Where’s your shadow? Where’s your light?

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Greetings and Happy Equinox*! Today we are lucky to have light and dark in equal measure. That’s had me thinking about our own shadows and those of others. What happens when someone irritates you? What can you do with that feeling to move out of it and on to bigger and better things? This 5-minute video sheds some light on that! We are heading into Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s a time to start fresh. What might we do to raise our awareness and be who we want to be?

During the video I refer to a few resources you might enjoy. Of course, even more came into life since I made the video! So here goes:

  1. Just Be You: If you’re human, and sometimes compare yourself to others, you might like Christine Kane’s recent post: How to End the Personal Hell of Comparing Yourself to Others.
  2. Kuan Yin Course: I mentioned the meditations I’m doing in the morning which have helped me to go a lot easier on myself. The course, created by Lynn Louise Wonders, consists of a book of 108 meditations and a facilitated private Facebook group. This link gives an overview of Kuan Yin as well in case you’re interested.
  3. Clean, Clear and Complete: For Healthy Communication: This radio show by Maria Caruso Rodriguez blew my mind. I’ve pasted the episode description below. It’s about an hour long so bookmark it if you don’t have time now. She takes her experience with a building contractor and shares her own failures in communication, which she couldn’t even see herself. She needed friends and colleagues to help her see how she was communicating in a shaming and condescending way. The show covers much more than this instance, but I share it because Maria is a therapist and healer and honestly, I never think of her as being “that way.” But what she points out is that many times we don’t even know we’re doing it! We can all learn from each other. I encourage you to make time to listen while commuting, doing dishes, or just take a walk with her and listen on your phone. It’s a complete game changer. Check out the show by clicking here.

Here’s the episode description: Have you ever had an argument with someone and tried to talk about it later, only to get into it all over again? Have you ever had an email exchange go terribly wrong? What about dreading a confrontation of some kind, doubting that you’ll be able to express yourself well and get to some resolution? There are some very specific things we can learn to do and to not do that could serve to avoid these conflicts and impasses in all types of business and personal relationships, or at the very least diffuse things significantly. There are many gifts waiting for us and for our relationships as we learn to use this Clean, Clear and Complete way more and more. One gift being that the process of getting to communicating in this way actually helps us shift inside, to a more peaceful state, a state where effective exchanges and healthy relationships can exist.

That’s it for now. Keep loving—yourself and others. This is how we are going to change the world. Happy Spring!

*To learn more about the Equinox and what a great chance it is to establish new patterns, check out this post by Chani Nicholas.

Flim Flam!

Flim Flam by Rebecca Villarreal [painter unknown]

Flim Flam! To listen to the pronunciation, click here.

Definition: the state of chaos, mess and disarray in the face of feelings, thoughts, back spasms, flat tires, house leaks, crashed computers and all manner of nonsense. Also known as the cosmic joke; Universe and/or God and/or your higher power guiding you and/or testing you.

Have you ever been just sailing along [finally] when all of a sudden, BOOM! Everything is hitting the fan? You want to shake your fist in the air. You want to blame somebody. Or even better yet, how about when nothing is actually wrong but your thoughts and feelings make you feel unsafe or irritated with anyone who doesn’t see the world the way you do? That, my friends, is Flim Flam! I had Marge record it for you. Who’s Marge? She’s the voice in my head, kind of like Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket. But, Marge is usually right. After the fact, when I’ve over-planned or tried to anticipate every single scenario, she says, “See, that was just a bunch of Flim Flam! You didn’t have to put all that energy into worrying.”

The voice in your head may sound different.

Flim Flam has been incredibly helpful to me because it reminds me to LAUGH. Monica Garcia, of Divine Light Coaching, first coined the term, intonation and all. Here’s an example of recent Flim Flam action in my life: I was in the mix of preparing to move across country in late June. I had planned for a year. We had our mover, realtor, new school, new home all lined up. Right in the final weeks when work was busy, boxes still needed to be packed and final doctor’s appointments wrapped up, I received a bizarre diagnosis of an eye condition which I’ve had my whole life without knowing. Then I got a blocked tear duct and my eye swelled up to the point where I couldn’t read and was in bed for two days. That was Flim Flam for sure. I had to step away and surrender to my very swollen eye. And say no to lots of things I thought would get done. One of my dear friends said, “Only you would get a blocked tear duct when you were having trouble saying goodbye to people.” And I had to laugh at the sheer absurdity of the situation.

But then what? What if you struggle with the laugh? What if you’re so angry or disappointed about whatever is going wrong?

You want to blame yourself for the car breaking down because you never get regular maintenance check ups.

You can’t believe you missed another deadline at work because you just can’t get organized.

You writhe with guilt when buying a pair of shoes that you actually need to wear on your feet.

You look down at your belly and you feel disgust that you can’t keep the weight off. Ugh.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the cosmic joke. Sometimes it’s hard to find Marge. That’s shame, baby. And some of us feel it from ourselves, families, friends, colleagues and our communities of worship. Or it can happen just watching television. Why didn’t I invent the Pillow Pets? I’d be a millionaire by now!

One opportunity to address those feelings starts on August 8. It’s an e-course called Break the Toxic Shame Cycle: Become Your Best Self. The basic idea is to lighten your load by letting go of your old ways of looking at the world and healing your heart so that you can spend time and energy on what’s really important to you. The instructor is Maria Rodriguez, a clinical social worker, who over the last 28 years has amassed an astounding body of knowledge culminating in this e-course. She is one of the most loving people I know. Maria is kind and gentle and will help anyone on this path to freedom. Because feeling better (and not blaming and shaming yourself) means you’ll have time and energy to soar! Check out the details of Maria’s course here.

I also shared a number of additional resources on tribal shame (when family, friends and culture triggers those feelings) at the END of my post, Crack The Egg: How to Find Joy Amidst Conflicting Emotions.

So, even if we don’t have all of our triggers figured out (mine shows up in my shoulder blade), perhaps we can notice when they occur.

Then, try sitting with one of the most powerful lessons I learned from Maria last week:

“Just because I think it and feel it, doesn’t make it so.”

Or as Marge would say, “Flim Flam!”

**Painting of Marge the Hedgehog, artist unknown.**

Crack the Egg: Finding Joy amidst Conflicting Emotions


Lately, I’ve had some painful lessons that have manifested in the most glorious joy. I have to share some of the things that have helped me. If you already live like this, and these insights are not a surprise, I’m so excited for you! Please share and teach me more!

Here’s what I’m covering: how conflicting emotions can exist inside of you and how you can still live with joy. This, my friends, is your ticket out of the nauseating amusement park called “Guilt Shame Judgment Landia.”

If you are reading this on the go, I’m giving you the gift of access to a meditation that helped me to reach this level of happiness. Sheila Pai, of A Living Family, created it. Her work is so comforting. And she created a special page just for us! Once you provide your name and email address, you can download it. You’ll get the meditation in your email box. I enjoy them and hope you do too! (By the way, her Nurturing You book is the kindest, most gentle self-care book I’ve ever enjoyed. I credit it with a lot of my ability to step back without guilt and just be.)


“You’ll always be too out of the box for me.”

One of my favorite blog readers wrote to me after my I Love You More Than a Boy Cheese Sandwich post. She said how happy she was to get back from church and see my email and then told me that I’ll still always be “too out of the box” for her. That was such a great gift. The fact that she is happy to read my words even if she’s not a charter member of my “woo-woo crew,” she can appreciate my love. So dear reader, it’s out of the box for us, and into the bowl!

What’s in your bowl?

So here’s the deal, it’s very, very simple: two things can exist in the same bowl. (Hint: you are the bowl.)

I’ll give you a personal example. During my son’s spring break, I was supposed to visit family. I was so excited to see everyone for Easter. And then my son got sick and we didn’t go. I was sad. And, because I have a lot going on in my life with work, the launch of my book and my impending move across country, I was also relieved.

Pretend I’m a mixing bowl: pour in sadness, relief and happiness too (because I could still be with my husband on Easter). I imagine them as salt, sugar and flour. It’s like when you are blending the dry ingredients in baking.

During this time, I was working with someone on my much deeper issues rooted in fear and courage. And when I was talking with her, I had a strong message to tell her to “crack the egg.” As we are charter members of the same crew, I had no problem telling her that I felt a figure, like a bear, leaning over me saying, “crack the egg, give it to her.” Honestly, at the time, I wanted to turn behind me with my best Philly girl self and say, “Alright already! I’ll tell her. Quit leanin’ over me!”

So I shared what I was told.

I could not get the image out of my head. I made a drawing. It sat unfinished on my floor. I looked at it every day. I pasted the dictionary definitions of “ubicada and desubicada” in the bowl for while. Then I only left “ubicada” because I couldn’t rip it off. The verb, “ubicarse” in Spanish is one of my favorite words. It means “to situate oneself” or some say, “to locate oneself.” When you feel “desubicada,” it’s like feeling out of sorts or discombobulated (another fabulous word).

Then, one morning, I finished my prayer meditation, and sat on the floor looking at the picture. I jumped on Facebook. I watched all of the events in Baltimore, Nepal and much more. And this poem came to me. I wrote it on the canvas.


Trust the Habit of Peace

Trust the habit of peace and unraveling

there is a knowing and a flailing

you are more than the sadness and happiness in this bowl

the ubicada and desubicada

you are the light of a mother in yellow pulling her son with fury out of the fury screaming sunshine amidst the burning

there is rubble in Nepal

Po po pushing for peace

some scared

and pushing our sons

Please now

the bowl of is, and is not, is overflowing


crack the egg

let it flow so we can find courage

prick up our ears

today is the Sabbath

today let us walk barefoot

and remember our piece of creation

your fingers and my fingers are the same

reach for me and let me pull you


You can feel safety again

plant seeds, water

phosphorescent photosynthesis

and open the window of your heart

let these words bring peace

Why Guilt Doesn’t Fit in Your Bowl

It’s tough for me to explain, but if I take that bowl of dry ingredients and crack an egg in it, then start whisking the egg together, it’s actually me. It’s all of me at the same time. It’s life. We can be happy and sad at the same time.

Guess what, here is the bonus insight: you can leave out guilt! Think of guilt as the needless genetically modified chemical-filled ingredient which you don’t want in your bowl anyway.

See, I could feel guilty that my mom bought eight pounds of mouth-watering delicious cheese for my spring break visit because she was excited to see me and I wasn’t there to eat it. (For the full impact of the cheese connection, you can read this post.)

Or, I could just accept what’s in my bowl: the sadness, relief and happiness. My persistent shoulder blade pain can be relieved if I just crack that egg and whisk it all together, accepting what is, while refusing to judge it.

Did you catch that? Let those feelings move through you without judging them. You don’t have to spiral into how you are a bad friend, son, daughter, spouse, parent or human being. And that’s what Sheila Pai’s meditation has helped me to do.

Wait! This just in from the inimitable poet Terry Spencer Edwards. Upon reading this post, she added something so insightful, I had to share: “This is indeed a powerful post. I got so much out of it, my sister. And it reminded me that if you don’t crack the egg, you can never fully bake your potential…and get yourself ready to create the next confection. Forgive the metaphor, but it is powerful to remember that the dry ingredients are good, important, essential, but they change into something else once the egg is cracked…something flowing, something that can rise.”

And that, my friends, is what co-creation is all about. That is why I invited you to teach me.


A few final resources to help you with the stuff in your bowl:

1. This radio show on Synthesis and Synchronicity by Maria Rodriguez was a major factor, as in life-changing, in the way I allow myself to receive and perceive information.

2. These resources about tribal shame, a concept unraveled by Dr. Mario Martinez in his book, The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook post about it; Bethany Webster’s article titled The Importance of Enduring Discomfort for the Sake of Transformation.

3. Sheila Pai has created a loving, nurturing space in her A Living Family site. You already know I love her Nurturing You book. I also so wish I could be at her Mindful Mama retreat on May 16. She only has 5 spots left so if you are anywhere near Philly or want to fly there, check it out! She has some a cool e-course on Mindful Communications too. I just love the way she shows up in the world with compassion and connection.

4. Scorpio Moon resources: there are some major planetary shifts going on right now, including a full moon tonight. I enjoyed Carrie Ara Campbell’s comforting post about what to expect during this time. If you find yourself over-reacting or having “old stuff” triggered, it could be that you are sensitive to what’s going on in the world. As a conceptual anchor, it is believed that Buddha actually achieved enlightenment during the Scorpio moon. I also just learned valuable information on a call today from Christina Caudill about the subject. I think you can sign up here to receive the recording of that call. (I also must credit her with the fabulous term “woo-woo crew.”)

Phew! I am going to have to keep this post as a reference for myself because I’m still learning all of this. Thanks for sticking with me.

So, from my bowl to yours, I invite you to crack the egg, baby! It’s life, it’s love and the world needs what’s in your bowl. The world needs YOU!