Life & Love

Giving Thanks Starts Here

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of the month and from then on it was an annual tradition.

His declaration was stated during our nation’s civil war and the underlying message is so apropos today.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise… And I recommend to them that… they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become… sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” Abraham Lincoln, 1863

It feels good to tap into the early remembrance of what Thanksgiving means on a grand level and to honor and be in gratitude for the core values of us as a national people. At the end of the day it always comes down to that.

It all begins with what we’re grateful for in our own lives. And, to my way of thinking, giving thanks for those same tenets that Lincoln mentioned, on a personal level are a good place to start: “peace, harmony, tranquility...”

So, traditions of giving thanks abound, in a myriad of ways. And, it’s really something to celebrate. 

What are you thankful for? Take a few moments to really give them thought and voice.

To name a few...

I’m grateful for my family and friends, and for people in my life who are my greatest teachers, often giving me lessons that are very hard to receive at the time but end up being necessary and transformative.

I’m grateful for a curious mind and for having a platform on which to invite others to explore and reach a little beyond themselves as well.

I’m thankful for you.

It’s pretty simple. And, necessary. And, important.

Light-thank you

 

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com. Please visit us on our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/ThoughtChanger  


Are You Wearing Masks That Hide the Real You?

Unmasking brain injury
Unmasking Brain Injury
 

There was a beautiful exhibit at an art show I recently attended, called "Unmasking Brain Injury." The base of each mask was the same, but they were all designed, painted and crafted in very different ways – each symbolizing the fear, pain or journey the artist was going through as a result of their brain injury. It was exquisite in the way it captured this community, giving each person a voice and revealing what was underneath the face they were presenting to the world.

It got me thinking about the masks we wear in life, hiding true feelings or intentions, slipping in and out of being authentic - to ourselves and others.

A few years ago I took part in a retreat where the intention was to call in our soul mates. What can I say? I believe in soul mates! There was much introspection; meditating and connecting during the retreat to help us look at this process. At the beginning of the retreat, we drew inspiration word cards that were meant to help guide the journey. I pulled the word “deception.” I was thinking, this doesn’t bode well for someone looking for love! Deception? Really? But, I took this to heart and decided there was probably a reason I pulled that card. And, boy was there.

Upon going deep within during the meditation, it soon became very clear that the meaning for the card, for me, was self-deception, and that there were things I was hiding behind and needed to work on and to let go of before I would be ready to call in a lasting relationship of any kind. Very soon, my entire retreat became about self-love and examining where in my life I was wearing a mask of self-deception.  

The truth is, we all wear masks. For me, my masks were hiding the true intentions and authenticity for who I really was, not how I was showing up in the world at the time. One such mask was hiding a fear of wanting to be liked BY EVERYONE. And, I’d become so attached to that desired result that it was stopping motion in many areas of my life.

This blog, for example. I’d become so attached to what was going to happen when I hit the publish button that I was obsessed over how many likes I got or how many people shared it. So much so, that I lost sight of why I started the blog in the first place. So much so, that I stepped away from the blog for a year after that retreat. I told myself that until I could be very centered on my true authentic purpose for pressing publish – that being to help one person, just one person at a time, to possibly think about something differently in their life, to be inspired to change one thought and thus raising the consciousness of the planet one thought, one person at a time – then I wouldn’t do it anymore.

It wasn’t until I took off the attachment-to-result and need-to-be-loved-by-everyone masks, explored what was underneath those shadow desires and healed the pain connected to them that I was able to put my writing and work back out into the world. It still slides into place from time to time, the mask, but now it’s transparent and I see it for what it is. But, my real intentions are clear.

Those are just a couple of my masks. I’m working on removing them on a daily basis.

Also, it’s easier now to recognize others who are wearing masks. It takes one to know one!

What kind of masks are you wearing? To my way of thinking, masks are usually how our fears show up in the world for us. In reality, our masks are the faces of our fears.

How do you know when you're wearing one? Potentially it's when you’re not in your best self and you know it, or not living your purposeful life and you know it. 

Completed-masks

What does one of your masks look like? What does the mask say to you? What is it hiding? Generally it’s a fear. Such as:

  • Not being good enough, or just enough
  • Not feeling important or visible
  • Not being loved
  • Or of being too much so you feel you have to downplay yourself to make others comfortable

I have variations of all of these masks hanging in my psyche closet. When I wear one of them, my behavior can show up as passive-aggressiveness, or isolation, or deflection or exaggerated unflappability. It’s not a pretty thing to admit, but it’s the truth.

What messages is the mask giving you?            

Try taking off a mask, just for a day. See how it feels, the newness, the rawness, the unknowing of what’s going to happen. It may feel a bit scary. Your skin underneath will be fresh and new, after all this is new skin that hasn’t seen the sun. So certain elements may sting as you come into contact with them. When you see one of your fear-based behaviors show up in a situation, try to resist reaching for the mask again. Stay in that space, pause and feel your face without the mask.

That, my friends, is truth. Try speaking what’s in your heart without the mask. Communicating through the vulnerability or fear that’s underneath the mask helps to release it until this becomes your new normal.

Once you’ve removed the mask for good, hang it in your psyche closet. It’s a good reminder of how you used to be before you were fully living in your truth.

If you’re feeling nostalgic for one of your former masks, take one out and wear it for Halloween.

Related:

Stop Being So Nice: Just Be Real

Here's the Truth About Truth

Is Leadership a State of Mind?]

Mind Your Own Buttons

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com

 


Now More Than Ever, Grace

 

Negativity cannot reside in a state of Grace. Only love. Peace. Compassion. Forgiveness. Harmony.

It’s what is needed, now more than ever.

Grace

 

Grace is floating on the wings of the wind,

And being in Grace is allowing the

Breath of the divine to breeze through you,

Levitating you to a place where you drift between dimensions.

 As a kid, the mention of Grace was usually saved for church, some far away notion that was meant for nuns and saints. Other dimensions? Come on, that was for re-runs of Star Trek or when my girlfriends and I held a séance at a slumber party.

But, now? Now, I’ve felt it. I’ve asked for it. And, received it. Sometimes it just shows up.

Grace is state of mind.

Grace is a way of being.

Grace is a divine connection to all that is.

Grace is way of life, however I have fleeting moments of Grace where I am of the air and as the air I’m a part of everything.

Everything, seeping in between the blades of grass and tickling the pads of my cat’s feet.

Pausing to exhale as the house settles at the end of the night and Inhale as my fingers play a fancy tune on my laptop.

But, Grace is really to each his own.

Grace is the reply for gratitude.

Grace is a close sibling of serenity.

Grace is the nurturing force in nature, the calm vibration under everything.

For me, when I remind myself to stop and smell the roses or look at what’s in front of me, that’s when the Grace meets the road. I go with the flow and look on the bright side of things.

Sometimes when I’m stuck, Grace is far away, like on another planet.

But, then I remember.

It’s supposed to be pie. Grace and ease.

It’s supposed to knit one, pearl two.

Then, it just is.

Related: We the People: The Alchemy of We

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


WE THE PEOPLE: The Alchemy of We

Up at 3 am. I couldn’t sleep. My heart was aching and I couldn’t stop thinking about the horrific week in America – 2 more black men senselessly killed by cops and more cops killed in hateful retaliation. It has to stop. We have to come together.

I heard an NPR interview yesterday with Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed during a controversial arrest in NYC after police held him down in a chokehold. She is a devout spokesperson against police violence. She said, “I was able to get up and turn my mourning into a movement and my sorrow into a strategy.” That's inspiration at its most. 

At 3 am I thought, what can I do? Then my next thought was, I have a blog called Thought Changer. It's what I can do. It's my voice and contribution. After all, the very motto of this tome is, “Provoking Change, one thought at a time.”

It got me thinking about how at the very base of this, at the most human and humane level, mindset needs to change. To my way of thinking, we need to embrace a We mindset.

It starts with We

It Starts with We: The Alchemy of We. http://www.thoughtchangerblog.com/2016/07/we-the-people-the-alchemy-of-we.htmlWe is not just a pronoun to describe a collective group.

We is a mindset. 

We is a philosophy for life.

We is construct for communication.

We is color-full and color blind.

We is a movement.

When we say We, it’s an equalizer and provides an opening to sit at the same table, eye to eye, side by side, heart to heart, ear to ear.

There is no “us” & “them” in We, yet We are us and them. This is the crux of the change in mindset.

We are a mindset.

We are a philosophy of life.

We are a construct for communication.

We are color-full and color blind.

We are a movement.

The Alchemy of We

The integration of this We takes some intentional alchemy, with guiding principles:

  1. Listen – not just hear but really listen to each other
  2. See – the big picture as well as the one snapshot
  3. Speak Up – for one another when an injustice takes place
  4. Acceptance of Differences – it’s not about tolerance anymore, it’s about acceptance
  5. Commonality – We are people, we have things in common
  6. Respect – remove all stereotypes (see 4 & 5)
  7. Empathy – it can be hard to empathize when you haven’t walked in another’s difficult path. But we can feel another’s pain when we stand with them in solidarity and give our voice and action to their cause.
  8. History – honor and own each other’s history
  9. Presence – We have the power within We to create our future’s history, starting with being present, in each moment.
  10. Humanity – compassion, kindness and charity are the cornerstones of We
  11. Love – love for all of We (see 1 - 10) 

When conversations begin from this We, Change happens. We becomes our new normal.

We have a responsibility to future “We’s” to co-create what we want our world, our country, our cities, our neighborhoods and our families to be.

It starts with this We. Let’s move this movement. Now. Together.

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


Permission Granted: Give Yourself a Break

“I’m amazed you’re able to get out of bed in the morning.” This is what my doctor said to me recently. “It’s life, Doc. I have a lot to do,” I said. “Do you have body aches?” she asked. “Only when I move,” I said.

The truth is I’ve kind of felt like crap for months now. But, most people who know me wouldn’t suspect it because, like many of us, I’ve perfected the game face. Powering through, crossing off my to-do list, meeting deadlines, most of the time with the ready smile and it’s-a-good-day persona. But, behind the scenes? I’m tired. However, I don’t let myself be tired. I jam my evenings and weekends with writing projects and client deadlines and social gatherings, all of which I love to do, but… I’m sluggish and tired. AND, I have insomnia. Which creates brain fog and makes it hard to focus, so I beat myself for not crossing as many things off my to-do list as I’d like to. Oh, and then there are the body aches and weight gain. Fun!

So, when my doctor told me I have hypothyroidism and am in adrenal crash, you’d think this would have added to my already climbing level of stress. But, an interesting thing happened. Relief. In fact, I was emotional with relief. Finally, there was a name and a reason for what’s been happening to me. It’s an actual physical condition and something can be done about it! Booyah!

And, then another thing happened. Permission. I had permission to be tired. Finally. And, as soon as I gave myself permission, I was really tired. But, for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel guilty about it. So, I took a good long nap. For two days.

It got me thinking about Permission and how it affects other areas of our lives, in our work, in our relationships and with our health.

On a regular basis, we find ourselves in the position of either asking permission for something or granting permission of something.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

You give others permission to treat you the way they treat you, or not treat you. You’re the only one who can do that. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But, giving anyone else the power of your permission only robs you of your own voice and thus your own permission.

The most important person you give permission to is you. The real tragedy is often we don’t give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves. That’s not okay, because the pressure we put on ourselves to excel, to be better, to be good enough, to be perfect, is at a volume that is louder than the voice inside that so desperately wants to give us a break.

Permission Lion 2You give yourself permission. It's a tenet worth adopting. Where are you not giving yourself permission?

So, perhaps take a bit of time this week to give yourself permission to:

  • Stop.
  • Start.
  • Sleep.
  • Say yes.
  • Say no.
  • Say that where you are right at this moment is okay.
  • Know you’re enough.
  • Be grateful.
  • Surround yourself with others who make you feel good.
  • Weed out others who don’t.
  • Sleep.

Okay, I said sleep twice, but hey I’m tired. And, I’m okay with that.

 


Angels in Pickup Trucks

 

The snow was new, with over a foot falling in the past 24 hours. It was fun to be out in it and, as I like to say, I was getting my “fix” of winter wonderland before heading back to LA. To make it all the more wonderland I was coming back from having a heart-to-heart lunch with my 19-year-old “old soul” of a nephew, Kirk.   

We were pushing the clock, trying to stretch time before I had to leave for the airport. And, as is so often a way of life in December in Michigan, the road held surprise patches of ice. One such patch presented itself with much fanfare as we approached a back-up of cars stopped on a two-lane road outside of town. Brake lights appeared and in an instant we were swerving onto the shoulder and into the yard, thankfully without a ditch, with all four tires of my sister’s car buried in snow. 

Huh. After a stream of expletives I said, “Honey, this isn’t good.” My first thought was that I was going to miss my flight. But, Kirk sprung into action, calmly and without comment, except to say, “Wow, that seemed to come out of nowhere.”  So, I followed suit and we dug the snow out from in front of the tires, trying to create a path back to the road. This was going to take awhile. 

Seemingly out of nowhere, a pickup truck crept off the road and stopped behind our car. The young man driving the truck said, “So, you got yourselves stuck.” “Yeah, we did.” “Well, let’s see what we can do.” So, he pulled back onto the shoulder, hopped out, crawled in the truck bed and started pulling things out from under the snow. He pondered each item, a rope, a wide strap, and then settled on a thick chain. All of this without a word. We kept saying thank you in various ways, and he just nodded or smiled. He was a man with a single focus. 

Then, again out of nowhere, as our savior worked on hooking his truck to our car, a second pickup truck stopped. The driver, another young man, fully tattooed up his neck and onto his bald head, sat for a moment in his car. Then, he jumped out, grabbed a bag of salt from his truck bed. He swooped in saying, “I don’t have any time and I have my kid in my truck but here’s a bag of salt to help pave your way. Have a blessed day and a happy new year.”  And, then he was gone.  By now, the chains were in place and our first trucker pulled us out of the snow and safely back onto the road. We thanked him profusely and he gracefully wished us well, happy new years all around. 

The entire event took 14 minutes. Snow-angels

Kirk and I looked at each other and he said, “What just happened?” I said we were just taken care of by angels, angels in pickup trucks. It reminded me of other times in my life when angels seemed to appear out of nowhere, helping me out of this jam or soothing that hiccup. It got me thinking about how we’re all connected, we’re all one, sharing a human experience. We are, at our core, the same. There’s a kindness and a collective generous human spirit that is palpable and delicious. 

We decided we really didn’t need to tell anyone about what happened. There was no harm done and everything was fine and still on schedule. I said that this would be something I’d love to write about on Thought Changer because it brought to light one of life’s delectable metaphors, but I couldn’t this time. He asked me why and I said because it would out him. He was the one driving the car. 

Kirk looked at me and said, “Please write it. I’ll be upset if you don’t.” 

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes. Promise you will?” Then, he held out his fist and I bumped mine against his. Promise made.

So, thank you angels driving pickup trucks.  And, wise nephews with old souls. 

Promise kept. 

 


Loves That Make Up a Life

"For June who loved this garden from Joseph who always sat beside her." Some people do spend their whole lives together. ~ From the film NOTTING HILL

Last week my grandmother's house was put on the market, the house she'd lived in for most of her 98 years.  My mom sent me a photo of the house and it was so odd seeing it as an empty shell when it had always represented such life for me.   My grandmother passed last September.  It got me thinking, particularly during this week of Love, about how lifelong love surged through that home.  

I'm blessed to come from a family of lifelong loves.   I don't know the exact numbers, but collectively between my two sets of grandparents, my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law, there are well over 200 years of lifelong loves in my immediate family.   

A few years ago when I went through a divorce, I remember Grandma saying to me, “Why would you want to do that?  It’s so lonely out there.”  I didn’t really hear her at the time, being wrapped up in my own wrath, but now I understand even more about how precious relationships and family  19300526WeddingWhitsonGoldiewere to her.  Grandpa was the love of her life, and she lost him over thirty years ago.  So, does that mean she was lonely?  She never entertained the thought of marrying again.  Grandpa was the love of her life.   But, she was still gorgeous and still turned heads when she entered a room.  So, when I asked her about it from time to time, she said, “No, I’ve had my husband, Honey.”  

I’ll treasure a visit I had with her several years ago where she took me all around her home turf, showing me where she grew up, where all of the cousins lived, where ancestors were buried, where she was working as a teenager when she met Grandpa.  She still had a twinkle in her eye when she told me how he came to her boarding house diner where she worked, day after day, sat at the counter, and ordered cola after cola until he mustered up the courage to ask her out.   I’ve wished ever since then that I had a recording of that conversation.  It was at once a fountain of youth for her, remembering her lifelong courtship; her voice and entire being becoming that teenager again.  Grandpa was the love of her life.

But, I learned so much more about what loves make up a life from my grandma.

Her letters were all full of stories about her friends and other members of our family, minute details about what they were doing, detailed descriptions of her garden, or her weekly bridge game or the meal she was preparing for an upcoming event and then more progressively in later years about her health and the health of those she loved.   Detailed letters that we would read to each other and laugh lovingly over her painstaking attention to specifics, mentioning the tiniest, what we considered sometimes to be the most insignificant minutia, down to the type of fabric, stitching and color the subject of her story was wearing.   But, in the next sentence we said, “That’s her life, those details.”  Grandma noticed everything.  And it gave her great joy to share those moments.  I will miss those intricate letters in her delicate, feminine hand. She loved to talk about the people in her life, but was never one for an unkind word.  Rather she spent her life truly interested in the lives living around her.  Those connections made up her life.

Even at the very end of her life, those connections kept her going.  Mom said she was sticking around because she didn't want to miss out on anything.  She wouldn't be rushed.  In the last week, it was the love of her life, still with the patience of a man in love who showed up for her; Grandpa was there, coaxing her to come home with him.  She was smiling and laughing, joyous in her final moments here, leading to her first moments there.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  I can just them picture together, him in his hat and suspenders, her wearing something in blue.  Young, in love, anticipating an eternity together.  

When I went  Grape cookie jarback to Missouri for her funeral, I was nervous about entering her great house on the corner without her in it.  At first it was odd.  But, everywhere I looked she was there.  From her wall-to-wall blue carpet, to her framed needlepoint, to the grape cookie jar that always held a delicious surprise (which now sits in my kitchen), to her pink robe and 14 housecoats, to her glass collectibles, to the wind that blew the chimes outside the porch window.   It made me realize that the part of her that’s in those 14 housecoats and grape cookie jar is the part of her that will remain alive always for those who knew and loved her.  Memories of a woman who loved and was loved.  It makes the empty shell of the house now easier to absorb.

So, what makes up a life?  Grandma answered that question for me.  It’s love, and relationships, and connection, and a kind word and thoughtful gesture, and living every day in a way that honors all of that.  Grandma did it simply, gracefully, perfectly.  

Lessons to live by, as you think this week about the loves of your own life.  Relish them. 

 

 


Relish the Stolen Moments of the Season

By Cindy Yantis

I don't know about you but I went through another holiday season completely overbooked. 

And, if history repeats itself, by the time the day of celebration actually arrives, I'm exhausted and have thoughts that I'm sure echo those of many others: too many shoppers, too many commitments, too much commercialization, not enough time.  And, then the holidays whiz by and you're in the middle of January before you realize it.  Maybe you can relate.

Well, it hit me yesterday that this didn't happen this year.  Sure, I was still overbooked with all of the above and then some, but somehow time felt slower this year, more joyful.  It got me thinking about why that might be.  To my summation, here's the difference...Joy

I took control of my time this year, rather than the other way around. 


And, what really slowed things down for me were what I call the "in-between" moments.  The stolen seconds in between all of the busy-ness.  I think one of the reasons that the season flies by so quickly for so many is that we're in a constant state of anticipation for what's to come next; we're living slightly in the future.  So what happens?  We miss the present. 

That's what the in-between moments are all about.  Zooming instantly into the present slows everything down, even if it's just for a bit. 

So, what are the in-between moments, the stolen seconds, of the season?  They're whatever you create them to be.  There are many, but here are four to get you thinking: 

  • Stop yourself in a crowd - whether at a party, shopping or just going about your day, physically stop and take in the faces around you, really take them in.  Count the number of new people you see in a day (I actually did this yesterday); it makes you stop and notice people rather than merely being amidst an endless sea of humanity. 
  • Pause for the environment - relish in whatever is around you.  If it's nature, that's easy; breathe, see, smell.  If it's the vast commercialization surrounding you, appreciate the creativity or genius in that too. 
  • Use joyful words - I found myself using the term "Joy Rising" a lot this season, a phrase I borrowed from Oprah.  It made a huge impact on my daily environment. Find words that make you joyful and use them regularly.
  • Remember it's about Love - no matter your religious belief, the season is about wonder and love.  That omniscient feeling lives in all of us.  Remembering it is all it takes sometimes when stress threatens to fill us up.

"To believe in the wonder of the season is to see through the eyes of the heart." Flavia Weedn

After working diligently on staying present, this will eventually occur organically.  But, until that happens make a point to notice and relish the in-between. 

I wish you the happiest of holidays!  Thank you for taking some of your in-between moments to read Thought Changer this past year!

 

You may publish or re-post this article with the following credit:

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog owner & curator.  Cindy is a writer living in Los Angeles. 


How to Grow the Best Relationships

I recently pulled the classic film, "Pride and Prejudice," off my shelf to watch it again. To say the story is infused with entangled connections is an understatement. In fact, in the days of Jane Austen, people's lives were all about relationships; they were the number one rule of the time, making the right connections and nurturing those ties that bind.

It got me thinking about my own relationships, which had already been on the top of my mind because I have been on the receiving end time and time again of such meaningful connections, particularly as of late. It also got me thinking about what it means to build and sustain relationships in our lives.

This article could have just have easily been entitled, "Want a Friend? Be a Friend," because in order for the connection to be true and lasting, it's important to give as much, if not more, than you get. Science shows when we are in happy relationships, Serotonin neurotransmitters in our brains increase keeping us in better spirits.  As such, you have a tendency to be healthier and perhaps even live longer!

We can always do more than we're already doing in this arena, but here are a few reminders for doing your part in a friendship, or any meaningful relationship, whether it's for a lifetime or for the meantime:

  • Take the time - set aside time to nurture your friendships.
  • Follow through - when you get an email, text or phone message, answer it in a timely fashion.  And, do what you say you're going to do. Don't make empty promises. We all get overwhelmed at times with obligations, but repeated broken follow-through will only get you labeled as a flake.
  • Don't be a fair weather friend - support the ups & the downs equally. The true friend sits with you during the worst of times, fully present.
  • Do what they want to do as well - only because it's important to them. When you're giving from that place, it's not a sacrifice but rather nurtures relationship.
  • Tell the truth - don't be afraid to speak your mind in an authentic way.  If it's communicated in an open rather than constructive way, it's likely not to be perceived as criticism.  No one likes a know-it-all, I-know-what's-best-for-you acquaintance, but a friend who lovingly asks you questions to help you see your own truth, is a true friend. Telling the truth is also about communicating how you feel when situations arise. Truth is powerful stuff!

Related: Here's the Truth About Truth

  • Be generous - generosity of words, spirit and time forms the core of giving relationships. The smallest gestures can go a long way and can take only seconds to impart sometimes. 
  • Remember the milestones - keep a calendar just for these important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, special moments, and make a point of acknowledging them. Think about how you feel when someone does the same for you.
  • Hold their dreams - this is my favorite way to give to my relationships. There's nothing so powerful as believing in your friends' dreams and goals, even when they don't. Words of encouragement are many times the lifeline they need to forge ahead. "You will be brilliant at this!" 

The ties that bind us are the people in our lives.  Making the most of those connections are what make it all worthwhile. 

 Related articles

Stop Being So Nice: Just Be Real

 


The Mother of it All

I've been through it all, baby, I'm mother courage.
~ Elizabeth Taylor

Days like this can't help but bring reflection, whether you're a mother or not.  In fact, in my close community a good majority of the women are not mothers, in the sense that they have actually birthed a child.   There was a time when there was a great stigma that came along with a woman who either made or didn't make the choice not to have children.  There probably still is a certain level of judgment or pity in some minds, in some circles.  1963-MothersDay-Me at 3

I have a ton of respect for mothers who are dedicated to raising and nurturing loving and incredible people.  I have a fabulous mother whose priorities and dedication never waivered as I struggled through painful adolescence into adulthood.  She rocks!  In fact, I'm surrounded by incredible moms in my family, my sister inspires me, and my aunt and cousin-moms are amazing. This day is theirs and I honor them with great love and respect.

But, today got me thinking about how, interestingly, I think of my other pack of childless compadres as a Mother-hood of another kind. 

The mother of it all is that we all have it in us to mother each other and most importantly, ourselves.  In our Mother-hood, we nurture each other's passions and pursuits.  We offer a shoulder to lean on, a middle of the night phone call, a stern word when needed and cheers of joy for the smallest accomplishments. 

And, one of the greatest gifts a mother can give the one she's nurturing, is to be a mirror.  And, in my Mother-hood we stand for each other, providing that mirror that's hard to look into at times.  But, it's a mirror that provides a reflection of truth, which is what allows us to grow and evolve as people.  The mother that can tell you the truth, is the mother of it all.

So, Happy Mother's Day to ALL mothers.