Why Celebrate the Summer Solstice

During the Summer solstice, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky and gives us our longest day of the year.

As we know, our planet both revolves around the Sun and rotates around its own axis — an imaginary straight line through the Earth that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole.

This axis is not perpendicular to the Earth’s orbital plane but is tilted at about 23.5°. This is why throughout the year, the North and South poles lean towards the Sun at different angles.

So the moment when one of the Earth’s hemispheres reaches its maximum tilt toward the Sun is called the summer solstice in that hemisphere.  For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, that day is June 21st.

This first day of Summer reminds us to celebrate the nourishing light of the Sun. It’s also a moment to cultivate the light that radiates outward from within each of us.

“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” — Van Morrison

The word solstice comes from the Latin words “sol,” meaning sun, and “stitium” or “sistere,” meaning still or stopped. In ancient times, our ancestors likely used this day as a marker to decide when to plant crops, noticing that the sun switched from a southward to a northward trajectory in the sky.

But more importantly, the solstice was a time of celebration and a break from the norm.

Many cultures believed that magic took place on the night of the summer solstice, with fairies showing themselves to humans, while evil spirits were dispelled from their lives.

The solstices were an impetus in the construction of Stonehenge. 

On the night of the summer solstice, the sunset will align with the heel stone of the monument, and continue to shine through the others. 

Gatherings at Stonehenge took place between 3,000 and 2,000 BC.

These celebratory ceremonies brought people together as a show of communal strength and gratitude. People came on these pilgrimages to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

“I am summer, come to lure you away from your computer… come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.” — Oriana Green

The Summer Solstice is also a moment for us to take stock.

The journey of the Sun represents the cycles of our lives. Just as we can align with the Moon’s journey every month, we align with the Sun’s journey throughout the year.

Spiritually, the Solstice is an extraordinarily magical day.

It is thought that the veil between this and other worlds is at its thinnest.

 You can bask in the light and magic and engage FULLY with this auspicious moment.

Some ideas to celebrate:

  • Plant a tree, bush, or gather flowers.
  • Spend time alone in nature. Walk, play, sit, put your feet on the earth.
  • Meditate. (Try this Solstice Meditation from Spirituality & Health)
  • Spend five minutes in silence, focusing on your breath, extending the exhale to 8 counts.
  • Celebrate creativity: write, draw, sing, dance! 
  • Capture the fire of this season- have a bonfire with friends!
  • Above all, let your inner light shine radiantly!

Perform a cleansing

The Solstice is also a great time to do a cleansing of yourself and your space to reset the energy within and around you.

Start by quieting your mind, and journal to delve into a bit of a reflection.

If there are things in your life that are no longer serving you, now is the time to let these energies go.

Write a letter to yourself about where you are, and what may be keeping you stuck, listing all the thoughts, unconscious choices, and people that no longer support your greatest good.

Burn the letter, meditate, and cleanse yourself with sage, incense, or essential oil.

Cleansing your home is another ritual you can do at the Solstice or any season to push out the old and bring in the new.

Don’t be afraid to open up all the curtains and windows in your space to allow the fresh air of this powerful practice to rejuvenate and bless your home. Using a smudge stick or essential oil cleansing spray works well, too. 

Whatever you do, now is the perfect time to let go of old energies and breathe in the fresh new opportunities of summer.

Cleansing yourself and your space is a sacred act of self-care. Consider doing this ritual each new season or anytime you feel stuck or stagnant.

Need support to get back on balance?  Consider joining me for my October Mind Body Breath Retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House, located just one hour south of Kansas City.

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Let me help you turn down the noise!

When our minds are stretched across 20 conversations, 10 apps, our worries, to-do lists, and too little time – it’s like having a million tabs open and no way to organize and focus.

Breathing is a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state.

That’s because simple breathing techniques can help balance the hemispheres of your brain, soothe the nervous system, and clear brain fog.

Breathing is a simple yet powerful tool for transformation!

Join me at Timber Creek Retreat House, October 20-22, 2023.

Immerse yourself in nature, embrace calm, and leave with mindfulness practices to change your mind and body from the inside out.

All you have to do is say YES.

The Sabbatical

I generally write to you during the full moon;  the full moon symbolizing the realization of seeds planted, a time of celebration. 

This month, I’m writing during the dark moon. The dark moon appears in the sky during the last 3 days of every lunar cycle. It can’t be seen with the human eye, but it’s the dark moon that presides over the sky until a new 28-day cycle begins and a new moon is ready to appear.


Often referred to as the “dead moon,” the dark moon doesn’t necessarily represent death. 

It is, however, a time for life-enriching endings and a prelude to new beginnings.


During a dark moon, it becomes easier for us to shed unnecessary emotional baggage and free ourselves of people and ideas that no longer serve us or add value to our life.

It is a time to cleanse ourselves and create space so that what is new can enter.

Some of you know, I sold my business in 2019.

This, and COVID, afforded me time to rest and re-evaluate.  What shall I do with the rest of my life?

I took courses in building successful retreats, and creating online courses before I decided to return to school last January, enrolling in a two-year program in functional nutrition. 

The work is challenging and fun, and I love it. I still teach Pilates, small group nutrition programs, have time to travel, and sleep past 6 am.

I know what you’re thinking: when will this hell ever end, Tina?

And yet, I’ve felt anxious and uncomfortable with this spacious choice. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t ‘had’ to work; controlled by the clock, my own ambition, and the reality of running multiple businesses.

“If you don’t do one more thing in your life EVER, Tina, you’ve done enough,” said Christine, a mentor. “Your leadership now isn’t about a curriculum, it’s about vision.”

I knew she was right but her words still terrified. How do you have vision when you feel so in the dark?

In a time for exhaling, I find myself clutching my breath. I do not know how to be a human ‘being’ as I am a human addicted to ‘doing.’

I won’t go into all the reasons because they’re not interesting, even to me, but the dark moon is calling me to retire my previous approach to life, connection, and worth, in the pursuit, of well, nothing.

That’s why I’m taking a sabbatical.

When I told my two accountability partners, Kristi and Alicia. I was taking a sabbatical from ‘DOING’ they laughed and said, “Yeah,
good luck with that.”

My sabbatical is from all the crazy-making ‘shoulds,’ ‘needs,’ and ‘musts’ in my head.

Instead, I am embracing rest, joy, intuition, and trust.

Learning, being in nature, listening: these are the opportunities of sabbatical. 

I know they will help free me from my ‘doing’ prison.

The dark moon represents polar moments of beginning and realization in the arc of the moon’s phases. When the moon is dark, you might take time to meditate on emptiness, the fertile ground in which seeds take root.

For me, I’ll leave the sowing to another day. Today, I’m on sabbatical.

Prayers and Profanity

I haven’t been sleeping well this week. My conscious desire to patiently surrender to current events evaporates at 230 each morning. I bolt awake, my veins coursing with a toxic mix of anger, fear, dread, and heartbreak. I don’t know whether to pray or swear at the top of my lungs.



As a fierce optimist, I choose to focus on possibility rather than pessimism, fully aware of the darkness within each of us; darkness we must confront to heal individually and collectively.

The pandemic, protests, racial and political division of 2020 have exposed the depth of those dark wounds. We can no longer ignore the ugliness. Waking up on Wednesday, I was shocked to learn that nearly half of this country voted to re-elect Donald Trump. I naively assumed the past four years had adequately exposed the cost of Trump’s narcissism, dishonesty, and abuse of power. I was wrong.

Perhaps I should have known. This Summer, as Herb and I camped around the northwest, we encountered many people we knew shared his values. They included friends in Washington state, militia like protesters in Montana, and a man sporting a swastika tattoo in an Idaho campground.



These people weren’t ogres or derelicts; they weren’t angry or threatening. The man in the campground was warm and friendly, offering us a map to better understand the region. When I glanced down and noticed his tattoo I was genuinely shocked.

“Did you see that swastika tattoo?” I whispered to Herb as we walked away.

“Yes,” he replied, calmly taking my arm.

“But he was so nice and helpful and friendly!”

“Yes, honey,” said Herb, “but we’re also an old white couple.”

“Fuck me,” I sighed. “You’re right.”

My confusion wasn’t so much in our differences, but our similarities.

We, humans, are hardwired for protection. Survival, power, and control largely drive our emotions and decisions. But empathy, justice, and compassion also inspire our choices.  It’s easy to own our better decisions, less so our base ones.



Most of us think we’re on the right side of history. I know I do.

I loathe Trump’s dangerous disregard for the truth, our constitution, and the democratic process.  But his presence has also exposed our hypocrisy, division, and need for difficult conversations.

Even as historic numbers of voters turned up to the polls, the predicted Blue Wave didn’t happen. But as the remaining votes are counted, there is a resurgent blue ripple.

I pray it is enough to retire Mr. Trump.  It’s time to get off this crazy train.

Perhaps then we can begin the process of healing in America and in the world. If we can’t immediately intuit our  similarities, I pray we regain our ability to respectfully discuss our differences.



Everything Changes

I know change is inevitable and yet, I still resist and deny it when it arrives. I’m not sure why I insist on giving change such a bad rap because, in truth, change has been my life long friend.

Change helped me find the courage to leave an abusive man with no real home and two small children.  Change insisted I exit a toxic workplace, even when I didn’t have another job.  Change has alternately encouraged, discouraged, pushed and pounded me.  But what caused me the greatest pain wasn’t change, but the resisting of it.

Change’s constant presence still reminds me there is an opportunity in every letting go.


I’ve spent most of my adult life helping people- specifically in the area of health. My goal is threefold:  first, to help people desire to be healthy; second, to accept that it’s within their ability to do so; and third, and most importantly, believe that they’re worth the effort required.

Convincing someone to consider one of these tenants can be a stretch, getting them to embrace all three is just a plain, hard sell.  Why?  Because it involves change.

We’re so focused on what we think we’re giving up, we overlook the possibilities and opportunity within the same change.



Next month we will move Pilates 1901 to a new location. I am excited about this next chapter but also admittedly sad about leaving the home we’ve shared for eleven years. The new studio is just 28 blocks away, a beautiful new space that is as light and fun and as welcoming as always.

We’ll be providing the same great service with the same love and integrity that has always defined Pilates 1901. It really is silly to get my panties in a wad, but I do and I will, and I expect some others may, too.

It’s part of the deal. I get it.


I’ll still be teaching and preaching Pilates, health, empowerment, and faith to anyone who will listen.

But as I turn sixty, I feel also change demanding more of my attention and more of my grace.  I’m looking forward to less distraction and more presence; less thinking and more being; more teaching, and healing and learning.

One morning, many years ago, I was greeted with a note from my youngest son.  He’d left it for me on the desk where I spent the bulk of my time when I was at home.  It was a picture of Joan of Arc; beneath it, he’d neatly printed these words:  “For general peace and well-being, please resign from being General Manager of the Universe.”   Leave it to Spirit to deliver such a powerful message via a ten-year-old.  I’m sorry, Sean that it took me so long to hear.

The Buddah said, “the only thing constant in life is change.”  I am learning that is true. 

I’m just going to let go, trust and ride this new incredible wave.  I hope to see you at the shore.



21 Days in New Zealand

I’m lucky. I know it.  The word is literally tattooed on my body.  As someone who never traveled until she was in her mid-forties, I’ve been making up for lost time, especially in the past few years since I met my husband.  The rate of that travel has accelerated recently  because last year life acutely reminded us of our limited time here.  The Universe, in its wisdom, said, “you’d better go if you’re going” so we prioritized our bucket list and went… to New Zealand. 

I remember when I was telling people about the trip, those who had been there immediately lit up with joy, “Oh my God!  You’re going to love it!  You won’t come back!”  Even in the San Francisco airport, as we perused our New Zealand travel book and guides, a young man walking by said, “You’re going to New Zealand? I’m so jealous! You’re going to love it!  It’s so beautiful!”

And it was. Perhaps indescribably so.



Herb and I rented a camper van for our three-week adventure, a first for both of us.  We’d been told this was the best way to experience the landscape of the country and afford us the greatest freedom.   As it turned out, this was true.  Three weeks together in a camper is an adventure all its own, but that’s another blog.

The seasons are flipped in New Zealand, so it was early Spring when we arrived.  The weather, cool, rainy and unpredictable, proved to be a factor in the trajectory of our trip. It rained that first evening, navigating the “wrong side” of the narrow two-lane highway, our lumbering camper struggled to maintain contact with the road.

We found our way to the first of many “holiday parks,” quickly establishing a ritual of campground set up and nesting.  This was at Waihi beach; a couple hours’ drive south of Auckland in the north island. It was so rainy we couldn’t even see what was around us, but Mike the friendly Kiwi Park host put us in a “primo spot” near the beach and gave us a hiking guide in good faith.  

We spent our first night negotiating the camper “bed,” probably the biggest challenge of our three week trip. Neither of us is a generous sleeper and we sorely missed our king-sized bed.  After meeting a German couple, Bodo and Claudia, both in their late 70’s and happily traveling in a camper smaller than ours, we felt less inclined to complain.  The bed didn’t get better- we did.

That first morning, we woke up before the sun, still adjusting to the 19-hour time change.  Having coffee, we ventured out to the beach to watch the sun rise.  The rain was gone, and the beauty of the morning was astounding.  Absolutely stunning.  It was the beginning of what I can only describe as an intense and total immersion into nature’s art.

As we drove through the magical landscape, ever changing and miraculous, an explosion for the eyes and senses, we both agreed that New Zealand immediately had us by the balls.  It reaches out to grab you without permission or apology- a supernatural assault of spiritual beauty.  

As we traversed lush jungles, rainforests, and mountains, driving though vast valleys, lakes and streams, pastures dotted with sheep, we’d gasp in surprise at the ocean as we drove around the corner. There was nothing predictable or staid in this landscape; just an abundance of energy, animate and pulsing alive in every moment.



The landscape in New Zealand was formed by the Pacific and Australian plates (huge, slow-moving blocks of the earth’s crust) colliding and pushing up mountains.  Erosion caused by rainfall and ocean waves carved out lakes and streams, and volcanic eruptions and glaciers formed deep valleys and fiords. The result is truly jaw dropping.

Herb and I began trying to think of new words besides “Wow” as we drove through the scenery.  Some of these words were: Surreal, Extraordinary, Phenomenal, Spectacular, Amazing, Wondrous, Awe-Inspiring, … you get the picture.



Unyielding in its beauty, New Zealand demanded our full attention and presence. The sheer force of nature was a summons to simply BE- Breathe, Live, and Enjoy.  

The magnificent order and unpredictability of life combined in a way I can only describe as sacred.  

Perhaps it’s that proximity of nature that makes the people in New Zealand so unhurried, polite and happy.  For as many tourists as they host each year, they are remarkably generous and caring.

They care about food, (the food was so wholesome and natural I swear it was the reason I didn’t gain an ounce while eating and drinking with abandon); they care about each other (the murder rate in the United States 333 times that of NZ); and they care about the environment (despite heavy traffic, New Zealand’s national parks look amazingly untouched.)  Perhaps that’s because they realize we are not separate from nature- but merely part of it.  They live respectfully.

I could provide more details of our day to day traverse from Auckland on the North Island to Milford Sound on the south, (and if you have a trip planned to NZ, I am happy to share our trip notes), but I thought it better to simply show you some of the best moments of our trip in pictures.   Don’t worry, unlike your Uncle Harry, this slide show isn’t two hours long.  Enjoy. And if you don’t have a trip planned to NZ, please, plan one.

Nature is a teacher and a healer. This trip allowed me the time to immerse myself in her beauty and peace.

I made a conscious decision to follow her example and let myself “be” and simply enjoy.  Coming home has been different because that feeling has taken hold in my cells.  My mind and body are literally different- there’s so much more space for joy when you realize that life isn’t as complicated we like to make it.

Last night, a dear friend reminded me of the poem, The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver.  I hadn’t thought of it in a while, but it perfectly captures my experience…

Here’s an excerpt…

“I don’t know what a prayer is.

I don’t know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, all too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Why Donald Trump is my Spiritual Teacher

At this stage of my life, I’m looking inward more.  When I was younger, I was focused on raising a family, building a business, managing relationships.  Now I am less interested in the busy-ness of the life and more focused on quieting the noise and distractions. Mostly I just want to be peaceful.

It’s not easy in this political climate.

My co-worker Cara, a young Mother of two sons, is an activist. Concerned about the alarming number of homicides in our city, Cara ran 40 miles on her 40th birthday to support Mothers In Charge, a victims advocacy group.  Obviously, a strong woman who lives her convictions through positive action and even Cara gets frayed by the continuing chaos.

Recently I met another young woman, a therapist, who shared that she was hosting a workshop specifically to address the stress being caused by the daily news and politics.  Apparently, we now need support groups for this!

It’s hard not to react.  

When Donald Trump recently lectured his critics and the media for inciting violence and dissension, I posted this on my FB page.


It seemed ironic given Mr. Trump’s political rhetoric, but also not surprising given his apparent inability to think before he speaks or accept responsibility for the power of his words and actions.  

An ensuing commentary escalated between people on my page.  I watched in amazement as people I knew well, and others I did not, wage war over our President’s leadership, political party, citing issues and evidence to prove their point.

It got nasty.  

So nasty in fact that one of the people private messaged me and asked me to block one of the commenters because he was so rude.  I’ll admit, that had occurred to me, but I thought better of it.  If anything, that angry, divisive, partisan response showed me just how much we need to listen to each other, even when we don’t agree.  

The division in our country has been likened to a civil war (more like an “uncivil” war), because of the way it’s dividing families, co-workers, and communities.   It’s not just about Republicans vs Democrats, our division rages over sexism (Acess Hollywood, Stormy Danials, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh) gun rights, (There have been 287 mass shootings in this country so far in 2018) and immigration (“President Trump is doubling down on his closing hard-line immigration pitch to voters,  sending up to 15,000 troops to the border — twice the number the Pentagon has already activated. “Nobody’s coming in. We’re not allowing people to come in.’ “).

It truly IS crazy making. 

That’s why I’ve decided to take a larger view of Mr. Trump and the outcome of his leadership.  He is our President.  He won the election, so bottom line- he is country’s choice for leadership.   That’s the hard part, but it’s also the message. 

Perhaps Donald Trump is our Spiritual Teacher.  A spiritual teacher’s role is unique in that the goal is not to transmit knowledge or understanding as much as it is to somehow bring about a recognition in the student of the student’s own pre-existing nature. Can Donald Trump truly be what we value in a leader? Or is this a wake-up call to re-examine our values, how we got to this place and how to move forward?

Life and humans are pretty simple.  We react on a gut level to things like fear, and anger, manipulation and ego. 

That’s Mr. Trump’s genius.  He plays to our lower emotions and the result is the reality we have now. 

I read an article in the paper this morning about a St. Louis daycare center being sued because the teachers were caught on camera encouraging pre-schoolers to fight and hit another.  One teacher could “be seen excitedly jumping up and down” as the toddler fight club ensued.  It appears the only one who tried to break up the fight was one of the kids.  What in the world?

Surely it’s time to raise our vibration, as a country, and as individuals. When we remember at the core we’re all alike; that we all really want the same things, (to be safe, loved, and valued, for example), our similarities and not our differences are revealed.  Compassion, love, respect, and learning to work together is something most of us learned as children.  What has caused us to forget? Stress, fear, distraction, apathy?

This cannot be our world; we must have hope.

Cara mentioned an event that gave her hope. She and more than 1,500 mourners gathered last Monday in Overland Park, Ks to honor the Pittsburgh Jewish community in the aftermath of the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting that left 11 dead. That interfaith vigil, held at Kehilath Israel Synagogue, attracted a standing-room-only crowd of worshippers, clergy, city leaders, and politicians from a variety of backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities.  

“Tonight, we are all Jews,” Akhtar Chaudry of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council told the gathering, “We are united in grief but strengthened in our resolve to fight hatred.” 

That says it all.  “We stand united in grief but strengthened in our resolve to fight hatred.”

The mid-term elections are predicted to have the highest voter turn out in decades. I hope this is because we’re more awake to the fact that our right to vote is not only a privilege but our duty.

Vote. Take a stand and make your voice heard.

Whatever your party, please vote for unity.  Please vote for love.  It sounds trite but is also true: together we really can accomplish so much more.  Just look at what we’re creating in disparity.

Thank you, President Trump, for showing us the way.  Your example is one to heed if not respect.  Your teachings are profound.


The Price of Fear


Preparing this blog in honor of the full moon reminded me of another retreat, in Belize. We didn’t have a full moon that week, in fact, there was just a sliver, so the stars showed bright and clear. After dinner, I often walked down the beach to explore nearby docks and enjoy looking up.

There were a few docks available, but the one I was drawn to was narrow, old and rickety. In the darkness, you couldn’t see the end of the dock, so it looked like you were simply walking out into the vast, endless ocean. It was scary.

One night, my friend Tricia and I walked that dock together clasping hands. We were both facing demons that trip, demons that were safe nowhere else, and so we walked into the abyss together and marveled our fear and also the magic of the stars.

The closer we got to what looked like the end of the dock, the point at which we would simply glide into the deep, we slowed to a stop, struck silent by the beauty and terror of the illusion before us.

We both knew it was no accident we were there together in that moment. We knew the fear and pain in each other’s hearts. We both worried about how we’d each move on, around or over our current challenges. Who better to hold hands with and face the unknown darkness. We stood there a long time treasuring a moment that lasts a lifetime.

Like that long walk down the dock, we’ve traversed some treacherous terrain since that night; some of it together and much of it alone. We’ve had time to face ourselves unmasked, afraid, and it was hard.

What is the price of fear? What is it your fear and what is it costing you?

Change, even when it’s necessary; even when it’s time, is rarely welcome and almost never alone. Fear is inevitably part of the package. But like any bully, fear can’t stand up to scrutiny. Confront your fear and fear backs down. Fear is co-dependent; it ’s only power is the power you grant it.

I’ve lived with fear for a very long time, but age has made me realize it’s time for it to go.   I’m just too damn tired to give fear my finite energy. Instead, I’m investing in another F-word- FAITH.

Some folks might think that’s naive or make-believe.  “Hope is not a strategy,” is what they would say.  But I don’t agree. If choosing faith over fear is choosing one illusion over another, I choose faith.

In Praise of the Learner

Perhaps the better title would be “in praise of the teacher” because who is the student without our teachers?

We can all name people that have impacted our lives in a profound and lasting way; people who’ve shown up in our lives, expected and unexpected to change the way we think about ourselves, our capabilities and our purpose.

I think about Stella Jacobi, my 6th grade teacher, a diminutive force of nature who inspired me to achieve more than I’d previously conceived; Laraine Sheehan Gordon, my high school English teacher whose exacting eye and commitment to excellence pushed me to understand the immense power of words; and Elaine Fischer, an 89-pound black haired whirl of energy who believed I could lead exercise classes despite the fact I totally bombed my audition.

I was terrified of Elaine, but her belief in me changed the course of my life.

There were other teachers, too- the ones we don’t immediately thank for their instruction- bad boyfriends and bosses and backstabbing acquaintances.  Perhaps their lessons are the most important because they wound the most. In retrospect, I’m the most grateful to the difficult people in my life because they challenged me to summon strength, resilience and compassion I didn’t know I possessed.

Having your heart broken also allows you to be more open; for healing and taking personal responsibility and being able to love again.

Being broken doesn’t mean being crippled- it does mean being vulnerable and it’s taken me a long time to see the courage in that.

If we are aware and open, our opportunities for learning abound daily.

A chance meeting at a networking event, the impetus to write a favorite author, accepting a random invitation to lunch, agreeing to hang upside down in a piece of fabric; life-changing opportunities are literally available in every moment of every day- if we are open to them. That’s where we must celebrate the learner.

Learning requires presence, curiosity, listening, and enthusiasm.  Apathy, indifference, and arrogance are the enemy of learning because we already know it all.

The best teacher I ever had was my Dad, Ehret Oscar Ramey. He was a gentleman, a doctor, a husband, and a man of Faith.

He was funny and kind and the worst joke-teller in the world. He taught me how a woman deserved to be treated, and ready to remind me should I temporarily forget.

He held me close when I was weak and loved me when I behaved like an ass.  He never scolded, never acted disappointed, never let me feel sorry for who I was. His love was unconditional- as bright, expansive and as natural as the morning sun.

My Father taught me a simple and important lesson: the power of our belief in another person’s worth and well-being. As humans, there is nothing more we crave and nothing more important we can share.

Thank you, Dad, for believing in me.  Thank you for teaching me to be open to life and ready to learn. I really miss you, but I feel you every day- in every sunrise, every laugh, every soft listening moment, you are with me.

One Soul. One Source.

I’m guilty. Maybe you are, too.

When someone we care about is having trouble, we want to help them, intercede, solve their problem.  This presents itself in many ways- rescuing, enabling, justifying, or appeasing them.  Alternatively, it may be distancing, judging them, and becoming impatient. Either way, we forget one fundamental truth: each of us is fully capable and wholly responsible for defining the course of our own lives.

Instead of viewing this as the very essence of our time on Earth, a remarkable gift and opportunity for learning, we often choose to suffer, resist, eradicate or deny the issue.  This is what causes pain.

I’ve spent a lifetime wanting to help others.

Without hesitation, I offer advice, remedies, strategies, and solutions.  I see pain and I know how to fix it- why wouldn’t I explain how?

On a recent trip, I met a young woman who’d been in a horrible car accident several months before. She’d been near death, but not ready to die, had pleaded with God to return her to life.

Her wish was granted and she woke up to find her pelvis shattered requiring multiple surgeries, inscrutable pain and months of physical therapy. She was returned to life, but it was a much different life than before. 

When I heard her story, it was hard to believe she’d had to learn how to walk again because she looked completely whole.

On a day trip to Tikal, she quietly shared her worries about being able to handle the rigors of the day. She was apprehensive, and at that moment seemed fragile to me.  Aware of this, I worried about her as we hiked, climbed and ascended staircase after staircase to view the ruins. Many times I checked myself, wanting to ask her if she was all right, but I didn’t. I realized my worry was not required- in fact, it would have disrespected her experience that day.

Instead of hovering and reminding her of her challenge, I simply asked, “How’s your butt?”

As it turned out, her butt was just fine and we all had a magical day together in Tikal. As we sat in our circle the next day, telling our classmates about our adventure, my friend, near tears told the group about her surgery and concerns about going to Tikal.

She also told them how wonderful it was to discover she was up to the task, stronger than she believed, marking a significant milestone in her recovery.

As I listened, my eyes welled with tears. Her story not only inspired me but shed a huge light for me as well.  In the guise of helping others, I’d often overstepped my boundaries by either giving unsolicited advice, urging a certain outcome, or secretly judging, withholding compassion, and distancing myself.

It’s natural to want to help others. The issue isn’t the help itself but the intention behind it.  

Now when I hear myself giving advice or providing an agenda, I check in with myself to see if it’s triggering some need within me to fix, control or make the world right.

As a child, I learned early that pleasing was a way to feel loved, safe and accepted.  That meant being hyper-vigilant, always ready to remedy, repair, or make better. This wasn’t all bad as I’ve gone on to create a business centered around service and helping others. But as an adult, I also realize, it’s not my responsibility to fix, cure or change anyone else.

Who am I to think I know better what is best for someone else? The arrogance has been so well disguised I didn’t recognize it. When I give advice, suggest solutions, urge action, whose agenda am I really invested in- theirs or mine?

This isn’t just a boundary issue.  This is a spiritual issue.

And so, when I am triggered, I remember a long night when I was suffering, feeling lost and hopeless, desperately wanting to help someone who would not be helped. Crying, I heard a voice. The voice said calmly, “Stop. This isn’t yours. He’s fully capable. He’s able to choose. It’s not about you. Remember, ‘One Soul. One Source.’ ”

I took that to mean that we are all one Soul connect to one Source.  But each Souls journey to Source is entirely their own.

What is Source?  I think it is LOVE.  And Love simply IS.  

It has no need to attach, make right, insinuate or adjust.  Love is not attached to an outcome. Outcomes, agendas, judgment, needing to feel helpful… that’s something else altogether- that’s Ego, the real cause of our separateness and suffering.