Monday, January 28, 2013

Time to CHECK IN

If you have taken a moment to break away from your everyday task list and projects to read this article, then you are already in a place to offer yourself a break to CHECK IN.  Before I even go on, I need you to sit up straight and take a deep breath.  I'm serious.  I bet that first one was pretty wimpy so I'm going to ask you again and will be more specific this time. 

Sit up.  Breathe in through your nose.  Fill your lungs to capacity.  Hold it for two seconds.  Now release ALL of the air through your mouth.  You might even make an awkward noise causing a coworker to glance your way -- don't worry, they will probably be envious of the release and try it themselves.

Now that I have your attention and the air has been cleared (literally!), time to check in.  What were you thinking about or doing right before you opened this article?  Was it positive or negative?  Was it urgent or just you causing your own sense of urgency?  Let it go.  Just breathe.

How are you feeling now?  Better?  The same?  Give yourself just these few moments to scan your body -- top of your head down to your toes -- and try to read what you might need right now. 

Perhaps you need some peace of mind from stress and worry.  Perhaps you need a healthy meal because you feel malnourished.  Or some Echinacea and warm water to fight off the influenza epidemic that is affecting our nation.  You might feel great and have a hint of a smile on your face -- kudos to you!

I must confess, this isn't all my idea.  I went to bed early last night with the intention of indulging in a solid night's sleep before rising at 5:30 AM to attend my favorite 6 AM hot yoga glass.  Once the lights were out I tossed and turned in my bed for over 2 hours.  2 hours!!  What was I doing up and staring at the minutes of the clock pass by when I knew I was getting up so early!? If worrying and multitasking was an Olympic sport then the women of the world would dominate the medal stand.  My mind was racing with thoughts of the week ahead:  task lists, decisions about my social calendar, life reflections, and the list goes on and on.  Not to mention, what did I want to write about this week?! 

Then, at 6 AM I arrived to my yoga class with my eyes only half open but my mind already racing back towards the thoughts that had kept me up until the wee hours of the night.  Meg the Yogi took her place at the front of the room and said "It's Monday Morning, Yogis.  Let's check in with ourselves and start the week in a calm space."

Simple brilliance.  Check in and let go.  Be who you are and know that we have the power to let go of anything that we feel weighing us down. 

It was only 6:05 AM when I decided that I would worry only about my time spent today as tomorrow will have enough worries of its own.  I encourage you to do the same and listen to Meg the Yogi. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Want It All!

I'm not really one for Bravo TV shows these days. The common thread through most of this particular network's shows is women bickering, strike that, yelling at high pitched tones and an overuse of the term "drama".  That said, in my social world, I feel like the exception and not the norm. My girlfriends loooove the Housewives (yes, all of them) and the latest plot lines are often woven into a Saturday night dinner conversation.

Just this past weekend, one of my dear friends referenced the current real life drama of Bethany Frankel. My friend commented how sad she was to hear of the divorce and really thought that Bethany would be a model in showing women how they could 'Have it all'.  Without hesitation, I yelled out (at an inappropriate level considering the cozy environment of the Venice restaurant patio) "But they can't!".

I don't know much about this Bethany character other than her bio would include some bullet points on Bravo housewife fame, Skinny Girl brand with blowout success, and recently married with a new baby.  I would also add that she is portrayed in the tabloids and other media to have a happy work life balance.  What other kind of statement are we to perceive from a show titled "Bethany Ever After"?  

My friend and I went back and forth about what it looks like to have it all.  She was the one rooting for the true love that came after the fantastic financial success of Bethany's story and my retort being that a woman with that much on her plate (did I mention a talk show in the works) certainly doesn't have much time for the role wife and  mother. I mean, how many hats can one person really wear?!

Who am I kidding?  I know nothing beyond the lines that I read in my nail salon's tabloids about this woman who lives clear on the other side of this country. I couldn't tell you an accurate read on her level of happiness and the notion that we 'know' this reality star is a far cry from any true definition of reality.  But the whole discussion begs the question:  what is your definition of ALL?

Sure, we can certainly try to have it all.  And we can discuss over a glass of that blonde housewive's famed Pinot the balance of career mogul, wife, and mother that Kelly Ripa embodies. But none of the greater context is really that important to me because the term ALL is intimately personal in its definition.   

Yes, I'll admit, I daydream about having it all. I dream about being my own boss, having enough money to never have to worry about paying for a fancy haircut or putting organic food on the family dinner table, and a doting husband that tells me I'm beautiful even when I have the flu (yes, I have watched too many Julia Roberts movies in my day). 

I'm not yet sure if it's achievable, but I'm willing to hold out hope. Perhaps I should note that I'm somewhat rigging the odds by keeping Glamour cover girl, future CEO of Google, and husband named Ryan Gosling off the list.

So I ask you, when it comes to wanting to have it all... How do you define ALL? 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Big 3-0!

A dear friend of mine celebrated her 29th birthday at the end of December.  She is the last one of our group to embark on this final year of her 20's.  I like to refer to 29 as 'The Farewell Tour' to our 20's.  We can make a bucket list of things to squeeze in before we get "too old" or perhaps we just say so long to the naiveté that exists in most 20-somethings.  Like most farewell tours, there is a bit of nostalgia in the beginning but then a sprint towards the finish line once it is in plain sight.

The approach of this new decade in the year ahead was brought up at dinner just the other night and the most recent member of the 2-9 club let out a highly audible moan -- "But I don't want to say good bye to my 20's yet!"  We all laughed and agreed that the past 9+ years have been filled with great adventure, carefree romance, and ambitious career planning.  But then, the topic turned to why many of us are ready to embrace our 30's.  Comments were made, around the table, identifying the welcome changes in life that we associated with a coming of age -- noting that 30 is still extremely young and vivacious (we are not getting a senior citizen discount anytime soon!).

Below is an anecdotal list of the comments that I hope you find to be relate-able  evocative, or just plain entertaining.

You know you are approaching 30 when....

1.      You eat more vegetables than carbs and ask questions like "Is this organic?".
2.      You want to read books. For pleasure.
3.      The books that you buy were often written before 1970.  And the author is a name   other than Candace Bushnell.
4.      You prefer a night in with Netflix over a night out at a nightclub.
5.      You have more black in your wardrobe.  Appropriate for mourning the death of your metabolism.
6.      You make dinner reservations for 6:30. On a Friday night.
7.      You attend more baby showers than bachelorette parties.
8.      You run into a friend of an "ex boyfriend" while out at a bar.  And then you have to ask "Which ex boyfriend?"
9.      You have fewer friends. But they are all of great depth and authenticity.
10.   You desire to see the world and life beyond the one in which you exist on a daily basis.