My Wedding – DIY

Tomorrow is my 7 years wedding anniversary.  Given that my husband was driving me insane couple of weeks ago, I was really thinking, “big deal… 7 years is nothing, I know so many people who stuck together far longer than that.”  You are right, I undermined it because that is what I do best.


I could’ve just turned the blind eye to post something positive, milking the last bit of magic my married life really is, but I feel that is not true either.  It’s not always magic, especially when you are raising 2 boys under 6,  running your own business, living far from your family and having challenges that most normal people have on any given day. This doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate what works, nor that we have to complain about what is, but to find some ground where we can both celebrate but remain real.  That is what I am wanting to do with this  writing.

In my work as a life coach, I share all of this, but it has taken me a minute to unleash it to the public.  In part, I don’t do it because my one sided story always evokes the other side of the story.  My truth is not the truth, only my truth so there is no reason to either say yay or nay to what I am about to say,  but know, this is my attempt to be transparent so that hopefully some of my readers can benefit from it.


There is so much I can say about my marriage and how I found love, but I wanted to focus on things that I did that weren’t comfortable and were met with so much criticism back then and yet, I would argue that those very things set the tone for the marriage I have, a loyal bond, partnership filled with love where we each have a voice and can express it and peace is always found no matter how far the storm takes us.

I haven’t really attended a lot of weddings. When I was little, I tagged along with my mom and she took care of gift giving and alike.  My past decades as an immigrant in United States, I attended 2 weddings, one was of my American sister for which I travelled cross country and another one was a friend.  Both weddings were huge and the second resulted in an enormous debt.   As someone who once consolidated  credit card debt  I was in to pay for my graduate school, I was not going to be  in debt to get married.

My husband and I argued about this a lot, he wanted a big wedding no matter the cost, and I would’ve prefered to elope and use the money we have to invest in our lives together.  We met in a middle, I was willing to spend our savings on the wedding but nothing was going to go on a credit card.  I had numerous conversations about  who I  left out and probably more than 50% of the people at my wedding were family of my husband’s step mother I personally didn’t yet know.


But here is the thing, being burnt by the debt after my graduate school that I was finally out of had me not even entertain the thought of overspending.  I bought my dress in David’s Bridal for less than $200.  I ordered my bolero from China and it took a month or so for it to arrive and there was a risk it wouldn’t  fit but I was willing to spend $24 to try.  My late grandmother (my mom’s mom), who has been planting flowers for as long as I’ve known her, gave me some suggestions on flower arrangemnts so for less than $70, I bought all the flowers and made arrangments for the table and my own boquet.  My restaurant experience as a bartender, manager and a hostess allowed me to ask for right things and tailor our wedding reception and dinner to get the most for my money.  In a nutshell, I create for myself a celebration where I didn’t have to feel an overwhelm of the bills that would come after.

This level of participating in our own level, not managing ton of other people at great cost, but rather doing a lot of things ourselves, had me appreciate the entire event so much more as well as be in awe of our family and friends who came to celebrate with us.  Even in this  experience, I realized my accomodating nature:   the location was convenient to my husband’s family, not mine… this was something we worked for and resolved as we did many other things in our living together for the past 7 years.

One of my favorite coaches told me once:  “Anything is possible for as long as you are in communication.”  So, I made an effort to always come to my husband and work through things that I was dealing with.  When you are intimate with somoene, the shit gets real very fast.  You have no place to hide so the things you’d normally cover up in front of others are exposed and hanging for your partner to see.  You push each other’s buttons as if you were the one who put them there and there is a reason this is true:  You always find a perfect match for things you need to work through to be what is possible for yourself to be.  You can take the exit early on, but if you stick around, you will learn.

We were in love, we didn’t just love the idea of love.  We planned our wedding together and moved through this process consciously.  I sometimes look back at it and wish there was more glam in the whole process, but then again, I think taking this approach worked in our favor.  We had everything we needed and support of those around us left me feeling in awe of who people are.  This is why I celebrate.Wedding_022

Note: One of my angels on that day besides my husband: my uncle who moved heaven and Earth to be there and my close friend who took me through the whole process of what a wedding actually looks like and what I needed to be mindful off.  Forever grateful ❤


Social Media Dis-Ease


Progress is defined as movement onward toward a destination.  Before we label something as “progressive,” it’s important to determine if a particular move is really an advancement and a betterment of what is here now.

I recently viewed a documentary about medical devices and one of the premises of the movie was that “new” and “technologically advanced” was not only not better, but much more dangerous as it eliminates our human ability to spot and address problems and changes as they occur.  Namely, while it seems that the extended robot-doctor can be much more precise in performing surgery, it is the intuitiveness and observation of an experienced doctor that is far more valuable in the operation room.

My issue with this growth in technology as initially been a simple fear of expansion.  Nobody wants to invest money and time in learning something or buying a device that can be made irrelevant so shortly after.  In my family, things have been bought to last for generations, so this was a new way of thinking I had to adapt to.  This is where I had to have a personal expansion and ability to constantly think outside of the box. I can  do that.  However, what I find most difficult is responding to the information that can come outside at the pace at which it can be coming.

Think for a second about the way text messages are sent.  A person can have a thought and instead of capturing it and then evaluating it’s intention and rightful place in a schedule, it is far easier to just “shoot” a text and let the other person deal with what they need to deal with so that we can get a response while we are doing something else.  It seems like there is no issue there, seemingly we are moving things forward way faster than we did in the prehistoric times.  I do believe, though, that this fast paced way of communicating sometimes fails to take into account our need, and right, to take time to think things through, mull over it, consider options and then return with an answer that actually serves us. I have heard it time and time again, especially from moms, that they get irritated when people send them text messages any time of the day and night with an expectation of an answer immediately or shortly after.  I happen to agree.  Just because it takes a split of a second for someone else’s though to show up on my phone and in my possession, it doesn’t mean I am in any way obligated to respond to it (I am not talking to relationships or commitments where this is predetermined or promised).  Just because communications can travel fast, doesn’t mean that they will “land” at that pace or be processed in the time the other party expects it.

Besides texts and this arrogant expectation people have that their emails, messages and voicemails should be answered in whatever they think it’s a timely manner, I think the information we are bombarded by at every corner is very hard to process.  I believe some of it needs to be brutally repelled:  I really don’t want to be knowing the latest soap opera drama from the self made TV stars, ambitious social media influencers (some of which have really not much to say, it’s just that the frequency of their posts is so high, it actually begins to cause traction), and even celebrities.  While some stories can surely inspire an ordinary person (all of us on the other side of these messages), most of the information out there is tailored to create fake images, needs and wants that literally targets our vulnerable minds.  And I do say vulnerable minds because I feel that anyone that is bombarded by information from every angle and all the time is eventually going to crack and just feel too vulnerable to give a dignified NO.

On one hand, marketers and advertisers, as well as celebrities, brand managers, influencers, are brilliant.  They have found a way to gather tribes of people, fans, followers to send their messages, sell their products and be known in this world the way they want to be known and seen.  I think there is art to it all and I am naturally curious about it as I am curious about human beings and our design.  But, technology allows for too much of this so I believe that we naturally start forming thick skin, or we tune out or we are only half way present.  Don’t tell me that when you are scrolling down your Facebook feed or Instagram, that you are actually really connecting to what people are trying to tell you.  If you are like me, you do this almost habitually and neither giving yourself fully to it, nor fully blocking it so that you can have a peaceful ride on subway, dinner, uber ride or whatever it is that you usually use as a perfect time for social media binge.  And it is this half-ass-ness that I think has us neither committed to finding out information we need nor fully honoring our personal boundaries….We are simply there absorbing and being impacted without much say in a matter (intentional thought in this regard).

With one such obsession lately, I was noticing, from finding out information I needed to looking at how other people were commenting, seeing their brutal replies, some of which were in agreement with my way of thinking, and some completely opposing, I have began to feel a little sick.  I began to feel mildly depressed and disconnected from my own life.  Luckily, my husband would catch me, interrupt me and sometimes even unintentionally shame me:  “Marija, are you taking care of the kids?” and I would snap out of it, sometimes perhaps after first getting angry at my husband for catching me in crime.

Just because we have this immediate access to the world around us (nowadays you can send emails and letters to the President or Queen herself), doesn’t mean it’s normal.  Perhaps at some point humans will evolve into being more adapt to technology and what it provides, but with all my spiritual, leadership and psychology training, I find it so hard to do so, and I truly don’t doubt my intellect in this regard.  Even if you don’t believe me or find my experience credible, go on to one of the political Facebook Pages or Instagram posts and read comments for about 10 minutes and tell me how you feel, how your body feels and if you have faith in yourself and humanity right after.  I would sincerely doubt it.

When it comes to commenting, I have experienced this myself, we want an immediate relief from our anger, disappointment and alike and there is nothing as easy as googling the person you deem responsible and laying an irresponsible comment on their post, page or link.  In fact, most of us would never in a million years look at that person in the face and say what we are willing to write in comments, some of us courageous to keep our own profile pictures while many are hiding behind the fake ones.  Speaking of this, there should not be a way to create multiple social media accounts or post fake names as this is a sure way to have people not have to be responsible or held accountable for their actions in the cyber space.

We forget our manners, simply put, but that is not nearly as bad as vomiting of our opinions the moment we have it.  On one hand, some people just have a view and then they lay it out without paying any mind to how it could affect people who could read it, on another, some of us are brewing our opinions for some time so when we finally lay it out, it sounds like a massive attack.  Hate is real, people, and while I think it’s awesome to express it in a safe container such that we can alchemize it and see what our experience and emotion is teaching us, I think being able and allowed to spread hate at the speed at which technology works is scary at best.

As a relatively new mom, my kids are 2.5 and 5, and already 40 years old, I have been thinking about death and dying as well as the legacy I want to leave behind.  I am an avid self help book reader, personal development course student and teacher and someone who thrives on constant learning.  All this has me think about what the point of life is, how to live the best version of it and be the best of myself I can be so that, if I can ever have conscious experience of dying, I can feel content and like my life was worth a while.  When I think of my life from the perspective of being on my death bed, I can see so clearly how much all these things that are irritating us day to day really don’t matter at all.  Do I really need to make sure to weigh in on someone’s style choice, personality, political views and alike…  I think not.  I believe that deep inside, we all try to do our best and if you look at people who seem aggressive, unkind, bullies, you can track down that they didn’t have love that I believe each human being deserves.  Somehow, I do believe that we are all exactly where we need to be and that nobody’s value is overlooked.

With all this said, I think social media can be a real addiction.  We haven’t had it in our hands long enough to see the damages it can pose on human experience so I think it’s important to be careful and pay extra mind to the experience of it and predictable impacts.  For me, again, given I was feeling mildly depressed over vastness of how information, especially fake one, can travel and that many people so easily buy into it, I had to take a step back.  I don’t fully disconnect because I do not want live my life alone, but I time myself.  I teach myself how to use these things as tools the same way I was teaching myself how to nourish my body with yoga and healthy food instead of dieting and eating disorder in order to look the way it was never possible for me to look.

My true recommendation for all of you who read this here is to take a step back and invest your energy and creativity into what really matters to you and then use tools available to share that, mindful that it can back fire, that not everyone will see you the way a person in front of you can.  I think we have to “fight” this tech expansion by giving ourselves an enormous space to expand within, to address pains that we carry and share healing that is available.

With so much love and appreciation that I can share my deep thoughts with a click of a button,

Your friend, Marija


10 Reasons to Pay Your Own Bill when Dating

Where I come from, men pick up the tab.  They get “seemingly” offended if you even try to get the bill yourself.  Offering to split it is out of question as you are immediately labelled as cheap:  either pay it all up or shut up and let it be paid.  My culture, however, is not my reference but the years of working with individuals and couples on relationships is.

I remember talking to a friend from Montreal years ago and her complaining that men from Quebec don’t offer to pay the bill.  This was a turn off for her and she felt that, if they were not going to pay, she wouldn’t give them the time of the day.   I could relate to what she was saying as all throughout college and even graduate school, I really wanted and liked it when men picked up the tab when I went out with them.  The only difference was, I never waited for them to do it, I always offered to pay my part.youblur-close-up-cutlery-370984

Here is what I think some women don’t get:  men are human beings too and in the game of dating, it’s often not so much that they can’t pick up the tab, it’s that when they don’t just go for it, it tells them if the woman who is with them is just along for a free ride or she cares about him more deeply.  Whether or not you pay your part shows that.  And while so many women out there are coaching you on how to get the most out of men, here are 10 solid reasons to pay for your own shit:

  1. When you pick up your part, it shows you wanted to be there, you are willing to invest your time and money to spend the time with person.  While you may split or cover the bill once, doing it the second time is a proof of commitment: putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak
  2. You prove that you can’t be bought, you can order what you wish knowing you are treating yourself fully to this enjoyment.  If you are prepared to pay for it, you will never be disappointed
  3. You release the attachment and the desperation that comes from waiting for someone to pick up your bill or wondering throughout your time together about who will get it at the end
  4. You prove yourself to be feminist, that woman have a voice and can make all decisions the same way men can.  After all, aren’t most of us always trying to prove this to the world
  5. You are energetically invested, when you pay up, there is no guilt or even a remote wonder if you need to do something in return.  Your bills are paid and all is squared, everything that comes after that is a choice
  6. Men are impressed by women who take care of themselves and real men will respect it, even if they insist on paying
  7. You will release all those men who think their money can buy you and your attention, you will not be their player, you will be your own
  8. You will know if you want to do this again, because when it hurts your wallet, you get to be more mindful of how and with whom you spend your time
  9. You will leave the guy with an impression that you are stable, responsible, dependable and he will think much more highly of you
  10. You will never have an experience that you sold out for a glass of wine, or a 10 course dinner; no matter how big or small it is, selling out is selling out.

Hope these reasons make you reconsider waiting for a guy to pick up a tab.  Nobody is born in service of you.  This is such an archaic way of thinking and people who expect it are bound to be disappointed.  The more you expect the less you have ownership over your life and what happens in it.   When you take care of yourself, do your part, everything else is a bonus, it becomes much easier to live in gratitude and that is the energy that attracts men, money and good things your way.  Which one will you choose?