(can’t) sleep on it.

It figures that life in the time of corona would be my best opportunity to catch as many Zzzzzs as I want, but I just…can’t…sleep…and I’m not the only one. So many people I’ve talked with share this affliction—whether it’s trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. What is it about this endless dormancy that is making us all insomniacs or should we call it coroniacs? It’s not that I don’t want to sleep, in fact it’s the opposite. Sleeping is my favorite. How can something I love some much be so unattainable? Why does sleep elude me?

It’s one of the most basic functions: Eat (Yep, got it). Drink (Nailed it). Sleep (Hold up, what’s going on here!?). The effects of sleep deprivation over time are detrimental and explained in depth in the audio book I’m listening to: Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, PhD.

peace & quiet

You’ve heard this phrase…“I just want some peace and quiet!” Is that what would help us coroniacs get some shut eye? I actually think it might be. The operative word here is peace. If you’ve looked closely at my blog’s home page you’ll see it states my mission…my journey to inner peace. What does that mean anyway? For me inner peace is about quieting the internal struggle in my brain at all times. They say if you’re conflicted to sleep on it. I literally CAN’T sleep on it. My inner conflicts are what keep me awake. The fear-based voice (that worries about COVID, and home schooling, and work, and all the other adulting things) competes with the voice of inner wisdom and truth. The voice of truth whispers to me that I need to let go of worry and self-doubt. I can surrender and accept that life in the time of corona is full of growth and love.

Inner peace is about more than just happiness. In the book The Happiness Advantage, the author explores multiple definitions of happiness. The one I most align with can be traced back to Aristotle.

Eudaimonia, which translates not directly to happiness but to “human flourishing.”

The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor

As the author explains, this definition equates happiness to more than just rainbows and butterflies. It’s what I’ve been tuning into, as well. Happiness holds space for growth.

sleep prep.

Back to sleep. I’ve been working on clearing some of the blockages that have kept me up at night. This self-inquiry is allowing me to process some of the unresolved things that turn into thought spirals. If you’re not there yet on your journey, here is a summary of other sleep preparation aids (or winding down tools) I’ve found to be effective or others have recommended:

  • Proper nutrition, exercise and vitamins – these are table stakes (if you’re not there yet, let’s talk)
  • Meditation and/or breath work
  • Goodnight Yoga – @yogasweetheart has a 6-week online program
  • Yoga Nidra aka yogic sleep – my personal fave (@GabbyBernstein has a great guided-practice)
  • Soak in a tub (I use epsom salts in mine to help with muscle soreness, as well) or perform any other nightly self-care that soothes you
  • Avoid eating late at night
  • Avoid alcohol – sorry, it’s true and it’s a game changer (I know it sucks, but I don’t know anyone that sleeps well after drinking); drink some decaf Sleepy Time tea instead
  • Melatonin (didn’t work for me, but others have had success)
  • Limit screen time and/or use blue light reduction glasses
  • Diffuse essential oils (so many options on scents! Lavender is great for night time) and / or have background white noise
  • Read a book, like an actual book with pages

tribe affirmation.

I’ve been so humbled to speak and/or trade messages with readers that connect with my voice. You may not realize it, but you are my tribe. Whether you reach out to me or not, if these blogs resonate with you, you’re my people.

The following words came to me post-meditation this morning and are for anyone that might be feeling alone on their journey.

Be aware and don’t be afraid. 
Seek truth and accept it. 
Let go. 
Listen. 
Let go, again. 
Rebuild. It hurts. 
You’re not broken, even if you feel like it. 
You have a tribe, even if you don’t see us. 
You are not alone. 
We are your tribe now. 
All you need to do is let us in.
We welcome you in.  
Allow. Accept. Appreciate. 

Sending peace & love to you all. Stay weird, my friends, and don’t forget to BREATHE!

outside in.

Let’s be honest…what you see from the outside is not what you get. From the outside looking in, anyone’s life can appear perfect. The carefully selected photos and videos for social media are a curation of the life we want others to see. We wear masks (in the figurative sense, not literal COVID masks) so people will like us and accept us. It’s all very orchestrated…until it’s not.

blogging—my why.

Have you ever experienced that one defining moment when you realize things will never be the same again? For me, it was my mother’s heart attack. For others, maybe it’s the global pandemic. The event may differ from person to person, but the awakening is the same. In that moment, when you feel broken it is incredibly scary and isolating. I felt like I was the only person who had ever felt so sad and so selfish all at once. But as I opened up to my friends and family, I realized so many people have similar pain or thought patterns. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I never dreamed of sharing my inner most vulnerabilities publicly. That was until I started witnessing so much pain and sadness in the world around me throughout this pandemic. I knew I didn’t want these people to feel alone like I did. I wanted to offer connection through words.

I wanted to let people see human oneness from the inside out in its raw authenticity.

flawed.

Trust me, I’m not speaking from a soap box. I am not saying my opinions or views are right. In fact, I admit to being extremely flawed. But I am working on being a better person. It’s not easy being an open book. This is scary and uncomfortable. Each week when I sit down to write I question whether what I’m doing is really helping anyone as I intend. And then I’ll get a comment or a response from the most unexpected sources, and I know I have reached someone. I know that my purpose is being served.

inside out.

This week for family movie night we watched Inside Out (2015). In my humble opinion this is one of Pixar’s best films. The inside look at emotions is so well done. The first time I saw this years ago I never really picked up on the message to “feel your feelings.” This is a phrase I constantly come across in my spiritual self-help readings. In the movie, the emotion, Joy, does everything she can to suppress Sadness. As she tries harder and harder, Riley (the little girl) starts to lose connection. She numbs out and her “islands of personality” turn gray. It’s not until the end of the movie that Joy realizes that Sadness is what brings her family and friends in to help her. They come and share love when she expresses this emotion instead of burying it.

My challenge to myself and my readers this week is to feel your feelings. You’ll be surprised to see the love that flows to you when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you feel compelled to leave a comment or share a personal message with me, please know I value hearing from my readers. I’m sending my love to you all.

need more input.

I’m probably dating myself here, but one of my favorite movies as a child was Short Circuit, a science fiction / comedy about a lovable robot that craved learning. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot lately because of Johnny Five’s famous phrase “more input” a request he made as he consumed information by the boat load. I feel like I can relate to that right now. I want more input. In fact, I want more of everything: energy…gratitude…appreciation…good vibes…prosperity. In my mass consumption of input there’s a pattern that has revealed itself to me repeatedly…you have to give to get. It’s a lesson I’m hoping to share with my readers, and in turn I hope I learn more lessons.

lean in to authenticity.

I’m fortunate to be inspired by so many friends that are investing in building their own businesses. As a former marketing professional, I’m observing how these friends handle differentiation. I witnessed a couple of examples this week where friends with fledgling businesses were either questioning or being questioned by competition. Positioning, a key aspect of marketing, relies on highlighting these comparisons. But this is tricky if you’re promoting a business where YOU ARE THE BRAND. You’re asking people to invest in you specifically…your talents, your skills, your version of being “the best” at this thing you do. What makes it so difficult to navigate this type of self-promotion is trusting your authenticity and not promoting yourself at the expense of others. You need to trust that you will attract business based on what you can give and what your prospects need to receive.

abundance mindset.

That thing you’re good at, the thing that makes you, well you…share it. Put it out there—don’t hoard it. Teach others how to be good at it, too. An abundance mindset, as described in this INC article, is based on the premise that there is plenty of everything to go around. It’s the ego that needs to believe that you are the only one that deserves success, wealth and prosperity based on your talents. Once you become aware of this, you are on the right path. As Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author, says “awareness and ego cannot coexist.” Bring awareness to any fear that’s driving you to judge others’ talents as less than yours. This is a limiting belief.

sports and robots.

Look, I’m a fierce competitor so I can relate to people wanting to drive themselves to be the best…but as someone who spent 15 years as a swimmer I knew my real competition was always myself. It took me years to shave hundredths of a second off my personal best time in the 100 yd butterfly. Does that make me crazy? Probably. You might be crazy to be a swimmer—it’s the one sport that’s almost complete sensory deprivation. Imagine practicing four hours per day with no playlist, no visual stimulation other than a black line at the bottom of a pool—oh and hold your breath while you do it. Yeah, definitely crazy…or was it crazy smart? Speaking of crazy smart…let’s get back to our friend Johnny Five from the heartwarming 80s classic.

Before he was Johnny Five he was just Number Five, totally dehumanized (well, because he was a robot). The bad guys were trying to disassemble poor Number Five because of his perceived “glitch” of thinking he was alive. To fool them he created a replica of himself and was able to thwart their attempts all while chanting “no disassemble” (for some reason he was really smart but said certain phrases like a toddler…totes adorbs). This is yet another example of people fearing anyone and anything that is different than what they expect.

As a mother, I want my children to know that we welcome diversity in thought, behavior, appearance, lifestyle…and movie choices. I don’t know how our children are going to learn these lessons without the wisdom of 80s classics so I guess I know what my next movie selection is for family movie night. Check back in with me to see how they like it. AND please share any lessons with me that you’ve learned lately…cuz abundance mindset!

6 Vibe High Essentials

It’s been getting harder to keep my “good vibes only” mentality going now that we’re on the move again. I’ve compiled a list of essentials that I bring with me everywhere I go—whether it’s Michael’s youth baseball, Gianna’s dance classes or family pool time—to keep my sh*t in check. But first, let me set your expectations about this list:

  • It’s more art than science (probably doesn’t even qualify as art).
  • If you read this list and say, “KJ, there are more than six things on this list??” — I’d say: “Fair.” You can call me out on my sh*t, that’s what my good friends do.
  • I’m going to swear, but for me swearing is like punctuation—so don’t take offense.
  • Lastly, I’m kinda weird, and I’m going to be unapologetic about it. Not all of these things will resonate with you, and that’s okay.

6(ish) essentials to keep your vibe high AF.

journal(s). At any given time I have about three journals going. One for post-meditation emotional word-vomit; one for daily gratitudes/affirmations; and one for jotting down random thoughts and ideas…like my next blog topic. I realized part of what gets me anxious when I’m on-the-go is trying to remember everything that pops into my head for a later date and time. I’ve tried to use my Notes app, but it’s just not the same as writing something down. There’s something about putting pen to paper that makes it feel more official. The anecdote becomes etched in my brain. Once I write the thought seedling down, I know I can revisit it later and not become distracted by whatever wheels are turning (and they are always fu*king turning). Keeping my rando thoughts journal with me at all times is a high vibe necessity.

a bomb a$$ pen. If you have a journal, you need to have a writing utensil. Not just any utensil will do…the pen needs to glide across the paper. Nothing kills a vibe more than having a sh!tty pen. The best pen I ever had came from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. I was fortunate enough to travel there for a previous job when I was a regional marketing director for a Fortune 500 employee benefits consulting company. Even though I was seeded with a series 1 Apple Watch, the best takeaway from the trip was the damn free pen they gave us. I’ve received a lot of swag in my career…but that pen though…my God. It was so good. I lost it about six months later when I accidentally left it on a train when I was traveling for business from NYC to Boston. I was so pissed, but I’m hoping it’s in a good home and someone loves it as much as I did. But I digress, get yourself a good pen. I ordered myself a boujie gold gel pen from Amazon (see cover pic).

book(s) / eReader. I prefer an actual book – but if you like eReaders, by all means you do you. I read three to five books concurrently at any given time. They range from non-fiction, to self-help or a really sad fiction. I don’t know why but I LOVE to cry to a good book. The release I get from crying is on par with…well, better left unsaid. Kristin Hannah is my preferred go-to for sobbing, Gabrielle Bernstein is my fave for spiritual self-help / meditation, and I’ve got an Eckhart Tolle book for deep thinking non-fiction. I am also reading a book on my eReader, The Happiness Advantage which I love, but I can’t find my eReader and when I do find it I’m probably going to need to charge it. That’s why I don’t usually use eReaders, oh well.

book tote. I need a tote to carry my high vibe sh!t with me. I can’t put it in my purse, because…well, any of my friends that have seen me searching for crap in my purse know it’s a lost cause. I prefer to keep these essentials separate from that chaos. However, I’ve never felt more like Goldlilocks than I did when I was looking for a decent book tote. Not only were some too big and some too small… some were just too…floral. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers but not the kind you’d find on a couch pattern circa 1980s Miami. For now, I’m using the canvas tote that came free with my new hair products. I’m honestly thinking about starting a business making some more fashionable books totes. LMK if you’re interested in a decent tote and I gotchuuuuuuu!

sticky tabs, highlighters, bookmarks – oh my! Ok, so if you’re only using an eReader you don’t need all this extra crap. One of the reasons I prefer a book is so I can dog-ear the pages, underline, and highlight the sh!t out of it. I like to jot notes in the inseam and take pics of passages that resonate with me or remind me of a friend and send them to them. It’s just not the same on an eReader.

headphones / earbuds & a dope playlist. I actually alternate between my wireless ear buds and my wired headphones. I use the wired headphones when I want to be obvi about not wanting to speak with other humans. When I wear these out and about it’s a subtle way to say, “stay TF away I’m listening to my dope playlist.” I use my earbuds when I want to be productive and actually get up and move around while I bump my beats. Speaking of beats…I’ve been enjoying some chill playlists on Spotify. It turns out Ginuwine Pony and gangsta rap are not applicable to all situations…so I had to branch out. The first time I came across one of these curated playlists was when I was sitting vigil at the hospital with my mother after her emergency open heart surgery. I was texting with a friend and was like, what’s a good playlist for “my mom just had a heart attack and I need to stay up all night but also chill TF out”? A quick search pointed me to some of my current faves: Chill Vibes, Low Key Rap, Lo-Fi Beats, and Acoustic Covers. If you have any good playlists let me know I’m really digging mellow melodies, right now.

that’s all (for now).

There it is, the stuff I keep with me to keep my head right. We might have different necessities, but we all need something to help us keep our vibe high. I encourage you to think about what those things are —whether it’s a tin of Altoids or a bunch of Dum Dum lollipops (also known to dwell in my chaotic purse), what are the things that allow you to momentarily suspend yourself when you’re out and about and feeling like you need to re-center? If you come up with some good stuff, please share your essentials with me—I’m always willing to add two or three more things to my top six. Stay weird my friends!

addicted to strangers.

Why is it easier for me to talk to strangers than my own husband? Or my own son? Three years ago I wrote a blog on LinkedIn, called Talking with strangers. Not to be confused with Malcolm Gladwell’s book Talking to Strangers, which turns out has nothing to do with my addiction to strangers. No, my love is about human connection. What I refer to as my mission to uncover the Kevin Bacon effect algorithm-free. I don’t need a social media platform to tell me how I’m connected to someone, or who we both might know…I like to uncover that myself. Actually, the best description of my stranger addiction came from my Clifton StrengthFinder assessment, with WOO being one of my top five strengths (not to be confused with my love of Wu Tang). It said:

”In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet — lots of them.

CliftonStrengths, WOO description, Gallup.com

Back to my question…why are strangers easier than family, for me? Strangers do not equal danger in my world. I’m not alone in this. The Wall Street Journal published an article on this topic last year, The Surprising Boost You Get From Strangers which is much more aligned with my viewpoint than Gladwell’s. I already know the answer to this question…I just thought I’d get you thinking a little. The reason it’s easier for me is because I’m an extrovert and my husband and son are introverts.

same sh*t different label.

Why am I writing about strangers again? This time it’s not about highlighting how I don’t view strangers as a threat…it’s about how I view my opposite as a threat. We perpetuate opposition…Republican vs Democrat | Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter | Corona conspiracy theorists vs Corona fear mongers | Light vs Dark. When we stand in conflict, whether external or internal we will always be at war with ourselves or someone else.

Judging an introvert/extrovert is just the same sh*t with a different label. The operative word here is judgment. Last year, I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I hated it. Not for the obvious reason that it was a book about my opposite, but because it was a book that I perceived to judge extroverts harshly. Take a look at this excerpt (abbreviated where necessary for length):

“We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal… The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong... Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology… Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform… But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly… Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions…came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.“ 

judgment detoxification.

Why do we feel justified in creating and then villainizing an opposite? My addiction to strangers is not what I need to detox from…I need to detox from judgment. In the book Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein, she says: “Real relief comes when I am brave enough to witness judgment and call it by its name: fear.”

I took the opportunity to journal on this fear. This fear of people like my husband, or my son, that are different than me. Some of the feelings that came up were related to placing a premium on qualities that I feel proud of…like my ability to connect with people I don’t know. Here’s the thing, does being good at something mean that someone else needs to be bad at that for you to feel good about it? What purpose do labels serve?

“Did we realize at some point it feels good to feel good…so we artificially created a counterpoint so that we can grab on to that feeling of aliveness?“

Citation: My journal!

This is where the ego is dangerous. It reinforces the greediness of needing to feel good at the expense of someone or something else which romanticizes the need for an opposite.

love and scrum.

The good news is I found the common language to communicate with my husband. You might be expecting some beautiful metaphor on love… sorry to disappoint. Our common language is the agile software development framework called scrum. I joke with people that my employer saved my marriage. The truth is, we both work for the same employer and both work in tech—he’s a software developer and I was a product owner. The scrum framework allows teams to collaborate and continuously adapt. After a particularly ridiculous fight, we decided to apply this framework to our lifestyle.

Quarantine did some weird sh*t to people. We all coped differently, and for some reason the fact that we were now in a position to feed our entire family all three meals a day from home really threw us a curveball. I perceived that for my introverted husband, making decisions on meal planning was a stress inducer. My extroverted personality judged this stress as a weakness. Stupid, I know. In retrospective (“retros” are a key aspect of scrum!) it wasn’t the decisions that were stressful for him, it was his perception that he needed to make a one-size-fits-all meal that pleased everyone…picky children and a wife who’s measuring portions and food-selection conscious.

I’m a believer that one-size-fits-all is a one-size-fits-no-one; so, we decided to use the concept of assigning “points” (another key aspect in scrum) to the different components that make up our meals. Points are a way of coming to an agreement on the effort it takes to complete something. Using this simple valuation system empowered us to make decisions together on meal planning that allowed everyone in the family to “mix and match” different proteins, veggies, and starches to create delicious and healthy meals with minimal effort.

This has been working so well for us that we set up a family whiteboard (boards…another tool in scrum!) with all the food categories and options. We’ve taught our kids to “grab” their lunch selections for camp by putting a color-coded indicator by which food type they want in each category. Finding a common framework has been key for us all communicating better, but…I’m open to receiving more ideas!

de-simplify

Yes, you did read that correctly. I am advocating for you to “de-simplify” your life. But wait, why? Earlier this week, my best friend Angela (@yogasweetheart) led me through a private yoga session and read me the following affirmation during my resting pose:

“Where could you do less and feel better? Where could you do less and achieve the same results?”

Sage Rountree, Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses

The thing is, doing less doesn’t mean do the simple stuff.

disrupter.

I’m a self-proclaimed change agent. At work, I run to problems, not away from them. As I reflect on the prior two years of my career as a product owner on a scrum team (magic decoder ring for non-techies, this means I led an app dev team) I am proud that I breathed life into some less than sexy systems and processes by championing digital transformation. I fell in love with the concept of automation.

To automate a task you eliminate human intervention – you teach a machine to re-create the steps a person would take. These are usually the simple if/then tasks. Think about it like this…if you don’t need to think about it to do it–you can probably teach a bot to do it. Or, with some fancier algorithms you can use artificial intelligence. What does this leave you with? The COMPLEX work.

What I didn’t anticipated in lobbying for automation was the resistance to change. You would think that employees and leaders alike would love to get rid of the “boring” stuff and create more efficiency, respectively. But I was met with resistance to change. The struggle was real. The best way I knew how to overcome this resistance was with data…research and development…proof. To believe it, they needed to see it working in action. I did what I had to do and it turns out digitizing these processes saved the day when employees where sent home to work during the pandemic.

don’t just check the box.

Are you a list-maker? Do you find gratification in checking things off your to-dos? Many people are like this. The problem is if you’re focused on maximizing as many checked boxes as you can, you’re probably prioritizing the “low-hanging fruit” and constantly putting the hard stuff on the back burner. That’s right, the complicated work that no one BUT YOU can do might be lingering in the background following you around.

Until quarantine started, I didn’t even realize I was back-burnering (is that a verb?) my hardest work…self-work. All of my busyness of working, kids’ activities, social functions, etc. was the equivalent of front-loading the easy stuff. Not to mention a distraction from the real work that had to be done. It was simple to keep this pattern going. When that pattern was disrupted, I had no choice but to look within.

“Happiness is: the freedom that comes when you stop constantly craving for more and when you can embrace change without fear.”

@yung_pueblo on Instagram

trust the process.

When I decided to make changes in myself, there was no time for a proof of concept. I had to act on blind faith alone. De-simplifying has meant re-evaluating my priorities to do less bull sh*t and make time for anything that helps me feel my feelings and see the truths I need to see. This has included meditation, journaling, reading, blogging, changing my workout routine to focus on activities with mind/muscle connection versus popping on a playlist to do some cardio.

This kind of self-work is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. My intent is not to scare you away from doing this type of work. On the contrary, I hope to be inspo. My inspiration to find inner peace is stronger than my fears. I am falling in love with being my own change agent. I will leave you with this affirmation shared with me during my in-studio yoga practice at @ClevelandYogaConcord with instructor Anthony Trem:

“Do the hard thing. Have the scary conversation. Choose the uncertain future. Take the risk. Be yourself. Speak your mind and share your soul. Because when you do the hard thing, when you are able to stand up and count on yourself even when you don’t want to and don’t feel like it, when you are able to know who you truly are in the trying times, something magical happens. And that magical thing is real life.”

Long Distance Love Bombs, @CreatetheLove on Instagram

now, what?

clear eyes.

full hearts.

can’t lose.

Remember that quarantine meme: “I finished Netflix today” … that’s how I feel about life right now. I finished ALL.THE.THINGS. For some reason, staying at home was a huge motivator for me — I invested a lot of time in self reflection and self improvement. But here we are coming out of quarantine like whoa and I just wrapped up: BeachBody’s 80 Day Obsession; @GabbyBernstein’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge; @YogaSweetHeart’s 6-week Online Yoga Foundation; and I started a blog. The thing is, I’m entering that dreaded plateau where I’m trying to sustain all my new habits I’ve formed without the magic of “new energy.” Not only do I feel like I need a kick in the peach, I’m also wondering: now, what?

carrot vs stick.

A few years ago I read a book by Daniel Pink, called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In his book, Pink went into great detail about if/then motivators. When you focus on extrinsic motivators you’ll only sustain the results as long as you supply the reward or punishment.

I learned this pretty quickly as a newly ordained homeschooling teacher. As much as I tried to bribe–I mean reward–my kids to do their school work in the allotted time slot, they just couldn’t pull it together. They wanted constant attention and validation on their school work. As a working mom, I wasn’t able to commit this kind of energy to helping with things like art projects (okay, really it’s because I hate crafting). About three weeks into distance learning I flipped the script and sat the kids down to let each of them re-design their own schedule. I also told them, if they finished their work early they had “free time” to play. From then on, you wouldn’t believe how quickly these kids finished not only their work for that day but they also worked ahead. All it took was some empowerment and a little skin in the game.

Honestly, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this earlier. This is my leadership style. I consider myself a servant leader to my direct reports and our one-on-ones lately have been more like heart-to-hearts. I’ve been checking in with them regularly to make sure their souls are in a good place. Quarantine has impacted each of us differently and I want to make sure they know that even though we’re all working remotely (until at least September) they have flexibility, autonomy and my trust.

clear eyes. full hearts. can’t lose.

Okay, why the Friday Night Lights quote? I promise I’ll tie it all together. Earlier this week, hubby got a new tee (see cover pic!) in the mail from his fave store @Homage. Besides immediately bringing Coach Taylor to mind, it also had me thinking–what the hell did that mean anyway? So, I Googled it. And here’s what I found:

This battle cry wasn’t just about winning games. Rather, it was a rallying cry of hope and optimism in a community where everyone had a fair shot — no matter their background, no matter their parents, no matter their gender. And no matter their politics.

USA Today Opinion column (date not listed)

Wow! Given today’s climate, how about we add “And no matter their race.”

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m big on reflection. Ever since hubby wore his new tee shirt Friday, I’ve been thinking about this phrase all weekend. What better way to summarize intrinsic motivation then alignment to inner purpose? When you see things clearly, you are on a path to fulfillment–and once you realize that no matter what, you can’t fill an inner void with “more stuff”–that’s when you can’t lose. Damn, I didn’t know Coach Taylor was so smart.

As I sit here on lovely Sunday night in June, writing this blog, it’s apparent to me that there is no “Now, What?” Adding another “thing” to my list of stuff I’ve finished won’t give me that can’t lose feeling…it will give me that what’s next feeling. There is no answer key here. I’m sharing my journey with you in real-time. I’m a work in progress, and I’m willing to dig a little deeper to find the intrinsic motivation to sustain my new habits. I just hope Coach Taylor would be proud of me.

rejection is protection.

finding comfort in the discomfort.

Yesterday, I opened my Spirit Junkie app to find this phrase:

“When I see rejection as protection, I have the freedom to dream big and take fearless action.”

#spiritjunkie @gabbybernstein

Say what? Did I read that correctly? For real though, who is this mythical person who embraces rejection–please, help a sis out.

So I did what I always do when confronted with information I’m struggling to process. I took the day to reflect. The reflection carried over to this morning in my meditation when I repeated over and over “rejection is protection” hoping some miraculous realization would come to me. Maybe it was lack of intuition, or maybe it was the tequila from last night, but there was still no further clarity on this. Here are a few things that come to mind when I think of rejection: not good enough, unlovable, unworthy, flawed. Hmmmmm.

It wasn’t until this morning, when I was in my favorite yoga pose (half pigeon, shown in the pic), when the instructor said the following and then it clicked:

“…find some comfort in the discomfort.”

Kim Martini, Cleveland Yoga Concord

Damn. How many times have I claimed to love the uncomfort zone? I’ve even blogged about that before. Particularly, I focused on my own career pivot as a path to engagement. A change that lit my internal fire. But you know what preceded that fire? REJECTION. The interview prior to the one I landed was a position similar to what I had been doing for ten years. It was something that wouldn’t have brought the growth I needed. Then last year, when I went for a promotion, I was turned down for the position (more rejection). But the woman who was hired ended up hiring me to work for her…and I’ve been embarking on the most rewarding mentor/mentee relationship I’ve ever had.

okay, i get it, now.

I’ll be honest, rejection is probably my number one pain trigger. But, if I claim to love the uncomfort zone, it’s probably about time I learn to love rejection. I believe all experiences directly support personal growth and upliftment. Maybe I need to settle in, just like in my favorite yoga pose half pigeon, and find that space that allows me to find some comfort in the discomfort of all the emotions that come with rejection. I can finally see that this is healthy and trust that rejection will move me forward to something better…like it always has.

today’s affirmation.

Not only did I have an “aha” during my yoga practice this morning, the closing affirmation was spot on and reinforced my understanding of what I needed to hear. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (author unknown):

Anything that annoys you is for teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is for teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is for teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is for teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is for teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the universe.

I would like to supplement this with: Anyone or anything that causes you to feel rejected is for teaching you to remove the shield you have created to avoid pain…and let rejection be your protection.

my brain on pain.

This morning my meditation challenge (through @gabbybernstein) prompted an exercise called “Rage on a Page.” The assignment was to journal all rage, anger, frustration, fear, worry and doubt for 20 minutes and then spend 20 minutes in a breathing meditation. This blog is almost word for word my journal entry…my voice. I’m sharing it so we can connect through words. Welcome to my brain on pain (maybe it’s yours, too?):

when your journal entry turns into a blog.

Pain…why is there so much of it? Why do we hurt so badly but do nothing about it? We let it fester and eat us alive like a cancer, consuming our energy. It multiplies. The pain that is. It’s like the coronavirus…extremely contagious and dangerous.

This pain, when unmitigated grows inside you and turns dark.

Is this what the world has come to? A nation so divided that we can’t see what unites us is our collective pain?

I am hurting. I am in pain. At the insensitivity. The blindness to evil. How can I help? What can I do? How can I have a voice?

energy. love. light.

I will be the light. I will shine it. But…will it be strong enoughwill it be bright enoughwho will see itwho is ready to see it? We can stop the pain. We can stop the virus. We can stop the bad energy.

You can’t quarantine pain away. You can’t kill this kind of virus. We need to bring awareness. Help them see. This divisiveness perpetuates the problem.

breathe.

I can’t breathe.” Three words…how many of us can’t breathe right now?

Breath is the life force that sustains us. The bodily function that is both voluntary and involuntary. Except for George Floyd it was neither. It was taken from him. His breath.

Let’s breathe. Let’s use our breath to ground ourselves in what we need to do right now. We need to heal. We need to recognize in this moment, with our breath we can awaken to the pain that has brought us to this moment. Because all there is … is this moment.

“…one breathe is all you ever need to be aware of…the rest is memory or anticipation…”

Eckhart Tolle

an excerpt you should read.

Below is an excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” and the chapter is about racial pain. I read this months ago and as I returned to the passage to share in this blog, I was reaffirmed that I am aware of what we can do to heal. I abbreviate where possible:

“In Black Americans the collective pain-body is pronounced. Their ancestors were violently uprooted, beaten into submission, and sold into slavery. The foundation of American prosperity rested on their labor.

The suffering inflicted has not remained confined … but has become part of the collective American pain-body. You can only go beyond it by taking responsibility for your inner state now. Even if blame seems more than justified, as long as you blame others, you keep feeding the pain-body with your thoughts and remain trapped in your ego.

There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges–the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring the light.”