Everything is fine. Until it isn't. Then it is again: Tales of a Family Vacation

 Our trip started this way. Bus trip to airport with thrilled child in luggage rack.

Our trip started this way. Bus trip to airport with thrilled child in luggage rack.

I’ve had this blog post swirling around in my mind for over a year now. Although I’m writing it while on vacation with my husband and two son’s, it is actually the hum of my life. Pretty much each and EVERY day.

Why don’t I walk you through a typical twenty four hours of this family vacation and tell me if anything seems familiar. It could be just me.

I wake up early and do my meditation. My youngest son joins me before the “totally realistic” Tibetian bell rings on my iPhone app. We snuggle.

All is well with the world.

Mom, can I have breakfast? And can you bring me icy cold water? And get my book out of my room? Can you turn this light on?

Here is where I do my best to connect to my desire to live a life of service.

Just breathe.

Teenage son wakes up and shares what seems like a friendly grunt. So far so good. Boys are now sitting on the couch reading together.

This is a lovely moment. Soak it in.

The bickering begins. No need to analyze what is causing the commotion. It’s awful. I raise my voice. My youngest tells me I shouldn’t be allowed to teach mindfulness because I can’t always stay calm.

Mental stories abound as to how we have failed as parents and human beings.

Morning continues in this fashion. Up. Down. Up. Down

Parents, the only solution to this madness is to pack up and GO OUTSIDE! I have no idea why siblings are kinder to each other the moment you step out of the house but this is a well know fact. It likely won’t last, but you will get a reprieve. Go. Save yourself and your sanity.

No, it doesn’t matter where you go. Just leave.

Off we go. Fingers crossed.

We choose to drive an hour to a deserted beach. 90’s hip hop songs are sung in unison in the back seat.

See, we can be a nice normal loving family.

Let’s stop for lunch mid way there. No one can agree on what to eat. Husband storms off. Food supplies are purchased from three different cafe’s due to food allergies and simple obnoxiousness.

Why is my life so complicated? It’s just LUNCH.

Secluded beach is everything we hoped for. Views are breathtaking. Boys are playing at the water’s edge. We snap a family photo.

Family on the beach .jpg

I’m the luckiest person on the planet. Feeling grateful.

Taking mental note of how blessed I am.

We stop for dinner on the way home. Someone can’t stand how someone else runs his tongue on his braces to clean them while he is eating. This is apparently a major insult and something so gross and wrong that it requires a loud voice to make clear how horrible this behavior is.

Heads turn. I turn red. Will this ever end? Can I please not be in this moment.

I’ll take any other moment.

Back in the car. We play a family favorite car ride game. Laughter ensues.

I’m appreciating humor, smiles, and this point in time. Also grinning at how much I prefer the pleasant moments over the unpleasant ones.

Back to our condo and everyone is getting ready for bed. Showers, comfy pj’s, and a family movie. I’m noticing the sun kissed cheeks of my kiddos. Everyone is tired.

Conscious of the up and down rhythm of the day.

Desiring to embrace all that is. As it is.

Grateful for the power of awareness.

Seeing myself and life as a work in progress. Moment by precious moment.

Time for bed. Surrendering to sleep. Thankful for a full life.

Everything is fine until it isn’t. Then it is again.

secluded beach kauai.jpg

Coming Home (To Ourselves) For The Holidays


Thanksgiving Day is upon us, and for many that means the start of the holiday season. Here we go! The stress, worry, relationship struggles, shopping, hurt feelings, awkward moments with your drunk uncle sharing his political views….. you know the drill.

This year….come home yourself for the holiday’s. What do I mean? Have I lost it? Well, I probably have, but let me share the only solution to all of this mayhem that has worked for me over the years (aside from crawling under a rock and avoiding the holiday’s all together).

Pause. Breathe. Practice Compassion.

Do this ever so quietly in your own mind...over and over again (should others catch on they may think you drank too much of the punch). And start with compassion for yourself before offering it to others. This is how we come home to ourselves. When we find ourselves getting irritated about something “out there” we immediately take a u-turn back to our own hearts and minds.

Each time one of those “inconvenient irritations” appear just pause...take that breath...and offer yourself a little compassion. Once that compassion has sunk in offer it up to others. We can’t love up on others until we love up on ourselves.

Here’s the deal...everyone is doing their best with their current situation and state of mind. And during the holiday’s many folks tend to lose their minds. It’s just the way of it. We can’t and shouldn’t expect anyone else to change. We are the one’s we have been waiting for.

Compassion is this beautiful space awaiting us under the big emotions that often get triggered during the holiday season. It’s so generous in that it does not ask us not to feel what we are feeling, but instead to see any given situation with reality. It asks us to take off the veil and be with what is….just as it is. Compassion reminds us to stay open to the truth of any moment, even when that moment hurts us in some way. It walks us straight into presence and into the arms of love.

Let’s spend more time together in the arms of love this holiday season. I plan to start in my own loving arms and move out from there…

Now off you go to practice presence during this holiday season. One moment at a time...




My cell phone rang recently and I saw my poppa’s name pop up. Poppa is in his eighties and lives in the southeast of Florida, which at the time, was in the direct path of hurricane Irma. I live in California and was in the middle of a busy work day. It was strange to see him calling, because I generally check in with him. We had just spoken the day before.

It didn’t take long to hear the worry in his voice...he didn’t have to say anything specific, but I could hear it.

Worry…. there it was. His and mine….meeting through the phone line.

I had multiple calls scheduled over the next hour, I thought about calling him back. But then there is was. LOVE.... The love I felt for my worried Poppa in that moment and all the love he had given me so fully...so generously. Always.

I felt this love permeate my entire being and because of this came the PAUSE….

As I listened to him share his plans for the hurricane and what was on the local news I quickly emailed those I was scheduled to speak with and told them I would need to re-schedule. Then I just listened...affirmed...asked questions….stayed present. For close to an hour, much longer than we are usually on the phone, I paused and soaked in as much of my Poppa’s essence as I could.

It seems we are living in a constant twenty four hour news cycle which has the sole purpose of keeping us on edge...worried. But with this call from my grandfather I welcomed the worry that brought me to love... and I rested in the pause.  

Pausing is not always an option...but I’m going to try and remember to allow my worry to bring me to love...to humanity...when it really matters....as often as I can.

May you meet this moment fully...May you meet this moment with kindness towards yourself and others.

Xo Michelle

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