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Perseverance is Power. Inspiration to Keep Keeping On...

The concept of perseverance has been top of mind lately. Though it may not be PC to talk politics, I was deeply moved by President Obama's speech and quite a few other speeches (Michelle Obama and the Khan family) at the Democratic National Convention. Even though we may not agree with all Obama's policies or actions, he is a dynamic speaker, brilliant mind and the kind of leader I admire. When he mentioned that “Hilary doesn't quit,” that really stood out to me. Whether you are with Hilary or not, I have to say, that is true. (Michelle agrees too.) Perseverance beyond all odds is what inevitably leads to achievement, because no matter how long it takes, if you are diligent and keep your eye on the prize, success will come in some form or another.        
Perseverance is “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.“ I'd like to honor perseverance within all of us and offer a gentle reminder to keep at our dreams, no matter what. There are countless stories could offer on the power of steadfast determination despite all odds.

Bi-Coastal Dreaming.... Photo Credits: Kober Christian & Travel Noire

Bi-Coastal Dreaming.... Photo Credits: Kober Christian & Travel Noire

One of my inspiring clients dreamed of living a bi-coastal life...but there were lots of obstacles in the way. To have one home on the east coast and another on the west coast, is no easy feat for a single, independent woman without a trust fund. To be a high-achieving women in the work force, one must have a long list of positive values...confidence, strength, intelligence, being personable, decisiveness, creativity and so much more. First things first, was her desire for positive change and living with more authenticity and joy. With the support of our coaching work together, renewed confidence led to more respect at work and increased abundance. There was an inner-knowing that she could accomplish this dream. Compared to LA, securing an apt in NYC is rather difficult and many roadblocks pushed her to temporarily give her apartment search a break. But she still had her goal in mind and didn't give up. Months later she tried again and was so excited when she signed the NYC lease and officially achieved her goal of bi-coastal living. I was so thrilled, as it brings me so much joy when I see dreams becoming fulfilled.

Over the years, I have witnessed my clients take leaps of faith and continue on, despite defeat and rejection, to achieve their goals. From being unemployed for months and persistently looking for work in creative ways and finally landing an ideal job, to one entrepreneur being miserable with her current undesirable clients and then standing her power to state her boundaries, attract new clients she loved and slowly, gently releasing the clients that no longer served her. Her personal life blossomed from sheer determination towards positive transformation. She was persistent in the practice of opening her heart, pushing the envelope of vulnerability and existing outside of the comfort zone. She is now glowing in an exciting new career path, jet setting and inspiring others with her effortless grace, style and compassion.

I'm always inspired by my visionary husband. When he has a clear picture of what he wants to create, it's like tunnel vision and he will do whatever it takes and be as patient as necessary, until his project has come to fruition. I saw this with our home, which was a total fixer upper. When we first looked at the house, I was like “hell no” and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. But he had a vision that I could not see. I let him roll with his vision and he designed the building to be a work of art for the neighborhood, eventually we opened a business there for many to enjoy. Everything about that process was difficult and without perseverance & patience, our situation would've been a lot worse...and it was already crazy, enough so that I get threats he'll write a screen play about our lives at that time. It won't be pretty. Me living in a dusty fixer upper in Bed Stuy with neighbors that thought the street was their daily night club, crime abound, a precious newborn & zero sleep? I was in rare form!

Our backyard used to look like a garbage dump. I am not kidding when I say one day a neighbor decided to literally throw her baby's diaper out of her back window into my backyard instead of her own garbage can! As you can imagine, when I saw the diaper flying, I nearly lost it!  Without perseverance and vision, this would've never existed! So many people came to enjoy our space in the day.

Our backyard used to look like a garbage dump. I am not kidding when I say one day a neighbor decided to literally throw her baby's diaper out of her back window into my backyard instead of her own garbage can! As you can imagine, when I saw the diaper flying, I nearly lost it!  Without perseverance and vision, this would've never existed! So many people came to enjoy our space in the day.

During New York Fashion Week last season, I met a stylist that told me how for the last 20 years he always kept pursuing his dream of becoming a successful stylist. He never said no to test photo shoots to build up the beautiful photography in his portfolio, which over time, led to him working with the most famous faces in the world and a spot on America's Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. He was so confident & had such clarity on how he achieved success. I will never forget it. Perseverance was the answer to his dreams and he was glowing.

A story from one of my favorite podcasts “The Accidental Creative” with Todd Henry , my ultimate productivity guru, really resonated with me. One day the guest, who is a film and television producer, was having dinner with accomplished friends, including Academy-nominated film makers. He stated, “The sum of the whole evening was...You definitely need a base line of talent..but beyond that it's all about perseverance. All around the table the conclusion was...If you put 2 actors in a room, 2 directors in a room, 2 writers in a room, 2 producers in a room, one of them has A Level Talent and B Level perseverance and the other has B Level talent and A Level perseverance. Our money is on the B talent and A perseverance guy every time. And that's just a cheesy cliché, that's actually based on real life...what these people have found in his careers.”

Slow and steady wins the race. Despite our modern society of instant gratification and wanting everything yesterday, it's so important to enjoy the journey and just don't give up. I was given this advice when I was informed by an intuitive energy healer I saw who shared--- I have been in a race with myself. It really did hit home because it was true. I see all the amazing work everyone is doing out there and I'd love to be at their pace, but it's not my journey right now. Where I am, is where I'm supposed to be. This newfound wake-up call has given me such a wonderful peace of mind. Acceptance allows me to enjoy the journey and not constantly rush towards the end goal.

How do you persevere in your life? What goals are you looking to achieve and what will it take to get there? One step and time, just don't give up. Living a life of dreams deferred is no fun. Just do it. Please share what you are up to.


Here are some highlights from the Spark Collective Workshop @ Thompson Square Studios. We had such a fantastic group of women join us for a very special evening. I am grateful.

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Introducing...THE SPARK COLLECTIVE...an evening of personal empowerment

For all you NYC dwellers who love feeling great, taking some reflective me-time and desire to be reinvigorated by fresh perspectives on life, come join me to experience Transformational Coaching at my next wellness and personal empowerment workshop, The Spark Collective.

The Spark Collective by Hope McGrath

Thompson Square Studios and Tigist Helen Schmidt proudly present the The Spark Collective by Hope McGrath on Tuesday, June 21st 7- 10:00pm. Transformational Coach Hope McGrath offers an evening of personal empowerment and fun with an enlightening workshop on rediscovering your radiance. 

What to expect:

  • Indulge in visualizations and gain clarity about your inner desires and big dreams
  • Learn mindfulness practices to offer stress relief, a sense of calm and joy in the present moment
  • Experience insights in your authentic self to begin to radiate your power in fresh new ways
  • Potential to win a complimentary coaching demo with Hope
  • Subtle mindsets shifts just may arise
  • Connect with like-minded souls who place a priority in living with more joy and peace of mind.
  •  A mini dance class with the talented dancer and Zumba instructor extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores.
  • Tasty lite bites and delicious wines provided by Ruffino Wines

The Spark Collective is for those who:

  • Desire to learn new tools to relieve stress from work and life
  • Enjoy experiencing new personal development modalities to feel their best
  • Open to new tips for mindful living
  • Value the importance of self-care & wellness
  • Desire clarity on life's purpose and next steps and would welcome some insights
  • Interested in learning more about the power of transformational coaching
  • Desire to blossom at work and live with true love therefore fresh perspectives are welcome
  • Are ready to let their light shine bright and want to open up space for their radiance
  • Love to meet new amazing people and making real connections
  • Could use some radical transformations in personal life with love + work

TUESDAY, JUNE 21ST, 2016

7 PM - 9:30 PM

THOMPSON SQUARE STUDIOS
54 THOMPSON STREET, FL3, NYC

RSVP is a must, limited space available.

*****Please be on time.


At the Spark Collective we will be treated to a mini-dance class by dance teacher extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores. Hailing from South America, Bethina is trained in Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, and belly dancing. Currently, she's having a great time teaching Zumba. "I love to teach Zumba because I can both dance and teach different rhythms.  It makes me happy and I love to spread the joy and love I feel every time I teach dance." Trust me, her energy is electric. The dancing is optional, so no pressure, but I will inspire you let go and have fun.

At the Spark Collective we will be treated to a mini-dance class by dance teacher extraordinaire Bethina Sayegh Flores. Hailing from South America, Bethina is trained in Jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, and belly dancing. Currently, she's having a great time teaching Zumba. "I love to teach Zumba because I can both dance and teach different rhythms.  It makes me happy and I love to spread the joy and love I feel every time I teach dance." Trust me, her energy is electric. The dancing is optional, so no pressure, but I will inspire you let go and have fun.


The Spark Collective came about after a conversation with my client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt about how to share the incredible transformative coaching techniques and intuitive healing I use in an in-person group setting....with a lux vibe that I love of course.

When I asked Tigist, why she wanted to host the Spark Collective and spread the word about the effective life-changing work I do, she shared some thoughts with me...

Hope's Q: What were the top three factors that led you to hire me as your coach?

Tigist's A: I was at my bottom, even though I was supposedly doing what I wanted. I knew that I couldn't do it by myself anymore and I also realized that I didn't have to. The first time I met you, I knew you had an extraordinary gift and therefore referred to you to my best friend. I witnessed closely how my friend's life transformed. So, I knew I had to be ready.

Hope's Q: What are the 4 words which describe what it's like to work with me?

Tigist's A: Effective. Powerful. Intuitive. Transformational.

Hope's Q: What was unique or unexpected about working with me?

Tigist's A: Every session is different and I started to learn to enjoy the process. I am amazed every time, how you can tap into what I need from moment to moment.

Hope's Q: What has surprised you about yourself?  What is different about you and your life? What did you learn?

Tigist's A: What hasn't surprised me? And there is still so much more to uncover. I didn't know how deep a coaching session can be. Overall, I feel much more connected to myself, my desires, my loved ones. I am also a lot more grateful.  I have learned so much along the way in six months, but one thing I know for sure...anything is possible.

Hope's Q: How do you normally feel after a coaching session with me?

Tigist's A: I always have more insights and therefore feel empowered every time.

Hope's Q: What is a metaphor or image that describes our work together?

Tigist's A: Coaching is like working hand in hand with an angel on your innermost dreams.

I was so moved by the last quote by Tigist. This is precisely the reason why I do what I do....to support creatives and changemakers in achieving their life's passions....whether it be finding true love and shifting our mindset to do so, blossoming at work with confidence, healing and rediscovering your light to shine bright, radiating your authenticity and setting actionable steps towards your goals. We are always about moving forward into the future of our best lives. I have all these intentions for myself and I love partnering with special souls to join me on the path.

Let me say that I am living proof of the possibilities of transformation in baby steps. You may be surprised to hear this, but I often felt like I dimmed my light in the past.  Launching my own website and posting nice photos of myself online is a huge move for me...had to push past all sorts of limiting beliefs. (I will be touching on sorts of these topics in the future.) I'm not at ease in the modern selfie world of overexposure, so it's been difficult for me to get with the program.  Not only that, I spent much of my life with a fear of public speaking, so offering talks at my events and others is actually me pushing past my fear. Despite the fact that I have had some successful public speaking experiences in the past...I'm still scared to do it. Can't wait until the fear subsides but I know I just have to keep doing it.  I really am all about pushing through fear nowadays, wasn't always the case.  I love supporting my clients in this realm. I also try to teach my daughter to 'dare greatly,' as Brene Brown would say, when life offers her the opportunity to quit or push forward and not give up.

The Spark Collection is hosted by my fabulous client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt, Actor, Activist and Founder of Selam Productions and GOURSHA.

The Spark Collection is hosted by my fabulous client and friend Tigist Helen Schmidt, Actor, Activist and Founder of Selam Productions and GOURSHA.


The Spark Collective will be taking place at the new chic private membership club Thompson Square Studios, a luxurious space for work and enjoyment.

So thrilled to introduce our wine sponsor Ruffino Wines who will be offering delectable select wines at The Spark Collective.

So thrilled to introduce our wine sponsor Ruffino Wines who will be offering delectable select wines at The Spark Collective.

Please spread the love to your friends who you believe may be interested in The Spark Collective.

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What Do You Desire?

What do you desire to create? How do you desire to live? Who do you desire to surround yourself with? How do you desire to feel?  I recently came across this notion of desire vs. wants and it's had a profound effect on me and my work as a Transformational Coach.  Desire derives from desiderare, a Latin word that means "to await what the stars will bring." The Latin word siderus means "star or heavenly body," reminiscent of the folklore that people wish upon a star for what they most desire. Compare this perspective to “want,” with one definition being “a sense of lack, the state of being without something desired or needed.”  Forget 'wanting' anything anymore...let's connect with the stars aligning with desire.

I'm all about tapping into what we desire while maintaining the importance of finding joy and peace in the present moment. This philosophy alone is quite contradictory, but I am adamant on trying to capture that balance between striving and growing with gratitude. Gaining clarity and rediscovery on our desires will be top of mind at the salon-style wellness-inspired benefit 'Desire to Destiny' on Sunday, May 15th in Brooklyn, supporting The Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

Below are the post-event photos showing the joyful experience we all shared. Photos courtesy of Nicholas Pierre.

What do you desire to create? This is a difficult question for some and others it can feel crystal clear but so far off in the distance. We have so many facets of our lives and some may feel in sync while other areas need extra attention. Take into consideration all these aspects of your life...love & romance, creativity, spirituality, friendships & family, fun and recreation, career, finances, health & wellness. We can't possibly be at the top of our game with everything, but what we can do is take the time to reflect and decide what is most important to us right now & set some wheels in motion towards personal development and growth in our desired areas of the moment.

One of my coaching clients has the financial quadrant of her life in perfect order. She has no qualms about her finances and has a strong relationship with money. It's love and overall personal relationships that she is persistently taking steps towards transforming. Through my transformational coaching program she has developed a stronger sense of self to stand firm in her beliefs and what she deserves. This has allowed for those inner circle relationships to strengthen but we are still on the path to opening the heart for authentic intimate love.  Yet I am still in awe how she accomplished her clear goal of living a bi-coastal life with an apartment on the East and West coast. Despite many obstacles, she did achieve that goal with much diligence & the radiant confidence that blossomed through her dedication to self-love and personal development. This overall radiance is evident and as a result she has garnered respect and is in-demand as a creative professional. When you are in-demand, bi-coastal living is possible if you want, can't you? I admire my coaching client on many levels for her dedication to growing and living life to the fullest on her terms.  We are all on the path and it's important to know what we desire and where we want to go with it.

I'm not one to believe we can all 'have it all."  Different phases of life bring forth fresh values. Isn't it great to be clear on where we are right now? This clarity is what evades many of us. The inherent fear of judgement, failure and self-doubt stands in the way of our potential. We must persevere! As a coach I thrive on supporting creatives and change-makers to push through those cob webs and stand in their light to start taking action towards personal goals and dreams. This is my passion. Life is not perfect and I as a 'recovering perfectionist' myself I have to constantly remind myself to stay present, be grateful and 'just do it' regardless of those fearful thoughts that have stood in my way.

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As a Prince fanatic and aside from the devastation from his recent passing, I found such sadness in learning that he was living in pain for a long time, but always just kept on telling all those close to him “I'm ok.” According to an article in The New York Times, Prince was able to hide his painkiller addictions from most. He always insisted the show must go on and disregarded his truth of needing rest and help. When Prince finally agreed to accept help, it came to him one day too late. Covering up the imperfections can only last so long. To free ourselves, its important to get clarity about what we desire and be open to the support and love coming our way. How fitting are two quotes from Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly, "When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be." "Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support." A powerful, gentle reminder for us all not to let pride get in the way. Much easier said than done.

Join us, Benjamin Le Hay, Billy Morrissette and Funmilyo of Fusha Dance as we celebrate the beauty of community at our salon-style wellness benefit supporting Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. You'll be sure to leave us reinvigorated with at least a few fresh insights for your future, some mindfulness practices and if you are daring and open to the healing vibes of African dance, I have recruited my master Congolese teacher Funmilyo Chesney to teach us a mini-dance class, it's optional, don't worry. In honor of Prince...you can channel your “Sexy MF'er shakin' that ass.” Those drums can get you going, but sorry it' not going to turn into a Prince party.

Funmilayo doing her thing. Peep me on back up

Funmilayo doing her thing. Peep me on back up

Come join us if you are local, support those in desperate need in Brooklyn and get inspired.  Suggested donation is $20.

Spread the word to friends you feel may be interested......

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Creatives & Changemakers Profile: DJ Rekha on music, achievement & passion

I'm excited to introduce a new profile series "Creatives & Changemakers."  I have always loved to surround myself with creativity. The intention for this new profile series is to highlight creative people that fascinate and inspire me. These changemakers are igniting shifts in our consciousness through their unique contributions to our world.  I am proud to introduce this interview with internationally renowned DJ Rekha, hailed as the “Ambassador of Bhangra” by The New York Times. DJ Rekha is founder and producer of one of the longest running & most successful parties in NYC, Basement Bhangra and Bollywood Disco. She produces a weekly radio show Bhangra & Beyond & has an international audience...including President Obama when she was spinning in the East Room of the White House! Her accolades go on and on. We actually go way back since our childhood in Westbury, Long Island and I'm thrilled to be able to spread the love and share her inspiring gifts.  The next Basement Bhangra's 19th Year Birthday Bash on Thursday, April 7th. I hope you can join me on the dance floor.

Photo courtesty of Sangament Media  

Photo courtesty of Sangament Media

 

Hope's Q: When I think back to our childhood in Long Island, for me personally, music ruled my world. Fast forward a decade and I would hear our friends say, ”Hey, did you know Rekha is a DJ?” The Westbury crew was oh so proud. You introduced me to the world of Bhangra, as you have done for countless others. What were your early influences in cultivating your love of music?

DJ Rekha's A: I had a array of early influences. One of them was Indian music that my parents listened to. We had a car and yes, I'm that old—where we had a 8-track player in the car. They had this one cassette called Film Hits '72, the best film hits from Indian movies of 1972, and if you know what an 8-track is, it's endless. It just keeps repeating. The other thing I listened to was the radio...and the radio in the '70's was magic, or it feels that way. When we moved to Long Island from Queens, I was introduced to a whole new world, because the community there was very mixed, African-American, Caribbean-American, and so I got exposed to a whole other range of music. But the other major influence at 9 years old was that John Lennon died. Due to John Lennon's death, there was so much Beatles music everywhere---it was 20 years ago that The Beatles came, it was 10 years that this happened, it was this anniversary--I just felt like even though they were not exactly of my generation, I was surrounded by The Beatles and I really got involved. The thing that really helped me discover music was the public library. The Westbury Public Library had a tremendous music collection and there were these magazines that printed lyrics. I learned the lyrics of a lot of songs before I knew the songs.

Hope's A: Wow, such a broad range of influences. Reminiscing over that library.

Hope & DJ Rekha @ Basement Bhangra, NYC

Hope & DJ Rekha @ Basement Bhangra, NYC

DJ Rekha's A: That's kind of my earliest rounds of influences, and then at some point in Long Island I got into this radio station called WLIR, which played what we would call now electronic dance music. Then it was called New Wave. There were all these different things happening, the Indian stuff, Casey Kasem's American Top 40, KISS FM which was tremendous for us growing up. It was everything.

Hope's A: I loved WLIR and was obsessed with 'new wave'...loved the punk 80s looks and vibing off The Smiths and The Cure! But then again... YES, KISS FM was my everything, my life revolved around that music, classic soul, hip-hop, R&B, reggae. Oh we are aging ourselves...the good ol' days.

DJ Rekha's A: I started listening to this station called WBAI who had these great music shows.. and one time they did a whole Prince special. And we were into Prince then anyway--Purple Rain--but I got to hear old Prince. And I was just hooked and hooked.

Hope's A: Oh, my God, yes. Absolutely. Beyond hooked on Prince.

DJ Rekha's A: I mean, I gotta tell you this Prince story.

Hope's A: Please do.

DJ Rekha's A: I was so hooked on Prince, and going to Westbury High School, I remember being let out of class with a friend, so we could call up from the office in school to get Prince tickets. Our assistant principal Mr. Reed, rest in peace, actually asked his cousin who worked at the school if we could use her credit card! So I went it to the show and it gets better. The ticket stated to wear something purple. So the only thing I had was this sweater that had strawberries on it, but it was purple and I wore it. I felt like such a dork--wearing this weird sweater that had purple strawberries on it. But I was like, 'it said wear purple.'

 

Rekha & Hope, Prince obsessed Long Island kids. I'm so hatin' on Rekha for experiencing the Purple Rain tour. Still mad Mom!!!!  

Rekha & Hope, Prince obsessed Long Island kids. I'm so hatin' on Rekha for experiencing the Purple Rain tour. Still mad Mom!!!!

 

Hope's A: LOL! That is unbelievable. Well, my devastating Prince story is that my brother and I begged on our knees (literally) to my mother to see the Purple Rain tour. I think I was 14 and he was 12. Of course her answer was no way whatsoever. Because it was raunchy, and she knew it, and--to this day my brother & I will never forget, yet still trying to forgive. We both made it up to ourselves a decade later when we saw Prince at an intimate performance at the Palladium with surprise guest Lenny Kravitz and his gorgeous then dancer-wife Mayte. Don't let us start going on and on about Prince, this is about you!

DJ Rekha's A: I have the booklet, I have the tour book. I've seen him more in concert probably more than anyone else.

Hope's Q : You are known for single-handedly spearheading the Bhangra scene  in NYC and beyond. A mutual friend said to me, “Yeah, I went to one of Rekha's parties all dressed up, not knowing what to expect. I didn't know Indian people get down like that? If I would've known, I would've been sweating it up on the dance floor I would've worn something else. I had the time of my life.” What was the first step you took on your path towards getting the party jumpin'?

DJ Rekha's A: Well, it's interesting that she said “ I didn't know Indian people could get down like that” because I feel like that's a really loaded statement, and I have my own version of that with our mutual best friend. But first...I got my first set of turntables when I was in college already, my cousins & I decided to start a DJ crew, because we saw other people in our community doing it. I knew I could do better than that because I was a music head, always. We started doing parties using CD's, we literally didn't know anything.

DJ Rekha spinning at Basement Bhangra

DJ Rekha spinning at Basement Bhangra

So, I eventually got turntables and my high school friend Phil, who was a DJ, would come over to show me a few things. One day he just said, “you just gotta be loose, you just gotta feel it, it's just kick/snare, kick/snare, 1-2, 1-2.” That was my first lesson about really listening to the music without just playing song after song.

I remember being really excited and proud that I had this DJ setup. And our friend came over and I showed it to her, and she said something I'll never forget--- “Look at Rekha trying to be black.” And I was like, “Wow”, and that was really interesting, because--it just speaks volumes about the complexity of race and about cultural access. We grew up together, we had the same cultural experiences, yet, at that moment in time and--I would say rightly so, hip-hop was seen as a black art.

Hope's A: Yes it was and many would argue still is, despite it's current worldwide universal appeal.

DJ Rekha's A : Now the top DJ's in the world are white men, you know, a very particular looking white guy. It goes both ways, right? “Look at Rekha being black” and then “I didn't know you people get down like that?” What is that conception coming from? I just sit around and do yoga all day or go to elaborate weddings, I don't know?

Hope's A: We could go on and one about this issue of race, stereotypes and misunderstandings. I do want to revisit this in the future.

Hope's Q: Sometimes we all have grand ideas about changing the world for the better, but I see over and over again, it's about one person having an idea, taking a chance and then connecting the dots with other like-minded individuals. You can look through history and see all the powerful movements and inventions began the same way. How did Basement Bhangra, your genre-defying, massively celebrated in New York City nightlife institution, evolve into becoming Bhangra's introduction to music today?

DJ Rekha's A: Basement Bhangra caught on quick, and it was a little right place, right time. The party started as a counter to the young South Asian party scene I started becoming a part of and also, a sort of activist space. I think that the magic of Basement Bhangra was that I would not play Top 40 music. At that time there was an aversion to hip hop and Bhangra, because within South Asian music there's Bollywood which is a music from the films, and Bhangra is Punjabi . Bhangra is seen as cab driver music/low-class, and hip hop is seen as thug music, so I was like, f*ck y'all, I want a party that plays both! To avoid the cut-throat world of event promoting in NYC I decided I would hold the party the first Thursday of every month. Subsequently, I am one of the first monthly parties in New York. I was just like appointment, first Thursday, just know that's where you have to be. That really helped solidify Basement Bhangra. And let me tell you, girl, for the last 18 years the first Thursday, I've been in the same place.

The initial crowds were people of my community and the first event we did was with Bally Sagoo, who is this producer and artist that's very influential to me, from the U.K. and our first night was super-packed. But the party built organically on its own, and I think the crowd that came over were refreshed to hear Bhangra in a club space loud. And the music was new, Bhangra was becoming more accessible dance music and blended with dance hall rhythms and hip hop beats and it sort of jelled. We would play a Bhangra set and mix it seamlessly into a hip hop set, cause it just made sense, or a dance hall set, going back and forth, and the people that came like all those genres, like me.

Then I was a musical fascist. I was like, “No, we're not going to paint a broad brush. We're not playing every kind of Indian music. We're going to play Bhangra, and we're going to play it hard, we're going to go heavy. We're going to play stuff that you don't think we should play at a club. We're gonna get really--there's a word in Punjabi, it's called pendu, which is "we're gonna get really village.”

It was also about making sure like the right people are in the space and really rewarding people who dance, and really creating a space that is about dancing. Always about movement.

Hope's A: My kind of party.

Hope & Vinita get our groove on @ Basement Bhangra last summer @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC.

Hope's Q: What does creative expression mean to you?

DJ Rekha's A: I'm very much of the mind that art needs to be the art, and I'm not the kind of artist that directly imbues messaging or whatever in my art, it's not overt. One responsibility I feel I have, in regards to my art, is cultural representation. Bhangra is from Punjab, the land divided by India and Pakistan, I try to be super careful with cultural representation.

Hope' s Q: Newsweek has recognized you as one of the most influential South Asians in the US. That is huge! What does that say to you about the power of your work?

DJ Rekha's A: I don't know, I wish I had more power, so I wouldn't be stressed about the rent. With that and subsequent CNN profile there's been a lot of mainstream media attention to what I do and it's like immigrant does good, does different. But I do think that there's a desire to come up with lists, and some people make the lists and some people don't, but it doesn't mean you're better than people who are not on the list. But I just take it all in. You got to just keep your sh*t in check.

             Hope Q: What can you share about following your heart and living out your passions?

DJ Rekha's A: I think the idea of following your passion can only happen when you're in a position of privilege.

Hope's A: Absolutely. We must have so much gratitude for our lives, no matter what is going on.

DJ Rekha's A: So I think--as an artist, you have to strategize in how you can follow your passion. I'm really pragmatic. It's like, you can be passionate all you want, but if you can't make your rent, there's no passion, and if you have financial stress, there's no passion. The most important things are building and finding community---like-minded people that can support you, challenge you, strategize with you and engage you intellectually. In terms of following your passion, if it's what you want to do, then be in it 100 percent. Take yourself seriously. Passion isn't enough, it's work too. Just wanting to do something is not enough. You have to be responsible, accountable to yourself and people around you.

* Rekha's wisdom is truth.

Come join me this Thursday, April 7th for Basement Bhangra's 29th Birthday Bash!

If you want to meet me there, email me at events@inarukundo.com and we'll get it touch about when to meet on the dance floor. You may need a disco nap. :)

As Transformational Coach+ Fashion Consultant my innate passion and intuitive talents involve supporting creatives and changemakers on their own personal path towards self-empowerment, aiding in the rediscovery process of one's authentic self and standing as support to achieve goal and make major shifts. Relationships and career transitions are my specialties. 

***I'm offering a Special Spark Session Challenge to 'all the single ladies' and gay men in theirmid-30s & 40s with a desire to be in joyful relationship with a life partner + desire to blossom @ work. I am offering a complimentary coaching Spark Sessions once a day for 2 weeks straight. This offer is specifically for those creatives who desire transformation with love+work. ....Premium Coaching programs will definitely inspire radical transformation. No, this has nothing to do with dating advice. It's about subtle mindset shifts and fresh ways of being that make all the difference. Email me hope@inarukundo.com to schedule a private life-changing Spark Session. Bonus: receive my special Meditation video + other goodies.

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LET'S TAKE IT SLOW. --- 4 KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

LET'S TAKE IT SLOW. --- 4 KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

Lately, I have had a keen awareness on the power of slowing down. Rushing around and mastering the art of multi-tasking never truly allows us joy and fulfillment.  For me, the answer is always to slow down. Stay mindful. Be present. When anxiety or fear creeps up, just taking a moment to stop and breathe can have profound benefit.

New York Fashion Week blast from my past (me with some sexy model.) I produced this show @ Cipriani's back in the day. Photo credit: Patrick McMullen

New York Fashion Week blast from my past (me with some sexy model.) I produced this show @ Cipriani's back in the day. Photo credit: Patrick McMullen

Living in NYC, working in the fashion world and especially doing PR was a super fast paced existence for many years. I remember years ago my close friend, a high school teacher, came to visit me at my office during fashion week. She just stared at me in amazement how I was handling multiple calls, countless emails flooding in and a large staff asking questions. She thought I was insane. At the time, I was proud of myself for mastering the art of multi-tasking pretty well. Now, I have come to realize that without keen focus and sufficient time to organize and delegate, balls are dropped, mistakes happen, someone's not happy and guess what? You are stressed the hell out!

Ever rush to send an email and then wish desperately that you never heard that “swoosh” sent sound? This is when slowing down really does come in handy. I had a client share with me that she was so angry she sent a rude, accusatory email to a huge client, thinking that she would have the upper hand after doing so. As soon as she clicked send, she knew it was a mistake. At a business dinner when she finally met this client in person, she felt even worse for her negative email discovering it was based on misunderstanding and cultural differences. Karma ensued and despite a successful completion of the project, their final payment was withheld, for an unreasonable amount of time, resulting in struggle and stress.

How can slowing down be of benefit? She discovered it's possible to draft an email and then pause before sending, stop and go for a walk, conduct research before false accusations, relax and tap into the wisdom of intuition.

FOUR KEY BENEFITS TO SLOWING DOWN

  1. FOCUS ON THE TASK AT HAND

In the past I myself have been falsely labeled “slow” by those that couldn't get the results they want from their own work. One colleague was in shock after reflecting what I achieved in a short amount of time by focusing on the task at hand, one thing at a time. The pressure was on, but I made it happen. After the event she said, “Hope, you really did prove that slow and steady wins the race.” Really? I was reminded that for some, slowing down is a sign of weakness, of inefficiency. I'm not saying exist at a snails pace, but being present and focusing with attention to detail often leads to positive results. Deadlines are real and swift competence is vital at times, yet there is always a balance and it can be achieved with dedication. But how? Mindfulness is the way.

2. CHILL WITH THE PEOPLE PLEASING AND FEELING RUSHED TO REPLY

Ever get asked a challenging question and felt the pressure to answer right away when you weren't clear on your reply? Ever agree to something, volunteer for a task or mention words you would've never said if you took a moment to think about it? I have rushed into answering so many times, it's insane. This has resulted in shifts in relationships, degrading integrity, bad interviews, regrets and so on. I often remind myself to take my own advice. Rather than an automatic “yes” that I am ashamed of admitting I used to say too often, I found a fantastic rebuttal that has proved to work... a pause or “I'll get back to you” or “Let me think about it.” These simple phrases have opened up my world.

3. ANY CHANCE YOU GET, ENJOY THE SCENERY

Congaree National Park, South Carolina. photo via 99 Travel Tips

Congaree National Park, South Carolina. photo via 99 Travel Tips

The mindfulness practice of walking meditation can offer much benefit to our busy day. Normally walking meditation requires you to walk extra slowly, as if you are taking a step with each breath. You can bring your awareness to your feet touching the earth with each step, you can notice the nature around you and enjoy it's beauty. All this can actually take place during your busy days, even in the urban jungles. I do this everyday in NYC...walking at a normal pace, I simply bring my consciousness to each step, observing the sky, trees, birds, whatever slice of nature resonates with me. Even my clients who knew nothing about this practice, find joy and sense of peace when they mindfully walk about town.

4. TIME FOR A TECH DETOX

Observe the world around you. Remember those olden days when we actually looked at each other and talked? Where we had conversations on the phone to get to know a love interest? Earth to singles out there...you can not find love via text! Tips for your Tech-Detox: a) Try turning of devices earlier than normal in the evenings. b) Put your phone away when you travel & observe your surroundings c) Turn your cell off when out to dinner or meet with friends c) Refrain from observing or posting on social media for one day if you are addicted. d) Make Sunday not only your day of rest, but a smartphone free day.

If you can relate, join me in carving out time to take back your life and precious time. Slow down and be selective! Share with me your insights on the art of slowing down in the comments below. Love to hear what you have to say. If you like it, share it.

As Transformational Coach+ Fashion Consultant my innate passion and intuitive talents involve supporting creatives and changemakers on their own personal path towards self-empowerment, aiding in the rediscovery process of one's authentic self and standing as support to achieve goal and make major shifts. Relationships and career transitions are my specialties.  Click here to learn more about working with me. Nurturing my "passion for fashion," I help mamas rediscover their own personal "fly" with my “Style Rejuvenation” program. Just the act of sending some love to my clients' personal style offers great benefit...joy, fun, confidence, power etc. I've been bestowed the honor of being called a “catalyst for change."

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shift your habits and set it off

The New Year always represents the chance to start anew, with fresh perspectives, inspiring goals, optimism, good vibes. How can we hold onto these uplifting spirits and keep it flowing through the rest of the year? I'm really into transforming habit energy. You know, those negative habits that keep you in place, repeating the same ol' and then we wonder why we get the same results we don't want anyway. Isn't it time to squash them once and for all? It is possible to make these shifts and the first step originates with awareness. This process takes time, so patience with ourselves is vital...though in our modern world of immediate gratification, patience isn't always a core strength.

Transforming our negative habit energy begins with first admitting---we have to change our negative thoughts! This can be so difficult. We all have this transgenerational karma, perspectives and experiences that we may not be aware of that can drain our positive energy and hold us back.  It is true that in the present moment we still can carry the karmic energy of our ancestors. We are our past whether we know what that past entails or not, but this doesn't have to be our fate. Unfortunately my father and step-father carried quite a bit of negative energy in their lives and mindsets. It is still a process for me to break free since I now have this awareness on a deep level.  As Joanne Friday, my beloved Dharma Teacher stated, “We must chose to constantly place our mind in the highest and best places.” But how?

Buddha is chillin', Hope is chillin', What more can I say...Top Billin'. (You got me in a crazy mood.) Photo credit: kelledia.tumblr.com

Buddha is chillin', Hope is chillin', What more can I say...Top Billin'. (You got me in a crazy mood.) Photo credit: kelledia.tumblr.com

Buddhist psychology teaches first we must find the root cause of our bad habits. This is through meditative concentration, deep reflection and then developing compassionate understanding for ourselves, aka being kind to ourselves, practicing self-love. Often times we are so hard on ourselves, we are our own worst enemy. When we can see ourselves going down the rabbit hole of negative vibes, we can stop immediately, reflect and shift gears. Asking ourselves.... 'What is the truth?' 'What wonderful right here and now?' Within my spiritual studies I've learned a number of universal feminine false beliefs I have held about myself, that are completely not true, but boy did I believe these negative whispers for decades.

One Tuesday morning at 6:30am, I was on my way to attend a BNI business networking breakfast. I have never been to this particular meeting, yet assumed it would be corporate and normally I don't feel comfortable in über corporate environments. It was so damn early in the morning, I was wondering what the hell I was doing coming all the way from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side at 6:30am! Is networking really this important?

As I was entering the building, there was a glossy plaque on the building stating it was a Republican club building of some sort. My mind immediately went into judgement mode. Now I do agree with the Buddhist Samiddhi Sutra as described my Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, which talks about the 'trap of complexes – thinking you are better, worse than or equal to others.' Humanity is interconnected and when we realize there is not a separate self and we are all connected, then there is more of a chance of harmony and happiness. --- All that inner wisdom was out the door at those wee hours for this night owl. I was raised with rather liberal values and though I know plenty of kind Republicans, hanging out at a Republican club house with strangers at 6:30am is not really within my comfort zone. My mind was already shouting “This is not my scene!” The truth is BNI was just renting a suite, as I wasn't entering a Republican convention.

I enter the elevator and my false belief that was ingrained since childhood was repeating itself “I don't belong.” Yet within a few seconds of this negative habit energy flowing I actually stopped, noticed and said to myself there was no point in my getting up so early and making this trek if I was going to have this negative vibe stepping off the elevator. I immediately shifted my mind and kept repeating my powerful mantra “I belong,” negating that false belief.  It was that simple. Within the few minutes of that elevator ride, my energy took a positive shift and I physically felt the difference of radiating positive light. As I stepped off the elevator, I felt comfortable just being me and meeting all the different business people at the breakfast. I ended up making some great connections and was able to truly enjoy the beauty of the gorgeous building with a huge balcony overlooking Manhattan's skyline as we had a summer sunrise breakfast and learned about each other's industries. It was fruitful morning and I learned a lot about the power of the mind and my own power to determine my fate and my feelings in any situation. Releasing judgement and radiating positive energy is real. I have witnessed these successful shifts in mindset in every one of my coaching clients. It's so crazy to see how life blossoms when we just make a conscious choice to transform our perspectives! It takes effort, but it sure is worth it.

THREE STEPS TO TRANSFORM HABITS THAT HOLD US BACK:

  1. Quiet Contemplation

    You've heard it a thousand times, but developing a meditation practice is paramount in my book. If this sounds daunting, just make a pact to yourself in the New Year to give yourself 5- 10 minutes a day to relax and focus on your breathing. You would be surprised how quickly time flies.  Add music to the mix to get you in the zone. I love this beautiful album "Healing" that supposed to open up the chakras, Healing Earth is my favorite ethereal song from the artist Anugama. If you are familiar with Buddhist meditation, check “Tibetan Singing Bowl, Music for Deep Meditation”, though I'm thinking that if you haven't practiced with a meditation bowl before, you may think gong sounds are pure craziness.

  2. The written word.

    I find writing to be a gateway to the soul and deep reflection flows when you allow yourself to look in the mirror and get real. In order to envision our bright futures and bring it into fruition, we must have clarity. There is no achievement if we don't know what we want. Here are some powerful questions to start you off. Free flow and write from the heart.

Write..whenever, whenever, whenever. I've been journaling since the age of 6...love it!

Write..whenever, whenever, whenever. I've been journaling since the age of 6...love it!

  • What small achievements in 2015 can I celebrate? Celebrating the small stuff = joy.

  • What do you most desire to:

    • a. Experience?

    • b. Express?

    • c. Create?

    • d. Contribute?

  • What habits do I want to transform in 2016?

3. Take Action.

To kick off the New Year, just pick one habit you want to tackle. I'm ashamed to admit I had 20 damn habits I wanted to shift when I did this exercise!!!! So as you can see, I am too hard on myself as we speak!!! :) Transformation is an evolutionary process. Make a plan, something doable and start small. What actions need to shift? Make a commitment you can keep.

One of my key action steps is to drop the sugar addiction, which is not easy, since I'm a chocoholic. Each day I need to make conscious choices and this is my focus because my health is front and center for me. Cutting sugar is no joke, it's hidden everywhere!  Though I forgive my slip-ups, I am staying the course. What's it for you?

The best part is....you don't have to be perfect! Yeah for all us 'recovering perfectionists!' In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, headed by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher, they confirmed on average it takes 66 days for a new habit to take shape. Of course this varies widely depending on the individual and lifestyle, yet on a whole this study, confirmed it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for us to form a new habit. Practice patience, determination and diligence and be aware that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life. This study debunked the 21-day myth.....boo hoo...no quick fixes! Transforming habits is a process, an art form, a scientific experiment. Just channel Thomas Edison when you fail and succumb to that stubborn habit that is taking hold...“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Dust yourself off and develop a strategy to get back on track. I can feel the fear of failure dissipating already! As I avoid the chocolate bar & cookies in my pantry, I'm feeling moved to quote some old school 80's electro dance hip-hop...

Ya'll want this party right? Ya'll want this party started quickly, right? Set it Off for 2016!!

Are you bold enough to share the one habit you are going to transform? Comment below...Inquiring minds want to know. :) If you like this, please share and "Set if off, I suggest ya'll." :)

Feel the need for some extra support in your radical transformations in the New Year? Reach out to inquire about my complimentary Spark Sessions offering a taste of my Premium Transformative Coaching Program "Ignite Your Insight." I only have a few open slots left for registration this January. Click here to reach out.
 

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RADIANCE...GET YOUR GLOW&LET THE REST GO

Don't you love those spontaneous profound experiences that end up being the best times ever? Well I got an impromptu lesson on the power of radiance and freedom that inspired me to share insights on getting our glow on and letting the rest go. 

It all went down when I witnessed the headliner at Afro Punk's Fancy Dress Ball who was none other than Grace Jones. My words can't express the sheer appreciation of individuality and bold creativity that exuded from this icon. Now, her voice is no Chaka, she may not be the premiere hit-maker, but that actually meant nothing. I have never seen anything quite like it, costume changes for EVERY song and all. Wearing nothing but a corset, g-string and Nigerian Ibo tribal paint inspired by collaborations with her friend Keith Haring, she proceeded to exude sheer freedom, confidence, wild imaginative creative expression and pure fearlessness...all at the ripe age of 67! My life unexpectedly shifted a bit that night.

Grace Jones performs at the Afro Punk Festival 2015. Photo credit: Nicole Fara Silver for The New York Times.

Grace Jones performs at the Afro Punk Festival 2015. Photo credit: Nicole Fara Silver for The New York Times.

This empowering quote from Marianne Williamson broke down my reawakening oh so eloquently....

"Our worst 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 and fabulous?"  Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.  It is not just in some of us, it is 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."

Some of us just naturally exude that power, freedom and radiance, but all of us have it. Oh boy, I spent decades dimming my light. It's a crying shame. Those that know me, may say, “What is she even talking about?” I like to be bold, look my best, do my best, but it is true. My upbringing to be the good girl, the responsible one, the Catholic girl/strict stereotypes are all within me. I found it difficult to shed all that and just feel free. I noticed about myself that I am strong, confident and daring in some areas of my life and then just succumb to old negative habit energy in other areas of life. Awareness is everything. Had to go through the darkness to get to the light. I'll forever be on the path, but I am conscious of my own radiance and my deepest intention is for all of us to radiate our own powerful essence.  Despite being inspired or even envious of others, we can only truly be ourselves.

Playing it small is officially over.

5 KEYS to radiate your own glow and let the rest go.

  1. Be bold----for you. Definition: don't try to be someone you're are not, just push your personal boundaries beyond those comfort zones. You know what I did to shock my comfort zone? I posted a picture on Instagram of myself in my retro bikini poolside with one of my close friends. For those that know me, I would normally NEVER do such a thing. I'm not that type, but for others girls that's no big deal. What small step will you take to move beyond your comfort zone?

  2. Let Go and release all the bullsh*t. I normally do this exercise on New Year's Eve, but was recently reminded of the powerful exercise from my friend & health coach guru Alex Jamieson... Get small pieces of paper, ex. index cards and on each paper write down one thing you want to let go of. What fears are holding you back? What difficulty in your life are you ready to purge? What thoughts are you ready to free yourself from? Then go and burn it. Release it all into the universe and let it go. It's quite freeing.

  3. Put the time into how you dress and present yourself to the world. Want to exude radiance? WEAR COLOR. I've said it before and I'll say it again. What colors do you love? Wear a little something in that color.  After the guided meditation I offered at my last Visioning Party,  the color red really resonated with a guest and I suggested she wear more red in her wardrobe and be bold with red lips. Seriously, such amazing life transformations happened for her after doing so. I love fashion icon Iris Apfel's quote "Downtown, they think they're so stylish, but they all wear black. That's not really style. That's a uniform.” Try wearing an accessory that offers you a sense of power. I wear certain bracelets and rings that remind me of my inner radiance. It may sound crazy, but it works for me. (I offer my “Style Rejuvenation” program to busy mamas who lost their way with their personal style and need to get their wardrobe and mindset back to fly-ness. If this resonates with you, find out more here.) My personal motto, has always been, "If you look good, you feel good." I'm hosting a beauty & wellness event on Sept. 29th in NYC entitled "LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD." Click here for the evite or see below.

  4. The power of meditation.  It's oh so cliché at this point, but if you don't already have a meditation practice, try it. There are countless teachings on meditation, but just start by giving yourself the gift of silence and follow the rhythm of your breath. Sitting for even 10 minutes can be quite transformative.  Here is a little gatha (short poem) by Zen Master Ven. Thich Nhat Hahn to aid or enhance your meditation.  Even if it's 5 minutes a day.....just do it.  I feel the difference on days when I meditate and when I skip it.

           Breathe In, I am breathing in

           Breathe Out, I am breathing out

           Breathe In, I calm my body

           Breathe Out, I smile

          Present Moment, Wonderful Moment - 

When you put a small smile on your face during your breathing, you'd be surprised all the positive energy you emit and receive.

5. Move that Body. What do you love to do? Pilates, soccer, tennis, rock climbing, anything, just get up and do it. Movement is the basis for all transformation. Without your health, there is nothing. I can barely catch a ball for anything but swimming is my love, what is yours?

What does Radiance mean to you? I would love to hear your comments, so please share here and with your friends. Do you have a deep desire to shed some false beliefs and rediscover your inner radiance to make some serious moves? Click here for a complimentary coaching Spark Session with me.

Chillin' on The Highline in NYC. A splash of bold color livens me up. Try mixing in color if you find yourself in the neutral safe zone.

Chillin' on The Highline in NYC. A splash of bold color livens me up. Try mixing in color if you find yourself in the neutral safe zone.


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AN INKLING OF AGELESS WISDOM

I just celebrated my birthday and the concept of “age” is front and center. I truly feel I am enjoying my 40s, growing and evolving with each year. I would rather not receive the inevitable effects of aging but I have to face facts. Plenty of times, I have heard I'm lucky, ”Black don't crack.” Ha! Ha! But I have to say my Italian grandmother looked fabulous way into her 80s, so I am praying I'll be inheriting those genes.

What I love about aging is coming into yourself on a whole other level. A little transformation here and there gets mixed in with some acceptance and the art of letting go. Powerful stuff.  I loved the documentary “Iris,” about one of my fashion idols Iris Apfel, the 93 year old “it” girl. She is celebrated during her golden years for her incredible eccentric style and bold fearlessness she exudes each day as she outwardly expresses her creativity through fashion. She has lived her life with innate passion that is portrayed in her homes, career, wardrobe, mindset and way of being. She wonders what all the hoopla is about her life. In a T Magazine article, Iris states “I'm doing nothing different than what I've done for the last 70-odd years. Maybe I was ahead of the game, and people caught up with me.” What I just love about Iris, is not only how I completely relate to her personal style, but how she lives a radiant non-conformist life. Whether it's her daily art of getting dressed, designing interiors, scouring the world for the perfect find and inspiring her fans, she does what she innately loves to do, with a loving husband by her side.

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You are never too old for new achievements and living out your dreams.  On the flip side, one of my personal inspirations is my Great Uncle Pete, my grandmother's very Italian 92 year old brother who, in his late 80s, was once the oldest college student in Rhode Island.  As a self-taught linguist and opera aficionado, who speaks about 7 languages, his vast knowledge blows many away. There is proof--- you are never too old to learn and do what you inherently love.

These lyrics of Pharrell, from "Time for Some Action" on the N.E.R.D. album “Seeing Sounds,” always resonated with me. For some our most precious talents & interests are formed at a very early age. Obviously this hit-maker followed his visions. What was it for you? Photo: Pharrell wears Monclear Lunettes via eurweb.com.

These lyrics of Pharrell, from "Time for Some Action" on the N.E.R.D. album “Seeing Sounds,” always resonated with me. For some our most precious talents & interests are formed at a very early age. Obviously this hit-maker followed his visions. What was it for you? Photo: Pharrell wears Monclear Lunettes via eurweb.com.

The irony I find is that more often than not, the activities, talents and passions of our adult life are the fruits of seeds that were planted in our childhoods. In 2nd grade, my school project about what I wanted to be when I grew up was all about Diana Ross. Though I never became an R&B diva, my stylish grandmother inspired my fashion career.  My own mother is an inspiration to many since at 60-something, she is finally living out her destiny of living and working in Africa.  I joke that with all her wild adventures in Ethiopia & Burundi , she thinks she's 25 years old! After college, she had always dreamed of working in the Peace Corp. in Africa, but instead got married and had me & my brothers, so that dream got put on hold for 40 years!  When you think about your youth, what did you inherently love? What about the elders in your life inspired you and what do you take from it?

10 Tips for Ageless Wisdom & Wellbeing

1. Eat right.  Be mindful of the "MIND Diet" to improve brain health as we age & reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 53%! Maintaining brain health is front & center for me since I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's. Eating lots of leafy greens, blueberries, strawberries, nuts, fish and a daily glass of red wine will drastically improve our brain function. I'm going to test this out.

2. Laugh more. They say laughter is the best medicine. Combining laughter with positive thoughts and it's known to heal cancer patients miraculously.

3. Love what you do. Personal fulfillment = joy.

4. Practice self-acceptance. Love yourself. 

5. Let sh*t go. Release the old thought patterns that no longer serve you. Try hard not to live in the past, yet right those wrongs that you feel need to be addressed.

6. Power of community. Make time for friends. Surround yourself with those who inspire you. All you introverts, push yourself out of the comfort zone.

7. Work it! Move that body. What form of exercise do you enjoy?  If you are sitting idle, just do it. If you are bored with the gym, stimulate your senses and try a completely new activity. For me, it's dance, swim & yoga. What about you?

8. Spiritual practice engagement. Whatever that means to you. Prayer. Meditation. Study. Sit and just be.

9. Be adventurous. Learn new things. It makes life fun.

10. Last but not least----Be kind to your skin. Protect and care for it with natural products when you can. I love making homemade shea body butters and multi-purpose massage oils. Coconut oil is my friend.

Aging really gives us insight to impermanence....the knowing that nothing ever stays the same. Like the snake shedding it's skin, we are ever evolving, so we might as well enjoy what we are doing in our daily lives.  Aging gracefully, with love, compassion and a peace of mind is my intention. What is your intention as you age?  What activities did you love in your youth that are still ever present?  I'd love to hear your comments below. Please share this if you enjoyed it. Spread the love.

As a Transformational Life Coach + Style Maven my passion and intuitive talents involve supporting creatives and changemakers on their own personal path to self-empowerment, aiding in the rediscovery process of one's authentic self and standing as support to achieve goal and make major shifts. Relationships and vocation trajectory are my specialties.  Nurturing my "passion for fashion," I help mamas rediscover their own personal "fly" with my “Style Rejuvenation” program. Just the act of sending some love to my clients' personal style offers great benefit...joy, fun, confidence, power etc. I've been bestowed the honor of being called a “catalyst for change."

Grace Jones in her late 60s!  If this is what 60 can look like, I'm open. Photo source:  V Magazine (?)

Grace Jones in her late 60s!  If this is what 60 can look like, I'm open. Photo source:  V Magazine (?)

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On Overcoming the Disease to Please

It took me many decades to navigate my subconscious need to please others. This inner voice reinforcing the false importance of people pleasing comes up all the time with my coaching clients and myself included. We want to make other's happy, bask in the glow of being likable and respected. But many of us, women especially, spend our lifetime bending over backward, going out of our way beyond belief and saying yes to way too much. People pleasers do things they don't want to do or need to do just so people will think fondly of them. What a relief when the delusion subsides and you realize this doesn't have to be reality. You can live by your ideals and wants, utilize the word NO and still keep your friends and family. Wow! All the others can just fall by the wayside.

“In trying to please all, he had pleased none.”  - Aesop, Aesop Fables

On occasion I still suffer from the “feeling bad” syndrome, but now I have strengthened my power a bit to ask for what I want. As a  young Catholic school girl with an early childhood of strict discipline, often times I didn't feel like I had that power.  Despite being raised with the women's liberation mindset instilled in our home, I received multiple messages from school, the world and media telling me the exact opposite of those feminist ideals.  Problem is that so many girls are raised feeling shy, guilty or shamed for utilizing their innate power, it's the subliminal and overt patriarchal world we live in. Moms don't mean to instill this need to please in our daughters, but we are doing it every day!!! One of the interesting truths is that studies have shown girl athletes exude more confidence than non-athletes. Too bad I could never catch a ball. There is another way. Studies have shown that on so many levels we raise boys differently. The way society teaches, talks to and reacts to boys is quite different than that of girls.  Somehow I think the percentage of “I don't give a sh*t what people think” is higher among men. I have to get my brilliant friends of higher academia to begin research to see if my hypothesis is correct.

What I do know is this.... Five consequences of people pleasing..

  • Consistently disappointing yourself and others...AKA Lose- Lose situation

  • Inner resentful feelings overflow

  • You become a known a a flake...AKA..Don't follow through properly.

  • Stress!!! Too much self-perpetuated pressure = unhappiness

  • Over promise religiously. Always saying YES does you NO good. What you deliver is never top quality when your heart isn't in it.

I discovered five words that have worked well for me when presented with something I am unsure I want to commit to....”I'll get back to you” or “Let me think about it.” I used to often say YES when I really meant NO. Then would do that thing I committed to out of obligation because I “felt bad.” I wasn't honest with myself and others because I didn't want them to “feel bad.” The idea of taking a breath, giving yourself a moment to gather your thoughts before answering, was rare for me.  I remember going to an eye-opening Dharma talk by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn. Just bearing witness to him taking his sweet time with every single thing was an equivalent to culture shock. He thought quietly before he answered a question, each step he walked flowed deliberately and he sipped tea as if it was the last delicious bite of a chocolate black out cake. A new mindset developed. Everyone is just going to have to wait. Let me think about it for a second.

People pleasing can come in many forms. An unfortunate by product of living in the city that never sleeps is that it's considered cool to be busy and unavailable. Too busy for friends? You cancel or intend to make plans, but never do. Everyone does it. I'm guilty. Not enough going on in your world? Pretend. I will never forget such wisdom given to me right after college when I was bright eyed and trying to find my way in NYC. I was assisting this stylist, who was flamboyant and fabulous, but was still hustling to make it big in fashion, though he had some emerging success. The fashion industry can be brutal and I'll never forget him telling me in so many words, “Even if you are not busy, you have to act busy and pretend you have things going on. You will never make it in this world if people know the truth during your slow down time.” In other words, letting people see you struggle will get you no where fast. At the time, his truth was not having the funds to attend certain parties. Fast forward 20 years later and he's at the top of his game. Those words stayed with me. It's not right. It really isn't, but I still see some truth in it. Like they say, “Never let them see you sweat.” This in itself is another form of people pleasing. Appeasing others for approval of your worth. It's common to save face when you are struggling rather than receive a pity party or appear less than. What do we need to feel free to bump up our authenticity? Not an easy feat. Didn't Brene Brown become famous dissecting vulnerability? Maybe dabbling in vulnerability is the way to overcome? Of course there is a time and place and the right person for all this vulnerability.  But how can we shift? Slow down and take time to reflect upon the following questions...

Top Five Questions to redirect the disease the please...

1) What are the consequences of doing this action or saying something to please others when it's not in my best interest?

2) What are the repercussions if I state my truth kindly, with compassion?

3) Is there a happy medium?

4) How can I compromise with a satisfactory result?

5) What do I need to take care of myself when I receive anger, objections or disappointment?

We constantly have obligations we have to do whether we like it or not, but there are situations when it's not about right or wrong, it's just plain ol' people pleasing. This is where we need to get clarity in order to move forward. Awareness is everything. You can't please everyone, yet the most important person is yourself.




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Three Insights to Declutter your Mind, Space and Life

Oh the plight of clutter in the modern age! Between consumerism and our digital world, it can get difficult for some of us mere mortals to declutter our lives. I recently deleted over 2000 emails and scaled back over 3500 photos & videos from my computer. I felt happy about decluttering my digital life. Lighter! Why did I let it go to the point where my computer was slow as hell? My client cracked up hearing this story and suggested I just had to write about it. So here I am talking about decluttering, when honestly, I am the last person who should be doing such a thing. After all, I'm an old fashioned lover of paper in multiple forms, glossy magazines, print newspapers, journals, books, fancy stationary. You get it. I save things. I find it hard to part with sentimental mementos. In my past, it has been a challenge for me to purge as I was raised in a household where decluttering was an aspiration, but rarely an action.

Yet for nearly 19 years, I've been re-programmed. (It is possible ...all you under cover hoarders, collectors and paper lovers.) After all, my once live-in boyfriend, now husband was and always will be a minimalist. This does not work well, with someone like me. I wish so badly that I was super organized and always neat and tidy .After years of petty spats about clutter, I actually changed my ways, but not because I had an internal desire to do so--- it was to preserve my relationship! Clutter was causing unnecessary drama! If you are like how I once was... what's clutter doing to you?

Michel Foucault, Paris 1978. A French Philosopher, Historian of Ideas, Social Theorist, Philologist and Literary Critic. Photo Credit. Martine Franck. I find so much beauty here....love this photo. The exact opposite of minimalism. This office kind of looks like organized clutter. A middle ground.  I would naturally go this direction if left to my own devices, but a clean, open space feels so freeing. After all, my mother is a reading specialist. What do I expect? Fine Balance.

Michel Foucault, Paris 1978. A French Philosopher, Historian of Ideas, Social Theorist, Philologist and Literary Critic. Photo Credit. Martine Franck.

I find so much beauty here....love this photo. The exact opposite of minimalism. This office kind of looks like organized clutter. A middle ground.  I would naturally go this direction if left to my own devices, but a clean, open space feels so freeing. After all, my mother is a reading specialist. What do I expect? Fine Balance.


Decluttering Your Life is necessary in various forms: your closet, your home or office, your in-box, your digital photos/videos, your never-ending to-do list. Check this....

Insights to Declutter your Mind, Space and Life:

1. You are Your Closet

As for the closet, I can proudly state that I do seasonally clear out my closet. That always feels great. What a difference when your closet is refreshed and open! As they say, your closet is a reflection of your mindset. If my closet is jam-packed & crazy, than what does that say about my being? My actions are all over the place, my head is not clear, creative flow can be stifled. I really believe in that. I try to keep my closet in check....nothing is perfect, but I strive.

As a former fashion industry veteran, I'm excited to be kick-starting a Style Transformation for a client friend, as we engage in a closet cleanse, not due to a need to organize but it terms of carefully reviewing the pieces of her wardrobe and purging what no longer serves and replacing it with fabulous new garments to spice up her life and look. Sometimes, its just about going through your clothes and stopping to pause and ask yourself...am I really going to wear that if I haven't worn it in years? Is this a crappy item that needs to go or can I rework it? Every now and again we could stand to purge our closets, free ourselves from unnecessary excess. There is a power of living with less.

To entertain you....celebrity closets of Brooke Shields, Mariah Carey and Yankees Pitcher C.C Sabathia. Aspirational....oh wait, less is more right?  The clash of desire and mindfulness. Reminds me of my favorite quote..."Do I contradict myself? Very well, than I contradict myself. I am large. I am multitudes." - Walt Whitman. Photo Credit in order via Media-Cache, Blogger.com, & Architectural Digest.

2. The power of follow through...Go all the way

I loved the advice I read about follow through. If you are organizing and purging, go all the way. If you've created bags to donate or pass along...do it right then and there to complete the process. Recently a friend gave me bags of gently used baby clothes to then pass on to a 'new mom' friend. The night I received the bags I was so close to going home with them to drop them off “later.” But nope. I stopped myself and went directly to the new mama friend to deliver them and see the new baby. If I waited, the task would be hanging over my head and the bags would be lingering in my house. Follow through works. This never used to be my strong suit, but awareness and action has provided positive results, plus less guilt and stress. Completing the process in all we do is quite beneficial on many levels. Dropping the ball is something we all fall victim too, but let awareness provide the understanding that leads to a shift in consciousness and action.

3. Tackle the To-Do List...Oops, I mean “Opportunities List”

Overwhelm is a regular hurdle I strive to jump over as a working mama. We all are aware the modern-day “to-do” list is never ending, but I love the idea about shifting our mindset and make it our “Opportunities List.” Decluttering our to-do's, just feels better.

I once heard the entrepreneurial powerhouse Barbara Corcoran dish advice on how she executes her extensive “Opportunities List” and I found it to be easily digestible and doable. In summary, she separates her list into 3 sections:

Section 1: Calls needed to be made

Section 2: Review: Short, quick tasks requiring a review or an answer

Section 3: Project List – (this is what inspired me)---Prioritize the list as A, B and C.

A) Very important AND a time constraint...needs to be attended to ASAP.

B) Very important task, but can wait.

C) Not VIP, but must be tended to soon.

Try it if it resonates. Now go knock out all those limitless opportunities!


It may have taken me while, but I have seen some dramatic shifts in my life with my foray with minimalist living. I've personally teetered on the edge of both ends of the spectrum. The stories my high-school BF Liz and I could tell about cluttered childhoods would result in us laughing so hard we'd start crying. On the flip side, my grandparent's home was so neat & tidy we joked you could lick off my grandmother's kitchen floor. I'll never forget my grandfather once reprimanded me after I put milk back in the fridge because I put it on the wrong shelf! “Everything had it's place,” as they would say.

Who wants to take a Challenge with me? If your closet needs a cleanse, when are you going to tackle it? If you have some items to donate, when are you going to gather them together to deliver them? Will rethinking your “Opportunities” list, help you accomplish tasks easier and feel increasingly productive? I'd love to hear your comments and state your personal decluttering challenge here...

The best quote I found on this topic is by O Magazine's Organizational Expert Peter Walsh. I had to laugh. It's just so simple!

"Flat surfaces are not storage areas." 


One of my areas of expertise is an eye for style & beauty so, if you're interested in a personal style revamp and cleansing your wardrobe, check out the Style Transformation services.

As a life + wellness coach, I work with creatives and changemakers who feel stuck and have a desire to re-discover their life passions. Clients experience lasting personal transformation through radical and subtle mindset shifts which boosts confidence & sharpens intuition recognition. Incorporating mindfulness practices, with an open heart and compassionate understanding, I hold clients accountable to take action and move forward to achieve goals & dreams. Do you have that creative edge? Do you strive to make a difference in this world? Need some clarity and support outside of your circle to make some serious moves? Then consider joining my tribe. To inquire about my private coaching program “Ignite Your Insight”, click here for a complimentary 30-minute “Spark Session.”


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5 Insightful Steps to Kick Off The New Year

Happy 2015! 

Every January, each new year there's an excitement in the air---for a fresh start, releasing the old and into the new. But within a few short months, sometimes the uplifting spirits dwindle, the resolutions get dropped.  It happens to the best of us. What can we do to try to hold on to these positive intentions? As we ponder 2015 and embark on a new path with fresh perspectives, I am offering a few of my tips for kicking off the new year with a bit of self reflection....

5 Insightful Steps to Kick Off The New Year:

1. The Power of Reflection:

Take some time to journal or simply sit quietly to think about 2014. I find reflection important, as it gives you an opportunity to look deeply at where you were and offers insights for where you want to go.

  • What fresh insights and gifts did you receive in 2014?

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • What aspect of 2014 do you intend to let go of?

2. The importance of Celebration:

I'm not talking about serious partying. It's about recognizing goals accomplished, blocks busted through, fears overcome and then actually acknowledging them as something special. Actions small or large are all worth celebrating. To my disappointment I have realized, that in the past, this party girl rarely ever celebrated those personal accomplishments, minuscule or grand. It was always, 'on to the next.' I didn't even recognize those small things that should be acknowledged and celebrated. We always notice what we shoulda, coulda, woulda, but why do we overlook the good stuff sometimes? Nowadays I actually have to make a conscious effort to open my eyes and recognize. I can easily tell you all the things I feel guilty for, but things worth celebrating were not top of mind.

Let's attempt to remind ourselves to quietly celebrate those moments of achievement and personal satisfaction. As I was thinking about this for myself, one small personal achievement for me was committing to the African dance performance with my teacher's dance company. I am a newbie and confidence wasn't high as I was placed next to the best dancers and in the front row for the choreography. But I did it, attended tons of rehearsals and felt there was a personal goal accomplished.

Image by Sarah Marshall via Flickr

Image by Sarah Marshall via Flickr

3. Declutter Time:

We all know what this means and I have the hardest time with this one, even though I know it is vital for peace of mind and opening ourselves up to the universe. For those minimalists who are super organized, this may not pertain to you. For all of us mere mortals, let's try to declutter one aspect of our life this week. I did most of my closet, but still have unread magazines and a back log of New York Times that I need to read and purge. (Yes, I'm old fashioned and subscribe for the print editions. That is my problem!) What are you going to do? Pick a time and just do it. We all feel better with open space and positive energy really gets flowing with less clutter.

Image via Maisonboheme.blogspot.com

Image via Maisonboheme.blogspot.com

4. Expressing Gratitude:

The new year is a perfect time to start a gratitude journal. Each morning or night, jot down what you feel grateful for that day. If writing is not your thing, just bring to mind and state what you are grateful for. I find doing this exercise lifts my spirits when I'm down. Again, it also transforms the energy around you, when you have gratitude in your heart and mind.

5. Soul Searching:

Get down with the Soul Searching this new year. Take the time to ponder or journal.

  • What are my intentions for 2015?
  • What am I passionate about? How can I bring more of this into my life?
  • What path am I on or do I want to create to bring my intentions into reality?
  • Create your own personal title for this year. For example: 2015 THE YEAR OF THE _________________.

It's interesting to see where this intention takes you throughout the year. Last year my title was: “Year of the Goddess.” I can say that it did help me with a boost of confidence when I felt it dwindling and did remind me to tap into my feminine power. But somewhere throughout the year, there was a lull and I wasn't feeling too Goddess-like. Reflecting upon my yearly statement recently was a great reminder to get me back into that right 'Goddess' mind frame. I'm stilling thinking about what I will name 2015. What will you name 2015 for yourself? Do share.


All these things I actually do and I would love to hear what resonates with you. I've had an enlightening experience launching my new coaching biz and I am celebrating this first year. Kicking off a new biz, in a new industry has it's challenges and highlights, but I am grateful for this new chapter in my life. Thank you to those who have joined me on the journey. I'd love to hear your comments. If you like this, please share. 

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    Race, Peace & Zen...Taboo at the Forefront

    How can I not talk about what's been on my mind and the mind of millions? The race relations in America and the most recent events regarding Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner of Staten Island and countless others is at the forefront. The recent uprising of Americans from all walks of life is stirring up difficult emotions for us all who feel the effects. These issues truly do effect us all, even if some don't realize it.

    Not too long ago there was an uproar over Trayvon Martin and throughout our history there have been similar crimes of injustice to men of color which has incited outrage, disbelief, peaceful protests and riots. But it just keeps on happening! Some laws change, Barack Obama gets elected as President of the United States, but still. It doesn't seem to be enough. It's the overall subconscious mindset that needs to shift. Injustice within the realms of race and class has existed from the beginning of time, in every culture. In America today, it's back in full force. Once again. I'm sitting here trying be zen, to offer myself some peace of mind, but boy is it difficult to live mindfully while striving to take a stand for social justice.  I'm still trying to comprehend that a 12 year old black boy playing with a toy gun was shot dead upon 2 seconds of the police officers' arrival. Could it have been handled differently? If the boy was not black, would the situation have escalated so quickly? Was it just a mistake? Scenarios like this seem to be happening to men and boys of color on a consistent basis, one has to wonder why there is often a 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality. The subconscious perception that black is less than, that men of color are automatically to be feared, is a centuries old viewpoint by many that needs to be internally and systemically transformed. But how?

    Millions March, Washington DC, December 13, 2014. Photo credit via Vice News

    Millions March, Washington DC, December 13, 2014. Photo credit via Vice News

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his Buddhist confidant Zen Master Thich Nhat Han had that rare form of inner peace and deep understanding in order to stand up for what's right and ignite real change from the platform of peace. Their genius and compassion is a rare gem from within the soul. Inciting riots in Ferguson to 'burn this b*tch down,' isn't exactly how to do it. Mostly peaceful protests in NYC & DC evoked a clear message. Communities are coming together, people are talking, groups have formed to incite change peacefully...but is it all in vain? What will be the real-time result?

    “You are, therefore I am,” a powerful quote from Thich Nhat Hahn. The Zen Master coined the term “Interbeing” as the idea that we inter-dependently coexist. The ego mindset of “Me” and “Mine” is an illusion. I do not exist without the sun and clouds in the sky that provide the rain, which provides the crops to grow, food to eat, water to drink. Get it? We don't exist without each other --- every person, plant, animal, mineral. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers the same message in his signature style...”We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.” If our modern-day capitalistic, individualistic society embraced the 'interbeing' mindset, I think we would have a happier world...with less stress.

    How can we be the change to instill systematic, long lasting shifts in our society? For thousands of years, there has been this perpetual myth by some of caucasian decent that a darker skin tone equals intellectual and historical inferiority, (with rare exceptions), barbaric spiritual and cultural practices, unattractive hair texture & physicality, lives without much value and so many more negative attributes. All this made me think of Ancient Egypt and how 18th century European and American scholars were arguing back and forth whether Egyptians were negroid or caucasian. The Egyptian society was too advanced & civilized for it to be a negro society argued many scholars. Same goes for the controversy over a black Jesus. Scholars at large offer a varying array of theories on the race of Jesus Christ and no one is in agreement. But just imagine a world where people thought Jesus was black rather than white?

    In my own family, my beloved Italian grandmother was in the state of shock when her only daughter was about to marry an African man in the 60s. Some of these stereotypes were sadly in the minds of my family members, my mother and father felt the pain, but throughout my life I have witnessed incredible transformation & acceptance from much of my white family and in-laws. My maternal grandparents were very close to us kids and were incredible role models for us. They loved their brown-skinned grandkids, but were still weary of blacks other than us. When I moved to Bedford Stuyvesant about 10 years ago, I took my grandmother, in her mid-80s, on the subway to the city when she could still walk.  I'll never forget her sitting on the train with me, looking around at the faces surrounding her and whispered to me, “Hopie, there are so many black people here.” I had to laugh to myself.  It shocked the sh*t out of her. Only after offering a brief history of the neighborhood did she understand. All the other Brooklyn neighborhoods I had lived in where not the same. I'm sure never in her life has she ever been around so many people of color at one time. She had just came from what I call “la-la land”...a stereotypical all white retirement country club in Florida. Can you only imagine the faces of my grandparents' friends at the country club when they first discovered us grandkids chillin' at the pool?

    Photo Credit: @ Ruddy Roye, December 7, 2014. I Can't Breath l A Series.  Rudy Roye is an amazing Brooklyn-based "Instagram Humanist/Activist." Check his work out!

    Photo Credit: @ Ruddy Roye, December 7, 2014. I Can't Breath l A Series.  Rudy Roye is an amazing Brooklyn-based "Instagram Humanist/Activist." Check his work out!

    Caligraphy by Thich Nhat Hahn.

    Caligraphy by Thich Nhat Hahn.

    “Peace in Oneself, Peace in the World.” I've always been deeply moved by Thich Nhat Hahn's famous quote. Over the last few years I've tried to embody this way of being, but it's quite challenging and has required some serious attempts at transformation. It's a life long path. I do believe that if we focus on our own inner peace, look within deeply, let go of the past, consciously live in the present moment , love & accept ourselves more, then we can better support and connect with others that are different from us from a place of deep compassion. Now, more than ever, its important to have these hard conversations about race and class. In attempt to truly understand those that we can't comprehend, those that we disagree with or infuriate us, we must make time to listen deeply to those who we think are different than ourselves. Don't most of us want love, security, good health, enriching education, clean neighborhoods, comfortable homes, inspiring work, an abundant bank account, happy families? Releasing judgement is one of the hardest things to do, but it's a key to breaking this vicious cycle of injustice.

    We have to do the inner work in order for it to transcend into the outer work. I'm still holding onto MLK's dream. As a society at large we obviously are no where near it yet. At the same time, in my life, I have lived and witnessed people of all classes and nationalities working together to make our world a better place. It's proof that we are on our way. We can all do our parts to contribute to peace. Calling all changemakers...let's continue to do what is necessary to be the change. One moment at a time.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you do to create 'peace in oneself?' How can there authentic change in our society?  Please share with me here.

    LovePeaceHarmony

    Ironically, my signature dates back to my high school days of scribbling lyrics in notebooks. Quoting Morrissey forever: "Love, Peace & Harmony. Love Peace & Harmony. Oh never mind, never mind, never mind, maybe in the next world."

    * If you like this article and would like to receive more insights into Modern Mindful Living, sign up for my newsletters below and please share with your friends.

    Photo Credit via Instagram: @ LaylaJadekrantz

    Photo Credit via Instagram: @ LaylaJadekrantz

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    Living With Vibrant Internal Freedom

    The importance of internal freedom has come to the forefront of my mind lately. That sense of freedom that comes when we are in the moment of engaging in an activity we are passionate about or we just have an overwhelmingly relaxed feeling of oneness, freedom. Yet sometimes we subconsciously block ourselves from actually doing what we have passion for.  Fear and uncertainty prevent internal freedom from wild, liberating expression. For those of us that have graduated from the carefree days of our youth, finding the time and making our inherent joy a priority can seem nearly impossible. There is just so much we are juggling in this thing called life.

    For me I rediscovered my desire for personal freedom with an untapped passion of mine....African dance. I have always been drawn to African dance every time I saw live performances with smiling dancers jumping, shaking to infectious live drumming. I have always wondered if my visceral attraction to this dance form is due to my ancestral lineage. I believe in this stuff. I don't know why it took me so long to actually take action and step my foot into a class to try it out.

    For dancers, to dance is to be free. (This is why, as a once serious party girl, I've always been one with the dance floor.) Dance teaches me life lessons. A sense of freedom is necessary. Yet, with Congolese dance, I struggle with letting go. Release the mind, allow the body to be one with the music. Like meditation, thoughts are not necessary, only your soul. The drumming is seeping in and teaching me what freedom is. This dance from the Congo has made me acknowledge I need these life lessons bad. I'm being shown the way.

    Photo:  C Fua DIa Congo via World Arts West

    Photo:  C Fua DIa Congo via World Arts West

    What ignites a sense of freedom and passion in you? Join me in the dialogue...

    3 Keys To Living With Vibrant Internal Freedom:

    1. GRATITUDE:  The first step is acknowledging gratitude for living with modern conveniences & education, void of desperate poverty. Once we as humans are not living hand to mouth, struggling to find fresh food, water and shelter, only then do we have the luxury to strive for personal passions, aspirations and freedom. It's difficult to handle both. Not everyone has such luck. We must count our blessings and extend a helping hand to those in need. Being grateful for our lives offers many benefits.  Try stating 5 things you are grateful for before bed or keeping a daily gratitude journal.

    2. PERSONAL EXPRESSION: Ask yourself...What activities do you engage in that offer you a sense of freedom? Have you thought about this lately? If not, make a list of 5 things you once loved to do and don't do anymore or new activities that intrigue you. I have some friends who rediscovered the wild world of triathlons and they work everyday with the joy & struggle of their personal challenges. Another mama friend, gets up in the wee mornings to catch waves surfing at the Rockaways before her busy day begins. It's so inspirational to me. What inspires you?

    3. JUST DO IT! : Pick one thing and set the intention to make it happen. Let fear, laziness, exhaustion, procrastination & all excuses subside. Arrange for childcare if you have kiddies or say no to frivolous outings or tasks. Give this gift to yourself. You deserve it. We all deserve it.

    Let your passions ignite within you. Nothing does the job better than movement and action. It starts with you.  I like to amuse myself by referencing classic soul from time to time, so here I go quoting some retro Chaka Kahn, it's time to ask yourself this key question....”What cha' you gonna for do me?” We must take care of ourselves first.  Like I say in my house, "If Mama's not happy, nobody is happy."

    Going old school. ..From the album What Cha' Gonna Do for Me © 1981 

      Do share with me below what you love to do. Then just do it! If you can't remember the last time you did so or are have difficulty getting to the root of what actually offers you internal freedom,  than you know it's time to chat with me. My exclusive private coaching program “Ignite Your Insight” will surely shift that & before you know it, you will be radiating. I can't wait to hear what you do to ignite your internal freedom & passions.




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      Celebrating Inspirational Sisters.... Keely Freeman of Sierra House, Empowering homeless youth and transforming lives, one young woman at a time.

      From the early stages of my life, I have been surrounded by activism and those fighting for social justice. My mother tells me in the early 70s, being a new mom didn't stop her from from hitting the streets to fight for women's liberation. She would just strap me to her back and take me to those protests...with me wearing a kiddie “Women's Lib” t-shirt and all.

      Keely Freeman, Founder & Executive Director @ Sierra House

      Keely Freeman, Founder & Executive Director @ Sierra House

      I've always found myself drawn to and inspired by people with a passion for making this world a better place. During my coaching course I volunteered for a program coaching executives pro-bono and as fate would have it, I was matched with the fabulous Keely Freeman. As we began working together, I was in awe of her and her life's work. I just had to share it with you all. Keely Freeman is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sierra House, an incredible non-profit organization, dedicated to fighting homelessness and rescuing the lives of at-risk youth and young adults through housing, education and community services to inspire healthy living, emotional stability and success.

      At a time when I am pondering the concept of visioning and preparing for The Visioning Party Autumn 2014, Keely Freeman epitomizes how amazing one small moment can evolve into a powerful vision. It takes dedication, right action, positive intentions and diligence, yet here before you is proof that a vision can blossom into a beautiful reality. You can profoundly shift your life and empower others around you, when you live your life from a place of authenticity. In Keely's interview below you can't help but be inspired to do you. Join me on October 11th for some rediscovery & insight into taking the next steps. Check out my girl Keely Freeman, as I bask in celebrating powerful women, making this world a better place....

      Hope: Just when many 20-somethings were in party mode and enjoying newfound adulthood, you left a prospering career in investment banking to help literally save the lives of at risk-youth in New Jersey.  What inspired you create Sierra House?

        Keely: Volunteering. I always enjoyed volunteering, but never knew that it would change my life. While volunteering at a homeless shelter for teenagers in Newark I learned that many youth were selected to enter the program from a waiting list and it broke my heart. Even more important, it compelled me to take action.

        Hope: It’s one thing to say you want to help others, it’s another to make the major life decision to do it.  How did you actually do it?

          Keely: I took the money that I saved and purchased a big house so kids will always have a place to live. No one deserves to be homeless. Especially, not children. I understand that Sierra House only puts a damper on the problem of youth homelessness, however my goal is to help as many homeless youth as I can.

          Hope: What are your top three most memorable moments at Sierra House?

            Keely: First let me begin by saying I have some many memorable moments at Sierra House. The first would be making the Sierra House a reality. It took me 6 years to get Sierra House off the ground. Why, because I was clueless. At the time, I had no clue what a nonprofit was. In 2006, I went back to school at NYU for my Masters in Nonprofit Management. During my time at NYU, I gained the skill set that I needed to make the Sierra House a home for homeless young women and mothers. Literally, I took the lessons that I was learning in school and applied it directly to the business. The day after I graduated from Grad school the doors of Sierra House opened.

            Friends of Sierra House.

            My second most memorable moment was of a young lady who entered the program when she was 18 and pregnant. Her mom lived in Jamaica and her aunt that she was living with kicked her out after she learned that she was pregnant. This young lady was in her last year of high school and had already had a son living in Jamaica. When she came here to live at Sierra House her motivation absolutely impressed me. Every day she would get up, rain, sleet, or snow and catch the bus two towns over to complete high school. When she graduated from high school, she didn’t want to apply to college because she wanted to work to provide a better life for her children. That’s what she said. The truth was, she didn’t think that she would be accepted into college so she didn’t want to apply and be let down. Here at Sierra House, we value education and encouraged her to apply. Guess what? She was accepted into five of the seven schools that she applied for. Today, she is living in an apartment of her own with her two children, works full time and attends college part time. I am so proud of her.

            The third most memorable moment was winning the Russ Berrie Award for Community Service. Of over 200 recipients, I was one of eleven finalists. 

            Sierra House, located in East Orange, New Jersey

            Sierra House, located in East Orange, New Jersey

            Hope: How have the youth you have supported through your programs affected you?

              A cozy bedroom for mama & baby @ Sierra House.

              A cozy bedroom for mama & baby @ Sierra House.

              Keely: My Sierra House residents keep me young. Although I am in my 30s, I am so old to them. I t’s funny to hear their perception of old age. Nonetheless, they keep me updated on the latest fashion, hair styles, music, etc. Above all, they inspire me to love harder, to give more, and to appreciate the simple things in life, friends, family, time and many, many more things.

              Hope: Share with us a favorite success story of one of your girls living at Sierra House?

                Keely: A young lady who came to Sierra House four years ago and wanted to study to be a doctor. Before moving to Sierra House, she was sleeping at the airport. While living at Sierra House, we helped her to get a job at a local deli. We also helped her to apply to Rutgers University. Three months later she was accepted into Rutgers. This individual cried tears of joy on the day she moved to campus, because all her life people told her she wouldn’t succeed and here she was, beating the odds. This individual, like many other Sierra House residents, can and will succeed.

                Hope: What changes in our society do you see still need to be made to aid in eradicating homelessness?

                  Keely: Policy. We have to advocate for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and funding to eradicate homelessness on a legislative level. It is impossible to live in our country without witnessing the pain of homelessness on our streets. The statistics are frightening: in New Jersey alone there are 11,818 homeless people (NJ Point in Time Count 2014), and a much larger percentage of residents go through each day without enough money to pay for adequate food and other basic necessities. Women account for nearly half of the homeless population and children make up about one-third of the homeless population. Essex County, where Sierra House is located, has the second highest number of homeless people, accounting for 14.7% of the state-wide homeless population, up from the 2012 amount of 13%. Without education and a stable living environment, people usually find it extremely difficult to obtain employment, pay rent, and meet basic needs, such as food and clothing.

                  In addition, New Jersey is the fifth most expensive state in the nation. According to the January 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the average monthly fair market rent for a modest one-bedroom apartment in New Jersey ranges from $870 to $1,184. Thus, a worker earning the minimum wage of $8.25 must work between 105 and 144 hours per week in order to just pay rent. In desperation for food, clothing, and housing, many homeless people, especially youth, gravitate to potentially dangerous settings for survival. Prostitution, selling drugs, and theft are just a few of the options taken. When homelessness is not addressed, the rate of crime, recidivism, childbirth, disease, and other conditions substantially increase, and we all pay the price.

                  Yoga Classes @ Sierra House!!!

                  Yoga Classes @ Sierra House!!!

                  The Sierra House Transitional Program is important because it provides homeless young women, ages 18 to 25, and their babies the skills needed for self-sufficiency. Sierra House provides them with much more than a bed and a meal for the night; it provides other necessities, such as one-on-one counseling and extensive support services that enable young women to successfully get back on their feet and, most importantly, break the cycle of homelessness.  In summary, we as individuals must continue to advocate and fight for affordable housing and policies to protect children and families.

                  Hope: How can we help you at Sierra House?

                    Keely: Groups, clubs, organizations and individuals can help pave the way for homeless young women and their babies at Sierra House by hosting and event or activity and donate the proceeds i.e. a bowling event or a charity dinner to Sierra House, sponsoring a drive or collecting goods that will help residents with their day to day living, make a donation, becoming a Sierra House volunteer or by becoming a Sierra House member.

                    To support and ignite change for homeless youth, at Sierra House please check out Sierra House.org

                    Want to rediscover what your personal vision is and get inspired to take action? Come join me on October 11th at The Visioning Party Autumn 2014.

                    What activités do you feel passionate about? How do you inspire or empower those around you? Do share. I would love to hear from you.


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                    The Visioning Party Autumn 2014

                     

                     I'm excited to launch my next special event, the Visioning Party Autumn 2014. As many of you know, there's not much this party girl likes to do more than bring some friends together and have fun.  Well this gathering may not be a dance party, but rather a day of community, self-discovery and inspiration. Check it and come by if you can...

                    What exactly is visioning you ask?  Check out my past article on the 'Six Keys to Powerful Visioning."  The upcoming Visioning Party Autumn 2014 on October 11th is a fun opportunity to revisit your youth or engage in some rediscovery and have fun sipping wine, vibing to chill music, escaping with guided visualizations and mini meditations plus creating a 'mood board for your life.'  Now for even more enlightenment, our party is taking place in a super chic private lounge, designed by Philippe Starck, with rooftop access and breathtaking city views. Not a bad place to dream big and be inspired to take action to live it.  For guests that didn't make it to the first Breakthrough Visioning Party, you can get a glimpse of my reflections in my article 'The Beauty of Community.' Here's what's been said from the first ever Breakthrough Visioning Party earlier in the year.... My experience at The Breakthrough Visioning Party was self-evaluative, creative, eye-opening, fun and multicultural on all levels. Even though I am entering into a lifelong partnership, I discovered I have many individual goals that I would like to accomplish. This is necessary to my personal development and growth. - Jodi Lin Weiner, Fashion & Lifestyle Publicist "When sifting through all the magazines, the best approach was to not overthink it and even let my subconscious took over sometimes. I was grabbing at imagery without fully knowing the "why." After doing the beginning exercises I felt like I was able to uncover a deeper part of my greater vision. Once things began being glued to the page that vision of my future life which at times was unclear to me, began to take shape.  My life totally changed after attending the Visioning Party. I was READY for some big changes to happen and I found the biggest shift was actually taking action. Sometimes when vision boarding I've created these lofty pieces and then just expected everything to magically come to fruition. But if you really want something to change in your life it takes a lot of WORK. There's an art of attention that you have to give yourself and your life in order for the magic to happen. The biggest shift from Hope's Visioning Party was creating the board and then setting out to fly.  The experience was a brain squeeze, yet transformative, inspiring, fluid and powerful! " - Lorenna Gomez- Sanchez , Associate Photo Editor, Billboard Magazine "Hope brings her stylish sensibility to everything she does. To be part of Hope's tribe means you are part of something truly unique. Her events are not to be missed. In her presence, you feel more joyful and open, like you're poised for greatness." - Amanda Berlin, Communications Consultant    *** I would love for you to share this evite with your friends that you feel would like to:  Make a bold move Acquire fresh insight Indulge in more self-care Summon the courage to live fearlessly Connect with like-minded cool people Release the old and rejoice in rediscovery 

                    What exactly is visioning you ask?  Check out my past article on the 'Six Keys to Powerful Visioning." 

                    The upcoming Visioning Party Autumn 2014 on October 11th is a fun opportunity to revisit your youth or engage in some rediscovery and have fun sipping wine, vibing to chill music, escaping with guided visualizations and mini meditations plus creating a 'mood board for your life.'  Now for even more enlightenment, our party is taking place in a super chic private lounge, designed by Philippe Starck, with rooftop access and breathtaking city views. Not a bad place to dream big and be inspired to take action to live it.  For guests that didn't make it to the first Breakthrough Visioning Party, you can get a glimpse of my reflections in my article 'The Beauty of Community.'

                    Here's what's been said from the first ever Breakthrough Visioning Party earlier in the year....

                    My experience at The Breakthrough Visioning Party was self-evaluative, creative, eye-opening, fun and multicultural on all levels. Even though I am entering into a lifelong partnership, I discovered I have many individual goals that I would like to accomplish. This is necessary to my personal development and growth.
                    - Jodi Lin Weiner, Fashion & Lifestyle Publicist

                    "When sifting through all the magazines, the best approach was to not overthink it and even let my subconscious took over sometimes. I was grabbing at imagery without fully knowing the "why." After doing the beginning exercises I felt like I was able to uncover a deeper part of my greater vision. Once things began being glued to the page that vision of my future life which at times was unclear to me, began to take shape.  My life totally changed after attending the Visioning Party. I was READY for some big changes to happen and I found the biggest shift was actually taking action. Sometimes when vision boarding I've created these lofty pieces and then just expected everything to magically come to fruition. But if you really want something to change in your life it takes a lot of WORK. There's an art of attention that you have to give yourself and your life in order for the magic to happen. The biggest shift from Hope's Visioning Party was creating the board and then setting out to fly.  The experience was a brain squeeze, yet transformative, inspiring, fluid and powerful! "

                    - Lorenna Gomez- Sanchez , Associate Photo Editor, Billboard Magazine

                    "Hope brings her stylish sensibility to everything she does. To be part of Hope's tribe means you are part of something truly unique. Her events are not to be missed. In her presence, you feel more joyful and open, like you're poised for greatness."
                    - Amanda Berlin, Communications Consultant 

                     

                    *** I would love for you to share this evite with your friends that you feel would like to: 

                    Make a bold move

                    Acquire fresh insight

                    Indulge in more self-care

                    Summon the courage to live fearlessly

                    Connect with like-minded cool people

                    Release the old and rejoice in rediscovery 

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                    Visioning ignites Passion….. 6 Keys to Powerful Visioning:

                    I wanted to share the power of visioning once again and how visioning can help transform our lives and that of our world. I have benefited greatly from visioning practices and wanted to spread the love. In today's world of beauty and joy paired with devastating current events throughout the world, the practice of subconscious deep reflection is quite empowering and enlightening. We feel renewed, rejuvenated and way less stressed. A feeling of peace can emerge.

                    ocean solo.jpg

                    Visioning is about stopping to reflect, allowing yourself to become aligned with your life's purpose. When you give yourself the time and freedom to seriously embody how you envision your life to be, you can gain crazy insights with razor sharp clarity. Your inner wisdom blossoms, a sense of fearlessness just may arise and all of a sudden anything appears possible. Visioning invites you tap into your intuition, which is instrumental to authentic, mindful living.

                    With powerful visioning, over time you can awaken that energy that will lead you to your life's purpose---connecting to your core---the legacy you want to leave behind. We all have something waiting to be born. Do you have an idea? I'm working on mine and enjoying the ride.

                    I have experienced the power of visioning in too many ways to count. But I can tell you these practices gave me the insights and conviction to transition into a new coaching career, which completely different from my lifelong career in fashion and art. Once the intention was made, action, persistence & patience put it into reality. Check out my tips....

                    6 Keys to Powerful Visioning:

                    1. Relax your mind.

                      Sit comfortably in silence. Just focus on your breathing and try to release thoughts that arise...aka...meditation. Walk within nature, do some yoga. (Those downward dogs go a long way.)

                    2. Practice gratitude.

                      Count your blessings. Be grateful for all you are, all you have. Spread some love around. Try keeping a gratitude journal or just be conscious of gratitude daily.

                    3. Live your future backwards.

                      Live the life you want for yourself as if it is your reality right now.

                      Take a risk. Surround yourself with those that inspire you. Splurge on something even if your safe self would tell you not to. Be that change you want to be and shifts in your life will appear. As the great Bob Marley said...” Stir it up...'lil darlin' stir it up.”

                    4. Create Vision Boards

                      Never underestimate the power of an image. Your vision board can empower you with a fresh sense of clarity, excitement, acceptance and even, dare I say...fearlessness.

                    5. Speak your truth out loud.

                      So the Gods & Goddesses, the Universe, or any other spirit guide you believe, can hear your thoughts, desires and dreams clearly. If you don't actually speak the words, your uphill climb just seems that much more difficult.

                    6. Have fun.

                      Let go of all those adult responsibilities sometimes and just play. Tap into your inner child and have fun doing things you love. Release inhibitions and go back to the good ol' days. (Anyone want to roller-skate?)

                    06moodboard3-superjumbo.jpg

                    One day, I was walking down the street with a friend and was telling her about the past Visioning Party I was planning. When I described the concept of the Vision Board, she said “Oh, you mean like a mood board for your life.” “Exactly,” I stated. Just as fashion designers, create mood board of inspirational images for each segment of their collections, we can create Vision boards to inspire us throughout our lives. As a visual person, the power of photography and graphics are extremely potent. Images tell stories, express thoughts or feelings that may surprise you.

                    Now, let's not fool ourselves into thinking all you have to do is state your intentions and put some photos on your wall and you are good to go. Oh no. It's all about taking ACTION! Sitting idle and hoping your life changes will leave you in a sad state of affairs. I've been there, without even realizing it, so I'm here to say it doesn't work.

                    I love creating a sense of community.  Love igniting passions inspiring “mood boards for your life.” The Visioning events  I host is the cumulation of all this great, fun stuff, plus a chance to unwind, relax, get in tune with oneself and discover some inner wisdom.  It is empowering to create vision boards,  experience a mesmerizing sound bath and visualizations, share dreams and oneself with a fabulous diverse community. I've created many collages in my day and nothing compares to power of the human spirit to unite, uplift and inspire through visioning. That's what my Visioning events are all about. 




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                    When getting wrapped up in other people's sh*t is killing you softly.

                    Ever have that feeling that you just have to 'let go'? I feel like it took me a lifetime to learn how to mind my own business. A few years ago when I made a conscious effort to put this newfound ideology into practice....boy did I have positive transformations in those difficult relationships. Maybe it was the 'oldest sibling' syndrome or my Cancer Girl traits....but I have always been taking care of people since as far back as I could remember. My poor brothers! This care-taking can also evolve into feeling a self-imposed need to help others when maybe, just possibly, they have no desire for your assistance and may even want you to step off.

                    Often, when you are wrapped up in other people's sh*t, it's enough to make you go crazy yourself....even if you aren't directly involved. It took some crazy stuff to go down until I realized the only answer was “letting go.” I know many that have experienced the same thing. It's amazing how just the simple act of letting go can lead to radical transformation. Energy shifts, life shines bright.

                    How to recognize it's time to let go....

                    1. Take a moment to look deeply. Are you minding your own business? If you are not, gently remove yourself from the situation. No matter how tempting it is swirl in the drama.

                    2. Do you find that anger or frustration is taking over on both sides...within yourself and the outside party. Have trouble sleeping? Anger has a way of enveloping us if it gets out of hand. Meditation helps with dealing with anger and opening your heart. When you are more open, you will find that anger dissipates. It's true. I've experienced it! If the basic condition for happiness if freedom, then letting go is the first step to reclaiming happiness in ones life. Check out my meditation video with tips on a fantastic open heart meditation.

                    3. Are you living your life to the max? It may be time to focus on your own needs rather than others. If you aren't living the way you want to for yourself, and want to make a few moves, focus on you. Being selfless is not selfish! If you are truly taking care of yourself, you won't have time dealing with the drama of others.

                    What's wrong with a little Zen and R&B?  Zen Master Thich Nhat Hann & Soul Songstress Roberta Flack - a rare combo

                    What's wrong with a little Zen and R&B?  Zen Master Thich Nhat Hann & Soul Songstress Roberta Flack - a rare combo

                    Here are two powerful quotes on anger by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn...

                    When you are angry, and you suffer, please goback and inspect very deeply the content, the natureof your perceptions. If you are capable of removingthe wrong perception, peace and happiness willbe restored in you, and you will be able tolove the other person again.”

                    Anger has roots in non anger elements. Ithas roots in the way we live our daily life. If wetake good care of everything in us, withoutdiscrimination, we prevent our negative energiesfrom dominating. We reduce the strengthof our negative seeds so that theywon’t overwhelm us.”

                    Regarding Roberta Flack...whenever I hear the term "killing me softly", her classic voice is always on the mind.  Her love song isn't necessarily about letting go, but hey....I love it!


                    On the topic of 'minding one's own business", I  just crack up thinking of one my favorite characters from "In Living Color."  We're going retro here....  Benita needs to mind her damn business! But you didn't hear that from me. :)

                    Of course, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment or share with your friends.



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                    True Happiness


                    As I am returning from a relaxing mindfulness retreat, I am inspired to dig into my archives of my original "Zen Mail", which are my musing on Buddhist thought that I once created to inspire some friends.....

                    True Happiness

                    With the concept of Mindfulness, there are a number of thought processes and actions that open the door for mindful living.  Mindfulness, meaning ......being aware of your present moment; taking note of your surroundings as you walk down the block, enjoying nature, eating a bit slower to enjoy the taste of your food, thinking before we talk, enjoying the little actions we take in life, being grateful for all we have in life, our health, our minds, our family, and friends.   For me, it's difficult to live mindfully on the regular. I have to make a conscious effort to be still, to be quiet, to open my eyes and be aware more often.  Last week I was listening to Five Mindfulness Trainings that  the celebrated Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn developed to help us understand and practice Mindfulness.  Want to exude true happiness?  Check this out.....it's deep and there are lots of layers......you could make this pact with yourself.......

                    True Happiness - A Training in Mindfulness

                    Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking and acting.  I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy and material resources with those who are in need.  I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply be remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings in Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

                    ###

                    ("Right Livelihood" means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully.)

                    One key notion for me is " true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion."  Sometimes I have to dig to the depths of my soul for understanding in order to have compassion.  Sometimes I can't comprehend a damn thing...but I try and when I come to the realization of understanding, the resulting innate compassion always leads me to feel happier and enjoy better relationships.  Sometimes acceptance just has to do.

                    I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please do share in the comments below.

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                    Multi-Tasking is Overrated.

                    As I pondered some universal struggles with parenting and modern life in general, the idea of multi-tasking just came bubbling to the surface.  The art of multi-tasking is completely overrated! 

                    I used to think that because I am a master at multi-tasking, as are most women, I should be proud of my accomplishments. I can dissect recipes, cook dinner, respond to work emails and engage with my daughter at the same time! I am such an accomplished mama! While working crazy hours during fashion week, I can write and send out hundreds of press releases, field & place important calls, respond eloquently to emails and address colleagues and client's drama all at the same time. All while appearing cool, calm and collected. I'm a master of my domain! You know what? In hindsight, when I multi-task, nothing actually gets my attention enough to effectively be the best it could be. It's all good, but is it really great? Things slip through the cracks. Dinner takes way too long to prepare. Mistakes happen.

                    When researching this phenomena of multi-tasking, psychologists actually use the term “task-switching”. In reality, our brains and actions can not do more than one thing at a time, so we actually switch tasks. An example of how we can overcome this is when we repeat tasks over and over, only then are we able to multi-task --- such talking and walking in synch.

                    Task-switching really isn't the best example for our kids either. They want us to really listen to them. I heard some parenting advice from Dr. Shefali who wrote “The Conscious Parent”, where she offered a gentle, vital reminder....when our children are talking with us, we should stop, give them our full attention and listen. When we are busy, it's good let them know, mention we'll be able to focus as soon as our project of the moment is complete. They need us to stop and focus. Not to text and pretend we are listening. I know this is difficult especially when our kids just don't shut up. Breathe. We are teaching them mindfulness by practicing being present  ourselves. It ain't easy, as I slip up regularly, but I'm on the path. By the way, adults actually want us to REALLY listen too!

                    Five Keys to Squash the Art of Multi-Tasking:

                    1. Take on our most challenging or very important tasks first.

                    At the end of your day, identify the most pressing tasks for the next day. In the morning, tackle these pressing tasks first thing...before you get swept away. As the day goes by and we don't accomplish our main goals, inevitably we end up with anxiety or disappointment. If you do the big stuff first, you can relax more and have a chill day. Instead of drafting your “To Do List”, my new thing is creating an “Opportunities” List. Create this list in the evenings to prepare for tomorrow. Many successful entrepreneurs taut this action as vital for accomplishing goals efficiently.

                    2.    Divide and conquer.

                    Photo credit: Refinery 29

                    Photo credit: Refinery 29

                    Divvy up your “Opportunities” into batches and set specific chunks of time. Rather than check emails and social media all throughout the day which sucks up your precious time, try setting aside a certain time maybe 2-3x per day to respond to emails. This can pertain to any activities, void of the digital world. Just implementing this concept of setting aside special time for key projects can add more effective accomplishments in your day. I personally find this really difficult, but when I do implement it, I see a crazy difference in my productivity.  It's also good for curbing email or social media obsessions.

                    3. Implement the 80/20 rule

                    The 80/20 rule states that 20% of our work results in 80% potent, powerful accomplishments. Running around, as if we are a chicken without a head, in no way means we are more efficient. The busier we are, the more multi-tasking we do... a vicious cycle. Some of us city dwellers actually pride ourselves in being busy. It's a sign of importance. I remember as a recent college grad, I was assisting a celebrated stylist and he told me, one thing I need to know about working in fashion in NYC is that I always have to appear busy with various projects. It makes for a good impression. No wants to work with others that have nothing going on. I saw how he practiced what he preached and to this day he actually is a successful designer and stylist. His advice is sadly so true, but I'm kinda over all that now. I wish living with our truth was more acceptable. How can we shift this consciousness? As I've slowed down to reduce multi-tasking, I realize that I definitely don't accomplish all I would like to in a day, but I do get to the VIP stuff done more often. But my new thing is “Tomorrow is another day.”....G*d willing.

                    4. Wise Concentration

                    This wisdom is actually the final step of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path, a pinnacle of Buddhist teachings. It's also a key strategy on the the road to success. Concentration is to cultivate the mind to engage in the opposite of multi-tasking, but instead directed toward a single-pointed purpose. With focus and concentration, not only do we do our best work but we listen to others more effectively, which improves our relationships. According to Buddhist philosophy, there are two categories of concentration: one-pointed focusing and moment-to-moment concentration, which is also known as mindfulness. As they say, when one is able to cherish the present moment, they are able to live with more joy.

                    5. Do Nothing.

                    Photo credit: iheartloons

                    Photo credit: iheartloons

                    Silence offers you a unique opportunity to tap into your inner wisdom & creativity. Science has shown us that creative ideas are formed in the prefrontal cortex of our brains. Since our prefrontal cortex only accomplishes one thing at a time, multi-tasking is the opposition. Clear the mind...exercise independently, meditate, stroll in nature, surround yourself with beauty and enjoy.  Parents with young kids must really try to give themselves the gift of special solo time. We will all experience life transformations with more silence in our lives.

                    6. Unplug. Enjoy Nature.

                    Studies have shown that task-switching results in exhaustion and agitation...surprise, surprise!!! So what better reason, than to actually go on a retreat or vacation, unplug all your tech and live life the old fashioned way for awhile. It really is so refreshing. Even if you can't go away right now, you could try to challenge yourself by unplugging at certain time each evening. I'm heading to a retreat with my daughter soon and I'm actually looking forward to leaving my computer behind. We all could use a break.

                    This is one powerful video about the digital world's residual effects on our modern-day society. What is our world coming to?  If this doesn't prove we need to unplug, I'm not sure what will.  After watching this, I refrained from my Instagram obsession.

                    "I forgot my phone" Written by Charlene deGuzman Directed by Miles Crawford Starring Charlene deGuzman


                    So what tips resonated with you to shift your multi-tasking, task switching lifestyle? Please do share with me in the comments below. 

                    If you liked this post, please share the love.









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                    An Outsider Discovers the Inside

                     

                    This is difficult to admit, but for much of my life, I never really felt like I belonged within various environments I found myself in. Being that I have a bi-racial background and was raised in a Long Island suburb, race was always a huge factor in that feeling. But there was so much more to it. It's interesting that mixing deep personal growth with the natural fact of aging, I have overcome the sense of not belonging here or there. This illustration below sums up my life in one swoop. “Blend in, for what?” Why the hell was I even trying all these years? I actually gave up trying a few years ago which resulted in a sense of freedom and inner peace.


                    Photo Credit: Cotton Candy Playground

                    Photo Credit: Cotton Candy Playground

                    It's all about embodying who you are at the core. As a woman, tapping into feminine power, that many of us girls have glossed over for too long, has proved to be pretty dramatic. People who know me may think it's strange that I say I felt like I didn't belong. All of us have insecurities and when you are often considered on the fringe... even freakish to some, who knows what untruths can develop in one's mind. “I don't belong” was one of my strange 'false beliefs.' Now I look back and see all those missed opportunities because I felt like I didn't belong, when truly, I actually did. I was down, but sometimes just didn't notice. What I do know is that life is too short. It's time to live our truth. Open up. I'm trying.

                     

                    Love this girl under the ivy....Source:Characteronomy

                    Love this girl under the ivy....Source:Characteronomy

                    How do we overcome our most damaging false beliefs about ourselves? It's deep and does require serious introspection and inner work, but you can try these few steps:

                    1. SOLO TIME:

                      Take some solo quiet time for yourself. Try meditation or relax for a few minutes. Indulge in nature. It's vital to give your mind and mouth a rest. This allows you to tap into your inherent wisdom which will allow you to take action based on instincts & inner knowing. ( I know for some of us, it's a challenge to keep our mouths shut.)

                    2. JOURNAL:

                      If there is something you are looking to overcome, it's a good idea to journal about it. The written word offers for some a window to the soul. Things come out that you won't believe. Even if you don't care for writing, try it anyway. ( You can always burn the notes, to release them to the universe or trash them.)

                    3. POWERFUL INTENTIONS:

                      Set a 'power statement' to counter act your false belief. Create a short sentence to powerfully state your truth. An example, if you feel “I don't belong.” Your powerful intention could be as simple as “I belong.” Once you create this statement, it's important to state it aloud and/or read it daily. (This works remarkably well if you stick to it.)

                    Now that I inherently know I belong in the places I surround myself, my mindset has drastically shifted. I'm very in tune to energy more that ever, so I can sense in my body and energy what and who are right for me and what is not vibing. I was so surprised when I attended this event last year where I would normally feel like an outsider and even though it wasn't my type of crowd, I totally felt like I belonged and the people around me reciprocated that vibe. I was shocked how quickly a change in consciousness actually benefited me. Doors open.

                    Tree Cloud by Chema Madoz

                    Tree Cloud by Chema Madoz

                    Do you have a false belief you want to shift? Have you altered your consciousness based on a false belief you have had? Have you ever felt like an outsider? I'd love to hear from you below. If you feel like you may want to go deeper shifting those false beliefs, reach out to me for a Spark Session. It's fun stuff.

                    Signature -love_peace_harmony_hope_sig_smest.jpg

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