• This Is the Power of Surrender

    Friday, July 24, 2020 No tags Permalink

     It’s been a long time since a book has stuck with me so completely as Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I finished it days ago but I still find myself a little verklempt. I’ve never read anything like this book in my entire life. I laid in bed for over an hour upon finishing it, just tossing and turning and thinking about everything I had just consumed. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing, and at the same, time terrifying piece of literature I’ve ever read. I still don’t think I can put my feelings into words, but I can say this book was a cathartic experience for me, and the irony of the word “catharsis” being a Greek rooted word is not lost on me, because if this book is anything it’s a modern-day Greek tragedy.

    Nietzsche has theory is that the ancient Greeks attained such a high level of culture mainly due to their personal struggle between the opposing philosophies of Apollo and Dionysus; Apollo being the god of art, and thus, stagnation, while Dionysus is the god of debauchery and barbarism, and thus, action. This struggle between appreciation for art and culture and a zeal for living is what Nietzsche credits for the Greeks’ impressive progress. He also believed that the only way we can progress today is to swing the pendulum toward Dionysus.

    “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves?”


    We don’t like to admit it, but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people more than almost anything.

    Remember the cheesy 80s movie Dirty Dancing? When Johnny tells Baby ‘You gotta hold the frame”. When a good lead takes a hold of me, it is only the slightest touch that tells me where I need to go. It’s in their innate confidence, the way they own and control their space. In the arms of a strong lead who holds the frame, I can let go of the relentless turn of my thoughts, of the need to control, of the way life holds me inside of myself. I can become so entirely embodied that there is no longer myself, my partner, the room. There is only the all and the everything of bodies and sensation and freedom. This is the power of surrender, of acquiescence. Give me this in the world, in the spaces where no one else exists. And when I let go, fully let go, I am infinite.

    Surrender by Fleur de Lisa on Flickr
  • Energy & Boundaries

    Friday, June 8, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I love it when you read exactly what you need to read, exactly when you need to read it.

    When life has to be a certain way in order to be good enough for you, you instantly close yourself off from all the real and present opportunities available – you spend all your mental energy resisting life, rather than making the best of it.

    And sadly, this is how the vast majority of the human population lives – stuck in a perpetual cycle of resistance.

    But you don’t have to continue this cycle. You can change your mind.

    When you consciously choose to let go of the way it “should” be, you free your mind to deal with life’s unexpected changes, challenges, and chaos in the most effective way possible…

    You create space for acceptance, learning, and growth.

    You learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.

    And gradually, you allow yourself to step forward with a clear and focused mind.

    Closing the door, completing the chapter, turning the page, etc. – it doesn’t matter what you title it…what matters is that you find the strength to leave in the past those parts of your life that were not meant to be, so you can better attend to the present.

    What has happened is uncontrollable; what you do now changes everything.

    Of course, knowing this and actually living a lifestyle that reinforces this truth are two very different things. Letting go is NOT easy; it’s a journey that is traveled one day at a time.

    It can be excruciatingly difficult to leave a long-term life situation (or dream) behind, even when your inner-wisdom tells you that things aren’t right and that it’s time to let go. At this point, you can choose to let go and endure the sudden pain of leaving behind the familiar to make way for a new chapter in your life, or you can stay and suffer a constant, aching pain that gradually eats away at your heart and mind like a cancer… until you wake up one day and find yourself buried so deep in the dysfunction of the situation that you barely remember who you are and what you desire.

    Things will happen that are unexpected, undesirable, and uncontrollable. But you can always choose to let go and take the next tiniest step forward.

    One of the best things we can learn to do is to set appropriate boundaries.  You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.  I often say, “I refuse to positively reinforce negative behavior.”

     I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible. Brené Brown, Rising Strong

    Brené Brown defines boundaries in Rising Strong (2015) as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” More of her explanation:

    It’s so straightforward and it makes sense for all ages in all situations. When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change. Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But when we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honoring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.

    On the other hand, “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice” (The Gifts of Imperfection).

    Another pertinent quote from Rising Strong: “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”

    If you’d like to know more about how to set boundaries, Brown gives three useful tips:

     Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, “Choose discomfort over resentment.” My mantra reminds me that I’m making a choice that’s critical for my well-being—even if it’s not easy.

    • Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I’m marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what’s going on. I’ve noticed that I’m most resentful when I’m tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries.

    • Rehearse. I’ll often say, to no one in particular, “I can’t take that on” or “My plate is full.” Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.

    benefits of improving your boundary-setting:

    1. You’re more self-aware.
    2. You become a better friend and partner.
    3. You take better care of yourself.
    4. You’re less stressed.
    5. You’re a better communicator.
    6. You start trusting people more.
    7. You’re less angry.
    8. You learn how to say “no.”
    9. You end up doing things you actually want to do.
    10. You become a more understanding person.

  • Fat Bottomed Girls, They’ll Be Riding Today

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I always liked this song. My big brother had the album.

    Bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle
    I want to ride my bike
    I want to ride my bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle races are coming your way
    So forget all your duties oh yeah
    Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today
    So look out for those beauties oh yeah

    I’ve been trying to sit in meditation for at least 15 minutes a day, focus on my breath and let thoughts pass in and out. Trying not to let them stay. But it’s hard – really, really hard for me. Lately, I’m starting to get that it’s supposed to be hard and that’s just fine.

    My mind has a lot going on in there (probably why my mother says I think too much) and if I can calm even some of it then it’s a success.  When I sit down to meditate I picture my mind like a snow globe that has just been shaken, the snow is everywhere and nothing is settled. During meditation, I try to get that snow (my thoughts) to settle. Once those thoughts have settled, or at least some of them have settled, the impact lasts and I am more mindful throughout the day.

    However, I have found a place where it’s easy to be mindful — when I’m in motion on my bike. Mindfulness is about being present and being connected. Every pedal stroke is a chance to forget my worries and blend into the environment thinking about my breath, connecting with nature that surrounds me, and even experiencing the pain of pushing myself.

    I can hear my breath and focus on it.(Sometimes a bit too loudly, thanks to allergies and asthma. Note to self– must bring inhaler!) My bike starts to blend into the terrain like it’s part of the earth. I become one with nature.

    Unlike in sitting meditation where the focus is on being still, you can experience your body very intensely while on the bike. You can also find intense enjoyment from this practice, more than just endorphins — pure bliss.

    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

  • Focus

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I have been striving to focus my mind more resourcefully. I’ve started leveraging five-second daily reminders to keep myself thinking better and living better. Does it always work?  No.  I’m human.  However,  the reminders simply reinforce the core daily actions and rituals we know we need to engage in to remain calm and in control from the inside out.

    Challenge yourself to pick the one new reminder every morning for the next week and a half, write it down someplace you can easily see it (perhaps write it on a post-it note), and then consciously recite it (at least three times) as needed throughout the day. See how doing so prompts you to respond to life with a calmer and more effective mindset.

    I’m reading a book called Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs, and these points are excerpted from it.

    1. Calmness begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your thoughts. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, and begin again.
    2. Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now, and sincerely appreciate it for everything it is. So, RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale, exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
    3. Be here. Just right here. No matter what, you can always fight the battles of just today. It’s only when you add the infinite battles of yesterday and tomorrow that life gets overly complicated.
    4. Calmness does not mean to be in a place where there is no chaos, trouble, or hard realities to deal with. Calmness means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain mentally, emotionally, and physically centered.
    5. Be selective with your energy. If you can fix a problem, fix it. If you can’t, then accept it and change your thoughts about it. Whatever you do, don’t invest more energy than you need, tripping over something behind you… or something that only exists inside your head.
    6. When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
    7. Remember, you alone get to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of everything in your life has precisely the meaning you give it.
    8. Most of the time the problem is not the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem. Pause, and breathe, again.
    9. Life humbles us gradually as we age. We realize how much nonsense we’ve wasted time on. So, just do your best right now to feel the peace that flows from your decision to rise above the petty drama that doesn’t really matter.
    10. What you focus on grows. Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.
  • Showing Up For Myself

    Sunday, May 20, 2018 No tags Permalink

    When my son was growing up, I made certain that I managed my priorities very carefully. Yes, I had a full-time job and a home I had to take care of on my own, but spending good, quality time with him each and every day was my priority. I never forgot it. The most precious gift you can give anyone is your time. Spending time with someone you care about is an investment and it the benefits you reap from that investment are immeasurable.

    But lately, I had been forgetting to make myself a priority. I’ve been working too much and dealing with too much negative stuff. I’ve been forgetting to have fun. People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness. I’m not going to do that, I am going to live now. So, in the past few days, I have been remedying that. I joined a friend for an evening bike ride and a stop at the beer garden for a post-ride drink. I can’t think of the last time I saw a movie, so yesterday we went to see RGB. It was great, by the way. This morning I took a walk and then went to brunch. It’s been lovely, much needed, and so overdue.

    Summer is my favorite time of year, and I’m making the most of it. Some of my summer plans include:

      • The N.I.T.E Ride  Riding around downtown Indy at night is going to be such fun!
      • Symphony on the Praire- I got tickets for my birthday from a dear friend and we are going to pick out the best shows and go.  I pack one fantastic picnic basket!
      • More bike rides.  I’ve started riding 4-5 times a week and it’s been great.
      • More farmer’s markets. I have a friend who loves them too, so we’re planning to meet and eat our way through. 😉
      • Re-learning how to swim. I love the water, but I’ve somehow forgotten the freestyle stroke. I found someone who will teach me again so I can get back in the water.  Yay!

    What are you doing to make the most of your life, here and now?

    Reclaim your mornings. Start a morning ritual that gives you space to take care of yourself before you have to take care of the world. Start with just a few minutes of one of the following activities:

    • Write. Make a list of what you are grateful for or jot down what’s filling your mind.
    • Meditate. Sit quietly and pay attention to your breath, or use a guided meditation app like Headspace.
    • Drink your tea or coffee slowly.
    • Stretch. Reach for sky. Reach for toes. Twist and move around.
    • Read. Choose a book over email or the internet.

    Choose other activities that fuel your body, brain, heart and soul and slowly build your morning routine.

    Edit your to-do list. We can’t put off what we love in the name of our never-ending to-do lists. Ruthlessly cull your to-do list. Take a good hard look at what’s on it. What can wait? What can you delegate? What’s never going to happen? Edit your list until only the things that really need to happen or really will happen remain. Only leave what’s important on your list so you can get back to love and peace of mind.

    Make some space (just a little). You don’t have to declutter your entire home to create a sense of calm. Create a small minimalist sanctuary by decluttering one small space in your home. Start with a kitchen counter or your nightstand. Creating a minimalistic sanctuary in your home will inspire you to transform more of your space. The state of the space will also be a good reflection of how calm or crazy your life is. When papers start to pile up, it might be time to address what is piling up in other areas of your life.

    Make some time (just a little). If you are trying to figure out what’s best for you or what the next best step to take is, here is the most meaningful gift you can give to yourself right now: carve out five minutes each day to sit quietly and ask yourself the following questions (perhaps add this to your morning ritual).

    • What matters most today?
    • How do I really want to spend my time?
    • What do I need to do to take really good care of myself and the people I love today?

    Calculate your debt. Getting out of debt will change your life in ways you may not be able to imagine. It’s not a little change but every big change is the result of hundreds of little ones. Get started by simply calculating your debt. Create a clear picture of your finances. Don’t use that information to feel scared, guilty, or worried. Instead, use it to help you decide what the next step is. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself for taking the first little step. You stopped hiding from the truth. That’s a really big deal.

    Show up for the people you love. This may seem hard sometimes, but it isn’t. It’s probably the easiest little thing you can do to find your way back to love and peace. Showing up is different than being in the same room When you are with people you love, put your phone and other digital devices away. Look your loves in the eyes. Listen to their words. Be present. That’s it, show all the way up for the people you love.

  • Elementary, My Dear Watson

    Thursday, May 17, 2018 No tags Permalink

    One of the (many, many) good things about summertime is that I quite willingly wake up early.  I have more time to morning, to sip my cold brew coffee on the patio, and to do a bit of reading to start my day on a positive note.

    Found in my reading this morning:

    The older we grow, and the more real-world tragedies and challenges we witness, the more we realize how incredibly blessed we are, and how frequently the fantasies in our heads hold us back from these blessings. In fact, you’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches hundreds of times in the past. We all do this to a greater or lesser extent…

    We stress ourselves out, because of fantasies.

    We procrastinate to the point of failure, because of fantasies.

    We get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large, because of fantasies.

    We miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments, because of fantasies.

    So today, I challenge you to move through this day and practice seeing life as it truly is…

    Do what you have to do without fantasizing and fearing the worst, lamenting about what might happen, or obsessing over how difficult your work is. Just begin, take it one step at a time, and do the best you can.

    See others for who they are, and accept them, without needless judgments. Choose not to allow their behavior to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Just be present and accepting. Then decide if you want to spend extra time with them. If not, part ways with dignity.

    Replace your fantasies with full presence…

    And invest your best into what you’ve got, right in front of you.


    So here’s my conundrum. Just how, precisely, do you “see life as it truly is”? How do you do that without making judgments? As it’s impossible to ever know everything about any given person or situation, how do you fill in the blanks?

    Growing up, I drove my mom a little crazy because I had this need to understand everything. I’m sure I was exhausting. I learned to entertain myself by practicing deductive reasoning and trained my brain to notice minuscule details.

    To keep myself occupied, I read mystery novels. It’s still one of my favorite genres, and I love British mystery TV shows. When the latest version of Sherlock launched on BBC in 2010, I was hooked.  The way Sherlock’s deductive reasoning was shown was spot on.

    But deductive reasoning has many flaws. Deductive reasoning is only as good as a) having the initial assumption being true, and b) not making logical errors. “Confirmation bias” and like errors of the human mind often lead to failure to see that initially assumed facts are in fact incorrect.

    Basically, I’m causing myself a lot of unnecessary pain by thinking that I must analyze and make sense of every single thing. Old habits die hard, but they can die with hard work and intention. I am perfectly imperfect…a work in progress.

  • Kicking Right

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I love analogies.

    It’s just the way my mind works. I just have a need to break everything down to its simplest form.

    I probably preface most things I say with “It’s like…,” and I often feel people cringe when those words come out of my mouth.

     If I dumb it down, I can deal with it.

    Many years ago, I moved into a new house. It has an immense lawn. I eventually bought a lawn tractor, but not until the leaves were changing. I spent most of the summer on foot, chugging along with a shitty push mower.

    There’s nothing like mowing to clear your mind of the extraneous crap and just focus on a topic. For all the dirt I picked up on my exterior, (sticking to the sweat of those blazing summer days), an equal bit of muck was wiped away from my mind through this Zen-like task of straight lines.

    Just give me straight rows. It satisfies some part of me that craves order. I want to look back and see nice, orderly lines behind me.

    That summer, when I wasn’t concerning myself with my OCD for the symmetrical, I was thinking.

     About loss.

    The emotional kind.

    You see, life is like mowing the lawn.

    (Don’t roll your eyes yet.)

    Each year of my life is like a row that I’ve mowed. As I’m going along, I might come across something that the universe has put in my way. Once, it was a big yoga ball (of all things) that my son was playing with in the back yard.

    Now, my mower had that handle that you have to hold down to keep it running. If something is in my way, I’d have to let go of the handle and deal with it, which means the mower dies, and who knows how long it will take to get that piece of crap running again.

    So, I could decide to just run it over, whatever it is. But that might make a mess when the blades cut it into a million pieces and it would certainly upset some children. But the yoga ball is fine. It’s too big to run over, and it rolls—I can just move it along with me, pushing it as I go.

    But what about a plastic softball?  That’s a problem.

    Well, keeping a grip on the mower, I reached out a leg and kicked the thing to the right or the left.

    The direction I choose is important.

    Kick it to the left, and it’s on grass I haven’t mowed yet. I’m going to deal with it on the next row, or perhaps the one after that.

    Why would I do that?

    Because it’s easier at that moment. My right leg is stronger and kicking it left is avoiding pain. In love, you can think of that as pretty much doing nothing.  Status quo.

    If I kick it to right, it’s now on grass I’ve mowed. That’s my past. I’m probably not going to come across it again.

    The point is, I’m done with it in my own mind. Nothing is in my way now. I’m at peace.

    See, we have to make hard decisions in our lives sometimes.

    They were put here in front of us, and perhaps moving them along with us isn’t possible. It might be easier to move them left—hoping that somehow circumstances could change and we can deal with the issues later. But we know our path isn’t really clear. Get to the next row, and you’ll wish you’d dealt with it sooner.

    But moving them right, to our past, is hard.

    There’s more pain involved.

    Of course, I could take a risk and just keep that mower moving—hoping that I can just move it along with me or somehow leave the thing unscathed.

    But, besides the mess it can create if I’m wrong, I can suffer some pain from that, too. Like the time I ended up with a chunk of rock being kicked up into my leg. I took a risk and paid the price.

    Yes, that’s as true for love as it is for the grass-clipping world.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take everything with you? Move with it forever? Well, you can’t.

    Not everyone in your life can be the yoga ball. Maybe you thought they were at first. Or, you knew they weren’t, but you hoped they’d grow somehow. Don’t beat yourself up.

    You might be reading this now, thinking about the plastic softball in your life. You don’t want to move it to the right.

    It’s too hard—you just can’t do it.

    Listen, friend. It’s a bizarre world out there. Anything can happen. The winds can blow them back to the left someday.

    You’re a couple of rows over, and… holy shit. There they are again. But now they are totally yoga. It really happens to other people every day. If that helps you flip the bit, then think about it that way.

    The odds are low, however, and you need to be sane. So flip the bit, and let them go. To the right.

    Just mow, baby. Mow.

  • Thursday, May 3, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Accept what is. Release what was. Create what must be.

    Releasing what was gives you new pages to write your life on. Accepting what is unleashes your power. Freeing yourself from your past in the same breath as you accept where you’re at in this moment. is the only way to create the truest version of you.

    She let go.

    She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

    She let go of the fear.

    She let go of the judgments.

    She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

    She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

    She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

    Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

    She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

    She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

    She didn’t search the scriptures.

    She just let go.

    She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

    She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

    She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

    She didn’t promise to let go.

    She didn’t journal about it.

    She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

    She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

    She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

    She just let go.

    She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

    She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

    She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

    She didn’t call the prayer line.

    She didn’t utter one word.

    She just let go.

    No one was around when it happened.

    There was no applause or congratulations.

    No one thanked her or praised her.

    No one noticed a thing.

    Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

    There was no effort.

    There was no struggle.

    It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

    It was what it was, and it is just that.

    In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

    A small smile came over her face.

    A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

  • Synchronicity

    Friday, April 27, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I’m having way too much fun with my letter board.  Apparently, I am easily amused, but I don’t see that as a bad thing.  🙂

    The universe is a funny thing.  Lately, I’ve been doing a better job of paying attention to what the universe is trying to teach me.  Sometimes things come together in such an interesting way.  Synchronicity at work.  Years ago I had record album by The Police called Synchronicity.  I loved that album.  Ironically, it contains the song Every Breath You Take, which I later came to hate, but the album is still great.  Especially the song Synchronicity II.  It refers to Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity and tells the story of an emasculated husband and harried father whose home, work life, and environment are dispiriting and depressing.

    Another suburban family morning
    Grandmother screaming at the wall
    We have to shout above the din of our rice crispies
    We can’t hear anything at all
    Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
    But we know all her suicides are fake
    Daddy only stares into the distance
    There’s only so much more that he can take
    Many miles away something crawls from the slime
    At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake
    Another industrial ugly morning
    The factory belches filth into the sky
    He walks unhindered through the picket lines today,
    He doesn’t think to wonder why
    The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street,
    But all he ever thinks to do is watch,
    And every single meeting with his so-called superior
    Is a humiliating kick in the crotch
    Many miles away something crawls to the surface
    Of a dark Scottish loch
    Another working day has ended
    Only the rush hour hell to face
    Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
    Contestants in a suicidal race
    Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
    He knows that something somewhere has to break
    He sees the family home now, looming in his headlights
    The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
    Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door
    Of a cottage on the shore
    Of a dark Scottish lake

    Many miles away…

    Anyhow, back to what the universe is telling me.  Several months ago, I requested that the library purchase the book Gift of injury: the strength athlete’s guide to recovering from back injury and winning again by Stuart McGill.  I just got the notification that it has arrived and I can pick it up.  That very night, my back went out, and for the past few days, I’ve had the worst and most painful back spasms of my life.  Non-stop.  If you are reading this,  you know me well, and you know that I don’t tolerate weakness in myself very well.  And by very well, I mean not at all.  😉 I am not good at needing help. I am not good at being dependent on anyone for anything.  But in the past few days, I’ve had times where I couldn’t get up off the floor on my own.  Talk about humbling. I am trying to practice more lovingkindness toward myself, more patience with myself, and more acceptance of myself.

    Earlier this week I was scanning through the documentaries on Netflix. I  love a good documentary. I stumbled upon Ram Dass: Going Home.  It was a really interesting film. Since suffering a life-changing stroke twenty years ago, he has been living at his home on Maui and deepening his spiritual practice — which is centered on love and his idea of merging with his surroundings and all living things.

    Some of my favorite lines :

    I am loving awareness.

    We are souls.  As souls, we are not under time or space. We are infinite.
    In this culture, dependency is a no-no. The stroke showed me dependency.  And that I have people who are dependable.

    I don’t wish you the stroke, I wish you the grace from the stroke.

    While having my back go out is nothing like a stroke, it’s minor and temporary.  But it did make me see that I have people who are dependable and that I can practice grace quite well.  I am learning.

  • Real

    Friday, April 6, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Find someone who can handle your darkest truths, who don’t change the subject when you share your pain, or try to make you feel bad for feeling bad.

    Find someone who understands we all struggle, some of us more than others, and that there’s no weakness in admitting it. In fact, few things take as much strength.

    Find someone who wants to be real, however that looks and feels, and who wants you to be real, too.

    Find someone who gets that life is hard, and who gets that life is also beautiful, and who aren’t afraid to honor both those realities.

    Find someone who helps you feel more at home in your heart, mind, and body, and who take joy in your joy. Find someone who loves you, for real, and who accepts you, for real, just as you are.

    Continue Reading…

  • Choose Wisely

    Sunday, March 18, 2018 No tags Permalink






    I started succeeding when I started leaving small fights for small fighters.

    I stopped fighting those who gossiped about me…

    I stopped fighting for attention…

    I stopped fighting to meet public expectation of me…

    I stopped fighting for my rights with stupid people..

    I left such fights for those who have nothing else to fight…

    And I started fighting for
    my vision,
    my dreams,
    my ideas and
    my destiny.

    The day I gave up on small fights is the day I started becoming successful.

    Some fights are not worth your time.
    Choose what you fight for wisely.

  • Contemplating Softness

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018 No tags Permalink

    It’s the hard things that break; soft things don’t break. You can waste so many years of your life trying to become something hard in order not to break, but it’s the soft things that can’t break. The hard things are the ones that shatter into a million pieces.

    We want to be “strong” and “tough,” to be able to handle all of life’s trials and tribulations without cracking. When we are strong, we hunker down, grit our teeth, and bear it. When we are tough, we “power through” the bad times. The short-term result of this is often satisfying. The hard person bounces back quickly from a failed marriage or an illness or losing a job.However, the trouble is often found beneath the surface and in the long-term. What happens when someone spends a lifetime hunkering down and powering through. The tree that doesn’t bend, breaks. A hard tree can endure a lot, but when a strong wind blows, it cracks and falls over.

    Brené Brown talks of armor. We put on armor to avoid the hurt. That used to be a way of life for me. I endured a lot of trauma as a young adult and one survival mechanism I developed through these experiences was to not go too deep with people and not open up. But what does it mean when you don’t let people in and open yourself up to them? You avoid the hurt, but you also miss the intimacy, the connection, and the depth of an open, honest relationship.As Brené explains, you can cut off feelings—the good and the bad—but you can’t isolate and block out specific types of feelings. In order to feel joy and intimacy, you need to allow yourself the vulnerability that will also inevitably lead at times to pain.

    <The more you hurt, the more you fear. The more you fear, the thicker the armor you wear. The thicker your armor, the more it weighs you down. When my armor finally cracked and fell off, it led to a  breakdown. It was during the recovery from that breakdown that I learned what true strength was. When the pain became too much, I fell apart, and at that point, I had no choice but to go right. At that moment, all my hardness couldn’t see me through. And that’s what suffering is: it’s the great teacher that tells keeps telling you where to go, and the more you try to power through, the more painful and prolonged it will be. Then you soften up and go right, and everything changes.

    Let hurt soften you; don’t let it harden you. Let that time someone hurt you open your heart up to compassion for all of those who are hurting. Let it be a reminder at the moment to be more forgiving.

    When an experience is difficult, you can fight with it. But if you surrender to it, let down your walls, and be open to the experience, and you will grow from the pain. Give up the hard walls and soften yourself up to what comes your way.

    When floating down the river of life, you’re totally right to swim in the direction you’d like to go. But paddle too hard against the current, and you’ll drown. Try going soft and floating, seeing where the river will take you—it’s not like you have that much of a choice anyway. 😉

    Bravely learn to relax with life and see what happens, and you will make decisions with more wisdom and take actions with more power than if you were fighting.

    As Pema Chödrön says, “stop protecting your soft spot…stop armoring your heart.” Likewise, “wretchedness humbles us and softens us…Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us.”

  • Chances and Changes

    Sunday, February 18, 2018 No tags Permalink

    “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou


    That is one of the hardest lessons for me to learn.  I have struggled with it for years. I have caused myself much needless suffering because I always wanted to give people a second chance, and a third, and a fourth. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I am the woman who sees the “potential” in someone. The person they “could” be, with a lot of love and nurturing, and if I just believed in them enough. I tend to give people a pass and to make excuses for their bad behavior. Behavior that doesn’t  add up to what I am told, behavior in past or present relationships that wasn’t filled with integrity. If someone lies to other people in their life, there’s a very high likelihood that they will lie to you as well. When choosing those who I allow into I my life, I need to ask if he/she is a person embodies the things that are important to me, or am I convincing myself that I can change them? You can never change someone. Only they can change themselves, and only when they’re good and ready to change.

    Continue Reading…

  • Monday, January 22, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I’v been hearing about how so many of us are  feeling lethargic, unmotivated, or worn out. I realized we are not really made to rocket straight through winter, ablaze with energy. Look at nature– the ground, plants and animals are deep at rest. That is the natural way of things. We need to spend some time with the long nights, the moon, solitude, the bare earth, stillness. Be easier on yourself.

    We tend to forget that we are still a part of nature and our biological clock isn’t set to perform 4 seasons at rocket speed…we need to listen to the body and nature more.

    Continue Reading…

  • Happiness and Purpose

    Saturday, January 20, 2018 No tags Permalink

    The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depend upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily.”

    ~ Plato

    Christopher Reeve was born into a wealthy family in New York. Reeve split his young adult life between Ivy League schools in the United States and sipping wine and riding horses around Europe. In 1978, Reeve hit his big break and scored the role of Superman in a big-budget Hollywood movie. He earned millions and became one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world.

    Reeve made a fortune. He spent that fortune on nice houses, nice cars, luxurious parties and his passion for riding horses.Then in 1995, Reeve fell off a horse and cracked two vertebrae in his spine. He would never walk or breathe on his own again.

    He became an advocate for the disabled and spent the rest of his life fundraising for spinal cord research. He was the first celebrity supporter of stem cell research. Reeve later claimed that his accident helped him “appreciate life more.” It wasn’t a joke. He noted that there were “able-bodied people more paralyzed than I am,” and once remarked, “I can laugh. I can love. I am a very lucky guy.”

    Happiness, like every other emotion, isn’t something you obtain, but rather something you inhabit. When you’re really angry, you are not self-conscious about your state of anger. You are not thinking to yourself, “Am I finally angry? Am I doing this right?” No, you’re just angry. You inhabit and live the anger. You are the anger. And then it’s gone.

    Just as a confident man doesn’t wonder if he’s confident, a happy man does not wonder if he’s happy. He simply is.

    What this implies is that happiness is not achieved, but rather it is the side effect of a particular set of ongoing life experiences. So often we get this wrong, especially since happiness is marketed as a goal in and of itself. Buy X and be happy. Learn Y and be happy. But you can’t buy happiness and you can’t achieve happiness. It just is. And it is once you get other parts of your life in order.

    Research shows that people who focus their energy on materialistic and superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable, less healthy, and less happy in the long run. 

    One vital aspect of attaining a measure of happiness is to have a sense of a purpose in life.  For most of us, it is something that is constantly evolving as we move through life. This is my latest iteration:

    To live mindfully and passionately in the present moment, to discover my surroundings, discover myself, to follow my heart and to love freely, to become the greatest version of myself, to be a lifelong learner, to seek adventure and growth, and to spread kindness and peace along the way.

    I ask myself these questions to discover my purpose: What do you love? What are you good at? What are your greatest passions? What makes you truly feel alive? Make certain to follow your heart (do all those things that make you feel happy, that lift your spirits, that give you butterflies, that make you feel light) and evolve spiritually — become more enlightened.

  • What’s in Your Cup?

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 No tags Permalink

    You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

    Why did you spill the coffee?

    “Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”

    Wrong answer.

    You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

    Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

    *Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*

    Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

    So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

    When life gets tough, what spills over?

    Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

    Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

    You choose!

    Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

  • i am running into a new year {Poetry}

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018 No tags Permalink

    i am running into a new year
    and the old years blow back
    like a wind
    that i catch in my hair
    like strong fingers like
    all my old promises and
    it will be hard to let go
    of what i said to myself
    about myself
    when i was sixteen and
    twenty-six and thirty-six
    even forty-six but
    i am running into a new year
    and i beg what i love and
    i leave to forgive me

    —Lucille Clifton

    published in Good Woman: Poems and A Memoir 1969-1980


    We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential. When you start to feel like things should have been better this past year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and those same moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing. You are living. You are wrapped in endless, boundless, grace. And things WILL get better. There is more to you than yesterday.

    One thing I love to do every year is Apartment Therapy’s January  Cure. The Cure is a month worth of assignments, a giant kickstart to the new year in which you do something good for your home, every day.  You get a small task every day, and by the end of the month, your home is a better place to live.  I love it!  You can sign up to get a daily reminder here.

  • Choose Love

    Friday, December 1, 2017 No tags Permalink

    No matter what commandments, scripture, sutras, philosophy, religion, or spiritual practices you follow, if you choose love, you win.  We all win.  It’s that simple.

  • Sugar and Spice

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017 No tags Permalink

    Ha! That is pretty much me! Better than the original nursery rhyme:

    What are little boys made of?
    What are little boys made of?
    Frogs and snails,
    And puppy-dogs’ tails;
    That’s what little boys are made of.

    What are little girls made of?
    What are little girls made of?
    Sugar and spice,
    And all that’s nice;
    That’s what little girls are made of.

    A lot of nursery rhymes are pretty messed up when you stop to think about it.

    Ring around the rosy
    A pocketful of posies
    “Ashes, Ashes”
    We all fall down!

    This rhyme comes from the Great Plague of London. The symptoms of bubonic plague included a rosy red ring-shaped rash, which inspired the first line. It was believed that the disease was carried by bad smells, so people frequently carried pockets full of fresh herbs, or “posies.” The “ashes, ashes” line is believed to refer to the cremation of the bodies of those who died from the plague.

    Rock-a-bye, baby,
    In the tree top.
    When the wind blows,
    The cradle will rock.
    When the bough breaks,
    The cradle will fall,
    And down will come baby, Cradle and all

    Why is a song about a baby falling out of a tree supposed to be a restful lullaby?

  • Three Things

    Friday, September 8, 2017 No tags Permalink

    I tend to agree with this. Love is a verb. As the expression goes, put your money where your mouth is. Kind and lovely words are nice, but they have no meaning if there’s not an action behind them.

    Let’s face it, everyone lives a busy life in today’s world. But we all make time for things we value.  We choose what is important to us and how we spend our most precious asset: our time.

    This quote by Maya Angelou rings so true:

    “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

    I tend to give people a lot of chances, some say too many chances. But I’m not afraid to cut out people who always take and never give.  I’ve done it before, and while it’s difficult at first, it’s what’s best. Life is too short to be surrounded by the wrong people.