Five ideas to make remembering a loved one easy and healing

May is a month with some sadness for my family. It’s the month my grandfather passed away. I sat at the foot of his bed in the dark, early hours of that morning, rubbing his feet and singing him on. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I miss him all the time. Especially in May.

I’m sure you have months with similarly hard anniversaries.

The most important thing is that we honor our hearts and whatever it is we’re feeling as these anniversaries approach.  

-Ashley Fisher,

Today, let’s explore some simple and meaningful ways to honor loss. Things that take no extra time, which is especially important for mothers who struggle for time to sit still for anything! Our hearts still need care.

Five easy-to-do ideas:

-Make their favorite dinner and share some stories about them with your children while you eat.

-Grab a bouquet of flowers when you’re at the grocery store. Put them on your table as a reminder of their love for you, and yours for them.

-Plant a flower they loved if it’s garden season and you garden

-Talk to them as you drive to work (or write them a letter in present tense if you’ve got time)

-Call someone who also loved them and share some memories.

Want to do a bigger project in their honor? The website Love Lives On has over 100 ideas. I especially love their suggestion to buy a biodegradable sky lantern. You could even fill it with notes for them before sending it into the night.

The most important thing is that we honor our hearts and whatever it is we’re feeling as these anniversaries approach. There is no wrong feeling. No perfect timeline for grief. And no death for love so true. We are blessed.

****What about you? How do you remember your loved ones on the anniversary of their passing? Write a comment below or respond to another person’s comment. May our energy inspire and lift each other up.

Your endless to-do list just expired

I love to skim read and my most recent skim was a book called, The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The main premise is that the easiest way to build the life you dream is by choosing the one thing that, once done, would make everything else easier. You’re not allowed to choose your top five or three to-dos. Just the one, the most important one.

This idea really struck me. I often rush around the house taking care of things, getting sidetracked as I go by this and this and this that also needs to be done. Suddenly, I’m quite off course and have to pause to remember where I started. My spiderwebs of activity leave me feeling a little chaotic. And there is still more to do.

Sound familiar?!

In the brief time since reading that book, I’ve started giving myself a “one thing” that I intend to do each evening after my daughter falls asleep. Once done, I set about other things (or not). The liberating thing is that my one thing becomes my one goal. I can hit one goal! I can hit one goal every day!

It’s become kind of fun, picking my one thing. I scan the areas of my life that I’d love to tend to. I’m so excited about growing a flower garden this spring, so today my one thing was planting flower starts in a pot. One pot. There. Garden started. A different day, my one thing was sitting down to create an invitation to neighborhood women for a small gathering. One invitation done. Future connections underway.

My one thing varies, but it allows me to focus on an area of my life that I want to push forward. An area that might be sideswiped by all the other things calling my name. Give it a try! Post a comment below – what is something you’d like to draw into your life? What one thing would most help you do it? You’ll find it’s easy to make time for one thing. And you’re so worth it.

****What would you like to bring into your life? What is the “one thing” you will do to start down that path? Post a comment or reply to someone else’s comment to cheer them on. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up. 

Do this for your best relaxed self

I’m going to tell you a secret to feeling more relaxed, and it has nothing to do with massages or pedicures or even a bath. But first, I’m going to tell you a story to help you remember the secret. I’m going to tell you about the pickle monster. (Stick with me now – you’ll see why!) I learned about the pickle monster in a book I read as a child. The author is lost to me, but the memory of the purple, green-spotted monster remains. She will help you remember what to do to become your best relaxed self.

The secret to becoming your best relaxed self

The pickle monster is an every-day gal  like you and me. She’s got a lot of balls in the air. One day she sees a jar of delicious looking pickles. She plunges her long hand in and grabs a fistful. But she is suddenly caught. No matter how she thrashes about, she cannot pull the pickles out of the jar. Finally, in despair, she lets go of the pickles. Her hand is free.

That’s it. That’s the secret to feeling more relaxed:

Let go of the pickles.

From Pickles to You

Let’s pretend for a moment that pickles represent all the things that we juggle. We put all we can into the pickle-making process: we launch activities with energy and hope and great intention. But no matter how we want to hold on to the success of everything, the truth is they’re all pickles that need to marinate.

I can’t control my daughter’s happiness while she’s at school any more than I can control a family member’s struggle with depression. I can’t control the end-product of team projects, only my role in them.

But Lord, do I try! And for the thousands of seconds I give to worrying and fretting – I have lost control and my body is tense. My hand is deep in the pickle jar when all the pickles want is to be left alone to become what they will become.

For the thousands of seconds I give to worrying and fretting – I have lost control…my hand is deep in the pickle jar when all the pickles want is to be left alone to become what they will become.

-Ashley Fisher,

It feels so good, those moments when I remember to let go. It feels good to say, Ok, I’ve done all I can. I trust the process. I trust that things will be ok.

I regain peace of mind.

This, my friends, is the kind of control that creates a relaxed body and eyes that notice the bright day all around. We gain control by giving up control. Give it a try. Let go of the pickles.

****What about you? Where in your life do you need to let go of control? Post a comment. Reply to someone else’s comment to cheer them on. May our loving energy inspire and lift each other up.

Tell yourself these words to make change feel easier.

In the weeks after my daughter was born, I wrote that her birth was like the layers of a mandala, she and I at the center, surrounded by the circles of people who comprise our Village. Circles that sustain us and love us and cheer for us as we unfurl ourselves in the grace of beginning. The words feel powerful to me still. Especially that last phrase about beginning, a blessing that can reach anyone starting something new – which happens to be all of us. The concept is gratefully borrowed from poet John Donohue “For a new beginning.” In my favorite bit, he writes:

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

-John O’Donohue

These words feel especially relevant now, at the beginning of this blog. They are a reminder to me and to all who read it that we are constantly beginning. The big, obvious beginnings of new children and new jobs and new houses, but also the constant chain of small beginnings that are no less meaningful. The new seeds for this year’s flower bed, the ambitious dessert recipe that may or may not turn out, new progress on healing old hurts. Dare we be gracious with ourselves in the outset, when all is unknown? We must be, or we would never begin!

If you have read the mission statement on this website, you already know that my mission is to foster a generation of daughters who love themselves. This is my new beginning. I will pursue this vision through us, their mothers – the women whose footsteps they follow.  I invite you to join me on a journey that reconnects our busy, loving, anxious minds with our hearts, our joy. From us, may our daughters first learn what it means to be a woman in love with her joy, her power, and all that she is.

In the coming weeks and months, I will create posts that invite you to connect with yourself, with other women in your community, and with your creativity. And to find time for all of that, I will also offer roadmaps and resources to make time in your day where right now there seems none to be found!

But for now, I leave you with this sentiment. Wherever and however you find yourself today, may you recognize that it is a beginning. And with that recognition, may you give yourself permission to be okay with the uncertainty, the messiness, the fear, the excitement, and the hope that comes with change. Clarity will come. Your path will rise to meet you. May you unfurl yourself in the grace of beginning.  

***The full text of John O’Donohue’s For a New Beginning can be read here.

***I invite you to engage with the ideas in this blog. Post a comment – what new thing is in your life today? Reply to someone else’s comment to cheer them on. May our energy lift each other up.