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Weekly Photo Challege: Harmony

9 Mar

 

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Finishing my morning run, thinking about More Cowbell! in my life, thinking about dreams and saying It’s Possible, appreciating the crispness of the air and brightness of the sunshine, I lay down on the grass and see the harmony of a California winter coming to an end.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post

The Price is Right and The Universe Keep The Dream Alive

19 Feb

The Universe was conspiring with me that day, and strangely enough it used The Big Wheel from the Price is Right as its messenger.

It’s possible. That’s all you’ve got to say … it’s possible. When you lose perspective and the dream seems far away … it’s possible. When you’re stuck on a sentence and can’t find your way to the end … it’s possible. When you can’t find encouragement for your dreams within a five-mile radius … it’s possible. That’s all you’ve got to say and believe in order to get out of the dark.

I was slowly meditating on this message all morning, trying to get pumped up for a day of writing and editing and dreaming up book covers when it happened.

I turned on the T.V. I usually don’t turn it on when I’m working, it’s just not productive, but I wanted to listen to the smooth jazz station as I wrote, and so when I turned it on there it was …

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I hadn’t seen Bob Barker or heard the famous come on dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn since I was in junior high, or high school. But for some reason I had sat down because apparently there was a spin off going on and Drew Carey was explaining how if they landed on 5 or 15 they’d get $5,000 but if they landed on the 1oo they’d get $10,000 and the car, something like that. It was big.

So I had to watch.

First guy didn’t do it, ended up with 20.

However when the second guy’s spin began slowing down and tick, tick, ticking inching it’s way closer to the green and red numbers I became so invested in this dude’s luck. I was like … it’s possible. I was hoping for it.

It’s possible, right?

He landed on 100 and everyone exploded with excitement.

The universe is a trip.

I know there’s luck and statistics going on there, but that whole Price is Right spinoff so strengthened my belief in the “it’s possible” mantra. I finished my project that day and stayed on the positive tip for the rest of the evening.

 

 

 

Imaginary Friends Rock

11 Jan

It never fails.

I mean I know I’m not there, all glitzed out but it’s still very much a big part of my night. Although I don’t really care about all the glitz, I’m more about the substance. I’m more about all the times things didn’t work out, where failure happened, where you had to peel yourself off the floor, where they said ‘no, it’s not gonna happen,’ more times than you can count … but then you tried anyway.

That’s where it clicks for me, when there’s someone or some moment that reveals that climb.

It happened again last night when I saw Rocky himself take the stage to accept his Golden Globe.

I never met him, he has no idea I exist but I was inspired as I saw this underdog take the stage, and I guess so were his colleagues as they gave him a standing ovation. When you see someone whose worked so hard to get where they are and then get recognized for it, that just fills you with happiness for them, and hope for yourself.

He thanked those that helped get him there, but one person in particular stood out.

“… Most of all I want to thank my imaginary friend, Rocky Balboa, for being the best friend I ever had.” — Sylvester Stallone

I smiled because I knew exactly what he meant.

I had a great one growing up, was pretty awesome at playing Lite Brite with me. And now I still travel with all kinds of characters and hope to bring their stories, their A-ha! moments to life.

So after seeing Stallone, I got back to dreaming, got back to my computer and got back to typing away.

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Finding Our Own Adventure on Day One and Two

2 Jan

Signs from the universe are usually incognito for me, and I have to be a secret agent in order to discover a clue or what’s in store.

But not today.

When I saw this … I knew I had found my theme for 2016.

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Yup…Big Magic happening this year.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still on the quest for The Juice, finding pockets of it, keeping it, defending it, relishing in it, and maintaining it. This just added another level.

Whether I’m in the Great Outdoors, reading a book, watching a movie, writing my stories, parenting the crap out of parenthood, or hanging out with friends, I’m gonna find Big Magic, My Juice, Adventure in the year of Guat Flawsomeness, with stubbornness, humor, and gratitude. It’s gonna happen.

Now being that New Year’s Eve was the mark of endings and new beginnings I set out on a quest for all these things, not even knowing I had begun the journey. And even if New Year’s wasn’t filled millions of people, rock stars, and Times Square it was filled with an electric vibe and  adventure energy. I set a date with the most important people in my life … my kids. And we rang in the New Year with love, great food, and memories.

But it didn’t just stop there, it continued onto Day Two. And that surprised the hell out of me. Usually good vibes only last 24 hours before someone tries to take my juice away, but it was all good.

The Juice and The Adventure Seeking stayed in tact.

I was on a Buen Camino … Here’s hoping you are too.

 

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We started off with an amazing light show, with disco balls and music under the moonlight.

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Electric snowflakes in the Southern California sky.

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We watched magic storytellers illuminate the sky.

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This one was my favorite … made me feel like I had The Juice, and the adventures were unlimited.

 

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Feeling some love and strength in 2016.

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Loving the Easy Rider vibe.

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This looked like a guy who had found his adventures and loved them. I want me some patches like that.

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Star Wars was everywhere. This one was out of this world … and my son’s favorite..

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This one reminded me of my beloved Pinta … definitely missing my puppy.

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Brought out the history buff in me.

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Los Angeles sports fans definitely enjoyed this spectacular float. Swoosh!

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Then we headed home, like this Fearless Flyer, ready for another adventure.

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Flawsomeness and Juice

31 Dec

Goals. 2.0 better versions of yourself. To-do lists. Bucket lists. Happiness projects.

Yup. I’m one of those people. I didn’t used to be. Lists would burn me out. I’d never get to cross anything out.

I’d come up short all the time. But then something changed and I learned about silver lining playbooks, and finding and keeping those good-times-noodle-salad moments close.

I still fail, lots of times but I get off my beaten ass and try again.

I wanted the 2.0 version of myself, but the 1 1/2  life I’m currently living seems to be pretty badass at the moment, because I realized that I’m always undergoing construction, and humor and gratitude continue to be part of the blueprints that are helping build a better me.

With all the failures this past year, being able to focus on gratitude and what I got right, instead of what went wrong seemed to help minimize the breakdowns and tune into a more positive state of mind. Continually trying to write SNL skits of the not-so-funny moments in my life also seemed to help turn some difficult corners.

I was hoping for  a better year, just like everyone else.  I was hoping for more A-Ha! moments, more Super Soul Sunday moments. But most of all, I was hoping for more turning points, for finding them, for paying attention to them.

That’s what I set out to do at the beginning of the year, just find my turning points, find ways to thrive and I realized that humor and gratitude were gonna make it happen for me. When there was no more chocolate in the house, humor helped the disasters of parenthood and friendships gone bad. When frustration and profanity rose up because nothing seemed to be falling into to place, gratitude helped remember the good times with my kids, my staycations at the beach, my skydiving adventure, my triathlon victories, my message exchanges with WordPress buddies, my 40-year-old celebrations with my comadres, my morning Power-Hours, my Mixed-Tape Mondays, my chocolate cakes, and my cool-side of the pillow ZEN feelings.

I’ve kept my don’t-give-up attitude. I’ve found my turning points and been present within them. I became the stumbler, I didn’t build my life by being better than others, but by being better than I used to be.

I kept my 2015 plan in tact, and I’m better for it.

And so what’s up for 2016? What’s my plan?

I’ve been reminded that I’m Flawsome, and that there’s Big Magic out there for daydreamers that take action, and don’t give into the negativity that surrounds them. They embrace their flaws and live a creative life by “continually and stubbornly” trying to find the pockets of inspiration that give them the juice. Even when negativity surrounds them.

I’m looking to “continually and stubbornly” keep my juice.

 

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One page at a time, one day at a time. Writing this 365 page book with gratitude and humor. And Flawsomeness. And Juice.

Buen Camino.

 

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Flawsome … Pass It On

28 Dec

 

It’s not like I wake up asking for it, just comes with the territory of a dysfunctional family, and for the most part I can Zen my way through it. But sometimes it just hits you late at night and there’s nothing left waiting for you in morning … nothing but an emotional hangover.

That crap can just suck the sunshine out of the sunrise.

It can be a look, a word, a telephone call or a full blown passive aggressive conversation … the results the same. Just a bunch of doubt, questioning what you thought was right, what you believed of yourself, what you knew to be true. You play the possibilities over and over in your head, all the things you could have said and should have said.

Conversations with yourself at 2 a.m. are freaking great, you have the best comebacks and rational of all time … and sometimes they end up being the worst. You end up reaching for your phone, knowing full well you shouldn’t, because you know things are just gonna get worse but you need to get your point across.

And just as you reach for the phone, you see a text that a friend sent you over six hours ago, something you missed, because you were having deep thoughts with yourself over the championship one liner that could have zinged your way into a ‘you-see-what-I’m-saying-you-see-my-point’ victory.

And it read …

FLAWSOME

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An individual who embraces their flaws and knows they’re awesome regardless.

 

And then Holy Crap.

It hits you.

It’s a sign.

A small bright black and white sign in Times Roman font that proves something you’ve known all along, proves your entire point.

You are awesome.

You are and the people in your circle of trust, whether it’s family or friends, need to have that word in their vocabulary and apply it to you, because you apply it to you.

She sent it to me and I thought … yes. She gets me. This whole group of chicks get me. Now I may not have the typical broad spectrum kind of flaws that 40-year chicks have, everyone is different I get it. But I do have some, and I’ve gotten to the point where I know what they are and I embrace them, they’re part of my DNA. Do I love them? No. But I know they’re a part of me and I work on them, Deepak and meditation seem to be helping out. Acceptance is something that comes along the road, some people take longer than others. But I’ve arrived to the station, I’ve been here a long time. I’ve been thinking I’m awesome for a while now, clumsiness, dorkiness TV-loving nerd and all, and those closest to me should think it too.

So when I got the text … I felt vindicated, because someone else, someone on the other side of town was thinking exactly what I was thinking and passing it on.

Yup.

I’m Flawsome and I have friends that know it and feel it too.

So I stopped having the conversation with myself, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and fell asleep. I could finally do that, because I knew again what I had already known.

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A Standing Ovation

16 Dec

After all the dramatic events that led to our induction into AYSO I’d like to say that it turned out fantastic, that the season was filled with plenty of Rudy-Hoosiers-Miracle-The-Natural type of moments.

But … I can’t. Nope.

My son’s first ever soccer experience involved being part of a Bad News Bears squad where they ended up losing almost every single game of the season. And instead of being one of those crazed parents yelling at their kid after the game or the season, I seemed to take the Kurt Warner approach.

I could see that he felt bad game after game, that he knew they had a losing record but I didn’t want to focus on the losing. But don’t get me wrong I did point out mistakes and what needed to improve, but that wasn’t my focus. I decided to concentrate more on what he did do right and how impressed I was at how he knew nothing about the sport at the beginning of the season and ended up being such a great defender toward the end.

He was voted most improved and I was proud of that, because that’s all we really want for ourselves too. We want to be better than we were yesterday and I was glad he had that in mind.

I mean I knew the losing record was a bummer, but still felt like he deserved a high-five, because he was different from the other players. He gave it his best, 100% effort and that was what mattered. His character in the end mattered. Every week he showed up, hopeful that his efforts and those of his teammates would bring back a win. Every week he gave his heart and every week he got better.

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So instead of pointing out the losses that took place throughout the season I paid attention to the courage it took for him to try something new and his perseverance and sportsmanship when things weren’t easy. I decided he definitely needed his standing ovation because losing is a hard lesson to learn no matter how old you are.

 

 

The Buen Camino Moment

30 Nov

Hector and The Search for Happiness

I remember seeing the signs for the movie at the local Laemmle, but I never bought a ticket. After watching it on Netflix, I wish I would have … it was another Buen Camino feeling.

And you know, as I discover these stories, I find that I enjoy the journeys, the physical journeys across landscapes that end up creating meaningful adventures that help transformation.

From England to Shanghai to Tibet to Africa to California and then back to England. He asks many important questions along the way and learns  a a dozen or so lessons when his journey comes to an end. Watching his growth as he finds some answers left me with that feel-good feeling, reminded me of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

I enjoyed the reminders along the way, I enjoyed the inspiration that left me feeling good on a night where I would otherwise feel a little crappy.

Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.

Many people only see happiness in their future.

Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness.

Happiness is answering your calling.

Happiness is being loved for who you are.

Happiness is Sweet Potato Stew.

Happiness … If you want it, take it.

Happiness is feeling completely alive.

Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.

Listening is loving.

Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

The fact that I shared these doesn’t spoil the movie, the lessons, or the journey. I just hope it would peak your interest so that you could get your own A-HA moments. The best moment for me, other than the moment when Hector has his breakthrough in that isolation booth toward the end of the movie, was a conversation he had earlier, the one in Tibet.

“You’ve been through so much, how is it that you’re happy?” Hector asks.

“Because I’ve been through so much,” the monk responds.

And there it was … my Buen Camino moment.

Feeling good on a night that could have taken a wrong turn.

 

 

Tune-Ups Are Necessary Because UGH-Moments Exists

20 Nov

“Self-judgement is based on unreality.” — Deepak Chopra

 

Say what?

I had to hear that a few times before it actually made sense. Sometimes ideas are so deep that I need to take a minute. Several of them if they hit me with this early in the morning.

As a writer I’m totally guilty of self-judgement. As a mom … duuuuuude happens a lot. And sometimes it doesn’t even have to do with writing or motherhood could’ve been love, family, career, spirit, life, NanoWrimo, a conversation, parallel parking. Anything can make you feel bad, if you let it.

And then Deepak spoke and I heard it.

Judgement is based on decisions or moments that happened in the past, those UGH-moments that you just can’t shake off. Still thinking about the five minutes, five days, five weeks, or five months ago situation. Sometimes they still play in my head like a rerun and you can’t seem to change the channel.

But again, I was reminded of something I learned a while back, something to help me flip the switch. Being a work in progress. That’s me, so I snapped out of it. I realized the person I was five weeks ago isn’t the same person I am today. I’m under construction and sometimes I get help. The universe tends to bless me with the grace, imagination, or gratitude I need in order to get through life’s little moments where I’m lacking perspective and patience. Other times it leads me to Yogi teas, Ben & Jerry’s, a punching bag, and Netflix.

So I continue to progress, and remember to be present, because it’s hard to judge myself about the past if I’m focused on the right now.

The Present! For the most part I thought I lived my life enjoying “the moment,” and being present. But now that I hit the big 4-0 I realized I could’ve done it a bit more.

“The road to happiness starts with a deep breath and an awareness of the many blessings tied to that single breath.” — Richelle E. Goodrich

Being on this meditation kick has really helped make that a part of my lifestyle. At first it was just tough trying to make it a habit, but now it’s just become a part of daily living.Whether I’m enjoying a football game on the couch, eating the best piece of chocolate cake ever, hanging out with friends, blogging, or skydiving, whatever it is I’m in the moment. I enjoy it, I appreciate it, and then I’m grateful for it happening.

This whole spiritual and self-compassion cleanse was a good reminder. Weekly tune-ups are necessary because bad days, jackasses, and UGH-moments happen daily.

Buen Camino people!

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Thanks Cheryl … Now I Remember, I Just Haven’t Accessed Them Yet

13 Nov

It was like I had to do it.

I mean I could have done it tomorrow in light of day, just catching moments of time here and there, but I thought it was best to soak it in all at once and have a moment. A wow moment, a self-discovery moment I knew would take place because it had happened before. It had happened with other great books in the quiet of the night, other books that gave me moments of reflection, moments of change at just the right time.

So I wanted another one.

I had to do it. I had to find out what happened in the end, I mean I know what happened, she got to the bridge. But what really happened, how did it feel? What did it change? Because even though I hadn’t walked, run, or hiked those hundreds of miles on The Pacific Crest Trail, I had changed with her.

37 pages.

That’s all I had left after chipping away for months on Cheryl Strayed’s novel, Wild. 37 pages. Didn’t seem like much, just a thin sliver, but for a slow reader like myself that seemed like a chunk and in the end, a chunk is what it was because so much had happened in those 37 pages.

And I needed to tell someone, tell my own personal community book club that no one knew they were a part of until the read the first sentence of this post.

I needed to share.

Not that anyone would read it right away, or that anyone would read it in its entirety but I felt like this has become my own little support group, filled with people I’ve never met, but at the same time filled with people who also know parts of me. Well … I did meet Susie. Bonus.

But this community of writers, and artists had become a place where running to share something awesome that happened to you because you know that somewhere out there something just as awesome has happened to someone in return and they can relate to you. Whether they’re in California, England, Boston, or Australia. Someone relates.

So I found myself at 11:59 p.m. sitting there having a moment. I had just been part of Strayed’s journey, she brought me along the her 1,100+ mile Pacific Crest Trail adventure describing the forests, mountains, skylines, lakes, trees, wildlife, and moonlit nights that transformed her.

For those of you who haven’t read it and want to, this might be the place to stop…for the rest of you…

This was definitely the story of someone who seemingly had everything health, family, college, and the love of a good man–a good husband. But that all went to crap after the heartbreaking death of her mother. Affairs, betrayal, divorce, heroine, all these bad choices found this girl at the bottom and so far away from her center she had no idea where her internal compass had gone, and she had no idea how to get back until she discovered a simple guidebook to Pacific Coast Trail while waiting in line … it was this guidebook that sparked the idea that eventually changed her life. It reminded of the movie I had seen awhile back, the one that had made such an impact, The Way, starring Martin Sheen.

They were both physical journeys that impacted the emotional levels of each character, it changed their spirit and helped them find their center. It helped both of them come to terms with the things that happened in their life.

And even though the journey had great discoveries it also had exasperating moments, like when Strayed accidentally dropped one of her hiking boots over a cliff and all she could do was hug the other one really tight, the only other hiking boot she had left, before chucking it over in utter frustration. I found myself thinking … dude that would have totally happened to me.

But at the end the losing the boot didn’t seem to matter much, it was part of what was supposed to happen in order to get her to that spot. At the end when she reached the Bridge of Gods and eventually found herself sitting on that white bench, eating the ice cream and having her moment, feeling like she knew certain things in her life would come to pass, even though she hadn’t accessed them yet, she knew they would come, that she would be all right. She knew and she was full of gratitude.

At that point, I remembered Ayers Rock in Australia. I remembered having my own mini adventure in Uluru. I remembered the roundabout walk around Uluru, the 10K, the feeling of peace as I touched to the magical sandstone, the feeling of awareness, the presence, the stories told by my aboriginal guide, the quiet I felt as I sat on the wooden bench when it was over. The gratitude in knowing the trip had changed my life and the knowledge that I’d be all right no matter what was waiting for me when I got back.

Strayed took me back to a moment that had slipped my mind, a moment after my own journey that I needed to remember. Strayed reminded me or parts that are yet to come … they’re there … I just haven’t accessed them yet.

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