Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Secret to Life is in the Asking
What Does Love Look Like Here and How Does Love Move Me Forward?

           Life can be hard. We all deal with harsh situations like the pain of loneliness, a broken heart, deep grief, losing a job or serious health concerns.
           I’ve learned difficult life lessons over the years and remembering to ask myself a key question has been the secret to my sanity. Remembering to ask “What does Love look like here and how does Love move me forward?” has been one of my most challenging lessons. It’s certainly the most rewarding.
While I’ve actively used this query for many years, it took me being an observer to really understand the meaning of this practice.  I got to see firsthand what love looked like when my friend Jim passed away at home after a long illness. It was life changing.
           When she knew Jim’s time was short, his wife Linda asked me to come by the house. It was here I witnessed a pivotal lesson about what love looked like at work in the world. I arrived at their house and was greeted by the family, their faces red from crying. I went into the back room to see Jim lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by equipment. He was weak with labored breathing, but a dim light still shone from his eyes.
           I can tell you what love looked like that Wednesday afternoon at Linda and Jim’s house. I saw love in tear stained cheeks, in colorful posters made by the grandchildren, in the gentle stroking of Jim’s skin and in loving hands administering Reiki. I saw love in the fussing with the bed sheets, in the loving gestures toward Jim and each other, in the position of the bed so he could see the emerald green lawn and softly swaying trees in the back yard. I saw love in the medications and the essential oils, in the whispered “I love yous” and in Jim’s determination to hold on a little while longer. I saw love as patient, kind and resolved.
           As the grandchildren arrived from school, I witnessed love move the situation forward.
           We all gathered around Jim’s bed, gazing at his face, hands on him and each other. I heard his daughter whisper in his ear. “We’re here Dad. We love you, Dad. We’re all one. We’ll always be together.” Love moved forward with dignity, grace, respect, strength and surrender. And relief for physical suffering that would soon be over. Love moved with deep gratitude and appreciation to our Creator for a shared life and unique journey.
           Jim’s breathing became faint and we watched as he peacefully slipped from this world to the next, surrounded and supported by love. It was a beautiful experience. What a privilege to have seen love in action with this amazing family.
           This experience was profound. It brought home to me the value of recognizing what true, unconditional love for oneself and others looks like in any given situation. Love for yourself is not long-suffering sacrifice which always breeds resentment; it’s not always having to get your way or even putting yourself first.  Love asks us to recognize the Divine Spark within and treat it with the same respect that’s given to others.
           “What does Love look like here and how does Love move me forward?” I’m embarrassed to admit that I know how resentment, anger and jealousy move me forward. I’ve been shoved, prodded and pushed by those emotions many times and always with disastrous results. But how exactly does Love move you forward?
           While your head will never know the answer to that question, your heart already does. Go inside, into the quiet wisdom of your own heart, and ask. Listen. While I don’t know what your answer will be, I know it comes accompanied by a feeling of peace. And freedom.
           Following Love’s guidance from the heart allowed Jim and his family to gracefully move through one of life’s greatest challenges. Love will guide you as well in any situation big or small.
           You just have to ask.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

It Starts with YOU!

Oh, how I wish it wasn't true.

I wish I could take a magic pill and POOF! All the positive change I want in my life suddenly manifests. Yeah, I wish it worked like that.

After decades of searching, I am confident there is no magic pill. Bummer.

There is good news, however. What I discovered and have verified time after time, over nearly 30 years of studying mind, body and spirit, is that the power to make healthy change exists in each one of us. It's in me and it's in you. The message is clear. If you want to change anything in your life, it starts with you.

Want greater physical health? It starts with you. Financial stability? It starts with you. Want more joy and happiness in your life? It starts with you. Want better relationships? It starts with you.

This last realization was a real eye opener since I had held on to the belief that others in my life just needed to straighten up. Nope. The quality of my relationships, and everything else, start with how I think about them. My thoughts lead to my actions and how I interpret the actions of others.

That's right. The power to change starts with you and your willingness to think differently. I love this quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer:

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

So what are you willing to see differently? What change do you want to see in your life in the next year? Remember the good news...it starts with you.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Happy New Year! Welcome 2020 and How to Move Forward in Love

This is what I call the "twilight time." The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. It's a great opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months and bring your best energy into the year ahead. Take a few minutes to try these three simple exercises to bless 2019 and welcome in 2020.

1)  Make a list of at least 10 people/events/ideas that you are truly grateful for from 2019. While many people will spend hours creating lists of what they want to release from the past year, few remember to note the amazing things they experienced individually, as a family or as a community. What would be on your list? New job? Did you read a life changing book? Did your sports team win a national championship? (GO NATS!) Did you meet a new friend or take a great day trip? Even when we experience trauma, there's always something to be grateful for. Start your 2019 gratitude list now.

2) Make a list of your major positive life lessons or shifts from 2019. This is different from your gratitude list. For example, I am deeply grateful I was introduced to the work of Lynne McTaggart last year. From that, I gained a major life lesson in the collective power of intention...and that's been life changing for me. (More about that in the new year!) Make sense? Life lessons could include understanding the grief process, realizing how to shift your thoughts to create your mood or anything else that helped you see your world with new understanding. It's those "aha!" moments. Take a few minutes to remember those now.

3) Reach out and thank people who helped, supported and loved you through last year.  Did an individual, organization or group make a difference for you in 2019? Send an email or text, write a letter (use a pen and paper and mail it the old fashioned way), post on social media or call and let them know their efforts were noted and appreciated. Whether it's a close family member or an author you never met, take the time to let them know they made a positive difference in your life.

I'm all for release rituals and other ways to close out the year AND I believe strongly in bringing the energy of gratitude and love into the next year. I hope you take a few minutes to think about your 2019 and do one or all of these exercises above to move forward in 2020 with love.
I deeply appreciate each of you! 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Buying Gifts, Being Present and Losing My Car in the Parking Lot

It happened. AGAIN.

Recently I rushed into a local store to grab one more gift, which I found quickly. “YES!” I thought as I ran out the door, ready to jump in my car and head to the office. Then it happened. Again.

I realized I had been so focused on maximizing my time and locating this last item, that I had completely forgotten where I parked! Yeah, it sounds funny. Come June I may be able to laugh about it, but as I aimlessly wandered the parking lot, it was a windy 25-degree day. Not. Fun.

Between my momentary panic and the chill, at least I was wide awake! (I figured that was a plus.)

Here’s what I learned, or I should say, remembered. As much as we all want to enjoy the holidays, we miss out when we’re not fully present. As I reached my car and started to drive away, I wondered who did I miss seeing because I was so preoccupied? Did I walk past an old friend or neighbor and miss my chance to offer a holiday hug? I know I missed fully connecting with the salesperson who cheerfully helped me. Then I began to wonder if, in my haste to check off one more thing from my “to do list,” did I even miss infusing real love, thought and meaning into the gift I purchased?

It was a lot to think about.

And a good reminder for me to be more present, even in the craziness of the holidays. When I do remember, I always enjoy a more meaningful celebration of family, friends and a happier experience of the season.

Now that really is a great present.

Monday, November 25, 2019

3 Reasons Why Gratitude Changes Everything

I firmly believe in the statement above! Why? Here's my take:

#1 - When you look for things in your life to be grateful for, the good seems to multiply.

Although I didn't understand it at the time, learning to be aware of what I was truly grateful for on a daily basis was a key element in turning my life around at a very dark time in my past. My friend and mentor, Dr. Robert Holden, expresses it this way:

"Before we practice gratitude, we appear to be in the dark with very little to be grateful for. Once we begin, a new light dawns, sometimes a brilliant light, a light as bright as heaven itself."

That's exactly how it happened for me. Deep in my heart I'd always believed Love ruled the world even though I wasn't allowing myself to experience that during this rough time. I had read a way to retrain your brain to see the "good" in life was to begin a gratitude practice. And so I began and the result was magic! The more I consciously decided to look for at least three things a day to be thankful for, I experienced - even in challenging times - an awareness of the love and goodness that surround me. All I had to do was open my eyes and heart!
#2 - Gratitude is a doorway to the divine. 

Nothing has been more humbling than an increased awareness of the divine force that coordinates all the good that is constantly available to me and everyone else. 

"Gratitude is a sacred space where you allow and know a force greater than your ego is always at work and always available." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

A thankful heart opens you up to accept the divine love that is always available, as Wayne Dyer says in the quote above. Why is that important? Because the energy of that divine love is intelligent, creative and expansive. If it can make the tide go in and out, the flowers bloom and create entire galaxies it can gracefully move you through any life challenge you'll ever experience. Trust that divine love is more powerful than your ego and allow it to guide your actions to experience real love in your life.
#3 - Gratitude makes life more fun and fulfilling. 
Deciding to live from a grateful heart just makes life more FUN! You feel more satisfied, playful, energized and creative in so many ways. Why? Because love expands all good in your life! This quote from author Melody Beattie explains is well:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."

Who doesn't want a happier life with more joy and fulfillment? A consistent daily gratitude practice does that and more. And it doesn't cost a thing. All you need is a willingness to begin.
Love does the rest. 

Friday, October 4, 2019


This is a photo of me last week on beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC, walking on the pier outside the condo my husband and I called home for a few days. Our trip was sunny, hot and filled with adventures to new restaurants and visits to familiar places we've loved on past vacations here.

After a very busy few weeks for me, I realized this trip gave me an important...shift. A shift in perspective. I love the mountains. My heart swells every time I drive the curvy roads at home, pop a hill and get a glimpse of my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. I love their strength, beauty and the idea that they've witnessed so many generations of life in our area.

My husband loves the beach. We went to Hilton Head to celebrate his birthday and I decided to use the first principle of my Be Love Principles during the week to help adjust to my temporary beach environment. That one says "Greet everyone with an open heart, without an agenda." And I did my best to do just that.

I opened my heart to every person we met at the condo complex where we stayed, each salesperson and waitstaff we encountered and anyone we met on our travels. And I didn't stop there.

I greeted the ocean with an open heart. The tiny crabs we saw scurrying along the beach, the noisy seagulls, the hundreds of colorful butterflies and thousands of blooming flowers were all greeted with an open heart.

So were the mosquitoes that bit me, that driver who flipped me the finger after I may, or may not, have accidentally cut him off on the highway and the skin rash on my face that wouldn't go away. I did my best to greet everyone and everything with an open heart, without an agenda.

To me, "without an agenda" means without expectation or attachment. Not always easy to do, but I've been working on this for a while now. And I see the results.

When I'm able to "greet everyone with an open heart, without an agenda" I'm genuinely happier, more peaceful and free from the stress and worry I've experience for much of my life. I could even see the actions of my dear husband that would have normally "triggered" me, didn't have the usual effect. WTF? (That stands for "well that's funny" in case you didn't know.)

I realized I've experienced an authentic shift in perspective. And I like it!

So what is the shift? Think of it as seeing from a slightly different angle. That's all it takes to see things with a fresh perspective. On the second day of a recent workshop I was facilitating, I had the participants stand up, shift four chairs over to their left and sit down. You should have seen their faces! Several mentioned parts of the room, outside view or desk area they hadn't noticed before. Each was a little more awake, aware of where they were in the room. Just that little shift had changed their perspective.

For me the shift has allowed me to more clearly see my life and everything in it. It's an increasing awareness, at the heart level, of the divine love in everything. EVERYTHING. I've intellectually known this concept for years, but practicing this principle has brought my understanding to a true mind-body-spirit level. Amazing.

 So how will you shift to create a life you can love even more? I guarantee your investment in time and effort are well worthwhile. Check out some ideas here on my Be Love Principles website.

I'll see you on the beach...

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How I Found Real Connection Without the Internet

I'm just back from teaching a weekend workshop on my Be Love Principles for Unity of DC held at the beautiful Capon Springs Resort in West Virginia. This gorgeous family friendly resort is nestled in the mountains where traditional modern communication is tricky at best. It's a rare opportunity to "unplug" and truly relax and unwind in a stunning environment.

OK, I admit it.
It took me a minute to "unplug." While there were ways to communicate with the outside world (leave a message at the front desk or find one of a few hots spots on the resort campus) I came to see one of the most refreshing aspects of the weekend was simply surrendering to the circumstances. Little did I suspect the beautiful gifts that would follow.
I noticed a few things over the weekend.
Our group ate all meals together and the conversation was varied, deep, fun and fascinating as I opened freely to strangers and they opened to me. We swapped stories, exchanged recipes, commented on the endless supply of food and greeted other guests as they walked by our table. We sang "Happy Birthday" to the lady one table over as the staff wheeled out a cake and uttered "awww" in unison as an adorable toddler scampered by. I can't remember a more enjoyable time as each group member shared their unique story and life perspective. Only later did I realize no one was glancing at a phone or waiting for an email that inevitably would have disrupted the flow of friendly communication. I like this no phone thing at the table. (Wonder if my family members are reading this?)
I also noticed what happened when I surrendered to the quiet. At night with no TV or phone, I rested in my bed and could clearly hear the trickling sounds of the mountain stream behind my building, right off the back deck. The evening air was cool and crisp and I found myself easily able to relax into the quiet. I was surprised by this since I was dealing with a strained back and was physically uncomfortable. The sound of the water did help relax me and I noticed I was able to think about the workshop I was presenting in new ways. A different view on my work was able to emerge thanks to the quiet.
I've meditated for years so I'm used to the quiet. This was different. And amazing.
As the workshop sessions progressed, I felt free from the modern burden of constant communication. I had certainly come prepared to teach, but I found myself in a new sense of flow with the material. I was able, more than ever before, to allow the intelligent, creative and expansive energy of Love flow through me as I spoke to the group. When I was surprised by an attendee's question (this was an amazing and engaged group!) I was able to flow with a response. Could the presentation have been better? Certainly! And it will be as I incorporate my notes into the next class. 
As we ended the weekend, the pastor brought me into the middle of the room and the participants surrounded me for a final blessing and healing. It was powerful! I am so grateful to the amazing men and women who attended, to the spirit of Love that guided me and to the lessons I remembered about "unplugging" so I can "connect" to what's real.