Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Take It Slow



It has been weeks since I shared on the blog. Writing has taken a backseat to a stressful workload, parenting, the CrossFit Open, hiking, spending time with friends and entering the dating world again. 

I've missed writing. Over the past three years, blogging has been my connection to the outside world, my creative outlet and a cathartic release. Purging my feelings and thoughts into the universe; an integral part of my healing process.

After I left behind being a published columnist, I contemplated my future in writing. No longer did I enjoy the fruits of writing, but anguished over frivolities like SEO, driving traffic, monetizing and branding of my blog. 

Writing no longer was fun, but became a weight pulling me down. 

Honestly, there are moments when I have considered  closing the door on the blogging chapter in my life. Would anyone even miss it? Would I even miss it?

Instead of closing down shop, I decided to just take a break from writing. If I felt like writing, then I would write. If I didn't I just wouldn't. 

Simple solutions to simple problems.

Instead of words being forced through my fingers, I would just go with the flow and welcome slow. 

Take it slow has become my new mantra. 

My whole life I have rushed, from love to careers. Why am I in such a hurry? 

I have my entire life to publish my life story.

Take.It.Slow.

I am going back to my roots.Writing to connect with readers, not just write content that will be written for the masses, in hopes of viewer traffic. 

I would love for Sweet Cicily to be a place where we can connect with each other, share our life stories and encourage others to aspire to their best selves. 

All I want to do is share my journey, in hopes that I might inspire a few other souls in the world to create their own Happily Ever After. 

At the end of the day, I believe God planted in my heart to share my life story, so that others understand they are not alone, healing takes time if you allow it and HE has a greater plan for all of us. 

I am looking forward to where this next year of writing will take me. 

Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure in life with me. 


What would you like me to write about in the next month?

Love Yourselves,

Sweet Cicily























 

What Did You Do With Your Divorce Papers?



It has been over six since years since everything changed.  Next month marks the anniversary of when I filed for divorce.

No one ever believes that it will ever happen to their marriage. Having dated my ex-husband for over ten years, prior to being married for eight years, we were both certain that we would beat the odds.


"Measure twice, cut once," we would both agree. We were naive and in our early twenties. In due time, romance gave way to the harsh realities of marriage, starting careers and having children. 

Later, I came to the realization that our Happily Ever After wasn’t so happy after all.

Honestly, divorce can happen to the best of couples. Divorce doesn't take away from the love that a couple once shared.  As years pass, while some grow closer, others grow apart. Sometimes, one day you wake up, unable to recognize not only the person you are lying next to, but not even the face reflecting back in the mirror.

Shit happens. Divorce happens. From the high school sweethearts to the couple married 20 plus years. Some see it coming, many fall into complacency, and others are blindsided by discovering infidelity or a simple “I don't love you anymore." No rhyme or reason. It is a risk you take when entering matrimony.

We cannot force someone to love us. We cannot force our spouses to be faithful. We cannot control our loved ones addiction. We cannot make someone want to stay.

We CAN make a choice. We CAN relinquish control over another. We CAN steer our own fates. We CAN be happy once again. We CAN choose forgiving ourselves as well with others. We CAN be anything, go anywhere and do anything we have always dreamed of.

Divorce doesn’t have to be an end, but a wonderful new beginning. We have the choice to either become a better or bitter person from the experience.

With time comes healing. One day we can see that a divorce can be a blessing in disguise. Endings turn into new beginnings.

As I look back on my life, I began to see that my divorce wasn’t the end of the world after all. Life moves on and so do people.

Tears eventually dry. Each day we grow stronger. Laughter will again fill the air. Hearts will mend. Love will finds us when we least expect it. I promise.

Never forget that we have the choice in life to transform sadness into joy. 
When I look back on all the pictures I have taken over the past couple of years, the one above best illustrates this very idea.

To the mere eye, it looks as if my little boy is playing in paper, in his cute little pajamas. What does this have to do with turning sadness into joy? You see, several years ago, my sweet son had asked me what playing in snow was like.

Born and raised in Hawaii, my little boy had never seen or felt snow. It so happened that day, I was cleaning out the house during winter break. Grabbing the piles of communication from my family law attorney, I proceeded to shred away years of sheets of paper, representing my broken marriage and personal sadness.

Why was I still holding onto all these papers? Aside from the final decree, it was time I purged my heart and home from my painful past. 
I had a wonderful idea.

On that day, we covered the entire living room with crisp, white, shredded divorce papers. My little Hawaiian condo was a Winter Wonderland for a day. We made "snow angels", had snow ball fights, smiled, laughed, jumped and played the rest of the day.

My young son didn't know it was my old divorce papers that were covering our floors. He just knew he was having fun with mommy!

As I write this, I cannot help but smile, because this will always be one of my fondest divorce moments.  I can look back on this with pure happiness. Divorce doesn't have to be all sad when you decide to fill it with more joy. It can even be your blessing in disguise.

Love Yourselves,

Sweet Cicily

Monday, March 2, 2015

36 Questions To Ask If You Want To Fall In Love





Not too long ago, I cam across an article from The New York Times claiming that by asking a series of 36 questions and 4 minutes of deep eye contact, two complete strangers could fall in love with each other. 

Could it be that simple? 

According to the article, "The study, formed by Dr. Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University, was originally designed to measure closeness in strangers, but has since then been used to try to form romantic bonds between people."

As you may already know, over the years I have become a seasoned dater. However, nothing really significant or great love has entered my life...YET. After taking myself off the market for several months, I decided to get back on the horse and find myself a new cowboy.

Maybe using a classic love experiment might do the trick and help me better search for my one. So, last night I decided to ask the man I have been dating the last month if he would like to play a question game. Our conversations are always in depth and fascinating, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to get know each other better on a deeper level.

A pattern in creating friendships and romantic couplings required disclosures, reveal personal things and reciprocate. 

He discovered that my most "terrible memory" was discovering my husband's affair. I realized he was so much more than he could have ever described himself on his dating profile. 

Having been on several dates already, we were comfortable to move past small talk and dive in the deep end.

Our midnight experiment challenged our abilities to show our vulnerabilities, gave insight into our personalities, painted pictures of our upbringings and placed a spotlight on our similarities.

Over several glasses of wine, we laughed over funny stories, highlighted each other's qualities, shared secrets and began removing the facades so often found in dating. 

We held hands, shared nervous smiles, bared our souls and spent three hours covering all 36 questions created to foster vulnerability and create a connection. Once we reached the end, we were required to look each other in the eyes for 4 minutes. 

Did you know that when we stare into each others eyes, the bonding "love" hormone pitocin is released?

It's been many years since I've felt a connection this strong and even better that it's reciprocated. Who knows what the stars have in store for me, but thus far I am sensing a strong alignment. Only time will tell.

We didn't know what happened, but the next day something pivotal had occurred and we both knew it.

So, next time you are out on a date, whether you've been together 3 dates or 30 years, why not try out this fun love experiment. Honestly, last night was probably my favorite date ever and I really enjoyed learning more about this new man in my life. Maybe you too will feel the same affect it has had on us both.



Set I
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.


10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?


13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
Set III
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.








Friday, February 13, 2015

Romance Isn't Dead, It's Just Lost

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”

Yesterday, as I was having lunch with my assistant, our conversation turned from professional to the state of affairs in my love life.  

Did you go on any dates?

How did you meet him?

Don't rush. 

Dame. *Japanese for "no", "don't do that" ,"bad" and "no good for you"

I've even showed her how to find love on Tinder, letting her swipe a few Mr. "Rights" for me. 

Michiyo entered my life just I was beginning my divorce process. Over the last six years, she has watched my heart shatter, witnessed me attempting to bandage it with short lived romances, hear about me going on what feels like a million blind dates and finally tucking away my love for safekeeping until someone deserving came along. 

Surprisingly, she feels that it is time that I put myself out there again and find my akai ito (soul mate). Over the past few years, aside from a few fun dates, I have shifted my focus from finding love to loving my singleness. 

Maybe she is right. After all, wouldn't it be nice to share my life journey with someone else. 

Not only do I trust her, but I feel she gives really sound advice. Early on, I rarely listened, but now I understand the wisdom behind her words. After all, she has been married to a wonderful man for a very long time. 
Now that I am ready to get back in the game, I am faced with the same frustrations I left behind 6 months ago. 

With bad dates and romantically challenged men,  I began to wonder if romance was dead. Usually, I have always been the hopeless romantic in relationships. Reciprocity has been few and far between.

Sorry, fellas, but sending unsolicited photos of your erect penis isn't romantic. Sexting doesn't substitute for love letters as well. 

What happened to good ole fashion romance?

Maybe it isn't dead, but just got lost along the way.  

How do we get back to feeling butterflies and epic love stories? Was there a way we could help the romantically challenged find their way to love? Not all are born Casanovas or Romeos, but perhaps there is great potential, if given the right tools and a map to a woman's heart. 

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I began to wonder what advice I could give to the romantically challenged man, in order for him to sweep a woman off her feet.

I was recently introduced to Man Crates and their date crate project and it gave me an idea about how to help those who are romantically challenged with planning a great date.

Just a little background, Man Crates is a fun, new company geared towards providing individualized gifts for men, but packaged all together in one huge crate, along with a manly crow bard to open and reveal all the epic goodies. 


I absolutely LOVE this concept. In the past, I have created special care deployment packages for the men in my life, because who doesn't love opening a box of gifts just for you. 

Now Man Crates does all the hard work for you, by providing themed crates for the special man in your life. 

Whether he is avid golfer, retro gamer, zombie hunter or cigar aficionado, you have so many options to choose from. 

Now here was the fun part, I was asked if I were to put 5 items into a Man Crate, to help a prepare a romantically challenged fella for a date, what would I put in it?

Immediately, I began to reflect on all the dates I had been on the past few years and which ones were the most memorable and romantic. None included roses, chocolates or typical crowded dinner reservations. 

While it would be difficult for me to  tell you specifically what I would put in a crate for a date for another woman, I could give you a little advice on what to consider when you are planning for your romantic rendezvous. 

A recipe for a wonderful date requires only a few ingredients: fun, romantic, personalized and thoughtful. 

Anyone can send a dozen roses on Valentines Day, but  if you want to sweep her off her feet, then you are going to need to be creative and think outside the "crate".

Each crate should contain 4 tangible items that reflect each ingredient and my 5th item would simply be a card that said, "Smile. Be yourself. Have fun. Pick up the tab."
 
For example, if you know your date loves wine, instead of giving her a bottle a wine, why not include a coupon for a local wine tasting evening experience. Not only will she love it, but see how thoughtful you were in your planning.

Looking back, one of my most memorable dates, didn't even cost a lot of  money, but so much fun. A man I had dated, surprised me with a sunset picnic on the North Shore. Wine, cheese and him "cracking" me up.

Unbeknownst to me, he had hidden speakers underneath the blankets and began belting out my favorite Paula Abdul song on one of our first dates. In that moment, I knew he was going to be a fun man to date.

As far as a personalized item, this is where it is important for you fellas to really listen to your woman. Whether you have just begun talking over the phone or have been loving her for a decade, here is an opportunity to show that you are really paying attention.

One of the romantic Valentines Day gifts I had ever received was from a man who surprised me with an iPod shuffle, filled with all my favorite songs and photographs of us together. It was the modern day mixed tape. In addition, he also included a reflective running belt for my first upcoming race.

By knowing what I loved, he paved the path for us falling in love.

It isn't too late to revive the romance back into your life and relationships. So, skip the conventional commercial Valentines Day go to gifts and set yourself apart from the other men.

Wishing you all the love you deserve. Happy Valentines Day!

Love,

Sweet Cicily



























 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Do You Find Time To Workout?


Aloha, my beautiful and wonderful friends! I hope everyone is having a great start to their week. 

Last night, I received a message on my Facebook from a friend I had made a few years ago, asking for details on the special needs prom I volunteer for every year.

After passing on the information, she said something that really made my day.

It's always the unexpected comments that are the most satisfying. 

"You're transformation is amazing! You're body is rocking and you look so youthful. How do you do it? You're so inspiring! And, you're a mom too!"

She met me pre-CrossFit, post break up weight gain. I was at my heaviest in years. I never exercised, I ate junk food and I wasn't in a good place.

Honestly, I was so shocked to hear this beautiful real life beauty queen even say this!

Seriously,  I don't really see myself this way. Infact, I can be hard on myself. Aren't so many of us guilty of this? My body is far from rocking, but I will take the compliment!

Anyhow, it made me happy because someone else had noticed all the hardwork I had been putting into being a healthier me.

She isn't the only one. I've run into old flames, friends or former coworkers and they are shocked of how much I change.

Now THIS pumps me up to work really hard this year.

Granted, will never be Miss CrossFit, with the rippling abs or muscle ups, but I will be the best version of me.

Next month I turn 38! You better believe I am going to stride into my 40s as a hot mom, thanks to CrossFit. Haha.

For the last two months, I have doubled, almost tripled the amount of times I worked out at CrossFit. This is an all time record for me as far as fitness is concerned. 

Plus, I am really working on my nutrition. Which reminds me that I need to prepare my lunch for tomorrow. Honestly, I am learning that is the critical component. Abs are really cooked in the kitchen!

Not only have I been noticing gains in my strength, but I have developed a habit of making working out a part of my daily schedule. 

I'd like to challenge you to work out for 30 days and see what healthy habits you stick to.

Back to my friend's question, "How do you have time to work out?"

It's simple. I MAKE TIME!

If you know me, I don't have a typical custody schedule, as it reflects my ex husband's travel for his business. There were times I used that as an excuse. "Well, I can't because I have my son with me." So, I wouldn't work out for weeks.

Thankfully, my head coach at CrossFit is so supportive of families. He is a single dad himself and GETS how hard it can be juggling family and fitness. He encouraged me to bring my little boy and introduced me to other parents bringing their kids.

I love that my box has so many families that bring their kids with them!  We truly are one big family at CrossFit in Kailua.

So, no matter what, unless we are sick, we have scheduled CrossFit into our week. Sometimes it is more challenging when you have to take your kid to after school sports. However, we make it work.

Just the other day, I passed a framed photograph of the night I graduated my Elements CrossFit class. I couldn't help but smile. Out of the 20 faces, I was 1 of about 3 left in my class still at my box two years later.

SERIOUSLY,  ME, the girl who failed PE, hated sports, always finished the WOD last, couldn't even squat and almost died doing burpees. 

 I am still here. 

I am not going anywhere, because I have discoverd a home away from home and a family of loving and supportive friends.

That is another thing,  now that I am going more, I am really getting to know people. Strangers turn into friends. I use to be really shy every time I walked into the box. 


 In the past, I just did my WOD, left and didn't really know anyone on a deeper level. Now I see so many of their wonderful faces and whether they will ever realize it or not, spending time together is often the highlight of my day.

CrossFit has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, but it's the people and comradery that define it's greatness. 

Who wouldn't want to make time out for something that brings you such happiness?

Have a great week and I hope you enjoyed my cheesy, sappy CrossFit moment.

Love,

Sweet Cicily

Here are just a few photos from my Cicily Goes To CrossFit adventures.













Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Are Bad Boys Worth Dating?


He was the equivalent to a box of thin mints. Delicious, momentarily satisfying, bad for me and I knew I would regret my indulgence later on. 

What is it about bad boys that make me want to "cheat" and give in?

 After years of dating emotionally unavailable, flaky and douchey dudes, I made a vow I would cleanse my system of my bad boy habit. So for the past 6 months, I promised that I wouldn't go back to my old ways and make better decisions with the men in my life.

I can spot trouble  a mile away. Usually, he is disguised as the "nice" guy, but with an edge. Never available, always running from commitment and oozing sexuality. 

From the moment I saw him, I have known he was trouble, but I was still intrigued.  Our sexual tension tug of war over the years led to the unleashing of passions upon passions. 

He was honest that he doesn't believe in monogamy and preferred a lifetime of flings over a long term commitment. 

I will have to say, he was upfront and didn't feed me any lines he thought I wanted to hear. 

Not that I don't see value in what he has to say. After having experienced the betrayal of infidelity, my world is seen through different eyes. Once a hopeless romantic, I now lean towards realistic. 

Does that mean I want to spend my life running away from commitment and avoiding true intimacy? 

I too struggle with whether or not monogamy is realistic.

Oftentimes I wonder, will the eternal bachelors one day wake up alone, when there is no one left to right swipe, realizing that dying alone is a risk you take?

As one man I had once dated said, "Casual sex will not make you chicken soup when you are sick."

Here's the thing. Casual sex is the ultimate oxymoron. How could the sharing of two bodies and two souls be taken lightly?

Yet, we continue to tell ourselves these lies. I am no exception to this statement. We make excuses to justify our actions.

Two years of my heart desiring the idea of him; it only took just a few short hours to realize I didn't really like the real him. 

Not that he is a bad person, but he isn't a good guy when it comes to women, which his actions speak loud and clear. 

I stuck my hand in the cookie jar, but realized all he had to offer were crumbs.

Maybe he was right, perhaps he was turning into a guy that was not so "nice" after all.  Which in itself makes me feel sad for him, because somewhere along the road he closed off his heart. 

Although, he is funny, sexy and smart, it isn't enough for me. 

Who am I kidding? I want more than just lust. I want a love that is sprinkled with lots of lust. I want it all. 

Afterwards, I realized that I should have never taken that box of cookies off the shelf.

Last year, a friend of mine, who is an acting agency talent scout, described an audition with one of the male actors. 

"Read that again, but with a likeable douchiness," he said.

"Likeable douchiness" is the perfect example of the men I have been attracted to over the years. I know this sounds terrible, but we can't help what melts our butter. 

Somewhere in my wiring, these blend of polar opposite qualities,  drives me crazy. I cannot explain it. Just like country fried steak smothered in gravy drives me crazy, but I know that sh$t is bad for my heart. So are BAD boys.

A smidge of charming, a dash of aloof and unwavering confidence is sexy as hell to me. It shouldn't be though. I know better than this. Instead, I should seek thoughtfulness, intelligence and generosity with his heart.

Bad boys aren't interested in investing in you, but chasing flings, lining up ass and only looking out for themselves. 

I knew they weren't good for me, but why did I find myself sometimes slipping? Was it their charm or their confidence?

You may be tempted, but remember to keep focused on your healthy love goals. If you slip and make a mistake, don't be so hard yourself. We all have our cheat moments. It isn't the end of the world.

Erasing unhealthy dating habits is much like how we  erase bad eating habits. Despite having full intentions to quit cold turkey, giving up bad boys was going to be much harder than I thought. 
 
Like a box of my favorite Girl Scout cookies,  he had nothing really to offer but empty calories. He knew it. I knew it. Eventually, I would grow tired of just eating cookies and want something more to satisfy my appetite for genuine love. 


Love, 

Sweet Cicily






You've Come A Long Way, Baby

 
"You've come a long way, baby!"


At the end of the work day, I sat down with my wonderful assistant, catching up on our weekends. Discussing our families, dinner plans and many heart to heart conversations. We have become really close over the last six years.

Michiyo entered my life, just as I was exiting my marriage. 



A few years ago, she had told me about the Japanese term akai ito, meaning the red string of fate, tying two souls together.

Without a doubt, Michiyo is one of my life's akai itos, she is my soul mate. Our paths crossed long before we ever met in my classroom. 

Almost 38 years ago, when I was born in Manila, Michiyo was also at the same exact hospital, visiting her sister who was giving birth to her niece. At times I wonder, if we crossed paths while we were living in the same city. 

Anyways, during our heart to heart today, Michiyo told me that she was so very proud of me. She has seen it all, heard it all and watched me evolve into the woman that I am today. 

When I first was going through my divorce, I was a hot mess, chasing emotionally unavailable guys, frantically wanting to find love and focusing on all the wrong things.

Although, she was always there to provide support and encouragement, she knew I had to learn from my own mistakes. 

I admitted I was once really naive, insecure and  made a ton of mistakes. Now, I can look back in hindsight, sometimes cringing, other times laughing, thankful for what the last six years has taught me about myself.

"Look at who you are now. You have really grown up. You are finally your own person. You are confident. You are strong."

Six years ago, I was the polar opposite of strong, I was completely broken. 

These days, I don't let silly men who don't value my time or worth, phase me one bit. I move on and continue living the wonderful life that I have built. I understand that there are plenty more fishes in the sea, who will know that I am a great catch.

I didn't need to go on a thousand dates to search for the ONE, I had already found the ONE in myself. 

No longer did I validate my self worth from others, but my self worth was a built up from the life I built on my own self. Whether it was putting myself through graduate school, becoming a writer, traveling around the world, CrossFitting, being the best mom I could be to my son, cultivating the relationships in my life or just doing my best to make the most of each moment. 

Do I still f$ck up every once in awhile? Do I have a lapse in judgement? Do I sometimes repeat hard lessons? Of course I do. After all, I am only human. However, I have come a long way baby from years past. 

Now I just pick myself up, dust myself off, smile, being kind and patient with the process and keep moving on. 

Life taught me that sometimes you need to be knocked down, in order to test whether or not you have it inside of you to get back up. 



Love,

Sweet Cicily