Is Love Enough?

jose and roxanne

So the other day I wrote about silence – really it was about being silent when important things were going on that need to be addressed.

When you’re silent, it may be because you’re worried people will “unfriend” you. Or, in my case, it’s not “business appropriate.”

But, now I see that silence can be construed as tacit approval and that puts me over the line of fear of social retribution.

Some things are NEVER okay.

I just don’t understand the world these days. There is so much hatred, and it breaks my heart.

In the past, I would have counseled just “let it begin with me” and that we each try to live with peace in our hearts.

That doesn’t seem to be working.

The conversation in the coffee shop this morning was about a real conflict going on between good and evil in the world. It almost feels palpable.

At the least it’s very distracting. At its worst, it threatens to suck all the hope out of a person.

I’m writing about it, cause I need to. But there is nothing new to say. It’s simply heartbreaking.

All of it.
Everywhere.

What we are doing. What is being done to us.

And I try – I really try – and turn my attention to what I can do. But, as I said, “let it begin with me” feels so insipid. It feels like trying to take out the Boogie Man with a pea shooter.

Except, David. And Goliath.

I have to leave shortly. My husband is having spinal surgery.

I know it’s just our little world and, in light of all the global problems facing the “real world” it seems kind of picayune.

But it is my world, and it is scary for me.

So, prayers, please.

Just prayer all around.

I’m sorry we are all living in such a crazy time.
But I love you.
And I’m grateful to have you.

And all the others I love and who love me.

Blessings to Beautiful You.
From Beautiful Me.

Let’s hold each other a little more closely – a little more dearly.

Because love is the true essence of life.
And all of the rest of this is just horrible, horrible bullshit.

Love, Jen

P.S. If you’d like to leave a message of hope, here is our post for the day, and you can find the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

photo: flickr, jose and roxanne

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A Hunk of Change

Phillip Brewer

Yesterday, we were talking at work about the investment in our bigger programs and someone – maybe I – said that it was a “hunk of change.”

And, IMMEDIATELY, I thought of it the other way – investing in yourself and your vision creates a Hunk of Change.

Over the years, in order to live this beautiful life I have created, I’ve invested my money in thousands and thousands of dollars in graduate school, therapy, hundreds of books, coaching – tons and tons of coaching.

I’ve invested thousands of hours of my time in all of this, too.

And I get so amazed by people, especially women, who SAY they want change in their lives but won’t invest in the time, money, and energy it takes to EFFECT change.

The patterns of our lives are there because they are ENTRENCHED. How can we expect to get better and do better without support?

Really? You don’t have any money?

Get a second job. I remember my stepfather had one to pay for all of us.

Take out a loan – yep, your life is at least as important as that new car payment that you took out cause you thought something shiny and smelling good was gonna help.

Don’t have time? Really?

Get up before the kids and meditate, exercise, throw something healthy in the crockpot.

Moving your life doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in slowly shifting some of the hundreds of decisions we make on a daily basis.

I’ve still got a ways to go myself. There is one key area of my life that seems to refuse to budge. But I have invested money this year to work on it. I am investing the time. Hell, I even created a whole PROGRAM at my Life After Tampons community to deal with it.

Here’s the thing, love: on the last day, the money goes. The time goes. And what happens between now and then are the memories you make, the love you give, the freedom you create for yourself and others.

Sometimes, that takes a Hunk of Change.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Phillip Brewer

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If I Didn’t Care What You Thought of Me

caroline

What would I write if I didn’t care what you thought of me?

First, I’d tell you that I’m with Her. Because I like her. I like the way she has handled some really tough things. Woman things. And because she is a SHE. That may be stupid reasons according to Beautiful You. But remember, I’m not supposed to care what you think of me.

I’d tell you that I don’t want to keep gaining weight, but I do anyway. It’s kind of scary. I’m working out, but that part is very new to me. I don’t get it, really. But I keep trying. That might offend some of you, but remember, I’m not supposed to care what you think of me.

I’d write that I struggle a lot with mercurial moods. And sometimes they take me completely out of the game. That makes me so incredibly sad, and I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to learn from this. But it does soften me to the peccadilloes of others, so maybe that’s a good thing. I worry that you’ll judge me because of this, but remember I’m supposed to not care what you think of me.

I’d share about the family silliness and alcoholism. I know I’ve already shared that. But I’d talk more about the heartbreaking legacy of alcoholism. How this person won’t be in the same room with that person (including ME, by the way) and how that has affected everything from family holidays to graduations to birthdays for DECADES– all of it.

I’d tell you that it is too late to heal that part of our family story, because people are older now and there isn’t time. I can tell you that I could do better, but I don’t know if I will. I’d tell you that I hope the next generation will do better – they are all such lovely people – but I worry that they haven’t known each other enough to bother.

I’d tell you how I secretly feel bitter that all my friend’s dads are dying now and they feel sad but I just feel jealous that they actually got one and I know that makes me look small but not having a dad has haunted me since forever. I’d tell you that tears well up in my eyes when I share this and that will make my family think I’m ridiculous, cause “get over it already.”

I’d tell you how silly and sad the whole thing is — all this family stuff — but I think we are probably about as typical a family as any other.

I’d tell you that I feel sad that our six boys all live in different states now and it’s so hard for us all to get together and how much I wanted them to have each other and I don’t think that will happen and they will always be two sets of three instead of one set of six.

I’d tell you that I kinda sorta got removed from the orchestra that I loved because I missed a dress rehearsal because I was having an anxiety attack in the parking lot and had to go see a doctor instead. Secretly, I also think it’s because I stood up to the conductor some weeks before because she was a bully but I’m afraid she’ll see this.

Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to care what you think of me when I write this.

And the truth REALLY is that I didn’t dig that orchestra as much as I’m supposed to have. I’m really tired of being a flute player but I’m so good at it I feel I’m SUPPOSED to keep going. I’d tell you that I really want to sell my last flute and take my husband to Italy. Or use that money for my book tour next year. And maybe I will. And I’m sorry, but I think the music is over for me.

I’d tell you that my marriage is super tricky at times, cause we are both stubborn, fiery people. And we love each other dearly. But that reveals too much about him and me, and that’s not fair. Oh, wait . . . .

I’d tell you how much I miss my little girl, still to this day. How it breaks my heart to see my friends’ daughters grow up and do beautiful things and I wonder with the deepest ache in my being who she would have been. But I’m supposed to be “over it” and that is too sad to reveal, but anyway, you can fill in the rest of the sentence.

I’d tell you how much I want to write beautiful things and be SEEN writing that beauty. How deeply I want to bring hope to others through my writing and how I worry that this post might do the opposite, but that is so very private and . . . .

I’d tell you how much I adore you, my Beautiful Reader though I’m not really afraid to reveal that. I am afraid you’ll all go away. And I’ll be alone with my words.

I’d tell you all of these things if I wasn’t afraid to be seen. REALLY really seen.

I wonder what you’d tell me.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Caroline

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Falling into Grace: Life as Art

stitching studio

 

The other day I drafted this:

everyday I sit down to write. some days really lovely magic happens. some days — well, it’s mostly crap.

i’ve been a musician for 42 years. you don’t always pick the horn up and expect to hear dulcet tones. a whole lot of the time is just tedious tedious note by note progress. then, one day, you pick up the horn and you are suddenly leagues ahead of where you were the day before.

the writing commitment is the same. you show up and you draft, draft, draft, draft, draft. and one day, something somewhat holy falls out of you onto the page.

Here’s what I think this might matter for you: Our whole purpose here at Life After Tampons is to create a community of Women Who Rise. That means a bunch of you, at any given time, are working to make changes to your life.

And change is hard.

It takes patience.

And persistence.

Just like making art.

And so I think, with respect to Midlife Reinvention, we can learn from the artists in our community.

The quilt maker pieces her work together from the remnants of cloth. (Memories)

The pianist finds her way across the keyboard from the surety of Middle C. (Source)

The ironworker uses flame to forge beauty from simple metal. (Flame)

We can begin to approach the making of our lives as craftwork. Using Source as our guide, we can take the best of our memories and, through the fire of redemption, resolution, and imagination, we can craft a beautiful path that will unfold for us, as long as we continue to do our work, one day at a time.

We make this commitment – to show up, and draft and draft and draft. And, every now and then, something utterly holy falls from us and onto the page.

Something resembling Grace.

This is the life that awaits us.

Let’s craft it together.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, stitching studio

 

 

 

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