Some of you may be wondering why I am repeating my 100 days of happiness. Honestly, one day I was walking along the trail feeling so thankful for the sweet scents enveloping me, the gently breeze, the wildflowers swaying gently as I passed….. I reflected on how many of these wonderful daily blessings grace my life bringing me joy.

We all know there a lot of negative things happening in our world. I decided to remind myself about the many joys that brighten my little world every single day.

I love the practice of being more keenly aware of all the beautiful bounty of happiness I can tap into whenever and wherever I choose.

I find the more aware I become of the happiness quotient that is available to me, the less the negativity depletes me. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Plus, I can do this on Instagram now too.  J

Yes, yes, yes!!!!

As some of you may remember I started an experiment at the beginning of December. I was going to try to sweep the negative thoughts out of my life and see what would happen.

Well, here I am the first week of February and I feel like my life is on fire with possibility. I feel like cleaning the closet of my mind, and continually trying to keep it uncluttered from negativity has reaped BIG rewards.

In tandem with this mind set experiment or maybe because of it, I also started a 30 day Yoga Camp with Adriene. I had “take a yoga class” on my to-do list for over a year and nothing seemed quite right.

Then Sarah invited me to join her on doing this Yoga Camp that was going to combine yoga practice with mindfulness and spirituality. Of course I was game because I could dig doing yoga that would be part of my spiritual practice and I could look as dumb as anything at home with no one to watch.

I am doing Day 30 tomorrow and I feel like it has been a fantastic experience for both my body ad my mind. I am more flexible now, a bit more balanced (it seems like my left side is weak which is understandable). And I feel stronger.

There is something very special about this yoga practice for me too. Adriene continually asks you to open your heart, lift your heart – I so needed this. Putting bodily action to what I was thinking in my mind and in my heart supercharged my outlook on my world.

And it seems as if the more I open up with my body, mind and spirit, the more the world is opening up to me. It is like my whole life and even the lives of those who are dearest to me are just full of continual affirmations of our goodness, our talents, and our desire to serve.

It feels so good to have so much YES happening. I am just humbled and grateful beyond belief.

And tonight, I take a yoga class with others. Day 29’s mantra was I love myself. I figure I do, and loving me means I do this for me regardless of what my form looks like. In fact, it will be fun to see how close I have come to the benchmark. And there will probably be lots of opportunity for me to laugh at myself.

Happy February, everyone. Let’s have fun this year. It is the Year of the Monkey and anyone who has been studying this, knows the Monkey is about having fun. Yes!


A mindset experiment

The gray of winter has settled in around us here along the Missouri River. It has been raining steady for three days which means limited time to walk on the trail.

But, the indoor time has offered me more time to read and to really think about what I am reading.

I started reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks while I still lived in Wyoming. I just didn’t have the time or energy to devote to its content, so it has been on the “to-do” shelf for awhile.

I cracked it open on one of these rainy days and today’s chapter really has challenged me. The author poses the question about how we spend the majority of our time. He posits we often spend good chunks of time on worry, criticism and blame, squabbling, deflecting praise, or getting sick or hurt. Hendricks believes these behaviors keep us from reaching our full potential – they hold us back and oftentimes we allow them to because we are afraid of what living in our fullest glory might be like. We are afraid and so we waddle in all sorts of negativity.

I am really thinking about the implications of this in my life and in our world. What would happen if we quit thinking, verbalizing and acting in these ways as individuals and as a community – for a day, for a week, a month???

What would happen? I am going to start doing an experiment with myself in this regard. I’ll let you know how things go.   🙂

Creating Space

sunset pic

It’s that time of year for me. As the seasons start to change I start to take stock of my life – what is working, what is not. Most seasons the best way for me to begin that process is to start uncluttering my life.

Uncluttering involves much more than getting rid of old paperwork and clothes I haven’t worn. The hard work of simplifying my life involves taking a critical look at the activities that have absorbed me over the months. Many times these activities sap me of energy — cluttering my life with thoughts, worry and unnecessary uncertainty – real energy sappers.

When my mind and daily life is full of this clutter I find I sometimes lose focus on what is really important to me. There is no room for my mind and heart to be open. I am constantly thinking about plans and details and am distracted so I cannot hear my inner spirit whispering the way I really need to go.

So, I am weeding out the things that are not working for me so my heart can be an open field – ready for the Universe to plant the seeds of a future that makes most sense for my personal growth. I can breathe a bit better now, and I am able to catch the quiet messages that are bubbling up, the inspiration that is there but needs space and solitude to emerge.

Gosh, it so easy to lose focus, to be drawn away from the inner peace that lies in the depths of my soul. I am both excited and curious to watch as my life unfolds – now that I am making room for the Universe to take over. It feels like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

Whew! What a relief!

Opening the Window of Your Soul by Gwen Ratermann, part 1

Opening the Window of Your Soul
Enhancing Your Spirituality by Nurturing Your Creativity
By Gwen Ratermann

This is a book for YOU.
I have written it with your heart and soul on my mind.
This book is for me as well, because in the deepest part of our souls we are one.

You know how it feels when you know something with all your heart? You know the kind of “ah ha” you feel when you come upon a truth in life that proves what you have always intuitively felt was right. That is the way I felt when I started to read what has been written about creation spirituality over 15 years ago. It validated what I intrinsically knew since I was born. This little book will help me to share the fundamentals of the deep spirituality I have learned is available to us when we tap our creativity.
We were born to be creators, it is our royal birthright as children of God. In the book of Genesis it says we were born in God’s image and likeness. And modern science has proven that the earth, and ultimately each and every one of us , was born through a single creative burst of energy. We carry the genetic potential that was there at the birth of our universe. We are all spiritual beings having an earthly experience.
Why is this important? Why would we care where we came from or what our human heritage is? It is crucial at this point in our human history to understand what our potential is because our destiny and the destiny of our planet are in our hands. And knowing that we are all born to be co-creators with the Divine Energy that birthed us the beginning of time can empower us. As we look at our lives, and the situation we find the world in right now, we need to know this so we can maintain our hope and accept our responsibility for a brighter future.
Just as a drop of the sea has the chemical makeup of the massive ocean from whence it came, so we have the same capabilities as the source of all goodness, the miracle of love that gave birth to who we are., We have all the potential for goodness and the capacity to create beauty that God has. I believe God is the ultimate source of power in our lives. This entity is defined in different ways by different belief systems, but is the same eternal river of nourishment that feeds all our spirits however we choose to name that source. We are creators just as a grain of sand is the beach. We are our own particular manifestation of God in the world, and no aspect of our lives can escape our creative potential.
To live up to our full potential we have the opportunity everyday to function at our very best. When we are living this way we are at peace with ourselves and the life situations we find ourselves at the present moment. Every encounter we have throughout the day becomes an opportunity to engage in the adventure of our lives, the discovery of our potential as creators.
You see, creativity, cannot be relegated to the realm of being artsy craftsy. That sort of stereotype allows most people to stay in denial about their heritage as creators. It is easier to think that only a few special people are talented or gifted with creativity.
Nothing is more untrue. Let me make something perfectly clear. We can be creative in whatever we do, from how we do the laundry, to how we negotiate our paperwork at the job every day. How we put on our make-up, how we welcome the morning each day, who we choose to spend time with, are all ways in which we make creative choices. Each task we undertake from moment to moment has the potential for us to make a choice about how we will negotiate it. When we consciously make a decision about how we will bathe our children, how we will wash our cars, how we will make love, we call our minds and hearts to assess what can be done and the ways in which we choose to do them. Every time we consciously choose, we affirm our spirits, that part of ourselves that wants and needs to live, grow and flourish in our short lifetimes.

Opening the Window of Your Soul — Enhancing Your Spirituality by Nurturing Your Creativity

Opening the Window of Your SoulEnhancing Your Spirituality by Nurturing Your Creativity, is a booklet I wrote 16 years ago. Within the next week I am going to offer it here in three installments. I want to share it here instead of publishing an ebook.




Art nouveau rug ME
When we visited Bar Harbor, Maine in August I took a walk and ventured into the headquarters of the Maine Sea Coast Mission. It is housed in a gorgeous old mansion overlooking the bay and their work was of interest to me since they use Telehealth to provide health care to inhabitants of the remote islands surrounding Maine. In addition, they provide spiritual support to these folks.
To my surprise, when I walked in I saw a wonderful display of hooked rugs. Of course I thought I’ve found some soul sisters!!! This was a three month exhibition of rugs that had been hooked in the early part 1900’s. The show was titled “Courage and Willingness to Work”.
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As the exhibition brochure states: “In the early part of the 20th century, the Maine Sea Coast Mission and the Grenfell Mission in Newfoundland, Canada were focused on improving the lives of fishing communities on the coast and surrounding islands. Of special interest was the role that women could play in this effort. In these hardscrabble, male-dominated communities women had limited roles and were almost exclusively homemakers. Programs were developed at each Mission to teach these women how to create rugs and mats that could be sold to summer visitors.”
Alice Peasley founded rug program at the Maine Sea Coast Mission. Not only did she teach these women how to hook rugs, but she “encouraged them to see the beauty that surrounded them, explore their creativity, and find their own individual style in rug hooking.”
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These women are my heroes. They developed a skill and an eye for design. They were willing to work hard at their craft to help support their families and I’m sure their creative work helped them to keep their spirits up on many long, cold days.
I can just imagine on some long winter days several women buddies would get together by the fire at some gal’s house hooking loop after loop. They encouraged each other and marveled at the designs that took shape as each hooker explored her creative urges. I’m sure there was speculation amongst them about the families who would eventually be living with their finished works of art.
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The rug hooking craft is alive and well in my neck of the woods – although it is safe to say – more as a hobby for most women rather than a livelihood.
Regardless, we modern day hookers owe a debt of gratitude to our sisters from long ago and far away who developed the craft into a cottage industry which helped spread it to us over time and space.
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Selective memory

When you get to be almost 60 it seems like so many conversations with friends and family turn to old memories. It is interesting what each of us will remember. I am one of those people that is good with remembering people’s names and numbers, this kind of memory served me well throughout my career. Everyone likes for you to remember their name, and remembering numbers comes in handy when you are trying to promote anything. Numbers often impress people, especially if they are at your fingertips or on the tip of your tongue when in conversation.

But, when it comes to details about vacations or times when we did certain things, I am often at a loss.

And I’ve found that often I will remember an emotion-filled scene from the past – most of those scenes being very positive. But, I will also remember feeling very raw or scared, or dejected. I am surprised at how vividly I can describe what happened in my past when I think about the emotion that was triggered there.

 A certain smell will also trigger a memory — I immediately remember my great grandmother’s house when I smell sugar cookies. She always had a cookie jar full of the golden ones with plain white sugar on the top.

You know how old Christmas ornaments in their original cardboard boxes smell? That smell brings back all the buoyant excitement I felt as a little girl when we got to help decorate the Christmas tree.

I used to think I had a “memory problem” because I don’t remember details the way my husband or my siblings do. But, I take comfort in the fact that my memory is selective – stirred up by a smell, a name or a raw emotion that revives a vivid moment in my past.

What I have come to realize about myself is I truly live in the moment – I am not one to dwell too much on the past or overly fret about the future. The wonderful beauty of each and every moment engages me – the smells, the emotion, the colors, the sounds. And thus, that is the memory I hold onto.

Kind of an interesting self-reflection — probably not of interest to anyone else but me, but I thought I would share nonetheless.

A melody for Elly

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Marty and I were out in Cheyenne to visit our little granddaughter and her parents last week. We both brought our musical instruments in the hopes of entertaining the little sweetie.
On the second day we were there “little miss bright eyes” was up and a bit fussy so Grandpa got his guitar out. I was holding her and walking her to keep her occupied and he started warming up. I could feel her heart beat speed up and her eyes got even bigger. Once she got into the music her heart beat slowed down and she couldn’t take her eyes off her grandpa.
It was a joy to see how the guitar music intrigued her and took her little mind off whatever was making her contrary. Music seems to do that for big people as well – both those listening and those who are playing the tunes.

Magic Happens

I was taking my usual brisk walk along the Katy Trail this afternoon and found myself unconsciously wearing a big smile. Of course I would be happy, the sun is shining so brightly this afternoon and the air is cold enough for a fleece jacket you wrap around your waist half way to the I-70 bridge.

I am struck by what an unbelievable magician our Creator is. Here I am walking along the river and the sparkling reflection of the sunlight on the water is accompanying me as I walk. I mean, who could have thought of that light show right at your side without even asking for it???? I am amazed by nature’s beauty that I witness every single day. And there is magic, always magic.

Today the new moon is in Sagittarius — my sun sign. The new moon offers us an opportunity to start new beginnings, planting seeds for the future. So here I am on the page, planning on being a better listener to the still small voice down deep inside. And this blog offers a place to share the insights my spirit whispers to me along the way — a small ray of light that might touch you somewhere deep down there too.

Would love to hear how the Creator’s magic has touched your life…….