September 14, 2019

Holding Our Pain



On my long arduous commutes as of late through Boston traffic, I started listening to books on tape. This has been a wonderful distraction away from all the cement and cars, as I try my best to avoid being hit by another car or hitting one.

One of the books I have listened to is LOVE WARRIOR. Had I not been on the road, I think I most likely would have chucked the book to the side, as it initially felt way too light & fluffy for me. I knew that it was a best seller however and that I should give it a little more time, so I patiently waited for it to reach the depths that I was looking for and I am so glad that I hung on for its gems.

I love what author Glennon Doyle shares about what she terms the "hot loneliness" of our pain. The loneliness that everyone experiences in pain, and when we do, we hit the "easy buttons" (food, booze, drugs, shopping, porn...) to keep ourselves from feeling pain, which keeps us from moving through it and beyond it.

Hot loneliness, the feeling of sitting with our emotions and not shoving them down or away.

Not only do we try to rescue ourselves from our hot loneliness, we try to rescue our kids and other loved ones from theirs as well. The lesson here is to allow them to be with their pain and then they can move through it, instead of hitting the "easy buttons" and allowing the pain to fester.

As Glennon explains, we would be much better friends if we weren't so afraid of our pain.

For me, I've known this to be true in my own life. I've known I have to pass through the darkness to get to the light, but Love Warrior put it in a new, very helpful context for me:

Hold it. Get intimate with it. Let it be okay. Don't fear it and push it away.

And in doing this, we find our strength.

It's beautiful actually.

First our pain,
then our rising.
๐Ÿ’—

August 29, 2019

Our Gut is Always Right



Lordy what a month it's been.

My YOUNGEST, who has ulcerative colitus  (a GUT, irritable bowel disease) had to be hospitalized for almost a week for a very severe flare. She is on the mend again thankfully but it was the scariest thing I have ever gone through. A topper on what continues to be a challenging stretch in my life.

I continue to practice gratitude as much as I can remember to pause and do.

In my coach training certification they emphasize over and over again how important it is to listen to our intuition.

Thank goodness for this compass in our lives.

Sending love out to you ๐Ÿ’—

Louise



July 31, 2019

That Was Easy

In coaching school one of my teachers told us about Staple's "That Was Easy" button. I love this saying so much that I have saved it as a reminder on my phone, to remind myself that when I am procrastinating, that I often waste way more time thinking about do something than it actually takes to do it.

You know, all those things that take us forever to start but usually don't take much time at all to get done and once we do them we're like, WTF? what was all that mental procrastination about?

Like times when we have to make a call or do something that we don't like doing but have to.

Simple things like maybe making a doctor's appointment, as well as harder things, like communicating something that we need to say.

Just thought I pass this along as it's been so helpful ;-)

Louise




July 27, 2019

Live the Questions

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.

Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is, to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.


~Rainer Maria Rilke

June 29, 2019

She Began Running When She was 100





When 103-year-old Julia Hawkins was 100, she stopped competing in the NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES bike races, because she could no longer navigate hills and the bike's gears. So she switched to running the 50 and 100 meter sprints instead!

She has 3 world records in running.

Now here is a woman with a great, inspirational mindset.

I love her model:

Instead of giving up, she took on something new that works for her.

It's never too late to start.

I love how she says that she gave up her nap to run the race. ๐Ÿงก

I also love how she is an avid gardener and wears a fresh flower in her hair when she competes.

This week, the New York Times interviewed Julia. One of the lovely things she shared is to "LOOK FOR MAGIC MOMENTS."

Below, if you have time, is another wonderful clip of Julia talking about her life, as a centenarian, who is interested in so many different things.

Julia, I want to be your friend,
Louise ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

June 26, 2019

The Garden

I am mid-way though a year long certification with COACH TRAINING INSTITUTE to be a health & wellness coach. I am loving the program, all the learning & relearning and the great people I have met. I don't want it to end. I love how coaching is really about getting down underneath and processing deeper emotions. The feelings that frequently leave us stuck and keep us from having a more alive and fulfilling life.

Prior to starting school, throughout the craziness of the past few years, I received a lot of advice of course, but one piece in particular rang especially true for me.

It was:

"Don't eat off someone else's plate. For instance, don't pick up someone else's knitting project and start knitting, as if their project is your own." 

So good.

So I was especially delighted when my sister forwarded me a post written by Betsy Burris, who is a coach for teachers and has a coaching practice, called TEACHING THROUGH EMOTIONS. I connected with her search for deeper emotions in her practice, as well as how her piece below, titled The Garden, resonates with the concept of not eating off someone else's plate.

I dig her analogy about people being gardens! 

Kind of like, don't poke around in my garden or start knitting on my knitting project and I won't do it to you.

I bring you Betsy:


"OK this is going to seem really simplistic, but many teachers I’ve worked with have found it helpful. 

Here goes: 

When I think of people, when I think of individuals, I think of gardens. I think of each of us as standing in the center of a circle- a garden wall- filled with flowerbeds.

The garden wall is a boundary, a personal boundary, a membrane that defines where we end and others begin.

The garden is ourselves: our needs, our safety, our identities, our happiness, our interests, our power, our reality. 

We cultivate our own gardens. We choose what flowers we plant and where and when we plant them. Ideally, we make our gardens beautiful and safe for ourselves. We range freely in our gardens and value them. 

And we decide if and when anybody else gets to come into our gardens. We build up our gardens walls, lower them, open the garden gate, close the garden gate. We invite people in when we want to and, when we don’t want them in our gardens, we have the right to tell them to get out. Ideally.

I told you it would be simplistic!

But the metaphor is also really useful.

Because, if my garden is my reality and your garden is your reality, then I don’t get to trash your gardenI don’t even get to enter your garden without your permission. I get to talk to you over our garden walls about our gardens, try to understand why you planted deadly nightshade right next to your garden gate, admire your hollyhocks, think about planting some of my own.

I get to wonder about your garden, your reality, from the safety of my own garden, my own reality.

I don’t have to take on your problems or energy or emotions. I don’t have to convince you to make your garden look like mine. I might think your garden desperately needs tending, but when I remind myself that it is yours, I’m clear that the weeds in your garden are not my responsibility. I might wonder about them; I might express concern about them; I might itch to pull them; but I don’t need to fight you about them. They’re yours.

Conflict happens, I believe, when I charge into your garden and start planting or fixing or weeding or judging or-UGH-defining your garden for you. Or when you do this to me. Engagement happens when I can be curious about you and your garden without co-opting or colonizing it. And, importantly,

when I am confident that I can prevent you from co-opting or colonizing my garden.

I’m here in my garden. You’re there in yours. Let’s be clear about that."


With love from my garden to yours,
Louise

May 30, 2019

Driving an Hour to Return a Ballpoint Pen

ROBYN'S MOM
About this time last year, my mom was in the last week of her life. 

Tucked into those days, were some of the sweetest moments I ever had with her. The time had come to help lead her to the other side. I sang with her & to her, stroked her hands & forehead and fed her the vanilla ice cream, that she had requested in her final days, many years before.

 I miss her so dearly.

A few days ago I saw the post (below) on my friend Robyn Ivy's Instagram about her mom. Robyn and I are what I call soul friends. We haven't seen each other in ages but her wonderful posts and photos always resonate with me. She is a fabulous photographer and coach, who has photographed me twice. Once for THE REVELATION PROJECT and another time for the marketing of a food product that I was trying to launch that failed miserably. Both times I felt instantly comfortable in Robyn's presence as she snapped away behind the lens. She is creative, spirited, very talented and knows how to connect, on a deep level, immediately with people. More on Robyn HERE.

Robyn's post about her mom:

"Happy happy birthday to my beautiful mama who is 82 today! Does she not look amazing? My mom is the OG on how to age impeccably. She’s also in perfect health, quick as a whip and whooping the competition at mah-jongg. The first to help anyone she meets; she would quite literally give you the shirt off her back… and you’d quickly be horrified… Honest to a fault-one summer she drove over an hour in insane downtown Newport traffic to return a ball point pen to a shop she’d purchased something just before and had accidentally walked away with. A true Vermonter, she can bake a pie like few others, is more capable than anyone I know and knows how to get a stain out of ANYTHING. She rose up through the ranks as a leader in nursing in a male-dominated system and paved a path for many women to follow. She spoke her mind when it was unpopular to do so. She also raised me to be a strong, independent, smart, kind and generous woman. She let me try and fail and never said no to any of my wild ideas... like going to Africa alone at 20 to work with baby chimpanzees… or jump off the high dive at 2 years and swim to the side. She taught me to say yes to things, that things will always work out, never abandon your faith and always be kind to people. I’m so grateful for all you’ve done, taught and role modeled mom. Love you dearly!Happy, happy birthday!"๐Ÿ’œ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿ’œ 

I hope y'all have a lovely weekend!
Louise


May 18, 2019

Belonging to Yourself




If you haven't yet watched Brene Brown's special, The Call To Courage, on Netlfix it's a good one. Above she speaks recently about the show and the courage to be vulnerable. She's very insightful (and helpful). Vulnerability she explains = uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It is a learned practice of being in discomfort.

I also discovered this conversation with her on how to emerge stronger after a setback
https://m.soundcloud.com/washington-post/test
xo

April 30, 2019

Soothing Joint Pain

For over a year now I've consistently been doing a floor routine 3 days a week that takes me only about 12 minutes. It has really helped my whole body feel better (and stronger) and I don't have any joint pain. The other thing that I think is really helping me is laying way off the sugar, which causes inflammation (which causes joint pain). I saw this video from the Omega Institute (one of my favorite places on earth )that might be helpful to those of you experiencing joint pain. xo, L

April 27, 2019

T.A.O.S.


How many times do we need to cry but hold the tears inside ourselves instead?

Maybe we don't want to appear weak or too emotional

or perhaps, 

we fear breaking the dam of emotions that reside within us, because if we do open the dam, they may never end and overtake our lives, like a tsunami.

Or

if we cry,

it is truly acknowledging that something is really hard or isn't right.



But it's normal for feelings to be hard and to struggle.

When we settle into challenging feelings being okay and good to have,

we're more able to see the light, and the lessons and move on to a more peaceful place.

This I've learned.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

One of things about my mom's upbringing was that her mom was bi-polar and because of this, the emotional climate in my mom's childhood was a hard thing for her to navigate. 

Who would my mom come home to after school? 

Her exuberant mom?

or her mom who could easily get overwhelmed with emotion and be in bed for days? 

Later in life, in protection of these childhood memories, my mom learned to sweep hard emotions under the rug and carry on stoically. It's not that she never cried, because she certainly did, but she was more apt to hold tears in and carry on like a trooper.

This childhood coping skill became her emotional protector in life, when raw, uncomfortable feelings and situations surfaced.

Because of my mom's childhood, she unknowingly taught me to suppress my own tears when I was young. I learned from her that a few tears were okay, but I also learned, to buck-up and carry on.  

Which in many ways, may have served me well the past few years, as I NAVIGATED THE ASYLUM. Sometime I felt that if I had cracked the hard shell protecting my heart and let the tears out more than I did, the tsunami might have drowned me, with its force.

But what I am learning now, as I make my way further, is that tears are our strength. Letting hard emotions out, helps us to process and heal. They allow us to be vulnerable and emotionally connect with others. 

Tears allow us to access our truth, and share it, which can have an intimate domino effect with others.

Kind of like a healing circle.

Let our tears come.

Let them water our souls.

Let them heal us and be our strength.


For further reading on Lines of Beauty

❤️in love, 
Louise


March 31, 2019

Choosing Hope Over Fear

my ode to my mom & dad, the birch tree lovers
"It's easy to get overwhelmed...

to wake up at 3AM questioning every decision you've ever made.

It's easy to feel like your life isn't working or your plans aren't panning out.

That's the fear.

When you feel that make a decision to replace it with hope and trust instead.

Trust yourself and where your life is going.

Trust the chances you're taking.

Always pick hope over fear."


~Awesome wisdom from
Maya Angelou

March 30, 2019

The Tapestry

After an almost 2 year separation, MR. FIX-IT and I have been living under the same roof, having a new look at our 35-year relationship, through the lens of all that we have learned while apart, as well as sometimes together, but most importantly perhaps, through the lens of learning about ADULT ADHD and it's impact on our connection and our disconnection.

I’m looking at our marriage as a complex floor tapestry, which it has always been, but now with new light, shown upon its intricacy.

Much of the tapestry got sucked into a vacuum cleaner and torn while being vacuumed the last two years. 

So we've set about mending it.

Attempting to reweave a torn union, mending it where is needs repair, but also adding in the new stands of colors, that have been missing.

Can we make a masterpiece out of the remnants?

This I know, 

there is a lot of love here

and I’ve survived the torn and tatters, as the HEALING continues.

I've new perspective and understanding, but most importantly, compassion and better communication.

You know how Sully successfully landed that plane on the Hudson River?

Knowing what I do now, can I execute the same with my marriage? Is it possible for it to land better than it ever was? 

These are the questions that I’ve been thinking about it. 

These are the ponderings that when I’m an old lady, 

that I’ll be happy I took the time to explore.

Marriage, like all relationships of course, isn't about landing the perfect triple gainer dive off the high board of life.

It is organically complicated, very WABI- SABI and always a work in progress.

And hopefully with its own sprinkling of soul magic.


๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

February 27, 2019

We Are, What We Think


Photo by Alexandra Seinet on Unsplash
This week's post is a partial re-post from my beloved MARC & ANGEL HACK LIFE (practical tips for productive living)


"I’m going to suggest a simple practice for whenever you feel stress, frustration, worry, and all the other detrimental mindsets that bring drama into your life.

Ready?

Focus, carefully, on what you’re feeling. Don’t numb it with distractions, but instead bring it further into your awareness.

Turn to it, and welcome it. Smile, and give what you feel your full, thoughtful attention.

Notice the feeling in your body. Where is the feeling situated, and what unique qualities does it have?

Notice the tension in your body, and also in your mind, that arises from this feeling.

Try relaxing the tense parts of your body. Then relax the tense parts of your mind. Do so by focusing on your breath: Close your eyes, breathe in and feel it, breathe out and feel it, again and again, until you feel more relaxed.

In this more relaxed state, find some quiet space within yourself. And in this space…

1. Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness within you, that’s present in every moment.

2. Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness of this very moment, that’s always available to you whenever you’re willing to focus on it.

Take a moment and just sit with the inner peace these two simple rediscoveries bring.

This is the practice of letting go of drama—of THINKING BETTER and LIVING BETTER—and simply accepting the moment as it is, and yourself as you are.

You can do this anytime, wherever you are. You can practice focusing on the goodness in others as well. Seeing the goodness in your challenges and relationships and work, and so forth.

You can stop the drama, and rediscover the peace and joy and love that are always close by.

The bottom line is that the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your own mind. Let that sink in for a moment. You aren't responsible for everything that happens to you in life, but you ARE responsible for undoing the dramatic and debilitating thinking patterns these undesirable outcomes create."

Marc & Angel are offering a discount on the recording of their live event a few weeks ago, "Think Better, Live Better". Click HERE for more info

Another thing to note is that Google is discontinuing Google+ in the next few weeks, so if you receive the Lines of Beauty posts through Google+, an alternative option is to sign-up for my posts by email. I PROMISE not to spam you. To sign-up, simply add your email address to the subscription box on the upper right hand side of the blog. Be sure to verify your subscription via the verification email that the blog will send you. Just click confirm when it arrives. 

Thanks & love!
Louise


February 23, 2019

It's About Building Friendship

You don't have to be a swimmer to enjoy this lovely short clip about finding satisfaction, friendship and community as we age, even amongst strangers.

Many more wonderful Green Renaissance films HERE.  I could look at them all day. They are a passionate team of filmmakers on a journey to inspire change. Creating beautiful, meaningful stories, that we so dearly need more of, in these times.

I hope you're all having a nice weekend,
xo Louise

 

January 30, 2019

Every Morning a New Arrival


I had no idea how old Rumi's writings are until now. He died in 1273! This is not a typo :-)

Boy was he ahead of his time. 

It makes sense that The Guest House is the most frequently recited poem in mindfulness retreats and courses.

Here are some great Rumi quotes to get us through this arctic freeze:

  • The wound is the place where the light enters you.
  • Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.
  • Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
  • Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.
  • Love is the bridge between you and everything.


Ahhh, nice huh?
xo

January 20, 2019

Navigating the Asylum

Painting by Patty Bromberg
This past fall while talking with a friend, they paused a minute and observed, "You've been navigating the asylum."

"That's such a perfect description," I said.

I've been wanting to write about it ever since.

But where to begin?

Another friend sent me a link to the New York Times, where people can submit intimate stories. It got me thinking- what would I title my story if I ever sent one in, anonymously?

Perhaps I would title it The Year of the Lie.

I thought of this title because part of navigating the asylum for me was so complex and private that only a handful of very close people knew what I was going through.

For months and months I'd see friends, who I have known for decades, who had no idea what I was navigating in my life (besides my mom who had EXTREME PARANOIA FROM ALZHEIMER'S and two other family members who were very ill). It was a relief to at least let some of the pressure out of bubble that I was living in, by sharing this with them.

During those days, I felt like an impostor.

And for me, it had to be that way, because I needed privacy around myself, while I figured my way through it. Like an emotional obstacle.

Plus, the more people who knew, the more people I felt I needed to keep updated on the situation when they touched based, out of concern.

So many times I'd awake in the middle of the night and think, "What the FUCK has happened to my life?"

My sister said that I was in the BARDO, a Buddhist term for a transitional state between death & rebirth.

I was a woman, alone on a boat out at sea, where a storm had rolled in and I tossed and turned in the churning waves, whilst trying to find my footing & balance.

I had to take my sail down in an effort to survive the storm. I had to go down in the galley and shut the hatch tightly overhead and sit and wait out the harsh winds.

I had to be alone, and sit in the darkness and be patient with all the things the storm churned up and taught me about who I am and what I needed next in my life.

Finally it was time to share MY STORY.

In time I found a direction out of the storm and as the days and months have carried on, the storm has settled. I've poked my head up out of the hatch and come back up on deck. Things are calming in my life and calm is what I crave and where I want to be.

Lately, with new insight and information, I am looking at life through a new lens. Still unsure where it is all going to land, I will say this- that spiritually and energetically- navigating the asylum has been perhaps one, big, great gift.

More to follow in time.

Stay warm, and let's keep loving people and taking care of ourselves,
as sometimes it's the only thing we can do.
xo