Aug 27, 2015
I believe a new chapter is starting in the life of Rugged and Fancy. I have personally been steadily improving my health over the last 18 months, and I finally have confidence in my health, my body, my wellbeing again. It has been a journey, for sure. Duquette and I have always been creative hustlers, and I say that in a way that means you just move your ass, you hit the proverbial pavement and you make things happen. We have done a lot of heart work the last few years, and I know in my heart that we are right where we are supposed to be today, triumphs, struggles and all.
I watched the documentary Happy last night. And it made me really sit and think about what is it that I want in life? I want to provide well enough for my family through our creative gifts cover all our needs and some of our wants. I want it to be more than enough so that we can help others see their dreams come true, even if it's just getting out of a tight spot to move on. (We've been there. Everyone needs help sometimes.) I want adventure in our lives. That's one of my highest values in life. I want our family to see the world together. I want my son to see the broad world out there and how different and similar we all are within it. I want us to be happy. What does that mean? That there's peace and joy and minfulness. That we live in the moment, consciously and with great love and open hearts.
Here is Duq, taking stolen moments to get in the studio and work on two new records. It can be a battle many days to find the time to do. I try to do what I can to give him that space and encouragement.
Tennessee's first "guitar," a little ukelele that he strums and hums to and claps for himself. And his best friend, Tigre.
The temperatures have been a perfect 70-something degrees the past few days, so we have been outdoors as much as possible. This is Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham. It is spectacularly beautiful.
Railroad Park occasionally has a free yoga class. It's a beautiful time to experience all of nature, including the sounds of trains in proximity, thunderstorms over the mountain (hence the pavilion location) and just big open space. There were ducks walking beside our mats. Cute little ducks.
Overnight there is ivy crawling up our bedroom window. I haven't pulled it off yet. I am so fascinated by the way that nature will overtake things if you allow it. To see the backside of the ivy and it's tiny white fibrous claws is pretty mind blowing.
Candlelight in the daytime and zinnia from my first garden from seeds. Every flower I clip and bring inside gives me a deep sense of accomplishment and joy.
My 31st birthday, catching rainbows and laughing with my boy.
I marvel at how beautiful he is. Constantly. And I often think "I hope I am doing this right." I think we all hope for that.
We have started taking morning walks together. We go to the neighborhood where I grew up and we just walk as long as we feel like it. We talk a lot. We stay quiet a lot. We smell flowers and say hello to the dogs that run past and just take it all in. It's my favorite thing we do these days.
I have really been working on maintaining a home yoga practice, which is honestly tough for me. I love a class. I love someone leading me and the ability to surrender to a guide. It can be hard to guide myself. But I am overcoming that. I am doing it. This photo is HILARIOUS to me because I was taking a photo of this great modified down dog and I hear Duq screaming as Tennessee comes running around the corner laughing maniacally. Duq yelling "He's got poop on his hand!!!!" And it was perfectly captured. AWESOME. HAHAHAHAHAH.
The struggle is real: most of my day is spent trying to teach him NOT to climb on the table. Or catching him as he falls OFF the table. Geez. Can I just get rid of the chairs all together and just do a Moroccan table setting??
Duq is working on a new acoustic record using this beautiful D'Angelico guitar that they kindly sent down to him. It's so beautiful, the sound, the mother of pearl inlay details, the sunburst. It's magical.
Relishing beautiful afternoon in the backyard. I scored these handblown glass cups at the thrift store for a quarter apiece. WHAT. Yes.
Late summer/early fall blooms and Nikes all walking long!
I started coloring. It's a big thing, and yes, grownup coloring is a great form of meditation. It means you're NOT spending time on your phone.
The magical forest backyard.
I really want to know.... WHAT IS HAPPINESS TO YOU??
Love y'all and hope you have the happiest day.
Morgan, Duquette and Tennessee
Aug 17, 2015
Wow, it's been so long since a Mother Monday post! Tennessee Wolf is now officially 18 months old as of today. And I will officially be 31 years old on Friday. I feel like I am having that really sick feeling realization that I am now the age of women whom I once regarded as "old" when I was 22 and taking on the world in outfits that were probably really inappropriate. OMG. That sounded old, didn't it??
This is actually a real conversation happening in my head and with some of my girlfriends in our early 30s. See, here are me and Senior Art Director at Big Communications and Tastemaker of the Year Shannon Harris discussing the various perspectives of the shy side of 30-something. She thinks it's funny and awesome that we are considered "old" because it means we get to mentor 20-something versions of us and that be simultaneously a little cranky and stylish in a mature way.
That HORRIFIES me. Because there's this notion of no longer being the cool ones. Ugh, I feel like this is such a real life post, like I am writing to my diary... Yes, I totally want to still be cool. Or relevant. And free.
So here's my take on it, I think. I spent my twenties wanting to be in my thirties because of women like Gwyneth Paltrow. She looked better than ever at 30-something. You know, all that yoga and clean eating and conscientious parenting and Stella McCartney is REALLY good for the body/mind. When I was 20-something, I was convinced that my thirties would usher in an age of sagesse, that confident, quiet knowing, often brought about by spiritual enlightenment and career success and perfect glowing skin, a "naturally" peaceful brow (is it the meditation or Botox? No one will ever know!). And now I am here, and it's just as real and terrifying (and awesome, too!!) as my twenties. Just with more responsibility.
And yes, I actually do the yoga and the clean eating. It's absolutely my lifestyle and a huge part of what makes me a good human being, a good wife, a good mommy, a good version of ME (who was of pretty questionable character at 20 years old...)
What am I so scared of? I don't know. Death maybe? One day becoming irrelevant? I think that may be the only two things for me. Again, whoa this post is almost more raw to me than writing about my post partum depression. Yeah, I am totally freaked out about those things.
So to fight against that little part of me that has been a big part of me lately, the part that says "I'm so sleepy because of life and I just want to Netflix and go to bed," well I made myself get up, dress up and show up for the season's closing Art on the Rocks at Birmingham Museum of Art...after putting Tennessee to bed. It was a really glamorous moment in motherhood for me. We haven't been huge social function people in the last 18 months, so this is not my typical portrait of motherhood. It was special.
I had a blast. There was a wall of doughnuts, a GIF-generating photo booth and the most stylish and fun crowd I have ever seen in Birmingham ever...I felt slightly older than some people and still much younger than others...
I am still growing and evolving, still in the process of becoming me. Transitioning from freewheeling Morgan to being MOMMY Morgan on top of everything else has been freaking HARD. Because I'm not the same person I was before, even though I thought I surely would be. I love who I am, but I am definitely a little older and the responsibility of life with a child, a part of your family, your world, your heart 24/7, that changes you. I haven't quite put my finger on the change exactly, but maybe it's that Gwyneth Paltrow sagesse after all.
Aug 10, 2015
Did you know that 90% of illnesses are linked to stress, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, psychological disorders, auto-immune disease, depression and more? Stress hormones are no joke! Your body and your brain can get stuck in a state of stress/distress and your immune system goes into overdrive and suddenly you're in health crisis.
I know. Because I've been there. Almost two years ago I had my first child via a difficult labor and c-section, contracted a bacterial superbug that shut down my organs, couldn't breastfeed and I was SO STRESSED. Even as I began to heal, the stress level just wasn't changing, and in turn, I wasn't completely getting better.
And then I picked up my yoga practice. When practiced regularly, yoga has been proven to decrease anxiety, improve your body's ability to heal, and it increases your overall well-being. Yoga was the missing piece of my body/mind/healing/wellness puzzle. Yoga gave (and still gives) me a safe place to just let it allllll gooooooo. I can get on my mat and tune into my breath and turn away from racing thoughts or searing pain. Yoga reconnects me to everything: my body, my mind, the universe around me, to God.
A year ago, I connected with Annie Damsky, owner of Villager Yoga and president of Sweet Om Alabama. She took me in as a student and a friend, empowering me with the tools to progress on my path and connecting me to the incredible yoga community here in Birmingham, Alabama.
A HUGE part of the yoga community here is Sweet Om Alabama, a nonprofit organization with the mission of cultivating health and wellbeing and bringing the healing qualities of yoga to people who lack access to it. Sweet Om Alabama currently has programs at Children's Hospital of Alabama, Pathways women's shelter, Alethia House, AIDS Alabama, East Lake United Methodist Church, St. Anne's Home and Yoga of Recovery.
As someone who has survived life threatening illness and the emotional side effects of that time in my life, I can attest that yoga is powerful, transformative and so important to make available to the people that need it.
So last night, Sweet Om Alabama and Athleta at the Summit invited some people to hang out after hours, try on Athleta's new collection for Fall, strike a pose (look on social media for #omyourpose!) and learn a little more about some exciting events coming up!
(My Warrior 1 is a little weak here. See how my right hip is higher than the other? They should be even! Proper alignment is super important to your yoga practice and prevents injuries!)
So what's going on? Global Mala 2015 is coming up SEPTEMBER 19th at Vulcan Park! This is such an incredible event that gathers over 300 people on top of Vulcan Park, overlooking the city of Birmingham to do 108 sun salutations in an effort of love and peace. And all around the world, on the same day, people will be doing this very thing with us!
It's a free event with an awesome DJ, incredible teachers leading, some really cool sponsors (including Athleta!) and all you have to do is show up in something comfortable. It's a beautiful experience that I really hope you'll share in with me!
Here's a photo from last year's Global Mala. It was such a perfect day!
As Sweet Om Alabama is a non-profit 501c3 organization, it depends on donations to keep these programs going, and 2016 has big plans for FIVE new programs and a scholarship program for organization personnel to become certified to teach yoga, thus carrying on the practice within their programs.
To donate, go here or attend any of these awesome upcoming community events...
TUESDAY AUGUST 18 5.00-10.00pm at ROJO: 10% of food and drink sales go to Sweet Om Alabama!
SATURDAY AUGUST 22 11.00am-2.00pm at WHOLE FOODS: "The Giving Grill," Whole Foods will be grilling outside! 100% proceeds will benefit Sweet Om Alabama. PLUS $2 raffle tickets for free yoga gear and accessories!
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 17 6.00pm- 9.00pm. GLOBAL MALA KICK-OFF CELEBRATION at TRIMTAB BREWERY! It's free and open to the public! Come out and meet the yogis from all over Birmingham, #omyourpose in a photo booth, eat and dance your booty off!
Sort of like this...
Aug 6, 2015
(photo courtesy of Garden & Gun)
Last year we had the pleasure of going to Garden & Gun's Jubilee in historic Charles Towne Landing in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the first weekend in December, and our little family loaded up in the car and hit the road. The road trip, the weekend on a historic plantation, exploring the little gem of Charleston and getting to take our then 10 month old son to the ocean for the first time, it was AMAZING.
So amazing that we are totally going to do it again this year! Get your tickets now to experience a really beautiful and distinct slice of Southern. There are only a few hundred tickets to experience the finest Made in the South craftsmen and craftswomen, chefs, sporting legends, musicians and the people who appreciate it all. We really hope to see you there!
Below are some favorite photos from the weekend...
Aug 5, 2015
So I may have taken a hiatus the past few months, but I am back.
We are back.
And life is better than ever. Isn't it amazing how every day little ripples and events, interactions and divine moments happen that contribute in millions of ways to the person you become each new morning? And contribute to your place in the universe?
A lot of new stuff is happening right now. Duquette is making a new record (and it is INSANE!!!!!). I am beginning my yoga teacher certification right now and working hard over at Our Essential Life, check out the web site. Seriously. I am pretty dang proud of it. Tennessee is 18 months old and rocking babyhood.
We are still on our road to wellness. It's a lifelong committment, and it's one I look forward to sharing more of here. I've learned so much in the past 18 months about health, happiness, motherhood, marriage and myself. And I can't wait to share more of the journey.
The way I look at it, if we aren't living in a way that might make this world a little better somehow, we aren't really living.
Love y'all so much. It feels good to be home!
SO MUCH LOVE,
Morgan, Duq and Tennessee
Here's a little of us lately. xo
Apr 8, 2015
1/ Satya Jewelry Mandala Sun Necklace. This mandala symbol represents unity, balance and harmony, and the sun symbol represents leadership, vitality, life. I think it's a nice reminder of the things that matter. And it's really beautiful.
2/Olga Prieto Brass Coin Kyanite Stone Long Necklace. Spanish designer Prieto is based in Mexico City and works with local artisans using Old World techniques. This necklace feels ancient and modern at the same time.
3/ TWO Khadi caftan in blue. I love this brand, TWO. Don't know much about them (hello future post!) but they're made in the USA and each one is just stunning.
4/Tatiana Choremi bracelets. Choremi says, "The All Seeing Eye is what gives you a vision, a dream, a clairvoyance." These hand made bracelets have an ancient vibe with their symbolism and iconography. I want multiple.
5/ Two white Khadi caftan with blue. Obsessed with these. I could have a closet full.
So how is everyoen doing? I have been INSANELY busy in the best way possible. This past Monday I launched the web site I have been working on for the past several months. OUR ESSENTIAL LIFE is an organization of wellness and health experts who want to change the world through awareness about your body's structure, nutrition, your environmental and emotional health and through the use of essential oils. It's a game changer and something I am so proud to be a part of as Creative Director.
Check it out, here.
Have a beautiful day wherever you are.
Apr 4, 2015
I grew up telling myself that I was a "guy's girl," convincing myself that I just had better friendships with guys than gals. I think I told myself this after several failed female friendships going as far back as childhood. It created a pattern for me, so naturally I began to seek out female friendships that were just simply doomed to be toxic for one reason or another. I then began telling myself that I had notoriously bad judgment about women. Man, the patterns we set ourselves up for!
So in my recent efforts to become a more loving, peaceful, giving human in this world, I have resolved to spend more time cultivating beautiful relationships with people around me, especially female friendships. I used to tell myself that femininity was weakness and silly. That to be strong, I needed to be more masculine, powerful, intimidating. That is such a lie, for me anyway. I think we can each become more powerful women by tapping into ancient femininity, peaceful power and love.
I really believe that women need other women. I don't know how to verbalize it yet, but it has something to do with something ancient and older than all of us. Something to do with wisdom, spirituality, rites of womanhood and motherhood. Something to do with the cosmic nature of things, gentle power and sensuality. It is support. It is tribal. It is something about universal love and acceptance-- these things could start with women. Come on, that's super powerful and so cool.
So all of this is to say that I had a couple of girlfriends over the other day to simply share beautiful, health supporting delicious food, to sit outside and enjoy the sunlight, conversation and each other's company. Each of these ladies are total brilliant, talented and beautiful women who I am so glad I am connecting with on a deeper level by simply being open to new energies, new possibilities and letting myself be open to giving up my "alone time" and being open to new people, new things.
Today Melina Hammer, photographer, stylist, recipe developer, Iyengar yogini, is sharing this easy "recipe" for Chickweed Scramble. Chickweed is a beautiful sign of Spring and that the soil is really fertile and ready for the new season. High in minerals and vitamins, you can use chickweed in a culinary capacity as an alternative to a Spring green or spinach.
Pictured here, Melina has rinsed the fresh chickweed, plucking off the flowering tips and is simply separating it. Super easy.
For the scramble:
1/ Rinse a handful of salt-packed capers under cold water and shake or pat dry. Over medium-high heat, fry capers in a glug of good olive oil until the buds pop and become golden, stirring occassionally. About five minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2/ Use two or so pasture-raised eggs per person. Crack them into a bowl, beat eggs, add freshly cracked pepper, and if you have herbs you'd like to use (like parsley, chervil or dill), add half in now. Using a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil or butter. Pour in the egg mixture. After about a minute, swirl the eggs using a rubber spatula and making sure that with each swirl you scrape the bottom of the pan. Keep the eggs moving around so that they remain a custard quality, rather than hardening up into separate curds. They should take less than five minutes start to finish.
3/ Empty the still creamy eggs into dishes and top with the remainder of herbs or serve alongside tender greens, such as chickweed, a juicy Spring favorite.
4/ Add a few avocado wedges and top all with a scatter of fried capers. Enjoy this elemental, bliss-filled meal!
*** We added a couple brined caperberries on top since I have never had one before. Strange little tangy treat. There's the faintest sweetness to it that's tempered by the tart brininess, and the texture is great.
We were so caught up in enjoying the moment and each other's company that I totally failed to take pretty pictures of the afternoon. So here are my girlfriends, mid sentence, mid bite, mid Instagram! By the way, you should totally follow Melina on Instagram @melinahammer. Talk about INSANE INSPIRATION! And check out this piece about uses of capers that Melina did for Food 52, here.
Enjoy this beautiful Springtime. Spend quality time with people. Experience life.
Mar 29, 2015
Last night I took our son to see his first concert and it was a really special one. His daddy had assembled a Birmingham super band for one night only, to say farewell to Bottletree Cafe. (Can I just say right now there were two drummers and it was freaking awesome?)
I am really emotional about the end of this era. I am also very hopeful and confident that this major chapter in music history has laid the ground for a new future where music and art are accessible to anyone seeking to experience it.
This is what I wrote last night on my personal Facebook page when I got home. And I will share it here...
Duq and I were really fortunate to be there from the very beginning. My first shows I remember there were Will Oldham, MAN OR ASTRO-MAN? (Official Page) and BrightBlack Morning Light (Nathan brought driftwood and sage and a dog for the stage and he had eagle feathers tied in his hair and he was walking around with the stinkiest jar of_ like he was in the desert or something).
We were always treated like family-- I would get to run around taking photos of the biggest freaking bands. Merrilee let us in so many times when we were freaking broke as hell. It was the first place I had ever experienced that was AN EXPERIENCE. It was artistry and a place where each of our weird asses and the things we are passionate about were welcomed and fostered. Birmingham always had a history of people trampling each others' success or maybe getting in its own way of progress. Bottletree seemingly came out of nowhere and was the lightyears progress that this city needed to make a name for itself. It was a visionary place, and it inspired so many people in their music, their art, their personal journeys.
For decades to come, people all around the world will talk about Bottletree, that insane trippy as hell venue with the insane sound and the cool ass trailers and the best artist hospitality ever. It wasn't just home to us; it was home to thousands of bands out on the road, exhausted and aching and needing love. Bottletree was home. Bottletree was and always will be LOVE. I'm so proud to have been a part of this really monumental chapter in music history. To Merrilee, Brad, Brian, Tom, Daniel, Rebecca, Brad and the rest of the Bottletree pillars, thank you. Thank you for giving every ounce of yourselves to this, to us and to whatever the future brings. You have made a fucking rad ripple in the universe. LOVE Y'ALL. Thank you.
Here are some photos from last night. As someone who has been at Bottletree from the beginning a decade ago, it was really cool to be there with my husband and our child. When 7pm rolled around, I packed up my son and we went home for bedtime. It was a beautiful full spectrum moment, and I happily shed a few tears as I pulled away from the back door, hearing both the faint blare of rock and roll and the chatters of a baby in the backseat. This is truly rock and roll y'all.
Hanging out backstage.
Tennessee running around backstage while people load in and eat.
Behind the club.
Duq played with:
Drums: David Hickox (Plate Six, Broken Letters, Wooden Wand, Gum Creek Killers, etc) and Brad Davis (Plate Six, Broken Letters, Wooden Wand, GCK and more)
Keys: Michael Shackelford (The Grenadines, King Carnivore, Rebel Kings, etc.)
Bass: Greg Slamen (Through the Sparks, Cosmonaut Vacation, Rebel Kings, etc)
Guitars: David Swatzell (WRAY, Grenadines, Rebel Kings and more) and Jody Nelson (Through the Sparks and Rebel Kings and more)
Vocals: Bekah Fox (Great Book of John) and Many Rae (rock and roll queenie!)
Our Bottletree family portrait. PEACE.
So much LOVE today.
Mar 25, 2015
I am on a serious mission to switch to 100% natural, safely sourced, health promoting self-care and beauty products.
It can be so confusing, and packaging and branding can be so deceptive. When you read a lable, it's really important that there are no parabens or preservatives and chemicals, BUT it's also important to know what's organic and where certain things like Vitamin C, lactic acid, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) are sourced from. That can be really difficult as there are no standards in the green/organic beauty industry. I am still learning so much about all of this and it's something I am really excited to share with everyone.
Here are five products I am DYING to try:
1/ Soveral Mandarin Kiss Lip Balm. Lip products are one of the things that we really should be thinking about. I heard a statistic that in our lifetime we will CONSUME something like eleven POUNDS of lipstick. I mean, we are putting a thick substance on our lips and reapplying up to twenty times a day. We lick our lips and we eat food while wearing lipstick. It adds up, and we need to start being more conscious of this NOW. Especially because most lipsticks contain seriously toxic heavy metals, like lead. This product is gluten free and doesn't have terrible, horrible palm oil in it. It's supposed to heal and moisturize and seal and protect and encourages cell growth. Sounds awesome to me. Less than ten ingredients and they're all real oils and essential oils.
2/ May Lindstrom facial treatment bowl and brush. I am allllll about loose clay masks, the kind that you have to mix yourself and apply with a brush. It's primal and luxurious at the same time. My friend Ashley (hey girl!) recommended May Lindstrom to me and even gave me a sample of her prized May Lindstrom Problem Solver mask and I FELL IN LOVE. You really need a small bowl and a small brush to mix and apply a mask properly. I used a ramekin and a basting brush from my kitchen and it lacks the spot on purpose and the ritual element that I want with my sacred self-care time. This bowl and brush from May Lindstrom is just beautiful and feels kind of ancient and precious. Like I am partaking in the same ritual as empresses and queens.
3/ Pursoma Ocean Potion Bath. I LOVE BATHS. It is one of my top ten favorite things in life. It's a time to relax, detoxify your body, get elemental with temperatures and water and salts, and you can just tune out and tune in at the same time. And this is coming from someone with a really terrible tiny ceramic tub in a 1960s pink-tiled bathroom. Bath are freaking awesome. So this bath soak packet detoxifies, balances and remineralizes the body with French grey sea salt, seaweed and algae sourced from the North Atlantic Ocean. It stimulates the lymphatic system, which coupled with some skin brushing and lemon oil in your water, makes your skin glow and makes your body just more vibrant.
4/ Kahini Organic Argan Oil. Remember like ten years ago when EVERYONE was talking about that magical oil from Morocco that would make your hair as lustrous as the dark haired Berber women in the faraway lands of Arabia? I had a bottle of this imported argan oil from a beauty supply store that was of course laced with chemicals, but it smelled fantastic and made my hair amazing. Then there was Moroccan Oil, that giant behemoth that I am not really sure even uses argan oil in its products... Anyway, I haven't found REAL argan oil in years... and here it is. Argan trees are strong and resilient and survive the harsh desert by planting roots so deep they can't be shaken. The oil is harvested from the tree's seeds. I want this stuff like yesterday.
5/ Sun Potion Wildcrafted Shea Butter. Shea Butter is the miraculous deep intense moisturizer that no one is really talking about. It treats fine wrinkles, deeeeeeeply penetrates the skin and is even a natural protectant from the sun's harmful rays. I take a bath or shower and with damp skin, I slather the thick butter all over my body, and it locks in moisture for DAYS. (Because showering everyday is soooooooo overrated anyway.) I heard about this brand from one of my favorite over the top hippy California vibey bloggers, Shiva Rose. She's one of my favorites. Check her out. And I am IN LOVE with the couple behind this brand. They're out there and I love them.
Do you have any other recommendations?? Let me know!
Mar 23, 2015
I felt compelled to write. I feel like the past year--especially the past couple months-- have been a phase of purification in my life. A phase of refinement. Refining precious metals is an ancient practice. A metal would melt, fuse, be strained, sifted and purged. Dust would be blown away and the process would begin again, until one day what's left behind is pure and clear.
I feel like the past several years have been heavy refining. It's been hard. There's been trials in our marriage, deaths, births, illness, complete financial turmoil, being forced to face God and faith and to take up a practice of gratitude for the things that we tend to overlook. It's been hard and beautiful. I've gotten tired. I've questioned what is the freaking point. I've laid on my face and cried and begged for things to change. And they have changed. They do change. Every day something is changing-- in our lives and in our hearts.
I am learning that what really matters in all of this and unlocks everything like some shiny master key is this: EVERY STEP OF THIS LIFE AND YOUR PURPOSE BECOME MEANINGFUL WHEN YOU PRACTICE PRESENCE AND GRATITUDE.
How often do you spend time thinking of that stupid thing you did or said or pining about what you really hope happens one day? How often do you dread that thing coming up on the calendar? How many times do you simply count down the days until that really exciting thing happens? What about this very moment? I have spent so much of my time preoccupied with the future: where we will live, what we will have built, the places we will go, and it has prevented me from being here right now in this moment, accepting it as it is-- joy, pain, stress and peace and all. It's as simple as pausing and breathing and taking note of the things around you. BE HERE NOW.
And that brings me to gratitude. It is so easy to bitch about the things you DON'T have and to compare yourself to this, that, the Other. When you neglect to acknowledge the incredible gifts around you and within you, when you fail to exercise gratitude for the immense blessings in your life, you will be miserable. This beautiful day? I am grateful for it. This hot cup of coffee that smells decadents and tastes delicious on my lips? I am grateful for it! The way it feels when my little boy runs up and throws his arms around me and buries his face in my shoulder laughing? I AM SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR IT!
Look, there are big, bad, scary, hard things in life. Those things are bound to happen. The difference here is in how you respond to those big, bad, hairy things. I'm not telling you to jump up and down in glee about your house being foreclosed or debt collectors banging on your door. But you can choose to be present with your reality. Work as hard as you can to change it if it needs changing, of course. But be able to still appreciate the amazing and wonderful things in your life. Even amidst hard times.
This is so rambly, and I hope it makes some sense. There's so much swirling around my head right now and swirling in our lives, too. It's scary. But we are present. We are working hard. AND MORE THAN ANYTHING WE ARE SO GRATEFUL for so many things big and small.
Today, I challenge you to breathe steadily throughout your day, and when a negative thought, emotion or situation arises, express gratitude about something- yourself, your surroundings, whatever. Give thanks.