Wednesday, November 12, 2014

50+ Years Isn't Enough for Humans to Get the Message - Day 12

A life of "hard knocks' abounds for door-to-door canvassers. They spend hours every evening walking, knocking and talking to raise funds for "the cause". My 'cause' was the environment. At twenty I started canvassing. I learned K.I.S.S., or "keep is simple sweetie"; the more concise the canvasser the more people reached, and the greater the funds collected for the evening.

Working with the League of Conservation Voters I quickly became familiar with both environmental issues and the politics associated with them. At the time we were gathering signatures for Prop. 65 the "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act", it ended up passing. Victory spurred my commitment to the movement, fostering my development as an environmental activist.

I spent years supporting environmental action and encouraging people to practice protecting resources. Moreover, I walked my talk - I  bought organic, recycled, brought my bags to the grocery, shut off lights, took short showers, made sure my toilet paper had post consumer content and bought cleansers and cleaners that were "non-toxic". I was so committed that I got a degree in Environmental Studies and started a non-profit organization called "Sustainable Works".

Advocating for the environment is a rough road. Maybe not as bad as it was years ago, but it is still difficult none-the-less. There are so many people on the planet who a.) just do not "get it",  b.) who "get it" and do not care, or c.) who can not do anything about it.

In 2004 I gave up, I got tired of banging my head against the wall, listening to people complain about what they had to give up. They could not see the future in their actions, or felt that their contribution to the problem was too small. Jaded, cynical, and defeated, I left Sustainable Works. I did this just as Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" came out, and all of a sudden it was cool to be "green"; as long as you owned a Prius and recycled, you were doing your part, and supposedly that was enough.  Even with the paradigm shift that happened with Gore's film, I was not coming back, the movement had sucked the life out of me, and I had nothing left to give.

Sometimes I feel guilty. Many people who worked for years to support the environment, doing remarkable things, continued the "good fight". In fact, many are still at it. Unfortunately, progress is slow, too slow I think. It has been almost 53 years since Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring" and frankly, I do not think we have done enough, certainly not in the time we have had to make a difference.

Today's historic climate change exchange between the US and China is a case in point; it is a mixed bag, with some suggesting that even if  both countries were able to meet the pledges they have committed to, the impact would be negligible in reducing the anticipated increase in global temperatures.

Fifty three years and we still balk. I think it is because we fail to see ourselves as a collective. We think that each one of us acts alone and thus our contribution to the problem seems small, and perhaps it is. But in truth, with 7 BILLION people on the planet, those small contributions add up (especially if you are a resource sucking Westerner, particularly an American - no offense, just offering the facts based on consumption statistics - we Americans consume way more than most other nations when it comes to natural resources). Collectively we have an enormous impact. Perhaps more sad is our disconnect and denial from the truth of our actions.

At what point are we going to wake up and make changes? Maybe never, perhaps we will be like the frog in the boiling pot of water, who does not realize he is being heated up until it is too late. I thought we were smarter than frogs.

What is your ecological footprint?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for my years of activism.
  2. I am grateful for the many people who continue to fight for Mother Earth.
  3. I am grateful for awareness, and a willingness to change.
  4. I am grateful for companies that engage in Corporate Environmental & Social Responsibility.
  5. I am grateful for Bill Selby, Norm Hogg, Dave Phillips and Dean Kubani - 4 amazing mentors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sitting in Silence Serves Me - Day 11

I have been meditating for a long time. I started when I was in my early 20's with moving mediation, specifically Tai Chi. I did the long form, both sides, and it usually took me about an hour to finish.

Tai Chi remains one of my favorite forms of meditation, however it is too time consuming, and having not done it in such a long time, I have forgotten most of it. Furthermore, it requires so much dedication to truly do it correctly, there are many nuanced movements that need continual refinement.

I am not dedicated enough.

After I quit Tai Chi, I explored a variety of techniques, but wasn't able to "quiet my mind". I used to say, "how can I think about nothing when nothing is something and I'm not supposed to think of something" and so the circle continued. I did not do anything for a while, and then one day I happened upon a labyrinth.

Again, the moving mediation worked especially well for me. After years of walking labyrinths I finally had enough walking meditation under my belt, and was able to explore sitting mediation.

At first I thought it would be impossible, and then slowly, gradually I began to like the silence. It was "Insight" mediation with Sharon Salzberg that really got me to sit for longer periods of time.

I will never forget my first full day of silence. I thought I was going to explode. After sitting for 20 minutes, walking for 20 minutes, listening to the teacher discuss meditation, and repeating this pattern several times, by about the 4th repetition I was inwardly screaming, feeling as if I was going to go crazy. Practice is what has enabled these feelings to subside.

The key word is "practice" - meditators develop their practice.

Before, I had to have a timer when I sat. Now I sit without a timer, offering myself whatever I need in way of meditation. Usually, I sit for 20-30 minute increments.

There is a saying I have heard over the years:
"If you don't have time to meditate for 20 minutes, then meditate for an hour." I cannot stress the value of this expression.

I rarely do insight meditation anymore. Instead, I practice "centering prayer" though some would say they are the same thing. While they are similar, they differ in that Centering Prayer has God, and the insight meditation I was doing before, does not. Centering Prayer is sitting in the presence and action of God within me, as me and through me.

I love it. I find I am a kinder, more gentle person when I practice Centering Prayer.

Research abounds regarding the importance of meditation to health and well-being. Here is a link with "10 Important Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude"

Lately I am called not only to centering prayer, but other contemplative techniques as spiritual practices. I will write more about this in coming posts.

Where do you find stillness in our busy world?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for Sharon Salzberg.
  2. I am grateful for InsightLA.
  3. I am grateful for Father Keating.
  4. I am grateful for Thomas Merton.
  5. I am grateful for God.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Writer's block strikes again - that's 20% of the time (so far) - Day 10

Wow writer's block sucks.

I really have nothing to write about right now. I am not sure if I'm just tired or what, but I do not feel like writing.

I think I'm going to honor how I am feeling and go to bed.

I could force something, and I do not want to do that.

So, I will just say,

"thank you for a wonderfully rich day"

5 thanksgivings:

  1. I am grateful for my cozy bed and comfy house.
  2. I am grateful for the women who worked with me today.
  3. I am grateful for yummy food.
  4. I am grateful for inspirational people in my life.
  5. I am grateful for my Son.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Earth Angels - Day 9

Have you ever had the experience of feeling a bit sad, or a little down and then out of nowhere, someone that you least expected to, offers a kind gesture?  'Blamo', your sadness is instantly wiped away.

Many people call these actions "Random Acts of Kindness". I agree. I call the people who practice Random Acts of Kindness "Earth Angels". People who unknowingly offer some gentle, loving, bit of kindness that lets you know they are thinking about you, and that you matter.

Mattering to someone else, matters. We all feel good when someone holds us in their heart.

This speaks to the importance of seeing people, noticing people, and extending smiles, a helping hand, a simple, thoughtful flower or gift. I am encouraged to open a door, help someone carry something, or follow through with an idea to give a card, say a prayer, or sow a seed of love.

These little gestures can have a profound impact and deeply touch someone.

I remember seeing  a sign in a car window that said, "You Are Awesome!". It made me smile, and made my day! That person was driving around making people happy and sending good vibes out into the community.

We each have an opportunity to be an "Earth Angel". It requires two things 1.) to pay attention, and 2.) to act on our good intentions

What was the last Random Act of Kindness you offered?

5 thanksgivings
  1. I am grateful for Katherine at POP who is ALWAYS an Earth Angel.
  2. I am grateful for Tonya for thinking of me and inspiring this blog entry.
  3. I am grateful for When We Are Kind a wonderful facebook page committed to spreading good.
  4. I am grateful for Tree W. who helped me carry my bags tonight.
  5. I am grateful to Father Rand who got out of his car and opened the office for me today, even though he was just about to leave to go home.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Motivated by Collaboration - Day 8

I am inspired by collaboration. Synergy between two people results in a much broader and deeper vision. Ideas spring forth and unexpected outcomes arise. One idea can lead down the rabbit hole to a host of completely unanticipated options. Human creativity is remarkable.

I also find it difficult to collaborate, I have to remember to listen. Sometimes I can really like my ideas, and the possibility of those ideas leading the way. If I listen though, and let go of expectation, magical things can happen. I like finding opportunities to blend two different ways of doing things. I am especially happy when an "Aha" moment arises where each person feels connected to the outcome and has a sense of "buy-in".

Sometimes I notice resistance, both mine and the other person's. I ask myself, "Am I clinging to my own ideas, or is there another reason for resistance, maybe a lack of understanding or clarity, or perhaps the other person is clinging?". There is something tremendously fulfilling about overcoming resistance and reaching a new perspective in which the outcome is enhanced 10-fold by the merging of two concepts. Similarly, learning to step back and contribute to another person's lead, while more difficult, is also equally rewarding. The more able I am to release the need for my ideas to be at the fore, the richer and more evolved the results can be.

I find that I am motivated when there is another person working with me. I enjoy someone to run with, to engage with, to explore with. The interaction feels like a game of ping pong, fast paced, back and forth that spurs the imagination and raises enthusiasm.

I also like clear, direct, boundaries that indicate what the other individual's needs are without the individual being overbearing, laying "guilt trips", or in anyway trying to make me "bad" or "wrong". It is refreshing to have someone say, "this is what I need". When someone speaks clearly I am able to respond in an authentic way and identify whether or not I can meet their need. 

Working in collaboration continues to bring out the best in me, and even when it is difficult, ultimately, there is more much gained from the experience than not; each person is better for it.

How does collaborating work for you? In which does collaborating serve and hinder you?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for honest, direct communication.
  2. I am grateful for Tana of Simple Life Synergy.
  3. I am grateful for clarity and understanding.
  4. I am grateful for self-awareness.
  5. I am grateful for kindred spirits.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Listening for Our Own Authentic Rhythm - Day 7

I went to a drumming experience last night at the Remo Recreational Center (what a great place!). I attended HealthRhythms a research based program designed to help you sync with others while self-expressing. According to HealthRhythms there are significant physiological and emotional benefits to drumming that can improve welll-being personally, professionally, and in the workplace.

Surprisingly, this class provided me with an opportunity to check in with myself, though that was not why I went. The musings of my mind are comical, and yet informative. I am new to drumming and admit there were times when I felt a bit self-conscious, wondering if I could "keep the beat' and then wondering where I fit in. I assume these feelings are normal to anyone attending something foreign to them.

What I did not expect was that drumming would offer a metaphor for life. As time went on throughout the class, I realized that I was having a hard time finding my own sound in the group, and wondering what I had to add to the "discussion". There already seemed to be enough, and I did not feel the need to add more. Furthermore, at times I could not hear myself, my own rhythm, and had to stop hitting the drum and go inward to listen to my beat, my contribution. At these times I had to stay really focused inwardly, despite it being a group activity.

I see that it is possible to equate societal life to a drum circle - we are all trying to find what we have to contribute to the whole, we all sometimes feel self-conscious or unsure, and sometimes we have to go inward, and get silent just to hear ourselves in the cacophony of human "beats". Experiencing this in a "non-traditional" environment was both enlightening and freeing.

I enjoyed listening to others, beating the drum, using new-to-me percussive instruments, and noticing what was going on inside both head and heart. The 90 minutes went by quickly, the sensation was similar to the way time changes when meditating.

This experience reminded me that it is important to be silent at times and just listen. Listen to what others are offering, and listen inwardly to what I am experiencing and what I have to offer. I don't have to hit the drum continuously, I can be present to what is going on around me and identify where, if, and how I want to fit in and show up. If you have not tried drumming before, you might want to check it out and see what comes up for you.

What about you? Can you recall a situation in which you had to listen attentively, blocking out the world around you so that you could really hear your inner voice? How did you do it?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for REMO drums and all they do for the community.
  2. I am grateful for having a willing, adventurous spirit.
  3. I am grateful for last night's supportive group, who shared themselves freely.
  4. I am grateful for this 30-day challenge.
  5. I am grateful for my inner voice.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Writing is Not On the Wall - Day 6

I do not really have much to say today. So, I suppose I will just write my 5 thanksgivings and call it a day, or a night.

Movers and Shakers 

5 thanksgivings:

  1. I am grateful for my own inner wisdom that teaches me so much.
  2. I am grateful to connect with new people who have so much to share.
  3. I am grateful for the people who are consistent in my life.
  4. I am grateful for Amanda, who gives me food for thought.
  5. I am grateful that life is so good. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I'm Curious - Are We Connecting When We Text and E-mail? - Day 5

I woke up this morning thinking about how often my phone rings vs. dings. The former is a call, the latter is an electronic communication. I find that I get far more texts and emails than phone calls. Frankly, I prefer the phone. I want to hear my friends, and I want to connect on a human level with colleagues and new acquaintances. I want to have spontaneous conversations that evolve out of a human dialogue.

Laying in bed I pondered whether or not we are really connecting when we text and email. I suspect that the x and y generations would say "hell ya". But what kind of connecting is it?

This line of inquiry got me thinking that every friend who texts or emails me ultimately looks and feels the same on my device screen; there is nothing unique or specific to the typography that in anyway conjures the way my friend "feels" to me, at least not in the same way a phone call would. Of course, each person's writing and content is different, and each person has their style, but the quick texts all seem to be the same, and personal writing style does not make me feel any more or less connected.

Truth be told if I cannot be with my friend, then I would at least like to hear their voice.  I love the variations, the nuances, the radical differences between my friends mannerisms and voices that come through their personal "phone tone" i.e. inflection, emphasis, vocal character and quality. I also love to hear them laugh, something I cannot do via text or email, and NO, I am sorry, 'lol' just is not the same!

I guess maybe I need to move to "facetime" or skype or google hangouts, but even those options feel inadequate, people look different and they seem distracted by their computers.

Clearly I am a product of my upbringing and am having difficulty with the changes that are happening technologically. Do not get me wrong, I am not a techno-phobe. However, it seems to me that we think that when we text, email, or reach out on facebook we are actually connecting, and in a certain sense, I guess we are. I just think this type of "connection" lacks the humanity that face-to-face meetings and phone calls have. I crave that human connection.

I suppose I am thinking about all of this because I have recently been spending a lot of time texting, emailing and facebooking, thinking that I am a.) getting things done, and b.) connecting, but at the end of the day, I do not have a lot to show for all of it, and I am still sitting alone at my computer, not feeling as connected as I would like to.

What do you think of email, text and other techno means of communication as they relate to connection?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for opportunities to be with my friends.
  2. I am grateful for all of my friends.
  3. I am grateful for the wisdom my friends share with me.
  4. I am grateful for the wind that is connecting with me nature right now.
  5. I am grateful for technology.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Fear Around Writing and Being Stuck - Day 4

Ok... so it is only day 4 and I already have writer's block.

I have so many feelings around writing this blog. Perhaps I should address each in turn:
  • It seems really indulgent writing about "whatever" pops up. I "should" have a theme! Isn't there something I could be writing about that creates a sense of continuity? Oh yeah, isn't this blog about "engaging inner wisdom"? Is it possible to put everything I talk about into the context of "inner wisdom". Hmmm...I am not sure. Is choosing to write everyday for 30 days enough of a "theme". Is it possible to write for 30-days about how writing for 30-days impacts my inner wisdom? Hmmm.
  • I would like to find my "voice" or my "unique commentary" - well it is scary and ironic that I have not, given that I am a singer, but it is true. Perhaps it relates more to my first point than I realize, and that is why I do not have a theme, other than the overarching idea of "engaging inner wisdom"; i.e. I do not have a theme because I have not found my point of view and what I have to say, or offer. Maybe that is the crux, "feeling like I have nothing meaningful to offer" (drag...where does that come from?).
  • Given all the amazing, informative, creative, deeply spiritual blogs out there, I feel a tremendous sense of pressure to write something pithy and resource-full, posts that include links and connections to outside resources. This of course ultimately becomes a loop - if I am linking to other people who have written about things I want to write about, and they have written well, then I think inwardly, "why bother writing something, it has already been written, and it is better than anything I could write, so...why not just promote other people's work?". Which brings me back to not finding my own voice. *sigh
Love this from
  • Why do I want to write anyway? What is the point? To what end? Is it because "everyone's doing it, and it is the best way to get myself out into the world and show people what I have to say and offer?" But...what is it I have to offer that has not already been said more clearly, more concisely, and with more eloquence? *double sigh... see above!
  • I am so future oriented. I want the blog to be good, no great! I want it to get a million, gazillion hits, and take off! I want book options and signing tours and oh my, oh my, oh my - VERUCA SALT (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)!! Oh My Gosh! Such HUGE EGO involvement, and a shit-ton of pressure (for those of you who don't curse, well, you might not want to read my blog, because I definitely have a voice around "to curse or not to curse", and I lean on the "to curse" side of the spectrum).
  • I fear being inconsistent. This of course stems from everything already mentioned.
Being consistent and having something meaningful to say remain the biggest obstacles to writing this blog. I am using the NANOWRIMO 30-day challenge as a catalyst, but it does not help me churn out the words, find a meaningful topic, or develop an over-arching theme. Moreover, I am not sure that anything I have to say will be relevant to you, or anyone, for that matter. Why am I doing this anyway?

If you blog, have you dealt with these issues or feelings, and how have you overcome them? What was it like for you when you first started blogging? How did you go about becoming consistent, finding something to say, etc.?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for being able to read and write.
  2. I am grateful that there is a forum to write my feelings, experiences, and whims.
  3. I am grateful that NANOWRIMO exists and inspires so many people.
  4. I am grateful for all the amazing authors who paint textural imagery and felt experiences using words.
  5. I am grateful for my computer.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Intentionally Welcoming the New Day - Day 3 - 30-Day Challenge

Every morning we get up and go through our morning routine. What if we decided to bring the sacred in by creating a morning ritual that improved the quality of the day?

When people hear the word ritual they often think of druids, pagans or witches. Or perhaps they think of catholics and god-fearing church goers. Either way, the idea of ritual becomes depersonalized and set with religious overtones. Do not get me wrong, there is a necessary place for these types of experiences, but not all rituals need to be interpreted in this way.

I like to think of ritual with less intensity, so I simply define a ritual as "a routine way of honoring what is important in my life". This idea of ritual allows me to connect deeply through repeated patterns set with intention and mindfulness.

Let me give you an example. Like most people, I like to wake up and have a cup of my favorite hot beverage (which happens to be ground, roasted cocoa beans with cream and honey). I could choose to go through the news of the day, think about what I want to accomplish, plan my "to-do" list, etc. However, I prefer to experience going inward, and focusing on the quality of day I would like to manifest.

I find that when I spend quiet time in the morning listening, I am able to sense how I want my day to "feel". By knowing this, I can then set intentions, and throughout the day, become more aware of whether my actions are in alignment with the essence I want to experience for that day.  When I am this mindful, I tend to have much more fulfilling days; days that are richer and filled with synchronicity.

There is something magical about taking time to sit silently in meditation or contemplative prayer. Doing so opens space for the coming day. Journaling reveals further insights, and allows me to clear my brain of unnecessary crap that would otherwise clutter my thinking. In this way I create space for more insights and information to "download" throughout the day. I also like to select a daily SoulCollage® card to inform the "character" or "quality" of my day.

I do these types of thing every morning, usually for about 45 minutes.  The specifics may change, but the objective remains - Intentionally set the tenor of my day using ritual, and recognizing the sacred in every moment of my life. I have a choice to be present, or not.

Do you have a morning ritual that colors the quality of your day?

5 thanksgivings:

  1. I am grateful for making time to meditate.
  2. I am grateful for silence and the wisdom inherent in it.
  3. I am grateful for Sister Chris Machado of the Holy Spirit Retreat Center for providing amazing opportunities to go into the silence.
  4. I am grateful for the moments throughout the day in which I remember my morning intentions.
  5. I am grateful for mirroring friends who know the importance of going inward.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Noticing Synchronicity - Day 2 - 30 Day Challenge

Does synchronicity provide us with breadcrumbs that confirm we are heading in the right direction?

I am a pilgrim.

By this I mean that I satisfy Dictionary.Com's first and second definitions:

1.) a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion i.e. pilgrims to the Holy Land
2.) a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.


I use these definitions metaphorically. I see my life as a sacred journey, and the world, Earth, Gaia, as a sacred place, so I am always walking sacred ground, and traveling to sacred places or experiences. 
I desire a life lived intentionally, with thoughtful consideration (I don't always satisfy this desire, but I strive for it none-the-less); this becomes an act of "religious devotion". My "holy land" is a "way of being" in the world that is filled with mindfulness and integrity. And yet, I feel as a if I am a traveler wandering this foreign place called "Life", trying to figure out how to satisfy my desire and reach my "holy landing place". 

And then I am reminded that it is not the destination, but the journey that is important.
Life feels foreign at times because I don't know the purpose of it. I don't have a guide book. I am not certain of where I am going. I continually familiarize myself with the lay of the land, and of course have become better acquainted with life, and yet it still perplexes me. 
As I move to accomplish my life's goals, and meet society's expectations, and satisfy my deep, soul-inspired yearnings, I am not always certain which direction to go in. As a spiritual person, I ask God for guidance, I pray, I meditate, I journal, and engage in different activities that I hope will provide me with answers and a map for moving forward, helping me to reach my objectives.

Despite my efforts, sometimes my way is not clear, uncertainty floods me. It is at these times that "universal forces" offer tremendous insight.  The universal force I am referring to is "synchronicity" a concept described by Carl Jung, defined here by Dictionary.Com:
"the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence."

I am in a process of discernment regarding becoming a "spiritual director" and within the last two weeks  I have experienced synchronicity in relation to this process. When synchronicity happens, I see it as a message that suggests I am on the right path. It feels to be a guiding force that encourages further exploration, and assurance that I am "getting warmer".
What do you think about synchronicity? Do you have any examples of when it surfaced in your life?

5 thanksgivings:
  1. I am grateful for meaningful coincidences that remind me I am on the right path.
  2. I am grateful for Kelly Morgan of for introducing me to the concept of synchronicity.
  3. I am grateful for the time to write these posts.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to grow spiritually.
  5. I am grateful for clarity and insight.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Day 75 - week 11 - The Start of a 30-Day Challenge

Day 75 - Connecting More Deeply

I learned something the other day: "things aren't always what they seem"

I often tell a story about the time I jumped off a lifeguard station believing I could fly; I was 7. I always thought the story was about how faith-filled, imaginative, and daring I am, but after speaking with a mentor recently I realized I was missing an important detail.

I jumped off the lifeguard tower believing to the core of my being that the windbreaker I was wearing would fill up with the same wind that was churning whitecaps, and lift me, giving me wings like a seagull.

As the wind filled my "wings" I called out to my father to watch me. I spread my arms wide and jumped. Within seconds I hit the hard sand, the wind knocked out of me. That is the part I gloss over, "getting the wind knocked out of me".

Fast forward 40+ years. I am talking with my mentor, telling her the story, and she points out that perhaps this experience created a "core belief" that I carry around with me as an adult - namely that when I attempt to fly and do things that I deeply believe in, I believe they won't get off the ground, but instead will end in hurt, frustration, and utter disappointment - and ultimately take my "breath" away (all this is subconscious ).

This made me wonder if I stifle attempts at success because I am afraid of the possible adverse impact. I don't know the answer yet, but the question provides a marvelous place for exploration.

What are your core beliefs and how do they impact you?

5 thanksgivings:

  1. I am grateful for insight, mentors and deep wisdom.
  2. I am grateful for Marva at for inspiring this challenge.
  3. I am grateful for Karen Paquin for being a long-term friend with a ton of true wind beneath her wings and a deep belief in herself.
  4. I am grateful for Jeffrey who continues to lift my wings.
  5. I am grateful to Father Rand Reasoner for being.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Commercialized

Happy Valentine's Day?

For years, I've wondered why we need a special day to tell the people in our lives that we love them.  Why do we feel obligated to buy chocolates and candy and flowers and jewelry and cards with hearts on this day?  Maybe if I share some numbers with you, you'll see why I have titled this post - Love Commercialized.

Let's start with the overall amount spent last year.  How does more than $18 billion strike you?  Yes, billion with a B.  Ready for a breakdown of those billions?  According to CNN, in 2013, Americans spent nearly $2 billion on flowers and $2 billion on candy and almost $4.5 billion on jewelry.  The rest comes in cards, dinners, hotels, and such.

Now, I really have to ask.  Why do we do it?  Is that love?  Are we really expressing love?  And... why do we do it all in a single day?

Last night, I made four dozen cupcakes so that both my kids could take some in for their class parties.  Now that I've admitted my indulgence with this holiday, I'm going to tell you why I did it.  The answer isn't simply, "Because they're my kids."  The answer is because, when I was a kid, my mom did it for me every year.  I never asked her to do it and I never expected it, but every year she did it.  I realize now that, even though my mom had trouble saying the words, "I love you," that she did love me and this was one of the few ways that she showed it.  That is why I do it for my kids (and for myself).  It keeps my mom's love flowing.

I've just given you two different sides to love - the monetary breakdown of Valentine's Day and a personal story of an expression of love.  How did each one make you feel?

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom
Using the story I just told about my mom, think about the less obvious ways that the people in your life show you that they love you; share one of those stories with us in a comment on this post.

What subtle ways do you show love to your friends and family or kindness to people you don't know?  What about animals?  Share one of those stories with us in a comment on this post.

Finally, a friend and I manage a page on Facebook called When We Are Kind, on which we post only positive things, people doing nice things for each other or for animals and even animals helping people or other animals.  If you have a Facebook account, like the page so you can receive some positive loving stories in your day.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Moving Forward into 2014

Over the last month or so, Karen and I spent time going inward and listening, Think of the image of a still winter morning, covered in a layer of white powder that muffles sound and holds space within, as the metaphor from which Karen and I have been emerging. Now we are planning and prepping; now we stretch, dusting off the snow and slowly move forward in step with the sun and its increased warmth and bold light that beckons. 

But planning and prepping required a gestation period and a time to ponder the future. We listened. We listened to what wants to be seen and known from within. We asked, “What do we wish to share with the world in 2014?”, We were inspired by the many answers, ideas, images, thoughts, and feelings that bubbled up.

While we haven’t teased out everything or defined all of the details, we have managed to conceptualize a framework and some ideas. You can look forward to some of the following topics and concepts as we move through 2014:

Stepping out
  • Loving self, loving others, loving life
  • Spring rituals
  • Living as the “fool”
  • Embracing Mother Earth
  • Rising out of the ashes
  • Showering abundance
  • Dealing with life’s mudslides and downpours
  • Mothering self
  • Relishing our talents, relishing life
  • Picking ourselves up when we fall

Additionally, we intend to hold lightly to “quarterly constructs” using them as springboards for our posts. For example, through this first quarter of the year we will consider:

  • Creativity
  • Initiating
  • Budding
  • Growing
  • Developing
  • Conceptualizing, and
  • Emerging

Subsequent quarters will have their own essence.

We wish you a happy new year. May you be fulfilled, blessed and happy!

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom

We hope you take or have taken the time necessary to still yourself, to silence the world’s cacophony, and to really listen to your inner wisdom, so that you can see what is calling you, and what wants to be manifested in this new year filled with possibility.

We would love to know what you’ve heard, and what emerged from your silence. Is there something you are going after this year? Please post!

We’d would also love to hear which of the topics listed above are of particular interest to you. Please post a comment so we can support you!