Jean Anne Costa
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Destinations

Affirmation:  I gift myself a generous amount of time to travel to my destinations.
I love being at home.  I can putter around the house for an entire day.  I know I’m not the only one.  I have spoken with a lot of people who feel the same way.  Consequently, I can struggle getting out of the house to make it to an appointment or other scheduled event.  “I’ll do just one more ‘little’ thing” I tell myself.  Then, I’ll realize I am not going to make that half hour trip in the fifteen minutes I have left myself.  How do I feel when I finally arrive at my destination?  I feel horrible.  I feel anxious, frustrated and wondering if the appointment will even still be available. 
One day, my whole day ran late.  I found it fascinating that I was operating on “divine time.”  I wasn’t the only one running late; all three of my scheduled events were also running late.  So, I actually arrived on time.  I wish the universe was always so cooperative but the truth is, it is not.  And, normally I need to make an effort, to be conscientious enough, respectful enough to show up at the time to which I have previously agreed. 
I’m never late when my husband is “in charge.”  In fact, he normally leaves so much time, we have arrived places way ahead of time.  I don’t like that either.  I mean, think of all the stuff I could have accomplished in the amount of time I’m waiting around before the event starts.  But, I’m never anxious and I don’t have to worry about missing that plane.  I once had a friend tell me her husband likes to leave so early for the airport; she thought he would start booking a hotel close by the night before they were to leave.  Yes, there are very different approaches to keeping time. 
I like to just allow time to flow, not to look at the watch or the clock and to believe I have as much time as I need to do all the things I want to do and that I will still be wherever I’m supposed to be whenever I’m supposed to be there.  It only works that way occasionally, very occasionally.  When I discussed this with my friends I found we all had different approaches to how we handled arriving “on time.”  One woman set her clock fifteen minutes early all the time.  It worked at first but then she started remembering she had set it ahead, and started arriving later and later because in her mind she had so much extra time.  Some people seem to have a clock implanted in their brain.  They can see the seconds ticking by and everyone in their vicinity needs to respond to their sense of time so no one will miss out.  Others simply decide they will arrive everywhere with an additional fifteen minutes to spare.  You can be late, but not them; they simply move along at whatever pace it takes to arrive ahead of the scheduled time.
I’ve tried all these approaches; none seem to work for me.  Then, I thought about how nice it would be if I wasn’t rushing.  If my travel to my destinations was serene, pleasant, evenly spaced, how truly healthy that would be.  So, I decided to think about allowing enough time to represent a gift I give myself, a generous gift.  I bet you’re wondering if I’m ever rushing now that I have adopted the affirmation:  I gift myself a generous amount of time to travel to my destinations.  Yes, I am.  Yes, I do.  But, it has slowly seeped into my subconscious and every time I head out the door earlier than I use to, I realize it has become an integral part of my daily existence.  More and more often, I have more than enough time to arrive where I need to be and I’ve allowed for unexpected delays and arrive feeling calm and serene.  If I’m early, I simply claim the time for something really important, like a few extra prayers or some mediation.  Yes, it may not sound that important but over the long haul I am sure it is a healthier way for me to deal with time. 

Spirit

Affirmation:  I am a spiritual being having a human experience.

Why would this be an affirmation?  Is this something that would resonate with you?  Would it make your life any richer, any easier?  For me, believing that I am spirit inhabiting a human form gives me a sense of immortality and being a cancer survivor, immortality has a nice ring to it.  Actually, just aging makes the idea of immortality more attractive. 
One day when I was journaling, I searched for several yellow markers in varying hues and found myself drawing.  I seldom draw but I just knew I needed to get this on paper, this concept that had come to me.  I drew a circle of yellow and then rays of gold and brighter yellow coming out from the center and then I placed an outline of myself in the middle of all the light placing my heart right in the center of the brightest part of the drawing.  When I finished, I knew this was a representation of how I really am.  I am energy, I am spirit.  It is larger than me but it radiates from me.  I take the concept with me every day when I head out into the world and I share it readily and eagerly with most of those that I meet as I go through my day.  Can you visualize this?  It comforts me.  It makes me feel generous and compassionate.  Hopefully, it helps me stay in touch with that which is truly important and helps me let go of the mundane. 
I think we have always been and will always be.  And, because I am spirit, I can tap into those unimaginable qualities that are available to spirit, all those miracles and graces that are generously infused into spirit.  It’s a meditation.  Sometimes I forget but I don’t think that matters.  I think the most important thing is that I have recognized it and own it. 
One of my desires in life is to connect with spirit and let it direct my life.  The Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat has been an example of that process.  Truly, I was directed by spirit to put my idea out into the universe and once it was out there, spirit led it to its fruition and has been blessing it ever since, blessing it and all those who are associated with it.
That’s how I’d like every day to be, lived in the spirit.  I begin the day with prayer.  I pray throughout the day with small ejaculations and deep breaths and I end my day, the very old fashioned way, with some traditional prayers.  I make an effort to stay connected, connected to God, to my Guardian Angel and to my guides.  I imagine them all being pleased that I have taken the time and made the effort to spend time with them, to continually keep them in my mind and my heart.  I don’t think they’d respond any differently than my loved ones when I treat them with consideration and thoughtfulness.  I have a mediation tape I used for chemotherapy that says just that, “Remember, we are always here.  It is you who comes and goes.”  So, I try not to go to far from all that support and guidance. 
If we truly are spirit in a human form, think of all the spirits that are surrounding us, encouraging us, supporting us.  They are helping us to recognize our true selves, to dream wonderful dreams and to support us in our desire to make not only ourselves better but to reach out into the world and to make that better.  It sounds nurturing to me.  It makes my life easier and richer and hopefully helps the lives of all those I touch as I go though my day.
The light in me salutes the light in you.  Namaste.

Miracles

Affirmation My life is Joy filled, Miracles occur, Love surrounds me and permeates every aspect of my existence.  
On August 4th, 2011, 29 women and 1 man came together for the 7th annual 4 day, 3 night Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat.  I began this retreat and each year I leave feeling the same way.  I am astounded at the response of the participants.  Everyone leaves feeling uplifted and empowered.  In 2010 the survey they took found 100% of the ladies who participated had an increased sense of hopefulness and well being.  100%!!  If that’s not a miracle, I’m not sure what qualifies.
I’ve watched this grow and thrive since the beginning.  It hasn’t been about me.  This is an example of something that is “spirit driven.”  Have you ever had an experience like that?  You had the seed of an idea and it bloomed into something beyond your wildest dream? 
I had this small thought about how nice it would be to have a yoga retreat at the beach for breast cancer survivors here in North Carolina.  I mentioned it to a yoga teacher I knew and then to the director of the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program.  The day of our first meeting, I didn’t have a clue who would come, other than my family and when we began the meeting, there were 12 people there.  I began by telling people about my idea and then admitting I was not good at delegating responsibilities.  Never once was a suggestion made when someone in the group didn’t volunteer to take care of it.  I should have known then that this was something in which God had a vested interest.  And, in seven years it has continued the same way.  Not only do people readily step up to take care of whatever needs to be done, people find ways to help with the retreat that some of us never dreamed of.  This year one of the ladies made comfort pillows for everyone with meaningful words on them.  They smelled of lavender and were squishy.  The women were very appreciative, especially after they found out this lady didn’t know how to sew until she began the project.  Another woman took it upon herself to buy cushy beach towels for everyone there.  We had homemade biscotti and pound cake.  A local ice-cream shop donated sundaes for everyone and one of our committee members made the supreme effort to go taste several of the flavors beforehand.  We raised enough money to help pay for anyone who wanted to come on scholarship.  It’s phenomenal how it all comes together and it’s obvious to all of us there that the success of this event is beyond anything most of us have ever experienced.  It has to have the hand of God in it. 
Miraculous, you ask?  What is miraculous about ice-cream and beach towels and homemade goodies?  They simply appear, like the manna in the dessert.  We never asked for these treasures.  But, what is really miraculous is what happens to the mind, body and spirit of each of the ladies and our one man (He’s the breast cancer counselor for the DCPSP.  This retreat is only for female breast cancer survivors.)  by the end of the four days.  A light comes on in each person.  There has been healing; there’s been a renewed sense of hope.  The women have found camaraderie and acceptance.  We have laughed, cried, played, swam, created, danced and done yoga.  We have found power, the power in each of us and as a group.  Words really can’t describe what happens over the four days.  You’ll have to trust me.  The event is laced with miracles, many aspects that cannot be easily explained, especially the overwhelming feeling of love that permeates each person as the retreat comes to a close. 
If you’re interested in attending, you can look us up on PinkRibbonYoga.org.  

Sharing

Affirmation:  I see the grace and blessings in all the events of my life.
Betty Ford died this July, July 2011.  She was the wife of President Gerald Ford.  I guess being the first lady might be enough for some women.  Maybe one day, it’ll be enough for some man, although I doubt that very much.  In fact, it seems like most of the first ladies of the past were pioneers in one way or another.  It has even been rumored that at times the White House, the government was run by first ladies trying to protect the ineptitude or disabilities of their husbands. 
Betty Ford was an addict and her obituary focused more on her achievement of creating the Betty Ford Center for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation than on her being Gerald Ford’s wife.  Most of what I read about her after her death was about how courageous she was to admit to her addiction but not only did she openly talk about her problem, she took steps to heal and then reached out to over 90,000 others who have been treated by her center. 
I am sure you will agree that alone is a remarkable legacy, one any one of us would probably be proud to claim.  But, there was something else Betty Ford was known for; she publicly announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  At the time, that was a very radical and courageous thing to do.  There was a time when the word “cancer” created panic and fear in the people who were associated with the patient.  Yes, it still can but not because people think it’s a communicable disease.  Then, it had a stigma attached to it.  It’s people like Betty Ford whose honesty and courage led to taking cancer out of the closet and into the forefront of research and treatment.
I spoke with a woman recently who is a breast cancer survivor.  She told me she pretends it never happened to her.  Her denial is her way of coping.  I am not here to judge that right or wrong.  We need to do whatever it takes to survive, to heal.  If denial is your best tool, use it.  But, I do wonder if it really works.  What do you think?  Do you think you can really bury such a life changing event?  Sometimes I think I’ve moved on and then, wham, even after 12 years something comes along to remind me of how different I am now than I was before cancer.  I not only look at my life with a fuller understanding of my mortality, I look at the lives of my loved ones in the same way.  Experiencing death and life threatening illnesses has helped me to see life as more precious and fragile. 
I’ve chosen to share openly that I am a breast cancer survivor.  No, it is not the first thing I tell people, sometimes they haven’t a clue and they may have known me for sometime but when called upon, I readily share my story.  One of the reasons I like to share is simply because it’s such a success story.  I am still here.  It’s been twelve years and I am still here.  I think it’s important for people to know that a diagnosis of breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence.  Yes, it can be and unfortunately many times, it is but it’s not always.  There are more and more people like me who are living wonderful lives long after undergoing cancer treatment.  I feel it’s my responsibility to share with anyone who wants to listen that there is hope.  That while cancer treatment isn’t fun, one can survive and in many cases, like mine, one can thrive. 

Bold Adventuress

Affirmation:  I am a Bold Adventuress.

“Do something every day that takes you outside of your comfort zone.”  I’ve heard this many times and I make an effort to abide by the advice.  One day I went to play golf with the “big girls.”  These are the ladies who play golf often and for the most part, quite well.  I was way outside of my comfort zone.

“It’s just a game”, I’ve been told.  I have never considered myself a golfer but I have played golf for over forty years, ever since I married my husband, Sandy.  Sandy is a golfer.  He’s amazing to watch.  Even at an age when most men can’t hit the ball as far as they’d like, he belts it way down the fairway.  Truly, his game is superb and it’s such fun to watch him play.

I use to resent his dedication to this past time.  I know I’ve mentioned this before.  When I had three young children, the time away from the family required by golf and desired by my husband was onerous for me.  But, now with the children grown and on their own, I can see the sport in a different light.  Actually, over the last few summers, I might even occasionally refer to myself as a “golfer.” 

Golf, yoga, and tennis are the three main physical activities in which I’ve participated.  I think there’s so much to learn about myself and sometimes others from watching the behavior that is exhibited during the event, the match, the practice.  Concentration, perseverance, balance, forgiveness, humor, humility and graciousness are required of the civil player and many times, more than one aspect at a time is required.
When I went to play golf with the better players, I actually requested a “kind and gentle group.”  Since my handicap of 45 can easily be viewed by real golfers as representative of someone who is a duffer, very inexperienced, I was quite concerned with whom I was partnered.  I was put with another woman who was kind and gracious, a very pleasant, encouraging woman.  She and I, along with two others made up the foursome. 
When I participated in an Outward Bound in 2002, we had an exercise where we needed to figure out a way to get ten people through a complicated ropes course.  I stood back and watched.  Almost everyone had a plan, even those who had never done this before.  I decided to let the “experts” figure it out and then join in.  I realized through this exercise that I didn’t always need to be a chief.  I could also be an Indian.  It was very liberating.  I didn’t need to or want to be in charge.  I can be in charge if necessary but it wasn’t necessary and there was freedom in that.  This knowledge has served me well over the years. 
As soon as the women began playing golf on the day of my golf adventure, it was obvious who the chief was.  She was a good chief.  She knew the rules, she led by example, she knew the etiquette and she generously helped those of us who needed extra guidance.  It helped the day go smoothly and it was pleasant.
Yes, I thought, playing golf is like a microcosm of life.  Isn’t it true, every time you enter into a group situation, there’s someone who steps up to be in charge?  Of course, sometimes more than one person wants to lead but even then, someone comes out being the chief; the others must follow, support or get out of the way. 
The psychology of 18 holes of golf is again a microcosm of our lives.  How do we interact with others?  Are we kind, considerate, deferential, polite, encouraging?  And, how do we treat ourselves?  Do we berate ourselves when we hit a bad shot?  Are we annoyed when someone else does better?  Can we focus regardless of what else is going on?  What are we thinking about; is it lunch or dinner, or are we present to the experience?  Do we notice not only the condition of the course but the topography, the fresh air and the beautiful vistas?
Whatever we are doing on the golf course, we are repeating in our daily lives.  Our behavior both towards others, ourselves and the experience reflects our behavior and attitude about our lives.
Yes, it’s the same in many sports.  Golf is different because there is so much time between each shot.  It’s slower; it takes longer than many sports.  If you watch carefully, you’ll see all your faults surface but keep watching, be aware, and you’ll be able to notice your strengths too.  Perhaps, it will be as simple as being able to share time with your loved ones, your buddies, a kind partner and when asked how you played, even if the game didn’t go as you had hoped, even though you didn’t feel you played your best game, you answer, “Wow!  I had a great time!” 
Yes, just like life.  When my life is almost over, if it hasn’t’ gone the way I’d hoped, if I haven’t played my “best” game, I hope I find myself saying, “Wow!  I had a great time!” 
And, just in case you’re curious, I played ok on that outing with the “big girls.”  I would even say, on that day, I looked like a “golfer.”

Creating Community

Affirmation:  I am an integral part of a community of likeminded individuals. 
Because I am open and accepting, I am invited by friends and family to share in fun experiences. 
I find that several of my affirmations revolve around my relationships with family and friends.  I like people but I like some people more when I see them less.  Do you ever feel that way?  When I take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I fall half way between the introvert and the extrovert; meaning that I gain energy both from being alone and from being with people.  So, I need to balance that.  I need quiet time and I need time with others.  Of course, all the research shows that health depends a great deal on having an extended support system.  There has been research showing that how well we cope in our older age, depends on our social system.  Being a breast cancer survivor, I’ve read and experienced, how effective support groups are in one’s recovery process. 
There are times when I can feel isolated.  I’m not sure why because between my hubby, children, grandchildren, mother and several close friends, all who live nearby, you’d think I’d be overwhelmed with personal interaction.  But, if I get caught up in comparing myself to others I know, those people who are very popular, you know the ones.  They are the people who are always being asked to every party, every gathering, every fun trip, and every social event.  When I find myself looking at their lives and then examining mine, I wonder if I’ve missed the boat somewhere.  It’s funny because I always tell people and myself to avoid comparisons. I know we compare our worst to everyone else’s best.  We compare our inside to the other’s outside and no one ever wins from such a thought process.  I know this.  But, periodically I still get caught.  This topic is one of those times.  I have several friends who I must admit are amazing at creating personal relationships.  They are the ones who are always heading off to visit or travel with other friends.  I often leave their presence wondering what I’m doing wrong or simply wondering if I really am that different from them. 
So, I decided to remind myself that, I am an integral part of a community of likeminded individuals.  I also decided to affirm that: Because I am open and accepting, I am invited by friends and family to share in fun experiences. 
I truly am a part of a community of likeminded individuals.  They may not all be right around the corner, or even in my town but I know they are out there.  They are all the people who sent me notes and cards and mementos when I was going through cancer treatments.  They are the people I don’t hesitate to contact when I want to be remembered in prayer or need a loved one remembered in prayer.  They are the people who love talk to with me about how to improve the quality of their lives, the people who love to discuss concepts and ideas.  They are the people I know who are always excited about learning, the generous people who donate every year to the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat so that women, who can’t afford to attend, get to come for free.  If I focus on all the wonderful people in my community I stop thinking about what I don’t have and instead focus on what I do.  As to the affirmation about being open and accepting, well, that one means, I always say yes.  Yes, I’ll join you.  Yes, I’m ready to go.  Yes, I want to spend time with you.  Isn’t that the secret to strong relationships, sharing experiences and spending time together? 

Chronic Helping Tic

Affirmation:  I live a Christ centered life of love, joy, peace, gratitude and compassion.
My dear friend from my study group, The Seekers, sent me an Oprah article called, CHT (chronic helping tic.)  I read with interest the symptoms the author attitributed to this ailment and I immediately realized I too had this disorder.  It’s been an interesting process watching myself try to hold back from offering advice and guidance to people who haven’t asked me for help and in many cases ,from  people I don’t even know, total strangers.
I am the oldest child of a family of three.  My father always wanted a son but he got me instead and he seemed to really like me.  We spent a lot of quality time together, probably a lot more time than was usual at that time.  He really had a zest for life.  He was a kind and decent man.  He worked hard and he played hard and he included me whenever he could.  I tell you all this because when I read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, I saw a lot of the male attributes they described in my personality.  One that was very strong was the desire to help people fix things, not to simply listen but to offer unsolicited advice when really; all they wanted was a sympathetic ear.  I have worked hard over the years to change this guttural response.  I am not always successful.  I just feel like I have so much practical information about so many topics, I mean I love to read and to talk about psychosocial issues and then I’m ready to share this knowledge at the drop of the hat. But, I know that most people don’t want help, they don’t really want advice even when they ask for it.  It can be a fine line between empowering and enabling.  I walk it carefully and slip only too often.
I remember the story about Andre Carnegie when he was seated with a female dinner partner and after asking her a simple open ended question, did not get to speak again for the rest of the meal.  When they were finally finished, she told him he was the most interesting dinner partner she had ever had the pleasure of speaking with.  I know that’s an extreme but I believe most people love to talk about themselves and really will have polite conversations but even then, they are thinking about what they are going to say next.  Mary Kay Ash has a story too about a woman who came to her for advice on a serious, personal issue.  When the meeting was over the woman was thrilled with the results of the conversation.  Mary Kay said she never said a word.  She simply listened while this woman talked herself through her problem.  This could be why a great therapist is in such demand.  They are trained listeners.
After reading the article my friend sent me, I decided to take a hiatus from offering un-solicited help and to see how it went.  I was doing fairly well until a woman in the grocery picked up a bag of mixed peppers.  I immediately told her that I had bought those last week and not all of them were fresh.  As soon as it came out, I wanted to kick myself.  I think the secret here is what is motivating me to offer advice.  If it’s a genuine concern for the other, that’s probably good but if it’s more about my ego, what I know and my wanting you to know how much I know, that’s not a good thing.  This lady was fairly grateful.  She said she’d had the same experience but had forgotten. 
Also, I have a woman in my church who always arrives impeccably coifed.  She’s an older woman but it’s obvious that she takes very good care of herself.  The last time she arrived she looked marvelous and then I noticed several long hairs growing from her chin.  Honestly, if I’d had a tweezer, I might have whipped it out at that very moment and offered my grooming skills but I didn’t and I decided it wouldn’t help her in any way if I told her about them and then there was the question, did she want to know.  I must say that CHT just about took over my thoughts for quite a while.  What was the right thing to do?  Did she care?  Did she think that was OK?   Should I call or email?  Would she never talk to me again or be embarrassed to be around me?  After reading the article, I decided it was once again a case of CHT and I almost let it go, except for the fact that I’m writing about it here and now.  What do you think?  How would you have handled it?  What advice do you have for me?  Have you ever experienced such a tic? 
The Courage to Change book from Alanon has one reading about someone’s gravestone.  Whoever buried this gentleman had written on it, “He’s finally minding his own business.”  I really don’t want that on my gravestone.  So, each day I now try to stop myself from stepping into someone else’s life if it’s not from a purely loving heart.  If it’s about them and what they truly seem to need and if I don’t care how it makes me feel, maybe then it’ll be OK.  But, if it’s something I’m doing that feeds my ego, I need to recognize that and let it go.  Yes, my mission statement for my life is, “I lead a Christ centered life of love, joy, peace, gratitude and compassion.”  If all of my behavior is based on that I am sure when I reach out, it will be with a pure heart and if that’s true, all else will be as it should be. 

Marriage

Marriage

Affirmation:  The best is yet to come.

My husband, Sandy and I have been married for almost 43 years.  I teasingly tell people I was a child bride, maybe 15.  But, while we were young, right out of college, we were a “reasonable” age.  Looking back, I don’t think I had a clue what I was committing to.  I’d like to think the young people marrying today have more knowledge about relationships and what saying “I do” represents than I did.  I think they might have an advantage over me because of all the information available in the media.  I know all of it isn’t good, but at least they are exposed to a great deal of different situations. 

I came from a very small family and unless I learned from their example, there wasn’t much more information available.  I was lucky because both my husband and I came from stable, loving families.  I’m sure that’s one of the reason two naïve kids like us have made it this far.
We went to dinner with a newlywed couple one evening.  They were young but they already had a lot of schooling under their belts and were looking at additional degrees.  They were considerate of each other and had a maturity about them that belied their years.  It was a pleasure to be with them.  I found myself offering my perspective on marriage.  I find myself sharing this information more and more often.  It’s usually because I am so surprised at where I’m at in my relationship with my husband and that no one ever told me about this stage of marriage.  In fact, even with today’s information overload, I haven’t seen this anywhere and it’s really important for couples to know this, especially young couples.

After 43 years, we still love one another.  We have raised three children, moved seven times, and been through illness and deaths.  We have struggled financially and psychologically.  We have played together and we have shared the most intimate of experiences.  One, for example, is when Sandy shaved my head before my hair fell out from chemo.  There are almost no words to say what that was like.  It’s been good and it’s been tough.  It’s been life and I’m so very grateful I’ve gotten to share it all with him.

And, what is it I want couples to know?  I want them to know that marriage is difficult but if there are no irreconcilable differences, no overwhelming obstacles to staying together, marriage gets better and better.  It can become one of the richest experiences of your life if you have the fortitude to hang in there so you can share your later years with that person with whom you became of age.  For us, this is the best our marriage has ever been and it’s a great joy.  Would you agree that’s what can happen?  Many many years ago I had an “older” woman tell me her time as an empty nester was the sexiest time of her marriage.  It’s true.  It’s worth it.  Don’t give up.

Golf & Lessons Learned

Affirmation:  I value my accomplishments and my disappointments.
On June 19th, 2011 Rory McIlroy won the US Open in golf.  I play golf although I do not consider myself a golfer.  I am married to a golfer and recently my adult son, Joey, has given up sky diving and taken up golf.  (Thank You, Lord.)  Considering we have been married for almost 43 years, I have learned a lot about the sport.  I must admit there have been many times in our marriage when I was deeply resentful of the time and energy my husband put into his passion.  When the children were little and he worked 100 hours a week and still played golf on the weekends, I thought I’d go crazy.  He did stop playing when our youngest child, Ellen, was born.  He needed a break and I needed a break too. 

Many years ago I read James Dobson’s, Final Rounds.  It completely changed the way I saw the sport.  It truly was a life changing read.  It helped too that my children were older and I had a little more free time.  But, when I read the memories that he and his dad had collected together, I better understood the appeal of the game.  Golf  wasn’t just “a good walk spoiled” as Mark Twain; it was about so much more.  It was about relationships and adventures and shared experiences.  I took it to heart and started focusing on those aspects and not how many times I was hitting (or swinging) at that little ball.  Yes, something changed.  I started having more fun and truly valuing the time I spent with Sandy and now with my son.  Sometimes my daughter-in-law, Belen, joins us on the course as Joey’s chauffeur.  It can be a delightful day and I really have learned to value being out on the course.

Part of our shared interest lies in occasionally watching the major tournaments with my family.  The US Open is one of them.  And, this year’s was very exciting.  This young man, Rory McIlroy (22 years) won. He’s from Northern Island.  Not only did he win but he broke all sorts of records.  He shot 65-66-68-68.  He was as much as 17 under par at one point.  He went into the tournament winning by 8 strokes.  These are unheard of accomplishments. 

That’s all wonderful and exciting but for me, it was the story behind his win that touched my heart.  His father was there; it was his Father’s Day present.  The story that emerged was of a family of very hard working people.  His dad had worked as a janitor and when his son showed an interest in golf, he became the bar tender at the golf club so that they could afford his lessons.  When he accepted his award, he didn’t’ leave out his “mum” either.  He said it was because of their hard work and sacrifice that he was there today. 

The media spent a great deal of time talking about this young man’s loss at the Masters in Augusta.  They kept talking about how he was winning by 4 strokes when the final round began, and then “fell apart.”  Everyone was amazed that he had pulled himself together so quickly and was doing so well.  Some thought he might never recover from such a devastating loss.  It was one of the questions presented to him several minutes after accepting the US Open trophy.  The announcer asked him to speak about losing the Masters and what that had been like.  Ready?  “The Masters was a very valuable experience for me.  I learned a few things about myself and my game.” 

This champion is much wiser than his 22 years.  It takes some of us a lifetime to discover that every life experience leads to wisdom and knowledge.  It’s all up to us how we perceive it and whether or not we value every single one of them, both the accomplishments and the disappointments.  Like Rory, it can lead us to championship skills, the skills of leading a rewarding, fulfilling life. 

Worthiness

Affirmation:  I am loveable, I am worthy, I do well.

Oprah Winfrey ended her 25 year show this June.  I think I missed a lot because I am not an avid television watcher.  I rarely have the TV on during the day and now, with DVRs I rarely watch more than an hour of TV in the evening.  I once had a very good friend suggest I Tivo the Oprah show and watch what was of interest to me.  I also had another friend tell me if I watched more Oprah I would probably take fewer classes, since she teaches about almost everything in which I am interested.  I think they were both right and I didn’t take their advice to heart or I just couldn’t seem to find the time to watch her daily show.  But, I did DVR her very last show.  I have now watched it twice and I will very likely watch it again.  Her theme was what she had learned from her viewers over the years.  I actually went back and took notes.

“There is a common thread that runs though all of our pain and all of our suffering, unworthiness, not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for.  We often block our inherent blessings because we don’t think we’re good enough, smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough.”  She went on to say, “You’re worthy because you have been born.  Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birth right.  You alone are enough.” 

Do you believe that?  It’s the same theme over and over.  We are so much more than we seem.  We are spirit, we are eternal, and we are children of God.  We were created to bring light and love into this world.  We don’t need to do anything else in order to do that.  But, should we choose to go out into the world and bring our love and our energy, we need to do it with a sense of power and compassion.  We were created to shine.  Let your light shine.  Do not act small, do not shy away from life, it doesn’t help anyone.  By believing in your worthiness by acting as if, you give permission to all those lives you touch, to be and to feel the same way.

Open your heart, do not be afraid.  In yoga we practice “Open Heart” asanas.  Take a deep breath, pull your shoulders back, open your arms, and smile.  Inhale and breathe into your heart, as you exhale, see the love and energy shinning out, as you inhale, feel the love and positive energy filling you up.  Believe it.  You are loved; you are worthy.