February 2007

Byodo Temple and gardens, Oahu Hawaii

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time walking through a gorgeous botanical garden. I treasure time to sit in a garden, enjoy the flowers, and the gorgeous designs of the flowing walkways. I have delighted in gardens around the world. In Berlin I loved the Botanisher Garten in Steglitz. It’s tropical indoor gardens became my haven in the cold dark winter days; while it’s outdoor pond and budding tulips became a sight to treasure in the early days of spring. In Rome I fell in love with a site of ancient ruins. It’s attatched park had been lovingly reconstructed and continued to be a place of both beauty and peace. In Hawaii I fell in love with two gardens, first the Botanical Garden in the heart of Honolulu. Their garden had some lovely orchids and ferns and was a haven of large trees and wonderful flowers in the middle of a bustling city. The second was Byodo Temple in Kaneohe. This garden is one separate section of a beautiful multi-cultural cemetary. The garden contains an amazing replica temple of an actual temple in Japan. The temple holds a large Buddha statue and within the gardens there’s a giant bell to ring for blessings of peace and prosperity. There are Koi fish in the ponds, and peacocks strolling the grounds. I spent many days visiting Byodo Temple during my years on Oahu. Bali brought me a garden and temple on the lake. It’s beauty is seen in another post on this blog. I found many treasured moments in that temple garden in Bali, Indonesia. It’s a garden to treasure. I hope you have a special place which fills your heart with peace and your day with moments of joy!


townhouse-and-beach-feb-07-023.jpgA Pelican at Redington Beach Pier, Redington Beach, FL

I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone….I meant to take more time for myself. I planned it, I looked forward to it, I even set time aside and then I got side tracked or slammed with unexpected activities and the time was GONE! I found myself completely exhausted, wondering what the hell happened and how my life got so out of control in just a few hours or days!! Does that happen to you as well? I’m guessing YES. I’m guessing it happens or has happened to most of us! I ‘m finding that now I sense the time when I should take a break or stop for the night. I feel it and as I’ve become more clear about my own needs to rest and rejuvinate I make the fifteen or twenty minutes to lie on the couch and listen to my favorite meditation tape or pet the cat or read my favorite book of the moment. Every single time after my short break I feel revitalized, calm and focused. It makes such a difference in my day and in my mindset. I hope you too will begin to listen to that little voice, urging you to take a break, to focus on your own needs for twenty minutes. I promise you will enjoy it and your attitude and energy will soar because of it. Treasure the day!

hp-pictures-020.jpgWhen we lose someone we love, we often struggle to integrate the items we treasure from their life into our life. For me it was difficult to let go of anything at the beginning, or to even comprehend what I might be willing to give away. Every decision was deeply painful and there were tears each time I donated ANYTHING, most especially his gorgeous clothes. It took me nearly a full year to begin donating my father’s clothes to charity. I did keep some treasured clothing items and even today, nearly four years later special shirts and pants that he wore, which I loved, remain hanging in my closet where I can see them and touch them when I feel the desire.

It was a challenge to begin letting things go, I started with treasured items for the family, giving each of them things I knew would be significant to them, and hold special memories for them. My father’s watches, cuff links, a gold bracelet and his golf clubs went to immediate family members. I also shared special decorator items from his house and soon now some of his special furniture will go to members of our family to treasure as I make the transition to a smaller home.

At first this year as I began downsizing I cried over each item that left the house, I’m certain a couple girl friends thought I was nuts as I called them crying over the things being donated or sold in my home. When I finally held a yard sale, three and a half years after his death I had to really focus my energy and intention on allowing things to be sold, and saying with heart felt intention that I was grateful this beautiful item could find a new home, where it would be treasured by a new owner. It was helpful to let some of it go and with time it has become easier to donate and sell items that I just do not need. Just a couple weeks ago I donated quite a number of building supplies to Habitat for Humanity in my area. That felt good and helped me to realize the items dad had that I just don’t need can help others improve their life. He would like that. He was always a very generous man.

That same kind of feeling was one that allowed me to finally donate his clothing a couple years ago. He wore nice clothes, that were well made and quite handsome. I knew as I packed them up to donate, (a couple boxes at a time, over a period of months), that those very nice dress shirts, pants, shoes and jackets would help men who were in need, who were looking for nice clothing to wear to interview for a job, or to improve the wardrobe they had. Those feelings of doing something positive helped me to release my need to keep everything. I can’t say there weren’t tears, there were many indeed, but eventually I felt I was making the right choice in making them available to help others less fortunate. One thing I knew my father had always done was donate clothing and household items to charity. I knew he would approve and be pleased as I made those steps to help others and begin my own healing.

As I move to downsize this year I have given a great deal of thought to which pieces of furniture and which decorator items my father owned will most suit my home and my style. Some items were immediately obvious, I had always adored them and knew immediately I wanted to integrate them into my new home. Others I had to really think about, and some even though they were not my true favorites were hard to release, because I knew my father loved them. A few I still struggle with and with time I will reach resolution.

My family is pleased to be receiving beautiful household furniture that my dad chose and loved. My step brother will enjoy the pool table my dad loved and my uncle and aunt the kitchen table and couch that graced the kitchen and family room. I will always treasure his bedroom suite and a wonderful palm screen room divider, as well as many other special pieces. My love of tropical pieces fit some of my dad’s style so several pieces work out very well for my new down sized environment.

It is never easy to move beyond the pain of our loss, and to create a new beginning for ourselves. I have struggled mightily to reach this point, but when I looked around the other day in my new place starting to be graced with special things that were a mixture of mine and my fathers I felt at home. I could see his chandelier, and a statue of a kissing couple that I had always loved of his, as well as some of my own things, including a painting, painted by a friend of a hawaiian beach. It began to feel good, like a new beginning in my life.

That isn’t to say it’s all comfortable, far from it. I still struggle in some moments, letting go of the life I’ve had for the last three and a half years. I will miss parts of it deeply, yet I began to see a new beginning last week and that felt very good. I will find a way through the difficult and painful moments and move into my new place with a sense of him with me, in the things he treasured and the love he used to create beauty in his life. I will always look at the special treasures and feel a measure closer to him in my new environment.

When we are living through life changes and challenges every last detail takes great energy. We long for peace, for quiet to close our eyes and just breathe deeply, or five quiet minutes to enjoy the solitude of a sunset, a song on the radio or a friends laughter. Don’t despair at the details, have faith in yourself that you have the strength to get through them. The details can irritate or madden you with their ridiculousness, especially when you’ve learned through pain the REALITY of what life is really about, that loving the ones in your life and making the most of each day is what is really worthwhile.

The details of every day living often seem like a pain in the ass. Yet when you do finish sorting through the stack of junk mail, close the statement of the last paid bill there is a sense of completion and a feeling of satisfaction that you accomplished one big task. Now your mind is free to have the peace you desire. Somehow leaving the stack undone, sitting there, is just a constant drain on your energy. The time you spend avoiding it, is sometimes worse than actually tackling it. I learned this long ago….laughter.

In my life this ESPECIALLY applies to junk mail. I am constantly bombarded by junk mail and I find it such a waste of time, energy and effort. In the beginning it was particularly hard to deal with the mail I received for my father who died. At the beginning just seeing those envelopes could set off a flood gate of tears. With time I have come to accept that it is a reality that must be faced by any survivor of loss. Over time, and with a great deal of tears I eventually removed my fathers name from many of the catalogs he received and purchased from. It was sad to make the calls, but the peace of mind I received when there were far fewer pieces of mail with his name in the mail box each week was a pay off for my emotional state of mind.

I’ve spent hours calling companies to get off their mailing lists, I have written to have my name removed from mailing lists that are sold. It has paid off, the junk mail is now a stream rather than an avalance! Yet I know when I’ve felt life was already too much to handle the burden of those small details seemed more than I could bear.

Take heart, with time life changes, challenges and grief do ease, even if only a fraction at the beginning. At first it will be too difficult and painful and too time consuming to make the calls to remove a loved one’s name from mailing lists, but eventually we each find the strength and fortitude it takes to make the calls and maybe a friend can step in and do it for you. Friends are more willing to help than we sometimes realize. Take it a step at a time and trust that with time and patience you will find the path to peace of mind and healing with your loss and the many many tasks required after a loved ones death.

With time one step becomes two and two eventually becomes five. You’ll begin to notice a few more good moments and good days and you’ll be able to get beyond the details and smile when the beauty of a sunset surrounds you, knowing you are loved, guided and treasured in the world. It just takes getting beyond the details to remember! Have a blessed day!

I have learned with time and experience to trust my gut instincts. Occassionally I’ve made the error of being caught up in fear and NOT trusting myself and my feelings. The resulting situation was both emotionally and financially painful. I have learned now to always trust the feelings and intuitions that come to me. Occassionally I have other people trying to direct my life, trying to show me their way of seeing my life. They have good intentions, though I can see clearly it’s not the direction I’m meant to take.

It takes courage, belief in yourself and trust in your instincts to make the best choices. If you are uncertain, or afraid don’t make a decision, WAIT. Get clear, get calm, and only in that peaceful state of mind, make your decision. Leave the time and space for a higher power to impress a feeling of certainty upon you.

As Oprah once said on her show, DOUBT MEANS DON’T.

I have viewed the DVD “The Secret” and it is amazing and life changing. I loved the principles of science being used to create success in our lives! It is truly inspiring and life transforming! View it, it will change the way you view your life and the success you can create!

My day at the beach on Grand Caymen….a real paradise

I just discovered a wonderful little treasure through msn’s main page. They have a link to these tropical drink recipes, but what it really is, is a link to a set of pages put together by Westin Hotels which feature wonderful pictures and music and I believe they called it a Five Minute Vacation or Escape. The drink recipes were just one part of the entire section. Even for someone who lives in warm sunny Florida I found the pictures and music breathtaking and relaxing! They also offer a screen saver download. Way to go Westin Hotels!


Later if the link is gone, try Westin’s Website, they put a lot of effort into this set of pages, it is gorgeous, relaxing and inviting. I’m sure it will be there for some time to come!!

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