The Beauty of Small Moments

IMG_1775Most people are in a such a hurry.  There’s the grocery list, the big project at work, that long overdue oil change, and other grounded matters that consume our daily routines.  I’m not suggesting we abandon any of this; we need groceries and more to keep us fed and employed.

What I am suggesting is that we not spend every waking hour thinking about these things.  When I find my mind on a loop about something that has nothing to do with the present time, I change gears and become present.  I know planning is important, but beyond planning and preparation, at some point you must let that go and accept whatever the outcome will be.

Being present is the biggest gift you can give yourself.  Obsessing about money will not bring you more money.  In fact, based on the law of attraction, obsessing about the lack of money may keep you in that state.

Sometimes when I am out on my lunch hour from work and, despite the freezing cold, I simply appreciate where I work.  I work a block from Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  I love the atmosphere and the energy there.  I see the Pansies that are still a beautiful purple, despite the twenty degree weather.  I see people rushing to their destination.  I smell an abundance of food opportunities and I’ve investigated some.  I see a Starbucks on every corner, and that is happiness all by itself.

In my world, there are small moments of happiness every day.  Right now, I’m finding enormous happiness in a can of Throwback Mountain Dew.  I know, I know, bad, bad bad girl.  Life’s too short to not have fun is all I can say.

Last weekend, I was at the wedding of one of my best friends whom I’ve known for thirty years.  It was New Years Eve and after midnight, he called for a group of friends to all link arms and get into a circle.  He said we were his core group, the people he loved the most were there with him.  I thought, this moment will never come again.   Given our age, we might not all be a complete circle in a year of two.  This is not fatalistic thinking, it’s a way of appreciating the moment.  We all assume there will be others because death is something people don’t want to think about.  I know  death so well that it is not something I fear but rather accept.

The small moments add up to a life that you either appreciate or regret.  Don’t regret not stopping to notice the little things.  The little things, a flower, a strange bug, a beautiful sky, an amazing smell, someone’s smile-these things can all add up to an amazing day.  The cell phone or a worried mind keeps you from noticing all that is beautiful.

Of course, your mental state will either pick up on the good or the bad.  I’m an enternal optimist so I see Pansies where you may see a homeless person’s excrement.  What you focus on is what will create your mood.  Choose your focus wisely.  Accept that you are the one that has control over your mind and your focus.  Focus is energy.  Energy is exponential in what it can create for you.  Just look at the Pansies and you will be okay.

Peace to you today and always.

Wake up

clockIn June of 2013, I tore open a vein in my right leg.  It was during a period of physical exertion and it burst.  I felt like I had been shot it was so painful.  My foot began filling up with blood and within a short period of time, my foot and leg were twice their normal size and blue.

My doctor sent me to a vein specialist.  He said it would heal on it’s on, but the healing time was also a dangerous time because while the vein is trying to clot closed, one of those many clots could travel and kill me.  He could not give me anti clotting medicine because we wanted the vein to clot and close.  I had to wear an orthopedic stocking to keep the swelling to a minimum.  My doctor told me I should not fly on a plane until the vein was completely closed.  I told him I had a trip to South Beach planned for my 50th birthday planned for the beginning of July.  He told me that was too dangerous.  I told him I was going.  He wheeled his stool over to me and told me in a very serious doctor voice that I didn’t understand the seriousness of what I was dealing with and I could die.

I actually know a man who died from a blood clot that travelled.  I told him I did know it was serious and I was going anyway.  He gave me instructions for the plane which included constant movement of the leg and to continue wearing the stocking.

The night before I left, I changed my will and had it notarized.  I sent it to my brother, my executor, with a note stating “if my optimism fails me”……

I flew out the next morning.  I followed my doctor’s instructions completely.  I knew this was serious.  I met up with friends in Florida and had a great day.

When it was time for bed, I knew this was the dangerous time for me.  Sleeping is typically when the blood clots do you in.  If one had travelled away from the wound to my heart, lungs or brain, I would not wake up.  I laid in bed and thought about my life, those I loved, and my life choices.  I decided that I was in a peaceful place.  Of course I had regrets, things that I wish I’d done differently.  Overall, I felt like I had left a footprint of love and good will.  I was loved and had given love.  I felt like I had more things in then plus column than the negative. I felt peaceful.  If God decided it was time for me to leave, then I am at peace with that.  I slept like a baby.

When I woke up, I was grateful to be alive.  I had the best vacation with my friends and the memories still make me smile.

If you didn’t know if you were going to wake up tomorrow, and none of us truly do, are you okay with how you’ve lived? If not, what changes do you need to make to change and get in line with your core beliefs?

I am not perfect.  I’m a work in progress.  I try every day to bring more positive energy to my world than negative.  I work hard every day to live as my higher power intended.  If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I know where I’ll be.

Peace to you today and always.


I Would Never…….


It seems to me that whenever I’ve said “I would never” in my life, life has shown me that I would and did.  When I was younger, I thought, I would never have to use anti-depressants” and then life showed me a passage so low that I was in the doctor’s office getting a prescription.  That’s one example.  I have many other examples that are more personal. I have learned that saying “I would never” means that will be happening to me in the future.

Therefore, I never say never!  I don’t know what life is going to show me.  I think sometimes life shows me the very things I thought I would never do or be involved in to keep me humble.  I have NO idea what I my future holds.  I have no idea what situations my future will show me and I hope I will react with the highest degree of grace but I would NEVER propose that would be the case.

I worked with a wonderful man for many years.  He smiled every day, was the most pleasant person, and very well liked.  I went on overnight trips with this man for work and thought I knew his character.  I was shocked to get a call that this beautiful man had shot and killed his girlfriend and was barricaded in his home.  He eventually came out and spent a short time in prison before he committed suicide.

What this horrible experience taught me was that we are all capable of anything, given the exact circumstances that would trip us up.  I’m not saying I’m capable of what my friend did, but I don’t judge him.  I pray for him and the young woman he killed.  I pray for their families.  Judgment is not part of this scenario for me.  It taught me that good people do bad, even horrible things, sometimes.

My life’s journey has been such a learning curve.  I have been taught so much through painful, yet necessary experiences.  Life has taught me the grace of compassion and humility.  Life has brought me to my knees and the Lord has lifted me up.  I am grateful to not be living “an ordinary life” because that’s not what I need.  I need all of these experiences to become what I am supposed to be; a human being full of love for mankind, free of judgment and disdain.

I now realize that “never” is absolutely the wrong way to phrase anything unless I’m trying to draw it toward me.  Let me end this post by saying I will never win the Powerball or MegaMillion Lotteries.

Peace to you today and always.

Staying in place

IMG_3107There’s a stream that I cross every day when I’m walking my dog.   He loves to go down into the stream to get cool and take a drink.  When I stand on the bridge, I study the contents of the stream below.  I usually see some raccoon tracks, maybe a snake, but always a school of fish.  This school of fish is there in the same place every day.

What I find interesting is that each fish is using quite a bit of energy to just stay in place.  The stream is flowing and they are not so that requires some energy.  If they went upstream, as salmon do, that would require more energy. If they flowed with the stream, that would require almost no energy at all.  It would seem effortless to go with the flow.

Consider that you are one of these fish and the stream is your life.  In what area of your life are you staying in place when the current of your life is trying to take you in another direction?  This can be anything from your job to a relationship.  Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do and are waiting for the perfect time.  The perfect time is always the present.  We are not guaranteed more time.

Lean into the energetic flow of your life and you will find that amazing things will open up for you.  The perfect house may become available or a new job opportunity may suddenly be available.  Staying in place, whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually, is not what’s meant for us.  We are here to learn.  Once you’re learned and feel the itch to move, let go and let life take you where you’re supposed to be.

Peace to you today and always.


The Tunnel

I have to write today.  It’s been a few months since I’ve been inspired to write and there’s a bunch of reasons why.  I’ve had some health issues, financial issues, and relationship issues.  My spiritual body has suffered, my physical body is still suffering, and my emotional body is still trying to find center.

I’m in the tunnel.  There were times it was so dark that I couldn’t see where I was going but I kept moving.  I kept hoping.  I kept striving to do better.  Yesterday was a bad day?  Today will be better.  Because my physical body was not optimal, I’ve been unable to exercise and that is a huge source of comfort for me.

It’s hard, when you feel weighted down by the pressures of life, to maintain a sense of gratitude.  There is so much I still have to feel grateful for.  I have some great relationships in my life.  I have the best dog anyone could ask for.  I have Netflix.  Life is good!

My hip will eventually heal and if it doesn’t, surgery will help with that.  I have insurance.  I have good health otherwise.  I have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.  I am starting a new and very amazing new job in September!  I’m super pumped about that.

I’m writing this to let you know that I have the same issues that everyone else has. I’m not different-life presents the same challenges to me and it’s up to me how I choose to react to them.  When they come all at once, it is overwhelming.  I’ve been silent on my blog and my Facebook page because I felt so low that I didn’t feel that I had anything to offer others.

What I have to offer you is this story of moving through a dark tunnel until I saw some light.  Once I saw the light, I kept moving in that direction.  There will be many dark tunnels in our lives.  If you’re living like I do, taking risks and trying new things, there will always be ups and downs.  We are not different.  We are the same.  No matter who you pray to or if you pray at all, no matter where you work or what the color of your skin is, we are all the same.

We have the same struggles.  We have the same hopes and dreams of a better life and a better world.  We all want to be treated kindly and loved boldly.

Be kind and bold today.



The Resiliency Factor


I was recently walking with a friend and found a piece of bamboo.  It was dead and very dry, but I showed her how strong it still was and that it could bend without breaking.  Like a Panda, that gave me food for thought.  Panda’s eat tons of this stuff, so you know.

Why do some people bend under the pressure of life and others seem to break?  The human condition is something I’ve studied my entire life.  I find people interesting. If someone I don’t know wants to talk to me and tell me their life story, and that happens, I’m all ears.  I love hearing what other people have been through and how they dealt with it.

For instance, there is a wounded warrior at my gym.  He is all muscle, pretty sexy actually, with tattoos and a prosthetic leg.  His prosthesis is the bouncy, athletic kind that allows him full use of his limb.  I can tell you just through personal observation that he does not consider himself to be handicapped.  In fact, neither do I, based on how he handles himself.  He still emanates confidence, toughness, and manly sex appeal.

What makes this hero different from someone else that came home from war without a leg but can’t seem to get off the couch?  ALERT-this is not judgment, but a question I’ve always wondered.  How does one person bounce back from something that another can’t ever get past?

I realize that the outcome of a missing leg could have been caused by two very different events.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument that they were caused by the same event.  Why is the reaction different?

I’m going to list some factors of resiliency, let you digest them, then add what you think I’ve left out.

  1. Faith in a higher power but especially a loving higher power.
  2. The knowledge that your reaction is a choice.  Once the shock has set in, knowing that you can choose how you want to respond.
  3. How your parents modeled resiliency.
  4. How you process the event.  The more you identify with being a victim, the harder it may become to move on.
  5. Being conscious in your thought process.  Being present and conscious in your daily life.  Directing your mind where you want it to go so it doesn’t send you down a depressing spiral day after day.
  6. Resilient people ask for help.  Whether it’s from friends or qualified professionals, it’s healthy to ask for help.  We all  need help sometimes.
  7. The power of prayer-connecting with a higher power.
  8. A belief that any event that comes to us is meant to teach us something.
  9. A positive attitude.
  10. What do you think?  Drop me a comment below.

Resiliency is a choice.  You can choose to be resilient, like a powerful bamboo stalk.  Bend but do not break.  Choose how you want to react.  We have all had bad things happen to us, life disappointments, accidents, deaths.  When the wind stops blowing, settle back into yourself, knowing that no external force can break you.

Peace to you today and always.



San Diego In My Pocket

IMG_4659I just returned home to Maryland from a 3 day business trip to San Diego.  I mixed some fun into my trip, too.  I’m not going to bore you with how wonderful the weather is, that’s a given.  What I found surprising was the energy of San Diego.  I’ve never felt anything like it and I’ve been to many cities both in the U.S. and abroad.  It was simply a relaxed, slow moving, easy going vibe.

At first, I was puzzled and worked feverishly to move around slow moving walkers and finish slow talker’s sentences.  Then, I settled into it.  What was it about the city that’s so relaxing?  For me, it was the little things.  I easily found a parking space. It was FREE.  I crossed a bridge and approached a toll booth and saw a sign that said “Keep moving, no toll”.  What??  How can they afford to not charge an obvious tax like a toll or parking fees?

It was these little things that added up to a big payoff for the residents.  I was slow to drive when the light turned green, the beautiful west coast sun was in my eyes.  I heard no sharp horn, just the peaceful sound of patience as I realized it was my turn to go and pulled off.  I was not honked at the entire time I was there.  If I put my blinker on, someone let me over.  It wasn’t the competitive driving that I’m used to.

There was very little litter.  The people are friendly and make eye contact.  People I shared an elevator with smiled and said hello.  The valet guys gave me bottled water and asked how my day was.  It’s these little things that added up to a bigger payoff for everyone.  It was civility at it’s best.

I never realized how stressful our east coast lives are. I drove to the airport wondering how I could take this San Diego vibe home with me.  When things get overwhelming, I will transport myself back to this lovely place.  The Buddha would say that peace is within you, not outside of you.  Until I return, I will be California dreaming.  Peace to you today and always.

Football, whiskey and intuition?


If you’ve ever gone to a spiritual retreat or seminar, you probably noticed that the audience demographics were women over forty.  Yes, there were a few men there but they were either guilted into going by their wives or yoga dudes.  You know the yoga dudes, the softer males with beautiful bodies and no body hair.  I love yoga dudes, don’t get me wrong, but where are the manly men?

Is spirituality not their cup of whiskey?  Society has some pretty rigid rules for men and spirituality is no exception.  Men are still not encouraged to talk about their feelings.  It seems as if women have made a lot of strides in breaking through  stereotypes but men are stuck in their protector, rock solid, emotional straight jackets.

Do men feel unsafe to dissolve this armor?  I realize that the way boys are raised is a big part of it.  I believe that another aspect of it, however, is that women don’t really like it when men express typically female emotions.  Women say they want a man that can communicate and express his feelings but there’s definitely a cap on what women want to hear.

So men are conditioned to turn off or silence their yin and only express their yang.  Where does intuition fall in that duality?  Women are usually regarded as having a corner on the intuition market.  Wrong.  Men have just as much intuition as we do.  Men like to refer to intuition as their gut instinct.  Gut instinct is a cooler way to think about it.  Think about John Wayne saying he is getting an intuitive hit that he should leave camp at dawn.  Nope, that just doesn’t work.  If John Wayne said he knows in his gut he should leave at dawn, that works a bit better.

Society seems to value reason and logical thinking over intuition.  Men are funneled into that lane of thought by way of upbringing and peer pressure.  If a man knows he has good intuition, he most likely uses it without advertising it.  Cavemen left the safety of the cave to find food for their families and their intuition was used to keep them safe.  It’s a basic survival skill that we all have.  Call it what you want, we all have it.  What’s different is the way you value and use it.

Police officers and other professions use intuition all the time.  When your survival is on the line, you don’t have time to question it.  As a retired cop, I can tell you the best cops were spot on intuitives.  Don’t tell them I told you that.  Let that be our secret.

As women, I think we should allow men to explore their inner world to the extent that they want to.  For men, know that you have the same super powers that women have, just less estrogen.  Using intuition in the workplace can only ramp up your power to be more perceptive and in tune with the energy there.

I always knew what my boss’ body clock and moods were and what time of day and circumstances were most advantageous to ask for something.  Is it manipulative?  I don’t think so.  It’s just common sense to not ask your boss for something if you know he’s not a morning person plus his wife pissed him off on the way out of the house that morning.  Intuition at work is a skill you’re probably using already.  Talk about football but use your intuition and your work will benefit.

Men, your gut instinct is spot on so use it.  I promise you won’t begin menstruating.

Peace to you today and always.




Your Last Five Minutes

You’re in the hospital at the bitter end of a hard fought battle with _________(insert greatest fear here).  Your family is around you.  You are in an out of consciousness.  You feel very relaxed due to some amazing medications being delivered on a drip. You have five more minutes.

What are you thinking about?  What is important?  What are you proud of and what regrets do you have?

Just a few years ago, what was important to you was getting the latest IPhone.  You stood in line when the store opened.  You waited for two hours to be one of the lucky few people you know to have this amazing device that will transform you life.  You look at it on the table next to your bed and realize how meaningless it truly is and how you wish you’d spent those two hours with someone you loved.

Maybe you could have called your brother, whom you haven’t spoken to in ten years because of some stupid argument Christmas Day that seems so ridiculous now.  You wish your pride hadn’t gotten in the way of making peace with him.  Now it’s too late and you don’t even see him around you.  Maybe he doesn’t even know.

Maybe instead of spending countless hours playing games on the phone and checking Facebook and Twitter, you could have picked your head up and been present with family and friends.

Suddenly, the shiny silver phone lying on the table is a source of annoyance.  You see what this phone has taken from you, not what it’s added to your life.  It didn’t serve you in a positive  way.

What will your last five minutes be like?  What will you regret?  What will you be proud of?  As Pema Chodron says, “If death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is important now”?

We are all dying.  Yes, it’s true.  We are dying every day.  We don’t like to think about it and we hope it won’t hurt much but that’s reality.  It seems like a good idea to spend our time working on things that matter.  Why aren’t we working on things that will matter in our last five minutes?

Your hair highlights, your weight and your new car will not matter in those minutes.  Sure, keep yourself looking fresh but don’t overemphasize the importance of the outer appearance and ignore the importance of your inner world.

As I’ve been told by spirit, all we take with us is love given and received and lessons learned.

Peace to you today and always.clock