(804) 928-3189 BethHedquist@gmail.com
Are You Chasing Pleasure or Running Away From Pain?

Are You Chasing Pleasure or Running Away From Pain?

At different points in my life I have bought into the idea that life could be the utopia I heard about in the storybooks.   Certainly when I was younger I believed that it was possible to find Prince Charming, settle down with two kids, a dog, and a white picket fence…..okay, my picture perfect life was a little more unconventional than the proverbial white picket fence, but the idea was the same. I would achieve my version of happily ever after with minor bumps in the road but nothing that would challenge me to the core. If I worked hard and did the opposite of everything my mother had done, I would become the one that pulled myself up by my bootstraps and overcame a difficult childhood. It didn’t happen.    The fantasy that I can find overnight success, fall effortlessly into romantic bliss without risk or vulnerability, navigate the parenting years with confidence and ease, and sail gracefully into the twilight years without regret, heartbreak, failure, and a health issue here and there….well, it’s just that, a fantasy. And it leaves me wallowing in a puddle of self-pity, wondering, “Why me?”   Life is hard. Fumbling through Dark nights, trekking across arid deserts, and falling into the deep abyss of the unknown are required terrain. Required. Which doesn’t mean “inevitable but try to stay away from it as much as possible.” It also doesn’t mean, “it’s inevitable and hopeless so just resign yourself to a life of despair.”   It means the mountaintop moments are just as much a part of the journey as the valleys, and...
Have You Ever Seen Through the Eyes of Your Heart?

Have You Ever Seen Through the Eyes of Your Heart?

I have a special friend. We began as acquaintances, because our daughters were good friends. Eventually we began to spend time together socially, and although we were quite different our connection grew.   I’d say we had a pretty strong friendship, sharing our hopes, fears, and dreams, as well as the everyday details of life. One weekend we decided to take the kids on a weekend adventure to the mountains. While there, I talked her into canoeing 12 miles on the Shenandoah River, which was a new and challenging experience for her as she was not a great swimmer.   Canoeing is an almost meditative pastime, as it has the effect of bringing you completely present in the moment. Everyday worries and pressures fall away and you become immersed in the beauty of the mountains cradling the river, the splash of a turtle leaving the log he was sunning himself on, the fragrance of the flowers growing wild along the shoreline, and the next draw of the paddle that keeps you afloat as you glide through whitewater rapids. So there we were, enjoying the gorgeous weather, stunning scenery, and the company of each other and our children, when something unexpected happened.   For a brief moment, all of her normal pretenses and defenses dropped away, and she let out a delightful laugh. One that came from somewhere deep in her soul, as if she had re-connected with the innocent, carefree child she once was.   In that moment, I SAW  her.   I saw who she most truly is in the core of her being. A seeing that came not...