Partnerships Rule.

Partnerships Rule. They inspire. They push and pull. They serve, and they need to be taken care of. I have been thinking about how many of them I have - both in my personal and professional lives, and it's kind of mind-boggling! 

I was inspired to take stock and think about whether I could take on another one this year and it led me down a rabbit hole of self-assessment. Again...(Is it just me, or does everyone do that? LOL).

The inspiration came from a role I am returning to as a PRO Ambassador with Skirt Sports, a kick-ass womens' fitness apparel company based in Boulder, CO. From their #realwomenmove  initiative which serves to inspire Real Women to get out and move, to their beautiful fabrics and excellent fit clothes... I am consistently blown away by the intention and high quality of everything they do. They are committed to getting women of all activity levels, backgrounds, shapes and sizes out and active in gorgeous clothes :).

I probably wear one of my Skirt Sports dresses, skirts, bras or fleeces every time I head outside to exercise, so it's a no-brainer for me to be an Ambassador of this company's brand and products, but also i wanted to explore something deeper in the motivation for me to be involved.

Intention, High Quality, Service. Also: Compassion, Hard Work, Positivity...

I love these traits, and I like to think that I work actively to bring them into my life. Lofty goals, TO BE SURE. And I get it wrong more than I get it right (especially in the flow of the busiest days, or when I am frustrated)... Most days it's hard to consistently keep one or two of them in sight, but when I do, it feels damn good and re-energizes me to keep them in focus.

In thinking about what it means for me to promote Skirt Sports, their mission, and their products I kept finding myself with a smile on my face (or tears running down my cheeks) from reading testimonial after testimonial about the impact they were having on the lives of women all over the US. Women are being inspired every day to move again after heartache, illness, violence, empty nests - but also after seeing their sisters, mothers, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers getting their body moving, feeling good about themselves, and overcoming challenges in their daily lives. So many awesome stories of challenge and success. WOW.

Who doesn't want to be a part of something bigger that is making change in the world? I KNOW I DO. It feels good to be a part of a movement that is so powerful and positive.

At a deeper level this process has gotten me thinking about the other partnerships I have that inspire me to be a better person - as a mom, worker-bee, friend, wife, board member, community member and leader... every day. Many of my partners are women - I have a couple of people I lean on to work through my big picture questions. I think it's rare to find people we can be truly transparent with, and I feel blessed that I have a few of those close by. My husband Sam is my #1 partner for life, and helps me see some of the bigger impacts my thinking and work have on our family and local community, as he is deeply rooted in it, too. Kate and Katy, my Womens Wellness Walks co-leaders - are strong, intelligent, heart-ful medical professionals who also want to do their work deeply and well. Walking and talking with them every two weeks keeps me grounded. I work with an amazing team of men and women in my day job who push me to do high quality, invested work week-in and week-out. In the spirit of true partnership, I know I am a (sometimes crucial) part of the support web for others, too. 

One of my new years resolutions is to be more deeply connected to my people. To my partnerships. This means reaching out, opening my heart, being of service... and it also means advocating for those who I think are doing the kind of Work that matters to me. And so it comes back to my choice to work with Skirt Sports. Yes, they do the work. Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's positive. And yes, it will continue to inspire me, keep me honest, and inspire me to keep moving in the right direction.

I will be posting some more fun insights about Skirt Sports as i learn about them, as well as opportunities for sneak peeks on gear and discounts as I find out about them too so - stay tuned!  In the meantime if you're in a shopping kind of mood, one of the wicked cool benefits of being an Ambassador is that I get to spread the love!

If you go and shop at www.skirtsports.com, use my personal code of 840Somm to get 15% off your purchases. Their products are already less pricey than many of their online competitors, so you'll get products that are cute, will last for years, and at a good price. Woot!

Proud to be a PRO Ambassador for Skirt Sports.Get 15% off at www.skirtsports.com with the code 840Somm (1).jpg

Sustaining.

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When I was a kid I mostly followed my impulses. I was the kind of neighborhood kid who was usually up for anything, and could be counted on to say "yes" to adventures - whether we were searching for old bottles at the old dump, or swimming "marathons" up and down our local beach. We spent a lot of time exploring the streets and backyards of our small town barefoot or on our bikes, we would rarely plan beyond lunchtime.

I don't remember feeling a lot of time pressure - or, really, any pressure at all - but I did have a lot of energy and verve for life.

Now is different. Don't get me wrong - I like to think I am still up for anything... but I can't count on trusting my instincts and whim to motivate me to get out and play, explore, move my body and relax my mind. There's just no room. Now, the key to sustaining my energy and staying on track is the complete opposite. A daily plan.

It took me about twenty years to figure out that a plan beyond lunchtime is the key to sustaining the whole day. I struggled to accept that - in order to have the energy, enthusiasm and willingness to dive into life the way I want to - I have to create structure and predictability into every day.

AND every week. FOR EXAMPLE: Monday swim, Tuesday strength, Wednesday run, Thursday walk, Friday swim, Saturday rest, Sunday long run... etc. this is my ideal week and if I miss a session here or there, no foul... but to sustain the PATTERN. That’s the key.

A coach friend (Scott) told me that if you want to up your fitness and endurance game, you have to start with FREQUENCY: as in - get active every day.

That’s a game changer for most people.

So, my 5th-Decade-New-Norm is to create a rhythm to the days and weeks that thereby allows me to follow the impulses, when and if they show up. 

Our lives are after all, in the broadest sense of the words, about fitness and endurance. And who doesn’t want to be able to run barefoot and explore in the sand dunes any time they feel the urge?

Ownership...

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We have spent most of the summer months (if you count May as a summer month, which I insist on doing just to make summer seem longer) getting my little boat ready to launch in the ocean. 

This boat has become a symbol of this journey I'm on... 

Back in 2012, newly post-divorce, I bought her (with a monthly payment plan, no less) from a wonderful family a few towns away who had grown out of her size and capabilities. 

She is smaller than any other sail boat I had spent time on, or owned, and I was in a mental place where I wanted to push myself into new ways of being. I had always taken on very specific (and limited) roles on board sail-boats in the past - whether I was working as a deck hand crossing the Atlantic, or a watch leader on a sail training boat off the coast of Australia...I was always on much bigger boats, with specific tasks and felt comfortable no matter where we traveled because the ultimate responsibility was someone else's. 

This boat would teach me more about SAILING and OWNERSHIP, I decided.  I would do this one ON MY OWN (OMO), and by doing so I was sure I would have so much more satisfaction...

So that summer I got her out on the water as often as I could - and with the help of a bunch of friends (you all know who you are), we sailed evenings and weekends out on Penobscot Bay.  I have amazing memories of sailing out and back, up and down, sometimes around and around... and then at the end of the season I put her on her trailer (she is trailerable, with a centerboard - a brilliant design) and stored her for the winter in my yard.

Over the next 4 years there were many changes - I moved house many times, I fell in love and adventured in Maine and beyond with my now-husband, we bought and renovated a house together, we got married on a hilltop... and the boat sat patiently on her trailer, in the various yards around the midcoast, waiting...

On a winter evening in March we looked out into the yard at the trailer and the boat - covered in a foot of snow - and agreed "it's time"...

It was TIME to get her OUT OF THE YARD and ONTO THE SALT WATER! And we wanted to do it as a project TOGETHER.

Without boring you with all the details of the various milestones (trailer repair, float test, stripping the wood, cleaning the mold, finding a new outboard, testing the hull, pre-rigging the mast, finding mouse holes in the sails...), it's taken us 3 months of fairly consistent trial and error... until...

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WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!! 

The motor worked, the sails filled (the winds were perfect!) and we ate a simple meal while under way. The silky water pulsed by as we moved at about 3 knots... and the peaceful sense we got from being out - away from the madness of our (and especially this) week - was worth it all.

Have I learned a lot about sailing a small boat? Not yet. (Stay tuned...)

About Ownership? You bet.

We learn a lot about ourselves when the stress levels are high, and we learn a lot about our partners... Important questions like: are you a listener; Long-Grain or Hannaford Sushi; how do you respond under pressure; how patient are you; cookies or ice-cream...; GOT or HikeTheHill?

It's a lot of work.

The benefits far outweigh the costs.

The journey is only half the fun.

;)...

And... 

So much for OMO.

Succulence

Summer is succulent. The air is moist and warm, the soil is deeply scented, the trees heavy with leaf-weight and morning dew. As I gaze out my kitchen window, the day lilies peep above the railing, nodding in the breeze and the clouds skid across the cyrulian skies. 

I'm in heaven.

Last Friday I played hooky and headed with my daughter and a dear friend (visiting from home for a 5 day whirlwind tour) to the strawberry fields of Whitefield, Maine.

We drove the long way - by way of various of my old haunts (ponds, towns, houses, stores) between here and there. It was a trip 'down memory lane' for me, and a way for two of my dearest to see and hear about some of my adventures in Maine over the last (almost) 20 years. We drove through a rainstorm, the end of a rainbow and arrived at the farm store in a blaze of peach colored storm-light.

After seeing multiple posts from friends on social media ("just spent $50 on strawberries #gulp"; "$75 well spent" "most expensive (and hopefully yummiest) jam purchase")...we decided to go small and pick only 5 punnets.

We picked, and munched, and sorted, and basked in the sun bursts. We laughed, took selfies, and munched some more. There were scores of other families there, stocking up. I fantasized alternately that we were squirrels, or hunter gatherers, or even subsistence farmers (living on berries! What a life!).

We gathered together the haul and escaped for $20 - and felt like thrift shop bargain hunters as we munched our way through 1/5 of the bounty all the ride home (the short way). 

The whole day felt like a sneaky gift, full of the juiciest elements of life. Succulent, sweet, tender, joyous... and a memory to treasure. 

The Sun is Coming

Summertime...

I feel as though my whole year is geared around making the most of long summer days - I truly thrive in the heat, I love the spontaneity, and I relish the shift in attitude and perspective that this season urges me to take...

BUT...

When it's cloudy and dull outside, it takes full intention to follow through. It's a bit harder to get excited for an after-work dip at the lake with the kids when the sun isn't beating down on my neck and the ripples on the water are more like full-fledged waves...but - go, we must! 

SO!

On this summer solstice eve, it's time to take the leap (whether you have done so already or not!) and step into the beautiful unknown that is the world outside.

Go: 

Wear that swimsuit.

Take off those shoes.

Sign up for that outdoor yoga class. 

Take your dinner to the park... 

Climb a tree. 

Wade in the shallows. 

Stand under a tree. 

Hike that mountain. 

Paddle that Stream. 

Catch that frog. 

Read that book, on the lawn, in your favorite chair... 

There are so many options, and so little time :)!!!  (Go now!)

 

Much love,

Mish xx

It's delicious...

As the leaves open and the warm winds return, I find myself moved.

Moved to move.  To connect with the ground.  To look to the skies, and sit by the water…

Each moment I spend outside feels a bit sneaky – as if it’s a moment I have stolen from some other galaxy. The warm air and bright colors feel other-worldly and… I LOVE IT!!!

So I am heading outside every day, even if only for a few stolen moments. I am following my kids out to the stream, I am calling friends at lunchtime and simply requiring them to meet me for a walk – no excuses… I am eating my breakfast and dinner out on the lawn (and swatting those buggy bugs away) and heading to the ocean every chance I get...

It’s delicious.

I hope you are feeling it too!

Seeking our innate wisdom...

Our lives are convoluted, complex... and the interconnecting elements often are unknown to us until we step back from the busy-ness to find them.

It's usually something immense that forces us to take that step - birth, death, loss, love...but spending time regularly in nature gives us access to that wisdom in bite size pieces.

How we experience nature shows us much about ourselves. If we make a practice of being outside, we see so much more of what is happening within.

So...if you're seeking your own innate wisdom, don't hesitate. Head outside. Today.

It's worth it.