The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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[ clarity break ]

clarity break image

I’ve learned quite a bit over the past year and maybe one of the most important things is the value of a [ clarity break ], which I was reminded of just last Tuesday, the 17th.

I had arrived at work wicked early, 7:15 am to be exact, to knock out some detailed work before everyone started arriving.  You see I work in a busy, mid-sized dermatology practice where my makeshift desk is in the middle of a hallway.  Not the most conducive location to be writing content, editing the website or for concentration of any kind, really.  (NOTE: This is no secret, it’s been discussed with my managers and unfortunately there’s no other place for me to go in the office. I work remote one full day a week and during peak patient times, I try to do my best staying focused and in the zone!)  I thought I’d found the answer in arriving long before my coworks, but this was far from what happened.  You know those times when everyone needs to talk to you about something?  People who don’t ask you questions, have questions.  The printer and phone start going off simultaneously, and the noise level seems so astoundingly loud that even your headphones and the podcast coming through can’t dull it out? Yea. It was one of those mornings.

Inside, I could feel it. The annoyance – the frustration – it was starting to bubble like a pot of water on the stove. Previously when I was only trying to think positively all the time, I would insist on sticking it out and trying to think of one positive thought after another and wait for the bad feelings to magically disappear from my conscious. Let’s be serious here, positive thinking is WONDERFUL! It really can work miracles for a mental shift and I’m always a fan of trying to see the positive in situations, but realistically a few simple positive thoughts don’t always do the trick.  Sometimes you need to physically remove yourself from the environment to get that mind shift.  You need a break.  A quick and simple clarity break.

And that is exactly what I did.  I recognized I was on the crazy train so I promptly put on my jacket, grabbed my keys and headed for the parking lot.

Sitting in frustration, allowing the annoyances inside to fester and grow wouldn’t have done me or my work any good.

I ran down the street to a coffee shop, placed my order and while my drink was being made, took advantage of those few minutes to get back to my center.  I returned to my work station feeling a little lighter and ready to get back to my day.  The noise, traffic and every day occurrences were still there, however I had simply shifted my mental state to where they just didn’t seem to bother me as much.  And that is the beauty of a clarity break.

Now I know not everyone has a flexible work schedule that allows leaving to happen, and believe me it hasn’t always been the case for me, but here’s a few other places I’ve escaped too for a clarity break:  the patient privacy room, electrical closet, staff bathroom, gone for a walk outside my office, heck I’ve even sat in my car in the parking lot for 8 minutes!  The key is what happens during this break:

  • Each time I take a clarity break, I breathe deeply, in and out of the nose, whispering the word “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale in my mind.  I’ll do this for no less than 3 concentrated breaths and usually I stop at 5 (unless it’s a really cray cray moment I’m escaping!).
  • After my concentrated breathing, I’ll start shifting my mind to something that makes me feel like I’m smiling from inside. For me, it’s images of the ocean, my goddaughter Bean, or something that’s on my vision board, but it can really be anything in the world depending on who you are.  The key is that it’s got to make your heart smile, not just your lips.  Something you’re truly truly grateful for and connected to.
  • Hold this image for a few moments until there’s nothing left but that feeling from inside, take a few more deep breaths and then open your eyes.

Mental.shift.like.woah. You can do this in as few as 3 or 4 minutes and sometimes that’s all it takes to stop the spiraling crazy train dead in it’s tracks.  It’s so simple, yet so effective.  How had I not discovered this 4 years ago?! (oh wait – I was a totally different person 4 years ago…. 😉 )

Moral of the story: Clarity breaks help keep the circus in check.  Know what I’m saying, boo?

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

Dining Room Downward Dog

Ok, I give. I have a confession. I am all about some yoga. If you’ve been reading the ssm for a while you know this was not always the case – remember this post? – but it definitely is now.

Let me clarify that I’m not a crazy, ashram hopeful, yogi obsessed individual. But I will admit I’ve done 4 yoga sessions in the past 3 days. And all 4 of them in my dining room, in front of our bar, next to the kitchen.

How did this all unfold? It’s quite simple ….. Last October I got the wild idea to find a yoga class to take. I had the urge to give it a go one more time. After running across a web site GoRecess, I searched and found one downtown that was only $5. It was perfect. And when I say perfect – I mean PERFECT! Small – only max 7 students – not over the top yogi and the teacher was laid back, cool, and she just gets it. So not intimidating and I found myself not only enjoying the class, but my body greatly appreciated the stretch after all my Krav Maga and Kickboxing classes, and yes – I was able to tap into that finding your center part of it all. It was ah-mazing.

But it was only once a week. Bleh. The more I went the more I had the inkling to go even more. My Sista Sista told me about a web site she is a member of – yogaglo – and that it’s studio quality classes at different levels, styles, times, everything. I signed up last November, went through my 15 day free trial, started paying the $18 a month, and guess what ….. not once did I use a video. (That kids is what we call an Epic Yoga Failure.) Until Saturday morning.

The yoga class I love, that I haven’t been to in weeks, was booked full. Since I had the subscription to the site I figured might as well test it out. I knew my roomie would be out of town for the day so I could roll my mat out in the only location it would fit – in the dining room, in front of the bar, next to the kitchen – and have at it.

So I did. I did a 15 minute class at first just to stretch out a bit. I was hooked. That’s all it took. 15 minutes and I couldn’t wait to get back to the condo to try out another video. Hooked.

Sometimes during my floor poses I’ll feel a bit silly as my arms lay under the dining room table or fall into the kitchen. Then there’s those times when I have to watch out not to knock a wine bottle out of the holder. Minor details. I get it that most yogis would scoff at me for practicing in such a not-sanctioned space of my home, but I mean ….. you make it work, no?

All the little rules and suggestions like that and others which made me stay away from yoga before no longer bother me. I’m not that kind of practitioner and I don’t know if I ever will be. I just had to find what works for me and in my own time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting late and I have a date with my mat, yogaglo, and my dining room floor.

dining room downward dog

What about you? Any similar wonky stories to share?

l&m,

jennie b

breaking up is hard to do….

Posted in escape, life

….especially when it’s with yourself.

It’s a silly little game we play, continuing patterns we know are not good for us. Over-analyzing. Over-eating. Careless thinking. Dating the wrong people. Second guessing ourselves. Smoking. Crazed nit-picking. Over-spending. Obsessive worrying. Disregard for reality. Refusal to take responsibility. The list is long, pick your poison.

Maybe we continue the cycle because that seems to be easier than breaking [up with] the cycle. Too lazy to put  in the effort. Decidedly ignorant of the benefits of a looming break up.

Break ups are exhausting both mentally and physically. They’re far from easy, because they take a toll on nearly every single area of your life. I’ve had my share of not so great relationship break ups, but I’ve also been through many personal break ups as well. (some successful, some not so much) I’m convinced those personal break ups might be harder. The intangible, mental ones where deep down inside no one is to blame other than yourself.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s worth it. It’s worth it. Keep reminding yourself that it’s worth it. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit or form a new one. But what about a thought process that has been brooding for the past 27 years? How long does it take to break that? I’ll tell you what, it’s probably a bit longer than 21 days that’s for sure. Oh dear.

It’s worth it. It’s worth it. It’s worth it.

So how about it? Anybody else going through or contemplating a mental breakup with yourself?

photo 

sassy starter ~ hmm…..what color….

Dreaming of being in a place where my biggest concern or worry is:

What color umbrella should I get in my drink?

 

[source]

You would think this scenario would be much more feasible considering I live 10 minutes from the Ocean. Ah ~ but alas ~ not so much. [*yet]

Hope your work week is off to a lovely start!

Now back to dreaming …..

__

When you need a little more than a smile or a cup of tea to get your week in motion, the Sassy Starter will be here every Monday to get your wheels turnin’ in a classy – sassy – fabulous sort of way

music snack : too many sunsets

Posted in escape, life, Music Snack

Last night, at roughly 11:45 p.m., as I was sending a final rough draft of a presentation off into cyber space, and as the movie in my DVD player was playing for the third time in a row, my attention was diverted when I heard this song in the background of one of the scenes. Within minutes I reached for my phone to download and listen to the whole song. As a big smile spread across my tired, (and at this point) cross-eyed face, I closed my computer, turned out the lights and drifted off for a much needed date with Mr. Sandman. I was worried I would be dragging today but I can’t lie – I’m feelin pretty good. It’s going to be a solid day. And I think I’ll take this song along with me for the ride.

Sara Bareilles – Many the Miles

Lyrics to live by:

I made up my mind when i was a young girl
I’ve been given this one world
I won’t worry it away
But now and again i lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light
But then Love comes in

Perfection. Hope you’re having a lovely week, dolls! xox ~ Jennie B

*p.s. the movie this song was in (and that I’m slightly obsessed with) is She’s Out of My League. Anybody else seen it?? Hillarious. I laugh so hard watching it & can’t find anyone who’s seen it too!

-•-

The Music Snack comes out every Wednesday to put a little rhythm in your week. Requests are always welcome, so don’t be shy!

 

[no title.]

Posted in escape, luxury, moonlight


A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost (1915)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

1. Waiting Patiently, 2. Volvo, 3. pink dreams, 4. i guess this bird is hen. 🙂, 5. Dead Head, 6. ♪♫ I turn to you and i say..♪♫, 7. we see what we want to see, 8. balloons

Let. It. Go.

Posted in escape, freedom.

Do you hold grudges?
Do  you hang on to squabbles a little longer than you should?
Do you sometimes go a bit beyond plane old stubborn?

_____________________________________________________________

grudge • [gruhj]

–noun 1. a feeling of ill will or resentment: to hold a grudge against a former opponent.

________________________________________________________________

Nearly all of us at some point have held a grudge against another. We’re human. It happens. Sometimes it’s just hard to let go of situations, people, things that have hurt you in some form or fashion, ourselves, the list goes on and on. But do we realize what holding a grudge can do to our self?

Holding a grudge is like walking around with a brand new Hermès Birkin bag filled with muddy rocks. It’s not smart. It’s not attractive. And it’s definitely not good for your bag, your back, or your image.

So why do we do it? Why do we walk around carrying the excess baggage while, most often, those who lie as the objects of said grudges [ minus when it is a grudge against ourself ] walk around free of care, guilt, muddy rocks?

I’ll be the first to tell you, I was once a woman of many grudges. I put all my troubles, angst, everything as blame on others. And I refused to let it go. For a very long time. And you know what it did? It only made things – and me – worse.

I had convinced myself that what was done to me was so unbelievably unforgivable and detrimental that I must never forget it – any of it – and I must let everyone know the wrong doing in the event the opportunity presented itself. Recipe for disaster.

Until finally I just gave up. I gave up and cut the ties with nearly all [still workin on a few] of the ugly, muddy, grudges I’d come to carry throughout the years. I just ….. let it go.

And I can not begin to tell you how free I now feel.

There is nothing so terrible, wrong, heinous [or any other adjective you insert in order to make holding on to your grudge seem ok] that you can not simply let it go. Some grudges do take a little longer to let go than others – just how long is determined by you and only you – but each and every one of them are entirely worth letting go.

Letting go doesn’t mean being naive, it means you’re releasing those feelings of anger, frustration, hurt, angst, you name it, and releasing the power the object of your grudge has over you. You’re taking back control of your life. Of your thought stream and your energies. Don’t you want that?

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

-Buddha

I think it’s time.

Don’t you want to feel free again?

-•-

photo credit: 1, 3, 2,

Letters to Dear Diary

Posted in escape, fAith, freedom., let go

Saturday morning I opened what would become my 4th installment of Letters to Dear Diary. Exactly 2 years and 2 months after my first letter, I began my journey into a new chapter of its chronicles…

I first began writing to Dear Diary in hopes it would help me cope with the passing of my Father. Starting my Letters I had no idea how much they would grow to mean to me and how often I would turn to Dear Diary for comfort, courage, strength, whimsical outpour, delight, efforts to sift through confusion, frustration release, silly fairy tale dreams, and every little detail along the way.

I’d always written in a journal or diary but this time when I started again, I felt I was writing with reason – with hope – to somehow find my way back to myself in a time when nothing made sense. Two years later I’m still reaching for my book of blank pages. I’d never been this faithful in continuously writing for personal release….and not just the “ohhhh my gooooosh [insert crush of day’s name here] is *so* cute, he totally looked at me today in class” (granted there’s still a few of those in there, but not of the 6th grade over-dramatized sorts)….but the real deal this is me, take it or leave it but you’re gonna hear it because you’re Dear Diary and that’s your job, sort of release.

Opening a new installment and seeing the blank pages waiting to be filled ignites a certain sense of excitement for me, and for Dear Diary I would suppose. The anticipation of what shall fall onto these lines and fill these pages is mind boggling. What thoughts, what wondrous words of laughter, frustration, love, rage or success will my Letters hold?

Of course only the stars above really know, but it’s quite the thrilling idea if you think about it.