Grateful me.

I’ve had some things change in my life recently.  Some good and some difficult.  I’ve tried to focus on one mantra – “thank you.”  I’ve decided it’s the single most powerful thing I can do in my life – be thankful for what I have.

Don’t you think it’s true, that the more grateful you are the more you have to be grateful for?  The more that will come you way to remind you how thankful you can be?

What do I want in my lifetime?  When I ask this question, I pause.  What do I want?  I want grandkids someday.  I want my family and loved ones to have peace, happiness and good health.  But, I really don’t need much.  I am grateful for what I have – as little as that might be on any particular day.

This life, my experiences, are a miracle.  And, this miracle of my life and my gratefulness can turn the darkness of my life into light.  It can change fear into security.  Really, the source of my happiness is based on being grateful.  It’s one big circle.

So, today (as every day), take stock of what you are grateful for.  The love of those around you.  Your breath.  Your heartbeat.  All those things that just happen to you because you are you.

Enjoy the start of this new year.  It’s just another day to be thankful.


“Yes, it’s my fault.” (and then that’s it)

Teenagers (and many adults) hate to admit that something’s their fault. I’ve heard things like, “I don’t know where my clothes disappeared to? Maybe they got lost in the wash.” Or, I don’t know why you didn’t remember that I told you I needed 36 hard-boiled eggs to take to school this morning!” Often, when something goes wrong, it’s difficult to take ownership of the problem.

But, I don’t want to stop there. While I see a lot of the above “excuses,” the harder thing is taking the next step to resolving issues such as these. It really is not that difficult to finally admit to your partner, boss or child, “Ok, I guess that was my fault.” It’s the next step that’s the problem.

Really, it doesn’t matter as much to me if someone takes responsibility or not if they don’t do anything to fix the problem in the future. It’s like the book where the kid says “sorry” a million times but nothing ever changes. On the last page his mom says, “It’s not enough to say you are sorry all the time. You have to make a change so that you don’t need to keep saying sorry for the same thing.” In other words, we have to do everything we can to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

This is critical in relationships. Why? Because it’s the place we take the most for granted. It’s the place where we know the person (or hope) will forgive us “no matter what.” But is that the way to live? Shouldn’t we learn to take ownership, fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again?

This same thing is true for me in business. I love working with people who can admit if something is their fault and then figure out how to fix it the next time (I hope I’m the same way!). Those are the people you like to be with!

I really see this as one of my life’s adventures. One of its challenges. To figure out how I can solve the problems that arise because of me and make adjustments so that I don’t continue to see recurring themes in my life. So that I actually can get to my next “mistake” and do the same problem solving and adjustment.

My wish for all of you is that same kind of reflective look at how problems are solved in your life. The truth is, we can only hold the flashlight for ourselves. We can’t force our partners or loved ones to do the same. But we can push ourselves to experience personal changes – both with inward and outward growth.

Have a wonderful (and warm) day!

The power of attraction (or really, reflection).

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the law of attraction and it’s power (if any) on our lives.  I think we (read – me) sometimes misinterpret this idea.  We think it’s like a magnet.  We think that if we take our dreams and desires and throw them out there, we will find the right mate, the right job, or even happiness.  But a friend reminded me recently to think about it this way, “It’s like the law of gravity,” he said.  “It isn’t selective. It pulls everything in, the good and the not-so good.”

Don’t you think that’s the same with the law of attraction?  If we don’t focus on ourselves, our internal compass, we may attract what we want and likely also what we don’t want.

I once read an article by Deepak Chopra which said that it is the “law of reflection” which one should really focus on and that focus will bring what we really want to attract.   The law of reflection states that the whole situation around you is you.  And, it’s your reflection back that allows you to be more self-aware and clearer about your own needs.  Then, and only then, can the law of attraction really work.

Whether or not you believe in this power of the universe, there is scientific research that proves the effects of positive thinking.  And, I guess that’s what I’m talking about.   The idea is that when we think, when we speak, we draw in, we attract, those ideas and people who reflect those thoughts.  For example, I think negativity can keep us from obtaining the things we want in life.  It just brings more negativity.

Positive affirmations don’t work over night but as we begin to look at the world and the things that happen to us in that positive light (even those things that feel really bad), things will start to shift and change for us.  I think we will then attract that which we want to fulfill our time here.

Let’s transform our lives by staying positive, by feeling good about ourselves.  Love yourself.  Love life.  It really does want to love you back!

I hope you all have a wonderful mid-holiday weekend!

Gifts, a movie and the requisite Chinese food.

It was a typical Christmas here at the Roe house.  We opened gifts, I made my special french toast and we hung out until about noon (well, actually my daughter was gracious enough to take a run with me in the morning … thanks hon!).  After my kids left to hang with their Dad, it was time for the Jewish part of the program.

My father and I traditionally go to a movie and Chinese on Christmas.  I used to think this was just a Jewish thing … that everyone else stayed home, ate, played cards, ate and watched TV.  Clearly, based on our experience yesterday, Jews are not the only ones escaping on Christmas!

The line at the movie theatre (chose the Cohen bros. movie — figured that was fitting) was 1/4 a block long!  While we were freezing in line, I began to look at the people around me?  Were they Jewish?  I didn’t think so.  It was only 2:00.  Why weren’t they in the middle of a game of Monopoly?  Eating their second meal?  Instead, the theatre was packed with an assortment of people and we were shoved into the last few seats in the theatre!

We took a break mid-day and decided to meet up for Chinese food around 6:30.  Sounded reasonable.  NOT.  The place was packed! Many people of Asian descent, (ok, makes sense), some Jews and a lot of non-Jews.  What’s happening??? We were there two hours from start to finish.

We did meet an interesting 85-year-old guy, who could barely speak english.  He was able to tell us Happy New Year and to let us know that his wife was 83, that he had 19 children and over 20 grandchildren!  Many of them were there having dinner with him (hence, the reason our food took so unbelievably long!).  He seemed excited to have everyone there and to be celebrating the event.  Gosh, hard to complain about our delay after seeing the joy on his face.

I think next year we should do the non-Jewish thing and stay home, make a ham, open gifts and play Monopoly.  Maybe the Christians want a turn at our holiday fun!!  We could even trade-off even and odd years. That way, we never have to wait too long for our tickets or our fantastically fresh and hot Chinese food.  Win-win!

Hope you have a not-too-groggy day back at work!





It pays to be a single: Take two.

Last night it was me out shopping at the mall (I had purchased nothing for Christmas, as of last night) and all the guys who still needed to purchase that special something for that special someone. That’s fine. No one was bothering me. Then, at the end of the night I was scheduled to meet a friend at a local bar for drinks and some food. When I got there, she called and said that she had a kid emergency and couldn’t make it. I had no intention of leaving my almost full glass of wine so I ordered some food and turned to watch the TV. Here’s the disadvantage to being a single (woman) in a bar:

Person 1 (guy): “Why are you here all by yourself on a cold winter night?” (Really, you are going to use that one?). “Can I buy you a drink, some food, a trip to Hawaii?” (These people are still out there?) I made up an excuse for a phone call. Geeze!

Person 2 (guy): “You look familiar, do I know you from somewhere?” (seriously, this is a different guy??!!) “Are you a lawyer?” (OMG – I hate when people ask that question!). Turns out, I had a case against him early in my career (won) and we went to law school together (never even remembered the guy). His wife served divorce papers on him last week and he was having a hard time managing his emotions. He cried sitting next to me until my food came and my phone rang for real!

Person 3 (woman – bartender): She was so interesting: Working her way through graduate school, single and makes the most money behind the bar. She told me that the men who come in are obvious but the women who come in to meet someone at the bar are the loneliest ones. That made me feel sad for them. Then, I realized that I better eat quickly and get the hell out of dodge!

Person 4: Me. It was great people watching but one thing I realized as I sat there, is that I am a single at times. Not too often, but enough to take in my surroundings without the filter of someone else. To some that might be a disadvantage. To me, I learn as much about others as I do about the uncomfortableness of being by myself.

It’s not easy to be alone. We surround ourselves with people, often to drown out the noise of our own fears. Sometimes, it’s good to be alone. So, last night, over that last sip of wine, I made a point of appreciating my being alone for that all so brief moment. It really was enjoyable, not scary!

So, with that I hope you all have a great holiday tomorrow! For the Jews reading this … My dad and I will see you at the movie and for Chinese!


It pays to be a single.

This weekend we (my kids and my sister’s family) went up to Lutsen for the weekend.  We had odd numbers so I often rode the chairlift myself – a single.  Being a single, has its advantages, such as meeting some interesting on the chair lift:

Person 1: He was there with his son, who was in a ski race.  Turns out that he knew my boys from baseball.  He told me that his wife had died recently and baseball was what brought he and his son closer together during that period of time.  In one ride, my dislike of baseball was changed.

Person 2: Wife (30’s) from St. Paul. Her husband was skiing on another hill.  They didn’t have any children – she was pregnant with her first.  They tried for 4 years and almost gave up.  It reminded me of my infertility days.  I silently prayed for this one to work for her.  I know the pain.

Person 3: Ski Patrol.  He was a retired firefighter.  He said he went from a hot job to a cold (bet he’s said that a million times!).  He said all four of his toes on his right foot are frost bit (he lost one already).  I said, fun is fun but the point of getting more frost bite is … ?  Some people’s addictions!

Person 4: A woman in her 60s.  It was her first time skiing.  He husband is an avid skier and she’s made a deal with herself to find more things to do with him that he likes!  So, since skiing was his favorite, she decided it was a great first start.  She said her husband was thrilled and it felt like a new start for them (they almost got divorced a few years back, after the kids left the house).  That was a heartwarming story (but not enough to warm my toes, which were frozen!).

Person 5: Me.  I rode with myself twice.  I tried to get to know myself.  I took a number of deep breaths.  I learned that I don’t take enough time to listen to nothing but my breath.  Not that my breath is interesting, but the things that come from nothing are something.  Know what I mean?

So my challenge (maybe yours too) is to take time during this holiday season to get to know yourself.  To find a quiet moment … even if in the chaos, to hear the voice in your mind and enjoy the moments.  They will be over before we know it and it will be back to our old routine again!

Have a great day!

She wants to give up caffeine.

A friend put on FB that she was thinking of giving up caffeine.  When I read it, my PTSD came back in full force, remembering the two weeks it took me to get off caffeine.

In the early 90’s, I was the typical law student, drinking coffee all day – and did the same thing once I started practicing.  Then, about 12 years ago, my law partner convinced me to run a marathon.  He said it would be easy.  You just start out running 3 miles, then 6 and before you know it you are running 26.2 (yea, right – topic for a whole nother blog!).  I gotta tell you that the training was not that difficult.  The hard part was his demand two months into the training that I ive up caffeine before the race.  “What?,” I said?  “Give up coffee?   Here, just take my next five paychecks instead … I’m not giving up my coffee for a race!”

I made the mistake of not tapering and just went off the sauce cold turkey!  Thus, I had a headache for two weeks and if I recall correctly, I had a lot more friends before quitting! But, let me tell you the results of this experiment:

Less trips to the bathroom: If you think I have to go a lot now, you should have seen me back then.  I was worse than a 90-year-old man (I said man intentionally!)

Better sleep:  Yes, I have the menopause sleep thing going now but when I went off caffeine some 12 years ago, my sleeping was so much better and because of that, I was a nicer person (I think).

More energy:  I realize that I generally have an abnormal amount of energy but back then, the coffee made me feel sluggish with an occasional coffee buzz. I actually think I was brain-impaired half the day (and only slightly awake the other half!).

No siestas: I used to have those afternoon comas. You know the ones … the “crash” that requires a strong cup of coffee around 2:30?  Now, if I’m feeling tired (usually from getting up and running at 5:30 a.m.!), I just go walk around a bit and I’m fine.

Less headaches:  I was totally addicted to caffeine, and that if I didn’t get my morning cup, a nasty headache would set in around 10 a.m. I haven’t had one caffeine headache since I made the change.

Do I miss the coffee? H*** yes.  Now drink decaf, if I really want the flavor (to go with a piece of flourless chocolate cake).  The truth is, giving up caffeine can improve your productivity and your attitude, among other things.

I know people who drink coffee all day and well into the evening and have no problems whatsoever.  Yet, I think it’s a worthwhile experiment.  May I suggest that you try it after the holidays — I do think you’ll want to end up with the same number of relatives that you started with (if you know what I mean!).

Enjoy your weekend!

It wasn’t until I could see it, that I could actually get to it.

The old saying goes: If you can dream it, you can do it.  I really think it’s true. When I was younger (age 49), I never really thought much about visualization.  I just figured you had a dream and if you were lucky, it came true.

Now, I believe that visualization is the most powerful way of achieving personal goals.  You have to have the idea, the picture in your mind, in order to meet your goals.

Do you know the story about Jim Carrey’s check to himself?  Carrey says that in 1987, he wrote a check to himself in the sum of $10 million. He dated it Thanksgiving 1995 and added the notation, “for acting services rendered.” He visualized it for years and in 1994, he received $10 million for his role in “Dumb and Dumber.”

I sometimes wonder about my mom.  She said for at least to years, that she was going to die at 59.  We said she was crazy.  But maybe she wasn’t.  Could she have visualized something so badly and unwitting caused her untimely death at 59?  I hate to think about it that way…

One of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their physical and mental training ratios:

  • Group 1 received 100% physical training.
  • Group 2 received 75% physical training and 25% mental training.
  • Group 3 received 50% mental training and 50% physical training.
  • Group 4 received 75% mental training with 25% physical training.

Of course, group 4 had the best performance results.  Today, most top athletes use the power of visualization to perform at their peak.  I see this with my daughter. She sees where she wants to go with her sport and I’m sure she’ll get there.

For almost the two years I was unhappy where I worked.  While I enjoyed the people, it wasn’t the right fit.   But, I waited for it to change because I didn’t want to make the change myself.  It wasn’t until I started to think about what I wanted the next place to look like and feel like, that I was able to get to my destination.

How about our personal lives? Our relationships with our spouse/partner and our kids?  Why don’t we visualize the kind of relationship we want with them?  Wouldn’t that allow us to have those great relationships rather than just wishing we had them? What about visualizing happiness or peace in our lives? Same thing, right?

We are capable of changing our life circumstances (even if just in our mind) – a feat which is priceless.  We can use the power of visualization to create the kinds of relationships we want and the people we want in our lives (work-wise and otherwise).  Makes total sense to me!

I’m visualizing an absolutely fantastic day today.  I hope you are too!

I wonder what my true destiny is … (it can’t be dealing with this weather the rest of my life!).

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  Not the shoveling part (well, I have been thinking about why my sons have not shoveled yet), but the purpose part.  What is my purpose?  What am I supposed to be doing while I’m here.  Sure, there are the obvious things, raise my children, learn and grow from the loves in my life, take care of some important people in my world, win a freaking triathlon (waiting for the 80-85 age category ….).  But, is there a “purpose?”  Something I can define?

The universe is about flow.  It’s about giving and receiving.  And, I’ve had loads of opportunities to do so.  So, it’s made me wonder if mine is service.  But, I’ve often wondered if that’s enough.  I can be very self-critical (as you know) and I’m thinking that I could be missing my purpose.

There’s a story about Buckminster Fuller, one of the greatest inventors of the twentieth century, about he and his sick daughter. One day, Fuller said he was leaving the house to go to a football game and promised his daughter (who was 6) that we would bring her back one of the small red flags that they use in football for her birthday the next day.  Fuller didn’t come back for three days.  Apparently out partying (he was known for that). When he finally arrived home his wife told him not to waste time apologising to her but to go up to see his daughter as she had gotten worse. When he picked her up in his arms the daughter asked if he had the flag.  He said no, and shortly thereafter, she died in his arms.

After that, Fuller felt so bad that he wanted to end his life.  But, the story goes that he heard a voice essentially saying that he didn’t have a right to end his life.  It wasn’t his and he had not yet done what he had come to the earth to do.  He spent years trying to figure out his purpose and, as we know, he eventually figured out that it was to leave us with great beauty.

I’m still sorting through this purpose issue.  But one thing I have figured out is that I need to pay attention to the “taps on my shoulder.”  These are the times when I feel like someone (thing?) is tapping me on the shoulder indicating that I am going a positive way or a negative way.  I have a tendency to ignore those taps (Hence starting a new job today almost two years longer than I should have.  Why?  Because, I ignored the taps.).

So, I have no answers.  Only questions.  And one thought:  if we listen and when we are ready, we will see, feel and maybe hear with a bit more clarity, our purpose.  Mine today may be as simple as a smile to all that I meet.  What’s yours?

Have a great one!


I’ve failed in this department …

I’ve got a friend who is amazing with adversity.  Over the years I’ve known him, he was hit hard with various issues – his wife died, he had some health issues and a number of other personal problems.  Every time something happened, I watched him deal with it all through grace and kindness to others. He never excluded me.  He would often ask for advice or support.  All things that brought me closer to him.

I’m not as centered as my friend (although I’m trying). When I face adversity (or fear) I go to my cave or behave badly.  I often try to shut others out or pretend I’m ok.  I can learn a lot from him.

Do you know the old story about the daughter who complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her? She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.  She constantly shut people out and tried to manage it all herself.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

Once done, he asked her to look and feel each of the items.  She did and noted that the hard carrot had become soft, the fragile egg had become hard and the coffee had become a rich aromatic drink.  Now the story ends with the father asking the daughter, “Which one are you?”  But, I think that’s the wrong question because, adversity should bring a bit of all three to our lives.  It should cause us to soften and become more humble.  It should also cause us to develop inner strength.  And, it should result in us becoming a richer human being.

The holiday season is, of course, a time of joy, family and friends.  But it is also a time that reminds us of our life struggles.  When the latter happens, try not to shut out those you love in order to steel yourself from the pain.  That’s what I used to do in my cave.  Instead, try to look inside, find your softness, your strength and the richness in your life and share it with those you love … and maybe even those you don’t.

Have a great weekend!