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Shared Humanity

Funnily enough, it was while watching Titan Theatre Company's fantastic and bloody Richard III this past Friday night that led me to start thinking about compassion and the fact that we as humans always have far more in common with each other than we think.

There is a scene between three of the powerhouse women in the show where enemies realize their mutual grief binds them together and puts them as members of the same club.  They don't exactly put their differences (or, you know, blood feuds) behind them and become best friends, but they relate to each other as fellow human beings.  It's an amazing scene of grief, reluctantly shared humanity, shared desire for vengeance, and ultimately human connection.

The idea that people on such polar opposite ends of a spectrum - again, blood feud - could have a moment of commonality is always striking.  These days, we all too often are ready to be divided amongst ourselves and to disconnect from others on the opposite side of a debat…
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Monday Mantra

My favorite meditation technique has always been, without question, the use of a mantra.  In life, I'm pretty much always talking, reading, or writing.  I love words, and they have a much more powerful effect on me than trying to focus on a visualization or reflect on an idea.  In addition to (or in place of, sometimes) New Year's Resolutions, I like to find one word or phrase to use to help shape my thoughts, goals, and actions.

So - I have a lot of mantras floating around in my head.  Some are just handy reminders that I can think of during a stressful time, and some are more like life mottos for myself.

Recently, this one popped into my head:

"Everything is a blessing."
After a day which had started out easy and peaceful and dissolved into, I believe the technical term is, a bit of a shit show, I made it through a last minute change in plans which I had allowed to stress me out unnecessarily (which I sadly do all the time), I thought to myself that things had actua…

Laura Runs & Eats

Happy October!  Even though it's already been fall for a couple of weeks, it hasn't really felt like it i NYC.  After this stunner of a weekend, though, and the turn of the calendar along with the turning of the leaves, it definitely feels like fall is here.  Fall is, for me, the best running season of all.  The cool, crisp temperatures, the gorgeous leaves, the blessed reprieve from humidity, the slow and steady breakout of colder weather clothing - in honor of it all, today's entry is totally running-focused!

I've had a bit of a stop-and-start start to my 5K training.  I'm continually paranoid about re-injuring myself, yet also tend to be inflexible toward altering my running schedule.  I'm doing my best to force the former side to overrule the latter, so I've had a few days where I've skipped a run and replaced it with swimming or biking at the gym, or just strength work incorporated with some jump rope and hated burpees.  It's a constant challen…

Book Report - The Four Tendencies

I have loved every one of Gretchen Rubin's book since I first read The Happiness Project about seven years ago.  She's a meticulously detailed writer and researcher with a very easy-to-read style that's a cross between research paper and personal diary.  Her work on becoming happier and habit change has been profoundly influential in my life, and in a way that feels much more realistic and accessible than some of the slightly more extreme books out there, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  (Good luck getting us to purge that much)

In her book Better than Before, Rubin unearths four tendencies - a somewhat looser term than "personality type" - a framework that identifies people based on how they respond to both inner expectations (like keeping a New Year's Resolution) and outer expectations (like meeting deadlines at work or school).  I was not at all shocked to learn that I, like Rubin, am an Upholder - and apparently we are a very percentage of …

Transition (a search)

Whether or not you have a hard time falling asleep, I'm sure you've heard the same advice many times over the years since electronic devices have taken over our lives - no screens for an hour before bedtime.  It's a rare human being that actually is able to follow this, in my experience, but we all get why we should be doing it.

So many people who have a hard time winding down for bed, or who have a hard time transitioning their mental/stress state from work to home, struggle because there is no clear divide or boundary anymore between the different facets of our lives.  Work, the news, engagement with others via text and social media, all permeate any and all attempts at setting boundaries and divides between the two of them - but these boundaries and divides are crucial for our mental health.

During last weekend's amazing Brain Gym course, I noticed a lot of little things about myself that I wanted to adjust or improve or get help with, and one of them was a seeming …

The Magic of Brain Gym

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about Brain Gym yet!  That is absolutely bananas, and also sort of great because after a few years of incorporating the little bits and pieces I learned from Shari (founder & director of Karma Kids Yoga and the only boss I've ever had with whom I've also done crazy things like the pose on the right, which she named "fart neck"), I finally took the "Brain Gym 101" course this past weekend to learn more in depth about the what's and wherefore's.

Brain Gym is a lot of things, but what it is primarily is a way to facilitate better learning through movement.  Although it started in the field of education and helping children learn better, everyone can benefit from it.  You may be reading and writing just fine, but do you have a situation where you struggle to communicate your needs clearly to a partner, a friend, a co-worker?  Do you struggle with random bouts of unexplained anxiety that you struggle to release…

In which I blog about blogging

Everyone's been asked this question at some point - "What did you do for fun as a kid?"  Often the question is asked in an attempt for you to find your one true passion so that you can follow your bliss for your job and "never work a day in your life."  Or it's sometimes just asked to help guide you toward a valuable hobby that will bring you joy.

For me, the top answer that springs to mind is always writing.  Yes, I also had a deep and abiding obsession with movies, and I could spend hours playing with Barbies, but writing has been a consistent love and passion for as long as I've been able to do it.  I loved coming up with my own original stories, creating fanfiction before I even know the word, writing movie reviews (my former dream job, before the Internet made the profession way less common, important, and relevant), and even just straight up transcribing things I loved just for the pleasure of typing it and recreating it.  I've kept a journal …