• 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.

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August 2019: My Labor Story

I took a 4 month break from writing because I was blessed with giving birth to my little boy 3 weeks earlier than expected. I honestly didn’t place any expectations on how my actual birth would go other than knowing that I wanted to greet my little one with as much calm as I could. Would I be able to stay calm or would the pain of labor take over any calmness and completely derail my intent? I did not make hard statements like, “I won’t take an epidural or I will only breastfeed.” I just said to anyone that asked if I had a birthing plan that I would try to do what I could as best I could and see what happens.

The other day, someone asked me about labor and how scary was it or if it was really bad because no one really talks about it.  It’s true: not many people talk about the details of birth because it is such a personal thing. I did tell her my story to shed some light on things and granted, I went into some more details with this friend than I will on a piece of paper, but this is a summary of my birthing experience in hopes that it eases and answers some questions for those who are curious.

As it turns out, my water broke at work and I wasn’t completely sure it was my water at first or if my son had just decided to put his entire weight on my bladder. I didn’t assume anything, and being of this uncertainty, I approached everything calmly. Over the phone, the doctor told me I had to go right to the hospital and I responded that I needed to first take care of my pup (my first child) before I could go to the hospital. She agreed to this, but told me to not linger at home to do anything else.

So, after I finished up something I was in the middle of, I let my colleague know what was going on. He responded very excitedly, “What can I do for you?” to which I responded almost laughing- I just really need a diaper at this point because my pants are soaking wet. Again, I informed someone else at work I had to leave for the hospital and was told again, “Wow, you’re so calm!” Surprisingly, I honestly did feel very peaceful and calm.

My colleague helped me into an Uber and I did as the doctor requested: after taking care of my pup, I grabbed the first taxi I saw to NYU hospital. The doctor quickly confirmed my water broke but because I was not yet feeling contractions, they would have to induce me.

As a preparation for the intensity of labor, I had done prenatal pilates twice a week throughout my entire pregnancy, spoke with a friend who hypnobirthed, and I studied how people breathe when they do hypnobirthing. Epidural or not, ultimately the goal for me was to stay comfortable and calm during the most painful and difficult moments of labor while still being safe for the baby and myself. This helped me be less scared about childbirth. As I walked into the hospital, I tried to think about this approach.

However, after laboring all night with an IV of Pitocin and a balloon that is put in the cervix to induce labor, I had what they call a “failed induction.” My body would not dilate past 5cm. Therefore, I had to have a C-section. The entire night laboring was uncomfortable and at times very painful. The balloon was especially uncomfortable, but I was somehow able to breath through the surges of contractions with no epidural.  I wasn’t trying to be any superhero by not taking an epidural, but because of the induction meds, they were not able to measure my progress and if they couldn’t tell me how much I was dilated, I didn’t want an epidural.

Despite the pain all night of laboring, I really did stay calm, and while the C-section was definitely not fun, they got my baby boy out safe and sound.

Labor always seems so scary because it is the unknown, but as my friend who has a number of children has reminded me multiple times: “Your body knows what to do; let it do its job. Trust it.”  Once again, the universe has taught me a very large lesson in going with the flow and placing trust in yourself that you can get through the surges in labor and in life.

P.S.I typed half of this newsletter with one hand as my infant slept on top of me and the other half the next day while feeding him with one hand and typing with the other. We must all figure out how to make things work for our different lifestyles.  Its my new normal and it isn’t always easy, but I am blessed.

March 2019: What’s Your Purpose?

I was having a conversation with a friend who had recently quit their job they had disliked for years. They got to a point where they decided it was time to go, even though they didn’t have another job in place.  The decision required many lifestyle changes, including selling a home. Since they were single, their new free time would allow them to finally get the dog they felt they couldn’t get when working full time. Months later, another friend ran into this person and commented that to their surprise, they appeared much more mentally and emotionally healthy than probably ever before.

Personally, I know this person was probably happy to get rid of the job that they disliked, but really, I knew why they were healthier…

“It’s the dog,” I thought to myself.

Why? Well, in my experience, dogs provide a sense of purpose.

Now, this newsletter isn’t all about dogs, but it is about purpose, something everyone needs. People create their sense of purpose via their job,  family, extended family, caring for a loved one, having a job that cares for others, or through animals. We all need a sense of purpose, and if we don’t have one, unhappiness- and even depression- sets in.  If you or someone you know seems unhappy, ask yourself, “What is my or their purpose?” If there is one, it should be clear. If one has not surfaced for you naturally, one must create their sense of purpose to feel balanced.  It’s how we are wired as human beings. We are here for each other no matter how introverted some of us may be.

I am in a purposeful transition now myself, and it’s uncomfortable and exciting. I will need to trust a bit of the unknown for it to unfold for me. Even today, I had a hard day and I didn’t know why. I just knew I didn’t feel my usual self, so I did my best to just come home and lay low: eat a healthy dinner, let myself relax and not force anything– just be in the not-feeling-great mood and trust that I would figure out how to get the yuckiness to go away.  I’m 35 weeks pregnant and it is not the most comfortable thing. The weight of carrying a baby can be a lot on your system some days, and the amount of hormones going through my system to support this little being are at a high.

I finally decided I needed to meditate because I hadn’t meditated in many, many weeks. I don’t meditate on a daily basis, but I do usually find times to meditate in my own way on a somewhat regular basis.  I put on a guided meditation and immediately I could feel my system calm. It was exactly what I needed. My head felt clearer and I needed my spirit to remind me that not only is my body in transition with a baby due in about five weeks, but my purpose is in transition too.  Again, this was a reminder that I must be patient. Even though the yuckiness I felt earlier is not completely gone, it has lifted significantly because when it all comes down to it, I know it is both my body and my sense of purpose that is being shifted. I must learn to embrace it in order to feel my peaceful, happy self again.

Sometimes your purpose comes to you, sometimes you have to create it, sometimes it’s just not clear, and sometimes you are in transition to your new purpose.  Be patient with purpose- it’s a soulful creation that doesn’t need to be forced. It may need to be sought, but never forced.

Is it a Crisis, or a Change?

Change.  It happens to all of us.  Sometimes it is welcome and sometimes it’s unexpected.  I know of a good amount of people going through changes and it’s a bumpy ride, one in which you have to have faith in yourself and something greater.  It tests you more than any other thing in life because it’s not predictable. That is, unless you decide to believe it is predictable. There are so many scenarios:  that person who is looking for a new job because they just want out of their current job, that person who has moved to a new state to forge a different life and they are pounding the pavement, or that person who is unexpectedly making a shift from a place they have worked for many years plus — and the list goes on.  

A difficult part of change is that it often isn’t foreseeable. If you are not currently amidst change, this message may seem foreign to you. But, all of us encounter change at one point and one day, change will come into your life and it often doesn’t feel like change, but instead feels like an unwanted crisis.  This is when your challenge will be to remind yourself that you are not going through a crisis; instead, try to view this moment as a change, a course readjustment in your life. This will allow you to look at your circumstances less with a sense of panic and frustration, and more with an energy and excitement for opportunity. Something was no longer aligning energetically in your life and it’s time to move on.  As bad as it might feel in the moment, you have to remind yourself that this is a good thing; growth is happening.

One question that usually accompanies change is: is moving on an improvement or a regression?  We are all human and in every one of us there is the fear, “Will I be able to find something better?”  This is the unknown. What is on the other side of change? There are financial pressures behind most of this because most people do need to make money, so the pressure amounts and the mind goes into worry, depressive thoughts, questioning, doubting oneself, or not knowing what to believe.  This is when you have to remind yourself that you are energy and everything around you is energy. Energetically, it was time to move on for whatever reason it was- you know- was it toxic, were you not appreciated, were you not being your best you, did you outgrow the situation? Really, it doesn’t matter what the reason is.  You simply must choose this time which is the hardest for many in their lives to believe that things will ultimately be better. It doesn’t mean it will be easy to get to the next destination, but trust in your goodness. Treat yourself with the care that you would a loved one- rest and heal as much as you can expecting that the next opportunity will show up at the right time. This is when you have to choose to live by your heart and that is not an easy thing to do when you have bills that are piling up.  

Living by your heart means listening to the whispers of intuition guiding you.  It does not mean you sit and do nothing. It means you trust you will be guided by your intuition to the next opportunity and this can be one of the most stressful scenarios where you are challenged to live by your heart. I know this because I have done it countless times from one job to the next.  I can tell you that once you do it enough, you get to a place within yourself where you know all will be more than alright. Just remember to listen to the whispers; this is your primary job until the actual job shows up. And once it does, don’t forget how predictable living by your heart is and perhaps, next time it will be a little easier.

 

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.