Your Kids Are Watching Put On A Good Show

So both my kids are swimming now. My 11yo is on the local swim team and swims 3x a week for 45min and my 7yo is still going through the levels classes for stroke development etc. Needless to say, their swim times DO NOT overlap and so yes, I either get to spend 3 hours at the pool or do two visits to the pool. I choose the latter. Luckily the pool is 8 minutes from home.

My 7yo has 3 more levels to go before he can try out for swim team, and then the times should overlaps and my time spent at the pool will drop drastically.

So last week was the end of level 3 and we waited eagerly to see if he graduated to level 4. I was sitting poolside reading (The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama— highly recommend btw!) and I observed a couple sitting a couple seats over from me. He was immersed in his phone, she– absolutely gorgeous with beautiful poker straight long hair looked practically angry. Her little 6yo adorable girl was in the same class as my 7yo.

Class ended and I asked if he graduated. He didn’t know yet. I quickly toweled him off, and he and I both skipped our way to the coach to get the verdict. “He’s really close!” She said somewhat apologetically. “Yay babe, did you hear that, you’re almost there!” Was my response. “We need to re do level 3 one more time. It’ll be done in no time!”

We walk back to our things, I start to change him. Gorgeous long haired girl has report in hand for her 6yo and I’m dying to ask her whether she moved up. But something holds me back from being my usual social self. It’s that look.

She still hasn’t softened her look. Uh oh, the 6yo mustn’t have graduated either. She still looks mad! Husband is still immersed in his phone.

So after changing, we go to the entrance to register for another round of level 3. I had already registered him for level 4 in anticipation of him moving up, so I just have to move him back down to 3. Gorgeous lady is in front of me. She lets the front desk people know that she wants to register her daughter for level 4, as she has just graduated.

WHAT??

Your daughter moved up, but you haven’t smiled once?

Yes i know I’m being judgy here — I don’t know what’s going on in their lives and I ought not to make assumptions.

I practically high-fived my boy for a job well done.

He has come SO FAR!

He was so intimidated by the pool. And now he’s doing dives and jumps off the diving board and even attempted the big curly slide. Something he would have NEVER done ordinarily.

So much progress!

I don’t care that he will redo level 3.

It just means that he’ll excel when he gets to the next level and the next after that.

But honestly lady!

Smile at your kid.

At least when you’re interacting with her.

And definitely when she just graduated to the higher level of swim.

This really got the wheels turning for me.

Our kids are hyper-observant about what we do and say.

It’s not do as I say, it’s do as I do.

So what do you do?

  • Are they seeing/hearing you bicker a lot?
  • Do they hear you talk abruptly or rudely frequently?
  • Do you talk to your friends around them as if they aren’t there?
  • Do you complain a lot?
  • Do you cut people off or flip them off or rant in traffic?
  • How do you treat service staff?
  • Do you open doors?
  • Help little old ladies?
  • Ignore the homeless person who’s panhandling? Or use it as a point of conversation to teach them a life lesson?
  • How much do they see you on your phone? I think of this a lot– if they see me on my phone constantly- then when they do get their own phones – how can I ask them to minimize time on theirs?
  • Do they see you smile or frown a lot?

You get the picture?

Nature vs. Nurture here right? And in this case a little bit of both.

If you are constantly a certain way- especially if it’s habitual – how can you expect your kids to be different?

Kindness, smiling, managing our emotions, making good choices are all traits that can be learned. Leadership starts with leading ourselves.

These are hard to focus on when we’re constantly tired, when we’re working long hours, when work deadlines are piling up.

It’s easy to zone out and do what comes easiest- which is to possibly be short fused or snap or be irritable when they’re annoying you.

But it’s in those moments in particular that we need to push past the pain of discipline and become super aware of our thoughts, words, actions and beliefs.

After all we aren’t raising kids.

We are raising our next generation political leaders, business owners, community advocates and professionals.

But most of all, hopefully we are raising kind, compassionate and gentle men and women with a heart for their community and a commitment to do good in the world.

Your kids are watching more than you know.

Put on a good show.

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Be A Magnet

On Thursday evening, I came home from work and kids activities feeling nauseous and barely able to lift my head for fear of throwing up. I thought it was food poisoning. I thought i would be back on my feet in 12 hours. But– i had no ‘ejections’ of any kind. Hmmm.

Friday- I stayed home and after I got the family off to school and work, I fell back into a deep sleep for nearly 5 hours.

My body was craving rest.

It’s been a hectic few months– between fundraisers I have to attend, kids activities, work, business, family, it’s been nonstop.

My 45 year old body needs attention too. Running, spinning, boot camp, yoga, dance. (More on the dance later.)

Nutrition and hydration are always top of mind.

I’ve been sleeping ‘fairly’ early — averaging about 6hrs 45min a night. Ok so that’s on the low side. I do make up for it by sleeping nearly 9 hours on Saturday/Sunday. Not ideal I know. Our bodies are creatures of habit and consistent good sleep is way better than inconsistent good sleep.

So– what was this knock-me-off-my-feet episode all about?

You see, when something like this happens to me, it’s always an opportunity to go deep and see why.

It’s never the thing you think it is.

It wasn’t food poisoning.

Or even the 24 hour stomach bug that it turned out to be, complete with fever and achy body.

It’s something more.

It’s a message to me.

From me.

From my Inner Guidance System.

It’s a message to slow down.

Not just the outer body shell that executes all the instructions of the mind.

Slow down the mind.

I have meditated off and on for over 15 years now.

But lately, the meditations were few and far between.

The only time I was truly meditating was during the twice a week 5am walk.

And while moving meditations are powerful.

Your conscious mind is still activated and keeping you safe from the 21st century versions of saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. That is; fight or flight is still activated.

It is only when sitting in what your conscious mind can consider to be a completely safe environment that it can even remotely attempt to quiet down, and allow your subconscious mind to be accessed.

So today- after I sent my family off to their various activities.

I sat.

I primed my body with a powerful breathing technique by Dr. Joe Dispenza and then I meditated.

And through my meditation this is what I received:

Be A Magnet

Keep your vibration high

Keep your vision clear

Keep your intention focused

Keep your body nourished

And your soul satisfied

with the love you share

the company you keep

the gratitude you emanate

Be a magnet for the best and limitless possibilities of all time.

I came out of meditation with this profound sense of gratitude and love. I didn’t realize it but tears were streaming down my face. I had envisioned a wonderful world and it felt so real.

Peace

Bliss

Joy

Abundance

Love

So much love.

Isn’t this what John Lennon said when he asked us to Imagine?

Be A Magnet for all that is wonderful and good in the world.

Take a stand for love.

Love is truly magical.

Look Up From Your Phone

I went to a wine walk yesterday here in Camarilllo. It was being held in our little downtown district to help bring more visitors and drive traffic into the stores. A good concept to be sure. I took an uber to get there, and had this interesting out of body observation of myself.

I spent the entire 10 minute trip from my house to Studio Channel Islands on my phone. Not looking up once to see where we were, or even say a word to the driver.

I had a wonderful time with some wonderful friends tasting some excellent wine and stopping into stores and businesses that I had never entered before, even though I have lived here nearly 20 years.

In the uber on the way home, I was struck by the fact that this young man’s car contained water bottles in each of the seat pouches in front of the passengers as well as a little jar of dum dum lollipops and eclipse gum if you wanted to freshen your breath or were in need of a sweet treat.

A small but thoughtful touch, costing less than $5.

The young man struck up a conversation with me. I asked him what he did besides drive for uber and he let me know that he had big dreams among which were taking care of his immigrant parents. He wanted to have multiple revenue sources, he wanted to inspire people, he wanted to help people live better lives through health and fitness. He wanted a gym, a record company and a marketing and design company, all in the next decade.

Big dreams!

Big goals!

Very crystal clear intentions of what he wanted.

No 9-5 job for him.

He was not quite 25!

We talked about meditation then.

He said his favorite way to meditate was to visualize his future.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Kudos Vincent. (Yes i asked him his name)

So often these days we hide behind our screens instead of engaging with humanity. We use it as a way to zone out, numb out, the endless black scroll on social media dulling our senses and our abilities to connect.

We think we’re connected.

After all we have 2,000 friends and 9,000 likes on our feed.

But what do you REALLY know about those friends?

Are they really friends?

Recently someone pinged me and said- oh my goodness what a small world– we have mutual friends on FB. I stared back at her blankly– I didn’t know those people. They’re friends of friends so I didn’t reject their friend request.

So today, or tomorrow, instead of looking into your screen, following someone’s political rant, someone’s viral video or someone’s riveting schedule as it unfolds on social media, leave your phone tucked away, pretend that you don’t have that distraction.

And when you have a few minutes to kill in the grocery line or in an uber, just ask the person in front of you–

So how are you?

You might be inspired by their answer!

Time Shows Up

So I ran into a friend at Target yesterday. I was there shopping for home supplies and she was in line for her prescription. I walked toward her to hug her but she paused me — ‘pneumonia…’ she whispered hoarsely.

This friend, I’ll call her ‘Kay’ is one of the most inspiring people I know. She had a vision to make a change in her community and not only did she rally the community behind her idea, she got government and community leaders behind it as well. This vision is becoming a reality. And the entire city and county in fact will benefit from Kay’s idea.

Kay will go down in history of our area as being THE WOMAN who brought value to our kids, tourism to our area and tax dollars to our city.

She’s my hero!

This summer Kay’s vision moved forward very significantly. There was an outward showing for the community. The public could see this idea become a reality.

When I saw her at the public showing- she said that her whole summer had been spent for the most part in getting ready for this preview. Her little kids, her inspiration for this vision and this idea were a big part of helping her. This was their summer.

This woman doesn’t stop. She at everything. She’s networking, doing 1:1 visits and volunteering at places that will help increase visibility for her vision, she’s doing all the right things!

AND

She’s running on fumes.

When life is that busy, it’s easy to continually put yourself on the back burner.

Because self care feels selfish!

I’ll sleep when I’m dead!

I’ll rest after my vision is a reality.

I can’t let my family down.

I can’t let my community down.

People are expecting me to be the face of the organization/project/company.

Sound familiar?

Some version of this is always going through our heads.

Until our body collapses in sheer exhaustion.

It’s almost always the case that after a big event, project, presentation etc. we experience major exhaustion.

Our body carries us through the process, but then the minute it’s done—

Collapse.

Illness.

Fatigue so deep that you can’t move.

Complete system shut down.

Your body has been carrying you on adrenaline the entire time.

You’re way past normal functions, your mind is in flight or flight and fighting for survival!

And once you release the breath breath you’ve been holding your mind recognizes that the danger is passed and it can relax.

And it does.

Every cell

Every nerve ending

Every emotion

Releases

Relaxes

Collapses

Takes you out of the game for a while.

Or a long while.

So how do you avoid complete collapse?

Make your self care non negotiable. It doesn’t have to be complex, you don’t have to spend hours on yourself. But you can.

Go ahead, I give you permission.

30 minutes a day is all it can take.

Breathe: before starting your car, take three deep breaths. Before exiting your car do it again.

Walk: one mile can take you less than 15 minutes. If that’s not an option, find a way to move your body. Park as far from your destination as you can – and walk.

Hydrate: (water not coffee!) aspire to drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. e.g. a 130 lb person would be drinking 65oz.

Nourish: higher intake of lean protein keeps you full longer and gives you sustained energy. A plant based protein shake blended with berries, greens and a good source of fat (think avocado or nut butter) is an ideal breakfast for the dats when you don’t have time to sit and eat a good meal.

Sleep: 7 hours at least

And probably the single most important thing is to have intention.

Don’t make your self care another checklist item on your to-do list.

Promise yourself that you will care for you.

So that you can care for your family, community and the world.

And yes, it feels like if you do these things for yourself you’re stealing time from other more productive things you could be doing.

I can promise you this.

Time.Shows.Up

The Storm before the Calm

You cannot plant seeds or plants into soil that hasn’t been stirred up or amended. You cannot stick seeds for new growth into existing soil beds that already have plants growing. There is no space or nutrients for this new growth. In the same way in order for you to have growth, in order to step into the next best thing, you too need to be stirred up, amended and woken up from your status quo so that you can Be, Do, Have the next best thing in your life. It feels like the storm before the calm for you because you’re being shaken out of your reverie. Human nature doesn’t like change. It is resisted. Hence change has to come in a way that makes it a necessary one, often one that is seemingly out of your control. However the more self aware you get, the more you will realize that you do get early warning signs about the change. You usually ignore or overlook them because they aren’t as painful or uncomfortable. Only once we get to that level of discomfort where it is untenable, then that is when you are willing to change. Your job is to get hyper aware and heed the early warning signs for yourself and then change will become second nature and you won’t resist it; rather you will welcome it. 

Intention is everything

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A lot of powerful thoughts and ideas flew around the room in today’s leadership class. I have a lot or reflect on and I’ll definitely discuss this at length in a future post. A statement that Peter Karoff, founder of The Philanthropic Initiative shared with us today that really resonated was “Be less ambitious and more intentional.” We talked a lot about values and what drives/defines us. He wanted to know if our values were aligned with our work and the trajectory of our careers! Very interesting questions. Lots of food for thought.

So how about you? Are your values aligned with your work? If not- what can you do to get aligned?

The Birthright Gift

The Voice of VocationAt the leadership orientation that I spoke of recently, we were given this essay to read. And for reasons that aren’t quite clear, it moved me to tears. I don’t know if its because we were so close to, and therefore one with nature, or because of the introspective and thoughtful nature of the work we were doing, but as I read this essay, my eyes welled up with tears. I was grateful that everyone was engrossed in their own reading and thoughts and so didn’t see the little salty drops trickle down my face.

For longer than I can remember, I have wondered about my purpose in life; I knew there was more to life than the one I was leading. I was a lost soul in my 20s truly dragged far far away from my birthright gift, of my own doing…it’s because I gave my power away. Life became more centered in my 30s – true happiness, peace, home, marriage, kids, roots, community all happened in this incredible decade. And now, poised on the springboard as I am – 8 days away from entering my next decade I am beyond ecstatic – I KNOW that this is the decade that I will ‘find out the path to authentic service in the world.’ For it’s as Frederick Buechner says “vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

The work that I have been doing, and continue to do will surely bring me closer to my birthright gifts. My true vocation of how I will best serve the world. In no particular order, these are some of the things I have embraced which I believe will help me find what I am truly meant to do.

1) Be Mindful: This is key – living in the here and now. As human beings, our nature is such that we’re always planning for our next best thing. Goals are good and worthy and important, but equally important is living in today. Expressing gratitude for where you are on this road and acknowledging that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, because there’s a purpose to that experience.

2) Simplify/Learn to Say No: The first thing my business coach did when I started to work with her was to make me aware of all the things that I was doing that didn’t really add value to my life; commitments that I made to other people – that took away my commitment to myself and my family. I quickly learned how to say NO…and it is powerful. And what’s more, I realized that the world didn’t fall off it’s axis because I said no. It’s continuing to spin just fine. She recently sent me a link to Jonathan FieldsThe Good Life Project as he interviewed world renowned blogger Leo Babauta who spoke of transforming and simplifying his life. It was inspiring to listen to and made me realize that my own journey is on track as I minimize my ‘outside commitments’ to stay true to what I really want to/need to do.

3) Make more space in your life to explore, create, write, question and spend time with yourself in quiet – you cannot be creative if you don’t give yourself a physical and mental clutter-free environment. My darling husband sent me a great link on Life Hacker on Why you need more margin in your life

4) Conscious Living: We are such a minute speck in the cosmos and I believe that we have been given a responsibility – a gift…we are expected to steward the gift of this planet earth wisely. In fundraising, if you don’t steward your donors and their gifts, you probably won’t get a second meaningful gift from them; this world isn’t so different. If we just focus on how to live OUR best life consciously rather than unconsciously going through our daily motions without thought (read more on that at Zen Habits) then by extension we will be stewarding this beautiful planet we call Earth.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means – but this is not something you can take on overnight. However it is something you can make a decision to do/start and then once you make that decision – as then, as has been told to us by Nike over and over again – Just Do It™.

Change is Constant! Embrace It!