Recently, I was taking an online course and had the opportunity to hear a video presentation by Hemalayaa, a lifestyle coach and motivational speaker, about the importance of movement in our lives. According to Hemalayaa, movement is a way for us to integrate our whole self – the child self, the mother or goddess self, and the grandmother self into one integrated being. But many of us separate these different parts of ourselves and don’t see their connection to one another. Therefore, we do not feel whole. That’s why we compare ourselves to others or depend on others to validate us. But when we acknowledge and integrate these three different parts of ourselves, they enable us to be fully alive and present in our lives. When we are willing to do the work, movement can transform us and make us whole again.
Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle is a delightful blend of sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. Beautiful fresh flowers, scrumptious produce, handcrafted journals, handmade soaps, fresh seafood – fishmongers actually throw fish behind the counter to be wrapped! – and live music are only a sampling of the wonderful items that are found there. During my recent visit to Seattle, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with my family in this captivating place. We walked through the open air market and were completely entranced by the unique gifts and foods that surrounded us.
This past weekend, I traveled across the country to attend my sister’s graduation. As I sat in the large auditorium and watched the procession of graduates, I realized it had been a long time since I had attended a graduation ceremony. I could feel the excitement in the air – the anticipation of new opportunities and the joy of fulfilling lifelong dreams. For many students, they were at a crossroads. This was a time of celebration and closure after years of hard work as well as a time of new beginnings filled with possibilities and hope.
Mother's Day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the important women in our lives – the women who nurture us, support us, encourage us, and love us through all of life’s circumstances. But even more importantly, these women – even if they don’t have children of their own – empower us to be the best people we can be. For many of us, these women are our mothers, and they play a vital role in our lives. When we need something, our mothers are there. But for others of us, this important role may be filled by aunts, sisters, grandmothers, teachers, friends, or neighbors. No matter who these women are, they help shape who we become. They are our biggest allies and supporters.
This past week, I went on vacation with my family to South Carolina. With its sandy beaches and lush palm trees, it was a picture-perfect place. But what I loved the most was our trip to Bulls Island. This remote island north of Charleston is part of the Cape Romaine Wildlife Refuge and is only accessible by boat. It is undeveloped and is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We arrived at the landing on Tuesday morning just before 9 a.m. and walked down the long wooden pier. Boarding the small ferry, we were excited for our upcoming adventure. On our way over to the island, we learned about oysters and their importance to the estuary. We also got to see some amazing wildlife – egrets, oyster catchers, and a baby dolphin that swam in the water alongside the boat. Once the ferry was docked, we stepped onshore and began our hike through the wilderness to the sandy beach that was located on the opposite side of the island. The sun shone brightly in the clear blue sky, and we breathed in the fresh air, eager for whatever treasures we might discover along the way. (My kids were desperately hoping to find unbroken sand dollars, so they could take them home as souvenirs.) As we strolled along the grassy path, we soon came upon three alligators sunning themselves. But our arrival didn’t seem to bother them – in fact, they didn’t even move. Our captain had explained on the ferry ride to the island that alligators don’t eat people; they only eat things they can swallow whole. However, we decided to give these alligators a wide berth just in case. As we walked around them, I was amazed at the alligators’ ability to bask in the sunshine and not let our presence distract them. They were completely relaxed and calm, totally indifferent to our existence. They were doing exactly what they needed to do – soak up the sun’s warmth.