Friday, September 24, 2010


This morning I was out early with my dog.  It was still dark.  Patiently waiting for him to do his business, I heard crackling sounds in the woods behind our house.  I listened carefully trying to figure out what it was.  Finally, after an acorn fell right in front of me, I realized that the crackling was the sound of acorns falling off the trees.  We have lived here for over 7 years and I must admit, I had never heard the acorns hitting the branches and popping onto the ground before.

What was different today? 

I was quiet.  It was early and I had just woken up with no thoughts in my head but to take the dog out.  I was not being impatient with him, hoping he’d get done quickly, so we could go back in.  I was not planning my day and going over all the details.  I was just there, quiet in the back yard.  I was still and the acorns were loud! 

I wondered how many other times had I not heard the noises outside too overwhelmed with the noises inside.

I came in comforted.  In a strange way it was comforting knowing that life was happening out there without my interference.  I was not needed in any way.  Soon the leaves will change color and start falling and I may or may not hear all of that and it won’t matter, because life goes on, change happens, and I am not needed.
There might have been a time when this thought would have disturbed me.  These days, it is a blessing to be able to get quiet enough to hear the sounds of life without getting personal about it.  It does not mean I am getting old, it isn’t about me.  It does not mean I am going crazy, it isn’t about me.  In fact, this understanding that none of it is about me, gives me great comfort and joy.
It gets better: it isn’t about me and it has never been about me!  I love this.  This is detachment.  This is the moment in yoga when everything stops and you feel wonderful.  This is the moment in meditation when you are fully present and it is all so effortless.  And I got here while my dog was doing his doo doo in the grass two steps away from me!  I guess the path to enlightenment is different for all of us…

Questions to Ponder:
1.     Have you ever been amazed at the ordinary things (a leaf, the shape of a branch, the sound of birds, etc.) when out in nature?  How long does the sense of wonder last?
2.    What does detachment mean to you? 
3.    Imagine a situation where you are involved in some kind of human drama, what would happen if you believed that it had nothing to do with you?

Spiritual life coaching is about learning skills like detachment in order to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.  If you’d like to learn more about how spiritual life coaching can help enhance your well being and reduce stress in your life, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I work with people on all different kinds of paths with ultimately the same goal.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What Keeps Us Together

They were in their 80s.  One of them still is.  The other one passed away.  They were married to each other for 58 years.  He was the warm one, sweet as can be and always smiling.  She was serious and somewhat austere.  Or so they seemed to the rest of us.  

If I had known them 20 years ago, I would have wondered why or how they had stayed married for so long.  They seemed so different from one another.  I don’t do that anymore, not just because I know enough to know that I don’t know anything about what people are really like just by observing them from a distance.

I know that relationships change, people change, life changes people.  I know that what keeps two people willingly and happily together for 58 years is something deeper and more important than their personalities, circumstances, upbringing, and even love for each other.  These things can help or hinder their bond, and can be used as an excuse to break up their reasons for staying together, but ultimately it is something more intangible that keeps them together for that long.

There is a certain amount of wisdom that naturally flows into us as we age.  This wisdom is not pushy or forceful, it is a gentle guest that is invited when we stop fighting life.  When we listen to it and embrace it, we start seeing things differently.  When we go beyond what annoys us about the other person, and stop nit picking and focusing on what we want for us, life opens up. 

The concepts of happiness and peace change with that as well.  We realize that it was never about the other person.  We recognize that the source of true contentment is in us, not somewhere out there, in someone else, in a relationship, in a job, in our children, in a house, etc.

We stop burdening others with our own dissatisfaction and expectations and start really living for a change.  Life becomes bigger than us and our problems.

I’d like to think that this is what kept them together for 58 years.  I’d like to think that when two wise people finally recognize what truly matters, they only embrace and appreciate each other’s wisdom and let go of all the other small matters.

Questions To Ponder:
1)     Think about a meaningful relationship of yours that has lasted the test of time.  What makes you still want to hang out or be with that person?
2)    Has your relationship changed over time?  How?
3)    How have the changes in you helped or hindered your relationship?

Spiritual life coaching is an open-ended process that begins and ends where YOU need it to.  Maybe the concept of maintaining or staying in a long-term relationship keeps you from moving forward in your life, or maybe it is something altogether different.  If you’d like to learn more about spiritual life coaching, I would be happy to talk to you.  Email or call me now and find out how we can work together to help you feel more satisfied and happy in your relationships.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Opposites Together

I’ve been watching the US Open Tennis Tournament for the past few weeks and am amazed at the talent, strength, and athleticism of the players, not to mention their dedication and desire to win.  During an especially close match, I catch myself choosing one player over the other.  Inevitably, when I do this, I am disappointed if the player I wanted to win, does not, and I usually pick the underdog, so I am usually disappointed!

At times, I have not picked a winner or a player.  I have stayed the unbiased observer.  I have taken in the intensity of both players, enjoyed the back and forth of the game without any expectations, and at the end, found myself having a richer and more profound experience.  No, it is not the same as the excitement and high that follows when your player wins, but it doesn’t have the disappointment of defeat either.  In fact, it is not about winning or losing, it is about the opportunity to participate as an observer of this fantastic opportunity to watch two extraordinary humans who have dedicated their whole life to this one moment, battle it out.  It becomes so much more than tennis.

When we live in duality always taking one side or the other, we invite drama in.  Drama is fun, but it can burn you up and like a sugary treat, it doesn’t really satisfy you in the long run.  Furthermore, it blinds you to other possibilities.  It does not allow for you to participate in other aspects, understand the other side, or know anything other than your own opinion. 

Life is truly a brilliant mosaic made up of so many shapes, colors, and angles, and none of it is wrong or right.  It is how they all play together.  If we could just step back, become the observer, and watch without expectation or attachment.

(This post was inspired by a beautiful poem I recently read, called Fire by Judy Sorum Brown)


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs packed in too tight
can squelch a fire, can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water can.

So building fire
requires tending in a special way,
attention to the wood
as well as to the spaces in between,
so fire can catch, can grow, can breathe,
can build its energy and warmth
which we so need in order
to survive the cold.

We need to practice building open spaces
just as clearly as we learn
to pile on the logs.
It’s fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible,
let it develop in the way that’s
possible when we lay logs in just the way
the fire wants to go.

Then we can watch it as it leaps and plays,
burns down and then flames up in unexpected way.
Then we need only lay a log on it from time to time.
Then it has life all of its own,
a beauty that emerges
not where logs are but where spaces can invite the flames
to burn, to form exquisite
patterns of their own,
their beauty possible
simply because the space is there,
an opening in which flame
that knows just how it wants
to burn can find its way.

Questions to ponder:
1)    Have you ever been the observer in your own life?  If so, when and how did it feel?
2)    Is there drama in your life?  How do you handle drama?

Try this experiment: if you are in a super busy and crazy place like an airport or stuck in rush hour traffic, detach from your reasons for being there (traveling, etc.) and just become an observer as if you have nowhere to go, but be there.  What happens when you do this?

Take some time to think this over or ponder with a friend.  If you feel the need to talk with a spiritual life coach, email or call me and we can discuss what you are afraid to give up when you become the observer in your own life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Journey

This has been a summer of road trips.  My husband and I have discovered that we actually prefer traveling by car on our vacations.  It has been less stressful and liberating when you can go when you want to and take as many pieces of luggage as your car can handle without paying those pesky airline fees.  Your destination is where you decide at the last minute and you can see what is around the corner, and even stop to take pictures. 

What I found enlightening is the transition from one state or location to another.  You get such a better feel for the Midwest for example vs. the high paced life of the East Coast.  And when you are gradually going through the transition by car, you can actually appreciate it more.  When you are not focused on why isn’t the plane taxiing to your gate already, you notice the kinds of vegetation, the hills and valleys and even the pace of life.

This summer, I enjoyed getting to our destinations. 

Looking at life from the same perspective, I can feel the same way about the journey as I do about the destination.  These days, the destination is becoming more and more blurry.  The journey on the other hand is palpable and immediate.  It includes all the ups and downs, boredom, excitement, and everything in between.  If life was just a series of destinations without the transitions in between, it would be kind of scary not to mention incredibly hard to handle. 

Transitions or journeys give us the opportunity to adjust, absorb, and truly experience the destination.  In other words, it is what life is all about.  When I hear my clients who are going through a tough divorce wish themselves into another relationship as quickly as possible, it is as if they are not honoring the journey.

 As difficult as a transition such as divorce can be, it is the opportunity to celebrate a good decision, make a change, say no to victimhood, and even appreciate what you have learned.  Just like the road trip, if you are focused on the pain to go away or familiarity to set in (by jumping into a new relationship), it is like the kids in the back seat repeatedly asking if we are there yet. 

Pain and suffering are real only to those who are focused on the destination.

If life was just about the destination, then it would be a fast paced movie with the highlights being points that got us closer to the end which is inevitably, death.  I am trying not to rush through life so I can get closer to death.  These days, I am enjoying and accepting every moment including all the so-called flaws and imperfections, so I can finally live.  I just wish I knew what I know now 20 years ago!

Questions to Ponder:
1)    What area of your life do you find yourself focused on the destination?  What is so uncomfortable about the journey?
2)    What was a perfect event in your life?  Which moment in that event was the perfect one?  What made it perfect?
3)    If you still think it is all about the destination, what are your perfect or ideal destinations in life?  Start from the beginning and list the destinations.  Now, how do you plan on going from point A to point B?

Spiritual life coaching is a journey to help the client dismantle stuck old beliefs that just don’t work any more.  It is a client driven process where you decide what area you’d like to focus on.  If you are not sure how to get unstuck or could use my support, please contact me for a conversation that might help you find the journey you want to take.