I experienced something this week that brought me back to my family of origin, if you will. Growing up in an alcoholic/dysfunctional home, I learned certain behaviors that I wasn’t aware I was still exhibiting in my adult life, until now.
For example: If my father confronted my mother about something she did, she would deny it and then turn it around about something she didn’t like in him. They would end up arguing about what he said to her and the problem that was brought up in the beginning was never resolved.
When I confronted my ex-husband (who was not an alcoholic) when he forgot to bring the milk home after he said he would, he would say, “Mrs. Saint, you never forget anything, do you?” I would then defend myself and we didn’t address him not bringing home the milk.
I still get defensive sometimes, especially when I “PERCEIVE” that someone I love is making a judgment about me or they don’t approve of something I‘m doing or not doing. Talk about giving your power away because I know what others think of me is none of my business.
Here is what happened with Larry and I. I love to listen to soft music playing in the background when I am in the house. I feel comforted, relaxed and peaceful.
For the most part, Larry likes quiet. Since we are both living in the same house, I respect his need for quiet and keep the music quite low. I don’t like the sound of the TV playing, but that doesn’t bother him. He loves to eat his lunch in the TV room to unwind and relax. That has not been a problem for us because I like to sit outside on the lanai looking at the ocean.
When he asked me this question, “Do you think you are getting enough”quiet” with the music playing all the time?” I didn’t blink an eye and came at him with a vengeance. I not only REACTED but ATTACKED him and said, “What do you mean by that? What do you think I do when I sit outside every morning? I have plenty of quiet time. I like the music playing in the background because it relaxes me and makes me feel peaceful.”
Instead of not reacting or taking it personally and just listening to his perspective, (which was not right or wrong), when he asked me the question, I turned it around just like the alcoholic turned things around when confronted about a behavior. I said, “I don’t like the TV playing and see you in there for hours at a time. I don’t judge you or complain about that.”
Later that evening, I realized how defensive I was and apologized for my behavior. He accepted it and were both able to let it go. As I thought about it and prayed about it the next morning, I realized that my reaction was so strong not only because I felt judged by him, but because it didn’t appear that he trusted me to know what was good for me That was the bigger issue for me.
I know it shouldn’t make a difference because it was only his perspective and that doesn’t make it right or wrong. Even if I am being judged by another, that doesn’t mean that I have to defend myself or make myself wrong. I can’t tell you how many years I did that to myself
I brought it up to him again because it didn’t feel settled and because communication is so important to the both of us. I said, “Do you think you were being judgmental about me playing the music?” He said, “No, I don’t think it was judgmental, but just an observation.” It is understandable that we both have different needs and perspectives and we are learning to communicate and respect each other in that way.
As we discussed it further, he realized that he sometimes likes the music playing, but not all the time in the house. He wanted me to turn the music off when I was outside or left the house, which I agreed to do. That was very different from, “Do you think you are getting enough “quiet” with the music playing?” Rather than saying what he wanted – to have the music off when I am not in the room, he projected it onto me that I wasn’t getting enough “quiet” time.
I feel like this was an “awakening” for me because I had no idea this behavior that I learned in childhood was still playing out. I want to be open, to listen and not defend myself and take things personally. With God’s grace and my willingness to change, it will happen
Lately I’ve been having trouble discerning what to write about. Usually I have an idea that’s been floating around for a while and the words just start coming. It hasn’t been that way the last couple of weeks. When we decided that I would contribute to Pat’s blog there was an understanding that I would try but I didn’t want to start stressing out if I had nothing to contribute.
Last week I contributed and the week before that I did not. This week my thoughts have been pretty scattered and I felt I had nothing to contribute, so I informed Pat that I wouldn’t be writing. She was fine with that and told me not to worry about it but suggested that I could perhaps share what I was experiencing.
When I decided that I wasn’t going to write the blog, a funny thing happened. My ego started having a ball with this. It started with, “Hey, you have a responsibility to contribute and you are not living up to your responsibility. Pat can’t depend on you. What about the people that look forward to reading your stuff every week? You are letting them down. Is this process too difficult for you? Is there too much soul searching for you? Is it too difficult? Do you just not want to do the work?”
I don’t want this to sound like it’s a “poor me, poor me” because it isn’t but it is very hard work to strip away all the defenses and perhaps knock down some walls and let others see how vulnerable I am. In all honesty, this worlk has to be done week in and week out if someone wants to contribute to a blog like this. In the end it’s worth it because whether anyone reads it or not, I learn a lot about myself, that I didn’t know before.
Pat shared with you her reaction to my comment about having music playing all the time and my inquiry if she had enough quiet in her life. Well, I said it, so I have to do the work to understand why that makes any difference to me. After doing some work on it I realized that what I really wanted to communicate is that from my perspective it is easier to hear the silent voice of God when we have silence. The lesson I learned is “Larry that’s your perspective, keep it to yourself.”
I know you all have had similar experiences in a friendship or relationship, it’s not always easy. If we can learn more each day how important love, compassion, patience and forgiveness is we will have a happier life together.
I met someone this week (who was an acquaintance) that I hadn’t seen in over a year. The first and only thing she said to me was, “Are you HAPPY?” I looked at her smiling and said, “Yes, very happy.” That was the end of the conversation.
As I pondered the question in my mind, I asked myself, “What makes me happy?” There are many things that make me happy. Certainly being in a loving, committed relationship with Larry makes me happy. But, I was happy before we got into a relationship and I was happy before I moved to Maui. I was happy because I had learned to love and appreciate myself. I was happy because I had learned how to give myself PLEASURE. Here is a quote I found. “The essence of pleasure is spontaneity” Germaine Greer. Instead of being a RUSHaholic, BUSYaholic, DOaholic, WORKaholic, FOODaholic, I am practicing and declaring myself to be a PLEASUREaholic, PEACEaholic and PLAYaholic.
As an Addiction Therapist for over 20 years, I have worked with people with all kinds of addictions: food, alcohol, drugs, hoarding, shopping, sexual, religious, gambling, relationships and internet. Whenever we are addicted to something, we are trying to fill the “Hole in the Soul” with something outside of us. We often don’t want to feel our feelings and the pain inside of us. We haven’t yet done the work of healing, forgiving and transformation. One of the symptoms of addictions is that you need more and more of the “drug” to get the desired result – which is a high to numb the pain inside. It never works and never fills us. We received an email from one of our readers this week.
“I am writing to thank you both for your inspirations. keep ’em coming! Particularly today Pat, your suggestion about “GOING WITHIN” has hit home. I have received that specific message for the last 2 days (at least), coming through in different ways to gain my attention. It has! I have had resistance though, as I have been a ‘DOaholic’ much of my life. I have recognized a pattern of energy that I no longer believe, but just to state it here: I would think I was ‘fat and lazy’ and unproductive if I wasn’t physically “DOING,” or moving all the time. I recognize that it was just an ego-generated fear. It was indeed ‘false evidence appearing real’, and certainly not the Truth of Who I AM. So now, if the thought comes up around that, I transmute it as soon as I am aware of it, saying ‘cancel, clear, delete.’
I am reading a book by Dr.Christiane Northrup called “Goddesses Never Age.” She writes, “We must reclaim the power of PLEASURE. Pleasure is a divine gift we give ourselves and a powerful medicine. We have forgotten the importance of pleasure and we must practice regularly to establish HAPPINESS & JOY in our bodies and life. A discipline of pleasure is an investment in your health. Experiencing pleasure is crucial for vibrant health. It is not selfish, but a gift I give myself. Be an ageless Goddess of pleasure.”
WOW, after reading this I knew I was on the right track because I am very aware of what gives me PLEASURE in my life. I try to give myself more pleasure each day because it feels SO GOOD. This has been a process and didn’t happen overnight. Just like the person who wrote above, I struggled with giving myself permission to experience pleasure, enjoyment and not be DOING something all the time.
I had to change old beliefs that no longer served me. For example: When I am DOING and making things happen, I experience a sense of control and power. It felt like I was accomplishing something when I crossed off things from my “to do” list and therefore, felt worthy of love. I usually put PLEASURE last on my list, after all my “responsibilities” to others were completed.
I know today that I don’t have to ask permission to seek or receive pleasure. I GIVE IT TO MYSELF and don’t feel guilty or selfish anymore. Pleasure leads to happiness and my happiness serves the world and myself because it keeps my vibrational energy high. I want to be so happy that when others look at me they become happy too. Along with my “appreciation list” about myself that I do nightly, I decided to start a “pleasure list.” I will review the day and think about what brought me pleasure and then DO MORE OF IT. So many things give me pleasure. Here are some of the simple things that bring me pleasure:
*Waking up slowly in the morning and feeling grateful for the day
*Listening to the birds singing to me
*Stretching my back with yoga each morning
*Curling up in bed and reading a good book
*Having morning coffee in bed with Larry
*Sitting outside with the sun shining and the breeze blowing on my face
*Going for walks in nature and noticing the beauty all around me
*Eating my food slowly and tasting the flavors and texture of what I am eating
*Listening to my favorite Hawaiian radio station at home and in the car
*Going for car rides in my new car with no destination
*Just letting the day unfold with nothing planned
*Connecting with friends on Facebook
*Painting, dancing and writing
*Watching a movie with Larry and having my feet scratched and rubbed
*Hugging, especially when we go to bed at night
*Going to yard sales or consignment shops and finding a bargain or just what I am looking for
*Meeting new people and listening to their stories
*Inspiring someone to trust God and live their dream
*Having a glass of wine at the end of the day and watching the sunset
*Wearing a flower in my hair or a colorful hat
*Smiling and saying hello to people when I walk on the beach
*Taking a hot bath and luxuriating my body
*Going to the beach or swimming in my favorite pool
Alan Cohen in his book, “Wisdom of the Heart” writes “Take the time to enjoy your life. You can allow yourself PLEASURE and still fulfill your responsibilities. And if you keep your Spirit happy, you will actually accomplish your tasks more quickly, easily and efficiently. Each day, set aside time to nourish your soul. Explore music, art, or dance; read for pleasure, get together with friends, play with your pet, engage in a hobby; or get out in nature. When you do something you love even for a short time each day, you will recharge your batteries and find the strength and energy to do the things you need to do.”
Would you like to join me and practice becoming a PLEASUREaholic, PEACEaholic and PLAYaholic? I truly believe this is how God intended for us to live our lives; loving and appreciating ourselves, allowing ourselves to experience peace, play and pleasure. Only as we learn to love and appreciate ourselves, are we capable of loving others unconditionally. Life is short, you are worth it. Larry will be back next week writing!
We would love to hear from you and welcome your responses to this blog. What do you do for pleasure and fun? Have you been inspired to do something differently as a result of reading this?
Last February I took a trip to the Lavender Farm in Maui with 2 girlfriends and spotted a small sign as we drove in that said, “Paragliding.” I immediately said, “Oh that sounds like so much fun, I want to do that.” I wrote down the number to call to get more information. I mentioned it to my friend, Larry, that night about how much fun it would be and that I would love to do it. My birthday was in October and he surprised me with a Paragliding gift certificate. I used my Paragliding certificate today and I am now a student/affiliate of the U.S. Hanging Gliding and Paragliding Association. How impressive is that?
I could hardly wait to get home and write about the experience because I had the time of my life. It had to be the perfect weather conditions to fly and it was perfect; the sky was blue, the wind was blowing just right, the instructor, Dexter, was from New York (where I was born) and my girlfriends were so excited and cheering me on and, of course, taking all kinds of pictures.
When we arrived at the Lavender Farm at 10:30 a.m. I looked up into the sky and spotted someone paragliding. With my mouth wide open, I said, “OMG, that’s what I’m going to be doing?” We all burst out laughing and my friends asked, “You mean, you didn’t know?” I am embarrassed to say that I hadn’t seen how high I would be traveling in the sky. This was probably a good thing because I may have chickened out. There was no turning back and off we went to find my instructor, Dexter.
Just standing on the mountain before we took off, the view was breathtaking as we were up 4,000 ft. and we could see all of Maui. Before my flight, I had to sign all kinds of papers and Dexter assured me that he had been doing this for 25 years and had never had an accident. This made me feel much better!
We were ready to take off as I put my helmet on and got strapped into my gear. I forgot to tell you that Dexter was flying with me and strapped in right behind me. I stood there with my hands open wide and prayed. There was a big parachute behind us that would open as we ran down the hill together. He said, “Just do everything I tell you to do and you will be just fine.” I smiled and said, “Ok.”
The first thing he said was, “We have to wait for the right wind to come so we can take off. It will come. When it comes, I will tell you to run as fast as you can down the hill.” I looked down at my Croc shoes and hoped and prayed they would stay on. They did and he was right. The wind came as the parachute opened and we lifted up into the air. What an exhilarating feeling to just put my arms up and float in the sky and go higher and higher. For many years, I have prayed to go higher and higher with God.
As the wind carried us higher and higher into the sky, I felt so connected to God and the Universe. I was amazed at how relaxed and at peace I was. I didn’t feel any fear and was completely in the moment. I didn’t want it to end and could have stayed up there for hours. I said to Dexter, “This is really a spiritual experience.” He said, “Yes, many people have that experience.”
There are many lessons that I learned from this experience. First, I had to trust my instructor, Dexter, that he knew what he was doing and I would be safe. I had to listen carefully to his instructions and do what he said. I had to wait and be patient until the right and perfect wind came to lift us off. I had to let go of control and give the control to someone who knew what they were doing. I had to be willing to take a risk and experience something I had never experienced before. I had to let go of fear and all the “what ifs” that could happen. I had to be willing to go higher with God.
I asked myself, “What are the lessons I am learning between this experience and the message for me in my life today?” There were many and I have a sense that they will continue to reveal themselves.
*Learning to TRUST God, myself and someone else
*Learning to LISTEN to all instructions and follow them
*Learning to LET GO of control and ENJOY the ride
*Learning to take a RISK
*Learning to go HIGHER
*Learning to let the Universe CARRY me higher and higher
*Learning to WAIT and be patient for the right and perfect timing
*Learning to have COURAGE to do things that I am afraid of
*Learning to ALLOW the Spirit to carry me
*Learning that God has my back and we are ONE
As I relaxed, lifted my arms to the heavens, let go, sang praises to God, and trusted that I was safe, the view from the top of the mountain was absolutely breathtaking and amazing.
I was still “flying high” from the day and wanted to just relax as I ate my dinner. I rarely watch the TV, but decided to put it on to just veg. out. This is what came on the screen when I turned it on.
“If you only had a few minutes left to live, have you lived your dream and have you come to earth to do what you wanted to do?” They kept repeating this in the background:
REMEMBER YOUR DREAMS, I SEE YOU, COME RIDE THE SKY
*There’s something more – just beyond your reach *We forgot our true greatness and magnificence
*Return to nature *Dream BIG *Give the Universe goose bumps at the way you live your life
*This is your moment, your time *Come play, be willing and carefree *Be the guru of your own heart
*Don’t look for shortcuts to God *I am another YOU *Do you know how truly blessed you are
*Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, the God who conceived me in love
*Do something so magnificent that the Universe bursts into applause *Prayer is celestial conversation between me and love and union with Divine Essence *When I know myself, I know God *Love is surrendering to the ONE
A couple of days after my paragliding, I was cleaning my bathroom and packing boxes to move, I heard a song on the radio that brought me to tears and confirmed my experience and that I am loved and safe.
“I will lift you up over the mountain and over the valleys. I will carry you on the wings of the angels. There is nothing that will keep you from my love. My heart surrounds you on the wings of the angels, you will rise high above everything and I will make everything right.”
I want to give the Universe goose bumps at the way I live my life. How about you? If you only had a few minutes left to live, have you lived your dream and have you come to earth to do what you wanted to do?
Last week I shared about some of the ways I love myself. This week I would like to share about the ways I’ve felt loved, provided for and protected by the Divine.
I left my house early Saturday morning to facilitate the retreat/Play’dom, “Fall in Love with Your Inner Goddess.” I planned on meeting, Kati, the co-facilitator at 8:45 a.m. to set up the space and get it ready for the women attending. I had ten minutes to spare when I noticed the big “garage sale” sign on the corner of the street. If you have read my book, you know that I am the “Yard Sale Queen” and just couldn’t resist a yard sale. I jumped out of my car to look around the yard sale. I found nothing interesting and walked back to my car. But, to my dismay, my car was dead as a door nail and wouldn’t start. I needed a jump start– perhaps I should not have jumped out of my car!
I looked around and noticed a man walking his dog across the street. I walked over to him and said, “Hi, my name is Pat and I need some help.” I explained that my car was dead and I needed a ride to a house just a few blocks away. He said, “Sorry, but my wife has the car.” I am not in the habit of asking men that I don’t know for a ride, but I was desperate. I thanked him and walked back to my car. A lady was outside on her lawn and I said to her, “I need help.” She was so gracious and offered to drive me to my destination. But, I looked up and spotted Sally, a friend from my dancing group walking out of the yard sale. I thanked the lady and asked Sally to drive me to the house. I left my car there and off we went. I totally forgot about my car and concentrated on the women at the retreat.
Thank you God for bringing Sally at the perfect and right time to help me when I needed it. Thank you God that I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere and had a safe place to leave my car for the day.
The retreat was a success and the women all loved it. We laughed, prayed, danced, sang and healed together. At the end of the day, Kati drove me back to my car to see if it would start. No, it was still dead. I called AAA and they said they would send a truck out in 40 minutes. When the mechanic arrived and jumped my car with his cables, he said, “I’ve never seen this before, the problem may be the starter or the alternator. Lady, you better drive this car right home and bring it to your mechanic as soon as you can.” I knew if I drove my car home, which was 30 minutes away, I would have to call AAA in the morning to have it towed to my mechanic. My mechanic lived a few minutes away from where I was.
At this point, I could hardly think straight and didn’t know what to do. Kati said, “Why don’t you just call your mechanic and tell him what is going on.” It is now 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night and Kati and I are hungry and exhausted. What is the likelihood of my mechanic answering the phone and being there?
To my surprise and delight, Andy answered the phone on the second ring. “Hi Andy, this is Pat, remember me, the lady that bought the 1997 Camaro.” I explained to him what was going on and I was just a few minutes away. He said, “Bring your car right over and I will look at it
Andy’s garage is attached to his home and when we arrived he was working on another car in the garage. He popped the hood of my car and said, “It just needs a new battery and I have one here that is almost brand new. Would you like me to put it in for you? I can have it done in 10 minutes.” Of course, I said, “YES.” I was never so happy to write him a check for $100 and have a new battery put in my car.
I drove away thanking God all the way home for taking care of me in such a magnificent way. It just all worked out perfectly from Sally picking me up and driving me to the house, to Andy being home at 7:00p.m. and having a battery there to put in my car. I love how the Universe works when I trust and surrender.
I shared in last week’s blog about meeting the angel, Heidi, on the beach and that her message was, “Be Yourself and Let Go.” On the morning of the retreat, Kati took her walk, and ran into Heidi walking on the beach. They stopped and talked for a few minutes. Heidi said, “I have some new books in the trunk of my car that I want to get out into the world. Do you know of any women who would like them?” Of course, Kati said, “Yes, I am leading a retreat later today and there will be 10 women there who would love them.” I was amazed when Kati told me the story and how “Heidi” showed up again at the perfect and right time. The name of the book is “Awaken Your Royalty – A playful blending of Body, Mind and Spirit –by Heidi Hohani.
I finished this part of the blog 5 days ago and KNEW there would be another “story” of God’s love to share, but I had to wait. God is faithful because the “story” was born tonight.
My friend, Kati, and I were having dinner together and catching up on the week’s happenings. As women do, we went from one subject to another. I shared with her about writing my blog and was waiting for another “story” of God’s love to unfold. We both agreed it would happen.
My birthday is October second and Kati said, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” I said, “I have never been to Hana and would love to take a trip there. Everybody talks about the “Road to Hana” with the beautiful waterfalls, windy roads and pools. It is definitely a must while in Maui. Kati agreed to check around to see if we could find a place to stay for a night.
As we were chatting, a young woman walked by selling colorful leis. She stopped to greet us and told us her name was “Faith.” We talked for a few minutes and then she walked to the table behind us to greet the two women sitting there. Kati said, “I just heard the woman sitting at that table say she lived in Hana.” Kati and I just looked at one another and said, “Hmmmm.”
The next thing I knew I was up and walking over to the table to introduce myself to the women. “Hi, I’m Pat and I overheard you say you lived in Hana. I live in Maui Meadows and want to visit Hana for my birthday next week. Do you know of a place we could stay?” After thinking for a minute, I was shocked when she said, “Do you want to swap houses? I am staying with my friend here tonight, but I love to come down this way when I can.” That is how this “Divine Connection” began. We decided to talk over coffee after dinner.
I went back to our table with a big smile on my face and said, “Kati, you are not going to believe what just happened. We have a place to stay in Hana – and it overlooks the ocean.” We call it Maui Magic or “Ask and you shall receive.” We needed a place to stay while in Hana and God answered the prayer. We will be “swapping houses” for 2 nights.
My new friend, Carol, shared with me that she wants to move to this area and this is perfect to stay in my ohana for 2 nights. My friend, Linda, from Massachusetts is coming to visit me in November and Carol and I will be “swapping” homes again so I can take Linda to Hana.
I invited Carol and Sherri to see my home after we spent time getting to know one another at the restaurant. They are both women of faith and were thrilled when I gave them my book. I just never know when God is going to “show up” in my life. I do know that God is faithful. I have a feeling this is going to be a very special birthday. And it has only just begun!
I received an email from Sherri yesterday that read: “Aloha. It was “Divine Intervention” at work last night. I have been reading your book all day and thanking God for making our paths cross. I love your book and I can relate to so many things. Mahalo for taking the time to write it and gifting me a copy…..I’m so thankful to have met an AWESOME lady like you.
As I ponder God’s action and love in my life this week, I am reminded to ask for what I need, have faith, trust God in all things, and to know that I will be provided for at the right and perfect time.
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Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host
Simply A Woman of Faith
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