Tag Archives: Expansiveness

Little Things and a BIG Life

My friend Roseann has said for years that it’s the little things, like sharing dinner at the table with her husband, Mike, that make her life rich.

This view of life never resonated with me. For 14 years, I ate by myself on the couch while we each “did our own thing.”

I became the queen of the grand gesture.

The trip to Normandy…the lavish birthday parties…the Tag Heuer watch.

To me, it was a “go big or go home” approach to life.  Little?  Ha!  That’s for losers.

Now that I look through the lens of lessons learned, I see that my grand gestures were desperate attempts to bring meaning and satisfaction to a life lacking in what mattered most.

Tenderness. Connection. Laughter.

My grand (and expensive) strokes were also my stabs and finally doing the great, big thing that would make my life WORK.  

Do you remember when old cars took some work to “turn over” on a cold winter morning?  You’d turn the key and pump the gas; the car gasping for life…

…yes, that’s how I see many of the years in my rear view window.

This is not a post about regret, however!  No, no, no!  This is a post about finally seeing the light!

It’s about really and truly and finally understanding that no external thing could fix something wrong on the INSIDE.

That no grand or lavish gesture can evoke love that isn’t there already.  And that nothing you do can make other people happy if they choose to be miserable.

And most of all, if you are not happy, no one else and nothing else can make your motor run.

Finding peace within my heart and falling in love with ME has changed everything.

I beat this drum with everyone now, and I’m sure it is a bit annoying.

But can you really say that you’ve settled into a full-blown love affair with yourself?

Can you boldly say, “I’m wonderful!”

When you think of yourself, is it with the tenderness that you would offer an innocent baby?

This seismic shift changed everything for me.  It took a trek to Costa Rica and a visit with a shaman to get there, but man was it worth the journey.

Now friends, you don’t have to go to Costa Rica or take a psycho-spiritual journey to get there, but whatever it takes, please get there!

Oh please forgive yourself!  Oh please stop regretting the past!  Oh please…because life is too short to put a band-aid on and we were never meant to be the walking wounded.

How tragic to get to the end of our days (and gee, we don’t know if that will be TOMORROW!) and consider that we wasted it all being unhappy and that unhappiness served NO purpose.

And how tragic to numb ourselves or empty our bank accounts in the attempt to compensate for a broken heart we never forgave.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of picking up Shasta for a play date.  Mark and I wandered around until we ran into an arts and crafts festival.  We meandered hand in hand.  I bought a cheap anklet, we sampled kettle corn and Shasta was loved on by every passerby.

And I said to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

Louie Armstrong, I get it!  Roseann, I get it!

In a lifetime of talk about having an expansive life, I realize just how BIG little is.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE sniffing the air at any Ritz-Carlton.  I plan to visit Greece and publish a few books.  And birthdays?  Puh-leeze!  I love an excuse to party plan!

But those things will all be the icing on a cake that is sweet already.  And I wish the same for you, too.

Here are my closing thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS and a brand-new, never before received Word of the Weeks!

It’s a week to speak up!  (And to listen…)

May these last two weeks of February bring riches to your heart.

Love, love, love –


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To Be Clear Means to Flow (and the New WOW)

Sometimes the next step seems as clear as mud.

I’ve been considering the ebb and flow of life and how clarity comes in moments built upon moments.  And the preceding moments aren’t often pretty.

Confusion, dismay, disappointment, regret, angst – in the muddy periods when it’s a dog eat dog world and you’re wearing Milkbone underwear (thank you, Cheers, for one of the best TV show lines of all time), it can feel like nothing will EVER change.

You trudge along, sticking to the glue-like mud.  The rain pours down and so do the tears.  You catch a glimpse of your longed-for destination way down the road and wonder if you’ll ever get there.

But you keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Or at least stepping up and down so as not to sink into the quagmire. Because you’re no quitter, and even in your dark spaces, there’s a glimmer of hope that says, “You’re gonna make it.”

Yep.  You’re gonna make it.

You know why?

Because love never fails, and you are dearly loved.

Oh, you may not feel so much like it right now, with your snotty nose and tear-stained cheeks and really bad hair day.

But you are dearly loved.

Love surrounds you.  And as long as you keep voting with love (and not its evil arch-enemy, fear), the clouds are going to part.  The sun will break through.

You’ll realize your destination is closer than you ever imagined as you dejectedly trudged through the mud.

When I made my desperate move in June 2017, I had 48 hours to find a place to live, hire movers, get an attorney and set up a new life.

There was a narrow path, but it was clear, and I took it.

So often, after you make your grand move, it’s like all the grace and space collapses and suddenly, you wonder, “What am I DOING?”

Will I make it?  Will I crumble?

A bold move is often followed up with a swift kick in the gut.

Don’t take your cue from the kick.

There were days when I howled crying from loneliness and anxiety.  I missed my beautiful house.  I missed my lovely little Shasta.  I missed and mourned for the love I once had shared with my husband.

I questioned my sanity.

But the passage of time did some miraculous things.  It caused me to fall to my knees and ask the questions of a lifetime…questions borne of a desperate desire to NOT replicate the mistakes that brought me to this place.

The hard questions ushered in answers that spring-boarded me to a new way of looking at life…and a new capacity to attract good because finally, I WAS good.

I say all of this to say, “Hang in there.”  Clarity WILL come.  Keep slogging away.  When the clouds part, your path will become clear – and you’ll be ready for that step because of the valuable life lessons learned in the quagmire.

More on that, and a new WOW, coming right up!

Oh, to be a bigger person.  I look forward to giving everyone a big break – including myself – in the coming two weeks.

Much love to you all!



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Big Ain’t Easy (and the New WOW)

No one said that seeking to live a big life would be easy.

As I reflected on our Word of the Week, EXPANSIVENESS, so many of the memes that supported this theme spoke to the part of my heart that dreams of a limitless life.

A life where yes is the first response, not no.

A life where dreams are nurtured instead of dashed by negativity and where love can freely radiate from me, fueled by hope and effervescent belief.

This is who I am at my core.  If I try to be anything else, it constrains me like an ill-fitting jacket.

As life slips into the years where every moment counts because only God knows how many I have left, I have chosen to surround myself with people whose energy gives life instead of taking my own.

How can you live a BIG, expansive life with weights around your ankles?

Oh, you can try…and almost die trying.

This is not to say that choosing to live big is easy but that choosing to be someone that you are not is much harder.

At some point you have to look at those shackles and decide to settle for their tether or to bravely cut ties and allow yourself to fly.

I used to think that such talk was selfish. Now I realize that taking care of me is long overdue and living my life to suit other peoples’ expectations is just another performance.

I don’t want to perform at living.  I want to LIVE. 

Which brings me to this week’s post, and the answer to the question “What’s going on with Brenda?”

Let me add this disclaimer: My choices are my own; they are not a reflection or judgement against anyone else.  I refuse to stoke bitterness and judgement; I wish only love and happiness for everyone. Please know that my life decisions should not be viewed as a rejection or devaluing of another. Rather, they reflect me finally accepting and valuing MYSELF.

I am ready to be that butterfly.

Are you?



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Big Can Be Scary (But Do it Anyway)

Here’s the funny thing about talking a BIG game (or dreaming a big dream):

When the opportunity comes to DO something about it, it can scare the bejeezus out of you.

Oh, there are those serendipitous times when you have so LIVED that thing in your mind, you’re quite prepared when it shows up.  You welcome it like a long lost friend.

Sometimes we’re so used to slugging a thing out and waiting and waiting that we’re shocked when it shows up, seemingly prematurely.  (Like when the doorbell rings and it’s unexpected company.)

These “surprise” answers to prayer often reveal the level of our unbelief.

But hey, just like when unexpected company shows up, you can pull it together!  Fire up the coffee pop, defrost that coffee cake, do a quick Febreze and you’re ready to go! (Maybe not your Class A, gold standard ready to go, but at least you answered the door!)

Have you ever had those times when company shows up and you LOVE them but you decide to act like you’re not home?  I know, YOU would never do that (!) but some people have been known to.  Like my favorite comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco in this bit:

Getting back to my thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS – our fear to “answer the door” is often related to the unknown of the BIG opportunity facing you.

Or the security/comfort presented by the KNOWN “not so big” situation in which you currently find yourself.

One thing I’ve learned in life though is “if it’s meant to be yours, it WILL come to you when you are ready.”

In my professional life, I started out talking a big game and beat out thousands to win a slot as one of the original QVC show hosts.  But my talk didn’t really reside in my heart…and within months the opportunity disintegrated.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.

It took a long time to even begin to dream again, let alone to think big.

And life is a progression, isn’t it?

What was BIG to me in 1980 seems like small potatoes now!

Every time I start to feel comfy cozy in my station in life, I get a little nudge in my heart that says, “Don’t stop.”

For those of you who feel today like you missed the boat in life (or that a particular ship has sailed) – shake that off.

If it is a desire you can’t shake, it is meant to be yours.  Prepare yourself on the inside to RECEIVE it…and then to be able to SUSTAIN it. 

If the internal script is a negative one (I’ll never…No one ever…It won’t…) CHANGE it.  No one else can do that for you.

Interestingly, MY lesson learned this week had very little to do with thinking and dreaming big.  It was about being a BIG person on the inside…and it humbled me.  True confessions and the new WOW, coming right up:

May we all summon the STRENGTH inside of us and face this week with courage – with BIG, forgiving hearts that let love win.




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WOW (Word of the Week) – 11.22.15

With all that I had to learn this past week, you might think that our WOW was still EDUCATION.  Still,  it dovetailed nicely into EXPANSIVENESS; after all, every time you learn, you grow.

Getting back to my story about the series of fires I had to put out last week, aAside from the skill sets I had to acquire (YESTERDAY!), I had to keep stopping to breathe…

…and believe.

I needed to become bigger on the inside to handle all that was going on the outside.

Growth is a process that doesn’t have a fast forward button (unless the circumstances of life propel you to new heights out of necessity.) I felt like a little kid stopping her feet and whining, “Are we THERE yet?”

No amount of whining or worrying will get you (or me) where we need to be.

How I was responding was defining me. Am I a person of faith – or a person of fear?

I was a person gripped with fear MANY times this past week, but self-talked myself off the ledge and back to peace about 327 times.

I wish I could say as I write this that everything has been crossed off my to-do list and successfully completed.  However,  I AM believing that somehow between now and the finish line I will continue to expand, enabling me to rise to the challenge.

Despite the stress, each new thing I learn makes me feel like an Olympian, breaking the tape at the finish line. I have to keep my eye on that prize, hear the imaginary crowd roaring and see my head bowed to receive the medal.

I mean, what’s the alternative? Believing the ship will sink and that I’ll go down with it?

Gee, how comforting.

Instead, I’ve been singing the theme song from Laverne and Shirley to keep me stoked. (We’re gonna make our dre-eems come true.  And we’ll do it our way, yes our way, making our dreams come true…)

Better our dreams than our nightmares.

Which plays well into this week’s WOW…

EXPECTANCY, as I am living it out after having recorded the message, is a two edged sword.

You can dwell on all the negative possibilities and expect Murphy’s law to be in effect.

Or you can have the audacity to get your hopes up and believe for the best.

I discovered the most awesome new word this week: PRONOIA. Definition: Believing the universe is always working on your behalf in every situation. Opposite, of course, of paranoia.

It’s  my new favorite word as we brace for BLESSING this week.

I’m expecting to hear wonderful things from all of you!



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