what dying people see that most of us miss

It's easy to feel down when we keep forgetting to look up. Via LivLane.com

I’ll never forget the day my dad cried over trees. A couple of months before he died, in 2011, we were sitting in the den of my parents’ home, him in his favorite leather chair and me curled up on the couch, looking out the big picture window at their heavily wooded backyard.

My dad’s cancer treatments were going pretty well and he was fiercely optimistic about his future. But, looking back on that day, I realize there was also a little piece of him that knew he was dying. I asked him what was making him happy that day. And that’s when he looked out the window at the lush green trees he’d seen a million times before and his bottom lip started to quiver.

His emotion hit me like a lightning bolt as our small talk turned real serious, real fast. 

He was feeling so moved by the goodness and gracefulness in those trees — the aliveness, the lushness, the history, the resiliency. And he was seeing those gentle giants in a new way, with the slightest suspician his view might soon be changing.

My grandma's hands on her handmade afghan, overlooking the pond at hospice. This is what I’ve noticed dying people do: they see beauty with their eyes and hearts wide open, blindsided all at once by the agony and euphoria of seeing it, really seeing it, for the first time – and maybe the last. My dad is not the only one I’ve seen brought to tears by the soul-stirring beauty that most of us miss.

In fact, I’ve seen it in patients at the hospice care home where we’ve spent the last 17 days with my Nana. Though she’s always noticed beauty in the little things, something has shifted as she faces the final stages of her journey with cancer. Her focus on what matters has deepened. In the hallway, for instance, when she sees fellow patient Clarissa – a young woman with cornrows and tattoos who’s been battling cancer for a year – they quietly embrace and say they love each other. And they mean it. They may never have crossed paths in their old lives, but here – in this place where what’s different about them no longer matters – they are willing to be soooo vulnerable and authentic together, it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

I feel good about sharing our hospice journey on Instagram (and love that it’s touched some of you), but sometimes I notice that while I’m taking pictures of beauty in our midst, Nana’s actually breathing it in and holding it close – like she’s taking a snapshot with her soul. Letting the beauty seep in so deep, a picture can’t do it justice. It inspires me to step back and do the same.

When I first deepened my own relationship with everyday beauty eight years ago, it transformed me. And when I’m leading a community of women through the process, I witness the same kinds of change; there’s a tangible shift from going through the motions to joyfully attracting meaningful abundance, letting in what really matters – even if it brings us to tears. It starts with simply remembering to look up as we plow through our days. Today, we can choose to let beauty in and seize the day, the way so many people who are dying wish they had all along.

Note: If you feel ready for that kind of deep dive into cultivating your most beautiful life,  I’m teaching my 4 Weeks to Happiness: The Art of Choosing Beauty ecourse next month – and it’s the only time I’m leading this course in 2014. If you’re longing for a powerful shift, and to connect with other dear hearts who are ready too, I hope you’ll sign up. The $30 off early bird special ends Friday at midnight central; just enter the code earlybird at checkout. Full details here. 

snowga: is the snow doing yoga??

FROZEN: the real-life set (okay, it's our front yard)

This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning, following a great big snow storm. It felt like we’d stepped onto the real-life set of Frozen! Really, really beautiful. Much of the snow has been shaken from the trees by wind, but what remains are some pretty wonderful works of art.

Today, as Tru and I were waiting for the school bus, I looked up and noticed little pieces of ice and snow hanging from or standing on branches. It was like watching yoga masters in gravity-defying positions (how do they get that way and stay that way!?). So, I’m calling this series of snapshots “snowga”…the opposite of hot yoga, I suppose. And I’ve given all the positions names. Because I can.

snowga: ice and snow doing yoga positions?

I’m calling this one The Picasso.

snowga: downward heart

Hello, downward heart.

snowga: tiny snow sculptures in gravity-defying positions

The Frozen Half Moon

tiny ice sculpture, suspended in middair, courtesy of mother natureThe Shivering Warrior

snowga: yoga by snowThe Escaping Dragon

Wishing you lots of tiny miracles today, friends! Namaste.

the ultimate makeover (check out my new look!)

before pic - longer, messy hair

Friends, I’m kind of a mess – and totally loving it. A couple of weeks ago, I posted the picture above on Instagram. My trusty hair blow dryer up and died that morning, setting off the smoke alarm in the process.  With no chance to dry my thick hair straight, I felt like it looked like a science experiment gone wrong! Luckily, I had a hair appointment later that day and figured the serendipity of that perfectly timed hair debacle would at least give folks a good laugh on Instagram. So I posted the pic. But what happened next caught me off guard.

Nobody laughed. They said I looked adorable…sassy…beautiful. Wait, what!?!?

How did everyone else – including my own hairdresser, Fiona – see beauty where I saw crazy? Could they all be wrong? I took a step back and tried to look at myself through their eyes, not mine. And when I did, you know what? I saw fun, not frizz. I saw sass, not stress. And I saw potential freedom after years of painstakingly straightening and styling my hair nearly every. single. morning.

Over the years, my hair has changed (yours, too?).  It’s no longer naturally straight (or bright blond, ahem); the longer it is, the harder it is to style. I’ve been trying to force it into submission for a decade, but styling takes forever and I’m rarely happy with the end result. So I breathed deep into a paper bag, went into my appointment with Fiona and decided to ride the wave(s). Ready for the result?

new haircut - liv lane #wavyhair #shortbob

I am shocked by how much I like it, you guys. It’s so much easier and it reflects my personality and lifestyle so much better – casual, relaxed, messy, free to be. And to think I fought it for so long!

Truth is, I may have never done this without the nudge from those of you who saw beauty where I didn’t.

This is one of the best things we women can do for each other, isn’t it? Hold up mirrors that reflect only love and truth? Mirrors that tell the whole story of a woman’s innate beauty and brilliance, challenging her inner monologue; the one that’s full of falsehoods fed to her by magazine covers, school bullies, top models, biggest losers, beauty pageants, ex-boyfriends, the list goes on.

This is the ultimate makeover: we have the power to rewrite our stories and change the face of beauty just by holding up our mirrors. Not to nitpick and judge, but to reflect light – each other’s and our own.

 

into the light: my biggest collaboration ever – and it may be meant for you

an invitation from spirit (my kind of blurred lines!)

Something happened last week that I’m so excited (and a little nervous) to share with you. It’s why I’ve been pretty quiet here lately. I’ve focused only on the most pressing needs – my family, my classes – but the rest of me has been totally engrossed in the stunning show that is my life these days.

Some of you already know my interactions with the great beyond have intensified so much since my dad died two years ago (I wrote about it here in June), and particularly rapidly over the past few months. The angels are louder, the spirits are clearer, the knowing is stronger. Years ago, I could ignore it…numb out…distract myself. Not anymore.

I am being called deeper into my calling. And apparently, you are, too. 

This past week, there have been huge shifts, breathtaking messages, and perfectly-timed guidance to catapult me into the next leg of my journey. Last Tuesday, I did a Firecracker Call with a wonderful client, but she didn’t get specific guidance for her work in the world during our session. Instead, her departed (and sweet-as-can-be) son came through with crystal clear messages and images for her that blew us both away. I’ve lost track of how many of these soul-to-soul reunions I’ve facilitated, but this one felt extra powerful…extra clear. And extra hot. I am always cold – but I was so hot during that conversation, I was peeling off layers of clothing. An hour later, I was in a favorite healer’s office (at an already scheduled appointment). Right away, he knew a major shift was in the works – in how I connect, how I communicate, how I hear, how I see, how my body processes it all.

Over the next couple of days, I physically felt shifts in my body that seemed to be magnifying my extrasensory awareness and abilities. It was so wild; kind of like feeling your baby move when you’re pregnant – except these shifts were happening from my chest up to the crown of my head. Was I scared? Not at all. Though I am terrified of horror movies and ghost stories, I am always completely at peace whenever I feel connected to God, to spirits, to angels.

Loved. Led. Protected.

Then, on Thursday night, I had an extremely vivid dream about creating a new online offering this year. But when I woke up, I shrugged it off; I couldn’t recall what the “dream” class was supposed to be about and it would be difficult to create something new with this class starting in early November and another project in the works for early next year. But it stirred inside me, that dream. Wouldn’t let me go. So, I decided to meditate on it to see if I received any additional guidance. Boy, did I ever.

It felt like an instant, but as soon as I asked for guidance on that dream, I was out of my body for a good 20 minutes, listening to instructions from the kindest, most loving army of angels and spirits. They spoke in one beautiful voice, asking me to receive and deliver a series of daily messages on their behalf, and facilitate a circle of support for those who read them. How will I find the people you want to reach, I asked. They’ll find their way to you, they said. What if people think I’ve lost my mind, I asked. The people who are ready for this won’t, they said. And what will I say to invite them to come? 

With that question, I was asked to go to type out a message, an invitation. (They knew, I suppose, that this is fairly normal for me; spirits have frequently visited me when I was at my computer, hoping I’d type out a message to loved ones.) So, I typed as I heard their sacred words. When they were done, I read it back and my eyes filled with tears.

Spirit Says…

You are a divine creation, like no other. Possibility is infinite. Hope is your paddle in a river of worry.

Shed the expectations of what your life should be, who you ought to be. To be, do nothing. You (humankind) have it backwards, striving to do in order to be something more than you already are.

We come not to convince you that God exists, but that you are holy. Perfect. We watch you obsess about the little things so much that the big things pass you by. You do not know what you have already missed. And we long for you to see it, be it, find YOUR highest power. 

We will gather for 18 days before the solstice, walking you into the light, walking with you in love, speaking to you through Liv, speaking to you through life. 

I sat there stunned, trying to catch my breath, feverishly dialing my hubby on the phone. I rushed over to the calendar; the Winter Solstice is Dec. 21. Counting backwards 18 days means we’d start on Dec. 4th. Gulp. A crazy-busy time of year…and the shortest, darkest days of the year…yes, of course. Probably no better time, I thought, for all of us to step deeper into the light.

Over the weekend, I have gained more clarity on what to do, though I have no idea what to expect from the messages that are received. It will be a leap of faith for all of us which, I guess, is the point. Right after I received that first message, I did ask Spirit the significance of 18 days. Immediately, I was told: To represent that you are 1 with infinity (8). Whoa. I also wondered if I should even charge people to participate in something so sacred, but Spirit was adamant that I charge “dollars equal to days,” because my spiritual and intellectual abilities as well as earthly resources are being leveraged to bring this to fruition.

So there you have it. I’m collaborating with Spirit. Holy wow!

And YOU are so totally invited! Each message will be delivered daily via email starting Dec. 4th for 18 days. I will set up a private Facebook group where we can hyperventilate breathe it in together. It will cost $18. If it doesn’t feel right for you, believe me – I understand. But if it does, you can sign up here.

into the light with liv lane

Note: Since posting this, I have created this page dedicated to Into the Light, where you can register, get the latest info and find answers to the (many!) questions coming in. Thank you!

walk with me: is planning ahead stealing your joy?

Minnehaha Falls - kids watching falls

Spontaneity is not one of my strengths. I can have a lazy day at home without a schedule, but if there’s going to be socializing or a family outing, I like to have a plan, people. Maybe it’s the HSP in me. Honestly, I’d rather be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda girl than the guess-who-thought-of-everything girl, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.  And yet I adore when joy catches me by surprise or a little detour in life turns into a mighty path. So when something pops up that’s not part of my plan, I have to step back and make a choice: do I stay calm and comfortable (sometimes, the answer is yes) or do I need to mindfully, consciously step outside my comfort zone?

The other day, after running planned errands with the family for a couple of hours, Brad suggested we drive over to Minnehaha Falls (yep, the city of Minneapolis has a real-life waterfall in it!). A visit there is an excursion. In ten seconds flat, my brain raced through the reasons that was a terrible idea: we had no bug spray, no tanning lotion, no swim suits, no dinner, no hiking shoes, no camera, no backpack, no band-aids. Brad let my wheels turn (he’s used to this, bless him)….and watched as I brought those wheels to a screeching halt. We had nowhere else to be. The boys love it there. And there’d be so. much. beauty.

So we went. On a whim. And it turned into a wonderful lesson for me.

Ready to skip rocks!

I mean, seriously. Is that JOY or what? We walked for two hours on trails near the Falls, and along the creek that empties into the mighty Mississippi. And the whole time, the boys were tickled pink throwing rocks into the woods or skipping them across the water.

Family at the Falls

We adored taking our time, enjoying each other finding treasures along the way.

beautiful white flower

We marveled at the beauty around us – from woodland flowers to river rapids – and I loved snapping pics of each one with my cell phone.

making friends, meeting turtles

We made new friends – the human kind and the turtle kind.

daddy and little boy

I melted over scenes like this.

selfie of live

And I forced myself to find beauty in my sweaty, windblown self.

Brothers walking

By the time we were done, I was so in love with our spontaneous side trip that I didn’t even flinch when the kids had a splash-fest at the base of the Falls (definitely not planned!), riding home in the car soaking wet and bone tired.

The path to bliss...

The planner in me almost caused us to miss this bliss. I’ll likely never be the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants girl, but I’ve grown far better at allowing the possibility of beauty and the potential for joy to override my need to plan ahead. I am able to leave my best-laid plans behind when I remember this: Bliss doesn’t care which shoes you packed for the journey. Just start walking.  

*****

Note: A nature walk like this, planned or unplanned, is one of my favorite ways to re-engage with the magic in my midst and choose to see beauty in my life. We’ll be virtually walking hand-in-hand through playful prompts and exercises like this during The Art of Choosing Beauty, but we’ll dig much deeper, too. How do you find beauty and magic and fulfillment on the hardest, darkest days? What if your daily pace is so fast you feel out of breath in your own life? I’d love to have you join me on the journey (we start Monday!) – and invite a friend, a soul sister, to walk with us for free. Details here. 

soul sisters, i have a crazy idea…

True Friends

Ever made a decision that makes no sense on paper – but just feels right in your heart? That’s what I’m doing today. Throwing caution to the wind. Leaping outside the box. Experimenting with kindness. Dancing with abundance.

A week from today, I start my new ecourse – The Art of Choosing Beauty: a four-week deep dive into how I pulled myself out of the darkness and changed my life for good through a philosophy and daily practice that centers around everyday beauty.  It’s gonna be deep. And soul-stirring. And so, so joyful.

But there’s something missing. 

soul sister circle.I had an epiphany this weekend. At the times in my life when I’ve experienced the greatest personal growth, there has been a soul sister – a friend or relative I adore – cheering me on and growing right alongside me. And I really want that for you, too. Yes, we’ll have an amazing community of participants to bond with in our private Facebook group, but imagine having a dear heart – your beloved girlfriend, sister, mom, auntie – to compare notes with, to share challenges with, to celebrate aha moments with. I get giddy thinking about how powerful that would be – for you, for her, for all of us!

SO. Here goes. I haven’t even reached the number of sign-ups to hit my financial goal for this course…but I don’t care. If you sign up…or if you’ve already signed up…I want to give you a second admission for the soul sister of your choice – for free.

Soul Sister Special!

I had already priced this e-course really low ($47), because I wanted it to be accessible for all who need it. But if you decide to split the cost with your soul sister, you’ll each only pay $23.50 to get all the content delivered to your inbox each day for four weeks. Or you can just gift it to that wonder woman in your life. Whatever you choose. Details on how it works are below.

My only request? If it feels right, could you share this soul sister special with others in your life? To make sure I don’t completely lose my shirt on this deal, I’m not going to pay to promote/advertise the course this week as I’d planned. So if you could help me spread the word…maybe on Facebook, maybe in an email to friends, maybe to colleagues in the break room…that would be amazing.

like coming home: we all need soul sisters

two of my dear ones: lori portka & rachel awes

HOW IT WORKS: To get the special, you can sign up here for $47 (or go here for more details on the course, and purchase through that page). Either way, you must sign up by midnight central on July 15th (the day the course starts). On the page where you fill out your contact info, there’s a box at the bottom labeled “PRIMARY EMAIL.” In that box, please add the name of your soul sister and her email address. Then she’ll be sure to get all the content, too. Simple as that.

ALREADY SIGNED UP? You’ll be getting an email to let you know how you can invite someone you love to participate for free, too. Watch your inbox!

Ohhhh, kindred spirits…soul sisters…I cannot wait to gather virtually next week, to dance arm-in-arm and celebrate the magic in our midst. It’s going to be so beautiful.