Monthly Archives: March 2014

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 26: Health and Well being of the Mind, Body and Spirit

Being kind to ourselves is something that most people need to work on. For me, it’s always been extremely critical to keep a healthy working relationship with my mind and body, because the synchronicity of the physical and mental is astounding. When the body feels bad, the mind responds appropriately. For many women, myself included, we have lived our whole lives subject to the male gaze and under the thumb of advertising companies. Beauty magazines, diet fads, and wounding comments from our peers, both female and male, are internalized by our psyche.

I’ll never forget my first negative realization of my feminine form, when, in the 7th grade, one my male friends told me I was fat. Until that point, I didn’t have that kind of understanding of the fleshy form that my soul moved through life within. But that day, that moment, those words have never gone away. Ever. My adolescent mind played ugly tricks on me and I began to look into the mirror and see what was wrong with me, not what was so perfectly imperfect and beautiful. I began to devour hateful rhetoric against the feminine form, reading magazines like Cosmo and Vogue. I compared myself ceaselessly to others, and my self-satisfaction and esteem suffered as a result of the hate I ingested into my body. Because my mind corresponded so intuitively with my body, somewhere in that vicious cycle, I drew that energy into my bones, my tissue and my cells.

Unlearning all of this is a process–one that I work on thoughtfully almost every single day. A delicate balance of health and wellness must be kept, and if my body is feeling good, my mind feels the same. Healthy eating, exercise and meditation are the tools I use to keep the peace with myself.

Today, I woke up with sore muscles from yesterday’s yoga class. I got up, dressed in the stretchiest clothes available and walked to a Bar Method class. My muscles trembled and my legs shook like there was an earthquake taking place in my body as we pulsed through pliés and relevés, ab curls and arm weights. After class, I could hardly walk down the stairs, and I smiled knowing that I am going to hurt so good for the next 3 days… Honestly, if I can walk tomorrow, it will be an absolute miracle.

But I am grateful—so grateful—for that stiff, sore, achy feeling in my fatigued muscles because it’s a reminder of the hard work that goes into the process of unlearning, which I need to maintain a healthy balance between my body and mind. This year, in particular, I’ve committed to slowly and mindfully breaking down all the barriers to Self-love that were the direct result of various adolesccent traumas. Little by little, I am peeling back the layers of self-dissatisfaction that have built up throughout the infinite lifetime of my soul, and especially in this lifetime, where my poor mind and body have taken a significant bullying from society and, admittedly, from myself.

My soul, however, is more transcendental, and has taken this healing quest upon itself in order to learn some valuable lessons. I’ve learned that comparison is perhaps one of the most useless forms of self-disparagement. Each and every one of us has our own set of trials and triumphs, strengths and weaknesses. It’s more productive to work with each other, than to constantly strive to be like someone else. Our uniqueness is what makes for a more healthy social order.

I’ve also learned that self-awareness is a practice. It’s not something that you achieve, but something that you constantly work towards maintaining. It’s perfectly normal to forget how good you felt after yesterday’s run or the hour-long meditation you did. Life is constantly changing and throwing new situations at us. We have to roll with the punches, because the punches are what makes life a  fun and challenging learning experience. Through constant self check-ins, we can help up keep the fine balance of mind, body and spirit.

Thus today, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and will inevitably continue to learn. I am also grateful to my body and mind, and for the balance that I have cultivated through exercise and healthy eating in the last two days. (I’ll have to remember to be extra thankful tomorrow when I try to get out of bed and my glutes, traps, biceps, abs, calves, and thighs scream like the chorus of a Slayer song.) And, of course, I am infinitely grateful to my inner guide and closest companion, my spirit.

Image

 

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 25: Old Fashion Fun

Today, as my body and mind caught up with itself from last evening’s reunion booze-fest, I committed to myself, for what seems to be the hundredth time in my life, to never drink again. Though the evening was filled with lots of beauty–wonderful connections and a reunion of of Stowe High School’s finest (the Boston chapter)–my aging body just can’t drink like it used to in college, which is something to be thankful for in and of itself. Drinking seems to fulfill very little purpose in my life, and I rather despise the idea of getting “white girl wasted” on a Friday night. I’d like to think I am more classy than that…

However, with my daily routine out the window whilst here in Boston, I’ve adopted a “YOLO” attitude. You only live once; go big or go home; carpe diem, or whatever inspirational motto suits you best. Thus, I’ve taken to eating chocolate cake after lunch, lavishing myself with salmon dinners, and drinking Manhattans like they’re going out of style. But waking up this morning with what tasted like a mouth full of cotton balls and a dull throbbing in my temples, I vowed that it was time for some old fashioned fun, and that no drinks would be necessary for Saturday to be considered a successful day. I’ve swung to an extreme and it’s time to reel it in. Because there’s no moment like the present to start such an undertaking, I made sure that my Saturday would be a day of self care.

I had a nice omelette to kick off the day right, perused the Boston Science museum, watched some golf on my friend’s leather couch, added 5 books to my Amazon basket (which I never purchased, but enjoy doing nonetheless), took a yoga class and went to see the newest Wes Anderson film. I, of course, did all this in the company of my best and dearest friend, Kelley, and nothing could have been more lovely!

So today I am grateful for a fun-filled day of coming back to center. It’s possible to enjoy ourselves, but it’s important to keep in mind the value in a more wholesome kind of fun. Most importantly, I’m happy to have had the pleasure of spending my day finding balance in the good company of Miss Kelley one of my oldest, truest and bluest friends.

Image

Centered

Tagged , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 24: Unexpected Connection

Yesterday, after work, I went with some colleagues to have a few drinks at the bar. Being that I am just visiting the Boston office, and I am new to the team, getting to know people in a more casual setting is a nice way for me to put faces to names and build my connections. The night took an unexpected turn towards amazing, when I struck up conversation with a young woman named Bethlehem.

As our conversation evolved from the typical, what’s your name? where are you from? chitter-chatter, we both began to recognize that we “read from the same book.”  Our conversation was a journey of self-discovery and the bar around us faded into the background. The only indicator I had to denote the length of our conversation was the 3 empty glasses of Malbec. Our conversation flowed from travel to spirit, spirit to conflict, conflict to identity, and finally identity back to spirit. We discussed books and critiqued philosophies; we talked about religion and about God and our role prophetic models, Carl Jung, Christ and the Buddha.

As the after work crowd began to dwindle, we came back into our surroundings and mingled back in with our remaining colleagues. Together, we felt like a force of wisdom, strengthened by the old age of our souls. We began to talk with one of our co-workers about relationships, and we completed each others thoughts and nodded vigorously as the other spoke. Upon leaving, Bethlehem, a stranger two and a half hours prior, said to me, “I feel like I am talking to myself seven years ago.”

Upon hearing this I to stopped and acknowledged the feeling of unity and oneness of all beings. If she is me, seven years my senior, I am excited for all of the spiritual growth yet to come. And thus, I am grateful for an unexpected connection, and the reminder that continuing to feed the soul with deep analysis and discussion is how I will ultimately continue to grow. I am thankful for my spiritual community and for all the people in my life who nourish and push my spiritual boundaries.

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 23: Positivity

Today was a day filled with lots of positive interactions, and it was a healthy reminder that if I surround myself with positive people, I will heighten my overall energy field. I left work today beaming from the inside out, because I am in a very supportive environment, where people are genuinely happy to make my acquaintance and incredibly friendly.

I also feel like I am creating my life each day and living out my story has been so. much. fun!  I am ultimately able to feel the positive energy as a direct result of the fun! I am so grateful today to the people in my life that make every moment of every day exciting, different and fun! Thank you for being a part of my story, thank you for supporting me as it unfolds and thank you for being such positive forces in my self-development. It’s because of you that I am able to shine my light, and pass my positivity on to those who need it and thrive on it as much as I do!

ImageImage

 SMILE 🙂

 

Tagged , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 22: GIRL POWER!

Image

Today I sat around a table of powerful, smart, self-aware, successful female executives and directors. Being in the presence of my seasoned colleagues, and listening to their words of advice and wisdom was inspiring. These women have so much passion for what they do, and they are pretty damn boss–literally.

Approximately 95% of the employees at Cultural Care Au Pair are women, which doesn’t come as a surprise, given the nature of the child care beast. I don’t mean for this to sound gendered, and in fact, the whole point of this post today is to give thanks to all the bad ass female colleagues and role models in my life.

Here’s to the women who inspire me both professionally and spiritually and have played a key role in my personal successes. Keep being bad ass!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 21: Throwback Tuesday

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because I’m in the company of my best high school friends. Today I am grateful for the kinds of friends who know me to the core. They know my family, they knew me when I had braces, when I marched in band, and when I creepily stalked the high school hockey team…….as a middle schooler.

They know the most awkward version of me, and they still like me. So for that, I am grateful!

Here’s to 20 years of friendship! May we grow old together! And may we never let our children wear tacky Halloween costumes. Ew.

Halloween 2006

Image

 2014 Selfie

IMG_20140325_222152

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 20: Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Today has been a day of systematic organization. For those who know me best, I oscillate on the spectrum of meticulous order (borderline OCD) and utter chaos. When I am at my best, things are neat and orderly. However, at my worst, my systems of order snowball into disorganization. It’s funny to see these two sides of me, and to recognize that my personality is akin to everyone’s favorite “love to hate it” hairstyle, the mullet– business in the front, party in the back!

Image

If you know my family, you would understand that my desire for cleanliness and order arose as a response to the disorganization of our family unit. Chaos was the norm when my Dad was out at sea. With no one to crack the whip hard enough to wrangle in my brothers, things got a little buck wild at the Guerra’s. Don’t get me wrong, Mom, I know you’re reading this and thinking “WTF?! Don’t air out this laundry on this internet.”  In her defense, there was some order, and most of my strangest cleanly quirks are a direct result.  For example, I make all beds with tight hospital corners, I never forget to clean the bottom of the toilet bowl (because boys will be (disgusting) boys), and even today, I steamed all of my linens because I  may have developed a mild case of PTSD from her disapproving, “You’re not going out like that, are you? It’s all wrinkled,” exclamations.

Now that you all have a clearer idea of the conflicting stories of order and chaos in my early childhood, I think it will be easier to explain how it is possible for me to oscillate along the two mullet extremes: order = business and chaos = party.

At work, I’ve taken the last few weeks to put together some functioning systems of organization so that I can remain purely clean-cut business. My emails reside in color coded folders, which are full of Russian doll like sub-folders. All important paperwork is neatly filed in binders, and I’ve broken out the colorful sharpies to label the accordion folders, which store lists and packets galore. I’ve always loved office supplies, and could spend hours in the post-it note section at Staples deciding between original, neon and “green” recycled stickies. I love tabs, I love notebooks, I love ball point pens, and I LOVE my leather planner!!

At home, I also have systems in place to keep me organized, though I must say, these systems don’t always take priority when I want to sleep in and run out the door for work at 5 til the hour. That being said, I usually make my bed, clean my dishes, and my clothes will regularly be moved from the floor to the hamper or to the uniform black hangers in my closets.

So you must be wondering, where is Party Lizzie?  Party Lizzie, comes out every so often in the household when a chore gets left too long, and not doing it suddenly becomes easier than doing it. However, she mostly comes across in my character, which I believe, more often than not, is described with colorful adjectives like quirky and borderline eccentric. I dance my way into rooms, talk to strangers on public transportation, and my closet is full of Ms. Frizzle-esque blazers and printed button ups. Get a drink (or not even, let’s be real) in Party Lizzie and she’ll rap all of Biggie Small’s Juicy for an audience.

The duality of my character can be be described by the most recent example of Business Lizzie and Party Lizzie battling it out. As I transitioned from having an unknown career into a full blown big kid job, I had to let both personalities enjoy their 15 minutes. Having no plan and going with the flow is the antithesis of Business Lizzie. She secretly freaks the eff out when life cannot be scheduled neatly into her leather bound planner. But Party Lizzie also knows how to chill out and ride the wave, and I leaned heavily on this side of my personality to get me through the most difficult and vulnerable times of my transition.

So where am I going with my Freudian analysis of my personality? I am not really sure… but I guess somewhere down gratitude lane, I can find a home for it all. There is something to be said for embracing all of ourselves, multiple personalities included. Thus, today, I am grateful for my the business in the front, party in the back life, for the light and the dark shades of my shadow, and for my weird family whom I love dearly. Thanks for making so weird.

In the words of Tennyson, “I am part of all that I have seen.”

Ain’t it true?

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 19: Bittersweet Transitions

There are multiple moments in my life where transitioning from something comfortable into the unknown has been electrifying, yet all together bittersweet. Leaving behind people and places in order to embrace the unfamiliar is never easy, and I have done this multiple times throughout my late teens and early twenties as I moved away from home and subsequently made my way all around the world.

Though I feel that this transition into some semblance of an “adult” life is well underway, it has brought up lots of of reflections on all the people and places in my life that were once brand new– all the strangers that became friends, places that became home.

I always think back on these people and places in fond reminiscence, and there are so many little triggers that quickly jog my memory of them. I can smell Burkina Faso. I can dance San Francisco. I can drink France. I can hear Morocco. I can walk Spain. These small things, which act as portals and transport me through time, if only for a minute or two, so that I can relive a beautiful moment, in a beautiful setting, surrounded by beautiful friends. And when I come back to the present, it’s always with a smile and a sigh. A smile of thanks for all the day’s that have been seized, and for all of the amazing people whose presence has graced my life. But also, a sigh of longing for the days gone by,and the people who are now so far away.

Thus, today I am thankful for the smiles and sighs, because I have been blessed with countless opportunities to discover the world and to befriend genuinely amazing people. They are a reminder that each one of my fond memories was once an uncomfortable new beginning, which blossomed into something worth longing for when it passed.

And if I am able to remain aware through discomfort of the new life chapter I’ve begun, I can let the wave of bittersweet memories wash up on the shore of the present moment, and offer up some gratitude to those people and places who have made my life so meaningful.  I must continue to breathe myself back into the present moment, so that I am able to create new memories here and now that will ultimately be worthy of a smile and a sigh sometime down the road.  There-were-some-memories-1024x884

Tagged , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 18: All the Things!

Today, I have not had to stretch to find things I am grateful for, so instead of my usual thematic post I am just going to let my cup runneth over with all the things I would life to give thanks for today!

This fine Saturday:

I’m thankful for the early morning alarm that prompted a yoga class to stretched out my sore muscles.

I’m thankful to Ms. Paula for taking me plant shopping, and for helping me pick out some green life to fill my apartment with!

I’m thankful to the healthy home cooked meals I ate today that nourished my body.

I am thankful for a visit from my parents and my puppy, and to finally live somewhere close enough to them for a weekend drop by.

I am thankful for the beautiful walk on the beach and a seaside meditation to remind myself of the infinite ocean of love within my heart.

I am thankful for a nice conversation with Wendy and Virginia, my role models and friends who always inspire to be true to mySelf.

I’m thankful for all the light hours of the day, that I’ve had to do all of these wonderful things!

And, last but not least, I’m grateful for the 70’s…. for this:

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 17: SPRING!

ImageToday, I give thanks to the changing seasons and the insight they offer up about our natural rhythms.I am grateful to winter, nature’s way of reminding me to go within and search through the depths of my soul for clarification. And I welcome Spring, a season as much in transition as I, as the time to sow my seeds and to tend them diligently with love and patience.

 I am humbly reminded by the equinox that we, too, are the fruits of Mother Earth. It is easy to forget the cycle  when we believe we can are in control of it. But if this East Coast winter has proven anything to me, it’s that our Mother doesn’t play around!  When she says it’s time to crystallize and be still, we have no choice. We are her children, and we shall obey.

Let us be grateful to yesterday’s vernal equinox and for the reunification of Mother Demeter with her daughter Persephone! As Demeter rejoices,  she will once again allow us to thaw our aching winter bodies and resume a more active way of life!

Happy Spring! May your gardens grow!

Lizzie

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,