The Now Moments of the Week- by Request

My week goal was to live more in the now and to make every attempt to just focus on one moment or task without worrying about the next moment or what I should be doing but aren’t. For the most part I succeeded with a few helpful reminders from others and a few nasty internal monologues where I always won. Here are my favorite Now moments of the week.

Monday: Rocking the little one to bed at nap time and having him sing along. He makes requests and spends a lot of time smiling at me and giggling. He likes to request songs that don’t exist. His favorite request is “The Nemo Song” which does not exist but makes him laugh every time.

Tuesday: My mother usually helps me wrangle the Fraggles during the day so I can accomplish working from home. She had to go to the dentist last-minute and it was just me and the hooligans. I had a conference call mid morning that I knew I would have to speak during so muting out the screaming banshees I call my sons was not an option. So I put them in the bath… big mistake. And so while it was not a good idea- envision all the water from the tub now on the floor- I could not have been reminded, in a more obvious but not fatal way, that I can’t do everything and next time I need to just make my apologies, skip the meeting, and live in the now. Thanks god we had new absorbent towels.

Wednesday: Doing squats. I love working out, but I love leg day even more. I love having visible quads and strong hamstrings. Wednesday I didn’t have time for a proper workout so I thought I’d just do a few leg exercises and get back home quickly. Leg day really is the most bang for your buck because if you lift like you should you can burn so many calories and build so much beautiful muscle that it is addicting. I killed it. It was awesome, the strongest I’ve been since before both children. I couldn’t have been more in the moment, knees shaking, muscles quivering pushing myself so I didn’t make a fool of myself by dropping the barbell.  And I could really be in the now because I wasn’t thinking about what exercise I was going to do next or how I was going to be hurting during cardio. Nice.

Thursday: Standing in the rain. When I was younger I loved the rain. I can remember sitting outside under a big clear umbrella and watching it fall all around me for the longest time. Or we would have Popsicle stick races in the gutters. When I was in my twenties, I would dance in the rain and take every opportunity to just get wet (lightning permitting). As an adult we tend to run through the rain avoiding the drops that used to make us smile. Why? Thursday I stood in the rain. Just stood, eyes closed, face to the sky, and I got drenched. It was cold and it was windy, and I shivered like hell. It was perfect.

Friday: Taking a bath with my boys. Now that my kids can manage a bath without drowning I have a tendency to get things ready for bed time while they bathe. Before you judge me our house is very small and an open floor plan. I can hear and almost see them from anywhere, no one is dying on my watch. But Friday night I sat in the bathroom with them watching them play with the bubbles and practice physics in the water. And for the first time in a long long time, when they asked me to join them in the water I did instead of saying I was too busy. We had a great time and miraculously all those “things” I normally do when they are splashing around, still got done. :)

Saturday: Gymboree. We took three months off of Gymboree to save money for all the wee one’s medical bills, so the kids were super excited when we got there and they realized what the day’s surprise was. It was so fun just watching how much they have changed since we were last there and seeing how brave they have both gotten. It was also fun to be thrown around by the hubs like a rag doll because they have soft play mats to throw me on. We played, just really played as a family being carefree and super silly. For 1 hour I didn’t think about bills, errands, celiac disease, or work. Just Love.

5 Free Things You Can Do to Feel Better Today

Feeling better about anything in life is often a collection of experiences or emotions as opposed to making grand sweeping changes. Think about other times when you have felt happy, excited, content, or at peace. Those specific moments in time were probably NOT brought about by making a huge change in your life or by sticking to a worthwhile habit. If you really look at them, and dissect them for their hidden meaning, what you will likely find is a collection of random occurrences or happenstance type connections with the world that created a blissful moment where everything felt right. It doesn’t have to be hard to find, it shouldn’t cost a lot of money. Happiness is free and if you are honest with yourself, it is usually self -created. That’s right we usually create our own happiness, we pick and choose what to do, or how to think, or experiences to void and voila!- Happiness is ours. So while I’d love to win the Lottery-I’d have to start playing I guess- and I am convinced it will make my life better -seriously, I think it would (hint hint universe)- I have the power of choice and that power allows me to craft my own moments of happiness or Zen. They might be quick, they might be fleeting, but if you string together enough of them it could lead to something huge, life changing, and blissful. So here are 5 things you can do today, right now even, that will make you feel just a little bit better. They may be small, they may seem inconsequential, but baby steps are easy, and if you string them all together you’ll eventually reach the same place a leap would have taken you.

  1. First things first, put down your phone. Better yet put it in a different room, leave it in the car, turn it off, or ask someone to hold it for you. Seriously phones are dead useful and my smart phone has gotten me out of quite a few jams both with navigation and arguing over who that one guy was in that one movie we watched like five years ago, but the phone doesn’t make people happy; on the contrary the darn thing actually steals your time, disconnects you from loved ones, and leads to obsessive behaviors- oh let me just check Facebook for a minute. I am so tired of trying to have a conversation with someone who keeps nodding their head at what I’m saying while they are really just reading something on their phone. Often it would seem easier to just text my news to them because clearly the face to face moment isn’t working. Worse still the person who is constantly checking their phone is doing so out of obsessive habit, or feelings of missing out. Both of those motivators are not healthy. What did these folks do before smart phones? Did they- GASP- have actual conversations with people? Did they make eye contact and express emotions like happiness or empathy? Did they make a connection that is stronger and more binding that an update on social media? You bet they did. So now they no longer have that. They no longer feel connected, they no longer get a sense of true bonding or truly experiencing a moment because the smartphone woos them into touching it. Not too long ago I watched a mother almost back her truck over her own two children because she was too busy with her phone to notice they weren’t in the truck but outside it. I don’t know who she was talking to and I don’t know what they wee talking about, but I can guarantee you it wasn’t worth the lives of her children. So put the phone down. Just see how it feels for a moment. Do you desperately need to pick it back up? Do you miss the feel of it in your hand? Are you groping for real actual conversation with the person sitting next to you and you can’t find the words because you have no idea what verbal skills are? Yeah, I thought so. Now try to go one hour with no phone. I’ve done this, and I find I’m getting so much more out of life and my kids are happier because I never miss a moment.
  2. Play your favorite song. Seriously, it is amazing the power that music has. I’m not talking about that sad song you love because it reminds you of your last boyfriend or a dead relative. I’m talking about that song you MUST dance to because your brain leaves you no choice. I’m talking about the song that makes you feel alive and empowered, emboldened even to get out in the world and make your mark. The one that makes you feel good and straight up “lit up” inside. It can turn a whole day around, it can motivate you to try new things, it can give you the sense of fearlessness to try new things. A good song can make the world seem right. I love “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Its old, sure, but I have to smile when I hear it. I have to turn up the radio and sing along. I have to dance, if I’m not driving, and sometimes even if I am. This one song alone is responsible for more embarrassing singing to myself while others stare moments in my car than any other song ever. A new favorite is Bruises by Train. Seriously, the song on repeat actually gave me the strength to run 20 min today, 20 freaking minutes!! That is a big deal for someone who usually watches the clock counting down seconds to one minute. Find your song, if you don’t already know it, and turn it on, turn it up, let it take you into a moment you didn’t expect to have today. Let it make you smile. That feeling will stick there, long after the song is over.
  3. Compliment Someone. Seriously, compliment someone, anyone, preferably someone you don’t know. Why someone you don’t know? Well many reasons. It opens the door to possibly a new friend, possibly the best friend you’d ever had. What better story than we met when I paid her a huge compliment? Second, strangers are more inclined to believe our kind words and appreciate their personal impact. What?!? That’s right. Friends and family might think you are just being nice, or are angling for something from them, but a stranger, out of the blue, will just feel great that someone bothered to take the time to say something nice. Not long ago in a yoga class, I became mesmerized by a woman in front of me. She had long, elegant, beautiful arms. They were perfectly chiseled and sinewy with muscle and I envied her every movement. Seriously, I stared so hard and so long at this woman that it started to look like a girl crush. When class was over I toyed with just leaving and never telling her how amazing I thought she was, but I worried maybe all my staring would make her think I was judging her negatively or I thought her butt looked big. I worried she would think I was weird or coming on to her, but I took a chance anyway. I told her she had amazing arms and I wished I had some like them. I told her- red faced and properly embarrassed- that they were so beautiful. At first she was taken aback, I had after all probably said more nice things to her in that moment than her husband had all week, and I was a stranger. Then she thanked me profusely. And then, something even stranger still happened. Ten minutes later she hunted me down in the locker room to tell me that I had just made her day, she had never had anyone compliment her arms before and she works really hard on them. She said it made her whole week to know that all her hard work worth it. That was 2 months ago, and I am still riding that high of making her day. I hope she is doing the same. I hope my compliment gave her courage to tell the next person what great abs they have or how shiny their hair is. It doesn’t matter what you say, or who you say it to, complimenting others is always a big win and a feel good moment.
  4. Don’t watch commercials. Frankly don’t watch TV, but if you must, don’t watch commercials. If you have a DVR then skip them, if you don’t then leave the room when they come on or do an activity like sit-ups instead of watching. Commercials have one goal and one goal only; to influence your mind and heart enough to get you to buy something. That is it. They aren’t there to entertain, they aren’t there to make you smarter. On the contrary they often purposefully make you feel stupid or undervalue you in some way because of your gender or social standing. Commercials make you think you need or want something you don’t need or want and would never have even known about if you hadn’t just seen the commercial. Commercials make you feel left out, they make you feel like your life is lacking because you don’t have the product the ad is hawking or the lifestyle that goes with it. Seriously, it isn’t just his one woman’s opinion, it is a fact. Advertisers are paid very well for making you feel stupid, unworthy, unloved, and alone. Their sole job in life is to get you to buy something, go somewhere, invest in something, or change your mind. So if you are happy and content, you don’t need someone telling you that you aren’t. You don’t need someone to imply your paper towels aren’t good enough, your car doesn’t do enough, or your husband is too stupid to watch his own children (seriously a lot of commercials paint men in a very unflattering light). When was the last time you saw a commercial that made you feel good about yourself? Made you feel like you have all you need? Made you sing from the roof tops “I rock this life Mother F…” Never. Not once. Not ever. That isn’t their job. So stop watching, stop letting companies and advertisers tell you how to feel, what to want, and what you need. Make up your own mind. You’ll be happier not being insulted, and your wallet might just benefit too.
  5. Go outside. That’s right, just go outside. Sometimes your backyard is best, sometimes a trip to the woods is in order, but whatever you do get outside. You need the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, or the sound of crickets in you ears. The peace of being in an open space makes your brain feel good and your cells come alive. Whether its cold or hot, sunny or cloudy, raining or snowy, there is something gained by being outside. Dance in the rain, make snow angels in the winter, pick flowers in the spring, watch the sunset all year round. Bottom line just get outside. Even if all you can manage is a walk around the high rise you work in, just do it. Words cannot express the primal need all living creatures have to be one with the great outdoors. It can make you feel alive like nothing else, it can push your boundaries, surprise your senses, or simply make you appreciate home (my mother falls into this category :)) Go outside, breath in deep, twirl around, don’t worry, no one is watching you, they are all too busy on their smart phones. Take your shoes off, feel the ground on your bare feet. Your brain will thank you, your body will thank you, your spirit will thank you- once its done soaring that is.

You don’t have to do any of these, it isn’t required or mandatory, I won’t tell you that you should, but I will promise you that if  you do, your day will be a little bit brighter, the good moments just a little more frequent, and your life just a little bit better. How’s that for a commercial for ya?

The Case for Water


I have purposefully not titled this “the top whatever reasons you should drink water”. I’m going to try not to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do. I think the world is full of enough of that, and I think the words we choose and they way we present information is powerful; it is why I love to read and I love to write. Saying “should” or “shouldn’t” implies that the act following it is non-negotiable; that the reader is somehow lacking or less than if they don’t follow through with the action. Since I am trying to improve my life, and hopefully lives of those around me as I go (like a little fairy with happy pixy dust helping you all to fly, or perhaps a fertilizer spreader making grass green ;) whatever you think more applicable ), I never want any of you glorious people to think that I am secretly judging you as I twirl my moustache with an evil glint in my eye. “Ha ha! I am better than you! I said you should do it and you didn’t!” Ok, so I don’t have a moustache, but you get my point. The implication is that if you don’t do what I said you should do, even after I present logical and compelling reasons why, then you are doing it wrong. So we can argue all day that you should drink water, but at the end of the day the choice is yours and your choice matters little to me as long as you are happy.

The case for water is simple. I love simple things. You need water to survive. Period. End of story.

Wait?! Not convinced?? How about this? You will die without water. As a matter of fact people die all the time from dehydration. Ta da! Now that surely is the end of the story.

Wait… still not convinced? What are you my husband? (who I am fairly certain only drinks water on dares or under severe physical duress)

This is one of the things I am proud of about myself and this weeks goal was identifying what I already do well. I drink water like a boss. I drink water like it’s my job and for every bottle I slurp back the goddess of money slips a cool, crisp $100 bill in my pocket (she doesn’t, but she should). I drink water because it wakes me up, makes me feel good, cleans out the system (no need to detox or buy some snake oil for this people), goes with everything, quenches my thirst, prevents headaches, keeps my skin elastic (aka younger looking), my joints lubed, and my body primed for action (take that one any way you please). I drink water because every organ and major bodily system must have ample water in order to function effectively and efficiently. And for those science nerds out there who boast Geek proudly on their resume, I have yet to see one scientific or medical study that proves water is NOT good for you! It helps you lose weight, control your appetite, put on muscle, burn calories, and look alive. And don’t even get me started on what it doesn’t have; chemicals you can’t pronounce, acid that eats or teeth, or sweeteners that either make you fat or possibly kill you. Its not often you make a case for something by telling someone what it doesn’t offer.  Dare I say it? You can’t go wrong with water.

Anyone can benefit from this magical elixir of life! It is cost effective,  hits the spot, comes plain or dressed up. So no matter if you get it from the tap, filter, bottle, or prefer the one with a higher IQ, it just feels better to consume it on the reg. Leading a simple, happier life surely must start with the thing that makes life possible, WATER.

Influences from the Ether: Medical Reasons, Fitness, Beauty