I Don't Know Yet

lululemon leadership conference 2011

Posted by: Josie on: October 22, 2011

This week I attended my first Lululemon Leadership Conference. It was full of inspiring speakers, energetic people, yoga, singing, and fun. It was intense and overwhelming, which I believe was intentional, so that the experience would serve as a catalyst for individuals to step into roles of leadership and tap their personal power to make the team at lululemon even more amazing day by day. We had the chance to think about our individual legacy, what we stand for, what kind of leader we are and what kind we want to want to be.

I love these kinds of events because they kick start me and help bring my awareness back to who I am and how I am showing up in the world. Much like my time at Celebrate Your Life Conference, in the Rock Your Goddess Life Program or at the Center for Creative Leadership, I walk away feeling strong and weak at the same time.

As I was thinking about what my legacy would be, what I would make a stand for in this life, it struck me that I was in a room of 500 or so talented, beautiful, smart, amazing men and women and we primarily had the same little stingy voices in our heads. The voice that says “you’re not good/smart/pretty/fast/strong/athletic enough”, “you should be perfect”, “you should know how to do this already”. I heard time and again, people stand up and declare the will to banish this voice and its messages. Over and over and over  for two days and each time, we’d clap and hoot and stand in allegiance with each person to show them they are not alone and that we have their backs because we empathized and had that same little stingy voice in our heads. If they could shake it, maybe we would too.

What struck me is that there is something inherently wrong with this picture. That systemically in this place and time in history so many people share the same fears or self worth issues, the same unreasonable expectation to know it all and do it all. Its the shadow side to achievement and activation. Is it because we have come to confuse doing our best with being perfect? We confuse personal responsibility with being in control of and accountable for everything?

I want to do my best, I really do. I am thankful to have the words of Don Miguel Ruiz in my head telling me that each day my best may be different. I am thankful that after years of taking Cate’s yoga classes I still hear her tell me not to compete with myself, to just listen and allow what my body needs at each moment. I want to tap into those voice more and more often. I want to be that voice for someone else when they really really need to hear it.

When thinking about my legacy, what I want my daughters to learn from me, what I want my community to remember about me, I came to the words Acceptance and Support. My desire for myself and for the world is that people feel good about themselves, they reach self acceptance. They know they have support, even from  a total stranger.

I want people to know I will not judge them based on the worst decisions they have made, that will not be their legacy in my eyes. But I will accept them as people, warts and all, and I will help them find a different answer or solution for what is concerning them. I don’t know if that will help them but it will help me.

That’s what I know for today…

Happy New Year or What I Didn’t Know in 2010

Posted by: Josie on: December 31, 2010

New Years Eve 2010, and what a year it has been. As I look back at all the things I’ve accomplished and experienced, I am truly grateful. Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the wonderful experiences of 2010

Rock Your Goddess Life with Alexandra Jaye Johnson inspired me to  try new things like green juice smoothies, rebounding, and adding hemp and flax to my diet. The program gave me 22 new friends around  the globe that I feel truly connected to and supported by. How wonderful that before the first call, I didn’t know any of these amazing creatures and now I am blessed to know them and love them.

Celebrate Your Life Conference, Chicago. I had the blessing of sharing this event with Dana Berry, who I have watched blossom into an amazing life coach and see her shine when she is in her element. Had the opportunity to meet and work with Dr Brian Weiss, Sonia Choquette, SARK, Carolyn Myss,&  Debbie Ford to name a few. It was magical and altering.

Future Views Conference in Salzburg Austria- I was asked to speak at a global  conference in Salzburg with the likes of Fritjof Capra. Intimidating, but thrilling.  This occurred right after the Celebrate Your Life Conference. These two in conjunction with the work I was doing in RYGL helped me get very clear on what I wanted and didn’t want in my life.

I started practicing Hatha again. It felt like an old friend I didn’t realize I had missed. I still hear Doula, my first teacher’s voice, reminding me to be the silent observer and release judgments and expectations each time I practice. I called her and thanked her for this gift recently. Even though I haven’t studied with her in over 10 years, her gifts still guide me. I am thankful I have had such wonderful teachers.

I’ve been introduced to new music this year. As always I have magical musical friends who suggest new things to listen to and then there are the tangents that come from those suggestions too. My friend Tyler, who used to do A&R and now has his own little studio on the side, recommended Sondre Lerche (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=618-UYb-8bg). I did enjoy his work, but he led me to the Kings of Convenience  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df2K91QSqJE) whom I REALLY dig. Not new, but new to me. The amazing Milwaukee Public Radio 88.9 brought me Fitz and the Tantrums (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb6cBKE3WzQ) and Tiff Merrit’s track Mixtape (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8j0TuyiA5w) , Kelly Fritz offered Mark Ronson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM6TCGltfHM) and Little Boots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxaLiQSdXsY) sorry about the adverts. Then there’s Quadron, La Roux, Friendly Fires, all sorts of amazing and endless suggestions from Brad.

I am sure there a million more little things that have made a difference and impacted me this year too. Every night I say my graces with gratitude, so many I couldn’t possibly capture them all here.

So there you have it, healthy, supported, loved, successful, making progress, trying to be open and appreciative. Not so bad 2010, not at all unpleasant.

That’s what I know for now…Cant wait to find out what I don’t know in 2011.

Happy New Year All!

Posted by: Josie on: October 5, 2010

Tomorrow is Eleanor’s 7th birthday. So many moments with Eleanor are what I call “Olympic” moments- because they illicit the same reaction I have when watching the clips of the Olympic athletes, their backstory, their triumphs and challenges. I cry in amazement at their accomplishments, their tenacity, their talents, my heart swells with appreciation for their approach to life. I feel inspired.

A few weeks ago I found myself watching Ella’s first Adaptive Swim class, sitting on the bench at the YMCA, crying tears I could not stop. (PS: so glad the Y has classes designed for kids that need special accommodations)
I was so proud that she channeled the ability to participate in the class.
What looks like normal to most other parents, looks MIRACULOUS to me, because in many ways it is.
I know how far from the norm she can be and when I see her simply doing the typical, expected stuff, the “on task” stuff- it feels really triumphant because I know how hard she works at just getting by.
I am filled with pride and love and amazement at the unrestrained joy she approaches life with, the loving bliss she revels in and the impact it has on all those in her world.

Her first day of school this year, she was asked to write down something she likes about herself…this was so abstract for her she didn’t really understand the question. Brad re-framed it and asked “Why do you think people like Ella? What makes you a good friend?” her answer was “Because I say hello to them all over the world” ~ and she does! She knows the name of almost every child she see when we walk to school in the morning, And she greets them with a genuine “Good Morning (fill in the name) or Hello (fill in the name)” and a big smile. She never notices when some occasionally ignore her, or roll their eyes. Most of the time, they say it back with a smile, because thats the impact she has on people. Her joy and love are contagious and exponential.

Today I read a blog from Sunny Dawn Johnson, in it she tells the story of having dinner with her grown son (see link for full story)
I found this passage in particular resonate with me.
“And in that moment … my heart experienced that fullness and tears just started to flow. As the tears fell from my eyes, I just stared at my son in awe and he asked me, “Mom, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” I said to him, “Sometimes, that is just what Moms do, we just cry.” We cry in amazement and love of these incredible beings that chose to come in and live their lives with and through us. These beings that give us the honor of LOVING them so we can receive this love in return:) What a gift:) ”

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Sunny-Dawn-Johnston-October-Newsletter.html?soid=1103630347325&aid=NxiETzJz_hI

Funny, tomorrow I’ll give Eleanor a gift to mark her special day, but the truth is, she gives me one every single day. That’s what I know for sure.

Tell Your Story- Online Art Journal Class

Posted by: Josie on: April 25, 2010

I just finished up an amazing 12 week run with Alexandra Johnson (nee Jaye) of Rock Your Goddess Life. (http://www.mygoddesslife.com/)

 What a fabulous expereince!  20 new and amazing women have entered my life and made it richer by leaps and bounds.

So what’s a girl on a mission to try new things and expand her mind to do? Join another online class of course.

This time I’ll be spending 6 weeks in the Tell Your Story On line Art Journal Class offered by Elsie Flannigan and Rachael Denbow of Red Velvet Art

(http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/03/tell-your-story-online-art-journal-class-full-details.html)

 

Take a peek at my first two pages:

One thing I do know, is how to keep busy these days.

Peace, Josie

RMGL Week 2 in Review

Posted by: Josie on: January 31, 2010

I had a roller coaster of day on Monday. I hardly slept Sunday night, had full out panic and anxiety attacks, even though I was trying to empty my mind and relax my body. Nothing was working so I decided to get out of bed at 3:00 AM to try to release the fear and tension and take some proactive action. I had already asked my boss if I could take an impromptu vacation day on Monday, knowing I had to attend to the business of dealing with the problem at hand and figuring I might be a little out of sorts.

So Monday AM I was ragged and weary, bleary and teary eyed. I got the kids off to school and Brad off to work and decided to take on my problem head on. This is exactly what I did. I did a Goddess oracle card reading, grabbed some rose quartz, meditated, ate a good breakfast and called the attorney.

The hold music playing was the Beatles "Let It Be", I took that as a good reminder that this would all work out somehow. I noticed how the chunk of rose quartz fit in my palm just perfectly as my fingers curled around it. I was breathing; I was calm and clear in intention. My body was relaxed and I realized I wasn’t afraid or stressed and that I really did believe there would be an answer. I didn’t know what, but I trusted that there would be one.

I was not disappointed. Later that day, all the pieces fell into place like the tumblers in a lock. It was hard work, but between Brad and me working together as a team, we ended up in a place that resolved the concern without impacting our daily life all that much. What a sense of relief and comfort.

A few hours later, I called into the Rock My Goddess Life line. It was uncanny that many of the women on the line were calling in from a similar place, hurrying to get to the call to take some time for them, manic energy, anticipatory…

As I listened and commented I was struck again by the amazing concept that at that precise moment in time, a dozen of us, were all silent, breathing and settling into a shared common thought. That our individual calls were bouncing off various satellites thousands of miles in the air,  yet  joining us together as one mind, one heart, one consciousness. I could visualize the tiny tendrils our each life, spiraling into the heavens and combining into a massive spinning celestial body like the pictures I’ve seen of the Milky Way. I felt so small and so big all at the same time. I felt like I was a student and teacher, a mother and a daughter of all these women whose existence I was totally unaware of merely one week earlier.

I enjoyed the laughter, the provoking ideas and the lovely conversation. The fact that we all wanted to speak to each other, that we asked our questions and shared our perspectives. What a high! I was so full of energy and so engaged at the end of that call. Monday had surely ended in a different place than it had begun.

I admit I had a hard time recapturing that energy during the week. I started and stopped blogging about it several times; I wanted to check out the RMGL social site, but couldn’t quite tune in. I spoke to a friend on Friday who said she was in the same space and gently reminded me that sometimes we need to be "off", we can’t always be "on" and tuned in. So, I gave myself some space to recoup, knowing this experience will be whatever it will be for me.

And so, as one of my 1 month goals was to blog about my RMGL experience, here I am on Sunday afternoon, downloading and trying to capture a week that was more silent than anything for me. And I know, just like I knew on Monday, that it’ll be okay. I don’t know the how or the why. I just know that where I am is okay.

I am still ruminating on the different faces of Goddess Energy- The Flirt/ temptress The Nurturer, The Queen. I love that I embody of all these Goddesses at various times and that I did so this week. I am off to journal about my "Happys" and am looking forward to re-connecting with my new community of women tomorrow night.

 

artist community

Posted by: Josie on: November 7, 2009

 

I am not an artist, but I dont need to be. I’ve come to realize I surround myself with them.

The majority of my friends are photographers, painters, writers, musicians, dancers, creatives of every form, some in disguise too. Every romance I’ve ever had has been with a poet, painter, musician, etc. I am surrounded by people who choose to see the world through a different lens even if its not their "day job" or vocation. Some are lawyers, geographers, financial wizards,systems analysts  you name it! I find these folks are inclined to create and I love that it comes from the most unlikely sources at times. There is an insight they offer that I gravitate toward.

In recent weeks I’ve been moved by the work of an Anthony M.  http://www.anthonymorrow.com/?cat=14 and Lars H. http://picasaweb.google.com/Larstradamus/PortfolioFinal3?authkey=Gv1sRgCOOXhP2jjtysCQ#) two artists who I know from different stages of my life and yet here they both are in my present day showing me beauty and bringing me joy. I am struck by the connection/similarities. They see our world in a way I do not and they have the ability and desire to share that vision with others and for that I am thankful.

I do know that while I may not be an artist, I am in such great company of artists that I don’t mind at all. Then again, maybe everyone is an artist in someone else eyes.

 

 

Toes! for some people…

Posted by: Josie on: July 12, 2009

Ha! toe-day, today, yes, today is a toe day for me. I woke up to a vivid memory from the summer of 1984 on LBI, with the Don family.

Back story first: I was dating Drew that summer. He had just graduated from HS, he was 2 years my senior. That fall he went to Boston College to study Religion. Drew was not like me in many ways, his family was intact, he was from a more affluent town than I, and had a keen interest in Prog Rock . He turned me onto Marillion and Yes, while I was deeply entrenched in the Cure, Stray Cats and Split Enz.  He lent me Watership Down and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that summer for reading. He was smart and sensitive. Smarter, more worldly than me, and I liked learning about things from him. I think he was the first person who showed me there was power in knowledge and education. He was safe. A devout Catholic and very boy-like, not very man-like. He could have graced the cover of the "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine that Lisa reads on The Simpsons.

In reality our relationship blossomed out of the attraction he had for my best friend Tracey, who couldn’t look past him as a friend to find him as a possible boyfriend that Spring. I listened to his broken hearted woes and he grew to find comfort in my friendship, and in turn we floundered into a rather naive, young romance that summer. Me and the boy who always thought he might want to be a priest someday.

Okay, back to toes. Beautiful summer day, picnic lunch, sitting in the sun in my very cool early 80’s hi-cut leg, deep plunging halter front swimsuit, 1.5" wide stripes cut on the diagonal, in shades of yellow, orange and red. I remember playing in the water and sand that day. I remember my feet buried deep in the cool, damp sand…like I do. (That just feels so good to me). When I pulled them out, of course they were covered with sticky damp sand.

I recall sitting in a beach chair, facing the water; it must be 3 or 4 in the afternoon, based on how I remember the placement of the sun. Drew is kneeling in front of me, shirtless, blue trunks wet from the ocean as he proceeds to clean my feet, in the most tender, caring and deliberate way. As he is doing this, he is explaining to me John 13:1-17 (the bit at the Last Supper where Jesus washes his disciples feet) and about the ritual of cleaning a guests feet.  I was 15 going on16 years old and I remember this so vividly even today. I think what resonates with me today as it did that summer afternoon is the tenderness and the teaching, the level of caring, and the suggestion that I was worthy of respect. What a lovely thing to learn from a teenage boy!

I have no idea where he or his family is today, we lost touch a few months after he went to Boston. I was sure he had outgrown my naïveté and found some quasi-intellectual academic girl  who he could relate to more easily. Truth is, I also found my way into the arms of another one of Tracey’s cast aways who I would spend the better part of the next  6 or 7 years with in some way or another and would learn a whole lot  about life, respect and family from as well.

So, that’s what was on my mind when I woke up today.  I’ve thinking a lot about ritual lately. The rituals I have enjoyed and employed preparing myself each morning at my vintage dressing table, the ritual when I anointed my swollen pregnant belly(s) with jasmine absolute and clarry sage oils, the rituals I partake in at the end of my day, before I drift off to sleep. So it makes sense that this popped out of my subconscious to remind me of Ritual’s deep roots in my life.

I indulged in a little ritual today, with a pedicure from Mr. Dan at Utopia, where the atmosphere is calm and serene and the care and deliberateness of the process if lovely and relaxing.

That’s what I know today.

 

Lakefront Festival Of Art- June 2009

Posted by: Josie on: June 21, 2009

Last year was the first time I attended the LFOA (Lakefront Festival of Art) in support of he beautiful Santiago Calatrava designed Milwaukee Art Museum (http://www.mam.org/info/details/quadracci.php). See my blog about it here:http://rossmacleod.com/josie/2008/06/27/blog-blog-bloggity-blog/

I did not volunteer this year, although in retrospect I wish I had. Its such a lovely event and I would like to do more volunteer work for the institutions that bring art and creativity to the community.

This year we enjoyed painting with water colors, guache and oil pastel; making shrunken heads and treasure boxes;  Eating freshly made sweet potato chips and listening to some rather fine jazz. Gazing at all the sailboats out on Lake Michigan and chatting with friendly folks we had never met. We even managed to do all of this without getting rained on.  All of this while Brad was enjoying a quiet respite on Father’s Day, drinking iced cofee and playing with his new Walkman. All in all a great day round these parts.

Father’s Day- 2009

Posted by: Josie on: June 20, 2009

 Father’s Day…I will not get to be with mine this year which makes me sad. Actually, often times I do not get to spend time with him, but he is always on my mind. My dad is a wonderful imperfect man, whom I love, warts and all. I understand how he views life and why he thinks we are here on this tiny planet. He taught me well about compassion, love, kindness, ethics, humility, patience , acceptance, trust and generosity. He has always been a willing sounding board. Seeing him laugh is one of the best things ever and seeing him cry is one of the most painful. He is a quiet man, but he speaks volumes with his actions.

His life has not always been easy or perfect. He has troubles and wounds like all of us. I don’t mean to make him out to be something other than a human. I just know that he’s been so good to me and my family that I am very grateful that he’s my dad. I count myself lucky in that respect.

I know some people who have not had as idyllic a relationship with their fathers. Many years of pain, frustration and anger filled the spaces where nurturing, love and support did not grow. Some have outgrown the need to mend those relationships, some have chosen forgiveness and to work on the relationship , some have learned from their loss and chosen to parent in a way to mend themselves with hope. As my father taught me, all of those paths are worth walking and all are made easier with someone to unconditionally support you on the path.

I imagine all parents have expectations for their children. I know I have some for my girls. One thing I learned from my father is that, each of us is different and walks our own path. While I have hopes and dreams for my girls, what I really want is for them to be true to themselves, and to love life.  That means the choices they make, are what I want to honor. I don’t want to foist my needs, lost dreams, hopes, or social mores on them. I want to love them and let them figure out who they need to be, knowing they have my unending support. That’s how Joe does it. I am QUITE certain if he had his druthers , some experiences in my life would not have happened. He would never tell me that, he would never judge me or those moments, he just loves me, trusts me and is there for me when life is good and when its not. Unfaltering and kind, and always with a quiet wisdom that teaches me and makes me feel better.

So to my dear father and all the wonderful father’s I know- I wish you a Happy Father’s Day ,today and each day. Its a job that can feel thankless at times, but holds an immense amount of power and potential. I am thankful for my dad. He often tells me that the way Brad and I parent  makes him proud  and making my father proud is something I do want to know

.

CarPort or Outdoor Living Room?

Posted by: Josie on: April 11, 2009

I  love my house. I think its really neat, but it is definitely showing signs of aging. Maybe I am so in tune to this because my body  is also showing the signs of aging and I am in a state of assessing and addressing it . Anyhow, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Focus Josie, Focus!

The carport is a central design element of our home and its looking so sad these days. The concrete needs to be repaired, the flower boxes (here when we bought the place) are falling apart as we speak. So while the list of things that need some TLC around our home is as long as a giraffe’s neck, I think the carport should be moved to the top of the list.

Just a note, these pics were taken before we became the owners, so the ‘Italianate" planters , birdbaths and seating are gone daddy gone- to be replaced by elements more akin to the nature of the home. When we bought it, it was like a mid-century modern ranch that was dressed in drag  as a Italian Restaurant. Inside and out.

 

I found the image below on http://www.designspongeonline.com/ and think it would be great to transform our carport into a modern outdoor living room

Anyone know how to build a concrete block wall like this? So we can see light and have air, but have a little privacy too? I wish I were remotely knowledgeable on home repairs/building/modifications, or at least financially sound enough to just pay someone to do what I want. Picture us here on those perfect Wisconsin Summer nights, fireplace, music, now if only the Rendezvous would deliver their clever cocktails right to our carport…

So that’s my California Dreaming moment for today. If we get it worked out, we’ll have a little sultry summer night get together here soon. If I know Brad, he’ll get the outside speakers working again and we’ll be wired for sound too.