After 146 years Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took its last bow this May. Feld Entertainment, the owners of the circus and other popular family entertainment shows, like Monster Jam and Disney on Ice, made the historic decision to close the show when ticket sales declined, a direct result of moving their pachyderm performers to the Center for Elephant Conservation.
The decision to retire the elephants—the beginning of the end—wasn’t easy for the Felds. In many ways, the animals were the core of a show that has been an American family tradition for as long as the institution of baseball. The childhood of the Feld sisters, Nicole, Alana and Juliette, was built on that show.
The closure announcement was met with mixed reviews—a sense of victory from some animal rights groups, loss from families that enjoy the circus, and an amalgam of nostalgia, heartbreak and hopefulness from the three Feld sisters. Along with their father Kenneth, they ran the day-to-day operations of the third-generation family business, and were the ones tasked with making this challenging choice.
While the reproductive system has the capacity for so much magic, it also has the potential to cause debilitating physical pain and emotional suffering.
A common source of this pain and suffering is uterine fibroids. According to a study done by the Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Birmingham, 20-40 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids during their reproductive years.
Erin Robinson, entertainment host at Defy Media’s Clevver brand, became part of this statistic after unknowingly growing 13 uterine fibroids, some ranging in size from golf balls to softballs, over a period of five years. She finally discovered these tumors after being rushed to the emergency room with excruciating pain.
The journey that followed is portrayed in Clevver’s new docuseries, It Got Real.
Raise your hand if your romantic relationship has lost its mojo. Eliza Morrow’s arm is up and waving. The Austin, TX, mom of Chloe, 7, and Eli, 3, who runs a thriving ceramic-jewelry business, has steadily felt the “honeymoon giddiness” drain from her connection to husband Neal. Mind you, kids and work aren’t the only romance vampires here. “The more Neal and I neglect date nights, the duller our love life becomes,” Eliza admits. “Sure, children and jobs make things tricky, but when we used to commit to fun and intimate kid-free time, all our responsibilities just felt easier to deal with.”
Not surprising. “A relationship is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and fed or it doesn’t make it,” suggests Ojai, CA-based psychotherapist and couples specialist Adaya Walsh. “Things can start to feel depleted, tense and distant. That’s when work, parenting, everything gets harder.” Walsh confirms Eliza’s thoughts by noting that date nights are the food your relationship needs. “Time and attention are our most valuable offerings,” she says. Give them to your relationship and watch it grow.
Just how often do you two need this nourishment? Consider this: Married couples who engage in one-on-one time together at least once a week are 3.5 times more likely to express being “very happy” in their relationship than their counterparts who don’t have weekly couple time, according to the national Survey of Marital Generosity, funded by the Science of Generosity initiative at the University of Notre Dame. That’s significant.
We could, of course, just tell you to date more, but we know you need extra inspiration to carve out time from your crazy schedule. That’s why we’ve come up with a slew of enticing date suggestions certain to add sustenance to your relationship and personal wellness. So say “see ya later” to dinner and a movie and “let’s give it a try” to our irresistible date-night menu. Just order, add to your shared calendar, and enjoy!
When I think about common sources of motivation, phrases like “meditation”, “self help books”, “my grandmother”, “that yoga guru”, and “affirmations” pop up – “supercross riders” have never been on my list, but maybe they should be.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a supercross legend, Ricky Carmichael, the current star Ryan Dungey, and two up-and-comers, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac, about what it takes to build the courage to compete in a sport wrought with unpredictable danger, frequent injuries, and intense rivalries, and how to settle into the sweet mental state that often results in a big win.
As we talked, I expected a slew of technical terms I wouldn’t understand to be thrown at me, but instead, I received poignant and thoughtful responses on what it takes to go all in when committing to the challenges of supercross, and a life riddled with obstacles.
Following are gems of wisdom from a few dudes who have made a career out of conquering their mental doubts and physical limitations.
1. It’s Not Failing, It’s Learning. The term “failing” is not in Ricky Carmichael’s lexicon, instead, he uses the term “learning.” He views a mistake as an opportunity to wipe the drawing board clean and build a new and better way to tackle the challenge at hand.
Ryan Dungey seconds this sentiment, believing that his ability to objectively view a mistake, tweak his strategy, and fully commit to implementing that strategy during practice allows him to move into his next race with a refreshed mental state, which is important because . . .
2. Success Comes With a Sound Mental State. As Ryan Dungey puts it, “You can be the fittest guy out there, but if you don’t have it going on mentally, the physicality doesn’t mean anything.”
When life throws you into a high intensity situation, be it on a field or track, in a boardroom, or even a tense conversation with a spouse, a healthy mental state is the best tool to not just make it through, but find favorable results on the other side.
But, that healthy mental state doesn’t live in the realm of overconfidence, or the domain of timidity – it lies somewhere in the middle. As Eli Tomac says, “You don’t want to bring overconfidence because you might get caught sleeping, but, you don’t want to be too nervous and lose your way – try to find the middle.”
Sounds great, but how to do we find that mental middle ground . . .
3. Preparation Is Key. All four riders reiterated that preparation is, as Ryan Dungey says, “the best way to be ready for the challenge.” And when asked if he had any rituals before a race Ricky Carmichael reminisced that his only reliable ritual was preparation.
So folks, if at first you don’t succeed, do as Eli Tomac does and “go all in with preparation.” And the more you prepare, the easier it is to . . .
4. Keep your cool, and focus on yourself. In our social media obsessed culture it can be easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing – becoming despondent if someone scored a goal you’ve been vying for, feeling “less than” if a colleague is able to log more hours of prep than you, or getting distracted by irritation if a competitor seems adamant to goad you. Ryan Dungey battles this by “keeping my cool, and focusing on myself.”
So, if you become overwhelmed by the doings of others, circle back to your own unique talents and abilities, devote your energy to putting in the work towards your goal, and allow the resulting sense of power to return you to a lovely state of equilibrium.
And above all else . . .
5. Be in it for the long haul. In supercross (and most things in life worth working for) a championship is not won in one race, it’s won over a series of races. Losing perspective, by becoming ruled by the outcome of one event in a series, pulls you out of the long-term focus and lasting spirit you need to conqueror the ultimate win. Ken Roczen described it as, “Being out of for blood, but not overreacting.” Love it.
Want to see how this advice pans out for these boys? With the exception of retired Ricky Carmichael, these three riders just began their 2017 supercross season that is sure to offer an intriguing seventeen rounds, leading to the crowning of a champion.
There are many voices flowing through New York City’s music venues, but few as alluring as Svetlana Shmulyian – a woman who channels the essence of Ella Fitzgerald, while mixing in an aural flavor that’s all her own.
Svetlana is the leader of the swing band The Delancey Five, and a regular at many of the jazz clubs and speakeasies that together form a web of old school musical magic. But, as intriguing as Svetlana’s pipes are, I’m equally enthralled by the fact that she’s churning out all this goodness while also being the mother to three young girls (go team mompreneurs!)
Below is your key into the mind of one of the most badass ladies gracing the most interesting stages in New York.
Bailey Gaddis: Any advice for NYC tourists wanting to make the most of their time being immersed in the city’s music offerings.
Svetlana Shmulyian: It all depends on what you want to see! NYC has a “scene” for everything – whether you are into avant-garde jazz, or swing dancing, or salsa, reggae, or indie rock – there are multiple spaces to listen to this specific kind of music and mix with other lovers of it.
There are highbrow spots and underground spots for every kind of music, each offering a unique experience – and an “only in New York” thing to do is to experience these different spots in the same night! So, search online for a specific kind of music you are interested in, on a specific date, and go to a high-brow show at 8pm (for example, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola for jazz and swing), grab a small plate or a snack after (like a falafel or noodles in Greenwich Village), and then “club-hop” through a few hidden speakeasy spots, like Mezzrow, Back Room, or Smalls for an after hours jam session.
BG: Being a mom, how do you find time to explore the live music in NYC? Do your daughters enjoy jazz and swing music?
SS: I mainly explore the live music scene when I perform – and then stay later to check out after-hours shows of friends, or other acts I am interested in. On the nights I do not work, I prefer to stay home with my daughters, unless there is a very special show going on.
On the other hand, attending shows is part of a continuous education and improvement for anyone – and a feeding of the soul, so I try to do it as much as I can. That said, keeping a work-life balance is a challenge for any working mom, being a musician mom is no exception – we all do the best we can!
My daughters like jazz and swing – my older one is exploring other genres in her school orchestra, band and chorus. My little one always asks me to put my record on in the car and knows all my songs by heart!
BG: What inspired you to put together flashmobs? What is that process like?
SS: The idea to create a flashmob came from dancers themselves, and one of the swing DJs that often work with my band (DJ Douglas McMilan). The idea stems from our love for swing music and swing dancing, and is meant to celebrate a great community of swing dancers, and our beautiful town of New York. Because of these factors, we wanted to pick a dramatic spot against which the dancers and the band can be best seen, listened to, and danced to – Times Square!
The infectious vibe of our first event gained momentum for the gathering, and the following summer’s event went viral with several thousand people RSVP-ing, and hundreds of people actually attending. Our flashmob this summer, around SeaGlass Carousel, was profiled on WPIX 11 with live music and dancing at 8am (clearly way too early, but still very cool!). And our last flashmob was, once again, conducted in Times Square on Halloween night, and was listed in Time Out New York as the top free event to do on Halloween. Our next Times Square flashmob will once again take place in Times Square – all the information will be listed on the band’s Facebook page, and the website, where folks can find videos and photos of the last year’s events!
BG: What are you currently working on?
SS: I am currently working up songs for my next album, which will be a Volume Two of Night at the Speakeasy (our first album produced by Guy Eckstine, featuring Wycliffe Gordon). The vibe will remain ‘swing’ and ‘music that makes you smile,’ as the first album did. But, I will continue to develop my voice through the new original songs, some of which may go outside of the swing idiom, while definitely still retaining a vintage feel, and a feeling of ‘social music’ (a term coined first by Miles Davis and today championed by Jon Batiste).
‘Social music’ is music for your mind (sophisticated music played by first rate musicians), your feet (music you can dance and move to!), and your heart (music that will make you feel warm and welcome to the world of art, imagination and music).
I also enjoyed having special guests on the first album and will continue this tradition in the second album. I wrote several songs, some with my songwriting collaborator, Ryan Smith, and received permission to record original songs written, and arranged by, friends and collaborators – Wycliffe Gordon, Jay Rattman, Ruby Choy, and others.
I am also working on the birthday show that will include some of this new material for the performance at Joe’s Pub (date pending for early March).
In honor of the chilly weather flowing across the United States, check out Svetlana’s rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside.
*This article has been edited and condensed.
Playful and poetic British vocalist and composer Joanna Wallfisch shirked the bus aspect of her latest West Coast tour in favor of a bike. The tour was aptly named The Great Song Cycle.
Joanna pushed through challenge and triumph while traversing the coast with only her body and two thin wheels propelling her forward; what transpired was a tour full of music made richer by the beautiful struggle Joanna intentionally created.
As you’ll discover in the following interview with this unique songstress, her journey was not passed through without contemplation and growth; it birthed it.
Why did you decide to pass on “traditional transport” in favor of a bike for this portion of your tour?
J: The main reason was freedom. Life on a bicycle is to be completely self-reliant and self-sufficient. I carried all that I needed for my multi-faceted month; my instruments, my home, my clothes, food, water, and myself. When traveling by car, train or plane one can easily forget that you have to carry yourself with you wherever you go. On a bike, you become so attuned to the body you live in and how mind, spirit and flesh can actually exist simultaneously together and also as separate entities. It was a complete thrill to know that the only way I was going to get from A to B was by the strength of my own body and mind…. Read more on Huff Post!
Illness and new life required Leslie Nachow’s attention flow from her music to her family after her acclaimed album Tenderland debuted in 1998. Now, eighteen years later Leslie has re-opened the gates to her creativity, and birthed her next album Balm for Gilead. Leslie wrote the songs for the album two weeks after her mother passed away, infusing it with authentic emotion and poignancy that makes a direct strike at the heart. There will be tears while listening to this album, but, as they trickle out, love will pour in.
Because Leslie is such a gifted writer, I wanted her to share, in her own poetic vernacular, what the journey from Tenderland to Balm for Gilead looked (and felt) like.
Bailey: The struggle of harmonizing the nourishment of creative needs with caring for loved ones is such a challenge, especially when one of your loved ones is ill. What was it like to set aside music to be the caretaker for both your mother and son? How did Emily support you through this transition?
Featured on Expectful! Whoop whoop!
After one read of Bailey Gaddis’s About Me page on her site, Your Serene Life, I knew I wanted to interview her for Moms Who Inspire because she’s insanely inspiring and hilarious.
During our conversation, I mentioned to Bailey that I find it hysterical that she admits in her bio that she can’t stop bragging about attending an event hosted by Michelle Obama at the White House. She laughed and went on to tell me that she was at an event that morning and bragged about it to the strangers next to her. “It’s just such a cool thing to have experienced, why not brag about it?” she said laughing.
This is Bailey Gaddis. funny, honest and high on life.
Bailey is the Author of Feng Shui Mommy (coming out May 2017), a Childbirth Preparation Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth Doula, travel addict and writer on all of the above. Bailey decided that she wanted to help women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum after the birth of her first child. Using Hypno-anesthesia as a method for her labor, she was able to have a pain-free natural childbirth. This empowered her to want to help other women experience their own bliss during their motherhood journeys.
When speaking to Bailey, I asked her what the first few days were like after she gave birth. I ask this often to other moms as a way to bond over stories of sleepless nights and crying babies, but Bailey’s answer was one that opened my eyes to a different experience than my own.
She replied as if reliving the experience as she spoke, “Blissful.”
This isn’t the typical answer I receive and it’s not even close to how I describe the first few days of my motherhood path, but when she said it, my body filled with love. It was really beautiful to see a different perspective on what’s usually a difficult time.
I learned so much from Bailey in our brief conversation, and I’m so happy to share more below.
Every Creative is perpetually searching for the “it” spot that will unlock all the juicy ideas, and resulting creations, waiting to blossom from their mind. While there is no magic elixir for inducing creativity, being in a location ripe with sacred structures, water pulsating with life, and landscapes that not only astound your eyes but cause your heart to smile, will offer you the key to your inner world of inspiration- all you need to do is turn it.
That key is waiting for you in Bali.
Here are five locations, nestled in Bali, that will encourage your expressions of creativity to flow in directions they never before had permission to explore.
Name: Bailey Gaddis
Home city/ country: Ojai, CA, USA
Current Occupation: (student, current job, etc.): Mom, author (Feng Shui Mommy- coming out May 2017!), childbirth educator, birth doula, hypnotherapist and volunteer maid, chef and handy-woman for my people.
Time I wake up: I set the alarm for 6am- but roll out about 6:32am.
First thing I do in the morning: Coffee. Just coffee. If I’m being “good” I’ll drink some water first.
My typical breakfast: Smoothie with bee pollen, hemp seed, cacao nibs, mysterious green powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, apple cider vinegar, half a banana, almond milk and frozen fruit. (You eventually get used to the taste.)
Here’s what my morning commute is like: 15 minutes to son’s preschool, 20-ish minutes sitting in the pre-school playground marveling at how good children are at life, then back home. A 20-second walk to the room I exercise in, then a 45-ish second walk to my home office.
It’s launching! Ya whoo! My newest course on Daily OM “How to Handle Life Like a Badass” launched today and it’s currently mega-super-duper affordable. Youll find its spiel below. Let me know if you have any questions.
Sending you love!
Do you dwell in the darkness, even when your life is full of light? Do you live in dread of mistakes, or perceived misfortunes? Do challenges eclipse your ability to see the forest for the trees?
Would you like to feel excited by the growth opportunities in your challenges? Would you like a metaphorical flashlight to guide you through the darkness, out into a brighter reality? Would you like to open your spirit to a knowing that the life you are meant to lead is colorful, dynamic, and blissful?
This course will help you step into that brighter world. It will adjust the shade of your challenges from murky blacks and browns to vibrant blues, greens, purples, pinks, reds, yellows, and gold. Together we will unravel the tight belief that challenges are wrong, bad, or debilitating. The exciting bumps in life are not to be feared but examined, explored, and honored. A road with rolling hills, sweeping curves, unexpected dips, and steep inclines is much more thrilling than a straight flat road leading to more of the same.
In the space of this course you will learn to awaken your inherent ability to take a skilled mind, body, and spirit to this bumpy road of life. You will not only learn to see challenges as benefits but will tap into your inner knowledge of how to pull the insights, epiphanies, and enlightenment from life’s struggles. On the other side of this learning you will find yourself freed from anticipatory fear and anxiety, waking each day with an excited curiosity for what is to come, and a knowing that you can roll through it all- expanding your beautiful soul in every moment.
Each lesson will be complimented by a Guided Meditation recording, serving to integrate the core elements of the lesson with your subconscious mind.
- Solidifying Your Self Worth
- Detangling from Anticipatory Fear and Anxiety
- Honoring Unpredictability and Giving It Sacred Worth
- Changing the Color of Challenges
- Having a Dialogue with Challenges
- Writing Out the Challenges
- How Body Awareness Can Lead to Acceptance
- Relearning Your Ability to Have Unconditional Fun
Now is the time to step into your renewed life, where all good is coming to you.
When you have a baby it can be a struggle just to put on some pants and walk to the mail box. Well, Sarah Bowman and Rene Coal Burrell of the band Famous Octoberhad the baby, put on the pants and didn’t just make it to the mailbox, they went on tour for the “One Day Baby” album they also birthed. Sarah and Rene are a living testament to the fact that creative passions, career and parenthood can harmoniously coexist as they travel through the United States sharing their music and nurturing their young family.
I was able to get a glimpse into their journey thus far, and gleaned plenty of inspiration for my own journey through motherhood.
#MamaConfession When I was pregnant (and my personal shifts were hitting the fan) I forgot my partner was also going through a huge shift- a complete man-amorphosis. I gave him very little support in that regard and I’m doing it differently next time the vacancy is filled in my womb.
If you’re moving through your own mama-morphosis and want to offer your baby-making partner some transformational TLC (it will make your life easier as well!) check out the book Backbone, written by the amazing partner (David Harshada Wagner) of my bestie-rockstar-badass-mama friend (Taryn Longo).
Even if I didn’t adore this couple from the bottom of my heart to the tip of my soul I would still recommend this book to every man (or boy moving through the process of becoming a man) I know.
Check it out!
I haven’t been blogging much because… I’ve been busy writing the Feng Shui Mommy book- eek! (Insert embarrassingly spastic happy dance here.) Being published by New World Library Spring 2017.
Besides that little announcement, I’m keeping today’s written message short and leaning on the spoken word (many of them.)
This relaxation recording was created for pregnant women, but can be utilized by any individual wishing to have more trust in their whole (mind-body-spirit) being.
Send me your thoughts and questions 🙂