Friday, November 30, 2007

Miracle on 35th Street

Oh Lord, am I ever grateful for this past week-end!

While I sorely missed my outrageous Mom, who at 93, lives independently and plays a cruel game of Scrabble, I knew our calls and cards would expand our day to day gratitude for each other.

My dear friend’s family adopted me as their own for Thanksgiving. Festivities royale ensued, culminating with the opening night of the “Opera Cake”. Consider dense mocha cream, drizzled with dark chocolate, slathered between layers of light pastry, richer than all of us at the table. Presto, the smoothest disappearing act on record.

Friday, my “just turned 21” daughter came in from Philly. My love for her abounds right along with my admiration. Her loyalty to her life’s direction and to those she loves, her clarity on choices in creating her life and adding to the lives around her, awareness of the next step on the path she envisions, all serve well. Challenges? You bet. I trust she’ll deal with them in her own time.

She flitted around me as she always does. But first we shared the warmest of hugs a mama and her baby girl ever knew, replete with I love you’s and snuggly kisses. The afternoon flew by filled with personal news/views, dinner, then out came the moon and out she went to explore her old city with old friends. On Saturday, her newly- engaged best friend (whom I adore), traveled in from Stonybrook, Long Island to share some time. She’s working with troubled teens, some of whom cannot look her in the eye. I recall a time when she was in the same place. I’m moved by her courage and compassion.

I’d already come to terms with the fact that my son would not be visiting for the holiday. He recently moved to New Mexico to teach in Santa Fe schools and produce events with a national dance organization, and had tickets to visit in late December. But a sudden death in his girlfriend’s family reformulated his plans and, suddenly, there I was in Andrew’s Coffee Shop, unaware of the frenzy of Macy’s during the holiday season, sitting across from both my children. I looked into their eyes. Who knew those moments I noticed in their early interactions in their worlds would become a leitmotif, softer around the edges, a silver thread really, connecting the baby, toddler, child, adolescent, and young adult. Beautiful, imperfect beings, inspired by all this planet offers, actively concerned with what it needs.

Lunch ended. The girls left to shop. My son and I wanted a place to “catch up” and had limited time. Where do you go in this season around 34th Street, NYC for quiet? Macy’s, 7th floor. Men’s overcoats.

As he tried on different styles and sizes, we shared thoughts on the new shapes of our lives. When I asked him what he’d like for Chanukah, he replied, “I really can’t think of anything, Mom. I’m happy.” And with that I received my gift. He was happy.

All too soon he needed to catch the train. We stood near the track at Penn Station holding each other so tightly. I love you’s. The love between mother and son. Mother and daughter. Joy. Family history.

Moments we didn’t know how to live through then discovered placing one foot in front of the other as slowly as we needed to was the answer.

We embraced forever. And ultimately, slipped back into our selves once more. I returned home in tears. When the feelings had lifted, before my daughter and her sweet friend returned, I sat on the couch with Gracie, connecting with my inner spirit, asking G-d how to make our family good-byes less painful. Do I avoid them, meaning not see my children? Or perhaps I experience the joy fully, bringing more light into the world? It wouldn’t eliminate the pain but I think I could live with it knowing authentic happiness reflects in the world. Yes. A good enough choice.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A New Voyage...Where's the Dramamine?

Remember the old Janis Joplin tune, “Oh Lord, Won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?” It’s one that pops into my mind on occasion. It happened just yesterday. For some reason I stopped, and paid attention to the message thinking, “Not this time. This time I want to thank You”. So - Oh Lord, Thank You for so much, including Gracie, a 4 year old rescue Russian Blue, who arrived safely in my home just last week. She listens to my chatter and responds in kind - the feline version of a true friend. Gracie stretches my heart ever so slightly each day.

While miracles surround us, I’m always amazed by the dynamics of the human being/animal connection. Offered unconditional love, we tend to share better, behave more considerately, and overall communicate more kindly, sometimes with a smile in our voices. Animals can teach us new tricks at any age, with unlimited opportunity to improve our styles.

And then some of us choose to or have to live without them. We can develop severe allergies at any point in life. Perhaps we carry around memories of that vicious dog that took a good bite 35 years ago. Life can be challenging enough without adding scratches to the maple feet of your favorite chair and clumps of cat hair glued to the fabric of your dreams.

Years ago, before I recognized Choice as a fundamental birthright, I hadn’t a clue that I could elect to be happy. “Under these circumstances”, I was known to whine, “the most constructive action I can take is to lie down and never rise again.” How could I have considered an alternative given the designer blinders I unconsciously sported night and day? At least contacts have to be purified now and then.

And then some time ago on a glorious spring day, before becoming a lifemindbodyspirit coach, I glimpsed the possibilities about how I might live my life, the difference between what I “know”, and what I know “for sure”. (Thank you Oprah.) As I learned specific skills, challenged certain patterns of thought, and allowed new concepts to take root, I discovered a clearer pathway to my soul. And now every time I begin to work with a new client, I hold specific hopes for them:

1. That the client is already whole.

2. That the client is willing to expand awareness, connect to spirit, create thoughts that serve, and take action.

3. That the client knows she/he can Choose from this moment to the next.

4. That the client dares to live from strength and compassion.

When I consider why these are the thoughts that rise to the top when I’m entering a new coaching conversation, I realize it’s because:

1. I am whole.

2. I have experienced the joy of becoming aware, actually more than once, as

human beings may slip up and get back on the horse.

3. I choose and create my life from moment to moment.

4. I have learned firsthand that we are stronger than we ever dreamed.

I have great compassion for this, our “Human Comedy”. In my experience the words pain-free and existence don’t travel well together. We do, however, make it through life’s many challenges, whether gracefully or not. And that is a great win!

Neither abrupt change nor “smooth” transition is easy. We can train for a new job with utmost attention to detail, yet until we step into it and assume the responsibility for getting it done, we haven’t truly begun.

So I am embarking on a new voyage (where’s the Dramamine?), playing in a bigger way, sharing my thoughts with the hope you’ll offer yours, or simply return for more.

Oh, and you guys out there who have that Mercedes-Benz, what are you thankful for?

Wishing everyone a glorious holiday. And keep those choices coming!