When a Dementia Diagnosis is a Gift

We celebrated my father’s 87th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Last week during a routine check-up, his doctor told he and my mother that he is in the early stages of dementia. 

I wasn’t surprised to hear this as I’ve seen signs of memory issues coming for some time. He’s asked me the same question or shared the same story repeatedly in a single phone conversation. I’ve experience my father struggling to remember something familiar while in the midst of speaking. Sometimes what feels like an unrelated comment will come out of nowhere. I’ve heard him confusing the details of an event, like reporting that a telephone appointment was a live meeting. My mother has shared that he’s recently asked her if she was 40 years old, and if she knew that he has a son. 

When I first talked to my father about his diagnosis, he told me that he knew this had been progressing for a while. I felt exuberant that he could speak so coherently about the issue. He never said anything to any of us in the family, and yet he was totally accepting of the news when it came. He told me on the phone that night they got the news, “It is what it is. I can’t change it. I’ve lived a good life. I’ve had a good wife. I have good kids. What more can I want?” 

A Heart-Warming Evolution 

Over the past year I’ve seen signs that my father is sensing the end of his life. Every phone conversation or visit has blessed me with at least one, usually more, verbal expressions of his love. Occasionally he’ll break down in tears while telling me he loves me. “You’re in my heart”, he has said to me, his only daughter.  

It has been heart-warming to experience my father evolving emotionally over the decades. Having lost his mother at age 12 and equipped with less than a high school education, he immigrated to the United States from the island of Malta with two of his brothers at age 17. He landed in San Francisco living two houses away from the woman who would become my mother. He married her at age 22 and spent his career working as a longshoreman on the waterfront. My older brother was born a year later and I followed the next year.  

Back in that day fatherhood was viewed very differently. My father was the breadwinner and my mother took care of the household. Although I always felt a bond with my dad due to the unique relationship we shared as father and daughter, I can’t say I was close with him. When I got into my teens, I would hold my breath when my friends were in our home, hoping my dad would not embarrass me with the profanity he regularly indulged in. As we both grew older, I began to see a softer side of him, particularly after he retired. I sensed that as he moved away from the guys on the docks, he felt freer to communicate from the heart and his language of the past was cast aside. 

The Gift in the Diagnosis 

After my mom called to tell me about the diagnosis, my husband Dean remarked that I was taking the news very well. I told him that I had seen it coming and that it was no surprise. It was actually a relief to me that my father’s condition had been defined. First, it’s now at the top of his medical records and he is undergoing treatment in an effort to slow the progression of the disease. We now have clarity on why he says some of the things he says, or why he sometimes shows up in uncharacteristic behavior. I’ve let go of my impulse to correct the facts. Yet most of all, those of us who love him can prepare to make the most of our time with him and be as ready as possible for what will lie ahead. 

If you have any personal experience with loved ones with dementia, I would love to hear any insights you’d like to share. 

What Guitar Lessons Have Taught Me About Perseverance

I started taking guitar lessons a couple of weeks ago. It has been a humbling experience. 

I am starting this journey at ground zero. The only other experience I’ve had with playing a musical instrument was when I took keyboard lessons on and off for a couple of years when I was in my late 20’s. My keyboard was inexpensive, and the sound quality didn’t inspire me to go deeper into it. Plus, I was distracted by other things going on in my life. So, I let it go. 

My husband is a big music fan and I bought him a guitar for his 60th birthday a couple of years ago. I made the purchase talking with a sales guy from a very popular instrument store locally. I knew virtually nothing about guitars. My husband has played the guitar a few times, yet says he hasn’t embraced it because the neck isn’t a good fit for his hands. It was about the same time recently that I started to think about possibly trying to learn to play it myself that my husband started encouraging me to give it a try. I’d been thinking a lot lately about not wanting to have any regrets at the end of my life so I decided to see what I can learn to do with a guitar. 

In my ignorance of guitars, I didn’t realize that the strings were metal and that my fingertips would hurt from pressing on the strings. After a couple of weeks of study, I am still working on gaining a clear understanding of what each note is supposed to sound like. In my effort to tune the guitar by ear the other day, I accidentally tightened the wrong string and suddenly it snapped off with a loud plunk. The string has been fixed and the guitar professionally tuned, so I am continuing on my learning journey. 

How I’m Persevering Outside My Comfort Zone 

I am definitely very far out of my comfort zone—a rare place for me to be. I’m someone who thrives on learning new things, and usually those new things come to me rather easily. Yet I recognize now that most of my new learning in recent years has involved digital platforms or other practices that are on an intellectual or physical fitness level.  I’m now working on developing a skill in the music realm which requires hand and finger coordination and a keen ear for sound—skills that I haven’t studied in decades, let alone practiced. 

I am finding that being a beginning guitar student is hard for me. Remembering where to position my fingers for each chord, learning how to move my fingers smoothly from chord to chord, and how to strum in a pleasing rhythm. Hey, I didn’t even know the difference between a chord and a note until I started this practice. Yet I’m not going to let myself bag out on learning just because it’s hard. That would be a regret I wouldn’t want to face. I recognize that practice will enable me to get better. I also know that putting my ego aside and giving myself permission to do something that I’m not yet good at will help me to persevere.  

Some thoughts that are helping me to stay committed: 

  • The initial pain in my fingertips is lessening as they get used to the practice 
  • It’s been helpful to explore different instructors that may be a better fit for my learning needs 
  • Acknowledge the progress that I’ve made rather than focusing on what I cannot yet do 
  • Seeing myself as a person who plays the guitar and creating visions for what that may look like as I get better 

If you have a similar experience in stepping out of your comfort zone, I’d love to hear your comments. 

How I Learned I Wasn’t Feeding My Soul and What I Did About It

The other morning I walked by a photo of my two cherished cats, Sarah and Janie, who I’ve lost in recent years. This photo has been in my home office since I’ve had the girls, yet this time I somehow felt called to pick up the framed photo and really take it in from a deeper perspective.

What I saw in the photo was my two young girl kitties lounging on pillows on a favorite loveseat a year of two shy of 20 years ago. I recognized that I was the photographer behind the camera lens. It brought me back to where we were in our lives together back then.

As a single woman, Sarah and Janie were like my kids who I would return home to after a day at the office, or having had dinner out with a friend, after an evening at the gym, or having participated in the spiritual community that I had joined. I’ve long since accepted that my girls were gone, but I hadn’t contemplated what I’ve lost in my life since we were all together.

Identifying the Source of Loss

The reckoning of loss in that moment brought upon a level of sadness that made me feel like I wanted to sit myself down and cry. Beyond missing my two little sweethearts, I identified a loss I felt inside that stunned me. And I knew that this awareness had come to beg me to do something about it.

I’d become lazy about exploring new personal interests, communities and friendships since meeting and marrying my husband. Throw the isolation of COVID-19 on top of that and there hasn’t been a lot of new fuel to feed my soul. I recognized that this is all on me.  

Thankfully the sadness didn’t linger for more than a few hours, and the recognition that I needed to take action to take care of myself on a deeper level came to the forefront. I saw ultra-clearly that continuing to procrastinate about putting myself out in the world, despite the pandemic, would be detrimental to my spiritual and mental health.

The Action I Took

I’ve been a subscriber to a local volunteer agency email newsletter for a couple of years now. I had been reading their weekly emails, yet admittedly keeping the opportunities at arms distance, always finding a reason why an opportunity was not a fit for me.

Last week I saw a volunteer opportunity that really spoke to me. While I didn’t meet the requirements stated in the posting, I reached out anyway. I now have a phone meeting to discuss the opportunity with the person in charge with filling it.

The Lessons

I am a big believer in the idea that lessons will come to you when you are ready to receive them. I’ve known for quite some time that my soul was itching for some nourishment, yet I procrastinated. It took the pain I felt from the photo of Sarah and Janie to realize that something was missing, and that the only person who could do something about it was me.

While it’s still not clear whether this volunteer opportunity will be a fit, I’ve proven to myself that I am ready and willing to embrace something new.

How Are You Doing?

Worldwide we’ll soon be closing in on nearly two years in this pandemic state. I’d love to hear how it has impacted you where you are. What are you obstacles? Have you been able to open up your world to feed your soul?

Accepting the Reality of Aging Parents

My 86-year-old father has arthritis in his back so badly that he cannot stand up straight. When I visited him this past weekend his back was more bent over than ever. And it had only been three weeks since my last visit.

The significance of the issues with my father’s back first came to my radar when my now husband, Dean and I took my father and mother to a rustic Northern California coastal resort to celebrate his 80th birthday. It was mid-January, and we were blessed to have seaside temperatures in the sunny 70s, when a bank of fog and wind would typically cool the weather into the 50s. I felt that our time together had been given a gift.

Recognizing the Pain

After we checked in to the hotel, we walked our luggage up the stairs from the open-air lobby to our second-floor rooms.  This became my first experience in recognizing that my father was beginning to struggle with his physical condition. He was struggling to climb the stairs that would lead us to our rooms. My father’s gestures showed that he was frustrated by these challenges. The rest of us didn’t bring any attention to it.

Once we all got to our adjacent rooms, we had a wonderful time being together. We chatted about lots of different topics, something that visits with the responsibilities of home didn’t come as easily.

Yet at the time I didn’t fully apprehend the reality of what was taking place. It was too new to me. We were moving into a new phase.

Dean and I got married nine months later.  Throughout the course of our reception, I observed my father in a visible state of physical pain. It was the first time I’d seen him use a cane in public. As much as I know he loved me and his then new son-in-law, his physical pain that day had overridden his joy.

Empathy of Pain

My latest visit with my parents enabled me to recognize once again that my father is living in a state of chronic pain. His quality of life is clearly not good, and my mother lovingly bears the burden of caretaker. She admits that she is exhausted all the time taking care of my father and all the household needs. My father doesn’t complain, yet it’s clear from his disposition that he is not happy about the limitations of his physical condition.

A Turning Point

I now recognize that this is a challenge for my family that isn’t going away. I cannot turn my head, hoping it will go away.  I need to put energy towards educating myself to help my parents get through the health issues ahead of them. While I clearly need to be a greater physical presence in their lives, I need to develop a fuller plan.

Last night on the phone I told my mother that I recognized how much she did and acknowledged that she needed help. She told me that it was her job and that she would let me know when she needed help. She’s never been one to have household help. The gardener who has mowed their lawn over the last decade has been the extent of their outside help.

What to Do Now

I’ve committed to spend more time with my parents to not only support them, but to get a better picture of what’s going on with them. From that will come the discovery of what their insurance covers and all of that stuff. My parents walked me through this some 15 years ago, a time where I felt the need to know was so far in the future that I didn’t take good notes.

I’ve got to step up to the plate now.

Any insights you can offer on your own experiences would be great.

Losing My Dependency on the Gym

Last Saturday morning I woke up at 7:25 without an alarm feeling no pressing need to meet any early morning commitment. As I took joy in the opportunity to linger in bed, I acknowledged the freedom that the COVID-19 pandemic had provided in releasing me of my dependency on the gym.

I signed up for my first gym membership when I was 31. That was 30 years ago. Working out has been a top priority my entire adult life. I was overweight in my youth and I attribute my values towards fitness to that experience and its impact on the self-esteem I felt lost when I didn’t feel good about myself.

The Gym Shutdown

As a gym goer, I would literally design my life schedule around the fitness classes I wanted to attend. I never thought this was ideal, but it was what it was.

My last visit to the gym was Friday, March 13, 2020. After my workout I had an exchange with a young woman in the locker room who attended the Tuesday evening core class that I took. She was flying to Las Vegas to spend the weekend with her boyfriend. She acknowledged the COVID-19 concerns that were becoming more pronounced, but she decided to go anyway. I completely understood.

The following Monday morning I received an email from the gym announcing that the facility was shutting down temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I wasn’t surprised, yet I freaked out from this news. I wondered how I was going to be able to maintain my fitness goals without the gym. Even in Northern California the weather wasn’t inviting enough to look forward to a walk in the hills around my home.

My New Fitness Beginning

The following day I dived into spin bike research mode on Amazon. California was ahead of the lock-down curve in the United States, so time was on my side with regards to inventory. The spin bike I ordered was delivered on Friday, March 20th. My husband Dean and I worked together to assemble the bike, which made its maiden voyage that weekend.

The bike has a holder which cradles my iPad and a bar where I lodge my phone to track the time.  At first, I would watch spin classes on YouTube and then it occurred to me that I could consume any kind of content while I was spinning. I’ve read books, caught up on the news, checked the weather forecasts, and watched many interesting interviews and motivational videos while on that bike. It has become a routine I relish between 20 and 45 minutes six mornings a week.

A few weeks into my home workout regime I realized that my 2.5- and 5-pound dumbbells were no longer challenging enough so the hunt began for heavier weights. I would search online over the course of weeks to find a set, but inventory was nowhere to be found. Some two months later Dean came home with a pair of 8 pounders for me that he discovered while shopping at the big discount retail store in our city. A few weeks later I finally scored a pair of 10-pound dumbbells online.

When I was going to the gym the heaviest weights I would take on were 6 pounds. For shoulder work I would go for 4 or 5 pounds. Most of my lifting now is at 10 pounds and 8 for shoulder work. I can now pretty easily hoist a 35-pack of 16-ounce water bottles into a shopping cart.

In the Rear-View Mirror

I got an email from the gym I belonged to a few months ago inviting me to reinstate my membership. The decision was a no-brainer. I had managed to become stronger physically on my own. I discovered that I could do whatever workout I wanted on my own schedule. I feel like I took my life back while saving the cost of the membership.

As I look at this decision now from a place further in the rear-view mirror, I recognize that COVID-19 enabled me to shed a piece of my persona that I came to discover no longer fit. I no longer needed to associate being fit with belonging to a gym.

It has been a great revelation to discover that I can be great on my own.

A Father’s Day Gift in Words

Last weekend I shared my first real meal with my parents since the COVID-19 outbreak fifteen months ago. It was a Mediterranean takeout lunch that we shared at the kitchen table which has been the hearth of my family for nearly six decades. We were celebrating Father’s Day.

Until then my visits with my mom and dad were limited to facial mask outdoor visits, and depending on the weather, sometimes separated by a screened window. As we gathered this Father’s Day all fully vaccinated, it felt like a return to normal. I hugged and kissed my mother and father, who are 84 and 86, respectively.

So Grateful for the Love

I have been blessed to have shared many great memories with them throughout my adult life. They supported me through divorce and have always been there for me when I needed anything. We shared some great adventures when they visited me during the ten years that I lived in the New England region of the United States. We have had our ups and downs over the years, for sure, but I have always felt deeply loved. And it warms my heart when I hear my parents say that they love my now husband like a son.

My dad spent his career as a longshoreman working on the docks in San Francisco and Oakland. He came across as a tough guy with a vocabulary filled with colorful words. Growing up I would often hold my breath when my high school friends were over, hoping my dad would keep his words clean. Over the last 20 years he has mellowed into a very gentle loving man .

When I greeted him on Father’s Day, he was reclining in his favorite chair in the family room. I bent over to kiss his face and saw tears in his eyes. “I love you” was the very first thing he said.

Signs of Aging

Over the last year my mother has begun to be open with me about my father’s failing memory. She has shared that he often forgets where a household item is stored that has been in the same place for decades. On a recent phone call with my dad, I mentioned the surprise 50th wedding anniversary party we threw for my parents 14 years ago. He told me he did not remember it. During our visit last weekend, I learned that my father also does not remember the special occasion waterfront restaurant lunch and overnight stay we shared with them for their 60th anniversary four years ago.

We enjoyed our lunch and visited for a couple of hours before it was time for us to fight the traffic going home. I remembered the Father’s Day card that had been in my purse and handed it to him. He opened the envelope, admired the image on the front of the card and asked me to read it to him because he said that he cannot see.

A Father Daughter Bond

First, I read the words on the store-bought card and then the handwritten messages from my husband and I, expressing our appreciation for all he has done for us. “I’ve always been there for you,” he said with a sense of pride. So true, I thought to myself as my mind raced back through key events in my life when I needed some loving support.

As my husband and I prepared to leave the house, I bent down to kiss my father good-bye. As I bent over to meet his face, I saw the same watery eyes and heard the same expression of love as when I arrived. “I love you.”

As the only daughter in a family with two brothers, I have always felt a special bond with my dad. This Father’s Day visit opened my eyes to the fact that my time with him here on Earth is not unlimited.

How I Grew From a Marriage Betrayal

Twenty-five years ago I experienced the greatest betrayal of my life. I discovered that my husband was having an affair with a woman he worked with. I had begun to suspect that something was going on between the two of them for months. Yet because I could not fathom the thought of cheating on my husband, I naively could not acknowledge the truth of their relationship while it unfolded before me.

After I shared some concerns I’d been having with a long-time friend who worked with my husband, he filled me in on the depths of what had been going on. Deep down I had known it, but I chose not to acknowledge the truth.

I was so upset that the only action I could imagine was to confront my husband when he arrived home from work that evening. He denied the truth and at the same time said “I’m not meant for marriage”. Then he walked out on me.

Betrayal Pain Turns to Anger

For weeks I felt tremendous pain in response to this betrayal. It was a personal devastation that gutted what I envisioned my future life to entail. Over the course of weeks, the pain turned into anger when he started coming after me in a legal battle. While he came to the relationship with debt, the great majority of our assets originated from me.

I became livid over the understanding that the man who was leaving me for another woman was also seeking to receive compensation for assets he did not contribute to.

Moving Beyond the Anger

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I did not want my anger to destroy my outlook on life or my sense of hope for a loving relationship in the future. So, I made a pact with myself that, while I would never forget what my ex had done, that I would forgive his actions as a way to free myself from holding on to anger.

The way I got to this was the realization that on a deeper level, I felt sorry for him. Lacking a moral compass, he was a man completely lost, moving from relationship to relationship in search for someone or something to fill his empty soul.

A few months later my soon-to-be ex reached out to tell me he wanted to settle our court case. The woman he was having the affair with had an opportunity to transfer from New England to my native San Francisco and he wanted to be free to join her. I was happy to put the legal process behind me, yet I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that it bothered me that the two of them would be residing in my home town.

We finalized our divorce and we moved on.

A Cordial Ending

A year later I moved back to San Francisco myself. My ex reached out to me a few times afterwards over the course of a few years while we were both in California. Thanks to the place of forgiveness I had come to during the heat of our divorce, I was able to engage with him from a place of peace.

I think this has been one of the greatest lessons of my life. I’ve had conflict with relationships far less significant that I’m still working on towards finding peace.

Learning to Cope with Panic Attacks

Last Saturday my husband Dean and I took a drive to visit a grocery store 22 miles from our home. I know that may sound crazy to drive so far for groceries, yet grocery shopping has become one of our biggest outlets for external stimulation during COVID-19. Dean has a pre-existing condition, so we have been extremely cautious during this pandemic, even as the restrictions have been lifted. Until we both have been vaccinated our joys will continue to come from simple pleasures. For the last year one of our vehicles for fun has been exploring quality grocery stores looking for good produce for the plant-based meals that have become the foundation of our diets.

It was a lovely day, yet it was difficult for me to relax and fully enjoy the ride. I was uptight. My body and mind were feeling uncomfortably anxious.

My Introduction to Panic Attacks

I was 30 when I experienced my first panic attack. I had recently moved to Boston from my native San Francisco. It was my second coast to coast move across the United States as an adult. I had no family or personal friends there yet. I was simply there for the job.

The panic attack hit me on a Sunday afternoon in early winter. I had set out to explore on a Greater Boston freeway that I had not yet become familiar with. There was no snow on the roads. It was just cold.

I do not recall feeling nervous about the drive. Having a job that required a fair amount of business travel, I had grown comfortable being in unfamiliar territory on my own. Yet suddenly, a sensation came over me that I’d never felt before. My heart began pounding, my hands were sweating, and a sense of fear overtook me. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was afraid that I was going to die. I exited the freeway as soon as I could and slowly inched my way back to my suburban Boston apartment by way of the back roads. I felt defeated but grateful to have endured a scary, unexpected time.

I have experienced these kinds of episodes on and off over the last three decades. I have gone years without a panic attack and have had years that were fraught with episodes. I have even had a handful that have landed me in a hospital emergency unit.

Solutions for Coping

Last weekend when I shared with Dean the anxiety that I was struggling with on the ride back home, he suggested that I consider starting to run again to release some of my anxiety. I had been a runner for 25 years until lower back pain and hamstring injuries led me to end that chapter three years ago. I would do the elliptical machine at the gym until COVID-19 led me to cancel my gym membership. I have been riding a spin bike at home six mornings a week for 45 minutes, but I will be the first to admit that I had not been pushing myself full throttle to get my heart rate truly pumping.

The day after the grocery store trip anxiety I laced up an old pair of running shoes and headed towards the high school track a mile away on foot. Once I got there, I discovered that the track was not open to the public, so I cautiously jogged back home on the sidewalk to protect my lower back.

I had forgotten what it felt like to be truly winded. My heart rate had not been elevated to that level in a year. When I got home, I felt happy and relaxed. The air of depression that had been hanging over me had lifted. That experience paved the way for me to learn how to better manage anxiety. Since then, I’ve been making a point to get my heart rate pumping on my spin bike as I await the delivery of new running shoes that will support my back.

As someone who believes that our thoughts are the driving force behind our experiences, my issue with anxiety has been a challenge. I know from too many first-hand experiences how difficult it can be to stop the avalanche of fear during a panic attack to calmly remind yourself that everything is going to be okay.

6 Tips for Anxiety Management

I want to stress that I am not a mental health professional nor have I had any formal training in anxiety. I am simply a patient who wants to share concepts that I’ve been practicing that have helped me to better manage the impact of unwelcome panic attacks.

  1. Identify that what you are experiencing is a panic attack which you have experienced and lived through before
  2. Acknowledge your power to control the sensations through deep breathing in the moments
  3. Keep telling yourself that you are going to be okay
  4. Minimize your caffeine intake
  5. Keep your body hydrated
  6. Identify a spiritual or human connection that you can call upon during times of need to calm your fears

Why I Share About Anxiety

I write about my experiences with anxiety because I want to help others who deal with it to recognize that you’re not alone. None of us is perfect in all ways. I like to think there’s a reason why I’m challenged with anxiety that is an asset to my greater being. And I think the same is true for you.

Please reach out if it this topic speaks to you. I would love to learn from you.

My Surprising Discovery of Feng Shui

I recently began studying the art of feng shui. I have to say that, until now, feng shui was not a concept that I gave much thought to. The only exposure I had to feng shui was through a lovely feng shui consultant named Sabine who participated in a women’s group I led some 15 years ago.

Feng Shui and Environmental Energy

I had been single for 10 years at the time when Sabine pointed out that the small vase on my fireplace mantle contained only one flower. She told me that I needed to display flowers and other objects in pairs to attract a happy relationship. I admit to having been skeptical, but I saw the rationale in Sabine’s advice and followed it. The next year I met the wonderful man who is now my husband.

My recent interest in feng shui came as I began to explore how I might be able to turn my passion for plants and flowers into the beginnings of a new career. With so many of us sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, I suspect that there is much that many of us can do to create personal and work spaces that better support our goals.

I’ve started on my journey of learning with a wonderfully practical book called Feng Shui that Makes Sense by Cathleen McCandless. It’s early pages led me to become more aware about how I feel in a particular space.

My First Feng Shui Experiments

My first effort to improve the energy in my home was a cleanup in my office. After months of working at home, my desk had become a disaster area with a dirty dusty desktop peaking out of multiple piles of paper and randomly thrown unorganized stuff. My first task was organizing the paper into one pile, putting the stuff in a drawer, and cleaning the desktop. The result was refreshing!

I next went on to add a couple of simple touches to warm up the room. I upgraded the frame holding a photo of my parents and moved it to the corner of my desk. I put a decorative pillow on the folding “guest” chair across from my desk. It’s amazing how these little improvements have made such a big difference in my enjoyment in being in that room.

The second effort was my bedroom. I moved a couple of large plants to sit at the foot of the bed. With a couple of other plants in the room it was beginning to give a bit of a jungle look which I love. I also angled the electronics that were placed on my dresser as well as the decorative pillows on the bed. The room now feels more warm and inviting.

My third effort was our guest room whose biggest focal point is a large bookcase. First I took all the books off the shelves and dusted the shelves. Then I stacked the books on the floor, sorting them by size before putting them back on the bookcase. Small books are on the top shelves while the larger books are on the bottom. The result is a sense of order which has produced a new feeling of calmness and peace whenever I walk into that room.

Feng Shui Energy

I have a lot to learn about feng shui but already I recognize that tending to the energy of a room can reap results, not only in how I feel about being in that room at the time, but also how the energy of the room inspires me beyond the present moment.

I love being in my home office now. It inspires me with a desire to create. My bedroom now is inspiring a sense of introspection that invites me to think about who I want to become.It’s now a space that I want to return to do the work of my soul. I feel more comfortable now in the guest room which has great late afternoon sun and hosts many phone calls with family and friends.

I will share more as I learn more. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences of your spaces.

Journey Towards A Life Well Lived

Last week I picked up a book that has been on my bookshelf virtually unread for over 15 years. It’s a book that has reportedly sold over 35 million copies worldwide—A Purpose Driven Life:What On Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren.

I remember being very excited to read the book when I first got it. It’s title spoke to the very question that still nags at me. Yet I was disappointed that I wasn’t called to get more than a couple of short chapters into it. The language didn’t resonate with me and I was intimidated by it. The book is filled with scriptures from the Bible. While I certainly believe in God, evangelical teachings have always felt foreign to me. Yet as I am experiencing now, there’s much that can be learned from those who speak a different language. I just need to have the strength to stretch out of my comfort zone.

I am going to finish this book this time. Because despite the language barrier, I do resonate with its core message and its guide to how to pursue your purpose.

The Lesson is Available When You’re Ready to Learn

I picked this book up again two weeks before my 61st birthday. I’m feeling like I’ve got to get to living with purpose because time is running low. I don’t want to get to the end of my journey here feeling any regrets.

The reality is that I have a good idea of what I am here on Earth to do. Yet I forever hold myself back. Not giving myself permission to pursue my passion. Not making purposeful activities a priority. Not allowing myself to shine. Holding steadfast to the known.

Yet Pastor Rick Warren has taught me that it’s my obligation to the force that created me to fulfill my purpose. To recognize that the unique talents and characteristics that I was born with were given to me for a reason. I now feel compelled to make my creator proud. To have him/her see the manifestation of what he or she visioned for me.

I figure that it’ never too late to live a life well lived.

What about you?