Shining My Light Forward – Join ME in The FUN

Montana Lighthouse – Going To The Sun – Yes!

When Covid hit I had just completed my Master Facilitator training with Koelle Institute. I was ready to launch a pilot leadership development program in the Seattle area, bringing the horses into the program. I also had just offered a day event, From The Barn to The Boardroom – right here in the Valley for Flathead Leadership and was excited about the potential for more. In other words, my light was focused on Equus.

Covid bought my Equus Coaching and the Leadership development program to a halt! Really, Covid sort of bought most everything to a halt.

I did though continue to be able to get out to the pasture and actually found the time with the horses quite helpful for my well being.

The Birth of Lighthouse Coaching

I started focusing more on my coaching practice, defining Lighthouse Coaching and Lighthouse Leadership Coaching. Thrive!, CrisMarie and I, made the shift to supporting leaders navigating remote working, greater uncertainty, outrage and fury of longstanding issues of social injustice and the added challenge of finding a new normal that still is a long ways off.

Our work, finding the beauty in conflict, is really key to supporting people in dealing with the uncertainty of these times and the clear need for change. We really don’t want to go back to ‘normal’ and since the new normal hasn’t been defined or created yet, we have an incrediable opportunity if we can stay presence and be fully engaged in what comes next!

One surprise I found during these many months is how much I have enjoyed re-building my coaching practice – personal, couples and executive coaching – through being a lighthouse.

I think in many ways, right now we all are being called to be a lighthouse. To be able ground, reach out and shine as we navigate through these waters.

Sounding Board and More

I love being a sounding board and a non-judgemental or agenda-free advisor to executuive leaders who are smart, focused and sometimes just need straight feedback and a reality check to align their business, leadership and life in an authentic and effective way that can lead us into a new business paradigm that is collorborative and resilient.

I also love working with people who simply want to make a change and see the need for a coach or a lighthouse to support them in getting unstuck, bringing more of themselves to there career, their relationship and living their best life even with a pandemic.

I figured at some point I’d bring the horses back into the mix. However, I am not quite sure when that is going to be possible.

So I have decided to focus on building Lighthouse Coaching and looking out into 2021 when I believe I can more comfortably schedule and ensure that the timing is better for bringing people together.

New Definition of Community

I have realized that the way I have best built community has been in groups – in person and online, intensive experiences together. Which has been one of the reasons I think my coaching practice hasn’t been where I have placed my attention. Now I am beginning to get community isn’t simply the intensive journey together or a location. It is being connected – like many lighthouses – shining our light, message, vibrational gifts etc – out into the world as a way to create connections, build bridges and remember we are all in this planet and human journey together. It might start with me being a lighthouse for you – but I just know as we move forward you will also be a lighthouse for me!

Yes, I want to build community. More importantly, I want more human ‘lighthouses’. People grounded, embodied and shining their light. In other words, I am willing to be a lighthouse and if you are interested in being a lighthouse during these challenging times – well I hope you will join in our community!

Beauty of ConFlict in 2021

I am already designing and getting excited about The Beauty of Conflict Within, the forthcoming book and a new program. The program will be designed to support individuals diving deeply into their own process. Finding their inner lighthouse and mojo. If all goes according to my plans, this offering will be an integration of Find Your Mojo and Come Alive happening right here in Montana!

Plus the new Beauty of Conflict for Couples is coming. It started as Couples Mojo but didn’t get the needed time or attention last year! I think because I was so focused on bringing the horses into the Couples program that I wasn’t fully focusing on the amazing foundational progam we have for couples – with or without the horses. However, I sure hope that in 2021, we’ll have the luxury of both. Couples can come to Montana and have a great location to enrich thier relationship AND also discover the beauty and wonder of Montana and the horses!

Between now and proabbly the fall of 2021, I am going to be GROOTing (if you don’t know what that means – check out this blog).

Lighthouse Community Project – Join

If you really want to join in the fun of helping me build this community of lighthouses – sign up for our newsletter and Monday Mojo. Consider trying out Lighthouse Coaching or a coaching package with CrisMarie. Start a company or team book club with our book. (We’d be happy to come and do a Q&A for your team or organzation.) Invite us to speak at your organization, association or next event – virtually and if it can happen in-person! In other words – become a lighthouse wherever you are and connect!

In today’s world we need lighthouses and we need to know we are connected and are in this together!

2020 Is NOT What I expected!

It’s August and there are only a few signs of ‘normal’.

Like: My golf game. I am still not breaking 90 very often usually hitting closer to 100. My golf seems pretty much just like it has been now for few years!

I am regularly, as usual, getting out on my road bike and on the trails. Not often with others but I still love it!

I am still NOT a huge fan of marketing and it’s still a big part of my world!

Now For a Few of The Changes

I am home in Montana more than I have ever been since moving here in 2008! Plus, we have out first ever garden!!!

Haven, my home on the Island in BC, property and programs closed in March and still now only offer online programs. Sadly, even if a program was running, I can’t cross the border, so there is a significant loss there for me. I do love though that people are still connecting and Haven is finally getting itself firmly online!!

We haven’t traveled out of our state or been on a plane since February. My Alaska status is likely to be lost in 2020 – no extra miles for me!

I invented GROOT-ing and my marketing mind-set has shifted.

Still Life is different so many levels

I wear a mask whenever I walk along our Whitefish streets or go into a store.

I rarely socialize with people unless it is on Zoom/Teams or HouseParty. (or six apart!).

I don’t offer or get many hugs (other than with CrsiMarie!) and my hands are a bit dry from all the singing happy birthday and the new handwashing rituals! (I did wash them before but not for two verses of happy birthday!)

I imagine your life might be a bit different as well.

In general, I feel incrediably fortunate during these times. I have been able to create work and maintain an income. I have stayed healthy and been able to get the things I needed. I haven’t lost anyone directly in my world to Covid and I haven’t been in situations where I have felt threatened or at risk either related to health or because of social injustice.

So I am grateful.

Having said that I am also very aware of the many, many layers of stressors that so many are facing right now.

It’s not just a world pandemic. It’s economic. It’s grief. It’s injustice. It’s politics. It’s diffenences. And so much uncertainty!

I am grateful for the all of the years and training I have done in the area of breath and energy work, dealing with trauma, working in family systems and in corporate cultures navigating conflict and creating better dialogue. Thirty plus years of study and implication have helped me deal 2020 for sure!

I am also grateful for my own life experiences of living with cancer (s), diving deeply into old patterns around trauma and dysfuntion and finding my sanity, humor, purpose and faith in humanity through walking that path.

Finding Purpose: Being In Service – Using The Best of ME!

I am enjoying helping people find presence, faith and joy even in this wild and crazy year of 2020.

This year has generated many new ways of making that offer. Lighthouse Coaching came into being when I realized my equus work wasn’t going to be happening for a while and I wanted to keep working with people. I have loved the coaching. Being a lighthouse really does fit for me.

I enjoy the corporate work we do. We had so many opportunities to work with large organizations, smaller companies, even Chambers and associates – all wanting support in dealing with the uncertainty and change. We actaully have now created a new Unpack Stress program based on the feedback and needs we found will continue to surface going forward.

I also love working with couples. We got to do our online Beauty of Conflcit for Couples with Haven. Plus we’ve been doing more work with couples together.

I enjoy being a sounding board and trusted advisor – i.e. Executive or Leadership Coach. Helping leaders navigate being in a large system and also authentic and true to themselves – is something I am passionate about! People really do matter as much if not more so than results – especially during a world Pandemic.

Still, I just haven’t loved marketing and that actually holds be back from being in service. Because I am a damn good coach and really can help people through these crazy times. So, I have been getting my own coaching and recently decided to rename marketing after my favorite character – GROOT.

The idea of GROOT-ing is so much more enjoyable to me than marketing. GROOT was/is all about finding the joy in life and service!

If you don’t know GROOT well I recommend you watch Guardians of The Galaxy. There are two parts and two GROOTS – both awesome! (Maybe I will devote a blog to GROOT – but for now – watch the movie(s) or atleast this clip! Link here

Let Me Help You!

Are you struggling? Want support? Reach out. Try some coaching. Listen to our podcast, The Beauty of Conflict. Or catch me on ‘The New Morning Show’ – our FBLIve randomly offered now around 10AM three or four times a week.

We Are All In This Together – Right? Right!

We’re In This Together

This has been a rallying cry for me since we stepped into Shelter-In-Place here in Montana and agreed to support the flattening of the curve. 

During this time period, though distant, I have felt close with various parts of the country, geographically scattered members of my family, friends and community as well as other countries around the globe facing this Pandemic.

At times it has been scary and for sure filled with uncertainty and questions.  It seems like each step of the journey has introduced new information, new elements that have tossed me into a cycle of change and transition.

However, the rallying cry, ‘we are in this together’ – kept me aligned strong and committed.

Now there is a new crack that has challenged my belief about being in this together.

Re-opening has started. 

This process of re-opening seems incredibly chaotic and disjointed.  I don’t see or feel the we are all in this together anymore!

Each state has is doing it’s own thing and there seems to be all sorts expert opinions that offer very differing perspectives on what is best or safest.

I believe here the biggest driver may economics and I get that this is a very serious concern.  Our economy is based on businesses small and large operating. People being able to spend and sell. 

There are also some mentions of why this may even be a healthy choice – though much like alternative medicine when it comes to health issues – these ideas are not the standard nor considered evidence-based.

The problem – we don’t have a great deal of evidence around a Pandemic and may be not enough data collected to know this virus.

So it’s all a bit of guess work.

Blown Away: AKA My oh Sh%T Moment!

Seriously this so reminds me of the day I discovered the treatment for my cancer wasn’t working. My doctor and medical team, informed me they didn’t have other options. I probably had 3 to 6 months to live. 

I was blown AWAY.  I was certain that as experts and leaders they were going to get me through this health crisis. In that moment, I got that was not the case. I discovered that really my medical team at that point was in it with me if I understood and traveled the road where I believed I was most certainly dying.

Oddly I as I moved out beyond the medical model I discovered many other ‘experts’ with differing strategies to offer me.  Some of which were possibly going to prolong my current life expectations. 

This is when the conflict really surfaced! 

These experts were not very friendly and did not agree. I did not experience being in this together! The next few years of my journey around my health were riddled with uncertainty and conflict. 

I did call my various ‘experts’, my team.  However, I would not say we were cohesive. I discovered some of these experts were very helpful in encouraging me to pull the diverse expertise and wisdom into my decision-making.  These ‘experts’ also provided me a language and a way to tap into my own resources and make simple decisions out of complex data and differing perspectives that supported me day-to-day in living my full life – not just a cancer storyline.

I am very grateful for those people.

I am so grateful that I rode the wave of conflict and uncertainty. That I stayed curious and as a result I think creative.

Back To Today

I am looking back now, thinking this is again a time to rally around diverse perspectives, conflict and find ways to make simple decisions that support my life, my family, my business and my community moving forward.

A want the rally cry to be we are in this together – however, I can only find that ground when I am willing to embrace the conflict.  Not make those different wrong but try to find the threads that can weave the fabric together.

I do believe it is possible.  I have seen, felt and lived through this type of crisis.  I want to be a lighthouse that shines a beacon for that possibility.  I am here and I am still with you – even if our navigational feedback is presenting a different path. Even in the uncharted and and potentially dangerous terrain each person, business, state and country is taking, I do still believe we are in this together!

Marketing Meltdown

I had a marketing meltdown yesterday.

I agreed to get on a call with sales and marketing expert who had FB ads figured out. Truth is I should have known better. But I said yes – I would jump on and listen.

What I didn’t fully realize was this was not a training as much an enrolling call. Thirty minutes into the dialogue I was so frustrated and thinking this expert is not getting me. Again I didn’t follow the nudge. Instead I stayed on and figured this was his process and I was sure there would be some value I’d get out of being patient.

Forty-five minutes into the call and he was making his mentoring offer. I honestly did not have one piece of original value proposition – that I understood to be new or different than any other marketing/sales idea I have heard before. All I got was a two month mentor option that was going to cost me $9800.00 and was promised to change my marketing life. Sadly at that point I was not happy.

This is when he asked what we thought. I answered.

Now, if I could do this all over I would have made a different call earlier. I may have opted for the tel-advertising approach. Stop him early and ask if this is just a sales call. Or I could have used the communication model and checked out my story and tried to clarify what and how this call was going to go. But I didn’t do that.

I was triggered. I actually thought I did an okay job of sharing what I had found difficult about the call and what didn’t work. Which I had interpreted as his request for what I thought of the call. However, I think my unhappiness and the fact that I was disappointed that I was not getting any new understanding of what made his proposition different – wasn’t what he was expecting from his request.

We were now caught in conflict and sadly I was more reactive at that point than responsive. I will say in his final explanation of his expertise and clarity in saying that I did not understand him and he would never consider working with me – he provided the best clarity of his unique position. I did try at that moment to reflect back that I was finally getting what I thought was the intention of the call and that the new information was interesting. My regret was that I had not spoken up sooner.

I also regret that I had not listened to my internal guidance earlier. I don’t like situations like that and yet I put myself right in it. He was just doing what he was actually intending to support me in learning how to do, I think. He wanted me to feel on the call that he was the path to getting the answer and support I needed – I would have to hire him. He referred to this as using emotional mirroring and fractal marketing to get client to believe there is an answer and you must have me to be able to get it.

Okay but let me share what I heard with that statement – emotional mirroring is a technique used in cults and brainwashing. That is a trigger right there for me.

Long and short I got off the phone and was angry, sad and incredibly frustrated that I had been totally responsible for putting myself into the situation!

I also was in a bit of despair that maybe I just am not cut out to be in marketing and sales AND my business does demand I do marketing and sales.

I know it’s hard right now because there is so much noice online and I do tend to believe right now being service is more important than the success of my marketing or sales. Still I would like to believe there is a backbone and heart path to being of service and selling.

If you have the answer – your answer- and you want to share it with me. Well give me a call. I know you may be a little concerned after this post – but I am willing to try again and hopefully this time if things aren’t going well I will speak up earlier!

Thoughts From My Quarantine

As I sit here working form my computer on some editing before the next Zoom call – ZuZu, my miniature AussieDoodle, is racing back in forth in front of the office door – tossing one of my gloves up into the air. She makes sure the glove is easily sighted by me and then runs to to the other side of the room. Back and forth she goes. Totally entertaining and also committed to finding a partner in her play!

My dogs are in so many ways my sanity these days. Really their world has not changed other than they have much more of me around! Mine has!

So many structures have been cracked. We humans are no longer separate – this Covid-19 pandemic is traveling across all the borders and points of separation.

So much death and destruction. Yet outside spring is still coming. My dogs are still wanting to play and go for walks. The horses are not nervous or showing signs of something to fear and flee. I have moments during these days of physical separating of reaching and connecting like never before. I have to listen deeper and feel deeper to find that place of connection.

What was normal just a few weeks ago – isn’t anymore. I don’t think that normal is ever coming back and honestly that might be a really good thing.

I am sad about the loss of life that is happening. I am anxious, maybe more than a little nervous about losing the shell of security I had with my bank accounts, retirement funds and monthly emails tracking my invested funds. I am angry that big businesses are bailed out and hospitals don’t have supplies.

The landscape for us two-legged beings is not so pretty in this moment. But there are bright spots. Moments and signs that small groups of people and communities are weaving together the fabric of our planet earth by doing what is natural. Reaching out, helping out, asking for help, pausing, separating as requested – yet not disconnecting.

Yes – opening windows and sharing music. Taking hoarded supplies of mask and dropping them at the hospital door. Sticking a teddy in the window for small children to see and have some joy. There are businesses dropping everything to do something they don’t even know how to do – but are finding a way.

My heart beats stronger when I read stories about people not just trying to survive but finding a new way to thrive – beyond the armor, control and shells that have been built to devide us.

I want a new normal. I don’t want to go back to what was – where heartbeats got lost and people were so busy doing what was deemed so important that play, pleasure and connection were lost except maybe at times on weekends – or after business hours. I don’t want to go back to nationalism and wars between people.

I know we’d have to stay in quarantine a long time for all those structures to fall away and I don’t want that either. This time of physical distance has taught me we are so much more connected than we ever imagined. We are so much more alike than we are different and our differences just may be what we need to find a way through this. If we could just not get so caught in right/wrong.

I truly believe this virus if offering us a shared purpose. I don’t see it as a war against the virus. More like a damn good reason to work together. Learning from each other. Learning from mistakes, Learning from ideas different than our own. Recognizing ourselves within the larger natural planet. Being human and humble.

I do hear much more now. I feel much more – sensations and waves of emotional energy that I simply can’t cut off from by getting busy.

I am discovering what is most important to me. There are experiences I miss and know I that have too often taken for granted.

I was never a hugger. But I do look forward to walking through town and giving people hugs. I look forward to spending my money right here supporting a strong community. I look forward to writing at WILD and listening to all the variety of conversations happening. I look forward to going to a play, live music, pond skiing and sitting in one of our local brew spots, restaurants or bakeries!

I look forward to doing all that and remembering not to run through each day but breath into it – much like I am doing now. I want to expand and include what I am learning now – going forward.

We are better together and even better when we are the humble humans part of larger web of nature!

Zuzu is still playing – time to take her call to play!! Enought thoughts and words for today!

Human AND HUMBLED

For Them Not Much Has Changed!

Writing seems more important than ever to me right now.

All that is happening is humbling and reminds how human I am – we all are.

By the global standard I am very fortunate right now and have my needs met, supplies in my home, a place to walk easily into the woods with little or no contact or concern about unconsciously putting anyone at risk. I don’t have any symptoms. I am healthy. I have a partner to play with and fight with. I have two awesome dogs, Rosie and ZuZu that remind that life is always in the moment and really not much has changed.

Sure my illusion of what lies ahead and how my busy actions will ensure I’ll be okay has been cracked.

I must admit there is an odd familiarity to me of long ago when I was facing my cancers and dealing with all of the various ways in which my life and my reality cracked and was forever broken.

What does seem different now is that back then I did feel very alone. Today it is as though the earth has shaken the foundations of us human beings – this is NOT just one woman’s world being rattled.

Human kind seems to be at the forefront of this event. My dogs – well there world isn’t very different than two months ago. The horses are simply doing what the horses do. The tress and most of nature is carrying on.

We human beings are going through a significant reality check. Yes, there is the virus – which may or may not be the worse ever. We know it does have an impact and for some a deadly one. We also know that we don’t really know when or if we have been exposed. It’s a bit of a hidden traveler.

Then there’s the impact of the global markets and shake-up for businesses big and small. The closing of shops, sporting events, colleges, schools and even Broadway! The critical demand on our healthcare system and for those without paid leave – well life is indeed crumbling.

It’s hard to read the headlines. It’s odd to think toilet paper really is the biggest resource we are focused on losing.

We are scrambling and yet there are also some moments where our heart beats and speak louder than our fears and stories.

May be this is a time for us human beings to recalibrate. To pause, breath and re-member we are not the almighty most powerful living beings on this plant earth.

We are quite vulnerable. It is time to remember that and find our hearts. I honestly don’t think science or money is what will get us through this. May be at some point we’ll have answers to what we have been through – but that comes later.

Years ago cancer stripped away my pretense and so much of my armor. With absolutely nothing to lose I found my desire to connect, to reach out. I discovered when I cry or another cries, someone can be there to hear and hold. Not fix. Just witness and let it be known my pain, my rage and my tears matter. So do yours! That was the most healing offering! It wasn’t chemotherapy or Psychotherapy – neuroscience or religion. it was human hearts and kindness. It wasn’t answers it was someone simply witnessing and believing in me.

I did rebuild my life and in many ways I believe I have held on to what is most important – though these days – this virus – this request to socially distance – the fear and uncertainty – presents me with just how the armor can come back.

The foundation has been cracked yet again. The stories aren’t there to hold on to. I honestly don’t know what to believe.

Maybe that is okay. Breath. Have faith. Look to my four-legged friends and open my heart. Be kind to my neighbor – next door and across the globe. Tap into my vulnerability. That is where we can find peace and connection. At least in the moment and that may indeed be all there ever is and will be.

I See You!

I see you!

Shanti has this way of cutting through my veil.

Maybe it’s those eyes – large full.

Still and awake. Alert. Yet relaxed.

Out with the mares I do feel like I have entered a world where I can not hide.

Not from them and not from me.

There is intensity and compassion

I don’t feel rushed or like I have to do more than simply show up.

Out in the human world I so rarely feel like I am enough.

It is so much harder to remember this life is more about being and breathing – than marketing and money.

Out in the human play land – I often lose the balance between what I think I need to be doing and what I am doing.

With Shanti I can just stand close or far away and feel a connection. I don’t have to say the right thing or be anything other than present!

That is such a gift. We all want that – yet it is so hard to just let that be enough.

These big beings can teach us so much about how to be gentle, kind, clear and strong.

When My Mind Is Fear-Filling Me

Last year I committed to kicking off a new program: When The Body Fails: Rebuilding Trust In Your Body. This was designed for women who have or have had cancer.

The program started as a weekend event. But we were in the middle of our book launch and timing wasn’t right for putting the right level of energy into marketing a new program.

Sounds reasonable to postpone – right?

Of course there is some truth to this explanation. However, I still haven’t moved this program forward. I took the advise of one of my mentors in the Equus world and decided to not go so big but just start locally and with more one on one coaching with women dealing with cancer.

Yes, I have done little bits in moving things forward. However, I am still stalling to do the workshop.

Why?

Okay so this program is so much like my book – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.   You probably don’t even know about this book. It’s been in files and folders on my computer for years. It’s been shared with friends, possible editors and in short pieces online. However, the moment it gets any further out into the world. I stall and the book goes background. Fear stops me in my tracks – it’s my story. It’s my life through cancer through rebuilding and reclaiming myself – body, mind and spirit. I think I am afraid of the story still even though it’s been lived. Yet in that fear I hold it tight.

The good news is that even though the book still lies under the surface, I have written many blog post, shared my story and even published two other books that are heavily influenced by the backstory.

When Your Body Fails You, Rebuilding Trust is like the book. Why?

Because I am fearful.

I could go on and on about why I am fearful.

However, that sure seems like a self-indulgent story fuddling process.

I do want to kick off this workshop so here I go! It’s now one day and it is a start!

I am going to put a link to the flyer here – I know many of my readers are not local – but I would still love to hear from you too.

Plus if you are interested – well I still plan to do a weekend version and will add opportunities to weave in the healing influence of horses. So stay tuned!

May be some day – Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep will be the book that comes along with registrations.

What’s your fear holding you back from doing? What steps can you take to move ahead? I’d love to hear from you.

Check out When The Body Fails Here

Three Types of Team Players!

Dogs are a huge part of my life. They are also great teachers.

As I got the chance to watch a series of dog agility videos today – all shared by friends. I couldn’t help but think about how each of these dogs shows up on teams.

There’s the Superstar – you know that performer – all in and intense – meet Pink!

Check Out Pink: https://youtu.be/oiySODkJbrU?t=12

There’s the Slow and Steady – no reason to get excited and sometimes slow is good!

Meet the Mastiff!

Check Out Rotti: https://youtu.be/GjqtwNUE148

And then there’s one always ready to play! Got to love the joy!

Then there’s ‘Charlie’: https://youtu.be/5iTTNRE-njM?t=50

In some ways I know I have some of each of these brilliant performers! Maybe I am dreaming that I could be like Pink. But I can be intense for sure!!

I can also relate to the Mastiff – especially when I am running along my Olympian partner in project mode!

But mostly I relate to the retriever – let there be JOY and PLAY.

Which dog are you on your team!

Happy Holidays – Finding Meaning In The Season

It’s that most wonderful time of year…..

I love the holidays. I love singing holiday tunes and walking about in our small town with the lights and families, friends and locals – all hoping that maybe we will have a white Christmas!!

It is hard to believe that we might not. Just a few days ago I was thrilled that we got a big dump of snow – opening the front side of the mountain!

Now four days into a spring-like weather pattern – the snow is gone. The mountain still has snow but it’s pretty scarce here in the valley!

CrisMarie has been away a few days visiting her sister and family. So this year our traditional night of Yuletide – ATP’s `(Alpine Theater Project) awesome holiday event) was just Paula and I. I am grateful that CrisMarie was able to have this time with her sister. I am also glad one of us (and maybe the one who appreciates musicals and the humor of Politically Incorrect Christmas Caroling) was the one here to whistle, rock and clap through the Yuletide extravaganza!!

I am so aware of the mix of emotions that come with holidays. Joy in celebrating our year and life together and tears for those not here with us this year. Smiles for the wonder and laughs that come with stories and reflecting. Fears and frustration with the pain that rolls through our life, the news and the headlines. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile the blessings and excitement that I have been fortunate to receive, knowing for many others it isn’t like that.

At times I don’t know what to make of Christmas being all about the baby Jesus. I wouldn’t call myself a religious person. It helps in year’s like this that Hanukkah will be happening right along side Christmas and there is always winter solstice and a new year to celebrate. I have always been a fan of Santa – or St. Nick – not so much because of Jesus, as savior – but the idea of sharing gifts, light and celebration even in the shortest of days. Plus I do love so many of the Christmas songs – beautifully sung and shared.

I enjoy signing off post, emails and letters with Happy Holidays – whatever the holiday may be for you.

For me, it is one that celebrates our humanity. It’s a holiday about joy and joy is an exquisite mix of love, pain, tears and sorrow.

This time of year reminds me that we all have dark nights and hopefully we all have bright spots, one’s we remember or just the light of a new day or a night sky filled with stars.

Many years ago – the holidays fell at one of the loneliest and darkness times of my life. I found myself alone on Christmas Eve and very sad and fearful about life. I traveled downtown back where I lived then and walked into a church service where I knew no one but the music pulled me in. I was welcomed even though the only white person. I wasn’t much of a church person but wanted human fellowship on a lonely Christmas eve. I remember being so moved by the welcome and the invitation to sing and dance along. I don’t recall anyone’s name. I doubt I ever saw any one of them again. I left shortly after midnight on Christmas – still singing those carols – with warmth in my heart and what seemed like a reason keep going.

That Christmas did teach me, I don’t have to know people to offer comfort and joy – a smile and song. It goes a long way to share those simple things. I seriously doubt they had any idea how they touched my life.

So this holiday may you be blessed to either be one who gets to share your joy with someone who needs that simple spark – or may you be fortunate to find what you need from someone else.

Merry and Happy Holidays and Humanity to all!

Merry and Happy Holidays & Humanity