Gratitude 2.0

No one will argue the benefits of practicing gratitude.  Count your blessings, look on the bright side of life, be thankful for what you have, the wise advise.  Sure, it’s good for us, and enjoyable too, to acknowledge our wins — an achievement, acquisition, validation, improvement.  But what about gratitude when things don’t go our way at all — during loss, failure, uncertainty, rejection? GRATITUDE 2.0 Lately, I am practicing my gratitude on this deeper level.  Advanced gratitude.  Gratitude 2.0, I’ll call it.  The foundational pre-requisite for this course is humility, the acceptance that perhaps I don’t know what is…

I Didn’t Think It Would Be like This

Here we visit those infamous partners in sorrow – expectation, and resistance.  We expect life to turn out a certain way.  In annoyance and complaint, we resist what actually happens.  This painting is of the DARKNESS chapter of Millennial Mom’s tale. WANTING AND WISHING And this is the noble truth of the arising of sorrow. It arises from craving… — The Pali Canon If only ____, life would be better.  Many of us seek happiness in achievement and lifestyle, in living well.  We are certain the answers lie in the right relationship;  in financial security or status;  in the comfort…

Millennial Mom Battles the Sweet Demon

This painting, Millennial Mom Battles the Sweet Demon, is of the Descent chapter of the Millennial Mom: I Have a Probem with Fantasy series.  I hope my artistic abilities are sufficient to convey this noose is made of candy, meant to symbolize those substances we turn to, which, when used in excess, (with fixation, imbalance, and loss of control) can harm us, either mentally, spiritually or physically. THE NAMELESS YEARNING Many of us turn to a substance/behavior to meet our fundamental needs that are not met.  We feel a nameless yearning for something other.  Believing we cannot handle these uncomfortable…

Forgive Me

Forgive Me, is a pivotal work in the final chapter of the Millennial Mom story. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE Want freedom from suffering?  A good place to start is to face your painful truth.  In trying to make sense of challenging outcomes, rather than blaming those things we cannot control – other people, society, fate/the universe/God/whatever-you-believe-in –  instead, look within. After many years of struggle, I’ve found freedom in honestly and humbly looking at my part, in how things go down.  How have I contributed to what is troubling me?  Where have I selfishly wanted life to go…

I Didn’t See This Coming

LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE One of the basic laws of life is the constant of change.   Living in fear and resistance, it can be too much.  Lack of care for psychological stress can tip one into despair. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. — Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), John Lennon THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL Our culture teaches us we can get what we want if only we try harder, sacrificing to get where we want to be.  Today’s norms have us moving away from family support,  over-committing ourselves so we can enjoy all life has…

Millennial Mom Battles Mediocrity

Millennial Mom’s tale begins with Myth, which examines our pursuit of happiness through perfection and validation from others.  In Millennial Mom Battles Mediocrity, I address the illusion that achieving a certain weight or physical accomplishment will deliver that sense of worthiness and wholeness we all desire.  That all will be right in our world, if only we be can be… better than we are now. WHAT I WAS DOING For years I pursued this illusion — if only I could lean down and get fit, look “beautiful”, wear my favorite clothes again, my worries would be over.   I would finally…

Millennial Mom Battles Monkey Mind

Meditation has saved me.  Along with exercise, a nutritious diet, great sleep, sunshine and fresh air, a daily meditation practice is key to my health and well-being. Much of our suffering is caused by our thinking.  We can free ourselves from this suffering by learning to recognize what is true in the present moment.  We do this through the regular practice of mindfulness, otherwise known as meditation.   – Tara Brach, PhD WHY MEDITATE Very practically, meditation has been shown to help manage pain, depression, stress, and cortisol levels, as well as raise our happiness set point, that point on…

Millennial Mom Surrenders…And It’s Not What You Think

I love this painting, because it is one of the transformational points in the Millennial Mom story. Deep in her emotional underworld of despair and grief, she finds the key to change and resiliency. When most people think of surrender, they think of weakness, and failure. I think surrender is about strength, faith and maturity, and is critical to peace of mind. Just let go. Let go of how you thought life should be, and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness. – unknown, quote found in my journal OUR CULTURE OF MAKING IT…

Sigh…It’s No Batmobile

The dreaded minivan. This was the day my ego….perhaps not died…but definitely took a big hit. It was difficult to accept that a very unsexy minivan was the practical choice for our large family and stretched resources. For one who values beauty and style, it was very humbling to accept yet another hit against my delusions of sexy and cool. I tried to christen her “Deathstar”, or even “Party Bus,” to maintain some element of boss. My kids settled on “Giant Marshmallow.” But… you know, over time… function, peace of mind from responsible spending, and the freedom of regard for protecting something…