Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Believe in the possibilities...

"Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here."

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week! Mine was filled with good food, great people, and a lot of gratitude...and yet...

Have you ever felt that there was one area of your life that could use some work, but just didn't know how to take that first step? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the thought of starting something new or (finally!) taking steps to stop doing something that was no longer serving your best interests? Have you found yourself obsessing (just a little bit) about how things would be different if you could change that area of your life? Does the thought of all of this make you so exhausted that you just want to take a nap?

Sound familiar?
Yes, I know...I've been there too.

I am currently in this very place regarding my exercise routine (or lack thereof) and eating habits. This time of year is challenging for me because I love to bake and I LOVE to eat the finished product. I am a pro at procrastinating when it comes to working out, even though I always feel better when I do it.
I am incredibly empathetic to my Edited Space clients who struggle with organization. Making a decision to do something different is hard enough, but actually taking the action, whatever it may be, can be overwhelming! I understand that inner voice that says, "I know how to do this...I don't need any help." And I also understand the shame that comes with the realization that despite your good intentions, you have done the exact same thing...AGAIN!

What I have learned is that, in some areas of my life, I have to reach a certain level of discomfort before I am willing to change. I wish this wasn't the case, but it's true; however, acknowledging that there is a problem often speeds up the process. Asking for help can be critical to your success.

So...I made a decision to take steps to do things differently.
Over the last few days, I have shared my struggles with people whom I trust and asked for their help and support. Today was the day to begin making some changes.
I am happy to report that I went to a new yoga studio that I have been wanting to try. I have made a commitment to make at least 3 classes this week. It is a commitment to myself and my well-being. I will share my successes as well as my struggles with you in this forum and I hope that by doing so, I am helping someone else.

What are you struggling with? Have you reached your tipping point? Are you ready to consider making some changes? Are you ready to ask for help?

I love the quote by Laozi, which appears at the beginning of this post. It fills me with hope for a brighter future and reminds me that anything is possible.
I hope it inspires you as well.

Remember...anything is possible!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thoughts on gratitude and happiness...

"...happiness is above all a love of life....it is a purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession, that literally poison the mind."
~~~Matthieu Ricard

I have recently started reading "Happiness", a book by Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk who left a promising career in cellular genetics in his native France to move to Nepal and pursue his true calling. The book was recommended to me by a client who thought I might enjoy it; she was absolutely right! Everything that I have read so far has resonated deeply within me.

I have learned from my experiences over the last several years, just how powerful my attitude is in the way I view the events of my life. For years, I was a cynical, pessimistic person and, not surprisingly, my life was pretty miserable. I was devoid of hope and considered myself a victim of circumstance; I reacted to the events of my life and thought that everything (bad) happened to me. What I didn't know then was that I had choices, including a choice about how I looked at my life. I could focus on what was good rather than what, in my opinion, was bad or unfair.
This realization was a major turning point in my life! I felt empowered, rather than victimized. I could choose what to focus upon and, in doing so, shift my perspective. I felt like I has slipped on a new set of glasses, which enabled me to see the beauty around me that I had previously ignored. I felt happy.

For me, gratitude is inexorably linked to my level of happiness. The more grateful I am for what I have, the happier I am. I don't know how it works, but I know that it does.
We are faced with a lot of challenges in today's world. It would be easy for me to sit back and focus on everything that is going wrong and all the material losses that many people have experienced. There is no denying that we are facing a time of major change. However, I believe that there is still a lot of good in the world. As I type those words, I realize that, to some, that may sound a bit like Pollyanna. That's ok by me.

I believe that our attitude shapes the world we live in. To quote one of my favorite authors, Dr, Wayne Dyer, "Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world."

For me, negativity is toxic and it feeds upon itself. Most days, I choose to look for the silver lining in a situation. It just works better for me. I know what my life was like before I realized I had a choice to look for the good or focus on the bad; I don't want to go back there. My life is better when I focus on the good stuff. I'm grateful that I know I have that choice.

So, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I will be in the kitchen baking biscotti, something that brings me immense joy. Tomorrow I will spend the day with many of the people I love, eating delicious food and reflecting on the blessings in our lives. I can't wait!

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you in this blog. I would love to hear how gratitude has worked in your life.

Wishing you and yours a joyous Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Take a deep breath...

"Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection."
Oprah Winfrey

OK, so many of you know by now that I had to say goodbye to my baby, Harley, last week. My beautiful, furry ball of unconditional love has been with me through all the trials and joys of the last 16 years. He was my heart and I miss him terribly. But I am also grateful for all the years we spent together and the valuable lessons he taught me.

I experienced a major life change almost 10 years ago. I could never have imagined all the gifts that would appear as a result of turning a corner that would change my life forever. In many ways, I feel that I got a second chance, that I was reborn. Never again would I look at life in quite the same way.

The last 10 years have not always been easy...but it's been a helluva ride! My whole life has opened up, to varying degrees, because I learned how to take responsibility for my actions, ask for help, and show up, even when I didn't feel like it. I have also discovered that we are incredibly resilient creatures and have access to an inner fortitude that we don't always know exists. I have come to believe that people are inherently good at heart. (This has been proven to me more times than I can count, which essentially knocked the cynicism right out of me!)
But perhaps most importantly, I now understand that, fundamentally, we are not all that different from the next person. We all share many of the same hopes and dreams and fears. We all appreciate being treated kindly and having the opportunity to do the same for another person.

I have mentioned in previous posts that, like many people, I am no stranger to loss. After last week's events, I now find myself right smack back in the middle of the grieving process...one I vehemently dislike, by the way. I hate feeling out of control and dominated by emotions that won't "behave." I have been here before, and I know that the only way to get through this is to go through this. ( I seriously wish there was another way, but sadly, no one consulted me when that little rule was made up!)

But one of the gifts of having been in this spot before is that I also know that joy and beauty and happiness have not disappeared, simply because I feel bad. They are always there, just waiting for me to focus on them. I learned this lesson, several years ago, after a particularly painful loss. I was a few months into the grieving process, surviving each day in a kind of automated state. I wasn't fully present for anything during those months. I was numb. One morning, I opened my eyes and saw the sunrise, something I had done many other mornings, but this time it was different. I was fully present in that moment and really saw the sunrise. It was a very symbolic moment for me because I felt that I was reawakening to my life in a completely new way. I realized how much I had missed out on simply because I was too busy or preoccupied to notice. I vowed not to make that mistake again.

So, as I begin this process once again, I will try to remember to be gentle with myself, accept help graciously, express my love and gratitude to the people in my life, and treasure each and every moment.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letting go....

"It's possible to go on, no matter how impossible it seems, and that in time, the grief… lessens. It may not go away completely, but after a while it's not so overwhelming."
Nicholas Sparks

This was a very emotional week. My cat, who I've had for 16 years, suddenly stopped eating and, after many tests, was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. On Friday, his 16th birthday, I had to put him to sleep. I held him in my arms while they gave him the sedative that would stop his heart. I felt like my own heart was being ripped out of my chest...and I said goodbye.

This is the second time I have had to euthanize a sick cat. It sucks. The pain is suffocating. And if that wasn't enough, now the grief process begins.
Like many people, I am no stranger to the grieving process. It's overwhelming and there are no shortcuts for getting through it. It is the ultimate test of surrendering control. You could say it's the 'final exam' for letting go...

I am blessed to have an amazing group of people in my life. I have been supported through every step of the events of the past week. I am grateful that I've been able to accept the help that's been offered to me. After we left the ER, I wanted nothing more than to be alone with my grief and memories of my baby...thankfully I was with two people who love me and they gently insisted that I should not be alone.
It reminded me of another time in my life where I was in just enough pain that I was able let go of my futile attempts at control and accept the loving help that was being offered to me. This is not in my nature, but I know from experience that it's usually in my best interest.

So, thank you Harley for teaching me about unconditional love. A friend reminded me that now he will always be with me, like my own feline guardian angel. It comforts me to think that he has been reunited with his brother and others that have gone before him.

And thank you to my earth-bound guardian angels...for everything.
Love you!

Monday, November 1, 2010


"I'm telling you, people. Everyday we wake up is another blessing. Follow your dreams and don't let anyone stop you. Never say never."
Justin Bieber

My friends will tell you, I am not "up" on all the latest music. I am an old soul, I guess, and, though it pains me to say this...I just don't get a lot of the new music. Give me the stuff I grew up on or give me some good old Louis Prima, John Coltrane, Miles Davis...you get the idea. So, I chuckled to myself when I found this quote from Justin Bieber. I know who this kid is, but know nothing about his music...based on this quote, I might see what all the fuss is about!

So, on to today's post!

I spent some time reflecting on how powerful it can be to "give voice" to your dreams. First, let me say that I think it is incredibly important to allow yourself to dream in the biggest, most creative way you can. Don't hold back...dream BIG! I think that some people ( I know I was once one of them) can get so bogged down in the minutia of practical, daily life "stuff" that they close themselves off to the beautiful possibilities that exist all around them. I imagine these possibilities as little pixies, waiting for us to acknowledge them, breathing life into them and giving them a chance to blossom. Acknowledging your innermost dreams can require a huge amount of faith, and sometimes involves working through some deeply rooted fears. There can be some serious "housecleaning" involved! I think our dreams often end up buried inside, covered up with years of accumulated fears: "what if"s, "I should've"s, "I can't"s, "it's too late"...you get the idea.

As I reflect upon my life this year I can see tremendous growth in some areas that I had struggled with in the past. Maybe it's just simply that I'm getting older...ugh...or maybe it's just the result of past events that led me to the place where I realized that I wanted to take some chances. For me, taking risks and following my dreams has had a snowball effect. It's amazing how things have turned out! To be fair, it hasn't all been wonderful, but if I have learned nothing else, I know that I don't have access to the "big picture." I believe there is a divine plan and I know I don't have all the pieces of the puzzle. I trust that things will ultimately work out the way they are meant to and that I will be taken care of.

A few months ago, I shared that I celebrated my birthday this year creating a "vision board" with some dear girlfriends. It was great fun, unleashing some creative juices, trying to find words and images to represent my deepest wishes and dreams. One of my friends, who had done this before, shared how powerful the experience of creating a vision board had been for her. She showed us one that she had made last year, and then pointed to everything that had manifested in her life since then. It was remarkable and very inspiring.
This morning, I looked at my own vision board...I was amazed to realize that some of my own wishes and dreams had started to come true! It was a very powerful moment for me.

I'm at a point in my life when the need to understand how things happen is not as important to me. And thank God for that! I used to get so tied up in trying to figure the how's and why's of a situation that I got stuck in that obsession. Now, I try to show up, do my part, and then get out of the way so that the universe can do its part.
For me, acknowledging and "giving voice" to my dreams is my way of saying yes to the possibilities. By denying your dreams or keeping them hidden you are essentially keeping yourself closed off to what could be...it's like shouting NO!

Remember when you were a little kid? If someone asked you what you wanted to be when you got older, what did you say? An astronaut? A ballerina? The President?
Anything was possible!
As children, we possess the most expansive and fertile imaginations...sadly, we tend to lose access to them as we get older. But, the good news is that that creativity is not lost...
Why don't you try to dust off your imagination? Give yourself the chance to explore your innermost desires.
Give yourself the opportunity to believe, for a moment, that anything is possible.

Give yourself permission to dream...BIG!