Winners and Losers

As you may or may not know-I LOVE European football-soccer.  To be honest, I say that I started watching it because of “co-habitation”.  My SO is a Brit and has been following the same team for “Donkey’s Years”-as he would say.  Isn’t that a funny expression? I mean, exactly how long is a Donkey’s Year?  If any of you reading this are British, I’m open to being enlightened on this one!  Anyway, because it was a World Cup year when we first got together and he watched EVERY game, I slowly started watching it.  And then became hooked on it-if it’s a good game.  What constitutes a good game for me?  Well, great open play.  I always like a little drama-some yellow cards and maybe a red if it’s not a player from a team I’m supporting-so a little controversy.  Tough play-although I hate to see people injured or even worse.  An agitated manager on the sidelines is always fun to watch as is a good, interactive “12th Man”-which is the crowd itself. I’ve come to appreciate the almost balletic dance a great player does-some would call this dribbling with the ball-but to me, watching a fantastic player or a team that is in total sync with one another, is like watching a dance performance.  Of course the sheer athleticism of these guys is amazing-I mean they’re sprinting for 90 minutes. And of course, I love goals-especially when it’s my team scoring them-but I can appreciate a great goal no matter who made it.

At the end of every game-there’s a winner and a loser.  Of course, depending on the team or the game, the losers can be devastated.  Although, at times, a tie, can be a win for a team.  So while I have been watching football games this whole season-following both English and Spanish football primarily, I keep up with French as well.  And, as you may or may not know-aside from the English League or the Spanish League, there’s also the Champions League.  This brings together the top teams from each league in Europe.  While every game is important and winnning is winning- in addition to winning whichever league a team is in, winning the Champions League is at the top–because it means that team is the best in all of Europe.

I’ve seen one of the favorites-Barcelona (my first and foremost favoirte team) knocked out by Roma-a team who completely gave it their all and totally and unexpectedly, won that round.  I’m not sure they’ve ever gone that far in this competition.  I saw Man City-a team that has won the Premiere League and plays a really beautiful game, get knocked out by Liverpool.  I saw Juventes fans totally decimated in the first leg against Real Madrid, but still stand and cheer when a Madrid player made an AMAZING bicycle kick goal.  Then Juve regrouped and outplayed Real Madrid in the second round-only to lose in the last minute of the game. Talk about controversy!!!

Of course the players and managers of the losing teams were devastated-In fact, many managers get fired if they lose this competition. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Real Madrid manager had been fired if they’d lost-in spite of having a good record.  This football world is brutal-to players and to management.  But in thinking about this, I think one of the things that, in spite of everything else I have gone into at length, that always strikes me the most is how an underdog can pull themselves up and win. How at times, even though they’ve “lost”, they’re winners.  How they can pull way down deep to do whatever it takes to win.  Under immense pressure.  And just as impressive to me, is how that team that lost-those players who feel they’ve let their fans down and at times are seen crying on the pitch after losing an important game, pull themselves together and go on.  They just start over the next day-the next game.

See where I’m going with this?  I read so many blogs where people are trying to quit drinking-or quit whatever it is they want to quit-and can’t do it.  Or they go for a length of time-sometimes only a few days or weeks, sometimes a few months or years and then, they’re drinking again.  Beating themselves up over it.  Feeling guilt and shame.  Feeling like a loser.  Let me say this- there are no losers!  We are all winners.  We all, just like those underdog teams have the capacity to pull it together and win.  Do we have setbacks?  Yes, of course.  We all experience setbacks in our lives at some time or another.  And that’s okay. Because a “setback” is just that. It’s a “check in progress”.. It is not a failure. It’s an opportunity to think about how to do it differently next time.  I have a friend, who has a horrible time when she goes shopping.  Me-I love going to TJ or TK Maxx-H&M-I don’t mind digging and really focusing and finding a good something.  But it’s too much for  her-and yet she keeps going to these places and they are just too overwhelming for her. So the other day, I pointed out that she needs to find another store or stores that fit her and how her mind works-say Zara. ( I know in the UK Zara is always crowded and with lots of stuff going on, but here it’s always nice and tidy and never many people in it.) It’s just about finding a “way in”-finding what works best with who we are.

While we may not all be elite atheletes, but I do believe that we all share something in common with them.  We can each and everyone of us be the absolute best we can be.  I believe that we are meant to be the best that we can be.  I’ve mentioned the “Soul-u-lar Level” before- that place that knows what’s right for us.  The place where our Truth lies.  It’s also the place that lets us know when something isn’t right.  Continuous discomfort about something is a huge sign that we need to make a change in our lives.  It’s a sign that we should stop being afraid to be the best we can be.  I also recognize that this can be scary, but trust me, so much will open up for you.  It’s okay to be the best you can be! It’s okay to excel at being you-in your own, unique, individual way.  Why?

Because you’re a winner!  We are ALL winners!

With Love

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Surfacing

There is so much going on right now in the world!  So many horrible things out of our control. I mean when you think about it, we’re really never in control are we?  At least of outside factors.  And it’s so easy to see the news of a horrible event and feel pain at it, and yet, still feel somewhat removed from it.  Because it doesn’t directly effect “us”.  But here’s the thing-in my mind at least.  EVERYTHING-good and bad does effect everyone on some level.  Whether it’s conscious or not.  Seeing babies gassed in Syria or a hockey team killed in Canada or a High School shot up here in the USA.  What we forget or never knew is that we are all connected.  We are all in this thing called Life.  No matter where we live, what we believe, how we eat or how we look.  We are all human.  It’s so easy to forget this.  So easy to feel like we are encapsulated in our own world.-our own happiness or pain.  Without getting preachy, in my mind, one of the biggest problems in the world today is that there is a lack of connectedness.  Which leads to a lack of tolerance.  Which leads to an “Us against Them” kind of thing.  That’s what racism is.  It’s always blown my mind that people are hated because of their skin color or ethnicity or sex-as if they had a choice!  We can’t help where we’re born or who we’re born to. So why should someone be hated for something they had absolutely no control over?  Crazy! Obviously there are people whose values I don’t share or religious beliefs or even dietary choices.  But why does that make them “less than”?  Jeez!  We are ALL just trying to live in this world.  For the most part, we want the children to have a better life than we had.  I don’t understand, how people can destroy the environment as if they don’t breathe the same air as everyone else.

I read something a long time ago that has stuck with me. Something to the effect that everytime we feel a spark of anger it connects somewhere in the ether with other sparks of anger and all of those sparks collectively cause wars. Now I’ll be the first to admit, that I have a pretty short fuse.  And so, have to admit, that according to this theory, I have contributed to that massive negative  and angry energy.   I will also say, I am definitely better that I used to be.

But the question is, what can we do about it?  What can I or any one person do about all of the horribly negative stuff that’s happening right now on this planet? How can we cope?  Well, here’s what I try to do for whatever it’s worth.  I try to control the things I can.  The things that matter. And give up control over little things that don’t. For instance, as you may have guessed, I’m a foodie.  I have other friends that are foodies.  Going out to dinner or ordering in a restaurant can be a HUGE deal.  Years ago, I made a conscious decision that not every restaurant had to be my choice and that I didn’t have to control what was ordered-as long as I got something that was good for me. Reminding myself that the real thing was to be with friends.

Of course one thing I couldn’t control was my relationship with alcohol.  Tried for years and couldn’t.  So gave it up. While I know that this goes against the AA premise, but for me, by quitting I took control.  I quit letting the alcohol have control over me.  By doing that-which I know isn’t easy-I am clearer about the other choices that I make in my life.

I try to find things, even on the bad days to be grateful for.  To find beauty in something-even if it’s just the light on a beautiful Texas day.  When I get pissy about something, I remind myself that I am blessed.  I remind myself that there are people in other parts of the world living in unthinkable situations-and yet surviving.  That there are people who have lost everything they’ve ever known and are just looking for some peace and safety in their lives. I try to say a prayer every day, asking for all living things on this planet to be blessed-even the politicians that seem to have no humanity in them (this is hard).  I pray that we can all be more tolerant of one another-more accepting.  I pray that we can all know safety and freedom from fear.  I pray for all of the broken hearts in the world, for all of the parents who have lost children.  I try to stay calm-As I mentioned, I have a mantra that I chant throughout the day-hoping that it sends out positive vibrations. It also seems to calm and ground me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I try to be as conscious as I can-without becoming paralyzed by putting too much thought into everything.  Not drinking helps significantly. The freedom that I have acquired from not thinking and obsessing over drinking allows me to put all of that energy into other things.

I’ve also learned to question myself when I find myself obsessing over something wierd.  For example, years ago my ex and I had planned a trip to Mexico.  I hadn’t traveled that much and we were going to take backpacks and bus our way through.  I started OBSESSING over finding the perfect pair of white sandals.  It became a real mission for me.  Of course when it came down to it, I don’t think I even wore them the whole trip!  But, what I realized was that what the REAL issue was was that I was nervous about the trip-traveling in a way I’d never done before.  But instead of really acknowledging it and dealing with it, I put all of my angst into finding those perfect sandals..Displaced anxiety..I had a friend once who had become engaged.  She went on a wedding dress hunt. She tried on hundreds-and money was no object.  But she couldn’t find the right one.  Being me-I pointed out that maybe she didn’t really want to get married.  She broke it off.

Working on ourselves is hard.  It’s work.  It can be draining.  It’s definitely never-ending..And it often seems that there’s never any progress.  But there is.  Just bringing awarenesss to something-bringing it to the surface is the first step.. And, at least for me, once it’s there, it’s hard to ignore for any length of time. And so, I confront it.  Acknowledge it.  Try to look at it objectively.  Try to make whatever changes seem appropriate for that issue.  Does it go away entirely?  Not always.. Sometimes it almost seems as if the Universe is saying, “let’s just see if she’s really worked through this! Let’s throw it at her again, in a different way and see what happens!”  To be honest, at times I think that when I die, I’m finally going to meet the entity that’s been fucking with me my whole life-the one with a very warped sense of humor…:) I hope when I do meet her- I can thank her.

With Love