Author Archives: Flo

Hello, my name is Flo Holt…

A recent journal writing prompt, “What I let myself yearn for”  lead me in several directions.  What I wondered is “do I really let myself “yearn”?  How would I define it? A longing in my heart?  Any sort of longing, so it could include even clothes I see in catalogs? “Yearn” sounds like something that creates an ache because of its absence, maybe an ache so deep it’s unrecognized as being there at all.

Last week in a class, I told my adoption search story.  It wasn’t a time where everyone was sharing, but I offered to talk of it.  It became personal and not really classroom –focused.  What I mean is, I didn’t try to talk about it and tie it to the information we had just been presented on searching for adoptive parents.  I just sort of laid my story out there, with some of the time-line I’d experienced.  I told how it’s not a “search and reunion story”. It’s just the search.

My birth father lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Since 2000, when I turned 40 and did life-cycle-change things like participate in a triathlon, I’ve been trying to contact him.  In my head, I’ve always, honestly always, known I was adopted by my father, Don Barner.  Following his death in 1998 and my brother’s soon after, I was propelled in so many directions due to my emotional upheaval.  One of those was this “search”.  The thing is, after all this time, my birth father doesn’t reply.  I have decided my next step is family members.

Last week in  class it became very clear to me why the serach weighs heavy on me (1) the sense of rejection that is perpetuated because he has never responded (2) the feeling I carry that I’m the “dirty little family secret” (3) the disconnected feelings of attachment that I carry because of the adoption.  It’s engraved in my small child self – the one who at 3 years of age went excitedly to court when she became a ”Barner”.  There  are so many times I wonder “why” about my feelings about things and honestly, I don’t want to ‘wonder why’ any more.  Instead of analyzing I’d just rather do something – analyzing makes me feel stuck; paralyzed and in the “freeze” part of freeze•fight•flight.

“Buck it up – figure it out – take some action – make a decision”.  Can’t say that’s my higher self talking there, but some very determined part of me.

The plan – write a letter to the family:

“Hello, my name is Flo Holt…”



Constantly invited…

I know I am constantly invited to meditate.  I know that the structure of the room where I meditate intentionally prohibits my meditation practice and that part of me resists changing it.  What do I want?  I really want someone to help me get thru the stuff and create an inviting space.  My spouse and I have both had to hire people to help us with periodic filing issues.   It has helped clear paperwork but it hasn’t help me get a system for organization down.  There is a book out, something related to a year of organizing with week by week tasks.  I like the sound of it – the week by week part. 


Reality – there are many things on my plate and deciding what to prioritize becomes a bit of a job so I act like an ostrich, head in the sand and maybe butt in the air, letting other things take priority.  Hiring someone to clean the house weekly has freed up so much time for me.  Not that I spent hours cleaning, but I did spend hours trying to clean•do office paperwork•make food and all the other stuff that I do.  That was a start – how do I get to the next step? 


I miss meditating; the rush of ideas that land in that space that never truly empties.  That’s a funny part of meditation for me – the way there is never really nothing but there is less interference, less noise of all the busy intrusive thoughts that run races in my head.  So when I sat, facing the bookcase and wall, there were moments I actually settled, noticed my body, felt myself seated and breathing.  At other times the rush of getting in the room, the self-inflicted pressure to do it vs. invitation to do it, created resistance and unwillingness to sit.  I felt like a rebellious teen, drug to do something I didn’t want to do.  Really it’s a gift that I keep pushing away.





This morning I read Jennifer Louden’s blog

I like the ideas she discusses:  Being present, even when your heart is crumbling. Resourcing, being able to draw on something larger than yourself (myself) to be nurtured, soothed. Lastly, declaring your own pattern for the week.  So, how about it?  Read her blog and let me know, what pattern can you lovingly notice about yourself?

The pattern I will lovingly (that’s the key) notice this week is the brain-swarm I get into,  (just imagine bees in your brain)…and when I notice the sound that resembles a giant hive, I’ll focus on my breathing.



“Remember me”

You know that  little check box that says “remember me”?  It’s  a regular feature on most websites that require a log-in and was at the bottom of the WordPress screen as I logged in a few minutes ago.

“Remember me” is what I should be saying, with a big, not just big but GIGANTIC question mark – like this: “REMEMBER ME?”as it has been a very long time since I’ve written in this space. (Hello?  Hello?  Are you out there??)  I’m not missing.  I just wandered.  Wandered off. Wandered for a bit.  Wandered away.  Wandered afar.  Wandered around. (I can go on and on about it…) Really, I’m still out here and haven’t forgotten about being in this space, either.  Sometimes (well, I probably should say “often”) it’s a juggle for time, for priority and many things racing to be first in line.  For instance, in the midst of writing this ever-so-brief blog I was interrupted to: put the bassets out; put the bassets to bed; feed/water the outside cat, TJ; try to unhook the hose from the spigot as it is freezing tonight (no luck on that one);  put the laundry in the closet (it has been on the floor for days – probably 10 days).  Now, I look at the clock and I have to stop and go to sleep.

No worries. I’ll be back.




Standing by the fountain at DIA – I found myself staring at family members as they greeted each other, and my smile got bigger and bigger as I watched.

One woman was making wild arching movements with her right arm.  A huge grin on her face, she was trying to get the attention of her husband and teenage son.  The son noticed, but in typical teenage style, said nothing.  She approached her husband from behind and startled him.  He blushed,  so happy to see her.  The teenager smiled wide as he hugged his mother.

Another woman was squatted down by the escalator (just a bit unusual for an airport).  A second later I heard “Mommy, Mommy” as a small blonde girl vaulted herself into her mother’s arms, followed by her equally tiny sister and a slightly harrassed father.  Their laughter was infectious.

In the next minute Kay start motioning to me.  Left?  Right?  I point right and we gallop  to meet, not having seen each other in over a year.  I love reunions.  The aniticipation, the emotions, the joy and laughter.



Frank Warren

People tell Frank Warren their secrets.  All Frank does is ask for them.  Frank has been collecting secrets for the past four years and to date, has collected more than 200,000.

On April 26, I wrote of going to hear Frank, the author of four PostSecret books. Listening to him speak about PostSecret and meeting him afterward showed me how big his heart is.  It showed me how genuinely serious he is about collecting secrets and “protecting” them.  You might think the word “protecting” doesn’t apply, after all he has published four books and posts 20 postcards on his website weekly ( 20 of approx. 1,000). By protecting, I mean he doesn’t allow himself to be in situations where the secrets or the process can be ridiculed, for instance he choose not to be interviewed on the David Letterman show, for that very reason.

Think about your secrets.  It can be a difficult thing to do, particularly if you consider yourself to be honest, forthright, honest, direct, and again, honest.  We all carry stories with us, memories of humiliation from grade school, embarrassing moments, and then our more serious and even debilitating secrets.  By simply sending him a postcard, Frank gives everyone an opportunity to voice those secrets, create momentum that moves a person in the direction of healing.

The presentation ended with the lights dimmed and Frank giving audience members the opportunity to share their secrets.  I sat there thinking “there is no way anyone would do that” and was I wrong.  Often heartbreaking and sometimes hysterically humorous, the audience members bravely shared their secrets with us.  While getting my books signed, I tried to thank Frank for all he has done.  My guess is, he hears this all the time.  I think I’ll tell him in a postcard.



Frank Warren, the creator of the PostSecret series of books and the website, is speaking tonight in Fort Collins.

I read the first book when it came out in 2005. Entitled “PostSecret“, Warren begins his introduction “In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone.”  He left the postcards in art galleries and library books, and the preaddressed postcards started arriving in his mailbox.

The books are full of secrets.  The response has been and continues to be overwhelming.  Checkout the website and I’ll be back after the presentation to tell more.


Future me

One year ago, I wrote This week, I have been receiving forgotten emails from me, dated the beginning of April 2007.  If nothing else, they are entertaining and make me laugh! 

Here’s a reminder: allows you to send an email to yourself, at a specific time in the future.  Tonight I wrote about Homer, Wally and Abby – just to remind me of what I am doing right-this-moment.  Sometimes, I forget to be in-the-moment and tonight I want to remember this feeling.


Abundant Joy

Yesterday, while sitting in a court room, watching the process of an adoption – I was proud to be part of “the village”.  Proud to be part of the support system that loves and embraces the family.

On such a momentus occasion, it was funny to watch the children – the parents were attentive and solemn, listening to the judge.  They agreed this is what they have always wanted and answered questions such as “what do you do for fun?” and “what do they like to eat?”.  At the beginning, the children sat on their parents’ laps, listening and participating as best they could.  Quite soon, the children were climbing under the bench to the bench behind them to join the other children.  The bench seemed alive with moving children – back and forth, up and down (benches are great for sliding, you know!)

The air itself seemed to vibrate with applause and laughter, hugs and happiness.  The parents feel blessed and the village found such joy in participating in the celebration of love.

Homer update

Homer basset didn’t have surgery last week.  Considered to be “non-surgical” due to the other spinal issues he has, we brought him home and with medication, there has been limited improvement.

It’s surprising to me how much life changes in just a few days – we carry Homer up and down the stairs and watch him totter across the back yard, doing his “business” with the other dogs.  His positive demeanor has returned and he is pain-free. At times, it feels we’re living with an infant, which is different for us and all the while  Homer continues to be his warm, loving and happy self.  For this I am grateful.  We are enjoying his presence, his companionship and have to laugh at his ability to be so very joyful as his physical limitations increase.  This is a quality I’d like to possess.

He is a good friend and we are happy he is here.