Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Birthday to Remember

I had some trouble writing my blog this week. Had a few good ideas, but I couldn’t get anything to work. The flow just wasn’t there.

“What’s the trouble?” I said out loud to my cat. Then I remembered. This Friday, February 27th would have been Dad’s 90th birthday. Yep, there’s the issue. I miss my dad.

As a coach, I’m the first person to tell anyone who’ll listen that grief is individual and doesn’t have a specific “end date.” Everyone grieves in their own way. I help my clients honor their grief and explore healthy ways to move through extreme sadness while they continue with life. I had help with my own grief process, and thought I’d done very well with my dad’s long illness and eventual death in October 2013 at age 88. So why was his birthday getting to me? Think I figured it out.

For the rest of my life, February 27th will be Daddy’s birthday. A time to celebrate the man and remember the many ways he helped make me the woman I am today. Ninety is a milestone birthday, and he and I had actually talked about it nearly ten years ago. We’d planned what we’d do, where we’d go. Now the plan has changed, but I know what I’m going to do.

I’m going to celebrate how Dad shows up in my life now. I’ll appreciate the smiling photos on the wall of happy family trips. I’ll be sure to notice how Dad lives on through my children as I marvel at my daughter’s strategic mind and appreciate my son’s love of nature. I’ll see his eyes in my own reflection in the mirror. I’ll be aware of it all.

I’ll also remember how grateful I am that my parents were close to my kids and were an important part of their childhood. I’ll appreciate the fact that my dad was part of my life until my mid-fifties and that I was learning from him throughout his life, and beyond. And I’ll give myself a break and realize it’s OK for me to miss him. Because I do, every day. Happy 90th birthday, Dad. Love you….

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

If you have time to bitch, you have time to meditate. Really.

It kinda drives me crazy when people tell me they don’t have time to meditate. They have time to play Farmville for hours on Facebook, ramble on and on about everything in their life that isn’t working, and even report watching entire weekends of The Real Housewives marathons. They have time for those things, but not time to incorporate a life changing practice into their daily life. Interesting.

Everyone needs to “let off steam,” vent or get something off their chest from time to time. I understand that. I do find it interesting when people develop a habit of constantly complaining or “bitching” without ever trying to take any corrective action. Must be the life coach in me kicking in. I don’t get it. I do know, for some, bitching is a competitive sport. They seem to find pleasure in retelling the same woes for years. It’s a strategy, but one that usually keeps the person in victim mode. It’s all about informed choice.

So let me inform you. Meditation has been proven to be effective in releasing stress, improving health and even helped people put their finances back on track. I’ve heard as little as five minutes a day can make a positive difference in your life. Now really, you don’t have five minutes a day? If you believed meditating five minutes a day could change your life for the better, would you do it? Of course you would. Start at five minutes and work your way up to twenty minutes or more per sitting to see an incredible shift in your life. No kidding.

Check out the thousands of books, articles, cds and videos on the subject if you don’t believe me. You’ll not only find research supporting the positive effects of a consistent meditation practice, you’ll find many examples of the ways you can meditate. There is a simple meditation style to fit everyone.

I think meditation is so important it’s the subject of the first chapter of my book How to Choose Love When You Just Want to Slap Somebody. Read my book to see how it all fits in, but know for now that a daily meditation practice keeps me more balanced, happy and open to all the good life has to offer. Result? I don’t feel like slapping anyone.

Yes, I’m on Facebook, I’ll occasionally have my own tale of woe to tell my sister and have watched an episode or two of The Real Housewives (that NeNe cracks me up) but it’s all done after I’ve meditated at least once that day. Meditation comes first each morning and I work to include a second session between late afternoon and evening. Each day, every day. No exception.

Meditation is magic. It’s healing. It’s free. And you definitely have time for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

OMG! I’m Looking at Greeting Cards ‘from the Cat!’ How Did THIS Happen?

So here I am, in the greeting card aisle, looking for a romantic card for my sweet husband and I spy the category (yes, it’s a category) “From the Cat.” I pick up a card. I read it. I love it. I buy it. WHAT?

I’ve always admired and been fascinated by animals but I’m not the type of person who has to have an animal as part of the family. I have had beautiful pets over the years and loved them but when they were gone, they were gone.

When I married my current husband in 2004 he actually came with an adult cat named Smokey. At the time my still-at-home teenage son and I thought it was a good selling point. We all loved, adored and spoiled dear Smokey until she took her last breath at age 17 in December 2010. We were truly devastated when she died and still miss her.

Over the next year after Smokey’s death, my adult kids tried to convince me that I “needed” another cat. Nope, not me. I’m fine thank you. I was busy with my intuitive coaching practice, taught weekend workshops and helped my siblings care for our elderly father. My schedule was chock full of “stuff” to do and I thought I needed “one more thing to care for” like I needed another ten pounds on my thighs.

As the months wore on, I saw my daughter married in October of 2011 and my son graduate from college in May 2012. By mid 2012 my dad had gone to live in an assisted living facility so the daily responsibilities for his care were over. Time to breathe a little…or so I thought.

The morning of Saturday, July 28, 2012 was a scorcher. Our area had suffered several 100 degree days and this was the same. As I sat comfortably in my family room watching a movie, I heard a weird little noise coming from the back deck. I looked up to see a tiny grey stripped kitten “knocking” on my glass door.

“Oh no,” I thought. ”You’re not going to get me with that cute little kitten face. Nope, not me, Sister!” I tried to turn back to watch my movie. I really tried. Really. I did. But it was soooo hot…

I got up and moved toward the door thinking the kitty would scamper away. That did not happen. I stared at the furry face through the glass muttering, “no, no, no…” all the while feeling my resolve start to melt. Damn.

To make a long story short, I have a cat. Or, I should say, a cat has ME, my husband, more toys than a typical spoiled two year old, a kitty pirate ship (yeah, a pirate ship), a cushy bed, organic food and a gallery of photos that have been texted to friends and family whether they wanted to see them or not.

Our house has a new sense of fun, play and love. Since we married a bit later in life, my husband and I never raised little kids together so Rory Grace is our first “child.” (We are learning to co-parent just in time for grandkids who we expect to arrive in the next few years.) Rory kisses us on the nose, jumps in bed to wake us each morning and gives us more unconditional love than I thought possible from an animal. And she’s just beautiful. I mean “model cat” beautiful. Check my Facebook page if you don’t believe me.

About the time Rory arrived, my dad started a painful decline and her loving presence made a difficult time a bit easier. After all, everything’s better with a nuzzle from a beautiful cat.

What a lesson Rory has taught me. I’ve come to understand the Universe offers the perfect gifts just when we need them. I was so afraid to have “one more thing to take care of” that I didn’t realize I was the one who needed a little extra love. And now I’m the woman buying greeting cards “from the cat.” I never saw that coming…