The Creator in all of us

Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you express this creative potential, you can start changing the world. -Paulo Coelho

Last night I attended a Creativity Boot Camp, which was a fun creative outlet that led to this post. I do believe we all have creators within us and I want to bring that to the forefront of anyone questioning their potential, their ability, their purpose, direction, etc.

Lets think about a great creative—off the top of my head, I go to Mozart. There are stories about him walking outside and his mind being filled with inspiration, complete musical pieces swirling around and landing within him to bring into this world.

He also had a bit of a muse…a starling bird he named, “Star.” According to Linda Lynn Haupt & her new book, Mozart’s Starling, On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang an improvised version of the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Sensing a kindred spirit in the plucky young bird, Mozart bought him and took him home to be a family pet. For three years, the starling lived with Mozart, influencing his work and serving as his companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.

I genuinely love the beautiful idea of inspiration simply flowing and being readily available to someone who invites in creativity, whether it be bird or man. What an incredible gift. I do believe we all have the ability within us. We just have to be available and willing to be inspired.
BE OPEN TO POSSIBILITY.

TIPS that I CREATED from my Class:

Happy Brain. Happy Life.

UTILIZE YOUR BRAIN and its POWER: begin by taking care of yourself and creating a high performance mind. Get enough sleep, Eat great foods, Exercise, Take time to meditate, walk or wander, Continue to always learn and surround yourself with people smarter than you.

TIPS for your BRAIN According to Harvard Health:

Mental Stimulation: Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, try “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.

Exercise: exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic, and adaptive, which translates into better performance

Also suggested good nutrition, lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar and cholesterol, avoid tobacco and alcohol, and care for your emotions and build your social circles. All good things for better brain health. 

LEARN FROM MASTERS: Whether that is reading a good biography, talking to people online who are experts in their field of study, joining a group of some kind or merely reaching out to someone who is doing what you desire to do and learning from them by asking questions, inquiring on how things are done, etc. DONT be afraid to reach out—they are just people! I was trying to create a musical screen play & who better to ask questions than the screen writer from the movie Mamma Mia. I literally did my homework and found a way to get in touch with her for her thoughts and advice on how to move my idea forward. She was an incredible human being that was open and willing to help share direction. It was a wonderful and meaningful exchange. Remember: they are just people and people usually love to help, if possible. Learn from the masters.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”- Marie Curie Learning: taking the time to get even better at something. They say if you do something for 15 minutes a day, some say 10,000 hours to become an expert, some say that it is the quality of time practiced over quantity, etc. I believe if you want to get good at something—begin. You will not learn anything if you don’t begin. Begin. Practice. Become.

“Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

PLAY: Creativity opens a space of opportunity. We often live in schedules and rigid deadlines, so offering a space of time to just let go, get creative, play in some way is incredible nourishment for the soul. Play is so important as a child, so why or how does that change so much as an adult. It doesn’t. It is just worked out of us or responsability works it right out of us & the spontaneity and play we seek gets lost in the day to day. When play is part of the day to day, then everything is better. Creativity becomes part of the equation and a bigger part of a greater solution to a better, balanced, happier life.

A creative exercise I found online: Tim Brown’s amazing 2008 TEDTalk Tales of Creativity in Play in which he talks about this next exercise. Created by Bob McKim of the Stanford Design Program, the 30 circles exercise is simple in practice and quick to complete. Each participant is given a piece of paper with 30 blank circles on it, a pencil and 3 minutes on the clock.  You are challenged to fill in as many circles as possible- with the aim being quantity, not quality. Maybe all your circles are variations on a theme, perhaps they are all emojis … your one goal was to fill out as many as possible. Then, after the exercise, share and reflect what similarities there were and encourage collaboration. The motive behind the 30 circles is to stop yourself from self-censoring. When you go for quantity, you don’t have time to think your idea is bad, you can edit later. This is the stage where creativity flourishes.

Real life example of work, play and the benefits: Look at Google and its foosball tables and beach volleyball. Having fun and playing around engage the creative side of the brain, helping people work better. A Stanford study found that getting up and walking around unleashes creativity, and even something as simple as zoning out and daydreaming can set the creative fires ablaze, according to neuroscience. -Inc

CONNECT: “Creativity is just connecting things.” – Steve Job Your mind needs to learn how to connect ideas, senses, emotions, a collection of experiences to take you to a new way of thinking. Creativity is an extension of everything within you.

A creative exercise from the class: You find a picture online that you are drawn to—aka a room that tells a story, a person in an old photograph, a scene, etc. You then begin to create a list. The list begins telling the story, creating characters, touches the senses in some way…the story of the picture begins to have pieces that then fit together and connect in some way. It comes alive.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein

CURIOSITY: See where the ideas land. Make lists of brainstorming ideas as a starting point. The leader talked about Mindmapping in various ways. Whether you are creating characters for a story, creating an interior design project, contemplating a new way of doing something….begin with a map of ideas. Get curious. Think outside every box, come up with crazy, imaginative and over-the-top out there ideas and then begin to build your creative directions.

A creative exercise we were given in class–“Driving with Ben” the idea was to get curious and see things from a different perspective…a car ride with Ben Franklin. The premise was that Ben just popped into this time period and you were showing him around town. What would you show him? What would he wonder about? What would he be curious about? Objects, inventions, spaces, architecture, cars, textures, etc.

“Variety is the spice of life. We all want surprises.” -Tony Robbins

VARIETY: You have heard the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” Well, it is, especially if you are desiring growth, creativity, you want to step out of your norm or the daily grind of life. Begin trying a variety of things that challenge, inspire, push you beyond your current state and help you stretch to various parts of you. Whether you want to challenge your body and desire to enter a fun run or maybe you want to enter a piece into an art show or maybe you want to explore a new town for a possible photo shoot—variety is the spice of life. When you chase new experiences there is only space for personal growth and creativity.

A creative exercise I found online: Go to a bookstore or library and explore a section completely unrelated to your job or the books you normally read. Choose a book and read it to see what new knowledge you can glean. Learning about disciplines that are different from your own can introduce you to new ways of managing your work.-Indeed

“Some wander to get lost and some wander to find themselves.”

WANDER: Wandering to me is simply just letting yourself explore, seek, find, spend time mostly alone, for the sake of just simply being. Seek and find your inner creator. Notice details around you, fall in love with the quiet steps in all you do during a good wander. Use your senses to instill the sights and sounds you experience. Be present to the gifts that abound around you.

A creative exercise I found online: Go on a field trip out of the office. Explore a local garden or walk around downtown to see what new ideas or concepts you discover through a change of scenery. Even the act of having a meeting in a new place can spark original ideas. -from Indeed

KEEP THE MIDSET of BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE: OR better yet, “I’M POSSIBLE” It is a view point. You can look at obstacles, growth, change and say it one of two ways—IMPOSSIBLE or I’m POSSIBLE. It does matter what you believe. You can tell yourself many things. What are you telling yourself. Are you saying you don’t know how to be creative…you are not smart enough to start something…you don’t have the skills, etc. Evaluate those ideas and statements that you are telling yourself. Get your ideas flowing with positive talk…I’M POSSIBLE thinking…

Think about this–how can you truly begin to create and imagine and brainstorm IF you are only thinking small thoughts and ideas OR even worse, negative thoughts and ideas. Nothing creative comes from a small, inner creative critic. The very definition of To Create is to bring (something) into existence OR cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s action.

HOW can you bring anything into existence IF you cannot see the impossible, the bigger dreams, the ideas that desire to be brought into this world because you are stuck in a small place within your own mind. Free the ideas, bring out the I’M Possible and create possibility in all you do.

A creative exercise we were given in class: “10 Ideas a day”. Write down 10 ideas of something you want to create, learn, adventure into, inspiration, anything that gets your ideas bubbling.

CREATIVITY COMES IN MANY COLORS & SPACES FOR EVERYONE: Sometimes you need to step away for the creativity to come. Inc did an article on people finding creative moments and these are some of the many situations shared: “So I take a three-mile walk, and it’s during that hour away from my desk, when I have my best creative ideas. My head de-clutters and I start thinking clearly, and coming up with ideas.” “I find I get my best ideas when I’m making food! I think it’s because when I make food I tend to forget about everything else. I get lost in the process of the making and I think that gives my brain a rest. When it’s resting, my brain gives me its best ideas.”-Kat Quinzel. “I solve problems for my business under water. No phone. No internet. No talking. No noise pollution. Just the sound of breathing through my regulator, the calming lull of the ocean and my thoughts. The deeper and darker I’m able to go (safely, of course), the more hyper-focused I must be of my surroundings and actions, and thus, the more hyper-focused my thoughts become. There’s nothing like going down to 120 feet, looking down past the drop-off into the abyss, and thinking of a solution to a problem I’ve been struggling with for a while.” -Brain Li. “My best ideas generally take place when I’m at a quiet milkshake shop late at night, with an excellent-tasting milkshake and a comic book. It sounds odd, but it always works! I love milkshakes and I love comic books, so the combination of both definitely gives a surge of all kinds of positive energy and motivation. And I’m sure the giant-size carb boost and creative reading material help. The more chocolatey the shake, the better!” -Michael Freeby Photography. Other creatives mentioned while walking their dog, listening to music, mowing their lawn, swimming and I would say in the shower or the 3am magic hour.

Hope these ideas help instill and inspire your inner, creative greatness. Just begin. Move towards your own brilliance and shine.

Peace. love and light. -H

The Ups and Downs

My beautiful daughter is experiencing her first year of college and the past couple of weeks has been a genuine ride of emotions. So many firsts in this first year—that I could truly understand the quote, “Life is a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs, its thrills and terrors, and every once in awhile it just randomly breaks down.”

My daughter has been in tears multiple times in the last couple of weeks. She is in tears without knowing why she is feeling so down. It breaks my heart and the mom part of me just wants to take her off the roller coaster and give her a needed break.

Emotions are a real thing, so when I was reading the book, HEAL, by Kelly Noonan Gores there is a part about depression and anti-depressants: “Its true for antidepressants and other psychiatric medications, which we now know can actually promote long-term experiences of depression.”

It is a crazy thing to think about—our body may get a natural dose [or lack of something that causes] depression, so society goes to the doctor & they prescribe an anti-depressant. The body COULD naturally create a solution on its own through balancing natural chemicals that come from being in nature, exercise, service, etc. [granted not all situations can naturally, but…]I thought it is interesting how because the body takes the anti-depressant it almost becomes dependent on the person taking it, so it promotes depression in the body, so the med has something to fix. It begins an inevitable cycle of depression that stays in the body. Wow!

Something inside me clicked. I have been reading about Oxytocin (Kissing, love chemical) because my daughter has been recently experiencing her first real relationship that involves kissing, so another aha moment chimed in to how this chemical is playing in her system. Then she is a week before her period, so she has her usually monthly hormone cycles kicking in and then you throw in additional stress hormones into the mix and my poor daughter is going up and down with cycles of emotion and internal chemicals. No wonder she is a mess. Her body cannot keep up with everything.

This got me needing and wanting to figure out some solutions to find natural ways to help balance out the body in times of stress, emotions, the ups and downs of life.

I have been telling my daughter to do those things that are going to help balance her out—Get outside and into nature. Do some body movement, exercise, even yoga. Eat healthy foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. Get outside of yourself and serve someone to receive the natural, endorphins of chemicals in the body. Listen to upbeat, mood lifting music. Read something positive like affirmations. Take a warm shower, be in water. Be still & meditate.

DIET: In the book, HEAL, Lifestyle medicine expert Dr. Mark Emerson explains how, through diet, many Americans are poisoning themselves into disease…we are ingesting things we are just not designed for, such as genetically modified foods, chemical pesticides, processed foods, preservatives, refined sugars and factory-farmed animal products, to name a few. All of these kill our microbiome, disrupt our hormones and inflame our gut. Our body deals with these offending items as best as it can, but there’s going to come a point where chronic, repetitive bad behavior catches up with us. That’s what he calls the tipping point. “Cancer doesn’t happen overnight; its a progressive, decade-oriented thing. It takes awhile to get cardiovascular disease. It takes a while to develop diabetes. Its just the sum of the parts of all the harmful things we are exposed to or doing to ourselves. It’s a toxic environment that we’re introducing to the inside of our bodies, and that’s manifesting in different diseases.”

He recommends eating a whole-food, plant based diet. “A whole-food, plant-based diet means eating unprocessed, predominantly plant-based food. That means vegetables and fruits and whole grains and legumes, essentially all the foods that are nutrient rich with phytonutrients and antioxidants. Eat food as grown: eat it how it comes out of the ground.

The PHYSICAL BODY is also meant to help us process emotions

Remember: Your body needs to be your best friend. Act like that. Say kind words, think positively about how it works and is able to process, play, work,

“The truth is, the body never attacks itself, and the body loves itself unconditionally. It’s working for you all the time, no matter what, and it’s your best friend.” -Anthony William

Occasional FASTING: “They are finding that seven days of fasting can result in a year’s worth of repair on the digestive tract. According to Kelly, scientific research has shown that after three days of fasting, all of our major organ systems start self-cleaning. Your liver will dump all its old bile and regenerate fresh bile, and your heart will clean itself. The reason fasting works is that we spend so much energy every day digesting food. When we remove that task from the daily agenda, our body’s natural intelligence immediately uses that freed up energy to repair any damage to the tissues of the body and reset itself by dumping toxins in a big way.” -Heal

NATURE: Seeing nature has healing effects, but getting out into is even better. “The actual contact with the great outdoors is even more remarkable. Earth’s surface possesses a limitless amount of free electrons of a negative charge. Many studies have shown that when our bare feet come in contact with the earth’s surface (also called grounding or earthing), we absorb a large amount of these antioxidant negative ions through the soles of our feet; these ions have the power to neutralize free radicals and thereby reduce chronic or acute inflammation. -Heal

Studies show that grounding for as little as twenty minutes a day can impart tremendous health benefits, which include improved sleep, faster wound healing, reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, reduced pain, and of course, reduced inflammation.-Heal

“Forest Bathing” or taking a walk outside while tuning in to nature. A study concluded that the practice is linked to stress relief, lower anxiety, lower blood pressure and more. -Heal

Spending time in the mountains in higher elevations our blood actually becomes more alkaline. The alkalinity is a key factor, because we know when our bodies are alkaline they are less hospitable to opportunistic viruses, bacteria, colds, flus, things like that. -Heal

Water, whether swimming or soaking is also good for us. The minerals in the water, such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, bromide, iodine and sulfate all get absorbed into the skin. They have a detoxifying effect and have been known to speed up wound healing, reduce pain, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, stimulate lymphatic drainage, and alleviate skin disorders. -Heal

Even being near water, “Our brains are hardwired to react positively to water…being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.” -Heal

Young blonde woman meditating in the park

BE STILL: “Ancient practices such as yoga and meditation are two ways to help bring our bodies back into balance. Science is now proving that these aren’t just spiritual practices; they have real, quantifiable, beneficial physiological effects on the body as well. Yoga improves balance, endurance, flexibility, circulation, and strength, as well as greater body and breath awareness. Meditation relieves stress and anxiety, strengthens your immune system, and releases healing chemistry in the body.” -Heal

Life is an ebb and flow of so many directions, feelings, emotions, not to mention that we are each individuals with very different paths, chemicals, experiences, stories. We need to be gentle with ourselves and do those things that are going to call on a higher place within us to help us break through barriers of depression, anxiety, stress and fear. A place that can lift us spiritually. A place that can feed and nourish our bodies and souls with what they need on every level.

Life will have its ups and downs, but it is how we handle the journey that will truly matter in the end. Make it a path full of good things that will truly fill you up with what you need. xoxo

-Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H

In Search of Real Giving to find Happiness

I truly saw my most impactful experience of giving as an outlet of joy when I was in the 9th grade. I had a teacher take a group of us (students) to the zoo where we met up with a large group of homeless children. It was an incredible experience that will stay with me my whole life. I was a young girl surrounded by children in a different circumstance, but wanting and needing the exact same things. These kids wanted the same toys for Christmas, they were happy seeing animals in a zoo in the dead of winter and eating sandwiches on a cold, pavement floor. It didn’t matter. Joy was everywhere that day. I specifically remember one, little girl who clinged to me for safety the whole day. By the end of our zoo day, she did not want to leave my side. It was hard to know that I would let go of her hand and she would be swept back into a different reality of homelessness. I will be forever grateful for that memorable day and the gift of service it shared with me.

I just finished reading an incredible book that was so well written, researched and done incredibly in-depth on many levels. I was drawn to the book in hopes of better understanding our innate need, desire, and reasons for giving. The book, “The Giving Way to Happiness” by Jenny Santi is full of stories from around the globe (wealthiest people, celebrities, givers of good) in interviews that help unlock reasons for giving. She packed it full of psychological research, stats, interviews, stories, so much that you will definitely finish feeling like a well of knowledge was given. Its a great read.

I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments, quotes, stats and a few stories. Hope you enjoy! Hope you feel like reading further.

THE MEANINGFUL LIFE

“I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose…When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” -Ellen Degeneres

“It is clear that meaning in life contributes to a happier life. Dr. Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research concentrates on what makes people feel happy and fulfilled, concluded that happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. The Pleasant Life is relayed when we fill our lives with the sensual pleasures, such as food, good sex, and nice things. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfillment. The Good Life is achieved through discovering our signature strengths and using them to obtain gratification. The Meaningful Life goes one step beyond this, and happens when we use our unique strengths in service of something larger than ourselves.” “To live all three is to lead a full life.” says Seligman.

“High levels of meaning in life predict low levels of psychological distress and high levels of happiness and self-esteem, and the relationship between meaning in life and psychological well-being is substantial.”

“Meaning must be found and cannot be given.

“When you have a sense of purpose, you never get up in the morning wondering what you’re going to do with yourself. When you’re ‘In Purpose’ that is, engaged with and working toward your purpose, life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful. You become more mono-focused, like an arrow flying toward its target, and your mind feels somehow taut and strong, with less space for negativity to seep in,” says Steve Taylor

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain

A few of My HIGHLIGHTS and favorite cannot miss stories: Story of model Petra Nemcova pg 1 & here will to serve, Viktor Frankl story pg 39, From Russia with Love–the story of Natalia Vodianova (famous model) pg 43, Incredible power couple who created The World Economic Forum pg182, John Foster story and so many more. Lots of good stories woven within the pages. Ric O’Barry story on pg 80

Goldie Hawn and the Hawn Foundation

Highlights from Goldie Hawn pg 48–When Goldie is asked, “How is the happiness you get out of your charitable work different from the happiness you get from your career?” “It’s quite different. One is self-centered, and there are lots of happy things that can happen to us that way. You know, you can get enough money to buy a new house; you can buy new shoes. These are all fleeting aspects of happiness. they don’t last. They’re like ripples on the water. They come and go. As long as the money is there, you’re happy and you’re okay. but when you’re really working toward making a difference, you get a deeper, deeper level of satisfaction, because it’s not for you. It’s for something bigger than just you, and the people that you meet along the way are your soul mates. They fortify you. They thrill you. They make you happy. And when you get into it, you really that you’ll attract people who are doing things aligned with your vision. Your connection to them also brings you lasting joy.”

She also says, “Those who are looking for happiness will find it in giving. “That has been researched time and time again. It really brings people out into the light from the darkness. It’s a very important aspect to continue to exercise in our lives–how you give back, how you think about humanity, how you consider yourself of value. You can go and be of help; you are engaged in the world. This helps people become happier. Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person. You’re engaged. You’re alive.”

Super Happiness pg 116–The story of the Grameen Bank, which was started by the incredible Professor Yunus. He is known as “Banker to the Poor” & a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He never set out to become a lender, he just saw a problem and a solution. “Every time I see a problem, I create a business to solve the problem. This leads to “Superhappiness,” he says.

[I am jumping around a bit on these quotes—his whole philosophy is helping others as a community and economically] “Human beings are built in a different way. There are two things inside of us: selflessness and selfishness.” “Making money is happiness; making other people happy is super happiness. But if you don’t know that yet because you haven’t tried that, so you think there is only one happiness–making money.” “All I’m saying is take a bit of it; find out. Then if you know the super happiness, you can decide which happiness you would like to go through, or you mix both: You have happiness from making money, and the super happiness from touching people’s lives and changing the whole world. You have the capacity of changing the whole world. You didn’t know that because you are too busy taking care of yourself.”

So many great tidbits of great giving throughout.

Another great story: Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, who cofounded Paul Mitchell hair products in 1970, was raised in a European immigrant community in downtown Los Angeles. His mother once told him and his brother the three had just twenty-seven cents between them, but with food int he fridge, a backyard garden, and happiness, they were rich. For a time, DeJoria lived in his car while selling products door-to-door. He said, “One Christmas, when I was six years old, my mother took us to see the window displays and decorations in the big department stores in downtown Los Angeles. It was a big treat for us. We saw puppets that moved and trains that circled…It was really special and added to the Christmas spirit, but it didn’t cost anything. That same year, my mother gave my brother and me a dime. She told Bothe of us to hold half of it and put it in the bucket near a man who was ringing a bell. We did, and then we asked my mother why we gave him the dime (at the time, a dime could buy you three candy bars or two soda pops). My mom’s reply was, “This is the Salvation Army that helps people who are really in need. Remember boys, no matter how much you have, there is always someone who is more in need than you. Always try to give, even if it is a little.” Needless to say, that stuck with me in my adult life. Whether it’s feeding thousands of orphans in third world countries, saving whales, helping the homeless find employment, protecting our waterways, resting young girls from prostitution, teaching and supplying families in Appalachia with equipment to grow their own vegetables, or any other worthwhile endeavor….giving back is a practice and joy I want my family to continue.”

There is a lot of the book that has depth, direction and additional stories, so if you enjoyed some of these stories, then you will find additional jewels throughout this book.

Overall, the point is to truly find purpose in giving. It will not only impact your life and health, but those you touch in the service of giving. It is a good all around.

Peace. Love and Light to you today. -H

AWE

This image reminds me of my time along the coast. The other day, I was walking and watched a seagull flying high above me, so I began to lift my arms and fly with him. I watched his every move and copied his pattern. It was as if I was flying down the beach. I began to feel a rhythm in my body as I moved. I began to slow, to breathe deeply and to take in every breath and movement with intention. I needed it. It was like walking, doing yoga, meditating and finding a focus, all at once. I was in Awe. I thought to myself…AWE…Always Wander Every day. My mind began to play with the word over and over…Always Wonder…Amazed…Enthusiasm. So, AWE is now a type of mantra.

I walked for awhile and on my way back down the beach I ran into some neighbors. One of them said, “I thought that was you. Were you doing yoga or something while you were walking? Whatever you were doing, you seemed happy. I knew it had to be you.”

I smiled and responded, “I was flying down the beach, breathing in the fresh air…kind of like yoga,” I smiled.

I walked away happy to feel like I was giving off a happy vibe. For me, it was a moment and an experience that transported me to AWE.

What can you do to find a little AWE in your every day??

What do you think of when you think of moments that bring about AWE?

For me, it is so many little things. So many gifts that nature bestows upon us. I don’t think anyone could visit the Redwoods and not be humbled and in awe of the giants, the quiet, the almost reverence that is felt there. Every day I stand and look out onto the vast ocean I am in constant awe of how it changes every day. Don’t get me started on sunsets, full moons, tiny rose bud flowers, dew drops on green grasses, the way water mirrors and reflects surrounding beauty, moss, forest paths, clouds, rainbows, patterns and symmetry in nature….so many little things. Nature brings about so much AWE in everything.

No wonder it is mostly memories and experiences in nature that bring people to AWE inspiring moments. If you ask anyone about AWE, guaranteed there is some type of natural place, setting, backdrop of the details that made a walk special, a place memorable, an internal awareness, etc. that holds the gift of AWE within.

What Science says about AWE: According to Psychology Today, Psychologists are busy at work trying to understand more about awe, why it exists and how experiencing awe changes us. So far, they’ve found that after experiencing awe, people feel that they have more time and are part of something bigger. They also are more generous to other people and more satisfied with their lives. And there may even be a link between awe and health—recent research shows that people who tend to feel a lot of awe have fewer proinflammatory cytokines.

Some ideas to instill a little more AWE into your life: go with my quote above. I think it will help you remember daily to Always Wonder and Always Wander…as well as be Amazed with Enthusiasm. This little trick may help you take steps every day to wander.

WANDER: Find new places where you live. Seeking out new things to delight your senses will fill you with more AWE. Think about it. When you just do the same things—nothing excites you, its routine, but if you shake up your norm and find a new hike, walk through a creative store, wander down a new street or a place you have never been–your senses light up and are fired up with all the new colors, new sounds, new sights, etc. It is a new delight. It’s a surprise.

What do you think of when you think of WANDER? I think of–wandering around with no expectation, just a curiosity, a need for a good meander.

WONDER: The sense of wonder speaks of our hunger to be moved, to be engaged and impassioned with the world and take pleasure in it, attuned to it and fascinated by it. Grateful for it.-Gregg Levoy, Psychology Today

Being in a whole new state brings curiosity and wonder every day. Just being near the ocean has brought about daily wonders—what are the types of sea life we find along the shore, the tiny flocks of birds running in and out of the waves, why are these shells or rocks here today…there is so much to learn in every environment, but everything changes when you step out of your norm. There is a sense of play, the variety of experiences that show up, the new people and places, the vast amounts of newness and wonder have a tendency to excite at every level.

There are a variety of ways to bring about a sense of wonder: Maybe you learn a new word of the day (love this) & try to use it in various sentences or listen to a new music station to find some fresh songs to play. Maybe you find new cultural ways to expand your universe—Visit places you’ve wondered about–is there a special exhibit on how chocolate is made at your local museum or is there a play you are curious about attending. Maybe you need to watch an inspiring documentary on a desired subject (My daughter is studying to become a Marine Biologist & had our family watch, “My Octopus Teacher” it was incredible & thought inspiring on many levels–not your normal movie night but it was full of wonder and interest–highly recommend). Maybe you need to enjoy a concert that interests you–(We just watched the Coldplay concert on Netflix & it was fun to see the story and journey of this incredible band). Maybe watch inspiring people give Ted talks on subjects that seem to teem with your personal interests or just stop where you are and seek to find something that stirs some type of AWE within you.

Wonder plays at every turn. Wonder can be found in the beauty of nature or in the simplest of acts when you slow down and notice the details around you. It can delight the senses and it can also deepen your feelings of what you need within your life.

AMAZED: My little family walked the beach earlier today and I had them stop, drop and begin to sift through the tiny grains of sand to see what they could discover. We were in awe of the size and colors of the various minerals, the specks of light, the huge amounts of vast debris that landed at our feet after being moved and tumbled from the ocean floor.

Nature has this incredible way of reminding us how truly small we are. The sands that we walk upon on a beach change every day, the water ebbs and flows, everything cycles, everything moves with an incredible, awe-inspiring beauty that only nature can deliver.

ENTHUSIASM: Comes from the Greek word “Entheos” which means, “The God Within” I LOVE THIS beautiful meaning. When you think of AWE—Enthusiasm must be included because usually things that bring AWE have some detail of God within it. Whether something brings you a sense of awe through joy, simplicity, details, quiet, new experiences, tickles the senses, is thought-provoking, or growth-inspiring–any experience that encompasses AWE—God is happy and so are you.

Think about it. Wonder, Wander, Amazed and Enthusiasm—all touch upon the incredible moments and memories that make your life memorable and worth living. When you grow, when you see and experience new things, when you step out of your comfort and move forward without fear, when you slow down and notice the details and gifts held throughout your life—AWE is the experience.

Finally, I love this quote…Wander often, Wonder always. I would just add…and be Amazed with Enthusiasm 🙂

A few of my favorites lately–besides daily walks in nature. Take these seriously. Slow down your walks on occasion and notice the tiny details. Yesterday, I was at a beautiful, ocean lookout and noticed the field covered in tiny, daisy-type flowers. I got close-up and took a few pics. I thought, “these are probably like dandelions in Utah, these poor flowers are probably not too loved.” I blew them a kiss and proclaimed my love for them. Some people will see weeds, but I see the beauty. We must stop and see the beauty, appreciate it and be in awe of it all.

A FEW ADDITIONAL IDEAS: Enjoying new things…enJOY! A few ideas to get you started.

WORD OF THE DAY to begin: Solivagant…Wandering Alone. Sign-up for word of the day emails or apps that send you a word. There is also WORDLE that I heard is a fun challenge. OR you could also do words of the day for learning a language. Your brain loves a good challenge and induces feelings of inspiration—all good things.

OLYMPIC MUSIC: I came across some beautiful, awe-inspiring music from some of the Olympic. A few favorites: “Wild Side” by Roberto Cacciapaglia and “Experience” by Angele Dubeau. Don’t be afraid to listen to new types of music and find things that inspire awe.

PLACES TO WANDER: Park, garden, or pond you have never been to…a creative store…

MAKE: I recently saw a beautiful mandala at the beach that someone had made out of layers and layers of rock. It was incredible. Make something that slows you—color a mandala, create a mandala out of nature items, draw words or circles in the sand,

Hope these ideas get you started on seeking and finding a little more AWE in your life. xoxo -H

Self LOVE month

“Be the Love you never received.”

Photo by Peng Louis on Pexels.com

I recently watched the Netflix documentary about the beautiful Audrey Hepburn and it was heartbreaking to see her granddaughter get emotional about thinking how genuinely sad it was that Audrey was this beautiful, iconic, talented woman but never felt the love she needed within her life until the very end. Audrey seemed to almost be searching for LOVE her whole life and had a huge emptiness that yearned to be filled. It was apparent the things that became very important to Audrey in her life. She gave up the glitz and fame to raise a family and be present with them. She then gave so much of her time and energy to help UNICEF with their mission. She began to truly be the love that she never received. She gave love in all she did. That I believe is one of the great reasons she is still so beloved. She is a beautiful example of giving oneself, sharing ones life, becoming LOVE.

I think all of us, to some degree have voids within that are yearning to be filled with love. I just read a poem that said, “I was never addicted to one thing; I was addicted to filling a void within myself with things other than my own self love.” -Yung Pueblo

My husband has recently left his job because of some leadership decisions that he could not agree with that effected a lot of people, so he is trying to make sense of where he is at the moment. It has been a tough week. He has been talking about feeling empty, so I have been doing a little research and came across empty feelings, personal voids and found that they are often a result of lack of self love.

Surprise. Surprise. Self Love is a larger problem than anyone truly understands. It can stem from, like Audrey, an abandonment from a parent or loved one at a young age. It can be childhood wounds from lack of the love you need, etc. There are many emotional struggles that can be the beginning of internal feelings and personal complexities. [Let’s not go down the little child rabbit hole 😉 So many things…] Let’s find some solutions for the here and now.

I figured since it is February 1st that today would be a great day to start a February Self Love Month—all February–ideas right here for you to take on, lean into and challenge yourself to grow in all areas of self love. You can do it!! We can all get better at loving ourself.

SELF-ABANDONMENT is a big factor that will lead you to feelings of emptiness and lack of self love. DONT abandon yourself!! Do you have a hard time trusting yourself? Do you feel you don’t know or understand your purpose? Is there something from your past you struggle to make peace with? Do you find you hide certain parts of yourself and don’t share specific feelings? Do you discount your own feelings? Do you truly feel you understand what you want or who you are? These are all feelings or ideas that can lead you to abandoning yourself and leading you to less self love. Examples of Self-Abandonment [taken from psych central article]:

  • Not trusting your instincts – second-guessing yourself, overthinking and ruminating, letting others make decisions for you and assuming they know more than you do.
  • People-pleasing seeking validation from others, suppressing your needs and interests in order to please others.
  • Hiding parts of yourself – giving up your interests and goals, not sharing your feelings.
  • Perfectionism – having unrealistically high expectations for yourself, never feeling worthy regardless of how much you do and what you accomplish.
  • Self-criticism and judgment – saying hurtful and mean things to yourself when you dont meet your own painfully high standards.
  • Not honoring your needs not recognizing that your needs are valid, failing to practice self-care, feeling unworthy of self-care.
  • Suppressing your feelings – pushing away uncomfortable feelings through denial, mood-altering substances, and avoidance.
  • Not acting according to your values – doing things to please others even if they go against your beliefs and values.
  • Codependent relationships – focusing on someone elses needs, wants, and problems and neglecting yourself.
  • Not speaking up for yourself not asking for what you need, not setting and enforcing boundaries, letting people take advantage of you.
  • Self-abandonment is a learned behavior, a way you tried to cope with unhealthy or dysfunctional family dynamics. Self-abandonment is a self-destructive pattern that can contribute to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and unfulfilling relationships. Abandoning yourself may have been a necessity during childhood, but it isnt helpful anymore. So, lets look at how you can begin to trust and value yourself.

Self-abandonment, critical personal judgements, negative thoughts and self talk, have a belief that others should make you feel good, happy, loved…you tell yourself you are unlovable, not worthy, etc. All the personal cruelty leads you to a void that remains empty until YOU can find a way to help begin to fill the emptiness [state of lack] with LOVE…self love.

An article posted on HuffingtonPost.com, written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., says it best: “There is only one thing that truly fills the emptiness. Love. There is only one cause of inner emptiness: a lack of love. But it is not a lack of someone else’s love that causes your emptiness. Inner emptiness is caused by self-abandonment — by not loving yourself.”

HOW TO MOVE BEYOND and BEGIN LOVING YOURSELF:

Be unapologetically yourself: whatever that looks like, whether you are quirky, super smart, have a creative style all your own, silly laugh, love crazy glasses, can’t get enough puns…just do you!! Don’t let the possible judgements or disapproval from anyone stop you. Give yourself the power over the fear to be uniquely you. Don’t play small. Do, create, play, share your passions like no one else can.

Be gentle with yourself: We have often heard “be kind or compassionate” with yourself, but what does that really mean? According to Harvard Health here are four simple, yet effective ideas…

  • Comfort your body. Eat something healthy. Lie down and rest. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Take a walk. Anything you can do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.
  • Write a letter to yourself. Think of a situation that caused you to feel pain (a breakup with a lover, a job loss, a poorly received presentation). Write a letter to yourself describing the situation, but without blaming anyone — including yourself. Use this exercise to nurture your feelings.
  • Give yourself encouragement. Think of what you would say to a good friend if he or she was facing a difficult or stressful situation. Then, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, direct these compassionate responses toward yourself.
  • Practice mindfulness. Even a quick exercise, such as meditating for a few minutes, can be a great way to nurture and accept ourselves while we’re in pain.

Here is another article from positive psychology about self-compassion https://positivepsychology.com/self-compassion-5-steps/

Boundaries & Keeping your power: I laugh every time my daughter talks about a college friend that comes into her room & he lays all over the girls stuff, grabs pillows and plays with them, his presence is overbearing & my daughter expresses—“he needs boundaries!” I laugh & calmly respond, “well, you know you just need to talk to him about your boundaries and your feelings. That will help everything.” She has been working on this during her first college year. She has been learning to communicate better, build friendships, set boundaries and speak up and own her power in certain situations. We all need these things.

Allow feelings to well up and work for you: I loved having my daughter face some of her personal demons of perfectionism and finally say, “it is okay that I feel this way.” You need to get honest with yourself and really listen to what you are feeling and saying to yourself. Your feelings will help you identify what you truly need within.

Get grateful and appreciate: I will ALWAYS say and believe in the power of gratitude. You cannot be in a place of lack (whatever that looks like—money, sadness, loneliness, etc) when you are genuinely trying to seek those things within your life to be grateful for. It is scientifically been proven—Just writing down 3-5 things a week (they[scientists] say a week, but I think you try a day or every other day) you are grateful for will make you 25% happier within a matter of months.

Invest in you: Look at and evaluate how you are spending YOUR time. Do you watch a lot of television over reading/listening to a podcast or something that will elevate your life? What unhealthy addictions (ie: TV, gaming, alcohol, drugs, overeating, shopping, etc) do you need to look at and let go of? What activities light you up or give you a sense of purpose for your life? What gets you excited to try? What calms you? Think back to when you were younger if that helps–did you escape through art, did you enjoy playing in the dirt or sand? Did you enjoy sports or getting out in nature? Think of things that will benefit you and where you are at right now.

Try something new: According to studies conducted by neurobiologists, learning new things and engaging in new experiences can help you feel a lot happier and feel more motivated in life. It has almost similar effects as dopamine and can help you experience emotional arousal. It is also a great idea to give your living space a makeover and change your living environment.-yourtango

There are plenty of podcasts with teachers, lessons to learn, books to read, YouTube videos or TED talks to learn from, places to see, people to meet, food to try, exercises to move you, instruments to challenge, free courses to expand your mind, ships to sail, paddle boards to ride, so get out of yourself and try something…anything that will light you up, even just a little.

Ground yourself in something good: I believe in calming ones negative places & mind spaces with time meditating, doing yoga, walking in nature, quietly coloring, listening to calming music. Things that will soothe.

Steer clear of outside yuck! You can easily feel down about yourself after comparing and despairing about your life after seeing the pics and tricks of social media, ad campaigns on tv and entertainment. Don’t get sucked in to the yuck because you will truly begin the trip of the ego and fall victim to more self-doubt and self-abandonment.

Decide! Be mindful of the thoughts that play in your head, the self-talk, the fears, the judgements, the worries about what others think. You need to let those go! They are not your friend. I once heard a very wise Native American story—when dealing with self-talk you need to always remember this story. It is an easy metaphor that could make a big difference in your life.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

 He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I have always loved this story because it is such a simple, but vivid reminder. Our thoughts we listen to will win, so be aware of the thoughts that repeat and those you feed.

Lots to think about this month. Lots of ways to LOVE yourself this month. BEGIN. Do you. FLY or rather FIRST LOVE YOURSELF. How will you truly love if you are not filled with love in the first place. You can only give what you have, so begin to fill your empty places with LOVE. xoxo

Please take care of you. Love, Peace and Light to you today. xoxo. -H

FAITH IT

FAITH IT

He has your back.

I wanted to share a few amazing stories that illustrate faith, belief and an ever knowing of a larger presence that fills our lives. The first is a very real and genuinely scary experience that recently happened to me.

My little family moved out of state and landed in a small cottage in a beautiful, serene, majestic area of the Pacific North West. It has literally been just over three months and there have been soo many emotions already.

Whenever you move (I have moved many times throughout my marriage–at least 15 times & four different states) there is always a bit of a transition period. It can be a fun adventure full of new experiences and new places or a time of stress. There is always a bit of both, because with any change comes growth. It can be exhilerating and tough all at the same time.

Well, things were going great! We were enjoying our new area, the beauty of this place, new people, etc. Exactly a month later, my parents came to visit & while we were walking the beach with them I came across a woman who was looking for small, red pebbles in the sand. I started to help her look & we began to talk. She asked where we had moved & I began to describe our new home & instantly her face went very sad. She said, “I know that house very well. My dear friends use to live there. Then she paused and said, “I probably shouldn’t say anything.”

I smiled, “You cant do that. What?” She preceeded to tell me that her dear friend had lost everything after her husband had killed himself. She felt bad, left my side and began to walk down the beach in my opposite direction. Obviously the conversation was hard for her.

I think I was in shock, stunned almost. I looked down the beach in the opposite direction at my family & knew I could not say anything. I needed to process this info. 

The next few weeks were tough. When my daughter & husband were gone on a couple work trips, I was left at home with our two, little dogs. I sat up every night with disturbing thoughts running through my head. I wondered where the suicide had happened. I wondered what the story was. I wondered if there was a bad spirit….my mind raced and worried.

It began to take me back to another point in time when my sweet husband had hit a very low point in his life, was depressed and couldn’t make sense of life. He wrote a letter to me & my daughter (who was four at the time) and took a shotgun up a canyon to end his life. Thankfully, he did not end things that day and we worked through depression and got him to a better place in his mind. It was a very emotionally tough time in our lives.

So, with this new information in our new home I became genuinely worried that maybe there could be a negative force or influence that could lead my husband back down that road. My mind began to swirl with worry, fear, negative thoughts of this new experience. 

I did not say anything to my husband about what I had learned for weeks and then I could not take it any longer. I had to tell him the information and that it had been eating me up inside. He was very supportive & said we could move any time & that we did not have to stay in this home if I felt unsure or dark about the situation.

Then, the very weekend my daughter was leaving us for her first college experience and moving away from us, something else unthinkable happened. My husband got a phone call, he gets off the phone and explains that this man had called and was looking for information on the recent sale of our home. He was talking about how he was an appraiser, he wanted to see our documents, was inquiring about info.

My husband said it was a nice call, but strange that the man wanted us to send copies of our contracts to him. My husband never got his name. That evening, our little family was watching a movie when my husband received a text from the same man inquiring about our moving info. and shares his name…Joe Dejel (I did change his name). My husband starts saying the mans name out loud & says, “why is that name so familiar? Who is this guy?”

I about died and I am sure my face turned a few shades grey. I responded, “are you serious right now? Are you serious?”  I then reminded my husband that Joe Dejel was the guy who had been stalking me 13-14 years ago. 

My daughter was sitting between us & becomes genuinely concerned. Like we all were.

Joe Dejel had been following me around our neighborhood for months & then showed up randomly at a CPR class I was taking to get certified as a yoga teacher. He had followed me over 30 minutes away from my home. When the leaders of the class asked his name & noticed he was not on any list I was terrified but also relieved because I was able to at least get his name. It was a terrifying experience to feel like someone is watching and following you. I got the police involved, found out where he lived so I could find out the make of his car & empower myself with knowledge. It was the most unsettling, power sucking feeling and experience.

So, to have this same man call my husband looking for info. having our old address in hand and trying to find out where we had moved, was definitely unsettling to say the least.

My whole body began to panic, everything began to weigh on me, “Why was this happening? Why would God do this? Why would he have two terrible experiences (my husband’s depression/suicide & this man stalking me) that happened so close together be almost playing out again in our lives…..my mind swirled, hashing and thrashing, unsettled, angry, fearful, trapped in worry and soo concerned and unable to understand what I was suppose to learn or what we needed to do. I became a wreck and my sweet husband was genuinely concerned.

My daughter was literally starting college two days later & that was the main reason we moved out of state so we could be a good support system to her in her time of transition & now this!!

I felt terrible for the fear that was brought on. My daughter was genuinely scared for me & jumped on her computer and started changing all of her personal emails, so she could not be found.

It was crazy!!

For a few days, I was a wreck. I was beside myself with worry and concern why this man was showing up in our lives again.  

It seemed like a very scary and difficult time in my life was showing up all over again and it was more than unsettling. Panic, fear, fear for my family, my daughter going off to college, so many emotions and feelings were welling up inside. 

I tried to be strong while we got my daughter off to college. I did not want her scared and worried about whether or not her mom was going to be okay. My daughter had been with me every day of her life, home-schooled & college was her first real experience to be around other people, socialize and find her wings. I was not going to have it all ruined or over-shadowed by a man and his possible intentions. 

We got our daughter off to college. She was still worried because my husband travels for work, so I would be home alone for days at a time. Our little home is surrounded by dark woods, so my daughter was genuinely concerned. “Shouldn’t we call the police,” she shared. 

I tried to calm her anxiety by telling her I would do what I did before, make sure we notify our realtors and neighbors to not share any info of our whereabouts & tried to reassure her that he would have to find a way in through our newly gated community.

She left feeling a little better. 

Luckily, I had a strong front for her but as soon as we got back to our new home, the fear would envelope me and I did not know how to stop it. For a couple of days I pleaded with my husband trying to understand why God would place both of these situations back into our lives. I desperately tried to come to a realization or seek to find some reasoning. My mind whirled with fear, anxiety, concerns of the unknown. 

My husband and I laid in bed Tuesday, September 21 (we dropped our daughter off on the 19th)  and after days of emotions we had the longest night and felt a heaviness within our hearts. My mind went from anger about no one telling us about a suicide to fear of someone breaking in and hurting us. I was jumping from one emotion to another, concerned our daughter was safe, wondering if we should move, feeling so alone and wondering why God would make us feel like this after just moving here. Soo many emotions. 

My sweet husband gently said, “We don’t have to stay here. We can go anywhere. If you don’t feel safe or you feel an energy in this home that is not good for you or our family, we can go.”

Neither of us slept the entire night. We kept talking and fretting about feelings, actions, trying to understand. I was a wreck and he just kept trying to do his best to console me.

The very next day I received ONE message from a sweet niece on my husbands side. She had just started college a month before our daughter, so I had been sending her little text messages of encouragement and love. Our communication was sweet, but just the regular Hellos and happenings. She had never sent me quotes or anything other than personal hello messages.

BUT, that particular morning I received just this quote in a text…this is what it said

“If the devil can’t take you out, he will try to wear you out. Stop obsessing, stop ruimating, stop scheming. Stop rehashing. Stop analyzing. Stop worrying. Give it to God and go to sleep. Since God never slumbers nor sleeps, there’s no use both of you staying awake.”

She said nothing. Only the quote was sent with a couple heart emojis. 

I read it and a peace like nothing I have ever experienced washed over me. I instantly ran to my husband and read him the message. We both looked at each other and said, “Wow.”

It was an answer to prayer, it was a calm like no other. Since that moment I have felt a peace and a knowing that God has our back. Whatever will be perfectly planned. He has taken our worries and freed me. I instantly felt safe. I have felt nothing but a sweet knowing that He is there and knows our every need.

That is the greatest gift. 

__________________________________________________

Zennon story.

I have been walking and walking while getting back in tune with listening to those things that inspire my heart and help me become a better version of myself. What God needs me to be.

I was listening to an incredible podcast…Good Life Project was interviewing Shelly Tygielski

Wow! what an inspiring woman with an incredile story. It was such a fun listen. LISTEN TO IT!

She had soo many great stories to share, but I LOVE a good Godwink story & she had a pretty incredible one. She was talking about her father-in-law and the wonderful man he was. She loved his spirit, but said he always hated the name he was given. For years he would not go by his usual name, Zennon. He told people to call him Chuck. Later in life he began to go by his given name.

Shelly shared that he was getting up there in age, to the point where the family decided to put him in a home. He hated it! He teased that he didn’t like old people. He had a lively spirit, so when covid hit and his facility was effected, it took its toll on Zennon. He contracted covid and was not expected to make it. The family was devestated and because of the situation no family could see him, but by some miracle, some end of life fight, Zennon tested negtive in his final days and family could come and give their goodbyes. 

Shelly and her husband flew to his bedside and were able to give their goodbyes.

She then talked about how hard it was to lose him and was trying to find some consolation in his parting, so she would ask for some sort of sign from Zennon that he was okay. She was so hopeful for some grand sign, but did not see or feel anything. 

It was time for her and her husband to head home, so they had called for a car to take them to  the airport. 

In the hussle of packing and preparing to leave, Shelly’s phone went off with an incoming message. She froze, in shock she yelled to her husband. He rushed to her, “are you okay? Did you forget something?’ Shelly looked at him in disbelief and showed him the phone, “Your Dad is coming to pick us up!” she exclaimed!! Her husband was worried, “are you okay?” He then looked at the phone and noticed the person coming to pick them up was “Zennon”

Sure enough her sign had come and Zennon picked them up and was driving the exact car her father-in-law drove.

Such a great story. The bigger, grander picture. The other side is closer than we can imagine.

_______________________________________________________

I genuinely hope and pray that these stories will leave you feeling peace and comfort in a knowing that God has your back and that there is a bigger picture for your life. Have faith in that!

Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H

Change. Little things. Grateful.

Well, I have not written for a couple of months because we picked up and moved out of state!! It has been a lot of change, but for the most part, so many little things that make me so grateful.

Change vs Challenge: It is what you make it! Just before we were physically moving, my husband seemed to get into a bit of a funk and was not happy or excited about moving. I knew he was sad and concerned to leave so many things he was use to. He LOVED our walmart two minutes away, his family, beautiful properties that we LOVE to visit, his work was within 15 minutes and the airport 45 minutes away. He was struggling with the thought of so much change and being far away from things that were comfortable. I was actually a little shocked, because every other move we have made throughout our marriage, he was ready for. We had moved over 15 other times within probably a 15 year time period–mostly for different job opportunities. He was struggling this time & that did not make things easier. I had to remind him that we were moving for our daughter & that no matter what happens, she is the reason we are making the move, to be there as a support system while she begins college.

We moved. We have landed. We have taken the jump. The nearest Walmart is 30 minutes away, the closest airport is 2 hours away, according to the USPS we have an “undeliverable address” for the mail system (but don’t worry we get Amazon 🙂 the closest and only fast food that we recognize is Subway, taco Bell and McDonalds, which are all about 20 minutes away. There have been many changes, but with every chance we strive to find the good, the beautiful, to enjoy the new environment, the new experiences and all the new people. It has been so fun to go out of our way to meet our new neighbors. Where we live there are literally only 25% of the people in this gated community. Most of the homes are vacant & are used as vacation or second homes. We have stretched to find all the regulars. We have delivered cookies, had ice cream nights, long conversations and have been going out-of-our-way to connect with those around us. There is a variety of people: artists who do art fairs, a retired camera man from The Price is Right, Farmers from Southern Oregon, Texans, widows…variety is the spice of life!

In all the change, it has been the most rewarding to see my husband completely change his perspective and embrace the whole experience. He walks around our community lit up by the beauty & just talks over and over again about how wonderful everything is and that it never gets old. He takes us to the beach every chance we get together. He gets up at the crack of dawn on a low-tide & takes us agate hunting. He seems to have taken the changes and turned the challenges into positive moments and memories that will last forever.

It is what you do with your experiences that will matter most!

Here comes the Sun: Little did we know that we would be genuinely in awe of the tremendous beauty that is here along the coast. We have been blessed with amazing weather for the two months we have been here. Months leading up to our move we had soo many people share their own opinions—political views, weather related issues,such change, etc . Most people were not supportive and a bit sarcastic to say the least. We have had our own hesitations and concerns, but we take it day by day and enjoy every sunny day we can. There is this incredible mist that comes and goes along the coast. It seems to have its own weather system that brings in a thick, misty fog that mists the trees and green foliage, to then burn off to bring a sunny, blue sky moment or day. With the sun coming and going you definitely find moments where you know you have taken it for granted and just need a little sunshine. I smile when I see my dogs move around the house lying in various sun spots they can find. We all need a little sun…light.

Don’t judge: It has sincerely been a lesson over and over again in don’t judge! If you were to drive around the small town we live in you would see a very distinct contrast from where we came.

I had a tattoo-faced, window washer, musician and father of five come into my home. At first glance many would wonder about him, probably steer clear of him, but I embraced the moment and wanted to know everything about him. We had an instant connection and a very stimulating conversation about his life story, connecting with people, the purpose of life…deep stuff. He became an instant, great friend. It was sincerely one of the funnest conversations I have had in a long time.

Another experience–I had an older, Hippy looking man come over to give us a floor estimate. My first impression wondered what his story was and considered that he could be one of the many people in this town that look like they are coming and going…most likely passing through with this job. He came in and began measuring and letting us know what we would need to do. We got into a conversation and he began to share a personal experience of losing his daughter to drinking & how she was unexpectedly killed in a car accident. It was one of those moments that just connects you to another human being. Here was this humble man sharing part of his heartache while measuring our floors. When he left we felt so connected to this kind man. We later found out he was actually the business owner. One of those aha moments.

Don’t judge—then you miss out on the treasures inside.

Grateful: I know gratitude is talked about constantly, but there truly is a loving power in the grace of getting grateful. Say thank you for your day. Find little details to be in awe of. Experience something new and be thankful for a beautiful view, a new perspective. Gratitude has power—utilize it in your life. It is constantly talked about for a reason.

With my new environment, I seek images to capture, moments and memories to make, admire sticks or rocks in the sand, love watching and connecting to a bobbing seal in the water, to be in awe of the thunder of the rolling ocean and to be humbled by it all. Change can shake you, bring you to your knees and help you see a different perspective. Be grateful for that. What a gift.

With the topic of CHANGE I am beautifully reminded of one of my favorite speakers, authors, spiritual advocate…Elizabeth Lesser. Here is a great quote by her about embracing change.

Have a blessed day. Peace, love and light to you in all you do. -H

Trying to embrace the NEW

I LOVE this and need this quote at this particular moment. I am sitting in the comfort of my little home that we have lived in for nearly 11 years. We raised our daughter here, have blue jay friends that fly into our door to say hello, our park-like yard surrounded by trees, paths that we have walked every single day, beautiful mountain views that peak into our windows…priceless memories, family close by, security, comfort, support…but I sit here with a for sale sign out my front window. Why? because life needs movement. Life needs challenge and change. It has been a hard decision to leave behind this little piece of heaven, but my heart wants what it truly needs.

With the whole past year of corona virus, uncertainty, stagnation, fear, insecurity…when our daughter decided she was going to head to Oregon for college, we knew we would want to be there to support her. We decided early on that she would live at a distance from us (1.5 hours) so she could find her wings, have her own growth, her own challenges and change, but that if she needed us, we would be there.

With the uncertainty of the past year…Corona, families separated by boarders, friends dying or in the hospital, my own personal experience of being in the hospital and still struggling to breathe every morning, I have an even greater need to have my little family together—whatever that looks like.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been a wave of emotions for both me and my husband, but little Godwinks have continued to help us along. The past year and a half my husband has been taking close care of his Mom, but three weeks ago she got married unexpectedly. The very next day, one of the two little homes that my husband and daughter looked at in person months before on the Oregon coast, went back up for sale and they took our offer the same day (which in this current, crazy market is unheard of—our agent was genuinely shocked). We decided we were going to Oregon.

It will be hard to leave so many things that we love and appreciate, but we also know there are always things to love everywhere you go. I was talking to one of my new family members (from this new marriage three weeks ago) and she was sharing how she couldn’t just up and leave the support and security. She said, “Aren’t you nervous?” I genuinely said, “I am most worried about how I will handle the weather.” I shared with her that we have previously moved to Arizona, both sides of Idaho, the other side of Oregon and that we are just trying to cover the entire West. Smile. Smile. I told her, “You can always find things to love everywhere you go.” You truly can! I am genuinely excited to experience living near the ocean and trying out all the restaurants that are meant for vacationers. I think living near a tourist town will have its highlights and we will be able to experience a lot of new things. As William Cowper says, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.”

I am excited to have new views and perspectives, to take pictures of things I have never seen before, to walk paths that are new, to make friends with Sandpipers and Seals, to walk beaches and take selfies with light houses, to learn about the beauty of secret places only Oregon has to offer. Sure, there will be things that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, challenging, but with those comes a deeper place of discomfort that challenges your very being and you have to find that something within you that rises up and goes beyond the fear and discomfort. That part of you that yearns to grow—even just a little.

I hold this quote very close to my heart. I find comfort in the knowing that change is a friend and that when we can lean in and embrace that very idea, beautiful things happen.

I pray for calm, I pray for guidance, I pray for peace to follow the change and see where it leads. Hopeful it will lead to beautiful landscapes that fill my heart with nothing but love and light. May we all pray for that…places that bring us to the windows within our soul, the very essence of true growth and ideally to the heart of our truest purpose.

Change does that…it breaks us open and helps us beautifully blossom, fully.

Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H

True to YOU

I literally just sent this quote to my mother-in-law this morning. She is a beautiful, 79 year-old woman who is still working through this life to find her true self. Her husband (of over 40 years) died about a year and a half ago. She has been living on her own, feeling quite alone at times, but learning about her own, personal needs. A couple friends arranged for her to go out to dinner on a double date with one of their close friends, who had lost his wife a few years ago. My sweet mother-in-law was like a young school girl, giddy with excitement and anticipation of someone new, people to talk to, time to have conversations and not be alone. She has been spending quite a bit of time with this new man and excited for the future possibilities. It has been weeks of ups and downs, comments like, “I think he likes me more than I like him.” or “I don’t want to get close to him on the couch, I just want to be friends.” She is excited for his call & then she is excited for him to go somewhere else. It has been so funny to watch this relationships ups and downs.

We were shocked when out of nowhere the two announced they are getting married! My husband and I were shocked at how quickly things were turned on. It has been a week of excitement, fears, future plans, wedding ideas…on and on. My husband is the only son and even he began to wonder what was fully going on & why they were in such a rush to get married within a couple of weeks. We needed to have dinner with this new man and get some questions out of the way. We barely know him.

Our little family sat down last night with this new guy (lets call him Joe) and my mother-in-law. We only had so much time because Joe had a previous card game engagement. We all sat and had chicken together. We got a few questions, cares, ideas, happenings out on the table, but there is still plenty to discuss. The whole conversation my mother-in-law just sat at the table embarrassed at some comments, shyly commenting at other bits of conversation. It was like seeing a different person at the table. A mix of happy, shy, her, but not her. I observed her every action.

After Joe left, we got to talking with my mother-in-law and could sense some deep fears, some funny situations that she felt caused the whole quick engagement, her genuine nervousness to jump in to so many new changes—home, travel, someone new, new children & their personalities, her insecurities, etc. It was a conversation that was up, down, begging my husband to help her slow things down, wondering if she could keep her home, fears of leaving her security…a realm of various feelings. She was like a young girl that was so unsure of herself. Someone who you could see and feel was broken from previous relationships, someone who felt like she finally had a person who sincerely cared about her, thought she was beautiful, wants to take care of her and you could see she did not feel worthy of such love and care. It was a little heartbreaking to see this beautiful woman who is so kind, big hearted, generous, willing to help anyone—so unsure of her true essence, confused why someone would want her, questioning if she deserved someone so willing to do things for her. So afraid, so childlike and yet knowing that she did not want to hurt this sweet man, but needs to learn and understand some of her own feelings.

I think everyone has moments, situations, challenges, insecurities that make us become almost childlike, to talk in whispers of our real feelings, to seize up in fear of falling or making a mistake. There are times when we hurt, but don’t feel safe to share everything. I think we have baggage that sometimes we need to carry to a place that we can finally set it down and let it go. Everyone at different points in our lives may feel small, will be challenged beyond comfortable spaces, will need to face the fears we hold within so tightly, need to gently talk to the child within and make them feel safe, loved and nurtured. Each and every one of us goes through life with varying experiences and it is what we take from those moments that will help us reach higher to find an even better version of ourselves. Moments that challenge us, change us and make us grow.

I just received an Oprah article that talked about finding your truest self beyond your every day self. In a sense—finding and connecting with your deeper, soul self vs your daily ego self. I think that is a daily struggle for many. How do we get to a place where we are genuinely listening or following the guidance that is given to our soul vs the person who is here living this life daily. I felt this article had some great insight into my mother-in-law’s personal needs.

My mother-in-law had shared that she felt like she was putting on a persona so much of the time with Joe and having a hard time being her self. We expressed that we had seen that in even how she talks to him. It was so interesting. Her insecurities step in and her self doubt takes over—she thinks, “Why would this guy who has traveled the world, is so smart, so educated, so….be interested in me?”

Here are some key takeaways from the Oprah article:

At those tough moments, try to get some outside perspective about what is happening. The qualities of the everyday self and the true self are actually very different: 

1. The true self is certain and clear about things. The everyday self gets influenced by countless outside influences, leading to confusion. 

2. The true self is stable. The everyday self shifts constantly. 

3. The true self is driven by a deep sense of truth. The everyday self is driven by the ego, the unending demands of “I, me, mine.” 

4. The true self is at peace. The everyday self is easily agitated and disturbed. 

5. The true self is love. The everyday self, lacking love, seeks it from outside sources. 

Once you begin to recognize and encourage the qualities of the true self, your life will begin to change. You’ll make better choices. You’ll expand your awareness. You’ll discover and encourage your purpose. You’ll challenge yourself to meet new goals. 

The greatest spiritual secret in the world is that every problem has a spiritual solution, not because every prayer is answered by a higher power, but because the true self, once discovered, is the source of creativity, intelligence and personal growth. No external solution has such power. The true self is the basis for being deeply optimistic about how life turns out and who you really are, behind the screen of doubt and confusion. The path to it isn’t simply inspiring; it’s the source of solutions that emerge from within. 

Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center

Read more: https://www.oprah.com/inspiration/deepak-chopra-the-difference-between-the-true-self-and-everyday-self#ixzz6sDXOLuKF

Read more: https://www.oprah.com/inspiration/deepak-chopra-the-difference-between-the-true-self-and-everyday-self#ixzz6sDX2t000

I thought there was some great truth in this article. If we can all begin little by little to seek the truth hidden in our problems and find a spiritual solution, then we will be following the guidance of our truest self. The confusion will break to clarity, the fear will bow down to joy, truth will set us free.

Have a blessed day. Be true to you. Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H

A little wisdom for the New Year

My daughter is now at the age of college applications, scholarship interviews, early college classes…lots of changes and challenges, so when she broke down in tears yesterday morning I knew big hugs and divine intervention were needed. I held her in my arms and prayed to know how to direct her, to calm her, to ease her struggle. I had a feeling, almost a whisper to read from the book in the car. I stored it in my mind to pull out something to inspire when we drove her to work later this morning.

My daughter’s tears bubbled and rolled down her face, she sobbed a variety of feelings and then proceeded to put her foot down that she was not going to work & that there was too much to take on this week.

My husband and I walked her through the need to push through challenges, to move beyond the fearful moments, that life is going to be hard sometimes and the struggles will be real, but that is not when you just lie down and give up on everything. This week she has a life-changing interview with a college that would pay for everything, new college classes (she is still in high school), learning to drive, work, and the unknowns are real. She has to grow up & with change comes fears and challenges of how to deal with life and all the good and bad that it has to offer.

How do you fully prepare your child for all the unknowns, the what if’s, the heartbreaks, the ups, the downs. You pray. You pray to be the parent that your child needs. You pray that answers will fill in the voids of faith. You pray that even when your daughter is alone and on her own that she will be protected by the faith of angels and the strength of the heavens.

This morning was a little moment, but it is the little moments that bring us to our knees in fear, or pain, or struggle, that we are granted the little gifts from above. The little whispers that bring us to a place that helps us know we are heard, that we are protected, that we are not alone.

We helped our daughter along & she prepared herself for work. We all jumped into the car & I quickly remembered the whisper to read something from the book int he car.

Now, this book has been in the car door for months. On occasion I would pull it out and read something to hopefully inspire something good, but this morning, it was perfect. It was just what we needed. It was just what my daughter needed to hear. Here is what the page said…

“Every challenge we take on has the power to knock us to our knees. But what’s even more disconcerting than the jolt itself is our fear that we won’t withstand it. When we feel the ground beneath us shifting, we panic. We forget everything we know and allow fear to freeze us. Just the thought of what could happen is enough to throw us off balance.

What I know for sure is that the only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance. You can’t avoid the daily tremors. They come with being alive. But I believe these experiences are gifts that force us to step to the right or left in search of a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Let them help you adjust your footing.

Balance lives in the present. When you feel the earth moving, bring yourself back to the now. You’ll handle whatever shake-up the next moment brings when you get to it. In this moment, you’re still breathing. In this moment, you’ve survived. In this moment, you’re finding a way to step onto higher ground.” -Resilience from Oprah’s book “What I Know for Sure”

After reading this we all knew it was divine intervention. It was a page book marked for us to read this very morning. We had never read it before. It was a necessary moment into knowing that we are in the bigger picture of life and that God is listening and aware of where we are in every moment. It is so reassuring to feel a prayer answered, to read something so in tune to the situation, to feel so cared for and to know that every little experience that brings us to our knees—puts us in the perfect position to pray.

I hope that in every struggle, challenge, fear you begin to find yourself in prayer. Even the little moments. The world needs less fear and more faith. Believe in that.

Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H