Archive for October, 2011

The Power of One

I have to say, mustering up as much humility as I can, that I’m extremely proud and honored to be a commissioned chaplain with the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Service. It is one of the most beautiful examples I know of people of all faiths setting aside their differences and coming together around a common purpose – to love their neighbor. It’s a unique and powerful model that I hope every city will imitate. Click here to find out about it!

Today I had a chaplain’s call out that was very inspiring. A woman who lived on Social Security, in low-income housing, and had suffered multiple physical ailments passed away in her apartment last night. She was missed this morning by all her friends in the neighboring apartments. You see, every morning she would sit out on her step and greet her neighbors as they came and went – to get their mail, walk their dogs, or go to their cars. She would buy groceries for ailing neighbors, drive them to their doctors’ appointments, or cook them meals when they needed a little help. She would loan them money if they were a little short, and always had a pot of coffee on for those who wanted to come over and chat. She was a supporter, encourager, and all around kind human being. So when she was not on her step this morning and her dog was in her apartment barking, the neighbors knew something was wrong and called 911. Her simple acts of kindness created a community that did not exist before her arrival in this complex. I got to sit with a dozen of her neighbors in an impromptu memorial in the carport outside her apartment while they hugged each other, shared stories, cried, and promised to continue her legacy by looking out for each other. None of these people knew each other before her arrival in the complex. Now they are making plans to share Thanksgiving together in her honor.

In this fragmented world where so many lonely people hide behind their locked doors, one person can be the glue that pulls a community together. We all long for community – maybe, just maybe, our community is longing for us to call it forth.

Say hello to your neighbor today. Your smile just might change a life.

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Be The Chooser

At Lake Tahoe with Steve to celebrate our anniversary, review and renew our goals, have some much needed time together enjoying Autumn in this beautiful place, and spend time reading and preparing for my upcoming Break Through Into Love coaching group for single women over 30. And Wallace came too.

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In the book I’m reading, Conscious Dating by David Steele, he has this quote that grabbed me.

“Choosers know what they want and how to get it. Choosers take responsibility for what happens and know that they are in charge of their lives. Being a Chooser takes a certain amount of confidence and effort, but anyone can be one! Finding the love of your life is not about hoping to be picked. You need to know yourself so that you can be The Chooser, rather than waiting to be chosen. Being The Chooser means taking initiative and responsibility for your outcomes: you are in charge of creating what you want in life. You do not restrict yourself to what or who chooses you.”

What do you think about that? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It makes me think about how I was raised. I picked up the messages that first as a child and then as a woman I am to wait to be chosen. I grew up with some old fashioned ideas – many of which I celebrate – but some of which I now question. This is one of them. So much of my life has been spent waiting to be chosen, waiting to be noticed and recognized, not only in relationships with men but also in other areas of life.

When we’re not The Chooser, we’re the Victim. We get to settle for the life that we have; and we get to blame our mother, our boss, our ex-husband, our ex-best friend, our neighbor, the other driver, anyone else; and we get to be right about it.

Think of an area in your life that you’re not completely satisfied with. How have you let circumstances or other people dictate who you will be in this area? Now consider what might be possible if you became The Chooser in this area. What choices are available to you? Is it really the circumstances or other people who are keeping you stuck here? Or is it instead your own choice? Perhaps changing the situation might require some bold risky action that you have been unwilling to take. Recognizing that you have CHOSEN this part of your life and you are responsible, might change your perspective about it. How might your relationship to this situation change if you owned it like that? How might that affect how you relate to others?

I’m really looking forward to exploring this more deeply with my Break Through Into Love Coaching group for Single Women over 30, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. I have three seats left in the group which starts Wednesday, October 19. If you, or someone you love, are considering this group, now is the time to contact me.

Eleven Years Ago Yesterday, I Married my Best Friend.

So, what did we do for our anniversary? Sat across from each other in the living room with our dueling laptops to see who got their post written first! Then we celebrated with dinner and a movie.

I love writing, but it can take me the whole day to put one of these things together! Arrgghh! I need to speed up, or just retire and be a full-time writer. How does Kim do it?

But there was Steve across the room, tap-tap-tapping away. I had to get tapping too. Nothing like a little marital competition to get the juices flowing.

Steve is actually a really good writer. I did not know this about him before we were married. I’m an English teacher for goodness sake! He, on the other hand, actually writes. Sigh. He’s thoughtful about it, like he is about everything he does. He types with two fingers. I type with twelve.

I discovered his gift for words in the MIDDLE of our wedding. We each had written a portion of our vows, then read them to each other in the ceremony. I had been rushed with all the wedding preparations and had put off writing the vows (Procrastination is the name of one of my personal gremlins). Steve had given himself some time and space to hear his own heart in what he wanted to say. So when he read his vows to me during the ceremony, his words were so deep, intimate, personal, and straight out of his heart with tears in his eyes, I began to tremble. First because I was so moved by the huge pulsating heart that came with this man I was marrying. And second because I was next!

My vows felt flat and superficial compared to his. Not that we should be comparing or anything (but Comparison is the name of another personal gremlin). What I learned from my husband that day was, take the time to go deep, and marry a man with a giant heart!

So, here’s where I put in my shameless plug for my Break Through Into Love coaching group. This is an opportunity for single women over 30 to experience the benefits of working with a professional coach, while creating a small community who can support each other along the way.

In preparation, I’ve been reading the book Conscious Dating by David Steele. As I read, I’m beginning to get a clearer picture about why I made Steve wait five long years – and why it took me until I was 40 (FORTY) to get married.

We all get stuck at times in patterns that keep us from living the life we were created for. Sometimes, all it takes is a small shift in our perspective and new choices appear that we didn’t know we had.

Ah, if only…. We might be celebrating our fifteenth anniversary today!

I’m realizing that for most of my 20s and 30s I was unconsciously dating. Drifting into and out of whatever relationship presented itself. I longed oh so much to fall in love and to have someone sweep me off my feet. But I see now that I was for most of those two decades incapable of such a feat. Here’s why.

A. I had a false image of myself. I had constructed a fantasy out of who I thought the people I looked up to wanted me to be.
B. Because of A., I had no idea how to love another; I was too busy looking for someone who would help me fulfill my fantasy.
C. Because of B., I got into relationships with men I didn’t love. And of course, it never worked.
D. Because of C., I broke a lot of hearts: Genuine, honest men, who cared about me and were seriously looking for a life partner. Eventually, as they would get more serious, I would get more panicky until I would break it off.

Finally, after hitting the wall in a disastrous relationship, I stopped – swore off men, and began meeting informally with a coach, and my entire perspective on life began to shift. When I began to let go of the false image of myself, and lift my eyes outward, I began to see Steve, maybe for the first time. When I stopped focusing on who he isn’t, I began to see and appreciate who he is. The more I let go of my old perspective, the more deeply in love with him I fell. Within a year, we were engaged.

That’s why I’m such a believer in coaching and why I want to offer the opportunity to single women over 30 to gain clarity about this most important choice.

If you’re stuck in an unproductive pattern in your relationships, check in with your own heart. What view of yourself are you trying to hold on to? What might be possible if you were to release it? I’d love to hear your comments.

If you know a single woman over 30 who lives in Sonoma County and who is looking forward to life-long love, please let her know about the Break Through Into Love group coaching program beginning October 19. And let her know about my free Evening of Hope, happening this Wednesday, October 5, where she’ll get to experience new possibilities in her life and perspective.

Ha! My post got done first. 🙂