A few months ago I invested in a documentary called “Project: Forgive.” I discovered the project on Kick Starter, which is a crowd funding website for creative projects and exciting endeavors. The inspiration behind the project is a man named Gary. A few years ago he received news that his wife Judy and their children, 12-year-old Alex and nine year old Sam, were hit by a drunk driver and did not survive. Gary lost his loving family because of a tragic mistake. Shawne Duperon, the producer of “Project: Forgive” is a dear friend of Gary’s and the driver turned out to also be a friend of Shawne’s. His name is Tom Wellinger.
Gary found it in his heart to forgive Tom. This courageous act inspired Shawne to develop this project so that others could share and explore the power of forgiveness. I will be traveling to Los Angeles in December to see the screening of the Documentary.
Before traveling to California I needed to go to Connecticut to visit my father. I purchased a roundtrip ticket and boarded in Harlem on 125th St, heading for New Haven. My brothers were meeting me so we could see for ourselves how far gone he was. My sister had just flown to Paris and we updated her when she returned. My eyes hurt, my mouth was dry and tears were stalling in my throat.
I texted my husband to tell him I made the train but I was interrupted by distorted sounds of vibrational chanting in Arabic. I looked at the guy across the aisle and mouthed, “What is that?” He shrugged and looked around. I stood up, searched for the source and spotted an old man wearing a grey suit, squeezed between two sleeping women. His mouth was moving and he was holding a metallic device against his throat. There were no plugs in his ears. I don’t know if he was talking to himself, to the women, or simply praying. Devout Muslims often pray five times a day, but this was 10:30 am, long after sunrise.
This guy didn’t care who heard him. His prayers traveled through the train car all the way to Westport.
My daughter texted me as I was frantically searching for my pink headphones:
“Thinking of you Mommy, good luck with Grandpa today. I love you.”
I texted her back:
“Thanks sweetheart, I love you more!”
I was anxious, but I knew this visit had to be different. I tried to meditate, but praying felt more comforting.
Today I will accept everything that is presented to me. I am letting go of all expectations. I know in my heart that my Father loves me. I’m not going to judge him or question him. I don’t know if he’ll live another month, a year or whether even he cares. It doesn’t matters anymore. Maybe today he will understand that his children never stopped loving him. I miss him.
My brothers and I waited in the car for our father. In a distance we saw a frail Man limping with a cane. He looked so small, so fragile. When he reached the car I could feel his fear. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and make him well again. I hugged him and helped him into the front seat. He told us that his knees were in a great deal of pain (he usually has to ride on a scooter). The chronic alcoholism had wiped out all his vitality and belief in himself. Over the past twenty years there have been two interventions and family therapy, and my father has been in rehab three times. The week before my baby brother’s wedding, my Father spent the night in a half-way house.
During lunch my father recounted stories of our childhood. It was as if life stopped happening after 1995. I felt such love for my bothers as I watched them listening respectfully to him. We discussed difficult topics. My younger brother raised the question about my father’s wishes after he passes. He wants to be cremated; no service or memorial, unless, of course, we want to arrange that. The focus of this moment softened. As painful as it is to imagine my father gone, I felt held by my brothers and their ability to honor his wishes. The three of us were paying our respects to our ability to let go and begin again. We are no longer held hostage by how our father’s addiction has harmed or disappointed us. My intentions have changed. I forgive my dad and I have more room to love him.
Forgiveness is a tricky subject for all of us. It requires a great deal of maturity and the ability to let go. Personally, I have found that when I genuinely forgive, I feel a profound release and a feeling of grace. This deep letting go is almost a small near death experience. I am a new person and you are a new person. No more lacerating guilt, blame or stored resentments. Through forgiveness we develop a greater understanding of life and compassion for others as well as ourselves. The first step should be small and make sure you feel ready.
“Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.” --Rainer Maria Rilke.
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My heart was filled with warmth from the message left on my voicemail. It was a shared moment between friends and it was special. Friends are gifts and should be treasured. They lift you up when you are down and they’re always there in the good & bad without expectations…just love.
“Hey Bets. It’s me, Lisa. I am driving down to Albuquerque, and I’m TOTALLY having an “i adore me “ moment, and I wanted to share it with you. I kind of did it consciously, but not with creating too much intention around it. I was getting ready tonight to go to a party, which for me, you know is a big deal, because of my terrible health issues. I’m always feeling like shit, and I look like a corpse lately. I walk around down here in worn out, grungy, sloppy sweats, no makeup and it’s okay, because I’m Bella’s mom, and it’s just her and me. But tonight, something shifted in me and I said ‘NO MORE!’
I got it together and put some effort into me. I took a really hot shower and put some good-old Chaka Chan tunes on. Then I put on makeup and a cute outfit and I feel like the old me, just like I did when we were roommates back at Syracuse. I haven’t felt like this in years. And you know what girlfriend? Just like you always do, my friend, I got it together!
I feel sooo good. I feel like I took care of me today. Mind you, it’s nothing over the top, but I look good. And damn it, you know what? I feel good! I haven’t had this feeling in so long. So I am calling you, my beautiful friend, to share my i adore me moment and to say, ‘I love you.’ It’s Saturday night at 6:30. Call me!”
I listened to her message again and it made me feel so good. Sometimes all we need in life is a shared moment. Maybe you can reach out to someone you love and just share something that makes you feel good. See how it will touch them as well as yourself. You’ll be glad you did. I’ll even bet on it...
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Founder of i adore me
Written By Steven Goldsmith
I have recently begun a process I started 6 years ago, awakening my inner-creative child. There have been many ups and downs along my creative path, and in recent years, much more downs than ups. Because of these downs, I fell into a deep, dark, disassociated sleep. Where was I to go and how would I wake up from this nightmare?
9 weeks ago was my breaking point…literally and figuratively. I had been pushing myself so hard that the universe decided to step in and break my ankle. This forced me to be with myself, be with my thoughts and give up control. I am a control freak by nature and not being able to do anything for myself was maddening. So why did this “break” happen? I just couldn’t figure it out.
Then, out of the blue, a friend reminded me of a process I began 6 years ago that I never completed, and it sparked something in me. It was “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, a 12-week process with lots of writing, exercises and self-reflection. I got through 6-weeks 6 years ago (how appropriate is that?), but couldn’t move past it. I am now on week 3 and loving where it’s taking me.
What I’m getting out of it this time is more awareness. I’ve grown as an individual in my artistry, but the vicious monsters in my head have grown in kind. Somewhere along the line I lost my spark, my drive, my passion and my dreams. Somewhere along the line I lost ME. And now that ME is waking up from this nightmare, I see more possibility than I ever did before. There’s a deeper drive pushing me forward. I know that if I commit myself to this full 12-week process, I will be even stronger than I would have been had I completed it the last time.
I believe everything happens for a reason…good and bad! I am supposed to be on the journey I’m on right now, broken ankle and all. Someone wise (Betsy Karp) once told me that a broken bone represents something that is stuck in your spirit that needs to break free. This whole process has taught me that this is completely true. I needed a “break” from the direction my life was taking me.
It’s strange to think that something so painful could turn out to be so graceful and poignant. It made me stop and appreciate my friends, my family and my dog. It’s made me appreciate the life I’ve created for myself and the love and support that surrounds me. It’s made me be grateful for the clothes on my back, the roof over my head and the food in my refrigerator. Without this break, I don’t know that I would have given myself the gift of beginning “The Artist’s Way” again. Without this break I don’t think I would have appreciated all that I am. Without this break I don’t think I would have given myself the love and support that only I have the power to give me.
Now I’m not recommending you go out there and break your ankle, but it’s definitely a reminder that something seemingly horrible can turn out the be the best thing for you. Who would have thought that this “break” would remind me how important I am? As each day passes I appreciate and adore myself more. As I break through more and more layers of my slumber, I awaken to a much more loving world. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to truly say and FEEL “i adore me,” and because of this accident, now I can. What could be a better gift than that?
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I am teaching a new i adore me coaching program to middle school students in the Bronx. There are a total of twenty-two enrolled in the class. As the students entered the room on the first day, all I heard was, “I really don’t want to be in this i adore me class. What is it anyway?” My heart dropped. I knew once I got them rocking and rolling they were all going to love it, however, it took a little longer than I thought. The kids were loud, unruly and they just didn’t want to listen. Then I took charge. I let go of the lesson plan and lived in the moment. I clapped my hands with a loud force and told the kids, “I have a personal story to tell you.” All of a sudden there was silence. Finally, I had their attention.
I began by telling them who I was and why I was here, as well as what I was going to teach them. I shared with them a personal story of when I was just eight years old and how I learned to oil paint. When I began the story there was silence once again.
“It was really late one night and everyone was sleeping. I crept downstairs while taking my colorful paints and all of my supplies. I stayed up all night painting and created a beautiful picture. I hadn’t even realized that so much time had passed. When it was almost light outside, I realized I had painted through the night. When you have a passion and you find something you love to do, you forget about time. My parents weren’t so happy with me the next day, because I was so tired. I didn’t want to go to school. My parents made me promise that the next time I wanted to paint I was going to have to do it after school or on the weekend…not on a school night. I agreed. I told them I loved to paint. It was my new passion.”
I continued to tell them about what I had done in my life so far and all of the companies I had worked for. When I mentioned Ralph Lauren, the kids screamed, “That is so wild, really you did?” They were mesmerized. I continued and told them that I even had my own line of clothes called Betsy Karp and I sold them in 75 stores. “Wow you are famous!” they yelled out. “Not really,” I replied. “I want all of you to know that we really should never stop learning in life. I went back to school to get a second degree in my early 40’s.” “WOW,” they said. “No teacher ever tells us his or her age. How old are you?” I said, “I am 48 years old.” With excitement, they said, “You are the coolest teacher EVER!!!”
The lesson for the class was based on Passion, “What is your passion? How can you make your passion a reality? What are two of your passions that inspire you to do well in school and why?” These were big questions for middle school students, but they were grasping it. It was incredible. They were eating this stuff up.
I had their attention and it was time to teach them about PASSION, so I asked a few students, “could you please tell me what your passions are? What do you like to do after school? What makes you happy and makes you feel good?”
One of the students blurted out, “I have so much passion, I love to play basketball, and volleyball. I am a great, cool dancer too! When I get older I am going to be the next Michael Jordan.”
Another stood up and said, “My passion is helping my mom make dinner. I love to cook. It makes me happy and I love that we get to eat what I make.”
Their answers were precious. They understood the lesson so well and what it means to feel and have passion. Maybe we should all take a look at how children view the world. They are so open, free and they live in the now.
So I ask you, i adore me readers, what is your passion? Are you living out your passions in your life today? Are you happy? Maybe it’s time to look back in your life and find that thing that turned you on way back when. There is no time like the present. Let these children inspire you. What are you waiting for?
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Founder of i adore me
I’ve been in a deeply rooted relationship with the same Man since 1997. I’m seeing him again next week. We met on Bleeker Street in the West Village.
It was my sister Kelly who initially raved about him and told me that I would love him. I do.
He’s a good Man. An artist and a talented photographer. He understands women, especially neurotic New York women (which he said I’m not ). The first time he stood behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders, I just knew. Then he ran his fingers reassuringly through my hair and told me that I “wasn’t too damaged by the others”. I’m not?
His name is Michael Angelo
. Really. We meet every 8-9 weeks depending on his schedule and never less than three hours. He doesn’t make me wait and greets me with a beautiful smile. I’m handed a silk robe to change into and offered a glass of champagne, tea or anything else I can think of. Michael is observant and sensitive, always noticing the more subtle details:
“Jackie, you still have some warm golden honey tones from the summer. Let’s build on that from your base.” He did.
Over the years we discovered that we both faithfully love our Grandmothers, Madonna and Men. Our three hour conversations cover everything from religion, politics, food, dysfunctional families, our health and of course SEX. I’m usually convulsing in fits of laughter, as he magically highlights my locks. Through all these years we continue to encourage each other to reach for what everyone else may think is impossible. Nothing is impossible.
I followed Michael from Bleeker Street to a new lair on West Broadway in Soho. When my daughter Katie was 9 years old she begged me to bring her to the salon after school because she needed his advice. “Michael what do you think about pink tips?” my daughter asked. He responded without looking my way, ”When do you want them?” “UH, NOW?” He sent his assistant off to Ricky’s to purchase the pink dye and shot me a “don’t you dare say anything look.” He embraced Katie’s individuality and applauded her desire to stand out at PS 3.
While Michael and my daughter were admiring her Pink Tip Transformation, I thought to myself, “They’re only tips, I can chop them while she’s asleep.” I never did.
Michael made his dream come true. He created his Wonderland Beauty Parlor
where all your
beauty dreams come true. His clients walk away feeling gorgeous and confident. He understands the importance of accepting our unique beauty and inspires his clients to Stop trying to be anyone else. Adore yourself for who you are, not what you think you should look like!
I’ve mistakenly strayed in the past with an Uptown Colorist and a bottle of Sun-in, but Michael firmly reminded me while undoing my color catastrophe, that cheating is never “Nice n’ Easy”. To repair a Hair Affair is not fun. Ever.
I am deeply grateful to have this wonderful person in my life.
I don’t usually like to share my Man, but I must. Michael Angelo will Light up your Life too.
See you in Wonderland. www.wonderlandbeautyparlor.com***Please comment Below
Are you stepping up to the plate in your life or are you procrastinating and slacking off? Do you find yourself overwhelmed and being too critical? Which way are you turning?
I just came from seeing Paul Lacoste’s documentary, “Step Up To The Plate.” It is about the renowned French chef Michel Bras and his son Sebastian, who is now in full command of Michel’s restaurant. It was a beautiful display of watching a father and son creating food that is truly an art.
Michel and Sebastian have a complicated relationship. Michel is quite critical of his son and is very much a perfectionist. He wants to teach his son his expertise in creating and preparing food, almost to a fault. The father insists that his son “step up to the plate” and do everything he can to perfect his craft. Sebastian tries to take it all in while having a sense of humor at the same time. He tells his father, as he stares at the plate he has prepared for him, “food is to be eaten, not stared at!“
Life is a combination of stepping up to the plate and doing all you can to be your best. It’s about taking action and responsibility for you, however, there has to be a balance in all that one does. If you are too critical, looking at everything so seriously, how can you enjoy your life?
Isn’t it time to step up to the plate, having fun at the same time? Enjoy what you do and enjoy your journey. Life’s too short for anything else.
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Founder of i adore me
Are you feeling uplifted lately or are you down in the dumps? Who do you turn to when you’re feeling kind of blue? Who gives you that support and lifts you up? We all need support and it’s really important to find people we trust and that we can turn to when we feel sad and blue. So whom are you reaching out to? Who is your support system?
I find that when I’m feeling kind of blue and sad, I can call my best friend and say, “Hey, can I bitch for a second?” And then I’m begging her to make me laugh, because there’s nothing better in the world than laughing. It breaks you out of depression and makes you happier. It works every time. You instantly feel better.
Writing down my feelings and emotions helps to get them out as well. It feels like a therapy session and it's a lot cheaper. Possibly try doing that and see how you feel. Don’t suppress the feelings. Get them out in some way, whether you walk, exercise or laugh with a friend. Once you air it, somehow you feel lighter.
Then there is a wonderful universal law to try. Once you’ve gotten yourself uplifted to a more positive place, share your positivity with someone who is down in the dumps. Reach out and give that person a helping hand or a phone call…just show that you care. One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is reaching out and saying: “I care.” You’ll lift them up as well as yourself.
Take one day at a time. Try as much as you can to be in the moment. Try not to fast forward to next week’s business conference. It is amazing how just by focusing on the moment, everything will take care of itself. Music is magic, turn it on. It shifts your vibration and energy helping you to be more in the now. We need to crawl before we walk and walk before we run, so don’t be in a rush. Take it as it comes, but keep on uplifting your energy and moving yourself in a forward direction.
Just like Gandhi says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It all starts with you. Take that first positive step. Then give back and get involved in helping others and your community. Whether you are a woman or a man, help extend the chain that links all of us together to heal. This is what community means: to share, support, help and give back! You will feel so good to get involved. Just look at how many lives you will help! Now that is what you call being UPLIFTED!!!
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Founder of i adore me
I am teaching a class of high school seniors at a private school in New York.
The class is all girls and each one of them is bright, inquisitive and willing to
share their personal stories. One of the students disclosed how difficult it’s been for
her to keep it together emotionally. She is constantly told that she is unnecessarily sensitive and feels too much all the time. One of the other students responded by telling her that she has the opposite problem. She keeps it together all the time and when she does fall apart, no-one knows what to do for her. Why is it that we are so afraid of becoming undone?
Who told us that we had to manage our moods perfectly and present the perfect persona to the world every day? I was raised by a very positive and loving mother, yet, she also made it very clear to all four of her children that we should SMILE and “nothing’s a problem unless you make it one.” Life is full of problems. We all have different ways of looking at them and navigating through them. Sometimes they overwhelm us and we want to climb under our bed for a few hours or days.
It was one of the most liberating experiences for me to be able to respond to the question “How are you?” with a candid, “I’m not having such a great day.” I don’t expect that person to cheer me up or save me, but for over 30 years almost no-one in my life knew when I was disappointed, scared or feeling depressed. In the past, the way I answered the phone, you would have thought I had just won the lottery. It must have really annoyed people or made them think, “I want what she’s on.” I wasn’t on anything. I was just afraid of revealing what I was going though. I never wanted to exhibit any of my internal discomfort or anger to anyone. Dismantling my pride was like getting in a boxing ring with my Irish ancestors. I would write about it or cry in the shower, but I had self-prescribed emergency brakes for my really sad days. My mantra was "tomorrow will be better."
The one thing I do know is that if we come “undone” and our inner direction is in need of a spiritual GPS, we can find our way back. Most often we do come to a better place. We see differently, we are more understanding and forgiving. No matter how dark we may feel, our pilot light is always on. I adore Me.
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Are you someone that wakes up in the morning obsessing about your to-do list from here to eternity? Or, are you someone that takes a moment and a breath and is grateful for a good night’s sleep, letting the day unfold as it may? I don’t know about you, but the days that I look at the cup flowing over, everything seems to really work out in my day and in my world. See how starting your day with a new, positive attitude will bring about a whole new energy and way to be. Aren’t you excited to start today?
Here are the steps that you should follow to have a positive day: Think One Positive Thought
: So much of our attitude in our lives is decided by what our thoughts are when we wake up in the morning. Coming from a true, positive place will set everything in alignment for you throughout your day. Hug Yourself
: Lately, I have started wrapping my arms around me first thing in the morning, giving myself a morning hug and saying, “i adore me.” This evokes my self-love, that I’m going to be ok and that I’m ready for my day. Mirror Talk
: As you look at the reflection in the mirror first thing in the morning, what do you say to yourself? Are you looking at yourself and loving what you see or are you being harsh and critical on that reflection? It’s so much better when you look in the mirror and say: “I’m going to have a great day today,” rolling up the corners of your mouth, letting that smile just peak through. With or without makeup, you are beautiful…but you need to feel that. Take one to two minutes out of your morning, looking in the mirror and have a positive conversation with yourself about what you are going to do during the day. Take an Invigorating Shower
: The next step to having a positive day is enjoying your shower. In order to enjoy your shower, don’t run your to-do list in your head. Put on some upbeat music and/or just let the essence of the water invigorate your body. Water makes you feel fresh, alive and clean. Let it do its job. Envision Your Daily Color
: Still in the shower, envision what you want to wear and what color is going to be in your day. For example: “Today the color I want to wear is orange to give me courage” (click here to find out how to use color positively in your world
). Then incorporate orange from what you’re going to wear to what healthy orange foods you’re going to put in your body for breakfast, to feeling that sunny nature and the sweetness of the color orange. Immediately you will feel so good. Meditate:
After the shower and envisioning your color of the day, take a few minutes and put on some calming and meditative music, sit up straight in a chair (or upright on your couch) with feet planted on the ground, feel yourself connected to the earth and allow yourself to relax. Close your eyes, take three breaths in and out and allow the moment to just be this beautiful, precious moment of peace. You will not believe what a difference taking these two to three minutes will make in starting your day. Use an Essential Oil
: An essential oil is also a wonderful way to give yourself a positive outlook for your day (click here to find the list of essential oil options
). There is a wonderful assortment of blends to make you feel empowered, relaxed or even to awaken you. The “Awaken”
blend is one of my favorites, making me feel alive. It truly gives me that essence of feeling happy. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
: The last thing before you leave the house is to put some wonderful nourishment in your body. Think about your color of the day and find a way to incorporate it in your meal in a natural way. An example: If orange is your color of the day, eat a piece of orange, an apricot or an orange piece of melon. Have some healthy greens (like spinach or kale) to give you energy and vitamins, protein such as a hard-boiled egg and a fresh piece of fruit. This gives your body energy, brainpower and a wonderful way to start that positive day of yours.
So now that you have a wonderful list to start your day, follow these steps. See how great you’re going to feel: the positive change you are going to bring into your life and the people you will meet. Aren’t you ready for that? *Please comment below and share with your friends.*
Founder of i adore me
Today YOU are writing this blog! I’m making YOU do all the work. For everyone who participates, I will give $10 off any session of your choice
. Comment below and write 3 things you are grateful for and one act of kindness you will do for someone else today. I’ll start:
1. I am grateful for my assistant
2. I am grateful for the emotional support from my family
3. I am grateful for my friend Miriam who volunteered to help me at my big event at the FOF Beauty Bash Act of Kindness:
I am packing up some of my old clothes to send to my friend in California who had all of her clothes stolen from her car while she was moving. (for a bigger challenge, do this for 21 days…it takes 21 days to make a change)
Betsy Karp Now You…