It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go…

It doesn't matter where you go in life it's who you have beside you (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)Which is more important, where you go in life or the person beside you (whether it is a love-partner, family, friends or children)? If you absolutely had to choose, which would it be?

When I asked myself that question, my automatic first response was the person beside me. But then I thought about where most of my energy goes. Sadly, it is not towards my loved ones.

I would hazard to guess that if we were forced to watch a play-by-play of our day, most of our time would be spent on work, to do’s, commitments and the rest of the doings of life. Only after all that is done, do we give to the ones by our side.

It is so easy to get caught up in the cycle of doing, doing, doing. Achieve this, do that, buy this, and then buy any even bigger or newer this or that. We work to give those we love what we think they need (and we need — or is it want?). But at what cost? Are we so exhausted by day’s end that we have nothing left of our true selves to give?

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

As my husband and I prepare to go on a vacation (which is where we will be when this post goes live), it will no doubt be another reminder of how fast our lives are going. We will come back with great intentions. To slow down. To not work as hard. We will even think seriously about leaving the “rat-race” and choosing a much simpler lifestyle.

But there is a chasm that stops us from taking this leap. The fear of change. The fear of leaving everything we know. The fear of the unknown. The reality of aging parents and other responsibilities that keep us rooted where we are. And as the vacation wears off, we are at risk of falling into the same pattern. Doing, rather than being. Achieving for tomorrow, and missing today.

But maybe this time we will bring more of the vacation mind-set back home with us. Maybe we will remember to keep our eyes — and our hearts — open so we are not so focused on getting to where we think we should be going, that we forget to see what is happening right now. Maybe instead of rushing through each day and scratching items off the to-do list, we will pause and see the gifts in every day moments. Maybe this time, we will stay focused on what is truly important. Like those who are standing beside us.

“Remember happiness is a way of travel not a destination.” — Roy Goodman

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”– Lawrence Block

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”– Jawaharal Nehru

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” — Martin Buber

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” — Miriam Beard

“You might be poor on money, but rich on life.” — Kasper Raunholst

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

“Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.” — Mahado

Seeing The Sun Even When It Rains (or Snows)…

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. (Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

After a long, cold winter with far (far!) too much snow, I feel like this little boy in the drawing, ready to jump into spring. What is it about bad weather that can put such a damper on our spirit? When I lived in a rainy winter climate, the weeks of overcast skies gave me such a dreary, closed in feeling that I felt my spirit suffocating. Although I was too stubborn to see if I had Seasonal Affective Disorder, I do think my mood was affected by the lack of sunshine. And now that I live in a sunny, albeit […] Read more »

Having an Argh! Moment…

The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

No doubt about it, I am marooned on Argh! Island. I am trying to remind myself that it is just a moment and it will pass. I have been telling myself that since yesterday. But yesterday’s frustrating moments have multiplied like bunny rabbits and have invaded my today moments. My brain is stuck and the bunnies keep multiplying. What is so frustrating, you ask? (and even if you did not, here is the answer) After the high of finishing the first draft of my very first book, I have plummeted to the ground with a Splat! as I face the world of revisions, […] Read more »

The Little Boy in the Drawing…

Pencil drawing of a sad little boy (by Diane Mottl)

My guess is if you saw this little boy in the drawing hunched over, face burrowed in his arms you would stop and ask, “Are you okay? Can I help?” Unlike the hesitation some of us may have felt helping the man with the cardboard sign, most of us would come to the aid of a young child.  Something kicks in that makes us care enough to reach out and connect. Are we reacting to his vulnerability? Innocence? Is it the parenting instinct to protect (whether we are a parent or not). Or do we see a little bit of our long ago selves reflected in […] Read more »

Do You See Me?

Pencil drawing of a homeless man (by Diane Mottl)

Earlier this week, I was pulling to a stop at a busy intersection and a man walked between the lanes holding a cardboard sign asking for change. I am ashamed to say, I avoided looking at him. Hiding behind my sunglasses I watched him in my rear view mirror. All the drivers I could see were staring straight ahead. The man ambled back up the sidewalk, leaned against a building, and waited for the light to turn red for the next lanes of traffic. I drove by him, still hiding behind my sunglasses. All the way home, I thought of […] Read more »

Slow As A Snail Ain’t So Bad…

"Wisely and Slowly. They Stumble that run fast." (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl -

We have been going through  a record deep freeze where all you want to do is hunker down until Mother Nature decides she’s had enough fun watching us freeze our kahoona’s off and turns up the temperature. The crappy weather left me feeling sluggish and not at all motivated to do a drawing this week. So when I saw this snail (slug carrying his house – smile) slowly sliming its way up a step, I thought, perfect! With only a scratched outline of the drawing completed, I was already jumping ahead to what I could write. Something about holding on and […] Read more »

Being Held Up Or Being Held Back?

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

There was something in this drawing that struck a chord within me. At first, I saw a tightly wound wire tethering a fence post that was only moments away from tumbling to the ground. But then I looked at the snarled wire again and it began to look more ominous. I saw how its sharp edges were poking this way and that; how it was snaking its way around and around, knotting and tangling itself up as it held fast. That’s when I looked at the fence post differently. Was it being held up? Or was it straining and pulling as it struggled to break free of its […] Read more »

Two Halves Don’t Make A Whole…

"The best thing to hold on to in life is each other" (Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

When I found the quote I used for the drawing on the left, I immediately saw it as a powerful message that cuts to the chase about what is really important in life. But then I started to think about the different ways that we hold on to each other: some healthy, some not-so-healthy. So what makes “holding on” cross over into not-so-healthy land? I think a big part of it comes down to how whole we are. If I am holding on to someone to make me feel whole/complete, then I am cheating myself and them. To me, being whole has nothing to do with […] Read more »

Life Lessons Learned with a Drawing Pencil…

Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up (pencil drawing: Diane Mottl)

The drawing on the left was so close to being crumpled and thrown in the garbage. I look at it now and can proudly see it for what it is and am grateful for what I learned. Let me explain. My drawings follow a predictable pattern. I start out with a light sketch to get the proportions right (I have a very well worn eraser – smile). When I think I have it, I pick one area (i.e. the child’s shorts) and start to fill, shade and smudge until it starts to take shape. Then I move on to another small area. But then I hit the same […] Read more »

The Words to the Song in Your Heart…

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. (Pencil drawing by Diane Mottl,

If you have read my blog before, you know I am a wee-bit of a quote junkie. I love how a snippet of wisdom can resonate so deeply it echoes for days. I found one such quote, after finishing the drawing of the two friends walking: “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” (Donna Roberts) Take a moment to let the waves of those words wash over you. Do you know what the song in your heart is? What fills you with joy?  What keeps […] Read more »