Gratitude Confetti When Times are Tough

How many times have you been to hell and back? Maybe in this post-election, holidays-are-coming time of year, you feel the embers of hell at your feet right now. Any type of suffering…physical, mental, familial…it’s hard. The only way to get through it is to sort of turn your hell beast into some sort of anti-superhero.

Kind of like this…
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Why? Because the saying goes, “what you resist, persists.” The more you DENY that your situation sucks right now, the more it holds a grip on you, keeping you from DEALING WITH IT and moving on. You stay stuck. And you burn up. Ouch.

Painful times can help us grow and discover who we are and what we really want out of life. Whether you are in hell right now because it’s your first Christmas without a loved one, your traditions have changed due to separation or divorce, your kids are away from home, you lost a job or your business is suffering, you’re worried about the state of the country with Trump at the helm…know that no matter what THIS TOO SHALL PASS. In some situations, it means you have to get out of your own way to LET IT.  The gurus say that it isn’t the situation that causes us unhappiness but in our REACTION and THOUGHTS about the situation. In other words, it’s us, not them. It’s our own mind that causes us misery.

So what are you going to do about it? Mope for the next four years…or take action to work on a social cause to make a difference?

Spend the entire holiday in mourning…or do something special to lift your spirits or create a new tradition?

I get that “making the most of what you have” is easier said than done, but it is possible. Is it weird and awkward when you switch up a tradition? Can be. But it can also be better than you expected. I had to learn to let go of the importance of “the date” versus an experience around a holiday because I have shared custody of my kids so I have to be flexible and make sure they experience a beautiful time despite what day we celebrate.

The holidays aren’t the same if a loved one has passed and honestly the holidays don’t have the same BIGNESS as they did when my grandmother was in charge of our holiday merriment – and she’s been gone 25 years. They don’t have the GIDDINESS from when my kids were little and we did the whole Santa thing and waking extra early for unwrapping gifts, either.

Because it makes me happy, I put out holiday photos of the kids when they were little and elfish. This year I even added a photo of my grandparents to my mantle display so I can remember the two decades of holidays spent with them and honor their memories.

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Now my kids are older and it’s my third Christmas with the man who recently asked me to marry him. I am so full of love and gratitude and that’s what life is really about, isn’t it?

pic by Valerie Sebestyen
pic by Valerie Sebestyen

My antidote to surviving life’s hellish times is to THROW GRATITUDE LIKE CONFETTI. It’s like throwing water on the fire – extinguishing some of the pain and soothing the burn. Gratitude makes you realize not all of life is so terrible…there’s always something, someone, to be grateful for.

List your confetti…heck, maybe you should even write them down on a  piece of paper, cut them up and throw them over your head. Add the little things, too. I’m so thankful for Lipsense because I can kiss Chris and drink coffee and it still stays on my lips. I’m thankful my daughter is so chatty with me. I’m so thankful for bride tribe of supportive girlfriends. An on and on. List it. Live it. Volunteer. Whatever works to cheer you up.

Namaste. Happy holidays.

xoxo—ready.aim.grow—>

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Loaning You The Courage

 

 

Pretend I’m your neighbor, but instead of borrowing sugar, you ask for some courage. How much you need? A half a cup? A pint? A barrel?415ra7jqgcl

Sure. Just a sec.

As a brand strategist and storyteller, I trade in courage.

Courage to have the difficult conversations.

Courage to let go of what isn’t working for you.

Courage to examine your wounds and grace to accept them and heal them.

Courage to make life changes that bring about better health and more happiness.

Courage to grow your business or shrink your business – whichever is needed for your lifestyle.

One bow = one unique life. It’s yours. As the hunter, you hold it. Load your own quiver. The arrows, choices, are up to us. Lean on your tribe for their wisdom and support, too.

It starts with AWARENESS – ASSESSMENT- ACTION and getting honest with what we want and need. In the latest episode of ONE BOW MANY ARROWS podcast, I talk about Getting Real: 10 Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life. You can hear all of the golden arrows from the book in my podcast here.

Here’s what I know: you’ll take that borrowed courage and like the results so much that you will start creating your own. Yeah, this is sounding very Wizard of Oz, but it’s true. It was in you the whole time, but maybe you buried the courage with fear. We all have some digging to do.

 

Ask for what you need and want. Then do whatever it takes to make that happen. You *can* be the dreamer and the doer. You can fix what’s broken.

 

So, hunters, are you on the path that works for you? Have you picked your targets? Have you mapped your journey, loaded your quiver, selected the right arrows, sharpened your aim? Just know that I’m here to help you do that if you need a brave hunter by your side.

–xoxo ready, aim, grow–>>

Malena

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day, Adventure: Kansas City

“Whether our cities are physically bad or physically good is our responsibility” — J. C. Nichols (developer, Country Club Plaza, est. 1929)

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” — Danny Kaye

Wasn’t hard to develop a big ol’ travel crush on Kansas City in just a weekend. Barbecue, storms, champagne, romance, shopping – a little something for everyone. Recommend all of the eateries featured, whole-heartedly.

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If I let the threat of thunderstorms keep me from an adventure, I’d never go anywhere. 80% of my trips seems to involve rain or thunder. That’s okay. If you let the weathergods dictate your life, you will see life only from your living room couch. | View from Intercontinental . Would be a tad more convenient on the other side the street/river, but there are lots of hotel choices in the plaza.

 

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Catching up with an ol’ college buddy of Chris’, James. Listening to your mate tell the story of how you met never gets old.

 

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Kansas City is known for its statues and Spanish-inspired gardens and fountains. This booty-full one sits in front of Seasons 52.


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I love a great cityscape shot at night, don’t you? You’ll eat well in Kansas City, but you can walk it off in the plaza or even running or biking by the river.

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Popular breakfast spot – worth the wait – and how pretty is my mocha? Eggtc.

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What I feel like on a good day.

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I do so love a good old train station. Kansas City turned this one into a full entertainment center with a museum, cafe and cinema. Union Station est. 1914.

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With my favorite fellow explorer on the third level of Union Station. Nice when someone offers to take your pic so you don’t have a phone full of vacation selfies, huh?

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Last day of the Da Vinci exhibit at Union Station. As my readers know, Da Vinci is my all time favorite genius/mentor/crush for his weird, fabulous mind as the ultimate Renaissance man (which inspired Dating da Vinci). The exhibit wasn’t exactly worth the hour long wait in line but it was nice to see his ideas turned into models.

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That exhibit called for an afternoon snack. (Can barbecue be a “snack”?) Interior at Jack Stack, est. 1957. Get the burnt ends. Trust me on this.

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I ordered a cheap wine while Chris was away for two minutes. Ugh. Lesson learned. I really should be better at this by now.

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My kind of brick graffiti art.

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See? The sun really will come out tomorrow!

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A little cloud porn, bridge edition.

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If I had to pick a favorite place, I’d say it was Gram & Dun in the plaza where we met James and his wife Piper for dinner. Cool ambiance, great food. Too bad I was still a little full from that “snack.” I ordered the burnt ends mac & cheese (can we say obsessed?), but I resisted taking my leftovers back to the hotel for a late night “snack”. (Who says there are no regrets in life?)

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Gram & Dun. Sliding windows, cool patio. A little noisy when full, but I could just be getting old. #speakup #lipreading

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What happens when the waiter tell you you don’t have to wait for the bathroom you are standing right next to because there’s one across the restaurant and down a flight of stairs and down another long hallway…in stilettos! Thanks, man. I snapped this private room down there, though. #didn’tbreakmyneck

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As were were leaving Gram & Dun, we see people enjoying the patio and I wanted to hop over and live there…

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In researching restaurants and asking friends, they all recommended this cool little champagne bar, Ca/Va. Nice double meaning. Cava is a sparkling wine and in French, Ca va means roughly, “I am fine.” Quaint size, pretty good selection of bubbly. Wish we had places like this in OKC.

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On the patio at Ca/Va. We clean up nice, yeah?

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Final morning. View from Brio Tuscan Grille in the plaza, which was my second favorite spot and favorite meal. I need Sicilian omelettes in my life, forevs.

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I mean, Seriously! Sicilian Omelette @ Brio

Cherrywood smoked ham, bacon, sausage, caramelized onions, tomato compote, Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, brunch potatoes 12.75

That’s all, my gorgeous Mers. I write Every Day Adventure posts to share cool spaces and adventures to inspire others to get out of their own ponds and see the world anew. Good to remember that life is pretty awesome when you make time to enjoy it. So where are you headed this summer? Would love to hear in comments.

Next up: Eureka Springs and Cancun. Finally got me a passport. Look out, world.

To living in the deep,

Malena

xo and pass the omelette

Get REAL: Relationships, Foster or Forget?

Pretend for a moment that you’re a judge on a new reality television show called Relationship Idol. One by one, all the people you have a relationship with come up the mic, but instead of singing, they stand there and look at you. REALLY look at you. And you REALLY look at them. Then the video montage of your lives together start playing up on the big screen behind them. Maybe there is much laughter or lots of tears. At the end of your video, it’s your turn. What about it? Is it good enough? Is your relationship healthy or harmful? Does it make your stomach sour just looking at that person? Then you must rule on it. Foster it or forget it. At the very least GET REAL that it may not be the way you want it to be. Our plan is not to CHANGE them, but to look at changing ourselves (if need be) and being honest about what’s working and what’s not.

Certainly the boundaries are different based on the type of relationship we’re discussing, but that doesn’t mean every relationship that impacts our life shouldn’t go under this scrutiny – and that means closely examining what WE are bringing to the relationship. It takes two. We may teach each other how to treat us, but how are we treating others? Like a punching bag? Emotional life support? Do we just unload on them and never ask them how THEY are doing? Are we fair? Are we kind?

This week, let’s illuminate the relationships in our lives and see what happens.

SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER
FATHER
MOTHER
SIBLING
CHILDREN
GRANDPARENT
EXTENDED FAMILY
IN-LAWS
CO-WORKERS
BOSS
EMPLOYEES (IF YOU’RE THE BOSS)
FRIENDS
NEIGHBORS

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Do you need to foster them? What would need to happen for the relationship to improve? Are they positive or negative? Are you extendings acts of kindness OUTSIDE OF THESE relationships, but not WITH them? Do you judge them more harshly? Are you being a good listener? (Technology down!) How is your eye to eye contact? Body language? What key words come from your conversations? Is it one sided? Angry? Abusive?

What can YOU do – talk more, talk less, be honest? Do you need to put SPACE for YOU? Are they emotional vampires, always sucking the lifeblood our of your day and never giving you any support? Or are you doing that to someone?

This week, I had a great (but sad) reminder that some relationships are not meant to be. Perhaps the other person needs counseling or you just aren’t a “fit” but whatever the reason, honor yourself and the other person by getting real about it. If you’re going back to the same well, don’t expect different water to come out of it. We all grow at different rates and sometimes that means they may leave us behind or we need to leave them behind.

Once we’ve noted our feelings, we can engage in conversations with them about it. If it’s that you love them and want to spend more time with them, schedule that! I know this is tough and I have no expertise on this other than to say, look at it and make a plan. Seek help if you need to and let’s make 2014 the year we get real about all the relationships in our lives.

I adore all things Martha Beck, so check out her site and blog on relationships and family here.

I CAN Live With or Without You… Insight from Martha

Book rec:

The Secret to Happy Families

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