The Sweetest Valentine

I think I saw a new possibility for Valentine's Day this year. Since I was not in a romantic relationship, I kind of just let it go by me. "Valentine's Day is for sweethearts," I told myself as I veered away from the bright red and pink displays. I hardly noticed the heaviness in my heart.

Maybe Valentine's Day is more than a day for couples. Maybe it is also a day to let people who are alone know that they still matter, that someone is thinking of them with love and care.

 That afternoon, as I was facilitating the eClubSoda HappyHour call, my door bell rang. There on the front step was my son-in-law with a bouquet of scarlet roses. What I love about this is that my daughter had nothing to do with it...she didn't even know.

Later on that evening as I envisioned couples around the world having a romantic evening, my doorbell rang was a neighbor with a great big bag of small hearts containing Godiva chocolates and Valentines, one with my name on it. He was delivering them to all of the women who were home alone in the neighborhood.

I also reread the adorable Valentine that my dog and I had received from a good friend.

In that spirit, what if we made everyday Valentine's Day?  What if we found a way to let one or two people who don't think they matter, know that they do?


Alcohol...Friend or Foe?

Today I heard a report that women have a higher incidence of breast cancer if they consume more than three drinks of alcohol a WEEK. It was reported that if women have 3-6 drinks a week, they have a 15% higher risk. of breast cancer. If they consume more than that, they have a 50% higher risk!!! I found that almost unbelievable! Why have we not made this public before???

Women are cutting off their breasts so that they do not get breast cancer. Yet, so many are reluctant to cut off their glass of wine. What does that tell us???
A doctor, in charge of a breast cancer unit in a large hospital, said we needed to put this discovery in perspective. How many women really get breast cancer? It seems to me, far too many. But, according to her, not so much. After the interview, it was concluded, "Anything in moderation!" Is this really true? Would we say, smoking in moderation is okay? Would we say, "Child abuse in moderation is okay?" Or, "Spousal abuse is okay...only in moderation, of course?"

Why do we keep trying to make drinking alcohol, excessively or in moderation, okay??? It accounts for so many deaths...automobile accidents...overdose...suicide... homocide...esophogeal cancer...heart attacks...strokes and diabetes, compromised immune systems, and who knows what else???
How many families has alcohol destroyed? If you grew up in an alcoholic home, what did you declare about yourself as a result?? How has this impacted your life?
What does alcohol give that you would rather cut off a breast rather than cut down on your wine? I am really curious. I know for me I felt cuter and more interesting. Nothing could have been farther from the truth, but I needed to learn that the hard way! I also thought it was relaxing...but then I learned I had high blood pressure as a result of my drinking. When I cut out the alcohol, my blood pressure went right down.
Let me know your thoughts? This is a conversation for all of us...what can we discover that we do not yet know? How can we put the pieces of our lives together to form a picture that all of us need to see? What are we really using alcohol for...and is it giving us what we are really needing? Let's discover the answers together???

The Gift of Listening

"There is so much I would like to know about you that I am not sure how I can find enough time. That is another one of those drawbacks that come with old age. I plan to try anyway."

A new friend of mine said that to me in an email the other day. It captured my complete attention. I don't ever remember feeling quite the way I did when I read those words. The genuine curiosity, the willingness to listen to my life, to really care about my life, was spectacularly awesome for me. I still smile when I think about it.
How often do we "do time" while listening, just waiting for an opportunity to speak? And do we really pay attention, or does our mind start wandering over to our daily "to do" list?
What would it feel like if everyone in our lives were avidly curious about our experiences, thoughts and feelings? What kind of connection could we feel?
I have a feeling a lot of numbing agents would no longer be needed. I think we often use food, drugs, work, alcohol, among other things, to quiet our feeling of being all alone in the world. What if just by learning to listen with our whole heart and paying close attention, we could dramatically reduce the loneliness quotient in our world?

As an experiment, would you be willing to find someone who really fascinates you....and let him or her know? Would you be willing to really listen with your whole attention and heart...and then let me know what happens?

Change...what does it mean to you?

Change...what does it mean to you?
So many people seem to be terrified of change. I used to be one of them, but now I have learned to welcome it as a means to my growth and development.

"How can you trust it, Nan?" I am asked over and over again.
It is easy now...since I am way past the first half of my life. I can look back and see how absolutely every moment has led me to where I am today. And so now I trust that where I am today is exactly where I need to be to learn that which I will need tomorrow.
Five years ago, my life changed is a most dramatic way when my marriage ended abruptly and unexpectedly in divorce. I thought my life was over. Instead it was just beginning in a whole new way. My daughter gave me a magnet that said "The barn's burnt down, now you can see the moon!"
In that moment I would never, ever have believed I could do all of the things I have done since that moment. Many of those things were difficult and at the time unpleasant. Looking back though, my willingness to do them strengthened me in ways I could never have imagined and prepared me for my next step.

I heard Oprah Winfrey on OWN talk about the beauty of the fall leaves...and how we could use that image as the promise of the beauty of change. That worked well for does the question, "How is this moment in time perfect for my growth, development and welfare?" Just asking the question reminds me of the perfection of that which I cannot yet see.

How do you hold change? Do you welcome it or fight it? Are you willing to wrap it around yourself as you would a soft comforter? You might want to try it...and, if you do, please enjoy the moment!

Romancing the Wine

She called me one night and I could tell she had been drinking.
I decided to ask her directly about it, and to her credit, she answered me honestly.
"Yes, Nan, I slipped. I really wanted a glass of wine."

"What were you wanting that you thought it could provide?" I asked her.

"That feeling," she said, "of being special and enjoying a lovely bouquet in a beautiful glass by candlelight. And I wanted to know I could have what I wanted."
"Is that what you got, that feeling of being special?" I asked curiously.
There was a silence. I let her think for a few moments.

"Well, no," she said. "I feel awful, actually. And I drank it out of a chipped colored glass so no one would guess what was in it."
I asked her to get real quiet and centered. To become very conscious of her body, mind and spirit. Then I asked her to name what she was experiencing in that moment. Here are her answers:"Skin on fire"
"Head confused"
"Taste is Nasty"
"Compulsion Strong"

All these are a far cry from what she was wanting. I suggested we talk the next day to work on how she could treat herself in a special way and begin truly allowing herself to have what she has really been wanting for a very long time...that which alcohol was actually silencing.

What do you truly want...have you been listening to yourself lately?

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