Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.
Growth must be chosen again and again;
Fear must be overcome again and again.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Change is hard -- even positive change, even when we are choosing it!  This is because as humans, our subconscious mind interprets change as threatening. Human beings are creatures of comfort, and what is familiar feels comfortable and safe, even if we know it no longer serves our highest good.  

There is also a natural grief process that is triggered when we encounter change.  There may be parts of our current circumstance that do serve us, or things that we will miss.  As complex creatures, we can experience all of these feelings together. For all of these reasons, we may find ourselves resisting change.  

Answer these questions to process the conflicting emotions coming up as you progress through your current transition.  Take time and write out your answers. And remember, growth happens only when we are willing to give up what is no longer working to make room for something more.  

  • What will I lose? What will I miss?
  • What will remain the same?
  • What will improve? What do I hope for?

Remember a time you successfully navigated a change that was initially scary. Recall in particular what you anticipated before the change, what motivated you through the change, and how things actually turned out. Reconnect with the resilience you developed through that experience. Recall the feelings of empowerment when you reached the goal. You are more powerful than you realize!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Small victory over my knee-jerk parenting self yesterday.

My daughter was taking her time getting ready for school and as I looked at the clock and realized that we would DEFINITELY be late (as it is, we are routinely last- or second to last in); instead of amping up the warnings and stress level, I let go and accepted how things were unfolding.  Let me back up...

I remember so distinctly the morning routine when I was her age.  My mother (also a single mom) was constantly urging me along, rushing me and stressing out, even threatening to leave without me. I remember feeling scared, guilty and confused.  I remember often feeling she was angry with me and feeling like I was BAD.

Of course when I became a mother, the universe would give me a dawdler.  My daughter has always taken her time.  Meals take for-EVER and I notice that the more I push, the slower she goes.  The lessons here for me are PATIENCE, ACCEPTANCE and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

I get triggered when I find myself in emotionally-charged situations that I experienced as a kid, yet now I am in the role of mother.  The opportunity is to break the cycle of reactivity, as well as heal that little wounded part of myself.  My choices are to knee-jerk and come from a place of stress and fear, or I can pay close attention to myself and make a more conscious choice.  THIS TAKES A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND SELF AWARENESS.  And I'm not always successful.  Sometimes I raise my voice and have to collect myself, apologize and start again. Sometimes I AM successful and I breathe through it, keeping myself calm and doing what I can to keep our routine moving forward with a lighter spirit.  Every day I get more opportunities to practice. :)

Over and over I am shown the importance of RADICAL ACCEPTANCE in so many aspects of my life. Starting where we are and giving up the resistance helps us to recognize the way forward. Accepting the FACT that my daughter gets easily distracted and needs redirection helps me be less reactive and more solution-focused.  Resisting this reality only causes more frustration for me which leads to conflict between us and becomes counterproductive to the ultimate goal of getting out the door on time.

The other, deeper and longer-lasting consequence of my resistance is the risk of my daughter internalizing my stress and (as young children automatically do) interpreting my frustration to mean something is wrong with her.  Bad mommy!

Personal Responsibility
I cannot honestly blame my daughter entirely for constantly pushing the time.  It is largely due to my set-up.  I don't get to bed early enough most nights, so it's hard to wake up with enough time to get myself together before I get her up and the domino effect takes over.  Recognizing my part in this, I have recommitted to having general start and end times for the phases of the morning routine which I find to be helpful (for instance, up by 7:10, eating by 7:30, brushing teeth by 8:00...).  By being more aware of the time, I am setting things up for success instead of avoiding the clock and freaking out when I see that the school doors open in 5 minutes and we are 10 minutes away from leaving.

The other, even more important aspect of personal responsibility is MY RESPONSE TO WHATEVER IS HAPPENING.  This, naturally, relates back to patience and acceptance.  I remind myself to be patient with the process (deep breaths...), accept what is happening (besides, it's not life-threatening...) and recommit to learning and doing what I can to improve next time.  And when I drop her off with a smile and a hug and see the peace and joy in her eyes instead of the residual effects of our stress-filled morning -- that is worth all of the restraint and self awareness I exercised.

Whew.  And all before 9am... :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Like it or not, this is a Truth with a capital "T".

What does this mean, anyway?  I hate my enemy.  I want to push him/her/it away.  I want to denigrate it, trash talk it, get others to hate it and let that anger and hatred fuel feelings of power and righteousness within me.  I am right and my enemy is wrong.  My enemy deserves to suffer and die.  My hatred even shapes my sense of self by defining what I am not, and what I will "never" be...

All of these statements are of course subjectively true, as perception is reality for all of us.  But take a step back (or 100 steps back); what is the enemy here to show us?  What can we learn in relationship to the enemy?  What is the message it brings?  What teaching is this person or circumstance offering? And where do we need to grow in order to embrace that teaching?

If you're still reading, Congratulations.  You must be on a serious spiritual/self improvement journey.  I never used to think in this way and certainly as I write the critic in my head is shouting exceptions:  the child molester, the terrorist, the bully; for that matter: homelessness, discrimination, murder.  These are examples of people and circumstances that are CLEARLY not OK; what can we possibly learn from facing and embracing them?

A Big-Picture Perspective.
Mindful Presence.

Or how about simply Gratitude for not living that reality, or for having survived that reality, or for supporting others who are struggling to free themselves from that reality?

The more we can BEGIN to make room for the possibility that SOMETIMES our enemy is our teacher, something in us shifts & opens up.  Walls that previously gave us a (temporary & false) sense of safety start to crumble and ironically, we start to feel more free...  free to connect, free to see possibilities, free to accept what we cannot control and free to focus on our own path.  This shift can result in feeling more grounded in our true selves, and more connected in general as we focus on Universal Truths and where we are similar instead of where we are different.  It gets us looking for the common ground between us.  This shift brings hope for more peace, even in our own tiny corner of the world, beginning within ourselves, which is where all change and all possibilities begin.

How would the commute home feel if, instead of (or after!) shouting profanities and Damning to Hell the guy who cut you off on the freeway, you paused and thought about where YOU were moving too fast and being careless?  What if you focused on gratitude that his reckless maneuver didn't result in a major car accident and upon arriving home to your family, hugged them a little bit tighter and listened just a little more intently?  What if you said a prayer for that individual, knowing that you've been in that state before?  What if you made a silent commitment to yourself to become more aware of your own driving and more conscious in general?

I said it earlier: perspective is reality, and our mindset determines our perspective.  We can become aware of our mindset.  We can shift it.  And that shift not only instantly improves our mood, but it can also have ripple effects that emanate from us into the world in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.

Choose wisely. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Oh, how we avoid -- all of us.  Like how I've resisted this blog for many months as life has taken so many directions unplanned.  "When things settle down and I get it all figured out, I'll write again... There's too much going on... I don't have time... I don't know what to say..."

All of it:  False.  The Truth is, we resist what we most need to embrace.

As much as we don't want to admit it, deep down we know it's True.  Resistance builds tissue, both muscle tissue and soul tissue.  It stretches us beyond our comfort zone into places we would rather avoid (there's that word again).  Resistance is like a mirror, showing us where we need to grow.  And this runs counter to every fiber in our beings that seeks safety and predictability.  We are all walking contradictions; we actually need both predictability and unpredictability in our lives to reach our potential and ultimately, deeper life satisfaction.

I have resisted "putting myself out there" because I have been in the midst of the hardest year of my life.  Separation and impending divorce.  Managing my emotional roller coaster while being witness to -- and on the receiving end of -- my daughter's emotional process.  Making major life decisions, alone.  Financial strain.  Moving -- three times.  Rebuilding my practice.  Again.  Recreating my life. Daring to dream.  Learning to let go and trust.

This is what I've learned so far:

1)  I'm never going to have it all figured out (this was actually a relief once I got it)
2)  I CAN trust:  Trust the process, Trust the Universe, Trust myself
3)  Going with the flow (but not in a passive, co-dependent way) actually eliminates stress
4)  Laughter IS the best medicine
5)  I can do anything with the love and support of people I trust

So here's the bottom line for me now:  Allow things to unfold, don't waste time trying to predict, and be in every moment as fully as possible.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Lately, my central focus has become helping my 5 year old daughter through intense feelings of sadness due to missing her daddy.  He is currently away working (long term) on several projects out of state.  Days gone:  21; Days until his return:  probably 45 or more...

These past 3 weeks have contained more parenting hell moments than I was prepared for.  She is very expressive of her rage and upset and we are having confrontations daily (except for yesterday, which was so refreshing :)).

When it comes to her anger, I try walking that thin line between allowing and enabling; my focus is on allowing her room to feel and express all of her emotions -- even the negative ones -- while providing containment by not allowing hurtful expression of the upset.  Oh yes, and my first focus is on staying calm while being rattled, sometimes, to the core.

What is helping me deal with this challenge?

Well first of all, I have slipped into yelling and engaging negatively, more than once, in recent days and weeks.  But instead of beating myself up, I am working on transforming what would be guilt into motivation to avoid making those choices again.  I am using those experiences to become more present and aware so that I develop and strengthen my ability to be in control of myself, and minimize complications as I help her navigate the cloudy waters that are stirred up when we encounter emotional storms.  In other words, I am slowing down to become more observant and think through each moment as it presents itself.

I also try to see things from my daughter's vulnerable perspective.  Every experience she has with me contains the potential to do good or do harm and shape her personality and future relationships accordingly.  Perfection of myself is not realistic, but I do hold a picture in my mind of the parent I would like to be, and the clearer I hold that vision, the quicker I can step into that energy and assume that stance.

Lastly, I am taking time to care for myself.  I am going to bed early a couple of nights a week and allowing for some unstructured downtime.  I've made a commitment to a weekly exercise class and am making time to connect with my support system.

Tough times and transitions are going to happen in life, and I am committed to using this experience as an opportunity to develop resilience -- both her's and mine.