Monthly Archives: December 2014

Traditions, and a Christmas Miracle.


I LOVE Christmas. Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, I am in full Christmas mode. I love finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones, getting and putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, and listening to Christmas songs. I also enjoy driving around town, taking in all of the pretty light displays. I love seeing the joy and excitement in the eyes of children, anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. And, I always enjoy picking just the right homemade cookies to leave on the plate for him, along with carrots for the reindeer, of course.

I have also loved other parts of the holiday over the years. When I was still living at home, every Christmas was a magical, special time for me. Most years, all of my siblings would be home with us to celebrate; we would decorate our tree on Christmas Eve, blasting Johnny Mathis on the stereo, eating fondue and having a ton of fun. We would be up at the crack of dawn, or before, even when we were in our teens and early adult years, peeking for our name on packages under the tree, and anxiously awaiting our parents so we could open our bulging stockings and have a family breakfast together. They are really great memories.

Somewhere along the line, however, I started to judge Christmas, and the quality of it, on whether or not my current and future observances of Christmas measured up to what I had as a child. I became really focused on tradition, and for years, followed along with my then partners’ traditions in her family, and didn’t even visit my family at Christmas time for years. I missed having all of my siblings under the same roof. My older brother died. My older sister drifted away. And, my younger siblings got married and had families of their own. The hopes for tradition, and a yearly ritual for the holiday, seemed dim.

So this year, I had a complete breakdown of sorts. I yelled at my fiance, I cried a lot, and I reluctantly admitted that I was holding onto a belief that no longer holds true. You see, every year, I anticipate ways in which my family of origin can come together, like we did years ago, and have a genuine, family Christmas. I have expectations galore, that no one ever measures up to. And, then I get disappointed and angry and start planning for how I will make it different next year. Closer to the traditions that I so desperately crave.

By focusing on the past, or the future, I am denying myself the pure joy of living in this moment, right now. Being with the people that I love, when I can, whether that is December 25th or not. Staying present. Laughing. Crying. Finding the magic that exists in my life every breath that I take.

So, the irony is, today as I am letting go of the expectations, for myself and others, to have a Christmas that feels traditional, I am experiencing the truest meaning of Christmas there is: to choose inner peace; to love others deeply and as they are; and to be present and grateful to all that I have in my life.

And, in that irony, lies a true Christmas Miracle.

Let Go, Mama.


I worked really hard to build a solid, open relationship with my teenaged daughter. Over the years, I have been more successful at it than others. One of the lessons that I learned early on, was to watch over and be close, at the same time as letting her go. Letting her use her wings.

Letting go lessons came in the form of the first day of Kindergarten, getting on a school bus all by herself. Her first day in middle school. First day in high school. Driving alone for the first time. Going on a date, without a chaperone. And, although I had a bit of anxiety about each of those milestones, and sadness about time gone by, I was ready to watch her fly.

However, more recently, she has been struggling a bit. There has been much weighing on her mind and her heart. And, I find myself not being so willing to let her figure things out, and be close when she needs me. I feel more like wanting to hover, to stay with her, to find ways that I am able to keep protecting her, even at seventeen.

What is at the root of that is fear. Fear that maybe she won’t open up when things have gone terribly wrong. Fear that she will be in a situation that she doesn’t know how to get out of. Fear that she won’t need me to be here for her, or that she will feel alone or abandoned without me around.

This morning, I realize that although we are close, and she knows that I am here for her always, I need to also let go yet again, and to stay near while letting her sort things out. I can do both. Even when I am afraid, I can observe the power of her getting to choose, and me offering extra support if she needs it. I get to trust that she will know, and ask, as she goes forward.

Parenthood feels so scary, and freeing at the same time. I know that what I have done so far to be her mother, and friend, will guide her in the precise direction that she needs to go. That she knows best what to choose. And that I can trust in that.


Body Love.


My relationship with my body has been love/hate for most of my life. I lose weight. I gain weight. I feel good about myself. I loathe myself. Whether my view of myself was positive or negative almost always seemed to center around what I would see in the mirror.

When I was in coaching, this seemed logical to me, that what was reflected back to me from the mirror was the way that I actually saw myself, and the template with which to compare what was a beautiful body to me, according to the coaches I came in contact with, was whether or not I loved how I looked in a bathing suit. When I enjoyed what I looked like in a bathing suit, then I would know I was living in my dream body.

As a result, my previous thoughts about loving my body were confirmed: that the slimmer and more shapely and small my body appeared to me, the more attractive it was. The more that I knew that I had my dream body. So, when I was plumper, had more rounded curves, and weighed more, I was not in my dream body.

I decided to let go of that equation a few months ago, when I really started to embrace my body as it is, curves and all. That has been a difficult journey for me, because I have always valued myself not just by the number on the scale, and the number of pounds that I had lost in any given time, but by what I saw in the mirror. My size as I saw it. I have been ready to challenge that belief in me for awhile now, and keep looking for opportunities to tune into the real love for myself.

So, a couple of weeks ago, my fiance suggested to me that I stop looking in the mirror at myself, and instead, just feel my way to wearing what I was comfortable in, making it an internal process of trust. My daily ritual was for me to get ready for work, or to go out, and to go in front of the full length mirror in my daughter’s room to assess the result. The process was always the same: do I look skinny or fat today? Do my legs look too short and chunky in these leggings? Am I too old to wear this type of style or color? No self love in that, mind you. I would stand in front of that mirror, believing that the truth was reflected back at me. Which of course, it wasn’t.

So, I stopped doing that. The first couple of days of not going to that mirror were a challenge, I have to say. It felt like a step was missing. However, from the first day that I stopped going to the mirror, I noticed a change. I noticed that I spent time really deciding what I wanted to wear, that would feel beautiful and comfortable to me. Not based on what I thought I saw in my reflection, but really felt good to be in. What really felt good on my body. It was an amazing step.

I believe that one of my lifelong lessons will be to keep loving myself, as I am, more and more each day. I believe that I can keep loving myself in a deeper way, with conscious thought and action. And, I know now that what I see is not the true reflection of my self; that the true self lies within, and I need only listen to that inner voice to hear who I really am.

woman on the road

Finding my way to Forgiveness.


Over the last several years, I have been diligent and consistent in letting go of the past. In learning to look at myself with more loving eyes. I have created a life that I feel happy with and proud of, learned to be honest with myself and those around me, and also learned deeply how to love myself in a profound way. It has not always been easy, however, the journey has been worthwhile and eye opening.

Every now and then, however, a piece of my past that I thought was resolved will come up for me again, and the pain and shame of it will feel so intense, it feels like I am still living it. That is what happened this week. A loved one shared with me something deeply personal that happened to her, and how it has impacted her life. I was angry. I was sad that she had to experience something that was so painful and confusing for her. I wanted to hurt, physically, the person that hurt her.

I thought that the key to resolving the anger for me was to come to terms with forgiving the person who had hurt her, finding space in my heart to see that person as innocent, as we are all innocent beings in this world. I really believed that forgiving that other person was what I would aspire to to feel better about the whole thing.

Funny thing, this life. Funny how we see our lessons as being in one direction, when in actuality, they are always about what it is that we need to learn, what it is that we need to teach, or reteach ourselves day after day. So, there was no one that I realized that I had to forgive, except myself. Forgive myself for being human, and making mistakes, and still being perfectly okay as I was. Although I thought that I had done that long ago, there was part of me that was still holding onto that old wound.

I realize today, that I have nothing to defend or be angry about. In digging a little deeper, I found that the anger that I feel is related to myself, angry at me for not being a better person in the past. For hurting someone close to me in order to meet my own needs. I felt, and still feel, guilt and shame about something that occurred so long ago. And, someone else’s experience this week reminded me that I still had some residue that was ready to be released, hopefully once and for all.

I truly believe, with all of my heart, that seeking forgiveness from others for our transgressions, for our simply being human, brings some temporary relief. However, the true healing, the magic of this world, is in the forgiveness that we lovingly bestow on ourselves. The true miracle is when we can look upon ourselves with deep, warm eyes of love. Because I only need to remember that the way to true forgiveness is all within my reach, all within me.


I Believe in Love.


Last week, I embarked on an adventure with my daughter. I drove with her to Kentucky to see her girlfriend. She has been dating her for several months now, after having met her on line, and this was to be the weekend that they would be meeting in person. Face to face. Being able to connect with one another in a more direct, deep way. It was one of the most emotionally intense times that I have shared with her. I knew that the trip was the process of helping her to go to love.

There was not much support that came our way for making such a trip. Most people, in fact, almost everyone around us, believed that we were crazy. We had no idea who this young woman was, really, and anything could happen. Kentucky, to them, felt like on the other side of the world, and any danger could present itself to us. Maybe we would be hurt. Maybe it wouldn’t work out. And, what mother takes her daughter 700 miles to meet a person anyway? One that she has met on line?

Well, it seemed pretty simple to me, really. I believe in love. Wait a minute. I want you to read that line again, and what I mean by that.

I believe in Love.

What I mean when I say that, is that I believe that we all have self worth. That people are inherently good. That love presents itself to us all in various ways, ways that strike a chord within us. What defines love for you may not for me, and the other way around. My daughter, all seventeen years of her, is in love. To the core of her being. And, there are some that believe she is too young to know that she is really in love, but she believes in love, like me. She knows when she feels it. She knows when offering her heart up feels like the completely right thing to do.

So, I drove her to Kentucky. We stayed with her girlfriend’s family. We hit it off right away. We saw where she has grown up, where she goes to school, the part of the country that she has called home for her entire life. There is real power and humanity in that. To really be willing to see what is important to another person.

That is love to me. In order to truly love another person, I believe we have to be willing to accept them, fully and openly, where they are at, and for all of things that make them who they are. It is the way that I strive to love myself, and the way that I believe is the only way to love another person.

In the leaving, there was sadness. So much distance between two souls that feel like they are meant to be together at this point in their lives. Yet, all well worth it. Because even though it hurt to leave it, it felt so energizing, right and true to follow love to where it is for us.

I believe in love. And, if you really were honest with yourself, I bet that you would know that you believe in it too.