et al, Inspiration

Surroundings

This morning I got a letter from the Universe.  I get them every morning. But this morning it resonated with me.

It’s not the dazzling voice that makes a singer. Or clever stories that make a writer. And it’s not piles of money that make a tycoon. It’s having a dream and wanting to live it so greatly that one would rather move with it and “fail” than succeed in another realm. You so have what it takes.

For some reason, it reminded me of that saying ” you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”  Sometimes we need to be reminded what we want to be, how we want to be it and who we want to do it with.

Surroundings

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et al, Politics, Social Media

The Art of the Twitter Bio

I’ve had a little obsession with reading Twitter bio’s for quite a while now.  They are like a down-and-dirty amalgamation of your professional life a la LinkedIn and your dirty, rock-n-roll Myspace page 10 years ago minus the audio. They also lend some serious street cred to your humor, wit and online prowess.  But is it problematic when your Twitter and LinkedIn bio don’t jive? Example,

Terra has a combined 10 years experience in business transactions and contract negotiations in healthcare, pharmaceutical drug development and academic research. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Health Communication with a concentration in Environmental Health Policy. Admitted to practice law in New York (2003) and Vermont (2004).

and

Adirondack Native. Jersey Strong. Yoga + Wellness Junkie. Liberal Feminist + Tree-hugger with a propensity for politics, dirty chai and antiques.

The difference in story telling is glaringly obvious. In one I am power suit and pearls. In the other,  tye-dye and yoga pants sans bra.  Professional. Rebel. Employable. Good-time. Stuffy. free-spirited.  To be fair, my LinkedIn account is  dedicated to networking within my legal and academic worlds while Twitter is utilized for my blogging and often offensive political opinion(s) and commentary.  From a branding consistency pov, this distinction is NOT AWESOME. I am definitely not living my brand, which could cause confusion.  I could lose credibility in the healthcare industry as a lawyer who is a “yoga and wellness junkie” and any of my yoga students, health coaching clients or the political movements that I am active in would be appalled to learn that I have a background in pharmaceutical drug development.  It makes me feel a bit like the female Harvey Dent.

Hilary
#Clinton2016

I have been trying to figure out how to reconcile  my two lives for a while now.  For the time being, I am ok with having one foot in one world and the other, in another. It is going to take time to weave the two together.  Besides, today Hilary Clinton started a Twitter account, of which she refers to herself as a pants suit aficionado and glass ceiling cracker. That’s pretty sassy for the next POTUS, don’t you think?

Is your Twitter profile brand consistent with your LinkedIn profile?

et al, Yoga

Sparks

In 2010, I took a leap of faith. With a severance package and a dream, I created my own thriving holistic health coaching business and actually made a living as a health coach and yoga teacher. In 2011, I joined a yoga-centered t-shirt and printing business, founded a yoga studio and wellness program that served a corporate campus with over 4000 employees and developed a yoga training program.  I worked with 100s of yoga businesses, teachers and non-profit organizations. I learned first hand the dynamics of running a yoga studio, fostering relationships with teachers (and students), organizing events, retreats and workshops, paying bills, developing communications strategy and stifling drama all while maintaining an exterior image of peace and bliss.

On the inside, I was suffocating. I was running myself ragged with teaching, delivering t-shirts, conducting workshops, design consultations, developing web-content and copy, maintaining social media, writing a blog and managing its 10 contributors. I was running three different business models and giving too much of myself away in the process.  I loathed going to our show room to work. I was pissed the showroom remodel was my “wedding present” and  I hated driving to the printers even more. I became disconnected from my teaching and my practice, subbed out all of my classes and gained weight. I was miserable.

In under two years I went from blissful holistic entrepreneur to totally burnt out. 

So I walked away. The time, the emotional investment, the equity. I gave it all up.  It wasn’t worth it anymore. The departure was ugly. I was angry and hurt. I disconnected from my network, revived my legal career  and went back to work. I easily slipped back into my old expertise and within 6 months was asked to present at a national convention in my industry. I am proud, but not satisfied. Being an expert in clinical trials was never my dream, it’s just something I am good at.  I feel lost without something of my own.  In January I decided embark on a Masters in Communication maybe even a Ph.D.  I flip-flopped between environmental, health and feminist communications, desperately trying to revitalize the legitimacy of the ecofeminist movement, but It doesn’t fit like a glove.

I began volunteering for the communications committee of a non-profit organization. I started out as a general volunteer and naturally fell into the role of brand consultant and blog developer. I am in the process of revitalizing their brand identity through color, font, rules and consistency of message, re-designing their blog and creating a content calendar.I spent hours of my free time working on it and loved every single second.  I presented it all to their board and executive leadership two weeks ago and blew them away.

I’ve finally realized, what I loved most about each of the businesses I ran wasn’t the product line or the services. It was the vision, the story and the identity.  The process of helping an organization identify it’s image and voice,  communicate its vision set me on fire. Passion that I had not felt in years was returning. I am in love with communication artistry, the rhetoric of vision, mission and passion.

That realization is the spark, the conception of something new.  

et al, Feminism

Drunk with Satisfaction, #FemFuture

I’ve had the desire to create change [work] for the greater good since I was a child. While in college, this need exploded. Boston has that effect on young impressionable students.  It’s a hot-bed of intellectual, liberal politics. I volunteered for political campaigns, for women’s organizations, environmental campaigns, Rosie’s Place and AIDS Action Committee. My greater good has taken many forms, most of which have been reflected at least once in this blog. It’s  women’s empowerment, environmentalism, health/wellness all rolled into one. It’s why I self describe as a tree-hugging, feminist yogini.

My father used to tell me I was born to work for nothing be a volunteer and “you can’t pay student loans working for nothing.” But to me, working for something always meant more than a paycheck.  Ultimately, it’s the reason I went to law school. I thought I could simply skip out on the “work for free, pay your dues” part of the feminist or environmental movements out there and jump right into a management paid position. Oh how naive I was. There is no such thing as skipping out on the work-for-free rung of the non-profit/social movement ladder. It’s imbedded in the hierarchy of social movement.

For what seems like the majority of my adult life I dreamed of creating an organization.  One dedicated to women’s empowerment, to educating and inspiring and transforming lives of women so they could in turn transform their communities.  My contribution to the world.  That dream is how I connected with my former business partner. We gave it a name, The Odonata Project.  And for one brief moment, it almost came to life.  Sadly, it was set aside due to finances. {You can’t work for free, Terra}  Reality dictates that you have to pay the bills before you can change the world. It’s self preservation. So while the dream now has a name, it still sleeps.

Odonata, the order of the dragonfly, representing transformation

Every so often I stumble upon a woman’s organization that I was not previously familiar with doing the work I think The Odonata Project is destine to do.  I dig a little deeper into their website, connect with their mission and values and realize this one is a little different. It’s not The Odonata Project with another name. {My dream still has hope} I join their mailing list and send them a $10 contribution. Over the years, I have joined too many mailing lists to count and contributed hundreds of dollars to missions centered somewhere in women’s empowerment.  All of them doing the same thing, just a little differently.  All of them struggling. Scraping, begging, fundraising for the dollars for next year’s budget. Dreaming of what they could do if they really had the money.

Last week I read #FemFuture: Online Revolution.  As I read it, I fell a little more in love with Vanessa and Courtney (co-editors of Feministing.com) and the #FemFuture movement.   I am starting to get the idea that the Universe is gently coaxing me into the intersection of feminism and digital media.  While I want to blather on about the awesomesauce that is the #Femfuture report, feminism, digital media and my path, I’ll do it another day. Right now, I really need to highlight the the gem found on page 21: Debating the Non-Profit Model. And of course, they cited a recent Tedx Talk (everything brilliant is run through TedX these days). It’s an awesome talk, only 18 minutes long. Take a break and watch it!:

This resonates with me so deeply. It’s a really interesting piece to my puzzle (for which I am perpetually putting together). Before I left LBG, I was hell bent on making it a social enterprise. I was obsessed with the business models of Toms Shoes and Sevenly. I didn’t (and don’t) believe that business should only be there to make a profit (or simply pay back investors). There has to be a bigger picture.  {I’m a very bad capitalist, I know} We have a duty to give back to our community or to a cause that effects us in distinct, tangible ways. That belief is why I am so married to my NPO dream. It’s why LBG eventually (in hindsight) proved to be so very dissatisfying. Producing tees seemed trivial. To truly thrive, I need to make change. Before I stepped down,  I created a charitable program and forged relationships with three major women’s organizations to cross promote and fund-raise for their cause(s). It put a purpose behind just producing tees for me. (Unfortunately, The program wasn’t a priority for my business partner and since I left the program has not come to fruition).

My satisfaction requires the purpose.

In our culture, the idea that an NPO can make money or that a private corporation should {be required to} give  a certain amount away back is a little earth shattering. Dan Pallotta explained it perfectly in his talk (above) it’s the remnants of our puritan, Calvinist ways. I agree with Dan, we need to get the hell over it.  I am so grateful that I read every word in the #FemFuture Online Revolution white paper and found the tidbit on the NPO model and Dan Pallotta’s Ted Talk.   It has fired me up about my “non-profit” dream, or the evolution of whatever it may become again. Perhaps The Odonata Project  is the name for #FemFuture’s proposition of a strategic plan for the coalition of the feminist movement.

Planning, conspiring, mind-mapping, jamming on ideas to make something great these are the things that make me drunk with satisfaction.

Advocacy, et al, Politics

Question Authority

The hubs and I went for a wog (somewhere between walking and jogging) this morning and I am on my second cup of coffee. I normally only have one, so bare with me… my wheels are spinning.

I feel sick over the events that transpired this week. I’m emotionally traumatized over the wound that was inflicted on the city and people of Boston and disturbed by the reactions of our government and the media.  I am not ok with the imposition of martial law and the cheering in the streets over the capture of a 19 year old boy. It’s like premature ejaculation. Your media blitz foreplay didn’t do shit for me. I have questions and now I am left waiting for something more that I will never get.

We are NOT sheeple

I don’t want to be pegged as some crazy conspiracy theorist, but this is not an open and shut case. It’s just NOT.  I believe in a healthy dose of skepticism, especially when we are being spoon fed facts from the media. I don’t  have the answers, I am not even sure of all the questions to ask. I just know that something isn’t sitting right with me.  Wake up. As a nation we have now have a reliance on fallacious appeals to authority. It’s NOT ok. QUESTION AUTHORITY. There’s a reason that bumper sticker was so popular in the 70s.  Stop drinking the fluoridated kool-aid water.  That boy was tried and convicted in the media. We’ll never know the truth and to me, that is not ok. A little reminder from Bobby:

“It should be clear that, if one man’s rights are denied, the rights of all are in danger-that if one man is denied equal protection of the law, we cannot be sure that we will enjoy freedom of speech or any other of our fundamental rights.” ~Robert F. Kennedy

On a related note of frustration; apparently a significant number of Americans think the Czech Republic and Chechnya are the same place. So many in fact that the Czech Embassy had to issue a public statement. I’m sorry, but are you fucking kidding me?  This is mortifying.  Come on America, you’re better than this. Open a book. Learn something. Travel. OPEN YOUR EYES.

Educate yourself. Inspire others to do the same and we will Transform our community and world.

et al

Boston Pride

Wicked Boston Pride
Wicked Boston Pride

It has been one of those weeks where my emotions are in such turmoil that I simply can’t string together the right words.  I am from New York. I live on the Jersey Shore.  If there were ever a place I called home outside of the the Adirondack Coast, it’s Boston.  I spent a collective 10 years between Back Bay, Alston, Brighton and Southie.  I still say wicked. [So much so that it rubbed off on my mother- it totally makes me giggle when she says it].

My husband is finding it hard to understand the depth of my emotion over the Marathon Day bombings.  He understands the tragedy of the event, the lives lost, the pain endured and the heroes made.  But he just doesn’t get it. Not like I get it. It doesn’t hurt him the way it has hurt me.  I am not diminishing his ability to empathize. But for those of us that came of age in Boston and no longer live there, you know. Anyone that left their youth in Boston understands where I am coming from.

Hand Me Down Night
Hand Me Down Night

I am not usually one that gets nostalgic.  I don’t yearn for the past. I am always about the next adventure.  But right now, I miss my early Boston days. When the city was my oyster. I miss Emerson College and everyone and everything about it. Right now I want to sit at ‘the wall’ chain smoking camel lights, with my sisters talking politics and film.  I want to run up the stairs to Crossroads to play darts with the Phi Alpha boys. I want to got to an RDO party on Friday and follow it up with Theta on Saturday. I want Taco Bell delivery. I want to dress up and go to Hand-me-Down Night.  I want to roller blade home from work, through Copley Square and Back Bay at 2am. I want to wait in line to get tickets to Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Cartoon Festival. I want to catch a show at the Middle East. I want to use a fake ID to get into Bill’s Bar. I want bleacher seats for $7. And I want to end my night with a Guinness Float.  I want everything that makes me feel closer to Boston.

It’s sad that it takes tragedy to remind you of the things you learned, appreciated and loved.  We can’t let these reminders just dissipate when the last news truck pulls away down the Mass Pike.  It’s time to reach out, tell people you love them. Let them know how they touched your life. The time is always now.  We must rise above this anger and violence. Spread gratitude. Teach compassion. Move away from conflict, towards peace. We are in this life together.  Remember that you love and are loved. The only way we can ever move forward is through love.

Marathon Day will always be my favorite day of the year, that’s never going to change. No bomber can or will take that away from me. One day, I’ll bring my husband back to Boston in April for Marathon Day. We’ll have tickets to the game and when the Sox win, we’ll bar crawl our way from Kenmore to Copley…ending at the Parish with some elephant’s walking on eggs.

et al

Three Years….

Three years ago today, I lost my best friend.  Not a day has passed that I don’t think about her. Not a month has gone by without my heart aching and eyes welling with tears because she’s no longer here.  Those of you that aren’t dog owners will never understand. To the ones that are, I don’t need to explain the love I felt for my dog or the soul connection that we shared.

Today I am simply reblogging, remembering and still missing my Cheybees.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Woman’s Best Friend….

Cheyenne

This is a really hard blog to write and I suppose it’s not entirely appropriate for the 3 Healthy Chicks Blog about living fresh and local but I think for any blog to actually reach people, it needs to be authentic. Personal experience lends itself to authenticity and it is also therapeutic for me..so with that in mind I am going to try to actually finish this entry… I’ve been working on it for almost 10 days now.

First of all, let me apologize for my lack of updates over the past 2 weeks. It has been a rough one…..on Monday, February 8th I had to put down my 11 1/2 year old Great Dane, Cheyenne. It was the most challenging, heartbreaking and inevitably selfless decision I have ever made. I am still in the midst of the grieving process and as much as I know it was the right decision I continue to fight the guilt over choosing to euthanize my best friend.

On February 6th, Stephen and I came home after dinner and Cheybees howled, jumped in circles and brought us her huge doggie bone with a silly smile on her face. We walked her and then settled in for bed. When I woke up the next morning, Chey wasn’t in her dog bed, but was laying lethargically at the foot of our bed. I tried to get her up, but she wanted no part of it. I figured she was just being lazy, as she is definitely not a morning dog. I let her sleep for another hour and then got her up.

I struggled to get all 112 pounds of her moving and outside. She’s a geriatric dog and sometimes has rough mornings with her arthritic hips, but could barely walk. I wanted to ignore what was happening. In my heart I knew something was very wrong. We brought her to Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Ex-rays revealed she had bone cancer in her right hind leg. The vet explained, this form of cancer is one of the most aggressive and painful. I could choose to amputate the leg and follow up with chemotherapy or simply administer pain medication for her comfort and let nature take it’s course.

Given Cheyenne was well past her life expectancy, I chose to take her home and make her as comfortable as possible. Stephen and I took her home and carried her into the bedroom. I gave her additional pain medication and she drifted to sleep. I spent the day in bed with her stroking her velvety soft ears thinking about the past 11 years of our lives together. I remembered bringing her home to New Orleans from Belle Chase, LA during hurricane Georges and how tiny she was at 10 weeks old.

Baby Cheybees

She used to sleep on my head when she was that young. And might I offer a bit of advice to new puppy owners…allowing your new bundle of joy to sleep on your pillow on your head is not the best idea. On the third night of this sleeping arrangement, Chey woke up to make her way off the bed and onto the puppy pads but didn’t quite make it and promptly peed on my face.

I loved her anyway.

This beautiful, gentle, loyal, loving and kind being brought so many riches to my life, one blog post can’t even begin to do our friendship and connection justice. She taught me how to be a parent. She taught me patience. And I can honestly say, she taught me how to love with no holds barred. I will cherish every single memory of the time we spent together. Hiking Adirondack peaks, chasing seaweed monsters in Ocean Beach, San Francisco, body surfing in Cape Cod and eating roasted cauliflower with vegan cheese. Who knew a Great Dane could do such things!??

After spending 9 hours in bed on Sunday without moving more than her head to reach up to give me one of her nose kisses, I knew as much as I loved her, I had to let her go. I called my father and asked him to drive down to Jersey from the Adirondacks. By Monday morning she still hadn’t moved from the cozy spot on my bed and I could tell that her pain was increasing and the medication was no longer helping. She looked beautiful, loving…and so very tired cuddling her favorite moo cow toy.

Cheyenne’s last hours…

At noon, I called the hospital and told them it needed to be done soon. At 2pm my father arrived. At 3pm Stephen and my dear friend Tatum came home early from work. The four of us spent the remaining 3 hours on the bed with her loving her up and treating her to a Reeses Peanutbutter Cup. Chey kept picking her head up to look at Stephen. I think she was making sure he was there, to take care of me when she was gone. At 6:30pm my housemate and veterinarian Danee came home. I laid behind Cheyenne in our favorite spooning position stroking her head telling her how much I loved her. She was surrounded by the most important people in her life. At 6:45pm she looked up once more to Stephen, sighed and was gone. I have never felt such emptiness and pain.

I suppose that with each day that passes it gets easier, but the hurt is still so fresh. When I work from home, the spot on the couch next to me is empty. There are no paw prints in the snow in the back yard. There’s no booty swirls or nose kisses. And I don’t know how long it will be before I am able to make roasted cauliflower with vegan parmesan, regardless of nutritional content.

I just miss my best friend.

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I STILL miss my best friend.

It took me over 2 years to make roasted cauliflower again.