Choosing Love in Difficult Situations

I wish it was easy for me to choose love in every life situation. It’s not. Sometimes I want to avoid a difficult conversation or pretend I don’t get scared when I hear disturbing news. Even with a consistent spiritual practice, I can still get triggered by a harsh comment, chaotic world event or when faced with a difficult decision.

After practicing degrees of avoidance, dodging, pretending and the occasional “forgetting” for decades, I’ve remembered the truth. All these tactics are simply an ego dance that keep me feeling constrained, stressed, uncomfortable and in conflict.

The truth is equally simple.

Every time I go within and ask Love for guidance on a specific issue or ask for help to react from love instead of fear, something miraculous happens.

There’s a shift.

Sometimes subtle, sometimes more pronounced but a definite shift to a feeling of peace. The shift is physical, mental, and emotional. My shoulders relax, the knot in my stomach...

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A Quiet Leader

This past weekend, a true leader was honored in my town on his 100th birthday.

Rev. John R. Winter (known as “Rev. Dick Winter”) was surprised with a community celebration by the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company at the fire house. Rev. Winter was the minister for the Warrenton Presbyterian Church from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. He baptized me as a child then my own daughter thirty years later.

He was in the Rotary Club with my dad and sat next to each of my parents’ hospital beds countless times over the decades. He did all the things a good minister does. He preached the gospel, taught Bible classes, officiated at weddings, baptisms, funerals, enjoyed church picnics, potlucks, and coffee hours, comforted the sick and offered counseling, kindness, and encouragement to all. But there was more.  

Before we all had instant access to local news, he seemed to know where to go to offer support, comfort, and compassion in the community at large. He...

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Do the Right Thing

I used to know exactly what the “right thing” was. In my younger years, and in most every situation, I had my opinion and felt strongly it was the “right” one.

Then I lived a few more decades and got a tad wiser. Not a Yoda by any means, but I gained the type of insight that comes from living life and through societal changes.

When I was a very young girl, the “right” thing was to send children to specific schools based on their race alone. As I grew into a teenager and young adult, I was led to believe the “right” thing was to pay women a lower wage than their male colleagues doing the same job. Well into my adulthood, the “right” thing was to only recognize legal marriage between heterosexual couples.

A lot has changed over the last sixty years and thankfully so. I’ve come to recognize that prevailing opinions shift based on societal norms, customs, spiritual practices and developments in science and technology.

So...

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Freedom Through Inner Peace

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  

 Viktor E. Frankl

This week my country celebrates July 4th as Independence Day. The holiday marks the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the 1776 Second Continental Congress when my forefathers declared our freedom from Great Britain.

While the last few years have been cited as the reason many in America feel oppressed, in truth, significant swaths of our population have never been free. At least not like it was described in the history books I studied as a kid.

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom. And who, what or in what circumstances I truly feel free.

I realized something.

My freedom comes from an inner sense of peace. While laws, ordinances and Supreme Court rulings can restrict my actions, movements and outside choices, my freedom lies in my ability to choose my response. As...

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The Only Safe Place Left to Go

I was on the phone yesterday with a dear friend. As we discussed recent world events, she wondered out loud, “Where can I move that would be safe, protected from this chaos?”

We both immediately knew the answer.

Within.

“Within where?” you might ask. One of the Scandinavian countries? Australia, New Zealand? Somewhere in the Caribbean?

The safest place for you, me, and everyone we love is much closer than that: within the wisdom of our own heart.

Your best guidance forward, the way to navigate the world events and help consciously evolve our communities, countries and the world will not be found within current government structures. Or in rhetoric created to induce fear. It is always available within the quiet space of your own heart, however.

How do you access it, the wisdom of your inner divine heart? Meditation and spending time in nature are excellent options and here are three more:

  • A favorite tool of mine is the free app offered by the Brahma...
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Shower Messages

I find the most specific guidance, the clearest wisdom and undisputable truths often come through at weird times.

Like when I’m in the shower.

That’s where I was today when I realized I had been wondering how to be more effective in my business. Somewhere between the shampoo and conditioner, I heard it.

“Connect. Inspire. Lead.”

This is a message for all of us:

  • Connect – All the wisdom we need to understand our lives, have healthy relationships, and enjoy our time on this beautiful planet ALL comes from our sacred connection to the Divine within. How? Connect in meditation, spend time in nature, listen to sacred music, read inspirational books and be mindful of the ever-present now.
  • Inspire – Often when I tell someone they inspire me, their reaction is “Me? What’d I do?” Our society used to think proof of inspiration through influence came from bestselling books, social media “likes” or the size of an email list. Not...
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How to Do a Life Reset

Ever felt like this? Like nothing is going right, you feel out of flow, full of fear and life doesn't make sense?

That's been me the last two months. 

I needed a life reset.

In retrospect, I had allowed myself to be consumed by world events and gone down a very dark hole of fear.

As a result, I wasn't consistent with my spiritual practice or meditations, made poor food choices and started to feel unwell physically. I still took care of my clients and my family responsibilities during this time, but I wasn’t myself. I was “off.”

And then I remembered something my mentor, Robert Holden, often says, “If you think something is missing in your life, it’s probably you.”

Oh, right!

I had temporarily put more emphasis on the external world noise and not as much on the quiet divine wisdom that resides in the silence of my own heart. That’s where my truth lies. Where my guidance, peace, and joy flows from. How could a spiritual teacher forget...

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How to Expand Love Today (and Every Day)

Each February we see a heightened focus on Valentines Day and romantic love. While I’m all for beautiful romantic relationships, I’d love to see the Love Month concentrate on ways to expand love within ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

Might sound like a tall order, but not really. Very doable.

How could we “expand love” within ourselves? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Spend quiet time in nature. Take a silent walk and use all your senses to truly be in the experience.
  • Listen to music that touches your soul.
  • Cuddle with your pet or volunteer at the local animal shelter (everyone benefits)
  • Take a few minutes to shut your eyes, put your hand on your heart and imagine breathing in, and out of your heart space.
  • Write in your journal using a prompt such as: “I feel loved and loving when_____” then act on what you wrote.
  • Write a love letter to yourself. Mail it.
  • BONUS: OK, here’s the big one I learned from the incredible Louise...
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Love, Peace and Gratitude to Thich Nhat Hanh

Dirty dishes, an out of sorts spouse, or a maddening series of red lights when you’re already late for an important appointment…Thich Nhat Hanh taught me these are all invitations to come back to the peace that dwells in my own heart.

And my choice is to accept that invitation.

I began to explore his work more intently as my interest in ways to live love started to blossom. I’ve particularly enjoyed the simple message in his books “Teachings on Love” and “Peace is Every Step” although there are many titles to choose from. His work has given me a deeper understanding of the power of mindfulness, deep listening, and the sacredness of each and every moment of the day.

I found his teachings on healing relationships particularly powerful. In essence, the secret is to be totally present with others. Really. Present. Not the “I’m listening to you while I just check my phone” kind of present.

Insightful. Simple. True.

Thich...

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Who Do You Choose to Believe?

We live in the information age. More books, more blogs, more TV programs, more news outlets than ever before and we often suffer from feeling like we don’t know who or what to believe.

I do. Here’s my tip: check your source.

No, this isn’t a blog about the validity of international government agencies, specific news channels or your favorite talking head. It’s bigger than that.

Check your source, or more to the point, check with your Source.

Many of my clients are quick to check with Source (God, Universe, Love or whatever term you prefer) when loved ones are ill, they’re up for a raise or having relationship issues. Great! You know I always direct you to check with your own inner divine guidance for challenges such as these.

I find folks often forget this “hotline” is always open. For everything.

Going to a restaurant or ordering in? Want to know what would be the best choice? Sure, you can ask your partner or best friend AND check in with...

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