March 3 ♥ Choosing What Really Matters

Do you know what matters in your life? Sounds like a simple enough question, yet it’s one I’ve struggled with for years. My words always said that family and friends are the most important things to me. And yet my actions told another story. I spent more time on my career and outside interests than I did with my family and friends. An embarrassing truth. And it cost me. Friendships became strained and personal relationships were stretched to the breaking point. I lost connection with my daughter. My first husband and I became mostly roommates. I grew more distant from my sibs. And some friends just faded away. I assumed that people knew how important they were to me, but the evidence seldom showed up in my behavior. I assumed, and assumed, figuring they knew how I really felt — until the consequences caught up with me. My goal in sharing this cautionary story is to serve as a wake-up call to others who may be heading in the same direction I had been going. And to put it in even greater perspective think about this: when you’re on your deathbed, how much value will you put on your career, the acclaim you garnered, the successes you had? Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by family and friends, by the people who mattered the most in your life? Thought so. And just so you know: I finally wised up and got my priorities straight, although I can still become overly distracted … Continue reading

December 23 ♥ No Expectations = No Resentments

‘Tis the season to have expectations: Everyone will get along. The food will be perfect. Every gift will be just what they wanted. Happiness will abound. Every family member will be on their best behavior. Ah, Norman Rockwell may be alive and well in our memories but that’s not the reality of our lives around the holidays. How often have you planned how an experience was going to unfold only to have your expectations rudely thwarted? And how often did you then let your frustrations come spewing forth onto those around you? Been there. Done that. Still trying to learn the lesson. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so certain that we know how the future will unfold? Why do we believe we have so much power over life and other people? Here’s my recommendation for a more peaceful holiday, whichever one you celebrate: let’s all act as if we have no idea what will happen. Let’s recognize that we can only control ourselves; everyone else is on their own autopilot. Let’s relish being in the moment, however that moment turns out. I promise you, you can eliminate frustration, anger, disappointment, and sadness if you just let go of any preconceived ideas about how things should happen. Learnin’ to go with the flow…   Now It’s Your Turn What can you let go of this holiday season? What difference will that make? … Continue reading

November 25 ♥ The Importance of the Big Picture

I had the glorious opportunity to participate in a photography workshop at the Bosque del Apache here in New Mexico. I was really excited to experience thousands and thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese taking off in the early morning light. I’ve been here before and been awed by the cacophony of so many wings beating and birds calling out as they rise to greet the day. The sunrise begins as the skies fill with the silhouettes of so many birds streaking across the multi shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and blue of the sun’s appearance. It is a most joyous and awe-inspiring event. And yet. My intention was to capture the birds in flight – to get that perfect photo, one that captured all of the wonder of this happening. This would be my prize! But the reality is that capturing birds in flight is the most difficult of photographic feats. Unsurprisingly I quickly became frustrated with my skill and my equipment. Time was slipping away and I hadn’t gotten my memorable shot! In the past I would have beaten up on myself for much longer than the 5 minutes I spent that morning. What changed? I realized that I really was there to enjoy the magnificence of the birds in their seasonal visit to the Refuge – the big picture. And if I got a good shot, so much the better. My frustration had been blocking my joy. And I’m not going to put up with that any … Continue reading

November 3 ♥ Why You Need to Slow Down to Catch Up

Last week I had a terrible head cold that forced me to slow down and take care of me. Of course, once the cold began to lessen I felt I had to “catch up” on all the things I had had to set aside. Yes, I kept piling things on, adding guilt into the mix because I had let stuff slide. Oh, and the next several days were already scheduled to be very busy. You can probably guess where this is going… I’d gotten myself totally wound up. I was stuffing far too much junk food into my mouth. I was irritable and the slightest thing created huge frustration. In short, I was no fun to be around. And, my behavior toward others was less than admirable. I knew I didn’t want to continue this state of being. So how did I get myself back on track? I consciously slowed down (recognizing that speeding up was only winding me up). And what I noticed was that the frustrations began to melt away. I threw multi-processing out the window, and concentrated only on what I was doing at that moment. My breathing slowed and I became less frantic. And my perspective changed: I could only do what I could do, and that would have to be good enough. (That streak of perfectionism always gets me in trouble.) And the stress  eased. This is a much better way to live. heading off to make amends…   Now it’s your turn Where are you moving too fast? … Continue reading

August 5 ♥ Be the Rainbow in Someone’s Life

Ever have one of those days (or weeks) when everything seems to be going wrong? You start out the day cranky and life just seems to go downhill from there. You burn your toast, you’re late for a meeting, and it starts to rain while your umbrella is warm and dry in your car. Your keys get locked in your car, the kids are cranky, you missed an appointment and it’s only noon… It feels like a dark storm cloud is determined to hover over you wherever you go.Nothing seems to be going your way. And yet you to have to keep slogging away. I bet most of us can identify with these kinds of situations. It feels uncomfortable, disconcerting and colors how we view everything else in our life right then. Now imagine that someone comes up to you in the midst of all this doom and gloom and shares a friendly smile, offers some encouraging words or maybe gives you an unexpected hug? How would that have change your perspective? These people are like a rainbow appearing during a downpour: unexpected and a shimmering, bright reminder that storms don’t last forever. How wonderful it is that someone could see your unease and offer you hope that things would get better. This week try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Notice what a difference you can make in one life. You’ve got a wealth of experiences. Use that wisdom. And rejoice that you are the only one who gets … Continue reading