This thing called love

“Mama, hand. Hand, Mama”

Lili reaches for me blindly in the night and grasps onto my hand tightly. She’s supposed to be sleeping. We’re supposed to be sleeping. And from the strength of her grip I know she’s still awake.

I listen to the hushed breathing of Ella suckling me, while I savor the small, but mighty grip of my firstborn.

She’s so independent these days. She’s fierce and funny. She’s trying her boundaries…testing ours. She’s exercising her voice and mastering her will.

She pushes us.

She teaches us.

She teaches me to stop. That life isn’t so busy and nothing is more important than pretending to be horseys or dinosaurs with a toddler. 

She teaches me money is nice, but imagination is priceless.

She teaches me there’s nothing more beautiful in the world than joy. Joy bursting through a roar of laughter. Joy twinkling through the crinkle of scrunched up eyes. Joy heard through the excitement of a tiny human calling you over to “Here! Sit Down!”  

She clutches me as she falls to sleep. If I make a move to reposition she’s instantly grasping to keep my hand wrapped around hers. In her tiny fingers I feel the love of a million hearts.

As my brain runs through all the things I need to do at work. All they ways we need to balance finances. All the ways life would be better if just…

Her little hand wraps itself around my distracted thoughts. “Here Mama, sit down. Hand Mama.”

And my three year old does what I still can’t seem to master after thirty years. She quiets my wayward inner dialog. She teaches me there is nothing more perfect than this. A little hand. A little voice.

“Hand, Mama. Hand.”

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On Purpose

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These faces. They are my purpose.

Every year, as part of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council – even when unofficially ghosting – I’ve reflected on the past year and set my intentions for the coming year. Less like resolutions and more like core values. Guiding principles in ways of being for the year. A mission statement for my life.

I’ve been rotating between years focused on stretching, reaching, doing the big scary things – or at least making myself admit when I’m avoiding the big and scary – and years savoring, relishing, playing. This balance has helped make small steps toward “my thing” with room to course correct in the forgiving framework of the year’s purpose.

But it hasn’t been enough.

Life is never enough.

As I lie in my husband’s arms this morning reunited from our week apart, I thought, “I will never get enough of this.”

As I drank in the delicious milk breath of my babiest girl, I sighed, “I will never get enough of this.

As I lay eye to twinkling eye with my first baby girl, whispering in toddler gibberish so not to wake her sister, I knew, “I will never get enough of this.

This family. Our family.

Your family. This is it.

This is life. This connection. The beautiful, messy, painful, joyful bliss of it. The fragility that quietly walks alongside the feeling of invincibility. This is the purpose.

In pursuit of feeling

  
At the end of the year I usually join hearts and thoughts with women all over the world in reflection of the year past and intention for the year to come. This ritual is part of a holiday council led by a dear friend, and wonderful life coach. 

But in 2015 I did not end the year with my tribe of  soul sisters. 

In business we are constantly creating new goals and “scoring” ourselves on how well we achieved the goals. Our scores are used in ranking us across the organization where there are clear winners and losers in the pursuit of recognition, promotion and pay.

I did end my 2015 with this.

Imbalance.

There was a definitive, dissatisfying, ickniness to this imbalance. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to join my sisters in the council, but more that I was looking for another expression of this process as a challenge to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone. But as with many things in life, without the formality, this goal was pushed in the back of my mind as day-to-day, “more pressing” matters arose. Matters like my 2015 annual review that was due the week before Christmas.

While logically I know such structures are important to the corporate world and the rules that govern it, I can’t help thinking that we’re doing it all wrong. It can’t be assumed that those making up our corporations are taking time to also assess how they feel. Taking time to see if their actions aligned with their core values and how to improve that alignment. Or even if they know what their core values are. 

All we can know is that we’re setting arbitrary goals used to then assign a precise value to ourselves. And while it’s not meant to be personal in business, it seems hard to believe that the constant scoring doesn’t impact us as humans. And that this constant feedback loop may be negative to our personal perceptions, and ultimately and actions in and interactions with the world. Maybe it’s all too Polly Anna to think there could be so much more success in business by regaining some of the humanity, insisting on it of our leaders. But it’s something I still feel compelled to chase.

Because I want to feel like I’m more than a number. I want to feel that my leaders see me for more than a cog. I want to feel valued. I want to feel good about the contributions and the time I spend away from my family to serve my company.

But in lieu of any mass corporate upheaval, I’ll continue to chase the balance even if it’s just a one person pursuit. In 2016 I’ve already decided this will need to start by exploring new philosphies and systems in introspection and intention setting. It will need to mean aiming to break out of the paralysis of fear – to instead celebrate it, and recognize good fear as an indication I’m on the right path. That I could be about to make a major breakthrough. That my ego may be scared out of its mind to be lost in evolution on the path to feel more. Feel better. Feel connected.

And the first step has been diving headfirst into The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. Headfirst into the pursuit of feeling more and judging less. Straight into the power of desire.

Wish me luck!

#LifeExtraordinary

mermaid

Like most people I have been tirelessly chasing “my thing” since I was old enough to realize when my mom said I could be anything, she didn’t mean a mermaid…except THIS

And recently I had a revelation, which I shared over at Stratejoy. The thing I’ve realized as part of this magical year-long journey with Elevate is that maybe we’re not destined to do just one thing. Also I firmly believe we’re not meant to be just one “who”. Because that would be boring.

No. Life is not meant to be lived in a plotted line. You’re not meant to reach upward, upward, then hit this point of revelation of “Ah ha! This is it!” then just stay the course. Life is meant to be messy. Have ups and downs, moments of speeding light years ahead and sometimes looping back and rediscovering a forgotten joy. Life is meant to live in circles. It’s why I started this blog. A Circular Life has always been about discovering and journeying. It’s been about embracing my present state, while not being afraid to simultaneously explore in all directions. The heart of A Circular Life has always been to serve as a reminder for me to never lose contact with the little girl I used to be. The one who is still very much a part of me. She’s the one twirling. Singing. Staring in awe big sparkling eyes at each new wonder as she plots how to make magic happen. She’s the one I answer to, because she keeps it real. She keeps me honest with myself and what I need vs. what I feel I should be doing. She whispers to my soul the secrets that remind me to reach for who I want to become.

Throughout life I have tended to take the sensible route. In pursuit of the most practical decisions. Want to be a Mermaid? Too bad. Maybe a Marine Biologist? But how would I be successful? How would I provide for a family? Business. That is the way of viable success.

But now as I look at the sweet, sleeping face of my baby girl, I can’t help but admit I’ve been living fear and not toward fear. The difference is letting fear push me. It means choosing the safe path. Making decisions based on comfort and financial obligation. More obligation, less passion. Less joy. Living toward fear is to step up and claim my dreams. To not feel selfish for spending my energy to make life magical. To make life extraordinary.

That is what I want for my baby girl. A Life Extraordinary. I want her to dream big dreams. Chase sparkles. Live her life comfortable being with the fear. The kind of fear that comes from being connected to your soul and listening, really listening to its calling. The kind of fear that allows her to follow her heart even when she doesn’t see the end goal. Because I don’t want her to live life in a line. I want her to live it in circles, with the promise of adventure beyond the horizon. Just as Columbus knew the world wasn’t flat and paradise might just be found if he could sail “off the edge”. I want her to dive into the unknown.

To raise our little Shimpress with the confidence to live in circles, I have to step up to my own fears though. I have to make my own magic. So here it is. Out in the universe just as it’s been secretly inside me these last number of years. The fear I am following is acting.

My life extraordinary is as an actress.

As with the other circles of life, I’ll be sharing tidbits of the journey among the wedding, baby, fashion, soap box moments of this blog. I’ll be sharing my sparkles hoping that it might just encourage you to follow your fear too.

xo

The mythology of equality

Recently I had a conversation with a good friend about dating and something he said struck a chord with me.

“…I’m looking for my equal.”

At face value, you might think, “Aww that’s sweet!”. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for at the end of the day? Someone to love who loves us? Someone to share every happiness with, to be supportive through every sadness?

Wrong.

With so many shouting equality these days, it begs the question of “why?’ Why are we so bent on being equal? Why do you want to be equal – the same – as anybody else, much less everybody else? Somewhere along the line, someone sold us a story about equality. And it sounded good.

But why?

It sounded good because it meant the end to feeling unrecognized, overlooked, underrepresented, underpaid…All the negative feelings we tie from (allow) exterior influences onto our own internal self-worth. While I don’t argue that there are cases where the fight may not be the same for one individual vs. another, I feel that the end goal is often the same. To be the best.

Who cares about being equal? Don’t we really want to be the best?

In career. In family. In friends. In life. Being the best is ingrained from an early age – some might say, an inherent need inherited from our ancestors, when being the best meant survival.

Now circle up. Back to the beginning, I proudly admit that I went after and married my best. Not my equal. Not my “good enough”. My Best.

The man who challenged me, pushed me (sometimes kicking and screaming) beyond my comfort zone to achieve things I only allowed my soul to whisper, barely audible, deep-deep-deep down in my heart. The one who made my stomach flutter. The one with whom I could barely contain a smile from the pride felt when he was by my side. The one who taught me I needn’t try to contain it.

When that man walked into my life, I didn’t think I’d found my equal. I knew I’d found my better half. And that’s what we should all strive for – our Better Half. That is what Mastermind Alliances are forged from, allowing each of us to achieve and continue to build then conquer or biggest dreams in pursuit of our best lives.

That, My Dear,  is worth looking for.

Happy Tunesday and Birthday to Zee German!

Happy Tunesday!

So this week was a pretty crazy one for us. We packed up and left our Seattle digs on Thursday morning, arriving in sunny LA by Friday night (can you say overly ambitious?)! After driving circles around the Greater Lala land area, we finally settled in on our new “home” just in time to celebrate Zee German’s birthday!

So in honor of the most amazing man, partner, best friend, mentor and ex-boyfriend – I am dedicating today’s tune to ZQT himself! It has little to do with weddings, but everything to do with us (the belting German tunes from the top of our lungs in the “privacy” of his Z350 us).

What are your favorite songs to sing like no one’s listening?

xoxo

Wedding photos worthy of your childhood dreams and life from the road

When I was just a little shrimp growing up in my small town hometown I used to spend hours in my room “make believing'”. Usually with my favorite “people”. Barbie and Ken. We’d plan their dream wedding. Barbie’s future as a high powered CEO in LA or New York. And sometimes the fun vacations they’d take together. (No judgment please)

So on my own road trip with Zee German and Puffin ithe fitting that I stumble across this awesome styled shoot from Diego Munoz!

Prepare yourself.

It’s an UNDERWATER TRASH THE DRESS with BARBIE AND KEN!

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How could you not be in love with this!? Oh and this just happens to be the photographer behind our own future W-Day photos. Which are so obvs going to be amazeballs, because how could someone capturing Mattel’s truest love story not be anything but amazeballs in all they do? Be jealous.

And to complete the childhood circle of dreams, a little update in case you missed it. We my lovely friends are relocating from rainy Washington to rainy sunny California! LALA land to be exact. We, being overly ambitious, should be ending our two day road trip late tonight red eyed and buzzed on junk food. I sense a detox in my new LA life…

On the bright side Princess Puffin McMuffin has plenty of time to catch up on her beauty sleep for her divalicious debut.

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And later on…

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P.S.
WTF California!?

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Happy Tunesday! (And an announcement…)

Happy Tuesday! Who else woke up, thought it was Saturday and went, “Oh crap…”? Anyone? Anyone?

I am feeling a little scattered these days. And it’s because I AM a little scattered. A sprinkle in Seattle. A dash in Mexico. And now a full on scoop in CALIFORNIA!

That’s right! We’re moving to California! The exact location is a bit in the air still (see SCATTERED above), but we are moving in about 2 WEEKS!

So apologies for the lack of blog goodness, but I promise I’ll be back to my Robin Hooding self soon and sharing all kinds of wedding porn. Promise.

But in the meantime, who’s up for a little anthem!?

xoxo

And anyone in California (San Fran or LA area) with tips on locations to live, I will love you forever for any great leads on apartments, houses or condos for rent! You might even win yourself a kiss from the Puffer Nugget if you live close by!

 

that one time we got philosophical at sushi, guns for african children and pufflin’

{Personal Post}

Zee German and I have a thing. We go out to eat and we talk about life. goals. careers. arming Uganda’s children with guns (Oh hey Kony!).

This week we found ourselves facing another game of let’s see what random high fructose corn syrup “edible” we can find in the cupboards – did I mention I used to love cooking? Bait and switch baby. Bait and switch. But since we had recently discovered a new hidden gem of sushigasm in my mouth (and the cutest little sushi chef ever!) let’s not kid on how long that game lasted.

But what was the most fun about going out was getting the chance to talk to Zee German. Really talking to him. Because what I’m realizing is that  we’re stuck in a consistency pattern. We get up. Talk Puffin to our Muffin (don’t be jealous you don’t have a secret language developed only by crazy couples overly obsessed with their puppehs). Go to work. Binge on the horrible office food that will surely cause our bodies to spontaneously combust. Go home. Workout! – ’cause we’re sexy and we know it…could not resist. could not. – And then somewhere between playing with Puffer McNugget (AKA our BABY PUPPEH! Love Child) and hoarding candy, we find out way to the bed and pass out.

And somewhere along the road those big dreams we talked about. The goals. The Careers. They all get swept away under the blanket of Comfort.

So while I’m raving about his genius creativity and how he has the insane ability to see things where others don’t. That he’s someone who could really come up with something original and amazing, and not just a spin-off of someone else’s amazing. He tells me he just wants to own a gun store (No he’s not crazy. He’s just in love with everything American. Muscle Cars. The 2nd Amendment. The right to NOT ride the bus.). To which I say, in the most I-am-not-belittling-your-dreams way possible, “But don’t you want to do something bigger than yourself? Something that makes an impact. Means something to somebody?”

And this is what I got.

“For every gun sold I’d give one to a kid in Africa.” [pause…wait for it.] “Like the Tom shoes.”

But of course that immediately spun off to how, though horribly inappropriate, what those Kony supporters really should have done is just arm the kids. Wait for Kony to come to them. And well hi there Kony.

However it doesn’t discount that I. That WE. All of us. Need to constantly remind ourselves that we truly are our own worst obstacles to being our most authentic versions of ourselves. That we’re the only ones (okay, maybe that’s itty bitty broad) stopping us from being the next Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos.

And that sometimes we just need to flat out remind ourselves that…