Showing posts from 2011

Back to School

Summer is quickly coming to a close. Weather-wise, with the exception of a little weekend storm called Irene, it has been one for the record books. I confess that I’ve spent a great many gorgeous sunny days in a lounge chair on my front porch. Legs stretched out with novel (thriftily borrowed from the public library) and a handful of SourPatch Kids at the ready, half of me felt really guilty, the other half really didn’t give a crap. After all, this journey is about happiness, right? About doing what I want to do when I want to do it? Great. I’ll log my porch time as ‘working on my tan’ and ‘cultivating cavities.’ I really need both. Wrinkled, leathery skin and rotted teeth!

Oh I know. I’m being mindful and present even while in a sugar-induced haze on that lounge chair. Mm hmmm... I’m working on healing my inner self. Getting to my center... zzzzzzzzz

It’s Back to School time my friends. The time of year that still excites my inner little Lelly. Corduroy and tights on an 85-degree da…

On the Street Where I Live

July 21 marks 6 months into my crazy, dangerous year. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed; how easily my days have filled. In the last 180 days, for every hour of productive, value-adding activity, I have spent another 2 hours spinning my wheels, going left instead of right and backward not forward.  When the world is your oyster and the sky is the limit, finding true north and setting your course is damned difficult, if not impossible. Think shoe clearance at Nordstrom. 31 amazing Baskin-Robbins flavors. The display case at Korb's Bakery. What do I choose? What do I choose? What do I choose?

Lest I remind you, this was my year to live dangerously and FULLY.  My luxurious, self-indulgent freedom to do whatever I want within financial and legal boundaries. Have I wasted 1,920 precious hours? To what to I attribute this time in my Good Girl Gant Chart? If time is money, have I squandered my savings?


I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I'm learning to listen an…

Happiness. Part Three.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

-Marcel Proust

Happiness. Part Two.

The door to happiness opens from the inside out.*** Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;Where your treasure, there your heart;Where your heart, there your happiness.

Three Faces of Me

In a recent series of conversations with a new acquaintance, I saw with crystal clarity how often I refer to myself as one of the following three characters. I’m pretty sure I’m not schizophrenic, but chances are you’ve heard me refer to myself as at least one of these broads. Allow me to introduce you.

Miss Tallulah Devyne Chardonnay is penultimately feminine, charming and flirtatious. Sequins and pearls and matte red lipstick, fine leather gloves and cashmere sweaters and a walk that makes men dizzy. Tallulah is a soldier in the online dating world. Long legs, sultry voice and big doe eyes. Ever the Lady (capital L), she is the guardian of my “fine china.” Tallulah is responsible for 75% of my shoe collection and all of my Little Black Dresses She wears Big Apple Red on her toes and Bubble Bath on her fingers and has a fondness for cocktail rings and statement necklaces. Her signature fragrances are Angel, FlowerBomb and Prada. She was born in the late 90s while dating a tall handsom…

2 TBL peanut butter, 1 C milk, 1 med banana, 4 C courage. Add ice and blend vigorously.

Each day in this wacky new life of mine brings new challenge (start-from-scratch business opportunities, job interviews, sales calls, first dates, etc.). I've got to whip up a fresh batch of courage each morning along with my breakfast smoothie. A dyed-in-the-wool Yankee stoic, I confess that I've needed double batches of courage and fearlessness to post my vulnerabilities here in this blog. Taking a bit of a breather, here are some quotes about fear that I turn to for support and inspiration.  I hope they help you too.

Love, Lelly

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. -Japanese Proverb

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. -Henry David Thoreau

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed. - Ralph Wa…

Her potential cheered

Her potential cheered from the trees shivering beyond the pool as she considered her future. She could climb Everest, join Greenpeace. Go to college, learn Spanish, read the classics. Vote. ...she saw the path before her rising and falling, making sharp turns over ragged cliffs. No worn broadloom. No comfortable rut. A dazzling existence beckoning with uncertainty. Proof that there are miracles.
The Wive's Tale Lori Lansens Copyright 2009 by LLMT, Inc.
I am newly blessed with the time and patience to sit in stillness (outside of yoga practice) and observe. I can sit in my patio and hear urgency and singularity of purpose tapped out by Woody, the lovelorn woodpecker that has taken up residence on my siding. I hear the buds pushing to break ground and stretch to the sunlight. I hear little boys screaming with delight as they tear through shrubs chasing lightning-fast chipmunks.  I am able to listen not to just what is said out loud, but the volumes spoken with eyes, breath, fingers. I …


So it turns out that living dangerously and fully requires a fearlessness that I frankly do not know that I possess.

From the outside looking in, I’m a pretty ballsy lady, to be sure. I have cuddled a live koala in Australia, sung karaoke in Japan and munched on moules marinière in France — solo. I even spent a week on my own at a particularly racy Club Med, cloaked in a pair of dark glasses and the current installment in the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love to speak and perform in public and relish any and every opportunity to shine a spotlight on my inner ham — whether hopping onstage to sing with the band, presenting at an industry conference, teaching a class or charming insomniac shoppers on national television.

Sure each of these experiences brought butterflies to my tummy and a fair amount of sweat to my palms. Nervous? Excited? Certainly! Frightened? Eh, not so much. In each of the situations I describe above, I was in complete control of how I interacted — or rather cho…

Reversing Direction

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.  ~Margaret Young

Happy Days

Love, Lelly

Do you have a courage ritual?

Here's a quickie about courage. We all have personal rituals that we perform when we need a little something extra. A pep talk. A virtual butt kick.

I've got a song.

I sing this one on the very top of my lungs in the car (do beep if you see me barreling down the highway, mouth wide open, red in the face, windows rattling) on my way to job interviews, first dates, new classes -- any situation where I could most certainly fall flat on my ass. Those times when I have to channel my inner rock star; grow some 'brass ones,'  paste on a big smile and JUMP! This played in my ears as I sat in the QVC green room, waiting for my airtime (every single show for 7 years). This played in my ears before I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, then later as I drove to family court for my divorce hearing. This played in my ears when I quit my job and began this terrifying and exhilarating journey.

Don't tell me not to fly. I've simply got to. If someone takes a spill, it's …

Working at the Car Wash.

I wrote about my 60-hour crying jag in an earlier post. At the time, I thought my subconscious was yelling at me to get into the shower and out of the house before I turn into something like:

[No worries; I’m fresh-y-fresh, clean and coiffed as I type.]

Today I am convinced that this crying jag was the final phase of an arduous 16-month exercise in change.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

My tears were disposing my body of the sadness still left behind after months of difficult decisions, introspection and good, old fashioned, hard work. I think of this process as a trip through a car wash. 16 months ago, I drove up to the entrance covered in emotional gunk. I paid the attendant and slowly worked my way through cycles of lather and rinse, scrubbing away the sources of my unhappiness, getting to my shine. It was dark and sometimes scary, violent -- pelted with monstrous strips of heavy, wet regret. Sometimes pleasant, easy -- lathered with encouragement and hope. A few weeks ago I passed through …

Are you Happy?

(Image credit to H34.)

Managing the ups and downs.

Over the course of the last week, I have found myself on an emotional roller coaster. From confident, joyful and full-of-beans one day:
I am going to package my skills and knowledge together and give birth to my new, fabulous portfolio career! I’m launching my own direct sales business! I am going to raise thousands of dollars for a local church and change lives! I am going to lose 10 pounds! I am “this close” to finding the love of my life! ...and crying my eyes out in panic and despair the next. I literally spent 2 and a half days on a crying jag, a la Diane Keaton in “Something’s Got to Give.”

Driving and crying
Baking and crying
Eating and crying (and then crying while standing on the scale)
Knitting and crying
Vacuuming and crying

Hmmm...something was wrong. My subconscious was literally crying for attention. Was I mourning my recently deceased love relationship? Suffering from depression? Succumbing to the isolation brought on by living and working alone? What was the source of a…

Good for your Body. Good for a Smile.

I LOVE Zumba.

I've been a group fitness instructor since 1986 (imagine shiny spandex and leg warmers and Reeboks). Over the years, I've taught high- and low- impact aerobics, step, group cycling and muscle conditioning. I enjoyed these fitness formats but I never forgot for one minute that they were workouts. I worked hard, physically and mentally, every single second of every one of these classes. I probably didn't smile much at the time.
Zumba Fitness is different. If you haven't tried it or know what it is about, do a Google search. There are dozens of classes each week in gyms and churches and dance schools in neighborhoods across the globe.  Go and visit a class and watch what happens when the music starts.

Zumba found me after I had "retired" from teaching and was traveling a lot, with regular appearances on QVC and leading project teams based in Massachusetts and Tokyo and Sidney. I had been to a demo at a local gym and thought it was fun, but it was mor…

April 1. Time to Get Started.

You may ask if 2011 is my year to make changes, live dangerously and follow my bliss, then why did I wait until the end of March to start this blog?

Good question.

After so many years in the corporate world, I still think in quarters. Consider January 1 to March 31 quarter 1, fiscal year 2011. I spent these first 90 days or so tying up loose ends.
I worked the corporate job until the end of January.I went on a couple of job interviews and spoke with recruiters about my "stellar" resume and what I wanted to do next.I cleaned my house like Martha Stewart on crack.I bid on 2 used American Girl dolls for KnittedByH.A.N.D. and rephotographed and remerchandised the Etsy Shop and launched parallel shops on ArtFire and Zibbet.I played with the dolls.I baked cookies and cakes, and made a lot of soups.I ramped up my Zumba teaching schedule from 3 to 9 classes per week.I dabbled in some pro-bono social media and ecommerce consulting.I broke ground on a new direct sales business (more on…

2011. My Year of Living Dangerously

I am not learning to sky dive, ride a motorcycle or drive a mile with the gas gauge on E. Nonetheless, this is my year of living dangerously. I left a 6-figure corporate job -- that was wrong on so many levels -- in pursuit of happiness.
I slipped the golden handcuffs.I escaped from cubicle prison.I am following my bliss.I am woefully under-employed.GASP! Go ahead and clutch those pearls. I have never done anything so irresponsible in my entire life! I am the ever the good girl. I eat my vegetables, return my library books on time, recycle. I'm in bed by 10pm and take my vitamins every day. I have worked at least 2 jobs since I was 14. So why am I taking this leap? Well future posts will go into more detail, but in the meantime I'll use this chestnut:
"If not now, when?"Two of the most important and influential women in my life -- my Mom, Bernice, and my Gran, Helen No. 1 -- died at the age of 61. 61! They were good girls too. They worked hard and produced some pretty …