My Next Writing Project

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The best advice I received as an aspiring author was as soon as I finished my first work, to immediately start on my second. So I’m taking Donald Miller’s advice and writing my second book.

This is where you come in. If you would be interested in seeing your story in my next book, keep reading.

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Soul Mates

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Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life. – Richard Bach quotes

I’ve been on a quest for love my whole life. I wanted to give love and I wanted to receive love. In the beginning of 2013, I decided to make it my mission to be “in love”. I settled on the word “love” for my One Word Resolution to help expedite this process along.

This journey towards love has not been easy. I was duped by fairy tales thinking love ends in “happily every after”. Does anyone really know what happens after “happily ever after” anyways? I’ve never seen the script for the day after the magical kiss at sunset. I do, however, have an idea of what it is supposed to be. Me and I may soul mate would live in perfect bliss all the days of our lives. Love would be smooth sailing.

I couldn’t be more wrong. Love has shown me that it takes a lot of work. There are many challenges and obstacles to overcome.  There are hard truths you must swallow. There are walls to be torn down. Your heart is going to break from time to time. You are going to hurt that person and they are going to hurt you. You are going to battle trust issues. At times, you are going to want to abandon the relationship completely.

As love continues to distort my way of thinking, I realize that love’s way is better. The pain, the heartache, and the obstacles are all needed to achieve love – the affection, the assurance, and the devotion from another person.

In your own quest for love, if you are ever so lucky to meet your soul mate, I hope you don’t run away. I hope you invite them in and allow them to challenge you and break your heart open so you can uncover the person you were always supposed to be. Only then, can you love completely unabandoned, reckless, and free 🙂

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Trusting Love

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Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. – Kahlil Gibran

We make investments every day. We invest our time and emotions in relationships, we invest our commitments, our dedication to our jobs, and we invest money into our 401K plans.  Whether it is love or respect, advancements or pay raises in our careers, and large retirement funds, we invest because we expect a return.

A recent turn of events led me to check my portfolio in a relationship that is fairly new. I felt as if I was investing more than what would be returned to me so I checked to see what kind of return was in store. This all stems from fear and the need for control. Every fiber in my being wants to control this relationship. I need to define it. I need to label it. I have to or it will end.

In my quest to define this relationship and protect my investments, I decided to set some boundaries. My cousin, Shelly, told me to read the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. This book teaches you how to say no, when to say yes, and how to take control of your life.

The passage in the section of “Friendship Boundaries”, changed my life. The authors describe boundaries as this,

Boundary conflicts in friendships are difficult to deal with because the only cord tying the relationship together is the attachment itself. There’s no wedding ring. There’s no job connection. There’s just the friendship – and it often seems all too fragile and in danger of being severed.

So, aren’t friendships at greater risk of breaking up when boundary conflicts arise? This type of thinking has two problems.

  • First, it assumes that external institutions such as marriage, work, and church are the glue that holds relationships together. It assumes that our commitments are what hold us together, not our attachments. Biblically and practically, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Choice and commitment are elements of a good friendship. However, we can’t depend on commitment or sheer willpower, for they will always let us down.

  • The second problem with thinking that friendships are weaker than institutionalized relationships such as marriage, church, and work is assuming that those there aren’t attachment based. If it were true, wedding vows would ensure a zero percent divorced rate.

It’s scary to realize that the only thing holding our friends to us isn’t our performance, or our lovability, or their guilt, or their obligation. The only thing that will keep them calling, spending time with us, and putting up with is love. And that’s the one thing we can’t control.

At any moment, any person can walk away from a friendship. However, as we enter more and more into an attachment-based life, we learn to trust love. We learn that the bonds of a true friendship are not easily broken.

There it was. The truth in black and white text glaring at me. I was so concerned with the external attachment – commitment – than the actual attachment itself – love.  I kept thinking, if I could just grab a hold of the external attachment, then I could let go – give myself fully to the relationship. That verbal commitment would be the glue that would keep us together forever.

As I threw myself into this book, I realized that I was creating boundaries that closed me off and protected me in an unhealthy way. I created boundaries around my words. If I say this, or say that, he will leave. I created boundaries around my heart. If I love like this, or love like that, it will scare him and he will leave. It’s not that I don’t trust my friend. It’s that I don’t trust love. Love has failed me over and over again. Love has let me down. Love has crushed me. When it was supposed to protect me, it ended up hurting me.

As it turns out, I didn’t receive the commitment I was looking for from him, but I decided to move forward in the relationship anyway. He is my best friend and I cannot see life without him. Besides, what do I have to lose? Love is the return. Love is costly, love is risky, but it is truly the best return you can ever receive.

Love is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. – C.S. Lewis

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One Word 2013 : Love

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“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Originally in my mind, I thought 2013 was going to bring new beginnings and prosperity, but all it has brought me is sickness and hibernation. I’m over sickness. I want to feel 100% again. In my journey to get back to myself, I have logged countless hours on the couch and watched many movies. One of my faves is Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts.

She, like myself, is on a journey to find herself. While in Italy, she has a love affair with food. While in India, she is stripped of everything and has to deal with the past. And in the end, she finds love in Bali.  Even though I’ve seen this movie several times, what captured my attention this time was throughout this whole process she was in search of a word.

Her friends would ask, “Liz, what is your word?”. She would jokingly say, “pizza” and then go eat a whole pie. Not too bad if you ask me.

I too am searching for a word. A word that will sum up 2013. One word resolutions have changed my life. In 2011, I chose engage. Not because I was looking for a diamond, but because I was tired of living in the back seat of my own life. In 2012, I chose connect.  I wanted my heart and mind to connect on some deep levels. I wanted revelation.

As I round out my own eat, pray, love journey, I too want to “cross over” like Liz did in the movie. I am healed of the past, I have found a sense of balance, and now I want love. I want to give love and receive love.

With a little help from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, this is who I want to be in 2013.

4 Nichole is patient and kind. Nichole is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. She does not demand her own way. She is not irritable, and she keeps no record of being wronged. She does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Nichole never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Nichole is love and will be loved.

Cheers to 2013!

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