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Posts Tagged ‘balance’

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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I took a chance on a concert this evening called Quiet Moments at Middle Collegiate Church sponsored by a multi-cultural, multi-faith global initiative I volunteer with called Intersections. One of my favorite things about the holidays is music- from all cultures and all spiritual practices. This expression of the season makes me so happy.

Tonight, I was delighted by Fred Johnson and his featured artists on percussion and piano. Quiet Callings is a joyous contemplative presentation of both composed and improvised selections of music gleaned from Quiet Callings (a collection of mediations received and authored by Fred Johnson in 2009) and The Great American Songbook. I met Fred after the performance and he is as warm and delightful as he is talented.

The only word I would use is WOW.

The added bonus is that they performed a few of my favorite Christmas songs like The Little Drummer Boy. Magical.

So happy I headed all the way downtown to make this my day 2 holiday celebration event.

Here’s a taste of this trio!

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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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I have always been a planner. Since I was a little girl.

While many little girls were playing Barbie and house, my imagination role-play games included organizing neighborhood children to put on a variety show. And when there were no other kids around, my poor sister had to endure my choreography and director’s wrath so we could get the show “just right” (think Cher’s Half Breed album 1973).

But in those years before my sister was old enough to participate, I would play school by myself being both the teacher and the student (aren’t I talented?) including lesson plans, fake library cards, sticker charts, homework and bulletin boards.  As I got older I transitioned to interior designer (complete with my own sketches for rearranging Mom’s living room furniture) and cruise director with a clipboard (okay- really- wouldn’t I make a great Julie McCoy?)

 

I have notebooks full of charts, graphs and calendars. Days to learn the songs, dances and lines for the musical. Days until college applications were due. Study schedules. Weight loss charts. Graphs depicting my savings to be used to get my ears pierced at the mall. By the time I got to college, I was in full-blown planning mode with wall charts and everything!

The advantages to my predilection for planning is that I moved from organized high school class president to college senior class president to corporate management trainee to corporate executive using this skill to excel. It was always in my back pocket to make sense of the chaos. It was and still is a leadership tool in my toolbox.

I leveraged this same skill to transition to entrepreneurial life helping clients create calendars and plans to support their businesses, lives, marketing programs, etc.  Do what you love, right? Do what comes easy. Plus it makes me happy because my plans are pretty. They are created with post-it notes and sharpies.

However, I have also come to see that I use this planning tool as a way to calm myself down. If I am anxious about something in my personal or professional life, I go right to the calendar.  Sometimes just to look at it. It beings me comfort. It is a guaranteed return. When things are uncertain, the calendar seems certain to me. I can plan something and write it down. Plus mine is pretty with all those colors (both the paper and electronic versions).

This is just a little insight into me. A little writing to perhaps get you thinking about what skills or characteristics you have brought with you from childhood that have helped YOU to excel in adulthood. They are probably right at your fingertips.

 

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New Year’s Day.

A magical day full of possibility.

A time to “take stock” of life.

A bridge of incredible transition.

This transition has been underway all year- as I have been growing, building and changing. In fact, haven’t we all been working toward this all year? Now it is our chance to leave all that we did not achieve, did not finish and did not start- BEHIND US- No Regrets!

The New Year’s Day preparation formally began for me on December 28- Good Riddance Day! My fabulous NYC entrepreneurial friend, Carolyn Herfurth discovered this event and off we went with our bags of symbolic things in our life to which we were ready to say “good riddance”! Tossing those token items away brought me lots of laughter, quite a bit of cheering and a few bittersweet tears.

But it is not all about clearing things from my life. It is also all about hope. Hope for the future. Hope for 2012. And that’s where the Wishing Wall came in. I just LOVE this concept and plan to make it a part of my New Year’s transition ritual every year!

When the ball dropped in Times Square and the confetti fluttered down, one of those orange pieces of confetti had my wish for 2012 on it! Magical!

Now when I wake up in the morning, the New Year is underway. My list of dreams and goals written out and kept close by because I need to constantly review and be inspired.

What about you? Are you ready? Have you completed your New Year’s rituals?

Thank you for being such an amazing part of my community!

Wishing you joy- pure joy- in the most unexpected ways in 2012.

 

 

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It is that time of year when we all create goals and resolutions.

Starting fresh in the New Year with all the promise and hope of a clean slate.

For me, I abandoned making resolutions 16 years ago.

As many of you know, I believe whole-heartedly in the power of starting the day over again. At any point.  So resolutions have always set me up for failure because, well, you can probably imagine that I ALWAYS broke them early on in the year and then cast them aside or talked myself out of wanting the result.

Goals are different. Goals for me are about incremental change with the possibility for remarkable surprises. They are about looking to the future and putting the mini-plan in place to support each of those goals. Looking for opportunities to move closer to the goal in giant leaps facilitated by those incremental plans.

In my world, there are three absolutes for goals.

  • They span all parts of my life: personal and professional. EXPAND!
  • They are BIG dreams! They are scary and vulnerable! I utter the secrets that have been carried around inside me.
  • They are specific. Through specificity comes the magic!

Have you taken the time to write down your 2012 goals?

Honestly. Do you have the goals written down? Are they in a place where you can see them each and every day? Living with my goals has become a tremendous inspiration to me.  They are hanging on bright pink oversized post-it notes right over my desk

Now look at the annual goals.

  • Do they span multiple areas of your personal and professional life?
  • Are they big? Are they audacious? Do they make you think, “After I stand in disbelief, if this really comes to fruition I will be dancing/crying/high-fiving in my living room?”
  • Are they very specific? Not sure- then my guess is that they are not. Specificity allows you to feel the relief of knowing if you are moving forward. Specificity allows the magic in between your actions to happen. Specificity gives you a litmus test as you whether a particular decision moves you closer or further away from that goal.

Take some much deserved time to dream and plan for 2012 during this holiday season. Happy New Year!

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