You’d Better Give to Receive

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I heard in a documentary recently that there’s a part of our brain that can’t distinguish time or tell the difference between the self and others. An amazing little tidbit that, unfortunately, they didn’t expand upon. They didn’t talk about what this part is called or even refer to the guy’s credentials. Hmmm…

But even if what he said is total crap, I am deciding to believe it because it’s such an intriguing and inspiring thought.

If this is true, then, as the “expert” says, we receive at the same time we give. Anything we say to another person, we also say to ourselves, so make it good – literally.  Be sure that your sentiments are always positive because you are receiving exactly what you put out there.

Sure, we’ve all heard this before: “Give as good as you get,” “If you don’t have anything nice to say…,” and my mom’s personal favorite, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” All nice words but I think I’m more moved by the idea that my own health might be affected by what I give off.  What else could this part of my brain be taking in?

 How does it take it when I curse the bus schedule or imagine shoving my boss into the electric pencil sharpener? What am I doing to myself when I quip at my husband, roll my eyes or pretend I don’t see the old lady on the subway?

On the other hand, what happens when I forgive, smile, compliment? What if I didn’t think about how my hard-earned fifty cents would just end up contributing to that homeless guy’s drug habit? What if I gave away something that I love to someone who needs it more?

I can’t stop thinking about this one. What else could we be doing to get more from giving more?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Real Thirty-Somethings Do Yoga

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If you’re in your thirties or over, you probably remember when yoga was ‘the new thing’. I’m sure many of us thought it was a fad that would fade as soon as Drew Barrymore and Woody Harrelson moved on from Zen Buddhism – But boy were we wrong!

I still remember this girl I went to high school with telling me that she was becoming a yogi. Really?  I didn’t even know you could do that. Don’t you have to be Indian or related to Gandhi or the Dali Lama or something?

Today, yoga is so commonplace that even my seventy-five-year-old grandmother does it. Men and women of all ages are toting mats around the city in the latest coolest sling bags and waitresses everywhere are swearing by the butt-assisting, double-duty comfort of Lulumon pants.

I try an do a little bit of yoga each week even if it’s on my own with a free twelve minute podcast.  It’s so easy to find something that works for you because there are so many kinds. I can tell you that my winter-worshipping Canadian butt won’t be sweating it out in hot yoga.  People tell me you get an awesome ‘high’ afterward but I know I would lose any sense of my adult self in there. I’d be like a chubby kid in gym class –  mouth wide open, knuckles dragging. Not my thing.

I did yoga for kids once with my little cousins. The teacher told everyone to sit like a triangle and flap your ‘wings’ like a butterfly. Curl up into a hedgehog and then uncurl yourself and grow and stretch like a beautiful blooming flower and reach for the rainbows.

That I could handle.

My point is that yoga is here to stay, and for good reasons that we’ve all heard. Increased flexibility, detoxification, stress release, endorphin release, clarity and focus. And if that weren’t enough for you tough guys, yoga helps to prevent serious sports injuries. You must have heard by now that tons of sports teams and pro athletes incorporate yoga into their regimen, including Shaquile O’Neal,  Evan Longoria and even Kevin Garnett, who is featured in the book Real Men Do Yoga.

I saved the best part for last. Yoga keeps us young. Some say that yoga can lessen the depth of wrinkles as it helps keep the skin taught. The stress releasing aspect of yoga helps us to fight damage from free radicals – another wrinkle-maker.  Just something to keep in mind in case you were feeling a little run down this week.

If you decide to give it a try, please comment. I’d love to hear how it goes!

Namaste.

 

Grandma’s Wisdom This Mother’s Day

ImageWhen I was a baby, my family was featured in the newspaper for having five generations (Note:  that’s not a picture of my family above but I will keep searching for the original copy and post it soon.  Also, thanks to this family for standing in).

I consider myself very lucky that I have some memories of my great-great grandmother. But now, this mother’s day, it’s just the three of us.

Today I watched my grandmother open her gifts and I knew what she would say when she read my card: “That’s a beautiful card, thank you.” She says it every time.

I watched my mom as she anticipated the look on my grandmother’s face opening her gift. I watched them hug after and I wonder what it’s like to be them. I know that at one time, when my mom was in high school, they shared a bedroom in a small apartment. It may seem like a million years ago but you have to wonder what kind of closeness that breeds, what strength of character it builds. I hope I have some of that in me.

Today my grandmother is a successful businesswoman, still working and over seventy years old. She’s loud and fun and spends a lot of time with her women’s group. She’s impossible to buy for so I’m thankful she’s happy with brunch. When I ask her what she was like in her thirties, what it was like to live in a one bedroom apartment with my mother, she can’t really remember. She says things like, “Well, I was working and I had your mother.”

It’s a little frustrating because I want to use her stories as research, but the more people I talk to the more I realize that most people like to give pretty simplistic answers about their past. It seems like they’re happy to quickly sum up the past and focus on what it taught them. Very reassuring.

My grandmother was thirty years old nearly forty years ago so I guess it is a lot to ask of her to remember more details. But my hope then is that when I’m her age I have a little more to say. I hope can say firmly that my thirties were fantastic and I accomplished all my goals. I’m working on it.

How about you? How would you summarize your thirties so far? Maybe it’s kind of like one of those “Write your own obituary” exercises, I know, but I’d love to see your ideas in the comments.

Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day!

‘How Old Are You?” The Answer Once and For All

For the Korean students in my English class, it’s unusual that us Westerners have so many qualms when it comes to asking about age. This is commonly the second or third question between two Koreans who appear close in age so they can be sure of how to address each other linguistically. In other words, if the person they are speaking with is older, they have to use a more formal address.

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But for us English speakers who lack a lot of formality in language and who also have a great deal of hangups about age in our culture, we shy away from this question as often as possible. If we really let our curiosity get the better of us, we still have to tread lightly with, “Do you mind terribly if I asked you…” and “If you don’t mind my asking, …”

These convoluted introductions to questions are very often met with convoluted answers, such as the “Twenty-nine and holding.” Or the, “Why don’t you guess?” conundrum. My husband usually likes to keep it plain and simple: “Old.”

Sometimes the reason someone asks is to find out what generation you’re from. Do you remember cassette tapes? Do you know what I mean when I say, “Bueller” to get your attention? If you say you’re under twenty-five I wouldn’t think of doing my Pee-Wee Herman impression or ask you who your favorite Ninja Turtle was.

But what really is holding us back from answering directly?

In my experience only good things come from a straight answer. Usually when I say proudly that I am thirty-two, people readily give compliments and congratulate me on looking so youthful. I’m sure it’s just a polite thing to say, but I also like to imagine that even if I weren’t so appealing I would still have the same opinion.

I can see why some people find it inappropriate to ask about age and these people are welcome to use the stall tactics above if they wish not to answer, but I still challenge them to get over their hangup. Blurt it out without grimace, without any jokes and see how it feels to be so bold. You may see the compliments roll in as a reward for your simple honesty.

Let me know how it goes!