A year ago a wonderful man in my life suggested that there is a difference between “love” and “gratitude.” Hmmm….I thought as he attempted to explain. Ever since then I have been mulling over what he said. Of course, I can’t remember exactly what he said…just that he said there was a difference. After that I would hear people say, “I love….[this or that, him or her],” and I would reflect on what he had said.
Then I decided to use the word “gratitude” whenever I often otherwise would use the word “love” and see if I could discern the difference…understand what he was suggesting. Slowly I began to grok what he had been suggesting. Each time I used the word “gratitude, it seemed as if my heart opened a little more. Try it…say “I love you,” to your significant other, to your child, to your parent, to yourself…like that. Then…say “I am so grateful for…,” to your significant other, to your child, to your parent, to yourself (what a concept!). Feel the difference.
As time went by I became more grateful daily for me and all that is around me. My heart often feels as if it is filled with waves of gratitude. Each day when I arise, each picture I take, all that I see…each fiber I play with…each person I meet…how grateful I am.
A few weeks ago I was invited to dine at a friend’s home to meet her soon-to-be wedded partner. I can say that my friend has always been full of life…willing to try new things, curious, an adventurer. Listening to her on the phone when she invited me, I sensed something had changed. And so I went to her home for dinner, full of curiosity. From the moment I walked in. there it was…palpable…overflowing…the personification of gratitude. “It isn’t love,” I thought. It was as if the universe was saying to me, “See, this is what gratitude is. There’s no mistaking it…it’s all around you…embrace it…receive it…live it…it’s the fullness of life.”
I don’t know about you…but I’ll have that! And I wish it for all of you.
And. yes, there’s “Well if I do…and it doesn’t work out, I can always….If not this…then I can…” Ah yes, the escape hatch! It’s the “get out of jail” card that I keep carefully guarded in my pocket/wallet/back of my mind…just in case.
I propose to plant a new seed this season. It’s the “No holds barred” seed. This seed is an “heirloom seed”…one that existed long before we arrived on the planet and started second-guessing ourselves…started modifying seeds…making hybrids. It’s the seed that, when planted, allows us to live our lives with NO RULES OR LIMITS…with no “what-ifs”…with no get-away plan…like that.
Would you like to plant your own? Let’s do it!
Come to my next Access Bars® Class Wednesday - December 20 - and we’ll do it together!
Hope to see you there!
I have found that in all of my life I keep “getting it” (whatever “it” is) one step at a time…do you think that’s the reason my dog is named Step…to remind me…to be patient with myself..and to be grateful for “getting the ahas I do get?”
Just like the other day when I was at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids and one of the artist exhibits/events was a creation of an artist who was writing, for anyone who asked him, a “special something” on a page he tore from an old dictionary. So you ask: “What did he write for you?”
Gratitude is Fuel
You know I put that on my bathroom mirror!
So I got that…I really did…
And last week at the Co-opertising event in Merrillville, I had to introduce myself. So the day before I harkened back to the tool of the 30 Second Commercial that Kealah Parkinson taught me…and step by step (get it?) over 24 hours it simply fell in place…just in time to deliver my opening line: My passion is opening doors!
Deep down…really deep inside... my body reacted like a bell that had been rung…”Yes!” I thought. “That IS me…That IS who I am!”
And what was juicy for me in that moment…was that I didn’t care who else knew…or who responded to what I was saying…I was just grateful for my own awareness…about myself. For me it meant I could be who I am in the world…fully…game on!
So what does that mean?
I get to coach others. I get to give Bars sessions and classes (and yes, there IS a class 11/12…this SUNDAY 9-5…interested? Call or text me 219-229-1483), and I get to create my fiber paintings...all of which are my gifts that, I use to open doors for others!
Thanks for listening…and hope to be with you soon.
For those of you who are curious about the rest of the 30 Seconds:
I’m Suzy Vance…a born again lawyer…turned Life Coach.
My passion is opening doors!
I provide coaching and adventures…getaway events that allow people to experience aspects of themselves they haven’t previously explored…while having fun and increasing their confidence at the same time.
Right now my target is kids from 5 - 15. Of course, young adults and other adults always are welcome as well.
Getaway experiences and events include everything from bread-making to nature immersion to quieting all the mind-chatter that’s present these days.
So talk with me…Suzy Vance, Life Coach. We can work together to open possibilities for young people you know.
It’s amazing what an experience of total receiving can do…and, I’m asking ti have more of that!
Recently I was offered a trip of a lifetime. I chose to receive it (please be assured I WILL say “yes” to receiving again!). I flew to Greece, explored Athens, including walking a local neighborhood with a fantastic guide, Eleni Loussi. (thank you myrago.com). I tasted the local experience…and yes, the authentic Greek salad; pastries including anything made with Phyllo dough, nuts, and honey; meats; cheeses…oh my the cheeses; all kinds of fish; lamb; sausages; oh yes, and the grape leaves and spinach…and did I forget the wine…delsh!…you get the picture.
I visited the Acropolis and went to Poseidon.2 hours from Athens… Then I boarded a Greek sailing sip with 11 other friends for 9 days. Each couple had their own sleeping quarters.or should say stateroom. The Iraklis was staffed by a caring crew: a captain, an assistant captain, an engineer, a cook, and three delightful women who served us royally: made our beds, straightened up after us, prepared and served 4 course meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, served us any kind of coffee we wanted from a French Press to a latte (I discovered a new trick of having mine with brown sugar…yum)…and the wine…delicious Sauvigion Blanc from Greece…delish…and some red that my husband relished.! It seemed it was a sin to allow any wine glass to empty!
And off we went, first through a canal and on into the Ionian Sea stopping in coves to swim, water ski, kayak, snorkel…and the shopping and occasionally eating in small Greek villages. Then returning to the Aegean Sea to visit Hydra (no cars, no motor cycles, all construction done on the backs of donkeys…I’ll be going back there!) and other villages.
And 2 weeks later I rose at 3:30 AM to head to the airport and home.
Something has shifted…something has moved me…a layer of doubt about “Can we do this? Can we afford that?” has left me. My question now is (that I have remembered…thanks to a dear friend) “If money and time were no object, would I _______?” If it feels “light” then YES!!
So, I say, bring it on…life and living…I’m here and eager to explore more of the world in all its splendor…the good the bad and the ugly! It’s here for you, too. Will you choose it?
Every morning I wake up. I’m here…on Earth…”Hmmmm…who am I today?” I wonder. What energy, space, and consciousness can I be to be all I truly be?” I ask. “What can I contribute to today…to the Earth…to the universe…to everyone around me…to everyone I come in contact with? Where will my being take me today? What will show up in my life?”
It was asking those questions…repeatedly…that led me to expand how I played with animal fiber…then creating images with it…then showing occasional pieces in galleries around where I live…then being asked to do a solo show. And that, for me, was amazing. It (quite literally) brought all that I had ever done before now, up close and personal at the opening of the show.
What a gift to be able to see and be with all who had encouraged me over the course of my life. Who would have thought that fiber, the threads from animals, would bring me full circle. To see all parts of my life together in one room was amazing! Truly, for me, the fibers of animals are a gift…a true “coming together” of all the parts of myself!
So to all of you who came, whether on that day or another (the show remains up until July 3), and to all who weren’t able to come yet have supported me over the years, thank you, each and every one of you, from the entirety of my being.
Do I listen…to myself?
Marrying him is not a good idea. Did…and I have 2 wonderful children because I made that choice.
Don’t eat that (2nd…3rd…) piece of cake…that would be last weekend…but what the heck…it was my birthday after all. Did…took a few days for my digestion to catch up.
Learn how to make paper! Did…time will tell but I’m thinking it was a very good thing.
Slow down! Stop pressing! Oh yes…and then there was that speeding ticket.
Take the path (not an easy one from the looks of it). Or be VERY careful climbing the boulders.
That was this morning…at the beach. OK…so I went over the boulders…and, clearly, not carefully enough! Result? Face plant into a rock…a very hard rock.
Well, ok. I see. There are lessons to be learned (experiences to be had) here…even at my age. And the most important (how many reminders have I had) is to LISTEN to MYSELF! Listen to my body. Listen to my being.
Truth is…I even asked: “Hmmm, which way?”
It’s just that I forgot to listen fully…you know…the CAREFULLY part!
That being said, I DO have to say…that applying Access body processes that I’ve learned resulted in a miracle. There has been little if any swelling, and I’m well on the mend. I did receive a little help along the way. The miracles of modern medicine have their contribution too. Glue! That’s right…a doctor actually GLUED my skin in place so there won’t be scars from stitches (check with me in 10 days)!
I’m so grateful for all of it…all the experiences, all the reminders, and all the miracles. And I choose more…more of life…more experiences…and best of all…more awareness.
How about you?
When we are born we are free…joyous in spirit…filled with wonder and eagerness. With no preconceived notions of thoughts about how we should be or what we should or should not do, we explore everything around us, seeing, looking, watching, tasting, smelling. Then something happens. In one way or another we are told “No.” We are told, “Don’t do that. Stop that. That’s not a good idea….” And we pull back. We become more reserved. We are taught to “think” before we step out. We take less risks. We explore less. We get comfortable in our daily routines.
What if it could be different? What would it take? How would it be if we just said “Yes,” for 10 seconds, and then ten seconds later chose again…the same or something different?
For many years I worked tirelessly to “change the world” or “make the world a better place.” You know…helping people get along with themselves and each other in families or at work.
Today I find I am ”.coming home”…to myself…here…now…as I was as a child. I’ve given myself permission not to “fix” me or others. In choosing to live “ten seconds at a time,” I find myself more curious about everything around me. I am fascinated by the animals inhabiting this Earth, including people and all their creative capacities, I relish the exploration of what animals and the rest of the natural environment (the trees, flowers, birds and bees…) contribute to us. and how our physical surroundings, including the spaces we live in, nurture our lives, imagination, growth, and expression.
My "home" is the Earth. It is the essence of what is creative in life. In my fiber work I go to the source of how the Earth continuously fills me with wonder, joy, and possibility…especially the animals and the fiber they provide. The actual process of working with fiber is my way of going home and embracing my journey from beginning to end.
For as long as I can remember I’ve watched other people live their lives in what seemed to me to be a logical sequence…you know…growing up…doing what’s expected and “next”…going to college…maybe graduate school…getting married…having a family…working or not working…maybe having several jobs…always that observation of what I decided was growing and progressing…ah yes…progressing.
Today I get the giggles about what “progress” is.
That being said, I assure you I DO get a sense of accomplishment when I complete something…could be serving a meal I’ve made…teaching a class…completing a package of sessions with a client,…reading a book…completing a fiber painting….writing a proposal…putting together a plan and then accomplishing it…. In the past, upon completion, I would’ve thought, “Ok, what’s next?” And sometimes…even before completion…I would’ve said, “OK, this isn’t working,” or “I’ve had ENOUGH of this!”
Today I seem to have less and less a sense of finishing anything. And I have less and less judgment about changing my mind about doing something.even if I made a commitment to do it…for business or pleasure. For me, I see what I call the “feeder thread” as it moves beyond the previous choice I made into the next whatever…seamlessly. It’s not like I know what’s next is next. And it’s not like only one thing is next! Life just is…that thread or energy that seeks and expands my horizons…like a worm moving along…wherever it goes…always reaching and choosing and reaching for something else…taking me in whatever direction I choose for today. It’s become less about “do…do…do” and more about being…being me… in wherever and what ever’s happening…more easily.
That’s not to say I don’t have ideas of things I would like to do…would like to experience…accomplish. I’ve always been a dreamer. It’s just that being IN whatever I choose…moment by moment…deep in the chaos…with the capacity to shift, change, and do different…has brought me to a more conscious and aware life and, for me, it’s ever more delicious.
Bottom line? I’ve never been one to move along the straight and narrow. Whimsy and curiosity have been far more interesting. Even in my darkest moments where there were no financial supports and society’s judgments flew in my face to the contrary of what I was choosing, they’ve lead me to choose, and in ways I never would’ve imagined would bring me to where I am today.
Such is progress!
It’s been going on for days…missing appointments because I logged them in on my calendar for a date a month ago (no problem…my colleague thought it was funny and “happens to everyone”)…misplacing my tax preparation documents (and then remembering the file I gave to the new President who took over my responsibilities)…aha!…that’s indeed where they were;… And now…I’m wondering where my credit card is…(I’m not irresponsible…I DID check online to at least see that no one else is using my card.)…I used it Tuesday night to pay for dinner with a friend (I know that because I have the receipt)…and the next morning when I went to pay for something installed at my home, the card wasn’t in my wallet!
I called the restaurant and asked if they had it. No…was the response. The only card in the drawer where they keep forgotten credit cards didn’t have my name on it.
“What is this?” I ask.
What I get is that the universe is embracing me in chaos…showing me it’s not bad… as we all have been brainwashed to think it is…and…maybe it’s a good thing…in many ways. Ahhh…agility!
Ok…so I wrote those words in the afternoon.
And then I said to the universe: “OK…I’ve had enough! This credit card thing is over the top. “How can I move beyond this…NOW!,” I wondered.
Then about 5 PM I headed out because I thought an art exhibit was opening last night…duh…no…that would be next week (at least I assume so because NO ONE was there!) Just one last little tweak on the chaos spree.
And on my way home I was driving past the restaurant where I had dinner on Tuesday. “I’ll just stop in and check in with my friend Hugh,” I thought as I turned my care into the parking lot. “He’ll help me see if it really isn’t at the restaurant as I have been told.”
And…of course you guessed what happened…didn’t you? Hugh came rushing out when he heard I was there saying, “Oh my goodness, Suzy, you left your credit card here. Let me get your server for you.” Turns out the server put it carefully in an envelope and had been saving it for me. And so it goes…my life.
The best part is I DID check in to my knowing…and I DID listen…there was no urgency…nothing was telling me to report my card missing and go through all that! Checking in is good…and particularly important given the Carnival we live in!
What do I get out of Wednesday nights?
Every week is so very different and so full of contribution…to me and everyone else. it’s really difficult to use words to match the gratitude I have for our “Gifting and Receiving” nights together.
When things are not working or seem stuck in my life…I get to get rid of whatever is holding me back! It just disappears…like wiping the slate clean.
When things are amazing in my life…I get to ask for more of it! And it comes!
I’m surrounded by unique beautiful people every week with whom I can totally be myself…laugh…cry…share ideas…and nurture myself and others in so many ways!
So when people ask me if I'm available on Wednesday night to do something else…there’s NO hesitation. I always say No - That’s my time..my time to Nourish my Body, my Being, and who ever else shows up!