Monday, May 14, 2012

Observations of a 9 Year Old...

Just when I think I am alone in my ramblings, my 9 year old daughter decides to hand me a note that she believes would be helpful during a crazy day.  Once I read it, I felt it was appropriate to share here, as she seems to have captured a 9 year old's perspective on my last blog entry.  With her permission, I am sharing it with you all.  I hope you enjoy and are as touched by it as I am.

"Sometimes life can be hard.  But sometimes it can be easy.  Life is the weight of a feather, but when everyone is depending on you, life feels like a thousand elephants stomping on you at one time.  But you can make life easy.  Do the right thing.  Make a change in who you are.  It doesn't matter who you are, or where you live, time goes by.  So make a change in yourself now." - L. Hartel (age 9)

I sincerely do not think that I can add much to her sentiment, except to say that this is definitely an eye-opener for those of us who might think that our inability to take that step towards change does not impact anybody other than ourselves.  The world is be inspired and inspiring.


Michelle H.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Taking that step...

It seems that everybody I have talked to recently has been on the verge of taking a step.  Either a step towards something (balance, love, career, etc.) or a step away from something (illness, poor relationship, debt, etc.).  In either direction, towards or away, the first step presents itself as very challenging; sometimes appearing impossible. 

The thing that I find most amazing is that everyone seems to know the first step that they need to take, however we find ourselves almost paralyzed at the thought of stepping.  I believe that is because our inherent nature is to be cautious when entering "the unknown".  Will this relationship be right for me?  What if my partner turns out to be someone I don't recognize as the person I am falling in love with?  What if I don't turn out to be who I thought I was?  What will happen when I pick up the phone and call an attorney who is trying to collect a debt?  Will I agree to a payment plan I cannot afford out of guilt and fear?

These questions are ones that we all ask ourselves (or ones like it depending on the situation), either conciously or subconciously.  It is always more comfortable to stay with the known entity of what we are attempting to change.  "Debt is scary and threatening, but it is MY debt and at least I know it."  "I love this person and I know they love me too, even though we fight all the time."  "Am I going to be OK?" 

This comfort in the "known" manifests itself in fear of movement.  Not necessarily physical movement, although that happens too; but fear of energetic movement.  Once you take that first step, you engage the energies of the universe in a delicate dance of accepting the opportunities that it offers to you.  Once you engage in the prospect of something new, such as going to a gym or saying no to the 40th request to volunteer that crosses your desk, you are setting the stage for yourself to keep moving in a direction.  You open the door for more opportunities that align with where you are headed.

The trick is to keep your eyes open to those opportunities and realize that sometimes they show themselves in very sleek disguises.  When the steps forward seem too hard, there is usually a great opportunity lurking beneath the fear.  Don't pass them up.  Be solid and remember, we all get stuck somewhere along the way.  The best news of all is that we are not alone on our journey.  As you are busy looking back at the things you are afraid to let go of, turn your head around and see that there is someone there, just a step or two ahead of you, who is on the same journey.  Reach out to them and partner with them on your quest.  There are amazingly gifted souls who are hovering in your life, unbeknown to you, that are willing to help.  All you have to do is ask.  You never know...they might need to help someone in order to fulfill their own quest's desires.

So be brave.  Reach out for, and accept, help.  Most of all enjoy the journey.  It is the most enlightening part of the process.


Michelle H.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There are no accidents....

Each day I marvel at the people that I am in contact with and the situations that might have brought us together. Each interaction is like an introduction to a new friend.  Even so-called "old" friends are met with a fresh perspective at each interaction. As we progress through our lives, our days, and our moments, we are all growing and changing.  Even if that change is subtle, we are changing.

Each moment brings with it a new awareness of our own ability to make decisions and take actions.  Those decisions are based upon cumulative experiences and intuition.  So, if every moment allows us to grow, then the next time we see a good friend, we are a slightly different person.  Perhaps a bit more refined in our thinking.  Perhaps a bit more cynical.  Either way, to an observant friend, we are someone slightly new to meet.

Likewise, we gain a new insight with each interaction we have.  That insight might be a lesson that we keep getting presented with, or it might simply be an example of a purely joyful moment.  Either way, I believe that there are no accidental encounters or relationships. Even relationships that end poorly (i.e. divorce or broken friendships) are part of our lives for a reason. These types of relationships help us to better trust and love ourselves at some point.  Once we go through the suffering phase of the relationship and enter into the healing phase, we are apt to recognize our own strengths and abilities.  We can then take those lessons and apply them to current, and future, relationships to avoid a recurrence of the poorly experienced one.

It goes without saying that our joyful relationships provide us with much learning as well.  These types of encounters are ones we seek to replicate with others.

Our challenge, as maturing  individuals, is to remain open to the possibility that each interaction we have during the day has a purpose for us; that is contains a "teachable" moment that is critical to our growth at that moment.  It is by holding this challenge in your heart that you will be able to endure less-than-pleasant people and carry the joy from the better interactions.  There are no accidents.  We are meant to learn from each experience, and be there for others to learn from.  So be alert, grateful and enjoy the journey.


Michelle H.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Too much chasing...

The other day I was in the garden and I saw a very cute little toad.  You know the kind that shows up in front of you when you are about to take a step, and stares at you.  Well, I thought it would be fun to pick up the toad and stare back at him a bit.  After much chasing and direction changing, I finally caught him.  I scooped him up gently in my hands and stared at him.  His response to that was to promptly pee all over my hand! Obviously not what I had hoped would happen once I had achieved my goal of catching him. (Having done this many times in the past as a child, I should have remembered that this would be the eventual outcome.)

This caused me to think about how often in life we chase things.  Dreams of careers, relationships, and other things that we think are going to make us happy, or turn out a certain way.  It is the "if only" syndrome.  If only I could meet that guy, life will be better.  If only I could get a promotion, life will be better.  This "if only" game goes on for quite some time, until we realize that the end result is not always as we had envisioned it.  The promotion comes with more work and time away from the family.  The great guy might come with huge emotional baggage.

The other issue with all this chasing of  "if only" dreams, is that while we are so busy chasing, we look past the blessings that are right here in our lives; those that are already present for us.  When we slow down and stop chasing for a while, we are able to see more clearly the path that we are already on.  We are more able to accept the facts of our lives at this very moment, knowing that they will change as things move along. They are going to do that on their own and we do not have to chase them in order to accomplish movement.

Not all chasing results in negative consequences, but by chasing, we miss the benefits of truly experiencing the journey along the way.  Keeping your eye on the prize is okay, but we need to not have tunnel vision in order to truly appreciate the value of the end goal once reached.  So instead of chasing a dream, take a journey to it and recognize each step of the way as the blessing that it is. Happy travelling.


Michelle H.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You are worth it...

Many time I hear people ask "when will such-and-such happen for me?"  "I have waited for so long."  Well, I am a firm believer that whatever you need in life will make itself known as you need it, and when you are ready for it.  The key is to recognize that it is there.  This recognition is quite impossible if we are not true to ourselves to begin with.  If we don't make decisions that are in our heart's best interest, we will cloud our vision with relationship issues, jealousy-induced wants, etc.

When we decide to free ourselves from the emotional burdens that we decide to carry around with us, we create a giant space for life to jump right into.  All the things that present themselves to us, that we were too preoccupied to notice, finally have a space to come to light.  My wish for you all, on this fine day, is that you have the bravery, and resolve, to make the tough decisions to shed some of your emotional burdens and make room for great blessings.  These blessings might come in the form of a new relationship or friendship.  They might be a better job, or better health.  They might even present as newly found time to be alone to get to know yourself once again.  Who better to fall deeply in love with than your inner-self?  After that anything goes!

Remember that the rest of the world sees how you respect yourself, through your actions and decisions.  The world will mirror that level of respect.  So be thoughtful in your personal soulful care.  Life is grand and it is headed your way.


Michelle H.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Humility. Yes, it is all it is cracked up to be.

Ever have a day that does not go as you had hoped it would?  A day where you found yourself snapping at someone who just happened to be in your "emotional" way at the time, and had nothing to do with your mood, but got the brunt of it anyway?  Well, that was my day today.

After stepping back from the situation and being frustrated with myself for my uncalled outburst, I realized that an apology was in order.  Not any old type of apology, but a "face-to-face" (or in this case "voice-to-voice" over the phone) explanation.  So with great humbleness, I reached out to the offended party and asked for some time with her.  She was gracious enough to provide me an audience and I proceeded to apologize (not grovel) and explain that she had in no way been the target of my frustration today.  As I spoke to this person, I felt a huge cloud lift off of me and heard the other party say that she had been in a very bad mood as well and our timing could not have been worse, or in our case more perfect.  Perfect for creating a situation that would cause us both to exercise great humility in letting our guards down and just being human with each other.  It was quite refreshing; after we got past the embarrassment of our prior interaction.

Humility can provide so much in the way of insight.  It allows us to remain in touch with who we really are and helps us to remind others that we are flawed, and it is okay.  Practicing humility is very grounding.  It causes us to act from our core; our core beliefs and values.  People who know me well, would not have recognized my not-so-calm actions today as "normal" for me.  I truly felt blessed to be able to reconnect with my true self and reach out, with humbleness, to rectify the situation.  Truly amazing what we can accomplish when we stay grounded and connected to others.

May all your relationships and interactions be approached with respect and humility.


Michelle H.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Power in Words

Often times we are content to rely on commonly used terms when describing certain actions or feelings in our lives. I have always thought that all words contain a type of power; a power to set certain things in motion.  These things could be emotional reactions, physical choices or deep pensive moments.  The nuances contained in word choices can make all the difference in how we travel through our lives.

One particular piece of advice that I find most troubling for many situations is the use of the word "accept". We are told that to move on from a not-so-nice, or toxic, situation we should "accept" the situation as it is, and determine how to react in the most positive way. The intention is to help a person push beyond the pain, or annoyance, of the situation and to be able continue on in a sort of amicable way.  I think that a more appropriate term to use in this case is "acknowledge".  By accepting something as it is, you give it power.  You are sending a message that the behavior is "acceptable"; that it is okay for someone to be treating you like they are.  Instead, if you acknowledge the behavior, you are not sending a message that you condone it, but rather that you recognize it for what it is.  Only then have you claimed the power over the situation and can determine what your reactions should be to it.  I realize this is a subtle difference, but a very powerful one that has helped me over the years to not get stymied by a bad relationship, or put myself in a situation of reacting in a way that was not in my best emotional interest.  This conscious choice of using "acknowledge" versus "accept" has given me the power to be in control of my feelings and actions.

The other benefit of making this choice is that minimal energy is wasted trying to fully understand, or change, another person.  It helps to maintain the focus on  your own actions.  It is, of course, very important to think of others when reacting to situations.  I am not suggesting that reactions should be determined without thought for others.  I am simply stating that to change a situation for the better, it is important to "acknowledge" and not necessarily "accept"; thereby changing the power dynamic of the situation.

I encourage you to take a look at how different words make you feel as you go about your day.  It may not be this particular word choice scenario that resonates with you.  It might be something like peace versus harmony, or angst versus stress.  Words are very powerful and a wonderful tool for reshaping your perspective at a given moment.  Try on some new words and enjoy!


Michelle H.