heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 5 of 7: Beyond the olive branch


“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.”    

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why can’t we all just get along?

People have been warring since the beginning of time. Tribes. Religious sects. Nations.

And, yes, families.

As I said a few days back, “It all begins and ends with Family.” How can we expect nations to coexist in peace and harmony when many of us can’t even manage to keep our families intact?

There are so many stressors that lead to family conflict: financial problems, joblessness, addiction, illness, death, inheritance and even something as basic as incompatible and/or strong personalities. It is healthy and normal to argue, debate and occasionally fight.  It is unhealthy and hateful to harm others – physically, emotionally, in their business and their reputation within society.

Problems rarely, if ever, solve themselves. Resolution (to problems) usually requires compromise, which inevitably results in loss (i.e. giving something up, to keep the peace).  If  there is love, respect and a willingness to work through the conflict – because of a deep-seated desire to keep the family together – then there is hope.  Sometimes an outside mediator, such as a therapist, counsellor or spiritual guide (i.e. priest/minister/rabbi/imam) may be needed to assist with the process of resolution and reconciliation.  Hopefully, the conflict gets resolved… without too much collateral damage.

“Problems are like washing machines. They twist us, spin us and knock us around but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before.”    

– Unknown

But what if we can’t all just get along? Not now. Not ever. It happens all the time.  Parents divorce. Children leave home for good, pledging never to return. Siblings each go their own way, losing all communication with each other. Family members become estranged. It’s sad, even tragic, when that happens.

I don’t have any answers. What I do know for sure is that family is fundamental to our well-being.  That said, for family to coexist as a united and loving unit… each and every family member must want it to be so.  Some people need time, space and distance to gain perspective and eventually reunite.

Alas, there are some families so fractured that they are beyond the olive branch.

And everyone moves on – each going his/her separate way.

Sometimes it’s for the better.

“Sometimes problems don’t require a solution to solve them; instead they require maturity to outgrow them.”    

Steve Maraboli

Some Book Recommendations:

Peace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communitiesby Rick Love


Mom Always Liked You Best: A Guide for Resolving Family Feuds, Inheritance Battles & Eldercare Crises Arline Kardasis and Rikk Larsen



*Note: The title of today’s Blog – “Beyond the olive branch” – is the title of Volume 4 in my Baby Boomer Series™ of books (in progress

Photo via Wikimedia Commons



heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: Keep it simple


“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

Henry David Thoreau

swirly2This year, the inspiration for my New Year’s “Revelations” stem from some of the experiences, life events and lessons learned in the past year.

For me, it was – as Charles Dickens wrote (in Tale of Two Cities) – “the best of times, it was the worst of times…. it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

And with each year comes more wisdom.

I hope that some or all of these revelations resonate with you.


We live in a complex world and we , more often than not, tend to overcomplicate our lives.

Over the years, I’ve learned – both by choice and by necessity – to shed the layers of excess…. from the superficial to the significant.

By superficial, I mean (for example)… how many pairs of shoes does a woman really need?

By significant, I mean (for example)… do you need to surround yourself with a large group of so-called family, friends and acquaintances who may or may not be well-meaning and authentic versus maintaining ties with the people who have a shared history and/or heritage and who like/love you… no matter what?

Maybe it’s a function of age and acquired wisdom, but I can say that I have significantly simplified my life and I feel lighter (in the spiritual sense) as a result.

We reach a point in our lives when we have to face some harsh truths – about ourselves, about what motivates us and why, and about how we want to live/conduct the rest of our lives.

When we shed the unnecessary “onion layers” of our lives, we’re left with the essentials.

It makes life cleaner, neater, and more focused.

Personally, I feel much more at peace and happy with myself now than at any other point in my life. Simplicity, in my view, equals Freedom.

So, as this New Year commences, I urge you to try to simplify every aspect of your life… as much as you can. Think of it as a spiritual diet.  Just make sure you stick with it.  You’ll be happy you did.

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”


Some Book Recommendations:

Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex Worldby Richard J. Foster


The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay



Photo via flickr.com



Gone fishing …

I haven’t been blogging much these days, partly because a lot of my time is consumed by writing my book “When the Child Becomes the Parent”  and also because I am being lured by so many distractions — all of which involve home renovation projects and gardening.  Okay, perhaps “lured”  isn’t the right word.  Let’s shift the blame back to the real culprit.  Me.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

I admit it.  I am addicted to home improvement — inside and out.  I am an avid (rabid?)  HGTV and DIY television channel viewer.  Candace Olsen. Ty PenningtonDavid Bromstad. Genevieve Gorder. Vern Yip. Mike HolmesJamie Durie.  These talented designers, architects, builders, and landscape artists are my muses.

Not to mention my very own live-in architect and engineer.

In my view, there is nothing more rewarding than working with my hands (my nearest and dearest now calls me Rosie the Riveter)  and either creating something from scratch or restoring a room to its former glory.  Each Christmas, I tell my husband that in lieu of exchanging gifts just for the sake of it, we should simply get ourselves a new power tool — like a jack hammer, for example.  To which he replies, eyes shining, “I am such a lucky bastard!  A wife who loves power tools and motorcycles … amazing!”  

I never disagree with my husband.  That would be just rude.

But, I am getting distracted again.  As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to finish writing my book.  It is about one month (give or take a few days) behind schedule … a schedule that is completely self-directed.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

Here’s my reasoning:  it is important to balance intellectual pursuits with physical activity.

Sitting in front of a computer, writing and researching for twelve hours straight is simply  not conducive to good health.   Although writing marathons/binges can be very productive,  the downside is that they can cause eye strain, circulation problems, and muscle pain.

I am an extremist.  I do go on writing binges which render me oblivious to time and sound.  I believe it’s referred to as “being in the zone.” However, when I let myself get distracted by my beloved house and garden projects, I push myself to my physical limits and, once again, I forget about that she-devil called Time.  The downside?  Chapter Nine was supposed to have been completed two weeks ago.  And, to add insult to injury, I just threw out my lower back again — very badly.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

I should heed my own words. Balance.  Wasn’t that what I said earlier? Not one or the other. Both. In moderation and harmony.

Of course, now I can’t do either.  Sure, I can manage a 500-word blog, but I keep getting sharp twinges of pain when I move this way or that. So, I will have to press the Pause button for now and take it easy for a few days.

Gone fishing …


P.S.  I welcome any suggestions for tried and true home remedies for back pain …

Image via paisleyperspective.com.

New Year’s Revelation No.5 of 7: Align Mind, Body and Spirit

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

As enlightened individuals, we all comprehend – in theory – that in order to maintain a healthy body, a sound mind and a serene-yet-vibrant spirit … we must align these three entities, so that we can truly be whole.  However, in practice, this can be quite a tall order to fill. Our lives are hectic, complicated, often stressful, and – every so often –  tragedy strikes.  The more balanced we are, the more armed we will be to cope with whatever trials and tribulations come our way.  Stress is a predator.  If we’re not careful, it can eat away health, destroy the mind, and deflate the spirit. 

We are each masters of our own mind, body, and spirit.  If we blame other people, circumstances or events for our lack of balance, we are deluding ourselves.  Each person is ultimately responsible for herself/himself (the exception to this is, of course, someone who is completely physically or mentally incapacitated).  So, once we own up to our responsibility, it will then be time to take the next step —  Alignment. 

There are so many “alignment” methods to choose from and we’re not necessarily limited to only one.  Choose whatever combination of activities work with your lifestyle.

Personally, I have decided to incorporate yoga into my daily routine.  I am guilty of letting my mind, body, and spirit  get completely out of whack. I could stand to lose a few (!!) pounds.  I often let stress get the better of me, which results in elevated blood pressure levels.  And I am prone to bouts of melancholia (I am a Writer, so this is sometimes inevitable).  I have never taken yoga before. Nevertheless, I feel that I must make this part of my daily (not weekly) ritual.  I need balance. My life depends on it.  I am starting with video instruction, and then in March, I will go actual to yoga classes. Here, in the eclectic and bohemian village of Coconut Grove, we have a Hare Krishna Temple and I am considering attending classes there. 

Also, I love to dance. By myself. With my husband. On a dance floor with a bunch of total strangers. But, dance I shall.  It lifts the spirit.

So, here are a few (the list is not exhaustive) activities that will help you find discipline, harmony and serenity:

Make 2012 the year that you harmonize your mind, body, and spirit. Make good nutrition a priority. Try to eat organic food, whenever possible. 

Oh, and get some sleep.  If you are sleep-deprived, you will compromise your  overall health and you will have no energy left … to dance. 

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”  ~ Martha Graham

Images via blogs.orlandosentineal.com (top) and absoluteconfidence.com (bottom).