A descent into Maslow

As an extrovert the last month has been extremely hard for me. I get my energy from people and struggle greatly when I don’t get that interaction. As our state took away large events, then smaller, then smaller and finally sent everyone home I started to feel intense anxiety in a way I have never felt before. But you’ve felt it too, haven’t you? You see it all around you? The urge to clean, sort, bake, horde, cook, and sleep?

alone animal bird clouds



You are there, you are in the bottom two rungs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs…

In early March you could easily have been working on meeting your potential, maybe only on meeting those esteem needs of prestige and personal accomplishment. However, as you got sent to work from home, or to not work at all, something started to move. Some of it was the community around you buying all the toilet paper and flour that tipped something in the back of your mind…

Then, people started to die, and not just those over 65. Then hospitals in New York were in crisis, we realized this wasn’t all just a big overreaction. And you moved without knowing it sensing a feeling of wanting to feel part of something you were now cut off from, school, work, church. You feel this and realize everything shifted to being hyper focused on the relationships you care about most, the ones you spend all your time with now, and/or the ones you are deeply afraid to lose. We started wearing masks to the grocery store and looking in judgement on those people so brazen to venture out without one.

Now, we are deep into the last two levels, having cut off our outside contact with others, keeping our safety and basic needs covered has moved to the top of the list. If a stranger came to your door unmasked right now, would you open it?

Finally, that urge to bake, nap, only wear comfy clothes and make sure you eat and maybe have a stiff drink if you have one, you are at the bottom of Maslow, warmth, water and rest.

Welcome to our closest encounter with the end of the world. Where what you care about shifts, in an instant. Who you care about comes into sharp focus, very fast. Let these times be a blessed inventory if you have escaped this disease and remember the moments that made things feel more important. Carry some of those out of this as we put things back together.

Remember, if the country had not been doing so well when we went into this, there would have been massive riots. As it stands, many are suffering, many more are stepping up to help in big ways, and many, many more are coping with boredom. Be thankful for your boredom, your intact windows and your electricity. We are a truly a blessed, strong country, we will get through this together and united. It is a wonderful feeling to see our country come together to take care of one another. I think the media is disappointed, they have lost their best toy, us. Convincing us there is an us and them was their bread and butter, now there is only us.  Thank you Corona for exposing us for the beautiful human beings we are.

Maslow’s Chart.






Small words, big impact.

downloadYou get what you focus on in this world. Focus on frustration, it shows up, focus on joy, it will show up too in equal force. Not every day do you get what you want, that is what faith is for. Faith will get you through and I am not talking necessarily about faith in a certain god. I am talking about faith in yourself and the world around you. The world is out to do you good, not bad; the world is conspiring to help you, not hurt you.

Today you might be sick, tired, grieving, frustrated, hollow, lonely or all of the above, but take a moment, celebrate you are HERE, breathing! You have the power to do good for someone else, a quick text, a phone call, a note to someone you care about telling them a fond memory, something you appreciate that they did for you? Take a moment to make someone smile. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that can make the biggest impact.

I wanted to share a small moment which made a big impact with you to remind you how small something can feel and what a huge impact it can make. I saw a friend of mine a few years back, one I had known since elementary school, and we were at her house having a small party. It was there I overheard her, telling one of the other guests how we knew each other. She told a story of how she had overheard me describing her, in detail to someone. I had been telling one of my friends how beautiful I thought she was, how her hair was black, but had blue highlights and how her skin was the most lovely shade. I had no idea she overheard me, but she was telling her guest that that was the first moment in her life she truly felt beautiful. My description changed how she thought of herself when she looked in the mirror every day. That ripple I made had power for her and was still impacting her 25 years later, you have done this for someone, has someone done this for you that you should tell? It just might make their year. Go share the moment that changed you with the person who did it- they probably have no idea how much of an impact they made!

“It’s not your brain; it’s your cage.”


monkey free in cage

“It’s not your brain, it’s your cage.” Whether you know it or not, you have built your own cage. Your world is what you make it, you put all the things, people and choices around yourself. Everything you do is a choice.

Feeling caged to me means you stick with the familiar, all the time. All your friends agree with you on politics and everything else, it is a choir of people who all think the same. All the groups you associate with, work, church, volunteer, at your kids school, are filled with people who you are sure think like you do.

When was the last time you had a discussion with someone who has a point of view you don’t agree with? Do you think anyone who thinks things you don’t agree with are a threat, do you demonize them? Talk about them like they are monsters?

You may have friends who don’t agree with you, but haven’t shared their thoughts because they are afraid to discuss their questions for fear of losing your friendship or having their idea attacked. Starting to see those bars yet?

Our world is full of screaming voices, trying to convince you our country is the worst cage, we are all selfish, racist and cruel, when in reality our cage is beautiful! Does our country have problems? Of course. Are there people suffering? Yes, should we help them? Hell ,yes. But we can’t do that if we are fighting each other, the only moral high ground it taking care of each other, not tearing each other apart.

So I am going to remind you of what the news media won’t. They know if they don’t make you scared and angry you might come to your own conclusions and then they will be out of a job. I’m here to remind you our country is full of truly amazing, talented, giving, kind, hard-working people. It’s hard to remember this when the sound system being piped into your cage is one telling you the “others” are to blame. When anyone you don’t understand, agree with, or dislike has become ” evil” you are in a cage of your own making. Isn’t it time to open the cage door and explore? Open the door, the rest of the world is waiting to meet you…




Baggage and the “Worthy” shirt

Baggage, we call it that because it can be heavy, and in my mind more importantly, it can be put down and left behind. What baggage are you carrying? Is it the ugly, large, heavy leather bag labeled “you can’t”? Or the other one, the worn out, grubby black back with too much wear on it, this one is labeled “Why you?” And last of all the one the size of a briefcase, but weighs as much as a small VW, it’s labeled “You’re not worthy.” Now, because it always comes to mind when this word comes up…


It bring to this word…. worthy.

It is such a funny word, it wasn’t until it entered my world with force a while back it got my attention. When my Dad was getting re-married one of my good friends had said she wanted to meet his bride-to-be to ensure she was “worthy” of him. We laughed, but something about that word stuck in my mind and when we went on our first family vacation together my new Mom got us all “Worthy” shirts. I was amazed at how much this shirt meant to me. I felt sheepish about wearing it, but it made me feel so good inside. I felt seen. It’s hard to explain, but it obviously was helping fill a hole I didn’t even realize was there.

Just in case you needed to hear it today, “You are worthy!”

Perhaps the next step is the “Worthy” shirt- mine was royal blue with just the word “Worthy” embroidered in the same blue on the left side, right over your heart.

Get up!


Trinity GET UP

Get up! Trinity says it to herself at the bottom of the stairs, before we even know who she is or what is happening we care and want her to get away! I’m hooked and I want her to make it to the phone booth! I feel like the people around me have been doing that for me, reminding me to get up and make it to the proverbial phone booth.

The moment I was thinking of today was when our friend, Joanna, came to visit. You see my mom died, we knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier, and I was lost. I was in a fog and just going through the motions when she called asking if they could come visit. I wanted her and her lovely daughter to come visit, it was close to Halloween and we knew it was a chance not to be missed so we said yes. Our son and Katya were only a year apart in age and our youngest was only one, I had some childcare arranged so we were able to do a few things with the older kids, ride the ducks etc. but the moment I remember, was my stairwell moment.

The two older kids were at school for the day and my youngest was in childcare, a rare moment for me to get away and we went clothes shopping. My mom had always taken me clothes shopping, so my heart was heavy that day when we went. We went to the store and had a lovely time. I chose a few things I wanted to try on, as did Joanna and we went into dressing rooms next to one another. As we were trying on clothes I put on a lovely sweater and looked in the mirror. When I did I was shocked, in my daze of grief, hostess and busy, I had left the house looking completely awful. I made a noise something like “oh NO” and Joanna asked if I was ok. When I commented I had just realized how awful I looked she said in her beautiful accent “Oh Thank God, I hadn’t wanted to say anything.” She was such an amazing friend to me in that moment and I will never forget it. She told me with love and gentleness I needed to at the very least make sure I looked in the mirror before I left was so wonderful. Her friendship was an immeasurable gift to me that day. She also ended up getting me a lovely scarf that day, in my favorite color, it is a piece I wear and treasure every winter. After 14 years that scarf makes me smile and reminds me the day my friend reminded me to take care of me. Thank you Jo.

In the now

bagpiper-bagpipes-elderly-man-63248Eyes crack open, shoulder sore. How did I end up sleeping on the floor?
Dorms may be nice, but geeze, twice?
Finding bagpipes in the morning followed by unlikely rain,
We’d do it again.
Finding myself at almost 50, many years used
Has left me thoughtful, happy and sometimes confused.
Making my way through and loving as I can.
Finding the journey fascinating, wondering do I have time for a tan?
Living in a country of prosperity
overwhelmed by a media obsessed with trying to convince me we lack
Just because they don’t like the guy in the back.

Whispers of the past

I sit in my living room having the privilege to preview a show for my son, I look over at the Legos, the ones he built sit quietly now. A whisper of a chapter closing, so slowly and so quickly, all at once here and gone. I have the privilege to sit here and remember I was here for the laughter, the frustration and the tears. To hear the loud noises and now the whisper as they fade. Fade into the past, another moment recognized, just after, that it was the last time. img_4179So privileged to be here and to remember. Things I never thought would mean so much, do so every day. The gift my mom gave me when she left, was the one of treasuring every single day I wake up and get to be on this side. This side where I can see, feel, laugh, love, hug, all of it. I will not regret time passing for every day I have is another one to be grateful for, I know too many people who would have given anything so simply still be here.

Music is my running partner

Creating a playlist has a special place in my heart. I remember when it was hard, when I had to hover by the radio with my cassette player cued on pause to start when I heard my favorite song. Evolving through CDs which were never worth anything for playlists, then on to digital. Going for my first Ipod and going from there.

Today I went out with a purpose, to hit a pace with my running partner, and the only tool I had was the one which has taken me through hundreds of miles of runs- my playlist. I have a playlist set for a certain pace, because it allows me to focus solely on the music, to push through the discomfort and distraction of running without it. Perhaps my brain just needs the distraction, but today was beautiful. Running in time to the music helps me set my body to pace and push myself in ways I can’t without it. So I realized, my music is company, inspiration and sometimes, coach.

100 Words for Victory Girls

Eyes crack open, shoulder sore. How did I end up sleeping on the floor?
Dorms may be nice, but geeze, twice?
Finding bagpipes in the morning followed by unlikely rain,
We’d do it again.
Finding myself at almost 50, many years used
Has left me thoughtful, happy and sometimes confused.
Making my way through and loving as I can.
Finding the journey fascinating, wondering do I have time for a tan?
Living in a country of prosperity
overwhelmed by a media obsessed with trying to convince me we lack
Just because they don’t like the guy in the back.

A woman named Volley

Blonde, quiet, German and kind. Volley was my childhood best-friend’s mom. Her house was always the safe, quiet place to be. Sandra, blonde like her mom, was my tried and true best friend. We stayed in touch as I visited my hometown through middle school. I have a fun photo of us at my mom’s house in Washington, wearing terrycloth “rompers”, all the rage of the early 1980’s. Just on the verge of becoming women.

Is it funny my most vivid memory of being at her house is when my hair caught on fire at their house and Sandra put it out? That smell is unforgettable, the other piece I realize now is how unfazed Volley was, perhaps reality was different, but I remember it well.

She was a great friend to my mom, helping her through my parents divorce, being a safe haven and one who understood and supported her decision to leave. My mother’s decision to leave her hometown, as I look back now, was incredibly brave and hard. She left many things she loved behind, but left some unhealthy stuff behind as well. I am so thankful for her bravery. I know my whole life is different and better because of her brave choice.

I think of my Mom often now, she died 10 years ago this fall, just after my youngest’s first birthday. I wonder where Volley is and know she would be sad to know my Mom is gone. I would love to say thank you to her to all she gave my mom and my family. Wherever you are Volley, thank you for the laughter, the safety and the support you gave us when I was too young to realize how much it meant- your visits, your cards, your kindness and friendship, all meant more than you will ever know.