more happy

One Time I Thought I Knew ~ A List Of Ten Things

In my twenties I knew a lot of things. In my thirties, beliefs started dropping like flies at the end of a long, hot summer. In my forties, just a bit gun-shy for having made so many broad assumptions in the beginning, I began collecting things I believe.

It would be foolish to say I will always believe the things that seem so obvious to me today, but I have quite a lot of confidence in these, and so I present them to you:

1. I believe that miracles multiply. Once we start noticing them, they’re everywhere for us to pick up like gems along the path. This is not unlike buying a black Jetta and suddenly they seem to be swarming the highways. Only better than that.
2. Though it’s difficult to embrace it when it’s happening to us, I believe that when people behaveroald dahl quote badly it has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with them. While it doesn’t make it more fun, it’s just an explanation that if embraced, makes the ordeal less painful.
3. Audrey Hepburn is one of my heroes and to that end; I believe that happy girls are the prettiest. Sure, put on mascara, but live a life you love and the whole world will look at you in wonder.
4. Having been around the block a few years, I now see love less like a feeling and more like a complex root system to be nurtured. While root systems can look similar, there is a multitude of plants out there and they can be quite different. Don’t worry how your “love” looks, concern yourself with what it needs in order to thrive.
5. If I were in charge of the world, and let’s face it, that doesn’t seem like a wise idea, but if I were in charge, I’d make core curriculum testing way less important than teaching young people how to think critically and trust their intuition. I would totally sign up for those classes today if anyone would please offer them.
6. It’s an ugly truth that “nap time” is eradicated from life just when we don’t resent it any longer.
7. Audacity is possibly the most underrated characteristic out there. If we all put on our Audacity Capes, we would achieve great feats of bravery and every one of us would change the world in a big way. Put on your cape. Please, for all our sakes.
8. We’d all feel a lot better if we never clicked on links to negative and outrageous stuff like, “Cute child stars who got ugly when they grew up.” Sure it’s a curiosity, but who amongst us would want someone clicking on a negative page about us? Scroll on by.
9. Choosing to believe in miracles and magic is simply more fun. Everyone should try just a bit of it.
10. I believe in love. I believe in laughter and dancing in the rain, by yourself or with someone you who sets your soul on fire. I believe if we were all taught true, pure, self-love, we could love each other better. I believe pettiness never was happiness and I believe the road to perfection is paved with embracing imperfection and simply being wildly and joyfully human.

Like, share, comment, tweet and hey, reach out if you’d like a little help along your own path. I’ve got some rockin’ cool stuff to help you along the way.

doctor lucy

God & The Psychiatrist ~ Michelle Church

When Mr Dreamboat went to jail I visited a light handful of times a therapist. Chosen based on her proximity to my home, it ended up that this was not the wisest way to find a therapist. But whatayagonnado?

The reason I ultimately stopped going wasn’t because I thought she wasn’t much help but because when I asked her for another appointment she said, “Oh, you’re coming back?”

So of course the answer had to be a resounding, “No. No I am not.” Jeez… You would have thought she at least liked my money…

Ironically I remember quite a lot of the things she told me. I didn’t think much of her therapeutic methods but she lingers with me to this day.

Possibly the most thought provoking idea Dr Local gave me was the idea that I needn’t do anything to be what I should be. Indeed, she suggested that I am what I am supposed to be.

There are images of “The Beautiful People” that haunt us. There are stories of brilliance and wealth and success that dogs each one of us to some degree or another.

And so we run faster, jump higher or we give up altogether and lay on the couch in surrender, clear that we will never, can never be what we should. It’s a sucky feeling and if you ask me which of those scenarios I mean is sucky, I would simply answer, “Yes. All of them.”

If you believe in God, and I personally think it’s more fun to do so, then it is easy to believe that he created you, with your quirks and imperfections, he created you perfectly.

Dr Local shocked me clear down to my PTSD socks that day and the truth is that I’ve been chewing on the idea ever since. Because I like it. And I believe it to be true. Or at least I try to believe it and for the brief moments when I achieve it, it is glorious and magical.

And I feel good. And I want you to feel just that way too.

Like, share, comment, tweet and slow down and be yourself.

rage

A Rage Against Injustice

In the spirit of full disclosure and, even more so, a need to emotionally purge, I admit that Tuesday was a dark and ugly day. I had feelings, and they were not feelings I enjoyed feeling.

So that happened.

I know. I know you’re saying, hey, happens to the best of us. And this is true, but it was my day, so it was suckier for me.

It sucked in the way that is deep and mournful and so I listened to music that was melancholy and I didn’t answer my phone. When I did answer the phone I completely avoided honesty or any sort of transparency. Don’t judge.

Though I’m not sure it’s a scientifically proven method of mourning, it was effective and by the end of the evening (said mourning also included innocuous, anonymous swearing at other drivers and NCIS, which involves murder… good for the soul), I was feeling better, if not well.

By yesterday I was headed in the right direction but still had a bit of a lamentation hangover. I do not recommend it. Even to this moment there is a part of me not entirely myself. But here’s the deal;

First thing in the morning I scuttled into my car to take the man-cub to school and go off to my first appointment. It was then I got a big grin on my face and I felt… cared for.

The afternoon before, all full of pain and angst and the disappoint life inevitably sometimes brings us, I made myself stop and put gas in the car. A small act, but considering the way I was feeling, it was a bold move and one I was proud of.

When I turned they key of the car that next morning, I felt loved. Loved by the person that is always with me, and with a little practice, will always be there for me.

There’s no getting around the occasional dark day. In fact, if we only have them occasionally we’re doing rather well. And if we take the time to care for ourselves in deep and meaningful ways, those dark days won’t last so long.

There is emancipation in taking responsibility for how we feel. There’s a power to it that even the finest caregiver cannot grant us. And whether or not you choose to swear, watch blood and guts television or fill your car with gas, make sure you care for yourself in a way that is profound to you.

It’s the best way to feel loved, to feel well and ultimately to heal ourselves the best we can.

Like, share, comment, tweet and rage against injustice and GMO’s.

michellememefire

You Can Tell “The Man” To SUCK IT!

You should be pissed. I don’t normally prescribe “anger”, but for this, you should get kind of mad. My bet is that it will inspire you to action and that’s what we’re looking for here.

You see, somewhere along the way, someone, whether be default or design, told us to get realistic, stop dreaming and get on with the business of life. And this should make you angry. I know I’m totally pissed.

Just to be clear, this isn’t the kind of fury you ruminate upon. It’s just the kind where you realize there’s been an injustice and you take action to remove its blight from your world.

Let’s get a move on this.

Every week I work with amazing people, like yourself, and every week we throw our best efforts into creating dazzlingly fulfilling lives. Simple enough. Except for it’s not. Maybe life just got the best of you or perhaps you were told to tone down those dreams because you were a girl or flawed or whatever. And that, my friends, is crap.

Les Brown is famous for saying, “Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but that they aim too low and hit.”

It’s probably that too often in the past I found myself smack dab in the middle of that statement. Too busy with the work of life to dream of something better. It’s likely my life was so good that “great” seemed like too much to ask.

And then I got mad. The good kind of mad. The kind that says to “the man”, “You can suck it! I’m totally playing full out and if you don’t like it when I fail, that’s cool. Cuz soon enough you’re going to see me win!”

In the spirit of spreading the love, I just want to ask you one question. And before I ask you, I’m just gonna tell you straight out that it’s kind of hard to start dreaming when the dreaming stuffing has been kicked right out of you. It’s going to take some effort and practice, but I know you can do it.

Keep this question with you always and I promise it will change your life:

What life would I love?

And for my accelerated students:

Then take action toward that life.

Like, share, comment, tweet and you’re welcome:D

the-hook-02

One Time I Was Killed In The Woods

Many years ago I found myself in the middle of the forest on Mount Hood well past midnight. By myself, I had nothing but a wind up flashlight and an active imagination. I also had an ear infection, effectively plugging my left ear so that no sound could be accurately tracked to its origin.

The ear infection was a huge boon to my imagination and the four of us, me, the dim flashlight, my ear infection and my imagination had a hell of an adventure dodging all the criminally mentally ill escapees roaming about that night.

I had been asked to play the part of a pioneer woman for a youth group and with my escorts un-well, I’d opted to go it alone rather than abort my mission. I was perhaps only a quarter of a mile up the trail when I heard an unidentified thump just behind me.

I whirled around, certain I was about come face to face with the man with the hook of scary campfire fame. And there was nothing. Nothing but my wildly beating heart.

Possibly it is my memory romanticizing the moment, but it seems to me now, that just then the clouds parted and I looked up to the most beautiful, bright moon I had ever seen, crowned by the tall and imperial trees. Though I am no scriptorian by anyone’s standards, just then a comforting scripture popped in my fear enflamed mind, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I have thought about that foolhardy night many times in the years that have past. I’ve thought about how silly and afraid I was. But most of all I’ve thought about being still. Being still and listening.

For much of my life I’ve tried to run to the next answer, do the next required thing and push away any feelings that weren’t “worthy” or “helpful”. Though I have thought of that night and that moment many times, I’ve rarely practiced what the scripture counseled.

How rarely we are still. How typical is it that we make our way with too little light and diminished senses. How often do we fill in the blanks of what we do not know with the most outlandish and improbable answers simply so we can say we know what the answers are?

Maybe the reason I’ve thought of that night so many times is that I need the message just as much now as I did then. It’s time to add it in to the practice.

Being still, how hard can it be? Right?

Like, share, comment, tweet and listen to the silence.

pansy and snow

The Winter That Would Not End ~ Michelle Church

The weather here in North America has been nothing short of surprising this past winter. Maybe if I’d checked the Farmer’s Almanac I totally would have seen it coming.

My friends in the Northeast were pummeled, humbled and frozen by the wrath of the angriest weather gods, while those of us on the west coast enjoyed what was the mildest winter in years. There were days so blissfully temperate I thought I’d gone to heaven.

Just yesterday I saw a picture of one of my friends celebrating the opening of the lovely gardens near her home. She did so in the snow. Spring has sprung, but perhaps only technically, depending on where you live.

And so it goes most years. We are at the mercy of the weather, we are caught by surprise, by the fickle nature of existance.

One of the benefits of getting older is that regardless of the weather we may be experiencing in the moment, we’ve come to recognize patterns. We might be freezing our toes off and barely able to remember what the sun looks like, but we remember it. We recall it fondly and we know from experience it will come again.

The last few months before Mr Dreamboat returned from Rock & Roll Camp were simply grueling. If my life had been expressed in the form of weather, it was the coldest and longest winter on record. Apocalyptic even.

As the days until his return shortened and we were advised of his release date, there came a time when it was almost impossible to believe that he would ever return to me. Winter, it seemed, might never, ever end.

Once I realized I had these feelings I simply took myself through the logical process of it all. As crazy as it sounds, I sat myself down, not just once, but every time my faith began to fail, and remembered that every single year of my life there has been a July 23rd. Not once have we skipped that date in all the years I’ve been alive.

This year would be no different.

As sure as the sun is to rise, as sure as spring follows winter and July 23rd rolls around every single year, the things with which we struggle, they too will wane. It is a gift that is sometimes hard to remember, but is ever so.

Spring has sprung quite a lot early here on the Young Family Ranch. Every day when the sun shines and the trees blossom, I am caught up in the delight. And as sure as it has come to my house, no matter what you might be feeling in this moment, it will come to yours too.

Like, share, comment, tweet and “Be still and know…”

michellememepath

Far Better Things Ahead

It is said that if we are depressed we are living in the past and if we are anxious we are living in the future. Or maybe we’re depressed because we’re living in a future in which we have no faith. I don’t know. I don’t know who said it and further, I don’t know if there was any credibility to it.

But it sounds right…

Most of the time I am living in the present and it is here they say one finds peace. Or was it peaches? Depending on the season.

It is definitely not living in the past I’m experiencing, but I admit I have lots of anxiety about the future. This future I am imagining, it’s full of new things I’ve never done before and many of which I’ve never even dreamed before. As such, you can imagine it’s pretty scary sometimes, what with new baby dreams running around making a ruckus in my mind.

Because I don’t know what I’m doing I spend quite a lot of mental energy trying to figure it all out. Well, at least I try to figure out the next few steps. And from all these mental acrobats, I think I have a few, just a few things, I do know for sure.

What I know for sure is that our plates are only so big. Once we’ve filled up the metaphorical plates of our lives, if we want to add in something else, we’ve got to clear something off that plate. Historically I probably would have tried to eat it, but experience has shown us this will only result in a stomachache and regret.

If we want something new in our lives something old has to go. What I’m finding is that the person I want to become wouldn’t have room for some of the Old Michelle things. Things like time wasters, keeping up appearances and empty relationships.

If we want to live lives we’ve never lived, we have to make choices we’ve never made and think thoughts we’ve never yet entertained.

Recently there have been days that have worn me out so thoroughly, I long for the comforts of the past. And then I remember living there would be depressing. There are times I am so perplexed by how I am to do the things I plan to do that I become anxious and sometimes overwhelmed.

But when I live right here in this moment and I remember to do what I can with what I have and start exactly where I am, it is then I can imagine living a life that simply astonishes me.

And you have to ask yourself, Why not?

Like, share, comment, tweet and dare to be the best you imaginable.

michelle & mary on stage

comfortz

It’s Monday ~ A List Of Ten Comforts

After an intensive four days of meetings and travel, it comes as no surprise to me as I hurtle through the sky to my beloved Young Family Ranch & Zombie Apocalypse Sanctuary that I yearn for the comforts of our little oasis. With planes to catch and strangers to wrangle it’s the simpler things I seek this Monday and the week before us all.

Even if you’ve been smack dab in the middle of your normal routine, treating yourself to self-care and the goodness that fills your cup is always a good idea. Here are ten of mine:

  1. While eating out is nice and having someone bring our food and clean up afterward is always a treat, going to your own refrigerator and taking out that favorite snack, or better yet, making a home cooked meal is balm for the soul. I lean toward homemade chicken soup. Or scrambled eggs. You choose.
  2. Sometimes I dress for the day based on how much like jammies my outfit feels. Don’t get me wrong, I never wear sweats in public, but a long skirt and a cute jacket are more comfortable than sweats any day.
  3. Every one of us is a creator, an artist. Whether your art is painting, writing or parenting doing something that lights the fires of creativity is good for the soul. It’s good for your family when you’re in that zone and it’s good for the world. Give the world a gift and tap into your creativity.
  4. I mentioned hemp milk lattes didn’t I? Because they are nutty and rich and fluffy. If you want a fluffy drink I recommend this one.
  5. More than anything else, the way our week turns out has to do with how we show up in it. Show up cranky, disappointed and tense and let me know how that works out for you. Show up with your shoulders back and a smile that says to the world, “Bring it!” and I’ll show you a week that’s got super star written all over it.
  6. While I’ve worked the whole weekend and I am a bit weary, there’s no way I’m going to let Monday go by without making at least one step in the direction of what makes me come alive. Whether it’s a book I read or a call I make I will do something… and the Universe will reach up to meet me…
  7. When animals are tired or sick, they naturally take time, hunker down and get the TLC they need. Humans? We’re not that smart. We pretend, we power through and ultimately make a sketch situation worse by denying ourselves basic needs. Me? If I’m tired, I’m going to rest. Seems simple enough.
  8. Perhaps the best way to make ourselves feel good is to feel good. Just do it. Look at the world with childlike wonder and if it takes you all day to find something to be grateful for, spend your entire day looking for it. I guarantee you it will take but a moment to start a list of gratitude, feeling good and childlike wonder.
  9. For me, the best way to start the day out is by saving Facebook for later, email for mid-morning and exercise and meditation for first thing. Try it. You’ll like it.
  10. When my daughter was an intern at Disney World we packed our bags and brought our two youngest boys out to see her and enjoy the Magic Kingdom. Having Zoë there to show us the tricks to make it perfect made all the difference. She coached us through the whole process, pointing out interesting things people don’t see and better ways to use the park. All day and up until the very end she coached us. It was late at night when we got on the tram she gave me my final instructions. “Mom, people are going to rush for a seat, you’ve got to be assertive.” As I went to board the tram she whispered in her best coach’s voice, “Go! Make it your bench.” Yeah. Let’s make this week our bench.

Like, share, comment, tweet and make the world your amusement park.

monday's your bitch

michelle and mary

Join Us For Michelle Church In A Soulless Hotel Room

As I write this I am sitting on my comfortable bed in a Marriott Hotel in California. Maybe it’s something about the soulless hotel room that somehow robs me of the words I love so much. Who’s to say?

What I know for sure is that over the last three days I’ve set at the feet of master teachers and communed with like-minded individuals. It is for further training in my career that I am here, and though I miss Mr Dreamboat, there’s no other place I’d rather be. I feel both full and empty, full of love and light and possibility… and empty of coherent thought.

Or maybe that’s just the soulless room talking.

These last three days have taught me things I never knew and reminded me in a powerful way of things I already did. Perhaps what’s come most clearly into focus is that knowing a truth is quite different than knowing about it. If I am not living it, the depth of the knowing is of little worth.

If I preach judge not and yet I judge, I don’t know it’s true. If I say kindness is the best of all attributes but I am miserly and mean, what is it I really know?

It is of little concern to me to what particular religion you subscribe. What it is I’m far more curious about is how you live, how you love and what beliefs are so deep in your soul that you don’t just know about them, but you breathe them into your life and the lives of those with whom you cross paths.

This week I’ve been reminded of the things that I know about and the things I wish to bind with my DNA in a way that is everlasting. I want to live in such a way that when we meet you feel cared for and loved.

These days I concern myself less with “the great mysteries” I’ve yet to divine, and more with the simple things that really matter to me. I gather these things along the way and with a little luck and a lot of perseverance, they won’t just be a few nice thoughts in my collection, but they will equal a life of knowing the things that really matter.

Whatever your truth, live it. Whatever your beliefs, share them with others by living them. And whatever you know about, be about.

Like, share, comment, tweet and can I get an amen?

woman-strong

I Am A Woman Not A Doormat, Dammit

Yesterday I rose above the late morning clouds of the northwest sky and air-bussed my way to sunny southern California. I like to travel and though the lines and tunnels to board any plane can feel quite a bit like a cattle shoot, there’s always an air of expectancy to any trip. Cattle or no.

Because I travel fairly often I’ve learned a few tricks and Mr Dreamboat has mentored me as well. Things like choose your seat-mate and board early can make all the difference between an relaxed adventure and an uncomfortable three hour nightmare.

The second I did, the first, not so much.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about a video I recently saw showing empowered women in the workplace and daily life. What gave me pause was the apologies. A veritable plethora of them voiced by women from all walks of life.

There was a submissiveness to them that made the video uncomfortable to watch. Perhaps because of the truth it revealed. About me. About you?

I was sitting in my aisle seat on Southwest and I was sitting there because I chose it, because I checked in early and as such had a broader choice of seats than those who were not so diligent.

When 6’4” man came to sit in the remaining middle seat I felt compelled to give him my seat. Because he would be more comfortable? Because I am kind? Because I am a women?

Then I started to wonder if his friend didn’t pointedly ask if he should be sitting in the aisle because of his height. And I wonder if he wasn’t leaning further into my seat because I am a woman and another man occupied the seat to the left.

Truly, I do not know the answers to these questions, but I think they’re worthy questions.

I am a 47-year-old woman with important work to do. I seek to bring a greater lightness to the world, to preach self-love and love for one another. I cannot do it if I’m apologizing about things for which I am not and cannot be sorry. But when should I be sorry? This I do not know.

I am a woman and I want to be kind and generous and thoughtful and at this juncture I’m not sure where the line of between kindness and submissiveness is.

But I’m looking for it. I’m looking for it 20,000 feet above the earth and in my daily interactions. Maybe if we look for it together we’ll find it.

Like, share comment, tweet and remember it’s rare we find something we aren’t seeking.