Many years ago I won a photography session at a silent auction. I picked a color scheme for the family, found the perfect outfits and set the date. I don’t remember how old the kids were at the time but they were old enough to have strong opinions and feed off of each other. Before we were in the car, one was complaining about his clothes and the other one burst into tears as her brother bantered on. It was a hot a mess. And so was I. It was a time of stress, health issues and general unhappiness with my life. To look at me, you wouldn’t know. So, determined to get the perfect picture, I threatened and argued with the kids while my man tried to ease the tension. Not one of my finer moments. We faked our way through the photoshoot, climbed back into the car and drove home in silence. Just writing this, my heart aches. You too with the fake family photo? I feel ya.
Weeks later, I received the CD in the mail. I loaded it up on the computer with excitement and stared into the eyes of 4 unhappy people. I could not bear to look at the pictures. I threw the CD away before anyone knew I even had it. And we never spoke of that photoshoot again.
So I ask you, what are you looking at? Are the photos surrounding you bringing good memories or are they reminding you that your family was hungry, uncooperative or that the trip was a disaster? Believe me when I say that the art in your home matters. You are receiving the vibe of that photo, painting and word art without even realizing it. It is all settling into your unconscious mind and setting the tone for your life.
What do you see when you look at this painting? This hung in a client’s spare bedroom that resided in her Love & Relationships corner. She shared that she was longing for a companion. I walked in, facing this painting and I may have let out a gasp. We talked about how this was the first painting that she purchased when she separated from her husband and it represented freedom (of course it did, note the flag). It also represented her striking out on her own and taking in her favorite place, the ocean. She went on to say that she simply put it in here because it fit and did not feel the attachment to it that she once did. Phew, because this painting was headed to the donation pile. We took it off the wall, set it aside for her to donate and moved on through the rest of her house. I explained that she was asking to stay solitary with the one chair, the one hat. A few months later, while on our check in call, she laughed about the painting and confirmed that it had been donated. Then she coyly mentioned to me that she had met someone. Hmmmm, interesting.
Take a walk around your home and see what your surroundings are saying to you, about you, about your life. I don’t miss those pictures because I have plenty of happy ones to enjoy. I also never worry about what we wear in family photos. Lesson learned.
The tears flow freely this morning as I send my son off to practice and I check in on my sweet girl as she sleeps in, oh so soundly. I let it all go as I shower and get ready for the day hoping the fancy shampoo will wash it all away. I lean on twenty minutes of meditation to soothe me. Today, I cry. I honor the dark and the light of these tears - the sadness of loss, the happiness of who is here. The judgement of others, the amazing women I have spent time with this week. The failure, the success. The knowing and the not. The darkness, the light.
Just like my Dad, I am a crier. This morning is comfortable for me - and necessary. I gather myself and although I feel the heaviness linger, I am better for the love that surrounds me, the impact I am making in this world and the ability to let the tears flow. These tears remind me that I am whole, alive and moving forward. Doing my best.
I step out before the rain to breathe in the fresh air. I take notice of a spot of daffodils straightening themselves up. I found them creeping out from under a rock the other day. We removed the rock and they are recovering from meeting a force that they needed to work around. They did not fret about being blocked from the light, they just found a way to reach for it. So today, while the clouds roll in and the rain falls, I will reach for the light in the best way I know how. A few more tears, leftover pizza, a nap and a bit of work.
And…Mom, as you read this, know that I am fine. Just being a Bird.
The hidden away stuff has surfaced. I don’t think it was hidden away because I didn’t want to address it. It’s just piles and piles of pictures after all. I am not so sure how I feel right now. My heart feels weird. My mind feels strangely free. My heart.
Bins, boxes and piles of pictures from my baby days to my babes baby days. I have moved them from home to home and around the basement many times. I have looked at the scrapbooking supplies and thought about using them. With enthusiasm, we dragged them all to the living room where they sat in full sight for weeks. A project to be tackled on a snow day but the snow was never deep enough to keep us in. So with excitement, dread, a heavy heart, laughter and all sorts of other emotions, I tackled the bins. Everyone else was less attached as they rummaged through and laughed. I realized I was staring at my life. Their lives were such a small part of those piles we started with. What was I carrying around and why for so long? See, these thoughts happen in my head as I take in my surroundings, as if I am out of body, looking into the scene in our home. It’s a weird feeling but I do know when I feel this way, paying attention is really important for me. I started with my younger years - the photo albums that have the sticky, cellophane pages - and I looked through, laughed, shared. All those emotions of a girl I did not recognize, people I could not name, moments that tugged at my heart. The thread and fabric of my life in pictures lay before me. Bizarre that so many of these pictures meant nothing to me. Such detachment. I started to recycle many and moved the albums back to a bin. I made piles of prom, graduation, party pics, old time selfies where our heads were cut off and the “free” doubles you received when you had your pictures developed.
There were moments that I would hold a picture up to share and laugh and it meant nothing to those around me - they could not identify with high school me, sorority me, party me. My love understood and gave me a nod and a smile. I did not sleep well on Sunday night. I guessed that it was the emotion of the evening spent culling through my life. Yesterday, I went through each and every picture and moved my old boyfriends, party days, bad relationships shown as wonderful in pictures out of my house. My husband came home to two paper bags full of those memories and a small pile of those moments and people I know and remember that I will keep. He kindly took the last step of putting them on the curb this morning. Not all is gone and those that I have saved mean so much to me that I will likely keep them forever.
This box of photos lives in so many homes and is one of the most asked questions around my feng shui work. Especially for those families separated by divorce. Bringing awareness to what you are holding on to and making strides in moving on and letting go is great growth on your journey to recognizing your true self and simply being free. Those physical photos that I recycled are engrained in me and my growth but they are not who I am today, just a small part. They are evidence of how I learned to love, to be a friend, to succeed, to fail and to simply live my life. The physical space is free of clutter and so is my mind. The old me no longer sits in my basement, keeping me rooted to a past that simply no longer serves me. This letting go makes room for the new and the journey ahead. I feel excited in this moment.
I do wonder how my heart will integrate all of this as it just feels strange today. A little smiley, a little free, a little sad. I am excited to tackle the piles of the beginning of Chris and I and our journey as a couple and as parents. I sit curious as to how this will all impact me - this extreme letting go of who I am no longer.
You see, I walk this road with you. I have stuff that accumulates, that lingers. Things that keep me cozy in the past. I think that is why I approach my work with such compassion. I know how hard this is and how you feel. I feel it too.
By mid February, I am so over winter. I have a few snowmen decorations that I leave out past the holidays to adorn a shelf or windowsill and about this time, I just want them to melt away. They get packed up with the holiday decorations and I call in Spring with all that I have. This year, they sat on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. I had just freshened up the sill with a coat of paint in the Fall and it looked so pristine and clear once the snowmen were put away. I stood there one day with the sun beaming in and filling up this beautiful empty space. It was lovely. Clean, crisp, warm and so calm. As I puttered around dishes, dinner or sipping my coffee, I relished in the silence of that sill. I was at ease as it simply held the light or sometimes my racing mind. I began to notice that I turned to it morning after morning.
Recently, I dove into a new book, Clutter Intervention by Tisha Morris, I came to a section titled “The Fear of Empty Space”. All the words flowing on the page were about filling a space because we are afraid of what the emptiness or silence will reveal. Tisha relates that empty space to conversation, our calendar, an empty wall, silence filled with background noise. I was struck by my connection with the small empty space that I had created. I realized that when I feel stuck, the first thing I do is move a few things around, such as move the reminder of winter off of the windowsill despite it still resting on the ground outside. Making change in our space creates a sense of newness which opens us up to opportunity.
The next morning as I took in the sunrise over the empty windowsill, I began to truly appreciate what this empty windowsill gave me. Is there an area of your home or office that you can empty? Are you ready for a little silence, rest for your eyes and mind? As I continue down this path of creating space, I ask that you join me and see how it feels. Pick a space that you see daily. Maybe your bathroom counter. Just give it a go for a few days, weeks and notice how you feel when taking in that space. Whatever suits you and your life but find peace in the empty rather than fear.
I have tried this with our family room coffee table but this keeps happening (not staged. real life). I will continue to refine and encourage this sweet family to honor the empty.
Welcome to the first full week of 2018! It always takes me a few days to integrate the energy of a new year. The excitement of intentions and resolutions for a whole year always feel overwhelming to me. Despite having a new 2018 planner and intentions and all that good stuff, I tend to take those first few days slow and ease in. I also don’t put too much pressure on myself to dump my previous plans, things I have been working on and start “fresh”. But, now, now I am feeling ready to enter the year and create space, move slowly with intention, listen and act.
I mentioned last year that I wanted to move into this year with a theme of “creating space”. So, here is an invitation to create space with me so that your soul can sing.
I will pop on the blog a couple times a month along with a Facebook live and share ways that I create space in my life and guide clients to create space in their life. Creating space will come in the form of both physical and mental ways to open yourself up for more. Some suggestions will be based on Feng Shui principles, some more spiritual, some from books that inspire me or maybe something that showed up for me that day that I feel will benefit you. In all of my guidance, you take what is right for you. I do challenge you to take a few steps out of your comfort zone. If something seems silly, like brushing your teeth with your non dominant hand, give it a go. You never know what you will connect to on a deeper level. Take what you will but don’t expect “more” if you don’t DO. We must take action to move forward. The path I guide clients on during a reiki session is of them walking forward, taking action in stepping along a path. A path that moves them forward in mind, body and soul. This path will require action to connect to your soul. Join me in soul care.
I move into this year with a focus on health for myself. I started a journey with Weight Watchers in November. The holidays had me bouncing around with choices but I feel great about the choices that I made. We are all on our own health journey to some degree. Maybe the journey is just thinking about being on a journey…been there! I start with health for personal reasons but also because in Feng Shui, Health and Wellbeing is the center Gua on the Bagua Map. The center of your home. It touches all other aspects of your life. So to kick off health and wellbeing we start in the closet. Many of you who know me well are thinking we are heading to your clothing closet. Not this time, this time it is your food closet, your pantry. Time for a clean out. Simply take stock of what you have and what is outdated. Reorganize, find a recipe for the canned pumpkin you still have, clean.it.out. I know, you may have just done this the last time you went grocery shopping. So did I. But then when I really dug around, I found a bag of coconut that expired in March 2014…not a typo, 2014. Was that sweetened coconut’s stagnant and outdated energy keeping me in the sweet tooth zone? HA! Maybe. But I am not here to blame the coconut. I am here to create space for healthy cooking, joyful eating and nourishment. A clean and organized pantry will create space for fresh food, for new recipes or your health journey to unfold. Blessings and happy health.
It's not Pinterest worthy but it works for us. BTW, the coconut was hiding in the white bin at the top. I don't recommend that you go purchase bins and baskets to get this done, just use what you have and line things up. Anyone have a good canned pumpkin recipe? I have 3 cans...
In my round up on meditation this month, following is a list of resources that I lean on for my practice. My practice is grounded in going inward, not one particular meditation technique. I find that I get something different from meditation each day with each tool and resource that I rely on. So here is my list of resources, in no particular order. Please share your resources in the comments below. My wish is that each of us find a meditation that resonates so much that we want to come back for more.
Creating a sacred space for your meditation practice serves as a beautiful reminder to mediate. This space can also be used for reading, quiet time, coffee/tea break, digging deep. It will serve as a reminder to slow down when you come to your space.
For me, the room I gravitate towards is our living room. Given the layout of our home, it is not a private space. But it is simply beautiful in the mornings when I typically meditate. I can catch the sky at sunrise through the trees and the gentle sound of the chimes, low and deep, are soothing on a breezy morning. The chair envelopes me and forces me into a straight back, something I am always working on. There are times when I will pop the pillows on the floor and mix it up a bit. I will pull the table toward me and place my meditation tray on the table, light a candle and settle in. When the weather permits, I bring my tray outside to the back deck or into the garden. The days in the garden are truly a time of connection for me. If the house if full of sleepy kids piled up on the couches and floor, I simply make sure to bring my tray upstairs the night before so that I can keep my routine without disturbing the teens. Thus, my portable meditation tray makes up my sacred space.
As you create your sacred space, find a corner, nook, cranny or a beautiful tray to gather your items. For me, the number one item is a candle. Lighting the candle invokes the intention to settle in and get quiet. You may want to ring a chime, read a poem or do some yoga prior to mediating. The key is to create a ritual that calls you inward. Here are a few other things to gather.
Start with what you have around your house. When you are out and about, you will find things that call to you. This should not be a financial drain or a cluttered area as you set up your sacred spot. And if you need inspiration, Pinterest has plenty when you type in “sacred space”. You should be able to sit in your space and feel supported, loved and focused on you. Enjoy your space and connect to your soul.
In my Reiki practice, my clients experience a level of relaxation that they did not realize was achievable. After a few sessions, the majority ask, “How do I keep this feeling of relaxation and focus going before I see you again?” My answer is always, “meditation”.
Just mentioning meditation leads to eye rolls and statements of busyness, too many thoughts, wandering minds, anxiety and flat out “I can’t do that!” claims. I shrug and offer a tip or two. Often times they seek more guidance. So, to help all of us along the meditation path, let’s dig a little deeper into how to incorporate meditation into your life.
You have heard the benefits of meditation before but it is worth another mention. Meditation lowers blood pressure, lessens anxiety, improves circulation, decreases stress and the list goes on. My experience with meditation is that I am better focused, more relaxed to handle everyday stresses, sleep better and in just a better place than when I don’t meditate. Sometimes it is just difficult to articulate how great I feel when I give myself mediation time. When I let go of meditation and let busyness take over, I feel all of the feels of being off - constipation, poor sleep, irritable, littles things overwhelm me and I simply feel don’t feel great.
Myths about meditation often keep people away. Let go of any thoughts you have about meditation and simply start here. My dear friends at Chrysalis in Arlington, MA, are offering a meditation group via Facebook beginning October 2nd through December 29th. Join me here as I welcome the gift of 10 minutes for myself every morning in a supportive community with Vanessa and Denise.
As you decide to commit just 10 minutes a day for yourself in meditation, think about finding a spot that is comfortable, accessible at your time of meditation (mornings are ideal), relatively quiet (headphones are great for meditation) and most importantly, a spot that you love. Following are some basic guidelines to get your started.
I welcome questions and comments as this meditation gig is a journey for me as well. We can simply learn from each other. Next week, look for ideas in setting up a special place to meditate.
The story goes that I kissed this photograph every night when I went to bed and every morning when I woke up. It was next to my crib as my Dad was off at war. He would tell the story of coming home over many flights, no fanfare, no handshakes like you see today. But when he stood by my crib for the first time and I awoke, rolled over and said “Good morning Dad.”, that was enough. It was the picture that connected us across the miles. It was a love and a bond that carried us. And it was the simple act of placing that picture next to my crib that connected me to my Dad. Thanks Mom.
His death is still raw. His life lives on in the many pictures and stories we have. As I spoke when we celebrated his life, each person he met was a thread in this story that he so beautifully wove into the fabric of our family. Connections were important to him. Whether a connection to a person, a book or a newspaper article you were sure to gain from his efforts. Know that the simple compliment you pay, the referral you make, the person you let in front of you on the road, the note you send, the hug you give and the words that you share with others are all connections that make a difference. Threads in their story that they are weaving.
A beautiful soul shared with me today that the hole I have in my heart with his passing will always remain. But slowly I will weave love around that hole to make it beautiful and honor our time together. So those words and hugs and tilts of head in understanding are helping me weave around that hole. Thank you for those connections as they soothe my soul and support my growth.
We are all looking for a little love. Love from our partner, children, ourself. On this day of love (everyday should be a day of love), here are a few tips to bring in love through your space.
Let's focus on you and your partner or finding a partner. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Have two nightstands that are roughly the same size. Pillows on the bed should be an even number. Move the family pictures out of the bedroom and focus on you all as a couple. Single? Bring in two candles. Artwork should represent pairs - two chairs on a beach. Take a look at your decorations and determine if they represent singles. Rose quartz is a beautiful stone representing love, bring two crystals that are roughly the same size. Get the picture? Think in pairs.
Happy Feng Shui! Happy love!