X Y Z…

alphabet letter text on black background
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Remember the “A, B, C” song? First three letters of the alphabet begin the song, and the last three, “X, Y, Z,” end it. The final lyrics in the song are, “Now I’ve said my ‘A, B, Cs. Tell me what you think of me.” I’m now at the end of the alphabet with this series of blogs (26 in total) about words beginning with each letter of the alphabet, and I must admit, many of these pauses have truly challenged my self-acceptance, desire to remain neutral, yet committed to finishing what I started, remaining true to doing what I said I would do. I have hoped you’ve enjoyed some of these blogs. Honestly, however, my greatest delight is that I’ve now reached the end of the alphabet, and won’t be writing about something because it contains the letter of the week on a weekly basis. I’m happy dancing as I write this litany of freedom. It’s down to the end, and I get to deal with the three letters with the least inspirational words I can imagine. Xenophobia (fear of strangers)/x-ray? Youth, Yoke, Yoga, Yearning? (These words I’ve already addressed this year.) Zenith/Zero? (Not really inspirational measurements for literary excellence, in my opinion.) In this pause, I will change my process as I write the last weekly alphabet blog for this year.

The learning I’ve experienced with this alphabet adventure is that life is not about kudos or soliciting praise or likes for what I write. I write because I feel called to write, almost like I feel called to breathe. Many days I don’t feel like writing. This weekly Pause has kept me writing beyond my daily journaling practice. It has been humbling to publish something not well-written and gratifying to publish something I strongly advocate and feel excited about. I’ve learned there are beginnings and endings to experiences. The endings always morph into another beginning of something else so I never consider them the absolute finale because everything becomes new, one way or another.
I’ve learned that I don’t write for an audience. I write for me. Graciously, we are connected at levels of awareness we don’t always recognize or appreciate, and often, my thoughts/words may touch another in an affirming, perhaps pivotal, or incentive manner. The writing itself expresses my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the subject of my writing. Some subjects I love and others I tolerate. Some facets of a weekly blog inspire me to greater awareness, and some aspects drag me deep into “my stuff.”

abc books chalk chalkboard
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Writing, for me, mirrors life. Some days life flows and other days, to flow is a struggle. When I feel challenged to accomplish what I planned with intention to create, I remember my mother, Mary Alice. My mother always admonished me: “Finish what you start.” This edict colored my childhood. When chores, homework, or a project weren’t finished in a timely matter or by appropriate, advised, or congruent methods, there were consequences. If I said I was going to do something, I was expected to do it. If I started a project, made a resolution, or set an intention, I was to be true to my word and complete it. I was to do my best, mean what I say and say what I mean, and to follow the standards and rules that were set for me by my parents and teachers. These precursors to the four agreements guided my upbringing in the Hohlfelder household.
Needless to say, I wasn’t always successful at following these rules. I often felt shamed or blamed, not enough, a failure because I gave myself no wiggle room with these absolute standards. I developed a strong perfectionist judge within myself, one who could never be good enough. Not anyone outside myself was this inner critic. I was my creation, my adaptation to experience, unique to Carol Margaret Hohlfelder.
As I grew life experiences over decades, I learned that I am not what I do, and that who I am is not defined by my association with others. What others think of me is none of my business. I am what I create myself to be, and in my quest to be the best me I can be, I’ve learned that congruence matters. How I act, what I think, how I feel matter in relation to how I choose to respond, contribute, and what I commit to be, do, and have. The best way I know to be congruent is to accept, forgive, and take care of myself. To live by vision and with intention. To bring to others what I want to create for myself and our world: Joy, Love, Peace, Inspiration, Gratitude, Grace…. Lots of different words describing attitudes, feelings, and thoughts that are healing, connecting, and worthy of aspiration by and for all.

I’ve rambled a bit in this “X Y Z” blog, but I’ve followed my mother’s advice and finished what I’ve started. I’ve preferred this discourse to pontification about zenith yokes of xenophobia.


Thank you for traveling from “A B C” to “X Y Z” with me.




This week’s pause is about “wondering”. I spend the majority of my life wondering about various sorts of stuff: ideas, silly thoughts, significant life and death matters, worries, and marvels. Wondering includes the gamut of thoughts and feelings I collect, seek to relish, understand, or learn from. Wondering allows me to live with the questions, curiosity, dreaming, and awe. It requires nothing less or more from me than presence, attention, and engagement with the wondering itself. Wondering, when done wonderfully, can inspire, entertain, elevate, and navigate magic, miracles, grace and possibility into living presence and wakefulness. Wondering, when used as a driver for worrying and pre-occupation is not the kind of engagement that encourages growth in awareness, awe, or being; rather, that kind of negative wondering gets to be permanently stashed in a locked closet as far as I am concerned.

adult attractive contemplating face
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Wonder of wonders, the wonders of creation, wondering as I wander…all expressions from songs and words. Those kinds of expressions describe wonder as a delight. Wondering is to be diligently embraced as one of the highest and best ways to navigate life. Seeing the miraculous in everything, wondering when the next wonderful synchronicity will appear. Life lived as a witness to good, love, and possibility. Life lived attentive to what is and what’s next while seeking to find the wonderful in all of it is the constitution of wondering. A life comfortable questioning, thinking, feeling, all the while wondering at everything crossing its/his/her path is a life open to good, love, and possibility. Blessed are they who wonder, for they will be graced with awe, inspiration, and surprising delights.

What does it take to live the life of a wonderer? Comfort with not knowing it all, acknowledging that I am rarely if ever in control, in charge, or the authority. Openness to mystery, surrendering fear, judgment, competition, and comparison. Willingness to sit, to be present to whatever is and wonder what could be the gift of that present moment.
I often wonder if I’m living my dharma as authentically and purposefully as I could be. I wonder because I don’t know. And, I keep dreaming, exploring, savoring, and celebrating the gracious gifts of discovery, inspiration, delight, and surprise I find when I wonder my way through life today. I wonder how you are delighting in life today.

Wishing you a wonderful day!


A Pause for Vitality

Vitality is defined as the state of being strong, active, and energetic. To be vital is to be alive, spirited, exuberant, vibrant, zestful and sparkling. Dynamic, passionate, vigorous, zealous, buoyant, and fiery are adjectives describing someone exhibiting vitality. To claim vitality, one chooses his/her freedom of expression energy to embrace fully alive and courageous manifestation of being, doing, living; a.k.a., experiencing life at its finest; wholeness pieced together with drive, fortitude and determination. Courage, creativity, and aliveness are vital to well-being, manifestation of miraculous possibility, and life-living from the edges to beyond circumference of what I know: an extravagant dance of invitation life calls me to dare to live fully with grace and bravery. Vitality is like a vitamin on steroids. It is the well spring of my desire to embrace life with gusto and joie de vivre.
To be who I truly intend to be requires the creation and embrace of vitality. When I choose vitality as a state of being, I bring my power to the continuance of life, the presence of possibility in all living beings, a tiny seed to a mighty oak. Vitality is life force. Vitality can be physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It is the required vigor providing for the capacity to survive, thrive, and grow meaning and purpose with vision and intention.
Many articles have been written about how to increase one’s vitality. From sleep, green tea, greens, cardio, breathwork, mind work, emotional release, purging and beginning again, our culture contains various techniques, differing methodologies, assorted inspirations, visions, and processes to obtain, sustain, revive, or enliven vitality. At one or another point in our lives, we may feel the surges and purges of vitality coloring our moments. There are times when we can’t discover where our energy has hidden. Our mountain summits when we feel like we can fly are vitality at its highest. Vitality is like the ocean wave that ebbs and flows with different rhythms and flows based on the time of day, the position of the moon, or the chapter currently written and read with my own cycling of dazed moments in time.
I’ve learned that my own vitality often requires me to be still, silent, and solitary. Other times, I feel called to action, momentum leading my soul with the energetic call to serve justice, community, service, or to manifest what is wanted and needed for the vitality of my world. Our world.

Again, and again…what is vital for me is part of what is vital for all. As a consciousness, we don’t create and achieve vitality until we empower its conscious and aware presence for every sentient being.
I believe it is vital we share what grows, sustains, and nourishes us with every other “me” we meet. My story, my lessons, learning, and love include all parts of the stories, lessons, learnings, and lovings all of us share. May we heed our calling to live into the vitality we were created to embrace, create, manifest, and share.




A Pause for “UN”

The “UNs” of Life. A Pause for the “UN”

My least favorite words on the planet are negating words: the “uns”, the “nots”, the prefixes, suffixes, and adjectives that take a positive or neutral word and turn it into something denying what the first word (without the un or the not prefix, adjective, or suffix) is trying to say. I’ve wondered why in the world we have words that deny words in order to embrace what we mean to say.
I suppose it’s an historical thing. In studying historical literature I’ve read of people denying something in order to claim something. For example, I loathe cottage cheese, but I love yogurt. Especially found in religion (not the food, the denial to affirmation piece) I’ve always imagined it as the letting go/emptying that leads to intention/filling. In that ritualistic methodology, denial/affirmation works as a kind of purging/creating process which may or may not work for a spiritual aspirant of life.
There are some “un” words I like: understanding, universal, unicorn, united, unique, until—to name a few. “Un” is an acceptable word for the game, Scrabble. Not is a good three letter game word, and an often-heard admonition in school and parenting. “Not now”. “Not right”. Often associated with the word, “NO”, not has negative written all over it.

How we use our words is important to me, and “un” seems a very good example of a “less than” compilation of letters to express what I intend to say. When I say I am unhappy, wouldn’t a better word choice be a word that describes what I am rather than what I’m not? Am I sad, angry, despairing, forlorn, lost, searching, bored, caught in the in-between, grieving, mad, heartbroken? Un in front of a word creates a lot of wiggle room, (like the word “nice” or the word “okay”) We’ve been gifted great vocabulary, music, art, and dance to express ourselves. Let’s be intentional about saying what we mean and meaning what we say. No more ‘uns” or “nots” about it.

Until next week,


backlit beach dawn dusk
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Transcending Transformation: A Pause to consider Transcendence.

To transform is to change greatly/extremely the appearance or form of something. To transcend means to pass beyond the limits of something. To transcend transformation is the ariel view from 30,000 feet, an observation point beyond the right, wrong, good, and bad of any particular experience. Transformation leads to transcendence. There’s a prerequisite required to travel to transcendence: Stop resisting change. “The blessing is in the stretching.” For this pause, dear reader, I invite you to closet your judgments and join me beyond any self-imposed boundaries. This blog is an invitation to travel with me to the sweet spot of the universe: Transcendence.

The journey to transformation requires living the questions and responding with continual questioning: asking and seeking. The journey to transformation requires action: knocking, opening a door, a window, or doing whatever it takes to change, accept, embrace, create what is calling to change in my life. The journey to transformation requires beginning again and letting go of what doesn’t serve my longing for my life or my world.

Transformation usually takes place within a construct: box, context, boundaries and borders, often illusionary or self-protective. When my boundaries, borders, boxes and context can no longer contain my growth, a larger construct is created. Transcendence becomes possible when this methodology can no longer contain my soul within my experience.

To transcend false beliefs, hate, anger, all the attitudes, thoughts, and more or less justifiable beliefs we use to create ourselves, we need/get to consciously let go, to surrender our judgments, comparisons, interpretations, self-righteousness; our need to be heard, understood and valued by others; and our attachments  to feeling significant or powerful. Surrender of who we think we are so that we can open to become who we truly are leads to Transcendence. Moving beyond lack or limitation, anything is possible! Free, Light, Alive, Present, and Gracious: Amen.

I recently read an article by an interesting personage, Jeremy Hendon. He wrote that if you want to live a life you love, you have three options.

1. Try to change the world around you.
2. Try to change yourself.
3. Let go of all change to act from a place of spontaneity, joy, and perfection.

I believe that “try” is a word that means “choose”. If I try at something, I have the ability to accomplish what I set out to accomplish—It may be arduous, I could lose my life “trying” to do whatever I set out to accomplish. My commitment, my level of effort dictates my success in some ways but not all ways. The letting go piece of option three takes me to the plane of possibility where transformation leaps into the realms of transcendence. To be available, present, fearless in the “whatever, whenever” is a courageous way to begin to acknowledge transcendence as a vehicle for a life of peace, joy, and love.

When I spend my life trying to change our world or myself, I often become attached to what that transformation looks like. When I let go of my attachment to what transformation looks and feels like; for example, growth or improvement; I allow Spirit to work through me, beyond me and our world as a universal creative force. My intuition, or whatever I choose to call or name it, guides me with transcendence to the possibilities of life beyond myself.

Listening to the inner voice rather than the outer clamor.

Serendipity. Synchronicity. Great forces beyond us we don’t have words or music for. Trusting these forces, however we name or claim them, opens the portals for love and joy to bring bliss to beingness, regardless of circumstance.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Everything is perfect.” Not in the perfection itself; rather in the offering transcendence can bring to definition of experience. What we vision and intend for our world we are called to bring through our own ways of being and doing. Transformation is a necessary step. Stretching further is worth it for all of us. Life provides glimpses of transcendence. Let’s grow these glimpses into the radiance of all we were created to be.

May we transcend that which precludes us from fully embracing the loving, peaceful humanity we were created to be.



A Pause in Solitude


Gratefully blessed by my own company, I write this ode to Solitude. My definition of Solitude is presence with soul (I) and “the dude”( my colloquialism for God as friend, spirit, mentor, guider, truth). I hear, see, feel, touch, and taste good, love, and possibility when I create alone time for myself and the Holy Spirit that is my very source, essence, and soul of being. When I choose alone time, I allow my spirit to reach toward the loftiest vibration of being. I slow down significantly.  I empty.   I pour.  I fill.  I accept.  I give thanks. I become a vessel to grow into. I become inspired, mentored from beyond, and led by unseen visions of my best self and the highest and best aspirations from my Source for being.


Solitude is a holy, sacred space for being and becoming. It’s a, “Here I am Lord!” in fullest expression journeying to the highest summit of union, congruence, and bliss. Solitude is choosing to enter a state of grace with humility, gratitude and allowance for the spiritual unfolding that always happens when Spirit invites me, and I accept my calling to journey at one with God.

From my soul time with God, I gather inspiration, connection, and creative ideology for forward movement. In my contemplative prayer, meditation, and deep listening, I let go, surrender, and empty of what doesn’t serve my best self or the highest good. I grow awareness of ways of being supporting what I’d love to bring to my experiences of life in this world, my dreams, and desires. My solo time graces me with clarity essential to moving forward in my life without fear or regret. When I’m alone in sacred time with spirit, Love holds my hand, heart, and soul. Thank you, God.
Being lonely, alone, or solitary isn’t the same as the sacred space of solitude. Solitude is sanctuary:   holy, transformational, wonderful, and as necessary to my soul as breath is to my body.
Wishing you the joy and blessing of solitude as we embrace the wonders within summer’s splendor.





A Pause to Remember the Letter R with (one of her 5+favorite vowels) E…
Also Known As…
Random Thoughts About “RE”.


Many, if not all of you, can relate to the relays we relish in life. My current lifestyle of choice and repeated change may be revealed as a reminder to smell the roses, go with the flow, be present now; AND, it includes rapid action, bold maneuvers, and on point action: an integration of being and doing at an accelerated rate, hopeful to be regulated by what day it is, what step I’m on, what I’m doing, and where I’m going to remain present to whatever possibility is.

young game match kids
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RE is a word that takes me home to myself. Second tone on a major scale, radiating light of the sun, abbreviations for many meaningful words (especially my super sister’s nickname, Susie-RE). Re as a prefix to many a word means to begin again, (refresh, renew, recreate, resurrect). To begin and to begin again and again and again, is what life is about for me. Memos often cite, “re:”, an expression relating to informing, concerning, regarding. We are relationship beings: all we choose to be, seek, find, create, do and have are guided by (a.k.a., in relationship to) that with which we resonate, what we revere, and how we relate to our vision through our chosen intention.

I especially like the word, Remembrance. For me remembrance is form of worship. It is a word that deletes the myth of linear time. Remembrance is merging all of my experience into the here and now and being blessed by all of it.
Another “re” word I love is Reveal. If all in our world could authentically reveal individual vulnerabilities, inspirations, aspirations, and share stories, fears, and longings, we can meet on common ground. Revelations and references of diverse cultures and creeds could, perhaps, seed and nourish the ultimate healing of our world with abundant peace, love, good, and possibility.

Relevant to that revelation is the reparation of what love requires in all of us. If we commit to a gracious creation for Love’s giving and receiving, we reorient our return to the reverence and radiance we were called to be as Love incarnate.

“Re, a drop of golden sun…” May light shine the way through every beginning again, leading us home to compassion, mindfulness, presence, and openness. May we bring the light and love we are to every relationship. And so it is.