I’ve been off the grid for awhile. I’ve consumed so much change since my last post (about a year ago) even though wise advice is to not consume an elephant all at once. Sometimes it comes big and fast and there isn’t much you can do. Except endure.
I say this on the day of the Marathon bombings (which I am saddened to even type), where some person or group made alot of other people’s lives more difficult and painful. Unnecessary. Leaves me questioning. There is the general level of disbelief hanging in the air.
I also have a very good friend who has become sick. Someone who is always of good spirits and a funny joke. His blood disease is no joke, however. How do you bring together meaning in it all? It is very difficult to discern.
All of it points out the complications of life and the delicate nature that is inherent with the living. It can fall apart at the stop of a heartbeat. Or it can ignite upon eye contact. It all depends. On who you are. And what you are dealing with …and within that, what stage you are experiencing. All are contributors to how we feel about ourselves, life, and our relationships.
Well, the good news is that in 2013, I am back again.
I am going to dive into what is life, my own beliefs, what joy feels like, and how do I feel it more often? Joyce Meyer notes that Joys is a fruit of the spirit – so how do I develop the fruit of joy?
I do not typically let myself be selfish, but I am my own project here. This is one outlet where I can express these thoughts, with the hopes of helping someone else, of course.
Be back soon with more. Hugs.
I have no idea who reads this, but, if you are, thank you.
April 15, 2013 1 Comment
I was watching a TED video recently with Brene Brown where she talked about the power of vulnerability. The word “vulnerability” can make you shrink back… It’s uncomfortable, and can feel like a weakness. But, she noted that “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage”…. and “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
Brene discusses how our vulnerability brings connections with others. Empathy. Understanding. Love. Without it, we are a shadow of our true self – unable to really connect with another, to understand, to listen and just be there. Let’s face it, we all have moments in our life or parts of our life story we’d like to white out…and pretend that they are not there. But who are we fooling, really? It’s the becoming that makes us who we are, and not any individual event can totally represent our whole being.
In the past five months, I’ve felt nothing but vulnerable. And I’ve made some life changes that have brought me on a whole new path. It’s required me to let go. Let go of who I thought I was. This had to happen so I could allow myself to become who I can be…it’s still a work in progress.
And I’m still in full reassessment. I’ve started businesses that I’m not sure fit me anymore. I’ve ended a relationship that molded a good part of who I am, as well as who I want to be. I’m letting go pieces of myself. One piece at a time. Hoping to discover new pieces that are dark or unknown, or unable to surface without the letting go. It reminds me of gardening in a way. Some things have to die for new things to bloom. And let me be clear, it hurts to even type that, never mind live it. There is a blind faith that I cling to that things will turn out right. I believe God is walking with me on this path.
And as I listened to Brene, I heard my house phone ring. It’s a phone number I’ve had since I was 19, that’s moved with me from house to house. Strangely, I’m attached to it, it’s part of my identity. But I think it might be time to let that go too. Another piece. Another time. Another life.
At the same time of letting go is this newness, this incredible sense of possibility. Of what is to be.
I’ve been letting this post brew and now I’m feeling vulnerable. But I’ve always kept this blog a little raw and honest so…. I have also decided to shut down one of my businesses. I need to let it morph into the next thing, and letting it go is the only way.
Onward and upward my friends…
Here’s the video I mentioned:
March 31, 2012 1 Comment
I read this on Facebook, and wanted to record it here for future reference…
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
I especially love this: Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person…
January 5, 2012 4 Comments
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide
I’ve always liked this quote, and lately I’ve been feeling the essence of what this quote means in my life. Funny how that happens, you like a quote, then you find yourself living it…but I digress…
I’ve been working through some major life changes, and the closest analogy I can come up with is that it feels like I’m swimming in this huge ocean alone. And swimming itself is tiring, it requires lots of energy and focus. As I paddle from wave to wave, which I can compare to my emotions in dealing with this change, I sometimes need to just float along, look up and rest, and give myself a break. At then at other times on this journey, I find myself turning around and looking back at the shore where I started out. It looks safe… a place I can go back to. But at the same time, I know I cannot. The safety it offers is an illusion. The reality is…there is no going back to my past, intellectually I know it will not serve me. But it doesn’t stop the thoughts from forming when fear kicks in – maybe I could try this…maybe if I did that…gosh that shore looks easier to get to than going forward…and I’m feeling so tired.
Yet, my spirit calls me forward…to keep swimming along. I know I will get to a point where I can see new land and new shores that will hold a future of my choosing. This excites me and keeps me going. Sure, there will be some storms along the way and I know I’ll have to float my way through it. It’s par for the course. The old sage saying is every journey begins with that first step. The rest of the steps just seem to follow along.
December 25, 2011 No Comments
I’ve always fancied the idea of learning how to ballroom dance – like Salsa and such. I never did get around to taking lessons but would try to learn a few steps here and there (and no, I do not watch Dancing with the Stars). I’ve always been a good student in any undertaking I’ve pursued. But when it comes to dancing, I find myself trying to take the lead vs. following. I step on toes, the whole nine yards. This of course, throws off the whole balance of things.
So, of course, I try to analyze this. Not so much the why, but more the why not? Why can’t I just let go?
Then something happened. Recently a friend of mine and I were watching a colleague seriously ballroom dance, he could cut up the carpet. There were others on the floor doing the usual small circle dance, but this guy was all over the place. Could he move! We were laughing, saying how we couldn’t POSSIBLY dance like that. Each dancing partner he was with looked just as talented as the one before. We were amazed, just watching, talking about how we have two left feet when it comes to that.
Then he came over and invited me to dance. I resisted, and tried declining nicely. After all, I won’t look anything like the others who were on the floor! He kept encouraging me, pulling me out onto the floor. “Okay okay. Just be patient with me,” I asked. And he had me out of the dance floor, winging me around, twirling, changing directions. He made me laugh, and I found that I started to relax into the dance moves as he coached me along. He made it easy. He made it fun. And I didn’t look like a fool. He asked my friend to dance after, and she had the exact experience. She couldn’t believe how easy he made things, it was enjoyable!
I began to realize that in dance, just like real life, having a good leader makes all the difference. Knowing the steps, having the confidence to bring others to a new place, while building confidence as they learn can create an experience like no other.
It’s funny because I always find myself in a position of leading one way or another. If it’s not business, then it’s family, a side project, you name it. I’m used to leading and it’s where I find myself most comfortable. But I also found myself quite comfortable following in this instance on the dance floor. It felt good to relax and allow the natural order of things to just be.
It reminded me of when I was twelve years old and I went to a square dance with some friends while vacationing in VT up at the lake house. I was partnered up with this older man (he seemed old then, gosh knows he was probably 40 or something! lol). Anyway, I remember he was whipping me around on his hip, and I had the best time. In fact, all our friends did. We were all pleasantly surprised how much fun square dancing was. Again in this instance, I didn’t have to be anything but me. And I allowed things to flow.
So, lesson learned. Allow things to be. Let things flow. Lead when you must. But following can also be good too.
December 8, 2011 2 Comments
Sometimes we find ourselves in the position where we have to say words that will hurt another’s feelings. Over the past months, I’ve found myself in this position and it has been gut wrenching. Speaking my truth meant hurting someone I care about very much. But, as I’ve gotten older, I realize that can no longer sacrifice my own truth at the sake of protecting someone else from hearing it. It just cannot be done.
In a sense it feels selfish, a word and concept that I struggle with. The word selfish has such negative connotations. Growing up, I was called “selfish” by my parents when I was doing something without regard to their (or other people’s) feelings. The word was very rarely used in a positive manner. Is it ok to be selfish? I’ve asked myself this a thousand times. I’m thinking it is.
I’m either on or off the tightrope
As I further explore this, the metaphor of a walking a tightrope came to me. For so long, I’ve been on the tightrope, taking very careful steps. I don’t want to fall, right? What happens when you fall? Things break, it can get ugly. So I was so careful to not say anything too dramatic or would cause a flare. I kept an even keel. I took one small step at a time… tried not looking down… that way I didn’t have to face my own truth or missteps in the process. I discovered that I need to be either on or off the tightrope. there is no in between.
Falling is one of those things we all fear. Falling in dreams, falling in front of others, it is humbling and shows vulnerability. I’ve taken some real hard falls in the audience of others, it can be completely humiliating. But, to get beyond this whole thing, I had to take the risk and fall off the wire I was walking. What I found is that while I did get dirty and banged up a bit, I survived. Go figure.
Free to be me
And so, as much as I am sorry about saying the words that hurt, I find that I am… for the first time in a long time… free to be me. I am discovering a new voice who is aligned with my inner spirit who wants to fly. I am no longer held to another’s expectations of who I am “supposed to be”. I no longer need to push down my feelings to hold another’s before my own.
I’ve also learned that by speaking my truth doesn’t mean that I don’t care about others. In fact, it’s a more loving way to be. Who knew?
November 29, 2011 4 Comments
Whenever I travel, interesting things happen to me. I’m not sure if its because I’m out of my element and I’m more aware? I don’t know, but I am starting to see a theme of when I receive interesting life messages.
I was in St. Louis for the past week for a marketing and sales conference that I help organize every year (with a fabulous team of others). This was our 6th year with the event, it is always a good time to reconnect with peers and recharge the creative batteries.
After a very busy morning of back to back presentations, I went to sit outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. It was a lovely day, and I was feeling the relief of having some of my bigger commitments for the event behind me. The sunshine felt so good. As I sat there, I imagined it was similar to how a cat may feel when it curls up in a spot of sunshine.
As I was sitting there, I noticed a praying mantis making its way, crawling up the side of the revolving door. It was sitting right on stainless steel, appearing to hang from nothing. I could not remember the last time I saw a praying mantis up close. So I watched with fascination as it made its way up the doorway frame. It had this very gentle, slow approach. It bobbed up and down, gently placing its foot/claw (what is that thing anyway) on the metal, testing each step out before shifting itself forward.
How was it holding on <I thought>?
Slow and methodically, it made its way up the wall of nothingness. It did not rattle itself when someone would brush it’s quiet presence and swing the door around. I was nervous a couple of times as it entered what I though was “dangerous ground” where it would be swept away by the door movement. But, to no avail, the Mantis was vigilant and steady.
Capturing the Moment
At one point I decided to take a picture of this creature in which I was so absorbed in watching. I got close with my phone and snapped this photo you see here. As I got close, the creature turned its head and looked directly at me, leaning over toward me as I snapped it. It kind of freaked me a little, what could it be thinking or, worse, what would it do? Then I just laughed at myself, how silly I’m afraid of this thing. He’s probably afraid of me!
I sat back down and just watched him make his way up the door, I eventually lost track of him. I felt there was some sort of significance to what I observed. The slow methodical approach, taking careful, assured steps with a peacefulness about it despite the clear insanity of what it was doing – climbing a metal wall. There is surely a life metaphor to absorb here. I thought that was the end of my praying mantis brush. I was wrong.
We landed in Boston around 11:30 pm after a long day and connecting flights. As I entered the jet way, I was expressing my gratitude with the crew for a safe arrival. I was passing by the pilot, and he drew my attention to something sitting on the wall…guess what it was? It was ANOTHER Praying Mantis. But not just ANY praying mantis, but A HUGE Praying Mantis. I have never seen one so large. It had to be as long and wide as my foot, and I wear a size 9 women’s. It had the longest wings I’ve ever seen. Again – it was in the oddest place – there is no vegetation there. It’s in a jet way on a plastic wall, just hanging out. So I laughed and stood, fumbled for my phone with the hopes to grab a picture (which I didn’t get) when Shari, my travel partner was getting off the plane behind me. I told her to look up so she could see it, and as she looked, it flew right across her to the other side of the jet way. She freaked a little, but did pretty well considering.
<OK> I think in my head…sighting number 2. If I was confused about the significance before, I should not be now because this one was freaking huge. I make a mental note to revisit the significance of a Mantis when I got home.
Then this morning, I get up grab my mobile phone to look at it for the first time and what’s looking back at me on my phone? The image of the mantis I took in St. Louis. Now, this picture is nestled in the middle of the photo album from the event, it was not the last action I took on the phone from the night before because I remember I was texting updates about my arrival AND recalled looking at my phone in the middle of the night for a few moments in time.
“That’s IT!” <I think>. I head over to set up my computer so I can look into the significance of these events. Surely there must be something for me here. And there was. The first thing I did was hit Wikipedia to find out about it. What I did know about the Mantis is that is a form in Tai Chi that is pretty powerful as some moves were taught to me at one point, but that’s all I knew. Here’s what I found out (some of it was not so sexy but…):
The scientific name Mantodea comes from the Greek words μάντις meaning a prophet, and εἶδος for form or shape. The name was coined in 1838 by the German entomologist Hermann Burmeister. The common term mantis is also from the Greek word μάντις for prophet.
Ok, that’s interesting. So I continued to search for the symbolic meaning of the Mantis and found a couple of things worth sharing…
One source noted:
The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us because of the external din we’ve created.
After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace.
This is similar to what I thought back when I was watching the Mantis in St. Louis. Then I found this reference, and it startled me a little,’cause it reminded me of the moment of when I took the picture and it looked right at me:
The praying mantis is the oldest symbol of God: the African Bushman’s manifestation of God come to Earth, “the voice of the infinite in the small,”* a divine messenger. When one is seen, diviners try to determine the current message. In this culture they are also associated with restoring life into the dead. “Mantis” is the Greek word for “prophet” or “seer,” a being with spiritual or mystical powers.
Meet the eye of a mantis and feel the presence of God. Interspecies communicator Sharon Callahan says, “the I of me, and the I of the creature became one and we rested on the breath of God.” She notes that a praying mantis appears sometimes in person, other times in a dream or even in an object of art, but always with the “shiny conscious eye ~ God looking at me through the eye of the Mantis.”
I surrender……MERCY I say….
As you go through your life, do you see recurring themes on your path? And…are you paying attention to them?
September 10, 2011 2 Comments
You know, some days seem harder than others. Walking in faith is a concept that I like to believe I hold, but all too often even the simplest things can throw me off the path. Sometimes it’s my own stupid fear, other times it’s a curious German Shepherd who wants to say hello..or…Grrr… I’ll share a story…
Most evenings, weather permitting, I take a walk in my neighborhood with my dog Sumo. He’s a Shiba Inu, 35 lbs or so, looks like a fox. I’ve come to learn it’s HIS walk, not mine and I’m just along for the ride. He knows every house and where every dog lives on the path. He knows which ones are tied out on lines, which ones are behind fences. As we approach each house that has dog interaction potential, he eagerly does this obnoxious loud breathing so they can hear him just in case they are around.
Now the funny thing is, he’s the most gentle dog off the leash. But, when he’s on the leash he is more aggressive. My guess is it is because when he was a puppy, he got attached by a pitbull when we were on of our walks. The dog charged us from his yard, crossing the street to reach us. At first I thought the dog was going to be nice until it growled meanly, jumped on him and grabbed him by the neck. I kicked the dog away from him, his owner yelling in tow but a few minutes too late. Everything ended up fine, but I think it marked my dog’s memory and he’s on guard now when walking on a leash. Off leash he’s a different dog. And, I’ve tested this theory a few times letting other dogs approach. It always ends with me stressed out, pulling him away from the other dog and wishing people would keep track of their dogs. Granted, we are walking by their yards, and they are just doing their job. I get that. But the street I walk on is somewhat busy with surprise curves and when the dogs are loose there is a chance they will get hit. I’ve lost two beautiful German Shepherds to this street already, and I don’t let Sumo roam free for the most part.
So, fast forward, I’m on another walk. And I get to the top of the hill which is the turnaround point. It’s a perfect night – because ALL of the dogs were not out. Of course, Sumo is disappointed, but I’m not! So we turn around, start walking home, down the long hill making good time. Sun is setting, there’s a cool breeze in my face. As I approach a couple of houses where dogs live side by side… I hear the owner yelling….”PEEEER….CEEEY….PEEEER…..CEEEY”…
Oh crap, I think. That’s that damn German Shepherd. Crap crap crap…. So I slow down, cause I haven’t hit the corner where the dog could see me. We haven’t met Percy up close yet, just from a distance. But I can hear the owner calling his dog. Gee whiz…it was a NICE walk up until that point. So I stop in my tracks. I’m not sure what to do. I have to walk by this yard to get home. I’m nervous because I don’t want to be stressed out with an angry dog interaction. But I can’t just wait this out.
“You’re being ridiculous” I said to myself. Just walk and work it out. “Oh Kay”… I walk onward. Then I look up and there’s freaking Percy. Shit shit shit… And he’s looking at us, from across the street, out of his yard and in his neighbor’s yard right on the edge of the street. So, I stop walking, pull Sumo to my right side away from the dog (of course he’s pulling hard to get to the dog – wheezing like crazy cause I adjusted his collar to be tight under his chin for best control) and yell “GIT” in my deepest voice several times. He just kept looking at me, making small advances toward us… Meanwhile back on the porch the owner is yelling “PEEEERCEEEY GET OVA HERE…COME….COME RIGHT NOW.” Clearly Percy doesn’t give a f—.
Now, I’m trying to maintain some semblance of control and not project fear which I know Percy senses. So Percy advances even closer and starts to cross the street. I yell and take a few aggressive steps toward him with a NOOOOO..GIT. He stops and turns back a little. Huh, I think. Meanwhile, in my head I’m praying “Ok Angels, I need you here, help me get this dog to retreat… I don’t want to see him get hit” because cars were coming up the road on his side. I have an affinity for Sheps, we raised several litters years ago. Last thing I want to see is a dog get hit in front of me, it’s heartbreaking.
So I decide “F— It” in my head – now I’m pissed off. The owner clearly is not in command of his dog. I’m in command of mine even though he wants to check this dog out more than life itself. I just wanted to take a stupid walk… So I just start walking angrily…Percy starts to come back at me…and then I give one last aggressive GIT – GO HOME while walking – and then, as if a magic wand was waved (or some big scary monster behind me), the dog did a double-take, turned and started jogging home. I did get a second look and pause, but he then he jogged home to the porch to his owner.
The owner gives me a big wave, shouts an apology… I say thanks and walk on. And yes, I did mutter a few choice words under my breath.
PHEW….interaction avoided. What just happened I thought? Now that the moment has passed, I feel my nerves jumping around.
As I finished out the walk, I was thinking about what made Percy turn away all of sudden. Was it me? Did my Angels step in and help? I suspect so. Be even beyond that, I think it was a walk of faith. In stepping out of my fear, I walked into the solution I needed.
How often do we do that – not step out due to fear? It could be big or small. Stepping out is the key. No matter what the outward appearances are. Who are the German Shepherds in your life?
August 28, 2011 No Comments
This is a quick story worth telling …
I read the book ”Heaven is For Real” when I was vacationing in Florida that is about this little boy and his death experience. As the family discovered he had this near death experience, his family tried to understand who and what he saw. He talked about relatives he had never known, as well as angels, Jesus and God as he saw them. They would show him a pictures – of dead relatives who he was able to identify. They also started showing him pictures of Jesus. But there are so many pictures of Jesus out there, he kept saying “No”….until one day they showed him a specific picture and he said “Yes.” I was so moved, I took a picture of book image and it’s in my phone so I can go back and look at it.
Fast forward a couple of months – and I’m heading home on a plane. The flight wasn’t too full, but I ended up in a middle seat next to my colleague. So when they airline attendants shut the door, there was an open aisle seat in the next row up. I moved and sat next to a guy, who was fine with me taking that seat. There was still an open middle seat, plenty of room for both of us.
He was a nice, easy-going guy. He had one of those moments where you fall asleep sitting up and then jolted awake spilling his water… Gosh knows I’ve done this a half dozen times. We just laughed, I handed him some napkins. At first glances, there was nothing unusual about him or the experience.
We finally landed, and we were in the first few rows and we were getting ready to deplane. As I was getting packing my things up, I turned to him and said, “do you need to get anything or want to stand up” and he said with a smile, “no…no…I’m very patient. Patience is important. There are people here that are in more of a rush than I am” (and he gestured back behind him as he said that). I paused and looked at him and noticed his kind blue eyes… and finally said, “Yes, patience is something we can all learn.” Then I got up and left. That was the last I saw of this man.
For some reason, his eyes stayed with me. It was hard to explain. Then, as my colleague and I make our way down to baggage claim, the picture of Jesus mysteriously came up on my phone- I hadn’t been trying to look at my pictures. I have an iPhone and the picture is in the middle of my camera roll. And I did a double take. It looked like the guy on the plane less the hair. Then I heard in my head “patience”. And goosebumps came over my body. All I could think was “wow…”.
As I shared this story with a friend, they shared something very wise with me:
Sometimes if we pursue, the spirit retreats and sometimes if we retreat the spirit pursues. Patience and stillness can be very liberating.
I’ve been on a spiritual journey as you probably know if you are reading this blog. I was completely moved by the experience. And now I hear the words “patience” echo in my head when I need it the most. Here’s the picture in the book that I took:
August 6, 2011 1 Comment
I was walking along the dirt road in my vacation spot in Vermont, and I was really enjoying myself. The birds were singing, I could hear the loons out on the lake crooning. It was a surreal moment, feeling all zen. Until the damn fly…or should I say flies…started buzzing around my head just enough to annoy me. In my ear, around my head. I walked by a patch of sunlight … just enough to see in a shadow reflection 3 or 4 flies buzzing around my head. Cripskes, it was enough to make me start swatting, crazily, like some nut cake who is entertaining to watch if you happen to see them working their issues on the street.
So there I was, flies disturbing my zen. It got me thinking…(surprise)… Because I’m the type of person who can tune things out pretty well. Why is this bothering me?
How often do we let small things, like flies or mosquitoes buzzing around us…just kill a moment of joy? Extrapolating to bigger pictures, how often do we let small annoyances take a way from the bigger picture? That snide comment, the wrong order at Dunkins, the crappy attitude at the cashier…
Pretty often, I’d say. Lesson learned.
July 21, 2011 No Comments