Valentine Mindfulness

It should be empowering to know that on Valentines Day we are single because we choose to be.  I see myself as making space for the really big thing, the real thing, the right thing that I trust will come.

But sometimes, in the midst of all the pink and red around us, our thoughts, feelings and body sensations betray us.

Stay mindful my loves…

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C.R.I.S.I.S.

Best laid plans fail.  Everything hurtled to a halt yesterday and I am in a complete C.R.I.S.I.S.  Four things broke, snowballing from small things to the final earthquake that may or may not shake my world for a while.

1. Lola broke Snow White.  My first orchid.  My little dog, beautiful and innocent looking, chewed off her blooms and snapped her stalk in two.  It shocked me and upset me.  But not as much as the second thing that broke.

2. My time budget was stretched to the point of breaking.  The week of work was so intense that I put off errands and meetings and dates to Saturday and Saturday came with too few hours to get everything done.  But more important things broke.

3. I broke my commitment to post every day.  Two months of writing every single morning and sharing with the world fell victim to my poor time management and the crisis I now find myself in.

4. The Crisis.  The third thing I broke.  I have broken my resolution.  And I don’t know when it happened or how it happened but it did happen.  Yesterday is when I realized for the past several months there has been an elephant in the room of my head.  Perhaps it started as a mouse and then became an elephant calf.  But by the time I became aware of its presence it was an adult elephant, taking up space in my head and being ignored.

I have been lying to myself.  I am, and for some time have been, emotionally affected by a man.

There.  I said it.  And even still I am lying.  Affected is such a euphemism.  So much so that it isn’t true.  I have no idea how big this is but right now, like the sky, it is ALL I CAN SEE.  What I have convinced myself for months was a mild irritation with someone I convinced myself was a friend I am absolutely not attracted to turned out to be something completely different.  My hair has been an excuse and even that was employed to perpetuate lies I told myself.  I cut it again in order to keep avoiding this thing that completely terrifies me.

Today I have an apology to make because not only did I lie to myself, I lied every day on this blog.  I didn’t know I was lying, of course, but I wasn’t authentic, I haven’t been true to my nature.  Honesty is a thing I value above almost every other thing and today I am humbly coming clean.

For months I have run circles around myself.  I have run from him and from my own truth.  I have employed survival mechanism after survival mechanism and avoided the essence of who I am in this place in which I find myself.  I have severed ties (he didn’t let me), fought tooth and nail for my space (he won), argued (he argued better) and denied everything.  I have despised and ill-treated him as he worked around me to be my friend.  All without even realizing what I was doing.

And then yesterday the clouds parted.  And I am completely terrified.  I feel like I have failed.  I am overwhelmed by the need to run.  Fast.

But I have no idea what the right thing to do is.  Do I run TO or do I run FROM?

For the moment I will freeze.  And pray.  Perhaps the feeling will pass.

Snip Snip… Again

This time it was for me.  A little trim.  A bit of pep in my step and breeze on my neck.  Not as short as the last one but a little step backward.  Or forward.  Or not at all.

Perhaps I have learned there is so much to say and that my hair grows so fast that I have given myself too little time…?

For those who have followed my blog, you know what I am about to explain to newcomers.  The Singlestream came into being with the Resolution that I will remain single until my hair falls to my shoulders again and that I will publish an entry for this blog every day of this period.  A sabbatical one might say.  A break from the rollercoaster of mate-finding to find meaning and purpose within my own space.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

tienne Balsan, Coco avant Chanel

It could be a sign of progress on this journey that I feel so confident and satisfied that I cut my hair and extended the period.  Perhaps I’ll get to love it here and make it my forever home.  Maybe I will find a way to face and eliminate the fears and negatives I see in singleness enough to stay here forever.  Even if I don’t, the journey has been worth it.

Today my head is light, I look good, I feel confident, and I am happy to write a little longer.

Haircut = $50

The confidence and growth it represents = PRICELESS

To Know Why She Is Here

The answer isn’t found within anyone else.  You haven’t found yourself in singleness because the last one cheated or because you haven’t met the next one.  What is your reason really?

But before you ask yourself the question, why is it important to know the answer?

Every moment in your life has a purpose.  You have arrived at the destination of Today haven taken the train of Yesterday and now have to make the decision as to which train you will take into Tomorrow.  This decision is a crucial one, one that should not be taken lightly.  The wrong train will take you into danger and harm.  The not-so-wrong-but-not-really-right train will take you into uncertainty, doubt and boredom.  The right train will take you into confidence and success.  You want to have a good idea of what train you are on before you board it, don’t you?

This is why it is important to know where you are departing from.  Get to know your present, your Today, because in your Today are the clues as to what train you should take into Tomorrow.

So let’s talk about today.  Today you are a Single Woman.  Why is that?  If you struggle for an answer, try this exercise.  What is good about being a Single Woman?  Write a list.  What is bad about it?  Write another list.  Be very honest with yourself.  Don’t make any judgements, just let it flow.  Be open and clear and authentic in the creation of both these lists.  No one has to see this but you.  When you are done put the two lists together and you will have a rounded view of where you are on your emotional map.  This is where you are.  In finding where you are you should be able to see the Why of it – the purpose for being here.

This morning I, Bushlings, am a Single Woman.  The good things I have found about being single are…

  1. I get to sleep without anyone else’s snores, don’t have to share the bathroom or any of my space.  My space is my own.
  2. My money is also my own.  I don’t have to consider anyone else in making my financial goals or decisions.
  3. I have the time to do the things I have always wanted to do.  Like maintain a blog, sing in a band, travel when I feel like it, go dancing when the mood hits me.
  4. In singleness I am not vulnerable to being deeply hurt by a partner.  This is perhaps the greatest of my good things about being single.  If I am single no man can cheat on me.  If I am single I cannot be taken for granted by a man.  If I am single I will not be hurt by a man’s inattention.
  5. There is so much space for growth I can focus much more clearly on the things about me that I would like to fix without having to spend time navigating around another’s flaws.

The bad things I have found about being single are…

  1. There are times of loneliness when I could use a cuddle and there isn’t anyone there to be that person that I cuddle with.
  2. Fear of a future alone is something that pops up occasionally.  Growing old alone is not an attractive option.
  3. Maybe one day I will want children.  Perhaps if I am single too long I might eliminate that possibility.

…I can’t really think of any more.  But I suppose those three are big enough.

From this I have learned that my reason for being single is that I want to heal and grow.  I don’t wish for it to last forever but there are great benefits to this time that I am here to receive.  Knowing this about my Today will inform my decisions.  What train should I take into Tomorrow?  Perhaps I should go back to school or maybe exploring new hobbies is enough for my growth.  Learning about how to  heal my wounds and giving time for my anger at the wound-makers of my past to ebb away should probably be the focus of my reading and my explorations.  As I heal and grow I see more clearly the purpose of my singleness – Why continue to battle when I am wounded?

As you do your list you may discover that you want your Tomorrow to look like your Today – perhaps you want to be single forever?  Perhaps you are over your wounds and unwilling to go back into battle at all?  Perhaps you are considering a relationship and determine it to be the best way into your tomorrow?  What do your lists look like?  What is the purpose of your Today?

Accountability

You are a smart Single Woman.  You know who you are, your likes, your dislikes, your dreams and your fears.  You know your boundaries, your expectations, what you accept and do not accept from others and from yourself.

But you will still lie to yourself.

Don’t shake your head.  That’s you doing it RIGHT NOW.

Enter accountability.  The person that tells you when you’re talking rubbish.  The hand that points out that you need to let go.  The loving friend in your life smart enough to recognize when you aren’t being the best you and brave enough to face you and tell you.  The voice that calls you out on your bull.  They are all holding you accountable.

I am blessed with friends like that.  They pull my leash when my self-discipline needs a kick-start, or, more commonly, when my temper flares.  Family members and friends with powerful personalities to match my own nuclear capabilities.  People as smart as or smarter than me and brave enough to face me down on my own weaknesses.  Who love me enough to want me to be well and strong.

In recent weeks I had an exercise in accountability.  I suffered a deep hurt inflicted by a false friend.  It rocked my world and brought out an animal that I had believed to be euthanized by my self-discipline years ago.  The H-bomb blew and blood (figuratively speaking) was let.  Then came accountability.  A friend who called me out on it.  Sent me to my corner to figure out my part in this and to work through the process of letting go.  She said things that were hard to hear in the face of my righteous indignation.  But she brought me back to being with a jump-start and reeled me into focus again.

Accountability is often feared.  Avoided.  Resented.  But without it we hide our flaws and sacrifice our authenticity.  Our essence is overshadowed by our efforts to fake success or indifference.

I encourage all Single Women to seek accountability.  It will make the world of a difference in the way you move through life.

But it doesn’t just happen.  Accountability must be created, invited and accepted.  Follow these four steps and you will find yourself being held accountable in no time.

  1. Designate your trusted person by whom you will be held accountable.  Choose this person wisely, particularly with the more private and intimate goals you hope to achieve or hurdles you hope to cross.  The person must be someone whose loyalty is not questioned and whose love is unconditional.  You may designate a different trusted person for each type of goal.  For instance, an accountant friend can hold you to account with your financial goals, your psycho gym-crazy buddy can hold you accountable for your physical goals, and your best friend since the sandbox can hold you accountable for your relational goals.
  2. Share your goal with your friend.  Share with them your desire to be held accountable by them.  Invite them to share their opinion on your goal and discuss whether they would participate in your accountability.  Talk openly about what being held accountable looks like to you.
  3. Trust their love for you to guide them and for them to be on your side.  If you have chosen the right person for the job you should not have to feel defensive when they do call you on what you have asked them to call you on.
  4. Listen to what they have to say.  When the time comes and you have slipped, accept their reprimand.  When you have met your goal, enjoy their praise.

Remember too that not only will you need to be held accountable, your friends may need you to fulfill that role for them as well.  Be to them the friend that you would want them to be to you.  Some rules are always golden.

Start today to invite accountability into your life.

For the Single Woman that has difficulty with #1, perhaps it is time to consider engaging a Life Coach.  This person will work with you through your goals, cheer you on when you succeed in reaching them, and remind you of your own desires when you start to lose focus.  If Life Coaching would interest you, click on the Ford Coaching on the right of your screen to learn more about what coaching is, what it can do for you.  From that site you can also ask Kristen Ford any questions you have about Life Coaching and she may be able to help you find a Life Coach near you.

To Serve

Just because she hasn’t given up her freedom doesn’t mean she isn’t a giver.  In fact this time of singleness is the place from which the Single Woman can do the most amazing things!  Her energy, her time, her decisions, her space and her thoughts are all her own – she is a powerhouse in pink-bottom pumps.

Every human being has a purpose.  The Single Woman is no different.  She has a purpose and the advantage of not needing to conform her own to the purpose of another or be distracted from her own purpose to provide for the needs of a partner.

Single Women often find great joy in service.  Princess Diana moved land mines from mountains and changed lives when she got rid of the unfaithful frog she kissed at the altar.  Mother Theresa was married to God (now you can’t beat HIM as a Platonic Husband!  Or Security System for that matter!).  She changed the way the world treated its sick and dying.  Oprah crashed through glass ceiling after glass ceiling until there was no modern woman on earth that had not been reached by her wisdom and inspired by her example.

Single Woman, what is Your purpose? How can YOU serve?

We are a diverse demographic.  Single Women are nurses, biker chicks, students, lawyers, maids, police officers, secretaries, accountants, actresses, stewardesses, bank tellers, construction workers, fire fighters, doctors, and judges.  There are few social circles in which we do not move.  If we were to focus on meeting the needs of the world from right where we are right now, this rock would spin smoother, fewer people would suffer, and we would be the most powerful movement on earth.

Let’s take an example.  The Single Woman manager of a health insurance company.  On Wednesdays she spends her lunch hour talking to students at the local high school about their futures and the possibilities open to them in the world of business.  On Thursdays she attends the Rotary Club, on Fridays she takes lunch to an elderly lady, on Saturdays she babysits for a single mother, on Sundays she serves in her local church.  And that is her spare time.  Every day of the week she is serving her clients.  When they become patients in a foreign country she is their coordinator and advisor.  When they run out of money on their benefits plan she becomes their negotiator and solution-finder.  When they are struck by a catastrophe at 2 in the morning she is up on the phone arranging their emergency care or their safe evacuation.  She is serving.  Every day.  In her work and in her play.

Another example.  The Single Woman who is a nanny in the home of a wealthy family.  She works seven days a week and lives in the spare room of her employer’s house.  She doesn’t have free time.  Yet she can serve.  The children in her care are bathed three times a day and fed healthy meals.  She teaches them lessons in life like how to wash the dishes, how to share with each other, how to respect themselves.  She reads bedtime stories to them.  She tucks them in at night.  She turns on the night light.  They wake to her smile and the smell of breakfast.  She is serving.  Every day.

How the Single Woman can serve from right where she is…

  • Live to serve – Every thing a Single Woman does is an act of service.  If she begins to examine her actions with a view to focusing them on service she will be able to make a major difference in her own life and in the life of others.  For example, the Single Woman is a receptionist.  She answers the phone.  If she channels every action into an act of service she will know that when the phone rings the beneficiary of her service is the caller.  She will put a smile on her face that makes its way into her voice and be as helpful as she possibly can to assist the caller with obtaining what he is calling for.  Every action is an act of service.  And every act of service has a beneficiary.
  • Smile – In living to serve, a Single Woman will learn that the easiest and most inexpensive form of service is her smile.  It is an act of service.  There is always a beneficiary.  A team leader that smiles when speaking to the members of his team will encourage that team to perform.  A customer service agent smiling to a complaining customer can turn that complaint around.  There is money to be made in the business of smiles.  But, more importantly, there is also much joy to be had.  A smile is a priceless act of service.
  • Spend time serving with others – Join a church, join an organization, meet like-minded people also focused on service, serve with them to better your world.  Pick a charity, a cause, a doctrine that you believe in and commit to it.  Pick a service club.  Or pick a group of people in need you would like to reach.  When people band together they are better able to change the world.  Even in service there is power in numbers.

Testimony of a Rotaracter:

“I joined Rotaract as an excited idealistic young Single Woman.  I had just moved back home from University abroad and didn’t know many people.  But I wanted to give back to my community and got past my shyness enough to accept the invite to a Rotaract meeting.  At my first Rotaract meeting I was greeted with humour and smiles.  The discussion was lively, non-political, and geared towards what we, as young people, can do to benefit our world.  In my time with the Rotaract club I have been exposed to the greater world of service – the Rotary Family has been instrumental in erradicating polio worldwide.  We have been first responders to major disasters in Haiti, India, New Orleans and Japan.  We have been carers for our own communities feeding the elderly, throwing Christmas parties for the poor, cleaning up littered beaches, sponsoring youth programs and teaching adults who have never learned how to read.  I am a part of a large family that serves the world as well as each other. 

May Rotary friends and Rotary ways help us to serve thee all our days” .

Single Women, let us be the movement we were meant to be.  Starting with a smile.  Today.

Do you have a service story to share?  Leave your stories in the Singlestream by commenting below…

The Platonic Husband

She loves him.  She hates him.  She fights with him.  Sometimes weekly, sometimes daily.  She CAN live without him but for some reason or no reason at all he is in her life.  He is the Platonic Husband.

Every woman has one.  The gay best friend, the man whore she is immune to, the co-worker that calls her up on her lunch hour to bring him her leftovers, her best friend’s brother, her brother’s best friend.  Some are there for life, some are there for a few months, but all have one thing in common.  She would never take him home.

His role is difficult to define – as every Husband is unique so too is every Platonic Husband.  The crux of his role is that he is platonic and that he is all the other things that a husband is.

Pla·ton·ic

[pluh-ton-ik] ( usually lowercase ) purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of the opposite sex.  ~Dictionary.com

The single woman might ask, why on earth do I need a Platonic Husband?  The answer – to keep you from writing off all of man-kind.  Sure, you’ve decided at this point in your life you’d be better off without them.  That doesn’t make men the enemy. …OK… I rephrase… it doesn’t make ALL men the enemy.  Perhaps the greatest advantages to having a Platonic Husband are if he screws up you can walk away easily, it’s socially acceptable to have many of them at one time, and it’s emotionally possible to move on the very same day.  Platonic divorces are free.

Every single woman has one.  Not all of you know that he is a Platonic Husband but this should help you identify him, or them, in your life.

Signs that you might have a Platonic Husband:

  1. He’s second after your Dad on the speed dial list for car trouble.
  2. He lectures you on the do’s and don’ts of dating while you get ready for a big night with a new guy.
  3. You trust him completely with your intimate details – menstrual cycle, crushes, arguments with friends, deep hurts, secret joys.
  4. He tells you things he’d never tell his boys or his wife – like the fact that he has feelings.  And what those feelings are.
  5. No wrong word can be said about you in his presence – or about him in yours.
  6. He thinks all your ex-boyfriends are assholes and has probably told them this.
  7. You do not want to become non-platonic with him.  Something about him turns you off that idea.  Either he’s gay, he’s taken, or he’s such a man whore and you know too much to feel that way about him.  You know all his games and there is no mystery.  NOTE:  Unless he’s gay, its very likely that he finds YOU attractive.  And you either ignore it or pretend it isn’t true.
  8. You argue at least once a week.  The longer the relationship, the less frequent the arguments.  One advantage over the other kind of husband.
  9. He has the patience of Job when explaining football to you.  Or basketball, or cricket, or rugby, or golf, or whatever his chosen waste of time.  It’s a patience he wouldn’t have for his wife or his girlfriend.  Another advantage over the other kind of husband.
  10. He’d never lie to you.  He has no reason to.  If you don’t like what he has to say he knows you’ll fight it out and put it behind you.  Yet another advantage over the other kind of husband.

Live today happily wed.

A famous Platonic Husband - Will of Will and Grace