Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Power of Friendship

My best friend moved away today.  And while I know these things happen and it's all part of life, I feel a tremendous sense of loss and sadness that I didn't expect.

Since I found out she'd be moving, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on all the things that made our relationship so special and unique, and I came to the realization that it was a bond of the heart.  We have shared things and experienced things that I wouldn't wish on anyone... death of family members, parenting teenagers, tragedy, drama, lies, deceit, parenting teenagers (yes, I know I already said that, but seriously, it deserves repeating).  Yet through it all, we stood together.

I have come to realize that I've never had someone hold me up like she has.  I've always been the strong one, the reliable one, the one everyone counts on.  But somewhere along the way, someone, something... God, the Universe, my Angels... knew I was going to need a rock to lean on.  If I had been told in advance that these experiences were coming my way and I was going to need someone else's strength to get me through it, I would have anticipated that person coming in the form of a man.  I know, it's sexist, but that's what I would have "thought" was going to happen.  But instead what I was blessed enough to experience was the power of love only another strong woman who's been to hell and back could have provided me. She was the perfect person to have in my life.  And as always, it was all meant to be.

So tonight I wrote her a poem in the style of my favorite poet, Linda Ellis.  I hope when she reads it she'll know that the gratitude I feel for her being part of my life will never be able to be expressed in words.  This is just my attempt to let our hearts connect one more time.

The Power of Friendship
I once had a woman come to my door
inquiring about what I do.
She referred to the tribute the night before
where we honored our tiny youth.

She noted that the girls were different
when they spoke about commitment and desire,
but she said what she noticed most of all
was the passion and the fire.

For that passion was so different
and their attitudes so unique,
she wanted to learn how to feel in her heart…
she wanted a little peek.

So we started with the Virtues
and we opened up her heart.
And before she knew what hit her,
the emotions began to start.

I watched in awe each time we met
as her heart began to swell,
and then one day she knew it was time
to let go of the past, the hell.

Together we experienced her new beginning
when she let the past release,
but it wouldn't be the last time
we held together to find some peace.

We stood steadfast through it all…
the drama, the deceit, the lies.
She never let me stand alone,
she was always by my side.

She always treated me with respect
and would always wear a smile.
It’s like she knew our living close by
would only last a little while.

So today when she left and moved away
I thought about her more,
knowing that I’ll always love her
with a bond like never before.

I am very blessed and grateful
and I know our friendship is real,
but above it all I’m proudest
that I taught her how to feel.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Are you receiving enough sun?

One of my most favorite authors, Linda Ellis, recently released a beautiful poem that reminded me how important it is to remember that no matter what my circumstances, I am always in a position to choose and sometimes re-choose.  Every moment of my life is a choice point.  Whether I choose to be angry at someone, or love them despite their flaws; whether I choose to be bitter about past events or learn the lessons and grow; whether I am grumpy when my alarm goes off to signal the start of a new day, or I am grateful that I have been given another day to live, love, and experience, the choice is always and forever will be mine.  Everything we decide to feel is ultimately a choice, and the key to the choice rests in our perception.

Here is Linda's poem.  I hope you find it as beautiful a reminder of what's waiting for you and your potential to thrive!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Persevering in a Downpour

Has your world gone crazy?  There seems to be something in the water for so many of my friends, family, and clients right now.  I don't know if it's the economy, the general stress of life, or just simply getting bogged down by the small stuff, but whatever it is, we need to do something about!

This morning I came across a list of six things people who lead happy lives have in common... and these are very happy people.  I thought I would share this list as a reminder that every experience comes with a choice:  you can be the victim of the experience or you can learn and grow from it.  So here you go... and remember:  Don't Worry, Be Happy  (I think there's a song in there somewhere)

1.  Expect to enjoy the day
2.  Spend energy on fixing, not complaining
3.  Spend at least ten minutes each day doing what you thoroughly enjoy
4.  Do kind acts for others
5.  Go on adventures
6.  Find the gift in every experience

I find No. 6 to be the most powerful of all the items on the list.  Yes, there are times when an obstacle or a challenge or an event in your life can feel like the worst possible thing ever.  It's that type of event that seems to defy logic and purpose:  the death of a family member or friend, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, but it has been my experience over and over again that these are my greatest moments of growth and learning. And while in your moments of grief it is impossible to make sense of anything, I believe there will come a time when the true "purpose" of that experience will be made clear to you, if you're willing to look for it.  Perhaps an experience like that causes you to re-evaluate how you spend your time or who you spend it with; perhaps that moment is a course correction in the direction your life path is on, but whatever it is, don't let the experience stop you from living your life... after all, it's the only one we have on this earth.

So my wish for you on this day is to be happy, for when you are happy, you have the key that opens all the world's doors to you.  Whatever you decide, my love for you is unconditional; my arms and heart are always open to you. My wish for you is that you will someday know pure joy and that all your wishes come true.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Honesty and Power of Friendships

What does it mean to you to call yourself a friend?  To me, being a true friend to someone is one of the highest forms of trust and honesty and love you can share with another person.  It's those special people that you share all the parts of yourself with, even the parts you're not the most proud of.  It's knowing that within that sharing of yourself: your good parts, your vulnerable parts, your not-so-pretty parts, you are safe and loved. It's those people you who allow you to be the real you all the time, not just when it's convenient or easy.  

As I've described in other posts, being me is not always easy for me.  It takes courage to be myself and live the life I want to live. It would be easier if I just went with the flow and did the things other people thought I should do, in the ways they thought I should do them. But my true self can't do it that way.  I might try for a little while because it's less painful, fewer pitfalls, less heartache, but there always comes a point when reality comes knocking and says, "Give it up, Girlfriend.  You know you need to do it your way; otherwise, you'll never be truly happy."

Here's where my friends play an integral part in helping me be my best and most real self:  They call me on my crap.  When I am not being me or am doing something out of character, or have just simply gotten off track, they tell me... right to my face, nothing held back, up in my grill tell me.  They don't gossip to others, they don't talk behind my back, they don't betray my trust... they look me in the eye and tell me.  That kind of love and honesty can only come from someone who truly loves me.  I value that part of my friendships more than anything.

I have noticed that I don't have a lot of true friends that fall into this category of love and honesty.  But those that have achieved this level of love with me will be my best friends no matter what happens along our journey.  I will be there to love them and support them no matter where their path may take them, even if we grow apart... and I feel that they will do the same for me.  It's that kind of connection with someone that you can feel in ways you can't describe in words.  It's that feeling that when it's there, you know it.  I can feel it all the way to the core of my being.

So my question to all of you today is are you ready to be you... the real you... the you that wants to go out and achieve something you can feel proud of?  What do you need to make those dreams a reality?  Who do you want to be with you on that path?

As E. E. Cummings said, "It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are."  
So I'm wondering, are you ready for a change?  Let me know... and if you need a friend, a real true friend that will always have your back, let me know. I'm always here...

Monday, April 11, 2011

An attitude of Gratitude

We can't change our past, but we can change our attitude about it.

The longer I live, study, and learn, the more I realize the impact my attitude has on my life. When it comes to the bumps in the road of life, it seems that I am always at a point to choose how to react. I like knowing I have that control, and I like that I can turn my day around simply by changing my attitude.

This understanding doesn't come easily, and it's one of those lessons I have to continually remind myself about, but it is a powerful lesson... and one worth repeating. 

Finding the good in a situation that feels horrible is challenging, if not impossible, especially when you're in the middle of some major turmoil or change in your life that doesn't make sense to you or that you didn't see coming your way.  One method that works for me is to make a list... I call it my "It Could Always Be Worse" list.  I start by thinking about this terrible situation, and then I ask myself, "What could be worse than this?" Of course, it's usually pretty easy to think of something worse, and that thought helps me put my situation into perspective.  Then... and here's the powerful part... I move into a place of gratitude for my current situation.  Yes, gratitude.  I know, sounds crazy; right?  Well, it might be, but it really works, and it helps fill that pothole or smooth out that bump that I just ran into. So feel free to give it a try. Here are a few examples that I have come across of how this might work for you:

Your house is in foreclosure... but your family is still with you.
You were in a car accident... but you weren't seriously hurt.
You broke your arm... but you didn't break your neck.
You are suffering from depression... but you don't have cancer.

You get the idea, things could always be worse, so trying finding gratitude in what didn't happen, but could have.  You may not be grateful for everything that happened, but I bet you can find something to be thankful for, even if it's just a little piece.

I will share with you a quote from The Buddha that I think sums this up:

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little; and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick;
and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;
so let us all be thankful."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fear of your gifts

Gifts.  Not the kind you buy in the mall, the ones that you are born with. What are some of your gifts and how do you use them?  Do you feel comfortable telling people about your gifts, or do you keep the most amazing parts of yourself to yourself?

I have this amazing poem in my office by Marianne Williamson that I would like to share with you.
Fear...Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?" Who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. You were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
 I want to stop shrinking and downplaying what I am capable of, but I've gotten into the people-pleasing habit, so I often find myself hiding my gifts.  I greatly admire those people who have developed their gifts and have found the courage to proudly tell the world what and who they are.  I wonder what it would feel like to say out loud and with complete confidence, I am amazing at ____________.  Maybe it's because we don't always feel great about what we're doing, or maybe we're not using our gifts to our fullest potential, or maybe we're just having "one of those days" and we know in our hearts we're not at our best.  But whatever the reason, I wish we could see each others gifts and just accept them as such.

For me, I have been blessed with a lot of gifts. Some of them you may know about, and some of them you may not. I try to use them all, but the uniqueness of some of my gifts often makes me question myself and then I feel insecure. The fear of rejection and judgment gets in my way most often. My personal goal right now is to find the courage to do what my closest friends are always suggesting:  Stand in my light. Be all that I am and embrace all the wonderful things that make me unique.  I want to... I really do, but by doing so, will I find myself more alone and isolated than I already feel?

Since I always find strength in numbers, I would like to invite you to join me on this path. I would welcome the company, and maybe together we can support and encourage each other to be our amazing selves all the time. Just think how empowered we would feel, and we'd be one step closer to creating a brand new, wonderful, amazing US.  Drop me a note and let me know what your gifts are.  If you show me yours, I'll show you mine... 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making a Difference

"Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This saying is one I have returned to often during some trying times... so much so that I have it painted on a wall in my Angel Room. I have always been that type of person that just sees things differently than other people, and following a well-traveled road has never come easy for me.  All my life I have thought and dreamed about fitting in, being like everyone else, hangin' with the popular kids, but there was always this voice inside me that said, "It's okay to be different," to which I would say back to myself, "Seriously? Are you kidding?  No, it's not! I have to blend in. I don't want to be different!"  By the way, yes, I do talk to myself; and no, I don't suffer from any serious psychological condition... at least not yet!

Flash to 2007, my daughter starts cheerleading at the Mighty Mite level (6 to 8 year olds), and we come back later in the day one Saturday to watch the older teams play/cheer. I observed a group of the older cheerleaders having one of those girl-type arguments that starts over nothing, escalates into something huge, and everyone is best friends again within an hour. The whole scene brought back memories of that very difficult time in a girl's life that you couldn't pay me to relive - middle school. (Absolutely, hands down, the WORST years of my life.) While watching this situation unfold, I remember wishing that something could be done, a different way to behave could be taught to make these difficult years easier to navigate.

This is where the Divine intervention comes in that I spoke of in my first post. It was one of those moments when you have such a great idea that you know it couldn't have come from your own mind.  I had recently finished a workshop in The Virtues Project and learned some of what I consider my best parenting tools. Why couldn't I apply those same tools to coaching? At that moment, it was like every synapses in my body was firing at the same time. Would it work?  Could it work?  Am I nuts?  Every answer came back a resounding Yes, including the one about being nuts.  But despite my questions and hesitation, I knew I was on to something. And best of all, I would finally be able to do something that would make a difference in the world (or at least in my community.)

Some of what I've tried has worked better than others, but when you're blazing a new trail, there is no manual to follow, it's all done by trial and error... and errors I do make.  But the best part of coaching, teaching, and learning in this way is that it is a passion that brings me so much joy. The thought that I might make a difference in one of my girls' lives, that someday she might stand before an audience of her peers and say, "I once had this cheer coach who taught me..." makes the challenges that continue to be put in front of me worth every frustrating moment of being me.