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Let’s Take on the Journey Together!

 JOY is yours to find in every day – large or small, it’s there.

OWN your past, your future, your failures, your successes for it all goes to making you the you that you are.

UPLIFT  by being a positive force in your own life and in the lives of those around you by listening and encouraging their dreams – inspire hope!

RESPECT yourself and those around you.

NURTURE  by encouraging and caring for others so that they do not give up on their own journey to lead their best lives.

EMBOLDEN  yourself and others by being a person who builds and strengthens the confidence and  courage of those around you.

YES as in “Yes I can” when you find yourself facing of a challenge or when someone tells you that you can’t.  Let that be your mantra!

Let’s All Join The Circus (for a day)!

That’s me (upper center) sitting with the kids!

I was looking for a new adventure and why not join the circus! At least visit the Circus Arts Conservatory (the “Conservatory”).  As I child I never liked the circus. animals doing tricks – not my thing! Clowns – we are talking a much longer post and some therapy to get over that experience!

After attending a fundraiser where students from the Conservatory performed on aerial silks, I thought it was awesome and decided to give it a try.  So, I mustered my courage and attended my first session (gasp) sitting among the 8, 9, 10 year-old girls and one brave 19 year-old.

Watching those girls scramble up the silks and stop midway to drop into splits, back bends and just generally act like slippery wet noodles bending, folding, curving and straightening out, I started to rethink my choice of classes but decided to soldier on – I can do this! I am older and stronger albeit not quite as flexible any more.

Yes! I can do this!!!!

My turn came and OMG! What I thought was my superb upper body strength quickly vanished and I was holding on for dear life! Imagine having two or three young girls under the age of 10 encouraging you by shouting “You can do it! One more climb! You can do it!” Boistered by their encouragement, I went hand over hand holding on for dear life for what seemed like forever then I looked down and realized I was only about 5 feet off the mat!

I am doing it!

Nonetheless, I felt victorious! High fives all around! My world looked good and I felt good! We had so much fun despite the differences in ages and abilities. We were all there to try, do our best and have fun!

The point of this foray into the world of circus arts was to step outside my comfort zone and try something new and daring but in a manner that was safe and fun. I have no desire or delusions of ever being an expert at this but I am sure there is a fabulous woman somewhere my age or older who is indeed an expert and to her I say “You go, woman!”

It is good to challenge ourselves mentally and physically whether it is hiking in the hills and mountains of Sedona as a dear friend of mine does, swimming laps in a pool like my sister or walking 10,000 steps a day like my FitBit™ friends and I do.  Sometimes the challenge can be just the opposite – figuring out how to slow down each day, be still and find happiness in that stillness. It is in our challenges that we grow stronger and learn more about ourselves. Have you challenged yourself in some way lately?  Physically? Mentally? Think about it and then go for it. There is no time like the present!

 

Let’s Talk About “Housewives”

Like most people with down time during the recent holidays, I did some binging and channel surfing.  In the way traffic backs up on the side of the freeway where there is no accident because others are drawn to look, I could not help but stop and look at one of the reality shows about housewives of . . . you name the city.  I will admit it was not the first time but it will be the last time.

I can understand the appeal to some extent – seeing the glamorous lives of others.  Stepping into another world full of money, jewels, beautiful clothes – the houses, the cars, the endless parties, luncheons – what’s not to love!  Not to mention the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, the perfect bodies – how could you not want that?  How could you not want to live in that world for an hour at least once a week?

But look a little deeper.  The so-called friends – friends?  Really?  In that short period of time, I heard women calling other women (their friends) every derogatory, degrading, ugly curse word you can think of – repeatedly.  I heard women gossip and talk about each other changing their tales to match the occasions and get maximum effect from the group de jour.

Who is watching this stuff?  What are we learning?  I am all for mindless entertainment from time to time; however, while certainly mindless this should never be classified as entertainment.  Our young women and young men are watching these shows.  They are learning how to worship the dollar and that their bodies are a work in progress to be surgically molded and sculpted rather than loved just as they are.  They are learning that in order to have any value you must devalue others.

                     

Girls, boys, young women and young men need to see women as strong, smart and bold and learn to be the caring, supportive, leaders of tomorrow.  Reality shows do not depict reality at all.  It has been said that in the very act of watching, the observer affects that which is watched.  On these shows, women are encouraged to misbehave for ratings; however, by doing so they diminish us all.

Let’s remember that we are all examples of womanhood to the women who follow us.  Female – strong, encouraging, supporting, loving friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, and mentors.  Whatever we want to be, let us do it in a way that lifts us all and not get pulled down just to get higher ratings!

 

Happy New Year!

As we take the leap from 2017 into 2018, I hope that each and everyone of you is looking forward to the new year with anticipation.  We get not a “do over” but a “get it done”!  By that I mean, all those things we did not get to last year we can put on a list and decide what stays and what goes.  Once you do that, make a plan to move forward and accomplish those goals.

Let’s not forget that just as we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, we are surrounded by many who need to be lifted in spirit and in love so that they too can move forward in pursuing their dreams.  The smallest gesture of kindness can make a huge difference in the life of a child or anyone who is suffering or facing a difficult time.  Being there, listening, holding a hand, offering a smile – costs nothing but comes back to us in ways that are immeasurable.  Let’s make it a great year!

Showing Up From Afar – That’s What Friends Do!

I recently went through a very difficult time which would have been all the more difficult but for the support of family and dear friends.  My close friend Louise, who was constantly in touch and showing support, sent me a copy of a post originally published on Wendy Atterberry’s relationship advice blog “Dear Wendy.”

The point of the post was that despite how busy and demanding our lives have become, the single most important thing that we can do for our friends is to show up – show up when it really matters, show up even when it may be inconvenient, show up when it really counts.  This I have always tried to practice.

The challenge now that I have moved to another state is how to show up when you live over 1000 miles apart.  How do you make sure you have a presence in their lives when you are not present?  How do you show up from a distance?  Here are four suggested ways to do it and make each time count.  Remember it is the quality of the contact and not the quantity that matters most.

  1. Forget Technology – reach out and touch.  While texting and emailing are both convenient and quick, they are also impersonal and create even more distance between you and your friends.  PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL!!  You can hear the smile on your friend’s face.  You can hear the sadness in her voice when she is down.  You can tell so much more by speaking in person.  Keep the texts and emails for the short quick check-ins or when sending photos of experiences or your new surroundings.
  2. Don’t keep score over who called last.  It really doesn’t matter who called whom last.  What matters is that the friendship remains intact and you show up for each other – just pick up the phone and call.  If that becomes uncomfortable then what you really need to ask yourself is whether or not the relationship is one that you really want to hold on to or has it reached a point where you need to accept letting go.
  3. Send a card or letter.  What a concept!  Send someone a written document that they can actually hold in their hands and read and re-read when they need encouragement.  There is something about knowing that someone took the time to pick out a card or write the perfect note or words of encouragement that makes your spirit soar.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive card or a lengthy note but it is a tangible piece of you that becomes a gift to your friend.
  4. Don’t fall back on excuses!  “I thought you might be busy.”  “I didn’t know if you would be home.”  I wasn’t sure of the time difference.”  These are all excuses that we have all heard or used to justify why we have not stayed in touch.  If you are truly in a valued relationship, if you truly want to keep that friendship going from a distance, these excuses will never cross your lips again.  You didn’t know whether your friend was home or not when you lived closer, what difference does that make now?  It really makes me smile to hear a message from a friend who thought of me and took the time to call and leave a message.  I do the same.  My mother used to always want to know when I was coming back from a trip not so much to call when I was home but to call and leave a message on my answering machine welcoming me home.  They were the sweetest messages I ever received.

Think of how important your relationships are to you.  Find ways to show up to let them know that you still have a presence in their lives even if you cannot be  physically present.  Whether for matters large or small, happy or sad or just because, love knows no boundaries so let’s not let anything get in the way!

 

*“Showing Up:  The Single Most Important Thing  a Friend Can do”  by Wendy Relationship advice columnist at DearWendy.com.