Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beautiful You... a place to be. (remember 'being'?)

At Beautiful You we're working toward some pretty big goals.  We're working to build an online community where women engage and support each other through interactions in online forums, via social media channels and in person at an amazing retreat experience.

We're all making our way through our lives the best we can.  We need a place to learn and practice new skills. A safe place to take a good look at our lives, acknowledge what works and to support us as we bless and release what doesn't serve us any longer.  We want this to be a place for all of us to be, become and belong.

Let's talk about 'being'.   Most of us work, take care of partners, families.  We volunteer in our places of worship, schools, community organizations.  Often we put our own needs, wants and deepest desires away somewhere.  That's all 'doing'.  We do and do and do- giving away all our energy to others.   I'm no exception, I struggle just like everyone else.   What's left for us?

How do you define for yourself what it is to just 'be'?

How do you recognize when you're lost in doing and not spending enough time in being?

How do you pull yourself out out of doing and back into being?

Share your thoughts in the comments, subscribe to get updates to the blog and see what others are doing in their journey.

Take a little time to 'be' this weekend.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scrap paper wisdom: 3 steps and a really big question

Here's another bit of wisdom that's been up on my wall for a long time.  Sometimes I have something up for so long that I begin to not even see it any more.   I tend to rotate them and this is one that's been filed away for a while.  I'm glad I found it again!  Maybe it will speak to you.   It's a pretty great bit strategy that works during a fight with my spouse, conflict at work or just when I'm feeling crummy about myself.

Step 1:  What am I feeling?  What are my body reactions?  What am I telling myself about my ability to handle this situation?  What is TRUE of my ability?

Step 2:  What do I want from this situation or for myself?  What is actually under my control?  What is not under my total control?  Am I willing to to accept the situation and my degree of control as it is?

Step 3:  Focus on acting and feeling in a manner that is in your best interest.  What feeling or quality (calm etc) could I express right now that would help me achieve my goal?  What (self talk) would I be thinking if I were actually expressing that quality and getting what I want?  What would I be doing?

And the big hairy question at the end of it all:  Am I willing to do it?

Here's to being willing my friends...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scrap paper wisdom... part 2 lugging our rocks around with us

Anne Lamott is a beloved author, loved the world over for her profound insights into the everyday.  I have never read any of her books, but I have occasionally read an essay or op ed piece.  One message that hit me like a ton do bricks and has always stuck with me is below.  I'm not sure what work it's been snipped from.

... left to our own devices, we- as a species- tend to lug these big rocks around.  They are the rocks of our concerns.  Everytime we get up, we reach down for our big rock and then we lug it out the door, down the stairs, and roll it into the back seats of our cars.  Then after we drive some place, we open the back door, get out our rock, and carry it with us, wherever we go.  Because it's our rock.  It is very important to us and we need to keep it in sight.  Also, someone could steal it.  Anne Lamott

How silly we are.  Her words are so laughably true.  I see it in myself, see it in others all the time. If only we could literally carry a big boulder around with us, we might give up this nonsense much more quickly than we do (if we do).   These words were posted on my desk for me to see and be shored up by daily for a long time.

These days I try to stop and acknowledge my rocks when I realize that I've been loading them in and out of my car.  It helps me to at lease recognize the ridiculousness of it.  The other thing I try to do is jot these 'rocks of my concerns' down on what ever bit of paper I have around me and put it in my God box as soon as possible.   I first learned about God boxes when I read this article by Mary Lou Quinlan.  I was moved to tears when I finished reading it.  When I have a hard time letting go of something, mentally turning it over and over in my mind... I know I've got to get it on paper and into my God box.  

What are the big rocks you carry around with you?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Scrap paper wisdom... part one

When I took a deep dive into my files this weekend, it was a bit of an archaeological dig.  I keep all kinds of tings for all kinds of reasons.  

I have dozens of handwritten letters- (remember letters?) written by a college friend after we graduated.   

I have a card my Step-Mom sent me with my Dad's shaky signature that is the last expression of love I ever got from him.  

I have a bunch of before/after pictures and other Weight Watchers things that were really important to me as I was losing 100 pounds.  

And I have a bunch of individual pieces of paper with random wisdom on them.  At some point in my life, each of these pieces of paper were taped to my mirror or on the bulletin board above my desk.  They each have touched me, nurtured me or kicked me in the butt. They've been sitting there, unseen by me or anyone else for years.  I'm going to share them here in the hopes that they can again be a blessing to me and to someone else.

First up... this little beauty.  

I am sitting here in the smallest room in my house with your letter of criticism before meSoon it will be behind me. H.L. Mencken.

I have never looked him up before now, but wikipedia says he was an American satirist who was born in 1880.  It's said that Dr. Wayne Dyer used to send this comment to people who sent criticism to him after his early appearances on the Tonight Show and other places.

Thankfully, I can't say I've ever had an occasion to need to actually send it to someone, but I've certainly had the need to say it in my head before.  It's a great reminder that what others think of me is really none of my business.

Perhaps it will be useful to you.  Put it on a sticky and pin it up so you don't forget it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Missing you Momma

It's New Years Day.  We lost Mom completely 2 years ago today, though we'd really begun to lose her long her before that.  Lost her slowly, over a number of years.  They call Alzheimer's Disease 'the long goodbye'.  Having lost not one, but two parents to the disease, I can tell you that's horrifyingly accurate.  

Mom lived a full and beautiful life.  I have many, many wonderful memories.   She was a single Mother.  Scraping by for my brothers and I by working two jobs.  She bought and paid for her own home.  She got her associates degree after age 50.  But even with all her accomplishments, the thing she was proudest of was her three kids and all her grand kids.  Late in life, she would often look around at huge family gatherings and proudly proclaim... 'I'm the Momma of all this'.    Yes, Mom.  You were.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her.  Years into her disease, I took her to a Willie Nelson concert.  She couldn't really tell where she should be looking and she sat much of the time looking at the speaker bank and not the stage.  But, when she closed her eyes, she went to a different time and place.  I'm sure of it.  

I'm thankful for many things we did together, times we spent together.  The year before her diagnosis we went to Italy together.  That trip was such a blessing.

We spent a lot of time together over the next years.  Enjoying many moments small and large.  One of the adventures we took was to record a Storycorps interview for their memory project.  It aired Christmas eve of that year on our local NPR station.  As I prepared my questions for our interview, I tried to focus on questions that I knew my brothers and I would forever be glad we had her answers to... in her own voice.  "Of what are you most proud?"... My Children.  My Children. Forever we can press play and hear Mom's voice, her own words.  You can hear a snippet of the interview here .

I miss you Momma.