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04 June 2022

How to be a Friend to Your Heart

I acknowledge how the above title might sound a little bit hokey.

But in all honesty, this is life-changing principle I have been learning over the last 8 - 10 months.

When I started my new healthcare job in January, I did something special for myself. I joined a female coaching and mastermind group. It has been a supportive community for women working on career goals, dating, and doing their own healing work.

One of the many insightful things I have learned, is in the title - how to be a friend to my own heart.

I have come to realize how sometimes in relationships and dating that sometimes I over give, serve, and love on the other person at the expense of myself - my feelings and emotions. 

It might not sound like that big of a deal to you, but I am learning (especially in dating) be a friend to my heart first - listen and pay attention to her, loving tend to her when she has needs. I am the first person to meet the needs of my heart and mind. I do not put that responsibility on anyone else but myself first.

In new ways as a 36 year old woman, I am learning how to meet the needs of my heart - to re-parent my "little Patty" from a place of wholeness and healing; not neediness or insecurity.

Let me offer an example of how I recently applied this in my life. About a month ago, I went to the wedding of a dear friend. 

Watching the father-daughter dance was painful for me, a bit triggering even. In that moment, I could only feel the loss of never having that moment with my dad someday when I get remarried.

I left the reception earlier than usual, and came home to fall asleep watching Golden Girl's.

As I woke up the next morning, I felt "off."

I was bumping into my wounded self, little Patty. 

I spent some time journaling and getting in touch with what was really going on inside of me. After some tears and more journaling I decided to read the daily Mass readings.

The Gospel was from John, and in it Jesus is talking about the vine and the branches - how we must stay connected to Him, the true vine.

And then, this: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you" (John 15:9).

So, I also love you.

Jesus loves even my little Patty parts. He loves even those spaces in my heart that feel needy, fearful, anxious, or insecure.

I felt like Jesus was saying those words to me, my five year old little girl who is aching to be loved, taken care of, and safe.

As I sat in those words, I let Jesus hug my little Patty. I let Jesus hug my grown-up Patty self.

That is how to be a friend to your own heart. That is how I am learning to do it in my life right now.

May we love all our parts, just as Jesus loves those parts.

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08 May 2022

Be a Shero

Happy Mother's Day, friend!

Shero - a woman who inspires you. A woman who has poured into your life, helping you become the woman God created you to be.

Though an unofficial definition perhaps not found in the Webster Dictionary, today is a day we celebrate each and every Shero in our lives: mothers, birth and adoptive mothers, foster mom's, godmothers, spiritual mentors, aunts and grandma's, sisters and friends. 

This Mother's Day is for all women, because each of us is a Shero; rare, unique, and irreplaceable.

The Shero's in my life are varied and many. My Aunt Carolyn, a Catholic school teacher turned prosecutor. She was bold and unafraid to share her opinion and rock the boat. Married later in life and unable to have children of her own, she became a second mom to my siblings and I.

My own mom Sheila (though we call her SheShe). A prayer warrior and hospice nurse, she is still one of my best friends and biggest cheerleaders in my life.

My spiritual director, Dr. Cooney. My academic advisor and professor in graduate school, she has walked with me through the pain of a divorce, dating/relationships, and the loss of my dad. Her voice is a loving but firm tone that brings me peace and clarity.

A band of beautiful friendships that I thank God everyday for: Christina, Helena, Sarah, Beth, Mary Catherine, MC, Alanna, and so many more (not even including the many friendships born out of social media connections).

This weekend our country celebrates Mother's Day.

While a day filled with love and celebration, this day can also be filled with pain and sorrow for many of us. Perhaps your mom has left this earth or you have an estranged relationship with your mom. Maybe your heart is breaking because of the infertility you experience or the desire for marriage and babies has not yet happened in your life. Maybe as a woman you feel hurt or abandoned by the church or your spiritual community.

Read the rest over at Wisdom's Dwelling ...

(Learn more about Wisdom's Dwelling and sign up to receive their email devotions here).

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28 April 2022

Just Like Me.

Take some deep breaths.

Notice the inhalation exhalation of your breath.

As you are able, bring someone into our mind that you have difficulty relating to.

Maybe they have opposing ideas or philosophies.

Maybe they are simple unkind.

Using all the wisdom you have acquired through your experiences, imagine gazing into this person's eyes with an open heart and an open mind.

Without trying to change them in any way, say to yourself...

This person is incarnated in a body. Just like me.

This person was once a child. Just like me.

This person has known joy in their life. Just like me.

This person has known sorrow. Just like me.

This person has loved someone. Just like me.

This person has had their heart broken. Just like me.

This person has experienced confusion and uncertainty. Just like me.

This person has tried and failed. Just like me.

This person needs forgiveness. Just like me.

This person wants to be loved. Just like me.

This person wants to be happy. Just like me.

See them now as part of your experience as a human being and say to them,

May you be happy and free. I wish for you strength, peace, and liberation in your human life.

Notice how this changes how you hold this person...and how you hold yourself.

Try this practice with different people. We can even use this practice when we become impatient or annoyed by a complete stranger...Just like me.

(This meditation was written by Brian W, a co-worker from another ministry market. Our team used it in a recent retreat, and since then I have been thinking a lot about it. I hope it blesses you as it has blessed me.)

Peace, friends!

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