Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Does Happiness Come From?

I read a NYT story this weekend on the source of happiness and an overall movement toward simplification, which got me thinking about where happiness comes from for me personally.

The past few months have been an interesting time of reflection on this question. I've made a lot of changes, and with that I've been able to see what is truly important. I've asked myself- if my material world fell apart, what would I be left with?

Thankfully, I have the greatest answer anyone could ask for. My family is strong, loving and supportive. I have amazing friends who I spend countless hours laughing with. My health is good and I have the drive to maintain a strong commitment to fitness, nutrition and general wellness. I've been blessed with the courage to take on hard things and know where to find my strength to get through it, even though it's not easy.

So many times I think we lose appreciation for what's truly important. I know I have. It's not that we aren't grateful for these things, but perhaps we aren't extracting the full joy and happiness that they offer.

Yes, shoes can bring some happiness- I have a whole closet to prove it. But the interesting question is- if the shoes were gone, what would be left?

NYT Article-

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Besides Unicorns, Exercise is the Most Magical Thing I Know

This past February, I reignited my commitment to fitness. I've always had some form of exercise in my life, but the level of commitment has been spotty based on the demands of my work. And many of us know how it goes when you fall out of a routine... maybe I'll go tomorrow...

Well, tomorrow arrived. A friend of mine talked me into going to a bootcamp studio she and her husband own. I was completely intimidated by the idea, but decided to make the leap anyway.

I'll be honest- it was rough. I thought I was going to throw up. My heart was about to leap out of my chest. I gave up a million times and felt frustrated by the depletion of my fitness level.

But... I also felt super good after it was done and had fun, so I decided to go back.

The role this has played in my life has been nothing short of magical. I'll start with the vanity piece- for the first time in my life I am getting definition to my tummy, a battle I thought I would never win over the super pooch! I am pretty sure if I keep at it, Justin Timberlake will be calling me for one of his videos after hearing about my abs of steel! ;-)

Jokes aside, I will be honest I'm proud of the results I've seen with my body. It's nice to finally fit into the skinny clothes again after a painfully long stretch.

BUT.... more importantly, I have come to a new level of appreciation for the mental benefits of exercise. I have made a lot of recent changes in my life that have intensified the stress level. Having something to balance it out is critical.

I quickly realized that after each class the magic had worked on my brain- the worries of the day melted away, I was smiling and with other people who were smiling, high fiving and bonding over the shared torture (I mean experience! :) ).

While fitting into smaller clothes is nice, having an outlet that creates joy, confidence, community and melts of the stress we accumulate is INVALUABLE.

If you've fallen off the wagon, believe me, it's worth the short term struggle to get back on.

If you're interested in bootcamp, visit

My JT video should be out someday soon too ;-) (a girl can dream!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


A good friend of mine called me Rachel today. Given the evolution I am going through, I think its actually appropriate to take a new name. So Rachel it is!

In all seriousness, I am continuing to be invigorated by a groundswell of people having the courage to pursue their heart and reinvent themselves. I met with someone this afternoon who made the leap and he was beaming. I mentioned to him that I am seeing more and more of this and he asked if I think its generational. I'm really starting to think it is. I think my age group (which will remain unidentified!) is willing to take risks to find joy, happiness and health. It is a super scary decision to make, but I can wholeheartedly say it is worth it.

So... my challenge to whomever may be reading this.... are you listening to your heart? I guarantee it has the wisest voice you'll ever hear and if you follow its guidance, you won't be disappointed. You just have to drop the fear and dial up the optimism. Go for it! The only thing you have to lose is your self ;-) No biggie. Most of us lose that at several points in our lives anyway so take a risk!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fear... What is it good for...

Absolutely nothing!

Ok, not entirely true. I have been grappling with fear the past several weeks and really seeing how prevalent it is in so many people's lives (and how much people use it to base their decision making process, which is not a great filter). I've also seen where it serves us and where it doesn't.

I have made a very conscious decision to put it aside and am amazed how great things are without it. Same circumstances, but without the stress and a lot more emotional space to for passion and excitement. It's so much more healthy and productive.

That said, a little fear isn't too bad. In my case, it has helped motivate me to get out and talk to lots of people. But without proper management, it could be completely paralyzing and lead to self fulfilling prophecies.

So it's good for something, but has to be put in it's place.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010- If we build it...

The symbolic turning of the new year and decade has completely energized me. I've had lots of coffee dates over the past few weeks and am hearing an unanimous cry for something new and inspired. We saw a first glimpse of this with the Obama campaign. His rally for change and hope tapped what I believe people have been seeking for quite some time. There was excitement in the air.

But with the realities of what it takes to make change (time!), it feels like this inspiration has fizzled over the past year. So here we are again, waiting for an inspirational moment in the world. Hoping to have more meaning in our work. Wishing corporate America had more heart. Looking for more simplicity. And an interesting gravitation toward health and wellness.

My challenge to myself and those around me is to keep up the desire to have an amazing year (and decade). If we build it, it will happen. So this requires everyone to have a positive attitude. To keep an optimistic eye on what we dream of. To ask the universe for what we want. To share with one another and collaborate around healthy things. To laugh. To brainstorm. To dream. To abandon fear and make room for the belief that everything is going to be amazing.

I know this borders cheesy, but I truly believe if we all stay inspired and relentless about having a great year, we will.

So let's do it! Here's to 2010 and deeming the next decade the inspired age.