G/365~Perky Boundaries…

I remember the day my intern supervisor at a VA Hospital left a sticky note on my computer. It simply read, “Perky Boundaries”. There it was. That yellow square staring at ME.

Stop the perkiness from bleeding into the lives of others.

Be aware of the impact of perkiness.

Beware of the impact of perkiness.

Bind perky.

But, um, I’m perky…

I removed the note. It stuck to my index finger and continued to stare at me, like a mirror reflecting perk-o-lating, perkiness at me. At the age of 25, it was a mildly devastating moment.

But now, as I relish in the comfort of middle-age and motherhood, I am able to feel the gratitude of that not-so-perky moment.

Having been a dancer and actor much of the early years of my life, I wrestled with the existential message on that 3M Post-It Note. I knew it was valuable feedback. I knew that those who observe our work as mentors will give the gift of critique and feedback. I knew that I must “Take The Note” and say, “Thank you Perky Boundaries”. It hurt. I was in pain. I was unprotected. I was in the real world with out my mommy to protect. I put myself right there open to the Universe…

So, I took the note and used some Jungian psychology to allow the note to guide me on my path to being a better public servant for those in need.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)

I opened myself to The Note and thought about the advantages and disadvantages of my persona. It became a message about protecting myself from those who might harm. A message about being authentic. I did not condemn, but allowed an open focus.

And in this same spirit of openness to the Universe, I put my children out there. Thrust into new environments I put them in front of teachers and mentors and peers who will, Give Them a Note. I remind them, it won’t always feel good to hear what people think. Not all mentors will be nice. I remind them that some of the Not-Nice are just as important. It is possible that they are honest. You must listen, always. You must decide how to liberate yourself. I can’t always protect you.

And so, today, I reflect on my path and feel grateful for The Notes given to me in my life. And feel grateful to value that only we, our self, can use the notes to liberate and grow who we are…

This post produced as part of a year-long expression of gratitude. Gratitude 365 by SShep)


On one of those valuable car ride conversations today I used the opportunity to stand at my podium (while driving) and impart my wisdom of what, “I knew” to my teen. The subject is irrelevant. What is important is that my teen made me aware that,

“No, Mom. You don’t know.” “Mom, you don’t know everything.” “Mom, no, you don’t know.”

Gentle, with valor and soft determination,

Persistent, yet dignified,

Pointed, but not enough to sting,

Weighted, but not heavy enough to harm,

Because in her world, at times, I don’t know.

Daring, but ending with a smile. That is how she told me.

No Mom, you don’t know…

And all I could hear was a tape playing in my head, “You don’t know shit.” No matter how much you try to prove yourself. No matter how much you want to be right. No matter how much you want to BE ON TOP! That lovely face staring at you knows in that moment, that, you don’t know shit. This is HER lived experience now.

So, I deferred in that moment, quickly, to the wise words of Alexandra Stoddard I’ve read so often in her book, Things I Want My Daughters To Know, page 23, “you don’t have to prove anything, to anyone.” Let her have this one. It’s ok if she believes you don’t know shit.

According to Fogel (1993), we experienced a shift in our consensual frame. In other words, our shared way of perceiving and comprehending each other had changed in that moment.

I knew that the way she would perceive my knowledge would change and develop with the passage of time. I just didn’t know when. Now, during early to mid adolescence is when, DUH.

I have chosen to accept this rite of passage in Motherhood. Is it worth it to squabble and prove my advanced degree? No. It is not. I will be all-knowing when it comes to matters of danger and high risk. But there are so many others moments where I will be flexible and support her need for individuation from me so she can extend her social world of “knowing”. What do I need to prove?

In other words, I am grateful, for now, that I don’t know shit.

This post produced as part of a year-long expression of gratitude. Gratitude 365 by SShep)


Image borrowed from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p_UCf2JLBZo/TaNi1-FG_gI/AAAAAAAAEZg/gU7zrrQ_62c/s1600/duh-duh1233387823.jpg

Fogel A. (1993) Developing through relationships: Origins of communication, self, and culture. University of Chicago Press

Jackson, S. , Bijstra, J. , Oostra, L. , & Bosma, H. (1998). Adolescents’ perceptions of communication with parents relative to specific aspects of relationships with parents and personal development. Journal of Adolescence21(3), 305-22.

G/365~Metal In Her Mouth


A rite of passage in Suburbia, metal in her mouth. Not really a big deal. Everyone does it here. Just to me, a big deal.

It made her quiet and reflective. She stared in the mirror. She thought about her looks.

She looked different. She looked less little.

Less little means bigger.
Bigger means change.
Change means exploration.
Away from me.

Today, I’m just grateful that she’s still here.

Here in my home.
Close to my arms.

This post produced as part of a year-long expression of gratitude. Gratitude 365 by SShep)

Grateful for Thoughts of Broccoli

Broccoli brought on a grateful moment today. Wham! Smack dab in the middle of planning dinner I realized that I was worrying about the Little Things in a marriage. Should I serve the same vegetable two nights in a row? What will my husband think?

Actually, both of us make such a big deal out of the little things. Most arguments are about Little Things! Nit picky? No, according to Kalyan-Masih, V. (and Others) (1988),

People tend to have such lofty conceptions of love and marital happiness that little day-to-day simple acts of kindness are seldom considered.

Smallest Coins of Marital Happiness by V. Kalyan-Masih, reported that “small daily acts can strengthen a marriage.”

And so…

Wouldn’t it be nice if the same veggie wasn’t served two days in a row?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were clean linens on the bed upon returning from a business trip?

Wouldn’t it be nice to greet someone with a smile when they come home?

Isn’t it nice when they’re HIS kids too?

Isn’t it nice when asked, everyday, how was your day?

Isn’t it nice when they say thank you for the home cooked meal?

Wouldn’t it be nice if after 20 years you simply looked at each other, smiled at each other, and hugged?

And so, I am grateful that I put weight on the Little Things and will not let them weigh me down. Because those big gifts, trips, celebrations, milestones are all great, but they aren’t as important as….. NOT serving broccoli two nights in a row!!

Have you been feeling grateful for the Little Things in your relationship lately?

(This post produced as part of a year-long expression of gratitude. Gratitude 365 by SShep)


Photo borrowed from: Jenny GG Photography and retrieved from http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2011550381_offbeatbride11.html

<a href=”http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED301824&site=ehost-live”>Smallest Coins of Marital Happiness.</a>

Body = Vehicle

Sometimes I dance naked,

Sometimes I eat an extra piece of chocolate, (Well, maybe two extra…)

Sometimes I dress up,

Sometimes I look frumpy,

Sometimes I gain a bit,

Sometimes I lose a bit.

Mostly I choose a veggie,

Mostly I quench with water,

Mostly I move because it feels good.

Never am I mean to me…

Mostly I am just grateful for a vehicle that carries me through life. ~Thank you body.

These words inspired by, Christine Carter, Ph.D, who today, asked us to Quit our Diets and reminded us that,

Diets aren’t the way to raise happy, healthy kids.

I just feel grateful that I don’t. My daughters deserve a Mommy who takes care of her vehicle that carries her through life.

I guess now, I’m fueling myself with gratefulness and seeing where my vehicle takes me.

(This post produced as part of a year-long expression of gratitude. Gratitude 365 by SShep)


Bam Bam starring as Bruiser in Legally Blonde, Diablo Theatre Company

Tonight is my first rehearsal for Legally Blonde, The Musical with Diablo Theatre Company and I can’t help but think of Charles Eisenstein’s article about the gifts provided by being part of the theatre community!

Community is woven from gifts.

After completing about 14 shows in the last two and a half years I have watched hundreds of people give “gifts” to each other in the theatre community. Pay is nominal, but the gift giving is endless in the theatre community.

Someone sews,

someone zips,

someone assists,

someone takes notes,

someone paints,

someone builds,

someone carries,

someone listens,

someone counts,

someone plays,

someone directs,

someone reminds,

someone laughs, applauds, taps her foots…..

The next show is here and I am so grateful to be part of the  theatre community that is so strong in the Bay Area. I am grateful for THE GIFT OF BLONDE! Time to give and receive gifts of community and co-create!

Are you sharing your gifts and finding ways to create community this year?

Gratitude 365