I’ve always believed in angels. It’s been comforting for me to think that at any time, something very special was looking out for me. Even during the worst of times or circumstances, I’ve thought that things could have been worse or not turned out as well if my angels had not been there. Silly or naïve? I think not. It feels like a blessing. And, those angels aren’t around just in life and death situations. They’re there for the small and medium-sized aggravations, too.
Just last Sunday morning, I had plans to head to the lovely little town of Randolph, Vermont for an art exhibit. A new Vermont friend and artist has three pieces of art in the show and she was a part of a panel discussion about the art that morning and I wanted to be there.
Randolph is about a forty-five minute drive from Woodstock and I was looking forward to the drive – which is pretty much on a rural Vermont two-lane highway the entire way. On this very cold day, as I started out, I was marveling at how much I could see the landscape during the winter without the leaves on the trees. And passing by fields, I could see tons of animal tracks, and people cross-country skiing and riding in snowmobiles. I was loving it all.
Suddenly, I looked down at my dashboard gauges and saw a light show up that I had never seen before – an exclamation point. What the heck was that? So, I pulled off the side of the road and retrieved my owner’s manual and found out that blinking light meant a change in tire pressure. Because I’d recently had heavy-duty studded snow tires put on, I thought it might have something to do with that – because I hadn’t felt anything weird when driving.
Don’t ask why I didn’t get out and take a look. I just didn’t. – and perhaps that ended up being a good thing. But after I’d driven another mile, then I started feeling something. Lucky for me, I was directly in front of the Barnard Country Store – which happens to be located in an off-the-grid no cell phone reception area. I’d found that out bike riding this past summer and wondered how the people around here managed without cell phones (amazing what we get accustomed to). Before I got out of the car and saw just how flat that brand new snow tire was, I was thinking how lucky I was to have made it to the store where I could use their phone.
I made a call to the national road service company that’s supposed to rescue you when this sort of thing happens and they ended up trying to hook me up with several road trucks – mostly between thirty and fifty miles away. And, on a cold, Sunday morning – nobody they contracted with wanted to come out and change a tire for me. For real? What am I paying for? I called Bob and he was not to be found. At the store, no one knew of anyone who I could call and no one volunteered to change the tire.
Bummer. I was feeling a little teary and knew I was going to miss my friend’s talk and exhibit. When I looked up, I saw someone I knew. Someone I was sure would help me. And, he did. It was Joe – one of the house painters who had just spent a whole month with us. Now, he lives about an hour from the Barnard Country Store but he just happened to be in the area finishing up some work on a nearby home. He’d run over to the store for some coffee at just the perfect time and voila – he was a in a tire-changing mood (or, he at least pretended to be).
It took him less than ten minutes – but it was cold and icy. When he was done, I tried to give him some money. No go. He wouldn’t take it and told me “This is what Vermonters do for others. That’s all.” I talked him into a cup of coffee and we had a chance to chat for a bit about his grandson’s birthday later that afternoon. I sat there feeling grateful.
As I was driving home, I became very aware that those angels had been at work for me just like they always are. At certain times, it can be more obvious. First, when my car made it to the General Store so I would have access to a phone. And, then, when Joe the painter walked through the door – the last person I ever expected to see there.
That was all angel doing going on. I know it. And, I count on them daily.
What about you? Any daily angel happenings going on for you? I bet there are.
Art: Windswept Angel, an original oil palette knife painting by Karen Tarlton
There was a long period in my life when I didn’t think I had enough time for self-care. There was always too much stuff to do or I thought self-care would cost too much if I tried to do it on a regular basis. Or, maybe somewhere deep down where my fingernails grow, I believed I wasn’t sure that I was worth it. Wrong on all accounts.
When I woke up this morning and it was a frosty -12°, I remembered all of those people who asked me after I told them we were moving to Vermont… “Don’t you know it gets cold up there???” Yeah, you bet it does – and, I was wondering why it wasn’t bothering me.
Well today, as cold as it is… the sun is shining AND little tiny, flakes of snow have been falling all day. Nothing that will accumulate. It just adds some beauty to a sunny day. And, believe me, it helps to be in a warm house with a fire going. But even going outside with the right clothing on is really nice, too. I know you flip-flop wearing friends will question that and dare not try it. And, I understand.
One of the things I have been very conscious of – even now more than ever and with the encouragement of my friend – my West Coast sistah – Kat Tansey, who just happens to be creating a wonderful class on practicing self-compassion and choosing to be fit and well, is practicing some extreme self-care and self-compassion. And, yes, I will be sharing more about Kat’s amazing class (I got to be a part of the beta class) when she rolls it out.
I am actually listening to what I need and paying attention to what feels nourishing to me. Imagine that! And, one of the things that has always felt nourishing to me has to do with water and smells. Lucky for me that the woman who built the house we are living in must have really believed in hydrotherapy. She installed a deep soaking tub with special air jets and wave action. The back part of the tub that you lean on can even be set to warm up during a soak to provide even more warmth and to encourage relaxation. In addition, the shower she installed in the master bath is big enough to have friends join us (but, we don’t plan on that happening) with several shower nozzles that do different things. All I know is that when I’m in either the tub or the shower, my entire body feels loved and taken care of. This has truly been a gift – especially after being outdoors on cold days or after taking long hikes or bike rides. Pure heaven.
And, to make it even better, I continue to use special treats to make the whole process even more wonderful. So, I want to share my favorite sea salt bath recipe and also suggest some ways for you to nurture yourself using essential oils. I’ve been doing both for years and now, these rituals are just a part of my life:
Sea Salt Bath Recipe (especially wonderful before you go to bed)
1 cup of non-iodized, organic sea salt
1 cup of epsom salts
1 cup of baking soda
10-15 drops of your favorite therapeutic, organic essential oil or blend
¼ cup of milk or unflavored soy milk
Mix essential oils with milk. Pour all ingredients under running warm water as tub fills.
Dim the lights and light a candle near the tub.
Soak for 15-20 minutes and relax. Rinse off with clean water.
Watch all of your “stuff” just go down the drain.
Important – drink a full glass or more of purified water after you dry off.
Enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
Ways to Enjoy Therapeutic, Organic Essential Oils (NO artificial anything!)
Inhalation – Apply 1-2 drops to the palm of the hands and rub together. Cup hands over nose and inhale deeply.
Apply to the pulse points of your body.
Apply to the Energy Centers (Chakras) of your body.
Apply to the soles of your feet – the reflexology points for your body.
Dry Brushing – To stimulate the lymphatic system and the skin, use a natural, cellulose fiber body brush with 2-3 drops of essential oil. Good oils to use for this purpose are grapefruit and rosemary. Apply the oil to the bristles of the brush and then, brush your skin, always brushing in the direction of your heart
Bath – Add 5-12 drops to a tub of warm water. Use the Sea Salt Bath recipe above or adding the oils to a spoonful of honey, a small cup of milk, or to your favorite carrier oil will help to disburse the oil.
Spritzer – To a 4 oz. spray bottle of distilled or purified water, add:
- 8-10 drops for a facial spray
- 30-40 drops for a body spray
- 80-100 drops for a room spray/air freshener
Be sure to shake well before using.
After a shower – Apply 5-6 drops to a damp wash cloth. Rub briskly over the body and allow to air dry.
Diffusing – The very best method for diffusing is by using a forced air diffuser with an electric air pump. No heat is involved. The air is blown into a glass nebulizer that produces a mist of very tiny droplets of essential oil. The fineness of the mist gives the droplets the ability to remain suspended in the air and benefits the aromas diffused. The mist is revitalizing, deodorizing, and fights bacteria and fungus.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? And, what a way to honor and nourish your body.
Trust me, you’re worth it and making time to love up on yourself will have a big effect on the way you live your life.
As always, I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these suggestions and I’d love to hear about the self-care rituals you practice.
Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Just suppose this was our great quest in life… practicing self-care! Wow!
Five provocative questions answered by an inspiring and fabulous woman – a woman with something to say.
Meet Roberta Dolan
Roberta Dolan is a former special education teacher with a master’s degree in counseling. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Roberta has made it her mission to end the silence of sexual abuse, lend support to survivors, and educate others on preventing child sexual abuse through seminars, her blog, Write to Survive, and website www.RobertaDolan.com. Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse (She Writes Press 2014) is Roberta’s first book. A unique blend of memoir and how-to, the book offers strategies for healing from any type of personal trauma. In an effort to support other new writers, Roberta founded the Writers’ Network of Central Connecticut.
People would be surprised to know that: Being somewhat of an academic, and fairly conservative, I‘ve attended the Sturgis South Dakota Motorcycle Rally three times and will be returning this summer for its 75th Anniversary. For one week I put aside my “Ann Taylor” look and don my chaps, leathers, doo-rag and boots on the back of my husband’s Harley. I believe it’s healthy to take an occasional leap outside your box!
What’s the conversation that changed your life?
“We’re each other’s best friend, we love each other and have a great marriage but I feel like something’s missing. There’s a piece of you I don’t have. Why are you holding back?”
A conversation initiated by my husband several times throughout our marriage. My response was always the same—I don’t know what you’re talking about, until one day in March, 2000, when I responded, “I think I know, I think my father sexually abused me when I was young.” That conversation sparked a six year journey of revealing the hidden memories of abuse and healing the deep emotional scars.
What are you most conscious of today?
I’m most conscious of society’s reluctance to talk about sexual abuse. Despite the exposure of high profile cases involving clergy, sports figures and celebrities, sexual abuse remains a hush, hush topic much like cancer in the 1950s and AIDS in the 80s. In my quest to speak about healing or prevention I’ve heard repeatedly that people “aren’t ready” to talk about it. Silence gives perpetrators license to continue and victims the message that they’re voice will not be heard. Victims will continue to live in silence and shame as long as we make it shameful by not opening up the discussion and learning what we can do to help.
What part of you have you yet to give voice to?
With the release of my book it seems there’s very little left for me to expose. From childhood through the present I’ve given life to my thoughts, emotions and beliefs. The piece that remains hidden is my resistance to self-promote. I will speak in front of five hundred people and answer any question asked of me but ask someone to write a review of my book, or walk into an agency or book store to request a speaking engagement and I freeze. I’m certain my reluctance is somehow related to my past but I haven’t figured that out yet. When I do, watch out!
What’s the conversation women need to be having collectively?
So many women feel obligated to be strong and put on a happy face regardless of the circumstances. We are the fixers and peacemakers in our families even when we don’t feel at peace. Joy is not something we exude because it is our “role.” Joy comes from being true to ourselves, expressing our sadness, anger or pain and then taking the steps we need to overcome the negative feelings. The conversation needs to have two parts. First, it’s okay not to be okay and second, we all have the power within to turn the darkness in our life to light.
What needs to be said bigger, louder, stronger?
We CAN prevent child sexual abuse. I’m not suggesting 100% but certainly with better statistics than one in three girls and one in six boys being sexually abused by their eighteenth birthday. We teach children stranger danger when the fact is more that 90% of children abused know and trust their abuser. How do they learn to say no to their grandpa, clergy or babysitter? We need educational programs that teach families how to talk to children about sexual abuse, and teach children that it’s okay to tell even when the abuser is someone the family knows and loves.
Thank you, Roberta, for sharing your powerful voice
with WomanTalk Live
“Shouldn’t you be doing something?”
Well, I am. I’m doing LOTS of things.
“I mean, shouldn’t you be working at something, making yourself known, making some moola, doing something really productive?”
Well, you know, I used to wonder about that myself. In fact, on New Year’s Day, I was at a party and some guy in his forties asked me what it was like to do nothing all day long. After resisting the urge to smack him (yeah, that’s what I felt like – a perfect stranger asking me that), I remembered that I had a good twenty years on him and that when I was in my forties or even in my fifties, I couldn’t imagine not doing “my work.” That’s who I was. I was.
Things are very different now. And, trust me, I’m not lounging on the sofa eating chocolates. I’m doing stuff. But, it’s not the same as before. My life has changed and I am A-OK with that. In fact, I’m discovering things about me, new interests, new passions that I never dreamed about before.
So, of course, I get all of these little nudges from the Universe letting me know that I’m not slacking off. I’m on the right path… for me. From email inspiration to quotes on Pinterest, the messages are there:
“The point of your activities throughout the day is not to
make a living, but to make a life; not to ‘work’ but to
create joy. If you are doing what you are doing merely
to ‘pay the bills,’ you will have missed the major reason
for All Of Life.
The purpose of life is to know and express Who You Are.
If you do other than that during the days and times
of your life, you will have not used those days and times
in a way that profits your soul. It is soul profit we are
after here, not body profit.
This first week of the New Year is a good time to
contemplate that, yes?”
Why, yes, and thank you, Neale Donald Walsch.
And the quotes on Pinterest that jumped out at me:
This is the beginning of anything you want.
You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.
Do more of what makes you awesome.
The best is yet to come.
I believe that’s true. Think I’ll pay attention to the nudges.
It’s a new year. What message are you receiving? What messages are you paying attention to?
A lot can happen in a year. 2014 turned out to be possibly the best year of my life. Every little thing seemed to fall into place, and, trust me, that hasn’t happened before. Ever.
In the past, even though there were good things and happy memories in just about any year, I was always ready to say “Good riddance” to the passing year. Out with the old and in with the new. Let go of the junk and create something new.
But 2014 brought tons of new things into my life and I am still in the “pinch me” phase of all of those changes. Yep, change can be very, very good.
So, when I got to thinking about my “resolutions” for 2015, I thought… “I want another fabulous year just like this one.”
I then remembered how I started out 2014. Instead of writing down a gazillion resolutions, which for me often end up being on the list the following year, I decided to go with a “theme” for the year. I had heard this concept from several other people and thought I’d give it a whirl. I needed to pick one word to be my theme for the year and that word was to become my mantra for living.
My word last year was “openness” and it served me well. From selling our home in Baltimore, to leaving my radio show, to leaving behind close friends, and heading off to a new home in a new state and looking at the prospect of setting up a new life… the theme of “openness” helped me through all of the changes and the transition. In fact, it may just be a new habit ingrained in me now – being open to life and what it brings me.
And, the theme for 2015? I’ve chosen “connection.” I’m interested in making solid, authentic connections with people I meet based on just liking them and wanting to be around them and get to know them. There’s no “what can they do for me?, who can they introduce me to?, or how will they be valuable to what I’m working on?” It’s just the heart-to-heart connection I make with them.
I’m not completely naïve. It won’t be everyone. But my six months here in Vermont has already shown me there are some real heart connections being made. And, how wonderful is that? Pretty darn fabulous.
And, this year is not just about new connections. It’s also about holding close the connections from my past… those whom I hold in my heart. Don’t want to let them go.
What about you? What’s exciting you about the coming new year? Have a “theme” for your year? If not… what could it be?
Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year. May your heart be full of blessings the entire year.