Monday, October 22, 2012

The Challenge & Car-ma

I've had the same car for the last 4 1/2 years and this morning I am handing over the keys.  I was 25 years old when I received a significant pay increase at my swanky Beverly Hills real estate investment group and I went out and bought myself a BMW X5.  It was safe, luxurious, and my commute was about 1.2 miles each way so gas mileage was a moot point.  It was my first major purchase of my young adult life and I negotiated the whole deal myself.  About a year later I was laid off from that same swanky Beverly Hills firm and the one thing that stayed with me as I left all keys with reception was my car key.  It was time for new chapters and new adventures and me and my silver truck were going to hit the road together.

We went all over LA  from Downtown in the East to Malibu in the West for dinners with girlfriends in tow to dozens of job interviews.  We traveled to Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and at least a half dozen times to Palm Springs.  We experienced and survived three significant breakups and drove off leaving only our taillights as a farewell sign.  To say there is some sentimental value attached to this otherwise basic steel box with an engine is an understatement of gigantic proportions. 

My recent move has led to a 40 mile, each way, commute.  This, coupled with gas prices climbing towards $5.00 per gallon, have led to me to sell the SUV and invest in a more sensible hybrid vehicle.  It's the right thing to do and makes a ton of sense.  Also, it's just a car!  But then...why am I so sad and feeling as if I am saying farewell to a dear friend?

Change is hard and often intimidating.  The unknown lies ahead and can be perceived as fearful, but with a slight shift in perspective it can also be exciting. 

My mom made the comment to me that she can empathize with my sentimental response to this exchange of vehicles in my life as she thinks her car can bring her good luck...or bad.  I'm not sure what my car-ma would be for the last 4 1/2 years.  It has certainly been an adventure filled with various highs and lows influenced by the fact that it has been the most strenuous economic period of our lifetime.  Maybe changing it up isn't such a terrible thing.  It's an election year, I'm turning 30, and wouldn't mind the feeling of some wind at my back as I look forward to new adventures.  So here's to hoping that Toyota makes cars with great car-ma!   

The Challenge - Day 27

It's easy to stick with what is familiar.  Change can be uncomfortable or hard, but also full of surprising results.  Change up your workout routine and see what happens.  Even if you just give it a week before returning to more familiar habits. 

I often avoid major changes until I feel compelled to take action -- or perhaps the Universe takes action for me and I am suddenly in the throes of change (hello, layoffs).  Is there anything in your life right now that you have thought about changing but are too afraid to do so?  Perhaps it is the status of your job, romantic relationship, living name it!  I dare you to make a change and be open to what might happen next.

I am actually not going to step in and preach about changing your spiritual habits.  Rather, I think that praying about change can be a very powerful activity.  Someone once shared with me "Where thoughts go, energy flows".  Pray, or just meditate, about being open to the change that might be pulling on your heart strings or circling your mind.  Being mentally prepared is half the battle.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Challenge -- Take Off Those Boxing Gloves

The Challenge - Day 26

Every week I write about the daily battles, challenges, and pursuits that I face in life with hope that the reader can either relate or at least be amused.  I believe in being a strong woman and doing our best to face these matters by flexing our ever-strong heart muscles and minds.  This weekend, my perspective shifted as I realized that being strong should never overshadow the ability to love, let go, and be vulnerable. 

I recently watched a very sweet and charming movie titled "Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding."  The lead character is a woman, said to be a Virgo (that hits close to home!), who prides herself on being a successful lawyer in Manhattan.  Her mother is a total hippie living in Woodstock and the lead character's newly announced divorce leads her to take her two kids for a week long getaway to find 'Love in Woodstock'.  This woman is constantly trying to maintain structure in life, keep her kids on the straight and narrow, and simply cannot endorse the pot-dealing and love-seeking lifestyle of her hippie mother.  The leading man is introduced into the story and he immediately asks her "Why are you constantly battling?".  Without missing  a beat she responds with, "I'm a lawyer.  And to be a good lawyer you must always have your fists up."  The man responds with, "But the people you are battling aren't actually fighting back.  You're boxing shadows."

As I watched the credits roll, I couldn't help but look inward and process this subtle message.  How often are we rising to the challenge versus battling adversaries that we created in our own minds?  Are we just boxing shadows some days?  There is a time to raise the fists and know that you can 'beat this' or 'overcome that' but there is also a time to take off the gloves and just be vulnerable.  We can't walk through life thinking that everyone is swinging a fist -- especially if there is love desperately trying to wrap its arms around us. 

The Challenge - Day 26

I am a huge fan of yoga and a key component to a successful yoga practice is breathing.  I challenge you to take a deep breath, right now, and fill your lungs to capacity and then just let it go.  You will feel fresh oxygen pump into your body as you release all of the stale air that we slowly hold on to each day.  Take a moment to do this three times in a row just once and day -- you will be surprised at the actual physical impact of such a simple release.

Every day we face various life challenges.  Who are your constant battles?  Your kids?  Your boss? Your mother?  Your significant other?  And now, when was the last time that you took a step back to truly evaluate that relationship.  Are you picking your battles wisely or holding up your fists all day long?  Let go and put down the fists.  Now try and see the light in that relationship and focus your mind on the good while managing your reaction to the bad.

I sometimes find myself picking battles with LIFE.  Things that I find to be frustrating, or not materializing fast enough, or simply unfair.  The most powerful thing to do with battles that are beyond our control is to let go.  Do you have anything that you hold on to with a grip so tight that your knuckles might be white and fingers strained from the tension?  Let it go and give it up to who/what serves as the higher power in your life.  The world presents enough for us to take on -- no need to create additional battles of the mind.

"Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go."  -- Sylvia Robinson

Monday, October 8, 2012


"Add More ~ing to Your Life."  Is this statement at all familiar to you?  Perhaps you have seen this title on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble or in your iBooks catalogue.  The cover features a petite blonde standing on a skateboard in the middle of Times Square and wearing angel wings.  It was the first book written by Gabriel Bernstein back in 2010 and it was a total game changer for me. 

The message of  'Add More ~ing to Your Life' is to bring an active lifestyle to the forefront of your mind and associate physical activity with positive thinking.  Running, jumping, writing, meditating...all powerful forces for bringing fresh oxygen into the blood.  Then, couple that with a focused mind on things like envisioning dreams, forgiving those that have hurt us, or simply an attitude of gratitude.  With authentic intentions and real effort this can be pretty powerful stuff. 

My sister gave me Gabby's book when I was in the midst of a terrible breakup and struggling to get past all of the hurt and pain that it had brought into my life.  I can tell you, without a doubt, that Gabby's book was instrumental in guiding me to focus my mind and body on positive thinking and, ultimately, the road to new beginnings.  Grow through it -- one of my favorite mantra's of that chapter in life.   

I was thrilled to see Gabby speak live, for the first time, this past weekend.  She talked about some of her favorite tools in navigating life and referenced personal experience.  'A Course in Miracles' is at the heart of her teachings and she is able to make the philosophical components of it relevant and real.  There are so many great 'nuggets' that I was able to take away and I hope to share them all with you over time. 

When thinking about the article for today, my mind immediately went to "The Challenge" that Gabby presented to all of us in attendance at the West Hollywood studio.  She challenged us to set aside 5 minutes per day for 40 days straight to sit in stillness and just breathe.  Essentially, a morning moment to set the intention for the day.  This might sound a little 'hippie dippy' to you, but it doesn't have to be ridiculous.  I'm not saying that you have to sit cross legged with wind chime music or chanting in the background.  I'm not against any of that, but I also realize that the stereotypical quiet time is associated with some sort of 'Granola Yoga' weirdo stuff.  Get past your initial judgment and just trust me on this.

You might be thinking, "Sorry, but I don't have even 5 minutes to simply turn off life in the morning.  I have kids to dress, traffic to face, or emails to return."  I get it.  I am not a morning person and this is going to be tough for me too.  But if you really want to see how life can transform through the power of listening then MAKE the time.  We can't be ready to receive miracles if we don't have the lenses to see them.  The best way to prepare yourself to receive miracles moments is to open your eyes and ears in the stillness.  The noise of this world can drown out so much goodness and it is up to you to make the time to turn it off, even if for just 5 minutes.

I'm not going to outline this week's challenge steps.  You know what you need to do.  It's up to you to MAKE it happen. 

Monday, October 1, 2012



I went out to dinner night with a friend last week and enjoyed a long evening of eating, drinking, and gabbing.  Our meal lasted a couple of hours and we each had two glasses of wine.  Then we went to a neighborhood gem of a bar next door for an after dinner drink and casually sipped a cocktail while continuing to hang out for a couple of hours.  So here's the math:  two glasses of wine and one cocktail over a four hour period that included dinner.  And guess what, when I saw him again THE NEXT DAY he referenced things in our conversation from the night before that I simply didn't remember.  I felt awful and somewhat embarrassed.  How could that be?  I certainly couldn't blame it on the alcohol -- it was a tame night with reasonable consumption!

The next day I was sitting on the back patio with my housemate and two friends of his that were staying with us from Michigan.  It was the tail end of their 5 day stay with us and we had found time throughout the week to visit and enjoy some of the beach weather together.  At one point during our time on this final day my housemate referenced "Megan" in his story.  My first thought was, "Who's Megan?"  The girl sitting next to me, our house guest for the last four days, spoke up in response.  My next thought, "Oh my gosh!  She's Megan!  I didn't know her name this whole week!"  I am entirely confident that my inability to learn her name wasn't from a lack of introductions.

It doesn't take a forensics specialist to conclude that I'm clearly not listening to the people, and life, happening right in front of me!  I can't illustrate an exact road map outlining where my mind actually is traveling during these moments, but I would guess it is someplace between the towns of "To Do Listing", "Men/Dating", and "Fall Fashion".

I plan to work on my active listening skills this week and, assuming you can relate to any element of the stories I've shared, would encourage you to do the same!


Our bodies can have a lot to say about guiding us towards improved physical  health.  The stomach grumble, the sore muscles, slumped shoulders, or achy feet.  We all know these physical indicators are directions for us to take -- but are we listening?  Be an active listener with your body this week and when you hear or feel the signs -- take action!  My guess is that your body will say something like "Drink more water, please.  And maybe shove a little less sugar in me."

I will be the first to admit that I don't always listen to the little voice inside of me.  That thing that we probably refer to as 'The Female Intuition'.  When I do listen, I know that the power of the Female Intuition is a force to be reckoned with!  But often, the voice is not in alignment with some agenda of mine so I ignore it.  I challenge you to listen to that intuitive voice and respond accordingly.  It's there for a reason and we might be closing ourselves off to new opportunity by ignoring it.

Prayer is a very powerful way to speak to the God or Greater Power that you believe to exist.  For me, I typically find my mind will run on in prayer like it is a therapy session or perhaps deliver a laundry list of "asks" with a heart felt Please and Thank You in the end.  When was the last time you sat in silence and worked to simply listen?  Some might see this as dedicated meditation -- which it is -- but truly clear your mind and don't meditate on anything beyond keeping an open mind and heart to listen in the silence.