Row that boat.

The perfect guidance for life is hidden in a children’s song that’s been around forever.⁣⁣ “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…” ⁣⁣Those are the lyrics to a song you’ve likely known since you were little.

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How to know what really matters

One day last spring, I opened the front door and noticed that the passenger door to my husband’s car was wide open.

He can be a forgetful dude, but usually not that forgetful.

Still, I was two seconds from teasing him when I noticed: his truck was open, too. And his driver’s side door.


We walked outside, and sure enough: someone had broken into our cars while we slept.

If you’ve ever had anything taken from you, you know that odd feeling of violation. But as it sunk in, I realized: our vehicles were still there, and there was no damage to either of them. They had taken maybe five dollars from my change compartment-- beloved coffee money, but not financially significant. The cars were a mess, but heck, they had been in desperate need for post road-trip cleanings, anyway.


This is not a big deal.

But it could have been.
 Or, rather, I could have made it one. I could have chosen to see this as a sign of bad luck, or I could have let that feeling of violation grow. I could blame the neighborhood, or our town, curse the local officials. I could have beat myself up for not locking my car doors or my husband for not locking his.

But I didn’t. Immediately following the discovery, my response was:

“Oh well. I hope they at least needed that five bucks more than we did. Bless and release.”

I was done; it ended there.

And as the day went on, I actually got a bit thankful for the whole experience. Because I realized: there is nothing that anyone could take from me that would matter much, anyway. Most of the things I value are not things. They’re people. Memories. Dreams.

And the majority of the “things” I do value are things that wouldn’t be of value to other people: the piece of paper that my daughter wrote “Mom” on for the first time. Our wedding album. Baby pictures. That piece of driftwood I found at the beach this summer. Notes from my husband.

It was a beautiful realization.

This isn’t a mindset I’ve always had. I’ve cultivated it, consciously, over time. You can change how your mind works, and therefore, how your life goes.

And you don’t need to have something stolen in order to have your own beautiful realization. Today, stop and think:

  • What are the “things” you surround yourself with each day-- and would you truly miss them if they were gone? (If not, maybe a little Marie Kondo-ing is in order. It sounds strange, but it's really energizing to ditch the clutter + surround yourself only with things that you love.)

  • What matters most to you? How can you feel that gratitude now? And tonight? And tomorrow? 

  • How often do you let the actions of others (including little ones) rattle you? And how can you create a little more protection for yourself? You're in control, even if it doesn't seem like it at first.

What is brave?

What does it mean to be brave?

Is it slaying fire-breathing dragons? Being on the front lines? Rushing into a burning building?

I think brave is so much more than that.

Brave is feeling the fear and doing it anyway-- no matter what that fear is.

Brave is going for it.

It’s having an idea and a big dream and no road map to fold up and pack in your bag.

It’s chopping off your hair or wearing bright red lipstick or going to dinner alone or starting a conversation with a stranger or finally saying what you really mean or taking time to get so still + quiet that you finally start to know yourself.

It’s admitting you were wrong or owning your responsibility or no longer carrying what’s not yours.

What feels brave? Do THAT thing. And remember that braver can be quiet and heartfelt and it can taste like freedom, even if you never charge the castle gates or go face-to-face with the villain.

Struggling? Me too. Here’s how I cope.

I have spent a huge amount of time and energy over the past few years working on my mindset. Giving myself strategies to not just get through life but thrive.

It’s worked, really really really well.

And still, I have bad days. Off weeks.

They can still feel really difficult to get through. I’m coming out of one of those little slumps now. And I wanted to let you know two really important things that I’ve realized:

Everyone has bad days. 

Duh, right?

But have you ever really thought about this?

Do you think Oprah is just beaming positivity and deep insight 100% of the time? Nope. If you are in a constant state of happiness, you are the Dalai Lama maybe. You are an enlightened being. I don’t think that us everyday people are actually meant to feel good ALL the time. There’s something about the way that we’re designed that makes us appreciate the joy much more because we’ve experienced sadness, pain or discomfort. I’m not sure why we’re that way, but we are. And if you want to fight that, you’re in for a battle. Or you could embrace it, appreciate the contrast for what it is, and love yourself anyway.

Every struggle gets easier when you face it.

These days, I can step outside of myself and realize what’s happening. I can name it. I can sit in it, embrace it. That doesn't mean I want it, or that I feel glad that it’s there. But I can sit with whatever’s coming up and give myself the kind of compassion I would give one of my kids if they were having a bad day. So my point is, there is a way to have fewer bad days, and to manage the bad days in a much more positive way.

Around our house, we call that feeling of being off, “tough stuff”. When the kids are cranky, out-of-sorts or hyper-emotional, I just say “Are you having tough stuff?” and give them a hug or let them talk about whatever they want to talk about or just let them know I love them.

That’s the kind of compassion I’ve developed for myself. It’s about freakin’ time.

So the next time you’re struggling, if it’s for no reason or for lots of reasons, remember that Oprah might be struggling, too. Maybe Jennifer Aniston is having a bad day. Beyonce might be feeling more crab apple than Lemonade. And maybe I’m over here going “What the eff….”too.

But it can get easier, and that starts with compassion. How would you treat your kids if they were having a bad day? Do that for yourself. Find compassion. Give yourself grace. Relax. Breathe.

And remember that living a lit up life doesn’t mean you’re lit up every single second.

Are You Happy, Mama?

“Are you happy, mama?” My daughter started asking me this a lot, about a year ago. I’m not sure why. She asked it sometimes when she was reading the scowl on my face. I understood why she was asking it. But other times, we would be in the course of a normal moment in a normal day and it would come: “Are you happy?”

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Listen. Listen. The world is trying to tell you something.

There are messages in the dragonflies that seem to follow you everywhere, in the way the wind whips up at just the right moment, in the clock showing you the same time when you wake every night, sweaty and confused.

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