do it anyway

•07/06/2011 • 4 Comments

I have a fear of meeting people and making new friends. Considering I am more of the warm and fuzzy type, you would think this wouldn’t be an issue for me. But as I discovered during a recent session with Joy, it really is an issue. A big issue. And it’s one that I need to get over quickly since networking is so crucial to gaining clients for my new business.

Prior to talking to Joy about it, I really thought that the idea of meeting people just made me nervous. But a single question made me shake like a leaf.

“Why are you so afraid of going out and meeting new people?”

You know how people always say listen to your gut? Well, my gut spoke.

I was in fourth grade. We had moved to our new home only a few months before, and I was starting all over. New house, new city, new school, new teacher…new friends. At my last school, all of the kids were friends…from kindergarten to sixth grade. It really was an amazing thing, and something I grew to appreciate in my new environment. Because my new environment was all about cliques. How in the hell was I going to manage this?

I thought that I was doing great. I made friends relatively quickly and began hanging out with a group of girls that were a lot of fun. But one day that fun ended…for me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing right in front of the library at lunchtime. The girls wanted to talk to me. They made a decision that I didn’t fit in with their group. So they promptly kicked me out.

I can’t even explain to you the horror of that moment. Here I am, a naive nine-year-old girl being kicked out of my first group of friends. I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to get back up on that horse and make a new set of friends.

Here I am today, a grown women with her own kids, dealing with the same problem. It’s so crazy to me how one small incident from your past can alter your personality so much.

Joy challenged me to overcome this fear and get out there. So I did, and I am. I face this challenge every time I’m invited out…whether it be a party, a mixer, a get together, or a networking event. I have to literally talk myself into it. But guess what? The result of my hard work is a growing circle of new friends and contacts. And, I’m even having fun!

This leads me to my words of wisdom for today. I love this poem because it speaks to so many aspects of my life, and the fears that I am overcoming along the way. I hope you find this just as inspiring and pass it along.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~ Adapted by Mother Teresa

time to relay

•06/24/2011 • 1 Comment

Photo appeared in the blog “Relay for Life – Prepare to be Moved”

Tomorrow is a big day. I will playing my part in a ginormous effort to raise money to fight cancer. Tomorrow is relay day.

I cannot say enough about the American Cancer Society. The ACS provides endless amounts of support to cancer patients and their families. From funding cancer research and educating the public about preventative measures, to providing transportation to treatment and supplying wigs for those losing their hair. It’s incredible how one organization can do so much good for so many.

Tomorrow, I along with countless members of my community will be taking part in the Relay for Life. I’ve been told that this is one of the most moving, most inspirational events you could ever attend. I can’t wait.

For me, this event is going to be more than getting caught up in the moment with my fellow friends and neighbors. It’s about saving lives. And for that, I will happily place my needs aside for 24 hours and focus on the things I can do to help others in need.

Before it even begins, my heart is in my throat. I’m emotional for all of those I know who have died because of cancer, and for those who have bravely battled through it and remain with us today. When I walk, I will be walking with a memory of each one of those people. My participation is my tribute to you…because I love you and because you mean so much to me.

This day is not all about sadness and heartache, though. It’s also about celebration and empowerment…about seizing the day because you never know what tomorrow will bring. It’s about losing all the drama and concentrating on the important people and things around us.

This could not be a better time for me to experience a reminder of such an important lesson.

To all you relayers…let’s do this!

session 5: support, love, & encouragement

•06/17/2011 • 1 Comment

“The most important thing to remember when you feel discouraged is to get around people. Don’t close in. Reach out to family and friends. Let yourself be supported. When you can’t lift yourself up, let someone else do it.” ~ The Coach’s Coach

I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support, love, and encouragement of my family and friends. They lift me up when I am down. Help me walk when I want to crawl. Pull me out of the house when I want to climb under my covers. Make me laugh when all I want to do is cry.

In an earlier session, Joy asked “How strong is your support system?” My initial response was that I am surrounded by a large number of supportive people. I truly am. After a few minutes of mulling over the question, I finally admitted that there are a few around me that aren’t so supportive, and their attitudes really affect me. A single discussion with these individuals make me feel silly, dumb, and (worst of all) like I don’t matter.

“You need to distance yourself from those people,” Joy said.

She’s right…of course. I do. And I will. (Can you say “homework”?)

I spent the following couple of weeks identifying the “real” players in my support system. No surprises there. When Joy and I met for our fifth session, I reported on my homework progress and my satisfaction with the outcome. I can easily say that my circle of support is now brighter and warmer than ever.

During our discussion, I was struck by one revelation: the support I receive is directly affected by saying what I mean and what I’m feeling. This idea was like a big slap in the face. Joy would refer to it as taking a cool splash of water to the face. Got to love her.

Obviously, I could not let this new-found notion pass me by without learning from it. So learn from it I did.

Saying what I mean isn’t as hard for me now as it was at first. I feel like I am more clearly verbalizing what I need and/or want. It’s much better than fumbling with my words because I am trying to protect myself or the other person.

Whether they know it or not, my family and friends are rewarding me with even more support and encouragement than ever before. The effect is dazzling and empowering. I feel strong again.

————————————–

To all of those special people in my life (you know who you are)…thank you so much. xo

growing up

•06/07/2011 • Leave a Comment

“I hope your dreams take you…to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” ~ Anonymous

I’m feeling so overwhelmed this week. If I stop for just one moment, I know there will be no stopping my tears.

Why? Because it is becoming all too clear that my baby girl is growing up…and I can’t stand it.

I feel like I’m on the verge of a tremendous tantrum. I want to kick and hit and scream at the top of my lungs: “Stop it! Stop this growing nonsense RIGHT NOW!!”

So very mature of me, don’t you think?

This week is the last week of preschool. Today, I volunteered at the school for the very last time. I took every bit of every moment in. From helping out with the blue finger painting project to watching the kids in my daughter’s class show off their various scars and “owies” to listening to the tiny voices singing their thank-you-for-the-food song. It was a very special day.

In the fall, my husband and I will officially become the parents of a kindergartener.

Everything is about to change (and you all know how much I love change). She’s growing up. My son is growing up, too. It’s more than apparent that I no longer have babies in my house. How did this happen? Where did the time go?

The glory of it is that I have been lucky enough to hold their hands through all of this growing up stuff. They are two amazing little beings. They are genuinely kind, sweet, and SO smart. They are healthy and happy. And I couldn’t be prouder.

This week marks yet another milestone for my little girl. As hard as it is to embrace the change of things to come, I’m so looking forward to being a part of it.

Congrats on progressing to the next level, Miss E! You rocked this preschool thing!

gifts from above

•05/30/2011 • Leave a Comment

I am not super religious, but I like to think of myself as a spiritual person. I’ve experienced the loss of many loved ones in my life and it makes me feel good to think that they are still watching and connecting with me in some way.

Last Saturday my baby brother graduated from college. This was a huge event for my entire family. Our hearts swelled with love as we watched him participate in his commencement ceremony. In so many ways, this ceremony symbolized the closing of one of the most important chapters in his life. He is the last of three of us to graduate college and my family couldn’t be prouder.

The day before my brother’s graduation, my parents took this picture in front of my sister’s house. I believe that this dazzling prism in the sky was a gift from my grandma. It’s her little way of saying that she’s here, witnessing all that is happening and celebrating this time with us.

_______________________

It was January and I was working on my final year of college. I had been invited to attend my cousin’s wedding in Southern California. I couldn’t wait to go. I was looking forward to spending time with my family at what I imagined would be a beautiful event. But I was also longing to be at my grandma’s side. She was sick. Really sick. She was in the hospital, which meant that she wouldn’t be going to the wedding with the rest of us.

The wedding really was beautiful, just as I thought it would be. We had a great time chatting, dancing, and celebrating life. It felt like we were escaping the reality of my grandma’s situation, if only for a moment.

My mom wasn’t at the wedding. She stayed with my grandma. I know it was because she wanted to spend every last minute that she could with her. Who could blame her? I would have done the same.

The time came for me to catch a plane back home. I was dreading this trip back for so many reasons, but I couldn’t stay any longer. My grandma’s condition was worsening. Her breathing was more labored. She seemed to be in and out of consciousness.

And I was in denial. “It’s just the meds,” I repeated to myself. Anything to keep the thoughts of death out of my head.

I tried to put on my best game face as I said good-bye to her, praying and hoping that it wouldn’t be the last time. She’s going to get through this…right? I left her hospital room for the final time.

On the flight home I witnessed a truly ethereal sight. Framed by these amazingly big, puffy white clouds, a rainbow appeared. It’s hard to explain how I felt in that second. I suddenly felt warm inside. I felt like someone was there with me. The experience took my breath away. Though I tumbled through a whirlwind of emotions over the weekend, in that moment I was at peace.

It wasn’t until I was home that I found out my grandma had passed.

_______________________

It has been 12 years since my grandma’s passing. Every time I see a rainbow, I think of her. Even though I can’t see, feel, or hear her, I know that she is all around – watching, supporting, celebrating, and loving us still.

session 4: project quiet

•05/26/2011 • Leave a Comment

“Quiet! I can’t hear you and all the voices in my head at the same time!” ~ Anonymous

It’s not like I don’t have enough people telling me what to do all day long. If it’s not my kids, or my husband, or my dogs, or my parents, I’ll find my very own voices having a field day inside my head.

“Do this.” “Do that.” “Go here.” “No, go there.” “That’s ugly.” “You did that wrong.” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Does it ever end? According to my mom, no, it absolutely doesn’t.

And if I’m lucky, I’ll discover my mind playing a song over and over and over again in my head (as if one time isn’t enough). Is it trying to make a point? Am I the only weirdo streaming live concerts in my brain?

Joy says I should find out. “Write down the song and Google the lyrics. You might discover something.”

You mean, like the song isn’t trying to torture me and that it might actually mean something? Ok…there’s homework assignment numero uno.

As interesting as I may find that particular assignment to be, it still doesn’t bring peace to my aching head.

And of course, I receive my answer only minutes later. Meditate.

“I want you to meditate 10 minutes a day, or do as much as you can,” Joy says. “Still continue to observe what comes up for you at that time. You are opening up – the whole point of the meditation is that instead of trying to shut off what comes, let’s look at what’s coming in.”

And there it is. The second piece to my homework that I like to call project quiet.

Meditation should be easy and relaxing. The relaxing part I can do…it’s finding that quiet spot and getting to that relaxing space that I struggle with.

Plus, a mom with 10+ extra minutes of time to her day? How the hell am I going to find that? In between taking care of the kids, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning house, running the dogs, running errands, paying bills, doing the laundry… (if you think the list ends there, you have another thing coming – I’ll just save you some time in reading all the gory details)

But, this is important. So find the time, I shall.

Plus, when given a little motivation, I can do anything.

“You know what’s really wonderful about you? You’re really great at self-observing.”

Thanks Joy. After a few tears, some deep breaths, and lots of sighing, this was a great way to end our session. Because for me, becoming more self-aware is what this whole process is about. And it looks like I’m getting there.

a little inspiration

•05/23/2011 • Leave a Comment

So many things inspire me. From simple quotes, beautiful poems, and truly great stories to random comments and gorgeous photos, I can find inspiration just about anywhere. Inspiration sparks creativity and that is why you will find most of my posts begin with a little something special.

In one of my recent sessions with Joy, it was homework time. “I thought of you,” she said as she handed over a crisp, white sheet of paper covered in blue type.

I started to read it silently to myself when the sound of her voice brought me to an abrupt stop.

“I want you to read it out loud.”

Humph. Ok.

<insert deep breath here>

So I started from the beginning. I didn’t even get through the first couple of verses when a misty haze began to cover my eyes, blurring my vision. It was hard for me to believe what I was reading, though I knew this was Joy’s intent.

I got through the reading…barely.

My homework? Read the poem out loud to myself every day.

I have to say that this poem has gotten me through a few rocky moments. It has propelled me into a whole new state of believing in myself.

It is my belief that something this inspiring has to be shared. I hope you find it inspiring as well, whether you read it once or everyday. If you are so moved by the words as I am, don’t keep it to yourself…pass it along.

Hello World ~ by Dan Coppersmith

I am amazing
Incredible me
Celebrating the being
I choose to be
 
I’m uniquely spectacular
I am one of a kind
Creativity oozes
From my heart and mind
 
I’m stupendous, tremendous
I stand out from the crowd
I do things
That aren’t allowed
 
I’m inspired, desired
I am wonderfully weird
I am unbridled passion
I am highly revered
 
I’m outrageous, contagious
I am daring and bold
I am honored and cherished
I’m a treasure to hold
 
I am gifted, uplifted
I am endlessly blessed
I am sought out
For the skills I possess
 
I’m delightful, insightful
I am loved and adored
I live a charmed life
I’m renewed and restored
 
I am grateful, elateful
I am centered and wise
I am wealthy and worthy
I am God in disguise
 
I declare my brilliance
It won’t be denied
The world cries out
For what I provide
 
I am powerful, masterful
I am focused and clear
Life beams brighter
Because I am here
 
I am blazing, amazing
I can’t be contained
I’m a glorious, fabulous
Radiant flame
 
I choose to exude
All this and much more
My wings are spread
Watch me soar!
 
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