Sunday, June 30, 2013

eAtiNg wiTh pReseNcE . . .

Dear FunFreePeePs!

This morning I did some very interesting noticing.

I woke up around 5 am but I decided to stay in bed; one of my favorite luxuries during the summer is falling back asleep and lolligagging under my blankies until I feel like getting up. During the school year when I work as a teacher I don't have that choice . . .  ; 0)

Anyway, I finally got out of bed around 6:45 and I was really hungry, so I cooked up a delicious breakfast: egg whites, a bagel, and a mixture of steamed kale and bok choy with parmesan cheese--topped of with a steaming cup of hot coffee.

I sat down at the table looking out at the lake, and I had the urge to reach for my laptop and check my mail . . . and I just noticed that's what I wanted to do (but didn't open my computer), and I sat and took a bite of my breakfast, and continued to gaze down at the rolling waves and watch the wind blow through the trees.

I noticed again how hard it was for me not to multi-task while I was eating, and then I realized how many different things I do while I am eating--many of which actually prevent me from enjoying the deliciously prepared food I create for myself (I'm an awesome cook).

Here is a list of stuff I do while I'm eating:
  • watch TV 
  • check email
  • talk on the phone
  • write in my planner
  • cook and clean
  • do laundry
  • read or surf the net
  • write my blog
Today I have decided I will not do anything while I am eating. I will savor my food in a conscious manner, look around my environment, listen to the sounds around me, and taste my meal.

Now it's lunchtime. Here's what I'm having: chips with home-made corn apple salsa, chicken (rolled up), and steamed kale and bok choy with ginger topped off with sesame seeds. YUM-O-RAMA!

During my lunch, I noticed that I ate slowly and intentionally tasted almost every bite, but I still reached over for my computer a few times and had to stop myself. 


Another thing I am noticing is that my mind is really busy chattering away constantly. Planning. Revisiting the past. Judging. Blah, blah, blah. This is why we meditate, right? To quiet the brain. Sometimes I think I only live up in the top 10 inches of my body--as in--my brain. One of my biggest lessons right now is learning how to tame my brain.

Let's just say it's a very long and challenging class!

During lunch, had I not been paying attention, I would have missed the red-headed woodpecker in the tree outside the window. I wonder what that totem means . . . when I looked it up, one of the things it means is rhythm.

I guess it's no coincidence that today I ran about 3 or 4 miles, and it was really hard--until I began counting in rhythm my steps on the rocky earth, which made my stride faster and stronger . . . and helped me forget the pain in my hip and lower back and which allowed me to run an extra half-mile.

But I digress . . . 

How can you eat in a more present manner? Leave a comment and share your idea.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

bE FREE . . .


Want to remind you (and me) about the funfreeMe name thing (thanks, keith!)--I started to think last week about the idea of fun, so today I want to say some stuff about being free (p.s. do you think free is light blue?).  

I have blogged about the fact that we are all the same, meaning that we are equally valuable/lovable, and we are all where we need to be(loved).

IDK about you, but I have spent a lot of precious time and NRG waiting for other people to change, (or, trying to change them, DUH! NONE OF MY BUSINESS!). And that's really amazing and convenient for us, cuz when we focus on what others need to do (made up in our minds)--GUESS WHAT?! 

We don't have to focus on us and what we need to change about ourselves!

HOW CONVENIENT! (and RIGHT, and BETTER *and superior of us...)

WHAT IF (scary and thought-provoking idea incoming)...


kNoCk iT OfF! and focus on yourSelF! (me, tOoO!)

LeT thEm be! (LoVeD)...
and they'll let you be! (LoVeD), too!

Do you feel me?

Love you lotssa and lottsa (mozzerella)!

;) dana

Sunday, June 23, 2013

mUsINgs on mY nEw cAr . . .

mY bRaNd nEw cAr! yEah!

Dear FunFreePeeps--

I am delighted to announce that today I purchased my FIRST NEW CAR--at the age of 47. Now, I know that many of you may think that's a strange thing to celebrate for maybe a couple of reasons:
  1. Maybe you think I haven't owned a car before (I have been lucky and grateful to have owned 4 used cars before this one . . .)
  2. Many people do not have the luxury of ever actually owning a car. I have had to explain this to my kids, who may tend to believe that car ownership is automatic when one reaches adulthood. I have had to lay out the income it takes to pay for the car payments, insurance payments, gas payments, oil changes, and maintenance fees--freak out. Wouldn't it just be easier if Mom or Dad bought the car for them? Nope. Kids need to earn their accouterments; otherwise, they are taught to be entitled. As a good friend of mine says: IT TAKES GRIT.
So today is very important. I declare:

I am a single, wage-earning woman who has purchased an amazing NEW car (it has 10 miles on it right now in my garage).

I can afford it. I deserve it. I am grateful.  am lucky.

AND--I don't have to apologize for buying a new car. Even though I feel bad somehow. 


I am coming into knowing that I deserve what I want and need, and I don't need to settle for less. This also relates to my relationships; I don't need to go to default because I'm scared there's nothing better. 



Monday, June 10, 2013

gOt gRaTiTudE?

Hello All--

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of the prACTice of grATTITUDE. There are so many ways we can show that we are thankful, including writing in a journal, doing a little ritual (like I did with the pinecone), praying, or taking quiet time . . .

iDeA: I especially like saying "thank you" to people who do things kind and thoughtful things for me. This could be a note, or a short conversation (BTW: this especially includes those who don't hear it very often . . . including my school janitor, the person who serves me at McDonald's, the girl at Sebastian Joe's who makes smoothies for my kids and me, my parents, and everyone else who serves me . . .!). 

Sometimes, when I say thanks, people look reallyreally surprised . . . like they haven't heard it much before. Yikes!  That's a total dRaG!  :0(  What if we made thanks! a regular part of our vocabulary?
Here's an amazing video from 
(of the Oprah Winfrey Network)
where folks get a chance
to people who made a big difference in their lives: 

Doesn't it feel good when someone says thank you to you?
I challenge you to make an effort to thank those around you, even for just one day! 
It's an awesome
(note the word ACT
and it feels GrEaT!

Here's what some of my 8th grade kids who saw this video wrote about they're gratitude!

Hope you have an amazing day!
Notice and be thankful for all the GO(0)D StuFf!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

ArE yOu a pLAyEr?

First Flight Last Year!
dEar aLL of yOU(s)!

Today I played at Valleyfair again, and guess what? I went on the RIPCORD for the second time in my life. . . and I played all day. CHeck out my vid from last year--forthcoming vid from today coming up soon at a theatre near you.

One thing I love about my job as a mom and a teacher?  Kids all playing together! Amazing! We bIg kIdS have a lot to learn from the little ones . . . or, I should say, we gRoWn uPs have a LoT to LeaRn about ReMeMBerINg to be KiDs!

This might be weird, but one thing I notice and celebrate is that kids have to continue working things out if they want to keep playing together. Like, for example, there is a flow of communication that naturally happens as a result of the kids wanting to CONTINUE to PLAY! 

So, there's this amazing cycle in no particular order of:
  • GIVE AND TAKE & SHARING: "Here's a watermelon Jolly Rancher for you..." or, "Do you want to share my blankie?"
  • TAKING EACH OTHER'S STUFF ("That's my shovel", "Hey! I wanted the last piggy in a blanket!")
  • TESTING LIMITS & BOUNDARIES (aka...what can I get away with!)
  • SETTING BOUNDARIES (e.g. "I don't like that!" or "You can't say shut up to me"
  • MESSING UP: "Oops. Mom, I spilled the nail polish on the table..."
  • feeling whatever the he(l)k they feel LIKE--BEING MAD (like, throwing a tantrum with no apologies)...SAD ...and SUPER DUPER HAPPY & ECSTATIC (but mostly the good stuff)
  • SAYING "I'M SORRY"... and actually meaning it...
  • FORGIVING: "That's okay. I know you didn't mean it..."
and again...
and again
  • and, 'cuz playing is way more fun than fighting, there is a natural move toward communication and collaboration with the kiddos
  • and, when things get too tough, kids take a break, ask for help from a grown up or another kid, simply find another more suitable kid to play with . . . or, move entirely to another playground!
(do you know where I'm going with this yet?)


What if grown ups took lessons from kids about how to keep playing together? You know, no drama, say what ya gotta say, renegotiate, and MOVE ON? That's what I want to do with my friends & loved ones . . . KEEP PLAYING!

LiFe is gO(o)D! Just sayin'
dana, the great
(tiara, please . . . )

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My Gift to Me!

HaPPy TuesdAy!
    Have you ever waited for a gift? Or, expected one? I have. And guess what? I have started to give myself the beautiful things, experiences, and most of all--the loving relationship I deserve---to myself!

    Above, you will see the $29 bouquet of flowers I bought for myself today. Isn't it beautiful? 

    I'm not especially fancy, and I don't have a lot of cash . . . but it's an honor that I provide myself that gives me great pleasure and fills my heart and soul . . .  a few fresh flowers in my kitchen. 

    I get to do that for myself whenever I wish. AND it's worth it. I'm worth it,

    I really believe that we are supposed to shower ourselves with gifts, and to the Universe . . . whenever possible. 

    SO . . . Why are we afraid of showing our talents and gifts to the world . . . I think many of us believe that we are supposed to hide our gifts . . .  what the H(eLL) is that about? 

    Here are some of my old beliefs--followed by my new Codes of Truth:
    • OLD: People think we are full of ourselvesbragging, or others try to squash our gifts by making fun of us or putting us down (no wonder we just want to stay small sometimes).
    • NEW: We each have different gifts from the Universe, and our mission is to find those gifts, celebrate them, and share them with others in service so that others may benefit! NObOdy else can be me, or you, and nobody has the same purpose or mission as me!
    • OLD: We somehow have been taught that there's not enough ______ to go around (talent, money, good stuff, cookies, Jolly Ranchers, brains, whatever!).
    • NEW: Is there enough sun for everyone? Of course there is! The Universe is an abundant place. Others abundance is a reminder to me that there is plenty for all! Remember: gratitude for what we have draws more of the good stuff to us!
    • OLD: We have been taught that if someone else has something, it means there's less of it to go around (see above . . .), AND if, for example, we give someone a compliment or are happy for them, it automatically takes away from us and makes us less than them.
    • NEW: When I notice the abundance around me, or notice beauty in someone else, or appreciate those around me, positive energy grows and multiplies, and I draw more of the juicy yummy stuff to myself!
    What I have learned is that I must first find my purpose, be myself, take care of me--and then (here's the most important part . . . ready?)
    I live life in service to others
    from a juicy place of
    (rather than exhaustion and resentment . . .)

    What are your OLD beliefs? How can you replace them with new and improved-emPOWERed--Personal Codes of Truth? (let me know in the comments!) 
    Hope you are letting your light shine and you are living LARGE and in CHARGE! Keeping yourself small doesn't serve you or others!

    So much love--
    ;0) Dana

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Release and reassign your low self-love & self-esteem!

    Step out into the sun . . .

    Many of you know that I have been following Guru Singh as of late, and I have been receiving his daily blogs--which inspire and stretch me in ways that are amazing and life-changing. When I read his words, I am reminded that:
    • All is well;
    • I am right where I need to be and always have been (and so is everybody else);
    • I get to change how I've operated in the past (and so do others); and
    • There are great things awaiting me (and so do others), if I choose the path of enlightenment and growth, rather than fear.

    I received his words last week about releasing low self-love and low self-esteem. I don't know about you, but I have had some pretty unhealthy and damn mean and nasty views of myself throughout my life. I say things in my head to myself that I would never be caught dead saying to someone else's face.

    Somewhere along the way, I learned to love others before myself, to take care of others before me, and to be a martyr about the whole process, and as a a result feeling resentful and downright depleted. I believe the punch word in recovery is codependent; but that's semantics shem-antics. What I didn't realize was that I created this experience for myself, and I was the one in the driver's seat the whole time. 

    You see, it's easier for me to be unhappy and blame outside conditions for my unhappiness and discontent than to look in the mirror and recognize that the monster in the mirror is actually me. It's all me, and it always has been--I just didn't know it. 

    My mind has tried to figure it out this pattern and its genesis for a long time--I've been to counseling, gone to 12-step groups and meetings, attended classes on assertiveness training, to name a few. And while my mind really like to figure things out . . . I think it's time to stop trying to figure it out and just change the behavior--which is precisely the invitation and call to action I received from Guru Singh (and other ass-kickers who have recently arrived in my life . . . I just didn't recognize them either . . . sorry! and thanks! LOL). Here's what Guru Singh writes:
    There comes a time in every job [ . . . ] when even the best tool must be released and the task of the tool declared done. If after the nail has been driven in, you still swing the hammer, you will damage the job that has been achieved. This is the case with low self-love and self-esteem. When these creativity drivers have completed their goal, you can proceed no further with them in place. They must be released. This is never easy; their process has become reliant and grown familiar — a habit pattern has formed and must now be broken.

    The way to break this pattern is by honoring the work that they (the low self-esteem and low self-love) have already achieved. This is the tricky part . . . honoring their work and re-assigning them to yet another level of your development.

    Perhaps you can assign them to keeping you humble. You will require humbleness as your excellence continues to grow. What a great new assignment! These old tools (the low self-esteem and low self-love) will love you for it and not get in your way with it . . . which they would if you were not showing this appreciation. It is not as if they are independent beings that you must deal with. They are living parts of your being and this is an energy dance of extremely high awareness. It is both an art and a science.

    ~ Guru Singh
    We need to shed those behaviors and relationships that no longer serve our highest good, and this is especially true for those patterns we repeat in relationship to our wonderful, blessed, imperfect selves. I personally cannot think of anything more important. What unhealthy habit or pattern toward yourself will you shed on this day? Leave a comment and share your experience . . . 

    Lots of Love to YOU!

    p.s. Check out my guest blog "This May be the Most Important Question That Drives Our Purpose on the Planet" about addiction and recovery on The Daily Love yesterday; I would love if you would leave a comment and share your thoughts and feelings! 

    Also, yesterday was the first day of the HAY HOUSE WORLD SUMMIT, an online event to inspire, heal, and begin some important conversations about life and love. IT'S FREE! I'll be blogging about it in the coming days . . .