April 2008 Newsletter
Hello dear friends. This month I have spent some time spring cleaning! I’ve gotten rid of old clothes, old books and lots of junk that was holding my energy including a few old ideas! It has been a busy time and I am enjoying the feeling of spring time renewal. In the course of that activity I ran across an article I wrote for my monthly column in 4Front Magazine in April of 1997. I was pleased to see that many of the ideas were still relevant today and a topic that matched my mood.
A great deal of conversation these days goes into how to have a fulfilling relationship. I firmly believe that the first relationship you have to have is with yourself. That sounds esoteric to most people so below you’ll find some ways you can create a better relationship with and for yourself. The first ten I wrote in the original article and the last two I have added in this release.
When we think of relationships we often think of what we are going to get – love, companionship, sex, status – but what if instead we approached all relationships thinking about what we could give? How would that change our experience? To any relationship we first have to know something of ourselves and being single is the best time to do this homework!
As always I hope you enjoy this article. Take what you need and leave the rest! Happy April to everyone & see you next month!
April’s Topic: 12 Steps for a Fulfilling Single Life
1. ENJOY YOUR OWN COMPANY. There’s nothing worse than hanging out with someone you don’t like. If that someone is you, then you’re in BIG trouble. Even the most irritating specimens of homo sapien on the planet have redeeming qualities and so do you. Make a list and embrace them.
2. RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE. There’s no better time to make a change in your life than when your decisions about your day-to-day activities only affect you. Do you really long to go back to school, quit your job or move to a different city? Now is the time to implement those plans that you’ve been holding out on until a better time for “us”.
3. FIND OUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO AND DO IT! Too many women, gay and straight, lose a sense of themselves when they enter into a relationship. They get too involved in care-taking to remember who and what they were before they were surgically joined at the hip with their lover. Take time to explore your own likes and dislikes. Once you find your star, follow it. That process will always bring you adventure and a sense of fulfillment whether it involves a major life change or simply taking up a hobby on the weekend.
4. DON’T RACE INTO ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP. This may be the most important one of all. It takes time to discover yourself so don’t rush it. Many people have the same relationship problems over and over because they never focus on themselves. You can break this cycle! Allowing yourself time just for you will have a tremendous effect on how you wish to conduct your relationships in the future. Perspective, forgiveness and wisdom are all positive personality attributes gained over time.
5. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET. Is your closet filled with stuff that your other half loved but you never did feel comfortable in? Well now is the time to make a donation to Out of the Closet or some other charity that will recycle the illusion-of-you clothing. Do you prefer flannel shirts and 501’s to your ex’s corporate loafer and silk, button down shirts? Did you always hate the little cheerleader costume, but wore it because you loved to see your partner drool? Well, chuck it all! Create an image for yourself that makes YOU comfortable, no matter what it is.
6. CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY. Take time out to give back to the people, places or things that you care about. Are you an astronomy nut? Go up to Griffith Park Observatory and see if they have a volunteer program. Pick a cause or project that you feel strongly about and join others who feel the way you do. Not only will you be doing something great for the community but you will meet other interesting people who feel the same way you do about a given subject.
7. DON’T TREAT YOUR INDEPENDENCE AS A PLACEHOLDER UNTIL SOMETHING BETTER COMES ALONG. People can tell – usually several miles away – if you have a look of dating desperation in your eyes. Focus your attention on building a life that pleases you. Why? Because most people never do build a life that pleases them – they build a life that pleases someone else. Fulfillment can come even without a lover. Then when you meet that special someone you will have something worthwhile to contribute to the relationship.
8. TAKE RISKS – LOTS OF THEM! Now, this doesn’t mean you should immediately run to the nearest airport, charter a plan and jump out of it! Maybe a risk for you is going out to dinner alone. Maybe it’s visiting your parents for the first time without your other half. Maybe it’s just sitting at home and enjoying your own company. However you define risk, taking a few will invigorate you and show you that you are stronger than you thought you were. Never underestimate the strength of the spirit that fuels your personality. Spirit is always ready for a new adventure, so go for it!
9. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Whether it’s biological or chosen, family and friends sometimes get ignored when we are in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship or during the breakdown phase of a long term one. Most likely they could use some attention. Not because it’s a holiday or someone is sick, but just because. Being connected to your own family and friends, on your own terms and your time schedule, can mitigate the loneliness that results from a loss of identity and structured activity.
10. KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Critical to low blood pressure and a sense of serenity, you must endeavor to have a sense of humor. Was the only thing you got on Valentine’s Day a coupon from your dry cleaner? Did your last date call to cancel because she’d been incarcerated? Let it roll right off your back and have a good laugh. Anything too weird you can write down in your journal for those memoirs you keep threatening to publish! The point is don’t take it too seriously and always have a good time.
11. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF. It may not be reasonable to think that you will be single and happy all of the time. The fact is that people in relationships are not happy all of the time. The ebb and flow of satisfaction is a normal part of life and must be reckoned with. Don’t persecute yourself for past mistakes or those “should” statements that are judgments about where you are in your life. Live your life instead of critiquing it and you will find pleasure in the oddest moments. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
12. STAY POSITIVE. The most attractive thing about a person is a positive attitude. Make an effort to focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for. Contribute to friends and family with your time and attention but seek out a balance of alone time. Share your feelings, including your frustrations, with those close to you so they can be aired out and not fester into depression. A positive attitude is cultivated not granted. Nurture yours!
Being single is a time to develop your own relationship with yourself. Take the time to explore your own life and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Adventure is always right around the corner when you are actively creating it.
As the election draws nearer we are drawn into thoughts about the economy, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and its toll upon our government budget. While those issues remain to be sorted out, each of us can contribute to positive change by helping our troops who are returning home to heal the physical, emotional and psychological damage that they have incurred. The Intrepid Fallen Hero’s Fund is an A+ rated charity that supports our injured troops. Check out how you can help these amazing men and women today.
If you are wondering why I have not highlighted one of the more well known charities, American Institute of Philanthropy‘s President, Daniel Borochoff has written an excellent article on the veteran’s charities in our country and why AIP has graded many of them with an “F”. Known as the “pit-bull” of charity rating organizations, AIP rates all charities on their effective use of donations. I always use their site before donating to any cause to make sure my dollars will have the greatest impact.
Our troops are not the only ones who have suffered greatly in this conflict. There are many organizations focused on helping the massive number of refugees the war has created. AIP lists and rates these charities as well.
While we may all feel overwhelmed by this situation there are very real things we can do at a humanitarian level to be of assistance. Together we can take action and help heal the wounds created during this crisis.