You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2014.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

— Oprah Winfrey

This year was a tale of my companions Cranky, Weary and Hopeful. These were the wise men; they were my teachers.

2014 began with my intention to stop playing small. For so long I’d dimmed my light, hiding from the world in the shadows of a people-pleasing personality. Everyone else came first. My job came first.

Sometimes even the doorman came first. Did I ask him if he wanted coffee? OMG, I need to go back right now—never mind that it’s 10 degrees and snowy and icy and windy—I’m turning around to ask him! Because maybe he wants some coffee!!!!

People pleasing is exhausting.

If you let it, all of those needs and duties and responsibilities begin to spread like a wildfire through the mountains, beginning as a harmless spark but quickly taking over every inch in the landscape of your life.

Maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe it isn’t THAT bad. But it feels like it.

Did I stop playing small? Nope. As well intentioned as I began, I tiptoed through the year, feeling my way through the darkness in search of some light.

These are the years where you learn who you are and the tough stock of which you are made. My three wise men each taught me different life lessons.

Cranky:  I have become that person yelling at taxi drivers whose cars roll dangerously close to me as I cross the street—bringing me perilously close to a crazy old lady muttering at passerby on the street. A glimpse of a rage-filled future? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just finally getting in touch with that part of me who can ask for what I want.

To this strange grumpiness which has taken residence alongside my nice girl persona, a very big thank you. I am wildly uncomfortable with you, but you dare to point out everything that doesn’t make sense, every complaint that is unfounded, every ridiculous conversation full of ridiculousness. You keep me honest. You urge me to point out when someone has said something hurtful or to walk away from the situation entirely. You challenge me to do better, to be better, to dare to dream of more than what’s in front of me.

For years I would roll my eyes when I heard actresses talk about how being in your 40s meant you didn’t care about what people thought anymore.  I get it now.  I still care, ever the people pleaser, but I definitely care a whole lot less than I did.

Cranky does have its eccentric benefits. It is teaching me dedication, and there are appointments with myself that are non-negotiable. A twice-weekly 6am “rooster” workout literally saved my sanity. If that meant pushing back a 9am meeting, then that’s what it meant. Thanks to Cranky, I committed and I accomplished.

Weary: I’m tired.

Don’t you hate it when people say that? I certainly hate it when I say it. But, that doesn’t make it any less true.

The only thing worse than that is when people say you look tired.

I tend to say this to my mirror reflection just about every other morning.

It’s not that I do too much (though, admittedly, I definitely do)—it’s that I don’t do enough of what lights me up. That needs to change.

Life can wear you down if you don’t fill yourself up.

Weary wore me down, keeping me occupied on one of those hamster wheels, just going and going and going and going.  He also held the important things at bay.

Romantic love—oh, you want that?  Nah.  A good night’s sleep?  Fugheddaboutit.  (Apparently Weary speaks Brooklyn-ese.)

To all those things and people who made me sad because you didn’t stay or you hesitated or you decided not to come into my life—I say, goodbye to all that. Enough.  I want things and people and situations that want to be with me.

It’s time to make room for the things that belong here.

Hopeful:  I often feel like I’m fumbling my way through the world.  Just dropping the keys, again and again, then not being able to find the lock.

But the keyhole is there, and when I peeked through it, right there in the dark of the night, there was a steady stream of sunlight.  Sometimes it’s dimmer than others, but it’s there.

And you know what?  Magic exists.  Magic and light and beauty are real and they are waiting in every single day. I know this because I have seen them, with regularity.

Here’s the trick: you’ve gotta be open to seeing them.

Love taught me that.  Love is everywhere. No matter how much I resist this idea—and I really, really, really do—the world keeps showing me otherwise.   It’s hard to not cling to hopefulness like a life raft when I’m spent and cranky and weary from this life and am confused about what my purpose is and I sit down and right in front of me is the word LOVE.  I’m not speaking in metaphors, either—the word LOVE often appears out of nowhere, like a beautiful bright beacon of hope.

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As I was talking to one of my dear friends this week, whom I call my West Coast mother, she told me a story about how she was sitting at a traffic light watching a group of birds—seagulls among them, many miles from the ocean—and as they flew away, the birds in flight formed the shape of a heart.

Love is contagious. YOU are contagious.  Sometimes I question the “signs of love” I see around me, but I know there is a purpose. If that is to awaken other people so they see it, too, then I feel hopeful that I’m being lead down the right path.

At the year’s end, I feel a deep hopefulness for what lies ahead of me, despite Cranky and Weary.  Maybe even because of them.  Because finally, I understand I have the power to make my life exactly what I want it to be.  Finally, it’s time to focus on becoming the person I’ve always dreamed of being.

And so, the dawn is the beginning of the year of me.  No more playing small.  I end this year with a fire in my belly and a jetpack to propel me.

2015.  Let’s make a happy year.  Let’s hold hands and walk through that door in the dark of the night and chase the light and go get everything we want.

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You know what, you guys? We got this.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.  — Spanish Proverb

At week 52, I should say something profound.  I should write something deep and inspirational to rally everyone into feeling inspired for the new year.

And I would do all of this, if only I could remember what day it was.

I love the holidays.  I love the lights and the food and the presents—both giving and receiving—and I love the festive feeling in the air.  But this season I found myself spent and exhausted.  This is what I know: sometimes we aren’t superwomen and sometimes it really is all too much.

I’ve chided myself for failing at Christmas this year, uncharacteristically buying gifts at the last minute and sending not one single holiday card.  I even failed at sending consolation text messages and emails on Christmas Day.

But, here’s the thing.  I slept until 9am on Christmas morning.

This was the best Christmas gift anyone could have given me.  I woke up with nothing to do except eat the breakfast my parents made and open the presents they had wrapped under the tree.  With this, Santa delivered a quiet, effortless joy.

I have a full week of vacation ahead of me.  I have made zero plans.  The week is mine to fill…or not.  Whether or not I know what day it is doesn’t matter as much as a good book and regular midday naps.  Because life can be that simple.

Sometimes inspiration begins with a good night’s rest.  And so I wish that for you—along with alternating bouts of deep relaxation and intense fun—as much as I do for myself.

Here’s the enjoying the rest of the holiday season.

xo, with goodness and grace.

This is a story of Christmas in pictures.

Yesterday I had to be up pretty early for a day trip.  In an inspired moment, I awoke a bit earlier just so I could experience the peace of the Christmas season in the early morning.

I highly recommend this.

It also gave me the opportunity to capture how beautiful my city is during this time of year, all without being in the midst of throngs of tourists.

I allowed myself to be drenched in the light and calm and beauty of Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue.  There is nothing like it.

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May peace grab hold of you this week, and may you find a star to help light your way home.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

It’s the little things, isn’t it?  The small moments that turn an ordinary day into something magical.

On my walk home, there’s a nondescript office building.  Ugly, almost.  Last year, one of the window panes was decorated with a strand of lights, put up in the shape of a tree.  Every time I walked by the building, I made sure to look up, like some kind of brief pilgrimage my eyes made before I got home.  The lights were up for months past the Christmas season, though not lit every night.

And then a few months ago, I saw they were gone.

The other night, as I waited at a red light, my gaze moved upward, for no reason in particular.  I noticed a new strand of lights had been affixed to the window.

Love found me again, all lit up for the season.

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Random signs of love show up in the most unexpected places.

May the little things bring you joy and happy surprises find you this week.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Whenever my friends post photo albums from their vacations on their Facebook pages, I always wonder if they really think anyone really wants to see all of the fun they didn’t have.

But, I get it now.

I understand that when you find magic in the warm breezes that play with your hair, when you see beauty in shades of color you have never seen in person before, when the crest of an ocean wave rises proudly then tumbles to kiss your feet in the sand, you want to share all of that with the world.  You want your people to know that such graces actually do exist in life.

So, these pictures of paradise, otherwise known as Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

From the air…

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…to the land…

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…with respites in gardens…

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…and in the sea…

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…and under the palms.

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How I knew this would be an incredible few days?  Upon arriving I walked into the main house on the resort, and I saw a most perfect sign of love.

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Should you not find yourself in paradise this week, I hope you are able to find it in your heart.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

This week we celebrate the 5th anniversary of Goodness, Grace and Grub!

I’ve given a lot of thought to what this blog has meant to me, and it’s been challenging to think of it in a way that’s not cliche or trite.

But, here’s the deal.  The truth is, I started this blog for me.  I wish I could say I had lofty goals of changing the world by seeking only the good, but that wasn’t the case.  At the time, I found it—and sometimes still do—ridiculously easy to be sad or angry or unhappy with life.  I was fed up with the constant chatter in my head and the rage against people who were unkind or indifferent or just plain mean.

So I asked myself, what if I flipped the switch?  What if I paid attention to what was right and good and beautiful, instead of all the other stuff? What if I decided to be uplifted by the world, rather than brokenhearted by it?

And what I have found is grace.

I have found light.  I have discovered each of us is the light, and in those times when ours is shining dimly, we can rely on other people to help illuminate our path using their own beams.  We can be the beacon for one another, in a world where it sometimes feels like there isn’t enough to go around.  Our collective light is plentiful.

In this idea, I have become a light chaser.  I seek it in sunsets, in moonrises, in the love in someone’s eyes.  I know now that light is everywhere—it encircles us, encouraging us to show up as the people we know we can be.  All of us form a circle of light, and through support and comfort and by bringing our talents into the world, we uplift each other.  The light helps us become our best selves.

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And so I say thank you.  To every restauranteur who has made me feel welcome in their establishment and every chef who have cooked me a beautiful meal, to every author whose words have inspired me to live a better life, to every friend who has sent me or Instagrammed pictures of their “signs of love,” to every person who has left a comment on this blog or sent a note to say something I wrote showed up in your life at the exact moment you needed to see it, to all of you, I say a very deep-hearted thank you.  In the times when I needed it most, you have lit my path to help me find my way in this world.

May light grace your days and brighten your nights this week and beyond.  Here’s to many more years of celebrating the beauty of life.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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