Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Deeper Stretch

It’s quiet, house still, the Starlings pulse and flow nearby, the air conditioning units on 24 hour shifts with a mid-summer heat wave, back tight, hips loose from long overdue morning yoga with Maya.  Pulling me in very necessary yet strangely unique directions and encouraging long deep cleansing breaths.  My breath typically short and shallow while the entire organ sits with unused potential.  Even now, oxygen sinks down deep only when forced, intentional, with purpose. That deeper breath encourages me to slow down, notice, be present. Those last few seconds of expanding inhale stretching out skin and lung, new and unused spaces suddenly filled.

What other parts of me are short and shallow? What other resources sit untapped? What areas are left dormant, only utilizing surface level potential?  My brain? My heart? My soul?  Do I only think the thoughts given to me? Could I create something new, instead? Am I only allowing tiny bits of heart pumping feeling to emerge and be shared with others when a vast resource sits untapped? 

How does one reach down deep and utilize all of self? I imagine the same way a long deep breath is drawn… slowly, with purpose and intention. Like yoga, limbs, bone and organs must move in directions not typical. A far left reach followed by a deep turn to the right is required. Often off center, tipsy…nothing a quick giggle and a return to center can’t fix.  No giving up, only giving in. New movements feel awkward and often breath returns to shallow, but then you sink in and slow down and breath returns as a new normal is found. Not wanting to waste a single thought, thing or moment as I seek the deeper stretch.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Stillness I Seek

Yesterday, comfy in bed, pillow warm, blankets cozy, dog still nestled and asleep, well before the hours I typically awake, I sleepily counted down from 5 for a burst out of bed.  Any longer would have allowed for argument…it’s too early, don’t wake the dog,  the writing can wait.  The arguments come quickly…the doubt-inducing, inspiration-spiraling statements that keep me from doing the thing…whatever that thing is that would move me forward, that would make me a better person, that would possibly catapult my life. I would be quite content to stay on the comfy level I currently reside, but nothing good comes to those who linger too long in comfy places.  So I catapulted myself out of bed after a quick 5 second countdown and after the dog was satisfied, I sat and began to type.  And words did flow.

Nothing good comes to those who linger too long in comfy places. 

Years ago, in a cabin sitting on Thousand Islands, I rose early to enjoy a peaceful morning.  Just beyond the dock, the water appeared glass-like.  Not a single ripple remained from the busy night before.  As if the fish beneath were still asleep, boats had yet to disturb the surface, the water sat still.  I had the urge to swipe the surface to capture its serenity, but its peace would be disturbed.  So I sat on the dock and appreciated it instead.  Gazing with gratitude how in the single digit hours, portions of the world seemed so completely still.  But even in the appearance of stillness, the tide still pulls and unseen things move right beneath the surface.

My mind works best in the wee hours… before the sun has risen, while only the early birds chirp, while my mind is not yet polluted with to-dos, before the flurry of the house begins to stir.  I crave and seek out the stillness.  My mind,  creates new things, words do flow, inspiration blooms. Then, once the house begins to stir, and the to-do list beckons, the surface begins to ripple.    Til tomorrow, it’s the stillness I seek.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Learning to Talk

Talking isn’t my easy neutral.  It takes effort and thought, much like brushing hair the opposite way, it feels awkward, clumsy, disjointed.  Much more content to stare off inside my own head, happily bouncing around thoughts, analogies, and insights, when things get too difficult, I retreat into that happy space, quietly sealing from others. Not so much punishing them with my silence, (although I do admit to playing that sad game against hubby at times).  I just don’t think I have anything as interesting to contribute.  Other times it’s the crowd… there's always one person that loves to occupy all the air then wonder why I’m so quiet.  There’s just not a single breath to share within the tight spaces of loud dialogues.  So I retreat… and watch… and think. 

A college friend once revealed to me that no one knew anything about me and gave the homework to find one friend and start telling them everything.  A pivotal moment.  My poor roommate, Wendy, was the unaware recipient of what felt like a ridiculous brain dump the next morning.  Her eyes like saucers, she was patient with me in my awkwardness and listened intently without interruption.  So I kept testing, and talking.  But my natural neutral will always be silence. I crave a quiet house to write.  I am perfectly content to sit with a friend and never say a single thing.  And that one trait has been both my weakness and my strength.  I’m a top notch listener, but a most terrible friend, sometimes frustrated wife, and often a passive mother.

No coincidence the same week I’m speaking about Communication in Propel Women is the same week I’m reading about setting aside one hour a week to have deep and meaningful conversations with a friend in The Common Rule by Justin Earley. 

Ok, God, I get it. I agreed to let the Big Guy instruct me into being a leader… leader of my life, my business…no longer passive and reactive, but engaged and proactive.  The rusty parts are getting oiled.  Parts and processes that haven’t moved in years, perhaps never used effectively from the get-go, are now getting stretched and pulled in odd directions.

 Everything in me is itchy.  I can actually feel my heart beating right under my skin. I don’t feel adequate to provide skills on how to effectively speak, but I can certainly share the do-nots:

  • Do not keep all the good stuff to yourself.  It’s selfish and the world needs your light.
  • Do not assume everyone around you has a better story to tell.  We all have a story.
  • Do not give up on friends/humans just because you found a rotten one.  It’s all for learning purposes.
  • Do not assume you can do it all.  Every single thing is better in teams of two or more.
  • Do not assume your daily life is boring.  The small shared details become the concrete base.
  • Do not assume others know what you want. You’ve gotta use your words.
  • Do not wait until it’s too late to speak.  Start talking immediately and repeat every day.

You’d think after generations and generations of humans, we’d have this speaking thing down pat, but our unique baggage, filters and the ever-mounting separation of screen and skin, it seems speaking well is something to learn and relearn.  I’m learning.  I’ve been learning for a long time and it seems I’m only just beginning.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Choosing Joy

Sleepy eyes this morning, wanting a few more minutes, scanning the body to check the level of plant-pulling soreness, confirming tight hips.  Mentally adding yoga to the morning to-do. Feet hit the carpet, I cut in line for the bathroom, feeling successfully sneaky.  Dog fed, door opened for his own morning bathroom break. Fruit and veggies chopped and juiced for some morning hubby health.  Made with love to supercharge his cells, sending extra doses of love to heal what ails. Kisses, then back upstairs for some morning yoga and reading. 

Checking emotions, finding myself tapped out, empty, not the typical overflow of joy.  How to fix that… what to add or take away? Finding stillness and listening, head cocked awaiting insight. Write.  Ok…I get it, deep thoughts, deeper meanings flow with the tapping, so I make the tea, I grab my spot and begin to tap. 

The endless flurry of to-dos sit poised at my right, my fingers make the words that echo deep within instead. Easier to attack the list, but I crave the harder mental work, the busyness can wait. That joy I crave cannot be bought or busily accomplished…it’s perched just out of reach, awaiting the stillness.  Waiting for me to cease the strive, waiting for me to ditch the worry, waiting for me to trust. It’s the sweetest thing. And there it sits, inching closer, happy anticipation of it’s arrival. Plopping the worry in a basket by the door, I sit some more. Joy so close I can taste it…the most decadent chocolate can not compare. 

Joy, she spills, overflows, seeps out in every direction, touching tasks, setting gaze, moving hands, pepping steps. Joy, she lifts above the mundane, above current worry, above long cast vision.  Joy so rich, so abundant, she holds nothing back, ready to spill. It’s the fix I need… the infusion of joy that shifts my perspective. 

Then, the steady tapping brings awareness… has Joy been there all along, my busy worry crowding her shine? A wealth of joy right under the surface…diamonds and pearls ready to adorn, yet reaching for plastic instead.  Joy is a choice.  Not the fickle addition to a lucky day.  Requiring the stillness, a dose of gratitude and a deep, saturating dive…so that every thought, every sight, every word is infused with honest to goodness Joy. Nothing else compares…no other replacement satisfies. Another body check, the hips are loose, emotions are lighter, the pep has returned, Joy resumed. Today, I choose Joy.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Right Before My Eyes

Expecting sunny Florida skies and beach moments tucked in between daughter’s classes, instead, we had rain and lost luggage. Daughter’s birthday celebration already off to a late and frustrating start.  But I’m here, right next to her, able to give in-person hugs and share dips of piled-high guacamole.  

Two months since Christmas break feels nearly an eternity.  Facetime chats while making dinner, her snuggled into bed between classes and Netflix, never quite the same.  Seeing her face, meeting her friends, feeling the flow of her new life, is altogether different.  She shares her new haunts, a nearby ice-cream shop and a warehouse market with a huge variety of eats.  She tells stories of previous visits with new friends. 

Recalling freshman days when parent visits felt part relief, part awkward,  I don’t push, I don’t assume all her precious time.  I hug and update, laugh and listen then I let her go, yet again.  This is her time.  Time to sift and sort and build up her list of likes.  Time to build grand memories that will bring smiles even into later days.  Time for mom to let out more line…letting her drift even farther, the building of wings, the becoming of an adult right before my eyes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Stop the Scroll

All the pretty pictures scrolling and scrolling, keeping me from doing the good stuff.  The stuff that grows businesses, makes changes, and satisfies the soul.  Content just to nestle into this comfy couch while Charlie basks in the warm sun. Phone in hand, right finger swiping bottom to top, bottom to top, then back again… more pretty things.  Excuses of  investigation, what is new, what is desired.  3-2-1,  shock the body, up I rise. Walking, eyes refocused, blinking to see reality.  Here I am, ready to do the work.  Settled down, fingers tapping, letters into words into sentences: 

Pressing out of the comfy bubble, I ventured far and wide to explore new ideas, find a few new faces.  Pushing the church doors open, no familiar faces, finding an empty spot, a smile and I settle.  A class to groom leaders, primed to receive all the good stuff, I absorb the video and think all the deep thoughts. We answer the questions, some differing opinions, yet a fresh perspective. It’s all in efforts to mold and redefine, breaking off old ways and building anew.  It’s good.  Good thoughts not previously considered and real live people to learn from and relate to.  No photoshop, no filters, just seasoned women in all walks of life, sharing their stories. No little heart to double click, no hashtags, no need for clever comments.

Instead, rising up something that’s been waiting, poised, absorbing, sorting.  Little seeds now bursting forth for it is time. It is time. Ready to grow, the seeking and sitting is behind me, now is the time to move the feet, tap the fingers into words, and stop the scroll. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Fear comes uninvited in the most happiest of moments. Small thoughts at first, quickly multiplied.  Sinking in, pulling tightly on heart and breath, now shallow, air only barely seeping in.  It crushes, it tightens, it grips, it halts. Fear brings the anxious tingles to middle back and stands heavily upon upper chest, solidly pinned.  It peels the smile from my face and spirit. It drags me back down to earth hidden, still and small.  Fear, you are no stranger to me.

I know your wily ways, your never ending effort to reduce and shame.  I know your symptoms, the small signs you are sneaking in, one evil inch at a time. The whys are silly and small: failure, fraudulence, indecision,  even fear of death is diluted. I’ve looked you in the eye and you are weak.  You are nothing. You are powerless.  Only when I accept the lies can you thrive.  You have no place here.  There is no room for you in my heart or home. You are unwelcome, unwanted, unnecessary.  I am on the right path.  I am protected, guided, redeemed. So I call an end to fear.  No white flag as there’s no surrender.  I WIN. I know exactly who I am, I am a beloved daughter of the Most High King.  You have no authority over me.  I WIN because of who lives in me.  I see you squirming away, tail between your legs, the weight on my chest lifted, the tingling gone.  All is lighter, easier, filled with light. My foot tapping, my eyes clear, breath deep and smooth.  Full and easy inhale, smooth and cleansing exhale.  Moving more boldly, head and thoughts higher.

You’ll return again, no doubt.  I’m ready for ya.