Have you or are you experiencing heartbreak? With the perspective of time, you may look back and see that although it darn near shredded you to bits, all kinds of good sprang from a hot mess.
The Grape Analogy
For years I’d had a fantasy of being a master somm (wine expert). These are the folks who have such trained palates and are so dialed in to world geography that they can take a sip of wine and tell you where on the planet it came from.
Living in a special pocket of the world by Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes (the sixth largest freshwater lake in the world for those who like geo- facts), the water proximity provides extraordinary growing conditions for produce, including grapes.
In the spirit of this interest, I’d dedicated one day a week over six years working with the owner/winemaker of a premier winery helping guests learn about wine.
Through this experience, a greater appreciation for the land, lake, and weather patterns that affect it all deepened.
Glossy wine magazines and fancy glasses aside, an industry insider described the essence of the trade as simply farming:
When I realized there was an inspirational life quote in those grape facts, I set out to shoot a photo that could work with the yet-to-come words.
Grapes and their vines don’t grow in a visually ordered way as suggested by the lush packaged bunches you've seen in a grocery store. Like most of us at times, they can be a compositional mess.
Accompanied by a crowing rooster in the distance, a travel mug of lukewarm coffee and wet sneakers from the morning dew, hours were spent in a vineyard to find the grape cluster that would best illustrate the words that eventually came:
"Like remarkable wine, challenging situations that force your roots deeper create a more exceptional you."
When life presents you with a hot mess and heartbreak, the status quo is disrupted. Those circumstances provide the opportunity for a time out that allows introspection — going deeper within yourself.
It’s during those times that a greater aspect of yourself is allowed to come forward, building strength while bringing the essential nutrients needed to expand and eventually mellow into the harvest of a fuller, deeper, richer expression of you.
To Your Personal Harvest,
1. Need some help navigating heartbreak?
2. Would you like to see how my Grapes Inspirational Print turned out?
Copyright ©2021 Catherine Lenard.
Upper post photo: distellAPPArath
My mom and I talk by phone most mornings.
She has her tea and toast and I have my coffee and toast.
We talk about what's happened since we last talked and what we both have planned for the day.
I was telling her about the next door neighbor cutting down a few huge pine trees in their yard.
The house has been vacant for years. The owners only show up to cut the grass.
When I asked them what was going on, I found out they're planning to sell.
With no one living in the house, I've enjoyed a level of privacy that's now going to change.
Losing the trees was the start. Everything feels exposed. It left me feeling a little weirded out.
I realized that it's a metaphor for the big changes in my life that I'm already experiencing.
Being able to share those feelings, talk them out with my mom, was such a gift.
She reminded me to embrace and celebrate those changes.
Sometimes, we can't see what's going on in our own backyard very clearly and it makes all the difference to have another perspective.
I help you with life change.
Reach out to find out more.
Hedy left the planet this week.
Hedy liked to give her friends lovely gifts. One year, a really difficult year when I was recovering from a "rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it-beating" breakup, she gifted me with the picture in this post.
In a sea of misery at the time, I clung to those words for dear life. And you know what? Looking back, they were true.
Whatever changes you may be going through whether in your personal or work life, having the belief (or if that's too much of a stretch, just being open to the possibility) that everything is working for your highest good –
even if it seems impossible,
even if you don't have a clue about what that could possibly look like right now
– will go a long way in helping you help yourself.
In case you can't see the words on the picture, they are:
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a Butterfly.
Cheers, Hedy! Thank you, and Angels Atcha!
Your comments are welcome.
You’ve most likely heard of coincidences and may have had your own amazing experiences that have left you saying, ”How’d that happen?”
In the book When God Winks, author SQuire Rushnell describes these coincidences, or “God Winks,” as signposts. He also talks about how they often increase when you’re going through change.
While I’d been familiar with the concept and experienced my share of coincidences, I hadn’t been aware that their occurrence ramps up when you’re going through life changes to help you through them.
Here's my definition of coincidence: A situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that isn’t planned or expected that brings about something wonderful in your life.
A Personal Story Example
Being at yet another crossroads, I felt exiled through an unwanted and undeserved (from my limited viewpoint) tsunami of change.
Gradually emerging from quicksand-like grief triggered by those losses, I’d faced the pain head-on and hoped I’d managed to pull out every ounce of life lesson I could.
Then began the massive task of how and what to do with what was left of my life. An overwhelming To Do list defined days as I kept working to figure out which way to go.
About the only thing that became clear was that trying to grab some kind, any kind of lifeline from the past wasn’t going to work.
Coincidences in your life often increase when you're going through change.
Reaching the point that losing myself in a grocery store rag mag seemed like a worthwhile use of time, I finally sat – just sat.
Eventually quieting mind chatter down a few decibels, I asked my inner Self for guidance about what to do next. And hoped I was heard. And that my thoughts wouldn’t fling themselves in five thousand directions before an answer came.
Frustrated and scared, I was open to listening.
When I eventually heard (on an inner level) “empty yourself of your personal agenda,” at first there was relief. Then the feeling that I was hurling myself over a cliff into an overwhelming cloud of nothingness.
Then the thoughts, “Uh, exactly how does this translate into everyday life?”
And then doubt. Did I hear that right? Really?
Quiet time in the woods would help process the message. Thinking about a handful of possible places to walk, one destination felt right.
A rustic path wound through ravines and acres of primeval beech trees that were naked in mid-December light. Rounding a turn, I saw a tiny red spot in the distance somewhat veiled by leafless saplings that lined the forest floor.
Moving closer, I realized a bright red holiday ornament was hanging from one of the spindly branches! Huh? As I continued walking, there was another, another, then several others marking a path that led out of the woods.
I’d walked that path in different seasons for years, never having seen anything other than, uhmm, trees.
I gradually became aware that this was a charming signpost, a “God Wink” showing that with the guidance received (even if I didn’t know what the next steps would be or where they were leading), I was somehow heading in the right direction.
3 Ways to Read the Signs
These suggestions are gathered from personal experiences:
1. Coincidences or “God Winks” act as signposts to help you know you’re on track with your life path and purpose — even though you may be experiencing confusion and a lot of unknowns.
Having the thought to go to the woods with the beech trees and then seeing the red ornaments are examples of signposts.
They don’t necessarily give you all the answers to whatever challenge you may be facing (although in some instances certainly can). I like to think of them as lovely pointers, a connect-the-dots reassurance that helps soothe and direct.
2. Remembering coincidences you’ve experienced in the past can help you be on the lookout for new signposts as they appear in your life.
Exercise: Can you remember a coincidence (could be someone you met, something you heard, saw, or felt) that helped you through a life change?
Writing it down will help you anchor it into your memory. This dials in your coincidence radar.
3. Opening your awareness to these little miracles helps you know you’re right where you need to be.
You can open your awareness by taking some quiet time to reflect on your day. Coincidences and signposts can be subtle, obvious, or anywhere in between.
• Did anything unusual happen in your life today?
• Did you happen to turn on the radio and hear something, did someone say something, did you see or notice something that was significant to you?
The amazing thing is that coincidences are custom-made just for you!
Life changes aren’t always easy. Increasing your awareness so you can recognize the coincidences that act as signposts in your life can help you know you're heading in the right direction.
To Beautiful Signposts Lighting Your Way!
"It's faith when we believe in things with
absolutely no evidence [yet] of their existence.
That is one of the great gifts of life – to sustain that faith against all odds, against critics and skeptics, against our own self-doubt."
Kimberly Clark Sharp
Photo Credit: Simon Migaj
Reading a somewhat technical book by the Dalai Lama about the nature of the universe as related to science and spirituality sparked an interest to learn more about him.
A google search yielded a very relatable article by Douglas Preston that described a visit by the Dalai Lama to the Santa Fe, New Mexico ski basin in the days when he traveled with only a handful of wing-tip-shoe-and-suit-clad monks.
A young server who brought him cookies and hot chocolate after a chairlift tour of the area asked him about the meaning of life.
While this article is an entertaining read, if you're short on time, you can scroll down to its last few paragraphs to get the Dalai Lama's surprisingly simple response.
Photo: Bob Shaw
While watching golf's U.S. Open last weekend, the words of a commentator roused my attention from the pleasantly relaxed narration of the event.
It was in reference to the final rounds of a leading player. The commentator said, "Dream small." An interesting statement considering the achievement of someone who's persevered to make it (again) into one of golf's leading championships.
Referring to a critical juncture for this player, the commentator continued . . . "collect yourself, go step-by-step, hole by hole."
Brooks Koepka is one of a handful of players ever to win the U.S. Open two successive years in a row. Not exactly the fruits of "Dream Small." Any Big Dream intention is made up of a million steps to usher it into fruition.
Takeaway: "Keep your eye on the birdie," but whatever your dream, walk your course step-by-step with deliberately focused thought and action.
Photo: Tyler Hendy; pexels
What do you usually think about during your day?
I recently came across a quote from a great spiritual teacher from India. Short and sweet, casually paraphrased he says,
"Life is like sand and sugar. Be like the ant and look for the sugar."
If things are going upside down and sideways in your life, it can be difficult to look for the good. But it's very important.
And even if it's something small, from a coffee pot that works in the morning to a soft pillow that comforts you at night, if you can just pick your head up a little bit, and look for the good, you'll find that it starts to make a difference in your life.
The reason I want you to know this is because this is a universal truth:
What you focus on expands.
So if your head is down and you're absorbed in everything
that isn't going right . . . begin to just lift up and look for the good.
You'll be amazed at the way your life can begin to change.
So again, be like the ant and look for your sugar!
Here's the actual quote:
"Everything on earth is of mixed character
Like a mingling of sand and sugar.
Be like the wise ant
That seizes only the sugar
And leaves the sand untouched."
B A B A J I
To read more blog posts, click here.
Your comments are welcome!
Cupcake photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels
Cartoon created by Freepik; composite created by Catherine
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go,
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
L A N G S T O N H U G H E S
In this Easter, Passover, and Spring Season, wishing you peace of mind, joy, and abundant blessings,
Photo Credit: Matheus Bartelli
I first heard the phrase, "Ready, fire, aim" in a seminar. It was about taking action and not being stopped by "analysis paralysis."
Often fear can take the guise of over-analyzing and thinking you have to have every exact duck-in-a-row before you can make a decision to move forward.
I recently read an article that emphasized making decisions and choices even if you don't yet have all the facts (as if you possibly could). In the long run, having to alter courses is more productive that remaining stuck and not moving at all.
It's definitely a balancing act, but a good reminder not to let indecision rob your energy, especially when you have momentum and enthusiasm about making changes in your personal or work life.
For help in moving through change, get in touch for a free initial consultation.
The person who created GM, the gargantuan auto-maker General Motors, was abandoned by his father as a boy and dropped out of high school.
He was ousted by the company he founded twice, and later in life started
his own auto-manufacturing company under his own name.
He unofficially controlled the stock market for several high-flying years and warned the U.S. President of an impending market collapse. Rather than protect his personal interests by pulling out as his peers did, he kept multi-millions in the stock market to try to soften the impact of the impending crash on the American public. At age 80, he was serving hamburgers to customers in his bowling alley restaurant in Flint, Michigan.
Revered in his day, and nearly forgotten in history, he was known throughout his life as being kind, gentle, and a soft-spoken genius supersalesperson.
His story brought to mind the following words I've seen on a sign:
From a human perspective, life isn't going to be perfect. It has its ups and downs. Wine aside (as he was known not to drink in his later years), William C., W.C., or Billy Durant as he was most commonly known, rode his life to the fullest.
Takeaway: Are you "skidding in" and using your own genius,
the gifts you came into this world with? (Yes, you have them.)
Info source: Billy Durant, Creator of General Motors, by Lawrence R. Gustin
Your comments are welcome!
Inspiration from an empire built with a mouse. Enjoy and be uplifted!
With Warmest Wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and Abundant New Year!
Whether you find yourself missing someone special, feeling separate or alone in a crowd, this message is for you.
After my brother, Mark, suddenly passed, I unexpectedly found the letter he'd written and given to me as a Christmas present years before. While appreciated for its elegance at the time, I'd long forgotten his gift.
Discovering the letter again in the aftermath of coming to terms with his physical absence held greater meaning and poignancy than when initially read. As my perspective dramatically changed during that painful process, I gained an increased ability to understand what he said, recognizing his words were coming from the timeless space beyond the challenges of day-to-day concerns.
No matter where you are, this simple message transcends cultural boundaries. While the reference point is the Christmas holiday, the thoughts expressed speak of the level of oneness we all share, regardless of beliefs. It follows exactly as it was written:
There is a special moment during the holiday season when all of the activity, hype, and busyness — stop.
A moment when you are rooted to the ground and stare into space.
A moment when all circumstance and thought cease — and fall away.
A moment when something stirs at the depth of your being and a knowing smile, genuine, comes to your face.
A moment when all is right with the world and a sense of well-being expands within you and radiates outward.
At Christmas, if only for a moment, we are reminded of what is within whenever we choose to stop — and let ourselves be filled.
Let this moment be yours, always.
My brother was a highly intelligent man with a dry wit. In the hours preceding his unexpected leaving, he quipped "have you seen any lights lately?" and made sure the friend who was with him knew she was loved. Rediscovering his letter, I realize there are parallels to the sense of well-being he was speaking of with the final insights he shared.
"If only for a moment," may your differences fall away and your heart be filled with the Light and Love that silently and steadily unites us all.
Copyright © Mark D. Lenard and Catherine Lenard. All rights reserved.
Living a few insulated miles inland, it's easy to forget the power of Lake Michigan.
I’ve recently been making the drive up the coast to the charming tourist town of St. Joseph. The road that hugs the coast to one degree or another periodically exposes a view of the wonder of this Great Lake.
While a pleasure most times of the year, experiencing the fury of sideways snow from gusts that rip off the lake with the force of a high-speed rail train is a new experience that evokes awe.
Visibility permitting, seeing white cap rollers to the horizon, a byproduct of the fierce winds that make it nearly impossible to open a car door, evoke a description — ‘Edmund Fitzgeraldy.’
For those who may not know, the words refer to a rogue Great Lake storm that overtook the Edmund Fitzgerald ship and its crew, including a young man from St. Joe, while transporting iron ore. It's immortalized in a song by Gordon Lightfoot illustrated by this video from Joseph Fulton.
This raw living energy is an extension of the same power that animates you, beating your heart and breathing your body.
Insulated by the details of everyday living, it’s easy to forget. When you can ‘get on top of the wave’ and begin to understand and align with this, a sense of personal worthlessness and the ego's shallow attempts at compensation begin to loosen their grip.
On a lighter note, when describing the winter weather to a fellow traveler, he quipped, 'It's a good thing you drove instead of taking the ore boat in.'
PS: If you have a question or would like to leave a comment, please click on the comment box below or social media icons to share with your snowbirding friends!
Over the first few weeks in January, I asked people about their New Year's resolutions. With the Divine Riches Project branding recently incorporating the question, 'What Do You Really Want?' (and considering the time of year), it was a natural progression.
Those who responded were genuine and candid; there was no preliminary notice. Just a simple question, 'Would you like to say what you'd like to experience for yourself in the coming year and possibly be in a YouTube video?'
Most were willing. The few that chose not to were across the board in age groups, so experience with social media (or not) didn't appear to be a factor. Most took just a brief pause, and then talked.
Working with various film clips, no matter what was said (obviously, we were having fun), I was increasingly taken by the people behind the comments that were replayed again and again during editing.
What impacted me as I felt more deeply into each response was — for lack of what's beyond words — the innate goodness of the essence of each individual.
We're all cities within ourselves with many facets and aspects that come forward at different times. What I saw is a microcosm of the beauty that's in everyone, regardless of what has or hasn't been done, perceived flaws, or a million other reasons to look upon oneself harshly.
What I truly want to say to anyone and everyone is, 'Please choose to focus on the good in yourself. There's so much there!’ And the cool thing bonus is that when you do that for yourself, it not only makes it easier to see in others — it actually makes it easier for you to have what you want.
With heartfelt appreciation to everyone who participated in the 'What Do You Really Want' YouTube video — (you know who you are) ;-) !
PS: Would love to hear your questions or comments. Please click on the blog comment link below (or YouTube comments once you launch the video) and use the social media icons to share. Thx!
Blog Photo Credit: CheriDurbin
©2016 Catherine Lenard. All rights reserved.
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