Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meaningful Theater

Last evening my husband and I attended the opening night production of Underneath the Lintel, a beautifully written play by Glen Berger. It is a one-character play, performed by Thomas Putnam, the Artistic Director of Hamilton-Gibson Productions, our local community theater.

The essence of the play is about a librarian from Holland who discovers a book that is 113 years overdue. The story took us on an amazing journey, captivating us every step of the way as the librarian relates details of his search for clues to the identity and whereabouts of the person that borrowed the book.

Due to the absolutely superb acting and story telling ability, the audience was pulled in and carried along as a wonderful backdrop for life was created. We felt the gamut of emotions from deep sadness and regret to sheer happiness and joy. It caused the viewer to reflect on their own life as a result of the learning this librarian encountered and the story he told. Afterwards the audience was given the opportunity to discuss the personal impact of the play on them. In listening to the comments and insights, it took an already very meaningful experience even deeper.

It was truly a night to remember, not only for how lovely it was to be touched by such a beautiful story and impeccable acting skill, but also due to the universal connection to what is most important in life shared by us all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Joy of a Rainy Day

When I woke up very early this morning, I looked outside to check the weather. I never check the weather channel, I stick my head out the back door and get a feel for what is to come. Today when I made my weather check at approximately 6:15, it was cloudy, cool with a sure promise that rain was coming soon. My accurate weather intuition was correct. Before long, it began to rain and it has rained all day. It's been one of those slow, steady rainy days. No lightening....just rain.

Now, I know a lot of people complain about rainy days, but once in awhile, I delight in it. Rainy days like today inspire me to bake cookies. There's nothing better than baking when it's raining. Actually, there is one thing, and that is eating cookies on a rainy day. Of course, eating cookies paired with a cappuccino, while reading a good book, under a soft warm blanket is really the ultimate. Of course, after baking, eating cookies, sipping a cappuccino and reading I would need to rest, and then I am inspired to take a nap.

On this particular rainy day, I cannot say I got a lot of work accomplished, and that's okay. This rainy day was one that I was able to follow my inner guidance to take care of myself. It has been a wet, yet joyful day for me. I feel just wonderful right now and am curious how tomorrow's weather will inspire me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Perfect Tribute

This afternoon my husband and I stood in a long line waiting to enter the local funeral home for the viewing of a friend. The corner where the funeral home is located looked like an intersection of a busy city, not a residential area of our small, quiet town. Cars were backed up waiting for parking spaces. The street was swarming with people, gathering in small groups telling stories about our friend.

The person we were all there to honor was Brenda who was killed as the result of the choices made by a drunk driver. Brenda, who has worked for many years in the housekeeping department at our local hospital, was one of those people you'd expect to have with you for a long time. She was one of the kindest, friendliest and most generous and loving people I have known. Her fellow hospital workers, former patients and countless others who knew and loved Brenda, moved along in a slow moving line to pay their respects.

When we reached the viewing room inside the funeral home. We filed past an unusual tribute to Brenda. Amongst the family pictures of her with her kids and grand kids, there were several items that gave you an idea of what was important in her life. There was a rolling pin and a few jars of her recently canned vegetables, a bottle of her favorite perfume, her ID tag from the hospital, and a wooden cross, to name a few. Each item was carefully arranged and each one told a story.

It reminds me once again how precious life is and how we are all affected by the lives of one another. Brenda was not one that stood out in the community in a public way, but in a quiet and personal way, she touched so many. She didn't seek attention, but she gave it and received it, quietly.

The length of the line of those waiting to say good-bye spoke volumes, and in typical Brenda style, without a lot of show.

The memory of her will be a sweet one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life via the Remote

I hear comments about life from people of all ages such as "I want to put my life on hold" or "I wish I could go back in time to when I was young" or "I wish I could just take a break from life", or "I look forward to the future when _______(fill in the blank) happens".

We all know what it's like when our day to day existence can seem overwhelming and we need a break. Or perhaps we miss something or someone from our past, or we tend to focus on the future as the time when things will finally be better.

Imagine what it would be like if you had the opportunity to run your life via a Remote...similar to a DVD Remote, where you could hit whatever button you wanted and have it directly affect the pace and even the time frame of life.

I'm sure PAUSE would be used most often. Just giving yourself enough time for a breather and to rest a bit before moving ahead to the next life experience.

The REWIND and FAST FORWARD are likely to get a fair amount of use too since we tend to put a lot of our attention to events that have gone by or look ahead planning how we want our life to be someday. Of course, if we have fears of the future, then we would avoid FAST FORWARD and stick to PAUSE or REWIND.

I'm sure STOP would be a last resort and not really necessary since we would tend to PAUSE for extended periods of time if necessary.

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm happy to have my life live out its course without interruption, replays, or skipping past some potentially wonderful in-between years. The truth is we never know what adventures lie before us. When we are truly living every experience (challenges and easy times ) we are growing and learning each step on our path. It is all of the stuff of life that teaches us how to be better at being who we are.

When we are living in such a way that we are fully present and open to all that life has to offer, then we will be tuned in to peace and joy. So what button would you push for peace and joy? Simple....that would be PLAY.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


About 8 years ago when I was first taking courses for life coaching, I created a list of my Values. In coach-eze Values are the building blocks that make you the unique person you are. When they are present in your feel great. There's a resonance when you even think about them. Although we all have many values some will hold greater importance than others and will be ranked at the top of our list. Values can also be grouped under one heading and then that category can be given a name that really speaks to you.

C.E.O was one of the Value headings near the top of my list. What it meant to me was being the C.E.O. of my life. The values of mine under this heading are freedom, creativity, joy, accomplishment, success, expansion (growth), learning and travel. When any of these values are present and honored, life is feeling good. When all of them are present, life is realllllly feeeeeeling good.

So why is that helpful to know? When I remember I am in charge of my life, I am compelled to make decisions that honor me. I make choices that resonate with who I am. Before you make any judgments about me being selfish, read on. When I am making choices that feel good to me, I am going to be a joyful soul that enjoys what I do. I will not be saying "yes" to requests that don't resonate for me. I will say "yes" to things that are a match for my interests, skills and values. Whether it is a paying job, a volunteer post, or even a favor for someone, I knowingly agree when my heart will be in it and I can be fully committed.

If you're reading this and thinking that there's lots of things you must do in your life even though you don't like them, look more closely and you can find a value or two that can make a difference in how you feel in your process. For instance, I don't have a Value around cleaning the oven, but I do have a Value called accomplishment. So, when I'm cleaning the oven, I focus on how good it will feel when I can cross this job off my list.

I encourage you to notice how you feel as you say "yes" or "no" to requests made of you. If you feel great and are excited about completing the task, there are values being honored. If you dread following through, yet can't wait until it's over, then there is most likely not a Value in sight.

The great news is you are the C.E.O. and when you look closely your Values are waiting for you to connect with them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spiritual Health and Fitness

In today's world the benefits of physical fitness are highly touted. There are countless machines, exercise classes, diets, books, DVDs, CDs, not to mention special shoes and clothing for every form of exercise.

We are also very health conscious when it comes to taking care of the internal functioning of our bodies. We monitor our hearts, our lungs, our calcium level, our cholesterol, our blood pressure and our weight, to name a few systems. We are a society that tends to be consumed with the desire to be as healthy as possible, although many of us are not focused on our spiritual health.

To be truly healthy in body, mind and spirit, we are well served to pay attention to taking care of our spiritual health as well as our bodies. Yes, we need to exercise and eat healthy foods. It is important to have regular check ups and to work with our practitioners in maintaining our best level of physical health. Spiritual fitness is equally important.

My definition of spiritual health is all about our spirit, or our inner selves. The part of ourselves that truly defines who we are. Our spirit is connected to the unseen. I consider my spirit to be in relationship with God as well as being one with all. There are no limitations of spirit....The spiritual part of us cannot be compared to another. It cannot be evaluated or condemned. It is the part of ourselves that knows all is well even when our lives may be in chaos. It is the part of us that loves, that trusts, and believes we are whole, even when our body tells us otherwise. Spirit is the domain for peace, love and joy and lives on beyond the time our bodies die.

So how does one become spiritually healthy? There are many avenues to strengthen this vital part of who we are. Prayer, meditation, reading inspirational books, sharing thoughts and ideas with like-minded people, practicing gratitude, forgiveness and unconditional love are some of my favorite practices. In essence, it is about being still and conscious of breath and quieting the mind so you can hear and feel the reassurance that this form of self care can influence every compartment of your life.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Opening the Door

Imagine deep within your heart there is a door. Depending on how trusting you are that you are loved and cared for will match how open the door will be.

For instance, if you are in great fear regarding a particular compartment in your life and you are desperately trying to keep control, the door is closed, and may be even locked. The metaphorical experience of being locked in feels very lonely. You desperately try to figure out what is on the other side....You want assurance that if you open the door and stepped over the threshold, you would be safe. Unfortunately, there is no little hotel peep hole that would let you see into the future. As you wait for a guarantee, you continue to work on how you can figure out some way to perfectly construct the answer to your prayers. Meanwhile, your prayers are being answered and waiting for you to open the door to your heart to receive them.

So what is it that is needed to open the door to our hearts? What I have learned is that it is unconditional love. It is joy. It is trusting that all is well and that I am never alone. If you have a relationship with God, this belief may resonate with you. How ironic it is, however, that although we pray and ask for guidance and help, we are often not open to receiving it. We may not see ourselves as worthy, or we believe that our needs are not important as compared to the needs of others. It is this kind of thinking that keeps us locked behind the door, waiting, feeling very much alone. As we wait, we become frustrated, more frightened and maybe even angry that we are not being heard.

Now imagine opening the door and stepping out, fully trusting that all that is to unfold will serve you perfectly. It may not be what you designed and so desperately tried to implement, but will actually be beyond your wildest imaginations for the perfect outcome.

I don't mean to imply that unconditional love and trust is easy, but I am saying it is worth the practice. I encourage you to first unlock the door and then notice that the doorknob is on your side of the door. Only you have control in opening it. Only you can take the first step. When you remember that you are infinitely loved, you will remember you cannot be harmed...that all is well and that it is safe to come out of hiding.