Friday, October 28, 2011

What price do you pay for Authenticity?

The price we pay for authenticity may seem high, but who among us can truly afford to continue living as a spendthrift of the self?
                      Sarah Ban Breathnach

I recently read this in a meditation book called Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  It was a book I purchased many years ago and I continue to read it over and over again. Its words of wisdom are timeless and I never tire of it.  There is always some gemstone I glean each time I read a passage.

As I pondered these words, I asked myself the question, what price have I paid to be my authentic self?  Mmmm... well.. here is a sampling of how I have paid to be true to myself

                    I dared to delve a whole lot of money into renovating my home after a house fire.  In retrospect perhaps too much, but I love every minute I spend in my home and it is truly the warm and comfortable place in which my family and friends love to come to.  I am still paying for that decision but it is one I will never regret!

                    I turned down a job after a year and a half of unemployment, nearly losing my home, because I knew I was meant to be a writer and the job would have required all my mental energy.

                    I have spent a lot of vacation time, many days with very little sleep and a whole lot of money birthing my novel into a published work.  I am not quite there yet - but I will stay the course.  I am meant to share my book with the world.

                  In the last year and a half,  I have spent five days a week working out at a gym with a trainer. Yes, this is money I could probably have saved. However, my goal to be as healthy and fit as I possibly can be is more important to me. My goal was to go from a size 10 to a size 6 and I am happy to tell you that I have exceeded that target and I am now a strong, size 4!  Although some days, I am sore and very tired - I stay the course because I know my health is worth it!
 What are the prices you pay to be true to yourself?

I would love to hear them! Please share them with me by sending me your comments.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron

So, I haven't written a blog in several days.  I felt I needed a break from pushing myself so hard.  I am editing my first novel,blogging, learning to "tweet" ( I love that expression - it makes me laugh!), working out five days a week and the list goes on!  Yet, I found myself thinking about it all the time.  I actually missed it!    Its almost as if writing these blog posts are becoming my evening pages. 

I write three free-hand pages each morning. I learned this practice of "the morning pages," from Julia Cameron's book called "the  The Artists Way.  She has been a writing inspiration to me since I embarked on this journey some six years ago. For any of those that are aspiring writers, photographers, painters, carpenters..whatever your craft.. I highly recommend her book.  It is truly a creative persons bible.  As I began my blogging journey once again this evening, I struggled with what to write.  What do I have to say that is worthwhile even writing about? And I thought of the one who first inspired me.  I thought to myself - I wonder if she is on Twitter?  I promptly signed onto my Twitter account and typed in her name in the search area.

                                                         And there she was. 

The woman who has given me such solace when I wanted to quit writing.  The woman who assured me that we all go through writers block.  The woman who knew what it was like to think that the world might not like your work.  And tonight as I once again experience a lesson in perseverance,  continuing the edits to my novel and wondering what is the best venue for my book to be born to the world... I think back to the woman who has helped me through every step of this journey. 

If you have not read any of her work, perhaps now is the time.  Not only has she written The Artists Way, she has also written several meditation books which are my steadfast bedside friends, Transitions, Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life and Answered Prayers, Love Letters from the Divine.  Enjoy!  

Thank you once again Julia, for coming into my thoughts and life when I need you most..With Love and Light, Kimberley

Monday, October 17, 2011

How do we Follow our Heart's Passions?

"I'm stuck" a stranger said to me.  "And I think its my career."  You are a life coach?  And I quietly replied, "yes."  She proceeded to reiterate something she discovered on a test she had taken.  The outcome of the test was supposed to suggest certain pathways of interest.  However, when she said it to me, I didn't see the glimmer in her eye when we speak of what truly makes our hearts sing. 

I looked at this woman who sincerely wanted to fulfill her inner self.  What was my little morsel of advise I could give her in this chance meeting when I only had a few minutes of her attention I thought to myself.  And my inner voice knew what to say.  I looked into her eyes and I said to her, "forget what all the books and tests say, tell me what your passion is? " if you were to get up in the morning and do whatever makes you truly happy, what would that be?"

How do I know this?  I know this because I have pondered these same questions in my mind over many years myself.  And I have some wonderful role models who have been instrumental in my life's journey. 

I will take the time to tell you about a few of them....

I have a friend who runs an apple orchard in Upstate New York.  Not only does he grow apples but he grows peaches and apricots as well.  One day he introduced me to a "donut peach."  I watched him as he described the peach and how it tasted before he handed it to me.  I saw the passion in his eyes.  It's as if he went right back to his farm and was looking at the peaches as he nutured them before they were ripe for the picking.  And then, he introduced me to a Sweetango apple and with that same proud look in his eyes, he handed me the piece of fruit.  He is truly dedicated to his farm and is an inspiration for those aspiring young people who have the earth in their bones and desire to plant.

Check out Zingler Farms fruit at the East Aurora Market in East Aurora, NY on Saturday mornings.  And ask for Mike.  I am sure he will tell you all about Sweetango apples and how they are grown!  Here is an article about his philosophy and how the farm started.

My friend David is an architect in Boston, Massachusetts.  I have had the amazing opportunity to watch him rebuild a house from the foundation on up and design every last detail of every room.  I have fond memories of watching him draw the fireplaces for each living room by hand on the back of a napkin!  Let me tell you, this was no chicken scratch either! Oh and then he drew the detail of the railings and banisters for me over our second cocktail! I was awestruck by his talent.  Not only does David design these incredible homes for people, he also writes music and plays the piano.  And yes, he also draws.  His love of music feeds his soul and his desire to create beauty for others shows in his custom built homes.  I have been an observer of a friend who has gone after his passion in spite of the down turn in the housing market, despite the struggles he faced, no matter what hurdle he had to get through.  He has truly been an inspiration to my creative career as a writer and designer.

Please check out Davids architectural and musical work on his website.  I believe you will find it as breath taking as I do!

And then there is my friend Diana Augspurger..she started a closet design business 26 years ago and it has been going strong ever since.  Diana is one of the most down to earth, nicest people I have ever met!  She was a nurse, a loong time ago.  Her mom owned a high-end women's boutique clothing store and I think Diana had the same type of "bug."  Diana is so very customer friendly, you feel like you are talking with an old friend when she comes to your house.


These are three of many people who have motivated me to follow my passions.  They get up every day and love what they do for their customers, the community and themselves. 

So, did I say the right thing to this stranger who crossed my path?  Yes, I think so.  I hope that she and I meet again and perhaps I can help her follow her true passion in life.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Priceless Value of Friendship

How can we put a price tag on friendship?  We cannot.  The value is immeasureable.  Lately, I have had so many moments of reflection of how abundant I am in friendship.  These are the people in my life who know me more intimately than I know myself sometimes.  They are the women who knew I had been crying hours before, and are there to pick me up and go dancing, just to get my mind off the troubles that worry me.  They are the people in my life who believe in me and my dreams, even when those dreams seem so distant yet so close.

My friends are those that are there to laugh until our stomachs hurt and to call you at the last minute for a quick marguerita to catch up.  These are the women in my life who I feel bonded to like elmers glue.  Some have been my friend for over 15 years and some just nine months. There are friends I shop with and some I dance with, some I bake cookies with.  There are some I could talk for hours with about spirituality and others I share dating disaster stories with!

 My friends are not only female friends, but close male relationships as well.  Perhaps sometimes we women don't always take the time to appreciate those special male friendships.  These are not men we are necessarily dating or sleeping with, they are men who truly just want to be our friends.  They dance with us until the we hours of the morning, they buy us roses from the man who walks into bars selling them (who are those people anyway? lol!), they tell us "he is a jerk , anyway, you don't need him!" when we are crying over a breakup and they are there to tell us how beautiful we are when we don't necessarily feel that way.  I think the hit TV show "Friends" exemplifies this connection the best.

And then, there are those friendship bonds between a mother and daughter.  How do I even begin to explain the complexities and nuances that make this relationship as precious as a diamond? My mom and I talk everyday sometimes three of four times a day.  Hearing her voice on the other end just makes me feel like "home."  She is the woman who taught me how to walk, how to talk, how to put makeup on, introduced me to my love of creating beautiful things - fashion, interior design, beautiful pieces of writing and the lyrics of a meaningful song.  It is she who filled my childhood home with holiday memories and it is she who taught me how to set the world on fire!  Special thanks to you Mom! You have made me the woman I am today!
Mother and Daughter

So, the next time you sit back and realize that you haven't connected with a certain friend for awhile - call them! squeeze in an hour for a drink or coffee.  Savor this connection. That hour is worth so much more than that 60 minutes!  After all, when we lay our heads down at night is it not the relationships in our lives that make us feel loved?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Faith as small as a Mustard Seed

When I was a little girl I had a small, glass necklace formed in the shape of a heart with a mustard seed inside of it.  I remember wearing that necklace quite often and remembering the bible verse that tells use that if only we had faith as small as a mustard seed, we could move mountains.   I had a very close and strong relationship with God at that time in my life. As an adult sometimes I wonder if that child-like, innocent faith that I once had has been diminished by the experiences of life.   Have I forgotten that close relationship I once had with God/the Universe/Source, whatever people choose to call the Higher Power?

I think somehow, with all the great teachers I have studied in college and the many books I have read since then, that perhaps I have forgotten the teachings of one of life's greatest teachers. The teacher who taught me he would never leave me nor forsake me, no matter what.

I find myself at another challenging crossroad in my life and I feel that my mind and body are too tired to get back in the boxing ring with Rocky and fight my way through it.  I find that the "still small voice" that speaks to us in times of great despair, saddness, worry ... has whispered to me.. Remember me? Remember when you were little and I told you "if only you would have faith as small as a mustard seed, you could move mountains?"  This is as true today as it was then, my child.  Trust and Believe, have faith.  "All is Well and I am handling it, you only need to have faith as small as a mustard seed!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Return on Investment of a Personal Trainer

Every once in a while I ask myself whether or not I should discontinue utilizing the services of a Personal Trainer and save myself some money.  Perhaps I could "do it myself" now.  Perhaps I can create my own workouts and cut out new exercises from fitness magazines and bring my binder to the gym.  And then I think - are you crazy? You won't do that! You won't take the time to design your own work out routines and commit yourself to lifting weights on your own!

Personal Trainers create accountability for us.  The create routines for us, they monitor our progress, they advise on how we can meet our goals and they become your confidant and friends.  I have hired a Personal Trainer for over a year and a half now.  The progress has far surpassed the goals I set out to achieve!

I set out to go from a size 10 to a size 6. Instead, I went from a size 10 to a size 4 in about one years time!  I went from a back that could barely sustain a set of sit-ups to performing planks on a ball and actually looking in the mirror to see abdominal definition.  I had never,ever seen that on my body in my entire 48 years of existence! Hahaha! A friend at work even said " Kim, you can see those arm muscles through your sweater!"
I couldn't believe it myself.. I felt stronger then ever and it only took about a year.

So, how do I justify this investment?  I am much healthier.  I sleep better.  I have so much more energy.  I feel more confident inside.  I love the way I look in my clothes.  I feel better mentally.

Is this worth paying out that money every month? In my book it is!  A typical ROI formula speaks to the return we get for our investment.  Aren't all those things that I just mentioned a great return? Those things keep you out of the doctors office, because you are less apt to have cardiac disease, cancer, diabetes, depression.  The list is endless.

Understand that I too, still have days where going to the gym is the last thing I want to do after a long workday.  But, I go.  I go because my personal trainer is waiting for me.  I go because he has a busy schedule and needs me to be on time.  I go because I know I will feel better afterwards.  I go because I love looking at those size 4 clothes in my closet and I never, ever want to see a size 10 in there again!

 A special thank you goes out to my personal trainer - Jeff Bavisotto at the BAC at the Boulevard Mall for keeping me on track and motivated! I owe you such a huge debt of gratitude Jeff for helping me reach my goals.

To all the women and men out there who are struggling to reach their health and fitness goals, I would highly recommend hiring a personal trainer.  After all, aren't you worth it?

P.s.) Sorry ladies, I don't have a picture of my trainer to share with you! lol!


Designing Warmth into Your Space, A Tour of my Home

What does your house say to people as they walk into it? Sleek? Modern? Traditional? or Does it say " come, sit, take your shoes off and curl up on the couch with me.  That's what I wanted my house to say to my friends and family when I was designing it.

The kitchen was to be the soul of my home.  Contemporary yet cozy.  It is here where my family comes for holidays ,birthdays and "whatever days."  This is probably my most favorite place in the house because it reminds me of everything that is dear to me - creating food that people savor and enjoy, laughter over several glasses of wine as all of us cram into the kitchen,  feverishly trying to prepare the turkey, the potatoes, the acorn squash.  The smells of Christmas cookies baking in the oven..Intimate conversations with friends...

Won't you join my family and friends and I for dinner?

The dining room was definitely not to be ordinary and I did not want a rectangular table.  I wanted a circular table in which all could feel a sense of closeness.  Afterall, doesn't a circle symbolize unity and a sacredness?

My family and friends gather around this table so many times throughout the year and each time, it is a memory in the making.  Did you notice the light fixture above the table? It is truly one of my favorite "pieces" in the house.  It looks like artwork when it is lit up and the color changes when you turn it off.

And then there is the second floor, my personal sanctuary.

I wanted to create a feeling of calm. A retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the main area of the house. The office space would be a cheerful place where I could create books, designs, or whatever else came to mind. It was especially important for there to be a corner for me to study or relax with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.  And I wanted a master suite with a walk-in closet and adjoining bath.  This space was to feel organic, zen like yet warm, soulful and contemporary.

What do you think? Did I achieve my desires?  Please take a walk with me up to the second floor of my house.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my home.  Has it inspired you to create your own dreams? I hope so.  Please send me an note on facebook if you would like my assistance in creating the space of your dreams.  I would be happy to help: