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Thursday
Jan172013

Inspiration, yoga and roller skates

Invertabrate

Wednesday mornings I now teach my very own yoga class at a real studio.  It's scary and empowering and fun all rolled into one.  One of my favorite aspects of Rasamaya yoga, the method that I studied and therefore teach, is the way each class has a purpose.  A meaning.  We don't just follow a series of poses.  We structure the class around a chakra and flavor it with an emotion.

For instance, my first class last week centered around the first chakra, so we did lots of grounding poses.  I chose to focus on the emotion of peace.  My cues within poses and the readings before and after the class were meant to invoke/inspire a sense of calmness - or peace.

It's a little more work than just picking a series of poses and guiding the class through them - but I really like the results of working through movements and emotions together.  It can be powerful.  Think of a world where everyone mindfully moves their bodies and allows themselves to be in touch with their emotions on a regular basis.

So, while researching various readings that I can use within my teaching, I found a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer called The Invitation that truly resonated with me.  I could get lost in her website and plan to buy her books in the future.  If you're looking for inspiration or just need a break from work for a few minutes, I recommend poking around over there.

The Invitation


It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Instead of asking people what they do for a living, I tend to ask them what do you love to do?.  I think it explains well why I am able to have a conversation and find common ground with just about any person.  I like to see people and have the ability to connect.  I'm probably the most non-judgemental person that I know.  Realizing as I get older and am more self-aware, that not everybody has that ability.

The last last verse has been haunting me:

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

This fall and winter, I have found myself in a position where I am alone a lot.  My husband has been traveling for work.  The kids are at school most days.  I've scaled way, way back from my own travel and press events.  At first, I allowed panic to take over and attempted to fill the empty moments with noise and distraction.  I realized that I didn't really like spending time with myself.  I didn't know how to spend time with myself so I attempted to fill the time with things to keep me busy and chastised myself for allowing any downtime. 

Mom Math: Downtime = lazy, unfocused, unmotivated, guilt worthy.

Mom Math is far more challenging than New Math.

Something I figured out quickly: Busy does not equal happy.  Busy does not make me happy unless the busy has a purpose and meaning.

Not sure if this is an official New Year's Resolution for 2013, a mid-life shit I'm almost 40 crisis, or a desire for a new way of life, but I've been forcing myself to spend time with me.  Just me.  No background noise.  No mini-me on my shoulder whispering in my ear telling me that I should get off my ass or suffer the wrath of guilt.  I'm finding things that make me happy and that allow me to feel at peace with myself.  I'm listening to my inner voice instead of ignoring it.

We used to have roller skating parties when I was growing up.  So much fun - except for that time when I almost fell and broke my friend's nose while flailing uncontrollably in an attempt to stay upright.  oops  I still remember this interesting moment after every party when I transfered from skates back to my street shoes... probably classic boat shoes since this was the 80's and I attended Catholic school... ehem.  It was like my feet still felt like they were in skates, but my shoes wouldn't let me glide.  Awkward.  A bit uncomfortable.  An intense sensation until my feet got used to having to take steps again. 

I feel like I'm in a similar moment.

Awkward.

A bit uncomfortable.

An intense sensation.

Trying to get myself to feel comfortable in my own shoes again.

Can you be alone with yourself?  Do you find peace in the empty moments?

I challenge you to take 10 minutes each day this week to spend alone and answer those questions for yourself.

Tuesday
Jan152013

Rene Syler's new Sweet Retreats premiering Sunday on The Live Well Network

 

I first met Rene back in the fall of 2011 at the first SheStreams Conference in NYC.  Remember when my best friend Melanie was hit by a car?  Well, she was still recovering and unable to attend with me.  She had previously met and hung out with Rene at another conference - Mom 2.0.  I think.  I don't know, it was one of those conferences that I always miss because it takes place during softball season and I can't be in two places at once.

Will someone invent a cloning machine, please?

SO, Melanie insisted that I introduce myself and tell Rene that she said hello.  When Melanie insists, people tend to listen, lol.

Not gonna lie, I was a bit intimidated.  She was one of the key note speakers fortheloveofGod and had a group of fans following her every move.  I felt kinda like a stalker... but I told my fear to shut up and introduced myself.

Beyond grateful I did.  We hit it off and ended up hanging out a lot that weekend.  Kindred spirits, I'd say.  We've been fortunate to hang out at a few more occasions since and I am honored to include her in my circle of girlfriends.  The real ones.  The ones you can't bullshit and pretend everything is grand-fabulous when it's not because they see right through you.  The ones you celebrate each accomplishment they achieve because now the world will see how fabulous you already know they are.  Ones who dive past surface to soul in 2.2 seconds.

If you haven't met her, let me tell you, Rene has an incredible energy about her.  Glows from the inside out.  She is the hardest working and most driven woman I have ever personally known.  And she knows how to kick back and have fun, too.

That is why I don't even have to see her new show to tell you that you're going to love it.  And her.

Sweet Retreats premieres this Sunday, January 20, 2012 on The Live Well Network.

Check it out.

Oh, and speaking of sweet retreats... Rene is turning 50 this year right around when I turn 40... which was inspiration for me to (finally!!) host a girls' weekend in Aruba.  Melanie and my Sister Soup co-host, Des are coming as well.  Looking forward to a FUN weekend with these ladies.  Sweet!

Saturday
Jan122013

Favorite Christmas gift 2012

My son and I were both stuck at home with the flu on Christmas Eve. Traditionally we spend the day with my husband's side of the family about an hour south. You see, their fire department has a major in with Santa Claus. After sunset, he rides on a sleigh through the streets of the quintessential New England town with full fire and police escort - sirens and lights heralding their way. It's my favorite Christmas traditional as an adult... kinda gives me goose bumps every year.

But we had to miss it.

Flu.

Ugh.

We weren't even feeling all that excited to open presents brought back by my husband and daughter. So, I didn't notice the big back of pennies given to Mr. Keaton-Grenon until later Christmas afternoon.

My sister-in-law is brilliant. She gave him 2,500 pennies. Not only that, but she made sure that 100 of them were wheat backs. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that he spent at least 3 hours on Christmas day playing with his favorite present.

Nope, not the remote control helicopter. Not the iPod Touch.

The pennies.

He used a magnifying glass to check out each and every one, pulling out the wheat backs and birth years for us all.

My husband's favorite gift was my loss of voice. I could only whisper on Christmas day and was not given a miraculous Carol Brady moment.

Despite the flu, we really did enjoy a low key version of the Christmas this year.

How about you? What was your favorite Christmas gift?

Friday
Dec212012

Current state of the Cosm

Warning: I'm about to do a blogging no no... explain for my absence.

It's hard for me to believe that I haven't written anything here in 2 1/2 weeks.  Please don't take my silence as a sign that I have nothing left to say or nothing is going on over here in the Cosm.  To say I've been busy is a bit of an exaggeration and not really a valid excuse for abandoning my bit of the online world that has served me well the past 5 years both personally and professionally.

Sure.  I'm busy.

My husband has been traveling for work.  A lot.  Solo parenting is hard, but not in the ways I anticipated.  I have a lot going on inside my head right now.  Struggling a bit.  Working things out.

I'm seeking to find peace and balance in my life.  Being careful to take care of me, which isn't always an easy thing for me.  2 kids.  2 dogs.  Husband.  House.  Work.  Their needs often come first.

Maybe it's 40 peeking at me from around the corner.  Is this what a midlife crisis looks like?

We've lived in our current house for 8 1/2 years.  That's the longest I've lived anywhere in my life and DAMN we have accumulated a lot of stuff.  Excess is weighing me down.  We donated bags upon bags of clothes and other stuff to a local thrift store.  Took countless bags of stuff to the dump.  Cleaned out closets.  Re-designed the living room. Starting to make a dent.  Peace and order can be elusive in a modern family, but I'm determined to find it.

Trying to control what I can.  Let go of that which I cannot.

Listening to my inner voice a lot.  Connecting.  Making sure I spend time doing things I want to do.  Letting go of the feeling that I have to compromise myself in order to make everyone else happy.  Because if I'm not happy?  It starts a vicious cycle and everyone around me feeds on that energy and before you know it we're all unhappy.  Which doesn't make me any happier, you know?

So, the current state of the Cosm?

I'm not writing here when I feel obligated.  I will write when I am inspired.  When I need to.  When I want to.  I'm sure it will happen again - just not sure I will be the same me that has been here - especially not the last couple of years.  I anticipate less sponsored content and more writing.  Back to the old days.  Finding my voice again.

Hope you're still around when that happens;-)

Monday
Dec032012

Never underestimate a girl with balls

 My inner circle of family and friends has known that I have been tossing this idea around for a long, long time - perhaps 2 years now.  Through the past decade of coaching high school girls, I have observed a huge decline in self esteem amongst my players and an increase in overall discontent within this generation of high school students as a whole.  I've blamed many things, including technology and the media.  Did you know that the average teen sends and receives 100 texts a day?!  Blame doesn't offer solutions and I don't think technology and media usage are going to decline anytime soon, so what to do?

The way I coach has had to evolve over the years.  My practice plans now include a huge amount of team and confidence building activities.  Everything we do has a greater meaning.  It pays off, not only by way of winning games - the last 4 teams I have been involved with have gone to their championship game - but also in the way the players carry themselves and interact with each other.  I have seen first-hand that sports can be an amazing vehicle towards self esteem and away from self destructive behaviors.

Here are a few disconcerting statistics for you, from a recent CDC study as reported in a NYDailyNews.com article

  • 1 in 6 high school students has seriously considered suicide.
  • 1 in 12 high school students has attempted it.
  • 20% of high-schoolers said they'd been bullied while at school.
  • 16% said they'd been 'cyberbullied' through email, chat, instant messaging, social media or texting.

The call to do more has been shouting loud and clear.  I have the skills, the heart and the willingness to make a difference.

But how?

There are a gazillion "anti-bullying" programs out there.  So many that kids are becoming numb to their message and they tend to roll their eyes when they know yet another speaker is coming around to share their message.  So, I decided if I choose to do something, it needs to be cool.  It needs to be a bit edgy and interesting.  It needs to grab their attention.

Never underestimate a girl with balls.

Not sure when this concept came to me, but since day one, it has been in my heart and on the tip of my tongue.  Every person with whom I have shared my idea has shaken their head with a smirk, sly smile or full on laugh.

Edgy?

Yep.

Controversial?

Perhaps.

But the intent is pure.

The mission of a girl with balls™ is to empower girls through sports by sharing inspirational female athlete stories/quotes, running empowerment workshops for sports teams and to generate funds through apparel sales for donation to worthy causes benefitting female athletes.

If  you have a female athlete in your life or know someone who does, I encourage you to go check out the website.  We are planning our first run of apparel and are offering a limited selection to be shipped in time for the holidays.  The store offers tee shirts for basketball, softball, soccer, tennis and volleyball in a couple of styles and colors.

If you are here reading this at Mommycosm, you hereby part of my inner circle.  Therefore, I'm offering you a 10% discount if you purchase before December 15, 2012.  Simply enter MYPEEPS into the discount field at checkout.

In true blogger fashion, I am also offering a giveaway.

Giveaway:

One lucky Mommycosm reader will win a tee shirt in their choice of style/color/size from a girl with balls™.

Mandatory Entry: Simply leave a comment on this post with your first name and state initials.  Tell me: which shirt would you like if you win?

One comment per person, please.  You must supply an email address in order for me to contact the winner.  (Note: Due to spam, I do NOT recommend putting email within the content of the comment itself.)

Submitting a comment constitutes agreeing to the terms of the Official Rules.

Deadline:

All comments must be received by Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7am (et).  Mommycosm will use Random.org to choose the winner.  Any comments received after the deadline will not be considered for the giveaway.

Disclosure:

I am the founder of a girl with balls™ and will be providing the giveaway prize.