Thursday, March 28, 2013


I have a disheartening and painful confession to make.  My hope is that by making it public, I may gain some energetic encouragement.

I have fallen off the cleanliness wagon and into entropy.

There are great feelings of shame and inadequacy welling up inside of me as I confront it.  The part of me that was feeling so energized, proud and successful is weeping.  I was working so hard to keep my nose pointed ahead, and keep my attitude one of I CAN.

The excuses pile up faster than the dishes.  I took a week off to take care of me and rest.  Then the following week I felt like a slug and struggled to get out of bed in the morning.  Then all of last week I was fighting a case of  salmonella.  Now this week is mostly over, and every time I take a look at my house I want to curl up and disappear.  I hide from it in my office, spending the day staring at my computer.  It has been a month since I last mopped, vacuumed, dusted or tidied...and it shows.

My Beauty Box is sitting under some papers on the kitchen counter, beckoning to me. It no longer calls out to me with shame, but it is still calling.

Why is this so hard?  I was never any kind of athlete, I'm not a fantastic cook, I am no kind of artist, my social skills leave something to be desired...why is it so hard to exist competently?  I know from the weeks I spent really knocking it out of the park that I am capable of maintaining a home.  I have also proved to myself once again that I am really good at falling off the wagon.

Now is the time I have to take my own advice.  The only person I can control is me. The only day I have at my disposal is today.  If I take it just one little task at a time it will happen.  I truly believe these things.  I am sad that I have let myself down.

Things are BETTER than they were.  I am better about putting away certain things, and my pantry is still in order.  The kids are still picking up their toys every evening.  Things are definitely better than they were before my parents and I broke a sweat and cleaned the joint.  I am just infinitely discouraged that my bad habits have reared their heads once again.

I ask for your prayers, good thoughts, energetic embrace, or whatever it is that you utilize for healing.  Please help me to get back on track.  Every good thought, prayer or energy focus will help me put one foot in front of the other.  I hope to have my living spaces back to something I can be proud of soon.  I will start with one small thing, and let it develop naturally, as it did before.  This is really hard.  Entropy sucks.

I DESERVE a beautiful home.
I DO NOT deserve sticky counters.

I DESERVE a shiny kitchen floor
I DO NOT deserve pine needles on the carpet

I DESERVE to feel proud
I DO NOT deserve shame
I DESERVE love and respect
I DO NOT deserve this crushing weight of failure

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Favorite Day

I used to be so annoyed at how Pooh and Piglet had no greater view than what is happening immediately.  While I get that it is supposed to be childish in nature, even when I was a child myself I found it frustrating.  Why aren't they smarter and see that there is so much more than just where you are?  How come they have to be so very naive?

Now I is the very source of their innocence that they live entirely in the moment.  What appears to be naivete is actually well-cloaked wisdom.  Does it matter what yesterday was?  Does it matter about tomorrow?  The only thing that truly exists is right here and now.

I remember saying to someone once, "I really wish it was Friday already!" and her response was something to the effect of, "I am glad it is today.  I don't like to wish my life away."  That irritated me as well.  I thought this person was scolding me for looking forward to something and being morbid about it.  As I have grown better acquainted with what it means to live in the present, I see that that is not the case.  There is nothing wrong with looking forward to Friday, but the caution is against doing it at the expense of today and all of the todays in between.

Of course I need to remember events and things I have learned from the past, and I need to plan for the future, but joy is only to be found where I am.  Today is not the first day of the rest of my life.  Today is the only day of my life that matters. I need to love and live now, it is all I have and it is a beautiful gift.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Car Karma

I find parking lots to be infuriating, especially at the grocery store in the late afternoon or early evening.  People are tired and single-minded...get me in, get me out and get me home.  As a result, the general driving being done is usually not all that intelligent and all of the decent spots are full.

After work, with the kids in tow, I am often tired from a day of working, overstimulated from the back seat chatter, and frustrated at the jaywalkers, dawdlers and unaware drivers that I am forced to contend with.

A few weeks ago, while in a particularly irritating snarl comprising of an old woman with no idea, someone backing out, two people blocking all exits while waiting for the same spot, and a screaming child in the back...I did another of my little social experiments.  I decided to take a breath. Smile. Sing a song.  Stop caring so much.

It was so crazy, but as soon as I decided to chill down a bit and release the feelings that really weren't serving me, room opened up for me to escape the snarl.  I squeezed out and left the mess behind, and suddenly an even better spot by the door opened up and I slipped right in.  By the time I got the kids out of the car and onto the sidewalk, the mess was still where I left it but the three of us were happily on our way into the store.

I decided to make this my new approach to grocery store parking.  Interestingly enough it always works.  Every. Single. Time. I completely relax, and suddenly a spot right by the door opens up, or the traffic snarl suddenly disappears.  Ultimately, I feel better.  When I pull into the parking lot, I start singing or breathing deeply.  If the kids are with me, I start joking with them or teasing.  For some reason, my deliberate and often forced attempts at levity work for me.  My husband has dubbed it my Car Karma.

I know that telling a joke isn't going to magically make traffic jams go away or parking spaces open up.  But when all of the others in the same parking lot are tied up in knots over the stresses they are facing, my personal release of it increases my flow. I am not sure if it just allows me to see a bigger picture, spaces that were already there, or if it actually changes the energy of the situation. I don't really care which, because it works.

It works in so many other places as well.  The other day my husband came home and told me that he gave my Car Karma a shot when he went to the store.  I worked for him, too!  I have used it at the airport and I have used it while on hold with customer service.  Perhaps keeping calm and joyful, while staying clear about the big picture is just making life easier to cope with.  Perhaps smoothing out my own energy is affecting the energy of those around me.  Perhaps things really do physically change for the better simply by untangling my thoughts and nerves. works.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Chanting of a Child

असतो मा सद्गमय
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय
मृत्योर् मा अमृतं गमय
ॐ शांति शांति शांति - बृहदारण्यक उपनिषद् 

Om Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya

Om-Let us be led from the unreal to the Real
From darkness to the Light
From mortality to Eternity

My husband was desperate one night to find a song with the right cadence and rhythm to sing our son to sleep.  When he came upon this one, we discovered that it works like a charm.  Our children now ask us to use it to sing them to sleep sometimes, and they like to hear it in the car as well.

On the way to school, my 5-year-old often asks to listen to this particular mantra, called Om Astatoma, as recorded by Deva Premal.  When I researched it, I found that it is a passage from the Upanishads.  She asks for it to be played repeatedly.  When I sneak a peek at her in the rear-view mirror, she usually has her eyes closed and is mouthing the words along with no shame or presupposition.  It is an amazingly beautiful thing to watch a small child in sincere prayer.  She radiates an innocence, a pride and complete immersion into the joy she derives from it.  On these days, by the time we arrive at school she has clear eyes and is grounded for the day.  It is amazing what 15 minutes of sincere meditation can do for even a small child.

When she sings along, she knows the words with confidence.  She has a smile on her face and chants along with the clear, high confident voice of a child.  It is the most beautiful part of my day.  If she starts singing before I start driving, I will close my eyes and just listen to her.  It warms my spirit and uplifts me, causing my heart to swell and a smile to stretch from ear to ear.

My daughter has asked about mantras and meditations, and what they mean.  My explanation to her was simple:  We focus on what we want more if in our hearts, and we spend time praying and welcoming it in.  It is a part of our spiritual practice.  Sometimes she makes up her own chants and sings them for me.  The other day it was "I love ponies.  I love ponies.  I love ponies," which she sang over and over again.  We talked about what it meant, and we came to the conclusion she was chanting about beautiful things and how special they are to her, and love of creation.  It was a chant of gratitude.

Another one of hers is "I like everything.  Everything is good.  I like everything.  Everything is good."  She sings them in that sweet 5-year-old way of singing something with no real tone to it...but still a song.  She will sing her mantras for 10-15 minutes at a shot, sometimes dancing around the living room, sometimes in a half-lotus on her bed.  I truly admire how in touch she is with what kind of meditation her spirit needs at a given moment.  She is turning into a true meditation and prayer champ!

I am thankful to my child for reminding me how simple it is to pray.  All we need to do is find what our spirit needs and follow its lead.  When I sincerely follow my own soul in prayer and meditation, I find myself uplifted and gratified.  She is the most beautiful gift I have been given, and she reminds me daily that I have my own beauty if I can only share her innocence.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


There is something to be said for an empty email inbox: it is a beautiful thing.  I make a point of filing all of my emails and cleaning it out (along with the sent-items folder) as my last work duty every day.  It feels good, like the day truly is complete and I have met all of my work requirements for today.  It is a beautiful thing to see an empty inbox and sent-items folder.  I know that tomorrow I will not have to sort through today's dregs to find the new items of the day.  Removal of the day's clutter feels good, it feels like I have allowed myself a fresh start for tomorrow.

It is like filing papers.  If I kept every paper piled on my desk instead of in folders or binders, I would have an overwhelming mountain.  I struggle with rogue papers cluttering my spaces, but when they are all filed and cleaned up, I always feel airy and light.  This is much the same.

If there are emails that will require follow-up tomorrow, I create links for them in my Task pane, and file the emails away.  Once my Task pane is empty, I am assured that all of my obligations for the day are met, even the carryover from the day before.

Last night I didn't empty my inbox.  I opened the program and saw six things I needed to address staring me in the face.  Every time a new email came in, I felt a little bit overwhelmed, or dumped on.  This is not a beautiful thing.  It was a great reminder to myself of why I go through the extra effort every afternoon to empty that inbox.  Everything I see on the screen is for today only, there is no history or past issues clogging my inbox. Everything is filed away, where I can get it if I need it for reference.

I love the daily feeling of completion.  No matter what I have failed or succeeded at today, my inbox is empty and I know that tomorrow will be a new day.  There will be new imperatives from a boss or two, new students in panic mode, new learning mentors with strange questions.  My husband says it's an exercise in being in the moment rather than having to spread myself across the past and present. Getting a tiny little fresh start every morning is a beautiful thing, the communications part of my work day is a fresh slate.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Septic Tank Reminders

A person can never tell where blessings will come from.  Just when I feel like things are going smoothly, I hit a bump that reminds me to be thankful for what I have and to be willing to let things go.

Making a very long story short, the puddle in the yard discovered by my frolicking 3-year-old ended up being a backed-up septic tank with a dead pump.  It was gross and expensive, but there were so many beautiful elements where we learned important information.  While not ideal in any way, it happened in about the best way it could have:

  • Flo Hawks is a 24-hour service company.  A septic emergency on a Sunday was no big thing!
  • My kids were fascinated.  They pulled the kitchen chairs right up to the window and watched the whole process.  They shrieked about how gross it was, and were totally transfixed.
  • I just paid our taxes last week.  The refund covers the cost of both emptying the tanks as well as the new pump...with a little bit left over!
  • The tank was full to the brim, and backed up into the general plumbing.  While it took a few minutes of flushing and running some water to clear out, we caught it in time before there was any kind of major back-up into my drains or toilets.
  • There are TONS of poop-themed jokes and puns that can be made (e.g. the pump crapped out)
  • The kids learned about where all of our water and flushes go.
  • I now understand why I was compelled to purchase those cheap, over-scented candles.
  • We learned that the pump and the high-water sensor are on the same breaker (what genius designed that?), which isn't shared with anything else.  So now we know that we need to actually check the breaker on a regular basis.
  • We learned that you are supposed to clean the filter in the tank once a year (oops) and how to do it.
  • The pump was 20 years old.  That is almost 3 times the average life-span.  We were on borrowed time even when we purchased the house.
  • The drain field seems to still be okay, so there's $10,000 we won't have to spend.
  • I discovered that I don't know where my homeowner's insurance policy is, so I ordered a fresh copy.
  • My children have had all of their shots and have medical insurance, so I don't have to worry that something terrible will happen to them from playing in the puddle.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Potty Training Stinks

Today I can only do a Mommy-rant.  I'm seeking beauty, and the thing heaviest on my mind is not showing its beauty to me.  Commencing Mommy-rant.

My children were sent to this earth for many reasons, one of which is to teach me patience.  Potty training my daughter took 2 years, and I was afraid she'd never be ready for Kindergarten.  It is still hit-and-miss on whether she will make it through the night, even with me dragging her to the bathroom at 1:30 AM every night.  My son is 3-years-old and it is once again irking me.  He gets the potty-ing part, and will last upwards of an hour if he has to.  He will go when I take him, but doesn't voluntarily take himself yet.  But the sirree, he will not have anything to do with the toilet.

All that being said, somewhere there HAS to be beauty in all of this.  All I can see are poopy undies, wet pants, peed-on furniture, tired Mommy and frustrated toddler.  I need someone to help me find the beauty in all of this.

I am just emotionally done being the empathetic potty-training parent.  There are tiny pairs of underpants running my life.  I have nightmares that Thomas the Tank Engine comes alive and jumps off of the undies to scold me for how he is eternally being soiled by my son.  Yes.  I have these dreams.

I'm tired of having to watch the clock so that I don't miss the "window" and then end up having to clean a spot off the couch or the floor.  I'm tired of bringing home poopy undies from daycare, especially on days when I forget them in the car and discover my oversight the next day (ewwww!).  I'm tired of trying to coax a stubborn toddler into trying to poop on the toilet, only to have him walk off and soil his pants three minutes later.

I'm tired of my life revolving around who pooped or peed how much, when and where...then cleaning it up.

Where is the beauty?  Okay, so I'm learning my boundary and how far I can go.  I am practicing patience, and the reward will be so much greater when they are both teenagers and I have no idea what their bathroom habits are.  That is all a ways off...where is the beauty NOW?

Patience.  Love.  Nurturing.  Patience.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

To Be Seen

At my last PTI retreat, I found a little-dog chew-toy plush squeaky skunk.  The evening I found it, I made a point of tossing it at someone.  Later that evening, he walked into the living room, grabbed the toy and threw it back at me without saying a word.  He was on the way to bed, but took the few extra steps to be silly and tease. One of my other friends there said, "You know, that says I see you".

Thich Nhat Hahn said, "To be loved means to be recognized as truly existing."   I am trying to incorporate this into my daily practice.  There are so many people that I interact with and don't even realize it: when I check out at the grocery store, when I buy gas, when I order take-out and so on.  Each of these people is someone with a story, a life, friends, family, joy and pain.  How often do I forget about living and loving in the moment because of my own preoccupations?

The other day I was at Taco Time, and the lady at the register was in her zone, operating on autopilot.  It has always bugged me how people walk up to the counter and just start with, "I want..." and rarely tend to say "Hello".  So I decided to do an experiment and look her in the face.  I smiled at her every time I spoke, and I stayed in the moment with this woman.  I made a point of looking at her rather than over her head at the menu while I ordered.  Every time I spoke to her, I looked in her face.  At first she didn't notice, but by the time I had finished purchasing my order she suddenly saw me.  She realized I was seeing her, and I watched her visibly relax and smile a bit.  She was unsettled at first, but the micro-relaxation was a beautiful thing to see.  I was proud that I was able to facilitate a moment of personal recognition.

I teach my children that we speak with our eyes just as much as we speak with our mouths.  When you say please or thank you, please look at me while you are saying it, to ensure your sincerity.  It wasn't until my little experiment that I realized a deeper value of the eye contact.  When you are looking at me, you are directing your words at me and recognizing that I am part of the equation.  When I recognize you in return, we are both more engaged in the moment.  I can see the beauty of you when I make the tiniest effort that it takes to see you.  It pulls us both out of our closed-off worlds and into the light that we share, if only for a moment.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beautiful Things #101-150

Part of my quest to recognize the beauty around me has impelled me to create a list of beautiful things.  Here is my third installment:

103. Emergen-C
104. Surprise packages in the mail
105. The ceramic bowls I made in college
106. Holding a child in each arm and feeling their arms around my neck
107. A fluffy sweater
108. My husband's C-PAP machine
109. A heavy hoodie
120. Slipper socks
122. peppermint tea
123. Fresh-picked sweet corn
124. New socks
125. Crisp new dollar bills
126. Shiny new coins
129. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
130. Duct Tape
131. WD-40
132. The Big Bang Theory TV Show
133. Pink flannel jammies
134. Fuzzy slippers
135. The smell of a freshly mowed lawn
136. IKEA
137. Dr. Pepper
138. Jack-in-the-Box cheesecake
139. Redbox
140. Hershey Bars
141. Easter bunnies
142. WiFi
143. Calculus
144. My sewing machine
145. College ruled notebooks
146. Blueberries
147. Strawberries
148. Raspberries
149. Funny cat pictures
150. Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress!!

What are some beautiful things in your life?

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mommy Rocks Dinner

I have seen something several times on Pinterest and on I decided to give it a shot.  Okay, so it is kind of gross, but man, did I have fun.  It is really easy to live in the moment when you have two happy kids being their own kind of industrious while you make dinner.  And then to laugh like crazy with them during the meal is the most beautiful thing in the world to me.  So often I am harried and just trying to get dinner on the table so bed time will come ASAP.  Tonight I took a breath, and decided to just jump in and have some fun - and it was beautiful.

Step 1)  Gather the the fixins!

Step 2)  Fix the fixins!

Step 3)  Fix the water! (I invented this colorful step all by myself)

Step 4)  Cook the fixins!

Step 5) Strain and Admire!  Oh come on...let your inner 3-year-old dance with delight about green noodles and Nathan's hot dogs!

Step 6) <CRITICAL> Feed to small children and thoroughly enjoy every moment of creativity and hilarity that ensues.
Look, Mommy!  I made a spider!

And yes, there were vegetables, fruit and yogurt with dinner too.  :-)

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's a Beautiful Day in Jos
When I was a child in the early-mid 90's, my family lived in central Nigeria in a city called Jos.  My parents are United Methodist missionaries, and as far as the mission field is concerned we were the "city-folk".  Very early every weekday morning, my father would go use the short-wave radio that we shared use of with other mission groups.  He would spend half an hour or so talking with the other UMC missionaries, the ones "down bush" about news, field updates and specific requests.  Since we were in the city, very often people would have requests for things for him to purchase to send back the next time our bush pilot was in town.

It truly was a different world than the one I live in today, and I will forever be thankful.

Sometimes, if we woke up early enough, Dad would take my brother or me with him to listen in on the conversations. As a child, it was fascinating and fun.  I learned the radio alphabet off of a piece of paper tacked to the wall, while sitting on the floor and listening to the radio traffic.

Every single day, Dad started the group off with the exact same message his own father had used when they were missionaries in Nigeria, "This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!  Good morning, it is a beautiful day in Jos.  Bambur, do you have any traffic?"

I asked him one morning what he said if it was raining, and his response what that he never changed it.  Today is the day the Lord has made.  We have been given the gift of this very day, and that in itself is beautiful.

That has resonated for me ever since.  My father used a very specific cadence and tonality when he said these first lines, and he did it the same way each time.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear it loud and clear.  I later found out that the other missionaries knew their day had really started when they heard it.  On the rare occasions when Dad was not around, they missed it.  The routine reminder that every day is beautiful, and every day is a gift was something that never got old.

Thank you God for this day. Thank you life for letting me live it.  Thank you Spirit for abiding within my heart today.  Thank you breath for entering my body.  Today is a beautiful day, and it is up to me to appreciate it for what it holds, to instill as much of my own beauty into it as I can, to rejoice and be glad in it.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Angel Food (From Scratch!)

A recent Facebook post of mine:  Sometimes you say funny things when you make angel food cake from scratch with a, "There are no chives in angel food" and "Why is the egg yolk in your pants?" and "Blow your nose in a tissue, not on the mixer"

The energy of the house was stressful, we were all in a bad place.  I decided to distract the kids by making angel food cake with them.  Why?  Who knows.  Madness ensued, resulting in deliciousness.

Earlier in the day, our 3-year-old had told his Daddy that he wanted to be 2 again.  Upon further discussion, my husband realized that the boy wanted another green angel food cake.  He apparently thought that if he was 2 again, he could have another 3rd birthday and I'd make him another cake.

Green angel food is sacred in my growing up.  When you have a birthday, my father makes an angel food cake, and that's just how it is.  Sometimes there is a sauce from berries, but there is always angel food with food coloring in it.  As I grew up, green became the default color.  

I had to call my mother, because my husband made a valid point.  He asked if eating green angel food on a day that is not a birthday would be like having sacramental bread and wine as a snack.  After some playfully serious consideration, I called my parents just to make sure.  My mother cited John Wesley to me, how he stated that he would take communion every day because of the sanctity of the experience, and the relationship of history.  This makes sense.  Green angel food is associated with only positive, beautiful memories.  Making and eating it at a time that is not a birthday is a way to pay tribute to the experiences it represents.

My kitchen all but exploded with my two little helpers.  Separating a dozen eggs is really hard when the 3-year-old so desperately wants to help.  Our cake ended up with only 11 egg whites because one egg met an untimely demise at the hands of my exuberant little one.  The flour and powdered sugar were very well sifted, thanks to the sobriety and intense focus of a 5-year-old.

They were as excited as could be, and when they woke from their naps, there it was, upside down and cooling.  It was like a little slice of heaven to see their eyes sparkle.  After dinner, as I cut and served their cake, they had to retell over and over again what their roles were and how we worked together.

We were all in a grumpy, emotionally unstable place.  The day could have been a real disaster of whining and shouting.  For some reason, making this rather strange and finicky cake is what we needed.  We made a mess and probably ate more raw egg white than is healthy...and in the end it was a beautiful experience!

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beauty on the Body

On Friday night, my 5-year-old got herself all dolled up for Daddy to return home from work.  She put on her favorite dress, jewelry, lip gloss and her Hello Kitty purse.  She was prancing around and feeling beautiful, picked up the toys and instructed me to vacuum so the house would be in ship-shape for our traditional pizza/movie night.  She was feeling physically beautiful, her spirit was joyful that Daddy was coming home, and she wanted her surroundings to match it all.  It was so much fun to experience.

At bed time, she started to really cry about how she had to take off her pretty things and wouldn't be beautiful any more.  It absolutely broke my heart.  My husband started talking with her about how what we put on our bodies is not what makes us beautiful.

I talked with her again this morning about how her lip gloss and jewelry are not what make her beautiful.  She is beautiful as she is, inside and out, and all the things we put on ourselves are how we express our feelings of beauty.  I even said to her that Mommy is beautiful just as she is, but when I put on my makeup and my earrings it is how I tell the world that I feel beautiful today.  (I think it was a big step for me to so freely say I am beautiful just as I am...I just wish that the feeling was more permanent.)

I really had to sit back and take note of the words coming out of my mouth.  What do I put on my body?  Do I wear it with pride?  How do I feel about my inner beauty based on how it manifests on the outside?  Is it a chicken/egg paradox: do I feel no beauty on the inside so it manifests outside, or is it vice versa?

A few days ago, a friend challenged me to go beyond seeing beauty and recognizing it in my surroundings, he challenged me to try being the beauty I so deserve.  I'm still wrapping my head around what that means, in regards to not only self-care, but my spirit and my behavior.

I have really started to own the belief that I DESERVE beauty.  I deserve to have beautiful surroundings, I deserve to see the beauty in others, I deserve beauty outside of myself.  How do I live my beauty?  Where does it rest?  Am I exuding beauty to add to the array?  There's a lot to think about there!

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thank You, Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz is a singer whose art my family enjoys.  He has a delightful song that brings me happiness, called "Living in the Moment"

It epitomizes my journey about remaining present and truly recognizing every moment for what it is. This is a joyful reminder to me to live every moment and appreciate the beauty of it. I was so elated by it this morning, I totally let go to the moment and had a dance party/pillow fight with my (very willing and giggly) 5-year-old as we listened to it...three times in a row.  

Thank you, Jason Mraz, for this playful reminder to remain conscious and present in every moment.

If this life is one actWhy do we lay all these trapsWe put them right in our pathWhen we just wanna be free
I will not waste my daysMaking up all kinds of waysTo worry about all the thingsThat will not happen to me
So I just let go of what I know I don't knowAnd I know I only do this byLiving in the momentLiving my lifeEasy and breezyWith peace in my mindI got peace in my heartGot peace in my soulWherever I'm going, I'm already homeI'm living in the moment
I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've doneI let my past go pastAnd now I'm having more funI'm letting go of the thoughtsThat do not make me strongAnd I believe this way can be the same for everyoneAnd if I fall asleepI know you'll be the one who'll always remind meTo live in the momentTo keep living my lifeEasy and breezyWith peace in my mindI got peace in my heartGot peace in my soulWherever I'm going, I'm already home
I can't walk through life facing backwardsI have triedI tried more than once to just make sureAnd I was denied the future I'd been searching forI spun around and hurt no moreBy living in the momentLiving my lifeEasy and breezyWith peace in my mindI got peace in my heartGot peace in my soulWherever I'm going, I'm already home
I'm living in the momentI'm living my lifeJust taking it easyWith peace in my mindI got peace in my heartI got peace in my soulOh, wherever I'm going, I'm already homeI'm living in the moment.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Freezer Meals

I had a beautiful day today!  I have decided to completely release myself from housework this week and devote myself to me.  I do the minimal things like dishes, but the rest of it is on hold.  This week is my treat to myself.  My weekend was so powerful and intense that daily life feels like a treat.  I DESERVE the soft feeling of relief.  So much just doesn't seem to matter this week.  It was a wonderful thing to go do something creative and communal with friends.

I am allowing myself to feel the Compassion and Power that I regained, while at the same time allowing some of my shame to dissipate.  Instead, I am taking an emotional vacation this week.  I DESERVE my emotional vacation.  Making meals with my friends, enjoying the crazy spring weather, basking in the delight of my children's quirkiness, and feeling my Power are where I am at right now, and it is a beautiful place to be.

Two friends and I decided to get together today to make freezer meals.  I had never done it before, and decided to ask them if they wanted to give it a try.  One was inexperienced like me, and the other had done it before. They both got excited and we all decided to give it a go!

Freezer meals are a wonderful thing.  We all get together, and each make three batches of a meal to freeze.  Then we exchange the meals.  I made three batches of my Cranberry Meatballs (my husband's favorite) and came home with one pan of meatballs, a pan of stuffed manicotti, and a container of white chicken chili.

These ladies were just as excited about it as I was.  In no time at all we had all three meals prepped and in the fridge.  The rest of the time was spent sitting at the table together and being with one another.  Since all three of us teach online, it was a wonderful way to be together.  We had our computers up, making jokes as one or the other would get an email or a call to interrupt our conversation and food prep.

  • There is so much beauty to be found in simply communing with friends.
  • My job is a beautiful thing, it allows me the flexibility to do it from a friend's house or a coffee shop.
  • Freezer meals are a beautiful thing, I now have three meals that can be tossed in the oven with no prep!
  • My friends are a beautiful thing, we can commiserate, laugh, connect and share.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seeing With Compassion

I had a huge Ah-Ha moment last night about seeing with compassion, it is huge and beautiful and makes so much sense in my mind.  I have been trying to articulate it, but the words are failing me: the more I try, the more I go in circles.  I'm going to attempt here to sort it out in writing.

My heart has always been my emotional center.  When I feel something, I can almost always feel the sensation in my chest.  Call me a bleeding heart, overly-emotional,  or overactive in the 4th Chakra, it's where my feelings tend to lie.

I realized that my PTI experiences this weekend (see my previous 2 posts) have created a shift for me.  It wasn't until I was having a deep conversation with my husband last night that I realized what my shift was.

I did regain my Power, there is no denying that fact, but on another level I rediscovered compassion.  I reconnected my heart to my eyes, or you could say my feelings to my understanding, or perhaps my Heart Chakra to my Third Eye.

Suddenly, I am seeing the light that others have.  It is easier for me to feel compassion for all of those around me.  When someone cuts me off on the road, I am suddenly drawn to see their light and have compassion for their situation.  They are so enmeshed in their own concerns that they don't have the capacity to value the safety of others around them.  This is a call for compassion.

During breathwork, while I was a sitter, my mind suddenly opened up.  I was watching my partner work through his process, and I felt a sudden elation and flow of compassion.  I went into the weekend with the intention of understanding what it means to really have compassion for others, and suddenly it struck me.  This is not an intellectual pursuit, it was something that needed to reveal itself to me in its own time.

There has always been a disconnect between my heart and my mind.  I know I am supposed to feel compassion for others, and I know I should strive to have love and concern.  I know that as humans we all have our own wants, needs, pain and joy.  This is all intellectual, and sometimes I feel pity and emotion.  But for some reason I have always struggled to do both at the same time.

In regaining my Power, I have regained my voice.  I have spent a great deal of time and effort trying to understand why I feel so insignificant and like my voice doesn't matter.  In Chakra meditation, it is my Throat Chakra (blue) that has always been a struggle for me.  Rather than vibrant and pure, the colors I see are dark and muddied, and the area feels cramped and constricted.

When I was doing Yoga in breathwork, I  felt open and powerful, everywhere except my throat.  My throat was constricted and each time I would focus there I would feel like I had to gasp for breath.  The night before I had been talking with one of my teachers about how there is a disconnect between my heart and my head, and I did some reading about the throat and neck.  I believe it was a delayed reaction, but after my breathwork, my throat started to open.  When that occurred, the flow between my Heart and my Third Eye suddenly exploded and compassion began to radiate out of me.

This is a huge ah-ha for me.  I felt a swelling in my chest, and in my mind.  I felt a sudden surge of energy and relief.  It all makes sense to me now, and it all happened without me trying.  There is a sudden connection between my heart and my mind that is growing, and I can feel it.  The world looks a little bit different to me, I can see the spirit of the person I'm looking at - beyond just their mass and form on this earth.  It is an amazing sensation, and it took me three days post-PTI to even begin to understand what was going on.

I regained my personal Power, and I also opened up a channel to see the light and beauty that is present in every person I encounter.  The compassion I feel is a deep connectedness, and I am overwhelmed and blessed!

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beauty-Work in Progress

While I was at my most recent PTI weekend, two of my colleagues challenged me, let's call them "Ruth and Mike".  We were having a conversation that they simply would not allow me to disassociate from.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I was trying to deflect with humor and distract with sarcasm. I am so thankful for their intensity of focus.  We were talking about our progress, our journeys and our processes.  We were talking about this blog, and what it is about, and my goal of simply opening up to recognize the beauty that is already there around me.

What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004) PosterThe evening before, we had watched a film called What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?  It is kind of slow to start, but ultimately talks about how we have so much more control over our surroundings than we believe.  My understanding is that this film is one you can watch over and over again and glean something new every time.

In one part of the film they talk about when Columbus was approaching shore, the Native people were unable to see his large ships.  They saw the ripples in the water, and knew something was afoot, but the ships were so far out of the realm of their consciousness that their brains simply could not take them it.  The tribe's Holy Man spent several days at the water's edge in meditation and eventually became able to see the ships. He went back and explained it to the people, and when they came to the shore they were able to see the ships as well.

Whether is this entirely true or not, I don't think it matters.  The take-away from the story is that there are so many things on our horizons that we simply can't see because our consciousness doesn't understand it.  How many times have I been wrestling with something, and then had an outsider make a suggestion that merits the response, "Of course!  Why didn't I think of that!  It is so obvious!"

Ruth and Mike challenged me to look at the beauty within myself.  Deeper than my skin or my physical being.  What about the beauty within?  I became so uncomfortable that I just wanted to bolt from the table.  They were so intense and sincere that I stuck in my seat to ride the course with them.

Mike asked me how long it had been since I sat with the beauty of my own spirit?  I tried to bluff around it, but he really stuck to the course.  Ruth said that I really need to first come up with the words, then I would have a framework for myself.  I thought that was a good idea.  I told them about how my daughter says, "Look at how beautiful I am today!" and how I have tried it a number of times for myself and can barely get the words out, let alone believe them.

We discussed how this is probably because those aren't my words.  The three of us tossed around ideas, and Ruth suggested, "I am a beauty-work in progress!"  and I really like that.

I am so thankful that Ruth and Mike pushed me in this conversation, and I am proud of myself for sticking to it.  I desperately wanted to brush it off with humor and run away, but part of me said this was a conversation that needed to be had.  I love them so much.

I am a beauty-work in progress.  I can own that.  It feels real to me.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Monday, March 4, 2013


This past weekend I embarked on Week Four of an intensive therapy journey.  It is called the Personal Transformation Intensive (PTI), and occurs one weekend a month for five months.  Nine people, including myself, join our therapist/teachers in retreat from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening, remove ourselves from the world and embark on a journey.

There are no words to describe the PTI experience.  It is spiritual and intensely personal, and the healing and change that take place are unbelievable. We use a combination of talk therapy, group discussion, energy healing, meditation, heart-centered hypnotherapy, psychodrama and other group exercises to go "heavy, deep and real" into our souls and our unconscious mind.

Every week we do a session called breathwork.  It involves patterned breathing, and is heavily supervised to keep everyone safe.  It is hard to believe that laying on your back for 75 minutes and simply breathing can have such an impact, but personally, it is always the most intense part of the weekend.

Sometimes breathwork is relaxing, sometimes it is terrifying, and this weekend I experienced healing.  It was by far the best breathwork ever (for me at least).

Most of this week's work was intensely personal, but the end of my breathwork session was earth-shattering for me.  While maintaining the patterned breathing, and with my eyes closed, I reclaimed my Power.  I stood barefoot on the ground, holding a length of rubber hose.  Suddenly, I felt the need to do yoga, particularly the Warrior poses.  I was Strength.  I was Power.  I was Athena.  I was Katniss. I was Boudica. I was a Warrior.  The hose in my hand was a weapon, like a spear or a mace.  I really wanted a bow and arrow, but the hose was enough.

I was connected to the Earth, and I was Power.  I felt the surges in my hands, I felt electricity through my body.  The man who was sitting with me (always have a sitter to keep you safe!) while I breathed later reported that he was staying at arm's length because he wasn't sure if I was going to go charging off to do battle.  He said he was waiting for me to start screaming war-cries, just from the positions I was taking, and the death-grip I had on my "weapon".  I was impressed with myself that, with my eyes closed, I could do yoga and maintain the patterned breathing with no difficulty.  Through it all I was completely and fully in my body.

The experience was so spiritual and connected, it truly was a beautiful thing.  I did a lot of slow, deep and strong yoga poses, then I laid on my mat and did stretches to really open up my body and allow the energy to truly flow.  When my body told me it was complete, I stopped and just laid on my mat and breathed.  I was drenched in sweat, my blood was flowing and I was the embodiment of raw Power.  As I relaxed, my body felt so good:   rested and energized.

There really is no way to describe the experience.  I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to experience heart-centered hypnotherapy, PTI and (responsibly supervised) breathwork.

I am empowered. My conclusion at the end was that my Power is my own, I will not give it away again.  What I will give is my compassion.  "My Power is for me.  My compassion is for you."  I have and I own this power, but now I have to do the work of figuring out how to resource and what to do with it!

The next step in my journey is to find the strength to reach the point where I can say with clarity, "I deserve compassion, and I have compassion for myself."  The journey will be long, and beautiful.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!