Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Viewpoint Of An Old Ill

Yes, it is Friday, once more, and I am in reflection mode. I sit here at the end of birthday-week grateful for my body's amazing ability to heal. On my birthday eve, I met my husband for dinner, co-taught a storytelling workshop, which my husband graciously attended, and returned home for late night present opening and fun dessert. Monday completed my weekend trilogy of parties and gastro-indulgence (a new word, I just coined), which, at the time I enjoyed immensely. My body had other opinions. On Tuesday morning I awoke feeling just a bit queasy. By Tuesday night my body was in full purge mode after succumbing to a gastrointestinal bug that efficiently, if not painlessly, rid my body of every sweet, corn chip, and bit of pizza that I had invited into my system over the weekend.

In the past, I have always viewed the stomach bug as an evil destroyer that swoops in unexpectedly and results in fevered pleas for relief, even if that relief means sudden death. I know, that sounds dramatic, but in the throws of cold sweats and waves of nausea, sudden death doesn't seem like such a terrible option, at least to me. This time was different. Although the cold sweats and waves of nausea were the same, my view of the misery I experienced was dramatically different. This time, I clearly saw both my body and myself as co-creators of my experience.

For three days prior, I took little to no care for what I asked my body to digest and, in doing so, I created the perfect atmosphere for a virus to enter, nest, and multiply. My body, reacting in a healing fashion that involved stomach cramps, fever, and many trips to the bathroom, quickly and efficiently rid itself of the offending viral intruder and just as efficiently cleansed itself of the myriad of gastrointestinal horrors I had ingested all in the name of celebration. Through it all, even as I felt as if sudden death may be a better option, I did not ask for it. Instead, I recognized that "this too will change," reminded myself that my strong, healthy body would endure this trial, and I gave thanks to the Universe for this opportunity to heal.

Today I am feeling much better and have begun to enjoy eating once more, but with a fresh perspective. I am starting my 41st year with a new respect for my body's wisdom, healing ability, and, most importantly, my role in being its steward and protector. For this, I am truly grateful.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Year in Review

Last year on this day I pressed the virtual "Reset" button on my life. As a new decade began I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to throw out the old, embrace the new, and focus on who I am now and who I want to be in the future. It felt so good; free; wonderful. Now, one year has passed and as I approached this birthday I felt a lot of self-induced pressure to wake up on this day with a huge smile of radiant joy enveloping my face as I appreciated my fully organized life, enjoyed the feeling of 100% health, and embraced feeling at complete peace with my place in the world as I walked forth to prosper in my 41st year. That did not happen.

I did, however, wake up. I showed up for another day of becoming more me, more gracefully, beautifully, and simply, and I gave thanks for my imperfect self. Because, really and truly, I am all I have in this world. Last year I asked my then-boss, "What can I do differently?" He replied, "Just keep being you." As I reflected on this past year, I realized that he was right. The more me I become, the more seamless, joyful, and graceful my life becomes and I am continually in awe at the gifts and miracles that occur when I simply let go and be . . . me.

So, on this day of celebration of my becoming in this world, I am grateful that in this past year I have discovered a joy for creative performance, reignited my passion for writing, opened to the vulnerability inherent in sharing myself with others, awakened my love for artistic expression through paper mache, explored my body's capacity to heal itself through movement, and embraced the possibility that all things are possible with faith, trust, and love. Thank you for celebrating with me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Joy Through . . . Cleaning?!

Each January, for many, many years, I have felt this overwhelming desire to deep clean and organize my physical space. For many Januaries, I spent my holiday time visiting my family and returning to a hectic work schedule that did not leave time to purge unnecessary clutter from my life. Each year, I felt disappointed that I had set my intention to take time for myself to get organized and did not act on it.

When my husband and I relocated in 2008, we moved from a townhouse in New Hampshire to an enlarged studio space with an eat-in kitchen and 6x8 foot study in Massachusetts. Our Charlestown space is beautiful and much smaller than we were accustomed to in New Hampshire. Since relocating, my husband, a natural organizer and one who despises clutter, has expertly packed and repacked our closets to fit more things into less space than they once occupied; unloaded items on Craigslist - a brilliant creation of the mass marketplace; and, efficiently de-cluttered his personal possessions to the bare minimum.

Despite my years of longing for time to de-clutter and organize in the way that seems to flow so naturally for my husband, I have spent years fighting what appears to be a never ending tide of clutter and avoiding opportunities to address it. Moving to a smaller space amplified the negative impact this clutter has on my life and forced me to address it. Last January I made progress toward a simpler life when my husband and I spent every January weekend moving things around, cleaning, and removing unnecessary items from our home. Yet, throughout this past year I have continued to feel tangled in my own stuff that oozes out of crevices and bubbles out of drawers constantly calling me to use it or dump it already.

Over the past two weekends, I have truly embraced my long-held desire to de-clutter, simplify, and deep clean my living space. Now, when I open my dresser drawer I feel good knowing that I actually wear everything in it; the antique rocking chair is no longer my I'm-not-done-wearing-this-so-it's-not-dirty-yet clothes hanger, and I feel inspired when I retrieve my art supplies from their newly organized spaces.

I struggled through the deep cleaning process and was thankful for my husband's support and encouragement. I still have a few outstanding de-clutter projects in mind, but I know that the truly hard part of organizing my space and my life is done. Now, I rejoice when I sense my lighter, cleaner, more open physical space and feel freedom in my emotional space to embrace new things that will bring me pleasure. Letting go was hard, but I now recognize that living my life not letting go was far harder.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stories Shared

On Monday, January 10th, I co-hosted a story slam for massmouth, a storytelling non-profit in Boston. The theme was "Your Day In Court." As an appellate and later a trial attorney, I spent many years speaking publicly. A lot of my public speaking involved telling stories, but they were always someone else's story. When I became involved with massmouth, I discovered the freedom, creativity, empowerment, and growth that naturally comes from telling my own story. Sharing in this way, I have begun to view my past experiences not just as something that happened to me, but as something that enriched my life, motivated me to explore new paths, and brought me step by step to this moment, right here, right now. For all of this, I am grateful.

My co-host experience was one more step toward sharing my own story and helping others to share theirs.  My co-host and good friend Tom, who I met as an appellate prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office in 1999, is a natural storyteller. He can relate a tale of real life experience like no other person I know. Monday night was no exception. He enchanted the audience with his charm and tickled them with his humorous portrayal of his life and the law. I treasure this time spent with him and am gratified to know that everyone seemed to enjoy his presence as much as I did.

The night was a huge success filled with many amazing story tellers, new and seasoned in the art of sharing orally. Thank you massmouth co-founders Norah Dooley and Andrea Lovett for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to experience this wonderful night of coming together through the power of personal story. Thank you Tom for sharing this night with me and thank you to every person who dives inside, finds their story, and courageously shares it with others. Here are a few stories Tom and I told on January 10th. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guest Blog @

Thank you to everyone who is reading this blog! I am loving writing again and sharing my experience has been helpful to me. When I started blogging, I sent a thank you email to a few incredible women who have truly helped me grow as a person over the last few years. One of them, Karly Randolph Pittman, founder of First Ourselves, invited me to guest blog on her site:

I met Karly on-line two years ago when I downloaded her e-book, Overcoming Sugar Addiction: How to Kick Your Sugar Habit and Conquer Food Cravings, Stabilize Your Mood, and Lose Weight, now in its second edition. Karly's story is truly inspiring and she has dedicated herself to helping others live healthier and more joyful lives by overcoming sugar addiction, weight gain and body image issues, and overeating. I am honored by the opportunity to guest blog on her site and grateful to her for sharing so much of herself to help me, as well as others. Here is my guest blog post: (Click on "Guest Author" to read the entire post). Feel free to share it with others.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Friday!

OK. It is Friday. I am in a random mood. So here is a random list of my favorite useless inventions I found on (search useless inventions for the entire list). Now, what makes these funny for me is reading each one and imagining using it for its intended purpose.

1. A black highlighter pen
2. Inflatable Anchor
3. Battery powered Battery Charger
4. Inflatable Dartboard
5. Double sided playing cards

I got a charge, pun intended, out of the battery powered battery charger, but my absolute favorite invention is the deck of double sided playing cards. Funny!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mother Nature's Gift

Boston is a winter wonderland today with approximately fifteen inches of snow on the ground, a brilliant blue sky, and dazzling sunshine. It is incredibly beautiful. Weather has an amazing ability to bring people together. It is a shared common experience that invites conversation regardless of age, gender, political affiliation, marital status, sexual preference, ethnic origin, or religious denomination. It is Mother's Nature's way of giving everyone a reason to pause and contemplate something more than the day-to-day rush, the bills, and the cleanliness of the bathroom.

As I walked through Charlestown yesterday afternoon, I sensed the camaraderie between neighbors as they shoveled snow to reveal cars, parking spaces, and sidewalks; conversed with strangers over our shared wintry experience; treasured time with my husband as the storm altered our daily routine; and enjoyed a phone call from a loved one checking on my family's safety in the storm. And, as the day waned, I gave thanks to all that is for Mother Nature's ability to so beautifully and simply connect me to the people around me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fun: Prudential Flash Mob Wedding

It's Friday! Last night on the news I saw a feature piece about Jon and Caroline Kleiman who held their flash mob wedding ceremony in the Prudential Mall here in Boston on December 12, 2010. The six minute video is really sweet. If you haven't seen it already, it is fun to watch and the celebrant's words worth a listen. I am always grateful when I am reminded that there truly are not enough ways to be kind or show love for another being. May you find much love in your heart as you watch this wedding ceremony and may that love carry you through this new year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eternal Possibility, Part 1: Story Telling!

Eternal Possibility: to live a life knowing all things are possible and I am eternal.

Living in this way I notice that information that I want or need comes to me without much thought and even less effort. Last year, my boss, co-owner of a small bookstore, wanted me to schedule story telling events  like those held in New York City and featured on National Public Radio. In my research as Event Coordinator, I found that Boston had its own story telling organization called massmouth, inc. (small case intended). I did not contact them.

During my year at JWB, I often had the experience of wanting to know something and very soon thereafter someone would enter the store and provide the information I needed. An act of providence; it was magical. This time was no different.

I was at work late one afternoon when a woman walked in the door and asked to post a flyer about a story telling competition being held the following week. She was from massmouth. I was in awe. I was tasked with bringing story telling to the store; I identified the organization that told stories; they found me. Wow!

Now, the interesting part of the story is that on any other night I would not have been at the store at the time she arrived; and . . . she was in town to make a donation to Good Will, which was next to the book store. She stopped in on a whim. I happened to be there. Providence happened.

We exchanged information, the co-founder called me that same week, and I volunteered at the event. Nine months later, I am co-teaching story telling workshops, assisting at slams in three Boston neighborhoods, and co-hosting my own slam on Monday, January 10th at Kennedy's Midtown, in downtown Boston. The theme: Your Day In Court. Next Monday night my creative story telling life and my former life as an attorney will become one. ALL things are possible!