Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Self-care In Order To Be Self-less

Do you constantly find yourself with very little time for taking care of yourself?  Do you always put others ahead of yourself?  When was the last time  you took time for yourself?

If you find yourself grasping for an answer to the final question, you are not alone.  Many of us do our absolute best to be self-less and generous with our time and resources.  We strive to make the lives of those we love easier and smoother.  We try to anticipate their needs and provide whatever we possibly can to enhance the quality of their lives.  Our desire is to do everything we possibly can to provide for those we love, or for those we see are in need of help.

In doing so, we very often leave ourselves dragging behind.  We tend to use all of our available resources and energy on the act of providing and helping.  When we reach the end of the day there is simply not much energy, time or resources to fulfill our needs, or to even stop and recognize what those needs might be.

There is an old saying that you cannot give from an empty well.  Oftentimes it take a crisis of some sort to wake us up to the necessity of self-care.  Sometimes it is a health scare.  Sometimes it is a loved one calling you out on your self-neglect.  Whatever the trigger is for us to recognize the need to be a bit more selfish with our own care, it is still not easy to act on.  We are habitual providers, having forgotten that we should be the recipient of that glorious giving as well.  If we go too long neglecting our self-care needs we will not have enough resources or stamina to provide for those we love and care about. 

Self-care does not have to be expensive, or resource intensive, but it has to occur.  Some simple ways to start a self-care practice are to carve out some time for yourself each day.  It does not have to be a lot of time.  It could be 10 minutes a day to start.  That time is yours to do whatever makes you feel alive and healthy.  You might take that time to write in a gratitude journal.  You might sit on the bathroom mat with a face-mask on.  A steaming cup of tea might be your joy during that time.  You see, the thing you do for yourself in that "you time" is meant to be particular to what brings you joy.  Everyone will do something different with their time and that is why it is special. 

That short "you time" is just a start....you can grow your self-care practice from there.  Adding in a walk outside on sunny days (or in the rain if you like) or reading scripture or prayer.  Simple daily routines are what will fill up your well.  The consistency is the key to self-care that becomes non-negotiable and does not feel like an extravagant splurge.  Yes, those are good too, but their joy is temporary.  We want to stay healthy, joyful and strong enough to care for others.  So please consider investing time in yourself, being compassionate with your needs and not feeling selfish, but self-cared for.



Sunday, November 5, 2017

Slumbering Dreams

How do I heal the ache inside of me?  How do I transform the black hole of emptiness where love and dreams used to co-exist into a fully functioning and healthy heart again?  Is that hole where my passions and dreams used to exist?  Or is it where I used to hold onto the love I received, storing it with my dreams for darker days? So that I could tap into that reserve whenever I might feel lonely or lost.  I want so badly to believe it is just a temporary situation and that my dreams and desires are simply being held so tightly, protected from any current reality, that they will emerge like carbon under pressure to shine brilliantly and show a quality of resilience unlike any other dreams before them. 

My dreams cannot be dead.  They must be just in a deep slumber, waiting to be awakened.  Once awakened, they will shine brightly and be a beacon for others in search of rekindling their own dreams.  You see, dreams don’t really die; they just go unnourished, unable to survive without care and intentional nurturing.  For you must love your dreams as you do yourself, as they were born of you, spawn of your deepest desires.

As our dreams are slowly being prodded awake from their long hibernation, we need to ask if they still resemble our dreams of long ago, or have they aged and matured while we ignored them and let them lay fallow?  With fresh, but tired, eyes we look at these dusty dreams to try them on once again.  Do they still fit, or have years of neglect made them saggy and shape-less?  Are they too small for us now?  Have we matured into a more awakened state only to realize that our dreams were constricting or were dependent upon someone else?  If we are truly to be happy we need to scour those dreams in search of any kernels of a vision that still resonate in our hearts today.  We need to morph those dreams into ones that are pertinent to whom we are now.  We need to infuse them with the wisdom from our many life experiences.  We need to extract out the parts that don’t align anymore and smooth out the rough edges so that we can not only see our dreams clearly, but that we may feel our way to them without the pain of sharp fragments left by components ripped out.  We must facilitate our dreams compassionately.

Show them love and light so that they may benefit others.

Much Metta to All Dreamers,



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Love Letter to the Newly Awakened

 Dear Loving Ones,

This is for the ones walking through their days with broken hearts, those who have found themselves carrying deep sadness, anger, malaise, or just general disbelief and shock.  Whether that heartbreak has been caused by loss of a loved one, a fractured relationship or from the plethora of current events plaguing our world, it is heartbreak nonetheless and it is real.  Your heart may ache with an ever-present nagging of discomfort or even with distinct pain.  Neither should be discounted as insignificant.  This heartbreak is an opportunity for going inward and assessing what is needed to move ahead to enable a life of peaceful moments.

Experiencing heartbreak is like being newly awakened.  It tears away the shroud of safety that we have become so adept at placing around ourselves.  It awakens us to the comings and goings of the universe around us.  It enables us to remember how important it is to love others, as well as care for ourselves.  It’s as if we begin to notice others who are feeling the same way, and are more open to connecting with them in a quest to mend ourselves, as well as heal society around us.  As I hear news almost every day about loss of life due to violence and hatred, it is often very tempting to allow myself to sink back into the hole of heartache.  But allowing myself to disappear into that abyss of pain only discourages my love from being shared with others. 

If you find yourself angry, sad, frightened, disillusioned or grieving, you are one of the newly awakened. 

We all have a light to shine and my wish for all the newly awakened is that we can feel our way past our heartbreak and use it as a way to connect and spread peace. 

Much Love and Metta,


Monday, October 23, 2017

I have missed you all....

My words.

Try as I might, I am unable to sit still long enough to let the words pour out of my fingertips into text.  The words, and the thoughts that cause them to rise up, are coming fast and furious...too fast for my fingers to respond. Yet when I try to slow them enough to allow them to flow into a state of visibility, they seem illusive and hesitant. 

I wonder aloud if they are just too sensitive, or shy, to be written, as if they perhaps don’t want to be captured and memorialized.  But then I suppose that could not be the case, since they return often and flow so easily in dialogue.  The words are comfortably there in conversations with my spouse and with my good friends.  They are honest and heartfelt.  They are intended for truth telling and soul-healing for both others and myself.

Then I realize that my thoughts, and ensuing words, are really just being selectively introverted and only coming out in the presence of people they know and trust.  They present themselves in dialogue even with people who have caused pain.  It seems that my words have no problem at all sitting with others, but are skeptical of the safety of full disclosure to those that they might not know.  Once written, the words lose sight of the audience, forever having lost control of the message. 

I remind them that once released in dialogue, they have been discovered and pulled from hiding already.  Therefore I will write.

Namaste' - Michelle

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 watching...so 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.


Self-care In Order To Be Self-less

Do you constantly find yourself with very little time for taking care of yourself?  Do you always put others ahead of yourself?  When was th...