Become A Lake

I just read the following and had to share it with you. 

Taken from THE BOOK OF AWAKENING by Mark Nepo

How Does It Taste? 

The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.

- Wane Muller

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt.  When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.  

"How does it taste?" the master asked. 

"Bitter," spit the apprentice. 

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake.  The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake." 

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"

"Fresh," remarked the apprentice. 

"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master. 

"No," said the young man. 

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less.  The amount of pain in life is pure salt; no more, no less.  The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same.  But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.  So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things... Stop being a glass.  Become a lake."

****Center yourself and focus on a pain that is with you.  

****Rather than trying to eliminate the pain, try to breathe through it. 

****With each in-breath, notice your efforts to wrap around the pain. 

****With each out-breath, try to enlarge your sense of Self, and let the pain float within the depth of all we'll never know.  


New Carpet

I'm so tired I can't stand it.  Every part of my old body hurts.   On Sunday we completely dismantled our home - moved everything into the garage in preparation for the carpet installers on Monday.   The installation took most of Monday and hubby and I spent all day Tuesday putting the house back together.  

The old carpet was 16 years old and I've been wanting to change it for quite some time -- so nice to have it done and the new carpet is all soft and cushy - its wonderful.  But it reminds me of how often in life it takes a lot of hard work to get to one's goals. 

It also reminds me that things are usually easier than we think they are going to be.  George, my brain, kept telling me that the project was impossible, would be too costly and wasn't worth doing.  George is usually on the side of negativity and the status quo - George gets spooked pretty easily.  

Yes, I'm tired right now but so glad that we finally did this and glad for the ongoing lesson that action is better than listening to a brain that is filled with anxious and negative thoughts. 

The next time you find yourself listening to your brain - make sure to sort out thoughts that are helpful and the thoughts that just keep you stuck in "old carpet".     


I Lost My Ring

Last week I was running late for work and as I was packing up my briefcase I realized my cell phone was missing.  So you know the drill - retrace steps, ask husband if he has seen it, look on all the counters and table tops, turn over couch cushions, and then suddenly it appears on a small side table.  A sigh of relief and out the door.  Start the drive and realize I don't have my wedding ring ... a sigh of disappointment but my ring I can do without for a day. 

Work day done and arrive back home ... felt naked all day without my wedding ring.  Start my nightly routine: feed cats, get into comfortable clothes, and get out of jewelry.  WAIT A MINUTE my wedding ring is not in jewelry box where I assumed it was.   OH NO where is my wedding ring?  So you know the drill ... search entire house, every available space, under beds, go through clothing pockets...can't imagine where it can be.  After 2 hours of searching I gave up.   And then George my brain took over ... "you are so stupid - how could you loose your ring", "if only you were more careful",  "how can you be this careless" ... on and on George went beating up on me.  

I took a deep breath, sat down and did my leaves on a stream mediation.  In my mind's eye I visualized myself sitting next to a stream and gently watched leaves falling from a nearby tree.  With each leaf I noticed my thoughts and allowed them to drop onto the leaves and then flow down stream.  This is a wonderful exercise to slow the brain down and to separate out helpful thoughts from destructive thoughts that just leave us feeling badly. 

After calming my mind down I called my husband at work and shared my tears of sadness that I lost my ring and he assured me that we would find it.  He also reminded me that I'm a pretty organized person and that everybody is entitled to make some mistakes.  I went to bed feeling sad but more hopeful that whether I found the ring or not things would be ok.      

George tried to convince me that I was a bad person for this loss and that it was unacceptable - very problematic thinking. 

Two days later ... hurrah I found it ... tucked deeply under a fold in my briefcase.  My best guess is that while I was putting on my ring was when I realized my phone was missing and dropped the ring in my frantic mindless search for the phone -- sigh!  

As always the point is gentleness ... there is no point beating up on yourself for mistakes ... learn from them but with gentleness and love.   Next time you find yourself with fast paced racing thoughts do the leaves on a stream mediation - it works!  


March Health

If OK with you,  I'm going to once again share from my beautiful calendar.  Each of these words inspire and help me to focus on healthy thoughts that lead to better living - enjoy March. 

1) You're making it all up

2)  Sow seeds of love

3)  Your thoughts change the world

4) Beauty shines from your eyes

5) Imagine a peaceful world

6) In every moment you are free

7) Listen for love

8) We all breathe the same air

9) You have the power to achieve anything

10) Observe your body language

11) Immerse yourself in what you love

12) You are a messenger of love

13) Every act has an impact

14) Create harmonious relationships

15) Know yourself as abundant

16) Integrity is the key

17) Possibility lives in the unkown

18) Dance your spirit awake

19) Change your routine

20) Learn from nature

21) Inspiration follows action

22) You are the perfect age

23)  Ask for what you want

24)  Expand your capacity to be loved 

25) Make your self visible

26) Be your own disciple

27) You are a treasure

28) Everyone is an artist (its true!)

29)  Be thankful for what is 

30) Share your vision 

31) Perception is all that you control  (Have fun!)



Sadly, I've always been a complainer.  As if it helps, as if it changes anything, as if it makes the world a better place.  The following piece by Chuck Lorre gave me much to think about. 


"There is an almost perpetual gap between my expectations as to how things should be and the way things actually are. This space, or divide, causes me a considerable amount of discomfort, which I try to alleviate through the use of repetitive thoughts, as well as spoken and written words. This activity is called "complaining." The fact that it rarely accomplishes anything, other than exacerbate my irritation, does not keep me from engaging in it. Furthermore, it appears that buried deep within my psyche is the firmly held conviction that complaining is therapeutic - even though experience shows again and again that it's not. In other words, I have a false belief that appears to be immutable, which drives me to take an action that only makes matters worse... and I like it. My only consolation is the knowledge that I come from a long line of complainers. One of my fondest childhood memories is looking up at the adult relatives gathered around the kitchen table, the men smoking Pall Malls, the women smoking Newports, everyone eating smoked fish, and all of them talking over each other, loudly bitching and moaning about pretty much everything. I remember that a rant would often end with the resigned, self-deprecating, seemingly rhetorical question, "Oh, well, who am I to complain?" Well, these many years later, it turns out it's not rhetorical. And I now know the answer. This is my birthright.

Who am I if I don't complain?  (1st Aired: 21 Dec 2017)"

The above piece made me laugh and reminded me of the world I grew up in. 

There is lots of new research in the area of "positive psychology".  The more the brain pushes toward gratitude, optimism  and problem solving (verses complaining) the more content and joyful human beings are.

This does NOT mean that people should not express concerns, fears  and sadness  - it is important to cleanse the body of these emotions.  The problem is that people often get stuck in that place of complaining which then turns to anxiety and depression. 

Do you want to join me today in noticing when you are complaining about something.  Ask yourself:  1) I'm I truly problem solving here?  2) Is my complaining helping me to express true emotions?  3) Is my complaining helpful or keeping me stuck in a loop that makes my problems seem bigger and bigger?  Notice what happens when you notice the complaining and see what changes might be helpful for you.  


Absent People

The absent people in our lives can have as much impact as the people who are there for us day in and day out.  My husband, Rod, recently found his father.  Rod has spent his entire adult life in search of Dad and thanks to he found him!!!!!  Tomorrow we will get to meet this very important person.  

I've been thinking a lot about absent people and how they truly do impact us.  I went searching for blogs on absent fathers and thought the following was filled with lots of wisdom.  Hope you enjoy:  

By:    CicelyRenee

Lessons on Love my Absent Father Taught Me

  1. Don’t punish other men for my mistakes… As much I hate to talk about this, this needs to be talked about. I could literally be single the rest of my life because a man like my father and others are out there pretty much, abandoning women they have had children with. I know of a woman who had a child with a man that never wanted to be with her and the mother never remarried or even dated, she didn’t want to bring another man in the house for many reasons but who really felt the absence, the mother or the child?
  2. Marry/Date someone better than me… My aunt actually taught me this, she told me to marry a may that was better than my father and I said, my father was never there… she said exactly! So then I married a man that was there… but only physically… (So make sure you jump a few levels up) which brings me to my next point…
  3. Choose someone that can be mentally, emotionally, physically, financially & spiritually present… first of all anyone can have a baby and there is plenty of proof out there and probably in your family. But what it really comes down to, can they be mentally there, mental illness is real and is hereditary. Can they emotionally be there, can they love and sacrifice and suffer a long time? When talking about physically, can they touch you in a way that takes you to a different world, can they be there for the children by picking them up, asking them deep questions about their day and well-being? Can they financially provide, are they going to think of money as the end all be all? Are they going to look at money as power and not want to give it up for the sake of the family? Can they be there spiritually? Can they guide you and the family, can they pray for you? Do they care about your well-being on a level that food and money cannot reach?
  4. Love goes beyond fault, so I messed up, you messed up, can we work together to find a solution? Will they always point out the faults? If so, then this will never work.
  5. Be open to rejection, one of the biggest lessons ever… I reached out to my father my junior year of high school, no reply, I reached out right before I graduated high school and a huge letter of rejection came in a reply. At that time I was not prepared for rejection. But later in life, I was able to accept rejection as protection. I learned that when guys or girls don’t reject you when they wanted to then soon you will feel more pain. So when I am rejected, I know that I am being protected from many heartbreaks and I am ok with that.
  6. Be sure to acknowledge those that came in my place, at this time, I want to give a shout out to the few men that stepped into a fatherly role without even being asked, although for a season, you all have made an impact and I acknowledge and thank you for that. Many times God will send people to fill spots in your life to get over some things that come your way and I am thankful for that.

Although, it would have been beautiful to have a father for father-daughter dances or to celebrate during Father’s day instead of being angry or a father to tell you how men really think so that you don’t have to experience it first hand or a father to be there so that your future ex-husband thinks that you have father issues or to think that you are are searching for a man to fill that role as a father figure in your life… it would have been nice…

But now that I am a certain age + life experiences, has shaped me to be this young vibrant thang making the most out of her life and not blaming the present on the past. I will not allow the absence of my father to affect negatively my future relationships with men.

Are you a woman or man that had an absent parent growing up? How did that affect you? How did that help you? What are some things you wish were different? What are the lessons you learned shape your future outcome? ...

Rod's Dad:  

Rods Dad.jpg

Laughter Research

Laughter is so very important - it feels so good and there is strong evidence that it is important to our health.  Its hard when we are depressed or anxious to find the humor in things and yet that is exactly what we need.  So go see funny movies, seek out people who can make you laugh, to to comedy clubs and above all else laugh at yourself. 

For those of you who enjoy corny jokes: 

Why did Mozart kill all his chickens?

Because when he asked them who the best composer was, they'd all say "Bach Bach Bach!"

 For those of you who enjoy the research:  

Finnish and British researchers have revealed how laughter releases endorphins in the human brain. The more opioid receptors the participants had in their brain, the more they laughed during the experiment.

The recent results obtained by researchers from Turku PET Centre, the University of Oxford and Aalto University have revealed how social laughter leads to endorphin release in the brain, possibly promoting establishment of social bonds.

Social laughter led to pleasurable feelings and significantly increased release of endorphins and other opioid peptides in the brain areas controlling arousal and emotions. The more opioid receptors the participants had in their brain, the more they laughed during the experiment.

- Our results highlight that endorphin release induced by social laughter may be an important pathway that supports formation, reinforcement, and maintenance of social bonds between humans. The pleasurable and calming effects of the endorphin release might signal safety and promote feelings of togetherness. The relationship between opioid receptor density and laughter rate also suggests that opioid system may underlie individual differences in sociability, says Professor Lauri Nummenmaa from Turku PET Centre, the University of Turku.

- The results emphasise the importance of vocal communication in maintaining human social networks. Other primates maintain social contacts by mutual grooming, which also induces endorphin release. This is however very time consuming. Because social laughter leads to similar chemical response in the brain, this allows significant expansion of human social networks: laughter is highly contagious, and the endorphin response may thus easily spread through large groups that laugh together, tells Professor Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford.

The study was conducted using positron emission tomography (PET). The participants were injected with a radioactive compound binding to their brain's opioid receptors. Radioactivity in the brain was measured twice with the PET camera: after the participants had laughed together with their close friends, and after they had spent comparable time alone in the laboratory.

The findings were published on in the scientific journal The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research was funded by the Academy of Finland and the European Research Council

Story Source:

Materials provided by Unisersity of Turku  Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Sandra Manninen, Lauri Tuominen, Robin Dunbar, Tomi Karjalainen, Jussi Hirvonen, Eveliina Arponen, Riitta Hari, Iiro P. Jääskeläinen, Mikko Sams, Lauri Nummenmaa. Social Laughter Triggers Endogenous Opioid Release in HumansThe Journal of Neuroscience, 2017; 0688-16 

February (Just Saying)

A lovely woman (actually the woman who designed this website) gave me a sweet sweet gift:  a colorful calendar with inspiring words for each & every day.  Hope its OK that I want to share this with -- let these words guide you each and every day.

1- Time is on your side

2-  You are so fun

3- Welcome change

4- Gratitude attracts abudnance

5- Enjoy your natural flow

6-Love what you have

7-Each breath is a blessing

8-Let go of expectation

9- You decide what is real

10- Your beauty is undeniable

11- Celebrate your imagination

12- True love begins within

13- Explore something exciting

14- Love surrounds you

15- All will be well

16- Kindness is natural

17- Speak words of love

18- Give thanks for another day

19- Make it fun!

20- Thank your friends

21- Blessings are always flowing

22- Love has infinite forms

23- Rest is productive (it's true)

24- Take tender care of yourself

25- Embody your wildest dreams

26- Darkness births the light

27- Accept what is as perfect

28- Delight  in the process


Feeling Old ...

Please, please, please forgive the following Vanity Card if you find it vulgar or insensitive.  I thought it was so funny when I read it that a) I wanted to share it and b) it rings true in a profound way.  Before I share the Card though let me tell you where my head has been lately. 

I feel old, I mean really old.  Old like I don't want to physically get going old, old like I no longer understand hip jokes, old like I don't want loud music in restaurants old.  Part of is because I'm almost 60 and lets face it - that is a lot of years to be doing any one thing (the one thing here is being alive). 

When I was a kid,  a 60 year old was a heavy set grand-ma type who probably only had 10 years to go (you know Aunt Bee).  Now,  life expectancy has risen and the expectations on how much people can do has also risen..  Betty White is doing comedy shows at 96, 100 year olds are running marathons - it is truly amazing. 

Here is my conflict:  I've been feeling old and yet the expectations are keep going and do more  - its hard to know what is completely right for me.  So many nights I just want to stay home and pet the cats and yet a voice in my head says "thats what old people do" so I don't want to do that cause I don't REALLY want to be old and yet I am.  So then I'm out and about doing something not because I  wanted to but because I shouldn't be at home.  

I'm working on NOT letting my thoughts dictate my actions -- rather than sitting in loud restaurants pretending to hear my friend's conversations - I want to be comfortable with the idea that I can stay home with cats and read a book and that is not bad its just true to what my body and ears need.  I can invite friends over rather than struggle with loud restaurants.  And that doesn't have to mean anything negative - its just accepting the stage of life I'm in.  

There is grief work to be done in this area - loss of youth, loss of time poorly spent, loss of what could have been ... I've been sharing those tears lately and as I allow myself the grief work - I'm noticing that I'm letting go of the resentments and even letting go of negative labels that say old is bad.  Its not good or bad .... it just is ... 

Thanks for letting me ramble and here is the Vanity Card -- hope you get a chuckle out of it: 


"I just turned sixty-five. It is, by any measure, an advanced age. It is not the new fifty-five, or the new sixty. It is just old. And it has forced me to do some serious soul searching, to ask myself a tough and vaguely frightening question: How will I know when it's time to quit? What signal, mental or physical, should I look for that tells me it's time to stop writing sitcoms? After much careful thought, the answer came to me. The day I sit on the toilet and my balls hit the water, I'm done."

Aunt Bee:  Young and Old



Years ago I found a sweet picture at an estate sale that I fell in love with.  A man & woman from the 1800s leaning into each other and heads touching ever so slightly.  Sadly, the estate owner had no concrete information about who these two people were -- he said that it was possible the man had been involved with Sacramento baseball and that I could have the pic for $5.

The picture hangs in our guest bedroom and always brings me a smile.  It also reminds me of how short our time is here on this planet.  Can't imagine that these two lived for more than 60 or 70 years and very possible that no one today even remembers them OR DO THEY?  

Is it possible I own a pic of a couple that lived their lives with grace, joy and dignity.  A couple who chose to live a life filled with justice, kindness and honesty.  The kind of couple whose great-great-great-great grand-children would still be told stories of their generosity, warmth and compassion.   

Or do I own the pic of a couple who were so wrapped in life's fears, pains, sorrows that all they ever did was complain, wallow in self-pity and live such "small" lives that they spent their time in gossip, judging others and greedily hanging on to their earthly possessions.  The type of people who are easily forgotten shortly after their deaths.  

Clearly, most people live somewhere between the two extremes of "sainthood" and complete "jerks" but am I making my point.?  Life is not about "retracting" into our selves - protecting our egos, hoarding our possessions, and withdrawing our talents from the world.  A life fully lived is about going outward - sharing, giving, letting our talents shine.  Retreating into ourselves is extremely lonely. 

So often we are wrapped up in the fear of our own mortality that we forget that legacy is more important and more long-standing.  How we make other people feel is what and how they will remember us.  

WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY ABOUT YOU AT YOUR FUNERAL?  Take time to think about that question - it will help you to define your true values and help you set a path for what truly makes you content in life.            


January Thoughts (that are great all year)

Jan 1 - Give thanks for every relation

Jan 2 - Breathe in Love

Jan 3 - Choose well-ness

Jan 4 - Be true to your self

Jan 5 - You manifest abundance 

Jan 6 - Inspiration follows reflection

Jan 7 - Allow your passion to come alive

Jan 8 - Speak your feelings 

Jan 9 - Create a new way

Jan 10 - Laugh at yourself

Jan 11 - Encourage success

Jan 12 - Now is all there is 

Jan 13 - Nurture seeds of kindness

Jan 14 - One step at a time

Jan 15 - Live life intentionally

Jan 16 - Be willing to deeply listen

Jan 17 - Shine on

Jan 18 - Surprise your self

Jan 19 - Focus your energy 

Jan 20 - Share your gifts

Jan 21 - Laughter lightens everything

Jan 22 - Transformation happens with ease

Jan 23 - You are an amazing creator

Jan 24 - Spread joy

Jan 25 - Embrace the mystery of life 

Jan 26 - Let gratitude fill your heart

Jan 27 - You are loved beyond words

Jan 28 - Appreciation is a happiness magnet

Jan 29 - Hug your inner child

Jan 30 - Make time for quiet

Jan 31 - Move towards your bliss


Hello-January (2).jpg

Simple Things To Do

Happy Happy Happy New Year - as you consider resolutions and ways to make this year work well consider the following:  

There are five daily habits that lead to greater happiness and well-being. If you're feeling down, see for yourself. Incorporate these five habits into your daily routine and watch the magic happen!
1. GIVE - Helping others is fundamental to happiness. Whether you're giving your time, ideas, or money, helping others creates stronger connections and makes our society, as a whole, happier and stronger.
2. SOCIALIZE - Those with strong social ties are happier and healthier than their solitary counterparts. Broad networks create feelings of belonging, providing lives with love, meaning, and support.
3. EXERCISE - Physical activity is good for you, and it also makes you happier. No need to run a marathon to enjoy the benefits - just unplug and go outside for a walk.
4. BE AWARE - There's a reason mindfulness has become such a hot topic. Living a mindful life reduces stress, improves relationships, and helps you feel more grateful for all the positives in your life.
5. LEARN - Learning new things means you're challenging yourself and exposing yourself to new ideas, all of which keep you engaged and curious. Whether you join a group, take a class, or travel, learning boosts self-confidence and resilience.

(Taken from a friend's facebook page - thanks woman!)  


The October Present

In late October our home received a catalog that I had never heard of before.  Sitting next to my husband watching the evening news I lazily thumbed through the glossy pages and was delighted to find great gift ideas for friends and family.   I was especially happy to find a personalized gift for my hubby (he is hard to shop for ... usually buys himself whatever he wants when he wants it and doesn't ask much of the world).  On October 30th I sat down at the computer and with several clicks of the keys ordered up some gifts that I thought people would enjoy.  

Several weeks later things started arriving.  Gifts for the kids, gifts for our friends, gifts for mom, even the toy mice arrived for our cats ... where is hubby's gift?  Five weeks after placing the order I thought I'd better follow-up.  A very nice woman explained that because my husband's gift was personalized it took a bit longer but her records showed that I would receive by Dec 13th.  

By now you know where this story is going ... I called on the 14th and was informed that the item was outsourced and that that vendor would have to call me back ...  yesterday, after being on hold for 40 minutes (can you feel my annoyance and pressure mounting?)  I was informed that I could not get the vendor's name but was assured that they would call me. 

This morning, 5 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS I received an email stating that the order could not be tracked and was asked if I wanted  the order redone knowing that it would NOT be "home for Christmas".  At first complete anger shot through me and then I burst into tears.  I so wanted to surprise my husband.  For the love of god, I ordered this thing in October ... this was unacceptable ... for some time my brain, George, went to that very familiar place of "this is unacceptable, how dare them, and why me?"  It even went to "why were you so stupid to place an order with people you've never worked with before"  -- all those messages that cause so many problems.  I debated calling the company and DEMANDING to talk to a supervisor ... you know all the stuff that we spend so much time and energy on when we refuse to accept what is.       

To fully appreciate this story its important to know that Rod, my husband, is this gentle, sweet, quiet man whose biggest happiness is having joy in the house -- he could care less about material things -- and would never want me to get angry, annoyed or upset by a gift for him.

Once again I'm working on accepting what is ... letting go of what I can't control.  Reminding myself that calmness and peace in this world is so much more important than things happening in a certain time frame.  

So,  on Christmas morning Rod will get a picture of his present and he probably won't even see it till mid-January but having a wife who is NOT all stressed out and who isn't running around the house yelling is truly a better present.               



One of my very favorite plays is OUR TOWN.  Such a simple but poignant story.  Its about how life is made up of little tiny moments.  The making of oatmeal in the AM, the feeding of our pets,  dressing children for school and all the daily chores that make up our busy lives.  Its also the story of love and human connection and longing.  And its the story of not realizing how good we have things until they are gone.  

My husband is so good at being grateful, enjoying the moment, counting his blessings rather than his aches and pains.  I marvel at his ability and have to actively practice being positive and reinforcing the happier side of my brain. 

Recently, I've been very challenged with food compulsions that I thought I had under control.  I'm not sure if its part of the aging process or some under lying emotional stressor that I've not been able to identify but I find myself compulsively thinking about food and giving into old eating patterns that are unhealthy.  I've put on weight and am finding that its extremely difficult to exercise. 

Along with these food compulsions I'm noticing that George, my brain, is sending out negative messages of fear and discouragement.  My husband just dealt with a bout of skin cancer, the world news is so very challenging and the demands of this holiday season can be so draining.  I'm noticing that I'm loosing touch with what makes my life enjoyable.  A routine that allows for self-care (healthy food & exercise), time in my schedule for friends and family, truly being present in each detail of my life (whether its sitting with clients, reading a book or holding my husband's hand) just being present and alive to each moment.  

The more I practice these things the more the food compulsions subside - the trick really is to change the daily routine.  Every thing I do today affects how I feel tomorrow.  SOOOOO easy to say and SOOOOO hard to do.  I'm going to keep practicing good deep breathes, commitment to gratitude thinking and for TODAY a routine  that is healthy. 



When Heroes Fall

Today my heart is breaking.  One more of my heroes has just resigned due to allegations of sexual misconduct.  It has been shocking to watch the number of men who have  supported women publicly and who have secretly been abusing them.  

I don't fully know how to wrap my brain around it all.  What happens when our heroes fall? 

Like a lot of kids I believed my dad could do no wrong.  And for the majority of his life I believe he was an upstanding legal abiding person but I do remember the IRS fining him for some fraudulent tax activity.  I don't really know the details - but I do remember that sense of sadness and disappointment at learning that he wasn't perfect.  I remember him saying "well I'll never do that again"  -- a sense that he wasn't sorry about doing it but sorry that he got caught. 

Below is a piece written by Howard Moore that helped remind me of the reality of our heroes - hope you find it helpful.  

   Your heroes are going to disappoint you

By Howard Moore, December 1, 2017 at 12:05 am

"Two of my greatest sports heroes, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, golfed with 45 this weekend. I will try to forgive them. It will take a little time."
"F*ck them. Time for new heroes."

Bill Clinton. Donald Trump. Charlie Rose. Bill O'Reilly. Matt Lauer. Al Franken. Roy Moore. Garrison Kelllor. Kevin Spacey

Democrat or Republican. Conservative or liberal. It doesn't make a difference what side you're on. The people you admire...the people you respect...the people you hero worship tend to disappoint you.

Sure, they seemed to be great and above reproach. Seemed.

They've overcome great odds to reach the positions they're in. We want to believe in these people. We hold them to almost impossible standards. That's why we're so surprised, disappointed and broken when they show that they're not perfect. I don't know why we're so shocked when we find out our heroes don't live up to our expectations. They're human just like the rest of us. While they have have admirable accomplishments, they also have their flaws.

When I was a child, my heroes were John F. Kennedy and Mickey Mantle. Turns out my political hero was having affairs with the girlfriend of a gangster and also Marilyn Monroe. My sports hero was an alcoholic womanizer. Because we didn't have anything close to the media outlets that we have now, no one had any idea about this. It was a kinder, gentler time for heroes. I wonder what I would have thought about them if I knew then what I know now?

Recently someone told me how excited they were to meet Hockey legend Bobby Hull. I wondered if she could separate Hull the hockey player from Hull the Nazi sympathizer and wife batterer? I'm not sure I could.

And what about Patrick Kane? Do you think three time Stanley Cup champion or suspected sex abuser? How about Aroldis Chapman? Is he the gutsy relief pitcher who was a big factor in the Cubs winning the World Series or the guy who was accused of beating his girlfriend and then firing a gun in their garage?

Well guess what....everyone I've mentioned is multi-dimensional. You can love what they do on the screen or the ball field and hate the way behave in their personal least I think you can. The rules for this are vague and they seem to be changing daily. There's no question it's complicated. Quite the conundrum.

The first paragraph was a Facebook conversation about the last weeks Presidential Golf outings. The comment about finding new heroes is close to right on. But how will we know our new heroes will be any better? Maybe we're just better off without heroes? Maybe that great philosopher Charles Barkley was right on when he said, "I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

Think about that the next time one of your heroes breaks your heart. It should be any day now.




Today I sat with a woman who cried and cried and kept calling herself an idiot because she said something that hurt a friend's feelings.  Even though she apologized to her friend she couldn't sleep through the night and her stomach was all tied up in knots.   It was an innocent comment and yet this woman's brain wouldn't let go of the idea that she shouldn't have said it.  This poor woman has lived for so very long with the idea that she has to be perfect -- there just hasn't been room for forgiveness and gentleness.  

A major step in stress reduction is in accepting that of course we are going to make mistakes in life, that its ok to be imperfect and that trying is more important than achieving.  These concepts are simplistic but hard to implement.  

Keep noticing the voices of perfection and thoughts that demand the impossible and as always be gentle with yourself.  Let go of ideas that are not helpful and continue to get up and try. 

Here are some words to help along our journey:   "As long as you feel pain, you're still alive. As long as you make mistakes, you're still human. And as long as you keep trying, there' still hope." - Susan Gale 


Its T-Day !!!!!

Yeah, tomorrow is Thanksgiving - what a great holiday, food, food and more food.  Comedian Sarah Silverman says she wakes up every day being thankful that she no longer has to go to school - Sarah says its in appreciating the little things that we find joy.  So for today I'm going to be very grateful for food - its fun and delicious.  

For today I'm also very grateful that there are people who write great blogs and which I get to share with you -- check out the following blog by Marelisa Fabrega on the importance of graitude.  Happy Thanksgiving!  


by  Marelisa Fabrega:  

If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.


Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude - his book is "Thanks: How The New Science Of Gratitude Can Make You Happier".  The information in this book is based on research involving thousands of people conducted by a number of different researchers around the world. One of the things these studies show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. This is significant, among other things, because just as there’s a certain weight that feels natural to your body and which your body strives to maintain, your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point. If something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness can drop momentarily, but then it returns to its natural set-point. Likewise, if something positive happens to you, your level of happiness rises, and then it returns once again to your “happiness set-point”. A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.

In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”


People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”


A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, a concept that was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book  "Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude".  This exercise basically consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.

A variation of the wristband concept is to create a gratitude charm bracelet, with either one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you’re most grateful for. For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career, and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.


Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.



A Birthday Gift

My husband gave me a book for my last birthday by Alan Alda called IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU, WOULD I HAVE THIS LOOK ON MY FACE?  I've only read a few chapters but am enjoying the book and am hopeful that I will be learning some new things about the art and science of communication. 

Sadly,  so many of us grew up in dysfunctional families and never learned the skill  of clear and effective communication.   Below is a list of dysfunctional styles of communication taken from the book HEALING FOR ADULT CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS by Sara Hines Martin.  I'm amazed (and a bit embarrassed)  at the number that I revert to when I'm stressed or feel under attack. 

1)  Talk at, Not to a Person - this style lacks in sharing of feelings & emotion. 

2)  Talk About, Not to People - "Person A talks to Person B about Person C: the classic triangle" p. 62.  Fueled by fear of conflict and fear that others will be angry. 

3)  Little Eye Contact -

4)  Send Messages Through A Third Person

5)  Secrecy Rather Than Openness

6)  Confusing Messages - Example:  smiling when angry

7)  No Answers to Questions or Inadequate Explanations

8)  Passive Communication - Examples:  Not talking, hinting, pouting,  denying that anything is wrong, glaring, sighing, tardiness

9)  Acting Out - Examples:  slamming doors, throwing things, denying affection  

Here are some simple guidelines for functional communication:

1)  Talk to the person.

2)  Use direct eye contact.  

3)  Be open. 

4)  Answer questions directly and give explanations. 

5) Say what you feel rather than acting it out. 

6)  Share your feelings rather than giving should messages.  

I invite you to examine your communication style and be curious about it.  Is it effective?  How does your style affect the relationships in your life?  Does your style work for you or against you?  

Thanks for letting me communicate with you!!!!!!  


Everything Is Random

Comedian Patton Oswalt's wife died at age 45 leaving behind a grieving husband and 6 year old daughter.  After 15 months of doing grief work Patton bravely tackles sharing his process in his new Netflix special called ANNIHILATION.  Patton shares of his pain, his loss and ultimately where he is beginning to find some peace is in the philosophy that his wife often expressed:  "everything is random, be kind". 

The simplicity and beauty of the phrase is so peaceful.  Let it be, don't try to figure everything out, live kindly - let it all unfold.  To spend time trying to find meaning behind the pains and losses of life often leads to more dark and painful thoughts - to accept what is creates space for the grief tears which lead to healing.  Its all so much easier said than done because the brain is always trying to figure things out.  But with practice and gentleness its possible to start observing our thoughts rather than letting them rule our lives. 

I invite you to watch ANNIHILATION and see if you are interested in living by a philosophy that is less complicated and more gentle.  (Please note Patton's comedy does contain "adult" language and his politics do lean left - the section about his wife is in the last 30 minutes of the show).