I tearfully said goodbye to one of my closest friends, Joanne, 2 years ago. It was quite emotional and honest as I thanked her for her love, encouragement, and support over the last 3 decades. She died two weeks later from Ovarian cancer.
Joanne was always there for me, as I was there for her. I always felt that God spoke to me through her. Joanne was my spiritual “cheerleader” as I went through my divorce, sexual abuse, and raising kids. She was a wise and loving friend. We lived on the same street and often took walks or sat and had a cup of tea on my porch or her back yard with beautiful flowers.
Before she died, Joanne encouraged her partner, Linda, to write a book about their love relationship and her cancer journey. It has been my honor to support and encourage Linda to write the book. I received a text from Linda this week informing me that she finished the last chapter of the book.
I was so happy and proud of Linda. I sent her a text congratulating her for finishing the book. Later in the day, while sitting outside on my swing and journaling, I heard a voice and I didn’t know where it was coming from. My phone was off and next to me in the swing. When I picked up my phone, there was Linda’s face. I was quite surprised and said, “Did you Face Time me?” She said, “No, did you Face Time me?”
We were both stunned. We have never done a Face Time with one another. Linda explained, “I just walked upstairs to get your book, “Simply a Woman of Faith” and had your book in my hand when I saw the incoming call and saw your name.
I couldn’t speak at first and my whole body shivered. We both agreed Joanne was “showing up” to support us both on our journeys. We laughed and cried that she had communicated with us in such a powerful way.
It is no coincidence that Linda and Larry and I have finished our books at the same time. Joanne was my earth “cheerleader” and now she is my heavenly “cheerleader.” Our loved ones do want to communicate with us if we are open.
A week ago, on a humid Sunday in Rhode Island, I had been lounging on the couch with my computer as I mulled over some revisions for my book. Even though I had recently finished writing the last chapter, I knew that reviewing the earlier chapters would take some time. With the help of my writing coach, encouragement from others, and Pat’s compassionate advice, I realized I might complete this first book after all.
In the two years since my wife Joanne died, many astounding connections with her spirit have comforted me, always when I needed them the most. On this particular Sunday, I was pondering a different way to express If you snooze, you lose, that described Joanne’s ability to get things done without delay.
After reading Pat’s text congratulating me and offering to help pull the chapters together, I had sent a text thanking her and assuring her I would be in touch when my revisions were done. I decided to retrieve “Simply A Woman of Faith” upstairs in my nightstand in order to review her book’s layout. As usual, my cell phone was in its case attached to my waistband when I ascended the stairs.
I had just picked up Pat’s book when my phone rang. To my surprise, it was Pat. I thought, “That’s odd, maybe she didn’t get my text.” Answering the phone, I held it to my ear but soon discovered I also saw her face. I was shocked to discover we were on FaceTime and that she was just as surprised to see my face as well. My jaw dropped while I kept repeating, “Oh my god!”
In that moment, I could almost hear Joanne tell me to connect with Pat without delay. While I marveled at the perfect timing, I felt certain my love had planned this magical event. Knowing my tendency to procrastinate, her spirit seemed to remind me about snoozing and losing, so I will take the hint and push on. With gratitude to God and Joanne, my heart is renewed once again. Thank you, Pat, for your steadfast support, love, and cheerleading.
On Friday, June 12th my day was going along pretty normally until around 7:30 a.m. Pat was on her daily walk at the beach and I was home enjoying the morning. The next thing I knew was that there were two strange men at the door with my wife and I could see she was clearly in pain and didn’t look good.
Pat had been walking on the beach and stubbed her toe on a partially hidden rock. She fell down and landed on her shoulder. She had fallen near the edge of the water and couldn’t get up as the small waves covered her with sand. She was alone and scared, but didn’t panic because she kept choosing love. Within a few minutes, she saw a man walking on the beach and called out for help. He came right over and helped her to get up.
Her friends, Lou and Chip, were right ahead of her and came to her rescue and brought her home. Since she was covered in sand, the first thing I had to do was get her into the shower and get her cleaned up.
As a former Police Officer, I experienced many emergency situations. I was very good at keeping my wits about me as long as the situation didn’t involve my family. In the past, when a family member was involved, I became panicky, frightened, stressed and not able to respond to the challenge very well.
With Pat’s accident, I remained, calm, focused, and stress-free. I assessed the situation and brought her to the critical care center, where she was diagnosed with a broken shoulder. This behavior is new for me when it concerns someone I love. I’m sure my trust in the energy and light of LOVE enabled me to be present in the moment and open to the help of a higher power.
Since I have accepted the gift of Love in my life, I was able to see this situation as an opportunity to be there for Pat during this challenging time. It is a privilege to be a vessel of love by taking care of her, because I believe it is God loving her through me.
Our friends have been wonderful – they have rallied around Pat with LOVE, calls, prayers, and meals. It’s wonderful to see Pat’s family who are 5,000 miles away be there for her with facetime calls and loving concern.
Do you agree with this? There is more joy in giving than receiving? I think it needs to be both to live a balanced life. I don’t believe we can really receive without the experience of giving and we can’t give without the experience of receiving. Like many of us, I am more comfortable with giving, as it gives me great joy to help others.
This chapter in my life is about RECEIVING. My heart has been cracked open wide because of the love I have received from Larry, my children and friends on Maui and from the mainland. Friends blessed us with meals, calls, and all kinds of support. I know I’m healing quickly and with minimal pain because of the energy healing and Reiki I am receiving. I asked for prayers from friends on Facebook and the response has been overwhelming.
I’m allowing myself to ask for what I need and be vulnerable. In this moment in time, there are things I cannot do for myself with a broken right shoulder and have to ask for help. It is humbling to realize we are not in control of our lives, even though at times, I think I am.
We never know what the next moment will bring, do we? It is my intention to be peaceful with whatever is happening around me. I am at peace when I remember to be grateful, accept “what is” and live in the present moment. I am given the opportunity to practice what I believe; everything happens for a reason, I can become bitter and complain or become better and evolve. I am choosing to evolve.
I am experiencing daily lessons, gifts and opportunities that I am grateful for. I will be incapacitated for the next 5 weeks. I know I will have a lot to share about what I’m learning in this sacred school of life. What I know in my heart is that I am not alone and everything happens for a reason. Love always provides, guides and protects me.
We all want to be seen, heard, appreciated and loved. Would you agree? It feels good when someone really listens and hears me, without trying to fix, control, give advice or change me. They listen with their heart, rather than with their head and it feels very different. It feels good when someone takes the time to see who I truly am and what I’m experiencing. If you have someone in your life who sees, hears, appreciates and loves you, be grateful for you are blessed.
Whenever Larry goes to the market, a restaurant or to the bank and the person is wearing a name tag, he always greets them using their name. It’s a way of seeing someone and appreciating them, even or especially when doing a service job. It’s such a small act of love and kindness, but it goes a long way and sometimes makes the person’s day to feel valued and recognized. I practice this now too and it feels good.
When Larry and I go to a restaurant, we often converse with the wait staff and somehow the conversation leads to the importance of gratitude and the power of love in our lives. We often leave hugging one another.
Gladys was our waitress at Café Ole when we went for breakfast on Sunday. I complimented her on her beautiful smile. I often compliment others when I see something I like; something they are wearing or their beautiful eyes or their smile. This is my way of showing kindness and appreciating what I see in others.
I keep small inspirational cards with me in my purse. When Spirit leads me, I give a card to someone or leave one at the table when I leave for the next person to find. I was led to randomly pick one for Gladys. It was, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, AND YOU WILL BE UNSTOPPABLE.
When I handed it to her, her whole face lit up and she said, “Thank you, I really needed this today. I’m going to put this where I can see it every day. This will really help me and you made my day. I’m just getting into real estate and I’m struggling with not feeling good enough.” Of course, we were all smiling and hugged one another when we left the restaurant.
A few days later, I was reading over my journal for the past month and came across a dream that I had. I was screaming “I AM ENOUGH.” I am not good enough is a core belief that we all struggle with to some degree. This belief was coming to the light to be released and healed.
The spiritual journey is about remembering who I am and that I am ONE with GOD. I am LOVE and I am connected to my source. Everything is perfect NOW and has already been planned in the mind of God. I don’t have to push, strive, worry, be better or smarter than or try to earn it. I can enjoy the journey, relax and live in peace.
If only it were that easy!!! We forget constantly who we are and that we are not alone. Our ego wants to rob us of our peace and the truth of our magnificence and that we are ONE with GOD.
“Know that whenever you feel good about yourself and your magnificence, ego will try to rob you. You must SPOT IT and then let it go. Stay in the truth of who you are and the loving being that you are. I am in charge of your life. Switch your focus from problems to my presence and keep choosing love.”
I encourage and support you to remember who you are and that you are good enough. You are LOVE and you are loved.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, & YOU WILL BE UNSTOPPABLE
For the past 40 years of my spirtitual journey, I have practiced the concept of “open and closed doors.” When I don’t know if something is God’s will or my will, I pray, “God open or close the door.” It hurts when the door is slammed in my face and I am left wandering in the hallway until the next door opens, especially when it takes a long time for the next door to open. Over the years, I have learned to trust that when a door is closed, there is always something better and more aligned for my highest good.
“Closed doors are a valid part of GUIDANCE. When God closes a door, it’s because there is a better plan. If He closes one door, He’ll open another, according to His timing, not mine. I keep moving in faith, even in the face of closed doors.” Basham 1975
Alan Cohen in his book, “The Grace Factor” discusses grace and GUIDANCE. He writes “Never underestimate the power of grace to find you where you are and take your hand. No situation is so dark, dismal, or disgusting that grace cannot enter and move you to a higher ground. When you stepped outside the gate of the Kingdom, a homing device was implanted in your heart. That device has functioned perfectly, constantly feeding you information about where to turn, when, and how. The fact that you have chosen not to listen to its message has not daunted it from broadcasting impeccable guidance. YOU KNOW ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOU NEED IT.”
Here are a couple of examples in my life of closed doors that turned out for my highest good:
1. A year after my divorce, I met a man and we were engaged to be married. We were together for 2 years. As I look back on it today, I realize that we would not have made it together. God closed the door and I remained single for 15 years before I met Larry. If God hadn’t closed the door, I would not be where I am today. It was the desire of my heart to meet my soulmate and I “waited” in the hallway for 15 years. At times, I felt angry and didn’t understand why it took so long. I tried banging on the door because of my impatience and lack of trust. That didn’t work! I learned many lessons in the hallway about trust, surrender and God’s perfect timing. For me, it is always about TRUST and I am learning to trust that when I am ready, the door will open at the perfect and right timing.
2. During my divorce, I prayed and asked God for guidance whether to sell my house or remortgage it because I couldn’t afford the monthly payment. When I finally made the decision to re-mortgage my house, the peace came. My ex-husband needed to sign the papers because we weren’t divorced yet, which he agreed to do. On the day of the closing, he decided he wasn’t going to sign the papers and there was nothing I could do about it. A week later, to my surprise, I received a letter from the mortgage company informing me that the interest rate had gone down (on its own) because it was an adjustable mortgage. The payment was the same as if I had re-mortgaged. God closed the door through my ex-husband’s last minute refusal to save me money.
I don’t know about you but, as a parent, it is difficult to watch your child suffer when a door is closed, especially if it is something they really wanted. Recently, one of my children applied for his dream job and it looked very promising. When he told me that he didn’t get it, my heart hurt and I felt sad and disappointed for him.
It was important for me to allow him his feelings and process. It was not the time to talk about closed doors and the door closed for his highest good. I needed to be there for him and be compassionate, loving and supportive. I had to wait until he was ready to talk about it without pushing and prying. It is easy to do a spiritual bypass which means to deny your feelings and push them down. I didn’t want that to happen to him.
When I am living in faith, I trust that a Higher Power or the Universe knows what is best for me (and my family and friends) because I don’t know what lies ahead. I am sure we have all had experiences when a door has been closed and it’s only afterward that we understand why.
Are you in the “hallway” now in some area of your life? Learning to wait with grace takes trust, surrendering to “what is” and patience. When we trust that our Higher Power has the perfect plan and timing for us, we will have peace that passes all understanding. I love the statement “God has my back.” Do you agree?
Getting back into my “LIFE” after 2 weeks of being away takes some doing, or shall I say some BEING. I am so grateful to be home to paradise and to my sweetheart, Larry. Before I left to visit my family on the mainland, my INTENTION was that my trip would flow with peace, ease and grace and that I would get into the FLOW of activities immediately. I didn’t want to give into “jet lag” with traveling 5000 miles across the ocean and being too tired to spend time with my family. My prayer was answered because I felt great and didn’t waste any time getting into things. I visited my son, daughter-in-law and new grandson in Connecticut and then went kayaking with my children and grandchildren the next day.
I had a wonderful visit with my family and girlfriends. My 4 children attended the annual family reunion at my daughter, Mary’s, farm and my son, Tim commented, “This was the best one yet” and I agreed. I held my new grandson, River, for the first time and what a blessing that was. I had so much fun with my grandsons: Jarred who will be 2 years old, Zach who will be 25 and Josh who is 20.
It was a busy time and the 2 weeks flew by. Although my life on Maui is much slower and relaxed, I was able to keep up with all of the activities, but was often in bed by 9 p.m. My daughter, Mary, and I gave a retreat for 20 women at her farm. It was a powerful day of healing and transformation. We look forward to giving another one next year. We also celebrated the grand opening of “The Sage Clinic” (naturopathic clinic) which was started by Mary and Naturopath Dr. John McGonagle.
When I returned home to Maui a few days ago, I wanted to “jump back into my life” and not “waste“ any time. There was so much I wanted to do; answer emails, get pictures developed, call friends, follow-up with women on the retreat, write thank-you notes, write blog, unpack suitcase and on and on. I quickly recognized that it didn’t take me long to get back into my “DOING” mode. Perhaps I feel more in control and more powerful when I am in the DOING mode and have a long list of things to accomplish. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing, but FIRST THINGS FIRST.
As I prayed about what “TO DO” next, I heard God say, “I want you to relax and just BE.” I asked myself, “Did I think BEING was just wasting precious time?” Time is a gift God has given us and it is up to us to do what is best for ourselves. By the grace of God and my willingness to listen to Spirit, I was able to relax and take care of myself. I took several naps, sat outside and enjoyed the breeze, flowers, ocean and the mountains.
You see, my body was clearly very tired from the schedule of the last 2 weeks and being up for 24 hours when I traveled back home. But my mind and perhaps ego was saying something different. My mind said, “You need to get things done first before you can relax.” I realized this was an old belief that no longer served me. I remember when my children were teenagers and clearly capable of taking care of themselves. I wasn’t able to relax until everybody was taken care of. Not knowing any better, I put myself last.
If I want peace (which has been my daily INTENTION for many years), then I must pay attention to my body, mind and Spirit and give it the love it needs. I choose to live in the moment, follow my heart and trust that I am being led and that everything is in perfect and right order.
I have been reading Michael Singer’s book, “The Surrender Experiment” and Eckhart Tolle’s, “Stillness Speaks.” In both books the authors encourage their readers to learn to accept whatever comes into their lives and not resist.
My understanding of what they’re saying is that there is a Higher Power available to us and we can be helped by this Higher Power with any of our life’s situations if we just remain open to that possibility. The experience may not be pleasant and may even be painful. We are encouraged to just accept, no matter what it is. If we feel that we just can’t accept what’s happening at this time in our lives, then accept that we can’t accept. By accepting, we stay open and we allow the Higher Power to grant us the gift that each life experience is bringing us. By resisting what’s happening, we close ourselves to our Higher Power which prevents us from receiving help.
As I write this piece, I am being distracted by my neighbor’s gardener who is using his loud leaf blower and weed whacker on one side of my home and on the other side they are doing construction. I can imagine my Higher Power observing me with a smile as I try to concentrate and accept in this present life situation.
Accepting is a new way of life for me. The other day I decided to take a nap in the early afternoon. We don’t have air conditioning so we keep our windows and doors open. As I lay there, I became conscious of just how noisy it was outside. Dogs barking, people mowing lawns, hundreds of birds singing and chirping, etc. Usually, I would feel frustrated, impatient, angry and get all stirred up and would go into the “poor me, poor me” mode.
I have been working very hard to learn to be more accepting and just allow things to be the way they are. I decided to accept everything that was going on outside and stay open to possibilities. Before I knew it, I was able to visualize this commotion outside as a large philharmonic orchestra playing a beautiful symphony. I know this sounds crazy but it was really cool and before I knew it I was asleep.
I know this is just a small example in accepting, but if I can develop a new habit of staying open to life situations then hopefully, I can become more open to accepting larger situations as they arise.
We’re finding that it seems to be easier to “accept life situations” when we really try to live in the moment and not pay attention to what may happen in the future or what has happened in the past. Tolle suggests that what is happening in a life situation is not us; we are “who is observing the situation.” We are the one who is conscious of what is happening in that situation. It seems like when I can remember that I am an observer in the experience, I can stay open better and accept what is happening in the moment.
It’s such a positive experience to allow ourselves the opportunity to be flexible, to not be afraid of change, to be open to new ideas, and to accept the gift of joy and peace that is being offered to us. I send you the energy of love and light to help you on your journey, please accept my gift.
Many people have commented on the first chapter of my book, “Simply a Woman of Faith.” It’s called God is my Bargain Hunter – How God Provides at Yard Sales. After reading the chapter they say to God, “If you provided for Pat like that, I will ask too.” It really is about believing and being grateful before things “show up.” God is still providing for me on this beautiful island of Maui. Sometimes it feels like magic the way I am provided for and it makes me smile.
I love how the Universe works when I trust and allow things to flow. Last week, my friend, Sally, told me about a neighborhood yard sale in an exclusive, gated community in Maui. They have it twice a year and there are dozens of yard sales. Now, being called the “yard sale queen” by my friends, I was excited and planned on attending, until I remembered that I had a coaching session scheduled for 8:30 a.m. I thought about calling and asking her if she could come later in the day, but that didn’t feel right. I trusted that if it were meant to be for me to be there at 7 a.m. when the doors opened, she would cancel. Sure enough, I received an email from her on Thursday night informing me that she had to cancel. Of course, I was grateful and excited about that.
Larry asked if he could join me. He’s been with me a couple of times when we’ve stopped at yard sales along the way. But this was different because this was the big league in a gated community with so many yard sales. I said, “Larry, I would love you to join me, but you have to be willing to follow my yard sale protocol. This is what we do: We first peruse the whole area to see if there is anything we want. We move fast and don’t hang around to talk to people because if you snooze, you lose. Please don’t discourage me from buying something that I think is valuable. He smiled and said, “Okay, honey, you’re the queen, I won’t interfere, I’ll let you play.” I just love how he loves me!
We left the house at 6:30 a.m. as planned to find the treasures we were looking for (or not looking for). As always, God’s timing is perfect. Larry’s birthday was the next day and I’ve been searching for the perfect painting for his “man cave” since he moved in 3 weeks ago. I was glad he was with me because I wanted to find him something that he really liked. Of course, I prayed and asked God to provide the perfect painting (and price) for him. We saw several beautiful paintings, but nothing jumped out at us. We had almost finished our “yard sailing” when I spotted another yard sale sign down the street.
I spotted the 2 matching flowering paintings hanging on the wall immediately when I walked into the garage. I thought they would be perfect for over the couch and hoped that Larry would also like them. He not only liked them, but I offered the man less than what he was asking for them and he accepted happily. As soon as we arrived home, Larry hung them up for me and they looked awesome. How much better does it get than that?
On another note on how God provided for me. Last week, I was invited to my friend, Gail’s, house for a “play day” to paint and decorate rocks. Our friend, Lesta, is an artist and paints rocks and puts spiritual messages on them. She then leaves them around the island for people to pick them up. We had so much fun being creative by painting and putting colored beads on the rocks. I loved the idea of painting rocks and putting messages on them and leaving them around the island and decided I wanted to do this myself.
I planned on going to Ben Franklin to buy some paint, brushes, colored beads and this stuff called, MOD PODGE, which I had never heard of or used before. We used this to glue on the beads and seal the paint on the rocks.
It is even hard for me to believe that I found everything I wanted for this project at 3 different yard sales. First, I found 9 tubes of acrylic paints and 6 new paint brushes that were perfect for painting rocks. A little while later, at another yard sale, I found the colored beads in a case for $2.00. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to start my new project. We were on our way home and only a couple of minutes from our house when I spotted one more yard sale. Of course, we had to stop and I was shocked when I saw the brand new bottle of MOD PODGE sitting on the table. I mean, really!
Last, but not least of how God provided: Larry brought 2 of his antherium plants with him that look beautiful on our lanai and I told him that I wanted to buy some more plants. At the very first garage sale that we stopped at, God provided 6 beautiful potted flowering plants for my lanai at the perfect price.
As I shared in my book, “The beauty of my “yard sailing” lies not just in the price, but the knowledge that God does care about the details. His answers to my yard sale prayers constantly reminds me that I’m taken care of, that God is in my life and that He wants me to have all I need and desire. The fun I have finding bargains reminds me that God has fun when I have fun. I think God enjoys placing bargains in my path as much as I enjoy finding them.”
Author Melody Beattie writes, “Gratitude makes you happier. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Although it is my daily practice to be grateful for everything that comes into my life, whether I like it or not, I don’t always FEEL grateful. Sometimes it is a choice that I make because I know I will feel better and lighter if I practice gratitude. For example, I was driving in my car the other day and feeling kind of low as deep sadness welled up inside of me. I didn’t like how I was feeling, but I knew I needed to stay with it and allow whatever needed to be healed to come up. I know that happiness is an inside job and I will be as happy as I choose and want to be. I wanted to feel happy and not sad.
There is a delicate balance of admitting and allowing myself to feel my feelings so I can release and move through them and not staying “stuck in yuck” for longer than I need to. I had to let go of my need to control and figure out where the sadness was coming from. I needed to trust the process that it would be revealed to me in the right and perfect time. And it was!
My mood started to shift as I shouted out loud in my car, “I choose to be happy, I am happy. I am grateful.” I was definitely feeling better (not totally myself though) when I arrived at Larry’s house for dinner. Larry and I had had a “misunderstanding” the night before and I thought that could be a part of my sadness, but I wasn’t sure because the sadness I was feeling seemed to be way out of proportion to what happened with us. I knew it was “my stuff” from the past that was being triggered and coming up.
As Larry and I discussed our “misunderstanding” of the night before and each of our perceptions of what happened, the tears started to flow down my cheeks. It was like Spirit shone a light into my heart and I saw where the pain and sadness were coming from. It has been my experience that intimate relationships have a way of bringing up your “stuff” to be released and healed. Both Larry and I were triggered with “past stuff” and both experienced deep healing and transformation because of it. Thank you God because what sometimes feels like a set-back can really be a set-up by God. We were definitely set-up!
On another note, as I sat to write my blog today, I was definitely feeling gratitude for how things worked out for me this morning. Several weeks ago, while using the exercise bands at my aerobics class, I did something to my shoulder, but didn’t feel it until the next day. I have been icing it and using Arnica to help my healing. Although my shoulder was getting better, I still didn’t have full range of motion and it hurt when I moved it in a certain way.
I woke up on Friday morning and decided to go to the 9:30 a.m. aerobics class in the pool at the Fairmont Hotel. I knew water exercises were really good for healing, but I wasn’t sure what the best exercises would be. I didn’t want to re-injure it or make it worse. When I arrived, I was disappointed to see that the pool was empty and wondered if the class had been cancelled.
With that, this woman appeared before me and I heard her asking the woman sitting in the lounge chair, “Are you interested in joining the water aerobics class in the pool today?” I didn’t hear what the woman answered but I immediately piped up and said, “I am interested.” She smiled and said, “Great, we will do a class just for you.” Apparently, she had been walking around the pool and asking if anyone was interested in joining the class because she didn’t want to cancel it. She was about to leave when I “showed up.” When we got into the pool she smiled and said, “I am so glad you came, I really wanted to get in the pool today and teach a class.”
The instructor, Nancy said, “So Pat, tell me about what you need today.” I told her about what happened to my shoulder and that I was interested in exercises to strengthen my shoulder. For one hour, I had a private session with her that was totally focused on me and what I needed to do for my shoulder. My shoulder feels much better and now I know exactly what exercises to do to continue my healing.
One of the things that I love about living in Maui is how I have learned to live in the moment and follow the flow of what is before me. I followed my intuition on Friday morning to go to the water aerobics class and then had the opportunity to ask for what I wanted. Not only was I blessed to have a private lesson to focus on the best exercises for my shoulder, but the instructor, Nancy, was given the opportunity to share her gifts. A win-win for both of us.
So, all in all it’s been a great week of healing emotionally, spiritually and physically. I continue to practice gratitude, trusting everything is in perfect and divine timing.
As I boarded the plane at 7:00 a.m. on my way home to Maui, I felt anticipation and excitement about seeing Larry. Although I loved being with my family, friends and new grandchild for Christmas, I missed my soul mate and couldn’t wait to get back. I thought about the many qualities that I admire in Larry, in particular, how kind and attentive he is to me. I always feel heard and that he truly cares about what is important to me. Spirit then brought to mind that what I see in others, both positive and negative qualities, are also in me.
It kind of hit me in a new way. When I see something in Larry that I admire (or in anyone else), it is also in me too. I asked myself, “Do I admire kindness and attentiveness in me? Have I owned and embraced these qualities as a part of who I am? Am I kind and attentive to others and listen with my heart?” To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it, but it felt good thinking about the possibility that I was kind and attentive to others, as Larry is to me.
As I allowed this truth to settle into my being, I heard Spirit say, “You are not only coming home to Mother Maui, but you are coming home to yourself.” This is the truth of who I am. I am kind, attentive and loving or I wouldn’t have recognized it in him. I am seeing my reflection in him because he is my mirror. The more I recognize the goodness in Larry, the more I will recognize it in me. I attracted a man into my life that has some of the same qualities that I have. How cool is that?
Is the unconditional love I feel for Larry an invitation from God to have the same unconditional love for myself? The more I love him, the more I love myself, or is it the other way around? The more I love, accept and appreciate myself, the more I will be capable of loving, accepting and appreciating him. I think that is more accurate. I have to love, accept and appreciate myself first before I can truly love, accept and appreciate another person.
I invited Larry to write out the qualities he admired in me. One of the qualities he admired in me was my patience. I asked, “Are you able to recognize this quality in yourself?” He hesitated and then said, “I am working on being more patient, but have difficulty believing I am patient enough.” I encouraged him to embrace and accept that quality in himself because as he recognized it in me, it is in him.
I invite you to pick a person you admire and think about their qualities. Are you able to embrace these qualities in yourself? And if not, ask Spirit to help you see the truth about yourself. Wouldn’t this be a great New Year’s resolution? Can you imagine what it would be like and how your life would be different if you consistently embraced and owned your positive qualities rather than focusing on what needs to be changed or what you don’t like in yourself?
I was given the opportunity to practice loving and accepting myself while I was changing planes on my way home to Maui. I arrived in Los Angeles in plenty of time and found the gate where I was boarding. It was a long walk through the terminal with many turns and doors to go through. I called Larry, feeling very proud of myself that I found the gate and didn’t get lost. As the time got closer to boarding time, I looked around and something didn’t feel quite right. I got up and asked the man across from me, “Are you going to Maui?” He looked at me and said, “No, I am going to Canada.”
I asked him to watch my bag as I ran around trying to find someone to ask where the flight to Maui was boarding. I finally found a woman behind a counter and showed her my boarding pass. She was very kind and walked me to the main monitor to see where the flight was boarding.
I almost fainted when she said, “You are in the wrong terminal. This is the Delta terminal and you need to be in the United terminal. She quickly gave me the directions to get back to the United terminal. I grabbed by bags and started running, not really knowing where I was going. I kept praying, “Help God, I don’t know where I am going.”
Right up ahead of me, I spotted a Delta pilot walking calmly through the terminal. I stopped and asked him for help. I am sure he could see the panic in my face when I showed him my boarding pass. He said, “I am meeting a friend at the United terminal, I will show you the way.” He looked at my boarding pass and said, “They are boarding now.” We both began to run furiously through the terminal. I could hardly breathe we were running so fast.
When I finally arrived at gate 76, the woman behind the counter said, “Mrs. Hastings.” Just about in tears I said, “Yes” and showed her my boarding pass. I was the last one on the plane as they closed the door behind me. I sat down in my seat, still out of breath and all I could say was “Thank you God, Thank you God. I knew God had sent me the Delta pilot as my angel to guide me.
I could have easily been upset with myself for not being more aware and being in the wrong terminal. I didn’t do that but instead, chose to love and accept myself knowing all is well and that I was being guided and taken care of the whole time. God sent me angels to guide me to the right place. There are times in our lives when we don’t know where we are going and we go to the wrong terminal, but when we trust in God, we are always led safely to the right place.
As Larry and I were having a conversation about the holidays coming up, I thought about my family and friends and what I wanted to buy them for gifts. One of my love languages is giving gifts (and receiving them) so I wanted to find something that they would like. As I thought about this, I decided that I wanted to love myself first and give myself a gift (as well as buying gifts for my loved ones). I didn’t want it to be a gift-gift, but something different and special. Before I share with you how I will love myself and the gift I’m giving myself, I will give you a glimpse of what my life was like.
There was a time in my life that I was the “Queen of Multitasking” and rushing. With four children under the age of 10, there never seemed to be enough time in the day and I learned to do many things at the same time. I could be classified as an overachiever. Can you relate?
For example, I was holding my son in my left arm nursing him, while counseling a friend on the phone and stirring something on the stove with my right arm. I felt proud of myself and loved writing lists and crossing things off because at the end of the day, I felt like I had accomplished something and my day wasn’t wasted. I didn’t know any better and thought it was a necessity to get everything done that I wanted to do. When we multitask, our attention is divided between other tasks which means that the quality of what we’re doing suffers. When we focus on one task at a time, the quality is definitely much higher.
I grew up in a home where I heard “hurry up” a lot. I didn’t know how to do things slowly and one thing at a time. Perhaps because I’m also a New Yorker, I did just about everything fast, from eating to driving to talking – and felt proud of it. Thank God, I have learned a better way and that is to relax and stop DOING so much. I have learned to BE, to enjoy and let fun and pleasure be the priority in my life.
That brings me to the gift I’m giving myself this Christmas, but not only at Christmas, but every day as a way of life. Have you ever heard of the word “lollygagging”? I had to look it up in the dictionary to make sure it really was a word. It says: “To spend time doing things that are not useful or serious or to fool around and waste time, to spend time idly, loaf.”
I wasn’t taught or encouraged to lollygag, but was taught the opposite; to be serious and get things done. I have memories of being reprimanded for lollygagging and heard, “Stop lollygagging and get your room cleaned now.” Perhaps I knew the importance of lollygagging at one time but thought it was wrong or bad. As an adult, I felt guilty if I wasn’t doing or accomplishing something. I thought I was lazy if I just wanted to do nothing and relax. I sometimes still have to fight the belief that I’m lazy and that it is bad or wrong to do nothing.
I have a completely new understanding of what it means to lollygag today. Lollygagging is being in the moment, having fun, being free, enjoying, relaxing, experiencing pleasure, being playful and kind of mindless. It is really about letting Spirit lead me and doing what feels right in the moment. It is not a time to produce, to please, to impress, or to accomplish anything and there is no agenda. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel good about wasting time on yourself and to just fool around? It’s glorious.
I am proud to say that I am now the “Queen of Lollygagging” and pleasure. I waste time on myself doing what I love and want to do. Larry and I lollygag when we go to Costco and just kind of float around looking at new things and tasting all the food samples they give out. We have so much fun and laugh and he calls it “Pollygagging” because we are now partners. I mean really, how can you have fun and play at Costco?
You may be thinking, “Sure Pat, you’re retired and have the time to lollygag, but, I have a job and family to take care of and that is the last thing I can do.” I know what it is like to have a family and a job and go to school at the same time. I know what it is like to go from one thing to another and still feel like there is so much more to do. At one time, I put everybody else’s needs ahead of my own so there wasn’t time or energy for my needs and I was stressed and exhausted all the time.
With all the stress and demands in our lives, it makes it even more important to give yourself the gift of lollygagging once in a while. Perhaps a few hours on the weekend or 1 hour a day, whatever feels good and works for you. When our tanks are full because we have spent time loving and honoring ourselves we will be able to give to others from our surplus. You will also teach your children the importance of taking care of yourself and not being a martyr or saint because of all you do for others.
What gives you pleasure? Whatever it is, give it to yourself and make yourself a priority. You are important and worth it. Start with doing one good thing for yourself every day and it will feel so good, that you will want to do it more and more.
This is the season of giving – to yourself FIRST and watch the miracles unfold. Then you will be able to receive with an open heart. You won’t look to others to fill and complete you because you have already given it to yourself.
My son, Tim, has been on the self-improvement and spiritual path for 12 years and is a Life Coach from Boise, Idaho. He recently invited me to be a part of a powerful online group process called “Self-Love, Self-Acceptance and Self Appreciation.” He designed it to bring people together to share their power with one another for a greater cause other than their own individual use. What a delight it is for me to be a part of this group and witness my son’s teaching about self-love. There is no greater joy for a mother than to see her children live their lives fully and making a difference in the world. I am truly blessed and grateful for my children and who they have become and what they bring into the world.
I have been on this journey of self-love for many years and I believe it is the foundation for everything. When I love myself, I will know how to truly love others. It is important to me because I didn’t love myself growing up and wasn’t taught how to love myself. It was very confusing because I was told I was conceited as a young girl. Coming from an alcoholic home, I was starving for love and looked outside of myself and in all the wrong places for it. I didn’t know that the love I was so desperately craving was inside of me all the time. I looked to others for approval, to love me and tell me I was o.k.
I have heard that LIFE (and the people in our lives) is like a classroom and we are always learning lessons. I believe each lesson is like an “awakening” to see the truth and to set me free to live the life I am called to live as a child of God. It is like peeling an onion and we keep going deeper and deeper into ourselves to see the truth of who we are.
After years of practicing self-love, I wasn’t expecting to have such a powerful “awakening” after our first “Self-love, Self-acceptance and Self -Appreciation” call. Spirit didn’t waste any time because that night something “showed up” with Larry that I needed to process.
Larry and I love to dance and we have great chemistry together, for the most part! He has been learning some new difficult dance steps and was trying to teach them to me on the dance floor. Not a good idea because I had no idea what he was doing and tried to follow him to the best of my ability. I could see the look in his eyes and the frustration on his face when I screwed it up royally. I have always had pride in myself for being a great follower. But, I wasn’t following him and started to feel “inadequate” and judged myself to be “not good enough.” Needless to say, I wasn’t in a good mood when we left the dance.
I was quiet at first when we got in the car because I didn’t want to just dump on him. He knew something was up and turned to me and said, “I love you, Sparkle.” I then decided to share my feelings and communicate because being quiet was an “old behavior” and it didn’t feel very good.
After I shared my feelings of “inadequacy” about my dancing with him, he immediately apologized for being a “jerk” and took responsibility for his actions. He said, “It’s not you, it’s me and my ego. I am frustrated because I cannot remember the steps I have been learning so I haven’t been able to lead you. I know that is unfair to you and I am sorry.”
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that admission from him because I judged myself and thought it was my fault. We talked for quite a while in the car and I felt better when I left. The next day, while journaling and in prayer, some awareness came up for me about my lack of self-love and acceptance. I spent the day going within to process what happened and what I want and don’t want in our dancing experience. I wrote 7 pages in my journal and gained clarity about how I have internalized and allowed what others think of me and how they treat me to be the barometer of how I judge and treat myself. Larry was frustrated with himself (and me) because he couldn’t remember the steps he learned and I wasn’t following him. I took on his frustration and assumed it meant that I was inadequate and “not good enough.”
If my self-love and acceptance was at 100% (which no one’s is,) I would have realized in the moment that it was his frustration and that I didn’t need to buy into it & create and my own story. Feeling inadequate and “not good enough” are old core beliefs that reared their ugly head-again! I forgave myself and wrote a gratitude list.
The truth is it’s about me and how I treat and love myself. I cannot control how others treat me, but I can control how I love, accept and appreciate myself. Through this experience, I was able to give myself the love, acceptance and appreciation that I have craved from others. What a gift and opportunity to see the truth and to see how I have grown and learned to communicate and get my needs met. I felt so empowered after Larry and I discussed what I will and will not do on the dance floor! And the best part is we had a fantastic time on the dance floor this Saturday night.
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