NEVER SAY NEVER

Nose, up. Foot, tapping. Smirk, timed appropriately to coincide with head tilt and shake. Camera out, photo evidence taken of current status of superiority, inferiority, personal masterpiece, or total train wreck.

Got that image in mind all nice and clear? Face recognizable perhaps? Possibly. . .  super, super, super familiar with that profile?

Yes. I’m talking to you, the one wearing the judgy pants. I have a pair too. I wear them with my hypocrite hat. It’s like hipster attire, but slightly more pretentious.

Remember those things you were “never” going to do? They are adjacent to the list of things you were “always” going to do. You know, they things your parents did (or didn’t do) that you swore up and down you were NOT going to do, be, or say. Things you saw “other” adults doing and were just so righteously offended by their actions and indignantly declared as appalling. “How dare she. . .?” “I can’t believe he. . .” “how could she ever. . .”

The problem about those blanket generalizations, though, is they often come back to bite us in the ass, big time. We can thank more than Instagram for that lasting karmic evidence. Learning to not judge until we’ve walked in the other person’s shoes is a hard lesson. It’s easy to be the Monday night quarterback, it’s more difficult to complete the pass.

Beyond the face value judgement we place on the actions and life choices of others, there are whole host of limitations we place upon ourselves and our future behavior. We watch, learn and observe and our schema grows and shifts accordingly. Through its development we create value statements and expectations for ourselves, and for others, about what we think will happen. We anticipate how we will respond to events that have yet to occur, situations with which we have little to no experience, schema, or understanding (yet), and the universe simply laughs at us. If we are lucky, we will laugh with it.

There are a whole host of these exercises in empathetic advancement as we age; incredibly humbling moments that manifest as the shit and the fan have regular meetings in your adult life and you realize that what you thought you would say or do was actually not at all what happened. That your actual reality and the actions and responses you chose were quite different from what you had perceived they would be.

The view from this side of the field looks a little different. Now that you get it, you own it, you see it, you’re dealing with it, for real, right now, your priorities and choices have shifted. Oops. In the words of my favorite coach- that’s what you get for thinking.

If you are lucky enough to have a sense of humor, those moments turn out not to be simply recognizant, but frequently entertaning as well.  Whether you find it comical in that particular moment or not is debatable. However at some point in time that disaster might be funny to you, and to others, although possibly weighted slightly in favor of the latter audience. It depends on just how comfortable you are with laughing at yourself.

Turns out, as your understanding increases, your fear and prudent discernment decrease in response. This is awesome. It is also hard to swallow, sometimes (okay, most times, fine- almost always). Like, it’s humble pie time, served in an all-you-can-eat buffet by the universe. Sidenote- It tastes like stinky feet, like the kind I regularly insert in my mouth. . .

In any case, I recommend you remove the layer of superiority you’re wearing and CTFD already. Life is hard; everyone is struggling with something you know nothing about.  Be empathetic, not condescending. Give a hand, not a dirty look.  And remember, it all comes full circle. Like traffic on the 405, no one leaves unscathed.

Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people. 

Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox. 

Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest

 
Advertisements

BALANCING ACT: THE GAME

It’s Friday. Hooray. Let’s play a game. I love games, and since I get to make the rules on this deal. . . let’s GO already.

This game is called, “Good Idea, Bad Idea.” Why? Because my life is about finding balance. And laughing at myself. And doing stupid shit and then making it public. So, to that end, here’s a small sampling of my efforts in the last month or so to find homeostasis (a state of perfect balance, in case you aren’t familiar with the lingo).

Good Idea

Bad Idea

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping with 4 children under the age of nine at 5pm

Drinking lemon water after drinking red wine

Drinking lemons in other clear liquids after drinking red wine.

Eating one piece of dark chocolate

Opening a bag of anything with chocolate in it. ANY.THING

Drinking a cup of coffee to wake up

Drinking a cup of Yerba Matte tea, then green tea, then a cup of coffee with Yerba Matte in it, and then a cup of “regular” coffee. #imhighlycaffeinated

Buying laundry detergent

Going to Target for laundry detergent. . . and also an entire cart of shit you forgot you “needed”

Running

Running  with either a) a hangover, b)small children on bikes, c)a combination of those two

Going mostly gluten and dairy free for a month

Eating an entire brick of cheese with a half a loaf of white crack, I mean, um, french bread, for (okay fine, before) dinner.

Going to yoga regularly

Going to yoga, then assisting at yoga, then going for a run, then going to yoga again. All in one day. #IthinkIoverdiditalittlebit

Going out with friends

Going anywhere 20 somethings are grouped en masse.

I’m pretty sure this list is going to grow, soon. And, I would LOVE to hear your version of this, so please share!

(Smile) Like You Mean It

Attention Webster’s, we have a new “bad” word up for review. Please update your definition accordingly; file it under synonyms for “nonsense” and also under discourse related to “I’m sorry.” This word has recently been banned from my house; well, at least from the standard set of replies held within the vocabulary range of my children anyway. It is a new form of profanity, born of hypocrisy and indicative of a vague awareness coupled with a non-committal agreement of terms.

What is the word? Considering my arsenal of profanic expressions it’s safe to assume it’s not an actual “bad” word. Good call, on your list of things to do today you can already check off “make reasonable deductions and draw logical conclusions.” Phew. Hard work.  The word, drumroll please. . . is

“Okay.”

Bluck. Add that word to the list of things with which I have a negative association and to which I am working on my response.

Why? I mean, isn’t that a fairly universal word with majoritively positive associations and connotations? Sure. Sure it is. Or. . .  not.

What does “okay” really mean? In my house (and life), apparently, it means very little. To help you understand this, consider the following exchanges

Exhibit A:

8:15 a.m.

Me to Rory, my 5 (almost 6) year old son: “Rory, please get dressed.”

Rory: “Okay.”

8:20 a.m. 

Me to Rory, who has his pajama shirt off and sprawled across the bedroom floor. . . just like he is:

I asked you to get dressed. Get off the floor please.”

Rory: “Okay.

8:25 a.m.

Me to Rory, who is now fully engaged in his favorite morning activity of . . . naked lego time. Pajamas are crumpled up on the floor, underpants and all. Captain Distracted is busy engineering new modes of linking block transportation):  “Rory. GET.DRESSED.NOW.Please.”

Rory: “Okay.”

8:30 a.m.

Me to Rory, who is now wearing pants and a stocking hat, but no shirt, socks or shoes, working the Jersey shore (winter edition) apparently: “Seriously kid. We are leaving this house in five minutes. PUTYOURCLOTHESONRIGHTNOW.

Rory: “Okay.”

8:34 a.m.

Me, standing arms crossed, staring down Rory, who is, still shirtless, and looking up guiltily from the pile of legos at his feet: “We are walking out of the house little boy – 60 seconds.

Rory: Silence. no movement. Avoiding eye contact. Long dramatic pause . . . “Okay.

Exhibit B:

Me to Madison, my eight year old, who is reading on the floor: “Maddi, please put your book away and make your bed.

Madison: “Okay

5 minutes later

Me to Madison, who is still reading and also still on the floor “Madison. Bed. Make it please.”

Madison: “Okay, sorry

5 minutes later

Me to Madison, who is still reading but has moved from the floor to the ladder of her bunk bed “Madison. Put the book down and make your bed please.”

Madison: “Okay

3 minutes later

Me to Madison, who is now engaged in literary bliss under the covers of the bed fort she has managed to create with one hand. “Madison. I think it will work better if you aren’t IN the bed while you make it. It might also help if you PUTTHEBOOKDOWN.”

Madison: “Okay. Sorry

1 minute later

Me, standing in the doorway, arms crossed (this is my favorite place in the house, apparently) to Madison, who has the book down . . . on her pillow with her butt up in the air as she reads it, child’s pose style. “Mad-i-son. Please give me the book. We are not doing yoga reading right now. Make your bed.

Madison: “Okay. Sorry Mommy

Exhibit C:

Madison and Rory to me, who is currently seated in the cockpit of Air Traffic Control (yeah, so, my kitchen table), finishing a keynote presentation for my lecture the next morning “Mom, we are ready for our story now.

Me: “Okay

5 minutes later

Madison and Rory to me, who is still at the table, still typing, and still not done with that presentation : “Mom, we have our book picked out . . .

Me: “Okay

8 minutes later

Madison and Rory to me, who looks remarkably exactly the same as she did five minutes ago, ass still glued to the dining chair, fingers still in rapid fire mode: “Mom. . . are you um. . .  going to read to us tonight?

Me: “Okay

5 seconds after that

Me: “Wait, what? Am I going to read? Yeah. Okay. Just a second.

10 minutes later

Madison and Rory to each other (not to me because I am . . . yep, still at the table, three slides closer to being done with the presentation but light years away from wanting to stop working and spin yarns about the Gingerbread Baby and his friends): “pew, pew pew. Rat-atat-tat-tat-tat. Boom! Crash! In-COMING!”

Me, head snapping up in response to the battle noises: “Hey you guys. Why are you playing legos? It’s storytime. Aren’t you supposed to be on the couch waiting for me?”

Kids: “Okay

If you haven’t already done so, please insert guilty face picture of me here. The one that realizes she has failed, for the present moment, in at least the following:

1- Time management of workload and mom duties

2- Following through

3- Matching words with action

(oh, and 4- getting my kids to be a little speedier on the whole point A (directions) to point B (task completion) deal. That stands to benefit from a little effort as well).

So, what’s the moral of this story? Other than providing comedic relief and hopefully making you all feel slightly more human and a whole lot more put together by comparison, the point is, that your mom/teacher/grandma/pastor/neighbor/coach/friend was right- actions speak louder than words.

I’m gonna bust out a little tough love right now. Fair warning. It’s that kind of Tuesday and I’m feeling like it’s time to drop it on you (and me). Sidenote –  I’m well aware that once I do this, the universe is going to go ahead and put this lesson on a repeat track, Billboard Top 40 style. #canthardlywait

Basically, “sorry” doesn’t mean shit and neither does “okay.” That’s a bunch of bull, at least at face value anyway. What does matter are your behaviors. Showing sorry. Showing understanding.  Doing what you say you’re going to do. If you say “okay,” then some forward motion in correspondence is appreciated. It you are sorry, then stop doing the thing that caused the pain or problem. Words only mean something when backed by action. No action, no trust. No trust, no relationship, on any level, with anyone.

Saying “sorry” doesn’t dismiss what you did. Your remorse is of little interest or consequence to others sans modification in conduct. A response of “okay” does not indicate a shift in activity. Don’t waste your (and others) time and energy saying you agree if you don’t actually plan to do anything; just be honest.

For kids, simply teaching them a different response pattern is beneficial. Don’t end your own requests to them with “okay” either- that indicates that you are asking their permission- and you’re not. Rather than having them give a blanket “uh, huh,” “okay,” or “yeah,” try “do you understand?” or have them restate back to you what they are going to do. Then follow through and make sure they do it. Note to self- refer to this paragraph, often.

For adults and as the role model in this situation- don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. For example, if you don’t agree with someone perhaps you could say something like “I see,” “interesting point,” or “that’s nice.”  If you did something you know was wrong and/or don’t intend to actually make amendments or prevent yourself from repeating it because, well, the ROI at this point just isn’t “worth it” to you, then why apologize? What are you actually sorry for? Try acknowledging what you did/said/created, without making an exception, and with total culpability. Darling, just fucking own it.

Gulp. Sounds a little scary doesn’t it? But it’s actually quite freeing, true story people. Wouldn’t you rather be clear about what you do and don’t intend to do than to overcommit, overpromise and underdeliver? I know I would.

Thus in summary, if I may be so blunt,  life is full of opportunities to rationalize, make excuses and justify your behavior. So what? Knock that shit off, quit apologizing for yourself and the handling of your transactions and do something different already. Or don’t. It’s your choice and the consequences are yours to manage. Either change your behavior or change your vocabulary,  okay?

 
Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.
Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox.
Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest

CAN YOU FEEL MY SUNSHINE

Some Mondays I wake up and I think “uuuunnnnhhhh. Yeah. Bring it Monday. Whatcha got? I’m ready to handle it. Show me your best stuff, I so got this” (see here for evidence of this clarity of thought).  Some days, I uh, don’t.

This week, my Monday was one of the latter. One of those Mondays. A holy crap kind of day where it would have felt so much better to just crawl back into bed and sleep the day away rather than get up and handle my shit.  But I don’t do that. Never have, not likely to start now. So far, my success rate of turning today into yesterday (tomorrow?) is 100%. I intend to keep it that way.

This week, having reached a peak in obligations personally and professionally while simultaneously not getting enough sleep, come Monday morning I was operating in PLOM (Poor Little Old Me) mode from the second my eyes popped open in response to the bearish beep of my alarm clock. Well, at least for the first ten minutes anyway, until I kicked myself in the ass and got it together. Sidenote- seriously, if there exists an alarm clock that is both pleasant and attractive please tell me.

My last three or so months have been a hyper blend of awesome and total train wreck. Of incredible, intense, raw moments that have indefinitely and inexplicably shaped my future and my being.  By their nature then, they are bittersweet. They bring both pleasure and pain, joy and fear, appreciation and avoidance, and, most importantly, the choice of lens with which to view them.

When things go badly, or at least, not as we had planned, we are quick to complain, to commiserate, to seek solace in numbers (okay, and maybe also in fermented grape juice, but that’s a different story). However, when things go well, how often do we recognize it? When do we remember to acknowledge and celebrate the little victories, the sweet spots of life, the brief but happy moments?

Misery loves company, right? Well in the event of complaining, that room quickly reaches max capacity.  Name five people who have complained today already. Bet you can rattle of those names in under 30 seconds.  How about five people who have shared some good news? Can you name any? Are you included in this list?

The problem is, I think, that when so much in our lives is going right and well, we choose to see only the things that are not, because they are “easier” to see. We are quick to disregard the 45 things that went right with our morning and notice the burned toast instead.

In a field of daisies, the dandelion stands out.

We are hardwired this way. Our brain, being a pattern seeking device, gets so accustomed to things going in a particular or certain order with familiar sights, sounds, smells etc…, such as during your morning routine, that it no longer pays much attention to them. Then, when something is suddenly different, the Reticular Activation System (RAS) lights up and now all we can focus on are the negative things, the “bad” things, the “wrongness” at hand. We are now Alexandar and this is a “Horrible, Terrible, No-good, Very Bad Day.”

Case in point- me. Monday morning. I felt like shit, I looked like I had gained 20 pounds, of fluid, in my face, directly under my eyes. . .  and as soon as I woke from my three or so hours of un-restful slumber little random negative thoughts began zipping around my head.

This is my own fault. I didn’t make rest a priority, I didn’t do my journaling the night before and instead of reading something engaging and positive before I finally did go to sleep, I worked and did what felt like 55 loads of laundry followed by a deep cleaning of my house (did I mention that my daughter recently had lice? Oh dear lord. Let me just tell you, that will bring a person as close to losing her shit as is humanly possible).

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we lose our ability to focus on the good. We get so caught up in our day to day business of “handling” that the small things get swept away in a sea of obstacles which we perceive to be bigger, more important, more significant. How sad.

Yesterday my daughter ran into the kitchen, delighted and giggling, because when she took her hair out of her french braids it was curly. “Mommy look! My hair is curly like yours! Isn’t it beautiful?” (followed by a full twirl, mind you). Now me, being busy working, looked up for three seconds, gave a quick “uh huh” and went right back to typing.  Nice. Smooth move mom. Had she walked in and said something snarky I guarantee I would have snapped right to attention to correct that nonsense.

Shame on me. Categorize that as a #momfail.  How wonderful, pure and joyful is the act of a child displaying happiness?  Something as simple as curly hair absolutely made my eight year old’s day and rather than reinforce it, I barely even noticed.

How do we learn to focus on the negative? Uh, hello. From our examples. Namely, for my kids, me. If I don’t model being positive, optimistic and resilient how could I possibly expect them to develop any other habits, attitudes and beliefs?

Now I know this is an average of experiences. I don’t expect to walk around with a perma-grin and be Susie Sunshine all day every day. I won’t run at 100% in my efforts and don’t want for my kids to only see the good stuff; watching me manage the not-so-good stuff is equally important. What I hope to do, on average, is model being calm, collected, responsive, and upbeat.

Here’s the thing. I can’t control the past. I can’t control the future. But, I can control myself, right now. How can I make right now happy? Be present, be grateful, acknowledge the good, understand the bad and let it be, don’t feed it. If I let the inner child notice and observe the world around me, I can truly find wonder.

On a practical (fixit!) level, we can all do this- we are all capable of reaching bliss to some degree by using brain science to our advantage. We can leverage our RAS and switch it from negativity magnet to one that attracts light and love. Here’s a starter list of ideas for turning PLOM moments (or days. . .) into awesomesauce:

  1. List ten things that have gone well today. Verbally or on paper. Just do it. Don’t overthink it, just get started. Got out of bed without tripping? Numero uno. Brushed your teeth, with toothpaste? Score! Have hot running water? Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  1. Then list ten more, possibly slightly more sophisticated items like “fed offered the children a balanced meal,” “drank entire cup of coffee without use of microwave reheating skills,” “got an amazing hug from my son, just because.”

  1. Practice reframing. For every negative statement, make new three positive ones to balance it out. “I am so lucky I have a car to drive with all these other people who have cars to drive and how lovely that we are all going to the same place at the same time at the speed of molasses in January.” Just kidding. That’s a bunch of crap. Maybe try “I get to go to work now,” or “I get to take my beautiful children to school,” or “I am choosing to prioritize my time today so it benefits my well-being most. I am going to use this extra time in my car to listen to a Ted talk and get inspired.”

  1. Take a moment to read the news and come to terms with your first world problems

  1. Give five compliments to other people- real ones. Not “I like your shirt” kindergarten stuff here people, but “your shirt is such a lovely shade of blue, it really compliments your eyes.” A+ from the English Professor herself if you can throw in a big vocabulary word or two.

  1. Have a 30 second dance party. To whatever, wherever, with whomever. Do this in the car, while you are in traffic. See who you can get to join in the fun and get that party crackin’.

  1. Meditate for a minute. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom and do this seated on the bathmat. Spend that 60 seconds just breathing and being aware of your body. Wear earplugs to block out the noise if you need to. Oh, and don’t fall asleep. Tile floors are hard on the head.

  1. Find laughter. Start here if this a struggle for you

  1. Work on your morning routine.

  1. Sleep well, eat well, exercise often and take your vitamins (thanks Mom).

Have a happy week my friends. Peace out.

Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.

Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox.

Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest

WISHIN’ and HOPIN’: 35 by 35

Disclaimer- I totally stole this idea from another blog– it was too brilliant not to repeat. Permission to perpetuate the concept in your own life.

So what’s the deal, exactly? Well, I took a standard, run of the mill “somewhere over the rainbow” docket of hopes and dreams,  fed it a solid diet of creativity, wit and satire (is there another way? I am not familiar with it if there is) and created this clever bucket-list-on-steroids.

The things that made my list aren’t goals, necessarily, but are places I want to go, things I want to see, experiences I’d like to have- my wish list for the universe.  Notably, it includes things over which I have the bulk of responsibility to complete. My abundant aspirations are not dependent on others cooperating, meeting certain requirements, or living up to those dangerous expectations that get us into so much trouble- I can do them alone, or I can do them with company. Either way, I’m putting them out there and watching for opportunities to make them happen. I am open to receive, visualizing to materialize, putting thought into the manifestation of my ideas. If they don’t work out, they don’t work out. Maybe they’ll get moved to my 40 by 40 list. Maybe they won’t. The point is, they are now possible.

So, true to form, here is my sarcastic rendition of the things I aim to do in the next two years (oh yeah, I’m giving myself right up through day 364 of being 35 to knock this out, given the late start and all).

1. Go to a Cirque de Soleil show in Vegas. Actually, just go to Vegas. At 33, the fact that I’ve never been is getting a bit embarrassing.

2. Eat a croissant in Paris on top of the Eiffel Tower. Because who doesn’t want pastry crumbs on their cheek during photo opps?

3. Run through the Louvre. Dont.get.caught. I hear the jail in France is just miserable. . . hahahahaha.

4. Zipline in Costa Rica. Do not run into any snakes, spiders, lizards or other creepy crawly things along the way. Howler monkeys included.

5. Drive the Italian coastline in an Italian car. Maybe a hot Italian man can be the driver. . . hey, it could happen. Ciao baby.

6. Teach abroad for the summer. Somewhere where the risk of me not returning home has more to do with choice and less to do with me getting lost at sea or kidnapped.

7. Skydive in the South Pacific. Preferably Bora Bora or Tahiti, via a Four Seasons resort, if I’m being specific . . .

8. Donate or raise at least $10,000 for a charity. A real charity, where the money actually goes to the people in need, not to administrators or overhead.

9. Hike up a glacier. Sing “Ice, Ice, Baby” the whole way up. Do this without falling, . . . much.

10. Hike half dome. High five a park ranger. Do not contract the hantavirus from the park rodents. Do not fall off during photo shoot at the peak.

11. Watch the Red Sox play at Fenway Park in Boston. Ride there in a cah, go to the bah and sit near someone’s ma.

12. Go to the Yale campus. Take a selfie standing by the sign. Post it on Instagram with the caption “I went to Yale.” Repeat at Harvard. Laugh ironically at subpar joke.

13. Eat an Apple (a big one) at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Chase the ironic healthy moment with a piece of cheesecake and possibly also a hot dog, with onions, and sauerkraut, and mustard. Cuz’ why not?

14. Run a marathon in Greece. I mean, If I’m going to run 26 miles (again) it may as well be somewhere amazing, like where Hercules (and Aristotle) hung out. Just saying.

15. Run at least three miles in at least ten more states. My idea is to run in all fifty states before I turn 50, and I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of ten now so. . .   gotta get my run on, stat.

16. Go skiing in Banff, Canada. I mean really. Have you SEEN the hotel there? I think I might die of pure magical winter wonderland happiness before I even make it onto the chair lift.

17. Eat poutine in Montreal. It looks kind of disgusting, to be honest, but in a super intriguing way. Nuevo-junk food. Yummy.

18. Be on the Amazing Race. I want to say WIN The Amazing Race but . . . I’ll settle for just getting on the show. My hunt for a partner is on, btw, if you can handle all of THIS.

19. Give a Ted Talk. 18 minutes of time on camera in front of a live audience, being witty and charming and sharing my wisdom with the world? YES PLEASE.  To whom do I speak to about this?

20. Have a book published. As in, not self-published, but a make a line at Barnes and Noble for a signature on your book jacket kind of deal because someone, somewhere thinks my prose is genius enough that people will actually pay to read it.

21. Purchase a car made in this decade. A BMW would be awesome but I’ll settle for something with say, a USB port and bluetooth. And possibly fully functioning automatic windows, I can handle that too.

22. Syndicate my blog. Because it’s hi-lar-ious. And helpful. It’s hilariously helpful. IMNSHO.

23. Earn my Yoga Teacher Certification and then actually work as a Yoga Teacher. Like for money. Not just at social events when I’m drink-cruiting.

24. Do yoga on the beach in Southeast Asia or Indonesia. Say “ommmmmm.” Also say “vaccinations.” And “water purification.” And “pepto bismal.”

25. Master Handstand and titibasana (that shit is hard).

26. Take a safari trip in Africa. Take pictures of lions, and zebras and giraffes and shit. Do not get chased by a rhinoceros or any other wildlife I am skilled enough to accidentally provoke.

27. Ride a camel in the desert. Don’t get kicked or spit on by said dromedary.

28. Complete a triathlon. A real one. Not just my Block Party Olympics, although that’s fun too.

29. Do a pub crawl in Ireland. Stop and rest at a local Inn when experiencing signs of wobbling so as not to reach the point of actual crawling.

30. Drive through New England in the Fall in a convertible. Wear Chanel shades and a scarf. Maintain perfect hair throughout journey.

31. Raft on the Rio Grande in the Grand Canyon. Don’t fall out, often.

32. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon over Yellowstone National Park. Resist the urge to drop something on someone’s head.

33. Have a picnic lunch in the Alps. Lederhosen optional.

34. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, climb the steps (all 3,000+), meditate in the Sacred Plaza. Strike a pose with a llama (probably the one that has been carrying all my shit for the last four days) and caption the photo “Is Your Mama a Llama?”

35. Leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in Waitemata Harbour in New Zealand (attached to a Bungy cord, calm down)- yell “YOW-WEE” the whole way down. Do not toss my cookies from all the bouncing- at least on film.

FOOLED YOU: 33 Things I was Totally Wrong About

I turned 33 this last fall, an event I labeled as “33 in 2013,” which means, obviously, that this is my 34th year of rockin’ it on planet Earth. In reflecting back on my life (I seem to do that in mass quantities, as of late), I realized that a whole lot of the things I was SURE I was right about when I was say, 21 (the age of supreme know-it-all) were uh, possibly, slightly inaccurate. Little bit. Please do control your laughter- I recognize the tiny oversight in these assumptions and my confessions are forthcoming.

The funny thing is, being wrong feels exactly like being right because, well, when you’re wrong you generally don’t know it . . . yet.

So while this list is hardly exhaustive, it is a step in the right direction. Admitting I’m wrong, is kind of, sort of, maybe not my favorite thing. But you know, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone so… consider my comfort zone, um, expanded.

Here it is, in print. My admission of erroneous conclusions on life. Yikes. Can’t wait to see my face when I read this again in a decade. Ha!

Oh! watch this first: FOOLED YOU

LITTLE MISS CAN’T BE WRONG: THE LIST

  1. I. Have.The POWER!  I am in control (of everything and everyone).
  2. Happiness is state of planning: stick to the plan and nobody gets hurt.
  3. I know everything.
  4. Everything is personal. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms.
  5. Visa really is everywhere I want to be.
  6. 1+1 ALWAYS = 2.
  7. Saying “I’m sorry” means something.
  8. Martha Stewart is the way, the truth and the life
  9. Tattoos are bad, not hot at all, and are for “those” people.
  10. Come with me if you want to live: My way IS the highway.
  11. Rules are made to be followed.
  12. The destination is more important than the journey and winning is the end goal.
  13. I have an amazing poker face.
  14. White picket fences (and all associated societal norms) are the legit domestic manifestation of happiness.
  15. Drinking sugary cocktails, mixing alcohol, or being over the age of 30 does not cause hangovers.
  16. If you ignore something long enough it will go away.
  17. Heartbreak is overrated and only happens in movies,Taylor Swift songs or to “other” people
  18. Vegetables are gross, high quantities of caffeine are good for you, cheese belongs in one third of the categories of the original food pyramid and should therefore be at least half of every meal, white carbs are the bomb and people who shop at food co-ops are a bunch of hippies.
  19. More is always better.
  20. I have to lie in the bed I made, and stay there.
  21. Things happen TO me, not with me, for me or because of me.
  22. Worrying about shit will prevent it from happening.
  23. Song lyrics, especially hip-hop, have zero connection to my real life.
  24. I can change people.
  25. Pain only comes in a few distinct and resolvable forms.
  26. People tell me things because they want my opinion, advice, solution, witty comebacks, or are just dying to hear how my story is “just like” theirs.
  27. Maintaining my B.K. (Before Kids) physique and lifestyle will be super easy. Piece of cake.
  28. People know what I expect of them. When they don’t live up to my expectations it’s their fault.
  29. I can fix everything (and everything needs to be fixed).
  30. Tunnel vision is a synonym for 20/20 eyesight.
  31. Holding onto anger and hurt will ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  32. I can have my cake and eat it too.
  33. I know what I’m doing.

ihavethepower

Like this post? It would mean a lot to me if you would Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.

Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed, make my day, and get posts delivered in your inbox.

Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest

PLOT TWISTS

“The whole magic of a plot requires that somebody be impeded from getting something over with.”

– Renata Adler, Speedboat

Okay, I admit that I’m struggling a little bit with the concept that it is 2014, and I am still wrapping my head around the gratitude bubble of where I am right now. I just wrote my rent check, and it kind of blew my mind. One- because I almost wrote 2013 as the year, and two- because it’s a rent check. As in, not a mortgage check (thank GOD), and for a rental home, in East Sacramento, in the most quintessentially charming abode in which I have yet to have the privilege of dwelling. This is kind of a big deal, like I’m borderline concerned someone is going to knock on my door and tell me that the movie set I’ve been living on (in?) is getting packed up without me. But the cool part is- it’s not.

Because for sure my life is just like a movie script. Totally. Like I think this might be a blockbuster hit. Actually, in the last year during this journey of self-actualization, my life kind of has been legitimately like a movie. It’s been surreal almost. I have had more moments in the last twelve months where I have stepped back and thought “holy shit, this is my life? This is f#cking awesome” than I did in the previous 32 years combined. It’s not that I was never happy before, I just didn’t really, well, get it, or at the very least I didn’t understand how to recognize and appreciate it like I do now. And for full disclosure, it also had several “ow, ow, ow, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, now what?” temporary panic moments; I have just learned to deal with them differently.

You know when you see a movie again that you watched for the first time as a kid and all of the sudden you get it, like really get it? This was probably followed by some uncomfortable realizations (awkward, much)as you realized there were layers of understanding that you just plain didn’t understand the first go around and now make infinite sense to you? Yeah. Ditto. And that keeps happening in my movie life too. Those lessons that the universe keeps handing me – they are starting to get a little clearer. The focus has improved, the lens magnified and the stage readied. Apparently reliving critical scenes a half dozen times is finally working out because my understanding of the lessons keeps improving (and yeah, it’s about damn time).

My personal life has been a fairly standard drama to date, a comedy in large part and a thriller at times even. Whooo. Goosebumps. Damn if there haven’t been a whole lot of high speed chases, boy-meets-girl screenshots and romantic blunders, dramatic pauses, legitimate brushes with death, epically bad parenting fails, screenwriter award worthy arguments, and a whole lot of comedic montages. But mostly, there have been a solid set of incredible, powerful, unexpected, unanticipated, and sometimes undesirable, changes in the storyline.

Try as I might to plan my future, a great deal of what I have done has had nothing to do with where I had envisioned myself actually being and a whole lot to do with experiences, relationships and opportunities that arose. Plot twists, as they were. And there are so many more to come. This show ain’t anywhere near over yet. The movie reel is still rolling, the suspense is building and the main character, having finally sorted most of her shit out, has emerged.

I could choose to see this as terrifying, but I don’t. I think it’s pretty damn awesome. I am in awe of, inspired by and motivated because of the juxtaposition of forces in my life and the sheer serendipity of it all. By the balancing act of wants, needs and facts. Of where I want to go with where I’m actually going. Of what I want to happen with what is and will. I am fascinated by the fact that the more positive energy I put into creating my own happy reality the more happy my reality becomes. That when I visualize, it materializes.

While I certainly don’t have any control over a large majority of the script, I do get to write my own dialogue and at least to some extent, choose the characters with whom I interact. I hold sole charge in my reactions and responses to each new climactic convolution in screenplay. This is where the message lies and the way in which I will ensure my own success in whatever situation, be it perceived fortuitous or not, comes my way.

Witnessing this, seeing it, especially when and while it is happening, has been undeniably impactful. Living through an experience present and mindful enough to keep it chill, hold it down or otherwise simply breathe and recognize is what is allowing me to star as the protagonist in this feature film. It has turned category five storms into scattered showers, tiny accomplishments into giant celebrations, mountains into molehills, an opening act into the headliner.

On a keeping it real level, it has reduced my stress so significantly that I went from taking OTC heartburn medication daily to not even remembering which brand I used to use. From borderline dangerous blood pressure to the kind that is so low the nurse comes back to check to make sure the armband is actually in the right place. From surviving, cup to cup, on caffeine, hardly sleeping, and overreacting when I faced adversity at work or home to consuming one cup of coffee a day (usually), getting 6-7 hours of solid sleep at night and managing most stressful moments with a calm and composed demeanor and tone (disclaimer- I said MOST, not all. MOST, as in I have made improvement here people, like passing the 50% mark, finally).

For example, when I’m driving and some assho-, I mean, uh, someONE, cuts me off, I don’t get upset and yell at them anymore (as if they could actually hear me anyway . . .). I just chalk it up to their own agenda resulting in their mistake, watch to see that it doesn’t impact me any further and shrug it off. When someone makes an asinine remark at a social event I don’t take it personally, their perception has to do with their issues, not mine. I am who I am and I’m good with that, if you don’t like me that’s YP baby (and don’t worry, I’ll like you back anyway, I’m cool like that).

When people don’t live up to my expectations I remember that the problem in the first place is that I held expectations for them at all (oh, and I totally crank up “Hang Me Up To Dry” if I am having a little trouble letting that one go. . . I think a four minute session with the Cold War Kids is reasonable, if not recommended, when one really wants to get.that.shit.out., just sayin’). If I miss a deadline I don’t waste time beating myself up about it, I just keep moving forward and get it done already.  When my day doesn’t go like google calendar said it was going to, I just (gasp) delete or rearrange the boxes that didn’t end up on the day’s Hot Ticket list.  Scary, I know. Shiver. All this flexibility and positivity and zen and go with the flow nonsense. One might think I was regularly practicing yoga or something. . .

I am working on teaching these skills to my children, but more about that later. For now, let’s just say that I am making solid progress on mastering the art of contortion. I am learning to be flexible when things don’t go my way, to stay focused on the big picture and to generally maintain the leading role in my real life cinematic production.

In the spirit of visceral wisdom that all good Pinterest quotes carry (insert snarky remark here . . . ), let me suggest that “when something goes amiss in your life, yell PLOT TWIST, and move on.”

“When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story.”

Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Like this post? It would mean a lot to me if you would post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.
Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get good karma (and posts delivered in your inbox).
Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest

GIRL ON FIRE

So- the holidays are finally over. Gifts given, received, opened and enjoyed. Meals(ssssss) eaten. Stretch pants stretched. Mass quantities of chocolate consumed, bottles of liquor emptied. Christmas crap packed away again until next year (possibly “missing,” “accidentally” some um, adorable singing decorations a super thoughtful relative smuggled to your children. Those might have landed in the recycle bin. Maybe. Honest mistake…).

Hopefully you also brought in the New Year with social media photo headliners sans duck lips, misinterpreted gang signs or any other brilliantly bad ideas made in front of a camera lens circa midnight last night.

Wait- “brought” in? As in the past tense of “bring?”  As in 2013 is OVER? Like, over, over? Well that escalated quickly. 

Holy shit it’s 2014.

Two thousand fourteen. Say that again, a few times. Wow. So the fact that your server at brunch this morning (who you thought looked like a “baby”) is from the Class of 2004 actually means he graduated uh, a decade ago. . . F#*k. You were supposed to have ______ by now (insert a lofty goal there, whichever one you made say, this time last year. . .).

Shit.

Or not shit, actually. Let’s switch that word out for “WHOO HOO” or maybe “YIPPEE,” or, dare we try a “HELL YEAH!” Can I get an Amen up in here? How ‘bout a hallelujah? Okay, fine, I’ll stop with the glee club/televised church sermon posing- I was a terrible cheerleader the one year I floundered at trying anyway.

But really, time is flying by, fast. Fast, fast. Like, I feel the need, the need for speed (and yes, I just dated myself again with a “Top Gun” reference, what can I say- I like to quote original cinematic art. . .). Fast can certainly mean your life is too busy, too full, and can serve as a reminder that you may be choosing to spend your time on energy on things that in the end, aren’t where you might best be spending them. That in itself is a lesson worth having, and as many times as necessary.

However, fast can be an indicator of a good thing; if you choose to see it that way. For example, I swear I blinked and suddenly I was in my mid-thirties but still felt like a teenager cloaked in a grown-up disguise (so. . .yeah. To whom shall I address my letter of complaint regarding this promoted adulthood? Any takers? Nobody? Damn. Totally saw that one coming).  For sure I’ve had pain, and suffering, and challenges I didn’t/couldn’t resolve. I’ve had heaps of it all, to be quite honest, but also I’ve had a whole lot of fun, and fun goes by quickly. Like, if fun were personified into a superhero I’m pretty certain it would be called “the Flash.”

When things aren’t going well the pace is anything but fast. Ever sprinted a minute on a treadmill? Longest.minute.ever. Rested before the next HI in your HIIT? shortest.half-a-minute.in.history. Hate your job? Longest days in the world. Sat through an all day meeting? Pretty sure you were part of a science experiment to gauge human reactions to extended discomfort.

So, with a little perspective shift, fast just might mean your life is quite the ride you’d hoped it would be, full of life, friends and joyful moments passed quickly but long remembered. If you want to keep enjoying the trip, you’d better slow down and speed up. Be quick but don’t hurry. Stay focused but be flexible. Look ahead but be present. Yes, I would like to drop another metaphorical oxymoron to explain myself, thanks for the encouragement.

What I’m saying is- have at least a sense of what train track you’re jumping on, buckle up for the ride and then my darling, let it go. Put out there what you want, keep moving forward then and be present and aware when it comes.

Ready to put this into practice (he, he, pun intended, keep reading)?

The first morning of 2014 I chose to start the year off right and I dragged my tired ass to the first yoga practice of the day at Zuda. This was my tired, limping, ass I might add. Note to self- possibly do not go ahead and decide to bust out the full splits on both sides the same night you plan to wear sparkly heels later. It’s entirely possible that while yes- you can legitimately bend like our flexible green friend Gumby, he was like 10, you are um, not, and your hip might hate you for playing the role of poser. So you miiiiiggggghhhhhtt be hobbling out of the studio looking for flip flops instead of your precious foot bling.

I hear you universe. I’ll slow down. A little. Just enough.

So, in any case, as the universe’s reward/lesson/reaffirmation/spiritual awakening continuation, our most incredible instructor lead us into the practice with a declaration exercise. She asked us to choose one word that represented what we wanted for ourselves for 2014. Not a resolution, not a promise, not a goal. An empowerment. A source of strength and growth. One word that described what we were prepared to offer and receive for ourselves.  One word that would carry us through this year, allowing us to develop, to cultivate goodness, generate change, give to others and generally be the best version of us. Just one word. Yikes.

After working through a seriously fabulous series of flows that included, no joke, a full out dance party to Pitbull (in 95 degrees, in a room PACKED with 65 people who had been in motion for about 50 minutes), we returned to our word. We came back in a state of quasi-meditation to reflect on our word, how we demonstrated it in on our mat and how we would continue to manifest it off the mat- where the “real” yoga happens. Then we shared them, out loud.

Let me tell you, listening to a room full of people finish this sentence “I am____” with words like “enough,” “strong,” “inspiring,” “happy,” “thriving,” and “alive” moved me past my standard goosebump reaction straight into tears (luckily this is the one place where the combination of the stream of sweat rolling down your face plus a group of incredible people make my silent crybaby nonsense kind of super player, spiritual gangster behavior. PHEW. I think I might just never leave the room).

Dying to know what my word was? Oh I’ll tell you. What would this be if not a platform for oversharing after all?

Not surprisingly, there was a regular vocabulary battle happening up in my head as soon as I heard the word “word.” I changed my mind about thirty- five times in three seconds. However there was one word I kept landing on in between firing rounds of sophisticated lexicon wars. One word that for me- summed up the whole shebang.

The word I came to was AMAZING.

Today, and everyday, I choose to be Amazing. To give amazing. To show amazing. To love amazing. To bring amazing in and put amazing out. To live, Amazing.

What’s your word? To whom will you give it today? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? How will you give it? Say it out loud. Write it down. Own it. It’s yours. Use the law of attraction to get it. Do it, give it, be it, live it.

Go light yourself on fire friends; success won’t happen as a result of spontaneous combustion; set your own flame.

Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.

Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox.

Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest