Tag Archives: drama

Escape (without Leaving the Living Room)

Many of you feel me when I proclaim “I need an escape!”

When packing a bag, searching for the right hotel room or perfect little restaurant, and exploring somewhere new are a few of your favorite things, staying put can be maddening.

I discovered joyous relief in recent weeks and it truly involved an escape.

But I didn’t have to leave my living room.

You may recall my obsession with Downton Abbey a year ago. Late to the party, when I finally discovered it, I binged during every spare moment. This proved challenging because Mark was not similarly enamored. I snuck in episodes when he was busy doing Mark things, like the lawn, the pool, or garage things.

Sure, I could have holed up in the spare room and watched, but the wonderful thing about having a true partner is that when the workday is done you really do want to spend it together. This is still new to me and I savor every minute of the companionship.

He’s a champ! He’ll even get teary-eyed when a singer on America’s Got Talent strikes an emotional chord. And it is so much fun to share episodes of Million Dollar Listing with someone equally jazzed by those New York and LA properties.

Because of Mark, I’ve eyeballed episodes of NOVA and Dirty Jobs – two shows that I previously ignored.

But when you find a binge-worthy show that sucks you in to the point where you discuss the characters as if they are family members and scream together out loud at the cliffhangers?

It’s escapism at its best.

So what is my new obsession? It’s the complete antithesis of Downton Abbey and its high-collared formality and British accents.

It’s Empire.

I know! When it came out in 2015 it broke every record for prime time TV, but I missed it.

But God knew it would be just what I needed NOW.

The Lyon family show is filled with drama, chair-dancing music, true love, and the OUTFITS?

Cookie Lyon is my fashion spirit animal.

Lucious, her bad boy ex (and future) husband played by Terrence Howard is the man you love to hate and always root for, even if he’s on the wrong side of the law.

But Cookie? A fierce mother; a suffer no fools business woman – she is EVERYTHING.

When Lucious fell victim to amnesia, Cookie had NONE of that.

“I’m Cookie Lyon, baby – and I’m unforgettable!”

We are deep into Season Five and shudder to think what will happen when we hit Season Six. The Final Season.

Oh, and we started watching it on free TV but couldn’t wait for a week to pass for the next episode. In all, we’ve spent over $100 just to get our nightly Empire fix.

Considering the money saved on zero flights, hotel rooms, dinners out, and Ubers in 2020, we’re still ahead.

What are we going to do when we can’t pretend we’re at the Lyon dining room surrounded by outrageous chandeliers and art? Oh to be at that huge, ornate table with goblets of fine wine, sumptuous meals (sometimes whipped up by Cookie but always served by help) and followed by impromptu jam sessions?

I shudder to think. These people are embedded in our lives! We have dinner conversations about “Will they or won’t they?” and stream the show’s music during the workday.

Like the song that makes me dance around my office like I’m in a music video:

Hakeem loves the ladies and is a rapper. Jamal owns a silky smooth R & B falsetto and serves as the moral compass of the family. And Andre? A tortured soul with a huge heart.

Yes, he tried to kill his father, but by the next episode they’ve forgiven all. We forgive the Lyons ALL of their transgressions!

Around every corner is new drama and something new to fight about!

Yes, they fight each other fiercely, but like a pack of “Lyons” always pull together to protect the family.

So why do I write this ode to Empire?

Because it accomplished something I sorely needed. An escape from the same old same old life lived each day since COVID-19 descended (and continues) to plague Florida.

This escape also gave me a gift; a new favorite love song. You’ll love it, too.

The best part of this escape? I didn’t have to do it alone.

I could Dream On With You, Mark Roach.

Thank you for putting up with my love for hip-hop, outlandish outfits, and for understanding that there’s a little part of me that longs to be Cookie Lyon.

So if you, like me, crave a getaway, indulge in a little harmless escapism.

It might just be the tonic you need for this oh so strange year we’re having.

And dreams? I speak about them in this week’s video:

One of my favorite quotes:

“It’s not your work to make anything happen. It’s your work to dream it and let it happen.”

ABRAHAM HICKS

Great marching orders for the coming weeks! Enjoy!

Love,
Brenda

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You’re Telling Me To RELAX?

RELAX???

When your word of the week says, “Relax!” and the world as you’ve known it becomes completely upended, it’s like a bad joke.

You want me to relax when I can’t leave the house?

It’s a bit counterintuitive. You’d think not being able to leave the house; not fulfilling obligations; not even being able to go to the gym would offer abundant opportunities to relax, right?

Ah…but relaxation is a mindset.

I wish I could uninstall my rampant thoughts as easily as a computer USB.

Remembering that every fearful thought begins with “What if?” has helped me to stop negative momentum.

And, if the thoughts we are thinking don’t feel good? Stop milking them.

Further, if the news we listen to heightens our anxiety? Power down that device.

I’m not suggesting to stick our heads in the sand. But I am saying as the CEO of our lives, we need to (more than ever) listen to our internal, emotional gauges. When we feel information overload, take a step back.

Wash your hands.

Then watch something funny or play catch with the dog.

Social distancing needs to be offset by healthy doses of laughter, virtual connection, and generosity.

Rather than focusing on lack, I’ve been considering how I can give. And some of you have been inspiring me greatly!

My friend, the amazingly talented John Russo, has been crooning on Facebook live. What a joy! (I’d pay to subscribe, John, if you had that option…)

The Main Line’s Martha Stewart, Pat Nogar, does live cooking demonstrations on her page (seasoned with big doses of inspiration.)

And I considered, “What can I do?”

Ages ago I bought a software subscription to offer live webinars and it collected dust because of my busy life. Plus, my favorite thing to do is to speak live and in person!

But who’s doing that now?

Crickets.

However, behind my desire to encourage groups in person is not what I’m paid to do, but what I’m made to do.

And that is to be an uplifter.

Nothing else makes me feel more alive. So I’m hosting my first virtual book club webinar on Friday, March 27th at Noon. Pat Nogar is co-hosting with me, it’s free, and will focus on one of the chapters of The Public Servants’ Survival Guide: REST.

We’ll be chatting about how REST is more than getting a good night’s sleep, and that those who master resting in peace have become adept at sidestepping drama. Please register by clicking here.

(Breaking news: There’s always drama. Always will be! )

Long after this pandemic is a memory, there will be drama among in-laws, frenemies, cubicle-sharers, and the real housewives of any community.

I read where the Spanish Flu in 1918 resulted in 50-100 million deaths, but also ushered in a wave of unprecedented self-reflection and personal growth among the populace. King Lear was written when Shakespeare was quarantined during the plague!

What beauty will come from these ashes? Let’s find it together.

And boy, the cards don’t lie. Wait’ll you hear what the new Word of the Weeks is!:

https://youtu.be/qIfqEX-sru0

Stay healthy. Know you are loved. And I hope to be with you next Friday!

xoxoxo

Brenda

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Don’t Milk the Bad Stuff

Please DO milk the good stuff in life. Make the most of a hearty laugh, savor that cold, creamy gelato, and allow a compliment to penetrate deeply into your soul.

The trap? It’s so easy to just fast forward through life, or push aside a tender moment as we move on to the next thing.

Life isn’t a race to the finish line.

Smelling the roses and chasing butterflies along the way make the journey rich. And the long way is often the scenic route!

However, should you scrape your hand on a thorn, or a frenemy slights you, or a seagull takes a #$%@ on your head, don’t milk THAT.

Moaning about what went wrong only amplifies it, underscores it, and energizes more of the same.

Just. Stop. It. (Preaching to myself, here.)

Sometimes it’s a habit. We get caught up in the drama of the thing gone wrong. We enjoy telling the story to the gasps and collective groans of our audiences. (Have you ever noticed that, just like the fish caught gets bigger with each re-telling, the drama around your negative story only grows every time you tell it?)

Those of us that believe in the law of attraction have learned it’s not what you WANT that you get – it’s what you FOCUS on that you get.

If you want more instability at work, keep milking it. Talk to all of your co-workers about how unsettled you feel. Play out your negative imaginations, leading to paranoia. Read into every possible slight and anticipate the worst possible outcome.

If you want a better work life, use that amazing imagination of yours and envision your best-case scenario. Play out that conversation with your boss until it’s pitch perfect. Take every positive encounter and fertilize your desired outcome.

Our word these past weeks has been honesty, and I’m all for calling things as what they are. To a point.

There comes a point where it’s far more effective to conceive of what is NOT as though it is.

That’s where you go from living under the circumstances to being truly meta-physical. On top of the physical; over it.

Milk the good stuff and more will come your way.

Naysayers might criticize and say you make too much of a thing.

Can you ever have too much of a good thing?

My musings on honesty and a new WOW, coming right up:

https://youtu.be/o8lDz4-wrV0

Don’t despise what’s happened in your life if you learned something from it!

Have a great couple of weeks…

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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Bob’s Cleaners is a Peaceful Place

When you think of peaceful places, what comes to mind?

Maybe it’s the waves gently lapping on the shore at the beach; staring at a fire pit while roasting marshmallows – or sitting in a pew, listening to music as you wait for church to begin.

An unlikely spot for refuge is your local dry cleaners…unless, of course, you’re going to Bob’s.

When I moved from downtown to the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota, one of my first delightful realizations was that it would once again be convenient for me to take my dry cleaning to Bob’s! I MISSED going there.

Why? Because the minute you walk through the door, you feel zen.

There are a host of positive, inspiring messages decorating the walls (and soft music is always playing at Bob’s.)

Any place can slap some peaceful quotes on the wall; that doesn’t determine the vibe. A vibe is always about the people and the energy they bring to a situation.

Enter the guy I always referred to as Bob. (But he’s not.)

This is Craig, who is the smiling, gentle presence that welcomes those who drop off and pick up their dry cleaning.

When we moved to the neighborhood, I was SO excited to introduce Mark to Bob’s Cleaners. (You might have thought I was taking him to a new restaurant or a sporting event.) We walked in and there he was, smiling from ear to ear and acting like he’d seen an old friend.

I wanted to make the introduction, but realized I only assumed his name was Bob. He sweetly clarified, “I don’t mind what you call me, but my name is really Craig.”

Craig’s very presence makes you feel like you’re wrapped in a soft blankie.

It’s impossible to imagine him getting all worked up about something.

He exudes calm, which has a calming effect on everyone he encounters.

On a recent visit, another smiling gentleman and I entered around the same time and began chatting. He drives out of his way from another TOWN, just to get up and close with the peaceful vibe at Bob’s Cleaners.

You know, people will forget what you said…but they always remember the way you make them feel (paraphrased Maya Angelou.) Businesses that make me feel peaceful, like Bob’s, will always earn my loyalty.

More on stepping away from drama and embracing peace!:

https://youtu.be/uh2jf5FJaT4

Are you hearing the encouragement to stop talking yourself out of what your intuition knows? Me too.

Have a beautiful week, everyone!

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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The Art of Showing Up

This week’s post honors those who have mastered the art of showing up for the people they care about.

It may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, risky, and completely beyond the call of duty, but they show up.

Remember that co-worker who gave you a ride to work when your car was in the shop? Or that twenty dollar bill stuck in your pocket when you ran out of cash before the next paycheck? These angels among us never “ghost” you in times of crisis.

Perhaps it is that listening, non-judgmental ear when you tell the SAME story for the 84th time, or the gentle encouragement after you break a promise to yourself that says “tomorrow is a chance to start fresh.”

Showing up is an art because we don’t get hatched being kind, selfless, compassionate or caring.

Our baby cries are all about US – what we want and need and must have NOW. I’m an advocate for loving yourself enough to take care of you, and I’ve written volumes on that subject.

But those beautiful souls who, despite their own drama and pain; despite their harried schedules and limited resources, who dig deep and give when you need it the most…

They make life not just bearable; they add joy where sorrow lived.

So adept at showing up (even when you don’t have the courage to ask), these beautiful people are the catalyst for everyday miracles.

When my marriage ended, I experienced those who had mastered the art of showing up. Renee, Cynthia, Anita, my sister, Shirlee, Roseann, Karen…I could have never survived without you.

There were nights that I would call Anita and have nothing to say and it was okay. She’d just listen to me breathe on the other end of the line – sometimes for hours – until I could handle the aloneness enough to hang up.

Back in my Bible college days when I scrounged up change to put gas in my car, my cousin Kimmy would drive up from South Jersey and slip a $20 bill in my pocket.

I tell a few more stories in this week’s video, but my heart is full of gratitude for the tender, generous hearts who have mastered the art of showing up.

They have schooled me in true love, and it has been a healing balm.

More stories from my “showing up” files – and a lovely new WOW here:

https://youtu.be/FHda6015E20

What a lovely word to begin my birthday week. I think I’ll take it for the entire year!

xoxoxox

Brenda

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