Who is she?

I saw her in the bathroom. At first, just legs. I smelled her before I saw her.

The stench of bleach. I heard the scrubbing.

It was hot, really, really hot.

No air circulation at all. So hard to breathe. Sticky. Suffocating.

6 stalls, old swinging doors with that sound when you open and close. that certain creak of old doors and then BANG! when it shuts- it SLAMS.

I heard the creaking first, then the slam behind her. I stood there. She went to the sink.

She put all her supplies in the sink. The cloth, the brush, the bleach, the little bucket.

She lifted her hand and took to the mirror.

Why was I standing there? I was in slow motion. I could not move, it was so hot.

The air was still.

She kept her gaze down. Sweat dripped from her hair line to her neck.

Not even 16.

Clothes, too tight- flesh exposed over the top of her shorts.

Upper arms soft and full coming out of the tee shirt.

Blonde hair pulled tight. Heavy eyes, lids.

I stood there. “oh dear god, send this child love”

I think I stood still to give her some space to breathe.

Like, If I moved, it would hurt her more.

If we made eye contact, I would see in her soul. IN HER SOUL.

She opens another creaky door.

She drags all her supplies into the stall. Hands full, towels under her arms.

SLAM.

CLICK. she locks herself in. so no one can see, so no one can feel- HER.

Quietly, I open my door. I hold it and slowly, slowly let it release, there is no slam.

Aware, I slide the lock into place. No noise.

I stand there for a minute, I can hear her breathing.

These stalls are so small.

I have a hard time moving inside, I wonder how tight it is in there, for her. Oh my gosh, so tight. so small. no room to breathe.

” Love, Love, Love, Send this child LOVE.”

It’s so hard to breathe in here.

I want to know her story.

I want to know why she looks so sad.

I want to hold her hand, brush out her hair, rub oils on her feet.

I want to spend hours listening to her soul. I want to know her pain.

I want to sit with her.

But I don’t.

I finish.

With no noise, no slams, no bangs, no disruption, I wash my hands, shake them dry and walk out.

 

 

Still standing

About a week before I turned 40, my mind was buzzing with the BIG questions. What’s next? Where should I put my energy? My intellect? What is my heart yearning for? And I was pulling aside all my closest friends and confidants- my “advisors” asking for HELP.

The same messaged kept coming back

– “I know whatever you decide will be right for you.”

-“I trust you will figure it out. You always do. ”

– and then I said to myself… ” are you making trouble again!?!?”

I have a tendency ( anyone else?) to start to dig around and find trouble when things are perfectly fine. In fact, MORE than fine. Really good. Like, I am scared to say out loud bc I don’t want to make others feels bad, kind of good.

And, here’s the thing. I have a lot of new things on my plate. I have a lot of things cooking that may bring more exposure, more responsibility, more impact, more followers, etc And it is scaring the sh*t out of me. Growing pains. Fear. Imposter Syndrome. Expansion, Evolving, AGAIN.

Yep, I have spent (and continue to spend!) a lot of time aligning my life and my work, actively engaging in self- awareness & integrating into my life well being practices that bring more of the good stuff.

What are those you might ask?

1. Gratitude and appreciation all the time as much as possible- and not in a BS way- but in a real, authentic just to me and my own values, way.

2. Journaling and reflecting regularly on my inner life, talking with my intuition, listening for guidance. Paying attention to my action, thought and habit patterns through writing.

3. Writing and sharing ( now a podcast!) stories and conversations around living in a deliberate, conscious way- and putting soul self-care on my to do list- Every day. I can NOT believe how amazing and fulfilling my relationships are when I do this. I see myself clearly, and that helps me to see others in a much more loving way. I love being kind, I love to see them, accept them. I let them be.

4. Trust. trust. trust. I have a primary relationship that I trust in, I have a best friend, a body, a mind, a heart that I love more than anything. Nope, not Mel- not the kiddos. It is with myself. I adore spending time alone- just delighting in a book, a stretch, a walk, some music, I enjoy my own company. I honor and prioritize this relationship over all others. And while some might think/ say “that is selfish!” the thing I hear the most from others is– “how do you do it all? the kids? the biz? the marriage?the community work?” And I see my calendar filled with my clients who I adore- my groups that are dynamic and engaging, my family and community- I see my life as a reflection of that self -love and self- compassion. It really blows my mind.

So I circle back to the questions of last week and all I see now is me smiling. With all the ways in which I just live my life as art. Creating, sharing, loving, being, holding hands, hugging.

It feels so good, to NOT have a 5 year PLAN. To not know the outcome.

To let go and let in.

To just be present with what is NOW.

At the end of my life, whenever that moment appears- I KNOW I will have given it my all. I showed up. I went to the darkest places and I made my way through. I did not do it perfectly. There was a lot of mess, but it was MINE! My expression, my experiences, my words, my tears, my asking for help and sometimes just standing on my own, on the earth, arms wide open, shouting ALL THE YES! Do you know what that feels like to save your own life?

All that We Share Is Sacred

All that We Share Is Sacred

By Andre Mol

As we gather together,

May we remember

When you share with me what is most important to you,

That is where listening begins.

When I show you that I hear you,

When I say your life matters,

That is where compassion begins.

When I open the door to greet you,

That is where hospitality begins.

When I venture out to bring you to shelter,

That is where love begins.

When I risk my comfort to ease your suffering,

When I act against hatred, violence, and injustice,

That is where courage begins.

When we experience the full presence of each other,

Because of our shared humanity,

Because of our differences,

That is where holy gratitude begins.

May this space be a table

that is not complete

until all are welcome.

May this table be a space of beauty

where together

we create a series of miracles, and

where all that we share is sacred.

May it be so.

Mother’s Love.

dear mother❤️

you provide and protect

heal and whole, your true nature

How did I not see you?

Not feel you?

Not know you?

I was so lost. So afraid. So alone.

NOW you are everywhere.

I am born from you, we all are.

Never separate, all ways connected.

Within you, within me- ALL is well.

All is seen, heard, felt, known.

inside of me,

never on my own,

never lost.

Just right, here.

LISTEN.

You hold the gifts of my heart.

I receive.

Your rays of warmth to grow, expand, open, if I dare.

And you shower me with rain, whispering {my dear}

get messy in the mud.

You guide-

sometimes boldly,

sometimes gently,

sometimes you scare me.

I scare me.

And then, eventually, peace. perhaps?

I watch you, watch me.

always.

ALL WAYS.

How Working Less Brought Me More

I’m obsessed with living a good life. I think you know this.

I’m passionate and totally enthralled with lifestyle design, joy, productivity and LOVING how you plan your days so that you can do ALL THE THINGS and STILL FEEL GREAT.

All this led me to a deep dive over the past 5 years in HOW TO build a life I LOVE AND do it on MY TERMS. MY HOURS. MY FINANCIAL GOALS. MY WAY.

And it worked.

One of the things that I REALLY put into practice was “working less” in order to find, sustain and nurture my

creativity, intuition, and “inner wise self” as  writer, SARK, calls it.

So I said, okay- let’s try it. Let go of ALL The DOING ALL THE TIME.

Let go of the packed schedule and NEVER finding time for me

( although, that’s not REALLY my story… but just go with me on this one)

Let go of the “taking care of everyone else first”  et VOILA!

My schedule for work is usually around 20-30 hours a week and I make a good living.

I’m comfortable, live in plenty of abundance ( time, energy, money) and actually deeply appreciate and discovered my authentic frugal self who just truly finds pleasure in small things, simple things and nature and “finding a deal!”

I know if I really WANTED to make more, I could.

But right now, this all feels really good. So that works for me.

Now, I used to drive a BMW. Yep, I did. And I used to live in a 2 million dollar house. And I used to own a beach condo.  And to be honest, I was not a fan of all this STUFF, responsibility or  people thinking they “knew ”  who I was just by the car I drove and the house I lived in.

I always felt like a weirdo imposter, like it was “someone else’s car and LIFE!”

The house was a beautiful gift that my husband built for me. It was an incredible place. AND we grew away from it. From the size, from the shifting of our family, from the bills. It all just felt like WAY TOO MUCH and that did not bring that deep peace that I so craved and desired.

 

In my 20’s  I was jet setting to Vegas and day drinking in a Cabana. Okay, THAT was really fun. I used to THINK I wanted fancy bags and jeans that shopping would make me happy and I acquired thousands and thousands of dollars in debt along the way.  Do you know what TRULY makes me happy? having no credit card debt and a HEALTHY relationship with money that gives me FREEDOM and POWER. Being honest with what I can afford and what’s just way too much, right now. Making CHOICES about how I spend my money based on my values, not on my BAD HABITS or stories from my childhood.

If you look at my cored desired feelings/ personal values & life mission & compare  it to my bank account, it totally aligns… you will see things for learning, giving and family! That is so cool!!!

But eventually, all that glitz and glitter and fancy schmancy just stopped being something I cared about.  Having kids, watching “rich” friends be REALLY unhappy, practicing more and more yoga, meditation retreats and journaling. SO. MUCH. JOURNALING.

And now, I just truly work less and play more. I have LEARNED that the downtime DOES bring on my best ideas, insights AND that when I step away from it all, the NOT- SO – IMPORTANT things that I used to stress about, sometimes they just don’t get done.

And that’s okay.

I have also learned to let go of WAY- TO- BIG expectations around all I can “accomplish” in a week, month, year  and learn to slow down enough to ENJOY the creative process.

I used to be really afraid that if I did not take action right now, the ideas would dry up or disappear ( helloooo scarcity! ) and now I know that they flow in AND out.

Some things I put forward and some things I just don’t end up doing.

And that’s okay.

The MORE I take care of myself first, and follow the flow- the ideas just POUR out of me!

It’s so fun. Being creative is fun. Finding flow in daily life is fun. This is NOT unique to me, just so you know, it’s accessible to YOU as well.

Getting older feels awesome in my biz b/c now I trust my instincts, flows, ideas and cycles.  I have learned how to ride the waves, how to put something out there- see if anyone else is interested in that and then let it go if not.

I have learned how to PROTECT my scared work time in the day.

And now I teach other multi passionate peeps to do that too- HOW COOL?

There is,

time to create and time to rest.

time to sweat and time to focus.

time to work and time to play.

And every day, I show up and I do SOMETHING. I write, I coach, I share, I mentor, I plan, I pay a bill, I help someone, I play, I rest.  I trust and the hardest for me has been ..

TO ALLOW.

I heard someone ask recently, ” what could I do today so that I can go to  sleep tonight knowing that I had a life well lived?”

I know that at the end of my life, I don’t want to be known as someone who “worked all the time.”  I want to be known as someone who LIVED and LOVED and TRIED and FAILED and LAUGHED AND CRIED and was just fully embracing this life stuff.

 

Poems to Savor

For my 40th birthday, my beloved friend Anna sent me a pack of letters and cards with notes and poems and quotes, one to open each day –

40 in all, leading up to my big day.

These are too divine to not share.  Here are 3 of my current favorites.

Here’s to life, friendship, poetry and all the good juju that words can bring.

“Advice to Myself” by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone

or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in through the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Otherwise

Jane Kenyon1947 – 1995

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.