…”and I went in seeking clarity…”

Monday morning… spent most of the weekend “offline.”  It wasn’t hard to be offline, since it was a busy weekend with family and friend.  We had our 2 1/2 year old niece overnight- she was delightful and who needs to be online when you have constant entertainment.  With out kid being 20 and up, we loved the reminder of innocence and awe.  yesterday was a total 180, with the afternoon spent at a winery with dear friends… no responsibilities with grown kids- just a leisurely day in the county.  What a contrast. Two radically different days.

Then this morning, when I do log onto facebook, I see this quote from my dear friend Rebecca Brittle  Life…”you live it forward, but understand it backward.” A quote from the book Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.

First of all, that is alot to think about for a Monday morning, so I know that I will revisit it again later in the week, but I couldn’t let it pass in light of our weekend. While our niece was here, we just enjoyed her… chores went undone, the schedule was cleared, it was all about her… playing, laughing and enjoying.  So very different from when my 3 kids were 2 years old and there was so much to be done.  Always a “to do” list, responsibilities galore and as we sat on the floor and laughed, I wished that I had done more of that when my kids were little.  Don’t get me wrong… I did play with them, laugh with them and enjoy them… alot… but often with the “guilt” of the undone “to-do’s” hanging over my head.  What freedom I would have enjoyed if I had understood then, that some of those “to-do’s” really didn’t matter.  “living forward, understanding backward” – no wonder we are full of advice and wisdom as we mature!

In fact, while we had our niece, my sister texted me, “ahhh… sushi, wine, no kids! thx”  and I realized that this respite for her described our life now. We are thoroughly enjoying our “empty nest.”  On Sunday, we had the most leisurely afternoon, without a care in the world, because our schedule is flexible and our to do list is much shorter, as well as we have learned to let alot go.  Which brings be to my second point,  “we understand it backwards” speaks to the insights we have when it seems too late to apply said insight. In a recent coaching conversation, we discussed investing time in self care, and I reflected  that I wish I had paid more attention to the words and advice I had gotten when I was younger, because now I was “understanding it backwards.”  Is this a chronic cycle, never to be broken, or can we learn from others experience, be teachable and apply the lesson, or must we always learn by our own experience?  (like I said, alot to think about for a Monday morning).

There is a great book that is a must read for every 22-30 year old… “What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self” by Ellyn Spragins.  It is filled with letters from successful women who tell their younger selves, what they know now that they wish they knew then.  What would you tell your younger self?

After reading the quote from my friend Rebecca and in light of my weekend of contradictions, I would begin the letter with, “Relax… life has a way of taking care of itself, no matter how much you stress out…”

I would be sure to include the following as well…” dirty dishes will always be there, to-do lists continue on, success and accolades cannot replace the respect of your children, and nothing is worth sacrificing a solid relationship with your spouse or your kids, but be aware that  both take time… alot of time, and you will have to make choices and give up some things.  You can’t have it all… at the same time…

Children grow up and move out. They need you around as much when they are teens as when they are toddlers.  Be present to your life in each moment and don’t worry so much… Be comfortable in your own skin and love yourself right where you are… you will look back at pictures of yourself and think… I looked great then, why was i so hard on myself?  Laugh often and play more.

There are more thoughts I would share… but that is plenty for a Monday morning… the ‘to-do’ list beckons… and I want to understand a bit more before I write about it again.

Take some time to “understand backwards” and if you are willing, please share what you find in a letter to your younger self… or at least a few lines…

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Dare to Be Remarkable

I was given this magnet as a gift, years ago when I began a new business venture.  I loved it!  It spoke of the belief that my friend had in me, my vision and my ability to impact others for good in this new direction.  It is up on my white board by my desk as a reminder.  There are times when I look at it and am reminded to do just that…” Be Remarkable.”

Somtimes,  I love the reminder:  remarkable means to be extraordinary, worthy of mention, especially on the days when I may need the extra “umph” to actually be remarkable. And then on other days, when I am feeling bold and confident, it reminds me that I have made the choice to be remarkable… memorable…to stand out and be different. 

Sometimes, being remarkable remains unseen by man, and is only noticed by God and possible the one who benefits from your action, like a random act of kindness, or patience in the midst of an angry and impatient crowd/traffic/sporting event… and other times, being remarkable is vibrant and well…”remarked on” by others who see or benefit from your actions.  Both are invaluable and life changing, especially for the giver or action taker (the remarkable one) since it is in the “doing,” in taking action, being in the ring and trying that we are shaped and changed and formed into our best selves.

I love this quote by Teddy Roosevelt.  It reminds me that the true test of “being remarkable” is the willingness to take action and try… to risk both failure & success for a larger purpose – a greater good.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

My mom is remarkable. She is in the arena, regardless of her critics and as a result I have learned much from her.  Currently, her dear friend is dying and beign remarkable is painful, sad and heart wrenching.  Being remarkable is sitting with her and being with her, no matter how uncomfortable or sad it might make my mom, because it blesses her friend.  That is remarkable!

It will not yeild a large paycheck, or a mention in a news story, (except God’s), no real recognition, but it is this kind of “being remarkable that changes people, things… history.”  Just like the star athlete, or successful business man who is now bathed in the limelight of acclaim, once practiced or worked in obscurity.  No big paycheck or media, just a dedication to being remarkable, and willing to do the necessary work.  All three are “in the arena” and that takes courage.

How about you?  What did you do that is remarkable  today?  In your work, life, play?

(…all that from looking at a magnet by my desk 🙂

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extended use of computer mouse can cause pain…

I have never had this pain before.  Have you heard of  “tennis elbow,” “runner’s knee?” Well, I have the new millenium “writers cramp,” better known as  “mouse finger/hand/arm/shoulder and now neck!”  from sitting at my computer all weekend taking an online web class, trying to figure out techie stuff, (oh, how i wish i had paid more attention in class, who knew it would be important…someday!) and working on various projects all requiring the computer and above mentioned sleek black mouse.

Now, I know that I could have taken more breaks, but I was excited to be learning and I can be a bit hyper-focused when need be. I did try to watch my posture while sitting (see my post on Miller Wellness Blog-and no laughing that being a proponent of wellness, a “life wellness consultant” I made non-wellness choices- staying up way too late, clicking away with little regard for the aches in my right hand, arm, shoulder…and my index finger! Who Knew!! ???)   And then i goodled it and found this:http://bit.ly/bvB0Fe  … guess alot of peopel knew, and i am just catching up. 

(Guess, I really do need to do a post on wellness at the computer/ how to “sit with intention” ie the intention to not hurt for days  or to slowly overtime ruin your posture… but to sit with the intention of sitting well, in a healthy posture that allows your organs to operate correctly, preserves & sustains your energy and gets the creativity out! )

The good news is that I have all be mastered the novice level of wordpress (now I know what to ask my web peeps for, and I can put up an offer page on my own if I am up in the middle of the night with idea insomnia … I know…wellness seekers, sleep!  …I’m working on it).

I did this because I am currently hurtling myself into bringing my work online.  For years, I have counseled, coached & mentored people one on one and in groups, in person most of the time.  And, now I am ready to take it bigger and broader, being able to reach and bless more people, with the limits of geography or time schedules.  It is exciting… it is also alot of work. 

I had blogged a while back…when blogging was just beginning to hit mainstream, but not Main Street.  I  fell in love with the idea of an online community, “meeting” people from all over the world  that I would never meet otherwise, sharing thoughts, stories, ideas, learning new things!  I blogged everyday, and my kids would give me a hard time, because they thought the lap top was attached!   But then I took  an extended sabbatical due to illness, and the online world exploded… I am playing catch up.  And it is fast & furious & fun!  I love learning from others online… my time, my schedule, my casual friday any day of the week!

Also, I’m excited about opportunity to work with and bless more people, sharing my gifts & talents with others on a much larger scale with the ease of skype, oovoo, tele-conferencing and webinars, etc.  (okay- relative ease).  There is nothing more rewarding than being part of the another’s journey of discovery and growth.  And there is NO greater privliege than being part of bringing their dreams to life.  I know that I am called to move in this direction and have to offer it on line to benefit others.  And i want to take others with me as well. 

For example, my assistant is the queen of clean out.  She is gentle but ruthless in helping me get rid of stuff… memory laden, no longer useful, dust collecting, clutter building stuff… that I have moved from house to house & room to room.  She has been part of these moves and the setting up of my office each time. She knows me well and that I am attached to the story that comes with each object… and so with kindness and unquestionable clarity she has helped me sort through and throw out…

She has categories for making these decisions and when she lays them out before me, the choices are simpler…I think she should write an ebook or guide to getting rid of the junk in your life.. she could write about the “how to get rid of literal junk” to go along with “how to get rid of the metaphorical junk” which is par of my work with people. Wouldn’t you love to get an online program… “How to Get Rid of Your Junk, Your Guilt & Your Gremlins!” They are related…in case you wondered-but that is for the online course:)  Wouldn’t that be great?!

So, I will work on her, she has so much to offer! And, we are settingup my new office for the rest of this week, so my “computer finger, hand, elbow, arm, shoulder and neck” will get a bit of a break.  In the meantime, I am open to any and all suggestions for an ergonomic keyboard & mouse, as this is sure to a recurring issue with all the books i have yet to write!

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Color Outside the Lines…

Color outside the lines… it may not be your basic elementary art class advice, but one that is crucial to personal and business success as an adult. 

Do you remember being taught to color inside the lines, with the right colors:  grass=green, sky=blue, sun=yellow and so on?  Well, I do, and i wonder what would have happened if my art teacher has said, “forget about the lines, and the ‘right’ colors, just follow your heart!”  Can you imagine the creativity that would have exploded on the walls of the school?   

I think that being taught to only color inside the lines stunts our creativity and inhibits our willingness to risk and try new things.  We don’t realize this until we are older of course, because we are innately wired with a desire to fit in and so we “follow the rules” – even in art.  Then as we get older, we are stuck in the mainstream, doing things the way everyone is doing them so that we fit in.  And over time we often wonder why life has become “vanilla.”  Deep down we wonder if there is more… color, excitement, individuality, fun… but we often bury these questions and we just keep going.   The status quo can be a brutal task master.

Sometimes if we are really lucky, or open to change, someone comes along and invites us to color outside the lines!  What??  “I am allowed to do that!”  may be our first thought.  Let me answer with a resounding YES!  In fact, color outside the lines in any colors that you want!  This is were the spark of creativity begins the fire of individuality.  This is where change happens and the world becomes more colorful because we are willing to express ourselves and not just what we have been taught or what we think everyone else wants to see.

I am in this process as I am transitioning in my worklife.  I am exploringnew possiblities with an entire  box of colors – the 164 crayon size!  It is exhilerating and a bit intimdating, but I know deep down that the only way to fully ebrace the changes is to color outside the lines, knowing that it is ok to not do the expected and accepted.

Of course there is resistance both from within andwithout.  Change always brings resistance.  But i am choing to push through and ignore the “looks” from others that express concern or skepticism.  AFter all, it is my life, and only i can live it… what other people think will not dictate my direction, choices or life-picture!  How about you? 

As September begins & we start anew with schedules and back to school, I invite you to get a New box of crayons, the big one, and color a difference in your life these next 125 days of 2010!

Please share your life artwork here, as it will encourage others to do the same.  My art is in process, but you will see it soon.

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Eat, Pray, Love

I saw Eat, Pray Love yesterday.  Good movie, just don’t read the book first, or suspend your desire to see “the book” on film and be willing to enjoy the story.

First of all, Julia Roberts once again lives up to her billing, showing depth and scope as she reveals the inner/wordless struggle of growth.  She is able to communicate the pain, angst and inner battle nonverbally, but nothing replaces the depth of inner dialogue from the book. 

so… see the movie, enjoy the visual feast of Italy, the intriguing insight of India and the invitation of Bali… then pick up the book (again if you have already read it) and delve into a journey that can inform your own seeking if you allow, or at the very least, transport you to other worlds to discover more than you imagined. 

Ultimately, both the book and the movie are about the journey to find and embrace your best self.  The divine “fingerprint” within, that gives life meaning, embodies your unique gifts and talents, and provides the template for Be-ing.

There are many lessons in Gilbert’s prose, (you will see them here in more posts) but let’s begin with this one:  

“‘Tis better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else’s perfectly.”

I invite you to think on these words… marinate in them and consider…how are you choosing to LIVE Your Life, not anyone elses, however imperfectly in order to leave your mark, to make a difference, large or small in this world.

my imperfect offering today… is this post.


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Choose To Be Well…

It is a choice… more often than not…

We don’t like this reality, it means responsibility.  I know that there are some things that cannot be helped, things we cannot control, but there are far more that we can…like what we eat, how much we exercise, how we practice self care, what we think about, and who we spend time with, are all choices that we can make!

Each moment of each day we are either adding wellness to our lives, or we are taking it away.  There is no neutral.  We don’t idle as human beings.  We are progressing or regressing.  Progress can look like the quite stillness of idling, but that is a chosen rest…

I am not good at being still.  It is a joke among my family and friends about how I can’t sit still, how my mind is always on and how i talk with my hands… in motion all the time!  I do get alot done, but it is not always a good thing. Sometimes the better choice would be to choose to practice the discipline of being still, of choosing to “just breathe.”

i wonder if learning this practice earlier in my life would have prevented some of the illnesses i have  dealt with… i will never know.

what i do know it that i can make a choice Today… a choice to eat well, to move more, to protect my mind from the negative junk sailing through the air disguised as news/opinions/words of caution, and i can take some time to take care of myself. 

i was reading http://bit.ly/cqUaVP from Shelly Webb – The Intentional Care Giver and was reminded again that i can choose to take the time to take care of myself…and in doing so – I Choose to Be Well.  Shelly address a number of the 5 Essential areas of wellness in her post.  Emotional, mental, &spiritual wellness in expressing gratitude, mental & physical wellness in choosing to make the time for self care, even when it means arrange for another to care for your loved one… hard choices yes, but good choice.  (see what others you can find)

small choices every day, throughout the day will add up to wellness in each area i choose to make them.

what area can you make just 1 choice to be well today?

i would love to hear about it in your comments!

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Dare you to…

Remember those words…”I Dare You!”  When I was younger that was all it took for me to go ahead and do it.  Quite often leaping before looking.  At times, it resulted in exhileration, surprise, change for the good, at others… a major crahs and burn.  But, even in those moments, there was an internal change- either a willingness to learn from the fiasco, get up and brush myself off, try again, or wise up and walk away… or allow fear to take root and reapond with more trepidation the next time I heard those words… I Dare you …

Today, I saw this video… And it reminded me of how simple it is… A Choice.  Personal, Singular, and almost constant as i walk through the day.  Living with intention, means living aware, proactive, daring to do by volition, not from fear but from faith that that is the best choice to get to the goal, the way to the dream in your heart.

Daring to Change, to Risk, to Do is hard… it is the first step of Greatness.  Few take it…there are times when i have backed away and regretted it… but then there are times, when i stepped up and dared to do it… and it made all the difference.

so… I Dare you to…

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