June 2014

The Cat Came Back

Bob Cindi 300How was your summer solstice? Ours was dramatic. I sum ours up with the chorus to Better Days. “So take these words and sing out loud. Cause everyone’s forgiven now. Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.

Saturday morning – why wasn’t Cindi, the cat, howling to get let up and adored as she always does? I went down to invite her up for our morning ritual. Instead of bounding up the stairs, she laid down on the floor and meowed in a voice I have never heard from her. As the morning progressed, she continued to fade. 

Bob elected himself to take her to the vet. I would have gone, too, but a dear friend was in town, and she was meeting me at dance with her grand kids. I left, wondering if I would ever see Cindi Cat again. 

It was fabulous to see my friend. Dancing with the little ones brought out the full force of my play nature. It was so fun. My heart was filled with love and gratitude for the frolic. It was like the pure experience of life. Instead of concern or sorrow for Cindi, I felt gratitude for the eighteen years of having such a wonderful cat. Of course, I hoped for more, but was prepared for this to be the end of that story.

Saturday afternoon – By the time Bob saw the vet, Cindi’s blood sugar was 39. She was hanging on to life. He left her there. She was responsive, and we were able to bring her home Saturday afternoon. 

Sunday morning – The sound of Cindi’s howl never sounded so sweet. The cat came back. She actually ran up the stairs and pranced around for her morning adoration longer than usual. We called it Bonus Day #1.

Cindi settled on my bed as I cleaned and danced to music on my MP3 player. The song Better Days came on with the chorus. “Tonight’s the night the world begins again.” My heart swelled with gratitude.  

I went in the kitchen and turned on Pandora Radio. Better Days came on there, too. “Tonight’s the night the world begins again.” It felt auspicious. I bounded in to tell Bob about it. Joyful tears spilled over. I had considered waiting until my emotional flood had subsided, but opted to share it with him. He joined me in celebration. Okay, he didn’t leap in the air like I did, but he was moved, too. 

Monday morning – the cat bounded up the stairs again. Bonus Day #2. Kudos for the animal clinic for calling to check on Cindi.

The cat came back. We weren’t sure she would. We were prepared for her not to. But she did. 

That was our summer solstice. How was yours?


Enjoy the video. See if it awakens your sense of renewal, too. And, yes, I watched it through to the end. Unlike a previous video, there are no dark surprises in this one.

Here’s the link if the embed doesn’t work for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOp4NAq6EHI


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A Bigger Story

cathedral trees 300

You may have heard the tale of the three bricklayers. I have my own version. In my version, there are four bricklayers.


Four bricklayers were working side by side.

When asked, “What are you doing?” the first bricklayer replied:

“I’m laying bricks.”

When asked, “What are you doing?” the second bricklayer replied:

“I’m feeding my family.”

When asked, “What are you doing?” the third bricklayer replied:

“I’m building a cathedral.”

What a difference the vision of outcome makes. Vision acts like a magnet, drawing us on to the next level. The laying of a brick and building of a wall are much more inspired when they are guided by the vision of the cathedral they are helping to create. Visions act like magnets. 


In December of 2013, I created a magnetic vision for my life, my work and my home. I determined to make my life manageable. I committed to Space for Grace. I set out to change habits, overcome obstacles and create a life of flow.

I was the third bricklayer in the story. I had the vision of where I wanted my efforts to take me. My “cathedral” was built in the air. Now I needed to put my boots on the ground and do the hard work of building a new foundation. 

For the first year, my heart and feet were aligned with my vision. When I cleaned a drawer, I was creating Space for Grace.  When I arranged items based on how I use them, I was Creating Flow. The most mundane activities were sacraments toward a larger purpose. 

And then, something shifted. I became the first bricklayer. The laying of a brick was reduced to the laying of a brick. Without the inspiration of the vision, the day-to-day activities became drudgery.

I didn’t want to become the third bricklayer again. I didn’t want an unrealistic, unlived picture of perfection. Where did that leave me? The bricklayer story was too small for who I needed to be to continue this journey and create the life of my dreams. 

If your story is too small, tell a bigger one. Here is my recent addition to this traditional story that I have told hundreds of times. 


The Fourth Bricklayer
When asked, “What are you doing?” the fourth bricklayer replied:

Laying bricks. It pays well, and feeds my family. These bricks are part of a wall that will be a part of an amazing cathedral that will inspire the community and foster their aspirations.

The fourth bricklayer was doing the same thing as the others, but he was awake and aware to the three levels of living.


If I had to choose between a bricklayer with skills and a bricklayer with heart and a bricklayer with vision, I’d go for the skills. But I don’t have to choose, and neither do you.

We’re bigger than that. 


What am I doing now? I’m writing a blog post. I’m increasing my clarity and writing skills. I”m building community. I’m taking an action that will help the world tell a bigger story. I am the fourth bricklayer. I invite you to be as well. 


What are you doing now?


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There’s Nothing to Forgive

Forgiveness Hug 200“Will you give me a forgiveness hug?” I asked Bob.

“What for?” he asked.

“For leaving the tea on the burner and smoking up the house.”

“I’ll give you a good-morning hug, but there is nothing to forgive.”

Such loving words.

Forgiveness is sweet. Not taking offence in the first place is sweeter still.

The house had a bad smell today, but our good morning hug was like a fragrant perfume.  


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Informed and Inspired

Cathedral 400He’s an architect and he loves cathedrals. Can you imagine how exciting it was to be invited to submit plans and a proposal for the world’s largest cathedral?

The drawings filled me with awe. Words can’t describe the grandeur his plans invoked: the grandness of God and of man, the depth of skill and brilliance required to even conceive of something so massive, let alone build it. I searched for the most impressive cathedral image I could find, but the one I’m posting doesn’t compare to the scale of this project. 

His designs are amazing, but the way he designed it is even more amazing. He saw the cathedral in its entirety in a dream. When he woke, he transferred his dream images to paper exactly as he had experienced them.

And I think it’s pretty cool that my dreams are giving me PowerPhrases!


His proposal made the short list. He almost got the job. But the project went to another firm which had more experience in this specific kind of project.


I asked him what he thought of the winning design. “It was informed,” he replied.

Informed, but not inspired. 


I always thought it would be a kick to be an architect and to see your designs turn into buildings. At first I was disappointed that my architect friend’s proposal wasn’t picked and he won’t get to see his design built.

But then I remembered – he saw it completed already. 

There are a lot of ways to be inspired. There also are a lot of ways to experience gratification. Right now, I’m feeling very gratified from standing so close to this man’s informed and inspired dream.

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Thoreaux

Or not. Not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be built to have value. 

And, not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be the biggest in the world. 


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The Intuitive Faces Facts

Food TrackingI shared my astonishment yesterday over my discovery of how much protein I was eating. My discovery thrilled me. When I shared my insight with Bob, his comment was: “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Hard on myself? I’m beside myself with joy and you think I’m being hard on myself? I may have discovered a major key to help me be healthier than I’ve ever been, and you think I’m beating myself up? Huh?

One of my readers made a similar comment about yesterday’s post. I read her words and again, thought, huh?

My perception wasn’t closely aligned with reality. Acknowledging that isn’t being hard on myself. My intuition serves me well in most things, and in this area, it’s time to get a better sense of facts.


I bit the bullet yesterday and tracked my meals. My target for protein was 50 grams. I limited my protein consumption considerably, and still ended up at 60 grams. What would it have totaled if I had just eaten what had become a normal amount of protein for me? How much had I been eating?

I don’t know, and I don’t plan to eat more heavily to see. I feel much lighter today. The noble experiment continues, but early indications are that I really did find a key contributor to a challenge I’ve been wrestling with for years.

I’m facing facts. I don’t intend to track my meals for long. I plan to track long enough to get a clear sense of what balance is for me. I plan to track long enough to establish a new habit – which I suspect will only take a few days, because what I’m learning is shifting everything. 

My main style is and will remain intuitive. That trait has served me well in many ways throughout my life. So does coming down from the rafters at times, and taking a clear look at the facts/numbers/data to align my sense of things with reality.

Facing facts can be uncomfortable. Not facing facts can be much worse. I feel great today.

Where could you face facts and deal more closely with reality? Or, if your style isn’t intuitive, where could a little swing from the rafters give you perspective and joy? What is balance for you?


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Self-care Kindergarten

Kid Chicken Baloon Flower 300When I told Evan, he said, “I love the way you delight in acknowledging the obvious.” 

When I told Angela, she laughed. It was a sweet laugh – the laugh of someone who cares and is happy when a dear friend discovers her own folly – and a key to moving forward.  

What will happen when I tell you?

From one angle, a logical, linear angle, many of my recent life discoveries seem so obvious that I’m tempted to stay silent about them. I’m sure some of my readers (or former readers) have written me off as being in life-kindergarten – which is, in fact true. From another angle, these discoveries are transformational. Maybe I “should have known” this before, but I’m delighted to know it now. My inner circle buddies share my delight. Angela considers it cause for celebration. Okay, here’s the story. 


I had wondered from time to time if I might be overloading my system with too much protein. Just recently, I mentioned that concern to a friend. She said she thought I might be, and recommended I limit my daily intake to 50 grams.

I had never paid attention to nutritional numbers, so 50 grams meant nothing to me. After my friend and I spoke, I resolved to eat less protein, but it took a few days for me to make the effort to get a more clear sense of how much 50 grams of protein really is.

Tuesday, as I pulled out a chicken breast to cook, I checked the protein content. It said 24 grams per serving. I was stunned to think that one serving was half my daily protein recommended maximum.

Then it occurred to me to check serving size. 4 ounces. I had assumed the whole piece of chicken was a single serving. I had concluded the whole piece of chicken was 24 grams. Was I ever wrong! The chicken breast was over a pound. The chicken breast was over four servings.  I had planned to eat the whole thing. That would have been more than twice my daily allotment. And it would have only been one of three meals containing protein.

There are lots of ways to respond to discoveries like this one. My response was excitement. I could have beaten myself up to think of how I have been perpetuating my digestive issues. Instead, I felt joy because I believed (and believe) I found an essential key to health. I called Angela immediately so we could talk about it while I was still flying high. She delayed her dinner a few minutes to be able to share that joy with me. 

Angela knows, as do I, that this isn’t just about food (although it would still be significant even if it were.) It’s also about:

  • a hundred ways I overload myself and am learning to moderate my choices
  • being aware of what is right in front of me
  • declining when Bob puts too much protein on my plate – or recommends anything that would overload me
  • relating to numbers and measurements
  • paying attention to intuition and to inner questions like: am I eating too much protein?
  • reading my body’s signals

I’m sure I’ll discover many more implications from this awareness. 


I had a BFO yesterday. A Blinding Flash of the Obvious. Was I being an idiot not to figure this out sooner? I’ll gladly cop to that. Is this self-care kindergarten? I think so. It’s also a breakthrough awareness with implications that will ripple throughout my life. It’s a huge stream of learning from looking at the label on a package of chicken.  That’s pretty exciting, don’t you think?


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A Fertile Pause: Let Me Think About That

PowerPhrase 300Yesterday was a noble experiment in food portions that led to a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. I am tempted to post about it now, but I’ll let it percolate a bit more before I do that. The realization is so obvious that many of you will think (or know) that I can be clueless sometimes. I’ll take a “fertile pause” before I disclose. 

Fertile pauses are useful in the middle of conversations as well as in blog postings. The simple words:

  • Let me think about that

…reset a conversation. Try it today. When you’re tempted to be forthcoming, but suspect it might be better to wait or alter the conversational trajectory a bit, try that phrase. My fertile pause will be a day or more, but the phrase works well mid-conversation as well.


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A Bigger YES

devi pitchfork badI posted yesterday about how I ate more fat and protein than my system could handle, and I wanted to get at the root of why. I mentioned that cheap and easy answers won’t change anything. 

Of course, it’s important to be fair to myself about the circumstance. The same meal that sits well with me one day might not sit well at all on another. Hindsight is 20-20, and there can be plenty of days where I eat the same way with impunity. It won’t occur to me that I had the same warning voice that day as I did the day I paid a price for my meal.

I want to be fair, but my goal isn’t to let myself off the hook – nor is it to chastise myself unfairly. My goal is to figure out why I overload my system so I can remove the obstacles that prevent me from eating in ways that promote health and healing. That requires me to understand what happens and what I want to have happen. It requires that I help myself stay completely conscious at the decision points of eating. 

This principle applies to any way we overload our systems and for any decision that is less than optimal. 

Angela made an important point. She says she’ll make a less nurturing choice when her “yes” isn’t big enough. To make it easier to make the most optimal choice, she cultivates a bigger “YES.

Yesterday, when I tasted my lunch, I noticed it tasted like it had more fat than usual. I had the thought that I should probably just eat half of what was on my plate. That would have been a good time to put half in the fridge. 

Instead, I ate it all.

What did I trade off for the pleasure of eating the whole thing? I traded a Sunday of enjoyment for a Sunday of discomfort. Sounds like a devil’s bargain to me.  

Seems obvious to me now. Why didn’t it seem obvious at the choice point? How can I make it more obvious next time? How can I make my YES to eating without overloading my system big enough that it will be bigger than my desire to keep eating?

I’m still working with that one. I mentioned yesterday, cheap and easy answers won’t change life-long patterns. I’m aiming at root cause here.

I invite you to work one of your own challenges through in a similar way. Bob and I just now explored his overloading his day yesterday, leading to restless sleep. Oh, and the extra handful of sunflower seeds didn’t help. He has made remarkable strides thanks to his big YES to creating Space for Grace. He is one step closer to creating that reality. 

When will we ever learn? Now. It’s just that it’s a process to go deep into the root cause. 


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Why Do I Eat Too Much?

mistake 300Why do I eat too much? Not a question you would expect a 105-pound woman with a total of five pounds of body fat to be asking. But I do.

Why did I push the limits and eat more fat and protein than my system could handle yesterday? Why did I set myself up for the agony of The Gall Bladder Blues? I don’t ask this question disparagingly. It’s a real question. I don’t assume the answers are all negative. We do what we do for a reason. 

Or for many reasons.

We learn more from mistakes than from our successes. When I keep making the same mistake over and over, I figure I’m setting myself up for a big learning.

But what?

Quick, cheap answers won’t work with this kind of inner conversation. It takes deep listening, careful noticing and reflection to get anything likely to unravel a long-standing habit. 

Why do you do what you do?


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I’m Glad I Asked

Sansa ClipPurple Sansa Clip MP3 Players are $20 more than the black ones, but I wanted purple, so I bought one used. “Works perfectly,” the ad said. $19 instead of $47. Seemed like a deal. Except it doesn’t work perfectly. It only turns on when it is plugged in.

The vendor was happy to accept a return. I hesitated, but then said,

  • I can still use this plugged in. If you would consider a partial refund, that would work for me.

He refunded $13 and we both consider it a win. 

I’m glad I asked, and so is he!

What are you not asking for?


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