Holy moly. Best thing EVER. I’m in love with Kid President.
No capes. Just courage.
Holy moly. Best thing EVER. I’m in love with Kid President.
I was honored to participate in the Mother’s Day Rally for Mental Health on Katherine Stone’s blog (Postpartum Progress) this year. Katherine posted letters to new moms from 24 writers who have gone through postpartum depression or anxiety. Each letter is so moving + powerful… and a must-read for your mama friends out there. So many of us don’t realize what we’re going through until we’re on the other side. We don’t get the support we need because we think we don’t deserve it, or that it’s not that bad, or we’re too ashamed…
I went to a birthday party for a dear friend recently. Since Laurie had been going through some major transitions this year, we wanted to gift her something really special and from the heart. Sherry suggested we all make her a “Love list.”
1. Write down 10 things you love about this person.
2. Tell them what you admire about them, what you appreciate, why they inspire you.
3. Read it to them in person, over the phone, or put a stamp on it and send it off with love.
As I wrote my love list for Laurie, I was filled with gratitude. There was so much to love about her! and I felt so lucky to be counted as one of her dear ones.
She didn’t know we wrote these lists. We surprised her by reading them out loud, one by one after dinner, and watched the tears fall from her cheeks. She received each gift so beautifully… and we were all a puddle by the end. It was a gift to all of us.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the gorgeous rainbow colored buddhas on my home page? They were created by the phenomenally talented Anado McLauchlin in San Miguel de Allende.
You might remember I was there last January for a painting retreat with Flora Bowley. The colors in San Miguel are the most spectacular I’ve ever seen – mustard walls with peeling paint, green taxis and pink churches, orange houses against bright blue skys. My color obsession was finally satisfied. But we had the chance to take it to another level when the leader of our trip suggested we visit a talented expat artist whose home was made entirely of mosaics. Now we’re talking! I thought.
Of course he had me at hello. A creative wizard of a man with a long beard and pink tennis shoes greeted us. His house was nothing short of miraculous. Here are some peeks into his colorful world. May they inspire you! And if you ever find yourself in San Miguel, I hope you get to see his work firsthand.
Thank you Anado! For sharing your colorful vision and your home!
This is what Ben called him the first time it happened, the first time our car was broken into last year. We went to open the door of our car one morning and discovered that it was ajar. Trash was strewn all over the passenger seat along with owners’ manuals, registration papers, a swiss army knife, a few tampons and a number 2 pencil. All that seemed to be missing was the spare change. I explained to Ben that someone had rifled through our car in the middle of the night.
But who ruffled our car? Ben asked in disbelief.
I like calling him the Ruffler because it sounds more friendly, less like a violation and more like a person who simply makes mischief and mess wherever they go. We also have a name for this guy because he has done this to our car a good 7 times now. Every time we have forgotten to lock the doors– those occasions when I have extracted a screaming toddler from the car seat and hurriedly ushered him into the house (thus forgetting to lock up) the Ruffler strikes again.
It’s possible he is the most dependable force in my life. A law of the Universe. Pure cause and effect.
I’ve been more diligent about locking doors since the Ruffler came into our lives. Not just the car doors, but the house as well. He demands that I cross my T’s more than usual; he demands a kind of precision and excellence that perhaps I let fall by the wayside. I imagine he is a kind of angel, here for a purpose, to protect me from a much greater harm with his annoying shenanigans.
I have been tempted to leave the car door open and rig a camera in there, to film the Ruffler in action. He has left cigarette butts in the car before, garbage, and once a nice pair of sunglasses that I’m guessing he acquired from another vehicle. But I don’t really want to know who he is.
I prefer to think of him as a force or an energy, not a real person.
I prefer to think of him as someone who asks me to stay present and awake, who remembers to check the doors before falling asleep, who reminds me of the simple laws of the Universe.
My friend Lara and I got our kiddos together for brunch + a major lemon squeezing session.
At some point Nico got his hands on the garden hose outside. As you can see below, I took this photo from the safety of the inside of the house.
The kiddos then made a big sign that advertised free lemonade for Plant a Kiss day.
We set up shop and began giving away cups of free lemonade. Our first customer was Ben + Roan’s preschool teacher. She was so proud!
Turns out giving something away for free is disarming for folks. Many people tried not to look our way and when we would ask, Would you like some free lemonade? They wondered what the catch was. “The catch is love!” Roan exclaimed. So yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself. The catch is love!
You can read the rest of the Plant a Kiss Day blog posts by clicking here.
I caught myself today, telling my sister a tired old story on the telephone. You know the ones I mean –the thing you have been complaining about for years, the thing that never seems to change, the one that always brings you anguish. When I hung up today (after venting at length) I noticed how my body felt- icky, tainted, like I had just eaten an entire bag of fritos.
I think I’m done telling that story, I thought to myself.
I need a new narrative. One that’s still true but makes me feel empowered + hopeful.
I went on a photo walk this afternoon. I wanted to shake my legs and get in the mood for the Treasure Hunt course starting in a couple of days.
I found myself taking self-portraits, click click click and then peering into the tiny screen to see how they came out. Sometimes it’s hard to look at yourself, isn’t it? My skin is mottled, my eyes are too small, I should wear makeup… the critic had a steady stream of commentary. Then I remembered something that Vivienne McMaster had shared with me, a self-portrait exercise where you look into the lens with total kindness + love.
I decided to try it, peering into the camera with the kindest part of my heart. I acted as if I were looking at my own boys, tiny and perfect and beautiful. Not only did it feel good to do this, but the shots turned out so much better.
I’m not sure what this new story is. (I will have to call on one of my life coach friends for this one)
What I do know, is that the key will be starting from this place of kindness and love. From this angle, things are bound to look so much more hopeful + beautiful.
I’ve been craving the ocean for days, feeling melancholy and drained. For me, the best and only antidote is the ocean. I’m a California girl through and through, born in Los Angeles and grew up in Santa Cruz. The ocean is in my bones and has been my constant companion (and healer) for as long as I can remember. There is nothing on earth that rearranges me like walking for hours in the sand, feeling the water lap at my feet.
Yesterday, when I saw the forecast was 80 degrees, it occurred to me that I work for myself! And that I could make the hour drive to the beach just like that. No need to ask permission. (I sometimes forget this) I collected my dear, old friend John and off we went.
We walked barefoot and took photos. We combed the beach for seaglass and beautiful rocks. We found one with a remarkable face! and John told me about a time when he was at Ocean Beach and found dozens of baby sand dollars, all perfect and unbroken, strewn all over the sand. The image enchanted me and I silently wished for tiny sand dollars to appear. Within minutes, I found the tiniest sand dollar imaginable. It was the size of my fingernail! Then I found another and another… they were everywhere.
As we walked back, I did a ritual. I wrote the names of all the people in my life who need healing right now. (There are a lot of them) I sent each of them blessings and asked the ocean to help…
We can amplify our positive emotions by sharing them – our gratitude, our joy and our well-being. My joy was amplified by sharing it with John yesterday. My gratitude + well-being were amplified by the simple ritual of sending love + healing prayers out to friends. We can amplify our appreciation by having a gratitude buddy and sharing lists each day.
This morning, when I told one of the other moms at the bus stop that I played hooky and went to Stinson beach, her eyes got big. “That is so inspiring!” she beamed. As I shared more about our day, she got more and more excited. “Thank you for sharing that,” she told me. “You are encouraging me to do this for myself this week!” I walked away smiling, my own joy amplified…
And so I share this with you as well. A reminder to do something healing for yourself, something that makes you come alive this weekend. Share it and watch it ripple out to everyone you touch.
It’s been a doozy of a week. Personal trials over here as well as really hard stuff going on in the world. (Sending you love, Boston) These are the moments when I feel the least amount of inspiration to share a gratitude list. Thank goodness for my gratitude buddy and for this blog where I can remember how very blessed I am.
This is my gratitude list in pictures.
Feel free to leave your own list in the comments. Or, if you haven’t been matched up with a buddy, shoot me an email and I can make that happen for you! (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am thoroughly enjoying this public service.
One of my biggest, most formative wounds happened when I was in the sixth grade. I was part of a triad of friends, three besties that played together every recess, went home together after school and told each other every last secret.
Until one day when everything changed.
I arrived at school to find these friends had gone cold. When I asked what was wrong, they simply declared that they weren’t friends with me anymore. That was it. No warning, no fight that preceded it. Just a simple fact: You’re out.
I was bereft and grieved hard. I wondered what I did wrong. I wondered what was wrong with me. I wracked my brain trying to figure it out.
A few days later, they started calling me names – saying I looked like a monkey, mocking me for wearing designer jeans. It was an incredibly painful time and it wounded me deeply.
Shit happens. People behave badly. They bully, they call each other names, they act unskillfully. People do what they do. What we decide about ourselves in those moments is what matters most.
I could have decided a lot of things that day – that it wasn’t safe to make friends, that I was a terrible person, that I was ugly.
What I gathered instead was that they were envious — that the boys gave me attention, that my mother bought me nice clothes, that I got good grades. The message I got was clear- Don’t be too much. Don’t be too smart or too pretty or too sparkly. Keep your head low and people won’t hate you. Don’t outshine your friends or you won’t have any.
That story has haunted me. And crept its way into every aspect of my life. There is a ceiling on how much success I allow myself to have or how much I allow myself to enjoy my success. If I do achieve a big win, I find myself talking about how hard it was, or how it took a lot of work and struggle. I want people to know it didn’t come easily, that I suffered. I’m often afraid others will feel diminished by my success.
Years ago, at a women’s creativity group, we did an exercise where we had to go around the circle and “brag” about our creative successes to date. I was terrified… and had a FULL ON breakdown during my turn. I sobbed and couldn’t even get the words out. They had to skip me. Hello emotional landmine!
I can see now that I have been trying to heal this wound for so many years.
Part of my healing process has been to surround myself with circles of women who want me to be big, who want me to shine, who want me to be the best version of me. They want this because it inspires them, it lifts them up, it gives them permission to be big as well. They want this because they know that keeping me tethered keeps them tethered too.
Sometimes we have to do a big re-wiring job on our brains. We have to first notice those limiting beliefs- the ones that hold us back from being our true selves, our deepest selves, our shiniest selves. And then we have to say, No more! That belief no longer serves me. It no longer keeps me safe, it actually keeps me down.
And then we write a new story.
Mine is this: The more I shine, the more others shine in my presence. The more success I have, the more I inspire others.
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