summer of (self) love: 5 things we can learn from the hippies

I'm doing a little giveaway today on my Facebook page.  I like to give away fun little things to my Dynamic Divorcees -- sometimes it's pixie dust, sometimes it's You Are Beautiful stickers . . . today it's a love bead necklace (plus, a You Are Beautiful gift bag).

Why love beads?

Because I've been wearing multiple strands of love beads all summer long, and, while I never had the pleasure of being a hippie, I've watched enough documentaries to know that this must have been a really fun time to be alive.

Kind of like the fun rebellion phase that every woman can allow herself to enjoy (at least a little bit) following a marriage that seemed mostly work and not much fun.

So, I present 5 things we can learn from the hippies:

1.  Express yourself.  Dance out your emotions; you'll feel better (even if you do it behind closed doors).  That thing you love but people have told you you're no good at?  Yes, it is for you -- no matter how many people have told you that it's not.  Paint with your fingers.  Dust off that guitar.  In the words of Cat Stevens:  If you want to be me, be me.  If you want to be you, be you.  There's a million things to do.  You know that there are.

2.  You do not have to be the poster child for perfection.  At this moment, your job really isn't to worry about what your parents think of you, what your kids think of you, and how you absolutely must hold it all together all by yourself.  Ask for help.  It will come from places you least expect.  Usually from the kindness of mere acquaintances and virtual strangers.  Opportunities will arise to try new things that you've always dreamed of doing.  Find ways to say yes.

3.  Be colorful and have fun with flowers.  Ditch the black yoga pants.  Grab the paisley.  I dare you to buy the $6.99 grocery store bouquet, and hand out single stems to grumpy-looking people on the way to your car.  Why?  It will be fun.

4.  All you need is love.  Self-love.  Make a deal with yourself that you'll be taking a brief break from the sheer weight of everything you're going through.  Step outside and feel the sun (or the clouds) on your face.  Make a list of things that can make you smile (such as daring to act a little bit like a goofy, blissed-out hippie).  All I really need to know I learned from The Beatles:  There's nothing you can do that can't be done.  Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.  Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.  It's easy. 

5.  Give peace a chance.  You may be feeling anything but peaceful, but the old cliche is true.  You're hurting yourself more than you're hurting your ex, who's most likely having a grand old time somewhere.  You don't have to make peace with anyone but yourself.  Light a candle, have a good cry whenever you need it, lean back against some comfy pillows, and slow down your breathing.   You are okay.  It is not all your fault.  You've already blamed yourself far too much.  And thinking about him will not make it better.  Close your eyes and smile to yourself, even if it's just for two minutes.  Sound crazy?  Try it.  You'll feel better.

And, get some love beads.  Just because.