What's your Nicole Kidman?

This week I saw this adorable segment from the Jimmy Fallon show where Nicole Kidman was his guest.  And she reminded him that they met about 8 years ago when she came to his apartment with a mutual friend. In the segment, on national TV, as they both recount their memories of this meeting years ago, Jimmy finds out that Nicole liked him and might have dated him.  It's a complete revelation.


Watch the segment here:

Seems that at the time even though he was on SNL, Jimmy didn't think he was worthy of the attention of a superstar like Nicole.  Even when she showed up on his doorstep, he couldn't believe it or take any action around it.

So here's my question for you:  What are you unaware that you're worthy of?  What kinds of amazing opportunities are showing up at your doorstep, literally or metaphorically, that you're missing because you can't see them?  What gifts is the universe bestowing on you that you haven't even noticed are there?  What's your Nicole Kidman?

I've been asking myself this question for two days.  I am doing my best to open my arms and receive, receive, receive all the good that's coming to me, and I encourage you to do the same.

You (yes, you!!) are worthy of fabulous opportunities, travel to exotic locales, happiness, awesome relationships, a daily routine that invigorates and inspires you, wonderful friends, and anything else you can picture.  That's the trick - you have to be able to picture it.

Poor Jimmy couldn't picture himself with Nicole back then and so it didn't matter that she was right in front of him, in living color.

(The good news is that today Jimmy and Nicole are both happily married to other people with kids of their own, so the universe has a way of working things out.)

But you? Right now?  Don't wait.  Start opening your eyes to the gifts and possibilities right in front of you.  They are there, at your doorstep, ready for you to receive.  How fantastic is that?

What? You can fall down twice and still receive a gold medal??


My husband and I were playing Bananagrams and watching the Olympics on Valentine's Day. It was very romantic, really! (And we did the fancy cocktails and treats and assorted other romantic things too. Just so you know.) Anyway, we were watching Mens' Figure Skating. The long program. And this young man in a white and sparkly outfit (19 year old Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan) fell down. Twice. He also leaped and jumped and spun around and did all kinds of things on skates that I couldn't come close to doing, even with no skates and the aid of a very bouncy trampoline.

He received the Mens' Figure Skating gold medal. That's right, he fell down twice and got the gold. My friend Deborah and I were chatting about this the other night and talking about how we both have an old belief system in our heads that "gold medal means perfect". As in flawless. No errors, no mistakes - nothing that anyone can point to as wrong.

But that's not true.  Instead, it's about risking a lot.  Making big moves that earn points. Falling down loses fewer points than one might imagine.  It's so much more about what you actually do accomplish.

Just like life.

We forget this.  We are so afraid to risk.  Afraid to fall down if we try that big jump.  Afraid it will get in our way of the gold medal.  But we can't possibly earn a gold medal if we're not willing to fall down. Imagine how many times Yuzuru has fallen as he's learned to skate so well?  A thousand?  Ten thousand? A hundred thousand?  I'm sure it's a lot.

If we're not willing to fall, then we end up in the sidelines watching.  We don't engage fully in our lives, afraid to make a mistake that will impact our "score".

Except that it's not the Olympics, and no one is keeping score, and even if they were, we could fall down twice and still get a GOLD MEDAL!

You have to make some mistakes on the road to amazing.

For those of us who got some idea in our heads (probably at school) that mistakes were not ok, this is a revelation we have over and over.  I think it needs to be embroidered on a pillow. In pretty script.  You can fall down twice and still get a GOLD MEDAL! In the OLYMPICS!

Where can you let yourself do this in your life? Where can you try something new or challenging and allow yourself to fall down?

I've been doing it in dance class with The NOLA Chorus Girl Project. I am learning dances that I can intellectually understand, count out, practice, and sometimes get right, but I regularly mess up.  A lot.  And I've been practicing and practicing and not actually falling down, but missing steps, counts, whole phrases while I try to catch up.  It's fantastic!  I practiced enough (a LOT!) to almost get it right at our performance.  I missed some steps (ones I'd gotten right dozens of times), but the world did not end.  And I kept smiling! (I think!) so I'm giving myself a mental gold medal for that.

I'd love to hear your stories of taking risks or receiving metaphorical gold medals despite "falling".  Let's keep the conversation going in the comments!

Permission to live an ordinary extraordinary life


There's a reason why Pippin is my favorite musical.  Pippin is seeking an extraordinary life.  He sings about it and he searches for it throughout the entire show. He tries everything. War, sex, revolution. Being king. Nothing is right.  In despair, he's taken in by a widow with a young son and he lives an ordinary and happy life on her estate for a year, until he leaves again, convinced that there must be something bigger and better out there - some way for him to do extraordinary things. With one last chance (spoiler alert) to go out literally in a blaze of glory, he balks.  He ends up on stage alone without sets, makeup, costumes or music.  The widow and the little boy come to hold his hands.  And he sings, "I wanted magic shows and miracles, mirages to touch; I wanted such a little thing from life, I wanted so much."  The last lines of the song are, "It never was there - I think it was here." It's ridiculous how it hits me. It chokes me up every time. It's a cheesy simple story, but I get it.  I get Pippin's quest for a meaningful life, and I get his discovery of the meaning in simple things like love, family and just existing.

There's so much beauty and happiness in the ordinary.  Today, a fire in the fireplace.  Hot chocolate.  King cake to celebrate the beginning of carnival season.  Puffy clouds. Yellow sycamore leaves.  Sunshine. Smiles. Simply being alive.

We're bombarded every day by stories of extraordinary people.  People who have raised zillions of dollars for clean water. People who turned ten bucks and an idea into a multimillion dollar business.  People who are changing the world in giant ways.  It's downright overwhelming.

There are so many choices today.  So many options.  So much possibility.  Even if you have an ordinary life, maybe you become famous because of your cute recipes.  Or your Instagram feed.  Or your memoir about your dog. Or your Youtube video.  If you're not famous, you should still be doing something that's interesting to someone and sharing it somewhere - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest - oh my goodness, Pinterest! Land of ten thousand ideas for a cupcake!

I ran into a former student at the grocery store the other day.  She's amazing, intelligent, and has a great job as a writer for a local publication.  And she shared with me how she feels like she needs to be doing more.  How she feels this pressure to have made something bigger of her life by the tender age of 24.

Wow.  What is happening?  When did it become not enough to be a generally good person, make an honest living, take care of one's family, smile at the neighbors, and vote responsibly? Now that we have the capacity to reach nearly everyone on the planet with a tweet or a blog post, and the ability to read about nearly everyone in our assorted blogs and news websites and Facebook feeds, I see a lot of people (clients, myself, friends) running into "compare and despair."  Now it's not just the Joneses next door you're trying to keep up with, it's all of humanity!

It becomes more difficult to figure out what you want. There's research to back up how people don't choose when given too many choices.  They can't decide where to begin. The brain just shuts down.

Next thing you know, two hours have gone by while you've been scrolling through fascinating articles about amazing people, peppered with funny cat and dog videos. So what do you do?

Give yourself permission to live an ordinary extraordinary life.  Focus on your interactions with people in the now moment.  At the grocery store. With your family. With your friends.  Savor the king cake.  Notice the softness of the cat. The dance of the leaves falling from the trees across the street.

Sure, you can still have visions of extraordinary-ness.  I have my delusions of Oprah (I'm going to be taping for TV again this Friday! - no, not Oprah!!) I would love to figure out how to do something really big to change the world for the better.

But you know, I like being home.  I like talking to one or two people at a time.  I like napping.  These things make me happy.  And they don't destroy the environment. And the Dalai Lama says that if each of us simply strives to be happy, it's one of the best ways to change the whole world.

I'm teaching tonight about money.  And here's a hint about what I'm going to say.  All those infinite choices?  They screw with our money situation too.  They cause us to lose focus on what we really want.  It's like when you go to a buffet and you end up with a plate full of weird food that doesn't go together.  You're surrounded by food and yet you feel yucky and empty.

Get still.  Listen.  Listen to you.  Give yourself permission to lead the life you want. Simple as you want.  There's plenty of extraordinary in the ordinary.

What do you think?  Leave a comment and let's keep the conversation going!

30 Day Challenge - Day 19 - watch out for Compare and Despair

We all do it sometimes - we look at what someone else is doing and we get all worked up.  They're doing it better, faster, more creatively.  They're younger - or older and wiser - or cuter, more eloquent, and more talented.  They don't seem to make any mistakes.  They have it all together. Wow.  Can you see that this is so not helpful?  Check how your body feels when you get yourself in compare and despair mode.  Does it feel delicious or horrible?  Does it get you motivated or make you want to curl up in a ball under the covers?

Now, take a minute to focus on  your own life.  Your own accomplishments.  Your own progress.  How you look from the outside to other people. Go ahead and make a list of some of the cool stuff you're working on, that you've completed, that makes you loveable, fun, fast, talented, creative, eloquent and fabulous.  Wow.  You're pretty amazing!

My challenge update: I got up early for grass time, and papers are in good shape. Early grass time meant I got to see our resident turtle - I can't believe how often I see her now!  She was cruising along - crossed the yard and then settled into a clump of Mexican petunias, where no one would ever know she was there.  Turtles can make progress with their deliberate little steps!

Have a great weekend and celebrate your own progress!

30 Day Challenge- Day 18 - when routines shift

So you're going along just fine with your new habit - you even made it through the doldrums!  And then your schedule shifts.  There's a trip, or a special occasion, an illness, or a really really busy day. What do you do?  Do you go ahead and skip a day?  If you do skip a day, does your silly little lizard tell you you have to start over, like life is some game of Candyland or Chutes and Ladders?  Does your mind want you to go back to "go" - and not give you any credit for what you've done so far?  Does your mind make it mean that you're a failure - does it say, "See?  I told you you wouldn't be able to pull this off."

Well, if you do find yourself skipping a day, remember that you don't need to believe any of that ridiculousness tossed out by your mind.  And that's what it is.  It's not true and it's not helpful. Remind yourself of that.

And maybe you don't have to skip a day.  Maybe you do the thing you've been working on at the end of the day.  Maybe you break it into a bunch of pieces.  Maybe you shift things slightly, but not all the way back to the way they were before you started your great new habit.

I'm hosting a retreat this weekend - a beautiful getaway for a small group of women seeking clarity and connection.  I've been busy today getting ready, and I'll be away from home for the next three days.  So I've been thinking about how I'm going to stick with my routines.  30 minutes of drawing and 10 minutes of silent time in nature will be no problem - they're practically built into the retreat.  I'll skip my ten minutes on the paper maintenance since I'll be away, and maybe add a few minutes on to paper management in the coming week.  Having a plan for a shift in routine really helps!

Today I let my inner 8-year-old come out and I just played with colors.  I didn't want to think about drawing, or value, or tone.  I just doodled.  Remember how soothing it was to decorate your notebooks in school?  That's how today felt.  Drawing hundreds of hearts over and over for about 15 minutes was almost like repeating a mantra.  Then I filled a page with colorful geometric shapes, trying to make it a game, making up rules for what the next shape or color or size would be, without focus on balance or composition.  Just pure play.  They look coolish when I keep them really small.

Grass time happened really late in the day today.  I had a lot of errands to run and coaching appointments this morning.  The gift of enjoying grass time late, still with a loyal cat by my side, was noticing the beautiful sky at sunset.  I've learned to ignore the vast number of power lines and the giant transformer and power pole when I look at the sky -- the camera has more difficulty editing it out.  See if you can focus on the sunset instead of the electrical paraphernalia.

Keep paying attention to the thoughts you have, especially if you skip a day.  Remember, you don't have to believe them.  Just start again tomorrow.  Don't let your mind make a federal case out of it.  Really.  It's kind of like the sky and the powerlines.  Which one do you want to focus on?