If a Teacher Appears, Will the Student Be Ready?

If we’re honest, the answer to the headline question is, “Yes. Uh, no. Well, I don’t know, maybe.”

How can we know when a teacher will appear?  I’m learning that teachers pop up all around me every day.  I tend to know I’m ready by the response I give to teachable moments like these:

  • You head out the door–late–to a job interview or an important meeting.  The car batter is dead.
  • You travel out of town for business only to discover when you arrive at your hotel that you forgot the shoes that go with your suit.
  • The dog whizzes on the carpet right before company arrives.
  • You have all the fixings for a favorite cake recipe and realize you’re out of eggs.

How long did it take you to realize that a teacher had appeared and you weren’t ready?

Can you relate to any or even all of these examples?  The list could go on forever but there is a common theme:  How do you respond?

Do you tend to think “why are all these crappy things happening to me?”

Do you search the heavens looking for ways to figure out how to fix the circumstance?

Do you sit around squawking about how you’ve been wronged?

I used to to a lot of all three, and truth be known, still do from time to time.  But I’ve found a much easier to deal with life on life’s terms.

I slow down.  I appreciate.  I notice.  I contemplate how good my life is.

Let me tell you a true story, about my friend Shannon.

Shannon is a single mom to three adorable children.  She’s an elementary school teacher, and one of the most loving and giving souls you would ever meet. 

Shannon is in her mid-forties.  Right before Christmas last year, after more than a year of steadily increasing back pain and having a hysterectomy, gall bladder removed and an abnormal mammogram.  After many, many tests and many, many doctors, she was diagnosed with metastasis to her thoracic vertebrae.

With the untold friends, her entire family (mom and dad, sister and brother plus their families), Shannon was ready.  She stood tall in front of perhaps one of the greatest teachers we humans can face:  cancer.

Shannon is slowly, but steadily recovering from a stem cell transplant and her prognosis is good.  She wrote in her most recent post from the journal site “Just tucked the kids in for the first time in nearly 50 days.”  Can you imagine?  She was quarantined from her children for nearly two months.

My God, what an incredible display of readiness. 

Obviously we know which story we would like to emulate. 

While Shannon’s is far more complicated that the fictional story, and in the range of life occurrences, one of the most glaringly difficult to stand to, in many ways it is just as difficult to face the teacher’s lessons contained within the fictional story.  

Life’s big deals force us to slow down and deal.  But the day-to-day alterations to our routines that create speed bumps in our 24-hour racetrack? How do we stand to those?

We’d like to think we’re spiritually fit enough to be ready when the massive occurs but what about the minimal?  Trust me, it can take you out just as quickly if you’re not spiritually ready.

I invite you to spend tomorrow and the next day and the rest of June observing how you, the student responds when teachers–great and small–appear.  Try not to judge your responses, but use them as exercises in preparedness.

Are you up for the challenge? Send me an email to and let me know how you do. 

In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, here’s my friend Shannon.  Let’s continue to pray for cures, and the will to STAND.  Shannon, you’re an inspiration and my hero. May God continue to bless you.

A Little of This and That

Writing sustains me. 

Sitting down with paper and pen to journal or opening my net book to string together a few sentences and paragraphs brings me joy and smooths out the rough patches that I’ve created in my life path.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I have created and/or invited every single pebble, stone and boulder that occupies space along my otherwise powder-sand trek through my days.

I know that when I focus on writing, my mental beach is pristine and free of debris. So why has it been more than two weeks since I’ve posted here?  Because–and this will shock those of you with a predilection for the 12 steps–I don’t always do what’s best for me.  In fact, there are times when I dig my feet in the sand–and get stuck.

Sticky-stuck times

Here’s the really cool part:  It doesn’t matter because I’m learning to love those quicksand times.


At the core of all purpose work–my purpose being to create–is love.  Mindy Audlin believes–and I agree–that every step, even the ones that take us to failure, must be approached lovingly in order to fulfill my purpose. (for more about Mindy, go to

That sure eliminates the need for resentment, fear and anger.  But if they come up, I hit ’em with love.

I gotta love it all?

Yes!  Loving the wrong turns, the slipping into quicksand thinking, the actions of others that cause me pain, the circumstances that are circumtances that are way less than desirable–really loving them, not merely accepting or tolerating them–is the one surefire way to live on purpose.

We all have an unending supply of love available to us.  The well never dries so that I can dip my cup into love whenever I want and then upturn it on the top of my head.  Can’t you just picture love flowing all the way down your body, forming a protective shield?  Don’t you LOVE that image?

We have the power.  We have the tools.  We have the choice.  I do, you do, and if we throw God into the mix, heck, we can truly accomplish anything!

To Be or Not to Be?  Why not B Here Today?  (that Billy S., he was way before his time, wasn’t he?)

6 More Reasons to Abandon Your Thinking

I want, I want, I want to give, to love, to create, to serve, says your outside voice.

Too bad.  You don’t deserve.  You’re crazy.  You may want, but you cannot have, says your inside voice.

Which voice do you listen to?  See why it’s necessary to abandon your thinking?

In my last post, we explored six reasons to let go of destructive thinking.  Those six were:

1.  What we think about, we bring about.

2.  You will no longer be plagued by those “yeah, buts.”

3.  We sit in our own sh@t because it’s warm.

4.  You’re getting bloody and bruised from beating on yourself. 

5.  Much, if not all, of our thinking is erroneous.

6.  Our thinking is based on conclusions of people who lived in another time and place.

I just know you have, like me, mastered all six reasons and are chomping at the bit for the remaining six.  Not!  I do so love being facetious!

Here goes:

Reason #7 to Abandon Your Thinking:  Old patterns of thinking block us from contemplating new possibilities.

Or more correctly, according to scientific research, continued thought patterns actually form grooves or channels in the brain and when a repetitive thought enters the brain, it gravitates to its groove.  When those repeated thoughts are destructive, it’s not groovy.

The good news is that our brains are malleable and with concerted effort, we can create new grooves with repetitive good and positive thoughts.    I think I can, I think I can . . .

Reason #8 to Abandon Your Thinking:  We can become immobilized, unable to move one way or another off the high-center point of destructive thinking.

We brood, we stew, we ruminate on a change we want to make instead of allowing a “what if?” thought to enter our thought process.  For more information on how to “what if,” visit my friend Mindy Audlin’s masterful technique called What If Up at

Reason #9 to Abandon Your Thinking:  To save our planet.

When you really become aware of the energy flow around your moods and their corresponding thought patterns, can you feel how negative comments or judgmental remarks create a feeling of toxicity?  We’ve all encountered the spoiled-sport who is a “downer” in an otherwise great situation. 

Imagine that particular situation multiplied. Now you’re in a location where most everyone is grumpy and tired.  They complain about everything without appreciating anything or anyone.  You can’t wait to escape that situation, right? 

Now imagine an entire neighborhood or town behaving so destructively.  Expand the toxic circles out to your state, your country, your continent and your world.  What do you see in your mind’s eye?

Our thoughts are powerful conductors of energy that can literally cause massive shifts in our planetary health.  Pretty cool, huh?

Reason #10 to Abandon Your Thinking:  We can stop wars.

I’m of the belief that collective, focused thinking can produce the most incredible, even seemingly impossible, outcomes.  Never underestimate-NEVER, NEVER-the power of positive thinking.

Our God-given powers are meant to be used for good deeds, not destructive ones.  Believe me, I am not naiive enough to believe that violence and wars can be stopped on a dime. 

But, what if they can?  Who’s to say?  Can we try stop wars by letting go of the old, outdated and manufactured methods of being in relationship with others?  As with the principle behind #9, this #10 reason begins with one-with-me, then me-with-you, then us-with-them.

Are you with me?

Reason #11 to Abandon Your Thinking:  So we can stop relying on outward methods of stimulation.

We turn to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, whatever makes us feel good about ourselves.  We find an elusive haven in the things when in reality, they are merely a replacement, a stand-in, for the One.  Instead of telling ourselves–and believing–that we’re craving all those things, can we crave God instead? 

I invite you to take a 21-day challenge with Lisa TerKeurst, author of Made to Crave,

And finally:

Reason #12 to Abandon Your Thinking:  To Win Our Personal and Collective Victories.

Need I say more?

Just this, to paraphrase Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love (

Ask.  Believe.  Act.  Release.  Receive.

Namaste, my friends. 

Photo courtesy of Jen @smiling_heart

A Project of Writing Love

One of the amazing benefits of this blogging life is the friendships that form among people who have never spoken via phone or met face-to-face. And yet, the language of the heart connects them via strings of words typed into any one of a number of electronic devices that transmits messages across the globe.

My blogging friend Jen is an Australian writer currently living in China.  Her energy and passion for happiness–not to mention her fabulous artwork–endeared me to her.  Read this from her most recent post on My Smiling Heart:

“Every single little girl and woman on this planet deserves to see how beautiful they are. Including me. That’s why I’m doing this. So that one day, without hesitation, or 20 minutes staring at a blank screen, I will be able to list at least 30 things about myself that are amazingly beautiful and wonderful, and then go on to list 30 more.”

(for the complete post, and to see Jen’s site, click here:

I love her project for April called 30 Days of Beauty.  She and her friend, also named Jen, have created a 30-day challenge to everyone interested in beautifying our planet, one spectacular soul at a time.  Again from her home page:

30DaysOfBeauty is a lifestyle experiment designed to boost self-esteem and encourage women (and men!) to see how truly beautiful they are – and raise money for a good cause in the process! Everybody wins!

Created by the two Jens, one the writer of The Smashed Planet and the other the writer of My Smiling Heart, 30DaysOfBeauty will use tweeting and blogging to spread a message of self-love and self-worth.

For 30 days, starting on the 1st of April 2011, the two Jens will take to their twitter accounts (@jenfromal and @smiling_heart) dedicating one tweet per day to a reason why they are beautiful.

Each 30DaysOfBeauty tweet will finish with the hashtag #imbeautifulbecause, encouraging others to join in on the fun and tweet about why they are beautiful, too!

Every week, the two Jens will each write a post about their progress on the 30DaysOfBeauty challenge, list their #imbeautifulbecause tweets from the previous week, and also include some of their favourite #imbeautifulbecause tweets from others.

Now, here’s the most important part.

Through crowdrise, the two Jens will be using this 30 day challenge to raise money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a cause that is dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

We are dedicating these 30 days to raise at least $300 for To Write Love on Her Arms

Isn’t that the coolest?  Aren’t these two Jens the epitome of what it means to love unconditionally?  I support them and ask you to do the same.  Get those tweets flying, Facebook updates launching and pass the worrd along.  If you’re so inclined, head over to  crowdrise and make a donation.  We have three more weeks to help the Jens reach their goal, which is really our collective objective.

In doing so, you just may make a new international friend!

Blessed Be, My Dear Diana

If there is such a thing as a perfect Sunday morning, this is it.  Oh, I suppose it could be better if I were at the beach listening to the pounding surf, but then it would be a different perfect Sunday morning.

My beloved cousin Diana died two mornings ago.  Her death does not tarnish my perfect morning because Diana’s faith ran deep and strong and although unexpected, if she were with me now she would ask me to accept God’s will.  I am comforted knowing she’s running with heaven’s angels now, unencumbered by the limitations of a physical body.

Seven months ago when Mom passed, Diana was one of my rocks.  At that time, she would have been startled to learn that her time here was so limited.  Not shocked, or upset or disbelieving because she inherently trusted God’s plan. 

She would ask me to do the same now.

Diana’s flowers, her pride and joy and part of her legacy

Our spiritual and family connections deepened in the months following my mom’s death.  Her mom and mine were not only first cousins but best friends.  Diana had become a big sister to me, someone I went to for counsel and wisdom.  We shared many common bonds, chief of which was the belief in truth, especially self-truth.

Diana was one of my biggest supporters when I made my holistic life change in August 2009.  She said, “If you’re true to yourself, Cuz, if you’re doing what feels right, then it is right in God’s eyes.”

We didn’t see each other much, seldom spoke on the phone.  Diana lived–and died–fully present to her life and trusted me to do the same.  She loved me unconditionally and therefore hadn’t a need for my life’s minutae.  It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested, far from it.  All she really cared was whether I was happy.  Actually, she was one of the first to bless my happiness and I’ll never forget the mile-wide smile that met my news that I was moving to Texas.

When you hold another’s heart, what more of a connection is needed?

I can count on one hand the number of people in my life who hold the same status of heart keeper.  Diana was among those people and I shall miss her for as long as I breathe.

Thinking of the twinkle in her eye will always cause me to smile, especially on these perfect Sunday mornings. 

Kiss Mama for me, will you, Cuz?