Last Conversation with My Dad

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Last year in the last week of may was the last time I heard my father’s voice. I was in Paris with girlfriends and then had ny husband join me for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. It was the first time we left kids for that long to do this.  Granted, they were with their grandma.

My dad was in Paris to pick up his youngest son and bring him home to Zagreb. He planned to watch French Open so the only way he thought we could see each other was for me to come to the gates and message him from there to come meet me.  None the less, he was in Paris an entire week.

It took everything for me to say no to his proposal to meet him by the gates and not because I didn’t want to make an effort to see him but because for as long as I could remember, I was the only one making an effort. I thought this changed when he broke the streak of broken promises 2 years before this by coming for a weekend to meet my older son and spend some time with me.  I appreciated that very much, but the reality is, this was a rare moment and one of  few I can count in the past 30 years.

I decided to do what works not what I wanted.  French Open was in a completely different part of the town and had I gone there, I would’ve missed a chance to see Paris and I felt that I worked really hard to earn that trip. I was so mad because I really wanted to see him and introduce him to my husband.  And yet, I didn’t feel like it was ok to invest so much money, time and effort in celebrating my anniversary to set it all aside and adjust my schedule to my dad’s. I was mad that he didn’t want to find another way. He was mad that I didn’t accept his proposal and that I was mad and that was it. 

He never spoke to me again. I reached out a few times and then stopped. Some time in November I began to feel regret that we weren’t talking.  Then I realized, it wasn’t up to me.  I didn’t mind reaching out, but I think everyone eventually gets tired of trying.  I knew that in every possible way, I tried to be better, more understanding and forgiving.  I didn’t see any effort on my dad’s part.  On contrary, he always gave himself an out by saying: “I am the way I am” and by asking me to “let it go.”

I cried my eyes out over this that night.  If I wasn’t happily married, I would’ve felt completely unlovable.  In fact, from time to time my husband reminds me that he will not abandon me because that experience, even though from childhood, still felt ingrained in my mind.  I even did a family constellation session.  I thought, why not give it a shot to try to repair this relationship on a soul level.  My friend, and facilitator told me: your father is there for you on a soul level, but his body doesn’t know how to be.

On New Year’s day he sent me a message with greetings. I responded with a picture of my family. He wrote back that it was beautiful to see us. On my birthday, a few days later, he had a stroke he never woke up from.  I often wonder if my clearing had something to do with his sudden reaching out.  Did he know deep inside that something was going to happen.  Had he not, the last thing I would remember would be the fight with him from my expensive hotel room about him not willing to make time to see us.

Am I at peace?  most of the time. It’s bitter sweet. On one hand, I stood up for myself a year ago in Paris and broke the habit of always setting everything else aside when my dad is available.  I am glad I did that because I didn’t want my marriage to come second to my dad’s crazy expectations of me (that he doesn’t have of himself).  But I am sorry.  I am sorry I got mad and I am sorry that I couldn’t have it just wash off of me and leave no impact.  It’s silly that we get mad at people for being who they are.  My dad was being true to himself and whether or not that was enough for me, I have to accept it.

I could feel guilty but I am not going to.  I am writing this just to share because I often hear people beating themselves up over choices they made in the past.  The things is, the time is always now to make the right choice.  After that, the only choice we have is to make peace with it.  I made peace with mine.  I still and completely love my dad.  And I know he loved me. We had whatever time we had.  May he rest in peace and may my children never feel I am hard to get through to in any way.  This is not the end of grief, however, for me.  It’s merely a beginning ❤

Missing grandma, understanding loss

Sharing this blog from 6 years ago as I am clearing my draft folder.  I found it just in time for grandma’s birthday next week.  I had a few losses after grandma passed and thought it would push my missing her aside.  It didn’t.  It merely reminded me that her spirit must be with me all the time.  Here is my blog:

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“I cannot sleep.  I keep thinking of grandma and how quickly she passed.  There really was never a right time for her to go, I am sure of it.  Even though I am 34 years old, I seriously never once got friendly with an idea that eventually people we love will die.

I am sure someone will read this blog and think how immature I am on the subject.  It’s probably surprising to so many that I am a queen of creating and manifesting things in life and that I am so deeply shaken by this loss.  And, I am.  I am shocked, shaken, heart broken and forever changed.

We become prisoners of guilt, perhaps, way too fast to really be able to be face to face with a raw feeling underneath.  So long as we feel guilty, we truly don’t take any responsibility for that we are killing ourselves along with the person we just lost.

It took me days to figure out that I wasn’t willing to forgive myself for that I didn’t speak with grandma the day before she passed.  I learned a lesson long ago about how to forgive myself.  It worked then so I asked my husband to go find my note to him when I shared it.  And there it was, simply put: “my actions were completely correlate with the way the world occured to me….(I simply didn’t know that that was the last time I would ever get to speak with grandma, else I would get off my call and spend time with her)…why punish myself for that?”

And I did forgive myself for not knowing.  There truly isn’t anything new I would say to grandma at that time. I kept her really well updated throughout the years and often time it was all “too much information.”  Years ago when she was in New York, I made sure I shared how much I appreciated her and why and she was able to share her love with me.  So, there isn’t anything else I would say, or anything other than “I LOVE YOU” that I could repeat an infinite amount of times. And now that the guilt is gone, I truly am dealing only with a loss.

This isn’t anyone’s fault. This isn’t good or bad.  It just is.  I am facing the reality of life for what it is. I remind myself over and over again to be grateful for what I had.  I remember grandma.  I think of her all the time.  She is even more present now that I know that she is gone because I can see all of her in me.

There isn’t a better advice in life than the one we learn because someone did it not told it.  Grandma had grace that I only hope to achieve in my life time.  She was nice to people.  She got along well.  I cannot say that I am the same, but in honor of her, I want to be.

I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband who is my shining star in good and in bad.  I know grandma wanted me to have this kind of love in my life. She knows I believed it was possible and she, for sure, was helping me make it happen by believing in me every step of the way.  She never took off her wedding band, even 30 years after grandpa was gone. She loved, so much, so forgivingly.  Ah… There is nobody like her, and nothing can replace her.  I am blessed to have shared my lifetime with her.”

I love you grandma!!!!

 

Love only. Compassion. Gratitude

I feel that in life, we often deal with some things over and over again.  I used to think this was wrong and beat myself up for things that resurface, but over time, I realized, this is just how life rolls.  We always have the same set of issues, but if we work on it, we get to take a deeper cut.  The deeper we go and the more we work on it, the more we expand our foundation, the more is possible for us and, as the consequence, we feel more joy.

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My father’s passing almost 2 months ago now, disturbed the calm waters of my life.  I was used to my father not being around, in fact, it is only after 20+ years that we restored our relationship to intimate connection and love that father-daugther relationships are usually made of.  That said, in May of last year, as I travelled to Paris for the first time, and my father happened to drive in to pick up his youngest son and drive him home to Croatia at the same time. I have fallen back into the pattern of expecting things of him like I did when I was a little girl all the way until I got married.  I forgot that the only way to have my father do something for me was to make sure he was aware of how much that mattered to me.  That worked 3 years ago when he drove down to Montenegro and met my younger son.  This time around, I didn’t want to do work to convince him to see me.  I wanted him to want it and do work for it.  And, he didn’t.

I reached out to him a few times over the summer and then I stopped trying.  On New Year’s Day, I received a message from him with greetings for the upcoming year.  I wished him the same with the picture of my family.  He wrote: “it is beautiful to see you all.”  A little more than a week later, on my 40th birthday, at 6pm New York time, I learned my father had a stroke.  He never woke up from it.

I am not going to lie to say that I didn’t think I’d be prepared for this.  Our relationship was way less than I think I ever deserved and I worked very hard throughout my life to feel deeply deserving of love, attention and commitment of another man because I never had that from my dad.  It was almost 8 years ago that I wrote an email t my dad in complete desperation to hear words of encouragement.  His response was that he wasn’t a good person to ask and the rest of the email was filled with his joyful sharing of the attention he was giving to his 2 boys from his second marriage.  In that moment, I realized, I would never have a father that I wanted. I stopped expecting things. And, even though I trained myself to not want more from him, I was always happy when he was in touch and he had power to provide me with so much joy with every bit of attention he gave me.

My dad dying shook me.  It was final.  I didn’t even get a chance to tell him I became an American citizen (his life long dream was to come here), because I had my Oath Ceremony just days after his brain was dead.  His heart was beating few days longer as if to buy me some time to get my passport and fly to attend his funeral.

Coming to Zagreb after 30 years was traumatic.  I went straight to the house where I used to visit him and his wife and sons were out visiting friends.  They knew I was coming but I guess it didn’t matter.  Thank God for an amazing friend I have who now lives in Zagreb who hosted me, fed me and offered a shoulder to cry on.  I spent more money on going to my father’s funeral than I remember him ever spending on me (this, of course, triggers the memory of unworthiness because he fought hard, and indirectly, not to pay for child support).

The past few weeks of my life felt like a cosmic joke.  My husband and I were interviewed couple dozen times because we hoping to put our older child in a private school in September.  Of course, we were not stupid, we applied to more than 1o private schools, that many public and numerous charter schools throughout the city.  Applying for financial aid in order to get into private school had me think about money a lot, realizing, I want to be earning way more than I do right now.  I made peace with slowing down with my business to roll with raising my two boys, but when I realized I was done birthing, I was itching to get out there, to impact more people and expand my reach.

I would gain some momentum then kids would get sick or something would happen to have me go back to square one.  At some point I did so many facebook lives but the criticism of it had me back down.  I couldn’t help but be self-conscious.  I understand that what I do is not everyone’s cup of tea but when a few people have a negative response, it’s tough for me to go on.  This isn’t new, my shaky relationship with my own self-esteem has obviously had something to do with it.

I was looking for perfection in everything I did.  I went too far experimenting with my own weight.  Since I became a teenager, I was either on diet or skipping meals until I did a stupid Atkins diet in year 2000 that had me restrict carbs.  I will never forget that on the 13th day of restricting carbs, I lost it.  I was interning for the sound post production company and the kitchen there was filled with all kinds of cookies and junk for the people who spent hours working.  I couldn’t stop eating, which led to me being so full that I had to purge to prevent myself rom bursting.  Before I knew it, this became a pattern.

I was ashamed to ask for help so I struggled for years to come.  I was skinny and miserable.  My eating disorder was a way I punished my body for not obeying, for being too curvy and not allowing me to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it.  I worked so hard that this practice allowed me to have a sense of control in the places where us, women, usually don’t have it.  I got a handle on it in 2005 when I did transformational work, Reiki and began to listen to my own inner voice about who I was and what I wanted.  I relapsed for years after that but I was strong enough to always get back on the horse when I fell down from it.  I remember telling my dad about my struggle and him telling me to just stop doing it.  Somehow, I also thought that this was my fault, that I this time of my life was wasted, that I was wasteful and stupid for being sick.

Almost a decade later, and after spending over $30K on fixing my teeth, I feel like I am still blaming that little 20 year old Marija for being so stupid to numb her feelings with food, for spending so much time being sick and not asking for proper support and guidance.  In fact, as I decided to fix the aesthetics of my front teeth so that every time I smile I don’t think how thin my front teeth are and feel shame of it all over again, all of this came to the surface.  Restricting food (with all the dental work, I am pretty much on the soup and soft food diet) is likewise triggering in me the desire to give in, to give up, to relapse, to loose myself again in the binge so that I can numb the overwhelming emotions that are resurfacing.

What saddens me the most right now as I am writing this is how uncomfortable I am with appearing weak, with vulnerably sharing my struggle and needing support.  I think this is a problem with our society, people move on, they forget to ask, we are all expected that old troubles don’t bother us anymore.  Slowly, everyone is forgetting to ask if I am still grieving my dad.  Surely, many people that knew about my eating disorder probably just assume that I don’t think about it anymore just because I don’t purge or go on binges.    But, this is all not people’s fault.  It is us, me, who don’t ask for help when we need it.  Being criticized is one of my biggest triggers which is why, in the past, I always opted to restrict the information I give.  I worry about what other people think and say, so in the process, I mold myself to fit in.  It’s an old pattern that every now and then I fall back into.  This is why I am writing this.  I am not complaining, I am not even sharing it to get points, I am sharing the process.  Working with people in the past decade had me see that nobody is immune to this.  We all have things come up and then those of us who are committed to having great lives clear it and those that are not, ignore it.  Either way, things come up and every time they do, they come up faster and stronger at us, which makes sense, because we are stronger too.

In a face of everything new I want to create, my insecurity will come up to bite me in the ass.  I will then remember that my father did the best he knew to do and will allow to feel his energy all around me supporting whatever it is I am up to.  And regardless of how much I feel that my dental work is punishment for my eating disorder, I will find compassion for doing the best I could at the time to numb the overwhelming emotions that took me years to be able to feel, claim, allow and make right.  I will remember my mom’s words: “teeth can be fixed,” and I will go on to fixing what I can for as long as I live.  Expansion is only possible when are moving through it, when we are playing games that are big enough that we can see everything that isn’t a match for who we need to be to win them.  Love only.  Compassion.  Gratitude.

 

 

 

Let go and let love

We have all experienced a heart break at least once in our lives.  By the time I was 30, I was an expert in being heartbroken.  And not only that, each failed relationship was feeding into my fear that I was not enough and that true love will never really knock on my door. I think everything I did since I became an adult was geared towards learning how to find and keep a guy.  I knew I was smart enough to succeed in other things, but the matters of heart – that I felt I had no control over. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder for a good chunk of my 20s, I knew what it felt like to be addicted to something.  And the power that had me to stop ED was the power that had me find love.

Now, I don’t believe that we can control when love will happen – that is in the hands of Higher Power, but I do believe that we can, and are responsible, to create a clear and pristine space for it, so that it can show up for us.  In the clear and pristine space, LOVE does show up.

I know some of you have done personal development work.  I applaud that.  And, for what I am about to say, I think that such work can be more of an obstacle than support.  In fact, it is that we keep on thinking that there is something for us to “work on” that has us stuck in the same old pattern of “not enough”.  We can’t be both: complete and in need of more therapy/transformation. As a coach, I make sure my clients never feel inadequate, but rather see our work together as their consistent evolving inside of a committed, clean, powerful, safe and loving space.  I don’t have my clients feel like there is something to fix, something many of the programs, therapies, works out there are based on.  For as long as we think we need to fix our relationship with our parents, for example, we aren’t really focused or present to the prince charming that may be right in front of us – mistake number 1.

The mistake number 2 is that we hold on to our past like it’s real.  Our urge to love and find love has us hold on to people and memories where we at least somewhat felt like our feelings were reciprocated.  And instead of letting go of all past relationships that did’t serve us, we mess up more in order to cope with what’s already messed up.  When I had an ED, I binged to cope with my urge to binge.  Other words, only when I binged did I relieve the anxiety that I was feeling when I felt the urge to binge.  It is only when I realized that the voice telling me to binge was not REAL ME, that I was able to silence the voice and take actions that I wanted to take: anything from being with people, actually answering my phone, making a difference in the world and alike. It is when I observed the voice in my head, without thinking I needed therapy, to journal my emotions, to read more books on the subject and give my power away, that I was able to see that the voice in my head did not have power over my actions.  In fact, more I recognized that voice as NOT ME, more silent the voice became.

So, please ladies, do not cling to the past relationships that don’t serve you, don’t send more emails so that you can get a different response, or send that last text thinking something will change.  Your urge to do these things is coming from the voice that isn’t YOU and the relief from that anxiety to say something is only temporary and making things worse in a long run.  The voice that tells you to do so is not who YOU are.  YOU can hear it and dismiss it and then do what works: move on, go out on a date with a new guy, or go visit a friend.  When you keep falling back into the same pattern, you perpetuate addiction and the space stays cluttered.  Love only comes into the clear and pristine space.  So, let go and let love.

When the heart breaks

Sometimes things that we get to be the best at are the things we struggled the most with.  And while coaching can take one through thick and thin, there are moments when things are best left alone to just be as they are.  When I feel I tried everything I knew to do to change a situation or create a different outcome after failing at it numerous times, I turn my attention to powers above. I simply think of God or angels in my life who are no longer with me and I ask for support.   I do the ho’oponopono mantra a thousand times to just release the energy and get it down to zero.  And most of all, I allow myself a good cry for feeling helpless.  I then experience how vulnerable we are as human beings, how fragile life is and how little it matters that we be right when we don’t feel the love in our hearts.  But, when I dig deeper and let myself stop fighting with my own demons, I get that love is there, but the heart is broken and the pain is causing me to tense up and react and be super protective.  Because when the heart breaks, it aches, it hurts until it makes us numb and then we settle for less only to never feel that pain again.  The pain, on another hand, is subjective and so long as we perceive it as pain, we fail to actually experience it as the sensation that it is.   What does your heart break feel like?

Maybe, just maybe if we allow the sensation to be and give into it fully, we would not be hurt by the things we cannot change.  We would notice how having something and then not having it anymore is just part of life and we would learn to roll with the punches and adjust to different stages of life.  We would learn to give and to receive and to not take things for granted nor to expect of another anything other than what they are capable of and willing to give us.  Our life would be filled with love and gratitude and there would be peace within in spite of the storm outside.

Breathing in deeply… Allowing myself to love and feel the pain… Forgive myself, forgiving others… Giving it all to God

New York, New York

After almost full 2 years I am back in New York to stay for a while.  This has been one of the most magical journeys in my life.

I fell in love with New York a very long time ago…and probably long before I ever even tasted what a life here would be like.  I came as a teenager and grew up in neighborhoods of the city consistently searching for happiness and love.

About 2 years ago, I realized, as much as I loved New York, my life was meant to be about creating and providing Love, Freedom and Peace (still words engraved in my first ipod).  Sure, those words sound so general and I know that they are so cheaply overused today.  None the less, I wanted exactly what those words represented.

And, as much as I was absolutely clear that I was living in the best city in the world, I knew that I wanted to leave.  Namely, I was willing to give up living here to have the experience of freedom I yearned for … And so I did.  I went back to Europe, risked my being able to come back and there, I  won my fight to become a resident of USA.  Upon my return, it felt like I landed here for the first time, although years ago when I did summer solstice yoga in Times Square, I claimed my place right here on Times Square

Given the freedom now to travel back and forth, I was able to spend more time in Montreal visiting the man of my dreams.  In creating our future together, it became clear that for what we were creating, it was the best that I give up living in New York once again such that I can create my own business and be with my man.  Then we got engaged and we went forth with the plan, and I left my New York once again.

And here I am…after more than a year of traveling back and forth  to Montreal, and also Montenegro, Florida, Las Vegas and alike, ..back to MY New York.  I am here with my husband and with our unborn baby boy to take another long and deep fresh breath of my New York.

You may wonder by now why I love it so much… I think in growing up as well as in my own personal training and development, I feel New York was the only place that offered unlimited possibilities and was truly able to hold and match up the wildest dreams of someone who isn’t even truly from here.  It’s the place where I never felt like a stranger and I never felt alone.  it’s the place where lot’s of new things are being created and where ordinary people do extraordinary things.  You can meet the best of the best and people are not segregated as they often are in some cities of our world.  Things are available, things are possible, people are amazing (although often also limited by their own little bubble, probably created to be able to deal with the vastness of what this city provides).

It is then only natural that my path led me back here, to embrace and take a breath of New York yet another time.  To allow me to break through the next barrier in my way and provide my family and people I am surrounded by with a particular edge that I think I have only when truly able to experience the infinity of what it is to live in the unlimited world.

I am blessed and honored to be here, creating newly not reliving the old.  Embracing the energies that come from all the different corners of this world and allowing them to take me to the further heights.  Experiencing total freedom, love and peace within and around.  Thank you New York and everyone that makes you what you are 🙂