Aunt Laya
Of course, I don't really mean a real shower or bath. I'm talking about the cleaning up of the emotions or thoughts. It's a theme here. :-)

What makes me an "expert" is that I have studied this area of life extensively. And I practice what I preach, too. In graduate school, we walked the walk; all the work we did to learn counseling skills was turned inwardly. As one person said to me, "Well, it makes sense: you can't wash windows if your glasses are dirty." Since I graduated (over 20 years ago!), I have continued to read books, attend lectures and online summits, even as I have written, given speeches, and been interviewed.

Guess what? Life continues to bring challenges into my life! I don't get out of it. So even as I share the ways to lift your spirit or live your dreams, I also face my own personal challenges. I apply all the same tools to my life as I recommend to you. I experiment on myself and if it works for me, I share.

If I'm the "expert" then I should have mastered this by now, don't you think? But that's as silly as saying that if I exercised for two years, that I don't need to exercise any more.
We eat, are sated, digest, get hungry, eat again.
We exercise, we rest, we need to move again.

Water is like emotions, they can be fluid, steamy hot, or icy cold. So to keep your emotional self healthy, you sometimes need to talk about it, sometimes let it go, sometimes transform, and all the time forgive (the truest form of letting go). It's like bathing. You bathe but that doesn't mean you're done for life just because you took one shower. You have to keep yourself clean.

Remember what bathing was like as a kid? You didn't always want to get into that tub. But usually, once you did, you could have some fun getting clean. So, take the risk of getting your thoughts and feelings clean and clear. Ask for help if you need help and don't stop until you get the clarity that brings you true inner peace. It won't last forever. You'll need to process again, but each time you do, you'll come out "smelling like roses." It's worth it!

Aunt Laya

Thanks to and 
"What if you slept?
And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?"
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dear One,
Dream beautiful dreams.
And know that the most beautiful of them can come from heaven,
and that you can awake to find you have it inside you to live your dreams come true.
May you find the strength to name your heart's desire,
dream the dream,
and pluck the flower that awaits you.
Aunt Laya

photo by Rory

A sweet soul that I know asked where will home ever be. It got me thinking. I've been on this planet for a while and have devoted many of my years searching for the comforts of home. Here's where I will share some of what I've learned along the way.

First of all, this is a world of imperfection. This is a world of struggle: the struggle within to find truth and worth, the struggle to do good and build, the struggle to find what is right. Nothing will ever be just perfect. There will always be dirty laundry in the hamper. Maybe the journey is about the struggle and we just forget to enjoy that journey. Have you looked at your courage to go on in the face of challenges? You are brave and courageous for waking up, getting up, and heading into this new day. No kidding!

The place of that feeling of peace is, in my experience, based on two things: 1) Living the truth of who you are, and 2) making a difference in the life of another.

Living the Truth of Who you Are
This is not about the way you dress, this is not about your job, this is not about who you know. This is about knowing what is important to you, knowing your values, then walking the walk of those values, being true to you and the people around you. The process of knowing your strong points and sharing them with the world, and also of knowing your weaknesses and being open enough to change and grow. This also means loving yourself enough to set boundaries.

Making a Difference
How do you make a difference? The classic, simple, inexpensive risk of sharing a smile with someone makes a difference. Saying "thank you" makes a difference. Giving charity that feeds someone,  helps someone smile, or any of dozens of other causes makes a difference. A love note, a flower, a kind word.

Do you know this story? A young man was walking along a beach that was full of starfish, stopping to stoop down, pick one up and throw it into the water; then he picked up another and another and did the same. Another man came along and said "Do you think you're really making a difference? There are too many starfish to put back into the sea." The young man bent, pick up another starfish, tossed it into the water, turned to the other man and said, "It made a difference to that one."
The Struggle
This life is the journey. We are broken vessels each and every one of us. The idea is to take one more step anyway. Find the lovely, loving place that is the truth about you. Spend as much time as you can in that place. Sometimes doubt will creep in. As soon as you notice that you're doubting  yourself, give the doubt a kiss and send it away as you step back into a the good thoughts. This takes practice. Just like any other skill (cooking, building, dancing, fill in the blank!). Acknowledge that there is a lovely soul that is the truth of you and that soul is nothing less than a spark of the Divine! Honor that, walk with it. If you find that you are discouraged, get back up again to the sweetness of the truth.

So what is home anyway? The comfort to accept and be yourself, your truest self, and to take gentle steps as you joyour best self. The idea is to embrace your whole self and in so doing is the healing.

You can do this!
Aunt Laya

Thank you once again to the wonderful Mary R. Vogt for sharing this photo with the world.

best life!