I Make Myself Smile.

I have a friend that talks to herself as she settles into any comfie chair. “Okay”, she says making little noises of satisfaction as she readjusts herself, “This is good.”

Initially I thought this was very odd behavior. Doesn’t she know I can hear her, I asked myself with a less than veiled judgement? Is she talking to me? Is she crazy?

As is ALWAYS the case when I judge another, within 2 weeks I am eating my words and doing the very thing I criticized. So as I fell into the couch after a particularly long day and overheard my murmuring, “Okay. Alright. This is good,” I couldn’t help but smile at myself. I was humbled.

What I judge in others I will meet in myself.

This comeuppance also happens when I use the words ALWAYS or NEVER. As in, “I would never do that,” or “I always do this.” When I hear these words pop out of my mouth I have learned to TAKE THEM BACK. (Notice I didn’t say always.) I say, out loud to myself, and to whomever I have made my pronouncement, “I take it back. I take it bad. I take it back.” Three times seems sufficient.

I know I will do it or say it. I will make that wrong turn and scare a pedestrian. I will thoughtlessly take up the whole locker room bench, spreading my stuff out as I change. I will carelessly say something that hurts someone. And…I will talk to myself.

Now I talk to myself regularly. I like it. I enjoy hearing my thoughts outside of my head. It feels strangely relational. Caring. It makes me smile. It also makes me wonder if this is early dementia. Or aging. I didn’t talk to myself when I was younger. I didn’t fart as much either.

The other day I was unloading the back seat of my car, strategically organizing my computer bag, lunch bag, boxes of kleenex and purse onto my shoulders and under my arms before I crossed the street to my office. Once I was equally balanced on both shoulders, like a well-packed mule, I stepped into the street.

When I reached the middle of the street, where PAT buses fly, I heard myself say, like a parent speaking to a child, “You didn’t even look before you stepped into the street.”

Silently I answered. “But I listened. I didn’t hear any cars coming.” I said it like a defensive adolescent.

I cleverly responded, aloud, “But what if an electric car was coming. You can’t hear them.”

I had me. Good point. Lesson taken. I smiled, acknowledging this verbal exchange between me and me in the middle of the street. I also looked around to see if anyone had heard me. Thankfully I was alone.

If a woman talks to herself and no one is there to hear, did she make a noise?






The Art of Receiving

I went to a Yin Yogassage class. (Yoga with massage.) It was amazing. It was so good that for the rest of the day I could do nothing else but feel peaceful and care for myself. I moved more slowly, felt the hot shower on my shoulders and back, tasted the tuna sandwich I made, laid on the couch with Clea, my cat and didn’t obsess about all the things I needed to be doing. I was in my body in a sweet way.


Jill, the yin yoga instructor, spoke throughout the 2 hour class about the ART of receiving. It was as though I had never heard that concept before. Perhaps I was in such a relaxed state I received it differently. Regardless, I felt the truth in her words. She  said that when we are completely receiving we are able to give completely. I know I knew this, but twisted like a pretzel, Brad the massage therapist coaxing my muscles to let go into the pose, I GOT IT.


Have you ever had a similar experience? All of a sudden what you thought you knew morphs into your cell tissue and becomes one with you? It transforms knowing to KNOWING. In that moment I realized she was right, it is an art. One I am not so sure I am that good at.


I tend to interrupt my art of receiving with my life long belief systems that I was so generously given by my family. Makes me wonder why we receive and hold on to some beliefs and not others. Perhaps it is the first ones that get in there are the ones to take root. Some of mine are;


I don’t deserve it,


I will have to give back…bigger and better,


I will like it, get used to it and it will go away-the other shoe will drop.


Do you say any of these things to yourself? (Or is it true-my other belief-I am the only one who has this kind of thinking. Everyone else gets it…)


As a result of this class I have been challenging myself and my beliefs to stretch. As I practice this art, some days more fluidly than and so calm they both are...others, I realize receiving begins at home. I must give to myself first. I will put on my oxygen mask before I help you with yours. (I was so glad that instruction was never tested when I was traveling with my kids.)


And, when I fail miserably, gasping for air because I just couldn’t do it, I must offer myself the grace not to be Picasso. I find that grace and forgiveness, of and toward myself, has actually increased my ability to receive more fully from you.


So I guess I will attend to myself first so I have more to give to you.


I don’t think it works the other way around.