let go or…

We are in the midst of many special days. Hanukkah is behind us; the Winter Solstice is in front of us, as is Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Many of us are reflecting on the past year and thinking about our word or phrase for the new year.

For 2018, the theme for me was informed by a Zen proverb:

Seems easy enough, right?

On December 31, 2017, I wrote about the challenges of letting go  as I embarked on holding this phrase as a reminder of my often unconscious holding on to thoughts, ideas and perspectives that I am often unaware are quite literally blocks to what may be attempting to come into my life and experience. Did you see what I did there? Holding onto the phrase as a reminder. It was easier to hold a phrase that was positively supportive so I could let go and allow.

As a recovering over thinker, over planner; having needed to be in control in the earlier years of my life as a manager, leader, executive and parent, this has been an important year in lessons about getting out of my way. In addition, I feel that I can more easily see, in reflection, the gifts inherent in the challenges that I have faced…this year and in years past.

As I continue to reflect on the many events of this past year, I’m seeing more and more just how each one served to lead me to the next, to the next and the next event, idea or change. As a result, I’m delighted to say that I will be returning to my beloved mountains in the first quarter of 2019. Who knew that the stressful evacuation from a hurricane, would reveal my next home? It was an important step in a year of healing many aspects of my life, past and present.

I offer all of this to remind us all that there is great power in letting go and allowing life to lead. We are better leaders of our lives, when we get out of our own way. Our thoughts are probably the biggest derail-ers of our happiness and joy.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

 – Havelock Ellis


I wish you all a quiet period for reflecting as you navigate and enjoy these holidays.




inspiration…and leadership

To my dear Readers:

I read a letter yesterday and again this morning that I felt warranted sharing with all of you. You may well have read it, too. Before you get to the link below, I wish to offer a few words for your consideration.

This website, which contains among other pages this blog, is entitled Lead Our Lives  for an important reason (to me, anyway). I believe we are each fully and completely responsible for our lives; for living them, for leading them in the ways which honor who we truly are. We often look to other formal leaders for their leadership and for inspiration. The contrasts in leadership which inspires and leadership which instills fear and threatens to rob us of our inner peace are stark and very visible, if we care to look. Let’s begin with ourselves…let’s lead our lives as love and with authenticity.

Reading the letter at the link below, I am reminded once again of the importance of leadership – our leadership – of ourselves. I’ve said many times that seeking someone outside of ourselves to save us, is an exercise in disappointment and giving up of personal power. This is not to say that we abandon the tenets of service, democracy, and peaceful co-existence in any place in the world. However, it is clear that seeking for anything outside of ourselves, perhaps because we feel powerless or lost, is to essentially perpetuate those very conditions. As many authors have encouraged, “Go within or go without,” and “Know thyself.”

With all of this in mind, may we continue to lift and inspire each other – through service and kind words  – so that we make the positive contributions which are essential to lives well lived. This is true leadership.

May I introduce to you, the poet, author, and speaker – David Whyte. If you are familiar with his work, you will enjoy this letter even more. If you are not familiar with him or his work, I hope you will find something resonant in this letter:

Letter From the House – Winter 2018 – 2019

Lion sounds that have not grown from the mouse may exude naked power… but cannot convey any wisdom or understanding… The initial steps on the path to courageous speech then are the first tentative steps into the parts of us that cannot speak.
– David Whyte


This photo was taken by Lori Coleman, whose images I share here with her permission. I encourage you to check out the Images page on this site to learn more about the gifted photographer who captured this image and others from the eclipse and nature. Many of her images are available for purchase.

There is a Contact page on this site which you can use to send a private message to me. 



say it now

You’ve got to love social media (I do not).  The oxymoronic nature of the term, “social media” gives us a hint about how we arrived at the moment in time when distinguishing the truth from the not-so-truth is quite challenging.

But I digress…

Like many of you, perhaps, I have enjoyed Aretha Franklin’s music, her commitment to civil rights and her community over the years. As I was doing some light reading of various news outlets – and I do meant “light” reading, I came across a story about her that included the Twitter posts of many celebrities. Some of them were longtime friends and colleagues and others were, well, I’m not sure they knew her other than her name and some of her famous songs. As I continued to read through them, I started to wonder how many of them had shared their feelings, thoughts and beliefs about her accomplishments with her, when she was alive and well and could appreciate them; and why they felt so compelled to speak about her now. Hmmm…who is served by those “tweets”??

All of this reminded me of a few things:

  • Tomorrow is not promised;
  • We don’t always share our feelings with those we love or appreciate;
  • We are often afraid to speak our loving truth to someone who has made a difference in our lives;
  • The megaphone of “social” media seems an inappropriate place to “scream” our love and appreciation to or about anyone.

Our love, appreciation, compassion are best given directly to the recipient while they are here…now…to receive it. The circle of love is completed in the sharing of our feelings with another.

If a loved, appreciated or revered one has passed, we can offer our love, appreciation and gratitude via a silent prayer or loving thought, soul to soul.

Megaphones are not necessarily.

If you love someone, tell them now.

If you appreciate someone for what they have done – and especially if they are not aware of it – offer that appreciation, now.

If you are grateful for anything that you have, have learned or seen which resulted in opening your heart to another deep truth within you, and you can attribute it to another living, breathing human, tell them, now. If social media is all you have to offer that gratitude, try offering the loving energy of the prayer or silent thought. They will feel that blessing, too.

Say it, offer it, now.




Today, when people share their brokenness with me, my first goal is to create safe space where they can give voice to whatever they thought was unspeakable – and learn, in the words of theologian Paul Tillich, to “accept the fact that they are accepted.” My ultimate goal is to be able to say from the depths of my own human experience, “Welcome to the human race.”

– Parker J. Palmer*

This quote from one of Palmer’s essays in his most recent book touched me deeply. I wrote it in my journal and have continued to read it, again and again, and to see the many aspects of life – my own in particular – that it addresses. As a compassionate listener, I have reflected on the many wounds of life and the ways in which they carved out my early experiences and moved me through the evolution of the person that I am becoming…more and more.

The first word to catch my eye…and my heart…was brokenness. We each have parts of ourselves needing healing from brokenness of some kind – or many kinds. As I enter the Autumn and perhaps early Winter of my life, I know the importance of acknowledging our brokenness as a first step toward the acceptance and ultimately the healing of the wounds which underlie it.

His reference to Tillich’s quote, to “accept the fact that they are accepted” is so very important. As a compassionate listener for many years, I have heard and seen the challenge that this can be for so many who are hurting. When we feel we are not seen or heard by others, we may not feel worthy of acceptance – by others or even by ourselves. Our resistance to our own worthiness and acceptance of ourselves as we are keeps many of us running…for our lives. Unable to face ourselves, we distract ourselves with too much work, or too much physical activity, among many other distractions.  We smile and create a story that keeps us moving, overdoing, over thinking, and unfamiliar with our essence…our very being.

Accepting ourselves as and for who we are is one of the most important gifts we give to all of us.

Welcome to the human race.


*from the essay, “Embracing the Human Frailty”, p.152; On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old

this…is who we are

While enjoying my inspirational email messages, I came across a quote in one that was simple, yet beautiful and easy to understand…by anyone. What I also realized after I reflected on the truth in the metaphor, I realized that there are many who walk among us today, whose beliefs would prevent them from seeing the beauty in this piece.

“Everything is a facet of the one thing. Think in terms of white light shining through a prism to reveal the full spectrum of color perceivable by the human eye: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each of these colors is part of the original whole and cannot be separated from it—turn off the light source and the colors disappear. Now apply this metaphor to the world around and within you. Everything you see, think, feel, and imagine is part of and never apart from the same Source. We call this Source by such names as God, Reality, Brahman, Allah, One, Krishna, the Absolute, and the Nondual. The list of names is long; the reality to which they all point is the same.”
— Rabbi Rami Shapiro

This is who we are…really. Whether we believe it or not, this metaphor offers us an existential, natural truth.

It’s worth noting that this quote was included in a lovely daily meditation post from Fr. Richard Rohr (a Franciscan priest).

If only more of us could see the inherent and profound beauty in our vast diversity.

Visible Light View of Lagoon Nebula
downloaded from hubblesite.org; 8/1/18



*Quote from: Rami Shapiro, Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent: Sacred Teachings—Annotated & Explained (Skylight Paths Publishing: 2013)

who are we?

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? 

 – Terry Tempest Williams

As I observe our world and reflect upon events of the last year, in particular, I continue to ask myself what I hope we are all asking ourselves — this essential question: who are we?

This year has been an interesting one to observe. As the anniversary of the horrible events in Charlottesville inches closer, I keep coming back to the essential question. As I see what is happening to so many people here in the US and abroad at the direction of our government, I am reminded of a few things.

One; we can’t know everything about all that is happening. I wish we could and I know it’s not possible. Two; human rights, the condition of the planet and many other issues which need attention are taking a big hit, while more and more money continues to accrue to the most wealthy at the expense of these. Yes, I know this isn’t news to all of you. And three; until we heal ourselves of the wounds that we carry so deeply and which cause us to react angrily and to project shame and blame onto others; the broader peace, grounded in love and acceptance of others will elude us collectively. It begins with each of us. We must ask ourselves the questions offered in the quote above from Terry Tempest Williams.

When we forget that politics is about weaving a fabric of compassion and justice on which everyone can depend, the first to suffer are the most vulnerable among us—our children, our elderly, our mentally ill, our poor, and our homeless. As they suffer, so does the integrity of our democracy.

 – Parker Palmer


Not sure what you have to heal?

Start with that judgmental thought, those harsh words for someone who looks different, or dresses in a way you don’t approve of. This is an old and ingrained habit in our society. It is an effective way for us to keep ourselves separated from others. Somehow, we believe we are safe there. The late Wayne Dyer once said something that really helped me check myself on the habit of judgmental thoughts or words. He said adding, “and I am that, too,” at the end of a judgmental thought or words about another, can wake us up to what we need to see and heal within. It is true. Try it the next time you feel that negative, judgmental thought or those negative, ugly words about another, beginning to rise. Then try it again. And do it again the next time. It works, if you commit to it. You will become a more powerful observer of all of life, when you can lift yourself from the negativity of judgments.

We can do this. We really can. One step, one word, one thought at a time.





the color purple

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

 – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The color purple is my favorite color.

It is also the title of a book, a movie and a Broadway play. The book, written by Alice Walker and originally published in 1982, was a Pulitzer Prize winner in the category of Fiction. A few actor’s careers were enhanced or launched as a result, as well. I studied the book in an English class in the early 1980s. I read the book and saw the movie as required and was challenged in many ways for which I was and still am deeply grateful.

It is also the color that is created when two colors are mixed together in equal amounts – red and blue.

This color has been given many meanings – from spirituality, royalty and nobility, creativity and wisdom to wealth, extravagance, dignity and peace, among many others.

As I continue to observe the goings on in my country (the United States and I use the term “united” only as a proper noun – a name; at present we are not living into that name at all) I am saddened by so many things that simply do not align with what I have come to know that democracy is.

We have forgotten our humanity. There is little comfort for me in the knowledge that there are many countries in our world and on our planet facing similar, if not identical, challenges, too.

I thought it was worth a few moments to research the meanings of the colors which, when mixed, created the beautiful and spiritual color, purple. Below I offer some of what I found in my quick research about the meanings assigned to each color. I invite your thoughtful consideration and reflection.


Red Color Meaning – The color of passion and drama. This color attracts the most attention and is associated with strong emotions such as love and anger. Red is the color used universally to signify danger, courage, strength, and power. Red is stimulating, vibrant and exciting. Red inspires desire with a strong link to sexuality and increased appetites. In Chinese culture red represents luck and prosperity.  Use red when you want to get pulses racing and to inspire action.  However, use carefully as red can evoke feelings of aggression and cause visual strain. Lovers of red are passionate with an enthusiasm for life.

Blue Color Meaning– The color of trust. Blue, the shade of the sea and the sky, is thought to induce calm and convey tranquillity, serenity and peace. The popular color instills confidence and inspires feelings of trust, loyalty, integrity and responsibility.  Cool blue is conservative and can also be perceived as aloof. Blue tends to suppress the appetite – there are not many foods associated with blue in nature.

Violet Color Meaning – The color of spirituality. The energy of red with the calm of blue combine to create violet, a color that inspires reflection and self-awareness. It is the color of the sensitive, compassionate intuitive soul – the introvert. Also, violet has long been associated with royalty, and characteristics of quality and luxury. Overuse of violet can invoke irritability and arrogance.

Copied from the website, Graf1x.com; “Color Meaning and Psychology of Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink and Violet colors.” Retrieved 7.10.18.


I also found similar and additional information on another website:


Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stop lights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags.

Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here’ buttons on Internet banners and websites. In advertising, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red nails, red-light districts, ‘Lady in Red’, etc). Red is widely used to indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights). This color is also commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.


Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision when promoting high-tech products.


Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.

According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors. Purple is a very rare color in nature; some people consider it to be artificial.

Excerpted from color-wheel-pro.com; Retrieved 7.10.18.


All of this leaves me where I have been for some time. If blue and red, mixed in equal parts, create the beautiful and rich color, purple; what is possible if we begin to mix ourselves outside of our self-identified groups and begin to explore what we might create together – if we listen, suspend judgment, respect the perspectives of others whose views may not align with ours. What is possible?

Red + Blue = Purple.

We can do this. If and only if, we choose to.

Got crayons or colored pencils? If so, get red and blue out and try it and see what you get. If you don’t have crayons or colored pencils, maybe it’s time to go get some…and while you’re at it, get yourself a coloring book.


I kind of view everybody like a rainbow. Everybody on the planet has all the colors of the rainbow inside.

 – Alexia Fast

With gratitude to Loco’s Photos for this and so many beautiful images used on this website, with permission. For more information, see the Images link on this website, or visit Loco’s Photos on Facebook or Flickr.com.

love, unity, collaboration…and competition

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. 

 – Chief Seattle

This is one of those quotes that so deeply resonates, reading it always makes me pause to have another look at where we are collectively, as seen through my eyes, perspectives and beliefs. We all do it. In fact, we probably need to pause and reflect more often.

Today, this quote reminded me of my experiences of a recent Saturday.

While enjoying my early morning cup of coffee, I remembered the Royal Wedding was being televised here, and early! While watching the ceremony and all that unfolded after the ceremony with the carriage ride, three words seemed to float in and out of my head (and my heart)…Love, Unity, Collaboration. If you saw it for yourself, rather than reading all of the commentary in the days following the event, you saw it through your own eyes, perspectives and beliefs.

Later that evening, I happened upon the Preakness. Watching bits and pieces of it, and reflecting upon races of the past, I started to see something that I hadn’t seen the same way before. Competition. Looking at all of those beautiful animals, no longer running free and trained to run hard and fast, I couldn’t help but look at it all from the widest view possible. Many people are or become wealthy in the horse racing industry. What happens to the horses? At what cost….being first, richer or above it all?

The bookends of that day captivated me.

For your thoughtful consideration, I offer the following.


From Dictionary.com:


[kom-pi-tishuh n]


1. the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc.:
2. a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage:
3. the rivalry offered by a competitor:


There are many aspects of our lives on this planet which are replete with competition – in one form or another. Some of it is easy to see. Some of it is not so visible…and yet, it underpins so much of our day-to-day experience. It’s not for me to identify all of the ways we as humans are competitive or to offer my observations about any of it. I’ve brought this here your consideration, reflection and comment, dear readers. We each see the world, our experiences in it and what we observe of others, through our eyes (sometimes our ears), perspectives and beliefs.

So…what do you think?

About Love, Unity and Collaboration?

About Competition?

How do YOU see these?



anger, rage and healing

I really believe that all of us have a lot of darkness in our souls. Anger, rage, fear, sadness. I don’t think that’s only reserved for people who have horrible upbringings. I think it really exists and is part of the human condition. I think in the course of your life you figure out ways to deal with that.

 – Kevin Bacon

In the course of our lives, we hope that we figure out ways to deal with the “anger, rage, fear, sadness” that we all feel.

I have written previously about grief. In some ways, I feel as if some of our fear, anger, and rage is rooted in the sadness of the unfelt, inexperienced grief. It is also worth mentioning here, that anger and rage also have connections to, if not deeper roots, in fear.

Many of us were taught to be “good”; to behave, to not say a “cross word” or to “keep our thoughts to ourselves.” When we are not in nurturing environments, where we are invited to talk about our feelings – whatever they may be – we generally put them away. We essentially bury them. We sure don’t believe rage is good….or that we are capable of feeling anything as intense and ugly in its display as that. Right?

Did you know that these buried feelings leak out? Did you know they find their way to the surface of our experiences – to the light of day, through the words we speak, the sharp judgment of others or the actions we take? Oh, how we wish they would remain buried…deeply buried in the dark recesses of the past. No one wants to dredge up all that stuff, right?


It would be impossible to estimate how much time and energy we invest in trying to fix, change and deny our emotions – especially the ones that shake us at our very core, like hurt, jealousy, loneliness, shame, rage and grief.

 – Debbie Ford

There are many ways in which the unexpressed, the unfelt or unspoken feelings manifest within. Depression. Chronic headaches. Hives or other breakouts. Stomach ulcers. Excessive weight gain.

How do we unleash this dark monster that lies so deep within us? How do we acknowledge all of these feelings, express all of this anger and process all of our grief?

There are so many ways to do the extremely important work of healing ourselves. And for each individual, what will ultimately facilitate the effective and successful reclaiming of oneself, is different. It’s also important to remember that it is a process, and not a one time fix.

Meditating, guided meditations, extensive journaling, screaming into pillows, beating our fists into pillows, talk therapy, crying all of those tears which have been held back for so very long, and the list goes on. There are many ways to embark upon this path. Taking responsibility for our healing is one of the greatest gifts we give ourselves…and others. When the breakthrough begins, we may notice that we have found more energy. We may find a part of ourselves that we didn’t even know we were missing. We find that compassion toward and acceptance of others where THEY are is so much easier.

How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.

 – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This is the work of our lives. May you be blessed as you take those first sacred steps into the beauty that the darkness will unveil.

Love is always a heartbeat away…literally.



A sign caught my eye this morning. I saw these words, “standing against…” and I do not recall what followed. I was so surprised to see “standing against” that the rest of it got by me. I started to reflect on what “standing for” or “standing against” might really mean to so many people, especially at this time in our collective history.

Somewhere in my past, I recall someone saying, “if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.” Hmmm. I thought at the time. It made perfect sense to me, as I was pretty sure what I stood for. I felt I knew what was right and what was wrong, at the time.

Back to the subject at hand, here. Standing for something seems to feel more empowering. It’s as if we are summoned by love to stand for someone, some thing, some belief, some feeling. Standing against something might also feel empowering. It’s as if it is summoned from a place of fear and anger; as if to say, “I’m not going to take it anymore!”

I am reminded of the word resistance as I continue to ponder these in the context of what is happening in our world. In many places, resistance seems to be on the minds of many and is acted upon related to specific subject matter or topic. In fact, resistance has been used as a rallying cry by many to engage, incite or otherwise encourage others to rise up “against” something.

Perhaps the words of Thomas Jefferson serve as a call to embolden many and explain the rise of resistance:

When injustice becomes law, resistance become duty.

 – Thomas Jefferson

There are many who feel that they are standing UP when they stand against and resist what they perceive is being foisted upon them.


And then, these words call to a different way of being regarding resistance, force and fear.

. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.

 – Hermann Hesse

There are many who feel that standing for something is standing UP, as well.



Is it best to stand for or stand against?

I leave that to you to decide for yourself.

Can we change a negative (resist) narrative to a positive (peace) one, perhaps by simply looking at an issue from a different angle?

“It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha


With gratitude to Loco’s Photos for consent to use these beautiful photographs.