• Optimism is a muscle. Exercise it.

    Hi. My name is Mo. I believe in the power of positive energy and intuition. I believe when you tune into energy it leads you to the answers you are seeking and ultimately, the life you want to create. I'm a no nonsense, practical, grounded soul and if you want to cultivate greater awareness of energy, then start reading.

    Sign up for Mo's FREE blog post here:

        

    We respect your privacy and will never share or distribute your information.

     

     

     

     

These successful CEOs have one word you should remember…

I recently spent an afternoon at an event in the Meatpacking district.  In a studio space with a floor to ceiling screen showcasing the latest in their designs, a number of successful individuals all in creative fields discussed their brands.  I noticed that after they ultimately narrowed down all the questions and lessons, they had a common message. Some of those in the discussion included, the founder & CEO of the clothing brand, Rag and Bone, the creative directors of the almost 50 year old Paris brand Kenzo, and the founder of Hello Alfred an assistant App in which you can hire them to do the errands you don’t have time to do. The audience listened as each creative explained their unique and interesting journeys and how they got to where they are today.

The founder of Rag and Bone (whose jeans I happen to have about 20 pairs of because there are no other jeans like them) didn’t go into the fashion industry looking to create a trend. He just didn’t like the jeans he had on and simply wanted to be comfortable.  He carries this over into every aspect of his business- only doing and collaboration with those who feel right to him. He commented that you should think of how much better you feel when something feels and fits great each time you put it on. The right soft t-shirt that fits just perfectly, the right jeans: these details make a difference- NOT who wears your jeans or who you have collaborated with.

The KENZO creative directors are a gal and guy team who continue the legacy of a company founded in 1970 in Paris by Kenzo Takada, who brought his Japanese influenced creations to the fashion world. These two have known each other for years and can work without saying a word to one another because they know each other that well.  When they were asked about how they make decisions and why, they continually came back to the point that they always look at the history of the brand and what Kenzo’s original intention was when he started the business.

They bring that philosophy forward in today’s modern world, reinventing his influences in different ways within their clothing lines. They apply the influences that inspired him many years ago to today’s present.

Finally, the founder of Hello Alfred, a personal assistant business, unintentionally began her career while in business school. She had no personal time to do anything, so she hired an assistant to do those things for her, and before she knew it she had 100 people asking her for an assistant. She also talked about her journey and the fact that each time someone made a suggestion as to how here business should be run, she didn’t always take their advice.  It wasn’t always the easiest or fastest route, but it was how she envisioned her business. And guess what? The business is thriving.

As I sat in the audience and listened intently, it occurred to me that each and every one of these talented individuals all boiled their success stories down to the same word or explanation of how they made their way: AUTHENTICITY.  They all faced rejection, advice telling them what to do in order to make more money faster, and money offered to them that they declined.  What they all consistently have done to reach their goals and their continued visions was to remain authentic to themselves and their vision. Authenticity is not only applied to businesses; it applies to artists in all mediums trying to create something. Even parenting and everyday decisions can benefit from remembering to stay true to yourself. This is the #1 thing that all successful people do, and the #1 thing you should do for yourself.  When you live authentically, you grow in a way that feels true to yourself; not like you are pretending to be something else. This is what makes you uniquely you. If you feel something in your heart or gut, trust it. Don’t listen to what others tell you makes sense; forge ahead. This is authenticity.

April 2018 Newsletter: What’s Your ‘Perfect Day’?

Everybody has their own idea of a perfect day, and I am sure at some point we have all thought about the idea. This is fun to do, because that is what makes you unique. Overall, perfect days are pretty simple; they take us back to the basics that ground you and help you to appreciate life.

For instance, my own perfect day looks like this: it’s Saturday morning in NYC and I slowly wake up to quiet and sleep past 8AM.  Life feels so luxurious when you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time. My pup, Cooper, is at my feet, and as he opens his eyes he walks up the bed to snuggle next to me and looks into my eyes to say good morning.  I get a wake-up call from my boyfriend who is away and stretch my way out of bed. I throw on my comfy workout clothes of buttery soft leggings and a soft sweatshirt with a baseball cap on my head to shield my makeup free face.  I walk through my lobby, saying good morning to the doorman who whisks the door open for me. Life is grand. The sun is shining and, for some reason, spring does not want to come this year, even in late April. There is still a chill in the air, so I have my puffer on over my sweatshirt to keep me cozy and warm.  My pup pulls to the nearest metal post and on we go with our walk to get some yummy peach tea with steamed coconut milk. The usual hum of the streets are quiet only on weekend mornings. The sidewalks are clear of people. People that are out are, for the most part, relaxed.

As I walk home, I get a text from a co-worker who needs to pick something up from me. I don’t mind this small request for help; in fact, I enjoy it because it gives me the ability to help someone else. I take Cooper upstairs to the apartment, take care of my co-worker, and head to the local bakery for my once a week treat of an apple turnover that tastes like it just came out of the oven.  I head back to my quiet, peaceful and cheery apartment and pull out my laptop, typing away, thinking how grateful I am to have such a beautiful life.

While I know this is in no way another person’s dream life, to me it is ideal.  And I guess one of my worries is, “what if I ever had to leave the city? What would I do?” Since I have thought about this so many times, I already have the answer, because the answer is so important for me to have- I need to live in a place where I am close to town and can walk to the things I enjoy- Saturday morning tea that I can pick up and a yummy apple or chocolate croissant. My laptop can go anywhere, so that is not an issue. Most importantly, I have to be able to walk to what I enjoy.  This grounds me. This makes me feel alive. I don’t care for cars. I never have. Cars waste my time. I love public transportation: the subway to get me around the city, buses to get me out east, the train to get me to longer distances and planes for trips that make me smile. Many people might feel city life is complicated and hard, and, yes, you must put effort into a lot of things that others don’t have to outside of the city, but it’s a choice.

So why do we do this? Why do we ask ourselves what our perfect day would be? Life is full of choices. Remember to choose those little things in life that make you feel comfortable and free day-to-day, because this is the recipe for filling your life with appreciation. Without them, life is just a series of tasks and responsibilities. And it is really that simple if you break it down.  Don’t make it complicated- just make your choice, because if you don’t, life can become mechanical and devoid of appreciation and fun. This reminds us how wonderful life can be.

What is your perfect Saturday that reminds you life is beautiful?  Incorporate it into your life as regularly as you can and add on a goal or two that make life even sweeter.  Living your perfect day creates a vibe of appreciation and appreciation is the petri dish for living the perfect life. Although spring doesn’t seem to want to come this year, it doesn’t matter because I know how to make life feel grand in my own simple way despite the weather and I hope you do too.

Happy Spring,

Mo

Street Smarts 101

I have lived in New York City for twenty years.  In that time, I have been exposed to the most wonderful things this city has to offer. Unfortunately, I have also been exposed to the not-so wonderful things. I was reminded of this fact last week over a conversation with my friend Jean, who asked me what I thought she should do about a situation at work she knew was corrupt and had to get out of. However, even though she took herself out of that environment, it still concerned Jean, because she knew it was greatly affecting others from a life and death standpoint.

If you have read past blogs of mine, I think you know I am in a big believer in the fact that each person can and does make a difference in this world. Fortunately, this is easy to see on TV and in the media. For example, take people like professional football player JJ Watt, who received the Walter Payton Man of the Year award recently for making a difference in countless people’s lives in Texas after they were slammed with Hurricane Harvey. He raised $37 million dollars for his relief fund. After deciding he was going to figure out how to help his fellow Texans, he delivered more than even he himself could have imagined. He has a true spirit of giving back within him that started as early as college when he began a charity with no money and has continued to build on giving back even after his career took off.

While this is an outstanding example of the power of the human spirit and how it just takes a single person, one also has to recognize that a celebrity like JJ Watt has resources that many of us do not have to support a cause. We all don’t have the microphone he has, so with that, I do believe we all have to be prudent in which circumstances we choose to make a difference in. In this predicament that I was discussing with my friend Jean, when something by principal is wrong, which I have seen many times during my 20 years, it fires me up. Her particular situation, understandably fired her up too. It is something she had never witnessed before. What can I do about it? What can she do about it?  Is it her alone, or my responsibility alone, to try and change it? Doesn’t it take just one person?

I believe it is really one’s responsibility to make a positive change when and where they can in the world. All it takes is one spark. But, even that little spark needs help to grow into a fire that can really make a change. We have seen so many examples of this in recent news to help the movement for women in the workplace. That wasn’t one person; it was many.  But it took one with the desire for change to call on others.

So, if you can produce a tribe to create change and have the resources to protect and support you, do it.  It is when you stand on your own that you need to be more cautious.  Was this “thing” that you want to expose directly done to you? Is it something that is only affecting others and you have observed it? If it is something that is being done directly to you, it will have a different set of “rules” to sort out.  But, if it is something that you know someone or some group is doing wrong or corrupt that harms others, this is where you need to step back, get yourself out of the corruption and really evaluate the situation. Don’t react impulsively- use some street smarts. My answer to this question was this:

I would first ask, who do I know that I can speak with that might have the ability to help improve the situation or expose it?  I would get their advice.  That might be the simple answer and you can know you did your duty.  Pass the information along to someone who has the resources to take on the issue effectively.

Second, if stepping out with this information is going to threaten your personal safety or make you look over your shoulder out of fear, it’s not worth it. You were in a place of bad energy that was dishonest and wrong and you removed yourself from it and found a place that was better.  Don’t let them control you again and go back and try to fight them.  Walk away and move on and eventually the answer of how you can fight back safely will come to you.  This is when you must be methodical and practice patience.  In other words, the universe will work out the corrupt- it can take months, years, and lifetimes, but bad energy and corruption will always eventually be exposed.

In the meantime, focus on what you can give back in a positive way and let perhaps the people in society that have the resources to fight a battle without compromising their safety fight that initial nasty battle. And there will be someone who can do this.  So, trust in the large picture of energy. Trust that you can and are calling a spade and spade and moving on to a better place where you have learned and will give back more than those people are taking away.  This can be done in little everyday acts and it does not need to be done so that you compromise your personal freedom.  If you do this, you are letting the corruption control you and your life. Even though you think you are fighting the hard fight, they will ultimately be the ones in control.  Be smarter because you are smarter. More importantly, it serves as a reminder to stand your ground, but standing your ground does not mean compromising your well-being in order to win the battle of corruption in this world.  Good prevails, it always will.  Believe it.

The best remedy for anything

As I hurried into my late-night appointment for a facial, I recalled the hectic week that had just passed. Long work hours, way too much Halloween makeup, organizing an event that thousands of people attended, and the weight of being responsible for so much had taken its toll. My body could take it– but my mind had been so occupied- so active- that I needed this moment of self care.

I was lying on the facialist bed at 7:30PM with a moisturizing mask on half asleep, sort of in a meditative state, happy to have some quiet time after such a hectic week.  The white walls and countertops around around me provided the blank, clean slate that I want my mind to reflect.

As my thoughts drifted and relaxation started to set in, I faintly overheard an aesthetician talking to another woman who was getting a facial. They were talking about the best products and things to do to keep the skin at its best.  

The woman getting the facial kept asking, “But what about this– and that? Isn’t this better–?”

Finally, the aesthetician politely cut her off and said, “You know, it’s this simple: your skin requires love, just like everything else.”

With that, I smiled and my mind went to this simple statement that can be so easily forgotten. Everything just requires love in order to create beauty— our skin, our relationships, our homes, our families, our friends, our animals, our plants, our food.  If we can just remind ourselves when we are battling in our heads about what is best for anything or any situation, the answer really goes back to this simple truth that everything requires love and attention, which ultimately creates beauty in some form.  

When I got home, I made sure I took a few minutes to sit down with my little pup that gives me so much love and brushed him.  He sat there in a relaxed state, much like the one I was in while getting my facial. Then, I made sure I took a little extra time to get ready for bed in a more thoughtful way and I fell asleep thanking the aesthetician I hadn’t even spoken to, who reminded me of what’s really most important.  It’s always the little things in life that show up the most unexpected places- even when you are lying down for a facial- that remind us.  

Now, go put some more love out into the world.  

Let Change Begin With You

Igot in what some New Yorkers refer to as a ‘tin can’ (taxi) the other day and said my usual, “Hello,” and asked to be taken to my home address.  As we drove to my neighborhood, the taxi said, “Shoot, that is a new sign they just put up.”  I looked up and it had a DO NOT ENTER sign, basically shutting off car traffic completely.  I live in the Flatiron/Gramercy park area of the city and the Flatiron building is a high traffic area. I said to the taxi driver, “I wonder if they are doing that in response to the terrorist attacks going on in the world (shutting down high pedestrian traffic areas to cars) or just another experiment on how to move traffic?” As we all know, abroad there is the horrendous recurring incidents of cars driving into innocent pedestrians overseas.

The taxi driver responded, “People are crazy! Why is the world so crazy now?”

I said, “I know what you are saying.” People are disconnected, forgetting we are living, breathing souls.  We are looked at as pegs for anger instead of human beings. I continued, “I hit a deer last summer, and one of the legs of the deer was broken. That deer would not survive. I felt horrible because I hurt a living, breathing being despite the fact that he jumped directly in front of my car and could have hurt me. So, if I was so upset about hurting an animal, it’s hard for me to get my head wrapped around physically hurting human beings.”  

He responded, “I know, people are just crazy sick.”  

I responded, “Why can’t people understand that every life is just as valuable as the next?  You and I are equally as important to the world, every single one of us.”

He replied, “You and I speak the same language there.”

___

As I think about the fact that ill people are hurting innocent individuals again and again, creating fear about living life freely, I wonder:  How can we fight back against this?  

Peace has to start with you. I think the biggest lesson is to remind one another of how valuable each and every one of us is to the evolution of this planet. Recognize that what you might not understand or think of as a fulfilled life is in some way a part of the big picture and is just as much a contribution to this world as whatever anyone else does whether a person runs themselves ragged in trying to create things or a person who sits back and casually watches life go by.  

It’s an easy, yet simple thing that we often forget: we tend to treat others not as lovingly or kindly. Today, this message is more important than ever. We see and know this because of the state of the world and the things we are fighting in order to keep the world a safe place, where life is valued and cherished throughout the world. Don’t disconnect or become numb; find a way to remind yourself that we are all connected each and every day. So maybe when you are about to lose your patience with that clerk, or that person in your way, or that car that is in front of you, ask yourself: “How can I connect with whatever I find so unbearable at this moment, and instead release it in another, more peaceful way?” Make it your way of saying I will not tolerate these acts of violence in the world against innocent people, including yourself.

Change your reactions.  Let it begin with you.

 

Newsletter July ’17

Do you have your own space to heal?

What are you trying to heal?

We are all in the same boat on this journey called life.  We are all trying to heal something within ourselves. This I know for sure.  There is no one who is the exception to this.  Don’t forget this; remind yourself when needed that this is the case for everyone.  We all have wounds and disappointments, as well as moments of joy.  The two work in tandem throughout this journey and, remember, one will dominate at different times in our lives.

Most importantly, be gentle, patient, and kind with yourself and find space for healing on a regular basis. And by “space” I don’t necessarily mean physical space (although this is frequently part of it); I mean personal “down” time or moments when you can breathe, exist, and recharge. Having and setting aside time for this space brings a sense of peace that is truly a building block of health. This does not translate in any way to being lazy about healing. Actually, you have to put some effort into finding, creating, and maintaining this space. It always makes things better when we put an effort into anything in life. Effort is what creates healing, which stems from beautiful moments, memories, and environments.

It is no secret that life can get hectic. I have just spent months and countless hours helping my boyfriend with his project of gut-renovating a home east of the city in the Hamptons. The amount of time, energy, and hours we have dedicated to the countless details could not be calculated. So, while I know these fun things are in no way big issues in life, creating this space for us is important because it is a project of creating an environment where we can heal ourselves- a place to relax and rejuvenate outside of  the city for weekend getaways and enjoying time with one another, family and friends. This will ultimately create a beautiful space with beautiful moments and memories.

The thought of how to create an island in the kitchen, how bathrooms should be laid out, picking tiles and flooring- it’s all fun, but at the same time stressful because you don’t want to make a mistake. If you do make a mistake, it ultimately ends up in disappointment and having to correct things which costs even more money and time, and this can cause stress.  It is all worth it, but it has been stressful for multiple reasons and it creates strain.  After many months, we are finally living in the space on the weekends and things are still not finished- boxes still need to be unpacked, lights still need to be installed, furniture is still on order, the backyard needs to be finished so we can sit and enjoy it and things needs to be organized and sorted through. We still have a lot of work to do, and through this work we are getting rid of things we don’t need by passing them on to others who can use them. All of these things are freeing and healing and have resulted in having a space for peace and relaxation.  We have created our goal of a place for rest from our hectic week where we can sleep in silence and near nature.

It helps to have more space and square footage to lounge in the Hamptons compared to our city apartment. At the same time, we also have more to care for and maintain.  When I get frustrated or tired of it, I remind myself that it takes work to create beautiful things that heal and one cannot be lazy about beauty and healing. You must keep at things in life for healing whether it be a home for healing or any type of healing. If you do not put some intention into creating this space, you might never have those quiet, restful days where you kick back and just do nothing. I think we can all recognize that there are times that doing nothing is more productive than doing anything.

So, what are you trying to heal? What can you create to build a mental or physical space for healing in your life? It doesn’t have to be renovating a house- it can be creating time to go for a walk, creating a meal, cleaning out a cluttered room, creating a nook just for you with a chair and cozy blanket, or simply finding time to go to the salon.

Remember: healing is a lifelong process that only you can perfect. If you are patient and willing to put the effort in to create a beautiful life, you will have one.

-Mo

What Transcends Time?

The obvious answer can be science or a proven theory like those that Einstein left behind, and some that were unproven theories of his and more philosophy. Often it’s music, a movie, a book or artwork that transcends time. So, creations or building things can outlive generations- and one could group these things into one’s own form of art.

But also- more than just art- these works that transcend time are a reflection of the energy that great thinkers before us were brave enough to pursue. As we know, Picasso was not a famous artist until after he left us. The musician Sting had a hard time getting started because his expression of music at the time was ahead of its time.  Einstein, Picasso,or those people still with us all looked ahead at the big picture; but ultimately, they lived life through passions that led them. Those things that gave them energy often overtook their thoughts, inspiring them to create. They put their energy into something that moved them.

Now, we are not all Einstein or Picasso, nor are we figures of history for the world.  More often, we are figures of history for those whose lives we share, namely our family and friends. The short answer to what transcends time is your energy that you hold and have shared with people (ie. how you treat others) and others. The things you choose to create or build in your everyday life through passion and action.

So, you can ask yourself, what primary energy do you give to people who surround you?  Are you kind, are you positive or are you a “Debbie Downer”?  Are you hopeful, do you share, do you look beyond yourself? Do you laugh with others or do you argue or insult?  We need to remind ourselves that negativity often has more impact on others than anything else we leave.  What are you leaving behind you?  This is not meant to be a morbid question, it is meant to really say, think about how you act each day.  If you want to go deeper, what is your legacy? Is it that you shared experiences of joy and love or is it that you were always talking about what ifs or criticizing. Just a reminder, criticism of those who surround you is a direct reflection of you are your own shortcomings.  If we let go of criticism and focused on accepting what is, much negativity would go away.  Of course, constructive, kind criticism is always a way to grow and expand, but aggressive, insulting criticism can easily become a legacy you will leave behind if you don’t pay attention.  Instead, leave what is possible for every person- kindness, acceptance, hope and belief in others.  

I wrote about my cousin Phyllis in my book, Solitary Genius because although she has been gone for over 10 years now, her energy still remains. And the energy that I hold with me are all the positive ones she shared. The belief she had in me. This is not to say she didn’t give me constructive criticism, because she most definitely did, but she did it in a kind way- either paired with a joke or in a genuine, peaceful, calm environment. She was someone who had a different path than most and she sparked wonder in me. I wondered how she created a life as a Casting Director. I wondered how she created a nice family with beautiful things in her life. She did this by working hard, holding some close friendships and maintaining the ones she had before her- For instance, she had an annual party with her friends from grade school.  She believed in the importance of family and friends as family.  At one point she said, I need to have more celebrations.  She was saying, I need to create more memories with those people important in my  life.  So, what memories are you creating with the ones you care about in your life?  How do you treat your family, your friends and the people you interact with every day?  None of us will ever be Einstein and Picasso, that was their own personal legacy. Your legacy is entirely up to you.