Rest in Peace Ketut Liyer 1916-2016

ketutdaily flotg

When I first visited Bali 17 years ago, I was told there was a very special medicine man, Ketut Liyer, who lived in Ubud. I didn’t get a chance to meet him then. Years later, I read the book, Eat Pray Love and he was was one of the significant characters Elizabeth Gilbert met on her journey. I remember the way I felt when I read the book and saw the movie. I recall feeling like I understood the depth and connection she experienced meeting him as well as the connection she had with Ubud. I related and always knew I would return.

We’d been traveling around the world for almost 9 months before we arrived back there. In Bali. One of my most favorite places on earth. When I found out Ketut was right around the corner from us, I could hardly wait to meet him. I felt his presence in the village.

Ubud is a sanctuary, filled with amazing artists, culture, yoga, magnificent nature, rice paddies, and a bohemian, earthy, spiritually awakening atmosphere which I cannot get enough of.

I felt deep joy from the the moment we entered the home of Ketut. As I walked around the corner, I saw him and felt connected immediately. When I sat down , I was so happy to see his toothless grin and the sparkle in his eyes. I experienced the wisdom of a 100 year old man sitting before me just by looking at him. I felt every bit of his healing energy, before a word was even said. He was so charming and funny and had me laughing so hard, I was crying. This meeting was a destined component on my path. This day, exactly as it was, couldn’t have been more special.

meketut

He read my palm and analyzed my soul. Deeply. He brought to light much for me to contemplate about this life, my place in it and things to come. He made me laugh the kind of belly laugh that makes one truly understand what joy is.

I will always remember this day. I will continue walking on this path with my heart open and the willingness to recognize and embrace life’s teachers, lessons and answers along the way. I will continue questioning, observing, learning, giving and growing with all of the awareness and love in my heart.

boysketut

In all of my travels around the world, I find myself very interested in the citizens of each country and their culture. I like to see how they live, what they value, what they stand for and how they treat others. There are two places in this world so far, in which I have met the kindest, warmest and most generous human beings. The first is, Ireland. The second, is Bali.

Indonesia is split religiously between Hinduism, Muslim and Christianity. Bali is predominantly Hindu. I am not a religious person although I consider myself deeply spiritual. I have never witnessed such a peaceful religion. The energy here and everywhere we go is gentle and kind.

Many Balinese people prepare offerings and pray three times a day asking for good blessings. They strongly believe in Karma and live their lives, speak their words and treat others with that in mind. They truly think about what they are doing or saying before they take action. They want to ensure that these align with their intention, purpose and good will for others.

Offerings

As a citizen of the United States of America and a witness to all of the violent, senseless and evil crime that takes place in this world, I see light. I see that we each play a role and have the power to make a difference. Not all people of any race, religion, or country are good. Not all people are bad. We are all different and responsible for our own actions and what we choose to give and take from this world.

That said, I do believe it’s possible for ONE person to evoke Hate and it is just as possible for one person to induce LOVE.

I thank you, Bali, for shining brightly through the darkness. I thank you, for choosing Love and for generously sharing it. I promise to act with the same kindness and to offer whatever I can to you and all people.

Ubud is still my favorite place in Bali. It remains tranquil and filled with so much warmth and kindness. It is in this peace-loving village that I had the pleasure and honor of spending time with Ketut, the Medicine Man.

Lastly, I’d love to share this deeply poignant excerpt from Eat Pray Love. I truly believe in and agree with this sentiment:

I’ve come to believe in something I call the Physics of the Quest. The rule of quest physics goes something like this…

If you’re brave enough to leave everything behind familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house, to bitter, old resentments

And set out on a truth-seeking journey, externally or internally

And if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue

And if you accept everyone along the way as a teacher

And if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then…

The truth will not be withheld from you.

I couldn’t have said this better myself. The truth is being revealed each day and shall continue…

May you rest in peace, dear Ketut. You made a difference in my life during the short period of time we spent together. Thank you.

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The Marvel of Motherhood

me and p flotg

Last Friday, just before Mother’s Day, I was going about my daily business and realized I hadn’t looked at my phone for awhile. As I went to grab it, I saw a screen filled with missed calls and text messages. I scanned it for any pertinent information and my heart dropped as I saw the words…Your Mom is in the Emergency Room. Please call.

In that moment, every memory of my mom shuffled through my brain. Every thing she ever sacrificed for us. Every thing she never experienced. Every thing she justified living without to be our Mom. In that moment, I realized once again, how powerful and important the role of a Mother is in each of our lives.

My heart expands each day as I look around and witness the miraculous power of men and women raising little human beings. I consciously breathe in the significance of each person I pass by. I observe the Mothers. The Fathers. The Children.

I feel tenderness and empathy as I contemplate each of you. I thoughtfully consider the whole family cycle and everything in between. The extraordinary, undeniable love that either existed as we were created, or did not. The feelings each person had in making the decision to create another life or living with the fact that the decision wasn’t yours.

We are each the product of a mother and a father. We were born and the process of conception to birth is unlike any miracle I’ve ever witnessed or experienced. We may be raised by a mother and a mother or a father and a father. However we came to be, however we were brought up and nurtured, we are here.

Although we may not quite comprehend the marvel as a precious life is growing within our bodies, everything changes the moment we first see the eyes of our child. Everything changed for me. In that moment, I knew my purpose was much bigger than what I had ever known it to be. I knew this new role I was being given, would fulfill me in ways no one could have prepared me for.

As I walk around and continue to ponder your depth, (your soul), I question if you ever lost a life growing inside of you. At birth. Soon after, or ever. I am crying as I write this because I have dear friends in my life who have. I cannot write about the beautiful, precious gift of motherhood and exclude the dear and courageous women who have lost a child. I know there are no words I can offer. I can only tell you that I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry. I truly embrace and cherish each and every moment I am given and I know you do too.

Although I may be emotionally and intellectually aware of how invaluable these moments are, this doesn’t mean I don’t question if I am doing all I can to live my true happiness. My true purpose. I am trying to find my way each day. I feel everything. I let the joy, the pain, the fear, the love, all of it…become a part of me and I allow it to guide me as I continue to take each new step forward.

Within it all, we find ourselves. We lose ourselves. We grow. We change. We live. We love. We know the answers, yet we question so much. We want to do our best. Be our best. We don’t want to make the same mistakes others did before us.

My Mom is much better today. The emergency thankfully has passed. She has endured more than I can explain and she is still here. As I spend time in hospitals and share my love with those who continue to suffer I will continue to treasure every moment I have with her. With the ones I love deeply. With myself. Many lose the battle. Many are given more time. This is our time. I know this and I want to live it.

I know loss. I know you do too. My heart and love are with you. May the things that have caused us pain, give us strength. This is my wish for each of us.

As I sat down to write about the significance of Mother’s Day last week, this is what occurred. Wishing you a belated and Happy Mother’s Day. Each and Every Day.

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The Truth Shall Not Only Set You Free…

gordons

It will hopefully save you and make a difference for someone else.

Fourteen days ago, I was painfully aching over the well being of my little sister whom I love more than I can express. Fourteen days ago, she made a brave decision to save herself by asking for help. Fourteen days ago, she was given another chance to live. Fourteen days ago, I saw hope for the first time in many years.

On New Year’s Day, she unequivocally shared her reality through greetings and wishes, via Facebook…from rehab.

I couldn’t be more proud of her uninhibited proclamation or her courage. When we last saw each other, we both expressed a need to share truth in order to relate and connect with others. Not many truly know the pain or challenges we each endure throughout our lives. We are all simply trying to find our way and we’re fortunate if we connect with someone, anyone…who hears us or truly ‘gets’ us. Even then, it still may feel like we’re alone a lot of the time. We may isolate and believe that isolation is the best and only option. It isn’t. I am so thankful my sister reached out to all of us. I am so happy to witness the outpour of love and support she is receiving from everyone.

My sister and I grew up in the same home, yet our experiences were very different.
When our parents began their lengthy, heart-rending, grievous dance toward divorce, it took many years, much instability and left my brothers, my sister and me with unanswered questions and doubts about our place in this world. The anguish and uncertainty manifested in different ways for each of us and still does.

As I witness others, including myself, suffering from residual damage leftover from childhood, I am constantly reminded how important and necessary it is to candidly express and connect in order to be heard in some way…even if it’s only to hear our own thoughts and voices clearly.

I have always walked through my life with compassion and love in my heart. I profoundly experience what others feel as we briefly cross paths in this precious life. I am touched by your joy, I am saddened by your despair. I relate to your longing. I want you to know I hear you. I see you. I feel you.

As I pass you on the street, as we make eye contact for one second in time, as we come together for reasons we may or may not understand, as we detach and reconnect…I am grateful for my existence. I am grateful for yours.

My sister and I have always shared a deep desire and need to seek out the meaning of life and our purpose here. We’ve traveled different paths along the way and various answers have been revealed over the years. One thread which always seems to weave through it all is a common yearning for the few simple things I always speak of. To be heard. To be understood. To be loved.

As I go through each day, it becomes clearer that these needs form the basis of our relationships and all of the choices we make in our lives and whether or not they get fulfilled, dictates the outcomes. We were all born with this awareness and longing and as adults, we can powerfully shift direction for the next generations. We can be positive examples by listening with patience and by accepting and loving people for who they truly are. We will undoubtedly have our flaws. We will most certainly make mistakes. We are still and always worthy of Love.

As I often say and will continue to do so. Listening is loving. If you listen without judgment, you will hear what someone so desperately wants and needs you to hear. If we were all truly heard and understood from birth, life would be a very different experience. There are many things we may keep locked up. There are many things we may believe no one understands. There are many times we may feel alone. If we can be the person who takes the time to listen and understand another, we will make a difference in that person’s life. If you take the time to look into my eyes and hear me, you will make a difference in mine.

My wish for each of us is to believe that with love and support, anything is possible. We may have our stories, our beliefs, our fears, our truth. We may believe we have a right to our resentments, our anger, our strong-hold grip on what we cannot or will not let go of. We have a right to all of it. It is ours. What is also ours, is the choice to Be love. To act with Love. To open ourselves up to receiving love. To letting go. To moving forward. To living and appreciating each and every breath we take.

Another year has passed. Although I am intensely present to each moment, it still goes by too quickly. Through the challenging times, the magical moments and the many phases of change, I am thankful for the growth, a new day and the gift of being surrounded by the greatest loves of my life.

I wish you all a healthy, loving, inspiring, and miraculous New Year.

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Giving Thanks Through Presence and Connection

Snowing

My favorite time of year is upon us and yet, so much about it feels different. We spent Thanksgiving as a small group and the missing pieces magnified the reality of what family looks like and what it has evolved into over time.

We all define and experience family differently. As we come into this world, we are innocent, wide eyed and unsuspicious. The world is uncontaminated and our canvases are bare. We don’t know anything about pain, resentment, sadness, loss, judgement, hate. We don’t know what a label is or why anyone must define us by one. We come into this world needing and seeking a few simple things. We want to be Loved, Nurtured and Heard. We spend our lives wanting and needing to be heard and understood.

From the moment we first lay eyes upon our Mother’s face, we feel we belong. We feel safe. We are home. From that point forward, through each experience, through all the light, through all the darkness, the ways in which we experience love and family evolve and take on lives of their own.

Decisions are made for us, separations disconnect us, rules and regulations attempt to govern us, facades deceive us and choices divide us. Love runs through and yet, something always seems to be missing. As we grow into adults, the need to be heard only grows stronger. We are often misunderstood and those feelings we are left with, emerge into deeper cries for answers, for clarity, for truth.

Our innocence shifts at a certain point as we are exposed to the sometimes harsh realities of the world. Something happened and we no longer felt good enough. Something else happened and we thought we needed to be something or someone else in order to gain acceptance. We thought we needed to please and obey and squeeze ourselves into molds which the masses set before us. If you stray from that, you are different, you are weird, you are wrong. Yes, this is what we are told and led to believe by the people who simply can’t bear the fact that we are not conforming to what makes everyone else comfortable. You are out of place and you are displacing the system. Please get back in the queue and follow the leader, they say.

Although I never allowed myself to succumb to society’s desperate plight to mass produce me, I was still greatly affected. I still am affected and I know that this contributes to my quest for what this life is all about on a daily basis.

Human, honest, loving, kind and meaningful connection is all I’ve ever wanted. It’s what I am most open to and in search of. In my journey through this life, thus far, I can tell you that it is through presence and connection that I experience the purest and truest love.

I am often discouraged by the highly opinionated, judgmental, divided, jump on the twitter trend band wagon mentality we are surrounded by. I find it difficult to even hear my own voice through all of the noise. I find it difficult to remain centered as I witness the constant debates telling you what’s right and wrong, black and white, acceptable and unacceptable. If we allow, the social media machines will infiltrate our lives with more stimulation than we can possibly process and our connections to ourselves and those around us will be left with mere shadows and caricatures of who and what they once were.

Much research is taking place in the world of psychology and how it pertains to social media. In addition, many opinions are being shared these days, revealing narcissism as an epidemic based on those seeking acceptance via likes and feedback as they broadcast their points of view and selfies through the social network media megaphone.

I find it sad, even if data reveals it’s accuracy, that the millennial generation, although I don’t feel it’s limited to them, is now being labeled with this term, and only further instilling the deep-seated insecurity and underlying feelings of inadequacy which so many of us struggle with. The internet provides a stage and an audience at our daily disposal. Sadly, the constant need to be seen as the best and the portrayal of a life that other’s envy and dream of, is a full time job for many. Not much is private anymore and nothing can really shock us. The praise and approval one thinks they are seeking often lead to emptiness and more insecurity.

This cycle continues, masked in a different face, and breeds more of what most of us struggled with growing up and we’re still working through the disharmony of it all. There are certainly many benefits to social media. I just feel we need to take the time to encourage our youth to connect to what is true and real around us and allow for our own minds and voices to be clear amongst it all.

I love my boys with all of my heart. I am present to them, to their needs and to who they truly are as individuals and human beings. It is this presence which allows me to support, guide and nurture them along the paths they are meant to pave in their own lives. We spend a lot of time in nature and it is there that I find we all gain the best education and connection with ourselves. We love exploring. We love adventures. Their imaginations are endless. We are free.

I believe it is every human’s right to be given the freedom to Be themselves. To fully express and shine as their unique being. Whatever that looks like. You are beautiful. You are enough. You are You. I choose to exist in a world where personal relating and human connection are more prevalent than the fabricated, manufactured images we mistake for reality.

I sat down to write a piece about the holidays and what I am thankful for. This is what came out. I believe the holidays can be a time of wonderful joy and togetherness and they can also magnify the imperfections within your own family and the world around us. I am filled with Love and gratitude yet the lack of unity saddens me. It triggers the facts of my existence and inspires me to initiate change again. I wish things were different in certain areas. I wish we were all closer.

I am thankful for my life. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my husband and the greatest gift and honor of being a Mother to our two sons. I am thankful for the food I eat and the roof over my head. I am thankful for my health and each breath I take. I am thankful for the depth of Love and compassion I feel and am connected to. I am thankful to be a source of Love for others. I am thankful for the service my family and I provide to those in need.

I am thankful for connection and for the many advantages the internet provides us with each day. Through this medium, I am able to relate openly and honestly. As I often say…when you hear me, I feel understood. I feel connected to the world. I believe this is all any of us want. The name calling, the labels, the fear instilled upon us, the animosity. Through it all, we will only grow stronger and continue to evolve into who and what we are meant to. I choose Love and Truth. Today and Always.

Wishing you a delightful and compassionate holiday season.

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The Happiness of Pursuit

clouds

I’m not a movie critic although sometimes, when I’m deeply moved by a film, I wish I was. My husband and I took our boys the other day to see the delightful, Hector and the Search For Happiness.  

The sweet woman giving us our tickets was a bit taken back when she saw how young our boys were and wondered why they were about to see this film and not a kid’s movie. She kindly and gently said, “They may not get the subtleties.” She obviously doesn’t know our boys. 

I must say how proud I am to witness their attentiveness, comprehension and interest in such mature, thought-provoking and enlightening films. When they saw the preview of a man traveling around the globe in search of happiness they both exclaimed their desire to see it and you wouldn’t believe the questions they asked during and after. They are such curious individuals  and so in touch with themselves and this wonderful gift of being. 

We enjoyed the film very much and I’m always affected by any verbal, written or otherwise expressed work of inspiration and insight into one’s journey through this life.  

I don’t usually read or care for reviews because like anything, I believe we need to experience things for ourselves and form our own opinions. Someone’s opinion regarding this film, however, did capture my attention and inspired me to share on this subject. 

To briefly sum up his thoughts, he described this film as a depiction of a middle aged man who prefers to live in fantasy and who chases an unattainable ideal across the globe only to realize this figment of happiness is a creation of his own feelings of cowardice and insecurity.

He also went on about Ego and Narcissism and why would anyone be interested in a man, with means, who traveled to other continents in search of happiness. He wasn’t only searching for his. He wanted to figure out how to make others happy as well.

This, along with one of the featured messages in the movie, got me thinking. The quote, which is so simple, yet so important… 

“Listening is Loving.”

I really sat with that thought all day, along with this critic’s interpretation of Ego as it pertains to expressing interest or a need to search deeper and why that makes someone vainglorious and self-important.  

I couldn’t disagree more.  

In fact, it’s this very opinion that sometimes holds me back from expressing myself. I sometimes wonder if and why anyone would care what I have to say. I wonder why my opinion matters. I believe we all have something to say and we all want someone to hear us. Using our voice and expressing what we are searching for, what we stand for or otherwise, does not make us narcissistic. 

From birth, perhaps before, I believe the first thing we all wished for, was to be heard. When we cried as babies, we weren’t crying to manipulate, we were crying because we needed something. When those cries and calls for attention went unnoticed and unanswered, we possibly retreated and found the answers within ourselves and have spent our lives wondering if anyone ever truly listens or hears us.  

Listening is Loving. When I want or need to speak, sometimes I don’t need a solution, I don’t need you to judge and I don’t need an answer. If you can listen and just hear what I am saying, you may help me find the answer within myself. You may discover something about yourself within my truth. 

We are all searching for something. If we aren’t searching, we aren’t growing. We will never know everything about ourselves or this life. We will never have all the answers.  

The preview of this film inspired me from the moment Christopher Plummer narrated these words…

“How many of us can recall that Childhood Moment 

When we experienced Happiness

As a State of Being

When Everything in Our World 

Was All Right”

Happiness.  As a state of Being.  

Not just something to present to the world via social media so it appears that you are happy. I’m speaking of True Happiness. Where capturing the moment didn’t matter because that feeling was so pure and that moment was ours. No one needed to understand it and no one needed to witness it. 

I could go on and on about the ways in which I’m inspired by people in real life, books and films. The people who go far beyond what is comfortable. The people who bravely walk through fear even though they have rational and irrational reasons to be afraid. People who choose their own paths and don’t follow the masses. People who JUMP. People who Truly Love. People who unselfishly and unconditionally help others. People who truly Live.  

Lastly, at the end of this film, Christopher Plummer was experimenting with a brain scanning technology on two subjects and placed them in a room with a wired device on their heads. 

Before they walked in, he told them to go to the places where they recalled feeling Happy, Sad and Scared. In any order. I won’t reveal too much about the film but I will tell you this.

We experience all of these emotions, simultaneously. It is the complex, yet beautiful combination of these feelings that pushes us beyond our limitations. As I get older, I embrace my happiness, my sadness and my fear.  I let them guide me to places I never thought possible. I let them sit within and circulate around as I evolve a little more in each moment.  

I am in search of happiness and peace also. For my children. For my Family. For you. For humankind.  

As Hector was about to depart on his soul searching expedition, his girlfriend wholeheartedly proclaimed, “If you’re going to do this, Do it Totally.”

Yes, this is how I believe we should do everything. Totally. This is how we will continue to feel alive despite the forces constantly telling us we’re dying.  

Mark Twain once said something which I’ve always appreciated. 

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

You were already born so if you haven’t figured out why yet, this will be my wish for you. 

Thank you for listening.  I feel loved and heard when you do.

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Living in the Moment

Mendenhall

I have so much to say and so much to show you. We’ve had limited service over the past couple of weeks which I must say, has been nice. I know we are all so connected to our mobile devices for various reasons and often ponder how we survived without this constant access to the world and all of it’s information.

I am grateful for our internet freedom and the methods and resources we are given to connect however and whenever we want. I also greatly appreciate that we have the choice to detach and focus on who and what is in front of us. This is most important to me. I’ve always recognized my desire and ability to be present. Ever since I was a little girl I valued each and every moment of my life and still do.

I am excited to share pieces of our journey through Alaska in the coming weeks.

I am once again awakened to and deeply touched and inspired by this world we live in. Although I feel this on a daily basis, no matter where I am, there is something that travel unveils and slowly and powerfully reveals as I take each step on unexplored and unfamiliar territory. If only I could express my sense of insight and stimulation in each moment.

I am thankful to share my love and wondrous discoveries with my family, with those we encounter along the way and with you. Witnessing the pure and uninhibited joy and spirited expression of my boys is unlike anything else. Observing and participating in their infinite curiosity and evolvement each day is truly my greatest gift.

boysalaska

We’re facing challenges, walking through fears, laughing out loud and loving with all of our hearts. We are together, taking in every bit of the abundance and depth this precious life grants us.

Thank you for being here.

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In His Shoes

pierce france
As the sun rises each day, we are given the precious gift of life. Upon waking, sometimes we are elated, enthusiastic and tenacious for the moments ahead. Sometimes, we are not. For me, yesterday was one of those “not” days. 

I woke up on the verge of tears which, over the course of the morning, led to many and I had no idea why. I even went down to look at my calendar expecting to see that my period was most likely coming this week. No. It wasn’t my period although when I expressed my sadness, my husband’s first question was, “Are you getting your period?” Yes, women, I’m sure you can relate.

Perhaps the sadness emerged as I received a text informing me of the plane crash in Brazil. Maybe it was the deadly earthquake in Ecuador, the recent one in China or the wars taking the lives of innocent human beings. Perhaps it was all of the negative judgment regarding Robin William’s death or possibly the news about a friend’s son being shot and killed last night.

I realize we all have lists. We all have issues and we each deal with them in our own way. It has always hurt me to witness the way many judge others and spread negativity on subjects they could never possibly understand completely…unless they were the person directly affected. We are all entitled to our opinions and everyone will certainly always have one, as I do. I am all for constructive contribution and honest expression. I wish that people would first do everything to understand or relate to another or their situation and whether we do or do not, realize that spreading this negativity and discrimination about others doesn’t help anyone.

We can never ever truly know what it is to live and walk in another’s shoes just as others couldn’t possibly know what it is to live in ours.

As the news continues and the opinions are declared in reference to suicide, I will admit that I was, until recently, a person who believed that taking one’s own life was selfish. Today, as I consciously sit with this sadness and ponder the meaning of selfishness, I am considering that this decision may not be the selfish action I once thought it was.

This tragic conclusion we too often witness is labeled ‘selfish’ as we consider the loved ones left behind. How could they leave their families knowing this will deeply scar and affect them forever. They will be left suffering and facing the unanswered questions and always wondering if they had done something in any other way, would it have made a difference.

Today, I am feeling that those loved ones are the reason they may have held on a little longer. They are the reason they couldn’t possibly let go sooner in order to find a peace they so desperately needed and longed for. It breaks my heart to imagine a person in that moment, and I’ve known many, making the decision to leave what they could no longer endure. Not even for one more second. 

I invariably question how anything could be so unbearable as to end one’s life. I can imagine. Yes. My heart aches as I try to conceive the level of despair which leaves one with no other alternative. Don’t we always bounce back? Isn’t the sun going to shine brighter tomorrow?  Won’t we find a way out of whatever ails us and look back upon that dark time with gratitude and a new perspective? Won’t we be given another chance?

Many of us may not have experienced or even comprehend clinical depression. From what I understand, it is fierce and incessant. I believe that the resolution to end one’s life comes from an inconceivable anguish and desperation which many of us couldn’t possibly understand. Many people are unable to see the light or the detour and this choice feels like the only one.

As we grieve the loss and struggles of loved ones or strangers from depression, ill health, innocent victims of war or natural disasters, we are left feeling powerless and unsettled. We wake up with an acuteness we can’t describe and we begin to search deep within or elsewhere for an answer. We each face adversity. We each feel pain. We each suffer. This awareness will hopefully prevent others from judging or assuming to understand a person or the choices they make. 

I sadly realize that despite our efforts and our love, some will still make that desperate and devastating choice. Some will contemplate and possibly attempt to do so. Sometimes we have no idea how to help or what to do. Hopefully we can help in some way if we reach out…even if we think no one is listening. Hopefully that one thing we question as the thing that could’ve made a difference, will. 

Today and every day, I choose Love. It is what drives and carries me through each day I am ever so grateful for. I often savor my dark and sad moments. Without them, I wouldn’t truly appreciate the depth of my purpose or the powerful force of this life and our connections.

Much Love.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams.

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right? … You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything about you that I can read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, Chief.”

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If We All Light Up, We Can Scare Away the Dark

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This morning, I woke up and felt compelled to reach out to you. One of the greatest gifts I was given, as a result of traveling around the world, was the gift of compassion for all people and the understanding that we are all truly connected. These concepts have always been inherent in my way of thinking yet I never understood as deeply as I do now.

The world became a much smaller place as we traveled from point A to point B. Our family expanded as we gratefully met amazing people along the way. I have become acutely aware of and connected to each time zone and the people I love and haven’t yet met in each of them.

As I wake up each day, I am overwhelmed by the love in my heart. I am deeply affected by what is happening around the world. Israel isn’t just a far away place with an ancestry I am connected to. My husband and I have very dear friends living amongst the turmoil. As I witness the many lives being taken and imagine innocent people and families being harmed throughout our world, my heart grieves. I choose peace and love for humanity. It is my wish for all of us every day.

When I hear of the Malaysian airline crashes, not only does my anxiety flare up in fear, but I feel closer to those who were on board and their loved ones awaiting their arrival. I was on those planes, those routes, those airports. I think of the people and their lives. Their families. Their dreams. I stare at the flight rosters and read every single name out loud. I acknowledge them and my heart breaks. As I read the names of the victims, I fear that I may see a name I know.

This morning, I woke up to the news of another passenger plane crashing in Taiwan. At one time in my life, that was tragic news and although I would feel the pain, I didn’t fear the possibility of knowing anyone on the plane or have the connection I now do to the people from these countries. My son’s piano teacher is presently teaching English in Taiwan and is expected to return to the States this week. I am praying for his safety and my heart goes out to the lives lost and the families affected by this tragedy.

My cherished friends and family around the world, I miss you every day.

I recently read something in which the author suggested putting ourselves in places and situations that make us nervous. Nerves are really the only way to know we are being stretched. This rings true for me. Each day, I live fearlessly, despite the fear I face. I live the life I choose, despite the judgements and challenges against me. I do feel nervous. I do experience fear. As I continue to walk in the face of distress, I choose to work my way through it all with an optimistic attitude and the purest love and happiness along the way.

I am sending peace and love to all of you. My heart is with you and your families. I am grateful beyond explanation for this precious life which can be taken away from us in one second.

Lastly, I’d like to share the lyrics of a beautiful and powerful song by Passenger. I encourage you to have a listen when you find a moment.

Scare Away The Dark
by Passenger

Well, sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

We wish our weekdays away
Spend our weekends in bed
Drink ourselves stupid
And work ourselves dead
And all just because that’s what mom and dad said we should do

We should run through the forest
We should swim in the streams
We should laugh, we should cry,
We should love, we should dream
We should stare at the stars and not just the screens
You should hear what I’m saying and know what it means

To sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Well, we wish we were happier, thinner and fitter,
We wish we weren’t losers and liars and quitters
We want something more not just nasty and bitter
We want something real not just hash tags and Twitter

It’s the meaning of life and it’s streamed live on YouTube
But I bet Gangnam Style will still get more views
We’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters
But we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers

So sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Oh, love without fear in your heart.
Can you feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

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Six Extraordinary Years…

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Six years ago, February 4, 2008, my life, as I knew it, changed forever. I gave birth to my first child, my beautiful and darling son, Pierce.

Witnessing the miracle of pregnancy and giving birth, gave me a strength and a knowing like I never had before that day. That maternal instinct I’d always heard about completely took over my being. It gave and continues to give me the confidence I once lacked. It allows me to trust the decisions I make based on this omnipotent instinct. I may make mistakes but I don’t doubt this powerful feeling in my heart, my soul or my gut. I am grateful for it’s guidance and the strength and courage it gives me.

 Pierce inspires me every day. His gentle and compassionate heart reflects the beautiful soul he embodies. He is so expressive, creative, athletic and inquisitive. His love and spirit brighten and enlighten any space he’s in and anything or anyone he touches. He is my first born son. He is my baby. My big boy. My heart. My angel. I love him more than I can ever express and he certainly knows this fact.

I never knew that becoming a mother would change me so deeply and so profoundly. I never knew that I would be awakened to my true life’s purpose and inspired to love and appreciate every second more than before. I never knew that I would be given the greatest responsibility and role of my life. I never knew I could LOVE so purely and unselfishly. I never knew what a true miracle was until that inexplicable day, six years ago.

I love my family. I love being a Mother. I love witnessing the miracles of our sons before me as they discover, learn and grow each day. Living life through the eyes of our children, experiencing the wondrous nature of our world together and sharing the most beautiful and deepest love any of us have ever known, is what this fascinating and incredible life is all about.

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Pierce has been sick with the flu these past couple of days so we are doing our best to celebrate under the circumstances. He is so excited to be six and looks forward to all this year as a big boy will bring. We thank you all for your happy wishes on this very special day.

Happy Birthday, my precious Pierce. I love you more than you know.

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A Piece of My Heart…

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…will always remain in Queenstown.❤

Here is the breathtaking path outside our door which we enjoyed every day. I don’t think this post needs many words…I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Another one of the Happiest days of my life.

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