Show up with love

How you receive advice depends on a lot of things. Your season. The giver. Your willingness to listen. In the past I’ve been both desperate for direction and unwilling to take it. I’ll bet many people have found themselves, at one point or another, in the situation of not wanting advice at all but a quick fix. I wish it were that simple, but it’s usually not.

I asked my online followers what the best piece of advice they’ve received was, and I got wisdom that ranged from practical (don’t talk religion & politics & everyone stays friends), to spiritual (don’t worry about what you can’t control). My friends talked about the importance of perspective and kindness, the definition of success (definitely another blog in the making), how to manage finance and driving advice. All well-heeded. All important (especially that one about politics!)

I usually quote Dr. Phil in my blogs. He’s got some great advice, but today Mr. Miyagi is on my mind.

A quick internet search suggests themes of forgiveness, effort, and growth are most popular, and no doubt those things are important. In years past, I’ve struggled with a sense of self & purpose. I’ve struggled hard, and I leaned on “don’t give up” to get me through some some dark places. But the truth is, there are times you have to give up. Knowing when to dig in and when to let go – well, someone show me that advice. I’m not sure you can. It’s intuitive, but trusting your intuition? That’s up there, too. There’s something I’ve been thinking about lately that trumps all that, though.

Show up with love.

Someone gave me this advice in a roundabout way, and it never really left my heart. I was first introduced to this idea in Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love,” one of my very favorite books. You can’t go wrong by letting love guide your every interaction and decision, but it’s not easy. Ego gets in the way. Emotions get in the way. Pride gets in the way, and fear? Just look at Mr. Miyagi’s quote up there. Yes, if you’ve seen the Karate Kid 3, Daniel was in quite a pickle at this particular moment. It’s a dramatic example, but fear can guide even my small, quiet moments if I’m not careful. Fear can shape who I am. It has, actually. I’m trying to unshape that. How? How do I show up in my life with love?

There are a million answers and probably many, if not most, are better than mine. I can’t define love. Better people than me have tried since the beginning of time. I can take a stab at what love means to me, and what it means to show up with it.

It starts with being mindful of the present moment, not allowing the fears of the past or the anxieties of the future dictate what I’m doing. Daily meditations have helped a lot with this. Showing up with love involves checking in with my intuition and following it even if it’s telling me something I don’t want to hear. Your heart knows the way, and the way isn’t always easy or simple. In fact, I’d venture to say the right way is rarely either of those things, but worth it? You bet it is. Daily journaling has helped with this practice too, (thanks to Lisa, my accountability partner, for encouraging this practice!)

The biggest piece of all is empathy. Showing up with understanding and grace. Listening. Granted this is something that comes more naturally to some people than others, but the truth is even those of us who have it in spades forget sometimes. It’s ego again, selfishness… fear. It’s difficult to lead with those things when you show up by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Does this practice get me walked on? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes. Always.

I’m an intuitive, empathetic person, but the hardest part for me is showing up in my own life with love. Directing my decisions toward what’s right for me. Understanding myself. Listening to my intuition. Honoring my needs. Loving myself. I’m not sure why that’s so much more difficult for some of us than others, but if that’s you – I see you. And I encourage you to see yourself. To show up in your own life with love, however that looks.

One of the ways I show up for myself is for my health

Going inward

I go inward when I have emotions that are too much to handle.

That’s the reason my blog has been offline the last few weeks, (which is sure to mess with my algorithms, another gift from the depressive episode that keeps on giving!) Going inward is actually not as bad as a depressive episode, it’s a coping mechanism and not the worst one I’ve ever leaned on. There’s a lot of wisdom to be found when you tune outside voices out and listen to your own heart. For however long that takes, and sometimes it’s a while.

In the past, I’d disappear until I felt like myself again. But in that case, I was shutting myself down a lot more than I was being myself, until numbness took over. Instead of being the best of myself, I turned into someone I didn’t know, or particularly like. I let fear take over. I hid.

The difference between going inward and shutting down is so subtle I don’t blame people for worrying about me. In both cases, I’m offline. I’m not connecting as much as I was. I’m unplugged, even from the people, places, and things I was most involved in. The difference is subtle, but huge. In shutting down, I’m unplugged from those things because I don’t think I deserve them. In going inward, I’m unplugged from those things because I’m reevaluating whether they deserve me.

Yikes, that sounds aggressive even to type, doesn’t it? Especially to someone who’s spent her life doubting her own value. Does it make me sound like a huge b*tch? Good. It’s about time I learned to stand up for myself.

Part of what I’ve learned by going offline is that I’ve shouldered weight that’s not mine to bear – a lot of it, actually. I’ve taken the blame for things I didn’t do or cause. I’ve jumped in to fix things I didn’t break. I’ve assumed I was the cause for things I was just a bystander to, or worse – a victim of. I’m so desperate to keep the peace (typical Libra) that I’ve sold myself over and over and over.

So now, in isolation, I get to decide what to do about that. Do I want to go forward apologizing for being myself again and again? As Dr. Phil would say “how’s that working for ya?” Not good, Dr. Phil. Help a girl out.

I’m not, actually, in isolation. Part of going internal is knowing who you can trust, even (especially) if that circle is super small. I recommend a small circle, actually, because trust is so precious and hard to come by. I’m not looking for advice. A shoulder to lean on goes a lot longer than a lecture about what to do. Because the path, sometimes, is individual. Your heart knows the way, but sometimes your world has to be dark (& quiet) for that path to light up. Someone to hold your hand on the way, though? That’s more than invaluable.

That path? I don’t know where it’s leading me. I usually don’t write about things until I’m far enough over them I have some perspective, but in this case? Well, I don’t mind if you walk a while with me. Maybe you need to do some reevaluating as well. Those people, places, and things important in our lives will fall back into place, one by one. Or maybe they won’t and we’ll find entirely new paths. That sounds scary, but it’s a lot less scary than losing ourselves by shutting down.

Take my hand. I won’t let that happen to us this time.

my path this morning was filled with sunlight

A long journey home

How many times have I sat before this screen and wondered if I had anything important to say? There are almost 8 billion people in this world. What makes me different from any one of them? What makes me stand out? What makes me think I have anything of value to add?

I love the idea that everyone has a gift or a purpose. But what’s mine? I think I might’ve been looking so hard that I couldn’t focus on what was right in front of me. I think they call this not seeing the forest for the trees, and… spoiler – this comes close to the plot of the Alchemist, one of my very favorite books. The journey back to yourself is the hardest, but like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the magic has been in me all along.

There are times when I really, truly don’t have anything to say, or feel comfortable feeling it never mind saying it. There are times, even now, when I want to stay in hiding, and there have been times on this blog that I’ve gone the complete opposite way and shared some really difficult things. Things people don’t talk about. Scary things. The willingness to do that, to open myself up despite pushback (and there is pushback and fear, and even still some shame)… well, I wouldn’t say that’s a talent, or a purpose. I think everyone can do it. But everyone isn’t. So what does that mean?

Do my words matter? Does this blog matter? Maybe. Or maybe it’s another step. I don’t see my gifts or my purpose as a destination, but a journey. A journey, like Dorothy, back to myself. Will I find that magical purpose when I reach Oz? Will I reach Oz, and what will be there when I do? The only thing I can count on being there is what I learn along the way. (Again, props to the Alchemist here.)

I don’t think my purpose is as simple as one thing, but maybe we have a different gift and a different purpose for different seasons in our life? I sometimes wish I was someone who just knew I was meant to be a nurse and save lives, or a teacher and change them. But it’s never been that simple for me. Maybe it’s not that simple for you, either. Here’s the thing – being true to myself is as close to my purpose as I can get. That honesty and authenticity has sure put me on the right path, at least. But who is that? Who am I when I look in the mirror and try to align myself?

Well, it depends on when you ask me. Like everyone, I’m nuanced. But in my heart I like to think I’m kind, forgiving to a fault, a good listener, and a good friend. I’m creative and caring, even if I don’t always know how to channel those. I’m chaotic and passionate – often to a fault there, too. I’m a dreamer. Honest. Intuitive. Empathic. At my best, I’m in love with the world. At my worst? Well, I think you’ve read those blogs. The danger of being a person who embraces their feelings is being a person who embraces their feelings. All of them. But I won’t run from them. Not anymore. They’re a part of my journey, and if you’re reading this, they’re a part of yours, too.

I’m not a guru. My degree in history makes me patently unqualified to offer advice, except for the fact that I’ve been to those places, to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve been on this journey to find myself and my purpose. To find a way to help and make the world a better place. And somehow, I’ve found it in me to write about it. Does that mean something? I suppose it has to.

All these years of seeking, and maybe my gift or my purpose isn’t something I have or something I’m seeking, but something I am? Maybe it was in front of me all along? It seems too simple, unless you think of it as a step. Once step on a long journey home.

Speaking out

I get such wildly differing advice when it comes to writing. Be honest butts up against staying in your lane. Writing what sells vs writing from the heart. Is my story valid? Is it helpful? Does that make it worth putting myself out there?

What is my story anyway, and should I be ashamed of it?

I might have been, some time ago. I’ll be honest, I came here today to delete everything that might potentially be embarrassing, but how do we learn we’re not alone if one person isn’t brave enough to speak up? I don’t think I’m brave. Stupid, maybe. A little naive. Maybe a lot naive. But I made a promise to myself when I started this to be honest. This isn’t a blog about recipes or tiktoks. It’s a blog about getting real. Largely the things I write about I’ve already dealt with, but not always. Things cycle back. I know that. Sometimes you’ll cycle back with me, and by putting this out there you know I’m willing to cycle back with you. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’ve found that staying silent hurts more than talking, even for this introvert. And if it helps one person? Well, then I guess it’s worth it. Is it?

I don’t worry what people will think as much as I worry I’m not getting my point across. I’ve gone past worrying what people think, but maybe I should worry about it? After all, I still have to live in this world with people who know me. This blog would seriously put a crimp in any presidential plans I have. Fortunately for me, I’m not planning to run for president anytime soon. And if I do, I am who I am. I struggle sometimes. If I can’t be honest about that, everything else is built on a lie. It’s possible to live within that lie. I’ve done it. But that’s not how you grow and that’s not how you heal. I can’t tell anyone else how to grow and heal, maybe you’re not even ready for that yet? But I am. And my growth and healing comes from speaking out, so that’s what I’ll keep doing.


Some days, I’d like to give my intuition a big middle finger. Today is one of those days, but I’ve worked too hard to do that. So instead, I’ll listen. I might not make the right choice, but I’ll listen.

You know the feeling when your heart and your head are at odds? Most of the time this manifests when I have a choice in my life. Quitting a job. Leaving a relationship. The big decisions are the spots where my head tries to nudge my emotions right out of the picture, but my intuition effects everyday decisions too, and they might be just as important. That’s what I’m tangling with today.

When it comes to decisions, practicality should win. Like when you’re leaving a job you should take into account pay and vacation. Benefits. All very adult-like things. The same could be said for the small things. Where to spend your time and energy. When to speak up and when to stay quiet. Trust. I call these things small, but they’re not small at all. In fact, they’re all-encompassing and while they don’t have the drama of a quitting or an ending, they can just as easily change the course of your life.

Does anyone watch Star Trek? One of the reasons I love the series so much – right from the very beginning – has been watching Spock wrestle with his human (emotional) and vulcan (practical) sides. I’m no vulcan, but I feel that. In fact, in the past, I’ve leaned into being hot headed. These days I fall to my practical side, but neither has left me in alignment. How to I balance my heart and my head?

That’s where intuition comes in, and man oh man… have I been cursing it. It’s been pushing me to not only step out of my comfort zone (you can do it), but to make choices and leaps of faith and trust that my head wants to protect me from. My head, my practicality, my vulcan side… they all want to protect me from being hurt, but they sometimes protect me at the cost of not feeling anything at all. At the cost of not taking risks. Not doing anything. Sure, that will prevent me from being hurt. But it will prevent me from soaring, too. It will prevent me from feeling. It will prevent me from being seen.

I’ve hidden behind that practicality for so long. I still don’t like to be seen. I’m a risk taker (ask my hiking friend Amy!) but only so far. I put myself out there, but only to the point where I can get hurt. What lies beyond that point, I wonder? What risks do I have to take with my writing, my heart, my very soul to go beyond that point? What must I put on the line? My intuition knows. It’s been pushing me and pushing me past that. It’s been pushing me to make decisions I don’t want to make and take risks I don’t want to take. I’m so afraid of what lies beyond them, but that’s where my heart is. If only it could take my head along for the ride.

Not everyone is ready for this level of risk. It’s taken years of meditation and seeking to even tune into these intuitive feelings, and in most cases I’m still not ready to take the leap. Thanks, but no thanks, right? Right now, I’m just listening, and it’s okay. But the more I listen, the more I realize I might be ready to take these leaps. Be gentle with my heart when I do.

Sometimes the biggest risks come with the best views

Left behind

The world is going on without me

It’s a strange feeling to be offline and outside the current. Do people miss me? Do they know I’m gone? You can’t create value somewhere when you’re absent, but my absence has me wondering if I ever created value or just simply took up space. Did all the pieces of my heart I left all over the place mean anything? Anything besides the holes they left in me? 

I suppose that’s the plight of the empath, right? To help. To heal. Even when no one acknowledges you’re there. That makes me sound like a martyr. I’m not. I’m not a fan of the spotlight. In fact, I shy away from it. I’d rather help from the shadows. But sometimes I wish someone would just look at me. See me. 

I know I have to see myself first and that’s what I’m doing. Acknowledge myself. Love myself. I’m getting there. It’s true I have so much more time without the timesuck of mindless scrolling. I’ve almost finished writing a book. I’ve written three of these blog posts in three days. But in turn, I’ve also considered quitting this blog and taking it down. The silence has given me a lot of time to think. Sometimes the fact that no one misses me turns into why bother. What’s the point? 

I also accuse myself of attention seeking, though erasing yourself is a funny way of going about that. I actually don’t think attention seeking is a terrible thing, if it’s done the right way & not self sabotaging. This would surely quality as the self sabotaging kind, but I’m not sure I know anything else. 

Am I, like a petulant child, stomping my feet to tell everyone how much they’ll miss me? There’s a line in Terms of Endearment (one of my favorite movies) when Jack Nicholson breaks up with Shirley MacLaine’s character and she says: “you don’t even know how much you’re going to miss me.”

Is that what I’m hoping? I’m a little bit like Shirley’s character in that movie (maybe more than a bit) in the way that I’m giving but I’m also a lot sometimes. I’ve done some soul seeking this week. I don’t think I’m attention seeking. I don’t think I’m begging to be seen, but I am sad. I am working some things out. And for me, the best place to do that is in silence, even if it’s lonely. 

Where I like to work things out
My horoscope 🙂

Seasonal depression

I tend to go hard in the summer. With plans. With concerts and days out and fun. It’s because I know my mood sinks when the weather takes a turn. There’s science behind it, something about sunshine and vitamin D levels. All I know is it effects me. And if I can start autumn off on a high, I always hope I can coast through winter. 

But I might be lying to myself about how the summer effects me, too. It’s not that I don’t love it. The freedom. The long days. The weather. Here in New England I appreciate not having to drag out a coat and hat and boots every time I step out. That time is coming. But summer has me wistful, too. 

As easy as it is to blame Mother Nature, I don’t think all my problems are seasonal. In between all those fun plans, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I know what it takes to stay mentally (& physically) healthy, I just don’t always do it. Why? There’s a time crunch, for sure. There’s a seasonal component. But the real reason? The layer behind all those other layers? I don’t make myself a priority because I just don’t see myself as important. I’m a secondary character in my own life. I always have been.

I know what you’re thinking. Not this again. I’m thinking that, too. How many blogs am I going to write about worthiness? A lot, maybe. It’s not something I can turn around with just a few essays or counseling sessions. It’s not just that these beliefs are deep seated. It’s not that they’re seasonal. It’s that they make up the core of who I am. Maybe who you are, too?

It’s not fun to confront that part of yourself. In fact, it feels a little self indulgent. Who has time for this new age bullshit when I should be cleaning my house or working? Writing, even. Writing something less esoteric. Maybe something that could conventionally sell. I could be making something of myself. I could be making money. Or I could be watching tv. The world is literally made for you to prioritize everything else and avoid these hard questions. But if there’s one thing I can’t shut off about myself, it’s my curiosity. I’m going to open doors and ask hard questions, even if I don’t have answers to them. 

So what are those hard questions? It goes deeper than why do autumn and winter make me blue? (Though a worthy question to pursue, for sure). It even goes deeper than why is my self worth in the gutter? It goes right to the heart of worthiness. 

I don’t have an answer for how to make myself feel more worthy. Gosh, if I did that’s what I would be writing! But I tend to believe confidence goes a long way. In fact, when my kids are trying out for sports or interviewing, one of my best pieces of advice is ‘confidence is everything’. But I’ve never been able to internalize that. I’m not sure it’s something you can just tell yourself, but I also don’t think there’s any harm in trying. 

This morning, I’m writing down my goals through March. Some of them are concrete, involving health or writing. Some of them are, well… esoteric. Some of them are everyday goals to keep me on track. Some of them are lofty enough I’m not likely to reach them in this lifetime, never mind this winter. Some are even out of my hands, but there are steps I can take, and a confidence I can have not just in myself but the big picture and the plan and a higher power, if you believe in such. I do, though sometimes I forget. 

I’m hoping that keeping my focus on these goals will hold me steady, not just through this autumn and winter but beyond. It’s not going to rebuild my fragile sense of worthiness. I’m still working on that. It’s one of my goals, actually. But I hope that knowing I have steps to take, and believing in a big picture will keep me anchored through the colder seasons. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long winter.

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Some of the fun I’ve been having over the summer.


It’s our last full day in Maine.

I’m sitting in the rain. 

(No, I didn’t rhyme that on purpose.)

There’s something about these woods that has me thinking deeply. The cry of the seagulls. The vastness of the ocean. It gets me, every time. But these woods… they’re so quiet and untouched. Full of possibility. Wild.  As if they could come to life at any minute to show me the way. Or to hide it. There’s more than one heartbeat deep inside them. Which would I follow? Would I find myself or get more lost?

This morning they have me thinking about love. Why? Well besides the fact my friend Jeff brought up the question in his new book, I also think deep thoughts alone on the porch with my coffee listening to the seagulls and the rain. I don’t often come to deep conclusions, but therein lies the fun of philosophizing. What is love? Can the ocean tell me? Can the gulls? 

Can I tell me?

There was a time I wouldn’t have been sure in my answer. Of course not. Perhaps we’re born knowing love, but the world is a difficult place, more so as we grow older. I’ve batted around some answers, but each sounded more wooden than the next. So my heart told me to feel it and translate that to words. That’s what I do, isn’t it? It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s my pull. My purpose. Show them. Show them how the world can be in words and color and feeling. Show them this rainy porch and the cry of the gulls and the sharp coffee, and show them your unrelenting desire to pour out these feelings and words and descriptions and have them matter to someone. To anyone. 

But I gave up writing, remember? I let the world tell me I wasn’t good enough. And I believed it. And maybe, in doing that, I let go of love, too. I let go of loving myself, anyway. In fact, there was a time I would’ve told you I straight up hated who I’d become. I wasn’t talented. I wasn’t valuable. I wasn’t enough. 

And so my description of love is going to be a little poetic. I hope you don’t mind. Because while I still struggle with those things, my heart reminded me I can find love all alone on a rainy porch in Maine, but also on a random Tuesday in my kitchen or in my office working on my book. Because I am love, even when I lose sight of it. How do you find your way back to that? It’s not easy, but I truly think your heart knows the way. And there’ve been times I stubbornly refused to listen to my heart. I’m still out of alignment in so many places, largely due to fear disguised as practicality. What if my heart is wrong? What if I’m making a huge mistake? What if I fail? What if they’re all laughing and I end up alone?

I don’t have an answer for those fears. This started out as a blog on love, after all. And maybe love needs belief. It needs trust. It needs a leap of faith. 

I don’t know that I’m ready to take that leap, not in everything. My heart is a dreamer, and ambitious and also quite stubborn. But it’s enough for now to listen. To the lobster boats as they leave the harbor. To the cry of the seagulls. And also, finally, to my heart. Because love is being in alignment with who I am.

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On letting go

I had a dream last night about someone I used to know.

I still know them. We just don’t often speak, and not at the level we used to. I wouldn’t qualify them as a best friend – I actually don’t do that. I have a core group of “best friends” and they were there. But that core group has all changed, as it’s apt to do, I guess, as we get older. There was no major falling out, just a gradual growing apart. And an acceptance that growing apart was natural.

I’ve been reflecting on it all morning because I used to be a person that held on so hard to those relationships. I used to be a chaser. Let me tell you what a shit show that turns into.

It’s taken a lot of self-reflection to realize I was selling myself out so hard by chasing people. I was abandoning myself to turn into everything everyone wanted. Does people pleasing sound familiar? I was a people pleaser to the highest degree. I’ll do anything you want…just don’t leave me.

By the way, this sounds like I’m describing a romantic relationship but that’s such a narrow view. We have so many more relationships in our lives that are just as important, maybe even more so. Friendships. Family. They can all be complicated. Especially if you’re twisting yourself into someone you’re not to keep people.

Here’s a newsflash: I’m not for everyone. Neither are you. I spent so many years hiding the weirdest, best parts of myself (although that word “best” is open to debate!) I spent years second guessing the things I’d do or say so I could fit in seamlessly. I spent those same years hiding the things that made me feel good. The things that made me feel like me – in order to be the me everyone else wanted. This probably sounds super dramatic, but it’s not. A lot of people do it without even realizing. I still fall back on that sometimes, but these days, I’m not chasing. At least not as much.

Letting go of someone you care about is one of the hardest things to do, but trust me when I say holding on is harder. I’ve studied a lot about the Buddhist concept of detachment, but I haven’t yet mastered it. I think the idea, like many things, is it’s a practice and not a mastery. I love you enough to let you go. I love me enough to let you go.

And either way, it will be okay.

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Holding back

I’d rather be the one talked about than the one doing the talking.

I didn’t always. I still worry about what people will think. I’m still terrified to fail. I still hide parts of myself. A lot. I know it seems like I’m pretty honest & out there, but trust me when I say this is just the tip of the iceberg. I hold so much back.

There were parts of my life when I did the talking – and you know what that was about? Jealousy. Nobody’s perfect. I probably shit talked people because I was so jealous of their ability to just be themselves and live like no one cares. To my credit, that was a long time ago. I still struggle with with jealousy and a lot of other things, but projecting my insecurities out isn’t one of those things. Projecting my insecurities in? Now that’s another question.

I’m admitting that because I know living out loud will get you talked about. I call myself quirky, but I have a theory everyone is quirky, just most of us hold a lot back to fit in. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I am a square peg in a round world? Despite how much I’ve tried to beat it out of myself, there’s nothing wrong with that. I have a small circle, but it’s made up of pegs of all shapes & sizes. We’re not all made to fit in, even though sometimes, we desperately want to.

In my case, though, fitting in doesn’t mean finding all those other square pegs. I’ve lived my life in their shadow, letting them dull my edges. Letting them tell me I’m too much. To tone it down. Stop being so “extra.” Just shut up and fit in. I actually don’t even like being the center of attention. But I do like being me, and if I’m my honest, true, authentic self, sometimes that comes with attention. The right kind, though.

What is the right kind of attention? The kind that’s not chasing people for validation, but instead is comfortable surrounded by other quirky pegs. That could include laying my heart out in this blog (and I’ve taken my share of flack for this. Square pegs don’t like honesty!) It could also be singing karaoke, or hosting a 20’s party, or writing sci/fi or fantasy novels. Any number of things fall outside the realm of conventional and are apt to get me talked about. I’m ready for that, though, because I’m finally okay with being me.

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