Monday, April 28, 2014

No day but today...

Today is happening, right now, at this very moment. While I write this, while you read it, today is happening, at this very moment. We are here, living the often taken for granted miracle that is life. Each day is a gift, an opportunity to start anew; a second chance to make, or break an impression, a bad one that is. A day in our lives is so precious, glaring and glowing with sparkle and shine that is so blinding we don't see the beauty and uniqueness of it. A day in our lives is special, and it happens only once, today, right now, at this very moment.

So, why do we (why do I) dwell in the what ifs of tomorrow? Maybe we can't help it. Maybe at one point in our lives we learned how to plan ahead, live month to month, and operate in a system that makes us look ahead instead of looking now. I am not picking on planning ahead... Your truly had to learn to live and work in an environment that survives on "predictive modeling" and assumptions of what "may be."  There's certainly nothing wrong with that until you realize you are missing today.

There is nothing wrong with planning a new strategy for innovation, product development, communication, a vacation, an adventure. To that, I say bring it! However, careful you and I must be if the cautionary discretions we must consider in the planning of whatever brings stress, tension and unnecessary drama. What to do? What to say then?

Well, some of us unfortunately have had to endure a lesson here and there, that at certain moments of today, when drama comes, or bangs on our door like a wolf huffin' and puffin' to get in, the best thing to do is stop, think, reflect... and do the best to continue to tackle the situation from a place of love. Worst case scenario: you were part or the actual cause of the tension or drama. What to do? What to say? Maybe walking away is best. Taking yourself out of the situation and spend some time in silent reflection.Taking a time out and chill is a very scientific, yet effective way to cool off . I know, trust me, it works. What I have learned is that whatever the situation, face it head on, from a place of love.

Today is happening, right now, at this very moment and I am firm believer that if we, as imperfect humans, make mistakes, we should own them and apologize, especially if they have hurt someone deeply. Owning your mistakes and finding ways to fix them is how you learn and grow. Maybe it takes a little longer for some lessons to fully immersed themselves into your being, but with love and trust, you will get there...

Some of us may need not to only ask for forgiveness, but to forgive ourselves. A good friend reminded me yesterday not to be so hard on myself... to allow myself to forgive that I have screwed up in the past, but I am a better person now because I learned from my mistake.

Today is happening, right now, at this very moment... My wish and prayer for you all is that we remember that there is no day but today. There is no more beautiful and special time to be with the one you love than the moment you are together. There is no better time to say I love you than when you think about saying those precious words to your kids, your parents, best friends, partner in life, love and adventure. There is no better day than today to start a new project. There is no day but today to change what you know needs to change but you have been afraid to change it... There is no better time than now to even plan (maybe a little ;)) on going on retreat to get refreshed and renewed spiritually. There is no reason to worry about tomorrow because it will never exist without TODAY.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Going on retreat... brb!

Need a little pick me up? Want to regroup and get your thoughts in order? Your life, perhaps? Go on retreat... Take some time for yourself, connect with whatever you need to connect with and just be...

Wait for it... wait for it. Here comes the disclaimer- I use the word "retreat" loosely and almost as a verb, not a noun. Retreat yourself from the routine, from the drama, retreat and TREAT yourself to some "me" time and do something you like, no, LOVE; love to do or love to be at. Most of all, be happy.

Going on retreat, or retreating away for a little bit to have some quality time with yourself, with God, or whatever power or energy you believe and feel whole around, can come in many different forms.

If you are prone to go on retreats of the spiritual or religious nature, do it! Contemplative times of silence and prayer may just be what you love and also need at the time to re-energize your life. Some people travel to retreat and literally get away. Others read a good book and immerse themselves in the pages of the fictional (or non-fictional) places, lives, loves for a little R & R with imagination. Love it? Do it!

I have a friend who loves race cars. His retreat includes an annual pilgrimage to the Indy 500. I know, I know, it's not the most contemplative or quietest of environments, but it's his retreat, and when he comes back to routine, he is a newly positive and energized person to be around.

Others need a weekend, here and there, to go to the beach, set up camp and be with nature. Talk about re-TREAT! What a treat it is to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature, the gifts from our Creator, the sun, moon, skies and stars... The sea, the sand, the heat and wind. Alone or with company, it is an opportunity, not a chore, a joyous gift, not a stressful "to do." Same goes for exploring and tackling on trails in a forest or national park, listening to the birds sing, the crackling trees and breathing fresh air that is taken for granted more than it should.

For me, well, I can most certainly relate to the examples of retreating already mentioned. However, my favorite form or re-treating is indeed a TREAT for myself.

Going on retreat... brb (be right back!) is what you will usually see if I post anywhere that I am in a movie theatre.

Why? Weird or goofy, some might think. Well, to quote a good friend and colleague, yes, I am goofy. ;) So be it, in this particular case I take pleasure in what some may even call superficial and unrealistic. My retreats from routing, from the norm in order to think, reflect, process and escape is going by myself to see a movie. Yes, that is me, the person that buys "one for "Eat, Pray, Love, please."

As much as I will try to explain the whys, just take my word from it as a choice and for what it's worth. A movie can be just that, a movie. A 90-120 minute feature film based on an either, sappy story or a reality-based event, told by actors who may be more self-absorbed and all about themselves than they would care to admit. Maybe, yes, that is the case.

To me, however, (and I have blogged about my obsession, yes, it qualifies as such) with movies, their actors, the story behind the creation of such, the cinematography, sound, and everything related is an experience.  When I walk into a dark movie theatre I can tune out every hint of drama, worry and stress in my life. When I walk unto the isle, carefully scout out and count until I find the middle seat and indeed, sit, I am home.  I make sure no one is sitting in front of me. Pop corn in tow (you GOTTA have popcorn!) and a bottle of water - I stopped drinking diet Coke and opted for water; the involuntary need to be consciously healthy, ugh- and put my feet up. Shhh.. Silence. Bliss...

I pay attention to the previews like it's my job until the movie begins. Then, finally, after 30 minutes of often too much information-induced ads for upcoming attractions, my journey into introspection begins. Yes, admittedly so, the drama, stress or worry in my life creeps in, but this is where the retreat part comes in! I carefully choose my movies. I choose movies I can not only relate to, but that are relevant and realistic. This certainly does not mean I won't indulge in my occasional science fiction- Star WARS, not Star Trek, please!- for those flicks are often the most necessary magical trips we need to really disconnect and regroup from a new perspective. I go and watch comedies, the most hilarious and inappropriate at times and they are perfect for making me laugh hysterically and remind me not to take life too seriously. It's only life, after all. We should laugh and enjoy it! Thank you "Bridesmaids" for making me LOL more than once! ;)

Like a good book that somehow touches one's life, a movie can also help you heal, give perspective, or you know what, simply help you CHILL OUT in the midst of whatever you are dealing with. Truth be told, maybe your drama doesn't really go away completely. That's fine. Of course, it will be there when you come home, or return from the beach, or go back to work on Monday, or hike down the mountain. Life will be there, our problems will be there. But after a much needed, well-deserved retreat (silence, musical, theatrical or prayerful), you will feel like you gave yourself quite a TREAT because you chose to take the time and do something you loved, but equally needed.  You feel better already... you can face the music, put on your Ironman suit and take on the bad guys. A new energy fills your heart, your mind... You did it! You were able to step back, relax, reflect, regroup... and now confidently say bring it on!