Tag Archives: hope

Epilogue.

1 Aug

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It’s a Tuesday and I’m in a dress and my running shoes. More specifically, I’m un-showered after a 4-mile run, but undressed and redressed to address my need for quick breastfeeding access. (You got all that, there will be a test later.) I’m sitting at my computer trying to eek out an hour of creative flow time while Stella is at her ‘one day a week’ daycare and Wren cries and wiggles out of her swaddle for the 100th time. ‘Why aren’t you napping? You grow when you nap, if you want to start talking and running (because that’s definitely next) shut your eyes and buy your ticket to dreamland. Mama needs 5 minutes. (Actually more in the day to week range but who needs the truth).’ I hate this post even before I write it because it means one of my favorite ladies is no longer strolling the earth, championing Jazzercise and keeping Bartles & Jaymes in business. Shirl you were you, every day, simply put and we were all better people to know you. You also gave birth to one of my favorite people so there’s that too. I love you and hope you know, wherever you are, (I guess you’re everywhere now) that you made a lasting impression.  The sky has officially gained a star. #ShirleyStrong

I can’t say I’ve been privy to a lot of tragedy. I’ve had a steady flow of anti-luck, are you kidding me, yep that just happened, deep disappointments, important people vacating without reason and 2nd places, but in the end it doesn’t come close to the pain of losing someone you love and need desperately to stick around. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to those who are going through it. There is a natural division of those who understand and those who are waiting to. As a Mom, now somehow caught up in FB groups and mom circles that detail every horror known to man, the world seems and is I guess, so much more fragile. The transparency trap of wanting to know, wanting to be prepared has become less attractive than the ‘ignorance is bliss’ ilk that was the standard for so many generations before us who didn’t or couldn’t connect with every single person in the world. (I mean where was secondary drowning and hand foot & mouth disease when we were growing up???) They say after you have kids, you know what’s it’s like to have your heart walk around outside your body, and that is precisely how it feels. I think (and secretly hope) it goes both ways though. As a parent, I hope my girls will forever rely on me as a barometer for direction and advice. Remember me when they’ve done something they shouldn’t, but need help navigating out of. My Mom did that for me and both of Shirl’s girls still need her in their 30’s so that is a parenting victory to be celebrated. (Tangent/sidebar – I hope I gather a couple of those. These terrible twos are seriously terrible. If I have to tell myself to pull it together, she’s 2 one more time…)

As a bona fide fixer, it’s difficult to grasp the finality of death. What do you mean that’s it?! It’s annoyingly selfish. It makes the world feel like a shallow pool we’re all just breast stroking through for 2 minutes. She had so much left to do. She was the life of the party and always a perfect person to drink a glass of something with. Truthfully I’m filled with emotions I can’t articulate. I think of her, I think of my best friend, I think of how much of Shirl is tied into my own childhood, and then I get pissed that life has moved on, and the reality of time has taken hold. How did we already get to the last chapter, we were just in the middle of the storyline a year ago?!

The only thing I can think of to make it a little more palatable, is to live happy. Amidst bs, traffic, bad news, fights, lost friendships, toddlers, financial struggles,  __________ etc. etc. We must all live happy. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s up to all of us to dig in, find it, celebrate it and then rinse and repeat. Shirl did and so maybe the silver lining is the constant reminder that it’s the only way, no excuses. As the ever-wise Rumi said, “Look past your own thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.” Sure that was the 13th century, but it’s transcendent so get on board.

Luella Says, I pledge to live #100HappyDays,

 

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Who wants to join me? www.100happydays.com

 

 

Where There is Darkness, There is Light.

11 Jan

Have you ever wanted to stop time and literally spend an entire day in just one moment? Soaking it in, reveling and trying to imprint the details in your life memory bank forever? I have and its been happening a lot lately.

I equate it to getting older, being more aware of mortality, aging, being in love, experiencing loss and learning hard truths and realizing how quickly things can change.I have never been good with change but always seem to be in a constant state of it. Life just simply goes by too fast. There is no formula, surgery, potion or elixir that can change that.

As Chris Pureka says, Time is the Anchor, Change is a Constant.I had an entirely different post planned about fashion and my beloved Green Bay Packers but that will need to wait a day. I awoke this morning to the news that a close friend’s mother and a singer songwriter we love and follow are both facing one of life’s hardest realities; cancer.

I was struck with their honesty and perspective so much so that I felt compelled to share it with you. Here they are, two different people, two different versions their paths anonymously connected by unfortunate news and the courage to carry on.

As we all know, Cancer doesn’t care. It sees no color, gender, age, race or sexual orientation. It is undiscriminating, taxing and incredibly selfish. It is a real life monster under the bed HOWEVER, in the grandest sense possible, there is always hope. Hope breeds positivity and lightness and I think reaches far deeper than any treatment or remedy.The power of positive thinking, love and tenacity goes a long way. As my friend Heather eloquently said 4 years ago when she received her diagnosis, “I am going to kick cancer’s ass, it has messed with the wrong girl.” As we speak, she is pregnant and healthy.I consider this news a reminder of what is important. A re-balancing of my life’s priorities and focus. A necessary nudge to reach out, educate myself and be a lending ear and shoulder for those in my life who might need some extra support.

Read the brave words and perspectives of the affected who have now become warriors in their fight back to healthy.

Luella says…C Stands for Change and Courage.

Our close friend Sandra said,

“My family is about to embark on a challenging journey. It will be up to each person to transform the situation into an opportunity for faith, hope, and happiness. My mom’s cancer is back. It’s in her liver and lungs. Wanted to share this early before it became too overwhelming to share.”

Doris Muramatsu of GIRLY MAN writes,

“One image that keeps circling my mind is of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s an 823 ft hill in the middle of the city, climbable from almost any direction. The views up top are breathtaking, you feel otherworldly and closer to God. It was climbing this hill back in October 2010 when I knew something in me had shifted. I was no longer a healthy person. Perhaps it was the moment when my chromosomes decided to mutate; I’d like to think they’d pick a transcendent experience such as this hike to do so rather than during one of my more earthly chores such as brushing my teeth.  Of course, I don’t even think I was conscious of this shift. All I knew was that my legs felt like cement blocks and my breath huffed double time with every step I took. I had to stop every 2 minutes or so to regain my breath and couldn’t understand why or how so many people could just amble up the hill with such ease. But the sun, making a rare appearance, shone down on JJ and me, and the highland grass shimmered. Something was beckoning me to keep moving forward because to stop would admit defeat. Sure, my legs and ankles swelled daily for seemingly no reason, and sure I was dangerously short of breath. But I couldn’t admit defeat yet.

I finally made it to the top and rejoiced. I felt proud of myself and thoughts of being sick were set aside for one more day. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I were really sick. In retrospect, I can hardly believe that I returned from the UK and immediately played shows in Atlanta and Birmingham, then the next weekend in North Carolina and South Carolina. Then I somehow managed to do a grueling 2 and half week tour in the Northeast, playing a show almost every night and teaching a harmony workshop. And every day I was zonked out in the van, barely able to lift my head, barely able to eat. I’d garner my strength for the show and give my all during those 90 minutes, (though I coughed through a good portion of it) but I felt scarily disconnected from my body. My midriff looked foreign to me, like I was in one of those books where you can flip the top, middle, and bottom portions and create the policeman wearing a pink tutu with ostrich feet. I was the Asian girl with E.T.’s belly wearing tights and cool Fluevogs. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror.

It made me think about what I would want to hear if I were about to make my transition: (for my own sanity, I like to think of death as a gateway into more life, just in a different form) the good memories, fun times, the love and laughter. Because doesn’t it all boil down to the love we share, what we give to each other and what we take in, and being able to see each other through the eyes of Source? (or God if you want to call it that?) That’s the one big thing that I realized the day I was going to receive my diagnosis in that hospital in Jersey. I was freaking out, shaking violently underneath that swath of hospital gown. And underlying that fear was the profound certainty that I wasn’t done with my life–I still wanted more. I realized that music was my absolute calling and how lucky I was to have found Ty, Nate, and JJ. How lucky we were to be able to create together. As I focused on each of them, and then on my parents and my other dearest friends, tears of joy streamed down my face. In that moment, I basically experienced the opposite of fear: love. It instantly lifted me to the grandest, most comforting space I have ever been simply because I was allowing myself to bask in its eternal truth. I was one with the Universe. (I hope I don’t sound crazy!) My mood completely transformed, and I think I even glowed because I was vibrating on such a high level.

Five people in white coats came in just then to give me my diagnosis. (It was the oncologist, the resident, and 3 medical students–I was quite the teaching example.) I shone in a state of grace and acceptance. I was ready.”

Just click here to follow her story on her blog.

Nothing else to say really. Be aware of life’s highs and lows, either way keep learning from your experiences.

Be a work in progress.

Clean Your Slate.

31 Dec

So I write this blog feeling all over the place. For me, 2010 literally personified the beginning of Charles Dicken’s epic novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–“On one hand, I finally got to marry my dream man after 4 years of living with and loving him. Our wedding was a perfect party and I had the best time. I am a Willison now and I feel ready to start the new chapter in my life of family, babies and selflessness.On the other hand, I left my dream job of 8 years with a disappointed heart and fractured loyalty and spent the last couple of months searching for professional meaning. At 31, I felt average and as much as I told myself better things were to come, I couldn’t quite absorb and believe it.One doesn’t want to think their job defines them but when you find yourself idle you realize in some respects it did. Having had time to reflect on where I was, who I had become and what I had to offer was humbling and difficult.

Again like Dickens wrote though, it was necessary and inspiring. When a forest burns down to the ground, new life springs forth. Ideas, creativity, dedication, passion and growth are now ignited and re-aligned. Change is good even though change is hard.As the clock hits midnight, I will not only be starting a new year but also a new job and feel blessed to have the opportunity.

For those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation remember your “double rainbow” (sorry had to) is coming but you have to fight for it. Persistence is your final answer.

Luella says…New Year, New You.

Below are some inspiring words and songs for new beginnings that inspired me during my difficult moments.

There is no place to go but up. Keep on trying and always, always, always believe in yourself.

F***IN PERFECT by Pink

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”– T.S. Eliot

RADIOACTIVE by Kings of Leon

Entrance

By Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Dana Gioia)

Whoever you are, step out of doors tonight,

out of the room that lets you feel secure.

Infinity is open to your sight. Whoever you are.

With eyes that have forgotten how to see from viewing things already too well-known,

lift up into the dark a huge, black tree and put it in the heavens: tall, alone.

And you have made the world and all you see. It ripens like the words still in your mouth.

And when at last you comprehend its truth, then close your eyes and gently set it free.

JAR OF HEARTS by Christina Perri

A New Start

by Bernard Shaw

I have wiped the slate clean,
No more reminders from the past.
Memories of what I have been,
Have vanished at long last.

I look forward to my future new,
Where all is territory strange.
Soon I will be among the few,
That plans their life at long range.

I see my life laid out at my feet,
New friends shall rally at my call.
They will be the first I will greet,
At this my welcoming ball.

Soon all memories will depart,
Of a past left well behind.
I will get off to a new start,
With the best of mankind.

Eminem I’M GOING THROUGH CHANGES


New Beginning

By Tracy Chapman

The whole world’s broke and it ain’t worth fixing
It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning
There’s too much pain, too much suffering
Let’s resolve to start all over make a new beginning

Now don’t get me wrong I love life and living
But when you wake up and look around at everything that’s going down
All wrong
You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy endings
We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning

The world is broken into fragments and pieces
That once were joined together in a unified whole
But now too many stand alone There’s too much separation
We can resolve to come together in the new beginning

We can break the cycle – We can break the chain
We can start all over – In the new beginning
We can learn, we can teach
We can share the myths the dream the prayer
The notion that we can do better
Change our lives and paths
Create a new world

The whole world’s broke and it ain’t worth fixing
It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning
There’s too much fighting, too little understanding
It’s time to stop and start all over
Make a new beginning

We need to make new symbols
Make new signs
Make a new language
With these we’ll define the world

Teeth by Lady Gaga

I think this cover of The Climb is stunning. I realize my street cred meter just broke but the words are pertinent and when I was running and feeling ugh it made me want to keep going and prove the world wrong.

THE CLIMB by Kelly Clarkson with Jill and Kate (her backup singers).


This blog has been a huge salvation for me during my recent transition period. I loved every minute of creating blog posts and intend to keep on posting in the same manner as always.

After all and  in appropriate fashion, this is just the beginning of Luella says.

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Revisiting Old Adages.

27 Oct

I was searching for “new beginning-esque” photos to accompany my simple poem today and came across this dog. It made me instantly happy and I literally laughed out loud. I thought what better way to start this post then by giving that present to you.

The flowers above are blooming even though they are covered in ice and snow. I sort of feel like that lately. I am still job searching and it is starting to get frustrating. I am diligent in my process but lately feel a little less hopeful.

I know this will pass, it will make me stronger, things will work out as they should, everything happens for a reason but still…the waiting patiently process is getting difficult.

I have questions running around in my head constantly. Where is this road leading? How did I get here? Where will I professionally land? The truth is, I don’t know and I won’t know until I know. (See I told you this was frustrating)

I keep telling myself I have to believe there is an opportunity around the corner and that a bright side is coming.

When we were in San Francisco, our great friend Jason reminded me, that it is the times when we are at the bottom, that opportunity and newness spring forth. To further his point he quoted one of his favorite poems by Kipling, entitled IF.

It was so genuine and thoughtful and so I decided I wanted to pass it on to you.

 

 

Luella says…Something Old became Something New.

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

-By Rudyard Kipling

 

I leave you (and myself) with the empowerment of patience and hope.

As Al Green said, ‘Keep on, keepin’ on.

Run Luella Run.

29 Sep

Today my post has nothing to do with Fashion. I had something completely different planned but was so blown away last night by ESPN’s 30 For 30 on Terry Fox, that I decided to change it up.

Too often, (I will speak for myself here) I get wrapped up in what doesn’t matter. I think we all do. Everything truly happens as it is supposed to and we can’t change what we can’t control. Take Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guywho missed his flight to LA on September 11th, 2001 by 5 minutes as an example. A series of events occurred that morning that ultimately saved his life. When asked if he lives differently because of it, he says no. He believes it was just a coincidence and will not let that define the rest of his life. Similar to Terry who didn’t allow his cancer diagnosis or his disability to stop him. He was profoundly succesful in his quest of raising awareness for Cancer in the early 1980’s when nobody was talking about it. Imagine if he had allowed self-doubt, exhaustion or politics to change his course. He was the ultimate Iron Man.

After watching the inspirational documentary last night, I realize Terry served his purpose in life. It has been 30 years since his fateful run across Canada on one leg and in that time, according to the documentary, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $500 MILLION dollars for cancer research. How can we ever calculate what that has meant for others who have been stricken with the disease since his passing? The impact of his determination is astounding. I kept telling myself, this is not a movie, Terry is NOT a character and this story was not written by David Benioff, Quentin Tarantino or Jason Reitman. It was life at its most inspiring and most unfair. 

 

 

 

The next time I find myself getting wrapped up in the unimportant details, I will think of him and all that he went through and change my tune. For Terry, the run was much more than raising money. I don’t think he realized when he started but he was living the next 60-70 years of his life in those 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi). It is the most noble ending ever written.

For a lighter take on it, I am totally inspired. My husband and I are running the Manhattan Beach 10K on Saturday and I am not in my best running shape. Besides Terry Fox, music is what will inspire me to finish strong. I asked some of my closest friends for a list of their “ultimate, inspiring, makes you run faster, want to fist pump and air pull songs”  so I can share them with you. If you can’t run, put music on and dance around in your living room. It is very difficult to be stressed, upset, sad, blue or all of the above if you are jumping around to your favorite jam. Try it and let me know how it goes.  

Here is the Luella Top 40

(in no particular order, click on song for video)

 1. Freakshow – Britney Spears

2. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

3. Long Way to Happy – P!NK

4. Better Off Dead – Bad Religion

5. Midnight Show – The Killers

6. Right Now – Van Halen

7. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem Featuring Rihanna

8. No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age

9. Make Me – Janet Jackson

10. Changes – Tupac

11. Teeth – Lady Gaga

12. Mercy Me – Alkaline Trio

13. Lovestoned – Justin Timberlake

14. Young Forever – Jay Z Featuring Mr. Hudson

15. Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

16. Rock Show – Blink 182

17. DJ Got Me Falling in Love – Usher

18. An Open Letter to NYC – Beastie Boys

19. Breathe Me – Sia

20. Robot Rock – Daft Punk

21. Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna

22. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

23. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

24. Optimistic Thought – Blues Traveler

25. Loca – Shakira + Dizee Rascall

26. Chances – Five for Fighting

27. Again Today – Brandi Carlile

28. Rap Game – D12

29. Telephone – Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce

30. At the End – iiO

31. Scream – Michael Jackson

32. Rearview Mirror – Pearl Jam

33. Heartbreaker – P!NK

34. Play Your Part (Part 1) – Girl Talk

35. On Fire – Eminem

36. Misery Business – Paramore

37. You Lost Me – Christina Aguilera

38. Holding Out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler

39. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

40. Repo Man – Ray LaMontagne

 

Feel Free to comment with some of your own. I can use as much inspiration on Saturday for my run, and through life in general; we all can. Be good to yourself and to those you love.   

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