What Makes Me Dance?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

I recently asked myself a question that I heard while watching a French movie,

What makes you dance in the street?

It struck a "chord" with me.

Very quickly, a familiar picture, one that I had forgotten about for decades, surfaced in my mind.

campfiretea.jpg

It's one that used to come to me in day dreams. In it I am sitting with my friends around a campfire. Everyone's sipping drinks and telling stories. Kids are roasting s'mores, laughing.

Then, and this is the crazy part, I reach behind me in the picture and grab my guitar - yes, the same girl who has never held an instrument in her life - and strum. I not only suddenly know how to play, I actually perfectly play Stairway to Heaven. Everyone smiles. Pure magic.

Then, in the middle of my daydream, right on queue, just while I'm smiling and feeling good, FEAR raises its anxious head to remind me, "You're crazy Yasmine! It's too late to learn an instrument. You're a responsible Mom for heaven's sake. Leave it to the kids to play music."

But this time, I was done with fear.

I had asked the question with bold curiosity, and that alone gave me the courage to do what my own children often do. Ignore fear and its bloody rumblings.

So three weeks ago, I had my first guitar lesson. There we were - our inspiring music teacher Emilie Rohrbach, my two kids and I in a circle at home learning the C and G chords.

I cannot describe the wave of joy and curiosity that's come over me since then. I feel like I opened the door to a whole new planet where artists and musicians live, and I never knew it existed! Every song I hear now is like looking through a kaleidoscope for the first time. 

Yes, my fingertips and brain are hurting, and I have to fit in weekly practice (right now we're learning She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5, how fun is that!) But all I know is I'm dancing in the street and LOVING every second!

I feel like a better wife. A better parent. A more alive person!

So....what makes YOU dance in the street?

Go on, ask it. Remember, if I'll be playing Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin one day around a campfire, you can do anything.

How To Reward The Special

Photo by Paul Rysz

Photo by Paul Rysz

I love to give my time, money and compassion to things that are making our world more beautiful and pleasurable. I talk about it in this YMoment: Reward the Special.

To reward the special, you have to start with knowing your personal values. Then aligning your actions with those values.  Here are just three easy examples:

If you want bustling main streets across America overflowing with outdoor cafés full of neighbors laughing and breaking bread together – then perhaps next time your family heads out for dinner rather than drive to a chain restaurant if that’s the plan, walk together to a local family run restaurant in town. Over time, you’ll know the owners by first name, be asked to taste new dishes before they end up on the menu, and, from my own experience, your kids will be invited into the kitchen by the Chef whenever you pop by...priceless!

If you want to see a world with happy farmers and healthier people – maybe think before getting in the car and driving off to a big box store to fill your car with groceries shipped in from around the world. Instead reward your neighborhood grocers or farmers market for its curated, locally grown selection.

If you get a tingly feeling every time you step foot into a bookstore (we must be soul sisters if so) - think twice next time you order books online. Instead grab your bike or running shoes and head out to your local book store. Take time to meet the owner, ask for recommendations, and find out when the next author events are (so inspiring and usually free).  Then enjoy your new book at a local café in town.

I know sometimes these experiences could be slightly more expensive or sloooower paced compared to the fast energy of our culture.  So choosing fast and cheap sometimes over special and pleasurable is perfectly fine.

Just not all the time.

For if we really want a world filled with beauty, inspiration, artists, craftsmen, entrepreneurs...buzzing main streets…people making mundane tasks more beautiful and pleasurable for us.....oh and what about rewarding that little shoe repair man, you know the one, the man who's been in his little shop off the main street for decades and all you can see is stacks of shoes and boots through the window but he always manages to make his way through the piles to greet you with a smile because his purpose and passion in life is the art of mending shoes for people in town, then we must reward the special when we see it.  If not, think of the alternative for our children.

Write down what YOU truly value. Then give your time, money and compassion to things that align with those values. You will feel empowered and happy – authentically happy – every time you reward what is special to you.

PS. For those that read YMoment: Reward the Special and are now emailing me asking the location of this gas station, it's Bridgeway Gas in Sausalito, California. It's a simple place but the loving intention and beautiful music is wonderful (if for some reason you don't hear any music while pumping gas, the owner had told me to kindly remind his employee to turn on the classical music....so you should do the same!) Bridgeway Gas is also next door to my all time favorite café Cibo (another great place to reward some special). Enjoy!

Edible Flower Tea

Photo by Ornella Binni

Photo by Ornella Binni

My new favorite way to relax is making a cup of edible flower tea.

It's so simple. Boil water. Grab your favorite vintage tea cup, yes I think a special vintage cup makes a big difference because it supports a sustainable world (vintage things are about reusing and recycling).

Add a few slices of fresh ginger root or mint leaves or juice from half a lemon to the cup.  Go with your mood. Pour in hot water. Then drop a few edible flower petals on top from your garden. I love German chamomile (shown above). Voila!  Super simple I know, but that's the point. Simple means I do it often.

Here's a nice list of edible flowers. Remember this not just a treat for us, it's good for our world. For when we take time to notice and enjoy our blooming planet, we release positive, compassionate energy into the world. This helps create a world - that I believe one day - will be fueled by this compassion.