love

Love the Child Within

Want some relationship advice from a divorced mother of 3 who has “failed” more times than she can count? Then READ ON SISTER (or brother). The #1 thing that you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your current relationship is this simple. Find two photographs of yourself at a young age that best represent the child you were and are still today. Place those photos side by side (via a collage app) and print a few copies out. Place that photograph on your fridge, in your wallet, by your bedside - wherever you can look at those hopeful, innocent faces throughout the day.

Ok so how in the world will this help my relationship? First, if you are in a dark place in your relationship, this will not help one bit. Find help. But if you just need a bit of softness to help ease you out of the everyday, exhausting grind of relationship, try this. It will soften you towards the person you love. You will begin to see them through the lens of their childhood self. And when you begin to argue, you will see this image.

One of the best podcasts I have listened to in the last few years comes from an On Being episode with Krista Trippet interviewing Alain de Botton on “The True Hard Work of Love & Relationships.” He explains in the interview why we should see our lovers like children.

MR. DE BOTTON: One of the kindest things that we can do with our lover is to see them as children. And not to infantilize them, but when we’re dealing with children as parents, as adults, we’re incredibly generous in the way we interpret their behavior.

If you walk home, and a child says, “I hate you,” you immediately go, OK, that’s not quite true. Probably they’re tired, they’re hungry, something’s gone wrong, their tooth hurts, something. We’re looking around for a benevolent interpretation that can just shave off some of the more depressing, dispiriting aspects of their behavior. And we do this naturally with children, and yet we do it so seldom with adults. When an adult meets an adult, and they say, “I’ve not had a good day. Leave me alone,” rather than saying, “OK. I’m just going to go behind the facade of this slightly depressing comment...”

MS. TIPPETT: And understand that that’s actually not about me; that’s actually about what’s going on inside them today.

MR. DE BOTTON: Right, exactly. We don’t do that. We take it all completely personally. So I think the work of love is to try, when we can manage it — we can’t always — to go behind the front of this rather depressing, challenging behavior and try and ask where it might’ve come from. Love is doing that work to ask oneself, “Where’s this rather aggressive, pained, noncommunicative, unpleasant behavior come from?” If we can do that, we’re on the road to knowing a little bit about what love really is, I think.

Go & try it. If I can offer help to any of you out there doing the hard work of love, then this is my gift. And one more reason why photographs matter.

And here is a real life example of a collage I made that my dear love, Archie, printed off months ago and sent me a few copies. I keep this on the fridge and am reminded daily of the tenderness of the children within us today.

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America

Well the last few days have been rough for many of us.  My heart is so heavy for so many reasons.  For the ones who feel like they have no place in this country.  For the ones who feel unknown and unloved.  For the born and the unborn who are not treated as human beings.  I don't want to talk about my personal political opinions here because I just don't feel like it is the place.  I just know that I am for love, kindness, justice, peace and the respect of every human being regardless of what religion, race or sexual preference.  

So here we are as a country with a slogan placed upon us: Make America Great Again.  I have been thinking a lot about what that says and doesn't say.  First, I have thought a lot about who America is to me.  I see America as a collective person.  Maybe I see her more as a woman, especially since the symbol of our country is the beautiful, strong woman: the Statue of Liberty.  So when I hear "Make America Great Again", I hear it as someone saying "Make (Misty) great again."  Put in any woman's name there that you would like.  Who wants to be told that they need to be great again?  If someone told me that, I would probably laugh and walk away thinking they need to look at their own shit.  And maybe its also because I don't like to be told what to do.  But I don't know many who do like to be told what to do.  So there's that.  

Second, the idea of making America great again just sends me the wrong message.  Like I said above I don't know many people who want to be made to do something.  I like the idea of inviting instead of making.  Invite America to be great again sounds a bit better.  Though it still just doesn't ring true to me.  

So that leads me to my third point: when did America become not so great?  The America I live in is far from perfect but I am so grateful to live here and to be born into such a beautiful, free country.  What are we telling our children to give them the idea that America is not great?  I don't believe that is what we should focus our time, energy and money on - greatness seems individualistic.  I want to live towards something bigger than myself.  

So I propose a new slogan for our country.  Yeah, I know, maybe just a few people actually have read this far down but, hey, a girl can dream, right?  My proposal for America's slogan is (drumroll please).... Invite America to Love Again.  If someone asked me to love them again, it would soften me, give me hope, propel me towards them.  I am more and more convinced that love and kindness really can change our world.  Not greatness.  Not power.  Not riches.  Just pure and simple love towards our fellow humans.  

Today I am hopeful.  I see those around me that desire to change our country for the better.  That want to rid ourselves of the dirtiness in politics.  I believe that our generation will rise up and there will be a new kind of America.  This is not the end.  Sometimes it takes hitting the bottom to realize what is needed.  So I stand with all of you and continue the fight towards love for ALL mankind.  And I am still proud to be an American.