MindFULL Freedom


Tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is not a religious holiday, as much as it is a Spiritual one.

Passover tells the story of the Hebrews release from Egyptian slavery and how they wandered the dessert for 40 years enroute to the Promised Land. There are rituals and details that expand dinners  (known as Seders) from the usual quick 30 minute routine to, in some homes (like my Great Uncle Oscar’s), over 4 hours. The holiday lasts for 8 days, during which no leavened products can be had. Families and friends gather, stories are told, questions are asked and courses keep on coming – each one with different symbols and spins on old favorites.

There are so many interpretations of the holiday. One gist for some celebrating is the notion of freeing ourselves from our own bondage. As my friend Vesna says, “It is the one time when you should take things personally.” What she means is that it can be a personal holiday – one where you actually get to make it about you – seeing ourselves reflected in all of the different figures of Passover. As it is said, of all the Hebrews to be freed, only 20% left – 80% stayed. The devil they knew was better than the devil they didn’t.

So, where do you stay back? Inspite of all of the miracles you’ve seen in your life, where do you still lack the Faith you need to move ahead, physically, spiritually, emotionally?

Where are you like Moses and take yourself out of narrow places and face your fears?

And where are you like Pharaoh? Nice to some and wicked to others? Holding them slaves for your kindness, when you dole out beatings more often?

There are so many questions and metaphors to explore during this time. And it doesn’t matter if you celebrate Passover or not. The invitation is to simply reflect on your own life and where you are a slave and where you want to be free.

My wish for you, no matter how you celebrate (or don’t) is: May you be free, May you have Faith, and May you see the miracles that surround you. It’s pretty simple. Maybe that’s why the story has lasted for thousands of years. It’s a tale we could all learn from.

 How will you MindFULLY set yourself free this year? Let us know!


A MindFULL Fit

Many years ago when we lived in Boston, I had a fabulous pair of  black snakeskin Kenneth Cole sandals. I loved them. I bought them for a great price and wore them everywhere. However, after several wearings, I was dismayed to notice how they started to hurt my feet. I ignored the rubbing along the outside of my pinkie toe, until one day I couldn’t take them off and look away from the puffy blister that had formed.

Bummed, I knew it was time to let them go. So I walked to the Boston Common and set them next to the garbage can with a note that said, “Enjoy Me!”, hoping they would fit someone else and they too would love wearing such beautiful sandals.

I was reminded of this easy reframe today, when telling my mother of how frustrated I was with my Doctor’s bedside manner. She simply said, “Perhaps it’s time for a new Dr. After all, our needs and preferences change. It’s totally fine to move on and often, that’s how life goes.”

She was right. My Dr. didn’t do anything wrong. She just didn’t fit for me any longer. It was time to release her and to allow her to make time for another patient. It was time for me to find a new Dr who fit the stage of life I’m in.

What an easier and kinder way to see our relationships. Like a favorite pair of shoes, sometimes we simply outgrow them and need to pass them on with love and gratitude for the time well worn.

With a lighter heart, I put my new favorite shoes on this afternoon and headed to a new Dr’s office. Thanks, Mom. If anyone knows anything about good fitting shoes and life, it’s you.


What is your MindFULL Metaphor for life’s changing situations? Let us know!

The Not So Big House

“Oh my gosh, WHY DID YOU MOVE – you had such a big, beautiful house!” asked an acquaintance in the parking lot of the grocery store last week.  Good question, I thought. It was not such a good week – I was coming to terms with a new move in date, I was overwhelmed with details in several parts of my life and my stamina was waning.

To boot, I had driven by our old house on Monday, and say what I will about it, it had great curb appeal. Our new house will, too. It’s just that we are in full swing, re-model mode and it is hard to see the garden through the weeds.

In spite of my mood, I know we have done the right thing. Years ago, I read the Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live by Sarah Susanka.  TNSBH changes the way people think about the American home…and gives homeowners the language to ask for what they want: a house that values quality over quantity and that emphasizes comfort, beauty and a high level of detail. It really impacted my perspective on how we were living in our house and how I was living in my life (She also wrote The Not So Big Life).

Sarah describes how people have huge houses and barely use their space. We had 3,200 sq ft and two major rooms sat empty – the back study and the front dining room. The front dining room was the only room that got direct sun light (which I crave) as did my study – where I spent the majority of my time. During our 10 years there, we used the rooms in different ways, but in the last few years, things changed and we couldn’t quite get it up to comfort, despite my constant efforts.

Sarah writes of using one’s “formal” living room for entertaining “guests”. When you are first getting to know people, you sit there. If you like them, where does everyone go? The family room or the kitchen. If you don’t, you stay in the “formal” living room. So, in essence, you have now spent a lot of money on a room for people you don’t even like! What if you reframed that all guests were welcomed (that is why they are there in the first place) and you had one room that everyone gathered in – a warm room that was just the right size, used often and was near the kitchen. One friend put a ping pong table in her “formal living room” and turned it into a game room – we sit in the family room, attached to her kitchen or on the patio, amidst an amazing urban oasis.

I liked that idea. There are only 3 of us. And I wanted rooms with sunlight, cozy but big enough to sit with friends and a small back yard that enveloped us with trees and birds. I’m not a yard work person. And while our old house looked great from the front, the back of the house required a lot of work and over looked a parking lot. I hated it. Lucky for me, my husband concurred.

According to David Sanders, my Kabbalah teacher (www.kabbalhexpereince.com), a house isn’t really just a house. It’s a metaphor. It can look good outside, but not be good inside. Or it can put on a good front (curb appeal) but not have any substance inside. Perhaps the basement is cluttered, dark and messy, stuffed full of old boxes and things that could be cleaned out and let go of. Maybe it is perfect and everything is in its’ place and if someone sits on the couch, you freak…

Who are you?  How do you feel? How does your home reflect the state of your life?

As the week progressed, I felt better and by Friday, I made peace and realized that everything happens for a reason. I could see that everyone inside the house was working really hard toward completion and that they were in good spirits doing high quality work. That moving slowly vs rushing to get it all done in a short amount of time was also a metaphor for how I wanted to be. Someone who slowed down and stop over-doing. A person of quality and ease.

On Friday, Chris, our GC, offered to power wash the back patio for us, revealing beautiful stone pavers with pieces of pottery and colored glass embedded in the grout. It sparkled in the sun. Chris is good at revealing/creating homes and making them sparkle. If you live in Denver, and have been thinking of making some home changes, jot down the number for Vintage Homes on the sign in the house picture of last week’s posting (or email me and I’ll give it to you) and give Chris a call. Read Sarah’s book and perhaps you, too, will find ways to make your house, and your life, Not So Big.

Then, think of all the time you’ll have to visit with family and friends. After all, as my dear and wise friend Ellen says, “ Its’ the experiences and moments that make our lives rich. Not the stuff.”

How do you MindFULLY create a not so big home and life? Let us know!