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Speaking my mind, speaking my heart

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“The problem that we have with a victim mentality is that we forget to see the blessings of the day. Because of this, our spirit is poisoned instead of nourished.” -Steve Maraboli

I have been having issues at work that have been making me feel unappreciated. I know that is the victim in me speaking.  I know I am being sensitive and emotional about it.  But in this battle between mind and heart my heart is won.

I am not going to go into the reasons for feeling the way I feel,  it is long, boring and ever changing and still never changing.  I am NOT talking about any form of harassment.  If anything, I am the flirty one at work.  I am talking about not feeling included and part of the team/management.

I work with self-absorbed, arrogant, egotistical, entitled men.  This problem is not isolated to my office.  It is the entire financial/wall street industry.  I am not sure they realize how insensitive they can be to the support personnel, to the people that are there to help them succeed.  I am not sure if they are just clueless or if they just don’t care about others. One thing I know is that they are shortsighted.

To me the sign of a great person is in how he/she treat others.  If they only treat well and acknowledge the people that are able to benefit them or improve their status while ignoring the ones that are not able to do much for them and/or are beneath them in some invisible social caste, that to me is a small poor excuse for a person.

“I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that i may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.” – James A. Garfield

I should be used to it by now after having been in this industry for over 25 years.  I am not.  I don’t think I ever will.  I think that I am extra sensitive because I am an immigrant.  I feel invisible often.  I have major issues with not feeling included, with feeling overlooked.

I wish I would just keep thoughts and feelings to myself in the workplace, but I can’t.  I have to say what is in my mind, and more importantly, what is in my heart.  So, once again I did.   I had a couple of different issues with a couple of different people, one of them my boss.  I told them how I felt.

There were looks of confusion, explanations, excuses and apologies. Some men really don’t know what to do when a woman starts talking feelings and emotions, specially in the work place.  They both had the look of a deer in the headlights.  To their credit, they both acted quickly to apologize and correct what I perceived was a wrong. They tried to justify the situation, to tell me that perhaps I didn’t understand the whole story.  As I explained to them, separately, what is important here is how the they should realize that their actions or lack thereof have consequences and may make others feel bad.  I wanted them to be more aware.

I accepted the apologies and appreciated my boss’s attempt of correcting a wrong and show me how important I am to the firm.  Sometimes everything seems a little too late.  Nothing will change, nothing ever does.  I wish I didn’t have to say anything.  I wish they would realize things without being told.

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” – Albert Einstein

Still I don’t like this complaining side of myself. I hate portraying myself as a victim.  There is nothing I hate more than people portraying themselves as victim instead of being pro-active and correcting the problem.  I am a firm believer that instead of complaining I should be correcting, changing, moving on.

Perhaps the time has come to make a change. Perhaps I should work on my resume and see what else is out there.  Perhaps 17 years in the same office is enough.   I am an impulsive Aries and at times I feel like just saying good bye to my job.  At times I feel I am just a second away from that.

Then, after crying and feeling helpless.  After I let my heart and emotions go insane.  After I said all I had to say and dealt with the aftershocks.  After, in my mind, I am already bagging my bags, I then stopped and took a breath.  I took a step back and shook myself aware.

A new job in the same industry would only change the location.  The attitudes would be the same, plus I would probably not be able to speak my mind as freely as I do now.

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill

At the end of the day I realize I do have a great job.  I know I would be hard to be replaced.  In their own clueless way my co-workers and partners appreciate me.  I get paid well and have a say on a lot things.  So, it is not perfect, but what is?

I am blessed and have no right to complain about anything. Many people would love to have what I have.

Still I think that having an updated resume and being open to hear other opportunities is not a bad thing.  What I cannot do is make decisions out of hurt and anger. Decisions should not be made in haste but with a clear and calm mind.

Even though I often wish I would not speak my mind and my heart, at the end of the day, to me it is not about hearing apologies and having actions done to correct the matter, but it is the fact that I talked about what was eating me up inside.  I am free because of that.  I am free because I no longer harbor the feelings of mistreatment I had.  And feeling free is amazing.

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.” – Paulo Coelho

On the next post I am talking about the guy I had 2 dates with and that by now I have already had dates 3 and 4. This is a whole new territory for me.

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Can beggars be choosers?

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You probably heard the saying “Beggars can’t be choosers”, but can they?

This morning as I exited the train and was walking through the lower level of Grand Central Station I noticed that there was a man next to the ordering line at Zaro’s Bakery.  It seemed he was asking people in line for something.  I assumed he was asking for food.

I will stop dead in my tracks if I see someone that I think is hungry.

I approached cautiously as nowadays I cannot be sure of somebody’s mental state.  I have been yelled at before.

The following exchange ensued:

Me: Can I get you something?

He seemed unsure for a second but then he said:  tea with sugar

Me: Would you like something to eat?

Looking at the food cases displaying all kinds of pre-made sandwiches and other items, he said:  perhaps 2 boiled eggs.

Me: That is it? What about a sandwich?

He answered:  Perhaps some cheese.  If I get one of those (he pointed to a wrap sandwich) it will be a waste.  I don’t eat meat, lettuce, tomato, and those other stuff.

Then he added: I am homeless but I am a picky eater.

I smiled. Before I could say anything, the server, who had been waiting and listening to this exchange said: What about a grilled cheese?

He seemed thrilled with that suggestion and responded:  yes I like that!

I paid for the tea, eggs and grilled cheese and gave him the change.  I wished him a blessed day and walked away as he stayed and waited for his grilled cheese.

A choosy beggar made my day!

Now looking back, and perhaps if I was not one of those New Yorkers always in a hurry, I should have asked him the reason why he eats what he eats.  I should have asked him his name and his story.  I am always curious about how a person arrived at a certain situation.  I also want them to feel that someone cares.

Next time…

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”  – Kahlil Gibran

 

“WTF What the Health?

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I watched the Netflix documentary “ What the Health”.  My friend A. who is a naturopathic doctor asked me to watch it and give him my thoughts.

I have a feeling he thought it would make me decide to stop eating meat on the spot. He mentioned that many of his clients are going Vegan as a result of watching it.

I want to state that my opinions about this documentary are just that: my opinions. I have not studied nutrition, I have not read any of the studies, I have not spoken to any professionals about it.  My opinions are based in what I have read, experienced and noticed in all my years in this planet. So please take it for what it is: the ramblings of an unapologetic occasional meat eater.

I didn’t like it! I felt Veganism was being forced down my throat.  It tried to scare people into stopping eating all animal products. I believe in a more sensitive approach.  I appreciate some of the message but I don’t like how it was done.  Here are some of the problems I had with it:

  • I don’t feel it was a documentary.  To me documentaries are not this one-sided.  This felt more like propaganda.  It had an agenda: to turn the entire population Vegan.  It chose studies that were intended to prove their point and not to educate the viewer.  We can find studies to support any type of statement we are trying to make.  It doesn’t mean it is the absolute truth.
  • I don’t like scare tactics. It was too much in your face.  It drove-in the message that if you are eating animal products you are killing yourself.  It was meant to scare and not to educate.  Scaring people into a healthier diet is not the answer.
  • Throughout the documentary it would show people with different illness such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.  They would talk about their confusion and frustration with their their situation and having to take countless medication and still not feeling any better. Towards the end of the film it showed the same people after no eating animal product for 2 weeks.  They miraculously were cured.   It seemed too far fetched to me to think that the answer to all medical problems would get resolved in 2 weeks. That claim to me is just not credible. Also it didn’t provide any information on what the people were doing before.  What was their diet before?  Did they exercise?  Smoke, etc?
  • It showed a comedian from the show Jackass talking about walking out a charity diabetes benefit luncheon because there was chicken served and he equated that with serving alcohol at an AA meeting. That was a bit too silly and dramatic for my taste.
  • It showed body builders and athletes that achieved great results without eating meat.  Some people will achieve whatever they set their minds to no matter the circumstance so I really didn’t see the point of showing those people.
  • They made some statements that seemed just too wild and even irresponsible such as:
    • The cause of diabetes is not sugar but meat
    • Eating eggs is as bad to our health as smoking
    • Milk and cheese causes cancer
    • Institutionalized Racism -the government promotes milk to African Americans knowing that they are lactose intolerant and will get sick

The documentary had some valid points and it highlighted for me some real problems that needs to be addressed.  Unfortunately some of the message got lost in the fear-mongering. It talked about the unfair treatment of animals, toxins in our food, environmental concerns in the raising of the animals for our food, the role of government and corporations and charities accepting money from big corporations.  I think it could have done a better job of presenting a more unbiased view, but those topics cannot be discounted and we need to be aware of them.

I believe the following:

  • There is a health crises in America.  As a nation we are getting sicker and sicker.  I believe more effort needs to be placed in Education.  We need to have better nutrition in schools and at home.  Parents need to stop thinking that McDonald is an acceptable dinner every day of the week.
  • The lives of kids are becoming as sedentary as workers in a office.  Kids sit in front of the computer the whole day. When not in front of a computer they are getting calluses on their fingers from playing on the cell phone.  Kids shouldn’t have calluses on their fingers, they should have scraped knees from running around in the park and from riding bikes.
  • There needs to be transparency in what organizations are receiving money from what companies. Are the information being divulged to the public being compromised?
  • We as nation need to have a more human and ethical approach to the way the animals raised for food are being treated.  The way they are treated, where they are kept, what they are fed, that all affects their well being and it will in turn be absorbed by us as we eat their meat. We need to respect, value and be grateful for the meat they give us and treat them with that in mind.
  • We must not forget how the environment is being affected by meat processing plants, etc. We need better regulation so that our waterways and air is not being polluted.  We need more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. We need more assistance to small farmers and producers.
  • We all benefit from eating a more balanced diet with more plant and less meat.  We need more greens and less reds.  We need more natural and less artificial.
  • We need documentaries that empower people. That presents both sides of a point and let’s the viewer form his/her own opinion.  Don’t tell me what to do.  Give me education and empower me to do the right thing.

I think it is irresponsible to vilify an entire food group.  I think that wellness involves a more moderate, inclusive and overall approach.  I believe it should include body, mind and soul.  Food is extremely important, but one must not forget to include enough exercise, adequate sleep, stress control, etc.

The film does a disservice when it says that meat and not sugar is that problem when it comes to diabetes, and everything else for that matter.  If that was true I would be in heaven as I much rather eat sugar then meat.

People shouldn’t automatically remove from their diets all animal products (meats, cheese, milk, eggs), instead they should take a look at what they are not eating that they should be eating instead.  I struggle with carbs and sugar.  I know I should be eating less of them and more fruits and vegetables.  I have been trying to keep a food journal so that I can better see what I am really eating and the changes I need to make. Perhaps I can get to the bottom of the chronic hives I have.

My friend and I spoke about the film a couple of nights ago.  He sounded disappointed that I didn’t like it as much as he did.  I was disappointed that he gave it a free pass on the exaggerated nutritional statements and total biased approach.

I approached it from a nutritional point of view. He approached from an ethical, moral treatment of animals view.  I agree with him that the conditions that some animal are raised and farmed are appalling, but that was not news to me.  It is naive for anyone to think that every meat consumed comes from happy animals roaming free in a pasture listening to music and eating fresh grass.  I had watched different documentaries and have heard many stories since I was a child of how the animals are raised.

I think that if I was a person that ate meat on a daily basis perhaps this documentary would have a bigger affect on me.  Growing up in Brazil meat was expensive, so we never ate a lot of it. Now I rarely make meat at home, so sometimes when I go to restaurants I indulge and that is what my friend sees when we go out.  Perhaps that is why my friend thought I needed to watch it.

At the end of the day I am glad I watched it as it made me think more about what I am eating and not eating and about the animal industry.   Anything that makes us think and be more aware of the world around is a good thing.

As I like to say:  I believe in moderation and balance in all things, except love!

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”  – Michael Pollan

The second date was a success! Now what?

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“It is not uncommon for someone to be a self-saboteur and compound that by also having a victim mentality. It is as though they are holding their own breath and then blaming others for their inability to breathe. If they can break free from this cycle, everything in their life changes for the better.” – Steve Maraboli

Now I start getting scared and I either run away or I try to scare him away.  I will say something I shouldn’t. I will find faults.

He made the mistake of telling me that he likes me and that there is nothing I can do that will make him go away. He is smitten! I am scared!

What am I afraid of?  I am not sure. Perhaps I fear getting hurt or hurting someone.  Perhaps I fear being cheated on again. Perhaps I fear losing my freedom.

I have been trying to sabotage this potential relationship ever since. My mind is working overtime trying to find problems with him and reasons why it is not going to work.

Even before going on the second date I was already trying to sabotage it. He texted me to ask me which restaurant we should meet at.  I had a problem with that. I wanted him to choose the place.

I know that is a pretty bitchy attitude. Since I am not a bitchy person I think it is my subconscious attempt to mess things up.

I stopped, thought about what I was doing and decided to choose a restaurant instead of telling him that he should choose the place.

I chose a place I had been to before, Lea Wine Bar. It is a nice Tapas and Sushi place with a great atmosphere.  I had 2 lychee martinis that were amazing.  I even had Sushi for the first time.  Even though I have been to some of the best sushi places in Manhattan, I always ordered something else.  This time I tried the eel and it was good. I had some other tapas dishes, empanadas and bruschettas.

I told him at dinner that I like the man to choose the restaurant and that I was initially upset that he had asked me to choose.  He said that he wanted me to choose so that I could choose a convenient location but that from now on he is happy to choose it every time.

He is one of the nicest guys I have ever been on a date with.  My EX (the one that broke my heart and was what caused me to start this blog) was one of the nicest men too. He adored me from day 1. He treated me like a princess.  Then I found out he was cheating.

I don’t want to let that experience prevent me from giving this guy a chance, from giving me a chance. We are both excited about each other and the future, even though we have met only twice.  Unfortunately the weather here in the Northeast is brutal, so we are not sure when we will be meeting again.  Saturday and Sunday the cold will be record breaking and I don’t want him traveling over 1 hr to take me to dinner in such a weather.

He is very thoughtful and wants to take me anywhere I want to go.  He already got tickets for us to go to the Opera. His favorite Opera is La Boheme and he thinks that I will like it too. It is for February 16, which means that we have to be together until then. That is our joke now, that we have to put up with each other until then.

He is respectful, perhaps a bit too respectful. He kissed my hand a couple of minds and finally kissed me when I made it clear that it was okay.  The kiss didn’t blow me away. It was mostly a couple of pecks on my lips. I can tell, and he has told me, that he doesn’t to rush anything and upset me.

I didn’t want the date to end.  It felt comfortable and easy.  We both feel as if we have known each other forever.  It feels right.  But then the minute I step away I start questioning it, dissecting it, looking for problems.

Nothing is happening and I already have visions of missing being single. He is 59, and perhaps he is too old for me.  He lives too far, and I don’t like to drive.  Maybe he doesn’t know how to kiss and I will have to tell him that.  He is a laid back Pisces, I am a in your face Aries.

Now what?  Perhaps I can learn to be quiet and enjoy the moment, and not talk him and myself out of giving this a chance. Perhaps I can learn to not let my past interfere with my future. Perhaps I can just turn off my mind and be here now.

Perhaps I should just breathe!

***

“Closing The Cycle – Paulo Coelho

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.

Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.” Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.” 

– Paulo Coelho

Anticipation that makes me giddy and Confrontation that makes my blood boil

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“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” – Andy Warhol

A great date!

On December 30th I met someone that drove over an hour in a car with no heat to take me out to dinner.  You probably have heard of how cold the Northeast is now, so he deserves an A for effort alone.  All I had to do was walk out of my building and turn a corner.

By his pictures and short profile I didn’t think we would be a romantic match.  Not that he was ugly, but he had only 3 pictures that were just weird. One of them was a selfie in front of a mirror without a shirt.  I don’t like such pictures.  On another he had spiky hair and looked a bit off.  He looked like an old rocker that perhaps had a little too much to drink. I hope he never reads this lol.  His profile didn’t tell me much, it was just a couple of generic lines.

What made me decide to meet him was his emails to me.  From the first one he took his time and wrote meaningful things.  He asked me interesting questions about things I mentioned in my profile.  He asked me about myself.  I detected openness and honesty.  I was intrigued.  I thought that we could have a nice evening and that the worst it could happen is that I would make a new friend.

He chose a great Italian restaurant.  Extra points for not being cheap.  Upon meeting we just clicked. I saw that he was a bit shy and unsure in the very the beginning, but I think I disarmed him with my friendly attitude.  I really never met a stranger.  He turned out to be so real and open.

“… We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.” – Albert Camus

We stared and smiled at each other the whole time.  He was so different than what his pictures had shown.  I told him that.  The hair was still a little spiky but tame. I wanted to touch it but refrained from it.  Some people can be very touchy about their hair. 🙂

Before the night was over he asked me on a second date.  He told me how beautiful and funny I was and that he was having a great time.

We ended the night with a quick hug.  I would have been okay with a kiss, but I so appreciate him being respectful.

We are going on a second date tomorrow. This time we will be meeting in Manhattan. Again he is being considerate and said he will be meet me near the train station so I don’t have to go out of my way.

We both seem equally excited about this second date.  Stay tuned, I am hoping for fireworks.  If you have been reading my blog you know I have gotten excited before and things haven’t always end up well, but I am not letting past experiences curb my enthusiasm.

This anticipation is priceless so I am going to dwell in, marinate in and enjoy every second of it. I am going to be stupidly giddy and happy with butterflies in my stomach.  I am going to hope that holds my hand and that he kisses me.

I hope he is real and I have not dreamed him up.

“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” – Nicholas Sparks

***

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.” – Herman Hesse

One of the worst dates ever!

Even with a second promising date scheduled I decided not to cancel a previously scheduled date I had tonight.

I didn’t like that he was a little evasive about work.  He said he was taking classes at the moment and writing a play.  I wanted to have an open mind and give him the benefit of the doubt.  I am a sucker for people that are passionate about something and he seemed passionate about the arts.

In my conversations with him he seemed a bit awkward. How wrong I was!  He was not awkward, he was just a jerk! And I don’t use that term loosely.

For starters, picture this: We are standing in line at the coffee shop and while I am asking the server a question about a pastry, he orders and pays for his coffee.  I should have said good night right then and there.  If I a guy cannot be courteous enough to pay for the lady’s cup of coffee on the first date then he should have no business attempting to date.

After finding a table and sitting down with our coffees he took a piece of a donut I got after I asked him if he wanted some.  He took a piece, ate it, then started to lick each finger more than once.  I offered him a napkin.  Then he took another piece and repeated the same finger licking exercise.  All of a sudden I didn’t want any more of this amazing coconut cream donut.  Strike 2!

He started talking about a play he wrote about religion.  It seemed interesting and I told him that.  I agreed with him that there are religious fanatics out there and people can get insane about religion.

He sneezed and I said: God bless you.  He responded by saying he didn’t believe in God.  When I opened my mouth to say something he immediately said:  “Here comes the questions”.  And from there things became confrontational.

I asked: What questions?  He said that people normally start questioning him on why he doesn’t believe in God.  I could sense his confrontational tone.  I said that there would be no questions from me as I respected his beliefs and hoped that he would respect that I believe in God and didn’t want to talk about it at that point.

He clearly was disappointed that I didn’t want to engage on a debate over the existence of God.  He ignored my wishes of not wanting to discuss the subject.  He kept going on and on trying to get a reaction out of me.  I kept saying that I could debate it but was not interested in it.

One thing I dislike most is when people try to change my mind about some belief I have.  Specially when I say that I am not interested in discussing it.

He said: “But I should be allowed to say why I don’t believe”.  I said: “Go ahead”

He mentioned that the main reason that he couldn’t believe in God it was because he couldn’t understand if God exists why he chooses to only help some people and not others. And if that is the case God is very incompetent. He said that with a smirk as if he expected that word “incompetent” would make me mad.

At some point in response to something he said I said he had a simplistic view.  He got up got his jacket and said I offended him.  I said that my words were not meant to offend but that if I offended him I apologized.  Truly, I never want to offend anyone and my comment was not meant to offend.  I also said that that was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to discuss it.  The moment I said something he didn’t like he was ready to go.

He sat back down, but instead of changing the subject he continued trying to push me to talk about my reasons for believing in God and to explain that eternal question: “Why bad things happen to good people”

I mentioned that I didn’t have all the answers and I felt it was a deep and long conversation as I would have to talk about all my studies since I was a child and being exposed to all sorts of religions and different philosophies of life, including topics such as spiritualism, reincarnation, karma, etc.

While I don’t have a problem talking about why I chose to believe in God, a Superior being, the Universe, The Light, or whatever name people choose to call it, I felt he was intent in proving me wrong.  He seemed to want a debate and not a healthy discussion.

“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.” – Timothy J. Keller

I know people with different beliefs and have had many great conversations on our different believes.  In the end we end up getting even closer understanding our differences.  I think it is important to try to understand each other, with always having respect at the forefront.  But he seemed intent on proving a point and not open to listening.  I am not interested in that.

It is not only the fact that I said I didn’t want to about it.  It was also not only about what he was saying but how he was saying it.  He had a smirk on his face as if he held the knowledge in his hands and I was this poor ignorant being in the darkness.  I didn’t like the cynicism in his voice and his ironic tone.

Towards the end he started saying that I had issues if I was not willing to discuss different topics.  This is a first date and I think I am allowed to refuse to discuss any subjects I don’t want to discuss. After putting up with it as much as I could and not wanting to be in that negative energy any longer,  this time I was the one getting up and leaving. It never felt as good and freeing walking away from someone.

By the way the whole time there was guy sitting in a table across from listening to our conversation.  He would from time to time just shake his head in disbelief.  At one point I thought he was going to come over. I should have walked to his table when I got up.

Once again, for the record, I am a firm believer in God.  It sustains me, it grounds me and it gives me wings.  But I don’t need people to agree with me.  I am respectful of people that hold different beliefs. I don’t profess to have the right answer and I would be leery of anyone that think that they do.

The only thing that I hope for is the universal belief in the Golden Rule.  Let’s do no harm and let’s strive for peace, understanding and respect.

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” – Robert F.Kennedy

 

 

of holidays, gratitude and resolutions

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I hope you all had a fun Christmas with family and friends, or alone.  I spent it alone and it was perfect.  I used to lie about spending holidays alone so I wouldn’t have to endure the pity on people’s faces.

I am alone at holidays for the same reason I am alone in life.  I don’t want to settle! My family lives in another country and I often don’t travel there on holidays.  I guess I also can be sensitive when it comes to invitations.  If someone wants you at their house they should say so, instead of saying something like: “What are you doing on Christmas? If you are not doing anything and want to come over”.  What kind of invitation is that?  To me that it is not an invitation, so I don’t even consider it.

Please don’t you feel sorry for me.  Feel envious of me. I stayed in pajamas the whole day. I had cookies for breakfast. I worked with mosaics with the TV on on some Lifetime feel good movie.  I would rather be skiing, but this was pretty good too.

Now let’s see what New Year’s eve and day will bring.

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann

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An update on my dental issues, or what I thought were dental issues. This afternoon I am going to see an ENT doctor. It has been over 1 month since my dental surgery and I still feel the same way: gums feel weird, a pressure on the left side of the face. It is not a bad pain, it is an annoying pain, a pressure, a constant reminder that something is off.  At times if feels as if the nerves in the gum are wiggling, like something is brewing under the skin.  When I have that feeling I think good thoughts and I picture my gums growing. I am betting on the power of the mind.

I started a whole program of supplements that my Naturophatic doctor friend prescribed me with the intentions of stimulating the growth of my gums.  When gums start receding they don’t grow back.  I am intent on trying my best to stimulate them to regenerate themselves or at the very least prevent any further recession.  Nothing is impossible to those that believe.

It is the first time that I am hoping to hear from a doctor that something is wrong. If I have a diagnoses then I can start the process of getting it fixed.  Otherwise I am back to square one, returning to the dentist.  I wonder if the surgery I had was even necessary.  The dentist said he saw nothing wrong in the x-ray.  I don’t want to be a guinea pig, specially when my gums/teeth is concerned.

I had this implant done probably 10 years ago.  I will save the story of how I lost that tooth for a following post.  I had to get bone grafts and gum grafts.  Once the implant was put in it didn’t look right as the gum refused to be on top of it.  Crying I asked the dentist why he didn’t tell me that there was the chance of not working.  He said that it works on everyone.  I said:  I am not everyone.  When it comes to my teeth it is always the worst case scenario.

I went to 2 specialists at that time and they both said that there was nothing that could be done. I remember crying in the dentist’s chair.  At that point I returned to the original dentist (still my current dentist) who repeated the procedure and made it look a little better.

The number one compliment I get on my pictures online is on my smile. That should have been a clue that it didn’t actually look that bad!  People focused on the happiness and not on the perfection of my teeth.

This recent surgery caused the gum over the implant and an adjacent tooth to recede it even more.   Now I would give anything to be back to the way things were before.  There is a huge lesson here:  Be grateful for all you have, even the things that perhaps you are not 100% happy with.  Things can change and be taken away from you in a second.

in Brazil we have a saying:  “Eu era feliz e nao sabia”.  The translation means : ” I was happy and didn’t know it”.  We say that when we want to tell someone to appreciate what they have instead of just complaining and wanting more.

Just a thought: Is there anything in your life that you should be grateful for instead of complaining about?

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

***

The New Year provides everyone a chance to shed the old and embrace the new.  Some people make resolutions and come up with lists and plans to improve their bodies, lives, etc.

I don’t make New Years resolutions, not because I don’t have anything to improve on or because I don’t have anything I want to change, but because I feel I am constantly thinking of changes.  My life is a constant list of improvements.  I make resolutions every night as I lay down to sleep and think about my day and everything I want to change about it.

And every time I do that I realize that resolutions never work.  Next evening I will be thinking about the same issues and resolving to make a change.  It is a vicious cycle.  I believe that if you want to make a change, the time to do it is now, not some time in the future. Scheduling changes rarely work.

Start whatever you want to change now.  Start living the life you want now.

I am guilty of not accomplishing things that I plan to start in the future.  Things that I stick to and see to completion are things that I resolved and started on that very moment the decision was made.

I once gave up chocolate for one year. A fact that shocked everyone as I used to be a chocoholic. I started on a Friday afternoon. Ex looked at me and after laughing at my crazy idea proposed that I should start on Monday. I said I have to do it now or I will never do it.  I am proud to say that for one entire year I had no chocolate of any kind.  If I had scheduled to start on Monday I would never have done.

With all that being said I do have plans for 2018.  I want a simpler 2018. I want to simplify,minimize and declutter my home, my office, my life.  I want less of anything material.  But I have already started that process.  I am attacking my closet like I have never done it before.  Unlike I have done in the past I am not just shuffling things around and making little difference.  This time I am being really drastic about it.

I always like organization and cleaning . I feel lighter, it is cathartic and empowering. As it is I don’t normally hoard anything, but I have realized that I have candles, wine, perfume, underwear, some clothing, some shoes, etc, all waiting for a perfect occasion.

The special occasion is now, the important person it is me!!

Tomorrow may never come and if it does I will go out and buy what I need, or even better, the Universe is always one step ahead of me and it provides me with everything I need when I need it.

“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.” -Charles M. Sheldon

All I want for Christmas is a lustful love affair!!

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“I will be waiting here….
For your silence to break,
For your soul to shake,
For your love to wake!”
― Rumi 

I went on a second date with the 34 year old accountant.  It was not really a second date, it was more like a friendly meeting.  I had already mentioned to him that this would be just friendship.  We did kiss on the first date and there were some sparks but I thought the age difference would be too much for this to develop into something meaningful.

I met him in the lobby of the building he works at.  From there we walked to 42nd street to take the subway to 74th street to go to the bakery.  It was rush hour and the trains were packed.  I am so glad that I don’t have to take the subway every day.  I take the Metro North train which, even though crowded,  is much more civilized than the subway at rush hour.

“Reason is powerless in the expression of Love.” – Rumi

We got out of the subway and walked a few blocks to Levain bakery.  I got cookies for me and my co-worker.  It was a tiny space and there was a line.  The smell in there was heavenly.  The workers were all happy and smiley.  I didn’t eat any right then and there because we were going to have dinner first.  I was craving a burger for the longest time and wanted a Shake Shack Smoke Shack first.  Luckily there was one a few blocks away.

The burger was delicious, specially since I hadn’t had one in awhile.  M is a really nice guy.  The conversation just flowed.  He tried convincing me to date him but he was not pushy and accepted friendship.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi

After the burger he asked if I wanted to see his apartment.  Normally that would probably be an invitation to make out but in this case I knew I would be safe from making out and from being attacked. I knew enough of his personal information and had spoken to him enough to know that it would be fine.   He just moved in and wanted to show off his apartment.

I don’t recommend anyone going to anyone’s house on a second date or 3rd or 4th if they don’t know the person well.  Everyone please be safe out there!

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” – Rumi

He lives on the Upper East side.  It is a small apartment but it is in an awesome location, great building, has great closet space, including a walk-in,  and a balcony with a good view.  I told him that he needs to clean and organize better.  That was not nice of me, but I figure it is a good tip if want to bring girls home.  He has just moved in so I am sure eventually it will be better.

After he showed me the apartment, we sat on the couch and talked for little while. Then he walked me outside where I got into a cab.  There was a hug and kiss on the cheek goodbye.  I have so much respect for him not trying to kiss me while in his apartment. I think I did expect him to try and me to say no, so I was so happy that he did listen to me and didn’t try changing my mind.  Since then we have been texting and will probably hang out together when he returns from vacation in Florida.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi

Somewhere between getting cookies and getting into a cab to go home I realized I am being a hypocrite.  I told him (and you guys) that the reason I was not going to date him it was the age difference.  The truth is that if there was enough chemistry I probably would embark on a relationship with him even with the age difference.  Even knowing that I would probably get hurt in the end.  There goes the virtuous person I thought I was.

Perhaps is the hormones speaking or perhaps is having AL in my mind.   A girl has needs and it has been way too long… and getting longer.

Since  AL popped up in my mind accidentally I can’t help thinking about the amazing times we had together, in and out of bed. I want those feelings and excitement back.

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.” – Rumi

The other day I contemplated reaching out to him.

I didn’t! I am not even sure what I wanted to accomplish.  That would have been a colossal mistake.  He is married, and I am sure our chemistry didn’t miraculously disappear. I do miss the friendship that we had after breaking up.  Even though it was laced with flirting. If we tried reconnecting it would probably revert back to flirting in no time.  Flirting can always lead to something more.

On this one point I am not confused or hypocritical about: a married man is someone I am not interested in getting involved romantically with.

I don’t like how things ended between AL and I but I realize that we would probably never be able to have just a friendship.  There was too much chemistry.  I also cannot say that he really hurt me as I really never gave him my heart to hurt.   I guess I was mostly disappointed.

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”- Rumi

Someone on a dating site the other day asked me what I am looking for.  I normally say that I am looking for companionship.  I want to find someone to have a committed relationship with.  Now I don’t know what I want anymore.

I am getting to the point that I don’t believe in everlasting anything.  I WANT PASSION!  Young or old, I want passion.  I want positive energy, a zest for life, I want adventure and not cold tired complacency.  This has nothing to do with age, but a willingness to live!

Perhaps is my way of really not committing to anyone.  I keep always having hurdles for people to jump over.  When I meet someone either just online or in person I look for the problems first.  I always think how this person will not fit in my life and it is not good for me.  In a way I am not giving anyone a real chance. Of course, the rare time I am willing to give them a chance I don’t hear back from them.  Chances are that if I heard back from them I would find a reason to dismiss them.

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.” – Rumi

Today is a day that I feel like taking risks.  I would risk pain to just feel alive.  I guess today is a lustful day!  It is a Rumi kind of day.  A day that makes you want to dance with the possibilities.  A day that welcomes pain as part of the path to pleasure.

Something needs to be said about passion, about giving yourself to someone  no matter the circumstances.  I look for the fairy-tale, for my soul mate but I will take the torrid love affair in the mean time.  They make you feel like dancing.  They make you feel alive.  They twist your bed sheets and your brain.  They make you think unmentionables.  They make you leap and fly.

If you are confused by this post, sorry so am I!

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames” – Rumi

Seeing life with new eyes

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“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”  Albert Einstein

It is Saturday and I am on my way to work.  The office is being painted and guess who is in charge of  making sure that everything gets done correctly.  Yes, you guessed, me!

Yesterday one of the painters stopped by and told me they will start working at 10 am.  I thought it was late to start, specially since they wanted to do it all in one day.  I gave him my business card and said to call me if he wanted to come in earlier.

Today at 8:50 am as I am walking to the train station, the painter calls me and says: We cannot paint today.  I said: What? Are you canceling? Part of me was happy with the idea of returning to my cozy apartment instead of braving the cold in NYC.

No, we are here but we cannot paint because the office is closed, he said.  I said: of course it is, you said you would be there at 10, and that is when I was planning to be there.  He said they had to leave the building by 5 pm so they decided to start earlier.

 “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein

He just didn’t bother to tell me that the plans had changed.  I  told him to wait and I would be there in 40 minutes.

As I get to train station the announcement on the loudspeaker is that the train is 10 to 15 minutes late.

Standing in the cold air of an almost empty train station I can feel my normal good mood starting to shift to anger.  I am thinking about the painter’s lack of communication.  I am thinking how the train seems to always be late on the coldest day, and specially on days that I have to be on time. I am thinking it is Saturday and I should be enjoying my weekend.

I get annoyed, angry when things don’t go according to plan.  I remind myself that this is just a minor inconvenience and nothing to get stressed about it.

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”  – Albert Einstein

I decided that there was no point in thinking about things that were in the past (the painter’s lack of communication) and things that I have no control of (late train).

Anger, as well as happiness, is a choice; it is not a given.  I am going to choose not to be angry and not feel powerless.  I am going to choose to welcome these mishaps and use them as a learning tool.

I am so used to routine, I am so used to the fast paced NY lifestyle that I never stop and pay attention to anything.  Even my reactions have become routine.  Routines are comforting and safe but routine also kills miracles and hide blessings.  Routine turns us into robots.

I look around me, at the trees and the train tracks.  I look at everything as if for the first time.  I started looking at them as if I have just gained vision and I marveled at that gift.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  – Albert Einstein

I decided to face everything, events, situations and people with new eyes and new actions.  I really need to see things and not just assume all is the same.

How would people, places and situations surprise us if we gave them a chance and looked at them with brand new eyes?  With eyes of understanding and compassion.  Would people pleasantly surprise us if we give them a chance and not just assume we know all about them?

I look at the number 8 marking the platform.  Just between you and I, I think that number has been put there for my benefit.  It feels comforting to have this daily hello from the Universe.  You see the Universe knows I love the number 8 so it placed it there so I can see it every morning and smile.

The number 8 means infinity.  It is never ending, as love, as hope, as faith.  It ends and begins in itself. At school I always insisted on being number 8 when playing volleyball and handball.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein

As my eyes move from that number 8, I see 8s I had never seen before.  I smile, surprised and grateful. It is a sign and a gift.  It shows me that when we decide to look at everything with new eyes we see new things.  We get gifts and discover miracles.

I took pictures of all the number 8s I saw at the train station this morning.  The first picture is the 8 that greets me every morning.  The others I am noticing it for the first time today.

I know it is just a number but to me it is a meaning.  It is also a symptom of how I live a lot of my life on auto-pilot. I am so used to a routine, of getting from point A to point B, of getting things done.  I often miss the details, the beauty around me.  I have been missing 8s, and possibly miracles and blessings because I am not paying attention.

A song came to mind:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  – Albert Einstein
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No past thoughts or thoughts of the past

The past is where it belongs: in the past!

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Yesterday as I was getting a book from my bookshelf the above calendar page fell on the floor.

At that moment the past came flooding back.  AL, the young Irish guy, that has been mentioned on several of my posts, gave me that calendar book at the end of 2013.

I realized that it will be 1 year in January since we exchanged out last text.  I am extremely surprised that he has complied with my request of not contacting me.  I am happy he did.  The pull he had on me was very strong, I am glad I don’t have to be tempted to reply.

As I think of him I send (mentally) him good wishes.  I hope he is happy.  Truly I do! He deserves it, even though I do I wish he had behaved differently towards the end.

He came into my life at a time I needed most.  I was still grieving over the break up of the relationship that tore my heart to shreds.  He was that breath of fresh air that made me feel alive again.  He was a dear friend.  He was an enthusiastic lover.  Of course I knew it wouldn’t last, but I lied to myself, as we women often do. It was amazing while it lasted.

I remembered he said that meeting me was fairy-tale.  I wouldn’t go that far, but  a man saying stuff like that is just irresistible.  Well, because I like him I thought it was charming, if I didn’t like him I would have probably thought it was cheesy.  It is all in the context of how the heart feels.

Is this calendar a sign from the Universe?  If so, what is it trying to tell me?

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”  – Rainer Maria Rilke

I am going on a second date tonight with the very young accountant, who happens to be the same age AL is, 34.  I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this has the potential to hurt me.  It can also be a lot fun.

Is the Universe telling me to go or not to go?

I am going Universe! I am not ignoring you.  I just don’t know what you are trying to say.  Tonight it will be a  fun date of dinner and cookies.  Tonight I will put the age difference on the back burner.

Thinking of AL reminded me that I am being successful at my resolve of not checking his, and other’s, social media.  It has been over 1 month since I have made the decision to stop checking social media.   https://blessedwithastarontheforehead.com/2017/10/20/determined-and-no-longer-feeling-lost/

It was not an obsession but it was becoming one.  It was a routine that was not productive.  It was an addiction that was interfering with my life.

I am so proud that I am sticking to it.  I have been more productive ever since.  I have been posting here more.  The best part is that now I have more time to check blogs of old friends and I am discovering tons of new ones.

I still look at social media if it is related to some news I have read, but it stops there. I no longer look at the people that are part of my past, they are not part of my future.  I don’t look at certain celebrities as whatever they are eating or what vacations they are taking make no difference in my life.  I no longer have the list of 20 sites that I would religiously look at every day, often multiple times a day.  This harmless curiosity can actually be harmful if it is affecting one’s life.  It was affecting mine.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  – Albert Camus

I am curious about AL’s life.  I miss his face and his texts.  I miss his humor.  I miss his flirting.  I don’t miss ending up feeling unimportant and undervalued.  I don’t miss feeling I am doing something I shouldn’t be doing.  All this missing is becoming less and less. Soon it will be just a bleep, just a page in the book of my life, too insignificant to be a chapter.

Thank you AL for not contacting me.   Your silence is all the friendship I need from you at this point. I treasure what we had (or what I thought we had).

Today someone asked me if I only like younger men.  I answered:  Not necessarily, they like me!

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

 

 

Is trying to help good enough?

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“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  – Maya Angelou

Anytime I do anything for anyone I think it was not good enough or it was done incorrectly.

Now at Christmas I struggle with buying gifts and giving tips.  I don’t know what to get. For the people that I give cash to, I don’t know how much to give.  If I buy someone a gift I think I should have bought something else.  Or I should have spent more money.  Or I should have bought two gifts. It is a constant nagging feeling.

At this time of the year I give to a few charities.  Again I second guess myself with which charities to help and how much to give.

Does anyone else suffer with that “never enough” or “not good enough” feeling?

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” -Steve Maraboli

The day before Thanksgiving, the concierge in my building called to say I had a package waiting for me downstairs.   When I got to the lobby I encountered her and a man I had never seen before fumbling with a First Aid kit. His hand was dripping blood.

I asked what happened and if he needed help. He jokingly said: I do if you are a nurse. I said I was not.  He said he had gotten locked out of his apartment and while forcing the door handle it broke and it cut him.

I asked him if he wanted to come up to my apartment and wash up and dress the wound properly. He said: really? You don’t mind?

I said: of course not! Come.

We got to my apartment and I directed him to the bathroom where I got him larger Band-Aids, peroxide, Neosporin, cotton balls, paper towels, etc. The blood was refusing to stop flowing. The cut was much deeper than I originally thought.

I offered to drive him to the hospital to get stitches but he refused.  He said he would go the following day if need be.  Right now he would just wait for his girlfriend to get home with the apartment keys. They had just moved in a couple of weeks before.

I helped him apply pressure for awhile, then pour peroxide and apply Neosporin.  We  put 3 large Band-Aids on top of each other. After that he thanked me profusely and hugged me good bye.

As soon as he left I started second guessing myself. I started listing in my head all the things I could have done better. I should have taken control of the situation and lifted up his hand to stop the bleeding. I should have told him to wait for his girlfriend sitting comfortably in my apartment instead of letting him leave before she had arrived.  I should have offered him something to drink/eat.

I continued thinking about it until I went to bed taking awhile for me to fall asleep.  Why do I do that?  Why do I torture myself with such thoughts when there is nothing I can do at this point?

I know that I did all I thought to do at that moment. Shouldn’t that be enough?  Why can’t I be okay with that knowledge?

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan

On Thursday as I was getting to work, there was a figure sitting on the corner of the street past my office building.  From far I couldn’t tell gender, age, anything, as the person had a blanket on their head. Instead of getting into my building I went to the corner and approached the person.  I said hi, how are you?  I know that is a stupid question to ask someone in that situation.

A young man lifted his head and looked up at me startled. I saw fatigue and emptiness in his eyes.  I took $20 dollars from my bag and was handing it to him but before he could take it I pulled it away for a second and said:  Do you promise to buy yourself a hot breakfast with it?

Seeming elated he said: Yes, yes, I am going now and pointed to Dunkin Donuts a few doors down.  As he said that he was getting up and going. He left his belongings and took off.

I was happy that he was getting food, but I immediately regretted my attitude.

Why did I need to tell him how to spend the money?  Any time I give money to a homeless person I don’t know how the person is going to spend it.  I give it with heart, gratitude and hope that they will get something to eat.  Ultimately what they choose to do is on them.

I felt ugly by not handing the money until he agreed to get something to eat. In a way I was exercising power over someone less fortunate than me at that moment.  It didn’t feel right.

At times when I am helping others it is as if my brain stops functioning. I just react.  A few minutes later, when my brain has a chance to analyze it I start finding faults with my actions.

Another area for me to work on.  Do what you think it is good at that moment. But if for some reason you think you fell short, don’t chastise yourself! Just tell yourself you will do better next time and move on.

Now I feel bad I made this post all about me while it could have been about helping others or the homelessness crisis in America.

I think it is about time I go back to searching for ways to volunteer my time and energy.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama