Tonight, we went to a small neighborhood gathering that had a multitude of generations present…18 months to 89 years. There was also a menagerie of cultures – British, Israeli, Chinese, Indian and of course American.
This was the second annual gathering. Part of the tradition is to share a story based on the topic suggested by the host. Tonight we shared stories about our most memorable travel experiences. Just like last year, I left the party feeling connected, inspired and much the wiser by having engaged with my neighbors in such a meaningful way.
The thing that made the evening that much more rich for me, is that my children chose to listen to the stories (and share their own) versus playing with the younger kids (they were the oldest kids by far). I loved that they were witnessing authentic connection across many generations, cultures, perspectives and experiences. These moments are rare and are even more rare for my kiddos.
I remember being so happy and comfortable with adults as a kid and could sit for hours listening to the web of stories being spun. It came with the job description of a military kid so it helped that I enjoyed it. I know that is what shaped my ability to connect easily with just about anyone. I feel so happy to have seen a glimpse of that experience for my kids tonight. I also look forward to more of the same in our family’s future.
Here’s to connecting, sharing, witnessing and learning. Throw in amazing stories from an 89-year-old British man who lived in England during both World Wars and you’ve got yourself a gem of an evening.
This did not cause panic in our home because it was early in the day and I had faith (hope?) that the power would come on in due time. I also had the safety net of family nearby to retreat to for warmth, baths and recharging.
The interesting thing for me was my feeling of being lost and aimless as a result of no power (and coincidentally my iphone wasn’t connecting to internet either so I was truly unplugged). It took me a bit of time to decide to get off my duff to find some things to fill my time; like cleaning the house, walking the dog, reading a BOOK or a myriad other fabulous things one can do without technology.
It feels almost ironic for me. I am a child who was raised without a television, limited music resources of MY choosing, and often times left without friends and family to engage my time (we moved almost every 2 years with the Navy and my brothers were older and not interested in me). I have NO CLUE what I did with most of my time, but I do know what I did with some of my time.
- I was at best friend’s house constantly (I’m an extrovert raised in an introverted world)
- I was listening to my three records on my child-size turntable (Annie, Sesame Street and Men at Work)
- I was learning to recite poetry, like the one on the back of my brother’s Moody Blues record
- I was reading books (not regularly though).
So, what I am saying is that I used to be good with ‘nothing to do’. It was a standard of living I knew from childhood.
My take away from my ‘lost’ feeling today is that the ability to be ‘unplugged’ is a muscle that needs to be developed and exercised regularly. I like the thought of that. I like the idea of a routine unplugged ‘program’ that is meant for renewal and engagement in LIFE. I get excited at the potential payoff; imagine the other random poems I can memorize!
To this day, I am a great party trick with my Moody Blues poem…”Breathe deep, the gathering gloom…”.
I have slept less and walked more.
I have increased the number of times I’ve said:
no, sit, down, ouch, damn, you-little-shit, and stop humping me.
I suspect that my dog and my daughter were twins in another life because they both manifested these qualities as ‘babies’: smart, willful, independent, and cute-as-all-get-out. This made both of them hard to love at times. I now realize that all of those qualities are extremely healthy and desirable in the long run and so I am deciding to forgive both of them (and myself for making it mean I was not good at this ‘mommy’ job).
I’ve lost track of time while petting the pup and have decided to count it as “meditation”.
I’ve experienced the truth of the statement “you meet a lot of people when you own a dog” .
I have felt pride over the continual compliments about the puppy…as if I have anything to do with it.
I’ve experienced the rumored joy one can feel when your puppy’s body wiggles with excitement when you walk in the door: as if you’re the most important person in the world.
All of this to say, it has been a challenge and a JOY. Now that I am out of the deep fog of the early puppy days…it is safe to say:
I’m in love…for life.
I am currently at my parent’s house for a two night visit with kids and pup in tow. Now that I live near, these little visits can become the norm, and the ebb and flow of the day can be natural, versus forced because we’re on borrowed time. I tried to blog yesterday via my cell phone and found that my technology skills are best served on a regular ‘ole laptop. I am giving myself “credit” for missing a day and allowing the ‘trying’ to count.
I spent the bulk of today scanning a smattering of family photos to be able to create a slide show highlighting the 50 years my parents have shared. It is fascinating to see the transformation of our family and our looks over the years. The one thing that is constant though, is the evidence that I was well loved and I witnessed lasting love throughout my life.
I owe a lot of my confidence, outlook on life, focus on possibilities, ability to connect, commitment to my husband and many more personal aspects to the fact that my family extended an enormous amount of love to me. I am truly grateful and somewhat overwhelmed to fully acknowledge this about my life.
I DO know what it means to love and be loved and the solid foundation was secured by my loving parents, Pam and Frank Hilton.
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
I have just launched myself into a new role and identity of dog owner and it has been a big deal for me. I have lost more sleep and experienced more ‘angst’ over welcoming our new dog (Casey) into our lives than I did with our BIG DEAL move across country. What’s with that?
It boils down to one word: VULNERABILTY. As with loving someone and having children, dog ownership brings up tons of thoughts and emotions that can fall under the realm of feeling vulnerable. Here are my current challenging thoughts about having this dog in my life:
- Our freedom to go wherever we want whenever we want will be compromised.
- Our family’s financial security is at risk with the addition of dog-care expenses.
- The order and cleanliness in our home will change.
- What if he becomes a ‘challenging dog’ and we’ll not be seen as the fun, easy-going family we enjoy being.
- What if he doesn’t love and respect me?
- What if he dies before I’m ready?
- What if he is more to handle than I’m prepared for?
…and the list goes on. If I look at each and every one of those thoughts, they have been present for me throughout my adult life and they center around the risk to love wholeheartedly and to be “all in”. More specifically, if I overlay the decision to marry my husband (of 18 years) or to have my two kids; the thoughts and questions are essentially the same. I am so glad I took the risk with those three amazing people in my life…so now I add baby Casey to the mix. My heart is ready and the resulting love and vibrancy I’m adding to my life, is priceless.
That all being said, making a move across country, while stressful and challenging, isn’t as risky to me as opening my heart up to love. I’m glad I’ve been willing to do both though…I am loving every minute of it!
Today I co-facilitated a vision board workshop with a fellow coach Joda Coolidge. I love facilitating small groups and I love to expose people to new creative ways to set visions and goals for themselves. It is my playground!
I’ve been doing this process for myself for the last 5 years. I enjoy the actual process, and then have fun reflecting on what I’ve achieved.
My first one I did was my most ‘inauthentic’ of all I’ve done. I put things on there that I thought I ‘should’ want, like tons of money, an advanced certification, a published book. That was and is ‘en vogue’ in coaching communities and I thought I should have that on my vision board. When I recall that time, I can feel how much I was not aligned with some of the images.
On that same very board though some things did come true…I traveled extensively, I got a cleaning lady, had time to read a ton of books and so forth. The thing that was also on the board was a house that, to me, represented a living space that was ‘just so’. I was not necessarily interested in the house, just the feeling it gave me. Well, fast forward to now…I am living in that very kind of house – a Cape style. I didn’t even know I really wanted this style of house, and I wasn’t necessarily looking for this kind when we were house hunting, but that is what I live in. Pretty cool, huh?
I do my vision boards mostly from a ‘feeling state’ perspective. Of course, if there is something specific that I desire, I’m willing to put it on there, but I also want to make sure that I put how I will feel when I have it…because there is maybe something even better that can fulfill that desired feeling state that I cannot envision for myself.
I didn’t get a chance to do my own vision board today, but I certainly have a hankering…all magazines and glue sticks have better be on notice, I’m in a cutting and pasting mood! Watch this space!
Translation: Laughing Heart
My Facebook post from 9/11/11 read – “…the world needs more laughing hearts”. When I wrote that I had a sense of knowing that this has something to do with ME and my purpose in life. I’m curious to explore where this has already manifested for me and where it will take me. For the time being, I have tucked the idea and the rich palpable feeling in a metaphorical bubble near my heart. I have the intention that MY laughing heart will attract the people and experiences to help me inspire others to live from a ‘laughing heart’ perspective.
In retrospect, I realize that I have recently been photographing hearts in many everyday things like trees, clouds, rocks, and spontaneous lotion hearts squeezed in a hand. As I was looking for the French translation (coeur de rire), I found this beautiful poem.
The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
— by Charles Bukowski
Lately, I’ve been called to nature. I went camping last weekend, and this weekend, went on a nature hike with my son. In the recent past I have avoided nature a bit. I’ve in fact stashed myself away in my office “working” and “connecting” (both are ‘air quotes’ because both aren’t 100% true). Now that I’ve started to reconnect with nature, and working it into my creative endeavors (photographing and leading sessions) I feel so much more authentically motivated to be mindful of myself, my surroundings and my interactions with people AND nature. I am noticing more. I am watching more. I feel like I am reintegrating with the life I find so worth living. Here are my observations from the most recent nature ventures:
- The smell of roses is absolutely my favorite smell
- The sound of the earth under my feet in the woods sounds like my childhood.
- The shadow of a flying heron is both impressive and haunting.
- The whoosh of an Eagle to catch a fish is a stunning sight.
- The sound of coyotes in the early morning is a curious call.
- Hummingbirds buzzing by my head make me feel connected.
- Butterflies flitting by me, remind me that there is abundance in this life.
- A green bug perching on my arm hair brings creative stories to my mind.
- The sight of a cloudless sky brings a huge expansive feeling in my chest.
- The rush of the rapids from snow melts is powerful beyond measure.
- The taste of strawberries picked from the ground is way better than candy.
- New flowers blooming every day make me think of hidden secrets waiting to be revealed.
I could go on and on. I am so happy to be out and noticing with all of my senses, the amazing and awe-inspiring nature that abounds….I am reminded again and again, that if I step out, I am never-ever disappointed…I just have to remember to step out.
Where I live, it rains. This year it was especially rainy. I was trying to meet the rain from an enlightened, “Loving What Is” kind of space, but alas, the weather got to me…sometimes I was down right angry especially on the 100th day of rain.
This weekend was one of our FIRST times this year to have beautiful weather. These great-weather days actually do happen and they can be legendary. What I’m finding fascinating is that everything looks soooo green, and soooo blue and soooo crisp (ie the mountain ranges). So I’m curious, is the technicolor experience based on MY perception because I’ve wanted this for so long, or is it just really that way. My other question is that WHEN we’ve had our 30th great-weather day (I’m putting that as an affirmative…going to happen…kind of way) will I take these colors for granted, will they actually look as stunning to me? I have it in my mind to take note, but I have a hunch, I’ll forget. Maybe I’ll set a date in my calendar a month from now and take particular notice of my perceptions…OR…I’ll just take it one day at a time and enjoy it in whatever version it comes.