What is love?

I wrote this a few years back…

A friend and I had a discussion about love, and I was asked what it meant to me, I couldn’t quite sum it up at that point. I asked the people in my life, both close and acquaintances what it meant to them… apart from one person saying “@#*$ like a wild animal!!” (which was one of my favourite responses), their answers were short, but some really hit home, I took them into my heart, and below is what love, in some small measure, means to me… 

Love is kindness, gentility, thoughtfulness, an ear and a shoulder, it’s in a child’s smile, it’s a mother’s touch, it’s a friend’s hug, and a lover’s embrace. It is opening your heart to someone, allowing them in, no matter how many times you have been hurt, love is trust.

When I say I love you, I don’t say it lightly, it comes from the very depth of my core, it is who I am, it fills me with such passion and desire that it sometimes moves me to tears, and God willing, it is in every action I take…

Love is humour, laughter, faith, friendship, communication, honesty.

When I say I love a “thing” I really do… I love cheesecake, I love the ocean, I love a multicoloured sunrise…

Love is sitting in silence and still so much being said, love is looking across the room, seeing a smile and being filled with joy, it’s the purr and meow from the light of my life.

Love is in the simplest things, like smiling at someone on the street, or holding a door open, and not expecting a “thank you”.

The power of the word love is a wonderful thing, but the power of the action of love can change the world. Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The first time I read this quote it left a profound impact on me, and I feel it changed me… I read it and re-read it, and try to remember it, especially in the most stressful or anger-filled times of my life and somehow it reminds me the real reason for us to exist on this planet is to love, to love with everything we are, stand in the face of fear, anger, negativity and just love. To make the choice, in each and every moment, to love, to be kind, to do whatever it takes to take the right path.

What is love to me? Love is everything…

love 2

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“They’re Real and They’re Spectacular” Until you go shopping for a dress!

Today I went shopping for a new dress to wear to the awards gala in Atlantic City this weekend… It’s the first time in a couple of years I’ve gone shopping for something fancy schmancy…

 I left my home with the highest of expectations… I mean, in the past 8 or 9 months  I’ve lost well over 45 pounds and am like 8 dress sizes smaller than I was, so I figured I could hit H&M or Suzy Shier, find one of the sexy dresses I see in their ads and actually fit into them! I mean, my intended budget was $45.00, and as my plus sized gal pals can attest to, that’s insanely unrealistic in plus sized stores…

So I went to Dufferin Mall… walked right passed Cinnabon, (a victory all on is own) and into H&M I go… I found a few dresses I liked I held up their ‘large’ size, and quite frankly it wouldn’t even cover one of my nipples! So, a tad disappointed, but not yet defeated, I went into Suzy Shier, and they were having a sale, ALL DRESSES $30.00!!!!!!!!!! I was even more determined to buy one there as it was under budget! I picked up 5 dresses, went into the change room, and again, my chest, my DDD chest, beat me down into a puddle of shame, a quivering mass of depression, and an informal decision to walk straight to Cinnabon and feed my depression as I’ve done my entire life…

I thanked the lady who helped me, and left… close to tears, wondering how, after all my hard work I still don’t #$^#*$ fit into a ‘regular’ sized dress… then it dawned on me, slowly, (thankfully before I got back to Cinnabon) that while the dresses didn’t fit over my chest, they DID fit everywhere else… HOLY CRAP! They fit my ribs, my waist, my hips, my ass!!!!

So this realisation is a big deal for me, all my hard work IS paying off! But what to do? I still need to shop in a plus sized store to appease my giant breasts… So I went to a plus sized store, Addition Elle… I tried on 4 dresses, all of which fit over the girls, and I fell in love with one of them… I felt like twirling around and dancing like a Disney Princess in this fantastically beautiful dress… and I felt beautiful… So what if I, because of my ‘girls’, have to keep shopping in plus sized stores, (other than the fact the prices are at least double, another topic for another blog entry), I felt gorgeous, sexy, and happy, with me, my body and my boobs… My boobs are part of who I am, who I’ve been for over 30 years, (read “My nickname in grade 4 was ‘Tit Wiggle’” for insight into that tale), I love them, they, in some way, define me, who I’ve become and who I want to be…

So life is good, I have an awesome dress, I went $60.00 over budget, and I am quite ok with that! I just won’t eat during the month of May!

p.s. I’ll update this entry with a photo once I wear the dress this weekend.

You’re Going to Make it… Cornilius “SEE” Flowers

Sometimes life just bestows you with gifts you never thought possible! Somehow, Cornilius “SEE” Flowers stumbled upon my blog and he sent me the link for his poem below… Please watch it, it breathes life into his words, and it will breathe life into your soul…

http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/the-messengers-you-are-going-to-make-it.htm

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

Several years ago there was this show on TLC entitled “The Messengers”, it was a spoken word/inspirational speakers competition… There was this one contestant named ‘Cornelius “See” Flowers’, and week after week he would bring me to tears… Even if you offered me a million bucks cash I couldn’t name one other contestant on that show… but I never forgot him… There was one week in particular that stood out, his speech was called “You’re going to make it”… It touched me so deeply I typed out the words and when I feel the need for inspiration I read and re-read it… I can hear his voice in my head… I wish I could find the video of him, his poise, his compassion, his strength and his faith ooooooooooooze out of him and it’s so uplifting… for now, his words will have to do…

Struggle means: to progress with difficulty.
You know what that means? It means that you’re going to make it.

And I don’t even know what you’re going through.
And I’m not even going to tell you that I understand.

But if you’ll accept this suggestion as it be. From experience, take it from me.
Your struggle – it’s all part of his plan.

And you are going to make it.

Setbacks are just set forth to strengthen your spirit and character.
If you ever obtain the wisdom that you have already been blessed with…
You’ll see. You had to be messed with.

In order to be able to look someone else in the face, eye to eye, and say:
You are going to make it.

He who has begun a great work in you, shall complete it; until the day of Christ.
What that means: God is in you. Every day of your life.

Just making sure that you’re going to make it.

And in the pit of your stomach, you know it. So put that mask away and show it.
And let the world see it. Because if you want it, you can be it.

You just have to take it.
Tell God that you want it, and tell yourself that you can make it.

And don’t rely on your family and friends for foundation.

More than likely they’re just waiting to see if you’re serious or not.
Or if what you say is really what you’ve got.

And don’t get mad at them for not believing in your dreams.
And then not spend time convincing them with your pleads.
You just pray to God that they have the courage to follow your lead.

And if they still reject you, dust off your feet and your shoulders, and he’ll eject you.
Because sometimes you have to remove yourself; and then they’ll respect you.

But you are going to make it. Regardless.

As long as you start each job at the end.
What I mean: see it done, before you begin.

Money? It’s already there.
Health? Baby, you are already healed.
Faith? You have not, because you ask not.
Family? He who has created you, is more than you’ve got. And all that you need.

You just have to believe… that you’ll struggle, but…
You are going to make it!

Cornelius “SEE” Flowers

ॐ Peace ॐ

Some of my Best Friends are Gay!

Subtitled “I’m on the Pro-Gay Bandwagon… are you?”

I’m going to begin this with a bit of poignant humour, this is a clip of Nathan Lane on the Ellen show, it’s his response to a group of closed minded homophobes who tried to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as the spokesperson for JCPenny, and how JCPenny not only stood by their choice, and didn’t give in to petty threats, but Ellen’s response of humour, grace, class and confidence, as she says “My haters are my motivators”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YNXikPtknM

I work in an industry that has such a diverse group of people, all races, ages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. and we all just… get along! It’s like in the park, when you see someone feeding the birds, pigeons, chickadees, crows… they all hang out together and eat in peace… sure every once in awhile a big bully of a seagull swoops down trying with all his might to take all the food, but the tightly knit group bands together, defends themselves, and actually invites the seagull to join them, sharing their feast… sometimes the seagull does in fact settle down and joins in, and sometimes he flies off to find another weaker group to take over… In one shift, during the course of an 8 hour event, I have witnessed this… the group, defending their territory, with love, compassion, humour and kindness, have won over the bully, and by the end of those 8 hours, we were all nibbling on stale rolls together… It warmed my heart to be a part of that progress, I felt proud to be in the company of such fine birds!

So, like the title says, “Some of my best friends are Gay”, and they are! And so what? Why does it matter? How does the fact my saying they are gay change the fact that they are some of my closet friends. Being gay doesn’t take away from the person they are, it doesn’t make them less of a person, it doesn’t make them non-human… Every time I sign a petition, read an article, or hear a story about a gay couple not being allowed to marry, or offered basic human rights such as being allowed to roam the streets freely are stripped from the gay community, or people being imprisoned or beaten and even put to death for being gay, a little piece of me dies inside.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I were, at random, to choose 5 straight friends and 5 gay friends and simply wrote one page each about them, about their life, about their choices, about their dreams, about their values and handed you those 10 sheets of paper you wouldn’t be able to tell me that these 5 are the gay 5 and these 5 are the straight 5. They are just 10 stellar human beings, doing good things in this world, seeking the same things we all seek, love, friendship, acceptance, joy, beauty, etc.

How can a nation, as ‘forward thinking’ as the United States of America think their government has the right to deny their own citizens the right to marry one another? Their own Pledge of Allegiance states: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How can we sit by while innocent people are being imprisoned for simply uttering the word “Gay”? While our brothers and sisters are being sent to re-education sessions to ‘fix’ them? While they are being put to death for the simple act of being true to who they are? Silence and inaction isn’t the answer…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know this post is long, it’s all over the place, has no real form to it, and probably not my most eloquent piece and for this I sincerely apologise… However, I believe that is because I am at a loss for what is happening in this world. I’ve tried numerous times to write this, put my inner most feelings out there for the world to read… I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and finally decided to just vent, and pray my message is heard.

I tried to write this post from a place of compassion, a desire for change, and I pray my rage doesn’t come through. To, one last time, quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (snippets from his brilliant and beautiful speech ‘I have a dream’ while based on the equality of the race all mankind, I truly believe his intention was for worldwide equality of all mankind in its entirety, race, religion, sexual orientation, body type, etc) :

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Peace & Love

Princess Larissa, on her birthday…

Once upon a time the most beautiful princess was born to an equally as beautiful mother. This princess was very blessed to be loved beyond words by her mother and her grandmother. Her mother chose the most perfect name for this princess, she named her Larissa… The meaning, Cheerful and Lighthearted, no name could be more fitting as where ever this princess went, the people she met were happier, and better inside for having the chance to meet her.

As the years went on, Larissa grew into a stunning princess with the shiniest, silken hair; almond shaped eyes that sparkled with the light & mercy of God; and a smile so bright and welcoming and everlasting. But what was even more beautiful than her physical self, (and let me tell you, that’s no easy feat, Princess Larissa was ‘slammin’) was her inner beauty. Princess Larissa’s heart was filled with so much kindness, laughter, joy and love, that when people came into contact with her, even for a moment, she enriched their lives for the rest of their days.

Princess Larissa forever carries the memories of her mother and grandmother in her heart, she misses them both in every moment of her life. But she never lets one of those moments go by without thanking the Lord for blessing her with two such loving beings, for giving her the opportunity to recognise their beauty, feel their love, and love them right back. Her gratitude and compassion just reaffirms her timeless beauty.

Princess Larissa had two beautiful daughters, both of whom inherited her spirit, her heart and her beauty. These girls are already carrying on their mothers living legacy of kindness, generosity, cheerfulness and lightheartedness! They are her pride and joy, she is the embodiment of the perfect mother, and her love for them grows each and every day.  

I have been blessed with the honour and privilege of watching Princess Larissa grow and blossom into a fierce and powerful woman. And today, while the world wishes Princess Larissa a happy birthday, I silently thank God who, many years ago, brought me to this magical child and allowed me to witness her life. In my heart, she is my daughter and my little sister wrapped up in one beautiful package. I am proud and humbled of the person she has become. I am in awe of her capacity to love in the face of tragedy, of her SHEroic warrior spirit, and of her infinite inner and outer beauty.

Today, on this, the day of your birth, I wish for you eternal bliss, abundance in all you seek, wild and amazing adventures, laughter and joy in every moment, friends and family filling your heart with light and love.

Lastly, I thank you Princess, for allowing me to be a part of your life, for being ever so lucky to witness your beauty, for it changes me, every single day, it changes me and makes me a better person in this world. I love you, more than mere words could ever express.

Happy happy HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Travis and a Soldier (child) Named John…

When I moved to Panama I flew via Atlanta, which is one of the airports that the soldiers use to fly to Iraq. The fear and sadness in that airport were palpable, I, someone who always walks with her head up smiling at every person I pass by, kept my head down as I couldn’t deal with seeing those young boys dressed like grown men, leaving home to go fight a senseless war… fighting back tears, trying to live up to everything the uniform says they should be…. instead of going to college, or getting jobs, learning, growing, partying, getting laid and having fun…

While waiting the 5 hour layover Travis and I sat at a restaurant and they were so nice to us, they gave me a little cup of water and fresh tuna for her and let me keep her, in her travel bag, up on the table so she could always see me…

One soldier was sitting a few tables away from me kept looking at us and smiling, I think laughing too because I kept talking and singing to her and had a hand in the bag petting her to keep her calm. At one point he had so much sadness behind his smile I asked him if he wanted to come meet Travis… He jumped up and sat with us (now we all know Travis has her moments of hissing, screeching etc. but when she’s hopped up on valium, she’s quite docile lol) he put his hand in her bag and petted her, while I tried to explain why my female cat was named Travis… he had his hand in the bag the whole time, talking to her and telling me about his experiences. He was 18 years old, his name is John, his father and grandfather were both soldiers and it was just expected of him to become one too… He told me that he’d never spoken these words out loud to anyone, but he said “I am so scared, of course of being injured or dying, but actually of having to kill someone. All I want to do is play my guitar and sing” Tears flowed down his cheeks; he turned away from me and focused on Travis. She’s such an amazing being, she felt his pain, and pushed her own fears aside and began to purr. His face lit up and said “hey she’s purring!!!” His smile was of a child, delighted by the simplest things in life. I told him to feel honoured, as that rarely happens for anyone but me!!!

“If purring could be encapsulated, it’d be the most powerful anti-depressant on the pharmaceutical market.” ~ Alexis F. Hope

I decided to make him laugh and taught him the Travis the Kitty song and we sang it together to her laughing so hard.

He looked at his watch and said “I can’t believe how quickly the past 1.5 hours went, I have to run to my gate now!” He stuck his whole head in Travis’ bag and gave her a kiss, I stood up to shake his hand and he took it in both his hands and said “Thank you Lalita, this was the most relaxed I have felt in a long time, when I close my eyes at night I am going to sing the Travis the Kitty song till i fall asleep” With that he gave me the tightest, most genuine hug I have ever felt, and one I’ll never forget, he grabbed his duffle bag and ran to his plane.

“A loving cat can mend a wounded heart.” ~ Anonymous

I stood there watching him run, and realized only when the waitress put her arm around me that I was sobbing… She said to me, “Hon, you did a great thing there… from looking at you, I don’t know who got more out of it, him or you”

It wasn’t until hours later, while Travis and I were on the plane, did I realize we didn’t exchange numbers, or emails or even last names… I’ll never know what happened to John, I sometimes used to think he was home safe and sound and got himself a feisty little cat named Travis Jr. lol… but I do know he changed me forever, I don’t walk with my head down anymore, everyone I pass by gets a smile.

“Until one has loved an animal,  a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

“I like stuff!” Lalita Patel…

So the other day I was watching Oprah and her guest was director Tom Shadyac, known for movies such as Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar and more… he made millions upon millions of dollars directing such great movies. He had a 17,000 square foot home, luxury cars, etc.

He essentially gave it all up, moved into a mobile home, donated the majority of his money to charities close to his heart and made a documentary called “I Am“. It looks like a brilliant movie and I can’t wait till it opens in Toronto…

“I was standing in the house that my culture had taught me was a measure of the good life,” Tom recalls in his documentary I Am. “I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling: I was no happier.”

I have always believed in “paying it forward”… Giving back, not taking my good fortune for granted… Essentially I want to change the world, leave it better than I found it, leaving this world saying I did something with my life… Right now, while my business is growing, I can only give of myself, so I volunteer at charity events where ever I can and do some small donations when possible.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

I have been thinking a lot about Tom and his journey and came to this realization… good or bad, I like stuff! YES, I admit it, I, LALITA PATEL AM A STUFF-AHOLIC…

So I decided to look at my life to see what can I cut out, give up, how can I be more like Tom?

  • My TV? Well no, it’s the only entertainment I spend money on… I rarely go out to eat, I don’t go to bars, clubs, movies… so having my digital cable is my fun time…
  • My car? Ha! No way, we all know I won’t take the bus… won’t ride a bike everywhere… and walking…? I repeat… HA!
  • My knick knacks? I collect a few things, pewter wizards, Egyptian artifacts, these make me smile when I look at them… so they stay…

Then I began thinking, why do I want to change my life to be like Tom’s… just because that is what works for him, doesn’t mean it is what works for me… cuz remember, I LIKE STUFF! Why can’t I have it all? I work hard, my business is growing with each day, money is going to start rolling in… I am going to get more stuff! A home for my mom, get my dad and step mom the vacation of their dreams, pay off my debts of the past, save for my future and enjoy the now, travel, get a super bad ass car, a gorgeous condo… and more!

But! I won’t be selfish, I’ll still volunteer, I’ll still put my heart and soul into events for charities close to my heart, I’ll donate a portion of my limitless riches…My goal for Events by Lalita is to ensure 20% of our business is not for profit, and where I can, even, pro-bono… I won’t be one of those planners who charges insanely high prices for fundraisers just because I can… When it’s a cause in which I truly believe, I’ll give back, with all my heart… For it is in giving that we receive…  I am soooo looking forward to the day when I’ll be planning huge fundraisers, being a part of something bigger than myself, events that I can be proud of…

AND  I’ll be driving to these events in my Super Bad Ass Events by Lalita Purple Aston Martin with a very clear conscience!!!

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi – Words to live by…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

 

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