Monday, December 3, 2012

Fall Into New Beginnings: Determine What's Enough (Part 4)

Enough is abundance to the wise. –Euripides

We have repeatedly experienced events, people, situations and circumstances where it appeared that everyone was on hyper-drive.  The sense of hyper-drive permeated everyone’s ability to fully show-up and be present in a graceful manner which robs us all of joy and peace.  This got us to thinking what could be driving our world’s insatiable view of hyper-drive, hyper-activity, perfectionism and judgmental-ness.

We first began thinking about this post from the quote by Euripides but it also shored up from some books in our library of authors ranging from a well-known interior decorator to a world-class personal coach to a quote by the world-reknown tennis player Arthur Ashe.  We hope this post causes you to pause and slow down for a moment to contemplate, during this holiday season, what is truly enough for you and your family and whether your stress, strivings and anxiousness are due to you reaching beyond what your mind, body and spirit consider to be enough for your own well-being.

Each of us has to be true to ourselves to get that sense of satisfaction in life: true to ourselves in our finances, true to ourselves in how we raise our children, true to ourselves in what career we pursue, and true to ourselves in what our inner voices are telling us.

In order to get to a sense of true-ness, an interior decorator once stated that after half a century of working with clients in their most intimate spaces, she has learned that guiding her clients to a triangular focus of SIMPLICITY, APPROPRIATENESS and BEAUTY allowed them to consistently feel a sense of true-ness not only in their interior spaces but also within themselves.

Simplicity:  style is what you leave out, not what you add
Appropriateness:  shows consideration for the feelings of others
Beauty:  inner beauty reflected as outward grace

When you consider all these three things in your determination of what's enough in your home, how you live your life and how you go about deciding what activities to be involved in, you will experience a simplistic beauty that is also appropriate based on what works for you.

Seek Clarity
Those who have clarity about what they want do not feel as stressed or rushed by the speed of life.  A lack of clarity creates “felt needs” which are emotions we feel as a result of unresolved questions or challenges (as opposed to feelings coming from a healthy place). 

A world-class personal coach who has worked with people all over the world and leaders in many different industries states that there are two main areas in which people never reach a place of clarity

"Not enough time to do all I have to do”- There was once a woman who was asked to create a new program at her children’s school that would revolutionize the way parents interacted with school administrators and even impact her church’s outreach.  Just as she was contemplating whether to lead the program, she had to quiet her ego telling her that she’d get plenty of accolades and compliments from her volunteer work.  She instead focused on how she just got a long awaited promotion at work and needed time to figure out how best to operate with her new duties and she just made a commitment to herself cook healthier, at-home meals and workout since her last health check-up was mediocre.

She ended up declining the offer and even though school administrators were very disappointed, she felt a sense of contentment and purpose because she knew her decision wasn’t a bandwidth problem, it was a matter of focusing her decision on having clarity about what would lead to her personal well-being and knowing she had enough on her plate.

 “Results I am experiencing are less than I want or expect”- Superior results comes from the ability to focus, thus empowering yourself to make a real difference.  Clarity enables you to identify the activities that will directly impact the results you want.

For example, learn to get comfortable with being unavailable.  Learn to feel comfortable with yourself when you escape.  You need time to think things through and listen to your own voice because everyone else has something else in mind for you.  You can’t react to others’ ideas of who and what you are.

Stay in bed when you aren’t even sick, be okay with a messy house if you know you need to recharge and go get a massage, don’t feel guilty if you missed out on a reunion out of state in order to save money for your overdue vacation.  Doing these things will help you think about how your current efforts are not leading you to get the results you want or expect.  Your inner voice will have an opportunity to speak to you and make necessary changes to get better results.

Re-Think Perfection
The idea of perfection is dangerous to well-being…it is killing us.  Let go of the idea that you can be a savior to others.  Live with the knowledge that you have done your best.  Unrealistic expectations leaver you forever disappointed and never reaching a place of contentment in your life. 

Perfection is the death of spontaneity, originality and good fun! People who take risks, who are creative and love to experiment and improvise and make the best of what they have tend to have more fun day to day.

People tend to live all-or-nothing lives.  They tend to swing from black or white, fat or thin, loving or judgmental, caring or abusive…this leaves too little tolerance for their real personality.  Arthur Ashe once said, “You’ve got to be tense when it counts.  If you try to be intense twenty-four hours a day, you’re not going to last very long.”

Don’t impose unrealistic expectations upon yourself…learn to moderate yourself as you go along and hone in on what activities, people and circumstances will allow you to be in a place of contentment with knowing that your blessings are due to you having determined what is enough for you, your family and your overall well-being.

Curva-Lish Team

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall Into New Beginnings: Wisdom of the Ages (60+) (Part 3)

We were absolutely enamored with the responses and wisdom gleamed from the November, 2012 issue of "MORE" magazine.  Specifically, we learned so much from their article on "How Would You Rate Your Life?" which highlights a survey they conducted of 1,200 women who are 60 and older.  The survey asked these women to "share what they've learned about love, work, parenthood and finding their true path."

Disclaimer: no copyright infringement intended.  

We have summarized some of their findings for our readers based on the parts of their results that we believe our global audience will find especially humorous, enlightening, knowledgeable and inspiring no matter what phase of life you are in:

"Having It All" is a crock.

But stop trying to have it all NOW.


You can't have it all- at least not all at the same time respondents told us again and again.  Our survey went up on six months before Annie-Marie Slaughter's controversial and widely publicized Atlantic cover story on the elusiveness of work-life balance hit the stands....But they added, you can-and should- ask for what you need.  Many had been pioneers of flex-time, working from home, off- and on- ramping, etc.  They were angry to see the perpetuation of what one woman called the "huge life" that we can do everything at once, at full throttle, and urged their younger counterparts to explore options that would leave them less stressed and depleted.

81% Said Their Happiest Decade Came After Age 40.
But they stressed that all life stages have their pleasures.

More than half of respondents said they found what they considered to be their true path in life, and more than half of those did so at 40 or later, when they began to trust their instincts and see their potential.  "I finally had the maturity and the wisdom to recognize it," said a women who'd found her path in her forties.  Sometimes the trail was blazed by adversity ("Tragedy brought it to me") and sometimes by serenity ("I had time to listen to myself instead of everyone else").

Behold the bliss continuum, our admittedly broad categorization of what made respondents happiest during each decade of their lives:
  • 20's: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
  • 30's: Marriage, Career
  • 40's: Confidence, Self-Awareness
  • 50's: Freedom! (from kids)
  • 60's: Freedom! (from job)
  • 70+: Knowing What Really Matters

"Balance" Begins at Home- So Enough with the Hovering!
"Although my generation tended to be stay-at-home moms, at least until the children were older, we were quite relaxed about our parenting," said one respondent.  "Kids were not the epicenter of our emotional and intellectual lives.  Overall, I think this is healthier for them.  So I would urge young women to buck today's trend of helicopter parenting and make time for other relationships.  A strong marriage is one of the best gifts you can give your children."

Another advised, "Let the children see how much you enjoy all aspects of your own life both with and without them."

Here are their Top 10 hits--and misses:

Best Thing I've Ever Done Worst Thing I've Ever Done
* Raised my children * Married my husband(s)/stayed in bad marriage
* Married my husband * Displayed personal flaws (impatience, worrying)
* Had my career * Made poor decisions in personal relationships
* Got an education * Made poor career-related decisions
* Maintained close relationships (family/friends) * Wasn’t a better daughter
* Touched others' lives * Got divorced
* Was a good daughter * Wasn't a better mother; didn't attend/finish college (tie)
* Appreciated/stayed true to myself * Had an affair; wasn't true to myself (tie)
* Focused on religion * Wasn't a better spouse
* Lived in the present * Didn't apprecite what I have or who I am

A Nonagenarian Looks Back-and Forward- at Life
Here's what one positively inspiring respondent in her early 90's had to say about life, love, and water-skiing:

Relationship Grade: A Because I have been married to the same man for 65 tears!

Spirituality Grade: A I give thanks to the Lord for all my blessings, which are many.  I pray for my family and friends always.

When did you find your true path?:  After 60.  I was more intelligent by then.

Outside Activities/Interests?: I learned to water-ski when I was a grandma.  I learned to slalom water-ski when I was a great-grandma.  One could say I was in my second childhood!  Last time I water-skied, I was 71.  Someone took a video of me-I didn't fall. When I came to shore, the crowd was waving at me and cheering.

Best thing you've done:  Married a good man; had five wonderful children.

Worst thing you've done:  Now really, I can't tell that-don't want to destroy my image.

You can view the full summary of results at MORE magazine's site by clicking here: "Rate Your Life" Survey Results

You can subscribe to MORE magazine and be inspired by their mission of "For Women of Style & Substance" by clicking here:  MORE subscription

Curva-Lish Team

Friday, November 2, 2012

Curva-Lish Survivor: Mercedes Ramirez-Johnson (United States)

Curva-Lish is proud to begin our series called Curva-Lish Survivor in which we will feature women who, by their sheer will to survive, will inspire women around the world to never give up and use their experience as a catalyst to commit themselves to live an authentic life that makes a ripple-effect of inspiration and impact to others.

We are proud to make Mercedes our first Curva-Lish Survivor feature because her life story is not only one of an unimaginable event at such a young age but is also one in which a key event changed the trajectory of what the rest of her life would become focused on.  

Curva-Lish:  We selected you as our "Curva-Lish Survivor" highlight because of your journey of surviving a tragedy and we believe your life's journey is continuing to unfold in a very powerful way!  Before we start, tell us a little bit about yourself and background.

Mercedes: Thank you so much for selecting me!  I'm a first generation Latina that was raised in a loving tight-knit family in Kansas City. My mother was from Nicaragua, my father was from Colombia.  My older sister was born here in the US, and I was born in Canada.  I was blessed to have been born into a family that loved to travel and experience new things, so I'm grateful for the childhood they gave me with many enlightening experiences. My sister and I were the 1st generation of our family to pursue a college education so we went into it with much ambition and pride. I majored in International Business and met my husband at Northwest Missouri State University.  Now as a working mother of 4 boys (two sets of TWIN boys!) I enjoy the daily challenges of juggling all the blessings God throws my way.

Curva-Lish:  Take us back to that day in Colombia as a 21 year old...what was that day like leading up to the accident?

Mercedes: My parents and I were headed to Cali, Colombia on my 21st birthday to celebrate Christmas and New Years with our family.  I spent the 1st leg of the flight with my mother and then moved to the row behind her to sit with my father for the remainder of the flight.  I fell asleep on his shoulder and remember waking up to turbulence. Without any warning or announcement, the pilots powerfully pulled the nose of the plane straight up and panic broke out in the cabin of that 757 for those 10-15 seconds.  The entire plane was violently shaking and the engines were screeching and grinding.  I was terrified but hearing my mom pray out loud kept me hopeful that everything would be ok.  My last memory was hearing a loud booming sound at the back of the plane, I remember squeezing my dad's hand tight and closing my eyes.

Curva-Lish:  When you were awakened on that side of the mountain that day and during the subsequent 18 hours, what types of thoughts did you have that you can share with our readers?

Mercedes: Once I realized that what I woke up in was a plane wreckage, I had a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts running through my head.  My logic button in my head was turned off so it never occurred to me that my parents may have passed away, I just assumed "If I'm ok, they're ok."  My emotions went from frustration, to anger, to humility.  I spent much of my time thinking about the people that had made a difference in my life who I loved very dearly -- those people that believed in me and encouraged me as I grew up.  I spent much time in prayer begging God to please grant me a second chance at life.  I made many promises on that mountain to make my life worthy of a second chance.  I knew I had a blessed life that I wanted to get back to.

Curva-Lish:  There are many success books and motivational speakers who focus on the mind and how our thoughts contribute to who we are and what we become.  We would like for you to share with us how a person's sheer "will" and "determination" plays a part in surviving.

Mercedes: No matter who you are, we all are survivors (or WILL be survivors) of some kind of life altering/character-making experience.  Whether it's a health crisis, a career failure, a divorce, or a personal setback -- we all have or will face our own mountains that will either break us down or strengthen our resolve to succeed more than ever.   But I've learned that God never gives us more than what we can handle.  As cliche as that may sound -- we all have that inner strength to overcome all the obstacles that come our way, you just have to believe you can as the first and most important step.  Negative or defeated thoughts, feelings or people are contagious -- so always surround yourself with uplifting messages and uplifting people.  Life is too short to allow others to bring you down in their own mountains.

Curva-Lish:  What have you done since this tragedy to turn what could have been a life-ending and no-hope situation into one that has become a platform for your life's purpose?

Mercedes: With the encouragement of family and friends, I went on to a successful career in sales.  I began sharing my story of survival with small groups and eventually I was using up all my vacation days from work to do speaking engagements.  Finally I decided to take the plunge to do professional speaking full time and it has been the most personally rewarding career turn I've ever made.  Presently I travel everywhere from Dubai to Des Moines and everywhere in between doing professional development and workplace safety programs for clients big and small. It's more than just about the plane crash -- it's about the choices we all can make to live and work in a more purposeful and passionate way.

Curva-Lish:  One of the themes we noticed on your website is a phrase that stood out to us: "the second chance".  Can you speak to this phrase for those readers who are currently in a situation in which they need a spark of knowing that there is "the second chance" on the other side of every tragedy, accident and/or circumstance?

Mercedes: I begged for that second chance at life when I was on that mountain and was fortunate enough to receive one.  An important pillar in my life now is realizing that every day we wake up we've been granted a second chance at life.  Whatever obstacles, heartaches or issues you had yesterday have now been given a clean slate on how you choose to conquer them.  If we see each day as a brand new second chance, we can spend our day answering this question:  "What am I going to do with my new second chance today?"  When you see your life on that level, you live your day with purpose, not just go through the motions.

Curva-Lish:  We at Curva-Lish are committed to supporting women by making posts that are inspiring and help women create/develop/maintain their individual authentic lives.  How do you wake up every day and continually stay inspired to make your focus one of survival as opposed to focusing on the tragic event that happened at such a young age?

Mercedes: We have all earned many stripes through the obstacles we have overcome.  It's entirely too easy to slip into focusing on what's wrong in our lives rather than focusing on all that is so right.  My youngest set of twin boys were sadly born with a very rare, life limiting disease (Mucolipidosis II) with a life span of only 3-7 years.  Last week we happily celebrated their 4th birthday.  When my husband and I received this horrible diagnosis it was like getting hit by a speeding truck -- we were shocked.  But we made the resolve to enjoy every day we are given with them, and celebrate what they CAN do, not lament what they CAN'T do.  If I wouldn't have learned my inner strength from surviving that plane crash, I may not have had the strength to face the battle I am currently going through.  Every woman reading this has their own inner strength to fight for what they want, fight for who they love, and fight for what they want to achieve.  Remember the quiet power of water -- it can break through and reshape mountains!  Reshape your own mountains... steadily and passionately.

Curva-Lish:  What is the best advice you have ever received?
Mercedes: My parents used to tell me "Dime con quién estás y te diré quién eres." (Tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are.)  I've learned that the people you surround yourself with can play a big role in your attitudes, your ambitions and your trajectory of your life.  Surround yourself with positive and lovingly uplifting people!  I find myself telling my children the same thing.

For more information on how to support Mercedes and the causes she cares about, go to:

As always, we hope you are inspired by this post to survive and stay positive no matter what current life situation you have overcome, are in or have yet to face.

The Curva-Lish Team

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall into New Beginnings: I Like My __! (Part 2)

The world is continually exposing people's personal lives but may appear to show the "highlight reel" instead of the true real-ness of what it means to build, sustain and reach for life's pleasures, joys, disappointments, goals, stress and moments that aren't so pleasant.

This post is strictly dedicated to help you fall back in love with YOUR life as a new beginning with a different perspective.  In order to find contentment, joy, peace and overall well-being, you have to make sure that you aren't comparing yourself to your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, etc.

To give you inspiration, we LOVE this popular 49-second YouTube video...take a quick look:

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and encouraged yourself saying:
  • I like my family!
  • I like my hair!
  • I like my cousins!
  • I like my house!
  • I like my friends!
  • I can do anything!
Falling into new beginnings first starts with you developing an attitude of gratefulness of where you are and reflecting back on how far you have come to get where you are today.  Everyone loves an inspirational example but don't let that inspiration spill over into making you believe that your life doesn't count and it isn't just as amazing...we guarantee you that there are others that look at your life and think it's pretty spectacular...So should you!

However, we at Curva-Lish also understand that there can be times when you need to adopt new or different habits that may be robbing you of your ability to truly appreciate where you are...we have gathered some resources that we believe will help you create a new beginning:


You Are Stuck:  If you are stuck and need an outside opinion of how to go from where you are to where you are trying to get to, we think that hiring a coach is an investment worth making.  You can find a coach in your area by searching for a certified coach through the International Coaching Federation.  Keep in mind the difference between coaching and counseling...

Traditional Therapy or Counseling Coaching
Pirmary Life Focus A person’s past A person’s present
Subject Focus Feelings Action and outcomes and feelings
Model Medical or clinical, relying on diagnosis of pathology or relationship conflicts Learning/developmental, focusing on attainable goals; positive emotion
Nature of Issue Identifiable dysfunction Generally functional client desiring a better situation through skillful means
Treatment of the Past Understand and resolve the past Understanding the past as the context in which future goals are set
Questions Asked WHY? HOW?  WHAT?
Client Goals
Help patients resolve old pain and improve emotional states

Helps clients learn new skills and tools to build a more successful future; focuses on goals

You Don't Know How to Forgive:  Forgiveness is something that we are all aware that we need to do but have trouble doing it.  We have also found that most people focus on forgiving others (and there are plenty of resources to support you with that type of forgiveness) but what people don't focus on is what it means to forgive yourself.  Yes, you read that correctly, what does it mean to forgive and love yourself.  

You can't change your past mistakes and how it effected your life today so the best gift you can give to yourself is to forgive yourself and give yourself permission to move forward as if you have a clean slate.  You will never fully envelop your life if you don't make a firm decision to not punish yourself or beat yourself up about mistakes you have made in the past whether that was an affair, an abortion you regret, a career mistake, a healthy relationship you ended due to your own dysfunction, etc.  Learn what you can so that you won't repeat in the future but for your own life's sake, MOVE ON.

You Fantasize About a Life That Is Not Yours:  Reality television is entertaining and the number of shows has greatly increased.  These television shows can offer a temporary reprieve from the everyday vicissitudes of life but make sure that you keep that in perspective.  No matter how 'sexy' people's lives look on television or how amazing you maybe guessing that someone's life looks from the outside (whether that is your neighbor, your friend, your association leader, etc.), never try to guess at what you think their perfect life may look like.  

The truth is we all have our own life battles.  Perfection is unachievable.  The people on those reality shows are paid a lot of money to get you to tune in to the drama.

One of our staffers remembers a beautifully talented woman who was well known in her city among society and the various charities that could count on her contributions at their events.  The woman primarily supported domestic violence causes and was an advocate for other women experiencing such abuse.  It was a huge shock to the whole city when she was found dead in her mansion in one of the most prosperous zip codes in the city.  It turns out she had experienced years of domestic violence abuse at the hands of her handsome, wealthy husband.  Think about the outside world her life was perfection and no one (all the staff people and workers of the domestic violence organizations that she supported) saw her secret cry for help being a victim of the abuse she supported.

We could have written many more areas that we hope you can move past but these three in particular were especially important to us at Curva-Lish.

Make YOUR life count and we hope that this post inspires you to fall into new beginnings by falling back in love with YOUR life.

Curva-Lish Team

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Curva-Lish Woman: Carla (United States)

One of our series is "Curva-Lish Woman" which is a highlight of women around the world who does something unique that we believe can give you an insightful idea or inspire you to create or develop something unique in your own life.  It is a part of our commitment to celebrate you and inspire others.

Our Curva-Lish Woman series does not focus only on what the woman does but more importantly: who the woman is (that then impacts what she does).

Curva-Lish Woman Carla
We selected Carla as our Curva-Lish Woman because she is not only a great mother and wife, but is also a kind and gentle-hearted woman who created (along with her husband Rashard), an annual get together called Dialogue Parties.

Dialogue Parties grew out of Carla's need to have an outlet for adult, intellectual conversations while at home raising her daughters.  The annual party has grown in popularity over the years and is now an eclectic group that is comprised of artists, politicians, community advocates, business people, etc.

We are inspired that she took something that was a need in her own life and expanded it to include a great group of people who travel from great distances to be a part of the open and honest dialogue about current events and life in general as apart of a respectful and sincere platform.

Curva-Lish:  We selected you as our Curva-Lish Woman highlight because of your unique idea regarding Dialogue Parties and your overall beauty and kindness to others but please introduce yourself to our readers.

Carla: I am honored to be considered a Curva-Lish Woman and appreciate the recognition.  I am a wife, mother and pharmaceutical sales professional.  I love to travel, spend time with family and recently rediscovered a love for reading.  I am blessed to have a husband who encourages me to make my dreams a reality and the Dialogue Party is a prime example of that.
Carla and her husband Rashard at the Dialogue Party

Curva-Lish:  When you and your husband Rashard began the Dialogue Parties, what were your hopes with how the party would take shape?

Carla: We were hoping to simply bring together a diverse and enthusiastic group of people to discuss current events, trends and issues that impact people of color.  We wanted the event to be organized, yet casual and comfortable so that people could openly discuss their views and opinions on various topics.  Although some discussions were lighthearted, revolving around pop culture, others uncovered deeper issues on race relations, education, health, and socio-economic disparities.

Curva-Lish:  What are some of your plans in how Dialogue Parties will take shape in the future?

Carla:  In 2012, we developed a Facebook page to continue the dialogue year-round.  The goal was for it to serve as a virtual portal for our Dialogue Party family members to share information regarding new perspectives, entrepreneurial ventures, volunteer activities, healthy living, career challenges, personal finance and other topics.  While most of these things are already being done by the audience members, we simply keep those things top of mind in the discussions as reinforcements about their importance and impact on themselves and society at large.

Curva-Lish:  You just celebrated a wedding anniversary with your husband.  What advice do you have for women around the world in balancing the needs of your career, family, and community while dedicating time to your relationship with your husband?
Carla hiking Mountain in St. Kitts

Carla: Although time management helps tremendously with balancing most priorities, dedicating time for your marriage can be the toughest.  You would think this happens naturally, but sometimes you have to set time aside.  Companies outsource all the time, so as a family we outsource certain things so that we can spend that quality time together in other areas.  My advice is to leverage the services of baby sitters, housekeepers, etc. and use that time for date nights, staycations, or quiet dinners.  On a daily basis, you should take a few moments to ask your spouse, "How was your day?" and actually wait attentively for the response.

Curva-Lish:  You have two young girls...what is your hope for their futures?

Carla: After obtaining higher education, I would like my girls to find their passion and pursue their dreams.  They should leave a positive impression on the world and I have been encouraging them to seek their highest potential and expand their comfort/skill sets.  As an example, my oldest daughter now wants to be the next Gabby Douglas and I support her enthusiasm as she pursues her passion in gymnastics.

Curva-Lish:  What is the best piece of advice you have ever received (read, heard or told)?

Carla: A mentor once told me that the only way to grow is to push outside of my comfort zone and embrace nervousness as a sign of that growth.  Anxiety and discomfort are parts of life and therefore, understanding and embracing those feelings are a part of one's development and growth.

Help us celebrate Carla as a woman who is inspiring and Curva-Lish!

If you know of a woman who we can highlight as our next Curva-Lish Woman, send us an email!

Curva-Lish Team