June 7 ♥ Loss: Saved by Heartstrings into Infinity

I lost a very good friend last week. We both knew it was coming, and yet…

I was still surprised when it finally happened. I kept expecting some sort of miracle, just for her. Because we clicked instantly when we first met. Because she really understood me, and I got her. Because we truly were kindred spirits brought together by a shared experience. And, I needed her to ground me.

But that’s not the way life works. Sometimes it just sucks.

So, how do you say goodbye to someone so special? How do you let go of something so precious?

Here are some things I am finding helpful.

  • Allowing myself to recognize my feelings, cry when I need to, and laugh at our past antics. My emotions are running the gamut. And I am allowing them to do so.
  • Being gentle with myself and allowing others to offer comfort to fill the void I feel.
  • Letting go of any would-a, could-a, should-a’s. Regret will not change anything in the past. Our time together was what it was.
  • Recalling the important things she taught me, especially spirituality and her favorite mantra: Spirit: teach me, show me, guide me.
  • Seeking the lesson in all of this, and although it alludes me right now, I’m certain it will become evident, eventually.

Most importantly I recognize that even though she no longer has a physical presence in my life, she will live on in my thoughts, words, and actions. These are the heartstrings that tie me to her. It is my way of celebrating and honoring our temporary, earthly connection.

I think that’s a most fitting memorial.

Now It’s Your Turn

Think of a loss you’ve had to deal with. What heartstrings into eternity did you discover? How was that an appropriate memorial for you?

May 3 ♥ Keep or Toss? Change the Question…

I have been in this minimizing, clean-out mode for the past month. At first I would carefully consider every item: keep or toss? Seemed straightforward enough. Yet, somehow a “decide later” pile kept appearing. I wasn’t making the kind of progress I had envisioned.

I kept plugging along, knowing that I really had to get rid of some things. So I gave away the clothes that were never, ever going to fit me again. I also got rid of all my professional work clothes. No longer had a need to wear them, so what possible purpose were they serving in my closet?

And then I added those things that no longer support who I am right now. Adios to books on topics that had once interested me; books I would never read again. Farewell to old cards I had received, magazine articles I planned to read, shoes for special occasions that would never be repeated. Things associated with long-ago hobbies. Yarn that was never going to see the light of day as a garment. Good riddance to things I was “going to get to” once upon a time.

Suddenly I have picked up momentum. I have become more ruthless in what I am discarding. And the more I have eliminated the more free and unencumbered I feel. There is more space in my home, and in my being. I am clearing out what no longer serves me or supports who I want to be in the world.

I want my home to reflect who I am now. I no longer need reminders and keepsakes of the past — they live in my memories. I want every item to be carefully chosen because it brings me joy.

So I have changed the question from “What do I need to get rid of?” to ”What serves and defines me now?” That reversal of thinking had made all the difference.

I feel such a sense of lightness and possibility. It’s as if I have made space so that something new, perhaps never dreamed of, can make its way into my heart.

Your call to action:

What no longer serves you in your life? Look at your possessions, your friends, your social activities, the causes you support, etc. When was the last time you actually stopped to consider if these items still serve you? What opportunities might open up if you eliminated what no longer satisfies you?

 

Apr 26 ♥ Frustration: the Difference between Reality and Expectation

I know. I’ve been AWOL. It’s been an interesting few weeks. My computer had decided to completely lock up and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it except take it to the Genius Bar. But the saga didn’t end happily there because I had to have the operating system completely reinstalled – which, of course, meant that everything that had existed on my hard drive unceremoniously went to virtual heaven.

Happily I knew that all my files were safely tucked away in the Cloud and all I would need to do was download them and begin computing life anew.

Alas, that was not to be so easy.

I live in rural America, where Internet speed is only something to dream about wistfully. I won’t bore you with all of the gory details. Suffice it to say that after days, and days, and days, and weeks of trying to download by drips and drabs I have some but not all of my files.

I know there is probably some Buddhist lesson in here but all I’ve experienced is frustration, anger, and more frustration, although my swearing vocabulary has increased exponentially.

So, Anthony Robbins’ quote seems appropriate for this situation although I’m only now beginning to see the frustration as a positive sign! I spent so much time just banging my head against the technological wall.

Until my husband mentioned that maybe I should ask for help from an expert.

Well, duh.

So, I’m headed back to my Apple Store, to get a little help, and so I can use their screaming-fast network to get my files from “out there”. Oh, and I now have a reliable local backup solution so I can minimize any future computer frustration should this happen again.

Lessons learned:

  • Persistence can be stubbornness in disguise
  • Asking for help is not a sign of weakness
  • It’s important to know when to try a different tack
  • Sometimes lessons have to be painful to get their due

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Where are you allowing your frustrations to run your life? What keeps you from changing your approach to finding a solution? What is one thing you can do change the status quo?

Mar 22 ♥ How to Make Room for Opportunity

So many people believe that luck or opportunity only come to certain people because they were in the right place at the right time.

I believe that’s bunk.

What I know is that opportunity comes from paying attention to everything around me, no matter how far-removed the subject is from my areas of interest or expertise. I am open to new ideas, even half-baked ones because an opportunity may lurk there. I also look for problems or challenges I, myself, or others are having, knowing that an opportunity for a solution may be hiding in the shadows.

The key point here is that I make myself ready for potential opportunity to show itself by being very curious about the world. Opportunities are all around me. I look at how to improve things or how I can build on someone else’s idea. I ask myself how I could turn a challenge into a positive. I network with a diverse group of people. I offer to help others, emphasizing my unique skills, which may turn into a springboard of opportunity.

Sure, some possibilities and ideas fall into my lap. And I’m grateful for those circumstances. But more often than not, I make myself ready for opportunity!

When I find something interesting, I ask some preliminary questions:

Is this something I want to tackle?

Why do I want to spend my limited energy here?

Do I have the time and other resources to take advantage of it?

Once I’m clear on my intentions and goal, then I can move forward developing my opportunity.

And btw, an opportunity does not have to be earth shattering. So take that stressor off the table. According to Merriam-Webster, opportunity means only that there is a favorable combination of circumstances, time and place. What you do with that is up to you.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

What can you do to make yourself more aware of potential opportunities? When an opportunity shows up, how do you recognize it? What’s your process for deciding if you’ll take the opportunity?

Feb 22 ♥ Asking for Help Shows Strength and Vulnerability

So many of us shy away from asking for help. Intellectually we know that we can’t do everything on our own, and yet we hold back, fearing that we will appear weak or vulnerable, that we will burden someone, or we’ll get caught in a quid pro quo and be unable to reciprocate, or that we can’t manage on our own and therefore must depend on others.

But these are stories we tell ourselves. And so we exhaust, overwhelm or cause injury to ourselves, spinning and spinning because we’d rather tough it out than seek assistance. And in believing these stories we deny someone else the opportunity to happily assist us and share in our burden.

Think of a time when someone asked you to help. Did you turn them down? Did you think less of them for asking? Or were you genuinely delighted that you could do them a favor by using your skills?

Giving yourself permission to ask for help shows your strength, courage and self-awareness. You recognize that you don’t have all of the answers or skills for every situation. You believe “it takes a village” to get things done. You allow others to shine and experience the joy that comes from giving. And you know that if someone turns you down, it’s not personal. It just means “no”.

Asking for help shows it’s possible to be both vulnerable and strong. It’s worth the risk!

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Who can you ask for help from today? How can you help someone else? How does asking for assistance show that you love yourself?