Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Love Lesson of Sunsets: Radical Appreciation & Acceptance

I’m learning so much about life by watching and admiring the daily sunsets here at the ranch.

Sometimes they are fiery red, all passionately ablaze.

Sometimes they are spectacular, knock your socks off, oranges and pinks,
painted wildly across the sky, like the Universe’s personal canvas.

Sometimes they are soft, light, comforting hues of pinks,
gracefully caressing the horizon.

Sometimes day just fades to dusk in gentle shades of yellow, peach, or grey.

And sometimes, a sunset that seems as if it will go off without a bang, surprises you with burning fireworks of glory, right at the end.

Each is so different, and it’s quite easy to grow a fondness for the most striking ones, and feel a tad disappointed when the sky fails to live up to yesterday’s amazement.

Yet all are beautiful when you approach them with gratitude in your heart, with appreciation for the opportunity to watch the process unfold once again.

And a willingness to accept them as they are, rather than as you would want them to be.

Even the subtle ones, are naturally stunning in their own right, if you’re not expecting them to be something they are not.

There seems to be a striking lesson in life and love here for the taking:

You can extract every possible moment of pleasure from life, from your relationship when you accept life, when you accept your partner, exactly as they are. Not needing them to be other than they are, right this moment.

Just approaching them with appreciation, soaking up whatever beauty stands before you, in whatever form it has manifested.

I realized that this gift of unconditional acceptance is perhaps Greg’s biggest gift to me. He gives it daily.

No matter how I show up, he finds a way to see the beauty in it and by doing so, I’m encouraged to raise myself up to be a more beautiful person.

To match the beauty he sees. Then suddenly, I get to see it in myself too.

Dear Readers: Not that you should never request change, but just for today, I invite you to practice radical appreciation & acceptance of What Is.

Maintain a child-like curiosity: “I wonder how it will go down today?!” Find beauty in all of it’s facets.

Notice the difference it makes in your heart.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Abandoning Monochromatic for Technicolor

Here's something I never knew about myself: I hate the color taupe.

In my mind, it's not so much a color as a tragic lack of color.

It's so boring, so blah, so depressing.

Too bad Greg had painted his entire house Taupe.

The house I moved into and lived in with him for 3
years before we were blessed with this ranch.

Greg likes Taupe- it's a fine, solid, soothing, no ruffles in your feather kind of color. I mean how could taupe offend anyone!

Except me!

It was only during the last 8 months when I realized the effect floor-to-ceiling Taupe was having on me: it was actually depressing me, stifling, snuffing out my joy!

Essentially, it just wasn't ME- it was the opposite of me.

I love color- bold, bright, beautiful color. It makes me feel alive.

Surrounded by taupe in every single room, I felt dead inside!

Once I realized that, finally put a name on it, I became excited about having a fresh canvas at our future new home.

Finally, free at last to paint however I choose!

I ran to the library to get books on color, lots of books filled with crazy bold color combinations.

Soon I started envisioning a home with a different color splashed across every room! I wanted red rooms, green rooms, blue rooms.

Heck, I even planned a vibrant orange and pink room and I wanted my office to be purple and yellow!

Then I took my enthusiastic plans to Greg, after all, he had to live in this house too!

What if he hated the idea of color all over the home? He, who was happy having a light shade of brown all over his last home.

What he said was music to my ears!

"Sure, whatever you want, you should do it. I'll help you paint!"

What a gift he was giving me, allowing myself to be surrounded by colors that make my heart sing!

We talked some more, and it turns out that he was even grateful for my nudge out of the blah zone. Maybe he wouldn't LOVE every color I chose, but he was up for an adventure- even a yellow and purple one!

Lest I think he was just caving to please me, recently while we were watching a home decorating show, the host said "You never want to paint the walls something too personal, too out of the ordinary (read- paint it taupe). When you go to sell, other people have to be able to envision living there."

And Greg spontaneously said, "To hell with that! It's your home and you are living in it- you might as well do what makes you the happiest!"

Such sweet sweet words, from a man who wants me to be happy. Who's ready to help me be happy. Who's even willing to stretch himself out of his comfort zone in support of my happiness.

A man who supports all of my visions, because he loves me.

And he knows that living in my technicolor world, brightens up his monochromatic world, every single day.

What greater gift than the gift of free self expression is there?

My gift to him? The first room we painted was his office- a lovely forest green, he selected!

How does your partner help you live out loud? How do they support your own self expression?

Please share.