Finding Balance Between Work and Play

For those of you who may be wondering, Mercury is on track (as of this writing) to go “direct” as of August 2nd. So welcome to August, and farewell to Mercury in retrograde.

Of course, August is the month when so many Leo’s like to spread their wings! For August is the time when most people want to, and actually do, take advantage of just playing and enjoying it all.

I’m sure many of you know this but just in case — Americans work much harder than their contemporaries in other countries. For instance, European workers routinely get six weeks off from work while most Americans don’t get anywhere near that.

Now, don’t get me wrong! Working is good for the soul. But somewhere I recall God saying that, “I love when the children work, but I really love when they know how to play!”

On another note, I am so often reminded of conversations with many of you who are devoted to those in hospice care. Whether you do this as a professional, or because you have a passion to give, your work is greatly appreciated.

As hospice workers know, when men are getting ready to cross over, their last words are often “I wish I had worked less and spent more time with my family.” For women it’s usually, “I wish I had pursued more of my dreams.”

Now that pattern in some ways has changed. But still, let’s face it, women are the main caretakers in the world. If you doubt this, check to see who is working not only in hospices, but also schools, hospitals, and just about any caretaking place.

On a personal note: I have been taking care of my 91-year old mother, and I can tell you, when I’ve needed help, it has been mostly women who have contributed.

Now, I’m going to take a little bit of my own advice and go out and smell the flowers.

But before I sign off, a HUGE thanks especially to those who have attended my recent events. I look forward to reconnecting once again in the Fall when I return to Chicago, Michigan, Florida (Tampa, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale) and of course Roanoke, Virginia. And don’t forget to join me for my Blog Talk Radio show on Monday, August 5, where my guest will be author Keith Leon S.

Have fun, and Happy August.

Honoring the Caretakers

Happy June!

The flowers are blooming, high school and college students are graduating and going to proms, other kids are taking a breather, and of course {{{{{drum roll}}}}} Father’s Day on the 16th! Oh, and lest we forget, the Summer Solstice arrives on June 21st, the official beginning of Summer. Whew!

Some reflective thoughts for this June. No matter who you are, or what your status is, no one is exempt from, well, life. And part of life involves moments of what should be incredible joy, but there is a missing piece. Like when someone near and dear has crossed over to the Other Side and is not there on that special day. His or her absence may at times dominate our thoughts and feelings, making us sad, even though it’s supposed to be a festive occasion.

I mention this because so many times in my work I see sadness when a dad or mom who has crossed over was not at a wedding, or even often when the first baby was born. So June, with all positives that are going on, can bring up sad memories.

Often we tend to reflect on those memories and ask woulda, coulda, shoulda. I meet so many folks who did so much for their loved ones but still feel it wasn’t enough. I’m here to say, it was more than enough, and your DPs want you to know that.

On a related matter, we need to respect and honor those folks who are caretakers, for that is probably one of the hardest jobs a person can do. It is often an unending uphill of battle of emotions, physically exhausting, and at times very deeply sad and painful. If a caretaker doesn’t have enough money, or anyone who will help, the experience can be especially overwhelming and swallow you up. Until you go through it, you can’t honestly understand the difficulty of being a caretaker.

If you are a caretaker, KUDOS to you. But please be kind with yourself, and find as many moments of quiet and peace as you can. And cherish those moments.

While I’m beyond thrilled that June is here, my heart goes out to those who are suffering through floods and other earth changes. We all know that life can change on a dime.

With all that said, I’m truly excited to be visiting so many of you in Salt Lake City for the Afterlife Conference, where I mentioned Terri Daniel had been giving free rooms, and I’ll be in Michigan, Chicago and St. Louis with Thomas John.

Enjoy and smell the June flowers!

Wonders of Autumn

Fall officially began on September 22nd. I’m sure many of you don’t want to rush it, particularly if you live in cooler climates, but here we are now in Autumn,  the time of Harvest.

We are nonetheless, wherever we live, affected mentally by where we are physically.  Everything contributes to our state of mind and helps determine how we are able to “go with flow.”

All part of the rhyme and reason. Everyone knows this, a time and a season, but those who are daily stewards, our caretakers of the earth, they know all too well the first hand effects created by the change of seasons. We are now ready for our Harvest, yes, it tis the season to think about reaping what you sow.

I just recently saw the 1979 Peter Sellers movie “Being There,” which somehow got into my Netflix batch.  Being an avid gardener, it was so easy for me to relate to the movie’s theme.  Ah yes, the importance of gardens, and the rhythm of the seasons.

In the movie, “Chance the [simple] Gardner ” is mistakenly believed to be “Chauncy [the aristocratic] Gardiner.”   Although he had never been out in the world, living his life as a gardener, Chance is forced into society after his employer crosses over.  How Chance impacts those who come into contact (including Shirley MacLaine as “Eve”) is quite intriguing, as Chance’s views of life as a gardener convey so much to the sophisticated people he meets. More than an interesting movie, it really tells us how we live our life through seasons, whether we are a gardener or not.

While watching the movie, I reflected on how the weather and seasons play into things.  As I write, I’m harvesting my tomatoes, a little late because of too much rain in Northeast.  I know that once I’ve laid the foundation, which is crucial, there is only so much I can do.  Nature assumes control.  Of course, I do weed the garden and try to keep the critters out. And I naturally contribute lots of love and nurturing.  But I can’t make the sun shine or the rain fall.  That is up to Nature.  Still…I’m helping and the connection to Nature creates in me a marvelous state of mind/body and soul. Gardening truly teaches one to be in the moment here on Earth, and to love life to its fullest—which is a beneficial way to be because we never know what’s around the corner.

Living my life as a medium where I know that daily at any moment life can change for any of us who loses someone.

I know this so significantly with my work to be true, and then there are those moments that I experience it personally. While visiting my mother this summer, I got to share some special moments with a dear friend—Bonnie, my sister’s best friend in fact—while in her garden.  There was a lot of talk of purple basil.  She’s Italian and I knew her grandfather who came from Italy and never spoke much English.  He passed along to Bonnie his love of gardening and green thumb.

When we were together, I didn’t know it would be my last time seeing Bonnie “in the body”—in her garden, so appropriate, when she passed just one month after our time walking thru her greenhouse.  She gave me some purple basil, plus loads of mints and other plants I’d never even heard of.

As Bonnie was the last matriarch of her family, her passing was a major blow.  I’ve known the family my whole life and although they don’t share my blood, they are family in every other way. Her passing for me was very personal, and a reminder of how important it is for each and every one of us to live every moment to its fullest, as best we can, and let everyone whom we love know how we feel about them.  That’s a state of mind we should all strive for and it is truly one of the most important ways to be—Be here in the now and love each moment.

As I sit writing this letter to you, I am pausing to snack on some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, right from out of my own garden.  And, as a special touch, I added some of Bonnie’s wonderful purple basil.  Along with a sip of wine thinking, “I raise my glass to you, Bonnie, because in this moment, we’re enjoying garden delights together, a truly beautiful welcoming to Autumn.