Monthly Archives: March 2015

Week #28 – “Take the long way home…”

Me and My Shadow (photo credit: Grace Church)

Me and My Shadow (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #28 – “Take the long way home…”

Rob never missed an opportunity to take a long walk or an even longer drive.  He’d listen to music, make phone calls, or even make a few new friends along the way.  (Some of you may have been on the receiving end of that!)  I was so blessed to have shared many long drives with Rob as teenagers…and many long walks on the boardwalk as adults.  We’d talk or not talk, listen to music or share silence, figure out the future or laugh at the past.  There was nothing that a long walk or drive couldn’t fix.

Well…almost nothing.

I’ve heard several stories this week of people I know getting sick, getting derailed on their life’s journey, or dying too young.  Since losing Rob — this news strikes me differently now.  Any loss is difficult — but to have things cut short always has a nasty bite to it.  Time is so precious.  It urges us to move faster, as if somehow that will help us make the most of it…but the opposite is true, isn’t it?  It is the times we slow down and take the long way that stand out in our minds.

The photo above is one of the last long walks I took with my brother.  I remember it like it was yesterday…I stopped to take a picture of my shadow on the sand and he turned back to meet me and ham for the camera.  It was an hour of our lives together.  Maybe two.  I’m sure I could have been cleaning or writing or balancing my budget.  But I’m sure glad I didn’t!

Your assignment for this week: Take the long way home!  The weather is finally breaking in the Northeast.  We hit 60 degrees at the Jersey Shore today…and people are slowly coming out of hibernation.  Warmer air means we can slow down a bit, stop and chat, or roll the window down to say hello…but it also means things are moving faster as our schedules fill up!  If you find yourself stressed…it makes sense!  Just remember this:

“Life move’s pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it!”  (Ferris Beuller)

“Once in a while…”   What “once in a while” could you make time for this week?

Spread Happyness — and share your thoughts (and ideas) in the comments!

3/27/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church






Week #27 – “Let the balloon go…” (What are you holding on to?)

"Let the ballon go..."  (Photo credit: Grace Church)

“Let it go…” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #27 – “Let the balloon go…” (What are you holding on to?)

I want to be honest with you…last week was a pretty tough week for me.  My birthday is not always my favorite day of the year — and because Rob and I were born so close together, this was the first birthday I ever celebrated without him.  It was hard to grow a year older knowing he won’t ever catch up…and all the while I heard his voice in my head saying, “Let the balloon, Grace.  Just let the balloon go…”

I spent a good many of my adult years worrying over things…real things, made up things, hypothetical things, future things, past things, never-gonna-happen things.  Dr. Suess’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” did little to prepare me for “Oh, the Things You Can Worry About!”

This drove Rob crazy.  A) Because when I was with him I was supposed to be having the best time ever (how could you not?)!  And B) Perhaps it was because his spirit was wise beyond his years and knew that time was short.

As I started to grow up and deal with my worry, I read about a technique that was good for those 2am worry sessions: you imagine the worries you are holding as helium-filled balloons.  And one-by-one you release them and visualize them floating high up into the sky.  I must’ve shared this with Rob at some point — because he knew when I was holding on to a “worry balloon.”  And he would often say to me as he watched me drift away in concern, “Let the balloon go, Grace.  Just let the balloon go.”

Do you have things you are holding on to today that you want to let go?  Anger, resentment, grief, loss, a mistake, a regret, a secret, or simply a missed opportunity you are punishing yourself over?  Or maybe it’s physical things like clutter that is standing in your way…or toxic relationships that are holding you back?

Your assignment for this week: What better time than the first days of Spring to open up space for new possibilities?!  This weekend — find a release ritual to help you “let those balloons go” and open your hands to new and exciting possibilities.  Here are some ideas:
(But whatever you do PLEASE DO NOT release real balloons into the air…they are only a metaphor!  And otherwise very bad for the environment!)

  • Write it down – then burn it (safely please, I don’t want to worry!), flush it, float it out to sea, send it down a river, sink it in a lake, or bury it in your garden.  Write your NEW intention on a fresh piece of paper and keep it front and center as something for you to build on, rather than something that tears you down.
  • Throw/Give it away – I’ve been decluttering my space and it’s been helpful to keep a tally of how many items I’ve thrown away, and in some instances even take photos of those items (and share them only with the closest of friends).
  • Love it — enough to let it go!  Sometimes the last thing we need to do to release something is to love it, to accept it, to acknowledge its importance, and to be honest about its role in our future.

They say to love something is to set it free.  I remind myself of this over and over as I cling tightly to the memory of my brother…knowing full well I must open my hands so that they are free to do my best work: the work of Happyness!

On this — the first day of Spring — what “balloons” do you need to let go of this week so that your hands are free to do YOUR best work?

Spread Happyness — “Let those balloons go!”  And share your Release Rituals in the comments!

3/20/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #26 – “There’s always…BOWLING?!”

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #26 – “There’s always…BOWLING?!”

As Rob and I got older and started palling around as adults…bowling became one of those things we could do together regardless of skill or conditions.  Raining at the beach…?  How about bowling!  Sub-zero temperatures up north?  Bowling!  Need something the entire family can do together?!  LET’S GO BOWLING!

Rob always had a second and third contingency plan up his sleeve.  If the waves weren’t good, he’d take a walk on the boards.  If it was too windy for a walk, he’d go to the airport.  If the weather was bad, he’d go to the gym.  If he’d already worked out, he’d take a long drive instead.  Rob always had an arsenal of happy places at the ready…

…what about you?

Bowling can teach us a lot about life…because none of us waits until conditions are perfect to jump in and take a turn.  We gather up anyone between the ages of 5 and 105 who can roll, push, bounce, or sling a ball down a lane and go…and just expect to have a good time!  Because (for most of us), bowling isn’t about the score…it’s about having that thing we can do, with people we enjoy, knowing we’ll have a good time.  I mean, seriously…when have you ever had a bad time bowling?!

Your assignment for this week: Start building your arsenal of “Happy Places.”  Survey your family, your kids, your coworkers, your loved ones, your parents…find out what they like to do.  And don’t forget to make your own list, too!  Then look for common denominators.  Pitch-n-Putt?  Driving Range?  Amusement Park?  Beach Day?  Sleigh Riding?  Camping?  Long walks in the woods?  Picnic in the park?  Collect all your ideas in one place…so when you’re stumped for something to do or that first choice doesn’t pan out…”there’s always (fill in the blank)!”

Years ago I got my family matching bowling shirts for Christmas.  We’ll use them again this weekend as we gather once more to spend time — not necessarily doing something we’re good at — just doing something fun together.  Rob will be missed…as always.  But his lessons…they are a new kind of happy place.  I hope they are for you, too!

Spread Happyness — share your “happy place” ideas in the comments!  (And if you’re stumped…”there’s always bowling!”)

3/13/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #25 – “Ride the wave!” (Reflections at the six-month mark.)

photo 1ba

Week #25 – “Ride the wave!” (Reflections at the six-month mark.)

Yesterday, March 5th, was the six-month anniversary of Rob’s passing.  I’m learning a lot about grief…mostly that it comes in waves.  And with each surge I’m reminded to “Ride the wave.”

“Ride the wave” became a sort of mantra during Rob’s funeral.  I had written it on the back of his car in window chalk…because it was the last thing I said to him.  He was fighting so hard.  And having no words, no answers, no nothing for this perfectly healthy and beautiful young man with everything to live for…the only thing that came to mind was a surfing analogy.

But the words are not mine.  They are wise words that came to us from an experienced screenwriter friend as we were riding the rapidly changing highs and lows of our first script going out to market.  Our friend is a surfer too, and it was a language we immediately understood: you can’t control the outcome, just the effort.  Skills, preparation, determination, focus…those were all on us.  After that, just “ride the wave” the furthest and best you can.  (Thank you, Emi!)

It became a mantra for us when facing difficulties or challenges: “just ride the wave.”

Surfing was a language that Rob understood, too — and it can teach you a lot about life.  You don’t just run out and jump in hoping for the best.  There’s a lot to learn before you get that first ride — and there’s a lot more practice after that in order to do it even moderately well.  Like most things Rob picked up, he took to it almost immediately — and enjoyed it immensely.  And his happiness became our happiness, too!  (You can ride waves of happiness, too!)

Are you — or someone you know — facing a wave right now?

Your challenge for this week: Like the waves of the ocean, we can’t always control the conditions in our lives.  You can try to go over them or under them…or get knocked down by them.  Or you can RIDE THE WAVE.  With a little practice and preparation…you can be ready to paddle in when the wave comes to you.  Perfect conditions or not…we can only control our responses.  The enjoyment and fulfillment is in the ride itself!  (And it’s helpful to remember that wipe-outs are legendary, too!)

Whatever you’re facing…you’ve got this!  Paddle in, pop up, and ride that wave!  

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments.  And RIDE THE WAVE!!!

3/6/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church