What Child Is This?

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Child’s pose has become one of my personal resting poses in yoga. As I kneel down and bow my head, my inner child starts to speak. We all have one, but has her voice become muffled by all the other distractions? My inner child is like a super hero. Her faith is strong. She still believes in fairytales and is amazed by acts of courage. She has hope beyond comprehension. She really believes in happy endings and healthy relationships. The adult voice in me tries to get her to quiet down. There are no fairy tales. Life is hard. People are selfish. They sabotage their own happiness. They feel comfortable in misery and drama and they blame everyone else for the demise they bring to their own lives.

Imagine how different I would be if that was the only voice I ever heard. Imagine how hopeless my life would seem if my inner child lost the ability to speak. Children live well. There eyes are like gigantic fountains of love and wonder. They trust and believe and they feel happiness that most adults will never know. They think less and live more. It’s easy for me to choose which side I want to be on. Maybe the child in me believes in things that aren’t real. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we need to believe in something that so many others no longer see. Today, and this Christmas season, let your child have a voice. Laugh, love and most importantly, don’t forget to play. No child should be left behind so don’t forget to bring along yours either.

Will You Show Up?

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I’ve blogged about my daughter being a swimmer before. Now that she’s in high school, we don’t do a lot of meets outside of the school league. Today is an exception. As I climbed the stairs to the pool, I let out an exasperated sigh. The truth is I dread these meets. They are long and especially hard on the back. You can sit there for hours at a time and my daughter maybe swims for a total of 5 minutes.

You know how I love those lessons that sneak up on me when I’m not looking for them? Today was one of them. What if our lives were like a lifelong swim meet? What if we walked into the event of our life full of dread and a bad attitude? What if we were so focused on being uncomfortable that we forgot to look up when it was our time to swim? What if we missed the whole event while we were busy being mentally carried away by our own negativity? Is it possible to live a lifetime of years and never look up long enough to catch the moments that matter?

I am grateful for each and every lesson that comes. The timing is always just perfect and I smile to myself and think, okay I got this one. Time for another. Pay attention. The people and circumstances that pop up are there for you to learn. With each lesson you grasp, your life becomes a little more clearer and I promise you do start to live better. That is my wish for everyone reading this today, that each and every one of us starts to live better. That we show up when it is our time to swim and we swim like we’ve never moved before. That we find the stamina and the strength and the pure determination to be where we are and be there fully. Show up for your life before it’s too late.

Music, The Universal Language

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I was riding in the car the other day when I asked my son if he knew who was singing the song on the radio. I’ll give you a hint. The song was Blue Christmas and the voice is a legend. Guess it yet? I explained to him that everyone should know the voice of Elvis. Music is amazing in that it brings all kinds of people together. What a beautiful gift, don’t you think? We teach history year after year and if you ask me I say why bother? Sometimes when we pass the past down through generations, we remain stuck there and I am a big supporter of living in the here and now. Music is timeless. It spans over lifetimes and reaches people in a way most things can’t. It joins us all together and never divides. There is nothing more beautiful than people of all nationalities and color raising there voices together in song. So yes, maybe a little less history and a lot more music is the answer. What do you think?

Awkward Silence

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Today was my last day of physical therapy. I am feeling much better than the first day I walked in. I learned a very valuable lesson there about the
importance of a greeting. Each day, one of three workers would come in to do ultrasound therapy on my neck and back. One woman in particular made me feel very uncomfortable. She would enter the room and not speak. Yes, I mean not one single word. She would start working on my back and I felt reduced to an object like the table I was leaning against. It never occurred to me how greetings and acknowledging someone’s presence when entering a room would directly affect how someone feels about themselves. Not only did it make me extremely uncomfortable, but the fact that she did not even acknowledge me as a fellow human being was demeaning in itself. So, please join me in always speaking when either entering a room and seeing someone for the first time that day or when someone else enters the room you are in. If you didn’t know better before, well, now you do. It’s not only polite to be friendly but it also alleviates any unnecessary tension that inappropriate silence can bring.

Winning Isn’t Everything

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Sure, that’s what they tell us when we don’t win. Keep your chin up, hold your head high and know you did your very best. If winning isn’t everything, then what is it exactly?

I have watched my son play basketball for five years. In that five year period, I have watched him lose nearly every single time. I have watched him leave his blood and sweat and every ounce of strength he had out on that court. I have watched him stare at the scoreboard each and every time the score was close. I have watched him fight back tears of disappointment every car ride home while we told him he did a great job. I have watched him question how he could lose every game when he played with his entire heart. As a parent, it ripped at my heart. When the color would drain from his face and I could see the disappointment in his eyes, I could feel my heart break inside my chest. Every year I’d tell him “this is the one” and every year would play out exactly the same disappointing way. He loved playing basketball but was it really worth all the pain? We tell ourselves it’s about the lesson and learning to persevere when the stakes are high. The truth is, nobody wants to lose. It doesn’t feel good ever and the only thing it reinforces is we can give something our very best and our best may never be good enough.

I write a lot about balance. I think when it comes to winning, balance is important too. It can’t be good to win every time or to lose every time. Both teach valuable lessons. Both are important. Tonight my son had his first middle school game. The odds were stacked against us and I must admit it was a miracle that put us one point ahead at the end of that game. Tonight, winning meant everything to my little boy. All his hard work, all his disappointment replaced in a single moment with a winning score. Tonight my heart is full and I will fall asleep with a smile on my face. Yes, winning isn’t everything but it sure feels good.

Change Starts With You

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My mom and I had a conversation this morning that really started me thinking. This time of year we can’t help but remember the people we loved who are no longer in this world. It’s a time of reflection when the heart yearns for those we loved who used to be such a prominent part of the lives we once knew. I say don’t fight it. Let the memories come rushing in and sit in the pain. Be there for awhile and visit with it. Let your heart feel the love as the tears roll down your cheeks. Honor the memory of the people who have made a difference in your life and take time to let your heart heal. To feel is to heal and sometimes we forget how powerful that can be. After a good hurt or a good cry, we become whole again and find the strength to carry on.

The more I think about death and the pain that separation brings , the more I am reminded of how the scars on our hearts eventually cause us to lose our own desire to live. Sure, we exist day after day but only by remaining comfortably numb while we are robbed of the precious days and years we have left. I grieve for the loss of the ones who are still in this world but who have given up on life. You know the ones, the few that can no longer see anything good. The ones whose hearts have grown hard and eyes just stare blankly ahead, the signs of life and wonder stripped from the very eyes that used to be filled with life and love. It happens slowly over time, so slowly we don’t even notice and until one day we wake up feeling empty and there’s not a single thing left that could ever reach far enough across the barrier to bring us back to who we once were. Every life is a gift. Every person matters to someone. What will you do with the gift of your life? Will you quietly exist in limbo until you eventually die or will you emotionally and spiritually shut yourself off like you are already dead? You do have a choice. For some, that choice is medication. For others, maybe it is escaping a relationship that has drained the very breath we breathe. But for most, it is taking the time to take an honest look inward and acknowledging the only person we can really change is ourself. You will not find the answers pointing at others. The answers are right there inside of you if you are brave enough to just ask the questions that really do have the power to change the entire course of your life. What can YOU do today to start to think differently and feel differently? What lies have you been telling yourself to remain stuck in a prison you have created all by yourself? Change starts with you, one thought at a time, one change in behavior at a time. Baby steps are so much better than walking backwards. Take a leap of faith and be the change. Be the person you were meant to be. Find the happiness you deserve to feel. It comes down to a simple choice. I pray you make the one that can change the quality of your life. I am rooting for you. I hope you are too.

And It’s Only 12:00

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Today is a crazy day. Dropped the kids at school, stopped by for a much needed yoga class and managed to remember to bring home some cat food. I cut up the onions and the peppers in between changing loads of laundry and vacuuming every room. My mind is racing ahead thinking about what to pack and I’m mentally trying to fit all the gifts and clothes into the suitcases that seem to shrink a little more every year. I still have sausage to cook and a basketball game to catch before I rush off to see Kayleigh swim. Everything is moving so fast. I am grateful for days like this one that afford me the mental discipline and the physical stamina to get everything done while maintaining a positive attitude as I check each thing off the list.

It is a busy time of year. I have finally learned to pace myself. I do not procrastinate and the days my body is hurting and screaming for rest, I have learned not to push. And days like today, when the excitement of Christmas has me on an addictive high, I do as much as I can. That’s what it is all about. Observing yourself and learning to work with your own mind and body instead of against it. When that inner voice is screaming slow down, listen. And when the voice is screaming full speed ahead, then press on!

Go easy on yourself. Observe your thoughts and how you feel on a given day. Don’t judge, just watch and eventually you will find your flow.

The Happy Side of Life

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Sometimes life hits you right between the eyes with a valuable lesson and this time it happened literally. I was speeding through the house today trying to get it all cleaned up, thinking about how this time of year causes two extremes. I know for me, it is a time I feel excessively happy. I am very aware of each and every blessing in my life and it is easy for me to feel an immense amount of gratitude. For others though, this is a time of year that brings intense sorrow, anger and resentment. It is a time one can feel that dark pit of hopelessness and long for a time long ago when it was happiness and joy that filled their hearts.

Back to the cleaning part! There I was scrubbing my toilet and singing along with the Christmas tunes, when all of a sudden it hit me right between the eyes. Splash, toilet water hit me right in the eye. I had a choice. I could get disgusted and angry and allow it to set the mood for the rest of my day or I could laugh it off and make a conscious decision to just let it go and be happy. Sometimes it really does come down to a choice. How will you choose to feel today? Will you count all the blessings in your life or will you make a mental note of all the things that keep going wrong? You do have a choice and I really hope you choose the list that will gently nudge your mood to the happier side.

How About A Break?

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I’ve noticed that the same people who get easily annoyed at the actions of others cannot handle criticism of their own actions. Most are so focused on watching and waiting for some negative behavior of the people around them that they just don’t see or recognize it in themselves. The double standard is offensive. I can honestly say I am just as hard on myself as I am anyone else. I take a moment on a daily basis to look at myself and honestly recognize what I need to do better. But, do others even consider looking as critically at themselves as they do everyone else? From my own personal experience I would have to guess no.

Next time you feel annoyed with someone else, instead of speaking up about it, pause for a second and be grateful for all the times someone chose to overlook your flaws and make the choice to look for something good. When you wait to point out every annoying thing, you are making a choice to feel generally annoyed. Do you want someone to do the same to you? Be gentle and give others a break.

Which One Are You?

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The world needs people to be better, not bitter. Spread something positive like the warmth of your smile. Try and see the good in people even when it seems hopeless. What you look for is what you will find. The question is, what will you look for?