The Fight Goes On …

The Way We’re Told It Goes:
Meet The One…

1. Fall In BUTTERFLY Love
2. Have all the Feelings
3. Date
4. Move Into Together: AKA YOU’VE CROSSED THE FINISH LINE! You’re done! Congrats, Cinderella! All that’s left now is: Happily Ever After!!!!!

The Way It Has Worked For Me:
Meet A Special One…

1. Fall in Butterfly Love
2. Have all the feelings
3. Date
4. Move In Together  – AKA Cross the STARTING LINE.

5. You’ve begun. Shit gets real.  Grocery shopping and children and assembling furniture and navigating each other’s families and demons and other confusing, terrifying things keep happening.

6. Slowly understand that relationships are not what you thought it would be and your signicant other is not who you thought he’d be and additionally you are not who you thought you’d be.

7. Notice there are no more butterflies. Panic like bloody hell. Understand with mounting dread that LIFE has killed the butterflies and this must mean you have “fallen out of love.”

8. Look into separation.

9. Start to learn how horribly difficult it will be to separate for you and everyone you love and also – HOLY CRAP IT COSTS A LOT. Try to locate a path of less resistance. Search for some solution that is less emotionally and physically and mentally and financially expensive. It’s often not LOVE that makes us stay – but the expense of leaving. AND THAT’S OKAY.

10. Ask for help. Suggest meeting with experts, talk to wise people, read good books. Mostly, Be still and listen for The Next Right Thing in the quiet.Wait. Keep waiting. Make no decisions except what to do EXACTLY RIGHT NOW. Sit with the pain. Sit with the struggle. Sit with the uncertainty. Resist the relentless urge to deflect the pain, run from the pain, numb the pain with food- booze -work –future tripping- unkindness- false certainty -busyness or any other Wisdom Killer.  Just Be Still and Wait.

11. SLOWLY embrace the truth that a million warriors have discovered before you  – You have not FALLEN OUT OF LOVE. You have fallen out of infatuation AND INTO LOVE.  Like it or NOT- THIS IS IT, SISTER. This is Love. It ain’t the Disney version- it’s the REAL version. The Disney version is easy and shiny and struggle free and happily ever after but the Real Version is about allowing struggle to morph you into a bigger, more spiritual being. Real love is about METAMORPHOSIS, and metamorphosis IS FIFTY SHADES OF PAIN – just ask the butterfly.

12. Start over every freaking morning.

13. Go to sleep every night feeling exhausted and blessed as hell.

Much Love,

April

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WE’RE (I’M) BUYING A HOUSE

WE’RE (I’M) BUYING A HOUSE.

We’re buying a house.  Well, to be more accurate, I’m buying a house.

I knew where I wanted to purchase. I knew how much I wanted to spend.  I knew the “must haves” in any potential Casa de #SuperHeroMomHouse.  However, that isn’t enough detail for me.  I printed maps of the area, highlighted my “preferred zones,” overlaid school districts and their respective scores, and finished that up with additional maps of crime rates and average home prices.  Finally, I created a report card for each house so I could create a quantifiable score of each home. I had the research. I had a process. I had a plan. I was ready to go.

Then I started to look at houses.  The report card was busted after the first property. It scored a 9 out of 10.  It was a perfect candidate for my first home…but it wasn’t my forever home.  There was no quantifiable, scientific, rationale.  I could just tell it wasn’t it.  So could my kids.  By the third house, my whole procedure was out the door.  There was simply no standardized procedure for buying a house.

I will cut to the chase here. Ok, I have a contract on a house.  It is outside of my preferred zone, above the initial budget, and at best scores a 7 on my report card. It is, however, perfect. There is no way for me to explain why. There is no rational reason for it to be perfect.  It has things that were never on my initial must have list and is missing things that were “required.” With all of that, I knew it would be my home when I stepped into the backyard.

The home buying process reminded me that sometimes the best-made plans are cast asunder simply by the nature of things. Regardless of the plan, the established process, or the procedural strategy, we all need to react to what actually happens—to the real environment. I was not planning to buy a home that weekend.  In fact, I was suppose to be moving to Florida. That is not what ended up occurring.  I reacted. I adapted. I bought a house.

You may not be buying a house but the lesson is the same. When plans go awry, the most important thing to do is recognize what is happening, analyze your realistic options, and refocus your energy on the reality of the situation at hand.

There is still a lot of work to do in the home buying process.  I will inevitably develop checklists and procedures for each step, and this will inevitably drive my kiddo’s crazy and keep me sane.  It is a delicate balancing act but it’s all part of life through the eyes of an operations professional.

Best Regards,

April McManus
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Dreamers, Greatness & Choices

In life we have many choices. We can choose greatness or not. We can choose this person or that person to be romantically involved with. We can choose this career or that career. We can choose to drive a Chevy or a VW. The list of choices is endless really. And we tend to judge ourselves and others, especially loved ones, by the choices we make. Even making no choice at all is a choice.

So many of us have been caught up in the ‘greatness’  charismatic movements over the last few years because we feel that we are NOT making the right choices. We are not living with great wealth. We are in a career that sucks us dry instead of fills us with joy. We are with the wrong mate for whatever reason. We are obviously failing with our choices because we don’t have the millions in the bank, the BMW, the mansion, the other properties, the……

I know, because I’ve been caught up in some of these movements, even though my heart was screaming at me to run the other way. In trying to create wealth all I did was create debt by buying all the cd’s, courses, and ‘tools’ needed to succeed. In the last few years I have realized a new meaning to success. First of all, I realized that the way success looks to each of us is as different as the faces who see it. I am a successful parent; my children are growing and are living good lives. I am a successful marketer because I can look back at my work and know I’ve done my very best. I’m a successful stay-at-home parent because I have created a home that is safe and loving. It can look very different to each person.

I believe that my life is really starting to show the results of changing some of my choices. For me success is satisfaction, joy, peace – a feeling that my life emulates what my heart strives for. One of those pieces for me was to let go of people who did not help to build me up. It is so easy to beat myself up; to see only my ‘failures’. I don’t like that word actually. I no longer believe there is such a thing as failure; just choices. Failure is a judgement call. And we all know what judgement feels like – especially self-judgement.

I am at peace today, I am so grateful for the friends I have because they do see greatness within me. I am so grateful for my children who have been my anchor over the last few years. I am so grateful for a job that allows me to express my greatness through my gifts and abilities. No, I’m not rich. No, I’m not a CEO of a mega-corporation. No I’m not what I even thought I’d be now when I look back to what I thought was greatness in my 20’s.

What I am is at peace with myself, my Creator, my surroundings, my professional life, my family and friends. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by people who see greatness in me.

What about you?

Move With Confidence

Took me to my first baseball game. September 2014.

Took me to my first baseball game. September 2014.

Dear You,

I’m not sure I’m ready to put this into words but I know if I don’t try I’ll continue regretting not putting into words what needs to be said. So, at least at the end of this, no matter how it ends, I can at least say I tried.

In this past two years with you, I’ve learned a lot. About myself, about relationships, being an adult, about love. I’ve learned that I’m the type of person who loves with her entire being. When I love or care about someone, I let my entire world revolve around them. That’s what I did with you. You came into my life at a time when I wasn’t ready for anyone, let alone you. You came into my life and you weren’t a person–you were this entity that I became enraptured with. Your infectious personality, your incredible way with words, your delectable charm–it all seemed too good to be true. I think what it comes down to is I became involved with you before I was ever ready. I didn’t take the time to figure out what I wanted and what I needed from someone–from you, from our relationship. When we started all of this, you made it very clear you didn’t want a relationship. I thought it was because you were scared or you’d been hurt. I know now it’s because you’re not capable of having a relationship—at least not the kind I want.

I’m going to be honest with you because that’s what people who care about each other do. This is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time and it’s gone on long enough because honestly, it hurts too much. It’s not fair. I’m holding on because I hope things will change, which is perfectly reasonable, but I can’t change a person. I can’t change you, and I can’t change your situation. I can only change myself and the situations I choose to be a part of. You choose to let this nonsense continue and I’ve tried to understand and ignore it, but I can’t anymore. If you wanted to move on, you could. If you wanted to change the dynamics of your relationship with these other women, you could. I know you well enough by now to know that when you want someone out of your life, that’s it—they’re out. You have had plenty of time to reevaluate your situation and the damage it does to yourself and other people. Why have you done nothing about it? And I don’t mean making profiles private or pursuing secret relationships because that’s childish. I mean taking action and making adult decisions.

I am choosing to stay in this relationship and endure all of the lies, pain, and absurdity. I want nothing more than to believe every single word you say about it being crazy and her being crazy and all of that. I want nothing more than to continue telling everyone to fuck off—that they don’t understand our relationship. You know why I stay, but I deserve to treat myself better. At the VERY LEAST, I deserve honesty from you. You like to use the reasoning that because I’m not technically tied to you relationship wise (i.e. being your “girlfriend”) but the fact of the matter is we are in a relationship despite the fact that that is not the term you’d like to use. You’ve made it clear I am not to sleep with anyone else or go on dates—I know you do it in jest but we both know some part of you would feel hurt if YOU found out I was sneaking around behind your back. So, why do it to me?

How many times has something like this happened before? Because you know that although I may speak up, I still won’t do anything about it. Maybe I am, as they put it, just a stupid little girl. I know you have feelings for me, otherwise you wouldn’t even bother with our relationship, but it worries me that this is the way you treat people you care about.

What’s sicker is there are times when we’re together and I think nothing and no one else matters—you have this way of making me feel like I am yours and you’re mine. In the end though, none of that compares to the bigger issue here which is completely unacceptable. The issue being I may have those thoughts but in the end, it’s not true. You and your heart do, whether you see it or not, already belong to someone else.

I just want you to realize what I’m worth. I invite you into my life, my head, my heart, my family, my bed. That is all very special, and not everyone I meet is entitled to those things. I’ve given you everything and in return, you’re not even really mine. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, because you know I care a lot about you. I just don’t think you can ever give me what I want and need. A relationship—no matter what kind—falls apart the minute dishonesty comes into play. It is no longer fair to me to allow dishonesty from you when honesty is expected from me. And I know you will read this and not realize where I’m coming from but I do hope you try. You are the most important person in my life. But, I only have one life, why spend it with someone who doesn’t make me feel like the most important person in their world?

Whether you leave me or I leave you, I am going to miss you—this will be something I never quite get over. I’m going to feel heartbroken—like a failure, someone who just couldn’t make it work despite her best efforts. But if it doesn’t end, I continue looking stupid and foolish because I let this happen. But, life sucks sometimes. The most I can do is embrace the heartache and hold onto my pride which I have slowly been losing with each day I ignore the other major relationships in your life. I hate being alone, but I am 100% content knowing that I will not give myself to anyone undeserving. This is my life and I am the most important person in it and for the past two years, I’ve forgotten that.

I love you. I’ve never cared about anyone as much as I do for you. I would do almost anything for you—anything you ask of me. The memories I get to keep as a result of being with you are some of the best I have. You are a fantastic human being with a light about you that draws people into you—but one thing I cannot do is continue letting you lead me down a path of dishonesty. You don’t see it as dishonesty, I get that, but unfortunately that is what has happened. Whether it’s lying about spending time with multiple girls while you’re gone or lying about the “complicated situation,” or telling them I’m a psycho crazy girl with a big crush, lying is lying and it still hurts the people who care about you.

I’ve fought for you in the only possible way I know how—by being there for you and loving you. But I realize I’m fighting a losing battle. You’re everything to me—and I’m not much to you. She won. I do truly hope you read this and try to see it through my point of view—I don’t understand this situation. And if I get nothing from you now, I never will. I want to—I want to know who she/they is, the part she/they plays in your life, if you’re still sleeping with them — so many questions that, until answered, make me question our involvement with each other.

And the sickest thing, and even I have to admit this, is that at the end of the day, I will let this happen. I will turn the other way. I will let you continue having other relationships and I will continue believing your lies. I can act angry and upset and yell and kick and scream but never will I let you go. I can’t. And that, above all else, makes me the most pathetic person I’ve ever known.

I don’t think you meant to ever hurt me—but you have. When someone you care about is dishonest, it hurts more than anything. I want to believe you—I want you to let me in. I want you to trust me and I want you to recognize that I’m here and willing to listen and understand.

But most of all, I just want you. All of you. And in the end, I can only hope you want me, and only me, too.

DEEP TRUST – GREAT LOVE

A year ago yesterday, on January 15th, I made a “Welcome 2013” commitment to “surrender, let go of worry, and be willing to feel vulnerable.” I have to tell you that so far…things are going great! I thought it would be really hard. It has actually been more uncomfortable than hard. I have worked on (and will continue to work on) deepening my awareness, observing my surroundings, tempering my reactions, and above all….cultivating deep trust and great love.

It has been remarkable for me to finally see, feel, and experience how much fear and worry has held me back. So many doors have been opened, ideas created, clarity and vision restored, love deepened.

I still have lots of things to work on in this arena. I am not sure if I will ever fully arrive at that place of total surrender and completely worry free. That’s ok with me. Having some worry, when properly channeled into clarity, makes for some pretty awesome goal boards!

With great love and trust,

April

Slow Down – Pause – Stay Calm

So, with this idea of spreading a message of abundance to you this season — not through coupon codes or special holiday deals — I offer you the only gifts I really want to give to any really busy, hard-working family this year.

The gift of hours.

The gift of laughter.

The gift of smiles.

The gift of big hugs.

The gift of sweet, sloppy kisses.

The gift of breathing.

The gift of being understood.

The gift of feeling heard.

The gift of the sun rising.

The gift of the moon shining.

And the gift of simply being able to wake up even if for just one moment and notice all the gifts in front of us — the real ones that you won’t find under the tree this year but the ones that are already filling your heart.  Image

Your Undiscovered Greatness

The people I admire the most are those who find the inner strength to face their demons, overcome their circumstances, and find their own brand of success.  They are not infallible, but more often than not they keep pushing forward regardless of the challenges they face.  They have time for a kind word and a helping hand for others even when they are burdened.  And they never fail to say thank you when a kindness is extended to them.

The people I admire the most are those that do not stop at achievement and success.  For these people, pleasure does not come from the achievement, but rather from the work, the journey toward success. They are most alive when working toward something amazing. When “amazing” is achieved, they barely rest before they are off on the next adventure.

I hope I am as I describe above more often than not.  Each day is another opportunity to be that person and I am grateful for that chance.

This is how I choose to live my life.  I don’t always stay so focused, but this is my quest.  Care to join me?