Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Note to Myself No. 26

These bodies --
strong and able,
feeble or decaying --
are containers for holding
most beautiful souls.

That ineffable something
that makes you who you are.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Note to Myself No. 25


Pick your area of passion.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Note to Myself No. 24

Right now, with gray skies
and snow on the ground,
I'm guilty of thinking WARM
instead of big.

Can you blame me?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Note to Myself # 22

There are times
like now
when following the leader
will get you in trouble.

Time's a-wastin'.

Listen to the beat of your own drum.
Be uniquely you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Note to Myself # 21

Well, if not weird,
then quirky.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Note to Myself: No. 20

Enough said.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Note to Myself: No. 19

I've mentioned before that my word for 2018
is LOVE.

Give it.
Receive it.
Embody it.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Note to Myself # 18

This is so much harder than it seems.
The lovely moments seem to be fleeting.

The instant of trauma
feels more likely to imprint.

extraordinary moments,
moments of astonishment and celebration,
moments of tender love
moments that give you hope and inspiration.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Note to Myself # 17

For better or worse.

How has love 
(or the absence of it)
changed you?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Note to Myself # 16

The old Disney song tells us
that when you wish upon a star,
your dreams come true.

I don't know if that's true or not,
but it can't hurt,
unless you get a stiff neck 
from spending too long in a position 
of absolute amazement
at the beauty of the night sky.

Next time you look up into a crystal clear night,
pick one shimmering star 
and make a wish.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Note to Myself # 15

There's a saying that
if you don't know where you're going,
any road will get you there.

The current norm in American society
is based on plans and goals
and incremental steps toward those goals
(which mostly deal with career advancement
and the accumulation of material things).

God forbid you should just drift along, 
waiting to see where the current takes you.

Working toward goals is fine,
but you can't control serendipity 
or ignore those unplanned opportunities.
Well, you can. . . 
but it's probably a mistake.

Sometimes the best scenery
is on a blue highway.

And, looking back, it seems to me
that everything I did
led me to the logical next step 
without a whole lot of planning agony.
It all kind of hung together
as if there was some grand master plan
for me to discover.

Maybe it's true
that if we follow our path,
the next step will appear. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Note to Myself # 14

Are you happy you are who you are?

Often, it takes much work
to get to this place of. . . 
more than mere acceptance,
a place of celebration.

A place where we realize
(as Carole King said)
you've got to take the bitter
 with the sweet.

If you're not there yet,
what do you need to change?

Do you see yourself as others see you?

If you're too self-critical,
where does that come from?
What old tapes are you playing too often?

What are your best qualities?
What are the benefits of your worst qualities?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Note to Myself No. 13

Once, a few years ago,
I attended a writing conference
on the campus of Brown University. 
The summer session was taking place,
so there were lots of students around
(some of whom thanked us for coming, 
because the food in the cafeteria improved
when there were conferences on campus).

One day, as I was walking between workshops,
I paused to watch a young man
who was practicing his skills as a tightrope walked.
He had a rope tautly stretch between two large trees,
perhaps two to three feet off the ground.
Enough height to practice,
but not enough to break bones 
if balance didn't outwit gravity.

He moved slowly, with determination,
a look of concentration on his face.
One foot. . .
then gingerly, the next foot.
Sometimes his arms shot out to steady him.
And sometimes,
his arms weren't enough
and he'd fall (or self-propel)
from the tightrope.
He'd shake off the mishap
and mount the rope again,
always looking to gain mastery.

Life's kind of like that.
One foot in front of the other, 
progressing down the path
and trying to keep our balance steady.

Not always succeeding.

But picking ourselves up
after a fall,
and starting anew.

And learning to notice
when others are flailing
and extending a helping hand
when our feet are on steady ground.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Note to Myself No. 12

When I was in the year-long memoir writing class
at University of Washington,
the instructor extraordinaire Theo Pauline Nestor
said that this Rolling Stones song
was the perfect way to remember
the narrative arc of a memoir.

You can't always get what you want.
But if you try
sometime you just might find
you get what you need.

Think about it.

Life is filled with frustrations,
with detours from the path 
we think we're supposed to follow.
But sometimes, once we're pushed off
"our" path
we find the new one takes us
to strange and wonderful places.

We don't always know
what we need.

Sometimes we learn by 
accident or adversity.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Note to Myself 2018: No. 11

Let's face it:
nobody's perfect.

Each of us is a hot mess of contradictions.
Sometimes patient and kind,
sometimes snappish and irritable.

Shadow and light.

Light and shadow.

Even our most cherished qualities
have a negative side.
For example, being loving and forgiving
is generally seen as a positive thing.
But, if inappropriately overdone,
it can lead to enabling,
becoming a doormat,
turning the other cheek 
when the offending party 
has no interest in curbing
his or her egregious behavior.

And those negative parts of ourselves
that we're critical of?
Those bouts of aggravation 
tell us our boundaries are being violated
and we need to act. . .
to confront someone's behavior 
that violates our standards
or threatens our self-esteem.
Or to examine what is putting us on red alert
in order to see 
whether we're reacting appropriately
to a here-and-now violation 
or whether something has triggered well-wired reactions
and we've been transported to the past.

One of my earlier "Notes to Myself 2018"
proclaimed too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Well, sometimes.
Sometimes not.

It's good to balance light and shadow.
To not let either side get out of control.
To dig into the things we prefer to keep hidden
and figure out how we can benefit from illuminating them
and use them to our benefit.
To stop being blinded to the downsides
of the upsides we think of as our good points.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Note to Myself # 10

Too many little girls are taught
to be nice
to color inside the lines
to squelch their anger
to put others first always.

But wholeness comes
from integrating light and shadow.

Anger signals boundary violations
and the need to teach others 
what is acceptable
and what won't be tolerated.

Putting others first all the damn time
just makes us feel depleted 
taken for granted
and unimportant except as a functionary 
for others.

Be your WHOLE quirky beautiful self
not some truncated, socially prescribed version
of yourself.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Note to Myself # 9

Mere dreaming doesn't make it so.

Dreams are arrows pointing the way,
telling you what beckons,
what the possibilities are.

You've got to figure out the route
from here to there.

Preferably one without too many detours.

Right this way.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Note to Myself # 8

When I was a kid,
daydreaming was a given.
When I wasn't focused on multiplication
or fractious fractions
or the order of the planets
outward from the sun,
my mind would wander.


Imagining wondrous adventures
I'd have when I was grown up.

Imagining being grown up.

Wondering when my prince would come
(and foolishly believing that he'd
rescue me from everything humdrum
and we'd be blissfully in love ever after).

But being an adult
means thinking about what to make for dinner,
wondering if the front door got locked,
feeling guilty about not having gotten tax info ready,
paying the bills, taking the car for servicing,
clearing clutter,
being on time for work even when you'd rather sleep,
and so much more.

We have a tendency to fill up the time
we used to spend in waking reverie
with all manner of things
and something is lost.

A sense of potential.
A momentary escape from humdrum tasks.
The notion that things will work out.
A magical, reservation-free vacation 
from responsibility.

Make time to daydream.
Even just a little.

Who knows what new vistas might open?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Note to Myself No. 7

Life is uncertain.
It can end at any time,
whether or not we're ready.

So inhabit yourself fully.
Be who you are, deep in your soul.
Be present. 
Notice (and celebrate)
every single moment.
Give hugs.
Say what you need to say
from a place of kindness.
Shine your light out into darkness.
Practice being love embodied.

Drink every last drop of life
every day.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Note to Myself No. 6

Right now,
it's hard for me to believe
that there will ever be
civil discourse in the political arena
here in the good old U.S.A.

I have given up on believing
that Trump's behavior will ever be
anything but self-serving and offensive
or that Congress will stop enabling him
and rein him in.

But I'll never stop believing
in kindness, 
in beauty,
in laughter,
and in hope.

We need all of those things in abundance.
Right now.
Every day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Note to Myself 2018: No. 5

Despite what you may have been programmed to believe,
there's no one out there that can make you happy.

You're not going to finally land
 in a big, fluffy blanket of happiness
because The Love Fairy flicks her wand 
and a handsome prince or princess
shows up in your life.

(And, on the other end of the spectrum,
you won't have permanent unhappiness
because someone exits your life,
though I admit that happiness may seem
unlikely for a while after a breakup,
a divorce, or a death).

You see,
happiness is an inside job.

You build it by learning to celebrate
all the goodness in your life.

By recognizing each and every moment
of contentment 
and learning to sustain that feeling.

By learning that if you resist what is,
you'll be fighting a losing battle.

By coming to terms with the fact
that everything changes. . . 
not only the bad stuff,
but the good stuff too.
Nothing stays the same forever.
Like fashion, 
like seasons,
life is full of cycles.

By noticing when you're so involved
with what you're doing
(usually something creative)
that you lose all track of time. . .
and then doing that kind of activity
more often.

By paying attention to moments
when you feel like all's right in the world
and being grateful for them. . .
and for the people you love
and for all the blessings you have in your life
and all the goodness that's coming your way
and for the beauty of the life lessons you're learning
that might be tough but if well-learned
needn't be repeated.

You build a sense of happiness
and abundance
moment by moment,
choice by choice.

Happiness is up to you.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Note to Myself 2018: No. 4

There's no one quite like you.

No one has your unique combination of
talents, ambitions, quirks, and liveliness.

You have a singular energy signature,
a sacred one.

When you are kind and caring,
you touch the hearts of others.

When you're willing to be authentic
or vulnerable
you give others the courage to do the same.

Don't underestimate your impact on others.

As Dr. Seuss said,
No One is You-er than You.

The You that you are matters.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Note to Myself 2018: No. 3

Too many people flounder,
wondering for years what
their life's work will be
and what kind of life they'll build.

Hint: notice what you love
and figure out how to turn
what you love into a calling
and work into play.

As for what kind of life
you're destined for. . . 

well, it seems to me 
that we build the life we're destined for
by our everyday choices.

Want a brilliant, satisfying life?

Practice kindness.

Be grateful for all your blessings.

Cultivate and express your talents.

Learn to delay gratification
to reach a long-term goal.

Recognize that life is precious and fleeting.

Love with gusto.

Laugh until tears run
(or until you snort).

If you lack a supportive family,
build one from your dearest friends.

Be present.

Learn to accept what is
(and to change what you can).

Teach others to treat you well.

Honor your word.

Go for walks.

Spend time in nature
(even if that only means going for walks).

Every once in a while, eat dessert
(and if weight is a problem, split it with 
a friend or two).

Find a way to be creative
(or lots of ways)
and do it often.

Lend a helping hand to others.

Laugh at yourself.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Note to Myself 2018: No. 2

This Note to Myself is only
partly tongue in cheek.

We know from experience 
that too much of a good thing
sometimes can be disgusting. . .
think back to amateur drinking behavior
in college and the hangovers
(or toilet-hugging)
that ensued
and you'll know what I mean.

But with those other kinds of good things,
things without unfortunate after-effects,
we often fail to luxuriate 
and really suck each drop of joy from them.

Sometimes we don't even acknowledge
and celebrate the wonderful things
in our lives.

There's a saying that goes,
"Where attention goes, energy flows."

What we focus on is a signal to the Universe
that we are asking for more of those experiences.

Too often we turn our focus on the problems
and unfortunate experiences in our lives,
rather than on things that bring us joy
or cause tears of gratitude to well up
in our eyes.

Let's make it a practice
to feel joy from our fly-away hair
to the tips of our tingly toes.

Let's look for the silver lining
whenever a dark cloud passes through our lives.

Let's make a daily practice of gratitude,
even if it's just a mental list before we fall asleep
(though it's more powerful if written down
and amplified if written down, then spoken to someone else).

Let's learn to take those first stirrings of worry
or complaint and turn them into focusing on what we want
to happen or what we can choose to manifest by first
imagining, then planning, then taking concrete action.