Sing Peace: The Power of Positive Intention

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Our scene opens to an Amphitheater. Its Grandparents Day and its my son’s first year at this Montessori School. I am excited to show my Father in Law and his wife how AMAZING this school is. It’s reputable accreditations, top notch facilities, child led education model, etc. Then the kids come out. They get in their positions for a song. Then the music starts…

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way ’round the world

Light a candle for me, light a candle for you

That our dream of peace, will one day come true

Sing peace around the world.

Goosebumps. Tears.

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I am utterly inspired by this song that my son’s Montessori Primary class is singing. Mesmerized by the message, I soon forget about all the impressive outward characteristics that the school offered. They, in front of my eyes, are showing me that they are teaching the kids about world peace.

What a notion! Light a candle for peace? Is it really that simple? Can I really believe that me lighting a candle for peace for all, will be enough to actualize that peace?

Yes, the power of positive intention is exactly that. Amazing, untapped, raw, power. 

“This morning, in this room, these children are using their power to change the world.”

<Andddddd……scene>

Many folks ask me whether or not I’ve heard the latest on local, national, or world news.  The many tragedies that happen daily, the “government’s latest screw up” and “this party is responsible for the demise of all humankind”. For those who absorb and feel energy,  frequently called Empaths, these types of things go beyond effecting just their thoughts. We feel this sort of devastation viscerally, which is why it can be hard for us to stay “up-to-date” with current events. It physically and emotionally hurts….quite literally.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes with constantly being bombarded with the negative things that go on in the world. It is not that we wish to remain ignorant, it is that the physical and emotional pain of feeling it becomes too much, and we must protect ourselves from it in order to live our best life.

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I know, kid. I feel it too.

Within the last ten years, I have developed a ritual that helps me feel the power of proactivity within what feels like a muddy bog of the energy of today’s world. When I feel taken by the overwhelming feeling of the worlds tragedy, I stop and light a candle. This grounding technique helps me to send up a prayer of protection for myself and the world. I take one moment to speak aloud my intention for that day. “I intend to live today happily and in gratitude” or “I intend to offer a feeling of peace to all whom I encounter.” Walking in that truth, I believe, has the power to effect maybe even ONE person. If I can effect one person, then the ripple effect can begin.

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I feel as though it is safe to say that most of us have heard of the Power of Intention. Ever heard of the book, The Secret? Oprah has!!!!

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Whaddup Oprah’s Book Club List?

The book explains that in the theory of Quantum Physics, everything has an energy; including thoughts. If we think about all that we have to be grateful for, we tend to open our hearts and minds to attract MORE of the same. This goes both ways. Both negative thoughts AND positive thoughts attract one another. Relying on this can have profound changes on one’s life. Simply speak your intention until it ultimately becomes your reality. In the book, that can mean financially, spiritually, romantically, or anything you else can imagine. We are, in essence, limitless.

After all, we’ve heard this same notion since we were littles ourselves.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.” 

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Nice one, Jimminy. Thanks.

And why the heck shouldn’t they? If we are all individually powerful enough to make this happen,

imagine the potential energy of the collective?

The mountains of positivity that things like The World Kindness Movement can move.

An example lies in yesterday’s stresses I faced.  For me, they were almost too overwhelming for me to function. Money, parenting, and hormones (TMI? ah, lighten up;))got the best of me. So today, I woke up with the intention that I would feel nothing but butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows. (photo below) I even dressed the part as a reminder. Needless to say, I had an amazing day today in that I could see the good, the fun, and especially the hope in all the things that had stressed me the day before. Had I not intended to live differently today, I would have most likely felt the same stresses take me over. Silver linings are just that. Shiny lines in the proverbial sand that let us choose whether to stay on the side the negative, or to choose to see the positive.

There are ways you can get yourself involved bringing kindness to the world. The Random Acts of Kindness Organization has plenty of ideas, lesson plans, and even motivational quotes to help you on your way. If you’d like to keep it simple, then just smile at a stranger every now and again. It is said to be hella contagious:)

Or, be like this kid,  Maurice Adams, Jr..

We can all learn from Maurice. Well done, good sir.

Finding Your Wolf Pack

Sometimes, life catches up with you and items on the “to-do” list get relegated to the “to-do later” list. We ladies at Lockers To Littles all happened to have one of those weeks this week. Supporting each other over the last couple decades has been what led to this blog in the first place and we’re not stopping now! So we are giving ourselves a break this week to focus on family life.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In place of a new post, we decided we couldn’t possibly give better advice or inspiration about finding your own tribe and supporting each other than Abby Wambach’s commencement remarks for Barnard College (Original Post courtesy of Barnard College Here, pictures added by us). Take it in and tune back for Friday’s special summer kick-off post!

Abby Wambach, Remarks as Delivered

Greetings to President Beilock, Barnard faculty, trustees, and honorees: Katherine Johnson, Anna Quindlen, and Rhea Suh.

And to each of the 619 bad-ass women of the Barnard graduating class of 2018: Congratulations!

Doesn’t it feel like the second you figure anything out in life, it ends and you’re forced to start all over again?

Experts call these times of life “transitions.” I call them terrifying.

I went through a terrifying transition recently when I retired from soccer.

The world tries to distract us from our fear during these transitions by creating fancy ceremonies for us. This graduation is your fancy ceremony. Mine was the ESPYs, a nationally televised sports award show. I had to get dressed up for that just like you got dressed up for this, but they sent me a really expensive fancy stylist. It doesn’t look like you all got one. Sorry about that.

So it went like this: ESPN called and told me they were going to honor me with their inaugural icon award. I was humbled, of course, to be regarded as an icon. Did I mention that I’m an icon?

I received my award along with two other incredible athletes: basketball’s Kobe Bryant and football’s Peyton Manning. We all stood on stage together and watched highlights of our careers with the cameras rolling and the fans cheering—and I looked around and had a moment of awe. I felt so grateful to be there—included in the company of Kobe and Peyton. I had a momentary feeling of having arrived: like we women had finally made it.

Then the applause ended and it was time for the three of us to exit stage left. And as I watched those men walk off the stage, it dawned on me that the three of us were stepping away into very different futures.

Each of us, Kobe, Peyton and I—we made the same sacrifices, we shed the same amount of blood sweat and tears, we’d left it all on the field for decades with the same ferocity, talent and commitment—but our retirements wouldn’t be the same at all. Because Kobe and Peyton walked away from their careers with something I didn’t have: enormous bank accounts. Because of that they had something else I didn’t have: freedom. Their hustling days were over; mine were just beginning.

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Later that night, back in my hotel room, I laid in bed and thought: this isn’t just about me, and this isn’t just about soccer.

We talk a lot about the pay gap. We talk about how we U.S. women overall still earn only 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, and black women make only 63 cents, while Latinas make 54 cents. What we need to talk about more is the aggregate and compounding effects of the pay gap on women’s lives. Over time, the pay gap means women are able to invest less and save less so they have to work longer. When we talk about what the pay gap costs us, let’s be clear. It costs us our very lives.

And it hit me that I’d spent most of my time during my career the same way I’d spent my time on that ESPYs stage. Just feeling grateful. Grateful to be one of the only women to have a seat at the table. I was so grateful to receive any respect at all for myself that I often missed opportunities to demand equality for all of us.

But as you know, women of Barnard—CHANGE. IS. HERE.

Women have learned that we can be grateful for what we have while also demanding what we deserve.

Like all little girls, I was taught to be grateful. I was taught to keep my head down, stay on the path, and get my job done. I was freaking Little Red Riding Hood.

You know the fairy tale: It’s just one iteration of the warning stories girls are told the world over. Little Red Riding Hood heads off through the woods and is given strict instructions: Stay on the path. Don’t talk to anybody. Keep your head down hidden underneath your Handmaid’s Tale cape.

And she does… at first. But then she dares to get a little curious and she ventures off the path. That’s of course when she encounters the Big Bad Wolf and all hell breaks loose. The message is clear: Don’t be curious, don’t make trouble, don’t say too much or BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN.

I stayed on the path out of fear, not of being eaten by a wolf, but of being cut, being benched, losing my paycheck.

If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing it would be this:

“Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood; you were always the wolf.”

So when I was entrusted with the honor of speaking here today, I decided that the most important thing for me to say to you is this:

BARNARD WOMEN—CLASS OF 2018—WE. ARE. THE. WOLVES.

In 1995, around the year of your birth, wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park after being absent for seventy years.

In those years, the number of deer had skyrocketed because they were unchallenged, alone at the top of the food chain. They grazed away and reduced the vegetation, so much that the river banks were eroding.

Once the wolves arrived, they thinned out the deer through hunting. But more significantly, their presence changed the behavior of the deer. Wisely, the deer started avoiding the valleys, and the vegetation in those places regenerated. Trees quintupled in just six years. Birds and beavers started moving in. The river dams the beavers built provided habitats for otters and ducks and fish. The animal ecosystem regenerated. But that wasn’t all. The rivers actually changed as well. The plant regeneration stabilized the river banks so they stopped collapsing. The rivers steadied—all because of the wolves’ presence.

See what happened here?

The wolves, who were feared as a threat to the system, turned out to be its salvation.

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Barnard women, are you picking up what I’m laying down here?

Women are feared as a threat to our system—and we will also be our society’s salvation.

Our landscape is overrun with archaic ways of thinking about women, about people of color, about the “other,” about the rich and the poor, about the the powerful and the powerless—and these ways of thinking are destroying us.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

We will not Little Red Riding Hood our way through life. We will unite our pack, storm the valley together and change the whole bloody system.

Throughout my life, my pack has been my team.

Teams need a unifying structure, and the best way to create one collective heartbeat is to establish rules for your team to live by. It doesn’t matter what specific page you’re all on, just as long as you’re all on the same one.

Here are four rules I’ve used to unite my pack and lead them to gold.

Rule One: MAKE FAILURE YOUR FUEL

Here’s something the best athletes understand, but seems like a hard concept for non-athletes to grasp. Non-athletes don’t know what to do with the gift of failure. So they hide it, pretend it never happened, reject it outright—and they end up wasting it.

Listen: Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be POWERED by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel.

When I was on the Youth National Team, only dreaming of playing alongside Mia Hamm. You know her? Good. I had the opportunity to visit the National Team’s locker room. The thing that struck me most wasn’t my heroes’ grass-stained cleats or their names and numbers hanging above their lockers—it was a picture. It was a picture that someone had taped next to the door so that It would be the last thing every player saw before she headed out to the training pitch.

You might guess it was a picture of their last big win, of them standing on a podium accepting gold medals—but it wasn’t. It was a picture of their longtime rival—the Norwegian national team—celebrating after having just beaten the USA in the 1995 World Cup.

In that locker room, I learned that in order to become my very best—on the pitch and off—I’d need to spend my life letting the feelings and lessons of failure transform into my power. Failure is fuel. Fuel is power.

Women, listen to me. We must embrace failure as our fuel instead of accepting it as our destruction.

As Michelle Obama recently said: “I wish that girls could fail as well as men do and be okay. Because let me tell you watching men fail up—it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to see men blow it and win. And we hold ourselves to these crazy, crazy standards.”

Wolf Pack: Fail up. Blow it, and win. 

Rule Two: LEAD FROM THE BENCH

Imagine this: You’ve scored more goals than any human being on the planet—female or male. You’ve co-captained and led Team USA in almost every category for the past decade. And you and your coach sit down and decide together that you won’t be a starter in your last World Cup for Team USA.

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(Photo: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports)

So… that sucked.

You’ll feel benched sometimes, too. You’ll be passed over for the promotion, taken off the project—you might even find yourself holding a baby instead of a briefcase—watching your colleagues “get ahead.”

Here’s what’s important. You are allowed to be disappointed when it feels like life’s benched you. What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench.

During that last World Cup, my teammates told me that my presence, my support, my vocal and relentless belief in them from the bench is what gave them the confidence they needed to win us that championship.

If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field. You’re either a leader everywhere or nowhere.

And by the way: the fiercest leading I’ve ever seen has been done between mother and child. Parenting is no bench. It just might be the big game.

Wolf Pack: Wherever you’re put, lead from there.

Rule Three: CHAMPION EACH OTHER

During every 90-minute soccer match there are a few magical moments when the ball actually hits the back of the net and a goal is scored. When this happens, it means that everything has come together perfectly—the perfect pass, the perfectly timed run, every player in the right place at exactly the right time: all of this culminating in a moment in which one player scores that goal.

What happens next on the field is what transforms a bunch of individual women into a team. Teammates from all over the field rush toward the goal scorer. It appears that we’re celebrating her: but what we’re REALLY celebrating is every player, every coach, every practice, every sprint, every doubt, and every failure that this one single goal represents.

You will not always be the goal scorer. And when you are not—you better be rushing toward her.

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Women must champion each other. This can be difficult for us. Women have been pitted against each other since the beginning of time for that one seat at the table. Scarcity has been planted inside of us and among us. This scarcity is not our fault. But it is our problem. And it is within our power to create abundance for women where scarcity used to live.

As you go out into the world: Amplify each others’ voices. Demand seats for women, people of color and all marginalized people at every table where decisions are made. Call out each other’s wins and just like we do on the field: claim the success of one woman, as a collective success for all women.

Joy. Success. Power. These are not pies where a bigger slice for her means a smaller slice for you. These are infinite. In any revolution, the way to make something true starts with believing it is. Let’s claim infinite joy, success, and power—together.

Wolf Pack: Her Victory is your Victory. Celebrate it.

Rule Four: DEMAND THE BALL

When I was a teenager, I was lucky enough to play with one of my heroes, Michelle Akers. She needed a place to train since there was not yet a women’s professional league. Michelle was tall like I am, built like I’d be built, and the most courageous soccer player I’d ever seen play. She personified every one of my dreams.

We were playing a small sided scrimmage—5 against 5. We were eighteen-year-olds and she was—Michelle Akers—a chiseled, thirty-year-old powerhouse. For the first three quarters of the game, she was taking it easy on us, coaching us, teaching us about spacing, timing and the tactics of the game.

By the fourth quarter, she realized that because of all of this coaching, her team was losing by three goals. In that moment, a light switched on inside of her.

She ran back to her own goalkeeper, stood one yard away from her, and screamed:

GIVE. ME. THE. EFFING. BALL.

And the goalkeeper gave her the effing ball.

And she took that ball and she dribbled through our entire effing team and she scored.

Now this game was winner’s keepers, so if you scored you got the ball back. So, as soon as Michelle scored, she ran back to her goalie, stood a yard away from her and screamed:

GIVE ME THE BALL.

The keeper did. And again she dribbled though us and scored. And then she did it again. And she took her team to victory.

Michelle Akers knew what her team needed from her at every moment of that game.

Don’t forget that until the fourth quarter, leadership had required Michelle to help, support, and teach, but eventually leadership called her to demand the ball.

Women. At this moment in history leadership is calling us to say:

GIVE ME THE EFFING BALL.

GIVE ME THE EFFING JOB.

GIVE ME THE SAME PAY THAT THE GUY NEXT TO ME GETS.

GIVE ME THE PROMOTION.

GIVE ME THE MICROPHONE.

GIVE ME THE OVAL OFFICE.

GIVE ME THE RESPECT I’VE EARNED AND GIVE IT TO MY WOLF PACK TOO.

In closing, I want to leave you with the most important thing I’ve learned since leaving soccer.

When I retired, my sponsor Gatorade surprised me at a meeting with the plan for my send-off commercial. The message was this: Forget Me.

They’d nailed it. They knew I wanted my legacy to be ensuring the future success of the sport I’d dedicated my life to. If my name were forgotten, that would mean that the women who came behind me were breaking records, winning championships and pushing the game to new heights. When I shot that commercial I cried.

A year later, I found myself coaching my ten-year old daughter’s soccer team. I’d coached them all the way to the championship. (#Humblebrag.) One day I was warming the team up, doing a little shooting drill. I was telling them a story about when I retired. And one of those little girls looked up at me and said: “So what did you retire from?” And I looked down at her and I said, “SOCCER.” And she said, “Oh. Who did you play for?” And I said, “THE. UNITED. STATES. OF. AMERICA.” And she said, “Oh. Does that mean you know Alex Morgan?”

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USA v New Zealand, FIFA CONCACAF football match, Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, USA – 19 Sep 2017

 

BRAD SMITH/ISIPHOTOS.COM/REX/SHU

 

 

Be careful what you wish for, Barnard. They forgot me.

But that’s okay. Being forgotten in my retirement didn’t scare me. What scared me was losing the identity the game gave me. I defined myself as Abby Wambach, soccer player—the one who showed up and gave 100 percent to my team and fought alongside my wolf pack to make a better future for the next generation.

Without soccer who would I be?

A few months after retirement, I began creating my new life. I met Glennon and our three children and I became a wife, a mother, a business owner and an activist.

And you know who I am now? I’m still the same Abby. I still show up and give 100 percent—now to my new pack—and I still fight every day to make a better future for the next generation.

You see, soccer didn’t make me who I was. I brought who I was to soccer, and I get to bring who I am wherever I go. And guess what? So do you.

As you leave here today and everyday going forward: Don’t just ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” Ask yourself: “WHO do I want to be?” Because the most important thing I’ve learned is that what you do will never define you. Who you are always will.

And who you are—Barnard women—are the wolves.

Surrounding you today is your wolf pack. Look around.

Don’t lose each other.

Leave these sacred grounds united, storm the valleys together, and be our salvation.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Momday Faves

You know that feeling when you discover a new {item, gadget, service, app…} that revolutionizes your day-to-day mom life? That howdidIeverlivewithoutthis?? moment? Well these are a few of Christiana and Annie’s faves we’d like to share with you lovelies! If you’re on a strict budget…. stop reading now. You’re gonna want one all of these…

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First up, Christiana’s Faves:

Not being able to finish your coffee while it’s hot is the subject of more parenthood-memes than I have legos in my house. Enter: Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mugember

This mug is my Monday morning hallelujah. No matter how many diaper changes, lost shoes, or forgotten hidden homework assignments try to derail my morning, I have hot coffee from first sip to last drop. All. Morning. Long.

Shout color catchers

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After my boys’ royal-blue shark towels turned nearly half of their summer wardrobes into a similar shade of blue in the wash, I lamented the catastrophe to a family member who looked at me like I had five heads and asked “Did you not use a color catcher?!”

Say whaaaat?? Yes, color-catchers are a real, actual “holy-cow-where-have-these-been-my-whole-life” thing. One tiny sheet literally ‘catches’ loose colors and prevents them from running onto other items in the same load. End result: wash colors and whites and everything (even shark towels!) together with no fear.  No separating, no worries. WIN.

The Endless Reader Apps

Although we are all on-board with American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice to limit screen time, those “limited” moments of distracted-child bliss are priceless. These apps, no joke, are at least partially responsible for having taught my kids their alphabet, sight word reading and basic numbers/math. They are fun enough that kids think they’re getting away with something, but 100% child-brain enriching.

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Annie’s turn:

Robotic Vacuum 

Our household contains not only one heavy-shedding dog (Chesapeake Bay Retriever) but also 3 heavy-shedding long-haired women. In addition to that, there is the usual dust, dropped cheerios, crushed goldfish, lint, etc… of a busy household. This miracle worker (ours is named Wall-E) is programmed to come on at 9 am when we’re (usually) out of the house and takes care of nearly ALL of it. The few days it has been unplugged or put away for some reason, there are actual rabbit-sized dust bunnies that build up in our house and this little guy keeps our floors – even the corners and UNDER FURNITURE – spick and span. Plus…

Our dog weighs 90 pounds, so can’t partake in this fun, so sad!

These are the highest rated models on Consumer Reports – we have a 2 year old version of the cheapest one that both my children have ridden around and it’s still trucking!

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Melissa and Doug Water Wow On the Go

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These little board books come with a “paint brush” that you fill with plain-old water. When the kids apply it to the magical board-pages, the colors show up as if they did, truly, perfectly-in-the-lines paint them. My kids will do these for an hour straight. Perfect for the car when you don’t want them to be watching the iPad for the entire 3 hour road trip, or just for those moments when you’re like “how is it an HOUR until naptime, if I have to clean up another mess I’ll just burn the house down!”. No mess, no problem.

I buy the three packs, in a pinch, the pages can be blow-dried for rapid cycling tantrum-aversion.

 

 

 

Nerium Hydrogel Patches and Eye Serum

These little babies should be given out at EVERY baby shower. And bridal shower. And just, everyone needs these. They will take your most brutal “baby-woke-up-7-times” or “we-had-too-much-fun-on-date-night” under-eye bags and virtually eliminate them in 25 minutes flat. And hey – for the dads out there, this is so popular with men it’s dubbed “man-makeup” because 5 minutes of serum can take years off. This is me on left, a family friend on right, same lighting, same camera, no make-up, NO EDITING, (yes, slightly different angle because I’m a doctor not a professional photographer):

And in case you’re wondering if it’s a short-term gimmicky-result… these are one of the few rapid treatments that also improve your results progressively with time. The other name for the serum? Unicorn tears. Nuff said.

Ok, now you have to share your favorites in the comments and share.

Bonus, if we get up to 50 followers from this wonderful sharing by the end of the week, Annie will send a free sample of this magical eye serum to 1 lucky follower!

Now go get your Monday on!