Friday, February 27, 2009

Life is Good

There is a popular company that uses the words Life is Good as their trademark. My husband and I own several T-Shirts with these words and a picture of simple stick figures enjoying an activity such as running, motorcycling, fishing and my personal favorite... riding a teeter-totter, reminding the reader of the importance of life balance.

There is a cartoon cut from the newspaper on my refrigerator door right now with a picture of a car parked in a tow zone, with a Life is Good decal in the back window and a meter maid, writing a ticket as she says "Life isn't so good now, is it?"

I laugh whenever I see it because I know life can be good no matter what is happening. As long as I don't identify with the situations that occur in life as being a part of me, and I can accept whatever is happening rather than resisting it, my peace and joy can be undisturbed.

If we measure life's goodness only by the things that are outwardly going well, we are setting ourselves up for eventual disappointment. If instead, we allow ourselves to feel good inside, no matter what is happening outside, feeling good can be the norm.

A great way to practice is to pay attention to all that you're grateful for. As the power of gratitude builds, seeing that Life is Good gets easier.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Dance

There is something absolutely beautiful for me in the metahpor of a dance....that is when the dance is guided by trust, confidence and joy.

Whether dancing the metaphorical dance of life, or physically moving on the dance floor, there is an element of trust that is needed to be present to allow yourself to relax and glide along...especially when you are going backwards and cannot see where you're going.

If you are constantly looking over your shoulder, the flow of movement is interrupted. If you repeatedly stop your movement, joy cannot build. If you take your steps with fear of being hurt or making a mistake, your dance will feel awkward and uncomfortable. If you allow yourself to glide along in complete trust of your intuition, your movement will feel effortless.

Perhaps what can put the dance of life in perspective is considering what matters the dance looks, or the joy of the process in moving across the dance floor.

In my dance, whether I choose to whirl around with joy or float along in deep peace, I want it to be authentically, my dance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Letting Go

Earlier today, I said good-bye, to my son (formerly my baby boy), Alan. I wasn't sending him off to pre-school, Cub Scouts, Track practice or a Motocross race. I sent him off to his home in Massachusetts to pack his belongings and ship off to Army boot camp tomorrow.

When the financial crash struck several months ago, Alan was in the line of fire. He was laid off from his position as a Vintage race car technician. Having time on his hands and no financial compensation seen in the form of unemployment insurance, he began to think creatively about his career options. He decided enlisting in the Army would be a good fit to fill his needs as well as a match for his adventuresome spirit.

Alan has always enjoyed "helping others". His responsibilities on the job protected the lives of the drivers that sat behind the wheels of the cars he had in his care. He kept the preciously expensive race cars functioning safely and had a great time traveling the Vintage race circuit around the country for the past four years.

A close friend reminded me of another time earlier in his life as a little boy, where he declared he was meant to help people. We were working on his First Communion preparation when he suddenly declared he was a lot like Jesus. When I asked how he was like Jesus, he responded, "Jesus always helped people... and I help people". He took the role as the schoolyard patrol, stepping in to protect kids being bullied by the bigger kids.

His desire to help others is still very present. The training Alan will be going into after Basic is to be a Combat Engineer (bomb and landmine defusing).....somebody has to do it....after all.

As a Mom of a now, independent, grown man, I gently let go once again of the baby I once held so close, and pray for him to be safe and happy with wherever his life path takes him.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Sisterhood

I am blessed with many close friends that truly care about me and what is happening in my life. In fact there is a group of 6 of us that began our journey as a Sisterhood, or actually a Sistaaaaaahood, in late October.

That gathering was held over a long week-end in a charming cottage in the woods. We shared stories of the past, dreams for the future and some wonderful comfort food. We also each wrote a piece in a beautiful leather bound journal that represented our individual experiences. At the conclusion of that special week-end, we set the intention to meet every three months to update one another on each other's status.

Last night was the second installment for our check-ins. As we sat around the table after dinner, one by one, we shared an update on what was present in our lives NOW, what we wanted to create, and what might be getting in our way. It was beautiful to hear and see the gentle, loving support we all gave and received.

Many of us, as we navigate the busyness of life, tend to forge through alone, without the support, encouragement, love, laughter and challenges of people that love us unconditionally. What seems ironic, is that most of us living in today's world experience the same challenges and distractions, and yet we do it alone. I can't help but wonder how much more joy would be present in the world if there were more Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods, supporting one another along the way.

My Sisterhood holds me accountable to step up and truly live the life I say I want to live. I'm glad somebody is keeping track of me. Who's keeping track of you?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Life Menu

Imagine sitting down in a lovely restaurant and picking up the menu to peruse before deciding what you would like to order. Before ordering, most of us would probably also assess how hungry we are and what would taste good at that current time. Since there is a price for what we order, that may also have some impact on what we choose.

In general, our choice is likely to represent our unique preferences and tastes. If you're dining with someone that loves sushi and you could not imagine eating raw fish yourself, it's not likely you would order it too. If you're not very hungry, you might order less than your dining partners. Maybe you'd always keep your eye tuned for something healthy. Overall, your menu choices would be a reflection of you, essence, what you would prefer and enjoy in that moment.

If you can imagine that your life also comes with a menu. It may not come in a book like format, where you turn pages and read the courses, but it is right there in front of all of us everyday. You get to choose that which is best for you based on your distinct preferences. Some choices are far reaching, affecting your life for a long time. Other selections may affect only the the present moment.

Regardless of what it is you choose, I would hope your choice represents your preference. What would taste, smell and feel good for you. Even if you later discover that what you chose was not what you thought it might be, you get to choose again.

Approaching life in this Menu approach keeps us present and conscious of what each choice may create in our life (bitter or sweet) and will always teach us something as well. Interestingly, by choosing the thoughts we think, we are also choosing from the Life menu. Sometimes our thoughts give us a taste of JOY, other times, they make us feel ill.

For me, I love to try things I haven't tried before, so I will be looking for what's new on the menu. I also love the comfort food of life and a sweet and simple dessert that calls me to savor every bite. I try not to eat too fast, so I can fully enjoy each course. Before I eat, I bless the food and after each meal, I give thanks for how it will nourish me.