Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Does Crying Really Make You Feel Better?

crying emoticone
crying emoticone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Does Crying Really Make You Feel Better?

I have always believed that crying it out indeed made me feel better by way of some mythical hormone release.  I was certain of this until I went to write about it and found the research is to the contrary.

Let me back up.  My curiosity about the benefit of letting some tears fly reared its head after a recent minor but annoying eye surgery followed by complications that meant lots of discomfort.  

Simultaneously - while I was not supposed to do anything to aggravate my eye - crying included - (due to the skin graft) there were some major things happening, including our beloved dog getting extremely sick  (we thought we were going to lose him). 

As my husband spent two days at emergency vets with Sampson, I felt helpless at home with our two year old, and while she napped all I really wanted to do was, well, cry.  I felt mournful, recalling all of the times Sampson has been there for me, my loyal best friend, confidante, and even co-worker (when I've had home offices).  I was feeling guilty about how much less attention Sampson gets now that we have a  toddler, and how despite it all, his loyalty remains the same.  He loves me, he is my furry mama's boy and I feared that I might have to say goodbye to him much sooner than I could have expected.  

The tears started to come, but the pain was so excruciating, I had to force myself to stop them.  I poured a glass of wine and turned on a funny movie to avoid thinking about what I really wanted to focus on - Sampson.

There were other moments over these past weeks where I had the urge to let a tear flow, but every time a tear creeped up, my eye would burn intensely and I had to force the emotion to subside.

In those weeks where I had to suppress emotion (or at least the crying part of the emotion), I noticed my anxiety level gaining ground.  As a generally high energy, intense kind of human, I can get pretty anxious when not allowed an appropriate outlet (the gym and apparently, crying).  Then, this week, there was another moment of sadness that cropped up.  I was worried about someone very close to me, and I was alone in my car, some song came on and boom.  The tears came.  Only, this time it didn't burn.

I let them go, cried quietly under my sunglasses while I drove alone.  I got home, sat in the garage, continued to cry in the car alone.  

I felt depleted and just pure exhausted from the emotional tear flow.  The rest of the day was exhausting chasing around my adorable but high energy toddler, I felt so depleted that the anxiety seemed to have disappeared.  I know that my daughter noticed I had been crying, though I'm not sure how.  She stared into my eyes for a really long time (hours after I had cried) and seemed both confused and concerned.

I assured her mommy was fine, and I was.  While depleted of all energy, good and bad that night, by the next day I felt relief and peace with the issue that had brought me to tears.  

I had been needing to get those tears out and release that anxiety for many weeks, and it wasn't a reckless crazy throw yourself down kind of cry, it was quiet, peaceful, and very therapeutic.

It occurred to me that all those weeks I was unable to cry, it made me edgier because the emotions were all trapped in side.  For me, I felt that the act of crying, while exhausting me to the point of no emotion at all, was beneficial by the next morning.  I was renewed.

As I said in the beginning, I assumed this was as scientific fact, that studies had surely been done to prove the link between releasing tears and a positive hormonal release.  But, alas, the opposite is true - or at the very least - the appropriate studies have not been done to prove my personal theory.

As you can read for yourself, on this blog about the brain and behavior, that discusses a recent study on this issue, the writer concludes:

"Bylsma's headline finding is that crying mostly had little positive benefit, at least not on overall daily mood. Not only did crying episodes tend to be preceded by two days of lower daily mood, they were also associated with lower daily mood on the day of crying and lower daily mood on two successive days afterwards. For mood in the specific moments after a crying session, the results were more encouraging. Most often mood was reported as unchanged (60.8 per cent), but 30 per cent of sessions were associated with a positive mood change, with 8.8 per cent leading to a deterioration in mood."

It seems a little surprising, though at least 30% did associate a positive mood change moments after the crying occurred.  

I feel like many flaws could be found in the study and it is probably individual specific as everyone deals with stress, anxiety, fear, anger and sadness differently.  

For me, those several weeks without being able to release at least an anxiety tear, or even a sadness tear, added to my distress and overall mood.  I got the cry out, and now I feel even again.

Monkey Readers:  

Does a good cry make you feel better?

Do you Cry when you are sad, stressed, frustrated, or do you have other coping mechanisms?
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Do Men Make Better Mentors?

Do Men Make Better Mentors?

with friend and former colleague at the conference
Friday I attended the South Bay Conference for Women here in Los Angeles.  Two of the
keynote speakers were powerful women who live in our area: 


Susan Sweet talked in great detail about her rise to power at Neutrogena.  One interesting item she pointed out - that I have also experienced - is that the men she has worked with have taken a much greater role in mentoring and championing her career than the women.  

When you consider statistically how far behind women lag in leadership roles in ANY industry, and you hear this comment - which resonated with my entire table of women - it makes you wonder.  Is it really men that are holding us back, or are we holding ourselves back?  

I haven't worked in traditional corporate America since I left a large law firm in 2004.  I have been busy being an entrepreneur and thus my own boss.  So, I realize my situation is a little different now on the mentor front.  That said, I did have a fabulous woman mentor in Law School.  And when I got to the law firm, I "thought" I had a mentor in one of the powerful women there, but it turns out, that was not the case (funny story below).  

In the alternative, I worked mostly with men at this large law firm, and while there were certainly inappropriate  events that occurred, (I was the only female and most junior attorney on a very large nation wide litigation team), I did have male mentors at that firm.  

In fact, to this day, one of the top partners at that law firm (who is the hardest working and most talented attorney I have ever worked with) is my mentor.  I trust him implicitly.  He genuinely cares about my career and my life.  That genuine relationship has not wavered a single day since I left the firm in 2004, despite the very different path I took. 

I would welcome a female mentor because there are certain issues that only other women can relate to (working and having children from a mother's point of view for example), but other than my law school mentor, I have had far more success in garnering support from the male professionals in my life.

Obviously being at a Women's Conference you know there are like minded women who truly do want to champion one another.  It just seems like when you enter the business arena, something changes and competition and jealousy ensues more often than it should.

(Also, I think that the statistics are so low for women in leadership roles because of the "baby making years" and it is really difficult to take a break and get back in the race at the same pace.  That is for a totally different discussion). 

My funny "female mentor" story is this.  When I left the law firm to start Cameron Nicole Designs (accessory design company), I created an entire collection called "The Elizabeth Collection," inspired by who some deem the first true Feminist, Queen Elizabeth I.  I named each handbag after a woman that I found inspirational.  Mostly historical figures.  But, one bag was named after this female attorney who had recruited me to my former law firm.  I named a handbag after her.  I took the bag to the law firm to show her.  I wanted to give her a gift so gave her color and leather choices so I could special order a bag for her use.   (it was a $400.00 dollar bag, if that helps the story at all).

She laughed, and told me she doesn't carry bags in that style.  Then went on to describe the designers and looks she prefers.  She made it very clear she would not be carrying her namesake handbag.  I forgot about that story until last Friday at the conference.  I don't think I ever told anyone, even my husband.  It was hurtful at the time, but I was way too busy to dwell because business was actually good.   A mentor?  Not so much.

I don't know about you, but if someone designed ANYTHING (a dog collar, a cheese, a donut, a red hairy handbag that looked like Elmo) in my name and inspired by ME - no matter if it was my personal taste - I would be honored, flattered, and I would say Thank  You.  Thank You alone would have been sufficient. 

MONKEY READERS:

What is your Career Experience with mentors, or people who help champion your career?
 

Have you LIKED Monkey on Facebook Yet?  Please show us the love and we will do the same (let us know so we can! click here and it'll take you to our FACEBOOK PAGE!)

email me any time at conquerthemonkey@hotmail.com 



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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Real Power of Women

Vogue magazine cover, May 1917 Español: Portad...
Vogue magazine cover, May 1917 Español: Portada de la revista Vogue correspondiente a Mayo de 1917 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
magazine vogue Español: logo de la revista Vogue
magazine vogue Español: logo de la revista Vogue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
العربية: لبوة بالقرب من نزل أوكونجيما، ناميبيا...
العربية: لبوة بالقرب من نزل أوكونجيما، ناميبيا English: Lioness at Okonjima Lodge, Namibia Français : Lionne. Okonjima Lodge (Namibie). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Real Power of Women



One of the statistics mentioned how girls feel after flipping through a fashion magazine for 3 minutes.  This is something I wanted to write about when I was living in New York in 2009.  My own personal realization was that every time I flipped through those "cheesy Magazines" as I call them, I found myself feeling almost this odd sense of guilt, self loathing, even "Yucky", dumber for having done the mag review at all.

I wanted then to challenge my Monkey readers to give up the US Weekly, the People Mags, the In Touch and more.  I never stopped thinking about it and now seemed to be a perfect time.

On one hand, I understand that there is a legitimate place for Fashion (and the magazines) - it is a hobby of mine - I did found and run a successful accessories business a few years back.  I took meetings with the very editors of the magazines I have issues with.  Maybe there is a bit of hypocrisy in my business dealings, but not necessarily.  I had a business model that very intentionally tried to differentiate myself from the fashion lines that exploit and celebrate undernourishment and low self esteem.

For my very first accessory line that was sold commercially, I used everyday women (friends of mine who had helped me with my business) of every shape and size as my models.  My company's motto was to "love yourself for the beauty you possess," which obviously was meant to celebrate the individual and all that made them beautiful from within.
So, while I realize there is a downside to fashion and tabloid magazines, I was attempting to take a positive and legitimate angle in a commercial accessory business.  I think people liked the messages I was sending and the public has an appetite for more of that in media.  

Do I believe there are legitimate reasons for having Fashion magazines. Yes, I do.  (I'm not sure about the tabloid magazines, even though I do buy them when I travel to kill time.) 

I think Fashion is an art form, including accessories which was what I designed.  I look through magazines for inspiration not just for what I might wear, but for how I might decorate my home - and not to appease anyone else, but to give me a sense of visual pleasure that actually relaxes me.  

I love looking at magazines and seeing someone "relatable" wearing a beautiful gown that I know must have taken hours to hand make, or a piece of jewelry that was so meticulously done it really takes intelligence and engineering talent as well as a designer's eye.  Do I enjoy some of the entertainment value as well, like coverage of the gowns from the Oscars? Yes.  I like to watch movies, like most people, and there is a mindless entertainment in seeing the fashions people wear on the red carpet.  Do I take it seriously or think it is important on a world stage? No.  But, again, easy for an adult to differentiate, less for a teen or a kid.

Like what I did with my company, there are companies using ads to attempt to capture the audience of "real" women and boost esteem, like Dove.  I LOVE that.  I will buy products that endorse positive messages.  It is not realistic to completely abandon all media or advertising, because we live in an age where information is exchanged at the speed of light and frankly, that genie is out of the bottle.  Images can't be taken back.  

What we can do as women is choose to buy products that endorse positive messages.  To purchase magazines or books that have positive articles (believe it or not, there is an entity working on just that called Positive Impact Magazine, they are in infancy stages, but I recommend checking them out).  

Even better, we can simply TALK to our daughters about what they can achieve and why they should ignore what bombards them in a negative way.  There is so much power in the simple act of communication - and even more - in leading that charge by practicing what you preach with your child.  That means mommy shouldn't be talking about starving to fit into a dress for the next society event in front of her daughter.  If your teen really wants to look at a certain magazine, why not go through it with them, and discuss the parts that don't send a good message, and why she should analyze it and not follow negative paths.

Am I a hypocrite for occasionally looking at those magazine - ranging from People to Vogue to InStyle?  Maybe, maybe not.  I do see the true down side, I have experienced it, but I also do see certain legitimate publications for fashion companies.  

Do I think that all of us as women need to take more responsibility for what is put out there by the media?  Yes.  I think that many of these industries are propelled by the dollars that come from mommy, wifey or single woman, and we should be louder about what we "want" to see.  More opinionated and less about what we watch, buy, who we emulate.  

Monkey reader Arthur pointed out that possibly women are as much or more to blame about how women are treated in the media a la Ashley Judd.  I tend to agree.  Women have so much more power than they think.  

 Women have been trained to keep one another down by competing instead of supporting and propping one another up.  I think that is the wrong approach.  I in no way advocate the idea of ignoring, or dismissing male leadership or male run entities, It's just that I think with a little more female leadership, more change could happen, more communicating could happen, more lifting one another up.  

We don't need to compete, we need to help promote one another for the true value we have as women.  Think about it.  In a family dynamic, even where the mom is a stay at home, she really does "run" the household.  The moms I know who work and are mothers do an obscene amount more on the domestic front even when they contribute equally financially. 

The point here?  There is nothing women can't accomplish.  I do think that one reason so few women go into leadership roles in any arena is because when the baby making years happen, if they financially "can" they feel the need to be home.  I respect that.  I don't engage in that battle of stay at home mommies vs. working mommies.  I think we all have way more in common than we realize and it's time to bridge that gap.   

Sometimes stay at home moms feel lost when kiddo is older and goes to school and forgets the value that she really has.  She feels like "just a mom," but she has lost touch with her power and knowledge that she really does have ability to do more (if she wants, because being a mom is for sure the hardest job EVER). There is so much that can be contributed to in their community, schools, or even business.  

Some of the mom friends I have who probably feel they have the least to offer on the business or even charity front are the sleeping giants that I personally see have the most to offer, they just forget about it, are told they don't have what it takes.  So, the messages that start so young, only re-up as one becomes a mom.  I say it's time to call b.s. on this whole thing.

I say this to my women readers because it needs to be said to them, not because I don't feel it for the men too.  

Women, female teens, children, there is literally nothing you can't accomplish if you really want to.  

You will not feel better because you are a size 2 and look like a magazine model, but you will feel pretty darn good if you contribute to the betterment of the world in some small or great way.  It could be through work, volunteer, simply focusing on raising well adjusted kids.  Whatever it is that moves you inside, focus on that.  

I'm not saying you should let your body and face go to pot, I'm just saying, don't let the superficial things be the ones that drive you because those things will never truly fulfill you.  

And now, while I am practicing law again as a sole practitioner, I have the additional goal of forming a small business partnership exclusively of women.  We would be the CEO, CFO and COO's of this prospective company.  It is my dream.  Have a female run company, be able to be capitalists, but give back, send a message to other women, and especially to young girls out there who have a lot of big decisions to make in their lives about who they are going to be.  Never let anyone hold you back from your dreams.  Even if it's family.  Learn to ignore the nay sayers when your gut is telling you otherwise.

And with that ramble, I bid you adieu.  I would love to hear what you think.  

I admit to being far from perfect on all of the above, but I am proud to be part of the conversation and to TRY to be a voice in this arena and TRY to lift up my female friends and my daughter and her little friends as they grow up.....

And, to plug my former motto from Cameron Nicole Designs just one more time, ladies, love yourself for the beauty you possess.

MONKEY READERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS?
WHEN YOU READ US WEEKLY DO YOU FIND THOSE FUNKY FEELINGS COMING OVER YOU AFTER?

DO YOU MOMS WHO STAY AT HOME FEEL LIKE YOU WANT TO GET BACK INVOLVED BUT DON'T KNOW HOW?

DO YOU FEEL WE AS WOMEN SHOULD HELP PROMOTE AND LIFT ONE ANOTHER INSTEAD OF COMPETE?

I welcome your feedback

Email me any time
conquerthemonkey@hotmail.com
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ashley Judd Fights Back Over Critique Of Appearance

Actress Ashley Judd, who has appeared in over ...
Actress Ashley Judd, who has appeared in over twenty different movies, attended Sayre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14:  Ashley Judd attends ...
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Ashley Judd attends Ashley Judd in Conversation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at the United Nations on March 14, 2012 in New York City. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
Ashley Judd Fights Back Over Critique Of Appearance


I have always loved Ashley Judd.  She seems very raw, gritty and real, despite her absolutely stunning outward physical appearance, she seems to possess so many other greater gifts.

I have read off and on over the years critiques of her made when she added a curve or two to her tiny frame, and it always irritated me because whatever her size - a 2 or an 8 (as she references in the article above) to me she is always stunning.

Perhaps I especially love Ashley's article above because she referenced having gained some weight due to being on steroids for an illness.  Instead of anyone asking her for comment to the criticisms they all just piled on her - including publications that she writes serious pieces for.

I related to this frustration on her part.  Years back I was so horribly sick that my lung capacity was down to 30% and I was living on steroids for around 2 years and many other horrific breathing treatments just to get through any given day.  It took its toll.  Not only did it permanently change my appearance, from the weight gain, shape of my body, the puffy face, it caused my immune system to crumble and led to a subsequent two year series of other awful sickness (recurring Staph infections for one and shingles).

I knew that people noticed, commented behind my back.  I had always been pretty petite  - and suddenly through things outside my control - serious illness - my appearance changed. Like Ashleigh, I went from a 2/4 to an 8 - and God forbid that is considered BIG or FAT.  It was personally devastating for so many reasons, but that attitude of other men and women toward the physical appearance of women - and in many ways women being the harshest - can be very hurtful.

I in no way compare myself to the amazing Ashley Judd, rather, what she wrote hit a chord with me and she asked that we "Join the Discussion" -- so that is what I'm trying to do via this Monkey Blog.  Join the discussion, ask some real questions about our values and whether or not we want to continue to promulgate the detrimental attitudes toward women that are handed out like candy by the media, magazines, advertising and more.  It is ever more important to think about once you become mom.  I can take it, I see it for what it is.  But my daughter is sweet and innocent and I take seriously what she will be bombarded with in the media both subconsciously and consciously. 

In another portion of the article Ashley addresses that media outlets said that she better get her looks together because her husband will start looking for wife number 2 - is particularly offensive.  It is equally offensive to men as to women.  To say that her husband, or any man can not and does not marry a woman for any reason other than her outward appearance is ridiculous and shallow.  (not that it doesn't happen, but I'd like to believe that most men don't get married just because some girl is "hot.")

When I was going through my illness and gained weight, my husband knew it was hard on me as a woman.  We are always hardest on ourselves, but it grows even more difficult with the constant bombardment that the media heaps onto us about how women are supposed to look.  That airbrushed women, and gaunt 14 year old runway models some how become the standard bearers for how our bodies and faces should be.  I have been sick of it for a long time.  Have you?

Ashley asks that we join this conversation.  Specifically - a portion of her article states - much better than I can:

"If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start. Who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery? Our culture, that’s who. The insanity has to stop, because as focused on me as it appears to have been, it is about all girls and women. In fact, it’s about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings. Join in—and help change—the Conversation." - Ashley Judd 

MONKEY READERS:
How does this make you feel?

Have you ever felt that self loathing about your own body because you look at a magazine and see the airbrushed perfection and wonder why you can't look that way? 

How can you join this conversation if it speaks to your interests?

THANKS MONKEYS.  Thanks Ashley Judd.

You are a bad ass.  I hereby stamp my approval on YOU as a role model for my angel baby, Tyler. 

talk to me:  conquerthemonkey@hotmail.com

 


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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Mile in Her Shoes.

A Mile in Her Shoes.

The second I had a baby and every minute that has accumulated since that day, I have learned to be less judgmental of others.  Mistakenly, I assume the same from others.  That they would become less judgmental as they grow older, wiser and add to their lives.  Yet, the more I have going on in my life, the more I feel judged.  What is up with that?

I have learned that life is ever more complicated, and I do the very best I can each day with everyone in my life.  My husband, my baby, my dog and my cat,  my friends, family and clients. Certainly, I come up short lots of times.  Can't seem to be everything to everyone.  Not sure it's possible to be everything to everyone and still reserve a tiny piece of life's pie for myself.  

I see friends raising their kids in certain ways, making decisions different than mine.  Before Tyler, I might have scoffed, questioned their decision, judged them.  Now, I think - do the best you can.  Be a good person, do the best you can to be a mom, wife, husband, employee, employer, pet owner etc.  I appreciate the frailty that is our nature as human beings.  It is the one thing that makes us all the same - our humanity - our frailty, our inevitable failings.    

I appreciate it even more when others admit they too are imperfect, that life is hard, that they are doing their best.  And when they look at my choices and actions, that they will say - you are doing the best you can.  And when and if I ask for help, they say, of course, they try and do so without judgment.  

I don't particularly like unsolicited advice on how I do things.  Do you Monkey readers?  When someone tells you what you SHOULD be doing as a mom, what you SHOULD be doing as a wife, what you SHOULD be doing as a pet owner.  If I ask you, I expect the tough love.  If I don't ask, it's because I don't particularly want to hear what you have to say.  You with me here?

Motherhood in particular.  It's like going into domestic warfare.  Some have easy newborns.  Others have difficult newborns.  But everyone faces a battle at some point in their parenthood.  Come sooner.  Come later, it shall come.

I once envied friends who had easy babies.  Now I just feel glad for them.  I know it all evens out in life.  We are all human and our challenges vary.  The goal is to be there for our friends and family when those challenges arise.  I try to do that, and I'm very fortunate that my true friends do the same in supporting me.

I find myself on this soapbox because I was very deeply insulted by someone yesterday.  I was told that this person, and a few others think I neglect my dog, Sampson.  That anyone would EVER look at me and think I neglect this dog is deeply insulting as I take HUGE pride in how much I love and give to all of the "beings" in my life that I nurture.  My baby, my dog, my cat, my husband.

If you are reading this and you know me well, you will laugh at the accusation, because those who know me call me "crazy dog mom," "over bearing dog mom" "spoiling" dog mom and so on.  I'm the dog mom who spent 3 hours a day in negative wind chill weather on the worst weather days in NYC with my dog so that he could have fun and frolic freely before going back into an apartment.  It didn't matter how miserable I was, I wanted him happy.  Same dog mom (and dad) that paid obscene amount of money to have Sampson driven cross country twice for both moves - cage free - in an  SUV, with just him and two drivers - so that I didn't have to traumatize him by flying in an unregulated crate underneath an airplane in the East Coast winter.

Same dog mom who ensures, no matter what the price to me personally or my wallet that Sampson gets three walks a day, has toys in every room so not to be jealous of my daughter, has never boarded him and pays for personal care takers to stay at our house when we have to be gone.  Sampson is never alone since I have a home office and am usually here with him - he is my co-worker.  

Same dog mom who no matter how exhausted makes sure he gets pets, cuddles, the proper care and medicine, has helped him lose 20 lbs since May to help his arthritis.  Same crazy animal mom who stays up an extra 45 minutes every night so that after Sampson is asleep the Cat can get his play time and exercise and cuddles.  

That's me.  Neglectful.  And I know the monetary parts are not important but the amount of thought and care I put into this dog, the "manifestos" of perfect care I leave for pet sitters when I'm gone, the hoops I jump through to ensure that in no way does my dog or cat feel neglected now that we have a baby is borderline obscene.  

So, to be called Neglectful.  That is biting and that I will not tolerate.

That isn't even the point though is it?  The point is, before we judge others based on a tiny sliver of what we see in their life, maybe we should throw them a bone - pun intended.  Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are (unless truly obvious to the contrary) doing the best they can.  As a mom to a human and two furry people I take it one day at a time and hope that I give them all the love I can physically give them, and for anyone who cares to judge the way I go about my daily life with my family, well, unless I asked you specifically, you can take your opinion, look in the mirror, and wonder if perhaps you are judging because it is you who feels inadequate in some way.

Yup, this is a monkey vent, but also a good reminder to self and to all that unless you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, you truly have no idea what they are about.

On a happy note, HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND!  Monkey is celebrating her 8 year wedding anniversary with Monkey Husband and tickled pink.  It has been a wild ride and not one second has been boring.  Love you monkey husband!  

MONKEY READERS: how do you feel when people give you unsolicited advice?
What do you say to them??

I need some zingers in my arsenal :)


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Monday, March 19, 2012

Seasons and Change

Official seal of City of Manhattan Beach
Official seal of City of Manhattan Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Seasons and Change.
(written in early 2010, before my daughter was born and I had just moved from NYC to Manhattan Beach.  Don't worry,I have updated stuff on the way :) )

BUT this is worth reading for anyone who is going through a life change.  Change is something I have dealt with quite a bit, and if change is in your life and change can overwhelm you, this might be a good read for you.  Email me if you want!!!

A hearty virtual hug and a how do you do Monkey Readers!

Oh, and why, hello February - how did you get here so fast???

I have been M.I.A. for longer than anticipated but finally -
The Manhattan (NYC) to Manhattan Beach Move is over.
I have missed you all and your witty commentary
Missed the daily interaction.

It's funny how change can really take us off kilter for a time - it is inevitable in the face of big life changes...

With change comes new seasons pregnant with the possibility of bright beginnings.
The opportunity to start anew, to cleanse, to exfoliate, to replenish, to leave far behind the things that troubled you - at least until the boxes are unpacked and they all come crashing back to you.

Change is often troubling and stressful. Waking up and wondering where your socks are. Running into the walls at night as you go to the bathroom because you forget where you are. Having no idea what the weather is like, or what to wear. Not knowing the paths to take your dog on a walk, and not having creature comforts like your coffee maker, your bed, your favorite robe or jammies.

You lie there on your air mattress and the feeling of exhaustion overtakes your body but yet you can't sleep because there is too much to do. When the move is a cross country one, the torment and possibility drags on so much longer - weeks of packing leading up, then the stress of the move -- flying with animals, leaving your spouse behind to deal with movers and waiting two weeks for your "life" and worldly possessions to arrive. and so it goes on and on.

When the change is exactly what you'd hoped for - maybe you should get less of a pass to feel angst and pangs of distress, and in fact, you don't feel them nearly as much as when you moved to a place you didn't want to go, but still. The change overcomes you, even though you know it's what you want, you will always long for something from the former - always miss things that can't be duplicated in your new reality. There is no such thing as utopia, nothing ever fits perfectly into the cookie cutter white picket fence, and it would be so boring if it did.

Most of all, unless someone has been through the same, like all things in life, they have no sense of either empathy or understanding. They see the world through their narrowly self focused glasses and question your movements and moods, which is pretty annoying.

But, in the end, like all change, if you embrace it it will bring good to you. It may not seem obvious depending on the situation, but as someone who has moved every 2 years since I was 17, I know that in the long run the change is both defining and fulfilling. It allows you to fill in the outlines of your life with vibrant color adding bold depth to your soul.

With the new year and the new home I am also anticipating a new life. Not only my new life, but the life of our baby due in May. For all of this change, and that which continues to grow inside me and make me feel only 1/4 human most days - I am thankful and blessed, but I am acutely aware of all the chaos that floats around me right now, and am doing my best to ground the little demons of chaos and create as much peace as I can so that I can move forward with the new world, new baby, new blog and career opportunities.

There is much to be thankful for. I am here safe and sound, and I am slowly getting back to writing and getting back to YOU.

All of us go through change in life - moves, jobs, deaths, births, weddings, divorce, friends, pets, LIFE. It never ends - this cycle of life, and so whenever possible, if we can just embrace it and look for the flecks of diamond in the rough, we will prevail. And on the bad days we especially need to remind ourselves that the darkest hours will fade and light is on the other side -- closer than we could possibly know.

Please email me, or comment here with your questions, comments, thoughts and topics. 2010 is going to be a spectacular year!

Conquerthemonkey@hotmail.com

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Living with Integrity

Lion - Louisville Zoo
Lion - Louisville Zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Living With Integrity. 

(a formerly popular post from 2010 to start off the week!)

Synopsis: 
Inspired by an email from a reader in Northern California a few months back wondering where role models can be found in today's media driven world. 

Monkey's Advice: 
Do not look up to people propped up in the media. Instead look for people in your life that live with integrity to look up to and guide you. 
Read On.......... 

From Anonymous in Northern California: 
What advice do you have about finding good role models for kids, or even adults these days? It is so hard to find good role models in this media driven society. 
Anonymous 


Dear Anonymous: 
Role Models can be found where you least expect it. The number one characteristic to look for is Integrity. 

Integrity is "defined" in the dictionary as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. But, you don't need Merriam Websters to tell you what the word means.
 In our modern culture integrity embodies a person who lives their life to a certain standard that others deem honest and trustworthy. You want someone with integrity by your side when you need a confidante, advice, when the chips are down, to go into business with, to be your friend or significant other - and you certainly want to be viewed as someone with integrity. 

Someone with integrity does the right thing, even when nobody is watching and nobody will know about it. They do things not for the glory, but simply because it's the right thing to do.
 It is difficult to find role models in the public eye that fulfill this integrity tenet. 

When you read the newspaper, magazines, or turn on the T.V. it is commonplace to hear about politicians being crooks, philanderers, or hypocrites, record breaking athletes tainted by the use of steroids, or even celebrities, who are fawned over and glamorized, ending up in rehab, cheating on or beating their spouse, or pimping out their kids for PR. 

None of these people demonstrate integrity in these acts, nor should those actions be admired. Nonetheless, these are often the people propped up for our consumption by the media. 
In general, do not depend on politicians, athletes or celebrities as your role models. Your ideal role model will unlikely be someone under the media microscope. 

Understand what it means to live with integrity and, if you can, find someone in your life, a friend, a sister, a brother, a cousin, or even your own parent to look to as a role model. If your common sense doesn't automatically lead you to an integrity based decision, ask yourself what your mentor or role model would do in that same scenario.
 

Everyone - the Monkey writer included - can and should strive for more integrity in our day to day living. Make things less about our own selfish desires and more about what is right for the greater good in any given situation. A little integrity could go a long way in today's world.
 

Use this as your guide and you might just find you already have a role model to look up to. 

Let us know your thoughts and good luck! 
Conquer The Monkey. 

Monkey Readers: 
Do you have a mentor or a role model in your personal or professional life? 
Are you a mentor or role model to someone else? 
Do you have Advice for Anonymous? 


Email me your questions or topics or simply comment here! 
Conquerthemonkey@hotmail.com 

Read these Spicy Posts! 
Seasons and Change 
Motivational Quote of the Day by Arthur Ashe 

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