How sweet it is

I wrote a post a couple of years ago, entitled “Eat the Christmas Cookies,” which was all about doing what you love and nourishing your body and your soul, cuz life is short. It’s become a guiding principle in my life since then – a battle cry of sorts. It has served me well, always keeping in mind that moderation is an important element in true nourishment to balance indulgence. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, right?

The last 2 weeks have been kind of difficult. A lot has happened in a short time, ranging from annoyances like a power outage at work that fried my computer hard drive, to the more serious discovery of a spot of skin cancer at a routine dermatology check-up that turned out to be melanoma, requiring removal and stitches and care of a rather sizeable wound for the last 10 days or so, and everything in between.

The stitches come out Monday, and I’ll have a gnarly scar, but that will be the extent of it, for which I’m truly grateful. The potential gravity of this situation is not lost on me, and I feel very lucky to only have to deal with this for a couple of weeks. I have lost friends, family members, and co-workers to cancer, and have watched other friends endure longer and more invasive treatments for cancer and other catastrophic illnesses and injuries. I don’t take my good health for granted, believe me.

Still, I was reeling a little bit last Friday when I went grocery shopping, feeling a little beat up. In the bakery department I discovered some M&M cookies that had been turned into little frosting sandwiches – two cookies with frosting in the middle. 6 of them in the box! Freshly made! There was no mirror nearby, but I’m sure my eyes got MUCH bigger when I saw them. Yum!

I said to myself, “EAT THE COOKIES!” as I placed the box in my shopping basket.

I have no illusions about that scenario. I felt bad, knew that sugar would make me feel better. Period. For some it’s alcohol. or drugs, or smoking. For me it’s sugar. Always has been. My mother said one of my first words was “nummy,” said in response to the offering of chocolate pudding. I LOVE cookies, and I consider cake to be merely a delivery system for frosting, which is just about my favorite thing in the world of food. Honestly. Buying those cookies was a VERY easy decision to make.

And man, were they good! And treating myself – that little “nummy” girl – in that way, giving in to that desire, felt great. I didn’t eat them all at once, though I considered it (LOL!). I had one per day for the next 6 days. I relished every bite, every day. It was the exact thing I needed to right the world, to soothe my soul, give me something to look forward to, and remind myself of all the beautiful and fun things in this lovely world. Yes, there are bad things, sometimes lots of them and it seems overwhelming, but those bad things are NOT the whole story.

There are cookies, and sunshine, and trees and flowers blooming, and friends, books, music, art and so many, many other wonderful things.

Life is rich, but it’s short. Eat the cookies, enjoy the music, spend time with people who matter. Buy the thing you want if you can afford it. Do the things that make your soul sing, whatever they are. Not all the time, maybe, if it’s something that’s not exactly the best thing for your health. I am back to my normal minimal sugar intake, but the memory of those cookies sustains me. I benefitted from the enjoyment of the cookies themselves, the pure physical joy of the taste, and also from “feeding” my soul in that way. Saying yes to soothing my bruised body and soul with something I love.

Say YES to your soul, to your beautiful challenging life. Do the thing! Be here for all of it, the bad and the good.

Eat the cookies, and don’t look back! Just enjoy every sweet minute. You deserve it.

Start at the beginning

I like to play video/computer games. They became popular when I was a teenager, and I liked them from the start because I could play them alone. Like a lot of people, the first one I ever played was Space Invaders. I worked in a restaurant bussing tables in the summer, after school and on weekends, and I spent a portion of my tips after work in the bar playing everyday. When I was 16 or 17 I got the Atari 2600 for Christmas. I was addicted to that thing! I loved Asteroids, and Frogger and so many others.

One thing all those games, and their newer cousins on computers and phones, have in common is that it gets harder to win as you pass each level. The problems are harder to solve, the best strategy is harder to figure out, the tools you have at your disposal are in shorter supply, though you usually get better tools as you level up. Typically, though, you get 2 or more “lives” to play with, so that you’re not defeated immediately. This was especially important when you were paying for the privilege of playing. Still true with most of them now, though, probably so we’ll keep playing longer and see more of the ads.

I feel like these games are a metaphor for life. For me, the level of difficulty has increased with each passing year, and though I’m better equipped to face new challenges as I age, having learned from previous experiences, sometimes I “fail” a level and have to try again. Fortunately, these failures have not resulted in death, as there are no new lives in the offing in reality! We all only get the one we start with.

Unlike a video game, you can’t just start life over, either. We can’t go back to Level 1. We can’t go back and start over as a child and do the stuff that was difficult then, but that seems easy to us now as adults. I, for one, would not go back to 10th grade and have to learn geometry again if you paid me $1 million! I like feeling like I know what I’m doing, even if that’s almost completely an illusion some of the time. The knowledge that I’ve accumulated in 61 years about how to handle myself on this planet was hard-fought and is very valuable to me now. Thank you very much.

Being a beginner is exciting in a lot of ways, but it’s hard, too. Especially if you’re not used to it, like you were as a child. As adults, we have few opportunities to be a beginner, though the rate at which the world changes now keeps us on our toes, doesn’t it? Most new things, though, if not exactly something we’ve done before, are usually similar enough to something we know how to do that we can master it fairly quickly. Very few things require a completely new set of skills.

Unless, of course, you decide to do something that is really new to you, something you’ve never done before that requires a unique skill set and use of tools you’re not familiar with. Just for fun! Just because you want to. Totally outside your comfort zone, for absolutely no other reason than it looks like fun and you want to try it.


That’s exactly what I did last fall. Art Journaling. Heard of it? I had not. Totally new to me, and completely intriguing. I stumbled upon it quite by happy accident, but once discovered, it became an important element of my wellbeing practices. I invested in a truckload of art supplies and dove in head first, knowing absolutely nothing about how to use any of them. Water color and acrylic paints, inks, collage materials, watercolor pencils and crayons, oil pastels, paint pens…oh my! So many pretty colorful things! Brushes and stencils and stamps, drawing pencils and erasers, sponges. Special stuff to clean it all up after I’m done making a beautiful mess!

I set up a dedicated area at my little house, and I spend an afternoon there every weekend creating a page in my journal. I have no expectations and no plan. I just do whatever feels right and expresses what I am feeling or thinking. It’s a blast! It’s just for me – I don’t have the talent or the desire to produce anything for public consumption – and that’s exactly what makes it so freeing and wonderful. I don’t expect to be good at it, cuz I’m a beginner! I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time! I just have fun.

I have made my living for the last 28 years as a graphic designer, so I’m not a stranger to the color wheel or composition theory, so that’s helpful. All the graphics I create at work, though, are on the computer. It’s a completely different process, using programs that do a lot of the design and color work for me.

This is 100% hands-on. Nothing exists on the page unless I paint it, paste it, color, draw, stencil, stamp or spray it. It’s a direct path from my brain, through my hands, to the page. I haven’t created like this since I was a child. I loved art class when I was in elementary school, and I feel just like I did about it then – how fun is this?! How pretty! Look what I made!

I have that same enthusiasm now, because when it comes to this new endeavor, I’m a total beginner! No expectations of results. In fact, I expect to fail, so when I do, I laugh and figure out how to fix it, which, as it turns out, is usually fairly easy. It’s only paint. I can paint over it if I don’t like it, or turn the page and start over! Nothing lost. There’s plenty of paint and lots of paper. This is just for me. I’m the only one who cares about it. No one else will see it, let alone have the opportunity to approve or disapprove of it, as with my work. This is play, not work, and I’m the only person who decides its value.

I watch YouTube videos and I learn how to use the supplies, and with each page I learn something new. I’m not an artist, but I am creative, and this is filling me up in ways nothing else has. Expressing my creativity – my heart and soul – in this new way seems more meaningful in some ways than the writing journal practice I’ve done most of my life. It seems to access a different part of me that has not been expressed previously and that’s just a really cool thing at this point in my life!

I think it a very real way, I’m allowing my inner child to have a voice finally, and as it turns out, she has a lot to say! She was shy about writing, but she’s all in on this, and that’s pretty cool. We’re having a ball together! Making pictures with pretty colors and doing what we want – no one gets to tell us not to be messy, or that the sky can’t be green, or that those colors don’t look good together. Who cares? This is fun!

I encourage you to find something at which you are a beginner. It opens up a whole world of possibilities. As adults, we think we know what’s real, and what’s useful, and how to live. That’s all important stuff, but how boring! It becomes so restrictive and our worlds and souls shrink to those limits. Break out! What have you wanted to try but thought you were too old or didn’t have any talent? What looks like fun? Try that thing. Do it just for you! Embrace being a beginner with no expectations. You might be surprised by the path of hidden reality and sheer enjoyment that opens up before you!

Defy the darkness

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank

My mother likes politics. It makes me sad, especially lately, but this is her house, so that’s what the TV is tuned to in the evenings after dinner. I go to bed early, so I only have to watch a couple of hours of it, and I try not to listen too closely. I intend to spend time with her, not the TV. I play games on my phone or scroll on social media, but enough gets into my brain to make it so I feel like I would like to scrub it clean before I go to bed.

In my opinion, this is a dark time in the US. (Don’t worry, this is not a rehashing of all the vitriol going on in Congress and local governments, or of the daily news of innocent people being shot.) The war and the sadness in Ukraine, climate change catastrophes all over the world, unrest in the Middle East – our planet and all of the creatures on it are suffering. I have no control over any of it. Neither do you, probably. I will vote in the US elections when it comes time to do that, and I will hope for change, but for now, and as for the rest of the world, I’m just trying not to be consumed by the darkness, and doing what I can in my little life to keep my light shining bright.

Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and the change I’d like to see is simply for people to be considerate of others and to be nice. That’s it. Seems so simple, but it’s eluding us in a big and dangerous way lately. I can only do my part – taking care of myself and continuing to fuel my light – so that I’m ready to shine and to care for others. That, as I see it, is the purpose of my life – of all of our lives – and there is none more important for our future on this planet.

I do lovingkindness meditation everyday. I try to focus on compassion and kindness in my dealings with people in my life. I try to take care of myself to ensure that I don’t fall into my own well of darkness. I journal, listen to music, make sure I get enough sleep, read things that feed my soul. I eat food that’s good for me and, in smaller measure, food I really love. I exercise most days and make time for creative pursuits. Now that the weather is more conducive to it, I walk in nature as often as I can. I have fun with friends every chance I get. These things fill me up, and it is my belief that the positive energy I’m cultivating – my light – in turn, brightens the world around me.

Your things will probably be different, cuz we’re not the same. That’s fine! Do your things – whatever they are. Do what works for you to polish up your light and get it shining brightly again. We all know what is best for us, what we need to really shine.

Is it easy? Of course not. I live with someone who tests my patience and my commitment to kindness in every way possible every minute of every day, and has all of my life. Now I have someone at work testing me as well. (See my last post.) It’s hard. I want to do what I want, eat what I want, do whatever seems fun or exciting, not the same old stuff I have committed to do everyday for my wellbeing. So the approach I take is, if I’m not going to do the thing I know is good for me, will I be letting myself down? If the answer is yes – it almost always is – then I have to decide if that’s okay. Would it be okay for someone else to let me down after they’ve committed to something? Probably not. Okay, then…

I love it when I don’t let myself down. I have no control over other people, but I’m in charge of myself; I’m the only person I can change. So that’s where I have to start. It’s not easy, but it is worthwhile. I am still finding my way day by day in my life, but I keep trying because I believe it matters.

It’s human nature to find fault, I guess, and if you feel bad or unsure about yourself and what your place in the world is, you are more apt to find fault with others and tell yourself that they’re “wrong” so that you can feel better about the way you see yourself. You see everyone different from you as a threat, cuz you’re not really sure, deep down, that you’re okay just as you are.

It’s not surprising that in our culture people feel like they’re not “doing it right.” We get that message everyday from someone on TV or online who wants to sell us something that will fix whatever shortcoming they tell us we have. All the happy shiny people on Instagram and Tik Tok are loving life and having fun, and we’re not, so what’s wrong with us? There must be something, cuz isn’t life hard for them? It’s hard for me. What do they know that I don’t? What’s wrong with me?

Of course, we’re all just fine. We all want the same things. We may have different ideas about how to get those things, and that’s fine. We’re different people, living different lives. Life is hard for everyone. Really. Human life fundamentally boils down to surviving loss, and if you don’t see that, it feels like you’re doing it wrong. But really, life is 100% about dealing with loss, and finding the things that bring you joy and doing those things so that you are better equipped to handle loss. Do the things that fill those holes.

All this folderol in Congress and with the guns in this country is in an effort to avoid loss. Loss of power, loss of privilege, loss of money, loss of property, respect, social standing or self-esteem. The harder you try to avoid loss, the more loss you create for yourself and others – loss of life, loss of integrity, lost hope. It’s a never-ending downward spiral.


The only way out of that darkness is acceptance, tolerance, and love. Heal your own losses, and you help others heal theirs. Show kindness toward yourself and toward others. Accept that everyone is different, and everyone is OKAY. Tolerate those differences in yourself and you help others tolerate theirs and everyone else’s. Love every single creature on this planet, and you will help heal the Earth and yourself. It has to start with each of us individually. Find a way to accept and love yourself. Follow your heart and know that you are just fine exactly as you are. Set an example for your friends, your co-workers, your family, your children.

Shine your light.

Live your truth, and allow others to shine their lights and live their truths.

Shine into the darkness and diminish it just that little bit. You are not alone. Together we can defy the darkness and find our way back into the light.

Don’t tread on me

My co-workers think they know me. Some of them do, actually, because they are my friends. Others, not so much. I have a new co-worker who has been pressing my buttons repeatedly in the last year since she started, and while I was upset every time, I always responded respectfully and kindly, because I’m an adult, and that’s what adults do. I figured there is some deep wound in her that causes her to treat me the way she has consistently in the last year, and I gave her a pass, and tried really hard to have compassion for her.

And then there was yesterday.

She sent me an email that was so condesciending, insulting, and completely out of line, that I decided it was time to draw the line. She made the mistake of copying my supervisor on the email, because she was trying to get me to do something that is not my job, and I guess she thought my supervisor would see things her way. What my supervisor saw was the way I’ve been allowing her to treat me for the last year, and that made me mad. it embarrassed me, actually, because I had been sacrificing my well-being to keep the peace and that’s something I promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore a long time ago!

So I wrote back, respectfully and calmly, and told her that not only would I not do what she was suggesting was my responsibiity because IT’S NOT, but also that the way she treats me is unacceptable. I drew the line. This is where it stops. The mental health folks call that a boundary, and I set it without room for misunderstanding. My supervisor is 100% behind me (which is really fabulous) and so we go on.

Today the co-worker was FROSTY, to say the least, but I don’t care. I have lived with a master manipulator all of my life, including now, though my mother has mellowed in her old age, and also her memory is too faulty for the necessary gas-lighting, so I admit I’ve been a little out of practice. This woman is an amateur. The cold shoulder is nothing new to me and I’m great at ignoring it completely. I have carried on today as if it were like any other, and I will continue to do so. We have work to do, and that’s really all that matters.

I get that this is not about me, and I do have genuine compassion for her. I can tell you exactly how her mother (or someone) speaks to and treats her because that’s how she speaks to me. Always finding fault, belittling, scolding. Ultimately, though, it’s not my problem, and I just want to work out my last 8+ months at Acme Health Services doing my best and enjoying a job I’ve done for a really long time, working with some really dedicated and wonderful people.

So it had to be done. I should have done it sooner, but I felt sorry for her, starting a new job, under a lot of pressure, I’m a bigger person, take the high road, yada yada yada. I also thought it would get better once she relaxed and realized I”m easy to work with, pretty good at my job, and just generally terrific. LOL!

She pressed the issue, though, when she got my supervisor involved. Pushed her luck too far, and pushed me too far, finally. I won’t let it get that far next time. I’m hoping she really heard me, and that she will honor my boundary and treat me with respect, but if not, I’m prepared to lay down the law again, gently and kindly, I hope, but you never know. Mess with the bull, you may get the horns.


Drawing from the well

Yesterday was not the best possible day I could have imagined. I’m happy to say it was not the worst possible day, but something happened with work in the morning that got my mind going pretty good with all the things — the things I wanted to say in response, the things I wanted to do in response, the things I wanted to shout at the universe for treating me so unfairly. It was all swirling around in there fast and furious. I was red hot and steaming, and it took a while for me to calm down.

Not as long as it once would have, I’m pleased to say. The source of the discomfort was over fairly quickly, but my mind hung on for a little while after it was over, trying to make what happened everyone’s fault but my own. The truth is it wasn’t my fault, and, despite my desire to make it otherwise, it wasn’t anyone else’s, either. It was just something that happened, was fairly easily remedied, and really was not deserving of all the space it was taking up in my head. So…I reached into my bag of tricks, and rooted around a bit, until I found the solution to my busy brain.

I decided to start the day over.

I did all my morning things again, even though I had just done them a few hours before. I meditated. I wrote a gratitude list. I read a page from a book by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn. It all took about 15 minutes, and by the end, I was calm and focused and could resume work. Fortunately, I was working from home, or I would have been a little more hard-pressed to calm down as quickly, but it still would have been possible in a different way. Because really, all I needed was to find myself. I’m the only necessary part of this recovery process. I quite literally “lost my head” and I just needed to find it; to find me.

I had to begin again.

This is a concept I’m fairly familiar with in my life. I used to deal with depression quite regularly and I would lose myself for days or even weeks at a time. Self-compassion was something I didn’t cultivate until I was quite a bit older and had been through a lot of therapy, but even when I was younger, I understood that beating myself up about something over which I had no control was not a way to move forward again. Often, I couldn’t pick up where I left off exactly, because I had changed or something in my life had changed, so I started over.

Often, I would have to dip the bucket pretty deep into the well of myself, as Bukowski calls it, to find the resources there to go on, but I did. Every. Time. No matter what, often with a deeper appreciation of my own inner strength, resilience, and sense of purpose.

And now here I am, older than I ever thought I would be, and happier and more confident, too. Time is a beautiful thing, a healer and a teacher. However, I’m sure I’ll always be knocked off course momentarily by life – the universe is not a respecter of our desire to remain safe and happy in our belief that we’ve got it all figured out.


Not even close! Turns out that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t usually feel like it. All we can do is try again when we get knocked over. Get back up and begin anew. It’ll probably never get easier or less painful, but it is always possible to return to ourselves and who we know we are, no matter how long it takes.

We just need to drink from the cool clean waters of our deepest selves.

PS: the background graphic above was generated by AI, based on the prompt “begin again.” Pretty cool!

Sing your song

I grew up in a singing family. My dad was a barbershopper, and sang in a men’s chorus every week until just before he died. He grew up singing in churches with his brothers and sister in the 1930s and early 40s, following my itinerant minister grandfather all around the midwest US. He remembered those hymns and could sing them in perfect pitch all of his life, including when he was robbed of most of his memories by dementia at the end – he didn’t remember who I was or even who he was, but he remembered the words to those songs he had sung as a child, 70+ years earlier.

Music was really who my dad was. He played several musical instruments, and he loved listening to all kinds of music. It was not ever what he did to make a “living,” though. He played in bands on the weekend. He sang in groups in the evenings and on weekends. He was a happy guy in all areas of his life, because he was able to do what he loved. He truly sang “his” song, and I was lucky to grow up with him as a model for living.

I love to sing, too, but writing has always been my passion. Like music for my dad, it has played a large part in my life, but writing has not been how I’ve made my living, either. It has always been there for me, though, and it is fundamentally how I think of myself: I am a writer. I’ve been writing online the last 30 years, and I especially like blogging. It gives me the opportunity to speak my truth and share it with the “world.”

According to, there are currently 600 million blogs on the internet. 600 million. This is just one of them, and I don’t reach a lot of people. I don’t care about that number, though, and I can guarantee you, that there is no other blog like this one, because it’s the only one I write. No one sees the world in the way I do, thinks like I do, or expresses themselves in exactly the same way. No one has had my history, or was born with my particular talents or skills or faults. No one has my exact DNA.

I am the only me.

I trust that there is some reason I want to write what I write when I write it, even though the odds of one of the 8 billion people on this planet finding my blog in the sea of 600 million in this vast other-world, called the internet are astronomical. Truth is I’m not very good at math, never have been, and also, I don’t see that those other blogs have anything to do with me. The internet is not an either/or place. It’s an and/with place. Not you OR me, but you AND me. There’s room for all of us. I’m doing it cuz it’s what I want to do. The rest is no concern of mine. I’m the only me and I’m just doing what makes me happy.

You are the only you.

What makes you happy? Are you doing that thing?

You have come here to give the gift of you, without which the fabric of creation is incomplete. – Mary Morrissey

Nothing less than that – the fabric of the universe – is at stake. Each of us is unique in the universe and on this planet; each with a special part to play. If you’re not stepping into your role, living your purpose, singing your song, we’re all missing out. Most of all, you, though – you’re missing out. Playing small or thinking there’s no room for you, that you’re no good at whatever it is, or there isn’t enough time, or not enough whatever is doing yourself and the world a disservice.

Do what you want to do. Listen to your heart. What is it telling you? What do you want to do? What have you always wanted to try, but were afraid to give yourself permission to explore? Did you convince yourself that it wasn’t for you? That you would fail? Well, those things may turn out to be true, but what if they aren’t? And what if they are? Just trying and learning about something new may lead you to something you didn’t know about that you love more! Instead of focusing on what is, how about asking what if? That one letter could make a huge difference in the way you see the world!

What if you experience unimaginable success? What if it changes your life and you want more? Is that what scares you?

Yeah, the unknown is risky and definitely scary. So start small, and don’t tell anyone. This is for you. You don’t have to share it until you’re ready, or never, if that’s what you want. This is a big beautiful planet, and there are so many wonderful creative pursuits, fascinating places to travel, sports to experience, just SO many delightful and meaningful experiences to be had – highs and lows of human life that you can only know about if you step out of your comfort zone and try. Ultimately, whatever you want to create is within your grasp.

It’s probably not going to change the world, but if it changes you, that’s what’s important. Even if it just makes you happier, that’s enough. More happy people in the world will change it. You’re not responsible for anyone’s happiness but your own, though, so focus on that. Make time for what you love. Invest in it. Time, money, energy. Arrange it so that whatever it is can be ready to go at a drop of a hat when you have a few minutes, even if unexpected. It’s worth it.

You’re worth it.

And we want to hear your beautiful song.

Seeds of promise

Resist and sit, curled and waiting. In this waiting place, uncover what is enough. Not in the sense of settling or in playing too small, but the kind of enough that allows our hearts to expand and our shoulders to loosen, the kind of enough that allows creativity to blaze and joy to bloom, the kind of enough that opens space in our lives to hold ourselves and our seed dreams. Darkness and silence can hold both the sparks of our dreams and the embers of our hopes. We are our own seeds of promise.

–Molly Remer/Mother Tongue Ink, We’Moon 2023

Enough. I am enough. You are enough. There is enough time, money, energy, love – whatever it is we need.


Growing up I felt alternately, depending on who I looked to for affirmation, that I was either not enough, or too much. Most of the adults in my life (not all, thank goodness) either found me lacking or tried to rein me in. I finally came to understand that those assessments had way more to do with them than it did with me. Later, 20 years or so ago when I filed for bankruptcy, I felt there wasn’t enough of anything, really, especially me. I didn’t think I would ever recover financially, or emotionally from the claustrophobic feeling that I wasn’t enough; not good enough.

That was a difficult time, and it has taken a while, but I’m back to the me who had the courage to start that failed business originally 27 years ago. It’s nice to be that me again, and it’s nice to feel that there is nothing lacking. There is enough of me, certainly – I am able to manage everything I choose to fairly well, I think – and there is enough of everything else, too.

The reality is that there always was – evidenced by the fact that I’m still here – and there always will be. The universe is vast, and within it is everything you can imagine and certainly everything you need. Occasionally I catch myself feeling that there isn’t enough time for all I want to do, but then I remember that time is infinite, and it’s my 24-hour a day thinking that limits me, not time.

So, yay! I have all the time in the world, and money flows freely and easily from everywhere, and I’m loved beyond measure and my energy is boundless, as long as I take care of myself.

Oh. There’s that. The taking care of myself part.

As it turns out, it’s not all about the limitless nature of the universe. My human body on this planet has limits and they’re part of the bargain. If I ate everything I wanted to, did everything I wanted to, didn’t do everything I didn’t want to, I would be limiting my life and my potential dramatically. So turns out living without limits includes living with limits.

Wait – what?

Everything is a choice, and choices have consequences. How I spend my time matters. What I eat matters. What I do matters. I have to choose, and if I choose wisely, I’m more likely to live life in the limitless way I envision. If I choose wisely, I get more choices. If I don’t choose wisely, at some point I will lose the ability to choose. It’s like planting a seed. If you plant it in good soil, and you water it and make sure it gets the light it needs for optimal growth, and fertilize it, it will sprout and grow to its full potential. If you just press it in the ground and walk away, you are limiting that potential. It may still sprout, cuz that’s the nature of seeds, but the plant will not grow for very long without light and water.

So, what does this mean in my daily life?

I limit social media, cuz I am more interested in how I see the world than the fake portrayal of life that shows up in my feeds. I limit news and other input from online sources and TV for the same reason. I limit time with people who try to make me feel bad about myself or anything else, whether intentionally or not. I limit the amount of sugar I eat, and snacks, and I pay close attention to portion size. I limit alcohol and fat and cholesterol, and I pay attention to calories.

Conversely, I am mindful of replenishing what is given or taken away daily. I take vacations from work when I feel depleted. I meditate most mornings so I start my day with a calm focus. I prioritize getting enough sleep. I eat nourishing food. I exercise most days. I get a massage monthly. I journal every night before bed. I keep in touch with and spend time with friends. I drink a lot of water, cuz just like that seed, our bodies do better when they are hydrated properly. I brush my teeth and put lotion on my skin most days after my shower.

All of those things ensure that I am healthy enough and happy enough to do the things I want to do. Yes, they take time. And yes, sometimes I don’t want to bother with them, or stop eating, especially anything chocolate, and admittedly, sometimes I don’t stop when I’ve had enough, by choice, every once in a while just cuz I can.

Most of the time, though, I try to act with considered intention. I simply try to be mindful in every choice I make. I do the best I can to limit mindless consumption of anything.

This is me now. This wasn’t me 20 years ago, especially with the eating. It’s been a process, and it’s difficult to limit yourself when certain things charge up the endorphins and you feel so good. Scrolling on Facebook, or having a few drinks when you feel bad, or eating the whole chocolate cake, or spending a weekend binging a season of a show you love definitely can make you feel better momentarily if you are not feeling like you’re enough – less than – for whatever reason. I get that. I’ve lived that.

And now I’m living this, and for me, this is better, more sustainable, and more enjoyable. The thing with the scrolling, or the cake, or the beer, or the whatever you’re binging on is that it doesn’t last. You come down off that endorphin buzz and then you have to deal with the self-recrimination, cuz you know it’s not the best way to expand your choices, and that ultimately it will damage your body and your mind. You know that, regardless of how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise. You are limiting yourself by not limiting yourself from the things that are harmful to you.

Be kinder to yourself.

Put down your phone and the ice cream, and turn off the TV. Know that you are enough. You have enough. You matter and you’re worth taking care of. The world is waiting for you to share yourself. Share your voice, your vision, your unique experience of this human life. There is enough time. There is enough money, energy and love. You have it all. There is enough you. The world needs you; it needs all of us, every minute, to be fully embodying our place on this planet in this time.

We’re waiting for you. Listen to your heart. I guarantee you it isn’t telling you what you need is more NetFlix. Figure out what it is telling you and do that thing; give yourself whatever it is. Give yourself more choice. Plant a seed – start small – water it, give it room and light, feed it appropriately, and watch as you grow.


We need you.


No limits

2023 has been good to me. I feel lighter and everything seems a little easier. The last 3 years wrung a lot out of me, and I think that’s partly where the lightness comes from – I finally gave up a lot of expectations about work and life and relationships. I think the pandemic especially taught us all that absolutely anything can happen at any time, and the idea that we are in control of what happens is largely delusion. A useful delusion, I suppose, as it helps us keep getting up in the morning and doing what needs to be done day to day, but ultimately, when it comes to the bigger picture, it’s in our own best interest to just sit back and watch the show. Let it be.

It has taken me a long time in my life to finally really understand that, but the events of the last 3 years have convinced me. I continue to plan, but I’m much better now at letting those plans go, if necessary. (I think. 😜) So…lighter and clearer I have stepped into this new year, and so far so good. I’m excited about the future (haven’t felt that way in a loooooong time), and I’m thinking about this year and what I have yet to accomplish before retirement, and then after retirement–what is it I really want to do?

So many things!

I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time thinking about WHO I AM, and why I think I’m here on this spinning blue beauty. As part of an online thing I did last fall, I participated in a guided meditation in which I journeyed to a garden, and in the garden was a wise woman waiting for me. I asked her what I needed to know, and she said, “Trust your heart.”


You mean I get to listen to my own feelings/ideas about what I want and how I should live? Really? What I love matters? Can that possibly be true? Yes, well, I already knew that, I think, and in some ways I have lived it, but a reminder is helpful, especially when you are really ready to HEAR what someone/the universe/your life is trying to tell you. So, since then, I’m getting this message EVERYWHERE, of course, and it’s making its way through the mush in my brain and working hard on chipping away the debris that still exists in my heart from childhood and earlier life (despite years of therapy that got rid a lot of that crap).

No joke – I was diagnosed with mild arterial sclerosis a few years ago. My heart was hardening, quite literally. A very powerful metaphor. Another powerful metaphor: the doc discovered something was amiss because she heard a heart murmur. My heart was speaking to me, letting me know that it was in big trouble and I wasn’t listening! Yikes! So I’ve been diligent about limiting cholesterol and sugar, etc., and continuing with all of the other “good health” stuff I’ve been doing for several years now. I intend to live a very long time. I have to confess, though, that I didn’t recognize the metaphor or the spiritual/emotional “threat” until recently. I can be incredibly dense at times, I tell you.

So. Trust your heart. How do you do that? Intuition, my child, intuition. Listen for it, act on it. Trust it. I’m highly intuitive – always have been – but at some point, I decided someone else’s voice was more important than my own inner voice. My mother’s, mainly, for most of my life, but other people’s and society’s voice occasionally, also. I realize now that I never really believed that what I wanted was okay. I never thought that I could know what was best for me. I have always felt a little like an outlaw when I didn’t follow THE RULES, and certainly, when I was a child and didn’t do or couldn’t be what my mother wanted, I was judged harshly, and received the silent treatment or actual punishment until I changed my mind and/or behavior. I had a lot of practice using my intuition to figure out what other people wanted from me; none at all at listening to what it was trying to tell me about who I am or what I wanted.

Even then, I marched to my own drummer on some things and on others I listened to what society (and my mother) had to say. I went to college because I wanted to, but the major I chose was not what I wanted. I didn’t want children, and I was pretty clear about that, but I also didn’t really want to be married. I figured for a long time, though, that I had best try to find a “suitable” mate, cuz that was what I was supposed to want, and I put myself and quite a few men through hell until I finally came to terms with my reluctance to compromise/commit. Really what I wanted was to be FREE. From everything, really. I have achieved that in many ways, that is, I have achieved freedom from most of society’s constraints because I did listen to my intuition when it mattered, and said “NO!” when I absolutely could not compromise or pull off whatever it was that was being asked of me without wanting to curl up and die.


I didn’t achieve total freedom, and that brings me to the answer to the rest of my question: Who am I and what is my purpose in this life? When I look back, I realize that I’ve been serving, certainly all of my adult life, but also as a child, and that has been my role.

I have worked in service jobs, including serving in restaurants, as a Customer Service Representative for a large manufacturing company, and in my own business providing services to small businesses. The position I’ve held at Acme Health Services the last 22 years serves the greater community.

Most importantly, though, for all of my life and continuing now, I have served my family. When I think about all the trouble the universe went to in ensuring that I grew up in this particular family, with its particular dynamics and issues, I know that it was no accident. I’ve thought that for a long time, but I have struggled with resentment in that role for most of my life.

In the last couple of years I’ve been thinking of it differently, and that’s a relief. Resentment is insidious and just eats you up from the inside out. I like serving, as it turns out. I value being of use, and feeling like I’ve made a difference. In many ways, it is a fundamental part of who I am and who I always was and I feel good about that.

I was still getting hung up on the issue of time, however. The lack of time for some of the things that matter to me was a result of the role I’m playing in my mother’s life, in addition to working full-time. I’ve been working on that with mom, ascertaining her expectations versus her actual needs, and my supervisor has helped me adjust my work schedule so that I have some time to myself a few days a week. Both of those things have helped so much, and I feel so much lighter and freer!

Instead of being a super-caregiver and super-employee, I’ve been honest about expressing my limitations and needs recently and it has changed everything. Imagine that. Who knew? I’ve been listening to my intuition and trusting my feelings and making changes that support me and the life I want going forward. I’ve been asking myself “What do you really want?” before making decisions, and listening to the answers. Most importantly, I’ve been giving myself permission to show up in each moment exactly as I am; not pretending to want what I don’t or pretending that I don’t know what I want.


I don’t want to work anymore, so I’m retiring. I miss my house and I want to live there again someday, so I’m sprucing it up and preparing for that, and in the meantime I’m spending more time there. There are other things, but those are the two “biggies,” that have made a huge difference in my outlook the last couple of months. I’m reaching (stretching) for increased freedom in all areas of my life, and I’ve no doubt that what I’m envisioning will come to pass sooner rather than later. I aim to find out where the limits are and go beyond them if I’m able and if I choose to. One thing at a time, one day at a time. From now on, as long as it’s legal and doesn’t harm another, the only opinion on how I live my life that matters is mine!


Reaching out

I chose a word of the year rather than making resolutions this year, cuz I find that don’t feel resolute about anything anymore, really. I think everything’s up for grabs and changing even more rapidly than normal since the start of the plague in 2020. Who knows what’s going to be next? My money’s on locusts. We’re having flooding and hurricanes and tornados and anything else Mother Nature can throw at us, our society is expanding on one hand and contracting on the other – depends on who yells the loudest on any given day.

The rules about work and love and health and relationships and aging seem to be changing ever more quickly, and I find that I no longer know what they are, let alone how or whether to follow them. Admittedly, I haven’t been that concerned with society’s rules for most of my life, I don’t see any reason to start now. I am now classified as older (some would say old – just ask a Millennial), and have been an unmarried, childless woman for all of my adult life. I was a bookish, needy, dramatic kid; an introvert and just generally struggling to figure it all out.

There have been lots of places in my life that I didn’t fit into at all, and some that I didn’t fit into very well, and when I was younger I tried to mold myself into someone who would fit into some of those places, but that was uncomfortable and pointless and I gave that up quite a while ago. I decided that I liked myself well enough just as I am/was, and if other people didn’t like me that way, it was fine, because probably I didn’t like them much anyway, either. This didn’t happen overnight, but thanks to pharmacology and a good therapist, I was finally able to make that leap.

I’ve been lucky in my life in that I have had it pretty easy as human life goes. I’ve dealt with some tricky stuff, but all on the low end of the Continuum of Human Misery scale. I’m grateful for that, and honestly, I hope that luck holds out for the rest of my life.

So now, having said all that, I find myself at the beginning of a new year. Not just any year, actually, but the end of my working life. I will be retiring at the end of 2023, and I’m pretty excited about that, and also just a little apprehensive. Not about not working per se; I’m ALL about that. I started working (at a real job–not babysitting) when I was 14 and my mother will tell you that I’ve been ready to retire since I was about 16 and the bloom was off that rose. For the most part I was happy in my jobs (until I wasn’t) and I especially loved being self-employed for a while (until I couldn’t) and I was especially lucky to land at Acme Health Services almost 23 years ago, where I have made life-long friends and enjoyed working with committed compassionate folks.

And so now here I am, and I’m thinking, “Great!” and then “Now what?”

So my word is STRETCH. I aim to expand my thinking, my horizons, and my possibilities this year, so that I can step into next year really firing on all cylinders and blast off into the next phase of my life. Ha! I intend to redefine my perceived limitations and reach beyond them. My guess is that at times it’s not going to be comfortable, but it will be exciting, and I feel like I’m ready to welcome something new. (Maybe not – I’ll let you know. 😁 Sounds good, though, doesn’t it?)

PS – I think maybe we all need to stretch a little; start seeing the planet and each other a little differently. Reach out to meet and welcome the GOOD. Seems many of the old ways of being and doing are not only not working anymore, but are downright dangerous to our wellbeing. I’m hopeful that all this darkness is the fertile ground of the womb, and that something is trying to be born in us, and that’s why it all seems so painful. We need to stretch to aid in the birth. Makes sense to me, and I hope it’s true! Cuz the reality is that sometimes the dark is just darkness. (I’m an optimist, though. I’ll stick with the birth thing. Makes it possible for me to keep finding my way with my dim light.)


Finding new life

I’ve always had a job, sometimes more than one, and I’ve always worked hard and done my best. At some of them I failed miserably (I was a horrible waitress and a horrible business person), at others I performed well-enough to meet and occasionally exceed expectations. (I’ve always been pretty good of learning new things on the fly). Most of the time my work has been average, and not valued very highly.

It’s hard to accept being average, though most people are. We all think we’re special, and as individual human beings each of is certainly unique, and special in some way.

For sure.

I’m talking more about being average talent-wise, and specifically at the jobs we do.

This includes most of the work I’ve done at my current gig at Acme Health Services, where I’ve been for 22 years. Most of my co-workers and the leadership here are medical professionals, and the work I do is not prioritized, not really on their radar, and not really valued in the same way as someone providing health services.

That’s okay. I get paid, and I’m comfortable with who I am and my level of expertise. I’m not the best at what I do. I’m probably not even the second best. I own that. what I lack in talent I make up for in commitment and effort. I try really hard and I take my work seriously. I do my best to meet the needs as they are described to me, and for 22 years, I think I’ve done a good job for an organization whose primary focus is elsewhere.

When I was young I was sure I had special talent. I imagine that we all do. We want to believe that we have something special to offer the world; that we will make an impact. It would be really cool if we could all be that person, but it simply is not the way the world works. Some people really stand out.

Most don’t.

That’s okay. It’s great to have your ego stroked. It feels really good, and it affirms your efforts. It’s not fundamental to growth or a good life, however, and in some ways it can be detrimental. If you feel your value as a human is all wrapped up in one ability or attribute, what happens when/if you lose it? Then who are you? My current job is very important to me, but it is only one facet of my life and my history, even my work history. It’s not who I am in total, any more than having brown hair or being a good speller defines me. We’re all complex beings, and most of us work because we have to – primarily. Food is important, and having a place to live is nice, too. You don’t get those things usually unless you have a job. (Yes, sometimes having a job doesn’t guarantee either of those things. I understand that, but that’s a topic for another post.)

I’m struggling with this right now because I’m at the end of my career, and my abilities and my ideas are sometimes reflective of another time. Not always; sometimes I surprise myself and others. I’m willing to defer to younger minds with fresher skills and perspectives.

I really am.

What I’m running into, though, is feeling as though nothing I’ve ever done has been useful or even serviceable. The lovely young people I work with are very open with their opinions about what was happening before they came on the scene, and fairly condescending in the way they treat me due to their assessment of my previous work through the lens of a completely different time and world.

I’m sure this happens to most people as they age in their professions, and the world tries to move on without them, thinking they no longer can keep up. I want to believe that my years of experience and expertise is of value – not to mention that I am still here and there’s creative life in this old brain yet – but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Not new, I know, and I know I’m not alone in this. I know that, too. It’s the way of the world to move on to the next generation’s way of doing things – that’s how we progress as a society and as humans. I get that, and I applaud it. I’m all for change and I envy these young people their ability to effect it. (Having said that, I wouldn’t be young again, especially now, if you gave me all the money in the world!)

I wish I was in a financial position to step aside and let them have at it. As long as my mother is alive I’m not, however. I’m guessing I have to stick around for a couple more years, at least. So I want to be of use and I want to remain relevant, and I have to find a way to convince my new co-workers that I’m still both of those things.

Wish me luck!

Photo by Pixabay on