We Can Do Hard Things

It’s hard to reach out when feeling anxious or depressed.

Depression and anxiety want us to isolate and believe that everyone is better off than us. That we’re alone and that no one understand us. It feels like the hardest thing to do, but we must do the opposite of what our brain is telling us to do. Everything inside is screaming for us to run away and hide. To sink under the pillows. Or to lash out at those we love.

Instead of separating ourselves, we need to reach out and CONNECT with others.

Yes. It feels impossibly hard, but we CAN do hard things. How can we change patterns that we notice aren’t working for us?

Here’s a process I just learned from Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map:

1. Breathe – Connect with your breath in a conscious way; try a simple “Boxed Breathing” technique.

2. Connect with your desired feeling – Is it to feel good? Is to feel purposeful? Free? At peace? Whatever it is…bring it up into your awareness and experience your desire to feel this way. The purpose of this is not to ignore or bypass your current state but to notice what else is possible.

3. Reassure and encourage yourself – Even though this is hard, remind yourself that you can do hard things.

4. Focus on the process not the outcomes – Imagine the possibility that reaching out will be a positive experience. Rehearse it in your mind. It starts to re-write patterns in your thinking.

5. Go back to the drawing board – How did it go? Did you make it to the phone or write that text? It’s okay if you didn’t. Connect with what stopped you. If you did reach out, how did that go? Take note of how it felt to try something different. And then CELEBRATE your efforts.

Change IS hard. And we can do hard things. ❤

Reach out! You have people in your life waiting to be there for you. We are more supported than we realize.

Reaching out is hard. And we can do hard things. ❤

In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful song of encouragement.

Seeking Love

How does the seeking of love keep me from the awareness of its presence?

Love is who we are when we’re clear.  When we’re SEEKING love we miss the awareness of its presence and we don’t notice that it’s not even love that we’re after.  When we’re in seeking mode we’re actually chasing something else. Often it’s approval.  Or safety and reassurance. Or something to fill the lack space within us.  And because that lack space is actually an illusion, nothing will ever fill it.  So we send ourselves on an endless and hopeless journey of love seeking that can never be achieved.

Alternatively, when we notice that we ARE love.  That we already have everything we need, we’re complete and whole, we can rest in the awareness of true, abiding and eternal Love.  A Love that requires nothing from anyone…even ourselves.

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Motivated by Love


A very kind teacher in the Work guided me to realize and trust in something about myself. Something I maybe once knew long ago but forgot. And that is…my own goodness. Trust in my own goodness and know that whatever I do I’m doing it from LOVE.
Yes. Even when I do that thing I’m ashamed of, I’m doing it from love. Because in my heart of hearts I know that I would never ever want to do harm. When I’m operating from fear or anger that’s not coming from my heart of hearts. That’s not coming from my true nature. That’s coming from confused thinking.
This realization, this knowing, has allowed me to let myself off the hook for so many wrong doings.
I still have remorse. I still make amends and things right where I can. And I still want people around me to feel supported and cared for. I just don’t have to go around with the weight of punishment on my back. And what is it serving anyway?
The more I trust in my own goodness and see and KNOW that I’m always motivated by love, the more I operate from that space.
And I feel so filled up inside as a result.

I’m Willing to Love You…


This beautiful drawing from Dharma Comics hit me in the gut. It gets to the heart of what loving those who aren’t in my life anymore feels like.

My parents aren’t physically with me but I am willing to continue loving them. From afar.
The irony is that when I’m willing to love them from afar, I realize it’s actually not that far. Bringing in the love and embracing the connection I feel makes them feel really close.

Dharma Comics has so many beautiful messages. I highly recommend checking them out.

A Timely Message from the Ashes

Acquaintances of mine lost their house to fire a few days ago. They’ve been kindly sharing their experience daily on a Facebook group. They’re a family of 9 (2 parents/7 children) and it’s been both sad and inspiring following their journey.
Yesterday, with the smoke and heat having settled, they were finally able to walk through the wreckage of their home.
They collected books, both old and new, and look what they found in the burnt out remains of a bedroom. A page to a book from 1915. This page so perfect in its message, a hundred years later, revealing its meaning to the family in a time of trial.

The Page

The message coupled with the scorched page touches my heart in a way that the touching feels literal not figurative.

I’m not a religious person. Going to the School for the Work last year and learning inquiry was a way for me to find me…and then, surprisingly, I also found God.

When I first started explaining the three kinds of “business” to people (your business, my business and God’s business), I used to only give God things like tsunamis/bad weather. And then last summer during a retreat, a click happened when the question was asked:

“Is it true that you have control over your life…even a little bit?
I have even some control- is that true?”

My first was reaction was YES!  I mean…okay, of course, not complete control but SOME surely.  I decide.  I make things happy.  I have personal power.  Ra ra ra, and all that.  I wanted to assert that to the group but as is the way of self reflective inquiry I chose to look deeper.  Sitting in the quiet meditation of that question, I noticed something else begin to surface.  A tentative answer that I wasn’t expecting.  No.  It’s not true that I have even some control.  Instead of pushing it away as nonsense I allowed it to emerge.  It was actually a possibility of ‘no‘ that opened up inside rather than a fully formed acceptance of that declaration.  Allowing in the quiet possibility of ‘no’, made a significant crack in the concrete foundation of “This is MY life.”
Katie often says, “Don’t believe me – test it for yourself.  So, 
I’ve been doing just that.

And, of course, since then I continue to find more and more ‘business’ to give over to God. Eventually, I suspect I’ll discover what a friend told me over a year ago, that there is actually only one kind of business – God’s business. Full stop.
Until then, while doing the Work and living this life, I’ll continue to look for God’s business, letting each new discovery settle into my heart. When sitting in inquiry I ask, what part of this is God’s business?  I have to ask because it’s often elusive to me at first but then low and behold…the answer shows up in a quiet whisper. And instead of shushing it, I listen. I listen until the noise of the obvious “This, too, is God’s business” is so loud that I’m astounded that, yet again, I had missed it.

This scorched page, found in the rubble of a burnt out home, is a confirmation of my own journey.  It was a timely discovery for the dear family and I’m thankful they shared it.  A message from the ashes of their home to my heart.

Mothering Me SO That I May Mother My Children

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Over the course of our 11 year homeschooling journey, I have shown up as different moms.

I’ve been the mom I’m proud to be. The one who is fun, adventurous, creative and patient. I’ve been the one who does really cool things with her kids to foster learning. We’ve taped flashcards all over the house and yard to learn how to read, we’ve done school outside on the play centre, we’ve done project days with friends, and have gone on adventures. We’ve laid under a tree on a beautiful autumn day and watched the leaves fall.

Those are the things we see written on FB, right? Reading those fabulous posts gives us great ideas AND they give us fodder for comparison. Something to conjure up in our minds in those overwhelming, chaotic moments. It’s not always a conscious comparison – it’s just a feeling of not measuring up. Of “I’m failing at this” or “this just isn’t for us”.

I’ve also been the mom of which I’m not proud. The controlling, commanding, angry, exasperated, frustrated, and flat out tantruming mom. Slamming doors and crying all resulting in pain, pain, pain. Everyone retreating to their corners – me lying on my bed panting and recovering from totally losing my cool. I’ve been her. To some degree, we have all lost our cool and felt regret about how we’ve communicated with our children. You’re not alone!

And I know I’m not alone because I’ve read your posts. I’ve been with you at the playground and homeschool field trips and heard you ask, “How do I deal with a difficult learner?” “How do I deal with a child who lies, disrespects, or outright defies me?!” Or how do I deal with the child who simply isn’t interested and unmotivated? And I have the answer. You just might not like it – partly because it isn’t a quick fix.

YOU have to be different.

I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. The question actually isn’t “how do I deal with my child” but “how do I deal with ME”.  I’m not saying this to make you feel badly about yourself. It’s why I started out with telling you that I’ve been there – last week in fact! Julie Bogart in this video says it well: “Ordinary parenting uses shame and blame to coerce kids to cooperate with a parental agenda.” And the results we get when we shame and blame are lying and defiance from our children. ”Coercion is the toxin of family life.”

Go back to beginning and get in touch with those beautiful innocent children when they were born and when they were so little.  They need help just like we need help.  We have support groups.  They need one, too, and we can be a part of it for them.

Putting ourselves down or holding onto guilt doesn’t help. Forgiving ourselves and getting intimate with that part of us where we feel the need to have control leads to compassion and change. I can look inside and discover what happens when I believe that my child should do what I say no matter what. How do I treat my children when I operate from that space? And then, transversely, getting still so that I can reflect on how I might interact with them if I didn’t hold onto the edict of, “my children should always obey”. Could I let all of that go – those ordinary parenting lessons we’ve heard –in this moment with my child? Can I hear what my child is saying without the veil of “he is being disrespectful”? I notice when I drop all of that, I am curious rather than convicting. I’m able to be open rather than closed. And the more I’m able to do that, the more they demonstrate that they feel safe to talk to me and share what’s going on inside. All of that takes listening. Being quiet and listening…to YOU.

No math, reading, history, or household chore lesson is AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD. I’m not saying that the other is not important – not at all. Just that your connection with your children must be primary over those things. So that looks like instead of doing our usual commanding thing that we pause and find another way to communicate what we need. And to be willing, within reason, to negotiate. To foster an environment where our children feel a part of the team.

Marriage and parenting brings up a lot of things for us to grow through, and when you homeschool it’s ten fold. Maybe even a hundred fold. The invitation, as I see it, is to take the opportunity to get close to you. Mother you through these confronting times. When you have that loving and nurturing presence for yourself, even when you’re feeling stressed, you’re more able to give that to your children.

Ultimately, my children will mother THEMselves.  Just as I am mothering me.  This is all we are all ever doing.

Love to you all.


Address the Violence Within Us

No matter your stance on current world events the first two sentences in this video apply: “Address the violence within us. Address the violence within us.”

I’m choosing to stop the war in my home. The war with my family, friends, & community. And, ultimately, the war within me.

Wars like:

  • my husband is wrong
  • my children should always be respectful
  • my children should DO AS I SAY
  • people shouldn’t cut me off in traffic
  • my friends should include me
  • I need you to apologize
  • they’re rude
  • people can be so inconsiderate
  • I need to do it right

We commit a hundred wars a day, I reckon.

You don’t think you understand war? What goes on inside of you when you get offended? When you yell at your children? When you argue with your spouse because you’re right, damn it. Those are wars, my friends.

Can you stop yourself in the middle of your convictions – right in the middle of that argument with that person about that thing that always pisses you off? I know I can’t…at least not often.  I’m completely and utterly believing that I’m right.  It feels physically impossible to stop in that moment.  Can you taste that commitment to your story?  For me, it’s a complete block to any other possibility.  I have a big fat ‘NO!’ to any other story other then what I’m believing in the moment.  I feel that ‘no’ manifest itself physically in my body with tension and constriction.  

When I’m really believing I’m right about something, the next thing I do is recruit people who agree with me.  Other fundamentalists who also believe that our kids should never lie.  I talk to other parents and vent about how horrible kids can be and I get nods of understanding and sympathy.  And I’ve nodded along with the best of them. Not that I’m saying it’s so bad to support our friends – quite the opposite.  I just notice that I look for corroborating evidence – other people who agree with me and will testify to it vehemently.  And then I never have to leave my bubble of “they’re wrong and I’m right”.

I’ve also been a fundamentalist believer in the religion of “people should be considerate of others” (me actually – that guy playing his music so loud in the next camp site over, should be considerate of me).  And when they’re not, I commit assassinations in my mind.  Those lowly inconsiderate people are not worthy – they deserve public shaming.

Simply asking me if the story I’m clinging to is true, could be pathway out of war.  Maybe – just maybe – people shouldn’t be considerate of others?  Huh.  Well…real life evidence seems to support that.  And perhaps they should sometimes consider their own needs and I can consider mine.  Or MAYYYYbe, I could try on being considerate of them.  Wouldn’t THAT be a novel idea?!  That guy in the campsite with the loud music?  I could consider that he enjoys his music and doesn’t realize it’s loud.  I could walk over with a considerate frame of mind.  Or who knows? Maybe my consideration leads me to not being bothered by the music at all.  I could be at peace with the music.

Perhaps I can’t do anything directly about the tragic happenings in Paris or elsewhere but I CAN work on stopping the wars in my life. It takes only me to do that.

“Defense is the first act of war.”
– Byron Katie

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday.
My husband and son are away hunting and I sat here wondering if they would remember to contact me and wish me happy birthday. I felt a moment of “testing their love” for me. It’s really very funny. My family loves me so dearly. I mean isn’t it truly hilarious what the mind does?! Here I have a family who’s committed and loves each other completely (or so it seems) and I still need proof?! Like if they don’t tell me happy birthday…that’s it. They don’t love and appreciate me.  Convicted. AND – I’m literally laughing out loud here – I’d be hurt that they didn’t stop all they were doing together (bonding as father and son) to phone ME. lolol. I’m so grateful for realizing that folly – just as I am grateful for the moment of blindness. What a wondrous feeling to wake up from it.
My lovely daughter got me pretty flowers and wrote me the MOST lovely birthday card. I’m so happy for her that she feels love and expresses it in her way. I love that my husband and son need me to help them clean up after hunting when they get home. It’s lovely to feel needed. They express their love for me every day when they tease me, smile at me, and make certain they hug and kiss me goodnight.
I’m grateful to my mom and dad for coming together and deciding to have a child. They were such good parents. They took care of me and loved me. They gave me many experiences and happy memories. Oh…and the birthdays! My heart is so filled with love and a little sadness with missing them as I reflect on the birthdays. My mom made me a hopscotch cake for my 7th birthday and I thought it was the best cake in the whole wide world. On my last birthday with my mom, I brought a cake into the CCU because I knew she’d be sad to miss a celebration with me. We broke the rules and lit a candle. She sang a quiet happy birthday to me and watched me blow out the candle. It was the most lovely sounding happy birthday song in the whole wide world.
I’m feeling the love from everywhere – outside of me and within. I’m grateful for my life and for every soul that’s in it. ❤
Love and blessings to you all. ❤


Yes…that’s me with the big toothless grin. 😀

Listen With No Agenda

I LOVE the blog posts by Hands Free Mama.  Always so insightful and spot on to reality. Not over the top floofy.  She’s down to earth, heart wrenching, and loving.   Her recent post referring to a conversation with her daughter entitled, “The Conversation I Almost Missed and the Future it Could’ve Cost” is the epitome of that description.

Check out this quote:
“In the moment I could have crushed her spirit, I supported her.
In the moment I could have made her doubt herself, I reminded her she was human.
In the moment I could have taught her a harsh lesson, I taught her a loving lesson … a trust lesson … a grace lesson.”

Doesn’t that just tear you apart?!

I’ve learned that one of the hardest – if not THE hardest – job as a parent is to listen to my child speak and be present with them without any agenda whatsoever. No agenda of teaching them right from wrong. No agenda of what other people will think of their actions. No agenda on their appearance. No agenda about their futures.
I’ve taken my “job” as parent so seriously that it’s been difficult to lay those down even once in awhile just so that I can hear what my child thinks/feels/desires.
Oh it’s easy when we’re laying on the grass looking at the clouds. Not so easy when they’re saying hurtful things about a person, or their opinions on love and life, or how something isn’t fair.
Can I listen to them in THIS moment without the agenda to fix or teach them??

I Deserve Compassion

I had an amazing self facilitation session in the Work yesterday. Quite accidentally on purpose.
I was fresh off an argument with my husband, driving our ride-on lawn tractor, mowing some of our acreage. As I usually do while mowing, I was listening to Katie on my iPod. This time it was “The Work on Relationships”. I’d listened to it before and was being opened up yet again to the courage and discoveries of the young woman with whom Katie was working. So many of her “finds” reminding me of the pain I felt around the disagreement with my husband. After some time, I realized I was using the recording to avoid my own inquiry Work. So…I switched it off and while I mowed, I turned inward.
It seemed to me that I could literally hear Katie’s voice in my head gently guiding and asking me the questions. Muffled by the sound of mower I spoke my answers aloud.
The gist of the situation is that I neglected to thank or even mention that I noticed something my husband had worked hard at doing for me.
My thought: I’m hurt because “He is mad at me”.
At the end, I noticed that with the thought I was entrenched in my defence and justification. Without, I felt the desire to go and apologize. While I contemplated doing so, I felt fear rise up inside of me. But why?! If I don’t have the thought, “he’s mad at me”, where is this fear coming from?
By this time I was sitting, staring straight ahead, on the quiet mower parked inside our shed. And as I sat quietly staring, what appeared was the thought, “I deserve punishment when I do wrong”. Whoa! And then I heard Katie’s voice again: “Is that true? You deserve punishment?”
Something broke open in me and I wept and wept at the realization that – yes!! I believe that it’s true. And a flood of images from my childhood and into my adult years rolled through my mind at how I react when I hold that belief. It’s at the root of so much of my distancing or running away when I feel responsible. And on and on. I was overcome and sat there clearing years of hurt and suffering.
Who am I without the thought? Someone who can own up to her mistakes. Be forthright. Not manipulative.
And the sweetest turn around: I deserve compassion when I do wrong.
Love. Simple as that. And I am the one to give me that compassion.
How exciting is that?!
It’s a new day.