Tag Archives: Empire

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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Why Are We So Hard on Ourselves?

When we are hard on ourselves, is it because we think going soft lets us off the hook too easily? Do we brutally hold ourselves accountable to validate our goodness?

We’re not parking cars, here. We need no validation.

We must be kinder. To ourselves.

There are plenty of critics, naysayers, judges, and frenemies who won’t hesitate to point out our shortcomings or pounce on even an unintended slight.

Let’s not join their chorus. Life is already kinda hard.

At a recent (virtual) workshop, I began teaching on one of my favorite chapters in The Public Servants’ Survival Guide. All about how perfectionism is our foe and that yes, we are flawed, but we are awesome.

We’re flawsome – and should embrace our flawsomeness!

I felt the audience’s eye-rolling and inner protestations even though I was the only one on camera. Which stoked a little fire and brimstone message from this normally perky uplifter.

Some of you talk to yourselves like you wouldn’t talk to your worst enemy! Your inner voice is MEAN!

If those thoughts you allow yourself to think about you evoke tears or despair, here’s one thing I know for sure: You’re NOT voting with your inner being. You’re letting your human being win.

Now, your human being can be kinda fun. It can be bought new shoes or bake in the sun. It loves a good, dense cheesecake and a rich rerun of Empire. But in the deep and spiritual matters of life, it’s a bust. Your human being is easily cranky from lack of sleep or traffic or that intermittent fasting you’re trying 16 hours out of each day.

The struggle is real for your human being.

But your inner being? It’s ALWAYS love. Loving you and others is its constant state. It bears all things, believes and hopes and is constantly rooting for well-being, which is your natural state,

To often we vote with the unnatural states of confusion, frustration, self-degradation, and other lesser feelings.

When I reflect on the times when I raked myself over the coals for a mistake made, it NEVER made things better. My self-inflicted suffering didn’t change what was wrong, it just made me feel worse. No amount of tears, nausea, or sleeplessness could change my screw up.

Several come to mind. Like not proofreading a calendar project well enough and going to press with two August 13ths. Or slinging a sharp retort to an undeserving and kind partner. Oh, the pain of words spoken that should rather have been swallowed!

We all miss the boat. But must we drown ourselves to prove our sincerity?

Unfortunately, unless you choose to truly become a student of feeling good who believes well-being is everpresent, voting with your inner-being feels like hard work.

Until it becomes a habit.

Then, thinking kindly toward yourself and others is the happy flow of life. It is the path of ease and least resistance. And when you live there, life is easier (and you’re definitely not so hard on yourself.)

Screwed up? Join the club.

No one came forth for a perfect ride, but to enjoy it – bumps and all.

Stop making a mountain out of that molehill. Feeling terrible doesn’t help anyone, least of all yourself.

You don’t need to prove your sincerity or good heart to anyone.

It is.

And it’s beautiful.

Now start acting like you love yourself. Or even better, get to that most-important business in this life journey and really fall in love…with YOU.

More on that right here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttbwDKTSYag

Yep – it’s our responsibility to own how we feel and what we’re thinking.

As the CEO of our own lives, let’s commit to feeling good again!

Much love,

Brenda

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