Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Forum: Spooked

Halloween is still a month away, though it's hard to tell when it seems to already be everywhere. We think it's still too early to be talking about Halloween itself, but it does make us wonder: what gets you spooked? Is it a scary movie, reading a thriller, going on a ghost tour? Share in the comments!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Link Love for 9/29

It's time for our next link love roundup, as we try to make up for lost time. Here are some great links for you to read through and comment on.

NYWSE takes a different approach on giving advice by listing the 5 great reasons NOT to grow your business.

Lindsey Pollak also has a list for us, except this one's on how to have more fun at work.

Downtown Dharma wants us to take a different kind of message home with us: imagine peace.

Girl w/Pen has us shift gears a bit with an in-depth post on young feminists and the budget.

One Writeous Chick shares something that really spoke to us about the fears that come along with writing.

Hope you enjoyed these. Be sure to leave links to what you've been reading and writing online in the comments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Truth Behind A Resignation

My mother’s former church made the local news this month. The former choir director, who happens to be a gay man, resigned after working there for decades because a new priest made homophobic remarks to him in private. As someone with some firsthand knowledge of the situation, I can read uninformed, bigoted comments posted to the articles about this story and easily shake off my annoyance, because I know they have no idea what they are talking about.

The former choir director also taught at the Catholic high school I attended. I never took any of his classes, but I was told by some of my classmates that he was very tough and unyielding with his students. I also attended church reluctantly every Sunday, where I saw him lead the choir with confidence. He was one of the main attractions to the church, so much so that I believe most people who came to church were looking forward more to the music than to what any of the priests had to say. This is just my assumption, of course; I always felt like an outsider to the Catholic community I was surrounded by, and found the music performed at the church to be less than inspiring. There was skill and talent behind it, but I was never moved.

What angers me about my former church is how disrespectful they became. The former choir director was a fixture at the church, and the Franciscan priests appeared to be as respectful of him as he was to them. Since the church’s transfer out of the Franciscan order into another Archdiocese this summer, things changed considerably. The new priest’s openly homophobic, aggressive demeanor put off more than just the former choir director; my mother transferred to another church because of it. Attendance is already dwindling, so this could mean the end of the church. If that is how it has to be, then so be it. I believe that if this church continues on this path, the constant alienation will lead to its downfall.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Filling the Space

This past weekend, TWM's Visioning Workshop brought together 20 women all looking for some clarity and direction. Some were Visioning virgins while others were Visioning veterans and some fell in between, but no matter what we expected that day, we all got a few surprises.

Even though this was only technically my second Visioning Workshop, I’ve made a few collages over the past few years. Whenever I felt I needed to get in touch with my inner voice and desires, I carved out several hours in the day and tried to recreate the experience I had that first time. Each collage helped guide me a bit during a time I needed it and while they were all different, there were some things I came to expect from them: big images, pictures of strong or active people (usually women), and bold colors. But my collage on Saturday surprised me because it was a departure in quite a few ways.

For starters, there is a lot of white, empty space – more than in any collage I’ve done before. In the past, collages with white space were balanced with the large images and bold colors, but while this one might seem colorful to some, there is a lot more black and white than others as well.

The space concerned me because I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Is it a sign of de-cluttering like one person suggested, or about needing and having space in my own life as somebody else did? Or is it something more troubling like feeling unfulfilled? I’m still not sure what to think, but I’m feeling much less pessimistic about it now. Maybe my friend is right and it’s about narrowing down the things in my life I want to spend my energy on.

I’m going to ponder it some more, but I’m happy to be filling the space with things I love in the meantime.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sailing Into the Zone

I don't know what's up with me all of a sudden, but I am feeling oh-so-efficient and productive these days. It's almost freaky. I wake up in the morning, roll toward my laptop (this constitutes my commute to the office) and start plugging away with a smile on my face. About eight hours later, I find myself wondering, "Where did the day go, and why haven't I eaten?"

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I usually have toast and tea about two hours in when my tummy starts rumbling. But THAT'S IT. Which is totally weird because usually you can't keep me out of the kitchen. Snack on this, snack on that, freshen my glass of whatever I happen to be sipping to wash it all down....

But the point is not my lack of sustenance (which is awkward) or the fact that I am actually losing weight (which I am), but the reality that I'm suddenly capable of an elevated level of focus that's really working out for me. I'm accomplishing things! New endeavors, yes, but also things that I've put off for a while and needed to pick back up.

For the last few months, I've just been slogging through task after task, working toward deadlines and taking care of the minutiae, but it all seemed piecewise and disconnected. Suddenly, the big picture, the future, a sense of what is ahead has crystalized in front of me. I feel a sense of direction that I've been looking for for a while now. I haven't felt lost, exactly. For a long time I've known more or less where I'm headed. Perhaps it's akin to steering a ship into the darkness toward a distant shoreline. Eventually the sun comes up one day and you can see mountains on the horizon. You still have a ways to sail, but, hurrah!

I don't know what has changed, or where this new mindset is coming from but I have the feeling that everything that has been up in the air for so long is finally starting to come together. I hope I can stay In The Zone a while longer!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Forum: Past Visions

Tomorrow is TWM's Visioning Workshop, and as some of us are getting ready to see what our collages will show us, we were looking back at some of our collages workshops past.

Have you ever made a Visioning board or collage? What did the last one show you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Explore Your Vision

There's still time and space left for you to RSVP to TWM's upcoming Visioning Workshop this weekend. Check out the details below and RSVP today!

VISIONING WORKSHOP: Using Your Creativity and Intuition to Gain Clarity, Find Focus and Manifest Your Dreams Saturday, September 24th, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Feeling a little confused with all that's going on with your career and the economy? Not sure what to do next with your life? Maybe your just a bit unsatisfied overall but can't exactly pinpoint what it is... 
Our Visioning Workshop can help you sort it all out! 
Come to our popular and powerful semi-annual workshop for a creative, transformative afternoon where you will make a collage to manifest your heart's desire - and you may be surprised as to what that turns out to be. 
It's not unusual for participants to start new businesses, relationships, families or career paths as quickly as weeks or months after the workshop. If you are looking for both answers and results to help figure out where you are right now in your life and where you want to go next, this could be thing exact thing you need to push you forward and take you there.  
COST: $85 for TWM Members*; $135 for Non-Members *TWM Members can bring a friend at the member rate! LOCATION: TRS Professional Suites, 44 East 32nd St, 11th Floor 
RSVP on Facebook or by emailing 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Real Role Model

A close family friend of my Mom’s passed away a few days ago, and I am still trying to come to terms with it. I met him last year when visiting India with my Mom. She met him and his future wife in nursing school in the 1960s, and became close friends. I learned from Arvind Uncle that his biological father gave him up to an orphanage run by Christian missionaries as a baby, just after his mother passed away. He said with no judgment or bitterness that he was glad that he stayed at the well run orphanage, even after his biological father attempted to get him back years later, because his childhood there helped make him who he was. He valued life, and never took it for granted.

I visited the orphanage and church where he married his wife, one my Mom’s best friends. I also toured the leprosy hospital that they worked in after finishing nursing school, which is also located on the same grounds. Arvind Uncle told me he could have worked overseas and made a great deal of money, but he felt called to work with leprosy patients, and never regretted his decision. I really admire him and his wife for their dedication to their work and their patients.

He also considered himself my Mom’s brother, and would tell people who asked about his family outside of his wife and children that he had a sister in the United States. Mom lost touch with her friends for years, so when they miraculously got back in touch with each other, their friendships were as strong as ever. I will never forget arriving at the airport to visit them, and being greeted by Arvind Uncle and most of his family with bouquets of flowers. I have never had such a warm reception before! In the few days that followed, I felt like I was a part of his family; my time with them was one of the best experiences I had in India. Returning to the country will never be the same.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sick Days & Homework

Sally's feeling a bit too sick to write for you today, but you should take this as a chance to do some "homework." Look back at our archive of posts, pick three categories you are interested in and skim through the content. Let us know how you like it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Grand Experience

I recently traveled to the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. As a total coincidence, shortly before the trip I happened to read a commentary which mentioned that the Grand Canyon is one of the few famous sights that when you actually lay eyes on it, doesn’t disappoint. I found myself dwelling on this comment a great deal during my westward journey, and feeling hopeful, because I’d gotten myself very excited about the trip and I didn’t want to be let down.

The line of commentary struck me, because it made me realize that I’d been slightly worried about this in the weeks before the trip–worried about being disappointed by the canyon, based on my larger than life expectations. It wasn’t a conscious concern, but one of those back-of-the-mind naggings that you just can’t quite get a handle on until it eventually comes to light or fades quietly away.

I realized that, in the past, I’ve felt that way about certain tourist attractions—that the anticipation is sometimes greater than the actual experience, and in the end high expectations can diminish the overall result. When you get yourself so ramped up to see something, and people are all telling you how great it is, sometimes the imagination runs away with itself. Particularly as someone with a very active creative mind, the inescapable fantasies can sometimes overwhelm reality. (This happens to me all the time with books, movies, plays—the greater the hype, the more likely to be a slight let down.)

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by the Canyon. It did not disappoint. The views were breathtaking, the weather was amazing, and the overall experience was really special. All I ended up being disappointed about is that my camera wasn’t able to fully capture the grandeur of the canyon in two dimensions. Oh, well. I’ll just have to settle for a mess of great memories!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Forum: Summer's End

Now that we're a couple of weeks past Labor Day weekend, that can only mean one thing: the end of summer!

How would you rate your summer? Share some of your highlights in the comments.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Link Love for 9/15

It's been too, too long since the last time we had a link love roundup, so we're bringing it back today and splitting it up between two weeks. Check out the links below and leave links in the comments to what you've been reading and writing online.

Awaken Your CAREERpreneur contemplates how to deal with the moments in which we don't feel any progress.

Savvy Ladies has a really interesting look at what hair (yes, hair!) means for your career.

Global Sister reminds us that we need more women in technology fields, and gives great examples of rocking women already in them.

In Good Company wants us to think about authenticity and how to stay true to it in the age of social media.

Tune in for more stories in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Snail Mail Sorrows

I use email every day for work mostly, and sometimes to keep in touch with friends and family. But nothing beats a handwritten letter or card in my mail box from someone I know; it beats the usual junk mail from a certain cable company that won’t take no for an answer, or the coupons I will never use because I don’t shop at those particular stores. Now that the U.S. Post Office is in danger of default, I wonder like many others how they will change, and what those changes will be when they do. I cannot imagine a snail mail-free world, where all communications will be conducted online. That will not be a good day, if it is inevitable.

In addition to receiving handwritten cards and letters from people I know in the mail, I enjoy reciprocating the gesture whenever I have the time to do it. I love buying stationery and cards to keep with me so I can have them ready when needed. I have lost mail once or twice using the U.S. Postal Service, and the idea of no Saturday mail is unnerving. Why can’t the agency adjust to remain viable in an Internet-friendly world? Better customer service alone would help revive mail service greatly, and make them competitive in a good way. I just cannot imagine an America without her many post offices, period. It feels wrong, in every way.

So while there is still Saturday service, and there are post office employees willing to answer questions in a more efficient manner, I will continue to send cards and letters to family and friends within the U.S. and overseas. I hope Congress and the Postmaster General make the right decisions before it is too late to preserve the U.S. Postal Service for all of us. I will never give up on snail mail, and hope I will never have to.

Do you enjoy receiving and sending snail mail? Why or why not?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why We "Never Forget"

This past Friday, I had dinner with two friends I've known since high school as a sort of housewarming for one who recently moved into a studio in Manhattan. 

During the course of the night, we mostly talked about dating, careers, the earthquake and hurricane, and life updates. At one point, we broke out the yearbook and tried to figure out who and what we remembered from all those years ago. Between things we blocked out and our poor memories, there wasn't all that much... But we did all remember 9/11.

It was practically inevitable that this come up given the anniversary was two days away and that security had beefed up that week for the two of us work downtown. We remembered what classes we were each in when it happened, the chaos in the cafeteria later that day during lunch, and so forth. 

We didn't talk about it for very long and we didn't linger on the pages of our yearbook dedicated to it because the truth is we didn't need to. You can never really forget about 9/11, especially if you lived here when it happened and still live here now, or when your morning routine means walking past the construction at Ground Zero. On the anniversary itself, I avoided all the hoopla, not because I don't care or because I don't think it's important to acknowledge the lives lost, but because a lot of us really have not forgotten. We didn't need a day to think back on that event because we do it on our own all the time. So even though a lot of us resist the "never forget" tagline, it really is something we live.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Forum: Remembering

We can't go into this weekend without acknowledging that it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It's a strange time for all of us, but it's certainly one of those moments in which we all come together whether in solidarity or simply to feel a bit less alone. Some will be praying in churches, some will be volunteering for the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, some will be spending time with their loved ones, and others will simply be waiting for the day to be over. Whatever way you spend the day, it's impossible to escape it.

How are you spending the anniversary of 9/11?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Find Your Vision

You've been asking about the next Visioning Workshop, and we've got answers for you. Get the details for TWM's next workshop in just a few weeks and reserve your spot today.

VISIONING WORKSHOP: Using Your Creativity and Intuition to Gain Clarity, Find Focus and Manifest Your Dreams
Saturday, September 24th, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Feeling a little confused with all that's going on with your career and the economy? Not sure what to do next with your life? Maybe your just a bit unsatisfied overall but can't exactly pinpoint what it is...

Our Visioning Workshop can help you sort it all out!

Come to our popular and powerful semi-annual workshop for a creative, transformative afternoon where you will make a collage to manifest your heart's desire - and you may be surprised as to what that turns out to be.

It's not unusual for participants to start new businesses, relationships, families or career paths as quickly as weeks or months after the workshop. If you are looking for both answers and results to help figure out where you are right now in your life and where you want to go next, this could be thing exact thing you need to push you forward and take you there.

COST: $85 for TWM Members*; $135 for Non-Members
*TWM Members can bring a friend at the member rate!
LOCATION: TRS Professional Suites, 44 East 32nd St, 11th Floor

RSVP on Facebook or by emailing


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Decade Later

Like most Americans, especially those who live near Manhattan or Washington D.C., I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was half asleep listening to the radio when I first heard that a plane hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower. At that moment, a friend called me to ask if my father worked in one of the Towers, which he did. I jumped out of bed, and ran to the television, where I saw the North Tower on fire, and then the second plane hit the South Tower.

I found out later that my father was late to work that day, and although he witnessed some of the terrible things most of us have only read and seen footage of on television, he was not in the North Tower, which was the building he worked in. He and many others who had just emerged from the subway witnessed the chaos, and then they all walked uptown, away from World Trade Center. My father could not contact my family by phone until later that afternoon, so we spent the first part of the day praying and wondering where he was. When he did arrive home, he was covered in a layer dust from the collapsed buildings. I never asked him how far away he was from the Towers when they went down, and he has never spoken of the attacks since that day.

After learning about a third plane going into the Pentagon and then another one crashing in Pennsylvania on its way to Washington D.C., I wondered (like most Americans) if we were being invaded by terrorists, by way of hijacked planes. My fears subsided as the air space cleared; then I wanted more knowledge to become empowered. In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed, I educated myself to gain further understanding of the world. It might sound cliché to some, but I am forever reminded of how precious and fragile life is. It has been ten years, but I never take what I learned and experienced from that day for granted. I will always remember.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seeking a Soccer Mom

As a kid, I led a very sheltered life. My sisters and I couldn't do much of anything that wasn't schoolwork or reading and any fun we did have was in the comfort and protection of our own home. That meant no tv on school nights, no visits to friends' homes (though they could come to ours), and no after school activities. This last one seems particularly strange to people I know who grew up with soccer practice, karate, or some other activity that kept them engaged and entertained. 

But I guess I'm making up for lost time because I've recently set up a schedule for myself that makes me feel like I need a soccer mom to keep me on top of things.

It started when I got French lessons from one of those daily deal sites. I still have hopes to travel to Paris and live there for a while, so French lessons are necessary and they were a good deal. They were nearing expiration and I finally found a class that didn't conflict with my schedule, so starting in a couple of weeks, I'll be spending every Thursday conjugating verbs and working on my accent.

Soon after getting that deal, I saw one for voice lessons. Having been a singer way back in junior high and high school, I have always wished I could have kept up with it, so I just had to sign up. I had my first lesson a few days ago and am ready for the next few. I'm even thinking I might keep going back once a month or so. The most recent addition to my schedule is a creative writing course through Gotham (another daily deal), and although that doesn't begin for a couple of months, I've got it in mind even now. 

The good thing is that these classes don't overlap too much because one set is winding down by the time the next one starts, but it's strange to realize my schedule suddenly resembles that of a very active child. At least I'll be doing things I enjoy rather than something my parents pressured me to do!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Learning

Happy Labor Day, America!

Labor Day has always been a holiday I think of fondly. As a kid, it meant going to Labor Day family camp, celebrating a family member's birthday, and most importantly--getting a long weekend off of school when it had only just begun for the year. (I always found this early day off very helpful as a way to re-acclimate to the school-year schedule.)

I guess I've always known that Labor Day is a holiday to celebrate workers, but I really didn't know much about it beyond that, so I visited the Department of Labor website and learned a little bit more about Labor Day's history and evolution as a national holiday.

Here are some highlights, for those of you who don't want to expend energy clicking links or learning on your day off, either:

  • Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City.
  • It became a national holiday in 1894.
  • The day used to be celebrated with parades and public events, but this practice declined over time. (Maybe it was just too much work?)
  • Celebratory speeches are still broadcast (who knew?) in honor of the day, by elected officials, union leaders and others.
Bottom line: the working people of our country deserve a day off now and again, particularly one designated to honor and respect all of our contributions to the nation's economy and lifestyle.

We work hard, so today it's time to play. Rest, relax, enjoy some time to yourself or with friends and family. Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Forum: Bearing the Elements

The last couple of weeks have been quite interesting here in NYC and throughout many parts of the Northeast. We've survived an earthquake and a hurricane-turned-tropical-storm, and all of this only months after the blizzard. There was a lot of panic and preparation, some might say too much.

How do you prepare for a natural disaster? Do you take the warnings seriously or brush them off?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Women, Entrepreneurship, and Pushing Through

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes back Adelaide as a special guest blogger who let us interview her before the launch of the book The Big Enough Company: Creating a business that works for you. Check out her post last week and read her responses for today below:

Adelaide Lancaster is an entrepreneur, speaker and co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first-of-its-kind community, learning center and co-working space for women entrepreneurs in New York City. She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and daughter.

How did your path through entrepreneurship affect your personal growth?
This could be a whole other book! I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself and grown in ways I couldn’t imagine. My two favorite lessons have been:
1. It’s ok to present the imperfect. In fact there are benefits to it. By sharing a work in progress you’re more likely to get critical feedback and support from others. Also it removes the pressure to “know all the answers.”
2. Success comes from taking small steps. Nothing happens overnight and it’s the day-to-day, hand over fist kind of work that moves you forward. It’s important to have perspective about the big picture but more importantly than that it’s critical that you have a functional and satisfying daily experience.

Why do you think women in particular might be drawn to entrepreneurship?
People are drawn to entrepreneurship for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most compelling of all is the opportunity to create something that works for you and honors your needs. I think the spike in women entrepreneurship has been due, in part, to the fact that more corporate and traditional employment options didn’t offer the variety and autonomy that women have been looking for. Generally women have felt that they’ve had to make huge personal compromises in order to remain fully engaged at work. Of course everyone has to make compromises but I think that women have been confident in their ability to create businesses that allow them to have a life as well. They exploit and leverage their newfound freedom to create a solution that works for them.

What did the process of writing the book teach you?
That sometimes you just need to push through a challenge. There are many days where the words aren’t flowing and writing feels like an uphill battle. It’s even more important for you to honor your commitment to write on these days. Getting words on paper is the hardest part, editing is much easier.

What is the one takeaway you hope women will get out of the book?
That entrepreneurship is an amazing opportunity to create your work and life on your terms. But it doesn’t come automatically. You have to work hard to craft a business that meets your needs and delivers what you want. So don’t get distracted by “proven systems” or even most of the conventional wisdom. It just isn’t worth compromising your needs and goals in service of someone else’s definition of success.

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
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