Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Tribute to My Mothers Love

My mother died Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1990 at the age of 57. By the time the ambulance reached San Pedro Hospital, she had already fallen into a deep coma. Once she reached the E.R., a series of brain scans revealed the trauma of a massive stroke left little hope she would regain consciousness. Over the coming week, Stefani’s team of doctors continued to run tests while they began to prepare our family for her death. What those doctors had not anticipated, was my mother's ability to wage a tireless fight. For fourteen days, she fought to stay alive hanging on in a deep coma long enough for each member of our family to say goodbye.

Throughout those days, I never stopped believing she could overcome death and live to tell the story. However, this time prayer wouldn’t be good enough to save my mother from an early death; God had other plans for her. I regret never having the opportunity to hear her voice again or not being able to have one more conversation to thank her for all she had contributed to my life. Unlike so many other people who lose a parent, I was one of the lucky ones given time to say goodbye.

Following two gut-renching weeks of holding on to hope my mother chose to walk into the white light, leaving my sister and I to go home to grieve. We both knew then, that our endless prayers to God didn't have the power to change the outcome. Our mother had made the decision to let go on her own to be with God. She faded away, believing it was her time and now we were left to honor her decision.

That first evening alone without her, I remember lying on the bed in her guest room looking out the window at a full moon and a string of Christmas lights dotting the hillside above her home. I wondered then how people could possibly celebrate Christmas, now that my mother had left the planet. How would my sister and I ever be able to celebrate Christmas, New Years Eve, Easter, Mother’s Day, birthdays and another Thanksgiving for the rest of our lives without her leading the festivities? How would I find the strength to overcome my dark depression and muster the courage to let go of her love and begin to rebuild my life in positive, healthy ways? How could I be sure I would not forget her voice, her smile, her laugh, her warm caring touch, her strength, her wisdom, her courage to always follow the right path and most importantly, her endless uncompromising love for my sister Valerie and I? She had never tired in wanting the best for me or my sister and took every opportunity to encourage us both to be wise, capable and strong women.

My greatest fear was that time would have the power to erase my mother’s memory. That night was twenty years ago this week and there hasn’t been a day in between I haven’t thought of Stefani and all the love she brought into my life. She was an incredible human being who always chose the high road in her relationships giving away her love freely. After twenty years, I can happily say that her love has not faded from my memory because she lives on in my heart.

So this year I will celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks for the gift of my mother’s love. For it is through her, I learned my values, the meaning of love and the bond of family. Time has erased the pain of her loss, but has proven powerless against erasing her memory.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Birthday - A Day of Promise

This is a day of promise; of hopefulness, and cheer
For this is my day to remember
The lives that touch my heart each year

Today is the day I reflect, on all I have to give
Because I am blessed with another year to live

So many special memories are woven into my life
None of them as powerful as God giving me a second chance at life

Overcoming cancer opened my soul
Now I understand it is love
That truly makes me whole

The love and wonder of my life, is what I celebrate today
I send you love and happiness
As I look forward to another day

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Strength of Forgiveness

Who is it that you cannot forgive? We each have a list of people who did us wrong or who were never able to quite live up to our expectations. If your name is on that list, you are not the only person on the earth with a dark secret.

Holding on to the past and failing to grasp the importance of forgiveness depletes your soul. Moving forward with life becomes impossible. Living in the past drains all the positive energy we need to create a joyous future. Close your eyes, can you feel your anger in the pit of your stomach and the power of those unrealized expectations eating away at your dreams?

Directing our negative emotion toward others will never penetrate their heart as deeply, or as completely as the grip it has on you. It is time to ask if giving them your power is worth repeatedly reliving how you’ve been wronged.

Forgiveness is the beginning to understanding our anxieties and feelings of unhappiness. I believe our failure to know joy is a direct reflection of our inability to forgive. So come clean, what are you holding onto?

No matter how deep your pain, believing your life is not worth the power of letting go keeps you shrouded in darkness. It is easy to believe our unwillingness to forgive centers around our false perception that it serves as our armour against the pain. Have you noticed how the pain grows as you relive it every day?

With a clear focus, the joy we all deserve lies just beyond our ability to start living life in the present.

How long are you willing to wait before you are ready to stop playing the same game? Experience tells me life is short and the days we focus on the past, take us away from the minutes, days, months and years we have left to experience the joy and wonder we are meant to live in the future.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Power of Healing

What are you healing from? A life threatening illness, the end of a relationship, the death of a lover, a friend, or family member? Have you struggled to overcome addiction and gone to hell and back in search of finding your soul?

Healing comes to us in many forms and is a neverending process of life’s journey. With it comes the emotions of fear, sadness, loss, and ultimately, the need to adapt to change. I believe we have a responsibility to learn from the challenges’s put before us. My challenge was to embrace the fact that the universe was handing me a lesson I needed to learn.  I could either die or fight to overcome my fears, with the goal that this experience would make me a stronger human being.

My path to healing from cancer took many twists and turns. I found healing, in the support and comfort I received from friends and family. I found healing, by beginning to honor my body in ways that embraced the love they showed me, allowing me to love myself even in my darkest moments. I found healing, through the beauty and wonder in nature. The stars seemed brighter, the sunsets more colorful, the waves crashing on the beach louder, the unique beauty of the desert became more interesting, the peace of waking beside a lake more serene. God appeared to me in all these acts of love and places of beauty and I knew I was never alone in my struggle.

Today, my life has a new perspective. I am blessed for having gone through the pain of cancer.  Loosing my hair was only a minor inconvenience, although I admit looking in the mirror some days tested my views about my sense of self worth.  Not being able to digest food for the better part of a year and all that came with chemo and radiation, brought me to the depths of despair on many occassions.  There were days, I actually felt I was slowly dying inside.  My body and strength were being tested and I remember silently wondering if I might loose this battle.  Looking back, I came through my journey wiser, more compassionate, and more deeply connected to others. Moving through the process of healing opened up my creativity and need to communicate the profoundly powerful lessons we all can learn.  The key is to pay close attention to the individual lessons hidden within our pain.

I encourage you to seek to understand your journey of healing, be patient with yourself -- healing takes time, connect to a power greater than yourself and you too will find the power to be transformed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I have never really thought much about Heaven or the concept of its existence.

Last night while searching the sky, it occurred to me that perhaps stars are not cold masses of ice. Maybe all those millions of stars are just holes in the sky, sparkling brightly to provide us a glimpse into Heaven. I believe they serve as our window into the majesty and wonder of Heaven.

We have all heard that when we die there will be a bright light for us to walk into, leading the way to eternity. People who have had near-death experiences, often describe they experienced an intense light and an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity.

I will look at the stars differently from now on, choosing to believe that perhaps, they might be tiny little holes in the fabric of our universe. The purpose of every one of those tiny lights is there to give us a glimpse of the intensity and wonder of Heaven.

By Kevin S. Andersen

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Writers often end up writing about their obsessions. The things that haunt them; the things they cannot forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.

The list of my obsessions change but unlike most writers, I never take the time to write them down. I would rather not be reminded they exist. If I did make a list, at the very least I would always have things to write about. I am sure once they appear on paper I give them power to manifest becoming larger than they really are. Either way, I am committed not to give them control over my life.

One obsession uncovers its ugly head to taunt me just as life seems to stablize and return to normal. Overcoming cancer is a cruel ellusion that will never go away. Just as life becomes clearer than ever before, the month of June signifies the season for my annual PET scan.

The “what ifs” become my obsession as I hide them from the world. What if my cancer comes back? The fear is understandable, yet holds no place in my life. I crushed it when I won my battle against the Dragon two years ago.

The reality is, I have done all I can do to keep it at bay. If cancer were to return, I would just take up the battle again and keep doing so, until I could fight no more. Lifes journey serves to remind me how powerful I am. My soul is fearless against the unknown and for now, I give thanks for another day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wandering in the Desert

Wandering in the desert, looking for the Promised Land: this is our life. As we live our life and survive, living through the good and bad times, we may come to a discovery: Wandering in the desert is the Promised Land.

That’s very hard to comprehend. We all know pain and suffering. We want the suffering to end. We want to reach a Promised Land where the suffering doesn’t exist anymore. In working with those who are dying or facing their inner demons, Stephen Levine observes that true healing happens when we go into our own pain so deeply that we see it is not just our pain, but also everyone’s pain. We are all damaged. Once we really get this, it becomes life changing because we understand that each person has their own inner demons. After years of personal growth work and living through a cancer diagnosis, I see that the whole world is in pain.

It has been said, that our relationships are similar. We tend to believe they begin, they last for a period of time, and they end. Yet we are always in relationship and always connected to one another. Our relationships manifest and grow in unique ways, but before that manifestation, they already existed, and after it “ends,” those relationships continue. We remain in some sort of relationship even with those who have died. Former friends, former lovers, former relatives continue to live on in our lives and are part of who we are. The visible manifestation may end, but the actual relationship never ends. Our lives were joined and we are never separate from one another. Once we face our pain and experience it, a shift occurs in our view of others and how we begin to live our life.

The everyday tedium of our lives is the desert we wander, looking for the Promised Land. Our relationships, our work, and all the little tasks of life are all part of the gift. Even happiness can be painful because as we move through life, we learn we may loose it.

Life is very short. The moments that we experience are quickly gone forever and we’ll never see them again. How will we choose to spend the little space in time left to us? Will we waste it spending our time about thoughts of how difficult life is? Or will we break away from the “wanting” and come into openness? The openness comes from finding joy in all that surrounds us. Joy includes the suffering, the happiness, and everything that is our life. Acceptance is the kind of healing worthy of our struggle.

So our relationships never end. We can walk out, get divorced, but we can’t end them. Such an ending would require us to be something we’re not, which is separate from others. When we try to become separate, the suffering begins again. Maybe Stephen Levine was right when he said, “we are born to heal into life.” For each of us the healing is different, but the purpose is the same. Stop the madness of the ego, which says, look out for yourself. Connecting on a deeper level within our relationships opens us up to love and realizing we are already in the Promised Land.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Journey

The Latin root of universe is “uni,” which means “one,” and “verse,” which means “passage.” One passage: I believe this to mean each of us has our own authentic path. We just need to stop trying, stop willing, and just let life happen.
It has been said, “Life is a Journey, and we each must follow our own path.”
As I learn to follow my path, I finally understand the value of surrendering my need to control my destiny. As I have written previously, the universe has led me again and again, to follow my path north back to Seattle. Over the last year, the book project I’ve been editing is not  yet complete. After spending a warm winter in sunny Southern California, April signaled it was time to plan my third roadtrip over the last year back to the Emerald City.
Leaving home and family behind for five to six months at a time for work, has also taught me the benefit of surrendering to the universe. Nothing positive ever comes when I resist change. Therefore, I have made it a daily affirmation to embrace new people, new surrounding’s and to welcome new challenges into my life. Doing so has never come easy, but I see my life expanding beyond what I dreamed possible as I let go and strive to live an authentic life.
My roadtrip was scheduled to include a week’s drive up Highway 101 through California and over to the coast through Mendicino and up Highway 1 to hug the rugged wind swept California and Oregon Coasts. Driving solo for five days is a lonely propisition but the beauty of the west coast makes the adventure worth adding to anyones “Bucket List.” Eventually, the long hours alone became a form of meditation as the universe peeled back the many layers of who I have become.
Leaving Los Angeles I felt the stress disappear from every inch of my body as I turned my apprehension about leaving home, into excitement over the realization that God has put me on a path to live out my dream. Not all the pieces fit together yet, but I know they lie ahead of me.
My trip would not be complete without stops in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Mendicino and Neskowin, Oregon to spend quality time with longtime friends. Although my friends and I don’t have the opportunity to see one another often enough anymore, it seems we always pick up where we left off during our last visit.

Driving north above San Francisco I became one with the neverending twists and turns of Highway 1. I listened to soulful music, soaked in the incredible scenery, and took the opportunity to reflect on the value of these old friendships. Without them, life would feel empty and without meaning. Building connection and community has proven to sustain and enrich my life.
I spent time exploring the incredible beaches, writing in my journal, and asking God for direction in living my life in the present moment. I am coming to understand that all the moments that happened in my past are a memory, and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy. Memories and fantasies are nice, but they lead me nowhere except the past, which no longer exists. All any of us really have is NOW.
On a deeper level, my journey has led me to clearly see that every action or decision I make generates a result. What I put out there dictates what I get in return. If I am not putting out abundance, abundance will not come into my life!
After seven days in the car alone, it felt good to be back in the Pacific Northwest again. This place always fills my soul with the feeling that I have come home. Spring has brought with it flowers on the cherry trees and the two eagles that nest just beyond my bedroom window, have returned home as well. Life moves forward as I settle in to reconnect with my purpose and live a life full of intention.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How I Found Jesus on the Job

Corporate America can be unforgiving when we look to find Jesus on the job. His spiritual philosophy has been lost in the competition to survive and prosper. I have seen moral and ethical values fade and I have known many, whose greed has won the battle between the hours of eight to five. Slowly, a shift is unfolding and people are awakening to the reality that loosing your soul on the job -- is not the path to inner happiness.

My journey began in Corporate America thirty-four years ago. From the beginning, my goal much like many people has been to work hard, pursue a career that brings satisfaction, and in return, earn a decent living. My road has been full of blessings and challenges. There have been times; I’ve had to confront the fact that I found myself going down the wrong path. I’ve had positions where I felt completely under utilized, not valued, and confused when confronted by people who demonstrate a competitive spirit. I have watched strong leaders focus on the demands of running a public company, only to leave their morals at the door.

As a Christian, I never felt comfortable openly expressing my need to follow the example set by Jesus to overcome the challenges I face on the job. Instead, God has found me seeking His answers in private. Working in a job that is unfulfilling, has only served to deflate my spirit and confirm I have so much more to give before I reach my full potential.

Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to hear God’s dreams for us. Two years ago, I was working in a toxic environment for a controlling manager who called herself a Christian, but seemed conflicted about how to lead others in the work place. In 2008, it had become clear to me I had lost my way. I found myself restless, stressed out and unhappy with my work. It was during this low point I was diagnosed with cancer. Hearing those words changes everything. Time stands still and you realize in that moment you have a choice in how you want to live your life. From that moment forward, I chose to live my life with clear intention.

A week later, I began daily radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I went into the office through my first round of chemo, but soon found it necessary to work from home. My absense from the office became a source of conflict and the support and compassion I had hoped to find from my manager, never materialized. Following my last round of chemo, I was hospitalized and once I came home, I was unable to get out of bed for anothertwo-weeks. It was during this stillness, I came to terms with the fact it was time to change my focus.

One of the most difficult things to do is to change the way we imagine our place in life. Nothing is more challenging. On the other hand, once this change takes place, nothing could be more revitalizing, because your eyes open to a different world.

I asked Jesus to step in and help me redirect my career. I was ready to live out my passion and commit to my writing. I promised to dedicate whatever time I have left to focusing on my love for writing and ultimately serving others. I didn’t know how I would make my dream a reality. All I could do was pray every day that He would show me a new way.

Within days, His plan for the second phase of my life revealed itself during a routine walk with my neighbor. I shared my thoughts and desire for a new writing career with my friend. She responded by sharing that she had just heard from a long time family friend, who was writing his autobiography and in need of an editor. One year later, I look back over my yearlong association with this wise 88-year old man, and I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the writing of his incredible life story.

I am now cancer free and feel fortunate to finally be living my dream. Today, Jesus is with me every day on the Job. I believe it was as easy as asking Him into my heart and being open to the possibility that He would redirect my life and allow me to fulfill my purpose.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In the Still of the Night

Photo by Kevin S. Andersen

In the still of the night, God has laid bare the beauty and many wonders of my world. The silloutte of the moons glow casts a backdrop expanding my internal life perspective. The moons powerful pull, not only controls the changing ocean tides, it continues to change me on a deep cellular level.

Inner peace is the gift so many easily over look. Its value opens doors and changes lives forever. Peace found its way into my soul, once I had an opportunity to start life over. For me it came at a high price. Cancer taught me never again to overlook the power of NOW. I am learning to live my life boldly, to overcome fear, to feel compassion, to appreciate the wonder of nature, to remain loyal to my faith in God and to reach out and connect to the people who touch my heart.

Life is fleeting. We each look back at some point and wonder where the time has gone. It all comes down to honoring the importance of living our lives with purpose and exploring how to connect with the life energy that is part of our ever-expanding universe. I feel this connection in the still of the night and wonder how many others have learned to experience its power.

My friend Linda, who tonight is on the edge of passing, understands all of this. Her courage to let go, comes from this inner peace and a heart felt connection to this world and the next. She lived life and learned how to live it boldly, without fear, full of compassion, with an appreciation for nature and held on to her faith in a higher power promising her life here on earth is only the beginning. Linda has fought a long and valent battle against The Dragon. She may have lost the fight, but she did so with grace. Linda taught me how to live and when my time comes, how to die. Good night my friend, let the moons glow take you home.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Beginnings

Today is the day for new beginnings. Tradition tells us every January 1st is our one “do-over” day. Whatever miss-steps we took last year, goals that did not come to pass, or dreams that did not materalize, are not lost. Today we are given the gift of new beginnings, starting over – stronger for the wisdom and lessons learned in 2009.

2010 ushers in a new decade. That in itself is reason to reevaluate and prioritize what is important and commit to changing our lives in ways that will bring stability, happiness, comfort, and love once again into our lives. How difficult can that be? I am sure I make my life much more complicated than it needs to be. If I could change anything, it would be to simplify my life.

As I began to ask the people around me, “what made life so difficult in 2009,” the consensus was that we allowed the greed of others to take control of our lives. It seemed greed was everywhere, running rampant across America and around the world. We learned our political leaders could not protect us because many of them are full of greed, serving their own political agendas. We saw the financial markets tumble and bring so many of us to our knees. We put our money in places we did not truly understand, trusting others to increase our wealth, yet found they had no ethics. Collectively we chose to believe there was no bubble and that living in America guarenteed our financial success. Now looking back, we can see it was us who lost their way. We put our faith in men who use their power to appease their greed. It is time for a new way. The lesson before us is, we have a responsibility to protect ourselves from those who can and will destroy our way of life if given the opportunity.

Today as I reflect on the lessons I learned in 2009, I commit to let go of my resentments against those filled with greed. It is encombant upon me to take responsibility for the stability of my financial future.

On this day of new beginnings, I also commit to improving my health. A cancer diagnosis taught me that it is the corner stone of living my best life now. I say it is time we all come to terms with the fact that our food is pumped full of hormones and sprayed with pesticides and that our bodies cannot sustain this amount of toxic overload. I now understand that the FDA is incapable of protecting my health, as long as it remains controlled by giant companies like Monsanto. Protecting myself means I must begin to eat organic food, drink only bottled water.

Starting today, I pledge to begin juicing and eating raw organic food, eliminating meat from my diet, to discontinue using my microwave oven just because it’s convenient, detoxing by body from toxins, and making the switch from storing my food in plastic to glass containers. 2010 is the year to take responsibility for my health. Doing so will require a shift in thinking to assure my long-term health.  I want this for all the people I love, but I have learned we must want it for ourselves first. So, I pray you will take an active interest in learning about what is in the food you eat and take your power back by putting your health first.

Finally, I pledge that 2010 will become my year for “going deeper.” Going deeper will remind me that I want to make a point of squeezing more out of life every day, to feel my emotions more deeply, to love more passionately, to share myself with others more freely and to follow my dreams in ways that will bring deeper long-lasting happiness into the world.

On this day of new beginnings, what are the things you vow to change?