Category Archives: Authenticity

Learning to Speak

skates on ice

I find words to be clunky and imprecise. To communicate in words we first have to define a feeling then match it to a label that may or may not adequately express that feeling. Then we have to string those words together into some sort of cohesive and articulate sentence. It’s grueling.

Dance/figure skating bypasses all of that; you can take a feeling and go straight to expressing it through movement. For me, it feels much more sincere and authentic.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve listened to music and choreographed movement in my head. That’s how I feel the music and it’s how I express the words that my mouth struggles to form.

Watching figure skating on TV when I was younger, I was mesmerized. It was like flipping through channels in a foreign language and finally finding one that I could understand – I longed to find the courage to learn to speak it.

I took a few lessons as a kid but lacked the tenacity to stick with it and decided instead to stay with dance classes where I could trust my feet to stay, at least pretty much, where I put them.

Still, figure skating has always stirred my soul and I’ve loved to watch others soar on the ice with a fearlessness that I never quite mastered.

Over the spring, in honor of new beginnings, I decided to go back to the ice and as an adult, waaay past my prime, finally learn to ice skate.

And it has been everything. In so many ways learning to skate has been a metaphor for all of the things that I’ve been working to improve in my life.

Taking risks, letting go. Falling down & getting back up, again and again. Balance and centering.

Watch a professional figure skater on the ice and they look like they are flying, as if gravity isn’t even a factor. But, it’s exceptionally important to be in touch with the feel of your weight on the blades and the feeling of your blades on the ice. It turns out that you have to be well grounded in order to be able to fly.

Edge work, getting past the fear of going too fast, mindfulness & focusing on the moment. All of these things are integral to learning to skate and just as integral to my learning how to live my life in the way that I want to live it.

I can’t say yet that I’m fluent in this language that I’ve yearned for so long to speak but I’ve picked up some key words and phrases and intend to stick with it until I can recite an elegant sonnet.

And in the process I might just find the voice to sing the song written in my soul.

The First Moments of Motherhood


It’s “Sincere Snapshot Saturday” – it’s not really a thing, but it is for me! I’d like to start sharing a picture or few on occasional Saturdays.

But not the filtered, perfectly posed, not really reflective of my life (because as beautiful as my life may be it looks nothing like a Pottery Barn catalog) ones. I’ll be sharing the other ones, the real and honest ones.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some pics from my very first moments as a mother – I don’t typically share these because it still hurts to look at them, but they also bring me tremendous joy because I am so grateful and honored to have this sweet boy in my life and to know that he has grown into an amazing and wonderful 9 year old who fills in all the color to my world.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new“. ~Rajneesh


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A friend of mine once confided to me that she’d been intimidated to talk to me at first because I always seemed so put-together. I laughed so hard that I snorted wine through my nose when she admitted this to me – when we first met I was struggling with postpartum anxiety so fierce that some days I’d have a panic attack just walking to the mailbox. I was anything but ‘put together’ but she only saw what I tried to project, an image – a quick snapshot of my life during school drop-off. She wouldn’t have thought that of me if she’d seen the rest.

Highlight reel

When the kids were babies, every year we’d take literally 100s of pictures trying to get just ONE good one to use for the Christmas cards. That one where they were sitting still so the picture wasn’t blurry, looking at the camera so you could see their faces, smiling an authentic happy smile. That one where my thumb wasn’t accidentally in the shot or one that would’ve been perfect if it wasn’t for the cat walking by at exactly the wrong moment. Merry Cat Butt Everyone!! We’d eventually get the shot we were looking for… or one that was at least close enough because we were sick of trying for the perfect one.

But it didn’t take long for us to realize in looking back at pictures, that it’s not that ONE good picture that we enjoyed the most. It’s all the others. It’s the mess ups and goof ups because those, those are the honest ones. Those are the ones where life happened and we remember how it really was because life is never picture-perfect.

We started looking forward to our “blooper reels” and to this day, they are still my favorite.  We have them for nearly every occasion. There are the dozens of pictures that we took on the first day of school trying to get one good one to share on Facebook. There are Easter bloopers and Birthday bloopers and Halloween bloopers.

Yet for every big occasion, every  vacation or special trip, I find myself taking picture after picture still trying to get that good one – the one that I eventually share. And then I find again, as if it should be surprising, that years later that’s not the picture that brings a smile to my face. It’s some other one that will come up briefly on my screen saver, some picture that at the time I determined wasn’t ‘good enough’ or ‘share-worthy,’ that’s the picture that makes my heart lurch when I see it.

It’s funny because I know I’m not the only one who does this – who shares only the ‘perfect’ pictures. We are so very selective about what we put out there for others to see and we portray it as ‘real life’ but it’s not.

I’m inspired to try a new project, a true-to-life photo documentary of sorts sharing the real, nitty gritty, imperfect pictures of my day-to-day life.  Sort of like the ‘honest selfie’ of my life. We’ll call it, “Sincere Snapshot Saturdays.” Because, alliterations are awesome.

But today, in honor of Throwback Thursday, here’s one to start us off – from the very first Holiday blooper reel…


Merry Cat Butt Everyone!!

Have a bad day

I think it’s important to embrace our imperfections. I also think it’s important to embrace a bad day.

There’s a movement about the power of positive thinking and it’s great and I get it, I really do. Not only do I think it’s great, I practice it. I believe in the law of attraction and I believe that we can choose our mood and make our own happiness. I am all about looking for the positive and changing our perspective. Practicing gratitude has gotten me through some really difficult times.

But here’s the thing. While it’s good to look on the bright side of things, it’s also okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to get mad. It’s okay to be grumpy, to feel down and depressed, to lose your temper. It’s okay to be tired, and it’s okay to break down into a broken pile on the floor and cry.

And we shouldn’t kick ourselves for it or feel guilty or self-indulgent.

There’s a certain amount of pressure that trying to maintain a constantly positive attitude creates. Being happy all the time isn’t necessarily some enlightened goal that we should all be striving to reach. It’s not authentic.  Happiness is not the only legitimate emotion; we have a range of emotions for a reason.

Down days are impetuses for change. That’s why they are good. We need to face our feelings, all of them, especially the ones that make us uncomfortable. It’s on these days that we can give ourselves a chance to internalize, to go inside and check for internal damage then come back out and realize that we’re still whole.

Many of us have a tendency to fear negative emotions. Perhaps we’re afraid that they’ll take over. But trying to bury these emotions and pretend that they don’t exist only lends them power. They thrive in the darkness. We feed them fear and they devour it and they grow.

Empowerment comes in recognizing that they’re just emotions. They are normal human reactions. They aren’t bad or good. They don’t need to be judged or assigned values. Let them be.  Bring them to the surface and allow yourself to feel them. They aren’t going to take over. Let them come and then let them go.

Allow yourself to have a bad day. Then get up tomorrow and have a better one.

My pledge of Authenticity

I have recently been inspired by author, researcher, professor, speaker and storyteller Brené Brown. If you’re not familiar with her work, check out the video below, it’s SO worth your time!

From her website:

Brené Brown has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

I have made a pledge to myself to attempt to live authentically. To me that means allowing myself to be who I am, honoring my strengths as well as my imperfections.

I had a difficult time with this concept at first; I thought that embracing my imperfections meant becoming complacent. I’ve always felt that to be a ‘better’ person that I needed to fight my flaws, overcome them and strive for some ideal of perfection. That until I’d conquered all of my fears and inadequacies that I couldn’t be happy with myself.

I’m realizing that the opposite is true; that worthiness and true love of self (and thereby love of others) comes from acceptance. And acceptance is not the same thing as apathy.

For example, I can accept that I may never have the body of a supermodel but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to sit down and gorge myself on a dozen donuts and give up trying to lose weight (although I admit that a donut splurge does happen from time to time). It means that I set realistic goals and celebrate my successes. It means that my motivation becomes internal instead of external, that I’m no longer working out to try to achieve some unrealistic goal set by the airbrushed model on Vogue magazine. I’m exercising to feel good and to be healthy and if I happen to drop a jean size or two in the process then yay me!

Embracing the fact that I am not perfect, will never be perfect and in all honesty have no desire to be so doesn’t mean that I’m just going to sit back on my butt and give up on self-improvement. It means that I’m happy for even the smallest of personal victories and that I’m free to revel in the joy of life rather than enslave myself to it.

“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there’s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens”. ~ Arthur Gordon

Living Wabi-Sabi

I’m in love with the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, both as an art form and as a way of living.

The concept is that nothing is perfect and that there is a natural beauty inherent in imperfection. An aged table with worn wood, stains and pock marks is more beautiful than a brand new manufactured table with no character. A vase with a crack or a chip is lovelier than its flawless cousin. A handmade pottery cup slightly askew is more pleasing than one that is perfectly symmetrical.

It is wisdom in natural simplicity. It’s allowing nature to take its course. A single flower in a vase on a table.

It is the acceptance that life and everything in it is transient. Even the rich and the famous will one day perish. Wabi-sabi honors our flaws and mortality. It is the shortness and frailty of life that urges us to be present and witness the beauty of every moment.

To live wabi-sabi is to embrace our vulnerabilities, to open ourselves to life and to love and all the pain that it might bring. To understand that beneath the surface we are not all that different. We are all afraid. We are all worn, or cracked or slightly askew.

Our imperfections make us interesting, without them we wouldn’t have stories to share.