Forget. Me. Not

by helen on June 7, 2013

IMG_5939I was so tired, I almost missed them.  Pretty little periwinkle kisses abounded.  Their tiny faces inviting smiles. Snuggled between the shrubs and hostas, their beauty peeping and winking.


Like a hand to the forehead.




Spring has sprung

Spring is a busy time for our family, with 2 children between 10 and 12 years, multiple sports and after-school programs, homework and practices, and my work schedule – it’s been hectic to say the least.

It’s been a fun time too, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every game – both the cheering for the kids and the chatting with the parents.  But by mid-end of May I noticed I was flagging, feeling weariness and less joie de vivre.

Noticing old patterns

IMG_5938I was about to brace myself, adopt the ‘stiff upper lip’, just ‘work harder’ and plough through, exhaustion be damned.

But I know better.




Those little winking beauties grabbed me by the eyeballs.  I realized that in the frenzy of goodness, even though activities were intentionally planned and enjoyable, the balance was tipped to over-busy and my body was letting me know.

With some curiosity and acceptance of the tiredness, I was able to search for insights and look at what was needed – renewal – even if it was renewal on the go.

Because, if I am depleted as a mother, wife, friend and business owner, how can I be of service and bring my unique blend of strengths, values and genius out into the world?

Forget. Me. Not.

Start with YOU

Start with yourself.  Figure out how to nourish and renew yourself, in the ever-changing whirlpool of a world we live in.  It’s not selfish.  It’s self-ful.

It may be in small ways, like taking a great book to practice so you can read while between drop off and pick up.  Or calling a friend for a chat on the fly.  Or watching a YouTube video that cracks you up.  Or slowing down and hugging those you love.  Or finding meaning in the ordinary.  Or planning your meals so you can eat nourishing food – even if dinner is at 4pm as you have 2 games to drive to/attend that night.

Heart on Your Hand

photoMy dear, wise and beautiful friend Bethany gave me another image to ponder.  Drawing a little heart on your hand.  As a reminder of love for yourself in all that you do.

My daughter asked if I had had a tattoo.  I said no and explained what it was.  She thought that, if I was going to get a tattoo, that seemed like a good one to get.  I notice that she often draws a heart on her hand now too.

As my garden eases into summer, the forget-me-nots are fading, the sea of blue is now green and so I’ve taken to drawing a heart on my hand.  It’s a reminder to practice self love – whether it’s time for renewal, good food, saying no, saying yes, an early night, laughing, walking, quiet time, fun time – because knowledge of what helps you only gets you so far.

Awareness, Exploration, Application

It’s what you do with the awareness, how you explore it and apply it that makes the difference.

I realized that I need the reminders as I have a tendency for over-busyness.

To remember to tend to myself.  To fill my cup so that it is full to overflowing and I have plentiful reserves to serve those in my world.

What do you do to remember to take care of and love yourself?

I’d love to hear your comments below.


What Are You Reaching For?

by helen on March 28, 2013

IMG_5444With aching fingers and wobbly legs, I looked down to see the ground far below.

Queasy tendrils of fear swept up my body.  I took a breath.

In that mini pause, I allowed myself to feel the fear without reacting.  I allowed the emotion to pass through me rather than take hold.  I know from experience that rampant fear unacknowledged and dodged causes me to freeze or stuff it down causing me internal tension and pain.

I was the climber in a pair team – one climber and one belayer – one person climbs and the other belays (holds the rope) and ensures the safety of the climber as they ascend.

IMG_5492I had not climbed in over 15 years.  Another breath.  I was able to look up.  Only 4 or 5 moves to the top of the climb.

Focus and Goal

I remembered my goal.  To get to the top of the climb.

Courage in the face of vulnerability

The wave of fear had stopped me.  I could feel my hands getting sweaty – not ideal as it makes the small holds hard to grasp.

Yes, I could stop now.  Yes, I could feel good about getting back in a harness after so many years and taking myself up a rock wall rather than just helping others climb. Yes, I could rationalize that it was OK to quit early and I’d made it most of the way.  I’d put in more than a little effort.

But I wouldn’t have reached my goal.  The top.

And the only thing holding me back was fear.

IMG_5490Fear and playing small

And the fear was not helpful.  I was not in danger.  I was in a harness, attached to a rope, and being belayed by an experienced person, who also was being helpful and encouraging from the ground.  I knew he had my safety covered.  Back in the day I had climbed much higher graded and more challenging routes.

A part of my brain did not get that.  Thoughts of catastrophe and disaster swarmed my psyche, and my emotions and physiology reacted accordingly.

I looked down again.  I saw my children gaping.  They’re so used to me being  ‘Mom’ or the ‘safety chick’ (they not-so-fondly call me that when I insist they wear a helmet while riding their bikes).  They can’t believe their eyes that I’m straddled on funky multicolored holds on a rock wall 25 feet up in the air.

Re-grounding on the go

I re-grounded (as much as you can, in that position!) and decided that the fear was not helpful in that situation.  I was actually safe.  Fear was trying to keep me small.  I decided to go for the top.

I took another breath, and reached for the next hold, then the next, and before I knew it I was touching the top of the wall and checking for a tight rope before sitting back in the harness to be let down to the ground by my trusty belayer.

I was elated.

It was just one climb at a rock wall but the metaphor was rich.

How many times do we stop before the goal because of fear or discomfort?

How many times do we play small and not stretch that extra few feet?

How many times does fear rule the roost, unquestioned?

I’m not saying ignore fear, or any of the emotions that are less than comfortable to feel.

I am saying it’s important to allow space to seek the truth in the thoughts that may stop you in your tracks.  To notice and allow space for your ensuing emotions.  This allows you to make the choices to lead from an informed, creative and empowered place rather than a reactionary stance.  

This is the space where focus is rewarded, where goals are achieved, where possibilities are born and mature, and where inspired action abounds.

And who knows, you may even have fun in the process, as I did.

Where have you stopped short or gone for gold?  I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments below.


Is Worry Your Kryptonite?

March 9, 2013

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”  Winston Churchill Do you have the worry gene?  Is it expressing? I confess. I do.  And it […]

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Baggage Check – What are you carrying that you no longer need?

February 1, 2013

I was bullied in school. Not beaten up or physically harmed.  It was all taunts that hurt on the inside. I was at an all girls private church school.  Enough said. Sometime during or after puberty, with my DD cups, high grades and obvious desire to learn, I became the target for mean-ness, nasty comments, […]

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Kindness, Community, and Action

October 1, 2012

This summer I wrote about my 9-year-old daughter’s loss of vision in Don’t Dim My Light. Thankfully, Sophie’s sight has almost fully recovered in that time.  In the same way as there is no clear answer to why this happened, there is also no clear answer to how it has resolved, and so we continue […]

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Don’t Dim My Light: 9 Tips to Deal with Dimming

May 23, 2012

“Sweetheart, please can you put on your sunglasses so we can go to the store?” I asked. “I don’t want my light to be dimmed,” my daughter sobbed through huge rolling tears and heaving chest. I stopped dead.  The words soaked in.  My throat choked up. She had dealt with a lot these last couple […]

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Lessons From A Chip Bag

March 31, 2012

As my fingers scrabbled at the bottom of the bag to collect the crumbs in my hot little hands, I realized I’d consumed a family size bag of chips at one sitting. Who Did That? I looked accusingly around the room.  Surely someone else had eaten some. I already knew that I was alone in […]

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Are You Making Things Harder Than They Need To Be?

February 29, 2012

Have you heard the term “over-efforting”? I first heard it from Master Mind-Body Coach Abigail Steidley on a teleclass one day.  I did a quick Google search on ‘over-efforting’ and there were almost 80,000 hits. I so relate to this term – over-efforting. Why?  Because I do it a lot of the time. My go-to […]

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It’s The Simple Things – Presence or Absence, Not Both

January 31, 2012

“Be absent, or be present, but don’t be both.” In early December I was honored to take facilitator training for i2a Strategic Thinking and the Energy Rich Leadership Course.  This was the ground rule delivered by one of the fabulous course leaders, Gretchen Pisano (who writes beautifully about it here). Be absent, or be present, […]

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Why Not Trust?

December 24, 2011

My eyes were wide and terror ripped through me as I clung to my seat for dear life.  I  was on a flight to Phoenix where the turbulence was so rough that I was airborne within the cabin – even with my seatbelt on.  It was like a roller-coaster with no end as people around […]

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