Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Be Bold!

Been a while since I blogged which is partly due to the crazy life I lead.  When I decided to leave the corporate world and join the ranks of the self employed, I did not now how much work would be entailed.  Please do not get me wrong, I love every minute of being self employed.   I am grateful for every patient who walks through my door and every catering gig I get.  Still I now work three paying jobs and one unpaid job every week. Oh, and a couple of one off catering gigs.

I know this sounds crazy but part of being self employed is finding ways to make ends meet.  My favorite job of course is my acupuncture. I am still blown away every time I see something shift for a patient.  I am honored that people place their trust in me and find relief from the work we do together. To date, I have three pregnancies and 2 healthy babies who I have been lucky enough to be part of creating. I also have many patients who have come to me for anxiety, depression, IBS symptoms, joint pain, neck pain and all sorts of other types of pain and other diagnoses who have found very good outcomes. It is an amazing job and adds so much to my life.

Then I have a job where I run the business end of a computer consulting company.  We are a small company but in the 5 years I have been working there we have seen significant growth.  I love the man I work with who does the computer end of the business.  He is a huge hearted guy with a crazy work ethic.  I think we get along so well because we both work harder than we should and both love working for ourselves. I have had this job since I left corporate America.  I took this job because it could work with my school schedule when I was getting my masters degree in acupuncture.  I stay because it is fun to help in someone else's success.

My third job is assisting the steward of a private club in downtown Baltimore.  I work most of the bigger events and evening events.  We host law clubs and speakers and cocktail parties for the members. I have a great time at this job for two reasons: 1. I work with a very dear friend of mine and that makes it all a lot more fun.  2. It is physically very challenging.  I spend most of my time there going up and down stairs.  The living room and main dining room are located on the second floor and the kitchen is on the first floor.  So when it is time to serve dinner or dessert, all of the plates must be moved up and down the stairs.  Not to mention all the extra alcohol, silverware, etc. is downstairs.  My friend and I call that the exercise portion of our evening and that it is.  When I finish a night at the club I am always tired but very proud of myself for being able to do so much physically with my body at the ripe old age of 50. 

Those are just my paying jobs.  I am also running my parents organic farm, as my dad died this spring and my mom can't handle it.  It is a labor of love.  We have a farm hand who takes care of the animals, fence lines, mowing and farm upkeep.  We also have companions for my mom who keep her as independent as they can.  So my job is to plan, harvest, put up foods, market, and financially maintain the farm.  Though it may not sound like much fun, it is.  I am providing a safe place for mom that she loves which is the most important thing and I get to have the most amazing ingredients at my disposal. I also have a profound sense of pride when I sit down to eat a meal of all farm foods.

So you are probably thinking at this point, this is all nice and all but why am I reading this?  What's in it for me? Well here, my dears, is my point...you can change your life.  You can make things better for yourself and the people around you.  You can find a way to enjoy your work no matter how many jobs you need to have to make ends meet.  You are in control!  You do not have to be a victim of your own circumstances.  
                              Be bold! Take control!  Find a new Path!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I sit to write this post I am looking out the big bay window in front of my desk and I can see part of my yard.  I am noticing that there are butterflies on the butterfly bush.  The humming birds are drinking from the gladiolas and hibiscus.  The greens of the trees and lawn have darkened.  The weeds are growing at a faster pace and the tomatoes and eggplant are just beginning to ripen.  Amidst all of this bounty of late summer, I am also noticing that the dogwood leaves are just beginning to redden for their lovely trip to the earth.  Amazing how the signs of fall are mixing into the signs of late summer bringing us obvious signs of the transition taking place.  As August starts I am wooed by the closeness of vacation and then the sorrow of the start of school.  Is summer really coming to  close so soon?  Is fall really upon us?  How is it that during my life so far I have always thought there were almost clear lines between the seasons? Now I see that with just a little observation I can pick up the signs of how fall and summer simultaneously exist as summer wanes and fall ramps up.

As I ponder on this I realize that all of life works like that.  We are always in transition.  I have been blessed to be the "auntie" to a friends baby who is now almost 7 months old and I have watched him in constant transition and often thought and commented on how fast babies change.  Then I look at my own children 21,19 and 16 and am amazed at how much they have changed and grown and how they too are still on a constant path of growth and change. They are getting to be adults but still at times want to snuggle with their mom or have me cook their favorite foods from their youth.  I have often thought that change slows when you get older but honestly I think I have been wrong all of this time.

My life too is in transition.  I am in the sandwich phase of my life where I am still caring for my children and now my parents need my help as well.  I can see both the growing independence of my kids and the growing dependance of my parents. I can see the similar ways I deal with both of them.  Giving them as much autonomy as possible all the while taking care of the background details neither is able or ready to handle. Both groups are in transition in the dance we call life.

As I am approaching my 50th birthday I have much to look back on and know that I also have much to look forward too.  If I am lucky they will be even amounts of time.  I recognize the transition in my life from the maturity of my goals to reaping the harvest of my life and still knowing the fall is on it's way.  Sometimes I have anxiety about getting older knowing that I am over my peak and then I look at the wisdom that age has brought me and I smile.  Being young was fun but being my age is much more peaceful.

So as we move from one season into another I prompt you to look at your own lives and see the transitions and welcome the changes.  They will come no matter what and it is much more peaceful and fun to welcome them with an open heart and open arms.

I love you all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wu Wei

It has been a super long time since I have written a post.  Life has been busy as usual and in it's own unique way.  Both my father and mother have been showing their age as of late.  My dad has had several strokes both large and small and has been living in a nursing home for a couple of months.  My mom is still living at their organic farm but now needs assistance to maintain her lifestyle.  This has been a huge transition for my siblings and I.  Both my siblings live out of town and are not able to help with the day to day issues of care, so I and a handful of dedicated caretakers are on the job.  This has meant a big shift in life style for me and my family.  
I am now in rural Pennsylvania two days per week on a rustic organic farm that my parents have owned since I was 10.  When I was growing up my folks used the farm as a weekend and summer spot but about 15 years ago they retired there.  The farm has been a constant source of engagement for both of them.  They have done most of the work by hand and have really loved it.  Unfortunately working the farm has become harder and harder for them as they have grown older.  Now dad is totally off the farm and mom still works one of the gardens and collects eggs but the heavy work is eluding her. Luckily we have a wonderful man who helps out on the farm and keeps the place going for us.  
The farm is a beautiful place which has always required a large amount of work.  As a kid it was about weeding, painting fences and managing animals.  Now it is more about maintaining a life for my mom, being witness for her of what is happening and helping to support her through this transition in her life, some gardening and quite a few household chores.  I also am making time when I am there to appreciate my surroundings and really get more in tune with how those surrounding can affect a life. As I said the farm is a rustic place with very few modern conveniences and as such daily activities are more driven by nature then they are in my home in the city.  There is no air conditioning or even fans so during all of the recent heat the days become much more slow.  We wake with the sun and do as much outside as we can before the heat of the day hits.  As the hit overwhelms us  we slow down and find shady spots to sit and observe.  We watch the cows on their daily migration through the fields and back to the barn and then out to the fields again.  One of my moms favorite pass times is to count them as they come into view and then disappear again over the hill.  We observe the birds and their behavior in the heat and have noticed that in the morning and evening they move from place to place but during the heat of the day they can be heard but not seen.  We watch the chickens as they move to shade and then back out with the waxing and waning of the sun.  

All the life on the farm is moved by the way the day presents itself.  None of this movement it based on what should be done or emotions but just by what is. It has given me a lot of time to think about how driven my own life is not by nature but by made up necessities. When I allow myself to just be in the moment I find a sense of peace that supports my life.  When I concentrate on all that has happened and all that I know will happen in the future I get overwhelmed.  I know I am in the sandwich place in my life where immediate family needs and the needs of my parents squeeze me hard.  Still when I find a way to just allow the day to be just what it is and work at an easy pace I find I get all of the essentials done. It takes practice and patience to stay in the moment and when done well, it is a wonder.  Somehow life flows more easily, those things that need to be attended to today get done with little effort, I am happier and so are all those who depend on me.  There is a Taoist philosophy in Chinese medicine call Wu Wei " the action of non-action" which means to do without effort.  I finally think I am getting to a place where I understand and can practice this very important philosophy.
So on this beautiful summer day I wish that you too find your wu wei.
I love you all

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I know it has been a long time since my last blog and I have great excuses but the truth is life got away with me.  In getting overwhelmed by life I have learned a lot about how important my practices have become.  So I thought I would share a few of my thoughts.
In the last month both my parents have been sick.  As a family we have been very lucky in the past but it seems that the time has come to face the music. Having our family turned upside down with my parents sickness has lead to many emotional complication as well as physical ones.  Just trying to figure out the western health care system has been a huge chore.  Luckily my sister is versed in how to manage the system but even for her this has been a complicated case.  Sometimes in the middle of the phone calls and changes and craziness  even she gets frustrated and she has been a rock and I am thankful for her guidance. 
The emotional component of seeing your parents become ill and fragile is gigantic at least for me.  Often when we are given information about one of our parents conditions the first reaction I have is to think the worst and to project to the future.  What I have found is that you can not project to the future because honestly when you do it is just fantasy.  When dealing with acute conditions things change on a dime.  So I have learned that really sitting back and just being in the moment with the information is all I can do.  I have found that being present to just what is and breathing helps more than anything else.  It has allowed me to have the ability to sit next to my dad in the hospital without getting upset when others can not.
Overall the best medicine for me has been to sleep and to breathe.  When I allow myself to sleep and to breathe I find that my ability to be present to all of the circumstances around me is much better.  When I don't sleep or breathe I find that my emotional reactivity is heightened and my ability to problem solve is reduced.
So as I keep working through this change in my life I need to remember when I tell all my patients...take care of yourself!

Love you all


Monday, February 20, 2012

Life's Challenges and How to Let Go

This week has been about challenge.

 As some of you know my middle son has been having problems being away from home.  He has had some depression and anxiety since middle school for which we have had him treated  with medicine, acupuncture and therapy.  Before he left home he had showed improvement and had been taken off his meds and was succeeding with just acupuncture.   Unfortunately college living proved a large challenge for him and his first semester did not go well but we did not know it until we got his grades after Christmas.  During his break we beefed up the interventions and tried to get things stable. So we started this semester with trepidation and let's just say he was not able to manage being away.  So after weeks of worry about him and with the help of the campus police and the community director we got him home.

I was  overjoyed to see him.  Knowing he is safe is so important....but now what?  We all have so many questions. He looks worried, scared and unsure.  I am worried, scared and unsure.  How do we move through this period of healing without treating him like a child?  How do we find a way for him to get an education while being safe?  How do we find a community of people his own age to do things with while keeping him safe?  These are the practical questions, they are important but I have found I have to look deeper in myself to get to the core of healing for both him and me. I need to take a step first before the practical questions overwhelm us all.

When I sit in my quiet moments which I now give myself everyday and just listen to the voice deep inside I heard a lot of pain, and worry, and questioning.  

The questioning is mostly about being a good parent..."How could this have happened if I was a good parent?" What did I do wrong to give him mental illness ( we all know it is the mother's fault)?  I am sure all the parents reading this know the drill of questioning your parenting. 

Luckily at this point in my life I have different skills that help me tackle these deep insecurities.  Intellectually, I know there is a nature vs nurture question and I can look at my other children and find some solace but more importantly there is faith. Faith that I have done the best I could everyday.  Faith that he has done his best everyday and that sometimes shit just happens.  

This faith for me has been a gigantic step in my own healing.  How did I find faith?  I found it with practice.  I know that sounds strange but it is true.  I found my faith by practicing it.  I have practiced having faith in myself and others.  I have to tell you for me having faith in myself was much harder than having faith in others.  Still as problems arise I practice having faith that I will and am doing the best I can and the universe is taking care of the rest.

When I catch myself second guessing my actions or intentions I stop and say "let's have faith this is the right path" and keep moving.  I know it sounds too easy...but really that is how it works.  The things we tell ourselves have so much power.  Why not make the message about good things rather than a bad ones?  Why not make our message about faith rather than criticism and wrong doing? It has given me peace of mind and solace in my soul to believe in myself and the universe.
Still I am human and some days I falter, I start to question myself and to not believe.  I begin to feel a familiar sadness.  These are the days when the most learning happens because I find that when I hear this type of talk in my head  I need to catch myself and remember my practice. On those days I do not judge myself I just pamper myself and say lets let that go, get back up and keep on going. It is amazing how quickly it works now but when I started I had to work harder.  I had to say OK let the negative thoughts go for 5 minutes. When they came back 5 or 10 minutes later I would say the same thing.  Let's let that go and have faith we are doing the best thing we can do right now. Most importantly I am not a bad person for losing my faith I am just a person who is not practiced at having faith. Now I find even in my darkest days like this week I only have to tell myself once or maybe twice a day to have faith in myself and my son and the universe.
So my wish for you this week is to find faith in yourself and those you love and let the healing begin!
Love to you all

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Beginnings/Spring?

Welcome to my blog!  This is the first time I have ever attempted to write for the public (so naturally I am nervous, please be kind!).  I am starting this to share my thoughts and journey as I have moved from working in corporate America to working for myself in alternative medicine. I have actually chosen the path less followed and so far I have found it challenging and rewarding. I will write more soon about how I chose to take the new path but for now here is to new beginnings.
This morning I saw that the snow bells in my yard are up and their little white blossoms are about to open. Yesterday morning I heard a few birds as the sun began to rise. Both of these are sure signs of Spring. I can feel the change in the energy as things move from stillness to upward momentum.
I have spent this winter getting all of the pieces together for my new business (an acupuncture practice).  Having graduated from acupuncture school in the fall I have spent the winter opening my practice, incorporating my practice, getting bank accounts set up and tax accounts set up, setting up a website, facebook page and handing out materials about my practice.  Lots of challenging and boring stuff! It has been a good lesson in managing lists and finding motivation for doing not so pleasant tasks.  In the past I have procrastinated on tasking I was not excited about doing.  This time I was much more able to get out of my own way and just check things off the list. I found myself every morning picking a few tasking and working through them. Maybe it is the motivation of it being my own business? Still the more and more I think about it, it has to do with a new ability to impose structure on myself.  I have always worked in highly structured environments as an HR person and now I am responsible for my own schedule, my own success and failure.  As scarey as that seems some days it also possess a lot of power. I think the new responsibility instead of scaring me into inactive has pushed me to motivation. Now don't get me wrong there is still a lot of thing un-filed ( I hate filing) and un-finished.  I still have challenges I need to undertake ( marketing for instance, another one of my not so favorite things) Still I am making progress a little at a time.  Maybe that is the key, rather than looking at the whole project and trying to tackle all of it I have taken it in small chunks. Also when ever I notice a task that I keep pushing to the bottom of my list i begin to really ask myself about it.  What is it about this task that has be blocked? Is it something I need to just face head on or do I need help from someone else? Am I resisting this task because someone else said I had to do it ( yes I am that stubborn)? Can I find some way to take at least one step towards doing it? Once I have truely analysed it and found one step I can take the rest seems to flow. I have found it personally very powerful to just get things done.
So as spring is about to spring forth I am taking my new learned motivation and my new sense of personal power and breaking forth from the bonds of winter.  I plan to show my colors as the flowers do, to let my light shine as never before and make my own path. So here is the beginning of Spring and the beginning my new blog.
Love to all