YOU FCKN DID IT

Okay, here it is. The last post of 2014. Well, probably anyway, one never knows what inspiration might strike before the ball drops tonight.

I would like to close this year in the same way I try to do every day— with a full and grateful heart, at peace with who and where I am, as well as acknowledge who is there with me.

Because you are, there with me, that is. And you know what?

You rock my world. For real.

Want an example (or ten) of just how much? Lucky for you, all of these “your year in review”          e-mails keep popping up in my inbox and newsfeeds, letting me know the exact statistical significance of how you help me do what I do.

I’m being reminded of the work I did in the last twelve months with pretty infographics explaining things like the fact that this blog was viewed about 12,000 times, or that my top elephant article has almost 69,000 views at present.

Yeah. Whoa.

What.A.Year.It.has.been.

I cannot express enough gratitude for the lessons I learned, the places I went, the friends and connections I made, the stories I heard, the inspiration I found, and the journey I continued, one step at a time.

Amazing. It was an amazing year. Just exactly like I set my intention for it to be a year ago.

How ‘bout them apples?

To consider how that mass quantity of fabulousness came to be in my life, and also, honestly, for more shits and giggles, I also spent some time doing my own little review.

I looked back through the 1,059 photos I stored in cyberspace, read through some of my posts, and even browsed the vaults of my social media accounts to view the collection of my hysterically asinine comments, ridiculously awesome children doing ridiculous things and my serious obsession with instagramming food and drinks.

Whatever. I won’t judge if you won’t.

But, (un)filtered pictures of food aside, the longer I looked, the more I smiled. And people, I like smiling. Like a lot. Like a whole lot.

So this new year then I’m totally going as a copycat. I figure if I pulled off amazing last year then . . . you know, I could probably go 2-2 in 2015.

Most likely. Since I’m kind of super digging this whole manifestation deal. And since, uh, it’s working, like, um, pretty fucking well.

I mean. . . already lined up for 2015 are runs in Arizona and Washington, a yoga retreat to Costa Rica and possibly also Thailand, and oh yeah-

I’m going to Africa in March.

Africa. I’m FUCKING GOING TO AFRICA. For the Africa Yoga Project 

Yoga. In Africa.

Doesn’t that blow your mind? It does mine. It will undeniably be a life changing experience, creating an impact that extends through and beyond me. I am profoundly humbled to get to participate in such an undertaking, infinetly beholden to the universe for providing this opportunity.

And, also, it is absolute confirmation that the law of attraction is at work in my life, validating that when you ask clearly you shall recieve.

However, here’s the best part of it all, actually. My work isn’t done, in fact, it’s just beginning.  I get to keep doing this happy little dance again, and again, and again, AND, I get to share it.

What my teachers have taught me I’m spreading. I’m taking what I’ve learned, what I’m learning, what I’ve done and what I’m doing, and I’m making something of it (jokes, mostly, but also, um, like making a difference, I think anyway).

I’m dedicating myself to this endeavor every day; I’m committing to being a better version of myself not just for me, but so I can be of greater service to others.

I want you to grow with me. I want you to be inspired. I want to live my sentence— “she empowered others to be the best version of themselves”— every single day.

Thank you for being a part of the “others” that I hope to empower. Thanks for reading, for listening, for sharing, for commenting, for writing to and connecting with me (that’s totally my favorite thing ever, btw).

Thanks for being the you that you are.

With sincere appreciation, a smile, and pair of sparkling eyes, I wish you all a Happy New Year today, tomorrow, and every day.

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ONE MINUTE MORE

Okay, so from my last post you learned about how to make today Friday, right? You totally read that. I just know it.  If you, uh, didn’t, well, you know, click here, read that, then come back here. Or don’t. Whatever. The point was, if you want to make a change in your life, the steps are basically:

  1. Wake the hell up
  2. Get clear about your current reality and decide what the fuck it is you actually want
  3. Make that shit happen right about. . .  NOW.

Got it?

Super easy right? Clear as mud.

Well, let’s assume that you’ve already taken step one, or are at least in the process of awakening. If you haven’t, then well, good luck there Sleeping Beauty. Keep your eyes shut and have a nice (life)long nap while you wait for the fairytale ending to roll with the credits. Good luck with that.

However, for those ready for step two, let’s talk a bit.  There are lots of ways you can get a nice clear ultimate selfie of your life, who and what is in it, who and what you actually want in it, and just how in or out of balance your world is. I can help you with that if you’d like actually, and I promise to deliver your reality check with smile too.

The process for step two essentially prompts you to do the following:

Look with ravenous honesty.

Who are you? Who are you not? What is important to you? What is not? What are you prioritizing, and why? What’s happening off the mat- where and how do your habits, attitudes and beliefs show up in your life? Are they helping, or hindering you from becoming the best version of yourself?

Listen with your whole soul.

What do you know to be good, and true and real about you and the world? What lights you up inside? What gives you sparkly eyes and jazz hands? What can you never stop talking about? What are you drawn to, repeatedly? What messages are you ignoring?

Claim your own destiny.

Declare what you want. Do not hold back for fear of judgment or failure. Be specific, very, very specific. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Own it. Every single part of it. It’s yours. It always has been. It always will be.


Again, the first part is usually not terribly difficult. Most of us can do this with some good tools and coaching. What comes next though, is where we get scared. We stall out, paralyzed in the unknown.

Choosing to stay in a place we don’t like simply because we don’t know where else to stand, or if we’ll really like it there.

But, if you are ready, really ready, deep down in your bones desiring to make a change, then I urge you to do the following:

Try
Fail
Learn
Grow
Repeat

Sound familiar?

Good. It should by now.

But really. You will never, not ever, find your purpose, your passion, your life’s work just sitting there. The U.S. postal service delivers a whole lot of nice packages, but I can assure you that the new and improved model of yourself is not going to arrive with your DMV bill this January.

You have to go and get it. Yes. Have to. The only way to get to “there,” to that special place that makes your heart sing, is with your own two feet.

So, if your eyes are open, so might be your heart. If your heart is open, then so might be your hands. And if your hands are open, then honey, even if you can’t walk, you can climb.

Reach up, reach out, come on up. The air up here is lovely. Let’s take a look at your life and start painting a new picture together.

Oh, and bring a smock or two, would you please? This is going to be messy.

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FRIDAY

Okay people. We are almost there. Final push. Four more days of 2014 remaining.

You’ve made it through several rounds of dysfunctional family fun, successfully lived to see another December 26th begin and end, and probably (just guessing) already made and broke several promises to detox, eat clean, and go for a run tomorrow.

Congrats. You’re almost to the big day. The magic eraser for life. A do-over. Resolution time.

All of that guilt is about to be removed from your back, neck, shoulders and ummmmmm, gut.

Right? Because for sure, you are going to wake up on Friday and everything will be different because it’s 2015 and now you MEAN BUSINESS.

Thursday? Thursday you had some intentions. Thursday you bought a Groupon for a month of CrossFit, a ten class pass to hot yoga, four hours with personal trainer, and a week of detox juices, then toasted yourself for this bit of genius with few glasses of bubbly.

But Friday? Friday you’re ready. Game.On.

Right after you peel yourself from the couch, that is.

Yeah. Gotcha there, don’t I?

Because there’s always tomorrow. You can do it later. Not now. Next time. You will totally get up on that in a little bit.

Sure you will.

Here’s the thing. January 1st is rather arbitrary date, all things considered.

While New Years serves as a reminder for us to get our shit together, to forgive ourselves for what we haven’t done, accomplished, been, seen, or loved, and to “do better” this year, it’s really just another day.

Because, friends, every day is a chance to start over. Hell, every second is chance to start over. The next chapter of your life starts right now. And then again with your next breath.

And then again after that.

When will your life begin to really shift? When will the dreams you have for yourself begin to take tangible form? When will it finally be Friday?

The answer, the one you know is coming, is that it’s whenever the hell you say it is.

When you are ready to take ownership of your reality. When you commit making something new. When you take the first step. When you say yes to what is possible and no to excuses.

When you stop being afraid of your own potential.

You have the opportunity to create a new life for yourself all day, every day.  You know exactly who is standing in your way.

Move over.

So, go ahead and do your thing the next four days if you’d like. Stay exactly where you are. Keep saying no. Insist you’re not ready for anything better, yet.

You want to eat and drink more in a week than you did the entire month of November? Go for it. You know what will happen. You know if it is or isn’t good for you (99.99% chance it’s the latter). You know what serves you, literally, and what doesn’t.

If you do overindulge, don’t complain about it — own that shit. Do it and love it, or don’t and be content with that decision. Your call. Your future. Just, no whining please.

You chose this reality; you are a participant, not a recipient.

When you’re ready to roll, when you’ve finally decided that you’re ready to stop waiting for Friday, then, well, then let’s talk.

For now, today, right now, I’ll leave you with a suggestion. A hint—

If you want something, the first step is figuring out exactly what the fuck it is.

Get clear, very clear, about what you really want.  Good stuff happens after that, I promise.

Ready? Just say when.

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SAME AS IT EVER WAS

I’m about a week out from spending my first Christmas ever without my kids, and I gotta say, I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite this cynical about this whole deal.

I don’t know if it’s the yoga, the meditating, the fact that my life is in a perpetual state of change at all times, or just the fact that I feel like I am finally waking the hell up, but I just can’t see Christmas in the same way anymore.

I’m struggling a bit with what “the season” really means, and how we have gotten so very far away from its original intention in our celebration.

Like, what are we even acknowledging, and why the hell do we only remember to do it once a year? Really people? Daily practice. That shit should be a daily practice.

Sigh.

And then there’s this whole thing with traditions that’s really gotten me all twisted up inside.

If the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” then. . . um . .  where exactly does that leave us here, in this effort to do what we always do?

Insane?

I think a little bit, yeah.  A little Christmas crazy maybe. A bit fried. Overextended. Taxed, and not in a way that will benefit us come April either.

Where is the balance? Where do we draw the line between creating a few consistent practices and norms that may be carried forward fondly for generations to come, and in going all gangbusters in our efforts to not just repeat, but out-do last year (and our neighbors, friends, and followers)?

When is enough, enough?

When does old become antiquated, familiar become boring, and could become must?

It’s a slippery slope, and a rather emotional one, especially during a highly emotional thirty(ish) day span of time.

As the year closes our successes and failures are highlighted; our life’s choices exposed and magnified as we gather together in spirit (and mockery). Cats come out of bags, closet doors get opened, skeletons are viewed, front doors get slammed, and baggage spills out all over the dining room table for everyone to see, and judge.

It is no wonder then, that we cling so desperately to the illusion of a few pieces of normalcy in all of this chaos. We crave just a few predictable things, documentable proof that we’re normal and everything is just fine.

Keep calm and tradition on, or something.

Sometimes that works.

Usually, though, it doesn’t.

Like a band-aid on a broken finger, it’s simply not a sustainable fix.

Why? Well, I would argue that traditions do at least two things for us: 1) they trigger old (often painful) memories, and, 2) they create expectations.

Neither of these are particularly helpful for our state of mind nor do they call our attention to our present.

What happened in the past, has well, passed. It cannot be recreated. It cannot be erased. It is done. It either serves as a catalyst for growth or it takes away from today’s happiness.

Use it, or lose it.

Having expectations is a setup for disappointment. The more we hold fast to an idea of how things are supposed to be, the less we are actually able to enjoy them. Why not simply let them be as they are, set ourselves up for success and bring the things we can control — our attitude, our willingness and a loving heart — to any situation?

Stop wishing for something you don’t have, didn’t do, and didn’t get. Either make it happen or drop it.

Enjoy who and what is actually right in front of you. If you don’t like it, then for fuck’s sake, just do something else; your feet are only stuck in the depths of holiday hell as long as you choose to keep them there. Grab a ladder and let go of the banana.

Hard to believe I know, but the Christmas tradition police aren’t going to arrest you for failure to appear if you choose to, gasp, do something else this year.

Nobody is going to remember the perfectly wrapped sweater set they received alongside the annual delivery of coal and resentment at the family gift exchange, but I’ll be dammed if the time you spent the day together volunteering at a homeless shelter won’t be stuck in your minds forever.

Wouldn’t you rather spend two hours laughing around the firepit at an impromptu late night round of storytelling and caroling than standing with your cold and whining children in the snow as you wait to be ushered into midnight mass?

I know I would.

Why not practice the art of making things new? Be different. Do different. Change. Give yourself permission to fuck up a little, it makes for a way better story anyway.

So this year, burn the damn turkey. Under cook your roast. Buy store bought rolls. Eat seven pieces of pie as dinner.  Ride your bike on a lights tour. Don’t watch the Christmas pageant behind a lens.

Go on a trip.

Turn your present opening routine into a scavenger hunt. Ask your friends to contribute to a charity in your name instead of buying you another scarf.

Have a tree un-decorating party.

Listen to hip-hop holiday music and have a dance off with your nephew in the kitchen. Play Cards Against Humanity with your 80 year old Grandmother, spinster of an Aunt Carolyn and questionably sober Uncle Frank.

Come on people, shake it up already.

Let new be new. Let old be old. Let whatever happens, just fucking happen.

See you on the other side; may the odds be ever in our favor.

 

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MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS

So, after a rather lengthy internal battle, a few rounds of rationalization, several bottles glasses of wine with my friends, and uh, careful review and critique. . .

I ordered my Christmas cards this weekend.

Sigh. Insert monkey covering eyes emoticon here.

Yep. I caved.  I totally did. Like, I did the expected thing.

Ugh.

I’m a little pissed off at myself, being so traditional, predictable, materialistic, and generally propagating the curated version of my life that I think people want to see.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.11.30 AM

Lame.

Because on the one hand, what’s the point? With social media we all pretty much know what’s up with our peeps (and their peeps) so like, save a tree, or something, right?

And, let’s be honest- what do people actually DO with that shit anyway?

They toss it in the recycle bin along with their guilt (and some debatably compostable petrified halloween candy) and move the fuck on with their real actual lives, that’s what.

So. Yeah. Speaking of (real lives). . . I just made an executive decision. The cute Christmas cards I ordered in bulk? Yeah. Not sending those. Nope.

Instead, you get, the real, live, authentic (cost effective!) e-card/newsletter that describes our life. This one though- is a bullshit free zone. No fluff. No spin. No labels. The real fucking deal.

Gulp.

Here we go. Presenting:

Not Another Fucking Christmas Letter

Dear Friends, Family, and People That Don’t Fit In Either Category,

Thanks for all of your adorable cards and holiday wishes. Good shit.

In case you don’t stalk roll your eyes at make fun of follow me on instagram, facebook, twitter, RSS feed on my blog, elephant journal or like, actually see me in person, then you maybe don’t know that my life is, uh… a little different than it was a decade ago when I wrote my last Christmas letter.

A smidge. Tad. Small amount.

So, um, here’s a quick update:

Madison

She’s nine now, and basically that means she acts like a bitch with a wad of angel in her back pocket 99% of the time. No, I don’t mean the other way around, I mean exactly that. She’s in hormone change central and waivers between a sweet and loving big sister to a screaming maniac at any given fucking moment. I’m using this opportunity to teach her about karma (ahem . . .), self control, breathing, and sarcastic replies being kind.

I feel for her, in a big way, actually. Luckily, she is catching on fast to the satire game and her witty banter is developing quite nicely. Can’t say the same for her spatial awareness, but it’ll kick in soon enough.

On the upside- she’s quite musically gifted. This means she loves to sing and dance. Everywhere. All.the.fucking.time.

She is ridiculously clever and pretty and tall and could easily pass for a twelve year old. Sometimes I accidentally put on her pants. This has a whole lot to do with lycra and that’s all I’m saying about that.

Rory

That little dude finally learned how to ride his fucking bike, can’t hold fucking still for two fucking seconds, can read like a fucking eighth grader, knows the square root of 99, 999, and asks forty-five fucking questions a minute.

Also, he doesn’t forget anything. Ever. E-V-E-R. Except that you asked him to put his shoes on five times. That — he fails to recall.

He turned six last April and hasn’t been particularly successful with the team sport scene since the coaches don’t really like it when you kick them in the knees and run off the field. However, we’re trying our luck (and their patience) again this Spring since I finally fucking remembered to sign him up for Little League on time.

Fuck.

Me

Um. Let’s see.

I’m pretty sure I’m officially in my mid-thirties now, which makes me old and you oldER.  I’m still single and I’m mostly avoiding dating because it’s hard fucking work finding the time and a man who can fucking keep up with me (she said ever so humbly), but uh, I’m trusting the universe to provide. Because it will.

Yes, I did say “trusting the universe.”  That’s how I roll now. And also, I have used the word “fuck “ probably twenty times in the last eight paragraphs. Fucking get over it. Be grateful I used it grammatically fucking correctly and move on already.

I’m using my college degrees and credentials to . . . ummmmmmmm . . . leverage my resources? I write, actually, like, for money not just because I can.  Twice a week I play dress up as an English Professor too so I can sound important and shit. Actually, no, because they pay me to help adults learn to read while I crack jokes for several hours. It’s fucking awesome.

I ride my bike to the yoga studio, shop at the Food Co-Op, and buy organic fucking produce at the Farmer’s Market.  Oh, yeah, yoga. I do that. Like a lot. I’m rather flexible. For real. In lots of ways, as a matter of fact. I did Teacher Training last summer, and then I quit a normal well paying job so I could help people work their (sweaty) shit out at five locations a week.  Because I fucking wanted to, that’s why.

I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m going after it, spiritual gangster style baby.

I’m busy. Ridiculous busy. My calendar makes my head spin and my heart sing. I love where I’m at, and I’m amazingly fucking happy.

Life is good. We fucking hope you are too.

Be love. Be light. Be happy.

Peace out.

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OH TANNENBAUM

So, um, according to my calendar it’s December 1st today.

December. First.

As in, the last month of this year. As in, just 31 days of 2014 remain. Well, like 30 and few hours at this point I suppose, but still. . . damn.

What the hell Mother Nature? Slow your roll already would you? I mean. Crap, what’s it gonna be January before we know it?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that’s how it works.

I can deal, though, actually. Mostly because I can’t FUCKING WAIT for 2015 to get here, as a matter of fact. Cannot.Wait.

Not because I’m over 2014, not by any means; 2014 kicked some serious ass.

However, there are so many amazing things happening next year I can hardly stand it. I’m bursting at the seams with excitement over the unbelievable, out of this world, downright miracles are that filling up my google calendar like it’s 199. . 9… errr…. 2015.

Gratitude seems an entirely inadequate expression of how I feel right now about what has happened to date, and what is yet to happen still.

I am awed. Humbled. Most incredibly honored to be living the life I love right now.

The whole concept of visualizing to materialize has most clearly been at work, because, well, I’ve got my (sparkly) red pen out baby, and I’ve been kicking ass and taking names all year.

Quite literally.

And all I can say is call me a Monkee, cuz’ people, #imabeliever.

Once I got a grip on my current reality, became clear about what I wanted, set my intentions and took positive action to move toward that, then, well, shit started happening.

Funny how that works out, that whole ask and you shall receive bit, isn’t it?

This understanding has been life changing for me; I’ve had a permanent shift in perspective. I can quite honestly no longer see the world as I used to.

It is so much more beautiful. So much more mysterious. So much more full. So much, well, joyful.

As a result of that shift, as one of the many things that has changed is my attitude about the holidays. That, I am actually quite over, actually. The yearly vomitrocious expulsion of Christmas crap from garages and attics, the nonstop live retelling of “The Berenstain Bears and The Gimmies,” and those fucking Christmas commercials.

Buy this. Get that. Have that. Save money buying people you barely know shit they don’t need.

Wrong, people; we are doing it wrong.

The stuff is not the point.

So, this year, I’m taking a page from my own notes and changing it up, again. I’m ditching the hypocrisy and working to create a more authentic experience.

The kids and I are doing the Twelve Days of Giving again, and you can follow us on instagram @ictfd #twelvedaysofgiving if you’re so inclined. In fact, we’d be tickled pink (red?) if you’d copy the idea and do it with your own family and friends too.

We decorated our house very simply, choosing just a few treasured pieces to display and setting the rest aside for donation or to use another time.

We are adhering to a few yearly family traditions like the advent ornament calendar, singing badly to Christmas music in the car, taking lights walks, and my Daughter and I are holding our annual date to the Nutcracker, fancy dresses and all.

My parents even kindly arranged for us to go cut a Christmas tree up in da’ mountains with them this past weekend (so, yes, we decapitated a tree in the forest. By ourselves. With a real saw. Yup. Not sure yet how I feel about that yet. I’ll let you know when my fingers thaw out next Spring).

But, speaking of said evergreen, what I DID very deliberately and conscientiously decide to do with oh’ tannenbaum this year, is turn it into something meaningful, rather than simply a big (pleasant smelling) needle dropping shrine for all things glass, shiny, and color-coordinated (don’t even pretend to be surprised about that part— I don’t.do.messy.trees — there isn’t enough yoga in my day to ground down that inner feng shui freak).

My children are both familiar with the law of attraction, how we invite that who and which we are. They know how to create a vision and set goals, and are (altogether too) familiar with purpose.

They get it. They don’t always apply it, but they get it.

So, in any case, we dialed it up a notch and made that concept into a “Thing.” Like a real thing, like a BFD, actually.

This year, we created a Tree of Possibilities together for Christmas.

That’s right, we made a miracle tree right here in our living room.

It’s amazing. Beautiful. Shining from floor to ceiling with opportunity and light.

Using blank ornaments and tags to record affirmations, wishes, goals and action statements, we created an image of our own future, sending out positive intentions to the universe.

With each addition, my heart felt lighter. With each heartfelt expression, their smiles grew brighter. With each placement, our awareness heightened.

It was nothing short of magical.

This morning they were content to add one each of their special ornaments, but were absolutely delighted to create a statement on a tiny scroll for their day, again taking positive action for their own happier reality.

My daughter wrote “I will be kind to others.” My son scribed “I will be nice” (he’s only six so, you know, cut him a little slack). I wrote “I will live the life I love: yoga, writing, wellness.”

It is, as my daughter said, “the best Christmas Tree EVER.”

The law of attraction is at work in our hearts, minds and spirits. May the year bring us (and you) all of that, and so much more.

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