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Lessons Learned From Lionel the Cat

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my very first pet and loving feline companion Lionel. He filled our lives with so much love and joy in the short five years he was with us. Lionel was a spirit who came into physical form for a short time to teach A LOT of beautiful lessons.

He was the most precious, playful kitty with big ears who loved to pounce and scare the shit out of me by jumping out from under the bed at my feet. He was always very calm riding in the car, going to the vet and putting up with whatever seasonal costume we dressed him in (ie the plaid, wooly, jingle bell collar). His life was forever changed when we brought in his feline brother Wario first and then again when Mozart the doggie joined the family. He accepted them both (reluctantly at first) with big-brotherly comradary and made sure they knew who was boss.

Lionel walked by my side throughout the ups, downs and changes of my life with a quiet wisdom that made me slow down, pay attention and remember to be present. Whenever I would write, meditate or allow myself a moment of peace in the chaos of life, Lionel would jump in my lap with purring approval as if to say, “This is where it’s at momma!” He spent his days as most cats do, in the background resting, connecting with a special energy that kept our family grounded and sane. If he didn’t want to be petted, he let you know with a swift swipe or a menacing growl; he had no tolerance for misery. He didn’t talk very much, so when he did he got our attention. Usually he was saying, “I’m here and I have an opinion about what you’re doing!” Sometimes I wish I knew what that opinion was.

Lionel’s days in the physical world are gone, but I know his calming, wise energy is available for ready access whenever I ask. I know I’ll feel the comforting vibration of his purr and the soothing rhythm of his ‘milking’ paws in my heart, especially in my quiet moments of writing and meditating. He has passed on but will continue to light my life and remind me of everything of love. Thank you Lionel for 5 fabulous years together!

Ten Objects

I recently read an article in the British magazine “Red” on the plane back from London by a life coach who gets her clients to bring ten articles that best represent their values/loves/life joys to their first session together. I loved the idea and this morning quickly gathered the articles I feel best represent me.

Journal = I love to write, reflect and constantly grow and find peace and harmony in the process of journaling.
Running shoes = I enjoy my commitment to running and finding “my happy pace.” It’s cathartic and healing and as my mother said, I ran before I walked as a child.
Castanets = I dance to the rythm of life and am fluent in Spanish.
Inspirational Card Deck = I’m always looking on the bright side of things and learning more about myself. These help me reflect and stay upbeat.
Fresh flowers = I love having several vases of fresh flowers all over our house. They make me feel alive and remind me of the cycle of life.
Iphone = It’s important for me to connect authentically with others through texts, phone calls, emails and Facebook. I also love listening to music on it and using it to track my runs.
Passport = I love to travel because I feel present in new places and love meeting new people and learning new things that only travel can teach.
Banana = I eat at least one every day. It represents my commitment to healthful eating and my “monkey mind” that I do my best to tame as often as possible.
Buddah = I enjoy the quiet and stillness of meditation and yoga and appreciate remembering the God-being that I am through those inactivities. This statue is a reminder. It sits on a shelf by my bed.
Microphone = I believe I was put on this planet to teach, inspire and empower. The microphone reminds me of my strong voice and my purpose.

What ten objects best represent you? Take a picture and share it!

Today’s Theme: Fulfillment

While I was running in the heat and humidity today, an old favorite Bob Dylan song “Girl from the North Country” came on and I began to cry. A few steps before, I had coached myself to keep on pushing through the thick air and encouraged myself to be present, totally immersed in the moment. Because of that self-reminder and total present moment immersion, I experienced the song deeply and it moved me…literally, it kept my feet pummeling the sidewalk, even though it’s a slow and melancholy song. It filled me to the brim with emotion that caused the stream of tears from my eyes to get lost amongst the sweat on my face. It was a fleeting moment, and a reminder of the power of being fully present.

I came home from my run and continued to think about what fills me up and makes me whole. I asked myself, “Why can’t I always feel the way I felt for the duration of that 3 minute song? What keeps me from that?” Searching for answers (as I usually am!) I remembered a book I recently read about by Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, called Flourish and ordered it on Amazon. I’m sure it will have some valuable tips and tricks to help me learn how to feel more fulfilled in my awesome life, but I still felt as though intellect wasn’t going to be the answer, because I’ve tried that so many times. I mean, how many self-help books can one girl read?

Speaking of self-help books, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention someone who sparked this whole fulfillment conversation two days ago (I’ve just realized this!), my friend Randy Siegel who sent me his most recent book to read and endorse. I read it on the plane from Atlanta to San Antonio and felt so fully engaged and present as I read it. His authenticity and willingness to be vulnerable were inspiring and the one line of the book that triggered my fulfillment conversation was something his therapist said to him, “Randy, you’re very aware, but you’re not awake.” I asked myself, “Am I awake?”

As I strolled the Riverwalk that evening, I ‘stayed awake’ and fully experienced my five senses on my journey around the Paseo de Rio. I felt great. And again, after that experience of being fully (or at least mostly) present, I was disappointed to find myself immersed in my thoughts far away from the training room I worked in the next day. I thought to myself, “I’m on auto-pilot and am completely in outer space (or more accurately inner space!)”

Today, right before writing this, I got another dose of insight into fulfillment when I watched a wonderful TED video of Tony Robbins that a friend posted on Facebook. Watch it! You’ll love it.

I want to feel more fulfilled in my life, more alive in each moment and moved by the honesty of my emotions, with no fear of expressing them. This moment is all I have and when I give myself the gift of presence, I connect with God. God can only access me in the here and now. If I continue to focus on my past or worry about my future, I miss the opportunity to commune with the omniscient, omnipresent energy that is pure love, zest and zeal for this thing called my life.

I remember from that deep, centered and peaceful place inside of me something that Eckhart Tolle in his book A New Earth says about ‘goodness’ and replace it with today’s theme:

“You do not become fulfilled by trying to be fulfilled, but by finding the fulfillment that is already within you, and allowing that fulfillment to emerge.”

Choose in this moment to be your happiest and most fulfilled self!

I Miss You!

Recently I’ve been longing to writing…

After writing a blog a day for a year in 2010, I never thought I’d say that, but as it turns out, writing is as necessary for my well being as exercising, eating right and taking occasional salt baths. Really. I feel disconnected from my authentic self and departed from my purpose when I’m not expressing myself with words.

So why has it taken me so long to get back in the ballgame? Well, as I often do, I gathered up all of my energy over the last five months to focus on starting a new job, move to a new city and begin what feels like a new life. Now that I’ve covered all those bases and settled in, my life passion and purpose are pushing me through to home base, back to the place where I feel the most “me,” where I’m sharing and connecting with others with the mission to inspire and empower others to be their happiest and best selves.

Though I’m not sure what all this means or what it will lead, for now, I’m going to write when I feel the nudge and I’m going to “be” my best to stay in balance. I’m feeling a nudge from a higher place to start a new project and doing my best to keep my growling gremlins at bay. It feels good to write and for now that’s all I care about. No strings (or gremlins) attached.

I’m grateful for the renewed urge brought about not only from God and my divine self, but also from a Coaching for High Performance class I’m taking for my PhD and an upcoming speaking event I’m leading in Greensboro in July. Hopefully these and other nudges will lead me back home, and back to a life balance that feeds my soul.

Bye Bye 2010

I can’t believe this is my 365th blog post. It has been a stand out year and I have loved connecting with so many amazing people like you. I’m writing from my iPhone so I will be brief and will reflect more in 2011 when our Internet is connected at our house. I feel so blessed and am looking forward to another dynamic year in 2011. I wish all the best for you in the new year. Choose to be your happiest and best self!

We Did It!

I definitely shed a few tears this morning as I pulled out of our driveway at White Pine Drive. It was such a wonderful place to live for the last five and a half years. Chris and I spent so much quality, growing time there.

We are fortunate to have had the experience of living in Asheville. It’s where we moved to as we were falling in love. It was our home base when Chris proposed. It’s where we came home after getting married in Vegas. It’s where we acquired our three precious pets. We will always love it and have fond memories of our years there.

On to the next chapter right at the dawn of a new year and right at the close of this blogging experience. I would have never guessed I’d be here now! Wow! How things change so quickly.

Our move went very smoothly today. We had lots of help and got many boxes packed away. I feel so blessed and full of love. This place already feels like home!

Last Day in Asheville

It’s gonna be a short post bc I’m writing from my iPhone since everything except the futon mattress we’re sleeping on is in the moving truck in our driveway. It’s been a great day and we ended it with a bang by having dinner at one of our favorite restaurant with two of our dearest Asheville friends whom we’re going to miss so much! Tomorrow we are outta here in the early morn to do it all over again. Send positive thoughts. We are thrilled and ready for the next adventure.

Choose to be your happiest and best self!