2012 – A New Year and A New Beginning

I use to program computers for a living a long time ago in another life. I remember how we scrambled to change the two digit year in all the programs because the year 2000 was upon us. There would have been some serious problems to major systems, if thousands of programmers, like me, had not expanded the field to a four digit year. I remember how many of us were keeping watch that New Year’s Eve to ensure that everything went smoothly as the clock ticked down to the year 2000. Basically, it went off with a few minor problems and everyone wondered, “So, what was the big deal?” What they didn’t know or realize was that without the planning, research and long hours of those programmers, the world would have been in “deep shit.”

Why do I bring it up now? For two reasons. First, I am amazed that it has been almost 12 years since that momentous New Year’s Eve. Second, the concern that many are holding for this new year. 2012 marks the end of the Mayan Calendar.

The speculation of what will happen this year is as varied as there are people on this earth. Depending upon who you talk to, the emotions range from fear to joy. Fear that it is the end of the physical world. Joy that it is the beginning of a new, enlightened world. I believe it will be a time of great changes. Changes not only to the people of the earth, but to the earth itself.

I am looking forward to the changes. This is the year I show up as a willing, joyful player in life. All the signs are pointing in that direction for me. This year will be what I make of it. It is a clean slate, never been written on and the possibilities are endless!

It will be a year that people will look for and receive a great healing in their lives. It will be a year that Nature will ensure that we notice her and the earth will also heal. Families, communities and tribes will come together for a common cause called love. Peace will exist where it never existed before not only within nations, but within our hearts as well.

Yes, this year will be what you decide to make it. It will come and go just as swiftly as the year 2000 did. Will you pass this year in fear or will you fill it with love, hope, health and abundance? I choose love.

What do you choose?

It is a world of possibilities. All you need to do is believe in the best and it will be yours.

Gretchen

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Another Holiday Season is Upon Us

The holiday season is upon us once again. I thought the days went fast, but the years are on super speed.  Once again, I am facing another Christmas and Hanukkah that I don’t particularly want to celebrate.

Sure I go through all the motions. I decorate the house, put up the lights, trim a tree, send out cards, make candy, buy and wrap the presents. But my heart is not completely into it. I have been doing most of this alone for years, even when Howard was alive, and this year is no different. It gets old.

I have always loved Christmas.  The music, the decorations, the anticipation and wonder have put a warmth in my heart and a smile on my face in years past. But over the last few years, I have changed. So I wonder, what do I want for this holiday season? What am I missing?

I miss being around people, talking and sharing their stories and their lives. I miss being with my siblings, laughing and being silly. I miss all the significant people in my life that have passed on and left this world sooner than I had hoped. I miss being surrounded by love.

Sometimes, I wonder if we really need to blow Christmas out of proportion as much as we do. I remember a simpler time. A time before cell phones, email, Ipads, Ipods, digital music, digital cameras and 3-D movies.  A time, when you could really enjoy the season without being sucked in by all the media that makes you believe that “you must have this stuff and you just can’t live without it!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if all we needed to do for Christmas was to give our time and hearts to each other?

The one thing I am sure of, is that this is a season for kindness, hope, love and peace. A kindness shared can make all the difference in someone’s life as shown in the movie, Change for a Dollar, http://www.flickspire.com/m/lscfad/ChangeForADollar

I hope that each of you are surrounded by loving family and friends this holiday season.  May you spread a simple kindness wherever you go. Whether you celebrate this season wildly, quietly, or not at all, may you be filled with peace, love, joy, and well-being now and in the years to come.

Gretchen

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True Inspiration

There aren’t very many people I have met that truly inspire me just by being who they are, but I have been blessed to met such a person very recently.

I started down the path of learning to be a life coach using the Law of Attraction processes.  I am not sure if this is the path I will continue on, but I do know that I have attracted a very unique person into my life as a coaching buddy.

Maxine lives in the UK and I am in the USA and we Skype twice a week to practice our coaching skills on each other. What I have found, we seem to live parallel lives.

We both are widows, losing our husbands in the past 3 or 4 years. We both are struggling to find ourselves and our place or purpose in this world.  We both have children that we are worried about and we both want to help and inspire others.  As we talk, I see myself in her and know exactly what she is going through. I have been there, too. It is so uncanny and sometimes a little scary how much we share.

What I have found over these past few months is how much Maxine has inspired me! It isn’t just the processes that she takes me through, but her own unique experiences and twists she holds about herself and the world around her.  Her story, her realities, her life, her blogs, and all the wisdom that she imparts, is what actually inspires me.  I am grateful and blessed to have such a friend to take this journey with me.

Please take the time to visit Maxine’s website, http://www.maxinehargreaves.com/, read her blogs and be inspired. Thank you, Maxine, for walking down this path with me.

Who in inspires you?  Maybe it’s time to let them know.

Gretchen

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Showing Up

I just came back from a very intense weekend. I attended a workshop called Mastery of Self-Expression. It is best to explain it in their own words:

“The MASTERY workshops will help you uncover and discover your hidden passion, your true calling. But it doesn’t end there. You will have the tools and ongoing support to enrich every aspect of your life. To be bold. To live with purpose. To connect. To get what you want. To go beyond where you always stop.”  ( http://www.themasteryworkshops.com/ )

I have to admit that the workshop did take me beyond where I always stop. I have been hiding me most of my life. I hid when I was young, always doing what I was told, finding ways to serve people. This is not to say, I was the ‘perfect child,’ even if my brother claims I was.  As I grew older, I went to college, met new people, tried new things and learned a hell of a lot about me. I felt very free in college, but I still hid. Then I got married, had a couple of kids and worked as the ‘bread winner’ for over 30 years.

Again I hid, not only who I was, but my voice as well.

A couple of years before my husband died, I started to wake up and the struggle to come out of hiding and sharing my voice started. I started to stand up for myself and become more vocal to the point, my late husband once told me that he didn’t think he liked me anymore. He would ask me, “Where was the sweet Gretchen I married?”  It took me awhile, but what I realized what he didn’t like was that I was standing up for myself, voicing my opinions, my desires and my dreams. I was coming out of my shell.  The one I created when I entered school and left the open, lively, and mischievous child behind.

Coming out of my shell, being bold, alive, open and heard is now my ultimate goal!

Taking the mastery workshop was a good start. The first rendition of my monologue was okay. But Larry asked me to do it again as a Southern evangelist, full of energy, voice and from the heart. What a difference it made for me! Not only was it fun, but I really felt alive! I went beyond where I always stop. I actually showed up!

After this weekend, hiding is no longer an option. It is time to show up fully and completely. No more excuses, just frickin do it!!

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Clear As Mud

I have been traveling the last several weeks. I went to visit my sister in California, celebrated with my daughter on her 25th birthday in Key West and reunited with my cousins and sisters in Canada. My focus on my business and on dating has been put aside. I find that I am lacking clarity.

Clarity – the quality of being certain or definite.

It is hard to focus on something that you are not clear about.  So I wonder, how do I find the clarity I need to move forward?

As I look out my window on this crisp, autumn day, I see the blue sky kissed by passing white clouds. The trees are dressed in their finest red, green, orange and gold leaves. The wind caresses my hair and moves on. I hear the birds and squirrels carrying on their daily conversations. It is all so clear.

Why can’t my mind be as clear as this gorgeous day?

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Roller Coaster Life

My life has been on a roller coaster ever since my husband died over 2 years ago. It has been one unexpected, but exciting hill after another.

Have you ever been on a roller coaster?

That slow, deceptive ride to the top of the first hill makes you think, “This is OK. I can handle this”. Then you reach the peak, for one second you see the world clearly around you. Suddenly,  you are plunged, speeding and screaming for several, “this will never end!” minutes. The ride takes you through turns, bends, uphill, downhill, loops and even upside down – sort of like life, only faster!  Finally, you slow down and the roller coaster calmly comes to a stop to let you off the ride. You made it in one piece, but you are changed forever.

Some people love the thrill and excitement of riding a roller coaster. Some people are OK with it and some people absolutely hate it. Some people are too afraid to ride.

Which are you?

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Huzzah!


I spent this past weekend living it up in the English Middle Ages! Every year or two, my son and I visit a different Renaissance Festival around the country. This year was the Bristol Faire in Wisconsin.

Every festival is a little different and at the same time they all seem to blend together.When you walk through the castle gates, you feel like you have travelled back in time. The dirt streets are lined with Medieval style shops and food stands. If you wear the Medieval attire, you embrace the illusion of how people might have lived back then.

I always find it interesting what some people wear to the Renaissance festivals. While many were dressed in the 1564 style, my son and I included, others choose more bizarre, unique or down right scanty outfits. Anything goes while living out your fantasy in the past. This faire was visited by Trekkies, robots, caveman and a couple of ladies wearing only chain mail and panties.  This was my first experience with Steampunk. I’m still not exactly sure what it is all about, but it was fun seeing all the wild costumes.

Everywhere you wander, there is music, song, laughter, fights to the ‘death’, fairies, and mythical creatures abound!  You can have tea with the Queen, watch a joust or laugh at Robin Hood’s R-rated jokes. Of course, there is always plenty to eat and drink!

If you are interested in visiting a Renaissance Festival, just google it. Don’t be surprised if you find one near you. When you go, just remember to leave the 21st century at the gate.

I love going to these festivals. What fun!  Huzzah!!

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What Terrifies Me – Dating Again

I was married to the same man for 31 years and he died over 2 years ago. I met my late husband in college. We started off as just friends, grew comfortable with each other and the friendship lead to marriage, a very natural progression.  I thought all the dating stuff was behind me.

What terrifies me the most right now is putting myself out there. I have been hiding so long that I’m afraid to let you know who I really am.  Heck, I’m afraid to see who I really am.

I have so much confidence when it comes to doing things on my own, learning to run a business or helping someone overcome their problems. But ask me to open up has me running in the opposite direction – especially in the area of dating.

Yet being alone so much has me toying with the idea of meeting someone new. It would be nice to have a special guy back in my life. I think I am ready. The question than became, how do I meet someone that will be a match for me? The Yentas (matchmakers) of old are all gone. There lies the problem.

Today, in order for me to meet a guy, I am directed to the Internet and online dating. This scares me the most for I am ‘dating challenged’.  To be honest, I never really dated in my life. Sure I had few ‘real’ dates in college, was fixed up on a blind date or two (those were stressful) and messed around with a few guys (that was fun).  However, I don’t consider any of this as being “experienced” in dating the opposite sex.

Believe it or not, I do have a Dating Life Coach who is helping me through this process of dating again. Some of the exercises she asks me to do, my whole mind and body goes into full scaled resistance called fear. I did scan a couple of online dating websites and took the time to fill out, not completely, a profile to help me ‘catch’ someone. Yet, I am at a total loss what to say or how to present myself to capture someone’s interest in me.

So here I am shaking in my boots, afraid of what, I’m not exactly sure.  I don’t fear the rejection. I am afraid that someone out there might really want to get to know me. The real me. The me that is vulnerable, makes mistakes, is emotional and basically, human.  And that scares me, because I just don’t know how let a guy see that side of me anymore.

It it time to decide….. Do I continue to hide or do I put my fearful self out there and start dating?

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“Coming Out of The Closet” and Facing Your Fears

It has taken me years to “come out of the closet”. I know this term usually refers to sexual orientation, but I find that it really can cover all kinds of fears. In my case, the fear of letting you know who I really am.

A closet is a place of safety. It is dark and comfortable. You can feel the walls around you, your own private stronghold, a fortress. It is really terrifying to open the closet door and step across the threshold into the light especially if you have been hiding ‘forever’. I have been hiding myself in the closet for many years. I was afraid to open the door and show up as me. To be honest, I have only made it across the room and now I am facing the door to the world.

What put me in that closet? Wow! I am not sure it was just one thing. Grieving the death of many family members, included my husband; feeling unworthy of being successful and loved; being unhappy for most of my life; unable to really see me; not appreciating or loving myself. All of these things put me there. But it was FEAR that kept me in the closet. Fear of showing up in the world and taking back my power.

What pushed me out of the closet? I was tired of watching the world pass me by. I was tried of being afraid instead of being excited about the unknown. I wanted to LIVE my life and not just exist. I wanted to experience all of life’s love, joy, abundance and beauty.

So I took a deep breath, let it out, pushed opened the closet door and took that first step into the light. You know, it wasn’t scary after all.

What fears keep you in your closet?  Are you really to come out and experience LIFE?

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Uncle Pete

My Uncle Pete passed away earlier this week. He was the last of my father’s brothers and well into his 80’s. He had lived a full life. My Aunt Mary Ann is the now the only one left of my aunts and uncles on the Goergen side of the family. Both my parents are gone.

I come from a very large family. There were 22 aunts and uncles. I have 35 first cousins and who knows how many first cousins once removed or second cousins I have. Some of my cousins are also gone, leaving this life at a young age.

My Uncle Pete was a doctor, a general practitioner. He had a heart of gold and the Goergen sarcastic sense of humor. Definition of Goergen sense of humor: a battle of the wits, verbal volleyball. It is always a challenge, but great fun.  I was 16 when his first wife died. I spent a summer or two taking care of his 6 children and getting to know my uncle. He fast became one of my favorite people. Over the years, I rarely saw or spoke to him. Yet, when I did see him, I felt that special bond we had from a time gone by. I am grateful to have spent time with him last year. I will miss him.

So it goes. We move through this life at very fast pace. How often do we mean to reconnect with family members only to realize it is now too late?

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