Love and Relationships

Mom, my First Love

Image courtesy of digitalart, published on 29 May 2011 Stock Image - image ID: 10043334, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

Image courtesy of digitalart, published on 29 May 2011 Stock Image – image ID: 10043334, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

My mother was my first love. She was my first love, even before my father, because my first recollection of feeling something like love, was when she’d have to go to work and I’d be left with a babysitter or other relatives. I longed for her company, her hugs, kisses, and smiles. She would play games with me – long tea party sessions and make-believe camping trips where we’d fight off attacking bears (Square Toes is what we called a particularly aggressive bear, lol).

Back in the 1980s, it was easier to bring and keep your child at work. My mother worked in the San Francisco and worked at least fifty to sixty hour work weeks. I would go with her to work on Saturdays and play as if I was a banker. I think that’s how I learned to type, as I played on the old typing and adding machines with other little kids who were there, too. We’d run from cubicle to cubicle, taking papers, pens, and any other office supplies we could fashion into airplanes or paper dolls. My mother and their mothers never scolded us.

She worked for Crocker Bank, started in the check processing lockboxes and moved her way up to computer operations. Crocker Bank was bought out by Wells Fargo, which merged with First Interstate, then Norwest, and now Wells Fargo again. I remember her and her co-worker/friends smoking cigarettes as they worked on mainframe systems. The air was cold and smelled of faint cigarette smoke and new computer machines, fresh out of the box. She was a computer operator and I was fascinated watching her work with these big, smart machines.

After work, we’d shop at Esprit, or Emporium, and then head to the toy store. I remember a doctors kit from TJ Maxx she bought for me. We’d stop at Woolworths for some candy and no matter how tired my mom was, she’d let me talk to the pet birds and fish they sold. Then we’d catch the BART train back to Oakland, and people watch. At night, she would read as many books as I’d give her, often reading stories over and over again.

Everyday my mom tirelessly walked to the bus stop, caught the bus to the train, worked all day, then caught the same buses and trains back to pick me up. One time, she picked me up from daycare. We stopped and picked up a pizza slice from Cybelle’s. As soon as I got that lovely piece of thick crust and pepperoni, it dropped and splattered on the ground. I threw a fit. My mom, ever the appeaser, tried to buy another slice, but the parlor didn’t have anymore pizza slices that were ready. My mom consoled me enough to go home. She had a little surprises for me in her bags, sweets or toys, I can’t remember. What I do remember is she was a magician in my eyes and all-powerful enough to make things alright.

My mom: so smart, so beautiful, so loving, and so kind and indeed, was my first love.

Love you, Mommie. Thank you for always being so selfless, giving and loving to me, Jenni, and your grandkids. We’ve been so blessed and taken care of for as long as I can remember, because God packaged you into the amazing woman who you are. I aspire to be just like you when I become a grandmother. Thank you.

~Your Curator of all Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Decency versus Artistic Expression

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono, published on 14 January 2010  Stock Image - image ID: 10011501, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono, published on 14 January 2010
Stock Image – image ID: 10011501, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

People had lots to say about Beyoncé’s performance, going as far as she’s nobody’s role model and the Grammy’s show was inappropriate. My mother, had an opinion along the same vein.

“She needs to put some clothes on. It’s getting old, she’s getting old,” my mother said, after watching a YouTube video of the mega star’s Grammy performance. I asked her to expound.

“She has a daughter now. Now, my girl Emeli Sande, she’s always dressed and it’s her voice that stands out.” I made my mother watch the entire Grammy performance, certain that once she saw Beyoncé’s dance routine, surely she’d feel differently – I mean the girl was straddling a chair for God’s sake! How on earth would she be able to do that with a long gown? My mother shot me a disapproving look and shook her head, “no.” In mom’s opinion, time’s up for Beyoncé’s body suits.

Clearly, we feel differently, and at first, I was quick to write it off as yet another difference of opinion between the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. But, something still nagged me about people’s reaction to Beyoncé’s performance.

I suppose she could have sung and straddled the chair in some biker shorts and still be sexy. But, why was it even an issue? Is America that moralistic that they could not stand to see a woman’s butt cheeks bumping on her husband’s frontal area? And, whatever happened to artistic expression and freedom? Is decency more important than an artist expressing themselves (even in a sexually charged song and dance)?

Beyoncé is free to write, sing and perform whatever she wants to. If she wants to make a personal album detailing explicit moments between her and her husband, that’s most definitely okay. I want to hear it. Artists are not meant to fit a mold for the sake of being a role model. It’s the parents’ job to filter what their children should be listening and watching. It’s not Beyoncé’s or any other celebrity’s job to water down their artistic expression to spare someone.

I’m sure people will argue that little girls look up to her and she should save these type of performances for the bedroom. I disagree. She’s a role model not just to girls, but to women who fantasize about dancing for their man, and the world appreciating her body and her voice. She’s an excellent business woman and I’m sure a wonderful mother and wife. I appreciate her making art for herself. I think all artists have an obligation to create art just for their own appreciation.

Her performance was racy and beautiful. A woman singing for herself and to her husband, what an amazing thing. But, to appease my inherited moral compass, I tell mom, “yeah, she could put on a little more on the bottom.”

~Your Curator of all things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Ladies, Buy Your Own Flowers

Flower courtesy of my husband 🙂

I am the source and receiver of all that I want in this life…

I was a flower thief as a toddler. There wasn’t a flower that was safe. Amusement parks with signs saying “Don’t Touch The Flowers” meant nothing to me. I’d throw tantrums if I was denied the chance to pluck a bloom. As a child, I was chased out of yards by barking dogs, all in my quest to get a rose or a tulip. Despite all of my flower passion, the only men who gave me flowers were male co-workers who pitched in for obligatory birthday bouquets or my father, who once moon lighted as a florist.

I know some women who wait and wait for men to give them flowers, gifts or love. What are you waiting for? All the Universe will do is give you more of what you’re doing and thinking – wait, wait, and more waiting. Instead of waiting, get your own flowers and love yourself. Be the source and the receiver of all that you want in this life.

I set the intention as a little girl flowers were going to come into my life and guess what? They did and abundantly! Girlfriends, family members and yours truly got me flowers. I didn’t wait for a man to provide what I could manifest in my own life. Sure, it’s nice to now get flowers from my lover, but it was even more rewarding and satisfying to pick out my own and proudly display them at work. When people asked, “who bought you the pretty flowers?” I’d say with robust pride, “me!”

-Your Curator of all things abundant and beautiful, Kimberly Jo Cooley

A Blessing for You and Me

Image courtesy of SOMMAI, published on 28 December 2012, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of SOMMAI, published on 28 December 2012, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

 I am a blessing to all who come into contact with me and in turn, everyone who come’s into contact with me is a pure blessing in my life.

When you’re in traffic jams or standing in line, look at the people around you. Are they troubled? Happy? Crying? Laughing? Singing? Notice them and then say a quick prayer to bless them, such as, “May God bless that person, my sister/brother with peace and abundance today.” This is particularly helpful if a rogue driver cuts you off and your instinct is to road rage and curse them out. Instead, say a quiet prayer for them.

You truly are a blessing and probably touch many peoples’ lives, which is why it comes back to you in the form of a good, happy life. Find small ways to be a blessing in just one person’s life, and you will soon find there are many small acts of love you can show a stranger, a co-worker, a friend, a family member. Next thing you know, you’ve touched not just one person’s life, but several in one day!  

If each of us exercised this power of blessing one another, sharing just a small piece of ourselves freely, the world will become a generous, more loving place. Let the blessings begin with you. The Universe will bless you, because that is the Way.  When we stop sharing and giving, we stunt the Universe’s flow in returning those blessings to us. The circle of love begins and ends with you.

Your Curator of All things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Thank you Mr. Mandela, for Teaching the Cycle of Forgiveness

Image courtesy of "Lonely Tree" by Evgeni Dinev, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of “Lonely Tree” by Evgeni Dinev, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” -Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela passed away today, at the age of 95. Nelson Mandela’s life – long, fruitful, inspirational, fraught with pain and struggle, triumph and victory – is something we all should aspire to be. I thank him for all the teaching moments his life brought to my life and his spirit and legacy lives on forever.

Last week, I mentioned I would start having discussions with readers and today marks the first blog in this format. I’m reaching out to you, my readers, for discussions topics or questions to write in this blog and they can be from anonymous source. Email me at KimberlyJoCooley@aol.com.

Q. Can you share your thoughts about forgiveness? I’ve always heard how people chose to forgive someone who hurt them deeply in one way or another in order to help them move on. What does that mean and how do you accomplish it?

Letting go. Time truly heals many wounds but in the meantime, how can one work on letting go of a situation? Is it best to force yourself to not think about it, i.e. whenever the thought crosses your mind, change the subject so to speak? Or do you try to keep busy and occupy yourself so as to distract you?

How does one remain hopeful of love and marriage? Is there really truly somebody for everybody?

A. Forgiveness. Such a heavy proposition, isn’t it? Why should we have to forgive those who trespass us?

It’s just as much about you as it is the person whose being forgiven, if not more about you. Not forgiving holds us back, dims and dulls our life’s experiences, and drags us down.

Nelson Mandela’s first quote above is not talking about the brick and mortar prison he sat in for 27 years for anti-Apartheid activities. He’s talking about the prison of our minds – the bondage of holding in resentment. His quote can help us better understand the notion of forgiveness in relationships and how it is necessary for moving on to bigger and better love. If we cannot let go of the pain, bitterness, anger, and resentment, then we will never fully move into the present of the here and now. The here and now is freedom to love.

Resentment comes from a misunderstanding many of us have about a situation or person. We believe they have wronged us and we come to hate a person. Remember that you called this person into your life, or at the very least allowed that person to enter your sphere. Think about the reasons why they were in your life. Acknowledge and appreciate their good qualities you loved about them. And, thank God for showing you the qualities in them that you could very much live without. It is especially the parts of a person that hurt you that has the most to offer you – the relationship is gone and over, but you now learned a little more about yourself in terms of what you want and don’t want in a relationship.

Nelson Mandela had several loves in his life, including three wives. Each of those wives, he loved deeply and considered them partners and soul mates. Two of the three marriages ended in divorce. Winnie Mandela allegedly cheated on Mr. Mandela and was emotionally neglectful – yet, he found love again at the age of 77, and died a happily married man at the age of 95. I read that in divorce court, Nelson Mandela smiled at his soon to be former wife, Winnie, but she turned away. He was sorrowful and humbled during the divorce proceedings and he spoke of his love and appreciation for his wife. He knew there was no hope for their relationship, but he chose not to be mired in pain and resentment towards his ex-wife.

Mr. Mandela’s story tells us that soul mates can come in many different forms and times in our lives. There are some loves in your life greater than others because of the chemistry or attachment you have to a person. As many times as you believe your soul mate is out there, is as many times your soul mate is forming and finding their way to you. Many people have great loves in their lives, not just one.

Allow yourself a little time to mourn the demise of a relationship, but write a reminder somewhere you can refer to that says when you’re ready and open, love is available to you. Dwelling in sadness only delays the recovery and the rediscovery of yourself in this life and of future loves to come. Don’t let unforgiveness of the person you once was in a relationship with slow down your momentum to a loving relationship with yourself and someone new.

If you’ve ever tried to not think about something, then you likely know that it is almost impossible not to think about that very thing you’re trying to avoid thinking about. Deal with the feelings early and head on. Wallow, watch bad romantic comedies, cry, talk it out with friends and write in a journal. When you spend a little time mourning, remember there is a season for sadness and there is a season for moving. Take a trip, pick up a new hobby, or set up a regular volunteer activity to help move you into your new season of life and love. Don’t ignore your feelings, but don’t let them rule you or your life. Give yourself a break and have fun! Dating and making new friends is an adventure – the hunt for the love(s) of your life should be a good time, with a little contrast here and there. Isn’t that why we signed up for this thing called love and life anyway?

Finally, BE forgiveness. One of the qualities we want in our mates is the ability to forgive and humility. If those are qualities you want in others, make sure it’s something you have inside yourself as well. As a matter of fact, any trait you’d like to see in your partner, bring that energy into your own being right here, right now. BE the forgiveness. Appreciate – even if all you can think of is the negative in a person or situation. The negativity or adversity is only clarifying what it is you really want in your life, so have compassion for yourself and that person. Bless yourself and the other person by praying for them, too, to find love and peace in this life.

In relationships, there will be little transgressions, arguments, and disagreements. A person who can quickly regroup and forgive is one that will succeed in life and love.

The cycle of forgiveness is necessary to keep mankind in love and in check. The moment you truly forgive, is the moment you are free from the prison of resentment. Forgiveness sets us all free, both the forgiven and the forgiving. The moment each of us wholeheartedly takes part in this beautiful cycle, the moment love blooms and dwells freely inside all of us.

Many Blessings to you,

~ Everyday Spiritual Warrior, Kimberly Jo

What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

Courtesy of Facebook: Soul Speaking and School of Applied Spiritual Science

The word “contrast” is a new age term that defines the things we believe we do not want in our lives. The things we do not want “contrast” to what it is we do want. Contrast is the darkness to the light of your dreams. But, in order to have light, there must be darkness to dissolve and in order for darkness to no longer exist, there must be light. The more your focus is on the dark of situations, the less energy goes to the light of a situation. It’s a matter of choice on what you want to focus on. There is nothing inherently wrong with darkness or lightness, nor is there anything wrong with the light and dark of your dreams – it is just simply contrasting. Having a lot of contrast means you have a lot of energy focused on things that do not suit you or, (and my favorite option), you are in the turbulent waters of change. Change is a sign of a manifestation about to be fulfilled.

Just as a painting can take on different looks and appearances at each glance, so can your view of a situation or problem. It is up to you to find the beauty of a situation or to look at the situation from a different angle. It is not up to the situation or problem to change and conform to your perception of it. It is in these moments of realization that we grow spiritually, when we realize we no longer need to waste our energy in problem thinking, but dwell in the sweetness of the solution thoughts.

Superstition or luck implies there is something outside your control that is steering your life. Well, here is a news flash for some of you – it’s not dumb luck that is happening – YOU and your thoughts are creating what’s happening.

A few years ago, as a claims adjuster, I witnessed contrast in another’s life. I was very stressed at work with my claims workload, as were my fellow colleagues. “Terry” was also a claims adjuster and she wanted to be successful in her job. Another important desire in her life was she wanted to fall in love and remarry.  Many of her friends watched Terry blossom into love. She was dating new guys and we saw her take chances in love.

One day, we got devastating news. Terry was let go from her job as a claims adjuster because the company didn’t feel her work was to their liking. Terry, myself and another friend cried like babies in Terry’s car after hearing the news. I felt like someone knocked the wind out of me, and I could only imagine how Terry was feeling. In that moment, it felt like the world was an unfair place, like luck was not on our side.

Well, I am happy to report that the contrast – Terry being let go – was the beginning to the beautiful light that would later fill her life. I know that Terry, very much like myself, would not have willingly quit my job. It would have taken being laid off in order to say goodbye to a job that may or may not have been the right fit. Terry’s intention was already out to God – she wanted to be successful and married. Her insurance claims job took up her whole day, time, spirit and energy – there was not enough room for her new husband to step into her life or her new job to find its way to her. God wanted her to have all that she dreamed of, and He knew that was not going to happen while she worked as a claims adjuster.

She ultimately fell in love with someone she knew in her past and they married. She has a job that she really likes and lives in another part of Northern California. She would not have all of this if the “contrast” – her losing the job – had not taken place. Did she desire losing her job or pray that it would go away? No! But, she DID pray for a loving marriage and an enjoyable job where she felt secure and satisfied, and that is exactly what she got.

When Terry was consciously and unconsciously dreaming of her future life, she didn’t know the “how” or “when.” God’s plan is simple – we pray for the “what” in our life. We do not worry about the “how” or “when” or even the “why,” because God takes care of those. Her dreams manifested into something way better than she probably could have imagined or created by herself.

Terry let go of the lesser for the greater, without even knowing that was what was taking place in her life. That’s how powerful our minds are when it is working in concert with God. As she followed the contrast to a better shade she could deal with, God met her half way and fulfilled the dream in only His special way. In the most, miraculous, amazing way. There was no luck or superstition about it.

Take a look at your life to see where contrast is. I bet it is in an area that you feel like there is no movement or where you could use some luck. Instead of relying on luck, do something with better results – focus on the feelings you want to feel about that situation, which doesn’t take more than twenty seconds to do. Imagine yourself or your situation transformed, but don’t worry about how it will be moved, only KNOW that it is. Thank God for the transformation and then move on with your day. You’ve just planted the seed to a new manifestation and exercised gratitude for what’s on its way to you. And, most importantly, you’ve demonstrated faith in the knowing that it is already on its way to you and that you no longer need to rely on superstition or luck to have the life you want.

Peace and blessings to you,

~ Everyday Spiritual Warrior, Kimberly Jo Cooley

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