Jan 15 2018

Learning About Love

Category: Gratitude,Spiritual ExplorationPatricia @ 12:08 pm



It is said that we die twice. Once when we take our last breath. And once again when no one speaks our name. I will speak her name. Florence Anne Rowley deKoven.  I am her daughter and she lives within me. Like all children, I know the sound of my mother’s heartbeat…from the inside. Her heart stopped beating on January 3, 2018. She celebrated her last New Year’s Eve and then made the decision to leave this physical earth. She refused food. It was no longer needed. The next evening her temperature had dropped. She was calm and comfortable and settled in for a good night’s sleep. She awoke in the morning, greeted her caregivers and waited for them to leave her room. When they returned, she was at peace. Ninety-three years of life had come to an end.

No one ever expected her to live for almost 12 years after Dad’s passing. After 64 years of marriage, they were inseparable. Yet, she was not done. Sometimes I wondered why. Her physical condition was severely damaged by numerous strokes. Her one act of autonomy was her ability to feed herself. She could no longer speak. Her mental condition deteriorated year after year. Dementia reigned. Regardless of the physical limitations, her emotional and spiritual growth continued. She became more loving.

Florence was born on July 7, 1924 in Connecticut. She was at home in the woods of New England. As a child, she was a bit mischievous. She didn’t like school. She played hooky. She took the last piece of pie and then denied doing it.  She loved her two sisters and her brother. They were her lifelong best friends. She was their “Sissy” and everyone in the family called her by that name. She also loved dogs. In fact, she loved so much that when Tessie, our family Pug passed away, Mom vowed to never get another. She said it just hurt too much to lose a dog.

When she was just 17, she married my father. They adored each other. She was not easy, but he loved her. Their life together was happy and filled with adventure. She would follow him anywhere. And she did. In a Cadillac. In a pickup truck. On the back of a motorcycle (at 72).  I know that Dad has been patiently waiting for her to join him. Waiting for almost 12 years. Knowing that they are together now makes me smile. Everything is okay.

Even though I am relieved that Mom has passed on, I still feel grief.  I am experiencing sadness and loss. I’ve cried. But when you’ve cried for nearly 12 years; when you’ve experienced her journey through and graduation from Hospice twice… the tears diminish. The pain lessens. When you experience “a long goodbye”, you learn to accept. And you have the wonderful opportunity to say thank you. You’re given more time to talk and share and laugh. You come to understand more…about your loved one and about yourself.  You are witness. You get the opportunity to love deeper than you believed possible. Love becomes unconditional. You are blessed with knowing that life is a journey made richer and more beautiful by the love you share. You touch eternity.

This woman, my mother, was not easy. We struggled with each other. It wasn’t until she had lost her mind that she was able to speak her love. I always knew she loved me but it made me really happy to hear it. Not just once, but over and over again. “Daughter, daughter! Love!”

Your mother is your first teacher. Florence deKoven taught me about love. She taught me how to love…even when it’s difficult.





Dec 07 2017

The Next Room

Category: Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 12:47 pm

room next door


Three Thanksgivings have gone by since we last celebrated together.  Holidays are emotional triggers. Markers of moments. A timeline progression experienced year after year. Memories stored away to warm our hearts. The people and events of the past come alive when we reflect. And in that reflection, we may experience the pain of loss. We long for the way things were. In other languages, there are certain words that have no direct equivalents. They are untranslatable. One such word is “saudade”. It is a Portuguese and Galician word that can refer to a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. It is a knowing and a sadness that this thing that you feel a longing for will never happen again.

We have all experienced the pain of losing a loved one. My life experiences have shown me that time truly does heal. It gives perspective. It allows for growth and insight. It dulls the pain; fills the loss. Death is a part of life. It’s a given. Even though each one is unique, we all get the full death experience. We KNOW this. But it doesn’t seem to matter. Doesn’t matter the circumstances of the death. Doesn’t matter the illness. Doesn’t matter where or when. Doesn’t matter how old. The death of a loved one always causes a shock to the system; a heart-stopping jolt. It hurts. At first it hurts more than you think you can bear. It’s with you every moment of your day, rising and subsiding, but always there. And then it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s replaced by a feeling of love and understanding; an appreciation.

Holidays are upon us. Brace yourself for any “saudade” triggers. Instead of focusing on the loss or any other negative emotion such as guilt or fear….focus on the love. Allow yourself to feel that love in every cell of your body. It’s the best for everyone concerned, even those who have passed on. I think we can assume our loved ones do not want us to continue to suffer the loss of their physical presence. Remember…Love is eternal. Soul is eternal. Life is temporary.

Since I find the words of Henry Scott-Holland to be of comfort, I’d like to share his poem. May it remind you that All is Well.


Death Is Nothing At All   

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!





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Nov 08 2017

Mercy Mercy Me

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 3:46 pm



Are you a compassionate person? If a friend or even a stranger is suffering a crisis, do you extend your compassion? Do you offer to help? Are you a good listener? Do you treat others with loving kindness? We are often quick to help others get through a bad time. But sometimes, we can ignore or downplay the suffering. We can forget to be compassionate with our self. When you are suffering, do you give the same kindness to yourself? Do you offer love and understanding? Perhaps it’s time to treat yourself like you treat a good friend or loved one.

When you practice self-compassion, you become more mindful of your emotions. Especially the negative emotions. Rather than avoiding your pain, you can understand that you are not alone in your suffering. Everyone suffers. Difficult and painful emotions are part of our common humanity. You can not experience life without experiencing pain, disappointment or sadness. When you treat yourself with compassion, it is simply a matter of treating yourself with kindness. It’s a way of alleviating some of your suffering.

Research tells us that when we treat ourselves kindly, we feel more safe and less threatened. We experience a sense of well-being. When we have a sense of connection with others, we suffer less stress, anxiety and depression. We feel as if we belong. We can relax. When we feel safe, we are better able to enjoy life.

Our bodies respond to this feeling of safety. Emotional well-being is reflected in the health and wellness of the physical body. Your body functions better in a tension-free environment. On a basic physiological level, when we feel safe, we deactivate our fight-flight response because we don’t feel the need to defend ourselves.

The difficult moments of life are just a part of the human experience. And in those moments, we also deserve to experience the kind and loving actions we offer to others. The strength of self-compassion promotes self-love and acceptance. It acknowledges that you are doing the best you can do. It also reminds you that you are worthy of happiness.

When you are being judgmental and critical of yourself, you are not exercising self-compassion. You are hurting yourself. Consider if you would speak to a friend in the same judgmental way. Focus on what is right, rather than what is wrong. Look at yourself with loving eyes before you treat yourself harshly. Be more tolerant of yourself. Respect your feelings. You deserve it.

Tolerance. Patience. Understanding. Compassion. What the world needs now.

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Sep 18 2017

Gratitude: The Wonder Drug for Depression

Category: Gratitude,Health & Wellness,Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 4:03 pm

medicine cabinet


The essence of all you appreciate is constantly flowing into your reality. As a creator, you create with your thoughts. When you are thinking about what you like or enjoy, you are in the process of creating more of it. When you become more aware of the moments of your life, you engage your senses. You are grateful in the now moment. You appreciate the good that is happening now or you recall the pleasant memory of the past. When you are in this state of awareness, your brain is producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

When you are feeling grateful, an area of your brain stem region produces dopamine, which increases your enjoyment of what you are experiencing. In addition, when you are feeling gratitude toward others, it increases activity in social dopamine circuits. You enjoy people more and social interactions are more fun. Another area of your brain, the anterior cingulate cortex is busy producing serotonin. This neurotransmitter affects your mood; your appetite and digestion; your ability to sleep; your memory; and your sexual desire and function. Serotonin inhibits impulses so you are better able to control your bad habits. When you are depressed, you lose control. Anti-depressants such as Wellbutrin and Prozac boost the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

In his book, The Upward Spiral, Dr. Alex Korb addresses the research which has found that gratitude is a powerful anti-depressant. He acknowledges that scientists don’t fully understand depression, but they know it relates to neurotransmitters produced in the brain.  Depression also relates to the prefrontal cortex, which is used for critical thinking and decision making. In addition, the limbic system is involved. This system includes the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala; and the hippocampus, which plays a role in the formation of new memories. Depression affects brain functions which inhibit our ability to heal.

Korb explains how we keep ourselves in a downward spiral when we focus on negative thoughts. Anxiety about the future and worry about things we don’t want reinforces the depressed brain. Remember, you must focus on the now moment, the only moment there is. Bad memories or self-criticism about past behavior are in the past. Let go! You must focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want! Why spend your valuable thought energy on creating negative circumstances which create negative emotions?

Pay attention. Focus on gratitude for your physical body. Acknowledge that it is constantly in your service, no matter how you treat it. Focus on gratitude for your loved ones and their presence in your life. Feel the love. Focus on gratitude for the experience of life. Appreciate your talents, skills and abilities. Know that you have within you everything you need to create the life you want. You can choose to focus on gratitude and benefit from the positive effects in your brain and your physical body. You can choose the upward movement. You can rewire yourself so that it’s easier to feel the positive emotions which produce positive results.

Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Apparently, gratitude is a better anti-depressant than Prozac or Wellbutrin. And gratitude has no negative side effects!

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Aug 31 2017

A Reminder From Harvey

Category: ControlPatricia @ 3:43 pm

hurricane harvey


Southeastern Texas is suffering. Hurricane Harvey is causing unprecedented and catastrophic flooding. More than 50 inches of rain are expected to fall as Harvey slowly moves through the area. Within the storm are extreme winds and isolated tornadoes. Estimates expect the damage total to exceed $10 billion. The rivers are rising. Lives will be lost. Even those of us not living in the danger zone are monitoring the effects of this massive storm. We don’t really know what the long term effects will be. We just know that it’s bad. Very bad. A storm like Harvey reminds us of how vulnerable we are; how powerless we are over the forces of nature. A simple shift in the wind can mean the difference between life and death.

We live in a universe of duality and contrast. There is darkness and light; left and right. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Extremely bad conditions can create extremely good reactions. In fact, they often do just that. Disasters bring out the best in us. Boundaries of race, religion, economic status…blue tribe or red tribe do not matter. These arbitrary divisions really don’t matter at all. All that matters is humanity. We witness the selflessness of those who put their own lives in danger in order to help others.  People actively and willingly look out for others. We rise to the occasion. A life is a life is a life. All lives matter.

When disaster strikes, community becomes stronger. We recognize that we are not in this alone. We are neighbors. We can do more together. We need each other. We care about each other. A community is really no more than a big family. Sometimes we forget that. It’s easy to do. We forget about being kind to each other. We don’t remember how much we depend on each other. Disaster gives us an opportunity to remember what we value.

As individuals, we are no more than a tiny speck of matter. Together we are the whole of humanity. Perhaps Harvey is here to remind us that we need to work together to get things done; to remember that each individual is an important part of the whole community. Harvey reminds us that we can’t forget the ones who need help. And that everyone deserves to be helped. Harvey reminds us that it could get personal…it could be you that needs help the next time.

When disaster strikes, we may feel powerless. And then we can access the situation. We can consider our actions; decide what we can control.  In that moment, we are able to feel our own power. We take action to take care of what matters. Harvey is big enough to get our attention. Harvey can remind us that each one of us has the power to do what is right; to help one another. We are better able to face our biggest challenges when we do it together.




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Jul 19 2017

Potent Side Effects of Generosity

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 8:55 am



After 9 surgeries for a bad heart, Andy Mackie was prescribed more than 15 medications. The side effects were miserable. And the misery was costing at least $600 every month. Andy decided that he didn’t want to spend the remaining days of his life feeling miserable, so he decided to stop all his medications. The doctors said he would die within a year. They were wrong.

Andy loved music, so he decided to use the money he would have spent on his heart medicines to buy 300 harmonicas to give to children. He contacted the local schools and set up classes to teach the children how to play. Mackie said, “I tell them music is a gift, you give it away – you give it away and you get to keep it forever.”

And when he didn’t die the next month, he decided to do the same thing. He bought a few hundred more. And every month after that, Andy Mackie continued to buy harmonicas, give them to children and provide lessons. He forgot about dying. His efforts were recognized in 2005 at the Northwest Folklife Festival where he set the Guinness World Record for the largest harmonica band ever to perform in one place.

Thirteen years after he stopped his medications, Andy Mackie finally passed away at the age of 72. During those final years, he gave away 20,000 harmonicas, taught hundreds of children to play them, personally built 5500 strum sticks and created a foundation to continue his dream. He lived his life with joy.

What can we learn from Andy? I think he is a perfect example of thinking about what you want…instead of what you don’t want. Andy could have accepted the fate that his doctors decided. He could have chosen a life of misery and pain, waiting for death. Instead, he chose love instead of fear. He chose to think about what he loved. He chose to act on his thoughts. He recognized how his actions affected others. He was joyful in his work. His body continued to serve him because he believed in life more than he believed in death.

How can you use the lessons Andy taught? Look outside of yourself. How can others benefit from your generosity? What do you have to give? Consider that although generosity is an action that is done without an expected return, in that giving, you may also receive great benefits. What you put forth comes back to you.

It appears that Andy Mackie did not have a bad heart after all. His generosity came from a heart that was filled with the love of music and the spirit of giving. For Andy, giving that love to the children was the very best medicine of all.

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Jun 07 2017

So Much More!!!

Category: Spiritual ExplorationPatricia @ 2:07 pm




You are so much more than you. You are more than the small self who feels separate from the world. You are more than your ego, your self-esteem and self-importance. Your ego, or your personality, is merely an experience that your soul is having. Your ego serves an important function as a learning tool for you. It helps you get what you think you need from the world. It helps to prevent you from losing what you have. Ego is fueled by separation which leads to feelings of comparison, competition and judgment. Ego is fueled by fear. It feels threatened by others. It is frightened by things it doesn’t understand because it has not experienced those things. Ego is based on limited and limiting beliefs. It feels judged because it judges. Judgment leads to suffering.

Because you are so much more than your ego experience, you have access to a different perspective. When we identify with the small self, we sometimes forget that we have access to our soul’s wisdom. The Soul, in contrast to the Ego, is rooted in love and a sense of well-being. Soul is timeless and eternal. Because of this, Soul is resilient and capable. It is able to see the bigger picture and react in a way that is beneficial to your ego’s life experience.

How do you know if it is your ego or your soul who is chattering in your head? Remember the chatter of Ego is based on subconscious beliefs and programming of the personality. The message of Soul is Love. The simple test is this…is your thought based on fear or love? Fear may show up as envy, greed, anger, disappointment, pride or judgment. Love comes in the form of compassion, charity, forgiveness, acceptance.

Ego often shows up when we are in relationship with another. Comparison rears its ugly head. Ego judges others based on what it deems to be “right”. Ego says, “Mary is behaving badly. I don’t like the way she behaves. It is different than the way I behave.” Soul knows, “Mary is experiencing what she needs to experience in order to evolve on her journey.”  Friendships are a state of mutual trust and support. Ego can destroy that when judgment happens. Elbert Hubbard tells us, “A friend is one who knows you as you are. Understands where you’ve been. Accepts who you have become. And still, gently, allows you to grow.”  Consider this when you are confronted by your feelings towards a friend or a loved one. Is your relationship one that judges or accepts? Are you looking at another with the eyes of Ego? Or are you embracing another with the loving acceptance of Soul?

Ego compares to make itself feel bigger or more powerful. It is afraid that someone else will have more. Ego competes. Ego says, “Joe lives in a small house. He doesn’t have as much money as I do. I have a big house. I am more successful than Joe. I am better than Joe.” Soul knows, “Outside circumstances are a reflection of inner focus.  My attention is focused on things that are different than the things Joe focuses upon. I manifest what I want and what I need to experience.”

Unfortunately, when Ego compares, it can also make itself feel less worthy. Because it is based on fear, Ego is fragile and easily hurt. Ego says, “Mary is slender and attractive. I weigh more than Mary. No one will love me because I’m too fat. I’m not good enough.” Soul knows, “My body is merely an experience which helps me to understand my emotions in the physical state of being.”

Wayne Dwyer says that EGO is an acronym for “Edging God Out”.  As Ego, we separate ourselves from the source of our power. Our limited point of view personality takes over and we may make life decisions based on fear, rather than love. And then those decisions can create suffering. Michael Bovenes tells us that, “Your soul desires to be understanding. Your ego is only concerned with being understood. When you are being understanding, you are connected to your soul.” Soul knows that we are all one in Spirit. Soul knows that each one of us is a reflection of the other. We choose our relationships because of that reflection…our darkness as well as our light.  We are drawn to those who think the way we think. We are comfortable around those who act the way we act. And when we become uncomfortable, rather than retreat from the relationship, we can recognize that as an opportunity to grow. Each life experience, each personality, adds to the great mosaic of all that is. On our individual Soul’s journey, we travel with the others. We teach. We learn. And we all become better, stronger, wiser.

If life seems a little confusing and uncertain, know that you do have all the answers. When you go within, you have access to all of Soul’s wisdom and the source of your being. You know more than you think you know. When you leave the outside world behind, you let go of the limitations of the Ego self and move into a connection with all that is. In the meditative, hypnotic state, you are so much more than Ego. You are so much more than you.


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May 30 2017

Agreeing To Be Married

Category: BeliefPatricia @ 12:52 pm



A lot of weddings will take place this month. Did you know that there are more weddings in June than any other month? Did you ever wonder why? The tradition has been around since the Roman Empire. June is named after the Roman goddess Juno, who was considered to be the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and in childbirth.

A wedding is the public ceremony where two individuals agree to their commitment to each other… until they don’t. Unfortunately, one-third of marriages end in divorce. Fortunately, that statistic is down from one-half. As a society, we’re getting a little better at being more compassionate and forgiving of our spouses.

A lot of thought and effort goes into creating a wedding ceremony. There are many traditions and many cultures. And there is also a sense of individuality expressed in the ceremony. Couples spend months of their lives and thousands of dollars of their financial energy to create the spectacle that is a wedding. Don’t get me wrong. I love weddings. And I’ve had the great pleasure to be the officiant performing the wedding ceremony. But…marriage is not about the wedding ceremony! Not at all. It would be more beneficial if couples gave as much attention to the details and planning of a marriage.

Marriage is about agreements. All relationships are about agreements. Two people make agreements with each other about how the relationship will be. They decide what roles they will play; and how and when they will play those roles. Behavior is agreed upon. Limits are set. Responsibilities are negotiated. People decide how to have disagreements and solve problems. If not, there may be resentment or anger or jealousy. Individuals decide what is acceptable and what is not. In every relationship, there is a “deal breaker”…if one of the individuals does the unacceptable. And then a new agreement must be negotiated which allows for healing and growth. If not, the relationship will suffer and eventually come to an end.

Each one of us learns about marriage from what we witness from our own parents and extended family. Society and religious traditions tell us more. We learn about expectations, duties, authority. We are taught and subconsciously programmed about relationships; the way things are. If we are fortunate, we learn about love, compassion, understanding and acceptance. But not all of us are fortunate. Some of us learned about relationships from parents who failed at it. So some of us learned how to fail.

A marriage is a partnership contract. Marriage is a choice you make every day…over and over…and that choice is reflected in how you treat each other. It is a commitment to value your marriage above your own interests. A marriage is like its own separate entity, almost like a company where you both work as equal partners. When the employee gives care and attention to their job, the company thrives. When the company thrives, it is able to support the employee’s needs. The marriage, just like the company, has needs to be fulfilled.

Just like everything else in life, how we behave in a marriage is how we are taught to behave; how we are expected to behave; how we agree to behave. And our behavior is based on the past programming and perceptions of our individual subconscious mind. The behavior and character of a marriage is based on the past programming of two subconscious minds and their ability to understand and support each other’s behaviors and beliefs. This is not an easy task!!! However it is a task that is well worth learning and perfecting.

As we enter the month of June, I invite you to think about your own marriage whether you’re in it now, have been in it and left it, or hope to be in it. Consider the agreements you’ve made. Consider if they are serving both individuals as well as the marriage. Or consider how and why the agreements didn’t serve. Consider how you may make a new agreement or a new commitment to make the marriage stronger. Think about how a new relationship may benefit from what you learned in the past. We all become stronger, better and wiser within relationships. It creates contrast and conflicts and helps us to see things from another’s perspective. Our partners encourage us to be more. They inspire us and challenge us to grow. Our partners also support us, make us laugh and share our life experience. Marriage is worth the effort. As a June bride, having spent more than four decades in a relationship, I can happily attest to that.


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May 08 2017

A Mother’s Influence

Category: Energy BodyPatricia @ 4:57 pm

baby bulldog


When the human fetus is developing, the heart is the first organ to form. At that moment, a very special bond is also beginning to develop…the loving bond between mother and child. Two hearts begin to beat as one. Mother knows the heartbeat of child from a unique perspective; beating within her own body. And from within, child knows the rhythm of mother’s heartbeat. Elizabeth Stone speaks for all mothers when she says, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Research shows that when two people come near each other or have physical contact with each other, one’s heart affects the other’s electrical brain waves. It has been observed that when two people hold hands, a transfer of electrical energy is transmitted and can be detected by an EEG. Apparently this explains why when a mother embraces her crying baby, the baby calms down and stops crying. The electric waves from the mother’s heart (love) are transferred to the baby’s brain. When the baby’s brain receives these waves of love, it sends tranquilizing signals to the baby’s heart. The emotional energy of love stops the emotional energy of fear.

It is interesting to note that the heart, traditionally associated with emotions, happens to be on the left side of the body. The left side is the side that connects to the right brain, which is the center of emotional processing in the brain. Previous research has indicated that 70-85% of women and girls show a bias to hold babies to the left side of their body. Mother knows best.

In the recently released HeartMath book, Heart Intelligence, the authors note in part, “As collective consciousness increases, this will eventually reveal that love is an advanced mode of intelligent living. People have just scratched the surface of awareness regarding the focused power of love and its capacity to create a heart-based environment: one where individuals can transcend fear and what it brings, while manifesting their undiscovered gifts and fulfillment.”

We all learn a lot about love from mothers. And it appears that we learn from the inside out, even before we are born. We can take this knowledge and use it every day to help ourselves and others. When you know that your heart is transferring electrical energy to the brain waves of those around you, you owe it to yourself and others, to have thoughts of love and compassion. Your loving heart can literally calm those in your presence.

Mother’s Day is about to be celebrated as a holiday. Join the celebration. Whether you are woman or man, mother or not, I invite you to become more aware of your ability to influence those around you in a more loving way. Perhaps it’s a good day to become more accepting of yourself and others. Tell yourself that you are beautiful and smart. Perhaps it’s time to tell yourself that you’re a good boy or good girl and you’re doing a good job. Maybe you need to believe that everything is going to be okay; that you can do anything you set your mind to do. Reach out to those around you. Listen to each other’s troubles. Wipe away tears. Offer a shoulder to lean on. Hold hands. Give lots of hugs and kisses. Cuddle. Pat each other on the back; or give a back rub. Tell each other stories. Make each other laugh. Take time to be kind. Make your mother proud.



Feb 14 2017


Category: Choices,Spiritual ExplorationPatricia @ 4:56 pm



Buddhism teaches us about LovingKindness through a practice called Metta, meaning unconditional, inclusive love; friendliness, empathy or kindness. Metta recognizes that all sentient beings (i.e., all beings that are capable of feeling) can feel good or feel bad; and that when given the choice, all will choose to feel good rather than bad. It does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not. There are no expectations of reciprocity. The process is one of breaking down barriers and judgments that we feel toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others. Although this is a Buddhist practice, Metta is a practice which can help anyone to cultivate or develop a positive emotion…a good feeling in your heart.

To begin the practice, you must first focus on yourself. You must love and accept yourself first! It all begins with you. And you receive the benefits. You deserve LovingKindness towards yourself. Recognize your gifts and talents. Look at your skills and abilities. Remind yourself of the qualities of you. And as you do this, you will have feelings of strength and confidence. You love yourself for who you are. You acknowledge your mistakes and forgive yourself. And as you see yourself through loving eyes, say, “May I be well and happy.”

Next think of a good friend or a family member. Visualize them and think of their good qualities. Feel your love for them. Connect with them and say, “May they be well and happy.” As you experience this connection, notice how you feel in your heart.

Now think of a person that you don’t know well. You don’t particularly like or dislike them; you feel neutral. Visualize them and reflect on their humanity. Connect with them as another human being; someone who loves and is loved by others. A person with hopes and fears just like you. And say, “May they be well and happy.”

The next step may be difficult or challenging. That just means it will help you to grow to be better; stronger. Think of someone you actually dislike – an enemy or opponent. This is someone who may be creating problems for you, such as an ex-spouse or a difficult boss. It may be a political figure. Do not get caught up in negative feelings of anger or hatred because you are the one who will feel the ill effects in your heart. You will suffer. Instead, recognize their humanity. Think of them in a positive manner and even if it is very, very difficult, say, “May they be well and happy.” Remember, if they are well and happy, they will be more loving and kind. And everyone will benefit.

And lastly, think of yourself, the friend, the neutral person, and the enemy. Bring everyone together. Then further extend your feelings of love and acceptance. Say, “May they all be well and happy” to everyone in your neighborhood, your town, your country and on and on throughout the world. Sense waves of LovingKindness flowing from your heart to everyone, to all sentient beings everywhere, known and unknown. “May all be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.”

“If I see you as different and I view you with suspicion, or at the best with cold neutrality, it is unlikely that I will feel kindly disposed toward you. If instead I look at you knowing we both belong to the human race, both have a similar nature, different experiences but the same roots and a common destiny, then it is probable I will feel openness, solidarity, empathy toward you. In another word, Kindness.” ~ Pierro Ferucci, author of The Power of Kindness


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Dec 27 2016

Emptying Out

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 12:06 pm



In her book, Footprints on the Path, Eileen Caddy says, “Life is full and overflowing with the new. But it is necessary to empty out the old to make room for the new to enter.”   It’s that time of year again. That New Year time. We all look to the future with hope and enthusiasm. Anything is possible next year. We reflect on what we have and what we don’t have. We want new experiences, new relationships, new material goods to come into our life. We dream.

In order for anything new to happen, we need to empty out the old stuff; the clutter we have collected and the emotions we continue to feel. Clutter is a state of confusion and disorder. Clutter in our outside world is just a reflection of the clutter within.

Everything that is old is not necessarily bad or useless. Consider a piece of antique furniture or a treasured friendship. But some old stuff has to go. Holding on to old, worn-out things that don’t function right doesn’t make sense. You deserve better. Things should be useful…or beautiful. Staying within relationships which create tension or anxiety brings more of the same. Let go. Not everyone is part of your destiny. Realize that some people belong in the past. They are part of your history. We must let go of what no longer serves our best interest now. Not only at this time of year, but on a regular basis. The philosopher Lao Tzu says, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

Your subconscious mind is the ultimate repository of the old. It has catalogued every circumstance and emotion you have experienced. It is not possible to empty out. But you can let go of the negative perceptions that you no longer want in your life. You can look upon your life experiences and choices with love, compassion and mercy for yourself. You can let go of false beliefs. When you let go of self-doubt, you become more confident. When you release fear, you become more loving. When you no longer judge yourself as unworthy, you become more successful. When you empty out the heavy burden of negativity, you become better, stronger, wiser.

When you empty out, you are not left with a glass that is half-filled. You are left with room to fill it with something new. And you can even let it overflow. You get to choose how you fill it and what it looks like, tastes like and feels like! And you don’t have to wait until the calendar changes and a New Year is declared. You can declare yourself as a New You whenever you want…as long as you have done the work of getting rid of the clutter that is holding you back…the clutter that says there is no time or no room or no place to go. Clutter can make you feel stuck or overwhelmed. It can weigh you down. It will never go away by itself. No one can take care of it for you. You decide what you want in life. And what you don’t. It’s up to you. As the powerful, creative being that you are, everything in life is really up to you.

May the year 2017 be a time of joy!





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Dec 21 2016

Season ForGiving

Category: Choices,Positive ThinkingPatricia @ 11:18 am




We often speak of this time of year as a season of giving. We get caught up in purchasing the perfect present for our loved ones. We give more to charities. We feel as if we have an endless list of people we want to gift with something. We feel the need to recognize their presence in our life. Giving is a good thing. We enjoy it. It feels good. But there is something even better you can do at this time of year. Adopt a new tradition for the season: ForGiving.

Forgiveness is not simple. “It is much more agreeable to offend and later ask forgiveness than to be offended and grant forgiveness,” said the philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche.  It may be difficult to stop feeling angry or to stop blaming someone. It’s hard to let go. When you forgive someone, you give up the right to hurt that someone in retaliation for hurting you. Remember, forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves it. Forgiveness is not an act of weakness or submission; it is an act of love, mercy and grace. When we forgive others we gain control of our lives and let go of painful emotions.

There is an abundance of research being done on the science of forgiveness. It shows that forgiveness makes us happier. And research suggests that happy people are more likely to forgive others. It’s not surprising to note that forgiveness helps to sustain relationships. We are more likely to forgive those closest to us. Forgiveness can stop us from undermining feelings of trust and commitment and help us to repair a relationship. In marriages, it has been shown that spouses who are more forgiving are better at resolving conflicts in their marriage and build stronger, more satisfying relationships. Forgiveness boosts a feeling of being more connected to others and therefore, promotes kindness.

Forgiveness improves our health and strengthens our immune system. In the article, “The New Science of Forgiveness” by Everett Worthington Jr., at Virginia Commonwealth University, references a study at Hope College where people were asked  “to think about someone who had hurt, mistreated, or offended them. While they thought about this person and his or her past offense, the researcher monitored their blood pressure, heart rate, facial muscle tension, and sweat gland activity.”  It was found that when “people recalled a grudge, their physical arousal soared. Their blood pressure and heart rate increased, and they sweated more. Ruminating about their grudges was stressful, and subjects found the rumination unpleasant. It made them feel angry, sad, anxious, and less in control.” When asked to try to empathize or imagine forgiving their offenders, the participants showed no more stress reaction.

To ruminate on an old transgression is to practice unforgiveness. Thinking about it brings the negative emotions of the past into the present moment. Worthington goes on to state, “unforgiveness might compromise the immune system at many levels. For instance, our review suggests that unforgiveness might throw off the production of important hormones and even disrupt the way our cells fight off infections, bacteria, and other physical insults.”

Apparently, the physical benefits of forgiveness increase with age. According to a recent study led by Loren Toussaint, a psychologist at Luther College, a national survey of nearly 1,500 Americans was conducted. Participants were asked the degree to which each person practiced and experienced forgiveness and also reported on their physical and mental health. It was found that people over 45 years of age who had forgiven others “reported greater satisfaction with their lives and were less likely to report symptoms of psychological distress, such as feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and sadness.”

Forgiveness usually takes time as well as effort. But it is well worth that effort! Forgiving others is important. Forgiving yourself is essential. There are four key elements in the therapeutic process of self-forgiveness. These elements are responsibility, remorse, restoration and renewal. You must take responsibility for your actions as the first step towards genuine self-forgiveness. You must recognize what you have done and how you have hurt another individual or hurt yourself. When you accept responsibility, it is natural to feel remorse. These feelings can be processed and expressed. In order to make the necessary amends to the offended individual, the act of restoration is necessary. An apology or restitution is offered. And the final component of self-forgiveness is renewal. When you forgive yourself of your past actions, you are able to feel compassion for yourself and engage in behaviors that promote self-kindness now. You get to begin again.

During this season of giving, I encourage you to give yourself the ultimate gift of love. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Make that choice. Negative emotions of anger, disappointment, resentment, guilt, shame and remorse are toxic to your health and well-being. Offer an apology or accept one. Take a look at your emotions and let go of the ones that cause you pain. Forgiveness may not come naturally, but it is something that can be learned. Take a moment to see things from the other person’s perspective. Be kind to yourself. And above all, keep in mind that we are all doing the best we can.





















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Dec 08 2016

Celebrating Friends & New Worlds

Category: Choices,Gratitude,Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 1:41 pm



“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”  Anaïs Nin

Recently, I celebrated a friend. I celebrated her birth day and her death day.  Mostly I celebrated our friendship. Susan touched my heart and soul. She awakened a dream. Together we created a new world for each other. We met at a pivotal moment in time where each of us was destined to serve the other. As fellow travelers on life’s soul journey, we were meant to cross paths.

Sometimes in life, we are given the experience of enjoying a life-long friendship; the golden ones that endure the test of time. But sometimes, we are not given that luxury of time. And then we learn that the value of friendship is not measured by the amount of days we spend with someone… it’s about how we spend our moments. Our physical time together was very short – just over a year -14 months. During that time, we experienced the changes – heat and cold, rain and rainbows, sunrise and sunset, moonlight and starshine. We celebrated birthdays and holidays. We laughed and cried together. We dreamed a future that never came to pass. We spoke every day and shared our hearts. Life’s precious moments. Our journey was not a simple, easy path. It was wild and untamed, filled with surprises. At times otherworldly. It was turbo-charged and traveled at warp speed. It was also spent in timeless silence as we surveyed our beloved mountain and became one with the earth. Oh dear friend, I miss you and wish you were still here with me to experience more of life!

Friendship matters. I know I don’t have to tell you that. Everyone knows that. You have friends. And you have lost friends. I think what I want to tell you is this…

Friendship is a choice we make. It’s a choice to love more. Some friendships are simple. Some are very complex. But all friendships are valuable. Sometimes we don’t make a conscious choice to become friends with someone; to begin a relationship. It happens. We accept it. As beings, we are not meant to be alone. We need others. Relationships help us to grow and become stronger, wiser, better.  The joy of loving far outweighs the pain of loss.

Friendship is a gift of great value. Treat it with respect and great care. Give it your attention. Do it now. If it matters. Each friendship is an agreement. Honor the agreements or negotiate new ones. We make a pact to be together to share in the experience of life. We support each other. We challenge each other. We disappoint one another. We bring joy to each other. We bear witness. Life is not meant to be a solitary experience. Each one of us is an important part of the tribe of humanity.

A friend opens up new worlds. You get to experience life from their unique perspective and understanding. You taste new flavors. Friends spice things up.  You hear the music of a different soundtrack and learn to dance to a different beat. You can adopt or reject the new but you can never become unaware of its existence. You have been changed just by the exposure to it. When you are fortunate enough to experience a life-long friendship, you gain more. You learn from the choices you see your friends make. You gain another source of wisdom and a trusted advisor.

Muhammad Ali said “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” May you experience new worlds and celebrate the friends in your life!

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Nov 24 2016

Thanks to Little Joe

Category: GratitudePatricia @ 11:59 am





Thanksgiving. When you use the word as a noun (something you name), you recognize it as a holiday. But when you consider the word as a verb (something you do), it makes a difference in your understanding of its true meaning – the act of giving thanks and feeling gratitude. I know each one of us can run off a list of all the things we are thankful for at this time of year. We think of family and friends. We think of financial abundance. We think of our health and physical well-being. And often we are thankful for experiences that make us happy. Sometimes we are surprised by what brings gratitude to mind.

This year, I’m very grateful to know Little Joe Cartwright. You see, he’s a longtime family friend. When I was very young, the Cartwrights were weekly visitors in our home. We were one of the first families to enjoy the luxury of a color television. Dad was always into gadgets and technology and liked to have the best and newest available. It was very exciting to see the NBC peacock turn from black & white to all the colors of the rainbow! Unfortunately, there were only two shows broadcast in color at that time – The Mitch Miller Show and Bonanza. Of course Bonanza was far superior because there were mountains and horses and gunfights!

Recently, Little Joe and all the Cartwright men helped me to communicate with my 92-year-old mother. Besides suffering from dementia and extreme physical limitations, Mom has some communication issues. She has endured countless strokes, the last of which severely diminished her throat muscles, impeding her ability to speak. Although she is able to communicate her likes, dislikes and needs, she’s no longer able to form words. She is only able to make a guttural sound. However, make no mistake, she is totally aware and “in there”.

When arriving for a visit, I found her sitting with another resident waiting for lunch to be served. A television set was on but she wasn’t paying attention to it. I greeted her and chatted for a moment. And then I was pleased to see the opening credits to Bonanza were coming on the screen. I pointed it out to her and she immediately turned her attention to the TV. As the flames burned across the map of the Ponderosa, her eyes lit up in recognition and a smile crossed her face. Then Little Joe came on and the conversation began. We were in the moment together.

As we watched the show unfolding, I saw her slip into a comfortable place where memory brings the feelings of the past into the present. Once upon a time when she watched Bonanza in the comfort of her home, she was a young and able woman raising a family. She had a husband who adored her and all the material pleasures she desired. I noticed her frail body shift as she sat up taller in her chair.  I spoke and she acknowledged all the members of the Cartwright family; Pa, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. It felt like visiting with the cousins. In those moments, we connected on a level that – given the circumstances – is not easy to achieve any more. And in that connection, we were no longer a mother and daughter separated by distance and sad circumstances. We were two souls enjoying our eternal connection and accepting all as it is.

A TV show was the common thread that wove our lives back together in that moment. As you celebrate this time of Thanksgiving, look for the little ways – the Little Joes – that bring gratitude to your heart. And then enjoy that feeling as you move from noun to verb…as you actively give thanks…the true purpose of the holiday. Do something about thanks giving.

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Nov 03 2016

If It Feels Nice…Don’t Think Twice

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 2:08 pm



We live in troubled times. Life is uncertain. There is social unrest and protest. Order has been disrupted. We say, “this must stop.” We cry, “no more.’ We don’t know what to do. We don’t know who to trust and what to believe. In order to create peace in the outside world, we must first seek peace within. When we approach life with a compassionate heart, we are able to find solace within the storm.

Sometimes you are at odds with a loved one; upset with mother, frustrated with child, angry at spouse. You feel judged or offended. You are hurt or sad. And perhaps you deserve to feel that way! But most of all, you deserve to feel happy. When you are feeling negative emotions directed towards another, you suffer the consequences. When you are feeling anger or resentment towards someone, they do not feel it. They don’t suffer at all. But you do! Your negative emotions create suffering. Your body suffers. You may feel short of breath or sick to your stomach as you think the angry thoughts. You may feel ache in your heart and a suffocating feeling in your chest as you consider the wrongs that have been done to you. During the political campaign season, emotions are heightened and you may feel overwhelmed by negativity!

I invite you to stop hurting yourself by expressing negative emotions. And I invite you to start loving yourself by expressing positive emotions. You may find that in that positive expression, there is healing. Healing can take place when we make that choice. Healing is not nearly as complex, difficult and mystical as we’ve been taught to believe. Healing doesn’t require outside help, prescription drugs or a doctor’s advice. Healing begins with an intention to change. It’s an inside job.

James Taylor, singer and songwriter advises us when he says, “Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice. Just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel. Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say. Just shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel. Things are gonna be much better if you only will.”

Words of love are words of healing. The words give us strength when we speak them; and give others strength when they are heard. We smile. A kind word costs nothing and is worth so much. It takes just a moment to speak, but it creates a timeless echo within the heart. Reach out to those around you. Pay attention to others. We are all a reflection of one another. We all want the best for those we love. Tell them. Show them. It will feel nice. Everyone will benefit. It begins with you. It’s a choice you make to be the light you want to shine in the world. There is no black and white. There is only darkness and light.

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Sep 08 2016

Forgive…A Little Bit

Category: Self-Meditation & MindfulnessPatricia @ 6:48 pm



Recently, a young woman shared a story about her friend. She was visibly distraught and very concerned about his wellbeing. He was just 46 years old and was in hospital with kidney failure. His condition was now life-threatening. How did this happen? And how did it happen so quickly? Decisions needed to be made about dialysis and future treatments. What was going to happen next? I inquired about his emotional state of mind. In particular I asked if he had been angry about something…if he had been pissed off. Her response confirmed my intuitive understanding of how this may have developed. She told me that yes, he was angry. He didn’t get along with his family. He felt judged and abandoned. He was quick to judge others and felt a need to make right any wrongs he felt were being inflicted on himself or his friends. Basically, life was pissing him off. The kidney is the organ of the physical body responsible for filtering the blood to sift out toxic waste products and extra water before it is eliminated through the urinary tract. If the toxins and extra fluids build up to such a degree that the organ is unable to process them, the organ will fail. It is vital that we process our emotions and then let them go.

The mind-body connection is a powerful component of health and well-being. We have come to understand that our thoughts and emotions play a very large part in this. The science of behavioral epigenetics studies the effect of both positive and negative emotional states. These studies show the influence of the emotions on the physical body and their impact on a cellular level. From this research, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there is an emotional component in 85% of all illnesses.  In other words, in 85% of all cases, there is no organic/physical cause for the illness. The illness is caused by negative, toxic thoughts and emotions.

Often the emotional component is based on forgiveness or the lack of it. When you forgive someone, you benefit; your physical body benefits. Forgiveness happens naturally when you let go of resentment and anger. When you relinquish the desire to punish someone or plot an act of revenge, forgiveness happens. The natural state of forgiveness is basically an absence of the need for revenge or the desire to hurt someone. Maybe you can’t even imagine forgiving someone but can you imagine forgiving just a little bit? How about just 1% forgiveness? It’s a start. You can still hold on the other 99% resentment if you want. You’re making the choice.

You might tell yourself, “Even though I’m very angry and upset about what SoandSo did, I choose to let go of just 1% of my resentment. And I give myself permission to hold on to everything else.” If you do this, you will probably find that you are able to let go of that 1% because you were allowed to retain the rest. Righteous indignation has a certain appeal. And if you let go of that 1%, you are in a better place than when you started. You’ve begun the process. You can let go of another 1% tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Letting go of anger and resentment guarantees forgiveness. You owe it to yourself and to your body to begin the process.  Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us, “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” And apparently, you may give up a whole lot more than that. A lack of peace of mind and a lack of forgiveness can be deadly.




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Aug 23 2016

Expiration Date

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 7:28 pm




Are you familiar with the story of Stamatis Moraitis? Stamatis was a Greek immigrant living in the United States. In 1976 he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and told he had only “6 to 9 months to live”. He was offered aggressive treatment but he refused chemotherapy and medication that was prescribed. Apparently a number of doctors concurred with the diagnosis and agreed that treatment would not save his life.  Considering the high cost of health care and funerals in America, he decided to save his money and chose a different kind of therapy.

Stamatis and his wife packed their bags and headed back to the island of his birth, Ikaria, to spend what he thought would be his final months alive. He settled in with his elderly parents in a small house on a vineyard, where he reconnected with his community and re-established friendships. He played games and drank wine and sat in the sunshine.  He started going to his old church and felt a renewal of his faith. After six months, he planted a vegetable garden and began tending the vineyard. He made himself useful. And he didn’t die.

Not only did he not die after six months… he was actually feeling better than ever. He enjoyed the love and company of his wife and took a lot of naps. He spent time outdoors enjoying the coastal air. He read books. He followed no schedule and rarely looked at his watch. He laughed with his friends and family. He ate food fresh from the earth and drank wine from the grapes he grew in the vineyard.

At one point, 25 years after his diagnosis, Stamatis went back to the United States to ask his doctors what had happened. How did he recover from terminal lung cancer? He wanted “to see if the doctors could explain it” to him. He wasn’t able to ask that question because all the doctors were dead. Almost 40 years after his doctor-prescribed “expiration date”, Stamatis died peacefully – and not from cancer – in 2013. He was 102 years old.

So, why am I telling you this story? Maybe you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given your estimated time. Maybe you love someone with an upcoming “expiration date”. Maybe you can change your beliefs about what is possible. And when those beliefs change, maybe you can find hope. Maybe you can change your habits to include the medicine of love…faith, family and friends. Maybe you can embrace a lifestyle of healthy food, sunshine and useful physical activity. Maybe you can change that diagnosis.

When Stamatis chose to focus on the simple joys of life, his body responded by embracing more of life. Happy feeds the cells of your body. Love nurtures and nourishes. When he began to live as if every day may be his last day, he began to live mindfully in the moment. Stamatis followed his heart. We can all learn from him.


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Jun 07 2016

Tangled Hearts

Category: Spiritual ExplorationPatricia @ 10:09 am




Friendships are vital to our well-being. We need our people. It has been said, A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. But like all relationships…because people change, friendships change. Friendships require attention and commitment. And sometimes, one or both of you loses that connection. Growing apart doesn’t change the past. You have grown together and your hearts are tangled. Which is worse? When a good friend moves away? Or when you lose touch with a good friend who lives near you?

In the case of a friend moving away, you have no choice. You can’t stop by to visit or get together for lunch. You can’t plan on going dancing or taking a hike. Your options are limited. You have no choice about seeing that person face to face if they live somewhere else. They may be far across the world. You have no control over the situation. The friend has moved away because it was their choice. It is their life’s journey. You accept. You miss them but you wish them well. Together you plan on how you will visit; the ways you will communicate when you are no longer close in the physical world. The friend who moves away is not moving away from you. They are moving toward their own dreams and reality. Even though you will miss each other, you are able to wish each other well. You can laugh and cry and appreciate your time together. You can recognize your value to each other. Give a kiss or a hug. Say farewell. Until we meet again.

What about when your friend is close by? You may not have seen each other in a long time. Perhaps you haven’t even spoken. Maybe you wonder why or maybe you know why. But in this case, your options are unlimited. You have many choices. Distance is not an issue. Time is. You have many opportunities to plan to be together. Yet, you are losing touch. Are you too busy? Are you uncomfortable? Are you bored? Is it because the relationship doesn’t matter? What if it does matter? Scanning Facebook posts is not the same as being a friend in the real world. If the friendship matters, do not neglect it. Honor that heart connection. Consider your feelings if you were made aware that your friend had passed away before you made that call. It can happen. What if there were things left unsaid? What if you no longer had the opportunity to speak your heart? What if your choices were taken away?

When you reach out to someone you love, you reinforce the heart connection. Maybe the relationship doesn’t serve you anymore. Maybe you’re done with it and you’d like to “move away” from it. I suggest that you give yourself the opportunity to give the friendship a proper burial and the respect it deserves. Tell your friend that you are grateful for the memories you share. Thank them for being a part of your life. Wish them well and then send them on their way. Know that every relationship serves a purpose. Our friends help us to grow and become better. When we witness their life choices, we are able to understand experiences outside of our own self. Most of all, friends help us to learn a little more about love. Loving more is a priceless gift. When you honor the friendship and let it go with love and understanding, your heart connection remains.

When you speak from your heart, you also give your friend the opportunity to do the same. You may find that they may not want to let you go. They may want to reinforce that connection. You may want that too. You’ll find that when you speak your truth, you don’t lose friends… you learn who the real ones are. The Forever Friends. But for those friendships that are not meant to be forever… say good bye to your friendships when they have come to an end. When you say good bye, you are saying a contraction of “God be with you” (godbwye). You are in my heart. And all is well.





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May 03 2016

Three Simple Rules

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 9:38 am
Healthy Pleasure


We all have rules we live by. A rule is a regulation or a principle that governs conduct or behavior. There are specific rules to every sport or game. In baseball, three strikes and you are out. There are rules that govern driving. We all know that the rule is to stop at a stop sign. In All the Little Live Things, Wallace Stegner says,  says, “It is the beginning of wisdom when you recognize that the best you can do is choose which rules you want to live by, and it’s persistent and aggravated imbecility to pretend you can live without any.” Rules are a necessary part of life. They help us to feel safe. We know what to expect in a given situation based upon the accepted rules of the society or group.

I encourage everyone to follow three simple rules. Even though they are simple, sometimes they are hard to follow. When you break any one of these three rules, you suffer. You punish yourself. You are the authority who enforces the rules. You are the one who understands the rules of conduct for any activity in your life. You know the rules you follow when there is nobody watching. Author Robert Heinlein says, “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

It’s a good idea to reconsider the rules you’ve been following. You may find that some of the rules are nothing more than old habits. You may want to consider adding some new rules to your life.  If no one has taught you any of these rules, or if someone has taught you a different rule that isn’t working for you; you may want to consider adopting my three simple rules. I know that you would benefit, so please give them a try.

1. Love Yourself. Loving yourself allows you to love others. It allows peace of mind and a sense of contentment. When you love yourself, you respect yourself; you respect your body and your life. You honor your thoughts and feelings and feel worthy of expressing yourself. When you love yourself, you are more understanding of your limitations and more aware of your strengths. Loving yourself allows you to love and connect with all of humanity. It enhances your compassion for others.

2. Accept Yourself. Accepting yourself as you are right now is empowering. Accepting yourself allows a sense of value and worth regardless of your size, age, weight or level of fitness; regardless of your job, your status, your level of education, your wealth. Accepting yourself allows you to celebrate the glorious and unique being that you are. It also allows you to be more accepting and tolerant of others.

3. Pleasure Yourself. Pleasuring yourself is an instinctive act. As human beings, our lives are based on a pain/pleasure reward system. We are programmed to seek out physical, sensual pleasure; whether through food, sunshine or sex, dancing, singing, and laughing. The more we experience pleasure, the more pleasure we can experience. Each time we experience pleasure, we literally create neural pathways which induce the pleasure response throughout our bodies. As we experience pleasure, within our brain we “click” our amygdala forward to the frontal lobes, which results in and reinforces more creative and imaginative thinking. Pleasure also produces the hormonal release of endorphins, creating a healthier body and a sense of well being.Following the rules can make your body, mind and spirit feel good. Each one of us must embrace the secret, private pleasures that feed our souls and enrich our lives. We must love ourselves enough to accept what gives us pleasure and actively seek it out. It’s simple.





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Apr 28 2016

Planting Trees

Category: ShamanismPatricia @ 1:47 pm

3 White Trees

On April 29, our nation celebrates a holiday about trees. Everyone is encouraged to plant a tree. You may think the holiday is about being “green” or enhancing the ecology and saving the environment. Although that is true, the creator of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton had a more philanthropic, humanitarian view of the observance. With a social conscience, he said, “Other holidays repose on the past. Arbor Day proposes the future.”  Lucy Larcom echoed that sentiment when she said,He who plants a tree plants a hope.”   Planting a tree is a belief in the future and a reminder of the cycle of life. We watch a tree grow from a sapling; shedding its leaves and then re-flowering in the spring. A tree is a symbol of life, death and renewal. Trees live for hundreds or even thousands of years, keeping the secrets of the past and keeping watch over the future. In mythology, religion and folklore all over the world, trees are universally revered. The Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge or the Cosmic Tree symbolize immortality and a connection between heaven and earth.

Everything in nature vibrates, although at different levels. In many cultures, people believe that trees have a slower energetic vibration and that they are deeply connected to Mother Earth because of their root system. Hugging trees can help us to feel safe and grounded. A walk in the forest amongst the trees provides a feeling of peace and serenity. It can be emotionally healing to connect with the quiet of the woods.

Have you planted a tree? Thomas Fuller says, “He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” When you plant a tree, you plant it for future generations. You plant a tree based on what you believe it will become. The tree will be on the planet long after you are gone. You plant a tree for the world to enjoy. You plant beauty. You believe and trust that it will grow; that it will provide shade or shelter or bear fruit. And it will.

A thought is like a tree. Every thought, word or feeling carries a vibration. Your thoughts right now determine what your future will be like; what your legacy will be. When you start a new job or a new relationship, your thoughts influence how it will grow and how strong it will be. When you raise a child, your thoughts and beliefs determine your child’s future. Your thoughts create the foundation or the root system that you build your life upon. That root system also supports your children and your children’s children. Your thoughts and beliefs influence the future and a world you will not know.

Your thoughts are like little seedlings. You have the ability to plant many seeds of joy throughout your lifetime. You can nurture those joyful thoughts and influence all those who know you. You can create peace and serenity within and radiate the quiet wisdom of an ancient tree. Take the time to observe Arbor Day. Go plant a tree! Or at least hug one! And feel the joy!


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