It’s done.

Sometimes it’s hard to say something is done.  You know what I mean?  I’m not a hoarder … I don’t hang on to stuff too long (in fact the opposite is true).  But I do hang on to situations (of any kind) too long and it’s often hard for me to say, “It’s done.”  I’d like to think it’s because I’m loyal, forgiving or maybe just not a lover of change (as we all know).  Yet, maybe it’s more  than that.  Maybe I don’t like to say something is done because it represents, what I deem, a failure on my part.

Yet, I constantly forget that failure creates success.  We can’t regret anything, because every little detail of our life, including our mistakes, are what make us who we are.  Here are my reminders as I swim (maybe wallow) in my recent “failures:”

  1. It’s okay. Take time to heal from mistakes.  Moving on from any mistake takes more than a day.  Be ok with that.
  2. There is no success without failure.  I’d rather have a life with failures than a lifetime of regret in not trying.
  3. Positive thinking creates positive results.  This goes without saying.  Things always turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
  4. I am not my mistakes.  Life didn’t come with instructions and I’ve got to accept that mistakes will happen.  No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean … it’s a wide open slate.
  5. Life’s best lessons are learned at unexpected times.   Sometimes the most unexpected situations turn into the best “mistakes.”
  6. Not getting what you want can be a blessing.  Some things in life fall apart so that better things can fall together.
  7. We create our own happiness.  We can’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make us happy.  I’ve been known to not say it’s done because I fear that my happiness is tied up in the situation.  Untrue – happiness comes from within.
  8. Life goes on.  My collection of mistakes will turn out to be my life.  And, I’m certain that where I end up will be no mistake at all!

Given that I made the “mistake” of missing a post this week, I’ve corrected that on this fantastic Friday night.  Now, I’m going to head out for a glass of wine to drown out my “mistakes” of the week.

Have a great weekend! XO

You can do whatever you want when you believe you can. (Wizard of Oz?)

There’s a reason why people say, “The truth will set you free!”  It’s because every lie, not matter how small, or who it’s to, has a consequence.

In my profession, I hear people saying things that become their truth, their reality, even when it is not actually what happened.  But they believe it!   And, just because we’ve convinced ourselves that something is the truth doesn’t mean it is the truth.  Think about those people you know who find ways to blame others for situations that they really should take responsibility for (another form of not seeing the truth).  Or people who make decisions for themselves pretending like they won’t hurt someone else, just so they can get what they want (a lie to themselves).   Often, right?

Now, I’m in no way saying that the consequences of all lies are bad.  For example, maybe you say to yourself, “Oh, I’m so obese.  I’ve got to lose weight.”  You’re really not obese, but maybe it does push you to lose weight or exercise a bit more.  Or, you tell yourself, you are so over some person in your life, when you really may not be, but eventually the words will become reality.  Yet, in the end, almost all sorts of dishonesty get in the way of us being happy with our respective lives.

Here’s the truth: You can do whatever it is you want when you believe you can.  You don’t need to follow these false beliefs you’ve been feeding yourself about who you are because you are so much more than you have given yourself credit to be.  Be honest with what you want and go get it.  You can move past the lies and negativity of those around you and the tapes in your own head and move to something better.  You are who you want to be!

So, let’s be honest.  We may not love where we are right now – today – or in life but that doesn’t mean that we can’t change things.  This life of ours is a journey and it’s all about enjoying the truth of where we are, thinking about the life we want and then creating it.  A life with love, happiness, honesty (and a glass of wine or two).

Have a fantastic weekend!

 

Cancer-go-away hair.

I meant to tell you about this woman I met last week but I got caught up in life and I also think I just needed to process the “meeting.”

So, last week I went to my favorite “quiet” place (Target) to pick up a few things.  As usual, I really didn’t want to talk with anyone other than listen to the chatter in my brain.  I had no kids and no time constraints.  I needed to pick up a prescription and as I pushed my cart over there I saw a woman in line waiting to walk up to the counter.  Shoot.  I didn’t want to wait but I knew if I didn’t, it could be worse later.  But at the same time, I really wanted to get closer to her to check out her red hair.

She was a beautiful young woman who looked like she should have blond hair.  But instead her hair was a bright, bright red … and short.   As I got in line, she turned to me and smiled.  I just could not take my eyes off her hair and I (not being able to restrain myself) said, “Wow, you’ve got cool red hair.”   “Thanks,”  she said, “It was a gift from my best friend.”   She went on to explain that she had just finished her last chemo session when her friend surprised her with this red wig.  It represented the bright red sun which comes up to start a beautiful new summer morning.  And, now that she was recently done with treatments, every morning was a new and bright day of strength and beauty.  She said that the doctors were not sure how successful the treatments would be, given the aggressiveness of the cancer, but she felt it was good luck to wear it.

Just at that moment a cute blond girl (maybe 5) ran up to us and hugged the woman’s legs (behind her, a nanny brought up the rear).    She introduced me to her daughter who gently shook my hand.  I bent down and told her that I loved her mom’s hair.  She smiled and said, “That’s the cancer-go-away hair.  My mom won’t die if she wears that hair!”  At once I felt sick to my stomach and also immediately full of love for this cute little girl.  I wanted to cry.

Just then I heard the word, “Next,” and the woman went up to get her prescription.  The little girl waved and smiled at me as they left, holding her mom’s hand as they walked away.

I don’t know what to say about this.  It’s the tragedy of life.  It’s the privilege of being here for as long as we get.  It’s the joy and wonder of a 5-year-old girl who believes in miracles.  It’s a reminder to never, ever take even one day for granted.

Have a wonderful day.  XO

XX Shades of Gray.

There are so many things in my world that seem black and white (seem is the operative word).  Even my clothes choices.  I think nothing of wearing all black every day.  It’s easy and decisive.  But if I were to look at my life that way – just one color – it would be boring, cold and I would miss most, if not all of the nuances of the world around me.

The truth is, nothing is more beautiful in life than the different shades of gray.

My boys asked me the other day how I felt about the Hiroshima bomb — “Was it right or wrong?”  I was stunned by such a black and white question.   Yes, I have feelings about that issue but how could there really be no shades of gray?

It’s the grayness of life that allows us to avoid judging a situation or person with the bold hammer of one view.  It’s the grayness that allows us to see the beautiful details so much clearer.   I might even say that seeing the world or even a situation as black or white precludes us from feeling or understanding the emotion behind a problem.

Politics is a perfect example (this is not a political statement, however).  So many people get stuck on one side.  They’re too busy trying to paint their color over everything that they color right over the finer points, which we all have in common.

Or, how about your relationships or arguments with your partner?  Don’t we (me) tend to dig in, to think our (my) position is “right?”  But, by doing so don’t we (me) completely shut out the possibility of the gray? The spot where we have commonality and the place from which we can work toward a mutually beneficial solution?  I gotta work on this one!

Life, love, relationships, politics, business, religion — everything has shades of gray.  When we look at life with shades rather than hard colors, we find that we get closer to the collective emotions of whatever it is we are dealing with (and in particular, those we love) and it’s only at that point can we really move the ball forward.   In fact, looking at the world with grayness really does allow us to experience compassion for those who see the world differently than us.

So, maybe add a few shades of gray to your world today.  I’m definitely going to try it when I get in a fight with my loved ones.   Maybe it will help me see the argument (or the solution) in a whole new light (or at least not in my black and white light!).

Have a fantastic day!

Marriage isn’t for you.

Lately, I’ve been having many different conversations about marriage.  This weekend someone asked me why I wasn’t married yet.  I told her I was scared.  Scared of making a mistake.  Scared about change.  Scared how it would affect me and my children.  Then, the next day, a friend posted a blog post by Seth Smith.  I want to share excerpts of it here for you.  It left me speechless.

“Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.”

Food for thought.  Have a wonderful day!

Are you who you want to be?

I was with some of my favorite people this weekend: my running partners, my dad, a couple of my favorite friends, my former nanny (and her fantastic kids) and my own kids.  With each “group,”  I felt totally myself.  No pretense, no thinking about who I needed to be, what I should say or how I was going to argue a case — I was just me.

This made me think about the person I am and the person I want to be … are they the same?  Am I who I want to be?

It’s occurred to me that the people we miss the most in life are those who are just themselves with us … the ones who it feels good to be around. And the reverse is true: those who really miss us are the people we’re transparent and vulnerable with.

This made me think about how do I go about being transparent and the person I want to be.  Maybe a better way to say it is: How can I live my life such that it results in people feeling good to be me?  And, can I do it in a way that feels good to me too?

The kids and I were talking yesterday about being “good” (I’m not sure I like that word … maybe “positive”) stewards in their respective worlds, but to do it in a way that feels ok to them and is not just for the people around them.  Here’s the list of things we came up with:

  • Smile like you mean it (it’s contagious).
  • Be encouraging (of yourself and others).
  • Share your gifts.
  • Be yourself.
  • Show people you care.
  • Be positive but don’t be afraid to not feel positive.
  • Help others be their best and you will end up being at your best too.
  • Make memories that feel good to you.

I don’t know if any of this resonates with you.  And, you’ve probably got a list of your own.  However, you do it make sure you live in a way that is true to you.  Don’t be afraid of the not-so-good feelings.  They’re normal and are there to be shared with your close friends.   One of my boys loves this quote from Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  To me, this means … Only when you are being you, can you make a difference in your life and the ones around you.

Have a fantastic start to your week!

How long is a week?

Everyone in my house (including me) thought this week took two weeks … it felt so long.   We all felt a bit “off.”  My kids think I was a bit short-tempered and I think they were looking for a reason to push the envelope.

I think it has been a week of wacky things.  I lost my car key, only to find it on my hand 1/2 hour later after looking all over my office and the parking garage.  My son left the shoes he wore to school at school (don’t ask), and my other son said that he can’t believe that he’s grown up now (he’s 14, what’s grown up about 14?!).

Maybe Halloween caused it to be longer.  We hollowed out and carved three large pumpkins, passed out a ton of candy and made homemade soup in the process.  And, allow me to digress for a moment, what’s with the 6’2″ trick or treaters?  How old are they?  And, when did “prostitute” become a costume?  Honestly!

It was a week full of hearing from my kids about how unfair everything is (mostly my decisions).  A week of blaming everyone for everything that has gone wrong (how can it be “mom’s fault” when your shoes are left at school?).  And, although there were no “major issues” this week, everything was seen as a major issue or injustice.  It was a week were they all seemed to feel like the universe was out to get them (I apparently am the “universe”).  Tonight I actually had to raise my voice with the boys and tell them that just because they didn’t understand my decision, didn’t mean it wasn’t valid.  Why do I have to explain this s***? Did I say it was a long week?

It was a week of two broken glasses on the floor, food being ground into the carpet and a week of too many garbage bags for the garbage container.  In fact, it was such a crazy week that after all the dishes were cleaned and put away, I only had four forks (my idea of having them scrape the food off their plates is clearly not working).

It was a long week and now it is Friday night.  Finally there is some peace in the house (only because the TV is on). Finally they seem to be nicer to one another.  I’ve finally got the kitchen cleaned and they finally have (al)most all of their homework done.

I’m thinking that the weekend won’t feel as long as this week (ain’t that the truth).  But, I’m going to enjoy it anyway. Although there was a lot of grumbling and a couple of odd experiences this week, all in all, it was a good one.  Filled with interesting people, a few morning runs and my once-a-year dose of baked pumpkin seeds!

Have a wonderfully long and peaceful weekend!

 

My fear of change caused me to lose it (again) in a very quite place …

I went back to yoga last night.  I took the summer off from going to class.  And, why not?  Summer is a beautiful time of the year and training allows me to be outside.  But, now it’s getting colder (although I did get a balmy and beautiful 6 mile run in this morning) and it’s time to head back inside.

As you know, I don’t often take quiet time for myself.  Things are moving pretty fast for me, not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well.  Moreover, I am watching the absolutely screaming speed at which my kids are growing up.  My daughter is now communicating with rowing coaches from D1 schools and I can see the writing on the wall.  My boys are really young men … those are the things that caused me to lose it last night.

In those final moments of yoga class, when you are supposed to release everything in your body, I began to think about change.  Is it possible I won’t be single forever?  What’s it going to be like when my kids go off to college.  Will everyone in my life be there in five years?  I started to cry.

Why can’t things just stay the same?  The people in my life, my kids being here?  Do I have to keep getting older? 🙂

I get the whole change thing.  And, I get that I will love the next phase.  But, can’t I just keep it still for a bit?  Don’t you ever wonder about that?

Maybe this is coming up because I can see big changes on the horizon.  Maybe because at that moment I wasn’t moving 1,000 miles per hour.  Or maybe, I got scared because I just love this moment.  The one right now.  I like the way it is.  Maybe I was that way last year too.  Maybe I loved that moment as well.

What ever the reason, life’s already changed from last night to today.  So, I didn’t get my wish.  But, I did get to read this to my son this morning who said, “It’s good but it’s sad, how fast life goes. I guess we gotta enjoy it.”  He’s so right.

Have a wonderful day.

He blessed me at the elevator.

I had an odd experience as I was leaving the office yesterday.  I was not paying as much attention as I should I walked to the elevator for our parking garage.  However, as I got close, I could see a man stepping out.  He was not very tall, old(er) and quite thin.  I could see that the door was about to close (he had already walked out), so I figured I would ring for the next elevator.  Yet, my eyes were focused on this guy, when I saw him stick his hand between the doors of the elevator to save it for me.  I quickened my pace to get there.

The only problem with this gesture (which we’ve all made before), was that he was looking at me (not the elevator doors) and I could see that the elevator was clearly going to close on his hand.  In a split second, as the door was almost closed, I grabbed his arm and pulled it out.  I gasped out loud when I realized how close it was.  I could feel the air from the door as his hand brushed the inside from how close they were to closing.   At that moment, we both realized how close that was.

We stood there looking at each other.  I asked if he was ok.  He didn’t seem to speak english (or it wasn’t very clear, anyway).  He immediately grabbed my hands and started to kiss them!  Mind you, I am in the middle of the skyway at 4:00 p.m.!

All I could really could get was him saying, “I bless you.  I bless you.”  Then, he seemed to bow to me and the next thing I knew he was gone.

Wow.

Clearly, one lesson for me is to watch when I stick my hand in the elevator door!  It’s usually not my smartest move.

The other lesson, is to slow down.  It’s hard for me to remember a time when I stood at an elevator, or on one, and haven’t grabbed my phone to check it.  It’s the first thing I do.  I never pay attention in those situations.  But, had I been on my phone this time, I would have missed what he was doing and his hand could have been severely injured.

I guess I’d better pay more attention.  I’ve got a weird feeling this event will come back to me in some way.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Jessica

 

I think I was supposed to learn this (and 10,000 other things) long before I qualified for AARP.

I’m really bad at this aspect of life.  This notion of letting things just happen.  Ray Bradbury had a great quote that I’ve often  tried to use, unsuccessfully: “Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and let others move forward with it.”  

Although I don’t espouse religion in this blog, I thought this quote was important one.  Bradbury, interviewed at 90, said, “I’m a Zen Buddhist if I would describe myself. I don’t think about what I do. I do it. That’s Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.”

This is something I struggle with.  I constantly want to analyze every decision and “figure it all out” before I make a move.   I know you’ve got to jump before you fly, but that’s easier said than done.  I’ve got a little over a month to make some decisions and I am analyzing each and every possible scenario, ad nauseam.

I’ve decided that if I just open myself up and allow the answers to come to me, they won’t eat me alive in the process!  If I’m focused on being grateful from each and every minute I have, I may see things that will help me make my decisions.  And, let’s be honest, the real truth is no matter which direction we go in life, it (whatever it is) will be OK.

I have a feeling there are others of you like me, in this regard.  You need not identify yourself!

As nebulous as it sounds, I think we just need to let go of our attachment to the process and maybe even the result, and see what happens.  Then, each day, we can look at what’s in front of us and take action based on that information only … not the information from our past or guess about the result from the future.  Sounds easy.  But, I know it’s not.

I once read the following Chinese proverb:  “When you feel confused, take a pillow and go to bed.”

This, of course, is the essence of letting go.  I think I’ll be sleeping a lot in the next month! 🙂

Have a great start to your week!