The Roula and Ryan Show: The Gift of Belly Laughs

Thank you to The Roula and Ryan Show for having me on!

Last week, I had the pleasure of plugging my book among the auditory company of Roula Christie,  Ryan Chase and Eric Rowe on their Houston-based morning show, Roula and Ryan.

It was surreal hearing the familiar icons of morning radio, the very voices that accompanied me on many a pre-pandemic commute, INTERACT with me on air for all the world to well…hear.

My newly released book, The Friendship Diet: Clean Out Your Fridge, Get Real with Yourself, and Fill Your Life with Meaningful Relationships that Last is self-help meets stand-up comedy. I have a background in comedy/theatre as a performer, so knowing I was heading onto the often funny, always honest Roula and Ryan Show, I knew I had found a temporary auditory home. I’m also a school teacher and therefore know that the best classroom management involves a dash of comedy. Roula’s taunts can be heard in the link below, egging me on to reveal the dare-we-say-it “v” word (class clowning at it’s comedic genius pinnacle:-)

Humor, when honed with compassion, has the ability to lower our defenses and make self-reflection less scary, more palatable. We are more likely to digest emotional nutrition when it’s served with a spoon of belly laughs—hence, the audio clip I’m closing this post with (AND a big reason behind The Friendship itself—the connection between edible and emotional nutrition runs deep).

So thank you, Roula, Ryan and Eric for giving me a comedic audio space to promote a much-needed dose of humor and insight in our current crazy world.

Here’s the audio file. The belly laughs commence at 8am on July 21st, 9:36

https://www.krbe.com/thebestofroularyan/

Know Your Hunger

When we tune into what our bodies need, we are more likely to ensure that those needs are met.

The Friendship Diet launched on July 7th, and with it, all of the emotions that come with giving birth to something you worked so hard to see manifest: excitement and elation, yes—but also anxiety and uncertainty. 

Launching a book is so much like giving birth: there is so much anticipation but also so much out of one’s control. And while surrendering in both cases sounds great in theory, the reality (at least in my case–regarding both experiences) makes the mere idea of surrendering laughable at best.

So, I ignored my racing heart and got on Facebook live to announce the launch during a pandemic. I abandoned the idea of eating as it felt much more important to spread the word about The Friendship Diet; I focused on marketing and marketing and marketing my book, pushing aside the growing tap dance of pain throbbing on the top of my head.

(Don’t think the irony of The Friendship Diet launch wasn’t lost on me. My book is all about growing aware of the connection between our edible and emotional nutrition and there I was, ignoring the very beliefs my book espouses!)

The Universe continues to speak to us; it’s up to us to listen. Once my head felt like a stampede of horses was freely galloping across the top of my head, I finally bid my stubbornness adieu and grew still.

I grabbed my journal, closed my eyes and surrendered.

A question emerged beneath the darkness of my eyelids: 

“What do you need?”

I surrendered deeper.

“What do you need?”

My eyes opened and I wrote an answer in my journal, the pen forming words as if on its own.

“Exercise. More water.”

I closed my journal and went to bed.

For the first time in cyber-eons, I woke up and didn’t look at my phone or check my emails. Instead, I drank several glasses of water. I had a light breakfast. I drank more water. I exercised.

No surprise, my body thanked me with a headache-free morning.

Since this morning, I have needed (as most of do) to return to the double-edged sword of the smartphone. Each time the invisible tap dancers start to emerge on the top of my head, I grab another glass of water and do some stretches. Small actions but they make such a world of difference, keeping the galloping equines in their figurative stable.

Our bodies are always speaking to us, letting us know what they need. When we hit the pause button, we are in a better place to receive our inner knowing.

The Hidden Power of Action

There is unseen power in the Universe and the actions we take each day. The same is true when it comes to our creative endeavors. 

A couple of years ago, I sat in a cozy restaurant with two of my girlfriends. Over a Turkish dinner of shish kebob and fresh hummus (thank you, Pasha Restaurant), my friends shared creative endeavors they were working on. For several weeks prior, the idea for a book had tapped me on the shoulder, beckoning me to embark on a literary journey.

Yet fear/ego/uncertainty had caused me to do nothing but silently play the idea in my head like an orchestra performing with the mute button on.

But that evening, hearing my friends articulating their creative endeavors, motivated me to turn off that mute button.

“I am planning to write a book about our most personal relationships. It’s going to focus on the analogy of food and intimacy.”

Wow, did I just say that? I’m actually planning, huh…

Their reactions were a mixture of surprise and wonder; their eyes lit up—they were intrigued and wanted to know more.

So I found myself sharing the music of my idea, the chords that I had played silently in my head were now streaming between us, an organic melody forming in their encouraging presence.

By the end of the meal, the once beckoning idea had suddenly morphed into an almost palpable plan. Almost.

One of my friends said, “Write it down on this receipt. Make it real.”

Here’s a photo of what I wrote: 

The receipt from Pasha’s–a Turkish restaurant where it all began:-)

Writing that initial title down may seem like a small act, but it felt huge. Writing it, just like speaking about the mere idea of the book, gave the idea itself momentum. 

There is unseen power in the actions we take each day. The same is true when it comes to our creative endeavors. 

On July 7th2020, my book The Friendship Diet: Clean out Your Fridge, Get Real with Yourself and Fill Your Life with Meaningful Relationships that Last will launch. This didn’t just happen. There were innumerable steps along the way to get to the manifestation of an actual book. Each step brought me closer to the book in the making and each step created hidden but immeasurable ripple effects. 

Our lives don’t have a distinct beginning middle and end the way some might think. We are a creation that started way before our entry into this world; we create through our choices all day long that carry long-term effects that we can’t always see in this lifetime; we leave this world not knowing who or what is different because of our actions.

My book is still out in the cosmos, not yet a substance one can hold. But I know it’s out there, just as it was the moment I spoke about it over dinner with two dear friends. The fact of my book only grew stronger the moment I put pen to receipt paper—a formal commitment between the Universe and me.

When we give birth to a life, there is so much more than the birth itself. It is a labor of love from conception to manifestation and beyond. Each of us has the gift of free will to create and foster his or her own labor(s) of love. Feed that idea, nurture it and it will grow.

Never underestimate the hidden power of your actions to manifest your creative dreams.

“Who’s Watching What You Dish?”

Poem Inspired by Our Humanity

I like to think of us as a bunch of Russian dolls scurrying around our planet Earth: We have our many different versions of us. As a colleague recently noted in response to a compliment I gave her LinkedIn profile, “Everyone looks great on LinkedIn. No one sees what goes on when you go off the LinkedIn grid.”

Many of us who are fortunate enough to still have employment during COVID-19 have grown quite comfortable emerging the pajama-clad Russian doll. And when we have ventured out into our new world, we can often be observed sporting a facemask, our eyes now doing a great deal of talking for us. Draping our face with a mask is, according to both the CDC and WHO, recommended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. So the mask wearing is displaying our Russian doll of respecting others and ourselves.

Our world is filled with our respective Russian dolls. After all, the way we might talk to our best friend is not necessarily the way we would speak to our doctor or bank teller. But there’s one group of people that are watching all of the Russian dolls each of us inhabit in a day: children. 

Each new generation comes into our world as a spiritual clean slate. They digest the messages we serve—whether directly or indirectly. Our planet is clearly on the cusp of significant transformation. Now, more than ever, it is up to each of us to consider what we are dishing out to the world around us—especially children. They are watching us in all of our Russian doll manifestations, ingesting the words we might throw down without a second thought like a frozen pizza. 

Remember when you had to look up to see the kitchen counter, an adult’s seemingly huge arm reaching up effortlessly for a plate on the top shelf? The world was fresh, exciting and memorable then. Just as we were listening to understand that world and drawing conclusions based on what we heard from the “grown ups,” so too are the children today. Only now, social media and technology make information arrive at lightning speed, causing a potential tsunami of indigestion if we don’t take the time to both process and consider what Russian doll of ourselves is showing up in the world to our young people.

There’s an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Here’s the truth: at the center of each of those Russian dolls, we are all children. When we remember this, we work together—the best dish for the planet.

Identifying Our Hunger

Decadent Chocolate S’mores Crepes

Back before our new normal, I LOVED going to Coco Crepes—you know, sitting down in an actual restaurant with actual in person contact. On one of those visits, my sister joined me. She was hankering for one of Coco Crepes’ (and decadently delicious) dessert classics: s’mores—replete with crushed graham crackers and toasted marshmallows.

We had finished our divine crepe dinners; I still desired something sweet, but the s’more crepe wasn’t going to do it for me. But my sister DID want the s’more crepe and wouldn’t get it unless I shared it with her.

So I did what any good sister would do, I agreed to her gustatory request. And while the calorie-high decision might seem innocuous, it demonstrates the inner workings of me. The crepe-I-didn’t-want-in-an-effort-to-please symbolized my relationship with big sis’.

What I was hungry for had nothing to do with the crepe and everything to do with pleasing my sister. 

And my sister’s hunger for the campfire reminiscent treat? She had just flown in from New Jersey on business. She was presenting something major to a huge crowd of medical professionals the next morning. It didn’t surprise me that her stress levels were working overtime, causing her to crave high levels of sugar. And there is nothing more psychologically comforting than the idea of slow-roasted marshmallows drenched in melted chocolate and crushed graham crackers to create a (albeit temporary) sense of carbohydrate calm from an adrenaline storm inside.

As we have the gift of time during our pandemic, consider the connection between your dietary choices and your emotional state. This is not an opportunity to judge, but a moment to consider and make choices that potentially serve you better. 

A friend recently had a fight with her spouse and, despite the lockdown order in her state, grabbed her three kids and went out for Baskin Robbins. “I couldn’t take it.” Again, there’s that connection between stress and the food choices we make. But was she really hungry for the frozen dairy dessert or was it a temporary salve to the underlying conflict in her marriage she wants nothing more than to avoid?

I encourage you to consider what your hunger is telling you. With my sister, despite the fact that we are grown women hovering around menopause, I’m still the little girl who craves her big sister’s approval and love. But the truth underneath, when I hit the coronavirus pause button: I know she loves me whether I join her in devouring a s’mores crepe or never touch one again!