Friday, December 28, 2007

The Healing Power of Soul Train

The Soooooooooouuuuuuuul Train. Do you remember that wonderful baritone voice? Don Cornelius on a Saturday morning introducing the great likes of The "The Isley Brothers" , "The Emotions", Rufus featuring Chaka Khan"? Who was your favorite?

I am up in the middle of the night. As usual. Working on "getting a life".

But "Soul Train" is on and it is giving me some sort of familiar comfort.. Big 'ol afros, plaid Fred Astaires, leisure suits and platform shoes! I love it.

A Soul Train Line is sometimes all it takes to de-stress, relax, have a great laugh, and be in the moment. This or any other throw back can be great medicine. Not in a "perpetual state of reminiscing" way but in a "keep the good moments for when you need them" way.

The Isley Brothers are doing it for me right now. "Live! Live it Up!, Live! LIve it Up!"

Soul Train........!. Rewind is good for the soul!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is It All Just Too Much?!

I cleared a pathway through my living room and dining room 5 times today. This was after I discarded of all the tissue paper and gift bags, torn wrapping paper and bows that had made their way under the couch.

My son lamented "Mom, there is not enough room in the trash cans. I gave him a lesson on how to be a human trash compacter in order to get more stuff into the big cans and what to pull out for the big blue recycling can. His cries continued, "Moommmmm! There's still no more room!"

"How could that be?!" I said to myself as I pushed a scooter out of the way, picked up play money and a cash register from the middle of the floor and dropped 1, 2, 3, FOUR Dora dolls into the toy chest. I squeezed my way past the HUGE Dora tent staked in the dining room, kicked past several empty boxes and random pieces of wrapping paper in the kitchen and out the back door.

He was right. No more room. No more room in 2 huge black cans + 1 big blue recycling can.

I think it's just too much.

Despite our vows to NOT make gifts the "reason for the season", somewhere we failed. Our house runneth over. In addition, we made the "hoarders" mistake of not getting rid of the old toys prior to bringing in the truckload of new ones.

Something must be done. In the immediate, since I am chicken, I will wait until the little ones are at daycare, and then I will snatch up all the old, un-played with toys and take them to a women's/children's shelter.

For the future, I will do my "self-discipline, don't get caught up in the cute toddler faces" push-ups to help me resist, (better yet help their father resist) buying everything in sight because he wants to see their dimples when they are grinning at him.

If it's more than can be put away. It's too much. If each gift opened leads to questions of "where's another one?" It's too much.
If you can't fit all of the trash in your trash cans. IT"S TOO MUCH!

Remember the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ease on Down the Road...

I bought some RED SHOES!!

My quest to reinvent myself has been slow but sure, "joy and pain".

I was recently inspired by Sew Transformed and her "In Her Shoes" blog, and spurred on Liz, Joy and "Carrie Bradshaw" of course and began dreaming of RED shoes. I have never owned any.

I used to own heels. Lots of heels. I think that from 25-35 years of age, heels were 95% of my shoe wardrobe. All day, I pranced, strolled and sashayed, sometimes I even trotted (again like Carrie Bradshaw ) all over.

Over the past few years, a few more years in age, a couple more kids and, less time, the shoe wardrobe has taken a turn for the worst. There has been the early morning rush, that leaves little time for wardrobe changes, a baby on each hip, briefcase in one hand, lunch bag in another hand,and a kid in front and back, going downstairs. Not heel friendly ( at least not in a graceful way.)

It is amazing how some of us allow ourselves to be the first casualty in our busy lives. We often make the sacrifice of exercise and regular trips to the nail and hair salon. We also sometimes (a lot of the times) make the sacrifice of our sexiness, lookin' hot - ness.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not equating sexiness with high heels, but it's hard to argue that high heels can make your legs, stance, and look, totally sexy.

Then, last week, my school had our annual "Holiday Production". An homage to "The Wiz" (and to me, that must also mean"The Wizard of Oz".) I needed a new pair of shoes.

I wasn't in the store 5 minutes when I saw them. They called my name. My "Get A LIfe-Janie" angels were on my shoulders saying, "Yes!", "They're so cute.", "GET THEM!" They were Ruby Slippers.

It had to be a metaphor. Dorothy, a journey, meeting new friends, taking risks, being courageous, thinking and feeling?! These were the shoes for me!

I looked good when I got dressed. My feet were hot. As a matter of fact, I looked hot! The heels were high, but I knew I could "fake it till I made it". Off, I went.

By the time I got to the venue, they were feeling a little tight, but, it had been a long time. "Not to worry", I told my self. I'll be sitting most of the night anyway.

The musical started and I was sitting, but there was a strange numbness in my right foot. BUT I WAS SITTING DOWN?!

I stood up to walk some students to the bathroom and thought 'Hmmmm, this is not comfortable. Let me ask a parent to take them. These things are pinching me"

By the time my students had to go to the wings for their number an hour later, I was hobbling, (but trying not to let them see me hobble) Just take slow steps...."oh my god, I am supposed to be looking hot!"

Thank goodness the 8th grade number was the LAST number. The number entitled "Home". By this time, my sexy Ruby Slippers felt like they were on fire and my toes must have been bleeding!

As little Dorothy's voice rang out, hitting those last notes...."like hooooooooommmmmmmeeee!, I was painfully clicking the heels of my ruby slippers together. "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home!".

The curtain closed. I snatched...well, peeled those beautiful, sexy heels off of my feet and hobbled to my car. I drove home in comfort, shoeless.

Although by the time I walked in my door, my Ruby Slippers were slung somewhere in the back of the car, I had felt good in the process. I had found my heart, my brains and my courage (just think, over some red shoes?!) and thank goodness, I found home, cause those shoes had to come off!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hold Up! Wait a Minute! Part III - Your Urgency is NOT my Emergency!

One of my faves, 'Los Angelista" got me thinking about other peoples urgencies. Sometimes people get us caught up in their "urgencies"! We might be moving through our days, balanced, no chaos, orderly, checking things of our checklist in a calm and productive way.

(You know I have been challenged to get things in order, get organized, and find balance.)

So we are rollin'. The clothes are washed, the number 2 on your checklist is complete, you are steadily checking your list of appointments and phone calls, you know what the priorities are. You feel calm and in control. YES!! I am getting it together! The business is in order, then....someone hits you up with the "urgent" email. Something that they need done "yesterday" is left in a panic on your voice/email!

Well, the thought that stayed with me was from Los Angelista, stating that she was practicing "not worrying about returning "non-urgent " phone calls right away." It gave her a sense of calm and peace

I realized that a lot of what stresses my day is O.P.P That's right! Other peoples problems! But not simply other peoples problems. Other peoples urgent issues that turn into your, "STOP! Let me save YOU and the world problems.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to be un-empathetic here. I don't want to see anyone hurting, in need or trouble. For my friends, loved ones, colleagues and sometimes complete strangers I am willing to give, help, bail out (of trouble) and console.

However, times, when someone is standing in front of you, demanding "Quick! I need you to sign off on these documents so that I can get them out by the time Fed-Ex comes!" or "Oh my gosh! The bank is closing in 15 minutes and my brother has my car and he won't answer his cell phone and I HAVE to get there before it closes or else 5 checks are going to bounce?!" or "Quick, what's that telephone number you gave me 2 weeks ago? I lost it and....these are peace and calm zappers!

Some well meaning person, is just trying to live their life and get things done, but they are asking you to STOP, immediately whatever you are doing and save their world. And you know what? Until recently, I tried to do just that. Stop and help them save their world. The problem is, I realized that my world starts to unravel just a little bit at that moment.

I also realized in a moment...a second, that I was getting caught up in the drama of someone else's urgency. In that moment, my schedule, plan, day was going to be turned upside down, by someone that I love dearly, but who was having a raggedy urgency.

Your urgency is NOT my emergency! I appreciate your circumstance. I respect where you are coming from. However, I am not always able to stop what I am doing and help you repair the problems of your day. I am not being uncaring or mean. I am simply asking you to respect that I too have deadlines and projects, children to pick up and bank deposits to make. I must find a way to manage my life that does not negatively impact others as much as possible.

So now, I say, " I would love to help you out as soon as I finish this project I'm working on" or "I will be available in an hour if you still need assistance.