Binky Blinks

boxes

Those of you who know me, know that I have a thing for “G-d Winks” — moments, people, ideas and “ahas” that show up at just the right time. Today I had “a moment” – a short conversation with a nice guy in a cigar shop. What was I doing in a cigar shop?

I was having a rough day. No, I didn’t pop in for a smoke. I was simply driving a bit aimlessly after realizing I had misread the time of an important event and missed it. All dressed up, and with my head swimming with my mistake, I slowly wandered home down a new street with lots of small store fronts. While stopped at a red light, I noticed a cigar store with a front bench stacked with colorful and shapely cigar boxes. Hmmmm… curious, I pulled over to take a closer look. A sign said $3 each. I was drawn to the boxes even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them.

As I was waiting to pay, I noticed how relaxed some guys were, lounging in large leather chairs, TVs on, having a smoke. The store, divided in half, was full. This led to a conversation with one of the guys working there, which led to the validation of an idea I have been carrying around. We talked for a bit, exchanged info and then he leaned over, winked at me and said, “There are two bags of boxes I just put out by the dumpster and they are either going to get thrown away or someone will just take ’em.”

Score! I pulled my car around the corner and loaded them into the trunk. Between the store and home, an idea of what I can do with them popped up. Names popped up. And then, I realized. I don’t just notice “G-d Winks” now I was noticing “Binky Blinks” – my new name for ideas that come to me when I intuit possibility.

In my exploration of NEXT, I am learning that  we all make mistakes and sometimes wander “aimlessly”. I wonder if it’s not what I don’t do, it’s what I do with what I’ve done. Using the cigar boxes as a metaphor for transformation, I plan to make something new of them. And the part of me that misread the time on the event? Well, my intention is to transform it and show up in a new way.

Hmph. Now that the smoke has cleared, I think I can see it all a bit more clearly.

Where do you see MindFULL possibilities and what do you do with them?

Let us know!

 

Nest to Next

nest

It has been a long time since last I posted. Over the past year, my “get up and go” simply “got up and went.” Life interceded and called my attention toward more pressing matters: the grappling with several dear friends challenges and illnesses, my daughter’s march toward Senior Year of High School and all it’s varied layers, and the ending of my favorite new TV binge – Nurse Jackie. Appreciating the luxury of time to show up for them has definitely made for a wider lens through which to see the day.

So, here I am. Back at the keyboard. A full journal brimming with ideas and finally the time and patience to allow them to play out. I am using this year to really explore what I love and see where it leads. As my daughter moves toward launching to college next Fall, I, too, am moving toward a kind of new launching for myself.

This year, I plan to evolve The MindFULL Creative into my next venture. I’m kinda excited to post what I learn. To offer what I find. And I invite you, wherever you are in your days, to contribute your thoughts.

Last Fall, I heard Gail Sheehy speak. My favorite line in her talk was simply, “Now is the time to start.” Then yesterday, I had a spontaneous visit with my old HS friend, Barb, who reminded me of one of her favorite ways of bucketing life; “Haves Tos”, “Want Tos”, and “F*&^ Yous”. It made me laugh. But it also resonated with the desire to fill this year with as many “Want Tos” as I can.

I’m excited to see where my daughter chooses to go to college and where I end up NEXT. I have a feeling it’s gonna be quite a journey.

“Want To” MindFULLY join me? We’d love to hear how you find your way to NEXT!

MindFULL Upcycle

drviewIt’s 64 degrees in Denver, which makes us forget it’s January and lulls us into thinking it’s March. With the sun shining in, I feel motivated and a bit utsy. Much to my husband’s chagrin, that means wanting to do a house project. There are a few more big things I’d like to do, but can’t right now. So I have to find small ones.

One of the things I have been keeping an eye out for is a plant stand for my dining room; I’ve been having trouble finding one. After watching too many episodes of Flea Market Flip, I decided to make one. Downstairs, buried under a tarp, was my Bobie’s old nightstand. “Hmmm” I thought.

bstand

The fun part of this project was that it cost less than $10!

At first I was going to wallpaper the piece, but wallpaper is not inexpensive and contact paper looked cheap. So, I went to a paper store and simply bought some beautiful paper ($5.99 a sheet). I also bought a small jar of ModgePodge and a sample size of dark brown paint. The nightstand had already been painted white years ago, so the hard part was behind me.

All I did was decoupage the paper onto the sides and wash with ModgePodge. On the top I crumbled up tissue paper and used the ModgePodge to make a textured top. When it dried, I painted it brown. Viola!

papermpodNow I have a surface to put a live plant in my dining room (good Feng Shui) and all I have to do is to remember to water it.

standWhat have you recently MindFULLY “ up-cycled”? Let us know!

Stop! In The Name of (self) Love

LittleLevys

Recently, my cousin sent me this picture. I love it. It’s of me, and my two cousins (brother and sister) when we were around 4, 5 and 6, I think. It is one of my favorites and the timing reminds me of one of the best learnings I have come to this past year – learning to laugh at myself.

I am going to send it to the website Awkward Family Photos www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com. I love to look at the pics on the site. I think it shows us that all families have good intentions, and still, they can go terribly wrong. And I laugh out loud.

Such is also one of the lessons I hope to take into this New Year. I don’t always “do family” as well as I’d like. It’s complicated and managing it all can sometimes be challenging for me. With a lot of hard work, I’ve come to realize that we all “picture” our families, and lives, in a certain way. The picture is made up of moments – “snapshots in time”. The moments stick with us and we can choose to metaphorically caption them any way we want. We can also change the caption. I had several “captions” for this photo in my mind. My cousin had a different one. I loved hearing his. It opened me up to possibilities outside of my limited, and sometimes hard on myself, observations.

Maybe that’s what makes sites like Facebook and Instagram so appealing (and appalling). We have an opportunity to put out the best picture/caption possible and to believe in it.

So, I have put this old, dear picture where I can see it and like the little girl on the right, I vow to raise my hand more often and say, “Stop”! Stop and consider other perspectives. Stop and lighten up. Stop and be grateful for the friends and family who laugh with me. Stop and love ALL this moment has to offer. After all, it’s only a moment. And moments are all we have.

Do you have a picture that MindFULLY makes you laugh at yourself ?

Let us know!

Keep On Keepin On

Such were the words uttered by Legendary jazz musician Clark Terry (who taught Quincy Jones and mentored Miles Davis) to his latest young protégé, blind 23-year-old pianist Justin Kauflin, every time they said good-bye. In this thoughtful documentary of the same name, Keep On Keepin’ On is the story of their touching and enduring friendship. After my friend and I sat in the theater for 15 minutes post credits, I came home and added both Terry and Kauflin to my Pandora playlist. Inspired to tears, I highly recommend it.

As some may know, I love the movies. I often go alone and am drenched in the dialogue, inspired by the sets and captivated by the costumes. I get this love of cinema from my mom, Elaine, whom I think has great taste in movies. As the weather gets colder and long winter nights encourage us to escape the dreariness without leaving our homes, I gift you with some of her favorites.

And as she would encourage, so do I — pour a glass of wine, pop some popcorn and pull up your favorite blanket. May you find inspiration, motivation or simple delight in one of her recommendations.

  1. The Grifters
  2. Coming Home
  3. Renaissance Man
  4. The Verdict
  5. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  6. Primal Fear
  7. Witness
  8. Gross Point Blank
  9. Charlie Wilson’s War
  10. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  11. God Father I and II
  12. Wall Street
  13. Fargo
  14. Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  15. Shawshank Redemption
  16. The Good Bye Girl
  17. Le Femme Nakita
  18. Married to the Mob
  19. Network
  20. 6 Degrees of Separation
  21. The Sting
  22. Shirley Valentine
  23. Sling Blade
  24. Working Girl
  25. Goodwill Hunting
  26. Dial M for Murder
  27. Justice for All
  28. Good Morning Vietnam
  29. The Graduate
  30. MASH
  31. The Joy Luck Club
  32. Fabulous Baker Boys
  33. Diabolique
  34. Philadelphia

 

What movies have MindFULLY delighted you? Let us know!

Be of Ease

“Be of Ease” is the quote my mom uses when signing off her emails.

With the Holidays upon us, we hear a lot about giving gifts. While I want for little in the “Stuff” department, there is something I pray to receive. Perspective.

For me, Perspective is the greatest gift. It’s free. I can give it to myself and I can share it with others. It brings with it the Ease my mom wishes for us, Humor and Forgiveness. And I love those guys!

Recently, Jill and I were talking about the book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris. Harris, you may know, is an ABC News Anchor. After suffering a panic attack on live TV during a Good Morning America segment, Harris set about learning what he could do to reduce anxiety and came upon mediation. Meditating changed his life. Check out his interview with Gretchen Rubin to learn more. http://www.amazon.com/10%25-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works–/dp/0062265423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417448008&sr=8-1&keywords=10%25+happier

Boy, what we could do with 10%. The anxiety level in our house is kinda high right now. Suffice to say, I am blessed with a high school Junior who is determined to do well at whatever she sets her mind to – and her mind is on overload as she juggles the next two weeks (after juggling the last month) and heads toward Finals, the State competition for one of her favorite and most time demanding classes (which happens to fall on the first day of Finals, moving some of them later into the week – which only adds more stress) and a recent realization that she will need to study over the holidays for college tests this Winter/Spring. No rest for weary Juniors the country over.

These are “first world problems” as “They” wisely say. Nontheless, managing the stress of so many balls in the air, can get to even the most seasoned handler of us all.

“Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader” and so, all I can do is cheer her on. Even tho’ I can’t pull my old skirt up past my knees, I can find ways to show I am on her team. I made her a Junior Year Stress Relief Kit for her backpack filled with Rescue Remedy, lavender oil, Emergen-cee’, protein bars and a cotton ball.  A lovely mom we know gave her this beautiful stress relieving aromatherapy necklace; she had it leftover from her own daughter’s Junior year. My intention is simply to offer a variety of touchstones to bring her back to a deep breath. With breath comes perspective. And sharing that learning is all I can do for her.

locketEveryone seems to have his or her own version of stress right now. Some friends are dealing with their own illnesses, others are dealing with aging parents, kids in school, kids out of school, work demands, family dynamics and holiday thorns. No one seems immune. However, in an effort to inoculate myself from taking it all in, today I am sporting my happy shoes –  my metaphor for taking a step toward finding my own way (I think it will be downloading Dan’s book to my iPad).

IMG_2418

Here’s to hoping you find your own version of ease delivered to your door and heart this Holiday Season. Peace Out.avi player download free

How do you find MindFULLY find what you need during stressful times?

Let us know!

MindFULL Noticing

Have you ever been thinking of someone and they call? Or you open a book and read a passage that takes your breath away and teaches you in that moment, something that shifts your energy? Or you think someone has it so much better, and they reveal a detail that reminds you that everyone has a battle to fight?

I call those moments, “G-dwinks.

I’ve written about G-dwinks before. I thought it was a phrase my wise and thoughtful cousin, Evan, made up (Even tho he never said he did, it was simply my assumption in his short, but profound description of the concept). So, imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago, I saw a story on my favorite TV Show, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood about SQuire (yes Q) Rushnell and his book, When God Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You Through the Power of Coincidence.

Wow. Seeing the show, on that day, and learning about the book series…well, I think it was a G-dwink! According to Rushnell, a veteran ABC Network Television executive who has seen a lot and created even more, “The stories in this book reaffirm that g-dwinks happen to everyone. We just need to learn how to see them.” It goes on, and honestly, gets a little religious for me. But, in the spirit of “take the best and leave the rest”, I love the concept.

Check it out at www.godwinks.com. If nothing else, perhaps it will simply offer another way for you to view the happenings and people in your life; and through that lens, you might come to realize that no matter your circumstance, there is something for you to learn.

But, maybe you already knew that – and reading this post today is just a G-dwink 😉

How have you MindFULLY made sense of coincidences in your life?

Let us know!

 

Souper Sunday

photo[11]

Normally I post on Mondays, (MindFULL Mondays), but as we set the clocks back one hour, I had to find a way to make the dark, cold nights upon us, warmer. So this morning, as I woke up to the bright sun at 6:30am and thought about my day ahead and what to make for Sunday dinner (it’s in my DNA) Souper Sunday came to me.

With a strong need to warm my insides and out, I am planning to have a grand time finding one soup recipe to make every Sunday afternoon (that I can) and one quote to hold as my intention for the week.

To kick off this new Winter tradition, I have chosen my friend Jane’s recipe for Butternut Squash and Leek Soup. Easy to make and delicious!

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks with and tender green parts only, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove smashed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 large butternut squash peeled and cut into 1Ž2 inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1Ž4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • Cream or milk is optional  (almost never use)
  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the leeks, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened.
  2. Add the stock, squash, tomato paste an bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over moderately low heat until all the vegetables are tender about 25 minutes. Discard bay lea. You can leave in or remove the parsley.
  3. Puree the soup.  Taste for seasoning.

I am also starting with a quote my mom has on her kitchen counter:

“Ask: What is the most generous thing to do in this case?”

I love her. She is a wonderfully wise, loving and cool mom. The rooms in her beautiful home have quotes on post-it notes tacked to the fridge, walls and bookcases. I always leave her having learned something I am the better for knowing – and feeling warm, inside and out.

 How do you MindFULLY deal with the cold, dark afternoons of Winter?

Let us know!

Fall Flip

flip

It’s finally Fall. And with the change in season comes one of my favorite things to do – Flip My Closet! Sounds like a game show. Hmmm, maybe there is something to that?

Today, as I hauled my winter clothes up from the basement and packed my summer clothes to take their place, I was struck by an awareness of how different my flip was this season. Usually I bring it all up, and put it all away. This time, I left some things downstairs and immediately put others in the Goodwill pile. I didn’t put anything in the closet for the sake of having it. I really noticed each piece. And then, it hit me – the clothes were a metaphor representing situations, people and desires.

For those who don’t know my work, I do Consumer Research (www.beetrix.com). One of the methodologies we use has folks bringing in pictures that represent their thoughts and feelings about a product or a service. I listen for metaphor in their descriptions and use it as a gateway to dive deeper into understanding their experience.

Ha! This time the Cobbler’s children DO have shoes.

As I struggle through the Jewish Holidays with a new found sense of my own truth around certain situations, people and desires, I was relieved to have a metaphorical lens through which to view how I was feeling. See, I am not ready to let go of some things, but I don’t want them hanging in the closet on a daily basis. Keeping them nicely packed downstairs is my way holding on with one hand, not two. It was obviously time to let go of other things and so those went straight into the giveaway pile. And still others required a little more thought and went into the closet with a “wait and see how I feel wearing it this year” curiosity. As I finished flipping my closet, a sense of acceptance washed over me.

I also realized that it wasn’t really about how these clothes looked, it was more about how I felt wearing them. And as is life, my body has changed and what once fit easily, no longer fits as comfortably. No blame, just a natural evolution. So to, is the natural evolution of how I fit into my world and how it fits me.

As things change, literally taking care of my health and body are also top of mind. My desire to feel well has led me to reconnect with a gentle and encouraging trainer (www.Level3fit.com) , and an old friend from my childhood who sells supplements that help with energy, digestion and my “stage” of life (www.WAYGOOD.My PlexusProducts.com). I am constantly reminded that it is not only what I wear on the outside, but how I feel on the inside.

As Billy Crystal used to say, “When you feel good, you look good Dahling”. Here’s to a season of feeling good, no matter what you have “hanging in your closet.”

How do you MindFULLY notice how you fit metaphorically in your clothes and in the world? Let us know!

There With Care

bags

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Whether you have children or you don’t, it’s a day to celebrate. Everyone has a Mother.

And you never know what your Mother has really been through.

As I reflected on Mother’s Day yesterday and where I started 16 years ago, and where I am today, with a beautiful, bright, capable and odds beating, life-shining daughter, I could feel the tears of gratitude well up. My daughter was born 9 weeks early. While we knew I was High Risk for a few reasons, never did we think that we would come to know what NICU stood for – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I won’t bore you with our drama, but suffice to say, an ambulance ride to two different hospitals and the words of several Drs standing over my bed telling me all the things that “might be awaiting having a baby born this early”, left us shocked and scared.

Thankfully, our daughter was born with strong lungs and after a month in her little incubator, with a tape recorder playing Mozart and a huge stuffed giraffe (our metaphor for love — the giraffe has the largest heart of any land animal) watching over her, she was sent home healthy and thriving. Early again…and we were off and running. I didn’t want baby clothes, books, toys or stuffed animals. All I wanted, as I tried to navigate the crazy days was food in my freezer and fridge. Not worrying about getting to the store or making a meal was a huge relief. We needed sustenance, not stuff.

Today, in honor of being “one of those Moms” and with gratitude for the outcome, every other week I deliver bags of necessities to the local NICU or Ronald McDonald House. Through my friend Jill, I found a special organization called There With Care. TWC “provides fundamental support services to families and children facing critical illness during medical crisis.” Please, take a moment and visit the website. http://therewithcare.org – The story of how they started, and where they are today, is inspirational.

Maybe in honor of someone you know, like a mom who navigated a difficult time, a child born with challenges, or even your own mom who made your lunch every day and crafted a hot meal every night, you might be willing to make a donation? The site tells you what is needed most.

What it doesn’t tell you is the feeling you’ll get when you know it’s time for you to make dinner, and you can, grateful that you are doing it yourself, but knowing if you couldn’t, someone would be There With Care.

How do you MindFULLY honor your Mom? Let us know!