Thursday, May 21, 2015

"You can impact and change someone's life at any point — even as it is ending. That's no small thing."

This is a quote from a rather new (and wonderful) friend of mine, Patty Burgess. Patty is President of Possibility + Founder of Doing Death Differently. Every single conversation I've had with Patty about death has brought me slam-bam, straight into this-moment-now, feeling more committed than ever to fully living my life and expressing my love for people.

"When you're talking about death, it opens up the question of 'what do you want to experience while you are here,'" says Patty.

How do we want to live? How do we want to love? What kinds of relationships do we foster in this fleeting life of ours? We can't separate out the conversation of living and dying. They are entwined, like two trees that have grown together over the decades, a beautiful messy tangle.

Last week I recorded a short talk with Patty so I could introduce you to her and bring you into this conversation. In a short-but-juicy, 25-minute audio, Patty and I open up this very essential conversation. We sure cover a lot of great territory in less than a half hour. I hope you'll give a listen!

Here's to celebrating one another 'til the very last breath,

P.S. After you listen to my conversation with Patty, I sure would love to hear what you think. Please comment below. Or, if you are reading this via email and do not have a Facebook account, you can respond via email.

P.P.S: If you want to listen to the conversation on your smart phone or ipod, you can download it and listen later.

Monday, May 04, 2015

I'm at my Mom's house in a small town in Ohio. Lots of times people say to me, "How can you stay there so long? What do you do? Don't you get bored?"

Well, here's the thing: I never get bored here because my Mom is fun and funny and loving and full of vitality. So we don't have to be going to Broadway plays or eating at fancy restaurants to have a wonderful time. We have a great time because she is a great person.

It's that simple.

You've heard me say a million times, "An extraordinary life is made up of a series of extraordinary moments."

Those extraordinary moments happen in the most ordinary of ways. But when we're present to them, they light up the neon of our hearts! Zing! Pow! Zip!

Okay, here's one. See that photo of my mom up above? She's holding a pie. Today is my last day visiting her and this morning she whipped the pie out from a hiding place and said, "I baked this for you!"

That in itself was an ordinary-extraordinary moment. Because you see, all my life my mom has baked pies. I LOVE pie. And I love my mom's pies. And these pies are one of the many ways she expresses her love. So when she proffered the pie, it was a moment of joy!

But wait, there's more.

See this sticker on the pie?

Last week my mom told me that she thought it would be really funny if she had "Made in the USA" stickers to put on the pies she sells at the local flea market. (Yep, her pies are so good, complete strangers gobble them up!) So many things are made in China these days and folks around here love to buy American goods. So my mom got a kick out of thinking how funny it would be to have those stickers on her homemade pies. (Don'tcha just love that she thought that up?!)

Ha! It was easy-as-pie for me to find them online and have them shipped to her as a surprise. And it is funny, right? Hopefully you laughed a little when you saw it. I know I did. And my mom will put these on her pies and people will smile and it will create ripples of tiny extraordinary moments.

I'm talking about pie. And a few stickers. That's all. It isn't a lot of money. It isn't a lot of time. But there is so much joy in this small story.

But here's the thing: it took a certain intentional thoughtfulness to make these moments. My mom probably got a flash yesterday that it would be lovely to surprise me with a peach pie before I head back to SF. And ... I heard her when she said she wished she knew where to buy those stickers. I listened and acted immediately. It wasn't a big deal at all — for either of us. But our choice to make the time for each other paid off in authentic connection and laughter.

Rinse and repeat ... and what have you got? LOTS of small moments of joy that add up to a really delightful life.

Easy as pie? I hope so. Try it for yourself TODAY. Who can you surprise with some out-of-the-box happiness? Did you hear someone say something they wish they had? Is someone kinda blue? Did a friend accomplish something? How can you bring a tiny moment of extraordinary-ness to them? I bet if you spend just a few minutes thinking about it, you'll come up with a simple bit of love for someone in your life.

If you need a hand, I can help. I just introduced something called an Audio LoveGram, which is an audio note of love I create for someone in your life. It gets sent to their email inbox and is chock-full of zesty words of joy and appreciation. You can listen to some samples here.

Selfishly, I love creating these LoveGrams because they fill ME with joy. Another l'il secret that I learned from my mom: she gets so much joy from giving. It lights her up.

Here's to the small moments that make up your big life,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I just read an article called "What a Small Town Obituary Writer can Teach Us All About Living." I think you'll enjoy taking a peek at it. The author talks about the joy of ordinary days, being present in long stretches of time with people we love, and the importance of small acts of kindness. Good stuff, right?!

But here's my favorite part of the article:

"The lives that are most rewarding and fulfilling are the ones where people have had good relationships with people, whether it's friends, family, whatever. They've had meaningful relationships so that at the end of their lives, they're missed." (There are a couple paragraphs here you can read in the article...)

"When you get right down to it, that's what counts. It sounds so clichéd, but look at what happened on 9/11. All those cellphones. Everybody was just saying, 'I love you.' They weren't checking bank accounts and stuff. They were saying, 'I love you. I love you. I love you.'"

I appreciate that reading this brings me back to such a place of simplicity. To a place of simply wanting to be as present as I can with the people I love.

As it happens, I'm currently in a flurry of preparations to fly to see my mom today. Her birthday is on Monday and I want to be there to celebrate with her. I love my mom so much and it is really important to me that I get to spend as much time as possible with her, even though we live on opposite sides of the country.

My mom is absolutely amazing. She's fun, funny, thoughtful, and generous. She raised three kids as a single parent. She's an avid reader and the best pie-maker ever.

She lets us hang signs and balloons all over her house. She still has water fights and snowball fights with my son and us. And she always, always has chocolates in the house!

My mom often says —and this is true —that one of her greatest accomplishments in life is that all of her children love to come and stay with her. It is a testament to how she has always put family first and treated us with love and respect. (My own clan spends anywhere between 3 and 5 weeks a year with her! It's Camp Becky!)

In honor of my Mom's birthday, will you do me a favor? Right now plan some special time with someone YOU love. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Just some time when you turn off the phone/computer and hang out doing something you both love to do. Create some magic. Email and tell me about it, if you want. I'd love to hear. I'm sure it would make my mom happy if her birthday inspired people to spend time together!

(In appreciation, I'll send my Love List 10-Paks to everyone I hear from who plans something special with their friend/family in honor of my mom's birthday!)

Cheers + delights,

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Yesterday I needed to use my social security number for something. I started to write it out and I couldn't remember it.

I couldn't remember my social security number, which I have had memorized for more than 40 years of my life.

Sure, it could simply be a little blip of the brain. I'm 50. I hear that happens. Our brains start to skip a beat a bit. Probably nothing to worry about.

But here's where that blip took me — and I think it is a really good place to be: I do not have all the time in the world.

The truth is, anything could happen at any time. That little brain blip reminded me of this. I could lose my memory, quick or slow. Everything I've stored away, all my memories and loves and dreams and stories could vanish in an instant.

I could lose a limb. I could lose people I love. I could walk out the door tomorrow and never return. Someone I love could disappear from my life.

I do not have all the time in the world.

I don't have all the time in the world to show the people I love how much I love them. I don't have all the time in the world to write books or learn to salsa. I don't have all the time in the world to laugh with my son and taste lime and go swimming in the ocean.

I do not have all the time in the world. But I have now. I have this moment, right here, smack dab in front of me. Whoops, lost it. Gone. Now I have this one. See how fast they go?

Last week I sent out an audio note I made for you about how essential it is to do what you want to do in life NOW. "

I got some great notes from folks who responded to that audio telling me about what they're doing NOW to live the life they really want. {You know who you are. Thank you!!!}

One person who wrote to me is Suzanne Apelskog. Suzanne verbalized exactly what I wanted to write about today. Here's what she said: I often think about how short life is also, not as a morbid thing, but as a reminder about the question, "Am I fully living my life the way that I would want?"

Just last week I was having a conversation with my dear friend, Patty Burgess whom I'll be introducing you to in the next couple weeks. Patty and I were sharing our ideas about why it is so important to remember that we're going to die and everyone we love is going to die. One of the biggest reasons was just what Suzanne is pointing to: when we remember we are going to die, it catapults us straight into the heart of the here and now.

It demands of us to answer the question, "Am I living the life I truly want to be living? Am I loving as much as I want to be loving? Am I intentionally creating the kinds of experiences I want with everyone I love?"

When I had that little brain blip, it brought up this question for me: "What am I waiting for?" Anything at all I want to do in this lifetime, I want to begin now. Right here, right now, while (oh-my-goodness-how-lucky-I-am) my brain is still zipping merrily along and (holy-moly-I-am-grateful) my body is vital and able.

You've likely heard poet Mary Oliver's famous lines, "Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Those aren't throwaway lines. They're lifelines.

Let's not wait. Today I'm asking myself, what's one tiny step I can take toward one of my many dreams that have been stored away for later?

I don't have all the time in the world. But I have this moment, right here, right now. Thank you for sharing it with me. Having this connection brings me to life.

What brings you to life? What step do you want to take? I'd love to hear.

(If you're reading this via RSS or email and you aren't on FB,  email me!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The myth of "all the time in the world..."

Next time you're having a cup of tea, taking a walk, or driving across town, give a listen to this audio I made for you.

I was making a similar one for myself and got so excited that I started all over again and made one I could share!

After you listen, will you do me a favor? Email me and let me know what you think, okay?! Oh! Better yet ... email me and tell me what your cargo is!

Here's to giving our gifts away while we have time,



P.S. This morning I just happened to notice something in an email from Marie Forleo: she always ends her shows, with this line, "The world needs that special gift that only you have.'"

Her Marie TV episode today just so happens to be about the process of discovering your own strengths/gifts. So if you listened to my audio and you thought, "But Sherry, I don't know what gifts I want to give away," maybe you want to give a listen to Marie's show today?


P.P.S. If you want to brainstorm your cargo/gifts with someone, I'd love to be that person. I offer a special coaching package, Jumpstart Juicy, just to help folks jumpstart a more juicy life full of all the stuff you want to bring into the world.