Expressing a Reflective Shine

This week over at the Daily Post, Nancy Thanki begins by asking: “Have you ever walked past something bright that caught your eye, but when you turn around, there’s seemingly nothing there?” The theme for this Photo Challenge is Shine.” This past week, I was blessed to share another very special sunset with my family. Nancy’s post caused me to reflect, and realize that sometimes the shine we walk past without shine-in-moments-with-familynoticing, is present moments spent with those we love.

The phrase; “be where you are” is a simple reminder that one of the greatest treasures we can give others and ourselves, is the grace of being fully present together. “Be where you are;” is an expression worth repeating in writing, out loud, in prayer and meditation, to ourselves and others. We live in a culture of instant gratification. It is easy to get caught up in believing we have to be constantly moving, thinking or talking. Give yourself permission to be immersed in silence. It is okay to slow down, just roll with it and see where it takes you.

Nancy ends her post by asking “Has the sunshine or any other light source caused you to stop because it’s highlighting something you didn’t notice before?”  As I look back at this photo, I’m grateful for that moment, the people in my life and this moment.

How about you? What is your shine? Let’s keep this conversation going, if you enjoyed it, share it with others. Please leave a comment or thought below and thank you for visiting my blog.

Remembering Prince in Minneapolis ★ My Story

Today I got in the car after a long day at work and before I turned on any media, my heart sunk as I sat in the stillness of the moment and the words popped in my head; “Prince is Dead……… OMG, I just can’t believe it.” As a home-grown Minnesotan, whose stomping grounds used to be downtown Minneapolis, the reality left me feeling empty and sad, then I turned on the radio to find every-singFirst_Ave_Remembering_Prince_Minneapolisle-station playing his music and DJ’s talking about him. Later, I returned home, grabbed the remote and on the TV The song “Let’s Go Crazy” from the movie Purple Rain was playing and BOOM, I briefly saw myself on National TV news.

Sometimes it is surreal to imagine we were the very first audience to hear all of those amazingly brilliant songs and to be in his presence, witnessing him perform as the most authentic form of artistry in motion. It was unlike anything we had seen before, and it was phenomenal.

In 1983 my friend Holly and I went to a casting call to try out for Purple Rain as extras. The line was long, they took our pictures and information. After a few months, it was out of sight, out of mind.

Then the call came one evening in November somewhere between 10-11:30 P.M. asking if we could be downtown by 5:30 A.M. the next day…. No hesitation.

Um……YES!”  So on that cold morning when we arrived, we were escorted into an old theatre just around the corner from First Avenue. Although we were exhausted from all the energy we spent freaking out about what to wear, how to fix our hair, getting our makeup just right, etc. Our adrenaline was pumping as they provided us with instruction about what to expect and what they wanted from us, then it was game as we were led to the club to begin filming.

Holly and I were up towards the front of the stage, and when the music was playing, it was magic and exciting. At the same time, there was plenty of time to stand around  between scene takes and Prince’s wardrobe changes. I chatted with his body-guard Big Chick (Charles Huntsbury). He stood at 6’8″ and 400 pounds with  long white hair and a beard to match. He could have been mistaken as a biker one might see as part of the Hell’s Angel club, or even a wizarding character from Harry Potter. Despite his intimidating appearance, he was kind and always took the time to chat when we saw him. Remembering Prince In Minneapolis - My Story Little did I know, that I would run into him several times in the next few years.

Back then in Minneapolis it was not unusual to run into Prince out on the town, bodyguards in tow, or to see him hop into or emerge from a cool sports car with a beautiful woman. Sometimes he would perform impromptu (notice same day or 1-2 days in advance.) The venues included First Avenue, Pacific Club, The Fine Line, Glam Slam (later called “The Quest” nightclub.), and eventually, Paisley Park after the bars closed. Sometimes it was new material he wanted to debut, other times he was introducing new talent before going on tour, Diamonds and Pearls for example. He rarely spoke to anyone. As Minnesotans, we  respected his privacy and for the most part, knew not to approach him, unless, of course, we were feeling mischievous, like one night when I was with my cousin, Stacey, who had recently moved to Minneapolis from Omaha Nebraska. After a few cocktails, I triple-dog-double-dared her to try to talk to him (knowing what would happen). Of course, she did, he didn’t speak and body guards moved in. Yes, I set her up and to this day we still laugh about it. But I digress.

Between takes and wardrobe changes, movie directors passed out free packs of cigarettes, telling everyone to smoke up the bar. We were front and center stage as he sang Let’s Get Crazy, then continued with other songs like Baby I’m a Star, I Would Die 4 U, Little Red Corvette, The Beautiful Ones, etc. Looking back now, it is so great to have such an intimate connection to that moment in history. Sometimes I hear the music and think; “wow, I was really, literally right there” it is like I forget, and something brings me back to that time. Feeling reflective, I went online today and watched those performances again and found myself in other crowd scene shots I hadn’t seen before. Technology sure has made it easier to find these kinds of things. Imagine trying to find information using fast-forward and rewind on VHS tapes. 😏

In 1984, Prince performed here on Christmas Eve and I went with my sisters, The Purple Skyline of Downtown Minneapolisit was my youngest sister’s first concert ever. My grandpa had rented out a YMCA that night for a family celebration, so we headed there after the show. I remember hearing someone say; “What kind of person has a concert on Christmas Eve?” followed by a sarcastic; “What kind people attend a concert on Christmas Eve?” 

Prince was a die-hard, born and raised Minnesotan who was ahead of his time. He changed music industry business models. Looking back, now, if I were to put myself in his shoes, of course it makes sense. This is and always has been his home, he wanted to celebrate with his people, who he loved – us.

We listened to Prince and The Time (Now called The Original 7ven) before it was “C-O-O-L” to listen to them. Was that because we were all from Minneapolis? Most likely – it was the Minneapolis sound, keeping us front and center. 

Prince was a brilliant, creative, compassionate talented artist and fellow community member who cared about humanity. He profoundly changed the landscape of music and it will never be the same because of him. I’m grateful for the memories the old songs bring; smiles. friendships, laughter, tears, flirting, after parties, connection, dancing and more.

Prince’s untimely death is a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves when we are ill and that in this world obsessed with the glorification of “busy-ness,” life is short. In the distraction, we forget to slow down and pay attention to this moment.

Today my prayer is that more of us figure out how to “be here now,” fully present for others in fellowship and as servant leaders. May we discover all that comes along with remembering to be mindful and grateful for how blessed we are.

Do you have any thoughts or memories related that you would like to share?

If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Time: Stop, Travel, Escape, Feel, Release | Weekly Photo Challenge

|  How to stop time:  kiss.  |  How to travel in time:  read.  

|  How to escape time:  music.  |  How to feel time:  write.

| How to release time:  breathe.


 How to stop time: Kiss


anotherkiss copy







How to travel in time: Read





How to escape time: Music









How to feel time: Write


How to release time: Breathe

Breathe copy







This post was inspired by Lignum Graco who asks us to show him time as part of The Weekly Photo Challenge over at The Daily Post. Please feel free to leave any comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Stuck in Spin: Stopping the Glorification of ‘Busy’

There are times I find myself off in my own personal “never-never” land. It is a place I refer to as “stuck in spin” and it’s where many of us wander off to once in a while. The first time I came up with the name for it was when my son was in second grade. I had just picked him up from school and as I drove down the road my brain was in full self-chatter mode. Something brought me back into the moment when I realized that he was sharing the exciting things like what he learned in school, what they played in the gym, who made him laugh, etc. I thought:   Am I going to blink and miss my son’s childhood because I was not paying attention? This time is going so fast.  

I could say I wrote the book when it comes to being busy, but then again, couldn’t we all? Me: Full-time Executive MBA Student in a one parent household who has been working as a contract project manager off and on for the past few years to diversify my resume. I have wondered about my future and this process of reinvention all while being the Cub Scout and soccer mom, Catechist, the blogger, MBA candidate, writer, author, speaker, job seeker, and social media marketing consultant and strategist.

I recently found a quote on Pinterest that said; “Stop the Glorification of ‘Busy‘ ,” which came to me through Robyn Flach. Robyn is a person I know through the social media community here in the Twin Cities. The quote got me wondering how to get out of my “stuck in spin” space when it happens?

At the end of the day, we all have a lot going on as we create our futures. While that is exciting, what really counts is that we are of service to others and fully present for the people in our lives, including ourselves. I talked with a good friend about this and he shared something he pulled from storage in his garage. Notes from a seminar he attended with renowned psychologist, John Selby many years ago. I closed my eyes and my compadre read each statement below three times.

  1. I choose to enjoy this moment
  2. I feel the air flowing in and out of my nose
  3. I also feel the movement in my chest and belly as I breathe
  4. I am aware of my whole body at once, here, in this present moment

That’s it. I don’t have to say all four of them every time, but I can practice. All I have to do is 1. say it 2. do it. Any place, any time.  I can even do it with family and friends to model the behavior because when we teach, we learn. After completing this meditation, I felt centered, present and whole. It is a choice but also takes practice. One of my favorite quotes of all time:

What we learn, we practice. What we practice, we become. What we become, has consequences.” -Earnie Larsen

Please share below, what helps you get grounded and at the moment? How do you work to stay fully present in the lives of those around you? Thanks for joining the conversation!

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Minute Meditation Getaway = Zen

Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to have met some pretty terrific social media folks here in the Twin Cities. About 5 weeks ago, I came across the video below through a conversation thanks to Marketing Mama, Erica Mayer, and Paul Debettignies. For 4.24 minutes, take in the beauty and just be. Thanks to them for the gentle reminder and the peace it gave. I hope you enjoy it too. Have a terrific week.

This was filmed by the talented Jon Rawlinson who is a friend of Erica. The location is Kuroshio Sea at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium- The 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world. I’d love to visit there someday. A MUST VIEW IN FULL SCREEN MODE watch.

– (song is Please don’t go by Barcelona) Must view in FULL SCREEN mode

Read more of this post

Day 19: Centering, Possibility and Discovery? Right Here.

  1. When was the last time you did one of these? 
  • Looked up and remembered – with intention, to slow down
  • Sought out someone in need and took time to celebrate them, with them
  • Turned to a friend or family member and simply said: “What’s on your mind?”
  • Gave yourself permission to take a break and have a little fun
  • Bought a cup of coffee for someone in line behind you
  • Accidentally” dropped a $5 bill in front of a kid at the store and said; “Say, that’s not mine, looks like you dropped something there.”

Lift your head and scan the environment, what patterns do you see? Pay attention and listen, because we all need reminders that this life is about making connections. We never get anywhere without others and when we surround ourselves with a supportive community, they help bring us back to our center. It is the essence of positive karma.

I was recently told about a book by Thomas Crum called; “Three Deep Breaths: Finding Power and Purpose in a Stressed-Out Life.” I can’t wait to read it! The premise behind the book, as Crum states,  is as follows:

“Science has shown us that there are three “C’s” of a stress-resistant immune system:

  1. A sense of CONTROL over your response to life events
  2. A sense of COMMITMENT to something beyond your ego (i.e., family, service, religion, or life philosophy).
  3. A sense of CHALLENGE and learning opportunity when confronted with a stressor.

The Three Deep Breaths technique is a mind-body process which allows us to achieve the three C’s while balancing our autonomic nervous system through the breath.

Breath # 1: The Centering Breath
Breath in the present moment, with balance and energy

Breath # 2: The Possibility of Breath
Breath in the “me I want to be” with power and purpose

Breath # 3: The Discovery Breath
Breath in the mystery, let go of judgment

The Centering Breath gives us the calm and balance we need to respond appropriately rather than react negatively in stressful situations. The Possibility of Breath reminds us of a purpose higher than our egos. And the Discovery Breath turns a stressful situation into a crucial learning opportunity.”

As another resource to stay grounded, I created a board on Pinterest called “Meditation” Enjoy it and pay it forward by sharing it with someone who could use a lift today.

Please comment below. What are some interesting things you or those you do to refocus and feel centered?

Four things I am grateful for today

  1. Meditation
  2. Validation and support systems who remind me I am centered, strong and resilient
  3. That children are teachers who center me, remind me about possibilities and the wonder of discovery
  4. My optimism and ability to re-frame possibilities

Day 17: Multiple Paths and Convergence of Knowledge

In Buddhism, the tradition of chanting is a method for preparing the mind to meditate. A few months back we toured The Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore and as we heard this chanting in the background we gathered around our tour guide. “Now we are going to walk now into the hall of the creator of my future The Buddha,” she said. I thought that her words were such a fascinating way to explain a power greater than ourselves.

We proceeded to the garden on the roof where she explained the core principles of the faith and that in Buddhism there is not belief in one supreme-being, but that the universe is The Supreme Being. It is not male or female, good or bad because there is no name that can explain that kind of omnipotence. Its essence is everywhere. We walked clockwise around the prayer wheel three times, expressing thanks and asking for special intentions. While exiting the prayer wheel she went on to say;

“It’s the destination it’s not the road. Religions are just roads that lead us to the destination, so whichever road you take it still leads you there & it doesn’t matter what you believe in. The path is not constant or persistent, so that which is “the way” which can be described as not the true way” -Lim Lin

In our Executive MBA program, the concept of consilience is brought up often. One of my professors explains it as different ideas jumping around together to form a comprehensive theory based on facts. This concept demonstrates there are multiple ways to come to the same answer and as leaders, we strive for consilient thinking. It isn’t about being right or wrong, but rather being open to possibilities because often, there are many.

In Taoism, the word “way,” also means path or principle. The belief is “the way is not the true way” which is the idea that we don’t need to search outside of ourselves for truth or meaning because it is right in front of us and within us. It always has been.

Please share your thoughts below.

Three things I am grateful for:

  1. Freedom
  2.  Faith and spirituality
  3. This journey that helps me strive for consilient thinking