September 19, 2020

Remind Me


 Most of us are probably familiar with the Reminders App on an Iphone.


This little app has revolutionized my life. Because of it, gone are the post-it notes on my mirror, doors and car dash board- as well as those scribbled in ink on the back of my hand.


Amen halleluja.

 Maybe this is old news to many of you but in case it isn't read on.

For instance, do you need to remember to get gas? 

Just say to Siri, " Remind me to get gas today (or tomorrow) at 8AM" and she'll set the reminder for you.

It's like we have a little assistant right in our little hands.

We can also have her set daily health reminders such as:

8am- take vitamins
12:00pm- drink plenty of water
10:30pm- get to bed early for optimal health & beauty rest :-)

We can set weekly reminders: 

Thursday at 9am- take out the garbage & recycling.
Saturday at 10am- water the houseplants

We can set monthly reminders:

First of the month- do bills
15th of the month- renew swim pass

We can set annual reminders:

Car inspection
Put snow tires on/take them off.

Yada yada yada...

But here's the best thing-

We can set mental reminders for behavior modification. For instance, when we almost butt heads with someone and want to skip the drama- 

"Take a breath, let it settle, go into self for a minute and then respond (or not)." 


And even better than this, we can set affirmations for ourselves. 

Oh yes, so good...

" I don't take what others are going through personally."

 "Trust the process."

"Remember to always listen to my heart"




Have a good week my lovelies.

We're going to make it through this crazier than crazy time.
πŸ’—




August 28, 2020

Natural Highs


In Covid, many more people have naturally been struggling in one degree or another with depression. It's a crazy ass world we are all walking in. I was telling a friend lately that we all just need to keep walking each other through the mess.

Literally and figuratively.

I believe that most of us are searching for a grounding cord in a very big way.  

The good news is that our bodies are a reservoir of chemical resources that we can tap into at any time to feel better and we sometimes forget about this. We're all natural chemistry sets that don’t cost even a dime.    

However, on the other side of the coin, is that it is often helpful to just allow ourselves to feel blue. Putting our arms around the darkness helps us to move through it, rather than trying to push it away. A mental health day on the couch isn't a bad thing.

Also this week, a short Covid article that helped me to better understand why I like to talk to people, even strangers and people I barely know.:

THE VALUE OF TALKING TO STRANGERS.

Have a good weekend my friends.

πŸ’—

August 22, 2020

Two Threes

 

As we all move along in a new life, evolving with covid, and we traverse the hills and valleys where it takes us, I’m grateful that some of the coping skills that I harnessed in the few hard years prior to the pandemic, continue to nurture me. 

The virus won’t last forever but it’s not going to go away until everyone starts taking it seriously. 

Someday, it will be in our rear view mirror and I’m very curious what we will all then see in front of us. 

Given the current political situation, there are so many rabbit holes I could go into discussing right now, but this post is intended to be a relief from our fucked-up crazy political climate. The most positive thing I can say about politics is that hopefully we are on the brink of a great awakening. I pray.

It might take another four years with this Bozo but hopefully that’s not where we’re headed. This is my vibration, my prayer, my hope.

Which brings me to the first set of three things, that help me navigate difficult times-

My 3 coping skills:

1.) BE HERE NOW, there is no present like the present. When I begin to worry about the future or rehash some of the past, it can quickly throw me off kilter. One of the beauties of covid is that, almost like osmosis, it has taught us to live more beautifully in the present.

2.) Every day I try my best to take care of myself with yoga, swimming or running, eating well, journaling, getting enough sleep, talking with loved ones and taking time for the things that I love to do.

3.) Each day I ask myself "What needs to be done today?" and as best as I can, I set about doing it. I also continue to do and search for what I love, for what lights me up and brings me joy.

My 3 coping items:

(If I have these with me wherever I go, I am pretty content)

1.) My running shoes and speedo/goggles for swimming laps or open water.

2.) A good book that allows me to fall into someone else's story and have a diversion away from the world.

3.) My knitting  


Maybe you have a similar list?


Also this week, a quote from ADHD specialist Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Happiness = Love + Connection + Play

Yay! So grab someone and go out and have some fun!


I was texting with an old friend today and she shared:

"It's an odd time we're in but we really do just have to take it one day at a time and make each day as happy, peaceful and as fulfilling as we can."

Truly.

Sending my love out to all of you, 
Louise

July 31, 2020

The Beauty of Aging




I lost a friend this week, who was one of Lines of Beauty's first Beauties of the Week. KAMALA, thank you for your light and inspiration, especially right now as I allow my hair to transition to gray. It took me almost 10 years but I am finally following in your footsteps. I wish so much I could tell you this now.

I think you'd also love to see these other BEAUTIFUL FACES.

Sending love to you on the other side, my dear Kamala. May your soul rest in peace. πŸ’”


July 27, 2020

The List of Honesty


I've been feeling a little out of sorts lately with not enough down time or time to be creative. Feeling like I am on a bit of a treadmill and putting out too many little fires, even in Covid.

I imagine you might know what I mean.

So I stopped myself last night and pondered what I'm yearning for besides more downtime and creativity and it prompted me to make a list that I have never made before or have even thought to make.

A list I was kind of afraid to make it turns out.

The list of honesty.

I thought I could make a list of things that make me happy. Like dancing, going to the beach, holding babies, human connection, touch, reading a good book...knitting...chocolate...swimming. Blah blah blah. That's easy to do. But what I was trying to uncover was a list of experiences that I've had throughout my lifetime that were truly rich and made me feel alive.

And connected.

That had real substance.

Experiences that made me feel like I am in love but don't necessarily have anything to do with another person.

This took some time. It prompted me to slow down and remember moments that have been golden.

Not storybook golden, or anyone else golden, but just me golden.

It turned out that many of the things that showed up on my list were experiences that involved discomfort in terms of doing something that I was afraid to do. Experiences that made me feel vulnerable but I was able to get to the other side of and stretch beyond my comfort zone.

Some of the other things on the list I would put in the "self-help" category. Times when I have stumbled and needed guidance. Sometimes, a boat load of guidance.

Interestingly, some very sad times are also on the list. Like losing my parents, celebrating their lives and cleaning out/selling my childhood home.

The other interesting thing is that only one of the vacations that I have ever taken is on the list.

This was a big ah-ha.

Lines of Beauty is also of course on the list.

So thank you for continuing to stop in and read what is on my sometimes wacko little mind :-)

Louise


June 30, 2020

Comic Elixir



Thank you Agent Orange impersonator, SARAH COOPER, for helping us through this nightmare.

Keep it coming, you're fabulous!

June 25, 2020

There is Light

We can decide to be happy,

make much out of little,

embrace the warmth of our ordinary days.

Life unfolds as a mystery,

an enterprise who’s outcome cannot be foretold.

We do not get what we expect.

We stumble on cracks, are faced with imperfection.

Bonds are tested and tightened.

And our landscapes shift, in the sunshine and in shade.

There is light.

There is.

Look for it.

Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past.

It was light where you went once.

It is light where you are now,

It will be light where you will go again.


~ A favorite quote from Call the Midwife

Aruba 2019


May 30, 2020

Health and Wellness with Louise


The week before covid hit, I passed my oral exams, after a year+ certification process with Coaches Training Institute, to be a health and wellness coach.

I've been working on my coaching website since then and it is finally up and running (almost). I'm still working on a Powerful Quotes page that I thought of to do. With Instagram and Pinterest in our lives especially, there are so many good quotes to choose from it's unbelievable.

CLICK HERE if you would like to see it!


May 09, 2020

The Great Realisation




Happy Mama's Day and love to everyone.

Whether you are a mother to your own, or a mother figure to someone in your life, or even a mama to a beloved animal, we all certainly know the role of being a mother in some way.

I was thinking how since the new world of covid has arrived that many of us are experiencing mothering in new ways. Especially those who are caring for ones that are sick or in need of help or those giving extra love to people on the front-line in the medical world, so that they can get up everyday and do their heroic jobs in an unprecedented way, in this unprecedented time.

A shoutout of gratitude to all the helpers big and small!

 Enjoy the beautiful video above on this day.

Louise ♥️

April 11, 2020

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today.... I started Lines of Beauty.

529 POSTS later, I still get excited about having this online notebook to solidify my thoughts, on not just the process of aging, but more importantly, on life itself.

There have been some stretches however, when going through challenging times, that I have considered ending Lines of Beauty. I am so very grateful though that I didn't.

The blog has oddly become a dear friend to me.

Early on, I was hyper-focused on how many weekly hits the blog was getting but then decided that I needed to simply write, just for myself, and that anyone who happened to land here and found resonance with what I was sharing, was icing on the cake.

Thus for many years now, I rarely ever look at the blog's hits and stats.

However, today I looked back to MY VERY FIRST POST and was shocked to find that it has been viewed 28,094 times.

Holy motha'!

Something about this makes me feel good.

What is it that the shrinks say?
That more than needing to be loved, we just desire to be seen and acknowledged...

So if you are reading this, thank you.


I hope you all are doing okay out there.

For myself, I continue to begin each day, during this time of covid-19, as I have the last three difficult years, with two questions:

How can I take care of myself today?

and

What needs to be done?

Maybe ya'all are doing something similar?

In celebration of Lines of Beauty, I leave you with 10 THINGS FOR KEEPING A SOLID CENTER, as well as a video, which I especially love the humor of, because the only thing my mom ever complained about her aging body was her "crepey neck."

Thank you so much mama for not being a neurotic aging mother...


Happy Covid Easter and Passover 😯

Sending love out to all of you,

Louise


March 31, 2020

Sweet Caroline

Neil Diamond has written a new rendition of Sweet Caroline for Corona-19. I'm digging how artists, new and old, are coming forth to entertain, amidst such a trying time.


March 28, 2020

Six Feet Together

Photo by Caroline J. Fernandes

I've been thinking about writing this post the last few weeks, as my thoughts keep fermenting, as life continues to morph, into the unknown.

For now, I'd like to set aside the devastating health tragedies and sorrows, the crippling financial impact and Mister Agent Orange.

Just for a minute,

in this unprecedented time, as we try and move forward, without any answers or frame of reference for a pandemic.

Suddenly it feels as if the world is shrinking, this virus being the greatest unifier and equalizer ever. We are all in a shake down, living life upside-down, together.

But yet apart.

I love that we are more dependent on each other than we have ever been. As moral support, dropping food off at doorsteps, saving each other from the abyss of boredom. Not to mention the incredible sacrifices those on the front lines in the medical world are coming forth with.

Life is changing every day, asking all of us to do less, give more and live very differently.

Life is asking us to rethink and I find such beauty in this.

A good friend of mine shared, "We always want the situation to change, not realizing we were placed in it, so that we may change."

Truly.

What a disorienting situation this is but there is so much that is being illuminated. So much that we are facing as individuals and as a collective, as we face this global crisis.

To evolve perhaps into a new way of being together?

What if we became curious with this alone time and had no mission other than to experience being? What might we find in the quietness, not just in the night, but now in our days?

What if a true purpose is found in this new space?

I believe this pause is filled with opportunity. Not the opportunity to get the taxes done or finish a book or master something, but the opportunity to get comfortable in our uncomfortableness. The opportunity to be without a path forward, for the first time in our lives.

All over the world people are slowing way down and reflecting.

To perhaps what truly matters.

To love.

I've been lying on my bed and just staring up at the ceiling some mornings. I actually became so still the other morning that I saw one of the lilies in a vase next to my bed, spring open. This I had never seen before, except in time-lapse photography.

So what does it all mean?

I don't know.

All I know is that there is some crazy good things going on in between all the heartache, personal struggles and anxiety.

Good things that we haven't been able to see and live nearly as well, until now.

People singing & playing instruments for each other across alley ways, skies less filled with gas fumes, wildlife benefiting, strangers giving their phone numbers to the elderly, so that they may have someone to call in need and the burst of art and creativity that is exploding everywhere.

All over the world people are looking at their neighbors and the people they pass on the street, in a new way.

In a new light.

Perhaps this is all as it is suppose to be.



Sending love your way,
every day,

 πŸ’—Louise


February 29, 2020

The Second Story

When I first think of the word spiritual and remember adolescence, I think of being at our Presbyterian, church up in the balcony, with my friends and having very inappropriate bouts of laughter. 

I'm reflecting on one Sunday in 9th grade when this bad behavior grew so hard to contain that I had to leave the church and go out into the hallway. Unfortunately my mom was there as I made my way to the restroom. I was red in the face and still trying to control my laughter, when we bumped into each other. 

She responded quite simply that if this was all I was getting out of going to church, that I didn’t need to come anymore.

WHAT??? 

Was she serious? 

She was.

It was shocking to hear her say this but I felt I had been spared one of the most boring things in my life and was very grateful to be released from my Sunday church obligation.

It is clear to me that my spiritual development in adolescence did not happen inside the church, as nurturing as the community of it was.

Instead, I have very vivid memories of sunsets in my parent’s backyard as I looked northwest from the Niagara River where it met Lake Ontario, across from Toronto. 

Big, bold, beautiful sunsets of brilliant oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. Seeing those sunsets was my first experience with the magnificence of nature. When I think of them now, through my mind's eye, I can still feel how my body felt when I experienced their beauty.



I can also still feel my body when I think about sailing in those days, especially with the quiet solitude of my father. My memories of being on the boat with him, sometimes in very choppy waters, as the wind and weather swept and propelled the sailboat forward, were my first glimpses of my body being connected to a rhythm and physicality, outside of my own.

Perhaps the adolescent years were mostly about getting in touch with spirituality through my physical being.

Enter getting stoned on marijuana for the first time in 9th grade...

...and the music and lyrics that we listened to, while getting high and the delicious kissing that ensued. Now there was some yummy, potent, spiritual development.

Also during this time, like two of my brothers before me, I became a competitive swimmer and discovered the capable athlete that I still am.

Perhaps the socialization skills I learned in the first ten years of life, coupled with getting to know my physical being, like I did as an swimmer, prepared me to join together physically with another human being, in the richness of adolescence, a few years later. 

And perhaps all those abundant hormones pumping through us, were part of the magic, that made it all happen.


February 22, 2020

Tiny New Habits



This brief Ted Talk by BJ FOGG, who wrote Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, is very good.

Doing two push-ups after every time we pee? What a novel idea :-)


January 25, 2020

The First Story

1969 with our foreign exchange student from the Netherlands


As Emerson said, we see our life in glimpses and glances. 

I’ve arrived in my childhood home, where it all began, and I’m knowing it for the first time. 

I look around. 

What comes to me when I think of spiritual here? 

It was 1961 when I was born. 

My siblings were ages 14, 12, 9, and 8-years-old when I arrived. For all my childhood, I was a keen observer of the 4 of them and they shed the love upon me, that my parents taught us to share through example. When I think about spiritually in my upbringing, I think about love and light and the interconnectedness of not just human beings but all living things on earth. 
My baptism ( check out my mom's hat)
My parents loved each other deeply and supported their five kids with compassion for where we each were in our lives. They were usually conscious about not making their agenda our agenda, which allowed our spirits to bloom and grow. 

MY DAD WAS AN ATHEIST AND MY MOM WAS A PRESBYTERIAN, but he escorted her to church on Sunday because he thought the sermons were thought-provoking and he liked the community of church, as well as being with her.

There were never any conversations about God in our home as I remember (except when my hippie siblings revolted against going to church and said that there was no such thing as a God) but I know that spirituality lived in them, even though I couldn’t possibly articulate this then.

I always had the feeling that my parents were incredibly grateful for everything that they had and I don’t mean materialistically. I think they understood that health and life could change on a dime and they showed their gratitude for living daily, with a blessing at night before dinner.

They brought other people into the nest of our home frequently and put their wings around visitors as if they were their own.  

There was a feeling in MY CHILDHOOD HOME that I was in the right place and it wasn’t just because I felt very loved. I think it was partly the light coming in the windows, the classical music that was frequently playing, my dad whistling, the aroma of my mom’s good cooking and the affection that was given each night before bedtime. It was a safe and nurturing place to grow up and I felt very grateful for this, once I was old enough to visit other homes and realized that not everyone was as blessed as I was.

When I think of spirituality in my childhood home, I also think of the five senses. My parents were both such sensuous beings. They were tapped into beauty, touch, taste, smell and sound and I believe they were also tapped into the sixth sense of intuition. I don’t think this was ever articulated but they were both keen observers and very deep in their own way, as well as connected to nature profoundly.

This is my first story.



January 19, 2020

Untethered

Mount Washington's tippy-top
For the first time in 36 years years I am truly a free-floater. If anyone had told me 3 years ago that I would be where I am right now and living alone, I would've been scared to death.

Of course I had thought of the possibility myself, but quickly slammed the door on the likelihood of it happening, as if what lived on the other side of the door was the biggest boogie monster of them all.

Me, untethered to anyone other than my dear family & friends.

Dangling in the abyss, without the grounding cord of a long, long marriage. Finding my way through murky waters, a lone traveler, on a densely fog-filled road.

Those were the sort of visions I'd have in the middle of the night early on.

"But fears are just stories we tell ourselves,” I’d say to myself.

"Do what you're afraid to do," I'd say in the darkness of the night.

So many people make their way alone in life, at least for awhile.

Could I be one of them?

Yes.

Because for me there finally came a fork in the road, in the marriage that I was trying to save.

At the fork, there was a new road that I had begun to pave for myself and I finally decided to take it.

Working to save my marriage felt like a bolder that I was trying to push up hill for way too long. So I stepped aside the bolder and allowed it to roll effortlessly past me.

We know a decision is right when every cell in our body applauds us in relief. This is how I felt when I let the bolder go.

The past 3 years gave me time to grow closer to my soul and what I need and don't need to carry on.

My soul is my partner right now, and it feels so right and so good.

And the new road I'm on,

is exactly where I should be. πŸ’—


December 31, 2019

For This New Decade


In July my whole-life coach ELIZABETH ELLIS sent me the above quote. I can't tell you how timely it was for me then and still is for me now.

Another great quote came to me in November, when I had a session with the fabulous astrologer ARIFA BOEHLER. She said something to me that I think we can all relate to and that was so profound that I have set it as a daily reminder in my phone:

I no longer abandon myself for the needs of others.

Here's wishing you all a happier new decade.

With love and peace,
Louise


December 14, 2019

Those Tender Places in Ourselves


mama hands
Felt Sense Prayer

I am the pain in your head, the knot in your stomach, the unspoken grief in your smile.
I am your high blood sugar, your elevated blood pressure, your fear of challenge, your lack of trust.
I am your hot flashes, your cold hands and feet, your agitation and your fatigue.
I am your shortness of breath, your fragile low back, the cramp in your neck, the despair in your sigh.
I am the pressure on your heart, the pain down your arm, your bloated abdomen, your constant hunger.
I am where you hurt, the fear that persists, your sadness of dreams unfulfilled.
I am your symptoms, the causes of your concern, the signs of imbalance, your condition of dis-ease.
 
You tend to disown me, suppress me, ignore me, inflate me, coddle me, condemn me.
I am not coming forth for myself as I am not separate from all that is you.
I come to garner your attention, to enjoin your embrace so I can reveal my secrets.
I have only your best interests at heart as I seek health and wholeness by simply announcing myself.
 
You usually want me to go away immediately, to disappear, to sleek back into obscurity.
You mostly are irritated or frightened and many times shocked by my arrival.
From this stance you medicate in order to eradicate me.
Ignoring me, not exploring me, is your preferred response.
More times than not I am only the most recent notes of a long symphony, the most evident branches of roots that have been challenged for seasons.
 
So I implore you, I am a messenger with good news, as disturbing as I can be at times.
I am wanting to guide you back to those tender places in yourself,
the place where you can hold yourself with compassion and honesty.
If you look beyond my appearance you may find that I am a voice from your soul.
Calling to you from places deep within that seek your conscious alignment.
 
I may ask you to alter your diet, get more sleep, exercise regularly, breathe more consciously.
I might encourage you to see a vaster reality and worry less about the day to day fluctuations of life.
I may ask you to explore the bonds and the wounds of your relationships.
I may remind you to be more generous and expansive or to attend to protecting your heart from insult.
I might have you laugh more, spend more time in nature, eat when you are hungry and less when pained or bored, spend time every day, if only for a few minutes, being still.
 
Wherever I lead you, my hope is that you will realize that success will not be measured by my eradication, but by the shift in the internal landscape from which I emerge.
 
I am your friend, not your enemy.  I have no desire to bring pain and suffering into your life.
I am simply tugging at your sleeve, too long immune to gentle nudges.
I desire for you to allow me to speak to you in a way that enlivens your higher instincts for self-care.
My charge is to energize you to listen to me with the sensitive ear and heart
of a mother attending to her precious baby.
 
You are a being so vast, so complex, with amazing capacities for self-regulation and healing.
Let me be one of the harbingers that lead you to the mysterious core of your being
where insight and wisdom are naturally available when called upon with a sincere heart.

πŸ’—(Unknown)

November 30, 2019

A New Path

I took this photo of my feet in early October, soon after I made the hardest decision of my life.

My wonderful whole-life coach, ELIZABETH ELLIS, told me recently that I have a story to tell.

She is right, I do.

I just haven't yet been able to write it.

This is partly because I have been busy with coaching school etc but also because I am still putting my thoughts together in just how to share it.

In one regard, it is a simple story actually. I could write it in one sentence. I could just say-

After 36 years, I have decided to conclude my marriage.

But saying this makes it feel like it landed like a thud and it was not a thud.

It has been a 3+ year process of letting the rocks tumble and allowing the pebbles to settle, whilst I found my way through to clarity, of what truly resonates for me, in order to make a decision.

It has actually been a celebration of sorts. A huge relief in many ways after years of being in a sometimes torturous quandary. But also a deep sadness of pulling apart my family, at least temporarily, as we all redefine what our family is.

A few days ago, as we gathered for Thanksgiving, I could see that the redefining and the healing has begun. As a mother and as a friend, I am beyond grateful for this, as we all continue to mourn how life has always been.

Recently someone explained to me that when one piece of steel is welded to another piece, the weld is stronger than the steel itself. This may seem a crazy perspective to see a divorce through but maybe there is an analogy here in terms of the new family strength that I think is forthcoming, for all of us.

Or maybe it's just that my dad was a metallurgical engineer and had a metal fabricating company that involved a lot of welding, that something rang true in this for me, from him.

But I also feel sure in my heart now that many things are meant to fall apart and that this new bumpy road that we are all on is a better path than the bumpier one we've been on.

I've known for awhile that I would be the one that would need to steer our family down this new road.

For my children especially, because there is nothing worse than being at the effect of your parent's quandary.

I feel bad that it took me so long to do it for us, but it was important that I turned over the last stone and I needed time in order to do this.  There was no rushing it for me.

Times heals all, it's true.

More pieces of this story to come I imagine, when the moment feels right.

Until then,
in love & light,

Louise

November 28, 2019

October 29, 2019

What is in Our Way?



As I train to be a health & wellness coach and working with clients now, I am really seeing how people's saboteurs get in the way of what they want in their life and finding what truly resonates for themselves.

There are all sorts of saboteurs. Many people have a perfectionist saboteur that keeps them from taking risks and trying new things, because of their huge fear of failure.

The book POSITIVE INTELLIGENCE (I love this term) talks quite a bit about the saboteur. Below, author Shirzad Charmine, shares what he knows about them.

Positive Intelligence (PQ, as opposed to IQ and EQ) measures the percentage of time your mind is serving you, as opposed to sabotaging you.

If you'd like to take the free test to see what your saboteurs are, CLICK HERE.



October 24, 2019

The Truth


I'm crazy busy right now, finding my way through a multitude of things but I will say this- I'm feeling so much better.

It is so very true that the body never lies. I learned this in spades this year and I am beyond grateful for this lesson. πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—