Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confidence is the Key to Success

Friday night I held my first Singles Workshop: "Humor in Mid-life Dating" at a local Panera. When I originally scheduled the workshop, I figured I could easily fill the community room to capacity - 40 people. After all, I have over 600 Facebook friends and loads of "real" friends! Of course, I'd be able to get 40 people to a free event. We might be able to squeeze over 40 into the room if the late-comers would be willing to stand. I'd have to find out if there were crowd restrictions due to safety regulations at Panera and be prepared to turn away the hoards of people that would be knocking at the door. "Let us in!" they'd plead. "We NEED to learn the fine points of humor in mid-life dating! Without this workshop, we will forever be stuck in dating hell!"

I created an event on Facebook, and sent an email to every friend I could think of and eagerly checked the Facebook RSVP page the next day.


It was me.

Then I got another great idea. I'd have a panel of relationship coaches in the area. They could promote their own books and services and bring in their own huge crowd! I got four coaches that agreed to be on the panel and help me promote the event.

A week passed.Four more people RSVP'ed.

They were all the panelists.

More tweeting. "It will be fun!" I told my "friends" hoping I sounded convincing. "I don't go to those single events. Those are for desperate losers," said an anonymous desperate loser.

I got my friend, Michael, to RSVP, even though he didn’t think he could go. “People are more likely to go if they see others RSVP’ing,” I told him.

On the day of the event, I was reduced to begging. "I don't care if you're married, single, old, young, geek, cougar, dog, or Laptop, come to this GREAT event!"

I got a response: “Please take me off your email distribution list.”

HORRORS! Had I crossed the boundary? My inner critic shouted out to me, “No one wants to hear from you! You are bugging your friends. You are the worst kind of emailer. You have become …. a SPAMMER!”

I cringed in shame. Should I go to confession? “Bless me Father, for I have spammed.”

I considered cancelling. "It's going to be embarrassing," I whined to Michael. It will just be the panel and maybe one or two people who will be all awkward and thinking, "wow... this is really awkward."Faithful friend that Michael is, he said he would really go.

"You are NOT going to cancel. You're going to go and be your geeky, confident, crazy self, because you're the Laptop Dancer!" It was a pretty good pep talk. Plus, I know Michael really needs a lot of help with middle-age dating. The 100’s of hours of counseling I’d already given him wasn’t helping.

So I went.

It turned out that there were about 25 people! (Apparently, many people do not like to RSVP. ) The panelists did an excellent job. There were questions, there was discussion, there was laughing. It was a very successful and fun event!

As the group talked about the importance of confidence in dating, I realized that the same thing applies to everyday life. It's so easy to let our insecurities rule us. We are so worried about being embarrassed or judged. We don't want to be labeled as a 'loser' or 'desperate.' If no one shows up to an event we host, we feel unpopular and rejected.

But as we talked about at the workshop, rejection is all in our mind. If someone doesn't want to date us, we immediately assume there is something wrong with us. There are all kinds of reasons why someone might not want to date us that have nothing to do with us! It might be timing, distance, differences in interests. Maybe we remind them of their ex or maybe they just aren't over their latest love. Maybe we are just too good-looking for them and they'd feel insecure. (Yeah, that's my favorite thing to imagine when someone isn't interested in me.)

The point is that we can NOT let our insecurities get the best of us! Whether we are dating, hosting an event, or doing anything else that brings us out of our comfort zone, we need to quiet that inner critic and remain confident. We need to hold our heads high and be proud. Whether we strike out or hit it out of the ballpark is not really the issue. As long as we DO it, whatever IT is, we will succeed. (Of course, now that my event was successful, it’s a lot easier for me to say that rather than the alternative, “I am NEVER going to do that again!”)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Club: Preparing for The Happiness Project

I'm really excited about the start of my new Lessons of Love Virtual Book Club. I've documented everything in a new static page, so that I can continue to advertise it. For bloggers that want to get started, here's the topic list and schedule:

June Book: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

  • Tu June 1 Vitality Boost Energy
  • Th June 3 Marriage - Remember Love
  • Su June 6 Work - Aim Higher
  • Tu June 8 Parenthood - Lighten Up
  • Th June 10 Leisure - Be Serious About Play
  • Su June 13 Friendship - Make Time for Friends
  • Tu June 15 Money - Buy Some Happiness
  • Th June 17 Eternity - Contemplate the Heavens
  • Su June 20 Books - Pursue a Passion
  • Tu June 22 Mindfulness - Pay Attention
  • Th June 24 Attitude - Keep a Contented Heart
  • Su June 27 Happiness - Boot Camp Perfect
  • Tu June 29 Book Review and Learnings

And, guess what? I got a couple of emails from Gretchen Rubin, herself! I'd let her know what I was doing and she emailed me back and included a "Tips Sheet Thank You" ... a .pdf file filled with tips for happiness. If any of you want me to pass it along, leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at

I asked Gretchen if I could send her a copy of The Laptop Dancer Diaries, and though she couldn't promise a review, she did say she'd accept it and sent me the address to send it to! She really is an amazing woman. I'm sure she must get so much email every day, yet she keeps on top of it. On her Website, she offered free a free bookplate which I took her up on and she already sent me an email to tell me it's in the mail.

I've also found a couple of other resources for happiness. There just is so much available on the Web that it's hard to keep up with it all.

So much Happiness out there! That makes me.... well... Happy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to fall out of love with anyone... Does it work the other way around?

Several new people have subscribed to this blog as a result of the upcoming Book Club. Yay! Our first book will be The Happiness Project starting June 1. In preparation for that I will be having a schedule with topics about happiness and chapter topics as well as some resources and questions for discussion. Stay tuned! For those who have blogs, please let me know if you'd like me to add your blog link on my page under Book Club Participants.

Besides blogging about the books, I also blog about love and relationships. I will use the words "Book Club:" in the titles of the posts that have to do with the book club, so that if you're only interested in that, you can ignore the other posts.
I have often debated the question about whether or not someone could choose to fall in love. In fact, this is one of the themes of The Laptop Dancer Diaries. I'm looking for that secret formula. Well, interestingly today in an Psychology Today article titled, Love and Your Thought Life, there was some information about how to fall out of love with anyone.

The renowned psychotherapist Milton Erickson asserted that he could get you to fall out of love with anyone. No matter how much you may appreciate that person now, he could undermine that love, and this is how.

He would simply have you focus on that person and talk (in detail) about 5 things that you can’t stand about the person --- it might be their sloppy table manners OR the fact that they seldom pick up after themselves OR the weight they have gained OR their poor hygiene OR the fact that they are exhausted every night by 8:30 OR the fact that they don’t make enough money OR…..

Erickson also argued that he could get you to grow in your affection and appreciation for anyone. Simply focus on that person and talk (in detail) about 5 things you love about them --- it might be the sparkle in their eyes OR the fact that they work so hard for your benefit OR their patience with the children OR their willingness to help others OR the fact that they don’t go out partying without you……

What you focus on expands in your consciousness.

When I first read this, I thought the implication was that if you focus on the positive, you will fall in love. Upon re-reading, I see that Erickson only claims your affection and appreciation will grow, but you won't necessarily fall in love, by focusing on the positive. Love (at least romantic love) seems to require an element of chemistry... of physical attraction... that you can't force.

I certainly think focusing on the positive is something we should do, not just with romantic partners, but with all relationships and in life in general. Repeating five things we appreciate our jobs every day will help us feel better about getting up and getting to that job. And if we're in a long-term relationship or a marriage, it seems the right thing to do is focus on the positives of our partner and the relationship.

On the other hand, if we're in a new relationship, there can often be a tendency to not want to see the negative. In relationship expert Mary Jo Fay's latest blog post, Seeing Where This Relationship Will Go she warns against staying in dead end relationships.

Every relationship has it's pros and cons. The tough part, especially in a new relationship, is figuring out whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. If you see some red flags (and everybody has something... I know I sure have my share of faults...) do you overlook those because of the positive you are getting out of the relationship? If you are a person who naturally focuses on the positive, are you being blind to a new partner's faults? Might you end up in a bad relationship because you focused too much on the positive? Do you want to be in a relationship so badly that you choose to ignore the negative stuff?

Is there a problem with focusing only on the positive? What do you think?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Come Join the Virtual Book Club About Love

I love books. I love book clubs. I love books about love. Put that all together and it seems obvious what I need: A book club about love books!

I was going to start a new Meetup, but I thought: Why limit this club to only people in the area? It would be great to do it virtually and get participation from people all over the world!

This will be great research for my next book: Lessons of Love from a Laptop Dancer. Research about love topics will be so much more fun if I can discuss the topics with people and get your thoughts and stories.

So, here's how I envision it working:

I'll have a schedule of books that will be reviewed and discussed. If you are interested in the book, join in the discussion! There are three ways to join in the discussion:

* Subscribe to and comment on the Lessons of Love from a Laptop Dancer blog
* Join and comment on the Laptop Dancer Diaries Facebook Page
* Write your own blog post about the topic being discussed and leave a link, either on the blog, the Facebook page, or both.

The first book I want to review is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin starting June 1, 2010. Even though it's about Happiness, rather than Love, I think the two are related. I also am using Gretchen and her wildly successful book as a model for how to write and market a book about an emotion. She researched Happiness and I'm researching Love. Her writing style is different from mine -- my book will be less academic and sillier -- but I really respect her work and her success. Maybe we can even get her to comment on the blog!

So, if you know people that might be interested, spread the word! Here's a short post that can be used to Tweet:

Join Virtual Book Club. First book: The Happiness Project starting June 1:

Looking forward to it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unconditional Love

As a "student of love," I am always checking the blogosphere for the latest, greatest information and came across this recent blog post in Psychology Today: Should Love Be Unconditional? This was written by Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., who is an expert on emotions and has written several books on the subject as well as the PT Blog, In the Name of Love.

I have to admit, this article was quite academic and a bit over my head. I had several, "Huh?" moments as reading. But, if I'm going to take my "Love Project" seriously, I have to do some serious research. Though, since I have a very hard time being serious and I prefer to write with a much-less academic style, I will take it upon myself to try and translate this article from academic to um... bloggy, with my own uneducated opinions about the content.

In the article, Ben-Zeev explains unconditional love as a love that is somewhat blind to reality and "is also unconditional in the sense of willingness to give everything to the beloved." He goes on to give a quote from a married woman who is in love with a married man... but, from what I can gather, the unconditional love that is being described is not with their spouses.

"He magnetizes all my thoughts, all my feelings, and he does it all the time. Our love does not depend on any external circumstance, nor can it ever be threatened by them, which is the whole miracle of it."

I'm guessing the "external circumstance" she's talking about is the complication of being married to someone else. I suppose this is to represent how this woman is "blind to reality." The problem I have is that I'm not thinking a person who got married to someone and is describing unconditional love with someone else is exactly an authority on unconditional love.

Ben-Zeev says: "Compromises, moderation, and boundaries are possible, and even necessary, when it comes to the implementation of love." He seems to be speaking out against the earlier definition of unconditional love (something I would call "blind love") as unhealthy. He then goes on to suggest we define unconditional love more as something which "endures despite unfavorable circumstances." Personally, that sounds more like a definition of commitment to me.

Ben-Zeev goes on to describe how people in love are not blind to their partners' faults, but just see more of a positive aspect, or love them in spite of their flaws. He wraps up by summarizing:
A lover might express: "Darling, my beloved beautiful partner, you are so precious to me and I easily see how wonderful you are; the small aspects in which you do not excel (to say the least) are so insignificant that there is no sense in dwelling upon them."

All very interesting, but not my idea of unconditional love. I think unconditional love is more like God's love or the type you have for your children... the type that says, "No matter how many times you roll your eyes at me and do all that other stuff that drives me crazy, I will always love you. I will love you, even if you don't love me. I would die for you." Is it possible between romantic partners? I suppose it is, but I don't know if it would be healthy.. especially the part about "I will love you, even if you don't love me." In romantic love, I believe the level of commitment has to be equal for the relationship to be healthy. So, if both people love each other unconditionally... well, they probably are saying something like:

"Darling, my beloved beautiful partner, you are so precious to me and I easily see how wonderful you are; we both have (rather big) aspects in which we do not excel, but that's what makes us human. Besides, we're getting old, and no one else will have us. Let's give this unconditional love thing a whirl. I'll love you forever and would die for you."

And then hope their partner doesn't kill them...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Love is a Croc

Here's a picture of me, feeling the love from a Croc. He's really a holesome shoe and he doesn't even have a tongue (obviously not French...) It's one of those "just friends" kind of relationships (right now), but we are going to take some long walks together and see how it goes.

I met my new shoe-friend after my writing group this afternoon, I wandered around Pearl Street, just enjoying the sunshine and street vendors, and saw there was a bunch of commotion for this opening of a new Croc store.

I looked down at the ground and saw the ad for crocs was "Feel the Love"! Way to go, Mr. Marketer. I am ALWAYS on the look-out for love! If the ad had been anything else, I probably would have walked right on by, but my feet have been complaining that they don't get nearly the action that my fingers get with Laptop Guy. They marched right up to the "Love Wheel" to spin for prizes. That's right. There was a Love Wheel, just like Wheel of Fortune, except the prizes were things like discounts on crocs.

I ended up winning a little bag to hold sunglasses, which says "Feel the Love" so I like it. And I did buy myself my first pair of crocs and even got a few little jibbitz shoe charms. I'm feeling very good about this new relationship!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Happiness Project and it's success

This week's "Love Website" is The Happiness Project website by Gretchen Rubin. I discovered Gretchen and her website last summer as I was exploring happiness in the midst of my unemployment days. I'm rather proud that I blogged about her, "Facebook friended" her, and even had an email exchange way back before her book was published and now it's a number one best seller!

This morning as I was perusing the results of my Google Alerts search for "happiness" I came across this article that says that Crown will be paying $1M for her next book, Happier at Home. Wow! I know money isn't happiness, but I bet there's some celebrating going on in her household right now.

The article notes that, Gretchen Rubin got started on her happiness project "by writing a blog with the intention of spending a year test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier."

I bought the book and it's a good self-help type of book exploring different areas of happiness. Gretchen took a theme each month and focused on that theme. For example, in January, her theme was "boost energy" and she focused and wrote about getting more sleep. Her February theme is "Remembering Love" and explores ways in which she focused on being a better wife. The months continue with her thoughts on happiness in many areas: work, parenthood, leisure, friendship, money, eternity, books, mindfulness, and attitude. Gretchen notes that we each have our own things that bring us happiness and encourages everyone to create their own customized happiness project.

As I noted once before, I'd rather have love than happiness, but certainly happiness seems to be a component of love, so my thinking is love is happiness, mixed in with a bunch of other rather complicated emotions. I'd call it Happiness+.

The article also says, "Ms. Rubin continues writing the blog, which has become its own phenomenon, and is widely considered a textbook example of how to build an audience for a book in the digital age."

Ah ha! I'm totally going to copy Gretchen Rubin's idea except my blog/book/project will be The LOVE Project. I already documented my year of learning about love in The Laptop Dancer Diaries, which also just happens to be split into month-by-month "lessons of love" (yeah... I'll call them that.) Now I just have to get in touch with Crown and get my million dollars!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mommy Bloggers Talk About Lust

Last week, my friend, Rebecca Mullen of Altared Spaces introduced me to a wonderful group of Mommy bloggers originating from a blog called Momalom. Right now Momalom is doing this "Five for Ten" campaign for bloggers. The idea is to spend five minutes for ten days reading and commenting on each others' blogs. Momalom provides the topics:
  • May 10 & 11 -- Courage
  • May 12 & 13 -- Happiness
  • May 14 & 15 -- Memory
  • May 16 & 17 -- Lust
  • May 18 & 19 -- Yes

I haven't been participating until now. Leave it to me to jump in on a lust day! I was curious to know what exactly Mommy bloggers would write about lust. The topic is rather ... personal! As I know quite well from reactions about my book, there is an unspoken boundary between what is appropriate and what is TMI when it comes to openly sharing.

The more I read of the Mommy blogs, the more humbled I am. These women are so articulate... so poetic. Take a look at what Ali'n'Son wrote in Let's Talk About...

She starts with:

If you are a child from the 90s, you know where I’m going with this. Sex.
Yes, sex. *blush*

So, if you are one of my parents, in-laws or other family member you might want to just pass on by.

She says of lust: "A beautiful, soft, sensual word, often turned dirty, negative and well, just plain icky." And then she goes on to write the beautiful, soft sensual, poem, which you will just have to go over to her site to check out.

I know those mixed feeling about sex and lust... How can something be so beautiful, yet still have the power to make us feel ashamed or embarrassed? Why do we have to warn off family members from reading about our sensuality? We are mothers, we are professionals, we are (in some cases) geeks!, but we still are sensual human beings who long to be touched and loved and to return those feelings. Why is it so taboo to talk about that?

I, myself, have raised my eyebrows at sexual things that I've seen written in blogs. And even though I loved the HBO series, "Sex and the City," I felt that some of the Samantha-scenes went too far. What are the boundaries? Some people may not be comfortable with discussing the topic of sexual lust at all, especially not online. Why does it make us squirm? What makes something "Too Much Information"?

I was talking to my neighbor yesterday about how much is on TV these days that used to be taboo. On the Dick Van Dyke show, Laura and Rob had to have separate beds... These days you not only see married people in bed, but it's pretty common place to see all kinds of sexual adventures in mainstream media. It starts to make me wonder if I'm so old-fashioned to only want sex with love. Lust is wonderful, but when the other parts of love are missing... commitment, companionship, communication... well, it's kind of hard for me to get a very high reading on my internal lust-meter. And then I worry... Am I getting too old? Am I not "modern" enough? Am I too much of a prude?

Lust is a wonderful feeling. But for me, it's a relatively small part of the package. What I'm looking for is love. Without that, I can't seem to lust....

That is, unless I have a couple of good, strong margaritas! Then, nevermind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

BeliefNet - The Love Website of the Week

I'm looking for love on the Internet. No.. I'm not talking about online dating! I'm talking about websites, blogs, photos, songs, and online resources that make you feel all inspired to hug your friends and family. Sites that give you that tingly, happy feeling inside. Sites that fill you with love!

We certainly don't get a lot of loving stories from traditional news stories. I went through a period of not reading the news at all because it was just too depressing. So a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd seek out "love stories" on the internet. I used Google Alerts to search for "love" and guess what the top stories were? The murder of lacrosse player, Yeardly Love! So much for finding an uplifting love story in the news!

However, cyber-aholic that I am, I often run across sites that I find very inspirational. So, I've decided that at least once a week I'll feature a site or a blog that "spreads the love" and add them to my blog roll.

Today's site is Beliefnet. Today I got an email from an editor at Beliefnet expressing interest in The Laptop Dancer Diaries! Yippee! I wanted to explore the site more to see if it would be a good fit for the book. Certainly, the messages on the site are those that I strongly believe in, but, of course, in the book, I go through a lot of ups and downs before getting to a place of really recognizing what love is all about.

In any case, Beliefnet is an excellent site, so regardless of what happens with the book, I'm a new fan! Right on the home page are articles titled, "What Makes You Happy?" "Tips to Cheer Up Fast," "Have the Courage to Follow Your Dreams," and "15 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Listen." Now those are all articles that are right up my alley!" The site is listed as the "world's largest multi-faith, spirtuality and inspiration website. " There are so many great articles and places to explore. This is more than just a blog. You can join the community and participate and sign up for all kinds of newsletters. I really like that there are a lot of articles about spirituality, regardless of your religion. I've been exploring spirituality more lately...going to various churches, trying to figure out which religion most closely matches what I believe. Well, this site has a "Belief-O-Matic" quiz to help with that very question!

And, if you don't have enough to keep you entertained on the Website, BeliefNet is on Facebook and Twitter!

I suspect I will easily be able to find at least one site a week to blog about, but please pass along the sites that you find inspirational or full of love!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Geeks + Sex and the City = The Laptop Dancer Diaries!

I was psyched to see that National Geek Day is coming up on May 25th. And the new Sex and the City movie is coming out on May 27th. Combine those and what do you get? Geeks + Sex and the City = The Laptop Dancer Diaries!

What a perfect time to be promoting my book! I'm getting ready to send out a press release to a bunch of relationship media. I'm also planning a speaking engagement, "Humor in Mid-Life Dating" at the Panera in Arvada on May 28th.

Let's make the whole week of May 23rd be Geek Week! Start thinking of some ways to be a unique geek!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ode to Mom - A Few of Our Perpetual Chores

Teardrops on children and cat hair on couches
Teaching good posture to kids who are slouches
Sorting the laundry, putting socks in the drawers
These are a few of our perpetual chores

Cooking the dinners and washing the dishes
Lighting the candles and granting the wishes
Solving the sibling's bickering wars
These are a few of our perpetual chores

Supporting the teens with their rotating passions
Closing our eyes at their unusual fashions
Hiding the mess as we shut bedroom doors
These are a few of our perpetual chores

When a kid screams
When a glass breaks
When I'm feeling stressed
I'll simply remember my kids are all old
And no longer feel depressed

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Would You Really Want ONLY Happiness?

OK, even though I said I wasn't going to blog any more about The Power of Now, today I came across THE H WORD:There Is Nothing Better Than Happiness For Mother's Day in the Huffington Post. This article is very Power-of-Now-ish, encouraging us to live in the present and beware of thinking and ego.

The article reminds us that it's not intelligence or "thinking" that brings us happiness with this story of a developmentally challenged child:

"Let's go back for a moment to people who are severely challenged due to mental developmental issues. A friend was recently sharing with me about his daughter who is sixteen. At the time of her birth, doctors told him that she would not live very long. A severe medical complication would not allow her to develop any mental capacity beyond that of a three or four month old baby.

My friend is always telling me about how incredibly happy his daughter is ~ always smiling, laughing, just in the moment. She never projects off into the future or gets stuck in a past event, unable to experience the present moment freely. She never has an attachment to any outcome. She does not experience life through the "should have," "could have," "would have" or "better have" filter. "

Yet, would any of us choose to have the mental capacity of a baby, even knowing we would always be genuinely happy? Would we choose that for our children?

Life is full of ups and downs, bad and good, happy and sad. That's what makes it life! Could we really have happy without ever having sad? Well, there are times when, hopefully, we do have pure in-the-moment happiness that we get just from our present sensations. I'm not knocking that. But what about the happiness that we get from overcoming hardship? What about all the pride we feel from achieving life-long dreams? What about the beauty of love shared with another person? What about the gratefulness we feel for the miracles of life?

I want more than only "in the moment" happiness. The other type... the type that involves the past, the future, or our egos, usually means we experience other emotions, too... grief, sadness, fear, loneliness, anger. And as heart-breaking as it is to grieve, experiencing grief is not possible without having experienced love. My goal is to maximize happiness in my life. But I believe that going through painful emotions are part of what help us discover happiness.

The article says, "Happiness. It is the No. 1 thing we all want." I don't agree.

The No. 1 think I want is Love. I can't define it (yet) but it's more than happiness. It's all our confusing emotions bundled together coming out in the end with a feeling of awe and joy and wonder at this miraculous thing we have: life! It's God. It's indescribable. It's... Love!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fruity Thoughts: You can't force love

Today I'm going to talk about something I don't love: fruit.

Now, I know you're probably thinking, "Who doesn't love fruit? It's so juicy and sweet!" Well, guess what? We can't help what we love and what we don't. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

But since I know fruit is good for the health and I'm supposed to eat so many servings per day, with great resolve, I loaded my grocery basket with fruit last weekend. This has been something I've been meaning to do for months and I finally did it. This was going to be the month I would learn to love fruit.

Monday night I served Scotty lasagna, but none of that for me. No siree. I fixed myself a big bowl of mixed fresh fruit. I could just feel all those fruity vitamins surging through my body. Good for me!

About 9pm that night, both Scotty and I were perched over the toilet in our respective bathrooms, losing our dinner. Since we ate different things, I don't think we can blame the food, but let me tell you, as much as I don't like fruit, it tastes a lot better going down than it does coming up.

Now I look at all that fruit in the refrigerator and view it as the enemy. Fruit, why did you betray me? I choose you because you were supposed to be all "yummy" and "healthy" and you rejected me! Now I'd expect this type of behavior from cake or candy or cookies or many of the other unhealthy snacks that are constantly luring me to eat them. But no. I have to get sick after eating the stuff that's good for me.

So, if I have to come up with a "love lesson" for all this, I guess it's that we can't force ourselves to love something or someone, just because we know it would be good for us. We can try, but we might end up barfing our guts out. That being said, I'm all about being healthy, and pigging out on stuff that's bad for us, even if we love it, isn't such a great idea either. So what do we do?

I don't know about you, but since it's Cinco-de-Mayo, I think I'll go find myself some chips and guacamole and get my serving of fruit from a strawberry margarita.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Instead of the Power of Now... Love, Fear, and Humor

Well, I read more of the Power of Now and I've decided that further blog posts on the subject might be redundant. Many people have told me the book and its teachings have brought them comfort, and I'm all for people having a peace of mind. The thing that bothered me most was what I perceive as "negativity" about Tolle's description of our thinking and our egos. But if I keep talking about that, then I'm being negative myself! I have to say, negativity is something that I have little patience for. So for those that feel positive about the book, I say, more power (of now) to you!

As an alternative, however, I want to blog about this Love vs. Fear philosophy that I heard about a few years ago. I don't know a lot about it, but the way it was explained to me is that all of our decisions and thinking is either "love-based" or "fear-based." If we consciously examine our thoughts, then we can work towards keeping them "love-based." I'd like to add my Laptop Dancer suggestion: if the love-based approach doesn't work, is to go in with a "humor-based" back-up plan.

So, let's say we're thinking about an ex. The "fear-based" thoughts might be filled with anger, hurt, rejection, and criticism. We might think about how he/she "wronged" us or betrayed us. The "love-based" thoughts might remind us of the positive aspects of a person we once loved. We might recognize that they are a good parent or that they have had to deal with hardships and grief, too. If you can't think positively about your ex, then try keeping your thoughts confined to relatively innocuous fantasies such as your ex getting hit with a pie in the face. Or maybe just picture them in some sort of ridiculous outfit. That should at least give you a good internal chuckle.

Another example might be a friend that doesn't call you back. A fear-based response might be, "How rude! If he doesn't want to talk to me then I won't talk to him. His loss," A love-based response might be, "I wonder if everything is OK. I'll call again and find out. If there's something wrong, I'll be there for him." Then, if you find out nothing is wrong and he was really just blowing you off, you can call him something funny like "Banana Brain." (Hopefully, you will come up with something funnier.) Even better than that would be to remind yourself of a time you laughed with your friend and maybe plan an email based around the joke. It's hard to be upset with someone when you remember a shared smile.

One of the big rules for me, when it comes to relationships, is to try not to take things personally. Instead of always thinking about how hurt you are, try and focus on the other person.

Of course, if you're going through a divorce or a painful breakup, it's very difficult to come to terms when someone you love doesn't feel the same way about you. I remember my ex saying, "It's nothing personal." Of course, it's personal! When your husband tells you he doesn't love you anymore, it's personal! But, if you can just recognize that you are still loveable... that even if this one person doesn't love you, there are so many people that do love you... that you are a unique miracle complete with flaws and talents that make you special. If you can just see the beauty in yourself... then you do not need to obsess over how one person doesn't love you. You have to feel a little sorry for that person because they are missing out on YOU.

And if that doesn't work, well, what else can I tell you, Banana Brain? Put on a good comedy, get out the ice cream, and enjoy the power of NOW!

A father's approval means more than he knows

My Dad is definitely not one to gush or sugar-coat things. He has high standards. So when he gives praise, you know that it's earned. As kids, my siblings and I worked hard to gain his approval.

I know my Dad is very proud of me, but he's much happier about my professional achievements than my authoring a rather questionable book called the The Laptop Dancer Diaries. He stays away from my blog and when I asked him if he was going to read the book he said, "There are just some things a Dad doesn't need to know about his little girl." I'm cool with that. It's probably true that parts of the book would make him uncomfortable. But, of course, I'll never get over that feeling of wanting to make my Dad proud of me. Since he avoids my book and blog, there's been a little part of me that's wondered if he was ashamed or embarrassed by my openness. And I know he has mixed feelings about me being "out there" on social media, worried about privacy issues.

So even though I'd rewritten the lyrics of Hallelujah and created this slideshow that I'd put on YouTube, I hadn't given Dad the link, or even told him that I'd put it up there. I was really surprised that he found it and commented on YouTube:

"Wow! Phenomenal. I had no idea you  were such a great lyricist as well as your other talents. Super job.

Dad sent me an email a couple days later telling me he'd had one of his good friends listen to the lyrics and told me they made him cry. Getting such high praise from my father really meant a lot to me. More than he probably realizes. I think it was especially wonderful that he put the comment on YouTube for all to see. I think it's the only time my Dad has ever put a public comment on a social media site, or at least on anything I've ever written. I hadn't even been aware that he even knew I had a YouTube account.

I know the slideshow needs work (including getting rid of that little hourglass where the mouse was when I recorded it!) Maybe some day I'll delete this version from YouTube and create a better version. But I think if I delete it, it will delete Dad's comment, and that's the part I treasure most.

There's a toast my Dad makes that he learned from his father. He made the toast at my brother's memorial party. Raising his glass first high, then low, then eye-level he said:

Never above you
Never below you
Always beside you
We love you, Chris

It was beautiful and moving and made me cry with emotion as we remembered my brother. But I think I'll always think of my Dad as "above me." He's my Dad! He deserves that spot up there. We don't relate as "peers." I am still his "little girl."

I doubt my Dad will read this.. though it's possible. If he happens to stumble across it some day, like he did the YouTube video, I hope he'll forgive me for blogging about him. So here is the public toast I make for him:

You guide, You teach, You understand,
You honor me with your praise

With respect and love, I'll take my wine
And to you my glass I'll raise

I love you, Dad