The first copy of my book just arrived. Wow! It's exactly how I imagined it. The sense of accomplishment I feel right now is undeniable.

When it arrived I was headed out for lunch so I took it with me. It was on the table beside me. I watched someone pick it up, drawn in by the cover and comment "how beautiful". She turned it over and read every word on the back.  She then opened it up, looked through the initial pages, read the intro, 1st chapter, quickly turned the page, and started the 2nd chapter.  Finally she looked up and said "how can I get a copy?"

This is 106 pages of my most significant moments, the difficult, joyous, and funny. To see someone react in that way.....well....there are just no words......

Deep conversation…it’s one of my favorite things.  I know it has been deep and meaningful when I’m left with food for thought that lasts long after the conversation is over.  

 “You must have been born falling in love,” said the radio host who was interviewing me this weekend.  I’ve been mulling that over for two days now, and I think she’s right. My first love came when I was in 7th grade.  As a parent, I now look at my 7th grader and think, really?  But I was sure I was in love.  The first time he held my hand in the back of a church van returning home from rollerskating was pure magic!  It was around that time that I also remember writing a novel, a love story of course.  With many pages but not the entire story complete, one day I just tossed it in the trash.  I don’t know why, but it may have corresponded with that initial love moving on to high school and breaking up with his junior high girlfriend!  That was the first time I knew my heart had been broken, and likely the point at which the door started to close.  I have a tender heart and am very sensitive.  So needless to say, those moments of feeling crushed and closing the door a little more came frequently.

I’ve decided to stop putting so much pressure on others to tend to my heart and finally am learning to tend to my own.  I am aware this will require balance because tending to our own can often end up being just another excuse to build more walls.  Ultimately as one born to fall in love, I am now learning to fall in love with myself, to fall in love with life. 

Of course, if you’ve been in a relationship with me, you may not believe this to be true.  I’ve worked really hard to wall off my heart and be sure the entrance is securely locked.  But with all that, my natural state is still love.  Perhaps we are all like that.  We come in with our hearts open but as we age, we allow experiences to wither our capacity to give and receive love again.  I’m working as we speak to reverse that process, to remove the walls and unlock the door.  Though I’ve made great progress, I’ve just realized that a recent experience has again left me wanting to slam it closed.  So how do I resist the urge and continue to remain open?  With courage. 

We've all heard the phrases "live in the present", "be mindful", etc., and both are a very good idea, but what does that mean exactly?  If I am to be mindful of every moment, then that has to be EVERY moment.  Sometimes it's easy to be fully present if I'm in a moment that I think I want to be having, but if I find myself in some moment that I don't want to be having, then it is far more difficult!  Staying present means feeling the love, grief, joy, frustration, excitement, and fear.  We must stay present and feel all of it, whatever this moment is offering.  Developing this muscle is much like creating other habits in our life.  It takes practice. 

I was recently having a conversation with someone in which we were discussing dating relationships.  When we are new to dating, it is less about whether a current relationship lasts or not, and more about the kinds of patterns we are developing in terms of how to navigate relationships.  Creating effective habits in navigating relationships is key to having relationships that are healthy and happy as we move through life.  What habits have you developed?  Do you lean into conflict, or do you run?  Do you express yourself authentically, or do you mold yourself to fit someone else's ideal?  Do you hold differences gently, or do you criticize everyone who is not like you? 

As a child I was blessed with a naturally thin build and could eat whatever and how much of whatever I wanted and never gained a pound.  None of that was a problem.  The problem is that because of that natural blessing I never learned the value in developing effective eating habits or giving my body proper fuel to keep it healthy and strong.  As we all know, as adults our metabolism often changes and suddenly that naturally thin body is not as easy to find!  When times of emotional stress hit, I find myself craving all those foods I could eat as a child with no consequences.  Only now, yes you guessed it, MANY consequences!  Because I didn't learn healthy patterns as a child and young adult, I am now having to reprogram myself as an adult.

I believe mindfulness is the same way.  We develop habits of being fully present, one moment at a time.  If I have something exciting coming up and spend all my moments leading up to that time dreaming about it and not being fully present with what is at hand right here, right now, then it's likely I won't be able to remain fully present for the exciting time either.  Our present behavior is often a good indicator of our future behavior.  For years, as the new year resolution time approached, I was the one who said "tomorrow is the first day I start getting into shape!"  It wasn't until I was ready to say "today I do something to help my body feel healthy" that change occurred.  It has to happen today, or it will never happen.  Today is all we have.  What patterns are you developing and/or strengthening within yourself today?

This morning I awoke to an email from a friend with the lyrics "Let Your Love Flow" by the Bellamy Brothers.  I love how Spirit works in such wonderful ways because that was exactly what I needed to be reminded of.  I have been feeling this constant nausea for the last 2 weeks or so, nervously anticipating the upcoming release of my CD.  It occurred to me that never once did I think "What can I do to make this music more appealing to the masses?".  It is an intensely personal project, and everything done was deliberate, to symbolize my journey and express who I am.  Kevin McCarthy, Producer and Recording Artist, did an amazing job of adding instrumentation that enhanced the emotional feel of what my songs are trying to convey.

And so I continue to relax into the process of letting go of attachment to any specific outcome.  This is a moment by moment discipline!  My ever-present job is to keep showing up fully, authentic and vulnerable.  And when I do that, I believe I leave space for others to do the same.  And maybe, just maybe, that is enough.  How would the world be if we could all just let our love flow?

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