I was staring at the blank page of my journal, wondering where to start. Thoughts swirling, the to-do list fighting for attention, and annoying headlines that I read while still in bed dampened my plan for an early morning calm (for which I was still ...
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A Midlife Mantra If Ever I Heard One


I was staring at the blank page of my journal, wondering where to start. Thoughts swirling, the to-do list fighting for attention, and annoying headlines that I read while still in bed dampened my plan for an early morning calm (for which I was still beating myself up). 

So, I slowed my breathing, took a sip of coffee, and turned to a favorite journaling technique I like to call, "Open Sesame." 

I reached for the top book from a stack on my coffee table, Robin Sharma's "The 5 AM Club," asked my guides for inspiration and, allowed the book to fall open where it may. Open sesame.

It couldn't have been more divine. The first thing my eyes landed on was this Ayn Rand quote:

"Do not allow your fire to go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours." 

Why did that strike me so?

I let out an "Ah." It was an oh-that-felt-good "ah." Like a reassurance coming from a collective ah somewhere. It made me feel less of an island because my deep knowing says that most of us feel like this, or some semblance of this, at times. Particularly in midlife as we reflect on what was or wasn't and gauge our sense of satisfaction or discontent with the present and with prospects of the future. 

My deep knowing also says the work here is to let go of the attachments to what was or wasn't, and embrace what is. With gratitude. No regrets. I so get that on a cellular level. And, still, there are moments when the swamps that Ayn Rand mentions bubble up out of nowhere. Sometimes fleeting, sometimes they stick around for a bit. 

Not all of the quote resonates with me, but a few things light the still-burning midlife embers into sparks that flame again. 

"Not yet" has fuel. So does "hero in your soul," and "the world (life) you desire... It exists. It is possible. It is yours."

That feels like a mantra to speak, to toss like sparkling pebbles to follow on the path forward. That's a mantra that ignites.

It's a mantra that reminds me how rich it is here in midlife, swamps and all. 


Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash


Better Than a Gold Rush


I’ve been noticing something lately. It comes on softly, and often, so much so it usually slips by unnoticed. Fleeting. Little rushes. A vibration running in the background. Backup singers in my daily soundtrack.

It’s the small rushes of gratitude and love. So rich. Richer than a gold rush. 

The thing I noticed is that they literally happen all the time. It’s tiny moments that trigger them.

My cats, endless rushes of love that sprinkle my day, with his curious fascination as I do yoga, her kiss to my forehead, his headbutt nudge against my shoulder. Rushes.

Text, calls, and time spent with family and friends. Rushes.

Things I've taken for granted around my house, things I love that make me smile, like Grandpa's ashtray that's now a candy dish. Rushes.

Most often you don’t notice or take the time to notice the tiny feeling that lasts a fraction of a second. But if you strung them all together, it’s a lot of gratitude, love, joy, and satisfaction.

Whatever they are, I’ve noticed how each of these instances triggers soft gratitude or hums of love. Literally hundreds of rushes every day.

The minute encounters on the way to the mailbox. As you’re walking the dog. In the grocery store aisle. At the gas station. Appreciating a view you’ve seen and appreciated a hundred times.

Gazes at the sunrise, sunset, passing storm, waving trees, wandering deer, canoodling older couples, giggling children. Notice the soundtrack.


Wayne Dyer said: “We are God. God is love. We are love.”

Ram Dass calls our true self, the one at our core, “loving awareness.”

It got me thinking, if this is our natural state of being, the rushes and fleeting moments of love and gratitude are constant reminders of who we are.

And fear, angst, negativity, worry, anger, etc., are unnatural states of being. They cloud over the sun. It’s a great reminder that even when the clouds are thick, the sun, the loving awareness, is there. When we're challenged by health, finances, or circumstances out of our control, perhaps knowing we are love, at our core, might help ease things at the moment. Even if just for a moment. Moments string together too. 

I find that comforting.

Rumi said, “You are the soul of the universe. And, your name is love.” Leave it to a poet.

So those little rushes all day long are glimpses, reminders, and recognition, of your true self. The soul coming through.

More, please.

My parents came for dinner recently. I was serving pasta with my favorite Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs. My mom asked if she could bring a salad, “something that goes well with pasta.”

Mom always makes things extra special. She came with her picnic basket covered with a colorful tea towel and filled with fresh flowers in a vase of treated water, a mason jar of extra treated water to keep the flowers fresh, a delectable salad, and homemade dressing.

She shows up as love.

Dad reflected, “I’ve never been happier.” He said, “I could be living in Santa Barbara and looking at the ocean every day and not be nearly as happy as I am right now – surrounded by people I love.” He held our hands. “I’ve never been happier.”

To which Mom said, “He says that every day.”

He walks in love. It’s no wonder they’ve been together for 64 years.

They piggybacked and confirmed my thoughts: Love and gratitude are who we are.

It’s no small thing – yet it’s a simple thing – to remember that you’re love. You’re gratitude. It’s simply getting back in touch with who you are.

Hmm. More, please.


[Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash]

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Fifty Shades of Green

50 shades of green
The dampness seeps through my cotton joggers. I don't realize it's raining until I sit on the patio chair, its cushion cool and moist.
It’s not rain, but a soft mist so fine it looks like fluctuating pixels on a grainy live photograph. Constantly moving, shifting, changing.
There must be fifty shades of green in the thicket of woods behind my house. Those early Spring greens. Fresh, young, budding baby leaves, lapping the nourishment of the dew. Wondering if it's the appetizer or the dessert. Finding strength in the anticipation.
The wild daisies and lacy purple tansies carpet the yard's floor nearby. They appear to stand on their tiptoes with their faces prone as they capture the tiny moist droplets in their mouths. They seem at ease like there's enough to go around. Seems a fitting personality trait for wildflowers.
The mist hits my face. I breathe it in. Best facial ever.
The gentle nuances of this unfolding afternoon got me thinking about the importance of moments. Details of moments, in moments. How noticing these small matters add to the simplicities and complexities of a day in the life.
When you’re paying attention.
Something to think about.

11 Signs You're Stuck in Complacency



Often, when I open my journal I have no idea what I will write. Often, it's a question entering my mind that will get things started. Often it's surprising, seemingly out of left field. But, I know it's coming from an inner inquiry, something that begs my attention. 

Like this question that floated in recently:

Where am I complacent?

Not something I ponder often. And, after some digging into the notion of complacency, it became clear to me as to why. And, when I started to record some areas in my life where I am indeed complacent, it was a huge wake-up call. One worth heeding. 

What do you think of when you hear the word complacent? 

Complacency is a state of being satisfied with the status quo. More the point, stuck in the status quo. It can lead to a lack of motivation, boredom, decreased productivity, and a lack of progress toward goals.

You may think, "things are fine. It's all good. I'm content with how things are." But, there's an underlying feeling in this state that creeps up on you. An unsettled feeling you're not aware of until you are.

“Do not confuse being content with being complacent.”- Jenna Kutcher

Contentment is a peaceful state of being. Of happiness. A steady feeling. Whereas the uneasiness of complacency sneaks up on you.

Here are 11 signs you may be complacent:

  1. Apathy. Lack of motivation or enthusiasm toward work or personal goals
  2. Feeling comfortable or satisfied with just the status quo.
  3. Ignoring possibly harmful consequences. Putting blinders on.
  4. Avoiding taking risks or trying new things
  5. Procrastinating or putting off tasks that require effort or discomfort
  6. Resisting change or being resistant to new ideas or feedback
  7. Feeling bored or unchallenged by daily routines or tasks
  8. Feeling like you have nothing new to learn or that you have reached the limit of your abilities. This can be couched in overconfidence.
  9. Resting on your laurels or past successes, yet not moving beyond them. This is one of the greatest hidden fears and reasons behind complacency and the status quo. "How can I meet or exceed my previous success?" "What will people be expecting from me now?"
  10. Feeling that you are coasting or going through the motions
  11. Taking shortcuts or doing the bare minimum to get by

In what areas of your life do you feel complacent?  What are you putting off? What has been the impact or consequence? 

Author Benjamin Mays said: “The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much but doing too little. Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity. It's not failure but aiming too low, that is life's greatest tragedy.”

Ah, man! "Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity." Ouch! This is when complacency becomes your silent gatekeeper, keeping you stagnant, stuck in place on your path. Status quo. 

Status quo is "easier than doing the hard work of facing ourselves." - Unknown

But, here's the beautiful thing. Now that you know about it, you can remove the gatekeeper and move through it, beyond it. 

To counteract complacency? Renewed Interest. Possibility. Commitment. Joy.

  • Set new goals: find a renewed interest in the same area or broaden your scope to explore what else is there
  • Develop a growth mindset: embrace the challenge and view what you saw as a failure as an opportunity to learn and grow
  • Learn new things: read books, take courses, or attend workshops to expand your knowledge and skills
  • Celebrate your progress: mark your milestones and appreciate with gratitude each step of the way
  • Sit in the possibility: of where you want to be - beyond the gatekeeper. See yourself there. I love this exercise I heard a speaker illustrate several years ago (I think it was Mary Morrisey but I can't remember). I use it often for myself and while facilitating others. Ask yourself: "Can I sit in the possibility that I will be in a loving relationship?" "Can I sit in the possibility that I will receive this lucrative contract?" It sets the energy in motion. 
  • Be a contribution: this puts you in a mindset of service and joy

In their book "The Art of Possibility," authors Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander landed on this game of being a contribution as a way of helping clients combat the trappings of success and failure. 

"I am a contribution. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It's not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that fearful question, "Is it enough?" and the even more fearful question, "Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?" could be replaced by the joyful question, "How will I be a contribution today?" 

That sounds like a good place to begin the softening of complacency. Start each day with: How can I be a contribution today?

Not: how can you contribute? How can you BE a contribution? 

Small changes can start there. You can sit in the possibility of where it can lead. Sounds good to me!



A Year of Balanced Action


It’s been a whirl of a year so far. Already, and it’s only mid-January.

And I asked for it! Here's how.

Prior to the end of last year, as I do every year, I took a few days to reflect and renew. Reflect on the year that was and what I wished to leave behind.  Then, renew by focusing on the year to come and where I want to expand and grow.

It was with curiosity and not judgment that I ventured into this inquiry. This was in important part of the process. A conscious choice.

Judgment mires you down to where you were stuck. It keeps you focusing on the negative, judgy self-talk.

Curiosity sheds light on things. It creates wonderment and a growth mindset.

So, with curiosity, I pondered it further with an exercise of 'more-of-this, less-of-that.' Such as:

  • Less stagnation, more action
  • Less hesitation, more just the next step
  • Less perfectionism, more acceptance
  • Less scatter, more balance
  • Less hiding, more brave expression

The weight that felt heaviest – the load I wanted to heave furthest into the past – was stagnation. Also, hesitation and perfectionism - all stoppers of creativity, and progress.

As I visualized this year ahead, I saw more completion, more income from doing what I love, more soul-aligned people in my community and inner circle, more love, more play, and more abundant creativity.

I asked my future self, a year from now, “How did you do it? How were things different this year?”

She said, “You were brave. You were bold. You took action. You were in flow.

“Ah, action. Yes,” I responded.

Seems simple, right? It is because it’s intentional.

So, back to my observation at the top: the year started in a whirl, and I asked for it.

It’s because my word for the year is Action.

However, that was just the first layer. I like creating a theme for the year. The theme is the throughline, the blueprint that takes my intention to a DNA level. It seeps into everything, all areas of life: business, friend and family relationships, creative work, health, finances, community, joy and adventure.

My theme is Balanced Action.

The action is the drive, the push, the accelerant, the momentum, and the high energy. The masculine.

Balance is the flow, the pause to catch up, the self-care, the zen, and the dance. It's the softening of the edges. The feminine.

What does balanced action feel like?

  • It’s steady, aware, and present.
  • Alive energy.
  • Take a step, pause, and catch up. Leap, pause, catch up.
  • Dance and dip, lead and follow.
  • It’s masculine and feminine energies working in tandem.

It’s alive energy and excitement. I can feel my body circulating. That’s how balanced action feels.

Are stagnation, hesitation, and perfectionism still going to show themselves?

Yeah, sure. I’m human. Stuff happens. Obstacles are real. Fear creeps in.

But I now have a mantra that activates my inner GPS: I am in balanced action.

I’ve been starting each morning with that. I am in balanced action. I say it to myself throughout the day.

I am in balanced action. One step or leap or pause at a time.


Photo by Ashley Bean on Unsplash