Tuesday, November 4, 2014

growing into myself

my initial thought is to start this post with "what's wrong with me?' and honestly, I know there is nothing wrong with me, it is just the discomfort of feelings that make me vulnerable, that are scary, that aren't perfect and happy and content, that make me uncomfortable.

the sheer fact that I am inhabiting a body with needs and wants and feelings that I can't control, or even sometimes pinpoint yet, or that is always changing and not perfect - ALL of that, and so much more that I haven't even scratched the surface of yet, it all is just too much to bear sometimes. I can objectively say not ALL the time, but then again, I don't FEEL this way ALL the time, see. so when it comes, when the high begins to face or temper or reality becomes no longer picturesque in my mind, or my thoughts begin to bog me down...

then.

then I try to fill the void.

then, is when I do, and talk, and eat, and run, and keep busy, and fill every waking moment. then is when I avoid being still.



THEN is when I need the MOST to BE STILL.


why is it that I am just so afraid to feel things sometimes? I would say it is because I have been hurt immensely before, but I think - I KNOW - it has more to do with a combination of factors.

my stuff.

my stuff is solely mine. my stuff it is not pretty. it is messy, and dirty, and complicated, and overwhelming, and too much to talk about sometimes, and spans the course of my 34 years, and it is mine.
did you read that correctly? can I say that again?


it is solely MINE.

my stuff is MINE. it is not yours, or my mother's, or my best friend's, or my neighbor's, or my boyfriend's. it is experiences, stories, pain, joy, sorrow, elation, abuse, sensitivity, empathy, LOVE, hate, regrets, wrinkles, broken pieces, and canvases upon canvases of beautiful artwork that was not only painted by me, but it was painted in blood, in a way. only I can sort through the cards coming up, as much as I have a large support network, as much as my friends and family and loved ones want to be there for me, I am the only one who has the key to unlock and walk through the door, who can translate the paragraphs to read and make sense of the story that is happening.'


it is this same concept that is both empowering and debilitating to those who feel even slightly alone, overwhelmed, like they are slogging through muddy waters.

it is this concept i challenge that is vital for those who are depressed, unhappy, struggling with guilt and shame and difficulty, with more emotional awareness than they can handle, with a plate full of as-yet unrecognizable food, to understand. to stop and realize.

because more than anything, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. you have NEVER been alone.

regardless of how alone you may feel. now. yesterday, now, tomorrow, in twenty years. TWO HUNDRED YEARS from now.

we will ALL feel some of these feelings. at some point, to varying degrees, because of a multitude of situations, or due to no situation at all that we can identify.


tragically, the end result of feelings this way, the resolution to this loneliness, the way out of this bottomless pit that is our ability to truly live in the human range of feelings?

for some, it can result in death.

you know, I didn't mean to get on this topic when I started. but I keep thinking of robin williams. his suicide, although unexpected, did not surprise me in the sense of the word. they say, those who can't do, teach. well, his life was a perfect example of that. I obviously pontificate on his situation without knowing him at all, but can speculate on the one topic that all too often has remains unnamed: depression. those who are blessed to experience the intense joy and happiness and sheer elation of LIFE - a life lived in TECHNICOLOR it seems at time - those who are fortunate enough to know the way to other's hearts, souls, minds, the ones who make you laugh, cry, feel, in large part because they are able to truly read and connect with all of those things inside of you, and You, and you, and YOU...we are the people who feel burdened by the responsibility of seeing, empathizing, feeling it almost as it if were ours. and then, carrying it with us to a degree.

I liken it to looking at others' through a feeling kaleidoscope. looking at someone and cutting through the crap, feeling at times like i am seeing something they are not, like they haven't gotten to what i'm seeing yet, but they will.

it has happened more than once.

i know i am not alone.

I've been lucky and gifted enough to meet a few kindred spirits who can identify with how i feel, and it is incredibly tough for them as well.

and, more so, I've recently been blessed beyond my own belief to love someone, to have them love me, who gives me space to feel this way. who knows he can't solve it, fix it, go through it for me...


but that somehow i don't have to go through it alone. that sometimes, all it takes is a hug.


i would say it is incredible, but slowly, one day at a time...



i am starting to believe it is real.


for all of us.
b

Monday, October 27, 2014

standing up for my Self.

Relentlessly eliminate poison from your life. “We do not have to be nice. We only strive to be kind.”

Show up – even before you’re ready.

Spend time in stillness every day.


 

There I am, sitting on glorious green grass facing a glorious lake, in glorious weather, on a glorious day. All in the attempt to do all of the above – to spend time in stillness on a day where I have managed to admit to my coach that I have reached an emotional breakthrough, that my career path is headed in the right, albeit unexpected, direction, and broken down in tears three times in the process.

 

And what was I doing?

 

What was I doing as my laptop sat open, ready and willing, on the crisply cut lawn, boozy breeze blowing through my ponytail, plump clouds like bright white thought bubbles waiting to be occupied? What was I so intently focused on while the universe provided me with just the right cocktail of natural ingredients for creativity?

 

Perusing through Facebook and email. On my MEphone. Blinded by the small screen that so frequently becomes our full view, the “big picture”, and the window facing out. Distracting me not only from the universe, the world, the neighborhood which I chose distinctly for its charm and small town beauty, but also from my thoughts, my feelings, my intuitive checking in – my exercise in stillness. The small screen distracts from the still, unnervingly LOUD volume of my quiet, of the silence which holds the important stuff, filters out the noise, and whispers the truth in the shadows, over and over again, until I decide to listen.

 

That deafening silence, that peace, it is a steady hand in a sea of storms.

 

It is the one honest friend in a world of yes-men.

 

It calms the fear.

 

It is liquid gold.

 

I say this not to judge, but so that we – I – pay attention. So that I am deliberate.

With intentions.

With actions.

With Words.

 

Obviously I am trying this myself, not as an exercise or an experiment, but with the intent of developing a habit. A habit to be Here, to be Now, to not be Trying.

 

To be open and listening. To be aware.

 

To honor my gut and give it room to relax.

 

---

 

Oh. My. Gosh. YOU GUYS.

 

I just did something AMAZING.

 

AMAZING.

 

Get ready.

 

 

I SPOKE UP FOR MYSELF.

 

I had someone wander into my purposely chosen peaceful, quiet setting (with plenty of space to inhabit), likely enjoying the day as well, and proceed to talk on speakerphone until my purposely chosen, quiet setting, was no longer.  I let it go for about ten minutes until I could no longer focus on anything but the distraction. After pondering ways to overcome this on my own – I’ve already got classical music playing so that one’s out – I finally asked her to please move out of earshot as I was trying to get some work done (in Spanish, this is a paraphrase J ). (True to form, politely, natch.) She so kindly obliged immediately and without so much as a hint of disturbance.

 

I am going to pat myself on the back for this one.

 

When you’re a people pleaser, as I have been known to be, this is the stuff right here. In a past life I would get up and move, not wanting to rock the boat. Wishing I could drown her out, regretting not bringing headphones. Instead? Instead I exercised my human right to voice my opinion, my discomfort, to defend myself in a kind and courteous manner.

 

Now, most people who know me would not say I am at ALL afraid or hesitant to voice my opinion, which is truer-than-true. I will shout it from the rooftops if the mood strikes me. However, ebb and flow, right? We aren’t always feeling that brave, especially while we are in a vulnerable spot in our hearts. Ok, while I am in a vulnerable spot in my heart. So I retreat, or underemphasize importance of, or use language completely not mature enough for the subject matter.  This is in my own mind, perceived at some times as endearing and at others as meek, depending on the audience and frankly, on how well they know me, my communication style, and the core of who I am.

 

Not unheard of, asking for what you want in a polite, adult form of communication. I’m getting better at it on a more consistent basis, as you know your strengths and weaknesses, right? There has been a lot of progress made on that front within the confines of a trusting relationship, and it is spilling over into the other areas of my life.

 

It is about time.

 

I have heard countless times, today even, and have it posted at work, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Doing it anyway moves us all in the direction of the fear. It is amazing that the very thing we are AFRAID to do, the very thing that scares us to safety, is the thing that promises us the most growth.

 

We build tornado shelters in case we are ever under a tornado watch, to be safer if weather gets life-threatening or risky. Along those same lines, I say we prepare in case where we ARE is exactly where we should be. We then know what the next right thing is in our current situation. In actuality, though, do we ever LIVE in the tornado shelter? And how much of our lives actually go according to plan??

xoxo,

b

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

these i have loved.

takin' back to the old school...circa 1997, an installment from ms. leone's creative writing class...




these I have loved.


the feel of cold water on hot skin; the
Worried White of my mother's hair; and the
cleansing tartness of cranberry cocktail;
snuggling up in thick, warm, blankets;
planners that work; unbroken wedding vows;
and the soothing darkness under my
eyelids; the textured language of
Hands Held; the indulgent
tears of self-pity; marshmallow clouds framing a
                            cement gray picture;

my father's potbelly; then,
the recollection of Spanish lullabies;
my teddy bear's silent opinion; and the
Familiar, Odorlessness of Home;
I love movie soundtracks; the
tight, helplessness in a lover's embrace;
the story in old,
                          dirty,
                                    pink slippers;

and medium, blue, ballpoint people;

Rain's persistent efforts at wiping our sins clean;
my first doll's unconditional love;

and

the reassuring grip from my father's doubtless hands;
letting go when I am sleepy; and kissing my dog's
Ice Cold Nose; and
Rolling all over new pink carpet;
the chlorophyll in grass;

Postcards
from vacations I only heard about;
finding money in a jeans pocket; and picking up the phone
to Find Someone there; the
Siren Cry of a newborn;

and the blind warmth
of another person under the covers.


                  All these have been my loves.



barbara

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

emotional fracking.




 
Results

1.    frack·ing1

╦łfrakiNG/

noun

noun: fracking

1.    the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

"the governor has halted gas fracking until July"

Origin

 

1950s: representing an abbreviated form of fracturing .

 

I am digging this. Literally. Had breakfast with a friend this morning, long overdue, who is such a kind, giving, benevolent soul. She is one of those people you can really see when you look at, only she doesn’t realize it, doesn’t know how much of an asset she is to the world and those around her. She is a writer. A creator. An artist.

 

She helped me think. Reconnect.

 

We discussed life, families, children, relationships; the fact that they are all difficult and complicated and special, and all that you can do is embrace them and respect that they will be all of these things and that you will at some point love them and hate them and be uncomfortable and challenged and happy. The irony that all of those things change and evolve and end up oftentimes completely differently than we experience them to be, in different places than we thought they would be.

 

We all come from such different, such individual and unique experiences, and, interestingly enough, we are all the same. Those individual and unique experiences, places, circumstances, they are all different TO us, while being the same THROUGH us. Our feelings, our core instincts, our intuition and joys and fears, those are all common. Yet, somehow, we overlook the importance of acknowledging that not only to others, not only in finding common ground amongst friends, but to ourselves. To honor ourselves as we would honor others, as we would want others to honor our own feelings, instincts, intuition, joys, fears.

 

The social shell that gets a bad rap comes about it the honest way – by earning it. It is a well-deserved bad-rap. Too many people are out and about, walking around on a daily basis without actually being there. With one foot in the present and the other in the past, future, anywhere but the now, and because of that don’t realize we have all been where they are. If I haven’t, we most definitely have. There is no reinventing the wheel of human experience, of human emotion, of human behavior,



And, for that purpose, I think of our combining these, our finding the common ground, emotional fracking. So long we have worked to fill, and cover, and mend our existing fissures, cracks, flaws, when what I believe we should do is entirely the opposite. What I want the world to embrace is the concept of fracking ourselves. Pulling apart our “existing fissures”, our cracks, our flaws, blowing the roof out of our shelters (see: social persona) and exposing those very same things that we have been working so hard to hide. Then, and only then, will we have the ability to extract the value, the richness, the beauty, than exists in all of it. When we deconstruct, when we dig up the secrets we have worked so hard to bury, it is those secrets, those bodies, those flaws, that will set us free. That which we keep hidden is the thing that binds us, chains us, to unhappiness, to discontent, to settling for less than what we want. It is that shame that lulls us into thinking we are worth less than what we are, because inherent in that are our internal voices – the not-so-nice-ones, to put it mildly – the ones that tell us all of those negative messages we hear, consciously or not, and that shape how we talk to ourselves, to others, and ultimately, how we view the world.

 

Think about how liberating, how absolutely freeing it would be, to lift the veil on that? I like to imagine the worst-case scenario. What is the worst that could happen? That way, I am prepared (or at least that is what I tell myself), and I can at least imagine how that would make me feel.

The worst here, the very worst, is that you will feel alone. That NO ONE – imagine this for a second: NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL IN THE HISTORY OF TIME – has ever felt the same way that you have.

 

 

Go back and read that sentence again.

 

 

If – BIG IF – that were to be true, how would you feel? Alone? Ashamed? Vulnerable, maybe, naked?

 

 

How many of those are you already feeling?

 

Wait, you say, but then everyone would know that I was feeling that way! Oh, the shame!! And to that I counter, who is everyone? I think it is important to share things – ask anyone in my life. I am a TALKER. THAT IS NO SECRET. And a singer, a crier, a loud laugher, a big smiler, my facial muscles move incredibly easily, making my face a pretty good gauge of my feelings. Botox would do me a disservice, but would probably lessen the burden on those who come in contact with me and prefer not to have to witness so much FEELING.

I get it. Truly, I do.

I am not suggesting you disrobe and expose your emotional streaker tendencies to everyone you come in contact with. I am, however, gently prodding all of us to share more. To, at the very least, begin with yourself. Baby steps. If you cannot acknowledge to yourself that you are not FINE all the time, then what good will sharing it with others do? I will begin by admitting I talk to myself. In the mirror. When, how, and frequency is beside the point. You’re reading my blog, you should know this about me if you don’t already, and it should come as no surprise. I am all about doing what is encouraging for your SOUL. I am an avid proponent of Living Out Loud, to the extent you need to, want to, or can handle it. Embracing ourselves is just, if not more, important as embracing others. In fact, embracing ourselves more fully allows us to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate, understanding, to realize that others are battling their own demons, and that theirs may seem or feel or be just as tough for them as ours are for us.

 

And that they deserve to be equally as gentle, as forgiving, as PROUD of themselves, for the level of emotional fracking they may be doing.

 

Pull.

 

Pull hard, and passionately, with a fervor for what you will uncover and an excitement of what fears it will unearth. What fears you will get to toss out and debunk.

 

And then.

 

Then we, you, I (let me speak for myself, here), get the privilege of extracting, taking from that the gems that life has wrapped like a man responsible for Christmas gift-wrapping (or like MY gift-wrapping abilities. True story. Ask anyone.), crumbled paper, mismatched tags, bows that fall apart. A mess on the outside, but a true gift on the inside. Invaluable. Priceless. The diamond of lessons in every rock. And, rather than put those away, polish them. Display them proudly on a shelf, a mantle, in a spotlighted glass case where I imagine only very valuable and breakable items and such are showcased.  (I have none of these such things in my house physically because, well, I’m a bit accident-prone. Know your strengths and weaknesses, right?)

 

These are trophies. These are badges of honor. These lessons, these flaws, these fears unearthed…they are your beauty.
 

 

Go.

 

Be Beautiful.

 


Love you to bits…especially those bits you blow apart.

B

 

“I followed my dream and my dream led me to service. I have come to believe that this is how it ALWAYS works. We find the place where our gift and our need intersect. We become bold enough to begin using our gift to heal ourselves. Then the Universe says: HOT DAMN! SHE’S READY! and then immediately issues us an invitation to join the world of giving. The healing become the healers. The dreamers become the servers. Our gifts are used to help others rise.” - See more at: momastery

Monday, October 13, 2014

on bed bugs.


So what to write, Mr. Blank Page. Let me tell you another story.
 
Girl.
 
...this time much older, skinnier, arguably less of a weenie, goes on work trip. Let’s preface this work trip by telling you that girl was burning the candle at both ends – wearing herself extremely thin – and denying, or justifying, as she would prefer to say, the fact that she was doing it. Girl was tired, exhausted is more like it, and questioning a lot of what her life was about. As someone told her recently, she was early to the existential crisis party – arguably the first time she was early to anything, ANYWHERE (she is Cuban, after all, there is a certain badge of pride that accompanies this notion. Plus, at least she’s consistent, right?!). So there she was, early to this party she didn’t necessarily want to be even invited to – she preferred the notion that she would somehow stumble into ignorance-is-bliss at some point in her life, regardless of the fact that she was still waiting for it 34 years in – and a bit conflicted about what it all meant, what her life all means, and what answers she was supposed to come up with in order to make the most of this existential crisis thing that was happening. Unbeknownst to her, on the flip side, her body is sending her not only this mental message, but these not-so-subtle physical messages that she was over-worked, over-tired, and over-stressing herself.


So, girl embarks on this work trip only half-committed and hoping that it will at least give her the opportunity to get some much-needed rest once the all-day marathon sessions are done. Girl arrives in the city (The Big Apple! nonetheless), only to find herself even more exhausted, lacking any motivation for exercise, something that routinely motivates girl to Go! Get ‘em! And discovers herself ridden bed bug/flea bites 24 hours in. Not wanting to create a fuss, she politely asks hotel to switch rooms and they launder her clothing to ensure she feels as safe and comfortable as possible. This is especially good since girl cannot manage to rile herself up from her bed beginning with the second she enters said room. So, if the bed is The Place To Be, you best ensure that it is at the very least free of bed bugs and fleas.

 

Standards are high.

 

After a couple of painful, itchy days, she is starting to worry. Her stomach is a wreck, much more so than usual, but she has attributed this to “The Traveling” which easily could do a number on her, and the exhaustion is chalked up, quite appropriately, to not drinking her routine two POTS of Cuban coffee in the morning. That is, after all, how she manages to establish her baseline energy level of “HYPERACTIVE”.



So girl starts to worry. She tries, albeit it not that well, to rest. She is in The Big Apple! after all, so who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that, even if it means pushing through what is arguably the most exhausted she’s felt in quite a long time?!? So girl manages to crawl into bed as late as 10:15 pm on a Saturday in NYC, and explains to herself that is was the walking she did. She is just tired from walking.

 

Right.

 

Fast forward three days, multiple dizzy spells, wicked headaches, pain she is now jokingly chalking up to kidney failure, and one sick day later, and she decides the doctor’s office is probably a good idea, given that the kidney failure could be possibly serious. Obviously.

 

She enters her physician’s office, bloated and with awful stomach pain, with a smirk on her face, after changing into a loose dress, which is the only item of clothing she can stand after being in constricting work clothes all day. She jokes with said MD that her flea bites are sending her into kidney failure, and that the Benadryl, calamine lotion, and ibuprofen have yet to help too much, other than possibly launching in the direction of an ulcer. Physician, unfazed by her unparalleled wit and medical prowess, looks at her and says, “I don’t think those are bites at all. I think they’re shingles.”

 

Whoa. I’m sorry.

Whaa-what?

 

 

Did you just say herpes?

 

 

Jaw, meet floor. I hope you get along; I hear said floor is fantastic when you need support. Comes in quite short of a pillar of strength, but definitely will prevent the bottom from coming out.

 

Ha.

 

Now, given that the girl’s baby daddy (see also: ex-husband) is a medical professional in the skin-oriented field, she is familiar with said “shingles”, but to the extent that it is incurable and recurring. Given that she is also surrounded by older family members whose pastimes include worrying, nagging, and talking about ailments,” she is also quite acquainted with the fact that shingles is not commonly associated with individuals of the younger demographic, not mentally, actually physically. Given that said young lady’s digestive system and dental records might as well belong to a tenured AARP member, it is not lost on her that she would manage to develop an affliction associated with those in a much more advanced state of stress and worry. That her body, no matter, would not only chastise her for ignoring and pushing through the oh-so-obvious signs of stress, but physically slap her in the face with the sticker shock of: “Hey! Slow down there, woman! I CAN’T KEEP UP!!”

 

 

Welcome to the last three weeks.

 

 

I joked, oh have I joked, about needing a pause button, about wanting a vacation, about step back and really, truly, examining what make my life worth living, and how to structure my life so that THAT feeling, those things, ideas, people, take precedence. I have endlessly and tirelessly discussed with numerous women - accomplished, bright, amazing women - this very same idea. We have waxed poetic about what to do about that. Some, the ones that I consider mentors of sorts, have done something about it. They have taken back the reigns.

 

 

It is my turn.

 
 

 

I NEED TO LEAP.

 
 

 

I am scared shitless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s let that statement marinate for ONE second, then run into the face of it screaming, why don’t we? Because I am not only tired, but I am more tired of being bound by fear. By hesitation. By what-ifs. I understand the value of security, the importance of a plan, the desire – the NEED – for security.



When did any of these things a leader make? When did any of these inspire others to do anything but retreat to the unbreakable patterns and path well-trodden from whence they came?

 

Lord know it has happened to me at least a handful of iterations at this point.

There has been a lot packed into these 34 years.

 

It’s time to let it out. In all shapes and sizes. So many of you have expressed feeling the same way, on various blogs, social media outlets, to family, friends, in journals. Don’t worry – the biggest message to take from all of it is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WE ARE NOT ALONE. Embrace that we are not only imperfect, but that the imperfection is our beauty, our lives, our passion – fulfilled or not. Those nooks and crannies are not only what make English muffins delicious, but make us, break us, crack us, and mend us together – BIND us together in this phenomenal human experience.


This is me – proudly flying my freak flag – embracing my uniqueness and weirdness and individuality. Learning – notice I say learning because, well, I’m human, after all – to own and celebrate my idiosyncrasies and be comfortable in the knowledge that those are endearing to the right people. And I am proudly trying to take it only one day at a time.

 
 

I challenge and encourage you to do the same.

 

I hope to help you in this journey. I know you have already helped me.

 

Much love (and no bed bugs).

B

Thursday, October 2, 2014

i argue these arrows should point in the same direction.



GO. move in the direction of the failure. give it 100%. fail, learn, and most importantly, grow. grow higher, and stronger, and more than you have ever let yourself previously. grow so intensely that it becomes you to fail, in order to obtain additional growth.

with failure, we re-establish our baseline, we redefine expectations, we reevaluate. we start afresh.

challenge yourself, challenge your idea of failure. use it as a springboard for opportunity. test the notion that you have not failed, but succeeded at walking one step closer in the direction of your dreams, your calling, your personal opportunity.


you are one step closer to recording the Fingerprint of the Soul. your soul.



fail on, my friends.
b


"life is not about what adversity we face, but is created in how we face adversity."

-honeyrumblings

making out murmuring messages.

i feel on the precipice of something...quite frankly of something great. big, huge, much larger than myself, that is for certain.  i am living in a space that is whispering to me a message of movement, of motion, of breakthrough and enlightenment into something that is so widespread and simultaneously so alienated and unspoken. it is talked about in the recesses of our minds, the bottoms of our hearts, in conversations held in the undisturbed safe spaces between the sheets, with those most intimately associated with who we are, with our fears and weaknesses, with what our souls not only look like, but inherently feel like.


this "traditional" life, "American dream", "career success", work-life "balance"...i am on the verge of chucking these and so many more out the window, to the wayside, in the garbage, and fully embracing the concept of a life worth living. starting from the true meaning of what my life is supposed to feel like and working my way out from there.



you know, when i wrote that sentence...i started to cry.



so much of what we define and measure ourselves by in life starts with a picture, an image, a vision in our heads that has, in the majority of cases been placed there by society, our upbringing, our internal dialogue - likely not our own desires - and in most cases having nothing to do with what we really want from ourselves and our life. and while i was going to associate those images with success and how we measure it, i would be remiss if i didn't acknowledge that not all of those images are successful. some people don't have the blessing of even having "socially" positive goals, or even positive images, based upon experience. whether by upbringing or lack of support, whatever the cause, not everyone believes in themselves, and i will go out on a limb and say that everyone has had at least a moment when they DIDN'T believe in themselves.

but let me step out of these trenches for a second and back into the larger picture i began on.


i am on the verge of chucking the notion of conformity, of everything i have been brought up to value as successful (ok, so everything is going a little too far - kate spade and i will never part ways. she is such a good listener). and it scares the living shit out of me because i am flying by the seat of my pants. it is much easier to write this sentence than it is to look out into the vast abyss of possibilities for doing this and grasp at how tangible that may be. have you ever tried to corral the air? how does one capture the wind?


some recent health concerns have lit a fire under my bottom. (you'll have to excuse my internal editor here, but is that even english?!)


and by recent, you know, i mean in the past week. no pressure.


regardless, when is enough, enough? how long are we going to run this rat race before we hand it back to the rats? how long do we live this way before realizing we've run ourselves ragged for no one and nothing but our own pride? for bragging rights valuable to someone who doesn't really exist?

look at the country, the culture, the American population. how many of us are obese, ridden with health problems, on medication for various ailments? how many of us earn money in order to purchase items that we adorn ourselves with in order to convince others we are happy? do we ever really buy into the notion that we are really happy?? how many times is the dog going to chase it's tail?


how long are we going to sacrifice our health to earn money that can't buy that health back??


i know, i know. i've only covered the basics. cut the small talk!, you say. tell me how you really feel! i am nothing if not good at cutting to the chase quickly...at least in recent months. these questions, these issues, are not simple. there are no answers that are one-size-fits-all. but my point is, if we don't begin to ask these questions, to break down the doors of silence, to open the Pandora's box here, the spiral downward is only going to become steeper, faster, and it's already a fairly slippery slope.

the answers lie nowhere, if not in discussion, acceptance, acknowledgement. the most resounding theme i have seen among smart, articulate, independent, educated, successful, women, is WHAT ELSE?


what else is there beyond this? what is my greater purpose? what else fulfills me?...because the title, the salary, the corporate accolades, the career...those do NOT. those look like fulfillment. those fool OTHERS into believing that i am fulfilled, when i feel EMPTY. i shut down the office, exit the building, enter the parking garage, and drive home to a child who is already asleep, a partner/friends i rarely see, if i have time for them at all, a hobby i don't get to develop.


a LIFE i don't get to LIVE.


when did our lives stop being livable? when did LIFE cease to be about LIVING?


because these women, these people, feeling these things, choking these thoughts down with the foie gras appetizer, chasing them with a glass sauterne...they are not just the individuals i described earlier. they are also thoughtful, caring, generous, empathetic, loving, living beings. these characteristics are just as important - if not more so - as the ones i mentioned above. although they are oftentimes classified as weaker, i would argue that they are in compliment to the above.


i challenge the notion that life is about one thing, about all things, about anything other than what we choose for it to be about. and i, for one, am so absolutely livid that i have, for 34 years, let someone ELSE - society, my family, Disney princesses, who or what is beside the point - dictate what MY LIFE was going to be about, where it was headed, and where it is going. the one outlier in that sentence is the future. i am in the process of taking the reigns back. i am pot committed to nothing short of finding what the purpose to all of this is, to my life is, to my existence. you know the beauty of it? that the answer to that is not simple, not two-dimensional, NOT EVEN STATIC. it is ever-changing, evolving, growing, developing. it is as static as i am, as life is, as i want to make it. here we go - finding ourselves back at the place of CHANGE, that place of CHOICE. what is glorious is that i can choose a lot of these answers, and the crux of it is - there is no choice at all. the situations, the journey, the obstacles, those are all presented to us. we have each faced a litany of trials and tribulations in our lives, it is how we choose to deal with those, which road we embark upon from there, that is SO crucial in shaking out who we are as people, as mothers, as daughters, friends, and professionals...as SOULS.

i am all about challenge. i challenge each of you today. TAKE A RISK. risk, you say? but i'm an accountant, an attorney, a stay-at-home mom...i can't go sky diving! and i'll be damned if i get a speeding ticket for sheer thrill!

nonsense. what i propose is a challenge to your norm, to your way of thinking, to your approach to certain situations. break the mold, go outside the box, FEEL the discomfort. allow yourself to listen to the messages that the universe is presenting you, that life has tried so desperately to gift you with on a daily basis, and give yourself permission to grow. grow, grow like a weed. take a sip of the air, a quick nibble of a passion. swish it around in your mouth, let those flavors marinate, sit on your tongue, in your subconscious, for just a second.


see how quickly you want to let them go.


in my experience, it has truly been a pandora's box. i took a sip, a nibble, dipped my toes in the water. in my case, i CANNOT get ENOUGH. life is challenging me to drink these messages, ingest them so voraciously that i have to force myself to sit back, put the fork down. (if you knew both my appetite and eating habits, this metaphor comes as no surprise. you KNOW how hard that is, personally. moderation, right? ha.) i want to dive in head first, and the challenge is to be calculated about it so that i focus on the next right thing, as both a friend and glennon of  momastery.com so wisely advise. as a type-a, driven woman, who just so happens to be inherently right-brained and impatient (and CUBAN - there go those genetics, again), i want to eat the ENTIRE meal, all at once. well, fellow foodies understand that the beauty is in the savoring, the lingering, the experience of the meal.


is it just me, or does that sound an awful lot like the journey of life?


so here i am. trying my best to enjoy the meal, continue on this journey, feel my own discomfort.

which, by the way, is pretty darn easy today, this week, as i've developed some painful health concerns that stem, ironically enough, from stress, from a weakened immune system. indicators i am pushing too hard, too far.


let me reiterate, for a second, that i write this in no way from any pedestal, but from the floor of the trenches. the best perspective is from experience. i am just unique in that i am a participant and a bystander, simultaneously. know your strengths, right? one of mine is that i am able to interchange those two roles, rather than getting full clarity in hindsight alone, although there is always additional insight on the tail end. it is a gift, in my opinion. i try to find humor in it all.


so, from my home office, trying to "balance" my corporate career with my heart-felt purpose, i will sign off for now. for reasons of clarity, rest, reflection, and most importantly, for health. these conversations, these messages, I've heard them all of my life, if i am honest, but what is most important is how and when i actually listen to what they're saying. life, recently for me, has not so much been whispering sweetly or sternly reminding as it has been screaming these messages at me from every rooftop i walk by.



it is time for action. it is time for reflection. it is time for the next right thing.



god, i pray for the clearest sign as to what that is, what it looks like, what it feels like.




...something tells me that the latter will be the guiding force.


much peace. always love.
b