murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: quotations

The only place the head bob is acceptable.

I am currently sitting between flights in Atlanta- as I have done dozens of times before- and I must smile to myself at this silly, unpredictable, loud, over-stimulating, professional, traveling life I purposely chose to leave behind. 🙂

The bald man to my left is doing a full-out head bob asleep in a sunny corner as he awaits his flight. They just called for Nashville. Do I wake him up with sunscreen or the possibility he just missed TN? (And no, I can’t judge the head-bob, as anyone who has flown with me knows I too have placed my sleepy head on many a shoulder, stranger or not. Something about walking on a plane says, Melissa, no one needs you, the phone won’t ring, emails can wait and that darn 4:30am wake up call to get your arse to the airport at all, deserves a catnap.)

The young girl across from me is on the phone and clearly panicked about weather on the East Coast. What about travel misadventure requires her voice to soar an octave higher, quicken and may require a decibel meter reading? Apparently, they are expecting 6-12″. Lol, I still smile. My days of panic are long gone.

Folks are clinging to limited USB ports with wires draped over each other and talking as if old friends while sharing the ports (ironically) to text (not talk) to the people they actually know and love at home.

And is it just me, but is it an addiction when we need the communication medium charged at 100%? Anything less feels like we might lose our connection to the real world.

Even me….using my iPhone to craft this while listening to an old school iTouch with an iPad in my carry bag.

And the people watching in any airport (!!!!), fantabulous! You know what I mean, right? To be fair, I’m here in my fav skinny jeans, a pink shirt, black shortie combat (but cuuuute) boots with hot pink socks, a darling banana republic briefcase and my yoga bag, so while not a fashionista, I have makeup, comfort and weather-appropriate fashion and function for East Coast fun. It is great however to watch the breadth of fashion fun in airports.

Looking around right now…a less than attractive dog attached to a man with gold bracelets, the dog has attracted two young kids (unrelated to the dog or man) and they are petting him backwards (against the grain), the mom (unrelated to both the dog and gold chain man) is well, representative of all moms who bravely travel with small ones….hair frazzled, face slightly contorted, past exhausted and just tired enough to wear silly socks with flip flops and convince herself she can manage two kids, three carry-on bags and a car seat. Man, that is parenting. (And another validation why drugs during childbirth are key- traveling isn’t listed in the “what to expect when you are expecting” book.)

Cheers to parents traveling alone with small ones. I’ve been there, and it is always, always, always harder on the parents than either the kids or the people seated around the kids. Shame on you, professional snooty traveler who scoffs when a baby is near you. Get that parent a cocktail, and I promise the trip will be better for everyone. When my daughter was young, I used to offer to trade with business travelers to be near kids just because the mom needed to know it was ok to fall apart in peace. Thank goodness for computers on planes these days! Crayons, fruit snacks and a teddy bear aren’t the answer. And a shot of Jack, well, that is illegal.

Additionally observations on today’s ATL Concourse T:
– women over 40 should not wear turquoise nail polish or mimic the middle school fourth finger shade change
– how many coffee and bagels can people consume?
– before phones, did we let people know we were safely at the mid stop? (Oh wait, direct flights existed.)
– remember pay phones with sit down booths? And funnier still, the Ethernet line to get internet off the pay phone?
– we went from large ear phones in the 80s to buds to now, these huge Beats? Seriously, is Bieber going to market a boom box over-the-shoulder option soon?
– no one follows the “your carry-on must fit in this display”. Why bother?
– the “herding of cattle” movement toward the door as boarding begins. Enough said.
– is there a speed limit or again, noise limit, on those internal airport motor vehicles? In 25+ years of travel, I have never seen an actual emergency.
– Why is the large electronic sign of departure listings just outside the exit doors causing a jam of frantic, silly travelers trying to find their next gate?
– And finally, no matter how many times I’ve traveled or checked my gate or departure time, I still check it multiple times as if the number has changed in my hand. (Not unlike your number in a fast food restaurant, right? You are 22. Always going to be 22.)

High waters, high heels, cowboy boots, ball caps, backpacks, golf bags, paperbacks and jewelry galore…they do say “life is a journey, not just a destination.”

Safe travels. I have a flight to catch.
Mel

The mat is a magical place. Just breathe.

“Breathing gives man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers.” – Chuang Tzu[1]

Teaching college coursework and years of public speaking in advance of yoga teacher training gave me confidence in front of a group. Prep work, delivery of material, study of my 20+ year professional world and critical lingo to the subject. Check!  But to be in the real seat for the first time in this new world as a Yogini Tour Guide – a world that brings me deeply profound and personal passion and emotion that I don’t teach in a college class room- has indeed been humbling. The mat is safe. It is sacred. It is mine.

I knew having fun was key. I knew prep, material, time and sharing an authentic me would make for a strong teacher and rich class experience where students want to follow and return. But when the bell rings and class starts, I am again reminded this journey of a beautiful practice of asana, pranayam and anatomy take time to strengthen (a practice of its own), and they are looking to me to guide them through a journey, an experience not for a grade or degree but for something deeper and heartfelt.

My magic wand of knowledge can indeed be magic only if treated with respect, integrity, candor, knowledge, selflessness and loving-kindness to the body.

The opposing forces of knowing what I have learned thus far; however, are causing me internal angst. I know just enough to be a yogini snob, meaning test my own waters of ego, as I briefly return to the role of student. I’m struggling with alternatively trained or not trained teachers leading postures that I now know are risky to my body and full of ‘Simon Says’ moments and ego. I find myself having to breathe deeply and let go of my want to correct their approach, cry out or protect my neighbor who doesn’t know any better. Certainly, this is some awareness to Santosha[2] (ethical concept of Indian Philosophy, one of the Niyamas meaning contentment, satisfaction) I didn’t see coming my way. But I continue to come back: 1. To remain faithful to my mat. 2. To observe this experience as it continues or dissipates. This “practice” of letting it go- like letting a passing car go without thinking about the passengers or destination – is the test.  And my self-reported inability or insecurity around the concept of “letting go” is an entirely separate blog post. 🙂

The most significant observation I’m practicing today is the role itself, meaning Teacher v Student. Sure, I can prep the class sequence with planes of movement in pratapana (warm-ups), teach basic pranayama, explain benefits/contraindications for varying asana, share a poem or reflection for meditation prior to Savasana, etc., but guiding someone’s personal journey doesn’t require a course syllabus.

As I continue this transition from student to teacher and back to student, I continue to observe my ability to be in the moment (or not). A student yogini for many years, I know my own body, I shift when good pain turns to bad, I adjust/realign based on my own anatomy, and I know to breathe thoughtfully in order to maintain my balance. I don’t even think when I do these things, the mat is the magic carpet with a guide leading the way.

So now, I face a world knowing far more about anatomy, philosophy and pranayam (breath work) than ever before. Acting as the tour guide not the traveler is a shift of self-awareness, breath, and trust. I must be AHEAD of the moment for the students’ experience and protection rather than IN the moment with my own body. And most importantly, I must learn to let go of my own ego as “teacher”. I am honored to know what I have been taught thus far, but realize this is simply the beginning of the practice as teacher.

Joyfully and with thoughtful intention, I commit to inhale the experience and accept my opportunities for change as new learnings of discipline, philosophy, acceptance, non-judgment and friendship emerge.

The mat is a magical place. Just breathe.

Om Shanti,

Mel

[1] Anatomy and Asana, Suzi Hately, Section 3:Principles, pg. 27

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santosha

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-

“The well lived life of a beautiful young man.”

Privileged to work for the kind, loving colleagues, I do, I was again reminded today what is important in our lives.  Priority.  Love.  Family.  Faith.

As I embraced both heartache and celebration of a true hero’s life today -a near 16-year-old boy who has endured, battled, embraced, taught and loved through 8+ years of Leukemia, I was reminded that while my own challenges through mud continue, others too have their own muddy mountains that slip and slide.  We also have hands that reach for us in the dark, heal our heart over time and with amazing courage, love us through darkness and light.

We were not surprised that this young man indeed “practiced what he preached” as his dad shared that M’s words to his middle school graduates just a year ago included the following:….(messages from which we all should live and take on our individual journeys…)

1.  “Help others with disabilities.”  They are not defined by the disability.

2.  “Contribute to your community.” M was always in the corner of the disadvantaged.

3. “Always be kind to one another”.  Kindness matters.

We were graciously offered that M. knew “the power of his purpose was to inspire others to do good”.  And how can you not want that when seeing those bright eyes and big grin flash a spirit so real, piercing and full of faith and adventure, even through fatigue, challenge, change and the unknown?

Cancer is a curse and a blessing, and this young, amazing and ingenious man knew and lived this through his Faith and sharing that which he felt with others.  “It is a curse because of the suffering. It is a blessing because of what flourishes from its presence.”

And finally, what struck me most personally, was a line that flashed on a beautifully prepared memorial video on M.’s life. “Family means never being left behind or forgotten.”  

My friends, love those in your life today.  Ensure they understand you will not leave them alone when frightened and unsure of the journey ahead.  Pray. Hope. Believe. Love. And fierce, fierce loyalty always, as this brave family has done for their sweet M.

We are honored to have known you, M, or know those who love you.  We are stronger for the gifts you have given and the messaged coins you have showered upon our hearts.  We are gifted your presence and belief in a higher power that “asked” you to suffer for a reason I believe you know today in a more peaceful setting.

Today touched me, and I am thankful from a place that even I don’t understand.

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore.

Om shanti, my young man.  Some day we will meet, and you will tell me how and why the mountains make us whole again.

Melissa

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

“Don’t ‘should’ on yourself”

I am fragile today. It happens.

A friend suggested it isn’t healthy to “should” on myself. She also suggested a trick she heard someone else use when they scold themselves for something they “should” have said or done….or “should not” have done or wish they would have done differently. The past is the past, and we can not control others’ behavior. Only our own. And today.

Here is the trick: Wear a hair or rubber band on your wrist and give a little snap when you “should” on yourself.

I will continue to heal, work, practice, embrace, release and grieve. All in time.

And a few healthy snaps on the wrist from time to time so not to “should” on myself.

Melissa

Why “Murphy”*?

“The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.” – unknown

 

Funny things just happen to all of us. For me, it has become a normalcy. While the previous blog posts re. the cancer diagnosis are most certainly not “Murphy moments”, the “gooooiter” growth might well be.

And while it’s very hard to top being given honors from my friend, Mark, as a combo Jackie O and Dick Butkis, my ‘Melissa Murphy Moment’s’ are just part of what make me who I am. 🙂 Thus, this blog- “Murphy or Mel” – was born.

So, you ask, what is/has been a “Melissa Murphy Moment”……(and many of you will recall and giggle and/or want to share …it’s ok, my parent’s are fully aware of what they created.)

– Just out of grad school and teaching my first college class at 28, I wore a student provided adaptive hearing device into the ladies room accidentally still turned to “on”.

– Being new in my career and first real job (probably first or second year) and wearing red panties under white linen pants.

– Using the phrase “that’s a great money shot” when reviewing final production for our new television commercial with the (national food company) CEO sitting directly next to me (without knowing what the phrase meant until later AND being the only woman in the room). (btw- there really was a photo of a dollar bill in the actual TV spot.)

– Being awarded the very prestigious “40 under 40” award by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2010 after 400+ submissions, only to have a big apology and the award rescinded, because I turned 40 just three months prior. The graduate school Dean who submitted my entry entered my birthday incorrectly. (I keep it in my LinkedIn profile and resume because I earned that damn award.) My former CEO, Bill Shaner, called me to congratulate and shared great advice…”when did we go from being the rock star to the mentor?”. His wisdom and ability to laugh at the issue dulled the hurt. Until now.

– Trading in my dying but wonderfully fun Audi for a new Saab automatic, only to drive it thru the garage door in the first 24 hours. I wasn’t used to the difference after 20+ years with a manual transmission. Mol said “Mommy, why are we driving thru the garage door?” $1000 later, I owned a new garage door too. 🙂

– Having a great idea in the shower only to not have a notepad handy. So, I found a pantyliner, wrote my thought, carried to work and planted on my desk, got distracted by another project just as the (male) Division President came in and sat down to talk. Yes, panty liner in full view.

-Locking my keys in the car two times in the same day. Once at the gas tank. Once while the car was still running at 9:30 at night at the bank drop box.

– writing 100+ thank you notes before my daughter was born signed from “Melissa and Hannah” to instead name her “Mollyanna”

– crying when I got a tattoo the size of a quarter but being told to wake up when giving birth to my sweet girl. (ok, drugs and an episode of Oprah were involved there 🙂

– Scared of horses but dating a boy who I didn’t know was a national rodeo champion until three weeks later. He said Purina-Nestle.

– Asking to borrow the brand new shuttle bus for a two mile parade to have it not start in what would have been its first day in use- Just after the parade.

– Finishing a motorcycle riding class after dropping the bike, only to send and receive a letter from the IL Dept of Transportation thanking me for NOT getting my motorcycle license.

– Marrying a man with a Golden Retriever who has been beautifully house trained and won’t even get sick on the carpet. My yoga mat however? Not part of the training and more than once a select spot for Barkley’s sickness.

– Hiring a local lawn company to ‘pretty up’ my lawn to sell my house, only to have them do one spray and completely kill the yard in 24 hours, setting me back three months of sales opps and $$$ of watering…in the worst year ever to sell a house (2011).

– Asking for a fake name at the hospital for a recent procedure and getting a name with a misspelling and then best yet, a bill to her not me.

-And travel misadventure (a future blog for sure)…likely having an FBI record for an airport bomb threat scare (misunderstanding, really) in Cleveland; Watching news crews in Chicago surround our plane after some dude dropped a bag of large white powder as he entered first class (probably beignets mix- lol); Working a motorcycle rally in Laughlin, Nevada both before and after a gang motorcycle shooting hit national news; Being on a plane to Portland where the toilet blew up; Working truck stop focus groups in New Jersey with folks who lack teeth; accidentally carrying produce across the Chilean border; Booking a flight to Vancouver and realizing they meant WA not BC; Being stuck in countless airports all over the world- both with and without luggage; and one of my personal fav’s….being placed in an unmarked car in Buenos Aires and pretend texting (that wasn’t working) while hoping I was actually headed to a hotel in the right Argentine city and not being abducted.

We all have stuff, but how can you not giggle that things just happen? This is life.

No, this is my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂

*http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

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