I love the old song Give Me Just a Little More Time. Though the rest of the sentence is “…and our love will surely grow…” you could just stop it at the time part for me.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just supersize your day and tack on an extra three hours when needed?
Three extra hours!
I’d nap, for sure. I’d get that long overdue pedicure. Write some notes to people I love. Maybe even wander downtown or hit the gym far more often.
You know your life is out of balance when the reminder postcard from your dentist is three months old.
Seriously, how did life get so busy that I can’t make time to get my teeth cleaned!
This was one of my most-liked posts these past two weeks, and I know it strikes a chord with many of us:
I hear you! “How can I sit and so nothing when there is so much to DO???”
But to paraphrase the great writer Anne Lamott: “Everything works better after you unplug it. Including you.”
One of the drawbacks of being an optimist is that I think I can keep adding stuff to my plate. Which is now a Thanksgiving-turkey-sized platter. And soon I’ll need a trough if I don’t start saying NO.
By the way, no one is forcing me to do anything. I get excited and I volunteer myself for all kinds of endeavors.
So how do I know when I’m out of balance? When I’m too busy to hear my inner guidance system.
If I don’t check in with myself on a regular basis, I easily lose my way. I forget that I am pure positive energy with limitless potential, creating my life, one thought at a time. Instead, I react to life as if playing whack-a-mole instead of being intentional about it.
And when I’m all caught up in the time suck tizzy of projects, plans, deadlines, and obligations, I’m out of sync with the REAL me.
Pulling this word “balance” has been a real wake-up call for me.
The greatest truth? No one can get me back into balance but ME. Just like I can’t blame anyone else for getting me OUT of balance.
So it’s time to start saying no to some things. Time to cancel some plans. And un-supersize my plate. You, too?
If you were a child of the 60’s and 70’s like me, we had plenty of unrealistic pop culture icons.
Like the Brady Bunch. All those groovy kids in a big house with parents that never fought – and a housekeeper to boot!
I wanted to be That Girl, living in the big city like Marlo Thomas and with a boyfriend handsome as Donald Hollinger. Oh, and with hair that flipped up at the bottom and never looked out of place.
Even outside of TV (and Instagram), we see how people present themselves on the surface, and it all looks so PERFECT.
Or we find out how much someone much younger and less experienced earns and disappointment (or jealousy) kicks in.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
Our expectations can be dashed at ever turn. No one ever goes into a marriage thinking it will ever end. Few people take on jobs or make a career move that they think won’t pay off. You plan a vacation and don’t expect to get the flu!
We soon learn that there’s no crystal ball and there are no guarantees.
Which could be quite scary unless you believed that everything is always working out for you (and me.)
Lately I’ve been thinking about how many times my expectations have led to unnecessary disappointments.
Is everyone required to march to the beat of MY drum?
When I impose MY idea of how people should be on them, I miss out on enjoying how THEY dance to their own rhythm of life.
My inner critic is LOUD, and the only thing that shuts it up is huge doses of empathy.
Putting myself in the other guy’s shoes for a minute silences the voice of judgment.
The good news is, we can always find our way back to love. The Four Agreements helps me with this:
Be impeccable with your word (Speak kindly and in truth to yourself and others)
Don’t take things personally (Oy! The hardest for me.)
Don’t make assumptions (Another biggie.)
Always do your best.
Our biggest mistake when dealing with people not following OUR script? Trying to change them.
Honey, you’ll wear yourself OUT.
I’ve decided to wave the white flag and trade my expectations for acceptance.
When I accept people, just as they are, the energy between us is completely different. It no longer drains or disappoints me to be with them. And oh how good it feels to spend time with someone who accepts me (more than expects from me.)
My friend Renee is a “no expectations” sister. She always lets me stay at her house when I’m traveling for work to Philadelphia. It may have been months since I’ve seen her, but she’ll take one look at me when I arrive and say, “Go straight to bed.”
She might have been looking forward to sister time and a long talk – but I don’t have to perform for her. I don’t have to dance around my exhaustion to make her feel our time together is worthwhile. For her, it’s enough that we are in the same house at the same time. And there will always be coffee time in the morning.
And coffee time means her husband Steve, who is a brother to me, will be at that table.
Double doses of love and acceptance.
Renee is the one who introduced me to Angel Cards (the genesis of our Word of the Week tradition). We start every morning together picking a word for the day. There is a sweetness to the ritual that is amplified by Renee’s palpable hope that, for me, the day ahead will be the best day ever.
I can’t let Renee down, because she loves so purely and completely.
Everyone needs a Renee. And I am trying to be more like her.
More on that and a plea for help with the new Word of the Week! (The universe knows I need to work on this area, pronto!)
If you’re in the middle of what seems to be a breakdown, hang on – your breakthrough is coming. If you seek it, you’ll find it.
That’s the beauty of wisdom. It’s there, sometimes hidden behind a bunch of hurts and painful memories. Perhaps it is shrouded by a busy life. So busy you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Wisdom is waiting for you, and with it is the clarity that comes from a breakthrough.
If you’re in need of a breakthrough and have used all the tools in your toolbox (talking to good friends, meditation, listening to You Tube videos on the topic, yada yada yada) maybe it’s time to bring in reinforcements.
Funny sidebar: I often get private messages from Facebook friends asking for advice on our Word of the Week messages. I always preface any answer with, “Please keep in mind I am not a licensed therapist…”
While I’ve learned a bunch from the school of hard knocks and good books, I’m not qualified to give counsel to anyone.
I have great regard for those whose love for people and genuine desire to impact lives for good resulted in their pursuit of professional counseling as their life’s work. One of my most favorite people in the world is Anna Coker, who has one of the biggest hearts known to man and uses her sensitivity, kindness, skill, and insight to help people heal.
From my past experience, finding a good therapist is often like going on a series of bad dates until you meet “the one.”
There was the guy whose first instinct was to write me a prescription for Zoloft, which may be helpful for some, but simply numbed me to what was REALLY needing attention. And the woman who was so rigidly religious in her world view she couldn’t hear anything outside of it. Not to mention the toxic horror stories from my past church/cult life, where my deepest hurts were manipulated to control my life and rob me of my individuality.
And yes, some unqualified victims like myself were “made” counselors. I’ve already done that apology tour.
Church/cult experience aside, the other detours into less than helpful therapy still had some value.
Kissing the frogs helps you identify the prince (or princess) when he or she comes along.
Just like finding the best restaurant in town and wanting everyone to taste that particular, pillowy gnocchi, so too, when you find a great therapist, you (I) want people to know about them.
Sanna Carapellotti came to me miraculously through my writing coach, who recognized I had hit a creative wall. And he was sensitive enough to realize it had nothing to do with the book I was writing.
I followed this link to arrange a free, fifteen-minute consultation to see if we both felt she could help me. I knew within one minute that this was a “no BS” yet non-traditional therapist who could guide me to the answers. Her philosophy? You have everything you need inside of you. The answers lie within you. Sometimes you just need a little help to reveal them.
I went into the session thinking I knew exactly what the problem was. Which was, of course, someone else. THEY were the problem.
The tricky think about problems involving other people? You can’t change THEM. You can only change YOU and how you respond to life (and them).
Through a combination of skillful questions, interrupted by breathing exercises, guided meditation, tapping – you name it – we got there.
Oh boy, we GOT there.
My revelation came and it was truly like a light-bulb going off.
Just as profound as my Costa Rica Iboga journey, during which I saw myself shut down after my father’s death – unable to express or even be in touch with my feelings – this time I went further back.
To the incubator.
Born one month premature, I went immediately to isolation, hooked up on tubes and fighting for my life. Isolation separated me from human touch and the nurturing comfort a baby craves when entering this world.
I cried in…isolation.
Long after I finally made weight and could finally join my family, this deep-seated fight for survival stayed with me.
A pit-bull like fear ready to pounce on perceived threats and consuming endless energy has been my companion for these 56 years. This pit bull served me well, mind you. I appreciate its fighting spirit at the start and also at various junctures of my life when I truly fought for survival.
It’s such a relief to realize I don’t need to fight for something I already have.
My life is mine. I made it. I am fine.
No longer do I seek something I didn’t get those first few weeks of life from people or organizations or even my profession.
Unpacking childhood trauma makes the baggage of life much lighter.
And that’s the Reader’s Digest version.
Dear readers, I feel so free! So unplugged from negative energy!
It’s such a release to have clarity about why I have felt certain things and responded so extremely to perceived threats all of my life.
Remarkably, I’m not so touchy anymore!
Those same people who bugged the #$%@ out of me? I now feel empathy for them; even love.
Everyone’s story is different. This happens to be mine. What I can say is that help is available. And I hope you, too, love yourself enough to head off your breakdown and head toward your own breakthrough.
Interestingly, I recorded this week’s message BEFORE my session with Sanna. I think you will see a different, more relaxed face in upcoming video messages. How prophetic the new Word of the Week turned out to be!
I should have anticipated that, upon picking the word Celebrate that the next two weeks would provide opportunities to grumble, complain, moan and groan.
It’s always that way with the WOW; it challenges me (and some of you, too) to embrace a positive in the midst of the speedbumps of life.
Enter edition 5.0 of Adventures in Airports.
Each quarter, I fly to Philly and participate in work meetings. Whenever possible, I try to fly out of Sarasota, because the local airport is literally five minutes from my home. There are never direct flights (yet, I’m praying that will change) to PHL from SRQ, but the hour drive time to and from Tampa usually makes up the difference.
So SRQ it was, and a mid-afternoon flight stopping in Atlanta. Let me begin by telling you everything that went wrong.
Once settled at the gate, the thunderbolts came, and with them, the first of 3 delays.
At the first announced delay, some fellow passengers began grumbling. One woman started to freak out a bit. A seasoned traveler, I thought to myself, “Chill lady. You’ll get there…eventually.”
You know that scripture, “Judge not, lest you be judged?” By the third announced delay I WAS that hyperventilating woman, and it was clear that no Sarasota flight would get me to Philly by the next morning.
A quick search revealed a Tampa flight leaving in two hours. Scurrying to retrieve my bag (carry-on size, but holding a huge hairspray, therefore checked), I hailed a cab and said, “Get me to Tampa ASAP.”
There would be just enough time to arrive, check in, get through security and make the flight.
Except after 20 minutes of smooth sailing, traffic halted to a standstill.
As the minutes ticked off, I began Googling OTHER flights. My only other options were revealed to be connections to Newark rather than Philly, and an earliest arrival time of around 11 AM. Two and a half hours AFTER the start of the meeting.
Yes, it occurred to me during this tense standstill that CELEBRATE was the just-revealed Word of the Weeks. Which I found utterly annoying.
Then my phone battery died. I had no USB charger, only one that would fit an electrical outlet. And my taxi driver’s phone was a Samsung, not an Apple.
Did I mention that the thunderstorms followed me during the entire route?
When, just a little over a half an hour before the flight was to board, I arrived at the American Airlines terminal, the check-in screen informed me that it was too late to check my bag.
Goodbye $15 can of hair spray.
Trudging through security, I beelined it for the gate. As I found myself starting to relax and even celebrate making the flight, the monitors announced that those of us attempting to get to Philly would be delayed. First an hour. Then almost two.
I’d get to my destination around 1 AM.
Did I mention that to fill the void and the sheer boredom of waiting in airports for a total of 5 hours I ingested every unhealthy, carb and sugar laden option available to me?
By the time I arrived, I was exhausted, bloated, grumpy and…grateful.
Because here is everything that went RIGHT:
I never pack a carry-on sized bag. NEVER. I love having several shoe and clothing options, my makeup case is almost the size of a carry-on itself, and I HATE hoisting a carry-on and flailing to shove it in the overhead.
But for some odd reason, I DID pack my smaller luggage. Had I not, when I finally checked in at Tampa, I could have gotten on the flight – but with no luggage. Which would have been my particular idea of hell on earth.
Did I mention when I booked that last minute flight from Tampa that first-class one way was actually CHEAPER than the main cabin?
When I went to board, the flight attendant looked at my maximum sized carry-on and quite large computer case and said, “Ma’am, you can’t board with both of those items…”
You should have seen the look on my face.
Until she said, “Unless you are in first-class.”
A cause to celebrate. I nodded, numbly, thanking my lucky stars that by some sheer twist of fate, I was indeed in first class.
Which enabled me to plug in my phone.
So I could find out that my wonderful brother/friend, Steve, would personally pick me up from the airport in the wee hours of the morning.
And take me to his home where the most comforting person on earth, Renee, would have my pillows fluffed and soft music playing when I arrived.
So many things went wrong, yes. But so many things went RIGHT.
It’s all how you look at a thing. (Which was ultimately the correct conclusion I came to, after kvetching and moaning and grumbling.)
The scriptures say that complaining overwhelms your spirit. I would add that celebrating buoys your spirit.
Our days are full of plot twists. We can’t control what happens to us, but we sure can choose how we RESPOND to what happens to us. So why not celebrate?
And sometimes, that’s what makes all the difference.
It seems like the universe is continuing with this theme of positivity. I blapped out a word during my closing thoughts on CELEBRATION…and wouldn’t you know, it was a precursor to the new WOW. Here we go!
By the way, for my SW Florida area friends, I am conducting my first open-to-the-public workshop on August 11th at 11 AM at Davis Hall (Sarasota Center of Light). It’s all about how to raise your vibration when you’re “Running on Empty.”
We’ll laugh ALOT and learn, too…and the point is to spend time on YOU so you can course correct and get that happy tank full again. Click on the above photo or here to link to the event and buy a ticket. (Best $25 you’ll ever spend.) Please share with a friend (and I hope to see you there!)
Some people are transformers by their very nature. My brother-in-law, Tony, whose “birfday” is today is just that kinda guy.
They say that inspired peoples’ energy changes the atmosphere. From the time this wide-eyed 12-year old girl met this hurricane of a man, Tony has made an impact on every room he enters.
Full disclosure: He was my sister’s boyfriend, but I had a HUGE crush on him.
These were the days of Saturday Night Fever, and man could this Italian heartthrob DANCE. He didn’t have practiced, official moves. But he tore it up with his own Northeast Philly disco swagger.
I loved when HE offered to pick me up after the middle-school dance. He’d strut up to the cafeteria, cigarette in hand, John Travolta-like hair – and collect ME. Yep, I was the luckiest girl at Cleary Junior High.
Oh, and he can SING, too. No, he never really knows the words, but they’re always on key. He does a MEAN Elvis and, had the course of his life gone a different way, I have no doubt he would be some kind of an entertainer.
Tony DiBacco is surely a star in my universe.
With my father’s death just a couple of years before Tony entered the picture, we three Costello girls were kind of somber. Mom had to try and simply maintain the inner and outer workings of running a household, while valiantly serving as mom AND dad to her 15-year-old, Shirlee, and 10-year-old me.
There was no Christmas tree for us the year after Daddy died.
Then Tony swept Shirlee off of her feet and we then experienced SUPER-SIZED Christmases. So many presents! So much fun opening them! He would shake every box elaborately and try to guess what was inside.
Tony, to this day, brings electricity to any party. He constantly cracks one-liners, is unfailingly generous, as handsome as ever…and today, when thinking about our Word of the Week, Transformation, it felt right to devote the column to him.
Tony, I love you. Thanks for being a wonderful brother and husband to my sissy. Thanks for always being full of life and fun. You are a treasure!
I pondered how to transform my own life in 2018, and hope you will understand and support a big decision I reveal in this week’s video:
Looking forward to wearing my forgiving clothes with you over the next two weeks!
And feel free to wish Tony a Happy Birfday (he never pronounces the “th”) in the comments!
No one said that seeking to live a big life would be easy.
As I reflected on our Word of the Week, EXPANSIVENESS, so many of the memes that supported this theme spoke to the part of my heart that dreams of a limitless life.
A life where yes is the first response, not no.
A life where dreams are nurtured instead of dashed by negativity and where love can freely radiate from me, fueled by hope and effervescent belief.
This is who I am at my core. If I try to be anything else, it constrains me like an ill-fitting jacket.
As life slips into the years where every moment counts because only God knows how many I have left, I have chosen to surround myself with people whose energy gives life instead of taking my own.
How can you live a BIG, expansive life with weights around your ankles?
Oh, you can try…and almost die trying.
This is not to say that choosing to live big is easy but that choosing to be someone that you are not is much harder.
At some point you have to look at those shackles and decide to settle for their tether or to bravely cut ties and allow yourself to fly.
I used to think that such talk was selfish. Now I realize that taking care of me is long overdue and living my life to suit other peoples’ expectations is just another performance.
I don’t want to perform at living. I want to LIVE.
Which brings me to this week’s post, and the answer to the question “What’s going on with Brenda?”
Let me add this disclaimer: My choices are my own; they are not a reflection or judgement against anyone else. I refuse to stoke bitterness and judgement; I wish only love and happiness for everyone. Please know that my life decisions should not be viewed as a rejection or devaluing of another. Rather, they reflect me finally accepting and valuing MYSELF.
My grumbles of discontent were stopped in their tracks this week as I encountered a very contented man who simultaneously maintains a champion’s internal fire to win.
My discontent was simply a product of VERY long days spent on my feet and a week away from my husband and puppy dog. Don’t get me wrong – my week at a work-related trade show was a thrilling success, but my body is used to being comfortably ensconced at my desk for hours on end.
I LOVED the ability to connect with our clients and make new connections (but even the ugliest shoes built for comfort were no match for a hard convention floor.)
Then I met Markeith Price.
Mind you, I had talked to him previously; he is one of the athletes who uses our product. His story is even more compelling because he participates in the Paralympics as a visually impaired track and field athlete, who just happens to own four US records and will be headed to Rio to represent our country in August.
Somehow a few e-mails and phone conversations didn’t convey fully who I was about to encounter.
When I received the call that he had arrived at the registration desk, I trudged the LONG length of the convention floor and up two flights to meet him.
I could tell who he was right away, wearing a US Team track suit and the presence of a champion. After I shook his hand and welcomed him, he said, “Lead the way…” and at that point he whipped out his cane to ensure the walk would be stumble free.
Because he carried himself with such confidence and had such physical beauty, it was almost a disconnect to see him walking with a cane. Or when seated at the autograph table, for him to put his cell phone one inch from his face so he could tweet and invite people to come and see him at Booth #2087.
I had the chance to interview him later in the day, and he is one grateful guy. (Yes, gratitude is the bridge back to contentment, isn’t it?) Instead of grumbling about the condition that progressively stole his eyesight, he found his passion, his calling, his joy and has never looked back from pursuing his dreams.
I asked him, “How do you do it?”
Simply put, “I hear the gun and I GO.”
Boy does he go. He flies! It’s a ballet of speed and grace; a thing of beauty to watch.
He has made peace with the physical challenge he must live with but never has let it stop him from running toward his dreams.
I see a gold medal in Rio in his future. He sees it too, though not with his eyes.
And I? Found the spring in my step again, thanks to Markeith.
Here are my parting thoughts on CONTENTMENT and the unveiling of another word that embodies Markeith…
May we find our second wind this week and draw from the well of resources that are unseen (just like those extra miles available even when your tank is on E.)
Take the time to refresh your body so that it can catch up to the infinite wellspring contained in your spirit.
Last week’s WOW was PRESENCE, and this time around I was focusing on the fact that I’m never alone. This realization is often accompanied by the presence of goosebumps.
Whether you call that Presence God, or the Universe, the Holy Spirit or Energy…you’ve felt it.
When you’ve been encountered by pure acceptance and love, ka-ching – that’s it!
When the sunset takes your breath away or a baby’s little hand curls around your finger…
…these are all goosebump worthy in my estimation.
This past week, did you see that clip from Undercover Boss? Where the woman (she’s so awesome) tells her new co-worker not to feel down…and to keep moving forward (then reveals that she leaves work to go to the homeless shelter where she and her three children have been living.)
I can’t do it justice, you just have to watch it. And get your tissues ready.
Sometimes in tears or the expression of true emotion, I experience the Presence. Like when Kelly Clarkson sang this week on American Idol.
When I speak or write about the Presence of God, I see a sharp drop in “likes” on Facebook. My thought is that it brings back memories or thoughts of religion that didn’t work for you and you don’t believe in anymore. I get it!
It’s also revealing that when I post a video of the Gulf of Mexico at sunset or a bunny eating a carrot with its nose wiggling, the likes go through the roof.
And it delights me. Because these, too, are a celebration of life and love and light and all that is Good.
Anything I experience that is Good, I attribute to my understanding of God. I find such comfort in feeling that connection.
So while I will always cherish the goosebumps, it’s time for a new Word of the Week (with a few parting thoughts on the word Presence…)
For those of you at a crossroads, at a huge decision juncture, preparing to embark on a business venture or a love affair…or even if it is as small as “should I take that umbrella with me?” – may we all have heightened discernment this week.
And if you can’t yield it; if it’s full of angst and bad energy – flush it.