Tag Archives: Transitions

Confessions of an Ex-Serial Dater

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 10.07.11 PMIt was becoming fairly routine in the “date night” order of operations: moments before any Friday night date was about to begin, I would do a clean sweep of my apartment and quickly hide any evidence that might reveal who I actually am. Any old photos of me from the awkward years, any Louise Hay inspired affirmations taped to my mirror, and any erroneous object that might imply I had more depth than a kiddie pool was quickly stowed away in my desk drawer.

You see, when I moved halfway across the country about a year ago, I was going on a lot of dates. I’d like to think it was because I was entering a time in my life when men found me simply irresistible, but it was also part of a staunch effort to avoid having to spend any long span of time by myself. After such a significant uprooting, I was sure that if I stopped moving for a moment I would have to face a whole lot of grief and other yucky feelings I was dead set on avoiding. In order to continue hiding myself from myself, I also found it essential to hide myself from other people…particularly men I was going on dates with.

So when about four months ago, one of those dates turned into about six weeks of regular encounters, this man who we’ll call “John” for the purposes of a public post was recalling how I told him I was a writer on our first date. Curious as to why he’d never seen me so much as scribble, he asked me why it appeared I hadn’t been writing since we met.

“Didn’t you used to blog all the time?” he asked. “Why haven’t you been writing anymore?”

“Oh, you know,” I started. “I just haven’t really been inspired to write anything in particular as of late.”

I turned my back to him as I was talking to privately make one of those “oh my God, what just came out of my mouth was the biggest crock” faces to myself without him seeing. Of course, the real answer to his question was:

“Yeah buddy, of course I haven’t been writing since I met you…because then you would find it on the internet and know I’m absolutely nothing like the girl you’ve been spending all your time with.”

Suddenly, the truth was staring me in the face. I’d been working so hard at running away from myself that if this man were actually to stumble upon any of my writing, he probably wouldn’t be able to tie it to its author. I was so wrapped up in whoever it was I was trying to be (I tend to channel simple, needless, quiet, you know: all the things I am not) that I couldn’t even find it in me to do my favorite thing because it would stifle my act. It appeared I only had two options:

I could keep dating, or I could start writing.

I didn’t decide overnight. John and I continued seeing each other for a few more weeks, and after that there were one or two more guys I went on several dates with to no avail. The truth is, had those guys been Ryan Gosling clones descending from on high, I probably still wouldn’t have been interested in continuing to date them because there was someone I really missed spending time with who I was totally neglecting:


I told my inner circle I was taking a brief sabbatical from romance to get my feet on the ground, and most importantly to start writing again. Since then, the posts have literally been coming out of me like a faucet I can’t turn off. The first step felt like jumping off a bridge, but the ones that have come after that? Those I would not take back for anything: they are so much sweeter than the time I spent running in the opposite direction. In the end, if it were between dating or writing again, I would pick writing any day.

I suspect that eventually, though, I won’t have to choose.

Find Out What You Want – Step #9


 “Why does God allow children to suffer and die?” read the question.

To which I answered:

“Because God sees death as a beautiful transition, not a horrific disaster.”

And he responded: “Every torturer sees someone else’s torture and death as beautiful.”

And what did I say to that? I said this:

“What if death is actually quite beautiful, and the habitual terror of it blinds humans to that fact?”

You did, I am sure, notice that I did not speak to the suffering. Though maybe I should have … maybe I should have said that suffering is when we deny, refuse, and resist that which we are: nature, god, life, death…

Isn’t it?

6 Strategies to Confront Your Transition Fears

Transitions are inevitable.  Sometimes, the prospect of making a transition is exciting, but more often, it can be scary.

How do you handle transitions, especially when you feel you are being forced into making a change?  Like when you are being forced out of your home because you cannot pay the mortgage, or pushed out of your job because there is no money to pay you.  Your partner wants to end the relationship, or your body is aging before you are ready.

Change is often scary because of the associate uncertainty.  Wherever you are now, even though you might be miserable, you can at least trust that it will stay miserable.  The whole point of being in transition is that you do not know where you stand in the moment and where you will stand in the future.  So fear sets in.

Will I find another job? Will I lose my home? Will I find a new love?  Will I get sick? Will I be enough or have enough?

Your brain is always asking this question at any given moment anyway–will I be enough or have enough?  Sometimes the answer is “yes”, and often the answer is “no.”   When you brain falls into the “not enough” perception mode, it’s called ‘stress.”  When your brain perceives that you are in stress it triggers the stress response, which sets off a series of biochemical and physiological changes like causing your heart to race, you blood pressure to go up, your negative emotions to take over and your mind to shut down (to name a few).

If the perception of stress goes on for too long, eventually the mind will shut down more, the body will break down, negative emotions will take over, destructive actions and behaviors take the reigns, and you might find yourself more miserable and alone.  Fear begets more fear.

Loss and change cannot be prevented in life.  It would be nice if we could prepare for them or predict the future.  The reality is that the future is uncertain and that anything can happen, positive or negative.  The reality is that you can control your own physiology so that you don’t stay in fear, but find your balance, stay level-headed and keep yourself open to the positive possibilities the transition may offer you.

When you shift your physiology out of fear, you can move into positive expectancy or the belief is that anything is possible. Your perception changes so that you see the transition as an adventure, rather than a curse.

Here are some tips shift your physiology:

1.    Allow yourself to feel fear, anger or whatever negative emotion you feel–you have every right to feel this way.

2.  Connect with others: reach out to friends or other loved ones or a therapist or counselor and ask them for help. Tell them you don’t want advice, but just to be held; to have a space held for you so that you can rest and heal.

3. Connect with your beautiful self:  do something loving for yourself because you deserve it–massage, retreat, etc.  I call these “love me gifts”

4. Practice self love always–do not berate yourself.  Hug yourself. Look in the mirror and keep saying “You are fabulous!”

5. Connect with something larger than you-– You can take a walk in nature or you can connect with your imagination:

  •        Imagine golden light shining down upon you surrounding you in unconditional love and grace like a shield of light (Part of my SHIELD techniques).
  •        You can imagine a divine presence like a divine mother or father holding you and nurturing as if you were a baby.
  •        As you allow yourself to be held, say these words to yourself:  “The support I need is here.  I am loved and lovable.”  Say these words often, over and over and eventually the subconscious will take them in as truth.

6.  Practice laughing out loud–start by saying Hahahahahaha slowly and then faster and faster.  Laughter is the best medicine

You have to break up the fear response, even if only for a short period.  When you feel better, your transition just might move more smoothly.

Originally published in 2009

photo by: rvthomas67

Temporarily Out Of Balance: Going Through A Phase

In the process of becoming, we can become out of balance temporarily, but know it is only a phase and will pass.

We are all almost always in the process of learning something new, developing an underused ability or talent, or toning down an overused one. Some of us are involved in learning how to speak up for ourselves, while others are learning how to be more considerate. In the process of becoming, we are always developing and fine tuning one or the other of our many qualities, and it is a natural part of this process that things tend to get out of balance. This may be upsetting to us, or the people around us, but we can trust that it’s a normal part of the work of self-development.

For example, we may go through a phase of needing to learn how to say no, as part of learning to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. During this time, we might say no to just about everything, as a way of practicing and exploring this ability. Like a child who learns a new word, we want to try out this new avenue of expression and empowerment as much as we can because it is new and exciting for us and we want to explore it fully. In this way, we are mastering a new skill, and eventually, as we integrate it into our overall identity, it will resume its position as one part of our balanced life.

In this process, we are overcompensating for a quality that was suppressed in our life, and the swinging of the pendulum from under-use to overuse serves to bring that quality into balance. Understanding what’s happening is a useful tool that helps us to be patient with the process. In the end, the pendulum settles comfortably in the center, restoring balance inside and out.

Work toward establishing a nursing position & move to new place.

 There is always two ways of viewing the world.  The cup can be either half full or half empty depending on your mental attitude.  Attitude drives our outlook and we can begin to change our outer world once we begin to recognize that there may be problems waiting around the corner but we can have confidence and trust in our ability to deal with the difficulties as they arise.  That is being realistic and when we are making changes we think about the various options and possible outcomes that we base our decision on.  We can also know that there many new possibilities waiting for us at each turn and creativity is forever arising and bringing in the new.

For instance I have been in touch with a friend I once knew and have been out of touch with for the past two years here in the Mid West.  She offered to check into some career possibilities for me through some professional contacts.  Another friend from San Francisco contacted me and offered to mentor me with some writing projects.  I already have a topic which I would like to write about for nursing students to do with using Face Book.  The Telegraph published an article today addressing the apparent addictiveness of Face Book for young people and it is as vital part of their communication loop as the cell phone and text messaging.  After a group of nursing students won a court order from a Judge in the Mid West to be readmitted to a nursing program it is apparent that clearer information and warnings needs to be available to nursing students and increased awareness among faculty of social media popularity.

I have a place to see and hopefully rent and that I am very much looking forward to as I feel extremely uncomfortable where I am living.  My interest is in being able to be undisturbed and have access to the internet 24/7 to get some projects completed.  I also intend to start some groups for discussions about Spiritual Life and Meditation.  My life will take a different course than I had expected and I am ready to put all my effort into creating the life that I wish to live.

I know many of you also go through voluntary and involuntary changes and mental attitude makes the difference between a successful transition or not.  I believe that we can carve out a special kind of life for ourselves when the time is right and you will know when that is.  Someone wrote recently in a group that I belong to on a social network that they didn’t believe in the "Secret" philosophy and that life had a more mundane and practical meaning.  I also have been through those times when my daughter was little and I would work nights and take care of her in the day time.  Creating the perfect life comes when you are ready to make that change.

I for instance have spent many years with my first Spiritual Master and I can incorporate what I have learned into my work with others.  I hope to be able to write about the benefits of meditation for the mentally ill, to control anxiety and decrease blood pressure.  There is a great deal to share and write about and I am excited to be able to have the motivation and choice of my own time to fulfill my dreams.

One saying that Deepak Chopra said that has always stayed with me is "Do what you love and the money will follow."  He has been able to share his vision with the world and change lives.

Attitude is everything.  My Master HH Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Marahaj says "We are made of love, bliss, Light sound, wisdom, consciousness, joy and peace.  We can live in a manner in which these characteristics guide us and shine forth from us, or we can keep them hidden.  It is our choice to make."  Make yours!

Life as We Know It: The Status Quo

Are you more attached to preserving the status quo than to honoring the universal givens of growth and change?

When our lives are going well, and sometimes even when they aren’t, we may find ourselves feeling very attached to the status quo of our existence–life as we know it. It is a very huma
n tendency to resist change as though it were possible to simply decide not to do it, or have it in our lives. But change will come and the status quo will go, sooner or later, with our consent or without it. We may find at the end of the day that we feel considerably more empowered when we find the courage to ally ourselves with the universal force of change, rather than working against it.

Of course, the answer is not to go about changing things at random, without regard to whether they are working or not. There is a time and place for stability and the preservation of what has been gained over time. In fact, the ability to stabilize and preserve what is serving us is part of what helps us to survive and thrive. The problem comes when we become more attached to preserving the status quo than to honoring the universal givens of growth and change. For example, if we allow a situation we are in to remain stagnant simply because we are comfortable, it may be time for us to summon up the courage to challenge the status quo.

This may be painful at times, or surprisingly liberating, and it will most likely be a little of both. Underneath the discomfort, we will probably find excitement and energy as we take the risk of unblocking the natural flow of energy in our lives. It is like dismantling a dam inside ourselves, because most of the work involves clearing our own inner obstacles so that the river of our life can flow unobstructed. Once we remove the obstacles, we can simply go with the flow, trusting the changes that follow.



PHOTO (cc): Flickr / J. Paxon Reyes

“Learn to Be Still” Tip for the Day: Invite Silence Into Your Life

by Patricia Phelan Clapp

The other day when I was cooking dinner, I took a moment to listen. I was not consciously listening to anything, I was constructively listening to everything. And I could not believe my ears; Two t.v.’s on (kitchen one included – my only time I watch news), iPods shrieking (thanks to the new iPod Touch with speakers,) two cell phones ding donging to inform of new texts and kids talking! No wonder my head felt like it was going to implode.

Stop and Listen to Your Life

So I thought, when did our lives become so filled with noise? And at what moments during the day do we give ourselves permission to welcome in the silence and, as The Eagles so eloquently sung about in the 70′s,  “learn to be to be still”?

I have to admit, I have been a “noise-a-phobe” for most of my life. Ever since I was a kid, I remember banging on the wall to remind my dad to turn down the t.v. while he yelling at his favorite sports teams. (sounds a little hypocritical, right?) With music from late night parties that my parents hosted from time to time, to crickets cricketing in the basement, (one floor beneath my room where I slept as a kid), I have always been sensitive to noise.  At times, I thought something may have been wrong with me as my mom used to exclaim when I asked for her to turn down “Always on My Mind” from Willie. Or, I thought I may have been a little “off” when I chose to go on cricket hunts in the middle of the night so I could finally get some sleep.  I was never one of those kids that enjoyed blasting music at deafening decibels from my bedroom as a teenager.

Silence is Golden

However, as I get older, I realize the value of silence that I did not recognize back in my critter chasing days. Simply put, I am one of those people that feels better after being silent. I am sure in the meditative world there is a fancy definition for this as well as some cognitive theory that explains why I thrive on peace and quiet. In addition, I have come to realize that our brains are so full of thoughts, feelings, projects, to do lists, etc., that even our minds need a little reprieve, especially as we get older and take on more responsibility.

I remember a few weeks ago I was a little under the weather and my fiance, Steve, asked me what he could do to help. Usually, I don’t ask for help (I know, I need to coach myself on that one) but this time I did.  With wide-eyes I asked him, “Can you just please silence the house?” Dumbfounded and amused at the same time, Steve said, “No problem.”  With kids in tow, t.v.’s turned off, meowing cat fed, radio’s unplugged, he said see ya later for a few hours.

Heaven could not be this good, I thought.

Practice the Art of Stillness

With so much going on around us, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, we are constantly on the move both physically and mentally. By taking the time to rest, be still and take in that well needed silence could be just the diversion we need from a very busy life. It seems we are a society addicted to “doing” – -that when we no longer “do”, we are uncomfortable with it. I know this first hand and continue to work at this every single day.

Take a few minutes out today to be silent and be still. Notice how you feel while you are doing it and when you are done. Discover the focus and clarity that can return to your life when you are no longer trying to keep up with the momentum of your life. By taking a step back, you will most likely be giving yourself more tools to find clarity on moving forward.


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Embracing The Season Of Change: 10 Positive Life Changes To Do For The Fall Season

Fall, as we’ve all known since we were little, is the season of change and transitions. Students get new classmates in school. Leaves change color. Summer flip-flops are traded in for chocolate brown boots. The weather gets cooler and crisper, which may mean less iced coffee and more hot soy lattes. Good-bye, summer barbeques. Hello, apple-picking. Who’s ready for fall?

Just as how seasons are not meant to be static, neither are people. We are at our greatest element when we are open to new ideas, flexible to life curves and are willing to get out of our own comfort zone.  Here are 10 ideas to shake up our usual routines, and all for the better.

1. Change your attitude about something you currently don’t like. So you can’t stand your know-it-all co-worker. And he’s not going to quit anytime soon, and neither are you. Rather than constantly bitching to your spouse about how he drives you up the wall, maybe you can approach his next one-sided rambles with some sympathy and understanding? Or that terrible traffic you have to endure every morning–maybe some good audiobooks will actually make you thankful that you’re stuck in the car for over forty minutes? 

2. Change up the people you are surrounded by. It’s great to have your posse of close-knit friends. But it’s important to always have opportunities to meet new people, encounter new personalities (however difficult), and get intimidated as hell by people who are half your age who are really kicking ass at life. So check out new community events, strike up conversations with strangers, ask a lot of questions, and continue to grow new relationships in your social contacts.

3. Change your eating habits with new recipes, new world cuisines, new ingredients, new local supermarkets. Have your eating habits fallen into a predictable pattern of casseroles, hamburgers and iceberg lettuce salads? My favorite way to changing up my eating habit is to visit a health food or produce store I’ve never visited before, which has introduced me to new ingredients such as nutritional yeast, kale, rice paper, seitan and more.

4. Change your usual interests and hobbies. Of course, this is why #2 is so important; meeting interesting people is one of the best ways to expose yourself to fields of interest you may have otherwise never encountered or thought of learning about. Another easy way to change up your usual interests and hobbies: browse magazines at your local bookstore.

5. Change your style. And no, you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe to do this. It can be a matter of combining tops and bottoms in unusual ways, doing jewelry swaps with your girlfriends, or simply being a little more daring with your eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish colors. 

6. Change your home environment. That painting you’ve been meaning to hang up for the last few months. Do it. And while you’re at it, declutter your unwanted stuff and donate to charity. Add a potted basil plant and some freshly cut gerberas while you are at it. Home environments need new energy, too. 

7. Change what is stagnant about your work. Hate your job and in the wrong field? Quit. Love your job but getting bored? Challenge yourself more, ask for bigger projects, change your attitude, do something. Just don’t do the same thing you’ve been doing for the last few months or years that’s been making you bored this moment in the first place. 

8. Change the usual routines you do with your loved one. Is it always pizza and movie night with your darling? How about a road trip along the coast? A grueling nature hike at five in the morning to catch the sunrise? Weekend trapeze classes? Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for letting it all hang loose in the name of love, but don’t forget to do the adventurous stuff that is best experienced with your favorite partner in crime.

9. Change your hang-outs. Oh, yes, we love it when we’ve become so familiar with that coffee and donut shop down the street that the owner knows your name and your name is permanently engraved in a special chair by the window. It won’t kill you to drive an extra mile radius outward to check out some new cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, bookstores and other neighborhood hang-outs to discover other hidden gems in your side of town. 

10. Change something that has become easy for you. You used to be a couch potato, and now those 5 mile runs are easy as pie for you. Add another mile. Getting bored with your yoga class? Step it up with a more advanced level. And that goal of writing in your journal every day that has become so second nature? Maybe it is time to start submitting some of those writings to publications to become a published writer.

Variety is the spice of life, especially in this time of the year. Spice it up.


In a State of Transition

This week marks the start of the Jewish New Year. It is also the start of the school year as well. One son is going to be a sophomore in high school and…..drum roll please…..the other one is leaving for college! Yes, please bring out the violins, because this is the part that I start getting emotional.  Just last week, my son and I went to a Stanford new student barbecue in Brentwood. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and 20 Stanford- bound, fresh-faced kids gathered around to talk about their upcoming move. Us parents stood around in the shade and shared our excitement and our inevitable angst. We couldn’t be happier that our kids are going off to such a fine school. This part of our lives, fits in the natural progression of our lives, doesn’t it?  But it is still a bit of a bumpy ride for most of us.


When my son and I left the barbecue that day, I took a deep breath and looked down the tree-lined street. I turned and I looked up at him.  (He now towers over me).  I touched the back of his shoulder and pointed in front of us, “Do you see this street?”

He turned to me and said, ”Yeah Mom. Of course I do.”

“When you were just born, we used to live 2 blocks away from here.  Every afternoon I would put you in a stroller and walk down this very street. I loved it because it’s wide and has beautiful blooming trees,” I told him. “You know, I had this idea that kids love being pushed around in a stroller, that they would sit happily and watch the scenery. But you….you used to scream. After a few minutes you would want to jump right out of your stroller. I guess you didn’t like being strapped in, and so half the time I used to hold you in my arms and push the empty stroller along.”

My son’s face lit up. He likes to hear stories of his childhood– how his basic self-determined nature and his independent streak was even apparent at six months. Here he was at age eighteen, some things about him haven’t changed but one thing sure has.   For all you moms out there who don’t have a teenage son, let me save you from a bad mistake : the most embarrassing thing for a young man is to be caught hugging his mother.

So, while walking back to our car from the barbecue. I casually looked around to make sure that none of my son’s new friends hadn’t come out. I had my perfect public moment– the coast was clear. I quickly leaned into him for a hug. My voice was breaking, but I managed to get out what was on my mind the entire time at the barbecue.  “Here we are in this very street and you are ready to go my dear.” I tried to hold in my tears in front of him, but a few managed to escape.



As We Ebb and Flow Through Life: Changing Roles

As we bob and weave with the ebb and flow of life our roles change, but our true self remains constant. As spiritual beings having a human experience, we go through many aspects of humanity in one lifetime. Living in the material world of opposites, labels, and classifications, we often identify ourselves by the roles we play, forgetting that these aspects shift and change throughout our lives. But when we anchor ourselves in the truth of our being, that core of spirit within us, we can choose to embrace the new roles as they come, knowing that they give us fresh perspective on life and a greater understanding of the lives of others.

As children, we anticipated role changes eagerly in our rush to grow up. Though fairy tales led us to believe that “happily ever after” was a final destination, the truth is that life is a series of destinations, mere stops on a long journey filled with differing terrain. We may need to move through a feeling of resistance as we shift from spouse to parent, leader to subordinate, caregiver to receiver, or even local to newcomer. It can be helpful to bid a fond farewell to the role that we are leaving before we welcome the new. This is the purpose of ceremonies in cultures throughout the world and across time. We can choose from any in existence or create our own to help us celebrate our life shifts and embrace our new adventures.

Like actors on the stage of the world, our different roles are just costumes that we inhabit and then shed. Each role we play gives us another perspective through which to understand ourselves and the nature of the universe. When we take a moment to see that each change can be an adventure, a celebration, and a chance to play a new part, we may even be able to recapture the joyful anticipation of our youth as we transition from one role to the next.


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