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Finding Hope and Renewal in the Face of Tragedy

A Tale of Survival

hand holdng orbIn the spirit of hope – of healing – of renewal – and of embracing those struggling with loss, I would like to share what I wrote of my own struggle to survive the loss of one of my sons in a mass killing a number of years ago.

I originally posted this blog two years ago, after the killings in Tucson, Arizona. It felt appropriate to share it again now.

Towards the end of President Obama’s moving tribute to those killed in an earlier massacre, he said: “Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken – and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness. ………Sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us.”

Sometime after my personal tragedy, I was in a writing class where we were asked to respond to the question: “Where do you go when you feel there is a discrepancy between life as it should be and life as it is? … Read the rest

Beyond the Horoscope

“I have been criticized and ridiculed for turning to astrology,
but after a while, I reached the point where I didn’t care.”

~Nancy Reagan

My interest in astrology began as a young reader when I wondered what reason you could possibly have for NOT being interested in what your horoscope revealed in the daily newspaper. The questions became more serious when years later, being a Leo, I wondered whether marrying another Leo was a good idea (turns out it was).

More years would pass before my search for life’s true meaning inspired me to look beyond my horoscope and toward the heavens for guidance. My first professional astrological chart reading was exciting and posed a question I’ve been thinking about ever since. My chart revealed that I was destined to share my gifts with the world in a manner that was very far from my then-current career. The astrologer posed the direct question: “When are you going to start doing what you came here to do?” Well. Alrighty then. Guess I had some course correcting to do.

Fast forward a couple years and I’d be strongly encouraged to again have my chart read by Heather Ensworth, a Ph.D. Clinical … Read the rest

20 Ways to Create More Happiness

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

If you have days where happiness eludes you, here’s a few tips from your comrades on the planet that may help shift your mindset for the day. It’s the simple things in life that tend to bring the most pleasure. Try one or more today!

  1. Assume positive intent of others
  2. First thing in the morning, be grateful for all the blessings in your life
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Share the best thing that happened during the day with your partner/family first thing when you get home at the end of the day
  5. Random acts of kindness — randomly pay for someone’s drive-thru order behind you
  6. Think of something you use everyday, make sure it is the best quality you can afford, and take the time to really and care for it
  7. Walk at least 30 minutes a day
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others
  9. Remove advertising from your life
  10. Get a pet
  11. Smile at yourself in the mirror, smile at others – especially strangers
  12. Give more and expect less
  13. Help the people around you
  14. Spend time outside and breath fresh air deeply
  15. Give yourself and others permission to change
Read the rest

Who’s Driving Your Bus?

“Our Life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.
Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it.
Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.
Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.”

~The Buddha

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the mind as: the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons. The mind is the gatekeeper (to use Jackie Foskett’s term) of some pretty important stuff; our beliefs and perceptions.

The “mind” is a fascinating thing. It may be our greatest gift and our most powerful tool. And it can also be our loudest critic and strident saboteur. And to challenge us further, our mind has layers. Our conscious mind houses our intellect and logic and comprises 10% of our total being. The subconscious mind, which has layers of its own, is the other 90% *

The subconscious mind says a hearty “YES!” to the message with the most power (energy) regardless of our morals, values, current beliefs or aspirations. The subconscious mind drives the bus based upon whatever drum the unconscious … Read the rest

Simple “Steps” to Enjoying Life

“Walking is Man’s best medicine.
~Hippocrates, Father of Medicine

I’m a believer. Here are some tips for starting a walking practice and why walking, particularly outside, is good for body, mind and spirit:

  • Walk outside. Did you know we spend 80-90% of our time indoors? Enough is enough. Walking outside and spending time in nature feels good and promotes mind-body health. It beats going to the gym, where the air is stale, it’s noisy, smelly and, let’s be honest, swimming in bacteria. Being outside allows you to experience the natural rhythm of the day and the season while soaking up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. You’ll find that walking outside lifts your spirits and releases stress like nothing else can.
  • Walk alone. Nothing against a social walk; they’re good for you too. But, developing a personal practice of walking alone will take you to an entirely different place. It is a fantastic form of mindfulness meditation and will calm your mind and give your brain a break from everyday overstimulation. It’s a chance to let go of thoughts and tune into the vibration of nature; a chance to shift your attention and notice the earth, even if where
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Little Help Please?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

“What we know about you, Rita, is that you like to wrestle things to the ground before you’ll take action.” These are the words that replay in my mind whenever I’m stuck. I learned this fact about myself through the process of life coaching, which is one of the tools I keep at the ready in my personal transformation toolbox.

Of course, it took me awhile to wrestle down the decision to work with a coach. I had lots of excuses and reasons why it wasn’t” for me” – and they all boiled down to 4 simple letters: F E A R. But when the floundering finally became unbearable, I grabbed the lifeline that coaching has been for me and I began to unfold.

It’s interesting that it’s easier to pick up the phone and call a doctor when something is wrong with us physically than it is to get some help as we take on the challenges and ambiguities that life presents along the way.

We look outside for fixing what ails us – and that certainly has its place in life. But if we don’t take the … Read the rest

Personal Practice: Year End Review

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal
On what you bring to the New Year.”

~Vern McLellan

A “Year End Review” is typically thought of as a business tool. However, I’ve adopted this as a personal practice after being assigned with this task several years ago by life coach, Nancy Carlstrom. It’s become a really enlightening annual practice as I make note of practical achievements, healing shifts, personal growth and health milestones.

In the process, it has also helped me identify areas of my life that I’ve avoided or neglected and guided me in re-focusing and re-prioritizing. For example, the fun bucket grew cobwebs this year and so I’ve recognized it as an area that needs attention.

thinking backBut mostly, what I’ve taken away from this practice is a sense of awe around the areas in my life where I’ve grown and the accomplishments I’ve achieved. It’s so easy to remain focused on what’s missing, what’s not working, and what I didn’t get done on a daily basis. It was a good day if I got a lot done; it was a bad day if I didn’t.

I’ve found a new appreciation for myself by … Read the rest