Balance Life, Observe Gratitude

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.  Thich Nhat Hanh

I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Journey, Bob Seger and a variety of other iconic 70’s and 80’s artists.  Jackson Browne was a favorite, and one song in particular resonates with Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, it went something like this “Running on – running on empty. Running on – running blind, running on – running into the sun, but I’m running behind.”

While driving to the office, I spotted a truck coming to a stop at a left turn light.  I noticed the brake light on the driver’s side was not working.  Pulling around to the driver’s left side as the light was red, I rolled my passenger window down and waved.  The driver took no notice, as he was talking on his cell phone.  The light changed and as we drove away I sighed at the irony.  Here I was trying to alert him that he could get ticketed for no brake light, and there he was on his phone, which last I checked, is a moving violation.

As parents we tell our children to “eat slowly”, “take your time on your homework” and “brush your teeth longer than 5 seconds!”  We emphasize slowing down, and yet what do we model for them?  “Hurry up! We are going to be late!”  The conflict between getting things done and slowing down can be aggravating and perplexing.

How we run and run, from text to call, to chores, to work, to kids practices and household demands, to friends and events, we run.  And yet, as we run, are we really awake? Are we experiencing joy, breathing, contentment, gratitude?  As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, I invite you to take this challenge…pause.

When you get in the car, take 5.  No, not minutes, but deep breaths before you turn the motor on.  Five deep breaths, eyes closed, to re-center yourself.  When you begin to drive, perhaps no radio or news?  Drive in silence, taking in he color of the sky, the homes and buildings where others lives unfold as you cruise by.

While entering your next location, back home, the office, grocery store, post office, take a moment to make eye contact with someone, smile, make a nice comment and notice.  That’s it, a little pause to connect with another human, who most likely is running too.

Is there a place you can call “sanctuary” in the house?  Sanctuary is a word I love.  Its meaning is related to worship, yet also means a place of repose, protection and reflection.  Select a small corner in your bedroom, or a room not being used, even a deck chair out on the patio and make it “your pause place.” Adding a candle, a beloved photo, a vase with fresh flowers, a new throw blanket or pillow can all accentuate this as your “time out” place, not for being naughty, quite the opposite.  For being very good to yourself!

Reading can bring a welcomed pause, most of us have a book we thought would be a fun, useful or inspiring read which has gathered dust.  Take it out and keep it close by,

In the words of Willie Nelson, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”  Well, what about today if you say “When I started taking little pauses, my whole attitude turned around.”

This is your cause, to pause.  Breathe, notice, smile, connect, read, be grateful and repeat.  I am pausing now, as I consider my support work with each of you.   I am very grateful for your trust, willingness, courage, perseverance, and hope to find resolve and satisfaction in your very precious lives.




The beauty of your story

I find absolute calm when I step on the beach and walk to the water’s edge.  I did just that late yesterday afternoon and marveled at nature’s transformation.  No longer were the waves filled with laughing children, boogie boards or beach towels colorfully scattered on the sand.  The air was crisp, the marine drape masked the sun and a few random folks were enjoying an autumn stroll.

I gingerly picked up this pristine shell, no holes or wrinkles, smooth and unbroken.  Laying right next to it, I scooped up this fossil like rock, textured and weathered.  I carried one in each hand and pondered what story each could share? What had each experienced during their seasons at sea?

With its eroded tunnels and sea life imprints, the rock gave me pause for imagining all sorts of grand tales.  Was it a fragment from a dwelling in the lost city of Atlantis? Or perhaps had spent thousands of years sharing salty terrain with a family of sea turtles off the North Shore of Oahu?

The shell seemed to not have been penetrated by time, risky geography or nautical battlefields. Bits had not been severed and its simple beauty reminded me of a charmed, maybe even protected life.

Aren’t we much like these treasures from the sea?  So often we put the effort into the appearance of the shell; perfect, in tact, unaffected by the rough seas of our lives.  When in fact, we are the rock.  We have holes in our hearts, we have imprints on our souls.  Yet, what if beauty was measured in the intricacy and strength of the rock? What if self worth, your value, came from not perfecting your shell but instead, treasuring your true self, your story with all of its erosions and blemishes?


Be the Brave…

What exactly does being brave mean?  As you know, I LOVE to play with words, and the word RAVE exists within the word “brave.”  Well, that got me thinking.  We need to rave about when we are brave.  Doing what we think we cannot do and then DOING it, well that is something to holler from the rooftops and proclaim to the world, “I am BRAVE!”

Exploring being brave means we face what we fear.  I romantically imagine my Irish ancestors as being fearless.  Living through the 16th and 17th centuries, the famine and battles for power and land.  In Irish Gaelic speak, what do you think “nios fearr” means?  Like myself, you probably went to “no fear.”  The Irish are wise, “nios fearr” doesn’t mean “no fear” it is translated as “better off.”  I bet it came from the old Celtic warriors, who took a final swig of their ale and said “Me lads and lassies, we’re better off dead than sitting here like scared ducks.”  And away they went to conquer more hillsides and moors.

The core of most therapeutic work comes down to facing our feelings of being less than capable of doing something.  In other words, being able to be brave enough to take a leap into what we assume we cannot do.  Many women admit they fear being alone, not being loved, being rejected or abandoned and fear not being good enough.  Navigating our way through the rough seas of fear can be terrifying.  Yet, it is not about the absence of feeling fear, it is determining that you will be better off if you do what is best, what is right and true, for you.

Sail away Pirate Sister, and go ahead, RAVE about being BRAVE!