Messages From Mom The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more

How Color Therapy Works

When our chakras are balanced, we become vessels through which the energy of the universe can flow freely.

This ancient practice uses color to balance the body's chakras. In color therapy, each specific chakra has a corresponding color: red connects with the root chakra, orange with the sacral chakra, yellow with the solar plexus chakra, green with the heart chakra, blue with the throat chakra, indigo with the third eye, and violet with the crown chakra.

One of the best ways to balance the energy within yourself is to change the energy within your home. By applying the principles of color therapy to home decorating, you can banish any last dregs of stale energy and open your home and your life to the fresh, vibrant currents of spring.

What colors do what?

Violet

As the color related to the crown chakra, this calming shade heightens our awareness while fostering a sense of calm and enhancing our purpose. A violet candle on your bedside table will help you wind down at the end of a long day. Or consider using a violet-colored floor pillow during meditation to deepen your practice.

Indigo

This color stimulates to the third eye and helps you open up to your intuition. Add this shade of higher knowledge and divine understanding to your study or office with a wall hanging to stimulate those creative thoughts.

Blue

The color of the throat chakra, blue balances our communication center. Use this color in any area of your home where you want to create a more open, flowing dialogue. The bedroom, perhaps?

Green

As the color for the heart chakra, green works to spur balance and harmony in our lives. Decorating with houseplants is a great way to bring in living, breathing touches of tolerance and acceptance into your home.

Yellow

This invigorating solar plexus color helps us stay confident and in control of our lives. A coat of yellow paint can add vitality to any home gym or workout space. Just be sure to minimize the amount of yellow you use in restful areas of your home, like your bedroom, since the color can be very stimulating.

Orange

This warm tone relates to the sacral chakra, which is home to your creative center and sense of adventure. The sacral chakra is also the center of passion and sexuality. Add a burst of orange flowers in your bedroom to balance your sacral chakra and invite more passion and adventure into your sex life.

Red

The root chakra is the foundation chakra. It is responsible for our most basic and primal needs: feelings of safety, security, and identity. When our root chakra is balanced, we feel grounded and secure. Red cookware in your kitchen and a red rug in your living area can create a sense of stability and ease in your home.

To the world you may be just one person, but, to one person you may be the world

It's Your Birthday, Morgan! Happy 30th, a whole new decade full of promise...

March 5, 2017

How to Have Hard Conversations—Without Conflict

Disagreements are an inevitable part of life—common among lovers, friends, strangers, coworkers, Twitter followers—and not inherently bad. But sometimes the divide between individuals’ beliefs/thoughts/actions can feel oppressively large, a gap too wide to bridge—or ignore. For seemingly-impossible-to-navigate conflicts of every kind, we’ve long turned toward co-founders of the remarkable integrative health center Be Hive of Healing, Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherri Sami—who never fail to produce unparalleled, level-headed guidance, regardless of the quagmires we throw at them.

If confrontation without conflict sounds like an oxymoron—Sami and Sadeghi explain that often the people who do the best job at pissing us off are the same people who present us with the best opportunities to learn something unexpected about ourselves. The answer to why someone irritates us to no end, it turns out, could be remarkably enlightening with a slight perspective shift, whereas trying to force someone to change, or just out-and-out hating them, is rarely (if ever) effective (never mind far from enlightening). While this doesn’t mean we should put up with someone else’s sh*t, Sadeghi and Sami’s advice changes the way we approach confrontation (or as we’ve come to fondly call it, carefrontation) in order to resolve many of the universal hang-ups surrounding perennially fraught relationships and difficult conversations.

Tough Conversations Don’t Have to Devolve Into Drama

“If you think you are enlightened, go home for Thanksgiving,” the spiritual leader Ram Dass once said. It’s refreshing to know that even wise teachers like him aren’t above being irritated by people who know how to push their buttons. But emotional and spiritual growth isn’t always about getting along with everyone all the time. There will always be a partner, co-worker, boss, parent, sibling, or in-law who rubs us the wrong way. The key to reducing the drama in these kinds of relationships isn’t to convince the other person that we’re right, or to change the person, but to better understand ourselves, and why we allow these situations to trigger certain emotions in us. When we do understand those dynamics better, we can consciously navigate challenging relationships more effectively, with far less drama: Even confrontation doesn’t have to involve conflict.

Poison from the Past

The people who irritate us have a lot in common with poison ivy (although we don’t actually get a rash when we’re around them—it just feels like it): When someone is exposed to poison ivy for the first time, they actually do not have any physical reaction. In fact, the vast majority of people have no idea they’ve even come into contact with the toxic plant. However, on the unseen level beneath the skin’s surface, something is happening: The body absorbs the antigen from the poison ivy, breaks it down and produces antibodies against it, which it stores in the vacuoles (tiny cavities within tissue) for later use. It’s only when a person comes into contact with poison ivy a second time (and thereafter), that the typical rash and blisters appear. In order for the painful effects of the secondary exposure to occur, there must have been a primary exposure at some point in time, even if it isn’t remembered.

“The people who irritate us have a lot in common with poison ivy.”

Our subconscious works in much the same way. When we are emotionally triggered by another person, it’s a similar process to the body’s physical reaction to a biological irritant to which it’s been previously exposed. Our anger, irritation, resentment, or jealousy is the emotional blistering or secondary conflict—that’s actually the reaction from an older, primary emotional conflict of which we’re entirely unaware, or that we’ve long forgotten.

Missing the Mark

In medicine, there’s an unfortunate and overwhelming tendency to focus on symptoms or effects, rather than the cause of illness. With the proliferation of thousands of different kinds of drugs today, it’s much easier (and maybe more profitable) to write someone a prescription to treat their symptoms, rather than taking the time to discover what’s actually causing the symptoms and eliminate disease at its primary level. In the same way, it’s very easy to mistake a person who irritates us, and the upset we feel, as our primary conflict, especially when we’re triggered in a powerful way. We think that if we can get them to come over to our way of thinking, or to do something we want them to do, then our pain will go away—that is, until we’re exposed to the next romantic partner, boss, or co-worker who irritates us in the same way. In both medicine and emotions, we tend to focus solely on the secondary conflict—fighting to get what we want in the moment versus discovering what we really need in the long run—so nothing actually gets solved or healed.

Owning Our Emotions

Another interesting fact about poison ivy is that after the primary exposure, not everyone gets a severe rash and blistering on repeated contact. Some people have no reaction at all. In a similar fashion, not everyone in the office is irritated to the same extent by that co-worker who you find to be a total jerk. Why is that? There’s an old saying that goes: You spot it; you got it. That means you don’t have a reaction to something unless there’s a corresponding element of it inside of you, too.

For example, think back to the last time you got a new car. In the months following, you may have suddenly started noticing your car all over the roads, driven by other people, at stoplights, in parking lots, and on the highway. You were noticing all the different colors and models whereas only a year ago, in your old car, fifty of those cars could drive by you completely unnoticed. What changed? Were there suddenly more of that kind of car on the road? No. You got one of those cars for yourself, it entered your consciousness, and you started noticing it everywhere. In the same way we acknowledge ourselves as the owners of our cars, we have to own all of our emotions, and not blame our reactions on other people if we intend to improve our most difficult relationships. At the end of the day, no one can make us feel anything. Present feelings arise from thoughts based on our past experiences.

"How you choose to relate to yourself, inside yourself, is far more important than what is occurring outside yourself!"

If you notice your mother-in-law’s tendency to be controlling, and it upsets you, then perhaps her behavior might be triggering a deeper issue within you from a previous relationship that has something to do with control, freedom, or independence. This isn’t to excuse anyone’s bad behavior, but to see your reaction to this secondary conflict as an opportunity to explore a little deeper. Your present upset is an invitation to resolve a primary conflict—so that you aren’t as triggered in your current relationship, and can deal with the person in a calm, conscious manner regardless of how they choose to behave. Eventually, as you cultivate deeper loving consciousness toward this person, they will likely either change the way they behave toward you or redirect their energy at someone else. You also cultivate emotional mastery over your life through holding a more accurate understanding: How you choose to relate to yourself, inside yourself, is far more important than what is occurring outside yourself!

Asking the Right Questions

Whenever you find yourself triggered, the most important and difficult thing to do is to refer inwardly instead of attacking outwardly. It’s to ask yourself:

Regardless of how awful this person is behaving, what does this situation have to say about me?

To the extent that this situation may be an opportunity for deeper learning, then what am I to learn from this?

How could I have drawn this person or situation into my life in service of learning and growing?

Go beyond what you want in the moment and identify the feelings the situation is bringing up for you: Why do I feel disrespected? When have I felt unloved before? How have I or someone else taken me for granted?

Through a process known as projection, the subconscious gives us a valuable tool to answer many of these questions. It causes us to project our primary unresolved conflicts outward onto other people, just like a movie projector shines an image on a screen, where we can see it. The key lies in recognizing that our external or secondary conflict is really an illusion, a trick of the light, and that its primary source is inside of us.

For example, a wife who criticizes her husband because he never says she’s beautiful almost certainly doesn’t believe herself that she’s beautiful. So she projects this subconscious insecurity outward onto her husband for external validation. Perhaps her primary conflict was based in a memory of someone once saying she’d be beautiful, “…if she only lost some weight.” Now, even at a healthy weight, she still can’t see herself as beautiful. When this primary conflict is resolved, she won’t be affected whether her husband does or doesn’t comment on her beauty because she’ll see her own beauty and be in charge of her own emotions.

Emotional Growth Fuels Advancement

Engaging in this way of being isn’t just important for emotional and spiritual development. Our physical advancement in life is also largely dependent on identifying and resolving the primary emotional conflicts in our lives. Otherwise, our unconscious and uncontrolled reactions and the behaviors that arise from them will hold us back. How many times does someone have to be fired or divorced or declare bankruptcy before they ask, Maybe it’s not all about everyone else? Maybe it has something to do me?

To better understand how what does or doesn’t occur within ourselves affects everything in our physical world, think about physical life (seen) as moving along a horizontal X axis and our spiritual life (unseen) rising on a vertical Y axis. It’s the cultivation of things like love, courage, trust, authenticity, and self-awareness in the unseen realm that fuels our forward momentum into a better life in the seen realm, and helps us accomplish more of what we want, including the kind of relationships we’d like to have.

Conflicts and Health Consequences

Success in the physical realm includes good health; and over time, the stress and negative energy from unresolved conflicts (regardless of whether we’re conscious of them or not), will take their toll on our bodies. Whenever we’re upset on the seen realm, you can be sure there is a corresponding action happening inside our bodies, first chemically and then physically.

We recently saw a patient who was diagnosed with advanced tongue cancer. Her tumor was so large that all the other doctors she’d seen recommended having her entire tongue removed, which would have meant never speaking or swallowing again. We soon learned she had a terrible relationship with her ex-husband. He’d been verbally abusive in their marriage, during which she felt she had to hold her tongue most of the time. Near the end of the marriage, she’d gotten into the habit of literally biting the side of her tongue when dealing with the stress of the situation (a habit that stuck with her after their divorce). We believe that the energy from her anger and the belief that she didn’t have the right to speak up on her own behalf most likely was transferred to her nervous habit and played a role in her cancer. After working with her to discover the primary injury that caused her to silence herself, we were able to address that issue and help her deal with her ex-husband in a way that served her and improved her experience of the relationship. After several months of physical treatment and doing this emotional work, her body responded. Her tumor had shrunk to the point where surgeons were finally optimistic that they could remove it without taking the tongue. She’d still need physical therapy afterward, but she wouldn’t be debilitated.

A Common Journey

Our own unresolved primary conflicts can have disastrous effects on our relationships (and even set our children up for their own if we don’t learn how to parent from a conscious perspective). We see many people at our Transformational Intensive workshops (and in the couples’ version) who experience profound breakthroughs in resolving primary conflicts. The amazing thing is that even though a person may come to us to improve a particular relationship, once they understand this work, all their relationships improve—most of all, the one they have with themselves.

“All this means is that you can see them as another soul doing their best—given their consciousness at this time—to work out their own primary conflicts, most of which they’re not conscious of.”

When you have to interact with someone who pushes your emotional buttons or becomes defensive, it’s important to recognize their divine essence. All this means is that you can see them as another soul doing their best—given their consciousness at this time—to work out their own primary conflicts, most of which they’re not conscious of. Just that shift in perspective can be significant enough to cultivate some compassion and de-escalate the emotional reaction from your side. Keep in mind, they’re on the same journey of emotional maturity and spiritual development as you; they’re just taking a different route.

Perception-checking goes a long way toward calming the other person down if things get out of hand: Repeat back to the person what they said to you, so they can be reassured you know what’s important to them. Most often, all we want in the heat of the moment is to be understood. This is done by saying things like: Just so I understand, you… It sounds to me like you’re saying… Or, What I hear you say is… Follow this with a short paraphrase of what they’ve shared and leave them with an honest and heartfelt inquiry: Is this accurate?

“Most often, all we want in the heat of the moment is to be understood.”

If you find yourself heated: After the fact, go within and ask questions that can lead you to how or why you might be feeling the way that you do, and what primary conflicts might be involved in your reactions. Also consider practicing cathartic Purge Emotional Writing for twelve minutes.

Keep in mind, this kind of work does not mean you must allow yourself to be verbally abused or that you can’t speak your mind. It does, however, give you a path that nurtures higher psychospiritual faculties within yourself. It’s the essence of what we call transforming a confrontation into a carefrontation—because you can approach it with love for yourself, concern for the other person, and respect for the healing process.

LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home—

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?

Surely not me? The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay—

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again,

America!

O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain—

All, all the stretch of these great green states—

And make America again!

Seek to Understand Before Trying to Be Understood

The Journey

By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do,

Though the voices around you kept shouting

their bad advice‚

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly recognized as your own,

that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do--

determined to save the only life you could save.

Don't f***ing Drown!

When a someone jumps into the water to save a drowning person, they clearly have the most honorable intentions, but, if they're not careful, they'll both sink. So make sure you can swim in the worst of the storms before you try to carry another to the shore. The only life you can save is your own.

How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?

None of us can escape having our hearts' being broken. At some point, relationships that we treasure will end. Some will go because we grow out of them. Some because the people we love will pass away. We will fall out of love with people and some will, beyond our comprehension, fall out of love with us. It's all a part of life. It's still hurts beyond most anything we know. Psychologists say that breaking up lights up the part of our brains that are the same points that trigger when we are scalded...that is intense pain!

So if it's unavoidable, what can we do? I have a few ideas but none will take the pain away. What I hope I can help with is to soften the sting and help all of us come away from the experience ready to love again...even better and with open hearts.

First, nothing works if we don't look inside ourselves and take responsibility for our part in things. You are half of the relationship. That doesn't mean you are 50% of the reason things didn't work out. That does mean that you are part of the reason you stayed there as long as you did if you feel you stuck around longer than was healthy for you. Take stock and grow from your own contributions to what worked and what didn't. Don't beat yourself up about any of it. Just be curious and ask yourself some questions about why you needed to be there in the relationship. What felt good and what didn't? Did you listen to your instincts? Why?

2. Is this the first time you've been here? Again, why? What is it about this man or woman that filled a need for you? Can you find another way to nurture that need? A healthier way?

3. Let go. . . stop stalking. It hurts you to stalk your ex on Facebook. Seeing them at parties and vacations without you is punishing yourself. Chances are you're posting stuff about yourself to make yourself look happier than you really feel, aren't you? If you left your ex you can be damn sure they are on a social media campaign, either consciously or not, to make themselves, their families and friends know they are moving on and doing great! That will make you nuts. Step away from the computer/iPhone!

3. Don't ask for more info about your ex. Give yourself a safe place, an ex-free zone for a few months. Take it from one who knows, this gives you room to heal. You need space, literally and figuratively to start a new life.

4. Create your own "this is my new life/that was my old life" ceremony! You will treasure this. I went to Acapulco on the day that our divorce was final and had an Independence Day ceremony. It happened to be our wedding anniversary day. I picked up a shell and wrote the date and Independence Day on it. It changed the meaning of the date from one that could have been a difficult reminder of something that felt lost to me, into something that felt reclaimed. My marriage to your Dad had been more than 20 years of wonderful memories shared with the 3 of you and I continue to look back over those years with gratitude. I treasure the photographs of those times and the memories they evoke. But it was important to me to change what that date would mean to me going forward. So to be clear, I don't suggest that you in any way deny what was meaningful and good about any relationship you've had.. Keep those gems wrapped up like a gift. And then repackage your future so that it now works for YOU. Because the one person who is along for the ride with you for the rest of your life, your best companion, is YOU!

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Happy Birthday Jason!!! September 9, 2016

Enjoy the Ride!

Pico Iyer is a global travel writer whose stories have taken him to the snowy mountains of Japan and a film festival in Pyongyang, North Korea. I met him over dinner and heard him speak at the Getty. I love his books, they take me to place both physically and in my mind that I've never been. He wrote these wise ideas about building a habit of productive stillness, even at the airport and while flying, that I thought I'd share with you.

Settle down early. Iyer says, “I try to keep distractions to a minimum and pitch myself swiftly into the great blue, bracing ocean of free time. So I tend to board as early as I can, and take up my favored position next to the right-hand window. I plunge into a project or book within 30 seconds of settling into my seat, and hope that it will carry me so far away that I barely notice the commotion of squawking kids, oversized luggage and sometimes startled chihuahuas proceeding down the aisle. For the rest of the flight, I barely stir. I try to rest as if in a capsule hotel in Osaka.”

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A tray table pro-tip. While some people prefer an exit row seat for that little bit of extra space, Iyer counterintuitively suggests sticking with normal seats — because they have better tray tables. “I try to avoid bulkhead seats and exit rows where the table comes up from the seat itself and not down from the seat ahead of me.” There’s less risk of your seatmate jostling your work or your coffee into your lap.

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Pack simply to use the hours wisely. Iyer requires only three thing to while away his plane time: “a book, a pen and a notebook.” He makes sure all three are packed in his carry-on.

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Put email on hold. Says Iyer, “Even if, like me, you’re not a formal meditator, it’s often possible to clear your head and still your being, as meditators do. I use flights as a rare chance to give my mind a break, and allow it to run loose like a dog on a beach. I can’t (or at least don’t) do emails on planes, and no calls can reach me, so I enjoy what has become the greatest luxury in life for many of us: an open space in the calendar in which to do nothing at all and be freed from obligation.”

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Wait until landing to talk to your seatmate (for both your sakes). “I tend to engage my neighbor in conversation only a few minutes before we land, so he or she doesn’t feel they are trapped for sixteen hours with the seatmate from hell. And if my seatmate is somehow disturbing me, I try to train my concentration elsewhere; it’s a safe bet that while I can’t change them, I can change myself.” That said, Iyer does see value in starting the conversation. “I often remember seatmates I used to meet when I was flying to school as a little boy of nine. It was as if I had the whole cast of Great Expectations around me in those seats. I remember one burly guy who assured me he was an actor, a pro football player and someone who had boxed against Muhammad Ali. At nine, I believed it all!”

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Take a first-class perspective, wherever you are sitting. “Glamour is about what you do, not what you have. So for me, I embrace the chance to sit back, to have food brought to me in my seat and to do nothing at all. If someone kindly offers to fly me somewhere in business class, I’ll often ask if he or she would send me economy and give me the difference in money instead. I’d much rather use that extra money for nineteen more trips to London.”

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Treat a delay like a snow day. Iyer keeps a positive outlook through inevitable delays. “Since there’s nothing I can do to make the plane arrive or leave faster, I take delays as an extra period of free time,” he says. “I try to think of them as I would have a snow day when I was in junior high school. I try to find some Awake tea. Then I take a book to a quiet spot in the light and I read or, sometimes, work.”

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See jet lag as an opportunity. “Jet lag is a foreign state in which I spend maybe eight weeks of every year. Since that is almost a sixth of my life, I try to wander around it as appreciatively as I might wander around Bangkok or Havana. I’m good for nothing for an entire week after crossing either the Atlantic or Pacific — in either direction. So I try to work this foreign influence to my advantage. Walking the streets of Singapore all night while under jet lag’s spell lets me see a side of the city — and a side of myself — that I never see in the normal run of things.”

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And keep a mental catalogue of the wonderful spaces you find in airports. Iyer says, “Tampa International Airport is unusually good for working, and the new Logan Airport in Boston is full of lovely spaces in which to write. Changi Airport in Singapore is like the city of one’s dreams, with its butterfly forests, swimming pools, free movies and quiet spaces. In Terminal One, they have little fish that, by biting your feet, administer a kind of mystical foot massage. At Kansai International Airport in Osaka, I love the Royce’ Chocolates shop. I also love the exhibitions along the corridors in San Francisco International Airport, and the showers in the amazing ANA Lounge at Narita International Airport in Japan. There are outlets of brilliant independent bookstores to be found in many a terminal — I especially love Books and Books at Miami International Airport and Tattered Cover at the Denver International Airport. No amenity, though, compares with reliability, courtesy and seamless efficiency.” Thank goodness, these are to be found all over.

Thanksgiving 2016

This being my favorite holiday of the year, I want to take a moment of gratitude and to remind you of a few of the things about YOU that I am THANKFUL for.

You three are extraordinary. Your motivating factor is always from a place of love. When you do things it's clear that you do them with good intentions and that makes you authentic and trustworthy. You've each proven yourselves to be generous and kind-hearted. I'm proud that you work hard and are quick to roll up your sleeves and get dirty if you need to in order to get a job done well. You support each other and me, and knowing we all have each other ALWAYS gives us all confidence to move through life knowing we have unconditional love from one another.

When I was younger I thought about what I hoped to accomplish and be. And then you came into the world and everything changed. The greatest joy in my life was the joy I found in you. I realized that nothing mattered more than doing what I could to make this a better place for you to grow up in and to help you find ways to smooth your paths in the world in ways that would bring you happiness.

I learned from Oz and Gramps to be strong and to fight for what mattered. More than anything, what mom and dad gave me was a sense that above everything else, family is our foundation, our home base. I hope that I've passed that on to you. I recognize in the three of you a fierce loyalty to each other. You know that you are there to build each other up and to have each other's back. It's one of my greatest source of pride to see how you are there for each other with unconditional love and acceptance.

In the larger world you have a different obligation, to leave it better than you found it. Not just because that's what you heard me and others say to you but because when you take care of others, you gain a perspective that the world is infinitely bigger than our small concerns. You improve your own life by helping others. And you are the guardian for the earth that your own children will inherit.

In the quiet of night I lay in bed and replay my favorite memories of our times together...eating seedless watermelon on the beach in East Hampton, snow cones and sushi in Hawaii, making up our private religious services on the balcony or the botanical gardens, driving around to look at Christmas lights at night, watching you skateboard...everywhere, breaking out the windows in my car after they were cracked, driving to Colorado in the snow, a girls trip to Los Angeles, Jazz Fest, art classes together, sitting on the floor at the Modern and drawing the winged Kiefer, jumping on the trampoline, Valentine's dinners, painting on flower pots, racing and cooking lobsters, breakfasts in bed, green footprints and kisses on St Patrick's Day, making homemade books, reading together under the blanket, soccer games, football games, baseball games, lacrosse games, wrestling tournaments, boxing tournaments, Colorado, Costa Rica, Cabo, Australia, Morocco, San Quirco d'Orcia, Chicago, New Orleans, Jackson ... The joy you've brought me is endless.

I am GRATEFUL to have our family, that loves and cares about each other in an authentic way. It's rare. And precious. And it requires care.

So remember to call each other when it's not a birthday. Take the time to go see each other. Treat each other with even more respect and patience than you would your colleagues and friends. They know all about your good stuff and your not so good stuff and STILL LOVE YOU! Send a note occasionally or a little surprise to each other and remember each others special dates.

My dream for you is that you will continue to grow to be compassionate and committed adults and that you will find the things in life that bring you tremendous joy. Be happy. Be healthy. Laugh loudly and long. Live a deliciously glorious life.

And know that you are loved, always.

The greatest journey we will ever take is to travel the distance from our hearts to our heads.

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. -Raoul Dahl

Having money is a bit like owning a chicken. If you care for the chicken it will produce eggs that you can live off for years. If you get greedy and fry the chicken, then you'll feast for a night, and then starve.

my Green Bean Casserole

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 regular can Cambell's Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 Cup Half & Half Milk (if you want this to be less rich use regular milk)

2 cans FRENCH CUT green beans (if you can’t find these use the slender green beans) The frozen ones cause the casserole to be too watery)

salt and pepper to taste

fresh or dry garlic powder

1 1/3 to 1 1/2 C French’s fried onions

Seasoning Salt, Salt, Pepper, Paprika to taste

Mix together in large bowl everything except the onions. Add the seasonings to taste. You can experiment with other seasonings but don’t make it too strong. Add half the onions into the mix and add to a casserole dish.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir and top with the rest of the fried onions. Bake 5 minutes longer or union the onions are golden.

Enjoy! Love you, Mom

Created By
Kathy Suder
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by tookapic - "stars blue american flag" • geralt - "board heart play" • bytekut - "Arial View on airplane" • Steve A Johnson - "green bean casserole"

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