Saturday, August 31, 2013

My New "Boyfriend"

I will always love Louis but I might need to give in to my other crush Gary Gulman. I enjoyed him on Last Comic Standing years ago and even bought one of his first CDs but never really saw much of him after. Then he recently was on a John Oliver's show on Comedy Central and had me smitten.

He loves many of the same things I do: Trader Joes, grapes, Chipotle, avocados/guac, Discman, found $20-bills... and he's a tall Jew with great legs and luscious hair! Pitter patter my heart.

Having crushes is one of life's great JOYS-- so, happy to share mine with you :)
[more Gary on CC & on Letterman]
Who's yours?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Have A Dream...

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and 50 years ago today gave the speech that he will be forever known for. I still get stirred and choked up hearing his words. The part that touches me most is while standing for a better world and equality for all he inspired others to dream a dream for their own lives.

My dream is that we don't simply survive our lives but that we all live into our dreams. I started hosting Wildest Dreams Club gatherings this year and they, along with my workshop, have already changed the lives of several of my friends and attendees. To me living into a dream coming true is an amazing gift and worthy of one's time and energy. Knowing others' dreams is an honor and privilege and helping them work at them is both exciting and addicting.

Through socialmedia many folks today have been sharing their dreams and they each give me a little chill: Maria Shriver- to end Alzheimers in her lifetime; Bill Gates- quality education for all children regardless of their zipcode; Dalai Lama- we come together in oneness of humanity and end war in this century. Are theses huge dreams, sure, but if we can fly through the air, land on the moon, cure polio, we can do anything.

A dream in our head is nice and maybe occasionally inspiring, but to live into our dreams we need to get them down, speak them to others- thus the Wildest Dreams Club- and be in action even if it is simply babysteps done over our lifetime.

My other dream is to turn ME Mapping into an app that people use like they would a calendar. When they are planning the day they reference their ME Map as a gauge and tool of living a great life. That folks feel working on their life gives them more power and appreciation for what they already have and vision for what they'd like to create.

Do our dreams need to be about world peace and saving the planet from pollution (Richard Branson's), no. My belief is that each person making their own life better and their own family, friends, business more joyful makes the world as a whole a better place. Having a smile on your face, letting someone merge in front of you in traffic, bringing your coworker a coffee all make mini-contributions that add up to a ripple of goodness. We don't need to be leaders, wealthy, famous, or have huge all consuming dreams to make a difference to the world. Even a little dream lived into creates a butterfly effect and changes the world, even if it is only in your little corner of it.

What is your dream? Do you know the dream of those closest to you? Are you teaching your children to have big meaningful dreams? Can you do one small thing today to help someone else get one inch closer to their dream?

To have a legacy of fighting for racial equality was a worthy use of MLKjr's life, what is a worthy use of yours?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Time To Have... The TALK

The TALK, depending on where you are in life could mean: getting married, time to have a baby, explaining sex to your curious kid, or the dreaded breaking up. But, if you're in the sandwich phase of life, kids and aging parents, then it's about Death.

Already cringing? Don't! Having a conversation about life and death is one of the responsibilities of adulthood and trust me it's way, way worse if you don't have it. And although every once and awhile one goes off the rails, most lead to a reaffirming gratitude that you've said what you wanted to say on the issue and relief that now you can get back to living a life worthy of a good death.

When I was writing my book My Last Wishes... folks, especially strangers, would always tell me of some horrible story of a family torn apart by the mess a death left in its wake. At this very moment I have more then a couple of friends living through nightmarish aftermaths of parents who never got around to getting their affairs in order. And let me be clear, a conversation even in front of all parties involved won't stop all the chaos if there is already bad blood; but having the talk about death gets the basics wishes on the table and are at least a starting point.

Speaking of tables, I was delighted to find out that there is a new trend hitting the dinner party circuit called Death Over Dinner. People in over 250 cities are throwing events on August 24th to kick off this grassroots movement. Wish I'd known sooner I would have totally hosted one- any friends interested? Anyway, I love the idea of it and will absolutely participate next year.

Sure death discussions probably aren't as much fun as discussing winning the lottery over chocolate fondue... but imagine how connected you'll be to others knowing how they feel about embarking on life's last great adventure. And as TEDTalk speaker Michael Hebb, who started the conversation says: looking at death has taught me how to live.

Look at life, talk about death... let's not avoid the topic and not say what needs to be said leaving everyone we love with a pile of sadness and frustration when we're no longer here. You're better than that. So whether over a nice dinner with friends, or a quiet Sunday afternoon with your parents and/or spouse have the talk. Above you will find my Chat-About-Checklist slidedeck taken from MLW... that serves as a summary and springboard to the key topics you'll want to touch on. And if you're really ready to dive in get my book and leave it all on the table :)

I wish you the most wonderful life and, when it's your time, a very good death.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Try Something New (Even If It's Blue)

My favorite colors for years were purple (80's) then forest green (90's) and then red for the millenium. Never blue, never light colors. So when I was getting a pedicure almost the last color I would have picked is an aqua-teal-ish one. But there I was and my dear friend- who was treating me as a birthday gift- was teasing me to get something fun outside my regular reds. According to the two young ladies about to give us our pedicures this was the hot color of the summer. I was protesting I don't like blue when one pointed out that my purse was the exact color I said I didn't like- the irony. Even more so that the purse was a birthday gift from a different friend last summer which I have received many compliments on and does really brighten an outfit. Why not? I could always paint over them (in red) if I didn't like it later, right?

I don't think we should give in to peer-pressure or even go with trends... but getting out of our comfort zones- why YES we should do that. I'm not sure I love the color but it's definitely growing on me and it was a spa treat I will not soon forget (the best pedicure ever- with eye mask, heated neck compress, reclined chair, and aroma oils- it was awesome!). Plus this is the second half and I want to dare and live fearlessly; am I afraid of blue toes? No, not Me!

We think we know what looks best on us and what works for us in almost all situations and most of the time we're right. But sometimes we're not and we'll never know that unless we try new things on. Just try them on and see if they're a fit. No harm, no foul if they're not- it's the taking of chances that helps us grow.

People get stuck in dated hairstyles, unfulfilling jobs, unconnected relationships because safety is well- safe. But if we keep still we get mossy and we never grow. I learned even when we're sure we don't like something we need to revisit every so often. I hated avocados and would always insist they be taken out of whatever I ordered. Now I eat them several times a week. I learned even if I didn't like something once I need to try it out again and see if it's still not to my liking. And these are the most simple basics- salad ingredients and toe colors... what else could change if I REALLY pushed myself: maybe it's time to move cities, date outside my decade, different hair color, take an out-of-the way trip, who knows?????

I hope you enjoy these last few weeks of summer and I'm going to be so bold as to suggest you try something new and it doesn't even need to be blue :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Showing Up Matters

Shiny Strands, Barrington IL
We're all so busy... busy, busy, busy. That said, it matters that you show up.

Some friends recently opened a business- and because the idea sprung up in my workshop they kept me posted on the progress as it came along- so of course I was there with champagne opening day. Nice of me, sure-- but really equally as selfish because there is nothing nicer then sharing in someone's JOY.

It made a difference to have been there for me and I could tell for them to feel supported. You make a difference when you show up for someone and you should know it. Even if they can't relay it with as much appreciation as Carol and Kim did, people notice when you show up for them.

I'm good at funerals, not everyone is. They take an emotional toll to be there but I never leave one without a renewed sense of love of life and appreciation for how lucky I am. I also leave with a sense of frustration that I wish we could bottle the love people feel once they know that someone is gone and splash it around into the everyday. If we knew someone was going to be gone would we have made more of an effort to show up for them and love them while they were here?

Showing up at funerals matters. Showing up for friends going through a divorce matters. And for: weddings, babies, business launches, publishing days, etc. Kindness on either ends of the spectrum demonstrates what we value. 

There is no need to guilt ourselves into adding one more thing onto our plates to give ourselves a gold star- that defeats the point. But looking at our lives and seeing where our priorities line up is well worth the effort. TV, attending every kids sports practice, buying and maintaining more stuff, keeping up with the Joneses... is that what we want our lives to be about?

Remembering Megan Golf Outing
For a few years now a college roommate's family has held a golf outing to raise money in memory of her sister that died of suicide. I've never gone for various reasons but mostly because I don't golf. Last year she told me it bothered her many of her friends, and me in particular, had never come and it disappointed her. We can't show up for everything for everyone but knowing it matters to her I'm attending the dinner festivities (tonight as a matter of fact). She matters and I want her to know that.
[Update: Photo from the wonderful evening. Why had I waited so long?!]
More than a couple of folks I know have prioritized kids sports, bigger houses, stuff and appearances over connecting with their bodies, their spouses, their family, and their friends and now are sick, divorced, or lacking support when they need it. We all choose where and on what we spend our time and energy but I think it's wise to look at what that says about us every so often so we are showing up, whatever that means to us, for what matters.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

JOY TH!NK: Capturing And Creating Your Genius

JOY TH!NK: Capturing And Creating Your Genius: Everyone has a book in them... or at least half of everyone I've talked to in the last few years does. That or some other big idea th...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rocking The Second Half

Right before my Nonne's 89 birthday I was teasing her that she only has 11 more years until Willard Scott wishes her a happy 100th. She did not laugh, instead looked puzzled who Willard was and then said: No, I'm not living till that old this is long enough. She loved her life and had her full faculties but she had no desire to live past her health. She passed with dignity and grace within the year.

Doing the math- as 88 as the enough point- anything after 44 and I'm into my second act. Well last week I started Joy part II and I decided as much as I enjoyed the first half I wanted to do a few things different in the second. Here are a few:

Appreciate Julie: I love my sister so it's ridiculous to fight with her. We can both be opinionated and stubborn and can get on each other's nerves. What a waste of time! She is one of the most fun, generous, likable people I know so there is no reason to not feel constant gratitude for her :)

Forgive Everyone: I consider myself a very forgiving person but some hurts were still smarting. Clearing the slate and forgiving everyone and in the future just recognizing not everyone is my cup of tea and it's not personal.

Be Fearless: Even typing this scares me ;) ... but it's so true that we are the ones who stop our dreams from coming true. And last thing I want is to taint my second half with regret and have to defend my cowardice.

Clear Space: Open space is necessary for anything good to come in. People, things, good fortune all need a landing spot so I'm committed to decluttering my life on an ongoing basis.

Capture Joy: Take photo or document moments I feel happy and appreciate the beauty of people, places, and things while they are in front of me.

Love Outloud: I never want people I care about to not know how much I love them. I consider this a strong suit of mine but I could take it up a notch and really celebrate people with more fun and lightness.

Move It: I spend a good deal of time in my head and although I feel connected I don't always use my body to its full capacity. I remember this whenever I see someone who doesn't have full use of theirs- why I am I taking movement for granted? Dance, work, express, sex, rock and roll from head to toe!

Live Like It's My Last: The truth is two of the men I loved the most in the world ironically both died at 33 so I've known anything after 34 is a gift. I would love to live healthily to 88 or beyond but even this next year is worth treasuring. I don't want to waste any time being ungrateful for the life I have.

These are the big things I'll be living into- wish me well. And feel free to remind me if you find me not practicing them and make sure I thank you for holding me to what I know I have in me.

Cheers to my Nonne, my second half, and to you and your healthy happy life too :)