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NOTE TO SELF: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth ~Laurie Buchanan, PhD

Monday, April 24th, 2017

NOTE TO SELF is the book I chose to begin the year 2017.  I have a consistent habit for the last 24 years of choosing a book that will facilitate self-realization and change within myself.  I also added the revised edition of THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF by Dr. Bruce Lipton to my studies, and procured a new spiral notebook; setting aside a time each day for this activity.  The timing must have been just right, as though I was one of the three bears or Goldilocks, and this has proven to be a superior combination of study materials and activity for me.  I have successfully made some changes that I have been longing for during the past three months.  I hope my words will be an inspiration for others to find this book for your future self to enjoy.

“The baggage we carry on life’s journey is tied to a specific self, its core characteristic, an associated wellness, and a shadow side.  These include:

  1. Self-preservation, survival, physical wellness, and self-destruction
  2. Self-gratification, pleasure, occupational wellness, and self-denial
  3. Self-definition, personal power, social wellness, and self-importance
  4. Self-acceptance, love, emotional wellness, and self-rejection
  5. Self-expression, creativity, environmental wellness, and self-repression
  6. Self-reflection, intuition, intellectual wellness, and self-absorption
  7. Self-knowledge, divine connection, spiritual wellness, and self-unawareness

“As a holistic health practitioner and transformational life coach, I work with a wide range of clients – from young children to seniors and every age in between.  My specific areas of focus are energy medicine, inner alchemy (personal transformation), and spiritual awareness. “  Laurie’s opening words.

Buchanan is a minimalist in her life and in her expressions and writing.  Extremely positive with major portions of reality and optimism; research is surrounded with anecdotal stories which combine to form opportunity to take another step and then another.  The explanations are clear with no mask of poetic confusion.  All this with appropriate quotes found in the right places. There are lots of whimsical moments that are guaranteed to bring release. The end of the book is marked by the inclusion of 365 questions to send you to your journal and pinpoint one’s thinking for a whole year of focus.

“Each ‘key’ chapter includes ten sections:

  • Mind-Body Connection
  • Color Therapy
  • Diet
  • Aromatherapy
  • Affirmations
  • The Business of Being
  • Breathwork
  • Wellness Inventory and Vitality Check
  • Action Steps
  • Personal energy Signature”

After finishing one segment I literally saw orange everywhere I looked and it gave me an insight into the South African woman who previously owed my house who was a gardener at heart.

“Creativity is more than the capacity to be inventive or innovative.  It’s more than the ability to create great works of art, music, or dance.  Creativity is an inherent tool that’s needed for wellness.”

What is your mission?  How do you love yourself?  Have you outgrown the old rules that you adhere to?  Where do you feel powerful?  What is your favorite moment of joy?  What are you holding on and carrying with you?

I have followed Laurie Buchanan on her Blog – Tuesdays With Laurie www.tuesdayswithlaurie.com for a number of years, and Laurie is the most faithful commenter on my blog reviews.  I admire her spunk, guidance, and joy filled attitude.   I highly recommend this book to all – NOTE TO SELF.

Laurie Buchanan Facebook

“While we are all passengers on a planet called Earth, we can choose to enhance the way in which we travel-emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.  In fact, we can, through the pages of this book, discover new ways to travel that are lighter, more fluid, and life-enhancing.  The author, a wise and dedicated traveler, is also the right kind of guide – caring, inspiring, uplifting, knowledgeable – for your journey of self-discovery.  I recommend this tremendous book to anyone seeking the companionship of good energy and joyful presence.”
-D.A. Hickman, author of THE SILENCE OF MORNING: A Memoir of Time Undone.

The Silence of Morning
The Myths of Happiness
New: Understanding our need for novelty and change


Monday, June 18th, 2012

closet_clutter_monsterDe-cluttering needs to be an ongoing task.  It is part of living well and is as important as brushing your teeth and having a colonoscopy.  I am not kidding here at all.  It is life giving work that needs to be done.

My neighbor’s house just had a for sale sign put up front.  The occupants and lovely friends just moved at the beginning of the year to an assisted living apartment and they were ready to be done with houses and yard work and the black hole of repairs.

The neighbor’s two hours away daughter has been coming here nearly every weekend to divide up the leftovers, moving van the chosen “stuff” to her sister clear across the country and give to charity. Two large dumpsters have been filled with paperwork and those things that are just “stuff” and not good enough for an estate sale. The past several weeks have found the house full of carpenters, landscapers, painters, and home decorators to prepare for the photographs and staging for the online tour.

More furniture was put into the garage and new furniture, flowers, pillows and art were brought into the house.   We loved watching the owner’s upstairs couch being lifted out of the windows and down the roof by professionals and then a bedroom set moved into the room.

The duct work has been cleaned and the gutters and corners have been power washed to perfection. Garden plants were trimmed, pots removed and strange flower arrangements were rearranged.  The raccoon family under the deck was evicted and the deer fencing taken down; so that buyers might not see that the critters of the woods live here too.  De-clutter going on like crazy and then order and visual perfection interloping.

Now they just need a buyer and already the folks are coming.  Yes! Already!  This particular house will be purchased by someone in the 1% as the view of the water, Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, the Capital Building and the entire city on the eastside hill is a magnificent one.

I watched all the work being done by the daughter and her family – some by the long distance daughter- and all the things that were thrown away and I was so thankful that my parents did not leave it to the children.  My parents moved 22 times during their marriage.  Each move they de-cluttered and let go.

When my mom was alone we assisted her in letting go of my Father’s things and stuff.  When we moved her into our house for her last years, we packed up a small box of treasures to be mailed to each grandchild and each child upon her death.  There was a plan for each item she brought here and it took us only one weekend to take care of the letting go.  All her files were in order and for the details I could put my hand on every essential item after her death.

We de-cluttered my in laws house a number of years before she moved into assisted living although there were 3 rooms full of things upon death that were a significant amount of work to let go.

We are not our stuff.  It is our responsibility to take care of our stuff and not just leave it for the kids.  Have a plan.  Let go of something every time you bring something new into your life.  Let go of some things often to open up space for new things and experiences.  It is extremely expensive and time consuming to pay to have these services done for you.

Or in the words of my neighbor, “Do not wait forty years to de-clutter and let go. We never thought about it and it was a monumental task.”   You will also be healthier if you regularly de-clutter.

Do you have plans for de-cluttering at your house?  Do you have tricks for letting go?  Will your family fight over the stuff and have hurt feelings?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.

Related Reading:
The Courage to Be Free
Transitions II
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
So Far Away

2 Memorial Services, an Earthquake and Hope

Monday, March 14th, 2011


I have found this to be true, whenever you get quite discouraged or worried or overly concerned seek out a Memorial Service to attend.  Try to pick out one for someone who made a difference in the world wherever they went.

I have just attended two services for 2 great souls who passed through my life made change happen for the better.   My Aunt made each person she was with feel valued and important, she had a special joy in living and in sharing the arts and beauty with everyone she encountered.  She loved what she chose to do in life and she loved the work she had to do in her life.   We were inspired to incorporate her gracious values into our daily lives and make a renewed effort to encourage all who we encountered in our living.

My Neighbor Dr. Bob died on Valentine’s Day.   The family wanted to pick a date when everyone could gather – so the service was just this past Friday.  Dr. Bob was a funny guy – not quite standup comedian, but because he loved a gentle tease and a practical idea.  He was a General Practice Physician and he took the word “practice” to a new art form.  He was always practicing to give his best and be his best at his art.   He was an inspiring listener and teacher and oh how he could promote one to their best effort.  He was a loyal friend and he just radiated love for his children, grandchildren and the children in the neighborhood.  He loved movies – especially westerns, and corn on the cob (he was born in Indiana) and having cob tossing parties from the deck.  My children raced to rake the leaves in his yard, bake cookies and take a plate full over, and when he fell cleaning roof gutters and broke both his legs, they delivered fresh DVD’s to his door daily.  He built our hospital into a fine institution and always took a peanut butter sandwich with him wherever he went.

Both of these fine people “let go” of life, they chose not to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical care heaped upon them, when so many people who were suffering could not get the care they needed.  They gave gifts to others as their last moments of living and embraced dying.

Our shores were touched by the tsunami waves from the massive earthquake in Japan.  We were moved by the pictures of devastation being sent to us and organized and phoned and began the process of support for the victims and the rebuilding.  I scurried around the internet to see if those living on boats in the path were safe and okay and I called my friends in Hawaii to check with them.  The personal were safe and sound.   We prayed for and blessed the rescue workers and then said, “What can I do?”

I lost heart and was discouraged by the doomsday criers; witnessed the fear promoters ramping up their stylish ways.   Actually, I felt exhausted and alone.

I took the puppy for a walk and I forced my eyes to notice the pink camellia in bloom, the many crocuses, the pink caste to the plum trees and the hours and hours of pruning work going on in my neighbor’s yards.  Everyone here believes Spring is coming, and that energy is bursting forth.  They are planning on it as a matter of fact and taking steps to embrace it.  All this rain is cleaning the air, all this wind is pushing us along, all this anticipation is creating belief.

I went to a birthday party and there I heard other folks sharing similar concerns and figuring out ways they could participate and share their beliefs too. 2 guests were losing their jobs and health insurance, one was job hunting.  Those gathered talked about how to share with their children, how to create open dialogue, and create patterns of change that would work for their new grandchildren too.  Each person was celebrating that birthday by challenging themselves to find an action that used their gifts – we laughed and felt hopeful.

This morning I read The Comma, a local blog with this story about a minister shearing her sheep: Two flocks and a fleecing

I thought the following quote was a profound metaphor for my thinking

“And my own observation, related to the ram: “If a sheep doesn’t give up its wool, eventually the wool will kill it.” (Sheep that have been bred for centuries to produce wool are not like sheep in the wild. Wool sheep must be sheared every year, or the weight of the wool will eventually cripple, then incapacitate, and then kill them. And if you skip even just one year, the wool you get is heavy and dirty and completely useless.)”

If I do not remove the wool from my eyes, I cannot see the hope and the process beginning a new.  It will eventually kill me and my spirit – because I need to find the gifts and spring forward. There is always something budding forth – but I need to see with fresh vision to find hope.

What gift of yours do you use to refresh your hopes and dreams?

Related Reading:
People are Often Unreasonable
The Work of Everyday
We Have Met The Enemy
The Wisdom to Know the Difference

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The Wisdom To Know The Difference ~Eileen Flanagan

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Wisdom to Know the Difference cover

I savored every single page of this book.  I knew that from the time of the book’s arrival and the posting date I would not have time to read it twice, which is my usual practice when I am reviewing for someone else.   I was also aware that with a holiday in the middle of my allotted time frame, company and special events, I would need to read with greater care and depth; I would need to be able to put the book down and pick it up again when the opportunities arose.

The book is about discernment and its relationship to CHANGE.  Flanagan’s writing style is easy and detailed as she creates the stages of change, relates anecdotal stories of individuals, and pulls the reader into the words of the historic and religious concepts which are part of the path to spiritual awakening and growth.   The author freely shares her own stories along with the stories of approximately 30 other individuals

The stories and lessons are about everyday moments, not so much about the huge heroic events of the “hero’s” life, rather those daily events which bring about more self-realization and actualization.  The book is about the spiritual changes that humans need  to add meaning and depth to their journey.    Although there are many, many references to the beliefs within a large number of religious traditions, this book is about an individual’s spiritual questing and path.

The book begins with a prayer that is credited to Reinhold Niebuhr, an advocate for social justice and a Protestant theologian, who delivered this prayer in a sermon during World War II

God, give us grace
To accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things that should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Most of us know a more recent variation of these words which is called the Serenity Prayer used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings around the world to work with addictions and behavior changes.

The author says at the start:  “…both serenity and courage are the fruits of learning to trust and let go of fear. For this reason, The Wisdom to Know the Difference is organized around spiritual lessons that can help you live fearlessly:  The Courage to Question; Knowing Yourself; Seeking Divine Wisdom; Shifting Your Perspective; Practicing Loving Acceptance; Letting Go of Outcomes; and finding Wisdom in Community.”

In the middle of reading this book my partner and I were paying off an uncomfortable debt and designing a new budget.  Our discussions were not producing any outcomes we could agree upon and the tensions were rising.  I found myself using the discussion questions at the end of each chapter within the context of our disagreements.   These were outstanding questions for letting go of our hoped for outcomes and in assisting us to truly communicate and accept each others feelings and ideas.

It is the little things that can make a huge difference.   I realized I was hanging onto wanting someone to come in and clean my house, when what would make me feel better and more courageous, would be to figure out how do some traveling and explore communities, people and cultures.  I already have a fine practice of meditative cleaning and I could certainly use some more action and interaction to build my spirit.

I found 31 quotes that I thought were powerful.  I copied them onto 3×5 cards and put them in a stack to read each day before my walk, so I can think on these things as I move.   Here is the one I read this morning:

When you are growing up, you know you are going to transform the world.  You’ll eliminate racism in your lifetime.  You’ll eliminate sexism in your lifetime.  And at some point you look and go, WOW this is still going to be here when I’m gone.  Damn.  I could live, and I could die, and the world would not have transformed in the way that I had hoped.  ~Eileen Flanagan’s Friend

For Wednesday the card says:
“What we can do is try to see each setback or inconvenience as an opportunity to develop wisdom.”

For Friday the card says:
“Father Michael compares collective effort to a rope that is made up of many thin threads that together can pull a ship.  Community is strengthening.”

I am going to read this book again.  I am going to give copies of this book to several friends as gifts.

I believe I enjoyed this book even more because it formed a trilogy of books about change and awakening to inspire one to be their best and live their best life.

The books of the trilogy and my reviews:
The Courage to be Free
The Gifts of Imperfection
The Wisdom to Know the Difference  (this post)

I would rate this book  5-Ladybugs

If you are a person who believes one religion has ALL the RIGHT answers, I do not think you would like this book at all.  The author is quite good at sharing how this spiritual path is part of many religions – the similarities of the spiritual experience.  The author is a practicing Quaker.

I received a copy of this book from TLC book tours in compensation for reviewing this book

tlc logo

This book is available through Amazon.com via this blog site.  If you order this book via this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

The full book tour Schedule

Eileen Flanagan’s Website

Looking forward to your comments and words of wisdom about change and spiritual quests.  Do you have some special practices that give you courage?   When do you know when to “let go”?  Do other people’s stories assist you in discovering your wisdom?