Thursday, January 31, 2013

Note to Myself No. 31

Too many times, 
I've stood at the precipice of possibility,
and sought the refuge of familiarity
and perceived safety.

I think the gaping hole of the unknown
kept me mired in a toxic marriage
for far longer than was good for me.

When the breaking point came,
I refused to be treated shabbily going forward.

Better late than never.

When I realized he was perfectly content
to repeatedly break my heart if it served his purposes,
which it seemed to do all too often,
I told him that our marriage
 was no longer working for me.

I'm not convinced that was at all traumatic for him,
despite our 23 years together and two amazing sons,
because he'd already prepared a soft place to land.

As for me,
I'd put all my eggs in one basket
and suddenly found them scrambled
to hell and back.

There's an old saying that when you jump
you'll sprout wings.

I can't say that I had trust in that idea,
but staying in the relationship 
as it was structured
was no longer an option,
so I leaped
into the great unknown,
not knowing how I'd manage
life without the person I considered
the love of my life.

To be brutally honest,
it felt like I fell
into the abyss of loss 
for a shockingly long time
before those wings began to sprout.

But here I am
nine years after separation
six and a half years after divorce
and I'm still standing.

That's because I don't want to 
put creases in my beautiful wings.

I've been blessed with the beautiful gift
of myself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Share the Joy: Sunsets, Rainbows, and Art Journaling

As some of you know,
I was vacationing last week 
and was unhooked (mostly) from technology.
As a result, Share the Joy went by the wayside.

But here it is again.

Over the past week, 
I found joy in the colors of sunsets,

the breaking of waves on the shore,
warm days and cups of shaved ice.

Unhooked from technology,
I found time to finish
The Sparkling-Eyed Boy (Amy Benson)
and to read 
Licking the Spoon (Candace Walsh).

I started my very first art journal,

painting the blank pages with liquid watercolor,
then collaging, doodling, drawing (a little),
and adding text. 
This page has been altered since I took this picture
of it, but that's the point, isn't it?

I also checked the Pearl Harbor memorial
off my bucket list.

We motored out to the USS Arizona's resting site
in the rain and it drizzled most of the 20 minutes
or so we were there.
But perhaps five minutes before it was time
to go back to shore, there was a brief clearing
and with it, a rainbow that seemed to originate
from the Arizona and arched up to Ford Island.

You can't see it in this photo,
but above the first, most vivid rainbow
was a second one.

Seeing rainbows always gives me joy,
even if they appear in a somber setting.

What gave you joy this week?

Share the Joy. 

1. do a post that tells and shows what gives you joy.

2. capture the URL of the specific post and paste it into 
the Mr. Linky box along with your info.

3. Visit other players and let their joy infect you.
Leave them a comment because everyone
 enJOYS getting positive feedback.

Let's start an epidemic of JOY!

Note to Myself No. 30

When we want something
and hesitate to make our desires known,
by starting, then stopping ourselves
by saying "Never mind,"
either to the person to whom
 our communication was directed
or to ourselves,
we engage in self-sabotage.

I've read that saying "never mind"
or similar things that blanket our truth
is something that people learn in families
where an individual's truth is unwelcome.

That seems especially likely
in situations where one's role in the family
is to smooth things over
and keep the peace.

Speaking your truth involves risk.

When you're asking for something you need,
the risk is that you will be rebuffed,
that you will be told that you can't have
what you're asking for.

Or even worse,
that you'll be ignored.

Speaking up when you've been silent too long
risks creating an uncomfortable shift
in relationship dynamics,
with all the uncertainty and possible conflict
that accompany even slight variations
in the status quo.

The next time you hear yourself say
"Never mind" out loud
or even catch yourself thinking it,



what am I afraid of?
What am I avoiding?
What's the worst thing that could happen
if I speak my truth or make a request
or state my opinion.
Does this behavior serve me
or is it time to try something new?

Then listen for the answers.
They're part of your truth as well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Note to Myself No. 29

If you were born with it,
cherish this trait.

Learn how to edit, of course,
to avoid boring other people stiff
and in the interest of getting to the point
quickly. . . 

but relish the details privately.

They make great material for memoirs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Note to Myself No. 28

We all have something to contribute.

It may be our compassion,
a quirky sense of humor,
our capacity to be truth tellers.

It may be the beauty we create 
with our hands, words, or voices.

It may be the peace we create within
and radiate outward.

It might be our unique way of problem-solving,
the way we laugh,
how we help others connect 
with just the right people,
our curiosity and enthusiasm.

But like Dr. Seuss said,
there's nobody who
is you-er than you.

Celebrate you.

You're one of a kind.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Note to Myself No. 27

I know a lot of you are dog people.
Some of my friends are even wary about cats,
at least until they meet mine.
So bear with me here.

Cats have enormous amounts to teach us.
They are fully embodied beings.
They don't spend their lives in their heads,
ignoring the parts that are attached.

They eat until they're full
and then walk away from the bowl.
No emotional eating in felines.
And when they're hungry, 
they let you know it.
Sometimes in polite little mews,
sounds that grow increasingly more insistent
if you try convincing them that they'll 
just have to wait.

They're fastidious about grooming
and practice daily yoga,
especially loving (forgive me, canines)
the downward dog pose
and the cello player pose.

If they have a multiple cat household,
they'll bathe each other as a gesture of 
affection and solidarity. . .
though sometimes one will get a little
too bossy and the other will hiss
and storm off,
saying, "Back off, buddy!"
with ears twisted back and flattened.

They love finding a sunlight-warmed 
patch of floor and settling down
for a soothing nap
when they're tired or bored
or have run out of things to read.

They seek and give affection readily
if properly socialized as kittens.

They purr when contented,
hiss when frightened or offended,
eschew fake smiles
(Alice in Wonderland's Cheshire cat

They are who they are.


There's good juju in that.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Note to Myself No. 26

This is, I'm afraid, an aspirational message to myself.
I'll admit to gossiping, telling other peoples' stories and
passing judgment about their choices.

It's one of the things I like least about myself.
One of those shadow things.

When my mother-in-law died,
about the time my marriage was imploding,
one of the most remarkable consistencies in the
comments of those who knew her well
(I'm talking friends and colleagues here)
was that she never gossiped.
Didn't discuss other people
or say negative things about anyone.
Including her ex, who she just
 flat-out never discussed 
and believe me, she must have had a wealth
of buried material.

Instead, she kept things on a higher plane.

Isn't that a beautiful eulogy
to aspire to?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Note to Myself No. 25

Does this thought make you squirm?

"Me, a shaman? Ridiculous."

I've had enough experience with the mystical,
the unlikely, things that can't be rationally explained
to kid myself any more.

I walk in two worlds.

I can use my power for soul healing,
for dream weaving.
For making magic with words and images.

How are you using your power?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Note to Myself No. 24

Before you get all bent out of shape,
let's be logical.

Most issues have two sides
pro and con
and all that.

But some things are so beyond debate
that reasonable people
can't disagree
unless they're just being disagreeable.

The earth isn't flat.
The sun doesn't revolve
 around a stationary earth.

Some issues have more than two sides.
or five
or ten.

Peace, for example.
Everybody agrees in principle
that it's a good thing.
But nobody 
(at least nobody with political capital)
can agree on how to accomplish it.

You'd think it would be simple.
Just stop using weapons
and other instruments of power
to exercise your will
to the detriment of the "enemy."
Understand deep in your gut
that your only enemy is fear
and that hatred grows out of fear.

Live simply.
Take turns.
And know when enough is enough.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Share the Joy Cancelled this Week

Due to vacation-related tech problems, Share the Joy is cancelled this week. Please join us again next week when I am settled back in my cosy home base.

Note to Myself No. 23

A few days ago, I talked about my essence statements.

Who I am, both personally and professionally.
I really don't feel a discrepancy between
the two personas. . . I think I'm fully me
the vast majority of the time
(although in my attorney persona, I'm a bit more serious
and official and straight-line than the rest of the time,
though these days I'm not inhabiting my attorney persona
most of the time).

A young woman, in her teens or slightly beyond,
asked me about that
and how to really be her authentic self
100 percent of the time
no matter who she's with.

She was feeling like a chameleon, changing her colors
depending on who she was with.

Remember in the movie The Runaway Bride
that the Julia Roberts character loved her eggs best
when they were scrambled, poached, or sunny-side-up
depending on the preferences of the man
she was in love with at the time?

You can't be authentically yourself
until you've had time to grow into your fullness
and say
I am who I am,
with all of my quirks and shiny bits,
and I am fabulous.

Whether anyone appreciates that fact or not.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Note to Myself No. 22

Our lives are full of stories.
Sometimes we underestimate the value 
of our every day experiences.

 Each day brings decision points.

What we make of our situations,
how we handle the challenges,
what we think about what has happened
creates the story.

Often, we're so busy living the story
that we don't stop to think about
how we're shaping the narratives
or what value our lived wisdom
might have for others.

As for me,
I'm totally convinced
that the sole function of online dating sites
is to create new characters and scenes
to write about.

I can either laugh or cry, 
some of the dates have been so bizarre.
Mostly I just put the super-ridiculous situations
into words and before you know it,
there's a point to the anecdote
and the makings of a new chapter.

I AM a dating success.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Note to Myself No. 21

Trauma seems to sear memories into our brains
in a way that more lovely, gentle experiences don't.

That makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.
We need to remember those things that caused us harm
so we can recognize the signs and flee (or fight)
before catastrophe sets in.

But do we really want our mental hard drives
filled up with awful?

Better to learn the lessons and move on,
storing the distilled wisdom
and separating out the searing trauma.

So there is room for the good stuff.

Like the giggles and pretend
of little boys playing with Matchbox cars
and Legos. . . .
not the X@%**! when you step on one 
in your bare feet.

That's the easy stuff, of course.
It's a different magnitude when you're talking
about memories of abuse, betrayal, war, 
criminal victimization and the like.

Meditation can retrain your brain.
A gratitude practice also helps.
The secret is in your thought-life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Note to Myself No. 20

Sometimes I have a little trouble
letting myself
be silly.

It's not that I don't want to,
you understand,
it's that I'm concerned about
looking silly.
Ridiculous, even.

Will I ever get over that?
(Only in the right circumstances,
with enough encouragement.)

Do you have trouble being silly
and cutting loose?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Note to Myself No. 19

I'm a mild introvert,
which means that I prefer to process my thoughts
before I speak them aloud
and that I recharge my emotional batteries
by spending time alone.

(In fact, if you're familiar with Myers-Briggs 
Type Indicators, I'm an INFP:
Introverted (mild)
Intuitive (extreme)
Feeling (barely a preference)
and a Perceiver (meaning I am more
enthralled with process than concerned about
closure, though I have learned to function
like a "J" when it's expedient). 

In new situations, 
I have a tendency to hang back and observe
until I get the lay of the land
and figure out the dynamics of the situation.

By contrast, extroverts process their thoughts
by verbalizing and in group situations,
they jump right in. Speak right up.
And get energized by crowds.

As an introvert,
I have to push myself to be bold. . .
to express myself and my position
calmly and with precision
and to not be overrun by those E's
who just love to take the floor
and stay there.

Which are you?

p.s. If you want a quick test to figure out
what type you are, go to

I just took the mini test and came out
ENFP. . .
I must be feeling more gregarious than normal.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Note to Myself No. 18

One of the things we did in coach training
was to create what I call "essence statements."
Descriptions of who we are
at our essence.

We did two, actually.
One for who we are personally
and the second for who we are as coaches.

The personal one I did morphed over time.
The first version had phrases from colleagues
and some of them just didn't wear well.

But, as it finally evolved,
it went like this:
I am God's magic on display; mystic beloved;
intrepid creative explorer; 
seer, sage and storyteller; and
midwife of meaningful change.

When we got to the
"who am I as coach?" portion 
of the training, the new statement read:
I am soul healer, dream weaver, life artist,
joy activator and midwife of meaningful change.

Somewhere in the midst of the words
is the essence of who I am.

who are you?

Can you put it into words?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Share the Joy: Too Much on My Mind

Peggy emailed me this morning,
saying she was confused about when
Share the Joy was up and running.

She's not confused.
I normally post on Wednesday
 at about 5 pm Pacific time.

This week I totally forgot!

That's because I've been so distracted,
preparing for my girlfriends' trip to Hawaii,
starting the final segment of my coach training 
before certification, and
all the Notes to Myself
that I just plum forgot.

Please forgive me.

And since I'm the Queen of Distraction,
it would give me great joy
 if you followed these instructions.

What gives you JoY?

Share the Joy. 

1. do a post that tells and shows what gives you joy.

2. capture the URL of the specific post and paste it into 
the Mr. Linky box along with your info.

3. Visit other players and let their joy infect you.
Leave them a comment because everyone
 enJOYS getting positive feedback.

Let's start an epidemic of JOY!

Note to Myself No. 17

Once upon a time,
I had a better handle on dream time
than I have now.

I could program myself to dream
solutions to problems
or even to rerun a dream
that was especially rich.
Sometimes I chose to run scenes from movies.

Now I'm lucky if I remember a dream
when I wake up.

Yet every once in a while,
I have the most curious and amazing dreams.
Dreams of future events.
Visitation dreams.
Reminders of my competencies.
Messages from my guides.

I need to remember