Out of the Shadows

IMG_6674This photo of Allie starting longingly outside sums up how I was feeling this winter.  Wanting to be outside but yet needing my solitude.  Wanting to hide yet to be seen.  It was a contradiction on so many levels.  I wanted to start dating again but didn’t want make to much of an effort.  Then when Spring came, something shifted, I wanted to get out and play more.  So I started the online dating again, started hanging out with friends more, started walking and getting outside more and feeling social again.  Then Summer showed up and I felt like hiding again.  Not that I didn’t want to be outside or with friends, but I got discouraged with the online dating.  I saw two ex-boyfriends that got me thinking about my choices in life.  So I went into reflection mode, although I do that all the time, somehow it felt different this time.  I unsubscribed to the dating sites, I stopped dating anyone and cleared out my social calendar.  I sat by the pool by myself, avoiding the social activity happening on the other side.  I needed my solitude.  This past holiday weekend though, I went down to the pool and actually felt social.  I met new neighbors, I reconnected with some old neighbors, one even told me he was happy I was out of hiding, and I really enjoyed myself.  I even met some single neighbors, so we’ll see what happens there.  I feel more open to possibilities, more open to life, and more open to love…

Then yesterday, I had a past life reading which was fascinating to say the least.  And if you don’t believe in that stuff, that’s cool, but I do and so am totally blown away.  I’m still reflecting on all of it…a Revolutionary War soldier (for the British), a French courtesan…all had interesting lessons.  The first life was the most incredible though and that is the woman I have been working to reclaim, without even knowing it!  I’m not going to share too much about her but just knowing that she was a strong, intuitive, secure Elder woman who was an equal with the men in her tribe, well that gives me an inner strength.  She was a storyteller too which of course has me thinking more about my writing.  The more I reflect on her, the more I see myself coming out of the shadows and reclaiming that part of me.  I feel like I’ve been hiding too long…it’s definitely time to let go of the fear, trust myself and live THIS life to the fullest.


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49 Lessons Learned by 49

FullSizeRenderI turn 49 today and quite honestly that number is so strange to me.  My mother is supposed to be 49, not me!  I sure don’t feel it and most people tell me I don’t look it either, whatever that means.  As I reflect on the last 49 years (ok, really the last year), I think about all of the things I’ve learned.  Some lessons have taken a lot longer than others!

  1. BE PRESENT!  Enjoy each moment.
  2. You need to learn to be happy being alone, before you can be with anyone else.
  3. Do not expect anyone else to make you happy, it’s an inside job.
  4. People aregoing to judge you and it’s none of your business (one of my favorite quotes ever)!
  5. You are never too old to learn something new or change your career path.
  6. You must be honest with yourself in order to be honest with anyone else.
  7. You must deal with sorrow in order to know JOY.
  8. Dating in your 40’s is HARD!
  9. Do not make someone a priority if you’re only an afterthought (not the exact quote but still another favorite).
  10. Do not settle for anything that does not fulfill you.
  11. It is way better to be alone than lonely in a relationship.
  12. In a relationship, don’t settle for anything less than you deserve.
  13. But…be realistic about relationships…they’re not easy!
  14. Be kind to yourself.
  15. Don’t ever say anything to yourself that is demeaning or degrading…you wouldn’t say it to someone else, would you?
  16. REMEMBER…You are doing the best you can with what you know at any given moment.
  17. Dance whenever you feel like it!  Ask my classes, I dance all the time!
  18. Sing at the top of your lungs…in your car…alone…you sound great!
  19. Listen to music, as loudly as you want, until your neighbors complain.
  20. Accept people where they are, not where you ‘think’ they should be.
  21. Accept Yourself where you are too!
  22. Learn from your past but don’t dwell in it.
  23. Have FUN with whatever you do, even cleaning the house…yeah I still don’t do this one!
  24. Nurture your friendships.
  25. Express gratitude every day.
  26. Light candles for no reason.
  27. Celebrate the people in your life.
  28. LAUGH loudly and often.
  29. SMILE at everyone you meet, you may change their day.
  30. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them, even strangers.
  31. Don’t judge other people, you have no idea what is going on in behind closed doors.
  32. Keep your body and mind active.
  33. But some days, chill on your couch and binge watch Netflix.
  34. Jump in puddles barefoot; don’t ruin your nice shoes.
  35. Buy nice shoes, you are on your feet all day and your feet will thank you.
  36. Get massages, facials, pedicures, etc…you deserve it.
  37. Change the oil in your car regularly.
  38. It’s not the end of the world, if your house isn’t clean or the laundry isn’t done before you go have some fun.  It will all be there tomorrow.
  39. Experiences are more important than stuff.
  40. Your thoughts DO effect how you feel.
  41. You have to create the abundance in your life.
  42. No one can FIX your issues, you have to do it yourself.
  43. Movers exist for a reason, hire them.
  44. Don’t have expectations of anyone else – this is a hard one!
  45. Life is too short sometimes but then in other ways, really long!
  46. Pets are family members, period.
  47. Loss is part of life but it really sucks.
  48. No matter how long someone has been gone, you’ll always miss them.
  49. Life is a PRACTICE.

So here I am entering my 50th year on this planet and while I’ve learned so much, I know there is so much more to learn.  I look forward to the new lessons yet to come.  And I would love to hear some of your life lessons!

Posted in Gratitude, Inspiration, Life Lessons | 6 Comments

Begin Again

IMG_6561Each Spring, it seems I need to replace the plants on my porch.  I let the ones from last year die off in the winter.  It’s never intentional, it just happens.  Well lack of water and protection from the winter cold is what actually kills them but that’s never my intention.

These new plants remind me that we have the choice to begin again.  We can begin again every day, every minute, every second, if we choose.  If I wake up in a crappy mood or cranky, I can choose to continue down that path or make a shift and change my perspective.  And some days, I stay on the path of crankiness and hey, that’s ok.

As I approach turning 49 this Friday, I have been thinking about all the ways I begin again. This blog is one place I tend to begin again and again and again.  I take these long unexpected breaks but the writing always calls me back.  It’s been over a year and while so many things have happened in that year and 4 months, some things remain the same.  I’m still in the same home,  still teaching Pilates, Allie cat still wakes me up too early in the morning, and my family are all doing well.  Some things have changed though and reflecting back, there have been some huge changes!  I began and ended a relationship, both of my parents lost their precious fur babies, my sister graduated from college and started teaching kindergarten, my mother ‘retired’ from her corporate job and I started an Holistic Life Coaching program.  I have also begun the online dating process again.  So I’m almost full circle to where I left you last year.  Although so much has changed.

I’m a bit lighter in my approach.  In the past, I was looking for “the one”, that relationship that is going to last the rest of my life.  I’m not saying that wouldn’t be nice, of course it would but it’s just not my focus.  Although if it happens naturally, then bonus!  I’m dating, yes, dating.  I’m meeting new people and seeing what develops.  I’m having fun and not jumping into anything too quickly.  Enjoying the ride.  Most have not gone past a first or second date and that’s ok.  We will see what happens and I hope to share more here.

And so, I begin again.


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Online Dating Part Two

Two years ago I joined an online dating site.  It was quite eye opening.  You’re basically shopping for a date.  Once I got into the flow of it, I had a few first days and I think one second date.  During the whole online thing I met someone through a mutual friend.  The online dating stopped.  Now here I am two years later giving it another shot.  Several friendsphoto encouraged me with ‘why not, what do you have to lose’.  And it’s true, what do I have to lose.  I’m ready to find love so I need to be open to it in any form it may take.  It is challenging to decipher the guys who are serious and those who are just trolling.  It’s like a job, sorting through profiles, emails, likes, winks, etc.  But I’ve decided to just go for it.

There are several guidelines I have set for myself.  When I’m interested, I’m going to send an email and if he responds, we’ll see where it goes.  If he’s not, move along.  No hurt feelings.  When someone reaches out to me and I’m not interested, I’m going to tell them right away.  No need to string anyone along or settle for anything that doesn’t feel right.

Who knows what will happen.  Maybe I’ll meet someone online but maybe I’ll meet them in the grocery store or coffee shop or walking down the street.  I will be sure to share more here.

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In a Word – Love

IMG_4006For the past 4 years, I have chosen a word of the year.  Or more accurately the word has chosen me.  Last year my word was TRUST.  I had to learn to trust myself again; trust my instincts; trust in other people; trust in the Universe; trust that I was on the right path.  Looking back at 2014, Trust was the perfect word.  I did learn to trust my instincts, I listened to my gut (or maybe they were my angels & guides, right Grace?!) and I made some necessary changes to put myself on the right path.  I moved to a place that has opened up my social circle to include people I probably never would have met.  I’ve become more involved coordinating events and bringing people together, which is something I had always done but had lost that part of me for awhile.  I feel like I’m back on track.  I’m so much more comfortable in my own skin and am trusting myself and my choices.

This brings me to my word for 2015, LOVE!  Again, this word has chosen me.  For awhile I wanted the word to be Abundance but nope…it kept coming back to LOVE.  Doesn’t it always come back to love though?  I ended my year trying to spread more love, to myself and to others.  I’m more open…to meeting new people, trying new things, having new experiences, and most important, to finding LOVE…the romantic variety.  I am ready!  How do I know I’m ready?  Because I am really comfortable being single, I enjoy my own company, I have learned to love myself and I am taking care of myself – emotionally, financially and physically.  I don’t NEED to have a partner in this life, I WANT one.  I know because I’m ready to receive love in my life.  I’ve been really good at giving love but found it harder to receive it.  I’m ready because I know I will choose only the best and am not willing to settle (any potential partner will choose only the best too).  I’m ready because I’m open.  Open to the possibilities, open to the disappointments, open to the good, open to the bad, and most important open to falling in love.

Yes, this will be the year of LOVE for me…and I hope for you too!


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When I wrote the draft of my last post, I had an introductory paragraph that explained why I was writing the post.  My lovely friend Amy edited my post and suggested I eliminate that paragraph or move it somewhere else in the post.  She thought it would be much more powerful to open with the line…I have herpes.  I got a huge lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach but I edited the post and hit publish before I could overthink it.  However, when I shared on Facebook, I did alter the way I shared it.  I was still nervous about having the first sentence show up in my FB feed.  A minute later, I changed my mind.  I knew that if I was going to be vulnerable and not care what other people thought I needed to put it all out there.  But when I went back to FB, I was already getting comments and they were AMAZING!  I actually started crying…happy tears.  The comments were so supportive and encouraging.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was blown away by everyone who took the time to comment on my FB post and my blog.  Then there was the email I received from the student who gave me the extra push I needed, after reading my post…

That’s awesome to hear! Thanks so much for your reply back. I went to your site and read your latest blog. Wow. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to post, but I think that you did a very honest, a very brave, and a very important thing. Not just for you, but for others as well. I hope that it has lifted a weight off of you, and I hope that it will help you to open up, as well as reciprocate.

Thanks so much for writing and for sharing the Safe Sex guide! I really enjoy your blog, and you have a wonderful talent as a writer. Good things will come from this. Best of luck with everything in your future.

I also received many private messages from other people who have dealt with the stigma of herpes.  They shared how they were ashamed and weren’t putting themselves out there for fear of the reaction from a potential partner.  I had conversations about other “shameful” things people have done or experienced.  It was as if the clouds had parted and the light was shining in.  People who felt they couldn’t share with anyone, could now share and I imagine it lessened their fear, made them feel less alone, and that they didn’t feel like they needed to hide in the shadows anymore.  This is what I hope they felt by telling me their story.

My wish is that we can all continue to share our stories without worrying about what anyone else thinks.  We can let the light in, be honest with each other and support each other…hold each other up.  That is my wish for all of us.

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen


Posted in Gratitude, Inspiration, Life Lessons | 4 Comments

A Stigma


I have herpes.

Just writing that down is freeing and terrifying at the same time. I’ve shared this information with my dearest friends and I don’t have a problem discussing it in person, (although I do tend to change the tone of my voice when I say it, herpes, like a whisper), but telling the world at large is a bigger deal.

Most days, I really don’t think about it, but as soon as I start dating it’s like a dark cloud that hangs over me. Even though 1 in 4 people have herpes, there is still a stigma attached. Anytime I hear a joke about herpes, I cringe. And, of course, anytime I start dating someone I feel the need to share this information almost immediately. Maybe it’s a test to see how compassionate or honest or brave the person is. Will it change the way they look at me? Will they want to move forward?

The man I fell in love with last year…he asked questions, did his research and we had a very loving, active, safe sex life. But my latest dating experience was different. We met through a friend; he was intriguing so I was interested. Since he lived a bit of a distance from me, we talked quite a bit on the phone and it seemed we could talk about anything. On the third date I told him about the herpes. He had married young and was married for twenty-five years, so he had not had any exposure to any information about herpes. We discussed it further; he did some research and was surprised to find out how prevalent it is. It did not, however, deter his interest in me. When we finally did have sex, he still had some questions, but we used protection, and all was good. Or so I thought. While we were still lying in bed, his fear began to mount. He brought it up, we discussed it again, and I explained that herpes does not define me, it’s something I have and something I have to deal with but if we were careful, he wouldn’t contract it. He still felt afraid and needed to try and wrap his head around it. I said that was fine, to take his time.

It’s been over three weeks now, without any communication at all from him. It is disappointing, but I know I’m in a good place because I am not letting this deter me in any way. Honestly I don’t blame him for his fear. A herpes flare can be very painful but there are ways to minimize them. There are prescription drugs available and I take a Lysine supplement every day that boosts my immune system. I’m also experimenting with essential oils. The oil that has been known to help with flares is the Melissa oil. How funny is that?!

So now you know the most personal thing you could possibly know about me. I’m hoping that this post will resonate with some of you and may help anyone who is dealing with some sort of stigma, whether it’s herpes or something else.

I have been debating discussing this topic for a while now but I was afraid of what other people, including you, would think of me.   But I kept waking up, writing the post in my head. Then recently, I received a random e-mail with the title “An idea for your site” and this opening sentence, “I hope I’ve found the right person to contact. In doing some research for a project in my human sexuality course, I found your page here…my project is based on spreading awareness of important sexual issues in our society. I’ve chosen this comprehensive guide on safe sex as the focus for my project.” I’ve also been working really hard in letting go of worrying about what anyone else thinks (a daily practice, I must add). And this is the ultimate test in not worrying about what anyone else thinks.

For those of you who are single, married, in a committed relationship, whatever your status and are concerned about STD’s, here a link to reference site I was emailed as part of a class project. The only think this student asked was for me to share the link on my site. I’m still not sure what made him choose my site but it was the catalyst to me sharing this information.

If you want to start a dialogue or have questions, I’d be happy to do that too. In the meantime, I am hopeful and confident that there is someone out there for me who will accept ALL of me.

Posted in dating 101, Life Lessons | 55 Comments