The Zoo

I was almost done writing a different blog post for tonight.

I was almost done.

Let me tell you, it’s powerful. It touches on women’s issues. It was written from my heart.

But the couple at the table in front of me started arguing.

I have been single for a while now and forgot the part of being with someone you love like crazy who can also drive you like, crazy. I am also generally not an argumentative person, particularly in public, so this kind of suckered me in.

Slightly raised voices, leaning in to get the point through gritted teeth, and side glances at me as I was in closest proximity to them.

I was very much seated in an audience position.

Don’t judge me. I still kept trying to finish my post. Tried to get into the feeling I had only a few moments before she raised her voice, and he raised up his hands in response….

But I couldn’t.

I felt like I was a peering cautiously into an exhibit at the relationship zoo.

More raised voices, her running off to the bathroom, and more side glances. She comes back in tears, and proceeds to ignore him as they look at their menus. Attempt to deflate the tension in the air with a softer, lower tone. Hair flips then silence.

Maybe I can stop chatting online and get back to this heartfelt meaningful pos-

Uh oh. Suddenly with clearly frustrated body language he leaned across the table and did the thing.

And I knew exactly what he was going to tell her, more or less.

Calm Down.

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Insert every person’s face when you tell them to calm down.

 

It did not end well.

Ah. To be in love. And part of its zoo.

Maggie xo

 

 

 

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The Water Relationship

I am writing this on a whim…my Black Fridays entail steering clear of any place that advertises this happening.

I just came across a YouTube video from a man named Ralph Smart. He was quite entertaining to watch, and dives pretty deep while keeping the spirit lifted.

It’s a pleasant combination.

 As a single person I found this empowering, and also thought, what a great check-in for those in relationships, who like myself, are always trying to dig just a little bit deeper…

Stay Single

Stay Single until You find Someone:

  • You love to eat with-I have never really think about this, but food, meals, the way I cook and explore…it would be only fitting to be with someone who carries at least some of my interests in this area!
  • Who helps you evolve, and wants you to.
  • Who loves your heart as much as your backside-looks change, we are more than our beautiful bodies, and you want to be with someone who is just as attracted, if not more, to your heart.
  • That enjoys your silence as much as your words….no awkwardness in the quiet. I was actually thinking I would like to be with someone who also appreciates it.
  • That motivates you just by thinking about them.
  • Who is ready to be vulnerable with you! For those of us who date men-listen up. A sensitive man who shows you his heart on all sides is showing you he trusts you. Appreciate that. In the world we live in right now.

We need these men to more boldly step forward.

I don’t spend much time looking around for advice about being single because it all tends to be the same, and in my 30s it’s unfortunate that for the most part, advice is based off of trying to help me reach some end point of ultimate happiness. I very much appreciated this video, and just had to share.

To the ones who are happily single-you can continue to be truly happy and still desire to connect with someone! And, to the ones who are not-from personal experience, you won’t be able to genuinely connect with someone, until you can truly be happy.

love

Maggie xo

The Some of Everything

Hey Humans,

Most of the time I don’t know what the hell I am doing.  I plan on certain things happening-eating, sleeping(at some point), work, and bills. Most everything else, I navigate day to day, gut feeling by gut feeling.

I kinda just do as I go, and go as I do.

I love it.

I love it because I used to plan a lot in the past.

I had a plan for every possible negative outcome that could happen when it came to my health, relationships, and any natural talents I possessed.

You see, all the planning I was doing essentially stemmed from fear. Sketched out by my insecurities, outlined by my worries, and essayed by my anxiety.

I didn’t realize how much this way of thinking contributed to my habit of self-sabotage until I saw a therapist.

Which is a whole different blog post I might get to in the future.

Back to the planning thing. Planning is not all negative. Planning can be really great, and imperative for certain situations. The planning I was consistently doing was not healthy. Over the years I learned, and am learning, what kind of planner I am, what kind of planner I want to be, and what kind of planner I don’t want to be.

These are three things I believe we should not hold off on for the perfect plan.

The weather, people, and creative ideas.

Waiting for the perfect sunshine weather to take a walk along that beach you love? First of all, be grateful you live close enough to a beach to do that because I am very jealous right now, and second, put on a hoodie…go for that walk. Waiting for the perfect person to sweep you off your feet? Sweep yourself off your feet, and your vision of this desired person will become less narrow, thus opening your eyes to greater possibilities.

Have an idea that charges up your creative mojo, lights up your mind, and ignites your soul? Don’t wait to talk to someone you think has it all together to help you perfectly lay things out. Don’t wait until you’ve sorted through all your notes, sketches, or recordings. Pluck one thing from the beautiful mess of a potentially amazing idea, and do something with it.

Because if you wait until some perfect sign, person, or plan comes around you are not really doing much more than waiting, are you not?

You gotta do at least one thing with your something in order to figure out if this something, is even…something!

And who knows? This one thing from this something could be the key to discovering if it is even anything.

It could be something.

It could be nothing.

It could be everything.

calla

Maggie xo

 

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I find peace in the wind and a smile in the sun. I make conversation with the trees and giggle with the animals. A day of fulfillment does not begin with how the world greets me, but how I greet it. It becomes beautifully mutual that way.

The richest moments in my daily life might entail feeling the light from a chat with a cashier, or a brief moment when I sense my presence on this planet fully understood from someone I admire. They often understand it, more than I do right now.

For it is in the little things that create the knowing there is something out there, bigger than myself.

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And that’s what makes me happy.

Maggie xo

Beauty and the Bleh

Getting out of bed at 1pm. Netflix marathons on the couch at my sister’s, ignored texts, and empty smiles. Late night potato chips and early morning roll overs thinking:

Bleh.

How am feeling like this when truly my life isn’t so bad? Or I guess I should say how am I NOT feeling much at all? New job. Bleh. New people in my life and places to explore. Bleh. A generous friend provides a space for me to live until I figure out my next move. Bleh. Thank you friend, but also, Bleh.

After about a month of the Bleh on my shoulders, and in my mind, I took a job dog sitting. This giant mastiff was unaware of his size and from the way he “talked” to me I’m not sure he even realized he was a dog. I would take him outside and watch him roam around the lush green property. The early morning check-in granted me the chance to see the sun come up. I felt a twinge of something familiar in my gut.

The feeling of content, and of being safe.

Then I started to feel excited about coming to this spot every day for the next week and convening with nature. The excitement turned into hope, and that hope turned into a smile. The Bleh was still there, but I could feel it struggling to stay on my shoulders with every effort I made to really sink into small but meaningful actions of self-care. Over the course of a few weeks the Bleh, still trying to cling but no longer able to hold on as tightly, started to slowly slide off of me, and float away.

I was able to connect with the beauty in my world again. Beauty in the new opportunities that had come up due to the lost ones, and beauty in the relationships that carried me through the Bleh. But also, the beauty of rolling out of bed, down the stairs, into my car, and on to simply being out. Thank god for the sunrise, sunsets, and giant dogs.

Maggie xo

Meditation Hacks to Tame the Monkey

Let’s talk meditation, honestly.

So you already know that sitting in a one-hour guided meditation is the equivalent to sitting through a moment to moment experiment with your utter incapability to focus and clear the mind. Have you ever experienced the monkey brain syndrome while trying to follow a guided meditation with one of those lovely people with breathy, soothing voices? One of my favorite YouTube videos is of a Tibetan Monk describing meditation as a conversation with the monkey: “Hello monkey! Watch breath.” My monkey brain is super smart and clever, always busy, jumping from one tree to another, happily creating havoc and whipping up the energy in my brain.  

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Heather Gorham, Monkey Mind, 2009

I used to lie on the floor of my guided meditation class writing mental lists of all the things I needed to get done before I could relax and meditate. It was a very, very productive time in my life during my  fancy yoga and meditation classes paid handsomely out of my New York paralegal salary.

So here I am, 20 years later, and my attention span for meditation is much shorter than what it used to be. Yet I still enjoy the health benefits of meditation on a daily basis! How you ask? I call them my Meditation Hacks!  It is 5 minutes of meditation while cooking; really focusing on the sensation of the food I am preparing. How the vegetables look, how it feels to chop them, how the rough textures of the vegetables feel as I skin them. I focus on my breath and the sensation of the water, and the way the bubbles swirl down the drain while I wash dishes rhythmically. I sometimes take 5 minutes to focus on my breath when I lie down with my toddler as she falls asleep.

In the car it’s actively meditating while I drive. Yes, it is safe. In fact, we are so distracted when we drive, that actively focusing on our breathing and the visuals of the car in front of us, and the road, is far safer than what most distracted drivers do! I meditate while I drive, cook, put my toddler to bed and clean. It makes sense when you think of meditation as just a practice of mindfulness. Slowing down and noticing. Allowing without judging. Tuning in and grounding in the moment, whatever that moment may contain. As a mom, instructor, entrepreneur, speaker, wife and caregiver, I have few spaces in my day where I can do just “nothing.”

So I find ways to integrate mindfulness into my daily grind.

I also use BINAURAL BEATS. They are what many might consider a “cheat.” It is music that tricks your two cerebral hemispheres into coming into alignment. I am a sucker for  the neuroscience behind this method, and this is my new fix. I put on my headphones, and the carefully syncopated, electronically coded beats resonate in each ear differently. The effect is very meditative. I have reached a state of what I assume meditation gurus are describe: very relaxed, yet awake and present. It is magical. We all need different things in life. Why do we think one-size-fits-all meditation will work for us? One size fits all may work for clothes, but not for mindfulness work. Part of succeeding at a practice is to play with different tools, notice our experience, and try something different if its not working for us.

The key is to start anywhere and to do it now , and the benefits will leave you wanting more. So you do it more. And maybe it’s not consistent at first, but bit by bit, it becomes a habit. A good one. You can do this. This is how it became habit forming for me:

  • Start with a just noticing your breath.
  • How are you breathing? Where are you breathing?
  • For 2 minutes just pay close attention to your breath and body.
  • Just noticing and allowing your breathing to be your focus.  
  • How long are you breathing in, how long are your breathing out?
  • Count, and then, add a count in and a count out.

Be kind to yourself, and congratulate yourself for each success, no matter how small your strides. Your commitment to care for yourself gently, will pay off in all areas of your life areas where you now find more room to breathe. You will have created more space where energy can flow to your creativity, your health and toward a deep sense of happiness and calm.  So start now, and take that first deep breathe. Let it all out, very slowly. You are doing it, you are making progress, and you are succeeding. Congratulate yourself.

Brigette Irrarusso

Unclearly 36

They say there is always some truth behind “just kidding,”emotion behind “I don’t care,” and knowledge behind “I don’t know.”

 I made two huge decisions. I  made them based on how I was being treated in both my own home and at a new job. Simply put, I was being treated unfairly. It has taken me a long time to really, like, REALLY stand up for myself. I do it now in a way that when any fear or self-doubt comes to the surface it immediately becomes transmuted, because I have done the inner work to let that shit easily go.

What’s not easy at times however, is what happens after I stand up for myself…

Roommate trying to get me to pay a large bill I had nothing to do with? Never cleaning up the kitchen and always late on rent? Now the utilities are turned off?! I can’t live here, it is not healthy for me. Time to move out, even if I don’t have another home of my own to immediately move into.

New job starts off with the agreement of typical full-time hours, and time to ease into things as it will end up being a demanding position that pulls me in various directions throughout the day….I worked almost 40 hours in 4 days, now you are calling my personal cell all weekend, on my days off, when you just gave me a work phone? I’m exhausted. My chest hurts. I can’t work like this, it is not healthy for me. So let me share with you how I feel. I am overwhelmed. This is too much and I work hard. You don’t care? Go find another job? Deuces.

Remaining in both those situations with no hope for change did not align with the person I represent myself to be and I for damn sure was not “Mastering Self-Care” during this time. As my mom told me, I needed to drink from the same cup I pour out of for my coaching clients. For the women who might not have all the answers but can feel it when things are not right. Who don’t play it safe and stand up for themselves. For herself. For She. For we. Even if the risk might be high, she knows the greater risk of not creating healthy changes for herself will end up costing her more. So I left the two things that  essentially define us as we get older, and am left with just myself.

Eh, not too shabby; I kind of like myself…

I will share though, that right now I am feeling a bit lost. What do I do beyond the basic mundane of finding work and a roof? I am unclear as to what exactly “settling down” looks like for me. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

Just as I did when I was 35 I will keep it moving in forward confusion.

Because the last time I did this-the most amazing things happened, and not only did I create positive change in my own life, it ended up trickling into the lives of others.

Being unclear might be the best thing that is happening to me right now. I just need to keep trying. I am definitely a butterfly mind, and I know what comes next.

Something amazing.  Something better.

Maggie xo

Self-Care through Nature: An Elemental 2017

Happy New Year to everyone…happy looking forward, moving further forward, and being more forward in 2017. I won’t take any time to reflect on 2016, because here we are, right now, right in the middle of January, and this is where we will stay as you read! Thanks by the way, for reading. You are awesome. You could actually be amazing if you sign up to follow my blog. Go up. And right. There ya go.

I would like to share my experience connecting with nature on a daily basis and how it has helped me make wiser decisions in my life. Simple answer-nature makes me pause.

When I pause I take a mindful moment, and when I take a mindful moment I listen. I listen to my gut. For some their “gut” might be simple logic, others perhaps a god, or for some like myself, may find their gut to be a combination of inner knowing, and gentle outer guidance from various divine sources.

Here is my version of connecting the elements of nature with our senses, and how this combined with a little self-care can be applied into our every day lives.

Earth=See=Pull up pictures of family or friends. Take a moment to reflect on good memories and looking forward to the next time you will see them. Find a piece of jewelry, an valued object or go outside and pick a flower you like. Look at it and see what about it is enjoyable from your own personal view.

Air=Hear=Make a music playlist labeled “now.” Play it when you feel stressed or you need to take time out. Pick songs that make you happy. Go outside for a sec. Listen to the wind. Listen to the neighbor’s kids playing. Or even the sound of the brakes on the bus.

Fire=Smell=Sweetgrass is my favorite smell in the whole entire world. It is invigorating and brings back memories of rolling on lush hills at the park with my father. Find a smell that makes you feel invigorated, or/and brings back a fond memory. Have it handy in your home or even in a purse, or a work bag. Give it a whiff as needed, or desired.

Water=Taste=Buy a water drinking device that you are excited about. I am not kidding. Whether it’s a silly mug at home, a large cup, or one of those fancy BPA free non-GMO gluten-free bottles find one you think is awesome. How do you like your water? Figure it out. I personally love mine with lots of ice first thing in the morning. Drink more water. Drink more water.

Lastly,

Feel=to be all four: You are a part of this Earth, parts of you are made from it. How will you take care of yourself knowing that this will reflect on our planet? You are Air with every breath you take and every word that comes out of your mouth. How will you enrich your experiences with the air of your words? You are Fire every time you feel complete love, passion, or even upset with something. How will you use that fire to create change in your life, and the lives of others? You are Water when you go with the flow and find peace with the waves of change. How will you nourish yourself enough to hold on to that center that is the catalyst for maintaining a healthy flow, and peaceful feeling?

It is my strong belief that nature is a simple, and hola…generally FREE way to have a healthy mind and heart. We go out to work every day and don’t listen to the birds, but we for damn sure hear them chirping when it’s 6:30am on a Saturday and we want to sleep in, right? Try listening when you leave for work. Take…one, two, three seconds. Count to 3 and listen. See how you feel when you go from there.

Go ahead and try some of these things sometime. Any time.

beachplease

Maggie xo

P.s. Thanks Mother E for your collaboration!

French Braid

I am wearing my hair in a French braid today. Why?

Because I saw a girl at Target the other day wearing one.

She was beautiful, and holding a bag of chocolate chip cookies while drinking what looked to be like one of those 1000-calorie Starbucks drink. At first glance I looked at her pretty modernly fluffed up braid, cute outfit, tan toned legs and thought “Ugh she gets to eat whatever she wants no fair.” I wished I had her legs and did that thing we ladies ALL do at times when we envy someone else.

We put ourselves down after.

However, I caught myself. I stopped. I realized I had no idea how this girl got that look. She could workout 6 days a week and this is her one cheat day. She could naturally have those legs and a fast metabolism. Whatever it was, why did I need to analyze it and make excuses to talk down on myself, or discredit what she worked for?

You know what else we do that is simply not cool sometimes? We put the OTHER girl down to make ourselves feel better! We are clearly envious, jealous, and most likely experiencing an insecurity trigger so instead of dealing with that, we put the other girl down. We pick something apart about her to make ourselves disconnect from the insecurity. Well I think that’s bullshit and as I’ve entered into my 30s that type of thinking has remained with my less mature self.

Along with chasing boys who don’t like me and having that last shot of jäger.

This is has got to stop ladies.

Emulate. Don’t envy.

Back to the beginning. So I noticed the Target chica had a pretty French braid. It was slightly messy and yet you could tell there was purpose to it. It looked really cute. I remembered I am actually pretty good at French braiding my own hair. So, I decided to pick what I admired about the girl, and emulate that. Maybe her beauty would transfer over to my braid or something, heh.

I feel like it kind of did.

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Maggie xo

Morning Routine

I was brushing my teeth this morning and opened the cabinet to grab the saline solution. The cap was off. It unexpectedly showed up. “Maggie, you can’t leave the cap open it lets bacteria in!” A gentle brush of your hand as you grab the bottle from my own to close it. I looked at you and think I loved you more.

The slight but weighted memories are what is left of you.

And I know,

It’s okay to remember the what,

as long I never forget the Why.

donttakeshit

Maggie xo