Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas

I love Christmas, always have and always will.  It seemed to arrive quite suddenly this year, beginning in Massachusetts with a mountain of snow shortly after Thanksgiving.

Here is my quick list in anticipation of the big day:

1) Decorations - I begin with an ambitious theme, quite often entitled "Winter Wonderland" until I remember I am scared of ladders and cannot bang nails in walls. Yes, I can use those plastic hooks with sticky backing things, but those also require a ladder and have been known to shoot off the wall bringing all the magic down with them.

2) The Tree - I always begin slowly and carefully and within an hour will swear at the decoration that would look perfect if only it kept still or spun in the right direction. Why is it so difficult to get a light angeled on the top of the fairy or star?  Why is it so difficult to get that fairy or star straight?  Do not mention lights, that's too cliche to mention lights. (I miss the days when I could blame my cat for knocking off decorations so that I could start all over again.) 

3) Games - You begin a jigsaw puzzle and within two hours you are convinced that pieces are missing. No, they are not on the floor, or under the cushions, or right in front of you, but this particular puzzle that you are struggling with has a manufacturing issue and pieces are obviously missing. (I miss the days when I could blame my cat for knocking the whole puzzle onto the floor.)

4) Songs - Everyone sings to Santa Baby privately in their car and thinks they look and sound sexy doing it and would really get the promotion/raise/love affair if only they could sing this at the company office party that will at some point include karaoke.

5) Advent Calendar - I am so excited to have a chocolate one this year and am a day behind, hence my delightful knowledge that I could have two chocolates in one day if I should wish too!  This is very funny when you know the amount of chocolate and cookies that I actually eat, and yet these individual chocolates bring a feeling that I'm being mindful of my sweet consumption! Hilarious.

6) Cards - I am going to send cards early and write individual, handwritten and personal notes in each of them. Inspiring words and jolly wishes, with really nice handwriting in multi-colored inks and I will make at least five cards myself to embrace the special personalities, providing a sense of connection to the receiver. Right! That particular wish may also join the one that claims I will make a Christmas cake from scratch, not a box and decorate it, from scratch, not a tube and a batch of mince pies, cookies, and a yule log.  Nailed It. Ahhh, the dreams of a heart who loves Christmas ................ and actually, that's what it's all about, the hope, the anticipation and the desire to connect with warmth and love.

That and number 7..........

7) Hallmark Movies - fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

For those in that place

Sending my love to everyone for Thanksgiving.

I know that expressing gratitude works like a key to opening up your heart.

I also know many people who are tired and worn down by what life is presenting to them right now. Those caught in circles that troubles can bring, those caught in a needing to heal from the past and those who are scared of their present, let alone the future.

Life is not about constantly jumping over hurdles and saying thank you.  It is also saying, I hurt, I'm scared, I'm lonely, I'm grieving, I'm missing, I'm hungry. 

So to those in that place, I send you a warm blanket. The warmest I could find.  It's woven with care and whispers of love. No advice, no guidance, just sheer wisdom that somehow the strength you need will reveal itself at the right time.  That the idea of "you got this" and "you're stronger than you know" is drummed into silence, with the idea that you need to rest, to stop and just breathe.  Sometimes, you can end up feeling guilty for not feeling strong, or optimistic! The proclamations that life is for living not waiting, and we have everything that we need already, can at some point sound like banal screaming. Motivation can also be gentle.

It is as healing to cry as it is to devise a plan.  It is as healing to stop and wonder if you can get through, as it is to run another marathon.  All we sometimes need is a warm cushion to snuggle into, and privately let go. If you can, treat yourself to a day off from thinking, from trying to be, from trying to succeed and solve the world.  Move from the "mad, extra sweat spinning class" to the "be lazy, for a moment sitting class."

With love to my family and friends this Thanksgiving - said quietly and with a blanket x

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Reminders of Everything

Gary just asked me this week, why I haven't written a blog post for a while.  So, here it is, the post I want to write.
I judge myself with this post because here it is folks, bright and clear with a megaphone - I am struggling with grief to accept that my Mum has gone.

I thought I was an expert at this grief thing, and I knew I would find it hard, but not this hard. Reminders of everything are constant.

Here is my learning from all of this, that loss is cruel, that illness is cruel. It doesn't care who you are or what you have. The last year of my husband's life ripped what I thought was my American family, apart. It chewed my heart into pieces. The last year of my mother's life was basically her suffering from a lack of money to get her an operation she needed. Money!  This is shaming on my soul. I will never forgive myself for not doing enough, in the same way, that I will never forgive myself for agreeing to treatments for David in his final year. The guilt will always be with me.

Now, what's the point of this post?  It is not to ask all of us to be grateful every day, to love our family and friends, to cherish the moments because quite honestly, sometimes we are good at that and sometimes we just aren't, because we are human beings. We are not miraculous saviors. I wonder how many people have drowned trying to walk on water?

The point of this post is to say that part of living is living with this guilt and loss.  Living when it is hard.  I do not feel sorry for myself, what I feel is the loss and the lack of.  The point of this post is to agree that every single one of us is dealing with something and we need to value one another and appreciate our aching hearts that continue to beat. We are made up of many things and all of them are important, not just the pretty feathers, we are also about the guts and claws. Living with my husband's illness gave me patience and death has given me a deeper appreciation and even courage in my life, but it has also created deep anger and sadness, which I must accept is part of me.

So for everyone who rolled their eyes and said here, she goes again, ranting about grief and didn't even read this to the end - shame on you for your lack of compassion and heart.
For everyone who said - I feel the same way, then my heart goes to you and I say please, please be gentle with ourselves. It takes effort to reach toward being OK.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Happiness while juggling slippery monkeys

I read today on Facebook, a simple statement that said: My Super Power is Happiness. It struck such a pleasant chord with me for its basic simplicity. As it can be tiring being courageous, bold, assertive polite, awake, open, confident and every adjective that we read about under the heading of self-improvement.

Life is busy and at most times we are all juggling many slippery monkeys. (Now there's an interesting novelty act for the TV show "Americas Got Talent.") We are also responding to said slippery monkeys, with our very many layers of personality. I have mine, beginning at: "You can trust and rely on me, I've got this!" Ending at the whimpering, "Please like me, I'm fifty-three and I'm nice!"

I am expecting a lot from myself at the moment, as I navigate through uncharted waters. A new job, a new home, and a new bereavement. Yet somehow on top of that list, I expect myself to do it all looking and feeling like a woman from a shampoo commercial who can also cook, run and teach "Vinyasa Namaste Hot Flush Yoga." Is there such a thing? There should/could/would be such a thing!

So, instead of reaching for the top shelf of superpowers, how about we grab the one named happiness? Because quite frankly, to feel any type of joy or contentment while you are handling slippery monkeys, is an achievement in itself. It is also one which will grow and build quickly. Just try it right now by thinking of three things you feel grateful for. It is exciting for me to feel the change in myself when I look at my situation from a place of gratitude. My shoulders ease and I can see and feel the buds of hope. I like that place. It's like the spring, where it all begins.

Be good to one another. We are all we have.

Always with love and running down a hill with arms open wide,

Friday, June 14, 2019

How to make a Decision

As we live our lives there will be times that are more dramatic than others. Times that are more romantic, or exciting, or dull, uninspiring, surreal, beautiful, tender. The words of what we go through are endless.
Our reaction to all of it can also be endless. We panic in excitement and we panic in fear, and both have the same energy.

Our reactions create a domino effect and when in fear, before we know it, we have bought a one way ticket to the jungle with a pair of flip flops and a National Enquirer as our guide for healthy living. (If you are reading this blog while at the airport doing just that, good luck!)

Alternatively we make a decision to do nothing, resulting in regret and a lack of trust in our ability to lead our own lives.

Our lives continually beat with issues and opportunities to make choices.

Making decisions with your thumb heavy on the panic button is clearly not a good idea.
Stop, wait, reflect. Do not send that email. Do not make that phone call or purchase that extra pair of skinny jeans. Wait and keep checking in with yourself. Your own gut (perhaps even soul) may be telling you what to do, and you will never hear it if you pay attention to the barking orders of everyone else, and I include your own negative chatter.

Most of us are waiting for something. To make the right decision, to receive the good news, the bad news, the news that changes things. We wait for results, the phone to ring, the lights to change, the paint to dry or the kettle to boil.

We wait and within that waiting our brain will trigger all kinds of fireworks to grab our attention and for the most part, those colorful bangs and flashes will provide incorrect, negative, fear based information.

If you are going through a whirlwind right now, please, please stop, lose the struggle and the fight, let go, run down a hill (even in your mind) just for a moment, outstretch your arms and ask for guidance, because I truly believe only calm thinking will provide us with the right answers and not the fireworks that can create a battle.

Monday, April 8, 2019


Forgive the posting below of an old blog I wrote over two years ago and never posted.
It seemed too light when I wrote it and yet two years on, I have become the customer.
The person, among many I'm sure, who this Sunday left out their brand new outdoor furniture cushions believing it would never rain again in New England. Why?

Here is the blog....................

Since March, one of my part time jobs has been for a popular, slightly expensive, upbeat, home furnishings store.
I wanted something fun, relatively easy and within an environment that was beautiful to look at.
The George Clooney Store does not exist, so I am happy to be where I am for now.
This one level store has divisions such as dinner ware, candles, furniture. The place I dread and fear and laugh the most in is...wait for it........cushions.
I call it Cushion Land.
Here is where I find sweat, blood and tears as customers armed with measuring tape, fabric swatches, magazine clippings, Valium and discount coupons spend the most time.
Five minutes to choose the furniture and five hours with five visits to choose the cushions.
I've heard the most arguments in Cushion Land, especially when one person dares ask the two questions you never ask a cushion lover - can't any cushions just stay outside and who really needs cushions anyway?

Here are my top ten favorite Cushion Land comments and questions:

1) Will my dog/cat eat it?
2) Which season is this suitable for? (Yes people actually change their cushions according to the season.)
3) If I put a circle with a stripe with a plain and a round, do you think that's too much?
4) How many cushions become too many?
5) If I only have three cushions will I look cheap?
6) What angle will the sun fade them at the slowest rate?
7) I have a eight footer with a four inch depth, what do I need? (People literally fly at you with that question, before even mentioning that they are discussing their sofa and cushion requirements. You can only imagine the answers I have longed to say.)
8) Can my outdoor match my indoor, and can my indoor become my outdoor?
9) Do you have this one, only one inch longer and no big flowers, why such big, big flowers? (I agree to this point, its like plus size dresses always have bloody big buttons, frills and no sleeves - why????)
10) I bought two cushions about three years ago, and I loved them, but I want to get new ones, only the same, but cheaper and perhaps larger, yet colorful, in fact more colorful, do you have them still?

The largest return to store item is cushions. I see customers finally leaving with bags stuffed with hopeful cushions, to see the same faces only this time, downward glancing holding the very same bags, yet this time not bursting with so much hope.
It is a constant reminder to me how much importance we place on material things.
When a cushion becomes a main focus in my heart, I may want to question my choices.

Now these brand outdoor cushions just purchased on Saturday are hanging drenched on the porch, looking like Florida went on a bender and may never be the same again. The first person who tells me - you can get water proof outdoor cushions will receive free advice from me for a month that will only be effective if you live in Sarcasm Land.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

For Paul Stickney - and of course his brother David

Here's a tough post to write.
Last Sunday, Paul Stickney, a favorite actor and friend of many died following complications from surgery.
Tributes are flooding in, wonderful stories, photographs and a general feeling of hard shock floating through the community he worked so passionately within.His passing was not expected, far from it and that flush of hard reality keeps hitting.

So here is my tribute to say thank you Paul.

Within this last year I truly got to know you and see your talent, great wit and huge heart in action. You welcomed me so warmly and grandly into your life. You were gracious in your feedback to me of my work, always incredibly encouraging.
You made me felt like I belonged, that I did a good job. You pulled me up if ever I started down the needy actor road, you reminded me that I was human and you inspired me to be bold. I liked that!
i would watch you work and admired how brave you were to create a vulnerable character while being physically so present and demanding - it was quite brilliant and a creation you owned.

I had an ambition, unfulfilled, to make you laugh, to impress you. I would feel a flush of pride when you said I made Mrs White (my character in Clue) come to life AND I have a favorite memory of you encouraging me to repeat in my Mary Poppins accent, the title of an XXXXXXX rated movie, just because it made us both laugh until tears rolled.
The Stickney Brothers have the best stories.

Always, always, always after every performance we would have a hug, check which date we were working next together and say I love you.
Now everyone reading this - take that on board for a moment.
There is a reason there is a great outpouring of love for Paul and his amazing brother David.
There is a reason that their community and family are shaken this week, and will be for quite some time.
There is a reason we must, must take care of one another. There is a reason we will support one another in tears AND laughter.

I sat eating cereal from a box tonight, feeling crap and it's simple - it's because I will miss you Paul, really, really miss you and I don't want anyone you know to hurt.................and then I hear a voice say...................
"Cereal????? Wow you should have gotten something better than that girl!"

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Solution to The Impossibly Complicated

Seems there was a lot going on today, emotions, issues, blood pressures, technical problems.
Even the mighty Facebook could not keep up. The only posts that were clearly coming through were statements of "is anyone else experiencing issues posting today?"  Plenty of people discussing the effects of mercury retrograde and plenty of people feeling the frustration and tiredness. That desire for change when it feels like everything is impossibly complicated.

After a non tap dancing day and feeling many emotions for many folks who are going through decent, qualified troubles, I came to a simple resolution. Just stop.

We all work so hard to find the right answers, the solutions that will solve everything. If I send the best resume, if I write the best post, if I sell something, if I buy something, if I eat less, drink less, go visit, go walk, go tap dance, go, go, go. Sometimes nothing we try seems to work.

Sometimes the best thing to do is just to be there. We can't do the physical operation that our loved ones need, we can't convince someone that we are best for the job or that we can be the loved one they are looking for or that we deserve the rise, the new home or the new toy. Whatever.

Just be there. One hundred percent, but in peace, with love. Be there, but with yourself, and here is
the component that is harder than love, to be there with trust. Trust.

Trust that you will find the strength and the energy to find the best way to handle whatever is in front of you. Trust that the support and guidance will appear. Let go of all the stories from the past that are jumping up at you to over burden you, when you are already juggling enough as it is.

Block out the voices that want to give advice and their version of what you should do, or those that enjoy the opera singing about what they did and how they feel. Me, me, me me, me!

Everybody stop. Just stop. If everything is spinning around you, adding to that motion is not going to help.Go easy for a while. Let pace reflect you, not the other way round. Stop. Just stop.

Friday, March 1, 2019

National Women's Month

Today begins National Women's Month where we celebrate and pay tribute to female figures in history who have made changes. Who have been empowered to stand up for their beliefs for the better of others. People amaze me.

I send a virtual hug to all the women in my life, starting with my Mum, my first feminine influence and onto all the family, soul sisters, mentors, heroines and female figures that have inspired and guided me.

For the most part, this world does not allow for grace. Self respect is not taught. Yet without it, I feel our choices can become a spiral into an endless pit that does not have a pretty exit door.
So the fact that there have been women who have still pushed through and succeeded with remarkable tenacity despite what may have been surrounding them, demonstrates the power of the human being.
I often thought, ahhh but that's them, I can't be like that. I was wrong.
What did they say when Mother Teresa was born? They said - it's a girl.

As well as recognizing the famous leaders this month, I want us all to celebrate the women in our own lives who make a difference. I know of friends who are business owners, travelers, writers, young mothers, actors, painters, care partners, nurses. I have those laying in hospital beds, those walking with a cane and those who run every day to feel good. Female friends who teach, laugh, love. Who have the courage to say I went wrong, I hurt. I cry and therefore I grow, and therefore we grow.

We all have remarkable within us and I want to use this month as an additional focus to pay tribute to those fierce, feminine hearts who spark the fire and are bold enough to dance within those flames.
I look to you for my own inspiration and energy. THANK YOU.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentines Day 2019

This is a Valentine love letter for everyone who has lost a loved one.

Dearest You

Your love for your partner who has moved into the next realm is everlasting, eternal.
What you shared in your time together remains and exists now in a new form.
We hear the expression, moving on - it would turn my stomach when I heard that.
You have to get on with your life I was told. That never inspired me, in fact it made me angry.

That’s like saying when a favorite movie or book ends, we just forget about it and find a new one. No, we revisit it, learning from it, finding comfort and joy in it. We talk about it, share the story and how it makes us feel. It continues to inspire us, to bring a smile. 

Love needs to be appreciated for all its intricate threads.
There is no getting over, or moving on from the privilege and expression of love. 

There is however, a change within loss. A slow move into a knowing. It is the knowing that there is far more to this world then our skin and bones. That our souls continue to connect, even when the physical has altered.

The longing for the heart of your loved one will lead you, into a connection that will support and guide you. I cannot explain it, I just feel it.

It is how I was able to continue when I had very little interest and energy in trying to live my life. I was 46 when my dearest David died, he was 57. I was exhausted, empty and alone.
The more I faced the lack of David, the further I felt from him and from myself.
The more I tried to avoid thinking about him, the more I thought about the difficulty of him dying.

So I changed it. What if I thought about what we had created together?
I focused on what I had gained from our love. The lessons I had experienced in the challenges of his illness and what I learnt from saying goodbye to his physical being and hello to his soul.

I allowed myself to experience the sadness, the anger and the sheer confusion that grief brought into my heart. I accepted it and then I allowed the love.
I welcomed in the energy of his love, mine and ours together. I asked for his help, for guidance.

This took awhile as my head was full of missing. My brain kept me stuck at times in that place. It was only with patience and care for myself that I could begin to move it back toward love.

You do the same. Those that have departed know far more than we do now, so let’s communicate and use that wisdom. Ask for guidance while keeping yourself open to truly listen and watch for that strength. Listen for answers. Pay attention, because I promise you, it will happen.

Slowly I began to open, to look upward and out instead of down. I found bravery and courage, and then I found hope.

The extraordinary thing happened next for me, I discovered the desire of wanting to share my heart and have now fallen in love. I fell in love with myself for the first time ever in my life, which in itself feels like a miracle. Then completely by amazement, fell in love with another open and searching heart who was also ready to be bold, brave and happy. Hello Gary. A man who too had felt love and lost it. A man honest to say - here is what is good, here is what isn't and here is where I want to grow and live.

The only way I could have begun to create a joyous life and to have the privilege of falling in love with Gary is through the love I experience with David.

Only a person who has not lost would think – that’s good you found a replacement.
Only a person who has lost would understand that you never replace, you love in addition to and because of. There is a huge, wondrous difference and through truly understanding this, I have been able to experience the power and to receive more and more in my life.

Life and death has no ending, it is a continual flow. You are too full of love not to continue to shine and be a light for others.

For everyone who is feeling the loss and for everyone who is feeling the love on Valentine’s Day – 
I ask you to honor it all and to have respect and care for everything we are.
I love you too.
Happy Valentines Day


Monday, February 4, 2019

Gold Star for The Everyday Stuff

Today I did something I have not done in seven years.

I haven't done it for various reasons.
Doing it brought me such simple joy. I took my time. Enjoyed every moment and welcomed in the freedom and new feelings.
It made me appreciate how doing this "living life business" is extremely complicated, and how we deserve gold stars for the every day stuff.
Yes, it is amazing when we achieve the big things. I love that. It is the small daily things that need to be celebrated too. I see those as the smaller, important steps to taking the bigger leaps. The things that build our enthusiasm and confidence. Our power.
As January 1st is way behind and it seems all my thoughts on walking, writing and eating salad are hidden in the depths of my mind, I have been judging myself and not being my best friend, and I find it harder to then continue.
For example - 'writing' and I have broken up. We are on a break. Apparently it's me, not 'writing'. They are clearly seeing other people. I'm doing all the write  right things, pretending it doesn't matter, I look fantastic when I use my laptop and I have stopped re reading and re reading my rejection letters.
Perhaps though, I have given too much credit to 'writing' to prove that I am successful, when today was a very big achievement for me. It was a public and private indication that I am a beautiful, brave heart, willing and wanting to share. Wanting to love and showing up for everything that it means. AND I tell you people, sometimes, it's not easy. We can hold onto the past wishing for things to be different, or back there again, when we need to let go and look toward the very moment that is surrounding us. The only way I feel we can get to that point is by facing everything with only one person in mind: yourself. Heal yourself - not the past situation. Heal yourself first and be gentle every step of the way. That's what I did in order to arrive at this new wonderful stage of my life and I am being rewarded for that.
I am able to love again because I started with me. Time and luck has nothing to do with it. AND because I am loving me, I keep checking in with myself as guidance to create a life that pleases us both.

Today I am so happy that I was reminded of these small achievements, that were not even feasible for me a few years ago. It's a bit like when we were awarded gold stars for school tasks, they all mount up and make you feel deserving of being able to achieve more.
Sometimes it's good to award yourself a gold star for just showing up for the day, because there are days when just showing up takes everything you can muster. It's not a competition, it's your life.
Stop thinking of the everything and look at the one thing.

So, what can you celebrate that you did today?

PS: The thing I did today - was to buy a valentines card.

PPS: The card is not for 'writing.' (Though if they get jealous, that's great!)

For my Universe

I have had so many thoughts recently for blog posts that could be inspiring for those around me, and yet I can never quite find the words. M...