Tag Archives: gratitude

Alive … Alive in Wet Sweatpants

13 Mar

From what I can remember … it’s only the third time I’ve peed in my pants.

Laughing and jumping rope sort of get things started. But it’s not a full-blown-change-your-pants-kind-of situation. Although it happens to a lot of moms. But near-death experiences seem to result in the change-of-clothes situation for me.

I blame it on coconut shavings from the Pinkberry toppings counter and baby carrots, and the fact that it’s dangerous for me to eat these things when I’m alone. Apparently it’s not safe for me to do so, and I certainly can’t do it while I’m walking upstairs either.

Life lessons. They’re important. Chewing is important.

It’s been proven as I had my life replay in slow motion because I’ve lacked perfecting this skill still.  Kodak snapshots coming into focus like Polaroids ran through my mind today as I gasped for air. I busted down the bedroom door like the leader of a S.W.A.T. Team gesturing for my napping mother to smack my back. I didn’t mean to scare the crap out of her, but I did. I tried to assure her that I was all right, I just needed her to smack me because gasping for air is no joke.

Carrots, like the coconut shavings on top of Pinkberry frozen yogurt, can go down the wrong way and block your windpipe or whatever tube allows you to breathe. Thus leaving you pondering about your life while someone is slapping you on the back.

After a couple of minutes, which felt like the longest minutes in this time-space continuum, I spit, I coughed, I peed, and then I spit some more until the airway cleared up.

It was scary for a minute there, and it was something that had people concerned. But once I caught my breath, a huge wave of relief filled me up.

I wasn’t dying.

Not today anyway.

Just needed to change my pants.

The force of my coughs was so powerful, the will for me to get air was so strong that it overpowered my bladder and just emptied it out. And I laughed, because it was funny. And because I could breathe.

I was alive.

Alive in wet sweatpants and that’s all that mattered.

I wasn’t looking for the meaning of life afterward, or anything like that, but I was in a deep state of gratitude for being able to get through that one. I was grateful to have hugged my kids that day, grateful that my mother was hear to smack my back, grateful that I have a strong will to survive, grateful that I remembered pieces of happiness in my life and knowing full well that I wanted more of them, grateful that I was grateful.

I remembered my most recent moment of zen and I took a deep breath. It was a good image to remember, has a funny adventure attached to that picture but that’s a story for another day … today … today I share the picture that brought me zen in my wet sweatpants, so I share it with you and hope it brings you good vibes.

 

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Hiking brings you Zen moments sometimes.

 

Buen camino my friends!

Nature’s Hideouts

13 Oct
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During a hike I had to take a minute and appreciate nature’s hideouts.

The rejuvenating powers of nature work its magic when you’re hiking, biking, or running the trails. Probably why I’m a big fan of Bear Grylls and his adventures. They inspire the exploration of the Great Outdoors.

Granted you don’t have to jump out of helicopters or rappel down cliffs as Grylls does to appreciate the beauty and magnitudal effect nature can have on you.

Living in the city, I’m still able to find nature’s hideouts and be wowed by its effect.

Sometimes the experience is so great that I end up in the moment and forget to snap the shot. Other times I catch up and I’m lucky enough to remember.

Photographer Louie Schwartzberg’s short Tedx Talk Gratitude speaks about his project Gratitude Revealed. He captures these breathtaking shots of nature as well as the connection and gratitude he feels being surrounded by it. These time lapse captures took time and patience. When he put them together in the film with the older gentleman’s narrative  the reaction, including my own, was a collective appreciation of the day and its possibilities.

It connected you with parts of the world that made you mindful that you’re part of something much bigger. Reminding you of the blessings that come with the day was the backdrop of the landscape.

Living in a big city, it’s important to find nature’s hideouts and escape in the early morning before I tackle the day. Watching Schwartzberg’s talk reminds me of the importance of mindfulness and the place that helps me get to that frame of mind faster is within nature and any of its hideouts within the city.

 

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

 

What Matters Most

16 May

I’m not gonna lie … While everyone smiled and said things were good or great with enthusiasm and shared happy faces on social media, it was just all right for me.

Not a 24-hour marathon of spectacular. But I did have moments, and at the end of the day, when other people had tried to bring me down during the day, or made backhanded comments, or strangers were just rude, irritating, or projecting their negative attitude onto me, I still was able to remember those feel-good moments.

I settled in for the night and realized it wasn’t really a failure of a day, if I had moments like these.

You see most Mother’s Days are supposed to be stress free. They’re the one day you’re not supposed to do stuff. No dishes. No chores. No stress. All day something good, to know … Hey … I know what you do is hard and you’re appreciated. And at the end of the day when I found the cool side of my pillow, I realized the most important people in my life gave me moments like that, so it didn’t matter what other people said or did. My kids gave me something genuine and I stopped long enough to realize it, and that felt good.

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In the midst of things not falling into place this weekend and it not being a Facebook worthy adventure (even though I don’t post anything on there to begin with) I was grateful for the bowl of awesome Honey Nut Cheerios that was fixed up for me by my Nick Jr. Squad here. I was thankful for the cards created out of paper and crayon, written in their best fourth and first-grade writing. I was happy to see the ceramic purple and turquoise uneven masterpieces that melted my heart. I was glad it stopped sprinkling and the sun came out just as we got to the baseball field, just in time to enjoy Plan B and watch the players take the field.

These were the moments that I thought about at night. They might have seemed small to other people but turned out to be Big Time for me. I hope moms out there were able to find something in their day to hold onto, even if it was just one thing. It’s hard to find it sometimes, especially when you’re surrounded by everyone’s spectacular, amazing adventures caught online.

But don’t worry about what you see out there, sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes it’s just for show. It’s all flash and no substance. Thinking about what you’re grateful for and finding the moments that made you smile or pause throughout the day will be what fills you up. It will be what matters most, and what you remember.

So Buen Camino my friends! I hope all the moms out there had a good weekend.

 

 

The Warm and Fuzzies Comeback Blessed Moments

20 Dec

The Underdog Gene.

I’ve got it.

Being able to get back up again … to turn the corner.

I think that’s the blessing I was given from birth … that and being able to find the funny in situations requiring a little light.

This year’s Blessed Project combines both of these. Susie Lindau over at Susie’s Wild Ride had this awesome idea last year to list the blessings and positives of your life that year. Things that gave you the Warm and Fuzzies and help vanquish the bummers of the year and focus on the good time noodle salad moments.

So she brought it back again and I’m up for a look back at these moments in time.

All these memories came during a comeback … comeback from rejection, comeback from failure, comeback from arguments, comeback from family  frustrations, comeback from life kicking my ass.

These blessed moments turned things around to the point where I didn’t feel the bitterness of the downward spiral, but an uplifting nature of turning the corner. I keep them close to help remember how blessed I am and to be grateful for the life I’ve got, because with scrapes and all I always get back up. Gratitude and laughter have been a big part of my Blessed Project this year.

 

Empowerment at the beginning of the year …

 

 

Adventures with my kids that made my heart much bigger …

 

 

Quiet moments of inspiration …

 

 

Finding the funny …

 

 

Bucket List Adventures …

 

Remembering I can always get up and knowing that my Dad is always with me gives me the warm and fuzzies comeback strength to keep going …

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Buen Camino my friends!

 

Writer Wednesday on a Monday: Bad Memories and Gratitude

13 Nov

I had completely forgotten about it … but then I got the text message, and I couldn’t believe it had almost been a year.

A friend of mine had asked about our yearly tailgating college football reunion adventure, and as with everything else in life, the details were posted on almighty Facebook. I don’t go on there much, don’t really like to, but I needed the information and just as I was clicking over to her site the “memories-flash-from-the past” post of 1-year-ago-today was on the screen.

A bad taste from a sour ending was still there. I had forgotten about it. Life had gone on, but this brought it back and I remembered it all over again.

It was the announcement from my play, the one I was extremely proud of, the one I entrusted to my friend to help me produce and the one I had to pull from the showcase because well … sometimes friends surprise you … in bad ways. Creative differences was the nice way I described it.

And there it was on Facebook, letting me know that a year ago the posters went up and rehearsals were in full swing, only to have no one see it or hear it. No one to witness that story and considering the climate we’re in today, it would have been an extremely powerful and funny story. It would have been my uncle’s Erick’s story and how my Dad had a hand in it.

So, a year later and what’s happened?

I didn’t participate in the showcase this year, I knew there would be another one, but because of the way things ended I felt that it would be best not to put my creative energies in an untrustworthy situation. So I didn’t bother submitting, and the funny thing was that my old friend, whom I haven’t spoke with since it happened, hadn’t mentioned it either.

So while my friend has continued to act within the theater troupe and remain close that director, I have not. He’s done well and continues to work on his craft, even wrote a piece himself, which will apparently be featured in the showcase this year, something that I found out through the world wide web. But I can’t say it surprised me. It was an interesting turn of events.

But instead of getting upset I remembered what I had done during that time.

I didn’t write a new piece this year, but I’ve spent the time editing, painstakingly editing one I’ve been trying to finish for a long time now. This news has sort of given me that inspiration, that extra push to finish this. Nothing like remembering something bad to help you do something good.

But it also helped me remember something that never made it onto Instagram or Facebook or the world wide web. Something that only a few handful of people knew about, and it might not have happened on stage with actors, and I might not have taken a bow with crowds clapping and smiling at me. But it did happen, and I was thankful for that accomplishment. I was grateful that the grant I wrote for my kids school, the one I recently submitted was selected for a large chunk of change. The money would be used to help fund a new year-round arts-in-residence program featuring drama, music, and craftsmanship artistry for the entire school.

There was a ceremony downtown, the kind with pictures and one of those big cardboard Price-is-Right’s checks, but I didn’t go.

I was happy with the text message I received from the coordinator, telling me she had just received a congratulatory email. We got it, she said. We got it!

And I smiled.

It wasn’t a stage play or a book reading. It wasn’t the creative endeavor I had hoped on accomplishing this year. But it was the year I brought creative experiences to a lot kids and with just that small piece of good news I felt like the year wasn’t wasted.

I didn’t help myself, but I helped someone and that felt good.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

40 Days And The Jar of Awesome

8 Mar

When he said it … I thought … dude. Yes! Why hadn’t I thought about that before.

So last Wednesday I revamped my search for appreciation in the little things, in addition to the big ones, during this 40-Day Fish-Stick-Friday Lenten Season. People are always giving stuff up, stuff that’s bad for you, but you can also give something to yourself or others, something that might be lacking or something you know you need.

I’m big on gratitude as it’s a daily practice of mine, because I’ve learned if you don’t appreciate the little things the big ones might lose their fluff after a couple of days.

But I learned this lesson as an adult.

I thought it would be great to get my kids to be mindful of moments and practice gratitude with me. I thought maybe I’d step it up as a parent.

So I got the idea from Mr. Tim Ferriss, and if you haven’t met or heard of Tim Ferriss, I stronggggggggggggggggggggly suggest you check out his podcast. He’s right on the mark, discovering strategies, routines, and stories that can affect change and help improve your life.  From Navy SEALs to Tony Robbins, to storytellers, to scholars, to actors like Jamie Foxx he covers it all and I’ve definitely picked up some good tips. Over 200 episodes and I found the one, well several actually, that gave me a moment … a pause … a shift that added something. This one in particular helped in parenting, helped with kids, could help with anything really, but thought kids would learn from this lesson.

The Jar of Awesome.

Just a regular mason jar with the word AWESOME written across it and any time a moment of awesome, big or small, took place, we’d write it down and put it in the jar so that we could remember. We’d write it down, so that when things happen, we can be grateful for them, mindful, we can remember things that were made to be Kodak moments of the heart, even when you don’t have a camera.

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So we’re off on the mason-jar journey, and I’ve realized the kids enjoy being reminded of their awesomeness. They forget the little moments, but smile the feel-good smile when they’re reminded. And I know we’ve only just started, but I’ll be sure to take a picture of it once we’re at the end of our 40-day journey. Who knows? We might actually keep it for 365 days.

The Jar of Awesome … here we go.

Gratitude With Diane Lane on Valentine’s Day

15 Feb

You know, I was never one for elaborate celebrations or grand gestures of love on Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked being the highlight of someone’s thoughts and getting some chocolate, or a nice card with hearts on it. I still liked knowing that I was on someone’s mind.

And I never made a huge deal of it so as not to put added pressure on whoever I was with at the time. But a card, a nice meal, some chocolate, some laughs, and a genuine hug that expressed heartfelt connection and intimacy was all I needed.

I look back now and remember times when I was younger and felt lonely, when grandiose productions of others professing their love made the loneliness bigger. I remember the Aquatnet days wanting that candy gram and plastic flower to be presented in class, you know, from that special someone. Now they have it on Facebook or Instagram for the whole world to witness this romanticism. Some people share just to be genuine and open up their book of life, letting us read a small page of it, others do it for showboating-look-at-me reasons, cheapening the heart and romance.

When you’re younger these things seem important.

But I realized how gratitude on Valentine’s Day is just as important as love.

I may not have gotten the red-carpet treatment, but I was able to share moments of life with people I loved. Babysitting for a friend over the weekend so that they could have some kid-less alone time and feel like normal people again made me smile. Getting a card with the best kindergarten spelling and Crayola Crayons masterpiece from my daughter filled my heart. Playing Valentine’s Bingo, cupid’s arrow, making kids at school smile and being helpful in my kids’ classroom hit the spot. Eating a steak dinner, I didn’t have to cook for myself brought a smile to my face. Finishing the night with a small band, playing some good tunes, while sipping a margarita felt nice. Ending the night with Haagen-Daasz chocolate ice cream and watching Netflix a definite plus.

A day and night filled with non-Facebook worthy moments, but special nevertheless.

During all this, I was reminded of Diane Lane in that movie Under The Tuscan Sun. I love Diane Lane. In the movie she talks about how she wanted a house, a home, dinner parties with family, being with people she loved, kids running around, laughter … that would have made her happy. Fast forward to the end of the movie when someone asks her if she remembered what she wanted when she first moved to Italy. Does she remember? She smiles as it hits her. She had a house, a home, dinner parties with people who had become her family, people she loved and that loved her, kids running around, not her kids but kids that brought her joy anyway, and laughter. She realized she had it. Happiness. They both smiled.

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🙂

Valentine’s became a day of gratitude, grateful for all the small acts of kindness and love that gave the sun more shine. It could have been a regular Tuesday for anybody, but it was my Valentine’s Day adventure, and I felt love from those that mattered most.

 

 

Getting Through The Twilight Zone

6 Jan

A night of smiles, laughter, celebration, and pride. A night of feel-good feelings to be remembered all year long never happened.

I turned to Plan B ready to find the silver lining, to have a good night despite the bad taste in my mouth. A quiet night of resurgence that included a comeback story waiting to happen was foiled by a bad conversation that exhausted my being. The DMV-clerk-type-of encounter … that kind of exhausting.

Bad conversation people you just need to stop.

I mean do you hear yourselves when you talk? I feel like I’m trapped in the Twilight Zone, the Pig Nose episode where nothing makes sense. This circular logic of bad conversations does nothing for my sanity, it makes me sigh louder and rub my face harder.

So I zoned out. The rest of the words, I chose not to hear them, I just let them think what they wanted to think. I let them have the last word because that’s what mattered to people like this … having the last word. It’s a power thing I guess.

I had given up the possibility of a rational conversation when I came to the conclusion that I could not say anything to make this person see the light and change their mind. Normal people might say … hey why don’t you say how they make you feel, even though you tried and tried and tried different approaches, why don’t you try again until they hear you?

To which my reply would be … there are no hearing aids sophisticated enough to improve these listening skills.

Some people are just permanent residents of the Twilight Zone.

So after a couple pieces of chocolate failed to remove the funk hanging over me I closed my eyes for  a bit and imagined that the A-Team was really real. I tried to think of a way to contact them, but remembered newspaper circulation is down.

And so I closed my eyes and thought of Plan C to help turn things around and during this meditative state, I remembered a moment in the day. I saw the sun hitting the outdoor skating rink and my orange skates cutting through the ice. I swayed from side to side and found the magic. I remembered Bruno Mars and Andy Grammer blasting through the outdoor speakers.

I closed my eyes and remembered that.

I was grateful for it. I thought I felt that magic today despite knowing what the night was supposed to be. Then after a bad conversation … I was still able to close my eyes and see the smile on my face while a zig-zagged on the ice. I had one moment today … today when I thought I would not have any … I had at least one and it carried me through the Twilight Zone.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Blessed Project

12 Dec

Throughout all the dramatic moments that require a Costco-sized portion of chocolate and comedy, I find that gratitude helps change perspective. I can be angry, sad, frustrated, and gutted but if  I can find a moment of gratitude that changes my compass, and after a while I’m able to find the funny in not so funny situations.

I like to live by the Silver Linings Playbook when I can and finding blessings, big or small helps me stay on that page.

A good blogging buddy, Susie Lindau, kicked off The Blessed Project this month, which I thought was such a great way of sending positive vibes out to the universe. Can’t feel too much negativity when you’re thinking of things to be grateful for …

So I’ve found the beginnings of my list. I imagine that by December 31st, I will have added more and will definitely revisit as the year comes to an end and a new one begins.

So what’s on the list …

 

 

Family.

They make me try harder than anyone and anything. I’m lucky to love somebody this much and to have this love  make me a better person. Every morning I get up with purpose, exhausted, but with purpose. They make my half-empty glass look half-full and I’m continually trying to appreciate the present, so that the years don’t feel so short.

I’m blessed with …

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🙂

Laughter …

I’m blessed to have a sense of humor to get me through the hard times. I feel really blessed that I find strength when others might have broken down by now. My ability to look for the funny helped me persevere through multiple bouts of failure in everyday life, in motherhood, parking wars, writer rejections, customer service reps, supermarket sweeps, and crazy lawsuits by some crazy chick. I’m blessed that I can write about my journey and know that laughter will be a large chapter.

I’m blessed to live in …

California … where the beach is my escape during weekends in the summer, spring, and fall, where the waves can help calm inner turmoil, where we can play soccer, baseball, and volleyball in the sand with my kids, where a boogie and the waves can wash away a bad mood and where nature is so close I can feel her whisper good things to me as the sun warms my face.

I’m blessed  …

 

that my father’s spirit is with me even though he’s passed away. I’m blessed that I remember the lessons he tried to teach me and that in the end I could call myself his friend. I wasn’t only family I was his friend.

I’m blessed that …

 

 

I find moments of inspiration and strength from unlikely places and they stick with me, they change my course and I’m better for it. I’m blessed to have learned lessons.

I’m blessed …

with a handful of friends, college buddies, work-out pals, life long friends that support me and accept me as I am, that don’t curb my enthusiasm and let my Marty McFly freak flag sail high.

I’m blessed …

 

with a love for sports, adventure, and bucket list shenanigans and for the opportunities that make these things happen. I’m blessed with opportunities that help give me peace, awesomeness, rejuvenation, feel-good feelings, confidence, mojo, juice, and that awesome Gatorade-Commercial- worthy-Ninja-Warrior feeling that gives me that Super Soul Sunday moment.

I’m blessed with opportunity … even though I might not see it sometimes, they’re there. Just got to take a closer look.  Everyday there’s a new chance, a new opportunity, for something amazing to happen, a moment of awesomeness that’s all I need.

 

 

Looking Through The Right Lens …

29 Jul

Turning the corner feels so good, when the day before seemed like such a nightmare.

I was secretly hoping things were going to get better but I didn’t want to jinx myself. It’s weird when people think like that, I know. But I was just hoping for a little luck from the universe, and it turns out, the universe was definitely conspiring with me that day.

Even though we had to cancel our Bucket List Adventures that day, turning 41 ended up being pretty good. I found so many tiny blessings that added up to such a cool day, small moments to be super grateful for, and if I hadn’t been looking, my perspective would have been so different. So glad I was looking through the right lens …

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101-degree fevers and vomit gone …

No traffic on the way and Flock of Seagulls on the radio …

Realizing it’s 99 degrees where you live but a cool 77 on your beach spot …

Warm sand, low tide, cool waters, and no beach space invaders …

Catching some awesome boogie board waves that make you feel like you’re on a the Travel Channel Special, in slow motion, and Morgan Freeman is narrating  …

Great picnic with no sand in the sandwiches …

Splashing in the waves, hearing my kids laugh, hearing my own laugh …

Relaxing on a Tommy Bahama Beach Chair and taking a moment, a couple actually, to check out the peaceful scene …

Driving out for an early dinner and not getting lost on the way …

Eating the best fish tacos I’ve had in 12 years … Duuuuude.

Driving home, in traffic, but kids watching Despicable Me and I’m bopping my head to The Boss, The Zac Brown Band, The Rolling Stones,Tears for Fears, The Beastie Boys, New Edition, and La Pollera Colorada … ahhh best mixed tape ever …

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, flan, triple chocolate mousse, one candle, a happy birthday song, and a great wish waiting for me at home …

Buen Camino my friends.