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Make Your Own Momentum

15 Jan

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This was the day about inspiration and dreams that are bigger than yourself. Learning to push forward when everything is pulling you back. It’s a time to remember that when obstacles seem insurmountable and destinations seem so far ahead, it’s important to remember … make your own momentum. You’ll get there. Slow or fast …  but you’ll get there.

I was inspired by this message. I felt like it would be my mantra for the 2018 year. And then today of all days it rang true. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rigoberta Menchu, and Cesar Chavez … they all dreamed big dreams and had plenty of hardships along the way, but they found the ingenuity to make their own momentum and see things that others thought were impossible to be very possible. While creating their own momentum they inspired others to do the same, to unite for a cause, for dream, for a future.

And it is because of all of these leaders that I’m able to sit here and dream my own dreams. They faced the ugliness of this world and the worst in people and still came out with strength to do what was right. They made it easier for others to dream of impossibilities, to make people believe that something better was within reach.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t thinking of inspirational figures and what they did to make my life easier today. But I’m going to bed knowing that I taught my kids about them, heard their speeches and seen their faces and know that we’re resting on soft pillows and thinking about big futures because they paved the yellow brick road ahead. I’m thinking of the power of his words to create magic. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired millions to believe, even in the face of danger they believed.

So in thinking about all that today means the most important lesson would be not to waste it.

Can’t be waiting for things to happen … definitely have to make my own momentum.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

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The Mountain Brought Us Cartwheels, Granola Bars, Hugs, and Stopping Time

8 Jan

We explored the hidden nature of our big city and found that there were still pockets of beautiful wilderness we had yet to climb.

It was a great adventure for the kids and a good way to start the New Year, or just start the weekend for that matter. I love it when I can find the nooks and crannies of a city that give peace and breath to people trying to find that kind of space.

I was in search of it and trying to get my kids to enjoy it. And to be honest, once we hit the steeper part of the climb my daughter was just about done with the entire thing. She was ready to turn back and start walking down the path. But with the help of a Nature Valley granola bar bribe, we encouraged her to reach the top … to push herself and try something new, something she hadn’t done before.

And so she did.

 

 

 

 

We didn’t walk up the last 20 yards, we sprinted our way to the top. And it felt good. I was hoping it felt good for them too. I really enjoyed this adventure and wanted them to have the same feel-good vibes I did. My son had his Indiana Jones mentality on and was ready to rock, even when the hike grew longer and steeper. I turned to my daughter. I thought she’d be burned out as it was longer than anticipated, but once we reached the top of the mountain, she did three cartwheels and it was a moment for the Jar of Awesome. It was good to see the cartwheel victory and that smile.

We sat on the grass and had our little picnic along with all the other hikers who wanted to try the Great Outdoors that morning. It felt good to stop time for a bit. My son asked how he could do that. He used to always mention how bad he felt about how fast time was going. He felt his days go by so fast and it made him sad that he couldn’t stop it from speeding up.

I told him the only way he could stop time was by looking at his surroundings and taking three deep breaths, and then closing his eyes and taking three more. It helped to take it all in and appreciate the moment, that always helped.

And so we breathed at the top of the mountain, talked about our little adventure, and people watched. Some guy filmed himself flipping and somersaulting and doing his best parkour moves. Others just walked out to the edge and took pictures of the skyline and epic view. Some other dude knelt down, and pulled out a ring … his girl gasped in surprise and covered her mouth. She cried, nodded yes, and then hugged him. Everyone near them clapped and cheered. I smiled at the young couple and sent them good vibes for the new adventure awaiting them.

Everyone was there for some kind of adventure.

Ours was filled with cartwheels, granola bars, hugs, and stopping time.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

On My 1000th Post I’m Keeping All of It … Because I’m Looking for The Power of Failure

1 Jan

What is it that finds you this year?

Last year inspiration struck after watching a Seinfeld episode. Kramer came crashing into Jerry’s apartment as always and he had his everyday balloons, not his New Year’s Eve balloons but his everyday balloons and I wanted that for myself.

And so in 2017 I went out to find them. And I did. My resolutions, my quest, my mission, my goals, my bucket list items, my journeys … Whatever I called it, I found it. And being the mother of two Nickelodeon-aged kids who go on adventures and try my patience on a weekly basis … It was hard. But I did it. I found the sparkle in the everyday shenanigans and they were there to help me. A lot of things managed to push the scales in my favor.

Podcasts became the X factor for me last year.  I found all these good nooks and crannies on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Conversations, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Robcast, This American Life, TED Talks Daily, and StoryCorps. These story whispers traveled through time and space to get to me and give me something I needed, just like reading books, articles, or WordPress blog posts or watching movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon reminded me of a lesson learned when I needed reminding.

Running  in The Great Outdoors was also a piece of the puzzle that helped me get it together. The magic of the path hidden among the trees and hills was the daily therapy to help me find my center.

And the thing is … I’m still going to need the same things this year.

I may find something new, but I’ve learned that this system works for me. It helps find the everyday balloons, pockets of happiness, silver linings playbook mentality necessary to thrive.

So I’m keeping all of it.

Yup.

I need it in 2018 as well because I realized what works for me when I’m trying to find the funny. And this is my formula, so I’m keeping it. All of it. Probably adding a few things as the months go by though, because this year I’m looking to find  the Power of Failure. It seems like a downer, but it’s a glass-half-full mentality. I know that with writing and parenthood, failure is going to happen. It’s part of the process, I’ve got to take my underdog mentality and find what the power of it is this year. In the midst of the heartache, tears, frustration, and gallons, upon gallons of Rocky Road ice cream, I’m gonna try to find the power of failure this year. Because most of the time I just think it just sucks. I get back up again and I’m ready for Round II, III, and IV but I still think failure sucks.

I’m gonna try to spin it around and see if it adds to the good-time-noodle-salad moments of life. That’s the the quest this year. It’s not going to involve comparing my failures with others, or seeing how further ahead others are on their life journey, but to see if the power of failure can help me in mine. I’m gonna wait and see …

Hamilton

I’m gonna wait for it.

So on my 1000th post of WordPress on this mini milestone of a moment, I’m gonna mark it with my quest to finding the Power of Failure this year.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

Not A Lot of Luck, But Don’t Forget About The Heart

10 Dec

I thought I used to be somebody.

You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

When you’re at the bottom … that’s when big changes start.

For someone that didn’t have much luck he had a lot of heart, and that’s what made me root for him. He reminded me of me.

Heart can be the difference.

Recently I had forgotten how important that lesson was until I saw Invincible again. I forgot how important heart is,  not that I didn’t think it was an important value to have, I’ve always thought it was, I’ve always had it. But others hadn’t seen it in the same way.

There were people around me who felt that “resume” values had more weight in life than “eulogy” values. The corner office, the nice ride, the nice house, the big account … don’t get me wrong it would be nice to have that, and everyone strives for financial security and a stable life. Everyone is out there hustling for it, including me, but heart came in third or fourth for some of those people. Maybe because they valued it less.

I saw the movie at the right time and at the right moment. Just to set me straight. Just because others see nothing, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something there. Everyone has a comeback inside of them, behind the disappointment, bad luck, and heartache. Everyone has one.

One of my favorite moments of the movie was when Vince turned one of the most painful moments of his life into motivation. He turned it into something … into this force inside of him. He dug deep and found his heart.

His wife left him and in the empty apartment left a note … You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

He turns that into something.

He doesn’t throw the note out, or burn it. He brings it with him, and it stays with him when he tries out for the Philidelphia Eagles. He puts it in his locker. He looks at it everyday.  It drives him. When he’s at the very bottom he still has his heart.

Never really much luck, but a lot of heart.

I like that moment. I like that he turned something painful  into something good. He embraced that eulogy value when he had nothing, no resume values.

But in the end you remember what people were like, how they made you feel,  and how they treated you, not what kind of job they had, or how much money they made. You remember if they were gracious during good times, or spiteful and hurtful during bad ones.

Heart. And the power of the underdog. Those are some eulogy values I hope to pass onto my kids, the same values I hope not to forget again, the ones I hope will continue to drive me.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Here Comes The Sun …

1 May

I sat there on the tippy top of the grassy slope and noticed it as I exhaled. It wasn’t a surge, or gust, but sort of a soft welcoming wave with the sun peeking through.

After trying to catch my breath from the two-mile run I noticed it. Didn’t look like anything special, but that open patch of grass seemed to have my name on it. After getting the feel-good-feeling from my morning routine, I stretched out on the hill and then leaned back to prepare for a momentary meditative state. I took a minute. Just one … and that was all I needed for hope to come rest on me.

 

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Emptying out my tank and finding this  moment at the end of that seemed to fill it back up again.  The emotions and frustrations I was getting out of my system were long gone, left on the track to be stepped on by someone else’s Nike’s.

And I haven’t necessarily been in a dire situation, nothing extreme mind you, but I have been thinking about hope and situations that require that we lean on it. I lay there on the on the grassy hill soaking up the sun and finishing up my Deepak Chopra Zen moment. I like to clear my head, and start the day with my Power Hour so that everything can be reset if it needs to be.

Reset that crappy morning caused by a bad drive to school, just trying to make it on time without getting a ticket from that motorcycle cop,  reset that crappy morning after a bad conversation that makes me feel like I have no peace, reset that crappy morning after an encounter with the fake PTA Mafia that just stirs up anger, reset that crappy morning after a heartfelt talk with my kids to learn the other kids can still be jackasses, or just resetting that crappy morning because the emotional hangover from the night before followed me through the alarm clock.

Any of these requires hope.

And I had it.

I felt what my friend Gisela calls the  ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh moment rest on my shoulders and fill up my soul. And it was only moment, but it lasted the entire day.

Hope. I had it with me.

I looked upon crappy situations as opportunities. Most of the time these bad conversations suck the air right out of my balloon and it takes a while for me to recharge my batteries, but with this sunshine encounter I found a way to look at things differently, and I put the pettiness of others in the rear view mirror and kept it back there.

You know, I’d run this course plenty of times, but hadn’t taken the time to stop on the hill, not until I’d seen that three-legged dog a couple of weeks ago. I was so grateful I had, because now after every run I lay there for my moment of Zen, waiting,  because I know … here comes the sun.

 

 

 

 

Finish-Line Friday

10 Feb

Getting to the Finish Line on Friday …

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Priceless.

Definitely a high five moment for everyone. Glad everybody climbed their way through obstacles to make it this week. High five.

 

 

Daily Post Challenge: Ten

25 Jan

Ten.

Ten of my favorite memories from this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Ten amazing works of arts.

Ten thousand volunteer hours dedicated to the beauty of flowers and creating amazing artistic visions floating down the boulevard.

Ten ways of feeling happiness while looking at this awe inspiring work.

At least ten snacks in my backpack for the kids.

Ten Echoes of Success being the theme this year.

Ten ways of feeling inspired when we left.

Ten hugs for this family adventure.

Ten minutes to the nearest Happy Meal for lunch

And … at least tens of hundreds of smiles remaining in my future when I continue this tradition with my kids.

Ten

 

 

 

Daily Post Challenge courtesy of the Daily Prompt: Ten

Motivation Mondays: The Upside To The Downside

23 Jan

I started off Saturday morning parking five long blocks away from the Metro station and putting my best parallel parking skills to the test — the kind where you have to turn down the music and high-five yourself when you finally turn the engine off.

As I got to the station the sight of the massive crowd made some people turn back, either changing their travel plans or just changing their plans for the day.

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But I saw an opportunity to move forward. Inch by inch onto the platform, linked arm in arm with women I had just met on my way to meet my Comadres of a lifetime. We started off as strangers on a train and but walked through the sliding doors knowing each other’s names and purpose, and wishing each other luck as we stepped forward into our future.

 

Civic engagement used to come every election, but now the grassroots movement on this side of town continues to be strong, especially around particular issues important to people, whether it be education, women’s rights, health care, or the environment. Everyone was speaking for something that mattered to them.

It  was moving to see so many women come together and peacefully unite for a cause. I was even prouder to be part of a country-wide effort that brought worldwide attention to this cause. Thousands upon thousands of people throughout the country … in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, multiple cities throughout the world engaged. Everyone is watching.

Those that were apathetic  became more vigilant of their future and the potential dangers out there, and those that are passionate find ways to engage more people and continue inspiring others.

Marching with 750,000 people in favor of women’s rights made me feel certain during uncertain times. I left knowing what Gloria Steinem called “The Upside to the Downside,” and this was just step one.

 

 

The Universe Conspires and Celebrates With Me

21 Nov

This is not a Manic Monday, but a I’m-bottling-it-up-today-Monday.

After a horrendous two weeks mourning the future of our nation, something great happened in my neck of the woods. And just when I thought I’d be the only one celebrating The Universe decided to join me by blasting four feel-good songs in a row. Even though my NanoWrimo efforts will not hit the 50,000 mark, I did hit my mark with a new project and it will be hitting the stage next year.

I was ecstatic to hear the news and pleased that November wouldn’t necessarily be a total writing failure. There is some success on the page, which I welcome with open arms. I was glad to hear that the universe was still “conspiring” with me.

It felt so great that I wanted to bottle it up. The Universe conspiring with me … sometimes I forget that happens because of all the crappy stuff. But things like today remind me of those wheels working.

You see, when I first heard that phrase about the universe, 15 years ago when I read Paolo Cohelo’s The Alchemsist, it definitely stuck with me. Back then I wasn’t a sign-looker, I wasn’t searching for confirmations that I was on the right path. I hadn’t looked for signs when it came to things like that. But I was so glad to have come across that phrase. It changed my trajectory, placing me in the reach-even-higher-for-your-dreams category. The No-Half Measures category.

And during this universe-conspiring process, I found out that if you’re honest, really honest, trimming away the bullshit from your story, whether it’s humor, drama, tragedy, sports, or coming-of-age, people respond. They connect with truth. Good things tend to happen on the page when you make this connection.

And they did happen and the universe decided to celebrate with me in the car.

It’s Monday people. Motivation Monday. I’m feeling it.

Hope these feel good songs help you feel it too.

Borderline — Madonna

 

 

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me — Billy Joel

 

 

Styain’ Alive — Bee Gees

 

 

 

 

Talking in Your Sleep — The Romantics

 

Don’t Stop — Fleetwood Mac

 

 

 

 

Not All Accidents Suck … Four Months Later, I Have Orange Gloves

19 Sep

There are a lot of things I would never call happy accidents. Accidents by definition usually suck. However sometimes there are exceptions …

I forgot my daughter’s water bottle in the car. That’s where it all started.

So after returning to the car to get it, going back into the classroom to give it to her and then heading back to my car I ran into this mom. She tells me about this thing called Muay Thai and I was like what?

I’m not of the Jean-Claude Van Damme fitness level, nor do I want to get punched in the face. She assured me it wasn’t that type of class. Intense and driven, but not at the Bloodsport level.

My other excuse was the fact that I was wearing my Big 5 Sweatpants with the hole in the right pocket that was expanding to the outer layers of my sweatpants. The kind of pants usually reserved for household cleaning when no one sees you, or running on the secluded track at the park where distance and a long t-shirt hides the hole. I wasn’t in the mood to be judged by people who wore matching stretchy outfits at a gym

She again assured me it wasn’t like that.

Just try it.

First class for free.

Well I had nothing to lose then.

Little did I know that four months later I’d be excited about Tuesdays and Thursday mornings. Muay Thai Mom Madness had slowly crept up and made it’s way into my inner circle. And that mom? I think she’s lost over 18 pounds and another mom lost like 36 pounds. Me? I gained two.

Funny.

It’s all good. I didn’t really join this Muay Thai Madness for weight loss, because I feel good in my skin. I joined for a different reason. One familiar to a lot of people in sports. So when the coach recently asked a few of us for references, I was more than happy to oblige. I was able to let others know about my reasons and hopefully convince them to pick up a set of gloves and have my coach introduce them to Thailand.

Here’s what I wrote …

 

mtb

I’m not in the picture, but it’s still a great shot of the class.

 

Dear Future Muay Thai Warrior,

I loooooooove my kids but there are some days when you wake up and motherhood beat you down by 9 a.m. You get lost and forget yourself. You forget you used to be badass. That’s where Coach Patrick comes in … I go in like Clark Kent and come out like Superman … Superman in Orange Venum Muay Thai gloves.

And when I walk in all I want to hear is … Esooooooooooo!

If Coach  says that, I smile because I know I’ve done a good job. I know my left hook made an impact. I know the right power punch found the sweet spot on the pad. I know he’s proud of his student.

Some people like to go to class as part of a training regimen for their next fight, others are looking for a new exercise routine to help them stay in shape. But what I look for is how it makes me feeeeeeeel and how it’s become part of my active lifestyle. I love triathlons and obstacle racing, but have also embraced Muay Thai as a way to turn the corner when I lose my balance in life. With his welcoming nature and powerful kicks, Coach infuses the class with technique, style, encouragement, and awareness. His contagious passion for Muay Thai creates an inspiring environment that helps students reach their personal goals.

But not only do you walk away from the class with great combinations, knowledge of Muay Thai, and the ability to knock out an unassuming attacker, you also walk away feeling empowered. That’s something I always look for in whatever I do. So whatever drama, or disaster, life, motherhood, or work awaits, I have this bring-it-on attitude, because I just walked out of Coach Patrick’s Muay Thai class, and I got this. Esoooooooo!

Feeling inspired?

Try something out. You never know. Not all accidents suck.