Let My Love Open the Door

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Love is in the air.

At least that’s what card companies, chocolate factories, and flower shops would have us believe around this time of year.

Of all things to believe in, love is certainly a noble and worthy cause.

As someone who has never been married and spent my fair share of Valentine’s Days celebrating the unconditional love of my dogs, I could give you a million reasons why romantic love is overrated.

But I won’t.

Because as cliche as it sounds, love makes the world go around.

The problem is not with love.

It’s with our limited view of what it should look like, feel like, or how and when it should show up in our lives.

If you are like me and Hozier,I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit, every day with someone new.”  Or something. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the one I am with. Because of that, my cup runneth over with love..

So I am looking to fall in love just a little bit every day with someone new because there are so many people in need of love.  No one may have noticed the tiny tears in a person’s heart.  No one may have noticed the way a person is lovable, adorable, vulnerable, creative, generous, surprising, kind, or appears to be broken.

When I do, I let my love open the door.

Whether that be through a smile, a reassuring word, a gentle touch, or just keeping my mouth shut when I might be tempted to criticize or judge. Often times these things can mean more than diamonds, flowers, candy, or over-the-top declarations of love.

And I don’t limit myself to people.

I especially love trees and have no shame in wrapping my arms around their trunks whenever I have the chance.

And, oh, I do love my animals.

I love ideas.

I love art and music and poetry and delicious food.

I love to sleep.

I love my snow pants because they allow me to be warm and comfy in winter weather. And they create a softer landing when I fall off my skis.

I love creating something out of nothing and transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

None of that can happen without love.

So I will continue to be a hopeful romantic and believe in love and all the ways it dares to shows up in the world against all odds.

And I will send a whole heart full of love to you.

P.S. I would love to know what you love and what songs about love you love.  Please add your playlist of love songs in the comments below.

Act Like An Olympian In Your Own Life

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Since the snow continues to accumulate here in Iowa I thought I would try my luck at skiing on Saturday. My niece wanted to ski and Bob’s nephew wanted to snowboard and because they still think of me as the hip and crazy aunt who will try anything, I could not disappoint them.

I’m not really sure why I thought I could ski since I haven’t been on skis in over 20 years and I’ve never once had a lesson. Maybe it’s the subliminal messages the Winter Olympics athletes are sending us to get out and act like an Olympian in our own lives.

By attempting to ski I learned about myself, fear, fun, and falling down. As much as I like to think I’m able to listen to my body’s wisdom, my head hijacks whatever is attempting to communicate through my extremities at the first sign of danger.

In my case, this happened as soon as I slid by boots into the skis and attempted to maneuver over to the bunny hill. The ability to put one foot in front of the other without falling over suddenly became a monumental task.

What was I thinking?” became the only thing I was thinking. Until I fell and then, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” became the predominant thought.

Take off your skis!” Kat advised as I pondered how my knees and feet might work in unison with skis pointed in opposite directions.

You can do it!” Brad encouraged.

And I did.

After a successful run down “Rookie’s Ridge“, I moved on to the “green” hill where I wiped out a couple of times and skied right into a snowbank.

I think it takes most people 3-5 minutes to ski that slope. I’m pretty sure it took me 35.

Come on, Pen! Try going a little faster,” the young ones quipped.  It sure seemed like I was moving at top speed when I skied into the snow bank.

Luckily Kat and Brad were more patient than I ever expected them to be.  They even acted like they knew me when I came careening into the chairlift area.

Did I have a fabulous time? A humbling time would be more like it.

In my mind, I still believe I’m their age. It always shocks me when my body reminds me this is no longer the case.

But courage begets courage. I’m not sure I would have even agreed to try this had I not just started a mastermind group called Practicing Everyday Alchemy and been buoyed by the support and faith of a fearless group of amazing alchemists.

Every Olympian has an entire team behind them encouraging, supporting, training, and seeing them through their toughest and most glorious moments. Why wouldn’t I put a similar support system in place when I take my leap into the unknown?

Having just read an incredibly insightful book by Shawn Achor called Big Potential, I wouldn’t attempt anything worthwhile without assembling a star system that allows me to not only to tap into my potential, but the bigger potential of everyone in the group.

It’s often the tiniest of actions that catapult us out of our comfort zone and into what I call our evolutionary zone. Sometimes it’s heading to the slopes. Other times it’s passing on dessert or an alcoholic beverage.  It could even be cleaning out a room in order to create some breathing space.

What courageous acts –  big or small – have you taken lately?

Who makes up your star support system and allows you to shine your light in new and adventurous ways?

Please share in the comments below so we can celebrate your moments of magnificence with you and those who made it possible for you!

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