Author: Dorothy Sander



Yesterday, as I carted home yet another piece of my mother’s furniture. I had to admit to myself that I am not doing very well in Simplifyingthe simplifying department!  When the calendar turned over, and 2017 began, I placed the intention to begin downsizing and simplifying front and center in my mind.  I had begun to feel the weight of the stuff I still carried with me, and I knew it was time.  Now, with only 3 short months until the next turn of the calendar year,  I am keenly aware that I’ve fallen short of my own expectations.

Reflecting on this situation today, I am reminded that while progress may not be evident on the outside, the intentions we hold work behind the scenes in our unconscious even when we are not working in the world. In truth, this is an essential part of the process of real and lasting change. An idea arises. We grab it, take a look at it, consider its merits and then decide whether to hold on to it or toss it aside. If we hold on to it, then we must either begin preparations to act or act. If we do not, the idea will keep reappearing until we let go of it or do it. Stating our intention is only the first step in a very long process that brings about the final outcome. This is the nature of change or transformation.


To effect change we must let our ideas sink down and become anchored within us. Then the wheels of progress will be set in motion. An idea in the mind must find support in the heart in order for the will to push it forward.  When we stall out it is because we are unconsciously blocking our forward motion. We are, in essence, sabotaging our own success.  Unless we become aware of the block and work through it, we will remain stuck. We will not be able to bring our ideas and intentions into the concrete world.

SimplifyMy intention was and still is a good one.  I did not bring it into the physical world, however, because unconsciously I was avoiding the pain of letting go. In order to shed the excess in my world, I must face layers and layers of loss. Simplifying is often more about our willingness to grieve and let go than it is the time and effort to psychically sort and toss.

In my home, I am surrounded by things of the past; my children’s belongings still buried in closets, unfinished projects awaiting my attention, boxes of my mother’s belongings, and so much more. It’s so much easier to push ahead into the future than to bury the past.  But, when we avoid letting go, we end up carrying weighty baggage that clutters our interior landscape as much as our exterior one. In time, life begins to feel overwhelming, frantic and/or unmanageable.


The past year has not been wasted. Holding the intention allowed me and my psyche to lay the groundwork, to prepare myself for the grieving process. There is no value in beating ourselves up over unaccomplished intentions. It’s not only a diversion from the real issue, but a waste of time and energy.  Instead, I choose to bring the attention into my awareness more and more frequently. As I hold it loosely and turn toward it, my unconscious continues to set the stage for action.

This may sound like a whole lot of unnecessary psycho-babble to you, but it is important to understand that there is much going on within us that is outside of our conscious awareness. When we use it to our advantage, instead of our destruction, we step into the flow of life rather than fighting against it, or ourselves.

Has an idea come into your mind, perhaps again and again,
calling for your attention and intention?

© Dorothy Sander 2017

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Finding Hope


Symbols of Transformation ~ A Total Eclipse & A Luna Moth

Symbols of Transformation ~ A Total Eclipse & A Luna Moth

TransformationThis beautiful creature fell upon my path last night while I was out walking. On the eve of a total eclipse, it was a poignant reminder that darkness does not last forever and that transformation is the very gift of life itself.  I received this beauty as a gift and a sign, both for myself in my suffering heart and the world.

The Luna Moth is a symbol of transformation. She is attracted to the light of the moon, and therefore is seen most often in the evenings before dark. Symbolically she speaks to us of the Divine Feminine — the value of the inner spirit — and the importance of trusting our senses and intuition during dark periods in our lives.


The Luna Moth is born, transforms and dies.  She lives only a few weeks in the adult stage and does not eat during her adult phase, as in this stage she has no mouth. Her presence in the growing darkness is a reminder to seek the light, even in the darkness. Her journey is our journey and is the seeking of balance between light and dark, between the seen and the unseen, and walking the medial way even when we’re not sure where we’re going.

Our journey is the process of healing itself, both of ourselves and the world. It is the giving and receiving of love.  Like the Luna Moth, we were born for this journey. It is our birthright and our destiny to play a part, however small, in healing the world and birthing of the soul. We we heal ourselves we contribute to the healing of the whole and the birth of a more balanced world.

“Though her soul requires seeing, the culture around her requires sightlessness. Though her soul wishes to speak its truth, she is pressured to be silent.”  ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 We are living in a period of darkness as a nation, echoed in the personal lives of many.  Luna reminds us to hold fast to the light, even when we can’t see it. Like the Luna Moth, our transforming hearts are attracted to light and hear the call of unconditional love. We must simply continue to follow the light and trust the message of transformation.

Darkness and dark times will always be with us, but so too is the abiding presence of light and love. It appears to us in the unfolding of time. Hold on to the symbol of the Luna Moth as a reminder to seek transformation and to trust the process.

66 Things I’m Grateful for on My 66th Birthday

66 Things I’m Grateful for on My 66th Birthday

Today is the perfect opportunity for me to shine a little light on some of the good things in life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless and hopeless during these chaotic times. For that reason it’s important for each of us to make an effort to look away from the darkness and remind ourselves of all the beauty and goodness that still exists, even when we’re not paying attention to it. I can’t help but to think of the words of Buddha:

Quote by Buddha

This year I’d like to feel and attract more of the things in this list, not in what I see and take in every day in the news.


I am grateful for:

  1. Another birthday to celebrate.
  2. 66 years of learning, growing, struggling and becoming. What a gift!
  3. My husband, who shines a light on my heart every single day. He’s my rock.
  4. My first-born son. A gift. He gifts me with heady conversation and deep reflection.
  5. My second born son. A treasure. His gift to me is compassion and intuition.
  6. My daughter-in-law. A gem. She gifts me with laughter and enthusiasm for life and love.
  7. My soon-to-be-D-I-L. A sparkling star. Her gift to my life is joy and curiosity.
  8. My siblings. Each one brings something unique to my life and is a thread in the tapestry of my life.
  9. My female friends. Each one has taught me something important about myself and what it means to truly love and care about another human being.
  10. The love of furry friends who offer comfort and an opportunity to practice patience.
  11. My many teachers who have open doors I never even knew existed.
  12. A comfortable home and the many blessings it holds.
  13. The opportunity to live in a country that is rich beyond imaging for a majority of the world and one that cherishes higher values at its core.
  14. The opportunity to stretch our boundaries and grow as a nation in the midst of strife.
  15. The many men and women who fought, suffered and died in an effort to birth what we now have in the US.
  16. The women  in all walks of life who have stood up for equality and paved the road for the women today.
  17. And the women who continue to do battle in their own personal lives today to ensure a better future for tomorrow’s women.
  18. Poets, writers, musicians and artists of all types who show us our soul.
  19. The gift off creativity and inspiration that drives me every day to push my edges.
  20. Technology that brings people together and exposes us to our shadow.
  21. To live in a time of discovery.
  22. Comfort – ruining water and electricity that provide warmth in winter and cool air in summer.
  23. Glorious flowers, shrubs and trees that beautiful the landscape.
  24. Rugged mountains symbolizing strength and endurance and invoke the same in me.
  25. The sweet smell of ocean tides that refresh my spirit.
  26. The rhythmic sound of waves crashing on the beach nudging me toward a meditative mind.
  27. Mystery and mysticism – the gift of the unknown that calls to each of us.
  28. The enduring power of love in all of its manifestations.
  29. For rivers, streams, and spring waters.NC Waterfalls
  30. The healing power body work professionals, whose training and spirit provides comfort and renewal to
  31. Farmers who till the soil and care for livestock day in and day out to put food on our table.
  32. For the conservation minded who have pushed us to be responsible citizens in the care of Mother Earth.
  33. And the kind-hearted souls who look after wounded animals, stray and neglected pets.
  34. For doctors and modern medicine that give hope to the sick.
  35. Modern equipment that has provided medical treatments not available before.
  36. For scientists and researchers who work tirelessly to find answers to unanswered questions.
  37. Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, sociologists and historians who look for understanding to life’s big questions.
  38. Games, movies, and entertainment.
  39. The freedom to travel.
  40. Snow, sleet, rain and sun that enliven the human spirit and make things grow.
  41. The gift of darkness so we can appreciate light.
  42. Hard times that lead us toward transformation.
  43. Words that help me express my gratitude and all the thoughts that live in my head.
  44. A comfortable bed with soft sheets and fluffy pillows.
  45. Clocks. They help me live in a world that requires I know time.
  46. Naps.
  47. Coffee, wine and ice cream!
  48. Restaurants that provide me with an opportunity to taste foods I would not otherwise taste!
  49. The French Bakery and the charming baker himself!
  50. Universities, colleges and schools that have and continue to enlighten generations of children and young adults.
  51. People who invest in the arts and help to create great venues like Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center.
  52. For museums that help us hold onto our history.
  53. For green grass and butterflies.
  54. Bees and birds that delight while they pollinate and transport seeds!
  55. The deer who trim my shrubs and keep the rabbits and mice company.
  56. Personal computers that have made it possible for me to become a writer.
  57. Washers, dryers, dishwashers, toasters, blenders, coffee makers and so many other appliances that have made our lives so much easier.
  58. For essential oils and products of the earth that our bringing what’s natural back into our lives.
  59. Rocks, stones and gems; their beauty, strength and grounding ability.
  60. Rock bands, orchestras, choruses and all who gather together to create music
  61. Instruments that inspire and assist them
  62. The frontier – there is always a frontier.
  63. Churches, cathedrals, temples erected to glorify something greater than ourselves for their ability to provide comfort and shelter to those who suffer.
  64. Chocolate. 🙂
  65. Traditions, holidays and time set aside for family and celebration
  66. Campfires, tents and s’mores.

That’s it!

© Dorothy Sander 2017



Birthday FreebiesDo You Know About Birthday Freebies? I didn’t, but sure do now!

First, I want to say that my heart is with family and friends and all who are mourning today in Charlottesville and beyond. I began a post a few hours with the intention of addressing the dire state of our country as reflected in recent events.  We are all in a state off shock and disbelief at the speed at which our country has unraveled. We are hanging on for dear life.

Charlottesville is a second home to me. We lived there for several years in the late ’80s and it is the birthplace of my youngest son.  My parents, now deceased, called it home for twenty years and my two sisters and their families live there still.  The streets on which the death and destruction took place are very familiar to me. I walked them almost every day on my way to and from my shop on the downtown mall. The carnage is very personal to me. Still, I decided not to write about it just yet. There are enough words of bitterness, anger and angst being spread across the airways today.

Instead, I’m going to share my 66 Gratitudes in honor of my 66th birthday today. I had so much fun doing this last year I thought I’d make it a tradition. In addition, I’ve discovered that freebies abound on our birthdays and my gift to you is passing them along!

66 Gratitudes on My 66th Birthday


There are so many birthday freebies available, but they are always changing. I will list a few here and several sites that have complete lists. Some require that you register and become a member of a rewards program. There isn’t usually a charge, but you must sign up before your birthday to receive your freebie.

StarbucksJoin their rewards club for a free drink or treat on your birthday.

DSW: Join DSW’s rewards program and receive a $5 gift certificate on your birthday.

ACE Hardware: Sign up for ACE Rewards and get a $5 off coupon on your birthday.

Bare Minerals: Become a Friends and Benefits member and get a gift customized to your personal profile on your birthday.

Sephora: Sign up for Beauty Insiders and receive a complimentary gift during your birthday month.

CVS: Register for a CVS ExtraCare Card and get $3 in ExtraCare Bucks every year on your birthday.

Applebees: Free treat on your birthday

AMC Birthday Freebie – Free Popcorn on your birthday!

Baskin Robbins: Free Ice Cream Cone

Cold Stone Creamery: BOGO


AARP: Birthday Freebies & Discounts

Birthday Freebie List by Lauren Greutman

101 Freebies by The Frugal Girls

59 Birthday Freebies




Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

Successful Weight Loss is Not About the Diet

“Why are You so Damn Fat!?” ~ Martha Beck Tells It Like It Is!

Our diet is an important issue for all of us. Weight loss, particularly as we get older, becomes increasingly difficult. We need all the help we can get, not only to lose weight but to maintain it.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve asked myself this question more than once!  The first time I heard these words, however,  were spoken to me by a “friend”, when I was nine years old — minus the expletive. Prior to that, the idea of being too fat, too thin, or anything other than just me, never crossed my mind. After that, it never left. And, I wasn’t even “fat”.

At the time I picked up Martha Beck’s book, The Four Day Win, End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace, I was unaware that my self-talk was a problem. I became a fan of Beck after reading Finding Your Own North Star.  She’s straight forward, honest, intelligent, well-educated and very funny. Most importantly, she knows what she’s talking about, as much from her first hand experience as her vast education.

I downloaded the audio version of The Four Day Win, slipped on my walking shoes and headphones and headed out the  door to walk the dog and find my way to thinner peace.  The first words I heard after hitting “play” were, “Why are you so damn fat!?”  What??  I swallowed hard and out of respect for the woman, I listened on.

Beck no doubt used this opening for shock value and she certainly got my attention. After all, who would say such a thing, beside mean girls and siblings?  She went on to make her point and it was a good one. What we say to ourselves is far worse than anything anyone else says to us.  We use words just like this over and over, day after day, year in and year out, not only about our appearance, but a vast array of things. We are not our own best friend. In fact, we’re our worst enemy! Why wouldn’t we want to soothe our wounds with a half gal of ice cream! (Incidentally, did you know ice cream doesn’t even come in half gallons anymore! That was not nice of the manufactures at all! ~ Yes, I am an addict. <— See? I just did it!)


Our daily stream of mental gibber jabber is far less helpful than it could be.  After all,  Beck writes,  when it comes to diet, “who

Not me, but it could be!

doesn’t know the basics of weight loss? Eat less. Move more. That’s all there is to it!” So, it’s not about the “perfect diet”. It’s not about the “right exercise routine”.  They can be  helpful tools, but what really affects our ability to achieve our goals, no matter what they are, is the way we think and what we tell ourselves, both consciously and unconsciously.

If we want to lose weight, or overcome any obstacle we face, our first step must be to figure out what we are thinking.  When we bringing our self-talk into conscious awareness, we can choose self-talk that supports our diet efforts, rather than sabotaging them.

The Four Day Win is not just a diet book. It’s far more and it’s worth the read before beginning any preplanned life change.  If we’re going to succeed at anything we set out to do, it behooves us to become our own cheerleader.

First published June, 2010

© Dorothy Sander

NOTE: Before beginning any weight loss program be sure and consult with your physician. A BMI calculator will help you determine if you are carrying excess weight and how much.

How to Create Conscious Intention

How to Create Conscious Intention

I’m pretty sure she changed her intention!

Do you remember the last time you made a declaration of intention not to do something? I sure do! In fact, a perfect example leaps to mind. Scott, (my husband), loves sardines. He introduced them to my sons when they were teenagers and they shocked me by actually trying them. (He’s always had more persuasive abilities with them than I have had. Sadly.)

Of course, Scott and the boys also thought I should try them, as I never had. I stated it clearly then, and have repeated it dozens of times since, “I have no intention, whatsoever, of trying sardines. Ever. End of subject.” My very clear statement of intent has not deterred  them from trying again every time they open another odoriferous can of something only a feline should find palatable. My intention remains crystal clear and intact.

Can you remember such a time in your life, when saying “no” felt rock solid? Intention is packed with energy. We feel this energy most acutely when we state an intention about something we don’t want to do and have decided not to do.  However, when we apply our intention toward something we would like to do, things get a little more complicated and mind-field a little muddier. The energy doesn’t seem to stick.


A much wiser cat!

An intention not to do something is easy. It leaves plenty of room to change our mind without fear of leaving a trail of guilt or remorse behind. I could eat sardines tomorrow and any remorse I might feel would only be about the discomfort of the experience. It would give the guys a thrill and tomorrow I could restate my intention as if nothing happened. . . or, and it’s highly unlikely. . . I might abandon my intention and sit down with the cats.

Stating an intention to do something, however, carries with it a different sort of commitment. More importantly, it open us up and begins to expand our awareness.  Imagine this: I create an intention to try sardines. What’s the first thing that happens? Panic sets in. Fear. Uncertainty. A desire to abandon my intention.  It demands that I ask questions. What am I afraid of? Is it the physical displeasure? Or is there something more to it?

Your intentions are probably not about sardines. They are more likely about worthier goals. We all aspire to things that feel a little bit out of reach. When we want to bring our aspirations into reality, forming and spending time with our intention is the perfect teacher and an invaluable guide for the process.  It prepares us for the changes that we are inviting into our lives.

Creating an intention consciously is a request to the Universe for the opportunity to expand and grow; it is opening the door of our creative energy and releasing it into the world. We must be ready to wield this energy and allow it to wield us.