My Advice to a Newly Engaged Man? Never Stop Dating Each Other

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There’s a younger man in my office who recently became engaged. He met his now-fiancé in high school and had been dating her for the past 12+ years. When he told me he had proposed, I congratulated him then asked if he’d like a little piece of advice. 

“Of course,” he replied.

I said, “Never stop dating each other.”

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Living a Cling-Free Life

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Recently, I discovered a parable shared by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book How To Relax. It goes something like this: 

“The Buddha was having a silent lunch with his monks in the woods.  A farmer came hurrying by and asked if they had seen his cows, which had left him that morning. It appeared the farmer was suffering greatly. The Buddha, upon seeing how distraught the farmer was, compassionately told the farmer they had not seen his cows.  Once the farmer left, the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “Dear monks, you are very lucky.  You don’t have any cows to lose.”

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A Curious Question #10: What’s your word for this year?

At the beginning of every year, a dear friend of mine picks her word for the year. It may be a word that represents what she wants to focus on for the year or how she wants to show up.

I love this idea and for last few years I’ve chosen a word for the year as well. One year it was Release, another year it was Trust.

As this new year dawned, I began pondering what my word for this year would be. I think I’ve settled on Explore. I’d like to continue my inner world exploration through meditation and add outer world exploration as well. This can take the form of exploring a new place in the great outdoors or exploring a new idea or activity.

So today I ask you to ponder the same question: What’s your word for this year?

As always, I’d love to hear your responses.

Relationships Aren’t Made. They’re Grown.

In Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak, he talks about how we use the word “make” a lot. We use it when we talk about making friends, babies, and love. But in order for these things to be healthy, we need to be growing them instead. We need to be growing friends, babies, and love. That’s how real development happens.

The same is true for our relationships. Healthy relationships aren’t made. They’re grown. Kute Blackson writes,

“The real purpose of a relationship is about two people coming together to serve the growth and evolution of each other’s soul.”

A healthy relationship is like a plant. It can become stagnant, wilt, or die when we fail to take care of it. Like a plant, our relationships need the following things to be healthy and grow:

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Rethinking Don’t Let Fear Take the Wheel and Steer

In one of my recent posts, I wrote about not letting fear take the wheel and steer and instead to let the Divine take the wheel. As I ponder this further, I don’t think I got it quite right.

I’ve been thinking back to my Getting Still post about the fear based stories our minds tell us and to filter our thoughts with Love to get to the truth. When I think about it now, this filtering process is really about listening to our intuition. And I’m beginning to believe that our intuition is an inner knowing that comes from our connection to the Divine. It’s this inner knowing we must trust to take the wheel and steer because the Divine doesn’t do the driving.

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A Curious Question #7: What’s your favorite part of the Holiday Season?

There are so many things I love about the holiday season. One of my favorites is the way the season sparkles with lights. Since darkness comes so much earlier this time of year, it’s a joy to see so many homes and trees illuminated in a bright celebration. They bring to mind this verse of “Silent Night”:

“Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace”

These lights are like joy, hope, grace and peace all wrapped up in a little twinkling bulb. Kinda like the babe himself, twinkling in a manger.

So what’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

A Curious Question #6: How are you making Christmas feel like Christmas this year?

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving felt like a non-event this year. I usually spend it with a house full of family, all of whom are amazing cooks. There’s always a buzz of activity along with great food and spirited conversation. This year, it was just me and my two sons. And although we had a nice conversation around the table and made a few of our favorite dishes, it just wasn’t the same. Thanksgiving didn’t feel like Thanksgiving.

Because of this, I’m feeling the need to make sure Christmas feels like Christmas. And I think lots of other people are feeling the same way I do.

Here’s why.

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Three Things For Practicing Presence In Our Relationships

Lately, I’ve been trying to practice being in the present moment. I’m learning to accept and be present with both the comfortable and uncomfortable things in my life. This week, I discovered the importance of not only practicing this with myself, but also in my relationships with other people as well.

Here’s what happened.

My dear sister called and was very upset about something happening in her life. I wanted to soothe her and make the pain go away. My mind was racing trying to think of what to say and how to help and I spouted out a few suggestions.

And then she said, “I don’t need you to fix this. I just need you to listen.” 

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Trying to be Thankful

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year. There have been times when I’ve shaken my fists in frustration, cried my eyes out in sadness and been brought to my knees in prayer. 

With all that’s happened, it’s far too easy to hop on the train to Complaining Town. Although I believe it’s okay to take a brief stop there–maybe even a layover–it’s not really where I want to dwell. 

So I’m trying to be thankful. 

This year, I just need to dig a bit deeper to find the good hidden under all the hard stuff.

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