Running In a New Direction

Today I will begin running, as in one foot in front of the other, down the street, at a fast pace. I am always envious when I see a fit person on the run in my neighborhood, device strapped in securely by their armband, tangled up in earbuds, ponytail flapping side to side, their clothing blotched with sweat. There is a notion of freedom and empowerment these runners seem to possess. It becomes obvious to me they are in a zone, sorting out their thoughts, stomping on their worries and moving towards clarity.

Today I will strive towards this image, although I am quite sure I will be keeled over midway down the block, desperately sucking in air, feeling like the oxygen has suddenly vanished from planet Earth. My muscle will ache and my legs will wobble. I will have to remind myself that the image I seek begins by placing one foot in front of the other, on repeat.  Today is the day to start something new, to work on a small goal and be the person you want to be. Today I will begin running.

runner

We will pretend this is me. 🙂

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Oprah Magic

This past fall, my dear friend, Vickiwhat, and I loaded up her car and drove off, leaving our town, our children and our responsibilities behind, travelling to our neighboring state for a weekend. The windows were rolled down blowing our hair wild, the music was blasting while we sang out off key, along with me occasionally interrupting, yelling out, “Turn! Turn here!” just as we bypass our right turn. I must admit, I am a terrible navigator, but Vickiwhat, unfazed, continued to sing, as she made another U-turn.

Nothing could bother us, because we were in possession of two tickets to see Oprah on her Live Your Best Life Tour. Yes, they were probably the worst seats they sold, but we didn’t mind. Oprah was going to make this weekend go smoothly, after all, this was technically checking off an item on our bucket list. The “Oprah Magic” began a few days prior when our hotel called us and asked if they could relocate us down the road, in return, they would comp our room and parking. Great! The whole car ride there, we began thanking Oprah and the universe for our fabulous weekend. “Thank you for letting us meet Gayle.” “I was so happy to see Adam Glassman again.” “Thank you so much for the upgraded seats, it really made the trip special” and so on. We continued to show gratitude for an amazing weekend, as if it already happened. Crazy, right?  Nope!

As we strolled along the sidewalk towards the arena in our high heels, my eyes began scanning the crowds of people clustered around the entrance. I nudge Vickiwhat, saying “Hey, doesn’t the lady look just like Gayle King?”  Well, it was!  We yelled out to her, waving frantically. She turned towards us, looked us right in the eye and waved!  Shortly after, Adam Glassman, the creative director of the O Magazine, strolled along side us as we chatted him up, before wishing him well and parted ways.

As we entered the arena, we realize we must climb every single flight of stairs to reach our seats. I nearly had a panic attack, as I am terrified of heights.  Again, nudging Vickiwhat I said, “Come on, I can’t do this” and we walked down the several hundred stairs back to the lobby. After a half hour spent at customer service, a very nice gentleman upgraded our seats to the 1st tier level, which was extremely close to the stage! We were overjoyed and could barley contain our excitement, as Oprah Winfrey took the stage in her beautiful, plum gown.

The crowd of majority women, were the nicest, enlightened, most positive people I have ever met.  The energy vibrated throughout the packed arena.  The following day, Rob Bell, Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Iyanla Vanzant and of course, Oprah Winfrey, all spoke about their most valuable and influential life lessons. There was a workbook handed out, which Oprah prompted exercises. For example,

Think of a person who is closest to your heart. Think (or write down) of the ideal life you would want for them. You can give them anything, money, cars, career opportunities, ect.

The life you wished for that person, is a reflection of what you want for yourself. We tend to want more, and are willing to ask for more for others, than we would for ourselves. We should begin to learn to ask for ourselves. Want and expect more, because you can never give to anyone, until your cup is full.

My friend, Vickiwhat, at some point began speaking with a group of women, who would later invite her and I to their box seats, where we finished the evening off, with our shoes off, sipping drinks, watching the show.  As if all of this good fortune was not enough for our life changing weekend, at the end of the show we saw Oprah Winfrey back stage from our seats. We yelled, in unison, her name as she was walking through a doorway to leave. A moment after our chant, she then backed up, spotted us in the crowd, threw both hands in the air and gave us a double wave. Oprah Winfrey “saw” us! and waved!! I know this may not sound like a big deal to most, but for us, it’s what topped off the weekend. We will be forever grateful to the “Oprah Magic” and continue to have faith in gratitude and the power of believing.

The following are some nuggets of wisdom from the show. I can never try to explain what exactly transpired, but I vow that it was extremely moving, life altering and has changed my perception of the world.

“Whatever you are going through, you will get through, so just say “thank you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The easiest way to change vibration (energy) is gratitude. You will draw other good vibration.” Oprah Winfrey

“Other people have no power in your territory.” – Oprah Winfrey

“What you pay attention to will expand.” – Oprah Winfrey (I like this one. Whatever you focus on, good or bad will grow.)

“Knowing what you don’t want is information leading towards what you want.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The purpose of the gift is to exercise the heart and inhibit aliveness, until your gift strikes the need of the world” – Mark Nepo

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than a perfect imitation of someone else’s life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“Do little things with great love. It all matters.” – Rob Bell

“To be the best, you have to say “no” to good.” – Rob Bell

“If you have made it through the past, then you past.” – Iylanda Vanzant

“Stop squeezing into things that do not fit you. Pay attention to how “it” makes you feel.” – Iylanda Vanzant

“Life says, “yes,” “no,” “stop,” “go.”” – Iyalnda Vanzant

“Courage is doing what you need to do before you are forced to do it, and if you don’t do it, don’t be mad at the people who force you to.” – Iylanda Vanzant

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A New Year In New York

For the first time in a long time I was able to spend New Years Eve with my husband, as he usually has to work at Times Square.  So what did we do?  Went to Times Square of course!!!

As the clock was ticking away towards 9pm, we were just getting into the car with a steaming hot cup of coffee in hand, city bound. Too late for a 45 minute commute on New Years?  Not for us!

There is a scene in the movie Goodfellas, when Henry courts Karen and takes her VIP into an exclusive club. This is always how it feels when we go into the city.

Just as Henry leaves his car with the valet, we leave our car parked conveniently on a city street, just steps away from our destination.  As we quickly skip down the subway stairs, careful not to touch the railings, he pulls out a set off keys and unlocks the iron gate, holding it open for me as I stroll through, no icky turnstile or line of people waiting to scan their MetroCard.

When the short subway melody echos throughout the train, alerting passengers of the next stop, we stand, bracing our feet, ready to get off as the doors briefly slide open.  Nearing the top of the stairs, leaving the warmth of the subway behind us, we are faced with barricades and a group of people being turned away.  No entry! No problem, not for us. With an inconspicuous flash of his wallet, the barriers are parted allowing us through.  We sliced through crowds of people, pleading with excuses trying to get past barricade after barricade, we are pleasantly let through with greetings and best wishes for the New Year.

There, right in the middle of Times Square, the ball 141 feet in air peering down at us, we walk in between the pens bursting with people packed in, shoulder to shoulder. I will say, the ball, which has so much emphasis and worship on this special night, is so teeny tiny small.  I just don’t get it.

Close up

 We walk pass random people with press passes around their neck, focusing intently on their part of the New Years Eve production.

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We passed Carson Daily and Chrissy Teigan, smiling at the camera, pretending not to be freezing.

Carson Daily

On our right, Ryan Seacrest was in the middle of his broadcast, informing viewers of the energy buzzing throughout the city.

Ryan Secrest

We saw Jenny McCarthy getting her make up touched up, and although I hate to say it, she looked like plastic, in a weird way. Her husband Donnie Wahlberg was patiently standing next to her.

Donnie

(Perfect photo bomb from a random guy, right?)

As the night carried out, Taylor Swift appeared in her perfectly fitted wool pea coat, emphasizing her minuscule waist, hyping up the crowd and waiver to her fans, while Ryan Seacrest stands next to her waiting to start the brief interview.

Taylor Swift

Also waiting for their turn to take the stage, Georgia Line was just hanging out, joking and laughing, like a group of true friends

Country Group

Amidst the three layers of clothing, winter coat, gloves, earmuffs, hat and scarf , it was freezing. By the end of the night, my feet were numb and my hands aching from the cold.  I couldn’t image the approximately one million people standing there waiting from early that morning. I had difficulty uploading my videos (which is why you don’t see any clips of Taylor Swifts performance either), however I will try to convey the magic carried by the brisk wind of last night. When the countdown started, confetti began to fall and the tiny ball pulsed with florescent colors.  A crowd of what felt like more than a million, chanted down the seconds to midnight. And just like in Cinderella, when the clock stroke twelve, genuine, awestruck magic filled the city, sending chills through your spine and tingling your skin. I didn’t notice the cold or anyone’s social status, we were all equally apart of the experience. While embracing my husband during the first few seconds of the New Year, confetti continued to rain from the sky with vengeance, in which you couldn’t see a few feet in front of you. Pulling the delicate pieces of tissue paper out of my hair, an array of handwritten wishes were written on each one. Pure blissful magic!

From my New Years in New York, I wish nothing more but for each wish to come true!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!