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Need a little TLC for yourself?

Grab some paper and a pen and listen to this 30-minute audio conversation I had with Lauri Mackay, proprietor of Lauri’s Lemonade Stand. Lauri has just launched her book, “Positivity Happens: Creating Happiness and Finding Hope Through the Art of Holiatry.”

I think you’ll love our upbeat + energetic conversation about joy as a holistic practice. During our conversation, Lauri walks you through a really simple and fun exercise that helps you create a Self-Care Date that is perfect for you.

If you click on over to the page on my website with the audio conversation, you can also find out more about Lauri — including how to purchase her book + also a link to her November Positivity Podcast when I got to be a special guest.

P.S. In related self-care news, just a reminder about the personal retreat series I wrote for Kind Over Matter:

My friend Tamara has three awesome daughters. I’ve never met them in person, but I’ve loved them from afar whenever I hear stories about them from Tamara.

These three wonderful teens —Cassidy, McKenna + Cori — got wind of my Love List idea last year and they decided to make a video for their dad, Steve.

The first time I watched this video, I was in tears the whole time. It was simply so moving to witness the love these girls have for their Dad and the creative way they expressed it.

You might choose to watch this video to get inspiration for a Dad’s day gift for your own father or for your children’s dad.

Or, you might watch it just because you want to feel that warm tug at your heartstrings.

No matter why you watch it, I hope you’ll be sure to notice how infectious love is. We don’t have to know this family in order to be uplifted by their love.

When people put love into action, the ripples are felt for many miles and many moons.

For those of you who may want to try a Love List video yourself — for Father’s Day, birthdays, graduation or other occasions, below are some things I learned from Cassidy, McKenna + Cori.

A few great tips you can learn from these awesome gals:

  • Go for connection, not perfection. (They let themselves be goofy and didn’t let small glitches get in the way of the joy.)
  • Include just a few heartwarming or fun photos at the start of your video to set the mood.
  • Be completely yourself! (I just love how each of their personalities shines through in the video.)
  • Tag on some outtakes or bloopers at the end. (This part is so much fun!)
  • Set your video to upbeat music that the recipient will love.
  • Include something unexpected. (The cat talking! The ending shot of their feet!)
  • Don’t wait. The idea is here in front of you at this moment. Think of someone whom you want to pay tribute to and say it now!

If you make a video — or your children make a video—  I hope you’ll  tell us about it in the Facebook comments or via email to me!

Thank you to Cassidy, McKenna + Cori for giving me permission to post this creative and loving Father’s Day gift video they made in 2017 for their Dad.

Hopefully it might inspire you to give a Love List Video Gift for someone in your life!

For those of you who may want to try a Love List video yourself — for Father’s Day, birthdays, graduation or other occasions, below are some things I learned from Cassidy, McKenna + Cori. 
 
A few great tips you can learn from these awesome gals:

  • Go for connection, not perfection. (They let themselves be goofy and didn’t let small glitches get in the way of the joy.)
  • Include just a few heartwarming or fun photos at the start of your video to set the mood.
  • Be completely yourself! (I just love how each of their personalities shines through in the video.)
  • Tag on some outtakes or bloopers at the end. (This part is so much fun!)
  • Set your video to upbeat music that the recipient will love.
  • Include something unexpected. (The cat talking! The ending shot of their feet!)
  • Don’t wait. The idea is here in front of you at this moment. Think of someone whom you want to pay tribute to and say it now!

I want to tell you about an amazing couple and a creative gift idea they shared with me recently!

Maggie and Lacy live in a beach town in Oregon and have been together for five years. For as long as I’ve known them, I have never heard either one say one word that is negative or mean-spirited about the other.

In fact, when each one talks about the other, they positively glow with joy. They can’t help but grin. They use the word “love” repeatedly. And if they were cartoon characters, you’d see their hearts gleefully boing-boing-ing out of their chests.

Maggie and Lacy are one of my favorite couples in the world because they intentionally love each other and they make choices to express their love consistently and often — in unique and creative ways.

They practice putting love into action.

💥💓💥

Ready for an example?! Wheeeee … I hope you will try this out for your own partner/spouse — or children!

How to leave behind a Love Note Treasure Hunt

Maggie is a renowned photographer and she travels a lot for her work. Lacy is a successful entrepreneur and life coach who also travels a lot for business. So the two of them began a tradition very early on in their relationship of leaving the other one a card when she headed out of town. Lacy might hide a card in Maggie’s luggage or Maggie might leave a card propped up on the kitchen table for Lacy to find later.

“We created a foundation in our relationship that we would always give each other something to stay connected while we were apart,” Maggie explained.

“Then one day I was writing a card saying, ‘I’m going to miss you. I can’t wait to see you in five days when I return,’ and I thought maybe I should create more things to keep Lacy engaged and connected while I was gone. So on an impulse, at the end of that card, I wrote, ‘Clue: this gift we have is a token of our trip to the coast. What is imperfect to some, is perfect to others.’ I knew Lacy would know that I was referring to a souvenir vase that we had, which was cracked, but which we still loved.”

Maggie explained, “I wanted my first card to lead her to that vase. So I then wrote another card to put under that vase. I also thought to write on the first card, ‘Don’t read your second note until tomorrow!’”

Maggie had hit upon the beautiful and delightful idea to create a Love Note Treasure Hunt for Lacy!

She ended up writing five letters and leading Lacy to them with clues. Each note reminded Lacy not to read the next card until the next day. In that way, the two of them stayed very connected the whole time Maggie was away on business.

Lacy told me that she loved finding each card and savoring it, waiting to open it the next day. “I would pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning and open up my card from Maggie to read. When we’re at home together, we start our days together so this was a neat way to still start the day ‘together’ even though we were apart.”

Lacy continued, “Maggie and I love to go on adventures together. This gift made me feel like she and I were on an adventure together! There is so much excitement that happens in a moment of anticipation and Maggie gave me that gift of the feeling of being on a trip together and looking forward to the next adventure.”

Lacy also said that she and Maggie are huge fans of the book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman and that Maggie knows quality time is one way that Lacy feels loved.

The Treasure Hunt was a way for Maggie to give Lacy quality time together, even though they were separated geographically.

Brilliant, right? There are so many great elements to this gift!

Here are some things I especially love about this Treasure Hunt gift:

  • It begins with an intention to stay connected, even when the couple is apart.
  • Maggie’s first card she was writing would have been an amazing and loving gesture all on its own. But she listened to her creativity when it dropped in and took action immediately when the idea presented itself to write more than one card. She could have shrugged it off as “too much trouble” but instead, she chose to devote more time to a more loving gift.
  • Maggie also listened to the idea that dropped in about asking Lacy to open only one card a day. Again, a great idea got even better. By spacing out the opening of the cards, it kept the two of them “together” on this adventure for the whole five days Maggie was gone.
  • Lacy especially appreciated the “anticipation” aspect of the gift. This is a great reminder that looking forward to things is a big part of being a loving couple.
  • Maggie and Lacy both made it a point to read “The Five Love Languages” and to acknowledge the ways the other most feels loved. They pay attention and apply the principles of the book to bring more love into their relationship.

What do you think? Are you game to try this? Next time you go away, how ’bout leaving a Love Note Treasure Hunt behind!

For oodles of extra added inspiration, listen to this 23-minute audio conversation I had with Lacy and Maggie about creating this gift. They go into a lot of detail about how they intentionally keep their love alive in so many ways. You’ll love it!

 

Copyright info! The photos of Lacy and the love note card on this page are copyright Maggie Kirkland. The awesome wedding day couple photo is copyright Bryan Rupp. You can find out more about Maggie and Lacy, including links to their creative businesses, on this page with the audio conversation!

What you did for my mom!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I put out a request for folks to send birthday cards to my mom for her 80th?

Every day since then her box has been full of cards! She has been overwhelmed — in the most positive of ways!— by all your love and kindness.

My mom has been leaving me messages every single day telling me things like:

  • My mailbox is filled with cards!
  • I got a card from London + Las Vegas + New England + Switzerland today!
  • This wonderful person made a big donation to the homeless shelter in my name!
  • He bought everyone coffee to celebrate my birthday.
  • She bought socks for her grandchildren.
  • She gave herself permission to get the puppy she’s always wanted to celebrate my birthday!
  • They sent me beautiful handmade cards!
  • He told me he loves our dance videos.
  • I love all these cards and all these people; they are each so kind!

I want you all to know that the time you took to do this really had an impact. Not just on my mom. But on me, too.

Every single one of you who took the time to send a card also sent a pinprick of light out into the world. You took a stand for generosity, kindness, and joy. This means the world to me. 

My heart is filled with gratitude and joy every time I talk to my mom and hear about more letters she’s gotten. It makes me feel so connected to each and every one of you. Like we are all family!

My mom wants you to know how touched she is. She recorded a special message of gratitude for you. Listen here! 

Thank you so much!

Seek celebration—even in dark corners,
xo
Sherry

My wonderful mother, Becky, turned 80 last week Friday, April 27th.

I’ve been asking everyone I know if they’d be willing to send a card to my mom for her birthday. I wanted her to receive cards, before, during, and after the actual day so her birthday celebration goes on and on!

I’m hoping if you haven’t already sent her a card, that you might be willing to! (If you have already sent her one, please know how much this has meant to her — and to me! I’ll be reporting back soon to tell you the amazing story of it all!)

Before I officially ask you, let me tell you about my mom!

💥💓💥

She is someone who is always doing loving things for her family and friends. AND she is generous with people she doesn’t know, too.

You know how I send letters to strangers for my birthday? Well, my mom will always ask me if she can also send letters to the people who are going through a hard time. Last year, she sent some hand-embroidered dish towels to people, too.

She also bakes cookies and hands them out to hungry/homeless people around where she lives.

My mom goes out of her way to offer a friendly word or smile to people wherever she goes.

She is such a bright light.

You may remember “meeting” my mom in previous articles I’ve sent you …  like the one about “What I Learned from my Mom about Joy”  or “Reason #4354 Why I Love My Mom” or the one about Sister Ida and my mom’s love of books.

One of the things about my mom is that she has always written cards and letters to everyone in her life. Not an occasion goes by that she doesn’t send a greeting card and tuck in a $5 bill for “mad money.”

My mom is also really fun. She dresses up in crazy attire and participates in our goofy Holiday Hoopla every year. (She also lets us wreck the house completely! We hang decorations all over and move all her stuff around.)

One of her favorite places is Conneaut Lake Park, an amusement park where we always ride the carousel!

 

She loves Dance Parties! 
If you wanna small taste of how goofy and delightful my mom is, check out these Dance Party videos! Here’s one from 2013. Here’s another from last Christmas.

 

So here’s my favor! Will you help me celebrate her? 
I’m wondering if you would be willing to take 10 minutes out of your day to send her a greeting card for her birthday? She loves getting mail and it would be so great if she could receive lots of loving cards to celebrate her 80th!

(I realize, of course, that the cards will arrive after her birthday. That’s okay. That’s great, actually! I’d already enlisted a lot of my friends, who sent cards to arrive the week of her birthday. And I sent a newsletter out last week asking more folks to send cards. I want her to think the surprise is over. But then — NO WAY! — more and more cards will arrive next week or the week after! The fun just goes on and on.)

What to say or write? 
In your card, you could just tell her that you’ve gotten to know about her wonderful generous spirit through me. Or, if you like you could send her an uplifting quote. Or, if you are a fiction reader, you could tell her about your favorite book — she loves to read! (She’s the one who told me, “You’ll never be bored as long as you have a book!”)

As an extra wonderful gesture …. 
As an extra bonus oh-my-goodness bit of joy, if you were so inclined to offer an act of kindness on my mom’s behalf and then tell her about it, that would really make her day!!!

You could say, “I gave a homeless man $5 in honor of your birthday.” Or, “I sent my daughter a loving note in honor of your birthday.” Or, “I bought the little girl in line at the store a pair of pretty new socks in honor of your birthday.” (BTW, my mom is fanatical about sending everyone new socks all the time. Another Mom saying is, “You feel better about yourself if you have on a new pair of socks.”)

My mom especially loves family and if you did something loving and unexpected for someone in your family in honor of her birthday, that would be AMAZING!

💥💓💥

Will you do this for me?

It would mean so much!!!

If you are willing, just email me and I will give you her mailing address!

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. If you participate, I hope you will feel the authentic joy that comes from doing something to make someone smile — even if you don’t know that person or may never meet them! It’s fun to put love into action! Everyone has been reporting back to me how much fun they had doing this simple act of kindness.

P.P.S. Here’s a fun photo of my mom when she, my niece, and I all switched clothing as a goofy thing to do!

Remember in last week’s newsletter I told you that I had woken up with a line from Mary Oliver’s poem in my head: “What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I also told you that I was headed to Josephine’s Cabin for an overnight retreat.

As always, having that time away was absolutely life changing.

Something magical always happens when I set the intention to show up fully and to create a space for myself.

While there, I was thinking about a lot of things. I was thinking about that line of poetry. I was thinking about how much I love creative one-of-a-kind gifts that express love. I was thinking about getting certified as a high performance coach recently. I was thinking about the word “celebration” and what “simply celebrate” really means to me.

I turned on the recorder and started talking to myself about all these things. I was walking through the woods at the time and would stop to take a deep breath or to admire the buck and his deer family grazing in the nearby open meadow.

In the course of this conversation with myself, something happened. The word “intention” started popping up over and over.

I realized that intention braids together all these parts of my life.

I’m reminded of a favorite quote from the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less: “We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.”

When we stop to pause, it gives us the space to remember what is truly important. From that place, we can set intentions for who we want to be and how we want to live and love. 

💥💓💥

 

I want to tell you a small story about intention and how it can be a gift.

Last Sunday I had plans to get together in the evening with my beau, Ian. Since I had just been on my retreat at the cabin, I was feeling like it would be great to have a special connection with him.
I asked him if he wanted to go see the sunset with me from the top of Twin Peaks. And he said, “Great idea. Yes!”

Sunday morning, I texted him to say I was looking forward to seeing him. He texted back with an icon of the sunset and a heart. 🌇 ❤️

Something sparked in me and I thought, “I’m going to surprise Ian by packing up my picnic basket with a bottle of wine, some yummy cheese, crackers, and a bar of Ian’s favorite fancy chocolate. (I always have wine glasses and red-checked napkins/tablecloth in the basket ready to go.)

It was really fun to go to the market and get some things I knew he’d love to eat. Later, when it was time to get dressed, I was about to put on some jeans and a sweater, but then I thought, “No! I want to wear something romantic for the sunset with him.” I pulled out a sky blue dress with polka dots that I rarely wear and paired it with some sexy stockings, fun jewelry, and a pretty sweater.

When Ian showed up, he was wearing one of my favorite hats of his and a beautiful gray sweater I love. I opened the door and we both smiled big and said, “You look so handsome/you look so beautiful!”

He said, “I packed up some special cheese, chocolate, and crackers for us!” I said, “Me, too!” We just looked at one another and laughed.

When I got in Ian’s car, I saw that he had strung little fairy lights all around the inside of the car! He grinned when he saw how excited I was. “I wanted to make it feel really special even after the sun went down!”

During the sunset, while we were enjoying our double picnic and the beautiful view, we started remembering other amazing sunsets we’d seen together over the years. I said, “Drat. I wish we’d kept a journal of all the sunsets!”

Then an idea dropped in. I quickly opened the voice memo app on my phone, hit “record” and said, “This is Ian and Sherry coming to you from the top of Twin Peaks reporting on our sunset experience.” We talked about our picnic, the twinkly lights, the conversation we’d been having, and how lovely it all was.

Then … we spent the next fifteen minutes remembering lots of other sunsets — the one in Peak’s Island when we brought dinner down to eat on the pier beside Casco Bay; the one in Morro Bay when two guys hollered from a sailboat for us to come hop on board and didn’t hesitate to do so; the one from the deck of our Sausalito hotel a decade ago; the one from atop his apartment roof when he surprised me by pre-stocking the roof with a blanket, some swing dance music, wine, and truffles; the one in Ohio waiting for fireworks before the thunderstorm struck; and so many more!

By the end of the recording, we were both just so giddy with happiness. What could have been an ordinary Sunday evening at home had turned into a very special evening filled with surprise and connection.

Why did that happen?

You guessed it: intention!

We had both set intentions before the evening to do things that would connect us to the other person and that would express our love.

Later, Ian and I talked about how one good intention paves the way for another. It is a domino effect in the most positive of ways.

💥💓💥
Can you see a place in your life right now — today or tomorrow?— where you could bring intention in order to make an experience a gift for someone?

For instance, if you’re going to see friends tonight, could you set the intention that you want to be really present with them and listen intently? What if you intended to bring one question to the table that would be thought provoking and connecting?

If you are visiting an elderly relative, what kind of intention could you set to make that visit really stand out? What would take it from ho-hum to feeling electric and lively? What if you set the intention to ask that person if she’d be willing to go through some of her photo albums with you and share her stories? What if you asked her if you could interview her about her life?

What if you called someone you haven’t spoken with for years and set the intention to tell them three things you especially love about them?

💥💓💥

Sometimes we don’t even need to do anything at all to turn an ordinary experience into something extraordinary. We simply need to be … present and intentional.

Try it, okay. And let me know what happens! (I hope your weekend feels as magical as twinkly lights!)

xo

Sherry

 

P.S. Set the intention to create a space of intention! I swear to you, my one-day retreats have changed my life! I’ve written a couple articles about personal retreats — why you deserve one + the nitty gritty of planning one. Also, here’s a short audio note to help inspire you to treat yourself.

P.P.S. If you need help planning your personal retreat, email me about my stand-alone coaching sessions that’ll help you get clarity about this gift to yourself. I can help you plan your retreat and also get to the heart of what you most want clarity around for it. Email me!

Ask yourself this one question

(Reprinted from a Simply Celebrate newsletter, April 5, 2018) 

I’m packing up right now to take myself on my quarterly overnight vision retreat.

This is a gift I give myself to get perspective on my life.

No internet. No phone service.

Lots of meditation, reflection, and contemplation. (And my favorite books, music, and foods!)

The universe gave me a lil going away gift this morning: I awoke with a line from a poem in my head: “What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (From Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day.)

💥💓💥

That line inspired me to want to talk to you about something really essential.

Recently I was certified as a High Performance Coach. You’ve likely heard me talk about Brendon Burchard — and this is a certification program he created through his High Performance Institute.

What I love so much about this program is that it is holistic. It isn’t just about helping people be successful at work. In Brendon’s words, “high performance living is the ongoing feeling of full engagement, joy, and confidence that comes from consistently living from your best self.”

That “best self” is who you are in your family, who you are with your friends, who you are with yourself, who you are at work, who you are with your health, who you are with your spirituality … who you are as a whole person!

After my morning meditation, I rushed into my studio to talk to you about all of this.

You can listen here.

I hope you’ll take the nine minutes to listen.

And please comment on the blog and let me know what it sparks for you.

I’ve been practicing joy, mindfulness, and celebration for 20+ years and it means everything to me to have you on this journey with me. You inspire me to keep reaching for new levels of what it means to live as my best self.

Okay. I better go pack up my stuff and head to the hills!

Don’t forget to take nine minutes and listen to my audio, okay!

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry
💜 P.S. That photo at the top of the page was taken a couple weeks ago at the High Performance Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. “Live, Love, Matter” is Brendon Burchard’s tagline for his work. But it is so much more than that. It is a reminder to all of us to ask ourselves daily, “Did I live?” “Did I love?” “Did I matter?” (There are so many insightful questions that can wake us up, aren’t there?!)

 

 

Last week my dear friend and amazing poet, Maya Rachel Stein, joined me on a live call to share some poetry and talk about how the ideas in the poems could be used as teaching moments in our daily lives.

I often use Maya’s poetry with my coaching clients because her work is beautiful, yet simple.

She tells stories about singular moments that have transformed her. She offers reflections on her own life that we can apply as we go about our days. Her work is surprising, playful, and insightful.

Here’s the link to the audio replay of our 30-minute call

Here’s the link to the first poem, Natural State

Here’s the link to the second poem, You’re Not Crazy

Stay tuned for more poetry conversations with Maya! We hope to be back with another 30-minute call in April!

Seek celebration—even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

Fabienne’s Legacy

This morning I received an email with the subject line, “Sudden Death of Fabienne Haldimann.” It was startling to see that line. And my heart jumped a little.

Some people might say I didn’t know Fabienne. She isn’t a personal friend, family member, or colleague. I didn’t go to school with her or ever meet her in person.

But I think that is what makes this story so profound.

Fabienne was a woman who participated in my 53-53-53 Kindness Project last year. Every year for my birthday, I write letters to strangers — as many letters as how old I will be. Fabienne responded to my request and asked me to write a letter to her aunt, who was going through a difficult time.

Fabienne’s generous heart and loving spirit jumped off the page in her email notes to me. She was effusive in her love for her aunt and also sweetly lavish in her appreciation of the work I do.

What I want to say, what feels so important to me, is this: even though I only “met” Fabienne through a few email exchanges in September of last year, she leaves a legacy with me. Even though I have no idea what Fabienne did for work or what she accomplished in her life or how much money she made or how successful she was, she left a legacy with me. Even though I never met her, she left a legacy with me.

Her legacy is kindness, enthusiasm, gratitude, and love.

I just went back and re-read my emails from Fabienne and all I can think is, “What a beautiful person. I’m glad I got the chance to connect with her, even briefly, in some small way.”

Fabienne made me feel good about myself.

Fabienne made me glad to be human.

Fabienne touched my life.

Fabienne was full of love.

Do you see what I’m saying?

Have you had this experience with someone?

So many people are focused on doing more things or making more money or getting more gold stars or accomplishing big things or making things happen. People want to leave big important legacies. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

(Maybe you are one of those people?!)

But I just want us all to pause a moment and think about the legacy we can leave in every moment: the legacy of love and kindness.

Can you see what a profound legacy that can be?

Fabienne’s daughter, Chiara, was kind enough to email me to let me know her mum had passed away unexpectedly. (She must have sent an email to everyone in her mom’s email address book —which was so thoughtful.) When I asked Chiara if I could use her mother’s name and story in an email to all of you, she said, “Yes. I think my mother would want me to give you permission because this is a message which brings light, peace, and love into the world.”

In honor of Fabienne’s beautiful, loving, enthusiastic spirit, would you go out of your way to do something kind for someone today? It doesn’t have to be a big thing. (Because we all know, small things are not so small!)

Perhaps offer a smile to someone who looks low. Maybe start up a cheerful conversation in line at the market. Maybe help someone carry their bags to their car or let someone cut in front of you on the freeway. Perhaps offer a sincere compliment or a warm hug.

When you are offering your act of kindness, remember please, that these kinds of gifts can change someone’s day. These kinds of gifts are worth every bit as much as material gifts. These kinds of gifts are truly legacy making.

Oh, and while you are at it, could you also thank yourself for being the sort of person who offers kindness? Could you give yourself some appreciation for your own beautiful legacy of sweet joy?

I’m so grateful to you and for you! And you know, I bet Fabienne would be, too…

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

I am offering a mini-class, “Take Heart: Finding Celebration No Matter What,” as an antidote to the Hallmark kind of Valentine’s Day. 
 
This will be a gathering for anyone who is divorced, bereaved, broken up, feeling blue, or simply needs an added dose of self-love. 💥💓💥
I have some amazing special guests who will be on the call and who are specialists in break-ups, divorce, bereavement, and the art of self-love.
 
We’ll be making Love List Selfies, which a way to bring love to ourselves and to remember to appreciate and celebrate who we are, no matter what we’re going through. 
 
If you know someone who could use some extra light and love on Valentine’s Day, I hope you’ll pass this along.
 
There’s no cost and + I’m not selling anything. 
The mini-class is at 5pm PT/8pm ET on February 14th, 2018.
xo
Sherry

Do you have a friend or family member who is just crazy about their pet? If so, I have a great gift idea for you. It’s pawsitively heartwarming … and doesn’t cost a dime!

I was lucky enough to stumble across a photo earlier today — that one to the left of a beautiful woman and her oh-so-adorable dog in birthday hats! Well, that photo reminded me of the gift that went along with it.

Here’s the story:
I had plans one day to meet a good friend, Elina, at happy hour to celebrate her birthday. It was 8:30am and I still hadn’t thought of a meaningful gift.

Elina is a minimalist who doesn’t want a lot of useless stuff and so I was trying to think of a non-material way to express my love for her that I haven’t done before.

Right before I sat down to meditate, I asked the Universe to please tell me what Elina might want. Literally as the meditation bell was rung, the gift idea dropped in: interview her about her elderly best buddy, Lola, the dog she has loved for 13 years.

After meditation was over, I printed up a photo from Facebook of Elina and Lola and I Photoshopped birthday hats on them. Then I came up with a bunch of questions. I created a “gift certificate” that said I wanted to help Elina remember all the things she loves about Lola and to have a chance to tell her favorite stories about someone she loves so much.

I brought my iPhone and a small lavalier microphone to our happy hour cafe and used the Voice Memo app on the phone to record our conversation. (In most situations you wouldn’t even need a mic. I just knew it would be loud where we were meeting!)

Elina was so touched. She started crying as soon as she read my gift note about what I wanted to do. She said, “No one understands how much I love Lola. No one knows how much I love to tell the stories about my life with her. I want her to live more great years with me, but someday when she dies, I will have this interview of all the things I love about her to keep her spirit alive.”

It was the perfect gift for Elina. And the gift idea was a gift to me. I certainly didn’t think it up! It may have been one of the most instantaneous examples of manifestation I’ve ever had!

So, I tell you this story as an example of an amazing gift for someone who has a beloved furry or feathered family member. But I also tell it to you as a reminder that we use our intuition (and patience!) to let life help us with gift ideas. Sometimes simply spending some time thinking of someone we love and asking for life to drop in an idea really works.

As always, if you try this idea, let me know, okay? Comment below the blog!

Seek celebration— even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. Here are a few questions to help you get started on your interview: “How did you meet your beloved pet?” “What are some of your favorite stories of times you’ve spent together?” “Are there any funny stories about her?” “What best exemplifies your pet’s spirit/personality?” “Has your pet ever done anything extraordinary?” “What are the ways that he has changed your life?” “If she were a person, what would her career be?” “If he could talk, what would he want to say?”

P.P.S. How cool is this? When I texted my friend, Elina, to get her permission to use this photo + story, she said, “Yes! And it is perfect timing! It is Lola’s 14th birthday.” So we can all send cheery birthday greetings to the lovely Lola, who has a birthday today! Woof!

P.P.P.S. Elina is the talented and amazing milliner who makes most of the hats I wear. Check out her Etsy store! You’ll love her wearable art!

Quick tip to “Love Better!”

You know me … I’m all about “saying it now,” expressing our love, and celebrating, right?!

But I want you to know that I realize how busy you are, how tired you get, and how time just slips away until … oops! drat! … we’ve missed our sister’s 20th anniversary, our cousin’s 40th birthday, our niece’s new job celebration, or (eek!) our own wedding anniversary.

I was on the phone with someone recently who was telling me that she had really wanted to do something special for her husband’s 50th birthday, but the date just completely snuck up on her. Instead of creating a memorable experience for him, she ended up quickly organizing a little last-minute dinner to celebrate.

{Insert the sound of best intentions falling flat.}

The gathering was lovely, sure. It was nice. But when we have intentions to do something that feels once-in-a-lifetime and instead we end up doing the same-ole, same-ole, it can feel disappointing.

The same thing can happen on a smaller scale, as well.

I know so many people who vow to remember and acknowledge their friends’ birthdays every year, but then the busy-busy-rush-rushness of life gets in the way. And … shoot… missed it.

How often does that happen to you?

So here’s what I want to say to you …  Are you listening?

This is my #1 favorite tip to help you love better! We can make sure our best of intentions actually happen if we use a simple tool to help remind us: keep a perpetual calendar of occasions. 

I found some free printable perpetual calendars on Pinterest (say that three times!) that allow you to note all of the important annual events in one place.

If you click that link above, it takes you to the search for “perpetual calendar.”

I like this one, which is simple, festive and fun.

 

Here is another one I found — this one for sale on Etsy—with pretty floral designs. It is obviously more costly than a free printable, but it looks lovely … and hopefully you’ll keep it for the rest of your life, right?!

 

You can fill out the calendar and then post it near your desk or somewhere you will have easy access.  (Note: be sure to list the year someone was born or married so you can easily see if a biggie is coming up.)

Once you fill it out, be sure to glance at the calendar at least once a month — I suggest the first day of every month— to see what events are coming up in the next few weeks and also if there are any big events in the next three to six months.
If your spouse’s 50th is six months down the road that gives you plenty of time to plan something amazing. (Maybe a Celebration Book? Maybe a trip or an adventure? Maybe a storytelling event or a hoopla?)

This simple tool makes it really easy to keep track of important occasions of the people you love. If you want to make it even easier on yourself, keep a box near the calendar that is filled with a variety of greeting cards, stationery, stamps, and photos. If someone’s birthday is coming up, you have everything at hand to zip them off a thoughtful greeting.

Your friends and family deserve it, right?

And I promise you, you’ll love how peaceful it feels to know you’re not gonna forget your wedding anniversary this year!

 

xo

Sherry

 

P.S. I realize that you may be saying, “why can’t I just put all these birthdays and anniversaries on my online calendar with everything else?” You can. Of course you can. But my experience is that they can get lost amongst all the other appointments and riff raff. There is simply something more fun and special about having someplace tangible where I keep ’em. But it goes without saying — I hope!— do what works for you. Just do!

 

Free l’il Love List Printable!

Here’s a great stocking stuffer, insert for Advent calendar, or printable for a greeting card

One of my amazing coaching clients, Ingrid Lill, has been creating whimsical “I love you because___” illustrations that she is offering free as a special holiday gift. All you have to do is visit her website, click on the language you want, choose your illustration(s), and download! Then you can fill ’em out + give ’em out. Easy peasy. And loads of fun!

I love Lill’s generosity and joy in helping make Love Lists a worldwide practice!

 

Wanna add some creative oomph to your holidays? Consider making someone a one-of-a-kind gift that lets them know you see them, know them, and love them. I’ve got details below on a few low-cost, big-love gift suggestions you can try!

 

A few really fun ideas for creative gifts that won’t break the bank! 

 

1.Holiday Hoopla

Every year my West Coast family plans an event we call the Holiday Hoopla for our Midwest family. Instead of giving material gifts, we plan a day full of fun activities, games, and kooky crafts with some kind of theme.

I can’t tell you this year’s theme because my mom reads this blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you can see some previous themes on my website. Maybe this webpage will spark some ideas of your own! It’s really fun to create memories with your loved ones!

 

2. Audio or Video Interview 

This gift is a treasure for anyone with young kids or elderly parents. All you need to do is interview the children or parents on audio or video, using your smart phone or other recording device. I’ve got some sample questions for you on my website to get you started!

I’ve given and received this gift and can attest to what a treasure it is! My father-in-law passed away several years ago and one of the best memories I have of him is an audio interview in which my then ten-year-old son asked him questions about his life.

 

3. Custom Dessert o’ the Month Club

This is a great gift for someone elderly or lonely in your life. Or, for someone who loves to receive snail mail! (Who doesn’t?!)

Make a certificate that says, “This entitles the bearer to membership in the Dessert of the Month Club. Every month you will receive edible goodies via the mail. Hope you have the sweetest of holidays and 2018!” Voila! Instant gift ready to give now, but the recipient gets to receive joy all year ’round. (Note: you can switch out sweets for books or music or anything if you have someone in mind who doesn’t eat sugary things!)

 

I’ve written an eBbook that includes all kinds of ideas just like these. If you need some inspiration on gifts that are creative-not-crafty, you can purchase and download Present Perfect right now for just $10!

 

xoxoxo

Sherry

 

There’s nothing that makes me happier than hearing stories of Love Lists that people have made.

(A Love List is a gift you make for someone in which you tell them all the things you love about them, the impact they’ve had on your life, and what makes them unique in all the world. If you haven’t downloaded my free Love List Tool Kit, I encourage you to do so!)

Last week, I got a message from Lynn Pickett Ellis telling me how profound it was to create a list of 80 things she loves about her mom, Darlene.

I posted Lynn’s beautiful note in blue, below. I want you to notice that the Love List was not only a gift to Lynn’s mom, Darlene, but also a huge gift to Darlene’s grandchildren. They got to learn a lot about their Grandma. They got to learn a lot about their Mom. They got to be a part of their family history and a huge well of love.

As well, making the list allowed Lynn to re-experience so many happy memories and to feel a sense of healing.

Pretty cool, right? Check it out:

I want you to understand why I am constantly encouraging you to make Love Lists.

It is no small thing.

In fact, I believe that the practice and making and giving Love Lists is truly life changing.

I can say that because it changed mine! I feel closer to people now than ever before in my life because I am so comfortable telling people what I appreciate about them. I feel more joy than ever before because when I am making Love Lists, all of my attention is on what’s right and good, not what’s wrong or missing.

Love Lists have taught me to be more expressive with my love and to also receive love when it is given to me.

Here are some ways I can support you in creating at least one Love List this holiday season: 

  • Download my free printables and the Love List Toolkit.
  • Listen to the free audio replay from *The New Black* Friday call I hosted with The Creativity Caravan in which we walk you through creating a knock-their-socks-off list for someone. We will help you think of ultra-creative ways to write your list. Just get some paper ready, hit play, and enjoy the workshop!
  • Read this Huffington Post Article, which might inspire you to think of someone who especially needs a gift like this right now. This article also includes a 5-minute video on making your Love List into a fairy light Joy Jar.
  • If you do those first three things and still find yourself dragging your feet on making a Love List, then let me help you with my Love List Assist! I will get on the phone with you for 30-minutes, talk to you about your friend or family member, and create a beautiful Love List for you that you can give as a gift as is — or in a pretty frame!

 

Seek celebration—even in dark corners,
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. Thank you to Lynn for giving me permission to share the photos and a page from her Love List! In case it was too small to read above, here’s that page a lil bigger. Isn’t it so wonderful to read a few things that someone loves about someone else?! I could do that all day long! Lynn’s heart just jumps off the page! (And just imagine — there were many more pages like this in the Love List!)

I wanted to give you a heads-up that it is almost time for our annual *The New Black* Friday virtual party.

Every year as an antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday, I like to schedule some cozy time at home to make Love Lists for people in my life.

And I would love it if you would join me!

There’s nothing wrong with shopping or with material gifts — of course!— but I just betcha that there is someone in your life who would most value a gift of love and appreciation! Isn’t there someone who needs a big dose of pure gratitude instead of a chotchke?

AND … it is such a gift to give ourselves some quiet time the day after Thanksgiving to sip some tea and bask in all the joy of what it means to love someone.

In this culture of what’s wrong and not enough, the simple act of focusing on what’s right and what we love can lift our spirits and give us a boost of happy endorphins.

Click on over to the event page on Facebook, where you can say yes to attending this virtual event + then you’ll receive all my updates before and during the event. (You can say yes even if you’re not sure you can make a Love List that day, so you can be a part of the conversation and maybe plan on making a Love List another day! You will be with us in spirit!)

 

 

Free Tele-Call with Special Guests The Creativity Caravan
Hope you can join us for another knock-their-socks-off Love List Making call with Maya Stein and Amy Tingle of The Creativity Caravan. Amy and Maya ooze creativity and have tons of ideas for brainstorming your list! In honor of *The New Black* Friday, we’ll walk you step-by-step through making a creative Love List that you can give as a gift.

Put this on your calendar:
When: Friday, November 24
Time: 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm UK
Call-in: 641.715.3655
Code: 309893#

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

Do this if you can!

Hello hello!

Last week, a new coaching client sent me a link to her blog. She’d illustrated our coaching session! (That’s it up above!) I just grinned when I saw it.

And it has made me happy every time I’ve looked at it.

If you are someone who is talented at drawing/illustration, I want to tell you what a tremendous gift it is for people to receive your drawings.

I’m going to print Ingrid’s art out and frame it! I love how she depicted me with whimsical clothing and sprinkling some kind of fairy dust. And I love that this drawing is a reminder to myself to do the things that bring joy and excitement to life.

I know some of you are visual artists. I don’t have that kind of talent, but wow-oh-wow do I appreciate it.

Never forget what joy you can bring to others through your art! (This could be drawing, painting, sketching, collage, photography, etc!!)

Anyone else have a story about receiving (or giving!) a personal artwork? C’mon over to my Present Perfect Gifts Group on Facebook and share your story with us. Extra joy credit if you post a photo for me to see!

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. You can check out Ingrid’s nearly-brand-new blog, Lill Notes, and see her other illustrations here. I love her fresh talent, humor, and joy! What an awesome new client, eh? #luckyme

P.P.S. If you’ve considered coaching, but just aren’t sure it is right for you, I have an introductory package so you can get to know me and also kickstart something fun in your life. My Jumpstart Juicy is special rate on four sessions: Purchased separately, these four calls would cost $240. But as a six-week committed “juicy yes!,” you get all that coaching energy and oomph for just $179.

{Video} What do you need?

The other day my friend Laurie came over to my house. On an impulse, we turned the phone’s video on and recorded a short conversation about how we steady ourselves during difficult times.

Laurie and I talk about how important it is to get aligned and connected during times of darkness and despair. What do we use as a lifeboat when the waters are rockin’ us and we’re scared?

We share how our creativity practices help us find moments of beauty, color, and peace when the world feels wobbly.

 

What practices support you in your life? 

I hope you’ll watch the first few minutes and take some time to consider what practices you have in your life that really keep you aligned with yourself. What things bring you home and center you so you can be there for others when they need you? Painting? Photography? Writing? Gratitude?

You’ve likely seen my previous posts about the Mr. Rogers’ quote and the world’s “helpers.” Right now there is a huge need for people who can be helpers and who can be bringers of light. To do this, we need to be solid within ourselves.

If you watch past the first segment, you’ll see that we added some information about an offering our friend, Andrea Scher is making that just goes ’til midnight tonight. This offering is a $99 Bundle of Creativity classes which includes Laurie’s Wild Writing class, Andrea’s iPhone photography class, and my own eCourse, Nightlight: Finding Celebration Even in Life’s Darkest Moments.

I encourage you to check out Andrea’s offering to see if any of these classes might support you right now. All but two of them have no expiration date, so you can slowly savor them.

 

A little more about my class offering (Nightlight) and Laurie’s (Wild Writing)

I’m thrilled that there is a whole new group of people taking my class, “Nightlight: Finding Celebration, Even in Life’s Darkest Moments.” This is a class all about noticing, finding, and creating tiny moments of well-being and joy, no matter what is happening. I consciously created the class in a platform that allows for you to spend just 5 or ten minutes at time in bite-sized chunks. This class is the heart of my work in the world, and I would love to have you join. It is regularly $77, so you can take this class and all the others for just an additional $23!

 

 

 

I can speak from personal experience about Laurie’s class offering, “27 Wild Days.” For many years, Laurie has been offering classes called Wild Writing, in which participants write without judgment, criticism, or expectation. It is an amazing process that helps free me from any attempt to meet any internal or external standards — and just get to tell the truth on paper. I always say that this Wild Writing Practice is so aligned with my Zen Practice because it helps teach me to invite everything into the room — and into my heart. All parts of me are welcome.

 

What I really want to say… 

There is a lot happening in the world that could easily pull us into the darkness. Be gentle and generous with yourself right now, okay? Take a deep breath often. Give yourself small joys. Ask for help. Connect to others. Reach for the pen or paintbrush and create something from your heart.

Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” Then do your darndest to give yourself whatever it is. And top it off with extra love.

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. I would be so honored and delighted to have you in my Nightlight Class! The $99 sale goes til midnight tonight. If you do join, send me a special note to tell me that you did so. I’d like to gift you with a free one-on-one coaching boost call sometime during the time we’re together in the class.

Creativity as Medicine

 

As I write this, fires are raging just north of here in the North Bay and Wine Country. But even before I awoke yesterday to this latest news of disaster, I’d been talking to my close friends about how to stay steady when the world feels so wobbly.

I don’t need to make a list of all of the scary things. We’ve all been reading about them, living through them, experiencing them.

What I do want to do is talk about how we take care of ourselves and everyone around us when the world feels so shaky.

Are there ways to stay grounded and aligned with ourselves? Who do we want to be in the midst of difficult times? Can we find small moments of well-being and peace when there is despair all around us? 

My friend, Andrea Scher, founder of Superhero Life, let me record a 20-minute conversation about one of her own superpowers — using creativity as a path to finding moments of beauty and truth in life so she doesn’t get swallowed up in the dark.

Andrea says, “Creative practices show me that we have a choice, moment to moment, about how we want to hold and see what’s happening in the world at large and in our own private lives. And it doesn’t mean that we deny the pain and suffering that is going on. However, when you are sensitive creatures like we are, you can get swallowed up just by listening to the news in the morning.”

 

Andrea, like me, practices finding singular moments of joy as a way to take care of herself during all times of life, but especially when things feel out of control, frightening, or depressing. Like she said, “It doesn’t do anyone any good for me to get swallowed up by the news and crawl into bed and feel helpless.”

Instead, Andrea uses her creativity practices so she can show up in the world as a bright light for others.

Yesterday, when the smell of smoke and the news of the wildfires was at the forefront of everyone’s minds, my good friend, Suki, sent an email saying something similar. Her note was so beautiful, I want to share a portion with you:

“The smoke from the fires is thick in SF today.  I was going to stay home but I watched a clip of the Ellen show which she dedicated to the Helpers in the world. She featured person after person who is trying to help where help is needed.  

I am not a person who cries easily and I cried all of the way through it.  And yet, as I cried, there was this, as my dear friend Sherry would say, tiny pinprick of hope that entered my heart as I watched evidence of the goodness in this world.  

So, I have decided to go out into the world and focus on being a Helper today to every single person I meet, including me.” 

Like Suki, we are faced with this choice every single day. Do we pull the covers over our heads and simply try to survive? Or can we find the strength to be a helper —  a pinprick of light for ourselves and others?

This is what’s possible. It is possible for our hearts to be broken and for us to feel scared, but that nevertheless, we turn our attention to how we want to be in the world. We can slowly pull on our shoes, head out the door, and muster the energy and courage to be the light we want to offer.

Circling back to my friend, Andrea, I want to tell you about something special she is up to right now. Andrea has gathered up a small group of people who have creative offerings— mostly classes, but also an eBook— to bundle together into a really affordable deal for people who crave new inspiration and creative outlets right now.

One of the classes in this grouping is my own eCourse called Nightlight. Nightlight is all about helping us find and create pinpricks of light for ourselves and others, even in life’s darkest moment.

This is an offering of light and joy during a time when there is much suffering and sadness. It is a lifeboat, in a way. It is medicine to help us heal and to stay connected to all the beauty that still exists in the world. 

These nine offerings are just $99 for the next few days — until midnight on Thursday the 12th. My Nightlight class is normally $77 just by itself. So for an additional $22, you can also take Andrea’s iPhone Photo Class, Laurie Wagner’s Wild Writing Class, or any of the other creative offerings.

Whether or not you are interested in these creative classes, I do hope you’ll listen to my conversation with Andrea as a way to give yourself a few moments of uplift today.

Be gentle and generous with yourself, okay?

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. Here’s the link to listen my 20-minute conversation with Andrea Scher about using creativity to help us through these dark times.

P.P.S. Here’s the link to read about the nine creative offerings available for just $99 until Thursday at midnight. I promise you, you’ll feel uplifted simply by reading the descriptions!

{Video} Celebrating in the Dark

One of the places in life where it can seem like there’s no room for celebration is when people are grieving, lost, ill, or lonely.

But I define “celebration” as choosing to be present to what is going on in our lives and finding a way to connect. Celebration is the ability to offer (or receive) that one little pinpoint of light that changes everything when things feel pitch black.

There is a quiet joy, a comfort, in sharing sorrow. It can bring us to a place of remembering our shared humanity and fragility. It can weave us together in love.

I had a beautiful conversation about this with my dear friend, Jane Duncan Rogers, whose business is dedicated to helping people have a good death + supporting those left behind with their grief.

In our 30-minute video conversation, we talked about a lot of things. But one of them was “What kinds of gifts can I bring for someone who is grieving?” And also, “How do I prepare myself if my gift is not well received.”

We also talked a lot about the gift of showing up, exactly as who we are, for someone we love. There is no way to put a price on what it can mean to someone to sit beside them and simply hold their hand. We know this place for ourselves, right? That loving energy is a tremendous gift. Jane and I talk about how to take care of and prepare ourselves for showing up when someone is grieving.

I hope you’ll watch the half-hour conversation + let me know what you think.

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. One of the places where I practice celebrating in the dark is when I’m writing my Birthday Kindness Project letters, which I’ve been doing for the past six years. Many of the people I am writing to have experienced deep grief or loss. They may be depressed or feeling hopeless. I use some of the tools I talk about in that video with Jane to center myself and care for myself in order to write these letters. I’m continuing to feel deep gratitude to all of you who have requested letters. I’ll be opening up some slots again soon!

Suffering Succotash

 

I want to remind you to take care of yourself. Exquisite care. Heroic self-care.

It is always important, but especially when you might be feeling grief, loss, sadness, fear or physical pain.

It’s been a tough couple weeks over here in my world and it has reminded me to make sure I’m doing everything I can to be kind and compassionate with myself.

So I thought maybe I’d remind you, too!

Sometimes simply reading the news can affect us so deeply on an emotional level.

All the heartbreaking photos of starving children in Yemen, the flooding in Houston, the Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, the continued crisis in Syria, the terrorist bombings, and so much more can weigh our hearts down.

It does mine. Which is why I limit the amount of news I read. That’s one form of self-care. I try to stay updated on world events and to donate to causes that touch me, but I also limit exposure — especially when I am feeling depleted. We need to fill up our wells so that we have a place to give from.

As you may know, I’m in the midst of a Birthday Kindness Project in which I write letters to strangers who are grieving, lost, or lonely. I love the beautiful connections I get to make with the people who request the letters. I am uplifted by the love people’s friends and family express. But it is also a project that reminds me daily of the depth of human pain.

My spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber, always says, “It can be really hard to be a human.” That’s why we need to take such good care of ourselves and everyone else.

On top of those other things, these past couple weeks my dear little family was going through its own crisis. I found myself getting overwhelmed with stress, fear, and exhaustion.

I had to remind myself over and over to seek or create a pinprick of light. I posted online in various places and asked people to tell me about happy moments. I called friends and asked for help. I stood outside at nightfall and let myself focus in the fresh smell in the air and the fluttering of birds nearby. I noticed white butterflies flitting outside my studio. I went to dance class. I took hot baths. I let myself cry when I needed to. I read cards in my “happy notes” folder. I listened to lots and lots of self-mentoring audios I’ve created through the years.

Each of these things was a little pinprick of light.

And what I want you to know is that in any moment, all you need is just one bit of light.

My whole Simply Celebrate business was created on this life practice and it has continued to work for me all these years. Our lives happen in moments. And in single moments we can always turn our attention to one thing that we love or that brings us joy. And as soon as we do so — we are headed out of the dark tunnel and toward the light.

Then, it is just a matter of rinse and repeat.

If you haven’t ever heard my story about how pinpricks of light and celebration saved my life 20+years ago when I was caught behind an iron wall of depression/anxiety, you can watch the video I created here.

And if you want some wee inspiration about “How to Survive in the Dark,” you can hear me read my 8-page tiny book here.

Sending big love your way.

Seek celebration; even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

 

P.S. I’ve written about 20 letters thus far for my 53-53-53 Birthday Kindness Project. Thank you to everyone who has requested a letter for someone in your life. I am so touched by how much love and compassion there is out there.

I’m headed out of town for business this week + won’t be able to write my letters while away. So I am not yet ready to invite more of you to request letters. But when I return next week, I’ll be sending out an email request. So think about if you know someone who needs extra love + you can respond to my note next week, okay?

In the meantime, do what you can to seek and create those pinpricks of light for people who need ’em. Including yourself.

It’s been a really tough week with a lot of incredibly difficult and sad things happening in the world.

Today my friend Celenia Delsol posted this note on my Facebook wall for me, along with a link to a beautiful and uplifting video: “With all the political (and some personal) nonsense that’s been going on, I’m finding myself drawn to stories of love. I believe it’s important to follow current events to understand (or at least try to) the forces affecting our lives, but LOVE is a majestic force as well and deserves top billing. Don’t ya think?”

My answer is YES.

Yes, yes, yes.

Love is a majestic force and it does deserve top billing.

(Thank you, Celenia!)

It isn’t always easy to find that place of love and compassion when everything around us can seem like madness.

That’s why I want to share two videos with you!

One is a conversation I had with my dear poet friend, Maya. The other is a tribute to a 42-year-old artist, Briar Bates, who recently passed away.

Grab your favorite mug, fill it with some tea, and get ready for some loving and hopefully thought-provoking conversation …

Finding love in difficult times

Maya Stein sent out a beautiful poem on Tuesday called “Remembering Charlottesville,” which spoke to a memory of inclusiveness and connection in a town that is getting a lot of media attention for hatred and violence.

In this video, I share the poem at the start of the conversation and then Maya and I talk about how to find that place of connection, love, and compassion when it feels elusive.

I apologize for the technology glitches — Mercury Retrograde!— but if you’ll bear with it, I think you’ll find a treasure trove of helpful ideas and tools. I know I did!

I particularly love where the conversation went at minute 20 when we talked about the overwhelm that can happen in times like this. And then a bit later, the question of “what is my role?”

If you listen in, please leave a comment under the YouTube video and let us know what you think.

 

Briar’s last gift from her friends

This is the video that Celenia posted to my Facebook wall.

When I watched it, I was in tears. I love this beautiful + quirky way that Briar’s friends celebrated her artistic spirit.

I love when one of them said, “Not only does grief not have to be private, it doesn’t have to be sad.”

Take the time to watch this; it is uplifting + life-affirming. You will be filled with light, I promise.

💥💥💥💥
Here’s to seeking celebration, even in the dark corners,
xo
Sherry

Wrestling with Demons

I want to share a short free-write that was my response to the prompt, “wrestle,” given in a writing group I’m in. I’ll explain why I’m sending this to you after you read it …

In the middle of the night I wrestle the proverbial demons. You know them. The ones who say, “Your shoes are wrong, you do not belong, the cake is dry, your eyelids sag, this isn’t good enough, the foundation is dust, the key is lost, the paint is cracked, there are scorpions in your flower box, you are not good enough.”

They make a slideshow for me of all my failings. The highlight reel includes near misses of big success, unwritten works, other people’s shiny trophies, awards lost at sea, moments of pleasure buried in the sand on remote islands impossible to reach.

They scratch their threats in the granite bed I am lying on. Their favorite is, “you will die with everything stillborn.”

They pound single words on the back of my neck with heavy hammers of shame, aiming for places where the vertebrae are weakest. Fraud. Fake. Klutz. Cardboard. Mouse.

Sometimes they grab hold of my hands and twirl me around until I’m dizzy with fear. They breathe thick, foul breath of confusion. Strangled black flowers whose petals curl and wilt.

They lead me, blindfolded, to steep cliffs and behind my back they whisper about the beauty of the lilac sunset, an eagle soaring, and the way the waves crash against the rocks. They sing about the color blue in a language I cannot understand. They hide my favorite hat and pretend my dog has run away.

I wrestle in the dark; I try to avoid the thick skin of all those snakes writhing between the sheets. I swat the spiders, black bellies large as lemons, away, away, away.

Lying in bed, pitch black darkness, thick as tar, and I am wrestling with fog. With carbon monoxide. With the smell of burning rubber when something in the engine is not quite right.

And then, you see, I get it. The art of wrestling demons always comes down to this: turn on the light + look around.

No spiders. No snakes. No blindfold cliff. No dead flowers. No ropes. No chains.

No monsters in the child’s closet.

Just me. Human. Hands extended with fistfuls of wanting. Pockets full of slips of paper with reminders of who I want to be. Me, like the trained elephant that thought she couldn’t simply walk away. Body, full of juice, full of lust, perfumed and ready. Music starting, lover’s feet already waltzing, already inviting.

There are no lit up scoreboards. No standings. No holds. No takedown. No newspaper accounts of who has won.

The wrestling match is over. The dance has just begun.

 

So, why in the heck is your Simply Celebrate lady sending you this piece about darkness and demons?

Because I want you to remember THE LIGHT.

The light is always just within reach, ready for us to turn it on.

The light is always here. Where we are.

We are the light.

Listen, do the demons ever come after you in the middle of the night? Those incessant and cruel voices-in-the-head that try to keep you from peaceful sleep? The ones that have nothing helpful to say, in fact they are downright cruel, but for some reason, they catch your attention anyway?

When this happens, I want you to think about this piece I wrote.

I want you to remember that all that scary stuff in your head in the dark is not real. 

You have to turn on the light.

How?

Literally, for one thing. That helps.

But turning on the light can also be using every bit of strength you have to wrest your attention away from what’s going on in your head and turn it toward something else. Something that is supportive and loving.

Could be you make a list of everyone you love. Maybe you also list all the colors you love. Smells you love. Words you love. Anything.

Maybe you read yourself a poem out loud.

Maybe you call a friend or wake up someone in the house. (People love to be asked for help! It makes us feel good. Don’t worry; they’ll ask you for support someday, too.)

Give yourself music, a bubble bath, mint tea, a Netflix comedy show.

Do not lie there in the dark and take it. No wrestling.

Turn on the light.

Dance with your own kindness and care.

Be the light you know you are.

xo
Sherry

P.S. That nightlight pic up above is used with permission from Karine at an Etsy store, Veille SurToi. Cute, eh? That’ll keep your heart bright in the middle of the night.

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