Becoming a Best Friend

Everyone needs a best friend, someone to turn to when life gets tough and someone with whom to celebrate the good stuff. Friends can come and go, moving to new places, having their own life changes or even passing on. The one person we know that is with us from birth to death is our own selves. Yet, how many of us are friends with ourselves, much less our own best friends?

It can be a challenge to see ourselves in this light, as we can see into our own depths. We know our own darkest secrets and thoughts. And we judge ourselves for it to no end. However, if our own best friend were to confess to us their own “sins,” we would most likely forgive them. Yet we often hold ourselves to the highest standards and repeatedly beat ourselves down for not meeting them.

It is time to break these habits of self-reprisal. It is time to put down the arms and begin to give ourselves the grace, compassion and love that we so easily dispense to others. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to do this is to see ourselves as innocent babies, ones who are here to love and to be loved.

Love didn’t hurt you. Someone who didn’t know how to love hurt you. Don’t confuse the two. ~ Tony Gaskins, Jr.

We can continue this practice into present day by forgiving ourselves for how we have trespassed against ourselves. We can then become aware of what ways in which we punish ourselves. Then we can choose differently by granting ourselves just a little bit more grace, love and compassion.

By feeling into the places where we don’t feel loved, we can begin to heal the wounds within. It is here that we are learning to become our own best friends.

Heart Meditations to Heal Thyself


Radiating Love: A Meditation

This is a daily mediation that I started about 3 weeks ago. It has been very helpful in keeping me from becoming overwhelmed when things gets tough. Some of my friends and coworkers have mentioned the differences they’ve seen, even without my telling anyone what I’ve been up to.

At least once a day for 5-10 minutes:

  • Sit upright with feet flat on the floor or ly down on your back.
  • See your body as a vase or vessel, imagine emptying it in the way that feels best for you.
  • Usually I visualize the wind emptying out the vessel, and when it’s been “real bad,” I imagine I “flush” the toilet. Yet without water filling back in.
  • After emptying out as much as possible, then visualize golden light like liquid sunshine filling your body, pouring in from the top of your head.
  • When the vessel is full, begin to see the light radiating outwards from you. Allow the rays to expand as far out from you as you can.
  • Call upon this image of a radiating you as you go through your day, especially when things get tough.

Consistency with this exercise increases its effectiveness. There are some days where you may notice it is easier than others.

Go forth and radiate!


Changing Money Strategies Part II

My credit score has jumped up 50 points from “fair” to “good” in the last 2 months! This is very exciting for me, as moving through this process, I will be able to take advantage of better interest rates on my loans. 

Working through the emotional aspects of my own worth, and taking The Daily Om Course on “A Year to Get Rich with Purpose,” I have made some more positive changes to my money strategies from when I originally posted here. As Sunday marked Day 70 for me, and my awareness of my thoughts and actions surrounding money has increased tremendously, I decided it was time for an update! While the program has not instructed me to make the changes I am about to explore, the awareness I have gained from the program has helped to inspire these shifts.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. I do not play one on TV. Instead, I am sharing with you my personal strategies for getting out-of-debt and changing the way I use my financial resources. Take what you like. It is my hope there is something here for you.

Personal Loan

Through signing up on LendingTree, I found a personal loan that worked for me. It allowed me to decrease the interest rate I was paying on credit cards by 13 percentage points. I chose a loan whose payments I could afford that did not have any additional fees such as early payoff fees, origination fees, etc.

With this, I moved a good amount of money off of credit cards. I now understand this was instrumental in improving my credit rating, as credit card debt is counted against us more!

Low Introductory Rate Credit Cards

The personal loan did not cover all of my credit card debt. So when I received a promotional low introductory credit card offer, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for it. After seeing that the offer would save me quite a bit in accrued interest, even after the transfer fees, I took it! Also, while the interest rate after the introductory period is high, I plan to move the remaining debt to a lower loan before the zero rate expires. Even if I do not move it, I will still have saved a significant amount of money in interest fees when it’s all said and done.

Making Payments Count

The Early Bird

By making payments when the money is available, instead of waiting until the due date, I am reducing the amount of interest accrued on the loans/cards, as the interest charges are based on the average daily balance. The sooner the payments are credited, the lower the average daily balance becomes and the less interest is charged. Some cards also include the interest charges in the next months’ daily balance; a double charge!

Paying early also helps to decrease the risk of payments being received late, thus avoiding late fees as well as the potential to being smacked by a higher penalty interest rate.

The Snowball Effect

I have read different definitions of the snowball. This is how I am using this effect to my advantage.

  1. I calculated how much money I have each month to put towards my debt payments, as a whole. (let’s say $800)
  2. I ranked the debts by highest to lowest based on each debts’ interest rate (A to D).
  3. I then totaled the minimum monthly payments for each debt (B to D), EXCEPT the one with the highest interest rate (A). (let’s say $500 for B to D)
  4. Then I figured out the monthly payment for the highest interest rate debt by subtracting #3 ($500) from #1 ($800). Per the example: $800-$500=$300 for debt A.
  5. As each debt is paid off, the money I was paying from all prior paid off debts then goes towards the next in line highest interest rate debt. (After A is paid, then payments A+B are paid to B. After B is paid off, then A+B+C is paid to C, and so on). Hence the snowball!

Windfall Payments to Highest Debt

When I receive a windfall that extra money then goes towards the highest interest rate loan or credit card. This strategy keeps me from spending the extra money, keeping me trained to my budget. Also, it helps me to have more financial freedom in the long run. Note: this is a different strategy than I described in my original post.

Allowing Exceptions

After recently receiving a windfall, I decided to cash in some of my hotel honor points to take my kids on a mini-vacation. The windfall will then pay for our outings, meals and fuel/parking expenses. It’s been a few too many years since I’ve been on a vacation and I owe it to myself and my kids to get away for a few days.

Spreadsheet to Track Progress and Keep Me Motivated

I also created a spreadsheet that projects when different debts will be paid off. This is helping to keep me motivated, as money can be such an abstract thing for me. The spreadsheet also helped me to see how paying off the higher debts first, instead of the lowest balance debts – which some financial advisors recommend, actually saves more money over time.

An Attitude of Gratitude

It can be easy for me to fall into the trap of beating myself up for the financial choices I have made that “got me here.” When I begin to have those thoughts, I find that I feel defeated; something that leads me to make poor choices. Instead of going down that rabbit hole, I choose to be grateful for the changes I am making NOW. I also acknowledge to myself that if I COULD have done differently, then I WOULD HAVE! My power is in the NOW. Heck! I could have kept going down the path I was already on, too!

What strategies have you found to help you in changing your financial landscape? Please feel free to share!



Losing the Illusion: Facing Disappointment

Branching into new territories brings about the need to clear out the old thoughts and beliefs that crowd the paths. Facing fears, outdated beliefs of “what ought to be,” and stored up emotions (reminds me of “lions, tigers and bears, oh, my!”) allows us to clear the way for further exploration and opening into bigger and better opportunities for ourselves. Today, many of those illusions, those thoughts of “what ought to be,” smacked me in the face, much like a wayward branch on a hike.

The unwanted thoughts and feelings have been gnawing at the pit of my stomach. Like a boomerang they fly out, only to come right back again. “By 42, I should be in a better place: secure with myself, my finances and living as a “whole” family. What is this: changing my name post-divorce, not having full custody of my kids and figuring out “how to get out of debt?” And I should be “solid” by now in who I am, not still trying to “find my voice.”” These thoughts cycle like an un-merry, merry-go-round. No wonder I feel dizzy and my insides feel turned upside down.

Acknowledging these feelings, putting them “on paper,” even saying them out loud via this blog, helps me to see them differently, to put them into perspective. “Who is saying this?”

These thoughts are not me, yet I have been listening to them. Today, I choose to rewrite my story, to see something new, to see something different and open into a new reality. Today, I am putting pen to paper and allowing the ink and new ideas to flow. Those old thoughts? I am letting them to keep going down the path they are on, while I choose a new one. Today, I’m creating a new map, and calibrating my compass; my sense of where I am and where I am going.

Digging deeper: What do you want to do differently, starting today? To get to a new place, it’s important to start exactly where we are – not where we “ought to be”… for to navigate from the wrong place, just gets us further away from obtaining our dreams.


Fading into Infinity

Under rocks

Hidden well

Sheltered from storms

Isolated in a shell

Finite existence

Personal hell.


Budding desires

Something new

Building fires

Clearing out

Impaling spires

Dying to live.


Breaching boundaries

Branching out

Building strength

Confidence renewed

Retreats bidden

From which she grew.


Accepting it all;

What she had to do

Crescendo of momentum

Then blowback from changes made

Old remains laying decayed

Fuel the internal fires

No longer contained

External expression

No longer implosion

Touching upon golden threads

Waking up the living dead.


Merging with The Myriad

The All

Imbued with bliss

Nothing can touch this

An open vessel

No longer lidded

Feels the infinite

Within it

A simple treasure

After clearing

Is given

Welcome it says,

You’re part of the




In the Openness We Create

I have recently been experiencing a writer’s block. In keeping myself filled with “to do” lists and increasing my self-care regimen – mostly filling my time and space with “good things,” I have not felt the same call to write for some time.

I really could make excuses all day. There are mornings and nights where I have had the time, yet when the time was available it seemed writing was the last thing on my mind.

Recently, in a Life Coaching Session with Sam at Peacock Poetry, she helped me to see where I had built a shell around myself. Being walled-in was protective and helped me feel secure in the ever changing landscape of my life, yet it was also shielding me from my writing process.

Part of my post-session assignment was to write about my experience from the closed shell to the open, majestic meadow, the place where I found my balance through a visualization Sam led me through.

Here is the poem that I wrote in response to my experience:

“From Turtle Shell to Majestic Meadow”

Claws gripping soil in futility,

the dizzying spin continuing,



Drawing back into her domed shell,

Escaping what felt like pure



Protective pod of security

After a while gets



Thoughts warp and take

Away the breath,

Each deficient of oxygen and



Weary of her isolation,

Cautiously peering outwards

Into the world,

Eyes beseeching anything harmful.


A sigh releases

Vulnerability reveals then

Creativity expresses

A smaller shell


Sliding into a babbling brook

Gliding along the pebbles,

Pushing off.


She’s glad she came out

From under her own rock.


Riding the flume

Until seeing a new view

Through the meadow,

To see what she can do.


Standing on hind legs

She peeks over rocks.

At the majestic mountains

Ahead, she looks.


Too many steps ahead,

She knows, back to the

Present she goes.


Wind like soft

Velvet on her cheeks

Brings her attention

To tall reeds


Of grass growing

In deep hues of green

yellow at the tips turned

Translucent from sun shining


Closing her eyes,

Her face to the sun

Oh, she feels, it’s time for

A good run!


Legs growing longer,

Her determination stronger,

She presses forward


Grasses part as a trail

She blazes,

Energy raised then drained.


Time to return to the shell

From whence she came?

No, it was time to reframe.


Resting, instead, in a fresh

Laid bed of orange pine needles,

She kept her shell small

And her thoughts on the big

Image of the majesty of this moment

That went beyond her head.


To dance such a fine dance

Of security and vulnerability,

Yes, there were even better

Days ahead

Now just to keep the balance

Between heart and head!


drawings to the theme:

Loving Ourselves in Spite of Ourselves

It is ultimately each of our own responsibilities to love ourselves. Too often we look to others, to our possessions and to our accomplishments to “fill our cups.” These are only temporary and are not fixes, instead when the time has past or the others are long gone, we still stand there holding an empty cup.

Looking outward, we compare our insides to the “film reels” of others. We believe that having “this or that” will make us happy, as we flip through the external lives of others. Yet we never really stop and ask ourselves, “Are The Joneses happy?”

Furthermore, happiness is an emotion. It is not a state of being. As such, happiness is fleeting and fragile. So why do we expect it 24/7?

The path to peace is an inward journey. We find it by learning to love ourselves completely and unconditionally. Our lives bring to us the mirrors in which we see our “not Love” so that we can choose to heal and accept those unloved places with our own Love for ourselves.

It really is that simple. The complexity is the one we give it when we fight and struggle against our desire to love ourselves. The question then becomes: for how long do we fight against loving ourselves?

It is in loving and having greater compassion for ourselves that we can give more to others. In opening ourselves to greater love, we can experience a greater sense of peace and trust. It is also here that we can more fully experience our connection with The Creator.


Dancing Through Sadness

For several hours, I moped around like Eeyore. Thoughts like a broken record circled my mind, it seemed the sadness and grief that gripped my heart would surely cause it to cease pumping.

The backstory could have been anyone’s. Yet what I did next may seem novel. I played sappy love songs to pull out the pain. Then, I got up from the couch, rather reluctantly, and began to tap one foot. My heart was tired of the weight of the sadness and knew dancing would help. It just took my mind and body a song or two to thaw out.

After 20 minutes of increasing movement, I had gone from toe tapping to boody-shakin’ and arms-in-the-air full body dancing. This is the best part: my heart, mind and body all felt light again and literally after 20 minutes. Now I’m asking myself, “What took you so long to shake and move it?” 😉

I wish I could take credit for the idea behind this, but it is not my own. Several months back during a session with my life coach, Sam, she suggested that I dance every day until our next session. While initially reluctant yet receptive, dancing became a necessity that got me through some rather tough emotional times.

While my regimen has fallen back to several times a week, it was so helpful to keep me more even-keeled when I danced a daily basis…

I strongly encourage everyone to find a favorite tune and shake it out. Happy or sad. Angry or not. It can be immediately mood altering and uplifting. Given time, it becomes life altering.


image: google

The 8-Minute Miracle Shift Every Parent and Child Needs

After an emotionally stressful day at work taking care of post-divorce fall-out, and wrestling with some personal demons, I drove directly to my children’s school to pick them up. They were in their after-school programs and being away from them all day, it had been my habit to make a bee-line to each of their classroom doors. Sometimes when I get to my son’s classroom, he refuses to look at me and drags his feet to leave. I believe now that he must be able to see or sense the stress I’m feeling.

Tuesday, my emotions were too mixed up for the bee-line and I knew it. I waited until I could park in the furthest spot to give myself some privacy. It was then that I set an 8-minute meditation timer with the background sound of a “winter fire” (insight Timer App is AMAZING and free!). Once I closed my eyes, I allowed my emotions the oxygen, light and space they needed to “burn out” on their own. In 8 lovely minutes, I went from feeling like pulling some of my hair out to “I’m ready to be a calm, nurturing mom.” Allowing the emotions and thoughts is the key: to force peace, or any other emotion, just pushes them away!

When I walked into my son’s classroom, he played a game of peek-a-boo, to hide the wide smile on his face. He could tell my mood before I crossed the threshold. From kid pick up to bedtime, we had an amazing night! I even took the kids for a quick trip to the grocery store (something I usually avoid as much as possible). Though I did have to give the kids a few behavioral reminders, I didn’t lose my patience once (that’s a feat!).

In reflecting on this shift, I recognized that when I picked up the kids, it had been my habit to want to rush home so I could “relax.” As if rushing leads to relaxing?! Plus, when did the relaxation ever really come before the kids were in bed?! I’m seeing where this just made the kids, particularly my son, edgy (well, and me, too). So now, I’m committing to NOT rushing to relax, NOR putting it off until later. Why not now? Really!

So today I relaxed first and took a lot of pressure off of all of us. Now why didn’t I think of this before?! I really don’t know. It now seems so simple. BUT, I realized it and now I know how to do it differently!


P.S. It is also important to add that I did some visualizations today, seeing my son being happy and grateful to see me when I picked him up. I do believe this was part of how I saw the need to do the meditation that shifted me into relaxation mode pre-pickup.

P.S.S. I believe this type of mini mental break can help improve any caregiver-dependent frustration. Use it at will! Really.

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