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Posts Tagged with: gratitude

day 19 – ode to gramps

Today I was thinking  about how I want to live my life, how I want to show up in the world.  I have been super stressed, serious and intense this past month – in my head, worried about the future, yada yada – and decided I don’t want to show up that way anymore.  With veterans day around the corner, I started thinking about my Grandpa and remembered writing this the week he passed away…

In honor of one of the happiest men I’ve ever known: Grandpa Sam.

Grandpa was always smiling, always laughing, always telling jokes.  He was honest, kind, caring and real.  He was a true and pure example of what it is to be of service in this world. He served as a medic in the Navy in WWII and brought light to so many in a time of darkness, achieving the highest in morale ratings.  He lived to help others, and I know that’s what kept him alive the last 5-10 years of his life.  He beat every single odd.  Who has heart failure, is overweight, can’t breath and is in and out of hospital, but still manages to show up to hang out with his grand kids at 10pm 45 min. away from home, goes to Windsor at 5am for karaoke, spends all of this time driving from location to location helping friends out on the job? Grandpa Sam.  He was the guy that if you needed something he was there, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t judge, he didn’t ask for anything in return/for himself – we would have to force him to do that. He would give his last dime, the clothes off his back, his every moment of every day to anybody that needed it at any point, any time, no questions asked. He is such an inspiration to me, because unlike him I find it very easy to be selfish – to wonder: if I do this, what will I get in return? if I give someone an hour of my time, what am I going to get out of it?  how am I going to be compensated? what’s in it for me?

Grandpa may not have been the wealthiest guy financially, but he was happy.  He didn’t have a lot as far as worldly possessions go, and what he had he didn’t really give a shit about… it wasn’t important.  The things that were the most important to him were the pictures of his family, his pride and joy, and the things that connected him with others.  He didn’t care about the “stuff” (besides maybe the dvds/VHS tapes he collected 🙂 ) – “stuff” didn’t bring him joy, it didn’t bring him happiness.  Rather, he showed up every day and asked “how can I serve?” “how can I help?” “what can I do for you today?” and somehow, someway he was always provided for… it wasn’t as though he ever went homeless. In truth, he probably would have if he didn’t have family keeping him in check, and in the end he could have used some more balance in his life and a little (or a lot) more self-care…there is always room to grow 🙂  Grandpa gave and gave and gave, until his last breath. It’s what brought him to life, and its what brought so many others life and joy.

Nobody ever went broke from giving – Anne Frank

It is a true honor to have been the granddaughter of such an amazing man, to have had over 29 years to truly get to know him, and to have been taught by him how to live – to soak in every single moment of what this life has to offer and ask: what can I do for you? How can I help you? To open the door for someone, to make somebody laugh, to do what you love and love what you do, to bring others pleasure and joy – that is the greatest gift in this world.  Life goes by fast, and if we spend the whole time focusing on what we’re going to get out of it, on our careers, on attaining things, then we’re going to spend our whole life being fucking miserable.   What happens when the job doesn’t work out? When the car gets a dent in it? What happens when those things fall apart? What do you have left? Do you have anything at all? What’s way more important than any of that stuff is love, laughter, family, community, connection – that’s all that any of us truly ever need.  So today show up with a smile, with a whole lot of gratitude and remember that nothing is as important as the gift that we give with our presence.

We are able to “get” only what we are willing to give. – Kurtz & Ketcham


day 12 – jtree

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I… I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost


jtreeThis year has been all about change, transformation, growth, reflection, action, and surrender.  Over the summer I beat the impossible – I took a leap and went on a rock climbing and yoga retreat – despite having my job threatened for attending (long story, not ready to dig into that just yet).  Holy shit rock climbing is awesome!  As I started my ascent I heard myself say, “this is impossible.”   A statement I am oh so familiar with.  And yet time and time again I prove myself wrong.  My kick-ass climbing guide helped me get up past a huge slick boulder with nothing to grip onto, and after that it was smooth sailing from there.  Isn’t that often the case?  We look ahead, and life can seem so daunting.  Then we take that first step, ask for some assistance, step into the flow and all of a sudden we are climbing to the top!  On my way up I stopped to enjoy the view – it was absolutely breathtaking!

Since that day a lot has changed in my life.  A lot was lost, but even more found.  I found my voice, I found my freedom, and most importantly I found myself.  I reconnected with my passion, my purpose.  On that trip I realized that no matter what, I will be ok.  It has not been easy.  But what good things ever are?  Looking back the things I remember most, the things that stand out, the things that changed my life for the better were fucking hard!

Life can seem like a big slick boulder – no idea where to go, how to get up, how to move forward.  So we stay stuck, stick with what we know; what is “comfy”, what is easy.  It is never really easy though, and it prevents us from seeing the beautiful view.

So in the end, I say: take the risk, ask for what you need, make awesome happen One Down Dog at a time… and don’t forget to stop and check out the view!

day 13 – memories

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

30 years flies by pretty quickly when you’re having fun, surrounded by the greatest people in the world.
30 photos for 30 years…

day 10 – poison vs nectar

poison nectar
Writing a blog a day is hard work.  Especially after super long, intensely filled days.  A friend of mine, the wonderful Chelsea Vespa, otherwise known as LA Nanny, recently asked me the following questions after a mini breakdown while writing #30daysto30:

Are you sure this isn’t making you crazy?
Are you getting any joy out of it?
Is it working for you?

These are questions I ask my students/clients all the time.  Yet, when presented to me, it was a pretty hard hit.  The truth is I’m not really sure yet.  Joy? not so much. Crazy? not quite crazy… a little nutty, sure.  Working? definitely working, just not in the way I expected it to.  Another lesson reinforced.  No expectations = no disappointment.  The frustrations and difficulty I’ve been working through are related to unmet, unrealistic expectations.  Time to de-link from the outcome and enjoy the ride!

They say it takes 60 days to form a habit.  A negative habit is pretty easy… something feels good, keep doing it, then it stops feeling good, but too late, habits already formed.  However, to form a positive habit, that is a bit trickier.  It often takes more effort, feels awkward and uncomfortable at first.  Like putting on an already wet wet suit – ever given that a try?  But once it’s on, awww yea, warmth baby.

One of my favorite sayings that seems to be on repeat for me lately is:

What tastes like poison in the beginning is often nectar in the end, and what tastes like nectar in the beginning is often poison in the end.

So right now, on day 10, the blog might be making me a bit nutty, it isn’t bringing me all that much joy yet, but I know that it is for sure working for me, because I am working for it and that work is the reward, not the outcome.  The dedication to follow through with something I started.  To not give up when it gets tough and uncomfortable, causes late nights and self-doubt I thought I had worked through to rear its ugly head once again.  Guess there’s more work to be done… and what better way to deal with that than on a completely public forum for the world to see and judge and criticize right? Right 🙂  While this process may taste a little like poison tonight, I know that in the end, no matter the outcome, there will be nectar.  I don’t know what that will look like, I don’t know if my expectations will end up being met after all, in fact I don’t even really know what my expectations are anymore.  Although, I am starting to get an idea based on the agitations that keep showing up for me.

So tonight I am posting knowing that something sweet is coming.  Grateful for all that has preceded it – without the dark, how can we know/appreciate light?

Here’s to doing the work for 20 more days and beyond!

To be cont’d…

day 6 – list

30thingsGrowing up we’re taught about how difficult it is to be a teenager, how much transition happens as one grows into an “adult”.  Back then it was made to seem that while the teens are super tough, the 20s would be easy – graduate from college, start a great career, buy a house, piece of cake.  Not so much anymore.  Oh, things they are a changing.  Graduating from college doesn’t mean shit anymore.  Who the hell has it all figured out by the time they turn 22?  Job opportunities aren’t what they used to be, people are graduating with 10x’s more debt than they used to – things are far from easy.  Being in your 20s, as far as I can tell, is the hardest decade.  Full of a lot of uncertainty, one challenge after another, a lot of proving yourself to people you could care less about impressing, a lot of hard work and very little reward.  It is the foundation period for setting up a better life, or so I’m told.  It is a lot of hurry up and wait, it’s confusing as fuck, super frustrating, mildly fun and filled with a lot of learning about yourself, then forgetting everything you thought you knew and learning it all over again. The 20s are a scary time.

Today is the last day of the Hollander-Rosen family vaca 2012.  Sad to see my family go, sad to leave this beautiful place, not looking forward to returning to the to do list(s), to real life.  Hanging out with my fam this morning we got to chatting about turning 30 – how fast time flies, what it feels like to be “almost there”, etc.  My mom asked me about my 20s. My response: “the 20s are lame.  They suck and I am looking forward to turning 30.”  My mom reminded me that the 20s were filled with lessons and tons of accomplishments.  She started to list them and I was reminded of just how much has happened in the last 10 years, in my lifetime. I find it very easy to discredit all of the work I have done, to create lists of all that I want to do, buy, accomplish etc., to future trip.  So today I decided that instead of writing the 30 things I want to do before I’m 30 list I was planning, I am going to list 30 things I have accomplished before 30.  Better to reflect and be grateful, than to drive myself even more nuts.

  1. graduated from MSU
  2. completed Masters thesis titled: Defying Defiance: The Experience of Transitioning from and Oppositionally-Defiant Adolescence to a Meaningful and Passion-filled Adulthood
  3. received MA in Clinical Humanistic Psychology, became a licensed psychologist and certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor
  4. traveled to: Paris, Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, all over Canada, about 25/50 states, went on 5 Caribbean cruises
  5. jumped out of an airplane
  6. bungee jumped
  7. learned to wakeboard and snowboard and then did both of them lots
  8. backpacked through the west, northwestern Canada and Alaska
  9. completed two 200 hour yoga teacher trainings, 1 Yoga Therapy certification, currently working on my 300 hour teacher training certification
  10. road tripped across the country – moving my whole life from MI to LA
  11. got married to my high school sweetheart
  12. became a dog mommy
  13. stayed up all night long dancing with friends
  14. studied Kabbalah, Buddhism, Yoga, Vedanta, 12 steps, Humanistic and Positive Psychology, and many other things I am sure I am missing.  I LOVE learning.
  15.  made the most amazing friends in the world – diamonds are forever – you know who you are <3
  16. apologized to those I have wronged (if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, no bitch you haven’t – please don’t be shy, out with it!)
  17. got tattooed/pierced my belly-button
  18. stood up for things I believe in – if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
  19. became a high school teacher
  20. taught well over 1,000 yoga classes
  21. started my own company – One Down Dog, LLC
  22. rock climbed and summated mountains
  23. chopped off all my hair, dyed it lots of fun colors
  24. voted for 3 presidents
  25. drove up and down the coast of Cali, hiked in the mountains, hung by the ocean, ate yummy food with family and friends:)
  26. swam with sharks, sting rays and lots of fishies in the ocean
  27. hiked through a cave and jumped from a waterfall inside it
  28. led 80s yoga dance parties
  29. been to well over 100 concerts/music festivals including the first ever DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival)
  30. started a BLOG!!!

Whoomp there it is!  I am sure that after posting this I will want to add/change this list.  Maybe I will make 30 lists… oy vey.