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In Live

An Open Letter to 2016

As we ring in the new year, we can’t help but reflect on the past and think about our futures.  It is like closing one chapter in a book and opening another.  We think about what went right, what went wrong, what we completed, where we could do better, who we loved, who we lost, etc.  And I probably think about these things more than most, as I am a self-proclaimed analyzer – constantly seeking to understand and improve myself and my connection to others.
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Live Large

Hi, friends. p.s. bonjour has been traveling and busy with life! I’ve missed you. Today I’m trying to get back in the swing of things and knew I had/have a lot to do but also like Monday morning yoga class. I was debating on whether or not to attend when a friend of mine texted and said “let’s go!”. Everything else can wait. Me and my health need to take first priority. And I was so glad I went (as I always am). The message was to Live Large.

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Community is Key

When I worked for KeyBank, they had a tagline for a marketing campaign that centered around the work they do in the area where they are based and their relationship with their customers and beneficiaries, called “community is Key” for KeyBank. But I always thought that tagline should really apply to all of us and mean “community (or connection, oneness) is key (or integral, important) to us developing as humans”. I know, deep, right? 🙂 Never was that more real to me than this past week when I performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus in Miami for their spring residency program.

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In Live

Setting a Theme for 2015

I don’t know what it is about turning the calendar to a new year. I feel like the last quarter of every year is about excess and indulging and going going going so much so that when January rolls around, I just want to breathe again. And once I catch my breath, I want to hit the reset button and get back into a rhythm – focused, committed, productive. I gave up making resolutions but do look at January as a time to reflect on the previous year to learn from it and apply any new principles to the coming year. Last year I did a fun technique to focus my year’s resolutions. I really like the last point – “x things I want to learn”. What I found was that I did want to learn those things in January. And some I didn’t master but at least made steps toward learning more. But others I ended up replacing with higher priorities for the year. What I do know was that I learned a lot from 2014 and hope to continue in 2015!

moreI have broken down resolutions in previous years to something my husband coined – “Healthy, Wealthy, Wise, and Organized”. But I find I have so many things under each grouping, I get overwhelmed and disappointed if I can’t keep things going. I’m inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s challenges that focus on one thing instead of a list of resolutions. I’m also inspired by the site, becauseisaidiwould.com, which acknowledges the power of writing down our intentions and sharing them with others I discovered through my yoga studio, Namaste. They also shared a great post/image (on left) on Facebook about adding more to our lives instead of admonishing ourselves to stop doing thing.



So for 2015, I really like the simplicity of Peter Bregman’s “One Theme” idea and am going to set a theme for the year – Intention. I want to focus on the things I choose, deliberately, mindfully and not coast on autopilot. I want to plan ahead and prepare for events. I want to allow myself to be present for those around me. And I want to challenge myself with activities that keep me grounded and focused.

I don’t have all the answers for the year that will be inline with my theme, but I plan to take each month as it comes and reflect and prepare for the next accordingly.

Starting with January… Because without Health there is nothing else, I re-commit to improving myself in that area foremost. My challenge for January is that I complete a 21-day detox program to COMPLETELY cut out sugar and processed foods, drink more water, and move more. At the end of January, I’ll evaluate, reflect, and adjust for February… but only with intention.

Do you normally set new year resolutions? Themes? What has worked for you?

Gratitude = Joy

Gratitude

Pondering gratitude today and how the events of this past weekend produced so much of it. I am so grateful for all the people that came out to support the grand opening event at Moonstruck CLE and my part in the adventure. I was genuinely thrilled to have that experience and felt waves of gratitude rippling through my whole being as I watched people interact with one another, sang carols, and witnessed Elisa’s happiness unfold as well. I couldn’t help but think about the effect gratitude has on one’s happiness. The experience is akin to relief – a sense of calm, peace, and harmony sets in – could this be santosha? 🙂 I think so. When the stars align and the universe gives you what you need, gratitude can be and has to be the only response.

It is not joy that makes us GRATEFUL – it is gratitude that makes us JOYFUL.

It wasn’t just the opening of the store that reminded me to be grateful. On Sunday, I sang with my fellow choristers and the Cleveland Orchestra at a benefit concert we do every year. The day is long and can be quite tiring, but listening and participating in the music created a response in me that led to tears multiple times, and some asked if everything was okay. I couldn’t respond as I didn’t actually know why I was having such a response. And then I put my finger on it. My mother and my mother-in-law are currently both battling cancer and my father-in-law passed away last year related to cancer. Even if you’re not with them every day, you feel and participate in their struggle and experience your own range of emotions that arise – anger, fear, sadness, helplessness, all mixed with hope and joy. But my tears Sunday were not from those feelings, but they were from the fact that – even in the midst of all of those struggles – there are so many other things in life for which one can be GRATEFUL…

For the constant and supreme power of music – to bring awareness to self, to distract from self, to create joy, to calm, to motivate, to thrill, to heal…

For friends and family – to laugh with, to love, to lean on, to connect with, to relish each one’s uniqueness…

And mostly for life…even though it is short in the universe’s timeline, may we cherish our part in it and always treat it with grace and gratefulness.