I am often amazed when I sit down and think about the shift that occurred in my life which moved me from my "head" to my "heart." When I look back, I was living most of my life from my ego; it was all about being externally referenced. Everything was "out there." Success was about material possessions, image, income and career. "Keeping up with the Jones's" was the driving force which eventually became tiresome and was an illusion of happiness. Success had nothing to do with being in alignment with self.
Almost twenty years ago, I finally "woke up" after my "perfect" world became "topsy turvy" and I tumbled out of control. My marriage was ending because I couldn't "control" my husband. I began to realize that my focus was always on "others"; I was comparing, competing, needing to be right, blaming, and playing victim. A feeling that I had to be in control of everything was overwhelming. If I couldn't get what I wanted, it would drive me crazy. I was living in fear.
Recognizing that I could no longer live this way forced me inward. I began to engage in self discovery, something I never wanted to do before. Perhaps it was because I was afraid to look at my "imperfections." Society had rules that in order to be successful and accepted, I was supposed to be "perfect." But this crisis had given me the courage to address my issues.
Shortly after changing my focus and becoming internally referenced, my world changed. Connecting with my spirit and accepting that there is a "power" greater than myself allowed me to start trusting the Universe. I began to let go of my need to control. I learned that there are some things that I can change and some things that require me to "let go and let God."
There was a shift from my head which had been full of fear, doubts, and worries to my heart, a place of compassion and peace. I have returned "home" because "home is where the heart is."
I no longer feel the need to conform to society's definition of success which creates an illusion of happiness.Success, for me, is about being in alignment with Spirit. When I am connected and trusting, my life is full of happiness and peace. I am led to becoming more of who I came here to be; I am perfectly imperfect.
With love, peace, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com www.phoenixadventure.com
Did you ever have a night when you just wanted to give up on everything you've worked so hard at? Well, last night was one of those nights...
I had just finished the "call" with Ellie's "My Vision and Me" program. Recognizing that I needed to provide more clarity on the benefits to the women I want to coach, I went into my sitebuilder to make some wording changes on my Les Be Well website. This is one of two websites I have; I created this new brand with the lesbian population after discussing my professional purpose at Release in November. My other business, Phoenix Adventures in Wellness, was established six years ago.
Creating and making changes to websites has been a long and hard learning process for me; I'm not very computer savvy..So what happened next was very painful...Somehow all of my files from one website transferred over to the other. In trying to remedy the situation, I ended up deleting all my files on both...Both websites are now blank...
I cried out of frustration and went through a period of "flight." After sleeping it off, I am feeling a little better but am still in a place of confusion...For those people who know me, I often get "signs" from the Universe...So what is the Universe trying to tell me? Am I supposed to give up the business or start over?...
I guess time will tell. I have my webmaster coming over tonight to see if we can restore the files. If not, I will take this time to get out of my head and just "be" for awhile. I have to trust the Universe and know that success comes to those who are "go with the flow." Who knows?...This may be an opportunity in disguise...
With Love, Hope, and Faith, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader
Now that I am retired and able to reflect back on my 34 years of teaching, I recognize how "broken" the educational system has become. It is not only turning out less proficient students in academics, but also very unmotivated, angry, and unhappy students. Why?...I think I know...
Our educational system, and society for that matter, places a great deal of emphasis on needing to meet certain standards in order to be "of value." Our society has created a mental model where we feel we are only successful if we "get what we want.' In school, the focus is on getting high grades and high standardized test scores. The problem is that this emphasis on the outcome has students feeling badly about themselves if they don't do well. Therefore, I have seen many students not study or do homework. They would rather not try at all because if they do perform poorly after trying, it creates a low sense of self worth. They would rather take responsibility for their low grades by not trying. Otherwise, it becomes too painful; one feels "dumb" when you know you've tried and still do poorly. And, the students who have the parental pressure to do well and who study out of "fear of consequences," will often cheat in those 'hard to understand" subject areas to get those high grades.
So what is the answer? Schools need to teach students that the most important thing in education is the process of learning. It should not be about the outcome. When people are focused on the results only and then their expectations are not met, it creates unhappiness. We all have strengths in certain subjects as well as weaknesses. And students need to know that they can't be expected to do well in everything. When students are taught that the most important thing is to be and do the best they are capable of, then happiness will become a daily occurrence.
Our mindset in society and education is about outcomes. Don't get me wrong; I want to see our students succeed. But we have to teach them, early on, that success is not about "winning" and "getting high grades." It is about doing and being who you came here to be....as best as you can.
What were you taught? Are you happy most of the time? How do you feel when you try and don't succeed?.. Do you focus on the journey or the outcome? Think about it...
With love, peace, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well Community leader www.lesbewell.com www.phoenixadventure.com
One of my recent blogs was about the possibility of having to cancel my Women's Wellness Retreat in Hawaii this summer due to insufficient numbers. It turned out that two more women signed up on the last day before the deadline. My 6th annual Hawaii retreat was now a "go!" The Hawaii retreats have always been successful, well attended, and my "favorite." So I was ecstatic!
And then, the unexpected happened...Three days later, prior to giving me their deposits, these two ladies reneged. It was shocking to me as they had verbally committed more than once over the three day period. So I decided to cancel my retreat due to insufficient numbers and release the luxurious rental home on the ocean of the Big Island.
After reflecting on this experience, I recognized that over the course of the last few months, five other women had verbally committed and then "backed out." I even had a grief support group cancel their customized retreat which was to take place in Hawaii after my women's wellness retreat.
How do I feel about this? Initially, I felt disappointed but surprisingly okay. I realized that the Universe has been telling me that I am not supposed to go this summer. I don't know why... but I am detached enough to recognize this and know that there is a reason.
Learning to detach from the outcome has been a real lesson for me. In the past, not "getting what I wanted" has often created unhappiness and a feeling of failure. But now, I trust the Universe and find that life can be less of a struggle when I am not too attached to the outcome and I simply "let go and let God."
With peace, love, and joy, Kathleen www.lesbewell.com www.phoenixadventure.com
A few days ago, I had an "a-ha" moment. I was on my computer, working on my website, and was having difficulty replacing pictures that were previously "lost" due to a previous error. After many attempts, I failed to restore some of the pictures.
My reaction was one of severe frustration, sadness, and disappointment. I started to "beat myself up." I recognized my thoughts as saying, " I should have been able to figure this out; I've done this before." The feelings of failure were overwhelming.
What makes one feel this way? Why do we often grow up thinking badly about ourselves when we can't accomplish our goals?
I'll tell you why. Our society equates happiness with achievement. Our mindset is all about "getting what we want.' Schools do it with outcomes and test scores. Sports teams are all about winning. So, if we don't win or achieve our goal, we fail. Rarely, do we pat ourselves on the back for trying our best!
John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach and Hall of Fame recipient, never talked about winning with his teams. He said it best ..."Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become that you are capable of becoming."
Our society needs to stop overemphasizing achievement. The most important thing to focus on is WHAT we are doing, not HOW WELL we are doing. Success and happiness will result when we invest in the journey....instead of the outcome.
So, now, I am patting myself on my back. I tried my best; I didn't fail after all...
With love, peace, and joy, Kathleen www.phoenixadventure.com www.lesbewell.com Les Be Well community leader
What a wonderful weekend in Connecticut! With much anxiety over the last few months as to how our wedding was to unfold, I am happy to say that it will be one of my most fondest memories of my life.
After being married twice before to men, I didn't know what is would be like to be a bride in a lesbian wedding. Would I be just as excited? Would it feel real?
These thoughts would occasionally go through my mind because our home state, Pennsylvania, does not recognize same sex marriage. But our desire to wed was more about a statement and a need to feel equal. It was a ceremony which demonstrated our love and commitment to each other, our family and friends.
My bride had never been married before. And to see her beaming smile and radiant "afterglow" after the ceremony was over, was worth all the tea in China. She deserves to feel the exuberant emotions that are only experienced in this type of occasion.
So, all in all, we are "gayly" married now. It is real and I am glad to have had this opportunity in Connecticut. It is my hope that someday everyone will simply look at gay weddings as a beautiful expression of love between two people...and wish them happiness.
With love, peace, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well Community leader www.lesbewell.com www.phoenixadventure.com
I remember coming home one day, finding my 15 year old son with blue hair and dreadlocks. He had taken it upon himself to dye his hair and create his new look. What was my response? I think I said, "Oh, Ryan..." and then I let him talk.... "Mom," he said, "This feels like me. I really like it."
I didn't say much else while I digested the facts. Hair grows out...it's a stage...it's not my hair...self-expression...it's not hurting anyone...it's legal. So I let it go. The only complaint that I had was the blue dye that was now a permanent part of the bathroom countertop...
What allowed me to respond instead of react? A deep breath which gave me just enough time to discern if it really mattered. Too often I see parents putting so much emphasis on having their kids grow up to be "just like them." Unfortunately, this behavior squashes their self esteem and authenticity. It also creates hurt, anger, and confusion in the children. Parents don't always know best...
Allowing Ryan to be himself since birth has really paid off. He is independent, successful, creative, and not influenced by others. At the age of 26, he has never done drugs or drank alcohol, is vegan and works hard to make this world a better place. Although he and I have some things in common, we are also very different.
Taking responsibility for our children is important. But we have to realize that they are their own person and we need to support that. It teaches self love, self acceptance and self worth. Giving our children a sense of self is perhaps the most important thing we can do.
Oh, and by the way, Ryan has short, brown hair now...
With peace, love, and joy, Kathleen Phoenix Adventures in Wellness www.phoenixadventure.com
What does it take for us to recognize how limitless we really are? Unfortunately, we have created stories that we tell ourselves that make us believe that we can only do so much...
This past weekend, I facilitated an empowerment workshop for women by taking them to a challenge course in Mt. Gretna, PA. One of the high challenges was called the "Leap of Faith." Initially, the women thought there was no way that they could climb 30 feet, walk out on a 6 inch wide platform, and jump off to try to ring a bell which hung on the cable. But with the encouragement and support of the group, the participants went far beyond their expectations.
Women have so much power and need to recognize that they can do almost anything. Finding support and encouragement makes all the difference in the world. Then we need to get out of our own way and just do it!
With peace, love and joy, Kathleen Phoenix Adventures in Wellness www.phoenixadventure.com
Sometimes we don't realize how far we've come until we stop and reflect upon our past. I remember when I used to live in fear during my childhood days. I went through school, barely saying anything to anybody. I was so shy that I didn't have many friends and felt very alone. My friends were the creatures in nature; most of my spare time was spent in the woods, looking for salamanders, baby birds, and other animals.
Growing up in a strict, controlling environment did not allow me to have self love, nor feel loved. I suppressed my feelings and opinions out of fear. I was so hard on myself that to hear criticism from someone else was devastating.
The only way I thought I could get attention or affection was to be perfect. If I could get good grades and win my swimming competitions, then maybe I would get noticed...Well, I did get noticed, but only conditionally.
It wasn't until I my divorce, nearly twenty years ago, that I was able to have the courage to engage in self discovery. I was tired of living a life of compliance, perfectionism, and superficiality. My ego was in charge and it was time to "fire" it. I surrendered to the Universe and "hired" my heart to guide me. To "become" love, I had to die to who I was in the past and remember who I am and came here to be.
Becoming conscious of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors has allowed me to get in touch with my authentic self. I take action based on love, not fear. I have re-connected to nature and see beauty in all things. I express myself freely and have become open and honest, taking responsibility for my life. Success is no longer about attaining material possessions, but rather, attaining peace, love, and joy.
So, now, I remind myself how far I have come. I continue to step out of my comfort zone and accept challenges as opportunities in disguise. I have realized that by avoiding pain, feelings, and conflict, growth becomes stagnant and life is boring.
Life is to be lived in love, not fear! Look fear in the eye and "fire" it! And we need to remember to pat ourselves on the back for all of our little victories as we return to innocence...because we are worth it!
With peace, love, ad joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com
If I were to give advice to anyone about my biggest life lesson, it would be hard because there were so many. However, when I look back, one of my biggest lessons was to let go of fear. And what was surprising, was that I did not even recognize that I was living in that much fear most of my life.
It wasn't until I started to become conscious of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that I had the awareness that my ego was in charge. So I made a conscious decision to pay attention to those thoughts and face my fears. No longer did I want to feel like a victim and worry about what others were thinking about me, or what I was going to say, or wondering what tomorrow would bring.
The shift began to happen as I changed my negative self talk to positive, stopped judging/gossiping, and took responsibility for my life. I connected with "God,' a loving energy that only wants the best for us. This allowed me to trust the Universe and recognize that everything happens for a reason.
So, the mere illusions of happiness dissolved; no longer was I attached to the material crutches. I re-defined what is really important in life. This incredible journey of courage has enabled me to live in love as I have now returned to the simplicity of happiness.
So, don't be afraid. The Universe only works for you, never against you...It will bring you back to your forgotten state of being,..LOVE....Just trust it.
Sending you peace, love, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com
There are only two ways to live. One way is to live in fear. Discrimination, disrespect, competing, gossiping, irresponsibility, distrusting, cheating, and stealing are signs of insecurity and a fear of scarcity. People who live this way are often focused on needing to have material possessions and be in a position of power. Success is attained only when they can "keep up with the Jones" or feel like they are in total control. Obviously, when they don't have these "things," they are in a constant state of anxiety and/or depression. Their sense of self worth is based on other people's approval.
On the other hand, one can choose to live in love. One must be able to trust, be honest, respectful, forgiving, grateful, compassionate, supportive, collaborative, responsible, accepting, and open. When people live this way, they feel that the Universe will provide them with what they need. They also feel no separation and are able to recognize that we are one big human family. Success is measured when one feels that she is loved, happy, and peaceful. This occurs through the understanding that there is something greater than oneself, having self love and an acceptance of what is.
The world is presently in a state of chaos. People need to recognize that the way to peace, love, and joy is to know that there is "enough" for everybody, we are love, we don't have to be right, we are perfectly imperfect, there is a reason for everything, and we are more than our physical bodies. We need to heal ourselves in order to heal the world. It starts within and if we want to change the world, it's time to remember who we are and who we came here to be...
May you live in peace, love, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com
When I was in my thirties, I had a thought race through my mind as I was driving to a community center one evening to give swimming lessons...I remember thinking, "Is this all there is to life?"
This thought came up as I reflected on my busy lifestyle, raising two young children, taking care of my husband, teaching high school all day, seasonally officiating, and periodically giving swimming lessons. My summers were spent supervising a swim staff at a day camp for two months prior to returning to my full time teaching job in September. There was no time for myself; I was always "doing" for others. I felt like I had to be a "super-mom " but also take on many other roles, as well. I was exhausted and unhappy.
It was my moment of consciousness. From that point on, I questioned everything that I was doing. I would ask myself, "Why?" Why did I need to work all day and night? Why was I feeling overwhelmed? Why wasn't I doing anything for myself? Why am I in this relationship? What is my purpose?
Now, almost twenty years later, I no longer live a life where I feel I have no control. Learning that I have the ability to co-create my life has allowed me to attain a life of peace, love, and joy. I am living a conscious life, choosing my relationships, career, and lifestyle. I have released my thoughts of limitation.
My lessons have taught me to put my "God" first, me second, and others third. Although it sounds selfish, it has allowed me to take care of myself so that I can better take care of others.
I no longer live in fear, but rather, I live in love. I monitor my life as I know that my outer world is merely a reflection of my inner world. If I don't like what I see, I have the power to change my circumstances.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. I have learned to live life as if today is my last day on this planet.
Life is short....Be happy.
With peace, love, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com
Respect...We've heard the word over and over again....We want to be respected...and think we are respecting others..But often we are not. So we need to create a definition of respect that can ultimately lead to peace in the world.
We are human beings, all born with different belief systems due to our upbringings. And with this in mind, we all have different opinions and feelings. That is what makes us a human being. So, we are NEVER wrong when we express an opinion or feeling. Opinions and feelings belong to each individual.
Respect, to me, means that we must honor the person with their opinions and feelings, even when we don't understand them or agree with them. For whatever reason, people believe and feel what they believe and feel. And that's okay.
There is nothing wrong with a debate, trying to explain why you may feel differently than someone else. But the bottom line is that neither person is wrong. If you tell someone they are "wrong," you are devaluing them as a human being. How important is it for you to be right? The only time you can tell someone they are wrong is when you present facts. If I told you that the color of this type is orange, you can tell me that I am wrong.
So wouldn't it be nice to respect everyone with their different opinions and feelings? What would the world be like then? We all can agree to disagree and peace would reign forever...
Peace, Kathleen Les Be Well Community leader www.lesbewell.com
As I laid in bed this morning, I started to think about my day and the various personal and business decisions I have to make. Then this voice came into my head and said, "Just do it!' I started to realize that many of my decisions have been put on the back burner. I have a tendency to procrastinate and often feel like I carry around a ton of bricks filled with indecisiveness.
I came downstairs, got a cup of coffee, and sat down at my computer. In my email was a link to a video of Bob Proctor, famous for his teaching role in the film, The Secret. I clicked on the link and what do you think message was about? You guessed it...Decision making.
Bob said that there was a study which demonstrated that a common factor among the wealthy people in the world was that they made quick decisions. Procrastinators, on the other hand, generally make less money. This made a lot of sense to me...And it was now my job to determine what the obstacles and fears are that are holding me back. Is it a fear of success or failure? Is it a fear of the unknown?
Regardless, I'm going to make my first decision of the day. And not knowing what the outcome of the decision will be is okay. It's time to start unloading the bricks, one decision at a time...but quickly.
With peace, love, and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well community leader www.lesbewell.com
I just got fired up recently after watching the trailer of a documentary entitled, Miss Representation. It portrayed women in our society as having worth only through their beauty, youth and sex. The media has exploited women for years and has defined our roles. And, what makes me upset, is that we buy into it!
The Miss Representation movie will be on Oprah's network, OWN, tonight at 9:00. It is also being held at different venues across the US over the next few months. House parties are being held and discussion groups are being formed.
I look back and recognize that I used to put men on a pedestal and my role was to take care of them. If I couldn't, I felt "less than." Perhaps it was my upbringing from my parents of the '50's. Fortunately, I woke up about twenty years ago by engaging in self discovery which allowed me to step into my power. Regardless, it's time to redefine our roles and demonstrate our worth through leadership.
We are more powerful than we realize. Take the time to know yourself and release those limiting beliefs that we have held onto which keep us from using our gifts. Know that we, as women, are equal and have the power to make this world a better place.
"The world will be saved by the Western Woman." -Dalai Lama
The time is now...The power is YOU! Are you in?
With peace, love and joy, Kathleen Les Be Well www.lesbewell.com