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Earthquakes

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I’ve been dreaming of earthquakes. To me, these symbolize huge changes that are about to occur.

The first member of a beloved group of friends died on March 31st. This past Saturday, we gathered with other members of her family and friends to say good-bye to her. The experience was surreal. I was acutely aware of Maggie’s absence and aware that in our small group, we were not spending much time speaking of her or our loss.

At the end, we said our good-byes and as I drove away, I wondered if on that day we were saying good-bye to more than our friend.

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Relationship

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“Telling the truth on the page, like telling the truth in a relationship, always takes you deeper.” — Julia Cameron

What a complex word: relationship. In defining the term, it can be as simple as taking an objective, clear-eyed, conceptual view of a relationship as a state of connection, to the more loaded perspective of HAVING a relationship or being IN relationship with a SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

Last month I wrote about overload, of the importance of balance, and creating bridges between learning and application. Relationships, whether we are HAVING one or being IN one are prime opportunities to deeply and fully examine, explore, and experience ourselves. A magnificent collision of learning and application.

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OVERLOAD!!

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Have you ever experienced it? I am deep in the grip of it, even as I write. I am enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School, completing the 21-Day Master the Money Talk with Leesa Renee Hall, and about to start the introductory work with Susanna Maida re: flourishing in my Soul Centered Business. In the meantime, I still have coaching clients and am about to start work with a new consulting client. I have an abundance of riches. And yet, something is missing.

A colleague said something in a post on Facebook that nails it for me. He wrote that he was

“…realizing how I spend time learning what’s next, instead of using all of me more!”

My colleague’s post reminds me of the importance of balance, in this example, a balance between learning and application. For me, the bridge between learning and application occurs in the moments that I unplug, unplug from the daily routine and take time to integrate.

Being busy is seductive, especially when it is in service to building a business, creating a relationship, or in broad strokes, having a life. But too much of anything can be too much.

I have a small laminated plague hanging from the lamp next to my recliner. Written on the plaque is the word “Breathe…” It serves as a reminder, to stop and take a moment to consciously breathe. And in the conscious breath, in … then out, there is the pause…to reflect, to integrate, and to be.

So I am wondering, am I the only one who wants to enjoy the abundance of riches and maintain balance?  If not, I am wondering what others do in these instances. What methods do you use to stay in balance, or to reclaim your balance?

Another thing that I do is occasionally take a weekend away to be with other like-minded people, learning, growing, reflecting, and finding balance.  This weekend, that will occur for me at the Change the Story of Your Life Retreat: A T-Group for Women of Color. Ahhhh! What a pleasure!

Posted in Balance, Self Awareness | 4 Comments

We…CAN’T…Breathe

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My Facebook News Feed is filled with images of black men and women who have been murdered in the US over the past year. Each day there is at least one new occurrence, “proof” that black lives don’t matter in this country. I have watched to see who posts these images and who responds. And over the weeks have questioned the friendship of those who state that they are allies, but whose voices are silent on this matter. A door in my heart is closing. And I wonder about your silence on something as important as this.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ”

As with all acts of questioning and finger-pointing, there always come a time to look in the mirror, to ask myself about my own public silence. So here I am. ASTONISHED at the recent Grand Jury findings concerning Michael Brown and Eric Gardner. Wondering what they are seeing that I don’t see. Heartbroken. Angry.  Questioning.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Leaving Home

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Last fall I ventured out of the box. I flew to Virginia, rented a car and drove from Dulles Airport to Virginia Beach. From there, I drove to Arlington, Virginia, then to Columbia, Maryland and back to Dulles to fly home. Dulles, Virginia Beach, and Arlington are each four hours away from each other. Columbia was over an hour from Arlington and Dulles. I was unfamiliar with the roads, turnpikes, and signage. I was travelling alone. And I had the time of my life. I felt brave, daring, bold, and adventurous.

A few weeks ago I arrived in France, with plans to spend a few days in Paris followed by three weeks in Nice. It was not my original intention to come alone, but plans to travel with a friend fell through and I decided to come anyway. More adventure!

Somewhere along the way, the adventure turned into a desire to drastically shift my outer reality as a backdrop to focusing more internally. From a vacation, the adventure morphed into an inward, spiritual journey. One person remarked, “If it is an internal journey, why not just stay home?” My response to that is if Odysseus had just stayed home, would we still have the Odyssey? Perhaps.

As George Bernard Shaw said,

 Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. 

Finding quiet time at home is always an option.  And for me, deep changes are made in the company of the unfamiliar.  For that, I needed to leave home. And in so doing, recreate myself.

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Changing Our Internal Narrative

“Changing our internal narrative is as important as understanding the tools and tactics that are available to us.” — Seth Godin

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I love this quote by Seth Godin. It reminds me of the sayings that change begins within and that change begins with me.

I am ready for a change, and came to France to significantly shift my outer environment. Being in a decidedly foreign environment without the distractions of home is providing the means for me to get quiet enough to hear my inner voice. I have a clear sense of my skills, knowledge and abilities. Less clear are the places where I might hold myself back unwittingly.

Sitting at the beach, watching the blue of the Mediterranean, I am beginning to hear my internal narrative, the story I tell myself about who I am, what I can have, what I can do and what I can be. Once I have the story, I can make informed, conscious decisions.

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Nice, France

 

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I am looking out the window of my rented studio, in Nice, France. It’s raining… Hard. Includes thunder and lightning. I like the sight, sound, and smell of it. But it means a change to my plans to spend the afternoon at the Flower Market, walking up and down the stalls and taking in more of the atmosphere of Nice. So what do you do when your best-laid plans need to change? Seems like a good time to put on the kettle for hot lemon water, light the Nag Champa incense and see what arises from within.

This is what arose:

When fishermen can’t fish

They mend their nets.

— Source unknown

It’s not the day I planned, but still a great day for doing the inside things that can be done, like writing in my journal, completing this blog post, curling up with a good book. And when the thunder and lightning subside, going for a leisurely walk in the rain-cleansed air.

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What I’m Reading

I’ve noticed on Facebook that people are posting their top ten favorite books. For me, those include the books I call my “Do Not Disturb” books, books that I will read way into the night and pick up again the next day, until I’ve finished reading them. Here are a few of the books that are on my “do not disturb” list: • Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver – letting the divine take the lead • The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks – taking life to the next level • Dreams of Isis by Normandi Ellis – a woman’s spiritual sojourn • The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith – an Isabel Dalhousie mystery novel Quite an eclectic grouping, I admit. What books are on your bedside table, keeping you up past bedtime and/or providing comfort during challenging times?

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Becoming Ourselves

“It could be argued that as people and as artists, we are what we are — however, we also become ourselves, all of ourselves, by having our largeness mirrored back to us.”

— Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Every Day, February 10, 2009

Maya Angelou, Edith Whitfield Seashore, Angeles Arrien, Joan C. King

Each and all of these women did that mirroring for me. With Joan, every conversation with her began with, “Hello my dear. How are we going to evoke your greatness today?” With Angeles, it was always knowing and recognizing me each time we met after an extended absence. With Edie, it was her happiness in our friendship. She, who was wanted by so many, was happy, even honored to spend time with me. And Maya Angelou, who showed possibility to all young black women in the 1970’s who read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

These women have too soon left my life, leaving a gaping hole that I don’t know can ever be filled. And while I allow myself to pause, to grieve, to experience the inertia that such loss and emptiness brings, I am also anticipating and waiting for the positives, the silver lining in this dark cloud of loss.

In the meantime, I say, “Thank you.” Thank you to Maya Angelou for living your life so fully that you could stand as a beacon to those of us who aspired for something more. Thank you to Angeles for your reminder to walk the spiritual path with practical feet. Thank you to Edie, for your unwavering honesty and directness that embraced and appreciated the same in and from me. And thank you to Joan, coach, mentor, and friend for your willingness to energetically join me in whatever space I was in and patiently reflect my greatness.

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Trust

“Move from within.

Don’t move the way fear wants you to.

Begin a foolish project.

Noah did.” 

The other day, I woke up with the above poem running through my mind. It was one I had printed out and kept in front of me when working on my Master’s Thesis many years ago.

While the issue wasn’t really one of comparing the completion of my thesis to the building of an ark, it did give me comfort to imagine that even the seemingly impossible could be possible.  It helped me persevere, to a successful completion of the thesis.

What “foolish” project have you set aside, out of a wavering faith or trust in yourself?   Chasing after a certainty is easy.  It takes courage to actualize a dream, to step onto the path of uncertainty and to keep walking.

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