Posts tagged strength
Fearless In Faith
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I was lucky enough to be able to meditate in the woods today, and in my favorite magical spot despite the intermittent precipitation that fell from the sky in great wet globs. (I thought it was rain, but it looked like hail and felt like s-n-o-w). The protection of a large poncho kept me warm and dry as I hunkered down on a fallen log and tuned in. When I drew my oracle card this morning it told me who to call into my meditation to give me some direction, and they did not disappoint. This is what I heard:

People will have you follow rules they themselves have made, or been taught, because they are afraid to trust their own way. Do not fear following your inner guidance; it will never lead you astray. Ego, fear, greed, hate, or a need for power will lead you down the wrong paths. Believe in your goodness from within and listen to your higher self. Do not be afraid to do it your own way.

I have been struggling with what comes next for a while now. Loving the life I have created, cherishing the peace in my life— I still yearn for the elusive “more”. I came across this post I had written over four years ago now and it fit well with my message this morning, and just in case someone else needs to hear it, I am sharing.

Words from 2014……

Finding my faith again, my spirit.

That part feels so much better. I have connected with God again -- in my own way. And this time, it is good enough. No one will be able to tell me it isn't enough, or it isn't real. Because on that point I am fearless in my belief that what I believe, how I talk to God, how I pray, what I believe to be truth --is perfect. For me.

I don't look like you and I am not you, I am only me. And that means it is okay to find my unique path. My direct line to the creator, the universe, the Great Spirit is perfect just the way it is. I don't need you to okay it. To even believe it. Please don't judge me and make me feel bad for what I believe. We are all on our own unique journey to make sense of what we are taught and what we really believe.

I have stood firm in my beliefs (even as I continue to figure them out) to those who judge my version of faith simply because it is different than theirs. And they have walked away.

Nearly all of my life this kind of abandonment would have left me feeling like I had done something wrong, that I wasn’t good enough. Now I see that letting the wrong people into my sacred space might have been a miscalculation on my part--but it has also taught me a valuable lesson.

Some people are not ready to stand in their truth. Some are actually more fearful than I am. We are all at different points on our journeys to faith, no one is farther than anyone else ---just in different places. Some people will leap ahead only to have to stop and backtrack, some will plod slowly forward making progress, and some will stay in their endless loop, repeating lessons -- staying safe.

I will find my own path and I will be fearless in my faith.

Reflections on a Snowy Winters Morn
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Time goes faster the older I get. I didn't anticipate this as a kid sitting on my warm driveway soaking up the endless summer sun. I wish now I would have made a point of appreciating the freedom I had then, the clarity of thought, the uncomplicated simplicity of my life. But I was a kid, who knew that life would eventually roll along at so fast a pace it would seem there was no way to step off for a mindful moment?

My parents might have tried to tell me. But as a kid, who really listens to their parents?

I spent 2017 enjoying the moments directly in front of me, being 'present' as they say, and time didn't slow down at all. If anything, it seemed to move even faster. As I sit here reflecting on the year gone by, I so want to keep each precious moment of 2017 in my heart, relishing the cuddles from my sweet grand daughter, replaying the sound of her giggles and my husband's laughter as they played together, gazing up at the perfect blue sky of a summer day at the lake. Those little things fuel my soul and make my heart sing. I never want to forget them.

Another thing my parents may have tried to tell me way back when, is that everything changes, nothing ever stays the same.

The calendar turning to 2018 brings a brand spanking new chance to appreciate the moments right in front of me for another year. I know that I cannot recreate the ones I loved so much in 2017, but I have to remind myself there is no reason to think the new ones will be any less great.

I've learned at least one thing in my 55 years; you have to find your own joy. What things currently bring you happiness will change as you do, and as time goes by. Sometimes it means I have to dig deep for a silver lining and other times I have to fight to contain the awesomeness of the moment so I won't miss any second of it.

Life will be different for me this coming year as I can feel the winds of change blowing in. In the past I have tended to resist the unknown, to choose safe + familiar over new adventures, but I know if I do that I will become stagnant (again) and I do not want to waste this beautiful life of mine. So I will do my best to surrender to what will be.

In 2018 I will embrace what is, and graciously attempt to let go of what isn't. I will fill my heart with my own simple joys. I will continue to treasure all the moments with the members of my sweet family-- the little grand babies and nieces, my all grown up children and their significant others, the wise old ones (my parents), the one who is always my rock (my husband), and even with the ones that try my patience but give me the best of hugs. I will literally and figuratively "draw" out my own unique artistic talent by pushing past the self-critical voice I hear and find pride + promise in my work. And, I will allow my failures to be my lessons and my successes to be sweet reminders of my growth. I will shine in 2018. And if I am lucky, as I appreciate each wonderful moment, I will be able  to slow down time so I can enjoy life even more! .

Love + Blessings to you in the new year.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Hit the Road Jack
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I spent too much of my life at a job in a place that never wanted me, didn't appreciate me, who resented me even. Why did I stay so long in an environment that brought me down?

Looking back I should have left so many years earlier. I allowed the unhealthy workplace to eat away at my self-esteem, to make me question my worth, to make me feel as if I wasn't enough.

I should have walked out the first week, the first time I was demeaned by a coworker who thought they should be my boss. The first time I was pushed to tears. I don't do well with meanness, I never have, and I should have known if it happened to me on the first week of the job, it wasn't going to be an isolated event.

It continued to happen in little ways, and in big ways for 12 years. And I am sad to say, I let it. I should have walked away, dared to do something different, but I kept trying to fit in, to make it work, to fix it. It was a great place "on paper", and the job was something I could do and do well, and I loved the flexibility in my schedule. But it wasn't worth what I lost there. Underneath the pretend, I knew I wasn't welcomed by all, and trying to please, trying to prove my worth and be seen as valuable to those who would never care, was a huge waste of my precious energy.

Underneath the company's "make sure we look good from the outside" facade, was an inside filled with a good old boys network that I would never fit into. Women were second class citizens who did a lot of the work and who management allowed to be bullied by a small group of unhappy, negative male employees.

A leader, by dismissing his employees complaints or avoiding the awkward conversations to handle the inequities, in essence condones the bad behavior and allows the unfair, inappropriate bullying to continue to happen. Over time this creates an apathetic, unhealthy, unmotivated group of employees, led by the meanest of the mean. Any responsible, conscientious, highly sensitive person cannot survive unscathed working in a company with all that negative energy.

It certainly took a toll on me.

I stayed so long for several reasons; because I was scared to go elsewhere, because the flexibility of the schedule worked so well for me, and maybe deep down I wanted to prove them wrong.  I thought if I tried hard enough, they'd see my value. Therein was my biggest problem. Looking for value and recognition outside of yourself is always a recipe for disaster. No matter how great I tried to be, I was never going to hear what I wanted to hear from the management in that company, and it wore me down trying. I became anegative, critical, angry, overly sensitive shell of myself.

I am much stronger now, after several years away from that toxicity and lots of personal growth work. I was able to gain back my positivity, and my self-worth. Deep down I am still the same person I always was, but I now have confidence from within in my abilities and in myself again. If I were to have started at this place in my present state of mind, I would never have hung on so long. I would more than likely have never signed up to work there in the first place.

If life has you feeling negative, stuck, angry, sad, or numb -- take a look at it from all angles. Creating your ideal life is up to you. What situation in your life is dragging you down or making you feel you have lost your personal power? There is always a way out. Take it. You don't have to justify it to your parents, your siblings, your co-workers, or anyone else -- and don't let the naysayers tell you you can't just do what you love. They are the most stuck and will say things like that to keep you stuck as well. You can do what you love to do, if you dare.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else when you make changes to improve your life. If you feel the need to take a demotion, change your job or your career, say goodbye to a relationship that just isn't meant to be, or sell your huge house and live simpler, then give yourself permission to do it right now. The world will not see the full version of you, until you do. 

You have the reigns, you control the speed of your life and you choose where you work, who you stay with, where you live, and how you live. Stop listening to the advice of others who see your life from the outside as a completely different life than the one it feels like you are living inside. Shift that energy, disrupt the status quo and create your ideal life. I learned in the process that I was making life much harder than it had to be, by trying to change a broken system, to fit in where I wasn't meant to.

You deserve to be lifted up, not beaten down by the people surrounding you.  A good person, with good intentions, who has natural talent and deep sensitivity can find work or love or whatever you seek, but only if you trust in your own inner wisdom to lead the way.

Take that leap. Life is so much sweeter on the positive side.

What If?

What if you were completely free to live without all the things that weigh you down?  Things like doubt, worry, depression, people pleasing, or obligations you take on even if you don't really enjoy them. What if you could start over with a clean slate and just be free to be you,  would you do it?

It is hard to think that anyone would say no to the chance, yet I see people pass on it every day. In a way, that is exactly what I did for far too many years. Year after year, I searched outside of myself for answers and validation, blaming others when things didn't go the way I hoped. In essence, I walked right on by the chance to begin anew over and over again.

Until I crashed.

It took a falling apart to be able to piece myself back together in the form of the real me. Good news! It means, if I can do it, so can you. Now it doesn't mean there isn't "work" involved, because for a while it is all emotionally exhausting. But the ensuing sense of freedom and growth you gain as you dig deeper is worth every hard moment of inner work.

My journey started when I slowed myself down enough to try yoga, thanks to prodding from friends who knew me better than I knew myself. Yoga was something I thought I would never like/need because it was too slow, and I loved to move.

They say 'What we resist; persists' and they say it for a reason. I needed yoga like no other and the opportunity to try it kept presenting itself to me. Once I did, I realized how much I needed to slow down, to tune in, to feel myself again, because running from what was truly in my heart was killing me.

Yoga was my bridge, my gateway back to myself. My real self, not the creation of me I presented to the world. I wished to look perfect. To some, I was. The more perfect I pushed myself to be, the more I began to hate myself. My "hate" became a negative voice that never stopped criticizing me. I was always thinking that I could do better, be better, be beyond reproach, immune to constructive criticism because I was going to do it completely right. I sought to validate this fake "me" by trying to always be right, or worse, by making others feel wrong.

It didn't take long to become a negative force in the world. It became hard for anyone to live up to my expectations, because I never did. It was hard to make me happy, because I never truly was.

What a sad state to be in. What a lonely place. What a nightmare it was. Surrounded by worry, fear, living in judgement, hearing and thinking only negative thoughts, losing all sense of gratitude. Yuck.

I didn't hear any compliments that came my way, only the criticisms. I couldn't accept any niceness from others, only felt their meanness. I wouldn't accept any niceness from myself either. I lost the piece we all need to heal from the inside, self-love, self-acceptance, self-care. All of that comes from within, and I spent all my time outside of me looking for validation, approval, acceptance, and love.

It took me a while to realize it was within me all the time, even though the things I read and studied told me it was. I had to find my own way to access it.

Yoga started it, learning I was an hsp was the next step, and reiki energy work finished off the trifecta so that I could regain my power. The recipe will be different for each person as we are all on our own journey, but the results of tuning in can be the same.

Power. Acceptance. Change. Happiness. Love. Freedom. Expansion. Strength.

Every positive word you can think of comes from reclaiming your personal power. Don't let your life pass you by without taking a chance on yourself. Be the person you were born to be. Make waves, create ripples, be 100% YOU. You will only be truly happy, free and whole when you do.

There are so many people who have traveled a path to get where they are and are willing to share. Find someone who resonates with you, who gets you and go learn from them. Teachers come in so many different forms. Listen, look, feel, trust your instincts and find your inspiration, then work hard and fly free with the what ifs....

I can't wait to see your beautiful light begin to shine as bright as it was always meant to!

Namaste beautiful soul. Namaste.

 

Claiming Her Power

When she finally accepted she could not collect her self-esteem by being perfect in the eyes of the world around her...

she fell.

Hard.

The quest to find her missing worth had led her on a fast paced journey far far away from herself.

Her solution had always been to find someone outside of herself to give her the accolades she so desired, to find her worthy, valuable, lovable, and to fill up her bucket of self esteem with their praises. She searched for value from everywhere, because she was certain it would be enough to fill the hole within her.

Only after years of trying she came to see it didn't work that way. Finding meaning from outside of herself by doing things "right" was like trying to hit a moving target. She was never quite able to grasp it. What she heard from others was never enough to fill the great void within. She grew weary from the constant trying, and super sensitive to even the slightest of criticisms.

Certain that someone, somewhere would see her value if she just did things a little better, faster, smarter, she kept up the facade. For way too many years. She wanted the world to think she had it all together. But that was a lie, and deep down she knew it, and the weight of that knowledge was eating away at her happiness from the inside.

As she slowly realized she was coming undone, she fought even harder to hang on, as giving up was not an option for someone like her.

So she continued to search outside of herself for the answers, not knowing then that she was wandering even further from the person she had once been.

She stopped believing she was lovable. She stopped believing in herself. She stopped trusting that she had the answers. And that made her weak from the inside out. It gave rise to a voice so mean it drowned out the whispers of her spirit.

She looked for love in all the wrong places.

If only she had known there was one only place to start. Her own heart.

She needed to begin to love herself, embrace both the dark and the light parts of her, to begin healing.

It took the hard fall to the bottom of the well of self-loathing, and a large letting go/cracking open, to let the light of worth back in.

In the quiet darkness at the bottom of that deep well she was forced to turn inward. There was no one else to seek praise from in that darkness. She had to face herself. She had to look into her own heart. Did she even like herself anymore?

A quiet voice arose from the darkness.

You are worthy. You are loved. Everything is going to be okay.

The soft words of comfort began to warm her soul from the inside.

She understood then that failure was an option. It was how we learned. It was how we grew. It didn't mean the end, it was instead a new beginning.

She let go of the heaviest of baggage she had been carrying with her, the need to be perfect, the need to please, the need to constantly pick up her pace.

It didn't happen overnight, but she slowed things down, she turned inward, and she began to find herself, a few small pieces at a time. This time around she vowed to stop looking outside of herself for the answers, instead to trust her inner knowing for the next right step.

It was there she found her power. It had been right there all along. At the heart of herself.

 

Making Her Choice
Photo credit: Jan Hubert
Photo credit: Jan Hubert

When the boat of security she lived in first began to pitch wildly in the waves of her deepest, darkest truths, she felt a fissure of fear.

Even before her boat capsized, she understood she would drown.

In a sea of salty tears.

They came from somewhere deep. Somewhere foreign feeling.

A place she hadn't dared to go for a very long time.

She let herself sink into the depths of her sadness for she was so tired of struggling.

Maybe, she thought, if she just rested for a moment or two, she'd muster the energy she needed to soldier on. She gave into the quiet, calm and sank even lower. She pictured herself in the eye of the storm allowing the millions of thoughts in her head to slowly empty, until there was only one.

I am a failure.

With a jolt her feet hit rock bottom. No where further down to go.

She just couldn't muster enough energy to fight that deepest, darkest thought any longer. Immediately she felt the bleakness of her wasted life in every pore of her body. The would have, could have, should have's stacking up before her to be reviewed. She knew she had let everyone down, had let herself down worst of all. She was so far off course she saw no more possible paths to take. Was this the fall she feared she'd never recover from?

In the darkness of her soul came the words she needed to hear.

Everything will be okay, everyone will be okay. Let it go. You've got this. And oh by the way, You are worthy.

Fresh tears flowed as she let the words surround her like a blanket. Only this time the tears weren't the same. They didn't hurt as much, they were softer, warmer, meant to soothe not sear.

And as they warmed her cheeks, they warmed her heart a little, too. She felt a little less alone. The tiniest spark of hope begin to grow in her.

At one time giving in, giving up the reigns of her life had been the furthest thing from her mind. The thought of letting go had only made her hold on tighter, try harder, do better. Now she knew her only option was surrender, she no longer had the energy to fight against the current of her heart.

She took a deep breath and some of the tight spaces in her body began to give a little.

Instead of dying in this low, dark space, she realized she actually could breathe a little easier here. The crushing weight on her chest began to lift and in the far corner of her dark soul a spark of light began to grow. The light was warm and comforting and filled her mind, heart and whole being with a feeling of acceptance, understanding, and ease.

It felt so refreshingly beautiful she was afraid to acknowledge it, fearful it would retreat and pull her back into the darkness.

But it grew brighter until it nearly filled her, and then she heard the voice again:

Inside everyone is darkness and light. Good and bad. That is the way it is meant to be. A person cannot be 100% perfect. That means there will always be darkness within you. But there is also light. So much light. You are no different than anyone else. You, like everyone, must learn to live in the light of you. Once you do, your mission here is to show others how to do the same. Teach others to dance in the light. Their own light. To take back their power.

And then there was quiet again. She wanted (as usual) to ask a million questions. To learn what she needed to do to stay in this welcoming light.  She wanted to know how she could possibly teach others to find the light. She wanted help to do it all correctly, but no words came out of her. There was only the silence.

And in the blissful quiet of her soul she discovered she already knew the answer to her unasked questions.

I hold the power. I've had the power all along.

She was the answer. She had all the answers within. She always had. She needed only to believe in her own power, to be still and listen to hear the answers to her questions.  In that quiet, calm space deep within her was all the knowledge she'd ever truly needed.

And the words she heard this time were her own.

I see you darkness. I acknowledge you are part of me. I understand that within everyone is darkness, and also beautiful light. I have a choice from which place I operate and I vow to live from this moment on in the light. I surrender my grip of control to a higher power for I know that I cannot see the whole picture from my tiny view. I will trust that I am enough, imperfectly as I am, and that I am worthy of everything I dream of. I will allow my life to unfold and to believe in my own power to discern the correct path. I will let my heart lead me to where I was meant to be all along.

And just like that she was filled with light. She was back home to herself. The same girl, yet forever different. Changed. Enlightened. Recharged. Renewed. Ready. Free. Hopeful. Reconnected.

Choosing never to be alone again.

For more in this series:

Losing Her Magic

Finding Her Worth

Garnering Her Courage

Garnering Her Courage

And when she could no longer hold all the pieces of her life together, she summoned the courage to fall apart.

Once she hit rock bottom, with no where lower to go, she came undone and broke into a million tiny pieces. The relief she felt was unexpected. With nowhere to go but up, she felt the lightness of hope instead of the weight of crushing despair. Her greatest fear had always been that if she gave in to the darkness, she would not be able to recover from the fall.

How had she not realized that the hanging on had been like a cement block around her neck?

So she began the process of letting go.  She gave up the constant struggling against the current of her heart, and began to float back to herself. 

Some changes were immediate, others took longer for the world to see. They said she was reinventing herself, but she knew it was more about coming home to herself after years of trying to be someone/something she was not.

She worked hard to unlearn the strategies she had created hoping to stay safe, appear good and be beyond reproach. Some days it was more of a battle than a release.

She stopped

playing it so safe she kept herself in a fake bubble of safety so she wouldn't fail

staying productive so she was never called lazy

perfecting her outward appearance so the world would like her

trying to right all the wrongs that were not hers to fix

Years of control and constant striving forward to achieve began to melt away. It left her feeling lighter and freer, but also a bit unsteady. She struggled to find her balance even though the ground beneath her was in a constant state of change. Some of it she liked, some challenged her to her very core.

During the years of growing up it hadn't occurred to her that she was a person in need of time to just be. Always thinking she was too old, too busy, too necessary to just sit among the trees, or to play with rocks, she had always kept up her forward trek. Sadly, her progress had become the measurement of her own worth.

And that led to utter exhaustion, and her ensuing fall.

Rock bottom has an interesting way of giving you a new perspective and she came up fighting with fresh new eyes. Hope filled, happier eyes who now saw the necessity of spontaneity, of living a more unplanned life, and who craved freedom, peace, and joy. Comfort zones were meant to contain, and she was clearly ready to fly again.

She let her life get messy. She watched for signs from the universe meant to direct her onto her true path, occasionally impatiently jumping at opportunities that were not meant for her. She let herself fail. She let herself experience new things. She began to grow wiser.

And gone was the feeling that she would not be able to handle anything that happened to her. She knew she was growing stronger. She filled her mind with beautiful things, gone was worrying away the moments of her life in preparation for the what if's that might never actually happen. She traded them in for living in the moment, experiencing the beauty of life right in front of her.

As a result her cupboards grew unorganized, cobwebs formed in the corners of her rooms, and dust settled on everything. She didn't care. She rarely even apologized for it anymore. She just let it be.

Instead she laughed. She danced. She sang. She created. She was silly. She made mistakes. She moved on. She began to believe in herself again. She made time for the things that mattered and didn't feel guilty for letting the rest go. She became wise in understanding she could never be what others wanted her to be if she was not honoring herself. After years of putting herself last in line she made time for herself. She became a calmer, happier, better version of herself.

She lost friends, but gained her self-respect.

She made mistakes, yet bounced back with inner reserves she once didn't believe she had.  

She grew weary of games, drama, and judgment. She stopped trying to figure it all out, to stay ahead of the game, and just made time and space to be herself, to fuel her soul.

Following her heart gave her the positive energy to live life her way. To lead with trust, knowing and belief. Her journey up from rock bottom brought her ever closer to the person she was always meant to be.

It took great courage to dare to fall apart, but she now understood the reward was worth it.

 

 

 

 

Finding Her Worth

And when she allowed herself to feel worthy—something shifted in her. Doors began to open that long had remained closed.

She stopped following everyone else’s rules.

And she began to think on her own.

She found if she listened close, she could hear her own heartbeat again.

With practice it grew louder, stronger, and braver.

Slowly, but with great emotion, she began to blossom.

Her magic began to return in little and big ways.

It started with great sadness at everything.

Then she began to notice beauty all around. Her corner of the world went from grey to brilliant, nearly overnight. She was filled with an energizing wonder. And fueled by awe.

There were leaves on the trees again, dragonflies who landed on her big toe, and sparkles of light on the water that she was certain were a million tiny angels waiting to play.

There was beauty in the sun, in the trees, and in the smiles of every person she encountered.

Her body felt lighter, freer and her spirit began to soar.

To fly.

Like she used to in her dreams when she was little.

In the worst of times she dreamed of tornadoes, teeth falling out, finding money that wasn’t really there and dirty bathrooms. She lived in fear, surrounded by worry, and desperately trying to control everything around her.

Now her dreams were of happier things.

Slowly she stopped being scared that she was doing it all wrong. She un-clenched the tight muscles of her body. She breathed.

Because the fear of screwing it all up had already happened. She had failed. She wasn't perfect, nor she realized, would she ever be. And dwelling on all her past mistakes, both large and small, only kept her trapped.

So she tried something new.

She began to believe in herself again. To take back her power.

And with the courage and joy that came along with the newfound freedom of following her heart, she allowed herself to start doing it all right.

Her way.

She rediscovered the magic.

She found the love.

And all that had once been a distant dream, a hopeful wish, became hers.

She not only began to flourish; she was able to breathe fully for the first time in forever.

 She listened to another voice inside now, and this one was kinder and gentler.

It forgave, it loved, it was compassionate. It didn't judge.

And it said all the right things to bolster her confidence.

And on the day when the voice told her she was indeed worthy of everything she ever dreamed.

She cried.

And cried.

Until the tears finally changed from sadness to relief. No longer were they heavy tears she tried to stem.

Instead the happy, joy-filled tears fell unabashedly, cleansing her soul of years of struggle.

And she began to float with the current, instead of frantically swimming upstream.

Her spirit felt hopeful.

The world was no longer the hostile, busy, noisy, draining place she had allowed it to be.

And since he was no longer fighting so hard to be something she was not, she was at ease in her body.

She became peaceful. Calm. Quiet. A better version of herself.

And when the now tiny mean voice inside tried to make her feel guilty for all the years she wasted trying so hard, she reminded it that it no longer had power over her. She was the one in charge.  

Now when she meets people who struggle like she once did, she wants to shout from the rooftops that it doesn’t have to be so hard. But she knows that everyone has to learn their lessons in their own time.

And nearly everyone not living authentically as their true self needs to hear a new gentler voice inside.

One that says all the right things.

You are worthy.

You are good.

You are loved.

You are blessed.

You are powerful.

You are enough.

Because she now knows if you believe in yourself, your whole world changes.

You CAN soar.

The Grass Is Not Always Greener

Please stop wishing you were more. Or that you could do things better. Or that you were a size 6, had a new car, or a "better" job. If I remember correctly, thinking like that is exhausting and really unhealthy.

Instead, just be where you are...or maybe more importantly, just be happy where you are.

Don't try to be where the girl in the front row at yoga class is. She's half your age and totally fit. Yes, she can do a headstand and has to-die-for-abs and high school cheerleader-like flexibility, but her life is a mess. She's scared, anxious and takes it out on herself by exercising (too much). She longs to feel loved and wants a home and a family like you have.

Or remember that really put together lady at the nail salon?  She may be jetting off to Hawaii in the morning with her rich boyfriend but she hasn't talked to her family in years. She's really lonely and the grudge she's holding is weighing her down like a lead balloon. Each year when the holidays roll around she is surrounded by strangers in a fancy setting, yet she longs for a real Christmas tree and family board games in front of the fireplace in her pj's, like you have.

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others, and to keep in mind that things aren't always how they look on the outside.  Absolutely no one has the perfect life, all the time. There are always going to be hurdles, troubles, and roadblocks to the life we envision. Yet that does not mean we can't enjoy the life we have right now, on our way to our ideal. In fact, one key to living a life of meaning is to embrace where we are at this present moment, to accept, allow and appreciate the life we have, even with all its challenges.

If we keep searching for the lesson in the moment and find something positive in our situation, we can add small nuggets to our internal arsenal that will help us better respond to the next situation that comes our way, good or bad. Since life continues to crank along after our mistakes and mishaps, we need to move with it and not dwell on if onlys or what ifs. 

I know from experience it often feels like we are trudging through thick mud, and barely moving, but we are moving forward, and someday real soon you will wake up and realize you have made it out of the muck and are able to dance in the sun.

If you find yourself wishing your life was as put together and on track as someone else 's, remind yourself that the grass is not always greener. No one has all the answers, or has everything perfectly figured out. We are all equally flawed, and yet we are also all uniquely equipped to love and appreciate the life we are living. We only need to stop judging, comparing and wishing it away. Being brave isn't about being over the top daring, it is about having the courage to take another step when the path ahead isn't clear, or some days isn't even visible. It is about trusting your footing even when the ground in front of you appears rocky. It is about loving what you have but also daring to make your dreams a reality.

You are beautiful, blessed, deserving, worthy, and so very loved. Believe in yourself and know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this moment. Appreciate what you have. Love yourself, your body, your partner, your children, your life. And be brave enough to take a step toward your dream no matter if it feels like it is so far away it only exists in an alternate universe. That is how magic happens.

Be where you are, and be happy there, but never give up on your dream.

Growing Into Me

I looked in the mirror today and noticed that my hair is really long, probably too long.

Not too many years ago there would have been a voice in my head telling me I am too old for long hair, insisting I cut it to look more appropriate for a woman of my age. I am so glad my mean voice is 99% silenced. My hair takes all of thirty seconds to put into the side pony I wear everyday. It is so easy, I won't be changing it anytime soon.

Simple, easy, and comfortable should be my three words for the rest of my life.

As I glance down at the clothes I pulled on this morning I realize with a smile that it took less than 15 seconds to grab fresh leggings, a t-shirt and a throw a longer sweater over them both to be dressed and ready for my day. How fantastic. I remember the days of staring into the closet and trying to put together an outfit that made me feel confident.

These days I confidently experience the world in my leggings--not letting that inner voice question if leggings are appropriate for a 50+ year old, or even worrying if my shirt is long enough to cover my butt. I think I am supposed to care more about my appearance, yet I don't. I am so happy with how comfortable I am in my own skin, I don't let much (especially what others think) throw me off.

Being casual about my appearance does not stop me from completely admiring and appreciating a person who looks stylishly pulled together, but in all honesty that person is not me. Even when I try (which is rare these days) I feel like I am playing dress up anyway, and still missing the mark, so why not just be comfortable.

I cannot believe I spent so many years in clothes I hated. Ones that didn't move with me, that bit into my waist or bunched up under my arms and pulled across my shoulders/chest every time I sat up straight. The ones I wore because I thought I was supposed to. It astounds me that I actually wore high heels (by choice).

Now I come home at the end of a day sweaty, worn out and sporting dirty tired feet, but loving the fact that I am so present I can feel every inch of my 53 year old body.

When I was in a job that wasn't right for me I used to arrive home jazzed up, with a head full of swirling negative thoughts, to do lists in every pocket, and my chest constricted in fear that I had forgotten something important or let someone down. I was so out of touch with my body even the constant ache in my belly felt normal.

Being present and aware of my body and breath is exactly the life change I needed to live healthier and happier. Now, after leading yoga all day, I arrive home blissfully wrung out, but at peace with myself. The world no longer passes me by, I am able to see it change in front of me. Buildings don't go up seemingly overnight like they once did. I do my best to be unhurried. I try to do less planning and more enjoying.  My to do list rarely has more than 3 must do's and 7 if I have time's on it.

I've grown into me and into a person I actually like. One who is Present. Aware. Appreciative. Accepting.

Holy crap, I've grown into a person who is actually happy with who she is.

Balance

It is a sparkly new day. The last day of my mini-break. Maybe the first day I haven't felt sick since my two week hiatus started, thanks to the antibiotics I finally called in for.

In my head I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish as I embraced two weeks of "rest" from teaching classes. In the reality of Christmas and New Year's, the list stayed in my head as necessary sleep and rest, and holiday commitments slowly ate up the time. The good news is I now have a whole new year ahead to "accomplish" that internal list.

I used to get mad at myself for allowing time to get away from me, now I keep my plans loose in hopes that something spontaneous, or nothing at all with come forth. Vowing to live in the present means not following the predetermined path (or to do list) inside my head and it often leads me to places I wasn't intending to go. Sometimes those prove to be the most enjoyable learning experiences and at the end of the day allow me to sigh in appreciation and content.

I have always been a serious homebody--especially in the winter. I could stay snowed in all winter as long as I had family and wine. Playing cards, watching cheesy hallmark movies, crafting, taking naps with my grand baby, making dinner, never leaving the house for an entire weekend = heaven to me.

Sometimes I wonder if I have gone too far in the opposite direction and am too loosely planned, but then I think about the "old" me, the busy me, and I realize I never want to be her again. I don't know if it is a natural progression as I age, or just my new go with the flow philosophy, but I've noticed that too many things on the calendar overwhelm me really fast. It used to be the framework that kept me afloat and many people still expect I am going to return from my hiatus to become that person again.

In my heart, I know I am not.

I sometimes wonder, have I become lazy? Selfish? A bad friend?

Then I realize that just maybe I have finally dialed into the balance that works for me, the one that keeps me at calm and peace and allows me to respond to the unexpected situations in life rather than react like I used to. I am cautious about over committing myself and then not being able to live in the present moment as it unfolds with all its unplanned glory. I really don't like rushing or scrambling anymore. Slow and steady wins the race for me.

Balance. I once read a book that said creative and passionate people don't need balance; balance is bad. Boring. Uninspiring. That passion/talent/creativity exist in the highs and lows, and we should never simply strive for balance.

I thought about that for a long while, I even tested their theory and discovered that balance is where I thrive.

I understand achieving the perfect balance is an individual thing. No one can tell me what my prescription for wellness is, even I find myself reevaluating daily to make sure I walk that delicate line. And on the flip side, I cannot tell anyone else what their recipe for wellness is.

I can tell you without hesitation that you have all the answers you need, deep inside. And the challenge will always be in learning to listen.

Permission to Thrive

You can do it. Yes, you really should do it. C'mon, what are you waiting for?

Is something holding you back from truly going for what you want out of life; either in your relationship, your career or your dreams? I ask this question seriously...could it be you?

Could YOU be holding yourself back, letting your small self take over and highlight only the possible pitfalls if you move forward in the direction of your dreams, instead of illuminating the possible positives? Whether you are aware of it or not, YOU might be doing a whole lot of self-sabotaging before you even begin to get things rolling in the right direction.

Would it be easier to move forward if someone else told you exactly what you should do?

Oh yeah. At least I think it would be for me. Deep down I know I don't need anyone else's permission to start my own forward motion; yet I seek it. Too often. And I seem to let others stop me in my tracks when their version of what I should do doesn't match up to the one in my heart. I sometimes wonder if I think that their aligning with my vision, their permission/confirmation in a sense, is what I am after when I ask a question or broach a new idea and when they don't my small voice jumps in and says "see, I told you it was a dumb idea".

Maybe secretly we all seek permission from others. Why? In my convoluted way of overthinking, if someone told me exactly what to do it would take away most of the uncertainty, and it would also make it someone else's fault if I tried and failed. Someone else to blame if things go badly. (Did I really just admit that?). Our minds do strange things when we seek to ensure there will be no failure ahead. And, I suppose on a deeper level, getting permission from someone else to 'go for it' makes me feel like I am not alone.

Are you waiting to choose a path that would please everyone around you? Are you waiting for the path to be so clear you have no doubt about the next step, eliminating your need for trust and faith (in yourself). Are you waiting for a sign that the time is "right"?

If so, you will be waiting for (possibly) ever.

YOU are responsible for starting your own forward motion. YOU and you alone need to take the first step. You need to give yourself both permission to thrive, and permission to fail at the same time; as there are no guarantees. Ever.

I am posting/repeating this for my own benefit as much as yours. I am still stuck, still scared to start down a path that isn't clear. I want someone to tell me what to do.  Tell me to write that book (and tell me what to write about as well), or to open a shop/studio or to start an online school, or to just go on and get a real job already. Or I want someone to say you are exactly what I need to do "this", let's do "this" thing together, and I think in my head that would be so much easier because if we fail, we fail as a team, and that won't be as bad as standing there holding the shame/regret/failure bag alone.

As a recovering control freak, I want the path ahead to be clear. I want to see all the way to the end result before I even begin. Silly, I know. And that is why on some deep level I understand everyone who crosses my path who is also secretly seeking permission.

Because I, too, want the same permission to thrive. And, I seek this from outside of me and what I really need is to grant myself the permission from within to move forward. To believe in myself. To take a chance on me. To go for it. 

When people come to me for coaching help, the answer they seek is always within them. The power is always in their own red shoes. My job may be to help them dig in and dig out what is important, to listen, to work them toward feeling better in their body or cleanse their spirit, or to point out roadblocks they need to work through, but"permission" for them to move forward, that is all within.

Permission to thrive. It comes from within. It is in you and it is in me. Let's make a deal: let's do "that" together, grant ourselves permission to move forward in the direction our heart is telling us to go, with no guarantees.  C'mon, we can do it!

Grace and Life
Grace. I understood it now. It was being able to give up something that it broke your heart to lose, and be happy about it.

— Robert McCammon, Author of Boy's Life

I think I understand it now, too.

It has taken me a long time to learn the true meaning of grace.

For last five years or so I been working hard to take back the reigns of my own power. From my ego. She has ruled for so long that her strategies for keeping control were deeply ingrained in me. I lived by her rules; of planning, organization, accomplishment, and to do lists. She kept me unsettled, and very busily focused on the end goal. As I work to let go of her unhealthy practices that had me not fully appreciating the many little and big moments of the life right in front of me, I have been more easily able to recognize moments of true grace in my world.

Grace = doing the right thing.

Being a planned, organized, control freak doesn't prepare you for the unexpected things in life that happen, like learning your baby is having a baby. Especially not when he is only 19 and clearly not emotionally or financially ready to care for a baby, and isn't even in a relationship anymore. And it does not prepare you for being a grand parent for the first time and not being able to officially claim the role you've been anticipating for years.

The thing that gets you through is grace. Doing the right thing, even if it is the hardest thing you can imagine.

The decision to give my grand baby up for adoption wasn't mine to make, thankfully. And while this situation was one I never thought I would be in, it has shown me how to be thankful for the little things, even if they don't work out the way you once imagined they would. 

I appreciate how very lucky to be even a small part of my grandson's life.

My son showed me the meaning of grace as he wrestled with his decision to either fight to keep his son, or to give him a chance at a life with two loving parents. He understood he wasn't ready to be a father, and wasn't strong enough to navigate a messy co-parenting situation with someone he was no longer even friends with; and yet babies are his thing. He has always had immediate and deep bonds with little ones. I know that making the decision to let go of his own child ate away a part of his heart. As it did mine.

His grace-filled decision to do the right thing was in turn mirrored by the beautiful couple who adopted his child as they agreed to an open adoption. Showing their grace in turn by doing the hard thing and allowing (strangers) to have a presence in their son's life. From the first moment we met them they offered us grace, and while I sometimes have a hard time accepting I am worthy of that kind of grace, I am fully thankful of how awesome it is.

This whole unplanned situation has been a great learning experience for me. It has opened my eyes to the many sides of adoption. I appreciate my grandson's loving parents for their willingness to stand firm in their acceptance of us even in the face of questioning from their family and friends. I realize his other grandparents would rather not share the role with my husband and I, and maybe even secretly wish we'd just fade away. I might feel the same in their shoes.

I understand why their friends and family question their decision to trust us to babysit. It isn't hard to imagine them thinking thoughts about us like "how can you trust them, they clearly didn't do a great job of parenting the first time around." Or, "what is wrong with these people that they wouldn't keep their own grand child?" Because once I might have had similar ones myself.

And I accept that most people may even judge us for giving him up in the first place. At one time I probably would have. Funny thing is, we often think we know what we would do in someone else's shoes, until we find ourselves in them.

I have come to realize, even the best laid plans go haywire sometimes. Every time I think of the family and friends who doubt my grandbaby's parents in letting us get to know him, I want to shout from the rooftops that we don't want to intrude, or to assume someone's rightful role, or to overstep--- we just want our grandson to know that he is/was always loved, always wanted and will forever have all the love in our hearts.

This situation is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Beautiful and Brutiful --in the words of Glennon Melton. Their willingness to include us in his life and in theirs is humbling. It is selfless and scary and overflowing with buckets of grace, and is something I will be forever grateful for.

Picturing my grandson's smiling little face reminds me to take a breath and allow grace to soothe me. To stop being sad for missing the special moments of his life and to rejoice in how lucky I am to even know him. As I continually work to appreciate, I am simply thankful to be a part of his life at all.

Huge gratitude to all the teachers in my life who have shown me through their actions what grace truly is. By their examples I am learning to both accept and offer grace, to myself and to others.  

Namaste.

Dear Nollie...

...and all the sweet little girls I get to watch grow up--believe in your goodness. Value yourself and stay true to you.

As Grandma TT to a sweet baby girl who lives in our house, I have the unexpected pleasure of not only watching her grow and change daily, but helping guide her. Not a day goes by without me repeating positive affirmations to her sweet little face in hopes that she knows in every cell of her body, heart, mind and soul how loved and wanted she is.  Every time I look into her sweet face I think about all the things I want her to never forget.

Like how beautiful she is.

How strong she is.

How curious she is.

How intelligent she is.

How powerful she is.

I want her to hear those things so often she embraces all that she is and never lets anyone move her off her confident center. I hope she never doubts herself, or her instincts, and never gives anyone else the power to make her feel she is not enough.

If I had a dollar for every time I was told in the 50 years before understanding that I was a highly sensitive person that I asked too many questions, wanted too many details, had a lot of energy or was too intense-- I'd have a nice little nest egg saved up.

Instead those comments went straight to the heart of me and fueled the people pleaser in me who wanted to be liked by everyone, who thought I needed to change to fit in and who believed the goal was to be like everyone else. When in truth what I really needed was to accentuate my differences and be exactly who I was. Simply staying true to me would have been easier and so much less of a struggle in the long run.

I want to make sure Nollie knows exactly who she is, and loves herself fully for it.

As a highly sensitive mother raising a highly sensitive son I can look back and see the many mistakes I made. As Grandma TT, or Aunt TT I have a second chance to do it right. Nollie and all my beautiful nieces are going to know they are loved by me for exactly the unique people they are. Mistakes and all. They are not only going to believe in their uniqueness, but celebrate it---and in doing so will shine their brightest light.

And by doing that, they will change the world.

Believe in the power of you, Nollie. I sure do.

Love,

Grandma TT

 

A Foundation of Strength

Life has an interesting way of teaching me lessons. As I work to right some of my old patterns of behavior and practice wholehearted and positive living, I seem to be tested at every turn. This year started off with great peace and a feeling that the loves of my life are healthy and well. And then things got rough.

We all  have those times where things literally fall apart, right? The dryer stops heating up, the furnace starts making funny noises and stops heating, the mailbox gets run over, and all of that is stressful and costly to fix, and you complain a little but understand that these things happen. And then the really big thing happens. You walk by a wall one night and discover wetness, then mold, and then this happens.

Followed by more discoveries of leakage. And this happens:

And now what once was your sanctuary AND your workspace resembles an abandoned building.

 

I've learned a couple of valuable lessons in short order. Things can always get worse, nothing lasts forever and ignoring your intuition can be costly. But I have also learned that I am very thankful for heat and a home, and jobs that allow us to make enough money to fix things that break.

As we dig into the source (s) of the water problem, it feels a lot like the digging in process I use to help others (and myself) move forward. We peel back layers of the house to get to the place where we can rebuild from. A place where there is a firm foundation. In the case of our house we need to dig down to where it is dry and solid and strong enough to hold us up. In rebuilding a human it is mining down to the place where we are most pure, honest with ourselves and free of untrue beliefs.  We cannot repair the damage for either in a day, but we can begin one step at time.

For the record, I'm good digging in with humans, the house mess just stresses me out.

I wish for everyone to be solid from the ground up. And I am aware that the process takes time and dedicated effort---yet I am also aware this is a process which does not allow you to cheat the corners or rush the reconstruction. You must begin at the beginning and work from there. One positive step at a time.

Who knew the healing of a structure whether it be a human or home involved the same slow process? To get to the root of the problem we must dig down deep to the foundation, smashing through walls and other barriers, revealing the truth, assessing the damage, then carefully extracting the old and sifting to finding the solid within. The beauty of all the work is in the rebuilding, the opportunity to create what you really wanted all along.

I believe anything strengthened in this way remains solid and steady enough to peacefully ride out any storm that comes next. I know this because if I had not spent the time fixing the structure that is "me", this current situation would have devastated me. Right now I am tired, and a little anxious, but confident that we will come out with a positive solution (and a healthy and clean house).

At times we all struggle, and in that place we are not alone. What we need to remember is that we always have access to peace and love and an inner strength that can fortify us, provided we know how to access it.

I am determined not let this setback shake my foundation. I remain thankful for solid roots, love and an open and trusting heart. I will let love guide me. Let hope lift me. And let faith fuel me.

This quote from Prayers To The Great Creator by Julia Cameron spoke to me this morning:

The Universe Funds Me With Strength

In times of adversity, I remember I am strong enough to meet the challenges of my life. I am equal to every situation, a match for every difficulty. Sourced in the power of the Universe, I allow that power to work through me. I meet calamity with strength, I have stamina. Rather than draw on limited resources, I draw on the infinite power within me that moves through me to accomplish its good. I am fueled by all the love, all the strength there is. Loving strength melts mountains. I am ever partnered and supplied by universal flow. Knowing this, I do not doubt my strength, I am strong and secure.

Gratitude For the Women in My Life
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I’ve been thinking for a while about what I wanted to say in this post. And not just because it is Thanksgiving. What I have to say applies to the other 364 days of the year as well.

Dear amazingly talented beautiful-hearted women in my life:

I hesitate to tell you exactly how much you have shaped me the past couple of years because I am afraid that you will think I brought nothing to the table of our friendship.

Yet if I just say thank you, how can you even begin to know how deep my gratitude goes?

The thank you I am talking about is a thank you from the bottom of my heart (and soul). Because in many ways, you saved me.

You played a huge part in helping me find myself again. In so many little every day ways you showed me by your example how I could feel better in my body, be happier, and live freer. Your unique stories have opened my heart and inspired me to take risks that I might not have dared to before. You have helped me understand that I am not the island I once felt I was.

I am part of a tribe of strong, talented, uniquely inspiring women.

We are different; but we are so much the same.

From that common ground I not only have become wiser about understanding you, but also wiser about understanding myself.

I realize that your fears are also my fears.

Of not being enough. Of not being good enough. Of not being worthy.

I recognize that your sincere wishes are also my sincere wishes. To be appreciated for our talents, and not defined by our weaknesses. To feel our contributions have meaning and that our efforts at making the world a better place are both noticed and appreciated.

We wish to be free of the junk that weighs us down.

We desire to be loved and cherished for exactly who we are, even as we morph and grow.

We aspire to be the person we were always meant to be.

We need to believe that we are worthy of living the life of our dreams.

We deserve to be cherished, respected and loved by those that matter most.

Thank you women in my life for also standing up to show me the error of my ways.

For being my mirror. For reflecting back to me all those parts of me I was scared to see.  And shining a light on all your unique qualities that I hope to someday call mine.

For helping me see I was more than I thought I was. And more than I thought I ever could be.

Thank you for using your light to shine a path for me.

For patiently believing in me, even when I did not believe in myself.

For gently redirecting me when I veered off course.

For supporting all my crazy ideas.

And for doing everything you could to encourage me to continue to find my path and follow my heart.

Thank you for taking the lead when I had lost my way and for graciously letting me lead when I needed to believe I could.

For not judging me when I may have jumped to judge others.

For loving me when I didn’t love myself.

For showing me that bending does not mean breaking.

And for explaining that asking for help is a gift to those who love you most.

Thank you for your grace in making me feel that my talent is no less valuable than yours.  And for your empathy, compassion & understanding.

And most especially for calling me bad ass when I felt shaky about my own power.

Women in my life you are all glorious beacons of light and hope, not only for me, but for generations of women to come.

I admire your courage, I honor your truth. And I will never take you for granted. I am not only thankful for you, I LOVE you.

From the bottom of my heart I wish you all a Peace + Gratitude filled Thanksgiving.

--Namaste

Losing Her Magic

Me at fourteen.

And when she was told it was time...

she grew up.

And she forgot who she was deep down inside. It didn't happen slowly, that would be too painful, she just packed up all the little things that made her whole and happy, and uniquely her, and stuck them in the attic.

For someday when...

she could breathe again. Or when her grandchildren would go through the boxes containing the pieces and parts of the real her she'd saved for later, and set her spirit free.

She stopped believing in magic.

Because magic wasn't in the rulebook for becoming a grown up she was reminded many times. Good girls are responsible, safe, determined, and productive. There was no longer time for collecting rocks or watching butterflies, there were more important things to be done.

She stopped saying what she meant.

For a long while she remained quiet. There were so many unwritten rules that didn't make sense to her. Rules about what, when and how to say things so as not to stand out in all the wrong ways. Rules about pretending not to notice certain things and having to  acknowledge things that really didn't matter. Rules about impressing people with questionable intentions and being nice to people who were mean spirited on the inside. The worst was pretending not to know when people said one thing and thought another.

She got confused.

She was almost afraid to participate in her own life, in case she did it wrong. So she watched and waited for the time to be right to speak her mind again. Only years went by and her natural talents faded. Her dreams disappeared. And her light dimmed.

She gave up.

There was so much to worry about trying to do right that she became scared to say anything important at all, in case she might be wrong. Or ridiculed. Or deemed unworthy. But that felt wrong, too. Because deep inside remained a small burning need to understand everything, to be wildly curious, to right wrongs, to speak up, to make a difference. To stand out in all the right ways.

Years went by and she completely lost her way.

She had stopped writing, reading or even creating. She gave up the thought of ever losing herself in the magic of life again. There was no spontaneity to her movements, and little  joy. She never allowed herself the luxury of just being. She heard constant noise. And she listened only to the mean voice within. In an attempt to outrun it, she stayed in constant motion. Others saw her as tightly wound. Ridiculously planned. Inflexibly judgmental. She became exactly the kind of person she never wanted to be.

And one day she woke up a hot mess on her basement floor and realized she had hit rock bottom. She had become a grown up.

And as a grown up she was slowly doing to her children what had once been done to her. She was sucking the magic out of them. Her body and soul suddenly felt the effects of years spent attempting to be perfect, the times she tried to please, and the utter devastation of realizing even if she got there, it would never be enough. Especially for herself.

So she stopped.

Nearly cold turkey. She stopped doing all the things that had once been done to her. She stopped correcting. She stopped protecting. She stopped smoothing the road ahead for them. She stopped pushing. She stopped comparing. She just stopped. And she began the hardest thing she's ever done.

She let go.

Of everything. The rules. The disappointment. The worry. Her mean voice. The constant swimming upstream. All of it. Piece by piece. And a funny thing happened. She started healing. She began to believe in herself again.

She started believing that she could change the world, just by being herself.

She stopped trying to prove, strive, achieve and she started to become something better. She not only remembered the magic within, she began to rely on it. And she showed the world that it is never too late.

The magic is forever within.

It lived in her and it lives within you.

There is no time like right now to Believe in the power of you.

It is never too late.

Happy Anniversary to the Man of My Dreams

My dream boat.

Fact.

I met the man of my dreams at age 17. He however, was not yet convinced that I was the girl of his dreams, at least not for a while. Four things cemented my surety that he was the one for me in record time.

1. He had the kind of eyes I'd only read about in my Harlequin romance novels. You could get lost in them. They had the power to make me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the world. They still do.

2. He kissed me for the first time in a closet wearing a toga--it was the best kiss I'd ever had, and to this day it remains untouchable. It might have been the way he held my face as if I was precious, or it might have been the way I felt perfectly safe with him (in a closet at a college toga party, a week after meeting him).  Either way I will never forget that kiss.

3. He is the first (and only boy) to ever sit by my bed and help me through a night of drunken sickness. It wasn't pretty. I am sure I smelled like the worst kind of gross. He never made me feel dumb for asking for him to come and sit by my bed (when I barely even knew him and wasn't even officially dating him) or for smelling like poo. All I know is that he was there for me when I needed him.

Hair styles and clothing styles may have come and gone but one thing remains constant, love.

4. He is the only person who can make me laugh, cry, scream in frustration, shake my head in confusion, feel like the prettiest girl in the world, and keep me grounded and safe, while giving me wings to fly. He is my biggest fan, my greatest cheerleader and my inspiration. No one has ever come close to accepting me for who I am like he has. 

29 years ago today.

Today marks 29 years we have been married. I was in love with him for four years before that. Clearly I have been with Mike longer than I have been without him. Looking back on the day we took our wedding vows I really had no idea what through thick and thin even meant. Sickness and health, yeah I understood that part. Love, honor and cherish should have been a no brainer as well. Thick and thin....who knew?

Our time together hasn't always been rosy. Let's be real, you don't start out as kids and end up as parents, then over fifty grown ups without a few rough patches. I married my best friend at 22. Our oldest son is 22, I can't imagine him getting married now. Heck,  I can't imagine us getting married at that age. I wasn't even fully formed yet (thus the rough patches).  I changed. He changed. We changed. We grew apart. We grew together. We had children. Things got busy. Then busier. Then our children grew into teenagers. Things got very hard. Soon many of those things you think are never going to happen to your kids; happen. Your world is rocked. And either you find a safe place to land together or you split.

Some people we know didn't make it through the tough times. Some stayed together for the kids. Some stayed together for the kids and then split.  And some are still just going through the motions.

Yet some, like us, survived the storms, came out stronger on the other side and are loving the chance to explore life together again.

I remember people who said we would never last when we first started dating. At first it scared me because I thought they might be seeing something that I didn't. And then as time went on I knew that the truth was that no one was seeing what I could see. No one made me feel the way Mike did. No one accepted me for who I was, loved me anyway, and somehow inspired me to get up each day and be a better version of myself.

I cannot really remember life without Mike. I do not want to contemplate a future without him. I am my own person and he is his, but together we are a unit, a team. Unstoppable.

When I am down, he is strong and reminds me that I am enough. When he is down I am there to let him know that he means the world to me and to remind him that he is the best person I know.

He snores. He tailgates. He saves way too much stuff. And he also fixes everything and anything. Perfectly. He cares for everyone around him, is always willing to help someone out and knows the exact right thing to do in any situation. I love him dearly for being my rock. And for making me laugh like no other (sometimes at him). Most of all I love him for knowing me better than I know myself most days....

I am blessed to be his wife, best friend, and mother of his children.

We are blessed to be better together than we ever were apart. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not thankful for life with him by my side and also for our children--our boys and our almost daughter--and the many others who allow us to "parent" them from time to time, our loving and fun families, all our friends and our adorable grand baby.

Happy 29th Anniversary to the man of my dreams. I have loved you since I was 17 and didn't really even know what that meant yet, and I will love you forever. I hope we have 29 more years to grow stronger together.

Touched By Angel Addie

Dear Addie:

One year ago tonight you left this world. I'm not sure a day has gone by that I haven't thought of you at least once. You are a part of me now; my prayers, my conscience, my wisdom. Even when people think I am talking to "myself", I'm really talking to you.

What a difference a year makes.

I think you might approve of the person I am now Addie. And a really big reason I have grown so much is because of you.

Some of the situations I have had to face this past year, especially with Mitch, were so much harder and different than I ever imagined. There were so many times I had no idea what to do, and somehow I knew you were with me patiently attempting to show me the way.

Last April as I walked among the scattered wreckage on that Iowa road with your mom I searched for signs of your presence. At the time I had only barely begun what I will refer to as my year of spiritual growth so I wasn't able to pick up on any signs you may have tried to leave for me, and truthfully even if I had, I would have passed them off as just my imagination. I grieved for you and for your mom and Jack, and I feared I would not know how to help them through this.

You started trying to get my attention soon after I left Iowa wearing your necklace. Those mornings you would make it fall off seemingly randomly and for no reason as I sat in front of the computer with my coffee.  But looking back, it really wasn't random at all -- you were slowly waking me up me to your presence-- and you made sure I was always at home and in no danger of losing your necklace.

I was a slow learner and it took three or four tries before I stopped thinking your necklace was just fastened wrong, or that it had broken. Pretty sure having the Matilda dvd fall off the shelf in your room at home while I was talking to your mom on the phone sealed the deal for me.

And once I figured out it was you I began to "wake up" to so many things I had been missing.

You have taught me so much.

Your necklace hasn't fallen off my neck in almost 9 months. I find that my hand makes its way to your necklace several times a day (to make sure it is still there?) or to reassure me that I am not alone.  I think of you when I need strength, inspiration, and guidance when I am torn between choices.

I don't see this habit of mine changing anytime soon either and I have done a 180 when it comes to watching for signs. Anytime something out of the ordinary happens around me I smile and assume it is you with another message. It makes me pay attention, and notice and believe. I have no doubt that you are happily flying around all of us, swooping in to cover us with your fairy dust love when we need it most. 

Your hugs in life were the best, your hugs now are almost as good, I've never had so many goosebumps. 

I miss your random texts and our facebook chats, but I love knowing you are always right there when I need you. I try not to take much for granted anymore. I attempt  to live each day in the present, appreciating all I have and all those I love.

In your honor I will do my best to make my life matter. And I will try to love as BIG as you would have.

RIP Angel Addie, I miss you. See you in Heaven.

On Being A Late Bloomer

Ladybug invasion in late fall? A sign of good things to come...

There is one thing I know for sure: no matter how hard or even how easy our lives have been so far, we all have "stuff" to deal with. Some of us might even fool ourselves into thinking we've dealt with our junk, but we all have more deep down inside. For me, dealing with my junk is a constant and daily practice, and I am one of the ones who believe I had an easy life. (Does it surprise anyone that this thought only serves to add more guilt to my personal load?)

The deep level of "stuff" is so much easier to continue to push further in and attempt to ignore, than to dig out isn't it? At one stage in my life, I did just that. I shoved it all down in, and focused outward, trying to control other things, and other people around me; instead of just dealing with it. I've come to realize that no one can be wholly and fully themselves unless they are willing to invest the time in their own healing. While I admire (even envy) those who deal at an earlier age than I did, I recognize that I am a late bloomer. It took me a while to be ready.

Way back to my high school days I was always thinking deep. I loved studying personalities and figuring out how/why people acted the way they did. But I thought that since my life was "easy" and safe, I didn't need to heal from anything. My interest always had an outward focus. Improving things. Moving situations and people forward. Being efficient. And somewhere in the not dealing with my version of a personal 'demon" --a critical inner voice which I fueled with doubt, worry and a ridiculous need for control-- I made the mistake of thinking that my value was determined by how much I added to the world around me. (aka how much I accomplished). At the worst of my running away from my inner "stuff" phase in life, I became a Type A Control Freak, so I am able to recognize the unhealthy signs when I see them in others. 

Someone recently asked me about the personal growth workshops I do. Who are they for? What do they do for you? I believe the question being asked was really  "Is this something I should consider doing?" or "Will it help me?"

And the answer to everyone asking is 'Yes', but only if you are ready --ready to face your inner demons, let go of things that are weighing you down, and ready to begin making some changes.  Some of them will be difficult and uncomfortable and require hard work and patience from your mean inner voice, but the good news is that you can start with a few easy steps.

Looking back I see that attending my first vision board workshop was a kind of springboard for me. I went into it not really knowing what it was all about, but knowing I was ready for something more. Although my think-too-much, plan-my-life-away-brain wanted all the answers at once, I trusted the process even though it didn't make much sense until almost 3 years later, it started me on my path to healing.

And it really kicked things into gear when I got out of my head and into my heart.

My inner voice, the one I ignored for nearly 35 years while I 'accomplished' myself to exhaustion, knew that what I really wanted all along was to live easier, happier and healthier.

Do you have stuff weighing you down, making your life heavier than it should be? Do you often feel like something is missing, or that something is "off", but  can't identify exactly what it is? Do you look at others and wish you were as happy or as free from worry as they seem to be? Do you appreciate yourself for your natural talents or are you always trying to make up for your shortcomings? Do you feel yourself making the same mistakes your mom did?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions...you are ready to begin some personal growth yourself. I understand that getting started is scary and it is easy to second guess the money and/or time commitment needed, but I can assure you that YOU are totally worth it, just as I was.

Need help getting started? That is what I am here for and why I do vision board workshops passion mining classes, and help others uncover their own natural talents. Still not sure? Then I suggest you talk to someone who looks happy (or happier than they used to) --- and see what got them started. Being happy from the inside out is definitely ALL it is cracked up to be.

Oh, and I like to think that being a late bloomer is better than never blooming at all!

Namaste--

Terri