F*ck Gratitude! Not Necessarily…

You need gratitude most when you don’t feel grateful.

Sometimes I am the most grateful person, offering praise for all the good around me. But sometimes I say to myself, “F’ck gratitude. You have no idea how hard my life is.” And the concept of gratitude goes right out the window. Sound familiar?

What happens then? Well, I sit in anger, compare, and vacation down the rabbit hole to hopelessness and let me tell you, it’s not a vacay I recommend.

Of course I know better, but you have to actually practice gratitude – no matter what’s going on in your life.

So this first Thanksgiving without Mom is the perfect time for me to use my Jedi powers that I have been cultivating since freakin’ birth and to remember…

Have gratitude for what was.

Di Ana and Lulu

Last Thanksgiving, I changed. I had no expectations and thus, became a daughter rooted in compassion and understanding, as opposed to criticizing a woman struggling with addiction and doing her best with the skill-set she had.

All we can do is our best.

Dress rehearsing disaster destroys gratitude.

I am so deeply grateful for last Thanksgiving because I simply allowed the day to be a great one. And so, on my first Thanksgiving without Mom, I keep this gratitude with me.

And I remind myself that it is a conscious choice to be grateful because life is not amazing at all right now, yet I am choosing to be grateful because you can’t only be grateful when life is amazing.

So this week, it’s simple: I’m sharing my gratitude list with you in hopes that when your life is less than stellar, you can try to make your version of the same.

I am grateful:

For Lulu Pisarri – my mother who told me (on the regular) that I was so loved. I have the maxed out voicemails to prove it.

   ~That Mom raised a remarkable son who is an, off the charts, amazing brother.

   ~For a mom who had close friendships with amazing women and those friends are always there for me.

   ~For Samovar – my childhood dog. He taught our family unconditional love.

For all the Thanksgivings my mother cooked and never bitched about doing the work for holidays. She – legit –  found joy in doing the dishes.

   ~For all the random people Mom invited to our holiday table. I will never remember all your names, but it showed me what the holidays were really about.

  ~That when my engagement broke off, Mom held me as I cried tears I never felt before.

  ~That mom gave me chores as a child. I now, would never think to keep a home without a made bed or emptied dishwasher.

For all the times you said, “Mommy’s got it.” And you always did.

Gratitude allows you to heal. You still feel the loss, but you recognize that you can write your best chapter yet. That’s what this journey has been for me. It all starts with finding gratitude, even in the worst of times- to heal & make life better each day.

So now, I ask you: What are you grateful for? Email me or leave a comment below.

Gratitude allows you to create more to be grateful for.

 

Make Fear Your Bitch!

Fear prevents change.

My greatest fears were buried, but to everyone else seemed so obvious.

And if you never face those fears and consequently never change, then you always have the same problems and challenges. That sucks.

Fear keeps you stuck. And it keeps you “wanting” but never doing. You are not alone. This was me for a very long time coming. I let fear stop me (10 years, to be exact).

But the truth is, fear is part of life. There’s no way around it. I just didn’t know how to use fear to my advantage – how to flip the script, if you will. Because if you think of fear a little differently, you’ll find it’s actually fuel for your dreams…

How?

It’s all here on today’s episode…

And by letting my fears run the show, I found myself saying stuff like…

  • “All the good men are taken.” (Fear made me see no single men.)  
  • “Get out before it goes south, Di Ana. Ya’ gotta be smart here!!” (Fear made me run.)
  • “I am totally fine not having a child. I mean, what’s the point now?” (You guessed it – all fear.)

After you watch today’s video, I’d like to ask you: Can you spot your own fears?

Awareness is the first step.

Once you spot those fears, here are your next steps…

1. Out the Fear – identify the underlying motivation that fuels the fear. For example, mine was the fear of abandonment. Track down your fear and out it (aka share it). There ain’t no shame in fear. So be the 1{1b8452353f42896bd8ebf55a8a274c75db26fb5920388d381817d4330c302a96} who recognizes fear and harnesses to make profound change with it.

Fear is just a map, not an obstacle.

2. Rinse + Repeat –  take courageous action. Do the things that make you feel vulnerable. (For me, it was dating available men, umm…scary, but I do it now and have never felt better.) The more you take courageous action; the more you have the tough conversations, ask for that raise, tell your lover what you need in bed, the less scary it gets. I promise.

Change is scary but living in regret is even scarier.

What will you risk, so you can grow? I want to know. Email me or leave a comment below.

You must risk to receive.

Death & Life in Uber (Humanizing an App)

The meaning of life is not found alone but in connection to another.

7 months ago, I received a phone call from my brother.

“You need to come home,” he said. Something was off. I asked him to put Mommy on the phone. He answered me with a howl of cries followed by the most devastating sentence many will hear but never want to.

Mommy is gone.” Following my screams there was silence as he caught his breath and continued, “There is an Uber outside your apartment. Mommy and I will be waiting for you.”

For the next 52 minutes, my driver – this  stranger – watched as I began the first moments of grieving for my mom’s sudden death – a heart attack after a long battle with alcoholism – a battle she didn’t even realize she was in.

This man listened to my cries. He listened as I began telling stories at a manic pace; how she will never be a grandma – holy sh*t. I wanted nothing more than to have a child and now it would never be the same. How could it be? My thoughts were rapid. Never would she see me be married. Never would I hear her voice again. Never had a whole new meaning for me.

And throughout the entire ride, he was so kind – loving, in fact. I barely knew his name, and yet this person was the first to witness the most painful moment in my life. He even helped me out of the car into the arms of my brother. He supported me the entire time.

And here I am – 7 months (to the day, in fact) in another Uber returning to New York City from my hometown.

I spend most days, for a living, having provocative and purposeful conversations; I pride myself on saying things no one else is ever willing to say. If you work  with me, I hold high potential and require courageous acts to be completed.

My work hits home for me because my incredible mother was incapable of admitting any vulnerability and that ultimately destroyed her.

So as my driver – Zein – and I begin to chat, I share with him my Uber experience – the ride home to Mom for the last time. This prompts him to share a story about his own mother. He moved me to tears and so, I encouraged him to write about it. I awoke the next morning to this tweet…

The greatest gift is a person’s story.  We all have one to share. #UberTalks #DiStyle  

A Piece of Advice from My  Mother That Changed My Life

Posted by Zein Maya II

Three months ago, right after the birth of my beloved daughter, I took on the role of an Uber driver, a firefighter by profession, this job allows me to help pay for the Huggies I’ll be forced to buy for the next few years.  So far, with over 300 trips completed, I’ve enjoyed, and am enjoying the experience.

Last night, a woman named Di Ana sat in the back with her two dogs and shared the last time she did this Uber trip was when her mother died, unexpectedly; this very night the anniversary. I came to learn Ms. Pisarri was an actor-turned-life coach, running a successful business in Manhattan.

By the end of the trip, when the topic turned to having a child (a conversation I never thought I’d have driving an Uber), she reminded me of the best piece of advice my mother ever gave me. She inspired me to share it with you…

As a child, born and raised in the inner-city, it was a common and sad occurrence to see a “baby” pushing a baby down the street in a stroller.  As a teen I attended the kind of high school, that not only had metal detectors and extra guards, but also an entire section that served as a daycare, while all of the young moms struggled with the basics of algebra a floor or two above.  The dads were few and far in between.  At the time, at that age, the overall situation surrounding the ghetto wasn’t something I thought about as sad or deplorable.  It was just the norm.

For my mother, whom has always been socially ahead of her time, this wasn’t normal, or at least should not have been what is considered normal.  From a very young age she pointed out to my little brother and myself the importance of an education, the importance and reward of hard work, and above all, the absolute importance of safe sex.  As embarrassed as I was at the time, it was my mother who bought me my first pack of condoms —  condoms that dried up and “died” from lack of use due to the lack of necessity.  Towards the end of our teen years, my mother was quite possibly the only mom in the projects whose sons were without children.  Her lesson worked, but only too well.

My younger brother had his first child only four years ago.  My wife and I had our first only three months ago.  I’m 39 years old, and my brother is three years younger than me.

My mother’s words worked out so well, she nearly didn’t make it to grandmother-hood.  Her words worked so well, she almost never had the granddaughter she’s been asking for since my mid-twenties, when I was already a part of the work force.

My wife and I reached a fork in the road within our marriage where she was adamant about having a child, and I was adamantly in the opposition.  No matter how well I was doing in my life as a professional, married to a professional, the thought of having children equated what I remembered from my childhood.  As fond as I was of children as a whole, and as much as I love and care and worry about my nephew, the thought of having a child myself was just an experience that was outside of my scope.  Naturally, this caused strain within my marriage.

At a loss for a solution, I called my mother and this is what she said:  “You have to give her a child.  There is nothing more in this world that a woman will love more than her children.  There is nothing more a woman deserves in this world.”

Her words were delivered with a softness, a kindness, and a wisdom that only a mother can have.  As “modern” and “liberal” and as “forward thinking” as I thought of myself to be, I totally understood from whence this so called antiquated advice stemmed.  It struck a chord within me, a chord I could only hear as the absolute truth.  With all of the stresses and the struggle of being a single mom, trying to raise honest boys in the projects of the ghetto, I thought she would see things my way, but with three, short, heartfelt sentences, I knew she wasn’t only talking about the well being of my wife, and our marriage, but of my own well being as well.

After much thought, I decided to join my wife on this journey, and our lives have changed forever.  It’s not only my wife who has discovered the greatest love this world has to offer;  it was me as well.  With all of the worry, and all of the sleepless nights, and the lessening, if not the total loss of superfluous hobbies and other selfish activities, I feel as if the advice I received saved my life by giving it a meaning that only a child can provide, and I will always be in debt to the lady who knew the right decision was to side with my wife.

I love you, mom.  And thanks.

These two Uber rides have been comforting experiences during a most painful few months. For me, and I’m sure for many other urbanites, there are stories to be told.

If you have a story, share it! Let’s call them #UberTalks. It’s important we share these moments of human connection. Because, so often, these conversations are impacting our lives in a huge way and they deserved to be acknowledged.

I will always cherish these moments with these two incredible, sincere men. It has made me realize that Uber is more than just a ride. It’s been about connection.

Our vulnerability is our strength and a hell of a lot more interesting. Look up, take a moment to connect with the world around you.

The DiStyle Law of Attraction

 

You only attract to the level you can receive.

I wanted it, but then when it arrived – I freaked out.

Let’s be honest, my freakout occurred because I never felt worthy enough – the relationship I wanted, the career, the financial security – you name it.

And there is an odd darkness that shows up with this lack of worthiness. I would blame my parents, get super critical with myself, and before I knew it, I had created my own wall of defense. But here’s the most interesting part…

I felt totally worthy of everything I did NOT want.

And this cycle just kept going. Until, I changed my pattern and figured out my own law of attraction…

Watch today’s episode for the DiStyle Law of Attraction.

After you watch today’s episode, I want to know where – in your life – will you begin to receive that which you most desire? Is it in your career, your love life, your body? Wherever it is, begin to know that you are worthy. Email me or leave a comment below.

Worthiness is the path to receiving.

The Other F-Word

Life starts over when you allow it.

I was queen of my own “Vision Kingdom.”  I knew exactly what I wanted, could see it so clearly but was doing nothing risky to create it. I had no clue a certain F-word was sabotaging me and it kept me from starting over every – damn – time.

The word?

F A N T A S Y.

My fantasies fed my dreams when, in reality, I was starving.

My fantasies fed the past, keeping it always on my present mind and, as a result, my present could never really exist. And it felt active but when I looked at the facts, I was still in the same position – ruminating on getting a new agent, new relationship, and a new body, new baby; the fantasy around felt amazing but my reality of actually “doing” it was quite grim.

My fantasies kept me safe and stuck for 10 years. They felt so promising but led me, no where. 

Visualizing is one step but it must be coupled with action to allow for expansion, resolve, or creating something brand new.

Fantasies keep us safe.

Here’s the deal: If you want a husband and a child but he wants to play the field and is not sure about kids AND you fantasize about what could be if only he … ummm, the fantasy keeps you stuck. If your agent or boss hasn’t moved your career forward since Christ was a small child, but you keep thinking he/she will, how many actual days will you give it before you take an honest inventory or sit down and talk to them?

You must ask yourself: Are my choices getting me to where I want to be?

And don’t get me wrong fantasies are useful – essential, in fact. Fantasies create energy around a certain goal. But there are two types of fantasies:

One fantasy keeps us stuck. (we’ll call them “bad” for teaching purposes.)  

One fantasy fuels us forward. (we’ll call them “good” for expansion purposes.)

Bad Fantasies: The visions and dreams we have of something that “could be” but if we really take in the honest data, it is NOT moving us towards our goals. These fantasies remain in the “wishing” phase – sometimes for your whole life.

Ex. You wish you would get a promotion in your job or you “visualize” that dream job you’ve always wanted. You think it’s bound to happen because that’s what you’ve envisioned for yourself. But you aren’t actually taking consistent steps to make it happen. You may put it out there once and if it doesn’t work the disappointment is so devastating you go back to fantasizing, it just feels better.

Good Fantasies: These fuel us forward. They make space for possibility.

Ex. You wish for that promotion. You visualize that dream job AND  you use it to fuel you forward. You take concrete steps – talk to your boss about specific goals you have, you keep on even if your boss isn’t in agreement, you move on cause your fantasy will become a reality. You take risks, manage disappointment, put fuel in the fantasy to start the business you’ve always wanted, etc.

If a fantasy lives with thoughts but no action, all it does is cost you time.

But when a fantasy is coupled with specificity and action that is in line with your values, and is held accountable, your fantasy is extremely useful. It will become a reality IF you consistently visualize to keep hope + take action.

The fantasy is the fuel and action is the movement that creates the dream.

WISHING = wishing.  DOING = doing.  Wishing + Doing = LIVING YOUR DREAM.

So what fantasy might need to become a reality so you can allow life to start over?

Email me or leave a comment below. I want to know.

Nothing Is the Only

 

Nothing is the only.

These past few months have been unimaginable.

From my mom’s unexpected death in April, to a devastating breakup soon after, to my little dog Gazpacho (who has been at my side through it all) having some major health problems, I have had days where I honestly didn’t think I would make it.

And yet, you must keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable…

Allow me to explain in this week’s episode.

In addition to leaving some room for the unimaginable, I also want you to leave some room for hope.

Hope is what allows there to be a next time.

So where do you need more hope? Where, in your life, can you create a next time? Email me or leave a comment below. I always love hearing from you.

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