Foster More Love!

Last week I told you what it was like to first become a foster mama and how much I loved it and knew, for probably the first time in my life, that I was really good at something. I mean that it’s the first time I allowed myself to allow, accept and receive, while I was in the act of doing, that I was really good at that thing.

On the morning of a very big birthday (a number that ended in ‘9’) I awoke, opened my eyes, and realized that I was very bored with my life. I had good friends, as secure a job as is possible, I paid my bills and had some money in the bank. I was living my life the way my parents had hoped. I was safe. I wasn’t happy. As I ate birthday cake for breakfast (I highly recommend this!) I started to think about what I really wanted in my life.

I love to travel, anywhere, anytime! I can get as much joy from investigating a little beachside alley on the central coast as a centuries-old passageway in a mountain village in Italy. I wanted to travel more than merely the two weeks’ allotted by my place of employment.

I wanted to run my own business, to own my own home so I wouldn’t have to ask permission to paint the walls any color but white, and in that moment the message that came to me so clearly was – I wanted to be a mama!

I knew that other women made different choices, and yet for me, I’d always thought first would come marriage and then a baby carriage, so I’d never even considered having a child on my own. I also knew that I might still have half my life to live and I didn’t want the second half to be as boring as the first.

With that acknowledgement I sat bolt upright in bed and shouted, “From now on I’m not worrying about everybody else, from now on I’m doing it MY way!” All-righty then. Now, how to proceed?

I had always done a lot of volunteering with children’s organizations – Sunday afternoon art projects with little ones, Monday night story telling and play writing with teens, and the thing all these kids had in common was, they were all in the foster care system. THAT made sense to me. There are so many kids who need safe, stable, loving homes and I had that to give. And so I began to begin.

May is National Foster Awareness Month. If you have ever considered becoming a foster mama I would love to help you in your journey! And if someone you know has considered it, please forward this to her, ‘cause I’d love to help her, too!

What if it’s time for you to provide a safe, loving home for a child who needs and deserves one? What if it’s time for you to become a foster mama?

Right now, take a moment and affirm for yourself:

As I grow to love myself more than ever I expand to love others even more!

It’s National Foster Care Awareness Month!

At 10 o’clock on a Friday night in July a county social worker brought me a 4 pound, 10 ounce, 3-week old baby girl.

To put that into context, the next time you’re in the grocery store pick up a 5-pound bag of sugar, cradle it, and remember that she was smaller than that!

4 years and 2 weeks of desire had culminated in this little bundle fast asleep in a car seat that was way too big for her. They’d rolled up towels and encircled her with them to keep her from sliding out. She was wearing a newborn-size, white dotted yellow onesie that was also way too big for her. After the social worker left I had a moment – I was terrified. But then I l picked her up and cradled her in my arms. I looked down at her and realized that she hadn’t flinched. She hadn’t cried. She wasn’t scared – she was just being her best baby self, and she trusted me. And I realized that I was worthy of her trust.

I sat holding her while I gave her a bottle – the first of what would be 2 oz every three hours, for the rest of my foreseeable future. She latched onto it and sucked it down. She knows what she’s doing. She knows how to be a baby – she’s been doing it for three weeks already. It was me who was brand new at this mama stuff. So I did what I always do – I prayed. I asked God to tell me what I had to do and the answer came immediately. You are both my beloved children. I was a child too! She and I were both God’s children and I trusted God to mother us both. It took the pressure off my head and my heart. I didn’t have to know ahead of time exactly everything I would ever need to know I only had to listen for direction. When it came to being a baby vs. a mama, she was smarter than me. She was listening and doing everything intuitively, I was the one who thought a book or a class or a mentor was the answer. Silly grownup.

I made a deal with her. Since she had three weeks’ more experience in her position than I did, I would always listen to her and follow her lead. If intuition worked for her, then it would work for me, too. And with that decision I lost my fear and stepped squarely into my Zone of Genius.

May is National Foster Awareness Month. If you have ever considered becoming a foster mama I would love to help you in your journey! And if someone you know has considered it, please forward this to her, ‘cause I’d love to help her, too!

What if it’s time for you to provide a safe, loving home for a child who needs and deserves one? What if it’s time for you to become a foster mama?

Right now, take a moment and affirm for yourself:

I have such an abundance of love that I have surplus to give!

Perfectly Imperfect

According to news reports loneliness is becoming a world wide epidemic. We have the technology in our purses and pockets to enable us to communicate with people on the other side of the globe, and yet we are feeling lonelier than ever.

Last week I wrote – During all the years I didn’t like myself, the years when I lived an insulated life spending much more time alone than with other people, it was easy to believe slights were intentional because that supported the negative feelings I had about myself. I thought others were mean to me because deep inside I felt I deserved it, because I believed there was something about me that was horribly wrong.

Are you creating the loving connections you want to have in your life? Or do you feel separate and alone? And if so, why? Do you believe that people are mean to you, don’t like you, don’t understand you? The way we think about ourselves informs the way we think about others, and about the way we think others think about us. Yup, I know – go back and read it again.

If you weren’t thinking negative thoughts about yourself you wouldn’t assume that others were thinking them too. And if, deep down inside, you felt good about yourself it wouldn’t matter to you if they did think, or even say, negative things.

What do you think of you? Have you asked yourself that question and waited long enough to hear the answer? Or are you scared to even ask?

What if you make this the day you begin to love yourself?

When we don’t like ourselves we assume that other people don’t like us either. When we can’t love ourselves we believe we are unlovable. When we criticize ourselves we also judge others. Judgment is simply an overflow of self-loathing. We fill ourselves to the brim with our own self-judgment and whatever we can’t contain spills over into our thoughts, feelings and eventually actions toward others. Do you see how this ties in with isolation and loneliness? Self-loathing convinces you that you are not likable which makes you feel separate from others and judging others makes you feel separate from them as well. How can you create connections with people from whom you feel separate?

We are living in times of hyper polarity. Too many of us think things (and people) are all good or all bad. That reasoning is unreasonable and it is destroying our ability to build community. Humans don’t work that way. We can’t. You can’t. You cannot continue to believe you are all wrong and unworthy simply because there are certain things about yourself you might like to change. You can’t continue to villainize others for displaying human failings. And you certainly can’t keep focusing on what’s wrong and expect to co-create a loving relationship.

Right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

I am lovable and worthy and perfectly imperfect.

What’s Your Story?

In the 8 or 9 months I was actively dating online before my last relationship I met a lot of men who were smart and communicative and considerate, who showed up where they said they would when they said they would and were interested in getting to know me. They were simply not for me. No drama, just not a match. This is my story about online dating, what I dwell on. In that time I blocked 2, maybe 3, men who were totally inappropriate in the initial interactions. That is not my story about online dating, not what I dwell on. But it sure is some people’s story. I bet you’ve heard that refrain – “All men online are…” or “Every woman I meet is…” Have you even belted out a few choruses yourself?

Here’s a generalization for you 😉 – it seems to me that generalizations tend to be negative. And they’re all encompassing, too! ALL men. EVERY woman. And just like the words that come out of our own mouths, the words that come from other people can damage our belief systems. They become a thought that we often, unconsciously, accept as fact. What if you decide right now that you will consciously choose to think only positive, prosperous, uplifting thoughts?

During all the years I didn’t like myself, the years when I lived an insulated life spending much more time alone than with other people, it was easy to believe slights were intentional because that supported the negative feelings I had about myself. My story was that people were mean to me. I felt I deserved it, because I believed there was something about me that was horribly wrong. The more I went out looking for proof of my wrongness the more I found because I was acting out in ways that created the results that proved me right. After I’d gone through a big chunk of my transformational work and realized how it had all been a self-fulfilling prophesy, I went out into the world and started bumping up against people and making mistakes. I realized that people may be offended by things I say or do, but it’s not my intention to offend. I’m going about my business, living my life for me, not purposefully living my life against others. Now when I catch myself wondering if I may have been slighted I give people the benefit of the doubt. It enables interaction and connection, which creates an environment in which relationships can develop. And that had to start with me changing my sense of self-worth and self-esteem. I had to change my own behavior.

Before I started my work I was a nice person, but I didn’t always act like one. I had taken on behaviors that didn’t suit me, that didn’t serve me – or anyone else. I had to peel off that behavior in order to be approachable and available enough to create true relationships. That’s what’s at the crux of a lot of self-growth work – not so much changing who you are on the inside, but peeling away the outer shell and presenting who you are on the inside. It can be scary to be so vulnerable. But a truth I discovered during all those years of insulation – it’s much more scary to not be vulnerable and to spend so much time alone.

Right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

I consciously choose to think only positive, prosperous, uplifting thoughts!

Say What?

I’ve been thinking about the idea that affirmations are not magic spells or incantations. They are positive statements of fact to be repeatedly affirmed to yourself so that you can replace the negative thoughts you’ve got playing on endless loop. You might not even realize that the thoughts you think create the feelings you have. And the feelings you have cause the actions you take. But I bet you do know that it’s the actions you take that create the results you get.

The English language Is really interesting. And confusing. Often the phrase, “I think” is seen to lack power, to mean a lack of surety. As in, “Do you just think it or do you know it for sure?” When in actuality the thoughts we think have a lot of power. The thoughts we think and the things we say out loud create surety without our being aware of it. What we think becomes what we believe. To quote Abraham-Hicks –

Beliefs are simply thoughts we keep on thinking.

Our words have power when they are in our heads and they gain power exponentially when they come out of our mouths. What we think is what we believe and what we hear ourselves say drives the point home faster and more firmly. I marvel at the number of people who, when they become aware of a negative statement they’ve just made, say, “Oh, I don’t really mean that, it’s just a figure of speech. It’s not a big deal.” A) Then why say it? B) No, it’s not just a figure of speech. C) Yes it is a big deal. Not only do you mean it, you are making it your reality.

In Matthew 15:11, (KJV) Jesus, when challenged on the disciples’ lack of respect for dining traditions said, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

It’s as true today as it was then.

What thought would you think if you knew it would change your life?

What words would you say if you knew they would speed up the process?

I believe that you can create more positive results in your life – the results that you want for your life – by making consistent, positive changes in your thoughts, words, feelings and actions. Why wait? Right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

I honor my self with positive thoughts and amplify my thoughts with positive words.

Risk and Reward

I’ve recently learned of the passing of a few people who touched my life.

Over the years I’ve developed friendships with some women who were much older than I, and saw them as honored, trusted friends and advisers. These women had good, happy, long lives – cause to celebrate! Yet I feel just as sad as I would if the circumstances had been different. In one case it was different. One of the people was a man I ‘saw’ only on Facebook, although his being a contemporary of mine made it harder to accept. It was so unexpected.

Are you someone who is comfortable speaking about death, eternity, transitions, goodbyes, or does the sense of loss and unknowing cause you so much discomfort that you ignore it? I don’t know if it’s something I’ll ever feel comfortable doing, but it’s a necessary part of living a compassionate life, isn’t it? We have to learn how to comfort each other – or at the very least, simply be with someone in need of support.

Transitions and goodbyes are not always about death, although some of us treat them as if they are and are just as scared to experience them. Do you construct strong walls around your heart in order to save yourself from the possible heartache of a relationship ending? Do you believe that the pain you will feel will be so intolerable that you couldn’t possibly bear it, so you decide you’d rather not risk it at all? The unfortunate thing is what you are actually giving up is not the pain of separation, because you don’t know for sure it will end – and end badly at that. What you are absolutely losing out on is the joy you would experience by being in the relationship! I am willing to bet that would outweigh the sadness, but you’ll never know it.

What if the emotions you fear having down the road are actually not as intense as the suffering you are subjecting yourself to now, in anticipation? What if an emotion in its pure form, without the resistance that adds an extra weight, is actually more bearable than the angst you envision that makes you hide?

How would your life be different if you take action from anticipation of joy rather than assumption of sorrow?

When I had the honor of being a full-time foster mama I took that baby out for a walk every day, and every day, as I was pushing that stroller I met women who said that they’d always wanted to foster. When I asked each of them why they weren’t doing it, 90% of them said, “I could never become attached to a baby and have to let it go.”

Our lives are a series of meetings and partings, with various time intervals and intensities of association in between. After the baby went to another home I cried for a week. One week. If I’d decided ahead of time that a parting would be too much to bear, and that I couldn’t engage as a foster mama at all because of it, I would have missed all the joy and laughter I experienced for four months– and that is what I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life!

After a while when you protect yourself from ever feeling negative emotions you’ll also be insulating yourself from experiencing all the good! You need to feel some discomfort in life in order to appreciate, understand, experience, the contrast of the good. Allow in the love, laughter, joy! Right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

Emotions enrich me and I am willing and able to feel all the emotions that a full life brings!

Your True Self Can Shine!

Wow, here I am about to write my second post in a row. Really in a row, not with a year separating them. I’m on a schedule and I’m stickin’ to it!

I’ll admit to you, I’m feeling trepidation. Not because I don’t want to write to you, because I am taking a huge step across the valley of fear that in the past has stopped me from achieving my goals and dreams. That voice in my head (I call her Nellie) is screaming, and my heart is pounding. Writing per schedule rather than per inspired whim is one way to show up for myself.

What if, rather than letting it stop me, I allow myself to feel all the feels and keep on going? What might happen? I guess we’ll all find out at the end of this post, now won’t we? ‘Cause I’m going forward, with or without Nellie’s approval!

What will it take for you to make the changes necessary to have the life you want? This was a question I asked myself over and over before I ever sought out personal coaching, and when I figured out the answer I was able to take action.

There were two pivotal points for me to finally make a start – the first was the moment I realized that I had lived in three different states and had many, many different jobs and friends and first dates. I had changed all of the circumstances in my world over and over, and I was still having the same results. It occurred to me that if my life were a science experiment I was the only constant, and in that moment it clicked – if I wanted my life to be different I had to be different. If I wanted my life to change I had to change. And this led to the second pivot –

I didn’t have to change “myself” as if there was something wrong with me. That thought scares off a lot of people from ever self-examining at all – “Nope, can’t look in there, I might find something horrible, so I’ll stay over here and believe I’m perfect and my life is in the hands of other people.” It keeps people scared and sad and stuck. And I don’t believe it’s true. There isn’t anything wrong with you, although there may be something in the way you are presenting yourself to the world that is giving the world the wrong impression of you.

I used to display behaviors that were simply not supporting the way I wanted to be in the world. And they weren’t even truly mine, they were things I’d picked up from others and allowed to overlay the person I truly was. Rather than changing “myself” what I really needed to do was shed the weight of this wrong behavior and allow “mytrueself” to shine.

Remember, I believe that you are in exactly the right place and this is exactly the right time. So right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

I am creating positive change in my life right now.

Affirmative Action

Welcome back! You’ll see by the dates, that I am writing this, my second blog post, pretty much one year from the first. This was not an intentional marketing strategy 😉 – but sometimes you have to follow your own heart. And sometimes you get to ask for a do-over. So… may I please have a do-over on my start?

The past year has been one of immense laughing, learning, creating and unfolding. It’s also been one of crying, failing, demolishing and hiding. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s better than okay. Why? Because I’m here, feeling stronger and more ready to move forward toward my goals than I’ve ever felt in my life – and even through all the seeming turmoil of the previous year I achieved one of the most important goals I’d ever set – I was a foster mama!

I awoke this morning thinking about love and gratitude and knew that today was the day to begin again, because the ideas I’d like to share with you in the coming weeks and months are all about that – love and gratitude.

What if, rather than falling into the trap of allowing your unguarded thoughts to be filled with fear and judgment until one day you wake up in a life you don’t like, you consciously decide to fill them with love and gratitude? I don’t know about you, but that’s a life for which I would gladly jump out of bed! Every. Single. Day.

You’ve probably heard of the word affirmation, although you might have either no idea, or the wrong one, about what it is and how to use it.

An affirmation is not a magic word like “abracadabra!” that you say once and suddenly there are bunnies spilling out of hats. It is not a magic phrase like “You get three wishes, and no wishing for extra wishes!” and suddenly you find yourself riding a silk carpet like a sled through the stars.

Affirmations are statements of possibility constructed in the present tense. Their intention is for you to practice replacing the unbidden, habitual, negative thoughts that whisper to you all day and make you believe you’re negative with intentional, fresh, new, positive ideas that will elevate your thoughts and affirm your right to be happy, healthy and whole. Replace those negative whispers with positive shouts of joy and affirm who you truly are!

Loving, expressing gratitude, affirming your right and ability to have joy in your daily experience – none of these is a one-time thing, each is a daily practice.

Our daily habits help us maintain the status quo. I want your days to be better than average, because days grow into weeks, that grow into years and then a lifetime. I want you to make conscious choices to allow you to live the life you want, rather than settling for the life you got. So right now, take a moment and affirm to yourself:

All of my choices allow me to live the life I want.

What If…

Welcome to my first ever blog post! My intention is to share ideas and inspirations in a way that may bring you a different perspective. And a smile.

I want all women and girls to step up and stand out for who and what we are. I want to help women and girls succeed. How do we as women succeed when for generations success has been defined by men? What if more women aren’t considered successful, not because we can’t achieve the same success as men, but because we don’t want to?

What if we get to define success for ourselves rather than trying and failing to fit our round selves into society’s square holes? The generally accepted measure of success is the acquisition of large sums of money. The bigger the pile the greater the success. Are you turned on by the idea of accumulating money just for the sake of accumulating money? If so, go get it! Go get lots of it! I’m not, and I know other women who aren’t.

What I AM excited about is what I can DO with the money I accumulate! As a matter of fact, I already know who my foundation serves (women and children who have left abusive situations), and who it’s named for (my parents). That’s motivation; having a strong why. Why do you want to be successful in your business? (for me it’s so that I can help as many women as possible through my work and fund my foundation). Why do you want to start a new career? Why do you want to change your job? Why are you getting up at 5 AM and writing for an hour before you take your child to daycare and yourself to work? It’s probably not just so you can be sitting on a bigger pile of cash than someone else. For a lot of women money is simply the how to get to their ultimate why. What motivates you? It’s allowed to be different than what motivates other people.

I’m passionate about women creating massive amounts of success. We each deserve to live fully and abundantly in our purpose. And women make up approximately half the population of the planet. Would any sports team succeed if half the players were held back from playing their best game? When women succeed we elevate all of humanity. The first step on the ladder of success is for a woman to define it for herself. The second step is to hold up a mirror so she can see that there’s an area of her life in which she’s already succeeded and she’s really close to doing it again. Success tools are transferrable.