At bedtime, I was at peace- I thought.
Earlier, I took out my calendars, planners and began to set goals again. I felt better than ok.
But in the night, a different reality. I could see my father- in all different stages and phases of his life.
I saw his face driving the boat, looking over is shoulder at me (likely on a kneeboard) and smiling.
I saw the dark red hair of his younger days- a warm sweater and moccasins- looking at me and teaching me to hike like a Native American- quietly so I could see more nature on the mountain path.
I saw his arm reach over and a hand land gently on my mom's knee in the car ahead of me- a dark silhouette of him stealing a kiss while he drove. Mom's hand was on his knee, too, forming an x. I remember wanting to be loved like that one day.
I saw him cheering on my sons at baseball games, it was joyful.
But later... images of him skinny and pale. Images of his face before he passed, twisted with pain, images of his last fighting breaths- his face after.
Over and over, I saw these images and tried to rest my mind.
A heaviness hung over me this morning- a morning I thought I'd look forward to. I was eager at bedtime for my "longer training run" and the sunshine I'd be lucky to enjoy with sunshine at my cousin's graduation party.
But the heaviness wouldn't leave. I began to dread my run. My body was betraying me.
I willed myself forward anyway.
4 Miles might well have been a marathon.
I heard Dad's voice telling me, "exercise" so I stepped again and again.
I ran in the sunshine and I ran in the shade.
Maybe life and grief are just like that.
Hope I made you proud today, Dad.
#goodgrief #mindfulmama #authentichuman #faithoverfear #griefisnotlinear #simpletruths #griefstories #journeytowellness #trainingruns #human #spirit #life #death #loss #gain #motivation #painfultruths #journeythroughthewilderness
When Lisa got sick, I started to run. I laced up broken down sneakers when she was first hospitalized- a brain tumor left her trapped in her body. She'd begged me to go and I was always too busy with my young boys-nursing, housekeeping, working, tired... you name it and I used the excuse. I started too late and just in time.
My first race was a 5k by the shores of Cayuga Lake at twilight. It wasn't easy but I was determined to finish. Legs burning, lungs burning, brain screaming- and still I refused to stop.
Just as my jiggly new mom bod couldn't take anymore- a funny thing happened, I stopped stopping myself. I turned my attention to everything I could think of that brought me peace or joy. I breathed in the scent of the grill- a summery sensation I'd longed for all winter. I noticed the specks of light rippling off the water and recalled childhood joys with my father on a boat- bumping along the wake on my kneeboard. I started to picture Lisa's smile, her head cocked to the side the way she did. Her famous phrase was, "Cancer matters" when we'd lament politics in the workplace, our pile of grading or some other minor detail in life. Now she had it. I ran because I was grateful to have had a friend who wanted me to run- even if I never got to with her by my side. I began to recall memories with her and suddenly she wasn't in the hospital bed, she was with me. I was her legs.
Now, times have changed but they haven't. Cancer still matters.
It reached out and nabbed my father... as my brother likes to say... he had nine lives and this particular type had to sneak up on him to get hold enough to win. Melanoma is like that- sly, aggressive and unrelenting. Dad was diagnosed on June 7th.
He'd just spent the weekend cheering on my youngest at a baseball tournament- 6 hours from his home and 40 degrees colder than it should have been, and in blowing wind. On Saturday, he was smiling and clapping, but by Monday- he was on full monitor in a hospital bed- Melanoma spread like fingers through his bones, brain, abdomen, lungs and blood.
I returned home to care for him- an honor that graced me with moments of clarity. Dad was confused often, but often so full of love and appreciation. It was an honor and a gift to help him experience the last of his days- a full month to the day of his diagnosis and I was rarely away from his side. We were able to keep him home where he could see his children, meet his newest grandson Xander, and spend time with his family and friends.
Watching a parent die is both a blessing and a challenge. There are images I can't unsee, pain I can't un-feel, a sleep loss as thick and palpable as if I were a new mother again, it hangs over you like a fleece blanket. Still, I wouldn't take back that time or those visions, or that pain.
I pushed through services- slogging through them like they WERE a marathon. If I just didn't stop, I wouldn't cry and I'd reach the finish line where I could finally collapse, eat a bunch of carbs and experience the after affects of a body that worked harder than it reasonably should. I spoke at my father's funeral and somehow didn't cry- which meant to me that the tsunami is still being held back, waiting.
Before Dad died, he told me over and over how he'd hoped my family would exercise- stay strong. The words made me laugh because he snuck them into every conversation- often in a way that didn't fit. They were clunky like a square cog in a circular hole.
"Easter morning- eat, get fat- then exercise!" he'd spout like a true salesperson.
So, yesterday, my neighbor (and friend) Stacy posted that she'd registered for a half marathon. She asked for others to join her. I pictured one of my favorite photos with Dad. He'd come to my first half marathon and I am pictured holding my 2 year old son, with my 5 year old ahead of me and Mom and Dad on my arms.
Running was the therapy that helped me move through the loss of Lisa, my aunt Cindy (whom I never grieved til running), my father in law and countless others.
Last night, I fell asleep to a song that's special to my father, my son and I- only to wake up and hit snooze because I was dreaming of him. Over and over, I dreamt about my father.
Today I printed out a plan to train for a half marathon- I'm shy 1-2 weeks in the training program if I want to run with my neighbor, so I guess I'll have to adjust.
I popped my earbuds in and I ran. I listened to music and I brought Dad with me.
Here I go again. I hope that each step will help me get closer and closer- until I can finally return home to myself. That place has been moved around, rearranged and turned upside down. I'm sure that when all is settled, there will be new patterns, a shake out of what wasn't needed, and some familiar terrain.
I share this with you now, because, if you need to heal from pain or grieve or move through something to find yourself again- running is an inexpensive option. If you have a million excuses in your mind, remember that when I first started- I was broken, lost, out of shape and hadn't run since high school. Remember that it won't be pretty, but it will be therapy.
If not running, what movement can help you process, heal and emerge stronger? Your path doesn't have to be mine, but like Dad said, "Exercise!"
#runningtherapy #goodgrief #mourningperiod #healingpath #journeytowellness #mindsetmama #mindfulmama #heal #loveyourself #lifeisahighway #boymom #fathersanddaughters #loss #love #rebirth #emergencewellness #wecanriseup #communityuplift
This morning, as the sun changed the sky to a more hazy, summery gold, I listened to Gabby Bernstein's advice on transforming our Ego's fears about finances into a state of abundance. Yesterday's practice was about noticing and today we inventory for clarity then ask our inner guide to help us release. In the space that remains from that release, we can invite in new, abundant thoughts.
Abundance comes in many forms. I am happy to be on this path toward recognizing the many ways it has graced my life. For example, on Saturday, the little girl next door rang my doorbell. It was just as I happily moved about my home, feeling very grateful for the day, the garden I'd been working in, the son who helped me and the son who was having an amazing day of baseball. She had a gift for me. It was wrapped neatly with her little name on it "Stella" in black ink. She'd made me a bracelet that was gold on one side and silver on the other. I wore it that night and the symbolism wasn't lost on me. Her generous and loving gift may not have been genuine silver or gold, but the richness was precious. There have been many times the universe has shown me generosity like this, many times I've been blessed. How about you?
Being willing to change our thoughts about our finances means we surrender to our inner guide and become willing to shift our financial fears (from the ego) to support our change and growth. The willingness is the next step to change.
I recognize that my Ego has projected fear onto my financial state. I am willing to release my fear to my inner guide. I am willing to change my inner dialogue on finances.
Write down the lack thoughts you have in your mind and heart. Deepen your awareness of the beliefs you have of lack - Do I not believe I can make money doing what I love? Do I place external power on money? Do I have a get mentality rather than a give mentality? Am I addicted to a high that money brings? How have my thoughts and actions reinforced my beliefs of lack?
Try not to judge, but get clear instead.
Prayer- Inner guide, I have taken inventory of my fears. I invite your guidance to come forward and transform them back to love.
#abundance #mindsetmama #generousworld #beautifulthings #miracles #maycausemiracles #highervibes #evolvinghuman #authentichuman #flowers #quotesforlife #spiritual #faithoverfear #communityuplift
The first step to abundance is recognizing our stories of lack. Spend some time allowing the stories we've told ourselves to surface along with the emotions they bring. Journal or list your lack stories and release a new story the world. Let's say it aloud. Let's repeat it in our hearts. The more abundant we allow ourselves to be, the greater good we can do in this world. Our ego does not have to have the power, here.
Let's recognize our stories so we can replace them with the affirmation: I am not my lack mentality, I am abundant, free and prosperous.
Diffuse some peace blend oil from DoTERRA and allow that release and calm to flow.
#abundance #spiritoverego #communityuplift #peaceblend #maycausemiracles #riseup #evolvinghuman #authentichuman #recognizetheproblem #releasethepast #elevatedhuman #mindsetmama #miraclemama #faith #loveyourself #wellnessjourney
So many of us have a story about money. I know I do.
I was raised by a waitress and salesman. My parents always provided the necessities and found ways to bring us to a camping trip, boating outing and a couple of trips to Florida. I cherish the memories of abundance with my family as they were created from hardwork and love. Of course, my mom was amazing at teaching math. We shopped in the clearance aisle by choice and she'd always have me mentally calculate the discounts, the tax, the total. She taught me to calculate a tip that displayed care for the waitstaff or service provider, knowing that so many struggle on the hourly wage they make- knowing what it felt like to try to provide for a family with that rate.
There were also struggles. My stories from childhood were about being lucky to grasp some money, score a good deal or enjoy simple pleasures. They were also about limitation- who gets to have the money and who doesn't- how easily it could go away. I often felt more concern for the happiness of others when I was a child and set off to work many, many hours as a babysitter, a waitress or a tutor to squirrel money for what I might want or need to lessen any burden on my parents or to gift others I loved. I had a fear of losing people, like I had a fear of losing resources. Prior to the past few years, talk of finances could make me physically sweat, my throat to clench, my head to feel dizzy. I've been trying hard to change my relationship with money.
It's time to take stock of our financial stories... our thoughts about money shame, lack, grief, scarcity. It's time to stop looking at money as evil or a way to gain self worth and flip it so we see our increased self worth translating into a sense of abundance and flow. That greater flow will allow us to do greater good in the world. I'm both excited and anxious about the upcoming segment of miracle work ahead.
What stories do you have? What are your thoughts around money?
#abundancethinking #money #selfworth #networth #wellnessminded #communityuplift #maycausemiracles #belief #faithoverfear #mindsetmatters #momtruths #authentichuman
There have been days in my life, where I literally walked through my world sending love to everyone I saw. It didn't matter their appearance, actions, or role in my life. I'd see the man collecting cans on the street and imagine golden light shooting straight from my heart to his. I imagined him happy, warm, safe and abundant. I'd make eye contact with the grocery store clerk, smile and ask them about their life. The grumpy neighbor... yep, even them. If I could hand them all a million dollars, those days, I would. That's when I'm living my best life. Laugh if you can't imagine it, but try it, too.
This morning's practice is all about doing just this. Despite the apparent racism, micro aggressions, the clear polarities... when we take a deep breath in and allow ourselves to love, it feels good. There are days when I want to feel the heartache of racism so I can voice that heart ache. Many people need us to do this. I need to do this. My best friends and family are affected by racism, after all.
And then there are some days we just need to feel better. We want to, "Be the change we wish to see" as Gandhi would say.
Without both the open disgust for hatred, the condemning of abuse and oppression and this willingness to send love, I worry, we will continuously turn in one place.
An openness on both sides of the street might affect change. As I walk through my neighborhood, I am sure there maybe people who are quietly judging me for a variety of reasons, of note- the fact that I am married to a woman. This is not the same as the experience a black man would possibly have walking through the same neighborhood, but it's as close as I can get in my shoes. I imagine that if I am willing to open up my heart and assume positive opportunities for me, I have to allow hope that the same can be returned to me. In this same way, I hope we can all open up to all people who are different from us- be it in appearance, ethnicity, political view, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other innate human "label".
Gabby Bernstein suggests that we sit quietly in a comfortable meditation space, that we allow our various relationships to surface and that we challenge ourselves to list the ones that are the most difficult. Then, we look at that list and imagine sending light and love, happiness to each person- thanking them for the role their relationship plays in our life. The challenge of loving someone who is different or causes us discomfort is truly a noble task.
Love yourself today.
#separationisalie #riseup #communityuplift #uniteagainsthatred #spiritevolving #evolvinghuman #authentichuman #wonderfulworld #peacefulhuman
We don't have to be face to face to forgive.
While the act of letting go of our attack and anger means our Ego is likely to throw a tantrum, we can release our need to judge, attack and defend to the work of our inner guide- our "ING" as Gabby refers to it. Our internal spirit is lighter, freer as we move through this process of letting go. Radical forgiveness allows us to accept others as they are, but also to accept ourself as we are. We become more empowered, more free. We let go of negative energy attached to existing in a feedback loop of irritation, anger, resentment.
This one week of the May Cause Miracles challenge has taken me about three-four weeks to actually process. It's not easy work. Although I view myself as someone who readily loves others, sees their strengths and is open to their perspectives- I have recently been hurt by others who haven't been as present for me as I thought that they might be. I'd opened up, I'd let myself become very vulnerable and I thought I was safe. So, the act of stepping away when I really needed them left me a little shell shocked. I'd been carrying around shards of glass in my chest cavity. It was hard to breathe.
The relationship focus of this week has been exactly what I needed. It's allowed me to see the people who hurt me with more loving eyes. I know the distance has not been about me- it is about something outside of my experience- it has been about theirs. Maya Angelou once said, "You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better." I felt the hurt, the sting, the disappointment then. Now I am moving on, feeling lighter and setting up new boundaries- healthier ones.
We learn who and what is "for" us in challenges. Some of those same who's and what's might be "for us" in happiness, but not in darkness. Knowing this can set both parties free. We no longer have the surprise or disappointment because we let go of expectation and allow what is to take the place of what could be.
As I moved through my yesterday, I truly felt as though the work I'd been doing was paying off. It's like I woke up 10lbs lighter- even though my body was sick from my second vaccination, my mind was no longer leaden and my heart was ready to expand again.
F-Everyone is a new phrase I will call to mind when I feel that anger, attack or judgment creeping back in. FORGIVE everyone and feel lighter.
#forgiveness #relationships #learningthroughlife #evolvinghuman #authentichuman #believeinyourworthiness #radicalforgiveness #lightenup #maycausemiracles #beautifullife #separationisalie
It was another tough morning- but I got through it. The early angst about how to get back to that high vibe state caused me to lay there, in the darkness longer. It was long enough to realize a few good things in my life- amongst the many.
My youngest had fallen asleep in my arms. He's in that in between stage where he isn't quite ready to be a tween and he wants to watch horror flicks that scare me into nightmares. He's brave and still wants to be nurtured. Sometimes, when I reach back into the backseat of the car, he gently holds my hand while I drive.
There's a beautiful reason to wake up and face the day.
The coffee was strong and bitter, but it woke me just enough to remember I needed water. I'm on day two of a cleanse for my body and water is crucial for the supplements to help me detox.
The water with lemon oil was fresh enough to help me recall the trash that needed to be toted to the curb- and quickly- so that the stink from the week could be toted somewhere totally different- free from us.
It's not glamorous, but in my red plaid jammies from Christmas and my son's slide sandals, I trudged to the curb with the heavy plastic bins, filled with remnants of our consumerism. The breeze stirred my hair and the air felt lukewarm. Later, it would rain.
That was enough to remind me that I needed the therapy of a run.
On and on my day has gone- a ripple effect of one aware moment leading to another. It wasn't long before I ran my 20 minute Breakaway, run- that I realized I had more strength than I thought, and I found more awareness, more honesty.
Today, I vow to remain honest and aware, truthful and kind. Today, I realize that this existence- with it's flaws, challenges and triumphs- with it's stinking trash and polished counter tops is much more valuable than painting a picture of perfection that isn't mine to claim.
Today, I vow to perpetuate raw honesty as a form of beauty rather than the flashy smiles and artificial proverbs we see- bombarding us on the daily basis. I'd rather be known and help others feel safe to be known than to attract masses with my fairytale that only makes others look upon their lives with a sense of false insecurity. No one lives a fairy tale- and it's just that- a tale.
Today, I will appreciate that which I already have. Today I will appreciate my voice and my truth.
#honestyispowerful #lifeisperfectlyimperfect #copingwithchallenge #riseabovetheblues #truthfulhuman #authentichuman #spiritualjourney #separationisalie #weareone
There is a stirring inside my soul.
It wakes me with the sunshine. It plants my being into the earth, straightening my spine,
As I lift my heart and open my ribcage, the beat, beat, beat has begun a new rhythm.
It is freeing.
It is stretching my hair to the sky,
my soles to the ground,
my limbs to the east and west like the horizon.
In my once closed palms, there is a dust
blowing clean on the breeze
the remnants of heartache, I'd been carrying like two leaden weights
cracked open and dissolving at my feet
The realization that something solid was merely hollow
On my exhale, I release all anger, the resentment of realizing what I thought was real
I forgive and release.
I make space for new seeds, new growth, a hardier flower- one that will weather the winter of New England-
one that promises through wind and rain, snow and freeze that it will bloom in the spring time.
I step into a new day- one that hasn't been defined yet, one free of illusion.
I let go of that which held me down.
Love yourself today.
#forgiveness #authentichuman #emergencewellness #journeythroughthewilderness #bravehuman #spiritualawakening #eyeswideopen #openheart #truth #loveyourself #youareworthy #truebelonging #peacewiththepresent #lawofattraction #highervibrations
For the past two weeks, life has been very challenging. I've been stretched to the limit as a mother, a human, a friend. Simple tasks have been daunting. I have made mistakes that most aware human adults wouldn't make. Not life or death mistakes- but simple, stupid, frustrating ones.
I've been searching for the ways to navigate this heartache. My workouts have helped. Meditation has been more laborious, but helps when I get there. The sunshine has helped. Family has helped. Friends... well, truth be told, I only opened up to a few about what has been happening and one, only one, has reached out regularly to help. By help, I mean, simply checking in- showing love.
People are busy. Life is complicated. As I consider the rabbit hole of- am I not a good enough friend to others.... don't I deserve love and care? I remember three little girls I took under my wing for 2 and a half years for a friend as she struggled with cancer. I remember the family we delivered meals to and took time to invite their son so they could heal from injury. I recall the friend, who in a similar situation, we offered rides, food, childcare. I DO deserve good friends.
So, here I am... searching to understand why I feel so alone? I haven't forgotten my one person who has been like family and checked in every single day- since learning about what is going on. What of the others?
A Course in Miracles would say that every relationship is a mirror about how we feel about ourself. Maybe I've attracted this? Either way, the judgements I make now are also a reflection of myself. So, instead of judging and feeling isolated, I am vowing to make a different choice.
I am choosing to see love instead of anger. I can't promise that I'm not hurt and sad. Dear inner guide, please help me in this process.
I know that all friendships serve different purposes, and I am not crossing anyone off of my list. BUT, I am also learning through this. I'm sure there have been times my friends were in need and I didn't reach out enough- didn't show up for them. This is a lesson about who I want to be going forward for my friends. This is a lesson to have gratitude for the people who DO show up. A simple text- a lunch sent to the house, a hug emoji- small moments of care that let me know there is hope. This is a lesson to be patient but also, to recognize the place I hold for the people I thought loved me. For some, love maybe more conditional than I thought. For others, they may just be too busy to remember to show it. Either way, we are all human.
Tonight, I will spend more time in meditation. I will send light and love to all of my circles- knowing that I can't choose for others who they'll show up for me, but wanting in my heart, to be a truly loving friend no matter what. Tonight, I will focus my attention on gratitude for all I now learn.
Today, I see all of my relationships as learning opportunities.
#difficulttruths #authentichuman #spiritualgrowth #contrast #whoweare #evolvingspirit #friendships #whatisafriend #gratitude #painfulmoments #fairweather #highervibes #manifestingtruelove #unconditional
Intuitive mother, writer, teacher, wellness coach, daughter, wife, friend and advocate for true belonging and self love.