Friday, December 4, 2009

A New Thanks Giving


Thanksgiving always reminds me of the women in my family. Since I’ve had a home and children of my own, I have felt inspired to honor them by making their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Mamaw’s Watergate salad. Aunt Lelah’s turkey. Aunt Helen’s stuffing. Grandmother’s pumpkin pie. Of course, there are no recipes contributed by the men in the family because I have no memory of them doing anything on Thanksgiving, except reading the paper or watching football. They seemed to appear out of nowhere when it came time to carve the turkey.

This was my first Thanksgiving without my Mother here, and I thought long and hard about what to add to the menu in her honor. Quite honestly, she never liked to cook much. She would make a nice cranberry salad, which I feel no end of guilt about saying I did not like. And her heart wasn’t in the preparing of it, anyway. Mom’s true gifts were beautiful seasonal decor. Welcoming any guests. Easy conversation. Genuine interest in listening to other people. Quick to give advice when solicited. Happy to engage a newcomer in conversation.

Looking back to Thanksgivings as a child, I realize that the conversations what I remember most. I distinctly recall sitting at the kids table, listening to the grownups talk. My family was small, and my sister and I were the only kids. My maternal grandparents and my grandfather’s sisters were usually our only guests. My great aunts were college educated back when few people were. They and my mother were well informed and shared opinions easily. The world was just as they saw it, no question. Or so it seemed to me.

My grandfather and father chimed in but they never led the conversation. They had both grown up with two sisters, no brothers, and had strong mothers. I never realized that they had that in common before now. I suppose they were just used to listening to women, at least in the sphere of women, which the dinner table surely was. The talk from the grownups table fascinated me, and I was glad when I could make the move from the kids table. Even better when I could chime in with a witty apropos.

So I scratched the “cooking-in-honor-of” menu this year. I never could make that stuffing like Aunt Lelah did. I don’t really like Watergate salad. My family prefers the pumpkin pie from Ralph’s to my Grandmother’s recipe. This year, I decided to cook what I wanted to cook, and to enjoy the food brought by our guests.

I realized that what would truly honor the memory of my mother and all the lovely women in my family is more than just food. It’s the time around the table. Taking the time to truly listen and share. The appreciation of simply being together. So we said a prayer to include them in our meal and our conversation. I’m sure they were here. And nobody missed the Watergate salad.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can't Buy Me Love


One of my earliest memories is of my sister and I drawing with crayons, sitting at a little table covered with a beautiful blue velvet tablecloth. I really loved my drawing, and I was drawing exuberantly using broad strokes. Occasionally, my crayon went off the page and made a mark on the tablecloth. In my head, I knew that this was Not Good, but I was so excited about my drawing that I just couldn't stop. Until Mom came in, that is. Boy, did we get in trouble for marking up her tablecloth! She was really steamed. I have to admit that, as a parent now, I know I would have been upset, too.

I never liked to get in trouble as a kid. I do not mean to imply that I was perfectly behaved. That was never even my goal. No, I pretty much did what I wanted to do, but I was the one who tried to hide any misdeeds (much as my son Cameron does today, now that I think about it). I would create elaborate stories to explain problems away. (Cameron does that, too. This is getting interesting). That's what I remember now, anyway. I certainly wasn't trying to hide anything in this event I remember, so it must have taken place before the grand scheme of Cover Ups began.

Recently, I brought up this incident in a Soul Remembering session. Soul Remembering is a process that I am learning where a partner guides me to remember significant events from my past. The goal is not to judge or study the memory, but to re connect with the emotions attached to it, as a way of releasing it. Something told me to look at this memory. I expected to discover something about the incident relating to hiding and daring. What I learned instead shocked me.

When I went back to that moment where my Mom was yelling at me, I heard myself think, "I wish I had the money to buy a new tablecloth." That may not sound like an earth-shattering revelation, but it was for me. I hated to hear my parents talk about money (or more usually, the lack thereof). Their conversations about money were loud, angry, and frightening for me. Pots and pans banged. Cups slammed down on the table. My sister and I cowered in the other room.

I became terrified of my parents finding out that I had done something that would cost them money. If I cost them money, they might yell and scream at me like they did at each other. They might call me the bad names they called each other. They might stop loving me, as they had seemed to stop loving each other. I am realizing that I also learned "If only I had enough money, I could make them stop yelling. I would feel safe again." But I never had money, not any Real Money, as a kid. And I never felt safe. I had forgotten all of this.

Do I still do this? I hate doing something "stupid" like forgetting to pay a bill on time, and having to pay a hefty late fee. Even worse, I fear being found out. "My husband will be furious if he finds out I got another parking ticket." Because it costs money. And if I keep costing the family money, they might not love me anymore. If only I brought in more money, then I could truly relax and feel safe because I could buy my way to safety if something unexpected came up.

That sounds so silly to say, but those old thoughts and feelings seem to be lurking in there somewhere still. Whenever we experience a drop in income, for whatever reason, I panic. I want to hide the ugly truth about any financial shortfalls from others. Okay, so I am still that little girl equating money with security and self worth.

Intellectually, I know that I don't need money to feel safe. Feeling safe in this Universe is an inside job. Inside jobs require inside fixes. No thing from the outside will do it. So I keep working with Abraham and the Law of Attraction, reminding myself that "...the Law of Attraction matches things that are like, not things that are unlike. When you feel poor—only things that feel like poverty can come to you. When you feel prosperous—only things that feel like prosperity can come to you. "

Today, I feel prosperous because I had more than enough money to pay all the bills. And I enjoy an endless stream of ideas of what will bring more prosperity. And I am feeling particularly blessed because it's street cleaning day, and I did not get a parking ticket.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Window Washing for the Soul

Somebody recently said to me, "I rarely cry," with some measure of satisfaction. I wanted to extend my sympathies. Why is that considered a good thing? Crying doesn't necessarily mean something terrible has happened. Any day that I cry because I tune into the sheer beauty of my daughter's smile or the full depth of my son's love for me is a very good day indeed. And when something terrible does happen, crying helps move all those the mad, sad and other negative energies on out. Keeping all of that stuff inside is like never taking out the trash. Who wants to live with all the garbage locked inside the house?

The way I feel about crying now is like the old saying about voting in Chicago: do it early and often. For me, it's a sign that I'm getting back in touch with my feelings, and that is something I am yearning to do. Like most people, I learned to shut down my emotions, especially around other people, at a young age. Being 'emotional' was synonymous with being unstable. Sharing your feelings would make you vulnerable. Hide your feelings from others, or they will take advantage of you, break your heart, and steal your soul.

These days, I'm getting back on good terms with my feelings. I have worked with the Abraham Hicks material (http://www.abraham-hicks.com/), and I now believe my emotions are my internal guidance system. When I feel great, I know I am on my path. When I feel depressed, sad or frustrated, it's an invitation for me to examine my thoughts and see what's not serving me. I don't always accept that invitation right away, to be sure. Sometimes I want to just wallow in the pain for awhile before I'm ready to give it up. Even then, it is a comfort to know that I am not a prisoner of those unhappy feelings. They are there to give me information and guidance, and it's up to me to accept it or bury it.

Sure, it's taken me a long time to get back in touch with my feelings, and even longer to feel good about expressing them. So being able to cry means I'm on the right track, and I'm ready to let go of what no longer serves me. It's window washing for my soul.

Crying in public, even for a happy reason, is still a big challenge, though. I find myself saying things like, "I am really going to cry about this when I get home." Delegating my emotions to the appropriate time and place is just as big a shut down as saying "cry never." My soul hears "don't cry," and I'm distrusting my emotions all over again. One step forward, one step back.

I thought about all of this as I sat in a public place just today, repressing the urge to cry when telling a new friend about my mother's death. I caught myself, and said the hell with it. And I cried right there in the McDonald's on Colorado Boulevard in Glendale, California. It felt okay. Better than okay, it felt like a giant leap forward, without even having to ask "Mother May I?".

So if I am a big gloppy mess of tears next time you see me, there's no need to console me. I am just doing a little window washing. Hand me a squeege.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blessed are the List Makers


I confess that I am a compulsive list maker. It's not much of a confession since anyone who has spent more than five minutes in my physical presence has seen me whip out pen and paper to jot something down 'before I forget.' It's to the point that if I do something that wasn't on my list, the significance of that accomplishment is nullified. It's as if the crossing off makes it count.

I suppose it is in my genes, as I come from a family of listmakers. In my Grandmother's cedar chest, I have found her lists of expenditures and events dating as far back as the 1940s. My mother was making lists right up to the recent end of her life. Some of the mementos that I have kept are her final lists. I secretly feel that a little part of her spirit will always be here with me as long as there are unfinished To Do's on her list.

My eight-year-old daughter Chloƫ is becoming a fine listmaker herself. She makes very sweet little lists of things like "What do to Before Party" and "What to Pack for Trip" with entries like "Blow Up Balloons" and "Kiss the cat good-bye." I like her lists a lot more than mine, which catalog all the dull but necessary tasks like "clean the cat box" and "file insurance claim." I never write down things that were fun like "read a book with Cameron," "danced when nobody was looking," or even "cooked dinner without burning anything." I intend to take a hint from Chloe's playbook and write down something everyday that I did which fed my soul, and not just that which I did out of obligation.

There are others who have inspired me to improve my listmaking, and Coach Margit is at the top of the list. For decades, I would cross To Do's off when they were completed in full. Who doesn't, right? But then all I would notice at the end of the day were the Didn't Do's, rather than the accomplishments. Coach Margit taught me to highlight accomplishments in bright colors, rather than crossing them off. So now at the end of the day, I now see happy hot pink and bright orange highlighting all that I did do. The Didn't Do's fade to the background.

The Millionaire Mind seminars have also influenced my listmaking. Given the unpredictable nature of life on this planet, I often spend my entire day doing things that were never on my list. This used to depress me to no end, seeing an intact To Do List at the end of the day. I haven't had a day when I said, "I have nothing to do" since 1987, and yet my lists reflected so little of what I did do. My time should count for something, even if what I do (or don't do) isn't on a list. What if I saved a baby from a burning building? Would that not count because it wasn't on my list?
The Millionaire Mind seminars taught me to celebrate all of my successes, no matter how small. "I got out of bed today!" is cause for joyous celebration on some days. So now when I get to the end of the day, I jot down all of the major things I accomplished and then immediately highlight them. If I didn't do anything significant that day, then I make sure I jot that down ("I did NOTHING today!") and give it a double highlighting. In my busy life, that's the best accomplishment of all.

With all the help from the listmaking coaches, I still have a sense that I spend too much time making lists and too little time accomplishing -- or, better yet, doing nothing at all. Despite my deep affection for listmaking, I do enjoy the occasional day when I allow life to flow and I respond in kind without reference to any paper at all. I can visualize a time ahead when I give up the listmaking altogether, and listen to my heart to guide me through the day. Until then, I appreciate and bless my listmaking coaches. With their help, I am learning to accept the chaos of this physical time and space, assisted by a pen, paper, and two colorful highlighters.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking for the Gift


Last week, I searched and searched for a hotel with a water park in Orange County. I knew what I wanted to find, and I was sure there was one in the OC because of all the attractions for families. I finally found one I wanted to book. And they had absolutely no reservations available. I tried to book online, I tried to call, and I even called back to check for cancellations. No luck.

So I booked another very nice hotel. Yes, it's the one my husband had wanted to book all along. It has a nice pool and Jacuzzi, but nothing special about it, except that it's across the street from the beach. Okay, that's pretty special, but in this June Gloom weather, the beach is pretty darn chilly and the ocean water is still very cold. The nice part about this particular beach is that there are fire rings, and we had a lovely bonfire there Saturday night.

Fast forward three days. We're back home, reading the mail. I find an ad for that very hotel. Imagine my shock when I read that this hotel now has a water park for kids! Quickly scanning for an opening date, it says the water park has been open for two months now. Unbelievable. It is a large sprawling hotel, but how on earth did we miss an entire water park?

We had covered a lot of the expansive property during our short stay. Our room was in the main courtyard with the swimming pool, and it was some distance from the lobby. We'd been to the next courtyard over for the spa grotto and the courtyard in the other direction to park our bikes and eat lunch. I couldn't fathom where the new water park might be.

I rummaged through my purse and found I still had the hotel map with our room location marked on it. Right there on the map, in tiny print (for my old eyes, anway), just beyond the south end of the hotel, was a little blue patch marked "Slyders water park." Ask and ye shall receive. But only if you're paying attention.

The Universe was giving me some pretty clear signals here. Hotel One is booked. "You are looking in the wrong place." Hotel Two is available. "This is what you want." I just didn't trust that I was being given what I truly wanted.
So what else have I missed? Let this be a lesson to me to find the gift in every experience that seems to be pointing me in the wrong direction. Easier said that done, true, but it's like looking for that last gift hidden way back under the Christmas tree. I might have to crawl on the floor and risk some pine needle pokes, but it's worth the effort.

As luck would have it, my husband's business is taking us back to the OC, and we'll have a second shot at finding that elusive water park.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

She Did it Again


My mother's Red Hat friend, Edie, said it best, "Shirley would often leave suddenly, usually without telling anybody. We'd just look up and say, 'where did Shirley go?' She did it again." She would do that at my parties, too. She never liked to wait around for anything. When she was done with something, she wanted to move on, and that included parties.

So we really should not have been surprised when my mother left this lifetime rather suddenly, without saying good-bye to anyone. She had known for nine months that she had small cell lung cancer, but she steadfastly believed that, with positive intentions for healing, she would recover. She had survived breast cancer, and she would survive this. She refused to participate in any conversation that even suggested she would not live until a ripe old age, as had her mother who lived to be ninety-five.

She didn't wax nostalgic about times she would miss with her children or grandchildren. She didn't make plans for disposition of her things, other than the will she had created years ago. She didn't try to make amends with any old adversaries, if she had any. She didn't even want to see her closest friends "until I feel better." I am glad now that I made sure that she spent time with them in her final months, even those that lived miles away. But she sure didn't say good-bye to any of them or to any of her family either. Her mantra was simply, "I will, when I am feeling better, " and she was convinced that she one day would.

As much as I got frustrated with her unwillingness to talk to her about her 'final wishes,' I had to admire her courage and determination. I firmly believe that our thoughts shape our reality, and I try to choose my thoughts carefully. It's a relatively new habit I'm trying to develop. I spent most of my life playing the 'blame, complain, and justify' game. I still go there, but at least I recognize it now, and sometimes I am even able re-frame what's happening. It is still hard work.

My mother and I were growing along parallel paths, in many ways, and I know she was working to improve her ways of thinking as well. Still I am amazed that, in the face of an aggressive terminal illness, she was able to set her mental compass toward the positive with such resolve. Perhaps she had moments of doubt in the still of the night, but she was back on top when the sun rose in the morning. I have learned from her example.
In the end, she needed more than courage and determination to overcome her destiny to move on at the not-so-ripe old age of 68. As much as I miss her, I like to think she had learned what she came here to learn -- and teach what she came here to teach -- and in a shorter time than many of us do. She always was a quick learner and eager to share with others what she had learned. I am glad she hung out with all of us, her poor students, as long as she did.

After all, my mother was right. I know she is still with us, and she is feeling much better now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Make the Universe Laugh

Reading some of my old posts reminds of the line "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." For me, it's "if you want to make the Universe laugh, write a blog post about something you've got all figured out." Let me review.

"A little late is right on time." Immediately after this post, we got a letter from the school cordially inviting us to a meeting for truants to learn about the repercussions of repeated tardiness. My inner teenager rebelled. Hand on hip, I rolled my eyes, and I railed against the The Man. Still, we had to go to the meeting, so I took Cameron and Chloe with me, and they totally got it. So I gave up the fight, and we're not late to school anymore. Cameron is a much happier camper now that his teacher isn't continually mad at him for being late all the time.

"My extra weight is like a life preserver around my middle. I'm cool with that. For now." I just finished a two-week cleanse, which meant subsisting on berries, quinoa, brown rice, cooked vegetables, and lots of powdered stuff. It was tough getting my mind wrapped around the idea of "food as fuel," rather than Pleasure, Comfort, and Company. Once I got there, it felt great to be letting go all those addictions and associations. Now that extra weight feels more like an anchor than a life preserver, and I'm not cool with it anymore.

"I crave that jump start from an occasional caffeine buzz." I really thought my cup-a-day habit was pretty modest compared to some of the coffee-all-day people I know. Truth is, my "cup" was a three-espresso-shot sixteen ounce indulgence laden with Mexican chocolate and milk. Not so modest, maybe, but OMG good. I've had problems with caffeine in the past, causing my heart to race and many sleepless nights. Who was I kidding? I still like patronizing Swork, but, since my cleanse, I get a truly modest buzz from a healthy green tea. I'm still not crazy about it, but it's fuel and not an addiction.

So all the great things I had figured out seemed to have lost their meaning as soon as I wrote them down. Maybe that's the whole point of it. Once alesson is mastered, it morphs into something else entirely, like combining Michael Jackson and Shrek on morphthing.com (scary). I suppose that's better than banging my head against the wall, stuck on the same thing over and over, never getting it. With that in mind, I'm happy to make the Universe laugh. It means I've graduated. Instead of a cap and gown, I get a hearty, side-splitting guffaw and there's nothing better than that. Okay, maybe one thing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Currator of Me

I look in my closet and I see rows of clothes that belong to somebody else. Somebody with a different shape, somebody younger, somebody more professional and flamboyant. These are the clothes in the Museum of Me, circa 1995 to 2005, and I am the curator. They don't fit my size and shape these days, and yet I can't part with them. The current wisdom is to let go of what no longer serves; that's an important step in accepting the Me that is Here and Now.


I get that. It's true I haven't gotten totally zen with my current shape. The picture I posted on Facebook dates back to my Museum Me days. Still, the Here and Now Me feels like giving away all those museum artifacts is tantamount to giving up hope that I'll ever reconnect with the True Me, the one I'm hiding under this fat facade.


This Fat Lady role must be serving me somehow, since I've been hanging onto it for some two-and-a-half years now. It started, ironically, when I read a book called Overcoming Overeating. The book advocates letting yourself eat whatever you want, as a means of reconnecting with your body's real wants and needs. My eating habits had been dictated by the latest diet ~ and then blowing it ~ since I was seven, so it was safe to say that my body and I had some catching up to do.


Then my husband broke his leg, which became seriously infected and required six surgeries over nine months to heal. My retail store was failing despite putting my heart and soul into it. It was a stressful and emotional time, to say the least. Eating whatever the hell I wanted seemed only fair, given all this other stuff that seemed far beyond my control.


So I put on a few (thirty) pounds, but I wasn't really worried. I stayed active, took my Amazon Herbs, and it felt nurturing to honor what my body craved for comfort. It was the first time I'd really listened, really given in to 'whatever.' So I understand how I got here.


The deal was, however, that the weight was supposed to come off naturally as I began to reconnect with the true wants and needs of my healthy body. And that hasn't happened yet. Why not? My husband's leg healed, and the store folded long ago. I have a profitable business with no overhead. My chidren are well and thriving. I have a lovely roof over my head. I do eat healthy foods, and I exercise regularly. I've done all kinds of emotional healing work to address the underlying issues.


Truly, I don't feel like a fat person anymore. When I see myself in my dreams, it's the Museum Me that I see. When I catch a glimpse of the Here and Now Me in the bathroom mirror, I gasp in horror.


So what do I still gain from this hiding myself away? Caroline Myss talks about the Dark Night of the Soul as that time when you suddenly realize all that you have to let go in order to reconnect with the Divine. Letting go of the prayers like "please keep everyone I love safe and for nothing bad ever to happen." Saying "Let go and let God" and mean it.

This weight on me is just that: a weight on me. I've asked to reconnect fully with the Divine, and yet I'm a little scared of what that might mean. I'm not sure I'm ready to say 'bring on my destiny, I'm ready, no matter what.' The extra weight is like a life preserver around my middle. I'm cool with that. For now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Email From God

The way I used to check my email was crazy. I was obsessed with it. I'd check it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I'd check it before starting any new project and get so engrossed in email that I never would get around to that new project. I have an addictive nature, and I suppose it's relatively harmless as far as additions go.


Still, with the urgency I felt to check my email, you'd think that I was expecting an email from God. "Dear Cheryl, enough with the victim routine. That's soooooo not you. Love, God." Now that would get my attention.

Truthfully, there are days when I do wish God would just send an email like that. I do think prayers are answered, if we are paying attention. All the unlikely coincidences, our animal encounters, and the “where did that come from?” ideas are messages straight from the Universe. They are not always easy to decipher. Sometimes, I feel life is just one big game of Clue.

All this looking for God in the details, noticing the coincidences, and seeing the signs that give us clues about how we're doing...sometimes the subtlety is lost on me. I could use a freeway message board sized answer.


All that aside, I am thankfully past all that obsession with email. These days, I get more Junk Email than personal messages, anyway. In fact, it's become the new snail mail, IMHO. It's full of ads for stuff I don't want, bank & credit card statements (go green!), and solicitations for donations from well-meaning charities. It's efficient and handy, but the thrill is gone.


So I check my email on a normal schedule now, once or twice a day, and that's it. The rest of the time, I am on Facebook!

Facebook is the 'new email' for me. No notices of bills to pay or sad news about the polar bears. Just fun little notes from my friends about their every day activities. That's one thing I really appreciate about Facebook: the chance to celebrate the mundane, our everyday successes. I have a quote on my computer that says something to the effect that if we celebrate the little things, then life takes on the character of a big party, and I'm always up for a good happy hour. I'd cite the source (if I could remember who said it), but I think I have botched the intent so much they wouldn't recognize it anyway.


So Facebook is fun, low key, and reminds me to celebrate my life. It does have its downside, though. Now I walk around talking to myself, like I am the narrator in my own life. "Cheryl is waking up." "Cheryl needs coffee." "Cheryl is going INSANE, trying thinking of clever status updates for her Facebook page."


Okay, so it turns out that my obsession has just migrated from email to Facebook, but I'm not worried. It's a harmless diversion. It's not like I'm looking for status updates from God on Facebook. He's not a member. I already checked.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogger's Block

I went hiking on Monday, and that always clears my head. A good brain de-linting is always good for my inspiration, and I had a perfectly lovely blog topic come to me. I hiked long enough to work out the topic, the details, and even a surprising twist. I sat on the ridge, and recited it to myself, admiring my own wit and clarity.

Unfortunately, I did not post that blog on Monday. It was so clear to me that I was perfectly certain that I would remember it on Tuesday, or whenever I decided to post.

By the time I sat down to type it in, some of the details were fuzzy but the bulk of it was was still in there, so I was sure I could reconstruct the whole. Unfortunately, I have discovered that I have a lovely puzzle box with only about half of the pieces. (My husband tells me that on a regular basis, come to think of it).

I am confident I'll uncover the remaining pieces during my next de-linting, so I'll hold onto the box for now. Stay tuned. I'm going for a hike.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Little Late is Right on Time

Looking at the changes in our country this week, I am thinking that I'm not alone in my need for a little more time to make change-of-an-era adjustments (see last post). We may be eight-plus years into the twenty-first century, but the look and feel of it didn't seem any different to me until this week. Maybe the Universe needs a little more time to manifest its new intentions, too. After all, what's a mere eight years out of a hundred?

Myself, I am starting to feel my intentions for this new year becoming more clear and even starting to manifest, as this first month winds down.

Left Brain, always wanting to "figure it all out," notes that 8 years out of one hundred (8/100=.08) is almost the same as my one extra month out of 12 (.1/12 = .083). Therefore, Left Brain has calculated that I'm right on pace with the Universe.

Right Brain is glad. Right Brain wants old Lefty to stop beating her up for always being just a little bit late. Being "in the moment" doesn't always correlate well with the clock on the wall, is Right Brain's way of thinking.

For once, Right Brain and Left Brain agree. It's a moment to celebrate, especially if you're a Gemini, like me. Now, if only my children could agree on something....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Chinese New Year

This year, I'm celebrating the Chinese New Year. For one reason, I had a bad cold on the night of our traditional New Year's Eve and went to bed early. While I am well past the need to imbibe to excess to celebrate another successful journey around the Sun, I still felt a little cheated. Safe passage across 150 million kilometers deserves an acknowledgement of some kind.

For another reason, I think I always feel rushed to make the adjustment from the rush and the excesses of the holidays to the serious contemplation of my intentions for a new year. I need more time and better focus.

Apparently, the Universe agrees with me because I have recently received two bulletins on the subject.


Bulletin One. We got our an annual update on the feng shui needs of our home, which need to be in place by the date of the Chinese New Year. I'm always curious to see what the annual report will say, and I'm equally happy that we have about a month or so to implement the fixes. Then it occurred to me: if I get an extra moon or so to remedy the energy in my home, why not give myself the extra time for my personal remedies?


Bulletin Two: I received the SpiritList.com newsletter, written by founder Dawn Smith-Camacho. She takes the entire month of January to set her intentions for the New Year for the same reason I just listed. I like that idea a lot. Goal setting is serious business, and I'm not in the proper frame of mind for it when I'm hyped up on egg nog and December's frantic pace.

So I'm taking the time this month to review where I am with respect to business, family, health, conscious living and personal empowerment. I appreciate having the time to set measurable and achievable goals that will serve me through the next twelve moons.

The Chinese New Year is February 7th this year. I'll have party hats for anybody who wants to celebrate it with me.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Caffeine Clairvoyance

I admit that I am a closet caffeine addict. I don't imbibe everyday, and, quite honestly, that's not out of any sense of discipline. It's because the effect for me is diluted once it becomes part of my daily routine. My intention in my day-to-day living is to constantly aim for a little bit better feeling and to take those small, incremental steps that lead to long-term success and happiness. I know that slow and steady wins the race. I am here to enjoy the ride, rather than race to the finish line. I am certainly not ready to check out of this Hotel California just yet. I want to enjoy my children and, someday, grandchildren for years to come.

Still, despite my best intentions, some negativity slowly creeps in. The intensity of all those good feelings becomes dulled. Much as my intentions are still set for slow, steady improvement, I crave that jump start I get from the occasional caffeine buzz.

Partly, it's because we're programmed to accomplish more, more, more, and I can wallpaper the world when I slam down that cup of my favorite Swork Mexican Mayan Mocha latte. Okay, yes, when I go for the caffeine buzz, I go all out. It feels good to accomplish 96 things in the time I'd normally start contemplating when and where I should start possibly thinking about doing something.

The other part of the attraction is that sense of clairvoyance that comes with a change in my caffeine content. Every issue that seemed murky is now so clear! I can accomplish so much because I am not bogged down in the "should I, when should I, how should I" debate amongst me, myself, and I. I'm a Gemini, so it's quite a lively debate.

Truth is, I get the same clarity from a good meditation session. After all, the intention for meditation is to let go of all thoughts. It's all that thinking, thinking, thinking is what bogs me down. I heard someone say that a good idea will never interrupt you. It's hard to hear that small still voice that guides me so perfectly when the chatterbox in my head is constantly running. It's our "Happiness Comes in a Pill" programming that flings me out the door and into Swork, rather than my meditation room.

My other excuse is that by frequenting my beloved Swork Coffee in Eagle Rock, I am supporting a local, small business. Since closing the doors on our small retail shop, I feel for small business owners, especially in these times when so many are spending less. While I believe that the Universe is endless abundance ~ and there is never any lack, except in our own minds ~ I do see a benefit to the impact the shift in the economy has brought. Mindless spending is empty at best, and I can't help but lament the environmental costs of producing all that Stuff, along with its associated packaging materials. When we do spend, I urge us all to consider carefully where and how we spend the precious abundance that the Universe bestows upon us.

Swork acts as a vital community center in our little corner of Los Angeles, and for that I am deeply grateful. I meet friends and neighbors in there regularly. The local coffee house has become our new "town hall," and I am quite happy to devote some of my abundance to supporting it.

My intention for 2009 is to get myself into the meditation room that my husband so generously created, for me for at least some part of every day. And then if that doesn't help, I am off to Swork!