Sometimes the little things bring the most joy

It was bitterly cold but the sun was shining, when I left work one evening last week. Before I even got my car door open, I could see my flower doing its happy dance.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring me the most joy.

It’s a solar-powered air freshener I keep on the dash of my car because it makes me feel good. Laugh more is the message it brings.

I think this little dollar store item is so much fun. My son and I were in the car one day, sitting at a red light. A good tune came on the radio and the flower was bee-bopping along. We looked at each other and joined in!

The flower also has great memories attached to it. I received this happy gift at my company Christmas party a few weeks ago. It was prize for playing a game.

You begin the game with a large ball of cling wrap. There are small prizes wrapped within the cling wrap ball from the outer most layer all the way to the center.

The game participants stand around a table. One person puts on oven mitts and tries to unwrap the ball while another rolls two dice.

When the person rolling the dice gets doubles, the person unwrapping the ball has to stop. You keep the prizes released from the cling wrap on your turn wearing the mitts.

I laughed a lot that night while playing the game. And the joy continues whenever I see my flower dancing in the sun.

Smiles and hugs!

What is Mirror Work and how can it help me?

Hi. Welcome to Week four of my Tools for your Spiritual Journey series. I am so happy you’re here. This week’s post is about Mirror Work. This is the perfect follow-up to last week’s post on affirmations.

What is Mirror Work exactly?

Mirror work is a very powerful practice for your journey that basically involves saying affirmations to yourself in a mirror. This may sound hokey to many of you and downright frightening to others.

Of all of the tools I now use, this one is my favorite and it also the practice I always show up for. I do this everyday, without fail. I believe mirror work is absolutely key to learning to truly love who you are.

Louise Hay was famous for practicing and teaching mirror work. She is the author of many books on the subject. She says “mirror work is the most effective method I have found for learning to love yourself and see the world as a safe and loving place.”

Robert Holden, Ph.D, was a student of Louise Hay who has taken up the teaching of mirror work himself. Robert says “you won’t find what you have been looking for until you look in the mirror.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Who can benefit by practicing mirror work?

I think everyone can gain more appreciation of self by doing this work. Those who suffer from low self-worth or low self-esteem will certainly benefit from doing this practice on a regular basis.

If you cringe at the thought of looking into your own eyes and saying “I am beautiful” or “I am smart”, “I am worthy”, or Louise’s favorite, “I am loveable”, then mirror work is definitely for you.

Do this! Face your fear. You are so much more than you believe!

Are you in? Awesome!

I was first introduced to mirror work in Janet Conner’s book, Writing down your soulThis is a wonderful place to start for many of the tools in this series of posts. In her book she encourages you to start by looking in the mirror and telling yourself “I am precious, I am important”.

She admits that this was too much for her when she began and had to kind of side glance at the mirror to get the words out. After much practice, however, she was able to look at herself straight on and say the words. Just as you will be able to if you keep at it.

I began my own mirror work with “I am beautiful”. For me this is not so much about physical beauty as it is seeing my inner beauty. I do believe that most of us focus on our flaws when we look in the mirror and telling ourselves we are beautiful, sexy, gorgeous or handsome can shift the focus off of what we consider to be less than desirable.

Shortly after starting my mirror work practice, I listened to the audio book Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise Hay. Now I was really hooked. This stuff works!

Learning from the best…

Louise Hay says “positive affirmations plant healing thoughts and ideas that support you in developing self-confidence and self-esteem, and creating peace of mind and inner joy.

Robert Holden offers his loving yourself free video series, focusing on mirror work. I have watched the entire series and I highly recommend. I tweaked my own practice to incorporate some of what I learned from Robert in this series. As he begins the first video, he says

“The one piece of equipment you need is a mirror. Any mirror will do. Make sure you give it a good polish before you begin. You are about to meet the most important person in your life”.

I love that! It is so true. Truly loving anyone else is not possible until you can learn to truly love yourself. Once you have done that, everything else will begin to fall into place.

If you would like to read the other posts in this series, I have included links below.

Thank you for reading!

Week one – How to create a solid meditation practice

Week two – Daily soul writing for your spiritual practice

Week three – Using positive affirmations to kick the negative self-talk habit

Week five – How to use the energy of crystals for your spiritual growth

Week six – Try a manifestation box instead of a vision board

Week seven – Pay attention to your inner guidance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radical Gratitude – the Power of Thank You

So what is radical gratitude anyway? Basically, it’s being thankful for absolutely everything in your life.

Most of us long for more than what we have in this life. We want more money, a better job, a more loving romantic partner, more success, a bigger house, the list goes on and on.

We seem to think that if we have more of what may already exist in our lives, we will become happier people. It simply doesn’t work that way. There are a multitude of people who seem to have it all and are still unfulfilled and miserable.

The reason for this is lack of gratitude for what they do have. If you aren’t truly grateful for what you have right now, how can more of anything change that? More will never be enough simply because you do not feel blessed by what you receive and have already received.

In her book Gratitude, A way of lifeLouise Hay says “By the time I have gotten out of bed, I have probably expressed gratitude for 80 to 100 different people, places, things and experiences in my life.”

Is this kind of radical gratitude even possible?

I posed a gratitude challenge in my post How to live a happier life – 13 actions you can take today, where I asked readers to join me by keeping a gratitude journal for thirty days. The goal was to record three different things each day we were thankful for which would equal 90 things at the end of the month.

I imagine coming up with just three things to be grateful for is daunting for some people, but 100 before even getting out of bed? Wow!

Impressed with the thought of being that grateful, I was inspired to extend myself. I decided that if I applied myself, I could be grateful for 100 things, as long as I had the whole day to do it. Here is how it went:

5:15 am  Radical Gratitude before I get out bed.

Thank you bed for a comfortable nights sleep.

Thank you pillow for cradling my head. I sleep on a My Pillow. I absolutely love it!

Thank you flannel sheets for your softness and warmth.

Thank you Universe for this perfect day!

Thank you Yoshi for the good vibrations. Yoshi is my cat. He is purring.

5:30 am. Radical Gratitude while I get ready for work.

Thank you Kombucha for nourishing my body.

Thank you for this wonderful hot coffee.

Thank you Louise Hay for introducing me to Mirror Work.

Thank you Happy Light for providing my morning light therapy on these dark winter mornings.

Thank you Louise Hay for Power Thoughts and Inner Wisdom meditations.

Thank you Rebecca Campbell for your playlist of soul inspiring music.

Thank you for the bracelet that reminds of my brother, who is no longer of this Earth.

Thank you for the earrings that remind me of my sister, purchased on an amazing girls weekend in Estes Park, Colorado.

Thank you green smoothies for changing the way I eat breakfast.

Thank you for the under counter kitchen fan installed by a friend and former romantic partner.

Radical gratitude quote by Neale Donald Walsh

Thank you for the crescent moon shining in the sky this morning.

Thank you for the stunning pink and orange clouds shrouding the sunrise over the lake.

Thank you for the organic lip balm protecting my lips from the cold.

Thank you for the reliable car that gets my son and I safely where we choose to go.

Thank you for the 36-year-old garage door opener, that still works! It’s a Craftsman.

Thank you to the woman who let me out in traffic during my commute this morning.

8:00 am Radical Gratitude after arriving at work.

Thank you to my cat’s veterinary office for the compassionate sympathy card personally signed by everyone.

Thank you for the low utility bills this month.

Thank you for the support of good friends.

Thank you for my community of fellow bloggers.

Thank you for my paying gig, even when I would rather be writing.

Thank you for a quiet, comfortable office to work in.

Thank you for the windows in our office space.

Thank you for the lunchtime bonding with my co-workers.

Thank you cell phones. Seriously, I have a super computer in the palm of my hand!

Thank you for Facebook groups.

Thank you that I no longer feel like sleeping every afternoon.

Thank you for interesting projects to fill my day.

5:00 pm Radical Gratitude when work is done.

Thank you for heated seats in my car.

Thank you for the computer software I needed being gifted to me.

Thank you for the salt lamp I wanted being gifted to me.

Thank you for the wild bald eagle seen perched in a friend’s tree.

Thank you to everyone who put up outdoor Christmas lights. Beautiful.

Thank you to the person who let into their lane at the accident on 56th Street.

Thank you for my well-lit parking area.

Thank you for my son’s birthday smile.

Thank you for my Keurig.

Thank you for Echinacea tea.

Thank you for the Christmas cat coffee cups I got for $1 last year.

Thank you for my leather chair.

Thank you for my soft warm throw blanket.

Thank you Lilly, for sitting where I can pet you. The other cat.

Thank you Yoshi for my evening hug.

Thank you Eli for doing your homework on the third time I asked instead of the eighth.

7:00 pm Radical Gratitude in my evening hours.

Thank you for my rebounder.

Thank you for my washing machine that sings to me instead of buzzing.

Thank you to my sister for blowing me kisses by text message.

Thank you Eli for your Trampoline Christmas light show!

Thank you for the new Christmas tree that makes Eli’s light show possible.

Thank you for Word Chums with friends.

Thank you for A Course In Miracles. I am currently reading the text portion of the course. I will begin the student’s work book portion on January 1.

Thank you for my girls weekends in Kansas City with wonderful, fun friends.

Thank you for the beautiful handmade Christmas stockings given to us by a special friend.

Pinterest image for Radical Gratitude

Thank you for a functioning dishwasher.

Thank you for warm fuzzy socks.

Thank you for my pink Minnie Mouse pajama pants.

Thank you for guided meditation apps.

Thank you Rebecca Campbell for your sourcing meditation.

Thank you Davidji for your on-line course Secrets of Meditation. I am enjoying this very much!

Thank you for Rose Quartz crystal.

Thank you for make-up removing wipes.

Thank you for poetry.

Thank you for my Chromecast.

Thank you for You Tube.

Thank you Angels.

Thank you Spirit guides.

Radical gratitude quote by Mandy Hale

Thank you for my kitchen trash can pull-out.

Thank you for the cute cat hole in my closet door that leads to the litter box.

Thank you body for performing so many wonderful functions with very little help from me.

Thank you for Eli’s artwork.

Thank you for my parents.

Thank you for indoor plumbing.

Thank you for my good health.

Thank you for healing hand lotion.

Thank you for the lessons I don’t even know I’m learning yet.

Thank you for the memories of loved ones no longer here.

Thank you for the air that I breathe.

Thank you for the many ornaments made by my son Eli, that adorn our beautiful Christmas tree.

Thank you for Canva, which will make the images of this post possible.

Thank you Pinterest, where I find many of my quotes.

Thank you for Google, my very favorite search engine.

9:00 pm. Radical Gratitude before falling asleep.

Thank you for the sleeping state that will mend and rejuvenate my body.

Thank you for the dreams that come, even if I don’t remember them.

Thank you for the stars in the night sky.

Thank you for my night-time wrist brace.

Thank you for new experiences.

Thank you for each new day.

Thank you for every opportunity to learn something new.

Thank you for the peace and love in my heart.

Thank you for quiet neighbors.

Thank you for an incredibly dark bedroom.

Thank you for nature and the wind I hear outside my bedroom window.

Thank you for the miracle that is me.

Thank you for the miracle that is you.

Thank you God!

There it is!

Definitely not an easy task, but absolutely possible. If I can do it, you can too. I bet it will become easier with time and practice.

Smile, hugs and Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

Fear and Childhood Trauma – My Story

No parent intentionally screws up their children’s development. Even so, I have never met a human being without issues to overcome. Of course, not all childhood trauma comes from our parents. It may stem from teachers, peers, other relatives, neighbors or even strangers.

Overall I think the vast majority of us learn our patterns from our parents. Some of those patterns may be positive, but many will be negative. These unhealthy patterns can last a lifetime because most of us don’t realize that they even exist, much less, that the patterns need correcting.

It’s important to remember that each of us is only doing the very best we can at any given moment, that includes our parents while they were raising us. That being said, I picked up some pretty undesirable stuff from both my mom and my dad. I love them with all my heart, but these are things I must face if I truly want to heal.

I guess a bit of background is in order before I really get started. My parents were divorced when I was five years old. My sister and I lived with our mother and spent every other weekend with our father, for the first few years, anyway.

My father remarried almost immediately after the divorce. He and his new family moved to another state when I was about eight years old. I didn’t get to see my dad again for six years.

Not only did my mother not have any skills required for a career, she also suffered from Multiple Sclerosis which prevented her from working full-time. My sister and I were raised on a welfare disability check.

The entire situation created some intensely difficult and conflicting emotions. Emotions I really had no good way to deal with as a child.

My mother had become very ill by the time I was eleven years old. Her disease progressed from that point, taking more and more of her livelihood until we were forced to move her into a nursing home when I was sixteen years old. She was just forty-five at the time.

During those five years preceding the nursing home, my sister and I cared for our mom the best we could. It was a lot of responsibility for two young girls to handle.

We certainly learned many useful skills of household management we otherwise may not have mastered at such an early age. We also rebelled against our situation every chance we got.

Always searching for that opportunity to be free of our responsibility and feel like children again, we both tended to “adopt” our friend’s parents as our own.

I grew up viewing my mother as a saint and my father, well, he bolted and I was very angry. Let’s just say I wasn’t very fond of my dad back then. I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. He was my dad and I loved him. So I blamed him instead, for pretty much everything.

No matter how much I admired my mother for what she endured and her determination to raise us, our relationship was upside down and backwards. The parent is supposed to care for the child, not the other way around.

This type of family dynamic can, and in my case did, create some codependency issues. I am a caretaker by the nature of my upbringing. I have always struggled with setting boundaries and taking care of myself. Everyone else’s needs always seemed to come first.

We were also very poor, living below the poverty line. My mom did a fantastic job with what little money we had, but there was never enough. Two undesirable lessons came from this unfortunate situation.

My mom always went without so that my sister and I could have what we needed. So, of course, my sister and I learned this strategy from her and brought it with us into our own adult lives.

The second was the lesson of lack. When a child grows up knowing, or being told, consistently, that there isn’t enough money, safety, food or anything else, that child will learn lack. It is a lesson that is extremely hard to let go of.

Although I am educated, I have a career, and I make a decent wage, it still feels like a struggle to make ends meet. It always feels like there just isn’t enough. I feel lack as an adult because that is what I learned as a child.

My father and I didn’t have much of a relationship when I was young. Between the ages of eight and twenty-three, I spent two weeks with him total and that’s it. We would talk on the phone and occasionally write letters. I always wanted him to be proud of me, even if I was hating on him.

My mother passed away when I was twenty-five and I realized I only had one parent left. I decided I wanted to make the best of that and try to repair my relationship with my dad.

So for the last twenty-five years my dad and I have been okay. We still live in different states, but we see each other more often. He is proud of me and he says so. Yet, I am still fairly uncomfortable around him.

Why? Because he doesn’t really know who I am. He has some strong beliefs and opinions about life and so do I. The problem? Our values don’t match, in fact, they probably couldn’t be farther apart.

I’m fine with his views and who he is, it’s all good, but my childhood fear of being abandoned by my father still exists today. I am afraid to be myself with him for fear he will reject me.

And the cherry on top is I really don’t like that I feel this way. The admission alone took a tremendous amount of effort. And I know, on some unconscious level, that I am beating myself up for not being able to overcome this fear.

My hope is that by putting this out into the world I will release some of my fear and begin to heal. Begin the process of forgiveness. Me forgiving my dad, for only being able to do his best at any given time. Me forgiving me and treating myself with kindness when I am not as far along my path as I would like to be.

Peace and love.

 

 

 

 

Individuality in Nature

I am always delighted to both see and hear a variety of creatures when I walk in nature. Some are repeat visitors and others, well, it can be difficult to tell.

The black squirrel pictured above is one of my favorites. Why do I favor him over the other neighborhood squirrels? Because he is different! I know it is him when I see him. It’s like he is oozing that “over here, look at me, I stand out in the crowd” kind of vibe.

Shouldn’t we all have that vibe? Why try to blend in when we were clearly created to stand out? I am unique. I am the only human being who can be me. You are also unique, one in 7.3 billion (give or take a couple) and the only human being who can be you.

Let’s start celebrating who we are instead of hiding it. Being a little different (or a lot), isn’t a flaw, it’s a blessing. You are the amazing miracle of you. No one else can do that job. It is all yours and always will be.

Smiles and Hugs.

 

Love Yourself Awake

Once upon a time, I was easily wounded by what I perceived as another’s rejection. I was all too willing to take everything personally. The slightest comment, or lack thereof, could be considered a deliberate attack.

My ego was, and still is, capable of creating scenarios completely blown out of proportion and based on events that have not actually taken place. I lived my life from a place of fear.

I was afraid of being abandoned, not being good enough and winding up alone. I was so consumed by my fear that I stopped speaking my mind. I kept my mouth shut, acting as if I had no opinions whatsoever.

I had been avoiding conflict for many years in an effort to keep the peace and be likeable. I had become everyone’s doormat! And no one knew the real me. She was hidden from the world.

On the outside I was strong, smart and capable. On the inside, I was a crumpled mess. That is the story of how ego works. The ego is your self-image, the you that you present to the world, and it is an excuse making machine! Here are some of the things my ego told me:

Strong, confident women don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve.

I am better than they are, so there is no need to argue.

I am patient, tolerant and kind. There is no need to hurt someone’s feelings by expressing what I really think.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion and views. It is not my job to judge.

Now, that might not sound so bad, right? Not if it is your ego doing the talking. The ego tells you what you want to believe to keep you in your place. The ego is afraid of change.

Inside of me was a mountain of repressed emotion that was about to become a volcano of spewing anger, judgement and self-loathing. I had embraced becoming the victim.

It oftentimes seems, that as human beings, we gravitate toward the negative. Rather than take responsibility for our actions, feelings and emotions, we want to blame, complain and stay the same.

I am not the same person I was six months ago. In fact, I am dramatically different. I have discovered the “bigger voice” inside of me. My soul-self is awake and I am allowing her to take charge.

Everyone wants to know what the “one thing” is, the key to happiness, the secret to life. I know that secret. The “one thing” is self-love. There is no stronger force for creating joy than learning to love yourself.

 

You can consciously practice gratitude, forgiveness and self-care with positive results even if you haven’t truly achieved a great level of self-love. My article Soul Growth tells of my journey and some of the tools that got me here.

It’s difficult to explain and I know my old self would have had a difficult time grasping the notion, but with self-love comes clarity. The clarity to see what an amazing creation you are and everything and everyone else is too.

The practice of gratitude and forgiveness takes on a new life as well. It seems to come naturally to me now, without so much effort. There is so much more to be thankful for and so much less that requires my forgiveness.

I now know that strong, confident women are not afraid to show their emotions.

We are all equally perfect in our divine creation regardless of how we express ourselves.

I AM patient, tolerant and kind, but that does not mean I have to keep my mouth shut. My opinions matter. The feelings of someone else are their responsibility and, quite frankly, none of my business.

Just as I believe everyone else has a right to their opinions and views, so do I. It is not my job to judge anyone else on what they believe and it is not their job to judge me. My feelings can only be hurt if I believe what is implied.

 

My journey has been amazing and I look forward to all the future holds for me. A word of caution, however, would be that although I love the changes that have taken place and I am deeply grateful for the awakening, it is not always a comfortable place to be.

You still have to feel your emotions, in fact, possibly on a much deeper level than before. I know, for me, I have good days and bad days, just like before. Now, however, my good days are fabulous and my bad days are, well, not so tragic.

My ego can still get the best of me. My soul-self usually prevails if I use my tools. I always have to keep working. If I let my spiritual practice slide, I will fall back asleep.

So I keep practicing, I keep learning and I keep evolving. With every day I am able to do this, the world becomes a brighter, friendlier place, where we can all be ourselves, we are all connected and we are all enough, just as we are.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

Gratitude 2.0 – Going Deeper

Being grateful for the good things in your life is one thing, but have you ever considered expressing gratitude for the things you aren’t so happy about? Let’s explore this concept together.

In my post How to live a happy life – 13 actions you can take today, I invited you to take a thirty-day gratitude challenge, where you would list three different things you are grateful for, each day for thirty days. If we look at our lists I’m guessing we will find mostly pleasant experiences and things that make us feel really good. That’s fabulous, but now, let’s go a little deeper.

What happens when we become grateful for those not so wonderful feeling experiences and people in our lives? Miracles happen!! Trust me, it is pure magic.

So you might be asking, how exactly am I supposed to be thankful for stuff that makes me feel lousy? Well, to start out, you don’t have to actually feel it. Fake it, if you have to. The more you practice, the better you will start to feel about it. Eventually, you will begin to believe it and before you know it, miracles!

My belief is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. We are here to learn, however, that part of us that is human, has allowed us to forget our purpose here and even that we are, at our core, spirit.

Spirit wants to know contrast. Without knowing pain, how could you know comfort? Without first experiencing fear, how could you experience courage? Without the feeling of grief, you would not be able to know delight. Without sadness, there is no happiness. Without blame, there can be no forgiveness. This list goes on and on and on.

In the book, The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie writes, “One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It’s called gratitude. We learn to say, thank you, for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don’t like this experience, but thank you anyway. Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.”

In the book, Gratitude A Way of Life, Louise Hay writes, “We even want to be grateful for the lessons we have. Don’t run from lessons; they are little packages of treasure that have been given to us. As we learn from them, our lives change for the better. I now rejoice whenever I see another portion of the dark side of myself. I know that it means that I am ready to let go of something that has been hindering my life.”

Life on Earth will know conflict and opposition as long as we are still learning and growing. Cherish all of your moments, good and bad. Every one is required to make you who you are, and you are amazing!

Below is a great quote on opposition. I am not positive of who actually said it. It has been attributed to Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, William Wrigley Jr., and Ezra Pound. I suspect each has said it, in one form or another.

Love yourself, love your brother, love your life. Everyday say Thank You. Thank you God, Thank you Universe, Thank you Life, for everything, all of my experiences, because I know everything is a blessing, even those feelings, thoughts and experiences that don’t look like it at first.

When you are done being grateful, say “Something wonderful is going to happen today.” And it will.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Journal week of 10-15-2017

Sunday 10-15-2017.

Today I am grateful for the quiet and solitude of early morning walks at the lake. For the cottonwood trees that sing to me when I walk. And for the inspiration of nature.

Today I send love and blessings to my ego.

 

Monday  10-16-2017.

Today I am grateful for my son’s inner wisdom and moral compass, which seems well beyond his eleven years. For a clear bright day filled with sunshine. And for Vala’s pumpkin patch, a fall tradition for us. This year I will be sharing this adventure with three pre-teen boys!

Today I send love and blessings to my inner critic.

 

Tuesday  10-17-2017.

Today I am happy and grateful for my back patio garden. For the blue jays outside my window. And for mirror work.

Today I send love and blessings to loud neighbors.

 

Wednesday  10-18-2017.

Today I am grateful for time alone. For new experiences. And for Pinterest.

Today I send love and blessings to President Donald Trump. I know that his presidency has a purpose for our planet, but I just have a difficult time wrapping my head around it.

 

Thursday  10-19-2017.

Today I am grateful for falling leaves. For Rebecca Campbell, her book, Light is the new black, and her playlist!

Today I send love and blessings to my cell phone service. It doesn’t work in my kitchen! Ugh!!

 

Friday  10-20-2017.

Today I am grateful for the my journey. For my vision board. And for the fresh flowers on my table.

Today I send love and blessings to middle school kids who agitate and tease.

 

Saturday  10-21-2017.

Today I am grateful for quiet neighbors. For the support of the universe. And for my JotterPad app.

Today I send love and blessings to all of the haters .

 

Last weeks gratitude journal can be seen here.

 

 

 

Split Yourself Open…Letter To An Old Friend

True self-love is all about forgiveness. The first and most important person to forgive is yourself. It’s important to open yourself wide and look deep inside to the shadows of your soul. Accepting and even embracing the parts of yourself that you would rather hide from the world. These parts are your true blessings. Your flaws and fumbles are what make you human and they also make you, you. This is a letter I wrote a couple of months ago.

Dear Old Friend,

I saw you in my dreams last night and today I am inspired to write this letter to confess and confide in you some truths about our past. You may never read this because I may never send it, but it must be written while I have the courage and motivation to do so.

You have always held a very special place in my heart and I believe you always will. I am so grateful to have had both the pleasure and the pain of sharing a little bit of life with you, as your friend and otherwise. I want to tell you two things. This is difficult for me to admit, even today.

Maybe you remember coming to me one night when we were in our early twenties. I was in a relationship with Russell (name has been changed), our mutual friend at the time. You were hoping for an intimate connection and I turned you away. It wasn’t because I was in love with Russell and it wasn’t because I didn’t love you. I had a secret.

I had contracted the genital Herpes virus from Russell. Of course, I wanted to protect you from that, but I was also protecting myself. This was not something I wanted to share about myself, it would have been too painful. So I chose to hide my truth. Forgive me.

Believe it or not, my next confession was even harder for me to accept. Very deep breath. I lied to you once before and it was a much bigger lie. A HUGE lie. I am so sorry. I have managed to forgive myself and hope, that in time, you can too.

There was no baby. There was no miscarriage. I am tearing up even now as I write this. I made the whole thing up. I recited this lie so many times and for so many years that I may have actually believed it myself.

The first time I admitted to fabricating this story was in therapy about eight years ago. My therapist helped me understand that I was trying to cope with how messed up my family life was at the time. My Mom was put in a nursing home at the age of forty-five and I was being shipped off to another state to live with a father I barely knew.

I loved and admired your family very much. I desperately wanted to be a part of that. So my sixteen year old mind created a family of my very own. A child that didn’t actually exist, except in my mind. A child that gave me a connection to you and to your family. Something for me to cling to when my world got turned upside down.

It was never my intention to cause you pain. I have only ever felt a very deep love for you, your siblings and your folks. I miss you all and think of you often. Finally, at age fifty, I am finding ways to heal my old wounds and get peace. I wish the same for you.

With love, your old friend,

Trish

 

 

Lift each other up!

One of the things I love about my nature walks is the row of cottonwood trees along the gravel path. The slightest breeze makes their leaves sing. The first time I experienced the sound, I thought it was running water, but the creek is in the other direction. It took a minute for me to discover it was the trees themselves producing this glorious noise. Now whenever there a breeze, I look forward to hearing those trees sing to me on my walk.

One of the trees lost its footing in a recent storm. It surely would have fallen to the ground if not for a neighboring tree that caught it and is now providing support for the injured tree.

I couldn’t help but think about all that nature can teach us. As human beings we can learn to lift each other up, support each other when we fall and sing our songs for strangers.

Smiles and hugs!

Gratitude Journal week of 10-8-2017

Sunday 10-8-2017.

Today I am grateful for the volunteers who run the Saturday night program at Hyde Observatory. Amazing time last night. Thank you! For my son’s great taste in friends. Outstanding kids. And for finally getting this blog live.

Today I send love and blessings to Christina (name has been changed).

 

Monday  10-9-2017.

Today I am grateful for Louise Hay and Hay House Publishing. For phenomenal friends who always stick with me. And for warm throw blankets. Brrr.

Today I send love and blessings to…. honestly, I don’t have anything. What a problem to have! I guess today I will be grateful for not having anyone or anything that is bothering me. So thrilled!

 

Tuesday  10-10-2017.

Today I am grateful for my comfortable bed. For cat fur in my coffee. And for audio books.

Today I send love and blessings to my Veterinary office. My kitty is sick and they couldn’t get us in until tomorrow. ☹️

 

Wednesday  10-11-2017.

Today and everyday, I am grateful to the Universe for loving me. For my black socks. Seriously, today while getting dressed, I thought to myself “I love my black socks”, so they made the list. And for the shimmer of the frost in the early morning sun.

Today I send love and blessings to myself for not always being able to practice what I preach.

 

Thursday  10-12-2017.

Today I am grateful for any and all opportunities presented to me on this day. For the chatter of the birds as the sun rises. And for fall blooming mums.

Today I send love and blessings to whoever thought bubble gum was a good flavor for feline pain medication. Hmmm.

 

Friday  10-13-2017.

Today I am grateful for the hail storm that damaged the car I had purchased just eighteen months earlier. The damage was only cosmetic and the insurance money allowed me to pay off my car loan twenty months early. Today I am eternally grateful for my sick kitty finally eating a decent meal. I hope this means we will have a bit more time together. Thank you. And for a job that allows me flexibility with my hours.

Today I send love and blessings to that roofer again. He is right on the edge of breaking our legal agreement.

 

Saturday  10-14-2017.

Today I am grateful for the colors of autumn. For the smell of autumn. And for cool breezes.

Today I send love and blessings to my former boss.

 

Last weeks gratitude journal can be seen here.

 

 

 

How to live a happy life – 13 actions you can take today

I originally intended for this article to be a list of fifteen actions you can take today to live a happier life, but with today being Friday the thirteenth, I thought a list of thirteen might be more appropriate. Enjoy.

1.  Practice Gratitude

It is so easy to take the beauty in life for granted. It seems sometimes that we are built for negativity. Practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to realize how wonderful your life already is. It’s not always easy to feel authentically grateful, especially if things aren’t going your way. The good news is that gratitude can be learned. You can fake it until you make it.

I challenge you to practice gratitude for thirty days. Start a gratitude journal and each morning, for thirty days, list three new things in life that you are thankful for. It can be something huge like divine guidance or something small like warm socks or anything in between. If you would like to see my gratitude journal, it will be posted weekly, for a limited time, on this blog. At the end of your challenge, I would love to know if this practice improved your life and how.

2. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness will set you free. Holding a grudge only hurts the person choosing to hold it. Why spend your precious energy all worked up over something you can’t change. The past is done, there is no undoing it. You can’t change the fact that you have been hurt and you can’t force anyone else to change their mind or behavior. What you do have some control over is your own thoughts and actions. Rather than wallowing in your own hostility, why not change the way you think about the situation. Wish your adversary love. Pray for them.

The most important person for you to forgive, is you, and this is often the most difficult task to accomplish. If you can forgive and love yourself, you will find it much easier to forgive others in your life as well.

One good way to get started is to send love and blessings to one person or thing that is irritating you each day. This can be yourself, someone else or not even a person at all. I list mine right after the three things I am grateful for in my journal. Repetition is encouraged on this practice as it may take some time to truly forgive the hurt that runs deep. You will be training your brain by doing this practice daily and it does work.

3. Write your stories.

Start a journal. Writing can be a very powerful tool for healing. Spill your emotions and fears onto the pages in whatever way feels therapeutic to you.  Write poems, write stories, write letters you will never send. Try writing a letter to God, the Universe or your higher self. If you can’t take the chance of someone finding your written words, feel free to burn the page when you are done. What is important is that you release what is bottled inside of you.

4. Learn to say no and yes.

It is time to start saying no to people, events and things that drain you of your life force. It is not your responsibility to deal with other peoples issues. Take care of yourself first. Ask yourself “Am I doing this out of love or out of fear?” For example, are you doing someone a favor because you love them and are happy to help or are doing it because you are afraid the person will think less of you if you don’t? Choose love.

It is time to say yes to your life. Yes to contining to learn everyday. Yes to new experiences. Yes to change. Yes to the things you love. Yes to your intuition and yes to the power of believing in you!

5. Meditate

Start a daily meditation practice. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me to be present, see clearly and remain calm. We spend most of our time either dwelling on the past or looking to the future. The past is over. The future doesn’t exist yet. Now is all that matters. Meditation can teach you to focus on now. A large commitment of time is not required. You can experience the benefits in as little as ten minutes a day. There are many phone apps available for guided meditation. Play around and find something that fits your style. Give it a try.

6. Get out in nature

Go for a walk, or a run or maybe just sit under a tree. Feel the force that connects everything on this planet. Look with wonder at all that you see. Get grounded by walking barefoot on the sand or the grass. Get your toes, or your hands, wet in the stream or the lake. Listen to the wind, the birds, the gravel beneath your feet. Drink it all in. Unplug for just a little while each day. It will be worth it.

7. Do nice things for yourself

Make your happiness a priority. It isn’t selfish to take care of you for a change. In fact, I think it’s necessary if you want to stay healthy. Take the time you need to do the things on this list. You are worth it. Treat yourself to a massage or a little gift, something you’ve had your eye on. Take a class or go out with friends. Indulge in a bit of self-love.

8. Give

It is better to give than to receive. It has been proven that people tend to feel better about themselves if they give to others in need. I personally believe that the more you give, the more you get. The time is always now, even if you feel like you don’t have enough to spead around. No matter what my situation is, I am generous with what I have, there is always someone else who needs more than I do. So donate your money, your time or your stuff. Feel those good vibrations!

9. Spend some time alone

This is never a problem for me. I love my time by myself. Some of you may feel the same way. There is a trick to this, though. You need to be alone without distraction. Yep, that means no television, no texting, no social media. Most people will find it extremely difficult to just be still and quiet with themselves. The reason we are uncomfortable with this is because we will be forced to listen to our own thoughts. When you engage in this practice, be kind to yourself. Remember to practice forgiveness as you do this as well.

There is no better way to become aware of your thoughts and what is truly important to you than being alone without anyone else to influence what is on your mind. If you want to expand on this experience, take a trip by yourself. Go away for a couple of days and only do what you want to do. If this scares you, you may want to ask yourself why.

10. Trust your instincts

Many of us are not willing to act on our instincts or intuition.  We don’t trust ourselves. We may be afraid of failing or of what other people might think of what we are doing. Your intuition is what your soul wants, what your heart desires, it is your higher self giving you inspiration. When you ignore your intuition, you turn your back on your authentic self. Don’t feed your fears. Trust your intuition.

11. Embrace your demons

Have you hugged your demons today? We all have a dark side. If you have taken some of the actions listed above, you may be seeing some of yours by now. This is key to learning self-love. There are parts of ourselves that may be difficult to love, like, or even admit to.  The first step here is awareness. What are you ashamed of? What makes you angry or sad? What are afraid to talk about openly? It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge at first, but it will become easier with time.

The next step is acceptance. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. These perceived imperfections are necessary to the human experience. They are something we all share. Without our darkness, our light would not shine. To experience wholeness you must accept all of yourself.

Finally, it’s time to embrace. Release your shame, your anger, sadness and jealousy by gently trying to see it’s source. Where does it come from? Do not judge yourself. Treat your demons with compassion and understanding.

12. Chase your joy

One of my definitions of joy is watching my son grow, learn and develop in his own way. Another is being curled up with a great book, hot coffee, a blanket and a vibrating cat on my lap. I feel calm, at peace, like everything is right in the world.

What brings you joy? Once you define what that is, start using your energy to chase your joy. My home is rarely as clean as it used to be. Cleaning does not bring me joy. My time is better spent on things that do.

13. Walk into your fear

Whatever you are most afraid of, is what you should be paying the most attention to. Our conscious mind will always choose fear to block us from true awareness. Your authentic gifts can be revealed by facing what scares you. Walk into your fear. Walk into your greatness!

Happy Friday the thirteenth to you!!

Gratitude Journal week of 10-1-2017

Sunday  10-1-2017.

Today I am grateful for the friendship I have with my ex-husband. For the knowledge that eleven year old boys tend to pull away from their moms somewhat and gravitate toward the male role models in their lives and this is normal. And the calico cat that has been my companion for nineteen years.

Today I send love and blessings to the company that sold my refurbished laptop. It may not be human but it definitely has some issues of its own.

 

Monday  10-2-2017.

Today I am grateful for the love fest that happened between my son and our Ragdoll act this morning. The price of admission was running ten minutes behind schedule and totally worth it. For thunderstorms. And for books. I love books!

Today I send love and blessings to the architectural team who created the drawings I am trying to work with at my day job. Smiling through gritted teeth.

 

Tuesday  10-3-2017.

Today I am grateful for my beautiful sister. For occasional playtime with my son, who grows more independent with each day. And for awesome co-workers.

Today I send love and blessings to the father of my fabulous niece.

 

Wednesday  10-4-2017.

Today I am grateful for free on-line classes and lectures. For being able to see the sun rising above the dam when leaving for work. And for great neighbors.

Today I send love and blessings to the driver who was so impatient at the red light that he felt it necessary to blast his horn right outside my open car window.

 

Thursday  10-5-2017.

Today I am grateful for my black and white cat who is always ready for a snuggle right after my alarm goes off in the morning. For umbrellas. And for my cell phone.

Today I send love and blessings to that roofer, again, as I prepare the letter reminding him that his payment is late, again.

 

Friday  10-6-2017.

Today I am so happy and grateful that my roof is not leaking with all this rain. That my thirty year old garage door opener still works. And for the smell of early morning rain.

Today I send love and blessings to anyone who thinks suing someone over contracting a STI to get revenge or monetary gain is acceptable.

 

Saturday  10-7-2017.

Today I am grateful for mornings that don’t require an alarm. For homemade banana muffins. And for the pure bred Ragdoll cat that we were able to adopt at our local humane society.

Today I send love and blessings to my tendency to procrastinate.

 

Please check out last weeks gratitude journal here.

 

 

 

 

Birdy Bathtime

It’s been a sunless, gloomy day filled with clouds and umbrellas. But even on a day such as this, it isn’t difficult to find an awe-inspiring sight, if you simply pay attention.

I always try to look with curiosity and wonder at all that I see. Today was no exception. While out running errands, I found it. That something special that would leave me smiling with appreciation.

My treasure for today is a puddle. Ah, but this is no ordinary rain puddle. This body of water happens to be a large and quite popular bird bath.

These little cuties were splashing around like my kid at a water park. Several birds took flight as I approached and didn’t make into the photo. This was obviously a private party, but I sure am glad I crashed it!

Smiles and hugs

Hang Gliding Hawks

It was early morning when I left for my nature walk. I was hoping to catch the sun just as it peeked over the horizon. The warm moist air felt welcoming and the wind blew strong and steady. I always enjoy watching the sun rise above the little by my house and today did not disappoint. It was nothing less than majestic, and yet, it did not end up being the highlight of this communion with nature.

The red-tailed hawks were out on this morning and they were low and visible in the sky. Beautiful and powerful birds, they are quite large and have an impressive wingspan. I was able to locate several groups of hawks in the area, all doing the exact same thing. They were hang gliding!

I have never seen anything like it before. Wings spread wide, facing the wind, gliding effortlessly without a single flap of the wings required. They were simply floating on air. How positively free they must feel. It was obvious to me that these birds were engaging in this activity with the absolute intention of doing so. They were using what had been given to them, in that moment, which happened to be a strong steady wind, to bring themselves joy.

Watching them maneuver to the wind in order hang above me, going nowhere, succeeded in bringing me great joy. I felt a profound sense of awe and deeper connection to life as I gazed upon these glorious creatures. We can learn so much from our fellow inhabitants of this world.

This was an incredible experience for me and I felt it was worthy of sharing. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to look with wonder at all in your life and you will start to see truly amazing things!

Peace, love and connectedness

Gratitude journal week of 9-25-2017

Monday  9-25-2017

Today I am grateful for: Facebook and the connection to old friends it provides. Motherhood, which is the best thing I have ever done. Jeans, yesterday’s temp was in the nineties but today it is only in the sixties.

Today I send love and blessings to the roofer who scammed me out $2700.00 two years ago and is paying me back very slowly.

 

Tuesday  9-26-2017

Today I thank God for people who care enough about the human condition to speak out. People like Ella Dawson, Hillary Clinton and Amanda de Cadenet.

Today I send love and blessings to all of the ignorant haters that have caused these beautiful women pain and torment.

 

Wednesday  9-27-2017

Today I am grateful for metaphorical puzzle pieces. Those fragments of ideas that don’t make much sense on their own but that I instinctively know will be valuable later on. Motherhood, which is the absolute most difficult and challenging thing I have ever done. Inner wisdom and knowing how to find it!

Today I send love and blessings to anyone who thinks I’m nuts. I can live with that. Your opinion counts too. Maybe I am.

 

Thursday  9-28-2017

Today I am grateful for being able to laugh when I spilled my coffee this morning….onto myself, the counter, the floor, the rug and the cat! Ha! Minor setback, not a major tragedy. The creative ideas that fill my head upon waking. The game of Earth (life).

Today I send blessings to President Donald Trump, the NFL and anyone who is unable to tolerate another’s view or how they choose to express it.

 

Friday  9-29-2017

Today I am grateful for the people who have come before me and paved the way. Fridays at home. Hot pumpkin spice coffee. Yum!

Today I send love and blessings to my fears, my judgements and my negativity!

 

Saturday  9-30-2017

Today I am thankful for subtle intuitive messages and the ability to grasp them. The blessing of being able to live close to a small lake.  The occasional afternoon nap. I will be wanting one of these later today.

Today I send love and blessings to the learning curve I am experiencing to trying to get this blog launched!