Life Sucks or Rocks Based On This One Thing

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

The first First Lady is talking about attitude. It’s so easy to be miserable when life isn’t going our de16b590746cdae9a7300637a12c64adway – and happy when things are. But being cool when things get sticky…that’s the real test. I remember when I was especially stressed out at my ad agency back in my late 20s when I read, “I shall not let circumstances dictate my joy.” I tried really hard from then on to not let a bad situation define my mood and spoil the day. It is easy? Hell, no. But it DOES get easier with practice.

So what about other traits we need as the CEO of Our One Unique Life? As makers and entrepreneurs and managers, what do we need to possess to carry out our goals? In this week’s Bow & Arrows video, I share 6 traits of a great hunter – you hold the bow, friends, and the arrows our our choices, including how we react to whatever circumstance comes our way. By changing our behavior from the inside out, we can make these habits stick.

I look forward to seeing some of you next week for my next workshop, Hitting the Brand Bullseye. See the full list of workshops here and if you are seeking some branding help, message me to discuss. I’m already seeing some really cool things come out of this program, so I’m thrilled we’re creating this tribe to aim for greatness together.

xoxo Ready. Aim. Grow.

Get Happy Week 5: Forget Normal

“You’re so weird, Mom!” My 14-year-old daughter said before taking the jar of moon water and trying it.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“I like it because it’s cold, not because it’s moon water.” I love her directness except when I don’t.

My 17-year-old son, who would not partake of the moon water and thought it was also strange. I’ve raised my kids to be independent thinkers so this is what I get. They may agree with me or think something is bullsh*t. (They just can’t use that word – yet.) So he doesn’t share my interest in the mysteries of the universe. That’s okay. I’m still glad I exposed them both to something mystical that you don’t find within the walls of a church.

Moon water is soaking up the energy of the Super moon by leaving a covered jar of clean water out all night in the moonlight. Why not? We know about the moon’s effects on tides and moods. The Universe is made up of energy as are each of us so why not moon water? The novelty of it – and the fact I look at the moon each night – made me curious enough to try it as an assignment in an ecourse I’m taking. I don’t think I would’ve thought to try it on my own. I used to be Catholic so it’s not that much of a stretch for me from “holy water” blessed by a priest, ordained by another human being. Besides, the moon is cool.

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Look, the kids know they have an odd mom, and that’s okay. I don’t want to be normal. In fact, like the shirt says, “Normal is boring.” Thing is, none of us are normal. Everyone has quirks. Some of us just express it a little more. I don’t dress oddly, but my brain is wired differently. I create entire worlds from my mind and those characters are a big part of my days. And my personality type thrives on new experiences and adventure. So, yeah, I’ll take a six-week sensuality ecourse and I’ll moon bathe (it was fantastic!) and I’m OPEN to life’s experiences. Living in the present moment means making the MOST of that moment so when an opportunity arises, I’ll likely take it if I find it interesting or challenging or something I can learn from. I flirt with life and it flirts back. Whatcha got? I ask each Day and the Day never lets me down. 

As a creative entrepreneur, I not only write fiction, but I get paid to be a strategic thinker and problem solver, both as a brand and marketing strategist and this year as a decorator, too. I do them all, sometimes all in one day, which I know is not “normal”. I keep a lot of balls in the air, but it makes my squirrel circus brain happy and it works for me. Do you have more than one job or a job that lets you do different things that keeps you challenged?

Yes, I do this, too.
Yes, I do this, too.

Just as we talked about a couple of week’s ago, FORGET THE LABELS. You are more than your title or a singular hobby. You are a marvelous, multi-dimensional creature and that means you don’t have to be normal. Pave your own way. Zig when they zag. I promise it’s more fun.

Yesterday, I even got paid to watch paint dry. Fantastic, right?

Special note of thanks to A Perfect Touch in OKC for an exquisite job.
Special note of thanks to A Perfect Touch in OKC for an exquisite job.

And while perusing the bookshelf of one of the law firm partners, I found ON KILLING, which I borrowed to help with research for my novel. By staying aware in the present moment, all sorts of gifts seem to pop up out of nowhere, making my normal day a lot more interesting.

While the painters painted, I read about the psychology of killing in combat. My days are never boring.
While the painters painted, I read about the psychology of killing in combat. My days are never boring.

 

Our lives are one big sociology experiment. Let’s not waste it. It comes down to: how comfortable are you to LIVE YOUR TRUTH?  Easy used to be putting the mask on and pretending but now that’s actually harder for me. It feels like a rock in my gut. Yet I know which friends to talk to about which topics. Same goes for strangers. It’s comfort and chemistry.

Bottom line: DON’T WORRY IF PEOPLE DON’T THINK YOU FIT IN WITH THIS OR THAT.

DON’T LET PEOPLE’S LOOKS DECEIVE YOU IN EITHER DIRECTION. While it’s natural to “dress the part” when it comes to our jobs, we can still embrace all those “me”s that live inside of us.

DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU AREN’T IF THAT ROLE DOESN’T SUIT YOU IN THE MOMENT.

One of my new adventures last week was the first time to speak to a book club in a bike store in downtown Oklahoma City. The Girly Book Club is a national club and they read FAMILY CHARMS, my novel loosely based on the twenty-year estrangement with my mother, though very fictionalized for added drama. Huge thanks to these ladies for hosting me!

Image 4One of the women said she was surprised I don’t have tattoos (like Taryn, the middle sister in the book.) I told her I’d love one but the way my brain works, I’d either become obsessed with them but only AFTER I made the tough decision on exactly which tattoo to get. I also told them that while I look like a fashionable suburban mom, a part of my psyche is more like a soft, dreadlock, tattoo-wearing, barefooted gypsy. (Only I like my curly hair and shoes too much.) How I decide to adorn my exterior isn’t always reflective of my inner mood or interests. The more self-aware and layered we become, the more interesting life becomes. I told the book club, life is art and art is life. I view relationships as art, too – mysterious and beautiful. 

Forget normal. Try moon water someday. Ask the day, “whatcha got?” and give it your all.

xo,

Malena

Get Real: Redefining Success

I’m not a #1 bestselling author. I don’t have a thousand subscribers to this blog. I’m not a member of a country club or invited to the hottest parties in town. I don’t jet-set nor do I have a rock-hard body. I can’t easily take a vacation and I gulp every time a new dance fee or medical bill comes in the mail.1098294_10201682060078718_748588992_n

For me success is not WHAT I DO, but WHO I AM, yet I fall into the same cultural traps as the next person. Fame, money, awards, the WHAT IF game. Yes, I’d love for one of my books to be made into a film, but I’m not going to fall into the trap thinking I’m not a success until then. 

Let’s take back the word success and REDEFINE IT for us, personally. Your definition and mine might be wildly different and that’s okay because this year is about living intentionally and illuminating what makes us uniquely us. This week, I’m putting my awareness on SUCCESS and dropping the labels. I want to know what that looks like TO ME.

I want to SEE those around me and LISTEN more.

I want to EMBRACE NEW OPPORTUNITY and release FEAR.

I want to bring EXCELLENCE to every encounter and endeavor.

I will ATTRACT great ideas, people and opportunities into my life.

Yes, I’ll still set goals but I won’t be CRUSHED at the end of the day with a glance at my to-do list if I did the above things. BRINGING MY BEST SELF to every interaction. Can you imagine? That feels pretty powerful. And if we could do that for ourselves, what might we do for the people we interact with and influence? Our children? Our spouses? Our co-workers?

I’m in awe of this. I like that definition of success for my life. Maybe I won’t burn dinner or forget that I had laundry in the washer. I’ll do what I say I’ll do and BRING IT, whatever IT is that day.

What about you?

Recap of my Get REAL challenge so far:

Get REAL Time – still on technology TOO MUCH but am staying aware. Need to be more stern with myself here.

Get REAL Food – hanging tough. Smoothie every day but when Aunt Flo visits, forget it! Sugar and red meat!

Get REAL Sleep – ear plugs worked until young son was sick and then I couldn’t hear him, then I got a cold. But I’m pretty much sticking to early to bed. Need to drop tech sooner at night and would love to wake earlier to write.

Get REAL Relationships – Being authentic can feel awkward with a person you don’t know well. Interesting. But I’m making time for those who mean the most – but illness gets in the way, big time. Thanks cold an flu season!

NEXT WEEK: Get REAL Exercise (we got this)

Surviving Life in the Pause

I’m one of those freaks of nature who thrive on a long, challenging to-do list, big dreams and metrics of success. IMG_1309

I’m Type A learning how to be A-B. Which means it’s harder for me to live in the Pause.

What’s the Pause?

The wait. The stillness. The time between the big things happening. The “boring” everyday stuff we take for granted and seem to “mull through” until the exciting stuff gets here. In my 30s, I heard the expression, “joy in the mundane.” That’s what I remind myself when I begin to feel the clench of not doing enough or what I think is enough.

Am I better at this at 41 than I was in my 20s? You bet. I’m come to terms with my ego and have been letting my authentic self lead my life for some years now, which means it’s a blend of my drive and my intuitive nature. But I had to do a lot of pausing, listening and living in the here and now to get to that point. It’s easy for my Shallow Self to want the spotlight all the time and even tougher when most of my books are in my name. I get sick of myself, which could be one reason I started bringing other authors into my fold. It does feel less shameless. I’m a product of my own marketing engine and it’s a vicious cycle. But that’s why it’s important to separate your work and your Self, even if you feel at your core that it’s “who you are”. You are still more than that and you are most certainly more than your brand.

It also means accepting our natural personality and not judging ourselves. I may be on my Type A to Zen journey and that’s okay to honor those things that drive you. I’m not going to suddenly become someone else but I do need to learn how to be okay with that space in between.

In recent weeks I’ve not only been in transition with school starting, but in between some big projects. That slowness, that white space that let me look up and around and see that I had time to do the things like catch up on laundry or other domestic things didn’t sit well with me. It felt unnatural, as if I should be accomplishing something bigger. I hate that feeling.  I want to be okay with just cooking dinner or running errands for the kids. I’m so lucky to be able to do those things.

But during the pause I don’t sleep as well at night and the worry bunnies multiply. I recognize my obsessive thought patterns and can normally re-route them, but then I get mad that they come at all. Yes, I can write and you know I love nothing more than getting lost in that world I’m creating in  my imagination, but I need to be able to get through the Pause without escape, too.

When the Pause comes, I focus on awareness and the present moment and gratitude. I remind myself to relish the ordinary because it is very much extraordinary to have what we have – a home, healthy children, transportation and food to eat, even if I don’t like to cook it.

If you also have difficulty in the Pause, remember that this too shall pass and give yourself a break. Inevitably when things get crazy busy again, I may wish for those slower days. The swirl is already beginning again and I’ll be swamped for a few weeks. That’s okay. I’ll come back to this post and remember that the Pause will come again and I’ll remind myself to treasure it.

I’ll close with this post by Eckhart Tolle that just came in my inbox in his Present Moment Reminder:

‘Forget about your life situation and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is now. Your life situation is mind-stuff. Your life is real.’

Eckhart Tolle