“If the mountain were smooth, you couldn’t climb it.”

I’m watching someone close to me struggle.  I know this is a chance for growth but my heart breaks watching it.  What is it about struggle that we try to avoid?  We know intuitively that not having trials leads to a kind of shallow, compassion-less life.  So, why not run head first into trials?  Why do we try to help our loved ones (and ourselves) avoid them?

We are all on this journey called life.  We are here to learn, to grow and to become better people.  We are here to experience all the emotions we can.  Yet, while I can say that, I can also say that I’m looking for love and joy and peace.  I’m not looking for pain and hurt and tears.

Maybe we don’t know what to do when we have a trial or when our loved ones are struggling.  I know many people who, when they are in a difficult spot will lash out at others. They’ll feel sorry for themselves.  See themselves as the victim.  Know anyone like that? 🙂

Haven’t you ever met someone who just “can’t get a break”?  Or they ask you, “Why do these things always happen to me?”   Why does it seem that some people just attract negative circumstances?  I think it’s because they never learn from their trials.  And because they never learn, the same things happen over and over again.  The definition of insanity …

On the other hand, there are others – those who I want in my life long-term – that are different.  They handle trials differently. They believe that trials help them learn and grow.  They embrace challenge and face hardship and they often ask themselves, “What am I supposed to learn from this?”   Those are people who take ownership and are able to move forward.

So, with my loved one – I know I must be patient and grateful for this life challenge. I can put my support and my hand out there but I know that if life were always smooth, there would be no perspective – no empathy.  Thus, with a deep breath, I watch and wait.

What has happened to you this last year?  Maybe you had tragic loss. Maybe small hurts that added up to a big hurt.  Maybe so much on your spinning plate that it sometimes dropped and broke.  When you think of these things, think of how you’ve endured, how you’ve grown, how you’ve learned and what joyous moments have occurred in the midst of those painful things.

It’s exquisitely beautiful, and sometimes painful, this life.  And those trials  – well, I guess it’s just evidence of being alive and having yet another opportunity for growth and clarity. Hard not to want to continue on that path. 🙂

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Why you can’t solve the world’s problems, nor all the ones on your front door step.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” ~Pema Chodron

I’m a fixer.  I want to solve all the world’s problems.  Those of my kids, my friends, and even those in the world (hence my umbrella project, for those of you in the know).  And we have this belief that when our loved ones are in pain, that should trump everything – even our own needs.  Their pain gets our top priority, and whatever goals and dreams we’ve been working are put to the wayside as we help them.  I used to think that was love.  Sacrificing of myself.  It is but as the old saying goes – “too much of a good thing ….”

This form of self-sacrifice has always come naturally to me.  I’m lucky, right?  I’m an inherent caregiver.  So transparent that I even surprise myself at times.  You know those caretakers in your life.  The ones who make you feel safe and cared for.  The ones who can be there and listen at just the right moment.  

But, as with anything, there are some downsides to trying to solve so many problems. It’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming nature of taking it all on.  I get that sometimes love calls on us to invest our energy and time into tending to another’s pain.  But at what cost?  That’s the big issue here – can you take care of yourself and others at the same time?  If not, it’s time to pay attention to this issue.

While it seems like chaos out there, we are not (and cannot) be responsible for the world’s pain.  We can give of ourselves and can look internally at what we can do to make a difference – but there’s no magic healing powder we can sprinkle on every person walking in our sphere.  I wish it were that easy.

Compassion may mean saying no sometimes.  Generosity has to have some of it allocated to the giver.  And Kindness – well some should be reserved for the one who is giving it out.  Saying yes to your own needs will obviously mean learning to say no to others who have become accustomed to our availability and accommodation.  This is hardest with your closest family members who have come to rely on you (Dad – not talking about you here!).  So recognize the guilt you might feel but don’t allow it to make your decisions

Look, I’m thankful that I have the ability to be transparent (very) and can be a giver … a wound-tender.  Sometimes blindingly so.  But even I need to tend to myself at times.  So friends, this is my gentle reminder that you all should do the same.  

Yes, give your love freely and deeply.  But, also give it freely and deeply to yourself.


He said I was being judgmental.

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.”  Sri Chinmoy

Last night a friend called and asked why I hadn’t written in a while.  I spewed a million reasons and then he said, “They all sound like you judging yourself rather than letting us decide if we want to read your stupid shit.”

Out of the mouths of friends! 🙂

After we got off the phone, I realized that I was doing to myself what we seem to be immersed in — in our backyard and in our world — judging.  All we do is judge – people, feelings and situations – based on color, money, political preference, status, gender, etc.  It’s killing us – literally.

Think about the times you’ve been disrespectful or judged someone. We all have.  Saying something that might hurt another’s feelings.  Been rude to the person on the phone, just trying to help you solve a problem.  You know what I’m talking about.  I can hear myself doing it (my kids can hear it too) but I don’t always stop.

Why are we judging?  Because our attention is focused on the person we’re judging or treating badly.  What we need to do at that moment is turn our attention to ourselves and when you do – watch … you negative thoughts fade.  Why?  Because it’s easier to judge another than look at our own s***.

Judging comes from fear, jealousy, lack of understanding, impatience … and yes, the biggest reason of all … our egos.  For me, once I start judging all the goodness leaves my mind and all I’m left with is “Isn’t she awful.  Isn’t that bad, wrong ….”  There is no joy or happiness there.  Ego lives on resisting acceptance of ourselves and others.

I can’t change the world (I can barely manage my own!).  I can’t stop the anger of the “lives matter” movements.  I can’t change innocent people dying around the world.  But I can practice acceptance of other stories. I can learn to accept differences unconditionally.  I can learn to keep my ego in check and be open to life outside my little world.

If we truly don’t want to be judged and we want to be accepted and loved unconditionally, then we must stop judging others.  We must stop saying one life is more important than another.  We must try to understand other stories and opinions.  We must accept that there are differences.  Sometimes we must reduce and eliminate those differences.  Sometimes we must let others think as they want – even if it’s different.  We can’t all be the same.

Judging does nothing positive.  Why?  Because we all know intuitively that what we put out there (anger, disdain, ego) is what we’ll get back.

Sometimes our mind needs more time to accept what our heart already knows. Let’s breathe. Be a witness.  Listen to your intuition.  And, always look for love.

I miss you all.  XOXO