Messy Love: Are You a Definer or a Refiner?

Messy Love Definer or Refiner

Here’s an idea to play around with. The next time someone or something upsets you, ask yourself, “Does this define me or refine me?”

Why? Because your answer determines how you move through the experience and the baggage you carry afterward.

Let’s see what Webster has to say about these two words.

Define: to determine the limits or nature of; describe exactly.

Hmmm. “Determine the limits” seems pretty limiting. And “describe exactly” is a crazy-making quest. I don’t know about you but my life – and upsets – defy any exacting description. This defining business is feeling a bit tense.

Refine: to free or become free of impurities. To make or become more polished.

To “become free” and “more polished.” All right. I’m exhaling here. This feels like something I can grab hold of when grappling with an upset.

How a Defining Moment Becomes a Refining Moment. Stop. Ask the question. “Does this define me or refine me?” Make a conscious decision. Then proceed in the direction of your answer.

When my ex husband left to explore a relationship with another woman – back in the days of Bernadette’s Pages – you could say his act defined our marriage (failed), himself as a man (untrustworthy), and me as a wife (not good enough).

Failed. Untrustworthy. Not Good Enough. Now there’s a tidy package that determined “the limits or nature of” what happened between us. Had I accepted this view as my definer I would have gotten stuck, acting out patterns of betrayal, anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt, shame, remorse, confusion, mistrust, defensiveness … Read more

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Recipe for Romance Anyway

Musings from the Messy Room: Woo God. Romance the World.

Be Flirty. (Take flight) Be Dirty. (Play in the dirt.) Be Loved. (From Heaven to Earth.)

Here’s a meSSy thought. What if you flirted with God? What if, instead of giving God your woe-is-me-where-is-he/she, you gave God a woo-is-You-love-me-through.

“There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi

“There are infinite ways for God to caress and kiss our soul.” Me

Romance your life. Be YOU in love … anyway! Then it might be easier to recognize the lover who knows how to use romance for love’s sake. (And not manipulate for favors.) Embrace your sensuality … anyway. Romance the world … anyway. BE your sexy, delicious self … anyway. Make those Read more

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Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the Highway

Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the Highway

If you live in Atlanta, you know I-285. Those traveling the north/south or east/west interstates call it the bypass but really it’s a loop that circles the heart of the city.

Locals refer to I-285 as The Perimeter. When asking directions around here, one usually starts with “Are you inside or outside the perimeter?” For insiders, driving too far outside the perimeter is akin to an “out of state” road trip. For outsiders, driving too far inside the perimeter requires a course in street life savvy, the kind that keeps you from turning down the wrong street in a Walking Dead episode. “NOoooo… don’t go THERE! Zombies ahead!” (Hey, it’s not my fault. A friend got me hooked.)

These days, life outside the perimeter mimics conveniences of city life. And for some who choose to settle outside, it’s “close enough” to live on a perimeter that bypasses hardcore city commitments with softcore city-like amenities.

Time was, a reasonably clear inside/outside demarcation could be made but now the inner feels a lot like the outer while navigating this Nascar-esque bypass. In the speedway blur, you think you are in the city proper. Looks like it. Feels like it. Sounds like it. Smells like it. But not it.

Now, lets switch gears. (Hey, I’m working a metaphor here.)

Think about the heart. Your heart. Where it resides. And who resides in it.

Like Atlanta, your heart is the city. The closer to the center the stronger the pulse as blood pumps (emotions, passions, dreams, fears) through the arteries and side streets with all the pedestrian conveniences. Culture. People. Parks. Coffee shops. Nightlife. But also challenges like traffic jams, convention re-routes, and one way do not enter streets. Get the picture?

This is you. You living and loving in the heart of your city.

Enter new relationship. (Or awaken in an old one.)

Maybe you meet this person on the loop and Read more

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Does Happily-Ever-After Have a Shelf Life?

Torn Pages from The Artist's Way

Ever find yourself in the place where you thought happily-ever-after would be and it doesn’t remotely resemble your imaginings? Did you shop the wrong store? Miss an expiration date?

What do YOU do when your happily-ever-after package does not look, in hand, the same way it looked on the shelf?

I am inspired to tear up books. Okay, I hear you book lovers gasping. I love books, too, so let me explain. Read more

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Upcycling Raggedy Ann and Other Such Stories

Raggedy Ann

When I was a little girl, I had a Raggedy Ann doll. She went everywhere with me. No doubt the fact that she went everywhere with me is why my Grandmother convinced me to let her take Raggedy Ann to the doll hospital so she could be made “good as new,” with the promise that Raggedy would return on my birthday.

I still remember opening the box with the big red bow, excited to be reunited with my friend, only to find a stranger looking back at me. This was not MY Raggedy! The adults in the room showed me her special Raggedy heart and assured me she was. (Hey, I was four but I wasn’t stupid.) I cried and cried and begged to have MY Raggedy back. My head was spinning. I was heartbroken.

I shared this story with a dear friend, recently, as the first memorable contribution to my sideswiped stories. The telling had just the right touch of drama, or so I thought, when I heard my friend take a deep breath on the other end of the Read more

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