29, I should be doing (meeting friends, running errands, bar scene, etc) in a busy city.
Danielle LaPorte asks one important question over and over in The Desire Map: How do you want to feel?
For me, last Friday pretty much sums it up.
love and light,
After the disaster that was what shall now be referred to as "The Beyonce Incident", Meg and I decided to head to ODC for take-two of exercising our inner Sasha.
Thankfully, I had attended this particular class on a few prior occasions and thus felt way more confident that the level of difficulty, teacher charisma, and mixed bag of fabulous classmates was definitely more our speed than the previous kerfuffle. So, I picked cousin Meg up and we drove out to the Mission to begin our second Saturday adventure.
I had a good feeling about this class already, but once we exited the car to pay for parking, the Universe sent us an encouraging sign:
We didn't have the courage to actually select #3, but can you imagine if, say, a chocolate covered avocado came out?! Oh man. So San Francisco. I might have to go back and park just to see what happens.
The next encouraging sign came from Micaya, our amazeballs teacher whom I have a giant girl crush on, telling us we'd be dancing to 90's hip hop. Yes!, I thought, and then immediately heard Murray say "Okay, but, street slang is an increasingly valid form of expression. Most of the feminine pronouns do have mocking, but not necessarily in misogynistic undertones."
After 1.5 hours of sweating our asses off to Black Sheep, I can honestly say I was tired in the best possible way. And I know Meg must have enjoyed herself, too, because she is now trying to convince me to sign up for a performance workshop where we would actually have...gulp...a recital. (Jeez, you give a girl a few hip-hop hip-pops and she's ready to go pro). Kidding, Meg! I will totally bedazzle some high tops for a world tour with you.
The excitement to return again, however, should be fully credited to Micaya's teaching style--encouraging, funny, energetic and even a bit dance-as-a-life-lesson-y. She makes you feel as every great teacher should: motivated, expressive, alive and free. Points if you show up, points if you keep trying, points for forgiving your stumbles, and extra credit for not caring how you look and just having fun moving your body.
Yea, you pretty much walk out feeling like an A student.
Phew. Faith in the beginner's dance community restored, and a bit of honor brought back to Bey.
M&T, out. Or outie? Since it was 90's day...(and we're so, so white)?
B's not very big on consuming large quantities of carbohydrates, which is a real bummer for me since carbs are my best friend and I could live quite happily on just bread, cheese and wine for the rest of my life. But, since he does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to meal planning, shopping, cooking...I've seen my carbohydrate intake drop pretty significantly.
Recently, though, he calculated that it might actually be in his best interest to incorporate a few more carb portions into his diet. While he denied my immediate proclamation for a carb party celebration (I had noodle hats already designed in my mind), it has been fun for me to find ways to wiggle in a variety of options to our meals.
This quick and tasty dish is a new favorite of ours; balancing as well as satisfying my insatiable pasta cravings and still getting a healthy, heaping serving of vegetables in.
1. Begin to boil your favorite variety of pasta. We've become fans of these veggie versions.
2. Mix broccoli, artichoke hearts, olives, onion, green and red peppers in olive oil. Season with Italian spices (thyme, basil, oregano, etc). Heat on low for a few minutes.
3. Mix cooked pasta and vegetables together, either with a red sauce or just a bit more olive oil, serve immediately!