The Art of Giving too Much

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It’s been awhile since I added a blog post. It hasn’t been for lack of events or excitement or disappointment … quite the opposite. It’s been because of all of those things that life has kept me busy and experiences have kept me humble.

But now … it’s time to write … about giving.

to do more for the world

I’m a big fan. Like huge!! Those that know me well, know that I can give.  And I give without conditions – it’s what my mom and dad both taught me.  But giving without conditions doesn’t mean that we don’t give and feel disappointment. And giving doesn’t mean that we’re perfect or that we meet the expectations of others.  But it does mean we have the capacity to give and that we use that capacity for good.

Today though, instead of just gripping about how much I gave and how poorly I feel I was treated in return … I’m going to give some suggestions for how you (and me!!) can do the former without receiving the latter.

  1. Let’s lower our expectations people … seriously – if we just take a moment to really analyze the situation and ask ourselves what is really possible (what can the other person / entity give, why would they be so inclined, what’s in it for them) … then we will understand the more realistic feeling we’ll receive, if for example, we severely miscalculate how much we should have given.
  2. Benefit / cost analysis … well, they do it in business school, why can’t it apply to real life??   Had I done this six months ago I might have seen that the potential costs would far outweigh the benefits and maybe (and only maybe, let’s me honest) .. smarter thoughts would have prevailed. And if not – then at least I would have given myself a fighting chance to duck out before diving in.
  3. Everyone else is not you … we give because we have empathy … excitement … trust … vision. But everyone else doesn’t necessarily view it from the same lens.  So you have to get on the same page — (which has the added benefit of highlighting the disparity – but that is good because it’s best to make an informed mistake than be blindsided and lose all faith).
  4. Listen to your friends … You rely on them for a reason!!  You call and text when life is good AND when it isn’t — precisely because you trust them. So trust them to see more clearly than you and then do exactly what they say — because in that moment – they are seriously 1000x smarter than you.

you will never regret being kind

After all is said and done … I have no regrets. I can stand tall and be proud of what I gave. If people choose to not show respect or have appreciation … if they are so caught up in what is most important to them – and they lack empathy and the “doing the right thing” gene … then there isn’t anything I can do.

Now, karma might have another say in the story – and I’ll be okay with that. 🙂

 

suddenly you know

 

 

Why I love the CMAs

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For years now (actually it’s been, like, almost two decades!!) I’ve had a special love for the country music award shows. I grab a bottle of wine and I turn on the TV and I just sit. And listen.

I had a friend I used to watch the CMA and ACM awards with … and we’d watch it a year after they aired (obviously, a big “thank goodness for the dawn of the DVR”!!). Other years I would watch well within the annual time period (my guess is that those were the “boring years” – LOL) … And then there have been nights like tonight when, I’m watching it live.

Over the year’s I’ve watched the shows with friends that enjoy the music as deeply as I do … and then other times I’ve tried to share my passion with those that feigned interest (yeah, not so much). But dare I commit that I’ve almost always had a text message convo with my sister, who, without a doubt, loves the music as much as I do (thank goodness or I’m not sure how the sisterhood would continue – j/k).

Every year it’s different. And that is what makes it so special.

Tonight as I sat, with my glass of wine, for a moment I thought – wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the night with someone special?  … You know, like the opposite sex special. Someone with whom I could really share my passion with … someone that enjoyed the music as much as I  .. someone who “got” me. And then I thought – maybe not.

Because sometimes having “someone” beside you isn’t that fulfilling. Actually, mostly, it’s about the opposite of fulfilling.  Finding that “right” person has so far eluded me, even though I “think” I know what it looks like.  I am in awe of the friends in my life that have found their “person” … like Fiona and John …. Kate and Mark …. Jodee and Brent. Now, I don’t know if they like the same music or where they “fit” … but they definitely have a fit that I know works for them.

CMA award night 2015{sorry I have to interrupt this little blog post to say that it’s super crazy when the CMAs say they are respecting female artists in one breath, and then they bring on Miss America and the Sports Illustrated 2015 cover model !!! … in low cut tops … short (like beyond short!) skirts .. and dresses with a slit up to their waist!! Seriously – is that what “respect for women” looks like in America?  Yep .. apparently so. #Sad}

Back to regularly scheduled programming – sorry for that rant.

And, … with that .. it’s a wrap. I’m still sitting here with my glass (okay, maybe now it’s a bottle) of wine … breathing in my passion of country music … enjoying life just as it is.  Because even though Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy made us all want “that person”  … sometimes we have to just be OK with a bottle of wine and the CMAs.

Reba

Thanks for always being there on the side of the CMAs Trish. xox

{We Meet} Family

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Family.

It describes our history … where we are from … why we are how we are … what “features” we have.

It defines us today … those whom we’ve chosen to live with … grow with … start our own family with.

And it brings us pause when we think about the future … who will be with us … for how long … and how our own world will look as the years ahead turn into our reality.

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And no matter how old we are … we all have stories to tell about our families. Some good stories. Some sad ones. Others that make us laugh out loud. And some that we really want to forget.  Family is sort of a universal topic because we all have one or two … and if you’re lucky, you’ll have family under various definitions of the word.

But there is no denying it … family is family, period. And sometimes, it is up to us to make those relationships what we want them to be.

Twice this month I got to spend some time with my family and my extended family: Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Second cousins. Old. Young. … Sometimes the conversation was easy.  Other times you had to work at it. Sometimes the topic was deep and introspective. Other times it was surface level, like you just ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store.  But you know, I think that is OK. Family is like a kaleidoscope, or sometimes, maybe like the Northern Lights. Always changing. Beautiful.

So hard to capture but managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So hard to capture, but I managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So for just a moment, I’m going to talk about my family. Because I’m so proud of them. So glad I have them … So happy I get to call them my own.

I think what I like most is that my family is interested in my life. I don’t live close so I miss the chance to meet up for the little things and experience some of the big things … Hold little babies in your own arms … watch them grow into toddlers … and then into little human beings … Watch romances begin … turn into wedding bliss … and sometimes, be there when life doesn’t turn out as planned.

I remember having family reunions when I was little.  My parents were younger than I am today when they started.  But some of them stopped … or there was a longer break between them … or you were left in charge of organizing the next one and you didn’t get around to it (one of my life’s regrets).  But if I hadn’t had those early year experiences, I’m not sure I would be so keen to go to one nowadays.

But two weeks ago I went to a reunion on my mom’s side, which is held every two years. Sadly, I haven’t attended one previously. I’m not even sure when they started! But I know I haven’t attended one since moving away 16 years ago. Usually I’m the person that says I will drive for endless hours or across endless miles to see someone that is important to me .. but I missed these in the past. And after joining this one, you can bet I’ll have the future ones on my calendar for the years ahead.

And this past weekend we held our third annual “We Meet” family reunion on my dad’s side. It started just three years ago after we lost my aunt suddenly and both of my grandparents within one year.  All of grandparents lived LONG and healthy lives and I can only hope I have their genes! But they were here on this earth and with us for a long, long time and they taught us all so much that when we gather together, we can’t help but tell story after story about them. And you realize just how much their wisdom and their traditions have shaped all of our lives and how, now, the responsibility is on us.

So now WE are the ones that must take the torch and carry on with the family reunion tradition. To organize, and attend, and bring together the families. So cousins can get to know each other … gain invaluable memories that will no doubt, include a simpler time, … so we all remember how important it is to take a moment to listen, laugh and learn about what is happening in the lives of our important family members. …. The good news. The sad news. The laugh out loud stories from the past. The smiles when we first see each other. And the precious hugs we give to each family member until the next time {we meet}.

These weekends are not always convenient.  They are inevitably with conflicting calendars and invitations elsewhere … especially in today’s crazy busy world. They are also time consuming. A five-hour drive each way for most families  … and over eight hours for another family.  But, no one complains because we are all there because we choose to be. And that in-and-of-itself, is amazing. Because when you think about all of the pressures we have — you realize that everyone showed up was because it was their choice. And for that – I know how lucky I am and how special my family is.

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Little cousin M. Sitting around the campfire that just the evening before, had everyone laughing and sharing stories. With a tear in her precious little eye and I know a hole in her heart, she didn’t want the weekend to end. And neither did I. Until next time I see you little miss M. 

So until next year.

Will the same people come? Will more? I can’t wait to see the kids one year older! I can’t wait to catch up with some family members that I really just got to know this summer. I can’t wait to spend five hours in the car with my mom, dad and sister … really.  I can’t wait to hear about what everyone has been up to. To laugh together. To cry if needed. And to give everyone a big smile and say – hey there family, I’ve missed you .. how are you?  And to embrace each and every one of them as we say our good-byes with the best hug I can give, until {we meet} again.

My Life Plan

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Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with some really cool people … some really accomplished people … and some really humble people.  I felt out of my league for most of the time … confidently in charge for some of the time  … and perfectly at home for one brief moment.

That moment was when I heard about one person’s “Life Plan” …. And by Life Plan, I don’t mean this airy fairy, like I really want to be “x” or accomplish “y” … but an actual Life Plan that has been detailed out (and followed!) for 30 years. Yep. Thirty – 30 – years.

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Now, I start a lot of things. And I mean, A.LOT! … Especially at the beginning of the year. I LOVE planning … But I have learned (and I’m not bragging about this in any way) … but I have learned that I am better at planning than at following through.

That sucks, right?!?!

Yep. It does. But then again, “realizing you have a problem is the first step” right? Well, at least that is what “they” say .. And right now, I am going to agree w/ that principle because it means I might have some hope after all.

So I started to write.

Write down the things I wanted to accomplish — To be known for — To experience — And I started thinking about the moments — and the memories — and yes, I even went so far as to think about what would be positively life altering — because I think I actually want something WAY more than what I have!

And I realized that while I initially thought that planning your life with a graph, and dot’s, and lines, year after year … month after month … and quite possibly week after week, might be a little obsessive (and yes, actually it really might be obsessive) … nonetheless, I realized that it is probably one really good way to make sure that you accomplish those goals – those dreams – those ambitions that make you smile and put in that little extra effort needed.

Oh, and I also realized that I really didn’t want to get to the end of my life and wish that I had done more with it. Because that makes me feel sad today – never mind how I will feel once my life really is over and all those years have passed by without a focus on what my heart really wants to experience.

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While I actually expect this little exercise to be quite hard … because c’mon … it’s so easy to dream and so much harder to put the effort into making it a reality … there are enough things happening in my life that tell me it’s worth every ounce of effort I can possibly find. Because I’ve always said – I want to live the length — and width — of my life.

So maybe with this new Life Plan … I will make that a reality.

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Thanks to the universe for the moment and experience that brought up this conversation. Dare I say thank goodness for girl fires, country music, wine (of course!), motor off and moonlit night … and new, but albeit, uncomfortable situations.

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#BeerWithJesus #TakeYourTime

One Year Ago

One year ago … there I was, boarding Caltrain on a seemingly uneventful Thursday afternoon … a serendipitous encounter created all because of my home town.

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Thank goodness I tell everyone where I am from so that people (specifically, those that are intrigued by that point of reference) recognize the name while attending a trade show of absolute no connection to me whatsoever. 

But … I digress.

One year ago … I was running on one of my favorite Bay Area trails … thankful to be in better shape than the first time I showed my running buddy the route. I was content with the conversation as two strangers caught up on the few months that had passed since meeting over coffee.

And one year ago … I was about to embark on the most exciting journey of my life. I knew it was possible but the real beauty is that I didn’t even have a clue as to what was ahead.

A lot happens in a year …

… friends find lovers.  They move away.  They learn they will become first-time parents. And you find new ways to stay connected across time zones and course adjustments.

… family members go through ups and downs.  Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but never ever complaining. Always grateful for the one step of progress.

… strangers become someone you can’t wait to speak with every day … whom you look forward to exploring new adventures with … where you uncover fun that you realize has been missing in you life … and oddly enough, who can break your heart when you didn’t realize it was strong enough to be invited to the party!!

… and work can turn into your passion.  It can consume your life. Bring life to your life!  And at the same time, take away hours and days without you realizing anything has happened.

do what you love

But today is the real reason to reflect on One Year Ago … because today is when I remember the 365 days that have just passed and all the moments that have made me strong.  Oh … it hasn’t been the “best year of my life” … but it’s a far, far cry from being the worst one.  I am reminded that “life”, with all of its challenges and struggles, really does help us prepare for the untold story, and it gives us the courage to reach higher and look ahead (and of course, always tell people where you are from).

I will always be a work in progress … but because of those amazing … and crazy … and sometimes overwhelming … and “I’m about to break” moments … I am better prepared today, for tomorrow, because of one year ago.

love today

 

#HighLevel girl

What I Wouldn’t Do …

Have you ever said … “what I wouldn’t do for … or to have … or to experience …” ?

Yeah, well, thankfully, we all have.

And I say “thankfully” because while I don’t know about you, for me … it makes me feel human. Because we all have flaws, as well as “features”, and it’s only natural to sometimes want more.

There is no doubt that we all take simple things for granted … And we’ve accomplished so much that we now live a “really busy” life to enjoy the simple yet amazing pleasures around us… Yet, we all realize (at some point) that “what we wouldn’t do for” is often not what matters at all.

Because when all is said and done — at the beginning and the end of the day —sometimes just taking a moment to remember the gifts that are in our lives (our “very” busy lives no doubt); regardless how we make it through the day … with whatever support or encouragement or challenges, when you place your head on the pillow and fall asleep, with love in your heart and faith in your soul, maybe it wasn’t such a bad day after all.

Maybe, you wouldn’t do anything different at all … and all that you have, is exactly what you need.

#12yoGirlsAreAmazing

Radical Generosity

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I was so, so, so fortunate to be in the presence of some really amazing women a couple weeks back while visiting Toronto. Vicki hosted this group at her home (that would rival any 4 star restaurant in San Francisco!) for an evening of connection amongst amazing women entrepreneurs, vc’s, and other superb women in tech … plus little ole me. Thank you Vicki ~ I am in awe and with HUGE appreciation!

During this evening Vicki describes what she prescribes to — Radical Generosity … and she encouraged us all to consider following in her footsteps. Now, true to many women, and many Canadians, she practically apologized for saying out loud that she was practicing the art of radical generosity … which she shouldn’t … but I get it. Humility is a feature and it’s one we can’t shed (nor often should).

But the message came across without any feeling of ego or princess-likeness … It was simply her, from the heart, with what she believed in. And I was simply blown away because I loved being in the presence of that kind of giving and that kind of collaboration.

Even though I am both a woman, and a Canadian, and hopefully often display way more acts of kindness and humility than not, it still inspired me to really consider this statement and see what else I could be doing to be an owner of radical generosity.

For many reasons this resonated with me … history aside and the way my parents raised me .. which has everything to do with who I am … I believe in it because I.don’t.see.it.in.this.world.enough!! I am out there everyday connecting with new work colleagues, new personal relationships, past relationships on all fronts … and there is a huge gap on this planet (or at least where my latitude and longitude reside) … and it makes me, well, want to write a blog post!

Giving costs you nothing. It’s a smile sometimes. It’s a name of someone who can help with a problem. It’s a guide to a new trail run. It’s the courtesy of being honest. It’s the little note that says “you’re fucking awesome”. It’s the 3pm Sunday afternoon birthday happy hour. It’s the special invitation to new years eve. It’s the thoughtful text message after receiving an “I’m sorry” card. It’s the 40 miles you’ll drive to say hello … give a hug … see a smile. Hell, it’s the 3,000 miles you’ll do for that. It’s the text message that says “hey bud, you’re amazing – have a great day”. It’s remembering who your friends were before illness and before life’s inevitable challenges and sending an invitation to join in for the party just the same. It’s no judgement!  It’s just really simple and it really, truly, costs you nothing for what you get in return.

I’m not sure why life gets so complicated. But I know that if we live within the world that we are meant to live within .. the world is not complicated … it makes perfect sense. So maybe we should really focus on radical generosity, but when it isn’t reciprocated, then we can’t take any offense and instead we move on. Maybe we taught the person something. Maybe not. That is never the point. The point is to give away that which we have, and to do it with a smile and without expectations in return.

Radical generosity. It’s my new motto. It will make the tagline on my next business card. Those that have seen mine know what I’m talking about. But it’s what I believe in and will happily deliver.

And for the person that felt that my world is too complicated because my generosity was in the middle, instead of driving to their world entirely, … then I’m sorry, but you haven’t learned the lesson.

And as a tribute to you, Vicki, for the inspiration of this post … here is a little quote someone shared with me awhile back. You’ll get the meaning as it is your motto … Cheers to you for paving the way! #SheCEO!!

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The Art of {not} Letting Go

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Sometimes I write about things not because I have the answers, but because I seek them.

I consider myself a fairly smart person … I seem to make my way in life okay but I won’t ever win Monday’s trivia night (unless it’s about Canada, country music or the 1984 Oilers, and even then I will get a few things wrong) … But when it comes to some of life’s most basic decisions … I sometimes am such a dork and I fail miserably. I can very easily tell you what is in front of me, and why it/he will not work for me, but yet I’ll go against every grain of intelligence on the subject and go in the other direction. It’s a mildly entertaining thing on one hand, and frustrating as hell on the other hand.

I ask myself everyday .. is it time to let go? Time to move on? Am I ready to move in another direction entirely? Am I capable? Or am I still here with the thoughts and the hopes because I haven’t learned the lesson? Is there some other reason why I’m not moving forward .. moving on.  And why is it so hard to figure out {again, I go back to the fact that I’m probably smarter than the average bear but that doesn’t seem to help me much}.

I try all kinds of tricks … I write in journals … someone says “write him a letter and then burn it” … ha, yeah well that didn’t work out so well! Funny story actually but that’s for another blog.  Then someone else advises to focus on your work – “you’re always saying that work is overwhelming so focus there”. Nope … I have mountains of work to do and I do focus on it, but funny how thoughts of him come into every moment regardless how busy I am. And then there is the “just forget about him and move on”.  I mean, I get it … I probably give similar advice in a variety of circumstances but the actual doing part .. well, that is what is impossible at times.

So I’ve decided that I’m not going to let go. I’m going to just be with the feelings … and let them envelope my entire body.  Whether that gives me comfort or brings me pain, I’ll appreciate that at least I’m experiencing an expression of love. Not everyone gets to experience heartache and for those of us that do, maybe it should be embraced. I stole the famous line before “we are here to be swallowed up” … so why should I fight it.

I trust the universe will tell me when I’m ready to move on. And with that I mean that I trust myself to figure it out … maybe it will be tomorrow .. maybe another month from now … maybe longer.  But I receive comfort knowing that one day, I’ll experience love and friendship and laughter and understanding from someone who won’t break my heart and instead want to hold my hand.

#TakeYourTime … for a love like that – full of excitement and challenge, because even though I feel a great opportunity has eluded me, I do believe that it will come again, and it’s worth waiting for.

snoopy

Saturday Mornings

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It’s 0830 and I have yet to get out of bed. Call it lazy. Call it boring. Call it un-productive, but today I call it perfect.

For the better part of nine months this year I woke up on the weekends with one of my most favorite things planned … to go for a run. I had to start from scratch last year as I was coming off an injury that turned into a surgery that got complicated by a great distraction … so it wasn’t always an early morning and a long run, but it was always the focus.

And then the training runs did get long … and the desire and need for new trails came up … and those were even a further drive away … which meant that sometimes me and my (amazing!!!) running gals would head out for 18 miles and oops, get lost and then run 24! Friends and family were very patient when we left by 0630 and got home in the very late afternoon. And then, yep, of course we’d all get up Sunday and go for another run (albeit not quite as far).

In the final two months of my training I was out of the door by zero dark hundred … running in the double digits … and enjoying the beautiful trails for hours. Sometimes with friends. Sometimes on my own. Often I would run with one or two for 10-ish miles and then someone else would join or replace the others so that I could get my long runs done without too much time on my own. My running friends are beyond awesome.

So today …. No long run. Actually, probably no run at all. Just the day in front of me for however I choose. And right now, as I type this post … I’m loving what is in front of me … a smile from spending two days with a new friend and enjoying a precious little girl … knowing my mom is home from her hospital visit and on her road to recovery … the thought of making perogies with my sister when I am home next week for the holidays (I’m certain to impress a boy with home-made perogies, right!?!) … and thinking about the canvas I’ll paint for my life in 2015 … I’ve never been to Utah. Perhaps it should make the list this year. I hear there is lots to do in Utah and I bet they have a few trails I would enjoy.

#TimeToGetUp!

Xmas Cards … Really?

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Every year … around this time … it begins to happen. Christmas cards begin to arrive in the mailbox. People display them on their mantle. They fret over the fact that they haven’t gotten to theirs yet. They feel guilt that they received one from someone and they didn’t get one off to them yet .. or did they? More panic.

Well every year I generally tend to be one of those people – lost in the mix of guilt and shame but masking over it with the “I’m too busy” message. People usually believe me as it’s become a common excuse that the world tends to accept, because let’s face it – we are the busiest society we’ve ever seen.

But I am going to challenge that statement tonight and even refute what I myself have been saying for all these years because it’s absolutely not about the busy .. it’s about the interest.

I named this blog Being Superwoman for exactly the kind of person that sends Christmas cards. The person that is SO busy, who functions at such a high level … yet still amazes those around them with the thoughtful Christmas card and personal note. How do they have the time? Did someone else write if for them? This can’t be true because then I’ll feel more guilt because I’m definitely not as busy as he/she and yet I’m staring at a really nice thoughtful card from them, personalized for me. Huh?!?

So today I figured it out. It’s something I’ve always known, especially because it’s a trait (flaw) I carry .. and that is, when something is important to you .. or you’re interested in it … passionate about it … excited for it … or maybe just really happy in general — things like Christmas cards become exactly what you can do! They don’t seem overwhelming. They don’t seem like a challenge. They are something that you are very excited to do because you know it will bring you joy.

So don’t worry if you’re not excited about doing Christmas cards this year. It’s okay. Really, they are quite frankly overrated in so many ways. …  But maybe, just maybe, it’s time for you look at what is motivating you and where you’d like to spend your time. If it’s not Christmas cards .. then where are you excited to spend the little bits of time that you get to call your own?