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Closing Time

December 26th, 2013

DS1 Start finish line

Since October, guest blogger and long-time friend Kristin Lennert Murra has been exploring several themes related to initiating dramatic changes, and finding ways to flourish while doing so.

In this final post, Kristin concludes her series and gifts us with a wonderful soundtrack that complements all her posts. I hope you have enjoyed this series, and the music and messages that go along with it. ~Sheree

 

Endings are always bittersweet for me. I can feel the promise of tremendous things to come, and yet I ache for what’s been lost. It doesn’t matter if it’s the end of a much deserved vacation, a job change, the gradual fading of a friendship, or even when my favorite mascara was discontinued. I have a long-standing and fierce inability to let go of things—and people—I love, and even typing about it makes the spaces behind my eyes and in my throat sting.

Many years ago, the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic was popular. While I modified the lyrics to tease my friend and colleague Carey, I also gravitated toward one particular line. (If, by now, you haven’t figured out my life-long affection for music and lyrics, well, I suppose I can write one more post about it.)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Especially now, in this final post and as perhaps the most tumultuous year in my life draws to a close, I recite this line to myself daily, sometimes hourly. My naturally optimistic outlook knows that wonderful days are ahead, despite the small part of me that craves holding on tight to what is slipping through my fingers. Instead of hoarding what I can—things, mementos, email messages, tubes of mascara—I vow to appreciate the role these things play in my life, love them all the more for it, and gracefully let go and move on.

Earlier today, eager for something new and fresh, I opened one of those carefully hoarded tubes of mascara, only to find the brush completely dry. What was once my favorite mascara was wasted, hidden in a dark drawer when I should have been enjoying it. And as I looked at the brush, I realized that a different style suited me far better now. I put the tube in the trash bin with regret and am headed for the department store to choose a new one. It’s a good thing I don’t have any mascara on anyway; it would be smearing, because I know this new beginning is coming from some other beginning’s end.

And, of course, there’s a song about that.

 

I’ve created a Spotify playlist with all 12 theme songs from this series. Spotify is a free digital music streaming application with anywhere-access to millions of your (and my!) favorite songs. If you don’t have a Spotify account, all that’s needed is an email address. The link below directs you to the playlist. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing this series and choosing these songs.
With warmest regards and thanks,
Kristin

Flourish~the soundtrack

 

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These Are Days

December 22nd, 2013

fiddlehead1Guest blogger and long-time friend Kristin Lennert Murra is exploring several themes related to initiating dramatic changes, and finding ways to flourish while doing so.

I hope you enjoy this series and that you’ll take a moment to give us some feedback. Perhaps it will even inspire you to submit topic ideas or raise your hand to be a guest blogger yourself! ~Sheree

 

Among the things I love about my yoga instructor, Liz, are her consistent reminders during our sessions. In the midst of every pose, she reinforces the importance of listening to my body, of being present and attentive to what is happening in that moment, and challenging myself or adjusting as necessary to get the most out of the practice.

Another of Liz’s observations—one that almost always bears repeating—is that there are times when I need to be gentle with myself. This wasn’t as relevant when I was first beginning my kundalini practice as it has become now that I am a somewhat more advanced yogi. I am admittedly competitive and often push myself. This is when Liz reminds me to stay open and patient, which makes room for new things to root. When I do, I find experiences are heightened to new level and I can feel the promise of good things to come.

With its focus on energy and awareness, kundalini is about spirit and soul as much as it is about poses. The lessons Liz offers about being present and being gentle during the practice of yoga apply to all aspects of life. When we are present in any given moment, everything about it is more authentic: sounds, colors, interactions, experiences. Memories are created that will last far beyond the moment itself. And when we are gentle with ourselves, we are opening up to growth, which only happens when there is proper support, softness and space to grow and bloom—to flourish.

In the end, that’s what I want to do. I want to flourish. To unfurl, to evolve, to thrive, to achieve. I want to do it every day, in magnificent displays of wonder and in fleeting moments. I want some known only to me, and I want some to be seen by others, perhaps even inspiring them to step outside their comfort zone or give something new a try. I want to laugh until I break, to feel light on my face, to finally see the signs and hear the messages that are present in each and every day.

 

The theme song for this post is “These Are Days” by Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs, from the album “Our Time in Eden.” In my next post, you’ll be able to download the entire playlist for the blog series. ~Kristin

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Gorgeous

December 13th, 2013

FB-KB5mGuest blogger and long-time friend Kristin Lennert Murra is exploring several themes related to initiating dramatic changes, and finding ways to flourish while doing so.

I hope you enjoy this series and that you’ll take a moment to give us some feedback. Perhaps it will even inspire you to submit topic ideas or raise your hand to be a guest blogger yourself! ~Sheree

 

Several years ago I had an “a-ha” moment about friendship.

It happened when I was having coffee with my friend Erica. I had been at a meeting in her building, so we squeezed in a quick conversation toward the end of the day. Erica seemed a little distracted, and when I quizzed her about it she admitted to having a lot going on but declined my offer of assistance. I asked Erica what would happen if I needed her help that very afternoon, even if it complicated her already tight schedule. “Of course I would help,” she said convincingly. I wondered if that would add to her own stress. Her response? “Not at all. I love the feeling of being able to help someone, especially people I care about.” I pointed out that by not asking her friends for help, she was depriving us of those same goodwill endorphins. And at the very moment I uttered that sentence, I realized something important.

We need to ask. And by we, I mean me too.

I’ve always endeavored to be thoughtful and helpful, and I think my friends would agree that I’ve been there for them, even when they didn’t ask for help. But my instinct is to be the one providing that assistance and good cheer, rather than being on the receiving end. My gentle chiding of Erica had finally made me acknowledge that it’s a good thing to ask for support for ourselves.

My interaction with Erica wasn’t my first recognition that requesting help sometimes makes all the difference. A dozen years ago, I took a call on my cell phone from a friend in crisis who was asking if we could meet somewhere. We were unknowingly driving on the exact same street, so we met in the middle just moments later, shared a good cry, and set off on an escapade to distract us from her situation.

I know how fortunate I am to be on the receiving end of this kind of deep friendship, because I can see how my own outreach for a helping hand has evolved. During a trip to Orlando, Bekk and Noelle (and Shawn) surprised me with some unplanned adventures before and after our half marathon, knowing I needed some TLC but was unlikely to ask. Rose recognizes when my frustration level starts to bubble over and is ready with a hug and insight and coffee (or a cocktail). Lynette calls me every other day in between getting her three toddlers to school and getting herself to work. She wants to know how I’m doing—but she also shares her stories with me, perhaps knowing that a burden shared (even her own) is a burden halved. And when I called Cindy one afternoon desperate for the kind of girls weekend you can only have with someone you’ve known for 35 years, she said yes immediately—even though she lives 800 miles away.

Then there’s Kate. I can’t begin to describe all the ways Kate anticipates my calls for help with (mostly) subtle suggestions about situations I’m working through. From holding me accountable for workouts to aiding my recovery after emergency surgery, she finds ways to light my life with those shared moments that become friendship legends, like introducing me to Idina Menzel in the women’s lounge at the symphony. And finally Kate understands that she can ask me for help too. She’s hasn’t always been one to speak up for herself, but I love that she’s finding her voice after listening to mine for so long.

We have to be there for each other. Sometimes we are the source of support, and sometimes we’re the ones needing that helping hand. But in the end, there is nothing more beautiful, more gorgeous, than the friends by our side.

 

The theme song for this post is “Gorgeous” by Idina Menzel, from her self-titled album. At the end of the series, you’ll be able to download the entire playlist for the blog series. ~Kristin

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