change the world

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

How much control do you have on the world we live in? Do you believe you have the power to make a positive change? Do you think that the things that are happening in your city, in your state, in your country, in the world, are your responsibility? Are you a spectator or are you a doer? When someone is rude to you, or unfairly accuses you of doing something, do you feel hurt, or angry? Do other people’s actions and moods affect yours? If you are like most of us, they do. I see it all the time with angry drivers, or people I work with that bring their personal problems to work, or in the media on the world stage with all of the back and forth tit for tat. It has been an ongoing process for me to learn to stay cool, to stay me, when faced with outside influencers. It can be hard to do so especially with the people that have the most influence on us, our parents, our kids, our spouse.

It’s easy to see how easily we can be affected by upset, so how about we take that and flip it around. How good does it feel when we get touched with love? What if you set an intention to make all of your interactions laced with love, with kindness. Do you think that will have a ripple effect? I believe it does. I believe that the only way we are going to make this world we all live in a better place is to begin right here, with the daily connections and collisions we have ourselves. Begin the conversation, don’t be shy. Talk to your kids, to your coworkers, to your boss, to your neighbor, to the guy asking for change outside the cafe. Look up, look out, practice giving love even silently at first, then as you get brave, out loud. It may feel strange at first, to tell a stranger you love them, or someone you work with, but it gets easier the more you do it. Start small. Get great.


I am reminded this morning of a somewhat crude saying, “Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one”. If you are on the search for knowledge, or personal development, you can find an almost infinite amount of resources, books, websites, speakers, coaches…but who is right? One of the many books am reading, “Wooden on Leadership” states “Practice moderation and balance in all that you do.” I love this book, but I have found in my own life that my times of greatest growth and personal success have been when I am pushing the extremes, not practicing moderation. I don’t think I would have 4 restaurants if I practiced moderation. I wouldn’t have signed myself up for the hours and days and years of hard work and expenses that it has taken to build them to where they are today. I wouldn’t have pushed myself to learn to mountain bike, I wouldn’t have ridden 200 miles on a bike from Seattle to Portland in 2 days, I wouldn’t have run long distances when no one was chasing me, and I certainly wouldn’t be still dreaming of what else I can take on to challenge myself.

It is like everything in life, we need to filter through the information that we ingest on a daily basis and figure out what resonates with us. A friend and I were talking and he said “I have figured out that you can’t learn anything from other people, you have to learn it yourself.” This statement at first got my hackles up, because I have learned so much from other people, but then I got to thinking. It really is true, I did have to learn it “myself”. All of the things I am learning have always been there, it’s not like I have discovered something new, but I had to be at the point in my growth to really hear and apply the lessons. It’s like the parent that is always giving advice to keep their kid out of quicksand-but the kids, if they have any sort of rebellious or independent gene, will go ahead and drive fast or leave their homework for the last minute or date two girls at once. No matter how much guidance is available to us we have to be ready and open to actually get it.

That is how I pray every day.

“Please let me continue to be open to the guidance that is there for me at every moment, and thank you for all of the Blessings in my life. Thank you for another day.”

surround the fear with love

I don’t read the news. With the exception of the token special interest story about the cranberry bog that got rehabilitated back into a beautiful stream or love life of British royalty, the news is not what I want to feed into my brain. The headlines are all variations of the same theme “…makes it a whole lot worse.”, “clashes leave injured…”, “…body found…” All fear and the bad stuff that happens. Even the weather reports lately have been scary as our planet seems to be fighting back at us. I am conscious of the fertile ground that I have in my mind, and I focus on feeding it what I know it needs in order for me to maintain a sense of peace. If I start focusing on all the pain and fighting and conflict, it puts me in a place where I need to protect myself, hoard my stuff, lock my doors, and prepare for the worst. I don’t want to be in that place. I instead choose to look at the love that is all around me, in spite of what the news reports. I focus on doing everything I do from a place of kindness and love, and feed my mind by reading every day.

I am not saying that there is not a lot of scary stuff going on in our world, but to let myself get sucked in to the fear mindset closes off my access to the place where I can be part of the solution. I wonder if I am too small, just one person, to make a difference. But then I remind myself of the connectivity of all things, and I know that the small, moment by moment acts of kindness will have a ripple effect and help to make the world a little better. I see so much good, in spite of the news. There are so many people that are working to help shift our world, and it is happening, little by little. There will come a tipping point where the love will finally surround the fear, but only by loving, never by fighting.


We all have access to superpowers, but my favorite one by far is kindness. If we made the decision on a daily basis to choose to use this tool from our infinite arsenal of “ways to be”, can you even begin to imagine the change that would happen in our world? I came across a campaign in my hometown called “—stands united against hate”. I believe and have seen it to be true that when I focus my thoughts on something I seem to see it even more. If I look for what’s wrong, it’s all over the place. I can find the aggressive drivers, the negativity on the news, the not so subtle discriminations, but also conversely, if I focus on kindness, I can see it all over as well. I see the people helping out the girl asking for some spare change, I see someone rush over to help unload the groceries for the elderly man, I see the car in front of me paying my toll on the bridge, I see the random smiles given when a stranger’s eyes connect with mine.

If we were to choose to stand united FOR love, FOR peace, FOR kindness, and remove the word “against” from our vocabulary we could tip the scales, I am sure of it. Focus on what we want more of, the only antidote to the chaos and divisiveness that is continuing to come to the forefront is to make the love bigger. The outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world, and as we keep getting reminded there is some work to be done. We can change the world one decision, one thought, one action at a time. Choosing to be kind, choosing to unite for what we believe in, not against. Use your superpowers wisely.


I spent many years of my life in search of happiness. I read books, searched online, tried to find it in other people and see if they could share some with me. There are books on my shelf that spell out at least 10 different secrets to finding it. My husband, who I am so attracted to for many reasons, one of the strongest of which is his eternal positivity, would tell me that happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it escapes you, but if you just stand still, it will land on your shoulder and there you are. I loved the poetry of this secret to happiness, but I could not seem to translate it into real life.

I could not understand why I had such a struggle with dissatisfaction. I had so much to be grateful for, yet there always seemed to be something missing. Its not like I was never happy, but for me happy had an opposite, and the opposite was despair. It was a feeling that I was not worthwhile. It stemmed from some deeply limiting beliefs that I was not smart, that I was weak, that I was selfish, that I was unlovable. I was extremely hard on myself, it was like I had a strict headmistress in my head who followed me around all the time, beating me with a paddle over the head every time I made a mistake. She was always giving me instant feedback, things like “you are so stupid, why would you do that?”, and “you are so needy, no wonder you have no friends”, or “you should have known better, you are so lame”.

Over a period of time, I began to not just get tired of the despair and dissatisfaction, but to question where it came from. I began asking myself, why do I feel this way? What began is my journey to discovering what true happiness is to me. For me, happiness has no opposite when it is tied to gratitude. No matter where you are in your life situation, there are always things that you can find to be grateful for if you look. I began writing down as a daily habit 10 things I was grateful for. At first this seemed silly and compulsory, as I listed the big, easy things first, like my home and family, but as time went on, I began to notice the little things as well. It began the habit of looking at how much good there is in my life, no matter how much “stress” I created. I learned to appreciate the things that matter, to become present and notice the small things such as a drop of dew on a leaf, or the fog, or a small ant carrying food to his home. To be grateful to be alive every day to enjoy this world one more time.

The first words out of my mouth each day are thank you, a prayer to say thank you for another day. I am here in heaven on earth to enjoy this life, to help others along the path, to give love.

“Each day I see Jesus Christ in all of his distressing disguises.” Mother Theresa

open your ears

Open your ears and listen more. The whirr of the air conditioner, the high pitched sound of the elevator, the dog rolling over and breathing deeply. Steps? Birds chattering and car door closing. Clicking of the keyboard and the beating of my heart.

How is it that all of this and more is happening in the background at all times? There are so many things going on concurrently that our minds have to filter out the stuff that is clutter. We don’t even realize that its happening, that the mind is deleting stuff that it doesn’t focus on, what becomes clear are the things we lay our attention on. I can look around and see the weeds growing through the cracks in the cement, the crease beginning to form on my brow, the stack of papers on my dining room table/desk that should be filed away. Or I can see the beauty of the flowers and the sunny day, the pile that is a work in progress on creativity, the plates in the sink that say “someone lives here” and feel joy.

There is no place that is perfect, the only perfection is in the moment we are in. When I stop and listen it quiets the chatter. It opens the blinds. It allows in the beauty and variety that is here and there and in each person to come into your awareness. Quiet the mind and open your ears. Listen more.

heaven on earth

We are creatures of habit. If you doubt this take a look at the way you drive to work every day, or the path you take around the grocery store. We like to think we are independent thinkers, and granted sometimes we are, but if we are honest, a lot of the time we are sheep. We are puppets to the unconscious self that is full of beliefs about how life is supposed to be. We are the test market for corporate marketing and the propaganda we see in the media.

Why do we think we have to work and then retire someday? What is the thinking that leads us to believe that someday we will have more time to do what we aren’t do now? What makes us think that we will even want to do the things we don’t have time for now?

Can you wrap your head round the thought that you will never have more time? You will always have just 24 hours in a day. Maybe you could argue that once your kids are grown or your finances are better of your job is different you will have more “free” time. And I guess from one standpoint this is true. When we are around my nieces and nephews I remember vividly those days when it seemed that my day was full to the brim with feeding washing and keeping safe the little ones that take so much of our energy. But what if you realized that you do have time. Accept that what is important will change, and that all of the dreams and plans and visions you have for what you would do if you had more time will and can happen. Just be patient. Enjoy the incredible buzz that happens when you are busy, and cherish the times when you can fit in the dreams that you have.

I look at these young humans who are taking all of this in, they are perfectly present and enjoying the joy of swinging on the swing and throwing rocks into the river and eating bacon with no thought to cholesterol. They don’t worry about what they want to do with their free time, they just live it.

When do we forget how to live like that?

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:13

What if this quote from the bible is meant to be a metaphor for how to live your life. No matter what your religious beliefs, this message has wisdom. If you become like a child again, forgiving, in the moment, joyous, you will find heaven (joy) right here right now.


I just got back from 2 full days where I was disconnected from all technology. We took our youngest son up to Kennedy Meadows to camp, hike and make giant campfires. It was such a gift to be able to spend the time with my husband and my son, uninterrupted by emails or phone calls. I found myself reconnecting with the earth and feeling so refreshed and at peace watching the flowing river. The extremes in the weather, from hot to thundershowers and hailstorms were a reminder to me that life goes on with or without my attempts at controlling it.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 2 days away from computers or phones or tv, or even 1 day. Even my writing was different, usually I am hammering it out on a keyboard. But since we were camping, it was instead in pencil in the little blue book I have-the cobalt blue cover with “Fearless Dreamer” in gold script that I bought as a vow to begin dreaming again. The way I “write” write is an mirror of my journey, there are pages and pages filled at the beginning, then a lapse with a shopping list, lists of stories of milestones in my life, a list of names I have promised to pray for, lots of blank pages, and then a new series of thoughts beginning at the end of the book moving backwards. There are even pages where for some reason I have written upside down. There is little that is linear.

For roughly the first half of my life thus far I lived a very…how can I say…planned out life. I had a distinct idea of what my life was supposed to look like, and I followed the path of least resistance to get there. I got married just 4 days shy of my 21st birthday, and bought my first home, a cutesy, old little cracker-box, not long after. I worked for my mom’s business, without much ambition, but happy to stay in the safety net of her influence. By the time I was 23 I was a mother myself, and with my new baby girl in the picture, my girlhood dreams were coming true.

It was the birth of my son and the upheaval that he brought with his unique and unexpected special needs that was the first big disruption in the linear path that was my life until then. At the time I could not see it, but now with the wisdom and perspective that time brings, I can see that this was the greatest gift I could receive. His presence caused an earthquake in my small, sheltered, safe life. He was a loud and insistent messenger that there is little that we can control.

That is, and continues to be one of the lessons I am challenged with as I grow and continue this journey that is my life. Life, death, weather, seasons, sunrise, eclipse, all happen with our without my involvement. The changes and fluctuations in life from comfort to uncertainty and back are all part of the natural flow and law of existence, and the only thing I can control is my own thoughts and reactions to them. And it is a process, a journey, a moment by moment decision to let go of the desire to control.

choose love

Be independent of the good opinion of other people- Abraham Maslow

Life is teaching me that what other people think of me is none of my business. Other people are looking at us through their own glasses, which are absolutely different from my own , even though we may have similar values. They are basing their judgments and opinions about my actions, beliefs and success/failures on their own unique life experiences.

Each one of us is operating with a different prescription of perception. What makes you you is the series of experiences you have had in your life. For everyone, our experiences control our actions and thoughts, but sometimes we wake up to this. It can happen as a natural progression of your ongoing personal growth, and it can also happen as a result of a catastrophic event such as deep pain or loss. When we finally come to realize that we are not set in stone to react to everything, that we do have free choice, and can rise above reacting to actually responding, life becomes a more vast and open space of opportunity.

For me one of my big sources of pain was a fear of abandonment. I really have no idea where this came from, other than as long as I remember as a child and a young girl, I felt that I was not enough. This feeling of insecurity and uncertainty accompanied me through my life for a long time. As I grew and became a mother, and more successful in my career, it quieted down to a hum below the surface. This was better than the constant low I felt in the past, but it was not gone.

It would get triggered mostly by the ones I loved the most, as is their purpose. I believe that the people closest to us are here to help us grow, to trigger those reactions so that we can look at them and work to be free. My wonderful lover James is so devoted to me that he would always take steps to ensure that I felt safe, loved and secure. Inevitably there were instances when I was triggered nonetheless. Usually this would happen on the rare occasion when he left for a trip without me.

I distinctly remember in November of 2014 when James had an invitation to go to Maui with his friends. I made the conscious choice to tell him to go, with an open heart, truly wanting him to go without me. Maybe I knew that this was my opportunity to grow, because grow I did. While he was gone, I began to ask myself-why do I react with hurt, sorrow and abandonment when he is away from me? I looked inside, and realized that I had a choice! It made no sense that I react this way, I knew this man loves me totally, and he has always put my desires and wishes ahead of his own. It was time for me to do the same.

I still don’t like being away from my love, when I am with him I love the way we can be in a place of love together. What is different now is that I know that when he is gone (still rarely!) I will be growing more deeply into myself. I have learned that it is really true that you can change your life if you change the way you look at things. I have taught this for a long time in our business, when teaching how to deal with an unhappy guest or teammate. I have always looked at it as “They must really be having a bad day”, maybe they just received some bad news, or their spouse doesn’t tell them they are loved, or they are in pain. By changing the way you look at the experiences that come to you, you can choose to learn and grow. You always have the opportunity to make the choice of how you view your world and the people who come into it. Choose Love.