LOVE Padlocks

ImageLast night I went to see the wild ride of the movie “Now You See Me”–to me it was a great visual of entertainment, always wondering what was going to happen next, enjoying the magical illusions, never being able to guess the next move, wondering how each character fit. I truly enjoyed it. At the end of the movie there is a scene on a bridge & the bridge was covered in padlocks. To me it was a visual wonder & i wanted to know more, so I googled and found “Love padlocks”–people place padlocks in certain places to symbolize their love they want to hold onto–called Love padlocks.

All over the world there are specific locations, some the beginning of the padlocks is a mystery, other stories are of lovers lost, hope of lovers returning, wishes of romance, etc. It is a beautiful symbol of a cherished, heartfelt gesture.

Love is funny like that. So much of our life is seeking and finding someone to share your life with, the days, the moments, the laughter, the hurt, the pain…if you were able to meet someone & literally padlock their love, would it truly be a good idea? Would you miss the challenges that turn into making up? Would you miss the moments where you grow together? Would you begin to take your love for granted? Would you try as hard to hold on to the special feelings you have for one another? Would the affection be as passionate if you knew it could not be taken away? Would you miss the moments of insecurity that bring you back to finding a place of gratitude in your heart for one another? Would you cherish your time together?

The padlocks did remind me of a time where my husband and I were going through a hard spot emotionally and I was feeling very vulnerable to situations that could possibly ruin our relationship. I remember giving him a set of three keys and explaining they were a visual of the keys he holds to the heart of our family. One key was to symbolize each one of us in our little family & every time he looked at the keys he was to realize the importance of what he held within—our hearts.

Relationships are like that, you are given opportunities to learn from another, to invest in their life story, to see glimpses of who they really are, to be trusted with emotional keys, so remember in any relationship you are in, hold a knowing that you are unlocking a piece of someone’s padlocked heart where they hold hurts, sensitivity, hopes, dreams, and they are inviting you in to experience a part of it. Be gentle, be wise, be loving, be kind.

“Let me find the key to your heart so I can unlock your secret chambers of love; when I do find that key, I will lock myself in your heart forever.”  -unknown

ImageNow, I love the symbolic idea of these beautiful padlock places, so here are some ideas to

SPREAD THE LOVE: I think the idea of LOVE PADLOCKS is a heartfelt, loving gesture. I LOVE it!! I think it is another fun way to spread some love. So, here are a few ideas…there are world locations, so I am going to leave you with this link of some of the prime Love Lock locations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_locations_with_love_padlocks

Find a location, list those you love & make a loving wish that they will fill your life with continued LOVE.

You could also do a fun family lock where everyone lists their names & makes a wish. You could hang it somewhere special in your home, yard, car mirror or find a special location that is special to your family.

Image-best wishes  Heather

FAMILY should be a safety net—how is yours holding up?

Image“When you are young, your whole life is about fun. Then, you grow up and learn to be cautious. You could break a bone or a heart. You look before you leap, and sometimes you don’t leap at all because there’s not always someone to catch you. And in life, there is no safety net.”   -unknown

I was in a department store the other day walking the video isle when I heard a young couple planning a game night on the isle next to me and discussing who should be invited. It sounded like a family game night, so it was funny to hear the husband chime in honestly “I am not sure I want to invite (so and so) she is such a killjoy.” The honest, real conversation hit me & I continued to listen..this is real life, I thought. The couple continued to debate if they should invite a specific family member & then relented knowing they ‘should.’  They called her right then and there & it was funny to hear the husband invite, then add in some possible reasons why they may not be able to come, like we won’t have anything for the kids to do or if you don’t want to, we understand. It was so interesting to hear every side of the situation from one isle over. I thought, I knew it, this does really happen!! It was just strange to actually hear it happening.

Family dynamics are an interesting thing—we all have them, some good relationships, some interesting characters, some people we don’t get along with, moments of love and hate, sarcasm or wit, lots of history together, heartbreak or heart song.

So, let me ask you this…Where do you fit in your family dynamic?? Are you a builder, a prankster, a lover, a listener, the funny one, the sarcastic one, the introvert, the extrovert, the socialite, the one who sits in the corner, the peacemaker…every one is different. Each person has their strengths, their insecurities, the way they fit, the moments they don’t.

Here are some tips, tricks and things to think about to help your family dynamic:

How well do you REALLY know your family?? have you spent enough time with them to begin to understand their likes, dislikes, their favorite hobbies, the way they joke, things that light them up, things they struggle with, the way they communicate, etc. If you don’t feel you know them as well as you should, begin to plan get togethers, have fun question and answer moments, pull out cards and have a game, while you talk about different topics.

Face time: When was the last time you had a one on one conversation with your siblings? Do you talk to them each week, monthly, daily, once a year, etc. Specific face time gives you an opportunity to get to know them, listen to their needs, begin to understand them in a personal place. Sometimes family dynamics brings about groups clicking, huddling up with specific people, jokes about one or another family member, etc, so be aware and take that personal time to have them on a one-on-one level.

Remember the golden rule: as a child we all remember our parents saying…”treat others as you would like to be treated.”  Are you treating your family the way you would want to be treated? Are you loving and kind? Are you always teasing or jabbing in fun? Do you find yourself not wanting to invite one or the other family member to a game night or event? Begin to put yourself in others shoes & try to understand how they are feeling—not invited, not involved with everyone, etc. Think of the golden rule—how would you like to be treated?

Avoid Sarcasm: In our family we grew up with the motto…”Don’t be sarcastic–its the lowest from of humor” or “Scar-casm”—even though this was our family motto my siblings are very sarcastic, sometimes very funny, other times, not so much—usually at the cost of others feelings. Indeed, it’s not surprising that the origin of the word sarcasm derives from the Greek word “sarkazein” which literally means “to tear or strip the flesh off.”  Hence, it’s no wonder that sarcasm is often preceded by the word “cutting” and that it hurts.   Here is a great article on sarcasm—title: Think Sarcasm is Funny? Think again. by Psychology today  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/think-well/201206/think-sarcasm-is-funny-think-again

Avoid labeling: Sure there have been times when you may have been difficult in certain situations, maybe you were the ‘black sheep’, the trouble maker, the goody goody…People may have a tendency to hold you hostage to your past behaviors, the way you use to do things, the reputation you use to have, but hold on…people do and can change, so try to avoid labeling anyone…especially your family. Give them the benefit of the doubt, learn about them at every stage within their life and love them through.

Keep your word: When you say something–mean it. Trust happens between friends, lovers and family. Do you leave your kids with someone to babysit them and then not show up on time (because they are family)? Do you arrive when a family event is planned or are you always late? Showing up on time shows you care. If you have a child, you know how important your word is—they will hold you to it. It is something sacred, it builds on the relationship between child and parent, it is your word that binds you & if it gets broken, so do feelings. So, why would adult relationships be any different?? Avoid mis-trust and frustration—keep your word. I think sometimes it is easier to abuse family in different situations, but keep this in mind…you are your word.

Have boundaries: we often are used, abused, mis-treated, mis-understood by those closest to us, so sometimes we need to have personal boundaries from those we love. You may need to have perimeters around how many days you take care of other people’s kids. Maybe you can only be around your mother-in-law once a month, not every Sunday. Maybe you need to speak your truth about a hurtful situation someone created. Maybe you just need to say No. It is okay to have boundaries. You will be better for it, which then allows you to be better for those situations. It is a win-win for everyone.       **Side note: a great song about Speaking your truth is by Sara Bareilles “Brave”

Be Kinder: I just went through a tough family situation where I needed to speak some truths, get out some negative feelings & learned a lot through it all—about myself, my feelings, but mostly realizing…I just wanted people to be kinder.

Family should be a place of safety, security, building, love and kindness. When those qualities get stripped away, we need to begin to try and find things that will help re-build the safety net that should be family. Family consists of those people who should be lifting you, building you to your best, allowing you to be who you are, freely sharing feelings, loving unconditionally. These are the people you have grown up with, they sometimes know you better than anyone else, they are the people who have been placed in your life to hopefully make it better, happier, worthwhile.

There is learning in all things—what are you learning from your family??

Something to think about.