August book selection: Everything Happens For A Reason by Mira Kirshenbaum

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

On my journey to “living my best life now”, as said by Oprah, I am attempting to incorporate a monthly book selection into this blog. Please note that I said ATTEMPT. I will do my best, but not sure how long I can keep it going. My life changes quick, so please watch me for the changes.

Lately, I have had the feeling that God has been telling me to go right,  and I keep making that sharp left. Somehow going to left seems so much more exciting than going right, so I pick my way. Of course it never works out, it’s not the right way, it is a dead-end. As always God  brings back to the start of the path, I don’t get lost , I don’t get in trouble. He allows me another chance to follow him, infinite chances to go right. I listened to God, and when he spoke, he brought me to a book, a book that will forever change the way I look at life.

This month’s book selection is,  Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the true meaning of events in our lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum. While reflecting on past events in my life, changes that have been made, I once struggled to find meaning in them. I had a bad habit of feeling sorry for myself, hating the world that I was in, just hoping for something better that never came. I would wonder, why do certain things happen the way they do? Why do some events turn out bad, and why can’t things just go the way I want them to. I wanted perfection from life. Who am I kidding? Life doesn’t work that way.  The odds are not always in my favor, and every event is not going to always have a happy ending. In life bad things happen. Bad things happen to everyone, the good that comes out of those bad events are the reason why they had to happen.

Through her writing, Kirshenbaum points out  that there are ten main reasons why these bad events take place in our lives. Through each chapter she thoroughly explains each of these ten reasons, she conveys real life examples from people to make sense of  the true meaning as to why certain events may occur in life. Kirshenbaum is able to help  the reader reflect on his or her own life events, and find a way to make that event fit into one of these reasons. This book opens the reader up to deep self-reflection,  possibly gaining closure and moving forward from events that appear damaging to our lives. Kirshenbaum writes in a way that enhances a positive overtone for negative events. This book portrays the message that life does get better! People are resilient and if we are just able to bounce back, bounce back quick,  and look for true meaning, our lives will be better than we have ever imagined. Kirshenbaum does an excellent job of making the reader feel at home within the book, and brings the message that life does not just happen to happen. Life really does happen for a reason.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. To help you feel at home in the world

2. To help you totally accept yourself

3. To show you that you can let go of fear

4. To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5. To help you uncover your true hidden talent

6. To give you want you need to find true love

7. To help you become stronger

8. To help you discover the play in life

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person.

My challenge to you is to sit and reflect on the negative events of your life, if you feel you know the reason why they happened, great! You are one step ahead. If not, if you continue to feel sad, wonder “what if”, or have trouble moving on think of the meaning behind this event. How has it changed you? Can anything positive come from this negative event? Look within your inner self for the reason, trust me it is there.

If you have time read, Everything Happens For A Reason by, Mira Kirshenbaum.

*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

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Dating 101- Start By Breaking All The Rules!

An astronomical amount of money is being made off of exploiting single women. It is a market where people portray as wanting to help but really feed off of desperation.

Bookstores are over flooded with relationship books aimed particularly at women. The topics range from how to find a date, how to get that man to commit, how to get him to marry you, and the hundreds of different rules on dating. It is no wonder that so many women act a little bit crazy when it comes to dating. Some will never know what is right or wrong, what to really say, how to really act, and when to really leave because that man you are dating was never any good to begin with. But you followed all the rules, and you got him to commit. Even if that commitment makes you just a tad bit miserable on a daily basis.

There are seminars held for women on how to catch a man and keep him. While these seminars are not cheap, many women line up to attend. Do they work? I hope so because they take time and money. In fact you should be able to walk out of one with your very own personal husband. At least then I would know that I got my money’s worth. You pay enough money to learn how to find a man, so why not just give you one at the end of the class. Do they have similar seminars for men on how to find a woman? If so, do men actually attend?

Some women hold on to relationship books as if it is their very own personal bible, or textbook. Pages are highlighted, sticky notes hold important facts, and some women end up quoting these books to their friends and family. Next someone should create the college course on “How to find a man 101”, I am sure many female students and even professors will sign up to take that course. Heck, maybe they will let me teach it! Oh wait, I am still single so I guess I wouldn’t be the best candidate. But then again, I know how to find a man (actually we all do), but maybe I can teach a course in how to find one, since that is the main objective.

Steve Harvey has made a fortune exploiting women’s insecurities about being single. He has found a market that is a gold mine. The insecure single woman!  They have launched his book to the New York Times best sellers list, and someone thought that they even let him come with a second book. Everyday a new relationship book, or article is passed around from woman to woman. These books are the topics of book club discussions and, work lunch chatter. Even the Jersey Shore’s own Jwoww wrote a book on “The Rules” of dating. Don’t worry my book will be in stores soon, I hope it becomes a best seller.

Since dating advice is a big market for success, let me add in my own two cents. (Maybe I will be famous tomorrow)

With all the different so-called “rules” of dating, there really are No Rules! Rules are meant to be broken, so just break them. You may find that you get better success breaking the rules than following your highlighted sentences in your dating advice book.  Dating is not simple. It does not break down into a map, or a blueprint that will lead you to a husband at the end. If it did then we would all be paired up with someone. Dating is complex, because people are complex beings. Not all women are alike and certainly not all men are alike. Therefore, look at the person you are dealing with, and make your next move person specific.

Other Things- Not Rules

To call or not to call: As a woman should you ask a man for his number? Well you can sit and wait for him to ask. But what if he doesn’t ask?  The you will sit and drive yourself crazy wondering why he has not asked for your number of course. So if you want to talk to him, ask for his number. If that turns him off or sends him away, then tell him to kick rocks that was not the man for you. And you will have to admit to yourself that he was ambivalent about you in the first place because he never asked for your number.

To email or not to email: When dating online you may wonder if you should send a message to a person of interest. Well if you want to talk to him then you should. Why not? Oh that might turn him off right? Well again, tell him to kick rocks. You are saving yourself trouble for later. Send a message, if there is interest, then its not a problem.

To ask out on a date or not ask out: Well do you want to hang out with him or not? Yes, a man will ask you out if he wants to spend time with you. But, if you want to go out with him and see what the vibe is like then invite him out. Keep it simple please! For instance, if you were going to see a free concert, grab a cup of coffee, or go to the beach, ask him if he would like to come along. No harm in inviting him to spend time with you. You were going to go anyway, so if he turns you down you can still have fun without him. Again keep it simple! I say that because you don’t want the awkwardness of who is going to pay for this date since you asked him to come along.

To make the first contact after the first date: Sure why not! Just not too soon, you don’t want to smother. But if its the next day, and you want to say hello, call, text, or email. If you are afraid of him losing interest because of that small contact, well you already know…tell him to kick rocks! If that turns him off, then he really wasn’t that into you anyway.

Save yourself the trouble of ending up in a complicated situation later by weeding out the bad ones in the beginning. Please don’t be afraid to quote Jay-Z and say, “on to the next one”! And trust me there will be a next one.

My Word: Resilient…

Recently I watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. First I must admit that I loved the book, so I would recommend the book to anyone as a first option rather than seeing the movie. In my opinion the movie does the book a great injustice (but I hear that about most books that go to movie version, right?). Maybe when I have my book turned movie we can keep it as true to form as possible. Sorry, I digress.

When I originally watched Liz Gilbert on Oprah in 2008 speaking on her journey, I immediately  fell in love with her story. Her admiration, courage, and inspirational message, was one that forced me to stop, think, and reflect on my own life. I think we all may have points in life when we feel unhappy, uneasy, worried, and stuck. But the way we move forward from those points are the true measure of who we are as individuals.

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I must admit that after hearing Liz Gilbert speak, and eventually reading her story, significantly helped me make the decision to move away from my city life and come to Hawaii. I was at a point in life where I did not know what to do next, feeling unhappy, and stuck. I knew something needed to change and, I had to be the vessel to promote the change that was needed for my life. Though it was not an easy decision, it was what I personally needed, change. Looking back now I know it was the right decision, even in times of doubt I know it was right.  It was a change that saved my life.

In “Eat, Pray, Love”, it is mentioned that every person and city has a word. The word for Rome is sex, the word for New York is achieve, and Gilbert declares her word to be attaversiamo which is Italian for “Let’s cross over”. Well this had me thinking about what my word could be. At first glance I thought my word should be “crazy hot mess”. I know, I know, that’s three words. Maybe if I translate it to another language then it will be only one word. But, then again I am really not that much of a crazy hot mess, and that really doesn’t describe the essence of my full being and everything that comes along with it.

So after much careful thought and planning I decided my word is RESILIENT! In some respect I hate to use the word Resilient as “my word” because I do have times where I feel that it is a commonly overused word. But as I think more about my own life, what I have overcome, the choices I have made, and where I am now, I can’t help but to say that my word is truly Resilient! I have struggled, second guessed, hated myself, and came back to eventually love myself and everything I have to offer the world. So in retrospect, yes I am Resilient!

However, there are times when I feel as if I am not worthy of using that word. Have I been through enough? Do I really know what it is like to come out of a struggle and keep living? I ask myself those questions because in my real life I am a therapist. I have a degree in counseling psychology, and I think I am pretty good at what I do.  I help families who struggle with controlling their teenage children. After a recent session I had with a parent, I realized resiliency goes a lot further than I have ever imagined and sometimes the only choice in life is to be resilient in order to find the energy to wake up the next day.

See this parent is a single mom with four children. Two of the children are in elementary school, one is in high school, and the oldest is a young adult. This mom has been constantly struggling to make sure that her older children lead the right path in life and learn responsibility, while making sure that the younger children avoid the pitfalls of society. Recently this mom lost her job. An unwanted setback that will end up in a test of her own strength.

As I sat in session with her, I listened. I realized that she has no choice but to be resilient. She can not just give up on herself, because to give up on herself would be to give up on her children. As a single mom she does not have the luxury of taking a year off from life to travel and find herself. She cannot just pick up and move to start life over when life gets tough. She has to keep living through the hard times. She has to keep pushing, have hope, and pray that tomorrow is better than the day before.

As I listened, I felt at a loss for words. I have never been in her shoes. I cannot imagine the hopelessness that she was feeling. But, I was there for her. I did the best job I knew how and,  I attempted to help her remember that she does have to keep going.  I realized that no matter what life gives her, she will never have a simple choice, she has to think about herself and the children. She cannot give up, she keeps going each day, holding on tighter to the feeling that the best is yet to come. She continues to believe and have faith that life will work, and in the end she will come out of it surly being resilient!