To Good Friends and Good Health

When you are a kid, where do you learn about life? Your childhood BFF (coined in 5th grade by girls at sleepovers world-wide: best friend forever), of course! The one you try things with, lay by the pool with for hours and think has all the answers. In my case, Carolyn (aka Lynnie) did.

I loved The Waygood’s large, bustling home atop the longest, curviest driveway a 5th grader could ride her bike up, filled with warm and loving parents, life-living siblings and motor bikes that roared through the back woods. It was her home I ran away to when my mom wouldn’t let me see David Cassidy at Madison Square Garden. It was to her, and her dreamy older sister, I turned to when I started experiencing changes in my body and had no idea what to do.

Lucky for me, years ago Carolyn and I reconnected via FB and once again, I can count on her wisdom as I experience mid-life changes that confound me. Phew.

In her first chapter, Carolyn owned a wildly successful computer consulting firm. After years of seriously intense work, and ever growing insight into the effects of constant stress on our bodies, she sold her company, “retired” and followed her interest in natural health.

Today, she is a Board Certified Doctor of Naturopathy, helping people overcome health concerns using natural approaches, such as nutrition, lifestyle changes, vitamins and herbal supplements, essential oils, exercise, and other non-prescription, natural methods for achieving optimal health.

carolyn_p[2] copy

Sometime around early 2000, Carolyn’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. With no family history, the diagnosis was shocking. Without getting too personal, it seemed that there were several contributing factors that could have been more closely monitored, had there been more information available at the time.

Furious and frustrated by how little she knew, it hit Carolyn how few women are educated on the basic facts surrounding breast cancer risk reduction (or cancer risk reduction, in general), and she wanted to change that. She learned about a Class 2 Medical Device called the Breast Chek™ Aid, designed to enhance one’s sense of touch, making breast self-exams easier and more informative. She spoke at health fairs, corporate functions, and women’s luncheons – anyone who would listen to her – and taught people about breast cancer, risk factors, self-examination techniques, and the importance of early detection.

After about 2 years of further research and education, she realized that a large component of breast cancer risk reduction is actually prevention, and there were many things women could be doing to prevent cancer from occurring altogether. There was a lot of chatter about “early detection” but not as much about detection. Now she is moving toward specializing in Naturopathic Oncology – or the treatment and prevention of cancer naturally.

Via natural products called Plexus, she carries a small line formulated to address some of the primary biochemical risk factors for cancer, including high sugar levels, elevated insulin levels, a build-up of toxic waste (including estrogens), inadequate digestion & nutrient absorption, and more.

She wants folks to know that there are many natural alternatives and that PREVENTION is a powerful word. She whole-heartedly believes that the “best medicine is preventing disease altogether” and when people voice their desire for natural approaches to their health they can begin to live drug-free and healthier, more productive lives.

You can learn more about Carolyn and her passion at www.ShopMyPlexus.com/Waygood

And then, please join me in a moment of silence for those we love that have been taken by cancer. This MindFULL Monday is the birthday of Jodi, my HS friend who died when we were only 36. This is the month of Sharon’s birthday, as well. I miss her everyday. Oh, and one more thing…please check out Annie Segal’s moving pictures of her mom, Nancy, beautiful wife of our childhood friend, Jeff Segal. Nancy passed away over the Holidays. In her memory, Annie is running the Relay for Life next week.   #flockofsegals      http://main.acsevents.org/goto/anniesegal

What do you MindFULLY do to take care of yourself?

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 Selfies and Mannequins

Do you ever step out of the shower and catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror? What’s the first thought that goes through your mind?

Gotta confess, mine isn’t pretty. When I was little, I was “chubby”. Sometimes, I still look in the mirror and see that little girl. Other times, I notice my thoughts and try and be a little kinder.

I have found when I notice my world, that which I need to learn shows up pretty clearly in front of me. As life would have it, my learning of  physical self-compassion came in the form of two videos seen on the same day.

The first video was directed by documentary filmmaker Cynthia Wade and produced by our (wildly talented cousin)  Sharon Liese (Producer, High School Confidential) and debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival  a few weeks ago – to high praise and well deserved acclaim.

The 7-minute short film called Selfie explores how social media is shaping the way we perceive beauty and follows a series of teenagers and their mothers who are asked to take self-images that highlight their insecurities about the way they look. The film aims to empower women to redefine the traditional perception of beauty found in glossy magazines and movies.

http://mashable.com/2014/01/20/dove-selfies-short-film/

The second video, Pro Infirmis (Because Who Among Us Is Perfect?)  was shown in my Kabbalah class (www.thekabbalahexperience.com) and shows the creation of mannequins in the shape of body different people. It was so powerful it brought tears to my eyes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8umFV69fNg

As I watch my own teenage daughter grow and move through her self definition and perceptions, I am in awe and constant prayer. How do I help her make sense of all of this when my husband’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue arrives, blaring  three young girls wearing only bikini bottoms and their tushies hanging out? Thankfully, she is bright, emotionally intelligent and has her own sense of (delightful and creative) style. Still, I just read an article in this week’s NYTs that said “It’s been estimated that girls 11 to 14 are subjected to some 500 advertisements a day”. The ensuing results could fill 10 posts.

Why aren’t we seeing more videos like Selfie and the Mannequins? Afterall, if we really are trying to accept ourselves, may be the Selves we promote should be real – not airbrushed.

How do you MindFULLY notice and accept your Self? Let us know!

Great-FULL

cake

If you look closely at my picture, you’ll see it’s of a bundt cake. I made it yesterday to celebrate the safe return of my friend’s son. He and four friends were camping in the mountains of Utah last weekend, when weather blew in and they found themselves stranded. Long story short, parents alerted the Sheriff and after a failed attempt to locate them by snowmobile patrol on Sunday, a Search and Rescue helicopter was dispatched Monday morning. Thank g-d and beyond, around noon they were found.

I baked a bundt cake, because when my friend’s son graduated from HS last Spring, I baked six different bundt cakes, with made up names and flavors,  for his party. This time, I made up another one in his honor, but the top and sides didn’t fully come out of the pan.

I delivered it anyway. It seemed to me the perfect metaphor for his ordeal. In the card I wrote: As we know, things don’t always go as planned. In celebration of your safe return, I had to bake you a bundt cake. It didn’t come out so well. Rather than consider it a flop, I offer it still. Seems it’s like life – it can be looked at in so many ways, and in doing so, we can still find the yummy parts. Instead of slicing the cake, maybe crumble it into bowls with ice cream?

And there in my own words to him, I realized that I had been stuck in all that “wasn’t” in Thanksgiving/Holidays. Something in me shifted and I was inspired to find the yummy parts, even though my metaphorical “Holiday Cake” didn’t look like I thought it should.

And then, as if by miracle, something crazy happened. Spontaneity and delight took hold and within an hour, the first night of Chanukah had a plan. A few hours later, with ease and overcooked latkes, we found ourselves sitting around the dining table with our friends (who treat my daughter with such love) and laughed as she opened their generous gift in the glow of the menorah.

Then this morning, one of them, Ellen, encouraged us to spontaneously enter the Turkey Trot. As we trotted around the park, I  told her what was happening and she wisely said, “Sometimes what you think something should be, isn’t’ really what you want anyway, is it?” Woa. And there she had it. Forced to get real with myself, my gratitude actually welled up.

trotIt’s so easy to think things should be a certain way. That I should be a certain way. And then I reminded myself of something I have always known, but in my own vulnerability had forgotten…I do have a lot of what I want,  it just may not look… a certain way.

Once I shifted my perspective, I began to see G-d winks (little miracles of love) everywhere. I see it in this picture my cous-end (cousin who is like a friend) just sent from Boston. She poured a little wine in a glass and put it on her counter, so as to have me there in Spirit.

jodi

My list could go on…and will. So much has already happened in the last 24 hours to kick-off the season with a light and great-filled heart. Tonight,  I will hold hands with my own small family of 3 and revel in a delicious dinner at a beautiful restaurant. There will be no dishes to do…only a delicious “Holiday Cake” to enjoy.

 How do you MindFULLY find ways to be Great-FULL during the Holidays?

Let us know!

LIghts, Camera, Action

movie

They say that our darkest hours are our hardest. But, I say, it depends on the dark.

Every so often, I duck out of life and take myself to the movies. I love to sit in the dark, turn off the real world and enter the one on the screen.

“Don’t you feel guilty?” asked a friend who does more in a day then most people do in a week.

“Hell no.”

To me, it’s like dropping the oxygen mask on the airplane and breathing first so I can be alert and calm to do everything that requires my attention. When I feel like I have taken some time for me, I am more patient, creative, inspired and hopeful. In two hours, I can gain perspective, get great decorating and dressing ideas, see another point of view and let my mind settle down. It is an amazing use of my brain. And of my spirit.

Sometimes I see really intense movies and other times I see silly ones. The bottom line is that in this small way, I have control and can do what I WANT to do. I don’t have to talk, compromise or negotiate. And in a life filled with talking, compromising, negotiating, work, volunteering, mommy taxi, wife and friend, it’s worth the price of admission.

So, the next cold rainy day, why not give yourself a “time-out” and allow yourself two hours in the dark. Then, when the real darkness shows up, perhaps you will have some light within to see things and do things you might never have thought of!

How do you MindFULLY drop your oxygen mask? Let us know!

Get Your *&^% Together

key

Last week, as I was walking my laps around the park, I was talking on the phone with my wonderful stepsister, Lisa. The reception was sketchy, so you can imagine my surprise when all I heard was “Get your &^%$ together!”

“What?” I cringed back. “It’s the name of a web-site geared toward Life and Death Planning, created by a woman who’s husband died unexpectedly,” she shouted. http://getyourshittogether.org/

Sigh. This conversation came to be as I shared the sadness I was struggling to shake around the surprising death of a really good man, Rob Mintz. Over the past year, I have had the delight of getting to know Rob’s wife, Lisa, as our lives intersect via school, community and shared visions. I had known Rob for a while. I appreciated Rob – you see, he was one of those people who had the gift of making me feel like I matter. Every time I saw him, his face would light up and he would say, “Hi, Robbie!”. The only folks who use that nickname for me are friends from my youth and some family members. It was endearing and warming.

Rob’s sudden death rocked our community. He was a well-respected attorney, father, husband, Philanthropist and friend to many.

Over 1.000 people attended the funeral service. As I sat in the sanctuary I  MindFULLY thought of so many things. I felt for his wife and children. I felt for his family. I felt for their friends. I sat in awe of all who stood to say good-bye and I wondered who would stand for me? Relationships have been on my mind. This is the time of Elul in Judaism., a month where we reflect on things we’d like to make better within ourselves and heal/forgive in our lives/relationships and world. I had some things that needed my attention. I wrote them down and am setting out to check them off. I’ll let you know how I do. For now, I am 1 for 3 in the forgiveness department. 2 haven’t responded and 1 reached back and said, “How about a sandwich?” I have picked two character traits to work on, as well. I hope to be 2 for 2 with some real work.

It also got me thinking that g-d forbid if something happened, is everything (will, etc) in its’ “place” and who knows what/where that place is? Truth be told, I freaked out. I talked to my husband about “where everything is” and called our dear friend who handles it all. In spite of it not being all that comfortable, I talked to my daughter about knowing she is safe and that Daddy and I have done everything we can to make sure that we had her back. I put “important numbers to know” in her cell phone, showed her where some things are and hugged the heck out of her. To me, letting your kid know you are on her side and she is safe (you have done what you should do as a parent on her behalf) and loved, is the greatest gift in the world. My own life has shown me that it is the foundation for esteem and enables one to settle into the business of growing themselves vs worrying if they are loved or have enough.

Then another friend told me how  Rob’s passing has made her think about all this, as well. She heard a great piece on NPR – http://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace-money/marketplace-money-friday-august-16-2013 Did you know that having a safety deposit box isn’t such a good idea, after all? Give a listen.

There is a ton out there to help us “get our *&^% together” and it is a gift you can give those you love, and yourself. MindFULL Peace of Mind is what I like to call it. And I hope I don’t have to think about it again, for a long time to come.

 Who knows where your MindFULL documents are? You don’t have to let us know, but make sure someone does!And if there is a MindFULL relationship you’d like to  heal, give it a try. That’s all you can do.

Another MindFull Perspective

My friend, Joy, sent this to me last week. I thought for this MindFULL Monday, I’d share it with you, since this past weekend I posted a bonus blog on repainting my bathroom and all the thoughts it brought up. Love another way to look at decorating, not just our homes, but ourselves!

Each day we choose to decorate our life just as we do our homes, by Madisyn Taylor

There are few things more thrilling than having a new house or an empty room to decorate. Our imaginations soar as we consider the many possibilities. In the same way, our lives offer us the opportunity to express ourselves within various contexts, to ask ourselves questions about what we want to see as we move through our days and how we want things to flow. Some people do this instinctively, moving through the various environments they inhabit and shifting the energy with their presence. These people have a knack for decorating life. This can be as simple as the way they dress, the way they speak, or the fact that they always bring a bouquet of wildflowers when they come for a visit.

As we move through the world, we make a statement, whether we intend to or not. We shift the energy one way when we enter a room dressed elegantly and simply, and another when we show up in bright, cheerful colors and a floppy hat. One is not better than the other. It is simply a question of the mood we wish to create. What we wear is just one choice we can focus on. The way we speak to people, or touch them, shifts the energy more profoundly than almost anything else. The words we speak and the tone in which we say them are the music we choose to play in the world that is our home. Some of us fill the space with passionate arias, others with healing hymns. Again, one is not better than the other. We are all called to contribute.

Just as we consciously create an environment within our homes, we can consciously choose to decorate life itself with our particular energy. Ideally, in doing so, we express our deeper selves, so that the adornments we add to the world make it more meaningful, more beautiful, and as welcoming as a beloved home.

What MindFULL articles have inspired you? Let us know!

A MindFULL Fit

Many years ago when we lived in Boston, I had a fabulous pair of  black snakeskin Kenneth Cole sandals. I loved them. I bought them for a great price and wore them everywhere. However, after several wearings, I was dismayed to notice how they started to hurt my feet. I ignored the rubbing along the outside of my pinkie toe, until one day I couldn’t take them off and look away from the puffy blister that had formed.

Bummed, I knew it was time to let them go. So I walked to the Boston Common and set them next to the garbage can with a note that said, “Enjoy Me!”, hoping they would fit someone else and they too would love wearing such beautiful sandals.

I was reminded of this easy reframe today, when telling my mother of how frustrated I was with my Doctor’s bedside manner. She simply said, “Perhaps it’s time for a new Dr. After all, our needs and preferences change. It’s totally fine to move on and often, that’s how life goes.”

She was right. My Dr. didn’t do anything wrong. She just didn’t fit for me any longer. It was time to release her and to allow her to make time for another patient. It was time for me to find a new Dr who fit the stage of life I’m in.

What an easier and kinder way to see our relationships. Like a favorite pair of shoes, sometimes we simply outgrow them and need to pass them on with love and gratitude for the time well worn.

With a lighter heart, I put my new favorite shoes on this afternoon and headed to a new Dr’s office. Thanks, Mom. If anyone knows anything about good fitting shoes and life, it’s you.

photo

What is your MindFULL Metaphor for life’s changing situations? Let us know!

Thinking Inside The Box

Ya know the old adage, “Hear it three times, pay attention?” Well, last week, three different encounters reminded me of an old ritual I learned years ago: If you have a worry to let go of, dream to manifest or intention to hold, simply write it on a piece of paper and place it in a container of your choosing.

My ritual was born one summer on Cape Cod, when I bought a bowl and took to using it to place all the little sheets of paper that held my worries, dreams and intentions.

prayer bowl

Then last week, I told my friend, Judith, about something that happened to my daughter. She suggested writing it down and keeping a “Mom Box” for all the little hurts I feel leveled at my child, as a way of acknowledging them, but letting them go. Great idea and reminder! Why not choose another box, I thought. So, I chose to use this box as my “Mom Box”,  given to me by my friend Susan, who happens to see the blessing in almost everything. (She also says that wearing a scarf every day pulls your outfit and spirit together – but I digress).

mombox

Then on Facebook or Pinterest (I apologize but I can’t remember who to credit), I saw another container idea. This one said, ” This January, why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on next New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year!”

Thankful Jar 1[5]

I love all of these ideas, for it takes what’s on your mind or in your heart and puts it out there. That’ s how we “Let Go and Let G-d” as Ellen likes to say.

So this season, no matter the container or theme you choose, may all your scraps of paper find their way to a MindFULL place.

What kind of MindFULL containers can you suggest? Let us know!

MindFULL Fashionistas

I know I have been writing a lot about clothes lately. I don’t normally pay this much Mind to them, but as I clean out my closet and switch seasons, I am becoming more MindFULL of what I buy and how it fits. The bummer is that I am not a great shopper.

Luckily, two of my friends are terrific at it. Both have great taste and carry women’s clothing lines that can be seen, tried on and purchased without ever stepping foot inside the Mall.

My friend Rebecca carries the line ETC.

Etcetera is a New York designed clothing line that is not retailed through store locations, but through consultants.  Unique to Etcetera is the reuse of their color palettes so that customers can refresh their wardrobes by adding additional pieces to the ones that they already own.  Most of the fabrics are from Europe and they are known for extraordinary detailing.

Etcetera is for the person that loves high quality, fashion forward clothing. There are four seasonal collections per year.  Each show has around 300-350 different pieces which range from shorts and blue jeans to professional and cocktail.   Clothes are displayed in a “boutique” fashion in her home, complete with dressing rooms.

Rebecca started representing Etcetera about 5 years ago at the suggestion of an Etcetera customer who knew that she was interested in bringing home some additional income to her family.  Today she has a loyal customer base that rarely misses a collection.

The 2012 combined Fall and Winter/Holiday Show will be in her home from Friday, November 2 to the end of the day on Wednesday, November 7.  Please call or email for an appointment.  Nights and weekend appointments available, too.  Rebecca Howard at 303-718-1015.  rahventures@yahoo.com.  1945 E Chenango Ct., Cherry Hills Village, CO 80113.

You can view all of the clothes on line at www.etcetera.com.

My other friend, Eilin, also has an in-home line. Carlisle.

There are two lines under the concept Carlisle. One is Carlisle and the other is Per Se, which is the edgier line with a bit more pizzazz to it. She shows the line 6 times a year in her showroom in Cherry Creek and books by appointment only.

Elin has been showing this line since 1996.  She mainly got into because she used to buy the clothes. When the women from whom she was buying decided to move, Elin inherited the position for fear of having no where to shop.

Elin’s client base is every type of woman. The collection runs from traditional to very contemporary. The clothes are casual, for the work place, and dressy as well. She sells “to many professional women and many women who have a passion for fashion!”  Elin loves to add a twist to the outfits by mixing textures and fabrics up a bit, which makes the clothes all the more interesting. She loves working with people one on one and getting to know what they like so that she can keep an eye out for what looks good on them, becoming more like their personal shopper.

You can view the Carlisle Collection at www.carlisleclothing.com. For more information you can also call Elin about shopping with her at 303-440-1950.

For those of you here in Denver, you can call Rebecca and Elin directly and see these fabulous lines in person. For my readers in other cities, check out the websites and then let Rebecca or Elin know what you would like. You will be amazed at the Customer Service and quality these ladies bring to a daunting task. You may never look at yourself in the blue glare of dressing room lighting ever again.

How have you MindFULLY found new styles in new ways? Let us know!