Sunday, February 26, 2017

Love Boot Camp

Today I just wrapped up a month long Love Lessons series on my Facebook Live page. Per my usual pattern of the last few years, I wanted to offer whatever wisdom I could to the couples of the world. I absolutely love love and I want to do all I can to promote goodness and health in every area, including relationships.

I concluded with a love boot camp. I gave different strengthening exercises people could do to increase emotional and relational fitness. Apart from being a little corny, there were great ideas for enhancing relational satisfaction. For specifics, check out the replay.

As I reflect on the series and look at this image of my friends (yep, these are real people I know and love, not just beautifully diverse models) I am reminded what a gift love is. It is one of the biggest miracles of life to find your person. Despite the earth’s population being around 7 billion, it’s still a rare thing to find someone and vibe. Then to not only vibe and be compatible, but for both of you to be ready and available to be together, well...that can take a while to find. When you do, cherish it. Don’t you dare take it for granted.

Look at relationships like anything else worth having. Look at it like your physical health, for instance. It requires maintenance. You’ll have to put in daily effort. If you slack on putting in the work, you’ll see the effects of your neglect. You might not notice right away, but eventually things will atrophy. At that point, it might seem impossible to rebuild and get back to where you were. But just as the body is amazingly resilient and can repair itself, so can the heart. If both people are willing, you can have the relationship you always wanted. The question is will you put in the work? If you appreciate what you have and what you stand to lose, then the answer should be a no brainer.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Surviving the worst Valentine’s Day of my life

I’ve been thinking about you, readers. I know there are some of you who are nursing a fresh heartbreak. Maybe you braved the holidays and the new year relatively fine. But the idea of facing your first Valentine’s Day without the person you love, is just too much for your heart to bear. Let me just say that I know the feeling and I totally get it. It’s been several years for me, but I remember the pain of loss well and I thought I’d share it with you. I wanted to share how I survived the worst Valentine’s Day of my life.

I scheduled a physical on Valentine's Day that year. It was reminiscent of Tina Fey's 30 Rock character, Liz, scheduling a root canal and personal protest to Valentine's Day. A funny show and a funny character. Except real life isn't nearly as funny as TV. I took the day off from work because I wanted a total day to myself without any triggers of that godforsaken Love day or “Michael” and his new girlfriend being intimate. Instead, the doctor seemed like a reasonable place to be.

I got a full work up for no other reason then I wanted to make sure I wasn't dying. It sounds dramatic, but it seriously felt like I was dying. It's weird. When the very worst thing you imagine actually happens to you, then anything awful enters the round of conceivability. Nothing feels safe anymore. Excerpt from "Healing through movement: Getting back up after a broken heart"

At that doctor’s appointment, I learned (at the time) I had high blood pressure and appeared pre-diabetic. Other than my body’s extreme reaction to the emotional stress of a horrible breakup, I was relatively fine. I was heartbroken, but fine.

I left the appointment even more anxious and tense. I picked up an orchid for myself. I wanted to look at something pretty and exotic. I went home, relieved that I had taken the day off. I made a tasty dinner, had some wine, ‘cause duh, it’s me. I watched a movie. I cried a few times. I had to redirect negative thoughts almost constantly. But, I made it through Love Day. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I share all that because so can you.

Here I am several years later and I actually like it again. I like Valentine’s Day. I enjoy writing love themed posts for singles and couples alike. I’ve been doing a love series on Facebook live that’s been well received. I’ve found peace and joy again. Most importantly, I believe in love again. That’s probably the biggest miracle in it all. My hope has been restored.

So, beautiful reader, if you are hurting right now, be encouraged. You might be bracing yourself for the worst Valentine’s Day of your life. Maybe you’re anxious about what the day holds or how you might be triggered. I can assure you though that if you just breathe you will endure the moment. It might take time, but one day the pain will be gone and will be replaced with joy. And your heart will be so full of love (with or without a mate), that you’ll be moved to reach out and encourage others that they can make it through. I promise you. I’m living proof.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Nevertheless, she persisted

The middle of the night seems as good a time as any to offer a confession. Sometimes I notice I'll be going along fine. But every few months or so, I'll have an existential freakout. Maybe you know the kind, when you're plagued with thoughts about life and whether or not you'll be happy. Unfortunately, these freakouts aren't just the normal daytime ponderings. They are wake-me-up-at-3am panics about my future and if things will ever get easier.

Will I ever be one of those people who love my work?
Will I make a positive impact?
Will I ever payoff my debt and not struggle financially?
Will I ever have the love I long for?  
Will I ever leave a legacy?

There are lots of other variations, but you get the general theme. On these nights, I feel really scared and discouraged. I am viscerally aware of my own mortality. I think what scares me more than anything is passing on too soon with unfulfilled dreams still in my heart. It's tempting to stop trying. After all, why strive when there's no guarantee my efforts will be fruitful. Then this phrase...
This simple phrase originally intended as a rebuke is now my war cry. It is for a lot of women. It's a charge to keep going. Keep fighting. Keep pushing. Keep dreaming. Keep hoping. If the Lord is gracious, I could feasibly have another 50+ years of life. No one can stay on the struggle bus that long. Therefore, there's plenty of time to live, love, and passionately pursue purpose. 

As I close this out and try to grab a couple more hours of shut eye, I'll meditate on this phrase. At the end of my life, be it a couple of years from now or decades from now, I want it to be said of me that she faced some hard stuff. She had her hopes dashed and her heart broken a time or two. She wanted to give up many times and will her heart not to believe anymore. Nevertheless, she persisted and in doing so she inspired many and all of her dreams came true. Yeah. I like the sound of that.