Who Am I?


This morning, my sister sent a blog link, http://aleafinspringtime.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/a-guide-to-the-dark-side/

I know I meander in my thinking and writing a lot of the time but I’m really a bottom-line and short-attention-span kind-of-person so clear, concise messages appeal to me.   After reading the blog, a question resurfaced.  I’ve pondered it recently while reading Tolle and The Untethered Soul…if I’m not my emotions and mind voices, then who am I?  All of my life I had determined who I was by what now I understand were egoic standards, what I do – not who I am.   That identity  has changed over my lifetime.  I also unconsciously sensed that I was more than my self-description but never put conscious thought to it until recently.

I’ve known most of my life that my gut is my guide.  It is how I understand my life.  I have so far been able to consistently depend on God speaking to me this way.  It’s about the only constant in my life.  And I am a good listener.   Also, without much thought,  I’ve known that my gut is  always right and I’ve felt very certain of my decisions when I had that gut knowing.   But I don’t always get it when I think I need it and that is when I’ve started, in the past, to question if what I’m hearing in my mind voice is God speaking – or not.  Well, now I know it is not.   I will question no more.  I will quiet myself and wait for my gut knowing.

I didn’t understand the role of the mind chatter and have spent untold hours of emotional pain and anguish, endured many sleepless nights because I engaged and listened and tried to make decisions from there.   Until recently, I didn’t know I had a choice!

I don’t have a problem with all of this when things are going well.  My mind voice gives me some useful information.  It’s when I feel anger, fear, distrust – all of the negative stuff…that’s when the negative mind voices kick in.  And they are scolding, accusing, bring up the worst case scenario – every time – just plain negative thoughts.    They intensify feelings of regret and insecurity… and on and on…

I’m sure I heard or read this somewhere but I’ve found that if I try to watch my thoughts – ask myself, “What are my thoughts right now, what am I thinking?”,  I realize I have no thoughts when I’m doing that.  It helps clear my mind.  Sounds confusing maybe, but try it and see if it works for you.   Deepak Choprah says to concentrate attention on our hands, sensations, tingling.   It breaks the mind cycle.  That works for me as well.

After reading several books and listening to many “messengers”… Oprah, Iyanla, Michael Singer, Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra..and others, learning to observe  the chatter patterns – I was finally able to put it all together today.   I know that life unfolds and goes on, the sun comes up and goes down, seasons pass…   Life doesn’t cause problems for me.  Challenges, yes.   I’ll bet my problems could almost always be traced back to the negative, dark side  mind voices that are full of misinformation and making problems from my inner issues!  I’m becoming more and more aware of that.

Back to who I really am, while talking about it with my sister this morning, I chuckled to myself.  Funny!  I suddenly remembered  that I had already figured out who I really am.  I had just forgotten for a moment.  In the last month, after Deepak Choprah ask Oprah who she really is, I decided to define myself.   Here I am, 72 years old and I finally figured out that my name (label) is Sharon, and none of my accomplishments define who I am.   They’re a part of what I do, not who I am.

God put me here, in human form,  to express who He is in spiritual form.  I’m a spiritual being, an expression of God. I’m here to express His love, service, grace, peace, comfort, mercy, encouragement – all good things that He is.    A reminder of how I want – and need – to respond, initiate, live my life in a more purposeful way.   I’m a student and a listener living in abundance, passion and love.  Yes!

My spiritual identity, who I really am, is one that that doesn’t change.   Describing what I do is so different from how I do the things I do.     My challenge is to remember why and how I choose to “do” my life.   I have clear guidelines.

What a difference a day makes!  And as usual, I need to write my new AHA moment down so that I don’t forget who I am again… Chuckle.

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Best Friends


I don’t often experience envy but I admit to this one…

There are some couples that just love each other – deeply and honestly.  And I just love being with them.  This is a rare experience for me but I’m fortunate to have two such couples in my life.  One couple are former clients – RC and CC.  We had an almost immediate connection when I picked them up at their hotel and over the years it has grown into  a dear friendship.    The other two are close relatives of my husband, GG,  and her husband, DW.

I was single for almost 20 years and very ambivalent about remarrying – until I met RC and CC.  I acknowledged to myself that I had often pictured marrying my true best friend – spending my retirement years traveling, laughing, reading, exercising, sharing.   The more I got to know RC and CC, the more firm my resolution became to be open to a committed relationship.   I saw that what I pictured could actually be a reality.

DW and GG, RC and CC, all live my dream.  Of course, they have their issues and problems too, but there is an underlying friendship and respect that prevails.  I spent some time with RC and CC a few weeks ago, and for the last few weeks, have been with DW and GG almost every day.

Being around all of them over the last month,  I’m finding myself nurtured and renewed and in an effort to hold on to my feelings, I’m identifying words to express what I experience when I’m with them.  For the most part, I find myself feeling comfort, joy, peace, hope and admiration.

I know about many of their struggles and triumphs, the heartaches and joys of their relationships.  I’ve listened to their stories, shared some experiences with them.  I know their lives have not been without pain, death of a child, infidelities,  serious health issues, long separations while serving in the Military, the stresses of being married to an obstetrician/surgeon – experiences that have torn many couples apart.  But they managed to reach the other side and become even closer.   I’ve watched them handle differences with respect, acceptance, a lot of listening, and humor.   They have a gentleness, even when they’re irritated with each other, have  shown courage to let the other be unhappy or gritchy, sad or happy.  They’re all individuals and seem to know their boundaries.   And they respect those boundaries.

Some words I might use  to describe what I see and feel between them is acceptance, loyalty, safety, generosity, comfort, admiration, respect, gentleness, a deep caring.  A joy in being with each other.  They are truly best friends.    They express differences easily.  They share some activities, tolerating others  just because they prefer to spend time with each other and share a memory.   They both have friends and outside activities but it’s clear that they prefer each other and their time together.   They are present for each other.  They have differences but have learned, over many years, how to express themselves respectfully.   They know that absolutely their partner has their back.  No matter what or who…  And they have traditions – with their families but also between themselves.   Little things.  Some are daily rituals.  DW brings coffee – every morning! – to GG in bed.   He always pulls her car out of the garage and has it ready for her when she’s ready to leave.  She rewards him with a lot of praise and admiration. Every time.  Just like it’s the first time.  She never seems to take him for granted.  All four of them express abundant appreciation for their partners.  Consistently.   When I hear them criticize, when they’ve done something wrong, there’s still a sense in speech and attitude that they’re on that person’s side.   I also know that they’ve hurt each other deeply at times and I’d really love to see how they handle it in private.  Is it the same?  They’ve all just said they try to stay respectful.

Both couples have been together since high school.   They have told me that early years together were not without hurdles and huge adjustments – there were some very difficult times.  Communicating well was not an easy thing to learn.   They all feel that they worked very hard to create their present relationship.  Part of it just evolved as their friendships grew over the years.  They were deeply committed to being best friends and treating each other with respect.   At times, their only expectation was – and is – that they protect their friendship as they would with any other dear friend.

I now realize that when I married, I had some pretty unrealistic expectations.  You’d think that in the time it took to get all of this gray hair, I’d have learned more!  My husband and I  are in the early years of our relationship and I’m discovering that just because we are older – and more experienced in relationships – it doesn’t mean that we can bypass adjustments and difficult times.   We both now have more tools to work with – and we use them a lot!  We are still learning our life lessons.  And that sometimes means double the lesson – we are there for each other while we get through our individual lessons as well.   The single life was so much simpler in many ways – not as rewarding in other ways.  I just believe that a relationship takes us places that we simply can’t get to on our own.   And that’s where I want to be.

My husband and I have been together for almost five years, in our 70’s.  I treasure our relationship and friendship.   We came together with our pasts – our longest history and memories are with others.  We just simply don’t have a lot of time left to create a long history together.    No time to waste on wishing that I had what my friends have but it is a great goal.  I’m busy working on getting as far as possible with that one….  And I will be gentle, appreciate, respect, be grateful.

I will be grateful for the time and progress we have – and will make in our relationship.   We have some great role models.  I want to be that for our children….

Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 10: Joy Rising (Flash Mob)


Lesson 10: Joy Rising (Flash Mob)

Every Friday on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah brings us a little bit of joy.  And other days as well.  But watch the Flash Mob…and get happy!
Aired: 10/21/2011
Today’s Question…What’s the one thing about joy that you know for sure?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:  

Joy to me is a feeling of deep gratefulness.  I can create joy by focusing on the many things I’m grateful for.  When I watched Oprah’s South African Christmas for the children I felt intense joy so deeply that I was in tears.  Happy and grateful tears.  When you recognize that somebody cares enough about you to show you that you matter, you never forget it.   It’s great to feel that joy but wow!  the chance to give that feeling to someone else is beyond description!  Like Oprah says, it can be the littlest things.  Little things that make a huge difference.  I feel that way about Kiva.  Many small things I can do each day.  I look for them.

And Jake too!  He loves to perform and he’s a huge fan of Stevie Wonder.  Oprah arranged for Jake to sing for her audience and surprises him when Stevie Wonder starts accompanying him.  It gives me goosebumps every time I see it.  And I watch it over and over.  What fun!  For everyone involved.  We the audience.  Stevie Wonder is obviously enjoying.  Oprah is giddy with joy excitement.  And Jake!  I can’t even imagine that anything will top this in his life.  At least in the department of surprises.  He says it’s his dream come true.  Love those dreams!  And when they come true…well…how amazing is that!  Joy!

Nancy Kay meets Tom Cruise – her dreams fulfilled.

The great thing about joy is that it’s so much fun, so satisfying, so fulfilling to share.   It’s contagious.  It brings laughter, smiles and tears.

Joy comes in all forms?  Elie Wiesel is another guest.  How to bring consciousness and joy to such a horrific tragedy?

Clementine won Oprah’s essay contest – Why is Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, relevant today.  Clementine won the contest.  She also lived thru the genocide  in Rwanda.  In just 100 days, 800,000 people were slaughtered.  Men, women and children killed with machetes.  Bodies dumped.  Clementine was 6 ears old at the time.  She and her sister escaped, believing that their entire family had been killed.  They ended up in the US and for 12 years, had not seen their family.  They searched diligently for their parents.  They last saw their parents in 1994.  In 2001, they discovered that their family was alive.  At the time of the reunion on The Oprah Show, they had not seen their family for 12 years.  Had brothers and sisters that they had never met.  The reunion was “amazing grace” moment (Oprah’s description).  I was so grateful that getting to share that moment, even on TV, well…. and Elie Wiesel was there and shared the moment.   Raw, pure joy!

Followup on Clementine… She is attending Yale University.   Her pencil-case is the only thing that she still has from Rwanda.  It holds her Yale Class of 2013 flag.  Her pencil-case  is her touch of the past and a reminder  that she has to be grateful, quiet and …to complete her school work.  She visited and spoke at  Oprah’s school in Africa – what an inspiration to the other children.  Her story is pretty amazing.

If you can’t find anything to be happy about, to fill you with real joy.  Close your eyes and consider for a moment your breath.  You still have it.  You’re here right now.  Let that fill you up.  And build from there.  Allow yourself to feel, experience the joy.

An Oprah message.


Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 10: Joy Rising (The Flash Mob)
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 10: Joy Rising (The Flash Mob)
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Question

My Intention – A Written Affirmation


I visualize my intended outcome.  What is it?  Material – abundance? Spiritual? Higher understanding?  Inspiration?  Imagination? My process includes all of these.

I know if I live and move with my intention, it is inevitable.   The outcome will come together – as I encounter circumstances and situations.

I have been given a passion for art and my intention is to paint something that will benefit others.  Right now I’m working on a painting of a soldier embracing his wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend.  It is meant to represent all soldiers – male and female.  leaving or returning.  If it turns out the way I’m hoping, I’ll donate proceeds to help military families in some way.  My dream is that it will help soldiers and their families monetarily.  My hope is that it will sell many prints.  But if it sells even one, I know that money will help someone.  My intention is that it will make a difference in someone’s life.

My intention creates my reality and orchestrates fulfillment of my dream.   This is my dream.

My intention is in my heart and I’m listening with my soul.  I’m living and moving with this intention.   Things will come together in just the right way, at just the right time.   Situations, circumstances will work together to accomplish my dream.

I’m so excited!

Oprah’s Lifeclass
Purpose, Intentions

The Whisper – Part 2


Our life speaks to us in a whisper – what is it telling me?  What will I do about it?  What is it really that I’m supposed to be doing with my life? When I connect with the place of stillness at my core, what do I find I’m meant to do with my life?

What is the whisper saying to me?    Paint!!!

What am I doing about it?  I’m walking to my easel, picking up my brush and staring at my partially completed canvas…

Why my struggle when I so NEED  to paint?   I know my need to paint is to express myself.   I’m constantly painting in my head.  Is it enough to create in my head?  Is that expression enough?  The joy of creating?  In my head?   I enjoy that a lot but I think if I pass on  my opportunity to express my ideas on canvas, I’ll regret it.  In fact, I know that for sure.

I go to my easel and can’t figure out exactly how to proceed…where I want to go with my painting at this point…feeling somewhat unfocused, a bit disconnected and lost.   I go through the motions.   I stand there for a time, mix my paints, study my canvas and then leave.  I’m looking for a distraction.

I’ve felt like I’m in a transition of style and change.  I have been thinking  it’s temporary – for a long time.   But…

Is this a metaphor for my life?    How do I separate my art, who I am, from any other part of my life?  No – it’s not a metaphor.  It IS my life.  Whoa!  Woops…I really mean GO!

I will no longer go through the motions.  I will live a meaningful life that makes a difference.  Going through the motions doesn’t cut it!

I’m very aware this morning that I need to move – take action.  Just show up.  Take time for me.

Up and at it.  Quit thinking.  Allow no distractions.  Move my hand and it will happen.

I’m excited!  I feel joy in taking action, joy in my art!  And life!

Yes!

Oprah’s Lifeclass

The Whisper…

Does My Life Make a Difference?


I grew up with my Dad telling me to live my life as an example…that someone is using each of us as a role model…there is always someone who is watching to see how we handle situations and life – especially the difficult times.

I’ve witnessed 17 deaths of family members and most of my best friends over the last 19 years.  The youngest was a three year old niece.  Sometimes my grief has been overwhelming and I’ve not been sure which death(s) I was grieving.    My doctor told me  at one time that she thought I needed to grieve and it would help a health problem.  I’m not sure I know how to grieve.  Is there a proper way to grieve?  I don’t know.  I’ve read books, listened to Oprah shows, listened to friends, observed …

Last month we lost a 46-year-old niece to ovarian cancer.   There was an obvious transition from her “fighting” to “acceptance”.  Up until she was placed in hospice care, she was grieving her loss.  She wanted so much to see her two teenage sons graduate from high school, share their college experience, see them married and hold her grandchildren.  Her fight kept her going.

Then she told her parents, shortly before her death, that she was ready to leave;  that, knowing how much sadness her leaving would bring to others,  she almost felt guilty about her excitement over the adventure ahead of her.   She was very sad to leave her two teenage sons, her husband, her family and friends, but that she was ready and excited to leave.   It gave all of us a lot of peace, but how can that be.  Truly?

I am so fearful of dying that it’s very difficult for me to comprehend all that she said she was feeling.  I have enough gray hairs to know that God gives us grace to face…when we need it, when we’re actually confronted with challenges and passages.  Jennifer was a recent example.

She was involved.   There were over 700 people at her “celebration”.  She wasn’t a celebrity but she had lived life.   She was involved.  She made a huge difference in many lives.   She was very active in her church, children and recovery ministries, her children’s schools, 12 Step Programs.  If you had known her, you would understand….

On our way home from her celebration  in California, I was again trying to make sense of death…her death…all of the deaths.  Why do we live?  Why do we die?  How do I make sense of this? How do I accept it?

I do know that with each death and loss, I feel a new resolve to live life more fully.   I feel my own mortality and feel even more determination to make a difference in some way.   Peace came when I realized that one reason that we live our lives is to teach others.  By how we live our lives.

At Jennifer’s service, I repeatedly heard from those who spoke, that she “showed up” – no matter what!  She was there, whether or not she felt like it.  If she had made a commitment or knew she could help, she “showed up”.   She loved to sing.  Really loved to sing.  She knew how to be a good friend.  She had a wonderful laugh – and laughed a lot.    She was full of fun and joy – even when she had reason not to be, especially during her illness.  She was courage personified.  I want to be known that way.  I’m paying closer attention….

Each person has made a very real difference in my life.    And I’m so grateful for them all.   I started thinking about those I’ve lost and what I’ve learned from each….

To hug my loves when I’m leaving.  Really connect and tell them I love them.     No matter the mood….  I was fortunate to have had that from my husband.  He was much better at it than I.  But I remember that lesson every day.

My brother-in-law was a constant support and father/brother substitute for those who needed him.  He was an artist and couldn’t help himself…he had to create.  He did it as an expression of himself, didn’t do it for anyone else.  I can learn from him…

My friends, Eloise and Marcia, were loyal, fun, excellent Moms, and taught me so much about being friends.  They still have a profound influence on my life…I’m so grateful for their lives that were much to short.  They made such a difference in my life.  I still miss them.  A lot!

My sister was very outgoing and social, maintained long close friendships over her lifetime.  She had a great sense of humor, loved to entertain, made everyone feel welcome.   She taught me to hug.

Another sister was our family historian – to the max.  She saved pictures, documents, stories, provided our family with a priceless record of our  ancestry.

Another sister was a school teacher.  She and her family lived many places during her life – Greece, Tehran, Sumatra, and other places. She was intelligent,  a teacher in all aspects of her being.  She was an amazing cook, fun and creative.  I saw her very little but she gave me some invaluable advice and encouragement during her life.  She was adventure and excitement.

My Mom was a little dynamo.  She lived a pretty unconventional life, was very creative and could get tickled over little things, especially about herself.   She was good at choosing to see something beautiful in everyone.  She was a spiritual influence in many peoples’ lives.

My Dad was a prayer warrior.  His faith and example was a huge influence to almost everyone he met and he made a solid  difference in many lives.  He was a teacher and minister.  Quietly consistent.  Corny too.

So many others, so many wonderful others.  Some were in my life from childhood and they are truly part of me.

So what difference will I make in someone’s lives?  How do I matter in this world and to my closest?   I try to do meaningful things with my days, be courageous and accepting, interested and interesting, fun to be with, have hilarious moments.  Enjoy, share, appreciate.  Do some act of kindness at least once each day.  I’m working on being “present”.  Putting my phone down and connecting in person when I’m with someone.  Listening.  Responding.  I will remember to let everyone know how much I love them by lighting up when I see them.   No matter my mood.

Dad was right…all of these people have been examples in my life.  Sometimes they’ve taught me what I don’t want to be.  I hardly remember that part.  I remember deep love, laughing til we hurt, sharing plays, concerts, love of life, courage, we were there for each other during painful times and for celebrations.

I am and will make a difference.  I’m living my life…. I’m here so I matter.   We all do.

Today I start painting – Every Day!


What am I doing with my life?  I have a wonderful life but I’m not living my fullest life!  I can’t use the excuse of not knowing my purpose – I know clearly.

I have a deep need, in fact a passion to “create”.  A good part of my life I feel that I haven’t expressed myself – in many ways – that have been true to myself.   I haven’t listened to, and accepted myself.  I am constantly painting in my head, but have a difficult time getting myself to my easel.  This has been going on for years – literally years!  It’s a very real struggle for me.

Painting is one of my greatest joys and also a big old pain to me.  I have so many ideas in my head.  Why do I not just Do It!??!  I’m not sure.  I want to do a painting that makes a difference in the world but how will I ever accomplish that if I don’t paint it!!!

I don’t feel inspired.  I feel that I want to paint in a different style than what I’ve been doing, have it in my head but start feeling lost before I get it on the canvas.  A lot of times – many times – I am so excited about painting a particular idea that I can hardly wait to get started.  Sometimes I get started, sometimes not – but my motivation and inspiration fizzles quickly.  Sometimes I have an overwhelming rebellious response, sometimes anger, to my need to paint.  I don’t understand it at all.  I’ve journalled about it,  ignored it, painted thru it, and prayed…..

I’ve had reasonable success with my art – it was used for several years in Portland Street of Dreams homes, had my own shop that went quite well, I’ve sold many paintings – people seem to enjoy some of my work.   I am exhilerated while I’m painting and when I see the finished painting, I’m very let down and critical – painfully critical to the point that I get angry at myself for not translating what I have in my head.  I know that means practice, experimenting, enjoying my journey.  I know all of this in my head.

I’m beginning to think that maybe creating in my head is fulfilling in itself.  But I also know that if I were to lose my sight or hands that I’d really regret not having painted my ideas.

Bottom line…I feel that I’m wasting a gift that I’ve been given.

I need to get over myself!  Arrrrgggghh.

Is this that old “accepting myself” thing again……

I’ve developed a good walking habit – for my physical health.  It’s working well.   Today I  begin a “creating” habit for my soul.

Today I will stand in front of my canvas with brush in hand and just paint.