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To what am I giving consent?

Every Wednesday morning I have a guitar lesson. Throughout our lesson and practice, my teacher and I have the best conversations. (My teacher also happens to be my oldest son Jordan) Today we talked a lot about our personal responsibility in our relationships and what part we bring to the “relationship table”. How does our mindset color the interaction?
I think I’m finally *beginning* to understand Eleanor Roosevelt’s statement

“no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

What we BELIEVE, we focus on. What we FOCUS on, we FIND.
In business, we understand goals, focus and mindsets and how it impacts outcomes, but sometimes relationships are the last frontier of our mindset implementations.
If I enter interactions with others with the mindset that I am not good enough, not loved, not appreciated, chances are, something will be said to validate that belief. It’s as if I’ve set up everything in advance. I’ve set the table. I’ve prepared the dinner. Why am I surprised at what I see before me?
If I enter interactions with others with a mindset of receiving and reciprocating wholeness and generosity, acceptance and love, chances are the interaction will validate that belief. I’m thinking it’s some kind of law of expectation, like sowing and reaping. This one rings out “believing leads to seeing”.
It seems we could become addicted to self-deprecating thoughts, or at least accustomed to this common exchange. Consistently needing someone else to rescue us out of our negative mantras is a sad kind of relationship, but a common one.  Outside influences are not meant to shape us. Brene Brown says,

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†‚ÄúStop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don‚Äôt belong. You will always find it because you‚Äôve made that your mission. Stop scouring people‚Äôs faces for evidence that you‚Äôre not enough. You will always find it because you‚Äôve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don‚Äôt negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.‚Ä̬†
~Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness

When I have thoughts that deter me from thinking the best of someone (including myself), I immediately bring a picture to my mind- it’s meditation, visualization and prayer.
I imagine I’m high on a precipice. The expanse is alone impressive but mixed with an evening glow of sunset, I’m in silent reverence.¬† The clouds are moving quickly and I instantly feel more alive. A burst of joy and gratitude falls down my cheeks. The wind is whipping strong and I smile at the invisible force dancing in patterns around me. Previous thought-weights dissipate like smoke. It’s magic here. My arms are outstretched in acceptance and also in surrender. I appear to be standing alone, but I feel the opposite of lonely. I am present to all that I am meant to be.
Here, there are no teeth behind the lion’s roar, only God’s light and presence traveling in and through, out and in with the wind. A faint sprinkle falls from the sky and in the distance the sound of a storm approaches. Cool air rushes by reminding me of life. Change. Color.

Everything is forever yet fleeting.

The world of paradox makes sense in this place. I feel like a sponge newly soaked in truth.
Yes, I will be called away from this precipice to the valley below. My body will walk the path back down; my bare feet on soil mirroring heaven and earth. But something remains. A hint of the wind lingers in my hair. And when I see another soul, my eyes believe that they can see it, hear it, smell it. I look for the whole in them, not the part. This is the power of belief. I bring —this—into every interaction that follows.
I’m thinking about Eleanor’s quote.
To what am I giving consent?
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Sun and Moon Love

If asked to describe the sun, I would talk about her warmth. I would highlight the gracefulness of her movements. I would ramble about the way the sun draws me close every 12 hours or so, to bask, watch and marvel. I would have to point out her predictability and her life-giving power. The plants turn to find her for good reason.

If asked to describe the moon, I would have to close my eyes in contemplation. A moment to ponder might yield some words, but maybe not. The moon seems to understand silence, moods, nuances, glances and innuendos. Words are secondary. The moon has the effervescent glow of stardom wrapped around her shoulders. She knows the value of the present. Her presence in the moment is everything. She has no inhibitions, No reservations. She’s honest. Daring. Humble.

The relationship between the two lights ignites longing. They highlight the possibility in relationships. They cause us to look at one, but at the same time reminded of the other. This essence bears witness that love is confident giving that needs nothing in return; fully fortified with being whole and then emptied. Over and over again.

Is it any wonder we are drawn in consistently to look up and “circle ’round” with the stars, looking and listening for the wisdom of the ages?


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I must be the “Rock Lady”



I’ve placed the rocks out on the make-shift table outside of the RV. I’m the “picker-upper” on the hikes we take. You’ve heard of cat ladies? I think I must be “the rock lady”. My backpack becomes heavier and heavier as we go along. I see the light and color and uniqueness of a rock and it seems to call out “pick me, pick me”. And I do. And then I scramble to catch up to my husband who knows by now a rock must’ve caught my eye. ūüėČ I pick it up and hold it for a while as I walk. There seems to be an energy exchange. I think of the rock’s journey and imagine it’s tumble-down to where I found it. Sometimes I found it enjoying the coolness of the river or basking in the shadow of an aspen. It causes me to ponder life in it’s¬†simplicity and complexity, both uniquely present in this imagery.

I notice in the contrast to other rocks, the smoothness or jaggedness is pronounced. Color is vibrant and more noticeable. They each seem to compliment¬†perfectly because of their differences, not in spite of them. Most relationships mirror this truth, don’t you think?

It’s part of the reason we are drawn.

We need the perspective of dark to notice light.

We need the gentle curves of mercy to appreciate the power and piercing of jagged truth. What a beautiful world when both are present and appreciated.



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The Missing Scientist



‚ÄúWhat we do not know about a missing loved one,‚ÄĚ the poet T.S. Eliot said, ‚Äúbecomes all that we know.‚ÄĚ

On Sunday, January 28, 2007, during a short solo sailing trip to the Farallon Islands near San Francisco to scatter his mother’s ashes, Jim Gray (a prominent computer scientist) and his 40-foot yacht, Tenacious, were reported missing by his wife, Donna Carnes. He¬†never returned. His wife had to deal with questions upon questions, his boat and¬†body never found.

After listening to The Myth of Closure podcast (On Being, interview with Pauline Boss), we realize these kinds of stories make us reconsider closure. It makes us reconsider that maybe this goal is not one to pursue. We erroneously think that with the right amount of facts, we may close a door; that maybe we can resume into normalcy just as before. But after listening to this podcast, I am reconsidering this assumption.

Here are my takeaways from Pauline-She writes/speaks about¬†ambiguous loss–when you’ve lost the person, but they’re still there (like with divorce, immigration, a missing child, or Alzheimer’s disease). Or any loss with many questions.

While “closure” is a nice word in business deals and transactions, it is not very relevant in relationships. It is not relevant in grief. Pauline Boss encourages that we must let go of “fixing” and search for the re-calibration that helps us learn to hold loss in our midst. There is no denying loss; no way to mandate or customize the hurt.

We must not accept that even without closure, we can attach meaning. It is attaching meaning (even if the circumstances seem meaningless) that brings hope. We must let go of perfect answers.

We can pursue meaningful perceptions because they are real in their consequences.

Relationships in life are not mere doors to be closed. People are more than that- absence, intended or unintended, stays with us; within us.Grief is part of life that lingers. It is in the background. It never dissolves completely. It is the testament to what is meaningful.

Jim’s wife wrote years after his disappearance on the water, ¬†‚ÄúWalk On.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúYou walk on still beside me, eyes shadowed in dusk. You’re the lingering question at each day’s end. I have to laugh at how open-ended you remain, still with me after all these years of being lost. I carry you like my own personal time machine, as I put on my lipstick, smile, and head out to the party.‚ÄĚ

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The Gallery Doors are Open


Hasn’t ¬†~LOVE~¬†¬†in all of it’s nuances and complexity been examined and exploited? Is there anything left unsaid? unseen? Well, have you shared your love story? I ask because…

Love isn’t the predictable, hard and fast equations/solutions/calculations of math (thankfully)

Love is art. Each of our relationships are a beautiful, never-seen-before masterpiece! This is why we open our gallery for viewing.


From the first time I met him, I knew there was something deeply embedded in him like a hidden mystery that I had to discover. I’ve never stopped excavating. Year after year I’ve always and continuously found¬†gold in him.¬†It’s in the smallest of things about him (about us) that loom large and overwhelm me with emotion. The little things that pile up over time to make a glorious mountain. Each moment. -A glance in the middle of his busy day when he stops and looks at me with intention. -A touch as we pass each other in the kitchen. -A kiss when he leaves the room. -An “it’s going to be ok” reassurance when I’m in doubt, makes me feel like I matter to him. I can’t help but smile like I’m keeping a really good secret.

There’s the way he reaches over and touches me in the night. More than reassurance or desire, there is a divine exchange as I roll over in response-a new explosion of color. I think that’s why I share “us” and add to the volumes; to the galleries. Our love is shape and color that invites others to stand before the painting to look and question; to ponder what it means. I welcome the gaze.

What we say with our opened gallery doors is that the art of love is as amazing as it seems.

We reassure all who come to look. New art is waiting to emerge. 


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Valentine’s Day -paying it forward

May this Valentine’s Day bring greater truths into focus. May the people near and dear to you feel more loved and more connected to you than ever before.

My husband and I decided that in our 26+ year marriage, there were a few truths that have impacted our lives in marriage and family. We shared these in three videos.

  1. Relationship Shelving:
  2. When values collide: 1. Seek to understand 2. Time is your friend. 3. The 3rd option 4. Work at it / Take breaks. 5. Pact b/f plan
  3. When Feelings Betray You
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The Gifts of Rain and Darkness

when it rains

This quote embodies the essence of what I think hope brings.

“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.”

It allows you to have eyes for the beautiful. In the midst of the obstacle (if you have hope), you will look for the hidden truth, the gem that’s just beyond the surface of the earth. It takes a little determination to brush away the dirt to see. But you know it’s there, – persevere.

I think this is also the life-source¬†of good¬†relationships…always looking for and believing the best in each other. ¬†And while this can make us vulnerable, it also brings the possibility of the depth we yearn for. Rain and darkness can be the canvas that allows us to see the extra-ordinary.

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Social Media Thoughts Regarding “Sharing it All”


In this social media world, do you struggle with what to put “out there”? I do.

In a way, we are “connecting” with MORE¬†people but not as deep. right? I don’t think the foundation of these relationships are different. ¬†In face to face relationships there are several categories or levels of friendship/connection.¬†There are who know us deeply, hear our day to day struggle and then those that just know who we are casually and say “hello” in passing. And levels in between. But the level of connection comes with 2 things.




Relationships are investments. They always have been.  There is a mutual choice involved.

The struggle of “being real” has been written about. People slamming on FB because you only see the “good”. Well, I have a different point of view on this. ¬†I’ll give you an example. David and I were gifted with the chance to go on a cruise. This came just after he found out his job is phasing out. ¬†We’re back from the cruise. He finished his last few days of work and is now in transition. So, I put up our cruise pictures because most people in our lives will celebrate that we were able to do something so fun. But I haven’t put out there the financial struggle and emotional hardship of what “job hunting” at 47 is like.¬†Here’s why.

I acknowledge, It’s so much fun to celebrate with people; to cheer people on; to say “happy birthday”; to enter into the sunny day. ¬†We can do this from a distance. Easily. So it makes sense on social media, we can throw our fun stuff out there. I love that we have the opportunity for positive interaction. But… It takes much more discipline to journey through pain with someone. When in pain, we need. There is an underlying ask.¬†There is a level of social courtesy when you are asking for something. I think that’s why on social media, it’s difficult to share the “hard things”. ¬†It’s not that you’re being dishonest. You’re being thoughtful.

If we throw everything out there indiscriminately, we’re asking something from casual friendships that can only come from the people who are connected deeply with us in life; who know our goals; who listen; who know our vulnerable places and fortify us with truth. This takes depth. This isn’t for the “hello” passerby’s.

This is why I don’t think it’s¬†wrong to monitor¬†our level of openness on social media. When¬†we’re in a vulnerable place, it takes trust before we can open up our heart. In stating our pain to the masses, we¬†give¬†the option for those¬†who do not know us, who may not have insight, to speak into our hearts. ¬†And while it sounds like I’m a proponent of being closed-off, the opposite is true. I think we should intentionally be open-minded. ¬†I’m placing the value on the WHO, not the WHAT. We need each other. Singular. One on one.