Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’ve heard a gazillion times that too much of a good thing is no good. I know that can be true. Sometimes, having too much of a good thing can make you take it for granted. If you eat too much of something you love you can get sick of it. That’s happened to me, even with yummy things. Too much alcohol can make you sick. But this theory doesn’t apply to everything in life. Yet we often limit what we feel we can get or what we deserve. That’s not a good use of this mentality!

Mae West said that “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” I agree wholeheartedly! You can never have too much happiness, contentment, or prayers that get answered.

I used to just pray for specific things, so as not to be a greedy girl. Then I read the book, Prayer of Jabez by Bruce H. Wilkinson. It’s a teeny book with a BIG message. It analyzes the Prayer of Jabez, a little known prayer in the bible. The first verse is “Oh, that You would bless me indeed.” The interpretation of that line?

God wants you to ask for miracles. Lots of them!

There’s no tradeoff—if you ask for one thing you can still ask for another and another! Now I completely accept that I can ask for everything I want, and expect to get it in its right time. After reading the book, I began asking for more. And I got more. I asked specifically for miracles, and miracles happened! I got one thing and continued asking for others.

Now that I believe God wants me to be happy, I’m in oink mode! I’m no longer guilty or apologetic about asking for goodies in many areas.

Let go of limitations about what you should ask for or expect. Why not? We can get support for the best life possible. No matter what your religious belief, or lack of one, I implore you to embrace a sense of faith in whatever way works for you. Put it into action! Let the Law of Attraction bring you lots of goodies from all directions. I used to put out an expectation for something I wanted. Then I felt it wasn’t nice to ask for more. So I waited a while before putting other things I wanted.

That was DoorMat style! Now that I’m in oink mode, I put out all sorts of expectations. They come at the right time.

As your spiritual power works, get into oink mode. Use it more! Start by asking for awareness and guidance about something you need. Be patient. Spirituality isn’t magic. You just have to use it. The more faith you get, the more you’ll manifest. It takes time before big benefits of faith become obvious. They may creep up in subtle ways until one day you realize that life is much better in directions that you’d asked for. YEAH!

What would you like? Think about it. Get your vibe of expectation going. Tell the Universe you’re ready for it. Then release it to God and expect it to happen. Getting lots of goodies is so much better than being a DoorMat who feels she doesn’t deserve much. Now I want it all!


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I was running in Central park the other morning and saw a large group of kids. They were out with a teacher in a summer program. As I ran by, I noticed something I’ve seen many times. The boys were running around having a blast. Playing ball, Frisbee, chasing each other, falling down. The girls were sitting quietly in small groups. Doing pretty much nothing!

I wish Cyndi Lauper’s song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was true. Because they don’t!

Okay, maybe they do, deep down. But many won’t allow themselves to have it. When I ran a summer day camp, the boys ran around and played ball all day. The girls over 9 or 10 never wanted to do anything but sit around watching the boys, combing each other’s hair and gossiping. There were a few I could motivate to get up and do an activity. But most followed one or two leaders who called all the shots and led the rest like the Pied Piper.

And then guys wonder why their girlfriend or wife wants to be with him all the time! Many chicks haven’t learned how to have fun, beyond having a guy.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from guys is that when they want a night out with the boys, their partners act like they feel lost. I used to do that when I was a DoorMat. I’d ask, “But what will I do?” in response to his wanting to spend time with friends. My life revolved around whatever guy I was dating. If he was busy, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Why do so many of us have no life when our world isn’t revolving around a man?

One reason is because when we’re girls, we often don’t learn to have fun the way boys did. We didn’t have activities that encouraged us to bond with other girls. Boys played more team sports and had less boundaries. They didn’t have to stay clean and quiet, so they had more fun together.

We have closer intimate friendships than men. But men have a male bonding for which there’s little female equivalent. Men’s camaraderie often has a stronger and healthier foundation.

I was once asked to speak on a live TV news show to talk about a “girl’s night out.” The producer planned to interview women on the street about what they do when they go out with friends. Then I’d comment on their activities. She was excited, thinking she’d get some great responses. I warned her it would probably be a boring segment. It was.

Most women said they went out for dinner with friends. Some went to the theater, a lecture, or concert; some had drinks. What did they talk about? Many discussed work. A big topic was men – their current partner – where to find one – anger towards them – frustration without one. Women often get together to commiserate about men on some level. They spend nights out talking about men and general problems. Talking out our problems with friends is fine. It can be good for us.

But when do we just have fun? When do we carouse, get silly, or totally let our hair down? We often don’t.

On the other hand, guys have lots of fun. As boys, they share more sports, wrestling, crashing cars and soldiers and other activities while girls play with dolls or play quietly. So as boys have mindless fun, girls practice being mothers. Guys continue bonding through sports, drinking, doing crazy stunts together, etc., as we spend time with friends trying to look good and find a boyfriend. Men still have fun with their friends as adults.

We don’t necessarily have a foundation for having a great time. Our upbringing may not have taught us appropriate or acceptable avenues for fun with other females. Many of us never learned to have a “girl’s night out” that’s nearly as much fun as being with a man, or even close to as fun as a guy may have with his friends. So many women have no interests beyond HIM.

Women often complain that friends disappear when they have a man. When we’re happily in a relationship, we may not need friends, except as a sounding board. But that’s mainly because we’re taught we need a guy to complete us. And if we’re complete with only him, we want to stay put with him!

When guys are in a relationship, they often don’t want to give up going out with friends. They like being able to let their hair down and go back to childhood. We get judged if we try behavior they enjoy. Men get drunk together. If we do women do, we may be seen as loose, or unladylike, so there’s a stigma attached. Men carouse and get stupid. That’s also not considered lady-like either. Men play sports. Some of us play too, but not with the same intensity as men. We don’t have our Sunday football games in the park where we can make fools of ourselves and love it. Men watch sports together at home, live, or in bars. They play cards, hear live music in a bar, and other things they find fun.

Many men are often so into bonding when they’re out together, they don’t care about meeting women on some nights out with friends.

I have friends who won’t go out anywhere unless there’s potential to meet a guy. I get impatient with them now. I love my life and spending quality time having fun with friends. I’m not on the prowl when I’m out since I’m complete on my own now. Some women are almost programmed to try to find the missing piece in a man so they feel whole. But that never works! And many never learn it doesn’t. I didn’t back in DoorMatville. I always thought it was my fault that I could find the man to complete me. I kept trying to find THE one. Now I’m THE one.

Completing yourself allows you to have more pleasure in life’s blessings instead of always being on edge, waiting for Prince Charming to whisk you off.

Women meet with friends for dinner or drinks to talk about men. We go to various functions looking for men. We shop for clothes to attract one. Boring! Many of us don’t share interests with friends which we truly enjoy. It’s not our fault. Girls aren’t encouraged to enjoy each other’s company as guys are. Men may go back to being frolicky little boys for a few hours with their friends. When we’re with ours, it’s not enthralling to simulate being good little girls who sat quietly doing a task or raising our dolls.

But it can be when you make yourself whole!

I wasn’t taught to have a life. Many of us haven’t been. But you can change that. You can develop interests that can consume you with pleasure. You can put the thought of finding someone aside as you explore adding interesting facets to your life. You CAN learn to have fun without a romantic partner. BIG smiling fun! I’ve learned that the only way to be happy is to get a life. Cultivate interests. Stoke your passions for things that don’t involve a romantic partner.

Get out from under the tree and go play. Get dirty. Get silly! Let your inner child come out and play. I’m still a little girl at times—a very happy one! Go out and play. Come on! You can have some fun, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Love yourself enough to allow yourself to have a fun life!

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I saw a poll on one of the morning shows today. They did a survey asking what people consider patriotism. My answer didn’t even make the long list that included voting, wearing a flag pin, and other things that I believe doesn’t necessarily make someone patriotic. Looking at the long list of things that I don’t consider representing patriotism got me thinking.

I consider myself patriotic because I love my country. Pure and simple.

Anyone can wear a flag pin, or vote. But to say from your heart that you really love your country, even if you don’t agree with everything its leader does or its policies, is patriotism to me.

I watched the fireworks tonight as the Fourth of July celebrations sent lights exploding over the East River on TV. I actually live near the area where they go off. I can hear them explode in my apartment. But I have no desire to face the packed crowds to stand outside for many hours, often in the rain, to watch. Are they more patriotic than me? Nope! I’m just more practical. I had a friend who worked at the UN with an office overlooking the festivities and for several years I was spoiled with a front row seat. So now I’m content to watch from the comfort of my air-conditioned place.

As I watched the finale, I felt wonderful about being an American as the band played God Bless America.

I’ve despised many of the policies of the current administration and count the days till Bush is out. My heart gets heavy when I think of the war we instigated in Iraq. But I can speak freely about it. That’s part of the freedom I celebrate as part of being an American.

I have a good friend in Tehran Iran. She translated one of my books six years ago and we’ve been writing to each other ever since. She doesn’t have the freedom I have. She can’t even read this blog! It’s banned, as are many things for her. Even my book got banned after she translated it! She’s used to living with restrictions. I’m not, because my country allows more freedom. Nasrin can’t speak out against her president in public. I can, and do!

It’s funny, because right after 9/11, it seemed like everyone had flags hanging and I wanted one too. All the motivated patriots had flags on their cars, homes, etc. Since I live in an apartment, there’s no place to hang a real one so I got a cardboard facsimile and taped it to my outside door. It’s been there ever since. What I find funny is how many people question why my flag still proudly adorns my front door.

I’ve asked if patriotism is only supposed to show itself after a tragedy. But they don’t get it!

It actually gets comical when folks question why I’d want a flag on my door now. Or sad. Some have a very skewed view of patriotism. To me, rituals don’t necessarily make you one way or another. You can vote or wear a flag pin and not love your country. My flag is on my door from my heart, not from habit.

A while after 9/11, we had the huge blackout. Our hallways have no windows. I was out when it happened and had to walk up 10 flights of stairs to get home. There was an auxiliary light on as I walked up the stairs. Just as I reached my floor, it went out, leaving me in total darkness. There are 2 stairwells on my floor and I couldn’t remember which one I’d come out on. I became disoriented and got scared in the darkness, not being sure where my apartment was.

Then I saw a reflection on a door. It was from my shiny cardboard flag!

The flag people questioned helped me get home. It’s still mounted proudly on my door, as people wonder why. Because I’m not a fair weather patriot!

Happy Birthday USA! Happy Fourth of July to you all!

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Today I have a very special post—2 short essays written by Rose Rappaport, a woman who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 5, 2005. During her illness, she took a writing class and wrote a series of essays about what she was going through. She passed away 10/23/2007, 11 days after her 59th birthday. With the help of her writing teacher, Barry Sheinkopf, her husband, Harvey Rappaport, put together a book with Rose’s essays called (Living in Parentheses). It’s a sad but also very uplifting glimpse at how one woman with a finite amount of time lived every minute fully, and with a positive outlook.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth cause of cancer death, yet people know the least about it. It’s also the most underfunded for research. All proceeds for the sale of this book will be donated for pancreatic cancer research. If you donate at least $20 directly to the Lustgarten Foundation, you’ll get a book (more info on this below). When Rose passed away, her spirit lived on. Harvey Rappaport says:

I ask that you not be sad at her passing. This was a gloriously unselfish person filled with faith, love, and compassion. Her search for enrichment and spirituality knew no bounds. She was a teacher in every sense of the word. These qualities always drew people to her. Please rejoice in a life lived to its fullest.

Rose Rappaport refused to fall victim to cancer. I’m honored to be able to share some of her words with you and hope that you’re inspired enough to donate to pancreatic cancer research so you can get a copy of her book (more info below). You can strongly feel her spirit in her words. These 2 essays are last 2 full ones in the book.

by Rose Rappaport

February 2, 2007. It’s twenty months since I was diagnosed. Lately I have been feeling more tired than usual. The cumulative effects of continuous chemo are beginning to take their toll. Yet I am so very blessed. When I first met with the oncologist I naively asked, “How long?” She looked at me and smiled a sad smile. She could be accurate to a point; lots depended on my reaction to the drugs, how fast the tumor would grow, my mental attitude. I pressed her further. It was important for me to know what I was dealing with.

Finally she acquiesced and stated clinically, this was a virulent, fast-growing cancer, and given that I was at the fourth stage–perhaps a year. So that was the prognosis.

Dr. O’Reilly has been pleasantly surprised and, truthfully, so have we. After the shock and the tears, I decided I would not die of a diagnosis—that statistics were averages, and I was bold to declare that Rose Rappaport had never been average a day in her life. Whether it’s my gene pool (my paternal grandmother lived to be 104), my insistence that I keep to a fully active life (I teach at university and continue to consult on an at call basis), my support system of family and friends requesting calls for prayers and positive thoughts, or my darling Harvey, who refuses to let me stay in the dark cave of my mind too long–

I know I am blessed, yet my heart is heavy.

My friend Terri called several nights ago. We met Terri at our veterinarian’s office. She was the able assistant who calmed our precious cats during their examinations. Her soothing manner and luminous blue eyes reassured our angst. A single woman in her mid-thirties, Terri stroked and soothed in a manner that was engaging, not only to our cats, but to us two-legged beings. Soon we became friends and engaged her to cat sit for us whenever we travel. And she loves cats. We know her visits will include not only feeding and litter box patrol, but squeezing and petting our three furry children.

Terri had called to tell us that the breast cancer that had been cured two years earlier had invasively returned. Her recent scans showed a growth on her liver and nodules in the bones of her shoulders, neck, and chest. She was calling to ask for a recommendation for a second opinion. We talked for a long time. I listened carefully, allowing her to say what she was feeling. I offer words of courage, knowing what her new battle will entail.

Cancer, cancer, cancer. It never becomes a meaningless noise the way almost any other word does when you repeat it endlessly.

There is something about the way the letters hang together that is oddly malignant. The cure, with its well-documented cumulative effects, knocks you down like a ton of bricks or flattened like Road Runner under an Acme safe.

How one handles a life-threatening illness demonstrates character. Cancer has brought me two lives. One as a healthy person and another as a–what? I don’t know what to say, for I have never claimed this diagnosis. What is my identity in the face of so radical disruption? Who was I? Who am I? Who will I be? Truthful answers to these questions often take years to realize. I am on a fast track—always was—but now the movement forward is different. I cannot run and hide. Sometimes I wish I could be less introspective, less aware of what’s going on inside.

Suffering does different things to different people. Some souls become tempered, unshakable in their trust in God; others become twisted and misshapen, abandoning all connections to Him.

Like school, each medical test or procedure is another determinant of your fate. Passing the test or getting a bad grade has few do-over’s. When you flunk, you die. Hearts, lungs, bones, blood—the raw materials that keep you alive–are so very vulnerable. They wear out, wear down. But the spirit–that is another story. In many ways my soul has gotten stronger, experiencing life with more wisdom and gratitude. Yes, I am blessed more today than before because the spirit can shine beyond the realities of the body.

I believe this because it sustains me.

by Rose Rappaport

One of the more amazing elements of this journey has been my total surrender to the Will of God. I realize that for some readers this statement sounds like I have given up or am delusional. I am far from a Holy Roller or evangelical. The idea of total surrender is a new one for me. I have been raised Catholic, attended grade, high school and college with religious instruction. I was fortunate that my teachers, be they nuns or priest, always provided a platform of self discovery and constant questioning. My attendance at Mass or Holy Days is not driven by guilt or habit, but by choice. Jesus Christ is alive for me and I believe I am where I am supposed to be.

This was not always the case. In September 2001, before 9/11, I was downsized from a position as Vice President, Human Resources in the music industry. It was a job I loved and was good
at. World events after 9/11 exacerbated a slowing economy. My expertise was attached to a high price tag and efforts to explain I was willing to start over met with the corporate cold shoulder. In the midst of this fruitless job search I attended a parish mission. Frustrated and close to despair, I met Fr. Daniel Frances, a Redemptorist priest. His words and passion about the Christ rekindled the smoldering embers of my faith. Fr. Dan spoke of the Lord’s Passion and death as the anchor for resurrection and revival.

I always had an eclectic reading regime but now I wanted to fill myself with reading from both the West and East. The melding of Eastern philosophy, Zen Buddhism; the reading of Aquinas, John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila merged together, simmering diversity yet similar messages of trust, faith and love. These imprints reinforced my personal philosophy which simply stated is “you create the world you live in.” I had a choice on how I would deal with the diagnosis and live the balance of my life no matter how long. The concept of surrender is foreign to western sensibilities, particularly in the US. Yet, the intentionality of accepting life’s circumstance takes an enormous burden from your being.

For me surrender, AKA acceptance, did not mean I would give up. I researched my illness and actively participate in my treatment. My oncologist, Dr. Eileen O’Reilly is one of the special experts who has the sense and style to ask me what I think about what’s happening to ME.

Surrender gives up the struggle of anger and denial. It understands there just may be no other reason than circumstance. Surrender allows me to take control of my thoughts and actions. It places trust in a Higher Power. Be that my higher sense of self, or the Universe or God. It provides, at least for me a booster shot on the days the pain is too strong and I am scared.

A terminal illness takes over your life and acceptance allows me to boldly state: “I WILL NOT DIE FROM A DIAGNOSIS” My spirit is buoyed up to plan for the future and to live in hope.

Harvey Rappaport says if you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can donate $20 to the Lustgarten Foundation (so it’s a tax write-off!). That will cover the cost of the book and mailing and the proceeds would go to a foundation that supports Pancreatic Cancer research. You’d have to contact Harvey to get the book. Email him for more info.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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