Because of the pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone–much more than I’d like to be. It feels like my life has hit the pause button. It reminds me of when I first left my former husband. At that point in time, the song of my life needed to change and spending time alone to pause gave me the space to think about what I wanted the next song to be.
I wrote about this pause between being married and not married in a post on the Mudroomblog.com called “Silence is Where the Magic Happens“. And although the circumstances are different today, the pandemic has created a similar pause. What’s different now, though, is that this one is collective. We are all in this one together.
I’m curious, which means I love to ask questions. Today I’m starting something new for my blog called “A Curious Question”. I’d love for you to share your responses below.
With all that is going on in the world right now, it feels like we are on the brink of some big changes. We’ve been here before, but this time, it feels different to me. This time, it feels much bigger. This time, it feels like there is serious movement towards positive and reformative change.
So my question today is:
If you could change one thing right now, what would it be?
And after you share your words, I encourage you to ask yourself:
What’s one thing I can do today to make that change happen?
Words are great–they give us the direction. But they are just the starting point. In order for change to happen, you need to take a step towards the change you seek. Until you take a step, they remain just words. As Gandhi said,
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
Actions matter. The momentum is here for some big, positive change. And this change begins within yourself. Build on the momentum that is here right now. Start being the change you wish to see. Take one action step towards change.
Spending the last seven months on Bumble has been an educational experience.
As I mentioned in my post You Better Shop Around, I’ve been taking a dive into the wild and a bit wacky world of online dating. When I first started this foray, I quickly discovered there were a lot of things I didn’t know. I found myself googling a number of words I’d never heard before. What’s a sapiophile? A pluviophile? And then there’s all the acronyms and terms. LTR. FWB. Ghosting. And what does that symbol mean?!
There was so much to learn.
With the spread of COVID I’m taking some time to step back and evaluate the experience. For me, song titles and lyrics have a way of bubbling up in my mind to accompany what I am noticing and learning. Here are seven songs that sum up the last seven months on Bumble:
I’m a recovering benefit of the doubt giver. I’ve given someone the benefit of the doubt more often than I should have. I’ve given someone the benefit of the doubt even after my spidey sense had perked up, made me pause and think–wait…what? I’ve given someone the benefit of the doubt even when they clearly weren’t being kind or didn’t share my values. Why? Because I’m also a recovering people pleaser. Let’s just say these two traits haven’t always been a winning combination for me. So, I’m in recovery. I was set on this recovery path by a quote I recently discovered from Maya Angelou:
When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.”
When I’m faced with a situation and not sure what to do or believe, a friend told me to get still and listen to my gut–that it knows.
But I have a problem with getting still.
When I am still, the silence can be agony for me. When I wait for an answer to an important question, a text reply from someone, or a response from an on-line blog on a piece I submitted, and sit in silence, it can be agonizing. When I am still, my mind makes up all kinds of stories to fill the silent space.
Maybe I’m not worth a response.
Maybe I’m too needy.
Maybe I’m too pesky and ask too many questions.
Maybe my writing is not good enough.
In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown talks about the stories we tell ourselves, that they are often works of fiction, not based on any real information.
“When we are in pain we create a narrative to help make sense of it,” she states.
The stories that bubble up are neither healthy nor helpful. They may also be inaccurate. Still they persist.
“Shelter-in-place” feels like a virus imposed timeout. The whole world is essentially being told “go to your room”. Although it has been implemented to help curb the spread of the virus, a timeout can be good for reflection. It gives us a moment to evaluate and take stock of the situation. It helps us slow down. It provides an opportunity for us to think about our behavior and maybe make some changes.
Since I am a curious person, I’ve decided to use this timeout to think about what the virus is teaching me. Here’s a few things I have learned:
One sunny, Sunday morning, I walked down to a local bakery for a muffin. It was a beautiful day and I decided to sit at a table outside of the store and enjoy my treat right there.
A middle aged man walked up with a long haired dachshund. The dog was adorable–with curly, reddish brown fur and one blue eye and one green eye. He tied the dog outside and went in for his own bakery treat.
As the dog stood there waiting, he was alert and perky, looking up at everyone as they passed by. I watched as people pointed at the dog and smiled. Some stopped to bend down and pat his head. The dog wagged his tail in thanks, and generously smiled back in his own dog-like way. Everyone who interacted with him walked away smiling.
Although that may be true for him, what I know for sure is that when I fight reality, reality always wins.
When I fight the way my body looks When I fight the truth about a relationship When I fight the way people really are When I fight what my situation looks like…it’s a losing battle.
When I fight reality, I suffer. Because when I fight reality, reality always wins.
So in this new year, my goal is to stop fighting reality and instead to see and accept things as they are without judgement. I cannot force people or situations into being anything different than they are at this point in time. Maya Angelou’s wise statement, “When people show you who they are you have to believe them,” can be applied to any situation. I have to believe and accept the reality of both who people are and the way things currently are.
Living alone has its perks. Having the whole place to myself, especially the bed can feel like a luxury. I can eat what I’d like when I’d like and play only the music I want to hear. I can be as tidy or as messy as I choose. And when it comes to the bed, I can stretch out across the entire space and the covers are never stolen.
But living alone can also be a drag. My place can be too quiet and feel too spacious when it is just me. Sharing a home creates a strong connection with another person. There’s a give and take involved–and when done well–both parties become better people through the experience.
And when it comes to the bed, well, there’s nothing else quite like sharing that space. A intimate connection is created when you sleep with someone. By this I am not just referring to having sex, but also to the act of actually falling asleep with someone next to you. It is a private and personal experience that involves vulnerability and deep trust. There are certain intimate conversations that can only take place in the bed. It’s a very unique space.
Healthy, meaningful relationships take work. Attention needs to be paid to what matters to each person involved. It’s like each person in the relationship has a Love Bucket with a small hole at the bottom. In order for each person to feel loved and emotionally secure in the relationship, regular deposits need to be made into their Love Bucket. If regular deposits are not made, the Love Bucket slowly drains until it is empty. This is not a good place to be.
In order to maintain a healthy, full Love Bucket, it is important to be aware of the following seven things:
1-What fills one person’s Love Bucket may be different that what fills another’s. A careful reading of “The Five Love Languages”, by Dr. Gary Chapman is a good place to discover what deposits are meaningful to each person. It could be acts of service, words of affirmation, affection, spending time together or giving gifts. Take some time to determine what is most meaningful to you.