Day #5 Let’s Talk TED & Unschooling

I have great admiration for the life that this family leads with their children.  The concept of “unschooling”is difficult for me,  being the daughter and sister of educators. Yet, as I watch the Heilmans mature – I question what we are truly putting this generation through in the public school system.

Source: Day #5 Let’s Talk TED & Unschooling

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It is just a ride…right?

I am tired…aren’t you? I am tired of the lack of compassion, the preponderance of fear, and inability of roller coastermany people to actually consider a differing point of view as valid. On Facebook, people are color-filtering their profile pictures in allegiance to France, others are complaining that not all tragedies are given an equal voice and others are unfriending people because they don’t agree with each other. Criminy sakes, children are drowning and we are focused on the filter colors of our profile pictures!

Still, I am having a hard time formulating an opinion on any one of the thousand and one crises that seem to be prevalent in the media.  My heart beats with compassion and outreach, yet my head is flying the red flag of caution and safety first.

Yes, I know that countries that place security above liberty deserve neither. And even though this is a poor interpretation of a Ben Franklin quote, I believe that there is truth in the statement. And yet, I cannot help but feel that there has to be a place between security and compassion that we, as a nation, can operate from. Unfortunately, with all of the media noise, it is difficult to get a moment of silence to think about what my answer truly may be. Or even to decide where my beliefs reside.

I am moved to tears by pictures of drowned babies AND my stomach churns with uncertainty when I consider what my stance is regarding whether or not to let the refugees onto our shores. I want to provide safe harbor for displaced families AND I am concerned about the safety of our citizens as they prepare for the biggest travel days of the year.

I do not know how to be RIGHT with all of my internal conflict much less all that is going on around me.  The Dalai Lama reminds us that God is not going to fix this. Prayer alone won’t fix this. WE created this mess and WE must fix it. Human action, in the form of government leadership, decisiveness, and collaboration can help us move in the right direction. But our leaders, coming together to perform collaboratively, move as fast a glacier, if at all. And while we wait for them to come to whatever decision they come to, there are still children dying. There are parents mourning their deaths. People are fleeing for their lives. AND there are men plotting the next explosion.

I wish I had the answer, I wish I knew where I stood; I wish that I could be comforted with the belief that everything turns out right in the end. Because right now, I am tired. Just so very tired.

And that is MY problem, and really what is that? It is so small and insignificant in light of what other people are going through. So, when I think about it from that perspective, I settle back into myself. My life is great.  I remain safely housed, comfortably clothed and well-fed.  I am not fleeing a terrorist group, bent upon the destruction of my way of life. I am not mourning the death of my brother shot down at a rock concert.  I am not crammed into a cargo hold or sleeping on the streets.  I am simply tired and uncomfortable with the messiness of life.

So, that is just it. Life is messy. Not sometimes, but always. The ambiguity of life is the only constant. That is what I need to remember. One of my favorite movie scenes from Parenthood comes to mind, Mary Steenburgen’s character is chastising Steve Martin’s character for making fun of the grandmother – roller coaster or merry-go-round, anyone? I don’t really get a choice, I ride the roller coaster, because life is a roller coaster. The only choice I have is how I ride it, arms up or gripping the bar in front of me.

I still do not have my answers. But I got my perspective back and that is a good beginning.

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New Horizons and the Present of  Yes (a bit of introspection when I should be working)

believeIt is incredible. Life, that is. You think you know where you are headed and then, one day, you look up and you are in Reno.

Well, okay, I AM in Reno.

As I settle into my new digs and assess my new surroundings, I am thrilled that I have said “yes” to what life has presented me.  Yes, to dating a man who lived 250 miles away. Yes, to loving him. Yes, to putting my house on the market in San Jose. Yes, to a crazy high bid on my little rundown 1950’s tract home. Yes, to packing up and moving out of the only hometown I have ever known.

I cannot say that it has all been easy. I have been riddled with anxiety, broken down crying, and Mothra had permanent resident status in my belly for at least 3 months. My adult-boys were very angry and very afraid. My heart was sadden as I hugged my 4 year old grandson good-bye. I worry about my aging parents. I have two storage units in two different states, both only partially full. And the Nevada DMV knows me by my first name.

And yet…

It is working out. I was fortunate to be able to take a personal sabbatical and get acclimated to a high desert summer. I am very interested to see how I experience a true high desert winter.  I explored restaurants, libraries, bookstores, and thrift stores.  I became a member of the art museum and have put a down payment on season tickets for our fledging soccer league. Reno has a theater with wonderful acoustics and we have season tickets to the Broadway Musical lineup. I talk to my extended family more and I know who my true friends are.

What kept me sane? A deep-seated belief that all was going to work out. Some folks say that they place it all into God’s hands, and maybe that is it. Maybe that language doesn’t work for me, maybe it does. My spiritual life is one of trust and faith. I know that it isn’t me who makes fabulous Maui beach houses or open parking spaces appear.  It is something much bigger and something that has a much broader line of sight than me. That “something” keeps the lights on and I am grateful.

Is it enough to simply have faith that good things happen and to be grateful for all that I have? Or do I need more? I believe that I am in a good place and expressing gratitude is one of my guiding principles. I try and pay forward in both deed and dollars my good fortune.

What I have yet to discover in my new hometown is a spiritual home to call my own.  I have tried a couple of places; nothing yet has made my soul sing.  Until I do, I try and keep myself in tune with inspirational readings, hanging out with my spiritual community on Facebook, and breathing in nature. At the moment, it seems to be enough.

I am content.

My goal is to remain present and accept what comes to me, to move with it or through it. So, maybe my answer continues to be “yes”.  Yes to acknowledging something bigger than me, Yes to having faith that good things happen, and Yes to being grateful for all I have, IS enough.

How about you? Where is your heart right now? Are you present in your life? When was the last time that you looked up and truly realized where you were and expressed gratitude for what you have? How about trying that now?

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Life is too precious to live it half-assed.

Flipping through my blogging chronicles – this one felt right to reblog and try to see if I connected my FB page correctly.

Community House

 One of my dearest friends just lost her husband to pancreatic cancer today. Another will be heading down to visit her mother who just had another 4 stints placed in her heart.  My prayers are with them and their families.

And these are my thoughts…

 If you haven’t told the people whom you love that you love them, do it now. Even better, show them.

If you have hurt them, ask for forgiveness. If you have been hurt, forgive.  Be gracious in your forgiving.

If someone brings you happiness, do everything in your power to keep them in your life…regardless.

I do not believe you can ever tell those you love that you love them too much. 

Practice loving with great abandon.

Give joyfully to others.

Drop the drama. Live from your heart.

Life is too precious to live it half-assed.

Regretting it calls you to repair it. But don’t hold…

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My Spiritual Manifesto or What It Means to be Me

morning coffee“Everything in my life is controlled by love, harmony and peace; …everything I do prospers, and the Eternal Energy back of all things animates everything which I undertake.” –E. Holmes, Science of Mind, 169.3

It has taken me many years to become comfortable in my spiritual skin. Although I no longer practice the faith that I grew up in, the faith that I grew into allows me to honor all that is God around me. And since I know that God is in and is of everything, my spiritual life is bright, hope- and love-filled.

My Spiritual Manifesto or What It Means to be Me

To be me means to be open to the possibility of what’s next. To be me is to be shedding fear and replacing it with excitement. Being me is to be the “chalice of expectancy”, that metaphor with which I have fell in love. It means to be walking through this world with my arms opened wide to catch the goodness that is everywhere and is mine to claim. To be me is to be in practice of an abundant and balanced life. I see possibility in every situation and person.

To be me is to recognize that the God within me, is the same God who is outwardly expressed as me. Joyously.Lovingly. Freely. Harmoniously. To be me is to cry when I see or hear perfection in art, music or poetry. To be me is to crack open in the presence of authenticity. This is my consistent practice of the principles that I have been opening up to my entire life.

To be me is to be practicing forgiveness and to finally understand how truly transformational it is. I am realizing that the forgiveness is a gift to me above all others and that in forgiving, I am capable of receiving even more and more love. To be me is to be experiencing a softening of the walls around my heart, to be experiencing fluidity, a porousness of my heart, my soul and mind. To be me is to be in practice of seeing God in all situations.

To be me is also to know that I do not always behave in the ways that I aspire to. That I get weary and distracted. That sometimes, I just do not care. Those times of being disconnected to the core of me are hard but very real. And the beauty that is NOT me but that I completely depend upon is grace. Grace bubbles up from that sacred God-space within each of us. It is not who I am, but who God is. And I relish the grace that is mine to claim. Grace allows me to return to my center of being at any chosen moment. Grace allows me to be just where I am, recognize where I am not and if I choose, head towards what truly is my heart’s desire.

What does it mean to be you?

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In Which Life Gets SIMPLE and Etsy Becomes Populated – Week Ten : Day One

In Which Life Gets SIMPLE and Etsy Becomes Populated – Week Ten : Day One.

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Dear God, Its me, Teri (a nod to Judy Blume for the title)

Dear God, its me, Teri. I want to talk with you about an issue that I have been having with intimacy. You see, for a long time, I have felt very empty inside. Nothing has been able to  fill me up. Not my family, not work, not food or alcohol. I have chased relationships with others, finally catching them, only to find no fulfillment. It has been this way for many years.

There are glimpses of what I desired, to be sure. Times when I well up with joy and feel as if I would burst.  I attribute those times to the moment or the person that I am with. Most times, I give credit to that remote concept of “being in love”. Only to feel that emptiness of the after-effect of being on an unsustainable emotional high.

I do not consider myself a “holy” person. For a few years, I might have had a “holier-than-thou” attitude, but I live a much different life with a much different perspective now. (Can I hear an Amen?) I gaze in wonderment at people I consider to be “holy”. Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Christ and my favorite saints.  They  seemed to have a deep sense of intimacy about them, a real connectedness to something I did not experience. They  had/have an expression of joy & intimacy on their faces and in their smiles that I only hoped for. And I remain alone. I do not consider myself lonely, for I had surrendered to all that I can on a surface level. But I constantly reach a plateau of dissatisfaction and disappointment.

And yet, something in me keeps searching. I see a man and think, “Hmm, maybe that one.” I seek out a moment or a thing and think “maybe this time”. But nope, not there or there or there. Always glimpses, never the Full Monty. (a movie reference, rent it, ‘nuf said)

Yet, just once…

One day, as I was leaning on the deck railing watching the sun set over the crashing waves at Pajaro Beach, I felt a Presence. A warm, enveloping of my entire being by a Power-filled, Loving energy. It was the deepest, biggest full body hug that I had ever received. It shot me through the heart, pierced my mind and headed directly to my soul. It embraced me for an eternity. Okay, really, just a few seconds. And in that moment, I felt Love. I knew what the mystics of the ages experienced. And I know that I can and have experienced the intimacy that I longingly seek.

My imagination captured a sliver of that moment. My soul longs for another God-hug and my heart holds the memory very close. I know that up to that point, I had been treating God as something external, something that had to be invited in. Now, my perception is changing. I am opening up more and more to the intimacy that I chased, realizing that it has been with me all along. I just need to recognize it. I move through life, of God, in God and with God. I practice stepping closer to this Truth. The more I practice, the more this becomes my reality.

The more intimate I become with my own life, the more intimate I become with God and then the more intimate I become with others. Hardly a vicious circle, more like an eternal one.  So God, thanks for listening. Although you already knew all of this about me. I appreciate the patient Being-ness as I catch up.   Love, Teri 



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