LOST STARS

It’s Saturday night. I’ve been running around doing all the things all day and now I’m sitting in the backseat of a Lyft driver’s car with my ten year old son. We’re on our way to his first big concert, tickets in hand for Lower Level seats for the Maroon 5 show at the Golden One Center. My son has told the driver he’s heading to his first big concert and the driver is now recounting his own first experience. He’s grinning and laughing and telling the story with joy and detail, his voice inflecting, hands gesturing, body relaxed.

And then it hits me.

Someday, this is the story that my son will tell about his first concert. This moment, right now, the story of the two of us in the backseat on the way to this concert. This is part of a core memory moment.


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Make a Mess

Burned turkey, raw turkey, turkey jerky, turkey in the snow, turkey on the beach, turkey from the store, turkey in Nebraska, and Hawaii.Turkey on a hilltop, turkey in a valley, turkey with my family, and turkey with my fRamily. Turkey for five, turkey for thirty-five, turkey in silence, turkey in jest, turkey served by me, and turkey served to me. Turkey with my ex-husband as he avoided my family, and, tomorrow, turkey with my new husband as he meets them.

So, yeah, I’ve done Thanksgiving a few different ways, in a few different places, with a few different people. It’s very. . . Michelle of me.

However, these three things still hold true— pie, messes, and uh, turkey gratitude. These, I can count on being at the table each year.

And so, in tribute to said symbols of my past, present, and future Novembers, this year, I’d like to focus on the last two, particularly, Continue reading

BET MY LIFE

So. Tonight I’m getting on a plane. With my boyfriend. And tomorrow morning, we’ll land in New York City, and I’ll be….

THIRTY FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD.

Holy wow.

I can’t even.

Really. I just can’t even wrap my head around this amazing space right now.

Every year of my thirties has brought tremendous change, and quite honestly, each year has been better than the last. Continue reading

BURNING GOLD

So, here we are,  more than a third of the way done with winter, Mercury back in retrograde, and 2015 about to cross an entire month off its books already.

#holydrasticchanges batman, it’s been quite a month.

For real.

And it just keeps getting better. And bigger. And faster. And. . .  just. . . amazing. It’s been amazing.

Also, exhausting. Funny how those two things seem to come as a set, isn’t it? But it’s so worth it; so, so, so very worth it.

Because the more effort I put out, the greater my return on investment. The bigger the risks, the more satisfactory the gains.

I’ve been putting a whole lot of positive energy out, and I’m receiving a bucketloads of fully charged ions right back.

Really.  I am beyond amazed at what enormous good has come my way this month. The outpouring of support from my friends as well as the Sacramento Area and Yoga communities is tremendous. Outstanding. Downright dazzling.

I cannot reiterate enough that when you are clear about what you want, when your intentions are true, when you choose to acknowledge and claim that which is yours to have, and then take positive action toward it, shit starts moving, and fast. Real fast.

Take today, for example. I started my day doing yoga with my AYP-partner-in-crime in a local news studio. . .

IMG_9456

You know, no big deal, I totally do that every week.

Wait. Nope. No I don’t.

Actually, I never do that. Nor does that come directly before a second news appearance this week or following a full week of press coverage in local publications and blogs.

Um. Yeah.

This is not been your average January. Like at all.

Things are coming together like they never have before, ever. The more certain areas fall apart, the more exposed my faults become, the more I take ownership of my own shit, and have the courage to do something about it, no explanations, rationalizations or half assed investment, the better the patch kit that arrives in the mail.

For the last five months, in addition to doing the 101 things I seem to do these days, I’ve been pouring my heart, soul, and bank account into this project.

I empty, and then I fill again.

People, and places, and things, and opportunities, they just keep showing up, because, well, because this is it.  That proverbial time? It’s now. That whole living your dream bit? Well I’m definitely awake, and I’m pretty damn sure that’s happening.

This is the beginning of the rest of my story.

Watch the video clip. See my smile? It’s genuine.

See the way my eyes get all sparkly? That’s authentic inspiration.

Hear me talk about what we’re doing in Africa with such certainty? It’s because I know it’s right, and true, and good.

That shirt I wore on the show— it says “live with passion”— and I chose it because of the message it sends. This thing I’m doing, this thing WE are doing, this is my passion. My purpose. This is me, being the best version of me. Full of light and sunshine, heart bursting with happy, giddy with excitement because I get to do what I love.

I get to empower people, with people, and I get to share my practice to do it.

I could not be more honored to be a part of this project.

My friends and readers making contributions directly to my fund, I’m carrying you with me in my heart all the way to Africa and back. Attendees of a A’Frican Event, especially those friends who are coming for no reason other than to stand at my side, I couldn’t be more delighted to see your name on the list.

Contributors, sponsors, and volunteers for the event, you’re A-Frican-Mazing.  Those who have helped us get published, noticed, seen, heard or otherwise shouted our message from the rooftops— you fucking ROCK.

My promise to you is that I’ll keep it moving, I’ll keep paying it forward, again, and again and then again.

This beautiful circuit will remain unbroken. I’ll keep putting energy in. You keep bouncing it back.

It’s a game of Ping pong. You ready?

Good stuff.

Service.

Your turn.

 

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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.

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

 

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

YOU SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY?

So. Today. I um. I’m celebrating 2014.

Oh. No, not the year. I mean, I have punctuality challenges, but I’m not that late for New Year’s Eve.

Nope. Today is my 20-14 birthday. You know, 20, plus 14.

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know. It’s lame. And yep. I’m 34.

This girl. Right here. Thirty-four today.

Super. Yay me.

This means, that, gulp, I am not realllllly in my early thirties anymore, and instead, officially in the “mid-thirties” range.

Or not. Or, as my dear (same-aged) friend rationalized to me, we can still check the “18-34” category on registrations, thus we are basically the same as an 18 year old, and therefore clearly still in our early thirties. I mean, obviously.

Good spin right there, isn’t it?

But also, on a real level, SHITBALLS. If I’m turning 34 that means I’m almost 35. No really. HOLY FUCK. Thirty- FIVE. That sounds like a grown-up age, and I am definitely NOT a GROWN-UP.

But maybe I am.

And maybe I like it.

Most of the time.

Maybe, actually, since my soul has finally woken the hell up, maybe I’m like, really enjoying being an adult. I mean, take a look at all the awesome shit that happened just while I was 33:

  1. I started my blog! That inspired me to write for Scary Mommy. That motivated me to submit to elephant, which prompted me to become a regular contributor, which led me to being a Featured Author. I can’t WAIT to see what kind of authorship will next manifest.
  2. I got to up my teaching game, become a Professor, and do a decent enough job that I even got hired back on, with more classes, each semester. Suckers.
  3. I got to live in a neighborhood that was on my “I wanna live here someday” bucket list, and not only make friends with the people with whom I share a street, but host and attend not just one, but two block parties with my kickass neighbors.
  4. I got to enjoy the benefits of living the urban life in a city that is of a manageable size for me to conveniently, inexpensively and fully explore with my kids. We walk to the park to attend events and concerts. We take day trips to the ocean and the mountains and are still home by bedtime. We ride bikes to dinner in midtown and pick up frozen yogurt on the way back. We stroll to coffee and yoga on Sunday mornings, and we bring groceries from the food co-op home in backpacks after a long ride along the river trail. Somebody pinch me, because there is no way this is my real life.
  5. I got to learn how to live bigger with less, to let go of material shit, and how to leverage my resources.  Seriously, I haven’t even been to Costco one time in 10 months. Not kidding.
  6. I got to create my own schedule, working when, where, and with whom I wanted. I have never been happier in my work life than then, not ever.
  7. My yoga practice grew, first by assisting and connecting to the yoga community, and then by completing teacher training and becoming a yoga teacher. Me! I’m a YOGA TEACHER. For reals. Happy sigh. Oh yeah, and about handstand and titibasana– check! Maybe don’t ask me to hold them for a long time but. . . I didn’t place a time limit on it for a reason.
  8. I made new friends, and created THE most amazing community and network of friends and contacts through fitness, yoga, writing and connections. I have never had a heart more full of love and appreciation for the people in my life, in whatever capacity they have come, and in whatever way they have changed my path. Awesome. People.Are.Awesome.
  9. I sang and danced, with Michael Franti, on stage, in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, at a yogathon, with some of the area’s most revered teachers. I mean. . . are you kidding me? That’s just fucking cool.
  10. I got to walk my kids to school almost every day, for the first time ever. In yoga pants. And flip flops. Even in December, when boots might have been a better call. Whatever, it’ s only two blocks. Toes don’t freeze that fast.
  11. I started CrossFitting. Enough said.
  12. I joined a wine club. Stop laughing. While it’s debatably geriatric ridiculous, it also happens to be at a vineyard nearby where I spent many a lovely sunny Sunday with friends creating new and joyful memories. It sincerely warms my heart when my shipment arrives. Literally, it does, it’s mostly red wine.
  13. I ran somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty events, and usually with people I had never (at least majoritively) previously met. I completed mud runs, obstacle runs, relays, half marathons, themed runs, pub crawls and brewfests. Oh wait, no, scratch that last two, no running for those guys. Biking, yes, but not running. Oops.
  14. I chipped a tooth carrying a bottle of Longboard in my mouth out the front door on Christmas Eve. Yup. You read that correctly. Why is this on my list? Because I did it while hanging out with my little brother, who, being eight years younger than me, I am just now finally beginning to get to know. I’m so glad I was invited to the Cool Kids Fire Pit Party. This year though, just advance warning, I’m using a cup.
  15. I got to make writing and consulting a real part of my career and income. I got to attend business meetings in fancy restaurants, at golf clubs, and in coffee shops. I got to hold conference calls and help build websites. I got to manage projects, and see them grow. I got to learn, on the job, in real time, and with some legitmate Superstars. Entreprenuership; it’s kind of a big deal.
  16. I got to experience a wide range of dating adventures. From heartbreak, to one-and-done, thanks for-the-drink-don’t-call-me-again-please dates, to the people cheering at the bar for us (can’t make that shit up), to the weekend where I was whisked away, in a sports car no less, for the weekend, I had so.much.fun. Well, right after I got over myself and started trying to have a good time anyway. And I learned a whole lot about my intuition, about myself, who I want to be with, and just how complete I really am.  
  17. I got to see Yosemite,  finally, and with some super cool ladies. I also learned while there, that if one wants to climb Half Dome it is advisable to: a) not be hungover tired before you begin, b) arrive at the park well before 11a.m., c) go with people who like heights, and probably also, hiking. At least I can say I looked at it. I touched the rock. I have a picture of me holding tree pose in front it even. That totally counts.
  18. I went on a girl’s trip to Napa with some of my nearest and dearest from childhood, reminding me that the bonds of friendship from our youth are strong enough to hold through a lifetime. I pray my children will be as fortunate as I to have a cohort such as them.
  19. I got to explore who and what I want to be, and to take positive action to make that all happen. It’s been a bumpy ride, but I just installed some seatbelts and a new shock absorbing system, so you know, buckle up tight.
  20. I trusted the myself, and the universe, over and over and over again, and it provided and in such great abundance. What an amazing life we have here on this world, let us always remember that.

That list is really just the tip of the iceburg, and I share it not with you as a way to gloat and exult my good fortune but rather to relay a message of sincere gratitude. To let the universe know how very humbled I am to be a participant in this life. To serve as a reminder, that when you look for good in your life, more good comes. To remember to be willing and open, always, to what comes my way, and to choose to find an opportunity in every adventure.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~John Milton

So thanks, 33, you pretty much kicked ass. 34, let’s go. Let’s do this. Let’s make shit happen. Game time.

Happy Birthday, to me. To the Bucket List, and beyond!

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