A little tug at the heartstrings

I’ve been MIA from the blog for a few weeks. Not because I want to but because life is just all over the place in good ways. David and I were away a few times, once with the boys and once alone. So my time to blog has been a little constrained for good reason. But I needed to share a little something near and dear to my heart.

logo_of_the_united_states_marine_corpsMost people close to me know that, David is a former Marine…let me add Once a Marine, Always a Marine, and he’s my Marine.

A few weeks ago he had an appointment and we ran into each other at the food store before he went to it, and would later meet up at home. While I was there, buying manzanella olives, and some pickles, I saw this older gentleman who seemed to have a little trouble reaching the canned vegetables. Now I’m a shorty, but I did offer my assistance to see if I could help him get what he needed. He was so thankful, and told me he was looking for the canned corn but couldn’t find it. It so happened to be on a lower shelf and I picked it up for him and he thanked me so much. I told him to have a good day and enjoy his dinner.

I finished up my shopping and checked out. When I got home, I made a little something to eat and cleaned up a little bit. David arrived soon after, and he had this look on his face. Something was off, but it wasn’t bad, it was just that he had a little sadness in his eyes.

What’s the matter? I asked

He then tells me before his appointment he went to the pizza shop to get a slice of pizza, and about 10 min later an older gentleman walked into the shop.

As David relayed the encounter he spoke as if he was the gentleman.

He walks in and asks the waitress “Am I allowed to eat there?” When she said yes, he then asks “Can I have chicken Parmigiano and do you have hot Italian bread?”. She said yes to both and she seemed a little shocked. He then asks “Can I sit here and eat it at a table? She tells him to go and pick any one he’d like and his food will be right out.

“I noticed right away he was wearing a hat, he was a WWII Vet. A Marine. I tried to get the waitresses attention, but she kept ignoring me. Finally I walked up to her and told her to add his meal to mine. And if he asked, Thank him for his service, from one Marine to another Marine”

 

David brought me to tears, and I’m sure he’s not to happy I’m writing about this, it’s personal, it’s at a level I didn’t understand, Marine to Marine, that is. But I do understand.

“He looked so alone, and as he asked if he could eat there, it just hit me.”

I asked if the gentleman was wearing grey sweatpants, and he said yes. I then told him my little story, it was the same man in the food store I had helped with his canned corn. We took a moment just thinking about it. I told him in his own way he made that mans night and I’m sure that he’d be grateful for the gesture.

 

Fast forward to yesterday, I’ve been having a few rough days, dealing with some stressful situations and finally got myself back to my chiropractor for a long overdue visit. It put me in a better mood, physically and emotionally. I had tried to meet up with my girlfriend for breakfast afterwards but being a new mom her little man was calling the shots. So instead I went to breakfast solo, and a little diner I haven’t been to in years. After my chiropractic session, I couldn’t imagine sitting at the counter on a stool with no back, so I asked the waitress if she minded if I sat at her 4 top table since there were 2 others available. She didn’t mind and I took the one closest to the door. image

I ordered my food, and table by table the place filled up. As I was finishing up my coffee and eggs, an older gentleman walked in, and he had a cane. I could see there were no tables left for him to sit at and so I took another sip of coffee and tried to get his attention. The waitress saw this and motioned to him, he turned around and I told him that if he would like he could have my table as I was finished with my breakfast.

“Thank you so much, it’s hard for me to sit on the stools with no back to them. These old bones don’t move that easily anymore. But I don’t want you to move or stop eating on account of me” he said

“Not a problem, I understand. And it’s not a bother, I’m finished and even if I wasn’t I’d just offer for you to sit with me at this big table. I always welcome company.”

He thanked me again and I moved my plate and cup to the counter. The waitress mouthed “Thank you” to me and I nodded. As I waited for her to take his order, it hit me.

Why not.

I caught her attention as she started to walk back around the counter, and whispered, “Add his bill to mine” She smiled and walked away to put his order in. When she got back around the other side of the counter she asked me are you sure. I said yes, add his to mine. When I paid her I told her if he asked to tell him, I wanted to brighten his day with a smile.

As I turned around to leave I saw him sitting in my chair and noticed his hat. A WWII Vet. A Marine. I touched his arm, fighting back tears, and said

“Thank you for your service, have a wonderful day, and enjoy your breakfast”

“Thank you, and thank you for the table. Have a good day” he said

I walked out the door, with tears welling up. I don’t really know why, except that I did. I’m an emotional person, always have been. Heck as I’m typing this whole thing I’m fighting back tears.

I don’t write this post to brag about, David (he’s probably not going to like this at first because he doesn’t like to talk about himself or what he does) or myself for that matter. I write it because what a small gesture as these may be, can possibly make someones day a little brighter, a little less lonely. It is ironic that both men, completely different, yet so similar.

image

What I do hope you take from this post is the next time you see someone, pay it forward, just for the heck of it. Buy a coffee, buy a donut, buy a meal. I did it because he was an older gentleman and he kinda tugged at my heartstrings, I had no idea he was a Veteran.

#AtoZChallenge K is for Kindness

imageKindness comes in all forms, but most people automatically think of kindness towards others. Which in and of itself is a wonderful thing, but first before we can offer kindness towards others, we must be able to be kind to ourselves.

How many times during the course of a day are you unkind to yourself? Think about it. You put extra obstacles in front of you from the moment you wake up, you have unrealistic goals that you may not be able to attain, you don’t give yourself credit for the achievements you do reach, or possibly you think harshly about yourself and your valid accomplishments don’t feel deserving of a pat on the back. You think poorly of your self worth, feel unlovable, unattractive, or simply not good enough for yourself or for others.

Any of those sound familiar to you as you’re reading them? I’m sure at one point in our lives this is the case. Hopefully it’s not a daily occurence and you are being kind to yourself daily.

We need to reinforce the simple, yet often hard, act of kindness within our own lives. Kindness, like love, can not be freely given to another person unless we are able to let go of our own self imposed barriers, and give to ourselves first. It’s not being selfish, it’s fostering a healthy relationship with ourselves so we can also encourage healthy relationships with those in our lives.

Just as we can not teach a child respect, honor, discipline, and love unless we are ourselves practicing what we preach. Do not expect to hold another person to a higher standard if you yourself can not at least try to do it for yourself. That wouldn’t be fair to them, or you for that matter.

Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others. Practice daily moments of self kindness. Tell yourself in the morning that you are good enough, lovable, worthy of goodness and happiness. These mantras of kindness will help you through your daily life and your interactions with others.

My inner bitch

11204903_770342783063943_6736379179427050137_nYep these words have been circling my head lately and after a few conversations with a few lovely ladies in my life, it’s been determined I need to maybe let her loose a little.

Not in a bad way, but more of a -Stand My Ground – kind of way.

Instead of being the overly accommodating, generous, good hearted person I am, who eventually gets her good natured spirit taken advantage of I need to reclaim that inner strength again. 

Don’t take my kindness and good nature as a sign of weakness. It’s far from the case. But what my nature has shown is a heart very accepting of less than I should in many facets of my life. 

Time for that to change. 

Self Compassion. Compassion must start within! #1000Speak

It seems that for some people, the idea of compassion entails a complete disregard for, or even a sacrifice of, their own interests. This is not the case. In fact, you first of all have to have a wish to be happy yourself – if you don’t love yourself like that, how can you love others? – Dalai Lama

For one to have compassion towards others, I feel there is a deep need to have Self Compassion. You can find many wise teachers who profess Self Compassion as a point to leading towards compassion for others. Dali Lama, Lao Tzu~Tao Te Ching, Buddha, just to name a few. Even Buddha has said Compassion that does not include self compassion is incomplete.

Love, Compassion, Empathy, Patience, all must start within.

I was drawn to this movement, of writing about compassion, from the moment I first read a tweet from Gene’O. This was something I needed to be involved in. The 1000 Speak For Compassion international blogging event (#1000Speak).

But how? Little me, small voice, in such a huge pond. What could I possibly have to say about Compassion, that hasn’t been said before?

It starts with the SELF. Me, just little me.

And that’s when it hit me. It was like my heart opened up, and my eyes were seeing clearly. I have always seen myself as not being able to make an impact, I’m only one person, and often times I’ve seen myself as insignificant based on the thoughts and ideals of others. Not directly but more indirectly.

I’m not good enough
I’m not pretty enough
I’m not skinny enough
I’m not tall enough
I’m not smart enough
I’m not…Enough.

But I Am. And it’s taken quite a long time to get to this point. Almost 40 years.

I Am Good
I Am Pretty
I Am Smart
I Am Unique and that’s pretty damn Awesome!
I Am Me
I Am…Enough.

IMG_3622I’ve always had less compassion for myself than I have for others. Always putting others needs before my own, making sure everyone else is happy. I’ve learned more recently in life that putting myself first, my needs, wants, desires, longings, dreams, aspirations, etc needs to come first. It’s not being selfish, it’s focusing on the priorities. If I’m not truly happy and content, as much as I want to believe I am, I am in esense short-changing myself and those around me.

As I like to say, I am an ever evolving work in progress, striving to learn, grow, and better my own well being. I struggle with self compassion on an almost daily basis. There are days that are better than others, and others that are worse. It’s a process, but one I’m fully willing to embrace and work through. I want to put myself first, I must!

I’ve struggled with my weight for a while. When I was young, I was actually underweight for a considerable amount of time, then I was “normal” by the doctors standards. In High School I was always seen as the girl with the pretty face, but guys would often tell me that I would be prettier if I was skinnier. I think that’s when I became more aware of how others saw me. But this was their view of me. Yes it made an impact, one I wish hadn’t.

I still struggle with my weight, but not the same way I did. I don’t hate my body for all it’s been through. I admire it. Not it hasn’t bared any children, it has gone through a lot of torture though. And it has come out the other side much stronger, healthier, happier, and maybe a few pounds more than I technically should be, by doctor standards. But this body, approaching 40 is the best damn version of Paula in years! I’m proud of her. Not because of what a scale says, but for what I can accomplish. I’m not a marathon runner, I’m not a jogger, I’m not a cross-country skier, nor a distance swimmer. I walk, I hike, I take care of my body. We are only given one on this journey, and it is precious. I accept myself for my flaws as others may view them. That is their prerogative, by I choose compassion. Self Compassion. It has to start somewhere and that somewhere is me.

I had over the last year compiled 2 photo collages of my transforming body. For a reminder to myself especially. I am far from where I was, back in 2000 when I had my car accident, or in 2009, suffering from severe asthma which had me pumped up on steroids. Or back in 2012 when I had fibroid surgery, and then finding out I had gluten intolerance. Having to recover and eliminate gluten at the same time was a struggle unto it self when all I was able to eat was ritz crackers with peanut butter and jelly. In a way, if it weren’t for only being able to eat those things, I fear that my health would have suffered more, because I wouldn’t have known what was causing me so much extra distress. But through it all, I’ve learned to appreciate my body. To love myself. Find that compassion for myself.

Be compassionate to yourself, be kind to yourself, love yourself for all you may feel makes you “Less Than”…And embrace it. You are unique, you are rare, you are Enough. In fact, you are more than enough. All the self-doubt, negative talk, and whatever else enters your mind, needs to be taken out with the trash. You are so much better than all of that. WE ALL ARE!

Love towards others has an origin in love and care of oneself. When a compassionate person really understands themselves, that is when they understand others.

“Listen with ears of tolerance! See through the eyes of compassion! Speak with the language of love”
― Rumi

https://www.facebook.com/1000VoicesSpeak (you can find over a thousand other bloggers discussing compassion in its various forms, by following this link to the facebook page.

https://justgeneo.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/for-1000speak-on-compassion-and-nonviolence/#more-3584

Search Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media outlet with the hastag #1000Speak and you will also find more Compassionate posts. The purpose is to flood the internet with an abundance of compassionate posts in all various forms. Please take the time to read some of the other wonderful posts out there. I will be ReTweeting most of them myself. You can also follow me @Lilly2412 on Twitter.

**Update. The Linky InLinkz post containing all the compassion posts can be accessed by following this link —>. http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=497564

***Images are donated to #1000Speak as uncredited art, unless otherwise specified as ©RandomMusingsandWanderlust.wordpress.com