Giving Tuesday

I want to invite you to give.  Today, and everyday.  I want to invite you to give from your overflow.

Yes, I want you to take care of you first.  Nothing wrong with that.  In fact, it’s highly recommended that you only ever serve from your overflow.  That was a hard lesson for me to learn.  I’m a giving person by nature but when you forget to take care of you first, you end up resentful, burnt out, with nothing to give anyone including yourself.  I need you to be in it for the long haul and that means you have to lean to give from your overflow.

And, if you are reading this post, I am going to make an assumption.  I’m going to assume that you have some overflow.  Maybe in money, or maybe in time, energy, love or something else that only you know is overflowing in your heart.  In my case, I feel I have so much love that sometimes it leaks out of my eyes when I talk about making this world work for everyone.

So today, I’m asking you to give from that overflow.  First let’s take a moment to feel the gratitude for even having a little extra, shall we?

Breathing in, I feel gratitude.  Breathing out I send my gratitude into the world.  (repeat as needed).  Make up your own mantra if you wish.

It’s Giving Tuesday today in the US and my hope is that it has infected or will soon infect the rest of the world.  You won’t find me saying that about Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.  Those ideas have already sadly caught on.

If you are like me – already giving, today’s dilemma is not whether to give or not.  It’s really more a question of what do I give to?  How do I split my love?  This question is no different to ones we ask when we have multiple children – or even multiple passions.

After my son was born – our first, I was convinced that it was impossible that I could love another in the same way.  I was not prepared for what happened next.  When my daughter was born, I was unaware that there truly was no limit to how far my love could stretch once my heart had broken open.  And it had already expanded to what felt like beyond capacity with my son.

I can’t explain this to anyone who has not experienced it.  Even if you don’t have children yourself, think of a time that maybe you were out hiking, enjoying the beauty of this planet and remember a view that took your breath away.  I would be willing to bet that moments later, there was even more awe and love and joy that took another breath away.  Or watching a sunset feeling that there is no other sunset that could top the wonder you were feeling towards the beauty before your eyes.  Every sunrise and sunset deserves attention and breath.

This morning, I found myself paralyzed about making a decision about what cause to give to.  They are all deserving of my attention.  They are all worthy.  How do I choose? How do I know that I’m making the right choice?  And here’s what happened next.

I decided that it doesn’t really matter which one I picked.  What matters most is that I give.  I started first by feeling gratitude for even being in a position to give.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It can be something like the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day, per week, per month… There is no amount that is too small.

It reminds me of a story I heard about a person walking on the beach and coming upon another person who was picking up starfish that were washed up on the sand and throwing one by one back into the ocean.  There were thousands of starfish and it was beyond comprehension how anyone could think of taking on the task of saving them.  So the person said: “you know. What you are doing here.  There are too many.  It’s not really going to make a difference.”  And without missing a beat, the other person picked up a starfish and threw it back into the ocean and said: “It makes a difference to this one.” And then continued on, picking one starfish at a time and saving it.

I’m sure I did not do a great job of retelling that story but you’re smart enough to get the gist of it.  It does matter what you do today.  If matters to that one sentient being (human or otherwise) who is ultimately touched by you.  Whether your capacity is $10,000,  $1000 or $10, it matters.  It even matters if it’s $1.  You don’t have to believe me in this.  I just challenge you to try it.  Just get into the habit of giving and start paying attention to how you feel.

I only know what I know from my own personal experience.  I have experienced time and time again that when I give unconditionally – with no strings attached – I don’t know how – but my personal experience is that the that the Universe will multiply it and return it in ways that have humbled me and taken my breath away.

I want that same experience for you.

In case you don’t have a favorite non-profit, here is a short list of 10 that could really use to receive from your abundance.  I support these and others and I would never ask you to do anything that I have not done myself.

Here’s a short list of 10 listed in alphabetical order:

Arbor Day Foundation –

Charity Water –

Green Light Solutions Foundation –

Heifer –

Kiva –

Mindfulness First –

Museum of Walking –

Oxfam –

Scott Foundation –

World Wildlife Fund –

Pick one.  Pick many and split your giving.  Remember, “done is better than perfect”.  So just give even if you don’t know that you are making the perfect choice.  It’s good enough to just get it done.

And, if non-profits are not your thing, that’s OK too.  Find a business that you believe in and send them a check – no need for a tax deduction.  If you prefer, find an individual even if they are not a business.  Seriously, lend your fuel to the passion of anyone who is out there making a difference in people’s lives.  We have to get over the constructs that hold us back.  Giving is about giving.  No strings attached.

With a heart full of love for you – thank you for reading this far.


Are you afraid to die?

This video was at the end of a blog post 7 Lessons Thich Nhat Hahn Taught Us.

For me, he has been a living example of a way of being that serves as a guiding light on my path.  When I’m walking through the airport, I’m mindful and I observe my steps.   I have yet to manage to allow enough time as he recommends.  I will continue to practice.

In difficult situations I breathe.

I found myself contracting this morning against the news of his brain hemorrhage and I had to remind myself to breathe.  But despite the breathing, I still felt that I had to do something even when there is nothing to do.

I continue to breathe as I write this.  I know that there is nothing to contract against.  I know that the light on my path is still there regardless of form.  I know these things and yet I find that my breathing is not enough.  I am restless.

So I’m going to walk.   And I’m going to continue to breathe.

Breathing in I feel gratitude, breathing out I know that all is exactly as it should be.

Building a Healthier Democracy

I’m going to share a few links here that give me hope.  With the Federal Government of the United States in a shutdown state, many people are feeling tension and the blame and name calling is at an all time high.  I have yet to come across a situation where name calling led to anything good.  So here, I offer some words by some very conscious people.

I came across most of this on facebook.  A place that has allowed me to practice tolerance for differing views.

A question was put forth to Parker Palmer – founder and senior partner at The Center for Courage and Renewal and author of  Healing The Heart of Democracy.  The question was this:  “Please let us know when you figure out how to talk to the teaparty.”

He welcomed the query and offered this: “Here’s a site where you can watch my friend Joan Blades, co-founder of, in dialogue with Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots I’m involved in Joan’s “Living Room Conversations” project (click on the “People” tab on their home page to see my statement about it), and I highly recommend it as one way of responding to your implied question. Thanks again. But please, don’t wait for me to figure it out! We’re all in this together, and all of us working together are smarter than any one of us working alone—certainly smarter than I am!”

Although I only just came across the Living Room Conversations project, and I’m not in any way involved in it, and don’t yet know the participants, I wanted to write about it here to raise awareness.  I personally believe in this process and I have seen how deep conversations can bring about peace, healing, and a connectedness beyond what any of us dreamed possible before sitting down in that field that is beyond right doing and wrong doing.  I practice this with my neighbors, with my husband, with my children and with my co-workers.  I know it works.  It gives me hope.

I follow Parker Palmer on Facebook.  You can check out his page here.

Thinking about The Day After Tomorrow

When the movie The Day After Tomorrow came out, it really scared me.  I believed in it’s possibility.

Every time I get in my car, I feel the shame of our humanity.

Most days, I choose not to drive anywhere but I don’t live where not driving could be a sustainable practice.  I don’t want to move and I negotiate with myself about trade-offs.  If my hair looks clean, I will wear a shower cap and not wash it.  A small savings but I’ve arrived at the understanding for myself that there are no such things as small actions.  Every action counts.  So when I drive, even being mindful of how aggressively I speed off from a stop counts.

I repeat to myself: “I am responsible”.

For two years now, I’ve been looking at the flat roof on the house and trying to figure out a way to harvest the water from rainfall.

I realize that this is not leading edge thinking.  I realize that two years sounds like a long time to be thinking about something.  I realize that many have made strides towards living in self-sustaining households but I’m only a step closer to these many and only just taking the first steps and emerging from the overwhelming mass that makes up the rest of us.

Despite good intentions, there seems to be an overwhelm that I experience when I consider stepping out.  So I talk myself into it slowly.  One tiny action at a time.  One less shower.  One less take out meal.  No more plastic water bottles, only re-usable ones… If I make a list of all the things I’ve done, however small they may seem on their own, over time, collectively, they are something.  I try not to make the list of all the things that I still have to change.  I just try and notice every time I’m exercising a choice.  And that is all the time!

Every action is a choice and I want to be mindful.

So when I find a behavior that I can change , I practice that one thing until it becomes part of my life.  No matter how long it takes.

And, to this day, there are moments when I’m conflicted about having seen the movie.  Because it confirmed on the big screen what we all know in our gut.  What I have known from dreams.  Climate change is real.  And, the tipping point is closer than what most of us believe.  What I don’t like is the fear factor.

Occasionally I feel scared and when I do, I talk myself through it until I’m no longer scared.

I tell myself that we are all in this together.

I tell myself that I’m a drop in the ocean and if I change, then the whole changes.

I am responsible.

I praise my little successes in order to encourage more of the behavior that makes a difference.

and, I take steps, and walk mindfully by putting one foot in front of the other.

In the end, I believe that the Earth will be fine.  She will recover if we stop our madness.  We owe her that.  As for us, the humans that walk on this Earth, it may or may not be too late.  Only time will tell.

Happy Mother’s Day


Today is Mother’s Day and I’m feeling grateful to have my babies home (one back from freshman year at College for the summer and the other spending the summer at home before venturing out to College in the fall).  I will be an empty-nester soon… soon, but not today!

Today, the house smells wonderful – of eggs from the chickens in my garden, fried in olive oil.  Cooked for us by my daughter.

I remember a Mother’s Day when the kids were much younger when my husband asked me what I wanted.  I asked for the day off.  He took the kids to a museum so that I could bake a loaf of olive bread from scratch.  That’s what I really wanted.  I wanted to be left alone.  For one day, I didn’t want small messy helping hands around – touching everything – touching me.

While the dough was rising, I didn’t want to answer the repeating chorus of “is it ready yet?” and “why?”

I didn’t want to learn or teach.  I didn’t want to talk.

I baked two loaves that day.


This week, has been a week of contemplation for me.  Since the beginning of this year, I have felt the urge to do something with my life.  I’ve had that feeling all my life (except when I committed to mothering)…  If I think rationally, and take inventory, I know that I’ve done a lot with my life.  But lately there’s a real, primal, unsettling urgency to do something more…  I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s just the anticipation of the coming change.  Maybe, it’s the need for change.  I don’t know.  I just feel like time is speeding too fast and running out.

Of course it isn’t.   Time is time.  It is not linear and it does not run out.  I know this.  And yes, I also know that this lifetime is finite, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  At least I don’t believe that’s what it is.

There’s an urgency about something that is difficult for me to pinpoint.  The urgency feels real.  The sensation is stopping me from functioning and putting one foot in front of the other while tolerating the status quo.  And so of course I am pushing through – putting one foot in front of the other anyway – doing more – despite all instincts – and people are commenting about how “different” I am.  They prefer the old me; gentle, peaceful, spacious and giving.  Lately, I have been moving too fast, giving too much and demanding more as if that would somehow slow things down.

In anticipating the change, I’ve become the change, resisting, and being resisted.

This isn’t new for me.  I’ve been on this edge before.  This tension is familiar to me.  And, before, when I thought it was the end, it turned out to be just another beginning.  I remember the first time I showed up to the edge but refused to jump, I was pushed and I learned to fly.

Who would have imagined that more can be achieved by doing nothing – resisting nothing – dissolving into the moment presenting itself?

The most recent time I was at this edge, I didn’t jump off.  I did the opposite.  I collapsed inwards.  I stopped, stood still and curled in towards my center, my silence, the earth, and nature… And, the quieter I became, the more ready I was for life.

And, when I emerged, everything was right with the world and I carried on.

Is it time to be quiet again or it is time to talk?


On the sleeve cover of the DVD Beyond Right & Wrong – stories of justice and forgiveness by Article 19 films, there is a quote from a bereaved mother of a soldier

When the army came to tell me that my son had been killed, the first thing I said was, “YOU ARE NOT TO KILL ANYONE IN THE NAME OF MY SON.”

I shivered when I read that.  Yes.  That’s what it takes.  Our need for peace must be greater than our thoughts of revenge.  And, now I know that I’m not alone.

I watched the movie earlier this week and it gave me hope.  I know we can have peace in my lifetime.  All we have to do is choose to have peace in my lifetime.  I have personally already made this choice.

Check out 

It seems appropriate that on Mother’s day, I find myself contemplating peace.

In the Huffington Post, there’s an article from Matthew Albracht entitled ’From the Bosom of the Devastated Earth,’ a History of Mother’s Day for Peace.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!… We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.“ ~Julia Ward Howe, 1870
From her Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace

You can read the whole article here.


This morning started with my daughter handing me a printout about the life of Julia Ward Howe and in the spirit of honoring her, she had hand made something for me – a painting that I’m not allowed to share with anyone.  She’s in the midst of studying for her finals but she took the time to paint something for me.  She too must be feeling the fast approaching milestone.  I’m a mom.  I can tell.

Perhaps, like me, she too feels the need to leave something of herself behind.

Wealth Inequality in America Video


Makes me think deeply.

Makes me feel sad.

Makes me wonder where is this taking us and inspires me to continue to try and dream the future that my heart desires.  I will not be discouraged (at least that’s what I have to tell myself).  How can I engage in conversations with everyone?  I don’t like the split between the 99% and the 1%.

Is it possible to have us be 100%?  humans?

What am I doing that keeps the 1% there?  I am responsible.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  And, I love you.  I want this practice to bring me peace and it doesn’t.  Right now all I can do is be a witness.  Aware.  I am responsible.

The reality is not what we think it is.

We need to wake up.

What are your thoughts?  What are your feelings?

Mothers in society are the first Lamas

mothers - first lamas
From my facebook feed this morning

There is nothing more powerful than love.  And to teach our children the power and value of compassion is to give them a gift for life that grows the more they share it.

I believe this to be true because as mothers, we are driven by our highest purpose.

Motherhood is not a job.  It is a calling and being a calling it is informed by something Greater.

There’s a simple exercise that I shared with my daughter when she faced a challenging situation at school with one of her teachers.

Basically, here is what the exercise was all about:

  • Become really still, and quiet your mind.
  • Breathe.
  • Put your attention on your heart and feel compassion.
  • If it’s difficult to feel compassion for the person that is challenging you, then feel compassion for anything you love like your pet dog, for example.
  • While holding that feeling in your heart, visualize the energy of that feeling in a bubble surrounding the challenge you are facing.
  • Know, that no one is born wanting to be mean.  That maybe something, somewhere along the way, forced them in that direction and, feeling compassion towards them, gives them permission to remember who they really are.  They might just start returning the compassion.
  • Expect nothing.
  • Just practice until it becomes easy to do.

My daughter (a teenager) rolled her eyes at me when I first introduced the idea but I guess when she was faced with no other alternatives she must have tried it because a week later, in passing, she said:  “You know that exercise you told me to do?  It worked”.

The Wise Woman’s Stone

From a friend’s facebook posts…

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.

~”The Wise Woman’s Stone” ♥
Author Unknown

A Heart Broken Open

From my facebook news feed…from  Women For Peace And Doing Something About It

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
~ Rumi
A heart broken open is not a shattered heart. It is a heart unafraid to shed tears, unafraid to be vulnerable, unafraid to weep, unafraid to name its own demons and to refuse to project them onto others. A heart broken open is a heart full of receptivity to the healing love of stranger, of animals, of prayer, of compassion, and of memory. A heart broken open offers you sanctuary in which you can find God so that you are never alone.

A heart broken open links you forever to the family of humanity.

A heart broken open is an invitation to become real – to stand before the altar of your soul and pledge that you will no longer waste this precious life on unconsciousness.

~ Paula M. Reeves “Heart Sense” ~ Unlocking Your Highest Purpose and Deepest Desires

A great reminder today and everyday.   The idea of being broken open is a good visual that gives me courage.
Please share this with others as you see fit.


Peace Angels

Angels walking amongst us… beautifully rendered. This, out of all the videos I viewed in recent memory, touched my soul.

My favorite part of the video is between 3:30 and 3:40.  It reminds me of a friend of mine that smiles at me in the same way and then I feel completely well.

So I guess, I believe that angels are walking amongst us.  There are days when I aspire to be the conduit of such divine peace and love.

I came across this video on facebook, in a blog post from FinerMinds.

Connecting somewhere beyond right and wrong