Friday’s Focus—Spinning Tops

The more I have to move the more I want to sit.

The more I get a chance to sit, the more I want to move.

There are days, on the outside I sit still, while inside a storm rages and fireworks explode.

Then there are days, on the outside I move with the frenetic energy of a thousand whirling dervishes while on the inside, there is nothing but silence.

If I allow it, I know that the two energies will merge and become a pulse, creating its own heartbeat, and then, if I surrender, I will have no choice but to move to the beat of the syncopation.

The waves of energies are too strong to withstand, or is it me too weak to stop them?

In the end, there is no other choice but to breathe into my heart, into the center of the storm, and let this new heartbeat lead me to a place.

To live with only one or the other is merely existing. It is half-living to be in either all movement or no movement at all.

Stillness within movement; peace within action.

I can still feel the tension between the ebb and flow
tightness and looseness
looseness and tightness

and the force of those currents ready to pull me away in either direction.

These are forces within each one of us. You can feel it too, if you give it half a chance.

Nature even knows this. Even when a river is frozen, the water below still flows and the hurricane, destroyer that it is and yet beautiful in its fearsomeness, holds a center of calm.

When you find that moment, when you feel that kiss from God and the bliss of the perfection of balance, let the world wait. Succumb to the flow and sway in the rhythm of what for many of us, seems elusive but is not impossible.




Friday’s Focus—Admitting

The other day, Jill, a friend of my family, had called me in tears saying that she couldn’t do it anymore. She couldn’t handle the pressures of her current work situation and didn’t know what to do about it.

She had never said anything like this to me before and though we were friendly enough with each other and spoke often about what was happening in our lives there was still always that separation between us, so I was especially caught off guard by the brutal honesty of her call. She was given a three week work assignment that exposed her to levels of business dealings and decision makings she didn’t have a lot of previous experience with. I knew that on one hand she was excited at the prospect of being trusted but on the other, nervous about how it would all work out. The time came and there were the normal blips that happened and she was handling things well enough to keep things moving. But then the call came.

It was just one of those days when nothing was going right and whatever could go wrong did. Imagine weeks of Mercury Retrograde packed into a few hours! Situations and problems just exploded exponentially. The morning of the call, there were already problems brewing on the job but then, the personality of one particular employee, who was high-maintenance and had a combative nature was the factor that tipped Jill’s balance. Jill had taken this woman under her wing because she reminded Jill of her own mom, but this woman’s constant neediness and antagonistic behavior was becoming a real issue from increased confusion of early onset Alzheimer’s. Coupled with a series of problems that had come up that Thursday morning brought the frustrations of Jill’s new responsibilities to a peak. Her initial fear of not being able to do the job seemed to come to fruition and that morning brought her to the point of the phone call to me and the tears.

In truth, it was the first time that she was left with such enormous responsibility and for such a long time, and I think it would have been a challenge to many people with her experience. Listening to her talk, I didn’t judge her for how she was feeling because when I heard her say that she couldn’t do it all and didn’t know what to do or who to talk to, I heard myself in her voice and in her words and most deeply, I heard myself in her tears. How could I possibly judge her for something I knew only too well from experience, from words and tears I’ve cried myself?

I just listened and let her talk. I assured her that she was going to be alright and that all she could do, and all anyone could expect from her, was to do the best that she could. There’s no way that she would know all the answers to the situations that cropped up—how could she since she never dealt with them in that capacity before? I told her she did the right thing by walking away from an argument that was brewing. She was afraid of what she was going to say and so walked away to sit in her office to cool down and gather her thoughts. It was then that she called me. I was really surprised that it was me she reached out to, but I’m glad she did, because I completely understood every emotion she was going through.

The conversation with Jill was a good reminder about how important it is for each one of us to feel free to admit our fears and frustrations and honestly say, “I don’t know how to do this.” or “I can’t handle this.” It’s here in that mustard-seed moment that our true power comes in.

Each one of us has our own threshold of what we can handle or think we can handle and we do so in different ways. Some people dodge responsibilities when they feel they can’t handle them, others plow through them like a bull, and then there are those, who I think are the bravest of all, are honest with themselves and admit that it’s not working.

My mother used to say, “Don’t play hero,” meaning don’t be so full of bravado to think you can handle everything yourself. The real hero, as far as I’m concerned is the person who admits that they can’t do everything themselves and that they don’t know it all. And there’s no shame in that. Even just admitting it to yourself is an act of release that opens up space and energy in yourself, creating room to allow for growth.

Admitting that something is too much for you to handle is not a sign of weakness, insecurity, or immaturity as some would have you believe. I look at it as a sign of maturity, honesty, and integrity with yourself and it’s from that place, from that deep place of surrendering and acknowledging that you don’t know, don’t have all the answers, and don’t know what to do is when we grow our strongest self.

I am lucky in that I have someone in my life I have said the very same things to about situations I found myself in and I have had my days of being alone where the only thing I felt I could do was literally throw my hands in the air and cry out to an empty room, “I can’t do this!” Each time I did this, I grew. And I know Jill will too. And you, as you’re reading this thinking about your own situation that you’re wondering how you’re going to get through.

I hope this Friday’s Focus will take you to a place in yourself where you can find solace in knowing it’s okay to admit, even to yourself—when you’ve had enough and you don’t know what to do. It’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers. It doesn’t matter if it comes as a shout or a whisper, you’ll find that you can do whatever it is but you will do it to the best that you can and not to the expectations others had for you or the ones you may have placed on yourself.

Go and be your own hero today!

Friday’s Focus—Landscapes

And it all comes down to this.

The grass will always grow through the cracks in the sidewalks and the vines will reclaim the landscape from the concrete and steel.

It’s all just a matter of time before there comes a balance again, when we can catch our breath as we stand between the wall and the cliff.

There is a balance that is always there, but it is not not always equal except maybe in our delusions. Even then, nothing stays the same for long. Everything changes and sometimes they can be so subtle it seems like nothing has changed at all.

And it’s then, when we look back, do we see that it wasn’t so much the situations that changed. Instead, it was us and our perception of our own landscapes of concrete and steel that changed and we saw the grass through the cracks in the sidewalks and the wildflowers in the playground.

Today’s focus is about the trust that things change whether we want them to or not. It’s our perceptions of our landscapes and the necessity of finding the stillness within that will determine whether we are gazing at weeds or wildflowers.


Friday’s Focus—Mirror, Mirror in Our Hearts

You don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day to show the one you love how you feel. I recently had the most interesting and telling conversation with my husband that not only showed us a lot about each other but showed me some things about myself as well.

Sit with your loved one and tell them all of the things that you learned from them since you’ve been together. Remember it’s not about what you learned about them (their favorite color or sports team) but about what you learned from them (I learned to see that things aren’t always black and white; I’ve learned to be more flexible; I learned how to cook!).

It’s an incredible mirroring exercise that will show you so much about your relationship and at the same time be a mirror for yourself in bringing to light how much you may have grown and changed that you normally may not have been aware of.

You can do this with anyone special in your life–it doesn’t have to be just your spouse but can be extended to friends and other members of your family.

Have a great weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Life is Like a Shoe Store

Teaching a yoga class and demonstrating the Dancer pose, I was explaining another way to grab the foot of the raised leg, and I told the class to reach back and grab the inside of their sole. One of the students chuckled and when I asked her what was funny, she said it wasn’t funny, but poignant—to grab the inside of our soles, and she emphasized the last word, “You know, souls?” I loved her take on it!

I was thinking about this the other day and it occurred to me how life is like a shoe store. Really! Stay with me here: Take any shoe store and you’ll see racks upon racks of shoes—various sizes, styles, and materials. When we go shopping, we look for footwear that fits us well and can also be an expression of us. I would even go so far as to say that we express our souls through our soles!

Taking that idea further, as we grow from children and adolescents to teenagers and finally adults, one way we learn about our selves is by trying on the “shoes” of those around us thinking this is who we should be. Honestly, haven’t we all tried to fit in someone else’s shoes? I know I have.

When someone leaves or passes away, you’ve heard the comment—“Those will be tough shoes to fill”, and then there’s the adage, “You shouldn’t judge someone unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”.

Some of us are still wearing shoes that really aren’t ours and we’re in serious need of shoe shopping. Look down at your feet right now and using your imagination, whose shoes are you wearing? Are they really yours or are your shoes those of your Mom? Your Dad? Cousin? Teacher? Boss? What the social media says you should be?

In time, we may realize that the shoes we wear don’t really fit, so we try on another pair and see how that goes for a while. We try on the shoes of those around us, but some of those shoes are too big, too small, too fancy, or not bold enough for us.

After trying on many different shoes in our lifetimes, if we’re lucky, we find a pair that fits us just right. It feels like we stepped into home as we slide our feet in and don’t think twice about walking that mile! Finding the perfect pair of shoes to walk in is more than just about the soles of your feet. It’s about walking in your own shoes and in the soles of your soul.

Moving Into the Bone and Learning to be Hollow

As I write my stories and share my experiences, I can see and feel what I could only describe as dominoes falling one right after another in quick succession as things in my life are coming, and going, and being twisted inside and out. Instead of being obstacles though, the fallen dominoes have created a new path for me to walk on like a bridge.

I’m at the point in my life where things that only happened to other people, or friends of friends’, are now happening to me or to someone within my direct circle. My deepest circle now contains births, deaths, illnesses, new wrinkles, new friends, transitions, and experiences, some of which I never would have volunteered for, but would do all over again to be where I am today.

No one is immune to this growth of moving into the bones of ourselves and learning to be hollow. If we are to step into the ancient wisdom and depth of love and peace that is there waiting for us, our marrows—our life, opinions, us as we know it—need to become cut, bent, twisted, and bled.  It is only then that we become the hollow bone of letting it all come through us and allows us to hold the space not only for others but for ourselves.

Or not. No one has to, of course. It’s all a choice. You can stand behind that domino and peer around it or you can push it and use it to walk over to wherever it will connect you to. It’s up to you.

I feel honored and very lucky to be able to share these experiences with people, some of whom are new companions, and some of whom have always been on the road with me.

My circle may be getting smaller as I get older, but it is certainly richer, and more vibrant as it becomes sustained from the marrow that is seeping not only from my bones but the bones of those around me as we witness and hold each other in infinite wisdom that can only come from being hollow.