Eleanor and Park – A Book Review

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I purchased this book on Audible for a long flight to Hawaii over six months ago, however, due to a back injury, I had to upgrade to first class and I took advantage of all the good movies available. Therefore, I did not actually listen to this book until my recent flight to Puerto Rico.

I had no idea what I had missed out on. Eleanor and Park. I laughed…a lot. I cried…a lot. I couldn’t put my earbuds down to get anything done my first day in San Juan. When the Wi-Fi went down at my Airbnb spot in Ponce, I was actually happy to shut my laptop and pick up right where I had left off in the story.

This book is based in 1986 and both characters were the same age that I was at the time. So there’s that. Regardless, anyone who is or has ever been a teenager can identify with the awkwardness of those years as well as the teen angst of first love.

Eleanor is the “new girl” at school, a complete misfit. Not necessarily because she wants to be. It is mainly due to being so poor that she doesn’t even own a toothbrush. Her MacGyver approach to this is admirable. Eleanor appears to be comfortable in her own skin. But this is, of course, a front.

Park, being half Korean, half Caucasian also feels like a misfit. However, unlike Eleanor, he grew up in their neighborhood. This at least benefits his acceptance of others in school. Just barely.

Their relationship is hardly love at first site. Eleanor and Park are so completely different, yet they share the same seats on the daily bus ride to school. Neither are happy about it and don’t even talk for several weeks. They both have incredibly harsh words to describe each other. These words, of course, are only in their minds, as they won’t even acknowledge each other out loud.

I really need to get my nails done…Anyway, this relationship develops in an extremely slow fashion. Park first realizes Eleanor is reading his comic books over his shoulder. He begins to read them slower, to make sure she is able to catch every word. They begin to bond over comics, The Smiths, and Joy Division.

I found many “interpretations” on YouTube but this one was the best so far:

But Eleanor is living in a dangerously dysfunctional home. Her step-father despises her and it only increases when he is drunk – which is most of the time. Park, has the normal father-son difficulties but is otherwise in a far more functioning household. Park’s parents are just about the only couple still married in the neighborhood.

These two youngsters connect in such a slow, deep, and quiet manner you wonder if they are ever going to kiss. The reader (or listener in my case) will not be disappointed. Though, with the continually rising tension in Eleanor’s home, it is difficult to see this story ending well. The anticipation is fierce for the reader.

One of their best conversations:

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.

So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be, she says, we’re 16.

What about Romeo and Juliet?

Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.

Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.

I’m not kidding, he says.

You should be.

The finale, like their relationship, is a long process. Sometimes painful, sometimes humorous. All the while, worth taking a good…long…time to read.

Stay Blissful My Friends. – E

 

Within Reach

Unity, harmony, and mutual respect, are just within reach of us at this moment. Are we ready to grasp ahold of these? Sigh, I wish it to be true. So I start within my inner being. How can I contribute to better unification, harmony, and mutual respect?

There are many people with personalities that are in contrast to mine. Am I open to being more of a balancing color to theirs, rather than clashing and vying for all the attention? Might I listen more than talk at this person?

At this juncture in time, everyone is yelling and nobody is listening. There is pain, hurt, anger and fury. I have witnessed several family members bash each other on social media. It is quite disheartening to see such deep-seated resentment and division breeding amongst us.

What can we do to correct this situation?

Listen to each other. A very simple process. I was in marriage counseling years back and we tried a method using a wooden spoon. Whoever had the spoon in hand, got to speak. The other person had to listen. How easy is that?

Respect one another. Can you look at the other person with the realization that he/she is not a serial killer? Because most people aren’t.

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Love each other. This takes a bit more work for some. I remember reading an article in the 90’s about a weekend experiment in which women who were pro-choice and women who were pro-life attended. Before the weekend began, the women were asked to write a list of what they thought of those on the other side of the spectrum. The one common word they used: Nazi. Wow.

Each person was assigned a counter person with opposite beliefs to partner with for the weekend. Their very first activity was to sit, cross-legged, facing one another. They were instructed not to say one word but to make eye contact with one another.  Within minutes of this activity, the women began to cry and hug one another. Powerful.

If any of the women had changed their beliefs by the end of the weekend, it was not noted. That was not the point of the experiment. Many continued to stay in touch with their partner in friendship and in love.

Because we are spiritual beings, when we chose to look into the eyes of those who do not agree with us, most of us will react in love.

So my challenge to all, including myself is to focus and implement each one of these corrections one week at a time. Is the willingness to do so within reach?

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

The Obstacle Course That is Life

Are you ready to conquer life’s obstacles today?

Living Elysian

BAgus Ghufron Unsplash Source: http://www.unsplash.com Photo by Bagus Ghufron

My life has become one obstacle course after another. I hope to wake up early enough to do Yoga and meditation. Soon after, I am showering, styling, making coffee and breakfast. My intentions are always to get out the door at 8:50 AM. But I must first: Pack my lunch,  slip on my wedding ring, put the dogs in their crates, give them treats, make sure all electronics are turned off,  and grab my purse/laptop/cellphone/lunch bag.

The drive to work is about the easiest part of my day as long as there is no extreme weather. Upon reaching the office, I must grab my stuff and try not to lock my keys inside the car. Then it is all about standing in line at the espresso machine, placing my lunch in the  fridge, starting up the laptop and checking email.

I schedule travel for…

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Let Go, Keep Going, or Start Over

I am not alone in knowing what it is like to be in a bad marriage. Said marriage lasted 16 years. Most likely 10 years too long. But I was young and tenacious. I also held the belief that divorce was the ultimate failure. I like to think I am older and wiser these days.

I also know what it is like to be in a long work situation, where things are constantly changing. Sometimes, the changes are difficult. Other times, change is much welcomed. The main constant would be the collaborative and diverse culture of my workplace. In addition, the challenges and continual opportunities to grow in knowledge, skills, and experience. Quality experience.

Fortunately, I have also known what it is like to start over. This can be the scariest decision of them all. Though worth it in every way possible. If you have never tried this, you might be due for some starting over.


They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.  That would be the best description of my first marriage. Growth did not truly happen until those latter days when I started my plan to move on. For the most part, I was treated as a second-class citizen. No matter what accomplishment I made, it was reacted upon as another threat to our “family”. I fell for it several times. Until the day I realized that nothing was going to change. So I made the decision to do so.

We had just moved to Northern Colorado the year before and I had just landed the best job of my life. The husband decided to clear all the funds out of our account so that I would not have enough money to hire an attorney or move our kids out of the home. Fortunately, I had developed some strong resources. Nevertheless, I knew that it was going to be a long, difficult road.

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Photo by Andrea Boldizar

 

Of course, my family back in California suggested I come “home”. But I felt home. Moreover, I had this great job, which also provided me with another “family”. So I took a risk. I stayed put, held onto my job and got the divorce.

Several years have passed and I am still enjoying my position as Executive Assistant to the VP of Supply Chain. We have had good times, bad times, tough times, and short times to take a few breaths.

Five years ago, I entered into my second marriage. A completely different vibe in and of itself. Because I learned to teach others how to treat me as well as treating others how I want to be treated. Mutual respect. Was it scary to do this? Hell yes. Has it been worth it? More than anything I could have imagined. I found a husband who loves a lot of the things I do, as well as enjoys his own things. We are both fiercely independent, yet enjoy quality time together.

My husband has never been married. Yet I had, and I was not too interested in beginning a new marriage at first. Fortunately for me, neither was he. But we finally came to the conclusion that we wanted to grow old together. Thus, I started over again with the title “wife”. I am grateful for this decision to this very day.

What would be the difference between these situations, Elysia? I am glad you asked!

 

Let Go

  • When growth is stunted or downright reversing for a long stretch of time – Let go.
  • When you have exhausted all resources such as counseling and even prayer, and the behavior never changes – Let go.
  • When the circumstance or relationship affects all your other relationships with loved ones negatively for a long stretch of time – Let go.

Keep Going

  • When issues arise, yet progress is made and it sticks – Keep going.
  • When the momentum and commitment are aligned with your personal values – Keep going.
  • When you truly see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel – Keep going.
  • When you are not in agreement but have full trust in the process – Keep going.

Start Over

  • When you have exhausted all of what should be and are ready for what actually is – Start over.
  • When you can have an open mind and clear vision – Start over.
  • When you fully trust your spiritual growth – Start over.
  • When you know you have a true passion for experiencing the unknown – Start over.

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Photo by Luis Llerena

An important tool for deciding which path to take is a simple list of Pros and Cons. I know this from experience. Making a decision based on emotion is never a good idea.  So time for reflection and research has always been extremely helpful to me in my decisions.

Where are you today? What is the first step you need to take toward making a decision? When you do indeed make the decision, stick to it.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

 

Honoring the Dead

Living Elysian

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Today is November 1 – Dia de los Muertos. It is also coincidently the anniversary of the death of our family icon, Edward Leighton Sr. commonly known as “Pop”.  Our family is no stranger to loss and unlike Pop and our grandmother Sophie, the family members we have lost have been far too young.

For the past few years, I have participated in my own tradition of honoring these lost ones. My father is included in this group. Of course, the loss of my father was devastating. I was not prepared to mourn, to let go. Today is a different day. I can truly celebrate my loved ones and what each one meant to me.


Last night in typical Halloween fashion, the hubby and I watched horror flicks. In one particular movie, everyone was so terrified of death you would think they were going to keel over dead from fear…

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Sunday Shot of Bliss X. The Legend of La Llorona

Living Elysian

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Halloween! My favorite time of year. I love to dress up, watch scary movies and tell ghoulish tales. One of my favorite stories would be…The Legend of La Llorona! One does not simply say her name. No it is spoken in a terrifyingly elaborate way “LA LLOOOOROOOOONAAAAA!”. There are many different tales of La Llorona, but the one that my family was told went as follows:


The Weeping Woman
(La Llorona)

by Joe Hayes

Long years ago in a humble little village there lived a fine-looking girl named Maria Some say she was the most beautiful girl in the world! And because she was so beautiful, Maria thought she was better than everyone else.

As Maria grew older, her beauty increased And her pride in her beauty grew too When she was a young woman, she would not even look at the young men from her village. They weren’t good enough…

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Keep up the Pace

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Photo by Francesco Gallarotti  Unsplash.com

I am a marathon runner. I ran the New York City marathon and almost died. I tried to run, like, a two-minute mile early on in the race. I was crazy enough to think I could win. After seven miles I thought I would die, but I slowed down my pace and kept going – Sean Combs


I find running to be a fascinating art, sport, and spiritual activity. Unfortunately, I do not possess the endurance to participate. My husband is a runner and I love to ask him questions about his running.

Today, I wanted to know all about pacing. Particularly when a runner finds himself, or herself going faster than originally planned. The potential of burning out and losing time is a huge possibility.

“What do you do? How do you get yourself to slow down? Is that even possible?” I was overloading him with questions. Fortunately, he loves to talk about running. The hubby explained to me how a runner’s mindset is crucial when this happens. “Because it feels good running that fast, we have to keep in mind, the goal – the purpose.”

He further explained the mind of an experienced runner, who has probably done this on one occasion or another. So in addition to the physical and spiritual art of running, there also exists, the mental.


Such is life when we have a specific goal in mind. I have found myself obsessing over a new business idea, process, or application. I have also looked at the clock at times and asked  myself where the time had gone.

What has worked for me is setting smaller goals to achieve the bigger ones. One particular time management system “Getting things Done“, has been extremely helpful to me when important achievements were made these past few years.

We have the choice to approach our goals as a sprint or a marathon. Whatever works for the individual. For myself, it depends on which juncture in my path I am at the moment. Because there are also the occasions when we do have to speed up the pace.

“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” – Colossians 1:11-12


Where are you in your journey? Are you pacing or sprinting? What action do you need to take? Slow down or speed up, just keep moving. Stay Blissful My Friends – E

 

 

 

When it’s Time to say “F*ck This”

One of my favorite meditation videos is called “F*ck That: An Honest Meditation”. There is so much truth in this little gem of a film. Being that it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I have to reflect on the many times, I might have been better off just saying “F*ck This”!


In hindsight, I choose to say these two words as a form of continually empowering myself to be the spiritually strong, badass, warrior-queen that I am today.

  • He’s at my work all through my shift drinking coffee and letting my male customers know that I am his girlfriend. – F*ck This.
  • He warns me of organizations I might be remotely interested in, being too authoritative, lax, weird or maybe even cultish – F*ck This.
  • He associates a comment I have made to a good looking guy who just walked into the room – F*ck This.
  • He gives his ex-wife my phone number without asking or informing me about it, then proceeds to have a heated argument with her for 2 hours – on my phone! F*ck This.
  • His ex-wife is included in our holiday gatherings…including Mother’s Day. F*ck This.
  • He continues to struggle with decisiveness over me vs. another woman. Sometimes said other woman is his ex-wife. F*ck This.
  • He “jokingly” hits me in the face with the basketball. ­ – F*ck This.
  • He is not interested in my successes or knowledge, rather compares me to other successful women. – F*ck This.
  • He is threatened by the kids and all the money I spend on them …after we go school shopping. – F*ck This.
  • He is threatened by a cookie when I express that it is “better than sex”.  F*ck This.
  • Every time I gain a new friend, he accuses me of having an affair with her husband or he starts flirting with my friend, – F*ck This.
  • After 10 years together, he still shows up at my office with no notice and just walks down the hall without checking in with reception. F*ck This.
  • When the boys get older, he keeps throwing them out of the house because “they are trying to tear our marriage apart” – F*ck This.

Okay, I finally said “F*ck This.” But before I really commit to it:

He convinces me to give him another try, even takes me out dress shopping so we can renew our vows. We then announce it to the kids. Two days later, I am served with divorce papers.

So the nicest thing he ever did for me and my children was to say “F*ck This.” Because, the truth is, I was no gem of a wife. Regardless, I DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED – NOBODY DESERVES IT.

Nobody deserves to be gaslighted and have their minds f*cked with constantly. He wasn’t even cute. Well maybe sometimes. And sex was great whenever he was afraid of losing me.

I cringe at all the times he told me that he owned my p*ssy. Wait, what? Shouldn’t I have left then? Probably. But I didn’t. Furthermore, I no longer should on myself. And neither “should” you.

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Time to move forward, or build your new foundation. Just don’t look back. You are better than that. The next time you find yourself thinking of what you coulda, woulda, shoulda, just say “F*ck This.”

Stay Blissful My Friends! – E

Honoring Mom and Dad

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“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12

I once read that the number 21 represents Mother and Father. I am no expert in numerology but this thought has remained with me. Especially lately as I have applied the meditation practice I learned from the Ashram. After the Guru-Gita, we would meditate for 21 minutes.

Thinking about Mother and Father, male and female energy, Yin and Yang, Father God in Heaven and Mother Earth. Even in engineering parts, they design male and female parts, and some plants need to cross-pollinate.  So many examples God has given us. For good reason. So we can reflect on the power of creation,

Today, I felt led to honor my parents. They may not have been the ideal mother and father, yet I believe they were exactly the parents God intended for my life.

Dad and I did not see each other for years at a time due to his incarcerations.  Mom checked out quite a bit. Yet when I needed sage advice in my younger life, Dad was the one I turned to. After he passed away and I got sober, my mother became one of my best confidantes and friends.

My father never got to see the miracles in my life from sobriety. My mother did. When I got sober, I really had no thoughts of improving my relationship with mother. It was just an amazing added gift of the program and from God!


You may have had an absent parent or a terrible relationship with one or both. Perhaps, someone told you that your father was a “sperm donor”. Regardless, we all came from seed and egg. We can honor the two people who came together to create us anyway. This is a good practice we do for ourselves.

Because we were created from Spirit. God chose and used these two beings to create the wonderful being that is you. For that reason alone, we can find some way of honoring them.

Can you see yourself honoring your parents today? If not, what can you do to get closer to doing so?

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

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Feeling Abandoned

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Photo Source: Dahiana Candelo Unsplash.com

Things have been in a constant state of change around me lately. I have this feeling of disconnection with my kids, my boss, and  my friends. I know this is internal so I get to take the time to examine these feeling. I invite you to join me.

Schedule

I have had to  add 4 hours a week to focus on physical therapy, adjustments, pain management and  traction therapy. This is an effectual process of getting my body back to health. For the first two weeks, no Yoga. Which, of course, has created a bit of a strain to my being. But now, I am able to add Gentle Yoga and strength training to my schedule. More shuffling. Sigh.

A Cold

In the midst of this, I have come down with a cold. This affects my ability to get out and socialize with others. Most importantly, my kids and friends. I have made it a priority to cultivate my relationships since I got back from Hawaii and I definitely feel the pull when I am disconnected.

So, my writing assignment is to look at three key items: What does it feel like when I am not connecting, What does it feel like when I am connecting, and What can I do to make the connection better.

What does it feel like when I am not connecting?

I feel sad, abandoned, like I have no impact on others. This is probably not true, yet I feel it all the same. Where is everyone? Why doesn’t anyone call or text me?  Is everyone mad at me? I went so far as to send the below text to my son:

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Probably not the best way to reach out. Thankfully, my son is a patient man. Shortly after this text, I had to cancel my plans with my daughter because of this damn cold. So that was not on her at all.

What does it feel like when I am connecting?

I tend to feel a good energy when I am connected. I enjoy the bliss of gathering over meals, music, and celebration. It  is almost as if I feel more whole. A friend of mine, who lost her daughter recently expressed the loss of her daughter on a physical level as if her left side no longer works the same.

So this connection to my children, of course,  began in the womb and when it feels like I am out of whack, most likely this is due to the desire for that physical connection as well as emotional/spiritual. Sometimes we mothers forget how powerful the energy we have with our offspring.

When I feel connected to my friends and coworkers, I feel a burst of creativity. Almost euphoric, in a sense of productivity.

What can I do to make the connection better?

In my personal relationships, I can improve this connection by reaching out. Maybe sending texts out. Not so much as asking if someone is mad at me, but rather as a greeting with an expression of love and inspiration. This is something I am good at!  Inviting others to gather for dinner to celebrate birthdays is next on my list.

As far as my work environment, there are some situations that are out of my control. Business travel, moving to new offices and illness are a few examples. But we have a pretty nice kitchen, I could eat in instead of taking my food upstairs.

Do you feel abandoned or disconnected? What can you do to reconnect?

Stay Blissful My Friends – E