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Begin Again

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1 January 2019

It’s January of 2019 – can you believe it? We blinked and December turned to January, the days are getting longer and the promise of a new year is upon us. What will you do with the blank pages? How will you make 2019 your best year yet?

It’s a brand new year – what do you hope to find? Like the first pages of a new notebook, the smell of a new car or the feeling you get when unwrapping a much awaited gift – it’s here. Today, 2018 is officially in the past and the future right in front of our eyes. I’m not one for official resolutions, but I fully believe in looking back on the year that’s gone, dreaming big for the one ahead and taking stock of it all. Whether it be your personal, professional, political, or positively possible perspective – it’s all important.

What do you want to do more of this year? How do you want to change the world for the better? What do you want to learn? How do you want to better yourself? Where do you want to volunteer? Who can you help? Where can you make a difference? What do you want to experience? Where would you like to explore? What are you passionate about? How do you want to feel?

These are only some of the types of questions to posit daily. Each and every day we get the chance to begin again. Whether it’s stepping on a yoga mat, dropping off kids at school, sharing a meal with a friend, making a phone call, listening to a loved one and waking up each day – no matter the act, we get to choose our attitude every moment. Can you make your outlook a bit more positive today? In the mornings, can you notice three things for which you’re grateful? Can you listen more intently, love more fiercely, employ more empathy, and hug more deeply? Where can you make a change, how can you implement that change and what will you notice from it all?

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We’re never too old and it’s never too late. There are new paths on which to meander, roads to take and mountains to climb. There are dreams to discover, plans to make and risks to take. There are comfort zones to blast open, people to help and lessons to learn. And through it all – all the bumps, bruises, twists, turns, roundabouts, setbacks and roads less traveled – there’s gratitude.

I recently heard a lecture on gratitude and forgiveness. It took on the notion of Steve Maraboli’s words, ‘If forgiveness is the medicine for the soul, then gratitude is vitamins’. Perhaps there were choices we made or events that transpired where we need to forgive ourselves and give ourselves that leeway to begin again. Perhaps we had expectations that weren’t met, relationships that didn’t pan out or things we’d change if we got that chance to do it again. Whether we’re forgiving ourselves or someone else – we all need that extra love, that extra hug and that extra shot at the do-over. In order to get us there, in order to get us to that point where we can see a lesson in everything and find that silver lining in even the grayest of clouds – there’s gratitude. For years I heard it bantered around, but until moving to California, I’m not sure I truly grasped the magnitude of the concept.

Trust me when I tell you, it’s a game changer. You know what – don’t trust me, try it out for yourself and see. The changes in your outlook, demeanor, body language, health, mindset and more are almost instantaneous. It takes practice, patience, persistence and perspective – but the reward is life-changing. In yoga classes, we often hear, ‘it’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect’ – gratitude is the same. It isn’t always easy, there are times when it’s elusive, there are days when that response isn’t what we’d like it to be and it takes work – but in the process of getting there (wherever there is), we change, we grow and find that gratitude. It really is the journey.

What will your journey be this year? Write it down, make a note, grab a journal, set an intention, create that reminder, tell a friend – whatever works for you…set those goals and start today. Jump in with an open mind, open heart and endless spirit – 2019 is waiting for you.

365 Days

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Last year the husband and I spent Thanksgiving weekend hiking in Palm Springs, California. I remember those photos as some of the happiest ones I had for awhile as shortly after, the entirety of my world shifted. The phone call came the following weekend and aside from sitting at the airport in tears, I don’t remember much after that. Flight, hospital, difficult familial conversations, funeral, shiva and a whole hell of a lot of tears – today, it’s been a year since Dad suddenly passed away. Read the rest of this entry

Choosing you

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Sometimes it’s hard to choose you. For some reason, so many of us have grown up thinking that putting ourselves first or on the same playing field as others is selfish. Somehow we’ve been indoctrinated into the belief that everyone else matters more than we do, that work relationships mean we ‘should’ suffer, that we must ‘bend’ to what others need and that we put our feelings aside to make others feel better. Why on earth were we ever taught to think we matter any less than anyone else? Read the rest of this entry

One month, two weeks; Monday

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Exactly one month ago we left New York headed west to San Diego. Five seconds shy of leaving with sustenance from the bagel store, the husband slipped on black ice and that was that. The six day road trip included an urgi care visit in western Pennsylvania, an ortho clinic visit in Kentucky, amazingly compliant ADA hotel rooms and kind people along the way, a visit to the Louisville Slugger Factory, barbecue in the car in St. Louis and two weeks (exactly two weeks today) later a tibial plateau fracture surgery by a military/baseball affiliated surgeon in San Diego – this was a different kind of road trip. Read the rest of this entry

Horcruxes, hindsight and happiness

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Prior to diving into a relationship with the world of Harry Potter, horcruxes and dementors were never part of my vocabulary. The creative juices of JK Rowling changed that and so much more. She added terms like hippogryphs and alohamora, wands and wizardy, put a face and voice to those things that go bump in the night, lent a figure to those things that suck out our happiness and always showed that although there might be great struggle, somehow good will triumph. Her boggarts and dementors were fairly shapeless yet the idea of their makeup held steadfast – their design is to suck the happy – somehow we’ve all encountered one or two in our lives. Read the rest of this entry

Growth in a cup of coffee

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Travel has always been my vice. A friend of mine used to tell me that the reason she thought I loved travel was that it took me away from the reality of the everyday. She knew I loved the adventure but wasn’t certain that the day-today minutiae was for me (even though she knew that at the time I adored my profession). Needless to say, that from the beginning of my teaching career (and for many years prior to it and since) I booked a holiday for every break we had. Summers were spent working, but school breaks were meant for holiday relaxation. Read the rest of this entry

Shifts and lessons

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List after list exists dictating the ten most stressful life events; turns out we’ve got at least four going on simultaneously. The death of a loved one, starting a new job, relocating, searching for a spot to stay – choose your words, oy vey, oofdah, holy sh*t or whatever works for you; needless to say there’s a lot of ‘life’ going on at the moment. My friend Kris said, ‘at worst it’s a movie plot’ and my friend Stacey said, ‘your life is always an adventure’ – I imagine they’re both right. But damn, there are a lot of balls in the air at the moment and – I’m thinking at least one is bound to smack me in the head at any moment.

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In search of santosha

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I think I’ve been on a constant journey with twists, turns, caverns, mountains, potholes, valleys, deserts and beaches. There’s no way my fifteen, twenty or even thirty year old self could conceptualize this winding path and I imagine each of those moments were significant steps along the way. It’s shifted gears, changed direction, sought guidance, considered progress, gotten stuck and reached for paths unknown, but where it’s going is anyone’s guess. Read the rest of this entry

Living in the in between

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Here we are in the in between. Those moments of everyday that we might not think will be the ones we talk about later – these are those. With the insanity of December madness behind us and the future of another blank slate in front of us – we’re in the in between. The days (like all others) that we do our best to make the most count, find the most joy, get stuck and get unstuck, giggle, cry, dream, build, manifest, create, jump, sing, play and make magic. These, like all others, are those bonus days…now we have to remember that!

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Sometimes life gets in the way. You find your happy, grab on tightly with both hands and sometimes it slips beneath the surface. In a miracle-like matter, perspective jumps up and smacks you in the face and you’re back. You build a tribe of magical people who show up in your life when you need it most, never falter when called upon and are always open to providing those mindful messages and moments of laughter that we all, without question, need. But often, we get swept up in everyday hooey of stuff and forget that smile, forget that magic and forget that we too can create and cultivate miracles of our very own. Living in the in between, those days where the year has begun yet you’re not sure the direction it’s headed, we need to grab on tight and get that happy.

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It’s funny, I used to think that finding your happy meant going out and changing spaces. That the search for that happy would take you around the globe, to cities and countrysides, from beaches to boardwalks and everywhere in between and someplace hidden amongst the geography you’d uncover a rock and there you’d find your happy. Although the journey is fun, enticing, mind-shifting, perspective changing and definitively inviting, I was wrong. Finding your happy isn’t only about geography, it’s not only about longitude and latitude, it’s not only about a specific spot – it’s more about you than we choose to believe. Trust me, I still FIRMLY believe that there are places filled with more ease than others, spaces that make me feel better in mind, heart, body, spirit and soul than others and spots I’d choose to rather be because my heart smiles far more when I’m there than when I am not. But somehow, deep down, that happy is in us. Whether we’re talking about chemical reactions, thought processes, mindfulness, attitudes, perspectives or everyday outlooks and beliefs – that search for happy is perhaps not as solely intertwined with geography as I first thought.

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It’s hard in the in between. Those seven days of the week where teachers aren’t counting days till break, where there’s no big commercial or religious holiday on the rise, where the sporting calendar is in between the start and those ones that ‘matter’, when that next holiday booking is far beyond your reach – when it’s a plain old Tuesday – that’s when it matters perhaps even more than we think. Find those moments in the middle to take a breath, count your blessings, laugh with friends, play outside, get your rest, eat something you enjoy, practice kindness, take a class, delve deeper, smile, hug, laugh and dream. These are the days that will make up the stories of the future. Whether you believe it or not, each of these are the bonus days – let’s make them all count.

It Begins

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Having difficulty containing her laughter at all of the insanity smushed into one day, my friend Kaity told me I should write it all down – she often has good advice and I count on her to be my Universe reading guru, weekly hot chocolate date and San Diego hotel guide, so I listened. If I’m honest, the last month has been a bit fuzzy and much of the fuzzy turned to calamity as Mother Nature smashed clouds and condensation together in a sea of cold, white madness above our heads at the start of the year.

USA Road trip 2017-2018

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