elevate's Spring Newsletter
Stairs elevate you; ethics elevates you; goodness elevates you; awareness elevates you; wisdom elevates you. - Mehmet Murat ildan What elevates you?
Spring elevates me! Tulips emerging from the soil, blades of grass turning green, winter's dormant trees budding, and sunlight shining through early evening makes me feel inspired, invigorated, and renewed. This is spring, this is elevation. Writing also elevates me, and it is my hope that this Spring Newsletter does the same for you.
Adelaide Books will be publishing my second novel, The Dog Walkers, in March of 2022. Stay tuned for more information about how to reserve your copy of The Dog Walkers.
Alone and terrified, Ali Doyle invents backstories to Dog Walkers while self-quarantining after a dramatic break-up. Yet, it’s an unknown voice, a missing gentleman, and a vulnerable dog that finally propel Ali from her fear-fueled isolation. As Ali learns to trust, she gains friends, unearths her truth, and discovers love.
LEARNING TO BEND What if the one thing that’s holding you back is the thing you don’t know how to let go? Jenna Moore's flawlessly orchestrated life and engagement to Ben Kelly, “the perfect man,” vanish when she discovers a controlling side of her fiancé. Confused and unsure of who she is without Ben, Jenna decides to uproot from her safe, predictable life in Boston and move to Bend, Oregon, hoping to find her answers there. It’s when she meets Jackson, a former Navy SEAL who battles demons of his own, that Jenna acquires the courage to let go of being perfect and embrace uncomfortable risks, transforming her life through forgiveness, compassion, surrender, and acceptance. Yet the rewards from discovering her true self exceed Jenna’s expectations — not only does she find the greatest love of her life, but she also understands what’s kept her from learning to bend.
This Week's Blog:
Who Am I To Judge? Somewhere along the way, we’ve become professional judges, comfortably criticizing others’ beliefs, opinions, and preferences. It seems that lately, everyone either supports or opposes practically everything and anything. We’ve become experts, whether or not we are educated in the topic. Sadly, when others do not fall in our “camp” and think in ways similar to ours, we often dismiss their ideas … or perhaps even them. Yet why must we all share the same beliefs? Aren’t differing perspectives healthy? Isn’t diversity the foundation of our country? I remember when people enjoyed debating topics, when it was not taboo to talk about politics, religion, spirituality vs. science, racial issues, sexuality, or even vaccines. But those days seem long gone. Of course, we can discuss any of the above with those who think as we do. However, should we dare to even tip toe around these sensitive subjects with certain people whose ideologies differ from ours, we may very well be opening a Pandora’s box and ruining a relationship. While political correctness has its place, it should not be at the cost of avoiding honest conversations. After all, if we are unable to broach tricky topics with people we care about — regardless of their point of view — how will we ever grow? More importantly, if we can’t tolerate hearing opposing opinions from family members or friends, how can we ever hope to mend the growing divide that exist in this country? “When we avoid difficult conversations, we trade short-term discomfort for long-term dysfunction.” – Peter Bromberg Listening to another’s perspective does not mean that we endorse their beliefs. Quite the contrary. It shows we are curious, caring, or open to hearing differing thoughts. In the end, we may choose to maintain our beliefs without tweaking them one bit. However, it is also possible we hear something through this interaction which intrigues us, causing us to pause and wonder what if? It is during these moments — when we permit our mind to loosen its grip on having to be “right” — that we expand. Again, we are not required to shift what we believe, leaving one group of thought to join another. But when we listen to people who think differently than we do and ask clarifying questions, we open the door for dialogue. This is where the magic occurs. Quite honestly, we cannot continue to judge each other as if we are on the correct path and “they” are on the road to hell. This habit — whether conscious or unconscious —must stop because the chasm between humans is widening, and this will not end well. It never does. History has shown us … repeatedly. So, how do we put a stop to the judgment and criticism? What can we do to build bridges instead of digging deeper ditches? Compassion, patience, tolerance — these are words so many of us use and comfortably throw around in conversations throughout our day. Sure, we conveniently sprinkle them into our dialogue, but do we truly embrace what they stand for? Are we practicing what we preach? Each of us are at different points of our personal development. However, I doubt we ever truly know where we are on our path. I suspect that at times we feel a bit more “advanced” than we actually are. After all, we do our work — we meditate, pray, say our affirmations, read inspirational books, listen to podcasts featuring our favorite “gurus” — yet are we walking the walk or just talking the talk? As much as I try not to, I fall short of always practicing what I preach — or write — more often than I’d like to admit. Although my intentions may be pure, my ego tends to get in the way, convincing me that others’ views are wrong, perhaps even harmful. I find it easier to have the deep conversations with those who think as I do. After all, they confirm my point of view, reinforcing my opinions and perspective, which only inflates the ego, making her more difficult to tame. I know this is happening when I leave an interaction with another feeling as if we have just solved the world’s problem. We know what’s best. In fact, we’re almost surprised no one has come to us for the answers. Yet when I walk away from a difficult conversation, one where I’m forced to examine my own belief systems and question the why behind them, then I know I’m on the correct path. If I am being challenged to dig deep into my thoughts, consider whether I own them or if I’ve conveniently borrowed them from others, then my ego has stepped aside and my true self is driving the bus. It is during these moments that I become aware whether I am deeply convicted or passionate about a topic. Am I well-versed, knowledgeable, objective? Or am I merely repeating information I’ve heard through the news, social media, or another? I’ve also noticed something very interesting — when I don’t judge those around me, there’s less mindless chatter reverberating in my mind. I’m more present, in the moment, aware. This then continues the cycle of fewer negative comments or unkind slights. Shifting my behavior impacts my thoughts, which then circles back to altering what I talk about. Pretty amazing, right? We do not need to continue this fight against those who think differently than we do. Persisting in this quiet battle is damaging, even dangerous. While we certainly are not required to shift our beliefs, we can become part of the solution to diminish the ever-growing judgment if we allow ourselves to openly listen to others with differing views. Each one of us is a unique human being, yet together, we create the foundation to our neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, states, and country. Part of our beautify lies in the diversity of our beliefs. However, when we claim another as right/wrong or good/bad merely because they think differently than we do, we lose our oneness of spirit, the invisible element that binds us together. By all means own your thoughts and feel free to share them. Then allow the same courtesy to those around you. Embrace compassion, patience, and tolerance. Ask yourself the difficult questions. Commit to those uncomfortable conversations. Explore, listen, reflect. This is how we grow — individually, and as a collective. If we can all commit to judging less, we will be amazed with the ease in which we can interact as our true selves without fear of being judged. This, my friends, is how the change occurs.Add your text here. Edit to add dynamic values like name, email and more.
Meet the Newest Member of the Davis Team
Walking with our son, Grant, and his dog — our grand dog — Obi truly elevates me. Watching this year-old black lab gingerly greet other dogs on the path at Good Dog Park (sometimes he says hello with a bit too much vigor) makes my day. Obi's eyes light up when he spies a stick, sees Grant, or encounters a patch of remaining snow to roll down, filling my heart with joy, reminding me how simple and pleasurable life can be. Let's just say Obi grounds me and lightens my day. Yet perhaps his most amazing gift is unconditional love and exuberance for life. Sometimes it the dogs who teach the humans the most.