Monthly Archives: January 2016

She had a bad day: Five quick ways to turn it around.

There are hundreds of articles on how to change a bad day into a good one.  But they’re typically ideas that I never have time (nor the desire) to implement.  For example, write a list of 10 things that make you happy. (I’ve barely got time to breathe, let alone find a piece of paper and a pen!).  Or, take 15 quiet minutes to yourself. (Hello people! The lack of time is part of the problem).  Another one is – take a shower.  Really?  A shower?  I don’t think my colleagues, my family or my friends want me excusing myself for a shower!

Today, a friend told me about a bad day she had last week and as she was talking I thought about the things I do to “turn it around” when I have a particularly sh***y day (“I know you know what I’m talking about, Willis”).

Here are my 5 down and dirty:

  1. Focus on what you’re grateful for.  Could be your job, kids, the ability to breathe – you know, anything.  I’ll often do this when I’m frustrated in traffic or in a long line. Neuroimaging studies show that it’s almost impossible to be in a depressed state and grateful at the same time. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to a bad day.  Ask  yourself at that moment: What’s one great thing in my life?
  2. Rewrite the narrative. When I have unrealistic expectations of all I want to get done in a day, I set myself up for failure.  When I feel myself moving too fast and not focused, I look at what’s on the plate and pull something off.  Yes, I let something go for that day.  I may have to apologize to someone but if they love me, they’ll understand.
  3. Give someone a hug or a smile. Sometimes a hug can help turn a bad day into something better.  Even sending a heart in a text to someone I love can make me feel better (especially when it comes back!).  Smile at a stranger or complement someone.  It’ll totally turn it around!
  4. Listen to a favorite song and sing (dance) along.  Studies show that listening to music can alter your mood and even alleviate depression. I play one of the songs below to lift my spirits (I usually dance in the kitchen too.  Sadly, my kids have put “it” on snapchat.)
  5. Take a 5 minute walk.  Sometimes I’ll walk out of my office and into the elevator for a quick jaunt in the skyway or even outside.  At home, I’ll get the mail or walk around the block.  Move in any way you can.  It’s amazing!

I hope you don’t have one bad day or even a bad moment this week.  But if you do, try being grateful, smile at someone or just dance to one song (close your office door if you do!).

(If you watch the second video through I promise you’ll have a big smile on your face!)

Have an amazing week!

I want a different kind of body. Not the one I’ve got.

As you know, I’ve just barely started running after a 3+ month injury.  And, in trying to survive this (temporary) life change, I’ve started doing everything else: biking, swimming and lifting weights. But, no matter how hard I try, my little arms (as my kids like to say, “little hot dogs”) are not getting much more muscular.  “Thank You” to my friends who’ve tried to be sympathetic and say how I look more “muscular” – but, we all know I’m really not.

Why didn’t I get the body that grows muscle?  That’s the body I wanted.  Can I turn this one in for a new one?  Ahh yes, right now you’re wondering how I can complain when I’m already “thin.”  But, let me tell you something; being thin doesn’t mean I love my body any more than you may love yours.

Seriously, how many of you look in the mirror and see more wrong than right?  We think if we were thinner, lighter, darker, or had different hair, we’d be happy and love ourselves.  Bull****.   Happiness and beauty isn’t about how you look or how much you weigh.  It’s not about your hair style or your clothes.  It’s about how you feel in your own skin – from the inside out. You can work out like a maniac, develop all the muscles you want, look “perfect” — but if you’re not happy on the inside, nothing else works.

My favorite example is the couple that looks physically mismatched but is so in love.  True love.  Why? Because all love starts from the inside – and they obviously get it.

So, how are we going to get to this nirvana?  I’ve got no freaking idea! 🙂

1. Forgiveness

Let’s start with forgiveness. Guilt and shame about how we look is filled with negative energy.  It spirals and makes us feel more guilty and shamed.  Forgive yourself the bowl of ice cream.  Love that little roll around the middle.  I’m not saying don’t exercise or eat healthy foods.  You know that’s my thing.  But allow yourself the freedom to get unstuck from the negative tapes about how you look and focus on what’s inside.

2. Love Yourself.

I’ve been stuck many times in my life because I didn’t love myself.  I put my value on others and when they stomped on me I was crushed.  What I wished I had done was realize that their holding of the mirror on me was actually a total reflection of them. You are beautiful and wonderful.  Say it!

3. Self-care

If you feel tired, sleep.  If you feel stressed, go for a walk, find a friend, kiss your partner (unless he/she is causing the stress!).  You know what I mean.  Fix the unbalance in your life.  You know exactly where it is.

Remember that when you look in the mirror you don’t see the inside beauty that we all see.  So, take a look with a new eye.  Reclaim your inherent worth and value – rolls, wrinkles and all.

Have an amazing weekend!

Stripping.

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” Thich Nhat Hanh

That one word in the title defines what I’ve been doing this last year or so. Stripping.  Almost like a life facial, I’ve been peeling away the layers of who I’m not, to get to who I am.  To get to my core.

I remember a period in my life where I would be happy high one minute and down right shocked at how horrible my situation was the next.  It was the craziness of my life at the time. I was in a cycle where I completely forgot my then inner-deprived world.  Know what I’m talking about? We become so reliant on that external feedback loop that we forget to value our inner contentment.

We’re not immune from life’s pain or challenges. My kids surprise me all the time with shock and awe. But when we’re grounded, it becomes less shaky and more manageable.

This week I start a six-week meditation class. Intensive inner focus. I’m worried.  I’m not a sitter. I’m a mover. I don’t like to focus on my feelings.  I like to focus on other’s feelings. But I’m trying to remember that it’s just another aspect of my three keys to living an authentic life:

1. Be more, do less.

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” Lao Tzu

When you get to the end, will you have met your life goals?  Think about that for yourself.  What are they? One of my life goals is to be open to meeting people and being present when they’re in front of me. I try to do it every day, even when I’m crazy-busy. Another goal: be less crazy-busy.

2. Plan less, live more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that the shadows of our lives are created by us standing in our own sunshine.  So true.  Our planning gets in the way of living.

I’m a planner.  I want to know what’s coming. Yet, I’ve purposely veered off my road map and now my life path is mapless.  I’m loving it!  Remember friends, the more we cling to the past, the more we live our fears — the less we live our lives.  

3. Worry less/let go more.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.”  Dalai Lama

Let go. Really. Don’t plan to let go.  Don’t say you’re letting go.  Just do it.  The most powerful thing I’ve done in life is let go of the fear that kept me stuck. When we redirect all the energy we use to hang onto things, people, experiences, the more we have for the beauty in our lives.

It boils down to this: do less, be more, worry less, live more.  Let go and create the experiences you deserve!

Have an amazing weekend!

Coffee meeting #162: I actually think he had the integrity.

Last week I met someone in a coffee shop (shocking).  He actually walked right up to me and sat down at my table (I was waiting for someone and had a small, two-person spot).  The interesting thing was that this guy was blind.  I saw him walk in, with the authority of a sighted person, moving his cane back and forth.  I was fascinated.  So much so that I missed him coming to my table until it was too late. He sat down, said hello and asked how I was.

S***!  Did I know this guy?  I wasn’t sure what to do and I looked around the coffee shop to see if anyone was watching us.  I told him I was waiting for someone but was happy to chat until they came.

We quickly got into a personal conversation (I know – again, shocking).  We talked about how he loves the fact that he can hear things that we sighted people miss.  He asked how often I close my eyes.  My response: in bed, at yoga and when I kiss someone. He laughed and said, “Next time you close your eyes pay attention to the beauty of the darkness. I see all that you see and more because I pay attention.”  Powerful message.

Just then a woman walked in and he said, without looking away from me, “My ride is here.  But, I want to tell you this: I think you have integrity.”  I thanked him and suggested that I was a work in progress.  He said, “We all are.”  And that was it.  He left.

I have a million things I’m processing about this meeting. Of course, I love the notion of closing my eyes and seeing beauty. Yet, it was “integrity” that was intriguing.  It’s not a word I use to describe anyone (including me!).

So, I looked it up. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but only a second to lose.  Yet, we rarely talk about integrity.

Integrity is walking the talk (more powerful than walking the walk).  In other words, every time we speak, we create a road or a life path. The quality of that road, and how far it goes, and where it goes, will be directly related to the integrity of our word.

When we’re “in integrity,” we speak from a place of wholeness. Our words match our actions.  Dr. Seuss put it best when he wrote, “We say what we mean and we mean what we say.”  When we say things we don’t really mean, we move “out of integrity.”

This quick conversation, was a good reminder to think about how I can live a life of integrity.  To watch my words. To try to walk my talk.

Hmm, maybe that’s why he walked with such authority – even without his sight –  he had integrity.  Food for thought on a cold winter (football) night.

XO

“When I let go of what I think I should be, I become what I truly am.”

I’ve had this quote in my wallet for quite some time.  I actually made it up (shocking, as I totally lack in the creativity department!).  I often look at it to remind me to let go of my preconceived notions of how I should look, think and live.  And instead to appreciate who I am, flaws (all ten million of them) and all.

Yesterday, a friend sent this next quote to me.  I love it.

We spend our lives avoiding the situations that help us grow.  It’s when we stay with uncertainty and discomfort without trying to fix it that we connect with our own innate joy, wisdom and love. –  Pema Chodron

So, today’s post is just a compilation of some of my favorite pick-me-ups. Something we often need in January!  These are the kind that I put on my fridge, with stickers and colors so my kids (well, actually me) will read them. 🙂

I hope you can use just one of them today:

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had. – Unknown

Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get. – Ray Kroc

Don’t go for looks, they deceive. Don’t go for money, as it will come and go. Just wait for that person who makes you smile because it takes only one smile to make a dark day seem bright. – Unknown

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes their way. – Unknown

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying. – Unknown

Have an amazing day my friends!

What is a soul mate and do you get more than one?

I was asked this question about two weeks ago and it’s taken me this long to respond. People talk, write and cry about this topic.  People marry their “soul mate” and then divorce that soul mate.  How does that happen?

So, what is a soul mate and do you get more than one?

According to Greek mythology, humans were created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. However, fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate beings, leaving them to search for each other for eternity.

The Chinese legend is that there’s a red string of fate tied around the ankles of those that are destined to meet. The cord may stretch but it will never break.

According to Jewish scriptures, each person has been given a romantic partner — called a bashert, a lifelong connection. It’s said that 40 days before a man is born, G-d calls out the name of his soul mate. I guess that’s a match made in heaven!

Almost every religion or culture has the concept of a soul mate – the notion that there’s a person who fits perfectly for another. I can’t deny that there’s something to this soul mate thing. I’ve had such life experiences. But do you get more than one? What happens when you meet your soul mate, get married and he/she dies. Then, you meet someone later in life and you realize that they also were “meant” for you?

I think there are two kinds of soul mates: platonic and romantic. And, I think you get more than one of each (how greedy is that?!). 🙂

When I look at some of my closest friends, I know that we’re mirrors for each other. We understand each other in that quiet, knowing way. We empower one another. We are soul mates.

A romantic soul mate is a more difficult proposition. These are the people who you never want to release, even when they’re bad for you.  These are the people who teach you how to love, how to compromise, how to forgive, how to let go.  Sometimes they stay forever and sometimes for a nanosecond.

Not every person you date or marry will be your soul mate.  But sometimes the person you marry and divorce can be your soul mate because you got wonderful children or had important life experiences.  I even believe that you may be the soul mate for someone but he/she may not be your soul mate – make sense?

So what’s the difference between a soul mate and someone whose just in your life?  In true lawyer form my answer is: You’ll know. They leave an imprint. They feel important. They’re your mirror, or you theirs. They allow you (without judgment) to be who you really are and they allow you (without judgment) to see who you really are. If this isn’t happening — they’re not your soul mate.

So, my friend – that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it (for now). 🙂

Have an amazing week everyone!

 

 

Some things are meant to be said.

I have some things I want to say to a few people. Things I don’t say and should.  Today seems as good a day as any:

To those I met this year: Thank you for coming into my life. You have changed my direction and added new color to my world — for that I’m ever grateful.

To those I know will be in my life forever: I am who I am because of you.  You support me. You talk me through my fears and experience my joys. You encourage me to take chances and have held my hand as I’ve questioned myself.  You bring fresh air into my life.

To my family: I know that sometimes it seems like I’m too busy to get together or make a call.  But I think about you all often. Dad, I’m grateful for all the support you’ve given me.

To the people who have hurt me in the past:  You were in my life for a reason (and gone for a reason). I’ve learned that life is a series of experiences that (hopefully) make us better human beings. So, thanks for the experience.

To the people I’ve hurt: Every fiber of my being is about helping not hurting.  But I’m far from perfect and I want you to know that if I could take back words, actions and behaviors that hurt you, I would. Please forgive me.

To the people I will meet this year: I have a feeling you will bring a new twist to my life that I never contemplated. You will open me to new possibilities. I can’t wait … and I’ve got my eyes open!

To my children: I think about you every day. Sometimes we parents get lost in trying to prevent pain in your lives, such that we forget that mistakes bring amazing growth. Know that no matter what, no matter how bad, no matter how joyous, I am always here for you.  I will always believe in you.  I have faith in your soul.

To myself: Every year, every day, every second is a chance for a new beginning.  Be present.  Take a moment to thank g-d that you are still breathing, walking, talking and loving the people around you.

To you: Take a moment to thank those who make this list in your life.  Do it more  than just today — but today’s a great day to start. 🙂

Have a happy and healthy new year.

XO