Reflections Beyond The Mirror

As I entered the gym I had the absolute pleasure of being the first one in on this morning.

It’s not like the gym is crowded because we’re under limited attendance because of COVID, but having the whole place to myself was a treat!

I got to thinking as I set my weights in front of the mirror – why does it even matter? There can only be 4 people in here at once so it’s not like I can’t use the equipment I want. 

As I was focused in the mirror on the muscle group I was working, I didn’t worry about anyone else.  I didn’t worry that I was taking up space someone else needed, or using weights that someone else wanted. I didn’t worry if I didn’t look as fit, or capable, I didn’t worry if anyone saw I was only using 10lb weights.

Funny – for someone who walks to the beat of her very own drummer, who knew I thought about others so much? It got me to thinking that I must not be the only one!

In this state of limited activity with others, it has become increasingly obvious to me how much more I am reflecting on what I want for me instead of wondering what others are seeing.

This is enough of a perspective shift it’s important to share. It goes along with my blog post from last month about focusing on the life you wish to live versus what you want others to remember about you.

If I lift weights and focus on me and my body and what muscles I’m working, I put the best energy I can into what really matters to me. I can identify what is working and what is not and if the effort I’m putting forth is creating the results I want.

On the contrary, if while I’m lifting weights, I’m watching the skinny 20 year old doing yoga nearby wondering what she thinks of me – how much am I focused on my goals? 

If I allow myself to be so concerned about the example I’m setting for the yoga girl, or if she sees how strong I am or what is possible for her when she is a bit older, maybe that is a good result. But it’s not the result for me – it’s for her and ultimately I’m in the gym for me!

See how this works when we break it out this way?

If you are so concerned about how other people are feeling about the way you show up in the world, are you showing up for you?

This might be an oversimplified example but I think many people are living some version of this in their lives. I think that makes this time in life maybe even a bit more lonely, but it also highlights how much of life one might be living for themselves.

Look, you’ve heard me say time and again that our tomorrows are not guaranteed, so I encourage you to take what is left in this space of limited movement to really think deeply. How much of your life you are living for you and your own goals and how much is for your version of yoga girl?

It may not be obvious at first and you may not even realize it initially, so I encourage you to really think through it. 

In my experience,  I have found that when I am focused on my own reflection and goals, I end up being that example, showing how strong I am and everything I’m concerned about projecting. This is not because I’m doing it for anyone else and that is what makes it so magnetic.

When you see someone living in their absolute truth it is something almost magical and isn’t that the kind of legacy we all want to leave behind?

Better Than A Eulogy

If you are like me, at one point in your life you’ve done the “funeral exercise.” This is an exercise where you take some time to imagine the end of your life and think about what you hope others will say about you.

This is designed to help you really look at the life you are living and if it is congruent with what you hope to be remembered for.

Here’s the deal – you’ll be dead! Will you really care?

I know, that is not the point, but the point is that you don’t have any control how you are remembered. You only have control about how you show up (or don’t) in your life for yourself and others.

You may think that you will be remembered for all the people you helped and projects you were involved in. You may envision the line standing down the sidewalk waiting to pay their final respects, but that is not what it’s really about. 

It’s really about the people standing inside, next to you while the line files through. Think about them for a minute, what stories they will tell are the important ones. 

So here is a bit of a twist to that morbid exercise, still using the theme because it is a powerful one. It’s a variation on the theme but centers around those you love rather than you. 

Imagine for a brief moment that someone near and dear to you were to become ill or had limited time left on the planet. Would you change anything about how you are living today?

You see, we often don’t realize what we take for granted. We may be doing a grand gesture that many will remember us for at our funeral, but forget what it denies us the opportunity to do. 

This perspective gives you the chance to look at how you are showing up today in your life and in the life of those you love. Or not showing up. 

The question if you stay late at work to get just a bit more done, or go home to make dinner for your family has a different perspective now doesn’t it? Would you listen more intently as your loved one was telling you about their day if it could be their last? 

There is a song by Tim McGraw called Live Like You Are Dying in which he talks about going fishing more, loving more and not arguing as much. Let’s face it, some of the things we worry about, spend time on and are distracted by are things that in the face of limited time we would decide really don’t matter! 

Take that the next step further – and think about what matters to your loved ones. How would they feel coming home to find you not only home from work on time but cooking dinner for everyone? Or when someone spoke to you, you put your phone down and looked them in the eyes and empathized with them and really listened fully?

Is that argument you had really that important? Think about the event or task you said yes to that is taking time away from reading your kids a bedtime story.

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If time were limited, would you let anything get in the way of story time?

Ultimately we have no control over how we are remembered but we always have control of how we live each day. How we show others they are important and how we honor them in life is really what it’s all about, not what is said in a eulogy that we will never hear.

How people feel about you once you are gone is your legacy, how they feel about you while you walk among them is your life.

Remember, “Some people talk to you in their free time. Some people free their time to talk to you.”

I encourage you to consider these thoughts as you move about your days being intentional about your interactions in life with your loved ones. Make how you live matter to those you love, don’t worry about what will be said when your gone – you’re still here! 

Your Own Becoming

We all love the rags to riches story. We all love when an underdog takes on a big player in their industry and rises to the challenge. As a Bostonian I watched my father’s heart break year after year as the Red Sox dropped yet another tournament run until that one time in 80+ years that they won it.

What an incredible feeling!

Boston Red Sox World Series Champs 2004

Would the victory of a win like that be as sweet without the struggle? 

Do you feel the same elation when the NY Yankees win yet another World Series or any game where the victory is a blow out or feels like it happened before the teams hit the field?

Again, as a Bostonian, my references are sports (hey its part of our DNA that’s injected in the hospital I think!) Tom Brady won respect of sports fans everywhere by leading the team to victory coming from a score gap that was almost impossible. Remember the Super Bowl win against the Seattle Seahawks? 

Would that have been such an exciting game if it hadn’t come down to the final seconds where only minutes before Seattle was a determined champion team?

You get the point we all love a story of overcoming adversity, the underdog against the indomitable force, the tension in every movie where all looks lost until Denzel Washington saves the day in the last minute or MacGyver remembers that stale stick of Juicy Fruit in his pocket! 

So if we all love the story, the feeling, the joy of overcoming something that seems insurmountable, how can we use this to our advantage?

When adversity strikes in your life do you see it as a gift or a curse?

Humans actually do well under periods of stress, it causes them to solve problems and use their minds to figure a solution. Times of stress in history were often followed by tremendous progress. [Please note I said periods of stress, not a life of stress!]

The saying goes necessity is the mother of invention, well I’m going to go just a step further to say that adversity is the birth of creativity.

We are currently living in the most difficult situation many of us have ever experienced. This time in history is kind of like a combination of the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression but with internet! (This has good and bad consequences! That’s another post) 

So with all this adversity stirring up your creativity what are you going to make of it? What are you going to make with it?

I’ve spoken quite a bit over the past few months about the opportunity the stay-at-home orders have given us to think about and plan what we want to allow back into our lives as we move forward. I encourage you to take that next step forward and really think about how you emerge from this adversity.

This crisis has played out differently depending on your situation but everyone has been affected in some way. This period in time is now part of your story! We are in the tension part of the movie or the adversity in the book. 

How are you evolving during this time? What have you learned and used that will help you on the next part of your journey?

You see it’s not really the victory that ever matters, it’s who you become to reach that victory. What skills do you develop that you can use that you developed or strengthened during this time to benefit yourself or others going forward? 

It is not because David slayed Goliath by sheer power that he became celebrated, it was so much more. Ultimately it was the way he approached the battle where David showed who he had become (and hint it had nothing to do with brut strength). 

In the coming months and years, Covid-19 and Corona Virus will become a “time in history” something that we have endured. This will be part of one of the adversities we’ve lived through. 

This is a chapter in your story, how will you use the lessons learned? How will you use the experiences you are living through today in your tomorrows? 

Who you become is based on the adversities you have faced. You have the power to use this insight to build your hero story because we are still in the stage of becoming at this time.

Time To Make Good On A Dream: Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

We have a problem Houston and every other city, state and country in the world.  News flash, this is not a US problem it is a worldwide problem.

Prejudice (or as my 5th grade report called it Prejudism) abounds and we need to make some drastic changes or we will all peril in an “us against them” fight. The more we divide and decide someone is wrong because of their skin, religion, sexuality or nationality the less humanity there is for everyone.

I was raised to be a good person. My parents regularly exposed us to people different than us by culture and color. We didn’t travel but we had exchange students from around the world living with us for as long as I can remember. One student from India lived with us for years and was considered a part of the family.

My parents also taught us early to be involved and we gave our time to causes they believed in. My father was/is also quite an activist from his youth riding with the Freedom Fighters to leadership in teacher’s unions to now working with men coming out of incarceration and beginning new lives. 

We tease my father all the time that the government must have a thick file on him. My dad spends a lot of time writing to Congressional Leaders, Council Members and even the President about how well or poorly he feels they are representing their constituents. I now believe there should be thick files with all of our names on them!

As I became a parent I too involved my children in causes that I feel are unequal burdens. We spent a lot of time working with homeless shelters, hunger programs and donation sites and I felt good about that.

My children each grew up as strong advocates in causes they felt were unjust and equality was sorely missing. From GLBTQ and women’s rights to marijuana decrimalization they have each been loud and vocal advocates.

I find myself here, in this moment thinking, all that is good, but it is so terribly incomplete. Good just isn’t good enough.

I don’t know if you are feeling the same way or not, but for me it is hard to hear that a black man doesn’t step out of his house without his ID for fear he may have to prove why he is walking in his own neighborhood. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a whole race is being blamed for a pandemic because it came from their region. And there will never be a time or reason that I can understand why someone would be killed for their skin color or sexuality.

As long as there are people deciding that their god, race, color, sexual preference or boarders are any better than another’s there is a whole bunch of work to be done. 

This does not mean to drown yourself in shame because of what color your skin may or may not be. It is not to guilt you into marching or getting on a bullhorn to either state your position or post on social media a square you don’t thoroughly understand.

Guilt and shame do nothing positive and actually prohibit the ability to think clearly on how to move forward. We do not need people acting rashly to assuage their guilt, we need people to stop and think about the world they wish to live in.

There are so many issues in this world today that we need to address in all corners of the globe. I encourage you to take a look around at the world you live in and see it clearly for what it is and how things could be. 

If you think change takes time – think again. In a matter of days we closed down a country and planet! We can do this with swift, thoughtful action and everyone becomes safer.

I encourage you to take some time to dream about the world you wish to live in and then take a step, just one step towards creating that. After that, take another. It can be something that you trumpet from your platform or a quiet letter to your senator or you might just read up on who your local sheriff is. Wherever you choose to make a difference, please start today and keep going. 

We can make a difference by each taking action in our own space in our own way. As Mother Teresa says, “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”

Good just isn’t good enough anymore, we can and must do better.

Thank you #BlackLivesMatter movement for waking us all up to the challenges you have faced for ages and inspiring us all to have a dream that one day we will not judge people by anything but the content of their character.

Excuse me, I’ve got a letter to write!

Dance Lessons

Most of my life I’ve danced to the beat of a different drum. In the beginning I didn’t realize that not everyone heard the same music I did. As I began to get older more people questioned my dance and at times it felt like everyone had an opinion about my dance.

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After a while it became supremely evident that everyone did NOT hear the same music I did. To many it seemed as though I was just recklessly breaking norms. At first I cared, then I just felt bad.

I felt like there was something wrong with me for not dancing like everyone else did. At points in my life I even tried to learn their moves and got good at mimicking the dance I saw others doing.

In those years many thought I was doing great and I got less comments about how my dancing was off but for me it was the most confusing time of my life. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something just wasn’t right, and again I felt bad and like there was something wrong with me.

I was dancing in complete dissonance to the music playing inside my head. I had forced myself to ignore or drown out my own music so I could keep beat to the music everyone else seemingly heard.

Do you know how hard it is to dance to music you can’t hear?

At some point I gave up. I stopped dancing altogether and slowly in moments when I got really quiet, my own music returned. Softly at first and as I began to celebrate it, it became a full out symphony!

I finally allowed myself to be who I am and to dance again to my own music. First I danced behind closed doors to make sure no one could see my flawed dance moves. Then as I found the joy again, I danced in public view.

I began to trust my dance and appreciate it even if others did not. I allowed the music I heard to move me and I enjoyed the dance so much I began to “dance as if no one was watching.”

This doesn’t mean that my dance suddenly began making sense to others. Nor does it mean that others didn’t have something to say about it or could even celebrate it because it looked so different.

What it does mean is that today I am able to be in harmony with my own music. I feel right even if I look wrong to others. And while others may still not understand my dance, they can’t help but see it brings me joy.

One of the most precious freedoms of this human experience is to dance to the music you hear. The music was created for you and no one else has to understand it for you to be able to move to it.

We are all here to live our own journey and the fact mine doesn’t look like yours is not better or worse. I know I can’t hear the music you are dancing to so maybe I won’t understand your dance or maybe you’re dance doesn’t make sense to me.

Please dance anyway. You might even find there are others that will dance with you!

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Dance Company Unión Latina of Medellin, Colombia

 

The Pony And The Pile

The other night after a long day, I got ready for bed and I could hear the distress cry of a cat outside. I went to my window and as I was closing my shutters, I saw the cat right outside my window, one floor down staring up at me, meowing urgently.

My first thought was one of empathy wondering what the cat was trying to communicate and my second thought was, Oh no, she’s not going to sit there all night meowing and keep me from sleeping is she?

It was at that moment, I needed to remind myself nothing is permanent – the good, the bad, the suffering or the joy. (OK the cat did not cause me suffering – lost some sleep, but let’s not be that dramatic!) Yet we often take the things that are bad or causing us pain and suffering and act as if they will last forever. When joy arrives we miss it because we are trying to find a way to cling to the feeling for fear it will vanish as quickly as it came.

As humans we are wired to look for danger, but are we also wired to cause ourselves pain? Are we the cause of our own suffering? Are we missing out on the experience of joy for fear of it’s impermanence?

I believe that through changing our focus we can experience more joy and peace in our lives, though it takes practice. Now this is not to say everything is rainbows and puppy dogs, I’m not practicing pollyanna optimism here. It is to say that if we look for the pony in the pile of shit two things can happen. One, we get excited that although we are up to our elbows in shit that there may be something beautiful in it so it makes what we’re digging through tolerable. The second thing that happens is that we stop focusing so much on the shit because we are looking for something in it, not just staring at the shit itself.

Again, don’t get me wrong, we cannot ignore that we are in shit up to our elbows, but maybe there is purpose in why we are there? Maybe there is benefit in the shit? And maybe if we stop looking at the pile of shit and start digging we’ll find a pony or something else.  Maybe we know we we’re looking for or maybe not, but if we begin to dig instead of staring at it and experiencing it in a state of overwhelm, we can begin to clear it up and see what is there.

This does not mean that the pile doesn’t smell badly or that it is pleasant, but looking for the lesson, the good thing that might be in there provides us a way to move through it. It provides an incentive to clean it up and not just stare at it and experience it as a whole pile. It allows us to work through it a bit at a time and get a better understanding of what is in it and sort out if there may be learnings in there.

An example from my life comes from my mother. She used to talk about the gift of cancer. As a 4-time patient of various forms of the disease, I do look to her as a bit of an expert there. She would speak to patients and survivor groups about what cancer enabled her to do versus what it took from her. She spoke of the benefit of the disease bringing to the forefront what was important to her, what she learned about herself and her friends and family through her times in treatment. She looked at life differently because she had faced death. She didn’t deny it was hard, she just focused on what good came from it.

The other night on the phone I was talking with a friend who, as a survivor himself, was now watching his mother take on her own journey with cancer. A comment he made struck me, he said, “I’m amazed at how strong she is, I had no idea.”

It was such a beautiful comment and even as I write this it brings tears to my eyes. As a mother myself, I think we often down play our strength or it seems to be taken for granted. For this son to be able to experience his mother in a new and beautiful light is an incredible pony in the terrible shit that is this illness.

So as we move through our days, we know that some will be joyful and some will not and that is the way life is experienced. What we can do is create our focus point so that when the joyful times come we are present to enjoy every bit in that moment and know that although it wont last forever, it will come again.

As you face painful or uncertain times your focus is essential to move through them knowing that these times will not last forever either. I encourage you not to sit in the big pile of pain rather to begin to dig into it a little at a time and ask for help if it’s really tough. If necessary, bring in an entire excavation team so you are supported as you dig through it.

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Having experienced many piles in my own life, I have found that there is always something I learn from the tough times.  As I focus on my learning instead of the pain I find peace returns and I am able to move through the pile better.

As I write this we are facing unprecedented uncertain times. Even though I began this post before the preverbal shit hit the fan, it seemed to be good timing to publish it as I work hard in my own life to remain focused on the lessons and pray for this to pass. I am hearing from my community they are in this shit with me and if we all dig maybe we can fill a whole stable by the time it passes!

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Photo Credit: Markus Korenjak

 

Dare To Dream

If you hear a voice within you say, 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." -- Vincent Van Gogh-2.jpg

What happens if you follow your heart?

Yes it’s scary.

Maybe it doesn’t go as planned right away.

Maybe you feel a little foolish in the beginning.

Maybe you think people will judge you.

Or maybe you’re afraid that no one is looking and that has its own story!

To a certain extent, you can’t win for losing. Either people will watch you and might think you are crazy, or they won’t watch you and you’ll think maybe you’re crazy!

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You sit with your thoughts and the voice inside you telling you that you cannot paint or whatever it is that is inside you that wants to come out which is how a life of regret starts out.

Maybe you are not a painter, but maybe you are! Frankly, I believe that anyone that has that voice or dream inside them also has the ability for that very thing.

For example, I’ll never hear my inner voice telling me I can be an astronaut because my desires and voices are in another direction altogether. My inner desires don’t have anything to do with space travel, I mean, I like looking at the moon, but have no desire, even with MY wanderlust, to visit it.

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Here is the thing I find tricky though, and I suspect you may have this issue too. There are so many voices that have ideas about how to live my life. There is the voice of society, “go to school, get good grades, get a good job, retire with a gold watch and then live on an island if you want.”  There is the voice of my father, “Did you know that the house next door just went up for sale? You can always come back home and get a job.” And finally there is the voice of doubt, “Who are you to be doing this? What makes you such an expert?”

There are so many more but you get the point, you may even recognize a few in common as well!

My challenge to this point in my life has been to clear away all the voices to find my own. It was very soft and tiny at first and it came as more of a question then a “calling” and it was timid, oh so timid!

Lucky for me I am a curious sort and began to explore the voice. To be honest, I have attempted to launch about five entrepreneurial ventures before finally ignoring all the naysayer voices and taking the leap. If you didn’t know that about me, that’s because most business ideas never saw the light of day because I was talked out of them.

This is the other issue, I’m sure many loving people thought they were being helpful when they talked me out of these ideas. Maybe they were right, or maybe not, I’ll never know.

What I can say is that the voice became less timid over time and began to get a bit pushy with me. I kept having ideas and walking away from them until one day the idea came right up to me and point blank asked me to do the thing! It was a moment that said – “it’s go time girl, stop messing about!”

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Since that day, Thrive This Day has come to life and evolved over the last 8 years. It started as a blog, moved into coaching, writing, online classes, public speaking and workshops. I have a book, blog and weekly video show, I have an online school and a number of workshops booked worldwide in the next year.

This began slowly and even to this day I’m not a household name (yet) but it builds over time. Some things I have created have failed in an epic crash (which few even heard) some were raging successes, but either way I keep moving; sometimes forward, sometimes backward and sometimes it looks like the cha cha!

So today, as we begin to prepare for a fresh decade, I encourage you to be still and listen. See if you can hear that little voice inside you. Understand that it is probably timid and very soft, so listen carefully. When you do hear it, and it may be just an idea or hunch, get a little curious, play a little with the idea. What could you do with this idea or desire?

It doesn’t have to be a full out career change, or even a major change, it might just be a new way to express yourself. Maybe you want to dance, or write or sing or….paint!

And if you or anyone else tries to talk you out of it remember the words of Vincent Van Gogh: If you hear a voice say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

I am done trying to ignore the voice or voices around me and I encourage you to do the same! The voice is there for a reason.

So what does your voice tell you to do, or not to do? How can you add more of this into your life?

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I got robbed in Marrakech!

Yes it’s true, but it’s not what you think.

I landed in Marrakech this month and my motivation seemed to disappear like lost luggage at baggage claim!

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I don’t know if it was the multiple jet-lags that I refused to submit to finally catching up with me or if it was just one of those times. You know, the times that you know what you have to do but there is just nothing bringing you to do it.

This happens to everyone – yes, even life coaches! I think it’s important to talk about this and how to get out of it because it is life and even the best lives deal with this from time to time.

For me it is important to determine first and foremost, is this more than just a loss of motivation or is it simply a reaction to the hustle of running my own company and being away from those I love and have connection to?

Once I determine what I’m dealing with I can better figure out how to get out of the stagnation and begin to be productive again doing what I love. If it is more than a loss in motivation, I urge you to seek out help beyond a coach!

For me a number of things contribute to this which I am in the process of rectifying.

The mastermind group I had been participating in determined it was best to end which is a great loss for me. I had developed deep friendships and count these people as huge supporters of me and my business in a way not everyone can be for me. I write often how much I believe mastermind groups are important so this was a biggie for me.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with family and going from the warmth and familiarity of that to the stark contrast of a place like Morocco was harsh. Although this place is beautiful, this city is a place where I feel like I definitely do not belong. Many of the things I do naturally and hold dear are forbidden or frowned upon.

As it was I nearly gave the room service guy a heart attack by him delivering a plate of food to the chambers of a woman not known to him. His discomfort was more than palpable and he couldn’t wait to get to the open doorway to be visible to others and for me to sign my check so he could jet! It was almost comical, however it did highlight how just being a single woman here is a “thing”.

Knowing what I know, I can now take action to fill my needs and recapture my motivation along the way. I soon head to the coast where I believe (hope) it will be a bit more relaxed and I will stay at a coliving space.

The way to motivation is through action. Most people wait for motivation to create action but that is the wrong order. If what is being felt is truly simply a lack of motivation, I encourage you to source out what is off and rectify it and take action. I know this is the hardest thing to do when you are not “feeling it” but it is the best way through the muck.

The need for connection is huge for me and I know this. As a solo traveler I have the opportunity to meet people that I might not have the opportunity if I were a couple or with others. I had the opportunity to chat and have tea with Saleem yesterday as I purchased something from his store. Here a purchase is not a transaction it seems to be a connection and something to be celebrated. Apparently, I now have a store in Marrakech as he told me now that his store is my store! This is not the type of connection I was really looking for.

I need more than the average small talk though and so as I head to the coast I will spend several weeks with people from all countries that are digital nomads – just like me. I love these times because we have a few things in common even if one is not language, we have short but intense time together and often can develop meaningful friendships. Many people I’ve met in these locations go on to become long-term friends that I meet up along future locations and we support eachother’s businesses and journeys.

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I have also reached out to the members of my former mastermind and set up individual calls to keep connected. I am actively in search of a new mastermind, but these guys will always be in my corner and I in theirs so we will continue to connect and support each other’s growth and journey.

So here is my formula when you find yourself, like me, robbed of motivation. Report the crime! Reach out to friends, family, peers, colleagues, a coach or anyone that can help you through this process.

  1. Assess! – Is this more than a loss of motivation? Is this a sign it’s time for a change in direction? Or more?
  2. Reach Out! – If this is more than a lack of motivation and it is burnout or depression or even eeks of either, reach out to get help please! A good coach can help you determine what you’re dealing with and help you connect with a good therapist if necessary. Please do not try to plow through these things, I have seen what that can do to someone and it’s not pretty and is so avoidable!
  3. Take Action! – Determine what tools and resources can help you. Get yourself a mastermind to help you stay accountable and reach for those goals again or a coach who can help you with more personalized direction. Whatever you do don’t wait for it to reappear, hunt your motivation down through action.

This blog has actually helped me as an action step and I hope it gives you some guidance as well.

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Back in action

Mindful Time

My desire to grapple with the concept of time started at a very early age. I was a child IMG_9720living with a mother with a terminal illness and I always understood that she would not live the “normal” life expectancy. From the age of seven I understood our tomorrows are not guaranteed and that time is precious.

As a child and teenager, long into my early adulthood, I had trouble being “on time” for anything. As a young child my mother called me the pokey little puppy from the children’s storybook of the same name, but it quickly became an issue and not cute at all as I got older.

As a teen and young adult I struggled with schedules and meeting people at a specific time. It never failed as I was getting ready to meet someone, a friend would call needing to talk, or something would come up that I felt needed immediate attention.

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We now call that being in the moment, or being present – but then…it was called disrespectful.

I do own the fact that not everything truly needed the immediate attention I gave it, but this came only from practice and experience. I have also learned the art of predicting the unplanned and notifying people if it appears I’m going to be late now.

Once I got a handle on working within the constricts of time, I then was a single mother with children. Anyone with children knows this was an utter derailment and all my efforts to keep on schedule went down the drain as I tried to get my children to care about time.

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Children don’t care about schedules or time; they rely on their own rhythm and make their needs known as they arise. I allowed being on time to become so important to me that I missed so many important moments by hurrying them through something because of a schedule.

It’s funny how natural the child’s presence comes and as adults many struggle to become present. It is a natural instinct that we have put aside in order to work within the concept of time.

I know we need some type of order in the world. If everyone ran around being present and “in the moment” there would be chaos and we would certainly have trouble.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Yet I think about living on the islands and going to a store or a utility office to pay a bill only to find a sign on the door, “out to lunch”. I knew that meant I should come back in 2 hours or so because they would come back when they were done, not within a prescribed 20 minutes or hour. Yes it was sometimes a hassle but not often because who doesn’t appreciate living on “island time?”

The thing is that time is a man made concept. It is a method we use to understand a rhythm of our existence. However this is not always to the benefit of our human experience, sometimes it separates us from the very experience and rhythm of life.

As I prepare to take a trip to the other side of the globe whereby I will cross the date line and a day of my life will vanish into thin air this concept becomes ever more illusive. A day will pass that I will never have lived yet been present the entire time.

If this doesn’t explain that time is not real, I’m not sure what does!

We are pulled each day by appointments, obligations and our schedules. Many often have trouble saying no to a request to spend their time doing something they may or may not want to do but once put in the schedule it is time spent.

Each time I step on a plane, each time I talk to my children on the phone or my family or friends either in person or on the phone, I recognize that time shared is a gift and not a guarantee. To miss being fully present in those moments however normal and routine they may be is to ignore the gift because it is those moments that are the ones I will long for if and when they are no longer available.

So I leave you with these thoughts on time. Time is a gift not a guarantee. It means onlyimages what you allow it to mean, so I encourage you to consider this each moment you
schedule on your calendar. Make sure what is in your calendar is what is in your heart and that you make space to be present during those appointments.

I encourage you to celebrate each moment. And if you forget how to be present, take a child for a walk in the woods and follow their lead, you might just spend a 20 minutes following a critter and it might just turn out to be the most magical and enjoyable 20 minutes you’ve had in a while.

Thank you for spending your time reading this and I hope it helps you be more present with the rest of your time.

The Step Beyond Courage

Have you ever had that feeling, “uh oh, I’m in over my head”?

Living my lifestyle this is not a new thought for me, but this past week it was a more intense version of the same thought.

I just returned from a week that really challenged me. It challenged my ability to call out for what I needed, it challenged me to learn new skills, and most of all, it challenged me to stay when I wanted to run. I was challenged to my very core to be brave.

When I Don’t Run

It is in these times when I have to dig deep that I find the best parts of me. I learn so much about myself and my strengths and weaknesses and I often find a new voice.

When I am placed in a position to be brave I have made a decision that what I am facing is worth the challenge before me regardless of the outcome. It is the truest test of what is important to me and it calls on my spirit to support it.

This is where my spirit lives in the moments I need to call on my ability to be brave.  I believe this is true for others as well.

Size Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter the size of the challenge, for some just getting out of bed to face the day is the bravest thing in the world in that moment. To me, being brave is the virtue of knowing that you are pushing yourself to do more and be more than you think is possible in the moment.

To go after something even when you are not sure you will succeed is a step beyond courage and moves into bravery where you must call on everything you have to accomplish your goal knowing it is not guaranteed. It has reminded me that those with illnesses, addictions or facing any kind of unknown outcome, the strength summoned to face each day and the challenges it brings is tremendously brave and I am in inspired by you.

Reminder

This week reminded me that I have so much more ability than I believed because I can call on my spirit and be brave when I am faced with the opportunity.

Because I had forgotten about this inner strength, I thought you might have too and I wanted to remind you that you are braver than you believe and stronger than you seem.

I encourage you to celebrate the ways you are brave today.

I see you being brave.

I know how strong you are.

It all matters.

You matter

-E

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