As if

Can'tFail

“What’s one thing you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I saw this question posted on another website this week, and it’s been gnawing at me. I had an online conversation with a friend about it today, and she mentioned often feeling paralyzed by fear but didn’t think it was about failing. So, if not failure, of what are we afraid?

Often, behind our fears of putting ourselves out there or trying new things is some type of scarcity message. Brené Brown talks a lot about scarcity in her writings, and basically it’s the “not enough” messages that bombard us from all directions. If I write this book, it won’t be good enough to get published… I’m not smart enough to start my own business… I don’t have enough time to paint, and even if I did no one would like my work…

Maybe we don’t think of our “not enoughs” in terms of failing because we can’t see far enough past them to imagine having the opportunity to fail. And, I use the word ‘opportunity’ for a reason. At least if we fail at something, we know we tried. If we can’t get far enough past the scarcity messages to even try, of course we can’t imagine failing!

We all have those messages that create fear and often prevent us from going after what we really want and who we want to be. So, what do we do?

I was reminded today of a counseling technique developed by psychologist, Alfred Adler, whereby he would encourage his clients to behave as if they were already the person they wanted to be. So, if someone was struggling with lack of confidence, he would urge them to act “as if” they were already confident. I guess in some ways it’s similar to “fake it ’til you make it,” but I think it’s more than that. The technique requires the client in this example to reflect on how her life would be different if she were confident. How would she feel? How would she behave? What would she do differently? How would she carry herself? etc. Then, she’s encouraged to behave as if she is already confident, as if her life is already different.

I think this is fascinating! And brilliant! What if my friend writes her book “as if” it’s already been picked up by a publisher? How will that change her motivation? How will it affect her fear? What if an aspiring artist paints as if her art has been commissioned by the Louvre (or a local gallery if that’s in line with her goal)?  What if we squelch our scarcity messages by acting as if we are just the opposite? I’m not smart enough becomes, I’m going to act as if I’m totally smart enough to run my own business. And, the key to this technique is in the action – acting as if – not thinking as if. Thinking doesn’t cut it. So, how would I behave if I were running a successful business? How would my day be structured if I owned a thriving company/home business, whatever? How would I interact with others? See how it works?!?

Now, I’m not going to pretend that if we act “as if” our lives are exactly how we want them to be that we will never be afraid or that we will never hear another “not enough” message or that we will never fail. But, I, for one, am willing to see if it gets me far enough past those gremlins to give me a chance at becoming who I want to become or building what I want to build or creating what I want to create. What in the world do I have to lose by acting as if I already have the life I want? How might it encourage a different kind of reflection and a different way of being in the world?

How would your life be different if you were an artist, writer, business owner, (insert your dream here)? What have you got to lose by acting as if it’s already true? Try it with me and let me know how it’s going! Think of it as an experiment, which it essentially is. I’m in. Are you?

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Shine like a freaking supernova

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

I love this quote. I first saw it in a clip from the movie, Akeelah and the Bee. I love it, and I struggle with it. I feel inadequate and less than fabulous much of the time. I often wonder when I’ll be “found out,” that my life will be recognized as a fake it ’til you make it kind of rouse. I think I want to be brave. I wear a necklace now that reminds me every morning when I clasp it around my neck that I’ve declared my intention for my life – Be Brave. I think I want to let my light shine. I certainly want to help others feel permission to do the same. But, then I start overthinking things and my inner critic gets louder and louder, reminding me of my inadequacies and imperfections. Then playing small seems like a good idea, because at least then I’m not drawing attention to those parts that really don’t seem so fabulous.

I’m guessing I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’m guessing inside each of us is both a desire to let our lights shine brightly for the world and a paralyzing fear that if we do, we’ll regret it. We’ve fostered a culture of such judgment and criticism, comparison and shame that it’s no wonder we’re afraid to put ourselves out there. Offering our gifts to the world at the risk of them being rejected is terrifying. AND, I can’t help but wonder at what cost we hide our gifts from the world and play small.

Do you ever have the feeling that you’re meant to do something or say something or write something or create something or change something? Do you ever feel like if you keep your light, your gift, inside a minute longer that you’ll explode?

Here’s the thing, I’ve never given birth to another human being. But, part of my ‘midlife awakening’ has been this incredible urge to birth something – some unique offering that is part of me and of which I am a part – a gift that only I have to give this world. I haven’t quite put my finger on it or defined it completely. But, perhaps what I’m birthing is this new, brave me, this Marjorie who wants to live authentically and wholeheartedly and full of courage. Perhaps my unique contribution is Me… (I honestly haven’t thought of that until this very moment.)

So, I’ve made a commitment to myself and have set my intention to be brave with my life. More than that, I’ve made a commitment to help others do the same. Life is too short to hide. Life is too fleeting to live in fear of how we’ll be received, of what others think, of whether or not we’re meeting certain expectations. We all have gifts. Of that I am sure. We all have something unique to offer this world, and the world will miss out if we allow our fear to hold us back. Perhaps our most unique offering, our best gift to the world is ourselves: our imperfect, sometimes messy, brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous selves.

There’s so much talk in our culture about what we’re producing. What if the conversation were about who we’re creating? What if we all got in touch with who we are meant to be and who it is we can offer this world instead of what? I don’t know, but it’s worth considering, don’t you think?

Who we are is gift, and whatever we manifest in life is a direct reflection of who we are choosing to be at any given moment. When we allow our authentic selves to shine we gift others with the courage and permission to shine as well. Imagine a world in which we all owned our sparkle. Oh what a world it would be.

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#wordporn

To all the Single Ladies

Valentine’s Day. It’s the most dreaded day for so many singles. I can remember in grade school hating to walk by the school office on Valentine’s Day, knowing that many of my friends would have balloons and stuffed animals, flowers and candy waiting on them, expressions of adoration from their beloveds. *Sigh.* I was never one of the ones getting called to the office for a special delivery. It was torture.

The torture continued into my 20s and 30s. I was a perpetual “separate check,” never seeming to maintain any dating relationship through Valentine’s Day. Wait. Once, I did. I had a boyfriend one year for Valentine’s Day. He took me to Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. I planned a trip to the zoo. It was epic. Trust me. There are worse things than being single on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the thing. Our culture is obsessed with coupling. From early on we are taught through movies and tv, family traditions and societal “norms” that humans are destined to be paired with other humans, that somehow we are only half a person until we are joined to another. Well, I’m going to call BS on that one. In about a month and a half, I will turn 41. I am single and have been my entire life. I’ve never had a long term dating relationship, and I have no sense of certainty that I ever will. This used to bother me immensely. It was as if I was irreparably flawed, incapable of having a real life until I could say that some other human called me his love. Please, before you are tempted to “bless my heart” or feel sorry for me, let me stop you. I have a wonderful life. I am single, and I am whole. And, I love my life and the me – the complete, whole me – I am always in the process of creating.

Oh, the wasted time and energy on trying to understand, trying to figure out how I could attract love into my life… It took me a while, but I finally realized two very important things:

1. I have a LOT of love in my life. Right now I’m looking at a beautiful vase of white hydrangeas (my favorite) given to me by sweet friends. I have people who shower me with love and grace and so much goodness that I get overwhelmed when I think about it. I give and receive love by the buckets load on a regular basis, and it has nothing to do with being coupled. It is about family and friends and my people, and it is gift.

2. I must give love to myself first. I know this is a hard one for many of us, and it was difficult for me too. But, if I’ve learned anything in my almost 41 years it’s that self-loathing and criticism will destroy the human spirit. Learning to love ourselves – all of ourselves – is necessary and courageous. Accepting all of who we are and loving ourselves for all our quirks and messiness and imperfections is step number one to inviting more love into our lives. When we embrace ourselves as whole, complete persons and begin to live our lives as if we are whole and complete and worthy of love and belonging, we open ourselves to incredible beauty and opportunity.

Single friends (ladies and gents), YOU ARE NOT FLAWED because you are single, and you are not single because you are flawed. You are not broken or less than a whole person. You are, in fact, complete and worthy of love. So, on this Valentine’s Day, love yourself. Remind yourself of how beautiful and handsome and talented and fun and wonderful you are – just because you’re you. Do something nice for yourself, and for heaven’s sake, stop waiting for your life to start when… Your life is happening right now, and it will pass you by if you aren’t careful to wake up to its beauty and opportunity. Take it from somebody who wasted more time than I care to admit searching for the secret to true love and the key to happiness. Happiness is ours for the taking, but we have to choose it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find my “Prince Charming” or wear the white gown or be anybody’s Valentine. But, I know that loving myself and embracing my life as it is today and choosing to live with courage and authenticity has invited love into my life in ways I never imagined. And, I’m happy. Just me and my dog, and my people.

So, toss the black roses; stop watching sappy romantic comedies, and put down the pint of ice cream. Your life is better than you think. And, so are you.

Happy February 14th! … and 15th… and 16th… and… heart-762564_640

Perfectionism is Overrated

Perfectionism is highly overrated. While I describe myself as a “recovering perfectionist,” I must admit to being a total backslider. I used to think that perfectionism was somewhat noble in its drive to excel and to do and be the best I possibly can. I have since learned, however, that I have been operating out of erroneous assumptions about the merits of perfectionism.

Turns out perfectionism is a total ruse. According to Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection, 2010),

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and self-growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame.

Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn acceptance and approval.

Ouch. Moreover, she writes, “Where perfectionism exists, shame is always lurking. In fact, shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.” *deep sigh*

So, let’s be honest here. I’m not narcissistic enough to believe that I can actually achieve perfection. The truth is, I usually feel so far from perfect that it’s depressing. Really. For example, when I write I so carefully craft my words, taking into consideration how they might be received by various readers. It’s exhausting. I do not want to be judged. I want you, my readers, to love me and approve of my every word. On the rare occasion that I fire off a quick, unedited email or text, I am immediately hurled into this dreadful space of self-doubt and criticism. What if I didn’t say that right? What if my grammar and punctuation were off? (And, yes, I am that person who punctuates my text messages.) Did that sound stupid or silly or …?

And, my ability to berate myself into an oblivion? Matchless.

I know I am not alone in my perfectionism. I can write about this only because I know that oh so many of you can relate. I know I’m not the only one who feels that wash of shame when I think I’ve said or done something “stupid” or “wrong.” I know I’m not the only one who replays conversations in my head hoping I sounded smart enough or together enough. I know. I am not alone in my perfectionism.

Here’s the catch. No matter how hard I try to be perfect (write perfectly, say perfect things, be perfectly put together), I’m still not perfect. And, there are times when I still feel shame, am still judged, and sometimes rejected. This seems to be the reality of life.

Beyond all of that, the truth is that I AM NOT PERFECT. I don’t feel perfect on the inside, so as Glennon Doyle Melton writes, perhaps it’s time for my “insides and outsides to match somehow.”

Perfectionism does not serve me. The hustle is not rewarding. It’s exhausting. So, it’s time to work on embracing my imperfections. It’s time to acknowledge that I’m ok and enough. It’s time to let go of all those crazy expectations and to believe that my life is beautiful; imperfect though it may be…

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Change is good

Sometimes you just need a little change. It’s a new year – 2016 (can you believe it??) – and I decided this blog needed a little facelift and a new look. I can say that last year did NOT go quite as planned. However, I can also say that in spite of some pretty heartbreaking circumstances, it might have been my best year yet. Last year I made a LOT of changes. I cleared some cobwebs out of my heart, purged all my stuff and freed myself of some excess baggage, downsized my life (and upsized my living), and woke up to what has turned out to be a really good life.

I’m kind of proud of myself. Don’t get me wrong. 2015 wasn’t the easiest year. In fact, most of it was pretty hard, and parts of it were downright brutal. Waking up can be painful. We get cozy tucked in our warm, safe, well-known lives, so when it’s time to wake up to something new, it can be hard. But, as Glennon Doyle Melton so aptly puts it, “We can do hard things.” I just read her book, Carry on, Warrior, in about 6 hours over this past weekend. There were so many things I loved about it. Her honest revelation of an often challenging life had me saying, “Yes! I get that!” One of my favorite lines, though, and the one that will absolutely stick with me was this: “Let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful (p 263).” Seriously. “Let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful.”

This might be my mantra for 2016. I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago, because I usually just ended up failing miserably at them, then feeling guilt and remorse for being such a resolution reject. I saw an idea circulating on Facebook wherein people were choosing “their word” for the year. I waited a while for my word to come. When it did, it was so clearly the word I needed. It’s trust. I need to trust myself. Trust my journey. Trust God. Trust my friends. Trust my inner wisdom. Trust my gifts. Trust my training. TRUST. And, I need to let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful.

I actually think I do believe that. In this moment, anyway, despite the relative lack of beauty in this dreadfully rainy day. Usually the absence of sun puts me in really negative space. But, today my focus is elsewhere. I’ve been practicing gratitude lately, and it makes all the difference. Changing one’s perspective, much like freshening one’s space (even virtual space), can serve us in so many ways. It’s like waking up to a new day with renewed energy and anticipation.

So, bring it on, 2016. This year will be different. I will trust. I will keep being brave and inviting change. I will “Let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful.

May it be so.

 

Sometimes you need a little Christmas

I used to be one of those people. You know, those people who have all the rules about holiday mash-ups. No jack-o-lanterns with turkeys with Christmas trees. Get through one holiday before moving on to the next one. I used to carry my Christmas cds with me to my parents’ house at Thanksgiving just so I could play them full volume on the drive home – AFTER we’d feasted on turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole. After Santa had made his appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

I used to have all those rules, too. But not this year. Not today. No, today, I needed a little Christmas. I needed light to break through the darkness heralding a message of hope and love. I needed to hear the sounds of angels singing, “Peace, goodwill on earth.”

In my own season of grief following my dad’s death, I’ve been palpably aware of the sadness around me. Being in touch with the fragility of life – Dad’s, mine, yours, theirs – I can’t help but be more in tune with others’ grief. My heart aches for Paris, for Beirut, and Baghdad, for Kenya and South Sudan, for those whose reasons to grieve never make the news or warrant a hashtag on social media.

It’s easy to get caught up in the media frenzy surrounding global tragedy, to ride its wave until it dissipates or shifts to the next big news story. But, for those involved, the pain doesn’t dissipate with the media coverage. The survivors, family and friends of those most directly in the wake of destruction are still picking up the pieces long after the news of their event is “old.” Their grief goes deeper and farther than manipulated profile pictures and retweeted hashtags.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate displays of support, no matter how small they may seem. And, I’m uncomfortably aware of their inadequacy.

So, this morning, I tuned into Sufjan Stevens’ Holiday station on Pandora, and I got myself ready for church to the sounds of Christmas (two whole weeks before Thanksgiving!).

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Forget the rules. Go after your message of hope. Seek out your light in the darkness. We all need a little Christmas (even in November).

confession…

They say confession is good for the soul. I’m not sure who “they” are, but my soul needs some good and I need to confess a few things. First of all, I’m terrible at blogging. I had all these big ideas about tapping into my midlife awakening and my creative celebration of my 40th year, regaling my audience with meaning filled stories of life and self discovery. Truth is, I haven’t felt very creative. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been celebrating. I’ve been making changes in my life that have propelled me forward, moving me closer to the life I really want to be living. And, I have discovered a lot about myself along the way. I just haven’t really figured out a way to write about it with any regularity. One of my discoveries is that I’m the kind of writer that writes when I feel compelled to get the words out of my head and heart and onto the page. It’s why my last post didn’t really fit into #FeastingonForty. I needed to write it, though.

Honestly, a good deal of what I feel compelled to write about these days doesn’t seem to fit into my blog series idea. But, then again, maybe it does… Part of the intention behind #FeastingonForty was to engage in my life in new ways. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve been that person who has been more of an observer in life than a participant. I even figured out how to make a career out of it. But, that doesn’t really fit anymore. It isn’t enough to keep a safe distance from my own life. I need to fully engage, to take some risks and to embrace this one wild and precious life.

My dad died four and a half weeks ago. It was an event for which I had prepared myself inasmuch as anyone can. He was 85. He had end stage coronary artery disease. His health had been steadily declining for the past 3 years. But, the thing is, I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared at all. My role in life has been to keep a safe distance, to maintain control, to keep it together. When I got the call about my dad, every ounce of control was relinquished to some force outside myself. There was no way to distance myself from the pain of what my family was experiencing. I could not keep it together. It was brutal. The whole experience was brutal. And… I discovered something new about myself. Sometimes the experience of pain is the best reminder that I’m alive.

It might sound crazy, and perhaps it is a little unconventional. But, through the intense emotional pain I’ve felt over the past few weeks I’ve realized that, as frightening as it may be, I really do have the freedom to let down my armor and allow myself to engage fully and wholeheartedly in my life – both in the joy and pain of it.

I’ve been saying that a lot, I know, but I have a different experience of it now. It’s been a while since I’ve allowed myself a really good cry – and not just a good cry but a cry to which others bore witness, a cry that heralded my fragile humanity and intense vulnerability. The grief over my dad’s death unleashed something within me that had been trapped inside for some time. My usual sense of control abandoned me, and my zipped up emotions spilled out in almost violent ways. And in the process I realized that I. am. alive. And, I have one life – one wild and precious life, and I get to choose how I live it. We all do. That’s the power of awakening (and apparently confession).

My beloved Charleston…

I’m proud of my city today. As I pour over the posts, pictures, and videos showing the many ways in which its citizens have come together over the past few days, I’m proud. I’m impressed that we have followed the humble leadership of the victims’ families, choosing prayer over protest and grace over retribution. The thousands who joined hands across the bridge last night made quite a statement to our city and to our world.

I didn’t make it to that event. To be honest, I was exhausted. The emotional impact of the week was intense, and I didn’t have the energy to shed even one more tear. And, to be brutally honest, I was suspicious of the whole thing. I was afraid that it would be a gathering of white people attempting to make ourselves feel better about being White. I was afraid that the only message it would communicate to our Black brothers and sisters was that we know how to exploit media opportunities and to restore Charleston’s reputation as a gracious host.

I see now I was wrong. I see now that it was indeed a beautiful show of solidarity and a pure expression of love and hope. I was relieved when I saw pictures from the bridge of how many people showed up, of which people showed up – white and black, young child and senior adult – hand in hand, spanning more than two miles of bridge and extending further than a camera lens could capture. I’m grateful I was wrong.

And now I can’t help but wonder, where do we go from here? What happens next? Petitions to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds are circulating, and leaders are speaking out. It’s a good start, but will it be enough? T-shirts and bumper stickers are being printed. Charleston has its own power-filled hashtags – #CharlestonStrong, #UnityCharleston, #PrayforCharleston, etc. It’s a good start, but will it be enough? Will it be enough to spark new conversations around dinner tables? Will it be enough to build new bridges? Will it be enough to fundamentally change the attitudes and perceptions around race in this state? In this country?

Since I woke up to the news Thursday morning I’ve wanted to say something, to do something. I’ve read statements from across the country – some of which have made my stomach turn due to the ignorance with which they were made, others of which read like a punch in the gut due to the truth to which they pointed.

To pretend that Wednesday night’s massacre was anything less than an act of racial terrorism is to perpetuate the violence. Dylann Roof’s motive was clear, his actions calculated; and both were based on his belief in the supremacy of one race over another. To ignore the facts or to make attempts at softening them in any way is tantamount to harboring terrorists. We must change.

If we really want to honor the nine victims of Wednesday night’s attack, we must take action beyond symbols. I’m all for symbols, don’t get me wrong, but symbols have no power beyond that to which they point. To what truth will all those joined hands direct us? To what end will the hashtags and t-shirts and bumper stickers be shared?

I’m glad we’ve honored her, but I’m not worried about Emanuel AME Church. Christianity is about resurrection, and Emanuel has risen before. She will rise again. Perhaps she already has. I’m not worried about the families of the nine victims. They have already shown us all the power of a faith that can move mountains. They will continue to grieve their loss. They will face unspeakably difficult days ahead. And when they do, they will turn to their God and to one another to help pick up the pieces and move forward.

But, what about the rest of us? Will we continue to heed their humble leadership? Will we turn to God and to one another? What will we do to move forward?

I don’t have the answers and would never pretend to. But, I was reminded this week of a video filmed only hours after Walter Scott’s murder. The video captured his family, circled together, singing. The words? “I’m gonna treat everybody right. I’m gonna treat everybody right. I’m gonna treat everybody right ’til I die.”

Perhaps it isn’t the only answer, but it sure seems like a good place to start. May it at the very least be so.

The Inaugural Feast on Forty

I mentioned two posts ago that I’m planning a year long celebration of my 40th birthday (#feastingonforty). Well, yesterday was the big kick off, and I kicked it off with a few of my favorite things. For starters, I went to a local bakery and picked up a loaf of the yummiest ever cinnamon swirl bread (toasted with a little buttery spread). With it, I enjoyed a cup of Hazelnut Cream cofDSC_0094fee served in one of my favorite mugs. The artwork you see in the picture is a one-of-a-kind original by my sweet godson. Isn’t it the best? I can’t imagine a better way to have started my day! The artwork was an important piece of this breakfast feast. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have really special people in my life. And, the little guy whose hand formed that birthday cake will always have a very special place in my heart. His mom is one of my very best friends, and his dad – well, when that sweet baby boy was only a few weeks old – his dad came to my rescue when my glass ornament adorned Christmas tree came crashing to the ground. Special memories and beautiful friendships are a vital part of my feast!

The celebrating continued at lunch with another special friend. Since she’s my most glamorous friend, it was only fitting that our lunch be glamorous as well. DSC_0099  Seriously, this meaDSC_0100l was a work of art. We sat outside in the courtyard on what was perhaps the most perfect DSC_0102day ever. The temperature was ideal, the breeze gentle, and the sun bright. I couldn’t have designed a better day to celebrate being alive another year.

I met my friend nine years ago when I was first planning to move here. At the time she was the assistant to my Realtor, and now she’s a Broker, a boss, and a truly valued friend. What I most love about her is her ability to say it straight. I trust her to tell me the truth, even if (maybe especially if) it isn’t what I want to hear. And, the feast on friendship continues…

I left lunch yesterday feeling particularly grateful. Already, I had experienced such fullness of life and grace and gift, and I knew it would continue. That’s the amazing part to me – when I stop and take the time to notice, my life is full of so much, so many people and experiences that I mostly take for granted. One of the reasons I wanted to pursue this “Feast on Forty” is so I would wake up to the wonder that already exists in my life and to appreciate it – really appreciate it, savor it, even. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.

I indulged my desire for a little pampering after lunch yesterday and went for a mani/pedi. It was lovely. The little shop I go to has those giant massage chairs. Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing to me that a really big chair and some pretty impressive technology can knead away knots and transport me to a totally relaxed state. (Never mind the side benefit of super cute toes!)

There’s another lesson: Sometimes it’s the little things that have the most impact. I know there are small gestures, seemingly insignificant experiences, that if noticed could change someone’s day, or life even! I’m learning that perspective and being awake to one’s life is everything. Having an appreciation for the little things sets us up for being prepared to embrace the big things when they come along.

This feast is reminding me of all the little gifts that add up to a really full and beautiful life. Like IMG_1612the birthday hat and balloons somebody brought to my after church birthday fiesta. My friend who brought them likely had no idea how her kindness impacted my night (nor how her humor touches my life). My idea was to invite some really fun people to eat Mexican and help me round out my first day of feasting. When I got to the restaurant, there stood several friends with a  big bouquet of balloons and super fun birthday hat. Of course, the result of this gesture was swift identification as the birthday girl and ensuing wishes of good cheer from complete strangers.

I was joined by 20 friends who gifted me with their presence (and presents) and reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am. One friend who couldn’t come (the mom of my adorable godson) had baked cupcakes for the occasion, aIMG_1617nd our other really good friend brought them to the restaurant with her super fabulous cupcake display thingy (which she, of course, would have because she’s just fabulous like that). And, we ate and drank and laughed and told stories and feasted together. It was exactly what I had wanted – to be surrounded by the people and sounds and smells that I love. And, I ate and drank and laughed and danced and embraced my most authentic, imperfect self. It was divine.

Yesterday was the embodiment of what I want for my life: friendship, appreciation for the little things, the ability to savor moments of pure joy, laughter, engaging conversation, fond memories, delight. For me, it all adds up to a really beautiful life.

So, here’s to the beginning of what is sure to be a full year. Let the feasting continue… IMG_1614

It’s ma birthday!

Well, today’s the big day. I woke up early this morning feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I can’t tell you the last time I was this excited about a birthday. And it hasn’t disappointed. I’ve savored every moment of it, feeling nothing but gratitude and oh so much joy.

And, so begins my year long feast on 40! I had every intention of writing my first official Feasting on Forty post before midnight tonight. However, after a very full day of indulgence (feasting on food, friendship, and all things delightful), I really need a nap… a long one… Alas, it will wait until tomorrow when I will have time and presence of mind to upload photos and tell you what my day has really been been about. (Did I mention it’s been good?)

Happy Birthday to me!