Show Me the Money!

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April can be a very taxing time of year in the US.

Whether you pay taxes quarterly or yearly, get money back or have to pay money in, there is a general reckoning that always leaves me feeling, well, taxed.

I know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yet once the dreadful day has come and gone, taking a good chunk of change with it, I forget how urgent and uncomfortable it is to account for it all.

This year I decided to take matters into my own hands.  And since writing is what I generally do with my hands, I’m writing my way to a new, empowering money story.

I invite you to do the same.

Last month I participated in an online Millionaire Mindset Challenge that was nothing short of miraculous.  The energy of the creative community was contagious, the possibilities endless, and the miracles multiplied by our collective witnessing of them.

So many of my friends asked me about it that I decided to create my own version of it called Pennies From Heaven.

I’m changing up the rules a bit to give you a little more time to ponder your potential and adding a few Angel Investors to guide you to your most magnificent manifestations.

Because your mind can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s vividly imagined, you’re going to conjure up the most creative scenarios you can for experiencing the kind of wealth and abundance you’ve only dreamed about thus far.

Whether you like it or not, you  are experiencing the precise level of abundance you can comfortably handle at the moment.  What???  Can that be true?

Let me just speculate and suggest you may have a few money hang-ups that are getting in the way of experiencing the kind of wealth and abundance you desire.

Whether these be unspoken vows, limiting beliefs, or a general distrust that the Universe is conspiring on your behalf, it might be worth looking at your money story and see if you can allow yourself to play your way to prosperity.

“Who’s got time for fun and games?” you ask.

Well, I hope you do!  I, for one, could definitely use a little more levity in my life.

After suffering in silence and solitude for decades, I’ve discovered the key to my success is surrounding myself with wise and witty friends who are curious, open to new experiences, and can see things from a different perspective than I can.  If I’m going to tackle a touch topic like money, I’d prefer to do it with my tribe.

Consider this your invitation to hop on board the Pennies From Heaven money miracle manifestation train. Even if no actual money shows up during the game, the insights you gain into your money story will set the stage for future windfalls.

Look at it this way.  If you were expecting a baby, pursuing a degree, directing a movie, or taking a vacation, you’d prepare for it, right? You’d plan for a nursery, register for classes, hire some actors, or make travel arrangements.

The same applies to increasing your income. You may say you want more money, but if you can’t manage what you have now, how will you successfully manage more?

Pennies From Heaven is your practice field.

If you’d like to play along, just write “Show Me the Money!” in the comments below. The game will be played through our Pennies From Heaven Facebook group, so if you’re on Facebook, just ask to join the group and I’ll add you.

If you’ve already mastered money and want to look at relationships, health, or any other area of your life, the same rules of the game apply.  I’d love for you to join me and play your way to whatever you most desire.

 

 

 

Pennies From Heaven

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With a name like Penny, I’ve heard money references my whole life.  And like many people, I’ve had a complicated, complex, and at times chaotic relationship with money.

After sharing the results I experienced participating in the Millionaire Mindset Challenge with the fabulous Fiona Orr, many of you asked how you could play.

I have been wanting to jump into the topic of money and mindset for a while now, but I wanted to do it in a way that felt light and liberating. After having so much fun with the challenge, a game seemed like the best way to do this.

Hence, Pennies from Heaven was hatched.

Money is a loaded topic. And because we all have issues around it, I decided it was time to come clean with mine.

As a highly creative person, the managing of money seemed less of a priority to me than pursuing my passions.  But I quickly found out, until I learned the art of making and managing money, pursuing my passions might not be financially possible.

I invested a whole heap of money learning about business in the last year that have directly impacted the way I show up in the world as well as what I am willing to believe and achieve.

I didn’t do it without fear or resistance.  I did, however,  take consistent action and did not back down when things got difficult, challenging, or overwhelming.

The difference was I built an unbelievable support system made up of great coaches and risk takers who were going through the same thing or were a few steps ahead of me, reassuring me I could do it.

And this is what I want to offer you.

A chance to stretch your imagination, play with some new perspectives and possibilities, and feel the support of others who are doing the same in a safe environment.

April can be a tense and tricky month around money and taxes. So it’s the perfect month to start playing with prosperity!

I’ll be sharing more details in the next couple of weeks.

The only thing you need to know right now is whether you’re willing to take the leap with me and play along.

PS – Did I mention you get to play for FREE?  Just type “I’m in!” in the comments below and I’ll make sure you get all the juicy details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Manifest a Miracle

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If a lucky leprechaun failed to lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on St.Patrick’s day, never fear.

There are many ways to manifest a miracle that don’t involved leprechauns, lotteries, or even luck.

They do, however, require a little imagination, a lot of faith, and an action plan.

A few weeks ago I started playing a game called the Millionaire Mindset Challenge with the fabulous Fiona Orr.  It starts with receiving $250 virtual money and doubles every week day so that by the end of the first week the amount is already up to $4000. In a few short weeks, you’ve amassed a million virtual bucks.

The only rule is that you share your money story in as many splendid details as possible of where the money comes from and where it goes.  Did you earn it, win it, or was it a gift? How will you spend it, what will you buy, where will you go, what will you do? You assume all debts are paid so no money can go to paying off debt.

How does playing this game change anything in real life?

As Fiona says, “The more specific you can be, the more you activate the trifecta of happiness neurochemicals in your brain – dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. So just playing the game will make you feel happy if you let yourself really feel like it’s real. Your brain does not know the difference between imagination and reality.”

So when you make the emotions and scenarios so real, so compelling, and so specific, your mind doesn’t make the distinction between an actual the windfall and an imagined one.  You start raising your vibration and open to  having this money show up in your life because you know what it feels like and have plan for it when it arrives.

Many players have already experienced real money showing up  – me included – and I must say, it’s pretty darn exciting.

The crazy thing is we are all capable of manifesting miracles of all kinds and do so on a regular basis. But most of us fail to acknowledge that anything out of the ordinary is happening.

I facilitate a monthly mastermind group called Practicing Everyday Alchemy.  The goal of the group is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

It starts with the right mindset and the ability to see what’s hidden in plain sight.

This happens when a handful of people  connected by a promise, a person, and a picture of what’s possible come together. When a tribe of people who matter to each other start believing in each other, things get really interesting.

People start taking action. People start succeeding because their success lifts up the entire group. People take risks because others have their backs.

A year ago I invested in a coaching program that required a huge financial leap, travel to Boston four times throughout the year, and a rigorous examination into my fears, shadows, hopes, and dreams. I made this journey with about forty other women and men who have shown me what’s possible through their vulnerability and courage.

Belonging to such an amazing group has multiplied my miracles.  I joined two other groups and allowed myself to participate and be seen in a way I’d never done before. Experiencing first hand the kind of transformation that can happen with the support of others in a safe and sacred space, I made it my mission to create that space for others.

Of course, the biggest secret to manifesting miracles is to believe you can.  To know you are worthy of your deepest desires and to expand your bandwidth to allow for the fulfillment of them.

I liken it to placing an order on Amazon.  When you order something, you expect it to arrive. You don’t wonder if you’re worthy of receiving it.  You know it’s on its way.

Some miracles simply take time to manifest. Like birthing babies, writing books, shaping beach bodies, or apprenticing with shamans.  Some miracles require preparation and practice.

One of the best things you can do to prepare is to align your energy and adjust your environment for the imminent arrival of your miracle in the making. Make a plan, act as if, ask and you shall receive. All in good time. Or in an instant. Or when you least expect it.

What happens when you play a game like the Millionaire Mindset is sooner or later you come up against your limitations. You feel the resistance, you hear the voices of everyone and everything that ever held you back, and you might even get a little angry that you can’t allow yourself to have what you want.

But if you keep playing through the resistance, you start to realize what’s possible for you.

And that may be the biggest miracle of all.

I’d love to hear what you’d do with your ever increasing wealth.  Where would it come from? What would you do with it?  Dare to share in the comments below.

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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.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year

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For someone who is not real big on the holidays, I absolutely adore these days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Part of it is because I work full-time at a college and, like our students, we get these glorious days off  before starting full steam ahead again in January.

The other part is I happen to believe there is something magical about these days.  Because they are the last days not just of the month or the quarter but the whole year, people tend to write them off as an insignificant segue into start of a New Year.

But I know better.

It’s as if these days have a secret they will share only with those who can get quiet enough to listen and be still enough to notice.

While many people are bustling about returning items, reconnecting with family and friends, or trying to check off the last few items on their yearly to do list, I’ve been quietly calling the pieces of myself back home in order to acknowledge all the adventures I’ve had during this trip around the sun.

Before I even begin thinking about what I want to create in the New Year I ask myself a series of questions about the current year. The answers I get inform my direction and my intentions for the upcoming year.

I wanted to share them with you as a way to consider what 2017 has meant to you. You may want to sit with them, answer the ones that feel most in need of answering, skip those that don’t make sense for you, or make up your own.

After allowing my answers to these questions to reveal themselves to me, I take out a piece of paper and put a big plus sign on one half of the page and a big minus sign on the other. Armed with the insights from this year, I can clearly articulate what I want more of and less of in the New Year.

Because this is a process and the questions require time to marinate, I first read through them and let them seep into my psyche before attempting to answer them. Then I grab a pen and let the answers come to me.

By about Sunday I’ll be able to collect my responses and apply the perspective they afford to the New Year. On Monday I’ll spend some time welcoming 2018 and contemplating the choices ahead of me. I’ll Name & Claim what I intend to create and then release that intention into the wild.

I share this with you in hopes that these questions might help you find some clarity and direction in the New Year. Maybe you can ask some of these questions of your family and friends at a New Year’s Eve gathering?

May you savor these last days of 2017 as they share their secrets with you.

Baby Steps & Best Advice

  • Where did the smallest step produce the biggest result?
  • What was the best advice you were given this year?
  • Who shared it with you or how did it find its way to you?

Body Wisdom

  • How aware of your body were you throughout the year?
  • Did you feel connected to your body and allow yourself to feel the pleasure of being in a body or did you disconnect and spend the majority of time in your head?
  • Did you have any health challenges or achieve any health or fitness goals?

Experiences

  • What books, movies, music, conversations, trips, trainings, or classes forever changed the way you think, feel, see, or experience life?
  • What places provided you with the most peace or inspiration, the best working environment, the most creative conversations, the most nutritious and delicious food and drinks, incredibly beauty, or fascinating people?
  • Where did you love hanging out and with whom?

Fears & Thrills

  • What was the scariest thing you did this year?
  • How did you feel once you faced your fear?
  • What was the most thrilling thing you did, said, felt, or experienced this year?
  • What made you feel most alive?
  • What caused you the most pain or regret?

Gadgets & Gizmos

  • What new technology did you master that catapulted your business or personal life forward?
  • What products, apps, or life hacks made your life easier, more organized, or more fun?
  • What purchased created the most joy and/or frustration as you worked through the learning curve?

Gifts

  • When and how were your gifts recognized and appreciated this year? (By you and others.)
  • When did you need to activate your superpowers and how did you do so?
  • Was there a particularly painful lesson that held an exquisite gift for you?
  • When did you have to practice patience and learn to move at the pace of grace?

Health & Well-Being

  • What creative, meditative, fitness, or health practices did you begin that made a noticeable difference in the quality of your life?
  • What new foods or drinks did you discover this year that you now can’t live without?
  • What really nourished you?   (Mind, body, and spirit)
  • What health care practitioners offered you the most comfort or provided you with the most helpful information necessary to achieve your optimal health and well-being?

Homefront

  • Were there any new arrivals in your home? (Pets, people, plants, furniture, etc.)
  • Were there any departures in your household or family circle?
  • Did you move or add on to your existing home or somehow alter your living arrangements?

Livelihood & Creativity

  • Did you start a new adventure, begin a new business, retire, or leave an old career to start something new this year?
  • Who was on your dream team? What collaborations or partnerships gave you the most joy and brought about unexpected or innovative results?
  • Who needed to be fired from your life? What relationships created chaos, unnecessary drama, miscommunications, or major meltdowns?
  • Where did you create something amazing out of nothing?
  • Where did you take “massive imperfect action” as my coach likes to call it?
  • What crazy idea captured your attention and refused to let go until you took action? What happened next?
  • Where did you lose track of time and fall into the flow of doing what you love?

Money

  • How did money show up in your life this year?
  • Did you experience any money miracles or windfalls?
  • When did you feel especially abundant? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
  • When did you feel constricted or tight about money? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
  • Did you read any books, attend any seminars, work with any financial wizards or coaches who helped shift your mindset around money?

Relationships

  • Who walked into your life this year? How did their presence impact what’s possible for you?
  • Who walked out of your life this year? How did their absence create more presence for you?
  • Who do you long for? Who is missing in your world?
  • What relationships shifted or transitioned as you changed and grew?
  • Where was your love most needed and how easy was it for you to offer it up?
  • Who surprised you with their unwavering support and love? Who disappointed you?

Travel

  • Where did you go this year and how did you get there?
  • Did you travel for business, for pleasure, out of obligation, and/or because it was your soul’s calling?
  • Who did you meet in your travels?
  • What did you see?
  • How did it change you?

Spirit/Divine Intervention

  • How did God/the Universe/the Great Creator/Divine Feminine or Masculine reveal itself to you? How did you respond?
  • Were any of the answers you were seeking hiding in plain sight?
  • What was lost? What was found?
  • When did you feel closest to God or Source energy?

Surprise

  • What was surprised you most this year?
  • How did this surprise rearrange your reality?
  • What unlikely sources of support, funding, friendship, or freedom showed up for you?

World Events

  • How did world events impact your actions?
  • Did these events alter your opinion of humanity or change the way you view the world or the future of the planet?
  • Did these events catalyze you to join a movement, stage a protest, offer aid or assistance to those in need?

If you had to sum up the year in 6 words, those words would be:

___________    _____________    _____________     ______________   _______________    _____________

* Mine would be:  You can’t make this stuff up.  Really, it was that kind of year! Totally amazing.

Top 10 Takeaways from the year? List them here!

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I’d love for you to share any aha’s or epiphanies that may arise from these questions in the comments below.

 
 

Feast on Your Life

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It’s here! My favorite holiday of the year.

Thanksgiving is one of those rare days when our collective attention turns to all we have to be grateful for instead of all we have yet to achieve, acquire, or otherwise add to our lives.

As much as I love the tradition of gathering with family and friends to celebrate scrumptious food, delectable desserts, and familial frivolity, this year I opted for a simple  yet somewhat scandalous solution. Stay home.

Silence + Solitude = Saving Grace.  

My adventures have taken me far and wide this year and I have never felt more blessed to have the family and friends I now have in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to do deeply transformational work with fellow coaches, clients, and canines (my dogs are always the first recipients of my new coaching methods). And I’ve stretched myself beyond anything resembling a comfort zone into a continual curiosity zone where the ground is constantly shifting.

For all of this, I am incredibly grateful.

And in desperate need of some quiet time with no agenda, no expectations, and no unnecessary drama.

This year I have set some things in motion that have changed the trajectory of my life. The best I can do to honor the source of all this goodness is to find a place of grace in each day to say thank you.

So on this day dedicated to giving thanks, my offering is this:

Feast on your life.

Feast on all that you have endured and achieved, become or dreamed of becoming.

Feast on the lives you’ve unknowingly touched with your smile, your words, your random acts of kindness, your refusal to give up on what you know to be true.

Feast of the fears you overcame to get you to the right place at the right time to do that thing that only you can do.

Feast on the doors that opened because you had the courage to keep knocking.

Feast on the friends and family who get your quirky sense of humor, can activate your superpowers, believe in your brilliance, reflect your beauty, and take care of your dogs while you travel the world.

Feast on the way your body works tirelessly on your behalf, day in and day out, in pursuit of optimal health.

Feast on the freedom you have to choose your thoughts, write a new story, break old patterns, reinvent yourself, or opt for a “do-over”.

Feast on poetry, music, laughter, imagination, kisses, kindness, talent shows, card games, traditions, long walks, eccentric relatives, and belonging in this world.

Thank you for being a part of my blogging family.  Some of you have been around since the start in 2011.  Bless you!!

You know I adore you and would love nothing more than to hear how you are celebrating today (even if it’s not Thanksgiving when you read this or if you live outside the US) and what you are feasting on by leaving a comment below.

And, if you are not planning your Black Friday shopping strategy, watching football, or sleeping off the stuffing, please join me and fellow coach Becca Formenti on Facebook Live tonight at 6pm CST.  It will be Facebook friendship feast!

 

Whatever You Think You Can Do, Begin It!

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Our Tapping Into Your Wellpower Retreat is just 9 days away! I’m so excited to be spending a day at the Rickert Lodge in Bellevue with such fabulous new friends.

It takes courage to commit to spending a day doing a deep dive into those areas where most people are content to stay where it’s numbingly comfortable.

Up until now, I’ve attended retreats. Lots of them. This time I’ll be leading one.

It’s a gigantic leap but one I’ve been preparing for all summer.  I’m thrilled to put my spin on the lessons I’ve learned from hanging out with some of the best teachers in some the world’s most beautiful places.

I have grand plans to host future retreats in the places dearest to my heart like Santa Fe, St. George, and Monterey. But for my first go round, it makes sense to stay local and start small. I’ll get through 1 day and work my way up to a week.

I couldn’t ask for a lovelier setting than the Rickert Lodge in Bellevue, Iowa. It’s close to home but far enough away from my normal work environment that it feels like a get-away.

The biggest challenge has been to pick just one theme for the day. I remind myself it has taken me a lifetime to integrate the various teachings and experiences I’ve had.  As tempted as I may be to throw a little bit of a lot of things into the ring, the last thing I want to do is overwhelm someone coming to me in search of tranquility.

So I will teach something I love (tapping/EFT) that I know can make a profound difference in the lives of others in a very short time.

Today I said to a co-worker, “This is what it feels like to realize a dream.

And remarkably it feels like another day in paradise. A day where dozens of creative decisions and compromises must be made, people surprise or delight me, others challenge me, and the dogs still demand a walk. (Because they know the walk puts it all in perspective.)

This is the beauty of stepping into your well of power and owning your throne. It forces you to be a better version of yourself. Putting together this retreat has proven the Goethe quote to be true.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, power and grace.”

All kinds of things came into alignment as soon as I committed to hold the retreat. I have become more of a business person than I ever thought possible for a creatively quirky individual. Incredibly, I now have a YouTube channel, an active Instagram account, and have done several FB Live segments.

Upleveling is oddly disorienting until you realize this is what you were born to do.  Then you understand that there really are no mistakes, just learning opportunities, and no matter how steep the learning curve, what’s on the other side is usually worth it.

Doing the necessary hard work is really the only way to appreciate the magnitude of what you are able to manifest.

There is still time for you to join me at the retreat. We have the perfect size group for this kind of transformational work (20 people), but there is always room for you if this speaks to your heart.

Contact me if you are interested in attending or would like to host an event of your own and need a little nudge to make it happen.  Click on the Retreat tab above for all the details.

 

Don’t Let Chaos Eclipse Calm

Chaos vs. Calm

The topic of this week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series is chaos. Specifically, how to keep calm in the midst of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.

I’m fairly certain if you’re alive on Planet Earth, you’re feeling the effects of the intense energy vying for your attention. Everywhere you look, you can find evidence of escalating emotions as it appears we have collectively taken the fun out of “dysfunctional” and now just frighten the life out each other.

But if you look closer and get quieter, I believe you’ll find evidence that we are equally committed to collaboration, communication, and contemplation.

Admittedly it takes practice to cultivate consciousness in the midst of collective chaos.  It’s difficult to decipher the facts and figure out what’s really going on. It takes courage to stand up for what’s true and what’s right for you. And it’s almost impossible to interrupt the pattern you’ve been programmed to run when you get scared or feel threatened.

But it’s imperative that you are able to question, object, or offer another perspective than the one that leads down the rabbit hole of doom, doubt, and drama.

With all that’s already on your plate, I’m going to assume you are not looking for yet another cause to commit your evenings and weekends to.  So I’m going to suggest a simple practice that you can do anywhere, anytime you feel stressed.

It’s a simple tapping exercise that I originally learned from Gabrielle Bernstein that goes like this.

  • Touch your thumb and your pointer finger and say the word “Peace”
  • Next touch our thumb and your middle finger and say the word “begins”
  • Then touch your thumb and your ring finger and say the word “with”
  • And finally touch your thumb and your pinky finger and say the word “me”.

You can substitute the word for whatever quality you wish to experience in place of “peace”.  It’s easy to do.  It’s so subtle no one even has to know what you are doing.  And it’s a tactile reminder for you to call in the quality that you most need in the moment.

Because sometimes all you need is a moment to restore your equilibrium.  I like to say you are only one thought away from a new perspective.  It’s just getting to that thought can take a little wrangling.

For more conversation around this topic, jump in on our FB Live Sunday Summer Stretch Series episode this evening at 7pm Central time.

We’d love to hear how you keep calm and carry on.  Leave your feedback or suggestions in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

I Wonder If ….

Curious Dog

A curious puppy dog is looking up with wonder.

I love the description on this picture.  “A curious puppy dog is looking up with wonder.

That succintly sums up this week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series topic and how I encourage you to look at life this week.

What if instead of being afraid of things, you were just curious about them?  What if instead of thinking you know how things are going to go, you just stay curious about how they may unfold?

Today’s video is all about allowing curiosity to serve you and open you to things that may  have stopped you in your tracks before.

I’d love to hear how staying curious influences you this week or how it has influenced you in the past.  Your comments are most welcome below.

Enjoy!

 

Farewell to a Friend

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Yesterday I attended the funeral of a dear friend.  She was the first one to “like” a blog post or leave a comment on my “latest and greatest” idea, no matter how wacky or weird it was.

If we’re lucky, we all have at least one person like my friend Linda who makes us believe in our own brilliance by reflecting it back to us.

Ours wasn’t a likely friendship but one that developed by working together.  We didn’t work together for hours on end but in the odd hours when everyone else was asleep or had gone for the day or the week.

You see, Linda was the caretaker of our building.  She was the invisible hand that kept the floors and windows clean and everything in operating condition. She would usually come in around 4 in the morning and spend a couple hours at our building before heading to her full-time job to put in another 8-9 for the day.

In her “free” time she made quilts and took in sewing projects and did all kinds of odd jobs for others.

She was a worker bee.

About a year ago Linda got bone cancer and embarked on the only route she deemed acceptable – the grueling road to recovery. She was an extremely private person so at first she simply withdrew. I’m sure she thought she could handle it without bothering anyone else and be back to work in no time.

But that was not the case.  She had a long battle ahead of her and she was forced to fight it full time.

Once as I was driving her to the hospital I remember thinking, “This is really happening to us. We are no longer immune to cancer. It’s no longer something other people deal with.” 

I got a glimpse into the impact a diagnosis of a debilitating disease has on a person. She, of course, was not going to let it get the best of her.  In fact, like many people who have had cancer, it seemed to bring out the best in her.

Despite her declining physical condition, emotionally and spiritually she seemed to simultaneously harden and soften. Harden to take on the fear and uncertainty and soften to allow others to help. This brought about a kind of acceptance and letting go that comes with finally understanding what truly matters.

During the service, the priest admitted that he didn’t know Linda. I thought about how lucky I was that I did. As he fumbled his way through a reference to some Twilight Zone episode meant to comfort her family and friends, I consoled myself with what I did know and love about her.

While he surmised she loved being an aunt, he had no idea how much she loved her “kids” Rick and Rachael, the cats who shared her life.  He made no mention of how mechanically minded she was or how, despite her fragile physical form, she was in the midst of a full DYI home renovation that had her excited about her future again.  He failed to mention her lucky streak at the casinos or her love for Manny’s pizza.

He had studied her obituary but knew nothing of her life. He hadn’t had the opportunity the rest of us did.

As the priest offered the congregation communion, I imagined Linda finally communing with Michael Jackson, whom she admired more than any other performer.  She told me once she’d love to have his music played during her funeral service but didn’t think it would go over very well.

So I came home and honored my friend the best way I knew how.  “Alexa,” I commanded my AI device from Amazon,  “please play ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson.”

Let me just say Alexa has ever understood or responded to any of my requests before. I believe she’s in cahoots with Siri who has the same problem. But today she responded, “Okay, Penny.  Playing Man in the Mirror – the Immortals edition.”

Then I moon-walked around my kitchen, celebrating the life of my friend.