Monday, December 31, 2012

108...for 2013

 “Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” 

As the last few hours of 2012 draw to a close, I am reflecting on the past 12 months. I have experienced a range of emotions this year and have recently gotten myself stuck in resentment, frustration, and grief. Try as I might, peace and gratitude have become as difficult to hold onto as water...just keeps running through my fingers.
I receive a daily blog post from a spiritual source and today's post described a New Year's tradition that I am inspired to adopt this year. It's a gratitude list of sorts...108 things for which I am grateful. In Hindu & Vedic traditions, 108 is considered a divine or sacred number. There are several interpretations of why this is so, but it resonates with me because I have always been drawn to the number 9. (1+0+8=9) No particular's been my "lucky number" as far back as I can remember.
So it's no coincidence that today's post would "speak" to me....
As I have shared in previous posts this month, something is shifting in me...I am in a state of flux, transition, change. I'm in that murky in between part...the "icky" part.

I need a shot of gratitude... STAT!

So I thought I would use this venue to share this list...feels like an appropriate way to usher out the old year and welcome in the new.

Here we no particular order....

1. my sobriety
2. spiritual life 
3. love & support from family & friends
4. Daisy
5. financial security
6. having a job
7. yoga practice
8. meditation practice
9. bubble baths
10. gelato
11. my bed
12. cashmere
13. Italy
14. Abraham-Hicks
15. Marianne Williamson lectures
16. Gabrielle Bernstein's new book
17. Amma
18. Nag Champa incense
19. Yerba mate
20. Renaissance art
21. hope
22. seeings stars in a clear night sky
23. wind
24. smell of bonfire
25. hiking at Starved Rock
26. blueberries
27. green smoothies
28. juice cleanses
29. wind chimes
30. the ocean
31. fresh snow
32. butterflies
33. being in nature (not camping)
34. dipping my toes in cool water on a hot day
35. outdoor concerts at Pritzker with my friends on a summer evening
36. drive-ins
37. Bradley Cooper!
38. soft kisses
39. back rubs
40. baby giggles
41. the way a baby's head smells
42. Daisy purring
43. movie dates on the couch with Daisy
44. fireworks
45. bubbles
46. tattoos
47. sitting in empty churches (just me & the Big Guy)
48. wandering around a museum
49. Christmas carols
50. jumping in puddles
51. pedicures
52. lilacs
52. shopping at farmer's markets in the summer
53. fresh tomatoes
54. caprese salad
55. summer peaches
56. strawberry shortcake
57. lazy Sunday mornings
58. travel
59. discovering new neighborhoods
60. cooking for friends
61. baking
62. making a vision board
63. Italian movies
64. folding laundry (another form of meditation!)
65. Pike's Market in Seattle
66. watching Daisy sleep
67. fireflies
68. waterfalls
69. the Amalfi Coast
70. Hotel Arts in Barcelona
71. annual girls holiday brunch at Susan's
72. quitting cigarettes
73. antique shopping
74. 40s vintage dresses
75. Hitchcock movies
76. romance
77. chivalry
78. love
79. respect
80. honesty
81. ability to keep my heart open after it's been broken...again
82. belief that good guys do exist
83. knowing that "this too shall pass"
84. spending NYE at Moksha, doing yoga with friends
85. starting 2013 doing the same at Village Yoga
86. warm towels
87. Ellen's lavender sable cookies
88. memories of baking with my Grandma
89. memories of listening to my Grandpa tell stories 
90. memories of my mom stroking my hair
91. white clam pizza
92. Colony stinger pie
93. Carvel ice cream
94. cashmere socks
95. warm sandy beaches 
96. Daisy snuggles in the morning
97. watching "The Holiday" on Christmas day
98. U2's "Joshua Tree" album
99. Maxwell's "Urban Hang Suite" album
100. "Amelie"--movie & soundtrack
101. holding hands
102. falling in love
103. hugs
104. crunching leaves in the fall
105. second chances
106. grace
107. miracles
108. love

So that's how I want end 2012 and start 2013....focusing on what I'm grateful for  and what makes me feel good inside. I want to bring more joy into the new year for myself and those around me.

Peace & love, friends.
WIshing you every happiness in 2013!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A change is coming....

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 

As 2012 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on the events of the last twelve months...
it has been a turbulent year in many ways. An emotional roller coaster, a fair share of "drama", and lots of changes...some good, and some....well, not so good. Fundamentally, all is well and I have faith that things will work out for the best in the end...but I am ready for a little peace of mind and I'm willing to do the necessary work to reach that goal.
I feel, in some ways, like the proverbial snake who sheds her skin....I feel uncomfortable in the skin I'm in... like I have outgrown certain aspects of my life. Certain mindsets and beliefs that may have once worked for me, no longer ring true. I feel something shifting inside, and while I don't have a clear picture of what it looks like, I know that 2013 will be an important year for me.
The book in the image above is the latest release by Gabrielle Bernstein, motivational speaker and author of Spirit Junkie (a must read!). She is one of my favorites and I am SO looking forward to her new book. I will be following the 40 day program described in the new book starting next month and will share my experiences with you here.

I have some outdated beliefs that I'm ready to part's time to do a little housecleaning!!!

I'm ready to start living my miraculous life!

2013....HERE I COME!!!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
― Bob Hope

`The last few weeks have been quite full....lots of holiday festivities, visiting friends, exchanging gifts, observing holiday traditions. This morning, I have been reflecting on how rich and delicious my life is...I am truly blessed to have some amazing people in my life, and while I don't take that for granted, sometimes it's good for me to take a moment to acknowledge that out loud.

Often, because of the business that I'm in, the holidays pass by in a blur...I often feel like I don't come up for air until Christmas Eve and them I'm so exhausted from the weeks leading up to it, that all I want to do is lay on the couch in my pajamas. This year, I made a decision to savor this holiday and the people in my life. I made a decision to be present. I even put up my first tree! 

The tragic shooting of last week was a timely reminder that the future holds no's important for me to remember to not waste a single moment, putting something off until tomorrow.
This Christmas, I am not being stingy with my feelings...I am fully immersing myself in gratitude, appreciation, and love. I want to share that with the people in my life who mean the most to me as well as new friends and people who cross my path every day. I am making a conscious effort to silently bless everyone I pass on the street...just trying to spread a little extra love in a world that so desperately needs all it can get!

I love the quote from Bob Hope that opens today's post...

"...why DO we have to wait for Christmas..." to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be?

I don't want to you?

Wishing you peace, joy, and all the love your heart can hold this holiday season!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let go...

Fear exists in the absence of love. I have learned that I have a choice today: I can have faith in the power of love or I can choose to remain in the chaos of fear. 
The world is a scary place...things are happening that just make NO SENSE. It would be easy (& understandable) to hide behind a wall of fear...there's an element of safety, in some twisted way. I lived like that for years, unaware that it was a survival tool that I picked up along the way...I was merely trying to protect myself in the best way I knew how. I remember my mom telling me that I had a "hard" the time, I was damn proud of my "don't mess with me" attitude. I had no idea then that behind that mask was a scared girl. It served me well...until it stopped working.
I had to find another way.
Over the last 10+ years, I have been on a journey to find another way & what I found was love, in all its forms: compassion, forgiveness, joy, acceptance, gratitude, peace...
It's a choice that I must make every day...sometimes several times a day. It's not always easy.
What I have learned, though, is that the more I choose love, the easier it gets, the better I feel, and the more love I see 
manifested in my life.

I needed to be reminded to let go of fear...and to choose love today.

I hope you'll do the same.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What makes your heart sing?

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

This has been quite an eventful week. I am rediscovering what makes me happy, what feeds my soul, what makes my heart sing....AND I am doing more of THAT!!
I am choosing to take Liz Gilbert's advice and "...participate relentlessly in the manifestation...(of my)own blessings."

Here is a list of the ways that I have done just that:

* confirmed travel plans for the new year
* bought a Christmas tree for me & Daisy
* baked cookies
* resumed writing this blog
* signed up for a yoga workshop
* donated unused clothing & other items to the church
* finished my out of town Christmas shopping...Santa's on his way!
* enjoyed holiday dinner with girlfriends
* looking forward to annual holiday brunch with more girlfriends!
* had a long overdue phone conversation with a friend in NY

At dinner last night (great restaurant in Lincoln Square called Selmarie's...check it out next time you're in town!), one of my friends shared that she made a list of all the blessings that have come into her life since she got laid off a few years ago...a new take on a gratitude list! I was amazed and incredibly inspired by the things she shared: everything from people she has been able to spend more time with, to interests that she has been able to persue, to ways that she has been able to push herself beyond her comfort zone and challenge herself to be "courageous"!

Just amazing!

What I learned: it's all about perspective. There is a silver lining in every all depends on whether you/I choose to look at the obstacle or the opportunity. Focusing on the obstacle usually keeps us stuck, stagnant, and frozen in (what we perceive to be) the "problem". Focusing on the opportunity gets us/me moving, trying to find the tiny opening for the light to come through. 

I once heard someone say that "Depression can't hit a moving target"'s kinda like that!

So, I challenge you to go on a little scavenger hunt....find out what inspires you, brings you joy, makes your heart sing...then find ways to incorporate more of THAT into your life! Particularly during the holidays, we are all so busy that we often neglect ourselves...consider it a gift to yourself!
You SOOOOO deserve it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Buon viaggio!

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”
― Oprah Winfrey

What an exciting week!
I just booked my 3rd trip of 2013....can you guess where I'm heading this Spring?

See the photo above for a hint.... (it will require a passport and an overnight flight)

This will be my first solo trip abroad...I'm a bit nervous, but SUPER excited!!!
Spoke to my hostess this evening...I can see the Brunelleschi designed basilica from my window!

Phase 2 is still in the  works, but there will be more to come....

I will keep you posted!

Dream BIG!!

“I think I deserve something beautiful.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Guess where I'm going....??!!

more later...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Miles to go before I sleep....

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
― Robert Frost

The above quote is one of my me, it refers to choices...and choosing to take risks.
It speaks of taking chances and being daring and courageous. How exciting!
I feel like I've been playing it safe for some time....choosing to stay with the familiar, rather than taking a risk to venture into the unknown.

That has changed.
I recently made a decision, after much thought and consideration, to make a major change. I moved on. As I've mentioned in previous posts, change is uncomfortable for me. I realize that it's inevitable, but that does not make me rush towards it any faster. I don't regret the decision, but it wasn't an easy one to make.

I did something completely decadent today...I booked my first TWO trips for 2013! I signed up for a yoga retreat in Puerto Rico in February and just decided to fly to NY after the holidays. I booked both flights tonight....felt very indulgent! 
PLUS....I started doing research for my upcoming trip to Rome in May!

Life is GOOD!!

This is not something I could have done even a few weeks ago. As the result of the decision I made, I get to live more spontaneously. 
Not too long ago, someone I know posted their travel schedule on Facebook...US to South America, and several places in between...just within the window of about 3 months! I have to admit, I was a bit envious. My work schedule is not that flexible and I don't possess the resources to travel in that way....or so I thought.

It's amazing what can happen when you say YES to life!

Can't wait to see what's next....

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
― Joseph Campbell

Sunday, December 9, 2012


 Life has a gap in it... It just does. You don't go crazy trying to fill it. 
(Take This Waltz)

This was a perfect movie weekend...cold & rainy. I took advantage of my time off and saw two great ones. I won't ruin either with too many details, but suffice it to say that both involved challenging relationships and handsome men. I recommend both.

Take This Waltz (on Netflix) with Michelle Williams & Seth Rogen

- Silver Linings Playbook (in theaters) with Bradley Cooper (*sigh*) and Jennifer Lawrence

Happy Viewing!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


It's been over a year since my last post...lots of changes in that time. It's been quite a ride....and it's not over quite yet. I have made decisions that were not always easy and am now starting a new phase of my life on my own.
Some of the changes are relatively new and take some getting used will take some time to adjust. Change is stressful and scary and can be full of uncertainty....but it can also be exciting, as there are no limits to what's possible. I can stay or I can go as I wish. I can try new things or I can revisit interests that I put aside.
I felt compelled to start writing again, as a way of gaining some clarity around the various thoughts swirling around my head of late. I find serenity and clarity on my yoga mat, but I can't stay on my mat all day, right? So I need another outlet to work through this stage of transition...

I am so very grateful for the network of support that I have and the graciousness of the friends who have listened to me as I process the emotions that are part of this journey. It's been interesting to see the similarities as I share my story with others....I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone on my journey. In fact, I joked to a friend recently that, one day, we would look back on this challenging time and have a good laugh...just not today!

I look forward to that day, but in the meantime, I will embrace the process...and enjoy the ride. The view isn't half bad from here...