Two Chairs

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Two Chairs
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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When was the last time you really talked to someone? When was the last time you spoke from your heart? When was the last time you listened from your heart?

Anyone who has ever visited our home whether it was our beach house or our primary residence would find two rocking chairs on our front porch. We like the look and we think it says “welcome come sit and chat” but for us it also meant more than that.

My husband and I started our life together 25-years ago. We started by getting to know one another by sitting on two white chairs in a beachside bar/restaurant called The Red Pump located in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Florida. At that time he was recently widowed and my husband had died 9 years earlier. We both had children from our deceased spouses and we were both aged 32. We had a lot to talk about.

We started our relationship by just talking and really listening. We shared our past history, we shared our heart breaks and we shared our dreams and our desire for what a happy future could like, we sat on those chairs for hours and hours. We sat there getting to know one another. I can’t remember much of last week but I can remember most all of those early long conversations.

For us two chairs represent taking the time to talk, taking the time to listen and above all else taking the time to get to know one another.

In a world that can be crazy busy and all consuming, we still believe that two chairs and the people that stop to sit in them and hold long heartfelt conversations, are two people that are choosing to spend time well spent and of immeasurable value.

Stop, sit and hold those heartfelt conversations … share … listen … it doesn’t have to be so complicated. The greatest gift we can ever give to another person is our time and our attention. The greatest gifts come from mutual sharing.

Here is to spending more time pausing for a nice long sit, genuine conversation and really talking and really listening and doing it all from the heart ….

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Judgement

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Judgement
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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We judge and we are judged and it is just a fact of life. Yet I always find it interesting and even remarkable how two different people can look at someone and one person sees only good and goodness and another person looks at that very same person and all they see is evil, darkness and all that is bad.

So who are they really seeing and judging?

ca. 2000 --- Keeping Score for the Team --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” Abraham Hicks

For years I had this quote by Mother Teresa hanging in my office it read; “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” It was a daily reminder for me to look at people through the lens of love rather than one of judgement.

Matthew 7 reads Judging Others ”Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

For me it translates into the Golden Rule … what you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself. Treat others the way in which you want to be treated.

There is a Sally Field quote that I like a lot and she says; “it took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”

Think about that for a minute? If we allow the judgements of others that truly can be all over the map, depending on who they are and what motivates them and more, rather than in knowing our own true selves how confusing and even devastating that can be to ourselves. Know yourself!

If we live our lives, trying hard, doing the best that we can with what we have and what we know and with the willingness to learn and to grow and to make an effort to see people through loving eyes rather than one based in judgement just how healthy and happy not them but WE can be?

Lay down your judgements and amp up your love … to the happy and healthy life!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Taking Responsibility – Making Time

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Taking Responsibility – Making Time
By Bernadette A. Moyer

 

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Today our son achieved his weight loss goal. He lost 50 pounds in six months, six months almost to the day. He has taken responsibility for his health and his life. He set a goal for himself and he achieved it. There was no trick, gimmick or special pill; it was all diet and exercise. He had to change his habits and how he thought and he had to make an effort.

When we change our thinking, we change our lives.

We take time and we make the effort for people and for things that are important to us. If our health is a priority we make the time and the effort to achieve good health. The same can be said about all of our relationships including the one we have with ourselves.

We show people we care about them by taking time out of our lives to spend time with them. How we treat ourselves also says a lot about who and what we are all about.

Recently my husband and I were talking to a salesperson and in that casual conversation he shared that he was recently divorced. He said that it was the result of neglect. The marriage died due to a lack of effort. As we drove home my husband and I continued the conversation that most relationships will die without any real effort. It takes work and it takes effort to make a marriage work long term.

A good marriage takes work and it takes effort, it is pretty plain and simple, there are no gimmicks or special secrets. We agreed that we work really hard at making our relationship a priority. Taking responsibility and making time for the things that matter to us is what we do to feed out hearts and our souls and to live our own best life.

Here is to taking responsibility and for making time … for all the people, places and things that make us happy and whole.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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How many times have we read a sign in a store that reads, “If you break it, you bought it” I think the same can be said for our relationships.

Each and every single day I hear from people who are suffering a broken relationship. Where my general rule of thumb is that it takes two, it takes two people to create a relationship and it takes two people for a relationship to succeed and/or fail.

But what about the person who single-handedly decides a relationship is over? In my view the person who ends it without input or agreement from the other side, now fully owns the outcome. If they can live with the outcome and their decision so be it, but if not, then they are the ones tasked with making the effort to re-build it. They broke it, they bought it, and they own it.

One of the things we learn in visiting a ”china shop” is to be careful, and why? Because broken china can seldom be repaired to its former condition before the breakage, broken china is often replaced with new china.

The relationships that are long term and that we care about will test us, we grow together or we grow apart. Often a long term relationship is based on love but also includes acceptance and tolerance. A relationship that breaks down many times comes down to what we are willing to accept and tolerate.

Not every single person is supposed to remain in our lives; some come and go and some stay with us. In family we want it to work out and many times we will tolerate and accept things from family that we would never tolerate and accept in others. Some families remain close some just don’t.

A few days ago our son came home from work and shared with me that he ran into his former fourth grade teacher. His teacher asked him about his twin sister since he had both of them in his class and knew them well. Our son told him that they aren’t close and really have no real relationship. He is a twin and as the mother that raised them both it makes me sad. We always thought it was so special that they were twins and had each other like a built in best friend. But what surprised me most was his teachers answer. He said, “My sister and I never got along either.”

I have a hard time believing that families that suffer with estrangement are ever truly happy and healthy even for those that made the decision to estrange. How could you NOT think about “mom” on Mother’s Day or “dad” on Father’s Day or on their birthdays or on holidays?

Same goes for the parents, I don’t know of any mothers or fathers who don’t think about their children on their birthdays and on holidays. I don’t think it could be humanly possible to NOT remember the day that you brought a life, another living person into the world. This fact alone makes it hard to accept estrangement as any “norm” or normal behavior.

This July I will have been estranged from my oldest daughter for nineteen years. In my view she was young and foolish. She made decisions that were life altering and affected many others in hurtful and negative ways. She was just a kid and just shy of the age of eighteen. What makes it baffling isn’t what she did at eighteen but all that she has continued to do to keep it going. She is committed to her anger and to her narrative a narrative that many immature teens go through but most grow up and grow away from.

Like my many followers, friends and sisters and brothers who struggle with and suffer in estrangement, it is like any loss and grief with the many stages from denial to acceptance. I don’t believe that there is any stage that you are over it or 100% healed from it nor do I believe that estrangement has any winners. To deny your parents is to deny facets of your own life and who you are and what made you and where you come from. This is to live a lie.

My husband was the first to bring that line to my attention “they are living a lie” think about that? If you deny your parents and your roots, what does that say about the life that you are leading? And what stories now go along with that lie to justify living in such an abnormal way?

Things change. I suffered through shock and my heart was shattered when my child left home. I was completely broken. I never saw it coming. I didn’t think I could go on. I honestly believed I gave her everything any child could want or need. I beat myself up. I would have done anything for a different outcome.

Then I started to heal. I saw how easily I was to manipulate after her dad died. I became stronger. I went to work for several nonprofits that supported kids, many that were truly disadvantaged kids. I began to see clearly just how much I had spoiled my child.

But I still and for more than a decade I held out hope, I thought for sure she would mature, grow up and life would show her just how much she had. When she had her first child I was devastated not to be included but I also thought great now she will see what it means to have a child, to raise a child to be a mother. Sadly that didn’t happen.

Life is long life is challenging and life is filled with many decisions. I have always tried to live my life with the thought that yes I will stumble, I may fail and I may fall but I do my best to try not to do things that I can’t come back from or recover from.

And I do believe that if you break it, you bought it and you now own it …

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Broken china may not ever be able to come back together in its original form but many beautiful mosaic pieces have been made from the broken pieces. Beautiful jewelry and all kinds of beautiful newly created artworks can come back together and create something truly beautiful, different and unique from what was once broken and shattered.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facbook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Who Cares

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Who Cares
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Seldom does a day go by when my husband and I see something or hear about something and our united response is “nobody cares” or “people just don’t care anymore.” It is often in reference to old fashioned values like respect or concern.

We can’t begin to imagine raising kids in today’s climate. Where the political anger has spilled over into all areas of life and a little boy can “demand” that the Vice President of the United States must apologize for accidentally hitting him when he raised his arm.

Almost daily we witness behaviors that stun and even shock us. We see people that openly and willingly do things to others or say things about others that they would never want done to themselves and they do it for the entire world to see.

I see grandparents openly denigrate and disrespect political figures. This is the “norm” and the behaviors that many young people are subject to and witness and are sure to model later in life.

My husband and I also talk about how lucky we are to have each other and to care for one another. It is team work and based on love and respect and it wasn’t always that way either. We learned often through trial and error how to care for one another. We learned that we are better together than apart. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t experienced our share of issues either. We have.

The bottom line is that when you have found someone that cares; cares about you and cares about all the things and the people and the places that you care about that it is special and to be cherished.

At a time when our culture seems so self-absorbed … care and care often and see just how much goodness comes into your life as a result and watch who then comes forward and cares about you.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

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(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

Managing Expectations

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Managing Expectations
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Whether it is business or personal we have expectations on how things should go and how they should be handled. Often our expectations do not match up to what we experience. Then we are left with what to do? How to handle it?

I have high standards both professionally and personally and many times I have been disappointed.

Over the weekend we visited our insurance provided automotive center for repairs and/or estimate of our vehicle. It was hit from behind in an accident. It turns out that the vehicle had to be totaled. When we arrived in the office no one was at the front desk. We could hear people that worked there, we could hear them arguing and we heard one of them drop the “f” bomb. This is a place of business. They were loud and unprofessional.

When our adjuster returned with our paperwork in hand, he started talking to another customer who arrived after us. It seemed rude to me and it delayed our business transaction. From the very beginning our expectations were not met. We were told to track the progress by using a website and our claim number. This was the same site we used to schedule the appointment with the adjuster. We were also told that if the car was “totaled” we could receive our check that same day.

The website was never updated even after the car was in their possession for 5 days. There was no way we would receive a check “that same day.” Several times my husband called to inquire and the adjuster always responded with “I will call you back.” He never did. We would go through a weekend and total of 5 days before we received the adjuster’s findings.

When in business and you state how the system should work and then it doesn’t, you can’t act surprised when the consumer is not happy. Of course they send me the “how did we do” internet survey and all I could do was communicate our experience.

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Last month a friend referred a pool guy so I contacted him. His estimate wasn’t any less than the larger company that we were intending on using but we figured the referral would help insure that we would be taken care of. The owner never met us as we sent photos of the job through text messages and he arrived at a price and sent an e-mail. We agreed to the work and scheduled it.

The day before I was surprised that he said he was sending one of his guys and that it should be about an hour or 90 minutes. Again I was expecting to meet the owner and the guy I was referred to and so I was slightly disappointed. The guy he sent was here for hours and seemed to be wrestling with the job. I was never comfortable spending so much money over a thousand dollars before the pool opened and we could be sure it was working properly.

Well less than three weeks later another area of the pool filtration system is leaking and leaking heavily. It wasn’t doing this when we closed the pool. When I expressed my concern and my upset the owner response “we didn’t break it and I honored the quote even when my guy was there longer than the hour or so” Wow! I never accused him of “breaking” it but did state that it was working when it was closed. And the amount of time was never an issue until I originally asked how long it would take?

So in both stories, what happened? We had as set of expectations and they were not met, it didn’t go like we thought it should go. Then I say to myself? It will never be okay with me to go to a business and wait in an office and hear someone working there curse and use the “f” word. And if you are in business don’t say things about how it will be handled and then not deliver.

Now about the pool guy again my expectations were not met as I would never receive a referral from a friend in any business that I was in and not meet the customer myself. I just wouldn’t and it would not matter the size or dollar amount of the job.

All relationships are like that where we have to manage our expectations. A friend was telling me about a recent break up and as I was listening to her all I could think was that she had a certain amount of expectations that were not being met. Things didn’t go the way that she thought that they would and should go. She is a high achiever and big giver and extends herself a lot.

I think when you have high standards and when you give a lot and extend yourself a lot it is easy to be disappointed. It falls back to “that is not how I would have done it or handled it.”

So what should the pool guy have said? How about I am sorry you have a leak and let me take a look at it and see what it will require to fix it. Instead he was defensive and escalated the upset instead of diffusing it.

The longer you live the more you realize that lowering expectations is what you do for yourself to keep yourself happy. Whether it is a business or personal relationship we all have a certain degree of expectations. In business I always revert to “you vote with your dollar” we all work hard for our money and if a job isn’t being done the way that we think it should be then we can go elsewhere.

I had to go to our credit union recently and the girl who handled our business had to do several tasks for us. They all required paperwork from the credit union and she handled it well. I made sure I got her name and I ended our transactions by stating “I appreciate you.” In a world where customer service is on the decline I do my best to acknowledge people that do a good job.

You don’t experience 25 years with a partner in marriage without learning to manage your expectations. Sometimes they will be met sometimes they will be exceeded and yes there are times when they will fall short. Every once in a while I allow myself the opportunity to vent and blow a fuse on the things that I am not happy about. I think it is healthy. How could another person know how we think and feel about things unless we can share them? That means we have to be willing to take the good with the bad.

There are always deal breakers though when it is not just about managing our expectations but comes down to what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept …

It is always nice when our expectations are met and even nicer when they are exceeded but sadly often our expectations will come up short. Managing our expectations goes a long way to maintaining our happiness …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble