When you know better, do better

I have a confession to make. Years ago, I erroneously thought that racism didn’t exist because I was not racist. That kind of thinking is very naive and ignorant. To this day I believe that there are a lot of white people out there that think this way. That kind of thought is dangerous because it breeds apathy and an attitude of disbelief.

White privilege is alive and well in 2020. What can we do about it? For starters, we can acknowledge that racism does exist. Next we can do our part to help our fellow mankind by becoming aware of how others are treated. That is not enough though. It takes action. Sometimes action takes courage. It is NOT okay to watch someone being treated unfairly regardless of who they are as a human being. We as a society must hold all people accountable for their actions. I would wager that if a police officer knew the general public was watching his actions, he might not have felt comfortable enough to act in such an abhorrent behavior. Maybe it would happen anyway because he is just a bad apple. But we as a society must watch out for each other. When we make a decision to ensure that our fellow mankind are safe, things change. We hold society accountable for their bad behavior. There are dangerous situations where it is not advisable to get physically involved but we can report abuse to the authorities right away. We can advocate as a witness for those who have been wronged. We can videotape and expose atrocities. We can call news groups to investigate. We can speak up and say something. Sometimes it calls for us to be courageous and step in. There is always something that we can do. Apathy is not the answer.

Violence will never be the answer to racism. Violence is never the answer to anything. There are good policemen and policewomen in the world. My brother is one. We have to stop generalizing that all police are bad. They have families and their safety is just as important as anyone else’s. So let’s get to the real problem – which is the total lack of compassion and respect for someone because of their skin color. For those that view someone matters less because of skin color, take a look at your DNA. You might find compassion when you realize that we are all a melting pot.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Flowers will be purchased, gift baskets will be delivered and restaurants will be filled with families who will celebrate the women in their life. Social media will be lit up with posts of happy mothers showing off their gifts. Not everyone will be celebrating.

What is a mother? To me, it is not a woman who simply gives birth. It is the woman who takes the time to love and nurture a child to adulthood. She opens her arms without the expectation of anything in return. If you have experienced this kind of love, whether from a biological or adopted mother, be thankful.

If you are a child or adult mourning the loss of your mother, know that you are not alone. Treasure the memories and do something to honor her life.

If you are a mother mourning the loss of your child, may you feel the love of family and friends as you process your grief. No one will understand your grief like a mother who has walked your journey. Be gentle with yourself during this tender time.

If you are a woman who longs to be a mother and you are fighting depression every time this day rolls around, know that there are other women who walk in your shoes. You are enough. Keep your heart open to the gentle nudges of your heart.

If you are a child or adult who has not known the security of having a mother, may you find a wise woman in your life that will offer you nurturing. There are so many widows in the world and elderly in nursing homes that would jump at the chance to have time with another human being.

If you are a mother-to-be, enjoy each breath you take as you give your baby life. Every moment is precious.

Mothering can come from a nurturing father, mentor, or foster family. It can come from a teacher, grandma, aunt, neighbor or even an older sibling. My hat is off to every human who shows up to nurture a child.

Wherever you find yourself on Mother’s day, may you know that your journey is uniquely your own and it is okay to celebrate, laugh, cry, honor or mourn.

With the deepest love ♥

10 reasons why I’m grateful for my Warehouse job

If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be working at Amazon as a warehouse worker at the age of 52, I would have laughed (although the thought of moving my body and giving my mind a rest would have been enticing).

In October of 2019, I quit the mortgage industry after 14 years. It was time for a change. I do not miss being on call 7 days a week and I do not miss the stress level and long hours at a computer/on a phone. When I initially began working at Amazon, I was just happy to have a job. It’s been a month and I have had time to reflect on what I’ve learned and surprisingly this job has been a perfect match for me right now.

With a grateful heart, I would like to share 10 observations about my new employment and what it has taught me:

  1. I’ve accepted my near OCD nature to organize things. I get to stack and put boxes in order all day long. It is oddly satisfying and therapeutic.
  2. Working on a conveyor belt line keeps me focused and in the present moment. My mind does not wander. If it did, I would not be able to do my job efficiently or safely. Who would have thought it could help me in my meditation practice?
  3. I’ve learned that you have to prioritize your workflow and come back around to the things that can wait. Life in general is the same. Some things require immediate attention while others can wait for another day or time.
  4. I am getting paid to get into shape! No gym membership needed. I typically walk 7-9 miles a day at work. If you are familiar with Apple watches, I complete my circles daily. In this particular time in my life, having the confidence to do a physically demanding job has shown me I can achieve what I set my mind to do.
  5. Meeting people from different cultures has expanded my mind. Amazon is a very diverse work place. I have struck up conversations with people that grew up very differently from me. Learning another person’s perspective in life can be enlightening.
  6. I am thankful to have been offered a full time position and benefits in this time of uncertainty. Due to the Covid circumstances, new employees have been extended benefits that would usually take months to get. Just when I was at my wits end trying to find a job, this one came out of the blue. An answer to my prayers.
  7. I actually look forward to going to work. I look forward to saying hello to my new found friends and getting a great workout each day. It is a wonderful feeling to know someone’s name and acknowledge them in the morning and to be acknowledged.
  8. Teamwork is a must in a warehouse. Each person counts and all jobs are important. My co-workers are happy to jump in if I struggle with lifting something too heavy. Likewise, it brings me great joy to help others.
  9. I have been able to satisfy my need to be a social butterfly at work. Essential workers have to work. Social butterflies have to be social.
  10. A new perspective. Working at Amazon has given me the opportunity to see life from a different perspective. Any time there is new perspective, there is growth.

Let it play out

I’ve been in a holding pattern for months. I want to make some shit happen. Why? Because being still, patient, has never been my best attribute. I sound like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum, and that would not be entirely untrue. Life is happening right in front of me without me controlling the situation. My inner child is stomping her feet and having a full on tantrum right now.

There are answers for my dilemma but they are not what I planned so I’ve cast them aside in favor of my own ideas. So the real struggle here is not where I am physically but where I am in my mind. Letting go of the need to control every aspect of my life. I’m sure the Universe is having a hey day trying to persuade me to listen to the gentle, still voice of reason. I acknowledge my shortcomings and really want to embrace the gentler way of being. It’s scary and unknown. What if I fall flat on my face? But then I think where I am now and is it not a worse place to be? The anxiety and depression I have caused myself has created physical symptoms of stress.

As I contemplate a new way of being, I realize that I’m open to it only because “making shit happen” has failed me. Admitting that publicly creates a lump in my throat. It’s not an easy lesson. I hope that I fully embrace it. It may take a while. I’m a work in progress.

Today I will live in the moment and be thankful for all that I have in my life. I have a place to live, friends and family that love me and a life that is waiting to unfold.

Mom said it best the other day…

I Am Vestibulous

Vestibulous: The act of being extremely content with your current situation. I learned about the act of being vestibulous one morning while having breakfast at IHOP with my mom. The word was an audible whisper in my ear. I repeated the word out loud and asked mom if she had ever heard the word before. We were both stumped so I looked it up (once I figured out how it was spelled) and found it on the Urban Dictionary site. I got a good laugh as I read the meaning. This word was definitely given to me to embrace.

My attitude was anything but vestibulous. In the midst of a Radical Reset, I was letting go of so much and I was in pain. How would I find a way to be extremely content?

It didn’t happen overnight and I still have moments where I wish I could fast forward to the future and be on the beach with my toes in the sand. Doing deep soul work is not easy. I was used to forging ahead and powering through life – settling for “what is” was my default. However powering through life was no longer working for me. I’d have to sit with life and allow time and circumstances to change as I did the work. Sitting still has always been my worst fear. I felt that being still equaled not accomplishing anything. I was wrong. In the past few months, I’ve come to appreciate the stillness. I’ve seen my life fall apart and things come together in a way that I could only dream. Every day is a new experience. There are no definitive answers right now and I am not going to worry. Each and every day is an opportunity to be not only content but deeply happy. It’s an inside job.

Meditation and music have been instrumental (pun intended) in helping me to be present and content with my current situation. Wherever life takes me, I will strive to be extremely content in the moment.

One Last Gift

1996 marked the year I was blessed with a baby girl. Her entrance into the world was long anticipated. My oldest was 10 at the time and I had all but given up hope of having another child. She came to me in the most interesting way through adoption.

The birth mother and her oldest sister Deborah looked at potential parent profiles. And our family was chosen. We had a week’s notice to prepare for her birth. It was a frenzy of excitement and preparation. A baby girl. While we were preparing to say hello, the birth mother and her family were preparing to say goodbye.

The birth day came and the birth family spent time with her. Holding her, loving her and speaking sweet messages of hope that they would one day see her again. Both families came together in a hospital waiting room. It was a blend of bittersweet emotions. Joy, excitement, sadness…felt by everyone.

The oldest birth aunt seemed to hold the family together and she reached out to me before we left the hospital and made sure that we knew that our girl was loved. I knew that. Feeling that connection with the birth aunt is something that I have always been thankful for. She wrote letters to our girl and made sure that the connection continued.

This past week, this amazing woman whom I consider a sister, went to her heavenly home. It is a shock that I am sure her family is still processing. I am too.

She was instrumental in my sweet girl reuniting with the rest of her birth family. This woman took my girl under her wings and got her in contact with multiple birth family members. The healing journey had begun for my girl. There was one piece missing. My girl wanted desperately to meet her birth mother. That happened this week at the funeral of her amazing aunt. I believe it was her one last gift to my girl. The healing continues. This woman will be deeply missed but I can tell you that she is undoubtedly watching over her family in Heaven and orchestrating wonderful things.

RIP Deborah ♥

Marie Kondo for the Soul

Two months into my Radical Reset has proven one thing to me…it is a journey. The first part was clearing out all that is not for my greatest and highest good. I call it the “Marie Kondo for the soul”.

Letting go of so much in my life has left me raw and broken. I’ve cried deeply, mourned, and even tried to bargain with the Universe to let me stay in my situation. And I did for a while. Yet it felt so inauthentic. I couldn’t lie to myself. It is no longer okay for me to live by default. So my new tactic is to simply embrace what is.

In past behavior, if I was in a situation that I didn’t like, I would just power through and make the best of it. Accepting and settling for what I thought was best. Slowly life crept up on me and I realized that I was not happy. The only way it would change, is if I changed. That pattern had to be broken. And that would take courage. It took me a long time to really face the reality of how I felt. I lied to myself and to those around me. I’ve had to do some self forgiveness for living an unauthentic life. No one else is responsible for my happiness but me.

My Marie Kondo for the soul began with baby steps. First having the courage to purge old clothes in my wardrobe. That felt good so I moved on to things in the house that I no longer needed. Every step led me to a deeper purging. The most significant change I’ve made so far is in acknowledging that I am not in control of everything in my life. I have had to let go of attitudes and patterns too. There are circumstances in my life that I can change. When I can, I do so. Then there are circumstances that are out of my control. I have to trust and believe that life is working out in a divine time that I am not aware of. Letting go of the insane idea that I have control over things is a work in progress. There are days that I think I have it all figured out, then I’m brought to my knees with humility as I realize I’ve gotten off track once again. The best I can do right now is to be vigilant and aware of how I feel. If a situation, person, thing or event doesn’t create happiness, then I will have the courage to let go.

Radical Reset

Have you ever felt so out of touch with who you are that you failed to recognize yourself in the mirror? Don’t feel alone. It’s happened to me not once, but several times in my life. A pattern that I am breaking. When I realized how unhappy I was with my choices, I decided to make some some changes with a Radical Reset. What is a Radical Reset?

A Radical Reset begins with a state of mind. A willingness to acknowledge what is not working for you. It takes courage and humility to admit to yourself and others that you have gotten off track. Once you have admitted where you are in your life, the next step can begin. Let me forewarn you that a Radical Reset is not instantaneous nor are there any shortcuts. As a matter of fact, it can be downright painful. Are you ready to fully let go of “what is” to embrace what can be?

After admitting (the first step) that I got sidetracked, I had the task of figuring out how to get back in the grove of my best life. What did I want to accomplish? What was I willing to let go of? Was I ready to be out of my comfort zone? My answers shocked me. I was ready to make some massive changes in my life. This was not going to be pretty or fun. It still isn’t. I’m still in the process of creating my new life. There are days when I feel so excited about new opportunities and days that I just want to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. When I have those moments, I remind myself that in order to get a different outcome, I have to be and act differently. My best life is in the process of showing up. I can’t quit.

Radical Reset is not for wimps! If you are reading this, perhaps this is YOUR message to get in gear and make some changes in your life.

I’d like to share some tips that have helped me along the way:

  • Make a list of changes that you want to make
  • Create an action plan for each change
  • Take responsibility for your own happiness
  • Forgive yourself for getting off track
  • Show up and make the changes that are within your power
  • Be willing to let go of the way that life is currently showing up for you
  • Be willing to let go of relationships that are not supportive
  • Be willing to let go of things that you no longer need
  • Be willing to let go of situations that no longer support you or your happiness
  • Be willing to let go and allow the Universe/God to intervene on your behalf when you’ve done all that you can do
  • Be thankful, even when you are deeply saddened by endings that were necessary
  • Be thankful for the life lessons that you have learned
  • Keep your heart open so the Universe/God can bless you with new opportunities

A bullet list is easy to write. It is much more difficult to apply it to life. Changes are not always easy and can be downright heartbreaking. What I can say about my journey so far is that I completely recognize the courageous woman looking back at me in the mirror.

What If It’s My Last Day?

With every birthday comes a time to reflect on life…and death.  It’s not a morbid subject but a gift that can be leveraged to help you live life to it’s fullest potential.  What if today was your last day to make an impression upon the world?  How would you spend it and what would you do with your day?

I thought deeply about this, this morning, and came up with a few things.  The first thought I had was gratitude for the realization that I am 52 today, not 53.  I just got a year back in my head!

I devised a list of things that I will be practicing more consciously on a daily basis:

  • Express my gratitude to anyone who gives me great service – it may be the only compliment they ever receive.
  • Tell the unassuming woman wearing the summer dress that she’s beautiful – we must do a better job of building one another up.
  • Smile kindly as I go about my day – my smile may make the difference between life and death for someone…you never know.
  • Remind a child of their gifts and talents and encourage them to be fearless in their expression of such gifts – what if I just encouraged the next Mozart?
  • Be a source of encouragement and strength to those around me by living my best life – maybe they will choose “up their game” and the ripple of mentoring continues on to others.
  • Spread more love on the world by being kind in thought, words and deeds – you never know all the battles that another human being is facing.  So assume they have their own battles and be kinder, gentler and don’t take their struggles personal.

Am I a Pollyanna?  Absolutely not…I see the ugliness in the world.  I Am choosing to LIVE like it’s my last day 

Going with the Flow

Death, separation, job change, financial struggles, remarriage, family reunion, surgery, kid going to college, moving upstairs, major house renovations, relationship challenges, paranormal experiences….This has been my 2018 so far.

On January 1, 2018, I sat down on my living room floor and had a prayer in my heart.  I asked the Universe to provide me a word to focus on for the upcoming year.  It was an immediate response…almost like my angels were yelling at the top of their lungs…FLOW.  I thought to myself, wow, that’s going to be interesting.  Then the words began to flow into my ear…go with the FLOW, ebb and FLOW, heart FLOW, financial FLOW…It was very clear that I would have to be flexible in my life.

Life hit me like a ton of bricks towards the end of January.  My partner Bobby and I were going into our 12th year of marriage.  I attended a 4 day seminar that made me take a good look at goals, intentions and purpose.  I had to admit to myself that I was terribly unhappy on so many levels of my life.  Bobby and I didn’t communicate and most of the time we tolerated each other.  How did that happen?  We were very much in love at one point and then we barely talked.  When you attend a self help class of any sort, be prepared for the unexpected to show up…especially baggage that you store away and refuse to deal with.  That’s the gift of self help.  I call it, “Welcome to the SHIT SHOW”.  Look at your shit, deal with your shit, admit your shit,  release your shit, stop being a shit.  It’s not pretty but it IS pretty raw.

I came to the conclusion that I could no longer tolerate my “tolerable” life.  I had come too far to “settle”.  So I gathered my courage and told Bobby that we were not working and I needed some space.  I wanted a divorce.  He was stunned to say the least.  I moved upstairs.  The next few months were nothing short of miraculous.  A series of very paranormal experiences began to commence.  It is still something I am trying to wrap my head.  Divine intervention is an understatement.  Maybe someday I will be able to talk about it freely but I will share that it woke Bobby and I up and made us realize that we are partners in this life and we have work to do.

I’ve always lived my life with an exit plan in place.  My marriage was no exception.  Although in survival situations in my life it worked brilliantly, having an exit plan did not allow me to completely commit myself to Bobby.  That was the part of the shit show that I had to own.

We worked on our problems and left the outcome open to possibilities.  Easter weekend came and new beginnings were right around the corner.  Bobby proposed to me on bended knee in front of family and friends.  I said yes.  We went from planning a divorce to planning a wedding vow renewal.  So many things happened throughout the process.  Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t see all the changes coming.  The fur babies that we raised from the beginning of our marriage both passed away same day.  Our youngest son left for college.  We decided as a family that Mom would move in with us.  Our youngest daughter moved back in.  We took in our adopted nephew while he waited to go into the Air Force. I broke a toe and had double foot surgery.  Our house foundation began to falter and is in the process of being fixed.  We changed jobs unexpectedly and emptied our savings building our business.  Our daughter-in-law began training as part of our team.  Relationships with some family members took a turn for the worse…and then came full circle.  Friends passed away.  I went through menopause.  I embraced my love for Unicorns.  I quit giving a shit what people thought about my happy disposition…no more dimming my light.

View More: http://blutreestudios.pass.us/dina-complete
Photo by Blu Tree Studios

Why am I sharing with you?  It’s not to air dirty laundry…but hopefully you can relate and find some insight and even humor in my situation.  We all have a “situation”.  Looking back, I’ve had some priceless moments arrive in the midst of emotional turmoil.  That’s something my Mom taught me…you can laugh or cry…it’s up to you.  Well Momma, I’m laughing and learning.

2018 is far from over but I’ve already gotten my word for the upcoming year.  It is FOCUS.  This one makes me real nervous as I have self proclaimed SS “Squirrel Syndrome”.  What’s with these F words???  I wonder what 2020 will bring?  That’s a loaded question!

View More: http://blutreestudios.pass.us/dina-complete
Photo by Blu Tree Studios