Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit? ~ Gabrielle Roth

In the movie Silver Linings Playbook, the main characters Pat and Tiffany are in training for a big dance competition that turns out to be much more than a fancy booty shaking contest.  A unique romantic dramedy, it’s a film that shows there is a fine line between sanity and insanity, acceptable versus unacceptable behavior, and the beauty of living life to the beat of your own drum.

In the movie The Sessions, Mark O’Brien is confined to an iron lung 20 hours a day, existing on a gurney unable to move from the neck down, and yet he writes poetry, is a professional journalist and decides to hire a sex surrogate so he can experience the most human of experiences. We go along on his journey (based on a true story!) and find him to be one of the most alive, loving and liberated individuals to have ever lived despite such extreme physical limitations.

And as seen in the movie Lincoln, our 16th president is clearly not your Average Joe.  He was always thinking out of the box, used his quirky sense of humor to diffuse or illuminate situations, and took numerous risks throughout the most heart-wrenching circumstances our country has endured.  He stretched the Constitution to its limit, working within an established framework while implementing his own interpretation and/or bending the rules based on his hard-earned wisdom, keen observations and superior judgment as unprecedented needs arose and critical decisions had to be made in order for progress to occur.

In the conscious movement class I take, we are told to  ‘dance it your way’ and have breaks of  ‘free dance’  where we boogie as we see fit; it’s not chaotic because there is an organized structure and unity contained within the flow as we come back together intermittently as a group throughout the hour.  It’s a super-small class because for many people, when given the opportunity to move and think for themselves, even for just a few moments, is a daunting and uncomfortable feeling; it’s an empowering exercise that requires more effort and less inhibition, and many simply don’t know what to do if they are not following the instructor. And that, my friends, is indicative of a larger problem with implications reaching much farther than a gym studio.

Spielberg’s Lincoln asks, “Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we’re born into?”  As citizens of the 21st century, we are certainly living in extraordinary times that will require us to become the fullest and most unique beings we are meant to be.  We each have something that needs to be expressed, something that no other person on this planet, no one who has come before or will come after can express. Right now we need new ways of looking at old problems and to change old ways in order deal with new problems, so it’s more important than ever for you to do your own thang, because there is no other way to generate inspiration and birth innovation.

In any era it’s easy to get stuck in past habits and sucked into the zeitgeist of the day.  Resist the urge to follow the herd, fight to honor yourself, think and speak your own thoughts and begin to know and create yourself anew every moment of every day instead of getting swept up by social media, news, commercials, and even your peer groups, work and ethnic cultures or family and friends who are all, consciously or not, forces that can easily grab hold of your mind, body, spirit and/or bank account.  Don’t let your physical characteristics, family roots or societal dictates squash all the rhythms inside you that might be quite different from what those outside influences might have you believe, say or do.

Not sure exactly what your groove thing is? Give me a buzz and I’ll get you started with some basic choreography and point you in the right direction, because ultimately You Should Be Dancing your own steps throughout life, hopefully with a fun disco floor beneath your feet along the way!

P.S. For related thoughts on this topic, check out my posts:  Lucky Charms, A Fool’s Errand and New Rules.

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I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for all of you – my readers, seminar attendees, and especially clients. You continue to enrich my life by providing numerous opportunities for me to express myself and the honor of using the best parts of me to work with the innermost parts of you.   

This has been a particularly challenging year for so many of us; be sure to reflect back on what you have learned and how you have grown because of it, and yes, appreciate the hard times as much, if not more, than all the ‘good’ stuff in your life!

Wishing you and your family a lovely Thanksgiving holiday! 

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Whenever the fourth Thursday in November rolls around, we are meant to reflect on all the blessings in our lives. Traditionally that would imply appreciating all that is good or positive and bring us joy and happiness or that we could not live without. While that is certainly warranted, why not also be grateful for the funky, not-so-positive, annoying and pain-in-the-you-know- where stuff as well: the people, things and situations that challenge us, push our buttons or make us feel uncomfortable.

There is a saying that “There are no problems, only opportunities.” Our crises and difficulties are chances for us to test our mettle, see what we’re made of, and to become stronger and wiser for it. They are occasions for us to make course corrections, adjustments, tune-ups and put ourselves back in balance or on track, or perhaps a different, better track.  If things went great all the time you wouldn’t have to dig deep, really look at yourself, search within for answers, find new creative ways of doing things. Innovation is problem solving at its most basic level  (just watch those Dyson commercials), so where would we be without all the problems we’ve had?

Whether unemployed, having a health crisis or trouble in your personal or professional relationships, take a step back and see what is the Universe trying to show/teach you.  Remember those carbon atoms wouldn’t become diamonds without extreme high pressure and heat.

So this year, be thankful not only for the bird that you are about to eat (or tofurkey if that is more your style) but for all those ‘turkeys’ in your life: those folks and circumstances that have given you stress and grief but allowed you to go through and overcome whatever you needed to in order to grow and become the person that you are today.  And if you need a little help seeing how the cr*p in your life is really cool, give me a buzz and we’ll figure  out what should be basted and tasted, and what is simply a little fat that needs to be trimmed.

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on November 23, 2010.)

Hello! In case you missed last week’s PGG in the midst of election madness and a second storm warning, you can read my attempt to make sense of recent events with a post called World Wide Web.  

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What’s going on? Whether socially or sensually – many have gottin’ it on to Marvin Gaye’s tunes, being enlightened and healed in a variety of ways as a result. You say you want a revolution? The Beatles told us it’s gonna be alright.  And the Rolling Stones declared we can’t always get what we want, but if we try sometimes, we get what we need.

The turmoil taking place both here and across the pond (that would be an oil spill, flooding, volcanic ash clouds, tornadoes, bankrupt governments, elections up in the air, stock market plunging, foiled terrorist plot, political protests and strikes to name a few) can make you a little on edge if you really take a minute to consider all these upheavals happening simultaneously. If you are feeling directly affected or anxious about it, there are ways to keep you in the groove.

Think about what crisis is bubbling up or spinning out of control in your world physically, emotionally or otherwise? Since we are all connected on one level or another, each of us can create peace in our own piece of the pie. If we take responsibility to put out, learn from and even prevent massive fires from happening in our individual lives, we’ll be doing our part to keep things as collectively calm as possible.

So if you find yourself in a bit of stormy seas, give me a buzz.  I’ll help you see what might be stirring things up and offer solutions to get you back on course.  Like Simon & Garfunkel, I can be that bridge over troubled water that eases your mind!

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on May 11, 2010.)

P.S. Looking for a little more reading material? Check out two articles I was featured in:  What I Learned Working with a Career Coach and Five Simple Tips for Finding Your Life’s Purpose.  Feel free to tweet and share:) 

The Saturday before Sandy, I was at a Halloween party. The host went to town with decorations, and in several corners had massive floor to ceiling spider webs. Little did I know what foreshadowing that would be for the week ahead!

Four years ago this week we were on the eve of a historic presidential election, after a historic financial disaster. That Fall the unimaginable became imaginable on both fronts when we chose our first Black president and watched the implosion of the stock market and our banking system. This woke us up in more ways than one, and both divided and connected us.

Fast forward to today, and we are on the eve of yet another historic election, the outcome yet to be determined, and post another disaster, this time a natural one which at the end of the day is hitting us materially as much as anything else. And we are even more divided, yet more connected than ever.

After the financial crisis of 2008, because of the actions of a relative few that rippled throughout the world, at the very least we were forced to deal with our addiction to credit and consumerism, and at the worst lost our homes and jobs because of it. Now it’s Mother Nature aided by the man-made contribution to/ignorance of climate change who is now teaching us that lesson with a more visceral punch as we recover from power outages and gas shortages at the least, and physical destruction of our property and loss of life at the worst.

Since this hit the tri-state area, because of its special density of population and unique connection to the global as well as local economy, no one is exempt from this lesson, as everyone has been affected in one way or another – it’s just who, what, when, where, how and level of gravity that varies.

In the middle of the storm, the façade of an apartment building in Chelsea was ripped off, showing a dollhouse-like view of the inside, a symbolic representation of what is happening to us physically and emotionally as the walls and structures between and around us are being torn down in order to reveal the truth of our lives.

Our interconnectedness and vulnerability have been thrown in our face – not only through weather, power, gas, goods and services, transportation, and social media, but relationally too. How long can you co-exist in the disconnected dark, live back at mom’s, stay at your friend’s or sleep with strangers at a shelter 24/7? How many days can you work from home or miss it, or have three hour commutes or wait hours in line for gas without losing it ? Community is a funny thing in New York – we like the anonymity and self-sufficiency of living on top of each other and the illusion of togetherness that brings, but having to actually interact and be with each other and ask for or receive help, is another story.

People have mentioned how Sandy is too ‘nice’ a moniker for what she did, but just like the gentle soul of  Frankenstein for which she was also named, there is goodness to be found underneath the external horror of her monsterous appearance. She is asking us to come together like never before and question the deepest meaning of our lives; she is forcing us not only to realize but to actually experience the ways in which we are now more connected than ever, more interdependent than at any other time in history. And it is a gift because experience is usually the only way we humans learn, and that, as painful as it may be, is something to be grateful for if we choose to accept it as such.

Like big elections, these are the occasions when we focus passionately around something that impacts us all; they bring out the best and worst in us; we get to see people’s true colors good, bad or indifferent; how flexible we can be; how generous and open-hearted we are, how we distill down what is vitally important; what is a necessity, and what is merely a luxury – or when suddenly those necessities become luxuries after not having them for a few days. It tests our patience, politeness, perseverance and willingness to exist in the present. It also shows us the incredible strength and spirit of humanity, our willingness to help one another, our capacity for leadership and organization, and our ability to rise to the occasion in times of crisis.

So remember, when we wake up tomorrow morning, no matter what the result of this election is, and no matter where you live in this country or on this planet, what we do know for sure, now more than ever, is that we are all in this together.

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