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Thursday, December 31, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

"Be at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man." 
~ Ben Franklin ~

Make this year count,
Live free from doubt,
Be clear,
Have no fear,
Steer right,
Keep your dreams in sight,
And excite and delight in your life!

I establish my direction for a year of appreciation and personal growth.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

NEW YEAR'S EVE

"A life without cause is a life without effect." 
~Barbarella ~

There's a way to approach the New Year that has nothing to do with alcohol, fireworks, or crowds of people. It's quietly and intentionally- a cleansing and a releasing rather than a frenzy. The last four years or so, we have started a New Year's Eve bonfire tradition that fits the bill. We sit in the dark country night and watch sparks float skyward, listen to the burning logs snap and pop, and think about what we are done with- what has passed, and where we need to stop holding on.
     At midnight, thanks to smart phones, we listen to a Celtic version of Auld Lang Syne and let the sound and the emotion of it sink deep within us, or rise up to our throats as the case may be. In this way, I have learned to love New Year's Eve. It is full of sweet and sad memory, self-reflection, promise, and endless hope.

I let go of what no longer serves me, and prepare to welcome the New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

GOOD LIVING

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." 
~Hal Borland ~

Living clean is good living. There are no hidden trails, no dark secrets, no guilt, no shame, and no remorse. Everything happens above ground and in the light. It's not the way I've always lived, but it's the way I live now.
     I've had my share of seedy situations and questionable circumstances, so I know where that path leads me, and it's nowhere I want to go. We have choices in life, and I've made mine both ways across the years. I've tried to get away with things. I've tried sick relationships, dysfunctional behaviors across the board, and self-sabotage at every turn. But living with clear purpose, pure intention, and love to the core sure feels better, so that's my choice today, tomorrow, and going forth. I choose it with courage, and the willingness to step up and do my part whatever that may mean on any given day, and no matter what it takes.

I live clean and clear and in the light.

Monday, December 28, 2015

IN-BETWEEN TIME

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's winds await another voice." 
~TS Eliot ~

It always feels like a bit of a feat to have made it through Christmas intact. There is so much hope and build-up, so many possibilities for drama and hurt feelings, so much rich food, flowing alcohol, and need for appreciation. And yet, like waves in the ocean, the energy of it all rises up, and then recedes. And often, it is in the passing of it, that it feels most sweet. There is an aftermath feeling of relaxation that is unequaled any other time of the year- a lingering, lounging, almost languishing kind of stretched-out feeling that lasts until New Year's Eve.
     So let's enjoy this week for the down-time it offers. Let's reflect on what's past and think about our forthcoming journey. Let's pause and consider and be thoughtful and extra-aware. This is sacred time between the old and the new.

I relish this week between Christmas and New Years!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

GROWING UP

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around- and why his parents will always wave back. "
~William D. Tammeus ~

December 28th is an important and magical day in our family, and this year, particularly so. Sienna and Nick, who are twins, turn 21 this year. Legal, official, and fully adult, and yet still so young, and forever my babies. I remember them each at every age- learning to walk, year by year through elementary school, middle school, high school, college... And now they stand before me in all of their stature and glory; driven in the directions they are called- beautiful souls- inspired, bright, creative, and capable beyond their own knowing.
     My role now is more as a witness and less as a guide. Sienna is Fire, and Nick is Earth. They are power and wisdom and potential unleashed. May they be blessed as they travel forth, and may all of our children be blessed. May they follow their hearts and live from their guts. May they be authentic, loving, wise, and true.

     It is my distinct privilege as a parent to love my children without conditions, and to believe in them as they evolve.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

"Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts." 
~ JLW Broks ~

Food. Presents. Personalities coming together and mingling with loving intention in spite of clashing points-of-view. The desire to be honest, but not to stir the pot. Wanting everyone to be happy and get along. Music in the background. Soft and beautiful Christmas Tree. Bursting emotions held mostly in check. Gratitude. Unexpected happiness and laughter. Love and more love all tangled up with misunderstanding.
     The possibilities for this day are endless. Let's not pre-judge it, or tether ourselves to hope or sour grapes. Let's just experience the day, however it comes, and welcome it as blessing no matter what happens or how anyone else may behave or react.

I accept this day with joy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CHRISTMAS EVE

"A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away."
~ Eva Logue ~

And so it begins. Here we are, having come around to Christmas Eve yet again. All of our Christmas memories pile upon us like ghosts freed from hiding, and they are wrapped up with songs and traditions and expectations and fear.
     Compassion is the word of the day- compassion for ourselves and for all those we encounter. There is magic in the air, but also emotional disturbance, amped up energy, and heightened tension. So let's go easy today. Let's watch and smile and be curious. Let's not push. Let's not force our agendas. Let's just be, and be open, and let come to us whatever comes, and be an instrument of peace and grounding, and deep patient love.

I am calm, curious, and compassionate. I welcome Christmas with all of its possibility.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SOCIAL SINCERITY

"Like other parties of the kind, it was first silent, then talky, then argumentative, then disputations, then unintelligible, then altogether, then inarticulate, and then drunk. When we had reached the last step of this glorious ladder, it was difficult to get down again without stumbling." 
~Lord Byron ~

Even with all of the socializing and gift giving and receiving that happens this time of year, we can still be authentically ourselves. We needn't posture and pretend and wear fake smiles and speak insincerely. We can be gracious. We can be comfortable in our own skins. We don't have to over indulge in alcohol or special holiday attire, or douse ourselves with too much perfume or cologne. We can just be who we are and show up however we are feeling.
     It's a refreshing gift to all those around us to be natural and unapologetic, to be ok with our imperfections and to express whatever it is that we're feeling. If our hearts are open, even our struggles and messy emotions will be understood and appreciated as pure love.

No matter the time of year or social event, I can always be exactly who I am. I don't have to drink or put on airs for anyone.

Monday, December 21, 2015

SEASONAL SADNESS

"The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist." 
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~

Mixed in with all of the holiday cheer, a sense of low lying sadness lingers. I am aware of it, and feel it in my bones. Our losses are more acute in times of celebration and our hearts more open to the subtleties of pain.

I patiently allow for sadness inside me, and observe how it mixes itself up with joy and anticipation. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CAN'T PLEASE THEM ALL

"To each his own." 
~ Cicero ~

It's a challenge in life to focus on the positive effect that we have on the world, and not on all of those who do not "get" us or our message. I tend to absorb the discounting of who I am and what I'm all about by those who simply can't be bothered. Not to take it personally- that's the thing to work toward.
     We live in a world that is busy with distraction and an overabundance of guidance and information. I have to trust that I will touch those who I am meant to touch, and be touched by others in the same way. Life is a learning journey, and much of our learning comes from the way that we relate- or don't- to those around us.

Some will share my path, and some will be on a different path entirely, and either way, it's ok.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

THE TYRANNY OF THE URGENT

"Quick motion creates a life-blur." 
~Terri Guillements~

If I do not pay attention, a sense of urgency becomes my default position. I go at things with an inner sense of eagerness and hurry that is not conducive to warm fuzzy feelings. It creates an underlying state of angst instead.
     But urging, like everything, is a choice, so at any time, I can choose differently, and experience something else, and something better: a more pleasant and soothing internal state.

I abandon all urging to the winds and slow down to appreciate each moment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

HOW WE GO ABOUT THE HOLIDAY

"Remember
This December,
that love weighs more than gold."
~ Josephine DD Bacon ~

This time of year, with Christmas rapidly approaching, life takes on an excessive quality that it lacks at other times. Abundant sweets present themselves before us, money for presents and decorations and special holiday foods flows out like a flooding river, and our emotions and expectations are exaggerated and intense.
     Let's go easy on ourselves and resist the urge to push and rush and create whirlwinds and wreckage. Let's take care and be delicate and appreciate the gentle side of the season, more subtle though it may be.

I stay out of the Holiday frenzy and enjoy the experience in a more quiet way.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

THE SPEED OF LIFE

"Sometimes, I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who's doing all the moving." 
~ Martin Amis ~

Sometimes the sheer velocity of life is overwhelming. The days and weeks go by in a blur and a flurry of activity and noise. And sometimes we make good progress on our "to do" front, and sometimes the list expands faster than we can keep up.
     Extreme momentum and efficiency is possible in relatively short bursts- a few days, a week. But we cannot push on at that pace ad infinitum and expect to have any kind of quality of life. We have to allow for periods of down time and relaxation. They may not be possible when we have a cumulative influx of work, but we have to make time for them somehow, or else we will crash and burn.

I work hard in phases, and then take time to rest and relax.
  

Monday, December 14, 2015

THE ERROR OF OUR MISPERCEPTIONS

"A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." 
~Alexander Pope ~

We must be careful how we think about people, because more often than not, our thinking does not accurately reflect reality. We put our own stuff onto others and convince ourselves that it's them and not us. But it's always us, and our mis-perceptions are broad and vast.

We think we know about other people, but we know far less than we think.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

STOP WHINING AND CHANGE

"Untold suffering seldom is." 
~Franklin P. Jones ~

I often hear people complaining about the state of their life situation. They whine, and gripe, and bemoan their fate. But they don't seem willing to change anything, to take some kind of action, or to do something to adjust the dismal dynamic of their daily fare. They have endless excuses, and justifications galore.
     But that's a trap. The way out is through, and freedom is on the far side of facing what ails us, and change is possible, practical, and real.

I stop making excuses and set about improving my life.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DAILY ENLIGHTENMENTS AND THE ART OF GOOD HABITS

BOOKS MAKE GREAT GIFTS!

And my new book, The Art of Good Habits is now available! You can order it online here:

Or, you can come to a book signing this weekend if you are local and available. :)

I will be at The Winchester Book Gallery, 185 N. Loudoun St in Winchester, VA this Saturday, December 12th from 11am-1pm. (540)-667-3444
and
At Reston Sport & Health, 11445 Isaac Newton Sq S in Reston, VA this Sunday, December 13th from 10am-1pm.

Hope to see you there!

"When we are willing to take responsibility for changing ourselves, we become unlimited in potential." 
~The Art of Good Habits

Check out my website to see more! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

MAINTAINING CONFIDENCE

"It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head."
~ Sally Kempton ~

It's a challenge to maintain self-confidence, and sometimes it seems that the more successful we are the more self-doubt we are filled with. We look to others to determine our worth, and then are terrified by whatever they might say, or not say about us.
     But here's the good news: we are worthy, no matter what! We are better than we think we are, capable beyond our wildest dreams, and valuable simply because we exist.

I let go of guilt and shame over how I think I should be, and feel good about myself exactly as I am.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

COMMUTING TO WORK

"Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life." 
~ Rumi ~

I have an 84 mile commute one way to work. Because of the hours I travel, I don't deal with too much traffic, and by and large, it's highway driving the whole way. Nonetheless, when people hear this, their reactions range from disbelief to horror. "Oh my God," they say. "How do you do that every day?"
     And the answer is that I just do it, but what they don't know and are challenged to understand is that there is actually blessing in it. It is my quiet, solitary, rolling-down-the-road time. My car is comfortable, and I relish the hours it gives me to process my life.

If I have the right mindset, my whole life is a blessing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

OBSERVING BEAUTY

"We must carry beauty within us or we find it not." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I love the discovery of beauty in the most unlikely places- in nursing homes, parking lots, handicapped bodies, and the experience of sadness. There is a soft side of life that is ever present, and if we are quiet on the inside and paying attention, it gives us sustenance, even when all else seems for naught.

I open to the experience of beauty in all places and all things.

Monday, December 7, 2015

PASSING-THE-BUCK

"'I must do something' always solves more problems than 'Something must be done.'" 
~ Author Unknown ~

Being seated in a restaurant the other day, the maitre d and I had to step around a spilled drink on the floor. It was near the table where I was seated and visually a bit disturbing, and no one seemed to be attending to cleaning it up. It was early in the evening, so the restaurant was fairly empty and lots of employees were standing around. Clearly, no one wanted to deal with the mess.
     I finally said something, and the person I told went off to find someone else, who finally came along and did a mediocre job cleaning it up. It was fascinating and a bit disturbing to watch the pass-the-buck syndrome in operation, and the sheer unwillingness among the whole group to take responsibility. If I had access to a rag, I would have cleaned it up myself.
     Let's take a lesson from this and use it to learn what not to do. Let's take ownership and take responsibility and take care. Life is too short to be sloppy.

With good nature and a desire to be helpful, I pitch in to do my part.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

SEASONAL TRANSITIONING

"Look to the seasons when choosing your cures." 
~ Hippocrates ~

Winter comes with heavy frosty mornings and berries on the trees, but spots and bits of fall linger. Late changing trees, leaves that hang on and retain their bright colors, dried grasses, certain weeds, and the last-to-turn low lying bushes adamantly stand out and remind us that transition is a slow process. There is no definitive movement or sudden change. There is a slow letting go and a subtle moving forward. That is the nature of the seasons, and that is the nature of all change on all levels in every realm where life exists.

I understand the process of my life by observing the process of transition in Nature.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

BEING OUTSIDE

"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." 
~ William Wordsworth ~

I love to be outdoors, especially this time of year. It's not too hot, and not too cold yet... just perfect... for walking, for sitting and listening to the birds, for throwing the ball for the dog, for setting up a table in the sunlight and working on my computer... Just to be in the fresh air, to listen to the leaves that remain- there are still a few- rustling in the tree branches when the breeze comes along and stirs them up, to feel the shorter day sunshine warm on my face- this is heaven on earth to be sure. It pleases me on such a deep level that I am filled with joy simply to experience it! The weather! The wind! The glory of nature and the sensational delight of being alive and outside.

I take time each day to enjoy being out in the fresh air. It's good for the body and good for the soul.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

HAVING A FULL PLATE

"Everything is something you decide to do." 
~Denis Waitly ~

I get to feeling burdened sometimes with all that's on my plate, and yet, I have chosen it- down to the last morsel. And remembering that I have choices helps me. I can stop anything at anytime. There will be consequences, required changes, things that I have to adjust, but adjustment is possible- more possible than I sometimes realize.
     Plus, remembering that I choose what I do makes it feel more palatable somehow. There are reasons for everything in place in my life that are legitimate, that make sense, and that are the result of what was originally positive, exciting, and fresh.
     So I needn't whine or feel like a victim, because I am not. My life is my choice, and I make it anew every day that I live.

I recognize the power of choice in my life and appreciate all that I choose.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW

"Always when judging
Who people are
Remember to footnote
The words 'So far.'" 
~Robert Brault ~

We think we have a secret understanding of the future, of what's going to happen to people if they keep on going the way they're going. We are certain that we know best what they should do and how they should go about doing it. We get them all straightened out in our minds. If only they would listen to us!
     And yet, as experience after experience plays out, we find that not always, but often, we are dead wrong. Things work out that seemed impossible, circumstances twist and shift, accidents happen, and so do unexpected windfalls and softening edges with the passage of time.
     I think we would do better to worry about our own unfolding, and leave the journey of others up to them.

I catch myself thinking I know better in terms of other people and turn my attention back to issues of my own.