Mama’s Boom in Da Room – My Messy Beautiful

©2014 Dancinmoma.com

©2014 Dancinmoma.com

“Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad” – Proverb

Yes, as in crazy or “Cray. Cray,” as the kids call it.

We are all dancers on this earth. We reach ups and downs, we bend over backwards, we turn from one place to the next, lift our arms up, put our heads down, then twist and we turn. We jump. We run, run, run and stop with our arms flailing about… If that’s not a “dance” I don’t know what is.

Of all the “dance shoes” I’ve worn in this life, the mom pair has to be the most exhilarating, most challenging, most “drive you to a place you never knew existed, drive you mad, tug your heart, 24-hour lifetime channel movie, soap opera, overwhelming, and simply JOYful experience” I have ever had.

Whew. Let me breathe for a sec.

Children (and husbands) do have a way of putting the “OY!” in JOY (sigh). You know what. I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. Motherhood may drive you to your wits-end or bring you to your most vulnerable place but it’s an ADVENTURE and I personally happen to love adventures. Motherhood is where you can tap into your inner strength, your inner beauty and things you never knew you existed within you.

I have danced on many stages in my life with audiences of all sizes, but the audience members that mean the most to me, are those tiny little toddler hands that clap and say “yaaaay” or the double-digit, emotion-filled boy (wanting to be on stage next to you), or the handsome teen-sized eyes that look at you, smile and say “sup mom.” That’s MY audience. They may not always applaud feverously, toss roses my way, give 5 star reviews and yell BRAVO… but they are there with hearts full of love and possibility. They need me. They love me, all of me, flaws and all. There’s a popular proverb quote out there that says this…

“If you stumble, make it part of the dance.”

That is my “mantra.” I’m certainly not a psychologist, but I guarantee that even with the most well thought out plan… you will stumble at times. (For me, I stumble more often than not, but again… if you make it part of the dance… DANCE it out sister!) So let’s crank up the music…

Boom. Ba da doom. Ba da doom boom the room. Do you hear it? :-)

ME: “Baby’s sleeping, try to keep the noise down.” Boys get louder. I calmly repeat “Baby’s sleeping, keep it down please.” Boys get louder. Me (at the top of my lungs) “I SAID. BE QUIET. BABY’S SLEEPING!!!!” (Look who’s shouting now!) Followed by baby cries (because I, yes me, I woke up the little one).

Ahhh, Chicka, Doom, Boom… Music’s still playing.

Toddler in the bath, older child in the shower. All is good. Husband runs to store for milk. Toddler says, “Wook, mama, wook!” (as he holds up an object). Hmmmm how did a “tootsie roll” get in there? WAIT! That’s not a tootsie roll! “Yucky!” I say, as I grab “object” and immediately remove toddler from “toxic area.” Older child is now done with shower and curious. Looks into tub, sees foreign object and proceeds to “toss his cookies.” Really? Really?!! Mom proceeds to put both kids in shower for a soap rinse, dry PJs on, and then cleans mess. Husband comes home, looks at me with my disheveled frizzy, hair and wet clothes and says…

“What the heck happened to YOU?!!!” :-)

Whata, whata…whaaaaaa…Can you still hear it?

Fast forward to a morning commute to school. Baby is still sleeping. So is Daddy (It’s my turn to drive). Boys are knee deep in the morning routine. “Grab your backpacks! Turn off the lights. Pick up your clothes.” Normal stuff. We head out on our driveway (which snakes down a large hill through some woods by the way). Moments after accelerating, remembering there may have been “freezing rain” in the forecast. Duh. Is school even open? Car catches the frozen rain, veers right, then left, sideways, and completes a 360 at the bottom of driveway, barely missing a tree. My heart is beating. Fast. There’s a short moment of silence followed by loud, cheers from the passengers. “YEAAAAH. Wooohooo! Mom’s got SKILLZ.” Why yes. Yes I do.

And the beat goes on…

So get out there…MOM’s and dddddDANCE! Work the floor, show YOUR audience what you’ve got, hear your own music… and take a BOW baby… YOU deserve it.

 

messy-beautiful-450b

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

 

Bounce Back!! 6 Ways to Thrive not merely survive.

©2013 Dancinmoma

©2013 Dancinmoma

 

I’m not a psychotherapist — I don’t even play one on TV — but I can comfortably predict that, in your life, whether business, family or personal, there will be not so good days and moments. You can’t avoid them, no matter how hard you try. The successful person, however, trains him or herself to take those dark times learn from them and “Bounce Back!”

We watch children fall down and encourage them to get up, brush themselves off and try again. Why is it so hard for adults to do the same? Have we been knocked down too many times? Are we so weighed down with worries that we can’t get off the ground? How do we change this negative “mindset” and soar to new heights?

This thought occurred to me while watching my kids on the neighborhood trampoline. “Watch, Mom! Watch this!” Their faces beamed as they jumped a little higher each time — the little one kept looking up, probably afraid she was going to hit the sun — and then they flipped over and landed on their feet. Then they directed their attention toward ME: You want a turn, Mom?” After several “not right now” responses, one day…I surprised myself by saying,

Sure. I’ll “Bounce” with you for a little bit.

I tentatively started to bounce in the air with small little jumps, and then soon, I was bending my knees a little more to get just a little higher, when all of a sudden I LAUGHED…OUT… LOUD…This is FUN!! My children were startled but my inner child had taken over. She grabbed onto my consciousness. Briefly I let go of worry and bounced. JUST Bounced!!! Hey! Maybe I can reach the sun. I was no longer hiding behind the curtain of life.

YOU are capable of rising above, you can DO THIS. Keep BOUNCING!!!

We will all hit hard places or surfaces in life and business, but how we “BOUNCE” back from them will make all the difference. So use the word “BOUNCE” as your reference to remember these key tenants of your thriving life:

Believe in yourself.

Own it. (Own your ideas, good and bad).

Understand (your background, your audience, why things went wrong or right).

Never give up. (Keep Trying).

Courage (Stand up with all the courage you can muster).

Enthusiasm (Use your heart and your childlike wonder to get enthused).

So BOUNCE a ball around, step in the bounce house, bounce on a trampoline and BOUNCE on!! Now, if you are feeling inspired at all, if you are ready to jump back in the game with me…

Be a “BOUNCER” and…

R Retweet this. ;)

Oh Mercer! Victory Dance

victory dance

You must watch this soon-to-be-famous (click here >) –> Victory Dance! from the Duke vs. Mercer game!!!!

 

Oh what an upset against Duke! Well Mercer may have messed up a bracket or two, but this guy, Senior Kevin Canevari, from Charlotte, NC is now the face of that upset. I personally rewound my DVR about five times to watch his celebratory dance and found myself laughing and dancing along!

He may not have scored any points in the game, but he has stolen the hearts of America with his spirit, oh and dance moves. (I have watched his twitter followers grow from about 330 to over 1,000 from his big debut). It’s only a matter of time before we see that “Victory Dance” on news, sports and entertainment programs all over the world!!

So here’s to you, Mr. #3 of Mercer Basketball! Thank you for making us smile with your celebratory team spirit, for teaching the world the “Nae, Nae” and for being the new face of the NCAA Tournament. It’s #TimeToDance !!

Just keep on DANCING!

Mercer Upsets Duke, Kevin Canevari’s NaeNae Victory Dance Makes Us All NCAA March Madness Winners—Watch Now! http://eonli.ne/1hPmsD0 via @eonline

Lessons from an Oscar Winner

Lessons from an Oscar Winner

It is amazing how you can be inspired in small window of time from an Oscar Acceptance Speech. Matthew McConaughey’s was one of my favorites, along with the beautiful Lupita. This link captures the essence of what we all learned from Matthew that night, along with a clip of the actual speech. I also enjoy writing an “imaginary acceptance speech” every year, and thankfully Mr. McConaughey played a big role in it this year.

“And to that I say… Alright, Alright, Alright.” :)

What We Can All Learn from Matthew McConaughey | LinkedIn

Click here for some great life advice –> http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140306185955-46951391-what-we-can-all-learn-from-matthew-mcconaughey

My Annual “Imaginary Acceptance Speech” :)

Oscar Pam ;)And the Oscar goes to…

Thunderous applause erupts as I join in, clapping enthusiastically.

Suddenly Justin Timberlake taps me on the shoulder and whispers, just to me.

JT: It’s you. You just won the Oscar!

Me: What?

JT: You just won the Oscar! Get up there, girl!!, he says as he twirls me around, and points me toward the stage.

Realizing the magnitude of the moment that I clearly didn’t hear, I turn to give JT a hug while simultaneously high fiving Sandra Bullock, George Clooney & Matt Damon. I then gallop down the aisle…screaming like a mad woman.

I trip up the stairs into the arms of Ben Affleck who graciously hands me Oscar with a kiss on the cheek. I hug him, too. ;)

My “imaginary acceptance speech” begins…

(Big Sigh) WOW! This is amazing (as I look at the Oscar in my hand). Helloooo there, golden guy. I have missed you. Helloooo Hollywood!! I swear I haven’t been drinking… yet (chuckles from the audience).

Clearly I’m in shock (waving myself with the envelope). Good Lord, I’m hot… as in overheated (audience laughs with a close-up on Tina Fey). This is too much. Thank you, God! Thank you. I’d like to thank my fellow nominees, directors, producers and anyone who had anything to do with this film. WE share this together.

To my hubby, the impersonator, by being married to you, I am “dating” Chewbacca, Rocky Balboa, Tom Jones, Elvis all wrapped into one. To my oldest, Brady… since when did you grow up? Now that you’re taller than me, I look up to you, literally. I am amazed daily by your curiosity, artistic nature in many areas and impressed by the fine young man you are becoming. Oh Casey….(large sigh) you put the “OY” in JOY. You can easily fill a room with laughter, just by being YOU. Seriously, once a person meets you, they will NEVER forget you. :) It also appears your sweet Baby Sister is following in your footsteps. McKenzie…you are the miracle we never knew we needed. We learn daily about the true meaning of life through your eyes.

To my dear girlfriends…who accept me…all of me, flaws, falls, Murphy’s laws and all. Hey! I made a rhyme this time ;) I may be a Dance Teacher but I’m also clumsy and scatter-brained at times, which always provides a little humor for our girls’ nights out. (I point to Justin Timberlake with a little wink). My last spill — beer spill that is — was at your concert, JT. They always say “If you stumble, make it part of the DANCE” … Oh and Dance I will! (start an impromptu dance with Ben Affleck on stage).

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :) To my family; mom, dad, brother, in-laws, aunts, uncles, Grandpa T (Big Al!), cousins and all. I feel so blessed to have all of you in my life. What a wonderful mix of personalities and life stories to be surrounded by. I am inspired by each and every one of you.

I’d also like to thank my iPhone. (chuckles from the audience). Yes, my phone. You are my “window to the world.” You have brought more people into my life from all areas of the world that I could ever imagine. For a social person like myself, I find joy in social media, Facebook friends, Twitter, and now a whole new world of blogging moms. As long as I use my “window to the world” responsibly (don’t text and drive) and don’t miss the authentic moments in front of me, I’m good. I choose to focus on the positive of it all, like this moment. (Grab phone from inside my dress and turn around to take a picture with myself, the Oscar, Ben and audience in the background.) Some people like “Selfies” but I like “Usies” so everyone…smile… 1, 2, 3. (I click camera, then look at phone). It’s a keeper! Thanks, folks.

Music starts playing….

Wait!… I’m not done. Matthew… McConaughey? Where are you? (I scan audience, spot him, and blow a kiss his way) Great movies this year my dear… I know that this is YOUR year to win. By the way…did you know that you are my island person? As in if I had to choose anyone to be on a desert island for one year, you’re my choice. Why? You seem very outdoorsy and fun…plus you’d probably be pretty cute in a loin cloth…. (giggle) (Close-up of Mathew tipping his imaginary hat towards me).

Music getting louder…

Ooohhh running out of time… Thank you to everyone who has ever touched my life in anyway… because of YOU, I am the person I am today… Embrace the Good and Release the Bad from your life…

In the words of the Oscar-nominated song from Disney… “Let it Go!! Let it Go!!”

Thank you! Gracious! Merci! I love you all!! (Blow kisses to everyone).

Wait! Justin. Will I see you back in the “D” this summer?! Ellen DeGeneres? Are you backstage? I need a dance partner! Ellen?!! (Ellen peeks from behind the curtain and joins me on stage)

Crank the music up…. Let’s DANCE!!!!

(Ellen & I dance off stage as audience applauds)

Super “Hero” Strength… LET IT GO! (Five-Minute Friday Free Write)

©2014 Dancinmoma

©2014 Dancinmoma

Every one has an inner super “Hero” within , but I never realized that going to a sweet Disney movie with my kids would teach me to tap into my own inner “power.”

It was a lesson of forgiveness and self-worth to me.

A lesson in strength.

Inner strength.

Super “Hero” strength.

“Let it go” is a beautiful song (from the Movie “Frozen”) about being “true to you.” Disclaimer: Once you hear it, you won’t be able to stop singing it, especially your kids. :) For me, it is a reminder to LOVE myself again and exemplify that LOVE to my children. A reminder to keep the volume of those negative voices turned down (because they always seem to find a way through the cracks of my soul); a reminder to stop holding things inside.

I equate much of that “stuff” to the reference of a “closet.” We can keep shoving stuff inside, until you can hardly shut the door. Pushing it down; pushing it in to keep it shut. Then finally it won’t shut, the door comes FLYING open! And BAM! There’s an explosion of emotion! A Beam of LIGHT!

LET IT GO!!!

As my 3 year old daughter dances around singing the song with her precious little voice, she engages her imagination and smiles as she waves her hand like “Elsa” in the movie. I join in… turning to the right and reaching my hand into the sky, turning to the left as I toss my “magic ice crystals” higher.

LET IT GO!!!

As we grasp our hands together, turning to the sounds of the beautiful music. I can FEEL it. Stirring up from within… what is it? JOY! Pure unadulterated JOY!

LET IT GO!!!

Warm yourself in the light…

Soothe your spirit…

DANCE… in the beaming light of hope and…

Release your inner power. Be a hero and LET IT GO!

Do you hear the Bell?

©2014 Dancinmoma

©2014 Dancinmoma

The sweet, clinking sounds of music notes to your ear…

“Ting, ting, ting” or maybe it’s more like a “CLAAANG, CLAAANG, CLAAANG!”

No matter how the “bell” sounds to you… It’s time to RING in the New Year. Okay. So it’s January 10th. The “new year” has already been “rung” in. True.  But ever since my daughter pulled out Great Gram’s bell on New Year’s Eve, I’ve been thinking about the significance of BELLS throughout my lifetime. So yes, we did. We literally RANG in 2014!! (Insert applause, bell ringing, cheers and an enthusiastic Woooooooo”)

Now the work for “2014 Pam” starts. Every year there is a theme for “New Year Pam.” This year it is about moving forward, one step at a time. Yes, we may step back at times, but as long as we keep moving. We are dancing!

Dancing with “bells on our toes” to this thing called “Life.”

Back to “BELLS.” Have you ever noticed that the actual sound of a “bell” ignites a physical reaction?  Sometimes bells ring to start something, while others ring to end something. That moment when the sound waves hit your eardrums, your brain tells you to MOVE. Do something.

DING. DING. DING. Round One. You can feel the adrenaline as you “fight” to get it right so you aren’t knocked out.

BRRRRING. The School Bell. (A timer of sorts)  Class has ended. Pack up your books and move to the next one. You have 5 minutes between class. Move it! Pretty soon it will ring again for the next class. (Note: I realize some schools have more of an electronic beep sound these days, but let’s keep it to the “old school…school bell”)

Ding, Ding. Ting. Ting. DOOOOOONG. Doooooong. The Grandfather Clock. I’ll never forget the sound of my parents old clock. It would ring on the hour the amount of hours it was. As a child, we always looked forward to the 12 o’clock hour. Why? 12 Bell Dings!

LIBERTY BELL – “the iconic symbol of America’s Independence” I am most certain that sound was incredible to hear. Isn’t that why we always say…. “Let Freedom RING!”

CHURCH BELLS/WEDDING BELLS. Musical notes and chimes permeate the air with celebratory sounds.

Other bells to ponder:

1.    The much anticipated BELL to ring at the end of a cancer patients final Chemotherapy.

2.    Bar bells (the clanging of a much appreciated tip) or the completion of a drink special.

3.    The goal oriented BELL at the top of a rock wall.

4.    The ting, ting text message ring from your teenager… saying “I LOVE YOU, MOM”

5.    The sailor-like celebratory clicks of your heels (referred as bells in the dance world)

6.    The sweet little bell that rings on your Christmas Tree that reminds you of the line from It’s a Wonderful Life. “Every time a bell rings… an ANGEL gets its wings.”

BELLS are all around us.

To start something. To end something. To send a message. To celebrate. To call us to action.

They are ringing right now. Can you HEAR them?

The Simple Power of Play

Play Today!

©2013 Dancinmoma

A new employee walking toward the glass-walled boardroom sees people in ‘business casual’ attire knocking around brightly colored balloons. She hears them yelling joyfully and wonders, “What is going on? Are they actually …working?” The smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the air as the art director reaches across to smack the red balloon in the air. Two giggling copywriters dive for the same green balloon to keep it off the floor. Pop! Smack! Then an orange balloon is catapulted in the air accompanied by a triumphant, “Yes!”

The “scene” just described was common in my work experience virtually every morning, particularly as we began our annual Design Book photo shoot planning sessions. After friendly exchanges among floral designers, writers, models, photographers and support staff, the creative meeting would commence. My job as Project Manager was to keep all elements on schedule, maintain quality, promote teamwork, and ensure that ideas flowed freely. The team was expected to create unique concepts and floral arrangements that had not been seen before. With a team of talented professionals eager for action, I found that starting out our day with a little play ignited creative fires within everyone. Each day had a surprise of fun that tapped into everyone’s inner child. This simple concept delivered AMAZING results for each of us professionally and for the company’s product offerings.

So I invite you to pick up a balloon.

Start batting it around.

Tap into your creativity and just PLAY.

This action works wonders within your business and family. Whether you’re trying to solve a vexing problem, come up with an idea, or create something new; enjoy the moment in front of you and eliminate the potential for negative inner thoughts. PLAY with your co-workers or family members. There may be a frown or two from employees who do not fully understand the creative process. Don’t let that stop you. If the idea produces sales, helps you write a chapter or creates a unified team, people will eventually start bouncing around their own balloons.

Many successful companies are now embracing this play in many forms, supported by open area workspaces, sports-related activities, brightly colored walls, mood lighting, and more. What creative activity can you do to improve productivity and generate new sales for your company and yourself? Start with a little balloon play and work up from there.

The power of play can enhance relationships. When it comes down to it, relationships in business and families are what LIFE is all about. Even the relationship within YOU may need some fun.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF…

  • Create together.
  • Laugh together.
  • Jump up and down together.
  • Dance.
  • Act like a child for a moment.
  • Think.
  • Problem Solve.
  • Change the scenery and embrace… the POWER of PLAY…

Then let me know how many balloons your team manages to keep from hitting the floor.

Note: This is a post I originally wrote as a Featured Contributor for SheOwnsIt.com – it was previously published in July of 2013.