Maui….My Paradise 5-26-18

I just returned from spending eight days in Maui. I spent the week with my best friend who happens to be my cousin. We had a wonderful time. It’s always fun to hang out with my cousin. We laugh, we eat, we sing….we do everything we did when we were kids. It’s so much fun.

Going to Maui was a blessing. I am so grateful for the opportunity. After all, Maui is not only my favorite place, it’s also my healing place. Something about that “Maui Vibe” always seems to offer a sense of peace and grounding for me. This trip was no different.

Since 2012, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a total of 15 weeks in Maui. What can I say, I’m truly blessed. My cousin and I spent much time exploring the island as well as enjoying some much needed bonding time on the beach. We even did reiki. We went to Napili Beach. Big Beach, Lahaina, Paia, The beach at Five Palms (my favorite beach and Hana. It was awesome. My last day I took one last walk on the beach and was blessed to see six turtles. Three of them sunbathing. Turtles supposedly represent long life and good luck. I saw six that morning.

Maui is my go to place when I find myself depressed, stressed out or even overwhelmed with this thing called life. I like to meditate on the peace of being on the beach or the sunsets Maui has to offer. My dream would be to live in Maui part time. If I could do that, I would certainly be one happy camper.

This trip to Maui marked a new beginning for me. A new start. I’ve been in a slump for the past seven years. First my dad passed away causing my life to spiral out of control. Add cancer, an abusive boyfriend, financial challenges, family issues to the mix and you have one big pot of crappy goulash. I used the time to focus on letting go, finding forgiveness, healing myself so I could finally toss that goulash that’s existed in my life and move forward.

There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43. inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms in its search for food and travel great distances. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.

Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.

While I was battling cancer, I used to say to myself, “when I overcome this battle, I’m getting a tattoo”. Well I did just that while I was in Maui. If you have ever been to any of the Hawaiian islands you know that many Polynesians have tribal tattoos. What you may not know is the tattoos they wear proudly have meaningful significance to each person wearing them. I went to a local tattoo artist named Sampson. He’s located on Kehei Road in a small shop called Pacific Rootz. We discussed a tattoo that would hold a special meaning in my life. I opted for a small yet significant tattoo of the Iwa. Like the Iwa I have faced many “storms” these past seven years. I’ve soared great miles to find my way “back home”. The Iwa is a reminder for me that whatever life throws at me, I am resilient and will eventually find my way back. I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to let go of my past and find my way “home” to where the good lord wants me to be. It’s my guess in a much happier space, soaring through life and living life to the fullest.

We all face hardships and trials. Some of us more than others. If you’re like me, at times I feel like God has abandoned me however I’m reminded in Mathew 6-26 that if God provides for the birds he will certainly provide for me. I hope so anyway.

Mathew 6-26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”

I was standing on the sand the last day of my trip enjoying the waves that would come in and cover my feet then would slowly roll back and go back to the ocean. It occurred to me as I stood on the beach that life is like the waves of the ocean. Just like the waves, trials and challenges come in and cover our feet causing us to feel like we are drowning. However, like the waves, our trials slowly but surely head back to where they came from and once again we find ourselves standing on solid ground. Maybe a little “sandy” from all the debris those “waves” left behind but we are standing nonetheless.

The trials I’ve faced these past seven years have been hard. They have caused me so much pain and suffering. I have the scars to prove it. Like the waves, I am beginning to see my feet again. I’m hopeful and I’m happy again. I’m looking forward to enjoying life until the next wave comes in. Until then, like the Iwa, I’ll soar gracefully through this thing called life and keep moving forward towards finding my place and the “home” and the solid ground or land where I need to be.

I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite Outfield tunes. “My Paradise”

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Yippee Moment 4-22-18

I’VE BEEN THINKING

By Maria Shriver

A profoundly simple idea came to me last weekend.

It came way before I watched the Comey interview. Way before the Time 100 list came out. Way before Jeff Bezos told us how many Amazon Prime customers there actually are. (OMG.)

The idea came to me as I was sitting in conversation with three old friends and a dog. I don’t know exactly whose idea it was, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the dog’s. 😉

The idea came out of one of those conversations that traversed the news of the day, the bumps of life, and the challenges at hand. As we were talking, we collectively decided that we all needed more joy in our lives. “Yippee moments,” to be exact.

What is a yippee moment, you ask? Well, it’s a moment you consciously celebrate. It’s a moment where you decide that you get to feel joy-filled at least once per day, since most of us don’t focus on finding joyful moments on a daily basis.

Most of us are so bogged down getting through life and attending to life’s never-ending stream of responsibilities that before we know it, we aren’t playing anymore. We aren’t celebrating anymore. We aren’t thinking “yippee!”

Instead, we have our heads down in our computers or phones. We’re dealing with evolving relationships, changing kids, sick friends, our own health, aging parents, and bills. Lots and lots of bills.

Sure, you can stay on this path and say, “well, that’s just life.” Or, you can consciously decide, like I have done, to find a daily “yippee!”

Even though this new practice is only a week old, it’s actually lightened and lifted my spirits and changed my thinking.

Yippee! My kids asked to come over!

Yippee! I got to meet Bob Goff this week, whose playful spirit and view of love made my day and got me thinking more expansively about love and life.

Yippee! I got invited to my daughter’s place for dinner, which made me swell with pride.

Yippee! a friend called to check in on me. Another sent a text out of the blue simply to say they were proud of me!

Yipee! A friend jumped in to help me with Move for Minds and donated money without me even asking her. Wow!

Yippee! My brother called to say he would come to town to celebrate his birthday with me.

Yippee! My son called from college and he didn’t ask for money. He just wanted to check in!

Yippee! I got to do a loving-kindness meditation with the legendary Jack Kornfield and his wife, Trudy, Thursday night. Lucky, lucky me!

Now, to be honest, there were moments this past week that were also challenging and emotional. (On Friday, I gave the eulogy at my friend Nancy’s memorial service and there were lots of tears.)

But, focusing my mind on joy this week — focusing on celebrating, on clapping my hands, on hugging a friend, on twirling in a skirt, on counting my blessings — well, it just changed my week. It changed my outlook and my spirit.

I’m hoping that this “yippee!” thinking might do the same for you. I know it might sound young and childlike, perhaps even silly. But that’s the point. That’s the gift.

Look, life is a gift. And for God’s sake, it’s short. There is no doubt in my mind that we could all use more yippee moments in our lives. We could all use more laughter and more joy. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the news.

P.S. “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life” is still on The NY Times Bestsellers list! OMG, thank you and yippee! Oh, and it’s almost Mother’s Day! Yippee, yippee!

I subscribe to Maria Shrivers Sunday Paper. I receive her paper every Sunday by email. I’d like to encourage you to sign up. Maria is so inspiring.

Just Me And My Mom 3-31-18

I was on Facebook this morning reviewing all of my Facebook memories from my timeline. This memory popped up. I posted this on March 31, 2014 right before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was really sick at the time. My diagnosis came ten days later. As I read my post I thought to myself how grateful I am that I’m now home with my mother. After all, it’s been the support of my mother that has carried me through the past few years.

Some times I want to “throw momma from the train”. At times I even wonder what my life would be like if I could just run as far away from here and live my life to the fullest without my mother. My dad used to say “you only have one mother and one father. When their gone you have nothing”. My dad is no longer with me but thank god I have my mother.

As I pondered the following post it occurred to me that maybe the dream I had so many years ago was a message from my guardian angel warning me to go home to my mother. Looking back, I wish I had. Maybe fighting cancer with my mother by my side opposed to enduring cancer treatment with my abusive ex boyfriend, might certainly have brought a much better outcome than I have lived through these past four years. I finally realized that being home with my mother is where I’m supposed to be.

If your mother is still alive I’d like to encourage anyone reading this today to reach out to her. Tell her you love her. Spend time with her. In the end it’s your mother who will Be by your side in the good times and the bad times. It’s your mother who will love you unconditionally forever and always. It’s your mother you will call out to if only in your dreams.

March 31, 2014. “The other night I had a crazy dream. I am still bewildered by it. I can’t remember all of it, more importantly I can’t remember the woman in my dream. In my dream I was afraid of the woman and I knew I needed my mother. I woke up screaming for my mother. I kept yelling for my mother to help me. I didn’t remember any of this until Ron told me. It bothered me so much. I called my mom just now & can you believe she’s been dreaming about me too. She’s dreamt we were together & I was making her laugh so hard she was crying. It’s funny. As teenagers the first person we turn against is our mother. I know I’m guilty of that & I know my own kids have done the same to me as have the kids of many of my friends. Mothers are regarded as nerds. We are a pain. We drive our kids crazy. But when we are in a state of desperation or in need of comfort, love, encouragement or even a hug the first person we run to is our mother. I guess at this time in my life I need my mother. It’s weird since I always ran to my dad. Not this time. This time I cried for my mother. Be good to your moms today. It may come as a surprise but while we all need our mothers, they need us too. In my case my mother must need her goofy daughter to bring back the laughter we’ve shared for so many years. Here’s to my mother. I love you mom. Thanks for being the best mom ever. Thanks for loving me and always being the one I can run too. I miss you mom. Soon…very soon. I’ll be with you telling you stories and bringing you joy and making you laugh.”

Count Your Blessings 1-9-18

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.~ by Og Mandino

Every creature is a glistening, glittering mirror of divinity.~ Hildegard of Bingen

Lend A Helping Hand 1-2-18

My mother and I had doctors appts today in Wenatchee. Afterwards we ran to Walmart. I don’t even remember why we went there however what I do remember is an incident that happened after we left. I can’t stop thinking about this.

After we left Walmart I saw a homeless man standing on the street corner by the signal light leaving Walmart. He had a sign that said “I’m homeless. Anything will help”.

For some reason rather than proceeding towards the signal light, I pulled in to this hamburger joint that’s near Walmart on the corner where this man was standing. My mother asked me what I was doing. I said “I’m going to buy that man lunch.” My mother asked “what man?” I said “the homeless man on the corner.”

It was tight wad Tuesday at the hamburger joint. I went through the drive-thru and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and Pepsi. After I got the order I drove towards the man. I called out to him. He walked towards my car and I handed him his drink and bag full of food. He said “I’ll sure take that Maam. Thank you. It will be my first meal today”. It was 2:00. He was so filled with gratitude. My heart went out to him. It was so cold today. I couldn’t imagine being homeless cold and hungry. I don’t know why I was inclined to do this today however I do believe that voice in my head prompting me to help that man was from god. I’m glad I did.

I’m sharing this story not for accolades rather to encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It’s easy to walk away when you see someone on a street corner holding a sign. It’s easy to ignore them but really, is that the right thing to do? I try and put myself in their shoes. What if that was you? I often say “in a New York minute everything can change”. What I mean by that is “god giveth, god taketh away. I spend a whole $6.49 today. For some, that’s a lot. For me $6.49 is nothing if I can help someone in need.

Father Mario told a story once of a homeless man sitting in front of a bank asking for money. People walked in and out of the bank. Not one person helped him. They ignored him. Finally a young man walked out of the bank and lend the homeless man a helping hand. When he did, the homeless man stood up. As it turned out the man wasn’t homeless at all. Rather, he was Jesus. Father Mario asked the question “would you walk away if it was Jesus?” My answer has always been no which is why I try my best to not walk away. I’d hate to miss the chance to help someone only to find out the person I was helping was Jesus.

Next time you see someone in need, lend a helping hand. There are so many people suffering. One little act of kindness will go a long way and heck, who knows. The person you help might stand up and be Jesus.

This Moment 12-24-17

A poem by Maria Shriver

This moment

may you stop and take a moment.

Today, tonight, tomorrow,

may you take the time to reflect on all the moments that brought you here to this moment.

The moments that made your heart feel full;

The moments that took your breath away;

May you also remember the moments that made you cry.

The moment he said “no” to your sweet invitation,

or the moment she couldn’t meet you where you stood.

They are all moments that brought you here.

Do you remember the moment where you laughed

your head back, your hair blowing around, your beautiful face?

Do you remember the moment your child took your hand?

Do you remember that moment when they no longer did?

It all brings you to this moment.

Life is just simply a collection of moments.

Moments that made you and broke you and, yet, look at you,

standing here in this moment,

full of love, full of light, ready to set the world on fire with your glorious soul.

This moment is a moment of grace.

This is one powerful moment.

Embrace it.

My Terms 12-20-17

Wow three years ago I lost all of my hair. I was completely bald!! I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to grow back my hair. However as of late I have found myself realizing what a blessing the last three years have been. I’ve grown so much. All the things I thought were important are no longer important. Including hair. At the end of the day the only thing that counts is family. The rest of it doesn’t matter. My dad used to say “I’ve never seen a u-haul behind a Hearst. You can’t take it with you”

Today I bit the bullet and cut my hair short. I love it. In my opinion I’d rather spend time with family, friends, grandkids then spending time doing my hair!! The good news is three years later I cut my hair on my terms and not because some crazy drug called Chemo decided I had to. Life is short. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy every day like it’s your last day. Don’t get caught up in any drama.

It’s funny, the past few years all I’ve done is complain. I’ve complained about my hair, my nails, finances, health and I’ve complained because I’m no longer in San Francisco. However what I’ve come to realize is. that I’ve failed to recognize the blessings I’ve had all along. I only wish I had recognized this a long time ago. Life is good. Sometimes life throws us a curveball. I for one have been thrown several these past few years however while everything seemed so bad I suppose God was molding me to become a much better person. I’m really grateful for that.

Today I just want peace in my life. I’m looking forward to what good things God has in store for me. I hope it’s much peace, love and harmony. As for the hair….well it’s sure going to be nice to not have to focus on something silly as doing my hair.

Friends, money, material things and even hair will come and go but it’s family that will always be there. That’s what’s really important. Once upon a time I was on top of the world. I had it all. Looks, a good job, material things and even money. Today things are much different. Today I’ll take peace, love, family and good health over any of those things I once thought were more important. I’m living life on my terms. That includes doing crazy things like cutting my hair!! Short hair…..you rock!!!