My Mom Has A Message For You

My Mom Has A Message For You

With all the discomfort and uncertainty we’ve suddenly been thrust into, I wanted to share some words from the person who’s words have always been of great comfort to me.

My Mom.

Mom just turned 90 a few weeks ago. In 90 years she’s seen more than her share of challenges and painful obstacles that she’s been able to overcome. She was the second youngest of eight children born smack dab in the middle of the Great Depression. She’s been widowed now longer than she was married. She has experienced the unbearable loss of a son, has witnessed the loss of almost all of her siblings, as well as many close friends. She has survived countless numbers of economic downturns wondering how the bills will get paid and the family will be fed. But no matter the pain life has ever thrown at her, her refrain has always remained the same…

“This, too, shall pass.”

The older I get the more I understand and appreciate her wisdom, faith, and resolve. Underneath it all is a rock solid spiritual belief system with gives her both the resolve to endure and the wisdom to trust that this, too, shall pass, that we will, in fact, get through whatever we may find ourselves stuck in. Her prayers aren’t prayers asking for strength; rather, they are prayers reminding God that while she may not understand why she is being tested, she understands that testing is all part of the process of being human.

If you were able to call my Mom today and share your fears, worries, troubles, and concerns with her, she would at some point embrace you and remind you of perhaps the greatest lesson she has ever learned in her 90 years…

“This, too, shall pass.”

photo credit: Chelsea Shapouri via Unsplash

Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis

Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis

So here we are.

When I mapped out my vision for 2020 it never included the words “global pandemic”. Life has an interesting way of throwing the unexpected at you, doesn’t it? And while we often can’t control what happens in life, we always get to control how we respond to what happens.

Including global pandemics.

While none of us knows the exact impact COVID-19 will ultimately have, there is one thing I do know for certain…

I need the very best version of me to show up. And at a time of vast uncertainty, the one certainty is I get to decide how I will respond.

And so do you.

In times of crisis and uncertainty some of the first things to change are structure and routine. With an unexpected upheaval we initially are trying to simply understand what just happened. Often we shift into a defensive posture, retreating and playing small until things get back to what we would consider to be normal.

For me, structure and routine are essential right now. Having structure and routine and the discipline to maintain them provides me with a sense of control at a time where so much is outside of my control. It creates a sense of stability, creates positive momentum, it changes my energy, and it empowers me emotionally.

There are several key areas of my life I habitually focus on, and they are especially important at this time. These areas are the ones I know need to remain structured if I Continue reading “Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis”

Thriving In A World Of Magnets & Boomerangs

Thriving In A World Of Magnets & Boomerangs

It actually came back!  

For no particular reason I recently purchased a boomerang. Not a bucket list item, just something that I thought would be fun to have. I went to a large open field behind the school and wanted to see if this thing would actually come back. And it did.

I don’t know the exact engineering behind the design, but their shape and the laws of physics worked together to return to the thrower what was sent out into the world.

Kind of how life works, isn’t it?

The energy we offer to the world will find its way back to the source. That source is us. It doesn’t matter what vibration or emotion we release, eventually it will find it’s way back home.

With the boomerang I knew exactly what I was throwing. I could see it in my hand. I was able to witness the entire cycle of the process, of me releasing and of me receiving. But Continue reading “Thriving In A World Of Magnets & Boomerangs”

Playing Big By Playing Small

Playing Big By Playing Small

New Year’s Day.

I’m invincible.

I’ve been fine tuning my resolutions. My intentions are confidently set and I’m ready.

“This year will be different” I confidently tell myself. “This is the year I stick to my resolutions.”

Because I usually don’t.

Maybe the best resolution is no resolutions at all.

I’m not quite sure why I have such a challenging time with resolutions. I know there are things I want to change and things I want to accomplish, and there are things I tell myself I no longer want to do. Yet within a few weeks the resolutions I enthusiastically and boldly ran into the new year with feel like work.

They never make it to February.

Change, even change we tell ourselves we really want, can often be quite difficult. We’re often undoing things that we’ve spent a lifetime doing. Change is always much easier Continue reading “Playing Big By Playing Small”

Sometimes You Just Have To Put Yourself First

Sometimes You Just Have To Put Yourself First

It’s one of the reasons I sometimes wish I never grew up.

Snow days.

I miss having snow days, those unexpected days off from school because Mother Nature dumped enough white stuff to close the schools. Even the anticipation the night before, watching the weather forecast intently hoping that come morning we’ll be getting that call telling us to stay home.

It’s too bad us adults don’t get snow days. We could all use an unexpected day off from being adults sometimes, can’t we?

Recently I treated myself to a snow day. An all-day meeting I had scheduled on a personal day off from work was cancelled. Because of snow. The responsible adult in me contemplated going into the office, but the kid in me saw this as an all-too-rare opportunity to honor the kid in me.

The kid won.

My unexpected free time lead to a very welcomed day of being unscheduled and somewhat invisible. How often does that happen to adults? Unscheduled and somewhat invisible is as awesome as it sounds. My adventure took me to some of my favorite places, long drives through yet-to-be-plowed roads with everything around me covered in a thick blanket of still-falling snow. My meandering took me to snow covered beaches, dramatically different than when I visit them in the summer yet equally as beautiful. Snow meets sand. Silence and solitude. It felt as if I were in a meditative state, observing and appreciating the world around me and the peace I felt within me. All I needed was some hot cocoa.

The little kid in me was quite happy.

Occasionally I would glance at my phone, but for the most part it was just me and the snow. Working with my team, any work responsibilities had already been delegated the day before in anticipation of me being out of the office. Home responsibilities had also already been covered and I was actually home an hour earlier than usual.

Juggling career and home and parental responsibilities leaves very little time for ourselves. There is always more to do. Always. And when we sometimes do find a few moments to ourselves we’re not quite sure what to do with them. Our default setting is that we should be doing something, and that something is almost never about doing something for ourselves.

I’ve become much more aware of my need to recharge me, to take better emotional care of me. There always is more to do, but I’ve learned to include and prioritize my own well-being on that list. The better I am at being me the better I am in all areas of my life.

Becoming invisible for a full day isn’t always an option. So I’ve actually been scheduling time for me to take care of me, blocking out even a few moments of time to just tend to me. Even if that means getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual. Meditate, stretch, exercise, read. Or simply doing nothing. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is that you do something for yourself.

Self care needs to be prioritized and scheduled, otherwise it simply won’t just happen. The world isn’t going to do this for you as the world often feels as if it’s conspiring to prevent you from such self-indulgence.

When was the last time you gave yourself some time just for you to recharge and reconnect with you?

Self care isn’t a luxury. It’s not self-indulgent. It’s not selfish. It’s a necessary component of your physical and emotional health and of you becoming the best version of you.

I think you deserve to be the best version of you.

Don’t you?

When You Change The Way You Look At Things…

When You Change The Way You Look At Things…

You’d probably like Jeff. He’s really cool. Multi-talented and creative, he is in the middle of a project he created for himself in which he takes a daily photograph of a light house not too far from his home.

As of today, he has posted his photos for 81 consecutive days on social media. He has a great eye for photo composition, which is critical if you’re committed to photographing the exact same subject for 365 days and hope to not become redundant.

I don’t know why he’s doing this, but I’m glad he is. It’s become something I look forward to daily.

His commitment to this project forces him to look at this one light house from many different vantage points. He is quite open to seeing this one subject in many different ways. Up high, down low, at sunrise, at sunset, through clouds or fog. There is not one “right” photograph of this light house. He is open to moving around and seeing the subject from many different vantage points. At year’s end, when his project is completed, Jeff will know this light house rather intimately.

When we can see something from several different angles, we gain a tremendous understanding of exactly what it is we are looking at.

This works well with light houses.

And with people, too.

Sometimes we only see in people what we’ve habitually always seen. Sometimes what we see is based in part on assumptions we’ve created or inherited. But when we are willing to explore and see people from unfamiliar perspectives we gain a much more complete understand of who is really in front of us. When we are able to understand more about people whose views of and experiences in the world may be different from our own we are in a much better position to create a more inclusive environment in which all can coexist and thrive.

Maybe there’s more to be seen in the people we habitually see?

There always is.

If you decide to look.

It’s a great day to be you!

The Art Of Working Against Yourself

The Art Of Working Against Yourself

Maggie and Watson never like to stay in the yard. Our two strong and high energy dogs love to run free chasing whatever they are chasing. Sometimes they are just running for the sake of running. In our fenceless neighborhood, the dogs have no idea where our yard ends and the neighbor’s yard begins. They see no limits or boundaries. They just run.

Recently, we looked into installing an invisible fence, for their protection and our neighbor’s peace of mind. The technology is quite impressive. We define the parameters of where the dogs are free to run, and to condition them where their boundaries are a small device on their collars emits an uncomfortable charge as they get closer to the limits of their space. In time, the conditioning helps Maggie & Watson know their limitations almost instinctively. They’ll know how far they can go.

Kind of like us humans.

And we don’t even need a collar.

The greatest thing standing between where we are and where we want to be in life are the limitations we set for ourselves. The limitations we’ve conditioned ourselves to accept as true. Through the course of our lives we’ve set our own boundaries for how much we are willing to allow to be possible for us. Much like that invisible fence prevents the dogs from running free, our thoughts, both consciously and unconsciously, tend to keep us in our own yard, a fixed space that keeps us exactly where we are.

Understanding your limitations often requires you to look at your life from a different perspective. I never knew I had limitations, simply because I never thought I had anything to do with why my life wasn’t where I had wanted it to be. Blame is far easier than acceptance. How could I be undermining my own growth and evolution? Why would I do that to myself? Yet when I was able to step back and observe and listen to the stories I was telling myself, I could actually see how I had unintentionally constructed my own invisible fence of limitation.

Those stories of lack and shortage and unworthiness become hard wired into our emotional DNA every time we speak them to ourselves. And like the invisible fence, our thoughts train us as to where we will allow ourselves to go in life. We may see exactly where we want to be yet we’ll never let ourselves get there. All because of the limiting stories we repeatedly and often unconsciously tell ourself.

I’ve felt the inner conflict between what I told myself I wanted and what I was willing to allow myself to receive. The same mind which could envision the future of my dreams was the same mind working to convince me I would never attain it. I knew what I wanted for me but I would always find ways to make sure it never materialized. Until I started listening I had no idea this limiting and conflicting dialog was actually taking place.

Recognizing this conflict was my starting point in changing the stories I was telling myself. Our subconscious doesn’t care what we think about who we are. It just reinforces what we tell it and always finds ways for us to remain exactly where we’ve told ourselves we belong, even if we don’t want to be there. Abundance or lack. Worthy or unworthy. Your story is your story and you’ll never out run it or out work it.

The good news is we can always change the stories we tell ourselves.

So, what about you? What are some of the stories you tell you about you? Do you see yourself worthy to receive the unlimited abundance which is all around you? Or does life feel stuck and you’ve accepted that what is will always be?

Listen to those voices in your head. Step outside of you and just listen to what you say to yourself, especially when life gets challenging. Self awareness is the critical first step in understanding where you actually are in your life, and once you understand where you are it’s much easier to get to where you really want to go.

If you want a different life you need to tell yourself the stories that will make such a life possible.

And it’s possible.

It’s a great day to be you!

Time Really Doesn’t Care What You Do With It

Time Really Doesn’t Care What You Do With It

I hadn’t thought of it quite this way.

Just six weeks left.

It’s mid November and the year is coming to an end. Six weeks and it will be the start of a new year. It will also be the start of a new decade.

That’s the part which stunned me a bit.

Where did the last ten years go?

Most of the time I never think about time. The busy-ness of life often keeps my mind on what’s right in front of me. And the next thing you know a full decade has come to an end.

It’s interesting to look back at the decades of your life and reflect and remember what life felt like back then, what you did, or what you didn’t do. The victories and the defeats, the joys and the pains. A common denominator of the decades of my life is that the decades sort of just happened, simply unfolding in the way that they did. Kinda feels for the most part I was in many ways just going along for the ride.

Having collected many decades myself, being reminded that this one is coming to a close has surprisingly stirred things up within me. As I look back at the past 10 years there is a sense that I could have done better. Done better in the sense of showing up with far more intention and presence. It was a decade of transitions on many levels, but my initial assessment is that life during these last 10 years was more reactionary than intentional. Behold the glory of hindsight and experience and looking back in time and seeing how things could have been.

A younger, less-evolved version of me would have used this awareness against me. I can so vividly see that version of me calling me out for not making the most of those years, even though I have no idea exactly what making the most of those years actually would have looked like. Sometimes we can really hold ourselves to such unrealistic expectations, can’t we?

With my new found reality that I’m six weeks away from a brand new decade, I’m giving serious pause and envisioning what I want to become and accomplish and experience in the coming ten years. For the first time I’m setting clear intentions for myself going forward into the new decade, no longer content of just seeing where time will take me.

The next ten years are going to happen regardless of how I chose to show up for them. Time is indifferent. Time doesn’t care if in ten years I’m looking back wishing I had spent them differently.

That’s not a conversation I intend on having with myself in November 2029.

What are your intentions for the next ten years? What will be your priority? What do you plan to become and accomplish and experience?

The life you want isn’t just going to happen.

It’s a great day to be you!

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Sensing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, she invited me to move my yoga mat closer to hers…

I don’t recall the names of the positions or poses. I do remember diving into something I knew nothing about and doing it anyway. Trusting and allowing, even after the yoga instructor repositioned me right in front of the class so I would be better able to follow along with her instructions.

Yoga!

How did I find myself in this situation? I actually took a day for me to do something for me. A self care kind of day. Taking time off for me isn’t something I can often do. Maybe if I was a better organized person or if I wasn’t so good at making excuses, maybe then I would have found the time to do something like this sooner.

My day was spent at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health which on the surface doesn’t Continue reading “Losing My Yoga Virginity”

It’s Emotional Amnesty Day

It’s Emotional Amnesty Day

Imaging what life could be like if we could simply stop carrying around our own backpack full of what we think is wrong with us. How much lighter would life feel?

What if they established one day per year where we could take all the things we consistently trash ourselves for and we could simply let them go? Put them down and walk away. To forgive ourselves for what we’ve done or not done, for who we are or who we think we are supposed to be, for what we haven’t yet done with our lives?

You know. Those gnawing feelings we get about ourselves. Those little voices reminding us of who we think we really are. Our short-comings, our failures, our doubts and fears, our thoughts about not being good enough. What if we allowed ourselves the opportunity to simply forgive ourselves and start new?

Amnesty.

Emotional amnesty.

The good news is today is Emotional Amnesty Day. Today can be the day to gather up all the limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging habits you don’t want to carry around with you any longer. The stuff that keeps you feeling stuck physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The guilt. The shame. The unworthiness. Continue reading “It’s Emotional Amnesty Day”