I’m working from my deck today. The sun still has that August strength, but the air is crisp and cool; a paradox. A harbinger of environmental change. Two natural elements battling it out for control. My psyche, as of late, is like this weather; two mindsets battling it out. I always have a tough time at the end of the summer. I am most at peace by the ocean, so the Ocean Side of me does not want the summer to end. The ocean is where I am happiest, where I do my best thinking, where I gain the most clarity, where I feel most at home, and where I spend most of my free time in the summer. I mourn the end of summer when it hits, and come September, without fail, I can feel myself slipping into a brief, yet powerful funk. Yet, the Practical Side of me knows that I don’t have a choice: the seasons must change and it is time to transition (albeit abruptly) back into the world of hectic schedules, homework, school sports, and shorter days. So, my body, mind, and soul are at odds with each other and I find myself squeezing every last drop out of summer’s toothpaste.
The summer of 2012 has been a blur. Usually, I am in the habit of keeping you abreast of what is going on in my world via Facebook status updates, Tweets, Instagram photos, and FourSquare check-ins. But, I took a break from all of that this summer. In May, I made a commitment to myself (and to those around me) to be more present and to enjoy what was happening in front of my face, without the narcissistic self-promotion (and the constant distraction) that often accompanies social media. With the exception of a couple blog posts and some time perusing Pinterest, I stayed off the grid. I was more present for my daughters, and my relationship with my husband strengthened substantially. Not to mention that my Nu Skin business grew by 149% over the same time last year. Coincidence? Think not. Taking a break was just something I felt I needed to do…social media was becoming my drug of choice and, like all of the recreational drugs, it came with a cost. It’s been just about 13 weeks and I am proud of my restraint. I am also trying to figure out if I am able to safely wander back into the arena without it becoming all-consuming. Can I limit myself to just a couple posts a day? Or, would that be like a recovering alcoholic trying to tell themselves the lie that they can “have just one?” Only time will tell. That is a battle I will wage later on, and a story I will share in a later blog post. Until then, I remain blissfully out of the loop and in tune with what is going on in my actual life.
So much has happened since I began my Facebookcation. So many personal and professional revelations and developments, so many self-realizations, so many steps forward on so many levels. I’d love to share some of that with you today, if you will take the time to read. Consider this my “transition” post. Me, dipping my toe back into the water of social media. The baring of my soul. And, the excitement in what is to come in so many facets of my life.
I was taking a gander around my yard today; sort of taking stock of the flowers that were still in bloom, the weeds that need to be pulled, and the landscaping I want to do in the fall. I was struck by the image of these two vastly different plants — how they collided, how they shared the same space, how they became accidentally and beautifully harmonious. So, consider me this variegated ground-cover. I existed. I was “planted” intentionally. I was thriving and the efforts I was putting forth were spreading, much like this plant. Then, BAM! Everything was going fine, and in the middle of all of this, sprouted this beautiful, bright yellow addition. It was not intentionally planted. It just appeared by divine intervention, pretty much by accident. A seed from another plant, or a gift from a local bird. If I am the groundcover, then my heart, mind, and soul are like this Black-Eyed Susan. I gave myself some space this summer. I tended to my own theoretical garden and lots of unexpected thoughts, feelings, and progressions began to take root. At first, they seemed a bit like a nuisance, like a weed in this garden. But, once I opened up my mind and allowed myself to grow, I realized that this growth complimented my own landscape very nicely. Kind of like the Black Eyed Susan sprouting up in the middle of this ground-cover. That’s what this summer has been about — improving upon existing landscapes. Giving gifts. Receiving gifts. Allowing things to take root. Being true to myself. Shifting and shining. Planting new seeds.
The Growth of Self Esteem Through Art and a New Path:
Recently, I had the tremendous pleasure of teaching two Self Esteem Through Art summer camps. One was a combination of art and drama. The other was strictly art-focused. I got to meet many new children and their parents, and spread the message of art as a means of expression, communication, and healing. But, the really big news is that I am TEACHING at a local Charter School this year! I was told last summer by some of the parents that my courses should be a mandatory part of school curriculum, and less than a year later that has come to fruition. This is pretty much a dream come true! My course is called Artful Affirmations and will be offered as an elective to all middle-schoolers. I am so thrilled to offer these students a safe space to share their fears and insecurities, as well as offer them tools to help them shift their mindsets — because, honestly, have you ever met a teenager that doesn’t need some coping skills, a bit more self-confidence, and a lot more comfort in their own skin? The course itself will allow these kids to express some of their insecurities and roadblocks in a safe environment, and then I will help them artfully cope with those feelings by utilizing affirmations and creative journaling techniques. It is a blend of sociology, character education, and art all rolled into one. I utilized art and self-expression to get through some pretty challenging times in my life, so I am thrilled and honored to be able to share the gift with these kids! Wish me luck!
The Launch of a New Pipe Dream:
Anyone who knows my husband knows what a phenomenal coach he is. They also know what a gift he has for mentoring, connecting with, and getting through to the younger generation. He has an incredible knack for assessing, nurturing, and developing the skill-set and gifts of each individual athlete. It is his calling, what he was put on this earth to do. He has been lucky enough to find a career path that utilizes and strengthens those gifts. It brings him joy, and he wakes up each day with a purpose and a clear direction. I have long admired his self-awareness and his commitment to both himself and the kids he mentors. Bob and I decided over the summer that it would be a good idea for him to branch out in a way that helped him to give back to the local community, and spend more time with his daughters as he coached their respective teams. This decision lead him to launch a brand new AAU basketball program called The Mass Mavericks. The program was born out of my husband’s desire to enhance the character of each player by developing their appreciation of teamwork, commitment, and personal success. He wanted to develop a strong work-ethic and a commitment to both team and personal successes, by preparing each student-athlete for success on the court, in the classroom, and for the ever-changing challenges of life. I am so very proud of him, and wishing him much success with this new addition to his professional endeavors. He is giving these kids a gift and instilling them with much more than a love of the game. Go get ’em, Coach Pipe.
The Launch of a New Program for Women:
I can’t share too many details about this just yet, but I am thrilled to pieces about the collaboration! Without getting into too much detail, I want you to save the date of November 3, 2012. Step away from your everyday obligations and into your soul-space, which is absolutely clamoring for attention! This is going to be a day of reflecting, recharging, and rediscovering. More details will follow in the days and weeks to come, but this is a small event (12 women max) and early-bird registrants will receive a discount. Consider it like a buffet for your psyche and your spirit. You choose what your soul is hungry for and come take what we have to give. The goal of this program is to empower, create a sense of community, and help women rediscover who they are at their center. I so hope you will join me to experience all this day has to offer. It is completely designed BY women, FOR women – and you should definitely be a part of it. If you want any additional information or want to pre-register before registration opens, please contact me. And, stay tuned to my events page for updates and important information.
All this being said, it’s been a phenomenal summer and where I will be sad to put it to rest, I have really good feelings about the remainder of 2012.
In my absence, I hope you have all been enjoying yourselves and living life out loud. Please feel free to comment on this blog or reach out personally and let me know how you have been doing. I would very much love to hear from you!