Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Every Cloud

Clouds in Alaska, 2008
there is a silver lining. Or so the saying goes.

I lost my cat, Xena, this past week. My ex and I acquired her and her sister, Gabrielle, June 1, 1997. They both took to our existing 10 year old cat, Maynard, though in different ways. Xena wanted to push her weight around and somewhat intimidated Maynard, while Gabrielle did just the opposite and showed submission at every opportunity. Either way, Maynard wanted nothing to do with these two kittens. Over time the three just seemed to get along.

Xena, showing love, ca. 2013
Xena was always distant and aloof, while Maynard and Gabrielle were very social and loving and would often sit on the sofa next to me or in my lap while I was reading or watching television. Xena would be in another room, and would appear for feeding and wander back to where she came from. Maynard and Gabrielle would sleep on the bed with us, often directly on me, though one at a time, thank goodness! Xena would appear toward morning alerting me her food bowl was empty. Both Maynard and Gabrielle were generous with their kisses, and frequently I'd have to physically stop Gabrielle from kissing me so much and so rough. Xena would kiss me once very tenderly, and that was all. Yet, that one kiss from her meant a lot to me as they were very rare.

We lost Maynard in 2004 and Gabrielle in 2008. It was only at this time, Xena's temperament began to change and she became more social, and loving. Yet, I had not formed the same deep bond with Xena as I had with the other two cats, but it began developing as she began to be more loving.

Maynard, ca. 1999
Gabrielle (l), Xena (r), ca. 1999
Xena, ca. 1999

Xena was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism just after my ex left in 2010. She was on medication for a few years, and then for some reason her thyroid levels were so out of control, it was if she wasn't on any meds at all. I changed her food to a thyroid-control formula which brought her levels back into range, but recently she began losing weight again. One morning, I came down to find her lying in the middle of the dining room carpet instead of in one of her two usual places. I panicked, and seeing she was still breathing, went to check on her. She had difficulty standing, urinated immediately, refused food, so I knew her time had come. She was reunited with her sister later that afternoon. Even though our bond was not as strong as it was with the other cats, we did have some good times together after losing my dog, only seven months prior. I do miss her and will always recall those tender kisses, especially that she gave them one at a time.

I've been sensing a change coming in my life and while I don't think Xena's passing was the specific change I sensed, it does indeed play a part.

Since she was the last connection to my ex, her passing closes a chapter in my life which means another will begin.

And perhaps this is the change that is coming- the new chapter, the silver lining.

RIP, Xena. Thank you for the kisses.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Love of my Life

I've been feeling very different lately. In a good way. I don't know if I'm feeling good in a different way or different in a good way. 

Either way, I feel good. 

I began to feel this shift toward the end of 2013. I'm not really triskaidecaphobic but just something about that thirteen at the end of a year was a bit unnerving. And fourteen is a multiple of seven which is a cosmically powerful number. For me anyway.

I enjoy reading but haven't made much time lately. And I prefer fiction to non-fiction, and self-help books are usually too dry for me.

BUT, for some reason three different self-help type books have come to me. Or, actually my knowledge of them came to me, as Amazon.com actually placed them on my doorstep after I ordered them. The connection between them has been very intriguing for me, and as I love to over-interpret signs from the Universe, I believe they were sent to me for a purpose.
The three books are
  • Buddhist Boot Camp, by Timber Hawkeye
  • How I Learned to Smile From the Inside, by Seth Santoro
  • The Shadow Effect, Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self, by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williamson
In Buddhist Boot Camp, the author strips away the Buddhist dogma and brings the very basic tenets of Buddhism to light, which you could apply to whatever religion you adhere to and be a better whatever-you-already-are. After all, this is boot camp and let's get right down to basics! 

He summarizes his experiences in trying to find a less "academic" way to spiritual enlightenment in two words: "Be Grateful." He has learned to simply be grateful for what he has and for what he has gone through. The book is simply written and written simply in small chapters that can be read in any order.  His other big approach is about being mindful of where you are today: not yesterday, it is over, and you can't change it; not tomorrow, it hasn't arrived yet, and you don't know what it will bring. It's also about retraining the mind so that you are in control of your choices. For example, if you want ice cream, go ahead, have some. But, ask yourself, is this coming from a craving, or a simple desire? If you give in to a craving, are you in control, or is the craving?

To visit the Buddhist Boot Camp website, click here.

I recently interviewed Seth Santoro, the author of How I Learned to Smile From The Inside. In his book he describes the method he developed to overcome some severe losses in his young life. He says one must embrace the emotions that accompanied the loss in order to learn from it and then move forward. In that way, one truly learns to simply be and to live an authentic life.

While I admit I'm only about halfway through The Shadow Effect at this writing, what I'm learning has been very revealing. We all have a Shadow inside us. This idea of the Shadow, and its effect, was first described by Carl Jung. The Shadow is composed of all those things we don't like about ourselves and attempt to hide, not only from others, but from ourselves as well: anger, jealousy, shame, sexuality, self-negating to name a few. We learn to suppress these traits early on either from the adults in our lives or by society because they deem these traits as undesirable. We have suppressed these traits for so long we no longer may recognize them as a natural part of our true self. These suppressed traits will at some point rise up and consume us, or manifest themselves in some other way. We must embrace them, but not give into them, in order to achieve our oneness, our totality, which is our birthright. Because in order to see the light, you must first see the dark. And not fear it.

To view the Shadow Effect on Amazon, click here. 

But, the biggest underlying thread between all these books is the idea that everything that has happened in the past has happened for a reason and that reason was to shape me into the man I am to be; the man I am on a path to discovering. Without embracing or honoring the past choices I've made, or emotions I've experienced, I would not be the man I am today, or the man I am becoming.

As I have read those books, and even a bit before I began them, I felt a pull in a direction I haven't felt in almost twenty years, a pull to further explore my Spiritual self. Almost immediately an opportunity presented itself to further my exploration. This feels so right for me to do now as this will help me evolve even further and to empower myself even more.

I recently contacted a medium to help me find closure with my deceased partner, Rick. One of the last things Rick said to me was that I'd meet the love of my life soon. 

But, what if the Love of my Life isn't another man?

What if the Love of my Life is me?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tea for Two

I've admitted in past posts I am open to the idea of a relationship. I am also looking to develop a social circle of gay male friends. I see a potential for a lot of confusion. For me. Maybe for them.

In continuing my series of admissions, I am making one more. Though, this feels more like a confession. One I actually have to confess to myself.

But first, let's acknowledge there's a difference in being single, being alone, and being lonely. Single, to me, means not being in an intimate relationship. I am single, since I am divorced and not dating anyone. Alone means you are the only one present at the time, whether you are in a relationship or not. I live alone, except for my cat and she doesn't carry on conversations all that well. Lonely suggests a craving for attention, a need for affection or companionship, perhaps even a feeling of depression may accompany the loneliness.

It's like three degrees of separation, and there's nothing wrong with being single, alone, or lonely. There is, however, if you let one of them take over and control you. And one of them is chomping at the bit to do just that. If you let it.

Relationship experts say you should learn to be alone with yourself and enjoy it, so you learn not to choose someone simply out of the fear of being alone. Therefore, when the relationship ends, and it will, you have no fear of being alone again. Allegedly.

I realize that last sentence sounded melodramatic and fatalistic, but all relationships do come to an end, either through separation/divorce, or death. Unfortunately, that's life and unfortunately, I've experienced both.

And I've come to realize I've chosen both of the men in my long term relationships and stayed in them out of the fear of being alone.

I've now been single, and alone for three years.

But, I've been lonely for a lot longer.

I was lonely throughout my elementary and high school years as we moved every year and therefore I had few close friends. Until I went to college.

I was lonely within my family of origin where I had a different last name than the majority. The name plaque over the front door constantly reminded me I was not one of them.

I was lonely within the recently ended relationship because he took me for granted. He also never tried to truly understand me. Nor did the man in the relationship before him. And I had little in common with both of them; so, I never felt connected to either of them.

I've also realized, as I've been getting to know myself in this post-divorce stage of my life, I've been lonely within myself. I've never taken the time to truly get to know me, even those darker qualities I've tried to hide- both from other people, and from myself; the hurt from my parents' divorce, the affection seeker because of an absent father figure, the behaviors I tried to hide to avoid being taunted, the perfectionist due to an overbearing stepfather.

I've been lonely so long, I feel I'm steeped in loneliness. It has flavored me like tea leaves flavor water.

Maybe it was the fear of  loneliness that pushed me to choose those two men. And, also to stay when the relationships stopped working.

As new men have begun to enter my life, newer fears have begun to surface. Because I'm looking to see if we could be good friends or perhaps more, I'm trying to learn to gauge my instinct about them as well as about myself in order to separate the tea leaf from the tea dust. Do I sense we could be friends, good friends, or is there possibly more? And if we go down that 'is-there-possibly-more' path, what if there isn't? Is the friendship salvageable? Is it even worth risking? And above all, what do I want from this?

I'm afraid my loneliness will overpower me and cause me to move too fast too soon and scare off even potential friends. I am realizing I've been guilty of that in the past. I'm also realizing my loneliness has allowed me to develop unrealistic expectations towards developing new relationships, both platonic and romantic. 

I tend to return calls, emails, texts as soon as humanly possible. Like almost immediately, unless I'm teaching, asleep or otherwise occupied. I feel it's only considerate. And, I have come to expect that of others; yet, I often fail to take into account they have their own lives as well. They may not be able to reach their smartphone, laptop, or tablet at a moment's notice. And just because Mr. Potentially Wonderful doesn't answer my text immediately, doesn't necessarily mean he's rejected me. He may be driving and observing the hands-free law. Good man.

That immediate response to my text/email takes the sting of the loneliness away. Especially if it's from someone new in my life, either a new friend or possibly more. I feel validated. But, I need to learn to validate myself without those immediate responses so I can control my insecurities. If he hasn't returned my text within an hour, he must have found someone better or else he's dead.

The loneliness also causes me to raise my hopes, like a flag. We're chatting in some location, he asks for my number and I get his. We go out once and I don't hear from him in two days. So, I call, get voice mail and ask if he wants to go out again. Two more days go by. No response. Okay, so he's dead! Or banging away at some other guy because I wouldn't on the first date.

I'm also trying to learn to read his signals without the loneliness coloring my interpretation. Is he interested? That was a cheesy line he used, "Hey, you're such a good looking guy, we have to have met before!" (So, if you didn't think me so good looking, we wouldn't have met before?) That does signal an interest, but what do I feel? Is he someone I want to get to know? Would I go out with him on a line like that? Sure, why the hell not. Better than nothing. (Because I'm lonely.) What could I learn about myself on a date with him? (I'm thinking, "Wait for someone better.")

As I haven't dated since 1986 when I met my first partner and I settled for the first man who came along after his death, all this is new to me, and with the instant technology, it's so confusing.

I'm also learning to pay attention to signs from the Universe. Yet, I am also fearful of misinterpreting them as well. Several recent signs indicated a possible boyfriend was on the horizon. I thought they were indicating the next man I would meet. It turns out, we weren't boyfriend-compatible. After two dates, he said he didn't even feel enough of a connection with me even to be just hiking partners. Okay, lesson learned. The horizon may not be immediate, but still a ways off and there are many ships on the sea.

So he's still approaching.

Maybe by the time his ship docks, I'll have learned to own my loneliness, and not let it own me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Gift

Gifts come in all types. Some are tangible, some are emotional, some intellectual. 

Some are large, some are small.
I believe the best gifts are Spiritual.

I also believe people enter our lives for a reason at the time they are supposed to.

I have rarely written about my first partner, Rick, who died in 1994. And now I feel empowered to do so. It's time. 

We met in 1986 and soon began dating. It escalated all too soon into a full-fledged relationship and after about a year of dating, we moved in together. 

I was happy, I had my first long term boyfriend! I was living with a man who loved me, and we'd be together forever! We experienced the typical ups and downs of a relationship; good and bad moments; discussions, fights and make ups! I was happy, or so I thought. 

Beneath it all, something was amiss. Yet, I couldn't put my finger on it. Through time and therapy, I eventually discovered what was amiss which I have explored in prior posts.

We continued on until a health scare forced him to confront something that had never crossed our minds. He might be HIV positive. 

This was in 1992, towards the beginning of the AIDS pandemic when many gay men didn't want to confront a possible death sentence as very little was known about the disease at that time. Plus, I believe Rick was in denial about it all.

As frightened as he was to be forced to get tested, he faced it bravely; no, we faced it bravely together. He went in for the test a few days before we left for a vacation to Walt Disney World, during which he called his doctor back in California and got the results. He tested positive.

Without fully realizing, or accepting it, I had already left the relationship emotionally; now I knew I could never leave it physically. I had to stay. I was; no, I am not the type of man to leave a dying partner. Even after he told me to go, to live my life, I still could not leave him. What would my friends think of me? What would I think of myself?

His health deteriorated rapidly after January 1994. He tried to manage what he could on his own, as he refused to apply for services from any of the AIDS organizations at the time. By the end of July, it was inevitable. It would not be long. He was dying. 

He asked me to promise him not to let him die in the hospital. Of course, I agreed.

I failed to keep that promise.

I carried that guilt for a number of years. Sure, I was eventually able to rationalize I'd done everything I could. I'd told the doctor of his request as soon as I knew he was close to death. When she finally came to release him, he would not have survived the trip home let alone to the elevator. It was her fault, she was late. I could forgive myself for letting him die like that. 

But, did he forgive me?

And that, I needed to know.

In time, I put it out of my mind. I went on with life, met a new man and eventually married and divorced him. 

As I dealt with the pain of the divorce, the pain around Rick's death resurfaced, the nagging wondering of whether he forgave me. 

But how could I find out?

I took the most logical step.

I consulted a medium.

I discovered the blog of a man I follow on a social media platform where he came out as a medium and was looking to practice reading people to further develop his gift and confidence. I thought if he is just learning about his gift he might not be very accurate, but what would I have to lose but the time invested in the session. I contacted him and explained my situation that I had a couple of questions for my prior partner. I nervously awaited the answer which came the next afternoon, "I'd LOVE to help you, but please tell me no more!" 

We met at the chosen restaurant on a Friday shortly after noon, and I immediately felt comfortable with him. Perhaps it was my eagerness to finally have the answers I had been searching for that had me at ease. Perhaps it was the fact he said he had so many questions for me that buoyed my confidence in his gift. Perhaps it was the gentle banter over lunch that also relaxed me. Perhaps it was even something greater than both of us.

And the fact he was so easy on the eyes certainly didn't hurt.

Maybe this was all meant to be.

For me.

At this time.

When we'd finished eating, he said, "Before we begin the reading, you told me you had a question for your ex; your answer is 'Yes'. Now, what was your question?" 

I explained the promise I'd made to Rick and the guilt I'd carried about letting him die in the hospital. Did Rick forgive me? Apparently, he did.

The Medium went on to say he'd had a few images flash through his mind that morning as he prepared to meet me and even a few more as he entered the parking lot of the restaurant. He began to write them down. The very first image the Medium shared with me convinced me he had the gift. Rick was with us. 

It was a daisy. A reference to my favorite Disney character. Throughout my relationship with Rick, I collected almost anything I could find with Daisy Duck on it. The fact that this was the first message from Rick told me he wanted to be there for me. 

The Medium went on to share more images, most of which I could connect back to Rick; gray- the color of his car; Michael- the name of a man I'd met just before I met Rick who later turned out to be Rick's ex and close friend and coincidentally, Rick died on Michael's birthday; 23- the age Rick was when we met; 14- the date of both Rick's birthday and our anniversary, May and August respectively. As I was meeting the Medium for the first time, how could he have known any of this? There is only one person left in my life who knew of my passion for Daisy Duck. 

Before we ended the session, there were a few messages from Rick; he's very happy I'm out of the relationship I was just in, he is very grateful I didn't leave him in spite of how unhappy I'd been, and I'd meet the love of my life very soon. And I deserve this man who will be coming to me. I left the reading very happy, elated over the fact Rick forgave me for not fulfilling my promise, and acknowledging me for staying by his side to the end.

The next morning, Saturday, as I sat at my dining table over my morning tea and yogurt, I began reflecting on what Rick had said. And then it happened. I broke down. I could not stop the tears from coming. And they came, bursting forth from so deep within I never knew they were there. I cried all morning. I tried to hold myself together while driving down the 101 Freeway to a counseling appointment, but totally lost it when I heard the song, "I Hope You Find It" by Cher, which I recently highlighted in a blog about letting go and moving on. The first time I cried to that song, I realized I was moving on from the two men who had most recently broken my heart and I sincerely hoped they find their happiness. This time, I took it as a message for me.

And later, I realized why I had been crying, as I had cried on and off all weekend. I was finally able to release all the long carried grief and guilt still buried some twenty years later. I was also finally able to accept that, in spite of how different we were, Rick loved me more than I knew and more than he knew how to show me while he was alive. And he still loves me even now. 

And he always will.

And for that, I will always be grateful to the Medium for the gift he gave me.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Smile Again From the Inside

Photo Courtesy Seth Santoro
In a different type of post from me, I sit down with first time author, Seth Santoro, CEC, to discuss his first book, How I Learned to Smile From the Inside.

JB-Hi, Seth. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I first came across your book, How I Learned to Smile From the Inside, shortly after it was published in February 2013. The premise intrigued me as I was reeling from a divorce and the emotions associated with it left me, well, not smiling. I found your book to be very helpful, and quite to the point. I’ve looked at other ‘self-help’ books that are overladen with technical terms, yet you write from a very down-to-earth layman’s point of view. You also use your own experiences to illustrate your point, rather than telling the reader how to move forward.
SS-Thank you for having me here.  I am honored and humbled to share my thoughts and responses to my book, How I Learned To Smile From The Inside!  I am always open for interviews and extremely curious as to how people will react to my words.  Bring it on!

JB-In the preface to your book, you talk about searching for something to help you get through a great deal of trauma and unexpected events, yet couldn’t find what you were looking for. What was the actual turning point where you decided to write your book?
SS-I remember exactly. I was sitting on a plane, I’d been handed boarding card #24, my favorite number, as if given a sign from the universe. I knew was about to go through a rough time ahead. I’d just found out my boyfriend had seroconverted, and was rushing back to him. I knew my journey through understanding this would be difficult and wanted to document my journey through this. I was also hoping it could help a least one other person.
JB-Your opening line, “I want you to find your smile again…and pronto!” is rather telling. Some might say it’s rather altruistic. Do you see that? Why do you want people to smile again?
SS-It’s completely altruistic. Our past experiences help build us up from the inside. You can always tell when someone’s smile is genuine from the inside or not; when someone helps you with something, you can tell if they’re doing it out of the “have-to” space or genuine sincerity spaceI remember distinctly when I was 5 years old, I remember wanting to be a fireman or a lawyer or a figure skater in order to get fame, and then use that fame and money to help others.
JB-You’ve been through a lot: two near brushes with death, some deep emotional pain and anguish. And yet here you are smiling again, when many people may have given up and just plodded on in life. What do you think motivated you to not plod through but embrace life? 
SS-Children.  I have always wanted a family, and it’s been an extremely strong desire of mine since I could walk.That and the fact that I’ve always been curious about how exactly this particular tough situation would pan out.  It’s all in an effort to reach a point in life and reflect on the life I’ve lived.
JB-How did you come up with the S.M.I.L.E.  model?
SS-I wanted a personal map of what I was experiencing as I grew through these events. I wanted something that would be a positive influence. I knew Shock was an important reaction to any traumatic event. And I wanted to end with Embrace as a way of accepting the past to move forward.   I knew the steps, more or less, I just needed to find the best way to spell out the word, SMILE.
JB-I love your quote, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” I’ve seen different variants of it, “Growing old & Growing up”, “Change & Growth”. They all seem to suggest it’s all an attitude. Comments?
SS-I wrote it in a song years ago and many, many people have commented on it, and it just stuck with me.
JB-Having gone through grief counseling myself, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity in your approach to the five stages of grief as hypothesized by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross;denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptanceDid you base your work on hers?
SS-Not necessarily. Though her work was ground-breaking, and I have studied her steps thoroughly, her work is geared toward death and dying.  My work is dedicated to losses of any kind and healing from them.  I believe we all can choose to be happy or sad. As I said, all our experiences build us up to who we become. It is our reaction and responses to them that helps build us.
JB- So my choosing to stay with men beyond the ‘expiration date’ of the relationship helped define me in learning what I do and don’t want in my next relationship.
JB-In reading your book, I came away with the sense the S.M.I.L.E. method is more linear, you move from one stage to the next, where the stages of grief may not necessarily be so linear. People may move backwards to a stage, experience them in any order or even skip one altogether. Do you see it that way?
SS-I think in a small way it is more linear, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone. Some people may move back into a phase, but it is more of a progression.
JB-You see Shock as a positive reaction, as essential to our surviving the trauma we may have just experienced. Would you care to elaborate?
SS- I believe it is the body’s way to deal with the event in order to prepare the mind and heart to comprehend the newsIt is also an essential part in the common ‘fight or flight’ response decision.
JB-I could totally relate to your point in “Mock-cceptance” where you suggest to your readers to look for gifts from the Universe. The Universe is frequently giving us signs that we’re on the right path and so many people seem to be blind to them. Comments?
SS-Life is like that, there are so many little signs all around us, if we would just pay more attention to what is going on around us. When you’re sitting in traffic, check out the license plates, or the billboards around you, there may be a sign.

JB-In “In Overwhelmdom” you mention the frequently used phrase, “When one door closes, another door opens” though sometimes that long walk in the dark hallway can be a bit frightening. So there is no timetable?
SS-Emotions and time have no correlation. And emotions are not quantifiable. The time it takes for a person to move through one phase might be different from another. Also, someone may stay in one phase, say Shock, for a day, and that same person may stay “In Overwhelmdom” for weeks or months; whereas another person may be in those same phases for longer or shorter time periods.
JB-Also, you mention in the “Overwhelmdom” section that we are highly charged emotionally, and without this heightened stage we cannot proceed forward. Comments?
SS-If you want to heal, you have to be willing to do the work. You have to be willing to go within, go deep, feel the feelings, move through the emotions, go dark and dive into what happened. Once you pass through these emotions, it’s only sweetness on the other side.

JB-You have such a way with words; I nearly fell out of my chair laughing with this line: “Feelings and emotions are a lot like farts…they come and go, sometimes they are loud and obnoxious, sometimes they are short and to the point. Sometimes they are loud and peaceful, and other times they are silent and deadly.” Any comments?
SS-I can’t really take credit for it, I heard it in an Empowerment Coaching class; “Feelings and emotions are a lot like farts.” I just expounded on it and added the rest. Everyone knows what silent but deadly means! It also helps people to just ‘get it!’
JB-You equate Learning with fear. Learning to live with the situation at hand invites fear of the changes taking place and surrendering to that change is fearful, yet necessary for the final stage. Comments?
SS-Most of the time, we won’t feel we are ready.  We won’t believe we’re finally ready until it actually happens or, sometimes we have to just fight, be fearless, and do it anyway.

JB-Not only learning to live with the situation, but to learn from your past lessons, is also key to the S.M.I.L.E. method. Comments?
SS-The Smile From The Inside lifestyle is a summation of all of your life experiences, divided by your ability to reflect and learn from emotional situations. In other words we need to be able to reflect and learn from our past experiences so that we may move forward and kick life’s ass.
JB-In the final stage, Embrace, you say acceptance of the situation is not enough; we must embrace the situation completely and look forward to moving on to the next phase of life. To clarify, you say if you’re looking for your next ex, you don’t get it. But, if you’re looking for a next best friend/companion/lover BUT, feeling fearful, you’re getting the hang of it.  Fear and struggles are natural. We’re only human.
SS-Yep. For example, in the case of a break up, it’s the difference of “I’m glad that’s over” vs. “It was a blessing that it happened”.  Yeah, you will be all the better for it, when you realize you are better off for having been through it already.  Now, with knowledge, you will do better.
JB-You describe yourself as believing in inner peace and happiness which equals contentment. A very wonderful state of mind. I find myself trying to stay there. Critics might say this is all too “Pollyanna-ish.” How would you respond?
SS-I honestly don’t mind. I would much rather be known for having a hopeful outlook on life than the reverse. I am an honest person who lives an honest and real life. Inner peace and contentment, in my opinion, can be attributed to the same summation of all your life experiences and the division of all emotional situations. How well do you deak with loss? Stess? Traffic? That said, I am all about finding pockets of contentment. Remember, happiness is an inside job.
JB-Do you have any new projects coming out? 
SS-Right now, I am working on Book #2, currently entitled, “The Compound,” inspired by true events with my travels and work in Mexico.   I am also working on an outline for Book #3, currently entitled, “The Five Steps to GRACE” which will be an intense book of healing from traumatic events.  This book will highlight not only myself, but also four other absolutely courageous and inspiring individuals, what they went through, their process, and how they healed from it or are actively working on their healing.  I also have ideas for six other ideas in mind.  It’s gonna be a busy couple of years.
JB-I want to wish you well with those! Thank you again for your time.
SS-Thank you.
To buy Seth's book in paperback, click here.
To visit Seth's author page at Amazon, click here.
To visit Seth's webpage, click here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Who is He?

In a past post or two, I've detailed how I believe the Universe has told me a change is in the air.

It will be positive or negative.

It could be a change in job, finances, romance.

Or, it could simply be a change in my attitude toward dating and meeting men.

I'm suspecting it's the latter.

Which then suggests there could eventually be a change in my relationship status.

In a past post or three, I've detailed what I'm looking for in a partner. To recap, I am looking for someone who:
Just some of my baggage!
  • is emotionally, chronologically, educationally, maturationally my contemporary;
  • looks good in either a Brooks Brothers suit, 501s and a t-shirt or a bulldog harness and chaps;
  • stimulates my mind, my spirit and then my body.
  • can communicate;
  • wants to take care of me, I don't mean I want to be kept, but that he is willing to have more of an equitable relationship;
  • is willing to help me unpack the baggage I'm bringing with me;
  • is tall, dark and handsome.
While I have compiled my list of what I want, and am working on my list of deal breakers, (no tobacco!) I also acknowledge that not everything on the What-I-Want list will come in one nice, neat, handsome package (he might even be tall, blond and handsome). My heart and instinct will guide me.

My wonderful, dear friends have also chimed in on what they see for me;
  • two different friends, on separate occasions, have suggested my writing will be the conduit to my next partner, with one of then suggesting he will be a writer in his own right. Now a third and fourth have echoed that same sentiment; after all, my life seems to be moving in that direction. Granted, I shared with these last two friends what numbers 1 and 2 had said. They merely concurred.
  • a different friend suggested he will be bilingual, most likely in one of the Romance languages.
And, being the romantic I am, I have contended it will be a chance encounter that brings us together, perhaps at a writing class, seminar or other gathering or maybe even in the grocery store. As I shared my chance encounter theory with a relatively new female acquaintance, another relatively new acquaintance, but male, popped into the conversation and said that actually would make the most sense for me. I've only known them both for about three months, and he feels he knows me already? The Universe works in very mysterious ways.
Yet, all this feels right.
All this feels like me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

So, You've Admitted It......

"So, you've finally admitted you want a boyfriend! About damn time!"
"I never denied I didn't want one. All I said was that I wasn't actively looking for one."
"What do you mean, 'Hah!'?"
"Why did you spend all that time in that bar chatting with that cute bartender?"
"To get out of the house and stop feeling sorry for myself!"
"And what?"
"And, go on...."
"And possibly make a friend, or two."
"Don't you mean do a friend or two?"
"Not necessarily. But, I did come home one night with a phone number once!"
"Yeah, of a lesbian."
"She knows guys."
"Did she ever call you?"
"Well, there you go."
"You can't depend on others to fix you up."
"No shit, Sherlock. I've got to make things happen. And besides, I don't want to be fixed up. Look what happened the last time I was fixed up! I met my ex!"
"There you go. So, here it is, a new year. How are you going to make things happen?"
"I don't know. I've got a lot to do."
"In terms of...."
"Work, the house, my next novel(s), reading for pleasure, a life..."
"You'll never know until you take that first step."
"True, but.."
"No, buts, but just do it. Like Nike says."
"Okay, wiseass, but how do you 'make things happen' while just 'letting things be so they unfold as they are supposed to'. Isn't that contradictory?"
"Not at all. You need to put yourself in a place for something to unfold. You had the right idea about the bar. It just didn't work out. You need to be in the type of place to meet the type of man you want to attract."
"I don't know what type of man I want to attract."
"Yes, you do. You've published your list."
"Oh, yeah."
"That doesn't mean your man, your soul mate, may look like what you want him to look like."
"You mean he's not going to look like that super hot, tall, dark, handsome, furry, rugged deliveryman that came to my door over twenty years ago who I can still picture clearly in my head?"
"He might not. And besides, your soulmate isn't going to walk up to your door."
"I know that, but damn, he sure was hot. And remember that phone installer guy with the crystal clear blue eyes and fur that poured out of the neck of his polo shirt? OMG!"
"Yeah, uh-huh. So, what are you going to do about things in this New Year."
"Well, some things won't change, like work."
"But, my attitude will."
"It has."
"What do you mean?"
"You seem more open to possibilities."
"I feel more open to adventures."
"What if the adventures come to an end?"
"Then they come to an end, I look for the lesson I'm supposed to learn, I move on and sing like Doris Day, Qué Será, Será, followed by a rousing rendition of I Will Survive à la Gloria Gaynor."
"But you can't even carry a tune in a bucket!"
"Oh, shut up!"