Thank You for Joining the Blog.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Who knows; maybe your comments will one day appear in a book (with your permission of course).

Please share your thoughts: how you use your life's lessons, your creativity and spirituality to navigate life.

Your definitions, experiences, general thoughts are respectfully requested.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back to School - Again

Traditionally, September is "back to school"time. In the northeast, the air would be getting crisper, we would shop for new clothes in shades of nature. I remember brown, rust, red and yellow print dresses, corduroy jumpers and shirts. It was a time filled with anticipation after the long, hot, and by then, boring summer.

Later, I became a non-traditional student, attending college in the fourth and fifth decades of my life. With 2 young children, a job and a husband on the road all week, it was a challenge and I worked hard. My husband took care of our sons all weekend when papers were due, through not only the completion of my bachelor's degree, but through my graduate work as well. There was no campus activity, no partying, no dormitories; just work. I understood the value of this education as it came with great sacrifice of time and money.

Ten years later, I am once again returning to school, to start a new career. Knowing that healthcare is the only field certain to grow jobs, I am going to study dietetic technology. My interest in healthful eating is long-standing and I am ever moving toward a healthier lifestyle to ensure the best outcome for my later years.

This time, unlike the last time, I am nervous. With a brain ten years older than the last time I was in a classroom, I worry about whether I will be able to retain all the information I need to. Staring at 7 textbooks, 4 of which are over an inch thick and heavy enough to require a wheeled backpack, I wonder if I have to memorize its contents. I try to reassure myself that I was once good at science - but acknowledge that it was long ago.

Well, the commitment is made. I know it won't be easy, but this has never stopped me before. I will test the limits of my brain, since I know deep down somewhere, I can do it. Maybe I won't require myself to pull all A's this time. I have 2 degrees on the wall with summa cum laude's on them, but it hasn't helped my earning potential or my career. It just made me feel good to know I could do it. So now that I know this, I ask myself whether it is necessary, and conclude that it is not. I will do my best, but I will accept grades high enough to show that I know the material.

And that will be good enough . . . . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Tears cleanse our souls. They spring from happiness as well as sorrow. We cry when we are relieved that someone we love is safe; we cry when we watch two people commit to spending their lives together; we cry when we have lost someone or something dear to us; we cry when we feel hopeless.

Tears release the stresses of our emotions, but our society makes it difficult to cry without shame - particularly for men. Yet, we are all moved when someone cries. Humans share deep empathetic connections when they see someone suffer or overwhelmed with joy.

Crying is good. A good cry releases our stresses, brings us closer to others and causes them to reach out to comfort us. Have yourself a good cry. You will feel better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow and Gratitude

Over 80% of the country was dealing with snow over these past 24 hours. A very rare occurrence. We, in southwestern CT had anywhere from 1 to over 2 feet in 14 hours. Mother Nature always delivers equally, so I am expecting a whopper of a winter since many of the last winters were tame.

I have always loved the idea of being "snowed in." It forces us to take time off and it looks beautiful outside too! When the kids were small, I didn't have to get to a job. School would be cancelled and we would have crazy food day: a little ice cream for breakfast, fruit and yogurt for lunch and pancakes and eggs for dinner. Actually, since the boys were so young, it was more like a marathon of eating all day long!

Later, the stress of getting to work made me practically ill. I became fearful of driving in hazardous conditions, ever since witnessing a horrific, fatal accident during a whiteout. I had the choice of getting into work or taking a vacation day. So, off I would go, fearful for my safety, wary that I still had 2 children counting on me (this is mostly what I was afraid of).

Now, while I am unemployed, I am at least grateful that I didn't have to take life in hand to go anywhere today. What I have learned since then is that nothing trumps safety. I pause however, to acknowledge with much gratitude, those who have chosen careers that protect our safety. Thank you to our firefighters, police, EMT's, doctors, nurses and other health professionals, who DO risk their own safety to take care of others.

May God bless you and keep you in his care.

Monday, January 10, 2011


“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”  ~Steven Covey

Today I write about consequences as I am plagued by those who don't relate them to their own actions. Too many people blame external sources for what happens to them. To be sure, there are times one is subjected to things beyond his or her control. Decisions still have to be made about those things forced upon us.  But more often than not, we have control of our lives through thoughtful evaluation of options and potential consequences.

Those who make decisions without forethought bring unwelcome consequences upon themselves. Mistakes made can be rectified by evaluating the situation and making course corrections. But when someone perpetuates the same behavior, resulting in repeatedly bad outcomes, who is to blame?

I daresay that all too often, a dysfunctional person is in denial about cause and effect of his own actions. Families perpetuate this behavior through complacent observation, their own denial or worse, support. Friends and family are sucked into the vortex of the individual's drama.

My message today is to ask you to dare to confront the difficult, if you care to help someone you love. If he or she is unable see the connection between his or her destructive decisions, confront   it. Do everything you can - before it's too late - if you want to save a life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Reflections: A New Year

The new year brings us to a place of reflection; reconsideration of what has happened and what is to come. We swear off bad habits, resolving to be better in the next year. We think about our regrets: for what we did and did not do, say, act upon. We dream of happier times for our futures.

While some years are certainly filled with more challenges than seem fair, some are also filled with more joy. On balance, most of us experience highs and lows of life, if not in equal annual portions, throughout our lives. Some of us are blessed to see the glass half full. Then, joys are amplified and sorrows recede following an appropriate period. For those unfortunate souls who see the glass half empty, life is drudgery, to be tolerated.

I challenge those people to reframe their situation. If you have to live life, why not enjoy it?

What Do You Need To Get Well?

Our bodies have an amazing ability to get well. Our minds influence that ability.

I experienced this one of the two times I faced death. I had raging infection from a surgery that introduced seven different bacteria into my already compromised body. Three of them were antibiotic resistant. This could surely mean death, since a weakened body has a smaller arsenal to fight with; and it was battling without the aid of an effective antibiotic.

In spite of horrific pain that often made me desire death to relieve it, my mind knew one thing for sure. I had two young children and they needed a mother. Somehow, my body was able to wall off those "incurable" infections; put them safely inside a bubble of tissue so they could do me no harm. And that is just what it did. Pockets of now inactivated bacteria later had to be removed due to the pain they caused pressing on other tissue - but that my body could protect itself in this way was miraculous. That my mind let my body know death was not an option at this time, fortified my body to do what it had to do.

We all turn to medicine, as we should, to help us deal with ailments. But when those ailments, or others, continue to plague us, we must stop and ask ourselves: what is getting in the way of healing? Illness is often a symptom of emotions that ail us. What do we need to look at, to change, to get well?

The body and the mind are so connected. When you are "stuck," go within and consider what is making you sick. Enlist professional help if necessary. You cannot live a healthy life with wounds buried deep in your soul.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Beginnings: More on the Subject of a New Year

We all crave new beginnings. When we make a mistake, we want to do better the next time. When we wound a friend or lover, we seek reconciliation. We take stock, we consider what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Rarely does a new year start without us looking at some aspects of our past and deciding how to make our lives better in the future.

This process is especially poignant as we reach milestone birthdays or when faced with a tragedy. As we struggle to make sense of things, time slows and we reconsider what is important to us. The challenge is to resist falling back into familiar patterns; the ones that blinded us to total experience.

Feeling pain, recalling joy, putting aside pride, are part of the human experience. They are all necessary to fully engage in your life and to bond with others.

It takes courage to change your life. It takes courage to admit you are wrong. It takes courage to ask for forgiveness or to forgive others. Liberation from agonizing regrets however, is unmistakably yours.

Take the plunge. Face your realities, admit them to yourself, make peace with anyone you need to, then let it all go. Free from these negative forces, you will find life a little sweeter and the chains that bound you, broken.

Have a beautiful journey in 2011, and keep growing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year Resolutions

It is interesting that people continue to make resolutions that will not be kept. Perhaps we HOPE for change, rather than do the WORK to bring change. I get it; change is hard. Here is something to help.

It takes just 30-45 days to develop a new habit. I tried it this past year. I decided it was time to start an exercise program. I have known for many years that this was necessary, but I just never got around to it. This was the year. So, in June, I started going to the gym every other day. Religiously. It helped to have a trainer for 12 sessions (a bonus for joining the gym, so cost nothing extra). I was accountable to someone. I had appointments and a loving but no excuses trainer to answer to. The sessions were taken over a 6-week period. By the end of that time, I was on my own, and the only one I would be accountable to was myself.

I began to feel I "needed" to go to the gym - rather than I "had to" go. Yes, this new habit, and the shape my body was in, were my rewards. I had a break from my usual routine for 2 weeks, when I had minor surgery. It was hard to get back, but I knew if I persisted, I would do it - and I have.

So, decide what you need to change and stick with it for 4-6 weeks. Make the change manageable so you will be successful. Don't change anything drastically. Take baby steps. If it is smoking you want to quit, smoke one less cigarettes from days 1-5, then 2 less for the next 5 days, etc.

If it's food you need to control, change one small thing about how you eat. Break up your meals into 2 and eat twice as often. Your metabolism will be primed to work harder and burn more calories, before you even take one step to exercise! Eat more slowly. Eat on smaller plates. Leave over some food (cleaning your plate won't help starving people anywhere, as your mother told you). Never skip breakfast. Your body has gone without food for 10 or more hours and begins to conserve fat and calories for survival. It doesn't differentiate between not needing food to survive and needing it. Your metabolism shuts down. Eating as soon as you get up is exactly what you need to crank up the metabolic engine.

Substitute something pleasurable for every thing you give up - and give up only one thing at a time, over a period of time, for best results in your efforts.

Get a friend to be your coach or co-conspirator. It helps to have someone to account to.

What will you change this year, and how will you do it differently this time so you will be successful?