Monthly Archives: March 2016

A death, a funeral and love.

As is always the case when someone dies—the coming together of people who have known a person at all stages of their life is so moving and poignant, that it becomes a deeply powerful experience.

Today I went to a funeral of a man who lived more than most.  He did some amazing things.  But as I sat there and listened to the sharing of stories and memories, I realized that it wasn’t about all the “things” he’d done or the businesses he’d built – it was about something more.

One of the eulogies given today was from a good friend who shared stories of their friendship.  As I listened to him I could feel the entire sanctuary fill with love.  You could hear it in his voice, how he looked out at the congregation, and with the words he shared.  As he sat down, all that kept coming to my mind was –

It is all about the love.

Every moment, every encounter, every experience we choose to have—is about love.

It’s the love of the smallest of moments.  It’s about being together and holding hands. It’s about hugs from our children. It’s about sitting at a table, having dinner with our closest friends.  It’s about beautiful sunsets and sunrises with those we love.  These are the moments that we’ll remember in our final days.  And, it’s these moments that others will remember about us.

We won’t remember the money in our pockets.  We won’t remember the fight we had last week.  We won’t remember the person who did something that hurt us.  No, when we take that final breath all that we will feel is love and all that will be felt about us is love.

So, tonight I’m sending my love to anyone who is going through a dark time.  I want to fill their heart with the love in my heart.  I want to help the person that no one wants to help.  I want to smile at everyone I know and unquestionably those I don’t know. I want to appreciate the moment I got frustrated with the clothes on the floor of my boys’ rooms.  I want to enjoy the ability to work and just experience life.

While I wish it didn’t take a funeral to do this, I plan to take some time to bask in the love I saw and felt today.  It reminded me that we should love every experience.  We should love every person who is in every moment of our lives.  And, we should love even those moments that feel sad, because, at the very least, we are able to experience an actual moment.

Open yourself up, be vulnerable, and you will see that there’s nothing more important than the message I heard today about life and death –

It is all about the love.

Have an amazing weekend!

The physical and emotional ruts of life.

It happens to us all – we fall into physical or mental ruts that feel flat, uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  We wonder why things feel so difficult.  And, we just don’t know where to start.

I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately.  This morning, laying in bed, I asked myself the obvious question: “If my mind and body are so powerful, why don’t I just make the changes I’m looking for?”  I laid there waiting for some inspirational or divine answer.  I heard absolutely nothing.  This forced me to just get out of bed and do that which I’ve been avoiding … I went swimming.

In the pool I thought about my nagging question: How can we get ourselves out of the ruts we find ourselves in from time-to-time?  With a million self-help books/articles, why do we still get stuck?

1. Ditch the happiness formula.

The beauty of being human is that each one of us is unique.  There is no one-size-fits-all formula for happiness.  What makes you happy may not make me happy.  Ignore those magazine articles and follow your own formula – be you.

2. Define your priorities.

I’ve spent a good part of my life being defined by others priorities: my parents, friends, kids and significant others.  But I never really got to know ME.  That’s the first step to getting unstuck.  And, remember that those priorities are dynamic and changing.  Continue to reassess where you are and where you choose to put your energy.

3. Find your purpose.

My son said to me the other day that he wants to have some purpose to his life – some legacy. I reminded him that life isn’t about a dream job or making money – it’s about connecting who you are with the life you want to lead – and then putting it out there for others to benefit from.  That’s a purposeful and joyful life.

4. Examine your relationships.

We have all types of relationships in our lives. And those relationships change over time – so they need to be adjusted too. We all need connection and in many different ways.  But we have to operate in those relationships in a way that’s true to our own internal expectations – not the expectations of others.  If you’re doing the latter – you’re likely stuck.

5. Embrace your fears.

We’re not good at separating out our fears from reality.  When you’re fearful about a change, ask yourself: “How can I experience this change in a way that feels safe to me?”  Maybe its small steps.  Maybe its a huge leap.  Maybe its asking someone to join you.  Fear is something we create, it is familiar and it keeps us stagnant.

Understanding your mindset is the first step to getting out of a rut.  No matter how long you’ve been there you can look through your fear and make a change.  Find your passion.  By doing something – anything – you’ll create the needed momentum to drive yourself out of that rut and full speed into your authentic life.

Have a great weekend!

Notes on Life. Guest Blogger Steve Johnson

Were he alive today, last week would have been my brothers 60th birthday. Garrison Keillor once said “When your brother dies, your childhood fades, there being one less person to remember it with, and you are left disinherited, unarmed, semi-literate, an exile. It’s like losing your computer and there’s no backup.”

As I thought on this, it reminded me of something I have told my children over the years (and always have tried to remember myself). For many things in life, we never know when they will end. We just don’t know when that last time, actually is the last time. Whether it’s a favorite place, or last shot in a pick up game, the last time you spend with a friend or loved one, or the last time your youngest child crawls up in your lap and asks you to read them a book. Only afterwards do we understand, then all too often it is too late to savor and fully appreciate what was.

If we can make the effort to recognize those things that are important to us, and treat them each time, like it was the last time, we will benefit two ways. First, we find ourselves more grateful and it makes the experience richer and the memory more clear. And secondly, we find we still might miss it later, but we have fewer regrets about it passing from our lives.

All things do end, a brother, a teaching career, your children being young; good and bad, they pass from our lives into our memories. In a busy focused life, too many times these things pass unrecognized. So today I will try to live the advice I gave my children, “Every time, take those things in life that give you greatest meaning and treat them as if it were the last time.”

Have a good weekend my friends, “Carpe Diem.”

My life lessons from my very unpleasant bout with the flu.

I’m now eating my first bite of food in 48 hours.  It’s not been pleasant here.  But, in my continuing quest to see the good in the not-so-good, I’ve learned a few life lessons over these last two days:

  1. I literally spent 6 hours on the floor of our bathroom when it first started.  In and out of consciousness, exhaustion and visiting what I wish had been a clean porcelain bowl.  But, oh my friends who have suffered through chemotherapy, my heart breaks thinking about you. I want you to know how sorry I am that I didn’t fully understand it all. I knew that my flu would eventually go away. But you had to endure it every two weeks – for months. You knew it was coming and couldn’t stop it.  I am going to pray every day that we find a better way to treat C or we get rid of it all together. I’m thankful to have a teeny tiny reminder of your experiences. I will be more compassionate than I ever have been before.
  2. My boys were late for school these last two days. Why? Because I do too much s*** around here. It’s not their fault. And, to their defense, they were helping me too. I love my mom role. But college is around the corner and this was a good wake up call for us all. Lesson learned.
  3. I need to keep my bathroom clean.
  4. I need to teach them how to clean the bathroom.
  5. I need to keep seven-up in the house at all times. (Thanks Dad for dropping it off for me.)
  6. I have beautiful trees in my backyard.  I rarely sit on the couch and do nothing (well, I did keep working a little bit 🙂 )But, I didn’t turn on the TV – not once. Instead, when I wasn’t running to the bathroom, I looked out the window and felt the sun on my face.  Warm and peaceful. I also listened to the last interview Maurice Sendak did with Terry Gross and I cried my eyes out. It reminded me that I am so lucky. So fortunate to be here. Sick or not. That my world — our world — is beautiful and complicated and loving and sad. And, that even though I felt like s***, I knew I could still look outside my window and see beauty and feel happy.

I hope you don’t catch the flu this season.  But I guess I’m glad I did.  It made me stop and reflect and gain a new perspective.

I also hope you have a chance to listen to this interview of the late Maurice Sendak.  It’s five minutes. But, it’s the most beautiful and tear jerking reminder of the beauty of life – no matter what you believe. I can’t say this enough – In the end, it’s really all about our life relationships and love for one another.   XOXO