Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas spirit?

I don't have my usual gusto of Christmas spirit this year. I haven't whipped out the millions of cookies like usual nor have we totally decorated our house (just the essentials). This year has been so busy and so overwhelming for not only my family but also for many families across the country and world. I think that may have dampened our Christmas Spirit. (Of course, let me say that I don't really believe in Christmas as religious holiday, but rather I believe in the spirit of Christmas as a time to celebrate our togetherness as a family and to be thankful for the good things in our lives.)
I was talking on the phone just the other day with a dear friend of mine. She was lamenting her inability to buy a bunch of presents this year . . . the same thing I had done a few weeks earlier. But the truth is that I have plenty of presents under the tree. So, I decided to switch the focus to more family-centric thinking. Another dear friend of mine is setting up games in her home and doing a bunch of really fun Christmas activities. So, we decided that we are going to have a lovely dinner, a traditional reading of the "Night Before Christmas" in front of the fire place, and we are going to spend some game time... then we will get to presents, but it is really about being PRESENT in the same room, at the same time, and getting the gift of one another's company.
I realize that I am just so happy to get to spend the day with my children and my parents and my husband and his parents as well. How lucky am I? How lucky are we all? I don't know if there are any presents under the tree for me (with the exception of the one from my friend in Texas which I already love just because she sent it), but I do know that I have the gift of family. Gosh, I irritate myself just saying that! I know that all the peace and love stuff gets grating. But really, when times are black, we have to look for the silver lining.
I hope you all find yours this Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rotten Pie

My blog is normally a feel good, love yourself type of blog, but one way we can love ourselves is through empowering ourselves and those around us. Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words.

I have been reading a very interesting book on Feminist theory. Before you boys and girls turn off, I have discovered an interesting dynamic that expands so much further than the stereotypical idea of a bra burning feminist. bell hooks (yes she prefers her name to be lowercase--and it is a pen name) said in her article "Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression" that to look at Feminism as an identity diminishes the true goal of the movement. Instead, it is better to look at it as advocating on behalf of feminism. She also explores how feminism is directly related to the causes that look at ending all discrimination and oppression whether it be based on sex, race, class or any other determining factor.

Bonnie Kreps further develops on this idea when she says, "We . . . do not believe that the oppression of women will be ended by giving them a bigger piece of the pie. We believe that the pie itself is rotten." How profound is that? The pie itself is rotten. Just chew on that.

Isn't that what we are all grappling with right now in America? A rotten pie? And how do we overcome the odds of getting food poisoning while being spoon fed rotten pie? Well we need to look to forming social groups based not on our perceived identities while social aims that benefit only our group, but we need toward benefiting society as a whole. Women in particular face a hard road because we are divided by our loyalty and attachment to the men in our lives and to our social status. There so many other factors that play into our lives. Not only that, in this recession, women have more and more been looked at to be the sole provider for their families and to provide emotional and parental support.

I am a horrible culprit of talking the talk, but not walking the walk. I see MY plight and the plight of those who are like me as superior. Our concerns are paramount and any other concerns interfere with our own struggle, but this is just a confrontational way of thinking that just perpetuates that current system. I know that we are better than that--there is no reason we can't fight sexism and racism while trying to fight against poverty. They all are related... they intertwine, and we can address them at the same time.

But this still leaves the problem what do we do? What can we do? Well I don't know your personal views on issues that are affecting women today, but we can talk about real reproductive health measures not just hear but in the world at large. We can urge businesses, our government, and others to advocate on behalf of oppressed women. We can speak with our dollars. Support a Women's charity, give to charities that support women in impoverished countries, support a charity that tries to end female circumcision.

But like I always say, it starts by being the ripe tomato. I am going to join my local chapter of the NOW organization, and I am going to start being an advocate on issues that matter to me through the auspices of this organization. I am going to advocate to stop human trafficking, to support reproductive health and rights, and to focus on better wages and standing for women in our community.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It is time to revive the Live, Eat, and Be Well blog. I know that my faithful followers have probably been disappointed that I feel off the blogosphere, but I'm back and I'm ready to ROCK this party!

So, as my Blog says, this is about my journey. As much as I hate to do it, I have to quote Miley Cyrus--"It ain't about what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb." So, in that spirit, I am sharing my journey with you. As those of you who know me know, this year has been challenging for me, so I quit writing my blog, but I figured out that we, as a community, work together to better our lives through sharing our journey. Thus, the blog is revived!

Reaching the summit isn't the goal...the goal is enjoying the climb!

I am starting my Ph.D program in January, and I think that it will give me a new wealth of material to discuss in this blog. I hope that by sharing my new insights that we can begin to learn together about how we can find the Mecca of happiness.

In this first, revived blog, I wanted to revisit something I talked about in my very first blog--being the ripe tomato. Being the ripe tomato means that we need to live our lives as an example for others. But something I figured out this year is that part of being the ripe tomato is not just sharing our successes but also sharing our mistakes so that we may learn and grow ourselves and learn and grow through the example set in both success and failure.

I know that I am growing and learning more about myself everyday. I often feel that I fall short of being the positive example that I strive to be for those in my life. But, I think that by sharing my experiences and perspective, I may be able to help you gain perspective on your life.

Ok, so no big didactic message in this first blog... just a revival.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happiness and Compromise

I have been thinking a lot lately about happiness and compromise. When we are young, we just expect to be happy and for good things to come to us, but as we age, we learn that life is a serious of compromises. I have been thinking about how each compromise we make to keep ourselves happy or a loved one happy and each compromise has to be considered in terms of what we are willing to sacrifice.
If you have a personality like mine, you probably are willing to sacrifice too much--sacrifice to the level that we compromise our way out of our own happiness. I have noticed that I am always on the wrong end of the compromise--eventually. Recently, I noticed that in some of my relationships, the other person is always asking me to compromise. When these people ask me to compromise, they often seem to forget that I have been compromising all this time. In fact, I get told often "You get the good with the bad" or "You have to be willing to make compromises." What I have come to realize is that everyone has a breaking point in terms of compromise. Part of compromise is that both people have to be willing to make sacrifices in order to meet in the middle.
Recently, I was asked to make a compromise that I know will make me unhappy. I know it will degrade my personal integrity and will destroy my plans for my future and the dreams I had about how my life will turn out. Now, I know that life doesn't always turn out how you imagined and that things aren't picture perfect. I also understand that compromises sometimes led you down a road that is different that your original path. I also understand that it is important to compromise and sacrifice for those you love.
Where do you draw the line? This is the question I have been wrestling with. Where do you draw the line and a compromise becomes too much compromise. Where does self preservation begin and selfishness end. I don't want to be selfish. I don't want to think only of myself because I find that selfish people are the most unhappy people. But, I do want to preserve myself. I have been thinking that I want to make the other person in this compromise happy (even though this person isn't compromising very much) and I want to be a good person, but I am faced with a compromise that will probably mean the loss of my happiness for a very long time.
Ok, so it seems pretty easy: Don't make the compromise. Right? Unfortunately, it goes back to that loving other people thing. It comes back to fear and all of those negative emotions.
What am I going to do? I'm not sure yet, but I hope as you are asked to make compromises, that you will consider your own happiness as well.... I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life is a Journey

I know I haven't written a blog in forever. If you know me personally, you then know that I have experienced an inordinately difficult life these past few months. If you know me and hate me, you are probably rejoicing in my misfortune. However, if you don't know what happened to me, it is not really that imporant to share.
Here is what I can say. Our journeys are very unpredicatable. We can never know what is coming next. The hardest things happen when we are the happiest and makes it seem so much worse. The most difficult part of life is learning to trust or giving trust to those who may have broken our trust in the past. During this journey, I have been trying to learn that we cannot control the things that others do, we can only control ourselves. This is where my mind is. This is what I ponder.
As I try to regain myself from the brink of loosing it, I will try to reclaim my love for my blog. Because events of the past six months have robbed me of so much, but I won't let it rob me of my love. You don't win that.