Black Friday 

So the average shopper spent around $403 on Black Friday in 2015 – I’m assuming it’s a similar amount for last year.  

I spent $526 on this famed day and didn’t wait in any lines overnight, get trampled, or wind up with an outdated electronic 6 months later.

I wound up here instead:

I’m on an island in the middle of the Atlantic, Terceira, surrounded by some of the most amazing sights I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve met some fabulous people, learned a wee bit of Portuguese, repelled down a canyon, hiked a lava tube, fell off a bike, took selfies with cows, watched the sun rise and set, and made a humongous deposit of life points in my memory bank. 

Travel isn’t expensive, it isn’t prohibitive,  it’s a choice. 

This entire trip will cost me about $1200 when all is said and done – to me, it’s priceless. 

The new friends who are so close in such a short period of time they shoot right to framily status, the culture, and the week long view into another way of life will mold my future far beyond a new phone, gift, or outfit ever could. 

Go ahead, skip the latest and greatest and go old school….making photographs your priceless keepsakes and raising your lid, expanding your horizons, while living your life with passion and meaning. 

To save 1200 in 4 months is a mere 300/month. Cancel your cable and skip the trade in of your car/phone/whatever and you can find yourself here too….

Filled with awe, wonder, and love. 

What are you waiting for? Go make some memories. Expand your horizons. Lift your lid – live the life of your dreams. 

XO

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When you live your life outloud…

I speak my mind. I share my thoughts, dreams, successes, challenges. My struggles are pretty transparent because I fully believe we can all relate to them and I’m not alone.

Some judge me for this. They think I shouldn’t share so much. Some applaud me for this. They can relate and stop feeling alone. 

What happens when it’s your significant other that takes offense? 

I took down a recent Facebook post of a quote that resonated with me because he didn’t like it. He got a text from a friend who asked him if everything was ok after reading it. He got upset that people would think it was about him. It was more weight on the relationship that was teetering off balance to begin with. 

We’ve been struggling lately. I think it would be safe to say both of our love tanks are on E. Because of this, everything hurts. There is no communication. There is no intimacy.  There are walls, negative patterns, and hurt. It really does blow massive chunks.

I think of my fav book of all time: Fierce Conversations. “The conversation is the relationship.” What if there is no conversation?

I’m supposed to fly to Portugal today – girls trip – purchased back in November. 

Do you go when things suck so bad at home? Would the relationship be better with a break or will it be damaged further? Does it matter at all?

We come from two completely different worlds. What is status quo in his seems foreign to me. What I assume to be normal adult behaviour is something that he’s never experienced.  What draws us together? I used to say it was that we were wired the same…growth minded, high achievers. I guess that is still true. The coming together on day to day is nearly impossible though. 

I’ve felt lonely and taken for granted for ages now. I’m tired of having the same conversations. I’ve begun to withdraw.

The conversation is the relationship. 

Doesn’t work when there is no communication beyond a few words each day. 

Where do I go from here?

I am….


Affirmations are key – they say that what you tell yourself throughout the day is what you believe and how you literally wire your brain. So if you say “I’m broke” all day – guess what, you are. It’s kinda like the whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

So I was going to write a blog with the title “I am not a baby mama”. There’s a long winded story – or meadow report as Tony Robbins would say – about why I was going to do this.  However, once I typed the subject line, I remembered hearing our minds don’t really recognize the “not” part – and it’s really not all that positive and inspiring for myself or others.

So I changed it.

Just like that. A simple decision will lead me to type different words and change the lens through which I see the current situation.

I am a woman. A strong, beautiful, vibrant, predictably unpredictable woman. I am a mama. I am a business owner. I am full of love and light. I live to taste every last drop that life has to offer. I see something I want to do or be and I take action. I am the creator of my destiny.

This is a world that I created through years of reading, writing, meditating, learning, growing, and more. Each one of my decisions have shaped this very second right now. Me, sitting in my office, playing theme songs of my friends, next to my assistant – shaking the nervous energy out of my leg, wishing I had the lemon water that I left in the car, wondering if I have time for lunch before my 3pm call with the mediator. Nervous about that call, it’s about my baby and his future. It’s about what’s best for him. I stop for a second to ask for wisdom and guidance to be able to see a clear picture and know, deep down in my heart of hearts, that I am making the right decisions.

Wow, didn’t expect that to come out. I’m going to pour more energy in that direction. It vibrates a heck of lot higher than a rant about limiting beliefs and stories held so strongly by others.

After a deep breath….

I am a mama.

I am love.

I am light.

I am open to change.

I am stardust.

I am strong.

I love.

I give.

I thrive.

I am grateful. Very, very grateful.

xo

 

Taking things personally

We’re all guilty of it. It is a natural human reaction. It’s also poison to a relationship and a sign to look inward.

I recently posted something on Facebook that was classic “vaguebooking”. I was taken aback by something that happened in my life that seemed so out of whack with what I would have expected and I was stunned. I asked for help accepting it and moving beyond my feelings without saying what the cause was. 

I got exactly what I needed and was able to process the event and get past my emotions. 

Aside from great advice about checking my own expectations  (where the pain really came from) and zooming out to look at the big picture only to realize it wasn’t out of culture at all for the source (we tend to only see what we want to see), I learned another valuable lesson. 

People tend to see themselves and their own insecurities and perceived flaws when they’re not happy on their own path. 

I heard of quite a few people who, instead of reading the status and either moving along or providing insight on the question at hand, took it as a personal attack on them. 

What the what?

Yep. Multiple people got their panties in a bunch over it and reached out to those in my circles to express their displeasure in my talking shit about them.

Seriously, WTF?

It was really pretty sad if you think about it. 

Giving absolutely no clues as to what bothered me, only asking for help in dealing with the situation, I created a shit storm. 

This disruption rippled through my various circles, without my immediate knowledge, and left me once again pondering about life.

When we are uncomfortable with a situation and don’t know how to handle it, we tend to avoid it. This leaves us looking only through our own lens, creating alternative facts, and we end up “building on shit” – a term I use for not having a solid foundation in any relationship – personal or business.

It sits in our subconscious, toxic and negative, until something pokes it.

My status update did just that. I unknowingly and unintentionally poked the bear. 

Always looking inwardly when something happens, I realize that I, too, am guilty of some pretty rocky foundations. Situations that I moved on from, without cleaning them up and putting them away first. It’s like shoving something in a closet, everything looks pretty – until someone opens the door.

As a teen I spent many years in recovery programs and went through the 12 steps. I didn’t really understand step 4 – make amends – until I was older, much older. Step 4 is akin to cleaning out those closets and getting your house in order to build a bigger life with a strong support system in place. So you don’t build on shit and have it all come crashing down when you take something too personally.

This spring, when the birds start chirping and the urge to open the windows and deep clean your kitchen hits…I urge you to open one of your emotional closets and see what’s in there. Take everything out, sort it, and only out back what gives you joy. The rest needs to be sold, thrown away, or donated. Now I don’t mean literally – there’s no market on ebay, that I know of anyway, for your 10 year old grudge against your bff for not inviting you to her bridal shower; you do this by zooming out, looking at it through a different lens, writing it all down, calling them up and clearing the air, or simply meditating on it and letting it go. 

I have been working on this for a while now, it’s definitely not a one and done sort of thing. It’s life, it’s a journey, it’s a constant process of never-ending improvement and growth.

It is also a game changer. 

Life is short. Do you want to spend it struggling or thriving? The choice is yours.

Someone hand me the windex please, I have some cleaning to do.

XO 


20 minutes

It’s how long I have to wait to respond to an emotionally charged message. 

This is the advice of my 21 year old son, Andrew.  He’s an old soul – so wise beyond his years – thankfully he is still my baby at the same time. I watch him grow as his world expands at a rate faster than the speed of light. New experiences bring a depth to his perspective not seen in most adults. I’m certain it’s not his spirit’s first trip around the sun. 
20 minutes. It’s not really long enough if you ask me. I have a rule that all biz calls/emails/messages be returned the same day. Totally not the case now for my personal responses. 

My emotions are raw, powerful and fragile simultaneously. I’ve bargained with the universe before to even me out…to keep my lows from going so low…yet that’s not what I really want. 

I want to soar. I want to set my sights on the highest peak, climb it, and then realize how many more are out there beyond it. And I want to scale them next. 

With every climb, the risk of falling is increased as well. I’m not willing to part with my zest and live a life of blandness. 

So I wait. 20 minutes.

Long enough to forget about the salt that was just poured in my wound and zoom out to refocus on the bigger picture. It’s serving me well.

Every feeling is a choice. Every decision to react or respond leads us down a different road. Every moment is an opportunity for change. 

This year I choose bravery. I choose responses. I choose my feelings like my friends, wisely. I choose to wait, 20 minutes, and sometimes 20 more.

XO 

Thursdays

I spend every Thursday morning here, in this room. With candles lit, mediation music on, Wild Orange essential oil wafting through the air, and a view of the pond and nature out the window.

It’s ironic how dramatically different my Thursday mornings are from just a few short years ago.

In 2013, I dreaded this day. It was early in my divorce and my children were with their father on Wednesday nights. This meant that I awoke each Thursday to an empty house. My babies were elsewhere and for the first time in two decades I felt I had no purpose. Deep in my sticky dark I sat, beating myself up for every failure imaginable.  For not sticking it out with their father, for not being there when they woke up, for causing the two home shuffle that they didn’t ask for, for not being enough, and more. So much more.

Wednesday nights I would come home, pull in the garage, and have to convince myself to turn the car off. I felt there was no way out. Like I was staring at a brick wall on all sides, no light, no end, no solution. The pain was crushing, it was difficult to find the oxygen in the air. The only way I felt I could fix the situation, allow my children a stable household and escape the gaping hole in my heart was to go away. Permanently.

I had already researched taking my children out of the country, I had gone through what felt like a lifetime of counseling, I had tried everything in my toolbox to fix the problem and came up empty handed.

This bottom I reached is another story for another day. Just know I was desperate, broken, and hanging on by a thread.

So I would shut the car off and go inside. Sleep would cease the pain temporarily, and when the sun rose I would have a few brief seconds of relief before I would realize my babies weren’t there.

I would rise, get dressed, put my headphones in, volume on max, and begin to walk. I walked miles and miles and miles back then. Getting lost in the woods, listening to my playlist I created to keep me going…everything from “I will survive” to “Fuck You”. For hours I would breathe in nature, push my body, sweat, cry, and beg the universe for a sign – anything to know an end to this purgatory was coming.

Days turned into weeks, weeks to months, months to years…I did only what I knew how to do, keep going. The progress was slow, like the transition from winter to summer, I never really noticed that the days were longer and the sun shined brighter.  Until now.

It’s 4 years later and I look around. There is no snow on the ground. The trees are full of leaves and the birds sing. I take a deep breath and am filled with gratitude for all that I have. For my babies, their relationship with their father, my new marriage, my step children, the peace in my heart, my business – for life itself.

I didn’t notice the subtle changes.  It was like it happened so slowly it wasn’t even detectable, and yet here I am – a million miles from where I was.

I host reiki sessions now on Thursdays. I fill myself up with energy from the universe and allow it to flow through me, sharing it with other people. Most come in looking for the peace I walked in search of years ago. I recognize the look in their eyes, their gaze clouded by their troubles. I listen to their stories and offer them a safe harbor for the next hour. I center myself, asking the powers that be to provide them with what they need. I open my heart and soul, allowing my new found strength to serve as a platform for them to rest on. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to help, to hold their hands and give them a life raft for their choppy seas. I instruct them to breathe and let go, as I do the same.

This is my new Thursday morning ritual. One filled with love, people, energy, and gratitude.

Life is about the journey, the movement, the flow. Whatever you are experiencing right now is just that, right now. Recognize it, love it for what it is, and keep going.  Always keep going.

Because after every Thursday is a Friday.

XO

Date night

This is sheer brillance. 

About a month ago, T and I decided to have a weekly date night. We’d alternate each Wednesday the planning of such night and it is an appointment not to be missed. 

A lil backstory….we’ve been together for almost 3 years now. Started as nothing, neither of us wanted a relationship, turned into eeeewww feelings, and at one point I actually hired a life coach to keep me away from him. 

Destiny was no match for our objections. We were pulled together like magnets and eventually gave in. And we lived happily ever after.  Um, hell no.

See, we’re people – with feelings, closets full of skeletons, habits, beliefs, children, and exes. And we’re not 20…we’ve been set in our ways for a while….

So begins the task of turning into a “we”. Infatuation turns to love, and simultaneously reality begins to set in. We introduce the children, meet the exes, merge the households, divide the chores, blend the finances. Holy crap is a second marriage more complicated than a first one. 

We slowly, and not without some bruises, learn how to communicate. It’s not as simple as you’d think. Expectations and assumptions spread like wildfire and it’s all we can do some days to just agree to stay. 

When the rare, sweet moments of just the two of us – no bills, kids, work, etc happen – it’s bliss. Our bubble is magical. 

Slowly we learn how to dance outside the bubble without stepping on toes. We read together, grow together, support each other, and apologize when we fuck up – which happens quite a bit. Most importantly we listen, see the big picture, and forgive. Because, well, love.

In the midst of some pretty bumpy roads, I’ve been known to say….”but I like him!”. My spirit craves his, honors his, respects his….so we continue to love and learn and learn to love. 

Back to date night…omg! The anticipation each week is amazing….excitement on both sides…whether the planner or the plannee. The goal is to light each other up, and it works so so well. 

This week I had a bomb dropped on me via email mid day on our coveted date night. Something that would have sent me to bed at noon and under a blanket with tears for at least 48 hours…complete with some sort of binge (Netflix, books, candy crush, ice cream) to distract me and the bare minimum being accomplished in life. But this was date night! I didn’t want to ruin it. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it took me a few hours to recover (wickedly better than days)…and recover I did. 

A house FULL of candles, music (Spotify has a date night playlist that’s awesome btw), wine, lingerie, a table setting of two pillows on the rug with one plate and two forks, take out, and us. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

Nearing the end of our meal, we each choose one of 3 fortune cookies that were in the bag, read it silently to ourselves and then swapped. 

What are the chances??? We look up at each other,  with a smile and a wtf while we reach for the third….maybe this place got a deal on identical fortunes…nope, it was different.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER gotten the same fortune at the same time and I’ve eaten my fair share of white boxed food in my life…we’re taking it as a sign from the universe. 

This thing called love, marriage, life….we’re doing it right.  We’re putting the energy in and the rewards are amazing. Given my ultra shitty day, I’m going to go so far as to say date night not only reinforced, enhanced, and deepened my relationship – it helped me grow as a better human being- dealing with challenges instead of sitting in them letting them deal with me. 

Even the fortune cookie knows we’ve got a good thing going here. XO