Thursday, May 28, 2015

Workshop Surprise

This past weekend I attended an enneagram workshop held on the grounds of a Catholic retreat center. The workshop was amazing, but I got an unexpected education – and surprise - by observing a few of my fellow participants.

Our class consisted of mostly adult women, aged mid-twenties to nearly 80 years old. Four nuns were in our class and they taught me the most of all. They appeared to be two sets of friends, three well into their 70’s, and one probably in her late 60’s. They were absolutely remarkable.

Aging has been on my mind a lot lately. A LOT. Maybe that’s because of the birthday I just had, maybe it’s because my daughter will be 30 this year. I’ve been studying various sources detailing how an active, healthy brain can remain “functional” well into a person’s 90’s. I only hope aging researchers start to study these nuns!

What were they like? Feisty, fun, brilliant, intuitive, active, resilient, hysterical, curious, willing, passionate, open, adaptive, spiritual, grateful, humble - I’ve never been around such a fun group of women at any age! Growing up in a small Virginia town, I didn’t have much experience with nuns, but I certainly did have a few preconceived notions. I was wrong…at least about these women. I had the pleasure of working with a few of them during class exercises and was delighted, and enlightened, by their quick wit and keen insight. They were so much fun! It was a lovely surprise to witness them in action.

I was also wrong about how someone was doomed to age. Despite my research, I witnessed most of my family experience failing health and decreased mental acuity as they aged. While I’d read about “fully functioning” seniors, these nuns were proof!

I learned much about the enneagram during my workshop, but I learned far more about the long lasting effect of a positive, healthy outlook on life. I learned that the human spirit, intelligence and even our life essence certainly isn’t defined by the body that houses it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oops! I Did It Again….

Recently I was in Denver attending the Hay House I CAN DO IT conference. It was beyond awesome! Three days of incredible workshops, thousands of like-minded participants and the excitement of a new city all added to the uplifting messages being delivered by some of the most experienced spiritual authors on the planet. Everyone felt loved, supported and encouraged to consciously create the life that would support their highest dreams. I spent the weekend floating on a cloud of love….until I got knocked down to reality.

It was early Saturday afternoon and I had just come from a workshop given by one of my favorites, Dr. Robert Holden. In his humorous style, Robert had reminded us that a key way to enjoy life is to be fully in it. And the way to be fully in it is to stay in the present moment. His message reiterated what I’d heard earlier from Dr. Wayne Dyer, Cheryl Richardson and Dr. Christiane Northrup. I knew they were right. I taught this principle to my coaching clients and even gave them instructions on how to do it.

Just when I thought, “I got this,” I remembered my mind had been wandering a bit during the conference. I was scheduled to do my first national book signing event later that day and I was a tad nervous. Maybe I was missing something? What if I wasn’t fully present to this entire experience and missed a tidbit critical to my spiritual development? My frantic mind was racing now.

“Pull yourself together, girl,” I thought as I left a break out session and headed to the main convention hall.

“Be present. Be present to it all!” I told myself as I walked the cavernous hallways toward my destination.

I began to walk deliberately, feeling the ground beneath my feet.

I looked into the smiling faces of the other participants, watching their expressions and seeing the true beauty reflected in each one. I looked at the colors that surrounded me in the art displayed in the center and in the clothes and jewelry worn by the people I passed.

I listened to the sounds of laughter and heard snippets of excited conversations as people shared stories with each other.

I smelled burgers, pizza and fresh juices offered by the on-site vendors.

I was determined to BE in the moment and experience everything. But I missed something.

I missed the sign that said “Men” as I mistakenly wandered into the men’s room. I had been very focused on feeling my feet at the time and being fully present to my body. Wish I’d been a bit more aware of where I was going.

I was looking down as I marched into the restroom and heard a weird splashing sound. I looked up to see the back of a gentleman hunched over a urinal. OMG!

In that moment, I was fully present! All my senses became hyper active as I quickly exited the area. I felt my cheeks getting red as I started to laugh at myself.

The refrain of the old Brittany Spears song played in my head, “Oops, I did it again.” My ego was so determined to be in the moment, that I failed to allow the Divine part of me to simply be and enjoy the experience.

The lesson wasn’t lost on me. Sometimes I’m just too much “in my head.” Back to allowing myself to be more like a little child. They don’t have to “be determined” to be in the present moment. They just are.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thanks, Mom!

On Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day here in the United States. While I sincerely appreciate the lovely Mother’s Days I’ve spent with my own children, one of my favorite Mother’s Day memories was all about my mom.

Mom passed in 2005 and my brother, sister and I struggled with her loss while we cared for my dad in the years that followed. One year I had an idea.

Even though mom was gone, we decided to celebrate her on Mother’s Day. We met at her grave early that Sunday morning and brought eight roses. One for each of us, and one for each grandchild. Then we went to IHop (Mom loved the breakfasts there) and proceeded to tell “Mom stories.” I had asked my brother and sister to come prepared to share their favorite memory and so our celebration began over omelets and waffles.

“She was ruthless when she smelled a good jewelry sale!” remembered my brother who was close to her equal in the “getting a great deal” department. He went on to recount hilarious stories about our dear mother, dragging an oxygen tank, proud of her handicap sticker that got us “the good parking spaces” at the mall, and how she was a wizard at finding just the right outfit for any occasion. She often wore “theme jewelry” for the holidays and our kids loved it. My children still smile each Halloween when they remember her dangling skeleton earrings. We laughed till we cried as the funny memories filled our hearts.

“She was the perfect mother for me,” my sister started as she explained why she believed this to be true. She shared memories of support, encouragement and love that my brother and I hadn’t been aware of. “Wow,” I thought. Mom really was good at being who each of us needed her to be.

Although I had my own mom stories that day, I know now that Mom’s gift to me was to challenge me in ways I never appreciated when I was young. I didn’t always feel supported. I didn’t always feel loved. But I know now that those challenges were part of the path I needed to walk to grow into the person I am now. I know now, as an adult, that she did the best she could. We both were together to learn from each other.

I hope she knows how much I learned and how much I now appreciate those lessons. Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who was the perfect mom for me.