Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Ok, seems I have just a little more to say about gratitude. Yes, I do have, and use, spellcheck. ‘Thanksliving’ is correct. It’s a concept that is becoming popular, in part because wise women like my friend, Marcia Walker, Life Coach Extraordinaire, are looking at their lives and asking themselves, “Whazzzup?” aka “How can I create a more joyful life?”

The frequent answer that Marcia and others come up with is to accept the people and circumstances in their lives EXACTLY as they are, and then take it one step further and be grateful for those people and circumstances.

It does not mean ignoring the bad things that are obviously a part of our world (such as war, injustice, violence, hunger - need I go on?). It means seeing things realistically and being grateful anyway. The gratitude comes from a reservoir of compassion that lives inside of us, not as a reaction to conditions outside of us.

Certainly there are conditions that we recognize as intolerable and not worthy of our gratitude. But instead of focusing on these things beyond doing what we can to change them, Thanksliving requires us to search within for reasons to be grateful. I’m not saying this is easy! I am saying that the more you make it a habit to look for opportunities to be grateful, the happier you will be.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Are You Grateful For?

This morning at Parkway Presbyterian we had an All Saints Day service to commemorate our loved ones who have passed on. While our wonderful minister, Liz Peterson, read the list of names the congregation had compiled, I and a member of the much younger generation lit a candle for each name. It was a beautiful ritual for remembering and honoring our family and friends who have dropped their bodies.

It’s also a great way to begin the month in which we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. And this year I’d like to encourage you to celebrate the holiday all month, with an intentional expression of gratitude each day.

Gratitude is one of the highest vibrations that we can experience, along with love and forgiveness. When we consciously focus on all that we have to be grateful for, we are automatically in that higher vibration, and in a better place to make plans and take action.

So here are some ideas for keeping your awareness in gratitude during this month of Thanksgiving:

*Keep a gratitude journal-this is an obvious one, but bears reminding. Write down five things that you are grateful for each day.

*Write a brief note to someone who has made a difference in you life. It might be a family member, teacher, friend, co-worker, the person who delivers your newspaper, or the barista who makes your perfect cup of coffee every morning. Write to someone different each day for the whole month.

*Create a gratitude notebook for your family. Decorate it and leave it in a conspicuous place where everyone can write something they’re grateful for any time they pass it. Read the entries out loud during the Thanksgiving meal.

*Leave thank you notes in your spouse’s and children’s lunch boxes or backpacks.

*Pick someone each day to spend a few moments thinking about and visualize them surrounded by God’s love, thanking God for putting them in your life.

*Give a gift to someone different each day. It doesn’t have to be a material gift. It can be your attention, a special breakfast, a love note, a smile. Find strangers to be the recipients of some of these gifts. For example pay for the order of the car behind you in line at Starbuck’s. One time when I did this it was a state trooper-I plan to bring that up if I’m ever pulled over for an alleged traffic violation - lol!

Be creative and find ways to express your gratitude to yourself, your family and friends, and God. You will feel better and better every time you do it!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


It's time to simplify. I have thought about simplifying my life off and on throughout the years, and like with many other things, thinking about it is a far as I've gotten until now. Where do I start? Perhaps with material possessions. It seems I have quite a few, way more than I need, certainly. And don't even get me started on how many things continue to hang in my closet, season after season, without getting worn. Until now, of course!

What else can I do without? Gadgets? Well I do love my new iTouch and my Mac Book and my cell phone, and I truly covet the remote car starters that my sister Lisa and friend Carrie have. But I could probably do without the under-the-cabinet CD player in my kitchen, since we all have ipods and docks for them. And how many televisions do three people need in one house? Surely not four? But that little person frother for the peppermint creamer in my coffee will have to stay.

I guess this is going to be harder than I thought. Maybe I should start by carefully considering any new purchases. Suze Orman has suggested going a day without spending any money, a week without using your credit card, and a month without eating out. (I may not have these in exactly the right sequence, but you get the idea).

Paying attention to expenditures, possessions, what we eat, what we wear...just 'paying attention' is probably how we can begin to live a life that simpler and more meaningful. Making decisions based on our soul's desires can surely give our life meaning.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Well, we're wet and cold, but at least we're exhausted."

My husband, Craig, and our friend, David Patterson, ran the Covenant half marathon this morning. The above quote is David's response to my post-race query about how he was feeling. I feel your pain, David - not because I've ever run a half marathon (one 10K, back in the day was plenty for this ex-runner) but because I've been through the training and eating patterns and knee braces with Craig as he prepared for the race. I observed the determination, grit, and perseverance it took to prepare your body and mind for this kind of adventure, and I respect the heck out of the folks who do it. No I don't aspire to do it myself, but I believe the characteristics that must come into play to accomplish something like a half marathon are also valuable for accomplishing other great feats in our lives. Feats such as building a business and creating authentic relationships, among others.

First an intention must be set - I am experiencing the joy of completing a half marathon; I am thrilled to be starting a successful business; I enter into relationships in an authentic, joyful way. Then we make a plan for getting from where we are now to where we want to go (spoken like a true Life Coach, I know!). Next we figure out ways to determine if our plan is working - are we making progress? Can I run further today than I could last week? Do I have more customers now? What's working? What isn't?

Accountability is also a key. If left to our own devices will we stick to our plan, or do we need a coach to hold our feet to the fire? A cheerleader to encourage us when the going gets rough?

When we've reached the goal, it's time to celebrate! How do you reward  yourself? This step is important. Remind yourself of the energy you expended, the hard work it took to make your goal a reality. Give yourself a pat on the back, and let others pat you too. Bask in your glory for a while, then start all over. Move to the next goal and the next and the next...

Create your life with intention and attention. Finish the race, and you too can be wet, cold, and exhausted!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don’t Spit In God’s Face

God has endowed each of us with certain inalienable talents. They may be different gifts or talents for each of us, but they are there, inherent in the structure of our DNA, waiting for us to recognize them and put them to use. If we don't, it's like spitting in God's face - not a good idea.

Sometimes it's easier to recognize someone else's gifts than our own. We appreciate the way a friend is always calm in a crisis, but we don't realize how our own sense of humor brightens peoples' days. Or we value a leader's ability to make things happen, without seeing how our compassion softens others.

Even when we do recognize our own talents or gifts, we have often been taught that it is rude or conceited to call attention to our positive characteristics. So we down play the very aptitudes that could help make the world a better place
What gifts are you hiding under a bushel? Wisdom gained from tough times? Serenity in the face of adversity? Courage under fire? Discernment? Whatever it is, let your light shine and inspire others to shine their own light.

Your 'call to action': Discover your inherent gifts and talents - ask a friend or family member what they see in you that you don't see. Or schedule an appointment with me and use the Enneagram to glean information about your personality and your gifts. Believe that you can make a difference in the world and commit to exploring ways to use your own special gifts to make the world a better place.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Beginnings

Spring has sprung and along with it, the urge to write and blog and twitter and facebook. I'm getting serious about all of the above, so I invite you to subscribe to this blog and my e-zine, follow me on twitter, and add me as your friend on facebook. Together we'll explore what being healthy in mind, body, and spirit means.

Many of the major religions celebrate new beginnings in the spring - Passover and Easter, to name just two. But we don't have to belong to a specific religion to begin anew in the spring or to clean out and clear out our bodies, minds, houses, cars, closets, etc. Getting rid of things we don't use anymore, be it clothes, extra weight, or beliefs that no longer fit, frees up space for new ideas, new ways of doing things, new clothes, and makes for lighter bodies and spirits.

You really don't have to do anything drastic if you don't want to - drastic can be overwhelming and stop us before we even get started. Gradual is often better. Rather than fasting from all food for 40 days, give up sugar or caffeine for a week. Don't de-clutter your whole house in a day. Do a drawer each day, or a room a week.

Pace yourself as you clean or clear or eat differently or begin to exercise. You can always increase your efforts, if you aren't making the progress you want to. And don't hesitate to ask a friend or family member to support your efforts or make the changes with you. Having someone on your team can make all the difference in your success.