Pause…..finding your superpower in the NOW*

Hello out there.  I’d knock, but, you probably wouldn’t or shouldn’t answer. The whole social distance thing is REAL! The enormity of COVID 19 (media/news coverage) must be intense.  I wouldn’t know, I chose not to feed into my news feed/social media/feeding frenzy. Instead, from day ONE, I chose to explore. I chose nature and art and of course writing, and learning. As for the Pause… Leelee happily, joyfully,  signed up for every Goddess/Warrior/Self Love/Workout/Yoga/Meditation/Shamanic practices/Mindfulness/Gratitude/teacher/ coach/mentor/therapist/All Guru’s! I willed them to me! & they graciously offered it up! For Free Yo! for MOI! I went in deep. I seriously couldn’t contain my excitement. I was estatic at the opportunity to learn. I was literally so elated about the “pause” and the opportunity to Educate and Explore myself, I was almost embarrassed to share my new spiritual awakening with my tribe. I did share with those I trust. I was also told NOT to hold this awakening “in”. Share it with people. Teach, comfort those around you. The Pause, I feel caused the universe to Shift. Adjust if you will. I feel deeply that I received deeper understanding of humanity and the air was instantly cleaner. My ears began buzzing (tinnitus) triple loud. The atmosphere is cleansing itself. In months, the Himilayan mountains were visible. Rome saw the stars clear and bright because the pollution and smog lifted. The earth is resting, cleansing itself of toxins. I like to think of this time as a Global renewal and a new awakening!
The world had to Stop-Pause-Stay Home. Everyone, Universally. That in itself is powerful. So, In a blink, we shut it DOWN. Boom. The world stopped spinning for the first time ever.

The chaotic, self absorbed, egotistical, money obsessed, stressed out, “wealthy” money makers. The ones that are owned and obsessed and ruled by earning money. I feel sorry for you. Many people equate money and/or success = happiness. I’m pretty sure I lost you, ummm, probably at Hello. That’s ok. I remind you, lovingly, you have NO control right now. None. Sorry. I think about a trader/ wall street guru, who is rolling their eyes about now… but, like, just here me out K?  Perhaps, this Global Pause- jolted, catapulted us forward. Perhaps it enabled us ALL to make way for a new, cleaner, kinder planet and world. Maybe the Gods already knew how much pain and agony our sacred earth had been suffering? Crime, addiction, suicide, cancer, war, hate, bullying, pesticides, greed, indifference, a desensitized generation of entitled, self absorbed millennials that suddenly become overnight” influencers” or young billionaires are made instantly off of a puffy lip product! We lost our minds and our sense of calm. We never “paused”. Life was constantly in motion. Work, career, money ruled over Love, family and God. Yet, with the new mindfulness movement, secretly we all craved a more organic simple life. Living in the rat race takes its toll. It wasn’t that we all needed “more”. We have more than what we need! I just learned to appreciate, every raindrop, every moment. The question looming around: Did we need a Pandemic to cure our sick, self absorbed, ego driven, cruel world? Would this shift help those mentally suffering? Just by stopping- pausing, slowing down, stay home? Truly, surreal moment in history. That’s for sure. The COVID 19 virus is real. It spread super FAST from China and abroad. Today, presently, there is no cure or vaccine. We must open our eyes and then we must figure this out. We never prepared ourselves for Shelter in Place! Some may have prepared for the end of the world. Most of us, don’t. My brain kept thinking, this feels like a scene from Sandra Bullock’s, Bird Box in a weird way. Unchatered territory for sure! I mean, What does Pandemic mean anyway?? Is that like yet another new millennial term like( e.g.),errrr, Polar Vortex or something? I dunno, frankly, I, myself, felt a strong inner shift inside. A spiritual awakening happened the moment we were ordered told “Shelter in Place”. I already had mines! Girl, I dreamed about staying at home for years. Indulging oneself to mindfulness & self wellness and self=awareness. I seriously was totally prepared to hunker it on down! (cept TP).. but, that works itself out eventually right? Oh and BTW, I LOVE the TP commercials. 8 weeks later some marketing genius at Charmin got a light bulb moment! Let’s advertise our very much, needed, and out of stock, short supply Brand of TP and we are still like, “winning” during this pandemic! Shrugs, first of all, I am only permitted to buy the ahemm, ONE PLY, “gentle/safer for septic tanks” tissue! I literally am Jelli of people who buy Angel Soft for their cute butt. JELLI! Mine is like soft sandpaper, and you better LIKE it!

So, the days tick on. One by one. I avoid the news. I know what is happening. I read the daily numbers, every single day by town. I live in Suffolk County. It’s a red zone, hot spot. What started 10 weeks ago with a few or a dozen people testing positive. It is now in the THOUSANDS in many towns across Long Island. Every single day the numbers INCREASE. You may live remote or with 1 case in your town. That is not my situation currently. It is what it is. There is definately some panic in the world. But, Shouldn’t there be? I expected extremists and radicals to flip out. I don’t blame them. I mean, who has ever had to shut down a country? Stop millions from working, or earning a living? No one prepared for this shit! (Apparently 45 knew it was coming last year!) but, whatever. Still, we must adapt. I live in New York. I was prepared for New York City being a red zone. It is the potpourri melting pot of cultures, so, for me, it makes sense. I understand that many people who suffer from and with anxiety or depression or paranoia, now are at a higher risk. My therapist is working double since the pandemic. Most people admit they have increased their drinking to cope. Many began new medications to cope. Overdoses have increased quickly since the shut down. Doctors are stretched beyond their human limits. Suicide rates increase. People are suffering, child abuse, domestic violence, hunger, despair from all the financial stress. I think, all of those emotions and feelings are scary and concerning. I think many are struggling to figure it out. It’s ok. We are all in this together. This, my friends is as REAL as it will get. A Huge wake up call for humanity. I try and absorb the enormity of the situation. I vow to do my part. I began a fundraiser for many hungry kids here on Long Island. It is hard to ignore the reality. I work with high risk children in schools, all below poverty level. This is just an added burden for them and their families. I just try and reach out and help. They NEED it. I don’t need anything, I have all I could ever need. I can give to someone in need. I am proud to be able to help. Mostly, I hope many can return to work soon. Fact: You can’t live on Long Island without making BIG dollars. So yeah, I understand the desperation and rush to return to “normal”. But, seriously, what is normal now? Do you really believe we will just pick up where we stopped? Personally, I don’t. If we remember twenty years ago. The World Trade Center terrorist attack. We all changed. Our world was different. What I most remember is the outpouring of Love, support, compassion and unity. I remember proudly displaying our flag and everyone cared. Everyone shared. Everyone wept for one another. Today, I see everyone is a armchair expert. Everyone has their opinions, predictions, conspiracy theories. I just try and live my BEST self today. Why? Because that is all we have is today. We already learned that living through 9/11. The truth, the secret to living a beautiful life IS: We only have NOW. Nothing else is promised to us. Now, is all that truly matters.

I never listened to Trump. I mean, who can even tolerate watching and listening to his Extra Super Huge Ego! Certainly not during a time like now? We are well aware that our 45th president was/is a businessman/real estate mogul. He loves the all mighty American dollar right? He owns a bunch of hotels and casinos himself. He is a wealthy man. So, to order only Essential Business remain open was a very hard but absolutely SMART decision. Our city shut down for a few weeks after 9/11. The stock market closed for the first time in history. We understand a “pause”. What is the world showing us now? What lesson is it for each one of us to learn? We had China and Italy to model that for USA, right? eh? However, I do remember him quoting in early March, “we hope to be out of this by Easter” … enough said 45, enough said! Smacks tape over his mouth. I internally whisper, four 4 more years of this! Shivers. Anywayyyy… We all saw what happened in Wuhan and Italy. I cried at the mass grave sites. I believe we sadly learned from their error & their sad tragedy and human loss and sacrifice. I believe we are better equipped. We have the medical equipment necessary and staff and we have that thang – that – NY GRIT! We get through anything together. Crime is way down? That’s a miracle in itself. I started to see 100’s of the most amazing and heartfelt commercials pour out on national TV. Each one, brings tears to my eyes. LOVE and compassion. Recently, I really enjoy the TP ones! I watch and feel Pride for our essential workers. I read only the stories of Hope and Love in my local news. I share them with my family. Sparks of love. Moments of human kindness and compassion. I cry everyday reading them. I pray for each health worker in this country. You are brave and you are what is keeping America alive. GOD bless you all. Heroes emerge from tragedy. I call them Angels in scrubs. I am humbled and honored to acknowledge all of you. Angel bumps everywhere. I am thankful and grateful to each one of you. The Front Lines cover all workers. Everyone who gets up and braves this virus and goes to work everday, I salute you!

I was on board with social distancing. Gosh, I love my alone time SO MUCH! The work from home option became a reality. Closing the schools/churches/restaurants. It sometimes felt like a dream. Yet, I was sitting home watching this unfold. Fascinating. Unprecedented. Now, “Tele “learning is the new normal. Parents are all home schooling their kids! Oh Man! you are ROCK STARS, everyone’s showing their TRUE superpowers and its refreshing honestly. I know it has it struggles, especially with special needs children. I commend you. I think you are courageous, brave and resilient. I am teary just thinking about this “pause”. The upside…. You get to be with your kids 24/7. When will that EVER happen again??? They grow so fast. It’s true, you blink and they are graduating, off to college, married! Sieze the moments. Live and relish in Today. You have the power to bond and love and spend that “quality” time you always envied. Right Now. Today. Embrace it best you can. Lately, I have seen videos of a work from home Mommy, seeing her baby take their first steps. I have seen 1000 neighbors with strollers, dogs, kids in tow and smiles. They walk everyday now. They are a solid team. Mommy & Daddy and kiddies and puppies. I see lots of Daddies with their children, spending time that they never had the opportunity to spend. I think this we are all changing as humans. The universe is slowly showing us what truly matters! Mostly, I think this will bond and heal our families. It will solidify that together we can all recover. We can support each other as neighbors, friends and communites. We all are learning to adapt and to live differently. I stop and admire the afternoon strolls now. I love listening to children giggle. I stop and remember way back when and try and remember those precious moments together. I see people paying for someone’s groceries. Offering to shop for the elderly. I saw my Niece, come home and collapse in tears and totally traumatized. She is working in a nursing home, overworked with a short staff. Tough times for sure. I think about the working Mom and Dads working from home, AND homeschooling at the same time. You’re everything right now. Tele- therapy/medicine. Ahhhmazing! Then ALL colleges and campuses shut down. Mind blowing! No graduation class? The disappointment for the class of 2020. I feel them. Then, instantly, all students had to adjust to home learning. No ditching. So, the millennials have NO choice. No opting out. No protests! We are ALL in this shit together. Yet…amazingly, somehow, (for the most part) it is working. Slowly they had learned to adapt. Improvise, expand and be flexible. Drive by Birthday wishes and Screams are the norm now. I tear up and watch them all line up to support their friend/classmate. We adapt. We are learning. They are learning. Change enables us to see a different perspective. A pause allows us to look within ourselves. Self examination into our own minds and thoughts and coping abilities. It’s a true test of your “grit” or gratitude. You choose. You either fight it or you fall into it. I chose to fall and dig deep.

Now! I ask for a moment of silence. I would like to acknowledge and Thank the internet conferencing company called, ZOOM. This one conferencing company SAVED our world! Seriously, They are and continue to support and be the lifeline and connection for everyone, everyday! Globally, I applaud you. 100 year old grannies are zooming! I am proud!

We stayed in and home for one major reason: To Keep Americans alive. Right? Oh, yeah, by the way, This is NOT all about You today.. (boohoo). So… PUHLEASEeeee, I don’t care to hear your whining, entitled opinions about sheltering in place. You’re not the Pres, you are not a Scientist (Except my son in law is, lol). So, keep your “fuck it” theory to yourself. The mindset of self absorbed individuals that rant. We should all just GO OUT AND GET IT! and get it over with!… I am flawed at your ignorance and stupidity. I even wrote a snarky post about it. I am well aware that 80% of cases are considered “mild” or even Asymptomatic. Personally, I am Thankful for that. However, I’m fighting for the underdog, ya know, those other 20% of people fighting, sick, suffering and sadly dying from COVID-19 it’s scary and it’s real. So, please keep your theory to yourself. Go out, do you! your ego based, narrow minded mingling. Whine about the bars closed. Whine about your nails (a lot). Stay self absorbed and oblivious to helping someone else other than yourself. Nice knowing you, but, I am sick and embarrassed by your narcisstic, selfish, self absorbed rants. I don’t care about your hair or nails. I don’t. I do care about my community and pitching in. There is something to be said about doing your part. Staying positive, humble and kind. Oh, you bet your ass that I’m complying. I can’t risk getting sick and leaving my only daughter here alone in her 20’s. That is Not happening. I love HER that much, so Shut Up and pretend to be “smart”. Don’t ask to hang out. However, we CAN Zoom. Some families remain connected and close. They care about one another. They reach out. They facetime with their kids and Grandkids. They are constantly connected… There is a huge message in that, embrace it! It’s beautiful. It’s LOVE.. I envy and admire that tremendously. LOVE cures all.

Today, like… week 10 of self quarantining: I woke up today, in a warm bed. Slept in and listened to the rain and the Dove who sings each morning. I have delicious food to cook and eat. I can walk and take a deep breaths. I am blessed today. I feel protected/safe. Mostly, I felt gratitude. Enormous gratitude that is building inside. I call it inner peace. Total peace. It is well within my soul~.

Instantly and instinctively, My empathy and compassion kick in. How can I help? How can I be of service? How can I make a difference in someone’s life today? What part of me is needed to help heal our world? I already made a path. Volunteering lead me down a path. Support groups showed me the way to healing. I offer my services, I am a recovery coach. I am available to support people struggling. I Remember a few years ago? 3.5 years ago exactly. Lord knows, I was struggling. In deep pain and sadness. I was consumed with worry and fear. 3.5 years ago, I lost my son to an Opiod/Overdose. See, I’ve already met the darkness and the tragic sudden loss of my child. I am a survivor. I have already learned to adapt. I have the courage. I became a warrior for the causes that touch me. Honestly, what could be possibly be worse than living in fear for years? When I lived in fear, worry, anxiety it made me sick and weak. I had no control or ability to save him. That nearly drove me insane. So, you see, I wasted years and years in that powerless state of fear. I didn’t quite see it like that back then. My mission was to save my son. Tragically he didn’t recover, he died from it. I could not save him. The moment when you must face your biggest fear and then it happens, well, there is nothing left but to recover. That is a long, hard road. It is possible. I am here to stand in my recovery and move forward with my knowledge and truth. I truly don’t think I could ever fear much anymore. I had to figure out how to turn that around and make peace with all of it. I learned that you can’t save anyone. You can’t control addiction and you certainly can’t control the outcome. COVID-19 is like that. We are just learning about this virus and how to treat it and hopefully find a vaccine for it in the future. We are swimming in unchartered waters. We are racing for the “cure” if you will. I will do my part to support that. Today, my heart only worries and hurts for those who have lost their loved ones due to COVID 19 Virus. I do pray everyday for things to get better. I truly, deeply believe that this will all get better and so will we! Do your part today. Give with your whole heart. Human compassion, awareness, self love and nurturing your soul and building and growing in your faith. These things sustain us through the worst of times. I am a true testament to what a survivor is.

I spend my days, busy, content in doing a million little things. I became an artist overnight. Errr.. Self proclaimed! I redecorated every room. I cleaned all the dust bunnies and scrubbed and disinfected all the unseen corners. All we have is time. I chose to look at it today as a gift. Time. What has the pause showed me about myself? I am teachable. I have loved every webinar on self improvement, self care, self love. You discover beautiful things about yourself if you choose to go within. Meditation is big part of my sheltering in place routine. I do Yoga (online) and lots of different meditations. It’s a practice, so take 5 minutes and start there. I guarantee you see the benefits! Even just breathing for 5 minutes. Amazing, organic self love. Please try it! I recommend The mindful movement (On YOUTUBE). Sarah Raymond is one of my favorites. I listen to all her meditations. I think she has changed my life, in so many ways. <3. Gratitude! Some other things I enjoy: I pick a new recipe every couple days and create delicious, comforting meals. Cooking is my zen, always has been. I think a lot when I cook. I love writing. I have been writing a lot. I am documenting my experience and spiritual awakening of sorts in my book. I love to send cards, notes, beads to other Mom's grieving. I text my support group members with a hug every few days. I send packages out to my family to let them know I am thinking about them and missing them. A big part of my days are planning out projects. So much stuff to keep me busy and happy. My passion is decorating and my gardens are my total Joy. I love planting and making my backyard whimsical. I call it "my lil heaven"... and for me it is! I enjoy the fresh air, cool spring breezes, long days filled with sunshine. It's my healing energy. The dirt, the sunrays, the birds... its ALL good in my lil heaven. Gardening and creating renews me everyday. I've learned really creative ways to use up leftovers and waste nothing! I love repurposing household items into new art. I drive out to the ocean and pick the best smoothest rocks. I bring them home and clean them up and paint them. Inspirational sayings, words of encouragement and hope. I leave them all over town as little gifts and surprises for those that need a hug. Low and behold, I opened the local newspaper and everyone is painting rocks and spreading their support and love! Clearly, it's spreading. The "shift" is penetrating our earth. I sneak a package of seeds and a painted rock saying ~you are beautiful~ to my new neighbor who lost her husband last year. I donate to food banks, cook meals for sober homes and make care packages for nurses. I send my nephew home cooked meals to heat up and enjoy after his long shifts as an ambulance driver. Honestly... Hey? Isn't that what God did? Like, the last supper. Shared his bread and wine. Smart man. I try and follow him. I let him guide my heart and teach me to be a good woman, mother, wife, friend, human. I swear, I am grateful every single day. I worship the sunshine and every flower and seed sprouting. I have made friends with every neighborhood bird this spring. They sing with Joy everyday. It's comforting. I've learned to appreciate the little things. I open my heart and meditate each day in Gratitude. I feel the powerful energy of Love and Compassion. It's contagious and I hope you catch it too. I have time to sit and reflect on memories of the past. The life and love my parents made and gave for us. The sacrifices and unconditional love and support has been my salvation and rock through it all. I always feel lucky. Lucky to have been loved by two amazing people who taught me so much about life and about family. Their LOVE remains.... deep in my heart. My faith strengthens. My heart lifts. My healing continues and I remain humble. Oh, I never say... I'm bored. Ever. I encourage you to find your passion! Once you begin, your life will change for the better. Don't give up. Things will and are getting better, slowly. Be good to yourself and everyone you love. Tell your kids everyday, you love them and they matter. Be the change and involve your children in giving, in making a difference, in helping your neighbor and most important, being compassionate humans. What a gift! I had so much to say. I tend to shy away, make excuses. Today, I am taking a couple of hours and penning my thoughts and my gratitude in this blog. I decided to spend the morning remembering, honoring, sharing, caring, and bringing you the BEST LeeLee Moments...as I hear, feel and live them. Namaste, Stay Healthy and Stay Humble & Please Stay Home <3 ~leelee

So much to say! & plenty of time to say it….

It’s been a helluva adventure. A new world. A new code. New standards. Lots of hand washing and protocol. Each day the CDC or W H O organization updates us with the number of cases and deaths. The numbers are staggering. The fear and unknown anxiety is real. We have never truly experienced a pandemic globally. None of us could predict or see this coming. and BAM! It sure did come. I remain positive. I remain in control of my own behavior. I remain humble and most of all. I have hope. Hope this will cease one day. Hope, this will change our world for the better of mankind. It will reconnect us all in a unexpected way. But, the lesson will connect us all as one. We will have more awareness and compassion for our future. So, I’d say… it’s A long strange trip? I mean, here we are, in the middle of a global pandemic. I never even knew this word – ” Pandemic”. Maybe it’s just me, but, are millenial’s making up new words and shit? A few winters ago. We were in a Polar Vortex. WTF is THAT? Like, I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Life appeared simpler. My mom would turn on the local news and pray for the sound of school buses. …The decision was made by a superintendent of the school district. The radio would recite each school closing on repeat, for hours over and over. Of course, we kids would rejoice and my Mom would look sad? Anyway, it was simple back then. We would get up early and wait for the decision. We are expecting 3 feet of snow! Schools will be CLOSED. That was pretty much it. I mean, we were so happy to have a free day and yes! We ALL played in the snow and froze and watched the Brady Bunch reruns. Life was simple. No, we didn’t have the internet yet. DON”T JUDGE ME!
The biggest snowstorm I remember was the blizzard of 1978. We got a few feet the first day and it continued for a few more days. We jumped off our 2nd story deck into like 7 foot drifts of pure snow. My brother Michael got stuck in it for hours and we had to dig him out! Good times. We had snow days. Everyone survived.

Now, we face a pandemic. This world quickly changed. It’s been a few weeks of self isolation, social distancing and watching the numbers. I check in each morning now and read the horror and rising cases. We all read about Wuhan China. We were semi aware. We hadn’t a clue what was to come. Honest. At first, I don’t think a lot of us even thought it would effect the WORLD! Right? Then Italy reports started flowing. The footage and updates were painful to watch and accept. Not enough coverage, beds, supplies, ventilators. Death tolls, rising hourly. All So quick, they are ordered to stay home and not leave their homes and apartments. It was too late. The virus had spread from village to village. Many Italians took to social media and the internet to WARN Us. Beg Us. Confirm to us. This is serious. Do NOT ignore the government warnings. Italy, sadly, opened up our eyes. The US was on alert. But? Was it already too late? Then Spain. I follow this a bit more closely, because, my daughter & her husband live in Madrid. They have been on lockdown for a month. Healthy, Thank God. They are both responsible adults. They are so very far away. She worries that we are at risk. She worries that we will get sick. Many are in a state of anxiety, panic, depression. This is real. I remind my daughter. I’m ok. I do not live in fear my daughter. I’ve already suffered and had my worst/biggest fears happen. I accept this and assure her we are safe. I vow to do my best in staying well and isolated. She is what I live for. I take that serious and pray this too passes with ease. We cancelled our plans to visit Spain in May. I know she is homesick and isolated. How did life get so complicated? It feels apocalyptic in a strange way. I remember watching Sandra Bullock in Bird Box. Very dark film. A premise that the end of the world happened and they are the very few who survived. They must cover their eyes to the light, in order to survive. It involves two small children and I was vested in them! Cool movie and she was amazing in it. When I read that Italy’s death toll reached 9,000 today,(March 27, 2020). I fully realize what has happened. They had no chance to flatten the curve. They were still socializing (children were allowed to socialize in the evenings) due to this socializing, like fire, it spread rapidly. Now, they beg us! they urge everyone to NOT allow your children to play and socialize. I am devastated, concerned and heartbroken for their country. A country I visited last year and fell instantly in love. I can’t wait to return. They live in the moment, organically and simply. I admired that so much when I was travelling through that beautiful country. I text my daughter’s in-laws in Italy. They have been quarantined for 6 weeks already. They reply that they are healthy and well. It’s a miracle no one in their family has gotten sick. They have followed the rules. Stay home. They go to the supermarket once a week with gloves and masks. Smart. I pray for them daily. It is not over in Italy or Spain. The USA, has not even begun to truly embrace the inevitable. Devastating pandemic. A high death toll. I see it is unavoidable. I am trying to do my part. I am taking it all in and slowly breathing out. I accept and continue to think positive. I recite to everyone I know. 87% of people that contract COV 19 virus experience “MILD” symptoms. That’s a pretty high percentage. I focus on recovery and good health. Here is how I attempt to do it.

One of my daily mantras is:

Today, I am healthy. I live in full abundance.

I started to repeat this mantra a few weeks ago, with a meditation teacher I follow. Meditation can seriously help every single person reading this today. Just 5 minutes? 10? whatever you can muster. It’s about the practice. It’s about self love and giving and receiving that daily through meditation. I’ve been meditating for many years. In the beginning, I probably could do a few minutes and feel frustrated. That is normal. It isn’t a instant click. Training ones mind to stop “THINKING” by just taking intentional breaths is life changing. Yes, you heard me LIFE changing. I am not making this shit up. It works. It calms, heals, it boosts your immune system. It increases endorphins, serotonin, you name it. This shit WORKS… and its like FREE! I am a big fan of the Mindful Movement Meditations. Thank you YouTube! I saved a dozen or so to my favorites. I love each and every session with Sarah Raymond. Amazing things can happen if you dedicate a moment to love yourself and take care of your mental health. I promise you. Try it for a week. Pick a 10 minute meditation (on Gratitude, Peace, Forgiveness) etc…give yourself the gift of clearing your mind. I am that confident it will help you during this time of uncertainty. Remember to ask yourself after your first meditation. How do I feel right now? I can’t wait to here your findings!

I wanted to share what my daily routines, rituals, connections are guiding me with love and compassion.

I have always limited my time on social media/ news updates.

Social Media/ News Reports:
I suggest you tune in for updates and then put it aside. Flip it over. The screen can suck you IN people. Don’t bring it to bed! Just, find an organic way to connect to the world. TRUST ME, tomorrow there will be another update and you won’t miss a thing.

I like making lists.

Movies to watch on Netflix. Books to read. Online Courses to take. I am taking FULL advantage of every online course for FREE. Yes, FREE people. I just took a Warrior Goddess webinar with Heather Ash. (Ahhhmazing!) She offered 6 more classes for a minimal donation. I’m stoked.

Writing/journals:

I’ve been writing since I was a young teen. I am finishing up a memoir and studying and gathering knowledge and inspiration for recovery coaching. I write about my childhood. I write about grief. I write about finding joy and purpose and my journey to faith and back to Joy. It’s my absolute super power. You should try it. Buy a pretty journal and write down your feelings, thoughts, anger, dreams a few paragraphs a day. Watch it transform your thinking and your focus.

My other lists are semi boring, mundane, chore/fix it lists:

What needs a cleaning/painting/freshen up? Broken stuff – Things that need repair. My never ending list. My quest to be Marie Kondo/Martha Stewart organized. Serious downsizing. For over a year, I just Keep on de cluttering my “stuff” Oh I need help! Geez Leelee! This stuff keeps me buzzing! It’s a never ending list and I totally get off on organization. I have a ways to go. I have made enormous donations and runs to good will and church donations. It’s easier for me to donate. I like to think someone else can use it.

I am an avid cook and gardener:

I credit my Mama and my Daddy for these gifts. A nature lover, beach, boat, fishing girl and lover of sneaking away for R&R. I’d rate beach houses my very favorite. I’m a serious collector of shells and rocks. I love and adore the east end of Long Island. I like it even better off season. (wink). The South fork is top notch and very pricey and bougie. From the Hamptons to Montauk Point. Absolute pristine beaches for the very Richie folks. I love every town in the Hamptons and I escape there often. But.. my heart speaks to me…and always will. My secret to heaven, my spiritual place is The Northfork. (NoFo) It still has that rural, farming feel with more and more breweries, & wineries and a nautical upscale, peaceful place to hang. After all, I AM an island girl at heart. I chase the seasons out on the east end. The sunflowers and farm stands are amazing. I take the ferry often from Orient Point and I love driving out weekly to gather veggies and flowers. I adore summer festivals and the many vineyards. I discover all the private growers and relish in a new nursery. I support all local farmers and artists and crafters and humanitarians. This is my happy place. My Zen. I indulge in it often.

But alas, now we are staying home, nesting if you will. So my kitchen and my gardens is where you find me. Creating and decorating is my jam. I love to rearrange and repurpose all my beautiful treasures. Recently, I gathered all my favorite stones, gems, goddesses, bhudda’s essential oils and sprays and sage. I set up a corner with all my favorite things. A shrine of gratitude, hope, renewal. I spritz heart chakra around me and say a prayer for healing. it’s in the love of creating food and flower beds. Seriously, I could do it 24/7. I really enjoy challenging myself in the kitchen. For instance: You have a handful of mushrooms, leftover chicken, spinach, cheese…What can I create! My new obsesh is Asian cuisine. It stems from my devotion to the dumpling. I have several Asian grocery stores and I get lost in there for an hour and discover a lot of cool things. A dash of this or that goes a long way in Asian sauce. I scour the internet and find simple, awesome recipes to make at home. Once you stock up on the secret ingredients, you are all set! I have been making some killer dumpling recipes as of late. It takes time to learn by trial and a few errors, but, once you master it, BAM! It makes my head spin. I also bake (something I was determine to master over the last few years) I never waste a banana (or anything really). I enjoy baking a shit ton of desserts and freezing them for give a ways. It makes my heart happy. A warm banana bread to a sad friend….priceless. I fill my life with giving. I found my secret to healing and growing. Lastly, Art. Create. Getting your creative flow on! So, I take my time and sift through my treasures and then I repurpose all my little treasures and create some type of new art. I decorate my yard with love, in memory and with my hippie spirit and decorating passion.

My latest projects: (Don’t judge or Laugh) We may have MONTHS of this stay home rules. I intend on enterprising on them. I may not do every single thing I dream about. But, I’m serious about making a dent in what matters to ME….on the weekend create list….

Rock Painting – (DO NOT laugh at me!)
I find smooth cool rocks around my property. (I happen to have 1000’s of rocks) and I paint them…with inspirational words or quotes. Tutorials and suggestions on Pinterest.

Shells – I make art out of my shell collections. Chimes, beachy scenes, & flower bed d├ęcor. It’s fun to repurpose.

Slate: Stepping Stones/Signs: I have some cool bluestone slates laying around. I did one today for my garden
it says….

~ Let It Shine ~ .

My Mother once taught me about Simple Abundance. It’s not ironic she got sober and once wrote herself a check for 1 million dollars~ pay to “Simple Abundance”. After she died, I found a vintage sign with the same quote. I look at it in my kitchen often. She read the book, and shared it with me a long, long time ago. Perhaps, she knew I would need to learn and understand it one day. Perhaps she was teaching me to just…. Let It Shine…..

Namaste

Leelee

Replacing Fear with Love….

Hello! From Long Island. An island of beauty. An island of state parks & abundance of nature, all surrounded by water. It’s my land. The same island my parents moved us to 60+ years ago. From Brooklyn, New York. They were living the American dream. They told the story many times. My father borrowed 500 dollars from Grandpa Angelo, to put down on a foreclosed home in Huntington Station, New York. On a whim, they decided to move to the suburbs. A big backyard and a pool! I was one years old when we moved from Brooklyn. I would stay with my Nanny for a week or two in the summers in Brooklyn. Good Times. Carefree and light. I loved the vibe of the inner city. In 1962, My Dad was appointed to the NYPD. It was the same year I was born. He often told the story that one day he got on the road to his new job as a Police officer in (where else?) BROOKLYN! He drove 2 hours in traffic to get to the new post and thought he made a terrible mistake! How could I move my family out to the “boonies” the potato fields! And, now travel several hours a day back and forth? Was it all worth it? Somehow, someway, he did it and he never complained. He worked nights and days and a lot of overtime. He loved fixing up the house and mowing the lawn. He made a beautiful vegetable garden and tended to it for hours each week. He loved fishing and coaching sports and camping. He loved planting flowers and rose bushes for my Mom. He loved his life and family. He taught us everything. He took us everywhere. He had very few friends, (you can count true ones on one hand Lisa Marie..he would tell me) IF you’re lucky enough! He loved a good meal, a strong cup of coffee and he loved to grill meat and spend time with his kids. He always worked hard. He was always sweaty and dirty from work. Building something, fixing something, he LOVED it, his life, simple abundance. He was happy and satisfied with life on Long Island. He loved and protected us. He had an extensive career with the NYPD. He retired 20+ years later with many great stories and a Bachelors degree in psychology/sociology. He definitely lived the American Dream. The difference was he appreciated everything he achieved and earned. He took care of everything. He provided. He encouraged and supported us. He was a tough ole bird. A no nonsense, do it my way (the right way) kinda guy. As I became a wife and mother, he became my bestfriend. Gladly, giving me sound advice. He encouraged me and supported me. He valued me, he trusted me. We became close and respected each other so much. We only moved once as a child, to a larger home to accommodate my Grandparents moving in with us. It was well “crowded” but, we were a family, together, supporting one another. When my Dad retired, he bought a bar and saved all his money and moved to Florida with my Mom. They bought a new retirement home in a cul-de-sac. Life seemed perfect….or so we thought. Ten years later, my Mom convinced him to move back to Long Island. She longed to be closer to her children and now Grandchildren. He did it. He wanted her to be happy. For my Dad, Life was simple. He never complicated anything. He had his priorities and his shit together at all times. Who knew I would be so much like him? Who knew his strength and love would carry me, sustain me, heal me through my darkest times. My Dad was the Rock, the epicenter of our family. He died, quickly, at 64 from stage 4 lung cancer. He didn’t even know he had it. He was not ready to cash in… he begged God. He begged the oncologists for just a couple more years. He cherished life. He didn’t get his wish. He only lived 7 months through horrendous Chemo and Radiation treatment, and then he died. Cancer sucks. He was so sick and vulnerable. We never left his side. We all stood in the sunlight, surrounded by each other, holding each other and sadly, watching him die slowly. During the last days he had a spiritual awakening. He was born a Catholic, oddly, he was more an agnostic. He played on the fence about religion and spirituality. He believed in God. He didn’t worship. True fact: In the 80’s, He met the Pope (John Paul) on the steps of city hall. The Pope stopped and gave him a medal and a blessing. I remember that night. He came home with a light in his eyes. He said.. I just met the man who has seen the eyes of God! He was awakened…impressed. That was short lived for him at that time.
When he came home from his last treatment, he was sick. He couldn’t sleep, or eat. The doctors scanned his body and told him the cancer had spread. He should get his affairs in order. He was in shock. I sit in the tiny office with my Mom and watch him beg the doctor. Heart wrenching. I’m so weak Doc, but, if you think I should try another round… he stops my Dad and softly tells him. Tom, No, I don’t recommend another cycle. I recommend you consider hospice and get your affairs in order. Time stops. The clock ticks. We leave. My mother is crying. I am driving them back home. The end is near. He says to my Mom. Are you crying for me or are you crying because I am dying? I don’t remember her answer. We just cried. We all gathered. He wanted us all to be with him. It was late September. His favorite time of year. Cool, breezy spectacular weather. He couldn’t sleep anymore. He would get up at 2, 3 in the morning. Organizing papers. Paying bills, etc. Then he would walk with my Mom. He made/designed and built a magical garden in their new little house. She wanted an oriental garden, Pergola, with a pond and a waterfall…a huge vegetable garden…he built it all, with his hands and heart…just for her. He grew his favorite flower, The Morning Glory vine. He grew them every year. He would pick each color and hold it in his hands. He made her a bouquet every day and he would say… Mitzi.. have you ever seen a more beautiful color in your life? Look at this blue… pink…white…God made these. They are simply perfect beauty. He lived for a week in a spiritual awakening. He called for his son Michael to come home from N. Carolina. He knew his time was near. He was sick, dehydrated, weak, malnourished, sleepless. Yet, he smiled. He stared at my children and held them. He took them on short rides on his ATV and laughed and played catch. We all stood strong, dying right along side him. Our rock. our mentor, our father who protected and loved us every single day of our lives was sick. Nothing Else Mattered. NOTHING. No job, no money, the world stopped and we grieved and loved each other. We were a family. We were all shattered. When my brother Michael arrived. He stood up and walked to the door and he said.. My Hero. Finally, He is here! Shaking and trembling he waited to hug his son. My father died 2 days later. In fact, he waited till his hero arrived and gave him permission to go to Jesus. My brother Michael told him… Daddy, go to Jesus Daddy, I got Mommy, I will take care of her. My brother told me, my Dad in a semi coma, took one breath in and didn’t quite exhale. He passed peacefully with my brother holding him tight. My Mother was taking a bath. It was the greatest loss of our lives. It is over twenty years ago that we lost this great man, husband, father and son. I remember him in the hospital bed watching the coverage of the 9/11 attack. He was such a patriot! He absorbed and purchased time life books of 9/11. He still was well and able enough to support and mentor my youngest brother Anthony, who served as a first responder immediately after the bombings. I am grateful that he was alive and able to help his boy, Tony, his Tiger as he nicknamed him. He served in the US Air Force as a intelligence specialist in Berlin Germany during the Korean war. My oldest brother Thomas was born in a AF hospital in Berlin. He lead a very interesting life on earth. He was raised by a single mother and worked since he was 11 years old. He had a strong opinion about most things. IF you asked for it, be prepared to get a straight forward one. He had an arrogance and a confidence that sometimes made him butt heads, but he was fair and honest and trustworthy. He told us often. No one, I mean NO ONE loves or cares for you like your parents and grandparents and siblings. They are all you have in this harsh, sometimes cruel world. If you are ever in real trouble, we will always be there to help and rescue you. Don’t ever forget that. I never have. I think of him often. I wonder how he would have approached this pandemic/virus state of affairs. I know he would have provided everything he had for his family and neighbors. He would keep us safe. He would protect his little world. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that all we really have right Now? Each Other? Nothing else should matter. Stay safe, stay home, be smart, be brave. This too shall pass. Amen.

In loving memory of my father… Thomas Joseph.

with eternal love & abundance

Lisa Marie

Most/Wonderful time of the year…

Many years ago, My parents nailed setting traditions. They were adamant about keeping some of the old traditions that my Mom grew up with and even added a few of their own. It was a glorious, magical time. Christmas Eve dinner & celebrations. We, my mom, grandmother, sister and I prepared for weeks. The shopping and expense were enormous. My parents had five children and lived on a NYPD salary in the 60’s. So my beloved grandmother, Nanny, would come out from Brooklyn and stay for a week and she splurged a lot with all the specialities and extras. She helped to make Christmas special. So we all shopped till we dropped. She would spare no expense. She lived and breathed to spoil and love our family. She didn’t skimp on anything. Every nut, candy, desserts, seven types of fish and 20 pounds of homemade butter cookies, chocolates and honey balls adorned our tables. The fresh Italian meats and cheeses were piled on platters. We prepared the entire day for our family dinner. I remember as a child, the rule was no meat on Christmas Eve. (Only fish and shellfish dishes). A religious rule as per my grandparents. Over the years, and many picky eaters later on, my mother bent that rule for them. It was quite the extravaganza. Truth: I enjoyed every second of it. I had my loving, beautiful, warm Mom, & Daddy, my little Nanny & Pop, and my five siblings. My mom blasted Christmas music all day long. My Dad was in charge of decorating. He spent hours stringing lights outside. He would climb on the roof and hang the Big Santa face. He would string santa and the reindeer taking off our roof. Then he would come inside and hang lights everywhere. My Mom, an artist and crafty gal would spend a month decorating the interiors. Her trees were her pride and joy. She would make wreaths and garland and over the years, she built quite the miniature Christmas village. It was magical and grew each year with a new house. I have a picture somewhere of the magical homemade village set in a mountain that she created. It stood over four stories high and she would nestle each house in the snow covered hills and make her very own village. It was her masterpiece and she loved creating it each year. Every detail was special. Every tree, animals, skaters, and even a moving ski lift to the top of the mountain. She made Christmas magical for all of us.
As our family grew, everyone had a partner or spouse by then, except our baby brother Anthony. We all showed up. We all dressed up, (one year, my mom insisted we wear matching Kaftans!) all of us with armfuls of presents and the world was ours. As the music played, everyone laughing, dancing and partying together. The mood was so warm and there was nowhere else we would rather be. Just together. My grandfather, Poppy, Peter Shannon, would take his once a year, half a shot of blackberry brandy and head to bed early. His sparkling blue eyes and hugs still make me teary. He was a kind, soft soul. We would feast, for hours, we were very blessed, content. We were happy to be together. Another rule was, we had to wait till midnight to open gifts. Once you became a teenager, you could stay up and open with the “adults”. A rite of passage. I think we bent that rule for Anthony, but the poor kid had to wait. You see, the rule was, oldest first. He was patient and he loved being spoiled too!
One year, my Dad decided to pen his thoughts and gratefulness to us. He wrote the first Christmas letter. It was a letter of love, hope and admiration for his wife and children. He would write about milestones and how proud he was of all our accomplishments. Most importantly, always reminding us the meaning and importance of family. The people in this room, he would say, are everything and all I cherish in this harsh world. He would remind us that no matter what, if you needed help, we would all be there for each other. I remember looking up at my Dad and feeling so proud and mostly, loved and cherished. The wonderful thing about the letter, is each of us over the next decades would take a turn and write our own Christmas letter to the family. It turns out, many of my siblings were talented writers and wrote beautiful letters and messages. I of course, a self proclaimed poet/writer, wrote a tear jerker. If I made my parents cry, I knew I was doing good.
As the years flew by, we all married, we had lots of children, we had each other, we had love and family. We had it all. Our grandparents and our parents were alive and well. Our traditions continued, but our shift turned to our children. My family was insane with the presents. My son, Michael was the first born grandchild. That year, I believe we needed a whole bedroom just to stack up his gifts. He was king, he was the first born grandson. Too bad he was only 6 weeks old! They continued to indulge and spoil my son throughout his entire life.
We continued our Christmas Eve tradition for many, many years. Then, well, life happened. My oldest brother Thomas, got married and eventually moved to California. Then, one by one, others moved, divorced and some even remarried. My grandfather passed first, followed by my grandmother. The shift was happening, but, we were still a family. Eventually my brother Michael moved to Charlotte, NC and my sister got remarried and moved to New Jersey. We continued to have our Christmas Eve dinners, however, they became much smaller. A huge factor was relocations and the reality of divorce. When my siblings divorced with children, they all had to share and compromise on certain holidays. That became an issue over the years that none of us had control of. For me, I think the turning point was the death of my father. He died eighteen years ago. Tragically, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and suffered for 6 months in Chemo. He died shortly after his treatments ended. My father, Thomas, he was our rock, and the glue and the center of our family. Our mentor and beloved father left this earth at 64 years of age. It was unexpected and devastated all of us. He was young, he fought, but lost the battle and, sadly, we were never the same. How could we be? My mother moved in with me and we still managed to hang on to some of her traditions. We would hold each other up, grieve and move forward. My mom grieved more than the loss of her husband. She also grieved the traditional Christmas Eve’s she instilled in all of us. We managed and just loved each other and thankful that we had each other. That year, we all chipped in and we surprised my Mom with an engraved pendant necklace with my Dad’s picture engraved on it. I have it on video, she cried and loved that gift so much.
My mom passed away ten years ago. She had many medical issues and sadly, she got sick and suffered for several days in ICU. She was 71 years old. She told me shortly before her death that she had a dream. She said she dreamt that she would join my Dad at 72. I remember being upset and scolding her! I said, thanks for the heads up Mom. Little did we know, she wouldn’t make her 72’nd birthday. I was blessed to have a mother who loved me, my whole entire existence, unconditionally, and now, eternally.
When my Dad died, my brother, Thomas got remarried and offered to host Christmas Eve dinner at his home. He had the biggest house and he wanted to blend the new families together. I remember him telling me, you have to bend and adapt to change. I told him, I don’t think I have to do that, but, eventually I relented, and after my Mother died, I went to his house and joined him and his new family. Tom threw great parties. Generous and loving he was. I learned a few things: Life changes. Nothing remains the same, except the love and the memories we hold deeply in our hearts and mind. I was happy that we celebrated together.
In my life, our family, we, sadly have suffered with many losses. Our entire family was dealt a devastating loss in 2015 when my oldest brother Thomas died at 55. He sadly, tragically ended his own life by suicide. I still go to Christmas Eve at his house, it’s still painful and devastating. Every time I drive down his street, my heart sinks and I miss him terribly. So very young and gone from here. My heart carries a memory of him smiling and throwing elaborate dinners and jetting around the Great South Bay in his new boat. I remember he was a natural comedian and could work a room and have you laughing your ass off. He was quite charming and handsome. His smile and those sparkling, white teeth. I used to tell my friends, he was so charming, he got away with lots of stuff. Tom was loved and admired by many. His friends still tell me, I still can’t believe he is gone. Me too. My brother, Tom, he had a great life, a full life, one that most only dream of. Then in a instant, he exited this life. This world lost a wonderful man. I lost a my big brother. God, I miss him, I miss us. I try and remember when he was well and healthy and happy. He tried to keep some of our family traditions. At least we were together, making memories. His wife and kids and step kids are coping and he should be so proud of all of them. They fundraise now each year in honor of Tom. Each Christmas Eve, I say a few words about Tom and we toast to him. Last year, we lit candles for everyone and lined them up his steps to his house. We still go to his house and I will forever wish he was right beside us again.
This is the hard part. The closing chapter I dread having to share. But, I must, because this is the part that changes everything for me. It isn’t pretty. It’s life changing, life altering for me. In 2016, our family suffered another devastating tragedy. The tragic loss and passing of our son Michael. He had just turned 31. Michael had struggled with addiction for a few years. He became addicted to opiates and that lead to Heroin. He was in and out of a dozen detox centers and treatment facilities and programs. He tried very hard to beat it. He was sick and suffering. He hid his addiction from the world. until, he couldn’t. After a court hearing one day, abruptly, he decided to up and move to Maine, three weeks before Christmas. He went to a sober living home near his girlfriend. He was doing ok. Trying to recover. He made a last minute decision, to visit his grandmother and aunt for Christmas dinner. He took a bus down to New Hampshire. Along the way, tragically, he made a bad decision and relapsed and subsequently he overdosed a few hours later in the guest room, next to his Grandmother’s bedroom, on Christmas Eve. We were not there. My sister in law found him. She held him and she called 911 and then she called me at 9:36 am. It felt like a slow motion horror movie. It wasn’t a movie. I felt like I was dead that morning. A part of you dies when your child dies. Your world instantly changes. My son, Michael died from a heroin/fentynol overdose. I found out later that my brother in law hosted his son and family in the adjoining house hours later. Like it never happened. It is painful to even picture that scene. I thank my sister in law for her strength and for holding my son. I thank my mother in law for loving my son. I am forever sorry that it happened in your home. He was loved and had so much to live for. My son fell in love and had a child. A baby girl he never got to raise. I know he loved her, but addiction blocked him from being a father to her. I know that really effected him and he suffered greatly from losing custody. I saw what addiction can do and take from you and your family. Everyone suffers. The addict suffers the most. So, how could it happen? How could he die on Christmas Eve? were they sure? The police officer got on the phone to confirm that. I gave the phone to my husband. You see, my biggest fear and my worst nightmare was unraveling as I watched the Christmas parade on TV. My beautiful son loved Christmas Eve. He loved it the most. He would often tell me how much he missed all of us being together. How much he missed his grandparents. He loved the food and the family and all his cousins. We all did. I wrote my children a Christmas letter a year before that and read it to our little family around the dining room table. I only wished for him to recover and regain his life back. So, not all dreams come true. Not everyone survives. Life isn’t always “fair” or “blessed”. Change is inevitable. That is a given. Life goes on. Some live longer, some die young. The lessons I learned were not pretty or sugar coated. I just learned how to cope and how I can honor and live the remainder of my life on this earth with dignity and with grace.
I reunited with my granddaughter 3 years ago. She was shy, and quiet. (Not like her Dad at all!) & When I saw her little face, I saw her Dad staring back at me. she resembles her father. She turned out to be quite angelic. She has a sweet, loving heart. She brings instant joy and love. She has ignited my soul in many ways. I love spoiling her and spending time with her. Abruptly, she has moved to Greece last spring. I speak to her on face time. I pray we see her again some day. She will soon be five years old. She is growing and I miss her terribly. If heaven truly exists, I picture my son, her Dad, watching over her and protecting her always. I hope one day she asks me about her Dad. I am prepared to tell her all the stories of Christmas Eve’s past, and show her the family who loved and adored him. I will explain how her great grandmother instilled traditions and how we all were together and celebrated. I hope to reunite with her again soon. Life, so unpredictable, so fleeing. Here is my Christmas wish for all of you this year:
Enjoy each other when you can. Show up for Christmas dinner, & tolerate each other. Be kind to each other. Keep it light and no drama. You have like 364 other days to create drama. So, go out and make memories and traditions with and for your children and grandchildren. Decorate the trees and string a few lights. Drive around and see all the sparkling lights in your town! Attend all the events and tree lightings in your community. Go to Church. Praise God. Please buy a toy for a child who has nothing. Teach your kids to give back. That is what heals me now. I spoiled my own children for 30 years. Now, I enjoy picking a family who is less fortunate and donating to make their Christmas special. I promise you, You won’t regret any of it. You will teach your children a tradition, and perhaps they will continue that with their own. Afterall, isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about? Teach them to be kind to one another. Instill a few fun traditions for just you and your family. But….Most of all, remember to tell the ones that you cherish and love the most how much you adore them. Maybe you can even write a letter this year and read it to your family. I know all of those traditions made our holidays special. To my two beautiful children. Always remember, I love you to the moon and back again <3. Always & Forever.... Mamabear <3