Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Table

I found a kitchen table and chairs. It isn’t a fancy one but a much loved set. Handed down to each child as he or she went off to college and needed furniture. And when I look at it now sitting in my home I will think of the stories and the love that come with it.

I’d been thinking I wanted an octagonal table. With cream colored padded chairs. And a leaf to expand it when my daughter comes to visit with her friends. I thought maybe I was nuts. An octagonal table that expands? Where did that come from? But then I saw it listed on Craigslist. Cheap. I called and asked if they could deliver it—offered extra if they would. And they said yes.

It came today. And she said it had passed through every child in the family as they went off to college. I look at it and see stories. I look at it and see love and somehow it seems right for it to be here now. If I ever want a fancy table and chairs, well, there’s room for that in the dining room on the other side of the kitchen. This is the set I will use every day. And every day I will sit in the padded chairs, look out at my garden and smile.

Sometimes new isn’t best but rather those things that come to us infused with a history of love.


Thursday, October 27, 2005


A friend lost someone close to her last night. Not only did her dear one die but now she will lose the place that was her home while she took care of this dear one. It is a reminder to me of how little so many things I fuss about truly matter.

What matters are the people in my life and the things I am meant to do. My friend and her dear one had lovely times together—laughter and joy and shared dreams. While the loss hurts, she can let go without thinking of all the “what ifs?” and “I wish”es. And in her heart she knows she will one day see this dear one again.

We can’t get back the days that are gone. We can only move forward making sure we LIVE our lives. We can choose not to spend our time on anger and old hurts and grudges and fears. We can choose instead to spend our time doing what we love and being with people we care about. We can choose to live our lives with a sense of purpose and joy knowing that each of us has something unique to share and we cheat both ourselves and the world when we do not find a way to do so.

So...what is your unique gift to share? Who are the people in your life to cherish? How will you do both? How will you let go of anger and old hurts and grab onto love and joy instead?

Anthony Robbins likes to say that what we focus on becomes our reality. If we hold onto anger and hurt, that becomes our reality and we can feel as if that’s all there is and all there ever will be. When we take that leap of faith and let go of the anger and hurt then we open up a space for love and joy. We open up a space for finding a way to share the unique gift of who we are with people who will care, who will appreciate us, who will help us to become the best we can be.

I want to be like my friend, knowing when inevitably I do lose someone dear to me that I laughed and loved and dreamed with that dear one. I want to know that my memories will be filled with smiles and not regrets. The next few weeks and months will be difficult ones for her but I cannot help believing that it is the memories of the joy she shared with her dear one that will get her through this.

I want to open up the spaces in my heart even wider—cherishing the many wonderful friends I have in this world.

I want to open my heart and mind even wider to the wonderful possibilities that exist if only I can let myself see them.

The past two years have been a lesson in beautiful surprises that can happen when I open my heart and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my life will bring.

What wonderful surprises will fill your life when you open YOUR heart?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Planning Ahead

Planning ahead is a good idea. I’ve changed over my car registration and driver’s license just in time to meet the 30 day deadline I’ll be flying before I get my photo ID, something I didn’t even think about when planning when to do things. Fortunately, I do have a passport which should be okay as my photo ID but had I planned ahead, I could have made sure I had my new photo driver’s license in time for my trip.

I mention this so that if any of you are getting ready to move and have a trip planned, you will be able to plan better than I did! It also points up the value of having a passport, even if you don’t expect to travel abroad any time soon. (Of course, many of you will have other photo ID’s anyway so it’s a moot point but for those who don’t, it’s something to keep in mind.)


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Asking and Listening

It pays to ask questions. I was in a furniture store and finally thought to ask—when do the colors change? Turns out it’s November so...I think I’ll wait to try to find a couch until the colors change. I’m hoping china patterns (inexpensive sets) will change too.

I also thought of something else. The rug is beige. The walls are creamy. One wall and window treatments are Wedgwood green. Anything not green or brown or beige will look odd to the eye. I thought of a floral pattern but a pale background with green in it will look too pale and I can’t see living with a floral pattern that’s really dark. Nor do I want plaids or some of the other bizarre stuff in the stores now.

Then it occurred to me—if I find an area rug I love with rich jewel tone colors, say a 4 X 6 or 5 X 8 that has a deep, rich green in it then I can get furniture that matches another color in the rug. (I’m thinking pseudo Aubusson here.) Then it will look right to the eye and I will still have the airy look but more choice on colors for the furniture. Need to see if I can find the right area rug but if I do this could be great.

Anyway, it pays to ask—now I know when the colors change in the furniture stores and it’s not very long to wait.

Meanwhile, I did get another bookcase for a nightstand on the other side of my bed and I finally found a vacuum. There’s something comforting about vacuuming a rug that really needs it. I suppose it’s another way to affirm control over some of the things in our lives.

And in the theme of listening...I bought a chime for my home. It’s one chime on a bamboo base with a small mallet and the sound it makes vibrates in the air for a very long moment. Why am I splurging on such an item when it’s not essential? Because it is essential. I was reminded today that the sounds we welcome into our lives make a difference. Choosing this was a way of affirming that I want lovely, soothing sounds in my home and in my life. And this sound seems to reverberate down into my soul to remind me that all is well, that within me is a connection to a universal something greater than myself.

Often we feel so overwhelmed with the demands of our daily lives that it’s easy to forget that we also need time for beauty in our lives. Sounds and sights that make us smile and touch something deep inside nurture our spirit. And that’s as important as any other part of our lives. If we are writers, it is out of that spirit we create our stories. In our daily lives, it is that spirit which sustains us when we are faced with chaos or other challenges.

So ask questions and bring lovely sounds into your life and see what possibilities open up when you do.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Garbage--real and symbolic

Garbage. Finally, the company managed to find and pick up my garbage and I managed to get a container for future pick ups. Seems silly but it really was getting to me that every week I’d put it out and every week it would still be there at the end of the day. Every week the company would assure me it would be picked up and it wasn’t.

I realized that it was symbolic—if the real garbage wasn’t being picked up, on some level I felt as if I couldn’t get rid of all the emotional garbage in my life either. Add to that a phone line that keeps going out frustration level was hitting the ceiling. How can I coach over the phone if the phone doesn’t work?

So often, I think, we invest emotions into things beyond what makes sense. All of this has given me practice in coming up with creative ways to cope with problems. The other thing it’s done is give me practical experience countering frustration with things that make me smile. I’ve made a concerted effort to make sure I have healthy food in the house that I love. I’ve made sure that every day which brought frustration had SOME experience of success to counter it. (Yesterday—garbage day—I made sure I got my car inspected and registered here.) Each experience then became proof that I had control over my life and that my happiness wasn’t hostage to what others did or didn’t do. Each time I smiled, it was a reminder that even when some things go wrong, I have the power to create happiness in my life.

Still no couches, still no vacuum cleaner (where are all the good inexpensive bagged ones???). I do plan to get lots of things at Target but it’s hard to do that before I have the couches so that I know what will look right with them. (My dresser the year in NJ after my divorce was stacked drawers from Target. )

By no means do I want to sound as if I have any regrets about this move! I still smile every time I look around at my house. I still smile every morning when I go out my front door to get the paper and see sunshine. I still smile when I think of all the people I’ve met who have been so nice. Each of these things is a reminder that life is not and doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. Each of these things is a reminder that the frustrating things that occur are not the sum total of my days. Each of these things is a reminder that I was so very right to listen to my instincts and come here.

There is a song sung by Lee Ann Womack—I HOPE YOU DANCE. I love that song. That’s how I see myself and my life now—I had the choice to sit it out or dance and I am dancing. If you haven’t heard the song, I hope you will. And I hope that you, too, will always choose to dance in whatever way that matters in your own life.


Monday, October 17, 2005

House, Home, Identity

I am realizing that it was easier to find this house than to know how to furnish it. I know what I want but I can't find it in stores. I realized that it ties into how I feel about myself. For the first time in my life, I could choose whatever I want--if I could find it. My home will be a reflection of me--who I am. I am inclined to wait except...I can't really hold classes until I have a furnished living room. And I need a kitchen table and chairs.

I realize, of course, that part of the problem is trying to keep to a budget. If money were no object, it would be much easier to get what I want. So the choice is between fiscal responsibility and "perfection."

That's a choice, of course, we often make in our lives. I think I need to get more creative. I haven’t seen any estate sales advertised but there must be some. And my daughter suggested I check Craigslist and ebay. Meanwhile, I’ve put together a small bookshelf to use as a night table because what do I need more than books beside my bed and space for a notebook or two?

I’ve been writing, too. Not the Pink Refrigerator project but another one I mentioned to an editor at the writer’s conference in Seattle. For all the coaching I do, for all the teaching I do, I am at heart a writer first. I have stories to tell. That’s been too often put on the back burner as I made all the changes I have recently. It feels good to have the words flowing again, to know that I’m doing what I love most.

So, like most of us, I am balancing the demands of every day life with the writing. And all of it is about becoming more truly myself, the person I am and want to be. I am discovering that I am not willing to settle for less than that—not now and not ever again. I won’t wear clothes I don’t love or buy furniture or write words that don’t matter to me. I won’t be someone others want me to be. And I will make the writing the priority it should be.

One reason I love to give writing workshops is that I know that when we find the words to tell the stories we have inside it changes our lives. When we find our voice, we find something else as well. We find courage, strength, resilience and we find ourselves. By the same token, being true to ourselves makes it easier to write the words we need to share. So....

If you have ever thought of writing, I encourage you to try. If you tell the stories that matter to you, you will never regret the time spent doing so—whatever happens. Share your stories. Wear clothes you love. Surround yourself with things that make you smile. It is your life--live it with joy and courage.


Friday, October 14, 2005


I’m going home in a few weeks. Funny that I should still think of NJ that way, even after the 20 months I’ve been away. But that’s where I raised my kids, that’s where I spent over 20 years of my marriage. I don’t want to go back there to live, but it carries a weight that has me thinking that I’m going home.

Going back has a lot of emotional resonance to it. I’ll be seeing my son and ex-husband and my daughter will even be in town that weekend. I’ll be facing the changes in the old house and the knowledge that my ex plans to sell it. I’ll be seeing old friends and knowing we’ve all changed. I’ll be remembering the good as well as the bad. I’ll be letting go, once and for all, of a place that never truly felt like home when I lived there.

So why am I going back to NJ when I’ve just moved into my house in Austin? Well, because I’ve just moved into my house in Austin. I can finally get my things (mostly research books) out of storage. I left them in NJ because my tiny apartment in California couldn’t hold them and it seemed folly to pay to ship things to put them in even more expensive storage out there.

But now I have a house and now I can unpack and use the things I put in storage. Mind you, it’s a daunting idea to go back and get all those things to UPS and the post office and ship them. And some things I’ll just give away because it would cost more to ship them than to replace them here—things that have no great sentimental value for me.

Still, the most daunting thing is the emotions already surfacing as I think of being there. Will I fall into old patterns of how I relate to people—especially people I once cared a great deal about and on some level still do? And if I do, will I get hurt by them all over again? Will I be able to hold onto this new understanding of who I am as a person or will I find myself back to trying to be the person I THINK they wanted me to be?

In a sense, though, that’s precisely why this trip is so necessary. It’s about closure. I’ll be shipping back to myself what was good that I left in NJ and want to keep in my life, and discarding what I’ve outgrown. The stuff in storage, I mean. But it works as an analogy on an emotional level, too. I will—I hope!—be embracing what was good about all the relationships in my life back there and letting go of what was not good. Not in anger, but in love. I will do so knowing that even the worst of the experiences helped to shape who I am and that any harm done came out to the other person’s own hurt and self-doubt and pain. I will also do so knowing that this understanding does NOT mean I must allow myself to be hurt all over again!

And so I feel both a mixture of anticipation and dread at the thought of going back to NJ even for a few days. It will bring an end to a profoundly important time in my life and free me to really begin on my new life, here in Austin. That thought brings tears and a smile, dread and anticipation. But then, isn’t that what change is always about—letting go of the old, embracing the new, holding onto what was good and letting go of what no longer fits?

I know already that I must build into my trip space for time alone and space for laughter. I will need a ready forgiveness—for myself and for those I will see who have hurt me in the past. Ironically, I already know that forgiving me (for not handling things as well as I think I should) will be the more difficult task. And that’s when I will most need to find ways to smile and laugh and remember that it is all part of the journey.

If I am going to truly LIVE, then there will be moments that challenge me, that stretch my ability to cope to the limit. But better that than never discovering what I can do and who I can be. Better to face my fears than to be ruled by them. Better to face people who in the past I have given the power to hurt me and take that power back and know that no one can hurt me unless I choose to let them.

What journeys and changes are you facing in your life? How can you make any transitions as easy as possible for yourself? What will let you smile and laugh, even at the most challenging of times? How will you move forward into the life you want to have?


Tuesday, October 11, 2005


It’s a funny thing about power—most of us, on some level, perceive ourselves as having far more power than we do and at the same time far less power than we truly do.

Here’s what I mean by that. Many of us, without even realizing it, carry into adulthood “magical thinking.” We believe that if we just anticipate every problem, we can keep anything bad from happening. Or we believe nothing bad ever will happen to us and if it does, we’re bewildered. Or we think that if we live our lives the way we are told we should then nothing bad will happen. Or if we just never brag about ourselves, good things will continue to happen and if we do they won’t. Or...

The list is almost endless of the way we may think we have more power than we do. And we cling to these notions because on some (usually unconscious) level, we don’t believe we have the power to create the lives we want to have and be happy. It feels safer and easier to cling to rituals, to live by someone else’s rules, or even, perhaps, to believe that some person (spouse, parent, friend, etc.) can guarantee our safety or happiness.

The thing is we all have far more power than we realize. Not the magical kind—we can’t control what will happen to our lives and neither can anyone else. The power we have is to choose how we will respond to what happens. We have the power to choose the actions we will take.

So how do we claim that power? It begins by realizing it exists. So....

Make a list. Well, okay, several lists. Note: Keep these lists handy and keep adding to them as you think of new things.

1) What are your strengths? What have you been able to accomplish in the past?

2) What do you value about yourself? (If you can’t think of anything, ask people who like you.)

3) What makes you smile? What makes you grin or feel happy? And here I include everything from funny movies to little stuffed animals to clothes to people to poems and books and movies and waterfalls and sunny days and.... Well, you get the idea. Do/wear/eat/read/watch/etc. something from this list at least 3 times a day!

If you know your strengths, you are likely to focus on using them instead of believing someone else must do things for you. If you know all the reasons to value yourself, you are less likely to perceive yourself as not having value and/or as deserving to have things go wrong. And when we do things that make us happy, we are lowering our stress levels and we are, on a daily basis, reminding ourselves that we have the ability to create joy in our lives. If we are going through a crisis, we are making ourselves a vivid promise that it will not always be this way and we ARE still capable of feeling moments of happiness and we are NOT hostage to anyone else—no matter what, WE can create joy in our lives.

So....let go of any unconscious magical thinking you may be clinging to and embrace the very real power YOU have over your life!


Monday, October 10, 2005


All right, this really about garbage cans and airplanes and writers conferences and DSL.

First, my garbage can was neatly set against the garage door when I returned from my trip to Seattle, so obviously someone realized their mistake and returned it. What a nice discovery!

My DSL is installed and working.

Writer’s conferences. I’ve never been to Seattle, but I went this weekend for a writer’s conference--the Emerald City Writers Conference. I was giving my BOOK IN A WEEK workshop and IMAGERY FOR WRITING AND LIFE. Both went well. Just as important, I had fun, a great deal of fun. The hotel was nice, the staff extraordinarily helpful, the food wonderful, and the people...the people were an absolute delight! Even the bookfair stood out—chocolate and dipping pens and bottles of ink plus the most enticing research books imaginable! I suspect I’ll be going back.

It was, as you might have guessed by now, a terrific weekend—in spite of an overnight flight home, not nearly enough sleep, and occasional bouts of nerves. I suspect I’m like most writers—I’m happy to work on my own, even happier to be around other writers, and in need of absolute solitude often !

These things might sound like contradictions, but other writers will know what I mean. We’re never alone—we have all these stories to tell and all these characters demanding that we do so at once! And yet we are inveterate people watchers and need that opportunity, too. When it’s people who understand about those stories we have to tell (i.e. fellow writers), why it’s even better!

I came back tired but renewed. I came back with an even greater sense of how the power over our lives lies in our own hands.

And hey, now I have DSL access—despite some initial glitches. Somehow that time away, reminding myself that above all else I am a WRITER gave me the resilience to barely notice that not everything went smoothly.

When we do what we love—and I LOVE public speaking and sharing with others ways to make our lives easier and happier—we renew ourselves and deepen our resilience to any challenge life might throw our way.

Here’s wishing you a chance to do something you love—TODAY!


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Things Go Wrong

Even at the best of times, things sometimes go wrong. Today was not the best of times. Something knocked out my phone line. The number in the phone book for SBC couldn’t be reached from my cell phone. I had coaching calls to make. I couldn’t make them on my cell phone because it began beeping to let me know the battery had run down and it was about to shut down.

I managed to find in email from SBC another number to try and the battery on my cell phone held out long enough for me to hear that my phone line would be fixed by...7 pm—AFTER my coaching calls had to be completed!

Put my cell phone charging. Realized I’d almost used up all the time on it and made a note to refill time once it was charged. Luck was with me and the phone line did get fixed before my coaching calls had to be made. Thank heavens!

So there I was, breathing a deep sigh of relief, when I went out back and discovered my garbage had not been picked up and—more importantly—the new container had not been left. Called and was told they didn’t know but if it wasn’t picked up today it would be tomorrow. Okay, I wasn’t pleased but...okay. Until I went back out 2 hours later to discover someone had stolen my NEW red kitchen metal trash can. ::SIGH::

I wanted to cry. I can guess, of course, that someone was scavenging and thought I was discarding the thing. But still....

Even now, there is a part of me that started to feel everything was now going to go wrong. And even a part of me that felt it was hubris on my part to think it was okay for me to have a house. But...

I’ve come a long way on my journey and now it’s so much easier to step back and remind myself that things simply happen. It was so much easier to separate the old fears from the present reaction and see that what was happening today was a series of nuisances—nothing really critical. It was okay. It was okay for me to have this house. That I could still figure out ways to handle things that go wrong. That I do not have to live my life expecting things to go badly. I could remind myself that glitches always happen—to everyone—and that we have a choice how we will react when they do occur. And it is that choice which will determine the quality of our lives far more than the actual events that happen to us.

So...choose to believe in the possibility of goodness in your lives. Focus on what can go right and the ways you can give yourself joy. Every day—EVERY DAY—make sure you find ways and reasons to smile or laugh at least 3 times. It is a promise to yourself that no matter what, you CAN create happy moments in your life. If things are going well, these times are a bonus. If life is challenging, it is a promise to yourself that it won’t always have to be this way. Even more important, the moments when you smile and laugh will give you greater resilience and strength and creativity to deal with whatever glitches do occur.

My next adventure? Seeing if I can get DSL working on my system. Until next time, remember to find reasons to smile and laugh every day!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happiness and Furnishing a Home

Funny how things work out. Back in NJ and then CA, it seemed simple. Anything that would cost as much to move as to buy new, I should leave behind. Which means I’m fine on linens like towels and sheets and silverware, fabric and clothes, but I have no furniture or pots or dishes or glasses or a vacuum cleaner? Yet. And the thing is that WAS the sensible decision to make. I have one set of dishes for me and time to find a larger set I like for company. But it’s a little unnerving to come back, day after day, to a house with no furniture. (Well, okay, one tray table and one folding chair fit in the back of my car...)

It would be simpler if I liked what was in the stores. I don’t. At least not so far. And everything is open floor plan so what goes in the dining area has to go with what goes in the living room which has to go with what goes in the study/den/classroom area.

Worse comes to worse, I’ll sew slip covers. But I’d just as soon not have to do that. Thing is, I’ll be living with this stuff for a very long time so it matters that it’s what I want. I’ll check Ross and Marshalls and TJ Maxx stores for dishes and Bed, Bath, & Beyond plus Linens & Things for pots and pans. But...I’m still looking. And checking ads in the paper every day hoping to spot what I really want.

I did get the home security system in place today. Got some more small things I needed yesterday. Will you laugh if I tell you that adding to my set of tools (another set of screw drivers with short handles, tape measure, etc.) was a priority yesterday? (I want to reverse the direction of the door on my dryer and the screwdrivers I have weren’t the right size.) But it’s part of reinforcing that sense of competence—of being able to take care of the things that need to be taken care of in my life.

We all need to feel competent, to know our own strengths. Knowing that, we can find the courage and faith in ourselves to learn new things and deal with what once would have seemed impossible.

One reason I am so picky about my house and what will be in it is that this also is a statement of faith—that I can and deserve to have a lovely home with things that bring me peace and happiness. It is a statement of faith that it is okay to be ME, that who I am and what reflects that identity is good enough and perhaps much more than “good enough.”

I grew up being told always to buy the cheapest thing that would do the job. I grew up being told I wanted the wrong things. I grew up being told I wasn’t good enough. Now, as an adult, it is a joy to know, to affirm to myself that I can choose what is right for me—not just what is cheapest. I can choose what I love knowing it IS the right choice—for ME. I can choose knowing that I can trust myself and the choices I will make. As I said, decorating this house isn’t just a matter of choosing furniture and dishes, etc. It is an affirmation of faith in who I am and who I have and who I WILL become! And I smile each time I add another piece to the setting00even if it is something as small as the right set of screwdrivers for the job I want to do.

The funny thing I am realizing is that the more faith we have in ourselves, the more we let go and reach inside to listen to what we KNOW is right for US, the more likely we are to make choices we do not regret and which are actually GOOD for us as well. (Okay, how many here have ever bought something they KNEW was probably a mistake but couldn’t resist rebelling just that little bit—especially if you couldn’t dare let yourself get what you really wanted?) I believe, for example, that shopaholics may in fact be buying lots of things they don’t really want to make up for the things they believe they aren’t allowed or don’t deserve to have in their lives. Buying one thing, or creating a space or relationship in our lives, that makes us truly happy can head off the purchase of a dozen things that are okay but not what we really want. Faith in ourselves matters. A willingness to allow ourselves to be happy matters—so much hurt and wasted money could be avoided, if we do.

Wishing all of you faith in yourselves and the choices YOU will choose to make!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Bed at Last!

Well, I have a bed. Expensive. Very expensive. But I found that when I tried less expensive beds, my back and my left shoulder (the one that was a frozen shoulder a couple of years ago) hurt too much. So, I ordered it yesterday and it got delivered today.

It is so nice not to be sleeping on the floor on an air mattress! Plus, now I know how much room there is in the sitting area of my bedroom. Not enough for a sofa or loveseat, but enough for a comfortable chair and a sewing table or writing desk. I need to figure out exactly what I want.

I'm still discovering things about my house. Still reveling in the space and how pretty it is.

Today was quiet. They said the bed would be delivered early (otherwise I'd have to wait until Monday) so I missed church to be here. That's okay. I'll find the right place for me later. Right now, I'm still settling in. Beginning to get the little things (kitchen garbage pail with a tight fitting lid, for example) that will make this house a home.

Thank you, Sharyn, for the suggestion of lists of what I need! Tori, now that you mentioned it, I've started noticing the noise of my ice maker. But there's enough distance between my bedroom and the kitchen that it doesn't disturb my sleep. And I still enjoy the luxury.

What I am discovering is that I really did know what I was doing when I picked this house and I really will always be able to figure out solutions to problems that come up. Those of you who know me well are going, "Well, duh!" Years of being treated as if I wasn't so smart, though, had their effect and it's taking time for this to sink in at a gut level. But each success--whether it's figuring out how to get home when I get lost after dark or choosing the right bed or fixing a minor glitch in the house--helps that understanding to embed itself so that it begins to be a part of who I am and how I see myself. It gives me both courage and faith to make new choices and move closer to making this the house I want it to be.

I ponder where my writing should go next. There are lots of things I could be writing and I am asking myself what I NEED to write. I as myself what I can uniquely do well. I wrote a draft of Pink Refrigerator as fiction. Part of me still whispers it should be nonfiction. We'll see. Thing is, all things seem possible now. And what once upon a time would have paralyzed me with fear has become more of what I simply take in stride.

That's the thing about doing new things, taking new steps, pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. This is what helps our comfort zones expand. This is how we grow as individuals. This is how we discover the things we didn't know we could do!

And through all of it, I find myself smiling every day. And that's important--to build joy into our days and into the new steps we take. Doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Doesn't have to be anything complicated. What it does take is the decision to make sure that we create lives in which we do find reasons to smile and even laugh. We can still honor our responsibilities. Indeed, I would argue that our best shot at honoring those responsibilities and carrying them out comes when we do it from a space of joy and happiness in our own lives. It is when we do not have those things in our lives that we become angry and hurtful toward others and miserly with what little goodness we have in our lives. Because we are afraid that's all there is. But when we know that at any time and in any place we know ways to be happy and smile and laugh, well, then we have the energy and strength and resources to help take care of others.

So...wishing you love and laughter and happiness in your own lives as well as courage to make whatever changes you need to make and perhaps have been putting off. Take those steps forward--you will be forever glad you did, even if they do not work out precisely as you hope they would!