Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

Soulful Sunday: Life Lessons from Nate Berkus

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I have always liked Nate Berkus. He is adorable. He is talented. But never have I connected with Nate like I did when watching his 2 recent episodes of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. If you didn’t see it, you must!

Nate just moved way up on my list of favorite people much less favorite designers and maybe even fell into the category of spiritual teacher. I’m telling you he is one spiritual dude and I really had no idea how much our life’s philosophies overlapped.


Nate and I are the same age. He’ll be 42 in just a few days, me in four months. And though I have admired and adored him on Oprah and his own show and of course his work particularly when recently featured in Architectural Digest (his images from AD and his website are throughout this post), I just didn’t know how wise he is when it comes to life.

There were so many take-aways from Nate’s Super Soul appearances that I literally took notes. Yes, I’m a geek. My staff got a big chuckle, though they were not surprised, that I finished those two great Nate episodes on my DVR at 1:00 in the morning, with two full pages of ah-ha’s and life lessons.


One of the most lovely things Nate said is that “Everyday is the reason”, meaning every day is the reason to be happy, to live your dreams, to enjoy beautiful things. Everyday is the reason to love. Everyday is a gift.


And Nate spoke about how tragedy in his life has led him to find or create beauty in every moment. This was profound to me. It helped me to realize that in every moment, especially those that I am away from my daughter traveling for work, I need to make it count by creating beauty in EVERY SINGLE moment. If I am going to sacrifice time with her to do my life’s work, then don’t waste it. Not a single moment. Not being sad, being stressed or being less than present for those I am with…Not a moment. And then at home, the most simple things can be beautiful from doing the dishes to reading a book or having a cup of tea. Each moment is only as beautiful as you make it–it is our job to create beauty in our daily existence.

item2.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.nate-berkus-before-02Nate said about himself that he is “behind what (he is) doing 100%”–which to me meant he is 100% in the present and at peace in all that he is doing. He even said he was 100% behind his show going off the air–that it was a relief really because he had gained 20 pounds, was stressed, tired, and overwhelmed with it all. Seriously? I thought this only happened to us women, didn’t you?

This my friends was a HUGE Ah-ha for me as a designer and as a mom. The biggest disservice I can do to my daughter or myself is to not be 100% behind what I am doing. Otherwise, why bother? To travel and be away and not take care of myself and not make it really count is a bad idea. It is my duty to do my best, be my best, and be fully present and engaged with those I am with every day–in the moment. And if I can give 100% to what I am doing while I am working, then I will be able to be proud of my work and bring those blessings home to my daughter 100% when I return. And then I can be 100% present with her. WOW! All this from handsome Nate and there’s more…


I love that Nate also gave himself and all of us permission to love things, material things, and that loving them doesn’t mean we are materialistic. He said things are a part of us, because they remind us of people and moments that we love. So it isn’t wrong to cherish them. I just talked about this in a recent Tobi’s Book Club call with my Mastermind Group and E-coachers because I took the same idea away from Eckert Tolle’s great book A New Earth. Eckert says that we should even enjoy and cherish things while understanding that they are fleeting, so enjoy them while we can, but also that they do not define us—things are not who we are.


Nate’s thoughts that spirituality=art=beauty reminds me of a great talk this Spring by my designer friend Tim Campbell. Tim had the courage to stand up in front of a room in Berlin, Germany of many of the world’s top interior designers and say that he often designs purely for beauty. And that beauty matters. Beauty is important. Beauty makes life better. I think he and Nate share this amazing philosophy and are unapologetic about it. It is not superficial to value beauty. Life is Beautiful.


So much of Nate’s life story is defined by the loss of his true love in the Tsunami of 2004. And since I believe everything, even things that seem horrific at the time, happen for a reason it is amazing to see the “why” behind what happened to Nate. Nate and Oprah put the idea of death and it’s purpose so beautifully—they said “When the soul is done, when it has done its job, it moves on”—but in that moving on, our memories and experiences with the special person give us the strength to be what they would want us to be. WOW! In the passing of those we love comes the strength and even a presence in us that allows us to be all that person would want us to be. What a gift!


When I was recently at an amazing experience with Mastin Kipp, author of The Daily Love, he said “Imagine the people you love (dead or alive) walking into the room right now and saying all the things you need them to say about you” for you to be liberated from your self-doubt. So I envisioned my parents walking into the room and telling me all the things I think they are proud of that I have done, so many of which they have already really told me. And though my parents are still young and healthy and a big part of my life, I realized what a beautiful tool this could be to help us keep going when those we love are no longer here with us. We can still “hear” the loving things they would say about us. Amazing, right?


So ultimately Nate’s message was this…Life is short so “Amp up the volume and get busy living!”


And Nate and Oprah pointed out one of their favorite lessons from both Deepak Chopra and Eckert Tolle which is that “Life will never be what it was. If you resist the reality of what is, that’s where all the suffering comes from.”  So ask yourself…Are you resisting the reality of what IS in your life– your marriage, your career, your finances? Are you hoping that things will go back to the way they used to be? Resisting what is—your reality—is what causes the most suffering. Poignant, isn’t it.


And you know how just yesterday I spoke of Oprah’s question about “What is the gift you are supposed to bring to the world?”. Well Nate spoke of his duty to allow “Creativity to go through” him. He says it is his job to be creative, even when he doesn’t feel like it. It is his duty to bring beauty to the world. I love that!


And finally I felt connected to Nate because of many of his answers to Oprah’s final questions like “Where are you most at home?” He said, “I am comfortable and at home in every space in my house”.  And I so relate. I love my home. And I am working up the courage to leave my current home and move to a new one. Which for me, isn’t easy. But I will create a whole new place that I love and will soon feel at home in our new house. (Nate’s image above from Elle Decor)


When asked where is his sacred space? “The Sea”, he said. Me too, Nate…me too!

Happy Sunday Y’all!


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p.s. Speaking of Oprah, don’t forget to watch Oprah and Bishop T.D. Jakes tonight on Life Class and next week too. I was in the audience of the taping of these two episodes in Dallas last week and trust me, it was life-changing.


Self-care Saturday: Life is Hard, Suck it up.

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Life is hard. We all know that. And I certainly realize how easy I really have it in the grand scheme of things. I have an amazing support system both personally and at work. I have a healthy and happy child. I have a great husband. I am closely connected to my family. I have amazing friends. And I work in my passion each and every day.

But no matter who you are, how much money you have, or how many blessings you can count in your life at this very moment, life is still hard—for everyone. It is hard to find our way. It is hard to stay on course. It is hard to get healthy. It is hard to stay healthy. Relationships are hard. Work is hard. Finding your passion is hard. Saying no to things that don’t align with your purpose is hard. It is hard to grow and reach your potential. It is hard to grow up. It is hard to grow old. It is hard to lose people you love. It is hard to change. It’s hard to step outside your comfort zone to be all you want to be while you still have time.


But at the same time, life is wonderful. Life is full of opportunity. Life is beautiful. Life is a gift. Life is what we make of it. Life is short and now is the time to live our dreams. Life is Love.

It has been a while since I have written one of my “life” posts. You know the ones where I talk about my life’s journey and what challenges I am facing, what is inspiring me, or what life lessons I have learned of late.


I have been going through a lot of change in my life, mostly inspiring and a little bit challenging. A lot of fabulous mixed with a dash of scary. Much of it fulfilling with a pinch of frustrating. But something has been holding me back from writing about it all, even on my favorite day of the week,“Self-care Saturday”. And maybe that’s because I have fallen off the proverbial wagon—the self-care wagon–just a bit. Life has been getting in the way of taking care of me. And when life gets too hectic, I get writer’s block. Or a mental block. Or both! I have wanted to push through it all and put my thoughts on paper  on the blog, but have felt paralyzed–or just mute, really.


Interestingly, I just read this post from my friend Kelley, and she seems to be in a similar place in her life. Her current challenges sound akin to my journey over the last two years. And when you are making big changes it feels nice to connect with others because of shared experiences. Doesn’t it make you feel comforted to know that you aren’t the only one feeling this way–that you are normal? Or if you aren’t, there are other “not-normal” people out there like you. This isn’t the first time that Kelley’s and my life have aligned. And I don’t think that is a coincidence. In fact, I don’t believe in coincidences. I would call it Divine Intervention and the Universe at work.


So it’s no coincidence that Kelley’s post has inspired me to push my thoughts out onto the blog, even if it is hard, because she is doing the same. And she also reminded me that my journey is meant to serve many of you, so keeping it to myself may not only hold me back but may hold you back too.


Earlier today I was listening to Oprah on the radio in my car and she asked this question…”What gifts are you meant to bring to the world”. Do you know your answer? I know part of what I am supposed to do is use my life’s work and life’s challenges to teach others. It is my purpose. It is my duty. It is my job. And one of the best ways I can do that is to write about it all here on the blog.


Not long ago, Mastin Kipp, author of The Daily Love, said he gets writers block too. But he just has to “suck it up and write” because it’s his job. So even though it feels a bit more difficult to write at the moment with all life’s distractions, and even when I am tired, and even when I don’t want to, I will do it anyway. Because it is my job.

Thanks for following along as I once again share my life’s journey with you—the good, the bad and the beautiful. I have so much to tell you…a bit of business, a bit of life and a lot of design. Let’s do this together.

Now I’m off to rest up on what’s left of this Self-care Saturday because I have a lot of writing to do…starting tomorrow. 😉


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p.s.  And speaking of tomorrow, be sure to tune into OWN for Oprah’s Life Class Sunday night for part 1 with Bishop T.D. Jakes. I was in the audience last week in Dallas for the filming and I can’t wait to see it again. The Bishop is phenomenal!

Soulful Sunday: Soul Searching and Simple Abundance

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It’s Sunday and my favorite day of the week. (I know I said that on Saturday too, right?). So I am a rose-colored glasses sort of gal. I’ll admit it. But I do love a great Sunday and enjoying the simple things (like an extra cup of coffee) that come with it.

But Sunday’s weren’t always my favorite. There were many years when Sunday’s brought on a feeling of depression for me. Maybe it was because I didn’t know how to slow down so a slow day brought with it anxiety. Maybe it was because I could see Monday and all it’s obligations staring me in the face. Maybe it was a day that was supposed to be for doing whatever I wanted and the pressure of making it a perfect day was too much. And that pressure made me feel sadness or disappointment or let down in some way. Whatever the reason, or a combination of them, I often had the “Sunday Blues”.


But not anymore. And here’s why…

I have learned to slow down. In the past 2 years on my journey to health and happiness, I have learned to be not only at ease, but in a place of bliss on a slow Sunday afternoon. I have learned to find happiness in quiet moments. I cherish them now.


I also love Sunday now because several of my favorite things happen on this day of the week–the CBS Sunday Morning Show, going to church, Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, cuddle time with my family, cooking at home, hanging by the pool or getting back into bed and reading my favorite books. And oh the list goes on and on…


And it is my gratitude for these simple things that has changed my life and my attitude towards Sunday, and everyday of the week for that matter. I have heard for many years that until we are grateful for what we have, we will never find happiness. And I am proof positive that it is gratitude for these simple things in life…simple abundance, that has helped me find my purpose in life and my true serenity. Gratitude is helping me Live My Bliss!


And speaking of Super Soul Sunday and simple abundance, today Oprah sat down with Sarah Ban Breathnach, the author of Simple Abundance. I bought that amazing book in 1996 at age 24 and it was truly one of the early memories of my spiritual awakening. Simple Abundance was a book that really changed the way I began to look at life.  I was reading it at a time when I was going back to school to become a designer and on a mission to live and work in my true passion. It was the time when I first began keeping a gratitude journal.  Yes, it was 17 years ago and today I practice daily gratitude in part thanks to Sarah and Oprah for introducing me to Simple Abundance.


I pulled out my copy of Simple Abundance today. I haven’t read it in years. It is a bit worn and many passages are underlined and noted. It gave me peace and satisfaction to pull it out today from under the white paper cover I had put on it. And I have already started reading it all over again. I have no doubt that at this place in my life, it will bring me a whole new set of lessons and meanings by reading it again.

And one big Ah-ha that I took away from Sarah’s interview today on Super Soul Sunday is that once again, I realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life. And that there is still more work to do to become even more grateful for all I have in my life right now. And that before I can have more money, more success, and more material things, I still have some work to do so that when I am given more, I will know how to use it all to help other people. Because without gratitude, things are just things.


Sarah has a new book called Peace and Serenity and it’s about finding a path to financial serenity through her story of financial crisis. As Sarah Ban Breathnach so candidly told Oprah…she wasn’t prepared for huge success. She sold over 7 million copies of her book, Simple Abundance, and made millions and millions of dollars and then she spent it all. Every dime. She thought it would always be there. And she forgot to give thanks for simple abundance.

Will you be prepared when your huge blessings come to you? Will you know how to use them for your purpose and to serve others?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some work to do.

Happy Sunday Everyone. Today I am grateful for each of you!


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Soulful Sunday: Life is Short, Practice Gratitude

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I am in the middle of a weekend of total replenishment and relaxation. I have not officially “dressed” or put on makeup since Thursday. THURSDAY!!!! And this is Sunday. I can’t tell you how much my soul needed to be filled. My face needed to be free and my body needed to lay in bed or on the sofa and do absolutely nothing but exactly what I wanted to do!!!!


I have spent hours cuddling my daughter, building tents in the middle of the living room that she could nap in while she recovers from being sick and I have cooked her all sorts of comfort food from beignets, to buttered pasta, to chocolate chip cookies. Not too healthy but full of mommy’s loving kindness. And for me cooking also fills my soul. I’m a Southern girl, for me feeding people equals loving people.


Today, I am bringing this weekend full circle watching back-to-back episodes of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Brene Brown. We have spoken about Brene here before and her amazing TED talk. She is genius and I SO needed to hear her today.


She is talking about so many profound things, but here is what really resonated with me today. Gratitude….Gratitude is NOT an Attitude. Gratitude is a Practice. Did you hear that? It’s not enough to have a grateful heart, but you MUST PRACTICE gratitude. You must tell people you are grateful for them. You must write it down in a journal daily to make it real in your mind and your heart. What is keeping you from PRACTICING gratitude? Stop waiting, you don’t have to be perfect in your gratitude. You just have to be consistent. Remember my post on Life Practice, not Life Perfect? Well start today with Gratitude Practice, not Gratitude Perfect.

Do you know what Brene says is the hardest emotion for people to deal with? JOY! WOW…really? We can’t accept the good things in our life. Sounds crazy, right? But I think for many people, this is true. We can rally around and totally get into the drama of all the challenges in our life. But when Joy shows up we don’t know what the heck to do with it. And Berne even took it a step further. She said so many people live their life not able to accept the joy in their life because it seems too good to be true. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.


I am an optimist, so I don’t really struggle with this as much as some. I love to see the world through “Rose-colored glasses”. But my husband is exactly this. Understandably so, because he lost his mom to breast cancer at age 17. So he has experienced great loss and vulnerability. Brene told a story of a man who went through is life never being too happy or getting too excited because he would “rather be pleasantly surprised than eternally disappointed!” WOW…my husband has been using THIS EXACT PHRASE as his life’s philosophy the entire time I have known him. And in Brene’s story, the man lost his wife in his late 50’s and came to realize that no amount of protecting himself by “waiting for the other shoe to drop” prevented the pain and devastation of losing his wife. So he went on to say that he wasted SO many times when he should have been happy and grateful for the joy and abundance in his life, when he should have been relishing the moment and living in the present instead of wondering what bad thing would happen next. He should have told his wife every day that he loved how she set the table, or how her laughter or her smile filled his soul.


Brene put it this way…”We are trying to dress rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.” But guess what…It doesn’t work. And only gratitude, practiced daily, can help you really experience the joy in your life and survive the pain. I’m speechless…What a gut check for my husband and me!


What does this say to you? Does this give you perspective on what is really important in life. Just yesterday, my friend and Mastermind Group Member Lisa Mende, shared this amazing post on her blog about the last moments with her son, Walker. I know Lisa knows exactly what the man in the story above feels. I know she now cherishes every moment in life with a completely different set of eyes than before. And she struggles with the regret of not living in the moment with her son while she still had time.


So this weekend, as I work to get back on track with my self-care, my meditation practice, my healthy eating and exercise that fell by the way-side with all my travels this year, I now realize that the most important thing that fell by the wayside was a PRACTICE of gratitude and perspective on what is really important in my life. So as of today, my schedule for summer looks completely different than it did a few days ago. Photo shoots are pushed back, work is eliminated or delayed, and the next 3 months while my daughter is out of school will be FILLED with living in the moment with her and practicing gratitude for it all the while.


Will you join me in re-prioritizing your life and practicing gratitude? Will you start today? I said it yesterday and I will say it again…Life it Short.


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