Embers Under the Ash - Reigniting Your Passions

Mother Nature gave Michigan a taste of Spring 2 weeks ago and I took advantage of the mild weather to finally clean up the back yard and flower beds. I raked mountains of leaves and collected dozens of fallen branches from the towering Maple that has seen many more years than I have.

 I found my rhythm and my restless mind quieted. The whisper of the breeze and the bird calls provided peaceful music and my soul-gardening began. Cleaning, clearing, releasing. 

After my fourth trip into the woods with the wheelbarrow, I  built a small bonfire in the backyard fire pit. I had frustrations to burn. Anger to vent so that it didn't come spitting out around my children in words I might regret. 

The fire burned hot and fast and when I finished my work (my soul-gardening), I doused the ashes with water to ensure no heat remained.   

The old Maple is one of many tall trees wrapping around the expansive back yard, so the next day, I got back to work. Next Autumn, I thought, I'll do a much better job than I did last year. I'm learning; it's been decades since I lived here. 

  Photo by skhoward/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by skhoward/iStock / Getty Images

With only a few loads to go, I decided just to drop the leaves into the lifeless fire pit for the next time. I stood, relaxed from exertion, reflecting on a job well-done. Suddenly, I saw smoke. Beneath day old ash and debris, heat remained. Burning embers that looked cold, but weren't. Within minutes there were flames. 

Our Passions are like this... Life covers us with layers, hiding our fire. Some of us can barely remember what once made us come alive. We think that nothing lights us up anymore. That we're cold, disconnected, just getting through each day. 

Just like my pile of leaves, the fire in your heart can burn bright again. Anyone's can. The hot embers are still there, ready for fresh tinder and a breath of air to alight them. 

What would it take for you to feel alive again? For your embers to turn to flames? Reach for it. Wake up! Live. 

It's Good to Hear My Voice

"It's just really good to hear your voice," she said. She was one of my many long-lost, beloved friends, sacrifices in my attempt to save something already broken beyond repair. 

For 6 years I tried to fuse the cracks. I said goodbye to my most cherished friends, disconnected with my own sister, closed myself in to focus solely on the necessary work of restoration. 

Nothing moved the healing beyond a tough scab. It easily tore open again and again, each time making it more fragile than before. Until, finally, I gave up. Without the constant friction of two parts, my own healing progressed rapidly. 

The final pieces of my heart have been put carefully back into place by reaching out to this handful of beautiful, brilliant souls who were innocent bystanders in my marital wreckage. "I'm sorry," are words I've grown very comfortable with. 

Each sincere apology has been greeted with blissful forgiveness. Not just to and from them, but to and from myself. 

With each passing day I grow stronger and more whole. My Passion for uplifting, loving relationships has soared. I have the best people in my life today. 

My voice has grown stronger until, at last, I am sure once more that it is my own.  

My voice.

"It's just so good to hear your voice," she said. And I thought, "You know? It is."


Have you ever lost your voice? Share with us how you found it again, or reach out for help to do so.

Bite-Sized Chunks of Self-Care

My 8-year-old daughter was administering personality quizzes to everyone in the house yesterday. She asked me, "Are you a social person?" Before I could answer, the other 4 people in the house all shouted an emphatic, "Yes!"

Yes,  I love a good party. I love to connect with people. I thrive in social environments and on the flip-side, I require massive amounts of solitude. My own self-care routines keep me sane. They keep me being a person that I like very much, a mom whom I like and respect. Without it, I get downright grumpy and honestly, even a little mean. 

I hear so many women say they don't have time for themselves. Baloney, I say. We all have the same amount of time in a day, it's how we use it that counts. It's paramount to honor yourself, to love yourself through action, not just thought. 

For almost a week now, I've had my usual abundant "me-time" thrown under the bus of sick kids. So,  how do I, and how can you, keep yourself a priority when you have little ones or sick kids demanding most of your time?  In bite-sized chunks. 

I normally take 30 minutes to an hour on each end of the day to myself. Yoga and meditation in the morning, journaling and meditation at night. During the day, I take a coffee break. I'm alone most of the day, but my coffee break is pretty sacred. 5-minutes during which I don't have to do anything. I can just sit and be.

This week, it's all bite-sized chunks. 5-minutes to stretch upon waking, or right after attending to the child who woke me up with sounds of sickness, you know the kind. 

5-minutes once they're settled to enjoy the coffee that probably won't lift the fatigue of a night of broken sleep. Still, I love the taste of that peppermint mocha. And the silence. 

5-minutes to step outside and breathe-in the hold that Winter still has over Spring here in Michigan. 

5-minutes to read and share a few inspirational posts on Facebook or Twitter

5-minutes at a time writing until this post is finished. I relish the brief moments uninterrupted by the need to comfort a child, sick at or on the toilet.

5-minutes to put on some eyes and lips to wake-up this sleepy, un-showered face. The transformation is a meditation in and of itself. 

5-minutes to get on my attitude of gratitude. These flu-type illnesses pass. They go away and we are lucky. My children are, overall, incredibly healthy. 

5-minutes to mindfully eat my food. I must nourish myself to be able to care for my child.

5-minutes to empty my mind and release, release, release. 

Sometimes these chunks of me-time last only a minute or two and that is enough. Enough to treat myself with loving kindness so that I have loving kindness to give back to my family. Enough to stay centered and grounded so I don't get overwhelmed with self-pity at my lack of sleep, solitude or the ability to get anything done. Enough to show the Universe that I value myself and therefore receive value from the Universe in return. 

Here's an old Monday Minute to remind you why self-care is so important, even in bite-sized chunks. 

 

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your precious time with me. How do you care for yourself when time is short? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook

Cooking Lessons

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
— Jim Rohn

The cauliflower was still in the fridge. It's the second or third time I've bought it since moving home. I could steam it. It's good that way. A little garlic and chili tossed in EVO and sea salt. Delightful. 

But I wanted it au gratin. I wanted it baked in the oven with that gorgeous, creamy Mornay sauce with a hint of garlic, a pinch of nutmeg and the cheese lightly grilled on top. At the thought of making it myself, my muscles tensed, my breath became shallow and I thought, "I don't know how." 

I spent 14 years side-by-side a very talented home cook, but 7 months ago I chose to start cooking alone. When I began to miss the diverse and delicious fare that I had come to love, I thought, "Well, crap. I don't know how to make any of that." I was what you might call the "sous chef" all of that time. I pretty much just minced the garlic and baked the bread. 

Yet, over the past several months I've been experimenting, making up my own dishes inspired by past (food) loves or whatever I am in the mood to eat. I've been feeling more like I did in my early twenties when I had my own kitchen to play in and good friends to cook for who were simply thankful for a homemade meal! 

Little by little, I'm regaining confidence in the kitchen. I can cut the veggies any way that I want to - imperfectly uneven, if it happens to turn out that way, and no one minds. I can breathe in the kitchen again. 

I thought of the quote that I shared in an earlier post, my mantra of late, and decided to attempt the cauliflower in the way that I craved. The sauce is easy enough, no problem. The method and the ingredients suddenly came to mind... I knew just what to do!

I reflected as I stirred in the milk, little by little, how wonderful our subconscious minds are. They store everything. Every. Thing. Things we want to remember and things we don't. Things we think we forget and things we wish we could. Stored. Imprinted. Forever in our subconscious, recalled as needed. 

When there is no one around to tell you that you can’t, you discover, deliciously, that you can. ‪

That stored knowledge came easily and I felt happy. I knew how to cook it! I reveled in this new awareness. I could do it myself, for myself. And I would. And I did. And, at some point in the oven, my sauce fell apart. It was fine when I poured it over the cauliflower, but broke while cooking and came out runny, separated. 

It was delicious anyway. Not because it came out right or wrong, but because I made it. I made it and no one complained. I tried to make something I loved and though the sauce fell apart, it still tasted good. 

It was delicious. Not because it came out right or wrong, but because the only thing they said was, "Thank you." Dinner wasn't ruined. The evening wasn't ruined.  And I healed a little. 

And I discovered something; something I learned a long time ago and could only finally, now, fully understand - you truly do become who you spend the most time with. When you are surrounded by people who tell you that you can't, you begin to believe it, even if you don't think you do. 

When the critical voice is silenced by time or separation, and you invite more supportive people into your life, your inner voice becomes more supportive, too. And you discover you can. You can cook. You can... anything... and that is the most delicious thing of all. 

Getting Vulnerable

I used to be a parenting blogger, blogging 3 or more times a week sharing my experience as a mom. Then I became certified as a coach and facilitator and turned all professional, separating the "mom" me from the "coach" me. I stopped writing, because, frankly, I didn't know how to write for my coaching website without getting personal and I didn't want my mom-blog readers to feel like I was trying to sell them my coaching services. 

My perfect clients are moms, too, yet I was having trouble bridging the gap within myself. Currently, my number 1 Passion is to "feel fully, freely and authentically me!" As I've delved into what being "authentic" means to me (see The Question of the Month post from a couple of days ago), I have realized that I simply can't do that without bringing my journey as a woman and mother into my coaching and website blog. 

For months I've been meditating on how to move forward in my business, asking for clear guidance so that I serve my highest purpose in the world. The funny thing about guidance is that you have to actually pay attention to receive it and because our minds are so beautifully protective of us, they often filter out the very messages that we asked for! 

I keep getting signs to create, relax, release, express... well, finally I get it. It's time to start sharing my experience again, as a woman, mother and professional coach. Because that's how you'll know if we resonate. You and me.

It's how I'll unfold into the most authentic version of myself, relaxing and releasing into me. Writing is how I find my voice. 

That also means being vulnerable and vulnerability is scary. But like I'm always saying, 

So, I'm going to start sharing more of who I am, not just what I know, with you. My ego feels afraid, my heart feels free. Join me on this new adventure, won't you? After all, I am you and you are me (more on that another time!). 

 

The Question of the Month

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I have decided to take a short break from Your Monday Minute as I put my attention on learning the ins and outs of my business, and myself, for the next 8 weeks in Marie Forleo's B-school. Even though I won't be appearing in video on a weekly basis (though you may get a few, just because I love you so much), I intend (intention!) to write here on the blog more frequently. 

Writing is the way I process. Writing is meditation. Writing is how I explore within. 

I'm exploring the concept of authenticity at the moment, to find the greater truth of what being authentic means to me, so I can show up authentically for you. 

A couple of years ago, to me, the word "authentic" merely applied to things, not people. And it doesn't just mean, "I am who I am and you can all just.." you know the rest. It is more than that. It is showing up in the world speaking your truth, growing into that truth and doing so in the energy of love. 

Today, this word is paramount to my entire existence. Purpose... Meaning... Authentically bringing those things to life passionately within myself to be a light for you to do the same is why I am here. Yes, I believe in purpose. I believe everyone has a life-purpose. For some, the purpose is only to live and experience and learn in preparation for the next life. Their next life.

For others, much of the learning has already been done and they are here to teach, to guide, to reflect, to love, to light the way. 

Word Origin: Authentic
from Late Latin authenticus coming from the author, from Greekauthentikos, from authentēs one who acts independently, from auto- +hentēs a doer

So this month, I'm asking the question, "Who am I?"  Who am I when I am my authentic self? What does "authentic" look like to me. How do I show up in the world and to the world when I am being and feeling, fully, freely and authentically me? From The Passion Test:

When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent that you are clear.

Who are you? What does being authentic mean to you? Please share in the comments below. I appreciate multiple sources for any endeavor into deeper knowledge.  

Leap Through Your Fear

Everything you want is on the other side of fear... leap and the net will appear

I've made a practice of leaping this past year or so. It's kind of fun. Exhilarating, really. All of my life I subscribed to the boxed-in mentality that most of us are raised with. The predetermined who you can be, what you can achieve, how much you might possibly earn in your lifetime... I'm stripping away the programming, dropping it piece by piece. 

I once thought that I was stuck, then I learned that my thoughts are not reality. I once believed that I couldn't leave an unhappy situation, then I did it anyway. I'm starting to realize that it is actually true... anything is possible. 

Intention. Attention. No Tension. The formula that I've been living by for the past 2 and a half years works. It seems like magic and it isn't. It's you. It's me. Making up our minds, getting clear on the how, what and who of our lives and drawing it into existence. 

If you won't join me, I invite you at least to watch. See this regular girl create an exceptional reality. It's happening now. B-School, here I come. 

  I signed up through Danielle LaPorte's affiliate link, because the bonus is simply the best. Are you ready to join us? Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today.   bit.ly/DLPbschool

I signed up through Danielle LaPorte's affiliate link, because the bonus is simply the best. Are you ready to join us? Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today. bit.ly/DLPbschool

Your Monday Minute - Everyone is on a Journey

Everybody is on a journey. Everyone has a story. That strong woman you admire or envy because you think she's living the perfect life and has everything flawlessly put together... but maybe she falls apart in the quiet of her solitude. 

Maybe she really is that confident, capable woman you see and only because she's been through her own shadowland and come through it sure and strong to be a lighthouse for others to see what's possible for them... for us.

If you find yourself saying, "I could never be as..." confident, outgoing, as good with money, a good of a mother.. fill in the blank... you're not only wrong, you're lying to yourself. 

You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it, when you choose to, and it starts by loving yourself completely and unconditionally. Watch today's vlog and then read on! 


Today, I'm prescribing you a meditation by the wonderful Lisa Nichols. She's an amazing woman, author and speaker who was featured in the movie The Secret, which introduced the Law of Attraction to the masses. It's about 20 minutes long and your prescription is to watch it 3x a week until the symptoms of self-doubt and loathing are completely replaced by self love and appreciation. Then, as needed. 

It's a guided meditation. Find a quiet time and place to give this gift to yourself. At least once a week, even if it is before everyone is awake or just when you put the baby down for a nap. Find... no, make... the time. After that, if you're a busy mom, as I am, and had my hands full with a very active preschooler when I first discovered this meditation, put earphones into your smart phone and listen to it while you vacuum or do the dishes or fold laundry. While you're nursing or even (pretending) to watch something with your toddler. Ear-buds in, eyes closed, and get your daily dose of self-love. 

 

Spread the love! Please share this with anyone who might benefit. See you next time!