Thursday, March 22, 2012


Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. -Anne Lamott

The road to hell is paved by perfectionists working with grains of sand. And believe me when I tell you...they are missing some spots. Like all the other 'isms' in life...aspiring to be Miss Perfect is an addiction. One fueled by low self worth. When we were young, nothing we did was ever good enough. So we just kept on doing until doing was all we could do. When doing more and more didn't seem to make a difference, we thought that doing more perfectly would get us there. When it finally did...suddenly we heard voices (other than the ones in our heads) singing our praises. Nothing compares to the sound of genuine compliments. And because we are sensitive creatures who live by our emotions..we want to repeat the complimentary experience over and over. So we commit to doing everything perfectly...setting in motion a cycle of self-destruction that most of the time is as comfortable as a straight jacket. And still we pursue perfection.
I could tell you to stop reading the magazines, watching the videos, and going to the movies that continuously reinforce our skewed belief that perfection is possible. That it's even out there. But you aren't going to listen to me. Hell, I don't even listen to me. Instead...the next time you see a woman posed beautifully (read photoshopped) on the cover of a magazine, or a room decorated so wonderfully (read clean) that you know children and husbands are no where in the vicinity, or a meal prepared so deliciously (read fattening) that gourmet chefs would cry...begin to chant "You're not real. You're not real. You. Are. Not. Real. I refuse to grant you the power to make me miserable." (This mojo is even more effective when chanted out loud in the grocery check out line. Bonus points if it's Walmart.) The woman, the room, and the meal that are depicted to inspire us (but that actually diminish us) are illusions conjured up by professionals paid generously to manipulate reality and confuse consumers.
Once a close friend gave me a precious gift. She taught me that my sanity is much more important than the subtle little perfections that I covet. The 'subtle littles' are the essence of perfection. The 'subtle littles' trigger the content response. But a life spent chasing the 'subtle littles' leaves no time to enjoy the perfection I already have. So as a recovering perfectionist...I am bestowing the same gift to all of you. Your sanity is much more important than the subtle little perfections.
Find your grains of sand. Live with them. Pave with them.
A point worth pondering...Upon completing the Universe, God pronounced it "very good." Not perfect.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. Phyllis McGinley

Whether you are single, married, with children or's not possible to get through the day without agreeing to at least one compromise. There are little compromises, like weekend plans and who's cooking dinner. And then there are bigger ones, like visitation schedules and coexisting with teenagers. Tolerable compromises are those we enter into fully...with complete knowledge in advance of exactly what we are surrendering. The other kind of compromises...the ones most of us make every single day...are the strong silent type. They're strong because we are stuck with them and silent because they are unspoken.
Compromises are the art of the bottom line. We can bend only so far and then we break. Knowing just how far you can bend is the first step in making sane agreements. This isn't as easy as it sounds.
The more complicated life becomes, the simpler your compromises must be. Ask yourself this...What must you have from the situation? What do you absolutely need? If you need must have it. Non negotiable. If you don't need it to survive, it..whatever it is..wouldn't be a need. Then it would be a want. Unfortunately, wants are the root of compromise. I want. You want too. Don't lie. That's why we bargain. Keep in mind that your want might be someone elses need. The best compromises, like a tolerable lifestyle, cover all your needs while satisfying a few of your wants.
If you dread it, don't agree to it. If you go ahead with it despite your gut'll despise everything about it. Including the person who agreed to
Be gracious. Be flexible. Be empathetic. Be as generous as you can without gagging. Trust your instincts. Protect your interests. Pay attention to what your heart tells isn't just for pumping blood.
Above all, follow the advice of Janis Joplin..."Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Let me remember that each life must follow its own course, and that what happens to other people has absolutely nothing to do with what happens to me. Marjorie Holmes

Comparisons are irresistible but sneaky, obnoxious, and most often our self-torture of choice.
Today, let's focus on not coveting our neighbor's (or, more importantly, friend's) husband, figure, home, clothes, income, career, kids, life. Or anything else. Usually it's only one woman whose bounty of blessings (or so it appears to us) push our buttons of raging insecurity. I have one. You do too. Don't lie. We really don't care if the rest of the world has more than we have, we only care that SHE has (and we have not). Sometimes the subject of our hostility is not even personally known to us. But if she's one of your friends (my deepest sympathy) it's even more horrendous..because we must hear firsthand accounts of all that we are missing out on. (Just so you know...her life probably sucks. She is just a better liar than you.) Whoever she is, she's the devil in disguise, because you insist on measuring your life, success, bank account, and self worth against hers.
Obviously, I couldn't write about coveting, jealousy, envy, anger, and making oneself completely miserable with comparisons unless I was vaguely familiar. All right, intimately and painfully familiar. But these things are not good. This is not enlightenment. We are grown women. We are better than this. Aren't we?
Even if we aren't, comparisons hurt us in profound ways. They undermine our confidence. They shut down our flow of creative energy. They short circuit our brains. They deplete our self-esteem. They suck the life from our bones. Coveting destroys what is sacred within our hearts. Instead of comparing yourself to another woman, why not just beat yourself senseless? It's much easier (and a whole Hell of a lot faster) to recover from physical abuse than self inflicted psychic brutality.
My challenge..the next time we are tempted to compare our lives with another's, pause for a moment. Remind   yourself over and over and over that there is no competition on the spiritual plane. The blessings your nemesis has received also can be yours as soon as you are really ready to receive with an open heart all the good fortune created just for you.
And when will that be? As soon as you can bless the woman you secretly soon as you can give thanks for her happiness and success as much as your own. Because that demonstrates the abundance of your heart.
And just remember...blessings that we take for granted, that we abuse, that we mistreat, that we do not acknowledge and appreciate...those blessings are often taken from us. We would do well to love the lives (and people) we are given and let go of the ones we think we deserve.


Monday, March 19, 2012


If you have not slept, or if you have slept, or if you have a headache, or sciatica, or leprosy, or thunder-stroke, I beseech you, by all angels, to hold your peace, and not pollute the morning. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Complaints we know. Complaints we are good at. Really good at. Really really good at. I alone have already mastered the art of the complaint at all its, groan, moan, whine and bitch. I'm really good at bitch. You do it too. Don't lie. Probably the only person on the face of the earth who doesn't carry on the way we do is Mother Teresa. And she's dead.
One of the reasons that I love my besties so much is that they allow me to complain, ad nauseum, and know that I will return the favor. That's why you love your besties too. But if we really love them, don't you agree it's time to start sparing them all the gory details? Some of us spend half our lives bitching. (I've exceeded that random mathematical equation). It's time to get a grip. When we bitch and moan we're not much fun to listen to..just because you can't see the eyes on the other end of the phone doesn't mean they aren't rolling..or shut. That isn't to say that your late night joint bitching about the same stupid ass person isn't just doesn't need to consume EVERY conversation. (I'm not judging...I am SO guilty.) Don't we have other shit to talk about? I'm just proposing that we try new outlets to channel our hostility..bitch on the blog, scream in the shower, listen to angry music in the car while you are stuck in traffic. Sure it won't be as much fun..but God is big enough to take it. Not like it's new.
I'm not suggesting that we suppress or minimize our negative feelings. Not entirely. But the petty shit that we are foaming at the mouth about isn't worth the breath it steals. Our thoughts..and our words..are powerful. So powerful that they can change our reality..and the quality of our days. And nights. Bitching rarely makes anybody feel better. In fact, for me, I mostly feel worse. Learning to shrug off the stupid shit is the beginning of wisdom. And it's not like the person you are bitching about even knows..or cares for that matter.
On the flip side...we should learn to be creative about our bitching. Barbara Sher believes "in the effectiveness of complaining the way some people believe in the effectiveness of prayer." (Don't get all in a bunch. Prayer is amazing and wonderful. I personally believe in its effectiveness. Just illustrating a point here people.) She encourages "hard time sessions". She suggests that the next time you feel the need to explode...announce that you are taking a 'hard time session'. Tell anyone in earshot that you are pissed, anxious, fed up, stabby, and not going to take it anymore. Tell them that for the next five minutes you are going to lose it. Tell them not to pay any attention and not to take it personally. Tell them to run away if you want. Then go fucking crazy. (I totally paraphrased that last part..just thought you should know.) You will probably end up feeling much better without having to make insincere apologies or wipe away tears and snot. You will probably end up just laughing about it.
So challenge...if we must complain, let's at least be creative about it.


Sunday, March 18, 2012


It's been awhile since I've done this...let me see if I can remember how it works!! In all seriousness, I am so sorry for the lazy slacker blogger I have been. Life has been crazy-not an excuse, just reality. Some good, some bad, some ugly. But I am promising to you (and to myself) to suck it up and write, write, write.! You have my undivided attention.

Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. Oscar Wilde

Isn't that the truth? All of us need more compliments in our lives. We need to give more of them to our loved ones, our friends, a few acquaintances, and some strangers. We need to hear more of them..even if it is occasionally necessary to give them to ourselves. But mostly, we need to learn how to welcome them and bask in them.
Deep down most of us feel that we deserve more compliments than we receive. I know I feel that way. But I think one of the reasons that I don't hear as many compliments as I'd like is because whenever I see one coming I minimize it. "No biggie" "It's fine" "I have had this forever" "Sure sure" do it too. Don't lie.
We have to remember that if we send good things away, if we mistreat and abuse them, if we aren't open to receiving them from the some point the Universe will no longer bother with us. And who would be to blame? No one enjoys hanging around an ingrate...and that's exactly what we are when we discount and deny all the fabulous things we are.
It's interesting to note that the very first dictionary definition of a compliment is 'an expression of esteem'. Maybe we have a difficult time accepting compliments because deep down we don't think we deserve them. When I'm not willing to receive praise I assume it's because my self-esteem is drowning.
So today, be receptive. Start with the knowledge that you are beautiful, and dazzling, and amazing, and wonderful, and fabulous. Remember that you are a great mom, a loving wife, a supportive friend. Ask God to reveal how gorgeous and brilliant you really are. Then every time someone pays you a compliment, accept it. Smile. Give thanks. Become abundant with your compliments to others. We're all so fragile, especially when putting on a brave face and confronting the world. A compliment and a kind word can penetrate even the most hardened hearts and soothe the most troubled souls. The person you feel least likely to compliment is probably the person who needs it the most. Give sincerely so that you may welcome abundantly.
Cultivate the habit of giving at least one compliment a day to another person. Start giving them to yourself. And remember that just as words can can they heal.