For You Heather – My Past … That Lead To Where I am Today.

I am extremely honored and proud to have someone contact me about my blog, asking for me to write more and for some personal advise.  It makes me even more happy and pleased that there is a change that some of my writings and personal experiences have the potential to help someone else in their own lives.  So i am happy to answer some of the questions that were asked and elaborate on some of my past that lead to where i am right now.  This is going to be a long one, so bear with me and i hope you enjoy.

Maybe I should start by sharing the comment that i received, that prompted me to write the following blog.

Hi Bobbi!
I just came across your blog and it’s gotten a strange hold on me. I haven’t been able to stop reading! You’ve written some of these entries very well and intriguingly 🙂
I was wondering if you’d be willing to write some posts on your marriage and divorce…. I am not trying to be nosy or anything, I am actually interested in how a long term relationship (I think you had said 15 years in one of your articles) ended as I may be heading towards the same situation.
I have been with my boyfriend for 8 years, not as long as yours but long enough to fall in love and think about marriage and head towards that only to one day wonder if he is the one. Maybe we’re drifitng or maybe we’re going through a rough patch. I’m not sure. I just wanted to talk to someone who figured out what was right for her.
I specifically hoped you could shed light on that 15 year relationship had started, how it progressed to marriage – whether you ever doubted that it was the right thing to do, what changed during marriage that made you two realize it was time to go your separate ways… and kids – was that topic ever an issue?
If you don’t want to write a few posts about these things and publicize it, I completely understand. But maybe if instead you could email me back so we could talk that would be great.
I know I’m probably asking for a lot but it’s just that I’ve noticed through your writing that you’ve ended up in a very healthy place. And I desperately want that as well.
Thank you,
Heather

Heather, this is for you!  🙂  And thank you again.  I hope you find some of the answers you are looking for in this.  Please feel free to continue to ask me any questions you may have or ask for me to elaborate on anything.  I am an open book.

I was 16 years old, a Sophomore in high school when i met him.  We went to the movies together on a double date with my best friend.  Our relationship grew from there.  We were together basically since we were kids, we grew up together, we grew together, and eventually we grew apart together.  We finished high school and moved away to college together, stayed in the same dorm together and then got an apartment together.  We were always together.  After we graduated college, he got a job as an aerospace engineer in Wichita, KS.  Halfway across from the country from my family and all that i knew.  But i saw it as an adventure.  That was a step that would either make us or break us, we would either have only each other to rely and grow closer, or we would fall apart.

One thing my mom told me during my divorce – that struck a cord so deeply within (which i will get to a little later in the writing) was that ever since i was a little girl, i had always danced to the beat of my own drum… then when i was with him she said i begun to dance to his beat.  Going through my divorce, she said it was good to see “Bobbi ” again and that i was now dancing to my own beat again.  I had always been a free spirit, a free thinker, and independent person.  Yet, i somehow seemed to have lost myself in the midst of that relationship. What my mom said to me was something i will never forget, and just even more reassurance that i made the right decision.

The first moment i ever remember questioning or asking myself whether this was the right step for me was when we were discussing moving to Kansas.  It was an amazing opportunity for him, careerwise, and i would be just tagging along, there for the adventure…. During our discussions, he said he would go whether i decided to go our not.  That was a huge blow to me and something i never forgot or got over.  Needless to say, i still went along with the plan and moved.

At different points in our relationship we grew together, then would grow apart.  Yet somehow, i always felt like something was missing.  Something that i could not figure out or put my finger on.  But looking back, what it was was that i had lost my sense of self. I had become his girlfriend, his wife, etc. and had lost the true sense of Bobbi and who she was.

When he proposed to me – after being together for seven years… my response to him was “ARE YOU SURE?”  This is not the response of someone in love and excited about marrying and spending our lives together.  Needless too say, i did say yes and we got married on our ten year anniversary from the time we started dating on the beach in Jamaica, barefoot.  The wedding was perfect, just as i hoped it would be.  Yet, we would never make it to our 4th wedding anniversary.  As the years passed i continued to question.  Was this right?  Was this the best thing for me?  Was this where i was suppose to be?  Don’t get me wrong, He was an wonderful man.  He would have done just about anything for me.  We grew to become best friends.  He was kind, understanding, successful, caring and loved me more than the world.  Yet he was calm and safe, neutral, content with the average.  He would attempt to pull me into that lull as well.

One of the most powerful things for me was the saying – When it’s right, you just know.  It took me actually falling in love with someone right to understand that saying and what it truly meant.  I always questioned.  And what i learned was that all of that questioning meant – for me – that it was not the right thing.  It was not the right place for me.  It was not the right thing for me.  Not that i regret it, i would never take it back.  I learned so much from all of that.  So much that made the person i am today.  Your experiences, whether good or bad, experience the person you are to turn into… and i like this Bobbi quite a bit 🙂

I do not believe that there is only one right, perfect person out there for each of us.  I am quite certain that there are more than one “right ones”.  But i also think that there are just as many, if not more “wrong ones”.  And now that i have met and fell in love with one of my “right ones” i know what it means to “JUST KNOW”.  I just knew, and i still know – which is why i fight so hard through any hard or difficult times.  I have never questioned with him like i did with my ex husband.  I was always questioning.  I think that is such a big hint and a big clue.

What it actually took for me – after years on uncertainty, questioning and just that feeling of missing something… was actually stopping and listening to myself.  My body had begun to tell me what my heart and mind was in denial about.  I started to go through a depression.  I lost my appetite and all normal desire in all the everyday things i used to enjoy.  I started losing weight, avoiding intimacy or contact, avoiding any sort of deep or meaningful conversation.  I spent more time alone, in bed, sleeping… in avoidance mode. I started to feel this intense and consistent anxiety, for no particular reason that i could put my finger on (like the sort of anxious feeling before you give a speech or something like that…. all the time, all day long).  Others started to notice my weight loss and expressed their concern to me.  I begun seeing a therapist who helped me to realize all of these things that i was too afraid to admit to myself.  I did a lot of soul searching, a lot of writing, a lot of talking and finally started to listen to myself – to all that my instinct and intuition and body was telling me.  I decided on a trial separation – to get some time away, to myself and to figure out if that was right for me.  I talked to my husband about this and while he was extremely upset about it, he was surprisingly understanding.  He knew i was not happy.  We went over our budgets to see what i could  afford on my own and how to split up our finances.  I rented an apartment that would do a short term 6 month lease.. this was in October 2008.  My depression and anxiety continued and my doctor put me on some medication.  I couldn’t eat or sleep and barely function.  It was one of the hardest decisions i had ever had to make in my entire life.  It took a lot of strength and courage to leave a “comfortable” situation because i knew i needed more.

We continued to talk during this separation.  We would have “dates” and try to work on things and figure it out.  Yet somehow i knew that this was the right decision for me, no matter how depressed i got, or how hard it was  for me… i knew it was the right thing.  And i was honest with him through the whole thing.  I let him knew i wanted to file for divorce.  He was crushed.  He tried all he could think of to get me to come back home.  I broke his heart, and that in turn broke mine all over again.  I loved him and i never meant to or wanted to hurt him.  But for once in my life i had to listen to myself and not do what everyone else wanted me to do.  I have some of the worst memories stuck in my head of things he said to me – memories that i can’t get rid of no matter what of how much i hurt him.  That hurts me.  Yet it had to be done.

We worked together and sold our house, filed for divorce and split up our savings we had together.  I started dating again.  I found my smile again.  I found myself again.  I call that summer my summer of recovery and discovery.  I recovered from my depression, my anxiety, my guilt and my divorce  and discovered who Bobbi was again.  It felt so good to be free and independent.  To be the free spirit i am inherently.  To not feel squashed and kept inside a box, but free to open my wings and soar.  It was what i needed, what my soul needed.

I dated.  I got my heart broken.  I broke hearts.  I had to relearn what i wanted in a relationship.  I had fun. I let it all lose!  That was the summer i met Eric.  The summer i fell in love, truly in love, for the first time in my life.  That was the summer i learned what it meant when someone says “you just know”.  I finally knew and understood.  And knew with even greater confidence that i did the right thing.  When my divorce was final, after all the waiting periods – Eric and i celebrated!

My ex husband and i tried to stay in touch.  He got laid off and moved away.  Before he left, he came over and met Eric, said  good bye to me and the kitties.  It has been over 6 years now and i have not once doubted my decision.  And at one point, he contacted me and thanked me for all i had done, and that all we went through showed him how to be a better person for himself and for his future partners.  I only wish him happiness.  I am so grateful that we worked together through it all and that there were no hard feelings or negativity surrounding it all.

And to answer some of your other questions… We never had children.  We did have two cats though 🙂  I had never wanted children and knew this early on.  I think he would have liked to have them someday but when the topic was brought up and we discussed it he choose to be with me over the possibility of kids in the future.  Now maybe he can have some if he wishes :).

Infidelity – that was never an issue with us either.  I knew he loved me and only me and i never worried he would stray.  While i never did during our relationship, i had thoughts of it – because of my own unhappiness and lack of satisfaction in the relationship.

And Heather – please continue to ask me any other questions you have… and let me know how you are doing and what decisions you make in your own struggle.

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My Smile – Part One and Part Two – The Evolution.

This is a writing from a few days ago, that can show you how quickly thoughts, emotions and a state of mind can change, modify, turn into something else.  This was something new for me.  Often times i tend to wallow in my own negative feelings, waiting for them to change or something to happen (externally) to make me feel or think differently.  I saw this as a pretty big stepping stone for me – to have this change of state of mind in a matter of less than 24 hours.

We all have issues we are working on and things we are trying to better for ourselves.  Understanding and controlling my multitude of emotions is one for me.  And not lingering so long in the bad, negative or hurtful ones.  Letting go in a sense, moving on and taking control of my own happiness, my own smile.

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My Smile – Part one (Gone) (7/7/15)

My smile is gone
I want it back.  I miss it.
I see pictures, older picture – this girl with the gigantic smile, happiness in her eyes. Heart free and open.
I want to be that girl again.
I find myself envying her.
My smile is gone.  I miss it
I want to figure out how to bring it back.
For myself.  I need to.
This smile i have now is often times forced. I put on a mask, go through the motions.
He tells me to smile.  But its just not there.
Only sometimes, and only for a short period of time.
Forcing is even hard.
My mind is full, heart heavy, stomach in knots, emotions raw.
Never be silent.  What about those times when anything you say only makes things worse… even when you thought it would help?
Thoughts jumbled.
Full of emotions, loss of logic.
Over reaction? I don’t think so…
Effort… gone.
Forgotten or neglected, when it’s needed the most.
Discouraged

Part one was written with tears streaming down my face, in the midst of raw emotions.  Some of my best, most honest writings come from that place.  While they are not always very positive, they are real and honest.  But they also help to maybe open my eyes, to see where change is needed, and how to make that possible.  This is where part two comes from… helping me to recognize I am responsible and have the power over my own happiness.

I often struggle with the thought of happiness, and the perspective that only you can make yourself happy and that you cannot rely on others to do so.  Yes, this is true.  You should never rely on another person for your happiness.  Yet they can greatly contribute to, or take away from it.

My Smile – Part Two (Must Find) (7/8/15)

My Smile

I thought it was gone.

But it was only hidden, from me, from others.

I have to look deep to find it again.  My smile – the true smile, not the forced one sometimes shown

It shouldn’t be about what someone else is doing, isn’t doing

It needs to be about me… Only ME.

Other things can make it bigger – but shouldn’t have the power to take it away.

A smile is more attractive than a frown

My smile… will come back

I will make sure of that.

My soul, my spirit, my nature… is emotion

Emotion that I must control

Sadness takes away from the happiness

Diminishing my smile

Get rid of the sadness

Hope. Confidence. Positive.

Remember the magic and just believe.

Just Love.

Hug.  Even if you don’t feel like you want to.  Do it anyway, you may feel different.

Hugs are like magic

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The Dangers Of The Screen

When the main sounds heard are the sounds of keystrokes and televisions, rather than the sound of each other’s voices, each other’s laughter.  It’s time to unplug.

Too many screens, not enough personal interaction.  Too much worrying about what everyone else is doing, what everyone else is thinking and what everyone else is posting… not enough time spent worrying about what each other is doing and what each other is thinking.  It’s time to unplug.

Who can I prove wrong, who can I argue with. Who can I let frustrate and irritate me, needlessly  – through the screen.  It’s time to unplug.

To sit on the same couch, laptops in hand, mouths closed, voices silent.  More conversations and interactions with people on the other side of the screen than together with each other.  Like, dislike, post, share, comment.   It’s time to unplug.

Doing your own thing, stuck in your own heads, staring at your own screens… has turned into the norm.  social media, research, games, work, writing.  Solitarily social.  Growing afraid to talk, to say, to ask.  Irritations increase, understanding and patience decreases.  Frustrations arise where they didn’t used to be.  It’s time to unplug.

Why has it become hard to turn off, to unplug.  How do you go back to how it was before, when you came home and talked about your days, planned your future days, talked, laughed and enjoyed each other more…. More than the screen.   The screen that has become a danger, to your relationship, to your interpersonal interactions.  The things that used to be so important just don’t seem as important anymore.  It’s time to unplug.

My Newest Artwork – AHIMSA

Ahimsa – Simply stated, Non Violence.  Non Violence in thought, Non Violence in action and Non Violence in speech.  This is a Hindu term which means the absence from violence either by thought, word or deed.  It implies compassion, respect and loving kindness to all living beings.

I knew I wanted my next tattoo to symbolize and embody this as this is how I strive to live my life.  It is imperative to develop a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love.  Compassion is such a major theme in my life and one word that describes me perfectly.

So when I was contemplating my newest piece of artwork, I did not have any difficulties in coming to a decision about this.  It is sanscrit for Ahimsa.  Each of my tattoos has immense meaning to me and represents a certain stage or turning point in my life.  Works of art that I am proud to permanently wear for the eternity of this body.

Here is the outline completed without the shading

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And the finished piece of art!

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This piece of art was completed by Lisa McLeod (click to view her facebook page and other works of art).  She is not only a tattoo artist, she is also an artist.  She specialized in custom work and has many other projects such as children’s books and art for surfboards.  Check out her stuff!  If you are looking for some tattoo art work done in the Hampton Roads area, she is working on her portfolio and has a lot of great good deals!

 

A Writer’s Heart

writers heart

A Writer’s Heart

The written words of a writer are all as important as her spoken words, if not more so. With each stroke of the keypad, or with each placement of ink on paper, a writer shares with you a piece of her heart and soul. Sometimes that comes with a tear or two, some laughter, joy, fear or anger. A mix of many emotions, feelings and thoughts encompass each letter, word, sentence and paragraph.

When her head is filled up with so many twisted and tangled thoughts and emotions, sometimes writing them down is the only way to untangle them, to make some sense out of them, and to express them. She sees writing as a therapeutic process, a way to process all the mess in her mind and make some sense of all the emotions that have the ability to confuse and torment her.

She sees her writings as a way to share her heart and soul with the reader, whether it be intended for one single individual or an open writing for all to read. Her wish is that when you read her words you are able to sense and feel her emotions, all the mix of feelings in her heart she was experiencing while she attempted to transfer it all to paper the best as she could.

Each word she writes is an expression of her love, her compassion and her passion for the things she writes about. Everything written is a confession of the heart. Maybe more honest and true than anything else. When she writes to you or about you it is a result of all the love inside that she may not be able to express otherwise.

Sometimes the things she writes are so personal and so intimate that it is scary to share, with anyone. Sometimes her darkest corners peer into the light and fight to be written about. A part of coming out of her shell, expressing who she truly is inside, and helping the world to understand a little bit of who she is and why she does some of the things that she does is the process of opening up and sharing those things.

Writing is a process. It is an emotion within itself. It is a release and a way to share, or attempt to share the thoughts in the deepest crevices of her mind and her heart.

 

A Different Kind of Celebration – Buddha Day

A Different Kind of Celebration – Buddha Day

Each year, I republish my blog on Buddha Day, with some updates and modifications. 

 

Today, Wednesday May 14th, 2014 is a very special day for those of the Buddhist faith.  Whether you are a Buddhist, or like me and just identify and believe in the loving compassion teachings of the Buddha, today is a day to acknowledge and celebrate.  Buddha Day, also known as Vesak, Vesakha or Wesak, is a celebration that encompasses the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment Nirvana and his passing away, all on the same day.  This day falls on the full moon of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, varying dates each year.  This year it falls on May 14th.   Many Buddhist celebrations occur during the full moon.   This day is one of the most important observances and celebrations for Buddhists across the world.  Vesak offers Buddhists an opportunity to reflect on the life and teachings of the Buddha and also highlights the potential for inner peace and happiness that lies within us all as well as a day for Buddhists to reaffirm their commitment to living a moral and compassionate lifestyle.  As Eric reminds me, it is not how he died but it is a day to reflect on how he lived and the magnitude of his teachings, and that is the reason we celebrate.


“The significance of Vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal peace message to mankind.”
~Venerable Mahinda

Most Buddhist countries declare this day a Buddhist Holiday and a day to remember the significant events in Buddha’s life.  Many Buddhists acknowledge this event by visiting the Vihara, or Buddhist Monistary.  This could also simply mean a secluded place in which to walk, reflect and meditate if there is no Monistary close to visit.  During this visit to the Vihara, Buddhists would be dressed in white and bring flowers and incense or candles to pay respect to the Buddha.  These symbolic offerings are to be a reminder that just as the beautiful flowers wither and die and the candles soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction.  Many devout Buddhists would spend the day in the Vihara, from morning to night, taking a retreat from their daily schedule, meditating, chanting and participating in Dharma Talk or teachings of the Buddha.  In many Buddhist countries selling and consuming of meat and alcohol is prohibited during the week of Vesak and the government will even closes down all liquor shops and slaughter houses.   Birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in a symbolic act of liberation, giving freedom to those in captivity and tortured against their will.  This is considered an act of generosity, symbolic of generating good karma. The act also symbolizes the Buddha’s compassion for all things.  While many sects of Buddhism typically calls for a vegetarian diet, there are also other sects which do not require this.  During this time Buddhists who are not vegetarian refrain from eating meat. Buddhists make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind and are encouraged to eat only vegetarian food for the day.

To celebrate this day and the life and teachings of the Great Buddha, it is not necessary to go to a temple and participate in rituals if you can’t, don’t have access or would rather not.  Many would prefer a day or even a moment of solitary reflection.  It is not about the specifics in how one celebrates this day or the rituals performed, it is the simple act of recognizing  and expressing gratitude to the Buddha for the teachings he has given.  It is really all about personal preference and what is best for you as an individual.  Maybe some would prefer a simple ceremony in front of a small shrine at home, or maybe a brief reflection on the qualities and teachings of the Buddha along with meditation.

I have always admired and appreciated the teachings of Buddhism.  When I met Eric and two of my most exciting surprises about him was that he loved wine and he was a Buddhist!  He and I begun to discuss some of our Buddhist ideals and rituals and he taught me about the different days of celebrations as well as sharing his own personal rituals and ways to celebrate and give respect to the teachings with me.  He is the one who taught me about Buddha Day and all other Buddhist holidays and from there i researched to find out more.

This will be our fifth year together  and this year, just as last year Eric will acknowledge and pay respect to this tradition and lifestyle by refraining from eating meat for the month prior, taking it a step further than just abstaining for the single day but also the day before and the day after.

We do not have the opportunity to live in a Buddhist country and have the day off so we will begin our evening by having a Buddhist feast consisting of Sushi (vegetarian Sushi for me) and miso soup, just as Eric and I  ritualistically do every year.  Then we will have our own ceremony of reading from our Buddhism books together and meditating  in front of our shrine.     I am thankful, grateful and appreciative that Eric has shared his religion, tradition and rituals with me and we have incorporated this as part of our lifestyle together.

Even if you are not Buddhist or have never studied any of Buddha’s teachings, everyone can learn a lot from the Great and Wise Buddha.  In today’s society we are killing each other, we are killing our planet in which we live.  In my opinion, there is a huge lack of compassion and consideration in everyday human life.    What can we learn from Buddha?  That non-violent living is the way to go.  That we need more peace, love and compassion to create the positive energy our society is lacking, and to help promote good Karma throughout our lives.  We need to expel hatred, greed and stupidity from our lifestyles.

“He who lives only for pleasures, and whose soul is not in harmony, who considers not the food he eats, is idle, and has not the power of virtue — such a man is moved by mara (evil one), is moved by selfish temptations, even as a weak tree is shaken by the wind.”  Buddha

Fun New Years Eve Traditions – Out With the Old and In With the New

Happy New Years!  Good bye to 2013 and hello to 2014.
With this New Years falling on the New Moon, it is all about new beginnings, making a fresh start.  Wipe the slate clean and say good bye to all the negativity.  Start this new year off the way YOU want it to be and keep the ball rolling to make this the year you want it to be.  This year, it is all about a new and fresh start!  Change your perspective and point of view and look at life through a pair of fresh eyes.  Fill this year with kindness, love and compassion.  Live with excitement instead of fear!   Let this year be all the adventure you have hoped for.  Want it and make it happen.  Be motivated and wild, let your spirit dance and sing.  Don’t let complacency and dullness rule your year.  Life the most full, exciting and free life possible.  Wish for it and make it happen.  Life the life you wish to live and be the person you want to be.  There is nothing stopping you or holding you back.  This is the year to make it happen.
The last few years it has been really important to me to come up with my own traditions and customs, and for Eric and I to develop our own traditions together.  Incorporating some of the things we knew in childhood and growing up, as well as things from our heritage or things that came along with our new beliefs and ideals we developed in adulthood.
One of the most interesting traditions I have learned about trough my research that we have put into practice in our own New Years Eve traditions is called First Footing.
First Footing is and old Celtic tradition.  In Scottish and Irish households, to ensure luck and good fortune for the year ahead, the first person to enter the house after the stroke of Midnight on December 31st, on New Years Day has to be a tall, dark, and handsome male.  It is believed to be a symbol of good luck in the coming year.A red-headed female would be the last person you would want to enter your door as red hair was considered a sign of the unlucky and would bring hardship and grief.  It is also said to be unlucky for the first footer to come empty handed.  Some of the traditional gifts include whisky or some form of alcohol, coins, coal or a loaf of bread.
The way Eric and I have incorporated this into our own traditions is that no matter where we are or what we are doing, when we arrive home after midnight on December 31st, he is always the first to enter the door and cross the threshold – as he is the tall, dark and handsome one of the two of us!  Me, the red head… enters last.  He carries coins in his pocket as the “traditional gift” to the new year.
So to have a happy and lucky new year, pay attention to who comes through your door after midnight, and watch out for the redheads… 😉
An interesting Pagan New Years Tradition is to place a silver coin on the porch before midnight.  Then on New Years Day retrieve the coin and throughout the entire year, it is said that money is sure to arrive when it is desired.
This is a small new little tradition I may incorporate this year.  By placing some coins outside on the balcony under the darkness of the new moon, I will set the intention for a prosperous new year filled with wealth and health.
Each year, since a child, eating cabbage has always been a part of my New Years meal.  As a child mom used to make pork and cabbage, but now as a vegetarian I skip the pork.  It is said to bring health and good fortune for the coming year.
And of course, don’t forget the New Years Eve festivities.  Fun, partying, sharing of champagne, the midnight toast, the first kiss of the new year with that someone special… all are on my list of traditions yearly.
But whatever you do, have fun and be safe.  If you plan to be out sharing too much champagne, designate a driver or call a cab.  Please think of yourself and others.  No one wants their New Year to start out with an arrest, an accident, an injury or worst of all, a death.

Remember, this is the year for a new start.  All of the negativity, bad habits, problems and difficulties of the years past, leave them at the door.  Another tradition is to “sweep” out all the negativity and bad and all the old you have no use for in the new year.  Open up your door and physically sweep it out, setting the intention and make a ritual of it.  Making room for the new, for the positive and for the good.  Making room for your new dreams and desires.  A clean slate.  This year is yours!!