Together

into or in one gathering, company, mass, place, or body.

into or in union, proximity, contact, or collision, as two or more things.

into or in relationship, association, business, or agreement, etc., as two or more persons.

However you interpret together, it certainly doesn’t mean separate, which implies being apart, alone or divided.

At this time of year, most of us are together with family. This year, however, me and my family won’t be doing that. But even though we will technically be apart, we are always together. I can call them any time and chit chat.

Distance or being apart; separated if you will, does not have to mean something awful, unless of course there is a more sinister or ugly reason you aren’t in contact with someone. What could cause that kind of rift? Most of us can’t even think of never seeing someone we love, let alone not speaking to them. Unless of course you are the person keeping people at bay.

There are a million reasons why someone may not want to see someone else. But if I had to guess the most common one, it would be pain. This can be from feeling horrible around someone; more aptly being made to feel horrible or sheer and utter heartbreak. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay away.

But the truth is, if you hold this inside of you, you are the only one keeping anything separate. Nobody knows of your pain and suffering unless you tell them. If you can be brave enough to do that, then you set yourself free, no matter the outcome.

There will be those who refuse to hear what you have to say, no matter how hard you cry or how many times you tell them. This is when you have that aha moment and realize the separateness you feel was actually created by the person you are trying to be together with. It’s absolute insanity!

But once you understand that some people perpetuate separateness because of a wound within themselves, you realize that the separateness was so unnecessary. The truth is, when people really love one another, there is no need to ever pick sides, only a wanting to join them.

Then there are those who will embrace your words of truth, because maybe they have been feeling the same exact way and your coming forward and expressing it, gives them an opportunity to do the same.

Thanksgiving. A time of being together, even if it’s only virtual or on the phone.
Togetherness is not something that is measured by who is around your table because we all know that is nothing more than a facade.

Togetherness is in your heart. It is the people that make you smile when they aren’t even around, the ones who support you through the good as well as the bad and most importantly, those who honor your choices, even when they don’t understand them, because they honor you.

During this time of thankfulness, may you reach out to those who you want to be together with and keep those who perpetuate the separateness at arms length. Maybe even longer! Like…a leg, or a body’s length, or maybe a city? A country? Just saying! Don’t perpetuate this toxic behavior. We are living in a pandemic and nobody has time for that!

Embrace those you love a little harder and open your hear to those who want to be with you!

The Saboteur

If you have never heard of archetypes, this is one of them. You can do the research yourself about them, I’d start with Carolyn Myss, as she wrote a whole book on them.

The Saboteur, in short, is one of the survival archetypes. We will literally sabotage a career, relationship and the things we say we want most in this world, if we have this archetype. And why would we do that you ask? Because we can’t help it. We have been conditioned by our subconscious mind to steer clear of anything it perceives as a threat to our wellbeing.

The subconscious mind is so powerful, it has been given the task of protecting you from any situation or person that remotely reminds you of a past experience that left you feeling abandoned, rejected, disregarded, unloved, unwanted, disliked, undervalued, shunned, unwelcome, spurned, outcast…the list goes on. Your subconscious mind has memorized all of your comfort zones and it will do everything it can to keep you in them, no matter how different the situation or person is, in front of you.

Even if you meet someone new or are offered a job that looks promising and gets you all excited, the very reason that it is new, will make your subconscious feel threatened. You might try and take steps towards that which is calling you, but BOOM! You will shut down. Your subconscious will take over and say, “We’ve got this! No need to worry yourself. Just sit back and do nothing and we will all be safe.”

You might try to bypass the subconscious, but she takes her job very seriously. She will literally make you feel uncomfortable in your own body if you attempt to do anything new or different. For example, you might agree to audition for a movie that shoots in LA and then when you get the script you find things wrong with it. Things like…the location, the lines, the people, the weather, the paper, etc….Everything will be wrong even if there isn’t anything, but you’ll find it.

You’ll feel a pit in your stomach the size of a city at the mere thought of doing this project. You might start to hyperventilate. Then you get mad at yourself. “How could you have agreed to this?” You can’t sleep because every thought is about that project. So you wake up the next day, call your agent and make up one of a hundred excuses you have in that little excuse book of yours called, “Self Sabotage 101” and you hang up the phone. You feel instant relief and tell yourself, “Never again!” And feel as though you dodged a bullet.

But then a few days go by and someone close to you asks “What do you really want?” You look at them confused. “You know what I want! I want to be in a movie, on a show.” “Then why do you keep turning down things?” And that’s when you realize your 15 year old is far more insightful then you are.

This was during quarantining; I mean, what else is there to do but drink and think about how messed up your life is? So I started thinking about mine.

From the mouth of babes! It got me thinking though. Why was I turning down the exact thing that I said I wanted? And then it hit me. For years I have had agents. Most people can’t get one. I’ve helped several; even waiters at random restaurants I eat at. It’s like the crowning jewel to them, and there I was with an entire crown!

Always happy to have the agent, happy to get the audition, but then when I am on the cusp of booking a job, panic sets in. My heart palpitates, my hands sweat (well, they always do that, just a little more profusely) and I sleep like shit thinking about the job. How pathetic is that?

I have sabotaged myself from some pretty amazing opportunities. Just Monday I did it again. Had a callback for a huge job and my computer froze. Did I do it? Perhaps. Maybe not. Who knows! All I know is, the client was there, the casting director was there and a few more random people, but Gretchen… she wasn’t there! I mean come on! Let’s think about this metaphorically. The computer froze. Or did I?

This happens to all of us who are letting the saboteur run front and center in our lives. We are merely keeping ourselves safe, or so we think. A situation arrises that calls for you to be brave, and yet you can’t even find your shoes. You might even forget how to tie them. You miss that important phone call because your alarm didn’t go off, or did you forget to set it? You meet someone you are attracted to but the saboteur won’t even let you get close enough to them to ask their name. Every hair on your body stands on end, signaling you of the girl who ripped your heart out after she stole every penny in your bank account. Never doing that again! Nope! Uh huh!

We will sabotage ourselves from living the life of our dreams, because the subconscious is that powerful. I’ve done it a hundred times!

I bet if I asked you to think of an experience that left you feeling like you weren’t good enough, you could come up with one in a millisecond. Oddly enough, we have to think a little longer to come up with a good memory; one where we felt loved and accepted for who we were. This is how conditioned we are to shooting ourselves in the foot!

I don’t believe things happen randomly. And I have worked on myself for so long, especially the last few years, that I finally get that things don’t happen to us, they happen for us. This is extremely empowering and I hope if you are reading this, that is something you will take away.

Things happen for us so that we can recognize where we have patterns. Where we might actually be sabotaging ourselves from the life we say we want, but are too afraid of what happened to us last week or ten years ago to move forward.

A life without facing fears is a life that is not fulfilling, it is a life of settling. It’s one that keeps us on the side of the fence looking over it, wondering if the grass really might be a little greener over there, but we will never know. We will just live in our yard, doing our thing, while we talk about others who take chances either begrudgingly or with admiration.

I promised my son I would say yes to every audition since I made this discovery of sabotage. And I have. I cannot be a person who tells him to follow his dreams, no matter how painful, frustrating, sad or hard, and not do the same.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time you said hello to the things that scare the hell out of you, and said goodbye to fear. Maybe all of those things that inspire you and get you all excited will be right in front of you, as though you snapped your fingers and they suddenly appeared.

P.S. They’ve been there all along, but you were probably looking through the subconscious frames instead of the conscious ones.

Light A Fire

There are many quotes about fire. “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” “Light a fire they can’t put out.” “If it doesn’t set your soul on fire, it’s not worth the burn'” are just a few.

What is it about fire that we are all drawn to? Is it the heat that it emits? The flame? The color? There is something very magical about fire. People have prayed to it for years, centuries even. There is even a fire God, Hephaestus.

But where did all of the terms about fire and setting one to our passions start? How did lighting a fire under it become a term to get us moving?

Well if you didn’t know, it was actually back when chimney sweepers had an actual fire lit under them so they would climb the chimney when they were scared. I’ve had some bad bosses through they years but I’d say the guy who came up with this form of motivation wins hands down.

But this origin does make sense, when it comes to us wanting something. “Light a fire under it”. We will even use this phrase when someone doesn’t do anything about getting something they want. “He just won’t light a fire under it.” We might even say, “I’d like to light a fire under him!” But neither one will do anything, if the person isn’t motivated to change.

Let’s face it, a lot of us talk about how we want something but then do nothing about it. I don’t know if it comes from being lazy, entitled or just plain complacent. Either way, a life without passion is no life at all if you ask me.

One of my favorite quotes about fire is: Those who have walked through the fire, leave sparks of light wherever they go. These are the people we find ourselves mesmerized by. It’s not so much a beauty thing, it’s an internal thing. They seem to radiate a sort of light from within.

This to me is the ultimate form of a person who has lived some life, worked through their crap and has come out the other side with a sense of calm that emits like a beacon to those looking for it. They are unwavering in their passions, their conviction to what is right and wrong for them and are unapologetic about who they are.

If walking through the fire can bring this type of peace, then I don’t understand why more of us aren’t doing it.

There is of course the one saying about fire that goes like this: If you’re gonna play with fire, you’re gonna get burned. Well, come on! Anyone knows that playing with fire will make this happen, but I think the real meaning behind this quote is quite simple.

If you do stupid shit like interact with shitty people who do shitty things, then you’re gonna get more shit. It’s pretty simple. And if you’re with someone else or have a family and you expose them to the shit, well then they’ve all essentially gotten burned, haven’t they? Lesson here: stay away from shitty people who do shitty things and you’ll be okay and so will the people who say you care about.

Now back to fires. Have you lit one lately? I’m trying to light one right now. It’s under a 15 year old boy who told me to get him up to work out, but his face is buried in his pillow and he won’t stir.

I see the fire in his eyes whenever he plays football. The fire in his eyes makes me want to help him. So that’s what I do. We all need someone like this. Someone who see the fire in your eyes and wants to do something about it.

May we all find the fire that moves us and a person who sees it in us and wants to be there on the journey. And if we can’t find either, maybe we keep burning the home fires of our own soul, until it find us, and a spark ensues and turns into a beautiful flame.

Light it up!

Timing

Sometimes in life, more often than not, we run across a little thing called timing.

This can pertain to relationships, jobs or anything in-between. I have had many jobs put in front of me, dangling like the proverbial carrot, only to have them taken away as quickly as they came in. I say taken, cause that’s what it feels like when you want something so bad and don’t get it.

But the truth is, nothing is taken from us. I think what really happens, is that we don’t allow it in. We think we are, by simply willing it, thinking about it or just wanting it to death, but then when it shows up we don’t quite know that to do with it.

Our fears get the best of us and we talk ourselves out of so many wonderful things in life. We might even pray for things, but when they are gifted to us we scoff at it and ignore it, thinking we know what is best, when maybe the powers that be know better. Maybe what we think is better for us, is actually the worst and that’s why it doesn’t show up.

We can cry over spilled milk to the end of our days, talk about the should haves and the could haves all we want, and of course, bring in the ole timing aspect. But the real truth as to why we do not live lives that are full, rich and completely free of drama, is that we are afraid of losing something called control.

We think if we have control over how something is supposed to happen, when it is supposed to happen and even how, then everything will be okay.

But what if life is showing us something different? What if this pandemic has been trying to show us that there is no such thing as perfect timing or wrong timing? What if it’s trying to show us that time is an illusion. That the only thing we ever really have control over, is how we feel in this moment.

Life would be a whole lot simpler and so much less chaotic, if we all realized this. If we understood just how fleeting time really is. We do not have control over time. The only thing we do have control over, us how we manage our time and who we spend it with.

Your watch and my watch may say different times, depending on whose battery is better or where you live. But when it comes down to it, it isn’t about timing and where you are at or where I am. It just comes down to people agreeing to live in the moment, enjoy where they are, who they are with and know that nothing else matters. Nothing!

Timing is not a bitch, unless you make her one. Allow your heart to lead you instead of your head. How different would your life be, if you did this one simple thing?

Going Home

What does home conjure up for you? Is it warm and welcoming or the exact opposite?

Home for me is being with people I love. It doesn’t necessarily mean home, as in where I grew up. That was nice too, but it all changed when I was a teenager and it was never home for me again.

But I have found my home many times throughout the years with people who supported me.

It’s no joke when they say “Home is where the heart is,” So I wonder…where is yours?

Is it with work? Family? Friends? Are you nurturing your heart or starving it to death?

Love. Love is where the heart is. What do you love? What are you so passionate about that you cannot even imagine living another day without it?

This is your home.

You don’t have to put a mask on or armor yourself with guns to go about getting it, you just need to follow your heart to what feels like home and speak your truth.

Change

One of the hardest lessons we learn in life, is that you cannot change people. We might try and then lose ourselves in the process.

We may give second and third chances even; hoping and praying that they will finally understand, finally get what we are giving. And yet they still don’t, no matter how pure our love is.

And so we are left heartbroken.

What do we do with that pain? We go within. We ask the questions, and not the typical ones you think of. We are awake and conscious, so we ask different ones. Ones that help us move on and empower us, so that we never do this again, never invest in someone who is not as invested in us.

We ask: Why are we bothered by someone who doesn’t feel the same way we do? Why are we taking it so personally? Why are we trying to change someone to see things our way, when there are people out there who already do? Why are we giving our precious energy away? Why are we accepting less than what we know we are worth?

The answer to all of those questions, sadly, is that we are seeking outside of ourselves for validation, rather than within. Our value as a person never comes from someone else, yet so many of us seek it from other people, instead of finding it within ourselves.

So we always end up in the same place with the same types of people when we operate from this disempowering level. Wanting.

Whatever we believe to be true about ourselves is exactly what we attract into our lives. In every single area of it.

You can try and change the person you are with all you want, but the one thing, the only thing that you can change, is yourself.

If you find yourself in a relationship that is challenging, just know that you cannot change them. But you can empower yourself to change how you respond to them.

You were a vibrational match to this person before you started to awaken and work on yourself. When you get to work on your stuff and your person doesn’t, there will be a huge disconnect.

This stuff is hard. It hurts. Your heart breaks and you mourn the loss of something you thought you had. But what you are really mourning, if we are being honest, is the loss of your time invested in something or someone who wasn’t as invested as you were.

You can talk to them and try to tell them what is going on, and maybe the changes you have made on yourself will inspire them to want to change as well. But if not, please know that your value, your shine comes from you, not them and once you understand this, you’ll never settle again.

Keep shining! Don’t stop for someone else. And don’t try and get them to see how bright their shine can be either. That’s on them, not you. Change is an inside job and some people don’t want to do it.

Make It Rain

How do we make it rain?

We find our confidence, our inner fire, our drive, our passion and we don’t let anyone get in our way. We learn to discern between those who have our backs, and those who have a knife in it. (Metaphorically speaking of course).

Life is supposed to be easy, but so many of us make it harder than it has to be. We fight ourselves, yet say we are fighting others because it’s easier to play the blame game than take accountability.

In actuality there is nothing to fight at all, except when we are denied our truth when we try to speak it, but are ignored. That is something to go to battle for.

We always know what is best for ourselves, yet we question it over and over again, and deny our instincts, our inner voice and our bodies and how it tries to alert us to an untruth, over the voices of others.

We do this because we don’t believe in ourselves. We have been broken down and conditioned to think that our truth and our words don’t matter, but those of the people who try and keep us down and disempowered do.

It’s time we as a collective take accountability to where we are in life, who we have let disempower us and say once and for all, “I know my truth and your tactics no longer work.”

Find the confidence, love yourself, and watch it rain all over you!

You’re Nobody…

till somebody loves you!

You didn’t think I thought you were nobody did you? Everybody is somebody! But there is something about having someone who loves you, to share your life with. Somehow we feel more at ease in the world, more at peace.

Unless of course you are in a tumultuous relationship, and then being by yourself is all you can think about!

But does being with someone make us feel more special? Validate us somehow? Like if we are not with someone, people think there is something wrong with us. And then there are those couples you see and you think something must be wrong with one of them, because you just don’t get their connection.

The funny thing with love, is that no one has to understand it, but the two people who are in love.

I remember this friend of mine years ago who was from South Africa. Her and I used to lament over not having somebody in our life. She always said, “Every pot has a lid.” I created a company around the restaurant scene and all of the amazing nuances that have to do with life, so I think it’s a most fitting way to describe relationships.

Sometimes we see a crock pot with a Le Creuset and can’t for the life of us figure out how that fits together. Other times we see two Duparquet pans and while they might look fantastic together, they look miserable as hell when they look at each other.

But at the end of the day, I think the real reason somebody stays with somebody else has nothing to do with pots, lids, or blenders. It has to do with admiration. Not adoration, not advancement, adventurism, adaptability, advantageousness, adequateness, adjustability, adaptedness, I could go on here, but I think you get the point.

Most people might say they admire someone in a position of power or someone well known, but is that really admiration or being impressed with someone? There is a difference! And, you might find if you met them, they weren’t anyone you would admire at all. It might just be a persona.

Admiration. Think about it. If you admire at least one quality in a partner, you have a pretty amazing chance at making it as a couple. Think about all the relationships you have had romantically. Did you admire them or was it something else that brought you together?

Perhaps the song is right. You’re nobody till somebody loves you. But it’s better to be a nobody, then to be with anyone who doesn’t admire you. I say aim for the stars, and let those who get this, bring them to you.

To love is to admire with the heart; to admire is to love with the mind.”

-Alfredo La Mont-

Here Comes The Rain Again

I don’t know if it’s the Pisces or Scorpio in me and I’m quite sure it isn’t the Leo since cats hate water, but I love it!

I am fortunate to have a swimming pool and I don’t think I could ever live without one again. I also live about 25 minutes from the beach too and can’t get enough of that either.

Oddily enough, sometimes I don’t even get in the pool or the ocean, I just like having it there. It must have something to do with the fish in me. I actually feel like I breathe better, more clearer, when I see the water.

Water makes me feel lighter, too, especially when I am in it. I mean, you can carry someone who is 400 pounds in the water, so it makes you feel stronger as well.

It does a great job of cleansing you too. Not just in the using soap way, but when you cry, you release pent up emotions giving you catharsis, where you eventually feel restored and renewed.

Water absolves you of your sins as well. Not that I have any, but just in case, I do have some Holy Water that was gifted to me. Or is Holy Water used for banishing evil? I don’t know, but I’m good for that as well. Remember how it melted the evil witch in the Wizard of Oz? Wouldn’t it be the best if it were that simple to get rid of the people who cause chaos in your life? Throw a little water on them and watch them melt?

Water nourishes you as well. I don’t drink enough of it. Too bad wine doesn’t nourish you, I drink plenty of that!

Then there are the traditionalists who believe that if they dance, it will summons the attention of spirits, good and bad and they will cleanse the earth of evil spirits and welcome the blessings of the spirit world.

Well today it looks as though a squall might be headed our way, so I don’t know who summonsed it, but its a comin!

Grab a good book, cuddle up in your favorite chair or bed and get yourself a warm beverage. Maybe today is the day you write that memoir or poetry or a love letter to someone special. Maybe something along these lines:

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

So baby talk to me
Like lovers do
Walk with me
Like lovers do
Talk to me
Like lovers do

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion
Oh I want to breathe in the open wind
I want to kiss like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

So baby talk to me
Like lovers dHere comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
(Here is comes again, here it comes again)
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

Ooh here comes again
Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion (ooh ooh yeah)
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with youHere comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion

Maps

Maps take us to wherever we want to go. I for one cannot read one for beans, but I am a bit of an expert when it comes to Google Maps. Not such a fan of Waze, since I have found myself in areas where I pray that it doesn’t stop working!

Recently I was on a boat for a week, where using navigation is crucial. One slip and you can end up on death rock. But we had a trusty Captain and an amazing first mate. I am speaking of my sister and her husband. Their daughter is quite the sailor as well. I admit, I was useless.

I did my part the best I could, making meals, cleaning up, etc. and even managed to keep my room neat, but the first day we were under sail I got sea sick, when I made a lofty attempt to get us all a drink.

The wave of heat hit me in the face like a Mack truck, when I stumbled in the galley to find a lime to cut to put into our Caribe beers. How ambitious was that? I managed, but then came outside and stumbled over to the perch where I remained for two hours, dipping crackers into tuna salad and eating olives. Salt! Must have salt!

I finally came to when we landed in Maho bay and I saw beautiful sea turtles swimming all around the boat. The water, the company, the sunsets and sunrises were nothing short of perfect.

But I’ll never do it again! Never!

I’ve done a few of these sailing trips. I always say I will never do them again and then yet somehow I find myself back on them. I don’t know if it is the adventurer in me or the one who forgets simple details…like how much I hate sailing.

And this boat was tricked out! I was on a yacht with air conditioning. I had my own bedroom, my own bathroom and unfortunately, my own mishegas to deal with.

Rocking back and forth on a boat isn’t fun. Nor is anchoring. Neither is showering with soap running in your eyes because you have to watch how much water you use. I am still exhausted from all that sun (I am really pale naturally), got blisters on my lips because the vanity in me likes a splash of color instead of SPF, have little cuts on my toes from random boat bites, got stung by a bee who decided to take a ride on our dinghy along with me and felt dizzy for 4 days when I came home because I was still rocking from being on the boat.

Did I mention the locals were’t too friendly due to Covid? Most places were closed and despite all that, I gained at least 8 pounds! I don’t know about you, but I was in pretty great shape before Covid. Now…eh.

I was never so happy to reach my return date and didn’t even mind taking the puddle jumper from St Thomas to Puerto Rico!

As I watched the pilot follow the map on his dashboard (I was in the co-pilot seat), I wondered how many times he had taken that flight. He probably didn’t even need a map, yet he followed it anyway.

It made me think about our intentions of going one place and sometimes ending up going elsewhere. It is the only time that a map; one that is not written down, seemingly fails us.

We have no problem following one on radar, paper or otherwise, but when it comes to life and making decisions, sometimes our map steers us off course and we wind up taking a circuitous route to where we really want to be.

We think we want one thing, so we go in that direction and then life gets in the way. It has its own plan. We make other plans, follow other maps and still we wonder how we got where we are.

But its actually so simple. Most of us do not follow our internal map or guidance. We follow our ego instead, which leads us down roads we later regret.

What is your internal map telling you?

Mine is saying that if my sister asks me to sail with her again I probably will. Even though I found the trip exhausting, I liked spending time with her.

Life is funny like that. No matter what we endure, we quickly forget, when love is at the foreground of it all. Some of my favorite pics from our trip.