Monday, November 15, 2021

The middle of November

 And now, we’re at the middle of November. Can you believe it? Already here. And the perception shifts. Because the middle of November means it’s almost Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving means it’s a month until Christmas. And Christmas is a few days after the Solstice. And the Solstice…

…the Solstice is when the sun starts coming back. Woot!

And so, I do my best to enjoy every day. To be in it. Because if I want the happy, long, getting warmer and warmer days to last, I have to let these days last too. It goes so quickly, it seems. Summer to winter to summer again. I barely have time to make plans before the sun is in a new seasonal pattern.

I still prefer the warm.

But suddenly, the annoying cold is tempered by the future, the promise of warmth.

Yay November!

Friday, November 12, 2021

A gloomy day is just a gloomy day

 Ah, dear November. Thank you so much for helping me realize there is a difference between a gloomy day and a gloomy mood.

Today was a very good day. I enjoyed the work I did; I had interactions with humans (which is always nice); I snuggled and snoozed with my kitty; and I received some good news. 

But weather wise, today was what I used to call a miserable day. Low gray clouds. Drizzle all day long. Fog everywhere. Hard to find the beauty, for me, because everything seemed the same color. Even the cars all looked gray. And no sunshine anywhere. At all. (Sob, whimper, whine.)

I think, from my surprise at my inner joy, that I am used to letting the weather be the barometer for my feelings. If it's a gray "nasty" day, then I'm going to end up in a nasty mood. Sorry, folks. That's just the way it is. Blame the weather.

But I wasn't in a nasty mood. I was in a good mood. Which means that not even the weather can dictate how I feel. (Triumphant fist in the air.) Yay!

The weather gets to be what it's going to be. Mother Nature is who she is and the seasons want what they want.

And I get to be and feel whatever I want to be and feel. Regardless of the excessive heat, the gloomy skies, the glorious sunsets, or the picture perfect day. 

So bring on the gloom -- oh, no, actually don't. I can accept the gloomy wintery days and still prefer the sunshine. Bring on the sunshine. But I can quietly accept that there will be future gloom.

And I can feel happy.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veteran's Day

 Today is the day we express our thanks to those who served in the military. 

If you're like me, that means honoring people in your own family, including a sibling.

I love action movies. The "old fashioned" ones where there was more dialogue and less slow-mo. I was also into "space opera" fiction,  which usually meant a space military of some sort. One of my favorite characters is Gunnery Sargent Torin Kerr, brought to life by Tanya Huff who is, I believe, herself a vet.

The fights, the high level of suspense, the pathos of characters being cut down, the daring last minute escapes, and of course the witty one-liners. I loved them. 

But to think of my family members in similar situations... gunfire, hostile territory, fearing for their lives and the lives of their team... that is not so entertaining. And not something I would ever, ever want to do.

So thank you, veterans, for the work you do, at home and away. Thank you clerical and medical and spiritual and linguistical and technical and armed persons. Thank you for the boring and mundane as well as the action.

And thank you Universe for bringing my vets safely home.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

that takes me back

November makes me feel like a little kid. 

The cold in the mornings means "I don wanna!" leave my nest of fuzzy warm blankets, because I can never slip into my fuzzy warm robe and slippers fast enough to escape a wisp of cold.

The agonizing decision about whether to keep my head warm or keep my hair free from the inevitable hat static. (The hair usually wins.)

The evening when I'm sure that I can get one more chapter in even though my eyes are drooping over the book. 

Which leads to even greater reluctance to get out of bed in the morning.

I grant you, this is often a cycle no matter the season (including the fuzz blankets.)

 But in November, I feel it more. Because with the cold, I have a reason to stay in bed, right? It's self care, really. Keeping warm and snuggly in my happy place, snoozing with good music and story running through my head.

If only I didn't like the people I was working with and for. 

Sigh. Sometimes Happiness means making the tough choices.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Thankful for my Gratitude Practice


Honestly, when I first tried the “gratitude practice,” I thought it was another form of thinking positive, counting your blessings, covering over the issues. And, in a way, the act of trying to find something to be grateful for highlighted the frustrations currently being felt.

But I have since realized that expressing my gratitude is about a)focusing on the things I want to maintain in my life and/or empowering what I wish to align with; and b) honoring the things I like.

Today, I found another reason for the Gratitude Practice.

Because sometimes things we like, the things we love, leave.

Person, a skill, scenery, an experience -- things change all the time. We can hope and expect there will be a tomorrow, but we don't always have a say in when a season changes, or when an opportunity creates a whole new path.

Gratitude is a way of showing someone or something how much they are appreciated while they are in my life. Gratitude helps there be no regrets, even when we wish we had more time.

There is so much to experience in this world, and since we have all agreed there are only 24 hours in a day (and in November only about 8 of those hours are lighted), we may not always have all the time we want for each love. So for me, gratitude is a way of honoring the time spent together before my focus shifts.

And I am grateful for that. I am grateful to me that I do that. Because when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I want it to be full of joy, with a soaring soundtrack and beautiful scenes. And abundant gratitude.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

What did I expect?


This is my second winter in Spokane.

I didn’t actually want there to be a second winter; I was pretty much done with Northwest winters in November of last year, when I blithely went out to walk and ended up feeling like my heart was going to freeze. Even though the sun was shining on me!

In Colorado, if the sun is shining, I can feel the warmth. I can stand in the sunshine, in February, and feel the warmth. If I see the lightening of the sky outside, I know that I will be able find a spot of sun in which to be warm. 

In Washington, at least from my limited experience, if the sky has lightened outside and I see blue and sunshine, there is still no guarantee of a heart warming moment.

And I think that is the hardest part. Not that it is colder and it’s like breathing slushies, but that I expect one thing and get another.

Which, it turns out is a lot of the time. I am over 50 years old. I have lived more than half my projected  life span. So I guess some expectations are going to be ingrained. Like what kind of music I like, what books I want to read, what food my body likes.

Hmm. Actually, all of those things have changed too, with time. Bodies definitely change. And movies I loved even five years ago, I roll my eyes at now. I am a different person today, in very many ways.

So what am I trying to say? 

That perhaps, instead of expectations I can have curiosity -- about what a new day can bring, what a different place can feel like, what beauty I will find unexpectedly. Perhaps instead of judging an experience on what I am used to, I can accept it for what it is, without comparison. 

And then I can decide if it's for me or not. 

(I wonder if they're breathing slushies in Wales.)

Friday, November 5, 2021

Try to Remember, kindly November


November is often a time of looking back. Not only because we are fondly remembering the warmer days and resisting the coming of the snow with all our imagination (oh, is that just me? Must just be me.) But because this is the time many start preparing for Christmas – which means Christmas cards and New Year’s newsletters, plans for parties, and, of course, decorating. Many of us have to get through all the year’s accumulated treasures in order to find the seasonal decorations. (Unless you're like my sister, who has everything in it’s place. I am a little envious.) 

So memories fly in November, some to be retold, some to be mourned, and all to mark that another set of days has passed beyond us.

Happiness is also about memories. Not only the ones that make me smile, but the ones that help me realize what I have accomplished, made it through, learned and experienced. 

I used to feel that I hadn't "done anything" with my life. That I hadn't made a name for myself. But one day, as part of my journey to figure out what I REALLY wanted to do, I sat down and wrote up a resume of everything I had experience in or with.

It took a long time. 

I realize that while I might not be a typical scholar, and I’m definitely not the master of any particular trade, I have tried a lot of things and done a lot of things and been a lot of places. I could snooze on a year of Novembers just remembering all the amazing people in my life and the time we spent together.

And the things I have around me constantly bring a smile or a connection because of the memories. Which in turn help me feel mature and well able. And loved.

Blessed November, thank you for providing a space in time to turn inward and remember.

(Now, if I could just figure out how to hibernate through the snowy bits and still get my work done...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Be Not Afraid!

Today, I finally faced a fear.

I’ve been skirting around it for days, using all of the tools like  thinking of the situation in a positive fashion and focusing on other things instead of on the fear.

But when I do that, I know that I am avoiding thinking about the thing, so in a way I am still thinking about the thing.

In order to "be not afraid", I actually have to look at the fear straight forwardly. And I have to ask the question, “So what if this does happen?”

It is amazing how light I feel after I do that.

I suppose it’s surrendering, in a way. Maybe giving up the fight? Which makes sense if I think about it. Fighting is about resisting something. And when I resist something, I am acknowledging it’s presence and it's power over me.

But when I quit resisting the thought, it shrinks the fear from a looming "Big Bad" down to a mere possibility.

And I know that there are ever so many possibilities out there. Like falling leaves or blades of grass--there is never just one in any given spot. I can choose the one I really want to look at.

I can choose the possibility I really want to give power to.

And yes, the thought that evoked the fear will return again and again. But since I've already faced the fear, I feel the peace and see the possibilities and change my focus again.

Just like a November day, which can be sunshine with a light breeze, or blustering rain, or even freezing cold with snow. I bring my well-insulated trench coat (a gift from my mom), and I put an extra scarf in the car, and I am ready for any possibility.

And I am grateful for every day I see the sun.

It seems appropriate to close with a condensed version of a quote from Dune.

"I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. [...] Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Frank Herbert

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Happiness is... A State of Knowing


Happiness is not, as I may have mentioned before, about being positive and uplifted and perpetually gleeful and laughing instead of crying. Happiness may actually be a misnomer, but all of my life all I’ve wanted was to be happy--by which I  meant at peace in my soul, and not feeling like the sky was about to fall every moment.

When I was playing with becoming a Happiness Coach, my business coach Laura Naughton helped me  define the tag line for the Happiness Practice. “Happiness is a state of being in every day life.” It was a little play on words (which I love) because it is a state of BE ing as well as a way of behaving in every day life.

But I realize that Happiness is also a state of knowing.

In November, the sun disappears. The leaves are mostly fallen and the trees no longer seem beautiful. The wet starts to come in. November is, despite Thanksgiving, a kind of dank dark month for many of us.

Many people deal with depression during November. The cold saps the energy, the darkness makes us want to sleep more and hide in our caves. It is tempting to think we will never be happy and energetic again.

But we know, from past experience, that the cold and wet is a season, part of the cycle. We know that it will change again.  That there will be warmth again. That we will complain of the warmth again.

We know that the Sun exists out there, even when we can't see it. 

And like November, with Happiness we know that the depression, the difficult time, the tragedy, the sorrow, is a season.  We know there is something outside our pit or room or shrouding blanket of despair. We know that there is love all around us. And we know that we will feel it again.

We may not see the sun shining all the time, but we know that it is shining all the time. And we will see it again.

Meanwhile, may there be pretty lights and fuzzy socks and  warm drinks to help keep the smile in the month of November.

Monday, November 1, 2021

November is Happiness Month


(Because I said so, that’s why.)


If you’re like me, the idea that winter is approaching definitely brings out the grumpy. The weather is consistently colder and colder, and the sun goes to bed right after dinner. Energy levels sink and it’s pretty easy to fall into a slump of food and tv and feeling like something is just a little off.


To reset the grumpy brain, we can find small things to enjoy. Like the string of pretty lights over the window. Or the hand made afghan that looks really good, if I do say myself. Which I do. Stirring, blood tingling music is always a favorite.

And exchanging smiles with the Universe.


In November, getting a smile is as easy as jotting down the date with a little extra flare:


 Look we Created Happiness! (we've got the power!)


May all your smiles come easily :)


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happiness is... My Halloween Celebration


About a week ago I decided I would really like to celebrate Samhain, Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve with Pagans. Or at least with people who have a tradition of celebrating the 31st of October as more than a night of candy and fright. I was looking for reverent and reminiscent.

I knew there were a couple of pagan groups online, so I thought I would jump on Facebook and see what I could find. That is never a good idea for me. Because FB means scrolling which starts with the “oh how fun to catch up on friends’ lives” and ends with contrasting opinions and sniping.

In short, I kept getting distracted.

And then SJ Tucker announced – or I finally saw the email from SJ Tucker announcing – her Halloween concert. Yay! And with it was a notice that she would be providing the music for a Samhain Service offered through UUFF.

So I happily clicked on the link to see what UUFF was and what the service was about.

"UU" is for Unitarian Universalist - a diverse spiritual denomination. I had attended and sung at a UU Church in CO; in fact, I helped lead a pagan service once. So I was comfortable with the the format the service would probably follow.

The "FF" for is Fellowship of Fayetville, a town in Arkansas. Which makes sense because SJ Tucker lives in Arkansas.

The service was titled “Healing Hallows”.  And it was going to be on Zoom.

Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a Zoom service. Lakewood Church is “televised” live, and while I certainly participate (singing and standing and sitting) it’s still more of an observer thing than a being involved thing. And I can eat my breakfast or run to the bathroom whenever I want and no one can see me. On zoom, I feel it’s rude to turn off my video unless requested.

But I have also been practicing trying new things and being myself (as opposed to trying to figure out what others expect me to be and working myself into a frenzy); I told myself I could go pee whenever I wanted. I had the choice.

So I found the link and put it in my calendar and I got to church on time. I even dressed up a bit (because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to).

And when I signed in, I was greeted by name. Which was a shock! I had expected a little bit of anonymity, especially in a church I didn’t know and had never attended before.

But I took a deep breath and settled in—after a few minutes of playing with gallery view and speaker view and etc. and so forth. Cuz that’s what I do.

And it was beautiful. It was exactly what I wanted for this day. And it was heart filling because I felt that I was not just participating, but contributing to the actual service. It was personal.

I was so happy.

And then, my day got even better.

I received my order of a large tea pot and accessories a day earlier than I expected.

I won a door prize on the SJ Tucker concert I was watching (she said my name!) and I heard some new songs.

And I had a marvelous little feast while visiting with the Sun. 

It was an amazing day.

But the biggest gift, here at the end of the harvest season, is knowing that most days can be like this. I just have to be open and say “this is what I want.”  I don’t have to look very hard, or make gargantuan sacrifices. I don't even have to "work for it". I just have to open my heart and allow.

Which I do. Happily.

May every day be a blessing and may there always be something beautiful in our sights.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Blessed Fire


We honor you for the transformation that has danced across our lands and through our lives.

May you see the respect we intend in the numbers and qualities of beings we send to battle you.

We know that you are the heart of the sun, burning strong and proud, never truly quenched, the fire we have buried in our own hearts until you broke free to display your power in a way we could not deny.

Let this symbol of creativity show that you have been heard:

      Not all fires should be quenched; the fires of passions and joy and love and creation 

and exploration should burn on forever. And those fires should be used.

I pray you, release our forests from your embrace, and return to the candle and the camp.

Your work here is done.

Thank you, fire, for that work.

Thank you, fire, for your message.

Thank you, fire for always being alive in our hearts.

Hail and farewell.