I have been very inactive in my writing lately. I think we all know how it is… it’s almost a writer’s block of sorts, something that just nags and pulls and tugs the motivation for some periods of time. (Not to mention the simple fact life happens and life LOVES curve balls). Anyway, I do plan to get back on the horse soon and start posting regularly again. I have always found writing out my thoughts, my joys, and introspective thoughts, but mostly the things I enjoy doing, makes me feel so much more connected and realize the way I am, the way I feel, and what I like doing connects to so many others. Isn’t it strange to realize how similar so many of us are?
Resolutions 2013 – Get Fit January 13, 2013
Tomorrow it begins. My grand scheme to not look like a slim girl in clothes and an out of shape beached whale when shoved into a bikini. As the past two years held a lot of good and a lot of bad, all of it made me very, very sedentary. I perfected sedentary, if I am good at anything it’s knowing how to sit like a champion. I changed my career after over a decade in business that I hated beyond belief. That was an amazing adventure but also one perched in front of a computer researching, writing papers, messaging my classmates. I got a good job in my new career but I also spend 50% of my time in the car traveling and when I arrive at my destination I tend to sit more. Helping care for my mom sure I ran around a lot but that was the most of my exercise honestly. I also quit smoking and although that wonderful act doesn’t make you gain weight, when you supplement with snacking it definitely does. I am a huge proponent of the patch, by the way. It was the one thing this 15 year smoker never ever thought would work and it did. I love to feel confident, I love being active so this year I am taking myself, my life, my confidence back and I am starting a total body boot camp tomorrow – four days a week for seven weeks, an hour a day, kickboxing, yoga, strength training, and zumba (sorry to my future classmates, it may not be pretty). I have a yen to be a part of something, a community, and I always knew I needed an obligation to get me off the couch and this was a perfect fit. It was no amazing expense either, my sister’s township sponsors it so the cost was minimal for what you get. Even better, I get to hang with my sister four days a week. I took pictures today in my target bikini (don’t worry I will totally spare you and myself), WOW if there is any other motivation to get in shape is to see yourself plump and bloated in a bathing suit. Sorry body, I am so making this up to you, sorry I embarrassed you. After seven weeks I plan to continue a few of the classes and get running again too, maybe 5k in my future?
Happy New Year December 31, 2012
2012? BUH-bye! Good riddance! I am thrilled to be done with this year and usher in a whole new year. For all I have been through this year – haven’t we all been through so much this year? – I hope 2013 is a kinder and gentler time span. That being said, there is something to say about making real resolutions to help ourselves have a good year.
- Be kinder to ourselves. We deserve it. That means letting ourselves off the hook every now and then, not being so hard on ourselves, and taking care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually (and stop ignoring spirituality. It does matter.)
- Be kinder to others. They deserve it. Just like for ourselves, let others off the hook now and then. I used to live by a motto that you never know what someone is going through. I plan to re-adopt that motto this year.
- Take responsibility and stop laying blame. I think we have all learned some lessons about blame this year. Everyone blamed Republicans or Democrats for the state of the nation. People incorrectly blamed an intellectual disability (Asperger’s) for the killings in Connecticut. What really caused all of it? People. It’s time for people to take responsibility for their actions. Maybe if we all practiced #2 (be kinder to others) we can stave off events that make us blame to begin with and make fewer people do the wrong things.
- Do something new or learn a new skill. One way we can improve ourselves is by taking initiative. One way you can become who you want to be is by figuring out who you really are. How do you know you’re not into playing an instrument unless you learn to play a song on the piano? You just might discover a few new things about yourself.
At least for me, I think those ideas may help me make a difference in my life and the lives of others. Welcome 2013. Happy New Year and be safe!
Resurgence November 11, 2012
So it’s been a heck of a year. I lost my young cousin in August and that drags on as his killers are being tried for the crime. My mother just passed away a few weeks ago. We were clobbered by a couple storms. All that being said, I oddly feel a sense of calm and well, resurgence, is the only word I can really think of. I know life is what you make of it and I know now I have to make something of it. I’m going to start taking care of me as well – mind, body, and soul. Today, I started my morning with a 35 minute walk/run on my treadmill and wow, that’s why I’m a little soft around the middle. Funny how just a teeny bit of exercise shows why you’re not the way you want to be there, and there, and oh yeah, there. It is my goal to get at least a 30-something beach-ready body by the time we go on vacation. Oh yeah, vacation, another thing my husband and I decided we needed to do for ourselves this coming year and we booked but because of our luck, Hurricane Sandy took out the town. What luck didn’t account for is resilience. My resilience, my husband’s, and the resilience of strong, determined people. My mother would never have wanted us to be defeated.
Working my Way Back September 24, 2012
So it’s been quite a while since I posted. Well, I admit, I mentally and emotionally crashed. I am disappointed in myself that I let that happen but knowing I have seen even the strongest people crash now and then, I feel hopeful and ok with letting myself wallow for a little while. Mourning and grief are normal and natural, I have to remember that. Since my cousin was murdered in the beginning of August, my life seemed to nose-dive. Two of my uncles were diagnosed with cancers that are not treatable. My dog needed surgery. I was in a minor car accident. My mother’s myelodysplasia (MDS) was upgraded to acute leukemia and she’s been in and out of the hospital. She also requires a lot of help that of course I am so happy I am able to supply it. Everything just seemed/seems to go wrong lately and I began to learn things that were sad and unpleasant – I learned that I have been wrong for a long time about people I thought I knew so well and I am very disappointed in who they are. I hope they can find some spiritual guidance to help them become who they are capable of being. I am certainly not perfect and now is a time I am taking to also improve.
I was listening to a podcast today about Zen and Buddhist Dharma hosted by Zencast.org entitled “Practice Simplicity.” I found so much comfort in its insight. Gil Fronsdal introduced me (and his audience) to a tremendously important Buddhist instruction to, “Set your mind at ease, and notice what takes away from that.” It’s one of the hardest things to do – to set your mind at ease. But it is easier to see what takes away from ease – these people who are purposefully hurting others and are not who I thought they were. The only problem with this instruction is that’s the end of it. So… what do we do about what takes away from our ease? There’s nothing more, no more instruction. Fronsdal also noted that issue but said this instruction in itself is difficult, so to start – just “notice.” Notice the moment, don’t react to it, don’t let your mind do anything about it, just notice. So as I listened to this program as I drove, I practiced and noticed something that made me really, truly smile and appreciate the beauty of everything – the leaves are changing colors. Even walking to my car this morning I pulled a couple leaves stuck on the back of my car and STILL didn’t notice the leaves were changing. So from today on out I will track one beautiful thing each day as I do nothing else but “notice.” Today: the leaves are changing.
Being Thankful August 19, 2012
I haven’t posted in a little while. Usually when I think about posting I’m thinking of something I’m attempting in the kitchen, how my garden is doing, or some book I’m reading that I’m really into. This past week felt like a month though. My family had terrible news that we lost a young family member and even worse, to violence. Violence doesn’t happen in our family, illness and accidents do, but violence? No. So it’s been a tough week with circumstances ridiculously difficult to fathom. But I’ve learned a lot, I realize I take so much for granted, forgetting that for some, tomorrow just might not come. It sounds sad, it is sad, but then there’s the other side of it. My cousin is in heaven and doesn’t need to worry about all the silly stuff we worry about here. He’s taught me a lot this week. First, that even in death you can give life: my cousin’s organs immediately went to several people waiting for more time with their family. He also taught me that sometimes we are so caught up in worry about silly things that we forget to be thankful for what we do have. I woke up this morning for the first time in a week feeling ok, even a little happy because we learned justice will be served. But, most of all, I took a few minutes to enjoy things I sometimes let pass me by as mundane: how the room was just a tad chilly but under the covers was perfect. I relished the warm, precious dog who curled up next to me and looked at me like I am the best person in the world. I took in every moment of comfort and happiness I feel having my loving, doting, protective husband sleeping by my side. So I guess today’s post is a public service announcement of sorts: don’t sweat the small things that really don’t matter and remember to enjoy the small stuff that means everything.
What Vacation Teaches Us July 15, 2012
So I took a week-long vacation last week, a vacation my husband and I have been planning for about 8 months. This vacation has been my light at the end of the tunnel and of course, I am suffering the grief and loss that I usually encounter when vacations are over. I hadn’t realized just how much I really needed this one. A week at the beach was so necessary that I wonder if I hadn’t gone, how crazy would I be right now? I took time for myself and time for my husband and I to be a couple as well as friends instead of the strange, robotic routine animatrons we tend to become at home over time. I also learned something – when left to our devices, without the stress of expectations, we can all get a really good look at who we really are. I realized something, I realized I am very little like that person I “become” in the daily work week. I am much more fun, happy, kind, and active. I like “vacation me” better. I’m also pretty sure other people like “vacation me” better too. I somehow have to try to let “vacation me” become “daily me” and I think I would be happier and healthier. I say it after every vacation though but this one is different (do I say that after every vacation too?) Regardless, vacations happen for a reason and instead of banking vacation time for the money or impression it might make on our superiors, take it. Take vacation, learn who you are, grieve when it’s over, and come home to the routine with a new set of eyes.
Slow Down and Unplug June 25, 2012
I woke up this morning and immediately grabbed my phone and checked the weather. I came downstairs and turned on the laptop. I checked my phone for messages while I made my coffee. I got my coffee and sat down at the computer and checked my email. Now I sit here typing this. Do you even remember what we did before all this technology became requirements for us to function normally in our daily lives? Sometimes I strain to remember. I think I got my coffee and talked to somebody, maybe after that I walked my dog. One thing I do remember is being able to separate work, school, and my personal life. I think we all have become too aware of ourselves and what needs to be done that we forget to just live. Everyone needs time to unplug. We are so busy “checking in” we forget to look around and see what the world is trying to show us. Beautiful paths carved into the woods, natural phenomenon like the boulder field created from an ancient glacier, and finally realizing humans are just as much a part of nature as any other creature – we just need to do it right.
One of the most important parts of life is internal beauty. Music is beauty. To teach children to create beautiful music is amazing – to share that beautiful music with others is priceless. Good work!
Dear Beloved Blog Followers!
Our final concert was last Saturday. It was amazing, the students sounded out of this world, and families were so PROUD! I’m going to blog about this topic further once we have the videos posted (should be in the next day or so).
In the meantime, check out our fundraiser on Indiegogo. http://www.indiegogo.com/Tuneupphilly?a=601017
Please feel free to share this with anyone. Donations can be as small as $1. Our plan is to use this money to take our students to play at different venues, predominantly in North Philly, to spread live music out into the surrounding community. Our students have arrived as musicians, now we want to give them more opportunities!
Stop & Smell the Roses May 31, 2012
Or lilies. Yesterday, I noticed my tiger lilies were starting to bloom. Lilies not only add a splash of color, but if you actually take the time to look and smell them, they are so much more. Their leaves and stalk are sturdy and shiny. The flowers are flashy and confident. These flowers are so perfect, they almost look fake. Ever have that feeling? Someone is too nice to be real? Are you often more shocked when people are kind and polite? The lily is the real thing and yes, there are good people out there. That being said, there is a lot to learn from a lily. In our society we rarely take (or have) time to pay close enough attention to learn such important lessons from nature.