Are you planning a Family Vacation?
Wouldn’t you love for your next trip to bring joy for everyone?
It seems like too much to ask doesn’t it?
Isn’t it enough to just get there and hope for the best?
I hear you! I’ve often planned in the same way.
And then…when something works year after year for everyone, across three generations...Wow! Let’s find out why.
Why would a group of born and bred New Englanders flock to the tropics for the Christmas holidays every year?
I decided to ask some of my family members a few questions:
“Why do you love going to Florida for the holidays?”
“What was one of your favorite moments this year?”
In their words…
Mom (age 88)
“The best part of all of you visiting is catching up on news and happenings in your lives.”
“My favorite moments are when each of you arrive and the look of joy on your faces just to be here. Also, the boat trip Marty so generously provides.”
Marty (age 32)
“The best part of gathering in Florida for Christmas is undoubtedly having everyone together. Although we see individual family members throughout the year, it is very rare to have everyone gathered in the same spot for an extended period of time.
I love the change of pace. Whereas life in New York is usually hectic and spent racing around, Florida provides a sense of tranquility. It also doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by beautiful, blue waters!”
“It is very difficult to choose a singular favorite moment, but I loved my early morning walks on the beach with Bear. Most mornings we had the beach entirely to ourselves and it was the ideal way to start a day.”
Noah (age 18)
“I love our family vacation in Florida because for a week or so we are the happiest we are all year. The festivities and excitement surrounding the holidays combine perfectly with the heavenly weather and it is simply magical every year.”
“Having Pooh Bear puppy there!”
Maria (age 31)
“I love having Christmas in Florida!” It’s low key and easy and relaxing. We can all be outside in this amazing beauty and warmth. It’s so nice to have everyone together and be out of the cold!”
“Spending our first Christmas with Bear and watching him make friends with every dog in the colony and cover himself in sand!”
Aaron (age 22)
“Just give me the sea, sand and sun any day, I’m there. I love beach living!”
“Playing with Bear, riding the waves, playing Can Jam on the beach.”
Deborah (age 63)
“Seeing my children and extended family so happy, all in one place!”
I love that we all share a love for the sea. Here, the ocean becomes our program guide. The tides, breezes, the sunrise and sunset, the moonrise set the pace for our days. I call it falling into “ocean time”. It’s a time and place to simply be, surrounded by exquisite, breathtaking beauty. I love that we return to this same beach year after year. As my son Noah says:
“It’s both old and new at the same time.”
“Being on the beach with everyone, my feet in the sand, the sound of the waves, delicious food, being by, in and on the sea!
Now, I’d love to hear for you!
Do you have a great Family Vacation that you’d love to share?
Are inspired by this Blog post? If so, I’d love you to share it!
As always, choose joy!
Love and Blessings,
What is Love?
Before we attempt to answer this big question….
Who was St Valentine?
Are you familiar with his story?
I decided to do a little research. If I’ve ever known this story,
I don’t remember it or maybe I purposely forgot!
I’ll share with you what I discovered:
St. Valentine was a 3rd Century Roman Catholic priest.
He was known as the “patron of love, young people and happy marriages”.
All was going well until Claudius G. took the throne.
Emperor Claudius was having trouble convincing young Roman men to enlist in his army.
One of his men told him that their attraction to women was the reason.
So Claudius passed a law forbidding all relations between men and women!
Father Valentine believed the law to be unjust.
He continued to marry young couples in secret.
Eventually he was discovered, arrested and beheaded
in a public square on February 14, 270 AD.
What a sad beginning to one of the world’s most popular “love celebrated” holidays.
Those who loved Father Valentine chose to honor him
by creating rituals that involved giving and receiving love.
During the 20th century, this holiday evolved into the
exchange of paper Valentines we know today.
The honor of “sainthood” was bestowed upon Father Valentine
many years later, thus he’s most commonly known as St. Valentine.
Confusion around love is nothing new!
What is love? Is this love?
I recently discovered these papers, carefully folded in the side pocket of my purse.
I’ve been carrying them around for over a year,
I remember why….
I was attending a yoga class.
“What are your beliefs about love?” the teacher asked.
We began to write.
This exercise continues to inspire me to
create love rhymes…these even have a melody!
Love is gentle
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is peace
Love is free
Love is comfort
Love is joy
Love’s a baby girl
Love’s a temple
Love’s a door
Love’s a rainbow
That’s for sure!
Love is love
Now it’s your turn!
How would you answer this question?
I’d love to hear your responses!
If you’re so inspired, please leave a comment under this blog or email me!
I wish you a delightful exploration of love this month!
“Time and space cannot play any part
between two loving hearts.”
Love and blessings,
JANUARY BLOG 2019
The rhythmic waves... reliably soothing...
where in your life would more rhythm be helpful?
I call this shell, Sunrise Shell as it looks like it’s been kissed by the sunrise.
Its actual name is Spectral Bittersweet Clam.
What is its story, I wonder?
How far has it traveled to land on this beach
and catch my attention with its beauty?
What gifts are you ready to share this year?
Color in the depths of winter!
Oh, this glorious beach side hibiscus!
Isn't it's very presence enough?
This friendly seagull joined me for a morning walk.
Seagulls carry the song of the sea with them
and inspire me to listen
and sing my own heart’s song more freely.
What song lives in your heart longing to be sung?
let's sing together!
Footprints in the sand
where all living beings can walk side by side in harmony
In the spirit of the sea,
I wish you a new year of creativity,
cooperation and community,
of radiant health, wellbeing and prosperity,
of love, joy and celebrations!
Blessings and love,
Three Simple Happiness Practices...
Would you like to bring more joy into your day?
Here are three simple Happiness practices
to keep you smiling!
Happiness Practice #1
Begin your day with a smile and repeat out loud:
“Life is a miracle!”
Alice and Kate
Happiness Practice #2
Nature is full of joyful surprises!
Happiness Practice #3
Create a Joy Collage Card
No artistic talent necessary! Yay!
This is fun!
Be sure to display the card where you can see it!
The next step is to take action!
Choose one or more Happiness Practices and give them a try.
What did you notice?
I’d love to hear from you.
Blessings and love,
Is Happiness Conditional?
I’m excited to continue our exploration into the nature of Happiness.
I’m so grateful for the rich and compelling contributions in response to last month’s Blog,
What is Happiness?
I hope you are enjoying this exploration as much as I am!
Now let’s go deeper!
Is Happiness conditional? What do Yogis have to say?
“Happiness is our birthright,” said Yogi Bhajan.
We can therefore expect to live joyfully and peacefully, yes?
“Happiness is subtraction,” says Anne.
When we subtract or take away anxiety, fear, anger, judgment, criticism and negative thinking we begin to see, feel and come into relationship with our true nature….JOY.
"Happiness is loving All," says Rose.
“Peace Love Joy”, says Mukesh.
Happiness is like the sun! I say.
On sunny days we experience the sun as light and warm.
We know we could not survive as humans on planet earth without the sun’s life giving energy.
On cloudy days we cannot see and feel the sun as easily. But it is still there behind the clouds.
It is still warming us, just more gently and subtly.
Is Happiness conditional?
I believe happiness is much deeper and vaster than that.
Favorable conditions may “set the stage” for happiness to make a strong appearance, but conditions for happiness do not define or create happiness.
If, for example, you know that on sunny days you feel happy, does that mean that you can only experience joy on sunny days?
There are many other weather conditions.
What happens to your experience of joy on cloudy or stormy days?
Here’s another example:
What if you feel happiest when you have at least 500K in savings, your investments are doing well and your debt is paid off?
Is your experience of happiness tied to your bank account?
How is it that homeless children on the streets of India are smiling?
My guess is because their joy is not attached to conditions.
Their true nature shines through.
I like knowing………..Happiness is a choice that is always available. When we choose happiness, we are choosing to experience and honor our true nature.
As always, thank you for joining me on this fascinating journey.
Please leave a comment if you’re so inspired.
I love receiving your comments and I’ll respond to each one for sure!
Love and blessings,
Have you ever been in a place of “between dreams”?
When one chapter of your life is ending and another is waiting to begin?
I certainly have. I wrote this verse about it:
In the place of between dreams
What unfolds cannot be seen
The soul cries out,
Please give me space
Dance, sing, pray
Walk on in grace
I first heard this term, “between dreams”, an aboriginal saying, a few decades ago while attending a week-long retreat in the Canadian mountains led by my longtime friend and soul sister, Julia Press. Julia embodies Divine love.
This retreat changed my perspective
Since “between dreams” was a theme for many participants in this retreat, we spent some time exploring how to be in relationship with this space.
Early in the week we made masks of our own faces.
Unlike previous retreats where we had decorated our masks with color and glitter and feathers to express our individuality, we left these masks pure white.
On the evening of the ritual we dressed in white.
The room was lit with candlelight. We were asked to enter one at a time in silence and with sacredness, find our mask, put it on and then stand in a circle in the center of the room until all had gathered.
Julia asked us to lie down on the floor on our backs with our heads toward the center of the circle.
“It was a breathtaking mandala of humanity in transition,” she says.
Soft, ethereal music was playing. Julia led a spontaneous meditation about letting go so completely that this was like the day of our death, allowing us to fully be “between dreams” without knowing what the experience would be.
Julia and beautiful Bea covered each of us with a shroud from head to toe.
The music deepened. I felt supported and safe in this sacred circle. We were on our own soul’s journey and at the same time we were journeying together.
We lay there for a long while in stillness.
Time to rise from the dead!
We slowly rose, leaving our old “shroud personas” behind and began to look through the eyes of “between dreams”. As our silent, white forms slowly and gracefully moved through the room, we softly gazed into each other’s eyes. We began to embody “this place of not knowing, this newness that had not yet formed into something,” as Julia so beautifully describes.
“Between dreams” felt beautiful and comfortable.
I felt myself smiling behind my mask. We were dancing in the space of infinite possibilities. The Presence in the room was palpable.
Coming back to our circle, we took off our masks.
“The sharing was slow and deep,” Julia describes, “and the experiences people shared were incredible.”
Contrary to our common cultural beliefs that we must always know what the next step is, this ritual offered a new way of stepping into the unknown for me. It offered an opportunity to embrace “between dreams” as a vital, breathing, sacred space that can be honored and enjoyed. Decades later, it continues to inform my experience.
What would it feel like to trust the place of “between dreams” like the magical place between the ocean tides?
As always, I’d love to hear your comments.
Blessings and love,
July Blog 2018
JUNE BLOG-DADS 2018
I’d like to invite you to join me in a unique opportunity. In this Blog, we’ll get to hear from three Dads as they share a glimpse of their fathering journeys with us!
In my work with beautiful Moms and Babes I often have the opportunity to meet awesome Dads!
Dads who are making life style choices that support their increasing desire to be engaged and available as partners and parents.
Is Mountaintop Fathering going out of style?
Do you remember the story of Bambi? There is a poignant scene where Bambi’s father, the great king of the forest stands on top of a mountain and looks down at his young son, luckily with proud and approving eyes. Did they ever actually meet?
Are Epic Quests losing their appeal?
For millennia, men have gone on quests often lasting years at a time and women have raised children on their own.
Odysseus, the Greek warrior spent years at sea and while he was away he hired a “Mentor” to care for Telemachus, his son. The Mentor was actually the goddess Athena in disguise!
Shiva, the great and powerful Hindu God went off to the forest to meditate for years at a time leaving Parvati, his wife alone and praying to the Gods for a son to keep her company. When the Gods granted her wish and Shiva returned, he didn’t even recognize his own son!
In J.R.R. Tolkein’s infamous tale of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, a company of dwarves and Gandalf, the wizard set off on a great adventure to slay a fierce dragon and recover the gold they claim is theirs.
The New England whalers sought high-risk adventure upon the seas with a promise of fame and fortune for themselves and their families. If they returned that is. The image of wives and children keeping watch on “widow’s peaks” for the mere glimpse of a ship on the horizon has spurred many spellbinding tales.
In more modern times, the nine-five workday, commuter train and business trips have replaced the quests of old. Still, Dads have been largely absent and Moms have been in charge of child raising.
How is it possible to change the role of Father with such a powerful history of absenteeism from the family scene?
Here are three Dads who are willing to share their thoughts and hearts with us.
Meet Adam, Mike and Anthony
Adam and Kate have a beautiful daughter Alice who is now 21 months old.
Mike and Chris are the parents of Mikey, age 4 years and Mia, who is now 20 months old.
Anthony and Charlie are the parents of Johan, who is now 16 months old.
Recently, I asked Adam, Mike and Anthony this question:
What are three things you love about being a Dad?
Here is how Adam answered the question:
The free form games that emerge from whatever is lying on the floor of her room or artifacts we find on our nature walks (now that she has discovered pockets!)
From the perfunctory, “Dad-wants-a-hug” hugs to the light, “I’m- feeling-scared-or-sad” hugs to the exciting, “I’m-going-to-dive-into-your-arms!” hugs.
Standing witness to an emerging multi-dimensionality of love for my wife that is a tapestry of joy, humor, patience, passion and (above all) respect for her intuition.
Wow, Adam thank you!
Here’s how Mike answered the question:
I love having two young souls to guide through life
I love how they bring out the kid in me.
I love that my kids know how to cheer me up when I’m feeling down.
So Beautiful, Mike thank you!
Here’s how Anthony answered the question:
Watching my son grow is a wonderful experience, especially seeing him evolve and develop his personality and curiosity.
Being a Dad gives me a deep sense of purpose and optimism.
I love playing with him. I love my son.
Thank you Anthony. Your words touch my heart.
Here is the NEW QUEST.
This is a quest of the heart. Opening one’s heart to a love more powerful than any takes tremendous courage, perhaps even more courage than harpooning a whale, slaying a dragon or navigating the perils of the high seas.
The heart of the father has been missing for most of human history. These Dads are among a growing tribe of men who are bringing heart and soul into fathering.
Thank you Adam, Mike and Anthony for having the courage to design differently! Above all, thank you for sharing your hearts with us. Your choices ripple outward, positively impacting your partners, children, families, communities and all those you meet.
If you enjoyed this Blog, which of course I hope you have,
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!