Muchness mind-shift: Turning a crap day into something amazing.

Back some time ago, in May of this year, I think, Elie and I packed up the kids in the car and headed to Brooklyn to see some friends. It was one of those days when everything just was not working. When the moments just feel out of sync with each other. The kids were moody, we were disorganized, running late and  the day carried with it that unease where everything that was spoken never felt like it landed anywhere.

Finally, we got our acts together just enough to get into the car, buckle in the kids and get the heck out of the house.

We hit the road and almost immediately hit traffic. Unless I am on the way to the airport, in which case traffic can cause me to hyperventilate, I’m never really that bothered by it. We kept going assuming it would let up, and as we inched slowly passed the last exit before the bridge, Elie asked me one last time if I was SURE I wanted to go ALL the way to Brooklyn fighting this traffic with the kids in the back seat, who by now were whining for snacks and potty breaks.

I insisted. I really wanted to see my friend and I really like spending a sunny day in Brooklyn.

We went through the toll, which these days costs as much as dinner for two at a crappy restaurant, and continued inching across the bridge.

I realized this traffic was probably going to get worse in Manhattan before it got better. I realized that it was entirely possible we were going to spend 3 hours in the car. I realized I should have listened to Elie.

And so, I told him we should turn around.

He was not happy.

I was not happy.

The kids were not happy.

So far, pretty good day, right?

I pulled out my phone and said I would find something for us to do in New Jersey. Because that plan would have been too easy 45 minutes and $12 ago. 

I saw that there was an arts and kids street festival in Hoboken, which is a town situated between where we were and where we live.

The last time I was in Hoboken was in college. Back then it was a party town filled with bars frat boys and sorority girls. The kind of folks that went on booze cruises and grew up to become stock brokers and dentists. At least that’s the way I categorized it. The artists I related to moved to Brooklyn and grew up to become… I have no idea what.

Turns out, Hoboken has grown up too. It’s now filled with strollers and families and arts and culture and all sorts of things that I like.

We walked through the street fair, each of us in our own little world. Elie was aggravated that I had made us go all the way into the city before coming to the conclusion that he had been right all along. I was annoyed that all he wanted me to do was admit that he had been right all along. The kids were hungry.

I decided that I was going to adjust my mind-set about the day and redirect my energy into looking for the “Why.” I concluded there was a reason we ended up here- a place we never would have ended up, if the day hadn’t started out so crappy. And if there wasn’t a reason, I was going to create one, dammit!

So I slapped a forced smile on my face, bought us all some street-roasted corn on the cob and started looking for the Why.

And there it was.

At the time I was in the middle of a speech writing course from KC Baker. She teaches women how to write & deliver the talks of their lives. I’d won a scholarship to the course and was so filled with gratitude to be in it.

The Holy grail of public speaking for many people is TED.

Ted talks are a worldwide non-profit devoted to giving people a stage to present their Ideas Worth Spreading. Giving a TED or TedX talk is a huge honor. (TedX are local events sponsored by the TED organization.)

So, right there, in the middle of the crowd were two dudes standing near a table wearing TedXHoboken T-shirts.

I was like- “Dude! That’s it! That’s why I’m here. Got it.”

I shoved all my natural shyness aside (yes- that exists) and walked up to them to ask them about the event. The invited me to attend as an audience member. I replied, “Oh- actually, I want to speak.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not how these things usually happen.

They suggested I contact the organizer of the event, but chances are pretty definitive that that was not going to happen.

I contacted her anyway. I needed to prove my Muchness Theory right- that when we look for the opportunity in every moment, we give ourselves the potential to create them. I also needed to justify the $12 I spent on a toll to go nowhere.

And I did. I proved my theory right.

When the event happened in June I was called up from the audience to share the Muchness in 60 seconds or less. And I did. And it was AMAZING.

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It is those 50 seconds (I came in under the limit!) that let me know, in no uncertain terms, that public speaking is meant to be a part of this journey for me. It rekindled a part of my Muchness that has, for so, so, so long gone underground. The last time I stood in front of a room full of people and spoke was when I played the tin-man in my seventh grade play.  I didn’t even speak at my wedding. But those 50 seconds made me realize that in some ways, the things that fuel our Muchness the most are the ones we stay farthest away from, for fear  of doing it wrong or not meeting our own, or other people’s, expectations. I didn’t even know I wanted to do any kind of public speaking. I would have said, if asked, that it was totally, totally something I had no interest in, and I believed that was the truth.

But not anymore.

I’ve spoken a number of times since then, at a B.I.G Womens Business and Personal empowerment meeting and, most recently, at a remembrance walk for babies gone too soon.

And then yesterday, I got an email that had me bouncing off the ceiling.

The organizer of the TedXHoboken talk is taking on a new project. TedXHobokenWomen.

“This may be your lucky day!” she wrote and included a formal invitation to give an actual TedX talk!! (Look! I’m even on the speakers page– next to some overwhelmingly impressive women!!)

Despite sitting still long enough to write this all-together too-long blog post, I am still bouncing off the ceiling.

I think the most important lesson I want to hold onto and share with you is this:

Wait- there’s two.

1- In every moment we make a choice to lean into the crap of our moment or look for the possibility that exists there. It’s really easier to lean into the crap. At least a lot of the time. Sometimes if feels like not leaning into the crap is almost like trying to defy the pull of gravity. Do it anyway. You can. Even just a little bit at a time.

2- You don’t have believe everything you think. I actually saw this on a bumper sticker the other day while driving and got this awesome shot while stopped at a red light:

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I totally had no intention of adding this pic to this post but look how well it fits! For years I told myself I had no interest in public speaking, and I believed me! Yuck. That was a lie that somehow grew into a false reality. Now that I realize this totally happens, my mind is racing with all the potential stuff I could be doing and loving if I wasn’t so busy lying to myself all the time.

Next up, I’m pretty sure I wanna try the trapeze.

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What pisses you off most in the world?

I wrote this post 6 months ago. I postdated it for today, Molly’s Birthday, and the date the twins were conceived.

And then, I promptly forgot about it. Because, although I meant every word of it, I couldn’t see HOW I could truly help.

And I’d see this post in my “pending” box on my blog, and think- “well, that’s not going to happen, that post’s not going to go live.”  But life has a funny way of making things happen.

I was recently asked this question.

“What Pisses you off the most in this world.”

It was suggested that the answer to this question is the also the answer to “Where does your passion live?” “What is your life’s purpose?” “How can you make a change in this world?”

Hmmmm… Got me thinking.

For a bit.

And then I forgot about it.

But then, I got pissed off. And I remembered.

So, what pissed me off so passionately that it made me think of this connection?

A little while back I went to dinner with two very dear friends. They are both women I’ve met online. Both women that have lost one of their twin babies to TTTS. Both women that have impacted my life in tremendous ways. Because they have helped me through my pain and grief, and they have allowed me to help them through theirs. And both sides of that coin is a tremendous gift.

At dinner, we were having a blast. We were drinking a bit, sharing our lives and our appetizers with one another as though we were sisters… which in a way, with everything we’ve shared, we are.

A friend of a friend of one of theirs was in the restaurant and decided to join us for a drink. We were chatting with him about The Muchness, talking about how I have a site online where I encourage women to wear sparkly things and be happy. I kept it pretty lighthearted, as I didn’t think throwing in the whole history of the site was necessary. But then, he asked us each how many kids we have. Now, as any baby loss mom can tell you, in a moment that becomes the most loaded  question a stranger can ask you. Not mentioning your loss can feel like a betrayal, but mentioning it, well, it’s kinda a lot to randomly drop into a conversation. We each come to terms with the answer that feels right for us, for now. For me, the answer is “I have two little girls at home.” It’s the “at home” that honors my two girls that aren’t at home, but doesn’t create an awkward moment of, um, “oh, sorry.”

So that is what I answered.

But my friends were not having it. Oh no. With friends like that, you mention ALL your kids or they will do it for you, and that is just what they did. They told this dude about Sunshine and Daisy and also about their angels. And then, this young man said something that pissed me off.

He said “My cousin lost twin girls almost three years ago. She’s never met anyone else who lost twins. She basically locked herself in her room hasn’t left her house since.” 

It pissed me off because it broke my heart. It pissed me off because this woman feels so alone and isolated. It pissed me off because there is so much love in the heart of a babyloss mother- wild, fierce and passionate love that has no earthbound recipient to accept it. That love, flying freely in the world, I believe it can move mountains. But, those powerful emotions, unmanaged, turned inward, they can break you down. It pisses me off that there are women out there feeling like that, living like that, buried under the grief. It pisses me off that there is no-one to help them understand that they have the power to take that love and use it, build on it, allow it to blossom into beautiful things that they can create in this world.

I want to do that. 

I want to reach out to every baby loss mom that is feeling buried beneath her grief and show her that their is beauty in her sadness, there is strength in her tears, and there is life in her baby’s memory. And it is all through her.

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve found the clarity. I’ve found the answers. And, though it may be the biggest undertaking of this Muchness Journey thus far, I am going to do it anyway. Because that’s what this journey is about. Being afraid and doing it anyway.

I believe this is why I’m here…. why my daughters are here.

I’m ready to help.


I L.O.V.E. Sharing The Muchness!!!

Last night I had an incredible opportunity. I was invited to speak at a local college to a group of about 50+ young women. It was the first time I’d ever spoken publicly to a group this size (Except a few years ago when I was a guest teacher at a Junior High School) and I was NERVOUS.

I tried to remember that I was SUPPOSED to be nervous and just let myself feel that. So, that manifested itself for two nights in a  row into nightmares about showing up in my fancy blue dress with my legs as hairy as an ape. Great.

But I got there and started talking. And talking. And talking. and I really loved it. I loved that I was able to speak to college students who are the height of when they can really tap into their Muchness. I talked about how in college I felt pretty connected to my Muchness, my creativity and confidence because I was in an environment, art school, that supported that concept. And I loved watching the faces of the girls as I spoke. They were listening and responsive and I felt them hearing me.

Most importantly I was glad to have the opportunity to introduce them to the IDEA of Muchness, the idea that EVERYONE has Muchness and that it exists, in some form, in you… because it IS you. The event was billed as a “self-esteem informational” and my hope is that could help them get or stay on a path to living in a way that honors themselves, their individuality, their joys and unique quirks.

I hope plan to do more speaking. Doing it may have scared me but it totally got me pumped up, and isn’t that what The Muchness is all about? Getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourselves to your full capacities?

This is me with some of the women after the talk.

I love it. Not only was it an opportunity to empower young women, but it was an opportunity to wear my awesome blue dress. What could be muchier than that?? 🙂

Want to invite The Muchness to your event or school?? I’d Love to come!

PS- To the girls I met last night who wanted to buy Muchness Bands, Click here and enter the 3 letter name for your school (all caps) for a coupon code at checkout. 😉