Hey, guess what?! No matter how excited you might be about something, be it a city, a job, a relationship, or anything really, eventually that thing will begin to feel normal and then, if you’re like me, possibly boring, and then maybe, you might start to think something is wrong. Where did the clarity, the sureness, and the excitement go? Isn’t it always supposed to be thrilling and amazing? Well, no, actually it’s not. 

This is where I’ve been lately. In my head, trying to “figure things out,” working, sleeping, grocery shopping, driving, eating, and basically living a beautiful, simple, and somewhat unexciting life. Eek, where did I go wrong? Um, nowhere. 

Life is life. As my wise mother likes to remind me, most of our life is lived in the hall. We go from event to event, room to room, but those are the exception. It’s the meals, drives, morning routines, walks, and daily chores that make up most of life, not necessarily knowing where we are going but trusting that another door or window will appear at the right time. For now, we are all just walking down the hall. 

And I don’t necessarily like the hall. I make lists and plans and think that I’ve done something terribly wrong if I am not crystal clear about every decision, all in an effort to control the unknown, calm the anxiety, and create excitement and the illusion of control. 

“Finding beauty in the everyday” is the tag line of this blog for a reason, because it is an exercise that I repeatedly need to practice. Somewhere along the way I began to equate calm with boring and then with wrong and when I find myself craving a hit of excitement, it is presence and gratitude that I am actually in need of. 

Life isn’t meant to be one constant, amazing thrill ride and, in reality, we probably couldn’t handle it if it was. But, ironically, as we become more present, we realize that even at its most mundane, somewhere on the plateau between the peak and valley, life is absolutely perfect, beautiful, and, actually, totally amazing. 

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IMG_2120.JPGOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

I have always loved this quote and over the years I would read it, tape it to various bathroom mirrors, and re-read it.  But, it wasn’t until this past week, during the Advanced Course at MITT (mittraining.com), that I realized just how many years I have spent shrinking and hiding from my brilliance, creativity, beauty, courage, power, height, and worth, in some bizarre attempt to keep others from feeling insecure, but really because it scared the crap out of me. “Who am I to be so much?” I whispered.

I built a persona based not on shining authentically, but on being nice, responsible, not rocking the boat, and basically taking up as little space as possible, believing in some way that would benefit myself and others the most. The ironic part is that in trying so hard not to appear selfish and ego driven, I was exactly that, believing deep down that my loved ones, and the world,  were so little they wouldn’t be able to handle my biggest self. I didn’t think of it in those words but, same difference.  “I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, ever, including myself, so we can all just survive, get through, wait, wish, and see what comes our way. It’ll be fine.”

But, I am done with fine.  I’m done with anything less than risky, courageous, vulnerable, joyful, fun, authentic, gigantic living. I, and everyone I know, happened to win the lottery in this go around at life and to then turn our backs on those gifts seems like a big, old slap in the Universe’s face.  What do you want to do? What makes you happy? Why aren’t you doing it? When did you stop doing it? What did you want to do when you were a child? It is possible to get back to when the answers felt clear and there was no hesitation when asked.

Yesterday, as I was driving home from LA, I heard the news that Prince had passed away.  Another authentic, creative, beautiful soul taken too early and all I could think was Thank You. Thank You for rocking us to our cores and for showing us how gigantic and fearless we are capable of being, before heading back to party in the stars.

Prince’s sudden passing was just one more reminder that life is short and oh, so precious.  I am committed to speaking up, showing up, playing big, and just f***ing owning my beauty, power, and worth as a leader. And, lucky you! You get to do the same, starting now.

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I’ve actually slept the past few nights and, not to be a total bore and keep talking about my sleep or lack thereof, it really does help one to notice the beauty that is all around. 

Without it, I am in a state of foggy autopilot, going through the motions but never really there. Lists of things I hope to accomplish get pushed off until next week, I snack rather than cook, am too tired to exercise, and the cycle perpetuates. 

I’ve struggled with insomnia off and on for about fifteen years but this last bout was one of the worst I can remember. My first bad case was when I was a sophomore in college and didn’t sleep for my entire spring semester. One night, a friend called to see if I wanted to go see some movie called “Fight Club.”  I didn’t, it sounded like a boy movie, but I ended up going and was transfixed by Edward Norton’s insomniac crazed character. I totally related to him. 

In the years since, I have periods during which I sleep great followed by months when I don’t. I’ve worked hard to stop worrying, stop trying to control things that are out of my hands, and lower stress and that has helped a lot. But when I can’t trace sleeplessness back to anything, and feel pretty happy in my life, it is more frustrating than when I can. 

Well meaning friends suggest remedies and give advice but, after having tried everything, that too becomes frustrating. But then, one day, one of them actually worked! My dad kept suggesting that I buy some Brewer’s Yeast at the health food store and mix it in a glass of juice before going to bed. And, though I don’t know if it was just that,  or the combo of accupuncture, kinesiology, massage and time off I’ve had lately, it did the trick. So, if you need a little help relaxing in this beautiful, crazy, high strung world, give it a try. 

Original photo by Rebekah Potter

I imagine blogging to be a bit like being a radio DJ. A DJ at a cool, independent radio station with the midnight to 6am shift. You speak and write, wondering if anyone is out there listening until, in the end, you realize it doesn’t matter. You do it for yourself and if someone gets something from it, that’s a bonus!

I started this blog one year ago today, having never really even looked at a blog before. It was begun as a way to entertain myself between jobs and possibly to document my life while on a job, when I tend to drop off the radar.

Setting up the blog, I chose the tag line “finding beauty in the everyday ” without any thought beyond “oh, shoot, they want me to have a line that describes what it’s about under the title.” I figured I could change it later when I decided what it was about. Looking back now, I am so grateful that that’s the line that popped into my head.

During what has been a somewhat topsy turvy year, that line has served as my assignment. On days when I was having a hard time finding the beauty, I simply made myself look harder and there it was.

Beauty is clarity after confusion, the color of Campari, the greys between black and white, the journey, imperfections, checking things off the bucket list, the roses on my counter, visiting with those I love, gratitude, presence, postcards from afar, grace found within the lessons, laughing on the phone with friends, a home cooked meal, and trust. I could go on and on. It’s everywhere.