Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The very first MOJO mission!

After several rough weeks, things are looking brighter and the positive tide is rolling in again.

As part of, I created a forum called The MOJO mission, where people could share the projects they're doing in the community and help each other bring those projects to life.

Until now, it's been a blank slate. I figured the best way to kick it all off is with a project of my own!

I've never done community work before.

I've always loved the idea but as with some other things in my former life, I didn't really take responsibility and act on it.

I always thought I wouldn't have time, or that if I wanted to do something important it'd mean moving to Africa and living off the land in a clay hut.

Excuses, excuses.

So now that reality has set in and I'm aware that all it takes is focus and effort, I've embarked on a project right here at home.

I've been dying to share it with you and now that it has some solid direction I can. It started out small and it's getting bigger and better every day. 

I'm beyond proud and honestly surprised that so much has been possible in such a short amount of time. Crazy!

So, here's the lowdown...

The project comes out of a leadership course I've been taking. I've joined forces with my amazing classmate and friend Michelle, and together we're creating two components within one overall project.

The first component is called Community 101

It's a leadership and creative enrichment program for underprivileged teens.

We're starting with a small group and creating a curriculum of weekly workshops that will go on for 3-4 months. 

The students will learn a slew of new skills, all of which will help them create projects of their own and become leaders in their own communities.

We'll also incorporate field trips that will expose the kids to creative outlets and activities they might not otherwise experience. 

The ultimate goal is to succeed on a level that warrants implementation into the public school system. An uphill challenge for sure, but I really believe anything is possible.

The second component is more long-term and it's called Blueprint. It's a community youth center we're looking to acquire and build from scratch. 

We want to build it completely green and have it be a multi-functional space where the youth and community members can come to learn and connect.

We have a specific building in mind that's been boarded up for years and is screaming for a makeover!

Um yeah. 

This has been the most amazing process so far. It's insane what happens when you actually put your mind to something and start asking for help. 

In a few short weeks we've already enrolled a team of leaders to help us create the curriculum and teach the course. 

I'm also lucky enough to be working with people in my new professional life who are already interested in this kind of work and didn't flinch when I asked for help. Amazing!

Can't wait to share more as it all develops. It's honestly the most exciting, empowering feeling.

I hope as you follow our progress, you'll see how POSSIBLE it is for anyone to create change and that you'll be inspired to start something powerful of your own.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Your list...

Gotta be honest, writing this post semi-sucked at first. It was hard to find the time to write this week and even harder to decide what to write about. I always find I'm either overloaded with ideas or completely stuck.

I started wondering why I was so unclear and realized it's because I've barely had time to eat over the last week...which brings me to the topic of this post.

Things have been a bit hectic on the home front. Life has gone from 0-60 seemingly overnight and at times I'm struggling just to keep up.

Some incredible things and some downright awful things have been happening. I keep thinking, "What am I gonna do when I have kids?!"

I'm learning to juggle an insane amount of stuff that before would've seemed impossible. It's great to be doing more, but frustrating to feel like I can't always bring my best to each thing.

I'm expanding my plate and like anything else, it's a muscle that needs to be strengthened.

In the process of dealing with MORE, I forgot the most important thing...MYSELF. Sound familiar?

In the face of having too much on your plate, the thing that usually gets pushed to the back of the line is also the most important ingredient in keeping it all together...YOU!

I would count the massage I treated myself to in Chinatown yesterday, but the guy manhandled me to the point that I'm literally covered in black and blues. The pain was worth getting the knots out, but I wouldn't exactly say it was a relaxing experience.

The truth is, the first thing to go when I got busier was working out...something that keeps me physically and mentally energized.

I believe wholeheartedly in balance and I think too many people sacrifice themselves to get more done. But when you operate at half speed, are you really accomplishing more?

It's so easy to go through the motions and cut out things for yourself that don't seem like a priority. But when you're running on empty, you're not exactly bringing your A-game to your work, your kids, your BF/GF, your life.

I guess the bigger question is: do you prefer quality or quantity? What's more important...frantically checking things off the list at half-speed, or managing a shorter list more effectively?

Sometimes we can't cut things out and even if we could, unexpected things would happen to throw us off.

What's worked for me in the past is scheduling 5-10 minutes a day to meditate. For those of you that find the idea of meditating to be intimidating, weird, uncomfortable...get over it!

Meditating is really all about quieting your mind and breathing. It's amazing how powerful something so simple can be.

There are countless types of meditation but just the act of sitting in a quiet space (without your phone!) for 5-10 minutes, closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing, is enough to have a big impact on your day and your overall psyche.

And I don't care how busy you are, you can find five minutes a the morning, before bed, or somewhere in between.

Youtube has tons of guided meditations if you like the idea of a calm voice and mood music.

Find what works for you, but above all else, give yourself a few moments each day to decompress (and that doesn't mean TV, internet, alcohol, means absolute quiet). If it helps, schedule it.


You'll see a much clearer, calmer side of yourself over time.

Trust me, life is more enjoyable AND more productive with a lower decibel of noise in your head.

So remember to include yourself on your list.

On my list of things to do tomorrow...THE BEACH.

Enjoy your weekend!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just press send!

First things first...

A very special thanks to all you beautiful people who showed your love for my launch last week!!!!

I can't explain how nerve-wracking it was to go through with it.

It took 3 days after publishing the post to muster up the chops to announce it on Facebook.

After a few encouraging conversations with some friends who know me best, I decided to be bold and brave and just press send.

Even since, I've questioned the whole thing. I kept thinking, "Yup, I might be crazy for sharing such personal things with so many people."

That feeling will probably pop up every time I blast a new post. Like now. But so what?

I'm learning to let go of my fear of judgement...something that's weighed on me for a long time, in so many different ways.

It was really incredible to get such positive feedback and encouragement from people I hadn't seen or spoken to in years, and from some I don't know at all.

It made the whole process beyond worth it!

I guess I didn't set my expectation level very high. I realized how much I'd been holding myself back by fears and judgments that weren't necessarily based in reality.

Perception is a tricky thing.

We experience our judgments as real but sometimes they're nothing more than a bunch of BS in our heads.

We all have beliefs about people in our world, and about ourselves.

We make decisions about who we think they are and then we experience everything they do or say through that filter (He doesn't care, she's a bitch, they won't get it, etc.).

Sometimes we're on point, but a lot of times we're assuming and adding things to the mix that aren't necessarily there...or that were there before but might not be there now.

It's a subtle habit that has a huge impact on how you experience everything, especially your relationships with people.

Case in point: Two friends lose touch for a few weeks. Each thought the other was pissed about something, a story was born and a friendship lost. Then five years later they run into each other only to discover it was all a misunderstanding.

Person A: I wasn't mad at you.
Person B: I wasn't mad at you either.

OK, it's not always that dramatic, but seriously consider how much credit you give to the stories in your head. Are they really real or just assumptions?

People are not static. They're always changing. So even if you were right about someone yesterday, it doesn't mean you will be today.

Ask yourself whether your beliefs are based on fact or filter. And what kind of filter are you using?

Hmmm. Something to think about.

I'm learning to give people more credit and I've been pleasantly surprised to watch them step up to the plate.

It makes me wonder what else is possible and reminds me about one of my favorite posts...

Blasts from the past

Reminds me that I also need to be less judgmental and cynical...yes, I am a recovering cynic. Hard to believe with all the empowerment stuff I spew, but it's true.

It takes work, but life is just better with optimism. Realistic optimism.

Thank you, thank you, thank you again to everyone for your support, encouragement and love. This process hasn't been easy, but it's been an amazing learning experience and, I'm happy to say, a lot of fun.

Have a great week!