Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Escapes

In winter my childlike innocence twinkles in my eyes and engages my smiles. From dancing in the snowflakes after midnight, to sipping hot apple cider by the roaring fire, my cozy, warmth to every cold winter night is always but a “memory to make” away. But as the new to the New Year fades, the decorations come down and the holiday carols cease, the dreary existence of bitter cold is all that is left. The reality of life takes control away from the fantasy of the winter wonder land …

There is a fragment of time in my life that is frozen, just like the winter tundra. It’s protected from the elements, yet easily reachable … I just close my eyes and instantly transport to that era. When I do, I am no longer chilled from crisp air – instead I am laying on a riverbank, soaking up the rays of light into my already sundrenched skin. I smell coconut tanning oil … ahhh, how I love that smell. I hear the splashing of the Meramec River – curse words from the fishermen when one caught a bigger bass than the other – kids running … laughing … discovering. I remember skipping rocks, sipping what I am pretty sure was margaritas, and running barefoot screaming as I was soon to cool my sun kissed skin by entering the river, on a choice not of my own … That was the start to the summer I turned 16. A weekend camping trip that I was reluctant to go on turned out to be one of my fondest memories. It was a summer that I laughed; really truly, irrevocably, unimaginably, incandescently and blissfully laughed … it was the summer I fell in love.

When the cold moments of our lives take a hold of us, what do we do to warm ourselves? For me it’s the rhythm of music, as I dance on the kitchen floor, the glass (or three) of St. James Velvet Red, that Hot Carmel Apple Spice from the glory we know as Starbucks, an evening in nothing but cotton, watching the collaboration of a month’s worth of DVR, an afternoon drive of reflection of where I have been, and where I am heading, and when I least expect it, warmth is found in the evoking of reminiscence souvenirs from a summer many years ago … I often wonder at what point in my life will that memory be so distant that I won’t remember the sounds of crickets chirping in the milieu? Or the feel of sunshine through the trees on an afternoon stroll … Or the campfire (and beer!) that produced music, dancing, and the most incredible smores. Or the feeling of my first love holding my hand, that car ride home, as we felt untouchable … the sound of Outcast playing and my hand riding the wind as I placed it outside the window down Hwy 44 ….

I don’t want to be fixated on a fragment of time that no longer exists in reality. But the memory presents itself like a torrid love affair of the past; it’s a piece of a moment that keeps me frozen like the winter air does now, yet it’s a source of warmth and comfort in the days that need additional wood to maintain, and at times create, a roaring fire. A truly beautiful aspect of life – the power of the mind. We are able to hold tight to the moments that define who we are now; moments that shaped our future, changed our courses, gave us hope, and strength, courage, and love... moments that will forever continue to add to our lives. To warm our winter nights. To toast us as we seek out more moments of such a time that continues to give. Your first love never fades, and that summer has long since past, but it played an intricate role in that in which I am today. I look forward to building more moments that have such definition to them; such rays of light that can thaw out even the coldest of moments. Light the darkest of days. Behind each cloud, the sun’s rays are still there – shining. Its science. And it will never fail.

Today I rolled down my window, 20 degrees outside or not, and my hand rode the wind .... not a trace of cold was felt, only the warmth of a memory that reminded me to let my soul shine ... its better than sunshine melting the snow away ... In your “days of cold” seek out your moments of warmth and let them thaw your snowy pathway. Allow them to bundle you with a scarf of fortification, gloves of bliss, a hat of ponder, and a coat of memories … instances … places in time … without fail moments that will thaw you with laughter; truly, irrevocable, unimaginable, incandescent and blissful laughter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Break Out Year: 2010

One of my favorite holiday tunes is a song with a line that says, “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over … A new one just begun.” 2010 has begun. Time has passed the old and brought in the new. Each day marked is another day that you reach forward, pursing your dreams, ambitions, hopes and wishes. Today I ask you: how far will you reach?

Not just the year, but your life itself holds endless possibilities. And how quickly and rapidly can those possibilities change. From one day to the next there are paths that you create, some that are given, and some that are destined – each holding a distinctive key to unlocking your future. The unexpected might seem dreary now, but is it not the foundation that builds? Meaning, the negative is a consistent factor of life – but can’t it be utilized as a positive to mold your firm grip on life and slingshot you into the now? Into the moment? Into the taking charge, seize the day, make it yours attitude that you need to secure?

2009 was the emergent manifestation of transition.

New Years for me is an enchanting moment. I spend the entire day preparing. Spa time to relax. Shopping for a new dress. Sparkling lotion after a bubble bath, listening to a ecliptic composition of Marc Brussard, Dierks Bentley, John Mayer, and OutKast … followed by two hours of hair and make-up, putting on my shimmering jewelry, high heels and out the door I go … to do what? To watch the ball drop at midnight, champagne glasses toasting, sending love and wishes of happiness to those I adore most, while singing Auld Lang Syne in my best under the influence rock star voice … only to wake up the next day and think … nothing much is different besides the date on the calendar. The day is still that … a day. But this year I woke up with a little different feeling … a little different thought … the day was not just a day, but it was a day to create. A day to imagine. A day to reflect, embrace, enlighten, inspire, celebrate, rejoice, and make memories happen.

Even in my cloudy frame of mind, my moment of clarity on that hangover drive home was so easy to grasp….

If I can devote an entire day in preparation for something that is literally over in a second, what will I devote to the year? How much time and groundwork will I put into making the days count? Making life matter? How far will I reach to achieve what is in my soul? What I am destined to be? How much time will you devote? When life gives you time, what will you make of it?

Have you honestly looked back on the past year, the past five, the past decade even? Reviewed your achievements and even yes, your shortcomings? I want you to grab a notebook, tear out a piece of paper and start answering the following, keeping in mind the past ten years:

List your milestones, regrets, greatest lessons, greatest influences? Overwhelmed already? Don’t stop there, as more are to be asked and answered … I want you to think and list what you believe to be your greatest victories and defeats? If you could go back and do it again, what would you do differently? Are there people you wish you would have loved more expressively and vulnerably? What about a list of regrets in the form of things you wish you did or didn’t do. Can you name your best decisions? How about risks that you have taken? What is your purpose in life? What difference do you wish to make? What do you need to do more of? Less of? Elminate all-together? In review of your answers, do you see a pattern? Or even yet, perhaps, life goals making their existence known?

The above it not intended to be “light material” - it’s heavy, in-depth, and at times maybe nauseating to think of – but it’s a necessity if you are true and honest with yourself about wanting to grow and transition into the year ahead. If you refuse to take note of where you have been, how are you ever going to get to where you are heading? You must understand, love and appreciate what is behind you – it’s the only way to understand, love, and appreciate what is ahead of you. The past year was a milestone in regards that for many it was a transitional year; a transition into the new decade, a clean slate, and the beginning of our conscious realization of the opportunity granted by each and every day, what it has to offer, what it brings to our lives, and what abundance we can take from it.

Carry your sheet of paper with scribbles and notes, answers and clarity, with you for the duration of 2010. Refer to it often. Goals pursued, goals attained. Make notes about the year. Revisions. Lessons learned. Remembrance of where you have been, and bearing on where you are heading. Take note of the lights in your life … as well as the bumps and bruises along the way.

2010 is the Break Out Year.

Time to break out of our cozy, comfort zones. Break out of our fear. Break out of regret, our longing, our excuses, our habits, our lies, our existence of just being and not living. Challenge yourself; question old thought and rationale and implement a serious life change – a change filled with releasing that dormant potential inside of you to radically change the trajectory of your life. The time is now. The clock is ticking. 353 days until the next ball drop … but only a matter of hours until the end of the day. How far are you willing to reach in order to make this year, this month, this week, this day, this hour, this minute, this moment …. A milestone in your life?