Hello friends – !

Spring has officially begun!

Here in the northern climes it is having a slow, drawn-out start, as always, but seeing the first new shoots come up and hearing the birds sing as they return is always a treat!

The time has come to share with you one of the comments  I received in response to the question I posed in my last couple newsletter, which was:

What do you live for?

But before I do so, I want to invite you to continue to think about this a little bit more in depth.

It may seem like a trite question, but in reality it is the most important question we can ask ourselves, and how we answer it actually drives our lives.

Whatever we are living for sets the tone for every aspect of our existence.

We are often still living more according to the dictates we received when we were children (“do this! don’t do that! be good! be rich! be poor! don’t make me unhappy! make me happy!”), either by trying to follow them, or by rebelling against them, than according to how we would truly want to live and share our gifts with the world (and if you don’t believe you have gifts to share, this is a HUGE negative inner dictate!!).

We may have no awareness of this, but rather than living in harmony with our deepest Self/Soul’s desires for our lives, we are still following a script that was written a long time ago.

These “scripts” make up our “core beliefs” about ourselves and our lives, and they often run the show, even though we don’t know it.They can be deposited so deeply within us that we can’t really see them, and we have to decide to make a conscious effort to understand what they are, and change them.

In essence, this is the quest that we are all on, whether we know it or not:
the quest to free ourselves from our early conditioning and trauma so we can begin to express the more profound and authentic dreams and desires we hold inside us, which are expressions of our spiritual dimension.

Yes, our trauma – our pain for having been unwanted or unloved, or perhaps loved too much, or treated like property and therefore manipulated and controlled and led in a direction that is not really “ours”  – is like a “dictate”.

We end up either repeating harmful patterns because they are familiar to us, or avoiding taking risks because they go against unconscious “rules” we have within us to not go too far, not rock the boat, etc.; other times, we are doing everything “right”, but deep inside we feel we are living a lie, and that does not sit right.

Much of our discomfort, depression, anxiety, addiction to substances, work or people, career confusion and professional “failure”, relationship conflict and all the myriad of both physical and psychological illnesses we suffer from stem from this confusion deep within us.

We want to listen to and express our deepest desires, but we don’t know how, and we feel sick and stuck.

Or, we may have satisfied all of our deepest material desires, and yet we still feel uncomfortable, with a nagging doubt that something is just not right.

These “problems” do not signal that we are bad or broken, or are purposely ruining our lives.

It means we are human, with a set of characteristics unique to any other creature on this planet (and perhaps within the entire universe, although we can’t know that for sure).

We come into life with a blend of inherited traits and environmental influences, and we are also gifted with a unique ability to evolve beyond our limitations, if we really want to and are willing to find and use the tools available to us to do so.

In reality, our discomforts and illnesses are our greatest allies, as they urge us to look beyond our purely material existence, and to listen to the whisperings of what lies below and give it value.

Anyone who has suffered from any type of mental, physical or emotional pain knows full well that it is something you cannot ignore!

Pain nudges you and pokes at you and sometimes even erupts with violence, shouting so you will listen!

And that is a great blessing.
Listening to our pain with the knowledge that beneath it lies the wisdom of the voice of the Self and finding the courage to follow its urgings is the most satisfying of all human endeavors.

Anyone who has done so knows exactly what I am talking about.

Anyone who has transcended a painful addiction or broken out of a hurtful relationship knows what I am talking about.

Anyone who has pushed through and taken an exam even though they were terrified of failing, knows what I am talking about…. just to name two of many possible examples (and I urge you to stop a moment and take note of what your spiritual/existential accomplishments have been, because it is important to remember where we have come from, and there is no question that we have all made at least some steps forward, in harmony with the deepest desires of our Self!).

Today in many Western countries, and in many developing countries as well, we have reached a level of physical comfort and technological advancement that was unheard of even a few short decades ago, and it is a truly wonderful thing (and for an excellent synopsis of human evolution, I highly recommend Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, a history professor at the Jerusalem University; while I don’t agree with all his conclusions, his ability to synthesize events and make a “whole” out of a vast subject like this one is absolutely incredible, and definitely worth the read for anyone who is fascinated by these topics).

However, as we obtain ever greater material wealth and comfort, it becomes ever more evident that this alone is not what makes us “happy” or fulfilled.

Also, while it is clear that there is a purely biological dimension to life, it is also clear that there is a dimension of freedom that we all have, to make decisions regarding ourselves and our lives.

To cultivate a true breadth of being, which is the only thing that can give us true satisfaction because it nurtures our spiritual fullness, we must be willing to listen deeply to the voice of the Self and follow its promptings and invitations.

As Antonio Mercurio says, we do not live on “bread” – our material wellbeing – alone: we need both bread and beauty.

Specifically, we need the beauty produced when we manage to transform our own shadows into light, our own hatreds into love, our limitations and traumas into opportunities for new levels of understanding, forgiveness, and creativity.

As we transform ourselves and shift out of the kind of automatic reactions to our early conditioning that we still are expressing, whether we know it or not (and all of us have at least something that we are here to transform, whether we like to admit it, or not!!), we create new beauty, within ourselves, and together with others.

This beauty is an energy that then reaches others and helps them do the same.

It sounds simple, and as we all know, is quite complex!

And that is why it is important, every so often, to stop and ask ourselves what it is that we are living for, what our true goals are.

Because the answer to that question truly does make a difference in our daily lives, and if the answer is one that does not “jive” with our deeper Self/Soul’s purpose, we will never be able to reach the “happiness” we crave.

And I will be honest: the reason I thought of this question to begin with was because I was asking it to myself. As I have shared with you, these last couple years have been hugely challenging for me on many different levels, and I have been “called” to make some quite significant changes in both my personal and my work life.

As I am moving forward with them, and experiencing what they mean in my daily existence, I am realizing that they truly are all invitations to become ever more in tune with all the big-little things I need to do to take good care of myself and learn to love myself, deeply and fully, because this fundamental love of Self – which is completely different from the kind of egoism that instead can drive me disregard not only other people’s needs, but also those of my own body and soul – is foundational for a good life.

And “good life” does not always mean “easy life”, or “fun life”. Sometimes the changes we need to make have high costs – including financial ones.

Sometimes we need to give up some of our big/small “pleasures” , or our ways of avoiding pain through substances or behaviors, to make way for a sense of real personal self-esteem and deeper intimacy with others as well, because our love of ourselves ALWAYS includes developing more love with others. Not necessarily romantic love (although that can be a part of it), but rather love as a decision and an energy that we create for ourselves and share with others, as a free expression of our desire for a better life for all.

As I move continually onward in my own existence, and am now clearly out of my time of youth and am well into my “middle age”, it becomes ever more evident to me how important it truly is that we become willing to listen to the voice of our Souls, and to follow its lead.

Life wants us to be able to express ourselves fully, and to have comfort and support while doing so, but it also is always nudging us to look at how our wellbeing – or lack thereof – is also supporting, or depleting, the wellbeing of those around us.

If my “happiness” is not increasing the happiness of the greater good, it is not happiness.

The Self is never happy if others are suffering, because it knows we are all cells within the great body of Life, and if one cell or one organ is depleted or unhealthy, the entire organism is affected.

For this reason, as we learn to love ourselves and care for ourselves and be vibrant and “happy” cells within the greater Organism we are a part of, we all benefit, and we all can feel the kind of deep fulfillment that comes when Love propagates.

My hope is that you are managing to do your own part in making a better “whole” by being first of all kind and loving towards yourself today, and by finding those things in your life that bring you joy and inspiration to keep trudging forward, even when the days can seem long and dark.

I will close with one of the comments I received, that is actually an entire list of things to live for, and that seems to sum up so well both the “material” and the “spiritual” aspects of life.

We all need both, and to weave the tapestry of our lives with threads from both aspects of our existence is what truly makes up living Life as a Work of Art.

The response I am sharing today was actually sent to me from my fiancé, Jim, and I would like to give it a special place in this newsletter, both because it is from a man, and as we know men are not always comfortable with expressing themselves about these things and so his effort is particularly appreciated, and because his generous response seems to be a sort of concrete “proof” of the kind of “work” he and I have been doing these last years, both as individuals and as a couple.

(And no, I did not coerce him to write this, but I did ask him to quite explicitly, and was very thrilled when he enthusiastically replied!! lol)

I will let it stand alone for now, as an invitation to those other men out there who might be wanting to speak up a bit more about these things, and also a reminder to the women, that there are plenty of men who are wanting exactly the same things we women are wanting, even though they may express it in different ways ! 🙂

What I live for…

Walks thru the woods, the strike of a Northern Pike, making the woman I love happy, Spiritual fullness, feeling connected to nature, God and other people.

Family and friends, being recognized as trustworthy and steadfast.

Camping, being loved by the Woman I love, being a father, intimacy, seeing my/our kids’ success in navigating life, being there when they don’t, ice fishing at night, being able to provide.

Vacations, sports, animals, music, recovery and beauty.

These are a few of the things that make me tick…


If there is anyone who would still like to share on this question of what you live for, I would love to hear from you.

And even if you choose not to, I do hope you will take a moment and ask yourself this most important of questions, and listen closely for the answer ….

I send you all my very best in the beginning of this new season, and will be sending out another newsletter soon, announcing some more developments in my offerings.

My best and love to all –