murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: Optimism

Anything happens all the time. 

May you meet Joy in 2016.

May you try new things, laugh a lot, sit in quiet a few minutes each day, kiss someone special, journey toward good health, look inward and remember why you love what you do and who you are beyond a title, make new and loving friends, take silly photos, be creative in your own way, truly hear the beauty of a wind chime telling you a story, read for pleasure, feel grass under your toes, ask for hugs early and often, do the thing you think you cannot do, love who you are today, and never let age trump adventure!

Follow your bliss, be bold, trust a higher power knows us, and be your best self.

…..Because “anything happens all the time.*”

Joy says so too.

Metta and Merry 2016,

Mel


Pixarwikia.com: Meet Disney’s Joy** (Inside Out)

* a favorite movie quote: “This is where I leave you”

An ode to simplicity, compliments of our pioneering Pilgrims…

A pilgrimage is a journey. Risk, devotion, loss, prayer, focus, faith, family, truth and fear.

And while a gluttonous adventure of food, football and fun is indeed to be had this week, we must embrace and appreciate sacrifice of those early pioneers whose pilgrimage affords today’s tiny delights.

An ode is intended to be sung. I would recommend the following tiny delights of gratitude are melodically embraced on thanksgiving eve to the classic, Jim Neighbors’, “Go tell it on the mountain”…
(ideally just after the reflection, and as Uncle Earl is sharpening the carving knives.)

Finding grace and gratitude in simple things:

  • The Butterball people
  • Dr. Seuss
  • People’s annual issue of the Sexiest Man Alive
  • White twinkle lights
  • Reality television that turns everyday folks into front page tabloid fodder and/or a millionaire
  • A Presidential front runner with a signature swoop and campaign slogan that should read, “Drump (on) Power.”
  • Peanut butter and protein shakes
  • Modigliani
  • Competitive sporting events bringing millions of people together, each simultaneously focused on peace, admiration and contagious energy.
  • Neighbors who not only embrace, but also glitter their lawn with a Home Depot warehouse full of holiday cheer and plastic artwork (stealing a selfie once they head to bed makes for a fun online post)
  • Ice skating while holding hands and giggling under a twinkling moon on a cold winter night
  • Free speech and equal pay (oops- $.79 to the $1.00 isn’t equal)
  • The ballet
  • My cozy Tempur-pedic, plush and inviting, with it’s crisp white Westin-like duvet and down pillows
  • Glitter and Swarovski crystals
  • Erasers and spell check
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Hand-written notes
  • A lavender or lemongrass-scented bubble bath
  • Gerberas or tulips that arrive at your front door for no reason
  • The beautiful (and oh yeah, talented) Canadian Tenors
  • A Coach Swagger handbag
  • My signature red lipstick, sassy boots and a little black dress
  • Technology that keeps friends and family close, across a country, across an ocean

And obviously a more serious thank you to our pioneering founders…..the evolution to high end toilet paper, dental hygiene and wet wipes. 

Come from a place of peace. Act with grace. Get your ode on, and thank a pilgrim this Thanksgiving.

Mel

  

the missed sniglet: travel snobbery

A friend is headed abroad this week, and he texts me that he is (impatiently) waiting out a flight cancellation. Seriously, he tries to blame me for his travel misadventure?…Ha! Those days are long gone for this traveler. I live in the moment when in an airport. The panic of lost luggage, battery depletion on my iPod, missed flights, and even crazy weather are child’s play compared to what I’ve enjoyed.

But his frustration forces reflection on the concept of travel snobbery, a missed 80’s sniglet:

  • You get the call. Flight changed. Forced to rebook with an automated voice machine. (Anxiety begins)
  • This changed flight requires a new plane due to maintenance needs. All signs of making the next plane are unpredictable. (Anxiety increases)  Personally, I like my planes to fly, so I am just happy to be told in advance.
  • Almost to the terminal, but wait, the TSA line is backed up…and these are NOT high priority travelers. These are mixed up, newbie’s in the wrong line. What’s that, travel snob? “The security guard is letting them through anyway. I hate that. I paid for this, and I earned it.”  (Yes, you did, and the newbie’s are laughing their way to your gate before you even remove your shoes.)
  • Before you board, you stop by the fancy-schmancy lounge where woven steel reinforcement and raw timber pillars offer relaxation in a carefree natural environment so you can escape from the real world. Grab that $400 orange with cell phone to ear, and soak up the free WiFi with the other travelers who also seek the “I never stop working” appearance.
  • Seating rearranged. If you are one of those elite, ‘double dog dare platinum ruby diva royal’ frequent travelers, you will still have plenty of time to hoard overhead space for your larger than appropriate suitcase AND carry-on, but uh-oh, a seating snafu places you in the middle seat. The flight attendant can only offer a warm cookie, but he promises to shine those travel loafers. Probably best to just focus on the overhead as the win and bunker down.  (Heart beat increasing, body heat building as the regular joe’s of travel start to board.)
  • Seated. Middle seat. Ok, so this placement becomes critical pending seasonality, duration of flight, size of passenger in A-B and/or C seating.

This is my friend’s current challenge.  A bigger, well, manly man and expert traveler, he has won the middle seat for this particular flight, and he is not thrilled. I am encouraging the brighter side…

  1. You can head-bob in two directions, save yourself the neck pillow purchase AND awaken both fresh and symmetrical….just borrow a neighbor in both directions.
  2. No need for freshening rose spray to moisturize, just lean in for the experience of what an old colleague liked to call “bobo” (body odor). Nothing like the experience of buying airplane scent full of breath, body and stale air.
  3. Enjoy the primary love language of touch each time you cross, uncross, swivel, twist and recline near your new neighbor friends.
  4. Embrace the headphone splitter with both neighbors and get three movies off the list in one fell swoop.
  5. Ask for a tip each time the window guy needs his beverage refilled.
  6. Place your man purse anywhere you like, because well, you are big, and no one will tease you (out loud).
  7. And best yet, engage your aisle neighbor in the standard new traveler questions, such as “What do you do?” “Where are you headed?” “Do you own cats?” each time you need your overhead man purse or a trip to the restroom.

Live in the moment. Make a new friend. Be gentle with the new travelers. Offer to take down an elderly lady’s bag. Look at this as an experiment in a return to the days of ‘regular joe traveler.’ No expense account. No fancy lounge. Just you, a suitcase and a smile.

Cheers to the golden moments of travel misadventure and 80s sniglets.

Mel

qld-tourism-best-job-600x400p/c: learn.burnside.school.nz

* Sniglet is a neologism, popularized by comedian/actor Rich Hall during his tenure on the 1980s HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News. Each episode of the monthly series featured a regular segment on sniglets, which Hall described as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet)

A fork. And a road.

There isn’t just one fork. Or even one road.  There are many.  And how do we- ok, me- choose?  The metaphor with which we are most familiar is “a deciding moment in life or history when a major choice of options is required”.  I like it, but why can’t I choose more than one road? Life is indeed beauty full, and I have many selves in me. There are no limits to our adventure or misadventure. We own our own path. We look back, or we move forward. We make the bucket list and truly feel the heartfelt, deep-down, pure joy of these choices as achievement of each is granted.

I am only half way through my spiritual life in this body, and frankly, I find myself needing more roads, and I guess a few more forks about now.

I have the best gift ever given in my daughter; I’ve been gifted love by more than one man; my family is proud of me, regardless of my silliness; I’ve had the world series of roles in my full-time professional marketing life with amazing experience, global travel and friendships; I get to teach college students about a craft I adore; I was privileged to study and practice my way through 100′ of record-breaking Massachusetts snow to get my RYT (registered  yoga teacher) and soon actually teach one of my greatest passions; I’ve zip lined; partied with celebrities; enjoyed my share of girls’ road trips and ridden motorcycles. I’ve hiked fantastic scenery, tubed in pouring down rain (while pulling a tube of adult beverages), and I’ve crossed my fingers (and sometimes eyes) along slippery rain forest ridges in foreign lands.  I’ve stayed in ritzy hotels, foreign castles and down-and-out filthy motels that rocked. I’ve eaten dishes I couldn’t define or pronounce but expensed with the best of my colleagues.  Crab legs in a dive bar and plain old veggies at galas. An Airbus, many a truck stop, deep-sea fishing, and para-sailing in perhaps unsafe conditions.  There have been moments with the law. Moments I reveal with my parents one misadventure a year (reduces the chance of shock). And oh so much fun along the way…..

So what next?

1.  Continued clean eating.  Cheers to the Ayurvedic healing science I am taking one day at a time.  Can’t say I own a neti pot yet, but who knows.

2.  I will keep chasing what feels right and follow my own heart.  It may not be the PhD, but if it makes me sing with happiness, I keep going. This is where needing more forks comes in…..writing, paying for college with a FT marketing gig, teaching college, teaching yoga, consulting, selling, speaking, volunteering……I need more hands. more time. more forks.

3.  I will ensure that not one day goes by that I miss a moment of being the best mama I can be.  Even when she does think me odd or tell me “you are turning into your mom”…defined in the 14-year-old girl handbook as “when I Breathe. Talk. Sing. Walk.”

4.  I will grow my bucket list and follow my own bliss.  It’s stunning to think back to what I wanted for myself in my 20s….and how much I’ve made happen in these short 20 years.  No one else.  Me.  And that feels damn good!  It’s time to pull out the list and add on.

5.  I will not wait for life to happen. I will be in my own skin every difficult, vulnerable, fatigue-filled, scary, wonderful, loving, and dark day.

6. I will continue to trust my gut, even when what I hear hurts.

7. I will laugh a lot more. Always asking for the big bear hug that makes me spontaneously giggle out loud.

8. I will no longer allow anyone to reduce or take away my achievements, memories or joy.

9. I will pay it forward, accept that naps don’t mean I am wasting time, and keep promises.

10. And most importantly, I will work harder to love myself just as I am today.  I too am Beauty Full.

In a recent Instagram post, I quoted an artist to title a photo of my beautiful daughter that fits tonight:

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me?”

White lights,

Mel

Mamas and their prima dancing baby girls.

And so tonight my baby girl embraces ballet in new pink tights and ballet shoes. The next phase in her dance life.

At her side, nine other girls with much more dance experience and the same excitement to win the teacher’s eye stand in line- dressed out of a ballet scene and with energy only a teenager can have after a full day of work or school. They see only what they can be in the moment. They do not fret about tomorrow or yesterday. Just the moment.

Like a breath, they focus on the music and movement. One graceful moment a time.

My sweet girl stands shyly near the bar as girls in pointe shoes surround her. She is a natural. Her grace and form so eye catching…. and for me, heartwarming. Sure, all mothers see only a beautiful, natural dancer. Mine really is….

Parental love is so difficult to put into words. We love unconditionally. We see with eyes only a mother can see. What I see, she doesn’t see in herself. What my own mother sees in me, I too can’t see.

We are intensely attached even when frustrated. Yet, we are sometimes frustrated for exactly this profound and adoring love we all embrace as a gift. We hear one way. They hear another. What I say, and she hears do not always mirror one another, and unless we each verbalize the disconnect, the challenge continues its cyclical path.

Love is like that- two people, two different ways to listen, two different ways to learn.

Cheers to all of us putting on a new pair of ballet shoes and dancing in the moment. True love is unconditional and doesn’t need to stretch first.

Mel

Note: yes, I am sitting here a sort of dance mom, but as you would guess, I am in a suit. My girl wouldn’t have it any other way. She knows.

I am Titanium

Over and over recently, I’ve
been told to listen for strength, power, language, music, signage, and energy to give me what I need….when needed.

Well, as Karma would have it, the Sia song, “I am Titanium” keeps swirling around me….in my car, at work, movies, at home (while ignoring housework), and now today in a auditorium full of teenagers and dance moms …..

Does a higher power work through varying means to capture our heart and attention?

As I sit alone at my daughter’s dance competition (yes and laughingly, in dance mom wearables – and no, not a Velour jumpsuit), ‘I won’t give up….even if the sky’s get rough’ fills the auditorium as I type this. (Have you read previous posts? Lol. Was this song choice for me?)

The messages do speak to us.

I AM titanium. Do all the young girls in this auditorium hear the same message, meaning we are in charge! We make personal choices every day. We love. We lose. We laugh. We are.

My girl makes me immensely proud and swells my heart with genuine, from the depths of my soul, joy (ironically, that is different than cheerleader joy). All the fatigue and temperature issues that come with this damn sickness escape my attention when she shines that smile. If only I could work half days and enjoy her over-lip glossed smile every full work day, this next month would go quickly and painlessly.

Cheers to all moms, sisters, daughters, friends, nieces, grandmas and cousins who don’t yet see they too are titanium.

Because you rock.

Mel

P.s. I have redeemed my ‘dance mom’ concerns with a black T-shirt that says, ‘if dance was any easier they would call it football’. (My journalism self is choosing to ignore the lack of punctuation.)

wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_ore

The Sacred Lotus rises towards the light.

Sometimes called the Sacred Lotus, this flower often symbolizes beauty, perfection, purity and grace.  The lotus flower grows in muddy water, yet the dirt and mud fall off its leaves and petals, keeping it clean and pure. A lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises from water to stand above it unsoiled, raised in the world but having overcome the world, or living unsoiled by the world. In turn, the lotus is often viewed as a symbol of aspirations to rise towards the light. *

51,183 participants walked yesterday for the 14th Annual Susan Komen Walk for the Cure.  700+ teams of survivor family and friends and an epic energy for one cancer filled downtown STL.  A veteran motorcyclist was individually saluting each survivor as she passed.

As we passed him, I wondered how many other folks like myself are facing some type of treatment for their own internal pain and offering daily prayer for good health and energy along with these 3000+ breast cancer survivors.  I noticed parents, sisters, brothers, grandkids, spouses and those on the brink of being married, celebrate their loved one in pink clearly at their side through the fight and continued success.  The morning hit me in a way I didn’t expect- 1.  we all need a survivor team of dedicated love and support, and 2. cancer has a ripple effect.

Just as the melancholy began once again to set in, I looked to my right and saw I wasn’t alone.  And I was ok.

In the evening, I was lucky enough to visit the profound and peaceful Chinese Lantern Festival.  “Elaborate outdoor sets crafted of silk and steel celebrate Chinese culture through bold color, dazzling light and striking design.”**

The Lotus Flower exhibition felt timely after the morning of both powerful group energy and a silent internal reality.  But once again, I wasn’t alone.

The Confucian scholar, Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) wrote: “I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.”

Cheers to the pink that surrounds us all!  The ‘Warriors in Pink’ of Ford say, “Courage has many faces.  And every one is beautiful.”.

So too are you.

Om Shanti,

Mel

* http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/things-to-do/events/special-exhibitions/lantern-festival/chinese-lantern-fun-facts.aspx ** http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/325267/105/14th-annual-Race-for-the-Cure-raises-more-than-24-million-

A gift

A loving friend gave me a beautiful print today…perfectly timed as it was another hard day with a major milestone through my perfect storm……. AND which I will overcome in time.

The quote is simply too beautiful to keep to myself:

– be passionate about life…
– embrace your challenges and you will be wiser….
– keep the faith
– love those on your path….
– laugh, dance, love
– laughter brings us together in spirit
– hope, believe, pray
– peace to you, my friend.

—–AB Scolarice

Many thanks to my loving stepmom for this gift, as the milestones and mud paths with support take me forward towards light.

This is life, and I WILL be ok. There is light ahead. A higher power knows and looks out for me.

I can’t explain, but every affirmation, prayer and person who reaches out for me on this every changing journey touches something deeper than they know. Sometimes hard to hear and sometimes loving, but all with good intention and love. I simply need the hand that reaches towards me….
And when I least expect, you appear.

I am blessed, humbled and loved by my family and friends..even in sadness. It doesn’t make me a victim, it makes me human and vulnerable and real.

Each of you reading this are with me on this journey. Thank you from deep, deep down.

Om shanti,
M

Grief is not a straight line.

I progress. I regress. I progress again.

The Mud Run yesterday was a perfect metaphor for moving forward uphill, sliding down hill, uphill again, steady straight running towards an end goal, and a kind hand reaching to pull me out of the mud pit. Dirty and laughing, breathing through difficult obstacles, feeling the need to be with the pack, staying true to my own emotional needs, physiologically pushing myself…and frankly, just keeping from passing out before a finish line.

But my team of new friends looked out for me and cheered me on, even with a body in transition.

“I must conquer loneliness.
I must be happy with myself or I have nothing to offer.
Two halves have little choice but to join; and yes, they do make a whole
But two wholes when they coincide …
That is beauty.
That is love.”
– unknown

Grief is not a straight line.

Melissa

My mom. My superhero.

She always believes in me. The real me. The authentic me.

My mom, my superhero. She just knows.

She loves who I am. At two. At 10. During puberty. At 17 and taking me to Mizzou J-school for the first time. In my early 20s when I married my daughter’s dad not knowing what marriage and parenting truly entailed. As my career evolved, and I called home from all over the world.

She embraced every adventure as if she was next to me on the plane, and closed her eyes and sent me white lights when I made choices that a mom can endure but can’t stop……(parasailing in a foreign country, being the passenger on the back of a motorcycle in cities far away from home, working a trade show with a shooting, being ill in Tokyo, Vegas, Mexico and other distanced cities all alone, living away in Summers in college with strangers on Long Island and loving NYC on weekends with other adventurous and underage 19 year olds, enjoying my share of New Orleans and many a trip with the college girls- even when missing the state lines. Lol.)

She gave me the courage to be who I am, and the guts to rock some adventures most folks wouldn’t consider.

She has empowered me to speak my mind in light of conflict and challenge, and be the person I am meant to be. She taught me to be strong, speak up and laugh along the way.

It is because of her I am able to take on anything and know – with my whole heart- I will not just survive ….. but own.

It is because of her I am not afraid.

It is because of her that I want to be stronger, better as a friend and mom and a new me. A healthy me- both in body and mind, heart and soul.

When my daughter was born, mom held her for the first time and looked at her as if that single loving moment could never be enough or more powerful. When divorce followed, she held my hand and cried with and for me. When the wild side of being single and newly divorced hit, she laughed along with girlfriends at my misadventures. When dating the wrong boys went on and on, she kept laughing, only now, she was sharing with her own circle of women friends. They laughed too. When the cancer came, she held it together, but I know privately she grieved for me.

She always believes in me.

Most folks don’t know she has a bachelor’s in political science and a minor in Russian from the University of Illinois. She taught school in inner city Chicago during the riots while dad was in law school. And when her own world faced challenge, she followed her own life’s path change and worked full time concurrent to achieving a master’s in social work to start her own FT private practice in psychotherapy. She rode her bike across Ireland in her 40s, started a band (the aging hippie band) and climbed the Grand Canyon in her 50s.

She embraces friendship and love as most people never fully appreciate. And as her own wise circle of women friends would concur, she is lovable, artsy, quirky, incredibly bright, cultured, polished and an amazing feminist woman to adore and idolize.

She is my superhero.

I am grateful, blessed, honored and only hope, I too can give my own sweet girl the same gift some day.

Om shanti…..
M

When a lonely girl misses human touch, is the $20 tip for the massage*, legal?

Let’s face it, we all adore “our stuff”- meaning, things we enjoy to help keep us happy and feel safe in our home space.  For my dad, it’s a Hawaiian shirt even in 30 degree weather and gloves, for mom, it’s an artsy shawl or groovy bangles, for my stepmom, it’s a glass of vino with a friend, for Zac, it’s his snowboard, for HJ, it’s DNA, a new molecule or something I can’t pronounce, and for my daughter and bonus son, it’s a smart phone, etc. We just each choose our game differently.

What brings me that “I’m safe and makes me feel like “home” feeling?”  

– My yoga mat (Nothing exists but the breath.  There is no ego.  There is only emotion and me.)

– An every night routine of reading and holding hands with my daughter before bed.  (well, the days of being called “mama” are over.  I take what I can get.)

– My Macs- all of them- and since the late, late 80s…. (it might be near cult member obsession.  I do own a bumper sticker “my mac is smarter than your honor student”.  That’s mac love.  That’s mac chic.)

– Human Contact/Touch, and lots more touch!  (OMG, I gave the masseuse a $20 tip last week. When you are lonely and miss human touch, is that legal?)

– My new pup, Kenny Rogers (even though he is shaggy today, needs a haircut as his current “doo” might be damaging his peripheral vision)

– My beautifully made and all fluffy and crisp, white “fake it to you make it Westin Heavenly Bed”- with high count sheets, comfy duvet and enough pillows you can’t find the headboard.

– A hot, bubble bath with a lavender or new yummy scent in my new bathtub

– Being on my road bike, completely in my own head with the rush and sound and smell of nature flying by me (course, that near death deer experience two years ago has put a damper on going alone these days)  Who else buys the $1K+ bike BEFORE signing up and completing the MS150?  

– My Uggs

– Scented candles – ocean, lavender, lilac, fresh linen, lovely! (though not a Yankee Candle Company fan after an “incident” with my Saab.  They didn’t come out looking so good, but I did personally send a love note to the CEO, COO, corporate attorney, CMO, and I suspect I might be on a banned list somewhere.  The local Saab dealership did however love the drama and did the repairs for free- I think they were proud of the local O’Fallon chutzpah!)

– French toast with blueberries and strawberries and lots ‘o syrup piled high (G-F of course)

– Reflexology (and for years, I hated feet, after seeing a dude on an airplane cutting this thick toenails then hanging them on the magazine rack NEXT to me….ick.)

– New perfume. (but nothing that smells like I might have smelled it over my shoulder in church, the bowling alley or on anyone over 80+ years of age.)

– A personal card that comes in the mailbox.

– Tulips, Gerberas or darn it….. any bouquet of fresh flowers that has a card and special note attached to my name.

– My family (my mom has made me the exact same G-F casserole for four years. I can’t stop her.)

– Valentine’s Day.  (Hey, I’m a markete(e)r, plus the reality is that “I love you” can never be said enough)

– Grandma used to make Shrove Tuesday donuts.  I miss those. (but I cook like my mom and they are full of “glue”)

– A beautiful piece of stained glass with the bright sun shining through.

– My Loreal #860 Lipstick. (and Bare Essentials makeup to remind me beauty isn’t a number. 🙂

– I’ve discovered how good my life is after something called “Jerseylicious” and “Big Rich Texas”.  Thanks, Kirsten.  And I’m not a TV watcher but a big reader.  This however is unbelievable stuff.  It’s fantastic and should be part of my therapy copay.

– Fine wine, great artwork and quotations that say something different to each of us.

We all need “our stuff” to feel safe in our space.  And after years and years of travel, my “stuff” and a safe space to call my own, is a necessity to a healthy me.  Love your own “stuff”!

Now, make your own list, and what you don’t have, set a goal to get.  Only you are stopping yourself.  

*  Massage Envy is a reputable business, and I am thankful for talented hands that take away pain and let me relax.  There is nothing inappropriate and clearly can’t be worse or anything near what I suspect a man does with his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. 

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