Taking Out the Trash

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It’s taken me over forty years to realize that there is only so much room in my life. It’s been necessary to make some tough decisions as to what stays and what gets kicked to the curb. Lately peace has moved to the top of my priority list.  I can no longer support or lend attention to anything that disrupts that peace. Our human relationships are so important and anyone or anything that purposely fuels a fire of discord rather than promoting healing will not get an ounce of my time or attention. Ego and peace cannot exist on the same plane. I am grateful that I have the power to turn off the tv, shut off the internet and move away from people who want to fight the good fight. I am a lover not a fighter and the world needs a piece of my heart, not a piece of my mind. I will make a difference even if it is subtle. I will be the change I wish to see in this great big, beautiful world. What part will you play? You have to decide.

Could It Be That Simple?

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After some really hard work, my inner voice has taken on a brand new tone. As I sat back in my pool float today, I actually heard these words inside my own head. “Relax kid. Enjoy your life”.  So that is my mantra for the week. We spend years pondering our purpose in life. Perhaps it is more simple than we ever imagined. Love hard, speak easy, be kind and enjoy the precious life you’ve been given. Have a blessed day.

You Are Already Enough

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I was looking through photos yesterday and I was amazed at how we change as time moves on. We don’t see it from day to day but compare this years picture to last and the evidence is there. So often I find myself saying, I”ll start tomorrow. I’ll do better tomorrow. I’ll be in a good mood tomorrow. Tomorrow’s find a way of sticking together and before I know it, years have gone by and I’ve missed out on celebrating today because I am always focused on what’s coming next. 

What if tomorrow doesn’t come? This is your reminder to be awesome today. Stick to the diet, go for the run, be the person you promised you’d be before you closed your eyes to go to sleep last night. You can do it today and everyday. Change is often so slight that we hardly notice it. We discourage ourselves by convincing our silly minds that one pound is not enough and one good day is barely noticeable. Celebrate those subtle changes everyday. Honor your accomplishes like they are the biggest thing you have ever achieved. Build yourself up and encourage yourself to keep going. Find the strength to say, I AM AMAZING EACH AND EVERYDAY and someone else’s standards will not define me or become my own. I don’t have to wait for tomorrow and who I am does not need to be conditional based on how I think I measure up or against someone’s unfair expectations of me. Those conditions hold me back. They make me feel like a failure because they blind me to all the wonderful things I do and the amazing person I already am. There is no need for perfection. We are already perfect just the way we are and there is no need to strive for something that is no more than a illusion created in our own minds. So again, today be amazing. Be you. Let the world adjust. In a world where our effort is ignored and perfection is the expectation, embrace your imperfection. It is the very thing that makes you real. You are already enough. 

Here’s Some Inspiration

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I cannot remember the last time I’ve been this touched. Please, if you need hope and inspiration read this until the end. The video I have attached is from a rivalry basketball game that took place Friday night. I am proud and my heart is grateful that this is the high school my kids attend. This moment, this memory is one that I hope stays with them forever. Watch as Lainy is given the opportunity to make the last shot of the game. Watch how the students react. There is hope and this is what it looks like. Spread the beauty you find in the world. We desperately need it. 
http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=18617136&sf54405649=1

You Are Not Who I Say You Are…I Am Not Who You Say I Am…

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It was just an ordinary day as I walked through the front door of the yoga studio. From the first moment I spent time in that sacred space, I knew it was special. To be honest, I’ve tried yoga at other places. It’s never been quite the same. What is it about that place that makes me feel so at peace, so at home? Sometimes I forget who I am. My true essence is buried someplace underneath the words people use to describe me. Why did I start to believe them?  I am not those words. Maybe to some degree they fit my behavior but I am so much more. More than they see, more than I show. I do it too and I never realized how destructive it was until today. We use adjectives to describe people. We don’t think twice to label them or share our opinion of who we think they are. I realized how much damage some of my own words must have caused, especially for some of the people I love the most. I am supposed to love them and protect them but somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten what my real purpose is in their lives. It’s not to judge or define them. It is to love and accept them exactly the way they are. Why is that so difficult? With each tick of the clock I feel more ashamed. Try as I may, I can’t shake this sadness that overwhelms me. Why do I have this need to define people, label them, assign names to them? You are a disgrace. You are lazy. You are selfish. You are annoying. Oh my God! As I type the words my stomach hurts. I am no better than the people I call out. Why is it not okay for them but fine for me?

 Then I got it today, why that studio feels so much like home. There are baskets by the door. Everyone undresses and leaves their shoes and socks and sweatshirts in them. We quietly peel off the labels and place them neatly in the drawers. We leave behind judgement and pride next to our keys. We are all vulnerable there. We are brave. We leave everything outside as we step into that dark room and close the door behind us. I am free. I can breath and the world is lifted off my shoulders. I smile as I lie down on my back. I think to myself, I am so happy to be here today. And then it dawns on me. No one is there to judge or define me and I am not there to do it either. For the next 60 minutes, I feel loved and important and worthy. I feel the weight of my body on my mat grounded into this precious earth. I feel the enormous power of my heart as I feel it beat inside of me. I am love. I am here to love. I have found myself again. This is me peeking out from behind the walls I put up to protect myself. This is me safe from the words people use to define me. I am safe here in my own body, connected to my soul and all I feel is love…

 Because I am love.

Sometimes I just forget…

 And I’m here to remind you that you are that same love too.

Good Morning

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Sometimes we are fortunate enough to catch a moment like this. We don’t plan for the sun to come up each morning, we don’t force it, we don’t will it, we can’t resist it. It just happens. The beauty of life unfolds all around us. It’s not about our plan. It’s about noticing every blessing, every gift. The miracles pulling on our pant leg begging for us to notice, reminding us we are not in charge. You can’t force love. You are love. I am love. Let it in and use your precious life to shine like a beacon. Be a place of hope and peace for the lost souls who need a place to call home. Have a blessed day and enjoy the beauty of this precious moment.

Pride or Love?

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Earlier, on the way home from a swim meet, I had a talk with my 17 year old daughter. She was explaining her despair and frustration over nasty girls leading her senior class. These girls are well liked, popular girls who do some really mean things to really good people.  Their example is unfortunately one being followed by the weaker minded people of the crowd. The nice girls who are good students and kind human beings are their victims. They go after them fiercely until they do whatever it takes in their power to run them down and make them an outcast. Tonight is their semi dance. It’s her senior year and she is deflated over making the decision to ride the senior party bus. She knows many riders are not her people but some of her friends wanted to be on it. The conflict is, some of her other friends are the victims. We are pulled to the party bus. We want to be with the in crowd, making headlines so we can say we were along for the ride. We want to hold our sign and pose for selfies so we can litter the internet with our powerful smile with the caption “there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” We talked about the parallel with what is going on in America now. The trade off is falling victim to wanting to be part of something bigger than ourselves because somewhere along the way, we have stopped feeling big enough alone. Innocent people are willing to play the part of pawns in a very dangerous game. We all want to be in a group that makes us feel like a badass. We love the energy generated by the whole power in numbers thing but sometimes, if we are not careful, we take it too far. It is in that shining moment when our ego gorges itself and we feel full and whole again. At least we pretend we do until the next party bus rolls on through and reluctantly, we step on because we’ve mistaken it for home. It is that moment when we’ve never felt more alone. We have to stop looking outward and to other people for a sense of self worth and purpose. We won’t gain it during a protest or a million person march. We certainly won’t find it on any party bus. You are good enough. It’s time to look in the mirror and say, I am enough. We all have a calling. We have gifts that we were given to make this world a better place. You can’t find love or force love. You are love. It is up to you to decide what you do with it. Love and power don’t mix. Love is selfless, it lifts others up and does not judge another as less that oneself. It does not march against but yet towards something greater for everyone. Love listens. Love hears the truth even when it hurts. Love does not force. Love does not purposely harm. Love does not divide. Pride does. My heart aches for my daughter tonight. I know the battle well and I understand how lonely it can feel to stand alone. I also know how awful it feels to dive in to a place head first where you were never meant to fit in. Love does not resist. Love leans in and reaches out. I hope she finds her people tonight. I hope they will recognize each other through the crowd and find some peace. Love seeks peace. Pride seeks fame and self. It’s up to you to understand the difference. 

Conditional

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This single word  pretty much sums up relationships today. Our support, our love, our forgiveness and even our time is conditional these days. We used to show respect for the sake of being respectful, we used to show kindness for the sake of being kind but now we pick and choose who is worthy of those things as if we are on a different level. Newsflash! This is an even playing field. It’s a shame that who we associate determines our worth in the minds of some. It’s a travesty that holding a particular position, education level or even embracing a particular mindset actually sets us apart from others. As if we are in competition and there’s some magical prize at the end. There is actually and it’s a decorative urn or a fancy casket. Time is running out. Each rotation of the hand of the clock leaves less time for us to get it right. This quote take us in the right direction. 

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

As Jennifer Pastiloff often says, “At the end of my life when I ask one final question, what have I done? Let my answer be, I have done love”.