Confetti & A Lucky Penny

Last night I was cleaning up my desk/ kitchen bar/ bookshelf and I moved a few things out of the corner to dust behind a few notebooks.   When I pulled the books away this is what I found:

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What’s so special about a heads up penny, confetti, and some tickets from Taste of Key West you ask?  To me it’s special because these items, randomly yet perfectly placed in this tiny cluttered corner, served as a gentle reminder that messes aren’t necessarily a bad thing; many times, and hopefully all the time, they are the aftermath of a good time.

Growing up our house was always tidy and generally my mom was what I call a once a week cleaner.  Every weekend we all had a room [in addition to our own] and had to clean it before we were allowed to do anything else that weekend.  The caviat to the deal was that once the room was clean we were supposed to maintain it for the week; it was a good concept, in theory.  I was in middle school when mom started in with this child labor stunt and I despised the new routine.  I begrudgingly cleaned my assigned room with my teenage chip on my shoulder while my sister Kate relished in the “bonding time” we had while dusting or cleaning baseboards.

The only time we that I can remember immediately having to clean up was after dinner, my sister and I always had “dish duty”, which I would try to avoid at every cost, every night.

Some of my fondest memories growing up are making homemade play dough with my mom on snow days or breaking out my Snoopy Sno Cone Machine during the summer.  In middle school I was known to host a pool party or two, one may or may not have ended in a cupcake war.  The tradition continued during high school, we always had kids at our house. Over the years things have been broken, stained, you name it it’s probably happened at my parents house.  There were a lot of messes and a lot of memories.

Inequalities;  life is full of them.
Here are some hints to help conquer the messy ones.

Conversation > Cleaning
Instead of cleaning while you are in the middle of enjoying the company of your family, friends, refocus your energy to the conversation that is happening amongst you.  Participate!

Memories > Messes
Memories are like the door prize of a good time.  They are free and something that only you take home with you.  No one’s memory is exactly the same.

Now that I am an adult and have my own apartment I continue with the once a week cleaning (of course it isn’t hard to keep this tiny place tidy but I can tell you that the baseboards in my house are as spotless as they can be with a husky in the house!).  I also keep up with the McGuire tradition of entertaining regularly.  Usually it’s just one or two people, for conversation and occasional porch wine.  Whether it’s two people or ten, dishes and glasses inevitably pile up in the sink, and most of the time they wait until the next day (or two) to be cleaned and put away.

I could go on and on about all the philosophies I’m proud and thankful to have learned from my parents, but sticking with the theme of this post I’ll just mention two:  1. I’m thankful that my parents taught me to focus more on the memories than the mess and 2. I’m thankful that my parents chose conversation over cleaning (and if all else fails to dim the lights and light some candles to hide the dust, (no one’s doing the white glove test at your house, are they?!)).

Have a great day and may all of your messes today be as inspiring as scattered confetti and lucky pennies!

Reflections: It’s Been One Hell Of A Year

I remember it like it was yesterday; it was October 11, 2013 and my whole family was in the Outer Banks, North Carolina celebrating my cousin Hillary’s marriage to her soul mate Nick.  I was supposed to be there, but instead, I found myself walking around my neighborhood with my dog asking myself one question:  Krystal, what the f*** are you doing?

If you’ve ever asked a woman how old they are chances are they answered with “29”, so naturally when I turned 29 I thought that it was going to be my year; after all, I had Key West on my side this time.  I had just moved back to the island and into the Girl Cave.  So anyways, 29 was going to be my year, aaaaaaand then my sister died.  And as if things couldn’t get shittier a guy I dated for years got engaged.  So there I was, drowning in grief and single.  It was seriously like someone had taken a machine gun to my ego.


Overboard, one of the greatest movies of all time…
Annie: “Dean, how old am I?”
Dean: “29”

Now I’m going to try to put my “aha moment” into words so try to stay with me here… note the date above, October 11. I was born April 12, 1984; so October 11th was exactly one day before the 1/2 way mark of my 29th year.  I don’t know what it was that made it click but I literally had a light bulb moment on that walk.  I realized that my 29th year wasn’t even half way over, and if I made a conscious effort to change I could still salvage the year and make it my best ever.  So that I did.

Please refer to my previous blog post, Any Day Can Be Day #1 for more inspiration on fresh starts…

The first thing I did was download a shit-ton of spiritual self-help books; sounds cliché but I had nothing to lose.  Then I tuned into Super Soul Sunday on the OWN channel and got to work.  I started taking notes about my thoughts and behaviors and started looking for the good in everything.  I started a gratitude practice where I made sure to focus on the people, places, and things that made me most happy and I started writing in my journal again, religiously.  The results were astounding.

I literally became my thoughts.  I became a genuinely happy and grateful person and it’s pretty awesome.  Another pretty cool side effect to being happy is losing weight.  Once I got happy, I mean genuinely happy, my body just changed, it was so weird but I’m not complaining.  People in my life started to take notice of my spiritual/ emotional/ physical changes and it felt pretty damn good.  So I just kept the ball rolling.

Since last October I’ve made so many changes in my life but the most influential change I’ve made came within the last few months.  August 1st I started going to a Buddhist Sangha twice a week and introduced meditation to my daily routine.  The effect that silence has on your mind and body is hard to put into words but its calming effect is unmatched by anything I’ve ever done before (including pot).  Meditation has helped me tremendously with my anxiety and now when I don’t make the time for meditation in my day I can physically feel the effects.  Crazy!

If you are interested in starting your own meditation practice I recommend signing up for a FREE guided mediation lead by Deepak Chopra.  It is a 21-Day Meditation Experience that you can do at your leisure whenever and wherever you would like, try it out, whattaya got to lose?!

I could seriously sing from the mountaintops about how awesome my life is and how happy I am living it and if you don’t feel that way about your life I suggest making a change. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to count your blessings, not your problems.  Everyone had hardships, it’s how you handle them that counts.  Being happy starts with yourself, once you get that down the rest just happens, like magic!

So Happy Super Soul Sunday and cheers to new beginnings and happiness!