Month: September 2012

For those of you who don’t know, my life partner Chris who was also my business partner, mentor and best friend, passed away suddenly on December 21, 2010. For the first year I was in shock (I guess I still am) and the second year brought home the realities of reinventing everything (and I mean everything) in my life. I’ll spare you all the details because it will take a book, which is in the works.

After the first year, things got very bad for me and I knew I needed additional specialized help. I became part of a trauma and PTSD study and was assigned two amazing women as my therapists who are doing their practicum for their Ph.Ds.

Today was my therapy appointment. It had been a rough week as I cycled back into a wave of grief accompanied by depression so I was glad to be seeing my therapists. What I hadn’t planned on was that today was also the day the space shuttle Endeavor was taking her retirement flight via the Bay area down to L.A. to her new home. When I headed out this morning armed with this new knowledge, I knew I would need to allow extra time to get to my appointment because I had to take the freeway that was in the direct path that the space shuttle would fly over on her last ever journey.

I’d never planned on seeing the space shuttle; I was just headed to my appointment. The freeway was at a crawl. There were hundreds of people lining the streets, buildings and overpasses. I’m sure they had been there for a couple of hours. They wanted to see and be a part of history in the making. The closer I got to my exit the slower the traffic went until it literally stood still. At that precise moment in time I thought to myself, could it really be possible that at this miraculous moment in time I could be in the right place to see Endeavor as she flew overhead? It was a random moment. As I sat there thinking this thought I looked up and there just a few hundred feet away was Endeavor hugging her 747 mother. I cried out loud, grabbed my cell phone and began to shoot a terrible impromptu video. As bad as this video is I now have this forever memory in my mind’s eye. At that moment I was stunned and all the emotion of wanting Chris to be there to witness it with me flooded into me as well as the wondrous site of Endeavor. What are the chances I would be at the exact place at the exact time she passed by? As a side note I was actually closer to Endeavor than even this photo looks.

I believe this is serendipity. There are no coincidences in our Universe. Endeavor flying over me so low and close it was astonishing. My depression co-mingled with the joy into a crescendo of tears. It made me realize I was on a new Endeavor. While one was retiring another new one was beginning, my new Endeavor whether Chris was with me or not. The Universe and Chris and my higher self conspired for me to see and be part of this event knowing how much it could change my life. I will ponder this for some time to come and take in and absorb the serendipity and profundity of this moment.

Do you have an example of serendipity you can share?

For those of you who don’t know, my life partner Chris who was also my business partner, mentor and best friend, passed away suddenly on December 21, 2010. For the first year I was in shock (I guess I still am) and the second year brought home the realities of reinventing everything (and I mean everything) in my life. I’ll spare you all the details because it will take a book, which is in the works.

After the first year, things got very bad for me and I knew I needed additional specialized help. I became part of a trauma and PTSD study and was assigned two amazing women as my therapists who are doing their practicum for their Ph.Ds.

Today was my therapy appointment. It had been a rough week as I cycled back into a wave of grief accompanied by depression so I was glad to be seeing my therapists. What I hadn’t planned on was that today was also the day the space shuttle Endeavor was taking her retirement flight via the Bay area down to L.A. to her new home. When I headed out this morning armed with this new knowledge, I knew I would need to allow extra time to get to my appointment because I had to take the freeway that was in the direct path that the space shuttle would fly over on her last ever journey.

I’d never planned on seeing the space shuttle; I was just headed to my appointment. The freeway was at a crawl. There were hundreds of people lining the streets, buildings and overpasses. I’m sure they had been there for a couple of hours. They wanted to see and be a part of history in the making. The closer I got to my exit the slower the traffic went until it literally stood still. At that precise moment in time I thought to myself, could it really be possible that at this miraculous moment in time I could be in the right place to see Endeavor as she flew overhead? It was a random moment. As I sat there thinking this thought I looked up and there just a few hundred feet away was Endeavor hugging her 747 mother. I cried out loud, grabbed my cell phone and began to shoot a terrible impromptu video. As bad as this video is I now have this forever memory in my mind’s eye. At that moment I was stunned and all the emotion of wanting Chris to be there to witness it with me flooded into me as well as the wondrous site of Endeavor. What are the chances I would be at the exact place at the exact time she passed by? As a side note I was actually closer to Endeavor than even this photo looks.

I believe this is serendipity. There are no coincidences in our Universe. Endeavor flying over me so low and close it was astonishing. My depression co-mingled with the joy into a crescendo of tears. It made me realize I was on a new Endeavor. While one was retiring another new one was beginning, my new Endeavor whether Chris was with me or not. The Universe and Chris and my higher self conspired for me to see and be part of this event knowing how much it could change my life. I will ponder this for some time to come and take in and absorb the serendipity and profundity of this moment.

Do you have an example of serendipity you can share?

Do you know how to acknowledge someone? Do you know why it’s so important to learn this valuable skill?

In simple terms acknowledgement validates who you are. That’s really BIG so I invite you to sit with that thought for a moment….Validation implies that you are a valuable part of someone’s life, family and community.

I was recently talking to a good friend of mine and during our conversation the word acknowledgement came up. She told me she had no problem acknowledging her friends or family, but struggled with acknowledging her husband. We talked a little bit about it and I explained to her that one of the reasons this may be difficult is that with spouses we come to expect so much more from them; almost too much, so they often seem lacking in our eyes. Hence the holding back of acknowledgment. The irony of course is that the more you acknowledge your partner the more they WANT to do for you. So a lack of acknowledgement simply leads to more lack – period.

Past resentments can also lead to withholding acknowledgment, consciously or unconsciously. Resentments can keep you from having what you truly want; usually a reciprocal and loving relationship. Resentments can run deep and most people don’t have the skills to get to the heart of the issue and release it. But that’s another topic.

Spousal type relationships are complicated. They are the deepest form of relationship one can have on a non-familial level. Your spouse or partner sees you in every kind of conceivably vulnerable situation; or at least that is the hope in a loving and healthy relationship. What’s more, they become a very clever and clear mirror of every part of who you are and it’s not just the standard mirror it’s the magnified version…ughh! Yes, they reflect back to you all kinds of deeply rooted behaviors as well as the superficial idiosyncratic behavior. There is a presupposition in NLP (which stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, a form of quick behavior change technology) which in essence says: the response you get is a direct result of the communication you express. That oughta make you stop and think. Communication is CRITICAL (again other topic) and acknowledgment is part of communication. So think of acknowledgment as positive reinforcement. When you see your spouse do or say something that you may often take for granted, acknowledge it.

One of my favorite movies, takes this concept a bit deeper. In Avatar the indigenous people have a phrase; they say: “I see you.” It is the deepest form of acknowledgement possible because it acknowledges your essence at your very core. It is a heart-to-heart connection. As humans, being acknowledged is a very basic human need because remember it validates your value.

Acknowledgement can take some skill. It’s not exactly a compliment, although it can sound and feel like one. Remember you are simply reflecting back a positive and valuable observation. It is a sign of recognition. Here are a few examples:

  1. I can see that you are are doing your best and I want you to know that I noticed this.
  2. I really see the effort you are making and I truly appreciate it.
  3. I get that this was a challenge for you and I recognize the hard work you put in.
  4. I hear that you are struggling and I want you to know that I can just listen if that would be helpful.

Try them out and let me know how it goes.