Two Years Gone

On this, the eve of the two year anniversary of my dear friend’s passing, I’m re-posting the story I wrote about her, about us, the day after she left this mortal coil.

Before you read this, please call or text that one person you’ve been meaning to reach out to. Take that time. Even if it’s been a while and you think it will be awkward, use me as an excuse– tell them Denise, your favorite blogger, told you to call.

Then, come back and read this.

Goodbye, dear friend.

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Vortex of Appreciation

Sunday morning.  I’ve been out as a morning person for quite some time now.  Even the word morning sends a tingle through me.  Know thyself and embrace those strengths.

Just before these manicured fingers began to dance across the keyboard, I was listening to a podcast recorded by my teacher Gabrielle Bernstein, available through her Miracle Membership program.  The podcast was on in the background as I was organizing some of the piles of work on my desk and my conscious mind heard my teacher say the phrase “vortex of appreciation.”  I put down the pile, paused the podcast and began writing to you.  As per usual, these love letters come from divine inspiration—rarely do I have a plan.

Now, I have an idea for you.  Close those beautiful eyes.  Visualize yourself in a cup, a beautiful container large enough for you to feel comfortable and cozy enough for you to feel safe… surrounding you, cushioning you, pouring all over you are the things you love and appreciate… the people, places, things and ideas for which you feel gratitude… the elements of your day that light you up.  Sit there.  Soak it in.  Splash around in it.  Pick it up and toss it like some glittery confetti.  Feel the appreciation surrounding you.  Bask in it.

Flutter those beautiful eyes back open.  Do you feel that?  That glow of everything you love all around you?  You can access that feeling anytime and anywhere.  It is within you.

What’s in my cup?  (And no, I don’t know where the cup idea came from.  I heard Gabby say “vortex of appreciation” and I got a visual of myself in what I can best describe as a stemless wine glass.  We just roll with these things).  My cup overfloweth with you, dear readers, with my furbabies, with my family and my famOILy, with abundance, with mornings and sunshine, with beautiful things.  If your cup feels empty or if it has sprung a leak, I’m down to pour some of mine into yours or you can even dive into my vortex— plenty of space in my cup for you.  Plenty of gratitude to share.

So take a moment to feel it, emotionalize with the vortex of appreciation.  And anytime today you feel yourself slipping out of appreciation and gratitude, know that you can visualize and dive back in.  Some days, I stay there with ease and other days I have to dive back in many, many times.  Big smiles.  Much love.

I’m Telling

I’m telling on myself today.  A friend who is relatively new to the DB Fam called me yesterday.  For every ounce Out There, Open and Tell It Like It Is that I am, she is Reserved, Private and Keep It to Yourself in counterbalance.  I take our new-found friendship not only as a treasure but as lessons for me to learn to protect and preserve myself and my energies.

While we were on the phone, New Friend asked me a question about someone we both know.  Not a gossipy question or even a judgmental question—just a question.  And there I went, shady as all get out in my answer.  The words felt icky coming out of my mouth… yet there they tumbled.

Our conversation ended shortly after.  I felt unsettled with myself, as I spoke from a place of spiritual misalignment.  There was nothing in my response that was constructive, helpful or even that answered her originally question.  I caught myself falling off of the Judgment Detox wagon.  Old me would have relished in the negativity.  Current me corrected course with humility.

I texted New Friend and said, “I feel like I was super negative. I apologize.”  I then answered her original question with a more appropriate, yet still honest answer (all of this personal development has not taken away my honesty!).  I started to justify and judge myself in reaction.  I even wrote, “Insecure low moment.”  All of my Spiritual Running Buddies who are reading this are yelling at the screen for me to witness my judgment without judgment.  I hear you.

It’s a work in progress.  It’s a practice.  I’m proud of myself for sharing the missteps with you, dear readers.  I teach this work.  I live this work.  And foundationally, I do this work… so it’s not a perfect dance for me where I slay every step.  It might not ever be.  I decided to tell on myself to you today because I grow when I share the journey and because I’m so grateful for the lessons that New Friend imparts on me through her kindness and the way she protects her own energy with ease.  Much love.

JD humility

Big Picture Master

A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk on organization to a group of entrepreneurs in the wellness lifestyle industry.  In pure irony, the notes I prepared for this talk look like a scrambled ramble of ideas.  The organizer appears messy but gets it all done.  Here are some gems from my notes for you, dear readers:

The key to my success: I know exactly what I want and I let NOTHING get in my way.

I’m a Big Picture Master, a Results-Driven Red (see The Four Color Personalities for MLM by “Big Al”).

I know nothing about running a non-profit organization, but I make a non-profit run.

Take an honest look at yourself and your habits or get a coach to assist you in doing that— it is from here that you get organized.

It’s really cute when people tell you to follow your dream or your vision if you don’t know yet what that is—it’s like telling kids in school to pay attention without ever teaching them to pay attention.  Check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic for more about this.

Play to your strengths.  Not mine.

I’m never going to be a runner but I run s…

You don’t get organized from a book or from anyone else’s system, if you want to lead.  I don’t know how to get your organized until you know your vision.

Once you have your vision, your dream, your goal, then (and not a moment before) you need:

-executable steps.

-consistency and routines.

-to stop doing stuff that doesn’t work.

For me, it’s committing one hour per day to my business, regardless of how active the day job and/or Rescue was that day, it’s keeping a consistent schedule and it’s TONS of personal development.  That’s how I stay organized.  That’s how I’m the Big Picture Master.  That’s how wellness, abundance and purpose continue to flow freely to me and my family.  Much love.

An Interesting Benchmark

When I was an undergraduate student, I watched “Sex & The City” on a perpetual loop.  No matter what I was reading or writing, no matter who was visiting my dorm room or apartment, those DVDs were on repeat.  I, of course, had my favorite seasons (2 and 3) and my favorite episodes (“Are We Sluts?” to name but one).  When the seasons premiered, we had parties.  Friends would bring NYC-themed foods, like hot pretzels, and we’d hang on every scene.  When the series ended, we gathered at M.’s apartment (she was the only one with HBO that year!) and gasped as Carrie’s pink-crystaled phone lit up “John.”  We were early 20-something girls watching these 30-something women tear through the city that lay just 45 minutes away from my childhood home and from my college home, just from different directions.  We all identified with different characters, with at least a little bit of Carrie in each of us.  No one wanted to be Miranda.  Radical honesty: we grew up to be Mirandas.  And I’m totally good with that.  While we’re on the subject, do not be surprised that I was never a Charlotte.

Mid-December this past year, I started re-watching the episodes that were the backdrop to my college years.  At bedtime (because I have to have the television on to fall asleep), I flick on Amazon Prime and, starting at season one (the awkward season in my opinion), I’ve been falling asleep to my past.  Through an entirely different lens, nearly 2 decades later (yes, that kind of time has passed), I marvel at my different take on the relationships.  Where I once thought Mr. Big was cold, I now see Carrie as narrow-sighted.  Where I once thought Steve was kinda icky, I now see his charm.  Fear not, I still think Charlotte is… I’ll just say lost, to keep it nice and keep it moving.

As I cooked this morning, I streamed the season 2 premiere of “Divorce.”  As it loaded on my I-pad, I couldn’t help but wonder (see what I did there?) when I rolled from “SATC” to “Divorce.”  Talk about SJP speaking to me.  Fear not, all is well in the Land of the Bunnies.  I just mean, this is the stage at which we’ve arrived.  I am the “Divorce” audience.  Frances is a 40-something to my 30-something, like Carrie was a 30-something to my 20-something.  What an interesting benchmark as we grow, evolve, stretch and learn.  Much love.

Retreat Yourself

In late June 2014, I wrote a note in my phone of three simple “I am” statements to set the tone for my summer.  Pushing aside the millions of things to get done and ways to make two months off from the day job count, I set these “I am” statements at the core of my desires for that time.  At the heart of all of the “stuff” I had to do and wanted to do that summer, my true intentions were in these “I am” statements.  I typed:

I am

-reading.

-practicing yoga.

-mindful.

I didn’t even know what mindful meant or why I typed it— it just appeared there on the screen.  I am mindful… ok.  Let that sit.

I found a yoga studio near to where we were living.  I signed up for a month unlimited and then another month unlimited.  I took classes 3-5 times per week for the entire summer.  I am practicing yoga…  finally.  For months before that, I was thinking about it.  And I was telling myself that I “should” be practicing yoga.  But I never seemed to quite get around to it.  I let everything else jump the line and take up my precious time.  All it took was setting that clear intention: I am practicing yoga.  Like magic, I was.

I found two teachers whose style and energy matched what I was seeking in my practice and made darn sure to show up at their classes.  I dove all in, as I’m prone to do.  One of those teachers offered free guided meditation after classes, as the schedule allowed.  I stayed.  She shared about her practices, her studies through UMass. Medical School in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and her “real life” applications of these simple-yet-complex practices.  She had something here.  I hung on every word.

A friendship blossomed.  At the time, I hadn’t consciously revisited my note in my phone with my summer intentions, my “I am” statements.  But I was learning about mindfulness, that word I typed without knowing why.  My new mediation coach and friend recommended books that she was reading.  We started to hang out.  We shared this glorious spark of brilliance.  I knew I found a soul sister in Debbie.  Toward the end of August 2014, while rolling up my yoga mat after one of Debbie’s last yoga classes for the summer, I opened the notes in my phone… and there it was: I am mindful.  I manifested a practice, a coach and a friend with three words.  Don’t question the process.  Be open to being guided.  Set the intentions that are in your heart and take the action steps as they unfold.

This past Thursday, I had the honor of sitting at a full-day retreat of over 100 educators led by my soul sister Debbie and her colleague in mindfulness Cory.  They led us through the practices and applications of this life-saving, life-expanding gift called Mindfulness.  They are the real-deal.  I, who often cannot exhale without checking my phone 17 times, did not even check the time from 7:30 am until 4:35 pm.  That’s the magic that Debbie and Cory shared.

We learned about our relationship to stress, how to be with what is here, how to develop our mental fitness… I could go on and on.  I took 17 pages of notes.  But, if I can share only one take-away with you, it is this: replace resistance with curiosity.  Approach your day with an element of awe and wonder.

Debbie, I bow to you.  I am mindful.