Tag Archives: soul

Things I’ve learned in 2023…

Things I’ve learned in 2023…


Friends, I know I’m looking backwards. But Mel Robbins has told us all in her recent podcasts that in order to move forward in 2024 we need to look back at where we’ve been. So this is what I’ve come up with in my own life.  I do hope you will share some of your own lessons learned in the comments. 

  • I can’t be perfect.  Oh, shucks.  I’m learning that there is room for chaos in my life.  Instead of making my bed I can take a morning walk. Instead of cleaning my kitchen I can marvel at the speck of tabouli still stuck to the backsplash since last summer.  As my wonderful “first” husband once told me.. “Rosemarie, the house looks so good and organized.  But the drawers are a mess!” Such a metaphor for me.  My insides are chaotic but the towel hanging on the oven is perfectly folded and squared.
  • A woman “my age” needs to eat more protein! This presents quite the challenge due to my current recoiling to large pieces of animals like turkeys and prime rib roasts. The 2023 holiday dinners just about made me want to join an ashram and go vegan! My current podcast gurus proclaim aging powerfully– not gracefully! Eat your weight in grams of protein! Yikes! Did I hear someone say pass the hummus? How do you like your tofu? Medium rare? Well done?
  • I will never again take a writing class. September of 2022, I traveled to the Omega Institute in New York to take a weeklong class and get my writing game reestablished. I felt like I was back at St. Philip Neri Catholic School with Mrs. Richards telling me to describe an apple in a paragraph on control paper. I learned that I don’t like people telling me how or what to write.  It has to come organically for me.
  • I worry too much. As Shel Silverstein said in his poem “The Whatifs”… Last night while I lay thinking here… some Whatifs crawled inside my ear. Worry solves nothing. I want to practice turning my worry into prayer and meditation.
  • I miss riding my bike.  When I’m on it it’s like flying. The world slows down and looks different to me. I like riding alone with my thoughts.
  • Social media overwhelms me.  Years ago, before Facebook and Instagram, I had a full-time job, wrote a column for both Presentation and Bellarmine’s Monthly Newsletter and kept up in my journal. Â Was its youth or was it the absence of social media? Of course this blog will go on Facebook. Â So I’ve also learned that I can be a hypocrite!
  • I love yoga. It feeds my soul. It gives me time away from the riff raff of life. My mat is my magic carpet, and I am transported.  I love my yoga community- The Morgan Hill Yoga Collective- and my new yoga companions on the journey. It connects me also with my son, Peter, who is a fellow yogi. Jenn, my favorite instructor, says “leave it on the mat”. I do. I leave my angst, my worry, my regrets and my discontent.
  • Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M. says this- The body cannot live without food. The soul cannot live without meaning. I’m in search of more soul in my life.  Less social media. More yoga. More flying on my bike. More prayer and meditation. Less worry. More writing. More meaning. Fr. Rohr says that most of our politicians are soulless. How do you lead a country when you are soulless?
  • And lastly, I miss God. I grew up Catholic. I married in the Catholic Church. I raised my sons Catholic.  I cantered at Mass, attended bible studies, ran women’s groups and worked for 22 years at a Catholic High School. In 2022 I cut bait, retired, stopped going to Mass, and went cold turkey. As I was putting my Christmas decorations out last year I unwrapped Jesus, Mary and Joseph and wondered for the first time if it all really happened in a manger in the middle of winter. Â the star, the three wise men, and the whole shebang. I suddenly felt like someone had just told me that there was no Santa Claus all over again. I felt hollowed out and bereft.

I need the mystery. I need the unknowing. My life lessons have all hinged-on faith, hope and love. I need the ashes on Ash Wednesday.  I need the meditation and the prayer. I need to let go of my worries.  I need to write and do yoga. I need to feed my body with protein and feed my soul with meaning.

2024 holds for me a daunting challenge.  What changes do I need to make in my life in order to consummate the lessons learned in 2023? What lessons will 2024 present?

What lessons did you learn in 2023?

The Church of Soul Cycle

The Church of Soul Cycle

We mount our bikes and get ready for a hardy workout.  The room is dim but the stage is elevated and illuminated to spotlight the empty bike from where our instructor, Ian, will be leading our 45 minute session of blood, sweat, tears and redemption. We are warming up, adjusting our seats, and preparing our souls in anticipation.

Enter Ian left stage.  He is ripped and torn and fit as a fiddle with a dashing smile and a charismatic personality.

“Who has not been to Soul Cycle before?”

“Who has not been to MY class?”

He makes a mental note of who might need some extra attention in the room.  He is like a prophet bringing the good news to the flock who long for health and fitness.

And off we go.  The music is pounding.  My daughter in law inserts her ear plugs.  Ah, those thirty something kids! They can’t handle loud music?  Me, on the other hand, after raising three sons with a drum set and other accouterments of a noisy household- including broken windows and baseballs thrown through doors- can find peace at any decibel.

“I know you didn’t come here to just exercise!  You came here to push your limits!  To see what you can do!  To be all that you can!”

Yes, I want what he’s selling! But I glance briefly at my 25 week pregnant daughter in law and say quietly to her not to push yet!  She can’t hear me above the din of the rock music and of course the ear plugs.

“Get rid of any negativity.  People tell you it can’t be done!  You might fail!  They fill you with doubt and cloud your dreams!  Well, I have three words for you!  THREE WORDS!”

I’m thinking “get behind me Satan?”  No, that’s four words…

“STAND YOUR GROUND!  Don’t let people tell you who you are and what you can do!  STAND YOUR GROUND!”

We’re out of the saddles now climbing the imaginary hill of our challenges and struggles.  The room is moving in synchronicity.  Bodies up and down and up and down on cue.  I am pretty sure that if Ian told us to do a flip over our handlebars we would all cooperate.  We are mesmerized by his words and his commands.

“What are you holding on to today?  Let me hold it for you!  Let it go and BE FREE.”

I’m beginning to wonder if there will be a crucifixion at the end of class..

“Look around you.  You don’t know what burdens people have in their lives.  You have no idea what the person next to you is going through today.  Perhaps the biggest challenge of their life!”

I move my sweaty hand and gently touch Breezy’s hand.  I’ve been so cavalier about her being pregnant and having a baby.  Women do it all the time.  But this is her biggest challenge right now!  Pregnancy, nutrition, getting enough rest, knowing when to stop working and start nesting, moving into a new place- maybe even being married to my son, Peter!   Did I raise him to be a good enough husband and father?

We are heading for the climax of the class.  We are sweating and panting and letting it all go and feeling free.

“I want you to leave here with an open heart!  A heart ready to love!”

I’m thinking about how fortunate I am to have this wonderful relationship with my daughter in law.  There is an intimacy that continues to grow between us.  I couldn’t be more delighted with the woman she is and the mother she will soon be.  And I love her as if she were my own daughter.

Cooling down now and stretching.  The lights go on and I realize we are at a spin class- not a revival.

There have been so many changes in my life this past year.  A new home.  A grandson to look forward to.  My new role as a Sittie.  I have considered going back into weekly therapy with my 80 year old guru, Lucia.  But now I’m kind of thinking that all I really need is this quality time with my beautiful daughter in law, Breezy, a positive attitude and an open heart from which to love, and perhaps a weekly visit to the Church of Soul Cycle.

Do I hear an AMEN?







Street of Dreams

Street of Dreams



My neighbor around the corner used to walk her little boys by my house with their big wheels.  We would chat sometimes and she mostly complained about the people who lived behind her who were constantly annoyed by the noise wafting from her back yard when her family and friends were in the pool or just out BBQing.   And she always punctuate the conversation with “But I will never move!  This is my dream house!”

Imagine my surprise when a couple months ago, her sons now graduated from high school, I spotted a big fat For Sale sign on her property.  Now they are gone- to where I have no idea.  Since her sons were old enough to travel the neighborhood independently, our only communication was a wave as I drove by her house.  She was usually outside meticulously manicuring her yard and garden and/or washing down the entire street in front of her house in her bathrobe.

When doing therapy with children, a very common assessment tool is called “House, Tree, Person”.  The child is asked to draw all three on a blank piece of paper and the idea behind this is that they will “project” into the drawing aspects of their inner world.  I’ve always loved doing this with my little clients, allowing both of us to relax and get to know each other.  (And of course, I love any opportunity to color with my set of 64 Crayola Crayons-Burnt Umber and Brick Red being my favorites..)

In my quest to “let go” in 2015, I threw away all my notes and paraphenalia from graduate school, including my very first House, Tree, Person drawing.  But it doesn’t really matter.  Every one I’ve ever drawn looks just like this one.  I did this the other day sitting at my kitchen table.  You might ask if this is my “dream house”.   Not really.   I think I’m the only woman on earth who has never longed for her “dream house”.

Rather, I have many houses that I dream about.

Shortly after we moved from sunny California to Portland Oregon, my son Patrick, then 9 years old,  had a vivid dream about our family home we had sadly left behind.  He was outside playing with his brothers and the neighborhood kids with squirt guns.  Out of water, he attempted to charge into the kitchen for a refill but found the front door locked.  A stranger opened it and promptly announced “you don’t live here any more”.

Pausing here for a brief meltdown.

I grew up on Halo Drive in Compton, California.  I had my babies on Tedemory Drive in Whittier.  I sent my first son to high school from SE 31st Street in Portland, Oregon.  And I launched all three of them into adulthood from my current home on Del Monte Avenue.   Each house was a “dream house” to me because the people I loved the most made it just that.  And in each house, a part of me was projected on to the walls and floors and empty spaces as my own personality and inner being grew and developed, magically displayed like a crayon drawing on a clean white piece of linen paper.

I’m moving, downsizing, cleaning, sorting and putting up for sale once again a house I will someday dream about.  I’m feeling both excited and sad and several other emotions in between. But I am holding the tension of the opposites deep within as I go through this process.   It’s time to make a change, to grow in a new direction, to take a chance, to redirect the energy in my life.   It will be a bittersweet journey.

I will take this home with me.  Every house I’ve ever lived in has taken up permanent residence in my heart and soul, carefully placed on my own personal Street of Dreams.

And I can revisit them any time I like.


One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

At the end of the last school year as we scurried about preparing for graduation I found this lovely Buddha in the highly polished North Hall, dangerously close to a large trash can.  I took a photo with my phone and promptly sent it to our resident art teacher to see if she knew whose it was.  “Yes of course.  That’s Sophie’s Buddha!”

The email exchange went something like this…

Subject: your Buddha

Hi Sophie, I’m not sure if you intended to throw your Buddha away but I found him near the trash cans in the North Hall.  If you don’t want him, I will buy him from you! That will make you a professional sculptress!!

Subject: RE: your Buddha

Hi Mrs. Healy!  I think my Buddha would love to live with you!  Happy summer!  :)  Sophie

I was secretly delighted! He’s mine now!  I loved the beautiful open and upturned hands and the amethest stone in his forehead.  Why didn’t she want him, I wondered?   Maybe her mom wanted him.  Should I have suggested that?

I took him home and found a place for him under my blossoming Santa Rosa plum tree.  Narcissus grew around him.  Plums dumped their juicy essence on his head.  Yet, every time I ventured out to my garden he was there in all his peace and tranquility.  I continued to ask myself.. why didn’t she want this masterpiece?

Months later, still pondering…  I asked the art teacher, Mrs. Ford: “Did she get a bad grade on it?  Is that why she didn’t want it?”  Her response… “I don’t remember!!”  Note to self.. never ask an art teacher for facts and data.

I’m left to speculate.  Did someone tell her it wasn’t a good project?  Did she get a poor grade on it?  Who grades what we produce out of our souls and our essence?  What talents have we abandoned because someone said “not good enough”?

Sophie’s trash..

My treasure.