Take it back!

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Here we are post-pandemic and forever changed by so much more than a virus. We are changed by how we interact, who we interact with and when we interact. We have found yet another “line in the sand” as a country where “we decide” for ourselves. I will decide if I vaccinate; the most obvious of all decisions in this moment. How about all of those decisions that we are making quietly, personally, publicly without a declaration?

We are deciding:

  • Who we will spend our time, how and when. Long gone are the days of social pressures that forced us to be with people we don’t want to spend our time with or working for companies that made decisions for us. We are deciding; collectively and independently. We are no longer driven by the pressure of having to make social “appearances” for the fear of ____________.

I find this revealing and refreshing. It is revealing for us all to see who chooses us and who we choose. Who has “written us off” using the pandemic as the acceptable “Exit Door” on a friendship that had long seen its end? Who have we “moved on” past using “self-isolation” as an acceptable reason to end it? It is refreshing (after the sting) to be left with true quality relationships that are “worth the risk”. Relationships on our terms.

We are deciding:

  • Who we will work for, with and where. I am inspired by those that are taking back their freedom to decide and take the risk (while it is low) to move on from an employer that does not align with their values. The test of independence will be to see how those making the change own it when the roles reverse and employers are able to pushback again. Do you stand on your morals? Are you holding true to you when the ball is not in your court and you have to take the risk of holding the line?

It is refreshing to see people live their lives the way they decide; choosing for themselves. In order to make this stick, make sure you set it up for the long haul and not as supplemented temporarily.

Last but never least are those that inspire us to take notice of the freedom to “Take it Back” when we don’t notice that we have given too much. I was inspired by a conversation first with a dear friend that helped me to understand the power afforded if I would just exercise the value I have recognized but not afforded myself. This was further reinforced by one of “The Aunts” that reminded me to define it, protect it and DO IT.

I am “paying it forward” by reminding you that this is the season to “Take it back!” as there are “hall passes” and “escape hatches” everywhere. Open your eyes and your mind to the new possibility to redefine what is not working of you.

Life as I “Take it back!” – L.

inDEPENDENT…a new view

Yesterday I explored the idea of Independence in the patriotic sense and the human condition. 

The “human condition” is defined as:

“the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality” – Wikipedia

As I concluded I came to realize that in all of my self-defining as “fiercely independent”, with the passing of my mom, that I was not nearly as fierce or independent has I had given myself credit.  Yet the other side of this realization is that I am also the last to ask for help, want help or accept help.  I am fortunate that those that are closest to me know this to be my weakness and they simply insert themselves where they know I need them without waiting for my request…that will ultimately never come. 

Today’s thought of the day explores the two sides of this coin and in practice seems like the best compromise for those of us that have a need to not feel reliant but deep inside long for reliance.  I long for people I can count on, I long for partners, I long to be cared for and while I don’t ask, I show the longing I want through my own actions.  I consider myself to be reliable; able to counted on, a great partner and I care for those that I love beyond what they know they need.  (Gary is always reminding me that I am solving for problems that don’t even exist…insert my need to be needed…Thank you David Lao for passing that along!) 

As I choose to explore the “human condition” from the emotional point of view we all need to be cared for, to be a part of something which may trump a theory of independence.  The reality is that part of being independent is to know when to rely on others and how to “deploy your armies”.  I talk about the theory of “deploying your armies” at work with my talented Sales Team all the time; however let’s explore this from a personal point of view. 

  • You first have to know who you can count on.  This requires you to look at your circle and start “closing” it.  When we look at the circle of those that we allow to surround us we have to look at it from a lens of “give and take”.  Inevitably there is an inequality of TAKE in some of those relationships that is not serving us well.  The work here is for us to remove those from that circle.  I am not suggesting that you have to make a PSA that they are being removed from the circle but that you know you are pushing them to an outer circle will be enough of a conscious decision.
  • You are going to be surprised at who is left in that circle as I promise you there are people that you don’t acknowledge as “close” that are inevitably giving more to you than you deserve.  By identifying these people you are then able to serve them better because again they are frequently the ones that you have not acknowledged and therefore are giving more to you then you give back.  It’s a great way to “check” yourself! 
  • Once the circle is closed and YOUR army is identified you can then deploy what you need from each of those soldiers and in turn what you intend to give back. 

Let me give you my greatest example that I am honoring today…

  • My BFF Maria has been in my life since the early 90’s where we met at work.  Maria and I were great friends throughout our time working together as our boys were born months apart and our Latina bond (hers far more obvious than mine) cemented the bond. 
  • When we moved to Central Florida Maria and her family followed us up as Dan, her husband, became my AGM at the hotels we were managing.  They moved five houses down and we became closer as neighbors.
  • As life would have it, the hotel sold and I went on to a new company and Dan took a job back down in SFL separating our families once again.
  • We never lost touch, and would get together a couple of times a year to vacation together always starting again right where we had left off months before but not having daily contact.

FAST FORWARD TO MY SOLDIER and CAPTAIN OF MY CIRCLE:

  • When my mother became ill I would come to know that this relationship was more than a couple of vacations a year.  You see here is how it showed itself:
    • I did not ASK for a thing!  Maria showed up everywhere; regardless of my asking, my need, my want, desire, control…
    • Through phone calls, text messages and checking in with Gary at the very end when my entire world revolved around my mom and I was not able to communicate. 
    • During this year she would come up to visit which became her taking care of me, us, even for a weekend at a time.  She always left us better than she found us despite my fighting with her to NOT do my dishes, NOT cook for us, no, no, no…she simply did not take NO ever!  And for this I cannot ever express enough gratitude as I needed her in those moments more than I could have ever communicated.  I needed to be taken care of, I needed to feel loved, I needed Maria to take control…despite knowing I needed it.
    • The final moment, the one that set in stone my love for Maria FOREVER was at my mom’s service.  I had decided to do the eulogy which I knew would be the most important speaking engagement I would EVER take on.  Again, I knew what I had to do to get up, get it done and then….oh man, I never thought about what might happen when I walked away from that podium…I LOST IT.  As I caught my breath and looked up there was Maria and her boys at my feet, hugging me, loving me.  She didn’t think about it, she didn’t ask for permission, she didn’t worry about the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, she saw her friend in need, in pain and she ran to save her…me…ugh…that moment will NEVER leave me.

I offer you this as my blog today to give further insight to what independence, dependence and reliance can all mean in your life when deployed and truly exercised daily.  You will get the most out of your life, when you can identify the differences as I continue to define daily. 

  • Dependence – the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else.
  • Reliance – dependence on or trust in someone or something
  • Dependence vs. Reliance – reliance is the act of relying on someone or something; trust while dependence is the state of being dependent, of relying upon another.

So for today I am still FIERCELY Independent, with a dependence on those closest to me that I know I can rely on.  #NotAlone #MyMaria

Fiercely Independent…

Happy Independence Day America! Happy Fourth of July! I am so grateful to the men and women who fight for my freedom. I am proud to be an American and know that living in THIS country is indeed a privilege. While I honor the day I have to take advantage of the theory of INDEPENDENCE as it relates to the human condition.

I have always defined myself as “fiercely independent” as both a reminder of what I want to be and ultimately who I am. I was raised by a mother that personified this throughout her life. As her daughter and biggest fan I watched my mother navigate this life with grace first and independence always! it was through watching her that I became very comfortable with my own company (yes, I go to movies and restaurants by myself…oh the horror!! HA), silence and dependence on NO ONE! My mother was very introspective and private (Unfortunately, the thrill of finally getting to read her journals proved fruitless as of course she wasn’t revealing a thing…ugh!) but her independence is one of many of her characteristics that I cherished most and attempted to replicate.

I was meeting with my therapist recently (yes, I believe in mental HEALTH to avoid mental sickness!) and he was telling me the lengths at which he had gone in his life to be comfortable with simply being alone, silent and in his own company. It started with a friend inviting him to go up on the mountain to “watch the monks” (literally! Monk-watching!!). He said that it moved him so much that he went back every month for the next ten years of his life. He would sit in silence (enter the “Sound of Silence”-Simon and Garfunkel) and observe the monks but most importantly in that silence he could observe his thoughts and ultimately learn to quiet them. As he told the story I am sure he thought I would be appalled at the extreme nature of this effort but instead I was in awe and jealous of the opportunity. To simply BE, just sit, quietly and allow it all to happen around you is the fiercest level of independence I can think of and respect.

When thinking on this topic I am reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert author of “Eat Pray Love” as it is one of my favorite books and movie. This is a memoir about the undoing of her marriage and her journey to find a new life. There are so many things that resonate with me through her story but two stand out:

  • She goes to an ashram where she is given the opportunity to be “silent” for a period of time. She was not to speak a word to anyone and wore a button that noted that she was practicing silence. I think about the challenge as I enjoy interaction, communication and yes, sometimes the sound of my own voice as I indeed talk to myself. Ultimately the way I see it is that when you are silent you are forced to take in because you cannot put out. (Not that kind of putting out…dirty minds!!) It’s in this state that you will observe more as it’s when we shut down one of our senses that we enhance the others. Try it and comment below to let me know the longest you have been silent and what you learned about yourself.
  • I am moved by Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Physics of the Quest” and have it in the notes app of my phone as a place to go for inspiration on how I want to live this life. I share it here with you:
    • “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything) and set out on a truth-seeking journey, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.”

I would be remiss if I did not note that my greatest accomplishment to date is putting two extremely independent human beings out into the world. My oldest children are exactly the kind of independent I wanted for their lives. Molly is fierce in every sense of the word. She cares not what the world thinks and simply lives HER life according to her standard. She has taught me so much in this life about independence and owning who you are inside out. Cameron is the softer side of fierce as his independence is a bit less “F you” (Did I mention Molly has a smiley face tattooed on her middle finger!!) and more “I got this”. Cameron puts his mind to what he wants in life and he goes for it with a relentless focus that is exhausting from the outside but fueling his fire on the inside. He comes across as amicable but don’t confuse that for agreeable. He has very strong thoughts about life and how it is to be lived and will offer a healthy debate on all the wrong things to talk about in public if engaged…by this I mean religion, politics and his sister; even when she doesn’t want to be the topic! HA! These children are 100% their own people. They have views that do not reflect mine or Gary’s and stand for something. As I said at the top, they are by far my greatest accomplishments to date…now about Brendan…well that is an entirely different blog post! Ha!!

I will conclude with an excerpt from my journal after visiting my therapist and having the greatest aha moment about my independence and what was actually an unhealthy dependence on my mom that I never realized the power of until she was gone.  

Written 11.17.18 – I realize that I put so much into her; faith, trust, love, EVERYTHING, that when she died all of that died with her and that which is ME.  I get it. At some level I also realize that my dependency on her life was not healthy, although it NEVER felt that way but it is/was what it is/was.  Now it’s time to heal, it’s time to learn how to live a life without reliance on another human to hold all of what you find valuable in life. Funny that what occurs to me right now is that while I have always believed myself to be fiercely independent I was fiercely dependent on her.  Interesting.

I learned that my independence was not truly as fierce as I had portrayed as it was very dependent on her, my everything. In order to be truly independent in this life no one thing can be your “everything” as the very idea of being independent is being surrounded by nothing and being perfectly okay in that place.

I wish you a Happy Fourth of July and may this Independence Day inspire in you freedom from all that holds you back. #HonoringHer