Thursday, November 28, 2013

The "F" Word

Do you know what happened to me last week...I was attacked by the "F" word.

People drop that F bomb to solidify boundaries. You're there. I'm here. Back up, fool.

It's a wall. And oddly enough it brings freedom when it trickles off the tongue of its master.

I cannot tell you how many times I've been assaulted by this word. It keeps me in my place. I feel pimp slapped and suffocated all at the same time.

But then I get angry. What can I say or do to combat the effects of such a ferocious word?

Instead of a comeback, I'm left to sizzle in my own thoughts. Wondering why I even let such an ignorant display of self preservation affect me so.

But then I realize something else,

Something far more scary than the "F" word itself...

It's the knowing that this word actually needed to be said.

Nothing else would have had the same power and influence.

A boundary needed to be placed.

Because truth be told, I was feeling woozy and a bit dreamy eyed and muddled about my intentions, my opinions, and my stance.

But now, there's no mistaking, I know where I truly stand.

Although it's not December 31st,  I was curious and ready to bet it all, once again.

But you have outrightly declared that you and I will...most likely... only be...


Wisdom's Knocking:

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 18, 2013

Well...Being Single...It's Not So Bad


     Just started going through all my Europe photos properly.

     People: There are over 1000 photos! I mean, I was taking pictures like it was my day job. Meanwhile, I get to relive over and over again the feelings and emotions of seeing pretty things, familiar things, foreign things. And I remember. And it makes me smile. Oh how I just love different cultures. I love the blend of old and new. By the way, most of the photos in this post will be from Italy, more specifically, Rome.

     Oh, yeah. And I'm single.

     But the way I see it, I've been afforded precious time to live adventurously, passionately, inquisitively, and honorably while being free and unattached. That aspect of singlehood is quite lovely.

     We won't go into my love of all things Christmas and how "Love Actually" is about to be on repeat in my house causing me to question the very idea of agreeing to a singleness vow that extends through the holidays.

     But nevertheless, we will stay strong! Here in this place, I look at my heart and I am so very proud. I'm so proud that I have the heart that I do. To My Heart: You are a beautiful champion. I never EVER thought I'd be in my 30s unmarried and without any real prospects. You my heart, my friend, amaze me. We're in this together. And I won't let you down. I'm learning again how to be a fearless Single-- independent, but not calloused and never despondent.

     My heart has been so free and protected this year. There's been far less of those posts from the perspective of a broken and wounded heart. But rather, there's been a new sense of life that has permeated every aspect of my being.

     And can I just tell you... I'm convinced God is helping me keep my own singleness vow. Any guy that I even think of considering or try to flirt with has either just entered into a relationship,  runs away from me, is in a relationship, or bats for the other team. No joke. This is real life. So I'm gonna calm my behind down until December 31st.

     I talked to my mom last night, she seemed to think that I might be holding onto bitterness when it comes to my own singleness. But I told her, "Hmm, I think I'm good though, but I'll pray about it." No joke, I get off the phone, pray about it, and do you know what gets highlighted to me...

     "Sexual Frustration"

     Yep. We keeps it real on this blog.

     I was once asked,

"What do you do about this sexual frustration? Especially since you don't have sex...??"

     Well, I know your next thought would be...well what about self-sex? And while this technique of relief works for countless folks, I personally don't subscribe to it. Not that I hadn't tried in my past, but it just felt empty and a bit weird. And what I really wanted was...well...a body on top of mine. Too much, too soon? Probably, but you celibate singles out there know what I'm talking about.

     So what do you do, Patrice?

     I dance. I get contemplative and write random disjointed blog posts. I have a glass of wine and watch a BBC show. You know, the usual.

     And I work pray through it.

My view from the Ponte Fabricio (Fabricius Bridge), Rome, Italy

     All this for what I consider to be the sacred apex of exchange between a man and a woman, God's mysterious and beautiful design.  So in essence, it doesn't just come down to intercourse, but rather, true and intimate contact with a human being. The actual unhindered closeness of a body next to yours, with full permission and acceptance. That's the goal. But often, this type of connection doesn't start with the body, but rather with the spirit and the soul and then the body. And that's the Cliff notes version of why I'm still a "unicorn".

     Okay. How the heck did we get here? I pity the poor person that simply wanted to see pretty pictures of Italy and got exposed to some weird singlehood sex talk. I'm sorry. And being single, it's really not that bad, really.

     At least not all the time.

     Oh, in case you couldn't tell from my photos, Italy is kinda romantic. But I was so distracted by eating every 2 hours and drinking wine that I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself. In fact, I think I felt quite giddy that entire trip.

     It was probably the gelato.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“At the least, bear patiently, if thou canst not joyfully. And although thou be very unwilling to hear it, and feel indignation, yet check thyself, and suffer no unadvised word to come forth from thy lips, whereby the little ones may be offended. Soon the storm which hath been raised shall be stilled, and inward grief shall be sweetened by returning grace.”

 ― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Aftermath (And 4 Ways to Cultivate Dreams)


The Aftermath: 

     Last week I got back from my European adventure. You guys, this trip was everything.

     New faces, new places.

     Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, and the UK. All within a little over 2 weeks.

     Now before you think I'm a complete lady of leisure, you must know, that this trip was a year in the making. A year of saving up and planning. (Shout out to Dave Ramsey! My budget mentor) But this trip started as a small desire, than grew to a dream, than later became a reality.

     I knew this trip would be amazing simply because of the company I would have with me (Two close girlfriends of mine) But this trip also took me by surprise by the way in which it shook me, inspired me, challenged me, and filled me with hope and the ability to dream again.

It's true, travel just does something to us. It stirs our soul, makes us feel invincible and vulnerable all at the same time.

     You realize when you step away from the status quo of your life, fresh perspective arises. You are reminded of who you are, but more than that, of who you could be.

I understand afresh, of why people are filled with wanderlust, that notion of constant movement and travel to bring forth fulfillment and meaning. But I've found, that the complete fulfillment is not in the movement itself, but in what happens with the experience afterwards --how we go about incorporating it (or not) into our current revelation of things.

I could have had this European experience and said, "Ok. That was nice." And moved right back into the rhythms of my life here in California.

     But I've chosen not to.

     In no way shape or form do I want to simply digest this as just a "nice experience".

     Instead, I will intently remember the places and faces that I have met and seen, allowing them to affect me, and to inspire me beyond my present understanding of things.

 And that my friend, is how my old dreams became new dreams.

     But then the fight began.

     Coming back home after this trip was a bit like the shuttle re-entering the earth's atmosphere. It was thunderous and met with a great deal of heat.

     Beyond the business of living, everyone seemed to be on a different page, on a different musical note. Could I play the same song? Did I want to? I've traveled quite a bit in the last 15 years, so I was well aware of the "Adjustment period" feelings. But this was different. In fact, it still is. It's that feeling, when you know everything, as you know it, is about to change. But that's what dreams often do, they're notorious for fiercely messing with the status quo.

     And that is where I've landed.

     The atmosphere is vibrating around me with promise.

     And I'm taking intentional steps forward.

     Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you what I've been learning in this new season of life:

4 Ways to Cultivate Dreams

1.  Be Curious 

     Or as I like to say, "Be childlike". I think its ever so important to remain curious in life, to keep pursuing knowledge, to hear more stories from a variety of people, to choose to not get jaded throughout life's cycles and ever so sneaky disappointments, and to endeavor to inspire someone onward, to places beyond their wildest dreams.

2. Get Outta Here!

      You may not be able to take a 2 week holiday to your favorite Continent tomorrow, but you can go for a long drive or a weekend trip at least. Dreams often surface or resurface once you are out of the familiar confines of your life. You have to be intentional about breaking out of your status quo.  And remember, when you travel, be present in the moment. Don't bring all your status quo reminders with you, and try to limit your internet and mobile phone interactions.

3. Treat Yo'self

     When was the last time you did that thing you absolutely love doing? When was the last time you just rested -- to clear your mind and get your head right. When we put down the garment of anxiety, which nearly suffocates us and any dreams that we may have. and put on the garment of rest, that becomes the good soil for dreams to grow in. It doesn't mean that we won't work hard and do the practical things necessary to move forward towards our dream when the time comes, but it won't be out of fear, rather it will be out of peace.

4. Seek Out

     Pray. Ask for guidance. You might not be religious, but I'm gonna tell you right now, you're gonna need some help...beyond the natural kind, on your destiny journey. A dream is always bigger than what we could ever accomplish on our own. And that's on purpose. I believe that God is the Dream Giver. And He so freely gives us the promise of His presence in all stages of life. So while the dream is a precious gift, the Gift Giver Himself will be faithful to walk with you through it all. And trust me, that makes it all worthwhile.


     But in addition to that list, and inspired by my time in Europe, I've realized that it is incredibly important to connect with your passions and your strengths -- to take the time to remember them.

     Nevertheless, we often get numbed out. Or we simply forget. Or we just get tired.

     I think I was a combination of all three of those factors prior to leaving for Europe.

     But I have hope for us.

     You're reading this for one of two're either my mom... or you have a dream that is yet to be fulfilled. A dream that you may have never voiced to anyone other than God. A dream that you were told could never happen. Or a dream that has yet to tell you what it fully is, but you can feel something stirring within you.


     Something is being stirred.

     (Note: The new dreams of our heart are rarely new, but yet a powerful blast from the past. It's perhaps an old love being rekindle with a bit of a remix to match the times.)

Wisdom's Knocking:

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo Credit: All photos taken from the Switzerland portion of my trip.