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New Year

Happy New Year!

The Heart Connected highlights of 2016 include publishing my first book and the Heart Connected Retreat. I am so grateful to the courageous souls alongside me on this journey.

The Heart Connected highlights of 2016 include publishing my first book and the Heart Connected Retreat. I am so grateful to the courageous souls alongside me on this journey.

Hello! Happy New Year!

I hope you are finding peace and joy in this New Year. 2017 is bound to have some surprises in store for us (I think it's safe to say that is already the case).

I will be honest: the last two years have been tumultuous over here, so I am grateful for this new beginning and I welcome it with open arms. The extremes have been intense from both ends of the spectrum. I've experienced some of the lowest lows and the highest highs. Ever. In as much as trying to ride these waves has been challenging, I know the extremes are real and true to the nature of life. I am even grateful for them. 

What I didn't expect, is that all of it felt a lot like grief to me.

I have known that grief in and of itself is a universal experience. Every human will experience loss and grief as a result of that loss. Grief is so much bigger than that though. It is ongoing. There is always something calling to be grieved. At the same time, generally speaking, I've seen a lot of resistance to the word: grief. I understand it sounds daunting and is most often associated with death so not many of us welcome even the idea of grief at our doors. The word grief could be an onomatopoeia after all. It starts out strong with a fierce G in the same way grief can catch us off guard and then softens, potentially leaving a person in a puddle.

Contrary to what most would think, I continue to see how grief sets us free. Once one agrees to face the sadness, heartbreak, angst, and anger that comes with grief, and allows that grief to break her open, it is just a matter of time before spirits are lifted. Grieving is more like a release valve than it is an anchor.

With the release of my book My New Friend, Grief, I've had the extreme privilege of meeting and some awe-inspiring people. I've also connected with people I already knew in new and powerful ways. I wish I could transcribe each and every courageous conversation I've had with these lovely beings because there is so much to be gained from sharing our stories with one another. To me, the most important reminder I receive in each of these exchanges is that none of us is alone. We are in this together. There is some comfort in that.

At the same time, I am aware in every cell of my body of the emotional climate here in America. It is intense like the waves I, and many of my friends and family, experienced in 2016. Americans are on high alert and it doesn't even matter which "side of the aisle" we cast our vote upon anymore. What we're facing is not a matter of taking sides. What I see is a crisis situation where many of our citizens are feeling betrayed by the sides to which they have pledged allegiance. I have great compassion for that sense of betrayal and I cannot deny that in the midst of betrayal we will never know the true scale of the battles being fought by those on whom we depend. I do know there are some, really good people, fighting hard to defend basic human rights for all of us. Sometimes lately we cannot even seem to agree on what is basic though. 

My faith lies in the balance between what is known and unknown and I believe that despite what we hear on the news each day and despite what we've come to believe about our leaders and each other, more good than bad is available to us.

In the meantime, we must learn to cope with the extremes and maybe even feel peace as we experience them. I think much of our challenge lies in a culture that tells us to "get over it". The only way I know to get over it, is to first feel it. All of it. Sometimes I fear it will destroy me. But, guess what, I'm still here. Only after the emotions have moved through me, can I let anything go. Sometimes what I've released comes back to me and the process of feeling it begins again. I don't know how Americans will ever move beyond this discontent we are experiencing without first feeling the betrayal, the anger, the fear, the sadness, and even the jubilation that some want the freedom to feel. Denying these feelings exist is holding us back.

We are entitled to our feelings.

As hard as I've seen people trying, none of us can deny how another person feels. It isn't okay to say another person can't or shouldn't feel the way they feel. Let's not do that anymore. Let's let each other feel what we need to feel. Let's hold space for those feelings, even when they are uncomfortable, knowing they are only feelings.

I dare you.

Just try it. The next time someone you know or someone you barely know expresses a feeling and you don't think that feeling is justified, instead of denying the feeling out loud or even in your head, simply say I hear you. Maybe even say that sounds hard.

You might be amazed. The power of making space for feelings lies in the simple effect it has on our bodies. We relax. We soften. We open. We develop compassion for person to whom we are speaking and, ultimately, we have compassion for ourselves.

Let it be known that grief is normal, natural, safe, and it can set us free

Thank you for being here. Let's do this, 2017!


Be free...!

Desperately Seeking Clarity

Mmmm.... I am taking in so many different kinds of information these days. Everything from newsletters sent home from my children's teachers to rich course content in an online course I am taking. It's a lot and it is all part of my effort to get clear on a few things.

September is my January. It feels more like a New Year to me than the one that officially starts January 1 and so that is probably why I've been doing a lot of soul searching. Last year I felt like a complete failure on the mom front. It was a rough school year and I played a huge part in how rough it was for all of us. I will give you an example... Last year I drove my two younger children to school every day. Of the three of us, the youngest --who was 4 years-old for the first half of the year -- is the most motivated in the morning, AND this is a little girl who would sleep until 10:00 a.m. every day if she could. Our mornings were tough on all of us and I just wasn't very good at handling it.

This year, they ride the bus to school. The other day they missed the bus. When I told them they missed the bus and I would be driving them to school my son burst into tears and screamed, "I'M HAVING FLASHBACKS TO WHEN YOU TOOK US TO SCHOOL LAST YEAR!!!"


Now, I can't take full credit for the flashbacks. I think some of his horror was due in part to the teacher who greeted him in a not so friendly way each day. The ramifications of running a little late are intensified when the person to whom you are running isn't very welcoming. But still. I knew I had work to do to help rewrite my son's school story.

My work is around figuring out what I am capable of in the realm of being the primary caregiver for my family and starting a creative business at the same time. I am finding that it is necessary for me to be okay with baby steps in the business area. Last year I said yes to everything and tried to get myself "out there" as much as possible. I stayed up late working on multiple projects and had a hard time waking up most mornings. I taught a few classes after school and had to arrange for childcare for my children. This year I want to make sure I am home when my kids get off the bus each day. I need to be more selective when it comes to deciding how to put myself "out there." I am okay with that. I am clear on that.

What I just realized that I wasn't clear on was exactly what my intentions are in being home for my children or facilitating a retreat for a group of women. I thought I wanted to help people. You know? Because I am a helper. After last weekend's retreat (which was AWESOME by the way...more on that another time), I realized that YES, I definitely do what I do because I want to help people.

BUT, what I really want is to... people help themselves. There is a HUGE difference.

I want to help people.
I want to help people help themselves.

This is as true for my kids as it is for anyone I work with. I am not here solely to whisk in and chase all my children's problems away. I would LOVE to be able to do that! But I am not their fairy godmother, I am their MOTHER. My job is to give them everything I can to help them help themselves. Because I'm not going to be around forever.

I thought I set out to do the work I do because I want to help people. I was getting a little caught up in that idea - maybe even anticipating that I am way more powerful than I truly am - that I have some kind of magical helping wand and when I wave it all your problems will vanish (I wish I could do that, but it's just not real). With the work that I do there is really only so much I can do to help anyone. The rest is on them. I think what I want to do is inspire people, to empower people, and to share what I know in case it might help them to feel less alone or to solve a problem or to create something beautiful.

Now that I think about it, I think it is one of the most loving things you can do - to help someone help themselves. I like that.

So, this is what I am clear on now, thanks to all that soul searching... I show up here to share my stories and some tools that help me stay present in the moment and accomplish the things I need to do - for myself and for others. I hope that by sharing what works for me you may find a thing or two that works for you. That's all. I think sharing is so powerful. It has the potential to unlock doors and create flow where one is stuck. When I had this moment of clarity I knew I had to share it. Think about it - where could you use some clarity in your life?

When I show up here, I am committed to sharing - open, honest, from the heart sharing... the rest is up to you.