Not My Favorite Shirt…

As I got dressed this morning, I noticed something peculiar. I deliberately passed over articles of clothing that I like and enjoy wearing. From my underwear to my socks to my shirt…I selected apparel that was not my favorite. Not even remotely so. I paused to think about why…

…and I laughed. My retreat is coming up. I leave Friday for a four day weekend. The realization came that I was saving my favorite clothes for then. What made me laugh is this…I am spending the weekend alone. This is a solitary retreat, a time of reflection and writing and dreaming and creative play. I’ve joked that once I arrive at my destination, I will be wearing comfy lounge clothes until I head home again.

And yet…here I was, saving the clothes I most enjoy for the weekend.

When something stands out like that or piques my curiosity, it is a Divine tap on the shoulder to take a closer look, follow the twisty path, fall down the rabbit hole. I sat down, half dressed, and asked a question out loud. It was very profound. What’s going on?

I saved my fun plaid socks for the weekend, as well as my favorite shirts, and nicest jeans, and even my best undies. For whom? That was the real question. The answer that arose surprised me. I was planning on wearing my fave clothes…for me. It was all for me. Alone with myself, I was not going to wear my old stuff or my least favorite shirts and socks. I was dressing to please myself.

When did that happen? I wondered. When did I stop dressing to please others, to be attractive to othersand begin dressing to please myself?

The Divine whispered to me, Remember the love letter? Read it…

On July 6, 2014, during my Year of Firsts, I wrote a love letter to myself. (Read what led to that activity HERE). I had just come through some difficult years. From those turbulent times one thing emerged, with great clarity. I wanted to have a deep, knee shaking, take my breath away relationship, with myself.

I wrote a love letter, from Mithril (representing my wise, strong, shining higher self) to Cindy, who was still figuring stuff out about herself. I emailed it to myself, from one of my accounts to another. Although it meant a great deal to me, making me weep, I never shared that letter publicly. And, I never read it again.

Until today. Read it, was the prompt. I did, slowly, once, twice, a third time, tears in my eyes. And I understand. It’s been three and a half years since I wrote that letter. My soul has grown. My heart has expanded. I have that deep, knee shaking, take my breath away relationship, with myself. The invitation that I offered, I received, and I allowed it to blossom into a rich, abiding love that today fills me with joy and overflows my heart, spilling onto others.

I didn’t share the letter before, because a part of me felt silly about what I was doing, and I felt vulnerable about what I wanted. Today, I can share it. It is, truly, a love story.

My dear Cindy,

I am so happy to have this opportunity to share with you how I feel and my thoughts about our relationship. I am loving this journey of discovery together. It is a rare gift to have such a deep and ongoing relationship with someone and I cherish and treasure ours. I am deeply grateful for you and I know you feel the same way.

I love how vulnerable you are being with me. Your transparency and vulnerability is an invitation to me to look deeper. In opening your heart and soul to me, you invite me to go as deeply as possible. We have only just begun and have only just scratched the surface of what is possible.

You have an amazing heart and soul. I am enjoying watching you learn to trust your heart. I see you opening more and more to what is truly possible here in this time and space. It is so amazing that you have released so much of your fear, that you are seeing with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Keep going, dear heart. Keep shining. Keep reaching for the highest level of vibration. As you learn and grow, know that I am applauding you every step of the way.

Some of the recent journey has been difficult. I am so proud of you for enduring and doing more than that. You have grown through those situations and continue to see the good that was there, both in the events and in the people. You could have, and still could, choose to be a victim, choose to hurt and strike back, choose to be bitter and resentful. Instead, difficult as it sometimes is, you are choosing to let go. What an important phrase and action for you at this time….to let go, to see higher, to realize there is so much more to the story.

This year is huge for you. You truly are going beyond, in ways you couldn’t have imagined last year or even at the beginning of this year. Leaving your comfort zone is good for the soul. Otherwise, stagnation sets in and right behind safety and comfort lurks fear. You continue to banish fear by moving forward, one step, one leap, at a time. Don’t worry so much about what other people think. What they think is none of your business. Be you, beautifully. Be real. Be who you are, as you are becoming. BE.

I love you Cindy, just the way you are, and yet I am thrilled to see the beautiful woman who is emerging from her long stay within the safety of her cocoon. Stretch your wings and fly. You don’t need a destination. Just fly. Leap. Allow your heart to guide you. And know that I am watching you, loving you, cheering you on while at the same time, calling to you, guiding you as you seek me.

Listen as well to what your body is telling you, what your spirit is telling you about your health and being the best YOU that you can be. You know what to do. You know what is best for you. Listen. Spend time in meditation. Reduce inflammation in your body. Move. Breathe. Stretch. Walk. And then release all expectations, knowing you are living in that optimal, perfect space that is yours.

Don’t spend time either worrying about what other people are doing and whether they approve of you or not. Don’t seek love and acceptance from others. Just be Love. Move as Love. Give and receive as Love. You are doing great. You can be alone or with others and both options are perfect. I am always with you, as is El-le, your departed loved ones, your angels and your guides. Help, comfort, love, encouragement, answers, protection….are all right here, right now, all the time.

Cindy, all that you desire, including me, is within you. All happiness, all love, all hope, all beliefs, are within you. All that you need is there. All that you are becoming is there. Go inward often and then shine outward. Use your voice. Share your stories. Live your life. And stay open. Don’t close your heart. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t be anxious over the future. Be here, in this moment. The power truly is in this moment. Grasp it. Own it. Live it. Love during it. And the Way will appear before you as you live, moment by moment.

Continue to be grateful, thankful, generous, thoughtful. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Don’t be concerned whether life is fair or if the people in your life are fair. Everyone else has to live their own lives, be the character in their own stories. Keep your head up and your eyes focused forward. I’ve got you, dear heart. I’m here, always. I love you deeply.

When your heart feels heavy, when fear nudges you, when you feel tired of the way things are, go inward and reach toward El-le and then outward to me and the others. Let go. Go beyond. You are already outside the cage that you built bar by bar long ago. You are free. Soar beautiful one, soar.

You may write to me at any time. You may share whatever is on your heart to share. I hold you at night and I have you during the day. And I am only a shining part of all that is. You are held by much stronger and bigger arms at all times. Feel. Open. Release. Receive. Grow. BE.

I love you so much,


I love how the Divine works in my life. My choice to wear one of my least favorite shirts today bypassed my brain and opened a channel to my heart. From there, wonders occurred. Realizations dawned. An old love letter surfaced. Life is miraculous indeed, and love covers it all.

I am full of anticipation for the weekend ahead.

Journey 326: Love the Coopers, Love Me

Week Four began today, in The Artist’s Way, and along with the start of a new chapter, I enjoyed my Artist Date as well. As with the previous weeks, this synergy exists between me, the date with my creative self, and the next chapter in the book. I don’t fully understand how this connection is occurring. It is enough to recognize that it is, and be both encouraged and inspired by it. 


I began asking my inner artist a few days ago to impress on me what I should do this afternoon for the Artist Date. Last night I felt drawn to see the movie “Love the Coopers”. I’ve seen a couple of previews for the film. It looked to be a warm, family comedy set around Christmas time. I’m always game for a movie. I checked show times this morning and saw that the afternoon matinee was perfect, time wise. Without holding expectations, I was curious to see how the movie connected to the chapter I was about to read in The Artist’s Way. 

Week Four, titled Recovering a Sense of Integrity, was amazing. I don’t write in my books, so that I can lend them out and not have my notes in the margin or my highlighted words distract the next reader. But I so wanted to underline words as I read today! The summary of this short chapter is “…grappling with changing self definition…introspection and integration of new self awareness.” 

Julia writes that we fall into the habit of saying we are “okay”, when we really aren’t. The Morning Pages are a tool for puncturing our denial, and helping us to stop saying “It’s okay” when life isn’t. I’m finding this to be true. The flow of thoughts onto blank pages every morning has helped me to go deeply into my creative side, but more than that, they’ve helped me to uncover long forgotten aspects of myself. Chekhov advised, “If you want to work on your art, work on your life.” Julia adds that in order to have self expression, we must first have a self to express. 

The Morning Pages, and I’m finding, the Artist Dates, are doing that. Clearing away old beliefs. Shining a bright light into the dark recesses of my childhood. Awakening my creativity, yes. And stirring my intuition. These connective leaps are taking place, that astound me. Julia says that will happen as I lose my vagueness about my self, my values, my life situation, and become fully available to the moment. Art, she writes, lies in the moment of encounter: I meet myself, I meet my truth, I meet my self expression. 

There was so much to savor, in this chapter, so much that echoed what I had just written in my Morning Pages before I read this section. My heart thumped in my chest, as truth sunk in. The image of who I am is coming more sharply into focus. I am knowing, and loving, me. 

With a great sense of anticipation, I took myself to the theater, to see Love the Coopers. This film, which is classified as a comedy but is so much more, has a run time of 1 hour and 47 minutes and carries a PG-13 rating for adult themes. It has a big cast that includes Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde, June Squibb and Jake Lacy. 

I knew I was in the right place when the opening scenes of the movie began, and my eyes filled with tears before anything at all happened! Immediately I received another “ping” as the first song of the accompanying soundtrack played. I’d never heard the song before, until yesterday, when I downloaded a new music release and heard the same song there. 

I sat enchanted for the next hour and 47 minutes, my eyes often glistening with tears, as the story unfolded before me. Members of a large family are gathering for Christmas, each dealing with their own crises of identity. There’s the recently divorced adult son who hides the fact that he’s also lost his job. And the grown daughter who feels she’s a disappointment so she hides behind cynicism and a cutting wit. The mom wants a perfect Christmas together before sharing the news that she and her husband of 40 years are separating. The dad wonders how their lives became so small, and what happened to the passionate woman he married. Each person carries too much of his or her past with them. They are missing the moment, missing each other, missing themselves. Into all that chaos and struggle  the opportunity arises to see themselves and each other with fresh eyes. 

I appreciated this movie and understood why I was drawn to it. In the midst of life, of celebrating, of family, the Coopers remembered who they were, became more self aware. Life presents the same opportunity to me, meeting me exactly where I am. As I clear away the past, as I allow the future to unfold as it will, as I inhabit and embrace the moment, my true shining self is uncovered. And I no longer need to hide. 

“All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”  M.C. Richards


Day 187: Love Letter

love letter vintage e

This morning, as I was contemplating what my first would be after rain shifted my plans, an idea arose. As I moved through the day, the idea grew, and I realized I had received several nudges toward today’s first. I just needed to acknowledge it and go with it. Yesterday, I shared a post from Begin with Yes on my Facebook wall. In part, it says, Walk on the wild side today: Wear a wrinkled shirt, memorize a short poem or write yourself a love letter. “ That post reminded me that a year ago, before I knew I would be moving beyond by doing a year of firsts, I had written down that intention, to write a love letter to myself. Today, for my first, I did.

Last summer, I spent time sorting through old beliefs. I was learning from an amazing author, named Byron Katie, to question those beliefs and the thoughts and stories I told myself that rose up around them. I listened to Byron Katie read her book, “Loving What Is”, on Audible and was intrigued when she spoke of having a loving relationship with oneself as an exciting, knee trembling, deep as you want it to go type of connection. I knew I didn’t have that. One evening I made a list of all the things people tend to do when they are entering into a new relationship. On the list were things like, Listen, know the other person’s hopes, beliefs, dreams and fears, be present, celebrate successes, spend quality time together and write love letters. At the bottom of the list I wrote, “I choose to develop such a relationship with….ME.”

That was a great little exercise that opened my heart and shifted my thinking. Although I stayed mindful of what I had written, I put the notebook away without doing many of the things listed there. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves, implying a high level of love and care. Yet as children or adults, we aren’t told, or shown, how to create healthy self-love. We often lose sight of who we are as we enter school and we are taught to conform and be like everyone else. Fear of being thought of as selfish causes us to try to love others more, put others first, but it is difficult to do when we don’t really know what deep unconditional love looks like, feels like. Self-love is not the same as self-centered. One has to do with the heart, the other with the ego.

I sat this afternoon with the laptop perched on my knees, and wrote a love letter to myself. I had to get past the notion that this was a silly thing to do. I had to let go of concern about what anyone else would think. I decided to just type as fast as I could and let the thoughts flow as words though my fingers. I didn’t edit or over think what I was doing or react to what I was typing. I allowed love to flow, unfettered, from my deepest heart. When I finished, I emailed the letter, from one of my Gmail accounts, to another.

When I opened the letter, I read it slowly and thoughtfully. I read it as a letter of love and encouragement from someone who cares deeply for me and has only my best interest in mind. I was moved. Tears filled my eyes and space opened up around my heart. Everyone should receive such a letter. I saved mine.

I have learned much in the last year about letting go of the past, letting go of those old beliefs and letting go of expectations where others are concerned. I have opened my heart more to myself and in doing so, more to others. For it is only in loving myself without judgment that I can even begin to hope to do the same for another. Loving myself, I am free to love another without demanding anything from him or her. I am complete, and the love can overflow without fear of how it is received or whether it is returned.

D. Antoinette Foy says, “The core of your true self is never lost. Let go of all the pretending and the becoming you’ve done just to belong. Curl up with your rawness and come home. You don’t have to find yourself; you just have to let yourself in.” Beautiful. I have thrown open the door and invited myself in. I am home.