47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU NOTICED THE SOUND OF YOUR OWN BREATHING?

From the second I opened the office door late last week, the din of heavy traffic welcomed me as my boss headed directly towards me with a smile. I ducked out of his way waving pleasantries as he passed through. I’d deposited my purse in the drawer, unlocked the computer, when suddenly he reappeared.  Quickly, I jumped into the traffic flow to get some answers. Finally, upon returning to my desk, parking myself in the seat, a large cleansing breath escaped my lips startling me! I joked to my co-pilot, that it was far too early for that.

...and repeat.

…and repeat.

Apparently the distress and detox yoga dvd that my daughter and I did the night before couldn’t hold back the combination of work, life and finals. During the video, careful care was taken to feature the gal’s diaphragm demonstrating correct inhaling and exhaling form.  Apparently we weren’t focused enough on breathing because my daughter noticed, before I commented, that the video focused a majority of the time on the girl’s boobies – from every angle.

Finally, for my make-believe half-marathon training – which will come to life when my class work ends next Tuesday – I’ve started climbing the stairs at work when possible.  Even when I trained 6 days a week for a ½ ironman, stairs still always winded me.  So to counter this, I started my marathon breathing to climb the stairs.  Two quick breaths in, two quick breaths out and this results in me restoring the ability to speak faster than usual.

No, I get it, the point is, when did I just sit alone with myself and focus on my breathing? I also am aware that things will leap off the page to you when you need them the most. The tricky part is that one receives and applies the advice in a timely manner.  So today, you have my word, after finishing voiceover for one finals project and before diving into my draft of my finals paper for my other class, I will drop off my kids, retreat to my favorite corner of the world, let the sunshine hit my face, the caffeine course through my veins, and let the breaths come slow and steady.

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

What about you?
When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
If you answer, drop your links in the comments!
This question came from Marc & Angel’s 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

WHO MOVED MY HOVERCHEESE?

Challenges, any changes, energize me.  Call me Grace (under fire), I’m a sucker for deadlines – they’re part of my creative process. When sudden reorgs at work occur, I hunker down and work through tumultuous times. When baseball adds another 2 teams’ practices in one week, I rolled with it. Strengthsfinder 2.0 says I’m a problem solver – I live for solving the family’s carpool problems.  Nothing throws me, until I’m faced with myself.

When first semester of grad school started I spent my first 48 hours fighting non-stop with technology but triumphantly gained a working knowledge for my class.  I beat technology. When first semester ended, I spent my first 48 hours reading books to escape the textbooks. I beat the class!

But then nothing…  Don’t get me wrong, my break rocked! We enjoyed the first holiday with 3 excited cousins (last year only 2 were old enough to anticipate traditions), cruised the Caribbean, caught some movies… But when given the chance, I didn’t do that “thing I would do even if I didn’t get paid”… I didn’t write. (Thank you if you noticed, I appreciate your support)!

I planned to blog, write a book, poetry – even haiku.

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

When I stepped away from my laptop on the last day of class, I turned my back on it.  I didn’t want to touch it, look at it, nothing!  Knowing this, I bought myself a composition book for writing, but, did nothing. I lost the opportunity.

Believe it or not, 6-7 weeks into the break, I craved returning to the rhythm of the master’s program.  I missed my classmates, the weekly feeling of achievement; I anticipated an easier first 48 hours this time, and relished in the slight confidence of being a return Grad Student! The topics this semester thrilled me as I love the problem solving, creative work, and had some experience with strategic corporate and marketing communications. I looked forward to drawing on personal experience.

But, things changed. The blend of students was new, the rhythm of the class feels like a remix, and even the material seems opposite from my true-life experiences.  This time, I recognize the fight-or-flight reaction and am rolling with it. I’m acclimating to the new semester with excessive amount of calendaring, spreadsheets and post-it notes, as well as commiserating with other students.  It’s a change in perspective to see that change doesn’t thrill me, but it will only bring about positive changes in me.

2-10 change

And now, for today’s show-n-tell, I brought Hovercheese!! Can you please check my homework?!

THE END IS NEAR, WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?

There has been a big countdown going on in recent past and it’s finally coming to fruition.  I’m not talking about:

Baby New Year 2013!
Thanks rochelle, just rochelle for the photo!

Nor am I pushing the 12/21/12 end of the Mayan Calendar

Beautiful and mystical Mayan Calendar
Thanks insert screen name here for the photo

I’m realizing just how unprepared I am for a zombie apocalypse and am now slightly concerned about my goal to have a plan for when it occurs.

Hopefully I won’t lose my head and will stay calm!
Thanks Visceral e Insolúvel for the graphic!

The end of my first semester as a graduate student is going to be over in 1 week!

Sound the reveille!

I’m trying to get it all done and wrapped up but at the same time am SUPER excited to have a bit more free time for the time being until next semester!

I already know where my journey will begin…

I’ll be wandering first through District 12!

Help me decide where to wander next!  I have 4 weeks to pack in as much living and relaxing as possible!  WTF? When’s the Finish? Next Tuesday officially, next Thursday after our one dangling live web session.

Reflection of the end
Thanks tind for the photo.

I’ll definitely refer to my 101 in 1001 and Naturally, Kids lists for fun adventures, but tell me what you recommend.  What great thing have you done since September that you just know I ought to try?!

I’ll tell you one thing, I look forward to wandering some with you and catching up a bit!

FCW: TRUST OTHERS, BUT STILL KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

Fortune cookie wisdom – as usual – comes in a timely manner!  I’ll share what it meant to me, but I’d love to hear how you’d apply this to your life!

How would you apply this to your week?

This cookie wisdom came just as I was gripping the wheel trying to turn this car without brakes known as my Graduate School Masters in Communication Management Program.  I’ve known a few guys in my day who love to drive FAST and they always taught me “Accelerate coming out of the turn!” So I anticipated that when we came off of midterms with new groups that things would only get faster!  Nobody told me that it wouldn’t lose any speed in the turn!!!

So nonetheless, here we are with 2 brand new groups, 2 groups lingering from before, plus a few alliances that I’ll be forever grateful for.  But I was CONFUSED!  So this week’s fortune cookie rests on my list I’d just finished for myself for my 4 different groups: who is in what group, when we’re talking next, what assignment we have this week, and by when!

My wisdom is to trust in the group!  I wasn’t sure coming into this degree program if I’d like working in groups because I’m usually a “if you want it done right, do it yourself” kinda gal.  However, thanks to the wonderful people in my first groups, I’m now fairly laid back and if people want to work a certain way, I’m easygoing! I’ll throw ideas out there but am not offended if people don’t go for them. I speak up when I have contributions or opinions, but again, it’s a group decision as to what we’ll use or not.

Still, keeping my eyes open suggests to me in this context that I’d better still be doing the work on my own accord and staying in touch with things, although we do sometimes have the luxury of splitting up work or reading and such.  Also, to me it implies to be proactive! Lastly it means to make sure that there is still a touch of everyone involved easily recognized in the finished work!

How does “Trust others, but still keep your eyes open” apply to your life this week?

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON – O YOU!

Since none of my high school girlfriends, nor I, had the opportunity to fly to Chicago to see Oprah’s show before it ended, today my friends (that I’ve known for almost 25 years!) and I attended the next best thing!  Oprah’s O You 2012 in Los Angeles!  I learned many gems and will share them in weeks to come!

O what a great group of women!

There were so many activities throughout the day, but our largest challenge was “You … in six words”
Mine life story in 6 words is: Make lasting impression, love all equally!

What’s yours?

Can you write your history in 6 words or less?
Click on photo for some great ones – Including Oprah’s!
Artwork (C) Harpo

All the experts (including Oprah) got on stage:  Her best friend, Gail, Suze, Dr. Phil, Peter, Dr. Laura B., Martha, Adam, Iyanla!

I know they’re tiny, but they’re all there!
Lingering idea: It’s ok for women to put themselves 1st!

What a great way to celebrate women!   What a great way to celebrate my 1/2 way point with my first grad school class!

Where the magic happened! WTF: We’re thrilled, fantastic!

#OYou2012

LIFE LESSON: LIVE DELIBERATELY

This week has had too many reminders that life is short.  These losses also reminded me of the amazing people that I’ve crossed paths with in my life and and am still fortunate enough to be able to wander with a while.

Stop and take it all in from time to time.

I get it, we get in a grind, we get busy, we put on our blinders and power through to do what we have to do.  Obviously those efforts are recognized and appreciated.  But connect with others, not just through facebook, but face-to-face.

What is your most recent favorite moment?
Can’t remember? Go now, make one!

It’s amazing what you’ll learn and what you’ll gain when you share yourself with others.

It’s your life, now get out there and start living it!

Thank you Mari, Elsie and Max for inspiring us!
Thank you Melissa for finding the perfect words.

8 I’S THAT CREATE SUCCESSFUL WE

Believe it or not, this life’s lesson is plucked from an article I’m reading on Business Alliances for my classes on how to create excellent alliances…

Worst case scenario – great working relationship
Best case scenario – LOVE!

Individual Excellence  – Both should be independently strong and bring something of value to contribute to alliance. Have positive goals, not just looking to escape something.

Importance – The relationship should fit your strategic objectives so both want to make it work

Interdependence – Partners complement each other and neither can accomplish on own what both can together

Investment – Invest in each other to show mutual respect, commitment

Information – Open communication, share goals, trouble spots, changing perspectives

Integration – Link operations to teach and learn from each other, bridge on many levels

Institutionalization – Make relationship formal, not easily broken, set clear responsibilities and decision processes

Integrity – Behave honorably towards each other, no abuse of power, no undermining!

Seems like pretty wise advice for any relationship!

Citations:

Kanter, R. M., (1994). Collaborative Advantage: The Art of Alliances. Harvard Business 

    Review, 94405, 96-108.

RIGHT BACK TO THAT MORNING…

Beautiful Pepperdine University memorial in Malibu, CA
Photo by We-Will-Never-Forget

The morning began its usual routine. My baby slept while I showered, my wasband drove to work. When I got out of the shower, my phone was ringing. It was my friend Sharon and I chuckled that 6am was even early for her. I barely said “Hello” when she in her excitement asked “Did you see a plane hit the World Trade Center? Turn on the TV!” I was curious and planned to keep it on while getting ready. On the TV, the cameras were fixed on the towers, the north tower in flames, and were treating it as an unfortunate, yet ordinary, plane crash.

As I turned to get dressed, out of the corner of my eye the fireball erupted from the south tower. I turned back believing my eyes must be mistaken. I didn’t even yet know the full extent of what happened, but knew it was neither normal nor good. My mind raced searching for any explanations and immediately took sides. Logic and fear battled it out in my head while my eyes remained glued to the TV and its stream of horrific images. In a valiant effort to regain control, my head became overloaded, all of the energy left my body and I fell into the chair. On the opposite side of my being, I knew I was not dreaming because I felt the rock in my stomach and felt strange comfort from the ratty rough texture of the chair holding me. Immediately people said it, too, was a plane. I remember some group discussing the odds of 2 plane crashes originating from the same airport in the same day. They, nor I, “got” what was playing out in front of us.

Pentagon Memorial photographed by mla.march.penn
Click photo for info…

When the Pentagon was wounded, in the heart of our country, my world and security unraveled. Nothing was impossible now as I witnessed America under surprise attack. I believed this could spread like a virus and dreaded the possibilities. I grieved for the world that I’d been so eager to experience through my son’s eyes as it seemed to be sucked into something sinister. I contacted my wasband who expressed concern for a co-worker returning from D.C. that morning and they didn’t know if not hearing from him was good or bad. Sharing other’s concerns, for what we hoped was an unrelated issue, allowed me to take a step back and hold onto a string of hope. My body slowly unclenched each muscle and I thankfully channeled my thoughts towards prayers for Yen.

I called my mom desperate for her to “fix things” as only moms can. She tuned in right as the south tower billowed new, grayer smoke that we assumed was another explosion. When the smoke parted revealing that the tower was gone, my eyes and emotions could not agree that it disappeared before our eyes. Shocked, my mother and I clung to each other through the line praying that everyone was evacuated safely but knowing they weren’t. The chirping of the many downed firemen’s jackets still chokes me up to this day. I hung up the phone, desperate to check on my still sleeping son, to catch a glimpse of the beauty still in this world. I feared that by opening his bedroom door, I’d unleash the wrath of this monstrous morning onto him that, thus far, I’d been able to contain to the living room. As reports of the next plane crash began, my mind instantly mapped it as related.

Through the TV screen, my eyes braced the north tower to keep it upright. My heart, saturated by pain, embraced those people who chose their best option of leaping from the floors 100 stories up. As the north tower fell, chaos and emotion blew through me as this tragic, ironic, heartfelt, twisted, yet strangely elegant, moving death closed a chapter of history. There was no turning back now, no helping, no fixing. It was done, they were gone.

Foolishly attempting to follow the logic of a terrorist, I knew they were coming to L.A. next and I did not feel right going to work, separated from my child. I never wanted to entertain the thought, but considered that if we would die today, I’d want us to be together. I was also extremely anxious at the idea of going to work in the high-rise building – the only building in the world to have Mickey Mouse on it, with his hands up inviting LAX or Burbank flights to “Come and Get Me!” Reports speculated that the enemies were targeting defining American icons such as Wall Street, the entertainment industry, Disney, baseball and apple pie. I decided that my home wasn’t even far enough away. No place offered security. I felt guilty thinking my emotions caused me to be a chicken shit but relaxed some when my boss called and said that the company announced we should stay home with family.

Many people say that west coasters didn’t feel it as much, but I know so many people who worked with, were related to, or knew people that were lost – we were not untouched. As the details spilled out, the nation-wide moments of silence and the local memorial for my ex’s co-worker Yen came and went, my mind and body constantly battled over how much I should be to feel or how much more I could possibly ache over. My mind controlled my emotions as tightly as it could, but my heart felt that it owed it to every last person that was lost, especially the heroes, and the victims’ families, to know their stories and feel the loss. Eventually I was able to survey the emotional grounds trusting my body would dictate what I could handle at one time. Each year the heartache comes rushing back.

My “best friend that I’ve met once in person” said it the best. We need to remember the unity we all felt. “We need to pull together & remember we are one. America. Not a country divided, or they have “succeeded”. Never, never, never give up. My heart will be with all that lost their lives that day & to the families still suffering their losses. Bless our country – however you choose to do so.”

Share your stories (or links) about that day or ways you’re honoring the fallen.

Pay tribute to those lost in 9-11 by living for moment and the beauty of each day and give your family an extra hug!
Photo by https://www.facebook.com/freepeoplemb

I try to hold onto the beauty that came as a result of this tragedy – the heroes, the humanity, the dreams that will be continued by family and friends. While this may not have been Yen’s exact plan for how to provide improved medical technology to his home country of Ethiopia, the people who were loved and touched by him will carry out his dream.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: GROWTH

The Heart of the House, the ultimate dispute settler, our history, Growth! They grow up WTF: Way too fast!

The writing is on the wall, who’s the tallest?
What do you do if you move?

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: COFFEE MUGS – From Mundane to Meaningful

My reputation precedes me. Around these parts I’m known as the Most Caffeinated Gal in the West.  Triple lattes in the morning then a Grande booster around 3pm would get me through the day.  Although I’ve lowered my octane, settling for drip coffee, my simple goal remains… to stay awake longer than my kids!

So today, a child-free weekend morning, rather than settle for whatever jet fuel comes in a paper cup, I allowed myself the luxury of a slower start. I foggily shuffled my feet towards the coffee machine, aiming to boost myself enough to swim this afternoon after tackling school financial aid, creating a writing desk, and sifting through the house preparing for a garage sale.  Besides the pool, the rest wasn’t very inspiring but when I’m fully caffeinated, I just jet around til it’s done!

About 12 years into my 13 year marriage, we bought ourselves some beautiful dishes. I’ll admit I pushed the agenda with these. It was a beautiful parting gift.

I opened my cabinet to grab for a mug and lowered my reach from my top-shelf matching jewel-toned mugs, to the more colorful selection of mugs on the well-used every-day shelf.  As the coffee brewed, I glanced through the shelf to see if any could retire to the garage sale box.

Just Grab One, they all hold coffee just as well…

First, I saved my favorites, chosen initially because they hold the most coffee. Today, as I searched the darker parts of my cabinet, my vision grew clearer and I realized the treasures it held.  I picked up each mug, wrapped my hand around the cup, weaved my fingers through the handle, and felt the weight of the memories that each one held.

First couple – elegant but don’t take themselves too seriously while perfectly complementing each other!

Some came from friends and family providing the warmth of snuggling up with them for great conversation – even when they aren’t there.

Best gift from a warm friend, two mugs and hot chocolate! Although the partner shattered long ago, this one connects me to her in between long stretches of actually seeing her!

Others sent a shot of inspiration – far more effective than espresso shots.

This gift from my sister has grown more valuable with every relaxing and reflective read!

A few mugs represented life highlights and unique experiences.

Recalling on my fondest memories playing in Imagineering and my character experience while reading the new Pixar book! For a Diznoid, it doesn’t get any better.

Some reminded me of the joy from favorite adventures.

What a sisterly bonding day was spent at ellen! Visiting Graceland on my first “business trip”! No work trip has matched that fun level yet…

Even my children agree that ice-cold milk, insulated with a heart-warming shot of nostalgia, tastes better out of the glossy mug than out of their child-proof plastic cups.

Lovely reminders of my son’s childhood sporting adventures and my daughter’s sense of fun and adventure – Arrrgh!

I am so grateful this morning for the side of sentiment served with my morning coffee.  I vow to relish more than just the rich blend of coffee, but the rich memories!

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Share your story & you may reach the one person who needed to hear it most.

WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: