paying attention

Buddha, San Francisco, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

Whatever we pay attention to thrives.

I had the pleasure of seeing Momma Zen at a reading in south San Francisco this weekend. The talk was called the Zen of Parenting, and that one idea is what stuck: “Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What you pay attention to thrives. What you do not pay attention to withers and dies.”

That’s pretty much all we need to know, right? Karen?

What I’m paying attention to these days:
– Ben, who is truly the apple of my eye.
– My body, I’ve been sugar and dairy free for two weeks! (a little experiment)
– My marriage, to the awesomely creative, hilarious and whip smart Matt Passmore.
– The online class that Jen Lemen and I are creating (we will announce in a few weeks!)

Yep. I think it’s true.

What are you paying attention to?


Our dance

ballerina girl, Alameda, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

I saw a high school rendition of High School Musical last weekend. With my soft spot for musical theater, I was excited to go. It was under the auspices that I was supporting my friend whose daughter was in the show, but the truth is that my inner twelve year old really, really wanted to be there.

As we waited for the curtain to open, they played old Michael Jackson tunes on the sound system and it moved me more than I anticipated. Crocodile tears poured down my face when I heard the words to Man in the Mirror… the lyrics seeming so poignant suddenly. 

I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life,
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

But it didn’t stop there. I was choked up for the entire two hour show, wiping away my tears as each dance number came to a close and those bright little faces beamed out at the audience. I don’t even have a kid up there! I thought. What are you crying about?

But I was thinking of Ben up there dancing one day, with all that joy and hope in his eyes. I was thinking of myself up there, remembering the musicals I had done in junior high school, and how I practiced so hard each day memorizing the words to every song in the production, not just mine. I remembered when I was Maisie in The Boyfriend and there was a scene where I was supposed to kiss a boy named Noah and how terrified I was, having never kissed a boy in real life before. We never rehearsed the kiss but had sworn to each other and the director that we would do it, no problem, in the actual show. In the end, he left me up there alone for our big moment, having bolted backstage too scared to go through with it. I waited a few heart stopping seconds for him to come back, and then relieved, ran offstage as well.

As I watched, I remembered and felt the excitement and promise that performing at that age felt like-the feeling that you could do anything, that anything you dreamed was possible. I also remembered, like a bolt of lightening, that I was a dancer and a singer, that somewhere deep inside me was still that girl who loved to cartwheel, sashay and sing out loud. Life covers up so much of that essence, that distilled sense of who we are. When I look back, it seems so simple and clear, so easy to see all of her.

And for a moment, while watching High School Musical, I remembered, that she is still me.

P.S. The LUCKY winner of the Orla Kiely bag is: Robyn who said, “It’s so lovely! I would love to fill this bag with all of my little treasures.” You will be getting an email soon from All About Cute! We are all very jealous. ;)


Summer Giveaway: All About Cute

We have another giveaway folks! And it’s a good one… Especially if you are an Orla Kiely fan like me. The stylish online boutique All About Cute is offering up an Orla Kiely handbag to one lucky winner! (pictured above) If you are in the mood for a girly treat, All About Cute is the place to shop. The owner, Juli, has the most exquisite taste and her love of of color and pattern always inspires me. 

More good news:

All About Cute has offered a secret coupon code to all superhero readers:
Just enter the code “summer” to get 40% off any item in the store!

A big thank you to Juli from All About Cute for being so generous!

Giveaway Guidelines:
– You have until 9pm PST on Friday, June 26th to enter this giveaway.
– Just make a comment ON THIS POST to enter.
– One entry per person, please. (Just push “post” ONCE and wait a few seconds. The comment should appear)


down with to-do*

My delicious Ben, not sleeping, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

I am a bit of a mess today. One of those mornings when you wake up with a start at 5am with your list of everything UNDONE in your life flashing before your eyes. This is rare for me, so I decided to get up and just get to work, hoping that getting some things under my belt would help relieve that feeling, but it didn’t. As the coffee started to kick in and the emails began to mount, my to-do list kept growing.

And then I remembered. This was the precise feeling I had yesterday afternoon as I rocked Ben. It was one of those nap times where you are desperate for that child to sleep, and as you rock them you are thinking about all of the things you will accomplish while they nap. You count on those precious two hours to yourself, right? And then of course, after nearly an hour of trying to get them down, they are up officially, not sleeping, and now crabby because they are still tired.

In that moment of pure exhaustion and despair I realized the very bad news-I was never going to get enough done. There would always be more to do, I could always have done it better, and the idea that after x, y, and z was done I would feel satisfied, well that was never going to happen either. Because after that, I would notice what a disaster zone our house was, or that my site could really use a facelift, etc.

It is a neverending cycle.

I cried when I took that in. The gravity of that feeling of not enoughness hit me hard. If this is how I am going to live my life, I thought, then what’s the point? There is no joy in this.

As I shared these thoughts with Matt this morning, he echoed my feelings. It seems we are all in need of a paradigm shift. He said something I really appreciate, “If we’re not loving the process then what are we doing? It’s not going to get better at the end of this list, because there is always another list. There is always going to be more so the trick is to love the tasks as much as possible.” Which is another way of saying, let’s love each moment as much as possible. I can see how simply doing what’s in front of you, with as much mindfulness and joy as you can is a piece of the puzzle. Maybe we should trash our to-do lists and create some to-be lists instead.

I would love to hear your words of wisdom people.

And the winner of the photo session from Thea Coughlin’s is Shawn who said, “I must have vaulted from your blog to hers at some point and loved her pictures-images. so count me in…i’d love to get some great shots of family!!” Congratulations! Thea will email you soon.


Sponsor Giveaway: Thea Coughlin Photography (in Albany, NY)

For summer, I am launching a series of sponsor giveaways! and I am delighted to kick off the series with the talented Thea Coughlin’s photography.

As I pored through Thea’s blog looking for images to dazzle you with, the only hard thing was choosing just one! I am in love with her tender, romantic style and found myself wishing Thea had been closer by when Ben was a newborn. It’s such a classic shot, but that one of the dad’s arm holding the baby in a football hold brings me to tears every time. Well done, Thea. You are rocking these mamas worlds and giving such a sacred gift to these familes.

One lucky winner will receive a Spring Fling Mini session and 11×14 mounted print! Thea is of course on the east coast, so if you are not able to visit her there, she has generously offered to make the gift transferrable. (Imagine being able to gift a friend or family member a session with her!)

Giveaway Guidelines:
– You have until 9pm PST on Friday, June 19th to enter this giveaway.
– Just make a comment ON THIS POST to enter.
– One entry per person, please. (Just push “post” ONCE and wait a few seconds. The comment should appear)