Thoughts from the Barn

What Do I Say?

What Do I Say?

My friend’s friend is dying.  She is in hospice care and has only days to live.  Maybe a week or two at best.  My friend called me for advice.  Her question was, “What do I say to my dying friend?”  My answer was this:

“Tell your friend you love her.  Tell her that she matters.  Talk about the good times you have shared as friends.  Don’t be afraid to laugh.  Humor has a way of easing the pain.  Give her permission to go when she is ready and let her know that you will be okay without her.  She wants you to be.  And, most importantly, be yourself.”  We talked for a bit longer and then I asked my friend, “What do you want me to say to you when you are on your deathbed?”  It’s a serious question and I meant it.  And guess what?  She told me.  She told me what she wanted me to say to her in her final hours.  We laughed and shed a tear or two.  I will honor her wishes and I am glad that I know.  I now know what she wants to hear from me.  I am relieved and I think she feels better too.

Ask The Question

Here is what I learned from this conversation with my friend.  I learned that it is important to ask the question.  So I am going to.  I am going to ask “my people”, those near and dear to me, what they want me

Take A Road Trip

The Road Trip

This road trip is just what the doctor ordered.  Last weekend three of my pals and I set out for a journey to a house concert in Cambria, California.  We left Rancho Santa Fe, California at 4:30 am so that we could avoid heavy traffic through Los Angeles.  There is not an ideal time to make ones way through LA, but our strategy paid off.  We had a twenty-minute delay as a result of an accident, but for the most part it was smooth sailing.  We arrived in Santa Barbara at 8:30 a.m.  We stopped by the Four Season’s Biltmore Hotel which overlooks the stunning Butterfly Beach.  The hotel is tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains.  Opened in 1927 the iconic Restort is made up of secluded courtyards and Spanish Colonial villas and bungalows.  Everywhere you look is eye candy for the soul.  We saw the dolphins gracefully leaping in and out of the water as they did their morning feeding close to the shore.

San Ysidro Ranch

Next up we drove a few short miles to the San Ysidro Ranch.  Nestled in the Montecito foothills in the middle of wine country, the ranch is a tranquil destination for travelers.  Myth and history mingle in the lush garden where Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged vows; in the setting of John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon retreat.  It is such a special and historical treasure.  The

Celebrated Choices

How To Make Good Choices

You have probably made so good choices in your life and some not so good choices along the way.  What is the best way to make sure you are making choices that benefit you?  Well, I have come up with a checklist.  It will help you to stay aligned with your values and to live with integrity.

The Checklist

Before making your next decision have a look at these questions and allow them to be a guidepost for you.

  1.  Will this choice bring me peace?
  2. Will this choice bring harm to me or others?
  3. Is this choice supportive of my health and well-being?
  4. Will this choice make me proud?
  5. Is this choice somthing I want or that I need?
  6. Will this choice bring me short-term gratification with long-term regret?
  7. Am I honoring and trusting my gut by making this choice?
  8. Will this choice help me to continue to grow and evolve as a person?
  9. Am I making this choice because I know it is right for me or am I making this choice because I think it is what others want me to do?
  10. Have I been patient about making this choice or am I rushing into it?
  11. Will the consequences of this choice be positive for me?
  12. Will this choice result be good for all the people that I have a relationship with?  Spouse/partner, children, friend, business partner, co-worker, family member?
  13. Does this choice allow me to be my authentic self?
  14. Am I making this choice from

What Are Your Seven Words?

Seven Words

Khalil Gibran once said that people would never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words.  What would your seven words be?

Before I share my seven words with you, I want to tell you a bit about Khalil Gibran.  He was born in Lebanon in 1883 and died in New York City at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver due to severe alcoholism.  Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi.  His best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six essays.  Since first being published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print.  If you haven’t read the book, do.  If you have read it, reread it.

A Foundation to Build On

As I was pondering this question, I remembered Tony Robbins Six Human Needs.  Tony identified six basic human needs with the belief that everyone is, or can be motivated by fulfilling these needs.

Here they are:

Need 1:  Certainty/Comfort

Need 2:  Uncertainty/Variety

Need 3:  Significance

Need 4:  Love & Connection

Need 5:  Growth

Need 6:  Contribution

Every day we are reflexively determined to meet these needs.  When these requirements are met at a high level, our degree satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives is abundant.  If these needs are met at a low level, we will experience life as being unsatisfactory and disappointing.  I think that we can agree that Tony’s philosophy of what lies at the root of human aspiration and the extent to which these needs are met make a difference

What Do You Want More Of In Your Life?

What Is Missing In Your Life?

I was at my barn, one of my favorite spots to “be” the other day, surrounded by my two horses and my sweet Australian Shepherd, 2Sox.  The horses were contently eating, and 2Sox was busy appreciating the smells of the early morning.  I was scooping horse shit into my Gator and carting it off to the compost pile; it’s one of my favorite things to “do.”   Why?  Because I am outside in nature doing a chore that doesn’t require much talent, and it is when I have some of my best thoughts.   I stood there for a minute, and I pinched myself, literally as I often do and said out loud, “I am so grateful to be here and have this wonderful property.”  And then I thought, I wonder what most people want out of their life.  Later that day I did what I always do when I am curious about something, I Googled it.  The first thing that popped up was an article by Kathy Caprino titled, The Top 10 Things People Want In Life But Can’t Seem To Get.  It was the “can’t seem to get” part that caught my attention.

Caprino surveyed 700 people.  The key question the survey probed was:  If you could say in one word what you want more of in life, what would it be?  What intrigued the author most is that it is becoming more and more obvious that the things we humans desperately long for today are

What Do Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day? The Top 10 Best Gifts all Mother’s Would Love Copy

Mother’s Day was proclaimed a national holiday in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed a declaration designating the second Sunday in May as a day to honor mothers.  Since then, there is no doubt that moms across America have experienced everything from breakfast in bed featuring burnt toast and cold coffee to a measly Mother’s Day card purchased the night before at 7-Eleven.

I have three boys; 2Sox, Chief, and Winston.  That’s right, the closest I have come to motherhood is my current brood of a really smart Australian Shepherd and two retired ranch horses so I was curious about what moms really want for Mother’s Day.  I did some research and after compiling the data I have come up with this top ten list:

  1. A Day All To Herself.  As much as moms love being moms, they also crave a day all to themselves.  That’s right, simply a day off to do whatever she wants.  No cooking, no cleaning, no car-pooling or any other mom duties; nothing, zero, zilch, none.  So, if you are looking for a treasured gift for mom, here you go.  If you want to encourage mom to carve out some quiet time for herself each day, consider a “Be” – Attitudes Kit.
  2. Sleep. It is no secret that most moms are sleep deprived so there should be no astonishment over the fact that she wants to sleep, sleep, sleep.  So, let her!  All day if she wants.  And, this might include an afternoon
By |2019-05-10T09:48:40+00:00May 10th, 2019|Categories: Thoughts from the Barn|0 Comments

Do You Know The 4 Agreements?

What Are The 4 Agreements?

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements in 1997.  Since that time it has sold 7.2 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages.  That’s big.  It’s a lot.  I understand why.  I read the book when it first came out and I have read it on a yearly bases since.  This past week I revisited the wisdom of this powerful book.  I needed some reminders.  Here is a summary of the agreements from the research I found on the internet.

The First Agreement:  Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Don’t use words that speak against who you are and most definitely do not gossip about others.  Your words are powerful so use them for inspiration, truth, and love.  I have found that it is best to use words that change a situation or a circumstance for the better.  If not, stay quiet and listen.

The Second Agreement:  Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing that others do is because of you.  What someone else says or does is a projection of their own reality.  If you want to save yourself from being the victim of needless suffering, don’t plug into the opinions and actions of others.  And, sometimes things just simply are not about you!  I have always said, what others think of me is none of my business.

The Third Agreement:  Don’t Make Assumptions

Have the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can

Who Do You Surround Yourself With?

People Matter

Who do you surround yourself with?  The old saying, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is true.  People who have similar interests, ideas, characteristics, and values tend to associate with one another.  It makes a difference who you ‘hang out’ with.  People that you spend a lot of time with have an influence on you whether you recognize it or not.  Think about the top five people that you spend most of your time with.  Who are they?  What do they do?  How do they impact your life?  How do they challenge you?  How do they encourage you?  Make a list and answer these questions about each of them.  When you are finished have a serious look at your answers and decide if they are someone that you want to continue to have in your life.

How Do You Want Your Life To Be?

When was the last time you seriously considered the kind of life that you want to live?  I think that it is a worthwhile exercise and I suggest that you make it an annual inquiry if not quarterly.  Once you have decided this for yourself, think about who you know that lives like you want to live.  This could be someone from your circle of friends, great authors, artist, speakers, or well-known people in history.  Start spending time with these folks.  Invite them for coffee or a nature walk and ask them what their life strategies are.  Read their books, listen to their talks and podcasts, learn

By |2019-03-02T12:21:39+00:00March 2nd, 2019|Categories: Thoughts from the Barn|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Simplicity

Simplicity

There is something to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, silly).  I don’t know why we humans want to make things more complicated than they are, but we do.  It seems to me that we would benefit significantly if we ‘simply’ got out of our own way…I remember years ago I attended a seminar and one of the presenters said, “life is basically empty and meaningless.”  For a minute, I was taken back by this comment, and then I thought more about the wisdom in those words.

Keep It Simple

It is so true…our lives have and hold only the meaning that we give to them.  And, the amazing thing is, we get to choose the definition that we give to the events in our lives.  So my friends, keep it simple.  Check in with your heart and get out of your head.  Put one foot in front of the other and step through your days with presence and intention and openness and passion and curiosity.  Consider simple over complicated…joy over angst…love over fear.  And no matter what, be grateful. Stay true and be you —

Annie Create a Life You Love
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By |2019-02-13T12:42:07+00:00February 13th, 2019|Categories: Thoughts from the Barn|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Living In The Layers

Living In The Layers

Last week I made the trek to Elko, NV with a few of my pals. We attended the Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival. This was my second year of the experience…it was my friend’s thirteenth year of going. For me, the experience is inspiring, moving, simplistic, raw, and real. The performers and the attendees are as down to earth as people get. Authenticity runs like a river through their veins. The pace and the simplicity of days and the performances at the festival are refreshing and in many ways breathtaking. The best way I can describe the stories that are told through poem and song is that they invite us to live in the layers. To take the moments and the days and the years as they come…appreciating the beautiful markings they create along the way regardless of how painful or ugly the circumstances that created them might have been.

Reflection

On our long drive home I thought a lot about the lives of cowboys and ranchers and their families. I thought about their dedication to the land, their animals, and their lineage. These people truly live in the layers with courage and resolve and faith…they press through hard times and embrace good times. They remind me of where I came from and urged me to go back there even if it is only in memory alone. These five days in Elko tugged at my heartstrings giving rise to pride and honor for the life that I have lived

By |2019-02-06T14:06:38+00:00February 6th, 2019|Categories: Thoughts from the Barn|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments