When Did Ugly Become Fashionable?

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I make a real effort to see the good in all things. I do believe that there is plenty out there to celebrate and be grateful for. Occasionally though, after a long weekend, I wake up tired on Monday morning. I mistakenly turn to Facebook to start my day and there it is, blatantly staring back at me. Ugliness is a real detriment to humanity. What concerns me though is that people wear ugliness on their sleeve as if it were fashionable. When did it become popular and fashionable to be ugly? Why are these people who are ugly in their thoughts and words our strongest voices and our growing leaders? We have to stop giving these kinds of people merit and validity and call them what they are, ugly. 

Today, my wish is that your inner beauty shines brighter than any ugliness you encounter. We cannot allow ugliness of spirit be the norm or the popular trend. We need to make a statement and be an example of inner beauty that shines a light on all that is ugly so that ugliness will no longer be applauded, celebrated and popular. Do your part and be the change we so desperately need in these troubling times. Shine your light. Shine it now.

How Did I Get It So Wrong?

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If you like my warm, fuzzy inspirational posts, do yourself a favor and stop reading here. For those of you brave enough to read on, I would like to share with you how I would raise my kids differently if I could do it all over. At least what I would teach them anyway. 

I grew up in a little bubble where life was perfect and everyone was wonderful. Seriously, looking back, I know now that I was so naive. I respected and trusted every adult. I expected the best from everyone. I had a great run of my childhood years. It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I learned some of the most painful and surprising lessons of all. If I could write my younger self a letter I would tell her, a long with my two children this.

Life is unfair. Every single day you will witness something that just doesn’t seem right. People will not speak out. Don’t expect them too. They are weak and scared and care more about how they appear to everyone else than to ever stand against something that is wrong. Never take anyone at their word because it is actions that speak and never the words. Expect the absolute worst from everyone so you are never disappointed when that is what they hand you. No one and I repeat no one will ever have your back. You may think they will, but when it comes down to your back or theirs, they will choose their own every single time. Trust no one. Expect people will let you down and if they don’t, be grateful. Be your own best friend, your own best advocate and always be your own self. The crowd is overrated. Don’t get lost somewhere in the middle of it. You will suffocate, never find your way out. Know too that there is good in this world. There are good acts and good people and a handful of honest ones. You won’t know which is which until it’s far too late. Trust your instincts and rely on the only person who will never let you down, YOU.

I had a rough day. The amount of people who do harm gets to me sometimes, especially when it comes to my kids. When I place them in the hands of someone who could make or break their self esteem and more importantly, their spirit,they seem to destroy them every single time. 

Everything you do affects everyone else. Every word. Every action. Your good mood or bad mood. We are all connected. We have to stop being so damn selfish and heartless. Be better than the crowd. The world needs you to. I need you to.

You Spent How Many Hours At The Gym?

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I remember a time long ago when I went to the gym several times a week. I was doing kick boxing, bench stepping. You name it, I did it. No matter how hard I worked, my body seemed to stay the same. Several years older now, I finally get it. Too much of anything is never good and eventually, if you are like me, you will get bored and start to resent it. Life is about balancing the mind, body and spirit. If you want to improve and you want to grow, you have to continuously work on all three simultaneously. I have the same body I did 15 years ago without killing myself at a gym. I am the same weight and to be honest I finally feel completely comfortable in my own skin. Why did I feel so unattractive then and so fantastic now? What could possibly be the difference?  I guess what it all comes down to is you can change your body all you want, but if you’re trapped in the same mind, the same way of thinking, you will never notice a single difference. The mind, more than anything else, determines how you feel. Change your mind, and your body changes too. That is the order it worked for me.  I have started to balance weights, fun cardio, yoga and at the same time, spend time doing what feels good to my soul. Everything in moderation, focus divided between all three parts. That is the real secret to looking and feeling your best. And if I feel like skipping a class, I simply skip it without guilt and absent of regret. Sometimes a day floating in the pool is the exercise I need for my soul. Look inside to see what you need, that should guide your exercise for the day. Today, it’s yoga for me, where the mind, body and spirit meet on the mat as one. What is it you need to exercise today?

There’s No Place Like Home

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I took my mom to yoga class for the first time today. From the minute we walked in the house, she has been in bed. It’s funny, I remember back to when I did my first class. I swore I was sick. I came home, laid down on the couch and fell asleep for two hours.

I believe many of us mistaken feeling tired for actually feeling relaxed. It took me some time to realize that when the body was relaxed enough to lay down and my mind was quiet enough to turn off, I had finally discovered the true art of feeling relaxed. We are so busy and so uptight that we don’t even really know what relaxed feels like at all. Once we learn though, we never forget. Yoga has changed my life. Its a place my soul feels very much at home. What exactly do I mean by home? It is a place my mind, body and spirit feel at peace, comfortably content to just be wherever I am, whatever time it may be. They say “there’s no place like home” and I’m starting to really believe that’s true.

You Had Me At Hello

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I was in heaven last night. I was outside sitting in the hot tub listening to the gentle sound of rain drumming against the house. I was thinking about my day and my mind remembered all the crazy radio and tv hype over Renee Zellweger and how they couldn’t believe how different she looked. Her eyes were too open and she has lost that old squinty look that made her an icon in the movie Jerry Maguire. She had too much fat injected into her cheeks. You get the picture. It went on and on, blah, blah, blah. If I could speak to Renee I would ask her this, ” Do YOU feel beautiful?” That is what truly matters. The whole world can think she is the most beautiful woman in the world but if SHE doesn’t FEEL beautiful, none of that matters. Or, everyone can think she is homely as can be, but if SHE feels beautiful, the opinions of others will never matter. The only opinion that is really important is the one we have of ourself. People will always find fault and believe me they won’t have to look real far. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s near impossible for everyone to think we are beautiful. However, if we believe we are beautiful, that beauty will shine bright enough to catch everyone’s attention. Shine on beautiful and never let anyone dull your sparkle. We need to see the beauty beyond someone’s appearance and find the beauty in their individuality and spirit. That is the beauty that will never fade or age with time.

If Only

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If only our broken hearts and broken spirits healed as quickly as a broken bone. Healing is such a personal experience. It cannot be rushed and we cannot will it to happen. We have to sit back and allow time to work its magic while we surrender the control to force it to happen. I imagine after something or someone is really broken they will never be the same again. That is the thing about life, every minute is brings something new. We are in a state of constant change. I guess, as people, we are like that too. We will never be the same person we were yesterday and we will be a whole new person when we wake up tomorrow. Being broken is not permanent and it is certainly not the end of the world.

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My Thoughts On War and Hate

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I woke up today to read about air strikes in the headlines. I can’t help but wonder how we get from the innocent baby that we come into this life as to such angry, combative, vengeful adults. The thought of war is hard to imagine. Sometimes I guess it’s even necessary. It starts out in subtle ways. Disrespect for others opinions. Raising your voice and getting heated because you are sure that your ideas are right and the other person is wrong. Ruining relationships because of our inability to forgive and becoming angry and hateful enough to wish people harm. Our hearts harden. That is how the hate sneaks in. It’s like a back door where pity and hate and blame and superiority poison our souls. Hate consumes people as does the need to have each one of our beliefs validated. This “I’m right and you’re wrong attitude” along with “If you don’t agree with me you are dead to me” are two great examples of stops from here to there. Where is here you might ask? Here is where you realize that we are all individuals. We are conditioned by the influences we grow up around. Combine that with our life experiences and our egos outgrow our souls. We become like little tanks ready to plow over someone the second they make us angry. We can’t even control ourselves anymore. Initially when people get angry, they could still stay in control over their actions and act respectfully. Over time, the anger takes over and the hateful exchange of words, obscene gestures and disrespect for fellow beings, even ones we claim to love grows out of control until we can’t seem to get along with anyone who disagrees with our point of view. Is that to say there are not kind hearted and loving people all around us? Not a chance, but the older I get, the more I see the anger and impatience come out in the most basic exchanges. Just pay attention to the tone someone uses with waitstaff if their order is not correct. Think about it. How many times have you made a mistake or done something to unintentionally hurt someone? Don’t you feel bad enough? Aren’t you hard enough on yourself without having to be berated or punished by someone else? Who do we think we are to inflict pain and punishment on the very people who make our same mistakes and have similar shortcomings? How can we inflict our judgement and wrath on the same people who have looked past and forgiven ours? It’s okay for us to treat people offensively but the second they do something to us, we disown them, hate them, carry a grudge, purposely try and make their life miserable and maybe even end their life.

Hate and revenge start out subtle. Then those emotions grow so large that they consume who we are and change us into something hard. We become consumed with the me. I think, I believe, I’m right, I’ll fix you. The ego grows and poisons the infantile loving, trusting heart that was born into your tiny body. Our eyes of wonder become dark and cold. Arms that once reached out to love become arms that shove people away. The side of us that used to love to play becomes serious and expressionless. We slowly slip out of the person we were supposed to be and become a ticking time bomb to those around us.

As much as I try, I will never understand how people can be so cocky that they assume they must be right. There are so many people in this world. We are raised different and we think different. Life has handed us different experiences and led us down diverse paths. What is right to one could never be right for all. Why can’t that be okay. Why can’t we respectfully disagree while opening up our hearts and minds at least long enough to try and understand where another person is coming from? While we are busy talking over them and disrespecting them, we are showing with our action that we are superior and they are less of an individual than we are. It is selfish and demeaning and most of all cruel. To belittle someone else because they don’t agree with us to the point that we think we have the right to kill all who don’t agree. What in the world are we coming to? Isn’t there an enormous alarm screaming inside of you that says this is not the way you are supposed to be? This life should be about loving and helping and kindness and forgiveness and most importantly respecting people’s differences to the point that we find more respect and wonder for how different we really are. We should be curious about what makes each and everyone of us so different.

I am doing an online meditation and I heard something that really made sense. Listen close because it meant so much to me that I am really going to try and live by this logic. I hope it resonates in you as well. When we judge a person by his behavior, it is like ripping out one page of a novel and basing the entire book on that one page. That one page could be totally misleading about what the real book is actually about. What if you rip out a negative page and make the assumption that the one example defines who that person is. Don’t we all have bad day? Don’t we all make mistakes? It’s okay to observe and point out someone’s behavior. It is not okay to define or judge a person by their actions. Judging the person says much about who we are and nothing about who that person is. We could never know the whole book and it just doesn’t seem fair to base our opinion of another on that one page. It seems even more cruel and unfair to base the entire fate of a relationship on one or two pages. There is so much more to the story if you read a little deeper. We can’t pick and choose the pages to satisfy and validate out own egos. The quiet, instinctual part of us has got to be stronger than our pompous, self gratifying egos.

War does not feel good. No one wins. Sometimes it is necessary to protect ourselves but to what end? What does it settle? What does it prove? It proves that we are more controlled by our egos and less by our spirits. And in the name of love and God? Our religious beliefs would make us think we should kill others who don’t believe as we do? Common sense should start to kick in at some point. My God will always be a loving God. He would never want me to be hateful or hurtful. Are my beliefs right? Whose to say but at least they will not harm another person or give me an excuse to take a life of someone who does not belong to me. I will end with this.

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By Golly, I Think I’ve Got It!

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I’ve been searching and waiting for the perfect word to define the next few months ahead. The last word I chose was adventure and that is exactly what the universe handed me. Now I am a bit tired and much more focused and today, while drying my hair, the word popped into my head out of blue. Have you been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for it? Of course not! You, like me, are probably thinking enough talk about “the word”, choose one already! And drumroll please………My new word is transformation. I think it is just perfect for this time in my life and I am excited to see what it will bring.

Those of you that are faithful followers know I have been aching for change. Change in my social life, my physical appearance, and my quality of life. So now is the time and I am ready. I can already feel the process in motion. If I can see it, and feel it then I can become it! What do you get when you mix body, mind, and spirit with transformation? Just wait and see! Don’t forget to let me in on the word you choose! I can’t wait to hear it.

Control

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How do we fight our constant need for control? I am feeling very unsettled today. I know with spring break coming to a close the old familiar to do list of life will be greeting me at 6:30 tomorrow morning. This constant struggle to find balance has been a lesson 42 years in the making and today, I believe I had a small yet painful breakthrough. I couldn’t help shake the anxiety that has been creeping inside of me since the moment I woke up. I am feeling unsettled and agitated which is not at all how I want to spend this day. I have been working really hard at getting my inside in order. You know that quiet place where you sit in the presence of inner peace. However, somewhere along the way my scale tipped a little too far to the left and I lost control of my outside world and the world around me. I guess the day I impulsively cut off my hair should have been a sign of my impending doom. The more my inside calms, the more I need my outside to match or balance. So, I have skipped Yoga for 2 weeks and let my household chores slip out from underneath me. However, I let the kids relax and bring kids over to hang out nearly every day. So today, I started ripping at my makeup drawer. I have been scrubbing and cleaning and organizing to just find a little bit of that peace to replace my anxiety with. So, I guess I need to nurture all my different sides and find a way to keep them all in balance. Needless to say, I will be spring cleaning this week and getting back to Yoga and meditation. Catering to my spirit while neglecting my mind and body will never get me where I need to be. I will find a way to get it all done in between violin concerts, my husbands end of quarter at work, play practice, doctor appointments, and Chases birthday in the middle of the week. I guess I have a mild version of OCD. I think maybe we all do. One of my favorite sayings is, when you know better, you do better. Today is my week to start all over. This time, I will do better.

Secret to Happiness

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How do you spend your time? Do you find yourself around people and situations that make you feel happy inside, or do you put your time and energy into things that drain your spirit? I have made some pretty drastic changes when it comes to my personal time and energy. I used to think I was stuck when it came to how and where I would spend my days. I didn’t realize until it almost broke me in half that I do have a choice. I don’t have to participate in activities that leave me feeling sad and broken. I can choose who to interact with, who to have lunch with, who to surround myself with. I don’t need to be surrounded by the wrong people and circumstances so that I don’t feel alone, it’s the wrong people and circumstances that make me feel alone in the first place. I am so grateful I have found peace within myself. It is those moments I spend alone in silence, reading a book, or blogging that I feel inspired and alive. There is nothing more empowering or liberating than subtracting the negative things from your life. Time is so important, and we can’t get it back. Make a choice to use yours wisely…