The Present Within

“When you are born, your work is placed in your heart.”

Kahlil Gibran

I recently came across this quote by the brilliant Lebanese-America poet and writer, Kahlil Gibran, author of one of the most beloved inspirational books of all time, “The Prophet.”  As soon as I heard it, I had one of those spiritual, transformative moments where you know the truth of something down into the very center of your soul. The poet could have been talking about me.

I have known that I wanted to be a writer since I was 5 years old. I learned to read at an early age. My older sister was two years ahead of me and when she learned to read, I sat with her while she did her reading homework and learned, too. By the time I started school myself, the traditional Alice and Jerry Readers were a piece of cake for me. I had already moved on to The Bobbsey Twins Series by the age of 6, and by 9 or 10 I was devouring Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. However, it was when I was 5 years old that my mother shared what was to me the revelation of a lifetime, one that would determine the course of my life.

Sitting with a story book on the floor as my mother sat in her favorite chair knitting, I asked her where books came from. She explained that someone came up with an idea for a story and then wrote it down. Someone else added pictures, put it all together, and you had a book. Her answer hit me like a spiritual awakening! I could almost see white light all around me and a chorus of angels singing Hallelujeh! Why, my little head was always filled with stories! I told them to my dolls, and together we went on great adventures together, at least in my vivid imagination. Once I had my writing skills up to par with my reading skills … why, I could write my own books! At that moment, the work that was placed in my heart when I was born opened like a cherished present on Christmas morning.

Of course, as the years went by, the rest of the world did their very best to persuade me that being a writer was just a flight of fancy. All of the usual reasons why it wasn’t possible were laid before me: “You can’t make a living as a writer; you’ll starve; only a few lucky people get published; you have to know someone in the business; writing isn’t a real job.” Then, of course, as we are also talking about cultural norms about women in the 50’s and 60’s, we have to add: “You’ll just get married and have kids like everyone else, and then you’ll forget all about it. Get a job as a secretary until you get married and save for your wedding instead of hiding up in your room writing!”

My hopes dashed, I let my parents, well-meaning though they were, live my life for me. I got a job in the city, worked as a secretary, got married, had kids … but I never stopped writing. I wrote when the kids napped. I wrote in the middle of the night. I got up before anyone else did and wrote. I sent out submission after submission and got enough rejection letters to wallpaper my kitchen. Still, I wrote. I went to the library and got out every book about writing that I could find. After 5 or 6 years of rejection from the publishing world, my husband handed me one as well. Now a divorced mother of two small children, going back out into the workforce took precedence over my writing. I still found time to write, though, even if it was only for myself. I was able to find a few jobs where I could use the writing skills I had learned on my own, like writing press releases, writing copy for business-to-business marketing tools, and newsletters for non-profits, along with the usual administrative assistant duties. It was still writing, and it was helping to sharpen my writing even if I didn’t know it. It wasn’t until 1992, when the last kid left the nest and I walked away from it all, moving out-of-state to a quiet little village to finally write full-time, that my life-long knowing turned into a reality.

The point of this story is to say that all of us, whether we know it or not, have our work hiding in our hearts like that last present hiding way behind the Christmas tree, the one we didn’t see because of all the glitz and glitter of the bigger presents in the front. Even if we think we don’t know what our work is, what we are meant to do that makes the life we are living an authentic life worth living, it is still there. Every once in a while we will get a little nudge in a certain direction, or something will catch our attention and not let it go. We’ll see something, hear something, feel something, and our inner knowing will tell us that it rings true. Whatever that is, follow it, wherever it leads. As Wayne Dyer used to say: “It doesn’t matter if it’s raising horses in Montana or selling ice cream in Alaska!” Whatever it is, when you know the truth of it in the center of your soul, you have found what was placed in your heart at your birth.

This week’s writing assignment on the Home Page will ask us to go to that place where things ring true and write about those moments of knowing, those glimpses of the truth, that live there. As always have fun and keep writing!

Peace and blessings.

 

Advertisements

The Poetry of Living

I recently came across a wonderful new book about writing. It’s called: “Writing As A Path To Awakening: A Year To Becoming An Excellent Writer and Living An Awakened Life,” by Albert Flynn DeSilver. In it, the author breaks down the craft of writing by taking each month of the year and assigning a specific lesson on the writing life, along with meditation and writing practices, to help you become a more proficient, and more authentic, writer. I was especially taken with the chapter for April. It dealt with the subject of “blossoming” and it was titled: “Poetry: the Language of Possibility.”

In the chapter for April, DeSilver asks us to “live your life like a poem.” He talks about poetry as a vehicle that allows us to thoroughly experience our lives and the world around us. He says of poetry: ” It doesn’t have to mean anything. It just has to touch us, be beautiful, spark our imagination, curiosity and creativity.” What a wonderful prescription for creating and living an authentic life! I’m not suggesting that our lives don’t have to “mean” anything.” Instead I am proposing that we can, like poetry, create something beautiful, something that sparks our imagination, curiosity and creativity. We are all, each and every one of us, creative geniuses. The experience of living has, as Buckminster Fuller was fond of saying, “de-genuised us.” When we slow down and allow ourselves to notice what is going on around us, using all of our senses, we see things that would normally go unnoticed by us on any given day. Take a look at a poem that was included in this chapter:

“Turquoise laughter
An eagle in the sky
A butterfly whispering
In a dragonfly’s ear,
The angels peering in
the corner window
Just like a poet weaving
her story
on a loom of sawdust.”

That poem was written by a nine-year old girl! What an eye for detail and a wealth of creativity! At first glance it has no meaning, and yet, at second glance, it says so much about the comings and goings of life all around us, and the meaning we give them. What meaning do you give to the every day comings and goings of your life? What meanings do you give to making the bed, washing the dishes, watering the garden? Do you make the time to feed your genius by sitting still and watching the world? Do you notice the songs of birds overhead, the passage of clouds across the sky or “a butterfly whispering in a dragonfly’s ear?” These are all part of the poetry of our lives. When we make a poem of our lives, we make a life filled with authenticity, creativity and meaning.

This week’s assignment is going to ask you to put away everything you were taught about poetry in school, all the rules and guidelines for writing poetry, and make a poem of your life. As always, have fun with it, and keep writing.

Peace and blessings.

The Business of Forgiveness

“Forgiveness of myself and others releases me from the past. Forgiveness is the answer to almost every problem. Forgiveness is a gift to myself. I forgive, and I set myself free.”

~Louise Hay

Powerful words and, for many of us, difficult words to say. If we want to create our authentic lives, we have to be willing to put the past to rest, and that means forgiving everyone and everything in our past that we believe has kept us, or is still keeping us, from living an authentic, happy life. That includes forgiving ourselves as well. Forgiving ourselves for causing our own unhappiness is probably the hardest pill to swallow and most often is the place we need to start from if we are to make any headway in our journey to wholeness and happiness.

I know lots of people, myself included, who swear that they have put the past to rest and have done heaps of forgiveness, but haven’t quite gotten the message that forgiving ourselves is an ongoing job. When it comes to ourselves, our business is forgiveness. Let me give you an example.

I was in a really crummy mood yesterday. I’m still not sure exactly what got me there. Perhaps it wasn’t just one thing, but a series of things that, like dominoes, just continued to fall until my whole day was spent in negativity. When I finally sat myself down and got a hold of my emotions, I automatically went into blame mode: “You write about this stuff, for heaven’s sake! You’re supposed to be this being of happiness and joy, and yet here you are sabotaging a perfectly good day because of some computer glitches and other people’s bad attitudes. Some spiritual person you are!”

It’s so easy to fall back into patterns of behavior that we thought we’d left behind. If you realize that coming into this new awareness of the power of our thoughts and the freedom to choose better ones is a recent phenomenon in our lives, while the pattern of negative thoughts and behaviors have been with us since we were kids, you realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are we. It takes a lifetime of constantly being aware of our thoughts, aware of the power of the present moment to turn things around, and the power of forgiveness when we forget these things, to change a crummy mood to a lovely mood.

After I took the reins of my thoughts back from my ego, I sat myself down and did one of my favorite Davidji meditations: “Today, I begin again.” We all get another chance, day after day, moment after moment, to take back our runaway thoughts and direct them towards happiness. Discovering our authenticity, and living it every day, is not a once and done thing; it’s an ongoing, moment-to-moment journey, and in every moment we have to be willing to forgive ourselves when we step off the path:

I forgive, and I set myself free.

This week’s assignment over on the Home Page is going to ask us to practice forgiveness. Just like writing and meditating, forgiveness is also a practice. Our goal is to get really, really good at it!

Peace and blessings.

 

 

 

A Life Without Want

“What’s it like to be me without wanting?”

I let these words sink in for a few moments. What a powerful question!

I was watching a video by Robert Holden, Ph.D., author, teacher, host of an online radio show on Hay House called “Shift Happens,” and creator of the first Happiness Project, funded by the National Health Service in the U.K. in 1994. The video was a very informative and, at times hilarious, TEDx  Findhorn speech called The Tea Ceremony. I’ve been a fan of Robert’s for several years now. Aside from his soft, adorable accent and his endearing sense of humor, Robert’s entire career has been about teaching people how to love and be loved, and how to be happy. Every once in a while, however, he stops me in my tracks with something so profound that I have to step back and examine it … and do some very deep soul searching. This was one of those times.

What’s it like to be me without wanting? At first, I thought how impossible that would be until I separated out the idea of “needs” vs “wants.” So I eliminated basic “needs” like food, shelter, clothing, meaningful employment and rest, which left “wants.” Had I missed anything? What about love? Is love a “want” or a “need?” I decided that is was definitely a “need.” Studies had proven that children who are not loved do not thrive as they should. So if we added love to the “needs” list, what was there left to want?

I started a list of the most common things that people usually say they want. It looked something like this:

  • Money
  • the perfect partner
  • the perfect body
  • career advancement
  • the perfect house
  • a nice car
  • to be happy
  • friends

I looked at the list and decided that it was a pretty fair representation of what the majority of people strive to attain in their lives, their wants. Then I noticed that one item on the list wasn’t something to get, but something to be – happy. Happiness is a state of being, not a state of having.

I decided to devote one whole day to just being happy. As long as my basic needs were met, was it possible to go through a whole day without wanting and just “be”? As it turned out, it was much harder to do than you would think. oh, sure, there were moments when my mind said things like: “I want cup of coffee, ” or, “I want to read my new book,” or things to that effect. Those things were not life changing thoughts, just representations of a normal, daily life. However, what did surprise me was how many times during the day that I found my thoughts wandering into the realm of “want” as something that I thought would make my life more acceptable not only to others, but mostly to myself.

Here are a few examples:

  • Looking through a magazine, I was taken by what I thought was the “perfect” love seat for my TV/reading area and I felt myself really and truly “wanting” it (was it for comfort, or to impress people who came to visit me?).
  • During my morning walk I passed by someone’s front garden and “wanted” to be able to have one just like it (“want” equaled “jealousy”).
  • While putting on my sneakers to go out, I decided I “wanted” a new pair, not because the old ones were no longer serviceable, but because I “wanted” ones that were more fashionable (“wanting” a better self-image).
  • Standing in front of my refrigerator, which was full from my shopping trip the day before, I decided that what I really “wanted” was some fried rice and veggies from the Chinese restaurant down the block (was I really hungry, or simply not satisfied with what I had?).
  • Sitting at my desk writing, I looked up and out of the window for a moment and spotted a car going by, the exact make, model and color that I have “wanted” for quite a while. I even caught myself thinking: “That’s MY car they’re driving!” (that one felt like it encompassed all of the above!).

Some of these might sound like little things to you, and maybe they were, but the idea was that it is from wanting these little things that we graduate to wanting the big things, things we think we must have in order to have a perfect, happy life. The idea behind this experiment was not to learn about getting a perfect life, it was about learning what a happy, contented life was – a life without wants; a life that was about gratitude, acceptance, and – dare I say it – authenticity. Our authentic lives do not come with new clothes, new cars or perfectly manicured gardens. They come whole and complete just as they are, just as we do.

This week, as we work on our writing assignment over on the Home Page, I invite you to ask yourself the same question: “What’s it like to be me without wanting?” Can you go a whole day without wanting things beyond your basic needs and daily living? I think you’re going to come to some interesting conclusions about yourself and about the authentic life that you want to create. As always, have fun and keep writing!

Peace and blessings.

 

 

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!

When we are in our 20’s, the world is this immense,  magical place where we can spread our wings and soar as far and as high as we want. We have all the time in the world and our whole lives before us. Somewhere in middle age we reach that halfway point where we look at how far we’ve come and start to get nervous if we aren’t where we thought we would be, or should be, at this stage of our lives. We have a whole new perspective on time now, and from this vantage point, time is running out. Then one day we wake up and find that we are 60 years old and come to the conclusion that our best years are behind us. Or, are they? What if I told you that your best years are just ahead of you?

Think about it. You have 30 or 40 years of experience in living in your repertoire. If you wanted advice on running a business, wouldn’t you be more likely to listen to someone with 40 years of experience in the business world? If you wanted advice on relationships, wouldn’t you go to someone who had 30 or 40  years of experience relating to people? When I see how huge the profession of Life Coach has become in our society, I often wonder how many folks who think that they need one could probably be one based on their life experience. You are an endless fountain of wisdom, knowledge and experience on living. The proof of that? You’re still here!

Just think what you can do with all of that experience! You’ve been around the block a few times (okay, maybe lots more than a few times), and you know where all the pitfalls are. You know what works and what doesn’t. You know what instinctively feels right and what doesn’t. You know who your tribe is, and who you would like in your tribe. Nope, your best years are not behind you. Your best years are in front of you! With all of that experience, wisdom and knowledge at your fingertips, you are in a place where you can shout to the world: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Imagine the authentic life you can create from that kind of mindset!

So this week for our writing assignment  over on the Home Page, we’re going to sit down and take an inventory of how great we really are! It’s time for us to take stock of our internal assets! As always, have fun and keep writing.

Peace and blessings.

One Of A Kind

I was listening to a talk the other day on finding your life’s purpose. I was gathering material for a chapter in a book that I am working on, and as I sat there taking notes I suddenly paused when one of the speakers said: “There is no one else on earth exactly like you. You are the only one. So when you discover what your purpose is, you must follow it and share it with the world, because there is no one else who can do it the way that only you can.”

That statement really blew me away. If that was true, than all of those people who have made tremendous contributions to the world, like finding cures for diseases, inventing things that have changed the way we live our lives, discovering electricity, for heaven’s sake … all those things could only have been done by the people who did them because there was no one else exactly like them who could have done it! So how do I feel about the idea that there is only one of me, there will never be another person exactly like me, and that what I do, I do because no one else can do it the way that I can? Quite honestly, my first reaction was fear: “Wow, Barb, no pressure there, right?” Then I gave it some more thought. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer. I’ve known it since the age of 5. So writing, or the sharing of thoughts, ideas and stories, is my passion. Since no one else has lived my actual life, I am clearly the only one who can write from my perspective. Sure, I have sisters, and they grew up with me in the same household, with the same parents, in pretty much the same time period give or take a few years, but neither of them have looked at the world through the eyes of a writer. Writers see the world in an entirely different context than non-writers do, and only this writer, who grew up in this neighborhood, at this period in time, can share her stories with the world as only she can. Therefore, in the final analysis, I guess the speaker was absolutely correct.

So what do we do with this information? We continue to create our authentic lives and share our passions with the world just as authentically because that is who we are, and there is no one on the earth who can do it the way that we can. We are absolutely one of a kind. It reminds me of something a co-worker once said to me in jest as part of a team building exercise: “Barb, when they made you, they threw away the mold.” I bet she had no idea how right she was!

This week’s assignment is going to ask you to examine this concept and see what effect it has on how you are creating your authentic life. As always, have fun, and keep writing!

Peace and blessings.

Happy Birthday To Me!

On Tuesday, July 25, I turn 68 years old. On my blog, “Flower Bear’s Garden-Growing A Life,” (www.flowerbearsgarden.blogspot.com), I wrote about the sacred gifts that I receive every day, gifts that money can’t buy but that are priceless experiences. I talked about the gifts that come through our senses and fill us with awe, joy and contentment. What I didn’t mention is that every year on my birthday, as well as Mother’s Day and Christmas, I give myself a gift. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything huge, but it usually is something that only I would think to give myself.

One year I adopted a wolf. A wildlife organization was looking for sponsors to support  their efforts to help the grey wolf population thrive while learning all about their habits and lifestyle. I sponsored an adult female wolf named Weyekin, a word that comes from the Nez Perce Indians that means, “spirit guide.”  For the small amount of money that I contributed, I received her picture, her history and so much more. I learned about how wolves embrace the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and how wolf packs work together, always, for what is in the best interest of all.

One year I treated myself to a workshop in how to find and pursue your passion. It was before I ever wrote a blog, although I had used writing in one form or another in many of the jobs I held over the years – work I did for someone else but for which I did not get the recognition (my boss got that). It was the first step on a path that took me to places inside me I never knew were there, and, coincidentally, I met a lovely woman who just happened to have a job for my at-the-time unemployed self. Talk about a return on your investment.

Another time I gave myself a weekend at-home retreat. My oldest daughter had given me a “Retreat In A Box” for Christmas but I had been too busy to use it. I choose a weekend when I knew my family would all be busy or away, turned off the phone/computer/TV, etc. and treated myself as if I were at a center for spiritual healing. I woke early, meditated, completed a morning yoga practice, cooked and ate delicious, healthy and organic meals (planned and prepped ahead), took walks, wrote in my journal, meditated some more, did some more yoga, took a long, spa-like bath, read, and turned in early each day (I started on a Friday night and ended it on Sunday night). It was the best stay-cation of my life and all it cost me was the price of the food I prepared. I coasted on that high for weeks!

The best presents we can give ourselves are the ones that heal our body, mind and soul, and that enable us to share our gifts with the world. When we are healthy, happy and whole, those around us reap the benefits as well.

This week’s assignment is going to ask you to talk about how you can treat yourself to a gift that keeps on giving. As always, have fun, and keep writing!

Peace and blessings.

Excuse Me, Have We Met Before?

Some years ago I was driving with my boss from upstate New York to White Plains, New York to attend a regional meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association. We were representing their South Central New York Chapter where I worked. Being the passenger rather than the driver, I wasn’t really paying attention to which numbered road or highway we were on. It was a lovely day and I was sitting back and enjoying the scenery, having never driven this section of the state before. We were passing by what looked like some woods when all of a sudden my breath caught in my throat, a knot formed in my stomach, and a feeling of longing came over me so strongly that I can only describe it as extreme homesickness. Now remember, I had never been in this section of New York before, yet somehow I knew it as well as I knew the neighborhood where I lived now.

When I arrived back home a few days later, I told my sister about what happened and we consulted a Native American teacher that she was studying with. My sister and I had only recently discovered that my mother, who was adopted and never knew her biological parents, was very likely one of the thousands of Native American children taken from their tribes and adopted out into the white community. The teacher told us that I reacted the way I had because I had been there before in a previous life. She explained that our ancestral genes, our blood memory, if you will, never forgets where we’ve been and what we’ve experienced. She also said that it explained why we will sometimes meet someone for the very first time and instantly feel as if we’ve known them all our lives or, at the very least, have met them somewhere and sometime before. This is where we get the idea of soul mates from.

I took some time and sat in meditation, trying to bring up the image of the parcel of land I had seen from the highway. It looked very much like old woods or a state park of some kind. I imagined myself entering the woods from the road and walking through it. I instinctively knew every path, where the streams were, where the bridges were, and the location of a small cabin. I then went to the library to check out state parks in the White Plains area and, lo and behold, there in pictures that looked remarkably like the pictures in my imagination, was Saxon Woods. I called my mother and asked her if we had ever taken a trip there when I was a small child. She said no, we’d never been anywhere in that area.

Everyone at one time or another has experienced this sort of deja vu, this feeling that we’ve been somewhere before, or that we’ve met someone before, even though we know deep down inside that we haven’t. What if our teacher was right? What if this experience, this feeling, was the result of something that had happened to us in a previous life? And, what if who we were in that previous life was the one who was tapping us on the shoulder and whispering in our ear that we weren’t living our authentic lives now? It’s a fascinating idea! For a long time after that event all those years ago, I would catch myself from time to time looking in the mirror and asking the woman who looked back: “Who are you, really? What do you have to tell me? What do I need to know?”

So, dear friends, this is the idea I am leaving you with this week: “Who were you before you were you?” What insights or subtle shoulder tapping have you experienced in your life? Over on the Home Page, our assignment for this week is part make-believe and part “What If?” As always, have fun with it, and, remember: Whatever you do, keep writing!

Peace and blessings!

 

Meeting Cary Grant

Even though I haven’t lived in the place of my birth and upbringing, the Big Apple, for over 40 years, and spent most of my first 21 years dreaming of getting out of the city and adopting country life, I have to say that I wouldn’t have traded some of the experiences I had growing up there. When other kids were having school trips to local sights of educational interest, my class trips were to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the U.N, Shakespeare in the Park, The Statue of Liberty, and several trips to the top of the Empire State Building, to name just a few. In high school the honor roll kids got to go to a Wednesday matinee of a Broadway play. As wonderful and educational as it was, one of my favorite parts of growing up there was how casual New Yorkers are to seeing famous people on the street – they’re just too “uptown” to shriek and point.

When the English Invasion hit New York City (The Beatles and those that came after them for those of you too young to remember), you could find some of them taking a stroll through Central Park before they appeared on the Sunday Ed Sullivan Show. When I got older and was working in the city, some of us would go out after work on a Friday night. It wasn’t unusual to see football legend Joe Namath standing outside of a club in that famous, huge fur coat of his, smiling and waving with a girl on each arm. Comedian Nipsy Russell used to stand on street corners reciting his hilarious poetry. Peter, Paul and Mary, and other folk greats, could be found in and around the coffee houses in the village. Everyone took it in stride and so did I for the most part except for one thing … I had a burning desire to meet Cary Grant!

Okay, now I’m really showing my age. Cary Grant, for you youngsters, was the original Mr. Dreamy. He was handsome, debonair, smart, romantic, witty, and my idea of the perfect man. I watched him in “An Affair to Remember” so many times I’ve lost count, and cried at the end each and every time. From age 18 to 21 when I was working in Manhattan, Cary Grant had come on board as the spokesperson and member of the board of directors for Faberge, a cosmetics company. Because I worked in the corporate headquarters of a textile manufacturer, I always had a copy of Women’s Wear Daily, the bible of the fashion industry, at hand, which also gave out which important person was in town. That’s how I knew when HE was in the city attending a board meeting. I would take my lunch hour and go stand across the street from the Faberge offices just to hopefully catch a glimpse of him coming or going. I did this for months and months until, one day, finally, a limo pulled up and he came out of the building to get in it. My heart stopped and, unfortunately, so did my feet. I was rooted to the spot. Here he was, my hero, my perfect man, and I couldn’t move. Just before he got into the car, he looked up … and smiled that beautiful smile. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was all over in an instant, but it is engraved into my heart and my memory for all time.

All of us have our own ideas of what makes someone a hero, or a knight in shinning armor, or a model of greatness. Each of us has that one person that we would give our eye teeth and a pint of blood to meet even for a moment. Maybe you already have. Or, maybe they have already passed from this life to the next. Who and what they represented to you is still crystal clear in your mind. What they mean to you has a place in your authentic life because it is a part of who you are. It is only natural, then, that their contribution to your own identity is worth recognizing and exploring.

So this week I’m going to ask you: who is your Cary Grant? Who is that one person you would give the world to spend just an hour with? Who has had a lasting impact on your life? We all have them, and often we don’t even realize what ideals and beliefs they have left stamped on our ideas about ourselves and about life. So head on over to the Home Page and get ready for a little hero worship!

Peace and blessings.

A Nice Place To Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want To Live There

I had a profound dream the other night. I don’t know what prompted it. Perhaps I saw or heard something in passing that my subconscious registered while my conscious mind did not. In any case, it was one of those dreams that are so real, all of my senses were involved. It went back a good 40 years or so. My daughters were just little girls, perhaps ages 4 and 5. At first we are having a picnic at a part near where we lived at the time. The girls are playing on the jungle gym and dashing around. My oldest, a little less adventurous than her sister when it came to things like hanging upside down, was giving the climb her undivided attention. My younger daughter, the bold and daring one, fearlessly climbed and swung as if she had been born to it. Then the dream changed and the three of us are sitting on the sofa watching something on TV, a Disney show of some kind, I think. Both the girls have just come out of their baths and I can smell the “babyness” of them still even though being thought of as a baby was already, at 4 and 5, beneath their dignity! There was Tara, her beautiful brown eyes intently fixed on the screen and her curly hair made even curlier from the steam of the bath, and little Barbara, with her Buster Brown hair cut and impish blue eyes that found mischief wherever she looked.

I don’t know what made me wake up. Perhaps my dear cat, Laura, who decided that, although it is already light out before 6 a.m. these days, daylight means mealtime regardless of what the clock says, nuzzled me awake. Maybe it was a truck going by. All that I know is that when I woke up, I was crying. I hadn’t wanted to leave that dream. My “babies” were little again, and I got to hold them, and play with them, and start again, perhaps to do a better job than I did when I didn’t know any better. The feeling followed me all day. Where did it all go? How is it possible that my girls are approaching that dreaded cultural stamp of “middle age,” my youngest has a 23-year-old daughter who has made me a great-grandma, and my oldest grandson just graduated high school? Wait! Stop! I want a “do-over!” I want to go back and do it again, only better this time.

There is an anonymous quote that says:

“The past is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

If there is one thing that can keep us from creating the authentic life we deserve, it’s in the past. Sure, there are some beautiful, very special memories that we certainly wouldn’t want to erase. Yet the past is where, through trial and error, we laid the foundation for the work that we are doing now. I don’t mean work in the career sense. I mean the work of becoming who we truly are and building a life that is truly ours. That dream was a message from my Witness who needed to remind me that my time with my girls taught me some very important things about myself, things that I may sometimes forget, or that I put on the back burner while I’m so busy making a life that I’m not actually living it.

No, I can’t go back and do it all again. Maybe, if those who believe in reincarnation are right, I may get a chance to be a Mom all over again and, maybe, I’ll be able to take the lessons I learned – both the failures and the successes – with me. On the other hand, maybe I can take what I’ve learned and use it now. Not only will it serve to make my authentic life even stronger, but it is something I can pass on to the generations that have come after me:

Hey, kids, never get so busy that you forget about things like hugs, and kisses, and fresh-out-of-the-bath baby smells, and little kid giggles, and picnics in the park, because one day you will wake up and they will all be gone.

This week over on the Home Page, we’re going to find a treasure that we want to share. You may have to do a little digging, but you won’t need any tools. You may, however, want to bring a box of tissues along.

Peace and blessings.