• Continued Lessons on Boundaries and Finding Balance

    We are well into June, the garden is blooming, and I have resumed my hand-to-hand combat with the Queen. What is that supposed to mean? You may ask. Allow me to take you back to the beginning. When we bought our house twenty-six years ago, there were no established gardens, and I was still a novice gardener. There were mature trees and bushes, an abundance of rosa multiflora (wild rose) which is an invasive dense shrub, a 90-ft weeping willow, and pachysandra, hostas, and periwinkle growing along the stone walls and near the house. There was a stream cutting across the backyard and into the woodland beyond. The property was wild, beautiful, and brimming with wildlife. The wild roses had overtaken most of the backyard and made it difficult to reach the stream and cross to the other side. We were well aware that they offered shelter and food to many birds, but if we were to enjoy the yard, we would have to clear the space between the house and the stream. We decided…

  • How to Navigate the Flow of Change Mindfully

    Our culture moves fast and is outwardly focused. We are driven by our goals and our to-do lists. Sometimes it feels as if we can’t see the forest for the trees. We tell ourselves that we will rest when we complete what we have set out to do. Of course, not everything goes smoothly, no matter how diligent, disciplined, or organized we are. Things can turn out differently than expected, and life takes us on detours. When this happens, what matters is how we manage ourselves. For example, you may be well into your new beginnings. You waited a long time to change a few things and step onto a new path. You are excited, highly motivated, and open to what comes next. You have a good plan in place, and you are moving full speed ahead. Lately, you have been feeling tired and maybe a bit anxious. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is amiss. Self-doubt has been creeping in ever so slowly. What is going on? The voice in…

  • Your New Beginnings and How to Take That First Step

    The seasons of a year. The return of spring.The heart grows glad when it can leaf out,when light and shadow are known to belong toone another. – Gunilla Norris We are constantly in a state of reinvention, and never is that more apparent than at the onset of spring. Every day, as we look out our window and step out our front door, we are reminded that a new beginning is already underfoot. I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned how much she loves waking up early in the morning, so she can stand in front of her window to watch the sunrise. Each morning the sun rises, marking a new beginning, but the sky never looks the same. Neither does the day ahead. The conversation got me thinking of my garden, of course. I have worked in this garden for the last 26 years. When we first moved into our house, there was nothing but weeds and bramble. Over the years, the garden grew, expanded, and transformed. Three years ago I decided…

  • The Storms That Define Us

    When the post on The Sun Always Shines After The Storm was published, some of the readers emailed me with comments that touched me deeply and inspired me. I thought to myself … Wouldn’t it be great if I wrote a follow-up post that included other people’s thoughtful insights and wisdom on the ways storms define us? At the same time, I happened to come upon and watch “An Evening with Patti Smith” that took place at the  Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL. Something that Patti Smith mentioned about her experience with grief and loss made me search for an interview she had given many years ago. Here is a quote from that interview: Sometimes in your life voyage, the waters are very calm and steady, then all of a sudden a storm whips up and it’s turbulent and you have to get through that storm and just keep on. Even though it’s a simple metaphor, life is really like that. You have to be ready to embrace it all. – Patti Smith,…

  • The Sun Always Shines After The Storm

    A few weeks ago, we were hit by a snowstorm. A friend on Twitter mentioned how she loves the sun shining after a storm. I replied by saying, “It reminds me of an essay I wrote in High School, “The sun always shines after a storm.” I was 16. Sometimes I wonder how I would write it today.” She followed up with this: “Why not write an up-to-date version for who you are today?” Invitation accepted! It was the mid-70s, and I was in High School. My favorite Greek Literature teacher had instructed us to approach the essay as a metaphor for life. After we handed in our papers, we had a lengthy discussion in class. I remember being disappointed with my paper. It was laden with cliches and lacked insight. Looking back, I can see that it wasn’t so much about my writing skills as it was about my lack of life experience. Although I had found myself amid stormy weather early on, I was just beginning to understand the impact these storms would…

  • The Edge of New Beginnings

    There was a full moon last night. I woke up early and went downstairs to make myself a cup of hot water with lemon. I fed the kitty and stood by the kitchen window, waiting for the water to boil. The house was quiet. Outside, the full moon was casting its light on the snow-covered yard. I stood there, breathing, looking up, and in this precious moment, my heart was full, and my mind at peace. When you regain a sense of your life as a journey of discovery, you return to rhythm with yourself.When you take the time to travel with reverence, a richer life unfolds before you.Moments of beauty begin to braid your days. John O’Donohue – Excerpt from BEAUTY As you read this, allow the words to sink into your consciousness. How does it feel to be in rhythm with yourself? Can you sense it when you are out of rhythm? For me, there is a tightening, a sense of not belonging, the deep knowledge that I am leaving myself behind, letting…

  • Beginner’s Mind

    We are well into November, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. I have been moving along, following the established rhythm of life and work, but a few days ago, it hit me. We are approaching the end of this year. This is usually the time when my creative thinking kicks in. It is also the time I feel the urge to step on the brakes, look back, and take it all in. Traveling through the dark time of the year affords us this opportunity for self-reflection. Looking back and evaluating becomes the foundation to setting clear and focused intentions for moving forward. It is easy to settle into habits, behaviors, and our familiar ways of thinking. As Mary Oliver writes, … And now I understandsomething so frightening, and wonderful –how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushingthrough crossroads, stickinglike lint to the familiar. As it often happens, I get the urge to change gears way before my mind kicks in. Have you had this experience? Something may feel off-key, but you cannot fully…

  • Homecoming

    I drove through town today, a drive that I have probably done thousands of times in the last 27 years, in all kinds of weather. Today’s ride was beautiful, with trees putting on a spectacular and colorful show. New England knows how to dress for fall, no doubt. I drove slowly, leisurely, taking in the colors against the grey autumn sky. As I looked at various buildings and corners of our small town, I found myself going down memory lane. A lot has changed in the last 27 years. Places that I used to love and frequent, alone and with the girls when they were growing up, are not here anymore. Our favorite local bookstore closed years ago. The gift shop, complete with an ice cream bar where the girls and I would go for Christmas ornaments, small presents, and gelatos, is replaced by a small restaurant. The quirky sandwich place with a story of its own has changed many hands and identities. The big field that hosted the Saturday flea market is now home…

  • After the Storm

    I love fresh herbs. I think they make just about every dish taste better. In the summer, I grow basil, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. When it comes to basil and oregano, the more, the better. Oregano, whose scent and taste always transport me back to my childhood in Greece, grows with abundance. I use it fresh and also dry some to have through the year. I grow basil right outside the kitchen, on the deck, and I keep seeds going throughout the season. We love pesto in this house. I make as much as I can through the summer and always freeze some for winter. If you would like to freeze pesto, you can. Just don’t add cheese to the batch you want to freeze. A couple of weeks ago, the basil seedlings I had started earlier were ready to be planted outside. Then hurricane Henri formed and started heading in our direction. As the warnings began to intensify, I became worried about the plants. They were predicting heavy rain and strong winds. I…

  • The Flow Of Our Days

    “The secret heart of time is change and growth.Each new experience that awakens in you adds to your soul and deepens your memory. John O’DohohueExcerpt from Anam Cara This is the summer that followed the year when life as we knew it stopped. After having lived through the last 14 months, it is only natural that there’s an urgency to begin again, to resume life as we knew it. We lived through the darkness of winter. We experienced loss. We learned to navigate contradictions.We opened up to aspects of ourselves that needed to be seen. We found ways to reach out and remind each other that we’re here. We got creative. Our resilience grew but we’ve been longing for our traditions and rituals, our people, and our tribes. We are still confused about the rules of engagement but we are doing our best to re-enter our lives. Hard as we may try, it all looks and feels different. We are different. We have changed. How can we not? What are you noticing in yourself and…