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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Take Time to Refresh

This is often the most ignored advice anyone ever receives; including myself.  Yet we all know it to be true that if we take some time to relax and recharge ourselves, then our ability to live fully is much easier.  How can it be possible to be alert enough to notice the little things and to accomplish the larger things when we are on the verge of illness, or fighting back sleepiness during the day.

I recently read an article about the value of personal retreats.  It made me wonder who the folks are that are able to "check out" of their lives for a year at a time, or even longer.  The authors described retreats that they had participated in, some lasting as long as six years!  After these retreats they said that they felt refreshed, open and ready for re-entry into their lives.

The more I thought about these retreats, the more I started thinking that the participants had not really "checked out" of their lives, but rather had simply taken some time to experience their lives.  This was done by focusing solely on the moments occurring during the simple days of their retreat.  Now, if you are like me, you cannot afford to stop everything that you have going on in your life in order to take this much needed time for yourself.  However, I am fairly certain that we all could find an hour or two in our busy lives for a moment of recharging.  Our personal retreat could be getting a massage, taking a drive, or simply sitting quietly on a park bench.

The word "retreat" implies that we are backing off from something.  I actually think that a better word to use is  "refresh".  Refresh describes a period of creation, renewal and viability.

What better way to truly be alive now, than to take time out to focus on the present.  Beauty abounds in every moment and stopping for a brief time will recharge your energy in order to return to the more hectic events of life.  If you can afford to take the time for a longer refreshment period, I would certainly advocate that as well.  A longer time spent focusing on the present moment will only deepen your connection to your life.  So sit back, breathe and think about the last time you actually stopped for refreshment.  Now plan for your next refreshment break.  It is good for your immune system, your relationships and your soul.

Be creative, enjoy and remember, no time is too short for renewal.


Michelle H.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Now presenting....

Do you ever sit back and think that "someday I will ...."?  "That if the signs just showed up I would...."?  If you are anything like me, then you certainly have.  Well, I am here to tell you that the signs are all around us, all of the time.  The issue is that we don't slow down enough to see them for what they are.  The universe (or whatever guiding light that you choose to follow) presents invitations and signs to us all the time.  Sometimes they might seem like burdens; such as the child with a concussion who has been home for 6 weeks from school already. Or sometimes they might seem like trivial breaks in a dreary day; such as getting a cupcake from the Cupcake Truck.  If we were truly receptive to the signs that were being presented to us, we would see the home bound child as an opportunity to spend time with a small loved one who will grow up too quickly and then be unavailable for long conversations with a parent.  We would see the man selling cupcakes for a living as a sign that you truly can have a job that you love and not have to toil somewhere just to make a dollar.

It is so important to be alert to these universal invitations, as they will light the path to a life that you have been waiting for.  Sometimes we spend so much time planning and scheming how we are going to get there, that we miss the road all together.  Have you ever driven somewhere new and missed your Exit completely because you were either heads down in the map, or waiting for the update from your GPS, only to find out that the Exit is under a bridge and the GPS doesn't work there?  All the while, there was probably a highway sign that showed you the Exit anyway?  Well, life is just like that.  Keep your eyes open.  Be receptive and open to the possibilities that there may be alternate ways to get where you think you want to go.

Enjoy the journey.  Watch for the signs, as they are invitations to life experiences that you will not want to miss.



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