Monday, January 26, 2015

Greatness- Coach K

In honor of my sister, I just have to give a big shout out to Coach K for becoming the first Division I men's basketball coach to win 1,000 games (& it all went down at Madison Square Garden!  You know how I feel about about making dreams come true in NYC :).  He truly exemplifies a man of greatness, resilience & integrity...
My Duke basketball post from a couple years ago:

"The great arises out of the small things that are honored and cared for.  Everybody's life really consists of small things.  Greatness is a mental abstraction and favorite fantasy of the ego.  The paradox is that the foundation for greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing the idea of greatness." - Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

My sister went to Duke & is a huge Blue Devils basketball fan.  I didn't understand what all the hoopla (hahaha ;) was about until I went to visit her one weekend & we went to a game at Cameron.  It was like being part of a crazy elitist cult for a few hours, even I was sucked in against my better judgement....when in Rome, right?!  I recently watched a documentary on the Kentucky vs. Duke 1992 NCAA Championship Game, considered by many to be the greatest college basketball game ever played.  What really stuck with me was Christian Laettner's explanation for how he maintained his composure & stayed completely in the moment to make that legendary "Shot Heard Round the World" at the buzzer.  As a child growing up in upstate New York he was obsessed with becoming the best basketball player he could be.  Every night when his mom would call him in for dinner he would pretend he was taking the winning shot at the buzzer...."3..2..1...Score!!"  And sure enough when it came down to that moment for real, it was old hat.  That small moment practiced consistently became a moment of greatness.

photos: 1/2

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hudson Valley Winter

"I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter..." -Tori Amos, "Winter"

sublime & beautiful (the song too), if a bit cold....
photos: me (Marbletown, NY)

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

"The more space I get the better I write.  Oh, never I write, but if ever I write, I need the space to say whatever I like."  -Jay Z, "Change Clothes"

photo: 1

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Only New Year's (& Life) Resolution

Over the past month my methodical & pragmatic German genes have been in their glory.... I've been plotting, planning, list-making & strategizing my little tail off.  Agendas are full, color coded spreadsheets have been created, vision boards are proudly on display...yes my friends, by all accounts I've engineered the perfect plan to be a sexy little 2015 beast of mantras, meditations, workouts, business goals, personal goals & just overall fabulousness (ha ;).

But after all of my beautiful & meticulous handiwork was done something unexpected happened...I took a step back & thought, This seems like a lot of work & who the hell knows what's really going to happen?...Where's the joy & fun?...Bueller? Anyone?...What is the point of all of this anyway?  And then it dawned on me that it all really boiled down to one thing...I just want to be happy.  (As a side note, by happy I really mean something more like inner peace.  There are of course moments when we are not going to be happy & this is perfectly normal.  But the goal is to strive for inner peace as much as possible.)

So despite my concerted efforts to create the perfect recipe for happiness I'm going to screw the ingredients & just head straight to the cake.  Yes, I'm going to have happiness be my starting point & guiding principle.  Why not just start with the end result & let everything else pan out?  If you wait for everything on your checklist to happen before you allow yourself to be happy you will never be because even as you check things off you'll just be adding other goals.  You have to recognize that happiness will always be elusive when you are depending on external things for it.  It's just a moving target.

Happiness is a MINDSET & comes from inside. Make it your goal to be happy & you'll change your external environment.  You create your life from the inside out.  Contrary to popular belief, it does NOT work the other way around!  No external thing (people included) will ever "save" you or make you feel whole & worthy & happy.  That kind of thinking is giving your power away & is total danger zone.  You have to find a way to feel whole & happy & loved right this second regardless of any external circumstances or experiences you've been through.

How am I feeling right this second?  Well, I've had about half the vision in my left eye for over a month due to an eye infection, I have a sore throat, my lower back has been hurting for over 10 years, I have some mental anxiety & one of my friends shared with me a heartbreaking story of losing his entire home & beloved cat in a fire & I'm sad for him... but snow is falling outside, my cats are sleeping peacefully, we're all warm, I'm helping my clients with their homes & wardrobes & hopefully these words are helping you in some way.  Happiness & sadness, joy & pain are all part of the beauty of life.  It's all perfectly imperfect.

Here is what I do to stay in the happy zone:

- Fully experience the present moment-  It's the only time we have to live & experience joy.  Regrets & pain over the past & anxiety over the future will instantly kill the joy & aliveness of this moment.  Our time on this earth is limited, don't waste a second of it choosing to live in the pain of your thoughts over experiencing the joy of being alive in this moment & the promise it holds.
- Have gratitude-  Gratitude connects you with the Source & brings even more to be grateful for into your life.  It's amazingly powerful in transforming your life internally & externally.
- Give- The ultimate feel good.  The reason we are on this planet is to love & help each other.  One of my morning prayers to the universe is, "Please bring me the people I need & the people that need me."  Not only are you helping someone but giving takes you out of your own head & issues & insecurities.  Giving is its own gift but it's also a dynamic flow & the more you give the more you'll receive.

Goals & plans & dreams of grandeur are great & I am all for making things happen but don't believe that they are tickets to some elusive happiness in the future.  You don't have to wait for happiness, jump through hoops for it, deserve it or earn it. You already have what you're trying to get & you have the power right this second to be happy.  Just give yourself permission to claim it & live it.  Don't settle for the ingredients when you already have the cake!

photo: me (gorgeous Hudson River sunset)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Magic

Some fun holiday happynings....

Louis Vuitton & a humongous sparkly snowflake, yes please!...
 This sassy lady is getting the party started at Bergdorf's... 
As my family & I were walking down 57th Street who should appear but Billy Joel!  My parents went to high school with him & we grew up on his music so I feel like I've known him my whole life.  I knew I would meet him one day & it happened right next to Carnegie Hall to boot!  Mom & The Piano Man...
Fell in love with this Maje dress, the navy is a softer & richer alternative to black....
 Bitch stole my Christmas look!...damn American Girl dolls ;)....
Santa, take note :)....
The Chrysler Building is my beacon of light in NYC...

But it has some stiff competition this time of year....
May you revel in the joy, hope & magic of Christmas & never, ever forget to BELIEVE.

Wishing you love & light,
photos: me

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Life Lessons from a Pumpkin, a Jagged Knife & a Beer

Over the past couple of years, there's been an unusual amount of loss.  Personally I lost my beloved Gram, a cousin my age, my furry son Popper, my mom's cat Pooka, & some personal relationships.  Couples I thought were happy together are separating, friends' parents are dying too young & admired celebrities are no longer with us.

All of this, in combination with turning 40 this year, has made me reflect on my own life even more.  Statistically I'm at the dead center (no pun intended ;) of my life & have approximately 238,000 waking hours left.  Even if I beat the statistics & to live to 100+ the point is our time is finite.  I get that I'm an eternal spirit temporarily in human form but I do want to rock this earth thing.

I've decided to live my life as if death is at my door because it is, it's just a matter of time (Michael Singer writes about this so eloquently in The Untethered Soul).  I'm making a conscious effort to truly live each moment to the fullest & this required some serious introspection leading to the realization that one of my biggest blocks to joy & happiness is my obsession with perfection.  It took a pumpkin, a jagged knife & a beer to get me to realize what a hold it has on me.  If you're thinking, This ain't sounding so good, let me explain....

It all started with a trip to the pumpkin patch this fall with my niece Ella....
We picked out a bunch of imperfect ;) pumpkins & brought them back to my mom's house.  My nephews & niece wanted to carve them so my youngest brother James, who was in town from Colorado, drew a rudimentary face on one & starting carving & hacking away, beer in hand.  I was thinking about how he could have drawn a nicer face & what exactly would make for a perfect pumpkin face.

When he pulled off the lid & started to hack off the seeds & gunk I kind of went into a perfectionism panic because I knew he was in danger of chopping off part of the bottom of the lid & then it wouldn't completely align with the pumpkin when he put it back on.  As much as I was dying to warn him, I bit my tongue & (tried to) let it go.  Nobody likes to be told they're doing something wrong & who the hell was I, the pumpkin carving police?  It struck me that he was drinking a beer & laughing, the kids were cracking up at his pumpkin carving skills, & I was somewhat in angst.  In less than five minutes his pumpkin was carved (mismatched top & all), my mom put a candle in it, & it was fun & done...
Now me, I had no pumpkin carved because I was too busy thinking about how I could possibly carve a really nice one & knew it just wasn't my forte (for all of my supposed design skills I am not good at, nor particularly enjoy, crafty/domestic things).

The truth is I've been in denial most of my life about the dark side of my perfectionistic tendencies.  I'll never forget last Christmas when I went to visit my cousin, who is my spiritual soul sister, & she had two fresh, new personal growth books by Brene Brown proudly displayed on her dining table.  I ran over to them like a moth to a flame.  One...I could barely bring myself to even physically was called The Gifts of Imperfection.  I flat out diss-missed it & excitedly picked up the book next to it, Daring Greatly, thinking to myself, Now THIS is something I can relate to!

As I was ogling it & reading the description & table of contents, my cousin said to me, "You really should read The Gifts of Imperfection first."  I was having no part of it & in my head thinking, Whatevs, y'all can sing kumbaya & wallow in your imperfections while I go DARE GREATLY.  We kept talking & I said, "I just feel like I can never get everything done in the day that needs to get done."  & she said, "Read the first page of The Gifts of Imperfection."  I cracked it open & there, right on the first page, it said, "Wholehearted Living...means...No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough."  I shut the book & replied, "Umm....where exactly is the closest Barnes & Noble??"

My new mantra, which I heard from a great coach, is "Done is better than perfect." & I've also recently been hearing "There is no such thing as perfection."  I'm committed to letting go of my perfectionistic tendencies & enjoying the imperfect perfection of each moment...not getting caught up in the details & losing sight of the beauty of the big picture....moving forward & growing imperfectly instead of getting stuck in perfection paralysis.

What's one change you can make to bring more fun & joy into your life?

P.S.  Happy Birthday to my adorable niece Ella.  You light up my life & I love you more than words can express :)

photos: me

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."  -Eckhart Tolle

This is one of my all time favorite quotes & it is so fitting as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

With our hectic lives & cultural pressure to acquire & be more, more, more, I think it's very easy to lose sight of the goldmine we are already sitting on.  Do you have your health?  Family, friends & pets that love you?  Food to eat & a warm place to sleep at night?  Then you are the richest person on the planet.  Don't ever forget it or take it for granted....celebrate each day & say a big thank you when you wake up & a big thank you when you go to sleep. 

Today I want to say a big THANK YOU to you my dear readers.  I am truly grateful for each & every one of you.  May your Thanksgiving be full of love, laughter, fun, coziness & delicious food!  

You can read more about the amazing power of gratitude here.  Take a few minutes, it's worth it (& the video is pretty funny since we're getting hit with our first snowstorm of the season :)

photo: me (a beautifully decorated townhouse in the West Village)