Paradise is Sharing...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lost in my mind....

Photo credit:
I was just reading the Maine Wardens Services updates about the lost hiker Geraldine Largay who has been missing since July 22nd on the Application Trail here in Maine.  It got me to thinking about the times that I have been lost in my life.  Not nearly as life-threatening, but frightening just the same.

When I was in fourth grade, my friend Missy and I got lost in City Hall on a field trip.  We went to the bathrooms together, and when we exited the ladies room, we fell in line with a group from another school.  We didn't really notice we were with the wrong group until we went to get on the bus and realized none of the faces were familiar.  

The first thing that happens when you realize you are lost is fear grips you.  Your mind races and tries to scramble to find the missing puzzle pieces so things make sense again.   You watch your safety blanket of familiarity unravel, and panic sets in. This is where instinct takes over.  My instinct was to sit still and let someone find us or ask a security guard for help. (after all, that is what my Dad always taught me to do if I was ever lost in the wild - and being in the middle of a big city was as wild for me as it gets).... Missy's instinct was to fret, grab my hand and start running bus to bus looking for our class.   We got deeper and deeper into unfamiliar faces, and more and more lost into crowds of the unknown.  We were desperately and hopelessly lost. 

Just as I started to picture our faces on a milk carton, a big lady swooped in and grabbed us each by the ear and dragged us to our bus.  Mrs. Varney had found us, and was madder than a wet hen that we had strayed from her flock.  She abruptly flopped us into the front seat of the bus, where all eyes were on us as we were lectured about straying from the group.  My ear throbbed and my face burned.  I looked over to Missy who was crying.  Anger took over my humiliation as I sat in silence on the bus ride home.  We were lost.... why were we being punished for being found? 

Obviously, that day really bothered me... because here I sit, 30 years later... wondering why I have a hard time admitting to people when I am lost.... instead, I wander, circle hopelessly, and get deeper and deeper into myself.  My Dad's words ring in my ears - "If you find yourself lost - sit still!"

I have been hopelessly and dismally lost.  Not at City Hall, or in the woods - but in the deep, dark, and unfamiliar territory of my mind.  Yes, I am talking about depression.  I felt like I had no direction, I didn't know where I was going - I had no idea what my destination was.... I am sure we have all felt that way - even the most directed and focused people I know get lost from time to time.  I just knew I hated the feeling, and kept circling around and around hoping to find my way out.  Instead, I just got deeper and deeper. Panic set in, and I frantically tried to put together all the puzzle pieces of uncertainty and fear to get it to all make sense... but alas  - I was lost, alone, and afraid.  Worst of all, no one knew I had gone missing.

My Dad would share stories of being lost in the woods, and what he did to find his way out.  Dad would say "You need to send a signal" He told us of a time he was lost on the ridges of the Western Mountains while hunting with his father.  Once he realized that he was lost, he aimed his gun to the sky and blasted off a single shot.  Then he would wait for an answer.  He said in the distance, he would hear his father signalling back -"BOOM! BOOM!" and he would answer back with a single shot - and so it went until they found each other. 

Why was it so hard for me to signal for help when I was lost?  I thought back to the day my ear felt like it was being ripped off by my 4th grade teacher and was reprimanded in front of the class.  Sending a signal would be admitting I was lost - and that thought deeply embarrassed me.  As a self-assured, confident business woman, I was supposed to know where I was going.  I was supposed to have clarity, focus, and strength.  How could I get so twisted around? 

I thought of my Dad being up on the ridges of the Western Mountains in the fog and signalling for help.  Imagine if he had been too embarrassed to send a signal?  He would have died up there. 

Summon your courage - don't let embarrassment be your assassin. - Signal for help.  

Send a message that is bold and clear -this is no time for being subtle.  Wave your arms and jump up and down - "I'm over here!!! I need HELP!"  Don't be shy. 

Then wait for your rescuer to answer.  This is also a difficult skill to master, because it requires listening.  Sometimes the rescuer comes in the form of a friend, a family member or sometimes even a complete stranger.   Sometimes, your rescuer is your Higher Power. You don't know who will be sent to your rescue.   Depending on how far away you wandered, you may have a hard time being heard, or hearing your answer signal in return. You will get one -trust me, someone is out there looking for you.   Get Visible -  Step out into a clearing so you can be seen. 

Let your heart guide you.  It whispers, so listen carefully.
  ~Littlefoot's mother, Land Before Time
Don't be surprised if you get the same primal reaction of Mrs. Varney.  You might have scared the beejezus out of  your friends and family - they may have a hard time regaining their composure, and be angry that you let yourself go so far away.  Remember - their reaction is of love, concern, and relief that they found you.  Thank them for coming to your rescue... ease their fears by insuring that should you get lost again, you will send a signal sooner.

Once you are out of the woods - reset your internal compass - also known as - your instinct. Somewhere along the line, you didn't trust your internal compass, and you were led astray.  My instinct in 4th grade was to sit still and ask for help.  As I grew older, that instinct got off kilter.   Reset your internal compass by living in the present moment.  Don't look behind you, you aren't going that direction.  Start where you are NOW.  Trust the steps you take are surefooted, and in the right direction.  Get a good guide - someone you trust who can navigate you through the wilderness of the unknown. A good guide will help you from getting so lost again. A guide can be a friend, a family member, a clergy person, a coach, or a therapist.  Getting lost is nothing to be ashamed of - what matters is surviving the journey so you can live to tell the tale.

Sit Still - Send a Signal - Wait for an Answer - Get Visible -  Find a Guide you know and trust - Reset Your Compass.

Tell the tale.

Paradise is here, Paradise is now ..... Paradise is allowing yourself to be FOUND.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I remember my Dad telling us a story of how my Grandmother scolded my Uncle for carrying two sacks of potatoes down the cellar stairs.  "That's a lazy man's load!!" she hollered, and made him put the sacks down, and carry them back up the stairs one by one, and then carry them back down the stairs, one by one.

As a child, I couldn't fathom what was so lazy about carrying two heavy sacks of potatoes at the same time.  As I've grown older, I've learned that indeed, yes, carrying two many projects at the same time is truly, a lazy man's load.  Not lazy in the context that we tend to think about.... when I think of "lazy" I picture someone not getting out of bed until noon, not putting the milk carton back in the refrigerator, or leaving their socks on the bedroom floor.  No, my grandmother was describing a different kind of lazy - she was describing being inefficient. 

My grandmother knew that if my uncle continued to carry two sacks at a time, he would wear out, he would get slow, and the other boys who were carrying one sack at a time would eventually do more work than him.  She knew that in order to get the work done, you had to pace yourself.  Taking on too much at one time may seem industrious, but in fact, it is really foolish, and sometimes, you are just being a show-off.  My grandmother recognized his efforts as being counter-productive.

This morning I am remembering my grandmothers story, and I am reviewing all the heavy sacks that I am carrying.  All the groups and clubs I belong to, my business, my work, my household chores, my responsibilities - all the half completed projects, and all the looming deadlines... and I am wondering if I too, am being lazy according to my grandmothers standards.  Yes, I get a lot done, but I am feeling overburdened, and I am sure it's prohibiting me from being the most efficient I could be.... so what sacks do I need to put down?  While it may seem like it will take me longer to get to the finish line by not doing SO much, at least I will get there without exhausting myself, and therefore, not being any use to anyone.  I guess it's time to lighten my load, and stop being so damn lazy.

Paradise is here, Paradise is now, Paradise is lightening your load.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Breeze at Dawn....

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.  Don't go back to sleep.  ~ Rumi

I've never been a morning person.   I have always struggled with being coherent and my mind is muddled in a fog until at least 10am.  I have always had to drink copious amounts of coffee to jumpstart my day, and the thought of being up before the sun would literally make my stomach turn.  But long ago, I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer repeat the quote from Rumi "The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you..." and I was intrigued enough to start setting my alarm at 5:30am each day to find out what secrets the breeze had for me.   At first the breeze told me it was dark out, and I was tired.  After a while the breeze told me it was freezing out, and to huddle underneath a quilt as I sipped my hot strong coffee.  Eventually the breeze began to carry song birds, and the sky would be grey and pink instead of stark black.  And now, as I drink an herbal energy drink instead of coffee, I realized the sun beat me out of bed... and the breeze is telling me I need to start waking up earlier.

I have learned to embrace the morning... it is the one time of the day when I am able to sit in solitude and silence - the only noise around me is the song birds, and the awakening world as it comes to life.  I write my morning pages - reflections of who I am, and who I want to be, and instead of a fog in my head, my mind brightens and comes alive.   Sleeping in is simply no longer an option for me, my internal alarm clock snaps me up out of slumber as the morning breeze whispers "Cilly, wake up.... you don't want to miss this..."  I stumble out of bed, rubbing my eyes, and still in half slumber... and greet the new day.  The birds are all a chatter like nosy neighbors - chirping amongst themselves like little biddies reporting on every move their neighbors make.  The squirrels hurry to and fro to gather their wares for the day - and get side tracked by a game or two of chase, and the bees have been working for hours making me feel quite lazy as they drone flower to flower with the work ethic that I can only envy as I stand in my pajamas and watch them toil.

Nature is already hard at work, and I haven't even had breakfast yet.  While what Lao Tzu said
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." may be true .... I know now, that it's only because nature wakes up pretty darn early. Perhaps that is the secret the breeze at dawn wanted to tell me ...

Paradise is here, Paradise is now, Paradise is the breeze at dawn.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Help! I'm Drowning - Please come drown with me!!!

photo credit: -
Jump in! The water is icy, cold, turbulent and we will surely die!! Come on! Why don't you jump into this whirlpool with me!?!?  Come drown with me!

Seriously? Is that what I expect from him when I present him with my latest nerve wracking worry that has me frothed up into a frenzy?  Apparently, that's exactly what I expected, because everyone else in my life has previously reacted that way.  Oh, Cilly's upset -I think I'll join her.  But not MyHoney.  Thankfully, not MyHoney.  In the past, when I was worried or anxious, my partner would get worried and anxious with me.  At the time, it made me feel better - I felt like he was in this with me, and someone had my back. We would get so whipped up in a frenzy that we would come up with solutions to problems we didn't even have.  But, it gave me something to do - albeit, very non-productive and energy wasting.  So, when I shared with MyHoney my fears and anxieties, and he stood there stoic and calm - I was puzzled.  MyHoney wasn't jumping into my frantic whirlpool of nervous energy and anxiety with me -I felt abandoned.  Why doesn't he join me?  Why isn't he upset?   He continued to reassure me by saying everything was going to be ok, and not to worry.  He threw me the life-saver of the voice of reason and asked me to stay calm.  I hesitantly adapted to his calm nature.  We floated a while.  It was nice.  He reasoned with me... and I stopped kicking and thrashing.  Everything is going to be ok.  We are ok.  It dawned on me... MyHoney is a lifegaurd.

photo credit:
It has taken me five years to understand the role of a lifegaurd.  A lifegaurd may have to jump in the pool to save you from drowning, but they will never let you drag them to the bottom with you.  They keep calm, they grab you and hold you up and keep your head above water.  The most important thing is they stay calm, so you will be calm, stop thrashing about, and stop panicking.  They do not panic with you, they do not feed your fear.  They tell you everything is going to be ok - and it will be - once you stop panicking and start floating.  They have you conserve your energy so you can master the real waves that crash on you.... they keep you steady and with strength and endurance pull you to the safety of the shore.  Had MyHoney jumped in and panicked with me, we surely would have drowned in a sea of fear and anxiety.

So, for now we are floating, I am still a little nervous, but clutching on to the strength of my lifegaurd... we are waiting for the next wave to crash, and then we will steadily swim together to shore.  I am safe.  This morning I am in reflection on how I can become a better lifegaurd for MyHoney.   There will be times he is in rough water... and my intent on bringing him safely to shore is surely not to jump in with the intent for both of us to drown. 


Paradise is here, Paradise is now, Paradise is a lifeguard...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Under Pressure...

Paradise Found at Whisperwood Cabins, Belgrade ME
I honestly didn't care that it was pouring rain outside.  I was sitting in a cabin, on a lake.  I needed this  - to the core of my soul and the depth of my bones - I needed to sit beside a lake today - to write, to read, to ponder.  I needed this break as badly as the dry earth needed this cool spring rain, and I was going to soak up every drop of rejuvenation and drink it in.

MyHoney was DJ'ing a prom in Belgrade Lakes, so I took the opportunity to book us a cabin.  It was off season, and the rates were reasonable - thank God, because I felt like my reason took a fast train to irrational-ville.  We have had a stretch of perfect days - baby blue skies, warm sun with a cool breeze - I've never seen such a dry April and beginning of May.... so when we drove further north and it started pouring, it really didn't surprise me.  Both the Earth and I are going to get our thirst quenched this weekend... 

We pulled into Whisperwood and I fell in love.  Quaint, simple little cabins lined a pristine pond, and tall pine trees nestled around it all.  The rain let up long enough for MyHoney and I to walk down to the waters edge, sit in the Adirondack chairs and breath in the fresh Maine air.  Paradise Found.

Our stay was a short one -we arrived after noontime, and MyHoney had to be at the Community Center to set up for the prom by 6pm.... so in those few hours we sat on the dock, and caught up with each other.  We both realized the whirlpool our lives have become - madly swirling and whirling - with me moving in, and now planning our wedding, not to mention both running our own businesses - it's been a lot of pressure - we've both been feeling it individually, but as we sat on the dock and shared what we have each been going through, the pressure felt lessened.  Odd... our circumstances have not changed.  Our laundry list of to-do's is still just as long, and our responsibilities have not lessened... so why the change in pressure? 

After MyHoney left to entertain the masses, and I was left alone in the cabin to listen to the rain beat on the roof, and watch the pines darken and take in a long, cool drink... I kept thinking about the relief I felt after sharing my burdens with him.... and how that happens time and time again.  As I sat and listened to the peepers chirp their rain song, I pondered about pressure.... and was whisked back to my 8th grade physics class where we learned that pressure equals force over area. 

The force in my life is all the things that are weighing me down - responsibility, stress, deadlines - FEAR.  The area is me - and when I am small, the pressure feels heavier.  I stay small by not sharing, by not growing, by not expanding. When I shared with MyHoney, the pressure changed because now he shouldered the burden with me.  He also helped me grow and expand by giving me some new ideas on how to deal with some of the problems that are cropping up for me right now.   How is it that I never equated this to physics before?  My inner geek jumped up and down in excitement realizing that I DO in fact instantly alleviate the pressure from my clients simply by listening to them allowing them space to expand and grow.  When you share, grow, and expand - physically and emotionally (because our energy IS matter) your surface gets bigger - when your surface is bigger the pressure (all the crap that is weighing you down) lessens - even though the burden remains the same.  In other words, you can handle more... naturally.  Man, physics is awesome!!!

photo credit:

At midnight, the prom was over, and I drove down to the community center to help MyHoney load up his gear, and we returned to the cabin to listen to the rain pelt the roof, eat sandwiches and drink a well earned beer.  I was able to inhale deeply and noticed my chest felt more expansive and was able to take in a deeper breath.  I felt lighter.  My mood shifted. All I need to alleviate the pressure in my life is to expand.  Expand my horizons... expand my circle ... expand my mind - alleviate the pressure.

Paradise is here, Paradise is now ... Paradise is Under Pressure...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Two Souls Reunited - Romping in Paradise ...

Paradise is a loyal companion
I started to write this on the eve of Tuesday, April 30th... finally able to  finish and post today after many tears... We unlatched his leash and let him run eternally free... our sweet, sweet Derby. 

My sweet spotted boy.... I only met you five years ago, and it seems so unfair I had to say goodbye to you today .  You were the best friend to whom would become my best friend  - you were his friend first.  I can't thank you enough for being such a loyal companion.  When we met, you were unsure of sharing him with me, but you did - you realized there was enough room on the couch, and enough room in his heart for everyone - even my crazy white dog. 

Derby, I only hope I can begin to take over where you left off...  I will be by his side, I will take long
Paradise is having adventures
walks with him... I will comfort him, and I will make him smile.  Derby, you taught me what true friendship looks like.  You and MyHoney had a bond like nothing I have ever seen.  He trusted you (sometimes I believed too much)... but you trusted him too.... and together, it worked.   In unspoken harmony.... you bonded - soul-brothers, kin.  I can only reflect the memory of you - I will never be able to radiate in the same light.  You, brother, are irreplaceable.

Photo Credit: Mt Washington Observatory
Paradise is Two Souls Reuniting...
I read this evening that the observers on top of Mount Washington reported the bright lights of the Aurora Borealis ... my vision was of two souls reuniting - you and Destiny, running amongst the stars, dancing, play-bowing, romping - finally together once again - kindred spirits. Running through Paradise....

Paradise is Brotherly Love
Lexi looks for you Brother... she misses you every day.  She looks for you in your bed, in the yard, in all your usual places.  As fun-loving, easy going and carefree as you were - you were her alpha.  Please continue to be her guide Derbs... visit her in her dreams... run with her as she sleeps.  She loves your gentle heart - you took her into your pack, despite her absolute delight in squeeky toys and driving you crazy... you loved her, and she could tell.  You will always be her brother.  When the sorrowful day comes when we have to unlatch her leash for the last time - please run to her - run as fast as you can - it will make her crossing easier for me, knowing you will be there with your tail wagging waiting to welcome her home.

Derby, you were such a good boy.  Run free sweet spotted boy.... say hi to my girl.  I will take good care of your boy.... I promise.  I promise.

Paradise is here.... Paradise is now.... Paradise is running free with Destiny....

Rest in Paradise Derby ... April 1st, 2003 - April 30th, 2013

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Destiny and Derby - Together Again...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ocean of Thought...

photo credit: Trip Advisor
The other evening, I met with my Graphic Designer to work out some new business cards and design concepts for my company.  Finally enjoying a stretch of warm spring weather, we sat at a charming outdoor venue - Novare Res, and I had two glasses of lovely dark beer that had hints of coffee and chocolate undertones.  Our meeting adjourned and I realized that "only two beers" was a little much, and I needed to walk around before hopping in my car.  So I walked around my new little city... I enjoyed the sun on my back, and as people walked by, I caught their eye and smiled. I meandered down the cobblestone streets and  I gazed into the boutiques and shoppes and admired the colorful offerings and the shiney bobbles they offered for sale.

I made my way to the pier and inhaled the cool ocean breeze that wafted in from the springtime maritime.  I  found my way to a park bench and sat to watch the boats and ferries churn their way to their destinations.  My mind went back to the hypnosis session I had attended the week before.  I remembered Jess's voice saying "If a thought floats into your mind, let it - just observe it float by like a boat on the ocean...let it come into view - observe it, then let it slip away..."

So I sat on the park bench and as I watched the boats, I thought about them as the thoughts that float around in my mind. Thoughts came into my mind, and they were old and familiar - like the Casco Bay Ferries.  I have seen them hundreds of times before, and they circle around and around - going back and forth to the islands.  They never have a new destination - they remain the same.  Around and around they circle... predictable. Like clockwork.  Ah... my old thoughts and stories... like the old ferries.  Hello... goodbye, and hello again. 

More thoughts popped into view - they are like the yachts and sailboats.... New and mysterious.  I wonder where they came from, and where they are going.  I wonder about the adventures the people on board must have... where they might end up.  I hope the people on board have the wit and knowledge to deal with the elements.  I wonder if they go beyond the safety of the bay, or if they will brave the open ocean.  Some of the vessels didn't seem sea worthy, and I deemed them crazy if they ventured too far.  Ah.. much like some of my new thoughts that seem crazy at first, but new, exciting and full of adventure. 

My other bemused observation while sitting on the park bench watching the industrious buzzing of the bay, I realized that the boats never stop coming in and out of the marina - the activity is constant... but as the sun dipped into the city skyline, and the shadows of the buildings grew taller, the activity slowed, and the buzz waned to a drone.  Eventually, as night falls,  the droning settles down to a slumber... as the boats rest on their moorings, waiting to be released to occupy the bay another day.  

Noting I was drowsy.... I decided to stroll back up the hill to my car.  Enough thinking for one day -time to hitch my thoughts up to their moorings and rest. 

Paradise is here, Paradise is now ... Paradise is an ocean of thought....

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Paws for a Minute....

Not really believing I was allowing myself to be voluntarily herded into a small, darkened conference room that had been converted into a meditation center, I followed the instructions of the lovely Hypnotist with a pretty baby bump, and a delightful British accent.  "Just make yourself comfortable, whether it be in a chair, or on the floor - you can lay out on the floor if you wish..."  

I watched the other participants choose their spots - a couple ladies laid out stretched on the floor, I chose a corner I could sit criss-cross-applesauce meditation style, and struck my best Yogini pose.

My nagging voice Cecilia muttered... "This is a bunch of hooey you know..."  Shusshing my inner critic, I reminded myself to keep an open mind - this might be relaxing, and Lord knows, after the week I had, I could use some relaxation.

Soft music droned lightly in the background.  Jess, our hypnotist, began talking... she instructed us to close our eyes, to breath, then "scrunch up" a body part, then release ... starting at our scalps and ending at our toes.  Cecilia chimed in "you are doing it wrong..."  Shut up.  Just relax. Who cares? God... why can't I just relax???

 Jess's voice continued and brought us through a visualization of flying over a rainbow (Cecilia -"Is she for real?"  Shut up! )  She asked us to go to someplace lovely, someplace beautiful, someplace where we felt completely safe.  I was immediately in the Western Mountains.... As she flew us "over the rainbow" I flew from my little campsite on Cupsuptic Lake, over Bald Mountain.  I smelled the earthy pine, I heard the loons laughing. 

I landed at Angel Falls....The spray from the grand waterfall created big, beautiful, shimmery rainbows.  Jess asked us to reach through the rainbow - what do we find?  I reached through - I watched my hand stretch out, and I felt the cold, wet rocks.  That's it? That's my big hypnotic moment? A wet and cold piece of granite?  I then felt pressure on my hand, and in my minds eye, I saw a white paw land on top of my hand.  I looked up - and there she was, smiling her Eskie smile, tongue hanging out, and she let out a short huff.  She wanted me to play along - and I knew this game.  I quickly moved my hand back and her paw slipped onto the rock, and I place my hand over her paw.  <<Huff - ha ha, so you do remember this game>> and with a satisfied pant  and a swift move, she pulled her paw away, my hand slipped onto the cold granite rock, and her paw landed back on the top of my hand. 

3, 2, 1..... You may leave your place, knowing that you can go back when ever you want....

I opened my eyes and wiped them, not knowing that tears had formed.  We left the darkened conference room, blinking at the harsh florescent lights in the next room, and from what I could tell, we each had our own experience.  My logical mind wanted to dismiss what happened.  Of course I thought about Rangeley and Destiny - those were the happiest times in my life, the times I felt the most connected to my spirituality and to my source - of course that is where my imagination would return. 

Driving home, I kept replaying the "paw game" in my mind .... I hadn't thought about that game in years.  I almost forgot that that was "our thing."...  Why did she feel she had to remind me of our paw game?  What's up with that Des?

She would always egg me on to play it.  She would nudge, paw, and urge me until I finally had to get down on the floor and take time out to play with her.  PLAY.  I took time out to play.  That was the message she needed me to have.  I need to stop, get down on the floor and play - and I haven't done that in a very long time.  Thank you for the reminder my girl.... thank you for reminding me that I can go back to that place anytime I want. 

Paradise is here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is taking time out to paws for a minute.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On the Verge...

Paradise is being on the Verge...
photo credit: 123RF Stock Photos
Sitting in my car in the parking lot of the local Dairy Queen, I dug my long red spoon to the bottom of my Heath Bar Blizzard and scraped the bottom of the cup.  600 calories later, I felt no less crazed.  Now I felt vexed for even being so frustrated that a detour to the ice cream shop seemed necessary. 

As I drove home, I realized now I've added tummy ache to my tension headache - not a great combination for when I need to be creative - especially to be creative on a deadline.  I need to put together that presentation for tomorrow - but brilliance is escaping me, and I am beyond frustrated.

Once home I dutifully sat down in my "writers chair" and pulled out my laptop.  Better try to give this a go... and after two hours of painful tugging of thoughts and ideas, I had a rough presentation pulled together.... not one that I was the least bit excited or proud about.  MyHoney walked by, saw my furrowed brow, and knew to stay clear.  He was almost through the room when I sighed loudly.  "Um... anything I can help with?".... an innocent, sweet and gentle question, that recieved every dagger in my arsenal.  "NOT UNLESS YOU CAN HELP ME PULL MY CREATIVITY OUT OF MY @$$!"  My poor Honey.... caught in the crossfire of the crazy war that wages between my outrageous expectations and my modest abilities - again.

I returned my eyes to my laptop, but the screen was black, my laptop blinked off and went through an "auto update." When the laptop came back on, I frantically searched for my work - but it was gone.  I felt my mind go blank and snap off much the same way my laptop did, I had a complete and total meltdown.  I took the technological fail as a sign from the Universe that my message was junk, that I was a fraud, that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about, and the Universe was doing everything in it's power to block my message from getting out to the world. In my collapsing view on reality, I thought I needed to throw in the towel, and just go hide in a cave and live my life as a recluse much in the way of Salinger, Manet, and Garbo.  Good lord. The drama I create.

Through tears I exclaimed "I just wish I knew what my message is supposed to be - Why can't I get this?!?!"  MyHoney just sat next to me with his hand on my shoulder while I fumed. 

Paradise is letting the storm pass...
Copyright (c)

Frustrated, I put down my laptop, and went to bed.  I did put together a presentation the next day, but again, not my best work.  Luckily, even "not my best work" is pretty good... but I was still frustrated that it didn't click or resonate with me.   

Walking along the ocean side, holding hands with MyHoney, it was the first calming moment I felt in days.  We talked about home improvement things, about what our summers were shaping up to be, and even about wedding plans.   It was all shaping up nicely.  Suddenly, like a lightening bolt, the information I had been begging for, straining and racking my brain for Divinely downloaded There it was  - the Answer.  It clicked on like a switch. At first, I questioned it - could it really be that simple?  Furthermore, the answer  (and I knew it was the answer because of the feeling in my gut I had) was something I had previously been resisting.  I was resisting the answer all along, and it was only when I surrendered that it all became so clear.  The message flowed.  I got it.  I knew what my message was... and when I got home I nearly ran through the door to my lap top to capture it all. 

Tapping fervently on the keyboard ... my face glowed from the light of the PC - the room had grown dark without my noticing that the sun had gone down.  MyHoney walked through the room and snapped on a light.  Barely noticing, my fingers flew.  This is a masterpiece!  MyHoney cleared his throat and tried again "How's it going?" ..... and clicking save - I invited him over to read what I wrote.  "Brilliant!" he exclaimed as he read the last word.  I had tears in my eyes... it felt so good to have a breakthrough.  I can't believe the tension, frustration and resistance I felt just a day before.  It was then I realized - "When you are feeling the most frustrated, get excited - you are on the verge of a breakthrough!"

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now ... Paradise is being on the Verge...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Paradise - Relocated....

The Buddhist Parable of a Raft:

A man is trapped on one side of a fast-flowing river. Where he stands, there is great danger and uncertainty - but on the far side of the river, there is safety. But there is no bridge or ferry for crossing. So the man gathers logs, leaves, twigs, and vines and is able to fashion a raft, sturdy enough to carry him to the other shore. By lying on the raft and using his arms to paddle, he crosses the river to safety.
The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: “What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, ‘Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now?’”
The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way.
The Buddha continues: “What if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?”
The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude.
The Buddha concluded by saying, “So it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over with — not for seizing hold of.”
With the last box packed in my Subaru, I walked into my empty apartment and stood in the center of the room.  I loved how this place embraced me.  I loved how I felt safe here.  I loved the tall pine ceilings.  Her and I had history.  This place rescued me from danger, not once but twice.  I was saved from sinking.  I took in a deep cleansing breath and reminded myself that I was safe now, and my beautiful nook in woods, my sun-drenched sanctuary had served me well... it was time to thank her, place her down, and not carry her any longer.  Thank you for saving me. 

I've read about when animals are brought into refuge after being abused or injured, and even though at first they wildly resist going into the cage, once they realize they are safe there, they refuse to leave the cage even once they are healed, and being released.   Even though the immediate danger is gone, they relate the wide open fields that were once their home to being hurt or injured - they choose to continue to live in the safety of the cage, and they resist leaving with every fiber of their being.  They miss out on being fully rehabilitated because they live in fear, and they choose the cage.

I am not going to lie - it took a lot of convincing to tell me I was now safe, I was free to leave my sanctuary, and I had crossed the river.  There is no danger in my new home, I am not in peril.  It was my time to leave my refuge and live my life.  It was time to let go of my raft.  Time to leave the cage.  Time for me to fly.

As the moving van pulled away and I looked at my new surroundings, littered with moving boxes and
very disorganized and chaotic,  I found myself mourning the raft.  A few tears dropped down onto the tape covered box I was attempting to open.  Its hard to believe I have crossed over and I am on safe footing, yet still feel this way - fearful for the unknown, shaky, uncertain.... I mourned the embrace of my sun-drenched apartment.  I was the damn caged bird that doesn't recognize how good I have it, and freedom is mine for the taking.... all I have to do is stretch my wings.

MyHoney walked in with an arm full of boxes, and beamed at me like a ray of sun.  Noticing my tears, he put down his cargo, walked over to me, and embraced me.  As I buried my face into his shirt and breathed in deeply his warm hug, and I watched in my minds-eye as I cut the rope to the raft, and gratefully let it float away. 

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now, Paradise is Releasing the Raft....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Overture, Curtain, Lights...

Copyright (c) <a href=''>123RF Stock Photos</a>
Paradise is taking the stage...
Cautiously optimistic, I shuffled in with the rest of the crowd, and found an empty seat.  In front of me was a stage, adorned with a banner above, a linen covered table with a vase of pink roses, and a pitcher of water and a glass for the speaker.  Behind me was a DJ/AV guy providing lighting, upbeat music, and the right pitch of hype that was needed for such a production.  My cautiousness faded to curiosity, wondering what was in store for me and the other 39 people whose eyes were also focused on the stage.

In bounds a young man, he hops up on stage and addresses us enthusiastically - the crowd responds in agreement.  We rise to our feet and begin applauding... and then from stage right she enters ... star struck and in awe, I realize she is exactly where I am meant to be.... and I will do anything to be there.  She took the stage, stopped, breathed, and acknowledged each of us sitting in her presence with a warm smile, a nod, and eye contact with her piercing blue eyes that sparkled with the expertly lit stage lighting.  I was immediately drawn in, and any hesitation I felt about this weekend vanished in the lime light.  The beautiful part of this moment was she was UP on that stage for one purpose - to teach me to take my own stage.  She was going to teach me how to be just as dazzling, just as mesmerizing, and just as magnetizing as she was... I was riveted to the edge of my seat.  She opened with asking us if we wanted to fill our workshops and make more money - we enthusiastically shouted "YES!!"  ... She then brought us through her turning point story - a story of highs, lows, humbling lessons and an amazingly successful outcome.  We applauded wildly.  We high-fived each other and celebrated.  From her story, I could see hope and possibilities for me.  It was exciting! 

Callan Rush, Co-founder, Leader to Luminary
For the next three days I study her every move as she leads us through the ins and outs of educational marketing.  I am enthralled with not only what she is teaching me from her lesson plan, but what she is teaching me by example.  She has a nutritionist bringing her green drinks, fruit, nuts and cheese, and most importantly, water - Fuji seemed to be her favored brand.  The DJ/AV and the warm-up announcer got us in a frothy frenzy before she entered the room after each break.  Her assistants made sure she had every thing she needed including papers, notes, markers, props - so her attention was exactly where it was supposed to be - on us - her audience.  As a result, our attention was exactly where it was supposed to be - on her, our leader.  Something told me this wasn't her first time at the rodeo. 

For three days I fantasized being on my own stage, leading an audience through transformations, creating an atmosphere, creating a buzz.  On the plane ride home, as I drifted off in a exhausted post-event slumber, my head remained in the clouds as I dreamed of being announced, taking the stage, and transforming lives.

After a few days home ... the spotlights dimmed and the stage became a distant memory.  Work had to be done, and I had no entourage at my beck and call.  Reality set in.  Off to coach my next client, write my next blog, file my taxes, and do my paperwork.  It's all in a days work, and I have no stage hands bringing me lattes. 

All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts - Shakespeare

Sitting face to face with my client Tim*, I listened intently as he excitedly shared a break through with me.  I was riveted to the edge of my seat.  He took me through the challenges he had, the process it took to get to transformation, the "Ah-HA!" moment he experienced, and the amazing successful, life changing experience he had as a result.  He humbly said "If not for our conversation last week, I never would have thought of it that way -this changed my LIFE"  I jumped up and exclaimed "YES!!!"  - we both celebrated with high fives and "atta-boy's"... we basked in the moment and I had Tim* take a bow.  I applauded wildly... I finished the session with Tim, and sent him on his way with a list of the next things he would take on and tackle for the week - because nothing from this day forward would hold him back.

I sat back down in my chair, brought my laptop to my knees to finish his coaching summary notes reflecting on the amazing performance I just witnessed ... and the curtain drew.   No entourage waited in the wings... no DJ/AV guy played upbeat music.... none was needed - because that moment was enough.  It is that moment that I live for - it is my all star performance, the one that receives rave reviews and burns in the memory of the audience.

 Overture, Curtain, Lights... this is it, let's hit the heights, and OH what heights we'll hit!!

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now ... Paradise is hitting the heights...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Clearing the Trail ...

Today we are getting wet, heavy, tree-bending snow. Sipping my coffee and watching the pines bend while the woods dress their naked limbs in drapes of white velvet, I thought back to years ago, when I would wake up and this type of snow meant one thing - snowmobiling season.

Excitedly, we would rush through breakfast, suit up in our long-johns, boots, scarfs and snowmobile suits. Adventures of flying through the fields and to destinations occupied my mind.  I couldn't wait to rev up my machine and ZOOM ZOOM!  Racing outside I stop dead in my tracks when I see my Dad trudging from the garage with a gas can, axe, chainsaw and shovels in hand. He loaded them up in the dogsled he already had hitched to his snowmobile. I groaned. I knew today would not be the day for fast-paced trail adventures. Today, we had to clear the trail.

Once we were packed up, we zoomed across the fields, white powder floated up behind us,  and swirled around us in a frosty frenzy. My brother and I raced each other for pole position - but that is where our need for speed ended as we crept to the edge of the field and entered the deep canopy of the woods. Then the work commenced. The trees bowed down like a maze of marshmallow covered tunnels. I often got confused as to where we were, grateful my Dad was there - he knew this trail like the back of his hand, despite the feeling of having stepped through a wardrobe into a foreign snow encrusted Narnia. Downed tree after downed tree, we would work, clearing the way. Saws buzzing and echoing into the valley, I felt like we might as well be out in the Alaskan Tundra.  Mile after tedious mile, we cleared our section of the trail, and eventually run into another group of snowmobilers who had cleared the trails from their houses. Seeing the other group coming in our direction made my heart skip. We had made it! The work is done! Exhausted, we headed back home in the moonlight.

My friends would tease me - why work so hard to play? I knew that once we had worked hard to clear the trail, we reaped the rewards of a fun filled winter. Once the trail was clear, the real fun begins. It made all the hard work and labor worth while. Not only were we able to get out from the farm, but now our friends were able to get to us. Our fields buzzed with friends and neighbors meeting up, racing the fields, building bonfires to warm our hands, and enjoy the sparkling winter sun. Snow-shoers flopped by with their dogs, and cross country skiers skated by on our smooth, freshly dragged trails. The day or two of breaking through the trails with chainsaws and axes were a long distant memory.  The fun was so infectious, that sure enough, the next time we had a tree-bending snow, I would forget all about the fact we had to clear the trails all over again.  I did notice, the more frequently we got heavy snow, the less we had to clear the trail the next time.

Had we decided to skip the work to get to the prize of riding the trails, we would have gotten snarled and caught up along the way. Our snowmobiles would have gotten stuck and damaged, or worse, riders could have been injured.   An inexperienced rider would surely have gotten lost trying to distinguish where the trail began and where it ended had we not cleared the way.

As the fat, fluffy flakes lazily plop onto the tree branches outside my window, I think about all the trails in my life I need to clear.  Right now, looking at my goals is like looking at them through the gnarled up, twisted branches weighed down by tree-bending snow.  I sometimes feel lost in the white out, disoriented as to where I am, and not sure I can find my way.   The terrain looks foreign to me.  

I think about the dog-sled full of tools I have - experience, knowledge, intuition, wit, charisma .. amongst others.  I think about the trail-masters I have in my life -the people who have been on the trail before, who know how to navigate it - whether its smooth sailing, or blocked with twisted obstacles and challenges.  People who can show me how to use my tools and resources to cut down the obstacles, and how to mark the trail so others can join me.  I think about how amazing it feels once the work is done, and how that hard work resulted in fun, enjoyment and community.   I start to get excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work clearing, because clearing is the first step towards the reward.

Tell me, what trails do you need to clear to get to where you want to go?

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is Clearing the Trail...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A million things to do ... and everything to say...

"I tried to schedule time to be creative, but my creativity missed the appointment"....

It was said jokingly by one of my clients, but as I laughed, I also felt a pang of truth - I had been doing the same.  I realized I've been so caught up on scheduling my life to make it all fit, that I hadn't fit in the most important parts - ME. 

It reminded me of the time management parable - I haven't put the big rocks in first.  Problem is, I didn't realize how big the rocks are until I am trying to cram them into the container. 

And so, determined to fit creativity into my day,  I sit with a blank screen of endless possibilities in front of me, and I get twitchy.  I should be studying. I should be preparing my presentation for tomorrow.  I should be getting on that new marketing material.  I should be preparing for the kick-off teleclass for my Mastermind Groups I am having in March.  I should be doing my taxes...

A sip of coffee and a deep breath later, the blank screen before me takes on new meaning.  I have a million things to do today, but very little to say.  How can that even be?  

What are your important rocks?
Perhaps it isn't the size of my to-do list I need to manage - but the weight. 

Reviewing my mile-long to-do list, I wondered - what meaning does my busy-ness have?  What significance?  Most of my list is tedium - taxes, paperwork, cleaning. Why do I feel compelled do these tedious things?  I decided for kicks to write down the value I have that is tied to each task.  Well, because I value honesty and integrity -  I will do my taxes.  I value taking pride in what you have, therefore I will clean my house.

I notice that with each value I think of, I could write an essay on each.  "Taking pride in what I have" reminds me of my Dad carefully greasing his tractor after each use - cleaning it until you could see your reflection in the John Deere green paint.  You would think he was entering his tractor in a parade the way he polished it each day.  His tractors are his pride and joy - they are a direct reflection of how the world sees him.  People don't even have to speak a word with my father to know what his values are - they just have to visit his farm.

Paradise is making a mark
I wonder -are my values showing through my work?

When I complete this list, will people see what I feel?

Certainly, this exercise is making me feel very differently about my to-do list... .no longer is it a list of tedious chores, but a direct statement of my values.  I may not have a John Deere Tractor to spit shine, but the end result is still the same - the finished product is an outward reflection of me.

As I scan down my to-do list, I see "Write New Blog Entry" - I mark it off, and realize it's not about marking things off my to-do list - it's about making a mark.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is making a mark....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Soul Celebration

Destiny Grace - 1/11/1996 - 1/16/2009

Four Years from this Earth, my sweet girl. I imagine a time we are together again... frolicking through daisy peppered fields, laying on our backs and watching the clouds drift by... napping in the sun, and flicking butterflies from your ears. Explore Paradise well my girl, I want to see it all, and have you be my guide when I arrive. Find the best swimming holes to cool ourselves, the best rivers to fish, the most gentle fields to rest..the best trails to explore ... and in the meantime, our adventures live on in my dreams... my beautiful beautiful Destiny.


From the first time that I saw you
I know it was forever
This mighty love between us
Will keep us together
You're the girl God sent from heaven
I'm so glad I found you
Forever, forever, forever, forever, forever, forever
I'm so glad to be around you
You are my destiny
You are my one and only
You gave that joy to me
When my whole life was lonely -

          - My Destiny - Lionel Richie


Paradise is here... Paradise is now.... Paradise is remembering my Destiny.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - I will take a different path....

Paradise is navigating the twists and turns ...
What if I don't make it? What if I fail? (again) What if I can't do this? What if it doesn't work out?  What if I have to turn back and start all over again.  (again).
My "What If" Gremlin is running amok.  Problem is, Cecilia has a lot of fuel to feed the flame.  I have failed before.  It didn't work out in the past.  I've fallen flat on my face.  I've tried and failed, tried and failed.  I've been down this road before.
There is a mountain in Western Maine that has been my nemesis since 1998. Tumbledown Mountain is that looming goal  - no matter how hard I try, no matter how I research the trail, study the map, pack my gear, and prepare myself for the hike - I have not yet been able to reach the summit.  The first time was because we took an incredibly dangerous trail, and ended up at what they call the "Chimney Sweep" ... and I was literally too fat to fit through the narrow gap in the rocks to reach the summit.  My ex-husband squeaked his thin frame through, took pictures of the views, and came back down to report that there was a boyscout troop at the top.  Astounded I stammered "they allowed children to climb up THAT?!" Pointing to the hole in the rocks that led straight up over a vertical drop.  "No," he meekly admitted "There is an easier trail on the south side"....  Dammit.  Defeated, I hiked back down to the base, determined to find that easier trail next year, or lose weight so I could slide through the rocks next time.
Two years later, I did lose weight.  Destiny and I made a go of the summit this time solo.  She ran ahead of me, bounding up the boulders and scrambling up the rock faces.  As she scrambled to the top of a 15' drop and looked down at me, I froze in fear.  What am I doing here alone?  What if I fall?  I looked down to see how high we were, and I eased my back onto the firm surface of the rock, and shook.  I can't do this - I need to come back with someone.  This is stupid -I have no business being out here by myself.  After twenty minutes of being frozen in fear, I slid down the boulders, firmly holding Destiny's harness so she wouldn't skid off the cliff.  Safely back at the car, I looked up to the summit as it mocked me.  Next time, I will bring a friend, and I will find a different trail... and maybe bring some rope.  I don't want to do this summit alone.
Paradise is tackling the summit...

I didn't return to that mountain until 10 years later - this time with MyHoney, Destiny and Derby.  I had thoroughly researched the trail head, the markers and where to start.  I was convinced I had chosen the easiest trail.  We were not going up the Chimney Sweep, but rather we would go the easy trail the boy scouts had been on a decade ago.  This time, Destiny petered out before we could summit.  My poor girl couldn't find the strength to scramble up the rock ledges, so we turned around and hiked back to base camp.   I should have left her home... it was just too much for my old girl.  My bad.

Last summer, I was determined to give the summit another go.  I packed a map, a compass and rope.  I told friends I was out on the trail, and when to expect me back.  I had food, water and supplies. Lexi and I arrived to the mountain, and I started my hike off strong.  About midway up, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, and was turned back as fog and inclement weather rolled through the region.  Lexi didn't seem to mind frolicking through the lower trails where the fog wasn't socked in.  I was irritated.  This damn mountain just doesn't want me to climb it.  Next time, I need a weather radio. 

Each time I've tried to make the summit, I've learned something new.  I've learned different paths to take.  I've learned who to bring along as hiking partners.  I've learned I need to monitor weather conditions as well as trail conditions.  I've learned what gear to bring, and what gear not to bring.  I've learned how to stake out what direction to take with my compass.  Yet, as I write down on my 2013 goal list "Summit Tumbledown"... I have doubts in my mind.  What if it rains the weekend I plan to do it?  What if I'm not in good enough shape? What if I get lost again?  What if I am just not meant to summit this mountain?
As I was listening to a talk Dr. Wayne Dyer gave "Wishes Fulfilled" - I realized Tumbledown Mountain is more than unconquered summit in my book - it symbolizes every run I take towards a goal, only to slide back down in defeat.  Looking at my goal list for 2013  - there several unconquered summits on the list.  Some I have taken a run at a few times before - just to learn every pitfall and obstacle in my way.  So, while looking at my dreams on paper - the dreams I want so desperately to fulfill - I realize, I need to take a different road - just like I know I need to take a different trail to get to the summit of Tumbledown.  I need better gear, more experienced hiking partners, and the patience to wait for good weather.  I need to prepare myself mentally and physically.  

And, just like changing the trail to take for Tumbledown, the path I need to get to my business goals need to change.  I need to reevaluate who is in my circle -are they helping me get to my goals or holding me back?  Am I mentally and physically fit to work the hours I need to work to attain my goals?  Have I properly prepared by mapping out my plan?  Have I attained the adequate resources to sustain my journey?  Do I need more training and knowledge?  Perhaps I need someone who has already been there to be my guide. 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

By Portia Nelson

What goals do you have on your list for 2013?  Have you made a run at them before?  What will you do differently this time?

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is conquering your Mountain.

** Update - my friend Kelly messaged me after reading this blog post and told me she wants to hike Tumbledown with me this spring, as she has expertly hiked it before.  Stay tuned - I will post pictures of Paradise from the top!