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!


What is a Pirate Sister?

What is a Pirate Sister?


What are the qualifications to become a Pirate Sister? First, you have to be female.  Next, you must have a strong, powerful desire to go in search of your unique value. And then, you must be willing to be uncomfortable, face fears and dig deep to find your treasured self, relationships, passion, place and purpose.  To be a Pirate Sister, requires you make a fierce and lasting decision to follow the instinctive tugs on your heart, mind and soul to become more than you have been.A Pirate Sister learns how to be brave, very brave.  She is steadfast in her determination to risk turbulent seas of past hurts and to endure storms of conflict and change. Being rigid and inflexible will send her overboard.  Stretching to take ownership of navigating her life, empowers the Pirate Sister against inclement or unforeseen events and outcomes.

Dancing in front of the mirror, holding a hairbrush microphone…Doodling on every notebook in high school…Creating mystical characters for an English essay…Concocting new food combinations for friends to sample…Finishing a course of study…Designing your fantasy wardrobe from scraps of material…Collecting stray animals in your neighborhood…Painting on bedroom walls…Learning a trade…Completing a literary work…

These are some examples of treasures buried, maybe even lost and forgotten, yet waiting to be found when you decide to embark on your journey as a Pirate Sister.  Digging to capture the essence of your creative passions, wishes and talents either neglected or long forgotten in the overgrowth of time, responsibilities and caretaking others.Hmmm, by reading this you are curious about the journey. Now comes the decision:  Ignore the invitation to set sail? Stand on the dock and contemplate the voyage? Or board the ship and see where the winds of change carry you?

Throw off the bowlines…and discover YOU!

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.                                                      Mark Twain

With each season, I find myself baffled by the passage of time.  I shake my head and say “I can’t believe it is June already!” Many chime in their disbelief, recognizing the rapid ticking of our precious life moments.  Where did the last six months go?  In fact, where did those twenty years go?

Being a Pisces, I adore water.  From chlorine to sea salt, I can float, body board, dive and splash filling my heart with contented aqua bliss.  As I clicked on quotes to capture this seasonal message, Mark Twain’s philosophical whimsy jumped off the page and sailed right up to me. I admit having to look up the definition of “bowline” and I was quite satisfied with the meaning and how it lent itself to this letter.  A bowline is “a rope used to keep the edge of a sail pulled forward and taut; a knot used for making a loop that will not slip.” (Webster Dictionary)

A client was caught in knots of stress and limitations. Her stiff, unwavering sails were harshly directed toward “woe is me” as she struggled with unemployment and financial demands.  She compared her circumstance to friends she thought were sailing more smoothly in life. She was stuck on the “deprivation” skiff, and was irritated, fatigued and lamenting the lack of possibilities or progress.  She needed to throw off the bowline! I asked her to imagine sailing from a place of constraining disappointment to exploring her options and from there, dreaming up her desires and discovering how to create experiences.

Can this summer be the season of loosening the knots of irritation, regret, and distraction? Often, we cling to the familiarity of sailing only in the same fashion as we have always done.  What if you were to “throw off” your knots, leave what is “safe and familiar” and sail toward a different goal or direction?

You see, when we explore rather than lament and dream rather than deteriorate, we relax the emotional strain and begin to discover new ways of experiencing relationships and events.

Imagine loosening up the predictability of your tension and replacing it with spontaneous creativity, musings and explorations which carry you in a colorful, new direction…now that is not disappointing, that is living!
Explore what you would like to discover more of this summer.  What about more laughter? Golden sunsets?  Family time playing games or taking walks? Home projects with an ice cream sundae as the reward?  More turning the music up and dancing!  When we realize we have bountiful options for our EXPERIENCES, then we are discovering  how rich and plentiful the journey can be.

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