Gratitude Friday

I am thankful it’s the end of the week. How about you?

I just wanted to thank you for reading and sharing this life journey with me. Thank you for your comments both posted and shared privately. I love knowing that your thinking about your life and living it up, making time for yourself and others and loving it out. Thank you for inspiring me to keep on writing and sharing and connecting, celebrating the good despite the imperfections in our perfectly imperfect world.

I am thankful for Julie celebrating her birthday and sharing her lunch time with me and ML. I loved seeing her being so happy and loved in her new work environment, living it up! It was great to catch up again and celebrate together.

I am thankful it’s raining, even though that meant no tennis practice today. We need the rain and it’s refreshing to have it for a short while. I am thankful that we lived in Holland where it rains more frequently and I now enjoy rainfall and the memories it brings back to me.

I am thankful for my fun husband who took me on a date tonight. We went downtown in the rain and sat in the window seat at our favorite Thai restaurant. We had time alone to chat and catch up after a hectic week and he made me laugh. I still love being with him, like that feeling when I just met him and yet it’s been 20 years! I love that feeling.

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I am thankful!! What are you thankful for today?

Struggles are Hard

Everybody struggles. All struggles are hard because we are trying to get through or over something and there is resistance. Resistance is hard. They are never easy, just by definition. They are struggles. And my struggle isn’t harder than your struggle. They all are just hard and that’s ok.

I sometimes appreciate struggles because once they are conquered I feel a sense of accomplishment and growth, but definitely not during the journey; only after I’ve arrived! I’d like to learn how to appreciate the process of being in the struggle, but I’m not quite there yet.

Once we expect struggles to be challenging and know that they take time to conquer, we sometimes feel a little better or at least know how to handle them a bit more easily. We have to be patient and wait, and that’s hard too in our instant gratification culture.

Sometimes the struggle is bigger in our heads than in reality because we get emotionally charged or have fear that makes us just want to freeze and not do anything but wait for the struggle to go away. But we have to do work. We have to communicate and be patient and think and negotiate and come up with a plan to adapt. And when we do, the struggle becomes a little less painful. We can flow and let go.

Struggles can be big or small, with ourselves and/ or with others. Sometimes they are positive as we struggle to learn something new, and sometimes they are negative, as we work through conflict.

When we are struggling, we are trying to move from a state of suffering to a state of compassion. We have to be mindful and we have to wait and work!! We have to hold on to hope and love as we transform and grow. Isn’t it fun? Just kidding. The struggle and transformation usually is a somewhat painful process that is necessary for change and growth. Oh how we wish there was a simple prescription.

There is. It’s called time and patience and work and will and grace. We don’t always have the answers right away, but they usually come with the right mixology and doses.

I wish you peace wherever you are and with whatever struggle you may be working through.

Namaste.

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Rain = Productivity

The much needed rain finally came today and even though I was hoping it would arrive after 10 a.m., I heard the pitter patter on the skylight as I was waking up. My tennis practice was cancelled and I got to work, which actually made me happy too. I always love bring productive and getting things done.

I tend to exercise every morning and then run errands, prepare dinner, and keep the household chores under control. I usually don’t get to the bigger projects, so today with the gift of added back time, I decided to sort through the piles of papers and laundry and clutter filled baskets. Isn’t it crazy how stuff just piles up? So much for a paperless society. I don’t see that happening any time soon. I felt good about at least knowing what and where everything was and to sort and file all the papers so that they are more meaningful.

I finally called a friend I’ve been meaning to catch up with for over 6 months, and hung up our Dutch birthday calendar in our bathroom.

The laundry is all done, the floors got washed and the sink was emptied too! The junk drawers in the kitchen were reorganized too. Man, you can get a lot done when you stay focused, off Facebook, and stay home!

I think I like the rain. How about you? Does the rain change your plans? Do you like it?

Hmmm… Hope you had a good day.

Be well.

A Glass of Wine, Two Girl Scout Cookies, and Three or Four Pieces of Chocolate

How did you experience joy today? What did you say YES to?

We put so many restrictions on ourselves and set up our own set of complicated rules – but WHY?  Life is too short. Let’s laugh more.

What if we set up rules and structures to give ourselves permission to laugh and have fun and to relax and feel and experience REAL joy – in the moment?  Maybe bend the rules or change the expectations just because we can, even if we do look silly? Maybe not in every moment, nor every day, but maybe every so often when the moment strikes?

I find fun and laugh and am silly every day, and typically I make my family laugh too, even when they are less than happy. It’s good for my soul and it makes me happy and I hope it helps them too. I don’t take things that seriously, because really, we’re all struggling with something, and wouldn’t we rather laugh and move through the struggles as quickly as possible so that we can get back to joy and the pursuit of happiness and peacefully co-existing together?

Today I found personal joy in food and drink. I had more chocolate than usual and a glass of wine that tasted so good with the chocolates. I enjoyed every bite and sip, even though I know I shouldn’t because I’m trying to lose another 5 to 10 pounds – (it’s a life long journey, right??) I’ve decided it’s ok if it takes a little longer because I’m working hard every day to exercise and eat right, but sometimes a girl just needs to indulge and be ok with that too!  And I don’t feel guilty, because I loved the experience of enjoying the food and so my shouldn’ts turned into enjoy-the-moments today and I smiled. I’ll get there… 

I found joy today by letting go of my plans to clean and do homework with the kids right after school and instead, bringing the kids to the tennis courts to enjoy play time and sunshine before the rain comes tomorrow.  They just had to stay up a little later to finish their work and that’s ok too. Being flexible is another good life skill, right? 

I found joy in spoiling the kids by getting them Panda Express for dinner after their practice and play, even though I had already made dinner and had it already ready for when we were to come home, because really, their dinner idea was much easier and more fun than the healthy one I had made. I want to think I’m teaching them flexibility and to let go of all the shoulda’s as in “we should go home and eat” and “we should be doing our homework.”  Hopefully I’m not just spoiling them, but that would be ok with me too, now that I think about it. I like spoiling them as long as they are grateful and kind, which I think they are. I actually really enjoy being around them and am fully aware that they’ll be leaving the house sooner than I’ll probably be ready. I am enjoying the moments, just like all the wise women have told me to do.

What did you do that was fun today?

What made you laugh and smile? 

How did you experience joy?  

Hmm… I’m curious.  Namaste.

 

 

Dalai Lama – Visit to Santa Clara University

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The Dalai Lama visited Santa Clara University today and was giving a talk about business and ethics and compassion. There was a live webcast of the event, of which I got to hear a bit while cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.

Mostly what I heard where the local panelists sharing their life experience and work experience and very little spoken by His Holiness, Dalai Lama (HHDL).  I most appreciated Jane Carpenter-Cohn’s life story about the four stages of life and how she learned the values of compassion as a child and lived those values as an employee, as well as having created a compassionate working environment when she started her own company.

The Dalai Lama was preaching the importance of compassion in life and in the work force for ourselves and for others. “A compassionate mind creates self confidence and inner strength.”  It creates calm and mental comfort and creates happiness. 

“Give more happiness to others, you get maximum happiness,” he said.  The spirit of giving is what creates peace. We need to take care of others and the joy will return to us. We cannot be self-centered and we need to be giving.

Although I didn’t pay attention to the entire program, what I did see was a lot of laughter and pure happiness. He showed up late to the afternoon presentation, because I think the concept of time is not something he worries about.  Everyone else seemed more nervous and on a schedule, but he just seemed jovial and wanted to connect and hear and share. I loved this and wanted to hear and see more.

One other thing he mentioned that caught my attention was that he thought if females were the world leaders, we would have less conflict and less violence. Do you think that would be true? I wonder and think it’s possible. Maybe Hilary will run for presidency, not that I’m advocating for her, but do like the idea of a female president.

At the end of the program, he presented white shawls to the co-hosts and acknowledged them by bowing his head and thanking them. I enjoyed watching this ritual. 

I think his overall message is a good one – 

Be compassionate.

Be loving.

Be kind.

Everyone wants a happy life and everyone deserves the right to be happy.

Be well, my friends. 

Namaste.

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Cirque Du Soleil

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Today was the last day of our winter break and we decided to surprise the kids by taking them to see their first Cirque Du Soleil performance. We have taken them to the regular circus before and they loved it, and we were hoping they would love this experience too.

Since the kids and I had sporting games and practices and Jeff had to work, we couldn’t take a traditional vacation. We broke up the week with special outings and down time and I think we had the best of both worlds. The kids love being home now. I think we wore them out last year traveling from place to place.

I tried to keep some excitement and anticipation in the air. I told them I had a surprise for them this afternoon. This seemed to drive them crazy, because they kept asking me where we were going. I was able to keep the secret all the way until we parked and Juliana saw a sign signifying Cirque parking was available. I’m not sure they knew what to expect.

The show was absolutely fabulous and breathtaking and entertaining. We all enjoyed every minute and had different acts we each preferred the most. My favorite was when Miranda was balancing on one hand above the giant water filled human fish bowl. Seeing her dive in and swim around the bowl was very different too. I loved every minute.

We all enjoyed the show and sharing the experience together. I loved seeing their reactions and was happy that we were able to share it together.

Life is good,

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Musical Surprise

I am not musically gifted and so when I meet people who are, I have a deep admiration for their gifts and talents and that they choose to share them with others.

We were at a party tonight, hanging out in the kitchen of course, because isn’t that where everyone hangs out at a party, when all of a sudden we realized what we were hearing. The beautiful sound of a harp was filling the air, as it drifted from the softly lit front of the house. We all hurried out to see and hear the impromptu performance.

What a gift we received! Who knew that we would get to hear such incredible talent. He asked if we wanted to hear more and the sound of our applause gave him his answer.

Afterwards, I was curiously asking questions and learned that our friend had developed interest in the harp when he was 3 years old. He received the nearly 100 year old harp he was playing when he was ten years old and his mother knew he was seriously passionate about his instrument. I wanted to hear all his stories and to see the pictures on the walls, as he shared his journey with us. I love that his mother listened and supported him.

Thank you for sharing your passion and gifts with your guests!! What a cool evening!

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