Tag Archives: Celebration

Is Your Setback Actually a Setup?

My recent hair appointment resulted in a setback.

After three years spent growing out the bangs my ex-husband loved, I made the grave error of arriving at my appointment in a “do whatever you want” mood.

Alan wanted bangs.

Craving some immediate and measurable improvement in my appearance, I threw caution to the wind (despite a nagging no on the inside) and said, “Go for it!”

At the first snip, I knew they were too short.

I groaned internally. This was not my first bang rodeo.

Six-months of hair angst would ensue before I could return to my former bang-less glory.

The only comfort? Looking over my shoulder at previous bang travesties and knowing that, eventually, they always grow back.

Which is a great metaphor for any setback in life.

Think of something that pained you in the past. Do you now think of it differently?

Being laid off from QVC? Now I say THANK GOD I didn’t spend my career selling gold chains (though I am happy for those that do.)

The one that got away? I’ve seen his Facebook photos, and he didn’t age well.

Then, there are the more deeply stinging setbacks. Like the 17 years spent in a church that turned out to be a cult.

Sure, I could waste my energy bemoaning the “lost” years, but were they really lost?

The harshest, most painful setbacks in life (and there were plenty at that place) give us crystal clear clarity on what we don’t want and what we do want.

Never shall I allow my voice to be silenced in the face of injustice again. I will not allow others to assign my worth, nor will I be controlled by someone else’s “vision” for my life.

Just as the scriptures say, I had to lose my life to find it.

The experience set me back to set me up for who I am today.

The loss of my father at age ten still befuddles me. But that setback birthed in me a keen understanding that life is precious…and fleeting. That you should end conversations with a heartfelt “I love you” because you don’t know when or if you’ll get another chance to do so in this life.

A recent post talked about how time offers perspective unavailable when in the midst of turmoil. The 56 -year-old version of me now feels my father’s presence at key moments and I have an unshakable knowing that he is ever-present, offering emotional support.

A very present help in time of trouble.

The immortality of his beautiful soul offered small comfort to a little girl who just wanted a big hand to hold. Forty-six years later, I understand his transition to non-physical as a new way to know him.

Our word these past two weeks has been celebration.

My interpretation has been to embrace celebration as appreciation, yes, even for the setbacks in life.

They unfailingly become setups for good if we’ll choose to see them that way.

https://youtu.be/T8fWbw6yo48

Hoping you find sources of inspiration around every corner.

With love,

Brenda

Share This:

Perspective and the Passage of Time

The passage of time offers clarity of perspective unimaginable when in the thick of distress.

This past week, I enjoyed a full circle experience and could savor with glee what once had been completely unsavory. More like gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.

In fact, if you looked at my life as if it were a stock market chart, the particular juncture I revisited would have equaled my greatest crash.

Ah…but the passage of time offers the gift of perspective. 

It’s not the time itself that heals all wounds, but what you DO with the time.

In a whirlwind of excitement, I’d beat out thousands to win a slot as one of QVC’s original show hosts. I moved from New Jersey to West Chester, PA, signed a lease for a new apartment, and settled in to be the star I knew I was born to be. Heady stuff for a twentysomething who’d been making $75 a week as a reporter for a local cable TV news show.

Then, out of nowhere (and after three months of being put on a diet, having my hair shorn so tight it looked like a boy cut, and my wardrobe dissected) I was unceremoniously laid off.

A moment that so sucker punched me, I burst into tears and begged them to at least give me a position in the control room. I had bills to pay!

They declined.

Determined to not go home with my tail between my legs, I did the only thing I knew how to do to survive.

I waited tables.

It was the breakfast/lunch shift at the Penn’s Table Diner in West Chester. Bleary eyed and dejected, each morning I arrived at 5 AM to fresh-squeeze the orange juice and try to remain sunny-side up when my life was so scrambled.

At the end of each shift, covered in syrup stains, I converted my dollar tips and change into larger bills to ensure I could keep my apartment for one more month.

My ego had taken a huge hit. My perspective at that point in time? Brenda, you’re a failure. One week I hosted a show reaching ten million viewers. The next, burning my hands on hot plates and only noticed when late providing coffee refills.

Still, it served as a testament to my resilience; to my desire to survive independently. Those nearly eight months sustained me until, finally, a position in communications was once again secured.

And, after 30 years, life brought me full circle.

This week, in town for a work conference in…you guessed it, West Chester, PA, I revisited the Penn’s Table Diner. As I sat at the counter with 30 years of life experience since my last visit. I savored my new perspective, sipping a steaming cup of coffee and waiting for my omelet to arrive. Tears of appreciation welled up in my eyes.

The night prior, at our annual awards dinner, to my shock and surprise, a table covered in copies of The Public Servants’ Survival Guide awaited me.

Steve and Renee Kantor, the best owners a company could ever have (and the best friends you could ever hope for) read the book and felt everyone in the Company would benefit from the keys it contains to restore joy in work and life. I spent the end of the evening signing books – a dream come true – and my heart warmed by their genuine and generous display of support.

Sitting at the same counter I had once served, I thought about the dreams of 27 year old me. Dreams that seemed so elusive in the midst of rejection and humiliation.

Oh, if I could have whispered in her ear, “Just you wait. It’s going to get so much better. And you will be so much better for the experiences that await you.”

For writers, it’s all material!

Some subplots we never would have chosen, but these experiences chipped away and sculpted the people we are today.

Of course, I left a lavish tip.

And wondered what dreams my waitress harbored.

If you are in a squeezing the OJ at 5 AM juncture in your life, I encourage you to hang in there. Keep believing, and whisper in your own ear, “Hang in there. The good part is coming.”

https://youtu.be/ak__tchFV94

To celebrating in advance! And whispering to our own hearts, “Your dreams have all come true.”

Love,

Brenda

Share This:

Understanding and Knowledge (& the New WOW)

This past couple of weeks I’ve been studying a subject about which I truly need knowledge.

I liken to process to pulling a thread from a sweater and watching it unravel. Just when I complete one webinar on the topic, it ends up raising ten other questions  needing answers.  Which results in signing up for another five webinars, all of which end in a sales pitch with the goal to get my credit card out and sign up for their advanced courses.

I’m gaining knowledge, yes.

But I want to make the leap to UNDERSTANDING. Until that bridge is crossed, information is simply overwhelming.

When facts and knowledge overload my mind, I stop feeling the joy and excitement of the original idea.  It doesn’t feel good.

My original idea (brilliant, but requiring knowledge to execute) literally descended on me as I was walking on the pretty Ringling Bridge on Memorial Day morning.  It dropped into my mind like a gift.  Without angst! Without even trying! Inspiration filled my heart and ideas flowed. Doors opened; resources came to me like a moth to a flame.

You know that feeling when you know you’re on to something?  At that beautiful stage when you haven’t tried to figure out HOW it’ll get done – you just have a clear vision of its awesomeness upon completion?

Maintaining that initial vibe while filling in the gaps of knowledge has been the challenge.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE to learn.  But even more, I love to ACT.  And until understanding comes, I don’t have a green light in my heart to take action.

Understanding is the green light in your heart that says, “Aha!  You’ve got it.  Go for it.”

Understanding is also the red light in your heart that whispers, “Don’t you dare get out that credit card.”

This past year has all been about allowing myself to feel my feelings and learning to NEVER underestimate them.  Our feelings are guideposts, indicating our connection (or lack of) connection to SOURCE (God, Spirit, The Force – however you wish to refer to the Divine.)

Or as they said in the 60’s, “If it feels good, do it.”

The completed vision?  Feels amazing.

It’s the ruminating on the gaps between start and finish that try to trip us up.

Many of us dream dreams, but we focus on how far from manifesting they seem.

We seek relationships or financial freedom or weight loss, and we mull over how elusive these desires appear to be. 

All of which only focuses on the LACK.  And what you focus on is what you (and I) ATTRACT.

In other words, keep complaining about it, and you’ll keep having it (or not having it.)

So what do we do because we DO need to fill in those gaps?

What’s working for me is to stay on the path of least resistance.

When it stops flowing, I stop going. 

When I hit a brick wall in progress, I distract myself with something entirely different – something that reignites my joy level.  It could be an episode of Shark Tank (I’m obsessed) or watching Amy Sedaris’ Instagram videos (also obsessed).  America’s Got Talent never fails to bring a heartfelt tear to my eyes.  And a good mani/pedi is another great distraction.

The dream WILL be accomplished; the gaps filled in.  But I refuse to worry about the HOW. 

Why? Because my overriding UNDERSTANDING is this:  God does not put a dream in our heart for it to be frustrated.  It is a seed that we must tend to with love.  And for it to spring forth and bear fruit, we must nurture OURSELVES.

If you feel overwhelmed or sad or just a little off about your particular dream, wish, or want, distract yourself with something lovely.  Conjure up in your imagination the feelings of how wonderful that elusive thing will be while counting your blessings about the right here right now.

Stay in a happy place.

Doing so will keep you in a receptive mode for more serendipitous encounters with creativity, people and other miracles.

More thoughts on UNDERSTANDING, provoked by the recent and tragic suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain…and the new WOW, comin’ right up!

OMG – that just confirms it.  Keep that vibe high!  Celebrate like it’s already happened.  Don’t apologize for your joyful exuberance!

I’m excited for all of us to delight in this wonderful word that invites us to fan the flame of every happy feeling.

Love to you all!

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

Share This:

Detours to Clarity and the New WOW

Our mother-daughter shopping adventure began miraculously.  We landed at a bridal salon called “The Perfect Dress.”  When mom described what she envisioned wearing to her granddaughter’s wedding, the lovely lady assisting us nodded with recognition.

This was a good sign.

She pulled out a gorgeous, flow-y, chiffon dream of an outfit.  It was simply stunning and mom looked just amazing in it.

The look of joy on Mom’s face made me say, “Ole Jed’s a millionaire!  We hit the jackpot on the very first try!” I began snapping photos and texting my sister with the good news.

Surely, I lived a charmed life.

Until they brought out the color swatches and her hoped-for shade wasn’t available.  And to order this perfect outfit would mean biting our fingernails to see if it could be delivered in time; equally unsure that it would not require alterations.

The potential angst led us to decide that with all of the yet un-tried shops in Sarasota, there had to be something on a rack somewhere that fit the bill perfectly.

Let me just say that the sheer fact that mom and I didn’t off each other in the process of driving hundreds of miles, sampling dozens of outfits and speaking to scores of retailers is a minor miracle.  We did Sarasota, Venice, Fisherman’s Village, Bradenton, University Park.

A tipping point was when one not-so-helpful clerk said, “Gees…if you couldn’t find anything in Sarasota, you’ll NEVER find anything.”

Glares ensued.

The frustration built to a crescendo until a moment of…CLARITY.

Wait a minute!  Why don’t we go back to that very FIRST shop and see if we can pull that magical outfit right off of the rack and take it with us?

(By now, the color was inconsequential.  Nothing else made her feel as wonderful as outfit #1.)

True, there were no guarantees that the store would allow us to buy a sample .  But I was willing to slit my wrists, hand over my American Express, kneel and plead to take that @#$%# outfit out of the store.

We left, outfit in hand.

But the point of the story is that sometimes it takes TIME to have your “aha” moment.

Wouldn’t it be great to just wake up in the morning and know EXACTLY what you needed to do, what to say yes and no to and how to navigate the day?

I’m still waiting for my script to show up.

This wedding reception outfit story is simply meant to encourage you NOT to give up.

At some point, you’ll know.  And when you know, you can DO.

There are far more important decisions in life than what to wear.  Along those lines, here are my parting thoughts on CLARITY as well as the new Word of the Week (which you’re gonna LOVE!!!):

Oh yes, friends.  I am celebrating a successful trip with mom and that a gorgeous outfit is going home with her today.

I’m also looking forward to celebrating every little thing this week.

Won’t you join me?

xoxoxox

Brenda

Share This: