Monthly Archives: May 2013

Meditation & The Common Cold

I’m getting a cold. It’s just a bit of a cold and you can’t even tell I have one other than I am wearing a robe

(sniff sniff) and a sort of pained look on my face (forced cough).

I spent yesterday doing homey things and I had a few appointments, all the time managing my “sort of” cold. While I do have to deal with my auto immune “thing”, at least it keeps me from getting really bad viruses. I just get “sort of” sick maybe once a year. Silver linings.

Feeling a little off, I wouldn’t say I was a whirlwind of activity. Rather, I did the pedestrian activities necessary and nothing more.

One such activity I forced upon myself was sweeping the breezeway. It’s not like I’m an especially tidy person. It’s that Finn, my errant puppy, has chosen to chew up sticks in front of the most frequently used door , the one between the garage and the house, and I just couldn’t take walking over the wood chips any longer. It seems like it’s bad feng shui.

So I had ever so slight a cough, and felt just a wee bit wan and I stood out in the cool air and slowly and methodically swept the breezeway.

I mention it because it was the best meditation I’ve had in ages. There is something sincerely soothing in our simplest efforts. There is something lovely and cathartic about everyday tasks.

“I don’t know where being a servant came into disrepute. It is the refuge of a philosopher, the food of the lazy, and, properly carried out, it is a position of power, even of love. I can’t understand why more intelligent people don’t take it as a career – learn to do it well and reap its benefits.”
John Steinbeck – East Of Eden

I hope today finds you with a broom or a cloth in your hands. I hope you take to a task that is simple and fulfilling. I hope you give service and in doing so, I hope you find peace and even love.

The Portal Of Our Pain

ImageI haven’t chosen an official “Theme Song” for the jail days. I definitely had a playlist that was as varied as Big Boi is to The Allman Brothers. Regardless of the genre, there was a desperate nature to those days and to the music that gave me solace.

Though I didn’t listen to the song or even have it on my iPod, Janice Joplin singing Bobby McGee probably summed up the feeling of that era. I know I’ve said it before, but freedom really is just another word for nothing left to lose.

I saw a Ted Talk the other day on the recommendation of my friend Lisa about an artist who, in his deep passion for art and creation got smacked upside the head by life. His focused efforts in creating art actually limited his ability to do it, leaving him sad and desperate. For a time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrZTho_o_is

The thing about losing our tools and every day routines is that we are forced out of our natural comfort zones and into a world that isn’t familiar. If our normal inclination as humans is to be at rest, then losing the things that make life easy for us automatically forces us into action. Our discomfort serves us if we allow it to do its work.

I think about the Michelle from years ago. I am a little sad for her as I think about what she Imagehad to go through and the rude awakenings she endured. However, what I have become and am becoming because of what she went through is as exciting to me as believing that we’re going for a walk in the neighborhood park and then finding out Disney World will be the actual destination.

Hey, parks are awesome. Who doesn’t love a good walk in the park? But finding out our options are limitless and there’s nothing that isn’t available to us? Now that’s something to get excited about!

While I wouldn’t choose to do it again, I am grateful for jail and for pain and for soul aching difficulties. I am grateful for vanities that were washed away in the public thrashings I received. I am so fortunate to have suffered my routines crashing around my feet and all things unimportant washed away in the flood of my struggles.

There is a new and vibrant world available to us through the portal of our pain. Walk through it. There’s nothing that can’t be accomplished in the freedoms to be had there.

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Our Subtle Addictions

I have spoken on more than one occasion about my current love affair with bleu cheese. It’sImage not bleu cheese all by itself. It is accompanied with mixed greens, some sort of fruit like apples or craisins, and nuts. Preferably pecans. They make me feel southern.

I really thought it was a passing craving, but it’s been dragging on for months now. And if I’m being honest it’s not the mixed greens that are the pivotal ingredient. It’s not the fruit or the southern feel of the pecans. It’s the bleu cheese.

I. LOVE. IT.

For once I am not being pretentious in my tastes. Maybe I am when I spell it, but when I wake up in the morning and skip breakfast altogether so I’m extra hungry for lunch and by lunch I mean bleu cheese on greens with a little garlic olive oil over the top, that’s just unadorned desire.

So I started asking the obvious question, What’s up with that? Any restaurant with a decent salad and some moldy cheese is now my favorite. This is getting out of hand.

So I went to the goddess of all knowledge, Google. I don’t recommend you ask about craving bleu cheese. For once Google isn’t being all that specific. I was sure there was an organization for us. You know, like The Bleu Man Group, or some such thing. But no.

Seriously, Google? There must be dozens of us!

So then I Googled cravings in general. This is where I hit gold. If you call sadness gold. When I Googled cravings I found information I already knew, but didn’t want to remember.

Cravings are often foods to which we are allergic. By eating the food our body reacts to, we incite our body to create a natural opioid. Yeah, our body drugs us up and makes us feel all happy and delicious.

Do you know how they make bleu cheese? They inject cheese with penicillin. True story. KnowImage what I’m allergic to? Yeah…

But we’re not really here to talk about my food allergies. We’re here to talk about our subtle addictions.

Yes, I need to do something about my cheese issue. Tomorrow. I’ll deal with it tomorrow. But today, I am wondering what we do on a daily basis that we’re sort of allergic to, but it gives us a temporary high.

ImageIs it the friend who insults you but you keep coming back? The Facebook addiction that sort of makes you feel bad about yourself but you just can’t stop? The secret stash of chocolate you eat in private so you can look like a virtuous eater?

I can’t possibly know what your little addictions are, but if you are having an honest conversation with yourself, be sure to ask.

The issue with a subtle addiction is not the temporary high. The issue is that over time the exposure to something that is inherently bad for you accumulates and makes demands on your body, your self esteem and your life that begin to erode your health. Physical and mental.

I started this blog post thinking I would allow myself this one vice. But even as I wrote it I began to realize that as subtle as it may seem, any addiction is a bad one.

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Dazzled By Silence

Last evening we returned from Lake Las Vegas. Mr Dreamboat was successful in convincing me to come for the weekend. After an initially bumpy entry into the world of CEO Space, I spent the weekend with interesting people, listening to exciting business ideas, plans and start-ups and I ate a delicious hamburger, gluten and all. That’s what I call a successful three day weekend.

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This is when she played Wonder Woman. Now she actually IS Wonder Woman.

One of the delights of the trip was a late dinner with Cathy Lee Crosby. Cathy Lee is entering back into the entertainment scene after a hiatus while she cared for her loving aunt and uncle. I was skeptical in meeting her as show biz isn’t known for churning out non-narcissists.

Cathy Lee Crosby is an exception. She is kind, lovely, interesting, interested and super funny. I knew I was going to like her when she started out our visit by tearing up the menu and having a paper airplane contest. She won with her intuitively designed paper airplane bomb.

She has graciously taken on a mentoring role with Zoe and with beautiful insight counseled Aaron to take 30 to 35 minutes each morning to meditate and simply listen; to himself, to the universe, to God… just listen.

This morning I was surprised to find Mr D in his office doing just that. I left him there and told Chase not to talk to his dad until the office door was open. I tended to a few things and went down to my studio to write/meditate in my creative pages.

It was delicious.

I’ve written about my morning ritual before. I always enjoy it, but this morning was different. While Mr D was meditating in his way, I was meditating on paper and OH THE THINGS THAT CAME TO ME!

I was inspired. I was dazzled. I was excited and challenged and thoughtful all at one time. It Imagewas brilliant. And now I know to sit on it and contemplate. That’s how inspiration works sometimes. We need to let things percolate and then we need to let them cure. Sometimes. If that’s what feels right and experience has shown us it’s the way to do things.

Here’s my point. We all need to slow down and take a few minutes and breathe deep and listen. Maybe you should write it down. Maybe you should sit in lotus position. Perhaps you should sit at your desk with your hands folded neatly in front of you. Image

I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work for you, but I KNOW FOR SURE that it will work for you. And that your soul needs it.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, slow down and listen. Your answers are out there, you just have to be quiet enough to listen to them.

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She was making a toast with her creme’ brule’ glass.

Pretty Pretty Princess & The Work That Must Be Done

I pretty much feel like a Pretty Pretty Princess who lives with my handsome prince most of the time. He

loves me and tells me this daily. When I am sad and forget to do anything but sit on the couch and tend to my wounds, he tells me I needed the time off. When I am happy and bouncing through the house like a

middle age Tigger who loves to have Fun! Fun! Fun!, regardless of his mood, he is pleased by my enthusiasm and always encourages me.

But sometimes Mr Dreamboat requires things of me too. Of course relationships are not one sided. Usually what he asks is quite simple. There is definitely the expectation that I will hold up my end of the relationship/ life responsibilities. There’s the occasional extra errand that needs to be run. There are the days when he needs that extra something or other to make sure his world is right. And then there are business trips.

He likes me to go with him on business trips. And I like to go with him. Mostly. When I can. We have two children left at home, and really, it seems fair that I should finish the job of raising them. Maybe it’s me.

So I travel with Mr D when I can. I actually come with him fairly often. We have very close friends at many of his destinations and it’s a treat for me to stay in nice hotels, go out to dinner with dear friends and from time to time visit the spa.

Then there are the times when not only do I get to play Pretty Pretty Pampered Princess, but I have to interact with people. I have to participate. I have to stretch outside the normal boundaries of my comfort zone. This I do not like. This I do not enjoy. Pretty Pretty Princess gets Pouty.

Nevertheless, the price I pay to get to be the princess on a regular basis is a fair price. I have to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Mr Dreamboat and be an equal and sometimes that means working in the areas that are not my strength. And this is a blessing.

It’s dangerous to live only in our areas of expertise. It’s not healthy to always feel comfortable. If you think about an unbalanced work out, you know what I mean. Building muscles in only the area of your body that’s already strong would actually be dangerous to your health, creating imbalance and maybe an odd limp. You don’t want that.

I know I preach “Do Something Scary” pretty often, but I think it needs to be said. We NEED the discomfort. We SHOULD be taking risks, making the effort and learning from going out into the world a little unsure, all systems on alert and ready to learn something new.

Life is so much more vibrant when we are shaking things up, but when we do get to go back to our corners and live in our normal areas of comfort, it is oh so much sweeter when we get there.

Costa Rica was my favorite trip.

The Pea Pod & The Brilliant Abbot & Why You Should Put Your Phone Down

Gregor Mendel is known as the father of modern genetics. This man was busy studying physics, being a priest, becoming the Abbot and working in an experimental garden where he discovered there’s a lot more to a pea than the neighborhood in which it was raised.

I like to think of Gregor walking the gardens of academia and pondering peas. It makes me feel like there’s something more I should be doing, something more I should be thinking and reading and studying.

Indeed, Father Mendel has me wondering if maybe it’s a good idea to put down the electronics, take a few deep breaths and try to see what is really happening in this wide, wonderful, world.

“My scientific studies have afforded me great gratification; and I am convinced that it will not be long before the whole world acknowledges the results of my work.”
Gregor Mendel

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Goodness Greatness!

Ten months ago I met a man named Alfonso Castaneira. It was a nice conversation. We met for an hour and Alfonso encouraged me to keep a daily journal in order to develop curriculum for my life coaching business.

And so I started blogging. And this has changed my life.

We never know what we might say to someone that will click with them. We never know what someone may have to offer us that will change the way we think and send us off on a trajectory we couldn’t have imagined.

Walk bravely into the world and receive what is offered, and offer what you have.

There’s greatness a’comin’ when we do!

Keeping It Real

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Sometimes this is keeping it real. Thankfully, not often…

Over the last several weeks, on three separate occasions that come easily to mind (that is to say there may have been more), three separate women have said to me, “Thank you for being real.” Some have followed this with , “I can only handle real right now.”

My first reaction is;

You’re welcome. My pleasure. Don’t mind if I do. It’s much easier than being fake. I think it really brings out my eyes.

My second reaction is;

Hey! You! All of you out there! Why don’t we all band together in a big, messy tribe of real and no matter what, every day, let’s be ourselves, warts and all? I mean, seriously, we shouldn’t be required to handle anything else.

Who’s with me on this one?

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“Examine the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic.”

Julia Cameron

Of Oral Hygiene & The Power Of Awesome

What is it about this rainy weather that makes me want to write a dreary post? Of course you want that too. Who doesn’t want to wake up and read something dark and depressing?

If this choice incited you to stay home, build a fire and watch a Bones marathon on Netflix, Imagewell, I’d be all over that like nobody’s business. But let’s be honest. You’re probably going to do what you were going to do no matter what I write. I will simply inject a thought or two into your day and nothing more.

If it’s going to be that succinct I’d like you to get your money’s worth and make you feel better instead of tuning your mood to this dark and gloomy day. So here you have it:

The other day I went to the dentist.

ImagePoint #1, Our oral health care is really important. Google it.

Before the whole, “she asks me a question and I can’t answer it because her hands are in my mouth”, the hygienist went over my history. She, “Have there been any changes since you were last in?”

Me, “Well, I’m a lot more awesome than I was six months ago, but other than that everything is the same.”

Point #2, I made her giggle (And yes, it was an anxious giggle as she began to wonder if she was putting her hands in the mouth of a sane person).

And,

Point #3, While I admit I was in a good mood (it was probably a caffeine buzz), it’s important to be positive.

Now, go be more awesome today than you were yesterday.

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Life Is Like A Bowl Of Cookie Dough, Choose The Best Ingredients

Last night I sat on a panel and answered questions about life. The exercise was an effort to welcome the young women graduating from high school into the adult program at our church. I was happy to be a part of the event and the questions asked had me thinking.

Perhaps my favorite question was, “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned up to this point in your life?” I don’t think I could answer this honestly, since depending on my day and my mood the answer will change. But I’ll stick with the answer I gave:

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that there’s not one way live your life. There is no Imagesecret recipe, not one specific path. Even if we try to use the same recipe and we put in the same ingredients as everyone else, our cookie dough will turn out different than all the other recipes out there. Promise.

I like this lesson because it not only emancipates me from vain expectations of perfection, but it empowers me to look at my life and choose to do it in whatever manner feels authentic and true to me. Moreover, when I allow myself the latitude to “do it my way”, I am freed from any social obligation I may feel judge you in the way you live your life.

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That’s me on the right.

The fresh faces and bright expectations of the young women had me quite charmed. While I am excited for them as they start out on this journey and I admit that from time to time I look in the mirror and am a little disgruntled to see the lines accumulating there, really, this is a small price to pay for all the cool lessons I’ve tucked away in my Life Toolbox.

God be with them as they travel down the road and with each of us as we choose our own paths.

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