Happiness is Hard!

imageYou may not know me, or I, You, but that is irrelevant.
A Power greater than us determined we need to be on each other’s paths in this specific moment, for reasons beyond our human understanding, and that is sufficient for me.

As Christmas is only a few days away, and I sense more an energy of fear that it is not enough, reaching a boiling point, rather than joy and peace, I need to remind myself and you, whether we know one another or not, that I didn’t plan to write this post and if you read it, there must be a reason and to not hesitate to do what your heart, not mind, tells you to do.

Most times, because of the constant messages in the media, that everything is perfect, everyone is happy and “what is wrong with you,” if you are not part of this super happy crowd, it is next to impossible to admit you might not be happy, and even more difficult to reach out for support.

It is for this reason that I decided to voice this message, which comes from my heart and which I hope, reaches yours.
Perhaps,some day, you will offer your hand to strangers and comfort them.

Imagine a field of flowers, each beautiful on its own, but at times we need to see, touch and smell the fragrance of a bouquet of flowers. To see them all together. Each has its own scent and shape, and for that reason, their unique beauty is even more powerful as they stand together! One is not more or less beautiful than another, but different. It is their uniqueness which makes them even more memorable, just as the human race! One person is not more meaningful than another, but each is unique, different and important! I cannot, or wish to imagine fields of flowers all the same color, scent and shape! Would you?
As, and if, you take a moment to read this message, please know that it is not significant that a hand is small, big, young or old. All it matters is the willingness to offer support or ask for it. Many times, the greatest help is silence.
As a famous proverb reminds us, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

This Christmas, remember that in our home, The EARTH, there are many hands willing to support the best they could!

I’m humbly offering a free, supportive hand. It is your decision whether to accept.

Rodica M.
M.S. Counseling and Clinical Psychology
Life Coach
Life Cross-Roads and Wellness

The Message is The Reason for the Season, NOT How Many Presents One Gets! Unrelated Memories from Bulling!!! Was this BULLING? What would you have done?

imageOne of the new things I guarantee is that before we know it, even long before we wish for it, Christmas music is played everywhere: In the stores, malls, subways, buses. Not sure they play it on buses but it sure seems this way. It seems like someone implanted a chip in my brain and it plays Here Comes Santa Claus non stop, until I don’t even care if I get presents. Stop IT already!!!
It is hard to believe that as a child, growing up in a communist country, I didn’t hear Christmas carols and wished for them! It is hard to separate the beauty of such Christmas carols and their magical message from the message imposed by the thousands of commercial entities, whose marketing research shows that the sooner they start, the more they sell, and this is the ultimate goal: $$$$$.
This explains in a nutshell my very personal and complex journey from wishing for Christmas celebration, to wishing less, to deciding to hide somewhere in a cave and come out when the bears who hibernate come out, to settling for ear plugs, the cheapest ones! After winding allover the place with my beliefs and what to do, I concluded to stick with the MESSAGE, not the commercialization of it!

Yeah… Holidays are not my favorite time of the year as “pretending” our lives are “perfect” is at an all year high in December, as we struggle to show just how politically correct we are! The truth is that in my humble observation, it has nothing to do with respect for other people’s beliefs, but again, with sales and money!

Also,unless one wishes to be banned off of Earth (that is the part of it which has clean water and food, and heat or air conditioning, DARE state there is a fate, dare say some events in life are sad and not in your total control!

I dare confess that I read and value Bright-Sided -How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Best Seller Nickel and Dimed. I also dare write about a “group of extreme positive thinkers who don’t have to worry about living, as do the humans in Africa and many right here, at home. I’m yet to understand why the “positive thinking” movement seem to belong to those who having a “life,” worry about stress and positive thinking and deny the existence of fate and luck!

To push the sad people on an even darker, hopeless path, because they didn’t THINK POSITIVE ENOUGH, let’s make sure they feel guilty because they didn’t think right! It is their fault, their lives are not perfect! The pressure to be positive is so great, at times I don’t dare “think,” all is not perfect, because, could I be sure someone doesn’t read my mind? So, as a way to ensure survival, we got it into “our heads” that we were happy, and if that illusionary God dared sneak into our brains a different idea, such as negative thinking, please push that useless thought in the basement of your mind! Even better, kick it out, somewhere where no one could see it, because we are at all times, no matter the hardships of life, positive thinkers! We manifest that which we think and why I didn’t win the lottery yet, is a mystery to me.
I took a break and now…
I’m re-reading my own post, and it is confusing. It jumps from one “lane to another,” mostly without a warning, but is’t this how real life “behaves?” amd we have to deal with it as if all is perfect and positive?

The truth is that long before “the positive thinking implant” was carefully installed into my brain, another one was permanently screwed in to make sure no matter the events offered by life, my mind stays “INQUISITIVE!” This quality of my mind” was developed under Communism, when I was a child forbidden to believe in God and ordered to say I see I black sock when in fact I saw a white sock! Those early, survival experiences, taught me that no matter how much I was forbidden to question, the more I should, but NOBODY should guess I did!

The truth is that no matter how overwhelmingly powerful the “positive thinking” trend is, it will never suffocate my good, old inquisitive brain, which is, I’d dare say, part of my “limbic brain,” the oldest and the most powerful because it is responsible for survival. Perhaps not the brightest, but the most useful.
It sure gets me out of trouble and if I have to decide on the spot whether to fight or flight, in the flash of a second I could take a decision and save myself!

Many times, I think of a childhood story, which I see as the possible root of “my style of making decisions.”
This is a true story. Short. At least this is my intention, now. By the end of reading it, perhaps you will make a life-changing decision.

Here’s the story:

When we were children, there was no Amber Alert and Community Watch. At times, perhaps the creepy lonely neighbor was the volunteer who “watched” us, the kids playing, and our parents were grateful, delighted at the kindness of mankind and its selflessness, never doubting! Many times, I wonder what journalists in other countries reported… We, in Romania, only watched and heard news about President/God Ceausescu and His Scientist/Godess, Elena, his wife. The perfection of this couple made the Gods in the Greek Legends pale, look like ridiculous charicatures in fairy tales made to impress five-year olds… may be!

Okay… my story is already winding off the main path. I promised it short. Back to the main path!
Instead of the last two paragraphs, I could have written: “When I was a child, we played outside unsupervised and we survived!

In one of the many days when we played across from our apartment complex, one of my playmates hit me jokingly. How did I know it was “jokingly?” She laughed, and so did the other kids. She hit me again the following day, and again…until there was a bruise at the site of the “crime,” my cheek.

I must have been 9 or 10 years old. I’m now assuming, in my culture, I was considered old enough to take care of such problems of no real significance. The word bulling wasn’t “in” yet, but my black cheek was prove it existed! On the other hand, the entire incident and how it was handled could have been my mother’s personal “mothering style.”

I guess I knew First Aide, because I made a cold compress and applied it on my cheek.
In silence, Mom examined my cheek.
“Mom, Cristina hit me!”
“Who hit first?”
“She did, Mom! I didn’t hit her at all!”
Mom’s eyes pierced my bruised cheek:
“So… Cristina hit you…because you said something to her? A lie?”
“No, Mom, I didn’t say anything! We were playing and she hit me and they all laughed!”

My Mother’s eyes pierced my bruised cheek again and it hurt as much as the laughter of my playmates!

“Why are you telling me this story?” Mom spoke at last.” Cristina hit you for no reason. People laughed at you! They didn’t laugh at me. Solve your own problems if someone attacks you but never start a fight!”

The next day, Cristina hit me again.
Without a word, I made a fist and hit her in her solar plexus. Oh, no, at the time, I had no idea just how dangerous that was!
Cristina leaned against the wall. We stopped playing. She was very pale… more like bluish, as I recall. She and her sister left.
After that scary incident, new, unspoken rules seemed to be in place. The hitting stopped and we found other ways to laugh together.

I hope this post was short enough and didn’t put you to sleep. I also hope my mother had a message for more than just me.
However, even if I was the only beneficiary of her parenting skills, it was a lesson well learned: Never start a fight, solve your own problems. How one decides to solve a problem could start a debate.
If you were the parent, in today’s world, how would you advice your kid?
In the age of bulling and violence, I don’t think that my mother’s response was the best… but what would be?
Please share your thoughts with us. As always, we learn by sharing.
Have a blessed weekend!

Christmas and Buying STUFF! How to slow down … or at least, TRY …

It is still fresh in my memory, the time when my daughters were growing up. We were shopping crazy until the very last moment, and it still didn’t “feel” enough. Toys, clothing, books (yes, we still read good old fashion  books in a paper format) more toys, more of this and that…

Looking back, I confess that perhaps, in those times I thought this was how I could buy my daughters’ love… or may be I was subconsciously making up for growing up in communist Romania, where Christmas celebrations were either low key, or non-existent but we were allowed to celebrate The New Year and still had a Tree and presents. In truth, a PRESENT.  In those  days, getting one toy and having the luxury to eat bananas, was enough.

But this was not communist Romania, this was America, the land of plenty and I was integrating, plainly said, doing what the vast majority of us does: BUYING INDISCRIMINATELY.

Whatever the combination of psychological reasons, just wrapping up our daughters’  the presents was taking us hours, and with the awareness of today, I wonder how many trees we helped destroy unknowingly…

The feelings I recall having  in those times, when my kids were growing up in America, were of panic… anxiety that it was not enough. It seemed that the measure of love was how much STUFF we were able to place under the Christmas Tree. There was also a “high,” I was experiencing when getting all the stuff, and an even “higher high,” watching my girls unwrap the presents. Some were immediate favorites, others were thrown in a corner and forgotten. Today I would take those less fortunate toys and donate them to a shelter, but in the years of my youth I lacked such wisdom, so, the “stuff” was stored in the basement, and when the basement overflew with unnecessary objects, I started to use the barn in the back of our yard…

Years went by, and after twenty years, our marriage was about to end up in divorce. Divorce, like cancer or suicide are events which in my opinion are so painful to even think about, that as  normal human beings, out of a need to protect ourselves, as a coping mechanism, we refuse to believe they could happen to US. If and when they happen, it is   a shock.  No matter how much our logical minds know all along that  over 50% of marriages end up in divorce, that a suicide is completed every 14 minutes in the U.S. and people die of cancer, it is hard to believe any of such events could be close to our home.

Yet, here I was, in the mist of  the “stuff” accumulated over a period of 20 years, trying to clean the house, no longer our home, before settlement, before the new owners came to inspected their new home. Yes, we sold the house and it all needed to be removed, memories of good and bad times illustrated by the accumulation of things.

At the beginning of the cleaning process, I tried to discriminate, to determine what was worthy of moving with us and what needed to be thrown away.  Suddenly, I realized that more than half the things we have accumulated over the years were not necessary for anything, except the impulse and the greed of the moment to HAVE MORE of this or that!

That feeling of desperation is still with me. The moment when I realized that I was running out of time and  the mountains of broken plastic toys were still spread allover, and I no longer had the time to sort them out.  Things which at the time of purchase had meaning, brought joy and I thought of them as being necessary, suddenly transformed into disposable “stuff.” I started shaving everything in big, extra strength plastic bags. One, two, three, four bags… By the time I was finished placing the trash on our  ex-front lawn for the township  pick up in the morning, the entire fresh, well-maintained lawn was covered by ugly black plastic bags! An ocean of stuff put in a hurry in impersonal black bags. I stopped counting at 53!   Our life of 20 years summed up,  ready for pick up and taken somewhere, in a place I’d never know. What I do know, and am ashamed of, is how I contributed to polluting our Earth and how useless the “stuff” turned out to be.

Since our divorce and the sale of the house, many years ago, each time I am tempted to buy an object, I close my eyes, take a deep breathe and instantly in my mind’s eyes I SEE the ocean of black ugly bags filled with the unnecessary “stuff” of a broken relationship and the pain and confusion that accompanied it. This image alone, is sufficient to make me put back the “stuff,” and instead offer gifts of my heart, presents that could be used. It could be baking a loaf of bread, offering a necessary service, such as a hair-cut or simply writing a note showing love and appreciation.

The lesson I learned is that who truly loves me, appreciates  the part of my soul that goes into  the simple gifts of life.

If there are people in one’s life who measure love by the amount of “stuff” they receive, it is one’s choice to stay with the big black trash bags or not.

Lonely and Alone… What Is The Difference…

At a time of the year when it seems compulsory to be with family and friends, as we watch Kay jewelry commercials about a kiss com and diamonds commercials, let’s be honest and admit not everyone has a family and many are not all chocolate and diamonds …

This thought prompted me to write this post, as I am about to leave my friends in Florida and fly back home to PA, where I do not have a family, but am not alone.
What is the difference…
I was in a marriage of 20 years but was lonely, yet not alone. I had to adjust my needs to my family’s, but when I was trying g to communicate at a deeper level with my husband… well… it wasn’t happening. I felt lonely, yet our host Mas tree was there, the presents, the ham etc. Oh and how could I forget, the family and friends.
Years flew by, my daughter’s flew to California, my husband is no more, so… am I lonely.
The story I am going to share illustrates the difference best.
I went to a new doctor. He said, So, you live alone, do you feel lonely, as in depressed.
I responded,
I don’t live alone. I live with three rescue dogs and Max, my African Grey, who every morning tells me, I LOVE YOU. If I don’t answer back, he asks, WHAT Are YOU doing…lol
I am alone by superficial human standards, but not lonely.
To the joy of having the unconditional love of my pets, I derive soul companionship from connecting with my community and people life sends my way for a reason.
The artist on the plane, the homeless by choice who offers free bracelets on a Florida beach, the beautiful blonde woman on the beach , who dedicates her life to autistic children.

Perhaps, I felt more lonely when I was in meaningless relationships, than I feel now, when I live alone by the superficial doctor’s intake form, yet I’m not lonely.

Loneliness is a state of our minds, not of what TV commercials feed us.

FREE Holiday Chats to Chase the Blues AWAY

Hello Friends,

As I did for Thanksgiving, as part of my DIRECT service to  the Universal Power we call God, will be available for chats with anyone who feels lonely or just feels a chat would do them good.Remember, we are all special in our own way and there is a part of God in each of us.

Please call, FREE (only cells and NO international calls please): 717 706 9503

Tuesday, December 24

Hours: 5:00 PM -8:00 PM

Thursday, December 25 (Christmas Day)

Hours: 2:00 PM -6 PM