Welcoming Life

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“It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first,” Miyamoto Musashi.  Some days are easier than others to get into gear.  We feel the flow and we can approach things with ease.  Other days it feels like everything is grinding and nothing clicks.  I ALWAYS got angry in those moments because I believed that if anything stopped me (or people in general) we were supposed to get mad.  I believed that any inconvenience was worthy of giant upset.  Now I see that there is purpose in those moments.  Those pauses, those breaks in the flow are meant to allow us to recalibrate and incorporate what we’ve learned.  A little test, perhaps, to see if we are who we think we are.  I can’t tell you how many times I failed that test.  But I guess the truth is it doesn’t matter how long it takes us to learn that lesson as long as we learn it.

It amazes me how we are able to live our lives one way while preaching another.  I’ve watched people (and I’m guilty of it myself) spin and tell stories of the way things should be, and I’ve heard advice (and offered advice) about what to do when my own life was falling apart.  And two things hit me when I read the opening quote: we think life is falling apart when the cracks in the façade we create are too big to cover and it is absolutely easier to point fingers/direct others than it is to take that introspection to self and clean our own houses.  The reality is we aren’t able to move forward until we sort our own mess or put it to rest. 

90% of the challenges we face are self-created.  We carry the weight of everything we’ve done in the past like it’s some kind of trophy and we create busyness to feel a sense of completeness like it validates our worth.  All we need to do is redefine what worth is to us and clearly understand what our values are.  Once we find what is important to us, the rest falls away.  I mean, you can’t be affected by someone else’s opinion if you believe you write your own destiny.  Our live is impacted by what we believe and how we are trained to behave.  IF we change those beliefs, we can change our lives.

I’ve spent years working on myself because I struggled to find people to help me develop into who I am.  That’s partially my fault because I lived in a rut for a long time, believing I simply am this way.  When I started breaking that mold, I felt shame because I saw how much of my isolation was self-imposed.  It’s an eye opening moment seeing yourself that exposed, understanding that everything is as it is because of you.  And it is also one of the most liberating experiences.  As we’ve talked about before, if you are able to tell yourself the negative stories, you’re able to change the narrative to something else—anything else you want it to be. 

Life feels overwhelming and hard when you aren’t able to keep up with the story you tell others and it’s hard to tell the story when it doesn’t align with who you are.  It’s also infinitely easier to be an armchair quarterback and see people’s lives from the outside.  We need to take that perspective in our own lives at times.  The point is, things are only as hard as we make them.  We can choose to let go of all that we’ve carried and all the things we tell ourselves we need to believe and we can rewrite the story or simply tell a new one.  The universe is forgiving and it responds instantly to vibration.  If you are able to vibrate at a new frequency through feeling a new narrative, you are able to shift where you will end up.  Yes, it is difficult at first, but as we algin with who we are, the doing becomes effortless.  Just give it time.

Personality Isn’t Permanent

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I happened upon this title while enjoying an Amazon Browsing Rabbit Hole (I know you know what I mean).  I haven’t read or looked at the book, I know nothing of the premise, but that title stopped me in my tracks.  Saturday was a rough day for me personality wise.  I found myself snapping at everything my son did, and then hating myself for it all and thinking about it nearly the entire day.  The guilt I felt at being human and saying the things I did to my kid ate at me and I woke up the following morning knowing I didn’t want to be that type of person.  And then I saw that title and it reminded me of everything that I share and speak about here: we always have the opportunity to change our course and redefine who we are.  Change isn’t easy but it is always possible.

I used to struggle with the idea of separating the person from the action.  I’m guilty of holding things over people for ages because I couldn’t let it go and I still felt something about it.  I allowed my feelings to dictate the course of my life and, oddly enough, I used to think that once I felt a certain way about anything I would have to always feel that way.  I genuinely created my own uniqueness in that everyone else was allowed to change, but I wasn’t.  I locked myself in this little mental cage, thinking I needed to act a certain way and thinking people wouldn’t forgive or accept the real me.  I made allowances for other people to change but not myself.  How ridiculous.

Honestly, this may seem pretty surface, but this is a vulnerable post in that I acknowledge my own continued need for growth and development.  Initially I felt sad and angry because I felt like a failure.  Not knowing who I am, constantly falling into the same pattern, fearing everything, jumping from thing to thing without completion, and snapping at everything around me if it disturbed or didn’t align with the image I had in my mind.  But I feel like it’s such a mark of humanity to have those moments.  If I can embrace that in others, I can embrace that in myself.  And what happens then?  I imagine that the growth continues exponentially. 

As I wrote about months ago, the one degree turns make all the difference in the world.  Sometimes we don’t realize how far we have to turn until we land where we THINK we need to be only to see it isn’t anything like we thought.  I stuck my flag in the ground years ago and thought I needed to commit to that and be that version of myself forever.  I kept the mistakes I made on my back, carrying them like some sick sort of penance, like I didn’t deserve to go any further for the mistakes I made.  And then I continued to make mistakes and I bore those as well.  Keeping that weight on top of the responsibilities of life in the present time made actually living impossible.  We aren’t designed to carry that type of burden.  No wonder I snap all the time.  No wonder anything that’s out of line throws me—I’m afraid I will just have more to carry with me.

So perhaps this is my undoing.  This is my unbecoming.  As we’ve spoken about before, in order to become who you are, you need to let go of who and what you think you are.  If you tell yourself you have to live with the guilt and weight of what happened decades ago, that is what you will continue to experience.  If you tell yourself you need to live under the constant pressure of building and building, then that is what you will experience.  But if you choose to grow and move forward and accept what was as part of your journey, THAT is what you will experience.  That is the goal.  Don’t waste time on what was or thinking you don’t deserve something because of a mistake from ages ago.  Heal and allow yourself to move forward because that guilt and that belief doesn’t have to be permanent.  Release the burden and allow yourself to grow.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful to rise early enough to see the sun come up.  I’m sitting in my office preparing for the day and I see the MOST beautiful light falling across the trees from the East.  Gentle, assured, clear, and completely defined, the light spreads over the trees, awakening the world around me, removing all shadow of night and the previous day.  It’s comforting that we have the light every morning and that we are given the chance to change what we did the day before.  We literally see the birth of a new day and get a fresh start.  Even though I went to bed late, sometimes the body knows to wake up early enough to experience this.

Today I am grateful for breakthrough.  As I sat with my husband on Saturday evening watching a show about the seedy side of a fantasy world, I had an epiphany.  Everything we see is a façade.  I’m not just talking about in the social media sense of the word where we create and curate what people see about our lives.  I’m talking about the fact that the moment we walk out the door, we become someone else.  There are rarely those who wear the same face throughout the day and, after a rough day with my son, I had to ask myself what faces I created to the world and why I was so upset throughout the day.  Maybe it was just a surplus of energy leftover from work or it was the final shedding of my own bullshit and realizing I’m in a different phase of my life now.  Either way, I understood it was time to stop creating and start being.  THAT’S authenticity.

Today I am grateful for following through on an experience I wanted.  During some of yesterday’s tumult, I paused and did some earthing. It’s something I had been wanting to do as a reconnecting activity for a long time, but I never really did it.   We were working on the flower beds around the house and I was nearing a meltdown, and something came over me where I simply kneeled and put my hands on the ground, covered in dirt and Earth and asked for help.  I wasn’t miraculously healed or anything, but I did feel better.  I felt a release in that surrender, in knowing I couldn’t keep that type of anger with me.  I didn’t want that to continue to spill out.  

Today I am grateful to experience nature.  As I mentioned above, I spent some time earthing yesterday.  Today we went out on the water so to connect with earth and water and feel the breeze the whole time made my fire soul a bit whole again.  We need nature medicine more than we do not.  We need it more than anything a doctor can give us.  If we get quiet long enough, we will hear the calling of exactly what we need.  I’ve been in a bit of deep series of thoughts lately, trying to do too much at once, and I knew I needed to slow down.  I mentioned above I had been near meltdown when I literally just heard a voice saying put your hands and feet on the Earth.  Today I felt the water, felt the sun, felt the air—all of it told me that it will be ok.  I don’t have any answers, but I feel better.  All is well.

Today I am grateful for organization.  Yes, I’ve said it before, but I am grateful for it again.  We spent some time organizing the house after we bought a couple of additional storage containers.  I need to have an OCD moment and say how unbelievably satisfying it is to put things in order and to be able to see everything.  And what a damn privilege to be able to put things in order.  They often say to clean or organize or purge when you’re feeling down about something, and my God there is something so satisfying about organizing your life.  It’s an outward expression of how we try to organize our thoughts.  Plus, it just looks much better, just saying.

Today I am grateful for lessons from my child.  Every now and then he says things to me that astound me with how aware and astute he is.  My son told me today that I needed to find my comfort zone.  The translation of that is actually him telling me to calm down.  This child is so perceptive of when I’m off it’s a little scary.  But I appreciated the reminder from him.  It was and is time to redefine the comfort zone.  It’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  It’s time to accept things as they are and give up control.  It’s time to embrace surrender.  When what you’ve been doing is no longer working it is time to listen and find a new way.  It’s time to try something new.  And it’s time to be ok with being uncomfortable.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

Witness Beauty

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There is so much beauty in life.  It is so important to allow the beauty to flow through us and to take it in and remind us of the fragility and strength of life.  I often think of all the people it took for me to get here.  Thousands of ancestors, 90% of which I never knew their names.  The things they went through, the stories they would tell.  We are all so intricately intertwined, we could be related to the neighbors and not even know it.  More importantly, we technically are.  We are all related to each other on some level of this shared experience.  The webs we weave, how our lives dance in and out of each other’s, how the stories we tell come to one another.  I was always fascinated with movies and books that tell stories like that.  

That connectedness is a beautiful thing in itself.  We are all human and we have a gift in being alive and experiencing this life. I am so lucky and humbled to witness so much beauty.  I think the impressive thing about it all is how small those moments can be, yet how impactful they are.  They are available anywhere and everywhere and I saw the love of grandfather/father/son.  I found patience where I had been impatient.  I saw a video of another father spreading seashells so his children and grandchildren could find them on the beach.  My boss and her constant ability to keep giving.  My father and the trips he has taken the family on.  The laughter of the family in the house.   My animals expressing their need for love and attention.

All of these things remind me that we are human and alive.  There are moments it gets overwhelming and I need that breath for myself.  I am human and we all need those moments.  But I am so grateful, no matter how humbling the lesson, that I am constantly reminded that the connection and the love are always there.  I am so grateful that I have so many sources to remind me that life is beautiful.  I may be a slow learner when it comes to certain things—including learning about myself.  But when I learn, I DO learn.  There is so much life to live and if we have the chance to be here, don’t take it for granted.  Don’t get caught up in the idea that life has to be some series of monumental events to be deemed worthy.  Some days breathing is a miracle, and that is enough.  So I choose to see that and embrace it.  Choose to see the sameness in our uniqueness and the uniqueness in our sameness.  Enjoy the experience if being alive.    

What Is Holding The Line Up?

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I’ve had this issue with a parent in the drop off line—he is always delayed in getting the kid out of the car but he is always in the first spot so he always holds up the entire line.  Today he got out of the car early and I watched him.  It turns out this man wasn’t the father of this child—he is the grandfather.  His son works at the school and that is the parent of the child.  They started signing with each other. The man who had been holding up the line is deaf.  Everything instantly clicked.  I had been impatient yet again—my biggest fault—and I didn’t allow the space for this person.  He was doing his absolute best, helping out by getting his grandson to school and I found myself annoyed because he kept getting in the way.  The reality is, he was making sure he did what he could to get his grandson to school on time.

Yes, it was another does of humility and a lesson in patience and I am grateful for it.  I am so fortunate to have witnessed this patience and the love this family has for each other.  It got me thinking about all of the other things I am so fortunate to witness, all of the love and the humanity.  I preach remembering our humanity all the time and I find myself forgetting it because I hold myself up to some ridiculous standard of what I need to do to be worthy and if someone gets in my way, I get impatient.  I still have the tendency to fear losing the things I want over the greater good.  It’s important to take the time to remember what we have to be grateful for.  I am grateful for the continued opportunity to remember to be grateful.  To be humble.

The plans of the universe are far greater than our own and I really needed to remember that.  I’ve created impatience in my own life, as if punctuality is a key marker of a good person.  I mean, don’t intentionally be rude or get in the way to make people late because that makes you an asshole, but I need to have grace for people who do their best and life just happens.  THAT is a different story.  Creating space for that allows the same space for me.  The world will not end if I’m a couple minutes late signing back into work.  And the truth is, I don’t want my kid to continue to witness my impatience because I see him losing patience with himself too.  I want to enjoy life and, more importantly, I want my kid to enjoy it as well. 

Life happens in the little moments.  In the moments we think we are waiting for something, that is when life is happening.  That is the time when we need to be attentive to what is actually happening and remember the little things that make life so important.  It isn’t in the accomplishments or the big achievements.  It is in the little things that show love—like a grandfather taking his grandson to school and making sure he gets there on time.  It is in feeling love.  I want to examine that in more detail in my next piece, but I want to make sure that we all understand how easy it is to forget what beauty is.  Jen Pastilloff talks about finding beauty in everything, and seeing this simple act between father/son/grandfather made me think about the beauty of life in general.  We can find it anywhere if we look.

When The Lesson Clicks

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There really comes a tipping point when you realize all the work you’ve done is clicking.  You move differently.  You feel differently.  You look at yourself differently.  In those moments when you may have felt like breaking down, suddenly you feel alive and clear.  The emotion isn’t the same.  You react differently.  You see the world differently.  Suddenly there is this possibility of moving the pieces rather than getting taken out like some pawn.  I’m not talking abut looking at the world as a game—I’m talking about responding to the world as it is as we are. 

I woke up the other morning feeling absolutely invincible.  I had no reason to—nothing special happened.  I didn’t do the workout I wanted to because my body ached, I was running late in waking up my kid, my mind wandered all over the place.  But I felt empowered to look at the morning differently.  I still worked out even if it wasn’t as hard as I wanted it to be.  I still had time with my kid even though it wasn’t as much as I wanted.  My mind wanders all the time anyway but I still manage to get things done.  I was proud to be present in that moment and to accept myself.  I felt like myself.

So many days I feel like I’m out of my skin, never quite who I am and always looking for the next thing I have to be doing.  I rarely feel settled.  The moments I do feel that contentment feel amazing.  But this particular moment was something else.  It was more than a glimpse of being settled.  It was a moment of standing rock solid in my foundation.  It reminded me that we don’t need to take over the world to feel powerful, we just need to take control of our world.  Talk about a release of pressure. 

We can never control the people or events around us.  All we can control is ourselves and our reactions, how we move, how we feel.  We can choose who we want to be.  I’m not the greatest at staying in that state of mind, but I constantly remind myself that I have the option to choose, and as long as that option exists, I am blessed.  And maybe that is part of why I felt invincible: I realized that I am blessed simply to exist.  I can make moves in my life and we are each at the helm—including me.  We have to appreciate what we can do over what we can’t because that is what opens up the possibilities to finding our way.  It feels good.    


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There has been another mass shooting in this country.  ANOTHER.  Words will do nothing to change the tragedy that unfolded yesterday and, quite frankly, I’m sick of having to preface any type of mass tragedy with the word “another”.  There should never have been a first, let alone time to allow for “another”.  I’ve shifted posts around in order to make this clear: it is time for action and that action isn’t going to be granted by any politician—this has to start with the families, with the people demanding better and identifying all sources of this issue.  We have to get to the cause and this which goes beyond politics and laws and who has access to weapons.  This is in conjunction with mental health issues, humanity, power, fear, and the politics that allow all of those pieces to simmer together until they boil over and we lose 15 people senselessly.    

Choosing to ignore any piece of this is going to perpetuate the issue.  We have sick people who are in desperate need of assistance, who often show warning signs of this behavior, who are treated as unworthy outcasts in this word.  They lack the capacity to make functional decisions for themselves but we expect them to pull up their bootstraps and fix themselves.  That isn’t how mental health works and I will scream that from any platform I can as I know first hand how overwhelming it is to deal with incessant thoughts in my head.  We are not designed to function in isolation and this society treats life like “every man for himself” until it comes time to collect taxes. PEOPLE ARE NOT MACHINES. We live in a system we created to protect those with means, and we have left behind those who cannot protect themselves.

I do not want to live in a world where I have to wonder if it is the last time I’m going to see my child when I drop him off at school.  I don’t want that for anyone.  No teacher should have to enter a building worrying about defending children against a gunman.  No one should have to worry about going to their religious organization and dying or going to the store and dying.  We cannot become desensitized to the fact that this is NOT normal.  IT IS NOT NORMAL.  We need to come together to stop these things from happening.  Regardless of how you feel about our “rights,”  I ask that you look at the entire picture.  We are dealing with a different type of pandemic entirely when it comes to mental health issues and we cannot allow a system that creates the opportunity for those issues to be taken out on innocent children.  Reach out to everyone you know because chances are, someone is not ok.  Chances are someone needs an ear, someone needs guidance.  Someone needs the light that you have and THAT is more important than any job that needs to be done.  Change is scary, it is uncomfortable, but I ask everyone deal with the discomfort and learn a new way instead of dealing with the pain of never seeing your child again because we couldn’t handle someone when they were at their lowest.

We need to remember we are not alone, not ever.  To the families who just lost their children, no words will make this better.  Losing a child to preventable violence is not a group anyone should have to be part of.  But I choose to hear you and I choose to understand that pain and say something needs to be done. No one is alone.

For help with Mental Health, please contact the National Institute of Health Numbers:

Mental Health and Mental Illness **301-443-4513
301-443-8431 (TTY)
866-615-NIMH (6464)*

To reach your local politicians:



For grief and support counseling:


Work is Done

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I read a brief piece by Jon Sweeney talking about a slightly injured bird he and his children were rescuing.  After they picked up the animal and began walking home, the bird suddenly flew up into the trees, seemingly healed.  He replied to his daughter, “You’re work is done.”  That really got me thinking.  Sometimes the work we do may not feel significant to us, but it can be life changing to others.  When we stop and take in the humanity of who we are, the gifts we are graced with shine through.  Whether it is the gift of listening, lending support, getting something someone needs, taking the time to check on someone when you are really busy, those are all gifts. 

We create this pressure on ourselves to achieve these massive goals and, in all honesty, for the longest time I thought that was the coolest thing.  Perhaps it’s naïve, but I truly don’t think there is anything we can’t do.  I’m not saying any of it is easy, but the human being is capable of some amazing things.  If we are able to come together with a common goal, I don’t think anything could stop us. The point is, I truly believe in the power of the human as guided by the universe and I believe no gift is too small.  We all have a purpose.  When we create certain goals as the pinnacle of human experience, suddenly anything else seems less than.  We can’t measure ourselves in the context of what is the greatest trend.  We need to measure in the context of what is needed in the moment and if we answered that need. 

Sometimes all it takes is holding someone in the moment to heal them, and that should NEVER be discounted.  I can’t count how many times I shied away from things I thought I could do because I knew someone could do it better.  That may have been true, but I never taught myself that they were better than me in that moment—I never gave myself the chance to try.  More importantly, I never taught myself that it wasn’t really about who was better than who at all: it was about how much joy the experience brought.  If we are able to release the pressure of “having to be the greatest or it isn’t worth it”, we open up a whole new world where we learn skills we can apply elsewhere.  The need to be the best narrows the view whereas learning to take it in opens a whole new world.

Our work may not be renowned by everyone in the world.  We may not become the most popular.  We may never be the most gifted.  But if we do the work, we still have the opportunity to touch lives and bring our experience to people.  We have to trust and allow all unfolds as it is meant to as long as we fulfill our purpose.  We have to see the gift in connecting with those who need our message the most.  It doesn’t matter if it is simply holding someone in the moment, allowing them to garner strength until they can fly again, THAT is significant to that person.  Be that person for someone else.  Be that person for yourself.  Unleash the subtle gifts you carry and allow them to turn into something life-changing for someone else.  THAT is our purpose.

The Joy of Standing Outside

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A quick note on reconnecting with nature.  Last week I spoke about my experience on Sunday morning, feeling overwhelmed and then going outside with the dog and feeling calm.  I want to reiterate how important it is to connect with nature.  The weather is changing here in the mid-west and it’s getting hotter and hotter, but it feels amazing.  The awakening is finally here.  The trees and flowers are blooming.  I’m about to plant my first garden (raised bed).  I felt that moment of overwhelm disappear as soon as I heard those birds last week.  The list of things I have to do isn’t life.  The things I DO are life.  Clarity is key.

Being outside for those few minutes, watching the dog, hearing all the different birds and the bees, feeling the breeze across my skin made me feel completely alive.  Those sensations completely brought me back to the moment and I realized that life happens because of what we do, not what happens to us.  The animals were just going about their business.  They don’t worry about the list of things, they just do.  And so did I.  The list always seems endless but it is usually the same.  I can shift things around and, the bottom line is, if I want to achieve certain things, I am the only one who can do them.  That last isn’t said with any malice or anger, it is divine acceptance.

We get to steer our ship and it is reconnecting with nature that allows us to remember that.  The moments we feel too busy or overwhelmed with what we have to do, that’s more often than not the sign we need to slow down.  Taking a few minutes to breathe and center and get a different perspective are often all we need.  I didn’t ground or do any kind of elaborate ceremony (although there is absolutely a time and place for that), all I did was allow.  The act of allowing is transformational.  Sometimes it’s significant, sometimes it’s just allowing the breeze to flow around you.  You can’t change it anyway, so let go of any resistance.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for new beginnings and fresh eyes.  There are so many second chances we are graced with and I am grateful for every one of them.  The infinite patience of the universe while we figure out what is really important.  To see life develop and unfold and evolve before us.  Yes, there are so many things going wrong in this world right now, but if we really stop and look around, there is so much more beauty around us than there is sour.  We need to give ourselves the gift of relishing in the beauty a bit more so we can see the joy of what we really have. 

Today I am grateful for closure/forgiveness and boundaries.  I had a tumultuous relationship with some of my family for some time now.  I always felt the outsider—I was born far after my siblings and I’ve always been different.  I was more of the lone child, the one connected at the hip to the adults around me because my siblings were gone.  We spent some time with my aunt and uncle yesterday going through some of the things they are working on getting rid of as they clean their house and it was beautiful.  Sitting together and discussing things as they are now, reminiscing about how they were, and finding a middle ground of acceptance to get us where we need to be.  It feels like not so long ago I was the child sitting in their house, waiting for the party to begin and now I have my own child and we move on to the next phase of our lives. As we put the past behind us, we simultaneously plant the seeds for the future.

Today I am grateful to literally plant the seeds.  I spent time outside today planting our little raised bed garden.  I’ve never grown my own vegetables before and it may not turn out at all—but I am grateful to enjoy the experience and get my hands dirty with my son as we attempt to bring in nourishment to our family.  As we do so, we are also laying the foundation and planting more seeds for what we want our lives to look like.  We are taking steps to live how we want to live and make room for the experiences we want to have.  Sometimes things take time, but nothing will ever grow if you don’t plant the seed of what you really want.

Today I am grateful for my husband.  While things are not always easy (that can be said for any type of long term relationship), I am grateful to look at him with new eyes.  The conversation I mentioned last week about him coming to terms with his own growth has been a pivotal point for us.  I am more comfortable accepting his choices and he is more willing to help me lay the foundation.  It can’t be all play all the time and it certainly can’t be one person calling the shots for how things go.  We are learning, even after 21 years together, we are still learning how to work with one another.  I am in awe at the things he tries that come naturally to him and I am grateful for the inspiration that gives me to try different things on my own. 

Today I am grateful for peace.  I had a moment today where I didn’t know what to do next and I found myself overwhelmed.  So I went outside with my son and we drew on the driveway with chalk.  It was/is an absolutely perfect day out:  the sun is just right, the breeze isn’t too much, it is perfectly mild temperature wise.  And as I sat there, I smelled the breeze and I had an instant where I was transported back to my childhood, sitting outside of my parent’s house in the summer, feeling the light on my back at the same time of day.  And I felt safe.  For that moment, my mind wasn’t running between anything else I needed to do: I felt completely safe, and I know that everything is going to be ok.  All IS ok.    

Today I am grateful for the moment.  As much time as we spent going between the past and the future this weekend, I am grateful for right now.  I am grateful for finding that sense of peace, that acceptance.  For taking my child and giving him the support he needs.  For learning to love myself a bit more even if the day starts off rough.  For learning that there are lessons in the rough as well and that it is simply the natural ebb and flow of life.  For coming into my own and being the woman I want to be—knowing she was always there underneath.  This is all her unearthing.  This is the rise.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.