Happy Healthy and Fit

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ignite a Spirit: Leave a Legacy

Create Lasting Impressions.

When I walked in to order my burrito, Anthony lit up like a Christmas tree. In fact, I am pretty sure that I was still outside with one hand on the door in the dark, when he stood taller, puffed his chest and smiled from ear to ear. It took me a moment to place the face.

The idea of Legacy has been on my mind for a while. Legacy in the material sense does not much interest me. The idea of Legacy, as in leaving a lasting impression that has altered the consciousness of the entire planet has always fascinated me. Lately, I have had a lot of people tell me how something I told them made them conscious of their behavior. They are making adjustments to their patterns and experiencing glimpses of transformation. Of course, it makes my ego feel good to know that I left a meaningful impression.

However, the impact of these small successes didn't feel like enough to make the point about the power of Legacy. Stumped for an example, I went for my burrito. Magically, Anthony appeared. I knew he saw past my messy bun and cutoff jean shorts. He saw right into my heart and I saw into his. His mom and stepdad brought him to me when he was just 15. I had a martial arts school and he had a troubled past, present and future. They had taken a second mortgage to send him to reform school and the economy tanked leaving them angry, him indifferent and the issues unresolved.

I could feel Anthony's heart and intensity the first time I met him. I took him under my wing and told him I was going to train him like the adult he was and hold him accountable as an adult. We had an understanding. I never saw his flaws, only his potential. It was a sad day, after a year of progress that he had to call me himself and tell me that he had been arrested for selling drugs and kicked out of school. I never judged him and I never saw him again.

Tonight, at 19, Anthony is a high school graduate, attending Community College and preparing for the Military. He is fit and proud. He works two jobs. All these years later, his soft eyes said, "Thank you for believing in me."

I came home and cried. I cannot identify the tears, but I think, it was just confirmation of knowing that my actions truly touched and altered the life of another human being. I cannot take credit for Anthony's turn about, but I am confident that I participated in giving him some confidence during a vulnerable time.

Ultimately, Legacy is about the moment of truth. When it comes time to leave this earthly plane, what will people have to say about you? Which way will the scales tip? Will they say that you were destructive or nurturing? Did you make people feel better or worse? Did your life have meaning? Were you selfish or selfless? In a nutshell, did you help more people than you hurt?

The best part about creating your Legacy is that every encounter you have with another person presents an opportunity to share your spirit and ignite theirs. Leaving a Legacy now leads to lasting joy and fulfillment.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Health and Longevity: One Positive Thought at a Time

Clear thoughts produce clear results.

In a recent conversation with my grandmother, she was very excited to tell me about doggy litter. Apparently, it is like kitty litter, but only for dogs. Nanny loves her little dog. Instantly, I thought, "Wow! Just what America needs, another tool to facilitate laziness and fuel our obesity issue."

Without thinking, I inquired as to what she was doing these days for exercise now that she no longer needed to take the dog out for walk. Without hesitation, she responded in her spritely manner, "Well, I am thinking about it."

"How's that working out for you?" I sarcastically retorted.

"So far, very well." I could see her grin 3000 miles away.

I knew in my heart that it was true. I smiled from ear to ear. Nanny knows the Power of Positive thinking. In the fall, she will turn 92. She still lives in her own home in West Hartford, Connecticut with her little dog, Sugar.

Nanny could have easily fallen into being a victim of tough luck. She has endured more hardship than anyone I know. As a child, she witnessed her own father commit suicide jumping out of a New York City building and later lost her first love and husband in the war. He was a fighter pilot and his plane was shot down. He didn't die in the accident, but could not swim and drown.

Nanny is an inspiration and bright light. She is financially independent and an active bridge player. Her social calendar is more packed than mine and she often describes other people as being "little old ladies." Nanny is connected to her youthful spirit. So, if she wants to be excited about doggy litter, I am excited that she is excited.

I hung up the phone thinking- Who am I to be teaching my grandmother lessons, she seems to have the magic wand. After all, don't we exercise to be healthy and live long, joy-filled lives?

Moral of the story: Want to be Happy, Healthy and Fit? Start thinking you already are. Thanks Nanny. I love you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Make Friends with Pandemonium: Be your Boat

Make Friends with Pandemonium: Life saving lesson from a White Water River Rafting Guide

Yesterday's blog about letting the river of life carry you reminded me of an intimate first hand experience I had when survival literally meant becoming a boat in tumultuous waters.

Several years ago, adventure called. This time it would land me in Northern California for an intense Class V White water rafting experience.

Class V is considered the most extreme and challenging of rapids to negotiate, at least on a guided tour. I had been rafting in Colorado before and loved the exhilaration of being one with nature.

Somehow I knew this was going to be different. The lodge was hours away from civilization. The morning came early and everything seemed to be in slow motion. The guides introduced themselves, the equipment and the river. An aura of seriousness infected the once excited group. Calmly the guide explained that the river was at its peak; running as fast as it ever does.

The waivers started to go around. I felt like I was signing my own death certificate. The mood was a bit somber. There were already two bodies lost in the river this season. He went on about how it would be impossible to even look for those bodies until the snow finished thawing and the river dried up a bit and slowed down.

"MAKE FRIENDS WITH PANDEMONIUM!" He bellowed out three times. Pandemonium is one of those words that even if you have never heard it before, its meaning can be determined by how it makes you feel. Pandemonium is what you experience in the unlikely case that your raft flips and the river takes you for a ride.

On the ground we all practiced sitting in our yoga-like boat positions and understood that was how we were to go down the river should we happen to end up out of the raft. Dangling limbs will get you caught up and swallowed whole. The calming words came when he explained the kayakers would accompany us down the river and throw a line if we fell out.

I knew I didn't come all this way to chicken out, but I was definitely experiencing doubt. Fortunately and unfortunately, my aggressive girlfriend snapped me out of it when she pushed my into the guide flattering my ego and insisting I use my great negotiating skills to get us in the front seats of the first raft. And, we were off- fearless leaders.

And then it happened. In slow motion. An hour into our amazing journey, the water picked up and our raft lodged itself on a rock just long enough to throw everyone to one side and flip over. Those front seats sent us sailing down the river first . As promised, I saw the rope and the kayak. I thought I would be safe, but she was closer and when she grabbed it, the rope disappeared under water in her clutch and I was gone.

I clung to my oar and the river swallowed me. Arms and legs were being twisted and contorted. I was smashing onto the rocks and gasping for air. I was a rag doll in a washing machine. It was pure violence. It was Pandemonium. The promised kayakers and rafts were all behind me. The water was black and cold. I could not see the dangers ahead or below. Even my life vest couldn't keep above the water. I grabbed for tree branches when I could, but they snapped. I was moving so fast. I grabbed for rocks and the slime gave me nothing to grip. Faster and faster, I was totally out of control.

After what seems like miles, I remembered to drop my oar. Somehow I managed to cling to it. I was finally able to pull my legs up from underneath me and sit like a boat. Sure enough, the river hurled me onto a bank. Frozen solid and smashed to pieces, my mind and body were paralyzed and my heart was pounding. Not only was I alive, but I was truly alive.

In what seemed like an eternity, hovering on the river bank and waiting for my raft to retrieve me, I grinned from ear to ear. I just made friends with pandemonium. Next time it feels like life is tossing you about uncontrollably, just release your tight grasp on your illusive oar and become your own boat. Making friends with Pandemonium will expand your confidence beyond your wildest dreams. The alternative is to sign your spirit's death certificate and drown in your own fear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tai Chi Secret to Winning in Life

"You must be willing to lose in order to win," spoken so eloquently by my friend and tai chi teacher, Willie Lim.

This counter-intuitive statement really holds all the secrets to winning not just in tai chi, but in life. Most people view tai chi as a form of non-impactual exercise or even a moving meditation. Few people understand that this flowing, graceful style of movement is the only art that has never been defeated in combat. Even that statement is enough to make most people cringe. The introduction of UFC and other mixed martial arts fighting styles is sure to create doubt in the power of tai chi.

We can always look to nature to understand truth. Tai chi is considered the water element, and it is the water that carves the valleys through the mountains. Water has power in its persistence and surrender.

Learning tai chi means learning to release and soften when we naturally want to resist. If someone were to grab us and pull, we pull back and have begun a tug of war. The bigger and stronger party will always win. In tai chi, we blend and give our opponent what they want. It's the art deflection, blending and redirecting. It requires training the mind and heart to know its safe to go against every urge to resist, what seems like losing is actually the secret to winning.

Learn to go with the flow of life. Whether your opponent is a real bully, stress, depression or just the effects of the natural aging process, learn to ebb and flow with the ripples. Embrace your opponent. Let the river carry you on an amazing journey. Stop resisting and begin to win.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blend and Brighten: Be a Kaleidoscope!

Lately the idea of a kaleidoscope has been popping up in my head. I think it is the idea of combining colors with light to create beautiful patterns and applying this idea to our own lives. It came as no real surprise to learn that the word kalidescope comes from a Greek word meaning observer of beautiful forms.

A kaleidoscope is a tube of mirrors containing loose coloured beads, pebbles, or other small coloured objects. The viewer looks in one end and light enters the other end, reflecting off the mirrors. Coined in 1817 in English by its inventor Sir David Brewster, the word "kaleidoscope" derives from the Ancient Greek καλ(ός) (beauty, beautiful), είδο(ς) (form, shape) and -σκόπιο (tool for examination).

I remember, like it was yesterday, my Kung Fu teacher invited me to bring some friends to a picnic in the park. I know it was over 10 years ago because I had just tested for my 1st Degree Black Belt. I graciously explained that I didn't like to mix people and proudly went on to describe my life as a TV dinner. Very compartmentalized. His jaw hung open and I saw a look I had never seen before. Surely, I wasn't making myself clear so I went on to describe the nice way that a proper TV dinner keeps everything frozen separately and everything sits in its own little place never touching the other items. The now horrified look convinced me that the TV dinner analogy was bad. I shifted into the Bento Box. A Bento Box is a nice Japanese meal that keeps the sushi away from the Tempura, etc.

He simply said, " Randi, that is the saddest thing I have ever heard. Why would you deny yourself and all of those people the opportunity to mix company?"

It would take me years to understand that my neat compartmentalized life was absolutely way too much work, very isolating and doesn't make any sense. At the time, the thought of mixing work people with martial arts people or yoga people with family members or neighbors with friends was not even an option. I have to imagine that this was rooted in fear of judgement. But then again, maybe it was a learned behavior or just a pattern that I created and believed was right.

Today, I have learned that being whole and complete means just that. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit means accepting all of your eccentricities as part of you. Allowing others to see you as if they were looking through a kalidescope. Although, the patterns may change with each life situation, it is the combination of colors and experiences that create a beautiful spectacle.

I must admit that I still prefer to keep my food separate, but learning to show up confidently with all parts of me has created the space for others to do the same. Today, I experience great joy when I can make a connection for someone else through a various experience, song or book. I have introduced my neighbor to the study of Kabbalah, another to yoga. I have taken a friend from yoga to hike in the mountains, connected a friend from Kabbalah to the woman who shapes my eyebrows and like throwing a rock in the pond the ripples keep rippling. Just as it is the Light that brings out the magic in a kaleidoscope, it is the Light in our hearts that brings out our own color and the color in others. Only showing one aspect of yourself is like only allowing others to see one color. Be proud of your amazing spectrum. Show up colorful. Be a Kaleidoscope and see the beauty in others as if you were looking through a kaleidoscope.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Power in a Picture: Librarian to Liberty!

lib·er·ty (lbr-t)
n. pl. lib·er·ties
a. The condition of being free from restriction or control.
b. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing.
c. The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.

A picture is worth changing.

Last September I invited a girlfriend of mine to a networking group where I was the Membership Director. I thought it would be a good opportunity for her to get some local exposure, attract some clients and sell some of her Beauty Ammo make up products.

Although we had been friends for a while and connected on a spiritual level, she had never seen me in my "role" as a Professional. Much to my surprise when we spoke later in the day, in her blunt MB York, celebrity make-up artist to the stars fashion, Mary Beth asked me what was with the "Librarian" look? She was referring to my business card and the professional headshot that was on there to help people remember me.

This criticism was really a blessing. For a moment, I wanted to defend myself, but in my heart, I never liked this picture and I never desired to have a business card. Even as a little girl, I always imagined a business card to be very limiting and restricting. Yet, somehow here I was with a business card and a picture of someone not resembling me.

Mary Beth kindly pointed out that it didn't even look like me. She also reminded me that I was making a strong statement to the Universe and suggested I throw away all of those cards and change that picture. Although I understand this might sound a little crazy to someone who is not familiar with the laws of the Universe or does not believe in them, I knew she was correct.

That night I went home and replaced every public picture of myself. Down came the librarian look and up went a look of freedom, bliss and beauty. At an earlier time, I would have thought a halter top, hair blowing in the wind, slight mid-rif showing and sunset were not acceptable way to show the world who I am. But, the reality is I am who I am. I love that picture. Restrictions, rules, whispering and tip toeing around are for the Librarian.

It has been an amazing year remembering how to be Randi again. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit means Being the being who you were born to be. Thanks MB! I love you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Manifesting Muffins: Savory Morsels of Friendship

Last week I received an email response from a far away friend suggesting in my travels that I stop for a delicious muffin on my way back from teaching a yoga class up north. Although the timing didn't work out, I enjoyed the thought of closing the gap of time and space and connecting through a muffin.

Yesterday, a kind soul, with whom I work stopped to chat. Interested in the book I was reading, announced that his shelves were filled with 50 books of a similar nature. Then he said he was looking for me earlier to give a warm muffin. We chatted away about consciousness for a while and then went about our business. The thought of the muffin was certainly sweet, no pun intended, or maybe there is, but I didn't think too much of it.

This morning, I woke up and was greeted by a text message from my dearest girl friend. It simply read, "Left something at ur front door."

Low and behold, there was a freshly baked cinnamon crumble muffin sitting there in a little clear bag. My heart smiled. I felt all the love in the entire universe right there in that muffin manifestation. Only then did I connect the dots back to the muffin conversations prior. I am so happy and grateful for my friends, near and far, new and old. The more we learn to appreciate the little things in life, the more we guarantee they will show up on our door step.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lesson from the Apple Store: Power in Humility

"The reason why rivers and seas are able to be lords over a hundred mountain streams, is that they know how to keep below them. That is why they are able to reign over all the mountain streams."
~ Lao Tzu

Last night a jaunt to the Apple Store left me with an eye opening experience. Let me begin by saying I admittedly showed up annoyed. I had worked all day and was still wearing my uniform. In a previous life, I would have had to go home and take a shower and polish up my exterior before heading into the high end Scottsdale Quarter.

Inside the Apple Store, I observed bustling activity. Frankly, I didn't even know where to go. Two "Genius Bars" were in the back overflowing with people. I waited patiently until someone approached me. I explained that I had a nightmare of a return since it had been paid for with 15 different gift cards, a mild exaggeration, but not really. I have found that it is more effective to be the first to say your situation is difficult. It puts the other person in the role of problem solver and expedites a favorable solution.

Tony was very helpful. He got permission to credit the purchase all back to the credit card even though it has been paid with the various gift cards. For some reason he was having trouble logging into the system. Patiently, I began to observe the behavior of the customers around me. My favorite was the older couple with the young baby. They had her sitting on the counter, crawling, bouncing her feet and drooling. Granted, she was an adorable child, but I don't agree with placing babies and their organic matter on public surfaces such as that area. When the gentlemen helping told them they would have to schedule an appointment to get their battery replaced, the father went nuts in the most arrogant way. He was actually performing and escalating his voice so the store knew he had spent $8000 with Apple and that answer was unacceptable. He was the customer and his time was valuable. Another drop of baby drool on the counter and this is actually sad and entertaining.

The poor guy yelling has no idea that the most powerful thing he could have done was simply be kind and aware. Spending $8000 with Apple did nothing for the man who held the keys to his temporary cell of hell. Yelling is so ineffective. Tony, my helpful Apple rep, tried to make a suggestion to the couple as to how the problem may be their power cord. They had no interest in hearing what sounded reasonable to me.

Since we couldn't manage the return on one side of the store, we ventured to the other side. Tony was apologizing for the inconvenience. It has been 20 minutes. On the other side, I can sit down, it's not as busy. "Wow, this place is almost entertaining," I said to Tony.

"People are funny," he said with a politically correct smirk. Funny? That's one word.

Tony went on to explain, what I already knew was true. He said, "You know, none of us really care how much money you spent at Apple. That doesn't go into our pockets. Oddly, we each have the discretion to make most decisions here. Be nice and we can be very helpful. Act like that and you might be waiting a very long time."

He was right. There is no such things as a "Corporation." Corporations are comprised of people and it's those people that have the ability to help us.

When we finally got to finishing the return, Tony mentioned the 10% or $20 restocking fee. I couldn't really argue. It says right on the receipt $17.91 restocking fee. Without hesitation, he suggested we see about getting that waived. And then with a wave it was waived.

Being happy, healthy and fit means approaching life situations from a place of compassion. Anger will only keep you waiting. Often times, the person you are looking down on or displacing your frustrations onto is not the cause of the problem, but potentially the provider of the solution. There is Power in Humility. Thanks Tony!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Be Victorious: Chicken Soup for your Goals!

"Freedom isn't the end of the path. It's the beginning. There is nowhere to go. Freedom is the first and last thing on the path."

Begin with the end in mind. This philosophy was thoroughly ingrained into my mind as a student of martial arts for years. Then, as a teacher, I repeated the message. Begin as a white belt, but train as if you are already a black belt. Give it all you have got. See your goal and enjoy your journey. The end is really just the beginning.

When Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul creator, was asked what separates his self-esteem building seminars from so many others he cites a powerful technique. To truly activate the power of attraction, the sessions are wrapped up with a cocktail party, where you come and act like yourself five years from now. Just reading this brought a grin from ear to ear and saved me thousands of dollars. I love the idea of Winning in Life! Like Nike so eloquently put it- Just Do It!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. One day I told the universe I wanted to be a Black Belt. Three degrees later, I was motivating and inspiring others to take that same step and soon I was training future black belts and then creating certified Black Belt Instructors. Anything is possible when you begin with the end in mind.

Goals are dreams with deadlines. Be your Creator. Meet everybody and every circumstance on the battlefield of life with the courage of a hero and the smile of a conqueror. Want Victory? Be Victorious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pinocchio's Nose Knows

“A lie keeps growing and growing until it becomes as plain as the nose on your face.”

~ the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio

We all have a built in lie detector The Story of Pinocchio is a great little tale designed to scare children into telling the truth. After all, no one wants their nose to grow! The problem is that when children experiment with little white lies and experience minimal or no repercussions and especially no increase in the length of their nose, the fear disappears and lies appear.

The lies children tell albeit irritating are fairly harmless. Most children are pure in their hearts and minds. The lies are to avoid getting in trouble. Did you hit your brother? Did you write on the wall? Did you brush your teeth?

Deeper lies like the ones adults tell themselves do not exist in children. Did you play with your Legos today when you really wanted to play with your trucks? Did you play with your Barbie Dolls when you really wanted to jump rope? Children follow their hearts and bounce from joy to joy making new friends as they go.

It isn’t until we get older, that the separation of mind, body and spirit fully manifests. Pinocchio illustrates that when we tell a lie in the physical world, we experience an obvious consequence. This being said, it only makes sense that we when lie in our spirit simply by not fulfilling our divine purpose, something must be growing on a deeper cellular level. It is there that dis-ease or disease manifests itself.

In speaking with a friend, who is a Harvard Medical School Graduate and world class gyna-oncologist, it is not a coincidence that a gross amount of his clients are affluent women who are trying to fulfill the roles of men in this world. As they suppress their feminine side, they develop breast cancer and ovarian cancer at exponential rates.

If only we were so lucky to understand tales and fairytales on a deeper level. The good news is that although, we may not see disease growing, we can certainly avoid any of these spiritual afflictions by listening to our hearts. Our bodies have a built in lie detector. Let it direct you to the truth. Like the Blue Fairy said, “ Now, remember, Pinocchio: be a good boy. And always let your conscience be your guide.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reflecting on Windows to the Soul

Open your blinds and let the light in. The light is always shining, we just can't always see it. Sometimes we are blocked by tangible obstructions like curtains and sometimes by intangible obstructions like negative thoughts, doubts and fears. We only see darkness. Or we only see what appears right in front of us. Learn to open your eyes and witness the omnipresent magic of the universe.

This morning, I was scheduled to teach a yoga class at the Golden Door spa in Carefree, AZ. When no one showed up, I used the opportunity to practice scorpion pose. This is when you do a handstand on your forearms and then glide into a backbend by bringing your chest down and then up and your knees bend so your legs fall over your head allowing your feet to come toward your uplifting head. This is only important to understand that you go from looking down to looking up.

The room was dark, but from my new position, I really noticed the light shining through the small windows lining the top of the room. I decided to take advantage of this peaceful place that people spend hundreds of dollars to sit in and soak up the experience. Now that I had seen the "light," I was completely attracted to the windows which were reflecting in the mirrors in front of me.

When I entered this room, as I had many times before, I saw only the mirrors and my own reflection. When I looked past myself, 3 squares appeared. The squares became windows. The windows were always there, I just never paid them much attention. Looking through the windows, I saw a magnificent blue sky. Past the blue sky, boulders appeared stacked toward the heavens. Nestled between two piles of boulders, I saw a house. Beyond the facade, a chimney became clear. At the base of the chimney is a fireplace and around that fire place is a home.

Just because I couldn't see the fire place doesn't mean that it is not there. The chimney is the extension. The fireplace is the source. The chimney represents our eyes, the fire place is our heart. If you want to see into someone's soul, you must seize the opportunity to first look past yourself and then look past their layers of junk and ego and directly into their eyes when the light is right and then look even deeper. If you are always so busy looking only at yourself in the mirror, you may miss many windows of opportunity to connect with someone else's heart.

When I tried to capture this in a picture, you could only see the windows. The picture I just painted for you disappeared in the flash. It was so magical, I wanted to share it. I don't know enough about light and mirrors to know why the image was crystal clear and close through the reflection in the window and then disappeared with the flash. More puzzling was when I went outside to capture what was reflecting off the mirror and stood underneath the window that it was reflecting through; the moment had disappeared back into the mountains. I put my camera on super zoom 5X and it was invisible. Look closely and you may see the house buried between the rocks.

Life is full of magical moments. Keep your eyes open and your pathways clear. Sometimes the portal to a vast new world appears through a small window of opportunity. You never know what you might see in the mirror when you look past yourself. Sometimes, it is as easy as looking up instead of down. Just because we can't always see things doesn't mean that they aren't always there. Start to look and you will see.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friendship: The Priceless Gift

" A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
- Arabian Proverb

When you can laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh, you have found a friend. A wise man once told me that the greatest give you can ever give someone is the gift of friendship.

A genuine friendship is a pure channel to transformation. Like a lotus flower that grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty, a real friend sees past your bumps and bruises and creates space to allow your pure heart to shine through. In Chinese philosophy, the mud represents the material world, the water the transformation of experience and the breaking through into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

This week I am so grateful for the connections I have in my life. Raised in a world of secrets, I had unknowingly built a shell of protection around my heart. A closed heart is a safe heart. A cold heart is also a frozen, unfeeling heart. And a cold heart is like a lotus flower stuck deep beneath the water and in the mud. Not only not reaching its greatest potential, but denying the world its beauty.

This week I have given 3 of my most favorite people, 3 of my most favorite books. I love to read and occasionally I recommend a book to someone else if I feel they will benefit from the message. If a book really sings to me, I have been known to buy a copy and give it to the person I am thinking of. This week I realized that for the first time in my life, I have stopped hoarding and started sharing.

This week I value my connections more than my possessions. I would rather have nothing and be surrounded by love than have everything and be alone and unfulfilled. When I gave my books away, it wasn't because I didn't want to buy new copies. It was a deep desire to share something meaningful to me with someone who has touched my soul. When I gave my favorite books away, they were truly tokens of gratitude for laughs shared and tears spilled.

The lotus flower also represents an unbreakable relationship between two people that no matter how far away they live nothing can really separate them at heart. Thank you for pulling me out of the mud so I can shine purely. Friendship is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Golf: A Game of Lies

A lesson in golf is a lesson in life.......

"You know the longest walk in golf is between the practice range and the 1st tee."
John Stahlschmidt
Head Instructor
TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale

I took a golf lesson last week from a Tour Academy Golf Instructor. It was so empowering. I dusted my clubs off and prepared to reconnect to a time when I enjoyed a life of leisure. John was professional, polite and taught an easy system, known Building Block #1.

GPA is a simple acronym designed to improve play: Grip, Posture and Alignment. Sure enough, after 2 hours, my 5,7,8 and 9 irons were sending those range balls soaring like eagles: long, high and straight. A perfect GPA! True Masters create Masters. John was a Master.

Within 2 days of my lesson, ready to retain and improve my game before joining the LPGA and touring the globe, I set out to play 9 holes. First ball off the tee and all was fair, or better yet Fairway.

Hitting balls on a nice flat driving range and then playing a PGA Tour golf course is the equivalent of learning to scuba dive in a 6-foot swimming pool and then getting dropped into the ocean. The range is a LIE.

As I approached my ball, I understood in an instant that golf is like life. Theories are great in books and classrooms, but we don't gain any wisdom until we apply those theories to circumstances outside of a vacuum. Wisdom is knowledge applied.

A couple mulligans, a few callouses, several 4-putts, 9 holes of golf and a damaged ego left me with a strong desire to get back out there and practice. Only, this time, I won't be driving beautiful balls out onto the wide open range admiring my own lies. I will humble myself and play the course. I want the Truth and the range is a lie. Go ahead and reread John's quote above.

"You are meant to play the ball as it lies, a fact that may help to touch on your own objective approach to life.
- Grantland Rice

Monday, August 2, 2010

Freedom: These Boots were made for Walking

Find a way to release what no longer serves you.

For years I have talked about letting go of my AOL account. It began to seem silly to pay every month for a service that is available for free when I already pay so much for internet access. However, much like a child suck's its thumb, I found some kind of comfort in this service that no longer served me.

I used to take advantage of the services like the ability to manage a financial portfolio and find emails from boyfriends past and I mean past. I have been a loyal customer since 1996. Did they even have the internet then? However, well over a year ago, the AOL software actually caused my computer to crash, but I still hung on. Truth be told, I have been paying $14.95 a month for the past year when the email is free anyway.

Last week, I finally decided that it was time to draw a line in the sand. I called and canceled my paid AOL account. Oddly, after informing me of my loyalty, the customer service rep desperately tried to share with me all the great benefits of AOL and even offer me a discounted rate. Inside, I laughed. I was certain. I was done. I don't even use it! A man I never met in India was trying to sabotage my decision. When I gently interrupted and told him I was well aware and grateful for the service, but I was done. 40% of my life has been spent married to AOL.

When I hung up the phone, I felt so free. It wasn't the $14.95 a month. It was the ability to make a decision and keep it unwaveringly. That is Freedom.

It wasn't until this morning that I really felt the joy in my decision. Last week, I had to have a pair of Donald J. Pliner leopard print western boots from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. And, I mean HAD to have. When they were sold out online and not available in Scottsdale, I had my Dad calling the store in Tampa to secure the last pair of size 8 boots. Although he has never agreed with some of my material desires, my Dad has always said, "Randi, whatever makes you happy......."

You would have to be blind not to see the savings! $179.90 instead of $265?

This morning, it hit me. I did the math. $14.95 a month for 12 months is $179.40. For a me $0.50, I have rearranged and released something that no longer served me and exchanged it for a sweet pair of boots. I haven't even worn them and yet and I feel so smart and free. These boot were made for walking....... And that's just what I'm going to do!

The moral of the story is that change can be difficult. How many years have you spent in relationships that no longer serve you. Stop wasting your energy and resources by noticing your leaks. Decide to change and be so strong in your convictions that even a man around the globe can't persuade. Lastly, ask for help. Thanks Dad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Create Your Life: Connect the Dots

First we learn to color creatively, randomly. Our parents are so thrilled that we can hold an instrument. There are no rules. Then we learn to color inside the lines. We graduate and play connect the dots and draw our own lines. You could then add your own color and feel like a co-creator in your work. The only downside here is that we end up with someone else's picture. We learned to feel successful by connecting someone else's dots and fulfilling someone else's vision.

Life is a Connect the Dots puzzle. Eventually, we trust ourselves to create our own dots and lines even if they are invisible outside our imagination. Once you learn to draw lines fearlessly, you can create your own image, literally shape your own life. Add love, like you would add color and you have empowered your dreams.

Those dots we learned to connect as children were much like the training wheels on a bicycle or swimming with a life jacket on. They pretty much guaranteed that we could learn safely so we could remove them later and create the desired results more efficiently. Notice if you are going through life connecting your own dots and creating your own reality or if you are still fulfilling someone else's dots. It may feel safe to follow the path of least resistance, but your destiny lies in drawing your own lines and connecting your own dots.

As Apple's icon, Steve Jobs so eloquently spoke about connecting the dots at the 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech:

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward.

You can only connect them looking backwards,
so you have to trust that
the dots will somehow connect in your future.

You have to trust in something
--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--
because believing that
the dots will connect down the road will
give you the confidence to follow your heart,
even when it leads you off the well-worn path,
and that will make all the difference.