03/30/14

Begin Again Wherever You Land

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Torrey Pines Nature Reserve and Beach are a haven and playground for me so when I see others enjoying the park and I’m asked to take a photo or people are taking photos of each other, and it feels right, I will ask, “Would you like a photo together? What brought you to Torrey Pines? Are you from the area or visiting?” I’ve met the most interesting people and had some of the most surprising and incredibly heart felt present moment exchanges and photo memories like this one on a recent Saturday:

What brought you to Torrey Pines? “We love it here. My girls are happy because their nanny and her friend are here visiting them from New York. My wife died of breast cancer a year ago. We brought her here to get treatment and my two daughters and I stayed to start a new life.”

That was not the story I expected to hear. It’s so easy to make assumptions and judgments. About people. About family dynamics. About everything. In the few minutes before I approached this man while watching the five of them play at the water’s edge, my mind whirred with what their family story might be, never anticipating his answer and immediately feeling a range of emotions from sadness to inspiration to gratitude as I listened to him talk.

I’ve thought many times about this connection since then – not only admiring his courage and devotion to his daughters, but also my own thoughts about family and starting over.

Lots to still consider but this I know: Family comes in all shapes and sizes and you can begin again wherever you land.

What do you believe about family and new beginnings?

Thanks for sharing!
02/22/14

Does Competition Make You Better?

Jimmy Sherburne, #2 Princeton Tiger Senior Guard, February 2014

How do you feel about competition? Do you rise to the occasion? Do you clutch? Do you encourage it or walk away from it?

“Competition makes me better.” Jimmy Sherburne, Princeton Tiger #2, Senior Guard (and adored nephew) playing in tonight’s game against Harvard. Go Tigers!

Back story: One of my favorite quotes and people, not just because Jimmy’s one of my five talented nephews, also because he shifted my perspective on competition. When he was 17 and playing high school bball against a college team, I asked him what he thought about playing such an experienced team and he said, “Competition makes me better. I like it.”

Profound answer for me.

I’ve never felt comfortable competing, often choosing to play smaller than my heart’s desire for so many reasons – fear of being perceived as a show-off, wanting others to like me, wanting others to feel good about themselves, early girl training in Catholic grade school, potential disappointment of losing anyway…

Now, when I feel that way, I think of Jimmy and remember that giving my best when up against any other person or team, makes us all better.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Thank you Jimmy!

PS. They play at 8 pm EST tonight, home game. You can watch on ESPN3.

Thanks for sharing!
02/14/14

Love and Happy Valentine’s Day from Torrey Pines Reserve

Torrey Pines LOVE

Happy Full Moon Valentine’s Day from the top of Torrey Pines!

For as long as I’ve walked these trails I’ve imagined capturing the love and light of people walking in silhouette to the sun and moon and hills here. Finally it happened recently - and spontaneously.

Just before the trail meets the beach I looked up and saw these women passing above. I raised my arm and put up my index finger in the air, hoping to catch their attention. They stopped. I started spelling out the word LOVE with my arms. One by one they started mirroring my gestures – L-O-V-E.

I’m not sure what Lovely Ladies Five and Six on the right were doing, maybe spelling Love backwards, but I am sure that LOVE shows up in the most unlikely places when we show up with an open heart and let the presence of the moment lead the way.

What are you sure of about LOVE?

Thanks for sharing!