Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Yellow Brick Road

We call this red brick path The Yellow Brick Road.  The path connects the front and the back yards of this Cottage built in 1942.  There are ferns on both sides of The Yellow Brick Road and it is really quite lovely.  When the grandkids were younger they named it The Yellow Brick Road and would run 'up and down' this path.  At that time they were in love with The Wizard of Oz and it was during this same time period that probably for 3 or 4 Halloweens' our little granddaughter would dress up as Dorothy including, carrying a little basket with Toto in it.

In my psychotherapy practice I offer sandplay and over the years have collected the images of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, Toto, Glenda, and even The Yellow Brick Road.   These images grace my sandplay shelves and many clients, as they have done their sandplays they too have travelled The Yellow Brick Road with these images.  These images hold a universal meaning and all of us connect on some level to the symbolism.

The Yellow Brick Road is from the novel, The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, and Dorothy is instructed to follow this path.  I'm also partial to paths and the image of the path brings to me the reminder that it isn't the destination but the journey that is important to me.  Dorothy had quite a journey on her path and met up with several characters along the way.  She wanted to get 'home' to what was familiar and to those she loved and arrive she did.

 I so often get caught up in thinking about 'when I get there' that I forget to just focus on the path right in front of me-the NOW.  I recently watched the movie The Peaceful Warrior and in this story a student finds a teacher that guides him to an understanding of the NOW and it reminded me of the quote, "that when a student is ready a teacher appears."  He finds his 'path' with the help of his teacher (Nick Nolte whom he calls 'Socrates'). We might surmise that he truly finds his inner elder and the viewer trusts that this young man now is moving forward with the wisdom of how to follow his Yellow Brick Road.  It isn't so different than Dorothy who learns she does have a brain, she does have a heart, and she does have courage and, she integrates those parts of self as she travels The Yellow Brick Road and she does get to return home (to Self). 

I am reminded in both of these stories that I have all I need within and can call upon my inner elder to guide me on my life's journey, i.e., on my path and I am coming home to Self.  It is the journey not the destination that I am to enjoy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Lighten Up"


Whenever I look at this picture of the Bichon with the rhinestone necklace and her tongue hanging out I want to laugh and I "Lighten Up." I keep this visual in view and remind myself to wear my rhinestones and to tread softly, knowing that I have the capability of losing my joy when I start getting into the work mode on weekends.
Weekends at our house tend to be a time to play 'catch-up' and 'hurry-up' to get it all done before we begin our work week. We 'work' to make time for fun which means certain chores must be done. On that list of course includes laundry, grocery shopping for the week, cleaning the bathrooms and changing sheets. Vacuuming and dusting do not get done as regularly as the other chores. You know the routine and you also know the stress it can create for families, as we all try to 'shove' a week's worth of work into forty-eight hours. It's challenging to get it all done and still feel like you have had time to play so when you return to work on Monday you can say, "I had a good weekend." However, we are trying to re-work this old thinking pattern of working weekends.
At our house labor is equally divided and that certainly brings about the feeling of equality and respect for each other. However, must I remind you it is football season and in our house that means the TV is on all weekend and I will add here, that I am NOT a football person. Instead, I try to honor the football season by making sure we get to the chores and the 'musts' before the games start. I am most fulfilled when the house is clean and tidy, although I'm gaining more respect for play and I'm re-working this old belief that hasn't served me well all these years. The challenge now, especially as I have gotten older, is not to run out of energy before the chores are done and to make sure there is energy remaining for me to have my life. My new motto is Life is about Joy!
Doing it all means that I have spent my weekend working and not playing only to return to work not as refreshed as I'd like to be. I did not take time to "Lighten Up!" I am learning to not try to do it all, instead I am choosing to tackle sometimes only a portion of a project. Yes, there is more dust and things are perhaps a bit more piled than I'd prefer, but there is real weekend for me. I also have learned to work for an hour and then do something for me for an hour. It seems to revive me and there is more energy for both work and play. Plus, I am not as angry that I have to do all this 'stuff' on the weekends. I whine less and that makes everybody happy. As I have gotten older I also have decided that much of the chores I spent time doing probably didn't matter than much anyway, and that there are more worthwhile things to do with my time and energy. Housework has been overvalued!
"Lighten Up" I remind myself as I see all that is undone and I coach myself with these words. It helps to have some visuals throughout the house like my Bichon with the beautiful rhinestone necklace! We've also learned to 'bookend' our weekend days, for example we start our mornings at the Kitchen Table with coffee and the newspaper (yes, we still read the paper copy of a newspaper) and we talk. This has seemed to help ease us into the day and we can go about what needs to be done with a sense of togetherness. There now are more time limits on the work that needs done and we stick to these limits. The dinner hour then 'bookends' the day and once again the talking and sharing helps us to feel connected and we feel supported by each other.
I will always have to watch out for the demands I place on myself, if I want to keep my creative process going and have the energy to be present with my life. My goal is to continue to make improvements with this theme of doing less work and playing more. Ignoring dust helps and knowing what absolutely must be done and focusing on those chores only also frees me to have an equal amount of time for my self-care. It is a more rational approach. I reflect on this past weekend and can see some improvements with how I managed me and my tendencies to overwork. It's getting better. I'm "Lightening Up."

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Muse

Years ago while reading May Sarton is when I came to seriously think about what the word Muse is about-and, today I still think about what My Muse is; especially in writing this blog Kitchen Table Talk.

A Muse is generally considered a source of inspiration. Over the years I have looked to a variety of things as my inspiration including, music, poetry, meditation, mentors, and recently nature has been my Muse. Nature. Watching the birds go to their bird feeders relaxes me and it is in this presence of mind that I can 'let go' and be still. It becomes tranquility for my spirit and perhaps this is the 'door' that is unlocked that allows the Muse to enter.

Linda Leonard in her book The Call to Create speaks of "The Muse is that mysterious, elusive spirit that inseminates our imagination, enlives us, and invites us to cocreate with nature; thus we must learn how to invite the Muse into our lives" (p.12). This morning as I sat in the sun room watching the birds I experienced the Muse. Many artists and creative folks of all walks of life can tell their tales of their Muses. I remember reading about a particular artist that had her ritual that she participated in every morning before she would start writing. For her, it brought her Muse into the room and she could begin working her craft.

My Muse allows me to move into my soulful place and it is here that I create. It places me in the 'zone of flow' as a more modern term explains what I interrupt to be the Muse. The Muse is mysterious and is not meant to be understood. It can only be experienced . It is of the spirit world and it is with great humility and gratitude that I recognize my Muse. However, I am clear that I am not the Muse and never can be. I continue to await my Muse.

Part of Kitchen Table Talk is to engage the reader to think about the topic and today I invite you to be more present in listening to your Muse. Perhaps to begin to think anew about what the Muse is and to review your history and how it has been with you over time. Please share your stories.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Being out in Nature

This weekend I was able to spend some time in nature. Most work days you will find me inside an office and I do not get the luxury of being in the natural sun. Although temperatures were near 100 degrees most of the weekend, and I complained of the heat I did love being outside. I find relaxation in walking and observing plants, flowers, butterflies, birds, the sky and just about anything that meets my eye.

The family went to Silver Springs and enjoyed the park, including the water park. One day I was out in nature for eight hours. It is amazing that just a few hours from home how one can find such a different atmosphere and a new attitude towards life. Then, we toured the Natural History Museum and Butterfly Rainforest at University of Florida.

When families have time to be together in nature there is also extended a relaxation that is nurturing to the 'whole' and not just the individual. There is time to walk together telling stories and sharing jokes. I learned some things about family members that had occurred over the past year that each probably didn't think was worth sharing; however, to me it was great to hear that one grandchild was voted the funniest in his class and another was voted the one with the nicest smile. These stories are the everyday occurrences that many times are lost in the shuffle of time and it seems that when families have time to walk in nature that the ordinary gets shared.

It is also a time of picture taking-not just of each other being together but of nature. I now have pictures of butterflies, plants, flowers, rock gardens, garden benches, birds, and several pictures of our family's togetherness. Pictures of nature and family will sustain me for awhile but I certainly will be ready when the next adventure of being in nature happens. Until then I have my memories of the beauty of nature and of the relaxation that my body can recall when I close my eyes and reflect back to this time being out of the office and in the beauty of the out of doors.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Count Your Blessings...


Count Your Blessings...
When feeling blessed Count Your Blessings,
When in need Count Your Blessings.
When victorious Count Your Blessings,
When without hope Count Your Blessings.
When confident Count Your Blessings,
When fearful Count Your Blessings.
When capable Count Your Blessings,
When challenged Count Your Blessings.
Count Your Blessings anytime, anywhere, for everything and when feeling blessed or not blessed Count Your Blessings. Gratitude is medicine for the soul as it can change attitudes, replenish spirits, and bring us to a place of humility. It is well needed in today's world. Each of us can practice self care by doing a gratitude list daily and even verbally sharing with another our thanks for...and, this oftentimes invites others then to share with us their gratitude.
It is difficult to be grateful when life isn't working out in the way you wanted it to, or thought it should/would be like today. Sometimes it is only in the looking backward or what we call hindsight that we see life's happenings were exactly what we needed to 'shape us' on our personal spiritual journeys. The door that closed allowed another road to open and on the new road you met a special somebody and, this opened doors for the next happening to occur. Life is like that-doors opening and doors closing and we are invited to see both as blessings.
What blessings are you counting today? I am grateful for my family, our health, our love for each other, my job, my home, my car, my friends, nature, to live in the USA, for my journey, and my faith in God.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Inspiration


I have found such inspiration from Where Women Create and want to share this with you today.
It is published by Stampington & Company's Somerset Studio and created by Jo Packham. I found it by 'accident'-synchronistically I was told about another website and through that website found my way to Where Women Create. I quickly subscribed and have enjoyed the publication. I hesitate to call it a magazine as it is more like a book.
Each issue of Where Women Create features artists and the spaces where they create. I read the stories about their journeys with such admiration, respecting their talents, the risks they were willing to take, and their here-and-now. The artists tell the reader that "if I can do it you can too." It gives me hope and fosters my creativity. I have taken the time to look up many of the artists' websites and blogs.
The pictures and the overall design of these "Inspiring Work Spaces Of Extraordinary Women" are so nicely done that they are pieces of art. I gently turn the pages, not wanting to finish the stories. I have re-read several of these articles. The pictures, the design, the women and their work spaces remind me that I, too can create. It has become a book of meditation and a devotional book for me. I find myself breathing a prayer of hope and asking "how can I do this life of mine more creatively?"
I have told many many people about Where Women Create. I have sent emails to people that I know who value creativity. I have implemented it with my work as a psychotherapist by fostering the importance of creativity, which I think is instrumental in good mental health. Where Women Create has entered the therapy room!
The reading, the reflecting, and the sharing with others have all been part of my inspiration as it has brought me beauty, joy, hope, and has fed both my imagination and my spirituality. Creativity and spirituality go 'hand in hand.' I seriously doubt that when Jo Packham created this wonderful (what I refer to it as) journal that she had little awareness of how one woman would savour it so and how it would touch her life, and promote it as I have done. I thank her and all the artists that have told their stories of their creative journeys.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rituals

At breakfast today I was thinking about the meaningful rituals in my life. Rituals are simply customs that one does in service for...it could even be as routine of 'how I do my mornings.' I like the ceremonial performance of the custom of rituals. I oftentimes light candles for people that I need to hold some energy for as a gesture of my love and prayers for them.

This candle is special candle (you can get them for a dollar at a dollar store) and as I light the candle, I say a prayer allowing the presence of the light, to be in my presence as I go about my day. People know I have this ritual and they will ask me to "please light a candle for..."

This simple gesture is a love language and a spiritual connection with myself, my Higher Power and my friend, for whom I light the candle. I honor this as a form of energy that the Divine sparks and the Grace that follows. It is a gesture of kindness, peace, love, and an offering of my faith in the power of prayer. The ritual holds a 'tie' that blesses the giver and the receiver.

Rituals hold many different meanings for people and of course, depending on the type of ritual we are speaking of determines the purpose of the performance. Check out your rituals today-do you have certain sets of actions that need to be performed; formal ceremonial customs around different passages of life; or, just some meaningful ways you go about your life that over time have constituted a set of behaviors that you reinforce daily?

Enjoy your rituals as they do bring meaning.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My To Do List

I didn't sleep well last pm and mentally wrote this blog. My thoughts were about My To Do List. You see I never get everything done that I want to do and knowingly my expectations are too high. I am in the process of accepting that I can let go of the chant, "all there is to do."

I find that it takes me longer to do the tasks that in the past I could have done so readily. I am not only slower, but also do not have the focus or energy that I had when I was younger. If you are in the second half of life like me (I count the second half to begin at age 50, since more people are living to be 100 years old!) then you can remember when you flew around getting things done. Now, that feels like I had a magic wand or a witches' broom. Today I find I must work slower, limit my expectations, and take more 'breaks.'

The 'breaks' remind me of the wisdom that was passed to me from another Midwife, Alice that I did not mention in my Midwives blog yesterday. She told me years ago, she probably was then in her eighties (I think maybe that is now referred to as The Third Act, being over 75 years of age), that you can continue to do the things you have always done however, it just takes longer and you have to take more 'breaks.'

I make My To Do List and I prioritize setting time allocations for certain tasks. I am aware of the need to take 'chunks' of big projects. I attempt to bring balance to my schedule. Balance is thought of as time for good meals, sleep, exercise, meditation, interests, short and long term goals. I am still employed full time so that is a big consideration on my schedule. In addition, I am conscious of making time for others. Yes, I have read the books on organization and subscribe to daily emails from The Organizer Lady, Sandra Felton. I actually like the challenge of being organized and focused.

Yesterday I read the post of another blogger, Scoutie Girl and she talked about "The How of How I do it all-is that I don't." It was most interesting. She also has done a video on this subject for blogger, Perideau Designs. I really appreciated her thoughts and her honesty. She shared on the video what her day looks like. Check it out. It is well worth the time. Thanks Scoutie Girl.


Scoutie Girl reminded me 'that I can't do it all' and that the stress comes from the denial that I can still do it all. The truth is that I never did it all. My message to myself today is to let go, shrink some tasks, re-prioritize the tasks, play more, bring more consciousness into what is really important, accept that this is NOW not back then when I possibly could do more, do it faster, and better; but maybe that too was part of my denial.

The bottom line is this is my life and I want to make it mine-not a TO DO LIST! I want to claim my joy, the beauty that surrounds me, the resting points that are mine to behold as well as the times when I feel more accomplished. It is a re-working of my narrative, giving myself time just to BE!! After all, I am a work in progress.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Midwives


I was thinking about the people in my life that over the years have walked with me on my journey. I think of these women as having helped me make transitions into a deeper spiritual life, and sometimes you will hear these people referred to as 'midwives.'


One woman that comes to mind is Dorothy, whom I met synchronistically (which is another common denominator of these midwives for me) at a workshop we both were attending. We came together at this meeting and connected in a spiritual way. She introduced me to the Goddess and from there we studied dreams, the 12 Steps and Recovery, including Codependency. She valued her solitude as a special time to read, reflect, study her dreams, and meditate through prayer. She became my spiritual mentor. She modeled for me how to live your latter years as she continued her personal growth as a life-long learner, stayed connected with others', maintained her independence and contributed to her community. Dorothy latter introduced me to another midwife, Marge.


Marge and I synchonistically had moved to the same town at about the same time, and Dorothy introduced us as she had also been one of Marge's teachers also. The foundation that Dorothy had helped each of us build contributed to this ongoing process of my spiritual growth now with my teacher, Marge. She, too treasured her time for solitude and mentored for me this special time for reading, reflection, and prayer. She introduced me to the "God Box" describing it as a container in which we place our worries, cares, burdens, etc. She emphasized that it is the place for that which we do not need to carry; it is that which we need to let go of.


In this same city that Marge and I resided another midwife, Kathleen entered my life. We met synchronistically also as we were both getting our exercise walking when the rain started and we took shelter under the same pavilion. She and I had just moved to St. Augustine, as had Marge and I. Our friendship started there in the center of my beloved, St. Augustine. She continues to be a special guide on my journey. Over the years she has provided support, joy, prayers, and love. We are able to share books, movies, ideas, dreams, and beauty as we travel on our spiritual paths.


Midwives do not have to be people and can also be books, authors you have never met, music, art, animals (such as your pets), places, and dreams. May Sarton the author, has been one of my midwives and I have collected most of her writings. It is interesting to note that both Dorothy and Marge also shared this connection with May Sarton. They also shared my midwife experience with Carl Jung whom I have shared my journey of individuation. My Jungian analyst, Julia became a special midwife for me as I learned to harvest my dreams and to go deeper into my inner world.


I would encourage each of you to reflect on who or what has been a midwife for you on your life's journey. Perhaps you can share with us here on Kitchen Table Talk, or you can journal on your own about your midwives including writing letters to them regardless of whether they are still alive or have already made their transition.


I recently learned of an artist by the name of Doris Klein who has painted a picture she calls, The Midwives. You can find this on her website http://www.dorisklein.com/woven.html


I have other midwives that I haven't mentioned, however they are none-the-less important to me. I believe midwives are sent by God to travel with us on our journey. Midwives create within me a reminder of how much I am loved by God and that my life is being shaped, and for that I am both grateful and humbled.





Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Care of Pets


Today is the third anniversary date of the death of our Bichon Frise, LeStat. Although the image to the right isn't LeStat it is a picture I like very much of a Bichon. LeStat was thirteen years old when he went to Heaven. We miss him and honor him on this special day of remembrance.
Last evening I viewed the movie Hachi with my three grandchildren who also loves dogs. Hachi is a story of a special relationship between a dog, Hachi and his master. The themes of love, loyalty and family reminded me of the relationships I have had with my dogs over the years.
The story reminds us how many times we are chosen by a pet and not the other way around. The dog or cat comes into our lives by chance, yet it changes everything. And, sometimes the pet fills a void the person doesn't even know existed, and remember maybe that is true for the pet too.
If you have ever lost a beloved pet you know that the dog (or, any other loved animal) lives on in our psyche. Hachi teaches us that the pet owner lived on in his beloved dog. Hachi would continue the daily ritual of meeting the train in the mornings and in the evenings that his beloved 'owner' commuted on daily to the university where he was a professor. Hachi would change his life to continue this ritual and devotion to his master. The love and loyalty displayed by Hachi is heartwarming and touches the lives of those that observe this daily happening that went on for nine years past his master's death.
It reminded me that although I do not have the daily outwardly connection with LeStat (and, for that matter all the other dogs that are also in Heaven; but today is LeStat's day!) he is with me in my very being just as the professor was with Hachi.
If you haven't seen the movie Hachi I highly recommend it. Today take the time to think about the animals that have been in your life and how the love and loyalty lives on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birds and Their Lessons for Me

My husband and I in the recent past have come to truly enjoy watching the birds. He has placed several bird feeders in view of our table in the sunroom (where I am sitting now and the Kitchen Table I refer to often) where we eat our meals and get to watch the birds. We have become birdwatchers. I appreciate the freedom I experience as I watch the birds fly. They have a lightness I envy and want in my own life.

A friend recently sent me an email that asked "do you ever wonder what is inside a birdhouse?" Then the email allowed you to go inside the birdhouse and it was a complete house, of course in miniature size. It humanized the birds by giving them what we have in our houses. It was quite amusing and it was certainly a creative email; however, I do not want the birds to have all the hassles that come from having a house. My thought was that the birds would loose their sense of freedom and lightness that I experience as their essence, as well as what I am trying to bring into my life.

This continued to prompt me to think about birds and how they fly. I quickly realized that I was projecting onto these birds my own desire for 'freedom' and 'lightness.' I realized I do not want all those household chores, labor intensive tasks, and ongoing meals, dishes, and laundry to do. I want to fly like the birds. My next question became "how do I do that and continue to live in my house?"

Mindfulness was the answer that 'bubbled' up in my thoughts. Yes, mindfulness. I need to be in the NOW like the birds. I can live in my house with more lightness if I can prioritize chores, lower expectations, not think in terms of 'all or nothing' and make sure that there is balance to my day. I can be present in my life by honoring me. I can fly like the birds and experience my freedom and lightness by living my life by my choices on a daily bases. I can feel freedom and lightness.

It is no wonder I have become a bird watcher as 'the teacher appeared' when I needed it. The birds have been teaching me about how much I needed to learn to 'fly' and to be 'light.' Thank you birds and yes, we will keep your bird feeders full!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wisdom


I am a Sage-ing Leader (www.sage-ingguild.org) and Sage-ing is about conscious aging. It focuses on positive aspects of aging and what I call creative aging. One of the Sage-ing exercises is about harvesting our lives. I like to think that when we do this exercise we are mining our lives for the gold or the wisdom we have gained through living.
Wisdom is what we have learned along the way. What we have gained from perhaps choices we wished we hadn't made, from our life experiences, from our losses, and from falling down and getting up again. We cultivate wisdom when we journal, when we tell our stories, through prayer and meditation, listening to others share their journeys, as well as the learning we can do through books and movies.
One Saturday morning I sat in Cracker Barrel eating breakfast when I overheard some women at the next table talking. One of the women said, "my life has just been a series of one bad decision after another." I have never forgotten those words and the laughter that all of the women at that table engaged in as they listened to her reflect on her life. As a Sage-ing Leader I'd encourage her to harvest the gifts that are within those decisions and to cultivate the wisdom that are the offerings extended to her.
As we age we certainly have had life experiences and I hope each of you will take some time to reflect with the goal of finding the wisdom that is your gift. This gift hopefully then allows more consciousness as we live our life and offer our gifts to others.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Create

Over the weekend I attended a Spring Art Festival. As I walked along the street stopping at different artist booths I felt an 'awe' for the creativity I was witnessing.

I was amazed at the many themes of creativity as I looked at the artists' work. These objects were something they 'birthed' and to think that it started with a thought; i.e., a seed. These objects went from a thought to a reality. These artists had to devote time, money and energy to finish these products.

I wondered what their thoughts were along the way...what did this artist think about this piece of pottery; this piece of jewelry; this woven garment; this painted picture that they created? And what was it like now for the artist as we potential buyers walked about touching and commenting on this item they had 'birthed?' The artist had breathed life into something that now had form and substance. What was it like for the artist to see people pick up the wonderful piece of jewelry and then put it back down? Did they experience rejection? Or, were they glad that they got to keep this particular piece of jewelry awhile longer?

I purchased a beautiful pair of gold butterfly earrings and a ring made by an artist in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a joy to talk with, taking her time to explain to me the different pieces of jewelry I looked at, and she was friendly to me and my friend. I enjoyed buying these items and I enjoyed spending some time with this talented woman.

I appreciated the energy it must take to travel to these art shows, packing and unpacking their precious art, the expenses to participate in the shows, dealing with the weather, interacting with people, answering questions, being tired and not having anybody to watch your booth so that you can comfortably take a much needed break. As a person walking through the crowds, looking at the art, leisurely talking with the artist I certainly came to appreciate the work that went into the artist once again giving of their time, energy and money in the sharing of their talents.

Thank you to all you artists out there that might need to know that you are appreciated, that your talents are honored, and that you deserve recognition for the sharing in so many ways of your talents.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunflowers


I'm thinking about a dear friend today and the joy she has brought into my life. She gave me these lovely sunflowers and I cannot look at them without thinking about the 'sun' she has been and is for so many people. Do you know somebody like her that just brings life to the party, joy to the room, sunlight to your life? Yes, that's my friend.
When I think about her and the friendship we've had now for a number of years, I wonder if I have 'touched' others like she has? This is not meant to be a comparison but only a reflective inner search.
Another question I asked myself is "just what makes a person have the ability to be so special?" I believe the person has to be their own person and have some of the following characteristics-be centered; live in the NOW, share appropriately with boundaries, to be able to laugh at themselves, to let go easily, to know how to play, listening skills, to always be willing to learn from life, and to see the best in others.
Individuals with these traits often become mentors for others and leave a rich legacy. They truly are special. I challenge each of you to think about your own specialness and commit to being the sunflower for yourself today and for somebody else. Life then becomes rich.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Path

As another week approaches I think of the 'age-old' question, "Am I on my path?"

Perhaps Kitchen Table Talk is about making our lives 'work' and to explore just what that means on a daily bases. The path that we are on implies just that-the day in and the day out of each of our lives. It is the ordinary, the structure, the routine and the moment of the NOW.

The path I'm on I hope is manifesting who I am, what I value, and what I want to reflect on in my latter years as living my life mindfully. I want to be able to sit down one day and say, "a job well done."

How about you? What is your path? Are you in the midst of changing paths? Do you hunger for a new path? Have you been detoured from the path you know you are meant to be traveling?

It is interesting to reflect on where one thought they'd be today and to see how this or that occurred re-routing one's path. Yet here we are; and, I have to trust that I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing exactly what is purposeful for my life today, and that if I fully live into this moment then all is well.

It brings me peace and joy to treasure the path that I call my life today. Imperfect as it is with all of the limitations I present in living my life it is my life and my path. I am here NOW and grateful for my path.

I like to encourage journaling and for today perhaps writing about the roads that you have travelled and the path that you see yourself to be on today, knowing that it is enough to be in the NOW.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time and All the Meaning it Holds


Kitchen Table Talk today is about time. It seems recently for me that time is just going by way too quickly. One morning as I was getting ready for my day I became acutely aware of this as first it was 8:00am and the next thing I knew it was 1:30pm. Where did the time go? It went too fast! I felt as though the clock had legs on it and it was literally running. This fostered some reflection for me about time and all the meanings it holds.
I was reminded to use my time management tools and to maximize my use of time. I told myself to stay in the moment as that is the only time I have. I know to respect time, to be organized and to prioritize my objectives and, how I set about meeting my goals within my daily 24 hour time period. I reminded myself to make the NOW happy as this is all I truly have and to make memories now and, not to postpone any happiness that I can achieve today.
A few weeks ago I subscribed to Where Women Create created by Jo Packham and published by Stampington & Company's Somerset Studio (www.wherewomencreate.com). I received my first issue this week of this beautiful magazine which is truly a piece of art. In this issue Jo Packman writes From My Kitchen Table and she talks about time. I was pleased to see the universality of my thoughts about time in this article. She writes so beautifully and illustrates with wonderful photographs. I'd encourage each of you to look at this creative endeavor as it so supports what I am trying to write about in KTT.
It was nice to read that Jo Packman uses her kitchen table like I do-for everything. I'm sitting here right now at the kitchen table with my laptop, newspaper, a pile of reading, writing paper, a cup of coffee as I also listen to the news on TV and think about time and all the meaning it holds. She talks about the activities that she engages in at the kitchen table. Then, she moves into the article about time. She reflects on birthdays and how she did her 50th and now soon to be her 60th. The article is not only about birthdays however; it is about the ways we think of time.
Time marks our days, our years, and also our memories. It goes quickly at times and then there are times when it moves like a 'snail.' We want happy moments to last forever and times of suffering to quickly be gone and, never to return. We are encouraged to learn from all these experiences of time gone by.
Today as I live out my treasured moments I will be grateful for this day and will honor my creative self to live soulfully. And, I do think maybe the clock instead of 'hands' has 'legs' that are running way to fast for me ... as I say, "slow down, slow down, slow down."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fill Your Basket


Aren't baskets just the greatest! I own several and to me it is the symbolic meaning of the 'container' that holds my fascination.
What's in your basket? This picture is of an empty basket and it is displayed to remind me that it is really my choice of what I put in this basket today.
Do I want to fill it with negativity, irrational thoughts, fear, anger, judgments, etc or do I want it to contain positive thoughts, rational comments, hope, joy, peace, and love. It is really up to me.
Once I 'get it' that my life is about the power of what I put in my 'basket' and this is what I carry around, will determine how I feel. The outcome of my day to day life will be determined on how I fill my basket. I can make choices about today that will foster the next step I take and the next step.
I can learn new behaviors by decisions I make about what goes in my basket. Over time of re-deciding new behaviors are formed and, a new life is shaped.
The next time you see a basket ask yourself "what's in my basket?" You can also remember the power of choices and how that shapes a life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Letting Your Light Shine

Kitchen Table Talk (KTT) is something most of us enjoy doing and perhaps tend to have more time on the weekends and during holidays to linger over coffee and tea talking with each other around the kitchen table.

A recent topic of conversation during a KTT was on the subject of "do I do enough for others?" I call this Letting Your Light Shine, and it means just that-allowing your light, which is who you are to be seen by others.

How much do I do for others and is it enough and could I do more? These were some of the questions that were explored as we sat around the kitchen table, and I noted that I think we each probably do more than we realize.

Today's KTT is a pause to invite you to think about the many ways you do give or perhaps to think about how you can participate in Letting Your Light Shine. I do not think it is important that we necessarily talk about the giving we do, however it is important to acknowledge it to ourselves.

Knowing how to receive as well as how to give is a part of Letting Your Light Shine. It is in the receiving that we allow the other to receive the blessing of giving. So, the next time somebody wants to do something for you, instead of saying, "no" remember they are trying to Let their Light Shine and your Light gets to Shine in the receiving, as you are then being a giver to them as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It is Time for Cake


This is a coconut cake that I made over the weekend. It is a receipe that I found on one of my favorite blogs-Slow Love Life.
I am definitely not a cake baker however, this receipe was easy to follow and the results were good. I must add that for me to make a cake I have to really love it and I love coconut cake!
In my family I look for reasons to have a cake and no reason existed with the exception, "I wanted a cake."
Cake has a feel of luxury, of it is a special time, and it brings out the child in all of us to sit down to a piece of cake. How about for you? What kind of memories do you have around having cake?
When I travel I like to go to visit libraries, old churches, yarn shops, and cake shops! I remember a little town in North Carolina (Tyron??) that had the most fabulous bakery. It is a special treat to find a bakery and to have the time to sit down with cake and coffee. It fosters the simplicity of life that each of us so crave. It allows time for reflection, relaxation, and conversation. It is the feel of the Kitchen Table!
Happy Monday and make sure you eat some cake this week and maybe even visit your favorite Bakery.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Zen of Knitting

I learned to knit in 4-H as a young girl and I have knitted periodically throughout my life. However, I have never passed what I consider the beginner stage of knitting. I can cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, and bind off. I have knitted afghans, scarfs, shawls, and just recently a hat. I have only in the last year started knitting on circular needles.

I stand in awe whenever I see a knitter who can create pieces of art such as sweater. When I can knit a sweater I am going to feel like, "I have arrived!" Someday I hope to really settle in and become a 'serious' knitter.' I am going to take a beginner class and move all the way through the classes until I can make a sweater.

Most knitters will tell you that they love yarn, they love the colors, the textures, the feel and the smell of yarn. Many knitters sit in knitting circles at yarn shops and become connected through their projects and the stories that are shared as they sit in circle. I have done this a few times and it is quite nice and it is a learning experience as well. I am still amazed that one can talk and knit difficult projects, which is something I observed in the knitting circles.

In the meantime, I enjoy the Zen of Knitting and what that means is that I can breathe, reflect, feel creative, and bring some balance to my daily life. It is the feel of the yarn, the counting which brings a rhythm, the sitting still, and the envisioning the outcome. There is a form of prayer and meditation that comes with knitting. I can chant prayers while I knit. And, if I do not want to just sit and be with me I can listen to music, a movie, or, a book on tape. It is time I claim for me. It is an oasis to sit and knit and, usually my dog is by my side. I believe it is all of these benefits that for me creates the Zen of Knitting.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eyes to See


I have been wearing reading glasses for several years now, as perhaps many of my readers have also. We want to see, don't we!
I am writing this Kitchen Table Talk today as a prayer or meditation.
Eye To See
May I have eyes to see the facts and not the irrational that I so many times believe;
May I have eyes to see the hope instead of the despair in situations that burden me;
May I have eyes to see the hurt behind the anger
and, with this new vision be more understanding;
May I have eyes to see the potential as I witness
the struggle of the moment;
May I have eyes to see the form that the chaos
might be creating;
May I have eyes to be creative with the facts,
the hope, the hurt, the potential and the form
to make my moment full as I live my life today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Silence


The silence came when I stepped outside
Outside to nature
and, outside of my nature.
My nature is to be busy
and, to have interior noise.
Stepping out of the interior
allowed both to occur: my nature was nurtured
by nature and, silence came.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Limitations


Kitchen Table Talk today finds me with a friend and we are talking about our limitations. We both share that as we have gotten older we can recognize our limits better and agree that this a 'good thing.'
Limitations for most of us are something we'd rather not think about, instead would prefer to just focus on what we can do well. However, this conversation developed in depth and allowed us to see how helpful it is to truly not only know but accept our limitations.
It is a sign of well being to know our limits. It has the potential to protect us from ourselves. I do need to know my financial limits or, my monthly credit card bill could be more than I could afford to pay. If I do this monthly then it isn't long before I have credit card debt. This is a simple example and one most of us probably have experienced, or certainly can understand.
Another awareness my friend and I had was the limits that we must put on our eating habits in terms of "hey, I cannot have dessert every day like I did when I was younger." I know that is the truth however, I'd much prefer dessert with dinner; the price is weight gain. I must know and accept my limits or I am going to be in trouble with my weight and, overtime with my health.
A healthy life is about balance and not knowing our limits will impact that balance. It is important to balance out our daily living to where there is time to have a life. Work has a role, however, does your work occupy your life in such a way that the daily balance is disturbed? Life needs daily self-care, time to do 'life repair' (the 'to do lists'), play time, hobby time, family life, and time for solitude.
A more difficult example might be to know our limits in what is ours' to change and what isn't ours'. It is difficult when we are in relationships and see our family and/or our friends in trouble and we want to help them. However, there are limits with what we can do and truly what is not any of our business. Healthy relationships also require individuals to know their limits.
Perhaps a journaling exercise as you sit at your Kitchen Table and do your Kitchen Table Talk might be to think about where you are with limits. How would you like to bring more balance into your daily round? Where haven't you accepted your limitations? These questions are for you to honor who you are today and thus have that quality life of simplicity, peace, and joy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One Hundred Favorite Things

I was recently challenged to write out my One Hundred Favorite Things. On the list it could be something I want to do again or, something I want to do someday that will be a new experience for me.

This exercise reminded me of the popular movie, The Bucket List. Perhaps many of you have seen this movie and if not I'd recommend it. The movie reminds us that there are things in our lives we want to do and there is no time like the present to make that happen.

On my list I was happy to see that most of the items were very ordinary activities and things I could readily do anytime I set my mind to it! I wrote out several of my hobbies that I enjoy, but do not take enough time on a daily round to do, such as spend more time reading, knitting, cooking, gardening, walking, and revisiting some favorite places. There were other activities listed that with planning and budgeting I could make happen.

This exercise taught me that it usually is not about having enough money or even enough time to engage in the activities that interest us however, it is the decision to decide that 'yes, today I am going to...' I was reminded that it is about living life today, in the NOW! I was reminded of the power of decision, of choices, and how important it is to live our dreams today. The exercise fostered hope and brought a renewal of life energy for me to move forward with my desires.

I'm curious what your list will look like. I'd encourage you to write it out in your journal and please feel free to comment about your list.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Create Beauty in Your Life


Everyday I try to bring beauty into my life. Beauty for me can be experienced in many ways and I'd encourage you to think about what brings beauty into your life as we converse today in Kitchen Table Talk.


Alexandra Stoddard whom many of you may know is an expert on beauty and design. She is the author of many books, including one of my favorites, Living a Beautiful Life. In this book she writes about ways to add beauty and joy to every day living. She discusses how rituals are the patterns that we create in our everyday living that can make the ordinary special. I enjoy the role of routine, structure, and details and try to find ways to make these ordinary aspects of my life special. Certain things that can augment rituals that create beauty for me include the use of candles, books, color, nice linens and bringing nature into my day.
A daily ritual to help bring nature into your day might include a walk with nature, watching birds, filling your bird feeders, weeding your garden, watering your plants and just sitting at a window watching the outside world. And, learning to listen to nature brings beauty into my daily routine.
How about your daily rituals that you foster to help create beauty in your life? Write about them in your journal and if you don't have a journal this could be a wonderful time to create one. You could title it 'Kitchen Table Talk' and after reading these blogs write your response in your journal. Since doing this blog, I have found that many people will not write a comment here, however will email me and comment. Do what works for you and remember to find ways to create beauty today in your life. Blessings.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Now it's Monday


Monday, back to the ordinary. And, the Monday after a holiday is always a hard one.

What is it about the ordinary that feels so 'less than?' We all like excitement, the special, the feeling of the extraordinary to make us feel good. The challenge of course becomes how to feel 'good' with the ordinary. The day in and out of routine, structure, sameness and doing what needs to be done to make life work for us.
A key to being with the ordinary is to be in the moment, to be in the here and now as we go about the daily living. Monday's invite us to do just that! What can support being in the NOW?
Look around you and see the beauty that is present. As I looked at my today I claimed the beauty of health, of a job to go to, of family, of my interest in writing Kitchen Table Talk, and then my eye caught the Easter Lily sitting on the table with its' newest bloom. My soul said, 'all is well.'
Monday is a day that holds beauty for us if we have eyes to see. Make sure you see the beauty of this day; it is there waiting for you. Peace.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday


Today is Easter Sunday. It finds me reflecting about the meaning of the word Resurrection.
Some words that came to me on this Easter morning about the word resurrection include hope, transformation, and renewal. I was reminded of the importance of hope in each of our lives. What is it that you are hoping for that needs a 'resurrection' in your life? Is it for a return of health, improved finances, a change of attitude, a healing of one kind or another?
Transformation was another of the words that came to me this Easter morning as I thought of the word resurrection. What has to happen for a transformation to take place; oftentimes it is a letting go. A letting go might be needed for that change you are seeking. As I sat at the kitchen table with my newspaper and coffee this morning the thought came to me that attachment to can hinder transformation from ... and, like any spiritual traveler, I asked myself where this is true in my life. And, how would you answer that question?
I defined renewal as what was it in my life that I need to renew; that needs refreshed. I wish it were as simple as pushing that refresh button on my computer. Instead, I have to have an open mind and a willing heart to begin the action step of change. Here is where hope can be our refresh button and here is where we need each other for support.
Wishing you this Easter Sunday hope, transformation, and renewal in all the areas of your life that needs change. I further wish for you kitchen table talk within yourself and others.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Cupcakes on the Kitchen Table

What is it about the simplicity of cupcakes, especially Easter Cupcakes with all the frosting, spring colors and of course, the little Easter Bunny to grace the center.

Simplicity is the beauty I believe, and it is interesting to see the color combination of these spring time hues. The center of the cupcake calls me and reminds me of the power of being centered.

C. G. Jung has a wonderful quote about the center: " I have called (the) centre the self...It might as well be called "God within us." The beginnings of our whole psychic life seem to be inextricably rooted in this point and all our highest and ultimate purposes seem to be striving toward it."

The kitchen table holds the center for people to gather and talk. Easter is a time of family coming together to once again renew their love, hope and faith. It is a time for loved ones to listen to their hearts and express gratitude for each other and to feel joy.

Easter is a time of renewal and believing again in miracles. It reminds us that hope is healing and we can once again know life continues. It truly 'centers' us to be reminded that life resides within each of us and as Jung's quote said "... all our highest and ultimate purposes seem to be striving toward it."

Enjoy your Easter Cupcakes and all else that Easter holds for you. Make sure you sit around the Kitchen Table and Talk.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend finds me home and not with my extended family as planned; instead, I'm 'nursing' an aching back! Yes, I guess the saying is correct that "God laughs at us when we make plans."


I have prepared for weeks with thoughts of Easter outfits, Easter dinner, Easter egg coloring, Easter baskets and going to church with my family. Now, because I'm not able to travel this weekend I am at home with hubby, and my little dog.


I am trying to remember all my spiritual lessons and to practice my 'tools' that lead one to letting go, acceptance, and peace.


Smoked salmon, coconut cupcakes, cinnamon praline coffee cake, Starbucks coffee, pita crackers, are some of the special foods I bought for this 'stay at home Easter weekend.' I'm trying to practice loving myself and sending healing energies to my back. Books, movies, magazines, and my wonderful bed are all waiting for me too. I will be OK but it certainly isn't the weekend I had planned.


The weather here in Florida is going to be beautiful this weekend. I could have been walking on the beach, sitting by the pool, rocking on my back porch however, here I am, HERE and not THERE!


Acceptance is what this Easter weekend offers me, reminding me of surrendering and resurrection. I will accept this gift of time to be separate and not my extended family. I will accept this introverted time to read, reflect, renew, and recover. I will enjoy and be grateful for this time to heal and trust that all is well.


The lessons are it is the Now that is real. Plans are plans and only plans. Reality is about the moment, the Now the truth! Truth is that I could not travel this weekend. Truth is acceptance. And, when I can let go, accept, be grateful, be present in the Now, trust and surrender then, I have a resurrection.


Happy Easter to each of you.


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