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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Write Now

Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 in Challenges, Creativity, Inspiration, Spirituality, Writing | 0 comments

In my old care taking life I never had enough time. I always felt rushed, exhausted, pulled in several directions simultaneously.  Self-care was the last priority on my list. This year I have been hyper aware of how I take care of myself and one of my procrastinated commitments to myself was to take time to write. No more excuses. One piece of the writing commitment was journaling daily a practice that keeps me sane, on track, and vital to my emotional and spiritual health. by Vidalia 11 Another slice was to carve out time every day to write a scene for a screenplay I’ve been actively working on since 2010 but have been making notes and percolating for over five years. Five! That’s too long to play with a dream and not take definitive action. The final piece of the writing commitment was to get support. As in ‘it takes a village’.  Writing is a solitary endeavor but even that’s interpretive, because for me gifted writing comes from a source I am connected to, it flows through me, and I don’t feel alone when I write.  When I allow myself to go there I flourish—I wanted support to help me show up at the page consistently. Just do it. No excuses. My dear friend and self-published author Kathy asked Jeff and I  if we wanted to support each other with writing and so we said okay let’s see what happens. We meet once a month for dinner, conversation, hugs and laughter: WriteNite was born. We share a section of our writing and we read each other’s with the intention of answering these questions: does it engage me, is the story clear, are the characters someone I care about? We don’t critique or edit unless the other person wants that feedback.  We also report daily in a FaceBook group when we’ve written that day and how it went. We have asked each other to stretch ourselves. I was only showing up to the page when I was happy and having a good day.  My fellow WriteNiters challenged me to show up anyway and give myself permission to write poorly or even badly. Just write. I did. I even enjoyed it, as there was no pressure. And some of those scenes ended up being perfectly useable! Jeff needed our support to stop editing and just write and stay in the flow of creation.  Kathy needed our support to write a few bold romance scenes and by golly she nailed it! We’ve met for four months and my screenplay is now 138 pages. One day at a time, one scene at a time, one sentence at a time, one word at a time. This is how a dream is actualized. I call myself a writer because I write. The point is not how good the writing is or if it is marketable—but that I WROTE.  I get that now. It’s taken me years to arrive here where I can see it’s not about the end result it’s about the process, the journey. Those blissful magical moments when I am one with the Universe or Source: that is why I write. Even on the days when I don’t feel like writing, or I have client work to do, or I’m too tired, my WriteNiters help me show up at the page. Period.  Do it write now.  I am.  This screenplay is my thank you for believing in me my fellow...

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love in action

Posted by on Mar 28, 2011 in Authenticity, Caretaking, Challenges, Connections, Healing, Inspiration, Love, Spirituality, Travel, Wholehearted | 3 comments

My client’s daughter has leukemia. She’s only twenty-two. Let me say that again: she’s only twenty-two and has leukemia. I could get caught up in the downward spiral of ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’ because this family, the Days, are good people. But I don’t need to. The miracles of love in action that have been manifested by her family, friends, healers, caretakers, and complete strangers are awe inspiring. Sharon’s living in an empty home that a friend arranged for her near Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. When Marina’s not in the hospital they live with friends nearby in Greenwich, CT and they can borrow a car but really wanted to have their own economical little red Prius handy. Marina posted her ‘outrageous loving wish’ on her Facebook LoveFest page: for someone to drive her mom’s car up to visit her! I read it and instantly thought I’d love to do that!  The synchronicities of actualizing the trip are amazing themselves and will be a whole ‘nother post. My dear hubby came with—yay! Double yay as he did all the rainy driving on the interstates! I connected with Sharon and Marina’s friends in Atlanta which was deliciously motivating (more on that in another post, too!) We took our time and visited friends in Maryland (Hotel Artiz actually!) for a few days, met up with two of my clients, and found some long lost family in Annapolis—Jeff hadn’t seen his estranged uncle in over forty years! We arrived in Boston a week after leaving Atlanta and delivered the little red Prius (beep, beep!) safe and sound. Here are my awareness’s from this journey: I really needed to get out and see the big ole world in action. People are OUT there living their busy lives and loving and ranting and moving forward all the time. I’d forgotten. My life as a caretaker and while traversing the grieving process had shrunk to a pinpoint of visibility.  My eyes were opened and I ‘got’ that the world is ready for me to jump back in when I am—this realization smacked me on the forehead: I am ready. I’ve only met my client Sharon once a few years ago and so of course I was looking forward to hugging her in person and connecting with her and her husband Mike. But for me meeting Marina was the pièce de ré·sis·tance (Marina’s learning to speak French) and I was honored to be welcomed into her sacred space at the hospital and peek at who she is, how deeply she is loved and loves in return, her zest for life and laughter. By inviting and creating a community of family and friends around her to be an intimate and intricate part of her healing she has become, and inspired others to become, love in action and it is truly a beautiful thing to witness and participate in. Here’s where you come in Dear Reader. Marina’s dear friend Beth Clay wrote this letter to their friends at Up With People to ask that they write and stay in touch with Marina. They’ve both given permission for her LoveFest Community members to share the letter and request with their communities and share the love. I could not have written a better entreaty on Marina’s behalf so here’s Beth’s moving message which I hope you won’t be able to resist and join the love in action movement (Please send your support and best wishes to Marina knowing that she will be so deluged with love and busy healing that she won’t be able acknowledge...

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…lost and found…

Posted by on Feb 23, 2011 in Authenticity, Challenges, Conscious eating, Current Affairs, Food and Drink, Healing, Inspiration, Moving your body, Self worth, Spirituality, Wholehearted | 11 comments

When I first created this blog in 2009 my intention was to chronicle my weight loss journey. I wanted to keep myself accountable and to inspire others to go for the dreams they thought were out of their reach. While I was mom’s caretaker for the past year I had more issues with food and exercise than I believed possible! Wasn’t I past emotional eating? Didn’t I kick that habit when I lost fifty pounds? Then why was a cramming potato chips into my mouth while watching a late night movie? Why was I eating the high fat foods that I prepared for her because she enjoyed them so much? And why was I blaming her for my eating choices!? These were questions I demanded answers to halfway through the year as the stress of my new lifestyle took its toll. Yesterday I used my tracking journal to pull out my monthly weight since Nov 2009 when I weighed in at my lowest 140.5 I’d been hovering at 143 even though my Weight Watcher’s goal was 150 (for my height 5’10” the high end is 174). Mom moved in with us Thanksgiving 2009—barely three months later I weighed 145 and stayed within two pounds either side for the year. By January 2011 I was 150 and I weighed in today at 152. Now don’t think I’m obsessed with the scale it’s a tool not a God. But I had avoided the scale because I didn’t want to know—I didn’t want to feel as though I’d failed. I do know. My clothes are tight, and I feel sluggish and less energetic and those ten to twelve pounds are heavy and bogging me down—physically and emotionally. I felt way better at 145 but I felt awesome at 140 and will shoot for releasing the first five and then set another goal for releasing the next five. My coach reminded me to use intentional language like releasing because when I say I’ve lost a certain number of pounds I may find them again! I’ve been choosing comfort foods which mean carbs and sugar. (sigh) When we’ve eaten out I’ve ordered fried foods (gasp!) and slathered real mayonnaise on my sandwich and then asked for dessert. When I’m active and exercising regularly at a calorie burning level I wouldn’t think twice about splurging on a couple of meals each month to treat myself. But when it becomes weekly and then daily it slid into a habit or a crutch. I was using those late night cookies to numb myself or console myself, or even punish myself but yanno it doesn’t really help, or at least not for long. Grief is a process. It takes as long as it takes. I won’t find ‘I feel good about me’ at the bottom of a bag or box of anything! I’ve decided I can grieve and walk; grieve and laugh; grieve and eat healthy; grieve and love; grieve and release fat; grieve and live…until I’m done. For me grieving is about letting go—not simply the past or what could have been but my regrets, guilt, sadness, loss, and I’m ready. I’m ready to choose love and happiness. I’m ready to let go of all the things that are weighing me down and float into my future self as gently as a wind blown...

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…Love This Life

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Authenticity, Inspiration, Love, Self worth, Spirituality | 0 comments

LovethisLife My artist and writer friend Kathy gave me this cool postcard from New Mexico: Which led me to this cool website. Which had this cool manifesto: LovethisLife… is about celebrating the moment and that we're not guaranteed or owed another day and how cool it is that what we hide can actually be the fuel towards our glory and that it's not so bad being proven wrong LovethisLife… is about welcoming the blind turn and the possibility that there's no such thing as coincidence and that empathy is incredibly sexy and that it's never too late to pick up a guitar or a paintbrush or to make an amend or to make a new friend LovethisLife… could be about rekindling a past flame or igniting a new one or shapeshifting from a dreamer into a doer or savouring the caress of a love long gone LovethisLife… means whatever it is you want it to mean because LovethisLife… is a celebration of you and your path LovethisLife… cuz it could go at any second you rock. copyright 2002, david culiner   Love this life. I...

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