The Heart Pocket Word for the day is Awesome

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Holiday Message

Emma in Malibu - September 2011
It's been crazy out here in Hollywood. As a now seasoned Extra in commercials, I find myself staring at the televisions at Walmart and Best Buy searching for my left arm or the back of my head. They call us "Background" now instead of "Extra". It's politically correct, I suppose. I don't mind being extra. I love my job. I love watching how it all comes together. I love the interesting people I meet. I love the catered lunch they serve. Any time someone else cooks, I'm happy!

In and around a busy work schedule, I've been making holiday gifts and shopping. My home looks like Santa's workshop, as usual. Ribbons falling out of drawers, yarn EVERYWHERE, wrapping paper, jingle bells. There's even a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding.

I've been talking to myself for years but it has picked up due to the season. In fact, I now carry on quite a conversation with not just me, but with my dog, Emma. She first came home with me in May of 1996. I took her straight from work to my book club. The book we were reading? You guessed it. Emma by Jane Austen. The divine Miss Em turned 15 last April. She's looking good and hikes Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles ... all the way to the top. I have to keep her on a leash because she's blind from cataracts and her nose wants to take her over the edge when we get near a gopher community! She is the perfect companion for someone like me. My days are sometimes 12-14 hours long and she patiently waits for me to take her outside. She takes medication for every woman's dream, a hypo-thyroid problem. Svelte and quite the lady, she also had a chance for "background" work, appearing on The Dog Whisperer when they filmed in my neighborhood. 

This year I started early on gifts. I seemed to suffer from a lot of angst. I searched the internet and thumbed through catalogs. I bounced ideas off of Emma. She listened politely, commenting only when she had a thought. My angst increased as the number of shopping days until Christmas decreased. Now Emma was offering big sighs in response and a few times I think I heard the rumble of a disgruntled growl. I caught her staring at the Christmas tree. I couldn't tell if she thought she was staring at me, or if she was just enjoying the lights and shiny baubles ...

I've been dog sitting this week while my son is on location in Mexico. His dog, Arrow, needs a lot of exercise so I've been walking him every morning and spending my nights there since Emma sleeps quite soundly after she turns out the light. Today, when I came home to give Emma a walk and feed her, I arrived to an extra quiet house.

"Emma?", I called. "Em? Where are you?"

No answer. She wasn't in my workshop, not in the kitchen. I noticed she hadn't eaten and her water bowl was still full. She wasn't asleep on the bathroom mat. I looked in my bedroom and she wasn't there either. 

"Where IS she?", I wondered.

When I got to the living room, I peeked around the corner and there she was, sound asleep and curled up on the Christmas tree skirt. Her nose was peeking out from under the branches. She didn't hear me come in. I turned quietly so as not to disturb her. When I did, I stepped on something and it shot across the room. I picked up a ballpoint pen and tucked underneath the pen's pocket clip was a folded piece of paper. I opened the note and read:

Emma's Christmas List

1.  1 package of large bully sticks
2.  1 package of medium size bully sticks
3.  1 package of travel size bully sticks - in parentheses, for the beach
4.  Walks with Kittie every morning and night
5.  Snuggle time on the couch when Kittie reads and watches movies
6.  Play time with Brian - in parentheses, he always brings me a treat
To Santa Claus:
I am working on my memoirs and I'm hoping to publish in 2012. I have lived a full and rich dog life. I love my family. I want them to know what a pleasure it is being with them and how satisfied I am in my role as the family dog. Not every dog has had it as good as I have:  Food in my bowl morning and night, daily walks  around the neighborhood - Kittie calls them Sniffs, beds in every room. In parentheses, I love the new bath rug!

This Christmas I wish for every dog to have the chance to love a human. They need us right now. More than ever before we can show them the value of patience, the virtue of delayed gratification and the power of unconditional love. Dogs of the World, our time is now. In truth, our time is always now. If we can help our families see this truth, we will have been the best dogs we can be.

Wishing everyone a warm and snuggly cold-nosed Christmas and what was it Tiny Tim's dog used to say?

"God Bless Us Every Dog!"

Merry Christmas from Emma  
In parenentheses, and from me ...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Weather!

The word from my Heart Pocket is Weather.
It has always been of interest and right now, it's big. We hear about global warming and about weather being a reflection of the current mass consciousness. Scientists are constantly conjecturing and just when they find a connection, nature finds a way to humble. 
We deal with weather as best we can. We check it before we leave the house or go on vacation. We dress accordingly, drive a different route or just stay home. We relish the times when it shines kindly upon us by going on picnics and to the beach, sitting outside at lunch, running through the neighborhood instead of the gym. For some a momentary shower is a blessing. For others, a break in the clouds lets a sunny vitamin D moment heal the body and soul. Weather affects us. There is logic in the theory that we also affect our weather. We are a part of nature. Our gorgeous planet, the untameable universe mirrors our energetic rages and smiles. Whether or not this is true, you can see how it might work in the climate of our personal experience.
Weather is defined as the atmospheric conditions that surround us. We are in control of our own behavior and we get to choose how we react to the storms that brew and finally burst into our lives. Plenty of "weather advisories" are available to us when we are paying attention. We have a personal barometer - ways of measuring our moods and feelings and attitudes - that gives us a chance to prepare for the floods and dry spells and even warns us of the earthquakes and tsunamis in our lives.
Are you a weather watcher? Do you adjust your day according to the atmospheric conditions that surround you? Do you know what circumstances are optimum for you and choose the climate in which you live? Are you able to predict a storm in your life, preparing yourself mentally and emotionally so you can endure and thrive beyond it? Are you equipped with plenty of courage and honesty and creativity and compassion? Are your cupboards filled with the food you might need for nourishment during difficult times? Could you weather an emotional flood or a financial drought? Do you have enough ingenuity and courage on hand to change when needed? Will you get swept away or will you summon creativity and find the challenge of a personal storm invigorating, an exercise in personal growth?
It's a great metaphor for living, the weather. I'm sure you can think of better and more personal comparisons than I can. Notice the weather in your life. Outside, yes, but your internal atmosphere can directly affect how you approach and cope with the external weather vortexes in an ordinary day. Weather is a group activity. Each element is important and in charge of itself. We are those elements. Be in charge of yourself. See if you can affect your personal climate. Gather the tools you need. Choose to enjoy the weather, rain and shine! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Attention!

The word from my heart pocket is Attention.

Notice. Be aware. Observe. Listen and hear. Consider with focus. Be mindful. Suspend time and don't be a slave to it. Be mindful. Enjoy the Moments in your life. A marvelous way to do this is to read a novel or a biography. If reading is an addiction for you, try not reading for an entire day and see where your attention is redirected. Once you awaken to the power of attention, you will be amazed at what you experience!

I was sitting in my car at a stoplight. The person in the car in the adjacent lane was texting. The lane this person was in ended and she would have to pull into my lane in order to get on the freeway. I looked over at her several times while we waited to wave her in front of me. She was busy with her phone and didn't look up. The light turned green and I glanced one more time at the driver next to me. Her attention was still on her cell phone. I wanted to be on time for an appointment and turned my attention back to the light. Off I went. I heard a din of honking horns, all aimed toward the young lady who was intent on checking her emails. Because her attention was elsewhere, she missed the opportunity to easily get on the freeway. She also stopped the flow of traffic. She might have been lost and looking at a map on her phone to decide whether to get on the freeway or take another route. In any case, both of us gave our attention to what was most important to us at the moment. I looked in my rear view mirror as I entered the freeway and saw her hit the steering wheel with her hand. She would have to wait for another green light.

Wherever we focus our attention is where the opportunities lie. Opportunity is everywhere and while we're looking at the classifieds, the front page might mention the lead we need. When we focus on exercise and diet alone, the taxes still sit on the dining room table. We might not listen closely to a friend's story at lunch and miss the part about the boss looking for a new department manager. We choose to help our child with his science project instead of watching American Idol. The winner gets our attention. If we are pleased with how things are going or surprised we're not getting anywhere, perhaps we should take a look at where we are putting our attention.

There is no right or wrong here. It is full of logic and is backed up by persistence and passion. Sometimes an effort requires all of our attention. For a period of allotted time, we zero in and shut everything else out. We can also spread our attention throughout our day and accomplish a lot in a short period of time. Sometimes we need to divert our attention to something restful and pleasurable so the imagination can help the brain connect the dots. Taking a moment to focus on prioritizing the day is a moment well spent. When we pull the camera to see the whole picture, our attention is drawn to the panorama. We can see the beauty in our project (our lives) and we might have a different perspective on our approach. We might need to zoom back in on a specific area and notice the details. Using all of our senses, including those that are not as practiced like intuition and spatial sensitivities, show opportunities we could never have otherwise imagined.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Deep!


The word from my heart pocket is Deep.

Deep. Where does it live? We think of the ocean, we associate the word with excavation and dark mysterious places. Deep in the forest. Deep in the recesses of my mind. 

The original Old English word is deop, two syllables and with a long sounding e. Deop. When spoken that way, the end of the word drops into wherever deop lies.

The word has other nuances, of course: Enhance, expand, magnify, increase, reinforce, strengthen, intensify, heighten, grow. We deepen our resolve, we have a deep passion for someone, we know something from the depths of our being.

There is a reason we associate the word deep with the mysterious, the dark and the sacred. It is there we are still and have the possibility of experiencing the quality parts of ourselves. Our daily lives are like water skiing - skimming along the surface fast and furiously on an incredible and wild ride. It can be hectic and frustrating or incredibly exciting and our whole being works to keep up. But we cannot do it without going deep now and then. We have to stop and let our mind muscles rest, our body rejuvenate, our happiness must replenish itself with stillness, anonymity, a break from our egos. The Deep is a popular name for the ocean, the most universal symbol of mystery because of our attachment to its many qualities. They are familiar to us because we behave like the ocean, with raging storms, constant waves to stir our creativity and to offer variety in our lives. We experience the cold and silence found at the ocean floor, down deep where everything changes, where we can hear our heartbeat and experience the buried treasures life offers. When we go deep inside ourselves, we are surrounded by a soundless protection and we let go of trifles. We transcend interruption and irritation and enjoy a peace we so richly deserve.

The deep is there when we live in the present moment. This currently popular notion is ancient and really works. We have only to try it to experience it. The benefit comes to each of us. Some might need practice at blocking out the world in order to experience oneself. It's actually not mysterious or filled with hocus-pocus. It is scientific and healthy and a gift we give to ourselves.  

Find a place and time for the deep in your life. You can experience with eyes closed or with eyes filled with the wonder of a new experience. The deep is a part of you and the more you use it - as in all things - the more a part of you it becomes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Epiphany!

The word from my heart pocket is Epiphany!

Lightning bolt


"It may sound obvious, but one day I realized - not everyone thinks like me. And from that came, not everyone is supposed to think like me." 

"I can change my mind. In an instant, I can stop and go another direction."

"I don't have to be perfect. It's enough to just do my best."

"I can do anything I want to do."

"It doesn't matter what others think. My life belongs to me."

"We are all connected. My choices matter not only to me, but to the world."

"As teenagers, what truly matters is the fact that we want to make a difference and that one day our determination to do so will give us a lot to reflect on. We might be void of major accomplishments to reflect on right now; we have a whole life ahead of us to change that."  (from Akua. Thank you, wise one ...)

"I don't have to 'figure it out'. It's inside of me and all I have to do is stop living separately from my truth." 

"Slow is good. I don't have to be first or faster. I choose quality. Quality makes my life an every day experience instead of always reaching and not finding. Slow is good."

"I get better and better. Focus changed my life. Choosing - and then going for it. The goal is a great carrot. The real reward is the doing."

"I always have had what I need. I didn't always see that. Once I took the time to notice that fact, it changed everything and I could see that I actually had more than I needed and I could choose from a smorgasborg of tools to make the doing fun."

"Awareness. Awareness and then laughter. That was my Epiphany."

These are sharings of epiphanies, the transformational moments in the lives of some who offered when asked. There are wonderful stories that go with each revelation. Please share your epiphany, a turning point in your life - a thought, a happening, a wonder - that deepened your life experience or turned it around completely. No comments will be published without your permission and can also be published anonymously. Inspire others with your experience, your Epiphany!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Courage!

What makes the muskrat guard his musk? - click to watch video

 The word from my heart pocket is Courage.

 We all have moments. We're faced with a difficult decision and from some place deep inside it rises to greet us: Courage. We're proud of ourselves for those moments and although they can come few and far between, it's wonderful to know it's a part of our character.

And what about daily challenges, the little things easy to ignore, thrown off as insignificant and unimportant? Do we call it courage to go the extra mile at work, to attend our child's ballgame even if it means inconveniencing a client? Is it courage to phone our creditors to ask for a lower payment or more time to get the money for a bill when finances are low? Are we courageous when we own up to mistakes or tell the truth when a lie might feel easier at the time? Do we have the fortitude to stand by our principles? Can we summon the confidence to speak up when needed? Are we able to move at the very moment an opportunity shows itself? Is courage a part every choice?

I've noticed that big can actually be quite small in the end, and that it's the little choices that make the difference in a life. Finding the courage to take the high road even though there's a hill to climb and it will take a bit longer than the low road builds strength of character. As in all behavioral habits, the more we practice, the more a part of our DNA they become. 

We think of our heroes as being strong and brave, filled with the courage not found in us common folk. But who among you knows a hero in your neighborhood, your office, your kid's ball team? What teacher can you name who braves the overcrowded classroom to not just teach to the test, but to inspire the joy in learning something new? Who do you know that overcame a physical obstacle to continue enjoying what we would call an ordinary day? When did you take the time to listen to someone's disappointment or let your child proudly and painstakingly read to you before bed? How often do you venture out of your comfort zone to get new clients, raise money for a good cause, submit that book proposal to a publisher for perusal? 


It takes courage to be compassionate. 

To delay gratification one more time so your dream has the chance to succeed requires grit, guts and fearlessness - courage.

They call it courage when we choose to start over, even if the odds are against us.  

It takes a big heart to display courage. It also requires temperance and forgiveness and sometimes the hardest and bravest choice is letting go.

Please share a story of courage in the comments section with today's readers. Better yet, take a courageous step today and feel the warmth that valor brings, even if it goes unnoticed by all but you.

Practice courage and find the hero inside ...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Love!

Click here to be mesmerized by her heartfelt watercolors! 

The word from my heart pocket is Love

The thought of writing about love stopped me for days. I was bombarded by a bajillion notions and those thoughts took me on a roller coaster of tangents that led to memories and an awareness of the love in my life right now.

What about love?

Sometimes love makes my heart beat fast and sometimes it feels like my heart literally stops beating, if only for a second; It happens because love feels so intense or because of pain I can't comprehend; Or because I've never experienced that level of love before.

What about love?

It sneaks into my saddest moments and lifts me above despair. It cradles me in its arms when I think of my mother and father and the sacrifices they made in the name of love, and the joy I gave them because I loved them just as they loved me. Many times love has propped me up and spurred me onward when the two people I love most in the world came running toward me shouting, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" and now say, "Hey Mom, it's all good."

There is romantic love and love for God, love of nature, for our animal friends, and of our native culture. Each of us experiences love in our own way, whether we are open to receiving or willing to be vulnerable when we give love away. Love grows when it has plenty of room. Love is squandered without respect; love is squashed by fear and it soars when compassion comes out to play. Love is a noun and at once, a verb. More than a part of speech, it holds fast and lets us go as needed.

Love expresses itself from the ridiculous to the sublime: through laughter and sacrifice, endurance and strife; It maintains dignity, tells the truth, finds beauty when it isn't readily apparent, wears patience from moment to moment, risks looking silly, risks being wrong.

What about love

We make it complicated, we find it simple. We live for love. To know love is to be alive.

Who do you love? What does love do for you? How does love make you feel? Where have you found love? How do you express it? Do you experience some kind of love every day? Is love in the air where you live? Does your smile show your love? Can you hear it in your voice, see it in your eyes? Do you recognize it on an ordinary day? Is love a stranger to you, or is it an old friend?

I mentioned that just the thought of love stopped me from being able to write. I am humbled that my words are so inadequate and that after a full week of thinking about love, I still struggle to live up to the word. Love is so Big. Love means so much and touches us in so many ways. It belongs to every single living. We literally cannot survive without love. To love and be loved may be life's greatest experience.

Take time to love today. Let love in and feel how it warms your heart. Every day is Valentine's Day. Be mine, Valentine. Love will lead the way ...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Palette!

The word from my heart pocket is Palette.

A blank canvas can be overwhelming. It's like the clean slate, the fresh piece of paper, the clear computer screen. It's so hard to begin because we might do it wrong; we might feel like it won't turn out right or we can't take it back once it's painted, written, expressed; people might think we're foolish or even bad for trying something out of the ordinary. They might criticize or disapprove or even ignore us.

A palette is a literal board of colors from which we choose to paint what we see. These are the most basic ingredients to our painting. It provides a place to begin. The range of colors depends on the artist's intent and the picture she has in mind.

Although it is the painter who readily claims the word, a palette comes in many forms. It provides a symphony in the vehicle of musical notes and octaves and vibrational sounds. It offers a quilt through multicolored fabrics and multifaceted weaves. We gain information and delight in stories through a growing dictionary of words and their meanings. We see into our souls within the palette of poetry. 

However we express ourselves - in our work, in our relationships, inside our days - life presents a variety of colors on its tool palette, for mixing and matching, to suit even our most immediate creations. The assortment is endless. We are always formulating, building, giving birth to never before seen solutions and ways of expression. We decorate our lives from tip to toe. Our palette grows with us. The more we experiment, the more confidence we gain in the power of the palette.

To bring something into our lives, we don't simply wish it and it happens. That's a very big first step, but it doesn't get the job done. And it is absolutely, positively, and unequivocally more exciting to lead the way! 

When an artist is first learning his instrument, he starts with primary elements. As he uses his time and energy getting to know how it feels and sounds and how it works best to express his voice, he begins to add more color, texture, dynamics and shading. He has a vision along with a desire to succeed and the most seasoned businessperson, the expert, the champion, the virtuoso knows it is through using the tools on his palette that he achieves his goal.

There is magic inside every choice on our palette. Sometimes it works best to limit the colors at the beginning. Sometimes we need to get all of our cards on the table so we can feel confident to start. Having the right tools is basic to success. Logically, it is what we do with those tools that makes our business plan, our poetry, our happiness flow.

What is it you want to accomplish today, this week, this year? Imagine a drawer full of colors to paint your accomplishment. What would they be? Try writing them down. Even better, draw them in a journal or make a poster to put above your desk, your bathroom mirror, your kitchen sink. Change out and add to your palette as you play with the ingredients of your project. Sometimes it comes out as you imagine it and if you allow a little wiggle room - the magic inside your choices will show itself. It is completely at your service. You can always rearrange or reprogram. I have started over many Many MANY times. Recognize the fun in possibility and experience the satisfaction of making something your own. Whether you are in charge of a vision or part of a plan, you are integral (meaningful), you are allowed to experiment (creative) and you can experience equal satisfaction (happiness) in its outcome. 

Start right where you are. Right now. Make a palette just for today. Wow. What an amazing picture today's going to be! I'm going to enjoy creating my part!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Memory!

The word from my heart pocket is, ah, oh right ... Memory.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the delightful Pam Peterson!

Have a memorable week everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Heart Pocket Word for the Day is Sensitivity!

The word from my heart pocket is Sensitivity.

Have you experienced a moment when everything seemed completely clear? It might stop you in your tracks on the most ordinary day. Suddenly everything feels ... easy. You aren't struggling. You aren't worried. Your senses are aroused and peaked. You don't feel fat or broke or unsuccessful. In that moment, you feel in tune, perfectly pitched within your life. For that moment, you are.

Our sensitivity to our surroundings defines our experience in the world. Exactly as it feels, every experience is unique to each person. Different people encounter identical outward circumstances and can experience them exactly opposite. Contrary to how it feels, every experience begins inside ourselves. Our cognizance, our emotional state, our habits and our belief system - everything we are comes into play when our sensitivity responds to every second - every nanosecond - of our lives.

Let's talk about what sensitivity is. An acute impression. A consciousness to self and beyond. Affected by a situation, an idea, a belief. The nervous system is keenly in tune with one's surroundings. A knowing and understanding. A relationship quality. Our many senses are heightened including perception and intuition. We are vulnerable in this state if we are deeply hurt or enduring great pain. We are ingenious - in genius - penetrating the usual layers of emotional fog and the distracting noise of the world. In its most practiced form, our sensitivity is one of our most powerful human tools. It is our willingness to be vulnerable that fuels this power. It is our choice to see beyond ourselves that makes us sensitive. Every human being has this incredible tool at his disposal and completely at his discretion. Any choice made without using this tool is questionable. 

The source of sensitivity is personal. It begins by being sensitive to oneself. If we avoid our feelings, discard our self-worth, devalue and discount ourselves, we cannot be sensitive to others in a balanced way. We will come to the aid of others from a needy place. Our intuition will be blocked and our advice and help will be colored by our own lack of self-knowledge. This doesn't mean we should wait to help others before we are "perfect". When we offer help - in an emergency or in an act of good will - we are practicing our sensitivity and we give ourselves the opportunity to learn not only about others, most of all, about ourselves.

To be sensitive is to be human. It means we want to get and give love. It is basic to our nature. Any act that isn't sensitive bears examination.

To live sensitively isn't a prerequisite to living. But like each of our behavioral choices, with practice it becomes a habit ... and this particular habit enhances and deepens the beauty of daily life.