Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Contract: Courting FEAR

Fear is a part of our nature.
We're all afraid of something.
Fear can creep in unexpectedly at any given moment.
The invitation is to court the fear,
be present to the fear, hold its hand, and walk your path.

The artist and Zionsville resident, Nancy Noel, is known by most for her paintings of the Amish children.  While I find all of her paintings magnificent as she truly mirrors the divine essence that lies in us all, The Contract speaks to the depths of me.  I originally saw The Contract in a newspaper article so I clipped it, pinned it to my bulletin board and knew that I had to go to The Sanctuary, her gallery in Zionsville to experience it face to face.  It is massive in size and energetically as it takes up the entire wall where it hangs.

I stood with it.  I moved right up to it and stepped back little by little until I could go no further.  I sat with it in the church pew.  Silent conversations, energetic exchanges with images feed me like nothing else can.  Time stood still as I extracted the messages, the wisdom from the images - some consciously and some unconsciously.

Jane who works for Nancy and gives the tours of this sacred space approached me.  I told her how much I loved The Contract and she elaborated on the artist's statement that as humans, we fear unnecessarily and it is part of our contract to free ourselves from this fear.  I heard and appreciated what she had to say but felt strongly that our ability to court the fear, to be present to it, to take it by the hand and walk our path created the freedom we all desire.  The repression of the fear because we judge it, deem it unnecessary and pretend it doesn't exist is the cage of our own making.

When I met Nancy, we had passionate discussions about The Contract and all it brought forward for her and for me.  She asked me to be a part of a video for her website to share my thoughts because this piece was the least favorite of most people who visited the Sanctuary.  People holding weddings and receptions there would actually request that it be covered but Nancy would not oblige. 

It makes sense to me that this image scares people because we fear fear.  We fear what we do not understand.  We label fear as a weakness as being a negative emotion instead of bringing it out into the open, examining it, acknowledging it, letting it breathe, befriending it as a part of our very nature.  We're all afraid of something.  Fear creeps in unexpected at any given moment warranted or unwarranted.  The human psyche is wired for fear to protect not to paralyze us.

Emily Dickinson declared:  No cowards soul is mine.  The place we meet fearlessness is the depth of us, the soul that knows all is well even when it doesn't appear that way.  Allowing the fear leads us into this sacred place within where we can rest even in the midst of life's turbulence. 

Yesterday, I packed up my giclee on canvass image of The Contract as it continues to remind me that the true power lies in courting fear not trying to make it go away.

Monday, April 29, 2013

There is a Season

"There is a season for everything under the sun..."
These words gripped me gently washing over me.
It is a knowing that helps me rest within my Self.
The leaf falling from the tree twirling in the winds.
The squirrel laying lifeless in the road.
Our loved ones who leave this earth.

There is something so poetic even in the tragedy of loss experienced through death.  A season, a beginning and an ending with life exchanged in ways we recognize and ways we don't.  Some seasons are brief and some extended.  There is a mystical aspect to each season that allows us to rest in what is to allow the unknown to be and this makes even the end of the season beautiful.

Yesterday, my beloved fury companion Tigger died.  There was no visible trauma.  His body lay still next to the litter box.  He was always high strung from the moment he made his way to our porch.  He clung to the screen talking away, ordering us to let him in with his high pitched voice.  His name came from him bouncing around this house, entering the room thunderously, jumping from the dresser to the bed to the floor in a single bound.  His temperament while loving and playful could also be pissy with his tail erect as he stomped around the bedroom until I would let him out onto the back porch. 

I had heard stories about cats and other pets dying, deciding to check out and leave this life during times of transitions with the family.  Even when my late-husband, John died, they were deeply in mourning to the point where I didn't know if I would wake up and find one dead. When I had decided to move, I began to talk to each of the cats about what was happening ,tuning in to each of them, honoring them and thanking them for the journey we had shared and for all they gave me throughout the years.

Last week, I was driving down a country road when I realized that what initially appeared to be a stick was actually a squirrel.  I was so relieved that I recognized this so I could stop and let it go across to safety.  Then, I had this jolting moment of clarity:  If it was time for the squirrel to die, to return to the Source, to go the heavens, you could not have stopped this.  And let's get your power in perspective, you would not be responsible for the death of the squirrel (unless you sped up to deliberately hit and kill it).  The death of this creature and all God's creatures is between God and them...For everything under the sun, there is a season.

The truth of this there is a season of life for each of us freed me from any residual energy within that believed I was responsible for John's death - that there was something  I could have done to stop it.  I remembered being out on a run several months after John's passing and having a poem download:  When death comes, it comes.  You can't stop itLike a train on the tracks of life.  Full speed into what lies beyond what we can see, what we know...  This stark reality can leave us feeling powerless because we actually are powerless as humans in many ways.  Yes, we have the power of choices, we do what we can, we listen to our bodies when they need to be checked out by doctors or need rest or changes in diet and exercise.  And when death comes, it is the end of our season here.

The invitation this day is to use this knowing to embrace all the experiences that come your way.  Remember, that one day when this season ends, we shall miss even the things about being human that we curse (Yes!  Even taxes and taking out the trash and caring for a loved one and being stuck in traffic).  Keep your heart light.  Find your way to laughter and joy again and again and again even when life brings events that make you cry.  Hold both the pain and the joy.  This is your life.  It is sacred.  It is.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Keep Calm & Carry On

The Calm that is beyond me continues to hold me
so I can carry on and do what I must.
The silence within me is echoing throughout this empty home
absorbing the memories, all of the life lived here, as they integrate within me,
no longer attached to this space, the past, the present or the future.

It is a rainy Sunday morning, ripe conditions for returning to my bed with pen in hand and paper on my lap and kitties scattered all around me at rest.  There is even a bird singing the blues outside the bedroom window, tugging at my heart strings, bringing tears forward from the soulful exchange and inspiring songs within me yet to be sung.  There is a layer of melancholy filtering through me and the Calm that is beyond me permits even this which allows me to carry on and do what I must.

Staying in the moment is essential as I have miles to walk before I reach my destination.  I ground what is required of me each day as I write down the day of the week, the date including the year and a check list in the order of importance including times where I have numbers sessions or I am meeting others.  This practice sets the intention as I enter the day, moment by moment, step by step, knowing I will have the energy to do whatever is needed.

A friend gave me a Keep Calm & Carry On mug as a going away gift.  This sparked thoughts of The Calm, the true calm not me pretending to be calm while repressing how freaked out I am at any given time.  The Calm that allows us to carry on is a Grace, the soul force of the Universe, holding us and sustaining us throughout our entire life.  At times when life is amplified with stress and uncertainty, this Grace, this Calm is more apparent but it is always there.  Whether we consciously call on or connect to this Grace, the Calm, this soul force, it is present within us and around us.

Yesterday, I took 3 more cats to Misty Eyes (www.mistyeyes.org).  Unlike a couple of weeks ago when I dropped off others to be adopted out, I felt wrecked all morning with shallow breathing but the Calm held me as I experienced the sorrow so I could do what I needed to do.  As I arrived at Misty Eyes, the volunteers who greeted me were the Calm as they hugged me and held me through my tears and heartbreak.  Their words, their presence, their love and understanding were the Calm. 

The Calm doesn't make life easier but it makes it possible to navigate paths that we must in order to make our way in this world.  Acknowledge this Calm, rest in it, be it for others and let others be it for you so you can carry on living this life with gratitude, joy and abundance.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

PAINTing a New Picture

Our minds can paint pictures that leave us feeling bad
AND our minds can paint pictures that enliven us with possibilities.
Painting new pictures in our mind's eye,
Holding the vision,
Imagining what can be
creates a sense of wonderment.

My move has filled me a sense of adventure and excitement but the cats finding new homes and not being physically with me has left my heart heavy from time to time.  A friend of mine who listened to me sighing from a I'm a bad mother guilt trip after I dropped off TommyBoy to his new home helped me paint a new picture and this shifted everything.  She jumped right into his mind as if she were a cat:  How cool!  Look at this...Oh, I better go sniff that.  There's a good place to lay in the sun.  There have to be mice here somewhere...Wow!  Life is good.

She and I began laughing with delight as I remembered how dwelling in the possibilities for my life feeds me and she helped me apply this to Tommy's new life.  I felt good and this grounded me in a sense of trust in knowing he was okay even though I didn't feel okay in my initial sadness over our separation.  Freedom came from being present to not denying the feelings of anxiety and fear over his safety and painting a new picture through the power of imagination.

Friends, people on the outside of situations can help us paint new pictures in our mind's eye that lighten our hearts.  This is necessary to gain new perspective.  While it is important to acknowledge feelings, it is detrimental to our health to allow the river of emotions to carry us off over the falls crashing into a million pieces.  (Hell!  There are events in life that will indeed shatter us without our consent but we have choices in managing the waves of emotions that roll in and out...lol!!)

This morning, as I raised the windows to let in the cool air, filling me and the house with freshness.  As I inhaled, I welcomed this new day, this new life not just for me but for all people and all fury friends sharing this journey with us.  As I exhaled, I let go of any residue of heaviness in my heart.  Today is a blank canvass so I am PAINTing new pictures that fill me with hope, joy and a sense of wonderment. 

Join me in dwelling in the possibilities that lie within you and within this day! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Circle of LOVE at Green Street Pub

The friends I inherited from my late-husband, John,
loved me initially out of love for him.
And after sharing time, tears, laughter & conversation,
we connected in friendship,
widening the circle of love and life that will continue to feed us.

Last night, we gathered at Green Street Pub & Eatery here in Brownsburg for my last Thursday as a resident.  Thursdays were called "wing ding" night by John because wings are on special.  He would meet his friends there without fail as long he was in town.  My first outing was a few months after his death where they held a fundraiser honoring him on his birthday that benefited the Wounded Warrior Project.  Within 10 days, they planned and enlisted the help of the community to raise over $10,000.00. 

I was blown away at the kindness they showered on me and the passion with which they came together to carry on John's legacy of generosity.  John is the great love of my life not just because of how he showed up in our relationship but because of how he showed up in relationship to all of the world.  He is a part of the circle of love that we continue to enjoy.  The circle of life, of love is indeed eternal.

We told stories remembering John, encouraging each other with his words:  There will never be another day just like this one so enjoy it.  They gave me cards where they poured out their hearts, wishing me only happiness and a life full of new adventures.  There was a cake with the message:  We are happy for you.  Remember who loves you!  Someone gave me a bracelet with the words:  Believe, Courage and Strength, saying I reminded her to believe, to live in courage and to acknowledge her strength.  Other friends gave me a beautiful silver necklace with circles linked with a note:  We are happy for you!!!  You have a big circle of friends that love you.  You will be missed.  Enjoy this necklace and as you wear it remember the circle of LOVE.

There were hugs, kisses, hands held in connection as we said whatever we needed to express in that moment.  And I get to carry this love with me all of my days wherever I go.  I rest in this knowing and delight in this powerful exchange I am privileged to experience.  Our LOVE is indeed the miracle!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

MESSAGES from Beyond

Messages from the heavens come just when we need them most.
They remind us that the connection continues
even when we leave physical form.
The spirit lives on
guiding us, affirming us and keeping our hearts light,
as we learn to LIVE without those we LOVE.

My late-husband, John, has visited me since he left this earth countless times.  The dream state is when I was most open initially but now, it happens when I am fully awake, living each day.  There are even times when someone is speaking to me and I see his eyes in their eyes or the specific words or phrasing they use are his even infused with his boundless energy and humor.  Shortly after he died, I was taking out the trash in the pitch dark by the light of the moon and felt him jump out at me which actually scared the crap out of me so I asked him to come gently to me instead of with his normal intensity.

While packing up the house, he has been so close that I truly thought he might walk out of the walls.  His energy is an electric smile that lights me from the inside out as he assures me and cheers me on as he did in our life.  When I decided to move, he visited me in my dream state with the message:  It's YOUR turn, smiling and nodding as we sat leaning into each other face to face, knee to knee, hand and hand.  He had said this to me when he was alive, after we sold our business and my mom who I had cared for died in the same week.  It's YOUR turn, inviting me to explore what I wanted next for my life.  The morning after John visited in my dream, the bootcamp trainer stood in front of me to push me as we did a series of burpies, saying:  It's YOUR turn, Katie...It's YOUR turn...You got this.  John was making sure this message was not lost.  Then, this week while at the doctor's office, the receptionist knowing about John's death and my move said:  Kathy, It's YOUR turn.
I looked her in the eye smiling with gratitude, loving that she had no idea she was a messenger and said:  Yes!  It IS my turn. 

MikeyO, a kindred soul brother of John's came over last week to help me with some matters.  John had visited him in his dream state:  John called Mike on the phone, bantering with him as he had done a thousand times in this life, giving him shit in jest.  Mike asked him where he was and he told him:  I AM IN A GOOD PLACE.  Mike wanted to know specifically where he was so he could go to John but John told him again:  I AM IN A GOOD PLACE but you can't come here because it's not your time.  You have things to do still.  He thanked MikeyO for helping me, for being here for me and let him know that Gee is in a good place too.   MikeyO and I wept together at the beautiful affirmations; and in the midst of our tears, our hearts were light recognizing that even in spirit John's humor and personality burst through.  We knew the gifts we were being given and received them with hearts wide open.

Whether you believe in messages from beyond or not, whether you have felt the connection with the spirit world or not, the invitation is to stay open to this sacred dance of life that continues to reveal more with each passing day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Playing the Role: The Crazy Cat Lady

It didn't happen all at once.
But the flood gates opened within my heart
calling every abandoned cat around to my porch
eventually making their way into my home.
It was a shock to all especially me that I became the Crazy Cat Lady.
My coffee mug says:  All lives should have 9 cats.
It has been a WONDERFUL ROLE in my life
but it is over.

Let's go back 10 years ago:
This is an excerpt from my book Passing On Hope in the chapter: Giving Ourselves Away
There is a stray cat that has been coming around our house for a few years. I named him Smokie during a moment of nostalgia when his smoky gray patterns on his white fur reminded me of the clouds of cigarette smoke I used to enjoy. I leave a heaping bowl of Cat Chow and water for him on the porch each day. He doesn’t eat much; the raccoons and the opossums finish off his cat food at night. Sometimes I even put albacore tuna or salmon in the dish to treat him. He runs to me as I leave the house or return, rubbing his back on my ankles, tripping me as I try to walk away, and purring and meowing for me to stop and give him attention. I know he wants affection from me, but since I didn’t grow up with pets, the thought of that is torturous for me. I can give Smokie food and water and a little kitty condo with a blankie for the fall and winter. I can sweet-talk him with sincerity and love him from afar, but I can’t pick him up and rub him. My husband John, who is loved by all animals and children, scoops up the cat and infuses him with the attention he craves. John’s ability to give the cat what he wants used to make me feel guilty for not being able to do the same. Letting go of the guilt became easier when I finally understood that I was giving the cat all I could.

Fast Forward to present time:
I am 8 days from my move and can only take 2 kitties with me so my beloved cat family has been disbanded into new homes and with the help of Misty Eyes (www.mistyeyes.org) a local all volunteer based rescue and adoption center, the remaining will be placed where they can love and be loved.  St. Francis, the patron saint of all animals has been working miracles, and I am in awe how everything is unfolding which reminds me again and again that I am the train but there is something far greater fueling this train (and each train on the track of life).

The cats were rescued by John and I.  He used to say: We think we are rescuing them but they are actually rescuing us. It indeed felt this way as the connection and joy they brought into our home and our lives was divine.  After John died, I declared:   I am officially the crazy fu#%ing cat lady now, laughing at myself and the image of the stereotype: single, heartbroken woman filling her home with cats instead of humans, rattling around with wild hair, a moo moo, knee high pantyhose rolled down to her ankles with white pointy tennis shoes. 

In the depths of my grief as I laid in bed, I made an agreement with myself:  all you HAVE to do is scoop cat shit and breathe.  This became my mantra:  Scoop cat shit and breathe...scoop cat shit and breathe...When you want to feel alive, scoop cat shit and breathe, my comic relief version of the zen saying:  When seeking enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  When enlightened, chop wood, carry water.  Of course, I fed the cats too and caring for them, exchanging the energy of love with them was essential as it gave me something to focus on, something to get me out of bed; and when I laid in bed, they laid on top of me and around me.  Our souls have been on a grand journey together!

As I began to get out into the world again, I was scooping cat shit while rocking a brand new pair of shiny red patent leather stilettos with a cork heel and laughed out loud as I thought:  This crazy cat lady wears stilettos not a moo moo.   I owned the fact that I was the crazy cat lady, this was indeed a role I was playing and enjoying, doing it my way; and this gave me great insight into how we box ourselves in with negative stereotypes and ideas of what it means to play certain roles in this life. 

It is a gift we give ourselves to own who we are, to embrace the roles we play without apology, to not let the opinions of others or the stereotypes of the culture override what we want to do with our lives.  And to stay open to roles yet to come.  Never say Never!  Don't limit yourself through fixed ideas of who you are.  Life will always show us we are far more than we believe ourselves to be and it is exciting to be shocked by life as we are led onto paths we couldn't see coming. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not borrowing WORRY...

It is human nature to worry.
We all do it even if we drop into pockets of this energy
and pop right back out as trust springs up to remind us all is well.
Honoring where others are, I don't try to convince them not to worry.
But I do NOT borrow their worry.
The minute I feel even a tinge of worry being projected onto me,
I consciously tune in to my higher knowing,
where I rest.

I connected yesterday with lifelong friends so we could formally say our goodbyes.  One shared her worries over the suddenness of my move and how she had resisted saying anything to me before but felt compelled to at this time.  She is such a generous friend and her intentions were out of the goodness of her big heart but as I listened, I detached from the worry she was projecting on to me and my life.  There was no defensiveness as I have nothing to defend.  And I was not offended as she was not creating an offense.  She was simply sharing where she was, expressing her experience around my choices. 

To others my move is sudden and it would appear that way to anyone outside of me.  But I know that this move has been 2 years, 5 months and 6 days in the making.  No one has walked my path.  Not because they didn't want to walk the path with me but they couldn't as it wasn't theirs to walk.  I know the surefootedness I feel with every breath, every step I take because I also know what it was like to travel life outside of my body, ungrounded, swirling every which way as if on a ride that I couldn't stop.  All of this has led me to this higher knowing where I can rest and trust as never before. 

My mom, bless her heart, was a professional worrier.  I watched her worry about everything and borrow worry from the neighbors as they shared whatever crisis was happening at the moment.  She would freak out with explosive outbursts over what seemed to be nothing to me and I would absorb her worry like a sponge.  I would feel sick to my stomach and even throw up occasionally as I borrowed her worry, not knowing as a child how to shield myself against this energetic violation.  

My siblings and I would tease that mom was happy as long as she had something to worry about so we would encourage each other to tell her our most disturbing news.  She blasted the news every night from 5pm to 7pm soaking in the troubles of the world, welcoming the intensity, scowing and twitching her mouth to the side in nervousness.  This was comfortable to her as she had been doing it her whole life.  I never saw her free of this until she knew the end of her life was near, 6 hour before she lost consciousness.  She had a peace that was so beautiful it transformed her physically before my eyes.

I am committed to NOT borrowing worry and invite you to do the same.  My amazing mom serves as the ghost of Christmas future for me, making me mindful that I have different choices to make if I don't want to waste energy worrying over whatever the wind blows my way.  I honor her life for what it was, for who she was AND I honor what I need in order to be who I am, to enjoy a freedom that she did not.

The minute you feel a tinge of worry being projected on to you, consciously tune in to your higher knowing where you can rest and be free to live the life you want to live.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Said Five Words

I love people.  I love my family, my children...but inside is a place where I love all alone and thats where you renew the springs that never dry up.
-Pearl S. Buck 

Yesterday morning, I rested in the place where I love all alone and renewed the springs that never dry up, bathing in the nourishment that comes from the stillness, the quietude, the communing with my Self silently yet playfully.  There is nothing like this place in all of the world.  A painting of Lois's that I had bubble wrapped the day before came to mind where after a day of painting on the beach she had written on it:  I said five words.  Enough for today.  This spoke to where I was so indulged the monk energy that needed to simply be.

The funny thing about me is I have this introvert, extrovert axis which would surprise most because I can talk to anyone and when I am out in the world, I am there expressing my social butterfly who likes to play and enjoy others.  I love people.  I love family and friends. But like the cat, I only come out of hiding when I want to and can't force myself to turn it on to appease others.  As long as I feed both parts, keeping my Self in balance and tuning in to my needs, life never dulls or dries up as I am renewed by it all.

Some days, five words are enough and on other days, five thousand would never be enough as I absolutely love the spoken word, the written word, the words that spring from numbers and images and nature.  There is something so grand in knowing our Self, knowing who we are, knowing what we need and being okay with this - free of shame and guilt and judgment.  This is mothering our Self as only the all-loving, all-nurturing, all-understaning "mother" within us can.

Know Thyself.  This is the wisdom imparted throughout the ages.  The pursuit of the Self is a great adventure as I have found that knowing my Self and my story, I have come to know others with an abiding love, respect and compassion.

What do you need this day?  HONOR this.  HONOR you. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Further Than You Can Think

The winds of life will take us further than we can possibly think.
The mind often stuck in the past and in what it knows based on experience
can keep us locked down and limit us.
But when the doors blow open,
we are reminded that what we know is actually a pin drop
in the vast ocean that is this life.
Welcome the revelations that come like waves upon your shore.  

Yesterday, I took down a 5 feet by 5 feet oil on canvass painting done by my friend, Lois Main Templeton that she titled:  further than you can think.  It was a gift from my late-husband, John, during a time where I was drifting deeply in the unknown, roaming new shores and wondering what the hell was next for my life.  He picked the painting based on how it felt and the title solidified the decision.

The images in the painting evoke the stirring of windows blowing open with sheer curtains dancing about gloriously and wildly in surrender to what is coming through in the moment.  Standing before it for the first time, it felt as if the sea within me was parting in order to lead me to lands necessary for me to explore and assured me that I didn't need to know where I was going in order to get there.  It whispered trust...trust...trust...where you are going is further than you can think.

This painting hung in Lois's home as a reminder to her to stay open until she and her husband downsized into an apartment.  She had given it to the gallery representing her work the day before John walked in there.  She no longer needed its offering.  The baton was passed to me, the invitation to live:  further than you can think.  It continues to companion me on my journey as I am taking it with me and already know exactly where it will hang in my condo.

Becoming a numerologist is one of the laugh out loud surprises of my life!  I didn't seek to study numbers and use them as a tool in counseling and coaching others.  It just happened.  There was no thought of it until the information downloaded, truly a gift from the heavens that I get to use in service to those who need to remember why it is good to be who they uniquely are.

John died on 11-17 and immediately, I began to see 11:17 everywhere, every single day.  I still receive texts and emails daily at this time.  When I walked in with the realtor into my new condo, the clock read 11:17 and a flood of energy surged through me and the realtor who had no idea what was going on within me said in his southern accent: I got the chills.  For me, the vibration of the numbers are reassuring me of the connection with John beyond this physical life and I straddle these realms effortlessly.  With both feet planted on this earth, I enjoy an intimacy with the heavens that is a part of every breath I take. 

I don't even think about this.  I just give thanks that the door that had locked my mind blew open, reminding me that what I know is a pin drop in the vast ocean that is life.  I welcome the revelations that come breath by breath like waves upon my shore excited by the new ideas, new thoughts, new life.  My life has truly expanded taking me further than I can think.

I extend the invitation to you to live further than you can think.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break.
May you be open to each thread that comes into your life - 
the golden ones and the coarse ones - and may you weave them
into a brilliant and beautiful life. 

The above words were carved into a wooden sign that I found in a boutique LuLu in the charming town of Franklin, Tennessee.  When I stood there in the middle of the store reading it, drinking in the wisdom, the truth of these words, I wept.  As I walked to the check out counter with the sign in my hands, hot tears continued to drip down my face sliding down my neck; the owner teared up as our eyes met and we politely exchanged pleasantries.  She expressed her love of the sign as we continued to weep silently together, the invisible thread held us in a stillness, timelessness as our hearts merged.  This woman, a stranger moments before was now a part of me.

I have shared my experience of saying Goodbye and the necessity of this throughout our lives.  But I believe with all of my heart that the connection to those we are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance cannot be broken.  Each of us is woven into the other through this invisible thread which is life, the soul force of the universe that animates all of creation.  It can be difficult to stay open to each thread that comes into our life preferring the golden over the coarse, but staying open to all will nourish our souls as nothing else can.  Connection is an essential part of our human existence and journey here on earth. 

There is a nameless woman emblazened in my heart who lives in the small town of Hope, Indiana who held me in a Shell gas station off of I65 South as I crumbled and shattered at the news of my husband's death.  The invisible thread led each of us to that moment, to connect briefly in a powerful way.  Destiny was at play as the experience we shared fed us both in ways we needed.  I don't have to know how this impacted her life.  I simply know it did.  I send her silent prayers of thank you, trusting she receives them and believing our shared moment has brilliantly and beautifully woven into her life.

I have countless stories of meeting people as I make my way in life who have awakened parts of me, who have taught me exactly what I needed to learn, who appreciated who I am and mirrored the beauty of my life back to me.  As a storyteller who not only writes but gets to speak to groups, I share the perfection in the unfolding of my life, taking them in to their own life story.  Our lives may play out differently but we have a shared story of humanity where the invisible thread stretches and tangles, pushes and pulls, leading us into our Self more and more until our last breath.

This journey is indeed magical.  We alone could never plan or force things to happen the way the hand of destiny can unfold it.  The invitation is to lean into life in absolute surrender to the abundance that is you, that is all, knowing the invisible thread is bringing forward moment by moment just who you need.  Arms wide open!  This is your life.  Bow to it.  Give thanks for the golden threads and the coarse threads.  Each serves you. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Shared Excitement!

has been the most common response regarding my move.
There is a shared excitement.
And in this shared excitement,
others have spontaneously begun to move into new ideas, new wants for their own life exploring what makes them happy
and what simply doesn't anymore.
Asking and opening to: 
What now?

Even when I am alone, I feel the shared excitement of others for this new life I am now living.  They have been with me sharing in the pain, standing in the trenches with me not knowing how I would make it out and feeling powerless to help as the grief swallowed me whole.  Now, they get to share in the energy of pure possibilities, to witness the hatching of me, who I am now.  When they look into my eyes and say:  I am so happy for you!  it is music to my soul because I know in this field of happiness, they will experience their own life hatching.

Shared excitement ignites the fertile field within each of us.  This is the power of being happy for others instead of jealous.  Happiness for others is living in the abundance of life, knowing the possibilities are limitless for all of us.  Jealousy of others is living in the lack, a scarcity consciousness that locks us into beliefs around limitations and competition with others - survival of the fittest.  One is a thriving mentality and the other is a surviving mentality.  I pick thriving because it just feels so damn good to enjoy life and watch others find a way to enjoy this ride even when they encounter events that rock them.

Some have said I am sooooo jealous of you! with an acknowledgement of the fact that they too are ready for a life change but don't know what they means yet.  There is no charge of resentment toward me and they are far from a scarcity mentality.  I have watched them move spontaneously into new ideas, new wants for their own lives, exploring what makes them happy and what simply doesn't anymore.  They are living the answers to What now? opening to new life just as I have been doing for 2 years, 5 months and 2 days.

I can mark the end of my old life as it was John's death date:  11/17/10.  It is not that obvious for everyone; some finish lines are blurred.  We invite a new life when we tune in to our Self and dare to ask: Am I happy?  What do I want now?  Do I feel excited by my life?  Do I feel jealous, the heat of longing for the life others have?  (Don't deny this out of shame...we all feel jealous at some point in our lives.  Welcome the information:  what is this telling me?).

Surround yourself with people who share your excitement for life and watch this excitement grow and grow and grow.  Pay attention to what it feels like when you surround yourself with people who are naysayers, downers, energy vampires who have forgotten that life is meant to be enjoyed and happiness is essential - it is the mark of a soul on fire who lives beyond circumstances.   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Goodbyes are a part of life.
Whether the "Goodbye" is believed to be a brief interlude between visits
Or the Goodbye is indefinite.
Goodbyes are not easy
No matter how we look forward to what lies ahead.
They remind us that in order to go where we are going,
we must let go of people, places and things that we actually love.

Emptying the contents of my home has taken me on many journeys for which I am grateful.  The high school clippings and memorabilia was delightful to revisit.  My senior prom theme for 1987 was Never Say Goodbye from the Bon Jovi song.  I remember in our innocence and with the best of intentions, my classmates and I promised to Never Say Goodbye, believing that we could somehow keep things the same AND move on with the next chapter of our lives.

At 44, with a couple of lifetimes already lived within my lifetime, I don't have this expectation.  Saying Goodbye while difficult is necessary.  I love my friends and family.  Hell!  I love my home and the community.  But I must let it all go in order to step into the new life that awaits. 

One of my dear friends texted me last night:  I am in denial that you are leaving.  I responded that at some level I am in denial too so I can do what I must, so I can say Goodbye to a life I love which includes her and countless others.  Grace veils us with denial so we aren't overwhelmed by the flood of emotions and the enormity of what is taking place.  I thank the Heavens for this and welcome this force that keeps me going no matter what. 

Yesterday was 2 years and 5 months since John died so I have been saying Goodbye to him, to me, to us day by day.  This is the most heartbreaking Goodbye of my life.  But this doesn't make saying Goodbye to others easy.  As a matter of fact, the depth that John's death has taken me to, allows me to feel things with an intensity like never before.  And it reminds me of the connection that remains whether we are near or far, whether we are alive in our physical bodies or dwelling in spirit.

What a blessing it is to be LOVED and to LOVE!  This makes saying Goodbye bitter sweet.  There is gratitude for the sweetness of the love and connection that has held me, soothed me and kept me going AND there is bitterness in the letting go.  The love, the connection is eternal but the dance is different.

I invite you to acknowledge the gift it is to be LOVED and to LOVE.  It is all that truly matters! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This Life is a Privilege!

One day this life will end.
We shall miss it all.
Even the things that make us crazy, that we try to avoid or run from.
It is all sacred.
Each of us is magnificent.
Even in our most flawed moments where we want to hit the REDO button.
The privilege is ours.

I can remember even as night fell the day John died, holding my hand to my heart and saying silently to him, my Self and the great Creator: It was a privilege.  It was my privilege to share this life with you, to be your wife, your partner and your friend, to bear witness to the way you showed up so magnificently and generously.  Thank you...thank you...thank you.

Those we share this life with most intimately help us to remember all that we are, all that we give just by being who we are and this is a necessary mirror, the truest gift of connection, human to human.  And the whole of creation reveals the truth of who we are through nature: in the earth, the stars, the sky, the trees, the winds, the rain, the flowers, the ocean, the birds, the animals, the mountains and so on.

A friend sent me a message yesterday to share her joy in remembering the abundance she is, that life is:  My world was ROCKED as I looked at the tree and knew instantly that life is NOW, make the most of NOW as this is all there is.  In a flash, grace dropped her into this knowing, escorted her into the truth that this moment whether we label it good or bad is everything, is a privilege to be in, to experience. 

When we forget the magnificence of our life, we feel a dullness, a disconnect from our Self, others, life.  We drift through our days waiting for things to be different, waiting for someday to come instead of being present to all that is, all that life is giving us now moment by moment.

We are always the swan NOT the ugly duckling whether we remember this, whether we know this or not.  This is TRUTH.  It simply is.  Each of us, life expressed as individuals on this human journey has purpose far beyond what the mind can comprehend.  The mind will lead us to believe that we are the swan only when we do things right or reach a goal or achieve a level of success.  This life is sacred as we are the abundance we seek in the outside world.  And this life is our privilege to live, to express the abundance.

Each of us is magnificent.  Even in our most flawed moments where we want to hit the REDO button.  The privilege is ours.  Hold this TRUTH in your heart:  This life is a privilege!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Faith in Humanity Begins with Faith in Our Self

There was a hymn we sang in church when I was growing up
that always made me cry even as a small child:
"Let There Be Peace On Earth..."
One of the lines comes to me this day in the wake of the Boston Tragedy:
Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
(Faith in Humanity begins with faith in our Self.)

I awakened this morning heavy in my mind, body, heart and soul so I tuned in immediately, connecting consciously with my highest Self, with the universe and all of humanity, sending love to all and believing this love reaches all like invisible tentacles of pixie dust which I call Grace.  The Boston tragedy that occurred yesterday afternoon weighs on us all.  The senselessness, the horror, the lives lost and lives forever altered leaves us feeling powerless and unravels us as our foundations, inner and outer are rocked.

For me, I choose not to watch the television coverage or view the images because this keeps me in my head, spinning and worrying, trying to figure out what has no reasonable explanation.  I don't bury my head in the sand or deny what has occurred but I believe that dropping into my heart and soul, feeling the pain and calling on assisting forces within and around me to help us use even this for the greater good of all.   

As I finished bootcamp fitness this morning, one of the women said with a heavy heart: What will this world be like in 20 years with all of this going on?  I told her my personal philosophy that faith in humanity begins with faith in our Self, encouraging her to tap into her goodness and use this to serve the whole of the world, moment by moment, choice by choice, day by day.  There is a power in this that isn't recognized in our culture that is externally focused.  There are tangible things we can do and intangible things we can do so we must use it all.  It all serves!

I invite you all to remember this day the magnificence that is YOU!  You matter far more than can be languaged.  The way you show up for life makes a difference in a million ways that you cannot see but I ask you to TRUST this TRUTH.  Never lose sight of the truth:  The world needs YOU!   PEACE begins with YOU! Faith in Humanity begins with Faith in Your Self.  And HOPE isn't something we "do" rather it is a force ALIVE within each of us that "is"...PASS IT ON! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

FREEDOM: Not Responsible for Others

FREEDOM comes when we understand
that we can respond to the needs of others and be present to them wherever they are without being responsible for them and their choices in this life.

Most of my life, I have felt overly responsible for others, carrying the heaviness of their life challenges on my shoulders and in my mind, body, heart and soul.  My joy, my peace, my happiness was contingent upon whether everything was okay for everybody in my life (friends, family, employees, clients), tying my energy unconsciously to them and jumping off the cliff into the muck with them instead of standing my ground, staying in my lane, living my life and allowing them to live their life.  

I watched myself become resentful of people I loved.  When they would call seeing their name and number come up on the phone, I would begin grunting as I was instantly filled with dread.  But if I didn't take their call, I felt guilty.  I would go into the shoulds which is always guilt and shame, beating myself up for being selfish and not being a good friend to those in need, playing out the savior and martyr complex.  This crazy talk was relentless until the clarity came when I realized that I was intervening in their soul's journey, padding them from life's harshness, believing they needed me to help instead of trusting they could meet what came and experience all that life had to reveal to them.

Now, no longer feeling responsible for others, I can meet them where they are and not take on their heaviness.  I listen.  I offer words of encouragement.  I respect their individual soul's journey.  I remind them that they can meet whatever comes and to exercise their power of choice and trust their self.  This is responding to their needs NOT being responsible for them.  This is freedom!

Last Saturday night, I walked into a restaurant where I know everyone to grab dinner.  When the bartender saw me, he immediately said You need to call (let's just say Mary).  She is worried about you!  Not being responsible for others and whatever they are feeling even around me, I replied without a thought I don't need to call Mary.  She enjoys worrying.  This is the truth.  Mary, a mutual friend of ours, loves to worry so I was just her focus for now.  It is a way of being for her and I am free in knowing this.  This isn't judgment; it is my experience of her.  She has choices and I don't need to call her and convince her not to worry about me.  I truly have better things to do with my life! 

Carrying around the responsibility for others - their perceptions, their habits, their choices SUCKS the life out of us.  And I just want to LIVE my life knowing that freedom comes from my choices.  I choose ME.  From this choice, I am a much truer friend who can honor and love people exactly where they are without agenda, not trying to change them or force them to make choices that I believe are best for them.

Cut yourself FREE...be 100% responsible for your life and let others be 100% responsible for their life. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I LOVE love.
I do.
Love of Self, Love of others, Love of life...LOVE is EVERYTHING.
This energy that flows through us
that we get to share with the world
is the greatest gift bestowed on us.
CHOOSING to LOVE isn't about being sappy or sentimental.
It is an exchange of joy and makes life so damn fun.

As I pack up my home to move, I am finding treasures buried in the boxes of my closets.  Yesterday, I struck gold when I discovered one of my late-husband's Tshirts in a scuba bag.  When I lifted it to my face, I couldn't believe that it still smelled like him.  Ahhhhh...this took me to my knees as I cried while smiling.  I indulged my feelings by laying on the floor with his Tshirt wrapped around my face letting the tears come, breathing,  breathing him in, remembering him, remembering us, feeling the intensity of his life and his death, resting in his love and allowing his love, the love we shared to hold me.

No sooner had I gotten back on my feet when I found a shoe box full of love letters from John to me and from me to John.  The dates ranged 1994 to 2005, reading each of them, I could see and feel the evolution of our love, our ability to express this love and be vulnerable.  The joy leapt off the paper.  I laughed out loud and still chuckle as I write this blog when I came across a drawing he had scratched out of his favorite sexual position, writing underneath it You get the picture of my plans for you tonight.  How damn fun!  The comic relief was welcomed and I knew it was as much as a gift as the poetic letters where he poured out his heart.

One of my letters to him spoke of how I never believed in fairy tales, how I never was that little girl believing some prince would ride up on a white horse and carry me off so we could live happily ever after; but I was so glad that in spite of my beliefs that life had proven me wrong.  He had taken me on the greatest adventure of life:  LOVE.  I ended with this:  They lived happily ever after because they choose to LOVE.

More tears and heart pangs ensued as I drank in the words we had written so long ago that are a part of me, a part of us.  The freedom I now live isn't the absence of feelings but the inclusion of all that comes up so I bowed to the totality of this experience.  This is also choosing to love...my Self.  

I moved on to sift through photos and hit the jackpot.  There John stood sun tanned and bare-assed on the back of our houseboat at Lake Cumberland in the broad daylight cupping his pasty white cheeks with his hands.  The date on the back is 1995 which made me crack up even more because it was before digital which meant this had been printed at a photo lab.  This is also choosing to love...loving life, the silly and the absurd; and the things we do wrapped in the love of another.  

Love is indeed an exchange of JOY that makes life so damn fun!  Welcome it.  Soak it up.  And Pass it on! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

TRUSTing Life=TRUSTing Your Self

Trusting life is trusting your Self
to meet what comes forward moment by moment, day by day.
And making the necessary choices, 
listening to our inner wisdom,
not avoiding what we find our Self face to face with
no matter how daunting it may appear
 as it will come back around and the waves will become a tsunami.
The answers always lie within us and yet, we usually look outside our Self to find them, not trusting the wisdom within, giving authority to others by allowing them to make choices for us.  We all have done this and do this out of habit or we simply trust those we share this life with more than our Self.  No judgment.  This is about the inquiry of TRUSTing life and our Self.  It is a constant dance to trust life through trusting our Self to face what comes forward day after day.

Life right now is at a frenetic pace, forcing me to lean into my Self even deeper and not go to sleep at the wheel in order to make necessary choices.  Some of this is easy and I ride these waves like a pro.  Some are not as seemless and I watch myself want to avoid instead of face.  I check myself so I don't wreck myself, put my grown-ass-woman (G.A.W.) panties on and do what I must.  

It becomes clearer to me every day, that as a child (and boy, does that child still live within me and will drive me off the fu$%ing cliff if I don't watch her and take the wheel back), I believed that trusting life was letting some higher force make choices for me, letting others who I gave more authority over my life than myself choose for me.  And I still believe with all of my heart that assisting forces within us and around us guide our lives and lead us to our highest good and greatest joy; but now, I see that it is through living life through the direct experiences of what comes next and listening to the inner wisdom that knows do this...don't do that...there are no wrong choices.  Just make a choice and if you don't like the choice, you can make another one. Permission NOT to do it RIGHT or PERFECT!  Choose, observe and choose again...

This morning, I have a conference call with my accountants to discuss taxes and I do not want to do this.  The truth is that I would rather have my finger nails ripped off.  Well, maybe that is an exaggeration but the point is:  this is the last thing I want to do and yet, it is necessary so I show up and do what I must.  I trust that I have the power to make choices and this grounds me in my life as it is not as I wish it would be.  Children wishful think.  Grown-ass-women show up and exercise their power of choice.  In this moment, I choose to be a G.A.W.  This feels good and makes me laugh out loud releasing the tension between what I want (wishful thinking) and what is.

How about you?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wide Open Spaces

Wide open spaces
within me and around me
leave me feeling light, grounded, yet swirling with possibilities.
Being with the unknown as I navigate these wide open spaces
feels familiar, all the shades of darkness and light.
There is a freshness in the air that breathes me and guides me.

When the Dixie Chicks released their single Wide Open Spaces, my sisters and I loved it, singing every word, feeling every word as if our own story was being told through song.  There we were, ranging from ages 30 to 42 at the time, relating to and experiencing this coming of age song where a young woman leaves home to make her way in the world because she needs wide open spaces.  This reminds me that no matter our age, no matter what we have accomplished in this life, no matter the roads we have traveled, there are always more roads, more wide open spaces within and around us to explore.

We forget there is more to explore as we build our lives, do what needs to be done to keep everything going day after day, bringing order into the chaos through our routines and check lists and jammed schedules.  And this is okay, completely natural that we forget.  We all do.  But, oh my, when we remember, there is a freshness to the air that breathes us and guides us that enlivens the five senses and beyond.  It's electric.

Yesterday, I walked into the Wide Open Space that was my late-husband's 4 car garage, a dream space that we built where he housed all of his toys and collectibles, tinkered with his cars, fed his need to work with his hands and get dirty, and retreated into John's world.  The black and white checked floor that he buffed and polished over the years was all that remained.  I stood there feeling light in my mind, body, heart and soul, grounded in that moment with both feet planted on the floor yet swirling with possibilities for what is to come in my life. 

I cried silently as I made my way to the house.  The tears were for what was, what is and what is to be.  I raised my face to the rainy sky and thanked the heavens for the wide open spaces that I have explored and the wide open spaces yet to be explored.  I can hold it all: the past, the present, and the future, riding the roads whether bumpy or smooth; and this way of being has been organic over the last 2 years and 5 months, living through my own death only to be reborn with the ability to navigate the unknown, these wide open spaces with a familiarity, an abiding connection to all the shades of darkness and light.  Ahhhhh.... 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How Do We Make Life Easier?

A few weeks ago I was having my morning coffee,
reflecting, having a love fest with the cats, watching the birds,
when I had this moment of clarity:  MAKE LIFE EASIER!
Day by day, choice by choice, I have begun to make my life easier
in small ways that are actually BIG, freeing energy to enjoy my life more.

I wouldn't presume to know what would make your life easier but setting the intention to make life easier, I promise, will set you on a course of freedom like no other.  It makes us mindful of where we can exercise the power of choice and where we need to accept what we don't have power over.

Life can be hard, indeed.  There is no denying this, but it can also be much easier than we often make it.  We get into ruts, patterns of behavior and just do and do without thought of how we are being affected or if we really want to do what we are doing or really need to do what we are doing. 

After making the decision to sell my home, I have begun to get so excited about not having to drive 40 minutes one-way to meet friends or clients.  I look forward to not hiring someone to landscape and cut the acreage I live on.  I don't want to haul my trash in the wagon down the hill of my driveway anymore or the 40 pound bags of salt pellets up the stairs and then, down the basement.  Managing my home wasn't too much until it was.  Being present to my Self, paying attention to how I feel and daring to tell the truth to my Self, I can make my life easier through exercising the power of my choices.

There was a time when I led workshops and enjoyed the experience but now, I have no desire to do this.  When approached about doing workshops on grief, the truth is I DON'T WANNA' BE THE GRIEF GAL!  No thanks.  I am privileged to be with people in their grief one on one and acknowledge it but to be in the intensity of that energy for entire weekends or a week exhausts me just thinking about it.  Just because I would be "good" at it doesn't mean I should do it and I get to decide how I spend my life.  I love the expression: stop shouldin' on yourself!  Shoulds have an energy of guilt and shame leaving us feeling SHITTY.  Choices, knowing we have choices empowers us to stand in our truth whether others agree or not.

The invitation is:  HOW DO YOU MAKE LIFE EASIER? so you can free energy to enjoy your life more.  Choice by choice, moment by moment, day by day, make your way!  What works for you today may not tomorrow so give yourself permission to make necessary changes.  Don't wait for others to give you permission.  Write yourself a permission slip:  Kathy McHugh, I give you permission to make your life easier whatever that means to you.  I love you and always have your back, Kathy McHugh

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

One by one I took down the black and white photos
that lined the staircase leading upstairs in my home.
Each family member had a place: 
birth announcements, wedding days, group shots of all my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, my mom and dad as well as their parents and siblings.
I allowed myself to be present to each photo
and the flood of memories and emotions they stirred.
A picture is indeed worth a thousand unspoken words.

I have been drawn to photos my whole life, asking my mom questions as a child about ancestors as I sifted through the boxes stored in her hope chest.  The curiosity helped me know those I would never meet in this life but who were a part of me.  There was a particular connection I felt to black and white photos and how they captured the shadows, the rawness in the landscape of the person as if I could see them at a depth that I didn't find in color photos.  Some of the photos even scared me as I felt their eyes with an intensity that I simply couldn't contain at the time.

My mom knew I loved the old photos so she generously gifted me with them, making me the keeper of the past.  I treasure them all; but the photo of her father who she absolutely adored marking his high school graduation is one of my favorites because I never met him but she and my dad both would call me Grandpa Budenz because like him, I could talk to anyone and even in childhood pondered life philosophically driving them mad with my incessant questions. 

As I began to take the photos down one by one, I turned on music: The Best of Sheryl Crow singing and bopping around in an effort to keep my heart at play.  When I reached the photos of my wedding day, I lost it sobbing as if my life depended on it.  I was there in the moment that shot was snapped as I time traveled instantly, walking down the aisle to meet my beloved man, John and become his wife.  I could feel the magic and saw his face with tears streaming down his cheeks, overcome with emotions from the enormity of our love.  I cried too as I continued to smile with a joy in knowing we would soon be husband and wife as we wanted our history to read.  The next photo I took down was us kissing after the pronouncement:  Mr. and Mrs. John Edward Threewits.  Ahhhhh...such delight!  We are both grinning as we are lip to lip.  The last one I took down was of us leaning into each other head to shoulder, a familiar position that continues to comfort and hold me.

Even as I attempt to capture the experience, trying to describe all that I was feeling, I know the thousand words that flooded me can't be conveyed as beautifully as the reality of those moments in time.  Yet here I am doing what I must to share, to invite you to enjoy this journey and soak up the magnificence of this life:  past, present and future.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We are All Dancers of Life

It is all sacred.
The divine orchestration of life spiraling and unfolding through us.
We are all dancers of life moving in ways we don't even understand until we look back with AWE at the people and experiences
 we have met along the way.
It matters not what we call it:  The Soul's journey, Synchronicity,
Fate & Destiny, Serendipity... 
Just say THANK YOU for the dance!

I have always been drawn to dancers, poised with a grace that oozes from their sculpted bodies as they move rhythmically from within, freely in unison with the sacred vortex that is life.  They take me into their experience through our shared connection that is life as I observe; and remind me that we are all dancers whether we are on the stage or in the audience. 

As long as I can remember, I have always loved to dance starting in the bedroom I shared with my older sisters, shaking it to The Commodores and Earth, Wind & Fire.  Dancing with my sisters are some of my most cherished memories as there was a joy unparalleled in those moments transcending the circumstances that often caused fighting and conflict.

We have "dance parties" on top of the houseboat all summer long where we dance ourselves soaked, drenched with sweat and then, jump into the lake.  Everyone cuts loose, jumping into the center of the circle to show their best moves and we laugh with a delight in their freedom.

I just returned from the Florida Keys where we danced on the beach for hours celebrating the nuptials of my niece, Macy and her husband, Mark.  Everyone joined in the fun as the DJ spinned song after song; and when the last song played, we wanted more. 

At this point in my life, I can dance as if no one is watching, not afraid to appear foolish or do things differently or misstep or even fall on my ass.  I love the saying Those who hear not the music, think the dancers mad.  Each of us has an individual dance that is part of the collective dance.  Sometimes when we are dancing others don't get it and when others are dancing we don't get it.  We don't hear the music, innately wired within them and they can't hear ours.  Yet, when we dance our dance, the joy of this is infectious and gives permission to others to dance their dance.

The invitation is to accept that we are all dancers of life so dance your dance, allow others to dance their dance, and say THANK YOU!  all day long for this sacred experience that is LIFE.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kathy Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Returning HOME from wherever I have traveled over the years
had brought a sense of anticipation as the LOVE of this space had companioned me day after day through whatever life brought my way.
There was a vacuum of safety,
an energy of restfulness in the midst of this chaotic world,
Until there wasn't.
And in an instant I knew:  KATHY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE. 

Less than 24 hours before the revelation that it was time to move embodied me, I spoke to a friend while we ate dinner in Nashville about my sincere love for and connection with my home.  I shared with her that I couldn't imagine living anywhere else, describing the country setting, the way I feel in the space and my plans to renovate in order to make it my own instead of preserving the way things were when John was alive.

As I drove home up I65 North, everything felt different.  Something had shifted within me that I had not consciously participated in.  This drive that used to fill me with the joy of adventure, cruising down an open road with music blaring, dancing to the beat with ideas churning and springing forward was dulled by a heaviness that I tried to shake off but was beyond my will so I leaned into it in order to listen and extract the wisdom.

4 1/2 hours later, I walked in the door with luggage in tow.  In an instant, my home had become a cage.  I knew with the intensity of absolute truth that if I stayed there, I would wither in the comforts of it.  But if I dared to fly through the cage door that had opened, I would experience a new life that I was starved for and didn't even know it until that moment.  How could this be?  It is mystical, my soul's journey unfolding in ways I could never have planned.  This home that had been far more than bricks and mortar, that had contained my hopes and my dreams, that had been a sanctuary, an enduring foundation that held me through the 16 years I lived there was no longer.  And the stark realization was that the Kathy of yesterday that had lived there was no longer.  Kathy doesn't live here anymore...

The home address is 6260 which adds to "5" (6+2+6+0=14 reduced 1+4=5) had expressed the "5" energy to the fullest extent:  FREEDOM that comes from change - some welcomed with excitement and some not but all the changes an opportunity to set more of me free.  ADVENTURE and EXPERIMENTATION - setting sail throughout life day in and day out.  Living life through the 5 senses fueling the passion that lives within and must come out to play.  Coming into my body more alive with a strength that matched my heart, soul and mind.  Dancing with my beloved, John, in ways that shocked the hell out of both of us as we loved bigger than we knew was possible experiencing a depth of healing that only the miracle of LOVE can create.  Traveling to new places within the world and within myself to know how to use this power.  Honoring the restlessness and boredom that led me into personal Odysseys like writing my book, selling my business, becoming a coach, numerologist and speaker.  The gratitude leaps from my chest as I give thanks for it all!

There is a country song written and recorded by Miranda Lambert called The House That Built Me.  When I would hear this song, it would make me tear up as I connected with the message of how our experiences in a home create an enduring foundation, an inner fortification that we get to take with us wherever we go in life.  My soul must have known even the first time I heard this song that all roads would lead me here to this new life of untethered roaming, discovering that home is indeed wherever my heart is so I must allow this home to companion me now wherever the inner winds blow me throughout the rest of my days.

The Kathy of today may not live in the home anymore but I am more alive than I have ever been, following the compass innately within that will continue to shock the hell out of me as I experience this grand adventure for as long as it lasts.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Inconvenient Tears: Let'em Roll!

We are innately wired to express emotions through tears.
Tears are essential to our health so I welcome them.
I have befriended even the inconvenient tears,
coming when I least expect them in places where I wouldn't choose.
But come they must
So I let'em roll... 
This allowing serves me well.

As a numerologist, life coach and speaker, I am privileged to be with people at a depth of vulnerability that they normally guard against.  This is sacred to me that people let me in and I get to bear witness to them experiencing raw emotions that spring forward often bringing tears.  People always apologize for crying so I assure them that I know the tears seem inconvenient but let'em come as they are a natural release and evidence of our ability to feel which is healthy.

Culturally, tears are a sign of weakness but I view them as a sign of strength and courage.  It is a fierce person who can be where they are, meet their Self where they are in a moment and allow the feelings.  This takes a level of emotional honesty that most aren't willing to express. 

For years, I wasn't able to go there.  I was always the shoulder that others cried on not the one crying on their shoulders. This makes me laugh now.  I wasn't consciously trying to be superior by not crying but encouraging others to cry.  I truly had no idea all that I had been sucking up, stuffing and burying until the flood gates began to open.  And there was such a sense of liberation that I haven't stopped crying. 

I absolutely admit that sometimes the tears are inconvenient, coming as I stroll down the aisles at Sam's Club or while I am working out or out to dinner with a group or during a party or driving down the road on my way to an appointment or talk where I want to look my best but smudge my mascara and puff my eyes. But come they must so I give them full permission to do so.  I hold them sacred.  I honor them.  And I give thanks for them.  

Sometimes there is a story behind the tears which brings forward the emotions and this feels rational.  Sometimes the tears are spontaneous seeming to come from nowhere and this makes no sense.  But come they must.

I invite you to let'em roll, especially the inconvenient tears because I have found that those are the most necessary, a moment of pure emotional honesty bubbling up not able to be managed or suppressed.  Allowing this truth will serve you well as it will absolutely set you all free.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

PATIENCE: Miracles Unfold in Perfect Time

Keep your center open is what the poets say.
Do you have any idea how hard that is?
To be essentially unoccupied, to drift,
to put your hands together, cupped and empty,
And let them remain so.

Patience means open ness.  We like that too.  From the Latin - patiens - if that helps.  A field, for example is patient, open, waiting for rain.
I like that analogy - But give me a break. - Lois Main Templeton

The above words describing PATIENCE are written on a triplicate water color I own, an original of my dear friend, Lois Main Templeton whose artistry is an effortless way of being that gifts me and this world.  Reading her words, I soak up the higher wisdom and delight in the laughter it stirs.

I have come to know that PATIENCE includes kicking and screaming, trying to force things, pushing ahead not trusting the timing.  It isn't about appearing to be calm and peaceful as I repress the truth of all that is bubbling within me.  I have no interest in appearing to be what I am not.  Fully, wholly human, I kick and scream rawly allowing what has come forward and find myself more alive, breathing into every cell in my body in this ability to live honestly.  I am not a field - patient, open, waiting for rain so why would I try to be other than I am?

Running on the pier at Islamorada, Florida Keys, I saw a pelican perched watching the waters and in a flash, it plunged into the waters devouring its prey.  It struck me that it didn't swim around pecking at the water, wasting energy trying to find the fish.  It waited.  It perched on the pier and in perfect time, it snatched its prey.  I immediately thought of a paper weight a friend had given me several years ago that said:  PATIENCE:  Every Miracle Unfolds In The Perfect Hour.  There was a pelican on the paper weight which had made no sense to me until that moment. 

When I looked up the symbolic meaning of the pelican, I found this message:  The ability to be bouyant and to rest on top in spite of heaviness of life circumstances.  The pelican teaches that no matter how difficult life becomes, no matter how much you plunge - you can pop to the surface, rising above life's trials.  This is right in line with my experience of kicking and scream, eventually allowing what is which lifts me above the muck.  MIRACULOUSLY, this always happens in perfect time - no need to push or force.

The invitation is to look back and see how the unfolding of our lives has required PATIENCE even when we don't consider ourselves to be patient people.  Looking back helps us to trust the unfolding of our lives and reminds us to not waste energy but to rest in this knowing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

LIFE HAPPENS: Flight Delays, Missed Connections, Sleeping in the Airport...

The trouble with plans is they are subject to change at any time.
There are things we have control over.
And there are things we simply don't.
We kick and we scream out of frustration,
trying to will things to be different.
But here we are.
So what ya' gonna' do?

After 5 days in Paradise, basking in the glory of it all, here I am:  Stuck in the D.C. airport, waiting for my 6 a.m. flight.  People have commented since Survivor hit the airwaves that I should be on it because I am athletic and love being in nature.  This is no doubt a compliment that they see me as a fierce woman, capable of facing the elements and the never-ending challenges they pose; but I let them know:  At the end of a day after playing in the great outdoors, this girl likes a bar of soap and a hot shower before I climb in a comfy bed to get my necessary sleep.  That being said, being stranded in the airport is on my top 10 list of Shit I'd rather not have to do

Some may say that I have been through worse than this and I would agree whole-heartedly.  This actually doesn't even peg the tragedy meter even slightly.  But I don't need to deny that this absolutely sucks.  I like the comforts of my home.  When I leave a vacation spot, I like to get home so I can unpack, start laundry, love on my kitties, clean up, put on my Pj's and eat my food before I slide into bed for that Oh, it's good to be home in my own bed night sleep.   

Yes, I get it:  LIFE HAPPENS!  Flights are delayed, connections are missed and we have to sleep in the airport in order to catch the next plane out, but I don't have to like it.  And I am swiftly reminded that the trouble with plans is they are subject to change at any time.  There are things I have control over and things that I simply don't no matter how hard I kick, no matter how loud I scream.  But I kick and scream anyway so I can let out the frustration.  I acknowledge that I want what I want when I want it like all humans before I finally let go and accept what is.

Here I am stranded in the fu%#ing airport.

Then, I begin to give thanks for my group of friends here with me enduring this inconvenience with comic relief, sighs, ughs, barks, junk food, web surfing, music and the gift of their physical presence.  Side by side and head to feet, laying on the airport chairs, we are united in our effort to survive this night any way that we can.

LIFE HAPPENS.  LOVE makes it into another good remember when? story on our shared adventure that we will laugh about over and over again.

Gifts of the Sea...

Today I leave this Paradise
But the Gifts of the Sea shall remain
All of my days, filling me, fueling me and freeing me
in ways I can express and a thousand ways I cannot.
Being here,
Surrendering to the tides,
Allowing them to ebb and flow,
Taking what they must graciously gives me what I don't even know I need.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's 1955 book:  Gifts from the Sea is a treasured classic, proving wisdom is timeless and common experiences are shared generation after generation.  When I first read these words 20 years ago at age 24:  Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves, I appreciated how she poetically wrote how she had arrived at this knowing but had no idea what this meant to me.  The beauty of reading is we drink in the words so they become a part of us and bring us into life revelations that show us more, deepening our understanding of our Self and this grand adventure.  AWEsome.

For me, this trip was much anticipated because of the excitement of Macy and Mark's wedding and being with a group of people I absolutely adore and love. But I had no idea how simply being here in paradise with the winds blowing through me, the waters still and wild, the sun intensely present, the sand powdery and muddy beneath my feet would graciously give me just what I needed.   

This is the power of the direct experiences of life.  We dare to show up and gifts spring forward in ways that shock the hell out of us.  Each of us here as part of this group will extract distinctly different experiences and energies - this is the inner solitude even when we are gathered with the masses.  All will be fed in ways we can express and ways we simply cannot as the language of the soul is in a knowing silence.

The invitation for me and for all of you is to continue to find the true essence of my Self through wherever we find our Self in life, here and now.  Letting in the gifts from the sea of experiences that come in the moments of our lives, we become adventurers of life never ceasing to explore.  This wonderment companions me even as I leave this paradise and other places I travel throughout my days, it becomes part of me so I can take it with me.

The goodness of life is found in drinking from the well within, the true essence of Self.  Discover this space and find your way back there again and again and again...