04/10/15
Happy Siblings Day. Love my sisters and brothers!

Happy Siblings Day


Happy Siblings Day. When I first heard the words today, I thought it was just another marketing effort and wished my three siblings well in my mind. Then I started to see all these photos and amazing and funny tributes on Facebook by friends about their siblings. It made me wonder who started this celebration and what their story might be.

Turns out there is a for-real National Sibling’s Day and Siblings Day Foundation started by Claudia Evart on her sister Lisette’s birthday April 10, 2012. Nice touch, I thought. And then I read their back story, the one the headlines leave out, which causes a lot of people to smirk, make smart-ass cracks about their less-than-perfect relationships with their brothers and sisters and move on to their next relationship-lite conversation to avoid “the feels” (um, guilty).

But wait, wait, I do need to tell you: National Siblings Day was started to honor Claudia’s siblings 40 years after Claudia’s older sister, 19 at the time, and their father, died in a horrific car crash and 26 years after her brother, a Vietnam Vet, died after falling in a freak accident at home.

I know. Take a breath. Horrible tragedies no one should have to experience. But some do. And turn those memories into something beautiful we can all celebrate with our less-than-perfect-but-still-here-so-try-to-make-the-most-of-it families. Thank you Claudia.

Nothing like perspective to remember what matters.

Whew. I think about losing my own siblings and feel this tender, teary wave of love go through me. God, I’d be lost without my sibs Eileen, Paul, and Jeanne. I don’t say that often enough. Have I ever said it — I mean really said it straight out — to myself or to them? I could write a book about all the ways they’ve inspired my life — but won’t, haha, because I’m blessed to have all of them still talking to me after my first book My Mother, My Friend was published.

However the short story must be told: Eileen, Paul, and Jeanne, thank you for keeping me real, staying connected even when it’s hard, and becoming adults who make me look better by association and make the world a more inspiring place to live. I love you. Happy Siblings Day.

What do you love about your sibling(s)? Please share your comments below.

 

05/13/12

Mom, You’re the Real Hero in the Family. Happy Mother’s Day.

“Life is short, life is precious. Don’t wait, do it now.”
~ Mom

My mother showed me in words and actions that the greatest gifts we give each other are our presence and appreciation. Here’s a story from my book, My Mother, My Friend to help keep that in mind and celebrate Mother’s Day.

Mom, You’re the Real Hero In The Family

Last Photo with Mom

The phone rang at 2:40 a.m. I heard Jeanne’s voice, “Mary? Mom’s free now. She just took her last breath.”

“I’ll be right there,” I said.

The ten-minute ride to the house was filled with thoughts of regret, guilt and sadness. I was exhausted and had left the house at ten o’clock, kissing my mother good-bye and saying, “I love you.” I thought I felt her squeeze my hand ever so lightly.

Why didn’t I stay? I was glad that Eileen and Jeanne were there with her but I wanted to be there too when she left her body. I’ve always felt strongly about not wanting to die alone and wanting someone I love to be holding my hand when I die. I wanted that experience with her and yet, I never asked her what she wanted.

The house was lit up when I got there. Mom was still warm, but beginning to cool. Her skin was this odd shade of cream with a glow that still shines in my mind’s eye. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and wondered if her spirit was hovering about. Continue reading

08/30/10

Inspiration From an Armless Toe-Playing Guitarist (video)

Inspiration met me at Balboa Park along the Promenade. I found musician Mark Goffeney, born without arms playing the guitar with his FEET and singing The Beatle’s song, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

I walked away from those few minutes connecting with Mark thinking, “If I ever tell myself again that I can’t do something that I really want to do, or something isn’t possible…think smiling armless toe-playing guitarist.”

And then I had a flood of other thoughts – what gave him the idea that he could play guitar with his feet? Did his parents encourage him? What did he do when he wanted to give up? Where did his courage come from? What kind of thoughts does he have to create this kind of success and joy? Mark’s story is a powerful testimony to looking for your unique gifts in your challenges and loving the life you’ve been given.

When I watched the video again, I heard the lyrics to The Beatle’s song clearly and realized I’d never thought much about the words to that song before because I loved the melody so much and it fit a lot of my teenage angst when I first heard it. But with all due respect to the genius of John Lennon and the pain of heartbreak, seeing Mark and the joy he brings to others, the song really should be retitled, “You’ve got to GIVE your love away.” Mark, you do, along with your courage and creativity! Thanks!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B77xLS0CR5U]

You can learn more about Mark at BigToeRocks.com.

03/30/10

“Eat Slow or Die Fast” with Dr. Bruce MacFarland (1923-2010)

Last week I was privileged to celebrate the life of a great friend, father, and a pioneer and leader in the nutrition and holistic health fields, Dr. Bruce MacFarland.

We were invited to bring a favorite food to share, which in my case, that day, because I was pushed for time, would have been chips and salsa, picked up at Costco. But as I thought about all the things I’d learned from Bruce over the five years I’ve known him including his infamous “Eat slow or die fast,” and “Don’t cross your legs or risk varicose veins,” I realized I wanted to do something to honor his health conscious ways (well, except for Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee, but who can resist that!) so I decided to make homemade hummus with sliced carrot sticks.

I got out one of my favorite (and beautiful to look at) recipe books “The Raw Goumet” and made the Hummus recipe, which is good, but still kind of bland. I wondered what I could do to spice it up and asked the Ethers, “What would Bruce add?” Continue reading

02/2/10

You Are Wired to Be Inspired

“Have the courage to act instead of react.”
~ Earlene Larson Jenks

Did you watch the Grammys? So many amazing performances so full of mastery, so much audience enthusiasm for the art and skill of creating and performing music. Were you inspired? I sure was! And I still am. In fact, I watched all the main performances last night on YouTube, which, actually, surprises me.

When I stopped to think about what compelled me to revisit performances of musicians, excellent as they may be, whose music I’d never listen to by choice, I realized there was a great practical tip here for creating enthusiasm and inspired action. Can you guess what it is?

You’re right. When people give themselves completely to their unique gifts and share them authentically and enthusiastically with the world, magic happens. We’re all capable of creating that magic daily, but the challenge for most of us is first of all to KNOW what our gifts are, and then second, to FREE ourselves from our fears and give ourselves completely to whatever it is we’re doing and express our GIFTED SELF. Great performers have learned how to do this. We can too.

I think of performance artist Pink on that Cirque du Soleil style twirling machine and the flawless performance she gave. Did you wonder, like I did, whatever inspired her to take on a risk like that? In front of 25 million viewers?! Where did her courage to do that come from? How many times did she practice that routine to make it look so effortless? How did she not puke while she was twisting upside down, dipped in water, all the while singing her heart out, and then be able to stand at the end and not just walk but strut confidently off the stage?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qET6mlPb8uk]

TIP: I have an idea about what moves her that I believe moves each of us to inspired action and Gifted Self moments, which strung together become an Inspired and Gifted Life. I wonder if you agree?  I believe we are all wired to be inspired. And when we appreciate what inspires us, we are filled with a natural enthusiasm that gives us the confidence to move beyond our fears and share our Gifted Self into greater expression with the world.

Can you think of a time when you were totally and completely your most confident, inspired Gifted Self without worry or fear of what others would think or what might happen? When you were so present in the moment that all you were aware of doing – fully, completely, and enjoyably – was whatever it was that you came there to do?

TIP: Memorize a Gifted Self Moment and relive it often throughout your day to receive greater inner strength and motivation to act on what is important to you. This energetic space is where your manifesting power, dreams, and Creative Spirit live.

So what inspirations will you notice, appreciate, and enthuse about with others today to experience and share more of your Gifted Self with the world? Share your thoughts in the comment box and check out the inspiring resource below to help you.

RESOURCE:

Ever heard of a Virtual Retreat? This is a really innovative idea and will definitely nourish and nurture your Creative Spirit and help you discover and express your gifts with confidence and grace. I love this: “You will meditate, move, journal, visualize, laugh, and engage your whole body and spirit” all from the comfort of your own home and phone or computer. Get a couple friends together and share the weekend or a few hours together. I’ll be attending too.

Jen (author of The Woman’s Comfort Book series) is leading this bargain-priced Virtual Retreat with 13 other world famous teachers February 12-14. You can listen live or use the replay/download option at your convenience. Sign up by February 5th and get a major discount plus bonuses and ongoing support included. Check it out here.  Just reading the details will reduce your stress and make you smile. Add your 16-Second Smiling Breath and you’ll really relax.

NEXT ISSUE: How to get started discovering your gifts and strengths and a great new book for connecting more deeply with your Inner Voice (IV to your Creative Spirit) in challenging times.

Inspired by your presence…Mary

PS. Leave a comment on my In The Moment blog by Sunday February 8, 2010 about something in this post that inspired you, helped you, or triggered a new insight and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Marci Shimoff’s best-selling book “Happy for No Reason” and my book “Living with Enthusiasm.”

11/4/09

How to Create a Happy Moment Quickly


“A happy life
is just a string
of happy moments.
But most people don’t allow
the happy moment,
because they’re so busy
trying to get a happy life.”

~ Abraham ~

String together happy moments; I love this idea. It’s so easy to get lost worrying about the future or thinking through a challenging situation, comparing myself to others, hearing bad news, or any of the many other ways we human beings naturally distract ourselves from experiencing all the good in our lives. I have to remind myself, sometimes even with a timer, to take a breath and reground myself in the present moment to stay connected to the beauty in this world.

One quick way to create a string of happy moments for yourself is to allow yourself to take a deep breath right now, put a smile on your face – a big one – and hold it for 16 seconds while repeating slowly, “Thank you.” Look around you and find something to focus on that makes you feel good and savor the feeling for another moment. And another. Do this as often as you can throughout your day.

If you can’t find something positive where you are, choose to think of your own smile as what’s giving you happiness in this moment. That choice alone can lead to happier moments and a happier life.

What’s one of your happy moments today? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.