dearest laura

Posted by on Jun 4, 2012 in Authenticity, Healing, Inspiration, Writing | 2 comments

On Day 36 in March I opened my Verb Tribe daily prompt to read the directions 'write a love letter to yourself'. Instant resistance. I do love myself, a million times more than I did a few decades ago, but I wasn't ready to commit it to paper. I balked for a few days. Then there was a moment of clarity, my heart shifted and said, do this. The rest of the prompt instructed us to seal letter, address it to ourselves, and give it to a friend to mail it within the next six weeks and not say when they mailed it. I gave it to Brin and eventually forgot about it. In May I wondered where it was and almost asked once but didn't. In the middle of a difficult week: I was stuck with my writing, mired in self doubt, overwhelmed by life when I opened the little metal mailbox door with my sticky key and there was my salvation. (Thank you Brin for your ideal timimg!) This beauty of a reminder. I'd hand written it in a blank card the same as I would for a dear loved one and wrote from my heart what I knew my heart would most need to hear on a challenging day: the things I adore about myself. Dearest Laura, You are SO gorgeously enthusiastic; you glow with radiance and possibility. You shine. Your heart is huge and filled with seeing the best in others; seeing their potential. You share your love freely and openly and honestly. Never change that. You mirror for others with your unconditional love what they most need to walk on their journey. You are an inspiration. You are the wind beneath the wings of those who love you. You are a treasure. Your smile lights up the recipient’s heart like flowers blooming in winter. Keep giving. Keep loving. Keep being who you are. Love is the answer—no matter the question and you know that deep in your wise self and you live it beautifully. When you write authentically you touch people with your passion and realness—keep sharing your words and stretching yourself you are capable of so much more than you imagine. You are possibility. You are love in action. You are love. I love you, always and all ways, ~L.   I had no recall of what I'd written, I'd let it go. These simple truth filled words brought tears to my eyes and the biggest grin that I could not hide. It feels good to be loved. It's our purpose as human beans: to love and be loved. Loving ourselves is an especially rare seed we usually plant in dark corners and tend hesitantly. I encourage you to shine a ray of possibility on that seed, open up and be vulnerable—write yourself a rockin' love letter and ask a loved one to mail it to you....

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who was I then?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Aging, Authenticity, Celebration, Family, Healing, Love, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

Day 19 of Verb Tribe we were asked to choose a childhood photo and look at it and then write, Who was I then? I have always loved this photo of me and mom but I've only looked at 'her' for clues to what she was thinking, what that hidden smile meant, how she's holding me. The photo says 1967 making me three but I look younger. I thought this photo would trigger loss and sadness but I feel only joy and love looking at it now. Here are a few excerpts from my bag: "On my God! I was gorgeous—I look like a plump angelic cherubim—my eyes are wide with wonder and I am besotted with my mother—I love her with every iota of my being and she belongs to me." "My happiness bubbles up from a hidden well and this pure joy cannot be contained—I laugh, I spin, I run, I swim, I play; I am love in action. In my heart there is only me and my mother—I am safe." My mom knew how to love and dote on me as a child—I was her life (she'd been told not to have another child after my sister, eleven years my elder). But she was relationally and emotionally unavailable as I grew and in my adolescence I fought (as only a teenager can) for my freedom and left home at sixteen. We were still close after that but on my terms. When my daughter was born she transferred all the love and doting to her. Mom became ill with dementia about ten years ago and I was finally able to celebrate the independent spirit she gave me and the example of living as a non-conformist and always doing things her way as a business owner and optimist. I did not love mom like I did in this photo until the last few years of her life as her caretaker, our roles reversed. I would always tell her she was safe and loved as I tucked her in (exactly as she had done for me, I was terrified of the dark) and I gave her my lifelong Teddy to keep her safe and I would say I love you…and often she would parrot the words back and sometimes not respond at all. But one clear night after a particularly good day I said, Goodnight mom, I love you. And she said with emotion and joy, Oh, I love you more every day. That's what this photo means to me and who I was…and who I am still today.  Mom would have turned eighty-one today—happy birthday mom!...

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Christmas without Mom

Posted by on Jan 7, 2012 in Authenticity, Celebration, Challenges, Family, Gifts, Healing, Love, Spirituality, Wholehearted | 4 comments

My mom loved Christmas! She would hoard little treasures from yard sales and flea markets all year long and store them in a trunk to give to us at Christmas. Presents had to be distributed one at a time and in a certain order so we could all watch the recipient open and share their joy. 😉 In the early seventies she excitedly drug home her most exciting find and we assembled it in the living room: a garish silver artificial tree made of some sort of aluminum strips. Once the lights and decorations were on she added the final finishing touch by pouring white Styrofoam ‘peanuts’ over the top to simulate snow. At nine I was completely enchanted! Her enthusiastic giving continued even when she was seventy-nine. Mom became ill two days before Christmas last year and I transferred her to Hospice the day after Christmas. We stayed with her until she crossed over on January 7th. I’m sure we celebrated Christmas after that but I don’t recall it. And I know I must have taken the tree and decorations down and put her unopened presents away but I have no clear memory. So this year I wasn’t sure I wanted to celebrate Christmas. Did I want to put up the tree she and I found for five dollars at a thrift shop and we’ve used and loved the past seven years? We even considered traveling for the holidays. But I knew I wanted to be with Brin wherever we were and I knew Mom would not want me to give up Christmas. I gave the tree away to a neighborhood family and wished them many happy memories around it. Our family tradition since Brin was a toddler was to get a ‘free’ live tree on Christmas Eve bring it home and decorate it, have dinner, and then open presents. Oh about the ‘free’ tree—you know those empty lots near shopping centers that pop up after November strung with white light bulbs and cut live trees lined up along a mesh fence? Well this free tree ritual began literally because in those days we could not afford to buy a tree! My parents and sister and brother-in-loveand even our neighbors always joined us. We practiced this tradition for over a decade into Brin’s teens and well after I moved on from working Christmas Day at a movie theatre and could afford to buy a tree! And over the years most of those loved ones for one reason or another join us now only in Spirit. This year we reinstated the tradition which Brin explained to her boyfriend and we learned she never realized it started because we were broke—we all found this quite hilarious! Brin cooked for us Christmas Eve at our house and Jeff and I went out to look for a tree. Our little town used to have them everywhere but this year we couldn’t locate even one. Sigh. Soooo, Brin’s three foot tall purple pre-lit artificial tree would have to grow on me. I set it up on a table in the living room window and dug out the Christmas decorations brought in from the shed but I could only find the bulbs mom and Jeff and I had painted together last year. Oh it was a brilliant idea but a bigger project than I had anticipated as it was too challenging for her physically. But we muddled through and had a great time. We gave each of her caretakers and family and friends a special bulb to remember us and this Christmas.  They actually...

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Message from mom

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Connections, Family, Healing, Love, Spirituality, Wholehearted | 1 comment

I moved my bedroom dresser the other day, which I haven't done in years. I decided I wanted to try a new view. Behind it I found this card from mom which she gave me before one of my client trips in 2007. Isn't the artwork gorgeous? It's a Leanin' Tree card by Josephine Wall. And the significance of the faires continuing into infinity was not lost on me. This would have been written at the very beginning of her memory challenges. Seeing her clear handwriting and complete thoughts and love on the page astonished me! I had forgotten where she WAS at the beginning. Oh my, she loved me so much and I had forgotten what that felt like, too. Thanks for the card AGAIN mom—it had been waiting for years for you to send it to me once more. Message received loud and clear. Love never, ever ends....

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Enough already!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2011 in Authenticity, Celebration, Challenges, Healing, Moving your body, Self worth, Wholehearted | 1 comment

This post is long overdue. Until this moment I was hesitant to write it and be authentic and vulnerable. I had eagerly anticipated our final bootcamp session at CrossFit on August 19th. That evening we bootcamp ladies and our coaches met for drinks and appetizers each of us stylin’ and unrecognizable to the others out of our workout clothes. Prizes were awarded to participants who had worked their butts off (literally!) and the results spoke volumes. Yes, I was happy for my classmates’ success but I was disappointed in myself. This is a repeat lesson for me.  I did my best but could have done better—my best wasn’t good enough. How did it become so ingrained in me not to celebrate my successes but to actually refuse to acknowledge their existence by beating myself up for an imagined expectation? I wallowed for a week. Then I realized I was using unhappiness to motivate myself. To do what? Try harder or quit.  The way I felt it was more likely I’d give up. As I wrestled with that demon I had another ‘aha’ moment. I was wallowing and beating myself up not only because I was disappointed in myself but because I was back full circle at this lesson again.  I’d dealt with this not enough issue over and over why was it back? Because I had dealt with it, put it to bed, made peace with it in those other scenarios—not this one. Ahhh. Got it. I wasn’t dealing with actually feeling not enough in this situation but what my feelings triggered when I first decided I was not enough. Oh, breakthroughs are incredibly freeing when they dazzle you with their shiny wisdom.  And I was buying into that belief again because I’d forgotten I had a choice.  With this awakening I chose a different way—no I don’t want to wallow in unhappiness, no I don’t like self-sabotaging myself, no I don’t want to quit, no I don’t want to live as though I am not enough. I choose to let go of expectation and be in the now and celebrate where I am. A human ‘bean’ with human issues like feeling and believing I’m not enough when those unworthy feelings are triggered. I could also delve into what ‘enough’ means to me but for now it is enough to know I am enough. Let me say that again: I am enough. Just. As. I. Am. Advanced Bootcamp begins next Monday and I will be there with my sneakers laced, my spirits high, and my expectations left…well I won’t leave them behind—I won’t give them life or breath to begin...

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Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Caretaking, Family, Healing, Moving your body | 0 comments

I had an ‘aha’ moment this month. I realized that my life is really, really good.  The malaise I’ve felt since mom died has dissipated.  When I got myself out of my head and emotions by challenging my body I had to shift from grief to support this new focus and determination: it required me to take care of me. To eat healthy, get enough sleep, balance work and play. And I have done it consistently for almost four months. Moving my body has impacted every part of my life: work, relationships, mood, attention and focus, desire, activities, willingness to try new things. The list is endless. I feel good. I feel energized, motivated, and positive. I am happy. That was the moment—realizing that I’ll always miss her, and she’ll always be with me and I can still live my life and be happy. Huge, huge moment and I know she was right there experiencing my joy with...

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