Tis the season to be The Protector of Hearts

Carin's first image that she put on InstagramFour months ago on this day, my life would drastically change because of Instagram. On July 20th, I posted my very first posting on Instagram. It is the photo that you see. A few weeks later, on August 4th, the man who would melt the ice that encased my heart reached out to me. My photo series had intrigued him. He wasn't the first or the last. He was simply one of the many messages that I was responding to. But he would be the one that would capture and hold my heart. Not an easy feat, I have to be honest.

The photo you see, is the very first picture I put on Instagram. I had just spent several days doing my own photography for my video series "The Hats that I Wear." I have my hand held out because of the formatting of the video series that I was doing, I would be placing visuals and text above my hand. Every picture in that video series has my hand in being held out. The video series can be found in my Training section of this site.

I was recording my videos for this training series, as well as my draft for my book "The Art of Defining Me" at night, when the house was quiet. Out of all of the photos for this series, this one is my favorite. It's my favorite because it reflect who I am. Bold and focused.

There is so much significance to me on that photo. The outfit that I chose to wear is a bold outfit for me. An outfit of defiance, that I am who I am and I embrace the woman that I have become after leaving the cult environment. I am no longer the individual that I was raised to be. To conform to that cult societies standards. To live in the cult, showing your shoulders was forbidden. 

The blue flame within me, is shining bright through my eyes. Shoulders and all... this is me!

As I posted this series of pictures, the influx of direct messages flooded in. Men wanting to get to know me. The influx was overwhelming. I admit I am socially inept when it comes to male attention. I laugh because I have only gone on three "official" dates in my life, all when I was a teenager in the cult. 

Married almost 30 years before being handed divorce papers, then in a seven year relationship that I ended two years ago, due to his infidelity. I haven't delved into the traditional relationship arena since then. I admit, it scares the heck out of me. Long distance relationships are safe for me. Get to know each other before actually meeting. 

The last time I was on a dating site was almost ten years ago. I lasted three days. I wasn't on Instagram for dating, it was strictly for business. The biggest learning curve for me, has been the male attention in direct messages. I use to have Instagram notifications sounds on... I don't anymore because it went off night and day.

Remember, I'm a Driver personality. It's all about results. My focus was on learning this new realm in my own business, so I could assist my clients in their social media marketing. The User Experience researcher in me, was intrigued by this new opportunity to be able to converse with individuals from around the world.

I admit I don't do well at the whole casual chit chat thing. It bores me. The checklist that seems to be the normal introduction, feels more like an interrogation. Name, rank and serial number... except it's name, marital status, children, and what you do for a living. I can only type in Carin, single, five adult children, IT consultant and Writer so many times. I've shared that I don't like pizza, more times than I enjoy remembering.  

But, on this day, a gentleman contacted me who stood out from the crowd. He Photo of Carin from her "Hats that I Wear" training series.didn't go down the normal checklist, he was such a pleasure to talk to. He never put any pressure on me. He simply held out his hand and invited me into a casual conversation. From the initial contact, his communication style was drastically different from the rest. The analyst in me, would label him as an outlier. He wasn't the most extreme outlier, but he was definitely an outlier. That intrigued me. He stated this photo was his favorite. It's why I use it for my training series on my home page.

Opening and closing chats that I could answer with copy, paste and quick replies, his conversation caused me to think on how to respond. He broke me out of the automation mode. Open, click paste, close. The rush down the list of messages to get through them as quickly as possible, so I could get back to my writing and recording mode.

Imagine if you will, me in a convertible driving at record speed down the highway. Wind blowing in my hair and messages flying by. Hearing the screeching of tires and the car sliding to a stop. There he stands. His back to me and a message on his back. Yes, his profile picture at the time was the back of his head. It drove me absolutely nuts.

"Don't you turn your back on me, when I'm talking to you!" LOL

Normally I click on their name to see their profile before responding. I'll also do a Google search if I'm intrigued. Look them up on LinkedIn. I'm a researcher, what can I say. If I'm going to talk to someone, I want to know who I am talking to. 

For some reason, that day I didn't do any of my normal routines. The beauty of this information era, is that one can Google a name and find out plenty of information about an individual that can provide a solid foundation for communication. Researching what's online, provides context and can expedite getting to know each other. 
 
He was such a gentleman. Never pushed me to talk longer, when I said I had to run. Always asking if it was a good time to talk. I had shared how busy I was with writing and recording and he respected my limited time.

I had been firm and upfront with him, that I wasn't interested in a relationship. I was focused on breaking through the learning curve of figuring out, how to be successful as a woman my age, that should have 20-30 years career experience. Making up for the lost time, while I was in the cult. Trying to figure out how to break through this wall that seems to be impenetrable to me.

I explained that until I could be a full and complete partner, I wouldn't be interested in even delving into the relationship arena. He simply listened and said he understood. He commented that he enjoyed our conversations. I admitted, I did as well. We continued.

While videos were processing, we would chat. He would remind me to eat. He would make me laugh. When my videos were uploaded, the conversation would end and he never pressured me to continue any longer. Our conversations were brief, but had depth. Quality over quantity.

Time and distance wasn't a problem, my night was his day. My recording at night time helped to facilitate our conversation time. When I was going to sleep, he was waking up. But we made it work. Simple little check ins, to ask how things went, meant so much to me.

You couldn't get more opposite individuals. I think that is what intrigued me. The balance of who he was complementing who I am.

When the tears would flow, as I was recording the traumatic events of my story, he seemed to magically know when to reach out and ask how things were going. It was him who got me through those video drafts of sharing my story, for the first time in my life. A man who I had never met, who was across the world was able to reach through space and be there during an extremely heartbreaking time of my life simply through black letters on a white screen.

There was plenty online about me. I encouraged him to get to know me there. My life is extremely complex. I needed him to take the time to determine if he would want that type of complexity in his life. He took the time to get to know me. The good, bad and ugly. When message after message from other men stating they wanted to get to know me better flowed across my screen, he actually desired to get to know me better by watching some of my heartbreaking and painful videos.

Now that I am in editing stage, the draft videos are taken down. They remain private as a legacy for my children. 

Because he took the time to get to know me, it allowed for our conversation to have more depth. When he demonstrated, consistency. Then I reciprocated and began learning more about him online.

Our relationship has progressed beautifully because of both of our efforts to learn what was out there at our fingertips. It's been an incredible journey. I couldn't ask for anyone better, to help me through this relationship learning curve

I often say, "I am the protector of hearts." The heart is protected by a triangle. It is in the center surrounded by the sides of communication as the foundation. Trust is the left side of the triangle. Respect is on the right side. The foundation of that triangle is communication.

Protector of Hearts triangle showing the foundation of communication with the four cornerstones of commitment, consistency, clarity and composition. With this in place trust and respect can be built upon. This triangle protects hearts.
When there is strong communication then trust and respect can be built upon. Communication requires the four C's. Commitment, Consistency, Clarity and Composition.

If a relationship is struggling. Look to communication and where one of the four cornerstones have failed. Strengthen the foundation of communication, will allow trust and respect to be built upon. With this triangle of communication, trust and respect can be built. The heart is protected.


Love isn't about walks on the beach, dancing under the moonlight and candlelight dinners. Love explores the full realm of emotions of laughter, frustration and tears. In the end, love is for those who embrace the journey of love.

Love isn't for the weak of heart. The full ray of emotions will be felt when you fall in love. Love is for those brave enough to know, that neither one is perfect. Neither one is the "ideal" partner. Love is for those, who understand that the relationship involves two imperfect people. Love is for those who are willing to work through the imperfections of each other, to build a life together. 

Everyone wants to jump into the depths of love. But at the end of the day, the type of love that surpasses time and distance is the love that is built upon friendship. We all change. We all grow old. The stress of life takes it's toll. 

When the winds are howling, the snow is falling creating walls of ice, when the air is so cold that you can see your breath and life makes a snowball and smacks you in the face; you're going to want a really good friend. 

As the season of Christmas puts the stress on relationships. Let's knock off the demands and expectations. Grab a glass of wine. Give a gently slap on the ass, hold out your hand and say, "We need to talk. Let's dance." Take each other in your arms and begin to sway to the music.

No one is asking you to be professional dancers. Just hold each other and rock right and then left. You don't even have to move your feet if you don't want to.

Swaying to the update Christmas music gentle whisper in each other's ear your frustrations. Communicate with clarity. Be mindful that the composition of your communication isn't filled with accusations, belittling or demeaning dialogue. 

And if your lover isn't near, don't let that be an excuse. It just takes a little more creativity. Hands and phone up. Whisper to each other while swaying to the music. 

Because seriously, with the Christmas lights twinkling, the fireplace warming the room and your lover in your arms... or in your ear...  as you sway to Christmas music, you can't help but stop the petty arguing over the little things. Things that come January probably aren't going to matter. Come June, they won't even be remembered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z3tZEqYi9A&list=PLdtLy149PeU4pUTUsb-enpDbzZSQDEclU&index=28

Lean left two three, lean right two three, lean left two three. You've got this! 

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way
He's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me
It's that time of year when the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
"Merry Christmas, may your New Year dreams come true"
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing too
It's that time of year when the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
"Merry Christmas, may your New Year dreams come true"
And this song of mine in three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours the same thing too
Songwriters: Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne
Christmas Waltz lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


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