Here’s to 10 years of Healing … Together

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Maybe because my big 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up or all my single 20-something cousins are constantly being bombarded with questions of marriage, or most of my clients have been talking about their own marriages, but one thing is clear, Marriage is the topic of the week.

Most people are expressing the opinion, people get married too young. I can’t help but ask, “is it that they are too young, or that they don’t really know who they are?”

I know people who are 23, completely self-aware and know their boundaries and I know people who are 40 and still discovering themselves. The point is not of age, but on self-knowledge. If I don’t know what I will and won’t stand for, my own likes and dislikes, how can I possibly expect to understand someone else’s?

Better yet, if I am not acknowledging my own needs, wants, goals, dreams, can another person really be the key to my  happiness, and thanks to Jerry Maguire, expected to “complete me”?

My story started out as a confident, independent, bubbly 23 year old, who knew one thing for sure, I did not want to get married and I did not want to have children.

Well the universe had different plans in store and sent Rik, into my life. It felt like, instant humor, instant love, and instant marriage, too busy having fun to realize the depth of what it all meant.

Reality hit when we moved in together and it was truly like Venus meet Mars! I just had never experienced this much intimacy with a guy before. Every-day you will be here? I will see you, think of you, talk to you… 24 hours a day? I don’t know if I can handle that much of my own self.

Even as I signed away the rights to my middle name, (formerly my father’s first name, now to be replaced as my husband’s first name) burning tears streamed down my face. This drama was my ego’s way of trying to hold on to the little self-dignity I did have. It didn’t matter if my name were changing to Phila-Lemon Patel that day, it didn’t change the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted, who I was or what my boundaries were.

At some point in our marriage, together, we realized we were both lost kids, trying to find our place in the world. I’m grateful because it made me realize that, no, we don’t need to break up because his socks are all over the bedroom and closet floor. No the D word (divorce) doesn’t need to be addressed every time he doesn’t follow the grocery list exactly. And no, bathroom hygiene is not a cause for separation.

Although, can we just take a moment to thank the Home Building Gods for creating his and hers sinks, which I’m pretty sure extended my marriage by a few more years!

Finding that thin line between bringing up things that need to be worked on without succumbing to the D word has been the stepping stone of my marriage. That and the presence of love.

Not just the love we feel as humans for all living things, but also the kind where his words make my heart smile, his voice brings joy to my soul, and his touch still sends shivers down my spine! That feeling that no one else will possibly do.

In case you didn’t get it, let me state, my marriage is far from perfect. My husband has slept in our guest room for months, we’ve done silent treatments for days, screaming fits for hours and I’ve even had tacos thrown at me, and for a man that loves his food… that’s saying a lot! I’m grateful that through it we ended up finding our selves, finding our own boundaries, and finding out why we are still together: love, faith, communication and hard work!

1. Always Have Faith.

My husband more than me kept faith that we will always be together. Even from what seemed to be rock bottom with no light shining in, he had faith we’d climb out to the top… together.

Without faith there’s no reason to really keep going, if there’s no belief that the marriage will last than why try? I’ve learned that yes, one person can hold the faith for a relationship, maybe temporarily, but its like a flame, it will burn until it uses up the last of its fuel, then it must go out. One person holding the faith is still burning that fire.

2. He Can’t Read Minds.

When you put a guy who doesn’t volunteer information unless asked and a girl who is constantly trying to people please without being asked, there’s a whole-lot of hoping the other person will ‘just know’ what you need. True story, no one is that consistently great of a mind reader.

So we learned to actually talk! Even little things like, I am feeling tired so I may get irritable, it has nothing to do with you. Even saying come home early today, I really need a hug. If you want to pick me up some flowers on your way home, I’d be ok with that!

Where’s the spontaneity? When the communication lines are open, it opens the door for spontaneity, fun, and more love!

In the beginning of climbing out of rock bottom we had to say every thing that was on our minds with the voice of our heart. (I don’t think this stage is ever really over, it’s the definition of honest communication).

3. Its Work.

No one wants to open Pandora’s box or that messy drawer in the kitchen, because you don’t know what you’ll find. But without bringing up the suppressed feelings, the deep cuts, I couldn’t have possibly found peace or freedom in myself or in my relationship.

For without feeling sadness you cannot feel true joy, without fear there is no courage, without grief there’s not undeniable love. All of which requires your time, effort, tears, and vulnerability. Everyday you work to fight your ego and say what you feel anyway.

You do this to clean your energy, your self, your relationship and your karma. You do this to heal together. I’m lucky, its working for me, and I guess I have my ego to thank for that, because as my best friend pointed out, I stayed through the drama, the tears and the nasty spats because it was a little less than the pain I was causing myself. I’m lucky that my husband was going through the same thing. I’m lucky he wanted to heal. I’m lucky he wanted to redefine our marriage too.

My marriage will always be a work in progress, otherwise what’s the point. But one thing I know for sure, I wouldn’t be living, loving, doing, growing if it wasn’t for him and his faith in me to be able to heal together.

“No One Has Ever Become Poor By Giving”

–Anne Frank

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I grew up in an Indian household where we treat others, family, friends, guests in our home as God. We give them all we have, even if it means we go without.

When I was younger, I was like ‘say what?’ That little girl gets to go home with my toy because she’s a guest in my house! My parents would just give away something that’s mine!

But now I can understand that that’s the only way to be. Only when we give, can we truly receive. My reward for my generosity was received by hugs from her parents, by gratitude from my own. I did end up getting a new toy, which consoled the little girl in me, but most importantly, all of me can attest that I received Love!

All of us have so much to give, whether smiles, kind words or just our company. These are all things that require no money, no work, just time, and love, and kindness! Its free and we have it within us!

The world isn’t asking for it. Sure, you can say, “uh tell that to the telemarketers who call for donations to made up organizations.” Yes, some people are asking. But for the most part the starving children, the whales, even your own family, friends, and neighbors, they aren’t asking!

Yet we feel an innate sense to give. When we hear about a heartache that came over our friend, we want to be there with them. When we see our children crying, we want to pick them up and make them feel better.

The faith in humanity starts with giving without being asked. Giftivism, Karma Kitchen, Smile Cards, Because I Said I Would, these are all projects started to just give. GIVE with no expectation to receive. Give because the universe and other human beings have great faith in what humanity is capable of.

So many times we are just waiting around for someone to ask. We wait for an invitation to hang out. We wait for someone to call us. We wait for people to tell us what they need. Stop waiting! We know what we want to do, we know how to get it done. OH, but what’s that word…ahh FEAR!

We live in fear, fear of what others will think, fear of what-ifs, fear of being rejected. Yet we know the only way to get past fear is to do anyway.

Recently, I had a very important appointment set up, I knew it would be life changing. It was causing me all sorts of extreme feelings from anxious and shameful to relieved and self-love. I kept all this bottled up in my thoughts and my mind.

Seeing me go through my daily routine, no one could tell I was in a constant war with myself on the inside. I was both my own friend and my own enemy. Talk about confused!

I knew one thing for sure, I so badly wanted someone to hold my hand through it all. But I never spoke up, actually I was ignoring calls from my family and friends.

The light bulb went on when I confessed to my sister that I didn’t ask my husband to come because I didn’t want the pressure of putting him out; That I knew he wanted to be there and was secretly hoping he’d just make it happen.

AH-HA! We all want to feel loved and supported but are afraid to express it. If we ask for someone to give, we feel like we are imposing. If we give without being asked, we feel like we are imposing!

What a colossus circle of fear, a glorified and tolerable version of:
“You say it first.”
“No, you say it first.”
“No, you say it first.”

Someone say it! I know that honest, straight-forward communication is always the highest goal in life and in any relationship. However, in moments of stress and sadness, fear takes over and makes us into Stuttering Stanleys.

We have to recognize this, first in ourselves, so we can acknowledge it in others. I admitted to my husband that I really did want him to come. (If I’m being truthful, this confession came after an unnecessary outburst about something totally unrelated like morning breakfast.)

I apologized for not being honest about my feelings and mostly I apologized for the unnecessary drama I was creating in our worlds.

He actually said to me, “I took off work to be with you at your appointment. I wasn’t telling you because I didn’t want to put pressure on you! I want to be there, even if we don’t say a word. I want you to know you are never alone.”

Talk about Powerful Words! Talk about Giving! Talk about LOVE!

I’m grateful that my husband in this moment taught me that we as humans have the ability to give and give and give. Something as simple as just having a meaningful conversation, spending some time together, saying “I Love You!” Can change the entire energy in your world.