November 21, 2010

Gratitude and puppies.

Another month, another amazing Wow meeting.  We gathered for a yummy potluck and to answer the questions, "What has made you most happy this year....or for what are you most grateful."  The dinner was noisy, as usual, with all the ladies sharing stories and getting to know each other - picture 15 women in a small space eating and laughing and having fun.  In my own life, I know that counting my blessings changes my attitude, takes my mind off my troubles, and makes me grateful for even the smallest good thing I have. In one of my favorite blog feeds, the message today was "Gratitude feels so good because it is the state of mind closest to your natural state in which you were born to live."  -Abraham-Hicks

After such a boisterous dinner hour, I figured it might be tough to settle the ladies down to this somewhat serious topic, but I was touched and moved by their answers.  Many talked about their families, how they had repaired relationships with their children, and some were grateful that they even had children. Some were grateful that their adult children continued to include and welcome them into their adult lives. Some shared their joy that they were to have a new grand baby soon, including one who had seen her daughter through a variety of very tough times, including drugs and alcohol and finally 12-step recovery. They talked about how their relationships had grown more healthy , how they had learned to set boundaries and maintain those friendships, and that they were very grateful to have friends.  Several ladies talked about their new assertiveness, how they no longer put up with men who were bad for them, and how they became brave enough to open their lives to new jobs and new possibilities.  The teachers were grateful that they could positively affect their students and one was grateful just to have things to be grateful for.  One told about her 91-year-old mother, still strong and bright, and having had the time to repair and now enjoy their relationship. Several talked about being content with their lives, how they no longer struggle or strive to make things happen, such as finding a mate, but are open to what could happen. Several were grateful for the ability to continue to pay their bills. Two were delighted to have a new love in their lives, a new puppy that brought joy and love into their homes and hearts.  Another two were here for the first time and expressed their gratitude at having friends and now being able to make even more.

I looked around the room at this very eclectic group of lovely women, feeling grateful that they were in my home, happy that they so easily shared their struggles and successes and desires.  Several of them included just being part of this group in their gratitude list, which filled me with the warmest fuzziest feelings of the evening.

I continue to be amazed at how much joy and pleasure these ladies bring into my life.  It's nice to have a boyfriend as a few of the ladies do, but the warmth and nurturing that comes from women friends isn't something we find in a man.  We can enjoy his company, the fun of doing new things, the pleasure of intimacy, but only our women friends can bring this kind of love and warmth.  I may not be close friends with all of my Wowettes, but I really do love and appreciate them all.  Here they are!

November 14, 2010

Our traveling Wowette visits.

I'm fascinated by an update of one of my Wowettes.  She was always been a quiet presence, even in the midst of a houseful of noisy women.  She tends to listen and not leap, but I've always felt a strength to her.   Quiet and seemingly shy as she is, she is one of the first Wowettes in our five plus years together to find a man she wanted. He was her "type," rugged and handsome and earthy, but kind and respectful and loving.  They had their ups and downs, but she never failed to say how much they could talk and share and enjoy each other's company.

But they had some conflicts.  She had recently been divorced from a long and not always very happy marriage, and her grown children were off on their own building successful lives.  Clearly, her bad experience made her not want to remarry and having raised her own children, preferred a relationship where her mate's kids were out of the house, too.  But her guy's adult kids were still hanging around and he allowed them to stay.  And she wanted to retire in or near a city where she could find peace and quiet and not much traffic but still have culture and fun....and he wanted to retire in the mountains, far from civilization, just the two of them.  And he definitely wanted to get married.  What's a girl to do?

She retired. She moved to a senior community in a nearby state.  And she started to create a new life, make new friends, and have new experiences without him.  They stayed in touch, but it appeared that their future wouldn't be together.  Lo and behold, his adult kids moved out.  He accepted that she was living elsewhere and that she wouldn't marry him.  And he decided that a committed relationship, even if they didn't see each other every day, was OK with him.  So she lives there and visits here and he lives here and visits there and they are very, very happy.

So what's so amazing to me?  That she attributes some of her courage to stick to her guns and live the life of her choice to being part of our women's group, that seeing other women in similar circumstances, single after long marriages, gave her the strength to be true to her desires and dreams.  And that she refused to give up how she wanted to live her life to do what her guy wanted, but in the end worked out a compromise that made them both happy.  I have only the greatest admiration and respect for this lovely woman who, by the way, has kindly invited me to visit her new home and see the sights!

I know that relationships require compromise, that we all have to give up something to get something, but so many of my friends really give up too much, surrender their dreams and goals, and end up with a relationship that is unhappy, especially over time when resentment and bitterness can set in. I think that many of these women know that they are giving up too much and allowing the guy to give up so little or even nothing.....but they do it anyway, maybe hoping that somehow it will still make them happy, knowing in their hearts that it really won't.

So kudos to my dear friend.  For making my heart sing by saying that I, and my women's group, were a big part of helping her create a new life after a failed marriage.  For being honest with herself about what she wanted for her life and for sticking to her guns, not in a mean or hard way, but in a tender and compassionate way, refusing to give up her dreams but still keeping space in her life so that her guy could make the changes, on his own and by his own choice, to create a life together. And for staying in my life, even with such distance between us, so that I could continue to enjoy the story of a woman who dreamed.....and is making her dreams come true..