Thanks for the slap upside the head. I was listening to Mandy Harvey sing on America’s Got Talent. Her story about losing her hearing and how it erased her dream of being a musician. She sang this song called Try. Her lyrics really spoke to me and the changes in my life due to my back and nerve damage. She wrote, “I don't feel the way I used to The sky is grey much more than it is blue But I know one day I'll get through.” When I lost the feeling on my right side I did not feel the way I used to, literally. I did not know how I was going to learn how to do things when I did not know where my foot was and had to learn how to think my leg into moving. There were days that I was grieving the loss of my independence. I grieved not being able to drive anymore. I grieved There were mornings I would be so frustrated and cry because I could not even put my sock or shoe on by myself. On those especially tough days I would tell myself I will get through.
Just when I thought things could not get worse, they eliminated my paratransit services, which made it possible for me to go out, have fun, and hang with friends. That bought about one more loss and one more thing to grieve. There were days that the sky was grey, so I found myself being intentional about doing things in my life to keep myself positive and making my home such an amazing place to be that nobody who came here, including myself, would want to leave. I knew this would either be my prison cell or an ashram, so I opted to transform it into an ashram. Read More
It is funny how sometimes it is a comment from a total stranger that opens up a wound we thought had been healed and provides us an opportunity to take our healing to the next level. I am so grateful for those opportunities which inspire me to continue to grow and evolve.
For the most part I am a fairly positive person and remember to affirm myself on a daily basis. However, sometimes I fall off my Four Agreements wagon and take something personally. Then I have to do the work of remembering to not take something personally because it is not about me.
One of the struggles that I work on is remembering that I am not a failure, even if by other people’s standards I am. I am grateful for the days I remember to affirm myself as I know I cannot depend on anyone other than myself to believe in me. Read More
I am so grateful to have my position as a teacher. At the start of each semester I am reminded what a blessing and privilege it is to be in this position. I have heard way too many professors at my school talk about what they have to teach their students. I talk with my students about how we teach each other. Yes, I know a lot and I am here to share my knowledge with them. However, they have taken classes, experienced things, read things, taken courses, and know things I could not learn if I had not met them.
I am also reminded of how much harm the educational system has done to students. I remember reading a book a while back called A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger van Oech. He helped me to understand how our system has taught students that there is A right answer, when there is really not. He wrote,
By the time the average person finishes college he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes and exams. The 'right answer' approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking. This may be fine for some mathematical problems, where there is in fact only one right answer. The difficulty is that most of life isn't that way. Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers - all depending on what you are looking for. But if you think there is only one right answer, then you'll stop looking as soon as you find one. Read More
Sometimes you have a conversation that takes you back in time. Wednesday night, during the Spiritual Discussion on teaching and teachers, a participant talked to me about all I had taught her since she has met me. It was a truly humbling moment. She said there are times there are not words in my heart to express what I am feeling so I do not say anything. She said she thought there were others for whom this was true as well.
I am not sure why, but this brought me back to a powerful lesson one of my students taught me decades ago when I first started teaching. I had a student whose mother had intentionally enrolled in my class. Her mother was a faculty member at our college and said she knew if anyone could help her daughter pass a class it would be me. I was not able to do so. However, it was not for lack of my trying. Read More
So today I want to thank you for the lessons that Dr. Wally and Mr Mittens have tried to teach me. Some of them I have mastered more then others, but at least they have tried. So thank you for sending them into my life. So here goes.
Lesson #1 – Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Mr Mittens has taught me to be willing to explore what is on the other side of my comfort zone. He always tries to get through the doors that are closed and when he senses it is not where he needs to be he leaves and if he really likes it, then he stays. He has taught me a similar message to what I am reading about now in Kyle Cease’s book I Hope I Screw This Up. It is the same message my Bubby used to tell me, “She who fails to fail, fails to succeed.”
Lesson #2 – Take a nap. Cats seem to do this so well. Whenever they are tired, they sleep, which with them is about 16 hours a day. Working at home, I have the luxury of taking a nap when I really need one. Sometimes it is the way for me to quiet my brain so I can hear your ideas and inspiration coming to me. Sometimes it is just that my brain and body need a break. Even you took a rest from creating, so I should too. Read More
It has been a while since I silenced my brain enough to write a piece of poetry. So this morning I decided I would be intentional about turning off my non stop radio station in my brain and see what flowed out. I was inspired by a verse from Psalm 46 that says Be still and know that I am God. Read More
I love God’s sense of humor. The Ultimate Consciousness know that once I get going working, I am on a roll and can easily forget to take my micro fast breaks. It never ceases to amaze me how the Infinite uses everything in my environment to keep me balanced, centered, and focused. Normally Dr Wally and Mr Mittens spend most of their human interaction time with Zoe. They only come to my side of the desk when they want treats and she is not here.
The last few days I have been going like crazy, trying to stay current with those areas I am current in while catching up with those areas I need to catch up in (still). I know I need to take micro fast breaks, but the pressure to catch up seems to want to cancel them out. Enter Mr Mittens stage right. He has developed this new habit of three to four times a day crawling up on my shoulder and not leaving until I have patted his bottom and held him for at least 15 minutes.
Being who I am, I decided this was a great time to take my micro fast and meditate. So I pat his butt as part of my meditation and we both go into a deep silence until he tells me our time is over by licking my ear and going back to his blanket to nap. I guess meditating with me wears him out Read More
I have been thinking a lot about Thich Nhat Hanh’s idea of fasting from all forces of information. I have been intentional the last few days of being more mindful of what I am physically digesting through what I eat and drink. However, I need to be more mindful of what I am consuming in addition to physical food and beverage. This is just one of the nutriments I ingest each day. I try to be mindful of what I am ingesting sensorally as well. It has helped that we have deleted television from our lives, as so much of what is in the media these days is not what I consider to be nutritionally helpful or energizing for me in my journey. Other then what I have to read to teach, I intentionally work at surrounding myself with sounds, smells, feels, images, and tastes that are positive, calming, and uplifting. I have intentionally worked at removing sensory nutriments which are not contributing to my own spiritual evolution. Read More
Today I just want to thank you for what Elizabeth Gilbert calls the Big Magic in my life. I know for years you placed the idea of a prayer and meditation garden in my heart. I am so grateful you did and for the miraculous ways you worked to make it happen.
I continued to be saddened by how few places there are in this area where people can go be quiet and at the same time feel safe and alone. I remember when I was more mobile, how I could go to a house of worship and sit in a sanctuary. However, those days seem long gone as most places are locked during non-worship hours. There are places where you can go play, socialize, or walk your pet, but virtually no where that you can just go and sit and be still; no place where you can just go and sit in the silence which is you.
This is why I felt so called to create our prayer and meditation garden. It is that space. A space where you can just meander back, sit on one of the benches, listen to the sound of the wind through the chimes, gaze out at the plants, and just be. It is a space that radiates love, light, and peace. Even when our neighbors are out in their yards, they honor the space as sacred. I find it humbling when even our neighbors meander back and sit their soaking up the silence and listening to your voices. Read More
Writing about my own shadows is challenging. I remember when I first became aware of the power of shadows in my life. I was watching a DVD by Debbie Ford based on her book with Deepak Chopra. She talked about how shadows are like beach balls in the water. You can suppress one, maybe two, maybe three, but then there comes the point that one more comes to you and in the process of trying to hold it under the surface all the others come to the surface.
It was more than two years ago. I remember watching this film and then this woman told her story and honestly, I cannot remember what she said, but it triggered something so profound in me that I could not stop crying for days. I could feel this wave of emotions moving through my body and pain just wanting to find its way out. It took me a while to understand that for years I had suppressed fear and feelings of abandonment from the circumstances of my birth and my near-death experience. Read More
A friend of mine recently asked me who or what helped me cultivate a sense of reverence for life and for the world. I have been sitting with this question for a while and I am still not sure how to answer it. I think in part it comes from the numerous near death experiences I have had. The first one being when I was born. I think there is something about knowing how fragile life is that makes you gain a sense of reverence for it.
Maybe in part it was my parents who had this affinity for growing things. My father’s domain was the garden and plants in the backyard. He was committed to growing fresh vegetables and fruits for our family. My mothers was the front yard and side of the house where she constantly worked on her flower beds, making sure they were weed free. They had stories to go with several of the trees in our yard. The weeping willow was planted, according to my father, the day they bought me home from the adoption agency. Read More
Please forgive me for not sharing my journals with others for the last month. My quest with you has been really personal and not something I felt called to share. In some respects I feel like Atreyu in The Never Ending Story, I have been blessed with the opportunity to look in the mirror of truths and face things about myself that I would like to pretend do not exist, but they do. I have had to press through my fears and do things that required me to call on my courage. I have had to face the nothing in my life and destroy it.
Being on my own personal quest has not always been easy, albeit necessary for this time in my life. In the process, however, I have come to have a deeper reverence and respect for you as well as for myself. While I know you always see me for I am, there have been moments during this phase of my journey where I have had to be intentional about allowing you to see me in my most vulnerable. I know you see them anyway, but it feels different for me when I intentionally present myself to you in that state. Read More
So it is the last day of the year and one of those days I should be working my ass off to finish up tons of projects, but honestly all I want to do is play. So why is it that we think it is ok for kids to play, but we don’t support adults playing as much. I have been, and am still, working on remembering that play not a guilty pleasure. Play brings me joy. It helps me have healthy relationships with others. It keeps me creative. It helps me solve problems and it is fun.
Play is me looking at or making art. It is about me reading books, watching movies because I want to, not just because I have to. It is about me being stupid and laughing and dreaming and flirting with my wife. Play is what keeps me feeling as close to my wife after 15 years as I did when we first met. Play is what I do with those I love and it is a safe way for me to begin relationships with people I don’t know yet. Maybe that is why I love doing Pampered Chef parties; they give me a chance to play with others Read More
I am always amazed at how Spirit speaks to me. As I listened to an interview with Wallis Byrd, which Zoe was listening to, I found myself laughing. Once again, Spirit was giving me inspiration in a way only Spirit could do. I have so many things on my plate, many of which I am releasing and removing, especially those which no longer give me joy. I have come to this place where I have come to realize that if I am not enjoying it, if I cannot infuse joy into it, then it is not for me to continue to do. So now I play games with my cleaning, I sing songs and dance while I am doing chores around the house. I listen to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy whenever I am having trouble laughing or smiling or feeling overwhelmed by the stress.
In the interview, Byrd talked about how she worked so hard at trying to write music that she could not write. It was not until she moved and disrupted her routine that she realized that she was the architect of her life and her music. The reality we all are. I am the architect, or as don Miguel Ruiz would say, the artist of my life. I have the power to paint my life with paths of joy, peace, love, light and positive energy or not. Read More
Maybe it is the theme for this month, but I have found myself singing and/or listening to Julie Andrews sing A Few of My Favorite Things several times this month. I love this song, especially as a reminder to practice play because it is all about the things that one enjoys and loves, like “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favorite things.”
So I started thinking about some of my favorite things.
Cuddling with my kittens and having them lick me.
Baking cookies with friends and sharing home made meals and creating memories Read More
Ok so I am all about practicing play this month. So I figured I would make myself laugh and share some cartoons I love and maybe a few jokes and or stories that make me laugh. Hope you can see the humor and laugh with me Read More
You have a sense of humor. Here I am in the most stressful month of my life and the spiritual practice you have led me to focus on is play. Here I am in a space when there are more things on my to do list, then there appears to be time for the things I want to do list. Final projects are coming in from my students, I am doing a record number of Pampered chef parties in a two week period for myself, editing a document for a client, planning my upcoming winter course, meeting with clients, facilitating groups, and making time for day to day activities like sleeping, eating, showering, time with Zoe and time with the cats. I would like to say I am busy, however, I am working at releasing that word from my vocabulary. Read More
So this is my last time this month to write to you about openness. So today I just want to thank you for all you have shown me and taught me about being open. You have shined a light on all the closed signs I had in my heart, mind, and soul and helped me to replace them with open signs.
I thought the possibility of my Pampered Chef team being green this month was closed, but you said watch me, I am about to do a new thing and you opened up possibilities that I could not see before.
I thought I had lost a team member who seemed like she was shutting down and you said watch and you reopened the relationship. When you did, you opened up a level of honesty in the relationship which did not exist before. You moved her from a position of living in fear and watering someone else’s yard to realizing she needed to water her own. Read More
Seriously, I always think I am far more evolved then I am and then you find a way to humble me and open me up to possibilities beyond my imagination. The most recent was this weekend, when you sent Diana over to talk to me about this Thrive for Women program. Honestly, I was not sure. I accepted her three-day sample for a few reasons. First, it was free and I had choice about what I did or did not do with it. Second, she was not pushy and never made a comment about my weight. Third, because my friend Kelly raves about this program and she doesn’t rave about many products.
I have always been very accepting of what comes my way. I had learned to find ways of staying focused, balanced and positive when my paratransit service were virtually eliminated. I have adjusted and thanked you for the decline in my health. I have always been open to seeing the blessings in all situations. In part because my Bubby had always told me if I could see the blessings in any situation, then I knew I would be okay. Read More