Friday, January 17, 2014

The Most Feminine Thing About Me Is Not The Clothes On My Back

shark fisherwoman florida victorias secret bra big boobs

A few weeks ago, I thought about doing a clothes swap with a few girlfriends. Ladies, if you’ve never done this, pay attention: it’s a great way to spruce up your wardrobe and clean out your closets! Bring whatever you don’t want and share with others.  Left overs go to charity.

That suit you never wear? That purse you never clutch? Those jeans that no longer fit? That blouse you loved but only wore once? Those earrings that were so last year? Bring it all and let it go. And take home a bounty.

Sure, it’s a first world problem to have that much sartorial abundance. But in sharing what we no longer want, we also create more abundance of the heart currency kind.

It’s also a great way to connect -- wine, women, conversation and even an impromptu yoga class, where I individually taught each gal downward dog. And that’s a bit ironic, because my first experience of a “clothes swap” happened years ago while I was training to become a yoga teacher.

We laughed. We cried. We hugged. We talked about everything under the sun, including, of course, sex, penises, vaginas, relationships and all those wonderful thoughts women concoct on an absolutely wonderful “girls night in.”

We thought we were going to make it to the Wynwood Art Walk. But I knew better. I knew that this was a work of art in a social sense.

We gathered together from all walks of life, all ages, giving away cloaks we no longer wanted but that would bring a smile to another’s face and most importantly, sharing part of ourselves while shedding old things – things that we are attached to but that no longer serve us.

One new friend was shy about receiving lavish cast offs. "Why?" I replied. "Go. Take it. Give it love." We were all paying it forward.

My friend N, who generously hosted the evening in her beautiful loft studio near downtown Miami -- and, who incidentally is owned by a feline who took great offense to her practicing “downward dog” on the mat -- came up with a brilliant idea in response to a male-centric post on Upworthy entitled 6 Guys Challenging Decades of Stereotypes Using Only A Whiteboard and a Marker.

The challenge was to find something not so much gender-specific, but heartfelt. We did it, too. We asked ourselves: “What is the most feminine/womanly thing about me? But what also feels masculine?”

The results were interesting!


  • I Catch 200 Pound Sharks and Wear Victoria's Secret Bras
  • I'm Ballsy
  • Courage to Move Into Unknown
  • Nerdy Academic
  • Magic
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Loving
  • Art of Persuasion
  • Obsessive Devotion

Over some laughs, it occurred to me that UPWORTHY was not quite SPONGEWORTHY. Because many of us that night had a tale to tell about a man who wasn’t and a man who was.

 (If you're not of the Seinfeld generation, please click here.)


It doesn’t matter if your pants are too small or too big for the next woman. What does matter that you share from the heart with your beloved friends. Me? I left with a couple of shirts, a cool velvet brown cap, some lovely hoop earrings and some really awesome yoga pants that I needed to upgrade my typical caregiver schmatte wardrobe.

My friends are a bit smaller in bodily size, but their hearts are enormously, fabulously beautiful. My heart swelled larger and was more blessed for the company – the clothes make the man but the heart makes the person – no matter what fabric covers your body.

And no seamstress, no bespoke tailor in the world can stitch up these things that money can't buy.

If you’re in the Miami, consider doing a similar event and donating whatever is left over to Lotus House or Dress for Success. And if you’ve got seriously luxe items, check out Fashionably Conscious.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drumming Joyfully Into the New Year

Coconut Grove Drum Circle at King Mango Strut Parade 2013
My new "drummer" mama. She's also an amazing painter.

I really don’t have any typical New Year’s resolutions this year. Last year was filled with highs and lows, professionally and personally. Becoming a full-time caregiver has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, but that’s another story.

This year, my only resolution is not a thing “to do,” but a thing to experience in my heart, each and every day: JOY.  That’s it.  Simple, unabashed, joy -- to feel joy not just in my heart, but also in my bones, deep down inside at the cellular level.

In the book Eat, Pray, Love, Liz’s spiritual guide in Bali says: “Even smile with your liver.”

Good advice, because so many of us have become accustomed to frowning in our bodies.  Oh, that litany of aches and pains, stemming from hurt, anxiety and depression.

Some days, the pain I feel while seeing my parents decline in dementia is so intense, I forget that the sun shines, that babies giggle, that there is always something new and fresh in the world, like the fragrant herbs and delicious tomatoes I grow in my balcony garden.

But one thing I haven’t forgotten is my love and practice of music and dance, which I rediscovered last year, in spite of everything. This is the year of spiraling upwards into joy, not spiraling downwards into sadness.

No matter what.

Think about it.  We focus so much on the external. The challenges of losing weight, quitting smoking, starting an exercise program or cutting back on drinking – whatever your “bad” habit demons are – all these pale in comparison to the ultimate challenge of living in a state of grace and JOY no matter what shit storm hits you.

Happiness is our birthright.

So for inspiration -- and sheer, glorious fun -- I marched with the Coconut Grove Drum Circle during the King Mango Strut Parade on December 29,  which got me started on the right foot January 1.

During the event, I interacted with the spectators on the sidewalk by sharing my percussion accessories.  I also felt the embrace of a friendly, warm group of people who practice the arts of drumming and dance.

Coconut Grove Drum Circle at King Mango Strut Parade 2013
No shortage of exuberance with this drummer. 

Coconut Grove Drum Circle at King Mango Strut Parade 2013
I think this lady was totally smiling with every fiber of her being.  I want to be her when I grow up.

The Coconut Grove Drum Circle meets on the corner of Commodore and Grand Avenue the first Saturday of every month around 8 PM.  Stop by and listen.  It also coincides with an art walk. A good way to spend the evening, Miami-style.

Sometimes, random passers-by try playing shared instruments.  I once shared a small drum with a little girl who was a tourist in Miami. Her parents nodded in approval and the child gleamed for five minutes. What an experience for her: go ahead, try something new, experience joy.

The circle is so germane to our archetypal consciousness; it symbolizes a space that is enclosed but still fluid, a space that allows for a sense of community that respects individuality.

Irish poet W.B. Yeats once wrote: "How can we know the dancer from the dance?"  Well, we can't. Both are one and the same -- united, in harmony, gliding through the ether.

Movement means joy to me.  Stagnation spells spiritual death. So I’m going to continue to love my new friends, beat the heck out of those drums and shake my booty to my heart’s content.

I don’t just want to smile with my liver. I want to smile out of my sweaty pores, every hair follicle, my retinas -- every fiber of my being. I want to giggle like a baby over something silly.  I want to sing lullabies and funny tunes with my mom and dad. I want to feel the vibration of music in my soul, to laugh like everyone's watching.  I’ve released the past and will drum my way into a new year filled with music, dance and joy.

And love, lots of love.  I'm sure my future husband will love it when I'm smiling, even in my sleep.

What brings you joy?