Thanks Mom!

I’m pretty lucky; I’ve got an amazing mom!

My mom married young and it’s probably a good thing she did. She’s had an awful lot of life to pack into her years of being a mom and she shows no sign of slowing down.

My mom made it very clear when we were growing up that she had very high expectations for all of us. Her expectations didn’t relate to jobs or what she expected us to earn in the way of finances. It had to do with the way we were expected to treat one another and anyone else we happened to come across. Heaven forbid if you were caught bad-mouthing someone or being nasty just because you could. While my mom gave the best hugs in the world, there was no escaping her gaze and tongue when we were out of line. As she always managed to be very eloquent there was never any doubting just what needed to be adjusted in our attitude. And then it was over, never one to hold a grudge, when something was fixed it was over. Whew! I’ve always wondered why more people don’t operate that way.

When I was growing up, my house was where everyone gathered. My parents had finished the basement of the small ranch house we lived in. There was a fireplace, jukebox, and a ping-pong table. All were welcome and my mom made sure you knew it. You were fed if she thought you looked hungry, scolded if you were out of line and hugged…well, just because she thought you should be. I won’t go into the times friends were handed sweatshirts because my slender mom was always cold, if she was cold you needed a sweatshirt. There was no point in trying to escape any of it, my mom would hang out with us and she knew what you needed, regardless of whether you knew it or not.

When I got married and had children of my own, my parents became the chief baby-sitters. My kids loved it! There is nothing they wouldn’t do for my parents. One of my sons is coming to visit next month and he has already made arrangements with my mom for doing a few yard chores. He can’t wait to hang with Grandma!

Now my mom is a great-grandmother. Those lucky little girls are learning all about being chased for a hug, playing in the dirt in the backyard and curling up in Grandma’s lap for a nap. Knowing it’s the safest place in the world to be.

My mom has been a great role-model and I suspect she will continue to be for quite a few years to come. While she retired a few years ago, she shows no sign of slowing down…I think she may have revved it up a bit, she’s on the go all the time, busier than ever.

Thanks, mom for all that you taught me. When I make my own boys crazy I point to you and tell them it’s all because of you, someone has got to take responsibility!

You’re the best and we love you,
Sandy

New Friends

Relaxing at the end of the cruise. My husband and I just returned from our first cruise, it will definitely not be our last! We enjoyed everything about it, the beautiful islands we visited, the incredible ship we sailed on, the terrific entertainment on the ship and of course the food which seemed to be in abundant supply and around every corner. But if I had to say what we enjoyed most it would be the people we met.

When John made the reservations for this trip, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew there was a dining room with a set seating plan and that we would have the opportunity to enjoy our dinners in this lovely room every evening if we chose to do so. After chatting with others who are much more experienced travelers, we selected the option of dining with several other couples as opposed to only one other couple. The rationale was that if we didn’t really get on with one or two of the folks, we could easily swap seats to have a pleasant time with people we got along with a bit better. Well, that sure didn’t happen.

We were seated at a table for ten. Now I like and get along easily with most people, but I could not have expected that I would come to really like all of these people. But, I did, how cool is that?

There was a real mix, people from all walks of life. Teachers, a farmer, an engineer, a salesman, home-makers, an accountant, fire-fighter and of course me, your friendly life coach and Reiki master/teacher. Quite the blend. Most were retired, some had gone back to work part-time. John and I were the only people there who claimed to still work full time. All were world travelers except again for us; they shared their wonderful experiences with true generosity and great humor.

It didn’t take long for us to really begin to look forward to dinner time, and not just for the food. Ms. Virginia quickly began the habit of asking everyone to go around the table and share what they did during the day. It was such fun; the stories were colorful and entertaining, to say the least. Since our table was so large it wasn’t unusual for smaller conversations to take place as well. We moved our seats around most evenings so that we all had the opportunity to really get to know our new friends. Our friends gave us great tips about visiting the islands, sharing stories of what they had done in the past and what they had learned in their travels.

We found that we had an awful lot in common. How is that possible? William and Virginia hail from New Brunswick, Canada and have traveled extensively due to his position as an engineer. They told wonderful stories about countries I have only heard of in the past. George and Mary now live in Arizona, they too have great stories and they share jokes that made me laugh so hard I cried. Peg and Roger split their time between their farm in Ohio and their lovely home in Tennessee. I don’t remember the last time I saw a couple so clearly devoted to one another and still able to tease and laugh so easily. Each day we heard about the tour they took and somehow they always got a tour that offered rum punch – I really should have spent more time with them! Les and Cathy live in California and from the stories I’ve heard Les has world-class gardens, he refers to them as his hobby. Somehow, even though all came from different walks of life we found that we had an awful lot to talk about and share each evening. John and I were always delighted when we would meet some of our new found friends during an excursion or while walking around town. Each meeting just got better and better.

My normally shy and very quiet husband talked to these people as though he had known them for years. I’ve known John for 30 years and I can tell you, that never happens! These newfound friends put John so at ease that he laughed and joked, told stories and never once felt self-conscious about any of it, just one more reason why I’m grateful to have met these folks.

It’s pretty interesting to me when I look back at this experience. While I do like meeting new people and making acquaintance it’s unusual to meet people that I consider friends this quickly. Some of them already feel like old friends and I’ve known them for less than 2 weeks. Color me grateful.

Is there a life coaching or Reiki lesson here? Probably, but I’m pretty relaxed and not really looking for lessons at the moment. I’m simply happy and grateful and looking forward to meeting these wonderful friends again soon.

My wish for you this week is that you meet someone new who quickly becomes an old friend. It’s pretty unusual but very special.

Namaste,

Sandy

Women Friends

Men. For most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by men. Oh, not in the way you might imagine. They’ve just been everywhere!

I remember growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my brother was my first playmate and friend. Okay, that explains one male, but for some reason the entire time I was growing up from very small throughout my teenage years, most of my friends were boys and then, of course, young men.

I grew up and married a wonderful man, and went on to have three sons; do you see a common theme? I chuckle when I realize that even the dogs who have shared my home since I’ve been married have all been male. Now the holistic life coach part of me says that this fact that I was surrounded by men led me to more likely continue to be surrounded by men, and I think that’s correct. Like energy attracts like energy, pretty simple, basic and true. Even now, some of my closest friends are men and I love every one of them. Still, I have to admit, I don’t understand from a personal viewpoint a lot of what makes them operate in the fashion that they do. Their brains don’t always work the same way as mine. I appreciate that, but sometimes I crave someone who does think more as I do.

Enter the women. While as I said, most of my friends have been men, I’ve always had a few very dear friends that were women and I cherish those friendships. These days I find that my life is filled with more and more powerful, smart, exciting and simply fun women. Yahoo!

Circumstances have changed. My sons grew up and I’m no longer involved in Boy Scouts and all of the largely male-dominated activities that accompanied raising boys. In the past few years choices regarding the way I want to spend my time have led me to spend more and more time with women.

Changing careers was part of that shift. When I became a holistic life coach I began realizing that I was dealing with women more frequently than with men. It soon became clear to me that while I was attracted to working with men here and there, I had moved to a place in my life where I was much more attracted to the idea of working with people who shared some of my life experiences from my perspective, those who were more likely to be wired to think in a similar fashion to the way I think. I realized that I wanted a stronger connection with my own kind so to speak. It’s been interesting for me to realize how much I value the strength and the warmth of these women. They’re fun, engaging and determined to move forward in their lives in a deliberate, productive manner.

Reiki has been much the same. While it’s true that I decided to work with a man while going through my master/teacher apprenticeship, almost every one of my other connections concerning Reiki have been women. I’m not at all sure why that is. Well, that’s not true. Once again I know that is what I am attracting into my life and the truth is that I’m very grateful. That energy of excitement, contentment, and gratitude continues to attract more women into my life on a continual basis. Most of the Reiki clients that I see are women. And then there are the amazing women that I have come to know and love that gather with me once a month for a Reiki share. We could not be more different in age, background and life experience. But we have come to appreciate and love one another.

For me, that’s the power of women. Politically correct or not, I believe that nurturing on some level comes very naturally to most women. I find that the lovely ladies who I am now proud to call friends actually care about one another are pleased to see one another succeed and support one another without hesitation when a call is put out. Part of me has been surprised to realize how seamlessly women integrate personal with business.

The women that I am now proud to call friends come from all walks of life. Some are professional, with their own businesses or working for large businesses. Others go to work for someone else every day in grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Still, others stay at home, raising families and taking care of the home. The age range has become much more diverse than I would have expected several years ago as well. I have friends from their early 20′ to mid 80’s and we all have enough in common to keep us strongly connected. Politics, food, sexual orientation, religion, food, hobbies, wine, food, sex, gardening, and men. We talk about it all, ask questions and try to understand one another, and yes we usually manage to bring a bit of food to the situation as well while we are solving the problems of the world. I think it’s part of that tendency to nurture one another, make each other comfortable and show that we care about one another.

I so appreciate the diversity of these women. I am learning so much! I’ve found that even when we have discussions where our thoughts and beliefs are very different that the conversation doesn’t become hostile. It certainly can become lively, but it stays respectful and I always come away seeing another point of view a bit more clearly.

Of course, this appeals to both the life coach and Reiki parts of me. I believe that we get what we ask for, whether it’s deliberate or not. As a holistic life coach, I am very aware that every one of these friendships supports me on both a personal and professional level. That gives me the confidence to expect more of the same and as I go about my day I realize that I am meeting and getting to know more women who are simply adding to the richness of my life on every level, every day. It’s easy to be grateful for all of this and to expect more of the same or even better the next day. It’s a wonderful cycle. And it’s been an awful lot of fun. 🙂

So, thank you, ladies. I’m grateful and proud to call you each of you friend.

This week, I encourage you to take a look around you, notice and appreciate the fabulous gifts that you receive every day from the women in your life.

Namaste,
Sandy

Saying Good-bye

I spent time with a friend of mine today, I’ll call her Cindy. Cindy’s mother is dying, Cindy knows it, her mother knows it and the doctors confirm it.

As I chatted with Cindy it was clear to me that she is at peace with the situation. Now don’t get me wrong, Cindy loves her mother and expressed her feeling that sixty-seven is simply too young to expect her mother to die. On the other hand, she told me that she feels her mother is done with life. Recently she has expressed as much, she misses her son who died very young, most of her dear friends have passed and with the exception of her beloved husband, most of her relatives near her age have passed away as well. She misses them dreadfully and feels as though she is simply done with what she was supposed to do here in this life. She’s not depressed; she’s just ready to move on. The disease that is ravaging her body is simply the vehicle that is taking her on this final journey.

Cindy is determined that her mother enjoy the time she has left. Cindy has learned so much from her mother. She was a loving, fun mom to grow up with and has become a trusted friend to the adult Cindy. She showed Cindy that it was possible to not only love her husband but that it was possible to like him and to enjoy being his friend. And now she is teaching Cindy that it is possible to die with grace, dignity, and joy.

Unfortunately, Cindy is getting a bit of flak from some people. Apparently, there are those who have hinted that Cindy is doing something wrong because she is not crying, wailing constantly and pushing her mother to accept painful treatments that will extend her life, but not improve or even preserve the quality of what is left of her life. So, Cindy asked me for my point of view.

Oh boy. It was time to not only think and feel as Cindy’s friend but to think this through as the holistic life coach and Reiki master that Cindy knows I am. So, we continued to talk. I asked her how she was dealing with all of this. She told me that she is definitely heartbroken to be saying goodbye to her mother, but that she is saving the tears and grieving for her time with her husband and a few trusted friends. She’s not stuffing her feelings or denying them, simply expressing them to those who know and love her best. Because her mother is determined to enjoy the time left, Cindy is determined to enjoy it with her. She’s told her and will continue to tell her how much she loves her, has enjoyed being her daughter and they talk about the fun they’ve had together. They laugh, tell stories and simply spend time together being happy. Cindy has made it clear to visitors that her mother has requested the time remaining be happy and so she has asked visitors to honor those wishes, in fact, she’s insisting on just that. She’s taking special care of her father, again honoring her mother’s wishes and doing what she simply feels is right.

The truth is that both Cindy and her mother are at peace. Her mother is getting ready to meet her God and Cindy is very appreciative of the opportunity to spend this time with her before she passes, she’s now learning how to say goodbye to loved ones and to die with grace, dignity, and joy.

Before I left, I gave Cindy a long hug, told her that I would pray for her, her mother and all of her family and friends and I thanked her. While Cindy is learning one more lesson from her mother, she is teaching many of the rest of us as well.

I hope that if I’m ever faced with a similar situation that I am able to move through it with the same peaceful heart, love, and gratitude that is demonstrated by Cindy and her mother.

This week, I wish you all the opportunity to express your love and gratitude for the special friends and relatives in your life. I am grateful to Cindy and I thank her for the lesson of love and gratitude.

Namaste,
Sandy

Are you Connected?

My five favorite guys, good reasons for me to keep in contact.
My five favorite guys, good reasons for me to keep in contact.

Friends and family are important to me, so I try to send cards, make phone calls, and basically keep in touch. The truth is that sometimes I’m just not as good at it as I would like to be. Life gets busy, it’s just that simple. Now you are welcome to tell me that as a holistic life coach I should be aware of how very important these relationships are, and you would be right! I am aware, but I still get behind from time to time.

Enter the picture, the Internet. I was not at all sure when I started tooling around on the Internet that I would ever be comfortable, but it’s done so much for me. Email saved my sanity. When our eldest son, Bill, was deployed we had an easy way of communicating with him. Naturally he was not often able to catch up on his emails, but I had the ability to write a few lines or a short novel anytime I passed the computer, it was terrific. This absolutely did not replace cards and letters, but it allowed me to know that what I was saying him was instantly available to him when he had the opportunity to read it. The same story is true when our son Jeff travels, a great way to stay connected. At this point most of my family and friends at least check out their email once a week or so, I love that.

Facebook has entered my world more recently. Now I’ve got to admit I was a bit reluctant about the whole social page thing. I didn’t understand it, truly a few things about Facebook still confuse the daylights out of me, but I’m having fun with it. It’s given me a way to find some friends that I have not spoken with for a while, I can post pictures, send short messages and best of all find out what my family and friends are doing by just taking a quick peek. It’s awesome!

Now, I’m not suggesting that we abandon phone calls, greeting cards, and personal visits. All of these are amazing. What I am suggesting is that when things get busy and we find ourselves feeling a bit lonely or simply missing those we care about, the Internet offers another option. After all, my job as a life coach is to offer alternatives and suggestions, to find another way to approach the situation.

Wishing you a fabulous day connecting with family and friends.

Namaste,
Sandy

This Life Coach Needs People!

I’m a pretty social person, my husband, however, not so much. Oh, he’s a great guy and he enjoys being with family and friends, but frankly, he gets pretty much all of his social needs met by spending time with our grown kids, the occasional outing with friends and spending those 24 hours shifts with the guys at the firehouse. 

As for me, I need people! I need to work, see, talk to, play with and generally interact with many more people. Much of my daily life is handled on the telephone, and while I appreciate and enjoy this very much, I also have an absolute need to spend time being in the actual physical proximity of other people.

So, I do a couple of things. I attend business networking groups, I’ve joined a book club (I love to read!), I take my dog for lots of walks or to the dog park where I am sure to meet people with similar interests. I go to Curves, a gym for women, it’s chatty and friendly, and I get to fit in the dreaded work-out while I’m having a great time getting to know the other women. Having lunch or seeing a movie with a dear friend is always fun. It’s not unusual at all for me to call a friend or one of my boys to invite them to just come over and hang out; we might have a meal together or simply enjoy a glass of wine outside by the fire.

Years ago, this was a bit more difficult for me. My husband works as a firefighter and that often meant that he was gone. Most of the time I appreciate and enjoy my alone time, but sometimes I need that social contact. For me that meant getting involved in‚ oh, so many things. When my boys were younger, I not only took them to Scouts, I got very involved. It was a great way to get to know the other boys and their families that my boys were interacting with. And it was fun being a leader for so many years. The same with school, I participated in many activities. As my sons got older my social activities revolved around them less and less. Yahoo! It was time for me to be a grown up again. It’s been terrific finding my own interests, Reiki, Life Coaching, Hypnosis, etc. and participating in things that I truly enjoy.

Now, keep in mind I mentioned earlier that my husband would rather spend most of his time with me. That’s fine… when he’s around.  I spend a great deal of time with him, he compromises by doing a few social activities with me and I compromise by doing most of my socializing during his work days. Of course I do spend some time doing my own thing when he’s home, but with each of us doing just a bit of bending it works very well.

So, the life coach in me wants to turn this into a lesson. You didn’t think I was just rambling on, did you? Early on I discovered that I had much more need for social outlets than my sweet husband. We talked about it and decided that the most positive and satisfying way to work this out was just the solution I have already described. That was the action part, in case you missed it. There is no way that my husband can fulfill all of my social needs and for me to drag him everywhere would make both of us miserable. So, our solution is a positive for both of us.

Wishing you the fabulous joys of as much or as little social activity as is right for you.

Namaste,
Sandy

Friends

I am blessed to have wonderful friends. Some are actually family (yes, it’s okay to be friends with family!). I still have some friends from grade school that I only see or have the opportunity to get together with once every few years. When we get together it’s as though we are still kids, hanging out during the Wisconsin winter and finding so much to do to keep ourselves busy. Other friends are of more recent acquaintance, some I’ve known for 20 years and others less than a year. Yet I find that every year they are more and more precious to me.

From the life coaching point of view, I’ve come to realize that it makes sense to have such a broad range of friends. Each friend or group of friends has come to be very special to me and has supported me at different times in my life, I never want to forget or stop appreciating that love and support.

The friends of my childhood and teenage years know a Sandy that has grown and changed in amazing ways. Who would have ever thought that the quick-tempered rather shy girl would have become a life coach? And these friends have grown and changed as well, when we get together we reminisce and appreciate the qualities that drew us together long ago, all over again.

Some very important friends were people that I came to know when I was raising my children. Most of them were also raising kids; some of us had our boys in Scouts together, shared church activities, sports, etc. Our kids and these activities gave us a strong connection and some of these friendships have become much more back-burner since the kids have all grown. They’re still very important and the fondness I have for them hasn’t diminished, I simply see them much less often. They kept me sane through the child-rearing years and for that I will always have a special place for them in my heart.

I have gardening buddies. They share my love of puttering in the dirt. We share plants, plans for our yards, frustrations with lack or excess of water, sun, etc. These amazing people all make me feel very optimistic; they are all looking forward to a better, more beautiful tomorrow.

Some of my more recent friends share my personal interests much more than the interests of my husband and children. It makes sense, my boys have grown, my husband has his own interests and I’m now making friends much like those of my childhood, are much more tuned in to my personality, hobbies, and interests. It’s all very exciting!

I would like to thank my friends, new and old. Each one of you has loved and supported me in ways that you probably are not even aware of. In many ways, each of you has been a wonderful life coach, you have taught me, motivated me and pushed me to grow. I thank each and every one of you for being my friend.

I wish you a day filled with love and support from fabulous friends.

Namaste,
Sandy