AND Free Your Mind

January 21st, 2018

Sometimes I find that I am talking to myself long after decisions that make no sense to me have been made. The injustice that we create in our own heads, based on expectations we have about how life should unfold, which decisions should be made, and the like, can disconnect us from the joy that is waiting for us when we let go of the dialogue in our heads.

Sometimes letting go means writing a response to something, taking a stand, and then putting it behind us. Sometimes, it means facing our own egos and realizing that we are writing the stories that cast us as the heroes who know how life should happen, thereby feeding anxiety and frustration about decisions and circumstances we do not control. And sometimes it just means that we need to breathe and remember what kind of life we want to live and how we want to show up. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Feed Joy

January 14th, 2018

My wise father is fond of responding to whatever happens in life that he cannot change with the expression, it is what it is. Clearly able to discern the difference between what he can and cannot change in life, he has chosen to live from joy and focus on being grateful for whatever is going well.

David Steindl-Rast, the Benedictine monk famous for his writings and lectures on gratitude, reminds us all that we may not be grateful for everything that happens in life. AND, at the very same time, there is always something for which we can choose to be grateful in every moment. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Trust the Process

January 7th, 2018

As I reflected on the events of 2017, I relied on the yearly summaries produced by local news stations to jog my memory. One event stood out as a reminder to have faith in the process of life itself to unfold completely AND to greet each event with curiosity and wonder. That event that triggered this insight was the solar eclipse.

Compared to political events, fires and storms, health care dysfunction, acts of terrorism, and the unwinding of years of sexual misconduct by many in power, the eclipse was greeted with exuberance, anticipation, curiosity, and celebration. Yet, in many ways the eclipse could be seen as any of the other events named. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Reflect to Choose Consciously

December 31st, 2017

As we leave 2017 behind and welcome the promise of 2018, I find myself reflecting on 2017 as a context for each new day and moment. Conscious reflection needs to be done from the heart, not the head. Memory is selective. Without that caveat on reflection, we run the risk of living an illusion or delusion, choosing to see and remember the stories we created of our experiences, totally unaware that we cannot fully experience the moment that passed. If we choose to believe that we have all the right answers based on past experience and memories stored, we feed ego stories of the hero we want to be in our stories rather than learning from choices of the past how to be more open to growth and adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

Entry 443 AND Find the Beauty in Each Moment

December 24th, 2017

The barrenness of winter in New England offers a stillness that other seasons don’t offer. Because each branch stands bare, abandoned by the colors that once filled it, the unique form of each branch stands out. AND the space created by the absence of leaves allows us to peer beyond.

Houses appear off the road that used to be hidden by greenery. The reminder that what we meet on initial impact is not the full picture serves as an invitation to look deeper, to look within, to seek beyond. There is even more beauty to behold. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Let Others Know

December 17th, 2017

In November, my aunt and I went to see featured exhibits at a beautiful children’s museum in Massachusetts, called The Eric Carle Museum of Children’s Picture Book Art. The exhibits were spectacular. They included a celebration of fifteen years of illustrators affiliated with the museum and another wonderful children’s interactive exhibit on the moon and night sky. We found such delight in the exhibits that we may as well have been four year olds exploring for the first time.

As we pause to celebrate the holidays with gift giving, I find myself grateful for the care and thoughtfulness of those doing work in this world to bring delight and beauty to others. The exhibit at the Carle was clearly reflective of a caring staff, committed to creating special experiences for children (of all ages) who visit. The tone was upbeat and exploratory, educational, and encouraging. Everyone could find something fascinating to explore. Anyone could have fun. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Make It Personal

December 10th, 2017

In this day of everything fast and convenient, I am wondering whether we have stopped truly seeing people as they are, and not as we want or expect them to be. When we reach out to communicate with others, do we really pause to see, acknowledge, and think about the method we use to make a deeply personal connection with another person?

How often do we pick up the telephone or use a live video connection to offer help, support, or a listening ear? Do we still prioritize the human connection through voice, when we cannot be there in person, or are we more inclined to send a quick text or email? The thoughtful art of letter writing, sending cards with heartfelt messages, and enclosing notes with packages or lunches appears to be fading or disappearing entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Stand in Your Light

December 3rd, 2017

As the seasons transition from fall to winter, the bright gold and red leaves wither and fall from the trees. The once glorious colors of fall fade. Some lament their loss. Others wait with wonder for what the coming season will present. Either way, the same patterns repeat themselves continuously, as the seasons change.

In the season of now, whatever life is supported, flourishes. AND so, as we enter a time of barren trees and colorless bushes, the balsam, evergreen, stands out. Ever present the fir trees remain green. Yet, in their season of spotlight, they seem to shine brighter and smell even better.

The pine tree is chosen for its greenery to host myriad lights, garland, and other decorations in celebration of Christmas. This tree, that stands tall, provides shade in the summer, branches for birds’ nests in spring and fall, and color in a sometimes-bleak canvas, in the winter.

Like the evergreen, we have the opportunity to stand tall in our light in every season of life. This doesn’t mean that all seasons bring spotlight and celebration. Sometimes we become a quiet place for reflection of others’ gifts. At other times, we stand out. The seasons of our life bring out different strengths and gifts.

All we are asked to do is to bring the best of who we are to the season of now AND stand in our light. AND now is the season to turn on the lights and shine.

AND Really Notice

November 26th, 2017

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in the company of a brilliant group of women. They came from different backgrounds and countries. They spanned five decades in age and life experience. They came together in a space that used to be the home of a newspaper. AND they created an experience that went beyond words.

What I am particularly intrigued and delighted by, as I reflect on those days together, are the insights and creativity offered in different ways by different women, at exactly the time someone else in the group needed insight. AND I am struck by the different packages that carried the wisdom. Sometimes quiet, other times hysterically funny, sometimes bold, and at other points awkward. All offered gifts. Read the rest of this entry »

AND May We Offer Thanks

November 19th, 2017

As we begin the week of Thanksgiving, one of the least commercial and most deeply appreciated holidays in the American calendar, may we pause to mindfully inventory all for which we are grateful. The pause in our daily lives on this one day reminds us to reflect deeply on the people, experiences, and other sources of nourishment that give our lives meaning.

Nourishment can come in many forms. Food for the soul may be kind words, a shared greeting, beautiful sunrise, or moment of stillness. Light, love, and gentle embrace all nourish the heart. The absence of nourishment may cause anything from food insecurity and starvation on a physical level to emptiness, loneliness, and shrinking of the brilliant light in each of us. Read the rest of this entry »