F Simple and Serene Living 09 10
Friday, August 28, 2015

WHEN AND HOW TO STOP PRETENDING

We all do it at one time or another. We pretend that things are okay when they're not. We pretend that we feel well when we don't. We pretend that what someone has said or done to us is okay when it's not.

I am a firm believer in picking your battles and turning the other cheek at times, but what happens when pretending becomes fully entrenched in our lives and we are unable to stop its vicious cycle. What happens when we pretend so much we lose who we are? 

How do we know when this has happened? How do we know when we need to stop pretending? I believe there is a time when we know in our hearts, minds, and bodies that pretending has become unhealthy for us. I first wrote about rediscovering the essential me here, and one of the things I am discovering on that journey is that I do a lot of pretending. There are many reasons that we pretend, but for me I believe that it has to do with several things. I was conditioned to believe I had to be perfect. I don't want to hurt anyone else's feelings. I really hate confrontation. 

I also know that the time has come for me to stop the excessive pretending. By suppressing who I really am and allowing others to do and say things to me that aren't okay I am hurting myself both physically and mentally. I also know although I may have an MS in Counseling Psychology, which helps me to recognize and understand when this is happening to other people, I don't always want to recognize and admit that it has happened to me. So how do you and I stop the cycle of pretending?

I recently found these tips on the Unbounded Spirit and they are so good I thought I would hang them up where I could see them as a daily reminder, and that it would be great to share them with you.

1) Learn to say “No." To say “Yes” is not a bad thing, but to say “Yes” when your hearts feels like saying “No” is certainly not a good thing. Never be afraid to express your true thoughts and feelings, even if they oppose those of others. Stop trying to please others if you don’t feel like it (Remember: helping is one thing, sacrificing yourself is another).

2) Don’t imitate. Everyone is different so everyone should live his or her own way. To follow another’s way of life simply means to suppress yourself. Create your own path and walk on it.

3) Speak the truth. Be honest first with yourself and then with those you come in contact. To lie means to be in an endless kind of anxiety because each lie must be covered up by another lie, and so on ad infinitum. Being honest is the best way to be at peace with yourself and others. 

4) Dare to be alone. It is better to be alone and yet true to yourself and confident for who you are, than to be in the company of others by lying out of fear. Only once you have overridden the fear of being alone, will you be able to let go of the need for social approval. This, in turn, will allow you to build genuine relationships.

5) Do what you Love. No matter what others expect from you, don’t compromise your way of life. Whatever you enjoy doing, keep on doing, whether others like it or not. This will keep you tuned into your inner voice.

Thank you to The Unbounded Spirit for all of their great ideas and information.

So, are you a pretender?


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P.S. You can find more of the Rewriting Life series here.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

RECOGNIZE WHO YOU HAVE BECOME

I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and when a friend said something unkind to me this weekend it sort of brought it home to roost. 

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There was a time when I was very concerned about my looks and about having the best of everything. That time has passed as I have gotten older. As you know, if you have been reading my posts for the last week I am on a journey to rediscover the essential me. Inside there is the person that is my inner core, and while finding that core I am realizing that it has led to the person I am today.

I have added to the essential core. There is a wisdom that has grown over the years and a settling of spirit. When I sit and recognize the person I have grown to be I feel an inner peace. 

I no longer feel the need to impress anyone by having the newest or the best. If I purchase something it is done to make me happy. We all need to find that happy tranquil space within. The space that says I have grown to love the person that I have become.


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P.S. You can find more of the Rewriting Life series here.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

I HATE SAUERKRAUT


There are things about me that you don't know, and I am ready to just shout them out. (In my last post I talked about rediscovering the essential me. If you missed that you can read it here.) These things are really important and I feel sure that you won't want to miss them. First of all I hate sauerkraut, peas, and beets. There is just something about the thought of those three things that activates my gag reflex. Try not to be too shocked by that revelation. 


Del Monte peas can

When I was a teenager my boyfriend in southern Ontario showed up for a date with the whole back end of his jeep full of fresh picked peas on the vines. What a great sense of humor. I should have married him. Twenty years later I met a man in San Francisco who told me he used to spend his summers in the area of Ontario where I lived. He said one of his funniest memories was an afternoon he spent with a friend stealing peas out of a farmer's field as a gag for the friend's girlfriend. How weird is that?


cable car San Francisco
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Speaking of San Francisco, I have a cable car story you definitely don't want to miss. When I was 16 my family took a cross country trip that included San Francisco. While riding a cable car, some creepy man brushed up against me with a velvet bag he was carrying. I got some really bad vibes from it. 

A week later there was an article in the newspaper that said a man in San Francisco had been arrested. He had killed a woman, dismembered her, and was carrying some of her body parts in a velvet bag. Saw his picture. You can guess who it was.That was right up there with trying to force me to eat peas. I have been unable to touch velvet to this day.


Grace and Frankie Netflix binge watching
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I am a binge watcher. (Okay, don't judge me too harshly. We all have to have some kind of vice, and since I have had to give up chocolate I needed something.) I am in the process of binge watching "Grace and Frankie" on Netflix. If you have the chance to watch it you really should. I have been laughing so hard I that I have had to pause it so I can breathe. I see a bit of myself in both Grace and Frankie, but I definitely relate more to Frankie. I seem to have lost a lot of that free spirit along the way, but as a part of rediscovering the essential me, I intend to find it. Grace and Frankie are definitely having to find out who they are and how to move on at an older age. 

I don't want to overload you with anymore personal facts, but if you want to hear my ghost stories let me know. I used to entertain my fellow students in grad school. It was the only way I could get invited to their cool parties. I thought I was old at age 48. Now I know I was just a youngster and I am getting younger by the day. 

This finding the essential me is pretty fun. You should try it.



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Monday, August 17, 2015

REDISCOVERING THE ESSENTIAL ME

Last week, gazing at my reflection in the mirror, something I seem to enjoy doing less and less these days, I wondered where, when, and how I had lost the essence of who I am. 

I'm not talking about the physical me, I know where those changes came from. Like a rock on a stormy coast, life has whittled and battered away at my exterior, leaving lines and sags that define my appearance and speak of my age. That is the persona that the world sees, but it is not who I really am.


It's the internal me, the part that no one else can see that sometimes seems to have morphed into someone I don't know. There are times when I want to reintroduce myself to me. I want to ask what happened to that person I was before I married, had children and grandchildren. Before I became the keeper of the flame. The person that wanted to hold everyone else together while somehow losing the person that I was. The person that I no longer recognized. The person that I am not sure anyone else recognized.


Why do women seem to lose who they are as they go through life? I often think that we get so caught up with trying to please others that we end up pleasing no one, least of all ourselves, and in that endless round of pleasing others we lose the essential us. We seem to drop down into an abyss and we may become afraid to extricate ourselves for fear of who and what we will find. 

As I looked at myself I knew that somehow I wanted to rediscover that inner me. I wanted to find once again what it was like to live life for me. To enjoy life from my perspective. To not worry about what others wanted. To not compare. To just be me. 

So how about you? Do you ever feel that you have lost the essential you? If so, would you like to rediscover it?


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P.S. For more relevant information for women check out my Women Speak and Rewriting Life series.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

BLOGGING, A COMPLICATED MILIEU

A milieu is a person's social environment, and in the blogging world that environment is complicated. As bloggers, we set out in this world for many different reasons. Some of us may have started blogging as a type of personal diary. Maybe we wanted to share the lives of our families. If we are a DIYer or love to decorate our homes we may have wanted to share our wonderful skills with the world. When I began my blog many moons ago it was to promote my Etsy shop.


Like the "real world" we change and evolve personally and so does the world of blogging. I know that for me, my reasons for blogging have changed. Of course I would still love for buyers to find my Etsy shop through my blog, but the focus for me is now different. 

I am a person who believes that changing and evolving is a good thing, but I also know that many people are resistant to change. They wrap themselves up in a cocoon, as if the world around them is an old familiar bathrobe that they just don't want to part with, and if that works for those people then I am certainly okay with it. 


What bothers me is the negativity I am seeing from many people who don't want the overall world of blogging to change, but the fact is that blogging has changed from what it was five years ago. It is a way for people to earn a living through sponsors and ads. It is a way to educate. It is a way to grow and evolve. It is a way to promote causes one believes in, and yes, if you still want your blog to be a personal diary then it can still be that. 

When we have been blogging for awhile we have more than likely established a community within the blogging world, and I think that sometimes we are so afraid of alienating our community we stifle ourselves. That seems very unhealthy to me. I also know that the internet has created a sense of anonymity unlike what we have ever seen before, and through that anonymity people believe that it is okay to spout out whatever venom they want. I am a firm believer in free speech, but I do find it troubling when I read some very "not nice" comments on blogs. 


I'm never quite sure what the point is. Does it make the person who is commenting somehow feel better? Does it make them feel superior in some sense? Do they think that everyone should adhere to what they believe is right for the blogging world? 

Last night a friend told me that she had found and read a couple of my blog posts. She said my writing was good, but she didn't understand the point of blogging. Why would anyone waste their time reading and commenting on blogs, she asked. It obviously isn't her thing, and that is perfectly okay. We are all different. That is what makes the world go round. 


There is a place for all of us in this complicated milieu, and our place may ebb and flow. For me, my hope is that my blog will always continue to change and grow. It is just the kind of person that I am. I went back to college and grad school in my mid forties because I wanted to learn new things, and I wanted to follow some old dreams. Now, through this wonderful blogging world I am able to use what I learned in new ways, and I am able to earn some much needed money along the way. 


The blogging world is not perfect. No world is, but I believe there is a place for everyone who wants to be a part of it. If a blog changes and it no longer suits you there are plenty more out there in a niche that you love. I love all of my readers, but I know that some have left for one reason or another. I have stopped reading some blogs for the same reason. 

Life is short so I intend to open my arms wide and enjoy all that the blogging world has to offer. I am going to catch up with old friends and hopefully find new ones. Most importantly I am going to try and be supportive and positive with my comments, and if a blog just simply does not work for me I am going to gently move on. 

Seems pretty simple to me. What are your thoughts?

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P.S. This is part of the Rewriting Life series

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Monday, August 10, 2015

SIMPLY SIT AND BREATHE

Sorry that I have been absent for the last week. I became ill while I was in Georgia last week and I am needing some time off to just sit and breathe.


So I will be taking the next few days to heal and find some serenity. I hope to be back to my normal schedule on Friday. 

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Monday, August 3, 2015

GOING "AFOWL" IN HOTLANTA

 I finally made it to Atlanta, where my first day seemed to be taken up with the feathered members of the family. Morning comes early and the first thing that happens is shooing the chickens from their coop. 



The girls seemed pretty happy to get back out in the yard and I am just hoping that they have left us with some breakfast. Please tell me there is something in there, Sid because I am starving. This urban farming is hard work. (Okay, that was a gross exaggeration. So far all I have done is walked out to the coop)



Fresh eggs still warm from the chickens. It doesn't get much better than this.



After a big farmhouse breakfast of scrambled eggs Tessa took me out for my next task so that I could work off some of those calories.



Come on, Nana. Time's awasting. These ducks aren't going to get fed by themselves.



Phew!! Who knew that throwing a few lettuce leaves to some ducks could be so exhausting. 

Next we were off to the farmer's market, where my family dispersed and I was left wandering around in a post breakfast fog taking photographs of random strangers.



I could see an afternoon nap in my immediate future, but my daughter had something else in mind. At only 91 degrees and low humidity, Hotlanta was feeling pretty cool apparently, and it seemed the perfect time to take me on a forced march nice hour long walk around the neighborhood.


Even the butterflies enjoy feasting on the local Georgia peaches.


 It was a perfect day, and by 8:30 I was so exhausted I crawled upstairs into bed. I think I am seeing why my daughters only weigh 20 pounds each. By the end of the week I will probably be down to just pleasantly plump.

Have a great day. Sid and I are sneaking off to the diner to get some real food.

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