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Chaos vs order. What will it be? Having everything lined up and in order is such a sweet feeling - yet the dependency on order can cause problems. Life is unpredictable, and not very orderly sometimes, it's frenzied and uneasy. It's a skill to be able to chill out when there are dishes in the sink, laundry to do, bills unpaid and piles all around. For some, it simply doesn't matter. For others, it steals from serenity. Lean toward having peace and harmony even in catastrophic chaos. Chaotic serenity - what a concept! Try it, tolerate chaos, smile along side the rubble.
Dis-affectionate relationships can happen. Too many relationships have a high level of toxicity that begin from a lack of affection. Fun topic huh? It's just a matter of time if a couple no longer look each other deeply in the eye, but instead run around too busy. So, do a spot check inventory of what affection there is. How often is love making, deep heart to heart talks, holding hands, hugs, spontaneous kisses? When these acts go away, the relationship is not too far behind. Get back to that cozy place and begin to re-affectionate your relationship quickly.
Show don't tell. What does your moment look and sound like? Where are your feet? Here. Now. White lights around a window. A stone warrior. A 15 year old cat named Simba half asleep on an ottoman the same shade as her coat. Patrick Winfield photograph. Bright fresh tulips in a red vase. The hum of the York Avenue bus. Melody Beattie's "Language of Letting Go." See what is around you, hear the sounds, sense your surroundings and name them. Thank your couch, your pillows, the food in your fridge. Honor the wooden floors that ground you in your home.
It's hard to catch a moving target. There are advantages to constantly moving. See the movie "Up in the Air" - what is seemingly just an opportunity to see George Clooney's beautiful dimples, is really an opportunity to learn about real intimacy or the lack thereof. Staying "up in the air" is safe, but can be a very lonely place overall, and keeps everyone at a very safe distance. Being busy severs a level of intimacy that staying still allows. While experiencing the world contributes to one's sophistication factor, it still has the capability of impacting our intimacy factor. Stay still.
Structure matters. Without it, it feels like walking in quick sand sometimes. More often then not, inject structure into your daily life. Structure around meals, work, art, fun, chores. It's all good. It's not until the structure is gone, that you begin to crave it. Be around people in your work day, be social and be among the living. It's important to have occasional unstructured days, but it's more important for the majority of the days to have a place to go, people to see, who need you and who you need too. In other words, keep your day job!
Sing. Even if you don't have the voice to. Sing. Sing with people, sing alone - but sing soon. Guaranteed attitude changer. It can stir up emotions too like nothing else can. Humming is a good substitute - but there is a nothing like the lyrics of a song to put you in another zone. The zone might be heartbreak. Joy. A dance. Experience lyrical transformation! Do Karaoke. Do a gospel choir. Do a Threshold Choir and sing for a sick or dying person. Do it for yourself. Do it in the mirror, the shower, at the stovetop, in transit - but sing.
Double date. It's something cool to do to break the solitary relationship pattern. Instead of going to the same restaurant, movie theater, routine - get out with another couple. A foursome. Spice up the togetherness factor. See your relationship through the eyes of another couple. See how they relate. Light a fire, break some bread, talk about life, the past, the present, the kids, the work, the commute, rent stabilization. See their home, invite them to yours - share your decor and collectibles. Laugh. Help with the dishes, and say goodnight knowing you likely spiced up your couplehood as well as theirs.
Have an untamed sense of control. Whatever that means right? Think about it. It's the perfect balance. Being untamed, but being in control. Living with abandon but not living on the edge. Be limber, flexible, untethered, unflappable, chill - and at the same time have it under control. What a way to live. Ah, but then life happens and the extremes. All of a sudden there is a lock down when things aren't lined up the way we thought, we freak. Or we live with such chaotic disorder, we freeze. Find that balance, that untamed sense of control, and really live.
If by mistake you step into the cage with a raging angry tiger, learn from it. This tiger comes in many forms, and there are opportunities constantly to open the gate, and walk right in. Anger begets anger, love begets love. Yeah, but we still open the gate and step in with the tiger sometimes. When that happens, don't stay in there long. Get out as soon as possible, and try to figure out what on earth you were thinking. If it was growling at you, don't growl back, step out of the cage, and listen to your own growl.
Nothing as beautiful as the innocence of a child. So pure. Unadulterated. Then we grow up, and the world happens upon us, to us, through us. Is it possible to tap back into that beauty, to see things as if for the first time. To read a book a thousand times as if it was the first. Hang around a child, and grab hold of some of that preciousness, and cherish each and every second. Live vicariously through their eyes, the awe, the amazement in repetition. Sing a lullabye and see yourself as this child, and be ever so kind.
Hurt hurts. Guaranteed that if someone is hurting us, it's because they are hurt themselves. Hurt people, hurt people. That's a fact. Unlikely that hateful comments come from some untainted place. The place it comes from is an unloved spot. That dark and empty side of ourselves that we are not letting the light of love touch. It's there, a bruise, and we act from it far too often. Instead of that whole place. So easy to come from emptiness vs wholeness. It's all unmet needs, and we end up lashing out at the ones we love all too often.
Expectations. It's a good idea to keep them low. Ideally, have no expectations - but stay a mile away from high expectations which is a recipe for disaster. If they are low, or no, you can't go wrong. Especially with family - try the formula. As they say "expectations are pre-meditated resentments." Wanting, needing, expecting needs to get met, and they don't - it hurts. Being prepared 100% to meet your own needs, always, always works - and 9 out of 10 times we end up getting what we need, and some. So, that's the mission along expectational lines. Serenity depends on it.
The makings of a mini screenplay. Possibly - free write experience: who might the characters be? Loren - 40 years old, owns "Public Relation-ships" - a high end match making service for voyeuristic, playful people in NYC. Loren is trying to get onto a more straight & narrow, but can't seem to give up the cash and community. Victor - the man she met while hailing a taxi, works as a music producer, typical unavailable man. Cassidy - Loren's best friend, her worry warrior and forever single whiny new yorker. Jose - Loren's doorman, and confidant who has a secret crush for the unreachable Loren. More....
Scene one: We see Loren dressed in an orange silk blouse and taffeta brown skirt entering her building lobby to show Joseph the doorman her outfit, and he looks bored. "Loren, you said you needed to be there at seven, and it's 7:30, this is the 7th outfit you've tried on." "Joseph, I have to look perfect, it's my first date in a year - okay (she spins around) - do the shoes work?" "Yes, for a working girl, they work - you look beautiful, Loren, with sneakers, sweats and a smile- go change." She steps into the elevator - the doors close.
Jose loves when Loren calls her Joseph. He's humming, as the elevator door opens one more time, Loren exits with a long black evening dress with a silver belt, patent leather spikes - and finally, a glistening evening bag. Jose opens the door and tips the waiting taxi "See you later beautiful." She smiles and blows him a kiss and says, "warm milk and cookies late." The taxi drives off. cut to an annoyed man hailing a taxi on Central Park South - at the Oak Room, but looks down at his blackberry and sees a message, turns away from taxi instead.
Scene: Victor and Loren sitting at a romantically lit table. Victor says, "so why all the mystery with your professional, Loren." She responded, "No mystery, just in transition, tell me more about yourself, all I know is that you are a big tipper." Victor chuckled remembering the rainy night they met as they were both hailing a cab. He was struck by her vulnerable sensuality, the ease in which she touched his knee and asked for his number. "Ah, I'll take your lead, and keep it very light if you'd like, as he put his foot in between her ankles.
Loren watched how she was about to put her hand on his crotch, even though her instincts were screaming at her to stop, to do it differently. But, a perplexed brow, she stopped abruptly and rather then being coy and mysterious, she blurts out "Victor, my intention is to know your last name before I know whether you like the top or the bottom. I'm sorry for mixed messages. No more. Let's start fresh." He was taken back by her honesty, her earnest expression and that slight tear in her eye. The sudden silence and search for words was palpable.
Loren builds walls around her heart to keep things safe, predictable. Sex is easy, exotic and familiar. She knows how to open her legs, she doesn't know how to open her heart. It's easier to manage a successful company with sexual overtones, rake in money, and spend time on other people's fantasies - but settling into herself, having one great love, only to witness the terror inside is petrifying. She sat there with Victor, knowing he wasn't the best candidate to start fresh, but she had to start somewhere. So she buttoned his top button, closed her legs and began talking.
Victor was visibly uncomfortable and began to play with his filet mignon. Slowly and thoughtfully, he talked of the years he owned a restaurant called Tatiana's, his love of music, his collection of photographs of rap singers since the beginning of the genre. Then, suddenly about the car crash that took his daughter Tatiana. Loren saw the tear he let fall. In the silence, she allowed this intimacy in, wanting him to inquire into her world, and she realized that she had stopped him earlier, so she ordered another glass of wine, and started with the hardest topic, her work.
Loren revealed her vocational process. It was five years ago that her position as Executive Director of Customer Relations at Bloomingdales fell apart. After a year of searching, Vivian, a friend and high end massage therapist or, as she liked to call herself, Tantra specialist made a proposition. Her idea was to start a business that focussed on the sexual fantasies of clients who would pay a handsome sum to have their fantasies brought to life via coordination and private arrangements. It would not require Loren or Vivian to participate, but to make the necessary arrangements. Public Relation-ships began.
As she was explaining the process, she witnessed herself through his gaze. It sounded so utterly ridiculous, that she wished she hadn't ventured there. However, full disclosure, and revealing her authentic self is her goal. Victor sat back, listening intently but suddenly there was a perplexed brow. "You've been successful, clearly." - Loren nodded, but also explained how hard it is to see the underbelly of relationships, and how it has caused her to lose hope that anything close to normal exists in the world. He asked for her to give him an example of what might be a typical request.
Loren described the typical arrangements, the couples that want a third party - male or female. The orgy requests. The voyeuristic arrangements. She also explained the limits of her organizations- in that anything involving young children or elders was off limits. He listened intently, and stirred his coffee slowly. "The way you describe it, makes me think how it just makes sense on some level - and that it may in fact be a service that of great value." Loren paused, realizing she wasn't revealing the darker side, and, of course, it could sound tantalizing. So she decided to get very real.
She described the turning point when Matt, her brother in law, married to her sister Loretta met with Public Relation-ships. Loren's family didn't know about the intimate details of her business life. She put great effort into concealing it. Matt was in New York for business and she saw him in the office of her associate and she froze. Matt and Loretta were her idealized perfect couple, and he was the last person she ever expected would be a seeker. It was at that point, she wanted out. Its fine to pursue fantasies, but not on her time anymore.
Victor's eyes were a bit glazed over, and this was a sign to Loren to either lighten up or play footsie with him again. At least she was honest - and he didn't get up and split. Sweetly, he took her hand, and waved to the waiter. Loren knew at once, that date number one was close to a disaster - but strangely enough she wasn't freaking out. He paid the check, and kissed her hand. A wave of hope swept over her, maybe he'd actually want a second date. As they walked toward a taxi, he took her hand said, "goodbye."
Settling in the sticky seat of the cab, Loren dialed Cassity, "well, my friend, first date done." In her worried voice, Cassity demanded details. From 59th Street to home, Loren thought she covered it all, but capped it off by reading a text message just in from Victor - "Loren, forgive my boldness, who can you connect me with about a fantasy I've always wanted to satisfy." As she read it, she cried, and heard a gasp on the other end of the line. Exiting the cab, Jose, her faithful doorman, held open the door with an oatmeal cookie and smile.
"Hello my Joseph! - what a pleasure coming home to you all these years." - Jose smiled. For 7 years, she's been coming home to him. If she only knew how much more he wanted and it had nothing to do with sex. He sighed, and sat her down on the brown leather sofa, pulled up a chair and said - "okay, tell all." Loren sighed - "you know my favorite friend in the world, all I ever do is talk about myself, it's your turn!" - She kissed his cheek and took a cookie. For years, he played doorman therapy and his heart melted.
"Loren, my life is far less interesting then yours, but if you want to know one truth about me, it's that I've been observing you, watching over you, listening to you and feeding you late night cookies and milk for years, and I've fallen in love with you." The silence was thick, and then broken by a late night chinese food delivery. Loren watched as her friend did his work, and chuckled at how naive and self absorbed she had been all these years. From afar, she saw this man, 6 ft, handsome, uniformed and so sweet. Could it be?
As he walked over to her, she saw a slight blush. Taking his hand, she said - "my Jose, I see you in one light, as my late night friend, my cherished door soldier, my confidante. I don't know how to take you out of that box." He smiled, and said, "I'll be right back." She sat back and took a sip of milk, and smiled. Intrigued. Like a version of Superman he returned. Jeans, a brown wool sweater, leather jacket over is arm and that same sweet smile. Now she blushed. He said, my shift is over, our chariot waits.
Many cabs he's hailed, but this time he got in. He gave the driver directions and took her hand smiling. So strange, but so right. Moments after arriving at Central Park they were snuggled up next to each other in a glistening white horse and carriage. The sounds of traffic silencing as they entered the park. "Loren, is that box still wrapped around me?" She chuckled and felt a deep peace never felt before. In a sweet silence the ride began. In the glow of the moon, Jose lifted her chin, gazed in her eyes and kissed her lips gently.
That one loop around the park changed everything. Joseph knew everything about her. Suddenly, she realized all along that right at her very threshold was a man who loved her. Sadly though, she was so caught up in her world she didn't know anything about who he was, only that it was the highlight of her day to come home to him. They sat at The Comfort diner, and over a corn muffin and coffee, she learned of the writer in him, the volunteer, the biker, the connoisseur of film and fine wine, philosopher, the good son and kind soul.
Loren and Jose chatted through breakfast, lunch and dinner and it didn't feel like passing time. When they arrived at her apartment building, she playfully held open the door for him, and quietly escorted him to her apartment. She sat him on her couch and served him a tall glass of warm milk and cookies. No sex, no rush. Just the warmth of love and friendship filled the room. Loren felt oddly comforted knowing that her love was literally at her doorstep for years all along. Curled up on the couch they gently fell asleep in each other's arms peacefully.
The Tip Jar