I come from a family of gun enthusiasts. My younger brother is a firearms instructor in Iraq. My older brother, who lives in Atlanta, keeps a handgun tucked in his waistband. Even my 66-year-old mother is taking up arms, having just earned her permit to carry a concealed weapon in Michigan. Recently she held up her paper target for me to see: two bull’s eyes! Her exuberance seemed to expect matching enthusiasm from me.
A few days ago, my friend Mark was feeling depressed and decided to stop at Trader Joe’s and buy himself some flowers. When he told the woman at the check-out why he needed flowers, she insisted on buying them for him.
Random act of kindness? Sure.
But it’s also a reminder that asking begins as an inner dialogue. Mark asked himself, “What do I need to feel more loved and supported today?”
Ryan is a busy, successful guy who just turned 50. He’s had a long career that allows him to travel, drive sports cars, and have a beautiful home in a posh suburb of Atlanta.
When Ryan and I spoke, he was stressed about his job. He said he felt like a “road warrior” and that he was expected to make his boss look like a “hero.” He was tired of “soldiering on.” He spoke of his need to achieve like it was a quest, and said that he didn’t want to be “the bad guy” by failing.
Ryan’s troubles had taken on mythic proportions; he wasn’t just carrying the weight of his own world, his word choices showed that he was taking on epic roles — we’re talking the stuff of legends
Anneke was a lovely Dutch woman who came to me one day for an angel card reading and energy healing. She was in Chicago as an art teacher, and in addition to teaching at the college level, she had just had a show for her own art installation. She arrived a little late and out of breath for our appointment because she had ridden her bike.
I asked her what her goal was and where she would like to see improvement. She said she wanted to find balance.
“There are days when I don’t make time for my art. I don’t go to the gym because I have papers to grade. I don’t travel…” And the list went on.
I was one of those painfully shy kids who would hide behind my mom’s legs when someone spoke to me. Thankfully, I’m a recovering wallflower; I’ve shed that shy label once and for all.
Or so I thought.
I was recently challenged to pay attention to how I make eye contact. Apparently the slew of dating sites have it wrong. They’d like us to put all our energy into crafting a perfect profile and posting photos that show “I look good in jeans AND in heels!!” when the energy we send with our eyes and our smile is the true secret to attraction.
If you’re like me, you probably spent some time this month laid up in the house with the flu. But I wonder if you, like me, struggle with those housebound days becoming an open house for every fear and doubt you’ve ever had.
Rear Knocked at the door
Illness seems to hit me hardest in my emotional body. As I lay on the couch with my household falling down around me (my children eating popcorn for lunch and polishing off chewable vitamin C tablets like they were candy, the dog peeing on the floor) I don’t have the strength to keep my thoughts positive.
My poor old dog is in organ failure. How will I know when it’s her time to go? I hate that she’s dying. What if I’m dying? We’re all dying. Life is so sad. My children are growing up so fast. They hardly need me anymore. There’s nothing but barren branches out my window.
Louise had been wanting to clean out her basement for months. The last couple of years were rough for her; after her divorce, she suffered from depression and couldn’t seem to complete the tasks she started. She’d gained weight and wasn’t feeling like herself.
“If I clean that basement out, I bet I’ll lose 30 pounds,” she emphatically told me. My ears perked up because I do sooo love hearing that clear voice of intuition!
The birds are back!
I have a bird feeder in my back yard and I recently made some homemade suet for it using bird seed, peanut butter, bacon grease, and Crisco. I was sure I would attract all the best birds and be the hit of the neighborhood. I waited and waited, but no birds came. Maybe they didn’t like what I had to offer, or maybe it was just too cold. I was disappointed.
Have you ever offered yourself in one way or another, only to have nothing happen? Do you ever feel like you’ve done all the right things, scattered all the right seeds, but you’re still waiting for love, or the right career, or a feeling of fulfillment?
If I were to walk through your home, what story would I create about you based on your things?
I worked with a woman whose home was filled with thrift store “steals.” Everything was cheap and used. Not surprisingly, she was struggling with low self-esteem. She described herself as feeling “second-best” and didn’t understand why men used her, then “threw her away.”
This woman happened to have the lovely and enviable trait of seeing the good in all people and things. She brought a joyful, childlike wonder to her relationships and belongings. But she wasn’t acknowledging this unique quality in herself.
This summer my kids and I rented a cottage near Lake Michigan. The location was a beauty, but the interior was barren and plain. Never mind the mattresses on the floor, the leaky shower, the empty cupboards, or the dirty, crooked window blinds. As we told each other, it was a step up from camping, and we could make the best of it. We had fun playing badminton, walking to the cafe for coffee, and swimming at the beach.
So I wasn’t sure why, the next morning, I felt unusually uneasy and unsettled. As I stood in the tiny living room and looked around, it hit me: there wasn’t a single moment of beauty within those four walls. As a Taurus, I know I like pretty things. I’m drawn to order, symmetry, and good design. But I’d never realized before that beauty is more than a preference. It’s a need. I felt the lack of it on a physical and energetic level.