7 Guaranteed Joy Boosters

Vita Allegre (Joyful Living) is Ramona’s goal in my novel Dating da Vinci. While getting your groove back after a big loss (death, divorce) takes some time, I’ve gathered up 7 Joy Boosters that work for me to shift my energy and keep my spirits up. I’d love to hear yours in comments.

1. Singing really loud and dancing like a crazy person. People who ride with me know this. If you are easily embarrassed by a singing/car dancing driver, then by all means, Uber yo’self. But when I’m in a down mood, I seriously crank it. Current car dance  favorite: Hood Go Crazy.  May seem like a little thing, but a great road trip partner feels like hitting the jackpot. Going on dance competition road trips with my girlfriend Jill made all the difference and shopping with her for decorating clients is so much for fun than going alone. And I’m never, ever bored on a car trip with my guy. I think if you find someone you travel well with on both short and long trips and don’t feel the compulsion to open the door and leave them on the side of the road, that’s a very good sign.

2. Coffee and/or drinks with a girlfriend and one-on-one time with my kiddos. I love a great cup of java and a good red wine so adding in a girlfriend for a venting/laughter sesh turns that frown upside down. If it’s not possible to meet in person, a quick phone call can also do the trick. I also make an effort to schedule one-one-one time with each kid so I can tailor the activity for just them and give them undivided attention. (Which also means putting our phones away.) Since my kids are boy/girl/boy and spread apart in ages, it’s even more important I find that time to connect with them individually. My 17-year-old will watch the nerdiest documentaries with me on Netflix while my 15-year-old daughter says, “Mom! This isn’t health class!” Ha. So with her, it’s best to go shopping or find a ghost story or rom com to watch together.

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3. Getting my nature on. It’s really hard to stay upset when you’re looking at a stream or standing in the path with a deer or looking out at the horizon from atop a mountain. Seriously, go try it. I dare you.

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4. I work out. Getting my heart rate up is a complete no brainer to shift the brain chemistry and get the good feelings flowing. If I’m feeling anxious, I know 20 minutes on the stair master and treadmill will kill it. Feeling tense? Barre3 or Pilates provide a tough workout but also completely relaxes my mind with all the stretching and breathing and whatnot. Concentrating on those small movements keeps you in the present moment while kicking your ass. Love it. If you’re feeling angry, might I recommend kickboxing or lifting weights? Seems to work out my Hulk moods jes’ fine.

Hawaiian selfie on my way to the gym at sunrise in Maui last summer.

Hawaiian selfie on my way to the gym at sunrise in Maui last summer.

5. Kissing. My nerdy side loves the scientific reasoning behind a good lip-lock. In The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, author Sheril Kirshenbaum tells us, “The cascade of biological reactions during a passionate kiss plays a role. Research shows that kissing boosts levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine (which is involved in craving and desire) and serotonin (which elevates mood and can help spark obsessive thoughts about a partner). It also causes a jump in oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” whose release during orgasm triggers attachment between couples. She says kissing helps us evaluate the suitability of a partner, both in the beginning and assessing the health of a relationship long-term. I discuss the language of love in my novel, Dating da Vinci, but it’s way more fun in real life. Anyhoo, more please.

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6. Change your scene. Those of you who have read Family Charms know I based the novel on my estrangement with my mother for twenty years. Our relationship has been a rubber band that stretches over the years and she reached out to me after hearing about my divorce. She’s been a very healthy and helpful presence in my life since last October and we get each other. Last December I was lying in bed on a Friday night in my studio apartment feeling lonely when I called her and she told me to get dressed and go to the mall just to change my scene and energy. I did and shopped for a gift for my daughter and bought a dress for a client’s holiday party, which prompted me to reach out to a guy I’d met earlier that week. He asked me to meet him at a restaurant in front of the mall. So my glum Friday turned into my first date and first kiss with a great guy who likes that I sing and dance like a crazy person in the car and goes on big and little adventures with me. So, yeah, change your scene, change your mood. You may even get a passionate kiss at the end of the night.

A hiking trip with Chris to the Wichita Mountains in February.

A hiking trip with Chris to the Wichita Mountains in February.

7. Try something new/go exploring. I thrive on change and learning so I probably have to do this more than the average bear, but I’ve found it’s not just big new adventures that can keep my spirits up, but those everyday adventures, too like taking the back roads to get to your destination. I also found out I get a high from other people having new experiences. When we took my kids to Carlton Landing and they kayaked for the first time and then to Grand Lake and my oldest learned how to drive a wave runner and when I met a friend for her first paddle board yoga class – it’s the same feeling I get when it’s me having the new adventure. Being an everyday adventurer means exploring wherever you are. When Chris and I stayed at the Waldorf in NYC, we explored the empty ballrooms and got to see much more than if we’d just segregated ourselves to our room and lobby. So reach out and invite someone to do something new with you. Of course writing about someone else’s new adventures works for me, too. In my brain, it’s as if I’ve lived it out. It’s still trippy to me how that works! I often tackle new writing challenges for this reason. Instead of writing from one woman’s point of view, I wrote about four women’s life transitions in Oklahoma City in my novel Something New. Now I’m working on my first mystery.

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The Waldorf, NYC.

What about you? What works to keep your spirits up? 

5 Big Lies Women Tell Themselves

Vita allegre. Joyful living. His eyes danced with excitement and awe and insatiable curiousity. Not just for America. For life. I ached to feel that again. This is why I gave him a ride. This is why I rented my late husband’s studio for scraps. I hoped some of da Vinci’s joy would rub off on me, though I had meant it more in the metaphysical sense than the physical, but that wouldn’t be entirely bad, either. — Ramona in Dating da Vinci

In light of my re-launch of Dating da Vinci, (available now on Amazon) my novel about a woman searching for la dolce vita – the sweet life – two years after her husband dies, I’d like to write a few posts this summer on the topic of Vita Allegre. My job as a novelist is to create the journey for each of my characters, taking them through the highs and lows. In real life, we’re each responsible for our own story and handling those lows is what helps us grow. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to our happiness. Let’s start with a few lies we’ve all told ourselves, shall we?

1. I don’t deserve X, Y, Z. We get to a certain point and stop believing that our own needs matter. Often this coincides with a baby emerging from our vajayjays or a certain number of candles on your cake. Yes, you deserve your hobbies, interests, me-time, companionship, love, great sex, good friends, fulfilling work, big and little adventure and whatever else strikes your fancy if it’s good for you. The bottom line: you deserve happiness and you don’t have to stay stuck.

2. My body can’t be changed. Not to pick on moms here, but often we believe after we’ve had children that our bodies are just done. While our shape changes after babies and with age, believing this lie could keep us in a cycle of unhealthy choices as time goes on. Look, we’re smart women and we need to pass on not just a healthy body image but also the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet. Each of our bodies are unique and only 8% of women have the bodies we see in magazines so we need to strive for our own reality, not some fantasy. What can be changed and what can’t? I could reshape my body and get rid of fat and build lean muscle and still be realistic that I would never have a J Lo butt. Since I started focusing on my health two years ago, I’ve lost 25 pounds and have kept it off for more than a year. We need to be patient with ourselves and not rely on a quick fix. My aim was to be healthy and fit, not skinny. I’m certainly not shaming anyone who doesn’t want to live a certain way – it’s our choice, period as long as we realize we are making a choice. Working out regularly is good for our minds, too. I’m less anxious and worried and generally feel more positive, especially when I was going through tough times. Do you want to live longer? The wellness blog at NY Times sheds light on longevity and exercise. And if you need a documentary to prove why this lie is a load of crap, watch the incredible transformations featured in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. What are your misperceptions about your health? Are you willing to put in the work to make it happen?  Your body may not look exactly like it did in years’ past, but it can be healthier and in some cases, the best it’s ever been.

After a stand up paddle board yoga class with friend Laura Nance.

After a stand up paddle board yoga class with friend Laura Nance.

3. Believing other people’s story about you (and giving them the power). Perception is a funny thing. I read a great article last year that talked about everyone’s “story” about you being different because they see you through their own lens. Your mom has one story. Your mate another. Your children, another one still. Work, ditto. Trying to keep up with all of those “labels” and expectations on fitting into other people’s stories can make us lose our own identity. Get Real truth here: you only matter to most people based on what you do for them and of course secondarily how you make them feel. I know that sucks, but the GOOD NEWS is that you matter a ton to a smaller set of people who will love you just the way you are – weird quirks and all. What matters is who you know yourself to be. Self-awareness is crucial. Say yes when you mean “hell, yes!” and no when you sincerely don’t want whatever is being proposed. Put the power of your life back into your hands. Don’t let others make your life choices for you. I was very open to others’ advice before and after my divorce (especially the doctors, therapists and close friends) but be careful because friends and family may work more to “convince” you than listen and understand you. That makes sense because they aren’t you. They aren’t in your head. Yes, they want “the best” for you but sometimes the best means making hard choices and letting go. They may then switch to blame and finding out what’s “wrong” with you. Believe me, I’ve heard it all and while I took some of it to heart, the rest was best left in the “good intentions” waste basket. Another biggie: Be aware of your own self-limiting beliefs. Stop shoulding all over yourself and stop letting others should over you, too.

What do you want from life? Drop the labels and dig in.

4. My happiness is reliant on good circumstances (or others). When I was 28 and started an advertising agency with a friend, I found the quote, “I shall not let circumstances dictate my joy.” That’s been my mantra whenever anything shitty happens in my life. Every struggle is an opportunity to grow and personally I set a time limit on feeling sorry for myself.  I also have go-to “kick in the pants” confidantes to help me see the light.  It may seem counterintuitive to believe we can feel that life is still ultimately good when we are undergoing hard times (divorce, disease, grief, et al) but we can. It’s not about shrugging our shoulders and putting up with the shit, either. In fact, it’s more important than ever to be honest about what’s happening (Get Real) and see what we need to do about it. (If anything.) Divorce and the aftermath is by far the hardest thing I’ve gone through in life, yet I was still ultimately a happy, positive person through the tough times even though I was very unhappy about the circumstance. That’s the difference. Happiness is a slippery slope if you are relying on what’s happening to you versus who you are. At your core, are you happy, positive and hopeful? If not, why not? I also like the quote, “don’t put your happiness in someone else’s pocket.”

5. Love is enough. It’s a huge cliche that “love is all you need” and it’s a big lie we as women start believing when we are tiny tots in pink tutus watching Disney movies. Sure, I think love in all its forms  is why we’re here but it should not be idealized or glamorized and it certainly doesn’t come easy. Yes, this is coming from someone who has a romantic sub-plot in every novel, but even in my stories it’s not roses and unicorns and hot sex and happily ever after. It’s “Wow, relationships are hard and life is tough but I choose you to share my journey with.”

And, parenting? Whew. I love my kiddos to pieces but parenting them is incredibly difficult because they are human beings separate from me, not puppets on a string. I can guide them but not control them. I have to let them make mistakes and yet consistently monitor what’s happening and when I need to step in. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? (And to make the point in #4, if my happiness was reliant on their attitudes of the day, I’d be in a world of hurt.)

Regarding romantic love, I recently discovered author Mark Manson and he does a nice job of discussing the realities of relationships and self-development. In this article, “Love is Not Enough,” his #1 point is “Love does not equal compatibility. Just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good partner for you to be with over the long term. Love is an emotional process; compatibility is a logical process. And the two don’t bleed into one another very well.” In another article he defines how important chemistry and compatibility are for a solid relationship. Unfortunately, loving and caring for someone is not enough. Making worlds (dreams, goals, ambitions, lifestyle) mesh requires practical solutions, not wishful thinking. If you believe “love is the solution” ask yourself if that really solves the problem or if it’s a band-aid that lets you cover up what’s really going on because it’s painful and will require work. You don’t need someone else to complete you, but to complement you. It has to start with self-love.

In Dating da Vinci, Ramona’s inner thorn was not only her grief about losing her husband, but giving herself permission to be happy and find love again. Finally she’s ready to remove those thorns. For some deep reading on this subject, I recommend The Untethered Soul and particularly his analogy on removing inner thorns instead of creating a life to work around the thorn. A big eye opener for me.

I’ll be back next week to talk more about Vita Allegre.  If you read Dating da Vinci the first time around, might you leave a review on Amazon and tell your friends about it? As ever, xo and here’s to every day adventure.

Adventures pics of the week- Grand Lake with all my guys for 4th of July weekend.

My boys tubing. Loved seeing them try new things.

My boys tubing. Loved seeing them try new things.

Heading out for a morning paddle board into the cove.

Heading out for a morning paddle board into the cove.

Three days of boating fun with my captain.

Three days of boating fun with my captain.

Why Quiet Adventure Matters

In “Listening Below the Noise,” author Anne LeClaire implores us seek quiet to listen to what our heart needs to say. I think the same goes for adventure. As we create our bucket list full of thrills and high-octane fun, it’s important to add the quiet, low-key adventures to our calendar, too. Not only do they bring us peace and grace, but help us feel completely rooted in the body and become aware of the chatter of our minds as we turn inward. Awareness sharpens, appreciation and awe grows. What matters – and what doesn’t – becomes clear. We lose ourselves in our surroundings, assimilating and merging and settling in. Any discomfort begins to wash away as we allow ourselves to just be.

Wishing you some quiet get-away time this summer as I share a few of my favorite silent moments from recent months.

xo, Malena

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As we neared the precipice, I caught our reflection and couldn’t resist. Solid. @ Wichita Mountains, OK

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A quiet afternoon with my youngest, who hates to have his picture taken. Red dirt, blue water and a full heart. @ Lake Arcadia, OK

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Seeing my tech-obsessed spawn on the water, kayaking for the first time as I watched from the dock (before joining them again.) @ Lake Eufala, OK

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A tranquil cloudy morning on the lake, in a canoe, with my love. @Lake Eufala, OK (Carlton Landing)

Meditations on New York (and why you should go)

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My bucket list had a Big Apple in it and I picked it over Memorial weekend with my guy Chris for some big adventure. Maybe like me, you’ve heard all of your life how amazing New York is and you … Continue reading

5 Reasons You Should be Dancing

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” – Emma Goldman

I can’t think of a better Every Day Adventure than dancing. I start my days singing and dancing and keep it going in the car and recently decided I should put more dance into my nightlife, too, which is where Groovy’s, a classic dance club in OKC, comes in. Disco ball, smoke machine, confetti, Y-M-C-A, great drinks and strangely you feel you have more energy as the night wears on instead of less. When did you last dance – whether it’s Tom Cruise Risky Business style or in a club? Here’s 5 reasons I think you should just dance.

1. You feel ageless when you dance. When the music takes over and you cut loose, you are just purely living. Yes, you may remember how old your bones are the next day, but then you remember how alive you felt on the dance floor and it’s all worth it. That’s what ibuprofen is for.

2. You can’t be in a bad mood while dancing. It’s a stress reliever. It’s a smile inducer. Even if you don’t attempt to twerk.

3. You already sit on your butt all day long. Yeah, a lot of “nights out” involve more sitting – dinner, movies, plays, all on your ass. If you’re like me and have a desk job, then you really need to get up and shake your groove thing.

4. It’s more fun than the treadmill. So it’s fun *and* you can burn some serious calories? Score. I love when exercise mashes up with cocktails.

5. It’s social. I’ve been reading lots of depressing research about the sad state of “alone together” where we get together but we’re all on our phones. That’s not a problem on the dance floor. You make eye contact, laugh and shake your booties with your besties and strangers, alike. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dance! See you at Groovy’s.

A fun-filled night at Groovy's with some of my favorite humans.

A fun-filled night at Groovy’s with some of my favorite humans.

The real Pinterest: Bowling

“There’s kind of a Zen aspect to bowling. The pins are either staying up or down before you even throw your arm back. It’s kind of a mind-set. You want to be in this perfect mind-set before you released the ball.”

Jeff Bridges

Every Day Adventure is about unplugging and reconnecting in real life. Opening our eyes to what’s out there and saying “yes” to a new route, a new friend, a new possibility for growth through play. Unfortunately play gets a bad rap, yet that’s just what psychologists are telling us we need more of to ward off stress and increase our happiness. Less Facebook, more face time with real people.

When’s the last time you bowled? That long? Why not grab your partner or your kids or some buddies and knock down some pins (and maybe some beers) while you’re at it?

Over the holiday break, my sis and I took our kids to the Woodward Bowling Alley where I found out my nephew is a pretty damn good bowler. And my boys are eight years apart in age so something like bowling is the perfect way to get them to play together.

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He gets his form from me, natch.

Then a couple weeks later, a double date landed us at the swanky Red Pin in downtown OKC. With a full bar and actual appetizing apps, it’s a classier joint. While the traditional double date is probably dinner out, we made ours a playdate with tapas followed by bowling with some fun winner takes all stakes. We had a blast. And, hey, I didn’t suck.

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We’re very serious bowlers as you can see.

So, dear reader, where will you go play today?

If you’re on Instagram, follow my #everydayadventure @malenalott and I’d love to hear about yours.

2015: The Year for Living Boldly

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

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― 
Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Happy New Year, readers! While a new year may just be another number, every day is an opportunity to fully live, right? If you are like me and last year threw you for a loop, it’s refreshing to turn the calendar and start anew.

Thanks to a lot of work on mindfulness, I made it through an emotional year and am going to carry that through to the new year with this year’s theme, “Every day, adventure.” That also includes everyday adventure, appreciating the extraordinary within the ordinary. Last year’s Get Out posts were among my favorites and I loved hearing how some of my adventures inspired you to get out and explore nature and add more adventure into your lives. Let’s do some more of that this year.

  • What’s holding you back?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • What could you do each day to make you smile?
  • What new adventure could you fit in on the weekend?

I plan on doing a lot more traveling, hiking, biking, exploring and trying new places and meeting cool people. I also intend on making the most of every day and staying present to experience all the good stuff that happens right here, right now. I’ll share some work and leisure adventures and hope to give you some new stories soon, too. I put my manuscript on hold for a bit but have worked on some short stories I’m excited about. I should get my rights back on Dating da Vinci soon so I can do a new cover and publish that under my Buzz Books brand.

One of my new adventures in 2014 was starting a side business decorating and ended up doing eight projects with my fabulous friend Jill Martin. I’m planning on doing more of that this year, so if you love interior design ideas, you might want to follow our Facebook page Sooner Spaces where I share decorating projects and cool Oklahoma spaces. Jill and I are starting on a 2500 square foot 1918 historic home in Heritage Hills this week so we’ll be posting lots of photos and finds. I’ll try to post here every other week with my new adventures and ideas for you to explore, too.

Every day is a great day to practice gratitude and I’m so grateful for the friends who stuck by me and lifted me up last year and went on all those adventures with me in the great outdoors and just drinks and deep conversation indoors, too. My kids are amazing and always an adventure. Life is messy but wonderful, isn’t it? Let’s make more wonderful this year.

Here’s to a fresh start!

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

xo and cheers,

Malena

Congrats to Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse in OKC on a stellar space (10th and Broadway, of course). Enjoyed kicking off New Year’s Eve there with my sister and friends.

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Get Real: Rudolph and the Land of Misfit Toys

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is more than a story about a reindeer born with a deformity (a glowing red nose) that ends up saving Christmas. It’s a metaphor for misfits everywhere. Along with Mary Poppins and the Wizard of Oz, Rudolph has spiritual meaning we can apply to our journey.
Hermey: [musically] Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. You can’t fire me, I quit. Seems I don’t fit in.

Rudolph: [musically] Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. Just because my nose glows… why don’t I fit in?

Hermey, in the 1964 cartoon, was the elf who really wanted to be a dentist. Rudolph desperately wanted to be like the other reindeer and get the chance to fly Santa’s sleigh but he was made fun of because of his nose. When he visited the Island of Misfits, he discovered he was in good company. Misfits are everywhere.

First, we need to recognize we are all misfits somewhere and that’s part of the fun and challenge in our journey is to figure out where we best fit in: personally and professionally. The more we know who we are and stop pretending to be who others need for us to be, the more that happens authentically. Sure, once in awhile we are still called upon to put on the fake nose and fit in, but if we do that too long, we can get depressed and even repress our feelings and shrink instead of grow. It was only when Rudolph took off the mask and let himself be who he is that his unique gifts were seen and offered to the universe.

The holidays are a huge trigger for our Misfit beacon. Maybe it’s being around family that reminds us of failures or past hurts or labels thrust upon us or feeling “forced” to go to holiday parties because we are supposed to versus genuinely wanting to with an open heart. It’s also about being Alone and Lonely when it feels like everyone else is so damn merry and have it all together! Of course that’s our own lens we’re looking through. The very folks we think are having the time of their lives could be wearing fake noses to fit in, too! And underneath their smiles could be a lot of pain. As someone who felt like an outcast most of my life (but found a way to fit in where I could offer my gifts) and as someone who is struggling to find my emotional footing right now, I wanted to offer up this cool Holiday Intention pic I snatched that can help us sail right into the new year. I can’t quite read the attribution, but thanks to whomever came up with it.

Image 2   Be present, give with intention, wrap others with joy, send good vibes, make friends, be the light.  I’ve always been independent and have gone to a lot of functions alone, but it feels different going alone because you are single. I’ve found it’s tested and stretched me in new ways. One of the reasons I love this holiday list so much is we should do this when we go about our merry way (even when we are feeling Grinchy) this season and always. Just as we check the mirror for the way our hair and outfit looks before we go, we should check our attitude and energy. If we are FEELING like a misfit, that’s the energy we are going to send to others and yes, they can feel it, even if it’s subconsciously. If you go out saying, I’m going to be the light (code word for radiating your best), then others will be drawn to you quite literally like a warm fire on a cold day. Even though I love nothing more than a night in with my journal and a glass of red wine, I *know* it’s good for me to get out and be around people to re-energize me and make me feel a little less alone. You’ll know what that right balance is for you. As an ambivert, I recharge pretty evenly between ideas and alone time and being around people I admire and meeting new people.

What are you grateful for this week? Who lifted your spirits? Whose spirit did you lift? Where do you feel like a misfit and how could you correct than in 2015 to live more authentically?  This week I’m grateful for Patty, Tracy, Hilarie, Ann and Carrie for being my party pals and my old friend Matt and his dad for inviting me to the Bedlam game (even though we lost. Ugh.) Our evening was full of spirited conversation and I’m never shy about sharing a good story and inviting others to do the same.

Get Out: Reverie vineyard from Napa Valley at Carrie Palmer's holiday party.

Get Out: Reverie vineyard from Napa Valley at Carrie Palmer’s holiday party. Carry “gave with intention.”

Girlfriends Tracy and Patty always "wrap me in joy."

Girlfriends Tracy and Patty always “wrap me in joy.”

Taking time out for dominoes at Cuppies and Joe with my youngest. "be present"

Taking time out for dominoes at Cuppies and Joe with my youngest. “be present”

"Make friends" - with Ann (an AXO sister, too) and new friend Jen.

“Make friends” – with Ann (an AXO sister, too) and new friend Jen.

Happy holidays, dear readers. Sending you loads of good vibes.

xo, Malena

Thanks + Top Advice from Team Get Real

Happy Thanksgiving! In counting my blessings this year, in addition to family and friends and servant hearts, I’m so thankful for the great advice and quotes I got all year from Team Get Real (counselors, friends, wise famous people). If you are in a place where you are seeking clarity or simply trying to expand your peace and happiness, perhaps these might help you, too. xo

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2. When you don’t know what to do, my best advice is to do nothing until clarity comes. Getting still, being able to hear your own voice and not the voices of the world, quickens clarity. Once you decide what you want, you make a commitment to that decision. -Oprah

3. If you are pretending or performing, you aren’t living from your authentic self.

4. I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises. – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love

5. You’ve spent so much emotional energy defending yourself. Clear the layer of guilt away. Your feelings aren’t all of you.

6. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anais Nin

7. You need to give yourself permission to be human. I want you to want what you want.

8. What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting of of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? – Brene Brown, author

9. Stay neutral. Use your shield.

10. Love stretches us, but time often snaps us back to our original shape. Love takes us further than we thought we could go, but it does not take us past the limits of our nature. And that is a hard thing to know. – Amy Bloom, author

11. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.  ~ Lao Tzu

12. You can’t save others from their process. It’s important to you to choose everything with precision. Get out of prettying up words.

13. Stay the course. Give yourself a break. Give people time.

14. Yoo-hoo, Life, pick me! – Mandy Steward, author (makes me smile every time!)

15. There’s a weird combo of relief and doubt that comes from fear. It takes a while to find your footing.

16. Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. ~ Eckhart Tolle

17. The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Albert Einstein

A Note on Perspective:

While I was nervous about my first Thanksgiving on my own, it turned out to be one of the most special 10686739_10205622387785961_7263301546956882154_nholidays. My daughter (14) ended up not going to Colorado with the rest of the family so she volunteered with me at City of Thanksgiving. We spent the morning making (a lot of) stuffing and then delivered meals to three families in S. OKC which gave us a lot of time for conversation and music. In hearing about some of my friends’ divorces, mine is pretty easy in comparison. My ex didn’t lock me out of the house or refuse to give me my things, I’m at least not being called horrible names to my face and there won’t be a long drawn out battle. Obviously if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know my belief is to choose peace over drama in all situations. While you can’t control the other person, you can at least control how it impacts you. Believe me, I’ve cried more this year than I have maybe all other years of my life combined, but clarity and action doesn’t come easy nor without an emotional toll. I read an article that equated going through a divorce as the emotional equivalent of having a second full-time job. That makes sense. No wonder I’ve felt so zapped. If you are going through a tough time, give yourself time to relax and recuperate. It may feel like staying busy is the answer, but often the opposite is much better: take a long bath, read, go to bed early, drink lots of water, exercise every day and smile at everyone you see. (But do go out and have fun, too. My girlfriends get an A+ in the fun department.)

Perspective doesn’t mean you should repress your feelings or talk yourself out of them. Feel them, acknowledge and accept they are there and then try to let them go or find a way to change them. I let myself be sad, but made a plan (volunteering) and a friend reached out and invited us to Thanksgiving at her house after (thanks, Anita!). The Universe has a way of working things out but we must ACT, too.

We are wise to remember that there is AN UPSIDE TO EVERYTHING. I know in our darkest hours that’s hard to grasp, but it’s true, even if that upside is learning how to deal with pain, survive (and thrive) through transformation and GROW.

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Out: Girls Gone Wild (Hike, Camp, Fire, Good!)

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir

Have you camped yet this year? Gone for a hike? Made eye contact with a deer? No? Then my work here isn’t done!

I heard a ton of feedback after I posted my Solo Camping story back in June. Sure, some of the feedback was negative (that girls don’t go into the wild alone and it was too dangerous- what?!) or disbelieving I was really alone but the majority of the feedback was POSITIVE – whether that was women who really DO want to try a solo adventure to others who just needed the reminder to reconnect with nature with other people in tow. Just remember if it’s PEACE and ALONE time you want, then, well, alone is the way to go.

One of those girlfriends I heard from was Kelley, who was with me on my first Get Out Adventure in May when we hiked Wichita Mountains together near Lawton. As busy working women and mamas we only had one Saturday that worked in our fall schedule for our Girls Gone Wild weekend and we grabbed another girlfriend, Lori, to go with us. So this post it to encourage you to grab your gal pals and head for the hills. While a spa vacay may get you pretty nails for a week, I promise a trip in the wild is way more rewarding for your soul. Trust me on this.

To make the most of our day for hiking, we picked a close locale, Red Rock Canyon State Park , located in Hinton, OK about an hour outside

The little state park worth the drive!

The little state park worth the drive!

of the OKC metro. We ended up having a perfect weather day and it was my only Get Out adventure this year when it didn’t rain! We did two hikes and because my girlfriends are smartie pants, I joked that I was on a trip with Lora and Kora the Explorers. Ha! I’ll admit to hiking ahead when they were fawning over a new discovery on the trail, but we got along really well, including sleeping in a VERY cold tent that night. Yes, when you are away, things can go awry (Lori’s charger, my air mattress deflated, our neighbor with a TON of wood offered us NONE so we went into town to buy more.) The owls (which I LOVE) were quite noisy that night – remember earplugs – nature is loud, y’all.

This post isn’t tips HOW to camp because honestly I’m not that “together” yet but I get better about planning for each adventure and I can’t wait to explore more. If you’re reading this and it’s cold out, obviously I don’t think that’s an excuse for not planning adventures in the wild. A hike on a snowy day is gorgeous and you’ll get beautiful photos to remember it by. Plan other Get Out adventures that take you outside of your norm. One personal tip I will offer is perhaps to NOT tell people your plans way ahead of time as you WILL likely get some negative feedback if you are venturing out into a new place and especially if you are a chick. There is still a stigma and fear mongering about women going alone so DO be careful and take all precautions but don’t let unhealthy fear/paranoia keep you from trying new things.

Thanks to Lori and Kelley for going wild with me. :) For more Get Out posts, click back through old posts to see adventures in paddle boarding, Aloha and more hiking treks. I’ll be back next week with a Get Real post and book review on the psychology book, Me, Myself and Us. Such good stuff.

xoxo and namaste,

Malena

Satiated my tree craving for the month.

Satiated my tree craving for the month.

 

When's the last time you climbed a tree? WE DID!

When’s the last time you climbed a tree? WE DID!

 

And took a selfie with red rock as your backdrop? WE DID.

And took a selfie with red rock as your backdrop? WE DID.

Perfect spot for feeling like a warrior princess.

Perfect spot for feeling like a warrior princess.

A pop up tent is the way to go!

A pop up tent is the way to go!

Literal rock star.

Literal rock star.

Reflection pool for a bit of reflection.

Reflection pool for a bit of reflection.

 

We hiked. We got lost. We found our way back.

We hiked. We got lost. We found our way back.

S'mores, country and rap music and lots of laughs.

S’mores, country and rap music and lots of laughs.

My girlfriends make a killer campfire breakfast.

My girlfriends make a killer campfire breakfast.