Journal

Birthday Reflections

Birthday Reflections

“You are the bows from which your childrenAs living arrows are sent forthThe archer sees the mark upon the path of the infiniteAnd he bends you with his might
That his arrows may go swift and far.”
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

If she were still in physical form, my mom would have turned 85 today. Throughout the day, I’ve been reflecting on how I can continue her essence and influence in this world through the qualities we shared and the inner work I do that helps to complete or extend what she was able to do and be in her lifetime.

My mom was exceptionally sweet and caring, often putting others first. She was the one everyone went to – the listening ear who always was there for you and had your back. Just like her mother (my grandmother).

But I get the sense that other people’s issues ultimately were too much for her. She absorbed a lot of other people’s pain and suppressed her true feelings. She didn’t express them, to please and keep the peace.

I come from a lineage of exceptionally sweet and caring women who would bend over backwards for you. And I’ve inherited that trait. There have been times in my life when I fought against my wiring and rebelled against my mom. I didn’t want to be like her. 

But in some ways, I was. Most of the inner work I’ve done so far in this lifetime has been around developing healthier boundaries. At times, my empathy has been weaponized by others and has caused (me) a lot of suffering. Like my mom, I often kept my feelings to myself, to avoid hurting others or making waves.

My mom was the one everyone turned to – the go-between when people couldn’t talk to each other directly. Since she passed away, it seems I’ve taken over that role, although I don’t want it. I’ve often thought that if this is the position my mother was in and the way she felt, no wonder she got sick.

Several years ago, a relative had a session with a psychic medium who emphasized that my mom is watching out for me and doesn’t want me to follow in her footsteps. She wants me to express what I’m feeling and not hold things inside so much, like she did. 

Years after my mother and grandmother died, I’ve come to the realization that all the work I do to communicate more honestly and develop a stronger backbone benefits them, as well. It’s as if they’re standing behind me, rooting me on: “Maybe she’ll be the one to do what we weren’t able to do” and heal the dysfunctional patterns. I feel I’m carrying them with me (like carrying an unborn baby, except kind of in reverse, if that makes any sense) in all the healing work I do, and I find courage to speak my truth instead of holding it in for our sake, not mine alone. Our inner work generates ripples of healing that touch both future and past generations.

I can’t pick up the phone and call them like I used to be able to, but I can express love and relate to them in new ways. This has been one of the great revelations of grieving.

People are often surprised to learn my mom and I didn’t have an easy relationship. When she was alive, I experienced her as sweetly controlling and was busy pushing back against her and trying to be different than her. I didn’t make it particularly easy for her. We were caught in a dynamic. It’s amazing how a relationship can evolve even after one party dies. I feel so close to her now and have tremendous compassion and respect for her.

This morning when I thought about it being my mom’s birthday and how I’d celebrate, a voice in my heart told me to look at today’s card. I have a thick stack of inspirational cards, and at the beginning of every month, I count out enough cards for each day of the month. I don’t look at the cards ahead of time. So after hearing the voice speaking through the telephone of my heart, I went to my card display and moved yesterday’s card to the back of the stack, to reveal today’s card.

It was a cartoon with a speech bubble that read, “I am always here for you,” captioned with the words, “Listen to your inner guide.” I had some music playing in another room, and when I entered that room, the lyrics being sung were, “…words my mother said to me.”

We still celebrate my mom’s birthday – though this year we’re postponing it a couple of days, to include my almost seven-year-old granddaughter. She loves to celebrate my mom’s birthday – not just because of the cake but also to hear the stories. She seems genuinely curious about her great-grandmother and seems to feel connected to her. We’re always telling her how much my mom would have loved her, and it’s so true. It’s uncanny how alike they are! I can’t believe they never knew each other. They would have been like two peas in a pod!

My granddaughter is the kid in school who asks other children if they’re okay and comforts them. She notices and appreciates something about everyone she meets and is highly empathic. She explained to me that one of the “bullies” in school is bullied by his father. One day, his father came to school, and she heard him speak disrespectfully about his son. So she understands why the boy bullies classmates and has compassion for that. We’ve had many conversations about having healthy boundaries with people who don’t treat you right. My deep wish is for her to develop wise (rather than foolish) compassion, sooner than I did.

So all the work I do to have healthy boundaries and not intercept other people’s drama will benefit her as well. Someday when I have passed on, I will stand behind her and root for her arrow to go as far as possible. I can’t imagine wanting anything else. 

When my daughter was in labor about to push out my granddaughter, I held up one of her legs. On the final push, I felt my mother behind me, as if she were hugging me from behind, and it seemed to give my daughter a blast of energy to push her out. 

I sense very clearly that our ancestors are with us like that, helping us and cheering us on – and that we can call on them whenever we need them. And reciprocally dedicate the merits of our deep, inner work to them. For love continues to evolve and remains a two-way street.

Happy birthday, Mom.


© 2022 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

Ways to Support Your Favorite Small Businesses

Ways to Support Your Favorite Small Businesses

There are so many ways you can support your favorite small businesses, and many of them don’t cost anything at all! 

The following list is the product of my greatest wishes and frustrations – and a little research, commiserating, and brainstorming, too. As a solopreneur, I’m so busy creating content, programs, and products that I don’t have much time for social media and working with the ever-changing algorithms. (In fact, I stopped posting to my photography Facebook page altogether because the algorithm killed it.) There are all kinds of large and small headaches behind the scenes of your favorite small businesses, which in some cases is simply one person trying to make a living doing what they do best that adds positive value to the world while trying to get enough sleep to be able to continue doing it.

I hope you will find this list useful in helping you to support favorite small business owners and shopping small and local, in general. (I’ve taken the liberty to include some specific wish-list items and links of my own).

Ways to Support Your Favorite Small Businesses

Write a Positive Review/Testimonial

  • For any products or services purchased or classes you’ve taken
  • You need not write a book: A few heartfelt sentences will suffice.
  • Post online and tag them.
  • Email them directly with a testimonial they can use on their website, social media, etc.
  • Indicate how to display your name (full name, name and initial, first name only, geographical area).
  • Bonus: Give permission to include a small picture of you (boosts credibility of the testimonial).

Subscribe, Follow, and Engage with Their Posts on Social Media

  • Commentlike, and share posts to amplify their online presence. (The algorithms can be brutal for solopreneurs who don’t have time to post much, and “organic reach” tends not to go very far.)
  • A positive comment (words of encouragement, a nice hello, emoji, reply to product) goes a long way and tells the algorithm to keep showing you their posts.
  • Share/repost their posts and tag a friend.
  • Share both current and older blog posts on social media.
  • Subscribe to their YouTube/Vimeo channel.

Sign Up for Their Newsletters/Mailing List

  • You can sign up for mine on almost every page of my website.
  • Forward newsletters to friends/family/colleagues who may resonate.

Buy and Gift Local Artwork and Products

  • Order a print from a local photographer. (I offer my photography in a wide range of price points, from small, laminated images and greeting cards to poster prints and canvases.)

Post or Send a Picture and Give a Shout Out

  • Take a picture of their product/art in your home .
  • Photograph their shop/products at craft shows.
  • Tag on social media or email directly.

Help Connect the Networking Dots

  • Tag them in opportunities.
  • Do you have a connection that could be a good fit?

Word-of-Mouth Recommendations to Family, Friends, Colleagues

  • It goes a long way!

Cheer Them On

  • Send a positive, appreciative, encouraging message.

Offer to Trade Services

  • Not every small biz owner is open to trades, but it can’t hurt to inquire!

Buy Gift Cards/Subscriptions

Purchase Services & Products

  • Pay with cash if possible.
  • Don’t ask for discounts or freebies.
  • Tip well, if you’re able.

Donate Items They Could Use

  • For art works, product development, displays, packaging
  • For photographers: picture frames (larger than 8″x10″)

For Portrait Photography Clients

  • Share portraits with the photographer’s watermark/logo and tag them.
  • If an image doesn’t have a watermark, be sure to tag them!
  • Give permission to share a few of your images (on their website, social media, newsletter).
  • Don’t edit professional images on your own, apply filters, etc. It compromises brand integrity/consistency.

Be Patient and Understanding

  • Small business owners don’t have the resources of the Elon Musks.
  • Who and what do we serve by opting for fastest, cheapest, and more?
  • Remember that small business owners work really hard and are only human.

Reach Out and Ask

  • If you have some spare time, ask if there’s something you can do to help.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and will make a small business owner’s day!

Here Are a Few of My Featured Products

  • Browse through the complete collection in my shop.

My Featured Products


© 2022 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

A New Poem: The Power to Return Home

A New Poem: The Power to Return Home

Last night, I recalled a phone call I received from my granddaughter a few evenings ago. She called to tell me she enjoys meditating outdoors. I asked her how she does it, and she said she “sits on the ground and listens to all the sounds of the world”.

Which made my heart so happy that my eyes leaked. That phone call gave me hope.

Then I started thinking of The Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy had the power to return home all along. How many times did she click her heels together to get back home? Three times – the same number of breaths I take when my mindfulness bell rings throughout the day. And then the poem started flowing.

The Power to Return Home

The world offers endless distractions,
Even right here in the palm of your hand.
When life feels chaotic and uncertain,
You must reclaim your attention
As if your life depends on it
Because it does. 

To kindle hope, it is imperative 
To know the way back home to your center
So you may be resourced and restored 
By your own goodness and the kind voices
Trying to reach you through the clamor 
And forgetfulness of your busy life.

You don’t have to make time 
Or wait for particular conditions.
You just have to remember
That you have the power
In any and every moment
To befriend your breath. 

Ride it inward. Breathe out 
All of the preoccupations
And thoughts that cover presence.
Feel your feet on the ground.
See the clouds in the sky.
Listen to the sounds of the world.

It doesn’t matter what others do.
Don’t exchange your sovereignty 
For collective madness. In this fear
Pandemic, boost your immunity
By taking refuge as often as possible
In a few conscious breaths.


© 2022 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

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