Monday, July 29, 2013

Desiderata gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
~~~Max Ehrmann

Deja vu.
I feel like I've done this dance before...over and over and OVER again.
It's the dance of one step forward, two (or three or FIVE) steps back!
It's like the groove in the record has been worn deep and the needle is stuck.
...and I'm the needle today.

Some days, I feel like I'm making such progress..growth, change, onward and upward...ya know?
But lately, just as I feel like I get a pretty good grip and am just about to pull myself up to the next level...BAM!!
I get knocked on my ass.....HARD!

In the past, these feelings have appeared just when I'm getting to the good "stuff"...the "stuff" that I don't want to deal with or the "stuff" that I don't even know is there, it's been buried so deep for so long. 
When I keep going, rather than giving up, I have found that the light at the end of the tunnel is usually much closer than I expected.

But today, I'm done.
I don't want to do the work right now.
I'm tired of picking myself up for the umpteenth time.
When is enough, enough?
I would love nothing better than to shut off the old tapes in my head....but it's just not happening today.

I am emotionally exhausted.
Everything seems much "bigger" than it probably is..I just can't get the proper perspective right now.

I know it will come and things will look very different soon.

In the meantime, I will try to take the words of Max Ehrmann to heart:

I have a right to be here and the universe is unfolding exactly the way it should...whether I can see it or not.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

(Dis)comfort Zone

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
― M. Scott Peck

I guess I could just blame it on Mercury retrograde...

Something is amiss and I'm not quite sure....what.

Let me just start by saying, fundamentally, all is well. Nothing is wrong, exactly....things just don't feel quite....right.

For the last several days, I have felt        off.
Not quite comfortable in my own skin.
Emotionally off balance.
Out of place.
Just plain weird.

....and the frustrating thing is that I can't attribute this feeling to anything in particular.

In some ways, I feel like I'm outgrowing certain areas of my life. I feel like I've just woken up in a strange place, filled with people I don't know who speak a language I don't understand.
I see people, places, & things that I recognize, but I feel less connected to them.
I don't feel like I fit in anymore.

For many years, this feeling "apart" was normal...uncomfortable, but oddly familiar.

Then my life took a drastic change...
After some time and a lot of work, I felt like I had found my place in my world. I felt "a part of" instead of "apart from", I felt increasingly secure in my life and confident in my own skin. For the most part, I felt grounded.

Something has shifted and I can't put my finger on exactly what.

All the changes in my life and the inner work that I have done has not made me more comfortable with uncertainty, but I have acquired tools to work with it.

* Awareness is important. I am aware of my discomfort and have discussed it with people in my life whom I trust.
* Communication is critical. I'm talking about the way I feel as honestly as I can.
* Faith is key. Although I may not understand what or why this is happening, I know that I have always and will continue to be taken care of. I also believe that this will make sense at some point...just not today.

So, I share this today because one thing I have learned is that "secrets keep me sick". 
Once upon a time, I was unable/unwilling to share the messy bits of my life with others. I just stuffed them down, self medicated, and denied their existence, insisting that everything was "fine," when it was actually anything but.

Today, I can admit when things are not "fine" and try to do something to change them, with a little help from my friends.

Today I can sit with uncomfortable feelings without having to resort to unhealthy ways of coping with them.

Today I can feel gratitude for feeling uncomfortable because I know that there is growth there. I'm stretching beyond the walls of my comfort zone and that's where endless possibilities exist.

Anything is possible.
Life is good.
All is well.

Peace & love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


“Life sneaks up on us every once in a while and gives us something we didn't ever know we wanted, and lights within us a love we didn't even know existed.”
― Shauna Niequist

That's how I would describe my current state of mind.

That's how I would describe my life.

Today was one of those days that filled my heart with joy and deepened my gratitude and appreciation for my life and the wonderful people in it.

Started my day on the mat. 
Beautiful way to start a special day.
Today was spent in the presence of a woman who is regarded as a living saint by many of her followers, and who radiates pure love. 
We went to participate in darshan with Amma, the Indian guru known as "The Hugging Saint".

What an amazing experience!

I attended this event, alone, last year, but sharing the experience with several ladies from the yoga studio made the experience richer and more special.
We were serenaded by Lakota Indians, Mexican dancers, and live Kirtan music, as we waited for our turn to receive a hug from Amma. We spent several hours soaking up the energy of this amazing woman. The love in that room was palpable!
Each beat of the drum resonated in my heart cavity and I felt the vibrations course throughout my body. I felt like I was coming back to life.

As I reflected on the experience this evening, I was struck by the timing: tomorrow is Independence Day. How appropriate!

Today is the day to break free from all the fear based thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back from becoming who you were meant to be.
Today is the day to choose love.
Sure, you won't do it perfectly, but you can be a little better than you were yesterday. 
As a wise woman once told me, "Trying is doing."

And if that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what it!

Choose Love.
Celebrate Life.


For more information about Amma, click here:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ready or not

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” 

It occurred to me today that we are midway through 2013.

To say that this year has been "interesting" would be an understatement...a lot has happened in the last 6 1/2 months. 

I've travelled to Puerto Rico and Italy (solo!), closed the chapter on some areas of my life while exploring some new ones, did a whole lotta interior work (an ongoing process!), and learned some things about myself. 

Among other things, I have had the opportunity to practice setting boundaries...something that I have not been very comfortable doing in the past.
I'm starting to become more clear about what is and is not acceptable or, for that matter welcome in my life. I'm refining the picture of what my ideal life looks like.
That's not to say that I am under the delusion that I can control the events of my life....far from it! I am just beginning to really understand the concept of visualizing what I want in my life.

As I have shared several times here, I used to be a cynical, pessimist girl. Not surprisingly, it didn't take much for me to spot the worst in any situation.
Needless to say, instead of serving as a defense mechanism,having that attitude simply attracted more of the same. It was a never ending chorus of, " See? I told you so!"

That got old real fast! But I didn't know any other way....

Fast forward a few years...I was introduced to the work of Wayne Dyer, which in turn led me to Marianne Williamson...and my life changed. I devoured the books as quickly as I could get my hands on them and it was like a domino effect. One teacher led me to another and so on and so on.....
My spiritual journey had begun.

The parameters of my life have shifted since then.
I have actually been described as a positive person who has a calming effect on others....that one still takes a bit of getting used to! :-)
But the reality is, most days, I AM positive....if for no other reason than it feels better! 

The shift occurred by simply learning to make new choices for my life and the way I viewed it.
"I can choose peace rather than this," from A Course in Miracles, was my mantra for the better part of a year. At first, I just repeated the words over and over at work, but slowly, I began to believe them! I could choose to look through peaceful, loving eyes rather than bitter, angry ones. The choice was MINE!

Since then, I have become a bit of a pleasure junkie. I crave a life that makes me happy and experiences that make me feel good. I find pleasure in food, music, spending time with people I love, practicing yoga, meditating, visiting museums, spending time in nature.....the list goes on and on.

I am getting reacquainted with this part of myself...I lost her there for a minute.
But she's back!

Maybe I needed to acquire a new sense of appreciation for how my life has evolved...
I believe I have that now and I am very grateful for it!

So, Universe....what do have in store for me??

Bring it!!
I'm ready!!

Peace & love,

Sunday, June 23, 2013


 “Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.” 
― Dan Brown
This has been a pretty amazing week.

There were a couple of situations that occurred that not too long ago, I may have handled differently. Probably wouldn't have chosen the "easier, softer way" to go about it either. 

I've learned a lot over the last several years, but I'm always a little surprised when I actually apply these skills to a real life situation. Even though my logical mind understands that I have different choices, my default reaction still kicks in from time to time. The difference these days is that I usually don't go with my default reaction....the end result doesn't turn out well.

I used to live my life reactively.

In all fairness, I didn't know any better. I learned how to (re)act from the people around me. I don't say that to place blame or to avoid accepting responsibility for my own actions...I just didn't have many examples of alternative behavior.
For YEARS, I blamed other people for what happened to me and the situations in which I ended up. I just couldn't see my part in anything.
As a result, I rarely took action of any kind that was not the direct result of something else...I was a reaction waiting to happen.

Then things changed.

Even though I've had some years of practice with this new "skill", that old behavior seems to wait in the wings until my guard is down. Thankfully, these days, that reactive stuff happens only within the confines of my mind. I don't react nearly as much as I used fact, the last time it happened was several months ago.

Life has handed me a couple of tests this week and I'm proud to say that I think I handled them pretty well.

* I didn't react.
* I asked for help.
* I "paused, when agitated"...instead of saying what I really thought in that moment.  (beware of things you say that you can't take back once you say them!)
* I chose not to engage.
* I did my best to act from a place of love and compassion instead.

As always, I am a work in progress, but I must admit it feels pretty great to see the progress in action.

More will be revealed...

Peace & love

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Choose wisely

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It's all a question of how I view my life.” 
~~~ Paulo Coelho

2013 has been an interesting year so far.
Lots of changes....lots of growth....some endings and some new beginnings.
Life's funny like that.

I finally feel like I'm coming to the end of the transitionary period and settling into the latest "new" phase of my life.
...and, today at least, it feels REALLY good!

I've said it before, but it bears repeating.
I don't know about you but, my memory is fickle and I need periodic (frequent) reminders of lessons learned. Sometimes learning them involved painful experiences that I would just as soon avoid repeating. 

Back to business....
So one of the invaluable lessons that I have learned is that how I view and experience my life is up to ME!

*I can CHOOSE to view any situation as an obstacle or an opportunity.
*I can CHOOSE to be let life happen to me or I can participate in my own life.
*I can CHOOSE to focus on the bad stuff or I can CHOOSE to look for the good stuff...and there is ALWAYS good stuff!
*I can CHOOSE to focus on what I don't have or I can be grateful for what I do.
*I can CHOOSE to be a victim or I can CHOOSE to take responsibility for my own life.

So today, I CHOOSE to view my life and my experience as the amazing, incredible gift that it is.

I wish the same for you....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tick tock......

The universe doesn’t work on your time, but it does work on your behalf.
- Spirit Junkie

I am of the believe that the lessons I need to learn continue to present themselves (in various forms) until I am ready/willing/capable of learning them. While willingness may be a critical component of long term change, sometimes no matter how willing I am, the lesson just doesn't get through my thick skull! I'm a smart cookie, so this tends to be incredibly frustrating.

In times like these, I pray for the remedial version of whatever lesson is present in my life....just give me the Big, Clear, Picture. No symbolism, no metaphor..just give it to me in BOLD PRINT.

So today, I got a beautiful message in the form of a quote from one of my FAVORITE spiritual teachers: Gabrielle Bernstein. You may remember that I raved about her latest book, May Cause Miracles, earlier this year. As it happens, I just started doing the 40 day challenge again this week with my spiritual partner in crime, E. Today marks Day 3 and today's affirmation states: Love did not create this.

Now, I don't believe in coincidences, so I was especially struck by the quote...and the timing of it appearing on my radar.

The way I see it, this is a gentle reminder from my HP/Divine Spirit/the Universe that everything is working according to plan, even if it's not on my schedule!
If I stop and take a moment, I realize that there have been loads of times when I couldn't see the Big Picture, but things were going along in exactly the way they were meant to was easy to see the  pattern in hindsight, but in the moment, none of it made sense.

Bottom line: I am and have ALWAYS been taken care of. The Universe has my back. Any interference from me (i.e. me trying to "take control"...ha, ha, ha!) just puts a monkey wrench in the situation! I need to stop going against the current. I need to trust that everything will work out exactly the way it's supposed to....and get out of the way!

My job is to do the footwork; I am not in charge of anything.
My job is to choose love...always!
And when I am in fear, choose again.

Monday, May 27, 2013

For the Vets

 "...saying Happy Memorial Day to a veteran is like saying have a good time at a funeral."~~~M.A.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men & women who have bravely served our country. It is not a 3 day weekend or a good excuse for a BBQ or the unofficial beginning of the summer season.

I often forget that.

It's interesting to reflect on how the original meaning of this (and other) holiday(s) has evolved into something completely different.
Now, I am not getting up on a soapbox; I need reminders just like everyone else.
The quote which opens today's blog was posted on the FB page of a guy I know. He's a vet and I was deeply struck by his post. I never thought about how this holiday must feel to the vets who served, lost friends, and are forever changed by their experiences in the field.
I cannot even begin to imagine....

So on this day of remembrance, I wanted to take a moment to say

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

La Dolce Vita


My favorite place on the none.

I returned from my first solo trip last week...8 days in Italy: 4 in Florence (first time!) and 4 in Rome.
It was an amazing experience, not without its share of surprises.
I learned some things about myself, which is the unexpected bonus of traveling alone, I guess.

* I didn't expect the moments of loneliness, as I am used to spending my days off alone, following my own agenda. But I got through them, & learned to accept the feelings and not let them spoil my trip.

* I didn't expect the relief I would feel by honoring my decision NOT to wait in the ridiculously long line to go into the Duomo, simply because I didn't want to wait in the ridiculously long line! 
I decided to eat some gelato instead.
The Duomo will be there when I return, and maybe the line will be a little shorter next time.

* I didn't expect how giddy I would feel when I rediscovered the hotel that I stayed in the first time I was in Rome. It was like coming home...even though I chose to stay someplace else on this trip, I was so happy to reconnect with the neighborhood that I recognized.

* I didn't expect how decadent a bowl of pasta could taste...but I sure learned that it could! The farfalle with carciofi (artichokes) and guanciale (pork cheeks) knocked me on my a**!!! It was THAT good! 
Go to Ristorante Bruno alla Lungaretta next time you're in Trastevere!!! Say hi to Signore Bruno for me! :-)

* I didn't expect the sense of awe I would feel in Casa Buonarotti in Florence. I swear, Michelangelo was there in the room with me!

* I didn't expect to be so moved by seeing Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith painting, in person at the Uffizi. Speechless. She's pretty amazing. Google her.

* I didn't expect to find a fragrance that spoke to my soul...literally! But I did. At Aqua Flor in Florence. Thank you Kate, for taking the time to share your passion for the elegant fragrances that your husband creates in your beautiful atelier.
I LOVE Derwish, and have worn it EVERY day since I bought it. You were DID speak to me!

I'm still processing all the details & memories of my trip. It's some ways, I can't believe I'm back in Chicago, but in others, the trip feels like a dream. 

I'm sure I will have more things to share in upcoming get ready!

Ci vediamo presto!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


“Be happy now, without reason - or you never will be at all.”
― Dan Millman

It's here!!
It's here!!!

I feel like a little kid waking up on Christmas morning before going to see what Santa left under the tree. I have been anticipating this day for several months...
and the day is HERE!!!!!

I leave for Italy this afternoon!!!

This is the very special trip for me. I feel like I have gone through a growth spurt in the last few months...AFGO. 
*another f----ing growth opportunity, for those unfamiliar with that acronym*

I am happy to say that I feel the shift that has occurred and can honestly say that I have (for today) learned to surrender people. places, & things beyond my control. 
***and isn't it ALL outside our control, when you really get honest about it??

I feel like a weight has been lifted and I feel like I can breathe.
I am different than I was before this process. I feel more grounded in my body and spirit.

I had faith that I would be taken care of (always have been!) and I believed that things would get better (they always do!)

How funny it is that I forget that when I'm deep in the messy part of transformational change....every single time.
Thankfully, transformational change is not contingent on me remembering how the process evolves. All I need to do is show up & do the next right thing. All I need to do is have faith and let go.

So today, as I board the plane this afternoon, I will do so as a new person...different than the woman who booked the trip late last year.
I feel reborn!

I feel HAPPY!

I welcome this experience with open arms, excited to discover what this trip has in store for me.

I know that when I board the plane to come back to Chicago , I will do so as a different woman than I am today.
I'm excited about that!

I'm excited to discover who I am, on my own, in Italy.
I'm uncovering a new part of myself on this trip.

I'm looking forward to meeting her.

I think we're going to be great friends!!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

What dreams may come.....

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

The countdown has officially begun!
I am flying to Italy (via Dusseldorf)on Sunday. The trip I started planning late last year is almost here...FINALLY!

Although I have been fortunate to travel to Italy several times in the last few years, this trip is different.

1. It's my first solo trip...ever.

2. Aside from reserving tickets for the Uffizi and Vatican museums, I have NO set plans. Italy is going to speak to me...she's going to guide me by the hand, show me her secrets, and steal my heart.

3.There is a "feeling" about this trip...and I'm not the only one who has it. Several people, who know me well, have told me that this will be a special, perhaps life changing trip. 

I have no expectations about this trip.
I KNOW I will be eating an obscene amount of gelato and drinking an equally obscene amount of espresso.
I KNOW I will spend a decadent amount of time in various churches & museums in both cities.
I BELIEVE I will return to Chicago as a different person.

I am excited to see what Italy has in store for me.
I am excited to see what I learn about myself on this trip.
I am excited to see what life has in store for me....

One thing I have learned from this experience thus far just never know.

Last year, I declared out loud, to myself, that I needed to go back to Italy. Not running away from the drama of recent events, but towards the next phase of my life.

I set my intention, without realizing it.

Even before I start packing, I can appreciate how much of a learning experience this has been up until this point.

I have learned to honor myself and my dreams.
I have learned to say a BIG, FAT, YES to my life.
I have learned that nothing is impossible when you want it badly enough and are willing to do the work.
I also learned that it doesn't need to be that hard.

So, I am crossing the last few "to-do's" off my list, getting ready to pack, and get my tush in that seat by take off time on Sunday afternoon.
Then I'm going to settle in, watch a few movies, read a little, nap a little, and wake up the next day in Italia!!

Ci vediamo presto!