Sunday, August 28, 2016

Get A Move On

Dearest Loves,

Life is crazy and it seems impossible to find time to exercise.  We all know it’s good for you but it doesn’t always fit in the schedule as Priority One. I’ve been the overworked, mother of two, working 60 hours a week, and I know how hard it is to make “you” a priority. There have been times I have fallen short of being my best self. However, in my quest of living my most positive life, I have come to understand that being positive is not just an emotional/mental intention – it is physical.  It is TIME to make YOU a priority.  I am “simply positive” that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you and every part of your life will feel more manageable.
It’s never too late to start being your best self.  Studies have shown that even people who begin a moderate exercise routine mid-life significantly reduce their chances of major illness as they age. I am no Jillian Michaels; I’ve never run a 10K and you will never, ever, ever find me at a Soul Cycle class. I am, however, a middle-aged woman committed to staying as active as I can. When life gets rough, it’s easy to crawl under the covers and sleep/eat/whine. Negativity breeds negativity.  The more I move, the more energy I have and the better I feel….and guess what?  I am POSITIVE you have the time.
Don’t think you have the time to join a gym?  No problem.  If you have two working legs and a pair of shoes you can go for a walk.  Have a mobile phone? Download a great app (Down Dog, 7 Minute Workout, Fitocrocy).  Track your 10,000 daily steps with your iPhone.  Take the stairs instead of an elevator. Need to run to the mall?  Park as far away from the door as possible.  Just do it! 
Recently I drove with my son to Chicago, which was a four and half hour drive.  I burned hundreds of calories on this trip.  How?  I put on heart-pumping, hip hop music and car-danced like a maniac.  Thankfully my son was asleep or he’d have told me I was embarrassing him in front of the air (which he’s told me before).  I am certain passerbys on the freeway had a good laugh but guess what?  I’m never seeing them again and I probably made them smile. 
Ever heard of Task-ercizing?  I do it often.  Have a dance party while you are drying your hair, do squats while you are brushing your teeth, vacuum the floors as fast as you can. Working all day?  Desk-ercize – Google it; it’s a thing.  Think you have no time?  Shower-cize – okay I maybe made that one up, but I do calf raises and isometric holds while I’m conditioning my hair.  TMI?  I promise the Paparazzi aren’t waiting for you.
Is date night dinner and a movie for you? Is your idea of family time playing video games on your couch? Mix it up.  Go to the batting cages and hit your weekly frustrations out. Need to reconnect with your loved ones after a busy week? Go for a long walk after dinner.  Give paddle boarding a try.  Check out a cardio drumming class.  Too many errands to run? Grab the family and have a contest to see who can find items the fastest – there is always an opportunity to move.  Make a commitment to yourself to Get Your Move On!

Your homework this week is to set a goal to move 7 days this week.  It doesn’t have to be intense…just get out there.  Every Day!  You CAN do it!

With light, love & POSITIVITY,


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Do the Right Thing

My mother always said “you’ll get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  While she had good intentions, this never sat well with me.  It was as if she were saying that in order to get what I wanted or needed, I should put my sweetest self forward, whether it was genuine or not.  I have erased that adage and replaced it with one from Amelia Earhart.  “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”   The intention to begin with kindness is a choice we can all make and it is a choice that needs no applause.

Last week during the Olympics, a US and New Zealand runner collided during the 5,000 meter race.  The US runner (Abbey D’Agostino) stopped to help her competitor, forgoing her own chance at winning a medal.  The press exploited her generosity and used it was tag line.  “D’Agositno shows Olympic Spirit.” Being an Olympic athlete commands a level of selfishness.  Portraying selflessness at a time she should have been hyper-focused on her goals impressed me.  Not because she showed superhuman spirit, but because there was no intention involved.  She  acted on impulse. The impulse to do the right thing.  She didn’t have time to think about the consequence of her actions.  She didn’t have time to determine if it was a public relations opportunity.  I challenge the idea that this is somehow an Olympic feat.  It is not Olympic spirit – it is HUMAN spirit.  I long to live in a world where doing the right thing is an expectation and not a surprise.

It seems ideological, but being generous of spirit and kind towards others is simply the way the world should be.  I was lucky enough to be raised by someone who led by example.  My step-mother never passed someone in need without helping.  She asked strangers if they needed help with directions.  She stopped to smell the roses and pick up litter along the way. She was kind to every single person she encountered, from the security guard to the grocery clerk.  She led with kindness each and every day and did it quietly.  She never wanted attention for her generosity.  In fact, she would leave quotes of positivity all over her art studio to remind her each day how to be the best person she could be.  I am “simply positive” that to act without intention or need for recognition will not only make a difference in someone’s life, but it will heighten your life journey.

Your homework this week is to make an intention to lead with kindness. How are you missing opportunities to be kind?  Share a compliment, ask how you can help, learn the names of the people you interact with, smile.  

A reminder Robin left for herself.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stop and Smell the Roses

I read long ago that to really hold a memory, you need to experience it with all of your exteroceptive senses.  We learn about our five senses in pre-school but seem to take them for granted as we mature. Scientifically, our senses link to emotion as well as memory.  What is your Happy Place?  Your Happiest Memory?  Can you revisit it with all of your senses?  It seems so simple, yet we rarely take the time to exercise it.
A few years ago my Honey and I were on vacation in California and stopped in Half Moon Bay for an afternoon.  We sat on the beach and watched the skim boarders enjoying the surf.  I relaxed, laying back on the sand without a care in the world.  I put a sticky note in my mind that this was a Happy Place -- a memory I wanted to treasure.  I ran my fingers through the sand, grabbed a handful of warm grains, and felt them fall through, tickling my skin.  I inhaled deeply and felt the salty air travel through my nose, into my lungs, and back out.  I heard gulls flying above calling to the fish below and children laughing as they built sandcastles in front of us. I tasted the sweet tanginess of the lemonade we were sharing, savoring the refreshing drink. I closed my eyes for a moment and just enjoyed “being.”   I sketched the moment in my mind, cementing the memory.  When I opened my eyes I watched the clouds forming, slowly dancing above me. The ebb and flow of the waves reminded me of how quickly life changes - that if we don't pay attention we forget what's most important.
Living life with all of your senses is sometimes a challenge.  We get busy in our daily lives and spend so much time rushing from place to place that we forget to savor the moments.  Slow down, take notice of your surroundings, pay attention, and take time to smell the roses.

Your homework this week is to think of something that makes you happy, or something that once made you happy. Can you retain it, or recall it, with all of your senses.  How does that strengthen or sweeten the memory? I am positive that taking the time to notice, to savor each sense, will create more meaningful memories.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Disneyland is Not the Happiest Place on Earth

Yesterday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of peace.  As most of you do, the first thing I did was turn on my cell phone.  CNN headlines were streaming in with the news that Delta was canceling flights.  I moved onto Twitter to see what else I could learn and conspiracy theories around the outage seemed to be a theme.  As it happened, I was about to pack up and leave an amazing weekend in Miami to fly home to Detroit.  Would I leave?  Would I get stranded in the airport?  Would I lose this peaceful feeling I awoke with? Already and anxious flyer, would this news send me into a tailspin (no pun intended) of anxiety?  Surprisingly, the answer was none of the above.  While it just so happened that I was not one of the 530 cancelled flights, I was delayed several hours.  I was EXCITED about this! I was excited about having some time to myself - time in my head - time to write - time to think....and this made me happy.  I don't mean pleased -- I mean HAPPY.

When I arrived at the airport, I expected to be surrounded by ugliness.  Angry people, stressed out people, overwhelmed travel agents and chaos.  I was determined to maintain my happiness.  In line at Baggage Drop I was almost amused at my level of patience.  When I got to the ticket counter, my pleasantness surprised the agent.  While she profusely apologized for the situation, I said "In the world around us, this is just not a problem.  It's totally fine." - she was taken aback and appreciative with my attitude and I could see just a sliver of stress remove itself from her tightened facial muscles.  Through the TSA line, I gladly waited my turn and thanked the guard with a big smile - not something she saw often I'm sure.  While checking into the gate, I approached the agent who looked near tears.  She asked how she could help me.  "I do have a question, " I said, "but before I ask it, how are you?"  She was flabbergasted that anyone had an ounce of empathy left and said "thank you so much for asking.  I think you might be the nicest person I've talked to all day."  I left her with ..."I certainly hope I am not the last."  The intention I had of greeting people with kindness was SIMPLE and it was impactful to all I encountered and even to myself. Most of all, it was easy.  All I did was set the intention of Happiness.

I had several hours to kill so I went for a walk.  I walked for miles (big airport!) and literally could not wipe the smile from my face.  I laughed a little to myself, thinking how ridiculous I must have looked to people passing by. I felt so uplifted.  Instead of focusing on the negative, I looked for the positive and was happy to see it was all around me.  I watched little girls playing playground clapping games; saw a man rocking and singing to his baby; balloons intended for the arrival of a loved one.  All was right in the world -- even though we were all inconvenienced.  When I got back to my departing gate I looked up and saw the most amazing message.  In flowers were the words "All Together Now." What an incredible place we would live in if we all together chose happiness.

Here is my SIMPLY POSITIVE thought this week...Happiness is a choice. Disneyland is not the happiest place on Earth.  The happiest place on Earth is wherever you decide it will be!! 

Your homework this week is to choose one hour, or one day if you are feeling ambitious - to be happy.  To choose  happiness.  To choose the share that happiness with everyone you encounter.  I can't wait to hear how it changed the path of your day.  

Miami International Airport

This is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Dearest Loves,

I am beyond excited to share with you my new blog "Simply Positive...with Dena."

For over 40 years, I've been searching for my true passion in life.  There are a lot of things in life that I love, that I have some talent in, or at least a curiosity in, but the absence of a True Passion was eating a hole in my heart.

In recently uncovering a lot of myself that I'd packed away for a bit, I've come to realize that I DO have a passion - that I've actually had one all along but didn't know how to channel it into something tangible.  I am so overjoyed -I mean TRULY overjoyed, to say that it's SIMPLY being Positive and sharing that with those near to me.

We all live in the same world - one of unjust tragedy, nonsensical violence, uncertainty.  I watch the same News you all watch and I won't say that I never feel sad or scared or vulnerable...but positivity can shine above it. Positivity is a Choice.  Positivity is SIMPLE.  No matter your circumstances,  you can make the choice to be positive.  I promise it will change your life.  I invite you to take this weekly journey with me.  I will share my stories and even give you a weekly goal on how to live a more meaningful and peaceful life.  

With so much light, love and POSITIVITY!