Photo Courtesy of aarp.org
“Spiritually, I make every day my birthday. The dance floor gives me that feeling.”~Wanda Bamberg Tia
Wanda’s exuberance enters a room before she does. It’s as if an aura of energy and charisma permanently surrounds her.
I first met Wanda when I started teaching a Pilates mat class at Work It! - the vibrant, dance-based fitness studio she owned in one of D.C.’s most energetic neighborhoods. Fit, statuesque, and flashing a smile that is pure joy, Wanda is a woman on a mission. Her perpetually-packed Wanda Woman dance class was undoubtedly the heart of the studio.
“Dealing with what’s at the root of your fear, as opposed to creating stories that embolden it, shifts the power away from the fear and back to you.” ~Janine Rudder
During the weeks leading up to a recent work trip I avoided thinking about it. Whenever I opened an email about or accepted a meeting invite to discuss said trip, I’d let out an annoyed sigh and feel my stomach contract in frustration. I allowed my thoughts to run rampant with reasons to justify my displeasure -
“When you look at the vision you hold for your life, are your rituals a catalyst or a barrier?” ~ Janine Rudder
I’ve always joked that I have an additive personality type. By that I mean that I find solace, safety, and comfort in my routines. When I find something that works, which generally means produces my desired outcome at the level of effort I’m willing to invest, I stick with it.
"Venturing into unfamiliar, and sometimes, unsettling territory is often the path that leads to the life-changing transformation we are seeking." - Janine Rudder
I’m closing in on the end of another marvelous year of life. As I think back over the events of this past year I marvel at the vision for my life I dared to create, the various milestones I was able to push myself to accomplish, and the things that “fell” into place at the most favorable time.
"Having someone feel safe enough with you to remove their “public mask” and expose their flaws and insecurities is a privilege. When you then validate and cherish their authentic self, that’s where love lives." ~Janine Rudder
February evokes many feelings and images. The chill from frigid temperatures, the honor of celebrating black history, the relief of a three day weekend, and the horror or delight (sometimes both simultaneously) of Valentine’s Day.
Photo by Karha Sanon:
“She summoned the courage to choose herself.” ~Janine Rudder
Karha and I just hit the 20-year milestone in our friendship. Our journey began as college roommates. Since then we’ve helped each other navigate various phases of life, each of us guiding the way when needed. We’ve witnessed each other’s growth, celebrated successes, and told the hardest of truths.
"You can always reinvent yourself. Each passing minute is the perfect occasion to start becoming your vision." ~ Janine Rudder
I love starting over. I’ve always been attracted to fresh starts and for years have engaged in elaborate, introspective rituals just before the start of a new year. I would carve out time to reflect on the past year in a meticulously chosen place with a tranquil mood and cozy ambiance. I sat for hours drinking tea and detailing my most prominent lessons learned in the last twelve months and my highest ambitions for the next in a lengthy entry in a brightly colored journal.
“I am responsible for making me happy. I am responsible for how I prioritize my life.” – Michelle Obama
The spirit of this quote has been driving my life for the past several years. I believe that I am the architect and carpenter of not just my life, but also my joy, meaning, and impact. You can only imagine how I felt when Michelle Obama affirmed that last night at the Capitol One Arena!
“Self definition is awareness. Self definition is agency. Self definition is love.” ~Janine Rudder
This blog is a significant part of my stepping into the awareness that every second of every day is my life. I can wander through it half asleep guided by my already established habits and the paths my peers have taken. Or, I can start to pay attention to my life; take note of what ignites me, and what I value above all else, and design a life around those things.