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Designing rituals that celebrate life ::

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“Personal fulfillment begins with loving yourself, by aligning with rituals that reflect that”.

Do you take time for restoration in a manner that brings peace and raises spiritual symmetry?

It could include a warm bath, lighting a candle, writing, reading a good book, a long walk or quiet meditation. Moments that beckon for self-reflection, allow for soulful shedding, they are an accompaniment to un-stifled growth. Through self-designed rituals, I’ve experienced epiphanic moments that changed the course of a thought or idea that no longer served me.

Restoration rhythmically raises levels of consciousness making way for embryonic inklings + sparks; the doorway to the center stage of our lives.

What rituals do you prescribe to and what have you let go of? On Facebook or Twitter, answer today’s question by leaving your comments.

::  Yesterday, I was featured on Editor Jones™ in an interview on being an entrepreneur: read here. 

Seattle Kate Walsh Sightings + Bringing Sexy Back.

Body: 

Last Monday after leaving physical therapy, I decided to drive through downtown Seattle en route to home for a change of scenery. As I turned onto sixth avenue in front of Nordstrom in the valet lane to my left, I saw a black town car. As I sat at the light, I noticed the valet had one of the most incredibly lit up smiles I’d seen in a very long time. Like a smile you see on Christmas day, when a child takes first glance at what Santa’s left under the tree. 

Looking on with curiosity, directly next to me the door to the sedan opened. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle – it was as if the heavens opened up; out-stepped a statuesque honey blonde wearing a pencil skirt, high heels and a bright sunny yellow short trench coat. Her hair was pulled sleekly back into a high polished ponytail, her skin and make-up were to perfection. She exuded an air of fierce confidence like nobody’s business; she looked fantastic and she knew it. “Holy crap”, I thought to myself, I recognized her…it was Hollywood “A” list actress, Kate Walsh. Her presence was visually poetic; If I wouldn’t have looked like a complete nut job, I would have offered applause + snaps all ‘round. Let me tell you - that is one sexy gal. It actually made me inspired and proud if I may say, to be a woman.

Driving home, my thoughts raced: Why the hell can’t everyone find their sexy? I’ve actually heard people say out loud, “I used to be hot”. My personal opinion: that statement hits a low point, when we put that “out there”. On a soul level, it invariably makes that idea real. We all have our moments when we fall into complacency, but it goes much deeper than that. In my career as a Hair + Make-up artist, I’ve worked with many of the “beautiful people”, but what captured me was her attitude. The saying “attitude is everything”, is an absolute and true statement. That confidence is housed in all of us; we are all capable of that quality of mind.

Ladies, let’s break it down. Sporting bras old enough to exibit in a museum, your still rockin’ the high wasted “mom jeans” that give you mom booty and gee-zuz, wearing yoga pants for day wear when you’ve not been to an actual yoga class or the gym in months, (or at all)? I won’t even venture into hair + make-up territory, accept to say, the 80’s were not your best look and leave it at that. Step away from the time machine, stay focused on this current decade.

Men, what’s up? What’s with the Dockers, acid washed denim shorts and “Members Only” jacket? Since when were Jerry Seinfeld white “sport” shoes with shock resistant comfort soles considered okay? Not your best look hon. The aloha shirt worn by Tom Selleck, while solving crimes in his Ferrari on the Magnum P.I. series? Please, If you’re not Hawaiian, attending a luau or a fictitious person named Tommy Bahama, walk away. A special request: For the love of all that is decent, ditch the team sport shirts as street wear, it’s high time to break free from your fashion funk! 

Once a month, wear a great pair of fitted jeans, a beautiful dress, or a fashionable suit coat. Or try test driving some kick-ass shoes and see how it makes you feel.  Spend a little extra on a great hair cut and a bit more time on your grooming. Under your hood is hotness just waiting to happen. It’s not about vanity - it’s about self honoring, self expression and metaphorically finding your way back to “you”. 

Be the “bomb”, get your swagger on, bring your sexy back – go find it.  More times than not, we get in our own way. There's a fine art to growing into ourselves, a deliciousness that is life.

soul food + friendship

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Lessons learned from those we’ve loved.

I don’t think I got “it” until the age of forty. I was schooled in the belief that a great friend is someone who shoulders your weaknesses and plays to your strengths.  

The curriculum: Compliments of my Grandmother, born Catherine Veronica Arnold, affectionately known as “Grammie Caye”. Toward the end of her life I became her understudy. She possessed an inner beauty that transcended the physical; a characteristic you rarely find in youth.  Over time and within the confines of life like my dear friends, she exuded graceful wisdom; a loveliness from the inside out.

Grammie Caye not only showed me what it was to cultivate and sustain friendships but more importantly, what it takes to be considered a lifelong friend that will not be long forgotten. She taught me the importance of inner resolve and emotional aptitude; the ability of carrying yourself and others simultaneously, being both a conduit and the glue.

As a friend in my twenties, I was pretty lackadaisical.  I had this notion that I was the type of girl that preferred male friendships because to me, they felt less petty and unencumbered. Truthfully, I didn’t have the focus or depth for much more. Not to say I was a “bad” friend, I just had other priorities like finding and keeping “Mr. Right”.  I lacked the chops to balance both a love relationship and deep emotional friendships with women.

What I’ve gleaned on friendship: (In no particular order).

The quality of your friendships, are a direct reflection of you and the effort you put into them – a simple concept to grasp. Having amazing friends raises the bar, creating opportunity to be the best you can be.

Your friends are sound bites of your alter egos, so to speak.  When you’re thinking they’re slightly “off”, do a quick self-check in the mirror.    

It’s about give and take. Friendships allow for the practice of healthy co-nurturing. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, find what works for you.

Change is constant. Like you, friendships can reinvent themselves. Friendships that grow synchronistically will stand the test of time.

A basic warm-up suit is always a “smart” choice when well accessorized + ladies, don’t forget your lipstick :) … totally unrelated (a fashion tip from Caye). 

When life is tough-going, a good friend offers soft shoulders. They don’t try to fix things; they can diplomatically juggle the ability to listen without judging and understand the value of honesty from a loving place. 

Best friends are intuitive: they “show up” in both the good times and the sucky times. They have the inherent skill-set to know exactly what you need.

A good friend is totally vested; they’re happy for your good fortune and accomplishments.

Friends are your board of trustees, they will keep your interests safe and to heart.

Our friends are our nourishment. Super-powered life sustaining soul food, the loves of our lives. 

Begin Where You Are ::

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A dedication to sheltering a lifetime of intention.

This life is yours, to begin where you are

abbreviated moments

lucidity

resolve

encapsulated sparks, a glimmer

unconscious dreams 

awaiting birth

an inward assent 

undoing, unfolding   

the masculine, the feminine 

a dance of equanimity 

the ebb and flow

a mindful harvest, a sanctified feast

effort, ease, presence 

a soulful reprieve

reverberates with clarity

to begin where you are.     

mindful kindness + artful filtering

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There’s an art to mastering thoughtful verbal and non-verbal language with the folks you love, in life + in the workplace. 

Words have the power to galvanize, they can also cause discord.

The spoken and written word, if misdirected can be verbal napalm. Interpersonal and social situations require skill and decorum. When at times, you lack the emotional eloquence required for cohesive interaction (OR) are feeling temporarily off kilter, go incommunicado. Take time out. Aim for a more even keeled, emotional space. 

* Having a bad day? Step away from email: Ego driven electronic sparring that amounts to having the last word not only is a waste of time, but of productivity. When communication is heading south, try a new approach; pick up the phone like a grown up, speak straight and with heart.

* Is it you, or them? Attempt to see situations from all sides, not just from a personal lens. Ask questions, clarify, listen…. go deeper. Scratch below the surface, you’ll uncover more than you assumed to be previously there. 

* There’s No I In Team. What’s your ultimate goal? Misguided intention and emotional bantering are not only energy zappers, but undermine solid communication. Take a breath, stop a beat and choose your words. Focus on the ultimate intention and a desired outcome that will be beneficial to all involved.

* When it comes to words: Filter, focus and condense. This follows the less is more rule. Say more by choosing fewer words. The saying, “the words get in the way”, is true and on point. When you’re getting positive feedback and understanding, stop. Your mission is most likely accomplished. A point well given is a point well taken. No need to beat a dead horse, (in a matter of speaking).

* Words hold power, body language can be just as impactful: What’s your body saying that your mouth isn’t? Keep the balance cohesive and in alignment. Like dancing, don’t go big unless absolutely necessary. Keep it low, keep it tight.

Master your skill set, play to your strengths. If the desire is favorable outcome, accord and unfettered communication, practice makes perfect. Even more importantly, just be kind. Kindness takes you further along in life than you can imagine.

:: simple gratitude ::

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 Yesterday morning I woke feeling grateful and appreciative. Grateful not because I was embarking on what I considered in the past to be a perfect day, but a day full of promise. 

The last five weeks life has been vastly different for me due to a serious injury. While I’m not the first person in history to break a limb and I acknowledge this is not a terminal disease; for those of you who know me through work and my active lifestyle understand that this has left me  feeling “shackled”. 

It’s a test of faith, will, surrender = the ultimate resolve. 

Each day that passes I get closer to walking; closer to normalcy, or the "new normal".  These strides, no matter how small, are progress: opportunity for lessons and change that can be for the better.

This my friends is a metaphor for life as we know it, an ultimate quest for peace + ease.

To the people in my life that have cooked, baked for me, brought flowers, vitamins, healthy fruit, have been my legs, walked my dog, made “hang in there” phone calls, sent texts and cards, made me laugh when I felt like crying:

I love you. Thanks for showing up and shouldering me.

For those of you who lend support by reading my blogs and are fans on social media, I promise to continue offering a source of inspiration.

I’m simply grateful + humbled. 

Be more of who you are :: Begin with healing.

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Who were you meant to be? 

The process of knowing your place in the world begins by sifting through untruths and letting go of who you are not.  It’s the first step to healing and the portal to emotional and spiritual expansion. 

Ask Yourself: What’s the one thing that you believe about yourself that may be holding you back? Perhaps they’re stories you were told, some passed down generationally. They may be physical, emotional or spiritual barriers.

That “thing” whatever it may be, is not your truth. It’s a story you’ve told yourself over and over again, it became a part of you. In order to move forward…the act of emotional untethering is necessary.

A Simple Clearing: In a brief statement, write down that belief and say silently, “I release all negative thoughts that do not serve me. They do not belong to me and never have”. Tear it up, burn it, relinquish attachment.  Be gentle with yourself, this process takes time.

In yoga, one of my favorite poses is at the end of practice. It’s called corpse pose. It allows for a time of surrender and for silence of the mind. Meditation is the gateway to self visualization, self actualization and is used as a powerful tool.

A Guided Meditation: Find a favorite space that you can access daily. This will be your sacred dwelling, a place where you’ll feel at peace for 5 to 15 minutes, daily. This space is where the mind will be quietly protected from the outside world.  It could be on a porch, your bedroom, or a corner of your living room; a place to lay or sit quietly, free from noise or distractions. 

Close Your Eyes: Take a deep breath slowly in, then slowly out, repeat this naturally. Let thoughts of the day float effortlessly away. You may fall asleep, or experience a state of lucidity. This is your time. You’ll emerge inspired, energized and nurtured. 

If someone were to ask what your vision is for yourself or others, what would it be? To be clear, this does not involve the thinking mind. Part of the practice of meditation is tapping into the higher mind; the mind void of preconceptions + limiting thoughts. 

A Self Visualization Tool: Visualize and focus on what you’ve seen in your mind’s eye through meditation + reflection. Perhaps you desire more peace, ease and fluidity in your day. Or maybe, the next great invention or business idea is brought to light. Even the simple wish of healing or prosperity for yourself or a friend can be given flight. The simple act of self visualization takes practice, focus and repetition.  It takes the quietness of the mind and release of diversion. Over time, it becomes effortless.

My hope is that this offering, will become part of your daily practice, will resonate with you and allow you a sense of purpose, clarity + renewal.

truth seeking, life balance + having it all ::

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Last week, the newswires were all abuzz with C.E.O. of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer’s pending pregnancy.  It dawned on me, if we were talking about an expectant father such as Bill Gates…well, we just wouldn’t be. Not in the same context. We wouldn’t be questioning his ability to balance career and familial obligation. We wouldn’t dissect whether parenthood would be a distraction from his very important corporate role in the world. He wouldn’t be chastised for placing his career potentially above family and questioned in regard to how well he’d juggle his responsibilities. One thing that I’m sure of - that in spite of all the staff, “help”, money, systems in place, etc., career + family is indeed a balancing act for anybody, yet also rewarding. Why must we choose between the things we love? 

For the longest time, I believed that having it all was possible, that life was a quest for balance. What I learned in reality was there is no such thing as a balanced life, particularly from a place of want. For those of us who desire more, life is full of concessions.

I was convinced that I did what I did for my family, out of fiscal need, financial sustenance + let’s face the straight up truth: as a member of the 99% club, let’s not forget the strength of a two income family. Like most, we do not own our home, (our mortgage company does), and at this very moment retirement is something we’ve planned for, but is a ways out.

disclosure + personal truth: The career path I followed was out of choice - for the accolades, the attention, the ego, feelings of grandeur and self worth. All the same logic a man would use to process his justification. While that may be acceptable (when well managed), it admittedly gave me a sense of completion in a way that family didn’t. I felt as though I was contributing to life’s bigger picture, really, my bigger picture. 

I had this notion that having the kick ass career, the partner / husband / wife, aka (family) would be the end all be all. The façade of the white picket fence, that when crossing its threshold, all problems of the day would magically melt away.

I do and still want to believe, that I was for the most part, present: that my family’s perception would not be to the contrary. What I’m quite sure about is that I'll never get that time back and that’s something I’m not particularly okay with. My son, I pray, is. 

First words, first steps, first bike ride, first mistake. All firsts.

disclaimer: I firmly believe that a woman or man, regardless of their role or responsibility, should aim for personal relevance and financial sustainability with the idea that: No matter what happens, there are options on the table at all times, with the ability to stand in your power. That’s a solid place to be.

While our “personal truths”, “beliefs”, “ideas" around family and career resonate with so many, or are even cause for contention: for those of you (men or women) who bust ass every day in or out of the home and want more for yourselves, while raising a family in some semblance…..

You go. 

Don’t ever stop.

Your emotional needs + why it’s all about you.

Body: 

A wake-up call to the selfless.

Hey Gorgeous. Yeah, I’m talking to you. You know who you are.

You’re the one always “showing up” for everyone else.

Grandma’s not feeling well; it’s you on the scene. Your husband needs to throw a last minute business dinner; you’re there in a flash. The kids are sick, you’re babysitting your friend’s child. You’re the loyal friend, favorite daughter, or the “go to” son….the one who’s needs are pushed to the back burner - your plans without fail, inevitably at times, come to a screeching halt. 

Ringing a bell?

You could be the eldest child, maybe the middle…. perhaps the baby of the family. 

You’ve recently taken stock of those people who constantly access you. Are they giving back? I didn’t think so. Those feelings of resentment have been festering lately.

I’ve got a news flash: Martyrdom….is NOT sexy.  No way, no how.

Here’s a Q: Who's meeting your needs? Who's showing up for you?

Re+think expectation: What is it exactly that you need? Put it into words, state your case.  

The truth is: We give how we wish to get. Once you grasp the concept open and honestly, evaluate where you’re sending energy and not seeing a return. Stow emotional + physical reserve. Reel it in, replenish yourself..... make it work.

Settling Into + Embracing What Is ::

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“It is what it is”. Not one of my favorite sayings. A blanket statement people use when they’re fresh out of pearls of wisdom. “It-is-what-it-is”, well no shiznit…genius.

How many times have you heard it or thrown it out, when there’s complete loss for words? It’s a great go to when we’re unable to wrap our mind’s around an experience that’s a complete suckfest, or seemingly insurmountable.  Annoying as all hell, but a true statement.

My “it is what it is” goes like this: July 4th – “Independence” Day: I decide to take a noon (haven’t worked out in a week and I deserve it) run.  Just blocks from my house, running shoe catches an edge of precarious Seattle sidewalk; “pop” goes the knee, down for the count. E.R. diagnosis: tibial fracture, torn meniscus, 10 percent chance of surgery, but advised to opt for the “holistic” healing process… possibly 4 months down time. 

Not the worst that can happen, but still a tough pill to swallow.

If you’re like me, you’re not a spectator who sits idly by on the sidelines; the preference is to participate in humanity. Having to rely on people, responding to your needs is a pride swallowing siege. 

I’m a decider + a doer, a caretaker. That’s who I am. I can do the wife, mother and best friend thing. I’ve never taken my freedom for granted and never have felt quite at ease in personal confinement.

Loss of work, unable to attend The World Domination Event in Portland, more importantly - officiate my friend’s wedding on the Oregon Coast, most likely postponing my 50th birthday celebration in Maui… haven’t quite grasped that and let's not forget -- loss of income.  Rather than crumble, my choice is to repurpose this indefinite hiatus, as a “universal nudge” that’s forced me to move into a new methodology + state of being.

Do adverse experiences bring you closer to enlightenment? {Boy, I sure hope so}.

From where I sit: Couch surfing lends new meaning to exploratory, masonic-mission of physical, emotional and spiritual proportions. 

What's the best way to navigate challenge?

Know it will be as hard as hell, but you will get through it. Live in the moment. Replenish spiritual stamina. Do one thing that you adore, daily. Embrace your fears, but manage them. Run your show, but from a place of gratitude. Get comfortable; ask for what you require. Be gentle with yourself and others.

Simply breathe, one moment to the next. Om. Shanti. Cradle what is. 

 

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