Power of positivity

Be ever-mindful of silver linings.

What is a silver lining? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a “consoling or hopeful prospect. How many consoling or hopeful prospects did you consider in the past 9 months?

Throughout 2020, many people have referred to the silver linings in their life. Situations and conditions weren’t ideal, but so many chose to see the hope and the light during a time that felt dark and uncertain. I received an email on August 12th from a love warrior, fellow mother and friend of mine Marianna Litovich, in which she wrote, “I’m staying ever-mindful of silver linings.” I read these words and loved the saying so much. I wrote it on the chalkboard in my house and I repeated it to myself often.

I continued to remind myself that for every challenge thrown my way, someone, somewhere would give anything to trade my challenge with theirs.

And, I trusted that so many of the difficult situations I was faced with would eventually bring so much good. It was hard to see in the moment, but I held onto faith that even the toughest times would bring about a future of happiness. After all, I’ve lived through quite a few of these moments to confidently say “everything happens for a reason.”

We often hear stories about how one single moment or decision can drastically change your life. Just a few from my life journey:

  1. Sometimes a “mistake” can end up being the best decision you ever make.” – Mandy Hale

    For so long, my dream was to be on So You Think You Can Dance. I felt as though it was what I was meant to do, who I was meant to be. In January, 2010, my Mom and I stood in line in the pouring rain in New York City for over 10 hours. I wanted this more than anything I had ever wanted in my life. I had my 8 count routine ready to perform. When my chance came to audition, I fell on my butt in front of EVERYONE. I got cut. I was humiliated, devastated and crushed. I cried the entire 3 hour drive home.

    In February 2010, 22NEWS was promoting auditions for “Search for a Star”, a chance to host a brand new live TV show; no experience necessary. I decided to audition and ended up getting the job. A job that would completely change my life for the better. Funny how life works. If I DID get onto So You Think You Can Dance, I never would have auditioned for the TV host job. And my life wouldn’t be what it is today. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now I can say, “Thank goodness I fell on my ass in front of hundreds of people.” Never thought I would say that.

2. “There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” – Angel Flonis Harefa

It was a rainy Wednesday night. I got out of work at 22NEWS at 5PM, and had plans to go to Unity Dance Spectrum in Chicopee, MA to shoot a story about a dance class for all abilities. It was after-hours and I had decided to do this story on my own time. I remember thinking, “I’m so tired, the weather is yucky, maybe I’ll just cancel for tonight.” But I knew that they were expecting me, so I went to do the story. I interviewed the studio owner and the class instructor, who were so dedicated to spreading joy through dance. I watched the joy on the dancers’ faces as they took their turn going across the floor; with ribbon dancers, huge smiles and loads of confidence. The energy was so amazing. I loved seeing these diverse dancers with so many different stories come together to dance & support one another. I wrapped up the shoot, got in my car and started to cry. I was so moved by this class, it was in that moment I decided I wanted to see more of this joy in the world. I decided to quit my day job and open a dance studio for all ages and abilities. 5 years later, one of the volunteer instructors from that very class, Danielle Stelma, now runs the class, “Western Mass Dance & Movement” at my dance studio, Ohana School of Performing Arts. Talk about life coming full circle, and one simple decision made all the difference in my life.

The universe has a plan for each of us. Even in our most difficult moments, we are growing, we are learning & we are paving the way for our next adventure. If you want to enjoy the beautiful rainbow, you’ll have to endure the rain.

As we rang in the new year last December 31st, did we ever even fathom what the year 2020 would be like? Who would have thought that that a global pandemic would be the catalyst for a year filled with animosity, hate, negativity and immense challenge?

If you lost your job this year, trust that it was the path you were meant to take in this life. As Gabby Bernstein says, “Obstacles are detours in the right direction.” As hard as it may be to consider, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

If you lost a loved one this year, trust that they will shine their light on you for the rest of your life. You will always have an angel to guide you as your continue your own journey. Trust that they are at peace in a place far more beautiful than this world.

If you had to close your small family-owned business, trust that you were meant for great things and the best is yet to come. Believe that this is not the end. Instead of seeing it as the end of something wonderful, view it as the beginning of something even better.

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.
Walter Anderson

The most precious gift we all have is our life. So what? 2020 was challenging. It had some hurdles that we all had to jump over.

But if you are reading this, you are alive and that is truly something to celebrate, today and always. Let’s go, 2021!

Power of positivity

I’m not like Iggy Azalea. I’m not fancy.

My closet is about the size of my big toenail. For real though, I am constantly purging clothing because there just isn’t anywhere to store it. I’ve already taken over my seven-year-old son’s closet with my “part-time TV gig clothing”. My clothing closet is likely meant to store a couple of winter coats and old bridesmaids dresses, but it’s currently a healthy combination of flannel shirts, various gray sweaters in 50 different shades (ok, maybe more like 11), sweatshirts and Ohana gear. I have closet envy whenever I see a closet that is the size of my bathroom. Bad example. Most walk-in closets are bigger than my bathroom. You know what I mean… those closets you can “walk-in” to. Why am I envious? Is it because of their ability to organize their stuff so nicely, or because they can do a pirouette between their color-coordinated blouses and shoe shelves? I remind myself that having more space often leads to having more stuff; which isn’t always a good thing, as I have learned from 2 men who decided to change their lifestyle.

I recently watched “Minimalism” on Netflix, and was so inspired by their desire to live more freely with less material objects. In an effort to help people end their obsession with stuff, minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus share that, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”

Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Who would have thought that getting rid of material things and living more simply would bring freedom. They share that, “Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. We focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps make that room.”

I need to be clear: I am certainly not a minimalist. I store my pots and pans in my oven because I don’t have any room in my kitchen cabinets. In my defense, I don’t have many cabinets. But, I am inspired by the message and working hard everyday to live more fully with less things.

Watching “Tiny House Nation” with my kids has been a real eye-opener, too. It’s amazing how people can downsize so drastically and find themselves happier than ever before. My kids keep saying “We want to live in a tiny house!” Dude, we already do! It’s like a human pinball machine over here. I easily get wrapped up in what I need to have to feel complete or accomplished as a homeowner (I talk more about my garage envy here). Yet, I think these shows serve as a healthy reminder to change the conversation that our consumer-driven society is having. Change our focus from “I’m better & more successful with a big house and lots of expensive stuff” to “I’m better & more successful with the happiness in my life and the people I share it with.” I try to always look at my home as the cozy place where we get to share memories, holidays, life. It’s not much, it’s not fancy, and I will be making a dining room table out of my kids’ 2 desks for Thanksgiving because we don’t have a table to sit at. Nor do we have a dining room. I don’t even have matching dinner plates or fine china (because I’m not fancy) so I got some matching ones at the Dollar Tree. And, I got some plastic champagne flutes. Boom. Done.

This Thanksgiving holiday, we will all be minimizing what we normally enjoy due to COVID-19. Let’s turn our perspective towards all the many wonderful moments we get to share and enjoy. In Josh & Ryan’s words: Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all. Happy Thanksgiving to you & all the many things you have that aren’t things at all.