Saturday, February 9, 2019

To Do-or Not To Do

Time was when being stuck at home due to bitter cold or snow meant I would dig in to projects that I had procrastinated on. I would turn on the music. The house would get cleaned. Furniture would get rearranged. Paper dragons would get sorted through. Life would get re-organized. Nowadays it seems there's little motivation to dig in anywhere, no matter the weather or the season.
Back in the day I was a "doer". I took great pride in all my doing. My identity was all wrapped up in how much I could take on, how much I did and accomplished, how well I could multi-task and manage so many things. It was all I knew to be the measure of a person's worth. I didn't realize the shadow of that "doer" at the time. I was just doing what I had been taught and what I had to do to survive, that is true, but looking back I can see the imbalance. I rarely did self-care, watched a movie, read a book or "played". I saw the glass half-empty or when I acknowledged it was half-full, that appreciation would quickly pass. I also judged myself harshly as lazy or irresponsible for "not doing". I held myself to impossible standards. Of course that would get projected unconsciously to others to a degree although I was always harder on myself than anyone else. I could be a martyr for all my abilities to push through, take on and "do" what nobody else would or even perhaps "could" do. Underneath all of that, however, the truth was, I wasn't "keeping up". Life was complicated. It was too much. It was impossible to keep up and something had to give. I was paying a huge price for the "doership" and "the something" that had to give was ME.
("Duality" by Patricia Ariel)

The pendulum swung the other way.

I was humbled by chronic illness, age and life circumstances that forced me to STOP. I had to let go of the "doer" and all the identity I had wrapped around that. I didn't let go very easily. Still working on it. Life doesn't stop even if I need to. I still had to "do" things. I still tried to show up for others when the chips were down. I don't look the part but it's there. I don't look sick. It was well hidden to everyone but me. I faced it "in the shadow mirror" every day. I had to face and accept the shadow in me of being "lazy, undisciplined and unstructured" (sick or not) - things that I never thought I was.


I am as lazy, helpless, undisciplined and unstructured as much as I am the "doer, the survivor, the responsible, structured and disciplined one".


I have a warrior spirit. I am still in awe of how I managed all that I managed and I bow to that part of me who had the ability to "survive" and be very responsible and show up for whatever comes my way. I needed her and she served me well. I know that part is still in me - she's a part of who I am - and I can tap into her if/when I truly need to. I will never toss her aside. She has great value and worth.

I also bow to the One who knows how to do nothing, who can rest in peace in the silence and relax in the void and the space between.


I feel suspended right now between the paradox of the "doer" and the "non-doer". Where's the balance? I don't quite know how to reconcile them in a way that changes me and my life, not just internally but also externally. I want to "see" the change on the inside and the outside. Both/And.

In this suspended space, I'm learning patience. I'm learning trust and faith. I'm learning to be humble, kinder, more loving, compassionate and forgiving of myself and others. I'm learning to let myself off the hook of "doing" and allow myself to just BE. The waiting feels like an eternity - "the never-ending story" of "nothingness" and "no change" - and it's easy to lose faith when I know it's only "up to me" (and my HP). Nobody else can "do" the "doing" or the changing for me. I also can't change others. It's definitely not easy but the paradox is that the part of me that has carried me through from day one, the part that never gives up and trusts and has complete faith in a power greater than me to carry me through will keep my feet to the fire, keep me humble, and will show me when to take action and when to rest and just be. "Me and my HP" will get me through. It's always been that way and it always will be.

It's a noble thing to be a warrior and to survive. The true warrior also knows when to surrender. That's the part I'm learning to trust now. 💖

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

You Have All the Time You Need

A year ago today I penned this piece for a FB post. It feels so timely (pun intended!) to share today. How do we move through time without fear and with grace? We BREATHE.

Once a night owl, always a night owl but that only applies to waking and sleeping hours. It has nothing to do with productivity; at least not anymore. I can't buy back "lost time" in the midnight hours any longer. Back in the day, nighttime hours (after 9 pm) were my most productive time at home even after working a 40+ hr/wk job. Now, no matter what else needs to be done, I'M DONE by 8 or 9 pm. I may not be ready to sleep but I'm "clocked out".
A curse of aging or a blessing of wisdom? They say with age comes wisdom. One can only hope. Who needs to be working all day and night, right?! Why then, does it always feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short, as they say, still caught up in the pressure cooker of time, never "caught up" and I feel the pressure to keep doing? The best I can figure is it's old conditioning, driven by fear and a harsh inner critic and a crazy culture that places more value on productivity than stopping to smell the roses.
At my age now I tend to feel like I'm living on borrowed time. Not being maudlin here - it's a simple fact. I've lived more than 50% of my life now, even if I live to be 100. Local and world events of violence, war, natural catastrophes, disease, and death remind me that every moment is precious. Every moment counts. I want to savor them and not waste them caught up in a pressure cooker of time and "doing". I want to BE present in each moment, whether that's chopping wood/carrying water or riding a spiritual wave of bliss or ordinary playfulness.
Many years ago a very dear friend of mine looked into my eyes, held my hands and said to me at a very tender moment of personal breakdown, "You have all the time you need". I wept with tears of relief. No one had ever said that to me before and I've never forgotten it. I had felt nothing but the pressure of "not enough" in every way my entire life. It was hard to believe and even today I can doubt it but something healed in me in that moment that I am forever grateful for.
Now I say it to myself. Funny how it always magically seems to create more time and space.
There's no rush. There's no pressure. There's no one judging me. I'm right on time. I have all the time I need. I'm living one day at a time on Divine time.
And then I BREATHE.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

When I'm 64...(the real Truth)

“Looking back, I’m awed by the way that embracing everything - from what I got right to what I got wrong - invites the grace of wholeness. When psychologist Florida Scott-Maxwell was eight-five, she wrote, “You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done . . . you are fierce with reality.
Fierce with reality is how I feel when I’m able to say, “I am that to which I gave short shrift and that to which I attended. I am my descents into darkness and my rising again into the light, my betrayals and my fidelities, my failures and my successes. I am my ignorance and my insight, my doubts and my convictions, my fears and my hopes.
Wholeness does not mean perfection - it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. I’m grateful for this truth as age leads me to look back on the zigzagging, up-and-down path I’ve hacked out during my far-from-perfect life.
What I know for sure is this: we come from mystery and we return to mystery. I know this, too: standing closer to the reality of death awakens my wonder at the many gifts of life.” 
Parker J. Palmer, “On the Brink of Everything. Grace, Gravity & Getting Old”

💛 💛 💛

I’d like to think I’m about 20 yrs too early for a book like this - Parker J. Palmer is 80 yrs old at the time of this book’s writing and release this year - but the truth is, it couldn’t have been more timely in its arrival for me. Eight days ago I turned 64. My husband saw the book on the kitchen counter with birthday cards and he laughed heartily and asked me very seriously who would be so cruel as to give me a book like that for my birthday! I laughed in return and said, “I gave it to myself! No cruelty involved! I bought it on an intuitive nudge and it’s the best gift I’ve given myself in a long time.”

I've never feared death (still don't) and I’ve always looked forward to my birthdays acknowledging that if I didn’t have another birthday I’d be dead and simply being alive is surely worth celebrating no matter what the circumstances of my life happen to be with each birthday.

Each decade has brought with it its own unique flavor of change, challenges, growth and wisdom and as the years ticked by I learned to look forward to the new adventure of a new decade beginning. I savored each one and all the highs and lows that have come with them made the journey worth living and marked a unique path I could call 'my own'. I always felt younger than my chronological years and I always felt like I still had time (well, most of the time!)...for whatever I’m supposed to accomplish in this lifetime (which remains a mystery to this day). Even 60, 61, and 62 were fairly easy on me comparatively, but deep down something shifted for me with the start of this decade in a way that it never had before and it wouldn’t let me rest.

The idea of turning 64 this year felt like 84 and I found myself doing some serious soul searching. There’s lots of reasons for that - depression, anxiety, chronic illness, unrelenting stress, overwhelm, isolation, existential angst, dread and urgency, just to name a few of the "darker" visitors. Perhaps a sense of mortality is creeping in knowing that I’m beyond the halfway mark of my life now and I pondered, if I’m feeling this at 64, what’s it going to feel like when I’m 70 or 80, if I live that long (or even longer)? I ‘soul search’ all.the.time (often to a fault)….and no one takes my inventory better or harsher than I do. I was going down hard this year and for the first time ever I didn’t really want to celebrate another birthday. I felt tired, old, wasted, unworthy and running out of time. I truly felt "on the brink"...of life and death. Don’t worry, I wasn’t suicidal but to be honest, living felt way too hard. I was, however, “giving up”...which ultimately (thankfully) became true surrender which is where miracles come from.

And then, through Grace and Divine intervention, ‘help’ came my way through various resources - holistic, spiritual, energetic, medical, my “inner physician” and THIS BOOK! Friends, I was truly changed and lifted up by just reading the Prologue and the first chapter and I can’t wait to read the rest. It's a short book but I’m taking my time with it because I want to savor and really integrate each section and each chapter. It feels like balm to my soul as he speaks my own heart’s Truth. 

The veil of darkness continued to lift and I made another shift just in time to celebrate my birthday with a sense of true joy, love and gratitude.

“Fierce with reality” is where I needed to land and where I choose to BE as I choose to age grace-fully and consciously. Parker J Palmer said it all perfectly for me. He feels like a kindred soul to me. He gets the dark and the light, not just through platitudes or repetitions but through his LIVING IT.

"Her Universe to Create"
by Sean Corner Sculptures, Wichita K 

My soul lit up with his words, reflections and poetry and I had a wonderful birthday - perhaps the best one ever simply because I “got it” a whole new way. Mind you, his wisdom and truth is really not new to me - on principle, it’s been the foundation of my own spiritual path, teachings and belief system for most of my adult life - and yet the way he said it made it feel brand new and made ME feel brand new too. Ahh, that’s the hallmark of a great poet, writer and teacher. I needed to hear the tried and true and timeless wisdom in a new and fresh way and there it was.

I’m back. Back on track. Here for the duration and embracing it all. Fierce with reality and facing life with an open, forgiving and compassionate heart. I don’t want to live in the transpersonal spiritual world...I can go there easily enough and I do want to embody the wisdom that's there, but I want to bring it down to earth. I want to live a life that’s Fierce with Reality by bringing Spirit into Matter through Practical living. Practical magic. Practical mysteries. Bridging duality. Collaboration! It’s really all one and the same. We’re the ones who create the separation.

“The laws of nature that dictate sundown dictate our demise. But how we travel the arc toward the sunset of our lives is ours to choose: will it be denial, defiance, or collaboration?” - Parker J. Palmer, “On the Brink of Everything. Grace, Gravity & Getting Old”

A BIG BONUS: three essays in this book are accompanied by songs written and performed by the gifted singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer in response to themes in those essays. All three songs can be downloaded free of charge at

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dig Deeper!

Dig Deeper 

It's time for renewal

June 10, 2013

Funny thing, I thought I was finished raking the leaves out of the hedge bed in preparation for this year’s spring mulching. I’ll admit my time was limited and my typical perfectionism about paying close attention to detail was quite pleasantly on retreat. Contrary to my typical Virgo-Capricorn nature, I’d had a rare and rather freeing thought that I could just leave behind what was very hidden from view in between the hedges and deep underneath in the gnarly branches and in the recesses, making sure I did a good job in the front, around, behind and underneath just far enough to where the eye can see. After all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with leaving leaves behind. Left alone they decompose quite naturally and make great mulch themselves. I figured if I don’t see it (which I really didn’t), then no one else will. I felt good about the job I did and looked forward to coming back the next day to mulch it and make it all pretty.

Ahhh, but nature is our messenger and teacher and reminds us of many things! During the night we had a nice drenching spring rain with a little wind. So, the next day, when I went back out to mulch I noticed that quite a few leaves had been disturbed by the rainstorm and floated up from underneath and were now resting on top of the hedges. No big deal, I can just shake those off. Then, as I stood back to get an overall view and perspective of where I needed to mulch, and then, as I stooped to spread mulch in front and underneath, suddenly everything that I’d left behind yesterday in the deep, invisible spaces was VERY visible to my naked eye today.

Just like life, I thought. Layers and layers reveal themselves and beg for our attention just when we thought we were all done and ready for the next step.  What I didn’t see yesterday is suddenly staring me in the face.

I felt the heaviness descend upon me as I surrendered to accepting a more challenging task than I thought was mine for this day. I began raking deeper into the roots of the bushes and clearing the small pathways between them that keep them separate enough from each other as their own bush and yet on the surface they connect enough to appear as if they are one long singular unbroken hedge. I pondered the symbolism here of the “individual and the one” and how we really do need to keep our own roots and the pathways between each other clear and free so that we can then reach up higher and share a unified connection together to create more beauty, ease and grace in the overall flow. 

As I worked, I thought about how many times we dig in and get dirty and give it all we’ve got, in the time we can, with the energy we’ve got, and the birds-eye view and perspective of the moment to clean up and pretty up the parts of us that are the most obvious to us and most easily seen by others. How many times do we walk away feeling satisfied and confident that “we’re done with that”. Why can’t we just leave whatever residue might still be hiding in those dark, wet, molding spaces and places in between the roots and the gnarly branches that no one wants to get close to or look at anyway? Why can’t we just cover it up with something fresh and pretty and just let it rest in hiding until it rots away?

Because we will rot away if we try to take a shortcut along the way to creating more space for something new and beautiful to emerge. When it’s time, it’s do or die. It’s do AND die - the old layers that are asking to be cleared by our “doing” have already “died”. It’s time for renewal.

One way or another what’s hidden, dead or dying will rise to the surface and ask for our attention. Something unexpected from inside or outside of us may come along to stir it up. Maybe a storm; maybe a gentle rain to cleanse it and make it more malleable; maybe a little wind or a lot of wind to move it around and leave a trail.

And wouldn’t you know, because we really did a good job clearing what we could see or we were willing or able to clear the first time around, we created just enough room and space for the next layer to float up to the surface. Once we start the process, there’s no turning back. So we get to go back in again, dig even deeper, and create an even more open and fresh space for the next new layer of beauty to shine through.

So that pile of leaves in this picture is what I raked up or hand-picked from the deep, dark, gnarly recessed crevices of the hedge-bed and it’s roots today. It’s not a very big pile really - not nearly as big as the day before - but it had a big message for me:

Life is a many-layered thing. You don’t see the layers until you’re ready to see. All the elements in time and space, nature and nurture, heaven and earth conspire together to bring each layer into your visibility in your most unique and divine timing according to your vision and perceptions. Your efforts are always good enough. There is no failure in yesterday’s efforts because there was “more” left behind. Today is not better than yesterday because you went even deeper and it was harder and messier and now it’s even cleaner than yesterday. Every day is perfect when you view it in the moment from right where you are. When you tend to what is visible right now with awareness, action, commitment, care, and humility and you remain willing to go back again and again and dig deeper, it’s always good enough. As many times as the leaves reveal themselves to you, you say “I see you ~ thank you for showing yourself to me ~ I will release you now” ~ and you go back and you dig deeper. Remember, every single leaf does not ask to be cleared - some will choose to remain behind and become the mulch naturally, organically; others will reveal themselves and ask to be appreciated, acknowledged and removed to make space for the new. Both ways are gifts and You will know how deep to go and when if you are looking and listening from an open heart and a quiet mind [and offering it all to the Divine]. 

#spiralpath #renewal #doordie #divinetiming #cyclesoflife #cyclesofchange #rebirth 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom." ~ Rumi
For the first time ever, or that I can recall anyway, as I stare at the wilted, frozen, dead flowers and plants in the pots on my deck and I look up at the trees that were rich and vibrant in their autumn hues of oranges and golds just a week or so ago and are now nearly barren, stark, colorless, and cold I'm feeling a deep, deep sadness and grief. I feel as if I somehow failed in protecting them and keeping them alive even though I know they've done their part, I've done mine, and they must go through their own natural cycle of life and death. I remind myself I can't save anyone or anything but myself. I remind myself spring always follows winter.
Normally, I go with the flow of the seasons and of letting go, of death and darkness and trust in rebirth with a knowing acceptance, appreciation and respect for the cycles of change. I will get there again in time but for now I'm acutely aware of how deep the well of grief is that I feel around loss and heartbreak of hopes and dreams right now, collectively and personally. Most assuredly, on the heels of the mid-term election and the "red wave" across the country and my own state choosing to continue to be run and destroyed from the inside out through extreme right wing governing, the politics of our country causes me deep despair. This despair is not because I need to be right or be in power or fight against another to prove myself. I don't want to fight anybody. This is because I love and care deeply for my family, my fellow man, for our country, for our earth and for our children and the generations yet to come. I'm deeply concerned about how far to the extreme right we've gone and what consequences we will suffer as we go from here until we finally reach a breakthrough. Yes, breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. We are still breaking down and the breakthrough could be our total demise. Time will tell where we go from here and how or if we will survive it. Those who insist on living in fear, choosing greed and power for power's sake, and casting the blame on the innocent are now in charge and there will be no one to point their fingers at any longer. They will be pointing back at themselves and their fists of power will be self-imploding. I take no pleasure in that. I don't need someone else to fail in order to create success. But there are those who only know that way. I will do the only thing I can do which is continue to stand strong for what I believe in which is "humanity, love and peace".
The breakdown of our world, of our country, of families and society, of our physical bodies, of our planet earth...all of it seems to be crashing in at once in my heart and soul and around me and for the first time ever the harbinger of winter feels ominous, disheartening and heart-breaking. I don't think I've ever really grieved for winter and all the beauty and hopes and dreams that die with it. But death is real, it happens every day and grief and grieving cleanses the soul of the loss and pain of death. I guess it's my time and my turn to grieve. Perhaps it's our time to grieve again as a nation. Marianne Williamson said this today and it hit home for me: "Note to progressives: Don't panic. Grieve. Only then can we discover what really went wrong and gain the wisdom to make things right." So grieve I shall. If I don't it will just get stuck in my heart and I will become bitter and it will get hung up in my throat and I will lose my voice completely. I've worked too long and too hard to move past fear, to finally open my heart and speak my voice. There's no turning back for me, no matter how broken-hearted I am. As our Native Americans have said in their great wisdom, "The soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears". Surely my tears will help build a rainbow. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

If not now, when?

I turned 60 on September 8th and I've been celebrating since the 20th of August. Some of you followed this journey with me on my Facebook page and know that it began with a gift offered to me ~ a solo ocean retreat in a lovely, private condo on Longboat Key, Florida. This was a long-standing, open invitation I'd been given from a dear friend that, for many reasons, I'd never been able to give myself permission to accept. I love birthdays and I'd never had issues with any of my other "decade" birthdays but this one was different. I felt the weight of it hit me hard at the start of the new year - "omg, I'm turning 60 this year" and I had been lost in deep reflection from that moment on. As it came closer and I felt into the urgency of the passage of time, regrets and uncertainties that was consuming me as well as the depths of my exhaustion, I couldn't stop thinking about my friend's offer. It seems the universe was listening and guiding. Without my prompting she reached out to let me know some dates were open in August or October. I felt the usual overwhelm of traveling and guilt take over and yet I also knew I had to pay attention. 

"If not now, when?"

Indeed that was the million dollar question underneath all the angst and heaviness with this life review on the threshold of 60 years. 

"What have I done with my life so far? What is left to do? Will I do it? Am I doing it? What the hell is mine to do? What am I waiting for?"

I had no answers except this: "Just be you. Have more fun. Laugh more. Love more. Love yourself more. Live in the here and now. Just be you."  

Ok. Clique and easier said than done but this heaviness about turning 60 is all about facing my mortality and not wasting precious moments dwelling on the past or the future but being fully present right now, so... 

If not now, when, right?

That meant I had to let go of all logic, all guilt, and cast my fate to the wind. I silenced my judging, fearful, ego-mind just long enough to reach out to my girlfriend to discuss the dates she offered. Not surprisingly, everything started to just fall into place. With her encouragement and my husband's, I said yes, and I booked my flight. 

The ever increasing anxiety, doubts and negative self-talk I felt and heard inside as the time came closer and closer for me to leave felt a lot like how it often feels when I've said yes to surrendering to a shamanic breathwork or a healing intensive that my ego knows will be a game changer for personal transformation. The mind is a terrible master and the ego does not want me to change because it knows it will lose its place in its hierarchy of power when I do. I couldn't have imagined what magic and healing was waiting for me on the other side of that ocean retreat; my first "real" vacation in so many years I've lost count and the first one ever ALONE. No work, no training, no family, no responsibilities to anyone or anything; just the ocean, nature and me. No wonder my ego was worried! It would prove to be a turning point for me to deepen and embrace a change of perspective that I've understood intellectually for a long time and touched into in my heart a time or two but one that lingers and lurks hidden in the dark shadows of a harsh inner judge and sneaks up on me when I least expect it. Once I was all alone and quiet, with nature reflecting me back to me all around me, I finally found the inner peace to answer some of the questions I was asking of myself. The mere fact that I could be alone with myself like this and be completely content was evidence enough for me to see myself in a new way, appreciate who I am, where I've come from, what I've done, what I've not done, and relax into the "not-knowing where I'm going" place that can so often send me into fear and hopelessness. The threshold I crossed was the fear of being alone, the illusion of feeling separate, and the angst that "it's too late" and I relaxed into the deeper heart-mind space of love and truth that "I'm right on time".

I could be completely alone with me. I could just be me. It was enough.

I was enraptured and in complete awe of the beauty and power of the ocean and the interconnectedness of nature and the elements. I blogged each day with photos and short stories or blurbs on my Facebook page. I was filled up. It was almost too much beauty and magic for me to contain and I believe we're here to inspire and remind each other of the magic and the beauty that surrounds us every day yet is so easily taken for granted. Doing so also helped me integrate the experiences each day which were very deeply personal, symbolic, shamanic, and healing for me. So I took a little time in the morning or at the end of each day to write and share. I hope to eventually gather all my photos and writings and put them into a scrapbook form, in one place, so I can appreciate the bigger picture of it, but for now it's still weaving together in bits and pieces, moments and memories, re-telling its story, and you're meeting me right here, right now, slightly on the other side of 60. 

I'm really missing the ocean today but I know it's deeply embedded in my cells now and I find I can just close my eyes and I'm there. It feels fitting (and it was unintentional) that I'm finally posting this blog today, exactly one month from when this all began. Yes, it's a long blog - it's really two blogs in one - and it's taken me a week to come to grips with that and not hold back. It's hard to contain a month of magic around a milestone passage in life into just a few short paragraphs. Well, at least it is for me! I've been obsessing over it but today it's clear, it's time to just release it and let it go.

What follows below is a copy of my writing from earlier this week with my thoughts and a few pics of this month-long celebration of crossing this magical threshold of age, hopefully having done so with some grace and a little wisdom on the side ...
Kundalini Sunshine on the Ocean Green & Blue

9/16/14 ~ "Just slightly on the other side of 60"

My 77, soon-to-be 78 year old, spunky Mama Gayle hit the road headed back to ND this morning and with her departure I feel the energy around my 60th birthday settling down now. It’s been almost a month of celebration for this milestone birthday and even though I believe every day is meant to be a celebration, birthdays are that one special, personal holi-day that belongs to each individual soul. This has been the best and longest birthday celebration I’ve ever had!

So here I am at 60! Nothing fake or fixed except my hair color! I’m not ready to go white yet even though it’s been there in waiting for a really long time now! I’m proud of every wrinkle I have and grateful for every one that I don’t! I feel old and new, the same and different, all at once. 

A 10 day private/solo Florida Keys retreat/vacation with breathtaking sunsets, rainbows, storms, walks on the ocean beach, treasures of fighting conch shells rescued and returned to the sea, stones, blue heron, pelican and tern feathers, and shells to keep, dolphins swimming; magical sacred messengers from the land, sea and air, all set the stage for the best birthday ever. 

On day 7 my dear girlfriend arrived. After espresso's on the deck as we saloned in the morning with the sound of the ocean and dolphins feeding and swimming as our backdrop, and after I had my daily walk on the beach, she took me out in a fast and fancy sports car and wined and dined me in the best restaurants in the area. We had a spa day and we shared lots of heart to heart girl talk while also giving ourselves our own time and space to just be. I felt the bridge between worlds and the "both/and" expanding and deepening within me even more. I can be fully with me while in the company of others when I am at deep peace and content in being in relationship with myself. Here's a pic she took of me and captioned by her as we watched an exquisite sunset after a storm while waiting to dine in regal style at the infamous Beach Bistro.

Something changed deep within me during that time that I have no words for except to say that it was a “coming home” for me like I’ve never felt before. A photo collage using three of my photos from my ocean retreat, created and gifted to me by one of my best friends and photographer/artist with this caption captures the essence of it all beautifully:

"Dolphin watching, beach treasures and breathless sunsets. 
A mighty fine way to celebrate 60 trips around the sun". 

Three days after getting home from my ocean retreat my mom arrived. How blessed am I that my mom could be with me to celebrate such a milestone birthday. On my birthday I was showered with an abundance of beautiful, forever-blooming, fragrant flowers from family and friends (most are still in bloom a week later), a fabulously fun party, cards that roasted & toasted me, my baby books & scrapbooks passed on to me, special gifts commemorating my ocean retreat from my three besties, a faerie ring in my very own back yard with a full Harvest moon exact on my birthday, and FB birthday wishes galore! All this and more graced me on and around my birthday, including the joy of a wedding in our circle of lifelong friends and the heartbreak of loss and grief saying goodbye to two beloved family pets, all within 72 hrs. Yes. Life is like that. And being humbled by that and in awe and acceptance of that is what it’s like to be 60.

We all know age is a relative thing and whether 60 is the new 40 or 50 or whatever, is really beside the point. It’s really not about age at all. It’s about the acceptance that life happens, it is what it is, and it’s about how we show up for it. It’s about cultivating greater self-awareness, discernment of priorities and deal breakers, commitment to integrity and honesty, becoming more compassionate and staying humble and teachable as we stand in our courage and strength to face it all and continue to grow ourselves up no matter what. One thing is for certain at 60 - you really start thinking seriously and differently about life when you realize you’ve lived more years than you have left even if you live to be a hundred. That shifts one’s perspective very quickly. Life is ever-changing, ebbs and flows, dark and light, death and birth, no matter how old we are. I haven’t landed anywhere yet and I don’t believe I’m supposed to land anywhere. I’m here for the ride. There’s a whole new feel to this decade and I think/I hope/I believe/I have faith I’m ready for it. 

If not now, when?

I’ve decided one of two things happen at 60: we either accept and embrace it with grace and love and allow the flood gates (ie, our hearts) to open up even more or we resist it with fear, bitterness, judgments, resentments, regrets and close them. When we do the latter that’s when we start growing old.

I choose to keep the flood gates open and believe me it’s all been flooding in more than ever before. I can’t think of a better way to paint a picture of “life at 60” and answer the question "how does it feel to be 60" than to be in the throes of releasing, receiving, celebration, grief, gratitude, appreciation, connection, separation and opening the heart even more through love, laughter, joy and loss. In the space of 72 hours I experienced the loss of two beloved fur companions in the family, a wedding and my own milestone birthday. Being alone with the ocean and in nature for 10 days and becoming one with the ocean waves, ebbs and flows, storms, rainbows, sunsets, birds, shells, white sandy beaches and me, prepared me for this intense time. I simply rode the waves of all of it as it came, I still am and that’s what I’ll continue to do, one day at a time. That’s all that’s ever asked of us really. Just be present with what is, moment to moment, with humble gratitude and an open heart and willingness to grow from it all. There’s no past to dwell on; no future to worry about where we’re going. We never arrive anywhere really. As the saying goes, it’s the journey not the destination.

So one last toast and cheers to me at 60 and to you, whatever age You are! Here's to Us! Here’s to the journey! Thanks for being my companion. Together we make it happen and make it all worthwhile.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Make Peace With Yourself

Make Peace with Yourself

Today, in the intensity of this emotional Super Full Moon in Aquarius with its tense aspects to Saturn, I am feeling deep sadness. Underneath the layers of sadness (global and personal) are deep feelings of disappointment in myself...on all levels of life from the simplest every day task to a more global Aquarian (rising here) perspective of "how am I really contributing to this world"??? Yes, I know, I know. I know all the memes and spiritual platitudes. Most days they uplift me and some days they sound and feel flat, lifeless, and formless to me. I understand that the desire to be somewhere other than where I am is at the root of my core feelings of disappointment and sadness in myself. This is what the super moon is bringing up for me today. So I'm surrendering and allowing those feelings to be what they are, feeling it all, and doing more gentle, self-inquiry with an intention to remember to love myself through it even if it feels fake.

I went searching for some wisdom and comfort outside of my own head and by some sweet grace I found the beautiful picture above and quote below by Wayne Dyer from this blog site: 

Yes, it's more platitudes and nothing "new" yet somehow it still spoke to me, quite profoundly. The last paragraph was particularly poignant for me and brings me back to a place in my heart where I can remember to wrap my own arms around myself and appreciate who I am today and to let that be enough. Even in the depths of times of deep sadness and disappointment I am still able to reflect and say that "I am better than I used to be". How can that not be enough? So I am making that my mantra today for making peace with myself once again. It's not an instant cure; deep feelings need time to come and go. I trust that flow and take it in as a balm for a wounded soul. That is enough for today. For that I'm deeply grateful. 

~ By Dr. Wayne Dyer ~

"You cannot give away what you don't have. If you are not at peace with yourself you cannot give peace away. If you don't give peace away, you will never become an instrument of peace. Make the decision to forgive yourself for all your weaknesses and failures, to let go of your self-destructive guilt over past mistakes and know there was value in your journey through the dark night of your soul.

When you make peace with yourself you take a hard look at everything you have ever done and you remind yourself that you needed all those experiences in order to provide you with the energy to propel yourself to a higher spiritual frequency. Eventually you acknowledge that virtually every spiritual advance is preceded by a disaster of some kind, and that all of the unwanted events of your life were necessary. Why? Because they occurred, and there are no accidents in this intelligent system we call our universe.

If you are better than you used to be that is a reason enough to make peace with yourself. All the self-reproach, guilt, disappointment, self-hatred, and anger that you direct at yourself simply take you away from peace."

I am the rock. I am the water. 
I am the light. I am the dark. 

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.