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.

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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.

Yes

For those who’ve been following the tale: I didn’t finish the book before book club, but the 200 pages I read were more enjoyable than I thought they were going to be.

Just another lesson in being open, in saying “Yes!” to what presents itself.  I never would have picked up that particular book, but a beautiful friend presented it as our first selection for our new book club.  Beyond the emotional journey of reading it (if you really know me, you know I’d love nothing more than to stay home all day, every day and read), flicking through those pages allowed me to connect with some sweet and smart women on Friday evening.  Two of my bunny family, plus multi-generational representation from one of their families, great conversation, connection—much more spiritually fulfilling than my typical Friday night falling asleep on the couch while watching vintage seasons of RHONY.

I’ve been saying yes more these past few weeks.  It’s one of my “challenges.”  Some people do squat challenges or cut out sugar for 30 days type challenges; I give myself personal growth challenges.  Saying yes and being more flexible is the theme of this current phase in my personal growth and development.  I’m stretching myself to change or make plans last minute, to break one of my Cardinal Rules and leave the house on Sunday (only for VERY good reasons, should they arise) and to stay up past 8:30pm on a work night (again, the good reason rule comes into play).

I broke the bedtime rule last Thursday and spent the evening in Manhattan with four gorgeous friends and my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein.  I’m breaking the bedtime rule this coming Tuesday to see Marilyn Manson.  Yes, you can be a Spirit Junkie and enjoy some dark music—it’s all about balance, my loves.  These rules, and the bending of them, may seem trivial to the less wound and regulated but to me, these are some huge shifts!

Yes, I have a lot of rules for myself.  I’m super-structured, regimented to an extreme at times.  I attribute my success to my discipline and my grit.  As strange as it may sound, I’m disciplining myself to be a little less disciplined.  But fear not, I’ll still be here every Sunday (or thereabouts) with you.  Much love.

Autopilot

I don’t know if there’s a name for it… that experience where you’re driving but your mind is completely somewhere else and you kind of shake your head and snap back to the present moment, having virtually no recollection of getting where you are, like that total autopilot moment… that’s August for me, every year.  I just realized it last night, as we got into bed and I shook my head fiercely and thought, “Holy stuff, it’s almost over.”   This is my brain on August, autopilot, struggling to get back to the present.

My mindfulness practices are inconsistent—but that’s why they call it a practice and not a perfect, right?  I am routinized and committed to many things so it’s not like I can’t; I just haven’t yet.  But I will.  The struggles are thematic (and I almost blush at calling them struggles because it’s really not so bad in the grand scheme of this whirling world).  I hit speed bumps and roadblocks at similar places and phases, the same way, I imagine, a serial dieter does.  I am aware of my patterns and my inclinations.  I’m here, trying to balance acceptance and growth.

Again, it’s a practice.  I’m finally at a place where I don’t feel like my vacations are too short (those of you who don’t get the number of weeks off that I do can continue cursing at me now—I can’t hear you anyway).  I don’t feel like the days or my life is racing by because I am paying attention on purpose, with purpose.  I’m making it count AND giving myself a giant break that I denied myself in the past.  I’m consciously shutting down the August Autopilot now.  So today, or even just for the next hour, give the autopilot a rest.  Let it recharge—after all, we need it in its highest working order in times of necessity—and be present with yourself.  Take it all in.  Accept your patterns, your habits, your predilections and grow through the elements that could use change.  Be here now.  Much love.

 

It’s been a Year.

This isn’t about rabbits or Reiki.

A year ago, we said goodbye—well, sort of.  I said I would see you later that week.  I said we would talk more then (and I silently promised to turn my damn phone off at our next visit—no pointless distractions).  I walked out of your front door, it was a Saturday, fully intending to be back maybe on Wednesday, silently promising myself that I would not let the week go by without making time for a visit.  Just like this year, last August was zooming by.  About an hour after I left, you died.

I wonder a lot.  You know my brain is always going, barreling perhaps.  We only knew each other for a touch over two years.  Why was I the second-to-last person to see you in your earthly form?  Do you know how much you changed my life in a span of two years?  Can you fathom just how much you taught me?

If you didn’t leave this dimension when you did, would we still be friends?  Or would I have said something, done something, been something that you didn’t want to be around?  Would we be on the phone right now on this super-cloudy day?  Or would I be sitting here, telling myself that I better make time for you before my long vacation ends?

Ours is one of those friendships that didn’t seem likely but just makes so much darn sense.  16 years apart in age, vastly different families and upbringings.  You, tiny in stature, secure in purpose.  Me, average in size, barreling toward my purpose—you helped me find it.  It’s all your fault, that I’m finally living my dreams.

We bought the house I told you about, but you know that already.  We live so close to you now.  We actually have space to have people come inside the house!  I’m getting better every day.  You helped guide me on this path.  I hear your voice in my head.  I see you in yoga classes still—remember the lady whose pants were inside-out?!  I love how the same things annoyed us.

You were supposed to teach me to sew.  But let’s be serious, I wouldn’t do my own sewing anyway.  Did I teach you anything?  Is there anything you didn’t get to tell me?  Well, besides the messages that you are flooding me with now… shout out to my Spirit Junkies and other spiritual running buddies who have helped me further develop my gifts over the past year.  I “hear” so clearly now.

Your babies are doing great.  MM clipped their nails on Saturday.  Your garden is gorgeous.  Your world misses you.  You are screaming in my left ear right now—I hear you, love!!  I will keep living the dream for us both.