Field of Dreams

Pixie Dust

Besides Kevin Costner being in this movie and making it one of my favorites I love the simple message embedded into the story. “If you build it, they will come.” Although this was a baseball field for real and imaginary players, it made me wonder if I continue to build a happy, peaceful, serene life…what might come of it?
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the not-so- pleasant, grouchy part of life. Life is messy, unpredictable and imperfect. Lucky us. When things don’t go our way, or the way we think they need to, we have the perfect opportunity to let ourselves shine. When we experience disappointment, frustration, sadness or anger, its okay to note what’s happening, deal with it and acknowledge- that’s part of human nature.
AND…. We can rise to the occasion. Decide what to do-let ourselves grow from the experience or get enmeshed in negativity. We all know both negativity and positive energy are contagious.
I choose positive energy. Time and again I choose my own field of dreams: optimism and joy.
Lately I’ve decided to heed my own words, make my own choices, and go my own way. Stand in my power. Recognize and celebrate being centered. This came at a great price-however; I would not be who I am today. And I’m even better than I ever was.
Its hard work and its careful thinking. And because I process my life via writing and storytelling, I have the chance to talk about what’s inside. What’s going on and how I work it out. It’s for me and apparently my writing seems to be inspiring others. What a gift this has been.
An interesting thing happened with all this honest story-telling this week. Since September I’ve had the honor of facilitating a writing group at the Cancer Support Community. As writers, we show up, write, process, and support and lend encouragement. Each week I am inspired by the thoughts and stories of courageously, brave people. It often brings me right back to choices about my life. Recently, I read a blog I had written and I realized as I was reading, I really am over myself. Yes, it feels good to put the truth out there and to look behind the curtain. As I read the blog, I realized: I’m kinda over myself. At least for a little while. Yes, I have the need to continue to tell stories, but I’m challenging myself for the next few weeks to focus on the positive, the happy, and the joy in my own field of dreams.
Realizing my life has changed tremendously, I know that as I’ve I built it…a happy, peaceful, playful, joyous, light-filled life emerges. Each and every time. IMAGINE this energy! It’s as if I can breathe again. I have a feeling my writing will change as I continue with this self-awareness. I can already feel it.
Surrounded by love and light by amazing Warrior Sisters, friends and new experiences my life is here in the now. I am okay. In this minute, I am okay. Life is moving forward…just as it should be. I just have to stop resisting it. Feeling happy and okay IS happy and okay. Lots of people live this way. I’m not saying there aren’t challenges, there are and will be. On the flip side, just like on a field of dreams, I can step up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. I know it’s my choice. It’s an opportunity I am living.
Trusting me, trusting the Universe and mostly, trusting the love between those important people are part of my life now. Abundance thinking. Leading and living with love. Offering grace. There is so much love and happiness. We just have to OPEN our eyes…and see it. Recognize it. And so I’m challenging myself to do just that. Each and every day. And as a human, I’m going to give myself some slack as my Warrior Sister Laura reminded me.
Right now, today, I am in a better place, I’m a better person. I am free to live my live as I choose. And I choose to focus on the positive. As much as I possibly can. As my Warrior Sister Cathy texted, “You are allowed a cry, a pity party, a freak out, whatever you need but then get back on that white horse with positive thoughts and energy! Good things will come your way-they always do for great people! Keep looking up, that’s the secret of life!! As I told you before-you are a ray of sunshine and things GROW around sunshine! Love you girl!” this made me both smile and shed tears of pure love.

In her book, Women Rowing North Mary Pipher states, “Attitude trumps circumstance….we have the freedom to choose how we respond to events…we become who we believe we can be…” She also states there are many ways to keep things in perspective. For years I said, “Don’t borrow worry.” My friend Diane reminded me, “This can be fixed.” Pipher adds, “It’s not time to worry yet,” “Everyone makes mistakes,” and “Tomorrow is another day.” It’s all in how I look at it. How I use my energy. How I live. How I see myself and my life.
Here is my challenge-get over myself. Focus on the positive. Live in the light. Re-read my words. Focus on stepping up to the plate, and building a life of dreams. Because AS I BUILD it…the most exciting, joyful, happy life will continue to brighten the field. I already feel better…I’m gonna make it after all.

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Another Choice

time travelers
In any life change there is a ton of paperwork. When we are born, enter school, apply to college and scholarships, marriage, divorce, name change (don’t get me started on trying to change my name on frequent flier accounts!) change of address. The amount of paperwork can bury us.
My wish is that it is only the paperwork that buries us-not the crazy chaos associated with it.
Unfortunately, as my journey has shown, I will most always deal with crazy, chaos, negativity and darkness. I will always deal with unreasonableness based on who I have happily divorced. And yes, I am happily divorced. My life is mine, my choices are mine and I am finally, finally finding me again.
However, like the gift that keeps on giving, think sexually transmitted disease, the paperwork and sneaky underhandedness of this prior life keeps resurfacing. At the most inopportune times. And it’s not easy to figure out. It’s complicated-he said/she said/and a signed divorce agreement reflecting what actually was agreed upon.
For most people a calm discussion reviewing the facts might be enough. You have to actually be speaking to the other person, however, for a discussion to take place. It’s much better for me that there is no conversation. At all. I have no desire for conversations-in fact most discussions had to go through lawyers in order for anything to get accomplished. And even then, after everything is said and done, the unreasonable-ness of the other person makes this challenging.
It happened again when paperwork somehow found its way to my door. Unfortunately, it’s a government agency and there are as many answers as there are people I have spoken with. Two sets of CPA’s and my team of lawyers have looked at the paperwork. And yet, something that was not supposed to happen happened. An unreasonable person did something he is really good at: he was sneaky and underhanded. Welcome to my world. Though the bill isn’t huge, it’s the principle of it that steamed me.
I reached out to Dr. Heidi Brocke who responded, “There will be a couple of years of residual shit. I am sorry that they will find every opportunity and event to stick it to you. It’s what they do…they sneak. And it sucks.” Narcissists just want a fight. No matter what. And I refuse to be engaged. A narcissist will never change because they can’t. They live miserable lives and never want the best for anybody.
This is so far from who I am. And I was reminded of this as other Warriors responded similarly, “See only the good and you will bring in into your life,” from Sally. “Stay strong with what is truth and don’t allow his poison to run within you. Love and truth always wins,” from Stephanie. “You’re surrounded by goodness…hold onto to that,” from Renee.
I have worked so very hard for a life of peace and calm, joy and light, fun and curiosity, abundance and generosity. After reading the texts and trying to calm myself I let it go for the night.
Waking to a NEW day, the sun shining brightly, my first thought was: “I have a choice.”

This day allows me choice. I see it in the morning light. I have a choice. I can continue to feel like a victim yet again or I can use this to spur myself forward. I’ve worked too hard and too long to find my sea legs, boots on the ground with an amazing community of support surrounding me. Am I going to let all that go to deal with unreasonableness?

NO! I am going to see change, be change and feel change. If I let unreasonableness sway me, I am not living my truth. It’s unfortunate that I continue to have to deal with sneakiness and underhandedness. My friend Melika texted, “I believe in the power of goodness.” I have to, too. I cannot believe in evil and resentment because that doesn’t allow me to live in light. To live with love and joy, peace and abundance-which feels so natural. I refuse to spend one more once of energy on anything that is so negative.

In yoga, Jennifer Cooper reminds us to move in the direction we want to go. Forward. I continue to move forward. Peace and light make us strong. Kindness feeds kindness. Love frees me. Love for this life I’m creating and love for the person that I am deep within my core.

At lunch today my dove chocolate message reflected this as well: Keep life moving forward. Looking back is only for time travelers. (In fact it was the message I opened up twice today!!!) I live in the here and now. THESE thoughts, this love and everything I’ve built encourages me into living an even happier, healthy life. THIS is my choice.

And I will say this. It encourages me as I continue living an even happier more healthy life filled with smiles and laughter. Full of light and love. Peace and calm. Joy and fun. Curiosity and abundance. I’m gonna make it after all.

TGIF

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For the past few years I have been dancing on Saturday mornings with Kim Bolourtchi at Majestic Dance Studio with a group of dancing Goddesses who have become close, supportive, positive-minded friends. It is EVERY Saturday morning at 9:30am
I look forward to this class and the women I dance with each and every week.
It’s not just a dance class…it is an empowering hour that Kim respectfully encourages all of us to use as we see fit. We come as we are, we dance, we sweat, and we laugh. And Kim can always tell when we need to get OUT of our heads.
I asked her once about this and she replied, “I can just tell when we need a reminder.” Lately, Kim has been encouraging us to leave everything at the door OR leave it all on the floor. “Let the floor take your stress,” she advises. Other times she will remind us to “Use the floor” which for me means to stand grounded, centered and remember who and what I am.
A lot of break-through thoughts have occurred for me in Kim’s dance class. There have been tears as well, but lately, its peace and joy and light.
A lot of loving friendships have been formed and cemented before, during and after. There is always laughter and fun and a great play list. And in this class we do nothing half-assed.
This class grounds me. It sets my week up to be amazing. I love the freedom of dance and music. I love learning new choreography, I love old favorites. I love seeing my body change and I love what my body can do. “Only when I dance do I feel this free…”
I love dancing with a group of like-minded, supportive women. And so, I PROTECT with every inch of my being and my life Friday nights. Yes, I know this seems crazy, but staying out late or making not-great choices on Friday nights (read what you will) is foreign to me. I would rather spend the evening at home, or walking or an early Happy Hour so that I am ready to go for Saturday morning.
In all the years I’ve danced with Kim, there have been only TWO Friday nights that while taking dance class into account-I still chose differently. I will not say the choices weren’t “good” choices-they were AT THE TIME-the moment very fun choices, but not for my early dance class Saturday.
The reason this comes up is because on Friday nights or Saturday mornings, Kim posts on FB to remind us (like we need reminding) about class. She often talks about a cool, new play list or that she’s looking to see us. Last Friday night this FB post came through:
This makes me laugh….with the picture from above telling more of a story than any words could. She continued, “I ALWAYS plan my Friday night with my Saturday morning in mind LOL!!!! See you at Majestic Dance Studio tomorrow morning at 9:30-10:30 am. Walk-ins welcome!!!”
Last Friday night was one of the ONLY two Friday nights I made different choices. (the other Friday night was about 18 months ago and after that decision I vowed to always respect my Friday nights) Last Friday night I was out for drinks and at 9pm had the CHOICE to go home, put on my jammies and watch a movie for an early night OR join new friends at the cigar bar at the Ritz.
The choice was so tempting. “You only live once,” I heard in my head and thought, “Oh, this sounds like too much fun to pass up.” It was. The place, the people, the night.
Too much fun. In fact it was SO much fun, after two Moscow Mules, a glass of Prosecco, yummy desserts and a cigar, I fell into bed at 1:30am. Somewhere around 6am I realized I was never going to make dance class. The room was spinning (I am quite the light weight) and I thought to myself, “Protect your Friday nights!”
YES! This was SO MUCH FUN!!! And yes, it’s good to LIVE and have new experiences. When I texted my dance friends the next morning after waking up at 9:30am (room still spinning and spending the day eating toast) they all supported my decision texting back, “That is exciting! Can’t wait to hear all about it,” and “I danced for you! SO happy that you are happy,” offering suggestions about hang-overs.
Here’s the thing. As much fun as this Friday night was, I missed dance incredibly. I missed seeing the happy, smiling faces of my friends as much as I missed leaving it all on the floor and shaking my groovy thang. Life IS all about choices…and so on the subject of Friday nights…I choose Saturday morning dance class. See you there. I’m gonna make it after all!!!

Self-Care: We are WORTH IT!!!

Leslie and Pam thanksgiving

Over Thanksgiving holiday I had the amazing opportunity of traveling with my Sister-Cousin Leslie to visit with her brother and his family in Connecticut. One of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a long time is credited to my cousin and his family who are gracious hosts. The other reason this weekend was such fun is because it was four days of hanging out with one of the coolest chicks around. My cousin Leslie is bright, creative, funny, fun and a busy physician. During this weekend we hung out in our jammies watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and talked about everything under the sun late into the night.
Thanksgiving afternoon Leslie casually suggested that she would be happy to straighten my hair. Do you know me and my hair? It has a personality of its own-wild, wavy, curly. I’m lucky that it looks half-way decent most of the time. And I have absolutely no skill with blow dryers, curling irons or straighteners. Luckily, I can scrunch and go and most of the time it looks like I just came in from the beach. Still, the thought of someone working with my hair was too tempting to pass up. And was she ever good at it, maybe she missed her calling. She used a cool, huge instrument that gently smoothed my hair. I loved it. Couldn’t stop looking at it or touching the softness (wavy/beach hair is not often soft).
On Black Friday we took ourselves to town for shopping. Our first stop was Ulta where we found the implement Leslie had used (I didn’t purchase knowing it would not be used by me). Knowing I needed a little more “finishing up”; I headed to the bronzers because I had become quite complacent at only using eye make-up. Finding a bronzer I liked I checked out only to discover Leslie with bags and bags having stocked up on her favorites. She was so happy and cheerful.
When I asked her about this she replied, “When I take care of myself, when I am pulled-together I feel better. Ready to face the world. Everything I bought I needed. And I enjoy living in the world this way.”
Hmmmm I did too. I loved how my hair looked, loved the make-up and always feel better when I actually put real clothes on (vs athletic wear…although gotta say I love living in yoga pants).
This made me really think about what self-care is and led us into a discussion of how we take care of ourselves. As I mentioned my Sister-Cousin is one smart cookie. Her attitude is that she is WORTH investing time and energy into herself which I translated into her confidently navigating the world.
A few weeks ago I actually wrote about this as a gift to myself for my January birthday:
This year I am going to continue to take care of myself and NOT feel guilty about it. I’m going to work-out when I can and when I want, eat healthy (cocoa beans grow on trees; hence chocolate is considered a vegetable). I’m going to sleep when I need to, walk when I need to, and get out into fresh air as often as I can. I have a purpose and the better I feel, the more I can dedicate this energy to the bigger purpose. Self-care is as important as taking care of others.
Gradually I’m learning and accepting the idea of self-care. It’s not selfish or self-absorbed to take care of ourselves. It’s actually healthy. Why not put our best face forward, look as good as we feel and smell good too? For years, as a mom, I put someone else first-all of the time. In our society, we are taught to take care of others, and yet, how many of us are taught self-care? How many of us take care of ourselves SO THAT we can effectively take care of others? Are we too busy? Do we take enough time to do what we love, be with people who make us laugh and enjoy a simple walk in the sunshine?
I’ve kept up my work-out schedule and it energizes me. Helps me continue to be productive. Otherwise I get lost in my day. It structures me. And there is nothing like an amazing group fitness class or bike ride. Lifting weights helps me feel my strength. I read books because I love a good story. I watch Hallmark movies because I can. Hanging out with friends is one of the ways I feel like I take care of myself as is taking bubble baths.
After ditching the JLo challenge and realizing that I DO eat healthy at least 80% of the time, I added dark chocolate back into my life because life is too damn short NOT to eat chocolate. Yes, I’ve cut out unhealthy, processed carbs, however, chocolate stays. I’ve been observing what kind of sleep I need and how I feel when I get a good night’s sleep-wow, I can take on the world. Give me a walk in the sunshine and fresh air and I will save the planet.
And lastly, I have been enjoying (I was going to say indulging however that is NOT the correct vision) restorative yoga with Jennifer Cooper once, if not twice a week. My best description: it’s like a big giant hug. We are in a beautiful warm room, using props to restore and keep us comfortable. The mat is our friend, providing the perfect place to let go. The goal is just that: RESTORE ourselves. Letting ourselves be free of any preconceived notions. Jennifer’s music is as soft and lovely as her nurturing meditations and voice. Most of the time I fall into the zone of complete relaxation (I know this because sometimes when she adjusts me I startle awake!) This hour is something I actually crave, need and enjoy. I wish I could remember everything she says; it’s loving and lovely and kind and gentle. This week her message, “Nobody loses their eyesight by looking at the bright side.” How can you not smile at that? THAT is self-care at its best.
Watching Leslie take care of herself in such an easy, loving way and listening to Jennifer while completely relaxed has helped me understand that I am worth taking care of. Each and every day in any way I decide is best for me. I’m gonna make it after all.

Red Cape Brigade

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A few months ago my financial wizard (and financial divorce specialist) Laura Boedges texted and asked if I could come by her office, “I have something for you.” I was hoping for tall, dark and handsome.
Instead, it was a pin in the shape of a RED CAPE. Inside a golden mesh gift bag was a pin and a card that read: Pam, In Your Honor….
The Red Cape Brigade
This RED CAPE BRIGADE pin is a memento of the journey you’ve been on and the fight you waged to pave the way for your successful and independent future. We hope you will wear this RED CAPE BRIGADE pin with PRIDE as a reminder of your journey.
I sat and looked at the pin, the card, the woman sitting in front of me and promptly burst into tears. I couldn’t even gather thoughts to wonder how this happened.
Laura told me, “You fought such a good fight. This is all about YOU and how you survived. You would talk about wearing your cape, making sure your boots were on the ground and wearing your bracelets for strength. All to fight the good fight. This is because of you!”
Again, I was speechless.
NONE of us does this alone. Especially when you are emeshed in a legal battle you didn’t ask for, fighting for your dignity, you strength and knowing the truth means absolutely nothing. But I DID know the truth.
About myself and about my team of Warriors.
And that’s what the RED CAPE BRIGADE is really about-the Warriors who stood side by side with me in battle. In fact, the card for the RED CAPE BRIGADE team says:
“This RED CAPE BRIGADE pin signifies your commitment to serving others, working as a team member, advisor or coach to assist someone in need. We hope you will wear this RED CAPE BRIGADE pin with pride as a reminder of your remarkable work.”
Darrell Grant at Hightower Wealth Advisors and Laura designed the RED CAPE BRIGADE pin.
It is designed for the professional team of Warriors who fought with me on the battlegrounds of family court, in conferences, through tears and on long nights. It is for all the Warriors fighting and surviving.
For the Warriors who painstakingly went through file after file, note after note, number after number. Those Warriors who showed me how to fight the good fight, how to fight a fair fight to maintain my dignity and grace. Those Warriors who answered millions of questions, walked the walk with me, helped me figure out when to be quiet and let someone else sink their own ship. The Warriors who helped me problem solve, who showed up for me and the crazy, stupid battle that was waged against me.
The story behind how I began to think of myself and those who showed up for me and continue to show up in a million ways as Warrior Sisters started the summer Wonder Woman hit theatres. Watching that movie, I knew I was made of the same stuff Warriors of all time were made of. I just had to figure out how to channel that confidence, courage, power, strength, wisdom and wonder. Since she was everywhere, it was easy. I began joking that we needed our capes for this legal battle that felt like a war.
In the late winter on our way to a meeting, after much preparation my lawyer and I stepped out of the elevator and I could barely breathe. She asked me how I was. I replied, “I have my cape on. You?” Without missing a beat, Ann Bauer replied, “My boots are on the ground.”
I channeled Wonder Woman during that meeting and as the texts from the other lawyers on the team came through Ann replied, “She did great! Her capes on.”
The visual stuck. Friends began sending me Wonder Woman quotes and pictures and gifts. I decided to go for it. Who was I to argue with an Amazon Princess? Wonder Woman intrinsically knows that it’s about WHAT we believe…she believes in LOVE conquering all. Wonder Woman, with her cape, her boots, her shield (and believe me I needed a shield too) and her bracelets that deflect bullets and bullshit is strong, capable and going to stand in her power.
My RED CAPE BRIGADE taught me all of that and more. Yes, I was the one on the line. I was the one crying and trying to make sense of the night-mare I was being dragged through (continue to be dragged through). I was the one working with an amazing team of lawyers, para-legals, counselors, accountants, bankers and financial wizards so that I could move on. As Ann often reminded me, “The best revenge is living a happy life.” (on my way Ann, on my way…)
As I realized that I WAS indeed breathing and living I relayed this thought to Laura, “I’m surviving AND I’m thriving. Because of the RED CAPE BRIGADE.”
Laura gave the first round of pins and messages to my professional team which included Ann Bauer and Hallie Van Duren (lawyers), Paige Bloom-Ellis (para-legal), Carolyn Malecek (real estate agent), Dena Tranen (counselor) and Michelle Willer (mortgage lender), relating our history and summing it up with, “Pam was a really good student!”
I absolutely must add and give a shout out to all of my Warriors and Warrior Sisters who can proudly wear this pin. They too, showed me loud and proud that they are Warriors with their boots on the ground, shield and bracelets ready and their RED CAPES on.
So I say to all of the Warrior Sisters, “This RED CAPE BRIGADE pin is a memento of the journey you’ve been on WITH ME and the fight you waged to pave the way for my successful and independent future. We hope you will wear this RED CAPE BRIGADE pin with PRIDE as a reminder of our journey.” AND as a reminder of your being there, showing up and loving me.
I’m gonna make it after all.

Birthday Presents for Myself

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I love birthdays! Your birthday, my birthday. I love to celebrate. January is my birthday month and I’ve decided this year that I’m going to give myself the very best presents I can think of. The entire year.
First I’m going to re-establish my center. Because if I’m centered, everything else will fall into place. I’m going to remember to breathe, look into the sunshine and know that MY center is the place that I am supposed to be…and when I need to I will press the re-set button. As many times as I need to.
For the past few weeks as 2018 turned to 2019 I’ve been hearing a great deal about Joy. Sparking Joy, living with Joy, Finding Joy. Okay, here I go. I know that I if live WITH JOY, the rest follows: strength, courage, wisdom, wonder, happiness, smiles, love, kindness, bravery, energy, gratitude, attitude and acceptance. Please tell me that there is chocolate in there somewhere as well. THAT brings me great joy. Joy. It’s my middle name.
All tied with pretty ribbon is the box of Over-Thinking. Watch as I throw that box OUT the door. It does nobody any good whatsoever. We spin, we get crazy. When I catch myself over-thinking ANYTHING I’m going to stop, drop and roll. That just sounds like so much more fun.
Letting it GO and letting the yoga mat take it for me. I’ve spent a great deal of time on a yoga mat over the past few years. I always feel better, and yes, I’m nicer when I practice yoga. Each opportunity I step on the mat, with the help of amazing instructors, I let it go. In fact, I’m using visualization of letting go of anything that no longer serves me. Thanks yoga mat.
Speaking of that, I’m leaving all toxic, narcissistic, self-absorbed, unkind people in 2018. They certainly do NOT belong in my present or my future. As my Warrior Sister Laura e-mailed, “The other thing is that now this is behind you. You can move into 2019 without that hanging over your head. 2018 was a BIG year for you! Onward and upward – forward motion always.” And in the same wrapped gift box…I’ve learned to set boundaries. Wow, that feels good.
This year I am going to continue to take care of myself and NOT feel guilty about it. I’m going to work-out when I can and when I want, eat healthy (cocoa beans grow on trees; hence chocolate is considered a vegetable). I’m going to sleep when I need to, walk when I need to, and get out into fresh air as often as I can. I have a purpose and the better I feel, the more I can dedicate this energy to the bigger purpose. Self-care is as important as taking care of others.
I’m going to forgive myself. When I was speaking to Yogi Julie Haefner about 2019 being MAGICAL, she texted, “Yes!!! You know what you are doing. Keep being positive and good things will happen.” How right she is. I’m going to forgive myself because my world now is all about positive energy. I’m not always right. I wasn’t always right in the past. I didn’t always handle things or situations the way that I handle them now. I am a work in progress. I’m not perfect-that is boring. I am me. I live a real life that is healthy, messy fun, chaotic, funny, goofy and packed full of sunshine and opportunities to grow and learn. People change. We need to allow this for ourselves and for those we love.
And some things are harder than others….I still need to learn to work through negative thoughts and feelings of heart-break. These two gifts are primarily for two people in the world that I have always loved, will always love regardless of what they do or don’t do. I found the yellow brick road home to myself. I hope that they too, can find their way back to me, to us and that they find those ruby red slippers…even though as Warrior Cathy texted, “You just lost them for a while”. Here’s my hope for you: It doesn’t matter if your ruby red shoes were lost, stolen or taken from you. Find them-use them with the power and love you have and you will find your way back home. Home is love.
Over the past few years I’ve come to understand how important honesty is. That is a gift I give to myself and to everyone I come in contact with. No exceptions.
I’m giving myself the gift of roots by owning a specially-blessed house that seems to need me as much as I need it. By doing this, I’ve discovered an entirely new world (not to mention learning lessons) and fun, new friends. Welcome. My home is always available, open and ready for a party.
Fun. I’m giving myself the GIFT OF FUN and PLAY every single chance I can. Anything can be fun…do not wonder about this. MAKE it FUN. Yes, real life is challenging, AND we can find the fun and play. That’s a gift all wrapped with beautiful ribbons!!! Therefore, more hiking, more biking, more activities that bring me joy and make me feel happy. And if I need to reframe something that isn’t exactly my type of fun…I plan on it.
The gift of BEING with friends. Enough of the texting. Come over and hang out. You’ll love my house-it’s never quite cleaned up and yes, looks like a teen-ager lives there. There’s a purple room, Wonder Woman posters and bourbon in the frig. Call. Visit. Yes, we actually DO HAVE time to do this.
My little blue suitcase is always packed and ready to go. Travel and adventure stretch us in ways we have yet to imagine. I’m going to live my own WILD.
Fly. Fly. Fly. Embrace what COULD BE. My Warrior sister Stephanie texted this January 1st:
The New Year’s Ball is suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the New Year, to stop and reflect on the year that has gone by. To remember both our triumphs and our missteps – our promises made, and broken. The times we opened ourselves up to great adventures – or closed ourselves down, for fear of getting hurt. Because that’s what New Year’s is all about: getting another chance. (and so are birthdays!!!)
In that big box with sparkles, is my ability to change how I view my story. I am so careful who I “tell my story to” because if I’m living in the present-does my past story really matter all that much? While I was living through hell (and believe me there are still moments of hell), when I need a warrior, a shoulder to cry on, someone to help me laugh or reframe, I reach out or a text or phone call comes in. I’m so tired of thinking about a past that really and truly IS in the past. It wasn’t a good place to be-for me or anybody. HERE is a MUCH happier place.
Recognizing each and every day that I am creating my present and my future with my choices and my voice. Understanding that MY VOICE, my intuition leads the way. I trust my voice, I trust my intuition. I know who I am and what I want. Every day I have the opportunity to live the life I want to live. It’s up to me. Small steps lead to big steps…we just have to take the first one.
The biggest most important gift that I want to give to myself this year….feeling good, happy, peaceful and okay EVEN IF IT’S SCARY. It’s a damn shame that with everything I have to be grateful for, anxiety and fear sometimes rear their heads. I have a feeling I can learn the skills to ALLOW MYSELF to be okay with feeling okay. This gift comes in many boxes and bags and they are scattered everywhere. And that’s okay. I’m a work in progress this birthday.
I’m gonna make it after all.

Flash Mob!

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On Saturday December 15th when the Hill was celebrating the Holiday Season I find myself standing outside St. Ambrose Church with a group of 15 new friends. They are STLFlash Mob and they have welcomed me into their fold with open jazz hands. We are waiting in the cold until the tree is lit and the party-goers are ready for us to…
FLASH MOB.
It’s exactly what you think.
We turn ON the music and we DANCE.
In the middle of everything, anything and everyone.
As my due diligence I have been to three practices learning the Holiday choreography and enjoying every minute of the dancing, listening and getting to know these very special people. Everyone comes to Flash Mob with different reasons; they have a rich history and the dancers stay because it’s so much fun. The group is all ages, all experiences, all walks of life. Their common theme is dancing, laughing and fun.
I first learned of STLFlash Mob through my friend Sandy Tomey who introduced me to Mary Canino. While introducing herself Mary casually commented that she was part of the Flash Mob and I was hooked. She patiently sent me e-mails about practice throughout the Halloween season. Previous commitments kept me out of these practices until I witnessed their magic at Casa Loma Ballroom during the Halloween party.
Suddenly, in the middle of the party, it is announced that there is a power issue and we all need to take our seats. Zombies come walking out from everywhere as Thriller plays at full blast.
I am in awe of the group dancing and having fun with their Zombie faces.
After I run over to Susan Pellegrino who I think is Mary and throw my arms around her, “I LOVE THIS!!! I can’t wait to join!” She smiles and within minutes Mary finds me and we laugh at my mistaken identity.
I email immediately the next day and I am informed of the practices for the Holiday dance. I’m not sure if they asked me to attend three or I decide that I need three practices, but on succeeding Saturday mornings I make my way to Flash Mob practice.
And have the time of my life.
The choreography is fun, the people welcoming, helpful and ready with a smile and a laugh. The six minute dance is a mix of favorite holiday music and by the end I’m worn out, exhausted and so happy to be included. All of the dancers reach out to me introducing themselves and telling me how long they’ve been part of STLFlash Mob.
Susan Pellegrino, the choreographer gives this history:” STLFlashmob was created by Harry Sneed in the fall of 2011 and The Holiday Flashmob was his original dance. He created the medley & choreographed it. In Sept 2012, we did The Evolution of Line Dancing (which Harry put together) downtown at a battle of the bands event sponsored by Charter Communications over Labor Day weekend. Harry then decided to teach us Thriller that fall and we had up to 65 people at times who went anywhere Harry could get permission: Lemp Mansion, weddings, bars, haunted houses, etc. We also had a routine called the Money Tree which was my favorite because we’d perform and then donate money to someone that was critically ill. The following year, Harry decided to start charging for us to come “crash” events with Thriller. We thought he was crazy, but people paid $300 for us to come to their event. Harry did everything from running practices, to finding events to posting on the STLFlashmob Facebook site. We even created another Facebook page because we created a special routine for two of our members for their wedding and wanted it to be a surprise.
Three “Thriller seasons” ago, (summer/fall ’16) Harry had had enough of running the flashmob (it was a lot of work & did take a lot of dedication), but some of us diehards decided we wanted to keep it going. We started delegating and some of us just jumped in and did what we were better at. I’ve taught dance aerobics for 25 years and it was easy for me to teach and run practices. Kathy Boyko with the help of her best friend, Sherri Michel, are our main Facebook administrators (https://www.facebook.com/groups/STLFlashmob/). Mary Canino is primarily our contact for events and vetting venues. However, we encourage and really want anyone who comes up with an event to do the vetting and create an event.”
It’s as much fun as you think it is and as it sounds.
Is it scary?
You bet.
I practiced three Saturdays, learning the dance, hoping my body would have muscle memory. Each Saturday was different-the second Saturday was my best. And yet, Susan Pellegrino the instructor/choreographer stopped each time to check in on me. She patiently re-taught and as the other Flash Mobbers chimed in, I gradually understood that while I could learn the dance, my presence was just as important, because I wanted to be there and I was having fun.
On December 15th, I head down to the Hill with one of my new Flash Mob friends Elana and we merrily chat as we drive into the over-crowded, very happy Hill. We find a nearby parking spot and hop out to join the other Flash Mob dancers. Nobody quite knows what’s going on; the church has changed their programming and moved the tree.
I’m pretty sure this doesn’t matter. I am so thankful I am NOT in charge…simply an elf, a dancer, a participant. The costumes are incredible-most dancers sporting some sort of holiday wear, festive in mind and spirit. Another veteran dancer asks me if I want to practice and we head to the side of the Church for a quick run-through. I’m beginning to understand that I am simply going to dance regardless of how well I do or don’t know the routine. We’ve been inside practicing, this is outside if front of a Church in front of people. And because it’s a Flash Mob nobody is aware that we are going to dance ON the sidewalk in front of them.
The Church service lets out, the tree is lit and after someone found electricity our music blares out. We begin dancing. My body goes into automatic mode as I concentrate on enjoying this minute in time. I’m watching Susan from the second row and within seconds I am smiling and having the time of my life dancing to the medley which includes: “All I want for Christmas is You, Feliz Navidad, theme from Charlie Brown Christmas (always wanted to dance like that), Mele Kalikimake, Polar Express, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.
I’m Flash Mobbing!!!!
The music ends too soon. The thrill of the dance stays with me as we take pictures, talk to people on the street and head into a restaurant to congregant and laugh and smile about the fun Flash Mob offers.
I’m hooked. There’s no two ways about it. The people, the dancing, the spirt of STLFlash Mob is so happy and IN the present. Thank you Flash Mob for a wonderful experience. I’m gonna make it after all….