Friday, November 28, 2014

The Reflection of Shadows: Simple

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on the good we've been given in our lives- the people, the experiences, the opportunities and friendships and miracles. A time that often makes us appreciate the more simple things in life that we, too frequently, take for granted. The breath in our bodies, the wind in our hair, the small things that add up to the great things.

Take a  moment today (maybe in the middle of your Black Friday shopping...just a suggestion) to reflect on the simple things in your life. Acknowledge them. Appreciate them. Remember them.

Simply Sweden - Society 6

Simpler Times

Simple was what simple is,
Based on how we choose to live.
Based on checklists, endless tasks,
Buying what we think we lack.
Peace and calm is all we need,
In this we seek simplicity.

Long before the days were full
With goals and chores and things to do,
Long before we couldn’t rest,
Before we couldn’t catch our breath,
Before the days and nights of work
When all our bare feet knew was earth,
We found the joy in smaller things,
Like dewey kisses in the breeze
Or memories of colored skies
When firecrackers lit the night,
When bedtime stories filled our heads
Before our eyelids closed in rest.

Simple things should always be
Our spectacles through which we see.
 The sky that’s blue that paves the way
To new beginnings everyday,
To air that’s cool, to wind that’s still
Where only simple things we’ll feel.
A time of rest, of calm, of peace
In letting go we find relief.

Let us open up our eyes
To peaceful days and simpler times.

I won't have a post Monday as I'm taking the next few days to spend time with the family and decorate for Christmas. Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Mantra: Choose Now

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Leap and the net will appear - John Burroughs

Leap - Society 6
I talk a lot about not having regrets in life, or at least about trying to reframe them as lessons. For the most part I live in this way. However, there is one moment in history I would change, if given the chance.

Years ago I was on a Euro trip and one of the stops was Amsterdam. Upon arrival the city seemed pretty normal. After waking up from a much needed jet-lag nap the city was bustling with people, helicopters, and the color orange everywhere you turned. Thousands upon thousands of people had filled the city by mid-day to celebrate the World Cup. Shouts and laughter filled the streets, and a concert was being set up right around the corner. It was beautiful madness; unlike anything I've ever seen. I had my camera near me ready to capture every moment.

I can still see it so clearly in my mind.

The streets were packed. The city looked gray against the people decked out in their bright orange attire. Down one particular street was a group of teenagers cheering and throwing their arms around each other as they made their way down the path. I had never seen so much happiness and joy emanate from a group like this before. They all moved as one, all high-fiving and hugging in unison, with smiles wider than the street they were walking on.

I stood there, watching this beautiful moment in time, debating whether or not I should take a picture of them. On one hand, it felt invasive. Like I would be intruding on them, stealing away a piece of their celebration with the click of my camera. On the other, in my gut, I knew I would never live to see anything like this again. It felt like I was in Time magazine. Like I was staring at the cover picture, living in the story.

I waited and waited and waited until I'd waited too long. Until the group ended up walking right past me without one single picture being taken.

It's a silly regret, I know. But on the scale of things that are important to me, who I am, and what makes me tick, it rates highly. To this day, I regret not having that moment captured for my own memories. To be able to look back and recall so clearly that beautiful moment of sheer bliss.

This is something I can't change. I can't go back in time. I can't recreate this particular piece of my history.

This is where the lesson comes in to play.

Debating on having a surgery or getting married or moving to a new state - those are big decisions that require a lot of time and research. Taking a picture, buying that antique dish at the French market, trying the Special of the Day at a place you'll never return to - those are the things I'm talking about. The small yet still important pieces of life that come only once and can never return again. The moments that say, "It's now or never. Which will you choose?"

Choose now.

Some pictures of the event that I didn't take, but that these lovely people did.

Pierre Crom

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Reflection of Shadows: This Young Woman

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
I received my new PostSecret book in the mail the other day and I've been flipping through it's pages each night before I go to sleep. There's something about people coming together and sharing their secrets that is exquisite, that draws me in and makes me feel more connected to the world.

There are secrets of love and happiness and hope. Secrets of shame and guilt and fear. And then there are the secrets that get to me the most. The horrible, awful experiences others have endured. The confessions of having been raped, molested, or having such deep thoughts of suicide that you don't even know if the person who wrote the postcard you're reading gave themselves a chance to live another day or not.

Those are the secrets that keep me up at night. That make me question this world that we live in and the terrible things that happen.

I've always wanted to send in my own postcard but the truth is, ever since I started this blog, I no longer have a reason to. I share all of my secrets with you. That is a gift you have given me that I am truly grateful for.

When I first started writing poetry, it always came out very sad. I couldn't have written a happy poem if I wanted to, and I did. I tried repeatedly. But touching on the sad things in life was always easier for me to connect to, whether or not I had experienced them firsthand. However, because they were always so sad I never shared them. I kept them tight and cozy in my notebooks, safe from the question filled world.

This is one of those poems.

I wrote this when I was 14 and I hadn't yet even known anyone who had tried committing suicide. I wrote it one night for no specific purpose other than it felt like it should be written. It felt like something many someone's had pondered at one time or another in their life.

Leave Me Be
Society 6
Melia Metikos
This Young Woman

This young woman, who lightly draws a breath,
This young woman should not dream of death.
She should not be in fear, she should not fear in love,
She should not be in love with someone she can’t trust.
She should not hurt her friends, her friends should not hurt her.
She should never question her existence on this earth.
Her life is just confusion, just a visionary blur,
And with the consequences, it seems the less she learns.
She fights with everybody, the fights last so long,
She wants to keep repeating “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone.”
She knows she has a good life, with all that she’s done wrong,
But deep inside she has a fear that life won't last so long.
She wants to succeed, to make something of herself,
She doesn’t know where to turn or what choices she has left.
She worries about the world- the future, the past,
She worries that she’ll never find a love that really lasts.
She worries about money and whether she’ll survive,
Then she wonders, does it matter, will she be alive?
She knows she has so much love inside of her to share
But then she questions, does it matter, does anybody care?
She cries alone at night, she prays to find the way,
Every morning when she wakes nothing yet has changed.
This young woman, who knows not what is left,
In her life, this young woman should not dream of death.

If you struggle with depression or thoughts of suicide, please use this PostSecret resource list to get help. You don't have to be alone in your fight. There are people all over the world that you haven't even met yet that care about you. I know this because I'm one of them.

Monday, November 17, 2014

All Around the World: France and Monaco

Wanderlust: A very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world.

France and Monaco

Chocolate croissants, lavender fields, cherries to die for, and amore all around you? Welcome to France!

The first time I went to France was shortly after my grandmother had passed away. I wasn't expecting to have the best time in my life, rather I was hoping to take my mind off of recent events. Paris, however, helped me heal in ways I hadn't expected. First of all, I had no choice but to laugh when I wound up staying at the edge of the Red Light District. Not on purpose, mind you, but more so due to a lack of thorough planning and research on where exactly the hotel was located. There's only so much sadness you can have when your hotel is right next to a bright red Sexodrome store.
My hotel, in blue. The sex store, in red.
Before we carry on with the magnificence of France, let's cover a few key things first:

Fact or Fiction: Everyone in France is rude.
  • Fiction
I've been to France twice now and I've never had an issue. I've heard that it depends on where you are, whether you're in a more highly populated, thus more touristy area, or not. I've been to both and I've only ever met very nice people. However, I'm sure this all has to do with how we act while we're there, too. Regardless of what country you go to, as long as you go with a smile on your face, a respect for their culture, and kindness in your heart, you will always (or at least 99.9% of the time) meet friendly, kind, arms-wide-open people.

Fact or Fiction: If you're not good at speaking their language, don't do it. It will just insult them. 
  • Fiction
Find a few key phrases and use them while you're there. It's the effort that counts. I highly suggest learning this key phrase: Ou son les toilettes? It's critical, trust me.

Fact or Fiction: The Eiffel Tower is amazing.
  • Ohmygoodness FACT!
The Eiffel Tower might just be the most memorable and beautiful landmark I've seen to date. I was sure I was going to enjoy it, but I had no idea I would fall in complete and total love with it. The Tower is beautiful, amazing, glorious, breath-taking, all around WOW-ing.

The lovely view you see below is from the top of the Eiffel Tower. If you can, go on the tour offered and enjoy lunch at the restaurant in the Tower. Give yourself plenty of time to take in all the views.
Paris - Society 6
Black Lace - Society 6
While this will sound like a lot of work, I highly suggest you go see all of the sights during the day and then go back to them at night as well. Paris isn't called the City of Light for no reason. The two differences are, honestly, day and night. At night the city lights up with colors all around you and it genuinely feels different- magical. During the day you can see across the city for miles and get a better look at all the beauty Paris has to offer.
Everything You Imagined
You'd think someone who travels alone would be better at navigating, but no. I get lost going from one room in my house to the other, so when I say that the metro in Paris is easy to use, you know it has to be real easy. Like 5 year old operating easy. Not to mention how very Gothic and awesome the signs are.
Metropolitan - Society 6
Montmarte is my favorite area in the city to visit. There's something about it that makes you feel like you've just walked out of a big city and into a little slice of history heaven. The cobbled streets, the shops, the restaurants. It is pure magic.
Montmartre at Night
A trip to Paris isn't complete until you've seen all the sights, and that includes the Louvre. The museum is unlike anything I've ever been to. It feels like you walk out of one era and into the next, room after room. Of course, there's Mona Lisa to greet you and, well, that is just worth it all in itself.
A Dramatic Dusk - Society 6
The Raven and the Louvre
A visit to the Notre Dame is also highly suggested. Inside you'll find big magnificent chandeliers lighting up the interior. On the outskirts of it are vendors selling all kinds of French knick-knacks, but some sell pieces of art. I enjoyed looking at their art work as much as I did walking through this great cathedral.
Notre Dame
While there, why not get a look at Paris from underneath? The Catacombs of Paris do not disappoint. I've been on a similar tour in Italy and I must say these are 10x as impressive and 10x as spooky. Make sure you arrive early because the line for this can be incredibly long.
The Catacombs - Society 6
A day trip to Normandy may also be something you want to consider if you have enough time in your trip. Mont St. Michel is a UNESCO world heritage site for good reason. This monastery survived the Hundred Years' War and (calling all fellow nerds) was the inspiration for Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. If that doesn't get you there I don't know what will.
Mont St. Michel - Society 6
Nice is quite nice, if you ask me. For quite some time I've wanted to go to this popular destination but didn't have an opportunity until last year. I wish I had more time there, which would be my recommendation to you. I only spent a short day, but it deserves much more. The buildings alone are worth the time to stroll through the city. My favorite part, though? The antique market. Ohhhhhhh, the antique market! If only I had brought along a suitcase just for antiques. The range of items available was extraordinary. I've never seen so many timeless, beautiful things in one place before. If you're interested in going to see this specifically, double check when it's available because on certain days throughout the week it's a flower market.

French Antique Market - Society 6
Antique Market
Eze. A little place I never knew of before and now, will never forget. Not far from Nice (you could do both in one day), this little community that sets high on the hills offers views, food, and memories you'll want to capture while walking through the little streets browsing the spice carts or the art galleries.
When in Eze - Society 6
Walking through Eze
The view from on top
If there's one thing I love more than anything else about France (yes, even more than the Eiffel Tower) it's lavender fields. What can I say? It's the aromatherapist in me. Unfortunately, I was about 3 weeks early to the full blooming lavender fields so I had to settle for seeing two tiny ones from a distance. I can hardly complain, though. Look at this view! In fact, this was my favorite part of the trip last year.
Outside of Marseille Society 6
We went to the Luberdon region, a picture perfect area of Provence dotted with little villages everywhere. We stopped briefly at Lourmarin and Bonnieux before heading to my all time favorite place, Roussillon. This little village hosts the breathtaking views you see above along with the best meal I've ever had in my whole life. Seriously. We had lunch at Hotel Le Clos de la Glycine where you must absolutely, positively dine if you go there. While I may have missed lavender season, I was right in time for cherry season, the best surprise of the trip.

The cherries they served have ruined me for life and I'm not even kidding. I like cherries, a lot. But these cherries...these cherries are (to this day) the best thing I've ever eaten, ever. My mouth doesn't even know what to do with itself when I eat "normal" cherries now. My taste buds are all like, "Ooo, cherries! I get to eat cherries!!!" and then after it realizes they're not the same ones I had in France it gets depressed. Have you ever had depressed taste buds? It sucks. Everything goes bland, the world turns gray. It's awful. And it's all this restaurant's fault. Between the sweet, rich cherries and the homemade cherry compote I will never be the same.
The most amazing dessert in all of ever
Cherries that rock your world
I needed a moment to cope with the fact that I would never eat cherries this good again. I might have taken longer than the 5 minutes I promised. Maybe.

The only lavender fields I got to see. From a distance.
Paint Splatters - Society 6
On this trip we also took the opportunity to go to Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thanks to James Bond I expected a much larger place than I found, however, it was still quite spectacular. The wealth in this place is out of this world. I enjoyed my day there, but I also felt out of place. You know, being normal and not wealthy and all that jazz. I could afford gelato and a post card and that was about it.
Monaco - Society 6
It should also be noted that James Bond and his film crew are a bunch of liars. See this picture below? That's the Monte Carlo Casino. In the middle of town. It was squeezed in between a bunch of other buildings and not at all what I expected. We took the opportunity to go in and check it out and let me tell you, it looks nothing like what Casino Royale would have you believe, my friends. Unless there's a secret walled off room or basement or something (which, I suppose, there could be) they just made the whole doggone thing up. It is impressive, but it's also...small. Like, really small. Fancy, though. You can't even go in unless you're dressed up. And they are serious about security there in ways I've never seen at American casinos. If you want to check it out be sure to leave your bags at the hotel and dress in your Sunday best.
The Monte Carlo Casino
If you ever have the chance to go to these places, take it. Don't hesitate for one single second. The world is a beautiful, magical place that deserves our awe.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Reflection of Shadows: The Plan

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know how much of a planner and a to-do list maker I am. I love mapping out my week and organizing absolutely everything I can get my hands on the same way some people love normal things, like chocolate.

Sometimes I have to reminder myself that life should also be filled with spontaneous moments and unscheduled sing-to-your-dog breaks. These are the things that make life truly beautiful.

Days Gone By
Society 6
Melia  Metikos

The Plan

Life was no journey, it was a plan,
Laid out for me by my very own hands.
Designed and constructed,
So safe and so sound,
Life was no journey, it was a plan.

Life was so boring, it was so plain,
All of my planning and thinking in vain.
Nothing and no one
Could pull me away.
Life was so boring, it was so plain.

Life is much better, now that I'm free.
No map and no compass to navigate me.
No pavement or guidelines,
Just dirt roads and breeze,
Life is much better, now that I'm free.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Mantra: Grown Up Love

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." - The Fault in Our Stars

My idea of love has changed as I've gotten older. When I was four, I asked my then best friend, Brent, to marry me because my family had just moved two hours away and I had no idea what to do without my favorite same-size-as-me person in my whole little four year old world.

In my teen years I had that intense teen love we all experience for celebrities and rock stars we've never even met. I was certain Jonathan Brandis/Heath Ledger/Orlando Bloom and I were meant to be together forever. And ever. AND EVER.

Then I had a real boyfriend and that, of course, changed everything. Obviously, I had to break up with Jonathan/Heath/Orlando via a short "It's not you, it's me" speech to the posters I had on my bedroom walls. They took it pretty well. I think.

Being in a serious relationship at a young age was everything the books, songs, and TV shows had promised- plus some. Love was all consuming, daydream engaging, completely and utterly awesome. It was also intense, confusing, and completely bizarre at times. Just being a teenager is hard work. Being a teenager in love is 12 kajillion infinity times harder. We eventually broke up and I moved on, too quickly, to my next boyfriend turned, now, ex-husband.

It wasn't until I hit my very late 20's that I understood a completely different type of love and a completely different way to think about relationships. Only now do I see what I couldn't have understood any earlier in life. I had too many lessons to learn about Grown Up Love.

For one thing, it all started with my own self awareness or what I like to call "Understanding Your Puzzle Pieces."

This means something more important than you may realize. It means fully and completely accepting who you are and what you want out of life without sacrificing that for anyone else. It means understanding what you can put into a relationship, what you can't, and what you need the other person to contribute. It means not giving up what you want most for what you want now.

Then, I had to really, truly, not-lie-to-myself-about-this-and-think-I-was-doing-it-when-I-really-wasn't: "Love Yourself First."

There have been great men in my life who have loved me greatly, but what I have learned without a shadow of a doubt is that no one can make up for the lack of love you give yourself. This is a gift only you can give. Once you realize that and accept your own love, loving others and being loved by others will be a completely new and different experience. It will be a whole experience because, for the first time ever, you will be loved inside as well as out.

The third lesson I discovered was massive. It was that I had a tendency to be kind of an idiot. I like to refer to this as the "Forever Right Now" syndrome that I know many, many of us have experienced or are still going through.

Have you ever met someone or even just glanced at someone who you thought was attractive and 10 tiny seconds later you've already pictured yourself making out/married/having babies/growing old with them? It's cool. We've all done it. We've all played that game. To a certain degree, that's good. You don't want to go out with someone and feel like you're wasting your time if you don't see any kind of a future. But you also don't have to constantly be thinking of next steps-next steps-next steps.

Love and all of the things that come with it will come when the time is right. Forcing it or pretending will only hurt you and the other person in the long run. Also - and this is important - you don't have to be in looooooooove when you've only been dating two months, or five months, or 5 seconds. Grown Up Love gets that. Here's the thing, though- Grown Up Love doesn't mean you have to wait to feel this way until you've had 17 failed relationships, are 36 years old, and finally get invited into the Grown Up Love Club. This type of love means one thing very specific: It means you're patient. It means you've planted the seed and now you're willing to give it water and sunlight and all the attention it needs to grow into the full bloom of real, genuine, lasting love.

How did I learn this? I had to go about it the hard way, which finally led me to The Boyfriend, who has taught me what patient love is all about. It has been the best gift anyone has ever given me (outside of me learning to love myself, of course) because only now do I understand what it's like to love slowly. Only now do I understand how taking your time in love requires so much more and connects you so much deeper. Only now do I give not one damn about Orlando Bloom or whoever is the Hollywood Man of the Moment. Only now do I live in my own love life and not some fantasy I've created in my head based off of what I think or want to happen or what some movie/book has made sound enticing.

I still believe in love at first sight. I think that can and does exist. I still believe in soul mates and young love and old love and everything in between. Some of us know how to do Grown Up Love long before the rest. My hat is off to all of you who fall into this category.

One last lesson that is key in Grown Up Love is: "Nothing's Ever Set in Stone."

When you enter into a relationship you enter in as who you are at that moment. Your significant other does the same. However, as it is with everything in life, change will happen within yourself and with the other person. What you want out of life may change, what you want to do with your life may change, what you look like will definitely change. Grown Up Love understands this and accepts it.

Better yet, Grown Up Lovers know that you are made up of tiny changes that have taken place over the years. That each decision you've made and each dream you've chased and all the cumulative changing you've done through the years has made you who you are, made you the person they love. They know this and accept that you will continue to grow, shift, and expand. Their love for you isn't based on a single version of you in time. It is a love of all the you's you have been and that have yet to come.

I am so thankful I now know what Grown Up Love is. I would do it all over again to get to this place.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Reflection of Shadows: Broken Hearts

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

We've all experienced heartbreak in one way or another. First boyfriend/girlfriend breakup, divorce, or even seeing someone near and dear to you go through a difficult time. It's in those moments of struggle and pain that we have the ability to choose how we react and shape who we will be. We have the ability to learn, to grow, to dig deep inside until we better understand who we are and what we need.

I didn't always realize that. Unfortunately, you don't usually realize these things until you've lived through them a time or two, until you've grown a little wiser and a little older. All I knew when I was younger was that a pen, some paper, and trying to express how I felt in a poem was exactly what I needed.

Heart break is never easy. Sometimes you have to keep trying, keep fighting to save yourself, the relationship, what you think should be. Sometimes you might even lie to yourself to protect someone else's heart, all the while breaking your own. And sometimes it's completely out of your control.

All that is guaranteed in this life are lessons. Each lesson is just one small chapter of the book of our life that shapes our future into what will one day be "The End" to a beautiful, glorious, life- broken hearts and all.

Places We Have Never Been
Society 6
Melia Metikos

Let Me Go

I count the minutes until my courage
Finds me, grabs me, pushes me further.
I run through thoughts of letting go,
Of distant lovers I don’t know,
Of touches, kisses, secret wishes...
Once my heart is patched with stitches.

I took your ring, you took my word
And since that day I’ve understood.
All along my heart has known,
This could never be my home.
So if you love me let me go,

If you love me let me go.

Fading Away
Society 6
Melia Metikos

Each Day

Each day, with each breath I’m taking
Is a moment I am faking.
I am smiling.
I am laughing.
I am perfect in the passing.

In the stopping, seeing, knowing,
I am breaking and unfolding.
I am gasping.
I am dying.
I am living through my lying.

Gave You Away

I gave you my heart, but you threw it away.
I gave you my words, but in silence you stay.
I gave you my promise, but you made it break.
I gave you my wisdom, but you broke in its weight.
I gave you my breath, you inhaled too deep.
I gave you my wants and you gave me your needs.

What I gave you, I gave you,
You cannot repay,

So I gave you, I gave you…

I gave you away.


How much proof do you need that our ending is near?
Are my silent and torturous moments unclear?
Aren’t my tears and my frowns, silent moments so loud
That your wall of denial crumbles down to the ground?