#ImFreakingGrateful

The Lonely Heart Club.

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A year ago I would've cringed at the thought of writing this post on loneliness… But,  my own current Lonely hearts club isn’t a sad solo meeting in a church basement or a drunk sing-along A La  Bridget Jones Diary anymore.  Here I want to share about how I turned believing loneliness was a curse into a big old gratitude fest of celebrating my own company.

This topic in the past was something I looked at as taboo and shameful. Thinking something was inherently wrong with me for being alone and comparing my single status to others that are not, “Wow if they can find somebody, Why Oh Why can’t I?” or judging other single folks. As you can see over the years I have done a lot of self negative talk on being by myself and it has seemed to spill over into many other aspects of my life. But, always back to ‘What the heck is wrong with me’ ?  Now I realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with me, maybe there are things I need to change, but not for the sole reason of finding a mate. Clearly, on a daily basis flawed humans date, marry and even procreate:)

So, what changed?

Staring Loneliness Head On. When I learned that I needed Heart Surgery and was scared sh*tless of doing this alone or worse dying alone.  Yes, I had some remarkable individuals step-up to the plate and I will be forever grateful to know I actually wasn’t as alone as I thought. But, not having my Father, Mother, Step-Father or my Ex-husband there was excruciatingly hard. Looking back in some ways for most of the pre-surgery journey. I spent a lot of time doing the All or Nothing attitude. I wanted my Mommy and that unconditional love by my side or nothing at all. But, even though I did the ‘feel sorry for myself loneliness dance’, something happened… I wasn’t really alone. The Hospital Staff, amazing Chaplain and a Priest were there for me. My friends and family pushed through my loneliness to be there. I realized that my ideas of what I didn’t have was fulfilled in so many other amazing ways. Reminding me that loneliness is a choice we make sometimes out of fear and facing it truly takes it’s power away.

A Book.  Last Fall, I listened to a Podcast interview via The Lively Show on the topic of Consciously Completing a Relationship with Author Katherine Woodward Thomas. Currently then and now I am Single, so the topic wasn’t too useful, but I was curious and so glad I listened because I heard Katherine's own story of her own challenges of being single and a previous book she had written called Calling in “The One”-7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. I was fascinated to know how at my own age she finally found the One and to read the insights she had collected.

When the Book arrived at my local Barnes and Noble,  I slithered shamefully in and picked it up. Once home I worked that book like Therapy Appointments for weeks. But, instead of finding the ‘One’. I began to truly allow myself for the first time EVER to be OK with my Solo status. Katherine really brought home that you must ‘Start creating your best life to bring in your perfect partner’. So, the advice that so many of us singles hate to hear is actually TRUE. Work on yourself and the lover will arrive;) Wink. Wink. Or in my case now you celebrate solo in the meantime.

Some Movies. While laid up after my Heart Surgery this summer, one of my dear friends from work brought over a extra Laptop and DVD’s for me to watch. Included in her selections was the 2003 Romantic Comedy, Under the Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane. I had surprisingly never seen it or as I would like to believe… maybe it wasn’t the right timing until then:) But, whoa each time I watched the story about divorced, American writer Frances Mayes embarking on her ‘I am sick of being afraid’  adventure about fixing up a ramshackle villa in Tuscany, meeting unique characters and taking a chance on herself.  It felt like big embrace of  ‘It’s cool to be alone right now’ and even more rad to accept it.

And there is another movie favorite that recently reminded me that I was on the right path of embracing time by myself and that Harrison Ford is still hot:)  Sabrina, the 1995 version with Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. Do you remember the scene when Sabrina is in Paris and walking with her French Mentor? And she says to Sabrina, “You seem embarrassed by your Loneliness. Don’t be. It is only a place to start …”

A Slap in a face reminder that We shouldn’t be embarrassed of our Loneliness ever. I have firmly come to believe now and know it is where some the greatest adventures of our lives do start.

Other Cool Lonely People. Another big thing I have learned recently is not shy away from other lonely people for fear of misery likes company mentality. After all, not all Lonely people are miserable:) Get to know their stories, let them know your story and do things together.  Embrace the chance to make new friends. I know that idea can be a frightening one as adult, so many of us stick with old friends just out of comfort and honestly that can even make you more lonely.  Getting outside of our comfort zones might be scary at first, but who knows a new friend might introduce us to our next relationship:)  Even if not, it is still worth cultivating new pals.

Gratitude. I know I have been talking a lot about Gratitude lately. But, it is a discipline that really works in the loneliness department as well. Being Grateful for the time alone to focus on the things we love and self-care. And I am not just talking about running a bath or going for a walk. Those things definitely matter and bathing is always a good idea;) But, Gratitude for self-care when related to how we treat ourselves mindfully. The things we say to ourselves.  If we are talking trash about ourselves, loneliness will be a prison of sorts. But, if we change that trash talk into gratitude talk, loneliness becomes a possible place of happy:) In my daily Morning Gratitude Practice, I try to say kind things about my current relationship status and even find myself saying, “I am Grateful for loneliness and all the lessons I am learning.”

I know many of you might think, I have falling off the Lonely Ladder:) But, Seriously it is pretty amazing to feel so at peace with this Single Moment in my life. Yes, of course I would love to find someone and I will. I never have had a problem with it in the past.  But, I don’t want it be about desperation and embarrassment. I have learned from that kind of  Loneliness, when we panic we attract like minded relationships or allow people into our lives that we normally wouldn’t. Just for the sake of not being alone.

So, I really hope all this Lonely Hearts Club talk might of helped you as well and if you have any other ideas of enjoying loneliness let me know. I would love to hear from you. Because I am Lonely and All;) wink. wink.

Love, C.


Be Happy Action/Gratitude.

Awesome! with Alison Podcast. 

Awesome! with Alison Podcast. 

Yeah, I am freaking Grateful!  Over the past month, I have been listening to a lot of Awesome with Alison Podcast's. Usually on my daily bus commute to work or in the evenings while I am trying to chillax. Alison (The Alison Show) and her husband Eric's (Pleasant Pictures Studios) weekly saucy segments and tantalizing topic's have definitely helped me put a much needed pep in my self step again. Ha, it sounds like I am describing a cooking show?!? But, my  favorites podcasts, Ep. 23: WHAT IS a gratitude practice?! And how can it change your life?! We’ll tell you!  and it's follow-up, Ep. 24: I’M FREAKING GRATEFUL: A gratitude practice to help you love your life! do "cook" up some good old helpings of Motivation. And I am not kidding people... it definitely has pushed my own gratuitous nature to new heights. Some Big life-changing shifts and that is why I am sharing it with you!

I have always considered myself a pretty grateful person and try to see life and its daily challenges with a positive twist.  Especially this year with my heart surgery in April. My gratitude meter has been on overdrive and I really wanted to find better ways of putting all this new Gratitude to action. Then came along Alison's Episode 8 podcast, reflecting on her recent weight loss and and a little introduction into how gratitude played a big part of her own transformation. So, when Episodes 23 and 24 came along sharing more Gratitude Attitude.  I knew I needed to get in gear. 

Morning Pages Transformed. First it began with reworking my 20 plus year old  daily routine of Morning Pages  (writing 3 long hand pages of whatever comes to mind) to a One Page Gratitude Practice instead. Why? The Artist Way Morning Pages have served me very well or the years. Taking the mind chatter that has discouraged my creativity and turned it into positive thoughts. But, for the last few years I have found it becoming more of a hum drum habit with little creative results. And obviously since doing morning pages since my Early 20's and now being 42. My creative needs have changed. I know longer need to keep my inner creative critic in check. I am actually pretty confident in this area now:) But, don't get me wrong this always be a creative tool I will hold dear and suggest to anyone. 

Then after using Alison's gratitude practice for a few weeks, which simply consists  of naming and honoring your gratitude while being physically active. I decided then to take it a step further by creating my own twist. I began experimenting with writing one long hand page of gratitude with my Morning coffee. 

A Gratitude Page. I first begin with a clean page and a quick Hello to God. Next I begin each sentence with I am grateful...

 I am grateful for my coffee. I am grateful for a good night sleep. I am grateful for falling at work last Friday to remind myself to slow down and take care of my health first. I am grateful for my new blog and how it has refreshed my love for this hobby. I am grateful for my love of design and how it keeps me growing creatively. I am grateful for *** not responding back to me and the reminder that I need to invest in people, who invest in me. I grateful for being alone right now in life, so I can relearn to be my own friend and advocate. I am grateful for September and all it's seasonal inspiration. I am grateful for a clean house and a fridge full of groceries. I am grateful for podcasts to fall asleep too. I am grateful for my job that allows moments like this. I am grateful for my bus rides and the quiet reflection it creates. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for love. 

Above was a little sample of my own, so can get idea how easy it is.  I can't begin to say how much I have learned and shifted personally in the last week or so  from doing this everyday. I have reworked what normally,  like a recent fall at work would be considered negative to positive affirmation. Remembering that everything does happen for a reason. I also love celebrating the everyday things that I usually would totally take for-granted and even turning my loneliness into a gift. 

One aspect of this Gratitude page practice I didn't share above is how amazing it is to also be grateful for goals and personal projects as if they have already been done and met. I believe if we name, claim and show gratitude for things we want to see in our lives. It opens us up to their possibility.     

Happy Action Challenge: Now it is your turn:) I would highly suggest you visit the above Awesome with Alison podcast links and listen up! Then create your own unique gratitude practice or share with me how Gratitude is already a part of your life and remember:

"Be Happy where you are, and use that energy to Create something Amazing" -Brooke Castillo

Love, C.