The Difference Between Loneliness And Solitude

August 3, 2011 by  
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Although loneliness and solitude are often thought to be the same experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

For a long time in my life I felt lonely.  Even when I was married living in New York, I felt lonely.  The reasons were:  1 – I was terribly unhappy in my marriage and 2 – I didn’t have a healthy relationship with my own self.

Feeling unhappy in a relationship is a relatively easy situation to fix.  Sooner or later one of the two  – if not both – start a process of separation.  Now creating a relationship with oneself is a bit more complicated because it requires courage and commitment. Courage to embrace all aspects of our being – what we consider “good” and what we consider “bad” – and commitment, because it will take time to form a bond.

Once you decide to get to truly know yourself, solitude becomes the space and time to make it happen.

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A Love Letter To My Husband – 2

August 14, 2010 by  
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I wrote this letter to my husband late last night.  All the emotions in the words came pouring out and I was reminded how complex we all are.

That I can miss my husband but have the love and respect for life to keep investing and looking forward to the future.  That I can love him with all my heart but be open to give and receive love.  There is no limitation in life or in feelings.  When we feel there is one, it is us building the wall.

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Video Blog – 7

August 4, 2010 by  
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Learning from others and creating a community.  Learning to embrace different experiences without judgement.

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“Joan” On Love

July 16, 2010 by  
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My Husband, My Guardian Angel

June 19, 2010 by  
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There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.

~Washington Irving

To look into my husband’s eyes… I remember vividly, fifteen years ago, riding down the escalator in Albuquerque, knowing that I would soon be looking either into then again my husband’s eyes, or into the eyes of the man I divorced three years before. When I signed the papers to end our marriage I knew I was still in love with the man I had married. Our world had spiraled out of control and ended with neither of us knowing who we were anymore. In the three years of silence we both had focused within. Sifting through years of sadness from our childhood, we both resurfaced more grounded and at peace with life.

There are days I spend a lot of time looking at photos of my husband, looking deep into his eyes. My favorite photos are the ones I took of him.

One of his doctors’ compared my husband’s heart to a tire. There is only so much tread and when spinning normally, there is X years of life. But nothing had been successful at stopping my husband’s adrenaline from racing, which in turn was spinning his heart out of control. We were in the final laps of the race. A heart transplant before the tread ran out. His new heart didn’t come in time. Hospice came. At times there weren’t any words, just long looks into each other’s eyes knowing our time together was running out.

Today marks 18 months since I looked into his eyes… There are times a song will come on the radio and I find myself closing my eyes and remembering the very first time we two-stepped out together. We looked deep into each other’s soul and our hearts connected for the love of a lifetime… A man I fell in love with when I was 26 years old.

My husband. My Guardian Angel. Always.

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Rearranging Myself

March 21, 2010 by  
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The lenses we view life through continually oscillates during our journey. We enter different chapters of life which can change our role, how we think and what we view as top priorities. Why is it we often forget to make the shift of deleting the old priorities before adding new ones? Somehow without our even realizing, our hectic schedules become filled with what we think we are supposed to do. We don’t place a priority of what we want to do with our life. We think there will always be tomorrow.

My husband and I had plans and dreams for our future. When he died, all of our those plans and dreams left with him. My list of priorities became a blank page. My heart was broken in accepting that our tomorrows together would never be. My lenses of life became blurry as I listen to the silence and search for direction

The movie “Up” offers us a gentle reminder. With a special zest for life, Ellie always wanted to take a trip to Paradise Falls. She had brochures and photos and it was clear her excitement on someday going to this magical place. Her marriage with Mr. Fredrickson however kept going in other directions and the trip was never made. Filled with regrets after she dies, he looks with through her “My Adventure Book” with deep sadness. Yet in the photos it is obvious the adventures of love and happiness they shared as they grew old together. On the last page she offers him a special gift of wisdom… ”Thanks for the adventure – Now go have a new one! Love, Ellie”

My goal now is to keep my list of priorities extremely simple…

Live in today. Quiet my mind. Carefully choose how to spend my energy. Learn how to just be.

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Courage To Live Life

March 14, 2010 by  
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Whoever has said to you that there is a way to live life always feeling great – I’m sorry to say – was lying to you.  There is too much going on around and within us for us to always feel good.  There is our brain chemistry, the curves life throws us, and our own expectations to make sure there are ups and downs.

Some days I feel blue.  Some days I feel really blue.  Only three years ago I had the perfect life and I was content. I still had dreams and ambitions but I felt I had arrived in a place that I could be mostly happy.  But then my husband died and with him my perfect life. Like me there are billions of people who lost their “perfect life” or are still looking for it.

My point is; we can’t control what life brings us but we can, one step at a time, comprehend ourselves, the randomness of life and just like a master carpenter we can rearrange or rebuilt every time.  We can learn to move through the tough times with more wisdom, appreciating what we still have and who we still are.

Some days the memory of the pain my husband and I went through hurts like it just happened but I have learned to breathe through it and accept its existence.  And in those days I try to move a little slower, and I look for things and people that fill me up; a beautiful day, my garden, a nice meal, my dogs, a special friend.

So here is the truth; some times life is hurtful but within hurtful life there are many gifts that can help us navigate through the pain.  So if I was to give anyone advice I would tell them; don’t worry about always being well and happy.  Embrace life with all its ups and downs but know you have within you the strength as well as the medicine to your own ailment, whatever that is.  Trust the process of life, slow down and check in with yourself on a daily basis. You are your best friend and the most loyal companion you’ll ever have.

I remember years ago when I still lived in NYC, being on bus and seeing outside a church a sign that said: There are pebbles in a stream so that the water can make its beautiful sounds as it moves through the pebbles.

I believe true contentment comes from knowing ourselves and that takes courage. It takes courage to see who we are and still embrace ourselves. And once we can do that we are ready to live life fully.

Happy Sunday!

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Recovering Alcoholic…

May 28, 2009 by  
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I have become an honorary recovering alcoholic. I follow their prayer; grant me the strength to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference, to the letter.

In the last 9 months of my life I have lost my husband, my savings (I was one of the people that thought I had invested with a member of my husband’s family but was actually investing with Madoff), and my father had a heart attack.

I have no way of fighting life’s current as things just keep coming at me. So all I can do is  stay afloat and concentrate in what I need to do a moment at a time.

Although I have endured much there is something liberating about knowing that I don’t know or have any control in what is coming ahead.  That opens up life to all kinds of possibilities; good and bad. 

It is not that I don’t hold any responsibility in what happens but it truly shows that I should deal with the future when it becomes the present.  So in essence I have an easier time living in the moment.

So many things I never expected have happened to me.  I grew up in Brazil and never imagined living in NY or LA and here I am.  Never imagined working in the film industry or being a widow but that is life.

Of course the best thing about realizing that nobody knows anything is that I no longer spend any money in psychics or tarot readers.

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