Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Life really is a crazy thing.  

The last couple of years has brought about so many changes, realizations and experiences.  From the loss of my sister, to the opening of my coaching and speaking business (Woman UP),  to the launching of kids into the world, to the transitions of my own aging... each new thing has brought a new realization.

Today, on the anniversary of my sister's passing - who was the same age I am now, I am feeling reflective about the things that I have learned about life.  So, bear with me, humor me, or reflect with me while I share.

What 45 years has taught me about life: 

  • It takes you on twists and turns that seldom fit into your plan. 
  • It brings you joys and challenges that you would never expect.  
  • It is painful in ways that break you down, but also in ways that allow you to be rebuilt stronger.
  • It provides opportunity for joy and service - IF you open your heart to those opportunities. 
  • It is intrusive when you choose to let it happen TO you, but a bit more polite when YOU happen to it. 
  • It is both happy and sad. 
  • It doesn't happen solely on the mountaintops or in the depths - it happens mostly at the horizon. 
  • It provides you with what you need, and what you don't. 
  • It is mixed up, but so ordered at the same time. 
  • It's full of colors blended in every way possible, but also starkly black and white. 
  • It rolls on whether we want it to or not. 
  • It is turned upside down, but always rights itself. 
  • It is either suffocating or liberating - depending on what we CHOOSE it to be. 
  • It is individual to each of us, yet so dependent upon others. 
  • It brings and it takes. 
  • It WILL bring moments, events, and experiences that you will never understand.
  • It will bring you wisdom if you listen to it. 
  • It is unexpected but expectant of us. 
  • It resists being controlled, yet requires us to take control.
  • It has its own balance - regardless of how we try to define it. 
  • It runs in a time structure that is known only to it - and no matter how hard we try to schedule it, it doesn't change its structure. 
  • It shows us, ultimately the things that are important. 
  • It craves being cherished. 
  • It despises being wasted. 
  • It wants to be stamped with our unique marks and purpose. 

Ultimately, what what this list shows me  is that "existing" is easy. - that's just a matter of showing up and breathing.  BUT LIVING.... LIFE... it's complicated, it's messy, it's joyful, it's painful, it's necessary, and it's worth it.  We can take charge of it, but we can't always control it.  That's OK.  We just need to honor it by bringing our best to it. Life really is a crazy thing.

Are you honoring life by bringing your best to it?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Launching Planets

Today I dropped my youngest child off to take her SAT tests.

You'd think that after having gone through this two other times, having a child in her mid 20's and out of college, and another that's almost 20 and halfway through college, I'd be a pro at this whole letting them go thing.  Truth be told, it was pretty easy with the first two... not that I wanted to let them go, but I guess there was a bit of knowing that I still had time before they were all gone.  But today, when I dropped off my baby for the test, I actually welled up.

Now I'm not saying that I will be totally lost in my empty nesting years.  I will miss having my house filled with the giggly laughter, the excitement of boyfriends and dances and girl time, and yes even the hormonal tension and fighting that happens when the three teen girls and their mother occupy the same space. But I am looking forward to knowing and growing me, and knowing and growing my husband and I as a couple again.

As much as I know there is before me, I will miss what is in the chapter behind me. Motherhood (as is fatherhood) was a time of me growing, teaching and guiding my children into being productive, independent and contributing members of society.  That was my job  - to parent them and to let them go into the world. It is an awesome responsibility, but also an awesome privilege and time of learning for me.

It's funny, how when we are awaiting their arrival into the world, they are our sun. We are like a planet that's orbit - our time, space, effort, and life revolve around the day the sun born. Then the moment they are born, we become one as they depend on every thing from us, and us from them.  Slowly they gain independence and start breaking away, often in fiery fashion, like the solar flares and explosions. As time moves forward and we do our job, the separation process cools down. We equip them to be whole and complete in the world, able to sustain life, support living, and be abundant.  And when the planet is complete, we become more like the moon, being a shining spot bringing them light, but letting them find a new sun to shine on them.

As I was driving away and welling up, I felt the honor, the privilege, the learning experience, and the joy it is to have raised my babies.  I am not perfect in my job as parent.  No one is. But I have done a pretty good job at bringing up three independent, self sufficient, and good people - planets... I realized that my job as parent, was launching planets.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

A Memorial Day Walk
Photo By  Rebekah Mozilo
The AZ Mom of Many Hats Blog has been quiet for a while.  I have not abandoned it, but I have slowed down posting a bit as I have been making some life changes - professional certifications, opening my coaching and speaking business - Woman Up Movement, and launching my children into the world as self sufficient and good human beings.

As I sit here this morning, it strikes me that it is  in this great country, where my family has a long history and commitment to freedom - dating back to the Mayflower and The American Revolution, that I have the opportunity to discover, rediscover, live out my passions and purpose, raise my children in faith of my choice, speak the words of my heart with freedom, and the freedom to work in a field of my choice and reap the benefits of my hard work.

On this day, I am so eternally grateful to those who lived and died in service, so that today, May 26, 2014, that my children and  I would be able to live our lives in freedom.  The post below, holds special meaning to me in that it is a shared experience with one of my daughters. It also holds special meaning in what each person gave to defend the rights and freedoms of all who call the USA home.

A Memorial Day Walk

Not long ago, I took my daughter to the Veterans Cemetery in our town.  She is an avid and very talented photographer and was drawn to the emotion, the landscape, and the composition of the cemetery.  As a tribute to those that served in the military and our country, she wanted to capture a respectful and beautiful image of what is often remembered as a dark and sad place.

The Cemetery is along a major road that we travel often so we catch a glimpse of it regularly.  But when on days when there is a national celebration of Veterans and Service Persons, or on days when another is committed back to the earth after a life of service or a sacrifice in service, it is even more noticeable. On those days, the land is peppered with the colors that represent the freedoms we have in the United States. The usually brown and grey desert landscape is brightened by the Red White and Blue.

Service support groups lovingly and patiently place a flag at each headstone at the cemetery. I thought of that loving service that they provided as we walked through the rows of headstones on the day I took my daughter to capture the images.  What a wonderful tribute and show of appreciation on the part of the organizations so dedicated to making sure our service members have the colors they served adorn their resting places.

But, as we we walked through the headstones and eventually parted directions, my focus shifted as I began reading the epitaphs.

I saw the awards, medals, and commendations by those that lay beneath.  The dates etched in the stones so clearly defined the moments in history that they walked the earth, served their country, and fought for our freedoms.  The realizations that some had long life and others only a brief walk on this earthly home sat on my heart as I could only try to feel the sacrifice that not only they, but their families gave so I had the freedom to live my life in the way that I wanted to. Whether they had a good and successful life outside of service or struggled upon coming back to the life that so many of us take for granted, each of them in their time was a hero.

My daughter and I met up again and gazed at the rows of seemingly unending flags surrounding us. We spoke in quiet respect about the gratitude an bravery of the men and women that we briefly came to know through the stories on their headstones.  Somber words of what the service personnel and their families endured as they were separated for long periods of time, and for some through the loss of their loved one were choked back. We were both moved - me in internal emotion, her in creative emotion through her photographs.  We both left the cemetery that day with our hearts full of thanks to every man and woman that has served in person or has served in supporting their loved one in service to others.  We were both changed.

To every woman and man that has, is or will ever serve this great country, THANK YOU! And to every family that is home waiting for their loved one who is serving, THANK YOU! Each one of us that calls the U.S. home is indebted to you for giving of yourself and your loved ones, so that we have the choices and freedoms that allow us the opportunity to live a good and free life.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Truth About Will Power!

"I can't seem to get started.  "
"Being healthy is hard.  It takes too much work."
"I tried it once, and I just can't seem to stick to it. I don't have the will power!"

I hate the term "will power".  It's a term that always has a have or don't have attached to it.  If someone tries to make a change and doesn't the reason is that they don't have will power.  If someone accomplishes a tough goal that requires sustained effort and change, it is credited to the fact that they do have will power.  Will power becomes a trait of the haves and the have nots.


Everyone has will power.

Every day,  you make voluntary decisions (not the involuntary decisions like breathing and blinking) based on will.    Albeit the process of decision making can be very quick and very subconscious, you still make decisions - you exercise your will.  You have power to exercise your will - or, will power.

You know that cookie in the cupboard that is calling your name? That is will power.  If you know it is something you should not have but have it anyway, your will powered you to partake, not to abstain.  If you abstain, your will powered you to walk away rather than partake. Will power can be positive and move you towards where you want to be. Will power can be negative and keep you away or move you further away from where you want to be.  The difference in the direction will power takes you is choice.

WOMAN UP!  You ALWAYS have choice. Own the choice. Account for the choice. Manage the choice.

If you say you have no choice, you are not owning the power of your free will and you are fooling yourself.  If you say there is NOTHING you can do to move you toward the positive side of will power, you are not taking accountability for your exercise of choice.  If you say that this is just the way it is and you just have to live with the negative side of will, you are making excuses - you are not managing the power or choice that you've been given.

Even if you can't choose to step into the positive side of will power in the blink of an eye, you can own your choice and will power, and choose to move in small increments toward that direction-seek out help and information,  or a support group.  Be accountable for your  will power and choice by changing an attitude about your will, realizing that it is not responsible for you, you are responsible for you. Manage your will and change in a way that is sustainable by making one small change at a time, or by looking for things you are already doing or are capable of doing that will move you toward your goals. Each thing you do to change direction moves you one step closer to the goal line.  Each thing you do powers your will toward your goal rather than away from it.

With all of that being said, realize that if at times your choices in your will don't move you in the positive direction, it does not mean you have failed. It means you are human! But also realize that if you tend to not be making overall progress in the positive direction, you need to step back and reassess. You are the ONLY one accountable for your will power.  Don't permanently give that part of your personal power away to anything.

Your will is amazingly powerful.  Steward it in the right direction.