Speed Dating and the Non-Believer!

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“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.” – ― Søren Kierkegaard

I am leaving for Brazil in a few hours.  I am fighting a bit of anxiety.   There is this one thing that I wanted to accomplish but it didn’t work out as expected (is it the Universe telling me that I should wait until I return or is it the Universe seeing my resolve in getting this done?).  When things don’t go according to plan it causes me a bit of internal turmoil.  I am trying to compartmentalize it and put that one issue aside until I am back in NY and can deal with it. I should know better than to thing that I have any control over anything.

Before I go I want to make sure to tell you about my last adventure in dating:  Speed dating.

It was surprisingly fun. There were 9 guys and 10 women.  It was in a bar in NY City.  The women sat around and the men went around to each lady, changing to the next lady every 3 minutes.  To me this is the perfect way to meet someone since I normally know within the first couple of minutes if there is something there or not.  I don’t have the time to go into details about every guy, but there was a good mix from the not so normal (this is NY after all) to the completely normal (at least it appears to be so).  There was a good mix of ladies too, from the divorced housewife to the rude impatient “I am better than you” lady.

A side note is that 8 out of the 9 guys were never married and had no children.  A shocking fact since they were all between the ages of 40 and 50.  The other ladies thought that this was a matter of concern, as if there is something wrong with them.  Since I happen to be one of them (never married, no kids) I think that fact it is no big deal.  But I do find strange to have so many of them in one place.

In the days after, you are supposed to go to the service website and choose who you would like to see again.  I chose 2 guys.  There were probably 5 of them that I wouldn’t mind seeing again, but only two seemed to be candidates for something long-lasting, so I rather not waste the other’s time.

Since they had chosen me also, contact information was provided to all.  They both contacted the same day.  One is an International Business Strategist (whatever that means) and the other is a jazz musician.

The first one emailed me right away, but then never contacted me again after I replied.  This is NY so I am not surprised, but I am just curious as to the silence.  I hope he was not run over by a truck!

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” ― Wayne W. Dyer

On Wednesday the musician took me to a French Restaurant.  Everything was great from the food to the conversation.  And we both had agreed to date again.   But, of course there is always a but.  While he was walking me to the train station the conversation turned to religion.  He questioned me a lot about my religious beliefs.  I am not sure I like that part very much.  I am all for healthy debates but I felt interrogated.   We sat at the train station and had a cocktail while I waited for the train.  I was intrigued that we got along so well and yet there is this huge divide.

He doesn’t believe in anything that cannot be proven.  I, on the other hand, don’t need proof of a God (whatever name you choose to call) or miracles, I believe in it with all my heart.  I believe in the Universe/God/Superior Power, something greater than me. I find comfort in that belief.  I believe in miracles and consider my life a blessing.  He wanted proof!  I said I was not one of those people that think that my belief is the right one, and I was not about to try to prove him wrong, but my belief is right for me!

I am open minded and always believed that as long as people respect each other’s opinions any relationship can work…today I am not so sure.  At that time it didn’t seem to be a big deal to have a difference of opinion, but today, a couple of days later, this seems way too big a difference to ignore.    He used the word “ridiculous” to describe the belief in things unseen and unproven, such as Christ, God, miracles, etc.  That seemed disrespectful to me now.

 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -― Albert Einstein

Perhaps the ridiculous thing is for a believer like me to be with someone that thinks it is ridiculous to believe in something that you cannot see or prove.  Is it worth to see him again? I love believing in guardian angels, miracles, faith, hope, the Universe, etc I am thinking I need someone that will, at least, not think that that is ridiculous.  My faith and believe is such a huge part of me that if someone has an issue with that, then they have an issue with me.

Well, I have more to say, but not enough time, I need to make the next train, get home, get bagels, and then head to the airport.

ps. please forgive mistakes, typos, etc…written in a hurry!

 

 

From feeling down to celebrating in just a couple of hours!!

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“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ― Steve Maraboli

I was feeling pretty low today.  There was no apparent reason.   All of a sudden is Monday, I don’t have to go to work and I have nothing planned.  I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

I had a pretty good weekend with a date on Friday, getting a lot accomplished on Saturday and spending the day at the US Open Tennis on Sunday (with friends from Philadelphia).

Then I wake up today, I have nothing planned and I am lost.

I took my time with breakfast, then did 30 minutes on my elliptical and I am still feeling at a loss at what to do next.  Nothing seemed appealing and I continue to slip further down the miserable path.  Clearly it seems to me that I have 2 choices, be miserable and start enumerating all that is wrong with me or get up and move and think of all my blessings.

It is clear that there is only one right choice, so I decided to feel blessed and snap out of it.

“Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it.” Steve Chandler

I decided that this is the perfect moment to do what I have been planning on forever but never do: visit my building’s gym.  I haven’t been there in more than a year, perhaps even 2 years. No, I am not proud of that fact, but I am also not going to beat myself up over that.

What I should have done or not done in the past is not important.  What is important is what I do from this moment on.

I walked in and I smell, not sweat, but newness and it feels awesome.  It felt great being there and I wondered why I had been away for so long.  I spent 30 minutes on the bike and another 30 minutes at the weight machines.  I know it is is not a lot, but it felt like a huge accomplishment to me.  Also I wanted to be cautious about my hip and not overdo it.

Feeling victorious I came back and decided that I was deserving of making a celebratory cake. Ok, ok, it is not a celebratory cake but I have been wanting to make a coconut pound cake forever and decided today is a great day for it.  (so I am turning the oven on in one of the hottest days of the year, but that is a minor detail)

I also don’t see this cake as defeating the purpose of the gym. To me this cake and the gym are the same thing.  They are both accomplishments that make me feel good about myself and two things to be done in moderation.

And here is the result of my baking effort:

Delicious Coconut Pound Cake

Delicious Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Cake Slice

It is absolutely delicious!

Never too old to make a mistake and learn a new lesson!

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Zinful Sangria

Zinful Sangria

“Looking at the past is like lolling in a rocking chair. It is so relaxing and you can rock back and forth on the porch, and never go forward. ” Martha Graham, Blood Memory

Last night I met someone that I had dated for a few months 7 years ago.  Even though we were compatible and had fun the relationship ended because he mentioned that his family would not accept me because I was 10 years older than he was. I appreciated his honesty but I felt offended and decided to stop seeing him.

This week we reconnected on LinkedIn and decided to have dinner together.  I knew before meeting that I had no interest in revisiting the past and this was just going to be a platonic relationship.  I have a feeling that he thought it could be more since we are both single at this time.

“A ship does not sail with yesterday’s wind.” ― Louis L’Amour, The Walking Drum

We went to a Latin Fusion restaurant and the food and drinks were delicious.  We talked like old friends.  He did not recall the breakup the way that I did.  He now says that the age difference is meaningless.  As the evening wore on I confirmed my feelings of not wanting to revive a relationship.

But here is my big mistake: We kissed at the end of the evening, not only once but a bunch of times.  I am not sure what I was doing/thinking.  I knew I didn’t want anything with him, but I am guessing I was curious to see if there were any sparks left. There weren’t enough and still I kept kissing him.  Today I am totally embarrassed and angry at myself for leading him on. I need to make sure not to repeat this stupidity!

It is amazing how something that seems so good at one point now feels completely wrong for me.  What did I see in him? He is a nice guy and all, but that is it.  I guess the 10 year age difference is now even more apparent. We are at two different places in life.

“It’s important not to be embarrassed by your past. The contradictions are part of what we are.” ― Richey Edwards

The worst part is that because of the kissing this guy now thinks we should date again. I am going to wait for when he asks me out again, then I will tell him how I feel. I am hoping that after a few days has passed he will feel the same way I do.

I had no business seeing this person again as I don’t think that we will really add anything to each other’s lives going forward.  Also it was one of those relationships that are unremarkable and I really didn’t feel that there was anything left to be said or asked so I am not sure why I wanted to see him again.  Sheer curiosity I guess!

Lessons learned! Leave the past in the past.  Embrace the future, new things and people. Make new mistakes! Stop being such a flirt.  I smile too much, talk too much, get too familiar too quick.  Excessive friendliness can lead people on.

“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves. That’s all.” ― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

****

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

An update on my last post regarding the guy that I will name “The Snuggler”: I said I would not date him again and guess what?  We went to dinner and dancing on Saturday.  I guess this change of mind is my effort to be more open minded and give people a chance.  It is also a testament to his tenacity.

It was a lot fun! He said sorry about the “miscommunication” and behaved impeccably.  We danced to everything from Latin to Hip Hop. I love dancing!

Then on Sunday he called and asked if I wanted to meet him at a park near his home.  He takes his dog swimming there. (I love people that loves animals). I chose not to go.  I wonder if my unwillingness to drive 40 minutes to meet him means that I am not that interested.

Well, I guess I am guarded and taking my time. This week we texted a couple of times.  I am not sure what will happen if he asks me out again.  I will see how I feel at that moment. Perhaps the realization that I am totally indifferent about him asking me out again or not is a good clue to how I feel about him.

“I find I am much prouder of the victory I obtain over myself, when, in the very ardor of dispute, I make myself submit to my adversary’s force of reason, than I am pleased with the victory I obtain over him through his weakness.” Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

 

Blessings and an almost love connection….

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“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

Life has been BBB –  Busy, Beautiful and ever so Blessed!

DAD – My dad has been home after 2 weeks in the hospital.  The doctors said that it would take 6 months for him to fully recover, but I am happy to say that my dad is recuperating at an incredible speed!  The doctors are amazed!  I am relieved and happy!

TRIP TO BRAZIL – I am going home to see my family!! yippie!!  Yesterday was a bit crazy at work so it was hard to concentrate on the trip details but by the end of the day I had settled on a date and reserved the tickets but decided to sleep on it and make a final decision today.  So today when I went to make the purchase I realized that the date I had chosen was September 11.  I am shocked that the significance of that date had not hit me yesterday.  I am not sure how I feel about flying on September 11.

Well, Just now I finalized the purchase.  September 12 it is! So I guess now we all know how I feel about flying on 9/11.

HIP - My hip is acting up again.  It started when I tried taking tennis lessons again.  Right now I am doing the Brazilian way; I am ignoring it and hoping that it goes away by itself.  But seriously, I will need to go back to physical therapy, but I will deal with that when I return from my trip. I may be hanging my tennis racket for good.  But not my skis, never!!

WORK – Busy, busy, busy!  Enough said!

DATING – Dating has been an adventure.  The best part of it all is how I have been handling it.  I have been laughing at the bad experiences and cherishing the good ones.  I have made new friends.  This has been such an amazing learning and growing time.  This whole experience is showing me more and more what I need, want and deserve.  I am not willing to settle.  I am fine with compromise but I am not willing to put up with less than what I am willing to give in return.

“Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.”
Mother Teresa

I am still amazed at the attitude and behavior of some men, well some people really.  They are so short sighted, looking for immediate gratification and not long lasting happiness.

The other evening I had a great date.  It was the first time in a long time where there were sparks!  He seemed great, smart, professional, a great kisser (yep we kissed on the first date), and good looking. I normally never fall for looks, but this person seemed to have it all.  I saw the potential and didn’t hide it.

As expected he contacted me right away after the date saying he had a great time.  Next day he starts texting me and instead of asking me out on a proper date he hints he wants to come over to my apartment and “snuggle”.  When I mentioned that he was going too fast he tried to make me feel bad and childish.  He mentioned we would just snuggle.  I felt like asking him:  How old are you? 15? Do you think I am going to fall for that?

“sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

For a moment I felt as if there was something wrong with me and perhaps I was being too immature and too suspicious.  I also felt that perhaps I shouldn’t have kissed him on the first date and let him know that I liked him.  I am glad to say that those feelings lasted for about a second.  I realized he was just trying to go for a quick shag and was not relationship minded.

I often say that I never blame a man for trying, so I still don’t blame him but he was just dumb.   He knew I liked him and we could have had a fun relationship, yet his rush to get physically intimate made him lose out on the long run.  Now  we will never know what the future could have look like.

“But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Of course when I set him straight he started backpedaling and telling me I misunderstood him, but by then the damage was already done.  I have said no to seeing him again. (true story, he just called now and wants to take me out to dinner tonight. answer is still no)  He did me a favor by showing me his intentions right away. Also this was a good test to see how much I liked him, and I certainly didn’t like him enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I like snuggling, affection, intimacy, sex, as much as the next person.  Well, I am a healthy, young, vibrant Brazilian woman who hasn’t gotten any in a long time, so perhaps I like it a little more than most right now :-)  but I am not willing to forget my morals and what I want for my life.  I got to be able to look in the mirror in the morning and respect the face I see looking back at me.

I am not judging anyone that has one night stands or casual relationships.  I kind of envy people that can be that free with their bodies and themselves. But I know I can’t! And you know what?  I think I am proud of that! :-)

The principal of Exchange and Letting go of the Bad and the Good!

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I was watching a documentary regarding Sherlock Holmes.   It is amazing to realize how influential a fictional character can be and continues to be.  Sherlock Holmes was the product of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mind and the principal character in his many famous detective books.  The books are as entertaining now as they were when they were first published.

In the documentary they talked about all the contributions that Sherlock has made to the field of crime scene investigation and forensics science.  They also mention Dr. Edmond Locard (late 1800s), a pioneer in forensic science who was heavily influenced by Sherlock and became known as the Sherlock Holmes of France.  Dr. Locard formulated the Principal of Exchange.

This basic principal says: “Every contact leaves a trace”.  Every perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and will, at the same time, take with him something from it, and that both can be used as forensic evidence.

It got me thinking how that principal holds true to every human interaction and not only crime scenes.  We are always exchanging something with our fellow human beings every time we come in contact with each other, conscious or subconsciously.

“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart…” ― Pema Chödrön

During my daily interactions, what am I leaving behind and what am I taking with me?  We exchange touches, thoughts, words, expressions, feelings, and we always carry remnants of that with us.  We have lingering thoughts and feelings as a result of those interactions.  Do you realize how much we are affecting and being affected by people long after we parted ways?

I often catch myself mulling over things that were said to me or things that I left unsaid, or perhaps things I said that it was probably better left unsaid.  I catch myself reliving a moment or a feeling, continuing to be hurt or be happy over things in the past.

I strive to add only good things to people’s lives.  I like the idea of leaving people and places better than I found them, but am I really doing that?  Are there people out there angry with me, hurt by me?  What about the ones that have angered and hurt me?  I have said I have forgiven them, but have I really? Or am I still carrying traces of pain and resentment with me?

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. ” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

While I am not in control of what people choose to take from me and from interactions with me, I can help by doing my part of being more aware of my words and actions.  I am always striving to be in the moment, and this is another reason to be more conscious of the present moment.  What mark am I leaving? After all little marks, little moments, translate into lasting impressions.  What am I choosing to leave behind? What am I choosing to take with me? The answer to me is always the same: happiness, joy, positivism.  I want leave people with good thoughts and good feelings about me and I want take with me only good positive thoughts and not any negative energy.

I will try to be the first to say I am sorry.  I will say more thank you and excuse me every chance I get.  I will smile more and hug more.  I will forgive more.  I will let things go more easily.  I will not be ruled by anger and will not overreact.  I will not raise my voice.  When in doubt, I will err on the side of being nice, patient and forgiving.

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” ― Steve Maraboli

What are the things I have been dragging around from the past?  In regards to the crime scene that was the relationship and breakup with Ex, I am happy to say that I firmly believe that the pain, hurt and resentment are gone.

In the beginning I made an effort to remember bad things so that I would be angry at him and forget him.  Later I held tight to the good memories as a way to validate the fairytale I thought I had lived.   Now I realize I am still holding on to those good memories as a security blanket.  They keep me warm on lonely nights, they are comforting, they bring me happiness, but at the same time they are preventing me from moving on.  Holding on to what I think I had is keeping me from being free to embrace the future.

I didn’t even realize that I was doing that until now, so writing this now makes me feel incredibly free, strong and empowered.  It feels like another page has finally been turned in this book of my life.  I no longer need those memories. So, yes I am actually saying that good memories can be bad if they are holding you back from being 100% in the present.

“I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

**

I want to recognize the present moment and give it its fully deserved attention and care.  At the same time I don’t want to carry it with me forever to the point of preventing me from embracing my future.

Like the perpetrator of a crime we are all perpetrators of experiences upon other people.  So let’s all be more aware of what we are leaving behind and what we are taking with us.

“Being in control of the uncontrollable”

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The florist at the corner of my apartment

The florist at the corner of my apartment

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami

The past week has been extremely tough.  It has been a busy tiring week at work but it has been even more demanding emotionally.   My father has been in the hospital for the past 10 days with a severe infection.  This infection (I am choosing not to name it here) is rare and potentially fatal.   It affects elderly diabetic patients and it grows at an extremely fast rate.

It didn’t help that he hid the symptoms from everyone, but fortunately he eventually was taken to the hospital in time.  Surgery was performed the same day and a course of 3 antibiotics was started.  The doctor thinks he should be able to go home this coming week, but it will take several months for him to be fully recovered (or as close as we can get to that).

This came out of nowhere and the entire family had to scramble to deal with everything. Well, not really the entire family since I am not there to scramble.  It is hard being here and not in Brazil to help my family and to be with my dad.

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Since I have been in the US for a long time I am used to not being a part of family events, good or bad.  I do worry about the fact that something may happen to a loved one and I may not even have time to say good bye.

At work I get everything done and done well, so this week has been specially productive, but this feeling of powerlessness and helplessness overwhelms me.  I have been calling my family many times a day to find out news and to offer words of support. Even though I only mean to help I realize that some times I can sound critical and preachy.  I have been doing my best not to sound like I am telling my family what to do.  Finally today I decided that I will only call once a day.  I realized that I need to step back and let them to what they need to do instead of offering more opinions. I realized that I make them feel that I am not trusting their judgement and care, which is the furthest thing from the truth.

“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.” -Steve Maraboli

I realized that my constant calling is more for my benefit than theirs.  It makes me feel connected to them and it makes me feel I am doing something.  When I call I don’t feel far away.    I have to realize that I am already doing all I can at this point (I am the financial support).  This is another opportunity to Let Go and Let God!  Another opportunity to realize that the only thing I can control are my actions.  Nothing else is under my control.  Some things cannot be manipulated. Reaching for the phone every second I want to feel connected to them is overreacting, it is my way of avoiding my feelings and not going through my own grief and emotions.

This is a time for reflection.  Too many phone calls is reactive and impulsive and creates confusion and misunderstandings.  I need controlled and thoughtful action.  I have been wanting sugar more than usual, as I realize that sugar is my security blanket.  The great thing is I am fully aware of that and because I am aware I can slowly change it.   So instead of sugar I am going for humor, prayers and gratitude. Prayers sooth my soul and my heart.  Prayers are the perfect remedy, there is no time or place for it, and it is not caloric :-)

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” ― George Burns

Humor is another great remedy for me.  I find ways to laugh and to make others laugh throughout my day.  I look for smiles and moments of gratitude and realize every second I am living is a second I should feel grateful for.  I am not denying, ignoring or making light of all that is going on, but I am not letting it control me.  A change in attitude and outlook changes everything.  I am not always successful, as just yesterday I blew up at one of my partners over something stupid.  He is very important to me and cares about me, therefore it makes him such an easy target.  My sister helped me realize that I needed to say sorry.  And I did! He, kind as usual, said he didn’t notice.  Then he added: It was only the second time in 30 years, so it is not bad.  I said: it was 2 times too many!

I have so much to be grateful for.  I have a loving  family that stick together in troubled times,  a brother and sister that cares and takes care of my parents as well as I would, a good insurance plan,  money to pay for all the extras not covered.  I also have a fighting and tough spirit, an inquisitive and open mind, a generous and caring heart.

“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

Times like this makes me think of my mortality.  I am not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of wasting my life. I am in tune to the fact that if you want to do something to it today, now, because tomorrow is not a certainty.  Things can happen in the blink of an eye.

Are you ready to die today? If not, why are you living as if you are already dead? Why are you going from day to day as a zombie, not really feeling alive, not learning, not loving, not sharing, not challenging yourself?  Are you waiting for a wake up call? Are you waiting for a tragedy to realize that the moment is now? What is that one thing you have been wanting to do but keep postponing for the right time?  Do that one thing right now!!!

“Many people pray to be kept out of unexpected problems. Some people pray to be able to confront and overcome them.” ― Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

My prayers have not changed, of course my dad and the rest of the family has been the focus of them, but I continue to pray for God not to give me what I want but what He knows I need and can handle at this time. Prayer to me is strength, is my recognizing that I am not at control.  Prayer is safety, is knowing that I am being taken care of, as long as I do my part,

My sister said to me yesterday, right after explaining another curve ball thrown at her:  I am not fighting any more, I am flexible, I am accepting!  I keep going, doing what I can!  That shows a great maturity and growth on her part (she was always the rebel one and the one not wanting to accept certain situations). I have been learning a lot from her and admire her fortitude in this and other situations.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

Accept it, live with it, don’t fight it!

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So I have no friends, that fact has already been established on my last post.  Now I must set about making new, hopefully available, friends.  This post should be about all my efforts and results in that endeavor, but instead it is the opposite.  It is about the reasons why I am doing nothing, or very little.

This “doing nothing or very little” is very hard for this impulsive all or nothing Aries.  My approach to problems has never been slow and steady.  Once I determine a task needs to be done, and I want it bad enough, I jump head first.   I go about it in crazed fashion only intent on results and missing everything else.  Not this time! This time I am going for non-reaction and non-action.  It is often told that we should challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zone, and this “doing nothing” is definitely uncomfortable to me.

 “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”  J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is my way of attempting to learn not to react (and overreact) to events and situations.  This is accepting instead of fighting it and trying to change it.  I will eventually attack the task (making new friends), but the idea here is to have a better, more thoughtful and controlled approach.   I am controlling the problem, it is not controlling me.

This time I decided that perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to try to correct a situation that I deem wrong and unacceptable.   This situation, and any uncomfortable situation, presents a big opportunity for contemplation and learning.  Perhaps I should spend some time in the moment and in the feeling of being friendless.   I should learn to acceptance silence and stillness.  I have no friends, but I am surrounded by sound and busyness of my own making: TV, music, internet, books, games, etc.  I feel I am always on, not knowing what to do with myself when all else is off.

 “For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I should accept the stillness and silence of the moment.  There is a need for friends but there is also value in the lack of it.  I am respecting the nature of things and God’s will.  There is a reason for this.  I will do my part, but I will not be aggressive and thoughtless, not that they are the same thing, but oftentimes that is what happens to me when I engage in something. I am in search of new activities that will lead me to new friends, but not with any urgency.  I am moving with the determination of a sloth, and I like it!

Perhaps this moment will yield some much needed creativity that I lack at the moment.   Perhaps the lesson here is humility, to realize that there is no shame in being friendless.  Being friendless should in no way have a reflection on the quality of my friendship.  Perhaps this approach will help me realize the need to take things slow and the need to focus.  Sometimes I lack focus, I do it all, and I do it all together.  I think I lack respect, respect for the function I am performing at the moment.   I am lucky that the result is always positive; things get done, and actually done well.  But I question if they are done as well as they should or could if I had really paid attention to each moment and task.

“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.” 
 Stewart O’Nan, The Odds: A Love Story

There is time for Book Clubs, gyms, Meetups etc, but there is only this one moment to feel the emptiness of the moment.  I always believed that happiness is an option,  and every morning as soon as I open my eyes I choose happiness. But happiness is also learning to be happy in this very moment, not on the moment somewhere in the future when I will have made new friends or in the past where I had friends to do things with.  Happiness is right here and right now.  I am still looking for friends and activities, but I got rid of the sense of urgency. I am learning to be okay with not having friends.   One can say I am basking in the glory of loneliness, I am letting it envelope me, but not to bring me sadness, but to bring me happiness and peace on my own.

I believe I am the master of my destiny so letting things happen is very hard.  But I am learning the benefits of letting marinate and flow as they will.  I always viewed that inaction and non-reaction as laziness.  It is actually the total opposite of laziness; it takes a real effort to let things be.  I have been amazed to realize that some things get resolved on their own without my having to do anything about it.  What an amazing realization!

 “The best way is not to fight it, just go. Don’t be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.”  Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Or maybe… just maybe… everything I wrote above is all a bunch of hogwash that I made up to make me feel good about my lack of effort and total lack of results.  :-(

The need for friends…

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“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson

I NEED FRIENDS!!  This is very hard for me to write.  I pride myself in being independent and not needing anybody for anything.  I have learned a long time ago that if I want to do something I should go ahead and do it and not wait for anyone.  Waiting for others always led me to nothing and nowhere.  So I always did everything alone, from taking vacations to taking classes.  But at this point in my life I have been noticing this empty space that only friends can occupy.

This fact became abundantly clear to me on 4th of July as I watched the fireworks from my balcony.  (I attempted to invite someone, but this person didn’t respond)  As a particular beautiful and big display appeared in the sky I felt the want/the need to share with someone the beauty of the moment.  At that moment I realized that my wanting was not for a boyfriend but just for a friend. I guess my perception (real or not) was that the fireworks could have been even more amazing had I shared it with someone.

Until now I suppose I never realized that huge void in my life.  God is my friend, my family is my friend, books are my friends, entertainment is my friend.  oh yeah, food is my friend.I never noticed anything anything missed, and when I did, I thought I missed a romantic relationship.

Do you know what I am talking about?  That person that you can meet on the spur of the moment and just spend time together and talk.  It doesn’t have to be deep conversations and confidence, it could just be laughs over the absurdities of life, or the latest gossip, or take a walk, go shopping, etc.

I guess the fact that my entire family lives in Brazil and I live alone in the US makes being friendless more noticeable.  One would think that because I have no family here I would have made tons of friends here, but instead, having no family here made me cultivate the dependence on only myself.

It may also be odd to you, if you read my post the other day where I thank God for the friends I have that I am now saying I have no friends.  The truth is I have great friends, but they are not available.  I NEED AVAILABLE FRIENDS!  The friends I currently have either live far (Brazil, Boston, etc) or they are too busy with their own lives.  They have commitments, family, work, other friends and all of a sudden I realize they have no time for me.

I love the friends I have, I feel blessed to have them in my life and I know that in an emergency they would come running (well, I hope :-). I also think I should make more of an effort to see them.  Perhaps I should be more pushy and let them make it clear that they don’t have time, instead of assuming that that is what the silence means.

I question now if it is better to have a few great friends that are not available or several no so great ones.

“A friend to kill time is a friend sublime.” ― Haruki MurakamiA Wild Sheep Chase

So how did I get here, 48 years old and no friends?  I am fully aware of who is the person to blame in all this: ME!  But I am a combination of my circumstances, environment, nurture,  personality, etc.  It is a combination of facts, starting in childhood.  Well, perhaps even before that, I guess it started in the womb.

  • I have an identical twin sister, so I was born with an immediate best friend, not needing any others
  • My mother instilled in us the need to be self-sufficient and not rely on others
  • Some of my Aries traits can work against me: stubborn, opinionated, honest to a fault, impatient. Always telling people exactly what you think is not always the best way to keep friends. Is a friend that want to hear lies instead of the honest truth a friend worth having?  Well, from my lonely couch at this moment I am going to say yes.
  • I relied on significant other’s friends and when those relationships failed, I made it easy on those friends by just leaving so they would not be put in the awkward position of having to choose sides
  • I always loved being alone, it always felt natural to me.  I guess I was always proud of the fact that I was never needy (that is why this post is extremely humbling and painful).
  • I was always focused in work, school and getting things done, results, leaving a minimal amount of time for friends.
  • Taking friends for granted and not really cultivating friendships. Letting silence reign instead of being the first to reach out.
  • A tendency to want people to go at my pace, and as I raced friends and potential friends fell by the wayside.
  • Nursing only a couple of friendships, instead of letting more people in.

I believe that focusing on the Shoulds, Coulds, Woulds now will not help, but being aware of how I got here will.

Please don’t feel sorry for me when you read this post.  There is nothing to be sorry about.  This is actually a huge opportunity. This is a great chance to open my life to others, to give more of me and to be accepting more of others. I love the fact that I realize that is not a man I am missing, but a person!

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson

How great it would be if I could meet my readers and fellow bloggers?  I have gained so much support, motivation and understanding from you all that I consider you a great friend.   Why couldn’t you all just live right here in NY, more specifically South Westchester?

So now I am embarking on this new friend finding mission I am setting on a course of finding new friends.  I am looking into Meetup, book clubs, physical activities, etc.  I will keep you informed of my progress or lack of it.

“Did you ever dream you had a friend, Alec? Someone to last your whole life and you his. I suppose such a thing can’t really happen outside sleep.” ― E.M. ForsterMaurice

ps.  Brazil lost again.  This time I was emotionless. I expected it. We needed a wake up call, and nothing like losing twice in a row in spectacular fashion in our own backyard to cement the idea we need a change. This was epic record breaking losses. We cannot afford to ignore it.  I predict that with great failure there will be great rewards.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” ― Truman Capote

pps. guess what? I just got an invitation to go out and perhaps do some dancing.  I was tempted to say no, it is late (almost 10, and I hate last minute date invitations) and my hair is dirty, but I don’t have to work tomorrow and I happen to have shampoo and water :-), so I am going out of my comfort zone and will meet this guy.

Crying green and yellow tears…

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“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” 
― Napoleon Hill

There are really no words in the dictionary to describe how painful this loss is to me and my country.  Something about futebol being like a religion to us.  My green and yellow heart cries in despair and confusion. How did this happen?

I sat totally motionless and emotionless staring at the TV while Brazil  totally fell apart right before my eyes.  It was hard for a moment to know how to feel.  How could this happen to us, the land of futebol?  We were playing at home and we wanted to re-write the past.  In 1950 the World Cup was played in Brazil and we lost the final to Uruguay.  This is not the happy ending we were dreaming of.  I vote for no more World Cups in Brazil :-)

Truth is we didn’t have a winning team from the beginning.  I knew it was going to be hard against Germany,  but I hoped the passion and soul of the Brazilian people would carry the team through.  Passion alone didn’t help!

So we lost, but not really a simple loss, this was record breaking embarrassing loss!

Well, we now have another four years to lick our wounds and come back with a better plan and a better team.   There are lessons here for everyone from the players to the fans.  I still don’t know what they are, but pain always brings growth.

I don’t want, by any means, to take any credit away from Germany.  They played a great game and made Brazil look like a bunch of amateurs.  I take my hat off to them.  The German fans should be proud! (thinking of you Ute and Steffi, to name a couple German friends among readers and fellow bloggers)

To Brazil I give you my tears and the hope that the country will unite in sorrow and come out stronger and better for it! It was not just a game!

“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated. ” ― Ernest Hemingway

ps. thanks Heaven for humor!  My sister just relayed to me all the jokes that are being told in Brazil about this incredible embarrassment – now I am crying because I am laughing so hard.  There is hope when we can see the humor in it and move on.  I guess if we must lose just make it memorable. And we sure did!!  We broke a bunch of records.  And at least the loss was not to Argentina! :-)

Grateful for Friends, Faith and Freedom!!!

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I have been having a great time watching the World Cup games.   Watching Brazil’s game last Saturday almost gave me heart attack.  I keep telling myself it is just a game but my heart cannot help but beat faster any time Brazil is playing.  It is in my blood, it is country pride.   We have been lucky to have come this far with subpar performances.  Tomorrow we need to get our act together and play the way we played at the Confederate’s Cup last year; otherwise it saddens me to say it may be the end of the road. :-(

The proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.  ~William Shenstone

In between the games I have been busy at work.  There has been a lot on my plate lately, but fortunately I am one of those people that work well under pressure.

There is always time for dating and friends.  I had a couple of dates that seemed promising but we haven’t managed to get together again due to scheduling conflict.  The best thing at this time is that there is no rush on my part anymore.  I know things will happen when and if they are meant to happen.  It is amazing how just adjusting my attitude a little I am all of a sudden engulfed in “dating peace”.

Last Sunday I was treated to lunch by a friend and his family at a new Croatian Restaurant in my town.  It was a beautiful place, great service and great food.  But the best thing about the lunch was the company and conversation.  I felt so honored that they drove 2 hours to come and take me to lunch.  It is great when you are in the company of people that get you,  that think that you are funny and smart and want you to meet their loved ones. It is priceless!

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ― Anaïs Nin

I may have mentioned before that Ex’s mother  and I have remained in touch.  She has now moved from her home in the Midwest to his house in NY.  The other day I took her to a Broadway show and dinner to celebrate her birthday.    She believes, well,  hopes, that one day he and I will find our way to each other.  I have made it clear I am no longer interested.

We saw “Once”, the musical.  I thought it was cute and funny with bits of drama and heartache in the middle.   I found it refreshing and not very “Brodwaylike”, not a lot of costumes and set design.  The main focus is the music.  I really enjoyed the songs and the Irish accent was easy to understand (it can be heard some times).  For dinner she chose Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  I don’t particular care for themed restaurants, but we had a fun time having an early dinner while watching the throngs of people down on Times Square through our second floor window.

A friendship that can cease has never been real.” –   St. Jerome (374 – 419)

This holiday will be a quiet one.  I am looking forward to getting some sun, watching the World Cup games, and hopefully getting together with a friend or a date.  I am lucky to be able to see the fireworks from my balcony so that will be a treat.

The post today is really about my gratitude for God’s infinite love and ultimate plan.  I have always said I have this unshakable believe in God, but I have to confess, that in the last 3 years while trying to cope with the breakup I had instances of doubt  and questioning.  Why me?  Why now? And just plain Why?

-please note, when I say God, I mean that which you believe in (if you believe), the Light, a Superior Being, the Universe, whatever name you choose to call that invisible guiding and protecting knowledge you have in your heart and soul.

Why would God introduce me to a fairy-tale and then take it away in the blink of an eye? I wanted answers.  But as weeks, then months, then years passed, I started to doubt if I would ever have an answer.  I decided to just believe that God has a plan and a reason for everything on this earth, even though sometimes we are not privy to what that reason is.  I decided that having an answer for everything is overrated and it does not change the state of things.  Sometimes, the answer is right in front of our eyes and we just don’t want to accept it.

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” ― Max Lucado

In the doubtful moments I took a second look at my life and faith.  God has never disappointed and let me down.  Whenever I listen to my heart I know I am hearing God’s whisper.  Faith is only a virtue when is totally blind and unquestioning.  I decided that Faith and Doubt are mutually exclusive, they cannot exist in the same world.  Having that knowledge showed me what to do. I just need to continue on, following my heart, working hard and doing what is right.  My job is to believe in God’s ultimate plan for me and not question it.  If I believe in God there should be no room for doubt and worries.

It it is not about the destination, but about the journey, then it is not about finding an answer, a reason for something have happened. It is about the lesson contained in that experience.  I have learned so much in the last 3 years as a result of the breakup.  I learned enough to know that I know nothing, that I am just scratching the surface of my knowledge and growth potential.

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Fast forward to the present moment and it seems I have my answer after all.  I am so blessed not to be in Ex’s life right now.  I will not go into details.  The issues are his and not mine so I don’t feel right talking about them.  What I will say is that if I was still with him at this moment, my life would be totally upside-down, I would be crushed in so many levels.  I would be immersed in chaos, emotionally, financially and in every way.  I feel for him but I cannot help but feel relieved. I always felt he did me a favor, now I realize how big of a favor it was.

Since being told of all the goings on, I have been praying more. I have been thanking God for ultimately knowing what is best for me and for sparing me.  I have also been praying for Ex, his Mom and his girlfriend as I would not want to be in her shoes at the moment.  I feel sad for him.

God really has a plan and things definitely happen for a reason.   Let time, space and faith work its magic.  Learning to accept events and let nature take its course has been hard for me but ultimately what I needed most.  I am learning more and more to be less reactive and let things marinate before acting.  I have learned to be more accepting, I cannot change others, only myself.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu

I am certain I am exactly where I need to be at the moment.  I should never spend a second of my precious and blessed life second guessing and doubting decisions I have taken, and situations I have found myself in. I am where and what God wants me to be!

I want to wish everyone an awesome 4th of July! I am taking this moment as an opportunity to be grateful not only for US’s independence, but also, taking a step further, for all the freedoms and rights I have.  I thank the ones that came before me and fought hard, and the ones that are still fighting (literally and figuratively) so that I can live as free as I live.  I am blessed to live in this beautiful and amazing land of opportunity.  Brazil is my roots, it is in my veins and in my heart, but US has welcomed me with open arms and made me what I am today, and for that I am infinitely grateful. No matter where you are, or which country you are from, let’s all celebrate Independence, freedom and choice! 

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