Enjoy life? Too much to do first!

As we all go through life, we may look around us and try to justify why we should or should not allow ourselves to do things to relax and have fun, especially if there is something else that needs to be done.

So many of us were taught that being productive is the only way to live one’s life.  Anything else is “laziness.”

Sometimes, the things that we have been taught need to be reexamined.

The all-or-nothing approach to life is not a balanced one. It is one of the reasons that so many of us seem to have  issues with balancing the all of the things we have going on in our lives. We just cannot seem to win.

When we choose to do something that is fun and breathes life into us, even when there are things that stare us in the face that need to be done, we do NOT need to feel shame and guilt for doing so.  We may even hear those damned voices loud and telling us otherwise.

So many of us have come to believe that life is “black or white,” “good or bad,” “either (this) or (that).”  Others fall in the middle with a belief that life is “gray,” all being mixtures of the two.

I have learned (and am continuing to learn) that explanations are not all that simple.

Life is BOTH black-and-white, good-and-bad, this-and-that. Recognizing this as truth allows for us to face the difficult things AND enjoy ourselves in the process. Learning to rid ourselves of the shame and guilt of life is not easy, but by learning how to enjoy life in the midst of all the tough stuff is important!

Photo credit:  Pixabay, public domain


Do it before it’s too late

It’s been nearly eight years ago since a dear friend of mine died at the age of 41 from aggressive metastatic breast cancer.  I met her early in 2006 on a training walk. She had been diagnosed several months earlier, at the age of 37.

We spent some face-to-face time together from time-to-time, but most of our friendship was spent talking on the telephone. There was an instant connection between us, whether we saw one another at events, had lunch together, or talked for minutes or hours.

I was 13 years older than she was, but Kim was wise beyond her years, and I learned so much from her.

As the time came closer to losing her battle, I remember the weekend that Kim, her husband and young son, sister and brother-in-law, and mother went to the coast together to take Dad’s ashes to scatter them into the ocean.  Kim’s Mom had kept the urn in the bedroom for the 10 years, but as Kim told it to me, “She needs to let him go as she faces losing another family member.”

It broke my heart on so many levels. I was glad that they were able to do this as a family.  It certainly marked a moment of reality in their lives.  It was a remarkably bittersweet moment of love and family.

It serves as a reminder to me (to us all?) that family get-togethers are important to take when they are joyous memory builders.  The same can be said for friendships.

How often are we “too busy” to make time for friends and family? How often do we simply NOT take the time for those we say are important to us? How often can you “not afford” to share in moments that may cost nothing more than time and willingness?

At the point that I met Kim, I had not dealt with the loss of too many people, other than those who were quite old.  Losing young people I knew personally was new for me. I could not imagine having lost a child or a sister.

I was as involved as I could be toward her end-of-life. It was not easy, but I learned the pain of life and of death having gone through it with this woman and her family, all whom I loved dearly.

Since Kim’s death in 2010, I have lost some significant people in my life, ranging in age from their 20s to 80s. Each is loved as a child, parent, friend, friend and more. It escapes no one.  I have also know many other people in my life who has shared their heartaches of losing with me.

There is universal advice that I have heard throughout the years since Kim has passed…

Spend time together, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to be…not just once a year on an obligatory holiday. Whether by phone, through regular mail, or face-to-face, take time to laugh and cry with one another. Let one another know your secrets.  Make memories. Include, do not exclude. Ensure that they feel loved.

Not everyone has as a family that was as intact as what I experienced with Kim and her family.  I was lucky to experience it and to be included in the family as a friend and extended family member.

We can choose friends to be the family we do not have. We can build on what we do have with family members who are important to us.

The important thing to remember is to get-together.  Laugh. Make memories. Love one another. Take time. Show love. Create. And, please…

Do it before “losing another…”

Kim 2009


Photo credit:  (Photo 1) My photo of Kim carrying the strength banner at the 2008 Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day.  (Photo 2) 2009 photo shared at her memorial.  Kim passed away in May 2010, just three days before her 42nd birthday.


Without forgiveness there is no future. ~~ Desmond Tutu

Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of resentment.  It can lead to having compassion and empathy for one who has hurt you.  This does not take away someone’s responsibility for their actions that have hurt you. Nor does it justify what was done to wrong you. But forgiveness allows you a sense of peace that can bring about a certain level of understanding.

Forgiveness creates opportunities to show kindness and compassion, and fosters a willingness to grow past the transgression and work on building a healthier relationship.

There are times when you must also ask FOR forgiveness.  It requires an honest look at what you have done and how it has impacted someone else.  If you are truly sorry for something you did or said, it may be that you talk to the person that you have hurt and share your sincere regret and specifically ask  for forgiveness.  No excuses. But remember that you are human, and making mistakes are part of being so.

Remember, too, that not everyone will forgive you.  You cannot force someone to forgive you. Others will have to come to terms with the situation as they feel they can and move toward forgiveness in their own time.

Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect…AND….commit to treating yourself with the same.

Love Yourself on Half-price Chocolate Day!

So, you are like so many of us and did not get chocolates from a “special Valentine”?

Today is half-price chocolate day!

Of course, you do have to buy it for yourself. However, that might just be preferable to having to live with someone day in and day out.
And, if you did, they may not know the difference between good chocolate and bad chocolate. ( I do not subscribe to the idea that ‘Any chocolate is good chocolate’.)
So, if you are single and living by yourself, remember that…

You can still have your chocolate…and eat it too!

Love yourself and get it at half-price on all those special after-Valentine’s Day sales!


When I was much younger, I did not understand what older people meant when they would tell me, “If you have a handful of people in your life that you can count on one hand, you are lucky!” 

Like so many young people, I believed that the more people you knew and thought were friends, the better off you are.  These would always be there for you through thick and thin.  Of course, as we grow older we realize this is not the case.

To learn earlier in life that it is better to find just a few others with whom you can truly be yourself sets one up for better friendships.  There would be fewer worries about having to impress. No having to put makeup on, getting dressed up, acting a certain way because of your age, or any other arbitrary rules of friendship when you get together for social events.

August 21, 2017 was a Monday morning just like that.

The event was the solar eclipse of 2017. None of us had ever experienced one before, and we had the opportunity to see a 94% solar eclipse.

We were simply three friends, who have known one another for a very long time. With little sleep, no makeup, not giving a rat’s patootie what anyone else thinks of them, they made memories and had fun together.  If the younger crowd would have seen us, they would have thought we were all being dumb, annoying, and intent on embarrassing them.

What a joy it is to be at a point in life when you can take the simplest of moments and simply experience them with people who aren’t afraid to experience life with you… One moment at a time.

Oh! Sheer authenticity and joy!

It’s the middle of February and Life seems to be moving at mach speed

Life seems to pass along so quickly any more.  There never seems to be enough time.  At least, that’s what I hear others say.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece called “Out of sight, out of mind” ( click on the link to read) and noted that we do not pay much attention to those around us. I have to wonder just how much can be attributed to the fast pace by which we make our choices.

I also wonder why we want to include others in our lives, yet do not seem to have the time to do so.

The question remains:  Do we REALLY want them or do we simply feel obligated to say so?

Life continues to move day-by-day.  One day, it will come to an end for each of us.  But time will continue to move on for those who remain.  Are we ready to deal with the consequences of having so little time for those we say we care about?

Time is ticking away at record speed. Quality time spent is so important, that we must make some decisions to forego the things that rob us of joy, and seek out those moments where we do not settle. Time will not wait for us.



Mothers Day Lessons: Learning to say, “I love you”


Author’s Note:  Today I wanted to share with you three things I wrote –one for today, one last year, and one from three years ago. Thank you for taking the time to read all that I share from my heart.  

I overheard a  conversation  yesterday in which someone commented on “the obligatory phone call.”  I felt a sense of sorrow having heard it. I understood the need to act like a dutiful child, when I  was angry at my parents and the rest of the world for dealing me some crummy “life cards.”  I wondered if the person engaged in the conversation would understand what I wrote this morning in…

 “Mom gave the gift of life”

Last year, I remembered the last Mothers Day that I had with my own mother five years ago.  There had been many Mothers Days over the years that I had missed having spent with her after leaving home at the age of 18. Having been there with her on the last Mothers Day of her life was a special moment for me…

“Mothers Day Without My Mom”

Each year spent without being able to call my Mom is a reminder that she has been gone for nearly five years.  I cannot say that it “gets easier with time.” But what I can tell you is that there is not a day in my life  where I do not celebrate those moments that I used to take for granted. It really hit home for me on the  first Mothers Day without her, when I wrote…

“The Best Gift”

I hope that someday there will be a sense of reconciliation for those who continue to hold onto the anger, sense of obligation, and the hurt they continue to clutch to their hearts. Learning to love someone in spite of the hardships is certainly not easy.  We are not even sure what that is supposed to look or feel like.

But when we look to find those soft-spots in our hearts, and reach out in love, however awkward it may be or feel, there is a peace that can surpass all understanding. It will open up the world to receive more love that we knew possible. It all starts by saying…



© 2016  Coral Levang

Photo credits: Pixabay; No attribution required, Public Domain



Three Years Ago Sadness But Today a Different Story

chinese-675117_640Today, I give you short and sweet.

It was Carl Jung who said, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” 

Three years ago was a very bleak time for me and for those who were closest to me. Much has transpired over these three years.

Yet, in the midst of the darkness came a flicker of light, which was not able to be extinguished. And for that, and the wonderful people in my life, I am truly grateful.

I invite you to read these other two posts to hear more of the story: Three Years and Continuing to Make Memories and Suicide: The Night I Took My Life.

“We all have a personal pool of quicksand inside us where we begin to sink and need friends and family to find us and remind us of all the good that has been and will be.” ~~Regina Brett

When Feeling Unappreciated, What Do You Do?

hands-658065_640Between my work over the years, and being uber-extroverted, I meet and talk with a lot of people. Although I am certainly “quite the talker,” I also listen and observe more than people often think I do.

I have been told that I have a knack of “drawing people out of themselves,” though I think that is what happens when we learn to be more effective communicators. Of course, there are many times that I have just as many communication issues in those relationships closest to me, as others do.  After all, each of us has our history with which to deal.

I often hear in my interactions with students, clients, and others I meet who share along the way, that they feel under- or unappreciated.  I have felt that way myself. It seems to run the gamut of personal and work relationships.  Family, coworkers, friendships…the lament seems to be the same. It seems to be universal.

“I am tired of being taken for granted!”

It is easy to pull away when feeling the most vulnerable. It is one way that feels like protection from feeling more hurt.  The results can lead to lashing out in anger and words being thrown like daggers. It takes awhile to recover from those wounds, especially when weeks, months, or years pass without resolve.

Every once in awhile, when least expected, someone will have an impact in a way that seems unimaginable. An acquaintance will share genuine words of encouragement, love, and support, singing praises of appreciation or adoration.

These are the times that I am left (nearly) speechless. I find it difficult to process in those moments that I may be anything other than the (fill-in-the-blank) that others have declared I am. It challenges, not only the view I think others have of me but, the view I have of myself.

I wonder what might happen if, in our dealings with all people, we were to look at others through new lenses and see what we liked about them.

If we were to appreciate others, would we be more appreciated? What if we were all to share more often what we appreciated about others?

Not obligatory words in order to assuage a sense of guilt or feeling “beholden to.” Not to manipulate or pander to others, looking for acknowledgement of the gift of kind words finally bestowed upon them.  Not just once. But often simply letting others know what they mean to us and why?

Would this make a difference in the relationships we already have?  Would it make a difference in someone’s life? Would we bridge gaps? Would we build new friendships?

Today, I consciously make the decision to make a difference by letting someone know what I appreciate about them.