When I worked in Alaska for 4 months in the winter of 2012, I learned the true power of overriding fear. I've never forgotten what it took for me to be able to have a one-of-a-kind adventure and what I learned from the experience.
It was simply meant to be a Christmas present for my husband. He's a pilot and would rather fly than anything.
It’s one of those passions your spouse has that you say, “I’m glad you love being a pilot but not me. I'll stand on the ground and watch while you go up."
But I'm not married to that kind of man. He wants me to go with him, to share, to enjoy the experience with him. He wants me up there with him. Oh brother.
So when I told him that his Christmas present would be flying on a ski plane to Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America, he loved this idea. And quietly I added, I’ll be staying back at the lodge and taking pictures.
It’s that time of year of the winter solstice.
The solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's the first day of winter here in the Northern hemisphere.
This video was created and performed by my very dear friends Helene and Dave Van Manen. Dave wrote this song 30 years ago but it’s still relevant today. I hope you sit back, relax, and allow yourself to feel the beauty in nature as you watch this amazing video. You'll probably want to watch it more than once! You can listen to more of their music here.
This time of year often passes by unnoticed as we are usually in a frenzy during the holidays.
Nature, however, can teach us so much now, not only how to navigate the darkness and the cold, but life lessons that we need to learn. Mother Earth tells us to listen and watch all around us as the leaves fall away and the roots settle underneath the ground to nourish themselves.
I’ve been lucky to have experienced 70 Christmases in my lifetime. Yep, I said 70. That’s kinda crazy when you think about it. But every year about this time I feel torn about the holidays.
There are two things that get me:
I think about what if there was a way that we could all be kind, grateful, present, and have a Christmas we’ll always remember. What if?
How do you want this one to be?
Remember last year? Most of us were at home, unable to see or be with our...
I remember when my son was deployed to Afghanistan. It was the spring of 2008.
I had no idea of what it would be like to be the mother of a deployed Marine.
What it was: 8 months of wearing an invisible cloak of fear.
As Andrew was packing up to leave, I tried on his gear and could hardly stand up.
I recently found the passage in my journal from that time that reads "this is the ultimate experience in letting go of control."
I felt powerless about the announcement both my sons made one day 2 years before.
They said, "Mom, we're going to join the Marine Corps." I burst into tears.
I felt powerless to change their minds. Helpless. No control. Scared.
And when the news finally came that Andrew would deploy to Afghanistan my worst fears came true.
Have you had events this year that were out of your control?
If you've had the...
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did." ~ Mark Twain
Every time I hear this quote, I feel the strong pull of examining what’s going right and what isn’t in my life. I know how important it is to get clear about what I really want.
Are you on track to not be disappointed with your life? In other words, are you taking stock of your life and making sure that you have things that really bring you joy? Is this the road that you want?
If your answer is yes, Kudos! What's your plan to make the things that you haven't done yet happen?
If your answer is no…
Then let’s walk through this together.
It’s not always easy.
When life has been cruel, it’s easy to think that you will fail if you try to have the life you've imagined. Sometimes it’s easier to not think about the things that are messed up...
Here in the US, we’re less than a week away from Thanksgiving. It’s the time when we're supposed to be thankful for all "our blessings."
For people who have been to hell and back this year, for those who’ve lost a loved one, for those who have had their hearts ripped out and stomped on, it can be an insensitive thing to hear the words...what are you grateful for?
If you're someone who's had a gut-wrenching year, I can imagine that you’re thinking...I don’t have anything to be grateful for.
There's been too much heartbreak this year...the unexpected loss of a loved one, the breakup of a marriage, the dramatic ending of a relationship that you didn’t agree to, the exasperation of working a job where the risk is high for covid and with minimal appreciation, the devastating loss of your house to a fire, and on and on.
"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."
C S Lewis
I’m always shocked a bit when I realize that we’re so close to the end of another year. It’s like suddenly there’s talk about what to have for Thanksgiving dinner and what will Christmas be like.
As we inch closer to December 31, we have choices we can make.
We get to decide how we want the rest of the year to go and how to finish it up.
And how we want to enter into the new year.
Whether it's been the toughest year of your life or you've been able to sigh and say, well, it wasn't that bad compared to 2020, I want you to pause for just a second.
And think about the hard parts of 2021.
Before we can move on to the next step, we have to let go.
It sounds easy, simple. Right?
But when you have a broken heart or you feel crushed by a huge sucker punch life has given you, it is NOT EASY to let go. ...
Forgiving yourself involves many things but mostly it has to do with letting go.
When you can forgive yourself, you are free of the cycle of beating yourself up.
When something we do hurts someone else or when we make a poor judgment, we can get stuck going round and round, thinking "if only."
We can be harder on ourselves and not be able to forgive ourselves when we think we've done something "wrong." We get stuck in shame, especially if we were shamed as children.
I asked a few people this week if they could forgive themselves.
Sometimes I was met with a puzzled look. Other times, an almost tearful look.
I got these answers:
"I think about it every day"
"I think it's hard"
"I don't know how to forgive myself"
"I never thought about it"
I realized most of us don't really know how to forgive ourselves.
I thought about this topic a lot and came up with a few things to think about:
1. It won't help...
The answer to your best life might be surprising.
We all know it's not about having gobs of money, although having your basic needs met is crucial.
Yet in this world where people are stressed, anxious, and not happy in jobs that are way too stressful and demanding, it's time to do what we can do and take ultra good care of ourselves. This is what makes an ordinary life the best life.
We live in a world where we don't know what will happen with the pandemic or the climate crisis. It's a crazy time in history and by many predictions, it will get worse.
So...here's the deal.
There are way too many things out of our control.
We can choose to start loving ourselves so that we can be resilient and contribute to helping figure out how to help in our own unique way.
When we let go of how we think life has...
What is it?
It's different things to different people.
I think of it as having a high regard for your well-being and happiness. It’s about prioritizing your needs and what you want in life.
Think about someone you love.
Close your eyes and bring up a clear image of that person who’s very dear to you, someone you absolutely adore.
What is it that you love about them?
Is it their unique way of showing up in the world? Is it their wit, their generosity, their deep caring for other people?
Or is it that they're badass and they never give up?
Take a moment to savor their uniqueness.
Now. I have a question for you.
Do you love yourself as much as you do them?
If you answered yes, what are the similar traits that you have in common with this person? What you admire in others, you probably have some version of yourself like...
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.