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Archive for the ‘New Beginnings’ Category

When I reference Groundhog Day, I can’t help but think of that hysterical 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. If you have never seen it (although I would question where you’ve been!), Bill Murray’s character experiences the same Groundhog Day over and over again. Each time the day starts again, he adjusts based on what he knows will happen so he can get it “just right”.

This movie has me reflecting on two lessons I have learned over the years that look a lot like this Bill Murray’s character’s experience:

  • My days of living the Groundhog Day life in my career and business are over. I learned early on in corporate to save everything- every file, every document and every email trail- because invariably the senior leadership team would reposition an old project or initiative as a brand new, enterprise-wide opportunity in which I could be put in charge. Common practice was to pull out those saved files, relabel them and start over again. It got so bad in 2002 that I bought my entire team a copy of the movie! (VHS of course) Today as an entrepreneur everything is new -every day. No reusing ideas for me. It is all fresh and exciting. No more slapping another name or spin on an initiative and calling it new! Phew– However, I am free to reuse those fabulous corporate ideas at my corporate clients all day long!
  • The Universe will continue to put similar people, situations and opportunities in my path until I learn the lesson I am here to learn. And it is often equal parts frustrating and hysterical.  Like the movie Groundhog Day, I just keep coming back to the scenario over and over again, adjusted a bit each time, until I make the major shift. The most recent lessons have been painful and tear-filled but the “other side” is looks like days of endless rainbows compared to the ways I was living tied to those toxic people, places and things.

Where is that happening in your life?

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Coffee Location:  My sofa watching the NY Giants on SNF
Today’s Beverage of Choice: Coffee and chocolate protein shake

 

 

 

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Have I Been a Modern-Day Rip Van Winkle?

Have I been sleeping?
Sleeping though part of my life?

I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I loved that little story from my childhood.
My mother would tell me that when there was scary thunder that I did not need to worry because it was just Rip Van Winkle bowling.
However, recently I actually read the story again after all these years and learned that Rip is described in many of the versions by creator Washington Irving as a “henpecked husband who loathes ‘profitable labor’ “.

Now that is really taking the comparison of Rip and me a bit too far.  I am neither a henpecked husband nor a person who loathes profitable labor… but walking around constantly exhausted from living in indecision and not working or living as my very best self certainly makes life and business less profitable. So, looking a little like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle.

On Sunday, November 12 it changed. I woke up and came down that figurative mountain as Rip did in the story and basically declared,  “I CHOOSE ME!” Made the decision.Immediately slowed down the wondering, worrying and spinning!

  • I choose me.
  • I choose to see my life as it really is, not a warped version of how I wish it to be.
  • I choose to forge ahead as the best self I can be today.

This new decision has had an immediate impact on my business model, my relationships and my home. 

In future blog posts, I will talk about this in more detail (all a part of my 40 day vulnerability challenge).
However, for tonight I just wanted to pose these questions…

  • Where in your life are you “sleeping”?
  • Where are you looking at life in fantasy rather than reality?
  • Where are you acting like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle?

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Full disclosure. I sleep with my iPhone.

Yes, it’s true.

I stopped this behavior over a year ago when my nutritionist, JJ Virgin suggested that I adopt a behavior called “power down hour”. Simple. One hour before bed, turn off electronics. .

And for a year I really embraced this ritual. I started listening to my body and my brain. The result was needing to go to bed so much earlier if I was sitting quietly reading, thinking, petting the cats or listening to music. The result was waking up well-rested.

But is getting quiet simple for me? Not even the least bit simple.

What “power down hour” really is for me is an opportunity to look at my fears. To look at what I am avoiding. To look at the thoughts from which I want to distract myself. And without the television or the computer- without my Olympic-level texting to friends and family, I am left with just me, my thoughts, my fears, and my concerns. So I chose to replace them with a ritual that focused on my gratitude and my joy. Before bed, I began writing a list of gratitude moments from the day. I also noted moments of joy- sometimes big but usually tiny and very personal like seeing that little girl grab here Daddy’s hand crossing the street. Plus I would include a few readings and prayers representative of my spiritual practice. This ritual helped to get me into a restful and serene place in my head.

So it makes perfect sense that I abandon this practice entirely when I moved to a new apartment in August-ha. Honestly, I am my own worst enemy.

Little by little the behaviors crept back in. Playing on the computer or watching a video until it is time to crawl into bed exhausted. Still talking on the phone or texting until I turn out the light (or AFTER I turn out the light). Not pulling out the pen and jotting down that gratitude and joy.

I see what is happening.

The awareness is that there are a lot of big changes happening in my life. Big decisions that have been made and continue to be made around relationships, business, home and finances. Each and every one of them brings with it a level of anxiety that is challenging on the best of days. But being in the perpetual circle of not “powering down” and then being overtired and then getting more anxious is not me and my best self shining through.

Sooooo the progression….

Last night, I fell asleep with my iPhone in hand after watching a DVD and texting until seconds before bed. When I woke up I thanked God that I do not drink and had not drunk texted anyone –ha- and then I said aloud (since I talk to myself also): “Bryn, what was so important that you needed to grip your iPhone all evening?”  Every answer I came up with felt both true and silly. So tonight, tonight I go cold turkey again. And replace it with uninterrupted “power down hour” and eight hours of sleep.

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Coffee Location:  My sofa surrounded by three sleeping kitties

Today’s Beverage of Choice: Brewed coffee in a big red mug

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Bedazzling Makes Everything Better!

You heard me. Bedazzling makes everything better.

A little sparkle. A little glitter.

Shine a little brighter. Add a little pizzazz.

This is a lesson learned this week from two of the most important little people in my life~~

My almost 10-yr old niece Ashley-lyn and my 5-yr old Goddaughter Emily

 

In summary:

  • The only way her Mom (my life-long friend Ellen) could get Emily to wear her headdress to the school Thanksgiving celebration was to allow her bedazzle it! Look at the happiness on that face!
  • Ashley ran for student council to represent her 4th grade classroom. After losing the race last year, she was determined to make an impact in the voting this year. Not only were her leadership skills and positive attitude key to her WIN this week, but I am certain that those glitter letters and sparkle skirt played a huge role!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where could my life use a little burst of color?

What activities have been feeling lackluster and need to twinkle?

Where could I feel a little more confident if I just added some pizzazz?

Time to begin with a little creative time in my schedule. A few moments ago, I took out my calendar and put aside time to play a little each day. Some days I blocked 30 minutes and others an hour based on what the calendar looks like.

Thank goodness last year my friend, Debra sent me a mini-Bedazzler and my friend Jessica sent me Opi Muppets glitter nail polish. Plus there are all those boxes of pens, stickers, markers, post-its etc. that I packed and moved to my new apartment. Seriously, I have everything I need to get started!

How about you?

 

 

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I cry every time I vote.

Presidential election. Mayoral election. Local elections. It doesn’t matter.

I cry.

Proudly.

I don’t hide it.

Right there at the polls. Tears streaming down my face.

 

 

The sheer overwhelm of it all:

  • That there are women in the United States still old enough to remember when they could not vote. Before 1920. Before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Less than 100 years ago.
  • That there are women around the world who were granted that right in MY lifetime or still cannot cast a vote in an election specifically because they are women.
  • That men and women of the military are fighting this very moment to allow me to retain that right. The right to voice my opinion and vote without fear of retaliation for my family or myself.

And here is what I know about me. When I cry, it means that there is something there for me to learn. Something to look at.  An issue that is moving me to tears and demands my attention. Time to study something new.

Full disclosure: I have bookcases filled with books, arranged by category (my own little Dewey Decimal system) and just waiting to be read, studied and poured over. There is certainly a “women’s rights section” (do you have one also?) Certainly there are a few books in there on the women’s suffragist movement here in the United States and around the world.  Heck, I went to Wellesley College,  grew up in Rochester, NY- home of the National Susan B Anthony Museum and House and right down the road from Seneca Falls and the National Women’s Hall of Fame– so there ought to be more than a few books on the topic in my collection.

I have interest. I have motivation. I have desire. I have emotional connection. I have resources.

NOW… and you will have to hold me to this… I must make TIME. Don’t get me wrong- I have time. I must simply choose to use it in this way.

 

 

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We all live with neighbors regardless of the structure we inhabit.  It’s tough to be completely isolated no matter how you might try. We must deal with the community at-large. We share a fence or a tree or a park or a sidewalk or a cul-de-sac with others.

For me, here in NYC, it’s apartment living.

And in my estimation, apartment living brings its own brand of crazy.

We share walls, ceilings, floors, hallways in addition to those sidewalks, front stoops and back alleys. Here in my new apartment of just a few months, winter apartment living is in full force. People are inside more due to the cold.  We are all together a lot more. And last night, my little world here was on fire. As I went to bed and tried to get to sleep early, there were kids playing what sounded like a late-night basketball tournament outside because there is no school today. There were Riverdancers upstairs, a poker game next door, a political convention in the hallway- or at least that is what it seemed like as I tried to get to sleep.

And then it struck me (and I laughed aloud)… what do my neighbors think when I scream at the Giants game, when my cats chase each other up and down the hallway like a herd of cattle or when I decide to vacuum at 7 am?

Regardless of where you live, community living is so visible. And as the “new girl” in the building, I am particularly visible. In my frustration, banging on the walls or shouting into the courtyard would just make me the “new crazy girl who lives in 5D” and honestly, when the Giants game is on, I don’t want anyone to “shhhhush” me!

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Many, many hours were spent in the last 72 getting critical information to friends still stranded in some of the most damaged areas in Hurricane Sandy’s path. No power. Running low on food. No heat. Trees in their houses. And without fail-stories of neighborly love and cooperation.   My role? Reports back to their family and friends so they didn’t have to use precious power to do it. I’ve proudly been the communication hub.

Which gas station has fuel available? What is the Mayor reporting on? Where can people volunteer? Which subways are running? Who has power? Was his car damaged? What’s the emergency number for FEMA? Have you spoken to her and does she have heat?

Without access to up-to-date information like the rest of us with power, it is very isolating. For example, it’s kind of important to know that the National Guard is coming for you. It has been heart-wrenching. Imagine believing that you have been forgotten by the government. Believing no one was reporting on the devastation outside your door. <gulp> The idea of being forgotten really struck a nerve with me. In fact, each time I talked about, I could barely breathe.

So powerless. I have cried so many times this week and simply contributed where I could.

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