Just let it go… inch by inch…

mother-daughter-quote-6-picture-quote-1I sit here wrapped in a blanket gazing out the window. I’m overwhelmed, by my responsibilities, grief from losing my mom, all of the shoulds that are knocking down the door.

This is the first week I have taken off to regroup in years. I have taken vacations with the kids, flown to places like Reno for my daughter’s volleyball tournament but the last time I just sat? I couldn’t tell you.

Let’s recap, my mom was diagnosed with cancer this time 3 years ago, she passed away last December, we scattered her ashes this Sunday, what would have been her 73rd birthday was Tuesday.

It’s Thursday. Somehow I had myself convinced that I was over grieving now. That now I should apply for grad school (while I work full-time and manage the lives of four teenager and a partner who is building a business).

Um hello girl, give yourself a break.

Does anyone else have this life force, this vision for positive, social change and hope that is so big and powerful? Most days it’s awesome, I’m raising funds to support access to education, empowering staff, advancing equity and just rocking it by being the best version of love I know how to be. And… sometimes I just have to hold tight to the reigns and say woa…. slow down sister and catch your breath.

I run a nonprofit, have 4 active kids, I’m on 3 nonprofit boards, I volunteer for my kids school, we just bought a house and renovated it. Last week we hosted Thanksgiving for 13 and another dinner party for 12. I love it, I love ALL of it. But at this moment, I’m fried. I’m not sure if i’m french fries, chicken strips,  or jalapeno poppers, but definitely something fried. Oh, I’m tater tots, because who doesn’t love some tots??

So…. what now? Cry, miss my mom, eat an “encouragemint” a friend brought over, write, listen to India Arie, pray for guidance on the next steps and exhale.

And just like that…India Arie is singing “Let it go, inch by inch, and do it again, one day you will see..” India Arie – Just let it go 

It’s hard to let go. Of my mom, of doing things perfectly, of not being able to do it all. So, I listen, I grieve, do the next thing in front of me.

The thing is… I’m awesome. When I stop shoulding on myself I remember that I am powerful, capable and born to carry on the legacy of strong women. Women who raised kids during wartimes, poverty, divorce, and they thrived. I have been through my share of challenges and you know what? I thrive too. It’s not always easy and sure the roller coaster of life makes me queasy sometimes but straight up – I’ve got this… inch by inch,,, I just let go…

May you be gentle with yourself, whatever you are going through. You are awesome. Remember that and remember to just let go and let life be the magic it is meant to be.

Blessings.

 

Advertisements

Celebrating the little things

Today started with a radio interview downtown about the importance of funding education. I walked past beautiful murals in the alleyway, my coffee steaming as I strolled past the European shoe store and the local bakery. The homeless women they call blonde was having a vibrant conversation with the universe, the glass door on the station was smashed and covered with duct tape, “someone got frustrated after leaving the bar Thursday night”, the station manager said.

The interview went well (I think).

Next I headed to the grocery store where I took a little extra time for shopping. A small gift to myself. I treated myself to fresh flowers, a grapefruit, and cilantro. Then picked up an extra bouquet for the family who had my son over for a sleepover last night. It was such a nice experience, like looking through a magazine, it seems luxurious.

I picked up the sweet boy, delivered flowers to a happy friend, visited a delightful cat we are caring for this weekend, and came home with bunches of groceries.

The tall girl roasted chick peas, the little one and I made a basil, tomato, cucumber and the middle one cleaned out the fridge and did the dishes while singing the favorite song of the moment.

Next we went to a birthday party for a 10 year old child. Balloons, piñata, and my new favorite game bananagrams. We immediately went to Target and bought it.

Then off to the last elementary school carnival. With three kids in school, I have been volunteering and driving across town for about 10 years. Cheers to being almost done with that!

A ton of fun was had by all.

On our drive home I asked for a volunteer to help me make dinner. Not surprisingly, no one did, it was like crickets. Post lecture about helping when asked as a sign you love the person, I had a volunteer.

We worked together to make barbecue chicken, salad, and mango sorbet. Light, fresh and colorful, just like summer that is slowly arriving.

It’s moments like this that add up to a beautiful day. Yesterday, I wrote about creating comfort for oneself. Today, was a very good step in the right direction.

Remember to celebrate the little things, it creates joy in the moment and adds up over time to create happiness, we just have to pay attention.

Finding your center

Depositphotos_32107507_l-2015Sometimes, we all get a little lost.

Sometimes it’s lost in love – with a partner or a new baby.

Sometimes it’s lost in grief – from the passing of a loved one or the letting go of a big dream.

Sometimes it’s busyness that we lose ourselves in – the bills, work, volunteering, kid schedules.

Easy to do. The question is, how do you find your center?

It’s different for everyone. Some write books, others travel, some change jobs or relationships or hobbies.

For me it’s about the little things. Making small changes that add up to big results.

This morning, for example, I woke up early and cleaned my room. The floor began to take on an obstacle course vibe with shoes and clothes, everywhere. Sure, I was out of town quite a bit, then a volleyball tournament for my daughter, but regardless it was a disaster. I didn’t realize it, but subconsciously it said I had sort of given up. There was too much to do so, why even try. As it turns out, it didn’t really take that long and now, I am able to sit in a chair with my mom’s favorite pink blanket on my lap as I write. All because of a little tidying that made the whole room open up with possibility.

Yesterday, I decided to sit down and write, for the first time in a couple of years since my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away in 4 months ago, and I just haven’t been able to write words about it or anything really. I decided to just sit down and see what happened. I wrote a post called what words do you say? . It wasn’t easy but after a while, it just sort of flowed. It was healing and rewarding to see that I could still do it. Tonight, I was inspired to write as well. Again, a little step, but in a lovely direction.

If you are looking to make a change in some area, what little thing can you do? It could be in the direction of a certain goal – take a walk if you are looking to get in shape, prepare a new recipe if you want to expand your cooking skills, call a loved one if you want more closeness in your life. Or maybe just do something fun or frivolous – but something that says to you, I am awesome, I matter, I am loved.

Blessings on your journey, it all starts with just one step. Happy travels. Oh and don’t forget to laugh. It’s contagious.

cupcake

Who are you?

Who are you?

Are you a Lion raging at life,

or a Mouse hiding from it?

Do you run like a Cheetah,

slide like a Snail,

or glide like a Manta ray?

Do you sing like songbird,

cuddle like a Koala,

or play like a baby Panda?

Do you think you are in charge of everything?

Or do you flow with what life brings you?

Life has a way of lifting us to great heights and bringing us to our knees.

The question in all of this is, who are you?

Do you ride these ups and downs with grace or struggle.

Today I choose the songbird, river otter and eagle to guide my way, with song, playfulness and ease.

Today, who are you?

 

The Warrior’s Walk

I’ve been reflecting on the word warrior lately. It seems I know quite a few. 

One might think that a warrior looks like a big strong man with armor and a mission to save the kingdom, and that may be true, but they also appear in different forms. 

Here are a few- 

Warrior of Light- I am honored to know a women who stands for love and light.  She stands at the alter every morning praying for her loved ones and the world. She has challenges just like the rest of us, but she slices anything not of the light with her Excalibur sword. 

Recently she has been faced with the loss of her partner and the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She has handled both of these with more grace than I have ever imagined possible. Her motto is “love’s victory” and she marches streadfastly towards healing with the strength of a thousand angels. Darkness does not have a chance around this warrior. She is my mother. 

Warrior of Truth- Another warrior appeared in our lives this week. Her knowledge and kindness unparalleled. She is the heroine stories are written about. She road into a situation when all looked dark and brought hope. She’s traversed obstacles like medications, pallatative care, and transportation to doctors appointments swiftly and with ease. She is weaving together a comfort quilt for a loved one with so much care and honor. She is unstoppable. She is my aunt. 

Warrior of Love- I know a warrior who has been fighting against injustice for decades. When he speaks, people listen. When he writes, people buy books to hear how to be more engaged in their lives and with the youth of today. He has returned home from this travels of late and walked back into my life with determination. “Whatever you need” he keeps saying, and proves it with pizza deliveries, neck rubs, light saber battles with teenagers, listening ears and open arms. He is a man of honor and deep love. He is my hero. 

Warrior of the Earth- This friend has been committed to being the earth’s protector for many years. She has studied ecology, planted roots, taught children to care for our planet and volunteered to serve at risk youth through growing good food. Most recently she set up a meal train for a family going through a tough time. She is an inspiration to me. She is my friend.

These warriors all carry missions of hope. They are strong and look obstacles directly in the face and say “I am here to fight for what is right”. They are a constant inspiration to me and I am honored to be walking with them, onward. 

Waiting for the season to change 

I can feel it coming, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

The clouds are bursting with raindrops,

nourishment for the baby vegetables just we planted. 

I have seen more rainbows in the last two weeks, than I have in a long while. 

Daffodils are trumpeting “spring is coming”. 

We wait in anticipation of the sun on our skin again. 

My favorite barista is dressed in all flowers. 

The party I will attend tomorrow is “bright colors only, no black or gray allowed!”

We are all beckoning the light and warmth to return.

It will come, in the right season. I know this to be true. 

Today, we welcome the raindrops and know that spring will come soon. 

Desert Bloom 

 In the desert,

prickly and dry terrain

as far as the eye can see.

Walks are beautiful here,

but watch your step, 

desert creatures aren’t always friendly.

Sometimes it must seem like there is no end to the desert, no growth happening.

And yet, on our walk

I see something new, 

there, just around the corner, 

see it? 

It’s bright yellow, 

in contrast to the dust of the earth,

it looks as if the sun planted itself right here. 

Green foliage grounds it in the earth.

This beautiful, shining flower shows me that even in the desert, 

life grows. 

This flower is special. It’s one of a kind. 

Others pass it, unnoticed. 

Not us, we see it. 

And know, it is just for us, 

A reminder, that love grows,

wherever it’s planted. 

Thank you for letting me love you… 

  I always knew I had a lot of love to give, 

but until you, 

I didn’t know how much.

My daughter, your tiny toes, auburn ringlets, and natural curiousity melted my heart from the start. 

Thank you for letting me love you, my heart has grown bigger because of you. 

Then along came a little brother, plump like a berry. You came out snugly, with strong sense of justice, and a laugh that lights up the world.

Thank you for letting me love you, I have grown as a Mother because of you.

And then you came baby boy, my angel. Such a gentle spirit, community surrounds you because of your kindness. 

Thank you for letting me love you, you have shown me peace and helped me build resilience I did not know I had.

They say the heart expands because there is always enough love to share. 

My family, my heart. 

There are not enough words to say how much I love you all. 

But I promise I will keep trying to show you, 

Everyday. 

Little Red Hiding Hood

I’ve been praying for answers to a few questions for sometime now. Today, I woke up with a new and helpful realization. 

We all have parts of ourselves that work well, and other patterns or habits that are more challenging. In my world, I have worked with the challenges and blessings of being a sensitive empathic human being. This means I feel things deeply, including world issues, the feelings of my children, family, coworkers, etc. It’s the reason I have dedicated my work time to nonprofit service and helping anyway I can to make sure everyone has opportunities to fulfill their potential.

As it turns out, it’s also the reason I reach for chocolate in stressful situations or hide, unintentionally behind those extra 20 pounds that never seem to come off. 

My realization this morning was, if we are here to be a blessing and shine our unique sparkle, how is hiding behind something helping fulfill my life mission. 

Did God put us on this earth to hide our sparkle? I don’t think so. 

There are lots of reasons for us all to put on our little red “hiding” hoods and run from the big bad wolf. There are a lot of big bad wolves out there these days. But running doesn’t help. It doesn’t work. Perhaps you think it’s the answer in the moment but truthfully, the only thing you are doing by hiding from your fears (through whatever your unhealthy coping mechanism is) is hurting yourself. 

I guess I have known that for awhile but the new learning for each is this: I’m all about empowerment, shining your sparkle and sharing love with the world. I do this all day, everyday. And… deep down if I have a belief that to be safe I have to hide part of myself from the big bad wolf, that doesn’t work very well. 

This feels like a big balloon filled with love that has the tiniest hole. Over time, the balloon will deflate unless the hole is patched. It’s a small hole but a really important one to deal with. 

The first part of healing any issue is becoming aware of the problem. Next, sitting with that and honoring what is. So that’s me today, honoring this unconscious part of me that wants to hide. God bless that part, I sure understand and have compassion for that feeling and yet, now I know that hiding from scary things isn’t the only option. 

The real work is in being brave and vulnerable. Of opening our hearts so we can feel the fullness of life and continue to develop the tools for when times get tough. And giving ourselves the grace to stay in bed and read a book, or say no to another fundraiser, volunteer opportunity or chocolate chip cookie. 

By being proactive and aware of our need for balance in this high paced society, we can get ahead of the desire to stress eat or hide because the world feels too much sometimes. 

Today, is a day for realization and self compassion. It’s for forgiving myself for not knowing earlier and moving forward with a peaceful and open heart, into the beauty of today. 

Go, be brave, the world needs your love. 

Closer to fine

I don’t know anyone who has it totally figured out. By that I mean…this thing called life, how to balance the responsibilities and the fun stuff with a side of self care. How to raise kids perfectly without any contributions to the “therapy jar” for later in life.

I do however know a number of people who have pieces to the puzzle figured out.

I know a single mama friend who travels all the time with her kiddo because she wants him to see the world, no matter how much that adds to her credit card.

Another friend works as an accountant and loves it. He gets up at 5am everyday and plays basketball at the Y with his people, and has done it for years.

Yet another friend does a lot of community work, he is everywhere during the week and on the weekend, he sips a glass of something and looks out his window at the lake in front of him…all weekend long.

I pick up pieces from a lot of people I know that are working to get their life in balance. I get that it’s a process of continuous of improvement. And… when do we get “Closer to fine” as the Indigo Girls say.

Recently I have been sensing that it is less searching out there – through books, facebook posts, spiritual masters and more – allowing what is inherently inside to grow and blossom.

Maybe it is a result of growing up with two parents in the helping professions, or my natural desire to understand equity and the root of suffering since I was tiny. But this search for answers has kept me moving for a long time, reading self help, and striving to figure this whole “life” thing out.

The thing is… I am figuring it out. And to be real, it’s really not something I need to figure out, it’s more a process I get to allow to happen and be as present as I can everyday to let awareness flow.

Today I know a few things I didn’t a few years ago. I know what makes me happy at a new level, I know how to honor my empathetic side instead of suppressing it. I know what empowering, safe and connective love feels like and I want more of it. I know it’s ok to sit on the couch and read a book, for fun.

As we travel this through this life, may you remember to slow down and, be ok right where you are. It’s not always easy, but take it from reformed doer, you’ve got this.

Here’s to being closer to fine, closer to loving openly, closer to daily self care and closer to exhaling into all is well.