Why Throw A Living Memorial?

My husband turned 70 this week and the pre-Corona plan was to throw him an Honor Dinner (or Living Memorial) to celebrate his life. Now you might be asking what is the difference between an Honor Dinner and a birthday party. Quite simply it is the sentiment expressed.

Let’s think about a regular memorial for a minute. A loved one has died, the family is grieving, there are pictures of the loved one set out. At some point there is conversation beyond awkward condolences and people start to reminisce. People share stories of the first time they met the loved one, and they share what this person added to their life.

For me, during a loss, this last part has always been my favorite. My favorite because it is here my healing begins. The knowledge that my loved one was loved by others is reassuring, consoling and comforting. I often find myself wondering though, “did she know they felt this way about her?”

I come from an English, German, Irish and Croatian cultural background. Take a look at those again. Not a single solitary culture that is known for expressing emotion! Stoic x4. On top of that our people tend to die suddenly in car accidents or from sudden illness. We aren’t prone to long term illnesses. While that is a good thing, the drawback is there is no anticipatory grief period, no forewarning that death is around the corner. Which means there is little time to prepare and say goodbye. So many loving thoughts remain unsaid until after death. Although that is very healing for the grieving loved ones to hear, the true power of those loving words lay in sharing them with people while they are alive.

Because of my history with these sudden losses, I am one to not leave things unsaid. My friends and family are accustomed to it, but for new friends it takes some getting used to. It is for this reason that I love Living Memorials. Not just for those who know death is around the corner, but for anyone! It’s not something you do at every birthday, but it is good for those big numbers.

Due to CoVid we had to do my husband’s Living Memorial online. I created a Facebook group and instructed people to create a video expressing their sentiments, toast him, roast him or share memories/stories. The point was to express more than simple birthday wishes. I wanted this man to know exactly what he contributed to the lives of others. I wanted him to see the expression on their faces and hear the inflection of their voice; not just read words on a screen. Having it in a group rather than on his page would enable him to use it like a memory book he could refer back to frequently.

While not everyone was comfortable being extremely sentimental, we had quite a few contributors. The look on his face as he watched each video and read each post was priceless. There are no words to accurately describe it. If I had to, I would say it was a mixture of appreciation, love and pride. He was truly touched that anyone would take the time to do this.

In retrospect I think a slightly modified structure would have rendered a result closer to what I intended. I think asking people to share their favorite character trait of my husband, along with their birthday greetings would’ve been less intimidating for guests. I also think that had we been able to do it in our initial format – an honor dinner – with similar instruction, it would’ve been easier for people to really share some more sentiment.

My husband is filled with joy for the experience and that was truly my goal. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to provide a meaningful celebration for a loved one’s birthday.

In the end it doesn’t matter if it is called a Birthday Party, a Living Memorial, an Honor Dinner or a Hoe Down. If it is making memories, sharing emotion and making people feel loved then it is part of the living well path and that path leads to dying well.

Peace Be With You,

Jade

When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are. – Maya Angelou.

This short little quote helped me understand the ‘how’ of relationships. I kept expecting people to be true to their words, because I was true to mine. That’s just not how it goes with everyone. Many people mean what they say, when they say it, but give not much thought after that. So I was torn between believing what people said (because as an empath I didn’t feel they were lying) but then disheartened when they would yet again disappoint me.

I expected them to be who they wanted to be, rather than who they were.

When people show you who they are, believe them.

I have a rule of three and it applies in many areas of my life. But one I am most adamant about is giving people three chances. Sometimes mistakes are made. Anyone can have a misstep or poor judgment once. So long as it isn’t a deal breaker that gets foofed off as a “one off-er”. A freebie, so to speak. A brief conversation might be had, or it might just be dismissed.

The second time that thing shows up, it’s a deeper conversation and it’s noted, in a file, in a drawer, in a cabinet, in my brain. The third time that thing happens, I’m done. Like D O N E done. Three times? That’s a pattern my friend. You have just showed me who you are. Now, granted there are certain things that if done once they never get the chance to do a second time, but those things are big deal breakers and go without saying.

I think largely this quote is good guidance for people caught up in co-dependent relationships, with the repeating loop of “I’ll do better”, doesn’t do better, “sorry I didn’t do better.” However, sometimes this lesson isn’t about ending a relationship. It might be about ending your expectations.

People show us all the time who they are and we immediately discern whether or not they are someone we want to get to know better. Sometimes it is easy to decide, ‘no, I don’t feel compatible with that person’ and you move on. Other times though the relationship has no red flags or warning signs. It’s a perfectly good relationship. You might laugh together. Do activities or projects together, but maybe at some point you feel like you aren’t getting out of the relationship what you put into it.

Or maybe you just feel like you aren’t getting what you need from it…

That’s what I want to talk about today.

It is perfectly OK for you to know that you ‘deserve’ what you want from a relationship, be it romantic or friendship. The thing is just because YOU deserve it, doesn’t mean the person you want it from OWES it to you.

Even if you extend to them the same respect, effort or affection. Just because you give it doesn’t mean the other person is obligated to return it. That’s when you need to adjust your expectations to fit the relationship you are actually in, rather than the one you imagined yourself to be in.

People can only offer you what they have to give. No more. And if they offer you less, well then they are telling you something aren’t they? Either they are not capable or they are not willing. Either way, they are not optimal as partners in the relationship you thought you were creating. If you were intending to create a romantic or business relationship, it is probably advisable to end that versus just changing your expectations. However, if your intention was to create a friendship then you don’t have to end it, just change your expectations.

Friendships come in many shades. There are best friends who are confidantes where the bond runs deep. There are social friends who like to go out and do things socially without much deep conversation. There are work friends you never see outside of the workplace. And a hundred other kinds of friends in between. If you were going for ‘best friend’ and you aren’t getting back what you put in, don’t scrap the friendship, just adjust your expectations. Recognize what the other person is offering you and manage your expectations to that degree.

Now let’s end on a more positive note.

When people show you who they are, believe them.

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say, in one way or another, “I have trust issues”, or “People have to earn my trust.” I’m here to tell you that last one is backwards and the first one says more about you than anyone else.

We don’t ‘trust’ others, we trust ourselves to put our energies into the right places. Listening for who people show themselves to be is key in that. How many times did you ‘trust’ someone, get disappointed and then look back and see the warning signs you overlooked/didn’t listen to? They were there. You know they were. You just wanted what you imagined the relationship could be so much that you chose to be deaf and blind. If you think you have trust issues, it’s because you really have imagination issues.

You imagined a future relationship and confused that with present time. You overlooked and excused behavior because you didn’t want to give up the ‘potential’ the relationship has for the future. This is imagination at its finest. You IMAGINE that the relationship will become something else in the future and therefore trade your present for it and are surprised when the results are not what you imagined. It’s kind of like wanting to bake a cake, but don’t find all the ingredients for it in your pantry, so you put together what you have, stick it in the oven and expect it to still come out like cake.

People do not earn our trust. To really be authentic in relationships you need to have the approach of trusting someone until/unless they give you a reason not to – in other words, ‘until they show you who they are’ (or who they are not.)

When people show you themselves as honest, trustworthy, attentive and understanding, believe them. Don’t make them jump through hoops to prove themselves. Enjoy the even exchange relationship and don’t overthink it. However, do pay attention when if they begin showing you themselves to NOT be those things!

Too often we get hooked into someone because they intoxicate us. Maybe they are exciting. We feel a little small sometimes but they make us feel bigger. Maybe they give us really high-highs through their antics or their humor. But with those highs or feeling big we can feel the opposite sometimes. A relationship with those kind of ‘mood swings’ is not healthy.

Oh yes, every relationship has highs and lows over time, but the highs should outweigh the lows. No one should ever try to make you feel small – ever. This is not someone to be in partnership with at all. In a healthy relationship there should be more stability than highs. You can’t be high all the time. If you are seeking highs because you feel ‘bored’ in stability then it says quite a bit about you and your interpersonal dynamics, and some internal work is in order.

Remember, you are also showing people who you – and they will believe you, too.

Peace Be With You,

Jade

The Woman In The Red Shoes

A woman stated that when she sees a pretty woman, she compares herself and finds herself lacking. Her thoughts then spiral down from there.


I know she is not the only one. I remember being like this. And in fact, while I no longer do this regarding looks, I was catching myself doing this with my business when I would see someone who does what I do, being ‘more’ successful.


Because I am always my first client of the day, I take every opportunity to explore these types of things.


A scarcity base or lack base is reflected when we compare ourselves to others and find ourselves lacking. Whether it is how pretty someone is, or how much money they have, or how well their business is going. There is enough for everyone, but somehow when we see others doing well we are interpreting that to mean we are ‘less’.


“Their success is not my failure.” This became my mantra every time I caught myself feeling inadequate because someone else *seemed* to be doing ‘better’ than I.


That was the first thing I did. The next thing I did was understand that I was externally referencing. Which means, that I was basing my value on something/someone outside myself.


We are precious unique gems that only a few people will have the heart to value. Therefore it is up to us to establish our own value independent of others.


I recall in my younger dating life that I somehow had the notion that I needed to prove my value to someone. If they did not recognize it I saw it as my job to convince them of it.


It is not for us to convince people of our value. WE need recognize it and act accordingly, accepting only those who value it. The catch is, until WE believe it, we will not be able to value those who value us.


I believe it is here, where lack and scarcity are rooted. When we see ourselves as the truly rare, unique and priceless gems we are, then the notion that “I am not worthy” becomes extinct. We no longer beg for the attention of those who do not attend to us. We no longer run after those who are walking away from us. We no longer have impoverished thoughts that keep us impoverished.


Poverty is not just about money. Our relationship with money is merely a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. Poverty is about energy.

The idea of ’empowering’ women is trending nowadays. Empowerment is about energy, is it not? Our thoughts & beliefs add to or take away from that energy. THIS is how one becomes empowered or disempowered. No one can do it for someone else. It is all ‘the man behind the curtain’ type facade.


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, the woman in the red shoes has all the power.

I love you,

~Jade

Hold Yourself Accountable, Guru

I’m a little aghast right now. Fair warning, this will be a little rantish.

I just witnessed a celebrity ‘relationship expert’ demonstrate the most repulsive behavior. I just can’t understand it. How does society at large give such credence to people who do not walk their talk? What is it that? What has people say ‘yes, I will buy your book and invest in you despite your bad behavior” ????

When I was looking for mentors, teachers, coaches, etc…I was watching. Observing. I was very careful to find someone who looked like a better version of me. Because if they weren’t better a version of me, how could I look to them to help me become the best version of myself?

I’m not talking about someone who is perfect. No. I am talking about someone who is consistent and congruent. Just that. I mean, if you can’t resolve your own conflicts, how can you inspire others to resolve theirs?

Hypocritical. This is all I kept thinking.

She was so obsessed with being understood that she became blind to trying to understand the other person. This is key in relationships.

Relationships are two way streets. They are not just your relationships. You co-own them with others, which means their feelings and perspectives are just as important as yours. When attempting to resolve issues, it is important to get out of your own head and try to get into theirs. Now this other person might not be interested in that, and that’s ok. If you are the ‘expert’ you will know how to handle this. And handling it does not mean shaming that person, nor slandering them, calling names, nor embarrassing them. Yet, that is what this ‘expert’ did.

This person has books. Does tours. Holds retreats.

How does this happen? I really don’t understand. I don’t understand how people accept that. I also do not understand the confidence of someone to call themselves a ‘relationship expert’ when they don’t do their work. Again, not looking for perfect. Not looking for someone who doesn’t go on a rant on occasion. I am looking for someone who knows what it means to take accountability. One who is seeking to understand more than to be understood. One who controls their ego, not one who’s ego is out of control.

“Use your big girl words.” That’s what I want to say.

My daughter, at the age of 22, in a verbal disagreement with a 43 year old woman was called a ‘bitch’ by this woman and simply came back with ‘and I think you are a little two-faced’. We don’t call names. We don’t throw labels.

I have been in some dark times. Some trying times. I’ve been overwhelmed and undervalued…

but I never ever let what someone else is doing change who I am.

Consistency and congruence are my measuring sticks. I never ever want to be a hypocrite. I revere other people’s lives too much to sell anything other than my 100% best.

I am not perky all the time. I can get snappy. I get frustrated. And when I act a fool I apologize. I examine why I let it get to me and learn from it.

I do that by asking myself why this is happening. What in me is allowing this? “She brings out the worst in me.” That’s what she said. Well, ask yourself why relationship guru. Why do you think that is? Why does this person who doesn’t know you and can’t know your triggers keep tripping them? And why are you not taking responsibility for those triggers?

Yes, responsibility for your triggers, lies with you, not anyone else. It’s not anyone’s job to walk softly around your triggers. It is your job to understand your triggers and defuse them like the landmines they are. I usually add in a ‘thank you for showing me this’, if not to the person, then to the Universe itself.

I have also processed out loud with groups of like-minded individuals. I don’t pretend I have it altogether. I completely am transparent in disclosing that this is hard for me and I can’t figure it out. “I know this and such, but I can’t get my mind on board” kind of thing. In fact, I just did that in one of my groups, facing one of the biggest challenges of my life. You know what? People respect that and appreciate it.

Please, when you are looking for ‘expert’ advice. Research who’s advice you are taking. Do they tell you what you want to hear, or what you need to hear? Do they tell you things that expand into your highest best self or shrink into someone else’s mold?

Be you and if you need help with that, find someone who has mastered themselves.

I love you.

~Jade

 

 

 

Honor, Not Harm

If you are following this blog you might have noticed a few false publications of this post. Electronics and I have a very symbiotic relationship. While I decided to pull this post altogether and cancelled the publication, the Universe usurped that thought and published it anyway. So, here I sit rearranging words to more accurately express my thoughts and not just my emotion.

Honor

I don’t think I value anything higher than Honor. Well maybe, perhaps integrity, but can you really have one without the other?  Let’s just keep it to Honor today. And yes, I’ll be capitalizing it, because it deserves that.

I have an eclectic intimate circle. Friends and family who are as different as the sun from the moon from the blades of grass. But they all share one thing in common; they have Honor.

Oddly enough, I can’t find my definition of Honor in the dictionary. This is the closest it comes

2 adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct: I must as a matter of honor avoid any taint of dishonesty. dated a woman’s chastity or her reputation for being chaste: she died defending her honor.

Honor is a quality that is felt more than spoken about, I suppose. I will attempt to capture its essence in words, however. Honor is a combination of Respect, Integrity and Grace. Perhaps even a little appreciation and gratitude? Nah, let’s just leave it at Respect, Integrity and Grace.

Honor shows up in how someone treats you, talks to you and talks about you. Honor is at the base of every relationship I have. When someone exhibits dishonorable behaviors, it is my choice to release them of the bonds of relationship.

It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time I had no idea what Honor meant and I allowed others in my life who behaved dishonorably. I allowed behaviors like lying, bullying, manipulation and deprecation to be a part of some very intimate relationships.

Intimate relationships are ride or die. They are the ones that are meant to have your back, not stab you in it.

What I came to realize one day, after a particularly painful stab is I don’t have friends who treat me that way.

It hit me like a flash of bright white light. I don’t have friends who treat me that way. I just couldn’t believe the profound simplicity of it. I don’t have friends who treat me that way. I didn’t have to decide to not be friends, because I had just realized that wasn’t a friend to begin with. I had only imagined we were friends. (Every relationship has friendship as a base, so this applies to all types of relationships including familial and romantic.)

Here’s the thing, you can’t imagine people to be better or bigger than they imagine themselves. For whatever reasons these people abandon honor in a friendship, it has nothing to do with you. It is their burden to bear; their demon to slay.

As soon as I become aware of the lack of Honor, I’m out. It’s a clear line for me, now. What you chose to do within the relationship is up to you of course. I am not sure my way, is the best way. I just don’t know if it is wise to let go of people so easily. However, I do know that when I haven’t, when I’ve afforded chance after chance I experience additional hurt and betrayal.

Why? Because we teach people how to treat us.

Until and unless we can stand in the space of our own Honor, and Honor ourselves, we can never find honorable individuals with which to share our lives.

And this is really important, because those people who treat you dishonorably? They don’t Honor themselves either. That’s where it has to start and while you might find compassion for that person, they do not have the capability to have compassion for you.

In a relationship, any type of relationship, there is bound to be hurt. Hurt is understandable. There are hurt feelings when we miscommunicate or misunderstand. There are hurts when unexpressed expectations aren’t met. Hurt, though, is not harm. No harm shall come to one within the confines of a relationship, be it romantic or plutonic. When one harms another within a relationship it negates the unspoken contract to which both had entered.

At least in my mind.

I spent many years ‘forgiving’ and ‘understanding’ dishonorable acts. Chalking them up to drunken or drugged influence, unhealed wounds or just plain misunderstanding.  This was my great mistake, as harm followed like the moon follows the sun. But when you are done being harmed by someone you will draw that healthy boundary.

Honor Omnia Superat

Honor Surpasses All Things

I love you.

~Jade