The Wallis Simpson Dish

The Duchess of Windsor offers a cautionary tale to pay attention to our whys, so we can change our patterns and experience different results

The other night, I took pleasure in watching the 2011 Netflix W.E. It’s a romantic historical drama, directed by Madonna, that sheds a different light on the famous love story between King Edward VII and the American socialite, Wallis Simpson. 

King Edward is known as the intrepid man who gave up the monarchy in order to marry the twice-divorced woman he loved.

Sounds romantic, yes?

History paints a picture of a man who wooed someone tirelessly, who sacrificed his royal status in order to be in the company of the woman he adored.

Madonna’s portrayal of that history offers an entirely different perspective: Wallis Simpson’s.

According to both the historical film, W.E. and historian Anne Sebba, (That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor), Wallis never wanted to leave her second husband and marry King Edward. She was content to be the King’s mistress. She neither wanted King Edward to upend the British monarchy nor be the cause of it.

What fascinated me about this story is the why behind Wallis’s actions, the why behind her choices. Why did Wallis agree to marry someone she was content to be mistress to? Why did she want to be a mistress in the first place?

Unearthing the why of our actions is the bedrock of change.

Wallis’s father died a mere five months after she was born. Subsequently, her childhood involved watching her mother’s dependence on the Warfield’s (Wallis’s paternal side of the family) fortune. The purse strings were manipulated by a controlling uncle.

As an outsider, the why behind Wallis’ actions grows clearer as we look at those early years: Wallis grew up dependent on men for money. It is what she knew. It is no wonder then, that she used her quick wit and independent nature to attract affluent men with power.

Yet if we look closer, there is a paradox in each of her romantic relationships:

Husband #1: Earl Winfield Spencer Jr., a US Navy aviator. Externally, the aviator held a position of power and respect. Behind closed doors, Spencer Jr was an abusive alcoholic.

Husband #2: Ernest Simpson, described as an ironically “dependable” man who asks for Wallis’ hand in marriage while he is still married to another. Wallis, most interested in security, agreed.

Husband #3: King Edward VII is described by a staff member (Hon. John Aird) on vacation with the King and Wallis, “the prince…lost all confidence in himself and follows W around like a dog.” Again, there is this need for power and stability—both of which the King fulfills due to status and their seemingly co-dependent relationship.

A trove of affectionate, candid letters between Wallis and her second husband exist between 1936-1937. In these secret letters, both Wallis and Simpson refer to King Edward condescendingly as “Peter Pan.” 

An excerpt from one of Wallis’ letters to Simpson stands out:

“I don’t understand myself, which is the cause of all the misery. Give me courage. I’m so lonely.”

Wallis wrote the above just days before King Edward VII abdicated the throne, for her. She was living with a man who adored her and yet she felt “so lonely.”

Chances are, you are not an American socialite nor married to British royalty. However, its’ likely there are patterns in your personal relationships. Wallis offers a cautionary tale to pay attention to our whys, so we can change our patterns and experience different results.

Wallis was a paradox: her independent spirit that men found attractive is what they wanted to possess. Her hunger for financial security and power caused her to sacrifice emotional freedom.

When we place our financial or spiritual well-being onto another, we are limiting and serving a detrimental dish to ourselves and others.

Limbo Life

On the precipice, our perspective is heightened.

Everywhere I look these days, someone or something is “on the edge.” Listen to the media, scroll through your Twitter feed or even share a dialogue with a family member or friend, and you’ll find a wait-and-see mentality that often shows up with several audible sighs and shaking of the head.

There are societal divides–sometimes violently visible, sometimes unspoken yet loud, emanating between humanity as it holds what feels like its last inhale. This divide can be felt on the phone with an uncle or a colleague or a best friend. Politics are no longer “politics” but carry a weight like a spiritual albatross that makes the space between people feel electric.

But there is another divide existing in our pandemic, killer-hornet, presidential election world of 2020: the conflict within ourselves.

You see, it’s not just humanity that’s globally on the cusp of a major shift; it’s each of us as individuals. The pandemic is forcing us to “get real” with ourselves; it seems the more we try to skirt around the fact of it, the louder COVID-19 grows. We keep trying to adapt our pre-pandemic lens to our current pandemic reality, and based on the ever-increasing numbers around the world, we need to change our prescription, our perspective, our actions.

We can see our limbo, our very discomfort and frustration with existing in the space where we are, as a chance to gain perspective and make changes. Those changes need to start with ourselves. The backyard of humanity first gets cleaned up by the individual choosing to pick up their own figurative rake–not by forcing that rake into someone else’s hand. Limbo offers an opportunity on the ledge of possibility: to see what you see and not someone else; to respect what someone else sees yet not feel compelled to change them; to address your issues and not others’.

On the precipice of change, our perspective is heightened. Limbo is the RESTROOM pit stop on the highway of life. Embrace your respite–even its potential discomfort. There are lessons to be divined on this limbo ledge that won’t be available for long.

The Gift of an Appetizer

Appetizer Accomplishment Thinking Increases Our Motivation to Get-Stuff-Done!

I’m a single Mom, a full-time teacher, an author, an actor—on camera and on radio. Whew, even just writing that sounds fatiguing! And why is that? Because we all know that each role comes with a generous serving of responsibilities and there are just so many hours in the day!

My family and friends have asked me, “How do you do it?” Did I mention I am a yoga and ballet barre enthusiast as well?

We all have those 24 hours in a day; we all need to sleep; some of us have less commitments than others, but have you ever noticed you get more accomplished with less time?

I refer to the taking-Time-by-the-hands mindset as “appetizer accomplishments.” You know, those mini-quiches or hotdogs in a blanket? They aren’t exactly a meal and they aren’t dessert either. They are these micro dishes of food meant to give one a sample, a little taste. If you’ve ever found yourself ravenous at a wedding or other formal event, you know the power those appetizers have to stave off your hunger pangs and normalize your blood sugar again. 

Appetizer Accomplishments work in a similar way: they offer a sense of getting-stuff-done without feeling overwhelmed or lazy. Much like their edible counterpart, the Appetizer Accomplishment helps keep us going.

Here is one of today’s Appetizer Accomplishments: I washed the shower faucet—no scrubbed the shower faucet today. Didn’t do the entire shower stall or the bathroom itself at all. Nope—I just had time for one area of domestic cleaning today (It looks fantastic, BTW). And now when I walk by it, admiring its shiny surface, I’m already motivated to scrub the shower door tomorrow.

Another Appetizer Accomplishment: I secured a team meeting with the core group of teachers I work with. This took less than five minutes.

Another Appetizer Accomplishment: I wrote back a dating site that is interested in having me write another blog piece for them. Again—this took less than five minutes.

There is a power in momentum. Each action builds upon itself, creating a cumulative effect in both our outer and inner reality. Appetizer Accomplishment thinking keeps us in a delicious zone: fostering our sense of purpose while simultaneously preventing burn out.

I challenge you (and would love to hear from you, to choose one Appetizer Accomplishment you could experience right now. 

The Roula and Ryan Show: The Gift of Belly Laughs

Thank you to The Roula and Ryan Show for having me on!

Last week, I had the pleasure of plugging my book among the auditory company of Roula Christie,  Ryan Chase and Eric Rowe on their Houston-based morning show, Roula and Ryan.

It was surreal hearing the familiar icons of morning radio, the very voices that accompanied me on many a pre-pandemic commute, INTERACT with me on air for all the world to well…hear.

My newly released book, The Friendship Diet: Clean Out Your Fridge, Get Real with Yourself, and Fill Your Life with Meaningful Relationships that Last is self-help meets stand-up comedy. I have a background in comedy/theatre as a performer, so knowing I was heading onto the often funny, always honest Roula and Ryan Show, I knew I had found a temporary auditory home. I’m also a school teacher and therefore know that the best classroom management involves a dash of comedy. Roula’s taunts can be heard in the link below, egging me on to reveal the dare-we-say-it “v” word (class clowning at it’s comedic genius pinnacle:-)

Humor, when honed with compassion, has the ability to lower our defenses and make self-reflection less scary, more palatable. We are more likely to digest emotional nutrition when it’s served with a spoon of belly laughs—hence, the audio clip I’m closing this post with (AND a big reason behind The Friendship itself—the connection between edible and emotional nutrition runs deep).

So thank you, Roula, Ryan and Eric for giving me a comedic audio space to promote a much-needed dose of humor and insight in our current crazy world.

Here’s the audio file. The belly laughs commence at 8am on July 21st, 9:36

https://www.krbe.com/thebestofroularyan/

“Satisfying Soul Food”

 
We are all on a journey in this life. Regardless of our circumstances, I believe the core of that journey is one of self-love. 

Last week, I had the true pleasure of sitting down to talk with two beautiful people on the Law of Attraction Today podcast (LOA Today): Walt Thiessen and Cindie Chavez. Walt is the founder of the inspiring podcast and Cindie is his insightful co-host.

In our pandemic world where we are encouraged to social distance, a sense of isolation and hopelessness can easily manifest in us. The LOA Today podcast can provide a spiritual antidote when we find ourselves chewing on worry.

There’s a famous quote by the late author and speaker, Leo Buscaglia: “Love is always bestowed as a gift-freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” Walt and Cindie, LOA Today’s co-hosts are beautiful examples of this quote in action. They exude warmth and compassion, both for others and themselves. To be in their presence is a gift.

We are all on a journey in this life. Regardless of our circumstances, I believe the core of that journey is one of self-love. When we embrace the gift of who we are, we become a gift to others.

The LOA Today podcast focuses on the principle of like attracting like. We attract what we are, what we think about, what we believe. Our hunger in this external world of uncertainty is greatly based upon our tendency to resist going inward for answers. The LOA Today podcast is a benevolent, inquisitive space to tune into and by extension, fill our spiritual bellies. Listeners are encouraged to question, gain perspectives not considered before and explore their inner terrain, sans expectation or fear.

I will close this blog piece with a hearty thank you to Walt Thiessen and Cindie Chavez for both having me as a guest on their show and for sharing their authentic selves with the world. Here’s a link to the show last Wednesday, July 15th:

Know Your Hunger

When we tune into what our bodies need, we are more likely to ensure that those needs are met.

The Friendship Diet launched on July 7th, and with it, all of the emotions that come with giving birth to something you worked so hard to see manifest: excitement and elation, yes—but also anxiety and uncertainty. 

Launching a book is so much like giving birth: there is so much anticipation but also so much out of one’s control. And while surrendering in both cases sounds great in theory, the reality (at least in my case–regarding both experiences) makes the mere idea of surrendering laughable at best.

So, I ignored my racing heart and got on Facebook live to announce the launch during a pandemic. I abandoned the idea of eating as it felt much more important to spread the word about The Friendship Diet; I focused on marketing and marketing and marketing my book, pushing aside the growing tap dance of pain throbbing on the top of my head.

(Don’t think the irony of The Friendship Diet launch wasn’t lost on me. My book is all about growing aware of the connection between our edible and emotional nutrition and there I was, ignoring the very beliefs my book espouses!)

The Universe continues to speak to us; it’s up to us to listen. Once my head felt like a stampede of horses was freely galloping across the top of my head, I finally bid my stubbornness adieu and grew still.

I grabbed my journal, closed my eyes and surrendered.

A question emerged beneath the darkness of my eyelids: 

“What do you need?”

I surrendered deeper.

“What do you need?”

My eyes opened and I wrote an answer in my journal, the pen forming words as if on its own.

“Exercise. More water.”

I closed my journal and went to bed.

For the first time in cyber-eons, I woke up and didn’t look at my phone or check my emails. Instead, I drank several glasses of water. I had a light breakfast. I drank more water. I exercised.

No surprise, my body thanked me with a headache-free morning.

Since this morning, I have needed (as most of do) to return to the double-edged sword of the smartphone. Each time the invisible tap dancers start to emerge on the top of my head, I grab another glass of water and do some stretches. Small actions but they make such a world of difference, keeping the galloping equines in their figurative stable.

Our bodies are always speaking to us, letting us know what they need. When we hit the pause button, we are in a better place to receive our inner knowing.

“What’s Eating You?”

So there’s this pandemic…it’s literally a matter of life and death these days…and the economy is behaving like someone experimenting behind a dark alley with illegal drugs…unemployment rates are so high they make Mt. Everest look like an anthill…

Yes, it’s bad out there—really bad. No two ways about it. But this tragic state we are experiencing out there is going to pass. I don’t profess to have a crystal ball of when or how, but it willpass.

Author Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul) writes, “Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problem.”

We dwell in two realities in this life: the internal and external. Meditation, yoga, long walks, singing, painting, writing—these are some of the conduits to remind us of our inner world.

But too often we dwell and get caught up in the outer world. We get enmeshed and often psychologically stuck on a diet of what is externally present.

Whether we are on the front lines or the food lines, rich or poor, healthy or sick matters little when compared to the internal world we all possess. When we are no longer dependent on the external for sustenance, we will no longer feel the spiritual ache of lack.

Our bodies are miraculous indicators. They are speaking to us all the time—sometimes literally (i.e. a growling stomach) and often figuratively (i.e. We are feeling stressed and we “fall” prey to a cold).

I struggle with TMJ. This past week was a particularly bad bout. When I went inside for answers, I knew the increased pain was from subconscious yet futile attempts to control the external.  My pain is a gift—it reminds me to stay present, savoring each moment and surrendering to circumstances I cannot control. 

By making a concerted effort to surrender, moment-by- moment, my jaw pain has significantly subsided. It is no longer “eating me.”

The pandemic is an external tragedy that is affecting all of us. I encourage you to take a moment to go within and see what surfaces. If something keeps bubbling to the surface, it just might be what’s eating you.

There are people who are soaring during this worldwide crisis—physically, spiritually and economically healthy.  The internal world plays a significant role for these individuals. 

Take this time to know your hunger, to go within, exploring and nurturing your soul.