Archive | February 2012

My Sincerest Sadie Hawkins Leap Year Proposal


Happy Leap Year Day everybody!

I grew up hearing a bunch of the fun stories of Leap Year Day. You know the ones about Sadie Hawkins and women having the right to ask a man to dance with her, or the ultimate – to marry her. This was a rare and extraordinary day. There were even laws and consequences for the man if he turned her down back in the middle ages. While that’s cute, it’s clearly an outdated tradition.

What I like about it though is that it was, at the heart of it all, about the freedom to create new possibilities. Or said another way, people felt like they were able to break out of the ordinary boundaries without reprisal.

We no longer need an every-four- years kind of day to propose. However, there might still be a need for some of that unabashed freedom. We might take advantage of this unique day as an opportunity to break out of our modern-day boundaries. We are creatures of habit after all. And, despite how far we’ve come socially and culturally, we sometimes find it difficult to do the out of the ordinary because of what people may think or say about us.

This year I’ve decided that I will use Sadie Hawkins Day to play a game of “What If?” What if I allowed myself to dream big and do something I’ve longed to do but not had the courage to try? I can think of a few things that would fall into this category. Can you? Just like people didn’t actually marry on Feb. 29, but rather made the commitment to do so, I don’t have to actually accomplish the thing today … just commit to do so. I think I’ll use the rest of my day to decide which extraordinary thing I’ll commit to.

I’m proposing with all my heart: Will you, my dear blog friend … will you be extraordinary with me? Say yes and be blessed!

Who needs to know you?


You know the old adage – “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Well as with most old sayings, there is of course, some truth in that statement. I venture to say it’s an 80/20 split in the case of who/what you know. In life, we are all born into a community – by our nature we are in relationships. We are connected and that’s really all we know. Our every achievement and learning has come because we either heard it, saw it, or was physically directed by another to learn it.

I’m not sure why anyone would venture into the “real world” and think it would be any other way. And yet, I frequently hear people making that statement as if this is a foreign concept. Rather than disdain this fact of living as social beings, I believe we should not only practice it to learn and connect but we should do it in both directions.

What do I mean by that? Well, when we need to know or get something, we go to the closest “expert” to ask. One person directs us to another and we network our way into moving ahead, either in knowledge or in career, etc. But how many times do we look around to see who needs to know us? Do you have a spirit for teaching but hesitate to reach out to do that? Do you have expertise, experience, or knowledge that would change someone else’s life, or even the direction of their struggle, but talk yourself out of sharing? I often wonder what is it in our nature or raising that makes us hesitate to share without being asked. Do we have to let people struggle to “earn” their right to proceed or succeed? I think not, but I am discouraged at times by the way we live in a society that cherishes taking care of our own and letting the rest be damned.

I can’t tell you how badly my life would have gone if that was the case for me. Not everyone gets the privilege of being born into a family or situation that edifies and lifts them up and guides their way. I am ever grateful that as a child I was given a hand out. Out of poverty. Out of abuse. Out of despair, dysfunction, and possible destruction. I was also given a hand up – people who didn’t know me chose to love me. I learned to live in a family that gave without question. They were generous with time as well as with resources. They lived their faith through volunteerism and I was blessed to live with and learn from them. I have tried to instill that in my family. I know I crave the opportunity to give back as a way to balance the books for what was given to me.

Sometimes, on our better days, I wish we would see more examples of people voluntarily sharing and networking who and what they know on behalf of someone else and not just for themselves.

Ask yourself – who do  you know? Who else needs to know them too? Join me in looking for who needs to know you and me. And be blessed!

Measure of Success


“Success is not about the end product. Success is not the measure of how much you do.

Success is about how much you love and give of yourself to help other people.

 It is about how you connect and help everyone’s dreams and creations move forward.

True success is not an individual thing at all.”

~ Barbara Bernard Miller, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God (pp. 64)

Have you ever noticed how so many people who define success in a worldly way are so unhappy? They strive for money, things, possessions, and victories. They attain those things and look around and still find themselves lacking in fulfillment. Nothing seems to be enough. No achievement ends the quest for more, more, more. That kind of success feels hollow and solitary. It is fleeting in its enjoyment and temporary in its existence.

God has other ideas of how to define success. His message, as quoted above from my book, tells of the divine definition of success. Have you noticed when you put this aspect into action how much more fulfilling life is? Have you experienced the gift you give to yourself and your life when you have helped others attain their dreams? That success is permanent. It rings solid and true in our heart and spirit. It brings inspiration and drive to help more and more people to their fulfillment.

As I think of how our world is changing and economies crumble and jobs are lost, it makes me look at this quote differently. If we but reach across the worldly “game” of success to practice the divine essence of success we might all become successful. If we stop competing so hard and start cooperating, there is a chance for true success.

Something to think about. Be blessed!

Emotional Rituals


A long time ago I consciously realized how much humans are a ritualistic people. I don’t think we actually measure the passage of time by the clock or the calendar, but rather we mark time through rituals and ceremonies. We create rituals for weddings, births, deaths, graduations, birthdays, wins and losses in sports, promotions, retirements, holidays, new years, and the list goes on and on. They are all important rites of passage that help us mentally shift from one circumstance to another. I believe that’s why traditions are so important for people. They are the actions that mark time and the shifting of seasons. It’s how the human brain allows things to end and begin. It helps us with the difficult shift of change.

But there’s one area of life that we seem to neglect, and that’s emotional rites of passage.

Part of my work in human resources is helping with personnel issues. I started to notice that a lack of ritual was at times keeping people emotionally stuck. It showed itself when a project suddenly ended because of priority shifts or lack of funding and teams unceremoniously and abruptly disbanded. This left people with feelings of separation and incompletion. Sometimes it was when roles shifted and people suddenly found themselves temporarily without a manager. Without warning their career support system was just gone with no idea when someone new would be coming. They felt abandoned, even though they intellectually understood what was happening. Other times it was when someone was demoted and quietly moved to other work. This left a list of emotional stuckness for the person and sometimes for the managers who had to make the decision. People can’t always articulate what is in the way for them but moving forward seems extra hard or nearly impossible. I have learned some things from these struggles and have been able to help people create their own private rituals to make the emotional shift, thus helping them mark one time as over and the next to begin. I’ve seen it work time after time.

Because of that work, I started to notice the times when I am stuck because there was no ritual. I became increasingly aware of the need to create my own private rites of passage. I have found that it has made all the difference. Here’s a few examples:

> Going through a divorce and dealing with the sudden change at home was the first one I noticed. Sure there was the court date that served as ceremony for the divorce and marked the shift in marital status. But where I found myself stuck was with the sudden and awkward emptiness in the house. The way we interacted in the space had suddenly changed and I felt like normal routines were shifting like quicksand. In this case, the house wasn’t filled with loving family helping to box up or sort through personal belongings or memories as would happen if there had been a death. It was just me and my kids, suddenly and obviously filling and using the home differently. So I created a blessing ceremony. My kids and I lit a candle and walked through each room of the home saying a prayer of peace and harmony. I reclaimed the house as my own and blessed it. That made all the difference to me emotionally and whether they knew it or not, I believe it made a difference for the kids as well. It felt like I was “moving in” to my home on a new emotional level.

> As my daughter moved to college, and later to New York for her co-ops, I knew the moves were temporary but they were a shift in my emotions. I felt awkward and alone in a different way. I wasn’t officially an empty-nester yet but it was coming in waves. So after each time she temporarily moves out I have created my own ritual. This one always starts with a few tears. For those who know me – no surprise there! They are not tears of mourning as much as sentimental tears as I do a mini walk down memory lane of the little bitty girl who I’ve proudly watched grow up and become independent. I don’t plan on this part of the “ceremony” but since it keeps coming up spontaneously I’ve learned to accept it as part of my what I need. Then I will make myself a cup of tea or glass of wine and I sit and make a list of things I want to accomplish while I have this time of solitude. I follow that by viewing a favorite movie that I have enjoyed with her over the years and I mark the ceremony as complete. It really has made the transition go more smoothly for me when I’ve done this.

> When I was selling the home that I raised my kids in, it was on the market for 5 years. I had renters for a little while, but when they moved out there was a lot of cosmetic but costly damage. I worked hard and fixed it back up to sell. Through that time, although I no longer lived there, I found it emotionally hard to go through the house in its empty state. I wanted so desperately to sell it, but it felt like the house was clinging to me. I needed to somehow move emotionally past it in order to sell it. So one day I decided to do something different. Rather than avoid the memories and the emotional ties, I chose to have a releasing ceremony. Again I walked through each room of the house. This time, rather than claiming it, I released it. I sat in each empty room and allowed the strong memories to come to me. I smiled. I cried. I forgave. I acknowledged. I mourned. It was all about the people and experiences that had taken place there. I had loved that house so completely when I had moved in. So I energetically thanked the house for sheltering me and my family. I placed a drop of the essential oil named Release in a corner of each room and left a silk flower on the window sill in the kitchen as a gift-giving gesture. I verbally and ceremoniously said good-bye to that house and with a heart of gratitude I left the house differently that day. Yes, I know the house wasn’t actually clinging to me, but I was emotionally clinging to it as my “family” home. That ceremony allowed me to make the emotional rite of passage I needed to move from owner to maintainer. Shortly thereafter the house finally sold. Was it magic – no. Was there an energetic and emotional shift there – absolutely!

Those are a few examples of ceremonies that I have created. They have worked so well for me and I’m thankful that I learned to be conscious of my emotional/mental need for ritual. I encourage you to look for the places where your heart is stuck. Do what works for you as a ceremony. And be blessed.

My Fashionista


Well, it’s official. As of around 2:00 this morning, I no longer have any children in my household. My youngest, Maria turns 21 today. I have such mixed feelings about this. As I tell her, you may not be “a baby” but you’ll always be “my baby”. This never sits well with her but it makes me giggle none the less.

I’m sure she’ll demand I remove this post as soon as she sees these pictures, but, alas it is in the parent’s handbook that we get to embarrass brag on our children as we see fit. I intend to do so.  Grab a cup of coffee  Girlie-goo and chillax about it!

Here’s to you Maria – you’ll always be my little princess. I love you and could not be more proud.  Happy Birthday!

Wonderin' and Ponderin'

Little Flower Girl

Aloha to grade school

Beauty of the Ball

Sr. Year

Off to College

Design powered by Coffee

Fashionista

Healing Hands


Today falls into the category of one of my favorite days. Actually this particular “brand” of favorite is one that you can have as well.  What makes it special is the gift of massage.

I’ve had some of the most profound healing at the hands of a medical massage therapist. Part of that was physical with the release of tension and sore muscles. The other part was emotional/ mental/ spiritual. How’s that you ask? Well I combine the physical practice with my meditation or prayer practice. The combination creates a session that intermingles the relaxation and healing intentions of the therapist with my own inner intention of healing on many levels. The effect is quite profound really.

I used to say that when I am rich and famous I would get a massage every month. That seemed like such a lofty goal. But I realized a few years ago that it really isn’t so extravagant in pricing as to preclude me from having my rich and famous treat right now. Yep, I’ll trade in a new pair of shoes, or purse, or other “luxury” to pamper myself in this way. And the beauty of this realization is that it has opened up many opportunities that in the past I would have looked past.

One of them is my daughter’s friend, Amanda, who is now studying to be a massage therapist. Did you know that students have to do so many hours of massage (and at a very cut-rate price) in order to graduate? They’ve had many hours of practice in class so this isn’t a torturous experience. They are nearly ready to go out on their own and have experience before they ever touch a client. Add into that the “no tipping” policy for students, and this luxury is not really priced like one.  So I go whenever I can schedule an appointment. This is my hidden treasure and I’m glad that I found it.

I urge you to surrender to some healing hands, and be blessed!

Puppy Pile of Angels


Do you believe in angels? I do and I know I’m not alone.

I find it interesting that every religion that I’m aware of includes these beings of light and love. They show up in the teachings of ancients, as well as modern-day man. The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, including visitations by angels in prophetic dreams and visions. In the New Testament of the Bible, angels foretell and herald the birth of Christ and sing at the heavenly throne. Angels also are major figures in Buddhism and Hinduism, Celtic and Norse mythology, and in many Shamanistic legends. They may have different names but they appear nonetheless.

Not that it really matters – I believe in them no matter what organized religions may have to say about them. I think I’ve always known that I had angels, many of them, surrounding me and working on my behalf. My upbringing tells of a special guardian angel that we all have traveling with us on this life journey. They are assigned to protect us. As a child I would recite the prayer that was taught to me:

“Angel of God, My Guardian Dear, to whom God’s love commits me here.

Ever this day be at my side to light and guard and rule and guide.”

Ahhh, but I have what one friend described as a “puppy pile” of angels flocking around me. I feel them. I sense their guidance, like the time I was driving down a dark road and heard a voice urge me to slow down and look about 10 seconds before a small child on a bike darted across the street. I knew in that second that I had been warned by one of my angels. And that’s happened to me time and time again, whether it be when a car was about to run a red light and almost hit me or other times when my own distracting thoughts are halted by a word of “LOOK!” I’ve been warned when not to walk down a certain flight of stairs or when I needed to attend to my child who was about to get hurt. Some will say it’s coincidence but the difference is in the urging of the communication. It’s an energy that I feel and not just a hunch.

Heck, I often laugh and say that my parking angel has come along with me and find it nearly amazing when I always find a spot right where I need it. She’s faithful, that angel, that’s for sure!

I believe that our angels are not just guardians. They serve as guides, encouragers, healers, comforters, and so much more. In the near future I plan to paint some of the angels that I sense around me and others. I look forward to them revealing themselves to me. Perhaps I’ll paint your angel for you!

Do you know your angels? May they continue to conspire on your behalf and may you be blessed!