No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem

By Tuesday, February 4, 2020 2 4

This is my sports bra (hello sports bra). She has many confusing straps. We did something brave together last week: I wore her and just her (pants too, obvs) to yoga class.

My business coach, Samantha Siffring, challenged me to 30 days of bravery and wearing just a sports bra was one of my challenges. I’ve always wanted to do it, but never felt brave enough. Until last week.

I walked into the class with a shirt on because it felt unconstitutional to drive shirtless to class. I set up my mat, found myself in the mirror, and whipped off that shirt with a sharp inhale. No going back now, honeys, it was already done.

I looked around at the other bodies and a few were just wearing sports bras too. My people, I thought. Is there a secret handshake for this club? At least secret glances for our shared baddassery? 

Instinctively, I started to compare. “That one looks so relaxed, that one clearly hasn’t had two kids, and THAT one is just unfair…wait a minute, I don’t have a shirt on…”

The yoga teacher came in and when she set up the tone for the class, I almost snorted out loud.

Vulnerability. Growth. Intentionally getting yourself to places of discomfort and, more importantly, staying in there. Yes, common yoga themes but it was like she was talking to my sports bra and me.

We started our practice and I was so aware of my body. The way it bent and folded, the shadows it cast and didn’t cast. I was too aware. What did I look like to others? Did they wish I kept my shirt on? Should I adjust my pose to make me less creased? My postures suffered. I was wobbly and overthinking. I wanted to put my shirt back on.

It was the exact opposite of what I should do in yoga and at that moment the teacher said this:

“When you are uncomfortable, you are faced with your biggest moments of growth. So what if instead of pushing away the discomfort, you leaned into it to see where it takes you?”

So I did just that. I leaned into the discomfort of being shirtless and dropped my ego. And just like that, I was floating. I wasn’t uncomfortable anymore and it felt wonderful to not have clothing between me and my body. I loved my silhouette. There was no posture I couldn’t slay, there was no way I could fall, there was no one else in the room.

Because yoga, like life, is all about your mind, your thoughts, and your ego.

Yoga teachers often say yoga starts when you want to get out of a pose. The moment you say something is hard, it truly does get hard. But, yoga teaches you to bridge the moment between “this is hard” with the end of that sentence “and I can do it”. It is the bridge between what you think it possible and what really is possible. It’s the moment you want to put your shirt back on but don’t. This is vulnerability and that is bravery.

My yoga teacher that shirtless day asked us to breathe into hard moments and say: “I can. I am able. I am enough.” It sounds so simple but try it. See how it changes the challenge. What if we said that in the middle of hard life moments? How would that change the challenge? How would it explode our lives?

Once you lean into discomfort, you find comfort on the other side. I did that with my torso exposed to the world. I did that with the panic attacks and anxiety I thought would last forever. I’m doing that with pushing the boundaries of my life and with 30 days of bravery. The more I lean in, the less uncomfortable pushing myself is.

So, did I like wearing just a sports bra to yoga? Yes, I loved it. Wearing clothes hid my body and encumbered my movement. I am done with hiding and encumbrances. I am liberated and shirtless. I can. I am able. I am enough. Now I just need to buy more sports bras with fewer strap entanglements.

Belly out, ego out, zen out


Bravery comes in all different shapes, sizes, and strap configurations. Just because something is uncomfortable, doesn’t mean you should get away from it. If you think you can’t, you won’t — it’s that simple. You can. You are able. You are enough.

Pity Party

By Thursday, January 23, 2020 0 2

I had a nice little pity party for myself this week. It was charmingly planned out with lots of sighing, exasperated floor sits, and huffing around in front of my husband so he could see how hard I was working. It was just lovely!

He didn’t get the invite so he showed up to this party very confused. Since I never explained what the theme was, he just bumbled around like “What’s going on? Should I get an appetizer together? Wait, we have that manchego!”

The party ended as so many parties of my youth ended: with me crying a little into a bathroom mirror. This time there were two small children calling for me outside the door and a still confused husband trying to usher them away.

Such a lovely party, thank you all for coming!

What happened that day was nothing much at all. I felt stressed, overburdened, and unseen. All I had to do was vocalize those feelings and they would’ve gone away. But I didn’t, I chose to give them space to flourish and magnify. It was intentional, I wanted to feel it.

The beautiful thing is I was aware of the absurdity of my pity party as I threw it. It was like a higher me was watching the lower me. I saw my feelings weren’t truly valid and could easily be remedied. I internally laughed at my huffing around. But the lower me held on tight because that lower me wanted to huff so I huffed hard. I wanted to feel like a martyr.

This is exactly how I got to panic attacks last year so when I looked in the mirror I kept asking: “Why are you choosing this AGAIN? This party theme is sooo last year!”

I know why.

Because it was my habit to martyr myself for three years. Habits, even the crappy ones, feel good sometimes. They’re comfortable. They’re like your old nasty ass gym shoes that really need to be tossed but you’re drawn to because the footbeds have molded to you. They cradle you in their gross familiarity. They’re home.

There is so much energy in me since I was introduced to the fragile nature of mental health. The majority of it is for the better, but I still end up crying in the bathroom sometimes. I believe that’s a wonderful thing, though, because it means I feel all the things now. I didn’t feel them before or I felt them way delayed, but now I feel them instantly and wholly. And more importantly, I refuse to hold them in because I know they cause more harm that way.

Because of this new feelingpalooza, my life is filled with more confrontation than I’m used to. I’ve invited all the things to come out and play. Not in secret, not delayed, not hushed like we used to. I embossed the invites and sent them to the whole fucking school.

This week’s pity party was so interesting both because of its familiarity and its unfamiliarity. It was the old me but I was separated from her. I tried not to get involved and that was my mistake. I should’ve escorted the unruly guest to a side room, let her express her feelings, and changed the party theme. Bam. Done.

If you happen to be invited to one of my parties, pity party or confrontation party, please bear with me as I navigate this new skill of feeling and expressing all the things. Sometimes I buck it up and cry in the mirror or cause full family arguments, but it’s all out of love, I promise.

I own my story, all of it. I am grateful for where I am but that means I am also grateful for the road that got me here. My higher self wants to drive now. She’s taking the wheel but only has her learner’s permit so some of the advanced maneuvers like unlearning martyrdom and learning healthy expression may take a while. There will be hills and bumps and scratches, but the destination is clear and that driver is friggin tenacious.


Your mind loves habits but cannot differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones. All it knows is the familiar and breaking them takes a very conscious, very tenacious driver. Setbacks are part of the deal, so please throw out those old nasty gym shoes, you deserve an upgrade.

Door #1 or Door #2

By Thursday, January 9, 2020 3 5

I went to a club with some girlfriends when I was home for the holidays. Let me include the following facts to pepper the rarity of this occurrence: I’m 40, have 2 small kids, and get amped by a trip to Homegoods for pillow shams. So, yeah, this was rare and according to this photo, I had a lovely time at the Wild Cat:

I’m the one in the middle just living my best clubbing life. Oonch oonch oonch.

Sure, going to the Wild Cat was something to write home about, but I’d rather write home about what happened as we left. 

We lost one of our friends (the big-haired one on the right – love you!), so another friend, Emily who was also part of my Leche!!! piece, and I decided to search for her. Since there are two doors to get into the Wild Cat, we divided in order to conquer. You KNOW we were ’bout to conquer.

I went to Door #1 and explained the situation to the bouncer, who was shockingly uninterested in my plight.

“It’s a $5 cover, no exceptions,” he said.

I pushed back with a: “Really? Just to run in and look for my friend? It’ll be 5 minutes!”

“Sorry, no exceptions,” and he moved on to the babyface behind me wearing acid-washed jorts with pockets hanging out 4 inches minimum. (To whom I thought, I wore that exact outfit! When I was 13. Ooo, 40-year-old burn).

I walked back to my friends, peeved about my lack of conquer, just in time to watch Emily head to Door #2. I couldn’t hear what she said but it was a short sentence and the other bouncer waved her in. No discussion, no $5 exchange.

“GAWD DAMMMMMMMIT!!!!!” I believe were my exact words.

Of course Emily got in, Emily always gets in the door. She has always wielded her power well. I, on the other hand/at the other door, hear what sounds like a denial, get peeved, but walk away.

But not this new me. This fully woked me does not walk away because sometimes you have to push your way through the door.

I obviously thought immediately about Eleanor Roosevelt (I’ll explain later) and knew this was the Universe challenging the reality of this new me. Challenge accepted, I thought and marched back to Door #1. 

I’ve learned that I can’t pretend to be anyone I’m not so I did not pretend to be Emily. My power is different than hers. My doors open differently. I simply channeled myself, the me that is more me than me. Does that make any sense? It does to me and me.

I said: “Here’s my ID, please hold it and I’ll get it when I come out. Thanks!”

Do you know what that bouncer said? “OK,” as he grabbed my ID and moved on to the next baby face with a real deal — I kid you not — scrunchie in her hair. (To whom I thought, I also had that outfit…when I was 11. Burn!)

I walked through that door like the Queen of Sheba. I am powerful but it’s in my own way. I am not an Emily, I am a me. Yes, I like pillow shams but I also like opening doors. I refuse to walk away peeved anymore. I am stepping into the arena, which is when I thought about Teddy Roosevelt. Hmm, it appears I’m a fan of the Roosevelts?? I mean, read this quote and try NOT to get off your ass to conquer your life:

Preach, brother!

Leave it to me to pontificate over the Roosevelts when I’m supposed to be clubbing. Sometimes the arenas are small — like getting into a club for free when you’re not even wearing jorts — and sometimes they’re huge — like going fully after your scariest goal. It’s not the size that matters, just the courage behind the action.

Later that night, I sent a text about an unrelated subject to my friend — the big-haired one (really love you!) who we were looking for and who we found — and it was this:

“The moral of my 2019 story is I don’t take any bullshit without previous consent.”

When I read it the next day, I cringed a little but was in full concurrence. That really is the moral of my 2019 story. And this is where Eleanor comes in:

And preach, sister!

It’s all about consent. Life isn’t happening TO you unless you let go of the reigns and stay out of the arena. Doors are closed because you let them be closed. The bullshit exists only if I accept it; most of it comes from my own self and that’s the stuff I’m most over. That and acid-washed jorts but hey, I’m 40 so what do I know?


Life is full of Door #1 and Door #2 scenarios. Sometimes the choice is not in the door you choose, but if you dare to open them and in how you approach what you find on the other side. They also forgot to mention that some Roosevelts are my spirit animals.

Babies, Squirrels, and Grit

By Tuesday, October 15, 2019 0 4

Having small children, while challenging as I went belly up about in my last post, is a magical pretend world where you are completely enchanted by tiny, gross heathens who would lick a toilet plunger if you would just please please let them.

Being a baby is really hard work. What impresses me most is their tenacity to give life their all, every moment of every day. They are abnormally motivated to learn, grow, and try new things. All. Day. Long. Meanwhile, back on the farm, I can go weeks without a complex thought and have a hard time trying a new face wash.

Their brains are building 2 million new synapse connections each second – that’s a fact, y’all. In their first year, their brains will double in size and their cerebellums, the part responsible for balance and coordination, will triple in size. They go from floppy, barely responsive, drooling protozoans to agile, clever, fully interactive chimpanzees.

It’s also a fact that we have to do an extraordinary amount of work to keep these vulnerable creatures alive. Oftentimes it’s like they’re trying to kill themselves. Nature has shown the longer babies are dependent on their parents, the smarter the animal. So, our childhoods are long because we are smart. Human babies are completely helpless so they can be completely protected, freeing them up to spend most of their focus learning how to use their brains.

Babies seem to have something adults lack and I kept wondering: how are we different? I watched a TED talk on the topic by Alison Gopnik, a child development psychologist, who described the difference this way: babies “are the brilliant butterflies who are flittering around the garden and exploring and we are the caterpillars who are inching along our narrow, grown-up, adult path.” Another way to put it: babies are the research and development division of humanity while adults are production and marketing. What a way to make adulthood sound like a total snooze fest. I want to flit! Babies por vida!

Gopnic described the consciousness of babies and young children as a lantern and that of adults as a spotlight. While adults have a powerful, focused attention span that brings singular objects into vivid light, babies have a less powerful, but more broad attention span that notices everything with equal clarity. So, it’s not accurate to say babies and young children are bad at paying attention, instead they’re bad at not paying attention. Hence the “SQUIRREL!!!” distraction issue they frequently encounter:

Interesting side note: Gopnik says caffeine mimics the effect of all those neurotransmitters firing in a baby’s brain – that scattered, jumping from thing to thing, somewhat out of control energy you feel after four lattes is how a baby’s brain works. Exhausting. No wonder they need nap time.

What I’ve witnessed in my kids and what I hear from Gopnik is that in some ways babies are more conscious than adults. Children are firing on all cylinders at every moment. They don’t take breaks to poop or puke, those just happen in the midst of what they’re doing. There’s no time to stop for trivial stuff, babies must go! Smash paper, throw dino, [*poop*] pick up stick, yell a little, [*vom*]…

My kids experience levels of frustration I can hardly comprehend like learning to grasp an object, developing the muscles to hold up their huge ass heads, and figuring out how to crawl.

Crawling was brutal. My son, Jonah, could only crawl backwards at first. When he saw a crumply book he wanted to crumple, everything he tried just meant he moved further away. No crumple at all! Bullsh!

Here Jonah is stuck buck naked under a bookshelf. I mean, who among us hasn’t been stuck buck naked under a bookshelf?

For over a month, Jonah howled with frustration, but — get this, you guys — he harnessed the power found in his frustration as the ultimate motivator. Frustration isn’t a blockade by which he gives up; it’s a vehicle by which he tries harder. What the…??!!?

My adult mind was blown by that news. I almost gave up on an entire year once because New Year’s Eve was a dud.

The thing I keep thinking is: we all learned to crawl, we all worked to hold up our heads, and we all failed to crumple that book. The grit I see in my kids is the grit innate in all of us. We are born factory-loaded with an unstoppable amount of motivation, tenacity, and zest. For most of us, it goes away or at least does a sharp nosedive. Where does it go? Why don’t we keep it? How can we get it back?

Part of me wants to go back to the time where everything was curiosity, potential, and awe. Lots of me wants to flit around the garden instead of march on the path. I’d like to retain my motor skills, emotional control, and lack of desire to lick toilet plungers, however. In the meantime, I’ll keep on being enchanted by my tiny heathens, and let their grit remind me of my own.


It’s entirely possible babies are smarter than adults. They are definitely more alive. They also forgot to mention to channel babies in moments of frustration and ask ourselves: what would Jonah do? Jonah would keep trying until he figures it out. Except if he sees a squirrel.

The Annoying Kid

By Thursday, July 2, 2015 0 7

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about callings – my calling, your calling, the call of the wild, the call of a child.  It made me remember the two moments in my life when my callings called to me (I sure do like the word call when discussing callings).  These calls were more like deafening screams in my ear from two inches away followed by swift slaps upside the head.  And still, while they made themselves rather obvious, it took me years to hear them.

To me, a calling is that activity in your life that brings out the true you.  It’s the activity that when you do it, you are fully alive.  It could be a form of art, climbing a mountain, speaking in public, designing a room, analyzing stem cells…anything really that when you do it, you are engrossed, entertained, inspired, hyper-intelligent and hyper-creative.  Everyone is intelligent but we differ in how we are are intelligent, and our callings bring out those individual specialties.

I think if each of us looks for these calls in our lives, they will be like the obnoxious know-it-all in class always raising his hand way too aggressively with the answer.  Sometimes you don’t want to call on that kid ‘cause it’s super annoying when someone’s right all the time.  But, you have to call on that kid because no one else is raising their hand and you need to hear the answer.  You probably already know the answer, you just don’t want to know it for whatever reason.  The key is you have to be ready to hear the answer.

I’ll describe one of the moments when my calling made itself known so maybe you can relate to the clarity of a calling’s call.

My junior year in college I took a photography course and from the first few sentences the professor uttered, I bolted up straight in my seat, drooling like a pregnant girl near Dairy Queen (in other news: I am currently 7 months pregnant and think about the DQ a lot.  Like, a LOT).  Every sentence from the professor was sweet nothings poured like syrup on the pancakes of my soul.

The 90-minute lecture flew by and I remember being shocked when it was time to head to my next class.  To me, time simultaneously stood still, slowed down, and sped by.  To me, there was nothing besides what my professor was saying and what I could do with it.  To me, it was love at first lecture.

That class turned something on in me; it turned me on and not in a ooo, check out that hot babe way.  It turned me on.  I had always been a good student but this was a completely different level of scholastic focus.  The difference was I was completely motivated.  Anything related to that class gave me endless energy and I was incapable of getting bored or distracted.  It both consumed and fed all of me.  Every assignment was like playtime with a side of seriousness and desire to excel I had never experienced.

That semester I didn’t have classes on Fridays so I would wake up at 6 to get in the darkroom as soon as the doors opened and I wouldn’t leave until the day was done.  I didn’t talk to a soul, barely noticing there were people around.  The entire day, completely alone working this craft, I was thoroughly awake and entertained.  It wasn’t work to me, so I could do it all day long.  To this day, the buzzing amber darkness, the smell of those noxious chemicals, and the sloshing of the development process are some of my favorite things.

When I wasn’t in the darkroom, I wandered through Washington, DC, where I went to school, taking photos.  I would take several film rolls more than assigned (kids, a long time ago photographs used to be captured on physical objects known as “film rolls” that you had to develop to see.  You had to think and compose before you shot a selfie because there was no delete!  I feel like a cavegirl right now…).  There was a feeling of self-exhalation every time I clicked the shutter on a shot I knew was beautiful.  I would feel a spark that got brighter the more skilled I became, taking a piece of me but in a way that gave me more than it took.

Needless to say I did really well in that class and I was the obnoxious know-it-all always talking to the professor after class and crushing every assignment.  I became confident, happy, bold, and free the moment photography was around in any way.  I’m still that way and photography always brings out some of the best and most daring parts of me.  I get high off of it.  Pretty clear calling, right?

What is even more clear is that it is up to each of us to seek out our callings.  No one will hand them to us on a silver platter saying “here, this one’s for you.”  Callings are things we stumble across and it’s up to each of us to recognize when we’ve stumbled upon something worth paying attention to.  What you’ve stumbled upon is you.  Speaking from experience, if you don’t follow that call you will never feel fully satisfied, you will never feel fully you, you will always feel you’re holding back.  What’s so interesting is that for most of us, we are the only thing holding ourselves back.

I think we owe it to ourselves to ask this question: what turns me on? I’m not talking about ear nibbles or Ryan Gosling; I’m talking about what turns me on? What makes me come alive? What are the things I could do forever without getting bored? What makes me bold? What makes time go all wonky?

Think back to those moments when something truly clicked.  Maybe it called to you years ago and you weren’t ready to hear it.  I know that you can still hear that call today because the echoes will reverberate through your entire life.  The echoes are just waiting for you to listen for them.  If you listen, you ARE that annoying kid in class with all the answers.  You already know who you are, so heed that call and be that person.  Turn yourself on loudly, fill your life with it and let the world hear you.  We will all be better because of it.


Things They Forgot to Mention:

When the annoying know-it-all kid calls, pick up the phone. That kid is you. It’s you that has the answer.

<- Home

Sign up for my cool mailing list!
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”98c687b114″ submit_text=”Submit”]

Skiing as a Metaphor For Life

By Thursday, March 5, 2015 2 6

Four years ago, I tore my ACL while skiing.  It was a long road of aggravating self-doubt to get me back to where I am today.  The mental fisticuffs that went on after the accident was a complete parallel to life.  What I learned through getting over my fear of skiing translated directly to getting over my fear of life.  Let’s examine the metaphor, you guys!

The Fundamentals of Skiing


(1) To state the obvious, skiing is a controlled fall.  The challenge is to be the one in control of the fall and that requires you to push beyond what is comfortable.  It feels safer to lean back to be closer to the mountain and the solid ground you know so well.  But doing that gives the mountain control, not you.  Instead, you have to completely ignore your comfort zone; you have to lean away from the mountain and into the fall.

(2) Staring directly in front of your skis, another basic human instinct, doesn’t work either.  You do this because you want to know what you’re about to encounter.  But if you stare at the tips of your skis, your body tenses up to react to every tiny undulation coming at you.  You won’t be planning where you want to go, preparing for the obstacles, or seeing the big picture — you’ll be relegated to always being reactive.  As soon as you lift your head up, your body relaxes, those tiny undulations aren’t significant anymore and you roll right over them.  You have to look down the mountain and into your future to take charge of your path.

(3) The final piece is knowing that you have everything you need.  Trust that your legs and your equipment can handle the obstacles as they come.  Know that your muscles are strong and trained to carry you through the bumps.  Know that your equipment is designed and fitted specifically for you to handle the terrain.  They are more than capable, but you have to believe in them.  Relax your legs, let your skis run, and allow them to do what they are meant to do.

When you have these fundamentals down, your likelihood of a humiliating yard sale scenario (illustrated below) is far diminished.

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, photo, ski, skiing, faceplant, yardsale

Sucks to be those guys.

The Fundamentals of the Fight

For three years following my accident, skiing and I fought, and everyday skiing won.  I was terrified, leaning back, staring directly in front of my skis, with nothing to stabilize me.  I was so scared of falling that I micromanaged every turn, knuckles white, smile fake, toenails continuously falling off.  I did not have any fun — like none.  Yet I kept skiing, determined to get over this gigantic fear and crippling self-doubt.

Then one day everything changed.  This was the day I gave in.  I was so tired of insecurity and micromanaging and overthinking.  I was done with fear and felt utterly drunk (I wasn’t, not a single sip of delicious mountain whiskey!).  I had an out of body view where I finally saw what I was doing.  The words: “What are you so scared of??” screamed at me.

And for the first time since the accident I relaxed and let myself, my legs, and my skis go.  My whole body loosened, even my vision, and instinctively I leaned forward.  My core showed up to hold me steady and I knew without a doubt that I had everything I needed.

Surprise, surprise, that was the best ski day of my life — even prior to the accident.

Driving home that day, I thought about what changed and I realized that I wasn’t afraid to fall anymore.  Obviously I’m not into being concussed, but avoiding a fall was no longer my main focus and once I let go of fear, I regained control.  I saw that falling can be a good thing.  Falling means I’m trying, I’m reaching, I’m pushing.

Since then, skiing and I have become buddies again.  We still have our setbacks but I know how to regain control.  I know that if I don’t take control; the mountain, gravity, and inertia will.  I would still get down the mountain, but I wouldn’t really be skiing, I would just be falling.

The Fundamentals of Life

To really ski, you have to lean forward, widen your perspective, know that you have everything you need, and then just let go.  What else can be said for life in general?  If you live your life through fear, you won’t be driving.  If you are so afraid to fall that you don’t push your boundaries, life will just happen to you.  If you don’t look into the future, you can’t plan or dream.  If you think you don’t have everything you need, you won’t have everything you need.  If you lack a belief in yourself, any setback will take you to the ground.  Because above all, if you don’t control your life, someone else will.

So there you have it: you can learn everything you need to know about life from skiing.  Well, except for solving the Pollock octahedral numbers conjecture, that you have to learn the advanced additive number theory.  But maybe skiing has an answer for that too…

Things They Forgot to Mention:

Skiing well, like living well, requires you to know you have everything you need, you’ve always had everything you need, so relax and just drive.

<- Home

Sign up for my cool mailing list!
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”98c687b114″ submit_text=”Submit”]

This Can Be Your Year

By Thursday, January 1, 2015 0 6

Things They Forgot to Mention, Happy New Years, New Years, Resolutions

Well, hello again, New Year.  How are you here already? Clearly 2014 canceled a few months because it went by faster than what Einstein would find legal.  I was hoping for a little more quality time with 2014 but here you are, 2015, staring at me with your arms crossed in expectation.

Your first day is always so intimidating; it’s seductive in its freshness yet melancholy in its retrospect.  You make me paraphrase John Lennon while humming this with only minor heart palpitations:

So this is 2015 and what have you done?

Another year over, and a new one just begun.

Today is the most overt line in the sand you get.  It’s an undeniable request to look at that line, to examine the sand, to see if there are any amendments you would like made.

Today also tends to make you feel like a loser.  You can’t help but remember this time last year and all the stuff you said you were going to do, the long list that remains unchecked.  Your palms get sweatier, the tick of the clock gets louder, and the unfinished list gets shoutier.

There is a phrase called the “normative power of the actual” which essentially says that whatever exists, seems right.  It is used most often in the context of legal precedence and how that which is law generates a sense that it should be law, that it’s correct because we’re used to it.

As part of the human experience, we are all too familiar with this concept.  Whatever way we are living seems right.  We are creatures of routine and comfort.  Our habits are carved slowly like grooves on a vinyl record.  We go round and round, the grooves getting deeper, their paths more permanent.

The song your vinyl makes sounds fine to you because it’s the background music of your life.  It’s soothing because you know it.  It seems right because it exists.  But, it’s hard to truly hear your music when you are the one making it.  Maybe the grooves you carved don’t suit you anymore.  Maybe you really want to play a different song.  Maybe smooth jazz should be out and hip-hop should be in.  Days like today help you stop and really listen.

I’ve been waiting to do a lot of things my entire life.  I suffered from a common affliction I call the mañana factor: “Mañana (tomorrow) I’ll do that, it doesn’t feel right today.”  For years I waited for so many things.  I justified the inaction because I was “waiting” therefore it felt out of my hands.  I wasn’t ready, the time wasn’t right, it seems hard, so-and-so has to do this-and-that first, blah blah blah.

What I finally realized was I was waiting for me.  Just me.  I was the only piece missing.  I was waiting for me to show up to break free of the normative power of my actual.  It finally registered that life is entirely up to me, no one else can get me the life I want, and no one else can make my grooves.  That is the harsh reality of growing up.  I am responsible for everything that happens or doesn’t happen to me; no one else gets credit or blame.

We all need to remember that life is happening now.  Like, right NOW now.  The more you delay, the deeper the grooves in your vinyl record.  You only get this one record so make it play the song you want, the music you deserve, the life that is you.

So, let’s say goodbye to 2014.  Let’s do it with pride and with respect.  Let’s remember all the things we did last year that made us wonderful.  Let’s think of all the things we want to do this year to make us even more wonderful.  Let’s try to forget we probably had a very similar list last year.  And, let’s really do it this time.  Go Team!

Here are a few motivations that may induce helpful panic attacks:

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, inspiration

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, inspirationAnd one final quote that seems to contradict the last quote, but actually it doesn’t at all.  I’ll leave it up to you to decipher them:

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, inspiration, buddha

Happy New Year, lovies!

Things They Forgot to Mention:

A new year isn’t entirely new.  It takes with it all of the years before.  But you don’t have to take it all with you.  Your new year is waiting for you to show up and tell it where to go.

<- Home

Sign up for my cool mailing list!
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”98c687b114″ submit_text=”Submit”]

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

By Thursday, November 27, 2014 1 7

Today is Thanksgiving; the day dedicated to saying “thank you” by eating so much you have to go lie down.  Every year your mom makes you read the Ann Landers “Thankful” poem.  You feel like a 5th grader wearing a paper Pilgrim hat (more on that later).  Then, everyone is forced to go around the table and awkwardly say what they’re thankful for.  You get irrationally nervous and cannot think of a single thing that’s appropriate for Aunt Maybelle to hear.  But there really is a lot to be thankful for and we rarely stop to appreciate it together, so this day is significant.

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, photo, Thanksgiving, table, grateful, gratitude, thankful

This year I discovered what gratitude really means, what it means to really give thanks.  I’m sure most of us, when asked if we’re grateful, would say “Sure, yeah, totally, of course.”  But, I bet all the candied yams in the world that’s not really true.  I can admit that I wasn’t truly grateful until this year.  I didn’t know what it really meant.  It took challenging myself for 30 days to consciously work on it to finally feel gratitude.  What I felt was overwhelming.

I learned that being grateful is not an action, it’s a feeling.  I picture it — and actually feel it — like water ripples that I send out.  I imagine the ripples reaching people around me and washing over them, letting them in on the secret.

It takes practice to really feel grateful, but I can attest that once you feel it, you will know what I’m talking about.  It’s the most beautiful feeling, the fullest vibration, the most spiritual experience I’ve ever had.  Feeling gratitude for me is like becoming a kid again where I experience moments of pure happiness, awe, and excitement.  I always wished that as an adult I could experience what my birthday felt like as a child where my face pretty much exploded with how special and rad it all was.  Gratitude lets me feel that radness again.

So today, when you’re sitting around a table with friends or family or whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to pause a moment.  Take stock of your life, your health, your past, your air, your water, your everything.  Try to feel it, how much you have.  Do this alone so your mom doesn’t ask you to share all your thankfuls with Aunt Maybelle.  Put aside the Ann Landers cheesiness of giving thanks and really give thanks.  There is so much to be thankful for, so give yourself that moment and really look around.

I will end today with this gem:

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, photo, Thanksgiving, pilgrim, grateful, gratitude, thankful That’s me being a festive little prairie girl on the left.  Sugar and spice and everything nice, for sure.  I believe that’s my turkey chandelier hanging above us too (dope!).  Special shout-out to my siblings: tssk tssk to my brother wearing a hoodie (not a feather in sight), and to my sister clearly not into pilgrim fashion at all…

Things They Forgot to Mention:

Today is more than the feast, the tryptophan, or the football.  There is so much to be grateful for, so share that today.  Because giving thanks is something you give — to yourself, to those around you, and to the world.

<- Home

Eating Cereal Isn’t Hard

By Thursday, October 16, 2014 2 7

I heard a report on NPR that said cereal consumption is on a decline and has been since 1996.  The reason was particularly special: we are eating less cereal because it takes too much time.  Instead we opt for alternatives like fast-food breakfast sandwiches or Go-Gurt® (for when you’re on the go with yogurt, Go-Gurt®!).  Here is a quote from the report I found regrettably true:

This exhausting ritual — pouring cereal into the bowl, pouring milk into the bowl, eating it — takes too much time.

The report goes on to say that since cereal requires using a bowl and a spoon that you have to clean, it has become too much work.  In other words: cereal is too time consuming and we don’t have that time to consume it.  I would guess that eating cereal, including the dish washing, is a five minute task so this means we don’t have those five minutes anymore.  Why not? Where did those five minutes go?

I am guilty of this.  I admit now in front of the world wide web that for years I ate my cereal while driving to work since I did not “have the time” to eat at home.  Yes, I ate cereal while driving a vehicle…on a freeway.  Don’t worry, I drove with my knee so I could eat my cereal while gazing out the window at the Pacific Ocean.  It was a win-win, minus the whole danger thing.

I have been thinking about being busy for a while.  No matter what I’m doing, I’m busy and have been for years.  We all have been.  The default answer to the question: “How are you?” is always: “Well, I’ve been busy…”  That’s what we all say.  Listen for it and you’ll hear it everywhere, you’ll hear it coming from you.  The conversation will go from there, both parties secretly comparing levels of busy.

We are all always busy, but the question I ask is: why are we so busy? Why is that our preferred mode? Why do we work so hard to keep it that way? Why do we think running from place to place without time to eat cereal means that we’ve made it?

In U.S. culture, being busy is something to be proud of, a symbol of success.  If you aren’t busy you aren’t accomplishing.  So we rush through our lives and abbreviate everything, even our experiences, into soundbites.  We don’t linger anymore, we don’t savor.  Our lives become as peripheral as a status post, outlines of real experience.  But we can point to it, check it off of a list, and therefore we think it counts.

I watched a TED Talk by Carl Honoré discussing the glorification of busy and he struck a chord by saying:

Slow is a dirty word.  It’s a word for lazy, slacker, for being somebody who gives up.

He’s right.  If someone, when asked “how are you?”, actually said they hadn’t been up to much, had free time, and sat on grassy knolls a lot, that wouldn’t go over well.  That person would be seen as wasting their time and ultimately their life.  Multi-tasking, resume building, a full calendar; that makes a well-lived life.

Honoré thinks our obsession with busy lies in how our culture defines time as “a finite resource…always draining away, you either use it or lose it.”  If we have that outlook on time, it makes sense that we race against something that is disappearing on us.  Every minute is one and done, so we cram in as much as we can and call it carpe diem.

I argue we stop carpe-ing that diem, at least in the way we carpe today.  I argue we do things that can’t be summed up because the entirety of sitting on a grassy knoll can’t be a soundbite.  Unless you manage to phrase it how they did in this hilarious/super deep moment from the movie, I ♥ Huckabees:

Doing nothing can mean doing everything.  How very New Age of me.

I think if we daydream, if we do nothing, if we do whatever makes our minds quiet, then we can really live our lives.  In a study on the resting brain, neuroscientists found “when we are resting, the brain is anything but idle and…downtime is essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill a code of ethics.”  Take that to your boss when you request a vacation.

Obviously there is a line between being slow and being lazy, but I’m not talking about lazy.  I’m talking about the opposite of lazy.  I think wasting time can be described as going through your day without being fully aware of what is happening around and in you.  Your time is wasted by focusing only on to-do lists and juggling acts, forgetting that it’s a beautiful day and it’s beautiful you’re even alive.  The fact is if we don’t have time for something, it means we value other things more than it.  I think about that in my life, the things I choose to not do and what I replace them with.  I wonder if the tradeoff is worth it…

I’m thinking about giving up being busy.  I could find a different answer to the question: “How are you?”  I want to describe my life with more detail.  I also want to live with more detail.  I want to highlight things other than how busy I am because that doesn’t describe me.  I’m going to sit on a grassy knoll, eat a bowl of cereal, and tell you all about it.

Things They Forgot to Mention, blog, photo, grassy knoll


Things They Forgot to Mention:

Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve carpe-d my diem.  Something as simple as having time for cereal can carpe much better.

<- Home

A Sweetie’s Guide to Managing Jim

By Thursday, September 25, 2014 6 7

I recently had to deal with a very strong personality.  When I say “deal with,” I mean I had to confront an aggressive man with a peacock complex and questionable respect for women and get him to do something he did not want to do.

This man, Jim, was doing work on our backyard and he was large in every way: height, presence, voice volume.  He filled your space, stole your authority, and everything went his way.  His words were fast and forceful, leaving you with nothing to say except: “Sounds good, Jim.”  We found ourselves agreeing to contract changes that we should not agree to and then we found ourselves with a problem.

I have to mention what irked me most about Jim was that he called me “sweetie.”  I hated him calling me that, it was condescending and it filled me with a useless rage.  Not to mention, Jim calling me sweetie made me feel like a sweetie, like a silly little girl who did not need to be taken seriously.  It was his way of subtly putting me in my place and it was annoyingly effective.

I knew our confrontation was coming for 24 hours, so I marinated WAY too long in the anticipation.  I practiced what I was going to say, I bounced ideas off my husband, I imagined push-back scenarios.  The only thing this marinating accomplished was that I became more and more nervous, which made me more and more insecure.  I let it saturate me and I came out all soggy dog.  What a lousy foundation from which to confront Jim.  I felt like such a sweetie.

Then on my drive home to meet Jim something interesting happened.  I started thinking about energy and how because his energy was more overt, mine was diluted.  I realized this only happened because I allowed him to dilute me, I allowed him be stronger than me, I gave him my permission.  A simple sentence came into my head and shifted everything.  The sentence was: “You are not stronger than me, Jim.”  It was utterly true.  He wasn’t more powerful, he just acted like it.  I wasn’t a sweetie, I just acted like it.

For the rest of my drive, each time I said that sentence, I believed it more completely.  I became calm and certain, and now looked forward to our confrontation.

This time when Jim walked in the door I felt taller than him.  This time when he called me sweetie it did not dilute me.  This time I was the bigger presence.  Using advanced ESP, I sent him my sentence: “You are not stronger than me, Jim.”  I let him and his voice volume talk at me for a bit, filling the space with blah blah blah.  I smiled as he talked, I was cooler than a stoned Snoop Dogg, y’all.  When he was satisfied with the blah blah blah, I said: “Jim, let’s go take a walk.”  I saw him visibly taken aback, he stumbled over some words and followed me outside.

We walked through the backyard and I pointed out the issues we had with his work.  I presented him with two options to fix them, and instantly he agreed to one.  I was not bitchy, I was not pushy, but I was not a sweetie.  I was stronger than Jim and he knew it.  It was that simple to confront him.

Jim left agreeing to a lower bill and doing more work for free, and we were not enemies.  But, he did not call me sweetie as he left, he used my name.

I found there was difference between Jim’s strength and mine.  His was aggressive, contrived, and turbulent.  Mine was serene, steady, and gentle.  I didn’t have to resort to aggression to tame his aggression, I just had to be a strong me.

I wonder now about all the times in my life that I played small, that I played the sweetie because that’s where I thought I belonged.  How many Jims have overtalked me and dictated what happens to me? I always thought that since I wasn’t a combative person, that equated to me being weaker.  But that’s not true at all.  Strength is a personal choice and you choose its form, so choose one that fits.  Sometimes strength is a calm, kind approach.  And sometimes sweeties are the strongest.

Things They Forgot to Mention:

When Jim comes to your door, channel Snoop D-O-double-G and know that he is only stronger when you allow him to be.

<- Home