Archive | December, 2011

Day 365: f*ing friday :: finale

31 Dec

TGIF.
Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Festivities.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the word:
Finale.

As in, Day 365.

That’s right, it’s the end of the road.  The top of the mountain.  The final destination.  The icing on the cake.

The f*ing finale if you will.
Cue the fireworks.

Actually, there will be fireworks all around the world at approximate 11:59pm, wherever you may be.

So, what happens when you take care of your head, heart, body and soul for one entire year?

Good question.
Other than my underwear becoming wholly holey, I have added and subtracted much over this year.

I purchased no clothing, shoes or frivolous items. 
Bar one pair of running shoes that I acquired at the beginning of the year to better my body.  (I even laced them up and ran in a foot race, thank you very much for dragging me along Amy Crawford!).

At the beginning of the year, the thought of not shopping was purely painful.

I agonized over it, I held my hands in my pockets while walking through department stores to prevent myself from the slight movement of reaching out and touching fabric, as if feeling it across my skin was a sin.

So I decided I had to remove myself completely from temptations way.  I bowed out of shopping trips, I walked on the outside of stores, only to peer in through the windows, knowing that they couldn’t lure me as long as I didn’t cross the threshold of the front door.

I cleaned house.
As I debated the merits of deleting all of my promotional emails from my favorite fashion icons. In the end I opted out of most of them but held on to a few favorites just to stay in the loop of the design world.

I said no to chocolate and mochas and cookies.
At fancy restaurants!  Even at Starbucks!  But soon discovered cacao powder and nibs, my new source of chocolate flavor (and magnesium — see it’s good for me!).

I successfully beat the sugar blues.

I gave up coffee — twice.
The first attempt failed as soon as the month-long Ayurvedic cleanse was complete.  This second attempt has stuck even through these past two weeks in the Seattle area, a.k.a. The Coffee Aroma Capital Of The World.

I lost weight.
I gained weight.
And continued to lose, gain, lose, gain.  And, then I read these words that changed everything — instead of losing weight, decide to let go of it, and instead “Give It Up.”  Because when we lose things we try to find them again.

I lost other things too.
Like the stone in my mother’s ring.  The most precious of worldly possessions in my grasp, that I wore on my hand everyday, unhinged itself and fell to the earth, nowhere to be found.

But what I gained was extraordinary.
New friendships, new adventures, new ideas, new ways of looking at myself and the world.

I tried new things.
Like kettle-bells (thank you Yvette!) and green smoothies (after weeks of failed attempts, I finally mastered the art of a yummy tasting green smoothie). I bought glasses online (sight unseen!) and removed all the under-wire from my bras.  I even did yoga with an iPhone App while on vacation!

I pushed myself to the edge.
I jumped into the Martha’s Vineyard water at night (thank you Justin!) and experienced the most beautiful Tinkerbell-like magical bioluminescence I have ever seen.

I learned from the masters.
Like Debbie Phillips, Joshua Rosenthal, Rob Berkley, Donna Eden, Joan Borysenko, Belleruth Naparstek, Mark Hyman, Bruce Lipton, John Douillard, Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra.

Sitting before such great teachers made me realize that while I don’t know everything, I don’t have to.  We all have innate intelligence. We already have what we need.  And, if we don’t have it yet, we aren’t ready for it, or just don’t need it.

Things showed up when I needed them.
From a freak snow storm in Michigan, to a cold and rainy day in New York city, I borrowed clothes and shoes, jackets and gloves (thank you Mary Ellen Jones!). Boxes surprised me in the mail (thank you Jaynane and Dawn!) and saints handed me down their gently used clothing (Debbie!).

More than anything else, I didn’t give up.
Through hurricanes and earthquakes and from all corners of this country I wrote.  Even when I was locked out of our Mexican Villa, I borrowed a computer and beat the clock to post my blog post in time (thank you Lizette and Mike!).

There was one night where I almost forgot to write.
After a fun-loving time out with Debbie Phillips and Holly Getty, seeing the movie Bridesmaids, I was so full of laughter and love that I came home ready to call it a night.  Just as I started to prepare for bed, Justin asked me the golden question:  “Are you going to write your blog tonight?

Saved.  (Thanks honey!)

I learned a few new things.
Like how to properly dry my hair.  Never knew I was doing it wrong these past 37 years!

I found inspiration.
In the magic and the mundane.  From the dew drops on leaves to the look on Pup‘s face, I began to see the world with new puppy dog eyes.  I revisited the place where my promise began and found both new friends and even deeper inspiration (thank you Lake Austin Spa Resort!).

I had support.
From my life-long friends (Laura, Sara, Lisa and Sheryl) to my Facebook buddies, from Debbie Phillips and my Women on Fire sisters to the fun-loving clan called The Davis Family, I had more than wind beneath my wings — I had love at my back.

And there were heart-felt conversation (Debi Lilly!) that gave me strength.

There were days when people touched me beyond words. Through a simple “like” on Facebook or an email or note, it made all the difference.

I found magic.
I started this year resolute to make my promise happen all on my own, no matter what.  I was, after all, doing  this for ME.

But the fact is, I couldn’t have done any of this without YOU.

Because I learned a thing or two about magic this year, and it is as simple as this: we are all connected.

If I change, you change.  And if you change, I do too. 
We are in this together.

As I sit here typing these final words of 2011, with tears rolling down my face and my head, heart, body and soul full, all I can think is this:

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

And, that, my dears, is the Grand Finale.

With much thanks and continued love for you in 2012, Happy New Year!
xo~Jamie

P.S. It’s not f*ing over!!

P.P.S. I will reveal my new promise for 2012 tomorrow, a.k.a. Day #1.

Day 364: the wrap up part 4 :: soul

30 Dec

F*ing Friday is postponed until tomorrow …you’ll soon find out why.

Today we are continuing the wrap up of 2011.

So much has changed in my world, in this year, that I am dedicating a full day to each of my promises: head, heart, body and soul.

Because if I have learned anything this year, it is this: the magic is in reflection.

Part 4:  soul

This whole soul thing has taken me a while to figure out.  On Day 184, smack dab in the middle of the year, I contemplated my depth and understanding of the soul.

I was confused to say the least.
And then something happened.

As the days went on I began to understand my soul like never before.  As if I could feel it, as if this whole cosmic universe finally made sense.

It took a little more than a two 21-day meditation challenges.  And, it didn’t hurt that a few masseuses seem to have more spiritual insight into my life than I ever could imagine.

But, in the end, I found a place deep inside myself I always knew was there, something I felt even as a young child — a connection to spirit, to source, to light, to what-have-you.

As I’ve said before, I suppose it’s no surprise that I started off this year first taking care of my body with food and exercise and then my head with books and research and meditation.  With each day my heart opened and then finally, as if it took all three components to work together as a key, something turned inside me, as if my soul was unlocked.

It has brought me many gifts, including bringing me closer to the spirit of my mother, to the souls of my ancestors, to the light in my own life.

On many days, it has even brought me to tears.

Today, on the eve of Day 365, it brings me great happiness to know this year may be over but my promise will never end.

Because nothing ends.
We all go on.

See you tomorrow.
xo~Jamie

Day 363: the wrap up part 3 :: body

29 Dec

Here we are, closing in on 365 days and the end of this year.  And, what a year it has been.

So much has changed in my world, in this year, that I am dedicating a full day to each of my promises: head, heart, body and soul.

Because if I have learned anything this year, it is this: the magic is in reflection.

Part 3:  body

What does it mean to take care of the body?

As my new friend Belleruth Naparstek reminds me in one of her amazing guided meditations, our body is our “oldest friend” and “steadiest companion.”

And I like that.
Because I never thought of my body in a confidant sort of way.  At least not until this promise.

To the contrary, I spent too many years scrutinizing the shape of my hips, the size of my toes, the stubby-ness of my thumbs, the arc of my belly.  After my cancer treatments I wished for my long thick locks to return, just like after I turned thirty I wished for my dimply cheeks to return to their twenty-something smoothness.

But this is a journey isn’t it, with the body in the lead.

Through the ups and downs of life’s heavy weights and other losses it seems my body has been with me all along.  Right there alongside me, every step of the way.

And it wasn’t until this promise came along that I started to give my body its due.  Seems almost silly to me now that I failed to invest in it.

It has indeed been a year of self-care.

Some of my adventures in self-care brought my body through totally new experiences, like bodywork, chakra massage, an Avyvedic cleanse and meditation.

Others have just reminded me how great it feels to give nourishment to the skin I’m in, like hot rock massages and pedicures.

More than anything I have relied on my night-time bath. 

A nocturnal ritual that lifts my spirits and comforts my body no matter what the rest of the world may be contemplating.  We may be at war, or in economic crisis or fiercely debating the next election — but it just doesn’t matter when I am in my bathwater.

One of the best pieces of advice I heard over this year-long promise to take care of my body was quite simply ironic — do nothing.

That’s right.  DO. NOTHING.

It comes from traditional Chinese medicine and I have come to hear those words echo through my mind when cerebral buttons begin to be pushed and that other voice in my head starts telling my body to do more, be more, try more.

It’s almost too easy isn’t it?

Do nothing.
Of course, it doesn’t mean eat bonbons and down six packs while watching television with Ben and Jerry.

It means, literally stop and do nothing but let your body breathe.

Sure, the massage and yoga and Pilates and hiking have all been invigorating, adventurous and new.  But, all these exercises ended up bringing me back to a place of peace that opened up a space where I could do something extraordinary with my body — breathe.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: it’s ironic after all the searching, and the classes and the adventures that I am right back in the place where my body first started.

Taking one deep breath.
And then another.


Day 362: the wrap up part 2 :: heart

28 Dec

Here we are, closing in on 365 days and the end of this year.  And, what a year it has been.

So much has changed in my world, in this year, that I am dedicating a full day to each of my promises: head, heart, body and soul.

Because if I have learned anything this year, it is this: the magic is in reflection.

Part 2:  heart

I heart clothes. And shoes.
Love them.  Always have.  It’s been a life-long love affair.

As a toddler I dressed myself and changed outfits throughout the day, to my mother’s (and her laundry schedule’s) chagrin.

And then my feet grew.
It seemed for a handful of my teenage years, as my body stretched inches and inches every year and I towered above the boys, the only thing that really fit were shoes.

Shoes have always been here for me.  And I have loved them greatly.

Then along came 2011 and my promise not to buy shoes or clothes.

Over the course of this year, I have come to love my clothes and shoes even more, the kind of love that happens when you cherish something because you can’t entertain the notion of buying something new or replacing it.

Especially those pink and green rain boots that carried me through the year, from a freak snow storm in Michigan to a blustery rainy day in New York city.

But even deeper than my love for fashion, I have opened my heart to a bigger source of love over this journey.

Maybe I found the location of my heart chakra, or maybe I learned how to close my mouth and open my ears in order to listen deeper (instead of interrupting with my own commentary), or maybe, just maybe, exploring all matters of the heart was always as simple as setting an intention and following through.

It seems the secret-magic-recipe-formula-elixir to having and holding anything we want in life is really just as simple as that — L.O.V.E.

It’s more than a four letter word.
Funny it took me this long to figure it out.

So what did I learn about the power of the heart?
This: all we have to do is let love it.

After that, the head, heart, body and soul know how to take care of the rest.

Let the magic begin.

Day 361: the wrap up part 1 :: head

27 Dec

Here we are, closing in on 365 days and the end of this year.  And, what a year it has been.

So much has changed in my world, in this year, that I am dedicating a full day to each of my promises: head, heart, body and soul.

Because if I have learned anything this year, it is this: the magic is in reflection.

Part 1:  head

I began this year cramming my head with information, studies, research, data.  All to figure out the best way to take care of my body and soul.  The more I learned and packed into my brain, the more I realized one overriding theme:  I was utterly confused.

Eat only protein!  Stay away from meat!
Only raw foods!  More green smoothies!
No cold foods! Only raw milk! No dairy!
No gluten! Whole grains only!

ARGH!!!

Raw foods, Paleo, gluten, dairy, it’s enough to make eyes pop out of said head.

But the biggest challenge for my brain has been something that took more than a cookbook and something bigger than a diet plan to overcome — it was my perfectionist tendencies.

Because I want to be perfect.
But I’m not.

And it all surfaced in my writing, or rather my promise to write something everyday AND make it public.  Deep down I wanted everything to be funny, and witty, and smart, and inspiring and just plain not crappy.

But, some days, I just didn’t have the words.  Or any thoughts.  Or the inspiration.  I thought everything I wrote sucked, or wasn’t quite right, or (GASP!) sported spelling errors.

And then somewhere along the way I realized it didn’t matter.

Because I did not make a promise to blog funny, and witty, and smart, and inspiring and just plain not crappy content all year long.  I made a promise to take care of my head, heart, body and soul and write everyday to stay on track, to have accountability — to myself.

And, there is something magical that happens in the brain (I think it’s a super high tech scientific chemical reaction) when you make a promise and keep it, no matter what — no matter the lack of inspiration, the loss of a good idea, the public scrutiny, the sticking your neck out — you realize that whatever comes from your heart is perfect.

It’s powerful.  It’s moving.
And it’s just right.

Day 360: the day after christmas

26 Dec

It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house there were games being played, some on iPads, some on Kindles and some on boards.

One thing was surely missing: the day after Christmas shopping spree.

On one hand I miss it and on the other I can do without.

No matter what, I do know this:
The sales will go on. With or without me.
But who would take my turn on the Sorry board?
Exactly.

Day 359: merry christmas

26 Dec

It is 9:36 pm on the west coast, still merry, still bright.

I have two words that sum up my holiday treasures: new underwear!

Happy holidays to you and yours.

Day 358: christmas cookies and holiday hearts

24 Dec

Oh. Frosting.

I never thought I would see this day.
I turned down a Christmas cookie.

As we decorated the sugar cookies, with fingers caked in white fluffy frosting, I was tempted to take a lick.

But, I didn’t.
I suppose one lick wouldn’t matter.
Nor, would one cookie hurt.

The problem is once I hit the green light and say go, my sweet tooth kicks into overdrive and doesn’t know when (or how) to stop.

There may come a day when I can just say no, stop at one, and only devour a single cookie instead of a platter or plate-full.  But, I know that day isn’t here yet.

And, so it was, on this day before Christmas that I realized it may indeed be the first of my cookie-less holidays.

Even still, I decorated with care, a smile on my face, singing that old holiday song:

Christmas cookies and holiday hearts,
That’s the way the holiday starts.
Christmas cookies and holiday hearts,
Goodie, goodie, yum, yum, yum!

Because even though I won’t be eating any scrumptious cookies this year, I will be filling my heart with the sweetness of the season (and maybe my glass with a little wine!).

The cookies, of course, would taste sweeter – momentarily.
But the heart beats on long past the holidays.

Goodie, goodie, yum, yum, yum!

Day 357: f*ing friday :: festivities

23 Dec

TGIF.
Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word the Force.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the words:
Festivities.

As in, holiday traditions.

Christmas will be here in T minus 1 sleeps, 1 hours, 16 minutes & 22 seconds.  At least that is the countdown according to Santa’s Official Counter.

In preparation there has been much to do to ready for the festivities.  Including baking and shopping, and of course finding Ziggy, the resident Elf on the Shelf.

Last night Ziggy was dropped on the kitchen floor. He was accidentally tipped out of a cup that little hands carried him in and, of course, upon his crash onto the ground, Uncle Justin was right there to pick Ziggy up.

What we out-of-town visitors didn’t know (as we were not given the official set of Ziggy rules yet) sent one little girl into a minor holiday melt down.

Ziggy was TOUCHED!
There was great fear for a few f*ing minutes about whether Ziggy would survive.

How would he fly back to Santa?
Did he lose his magic?
Is Christmas lost?

Thankfully, Ziggy returned this morning with powers untouched.  He did however hide himself away in a little ceramic gingerbread house where nobody could touch him.

All appears to be well and on track for Christmas morning.
Let the festivities continue as planned.

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa’s big scene
And above all this bustle
You’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

Day 356: a christmas miracle

22 Dec

We are now in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

It’s a good 40 degrees cooler here than the Florida air we left.  We may not get snow, but rain and some white fluffy frost are in the forecast.

Good thing I packed boots.

I don’t remember the last time I wore leather boots.  And who knows the last time I wore 2 and 1/2 inch heels?  And the boots I packed to wear in the Pacific Northwest are both.

My feet feel like a fish out of salty Gulf water.

The boots are old, that’s for sure, being a 2008 model. The tip of my right boot is peeling off.  The sides are scratched from Boston snows of old.  They recently survived the last edit of my Florida closet, specifically and precisely for this trip to Washington.

They lived to see another day.
For my boots, it’s a Christmas miracle.
For me, a reminder of how to walk in heels.

Regardless, these boots were made for walking.
And, tonight that is just what they did as we all bundled up in warm clothes, gloves and coats and took a walk down the street to see the pretty Christmas lights.

And, I almost didn’t go.
I didn’t want to get cold.  And, I really didn’t want to take one more step in my tall, leather boots.

But I looked at the sweet faces of Justin’s little nieces and knew — I didn’t want to miss this moment.  

So I went. I joined in. Despite my feet.

Every single second was precious. The blinking Christmas lights, the Christmas songs we sang walking down the street wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and the band of trumpeter birds that trumpeted right over us in the dark blue sky.

A perfect setting for a miracle indeed.
Once we arrived home Justin’s phone rang.  It was a call from our dear cousins, two of whom we ran into last night at the Houston Airport.

They shared a message of another miracle.  A once in a lifetime opportunity just opened up for us — because of another special miracle called family.

The good news is that we will join them on a trip to the Grand Canyon next summer.

The best part for us?

This is another moment we don’t want to miss.  

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