Archives for posts with tag: yummy

lacking fear.

Since we (or rather, I) are on the topic of fear, I thought I would continue down this road, especially because I heard something today that is very pertinent to this discussion thread (or rather, my mind’s chatter :))

I believe that it is neither possible nor necessary to become completely fearless.  As human beings, we will always carry some sort of fear with us, and in some cases, as I have mentioned, we need this fear for good cause.  I support the school of thought that admonishes trying to eradicate your fears but instead embraces your fears as part of you.  Our inward journey includes identifying, understanding and, finally, accepting all the parts of our Self.  Fear is one of those parts, and when you follow it to its origin, you have the opportunity to uncover so much knowledge about why the fear exists in the first place.  As you continue along this discovery path, eventually, you will understand how your fear has shaped your perceptions about yourself and the world, as well as how it is preventing you from living your best life. Then, we can redefine the fear to empower ourselves to create a new paradigm.  Straight up – we create a new reality.   
Like most things in life, the thing in and of itself, a thing like fear, is neither good nor bad.  What makes it good or bad is how we use it to do good or bad.  Here are some ways that I have been using fear to become fear-LESS:
Recognize The Resistance
Half of the battle is just recognizing the fear.  Fears are sly.  They are like chameleons and can camouflage themselves into thoughts, feelings, words and actions.  While they often like to take center-stage in our lives, they can be very hard to identify.  The best way to identify fear is to take note of any resistance that appears in your body and mind.  I am huge proponent of using both body and mind to recognize signs.  I personally like all the help I can get to learn about myself, so I take any opportunity I can to slip into my body via meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques.  In addition, recognize when you start to feel stuck, inert, unwilling or unwanting. You may find that there is a fear making you stall. 
Make Peace With Fear
Once you recognize your fear, don’t chastise or blame it.  Fear is not the enemy.  Fear has been the body and mind’s learned built-in mechanism to help defend you when you didn’t have anything else, like your socialization skills or rational mind, etc., to help you sift through and make sense of external threats.  When you view fear as the enemy, you are creating opposition within yourself, causing more harm than help.  This may seem counterintuitive to most, but my recommendation is to thank fear for doing its job, for protecting you and for loving you in the best way that it knows how.  Then, dismiss it.  Tell your fear that it’s not serving you right now and lay it aside.  Oftentimes, we just need to create our own productive methods of dealing with our internal chatter that’s trying to vie for our attention in hopes of fulfilling our perceived needs and wants.
Use Fear As A Tool
Fears can also be passed down from your parents and then internalized to become your own.  My grandma’s and my mom’s fear and dislike of cats was transferred to me very easily, and it was only until recently that I started to overcome it!  Other fears can be a lot more complex and will oftentimes stem from a deeper, embedded insecurity about something.  Our belief systems become formulated at a very young age mostly by our parents, or by whomever we are surrounded most frequently.  Essentially, we are taught what to believe and how to behave.  Entwined within our belief systems are fears that condition us to respond to the world in a very specific way.  Use your fear as a guidepost to start your journey and unfold your story.  Fear is a very effective tool to deep dive into understanding who you are and how you tick; from there, you can decide for yourself if, what and how you want to change.  Why does your fear exist?  Why does it think its serving you? Where did you learn your fear from?  Best yet, does it still serve you?
Take Steps Toward Transformation
When you identify your fear and truly allow it to tell its story without judgment or criticism, you create a fabulous and yummy space within to develop a deeper kind of self-love.  Praise yourself for all of the hard work that you have performed and shower yourself with nothing less than love, respect and honor.  Once you release yourself from the burden of self-criticism and underlying insecurity surrounding your fear, you have started the process of forgiveness and healing.  You no longer live in the grip of fear should you choose not to, and instead, you create a strong foundation of love and understanding from which to take another step into your Self.  Slowly but surely, you will experience a new reality that’s based on a different and kinder truth that will lend itself to greater compassion and empowerment.  Like I say, life stops leading you, and you start leading (your) life.
As we examine our fears in a new light, we have the power to transform them into a new and better reality that stops limiting and starts creating the kinds of possibilities that we would not have otherwise known if our fears remained unchallenged.  In the words of Christopher Reeves:

There are lots of ways  of being fearless. I highly recommend it. To a large extent, the key to  fearlessness is the “no matter what.” Keep that in mind. It’s truly  amazing what we can do by allowing the spirit and mind to flourish.
With Love,

feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.


a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (thanks again, Wikipedia!)

The buzz these days seems to be all about ‘Happy.’  Get Happy.  Be Happy.  The Happiness Project.  Positive Psychology.  Happiness Strategies.  But what does being happy mean?  What does being happy help us gain?  Why is it so hard to be gosh-darn friggin’ happy? 🙂
Based on the definitions I have provided above, happiness is a state of emotion or feeling.  In my 1-year-old nephew’s ‘Expressions’ book, happy is as simple as a smile, while sadness is as straightforward as a frown.  If happiness is supposed to elicit some semblance of pleasure, causing my frown to turn upside down, then wanting happiness is the equivalent of wanting pleasure.
Now that I know what being happy means, I can start to explore what happy helps us gain.  Considering we live in a world inundated with creature comforts – Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos, Philip Lim for Target, Haute Cuisine Food Trucks, pleasure can be found around every corner, just minutes, even seconds, away.  Gone are the days when going out to eat or having designer-inspired goods was a treat.  Instead, today, we not only integrate pleasure into our every moment but also expect pleasure to be part of our every moment.  Our brain’s pleasure centers have a new threshold boiling point for being pleased, meaning that it takes a lot more pleasure to make us feel happy.  No wonder it’s so hard to be gosh-darn friggin’ happy.  The only thing I feel like I gain from being happy is a fleeting feeling of joy, and perhaps, if my source of pleasure is being derived from an altruistic act of kindness or generosity, others will also feel the fleeting effects of joy, too.  So what happens after the joy wears off?  Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
Who am I kidding?  Happiness is yummy.  In fact, yummy is part of theDesignLife’s premise and purpose.  Yet, I believe yummy holds the power to transcend (but also include) being happy into feeling fulfilled.  The trail of joy spotted with its dangling carrots only serves as a source of extrinsic motivation, keeping me satisfied for as long as those carrots carry a positive value for me.  What I have found throughout my journey is that I definitely like, need and want happy, however, I also like, need and want purpose.  Happy entices me.  Purpose feeds me.  My brain tells me when to be happy.  My heart tells me when I am fulfilled.  Happy causes short-term gratification. Purpose creates long-term satisfaction.
So why not strive for both?   Purpose, to me, is a means to provide both happiness and fulfillment. 
My motto is: GET PURPOSE.
With Love,

a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied.

I am a decent sized Type A, former New Yorker (even if for 2 years ;)) who is notorious for an on-the-go lifestyle.  If I am not meeting someone for lunch, I am on a plane to go somewhere for work or pleasure.  Typically, I am running to back-to-back appointments with hardly enough time for a bathroom break in between!  By day’s end, heels turn into flats, my new-do turns into an up-do (aka, ponytail) and day has turned into night. 
I definitely love the vivacity associated with seeing lots of people, going to lots of places, but I also recognized that I was expending more energy on watching the clock to make sure I made it to my next appointment on time than on being part of the conversation with the person in front of me.  My life was becoming counter-productive.  With three-blisters-popping, two-eyes-a-twitching and one big frazzled nervous me, I knew that something was about to give, and I didn’t want it to be my sanity!
Therefore, I decided to make space.  As my yoga instructor said: ‘When you make space, you find yummy!’  I couldn’t agree more.  Below are some of the ways I have made space in my life for all of the yumminess:
Morning Space
I love time for ME in the morning – a bath with essential oils, a meditation or prayer to give thanks for the day ahead, a filling and nutritious breakfast to carry me into the next hour (I like to eat a lot :)).  I may not have time for all three, so I definitely make time for the latter two, as those are my most important ones.  I wake up 1 hour earlier than I usually do to make room for these things.  They provide a perfect way to fill body, mind and spirit all at once to help me get my day started on the right foot.  A day that begins at peace usually helps me navigate the day’s ebbs and flows much easier.
Meeting Space
Whenever I am meeting with someone for lunch, dinner or drinks, I have started to build in as much contingency as I can.  Between running late and running over, I realize that I like the free space surrounding it so that: 1/ no one feels rushed, 2/ we can meander a bit with our conversation, not trying to jam pack it with the highlights and 3/ we can go deep if there’s an opportunity for further emotional connection or support.  I think this is why I opt for evening and weekend meet-ups over workday lunches and coffees.  There’s just less pressure to hurry up and so much more fun to get to know each other.
Prep Space
I don’t like being unprepared.  I know that I cannot think of everything in advance, and in a world where time truly is a precious asset for most of us, I like to ensure that time is being used effectively when someone is making space for me.  Therefore, whenever I have a ‘professional’ meeting, I make sure to make room either the day prior or that same day to get a grip on what it is we are trying to accomplish, how I can contribute to that end goal and what questions I may have.  For me, this prep work can be used as a springboard for other ideas or as the template for the meeting.  Either way, I like coming to the drawing board with some colors and shapes in mind, even if we need to erase and start over.
Night Space
I also love ME time at night.  I love winding down from a long day, but in the past, I was mostly just collapsing into bed.  Now, I really make the effort to snuggle in with the introverted part of myself so that I can decompress fully with a bath, a book and my gratitude journal.  The biggest distractions from my nighttime ritual comes from the TV in my bedroom, my phone on my nightstand and my laptop still open on my bed.  Therefore, I have to practice a lot of self-control to shut off and shut down – ignore the phone call or text coming in, turn off the Friends marathon and shut down my computer.  When I do live in my nighttime routine, I find nothing but sweet slumber and serenity.
These are a just few of my favorite things.  They became very important priorities to feel a lot more calm, cool and collected, so I made space for them and all their yumminess. 
Most of us claim that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.  When you stop and evaluate how you are using your time, I reassure you that you will find that there is time – it’s just how you choose and want to use it.  Figure out what’s the most important in your life, and then make room for it.
With Love
grat·i·tude:  the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Who says that giving thanks should only be expressed on Thanksgiving?!   Everyday serves as a wonderful opportunity to realize the gifts that are being bestowed upon us.  While they may not have been asked for explicitly or even wanted initially, no matter what, every person, thought, decision and situation has the capability of teaching us something about ourselves and our world.  

Since 2013 rang in, I have been making it a point to write a daily Gratitude List in my e-journal.  I find that it provides a great reason to make space at the end of a day to reflect on what came into my life, and, if I can see them at that time, what lessons they served.  Be it big or small, significant or mundane, I write it down and appreciate it for what it is.

Below are are a few points that have helped me get my Gratitude List started and keep it going:
Make It Yours, Make It Yummy
First and foremost, this is YOUR Gratitude List.  It should serve no other purpose than to make you thankful for the comings and goings of your life.  If you are grateful for your daily dose of joe, then write it down… everyday!  I sometimes list ‘gratitude list’ on my Gratitude List 🙂  There is no impression to make, no judgment to be made because it is simply those things that you appreciate being part of your life. 

Size Doesn’t Matter
Write as many or as few things that you are grateful for that day.  Sometimes, my list is barely three lines because my eyes are barely open at the end of a long day.  It doesn’t matter!  The point is to make the space, take the breath and grab a moment of reflection before the day’s end.  No use carrying as much weight to bed – I know I’d rather end my day thinking about the meaningful things in my life, rather than the last conference call I took!  

Gratitude Isn’t Always Pleasurable
Pleasant people, things and events are no-brainers for the Gratitude List.  However, keep in mind that the nastiest snarls, most uncomfortable confrontations and craziest experiences can provide a meaningful dose of unexpected lessons learned for which to be grateful.  When I am faced with the unpleasant or uncomfortable, it really forces me to come to terms with something about myself – a re-defined boundary, a different reflection, a new desire.  Be open and aware of how the unpleasant can actually become the source of something positive.
Practice Makes Perfect
Soon enough, gratitude doesn’t only appear when you stop and think about it at the end of the day; gratitude will start to bubble up throughout the day.  Once practiced regularly, you become imbued with gratitude more instantaneously.  These days, I find myself giving preemptive thanks for everything from the food I am about to eat to the safe drive I am about to start.  Gratitude not only becomes a habit but also a manifestation.
What started as simply a means to create awareness and gratitude has evolved to manifest a much more purposeful life.  I have re-framed my life to be a series of gifts, or opportunities to learn.  Knowing that each person and situation is a teacher, I am more apt to slow down, listen and be grateful.  There is deliberation.  There is more meaning.  There is purpose.
With Love,