Category Archives: Life in General

Mantra

Are we this far into May and I haven’t posted my alphabetical inspiration yet? Yup, that’s right. Forgot all about it.

mantra machine

I am gonna fly by the seat of my pants here and go with Mantra. I am not going to attempt to educate you on the use of Mantra in meditation, prayer, healing, etc. Many of you probably know much more than me. I will tell you I have devised a few of my own that help move me out of  yucky emotional spaces or when I find myself stuck in repetitive negative thoughts.  My most recent is super embarrassing but really hit the spot when I realized that I had been pretty mean to myself all morning with the same worrisome messages over and over. Imagine this sung to the tune of Frere Jacque,

I am awesome, I am awesome

Yes indeed, Yes indeed

I really really love me, I really really love me

Yes indeed, Yes indeed

Did I feel like a complete wackado in my kitchen humming to myself? You betcha. But after a few minutes that little tune started to drown out the other stuff and I could happily get on with my day. Zero calories, free, and it makes you feel good. What’s not to love?

Click here for Deva Premal and enjoy Mantra in a much more melodious form.

 

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Grocery Store Harmonica

You know those times when something happens and even though you were there and saw it for yourself, even you question if it really happened. I had one of those recently at the grocery store and every time I think of it I have to smile.

I was at the register and my groceries were being scanned. I started to notice music, harmonica music. Strange… I look to my left and see a rather nonplussed older woman pulling her carriage into my line. Behind her carriage is her husband who also doesn’t look terrible excited to be out running errands. However, strapped around his neck and hanging down in front of his chest is some kind of home made harmonica amplifying system. It was the size of a large shoe or boot box without the lid. So, just the bottom of the box, and very colorful. It appeared to be made out of either candy wrappers or gimp with some crude metal parts and wires wrapping around inside. You get the idea, colorful, homemade, kind of Alice in Wonderland-ish.

Imagine this:amplifierharmonica

Plus this:pinata

With these two:older couple

The really cool part about this was that here was this older guy, probably in his 80’s, who for some reason was compelled to play his harmonica wherever he goes. His wife appeared to be pretty tired of hearing him play his God D$%^* harmonica. The comedy of those two in contrast to the cheerful music and the unorthodox little amp system, especially in the grocery store of all places, was just undeniable. The smiles spread quickly between the shoppers. I looked at the girl scanning my groceries and she gave a little smile and a chuckle. I looked over and a little boy was laughing and dancing a jig with his sister. All around me people awoke from their stupor and realized what they were seeing. It was magic.

God Bless grumpy old men who insist on playing outlandish contraptions wherever they go and spreading smiles along the way. Bless their wives too. Wives that really, really want to back over their husband’s home made amp and silence it forever… but who love their man enough to keep on listening.

I hope you bump into some magic while you are out and about too.


Today It’s All Good

It is a beautiful January day in the Boston area. We have a few inches of sparkling snow on the ground but a definite thaw in the air. My mission to notice the joyful moments is in full swing. Today I met with my boss and it sounds like the changes that are coming will take their time to reach me. He is definitely working to find a way to not only keep me employed but for my new job to work for me. At least another month or so before my day to  day life changes very much. Hooray!

I shared a laugh with a sales clerk at Home Depot. She was a great girl with a job she doesn’t love. She could have treated me like one of the masses but she took the time to stop and laugh. How much friendlier the world is when you are open to having fun and enjoying yourself.

My awesome sister-in-law called with a full head of steam to tell me how I should not allow myself to just take just any job that is offered but to reach for more. “You should not do a stoopid job. No! You are great.” She is this fiery little Hungarian who starts talking so fast when she gets all worked up. Her accent gets thicker as her brain works frantically to find the words in English as fast as she is thinking them in Hungarian. I love it. Also, how cool is that to get a call when you are shopping at Home Depot from a worked up European with this awesome accent telling you how great you are?! She is the very best.

I splurged on a wood working drill kit for myself that I have wanted to buy for ages after my wonderful husband asked me, “What’ the hold up?” He’s right. What was I waiting for? It is winter and I need a little project to perk things up around here. I am so excited to get started.

You get the picture. Today it is obvious I live in a world that wants only the best for me. How could that not make me happy!

happy monkey

I have also decided to stay focused on my seminars, night school classes,  book club, and life script editing plans that were in the works before my job situation changed.  I will keep you posted as things get nailed down.


Life is not a spelling test

Life is not a spelling test.

It’s not about being right.

Forget about memorizing rules from the past

as the key to the future.

It’s more like baking a cake with no recipe.

You have some idea of what to do,

but the only way to make it great

is to learn by experience.

Just putting in the right ingredients

is no guarantee.

Try something unexpected.

Imagine it a better way.

After all, it’s your life.

Add whatever makes you happy!

I am reading an awesome book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled. In the book he says,

“By replacing your personal history as the arbiter of your life, you cease to resist your fuller potential.”


Not Again

You know how sometimes you keep hearing about the same thing everywhere you go? I’m not talking about a new t.v. show, movie, or celebrity gossip. I’m talking about some seemingly random idea or thought that starts growing a life of its own. For me lately that thing is grief.

Grief- I thought I had put it in the rear view mirror. I was proud to be good and done with that! Imagine my surprise at being told after my first ever Reiki session (which I loved) that she felt “overwhelming” grief in my shoulders and neck where I have had varying levels of chronic pain for many years. Even though I offered to come back as many times as it would take to release all that grief she said, sadly, “No”. Apparently I am the one who has to work through it all myself. “Set aside time to grieve,” she suggested. This  really was a great suggestion but not realistic for me. There is a reason I have a neck full of overwhelming grief and it’s not because I can deal with daily doses of sadness.

I have been depressed before. Not just down in the dumps for a week or two, but that really black place that sucks out every ounce of will you have and laughs at your limp, pathetic self sobbing in the dark. I’ll walk up to the edge but when I feel those fingers creeping up out of the dark for me you better believe I turn and burn rubber the other way. As good as it would be for me, I just don’t see me going to that place regularly/ intentionally.

I was pleased as punch to hear of a potentially quicker and easier solution.   I just happened to hear a Dr. Bradley Nelson discussing his e-book, The Emotion Code. Dr Nelson believes that a majority of  both physical and emotional pain and disease is caused by trapped emotions. Listening to him talk this seemed to make a lot of sense. I started reading his book and quickly discovered his method for releasing the trapped emotions. Magnets. What?! I knew this had to be too good to be true. I kept reading and his book is very convincing. I have tried it on myself and the dog. I don’t think I’ve completely refined the technique. Plus Dr Nelson says the more you believe it will work the better it does. I might need a little work in that department too. I have to say I would way rather commit time every day to magnetize myself than grieve!

Thinking about all of this makes me laugh. I told my husband about the magnet book and he keeps saying things like, “Oh crap, grab a magnet!” It’s hard to take life too seriously when your husband is saying, “Stick a magnet on it!” He did say I could try to fix his ankle, but I couldn’t take it seriously. My kids make me laugh because they keep saying, “Bow, Chop, Release” and karate chopping each other. I’m sticking magnets all over them too. It can’t hurt, right?

My conclusion, there are two things in life you should be able to do once and be done for good. Get in shape and grieve. Unfortunately, grieving is cyclical. I have done my best to think my way through it rather than feeling. When I do allow myself to feel is when I am caught by surprise. My Dad was a commercial pilot. Seeing a pilot rushing through the airport recently as I walked with my daughter made me want to grab him and say, “Go get my Daddy. I want him to see my little girl.” The sadness over all he is not physically here to share crashed into me in a wave.

I guess I can try to do both. Set aside time to grieve while covering myself with magnets.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, my neck throbbing. Okay, I said to myself, obviously I can’t think my way through this. I need to accept that I am not in control and allow the universe to steer me where I am meant to go. I need to trust myself to be strong enough to ask for help when I need it and to be brave enough to face the challenges life presents to me.  What this looks like in my life I will have to wait and see, but I slept like a baby after that.


Peace of Summer

Summer has always been  my special time to make myself crazy with projects. I get flooded with all of these great ideas of things I can build, sew, paint, plant or organize. Then I fire up the anxiety engines wondering when am I going to get my time to work on these all important projects. What a head of steam I can build up telling myself how unfair it is that I get no time to do what I want and NEED to do.

It occurred to me some time ago that this coping strategy could use some tweaking. What exactly is it that I am trying to cope with? I realized I am struggling to balance my vision of the perfect summer and my role as a wife and mother in that picture with the real life needs and wants of all of us. The projects somehow become my escape. I am getting time to myself without being selfish and doing something frivolous or fun. I can see the twisted logic that strung this plan together.

This summer, I decided I am just going to ask for what I want.  My vision of a perfect summer now includes time and space for all of us to have and do what makes us happy.

I love this and could recreate some version of it with my stairs. I just don’t need to go crazy making it happen for the next several weeks.

If you see a tall, grumpy looking lady stomping around Home Depot muttering to herself… just slip a note in my carriage reminding me to ask for what I really want. Thanks!


Why Worry?

“When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”                                                                                  -Winston Churchill

 

My daughter spent about 15 minutes last night crying hysterically about how she couldn’t take a shower because it would hurt her sunburn. When I finally snapped that she could take a shower or go to bed, she decided she would risk the pain and take a shower. Naturally she felt so much better after her shower. Refreshed and bouncy she came up to me and reported that her sunburn hadn’t hurt a bit. I bit my tongue, very unlike me, and didn’t tell her she should try not to worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet.

I try to remind myself that whatever is going to happen, will happen whether I spend time worrying or not. I might as well try to enjoy myself until the poop hits the fan!

 

“It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella ’till it rains.”     -Alice Caldwell Rice


Day 13, Counting My blessings

I must admit it has been a little bit of work to find a blessing worth blogging about every day this week. I am working on building my “integrity muscle” in my Design Your Life class. That’s why I’m here trying to find a blessing to blog about at 10:45 on a Friday night, before I go to bed.

I looked through the Freshly Pressed for a shot of potential inspiration. What did I see? 10 things I learned from my Father. Sob!!

My Dad died suddenly when I was 25, (which was some time ago now). Before I was married. Before I had kids. Before my first gray hairs and wrinkles. Although once in a while it still feels like yesterday. I was really a baby in so many ways. After the shock, anger and disbelief  started to wear off I started to see how lucky I really was. I know my Dad was gone way too soon for my liking, but man he packed a lot into the years he was here. In honor of Dad, here’s 10 of the things I learned from mine:

1. Don’t not try it just because you’re a girl. In my house I am the one who fixes the running toilet, dripping faucet, or squeaky door. I converted the closet downstairs into my sewing area with a reciprocating saw and new drywall. Last summer I even built a 10′ by 10′ shed with shingles and everything. By myself. I couldn’t have done it without my Dad. He is the one who said, “I am teaching you this so you don’t get taken advantage of. I don’t want you paying for something you can do yourself.” He even tried to teach me to change the oil in my car. That one never took, but at least I know I could if I ever wanted to!

2. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He read us kids this book lying in his bed. He was so earnest that it made a huge impression on me. The story of a seagull who doesn’t believe the hype about how he can only fly so high because he is, after all, just a seagull. Seeing how much this meant to my Dad made me believe deep inside that your limits are your beliefs about yourself. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time.

3. Meet life head on. My Dad used to answer the phone with a loud “Animal” or “Wild Man”. This was way before caller ID. He would have absolutely no idea who was calling and just grab that phone pumped up to find out who was on the other end. I can only guess that he was delighted to surprise the caller and brighten their day. This taught me that whatever it is coming down the pike, you might as well greet it with positivity. It can only help the situation.

4. Give it everything you’ve got. Dad used to prepare like crazy for everything. He was a pilot in the Navy after college and then a commercial pilot. He studied hard for all of it. If you were flying, you would have wanted him to be your pilot. But he prepared for so many areas of his life this way. My mother told me, not that long ago, a story about when I was born. Having a girl, after two boys, my father ran through the hospital asking everybody, “How do I be a Father to a girl?” He wanted to know everything he could so he could do the best job possible.  Ask those who have been there before you, sound advice!

5. Reasons or Results. My Dad started saying this phrase probably when I was a teenager and thought I was way smarter than him. The older I get the more it is starting to become a motto for me. Reasons or results. What isn’t working in your life? When something isn’t going your way you can come up with a list of reasons why it wasn’t meant to be, or you can start making it happen. When you realize the power to choose your life lies in your own hands, you start to take a long, hard look at those reasons.

6. Kids are not an excuse to not do things, they are motivation to make them happen. My Dad was a marathon runner. He trained for and ran marathons with my two older brothers when they were still quite young. They were both about 12 when this happened. One brother ran the London marathon and the other in Paris. Who does that? He also tricked out our tiny Datsun pickup truck and took all of us on camping trips all through California. I have a plaque hanging down in my sewing area for being the youngest hiker to climb Mount Whitney  in 1977-1978. That was Dad. He really could have worked for Nike. Just Do It was the theme in his life.

7. Make others shine. Dad was an exceptional athlete, talented public speaker, accomplished pilot, and entrepreneur. Yet you would have to work hard to find all of that out if you met him. He was never one to brag, unless it was about someone else’s accomplishments. I learned from my Father that being great at something brings its own reward. If you are too busy beating your own chest, someone fabulous could pass you by. You might miss the opportunity to learn about what someone else is doing if you are too busy talking about yourself.

8. Enjoy yourself. The last several years of my Dad’s life he really started to relax in so many ways. He would smoke cigars with my older brother. He would drink beers he had tried in Germany on his International flights. He would REALLY get into Halloween. He would hang speakers out the windows of the house and pump out scary music. He even rode the sit down mower and cut the grass in a spooky mask for a few years. He had a collection of rubber animal noses that he would wear, a lot. In fact he would throw on a nose as he would say goodbye to the passengers on his flights. He just embraced what the day would bring and the time he had. Did he sense that his days were numbered? I couldn’t say. But I know that even though they weren’t always perfect, he looked forward to what each day would bring.

9. Love your family. Dad loved us beyond just wanting to see us all grow up and do well. I am not trying to trump anybody here in a Best Dad contest. I just mean if my Dad had his way, he would have been with us all the time. His vacations were family vacations. His financial splurges were helping his kids pay for college, buy houses, and go on vacations. He didn’t want any luxuries if it meant that we all couldn’t be a part. This set such an example for me. I know that more important to me than a beach house or fancy car is my children’s future. The time together is worth more than anything I could wear, drive, or brag about at a party.

10. Integrity. Integrity. Integrity. Do what you say and say what you mean. Pretty simple. this one is not always so easy to live, but man it is it important.

Thanks Dad. For sticking with me even now. I see you still in so many ways. You are not just with me but part of me. You’re the best, Animal!


Day Four Looking For Love

Day Four keeping my eyes peeled for signs that I am loved and blessed by the world. Today I saw signs everywhere, but my first mention is kind of from last night. I sent out my Day Three post pretty late last night. I went straight to bed and woke up to a comment, (which I so totally love to get), from Kat who has a great blog that I just recently found. She saw Wayne Dyer and Anita Moorjami together, maybe the same event I saw televised, and she said Anita was amazing. Here is the link  http://kattate.com/2012/01/19/from-im-not-to-i-am/ to Kat’s blog. It was so cool to wake up and feel connected and supported right away.

It was hard to choose one for today, but I am going to go with my sweet daughter. I picked her up from school and she was her usual cheery self. She chatted away as we drove home. When we pulled in the driveway I stopped the car for a moment. I explained to her that I had spent the afternoon cleaning the house. I told her that even though the place was far from spotless, that it would really make me feel good if she would tell me how clean the house looked. She just nodded and looked at me knowingly.

A clean house is a beautiful thing.

We trudged up the steps with her backpack and all the other stuff I seem to carry everywhere I go. At the top of the stairs, my sweet little angel opened her eyes super wide and gasped dramatically. She actually swooned, just a bit, onto the couch and said, “Oh Mommy, the house looks so CLEAN!

Silly, I know. But boy did she make me feel special. I think when you need to feel supported, it’s not a bad idea to ask for it.

Please check out the Brighten Your Light Page. We have room this Sunday, 3/11 for  more ladies in our Dress To Be Your Best seminar. I would love to get a few more of you to join us. Come join us for some great tips on dressing for your body type and some friendly support on your journey towards self acceptance.


Gratitude

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank you to the whole big wide world for having a place for me. I am seeing more and more the way I am taken care of in ways big and small. I have a beautiful family, cherished friends, a nice warm house, a sweet little dog, money to take a class or buy lunch at Chipotle (Love It!). If I go even smaller, down to finding the right book in my hands at the library, or hearing kind words around me, an offer of help or friendship from somewhere unexpected.  I feel more and more that I am held in the arms of something greater than I have imagined.

The first ever seminar in the Brighten Your Light series happened this past Sunday, 2/26.  It was an intimate group, and as we sat down to begin I looked at the women around the table and knew it was just as it should be. Susan Keeley led the discussion about healthy foods and healthy eating with clarity, grace, compassion and wisdom. She is a gifted teacher and connects with people in such a clever and intuitive way that makes you feel smarter for having asked the question.

As Susan spoke, I was overcome with gratitude for the women at the table. They came to support me first and foremost but also to learn. I had a journal for each of the women in the group. The journals have blank pages for notes as well as quotes to help guide the discussions. One of the quotes in the journals is from Maya Angelou, “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” Sitting there I felt this truth fall into my lap. I had asked to create a space where women came together to talk, learn, laugh and be supported to spread their wings. I am asking now, with a grateful heart, for even more women to come and share in the experience.

Try this on for size

After Susan’s talk, I led a short meditation I found on a website called http://www.bodylovewellness.com about letting go of the hate so many of us feel towards our bodies. I spoke of my desire to get more out of  life than just the ordinary or, “not that bad” mentality which had pushed me to start the Life and Friendship community. Susan and I both brought up the concept of an inventory of your life. I have found this kind of exercise  so helpful in getting clear about where you want to invest time making improvements. For example, how do you feel about your career? Is it inspiring? What would you change or keep the same? How about your romantic life? Is this area everything it could be or you would like it to be? Some other areas to consider are creativity, education, social life, spirituality, and joy.

At the end of the day, perfect is a moving target. This isn’t about a magic formula that will fix things for life. Rather, it’s about deciding what works for you now and being willing to make changes as needed. We all have different struggles in our lives but the more you break them down the more similar they start to look. At the base of everything is something stronger than a need, more like a primal drive to feel loved and accepted. Catching this feeling is like switching on the lights. That moment when you laugh with someone, give to someone, or allow someone to give to you are a few of the times when you might feel that spark.

We all left the seminar with a home work assignment to think about the spokes on our wheel, or areas of our life. We are supposed to think about what areas we might want to change, and to notice what areas might be better than we thought. I recommend we all put a self-love spoke on the wheel of our lives. Let’s all take some time to send the loving kindness that we so wish for others inward to ourselves. Indulge me for a moment before you go to sleep tonight. When you close your eyes imagine going inside of yourself. In the dark you might bump into and trip over things you cannot see. Imagine lighting a candle and having a look around. As you light the dark  with your candle, know you are in a safe place. Protected as you are, feel free to do some cleaning. All our memories, beliefs and life experiences are stored here. Notice if there are any negative beliefs about yourself wedged in with these memories. All of these can be gathered up and taken with you when you leave.  On your way out leave the candle burning to know you are always welcome to return. There is nothing here that is too terrible to be seen, or to shameful to felt. You are loved.

Our next seminar will be on Sunday, 3/11 from 3 to 6 pm at the Thompson Library in North Woburn, MA. The cost of the seminar is $30. You can sign up through Pay Pal on the website. It will be the Dress to Be Your Best class led by Maria Cella. Maria is a fun and engaging woman who will give you valuable information on how to dress for the body you have now. I would love to welcome you to our group. Please contact me at heather@lifeandfriendship.com  for more information.


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