Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Time to Renew

I do love Easter Sunday... it represents everything good.  It's about REBIRTH and RENEWAL in the most basic sense and yet it's so much more.  For the spiritual or religious, it is the celebration of all we believe and hold to be true.  For others, it still means much the same - rebirth.

What is it about renewal and rebirth that is so essentially human?

We crave it.

We all long for some way to begin again.  Some way to revive, renew, resurrect.  It may be a hope to fall in love again with a spouse; to start life over with a career or purposeful work vs. a current job; or simply finding a lost love like playing the guitar, rebuilding an engine, planting a garden, sailing a boat...or it may be as simple as choosing to eat healthier and exercise.  We look forward to retirement so we can do just that!  ;)

The wonderfully beautiful thing about being human is that we actually possess the capacity to accomplish this.  We CAN choose to begin again.  To shed the old and find renewal and rebirth.  In the process, we experience freedom, joy, forgiveness, peace and so much more.

The good news is that we don't have to wait for retirement or an annual Easter celebration to ignite this process.  But since it IS Easter, why not start now?

What is it that needs to renewed in your life? or is it simply that YOU need to be renewed and reborn?

Take a few moments today to THINK about that question and then WRITE down what you want to renew.  Choose your words.  Just start there...

It's time to renew.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dolce Far Niente

I'm Italian and Irish... but I was mostly raised by the Italian side of my family... and I had the opportunity to go to Italy a few years ago visiting Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Naples, and the Isle of Capri.  While there I was reminded of something my Gram used to say to me whenever I'd ask her what she was doing?  Typically she'd be sitting on her porch when this conversation would occur... but in short, she'd grin and say "Nothing."

Now this wasn't the 'nothing' in the general teenage angst sense, nor a sarcastic retort.  NO, this was simply the truth.

After she'd done whatever chore she'd deemed necessary that day, she'd go out and sit on the porch (in warmer weather) or the basement couch (in winter) with a beverage, some bread, cheese, salami or pepperoni, etc. and just SIT.

The last few weeks, as I've been getting over my Texas allergies (yes, we have them in winter not spring), I've been rediscovering myself.  Of course there's nothing like a trip to where you grew up to bring back into focus the Real You... who you are at your core.  Anyway, in this continual journey of self discovery, I've begun 'centering' again asking:  'What do you want?'  'Are you happy? and if not, why not?' 'What makes you smile? feel accomplished or whole?' and then I came to realization that over the last several years, I've nearly forgotten how to RELAX.  I get glimpses of this state of being known as 'peace' or 'relaxation' but overall, on a regular basis, it eludes me.

I am a Type A personality.  Always seeing what else "needs to be done" and classically "never satisfied with the present."  

I'm a visionary.  A dreamer.  Yet, I also have the ability, talent, skill or gift needed to make most dreams or lofty goal a reality when I set my mind to it.

While that's a wonderful quality for most things in life, it is also the very thing that sets me in constant conflict with "the art of doing nothing = DOLCE FAR NIENTE"

What is 'dolce far niente?' It's an Italian phrase literally translated as "sweet doing nothing" but also means "pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness."  WOW.  Look at each word in that phrase and do your best to absorb the delicious meaning of it all...



Seriously?  Is that even possible????  

Not just 'relaxation' but 'PLEASANT relaxation.'
"IN" not 'of' or 'for' or 'about' but "in" as in immersed, subsumed, whole...
"CAREFREE" = without care, worry, concern...
"IDLENESS" = Stillness.

One of my favorite quotable bible verses is "BE STILL (and know that I am God)" Psalm 46:10.  Oh how I struggle to "be still," to "wait on the Lord."  Many times I seem utterly incapable of 'stillness.'  Eastern religion, the practice of yoga, and so many other things from spirituality to psychology all have elements designed to tame the human mind because we equate STILLNESS with PEACE.

Stillness for me is not 'emptiness' but rather calmness and quiet.  And it most definitely requires PRACTICE because I'm always, always, always "doing" something.


Once again, I'm realizing how very RIGHT my grandparents are.  There is a beauty in the simplicity of being verses doing.  There is something essential about taking time to be still.  There is something necessary and healthy and human that requires us to relax.

In this case, I fully believe the Italians have the right frame of mind:  DOLCE FAR NIENTE, everyone!

On this Sunday - the biblical 'day of rest' - put aside your 'need' to 'do' anything today and instead seize the opportunity to do NOTHING!

I am.
It's time.


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Simpler Things

Last weekend I flew to my hometown, Clarksburg WV to visit my family and spend time with my grandfather.  The family decided to throw Pap a surprise birthday party in our church gym for his 90th birthday.  Incredibly, close to 150 family members and close friends came to celebrate him!
Pap with his kids

He walked in thinking he was attending a political fundraiser only to be met by The Godfather theme song and a cheer of "SURPRISE!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"  He quickly recovered and proceeded to delight everyone with his usual humor.  My dad toasted him, our priest blessed him, children flocked to him, and everyone kissed and hugged him.  My uncle made the BEST homemade peppers and sausage in true Italian style.  My aunt and cousins who coordinated things kept things moving along... and my youngest cousin was delighted to finally get her wedding dance with Pap who was too sick to dance at her wedding this summer.

It was a beautiful celebration of life and love.
Pap with his sisters

Now I don't know about you, but I don't know of too many 90 year olds whose birthday would bring so many people together just for the chance to celebrate HIM.  He never ran for office.  He held simple jobs as a grocery clerk and car salesman for a time.  He's a devout Catholic and equally devout Democrat but was a private person overall.  He had a small garden.  So what was it about this now frail old man that would engender so much love and respect?

His heart.

Pap has ALWAYS loved loved loved children... and they've always flocked to him.  Pap adored his wife and still loves her fully though she left us five years ago.  And Pap loves to LAUGH and make everyone around him laugh!  He jokes and tells stories that make you laugh till your sides hurt.  Despite his Italian temper and stubborn streak, he can just as quickly shift into a joke with an infectious grin.

When my grandmother was sick, Pap would take a fresh loaf of Italian bread from our local bakery and a jar of his canned peppers to every doctor, nurse, aid worker in thanks for their taking such care of his beloved.  Anyone who has ever shown him a kindness - from bank tellers to handymen, from sick friends to teachers/coaches of his grandkids - got a jar of those peppers and some bread.  It wasn't payment, it was a gesture of love... followed by some sort of joke and a laugh.  He loved and appreciated people.  It was that simple.  His only request from everyone was that they return his jars to him.

He and my grandmother lived in the house he and his friends built.  She told him what she wanted and he figured out how to build it for her using nothing but the best materials.  It wasn't built quickly.  It took him months and months to gather the money and resources but it was built perfectly.  Every decision from the type of lumber to the small enclave for the Blessed Virgin's statue, the use of plaster for the walls and lights in finished closets were all detailed loving touches designed for her.  He and she LOVED their home.  It wasn't thousands of square feet but was just what they needed.  Nothing more.

Our family loved their home too.  It was a place of love, laughter, and great food!  Amazing memories.

I adore my grandparents.  There is nothing I wouldn't do for them.  It's an overflowing cup... so as I think on my own life, I am reminded of what truly matters:

It really IS the SIMPLER THINGS in life that make it sweet, joyful, fulfilling.  
My grandparents knew how to LOVE.  They spent their time not working incessantly, nor acquiring more things but rather just living and doing what they enjoyed!

My grandmother actually loved to cook and bake.  She smiled as she cleaned every inch of her home each spring and fall because it was HERS.  She lovingly washed clothes and hung them out on the clothes line to catch the breeze and then ironed anything that needed it because to her, each thing she did was an expression of love not a chore.

Together, despite loss and hardships at times, she and Pap found ways to still laugh at and with each other most every day.  They went to church every Saturday night and had Sunday spaghetti dinner ready for the family every weekend.  We didn't watch much TV with them.  We sat and talked either in the kitchen or on the porch.


The older I get, the more I realize how RIGHT and PERFECT they were... and I'm taking a lesson from them.  It's the people - family and friends - in our lives that matter.  It's the memories we create with them, whether it's learning to play golf at age six with Pap or making bread and fritis with Gram in the basement or any number of a thousand other things that matter.  WHY?  Because it's the quality TIME we spend together, share together that means everything.

It's so easy to get distracted by the "To Do's" and the desire to acquire.  But just for today, right now, take a few moments to breathe in your life - smell your child's hair, make cookies with your spouse, or call your parents just to tell them 'hi' and see how their day went?  Make plans to meet your best friend for lunch at his/her home or invite them to yours.

DECIDE to prioritize the SIMPLER Things in your life... I bet your stress goes down, you sleep better, and you'll smile more.