Yesterday afternoon, I was busy rehearsing for a Flash Mob happening in Times Square that evening. The rehearsal, about three hours long, was filled with everyone from Grandmother's to Mom's and Daughter's to even kids as young as ten. We were all donating our time to CREATE JOY THROUGH SURPRISE (company's motto) and inspire the most romantic moment for the soon-to-be bride and groom. Flash Mob America is a spontaneous dance that appears out of nowhere with just one person, grows to hundreds of people then quickly disappears.
The dance was to an up-tempo version of John Legend's "All of Me." Here I was, having never done this before, trying to learn choreography and placement in just a short amount of time. But I wasn't alone. Almost half of the fifty people there were also first-timers. We were split up into groups, and the idea was to walk around Time Square as if we were just on-lookers until our cue (the chorus) played to join in and start dancing. What we didn't predict was... The rain! I hear the music start, I walk towards it, weaving through tourists in the area, I see the finance (he wears a suit and she is wearing a red dress - details we were given at rehearsal) so my adrenaline is pumped.
My cue hits, I join in, beaming from ear-to-ear with no regard that we're all getting soaked from the rain. Then, towards the last chorus, we split in half to allow the parents of the bride walk through and surprise her (she is crying).
Our last move is to drop down on one knee while the groom proposes. But we skipped that one as it was too wet. Everyone is applauding and snapping pictures, and all I could see, between all the umbrellas was this one shot of them kissing (she said, YES!). And just like that, the crowd fades, people fall away and the moment is now just a memory...but a glorious one that I'll never forget!
#thisismyforty#fma #flashmobamerica #timessquare #proposal #shesaidyes #nyc #allofme #johnlegend #FMALove
Tonight, after providing the #livebeats at@lyonsdenpy, I decided to bust out my guitar and sing in the subway car on my way home. Like many New Yorkers, it takes a LOT for me to pay attention to subway entertainment. So, I was prepared for the worst. And sure enough, I enter the train with about ten passengers at Canal Street, pull out my guitar and start belting my heart out to my song, "It's Love" and not one person looked up. Not one. Not even the old lady who I pegged had a heart and would at least smile at me. Nope. Not even her. That's alright, I thought. At least I did it.
The train stops at Union Square and fills up with passengers. I sit down with my guitar still out of its case. A gentlemen leans in, "Hey, I thought you would bust out a song for us," "You really want to hear me sing?" I questioned. "YES! What's your name?" He asks. "Charlene." He turns and faces the packed crowd, "Hey everyone...this is Charlene and she's gonna sing for us." (I couldn't have written this better!). I was beaming.
I sang my hook, and saw everyone's eyes engaged and tapping to the beat. I even saw a few people take off their earphones to listen in. And when the next stop came, they all applauded. I couldn't believe it. What an angel he was. And then I remembered why I love this city. Just when you think you want to give up, it won't let you. It's all in the confidence; the delivery; the heart. And after such an historic day in history...love is everywhere. Never give up.
#thisismyforty #singingonthesubway #lovewins #livingmydream #nyc #nycpride2015
I have a lot of ideas; some of them are great and some of them fall flat...but I'll never know if one is great until I try it out. So, I was inspired by this idea after I went for my first Mammogram yesterday. When you turn Forty, you are required to get this x-ray every year as a screener for breast cancer. As I was in the waiting room, feeling uncomfortable and nervous, I noticed all the other women around me... checking their phones; watching the clock, etc. I thought, wouldn't it be great if someone offered a meditation or collectively got us to relax our bodies, our minds? Wait, I can do that! But, I didn't act on that urge... until today.
I choose Planned Parenthood because I used to go there when I first moved to New York and didn't have health insurance. I remember how nerve-wracking it was to wait there, not knowing what doctor you would get and the crowds of woman coming in/out. So, having some time before my next class, I walked into the Soho location. Here I am again, nerves high, heart-racing...and the biggest and loudest voice in my mind was, "Will they let me do this?"
I took a look at the waiting area; some women were filling out paperwork; others were deep in thought....maybe this isn't a good idea? I thought the best, most rational thing to do was to ask permission by security. "Hi... I just wanted to offer 5-10 minutes of a little yoga/mediation to the women waiting just to calm nerves...would that be okay?" "NO! This is a clinic," he barked. "Do you have an appointment?" I shook my head, No. He looked surprised, "The exit is behind you...you need to leave." I left rejected and a bit emotional. But one thing I've learned about being fearless is I may not always get the outcome I want, but it won't stop me from trying.
#thisismyforty #plannedparenthood#mammogram #meditation #yoga #calming #nyc #yogaeveryday #women #fearless
I am not an alcoholic nor have I ever suffered from any addiction. I share this with the utmost respect of all the brave and courageous souls that wish to better themselves through programs like AA. I share knowing this is a sensitive subject for some and I will not disclose any details of the people in the room, but only of my experience as I perceived it. I share this because I have a desire to learn how we heal ourselves.
I did not ask permission to attend a meeting. I did, however make sure this particular meeting was "open" to everyone. And like the majority of these "acts," I was highly nervous. I kept an inner mantra in my head, "show love, be love" to un-do any of the nerves or negative thinking that would keep me from staying. I was there to listen, without judgment, and hopefully gain some understanding of people that were "seemingly" different than me. As the meeting began, right away I felt comfortable. I really love when people open their hearts and share who they are. And this is exactly what they were doing. I also loved how free they spoke of God, spirituality and their own demons. I loved how self-aware and open and safe they felt while sharing and thus, allowed others to feel, as well.
I just kept wondering why, outside of this setting, are we so scared to share who we really are? Why would it take a "rock bottom" to change perspective? I will never know what it's truly like to walk in their shoes; but I left feeling that maybe...we aren't so different after all.
#thisismyforty #aa #healing #community#perspective #grateful #yoga#yogaeveryday #open #brave
So today, I was going to attend my first ever skipping club adventure through NYC. I show up at the designated spot via FB invite only to find out I was at the WRONG location. People are asking me, are you lost? I decline to answer as I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I am there to skip. So I sit and text with my friend, Trey. "God does not want me to skip with this club." I type. "Well, (he texts) you could look at this as your fearless act"...just as I'm typing the words, "How?" a guy approaches, "Are you here for the skipping club?" How does he know that?!?!? (I'm thinking). "Yeah...I guess they're meeting in the east village," I say. Disappointed, he sits down next to me.
I text Trey, "Someone else is also here expecting to skip." He writes, "Well, you could ask him, I mean that would be FEARLESS of you.." "NO, I can't!" I reply. "I'm Ben...(he introduces himself). "Hi, I'm Charlene...have you been to this club before," I ask. Just as he explains this is his third skipping adventure, I ask if I can video him for a bit. "Mark, is it? Can I interview you about your experience in the skipping club." "Sure", he says. "It's Ben, actually" (I laugh uncontrollably). So sorry. A few minutes into the interview, I'm thinking, this is great stuff. I'm a genius!
And then he asks... "We could, you know, skip together."(I couldn't disappoint a fellow skipper) "Alright, Mark...let's do it!!" And we were off! I was laughing uncontrollably the entire time. "Boy, you sure laugh a lot!" He says. "I think the skipping brings it out of me...(could barely speak that sentence through all the giggling). And there you have it. When life give you lemons, skip your way to the lemonade!
#thisismyforty#theskippingclub #kidatheart #iamfearless#giggles #imoverskipping #makingfriends
I don't think I realized how doing this challenge would make the people I'm closest to feel. I probably just assumed like the incredible response I've been receiving from all of you...that the people I'm closest to would feel the same way. But yesterday, I realized I was wrong.
I had a heart-to-heart discussion with a friend about how she hasn't been reading my posts. She revealed that she is turned off by the idea of "sharing" so much of myself to the public; she'd rather keep those things private and thus, couldn't really understand why I would be doing this. I immediately struck back in rage. Now, this is a BIG trigger for me: feeling misunderstood; unseen as my whole self. It's probably the main reason why I feel so compelled to share my journey; to love all the parts of me: the vulnerable; the silly; the fun; the emotional...everything. So, my anger wasn't just about her not understanding; it was directed at everyone in my life - past and present - who I've felt this from. But I also knew that this "pattern" was showing up in my life again because I needed to learn something.
So, once I calmed down...I really tried to listen to her. I really tried to see it through her eyes, which is a very hard thing to do when your ego wants to keep throwing a fit. She insisted she loves me and all the parts of me...she made it clear she still wanted to know about these stories but just on a personal, one-to-one level. She made it clear that she's happy that I'm doing this even if she can't get behind the way in which I'm sharing. I wasn't able to process it all in the moment, but I just kept repeating: I hear you...I hear you.
It wasn't until this morning, that I had an epiphany. Everyone is on their own journey; their own path of self-discovery and I can't fault someone or make them wrong for not being on mine. And why do I need to be understood by everyone anyway? Can't I love someone and be loved by someone even though we're not necessarily on the same path? Isn't that what real love is? And just like that... another wall was broken down.
#thisismyforty #friends#love #grateful
So, I'm sitting outside in between classes when I had this crazy/silly/very me idea to skip around the city. My first thought (after I was laughing uncontrollably) was there's got to be a group or something that gets together and skips and sure enough, I found one! In the city!
Since I haven't skipped in a really long time, I mean, when was the last time you skipped...on purpose? Exactly. So I figured why not practice by skipping to my next class? I already had my helmet from the whole Citibike situation (which I returned, FYI) so, out of safety (but really, I was tired of carrying it) I put that sucker on! And thus, here you have me, skipping, in a bicycle helmet from Soho to the West Village.
The funny thing is I really thought people would be starring and pointing and shaking their heads in confusion (I mean, amazement!) but NO ONE looked at me! I couldn't believe it? Is it possible that the sight of a helmet-wearing, yoga-attired female skipper is just so ordinary that no one bothers to look? I honestly made it five blocks and almost collapsed. Who knew skipping was such a work-out!!! (I guess the skipping club!)
And I wasn't wearing the proper foot attire. You really need some good shoes to skip. So, I hurt my foot, and never made it up to the skipping club. Oh well. There's always next week. But, I certainly had a fun time while it lasted. Consensus: Skipping is a work-out. Always wear a helmet.
#thisismyforty#theskippingclub #skip #workout #giggles#imakesillylookgood #iamakidatheart
Jump in the fountain at Washington Square Park! Truth: I probably would do something like this if I were on vacation but never in my own city. But that's what this challenge is about...how can I CREATE more fun and spontaneous moments in my everyday life.
So, I took of my shoes and socks off, asked someone to watch my stuff and ran into the fountain. And it felt AMAZING!! I didn't care what I looked like or that my clothes would be soaked... I just felt free. And as I'm writing this, I'm sitting on the grass, listening to live music, letting the sun warm me up and thinking...it feels good to be me. #thisismyforty #fountain #washingtonsqarepark #nyc #spontaneous#free #grateful
Yesterday, I bought the 24-hour day pass and was ready to go. Here's a play-by-play of my internal dialogue as I biked through the city:
Ok, this is going to be FUN!...rules say, abide by traffic laws, stay off the sidewalk and ride with traffic. Easy...I can do this (riding through mostly residential areas) Hmm...maybe I should get a helmet...oh it's okay, I won't go far...oh, look there's another biker, Hey there, cute biker-man...oh, he's wearing headphones, wait, he's wearing HEADPHONES!?!? how is he going to hear on-coming traffic...oh well...his problem, not mine...oh, there's a bell on this bike...how cute...You can ring my beeeelllll, ring-my-bell...wait, pay attention to the road, no singing...oh look, another biker, can I wave...no, just ring the bell, no, that's NOT what it's for....oh, no, I have to turn onto the busy street...where there's CARS and TRUCKS and BUSES?!?!?! NOOOOO, I don't want to go....oh no, here I go....ahhhhhhh, please don't hit me...Oh, look, there's another biker and he's wearing a GUITAR on his back!?!??! HOW THE HELL??!?!?! Wait, that's a brilliant idea....no, it's a terrible idea, are you crazy? OMG...he's going the opposite direction of traffic, that's NOT following the rules, dude...ok, just get me to Union Square, I'll pop into Modells and get a helmet...JUST GET ME TO UNION SQUARE!!!! (I get to Union Square, pop in, buy a helmet, take a selfie and grab a new bike). Allright...now who's looking cute in a helmet and bicycle...haha...Let me try to get to my class at 38th street....Hmm maybe I shouldn't be in flip-flops...oh, I'll zip up sixth avenue...shouldn't take me long....OMG!!! LOOK AT THIS TRAFFIC?!?!....oh, there's a bunch of cyclists passing me...should I go faster? NOOOOOO!! let them pass you...OMG, is that car honking at me? NO, don't look...pay attention to the road...Another Citibiker, without a helmet...Unbelievable....I should tell him about my helmet...maybe we'll be friends...No, just get to your destination. Phew...I made it!!!
Consensus: Citibike, not for the faint of heart.
#thisismyforty#citibike #nyc #crazysexyscary
Day #11 of#40daysoffearlessacts...I don't always have a plan; that's been my "plan" for this challenge. My intention has always been: how can I live each moment more authentically me no matter what the situation or who's in the room.
So, tonight, without a "plan" I showed up to a yoga class. I've been to this particular yoga studio in years past and never felt like it was for me. It's tailored to "the people" and you never know who you're going to get as a teacher; they don't post it. But ever since I've been back from Paris, it's the only studio I've been to...and I love it! I get lost in it; the heat; the crowd; the not knowing; the simplicity; and I just...flow. And I kept thinking tonight...how am I different now to be open to this? Who was I then to be so close-minded?
As I'm having these thoughts, drenched in sweat, I suddenly...TAKE MY TOP OFF!!!! Of course, I had a sport bra underneath but I've NEVER, EVER, in the 10+ years of practicing yoga...done that before. I've never exposed my belly in class. When I realized what I had done...I started sobbing. All these years I didn't know it but I felt ashamed of my belly...of it not being perfect, or wishing it was slimmer or whatever...And I didn't even know it.
So, I immediately started apologizing to my belly...I'm so sorry for being ashamed of you...I'm so sorry for all the wasted guilt I had whenever I'd eat poorly or eat sugary foods. I'm so sorry for not appreciating you as part of me. I'm just...so...sorry. And just like that, belly-exposed and all...I forgave myself and moved on.
#thisismyforty #ilovemybody #ilovemybelly#yoga #yogaeveryday #exposed#nextplease #oprah
These blog posts are part of my #40daysoffearlessacts Challenge. When I turned Forty on June 6th of this year, I decided to STEP-UP my life and created a "40 Days of Fearless Acts" challenge. Follow along as I step out of my comfort zone, do things that scare me, that I've never done before and/or are just plain silly and make me laugh!