TAKE A LOOK AROUND

I’m sitting on my couch late at night on a Friday reflecting on this year, its lessons, its pain, its growth, and looking for the light parts. Looking hard.

I’m here in maternity sweatpants with a sweater stretched over my bouncing and expanding belly, wearing a messy bun and practically no make-up despite having gone to a movie with my family earlier this evening, and staring at half polished toes I can’t reach.

It feels a lil’ bit different than last year same time. Tad. But then again, all of 2016 felt different. And not really me at my fullest expression for a good chunk of it. It felt a little… out of body, like, literally.  

When I look at the things that make me go, the things that make me a powerful me, I don’t see many of them hidden in the remains of this year. Continue reading

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TOWARDS THE SUN

It’s finally the Monday After (Christmas). My house is quiet while I work, checking emails, surveying the results of an intense five weeks, identifying what’s now ahead.

My kids are gone to their dad’s for the week, my husband is lost down an NPR rabbit hole and I’ve already put away and deep cleaned my way out of the holiday that threw up on my living room floor so I can focus on things that are new, and clean, and fresh.

 

Like my intentions. And my perspective. And my profound gratitude for my life.

 

Christmas Day was so different this year. Quiet, cozy, still. No loud houseful of people, no noisy dinner with glasses clinking, inappropriate jokes and deep belly laughs. No cousins running up and down the stairwell, and aunts and uncles pretending to scold them. No new bikes being ridden, skates being used, and long cold winter walks in new hats and scarves and mittens, not that I’ve had a Christmas like in that in a long long time anyway.  Continue reading

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.

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YOU CAN DO IT (PUT YOUR BACK INTO IT)

It’s that time of year again.  That whole “new year, new me” bullshit. Suddenly the gyms are full, yoga pants are legit again (as in, they are actually getting worn to a yoga class and not a coffee shop), organic produce deliveries are on the rise while the deep fryers of late night diners coincidentally take a reprieve from the 11pm-3am double shifts.

These are the weeks when we stare at the list of resolutions made last January 1st, hung onto with dwindling attachment until about Valentine’s Day and ditched completely by June. So we vow to make this year better. This year, we tell ourselves, we are really going to do it. No more excuses.

We make ourselves promises to eat healthier (resolved post [or mid] the mass intake of sodium, sugar and fat that comprised the majority of December’s meals) and exercise more (this promise usually made from the lethal depths of the couch corner). We idealize to do something “different” with our career (this generally proclaimed somewhere in close proximity to Happy Hour on Friday) and to generally do less of X,Y,Z and more of A,B,C, or whatever mathematical equation we’ve generated as a panacea to life.

The problem is, however, the follow-through from one January to the next. We start out ambitious and inspired and then . . .  nothing.   The resolutions lack our, well, resolve to see them through.  Why? What stops us?

I’m going to argue that we do. Yes, you. You stopped yourself from success. You and the tiny voice in your head generating excuses and placing limitations on your own growth. We get in the way of our own progress with our habits, attitudes and beliefs. We allow fear and a scarcity mentality to create obstacles which we refuse to overcome, go around, or use as creative leverage.

Yikes. There’s that whole, three fingers pointing back at you deal repeat performance.  Remember those 10 Ways to keep screwing up your life? Yep. Encore! Dammit. Universe is gonna keep throwing that lesson back at us, again, and again and again, boomerang style baby.

Consider- what are you stopping yourself from doing? What are you allowing into your life that is preventing you from reaching your goals? If you can identify it, you can begin to do something about it (FIX IT! obviously).

But in all seriousness (sometimes I like to play that card, it happens, little professor slip there, the smart ass game will return after this brief educational break), you actually can fix it. Perhaps not in the way you see immediately, perhaps not like you think it “should” be, but in a way that it no longer negatively affects you and your happiness.

Have you considered this- what will happen if you don’t resist discomfort, you don’t worry, you don’t fear? Could it possibly be worse than living with all that negative energy? Really? What’s the worst that could happen if you just let go of it all?

To use a quote that’s been circulating in my life lately (Reticular Activation System anyone?)-

“what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Think about that for a minute. WHAT would you do? Really? What does your heart say? And please, resist the urge to follow that statement with “I would but. . .” Stop that right now. This is an excuse-free vision session. Don’t ask yourself why, ask yourself why NOT. Instead of focusing on “what if it doesn’t work,” consider what will happen if it does. Think less about the potential of being wrong, and more about the possibilities of being right.

This is a tremendous transformation in attitude- life altering really. A shift in paradigm to an abundance mentality is the game changer my friends; shit just got real.  And, like most things worth having, it isn’t going to be easy. It’s hard work (case in point) but it’s work worth enduring.

How to get started? Let’s go back to those damn resolutions. This year, keep it tight. Ditch the plans to look like a supermodel by May and focus on sustainable goals that will serve as a catalyst for real growth. Set forth with a performance goal (emotional performance) of embracing change, leaning into discomfort and watching your reactions, rather than setting an outcome specific goal like “lose 10 pounds” or “fit back into LBD from 2009” (insert guilty emoticon face here. Yeah, the one with the blushing cheeks. You know what I’m talking about). Focusing on your behavior, your patterns, your habits, your thoughts, your attitude will generate real change, initiate real progress and help you achieve just about anything you are willing to receive.

Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? Try step one, not step 100. Pick one thing to focus on (just ONE, overachievers. I see you writing down three. Knock it off) and work to bring that into your life as often as you can. Wherever you are, whoever you are with and whatever you are doing, keep putting out that energy. Physics (and uh, me, and some other cool people) say the law of attraction is likely to bring it to you- you’ll get what you put out there people, so put.it.out.there.  And- sidenote- sometimes you just might not recognize its presence, so you know, don’t get all bent out of shape if it doesn’t like, slap you in the face everyday. It’s there, I promise, be willing to see it.

As a super easy application of this concept, check your vocabulary, player. What words are shaping your reality with their connotations?  One small change in the articulation of your existence can change your entire perception of an event and thereby its effect on you. For example, think of the word fear. Ugh right? Now reframe it.  Use it to create a new association that will empower you instead of bring you down.  Ready? Try this on for size-

FEAR- Face Everything And Rise

Boom! How do ya like them apples? Yoga teacher wisdom here to save the day once more (standard). Namaste to my Zuda teachers for that badassness right there.  But really, it exemplifies how one simple change makes all the difference. Just one. Be willing to be open to discomfort and opportunities, to see differently, to respond better, to reframe your vocabulary, your perception, your life.

So my friends, to you I send breath for the New Year. Yep. Breath. The basis for calm, for balance, for collected, poised and effective response to the bumps in the road of life. Let it take fear out of your world and return it (in acronymical form) to you as your ability to FEAR.  Stop saying I can’t, and  instead say “I can’t, YET.”

Happy 2014, may it be all that that you make of it, and more.

 

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